Activists Ask Charlottesville To Drop Charges; ACLU Asks City To Revise Police Tactics

Shaban Anthuman/ Times-dispatch

By Lauren Berg for The Daily Progress – CHARLOTTESVILLE — Activists want all charges dropped against protesters arrested at the July 8 KKK rally in Charlottesville after they say police used unnecessary force against demonstrators, and the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is asking residents to urge the City Council to increase “civilian oversight and accountability in policing.” Lodging allegations of police brutality, activists associated with Solidarity Cville held a news conference Friday in front of the Charlottesville Police Department, asking for police to apologize for their tactics at the rally and revoke the permit for the Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” rally, organized by pro-white blogger Jason Kessler. Emily Gorcenski, who attended the rally, said it was unnecessary for police to declare unlawful assembly as protesters gathered around a garage where members of the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan had parked. She said police did not give protesters and others enough time to leave the area before Virginia State Police deployed three canisters of tear gas. “To be frank, it is ridiculous to expect a grieving community, with a deep legacy of racial violence, to simply pack up and go home after the KKK rallied in our city,” Gorcenski said. After the Klansmen left, some protesters turned their attention to police and followed officers back up to High Street, where they continued to defy police commands to leave the area.

Police Searches Plummet In States That Legalize Weed, But…

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By Andy Campbell for the Huffington Post. Marijuana is often used as a tool by police officers to search your car. In many cases, the mere odor of weed serves as probable cause to pull you over and rifle through your belongings. States that have decriminalized it are still grappling with the legality of using marijuana for warrantless searches. In the case of Philando Castile, who was shot to death by a Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop last year, we saw the devastating effects the smell of marijuana can have on an officer’s perception of motorists. Though marijuana is decriminalized to some degree in the state, St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez would later tell investigators that he thought he was in danger because he smelled weed. It may come as no surprise, then, that states that have legalized marijuana are seeing a dramatic decline in warrantless searches.

Redneck Revolt Builds Anti-Racist Working Class White Movement

Cover of Redneck Revolt zine. Source: https://www.redneckrevolt.org/printable-resources

By Jared Ware for Shadow Proof – In the infancy of the Trump presidency, a new community defense network is espousing anti-racist and anti-capitalist politics to build coalitions in cities, small towns, and rural areas across America. Redneck Revolt recruits predominantly poor and working class white people away from reactionary politics. The organization advances an analysis of their class condition and white supremacy’s role in upholding the wealth and privilege of a small, white elite. Redneck Revolt inserts themselves into overwhelmingly white spaces—NASCAR races, gun shows, flea markets in rural communities, and country music concerts—to offer a meaningful alternative to the white supremacist groups who often also recruit in those spaces. The organization’s growing membership comes as media pundits, the Democratic Party, and the United States’ relatively small socialist parties all grapple with how to address the plight of working class white Americans in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. “Economic anxiety,” a term presented by the media to defend Trump’s ascension, has become an internet meme for acts of racial terror. Hillbilly Elegy author JD Vance has been paraded around to defend and mythologize the travails of working class white Republican voters.

The Body Count Rises In The U.S. War Against Black People

Photo by Ryan Vaarsi | CC BY 2.0

By Ajamu Baraka for Counter Punch – Again, there is anger, confusion and calls for justice from the black community of Seattle, where the latest killing took place. Many might remember that it was in Seattle where two members of the local black community attempted to call out the racist and hypocritical liberal white community during a visit by Bernie Sanders. The black activists were subsequently shouted down by a majority of Bernie’s supporters. One of the issues that the activists wanted to raise was the repressive, heavy-handed tactics of the Seattle Police Department. Some have argued that this rash of killings of black people caught on video or reported by dozens of witnesses is nothing new, that the images of police chocking, shooting and beating poor black and working-class people is now more visible because of technological innovations that make it easier to capture these images. They are partially right. As an internal colony in what some refer to as a prison house of nations that characterizes the U.S. nation state, black communities are separated into enclaves of economic exploitation and social degradation by visible and often invisible social and economic processes.

D.C. United Against Hate Rally

DC Rally Against Hate

By Staff for DC Rally Against Hate. On Sunday, June 25 at 11:00 AM a coalition of local community and religious groups will rally at the Lincoln Memorial, Pedestrian Plaza, on the National Mall to oppose a planned gathering of violent white nationalist extremists known as the “Proud Boys.” The rally is organized under the banner of “D.C. United Against Hate” and aims to peacefully bring together groups and individuals to stand together against this growing threat. “We need to organize and stand against hate, wherever and however it is manifest,” said Rev. Graylan Hagler, of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ. “The loose and reckless speech contributed to the recent violence and murder in the D.C. area and against elected officials at practice for a baseball game. We have had our fill of hatred and hate talk.”

Thousands Take To The Streets To Protest Philando Castile Verdict

Castille protest of jury verdice 6-17-17

By Jessica Goldstein for Think Progress. Within hours of the verdict, thousands of protestors came together at the state Capitol, starting a march toward St. Paul Cathedral. The crowd, as the Associated Press reported, was “mixed-race” and “includ[ed] many people with children.” Their signs read “Unite for Philando” and “Corrupt systems only corrupt.” A group of protestors peeled off from the pack and headed to Interstate 94 in St. Paul; the freeway was shutdown in both directions. A police standoff with protestors lasted over an hour and a half, at which point “the group dwindled and appeared to largely clear the interstate without police using force.” According to CNN, Minnesota State Patrol reported 18 arrests following I-94 demonstrations when protestors did not comply with orders to disperse. St. Paul police put the number of peaceful protestors in the streets and at the Capitol at about 2,000.

Minnesota Police Officer Yanez Acquitted In Shooting Death of Philando Castile

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Update: Several hours after the verdict, a protest which began at the St Paul State Capital building, made its way to I-94 freeway where there were 18 arrests, including several journalists.

By John Zangas for DC Media Group. A mostly white jury acquitted Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez of the shooting death of Philando Castile, a Black man from Twin Cities, Minnesota, during a traffic stop. The verdict was delivered Friday afternoon after the jury deliberated for five days. The shooting death of Castile happened on July 6, 2016, when Yanez pulled Diamond Reynolds over in Falcon Heights for a broken taillight. Castillo was riding in the front passenger seat and Reynolds’ 4 year old daughter was seated in a baby car seat behind them. Officer Yanez had pulled over Reynolds at about 9 pm because of a broken taillight. In a patrol car voice recording of the incident, and before Reynolds began her cell video camera, Castillo can be heard telling Officer Yanez that he has a firearm and is licensed to carry it. “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me.” Castillo said to Yanez. Yanez then said “Okay,” Yanez said to Castile not to pull out his gun. Castile said, “I’m not pulling it out,” Yanez then screamed, “Don’t pull it out,” while he pulled his own gun out and shot Castile. He fired seven shots in succession. The last thing Castillo said before he lost consciousness was, “I wasn’t going to pull it out.” Their four year old daughter sat in the backseat of the car. She was not hit though one shot penetrated Castile’s seat…

Confederate Statues Down In New Orleans, But Structural Racism Still Stands Tall In Our Schools

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By Ashana Bigard for The Progressive – Many New Orleanians celebrated at the removal of confederate monuments around the city in recent weeks. But on the same day that Robert E. Lee’s bronzed image came down from Lee Circle, two black boys (like hundreds of boys throughout the city and state of Louisiana) were not allowed to graduate for arbitrary, punitive, and potentially illegal reasons. The monuments may be gone, but structural racism continues to create barriers for students of color in New Orleans schools. Take the cases of Rahsaan Ison and Rashaad Brown, both enrolled at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts. They had requested a tutor in Spanish, and one was provided to them under state and federal law protecting students with disabilities. But the tutor turned out to be so unprofessional that their school claimed he had cheated on a test by answering questions for them, and refused to accept any of their work, making it impossible for them to achieve their graduation requirements. I acted as a student advocate for the boys, and I asked for an accommodation on the 504 plan so they could graduate with the rest of the class.

Counter Protests Outnumber Small ‘Anti-Sharia’ Protests

Counter-protesters hold signs outside of an ‘anti-Sharia rally’ in Seattle. Photograph by David Ryder for Reuters

By Sabrina Siddiqui for The Guardian. A wave of anti-Muslim rallies planned for almost 30 cities across the US on Saturday by far-right activists has drawn sharp criticism from civil rights groups and inspired counter-protests nationwide. A number of small protests took place and in many places, including New York and Chicago, a few dozen “anti-Sharia” demonstrators were outnumbered by counter-protesters. Hundreds of counter-protesters marched through Seattle on Saturday to confront a few dozen people claiming Sharia was incompatible with western freedoms. The counter protesters banged drums, cymbals and cowbells behind a large sign saying “Seattle stands with our Muslim neighbors.” Participants chanted “No hate, no fear, Muslims are welcome here” on their way to City Hall, while a phalanx of bicycle police officers separated them from an anti-Sharia rally.

Lessons From Portland’s Clashes With Fascists

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By Shamus Cooke for CounterPunch. Portland, Oregon had its collective mind blown in recent weeks. A Nazi murdered two people on public transit and a week later, on June 4th, Portland police were ‘protecting and serving’ a rally of 300+ ‘Alt-Right’ white supremacists from a counter-protest of over 3,000. A crushing tension gripped Portland as the protests neared; people were understandably scared that more deaths would occur during the confrontation. The far-right rally organizer– local demagogue Joey Gibson– announced that a local far-right militia would provide security, while alt-right ‘celebrities’ from around the country descended onto Portland, many of them decked out in protective gear for street fighting. One of these celebrity fascists who goes by ‘Based Stick Man’ (real name Kyle Chapman) tweeted: “I declare open season on Antifa [anti-fascists], squash on sight”.

Mathematicians Want To Save Democracy

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By Carrie Arnold for Nature. Leaning back in his chair, Jonathan Mattingly swings his legs up onto his desk, presses a key on his laptop and changes the results of the 2012 elections in North Carolina. On the screen, flickering lines and dots outline a map of the state’s 13 congressional districts, each of which chooses one person to send to the US House of Representatives. By tweaking the borders of those election districts, but not changing a single vote, Mattingly’s maps show candidates from the Democratic Party winning six, seven or even eight seats in the race. In reality, they won only four — despite earning a majority of votes overall. Mattingly’s election simulations can’t rewrite history, but he hopes they will help to support democracy in the future — in his state and the nation as a whole.

Statement Of Support For Civic Strike In Buenaventura, Colombia

Mass action closing down port in Buenaventura, Colombia May 21

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Popular Resistance has been closely following and reporting on the civic strike in the port city of Buenaventura, Colombia. As the strike is suspended we are issuing this statement of support and solidarity. We applaud the political clarity and the uncompromising demands of the people of Buenaventura in response to the long-term prejudice and mistreatment of Afro-Colombians. The organization that the civic strike showed, especially in the face of harsh treatment by the security state in Colombia, demonstrated great strength and courage which made the strike successful. Your effort has brought massive attention to the indifference of the Colombian government to centuries of racism that has led to abject poverty and mistreatment of black people in Colombia. The agreement that led to the suspension of the strike is a clear victory for Afro-Colombians in Buenaventura.

Black Land Initiative: Take Back The Land

Take Back the Land Juneteenth 2017

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.

Esther Ojulari: National Strike in Buenaventura Colombia

Mass action closing down port in Buenaventura, Colombia May 21

Esther Ojulari for Black Alliance for Peace. The city of Buenaventura on Colombia’s Pacific coast is home to the country’s main international port through which billions of dollars of imports and exports pass every year. Since last Tuesday 16th May the community of Buenaventura (along with communities in the Chocó region of Colombia) has been on general strike demanding that the government fulfils basic human rights to water, education, health, culture, land and freedom from racism and violence. Businesses were closed, road blocks were set up at several points along the main road and peaceful protestors chanted, sang, danced and banged cooking pots to call attention to the desperate situation. On the first day along the Chamber of Commerce reported the strikes had caused up to 10,000 million pesos (about $3.5 million USD) in losses.

This Is What Emboldened White Supremacists Look Like

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By Douglas Williams for The Guardian. Charlottesville, VA – It was a scene out of the darkest days of the civil rights movement. A couple of dozen white supremacists rallied around a statue of Robert E Lee, a Confederate army general, in Virginia, carrying torches and chanting: “You will not replace us.” But this was no black-and-white newsreel, relaying the horrors of a time long since past. This grotesque scene played out on Saturday, at a rally headlined by the white supremacist Richard Spencer. The cause for this neo-Klan rally? The city of Charlottesville’s decision in February to remove the Lee statue from the park that bears his name in the city’s downtown area. The white supremacists also demonstrated at the city’s Festival of Cultures earlier in the day.