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Prisoners, Unions Sue Alabama, Alleging ‘Modern-Day Slavery’

A group of current and former prisoners have sued the state of Alabama with the support of two unions who have signed on as co-plaintiffs, the Union of Southern Service Workers, and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The lawsuit claims that Alabama’s system of prison labor amounts to a “modern-day form of slavery” that generates massive profits for private businesses and revenues for the state by forcing incarcerated people to work for little or no pay. Jacob Morrison and Adam Keller join Rattling the Bars to discuss the lawsuit and the importance of the fight for prisoners’ rights to the overall labor movement.

Scheer Intelligence: The Powerful Past, Present And Future Of Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2013 after the murder of Trayvon Martin highlighted the dangers Black children, women and men face daily because of the color of their skin. The grassroots movement has protested against police violence and anti-black racism since then, and advocated for policy changes to address racial injustices. Despite having been active for the better part of a decade now, Black Lives Matter was recently launched into the global spotlight after the police assassination of George Floyd rocked the world.   On this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence,” Dr. Melina Abdullah, one of the Black Lives Matter co-founders, tells host Robert Scheer how while BLM had worked hard to raise awareness about the slayings of everyone from Sandra Bland to Eric Garner, the activists did not expect the response to Floyd’s death to be so far-reaching. 

The High Cost Of Insurance Profits

By Peter Dolack for Systemic Disorder. You could not devise a worse health care system than that of the United States if you tried. By far the most expensive, with among the worst results. Perhaps saying “among” the worst results is being too kind. That is an accurate statement if we are simply measuring metrics such as mortality rates and other medical outcomes. But if we consider that tens of millions of United Statesians go without health insurance while none do in any advanced capitalist country (or most any other) — and that tens of thousands annually die because of that lack — then we must reasonably assess the U.S. health care system as the worst. This is the high cost of private profit in health care. How much? The United States spends more than $1.4 trillion per year than it would otherwise if it had a single-payer system.

Black Land Initiative: Take Back The Land

By Movement for Black Lives. On Juneteenth 2017 (Monday, June 19th) Black people across the country will be taking back land and reclaiming space, from vacant lots to empty school buildings. We are taking back land that should be used for the good of the people; land that has historically been denied access to Black people. Through these actions, we will confront the institutions that have been built off the extracted wealth of Black bodies and Black land and the individuals who have profited from them. Opening of Manifesto: We are a people who have been enslaved and dispossessed as a result of the oppressive, exploitative, extractive system of colonialism and white supremacy. In this system, our labor and its products have been forcefully taken from us for generations, for the accumulation of wealth by others. This extraction of wealth – from our labor, and from the land – formed the financial basis of the modern globalized world economy and has led to compounded exploitation and social alienation of Black people to this day.

Disturbing Secret History Of NYPD Officer Who Killed Eric Garner

By Jack Jenkins and Carimah Townes for Think Progress - On July 17, 2014, NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo wrapped his arms around Eric Garner’s neck and squeezed. He held tight as his colleagues slammed Garner, 43 years old and asthmatic, to the ground. Garner, who was unarmed at the time, gasped for air, arm outstretched, saying “I can’t breathe” over and over as officers piled on top of him. Then he was silent. The next day, when the New York Daily News released video of the encounter, Garner had already died from neck and chest compression. His death sparked national protests about police violence against the black community, and his final words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Report Back From Nordic Peace Tour

By Bruce Gagnon of Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space. One of the big issues facing Denmark is the US pushing them to purchase the F-35 fighter plane that is getting lots of bad reviews for being a complicated and temperamental war plane. Peace activists there are organizing a campaign to block their government from buying the planes - the US is even demanding they purchase spare parts up front which is not a real confidence builder in the quality of the plane. Just like in all the other meetings Dave and I participated in during this trip, the demonization of Russia by NATO was at the forefront in our discussions. One Danish woman in the meeting said, "We've got to work together globally and do it around NATO which is at the center of what is creating tensions."

Young Black Men Again Faced Highest Rate Of US Police Killings In 2016

By Jon Swaine and Ciara McCarthy for The Guardian - The Counted project points to continuing racial disparities, with black males aged 15-34 nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed. Young black men were again killed by police at a sharply higher rate than other Americans in 2016, intensifying concerns over the expected abandonment of criminal justice reform by Donald Trump’s incoming administration. Black males aged 15-34 were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by law enforcement officers last year, according to data collected for The Counted, an effort by the Guardian to record every such death. They were also killed at four times the rate of young white men.

13 Ways To ACT In Solidarity For Justice For Walter Scott

By Staff of Black Lives Matter - Join us this Thursday, December 8th at North Charleston City Hall for a People’s Assembly to End Police Brutality, speak out at the North Charleston City Council Meeting and help us continue the fight to reform the Citizen’s Advisory Commission into a body with Power. This board in its current form is a weak body that can only make recommendations and give advice. It does not represent a mechanism that can ensure accountability, legitimacy, and trust. It does nothing to address the abuse of authority in which some officers engage. Furthermore, there is no budget and no oversight power. We want to change that. If interested in participating in this effort email for more details and SHARE THE FLYER ATTACHED!

Civil Rights Group Sues Federal Gov Over Surveillance Of Black Activists

By Aaron Morrison for Identities Mic - It's no longer a secret that police have conducted surveillance on activists involved in the Movement for Black Lives. Increasingly, these activists say they want to know exactly what's in the files the government may be keeping on them. Color of Change, a national racial justice group, filed a lawsuit in federal court in New York on Thursday, over the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's rejection of its request for surveillance information on Black Lives Matter activists.

Black Children Punished For Anthem Protests

By Staff of Color of Change - After young 11 and 12-year-boys of the Beaumont Bulls football knelt during the anthem to protest police violence against Black youth, their local executive board canceled their entire football season, suspended the coaching staff, and threatened to arrest their parents if they attended any future games, practices or events. For these young Black kids, the plight of injustice in America is their own.

Seattle Teachers Wore Black Lives Matter Shirts To School

By Sarah Harvard for Identities Mic - On Wednesday, 2,000 teachers in Seattle — alongside parents and students — wore Black Lives Matter shirts to protest against police brutality and promote racial equity, the Associated Press and KING 5 News report. Teachers organizing the #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool event told AP they held discussions about institutional racism and black history and used the event to rally people together. A Seattle Public Schools spokesman said in a statement that the district supported the teachers' efforts and said it supports their First Amendment rights.

Video Shows Father Of 4 Begging Guards For Help Before Dying In Jail

By Ryan J. Reilly for The Huffington Post - “I can’t breathe.” Michael Sabbie ― a 35-year-old stay-at-home father of four ― said it after five guards piled on top of him inside the Bi State Jail, a facility that sits directly on the border between Texas and Arkansas and is run by a for-profit company. “I can’t breathe.” Sabbie ― who packed his kids’ lunches, drove them to and from school, and carted them around to their after-school activities ― said it again after a sixth officer pepper-sprayed him as he lay on the concrete floor.

Police Shootings Show Black People Still Aren’t Granted Full Citizenship Rights

By Rebekah Barber for Facing South - Last week, in a powerful moment during the nonviolent protests in Charlotte, North Carolina, following the Sept. 20 shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer, protesters marched to the county jail and chanted to the inmates inside, "We see you! We love you!" The inmates responded by flickering their lights from inside the jailhouse walls as the crowd cheered outside.

Activists Project Black Bodies On The Facades Of ‘Racist’ Institutions

By Zeba Blay for The Huffington Post - On the evening of Sept. 1, something unusual took place in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston, Massachusetts. Huge projections appeared on the sides of the abandoned homes in the area, homes which had once housed a longtime community of African-American tenants but now stood empty, the property of real estate company City Realty. Large and looming, the projections were somber video portraits of some of the hundreds of tenants who were displaced from the community this year in order to make room for 70 luxury apartments

Alton Sterling’s Family Demands Action From Baton Rouge Officials

By David Lohr for The Huffington Post - Alton Sterling’s frustrated family members and their supporters confronted Baton Rouge officials this week, demanding an update in the nearly 3-month-old investigation into the 37-year-old black man’s death. A police officer fatally shot Sterling near a convenience store where he sold CDs in July. The shooting sparked protests across the country against police misconduct.
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