Category Archives: Police Abuse|Brutality|Killings

Killing Trayvons ~ “American Violence at the Intersection of Race & Class”

kag3with Kevin Alexander Gray

Co-editor [with Jeffrey St. Clair and JoAnn Wypijewski] of Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence, and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike: The Fundamentals of Black Politics for an evening of analysis, dialogue and performance.

Killing Trayvons

Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina. He is a contributing editor to Counterpunch, on the boards of RESIST & Savannah River Site Watch. He served as a national board member of the American Civil Liberties Union for 4 years & is a past eight-term president of the South Carolina affiliate of the ACLU.  Advisory board member of DRC Net (Drug Policy Reform Coalition), & was Jesse Jackson’s ’88 SC campaign manager. 

“There’s no keener mind, no sharper eye, focused on the condition of black politics. Gray’s take is radical, so his focus is always ample and humane.”

Adam Gottlieb

 joining Kevin will be Adam Gottlieb

Adam is a poet-emcee/teaching-artist/singer-songwriter/revolutionary from Chicago. As a teen, he was featured in the 2009 documentary film “Louder Than A Bomb.” Since then, he has gone on to perform and teach widely throughout Chicago and the U.S. In 2012 he co-founded the Royal Souls open mic in the East Roger’s Park neighborhood of Chicago. He is a founder of the Chicago branch of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade, and performs with his band OneLove.

Also featuring . . . Chicago poets active in the ‘Let Us Breathe’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, along with members of high school teams in the 2015 Louder than a Bomb spoken word competition.

The presentation by Gray and the performances by the artists will be followed by a conversation with the author, poets and audience!

Join Us for an evening of analysis, dialogue and performance!

Saturday, April 11th.  6 – 8 PM
Powell’s Books Chicago
1218 South Halsted

Sponsored by: The Chicago Consortium for Working Class Studies & the RevolutionaryPoets Brigade, Chicago

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Now Available! ~ Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence

Killing Trayvons

Skin privilege. When you’re black it seems the hardest thing to explain to whites. Even the most conscious or liberal whites sometimes don’t quite get it. Or as Langston Hughes once said, “A liberal is one who complains about segregated railroad cars but rides in the all white section.”

The killing of Trayvon Martin in February 2012 rang yet another alarm about the costs of that privilege. Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence tracks the case and explores why Trayvon’s name and George Zimmerman’s not guilty verdict symbolized all the grieving, the injustice, the profiling and free passes based on white privilege and police power: the long list of Trayvons known and unknown.

With contributions from Robin D.G. Kelley, Rita Dove, Cornel West and Amy Goodman, Thandisizwe Chimurenga, Alexander Cockburn, Etan Thomas, Tara Skurtu, bell hooks and Quassan Castro, June Jordan, Jesse Jackson, Tim Wise, Patricia Williams, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Vijay Prashad, Rodolfo Acuna, Jesmyn Ward and more, Killing Trayvons is an essential addition to the literature on race, violence and resistance.

Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence is set to be released early Summer 2014.

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Editors:

Kevin Alexander Gray is a civil rights organizer in South Carolina and author of Waiting for Lightning to Strike!: The Fundamentals of Black Politics.

Jeffrey St. Clair is the editor of CounterPunch. His books include Whiteout (with Alexander Cockburn), Grand Theft Pentagon, and Born Under a Bad Sky.

JoAnn Wypijewski regularly writes for The Nation and CounterPunch. Her books include Painting by Numbers.

Published by CounterPunch Books.

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After Trayvon: Revisiting MLK’s “Triple Evils” | Pamela Brown

In the 20th century, Martin Luther King Jr. defined the problem of America under the weight of the “triple evils” of racism, economic exploitation and war. In the 21st, the case of Trayvon Martin has created an existential crisis for black Americans and allies engaged in the struggle for racial justice. It underscores, again, that for many millions of people the “ism” felt as the greatest threat is not capitalism or militarism. Yet these effusions of persistent racism are enmeshed in a context: of growing inequality under neoliberal economic regimes and of wide-scale state-sponsored violence globally.  It is time for all people to revisit MLK’s “triple evils” in forming a strategy for resistance and a vision of the future — re-imagining what freedom might look like and how it might be achieved.

Pamela Brown

Pamela Brown

Kopkind’s 2013 Harvest Late Brunch fundraiser will be held Sunday, October 13, at 2 pm.  Our speaker is Pamela Brown.

Pam was deeply involved in Occupy Wall Street and has continued in its offshoot organizing and educational projects, at the convergence of race, class and debt. She is a columnist for Tidal Magazine and an organizer with the People’s Investigation of Wall Street. She was a founding member of Strike Debt and the Rolling Jubilee, and has been involved in campaigns and writing projects including the student debt pledge of refusal and the Debt Resistors Operations Manual. With a background in philosophy and media arts, Pam is currently a doctoral student in sociology at The New School.

Kopkind is a living memorial to the great radical journalist Andrew Kopkind. Each summer since 1999 it has been bringing together journalists, activists and filmmakers for week-long seminar/retreat sessions with the aim of thinking deeply, acting consciously, living expressively and extending the field for freedom, pleasure and imagination.

Out-of-towners, we have some rooms and cabins, so contact us if you’d like to stay the night.

Please Come! We Look Forward To Seeing You!

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U.S. Gun Ownership & Gun Death Data

(Note: The following data is compiled from a list of sources included at the end of summary.  Please click links for more detailed information.  Does not include deaths from war or other government/state perpetrators to include “crimes” committed in war zones. Both Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and Major Nidal Hasan are cited in the overview. Doubtless, Hasan is included in current domestic crime statistics, Bales crimes are probably not included in domestic homicide stats.  I also encourage readers to check data presented against other sources.)

According to a 2007 Small Arms Survey by the Geneva-based Graduate Institute of International Studies, about 4.5 million of the 8 million new guns manufactured worldwide each year are purchased in the United States and the nation has about “90 guns for every 100 citizens.”   The US is it the most heavily armed nation in the world with its citizens “owning 270 million of the world’s 875 million known firearms.” 

The 2007 report estimated there were 650 million civilian firearms worldwide, and 225 million held by law enforcement and military forces.

Although the AR-15 assault-type weapon – the civilian adaptation of the standard military issue M-16  – is the most popular “sportsman’s weapon” in the US, some estimates are that during the last 60 years well over 100 million Kalashnikov AK47-style assault rifles – famously referred to as “the people’s gun” – have been put into circulation around the world.

The FBI also estimates that there are 250-270 million registered privately owned firearms in the US – 100 million handguns, 150-170 million shotguns and rifles. Others estimate 350,000,000, as there’s no way to know the number of unregistered, illegal foreign-made weapons in the country.  Add those owned by the military, law enforcement agencies and museums and that’s 1 weapon for every man, woman and child.

There are 129,817 federally licensed firearms dealers, 51,438 of which are retail gun stores. That compares with 10,787 Starbucks stores, and 143,839 gas stations across the country. And that doesn’t count gun shows. About 40 percent of guns are sold in unlicensed private sales.

The majority of guns are owned by whites.

Based upon surveys, the following are estimates of private firearm ownership in the U.S. as of 2010:

    Households With a Gun  Adults Owning a Gun  Adults Owning a Handgun
Percentage

 40-45%

 30-34%

 17-19%

Number

 47-53 million

 70-80 million

 40-45 million

A 2005 nationwide Gallup poll of 1,012 adults found the following levels of firearm ownership: 

Category

 Percentage Owning

a Firearm

Households

 42%

Individuals

 30%

Male

 47%

Female

 13%

White

 33%

Nonwhite

 18%

Republican

 41%

Independent

 27%

Democrat

 23%

In the same poll, gun owners stated they own firearms for the following reasons:

 Protection Against Crime  67%
Target Shooting  66%
Hunting  41%

The most current polls report that among those who own handguns, 75 percent reported in a national survey that self-protection is the primary reason for owning a firearm. A 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology (link is to pdf for 2009 study) reported that US civilians used guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year. (Is a Gun an Effective Means of Self-Defense?) 

Other cite or argue:

  • The 2nd Amendment & constitutionally protected rights – “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
  • The 2nd Amendment is “the rebellion clause” in the Constitution (“No Prior Restraint [1st Amendment]”Doctrine of Prior Restraint),
  • “The 2nd Amendment is there to defend the 1st.”
  • The government – to include the police and the military, shouldn’t have more guns than the people least we’d have a police-state,
  • The police can’t be around to protect one all the time.
  • Prevention from foreign invasion
  • Laurence Tribe on the 2nd Amendment Tribe, well-known as a liberal scholar, concludes that the right to bear arms was conceived as an important political right that should not be dismissed as “wholly irrelevant.” Rather, Tribe thinks the Second Amendment assures that “the federal government may not disarm individual citizens without some unusually strong justification.” Tribe posits that it includes an individual right, “admittedly of uncertain scope,” to “possess and use firearms in the defense of themselves and their homes.””
  • Laurence Henry Tribe (bio)  |   Harvard Law School bio

[So You Think You Know the Second Amendment? By Jeffrey Toobin – http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2012/12/jeffrey-toobin-second-amendment.html#ixzz2FSy4HiRc]

The Real And Racist Origins of the Second Amendment By Bruce Dixon – http://blackagendareport.com/content/american-history-black-history-and-right-bear-arms

United States — Gun Facts, Figures and the Law – GunPolicy.org – http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states

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Kevin Alexander Gray on State Violence and the Murder of Troy Anthony Davis

KPFA FLASHPOINTS

Execution of Justice by Kim Nicolini

With the murder of Troy Anthony Davis by the state of Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a 2009 capital punishment opinion of  conservative associate, Justice Antonin Scalia, in which he ruled: “[T]his court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is ‘actually’ innocent.”

Still, the ultimate victory for Troy Davis is that he inspired millions of people – around the world and here in the United States – who want to live in a more peaceful and less violent society. In that regard Troy’s life and murder by the government was not in vain. Sometimes it takes a single incident to shake people up.

Bruce Dixon, managing editor@Black Agenda Report: ” It’s great that so many people signed Troy Davis’s petition and made themselves so visible as opponents of the death penalty. But Troy was clearly and obviously innocent, and imprisoned for decades, ultimately executed anyhow. But until we stand up for the rights of ALL the imprisoned, convicted and formerly convicted, including all those whose innocence, however you construe that word, is not so obvious and those who may in fact not even be innocent —- till we stand for their human rights to education, to health care and a decent chance at life by radically shrinking and ultimately ending the institution of prison the machine that convicts the literally innocent will retain legitimacy and roll on, doing what it does. In other words, coming out to oppose the execution of an obvious innocent person like Troy Davis is low hanging fruit. It’s good that so many are wiling to reach for it. But we will rarely be able to save even these till we de-legitimize the institution of prison and chop down the whole rotten tree.”

Amnesty International

To hear Kevin Alexander Gray’s interview click on header@top of page.  To contribute time or money to organizations working to abolish the death penalty in the U.S. click on any or all of the provided logos.  Click on Kim Nicolini’s artwork of Troy to link to his website which is being maintained by family and friends.  Or start, help start or join an existing anti-death-penalty group.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

The struggle continues.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

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11:08

Troy Anthony Davis | October 9, 1968 – September 21, 2011

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011

Troy Anthony Davis’ final words:

“I’d like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother. I am innocent.

The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun. All I can ask … is that you look deeper into this case so that you really can finally see the truth.

I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight and to keep the faith.

For those about to take my life, God have mercy on your souls. And may God bless your souls.”

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Demand Obama Administration Respect UPR Process

   
CALL TO ACTION: Demand Obama Administration Respect UPR Process, Adopt UN UPR Recommendation to Release U.S. Political Prisoners!

 
Atlanta, GA, – The U.S. Human Rights Network Political Prisoner/State Repression Working Group (USHRN PP/SR Wkg Grp) demands the Obama Administration adopt the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations to release COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era political activists held in U.S. prisons, some more than 40 years.  
 
“The UPR shed global light on the United States’ dirty little open secret and propelled to the forefront the unfinished business of the modern U.S. Civil/Human Rights movement.   “We are working with activists across the country to put  America’s political prisoners on the global human rights priority list alongside other atrocities like the death penalty, racial discrimination, the absence of treaty ratification  and the lack of a national institution monitoring domestic human rights practices” Efia Nwangaza said. 

Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser to the United States Department of State dismissed the significance of  the recommendations made by the Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in generally and, specifically, the call for the release of long imprisoned political activists.  Harold Koh, put the more than 230 recommendations into “3 categories:
 
1) Some in line with US policies
 
2) Some political provocation not to be taken seriously
 
3) Some to be considered.
 
Koh promised “all recommendations will be considered and taken back to branches for consideration before March, 2011. Further Koh remarked, “A small set of comments do not make bona fide recommendations for the UPR. These statements, those styled as “recommendations,” are actually political criticisms of U.S. policies or polemical comments about judicial cases, based on unsubstantiated or false allegations, which refer to individual matters that are either ongoing or already completed under court proceedings conducted under due process of law.”
 
1. We call on President Obama to use his presidential powers to grant clemency and commute the sentences to time served and release all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era political activists criminalized and held in federal custody.
 
2. We call on President Obama to direct U.S.  Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. Department of Justice to review the convictions of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody to identify and address civil and human rights violations perpetrated.
 
3. We call on the Obama Administration to create a national Truth and Reconciliation Commission for the release and compensation of all COINTELPRO/Civil Rights Era activists in federal or state custody.
 
Demand the Obama Administration Respect the UPR Process and Adopt UN UPR Recommendation to Release U.S. Political Prisoners (Recommendations  Numbers 92.153 and 92.154). Please call, fax, write, e-mail, the U.S. UPR Delegation and the Obama Administration to  Invite family, friends, neighbors, faith communities, social and professional organizations and elected and appointed officials to join this emergency campaign.
 
Contact information: 
Michael H. Posner, Asst. Secretary of State (Democracy, Human Rights and Labor) T: 202-647-2126/F:202-647-5283/E: PosnerMH@state.gov
 
Esther Brimmer, Asst. Secretary of State (T:202-647-4000/F: /E: )
 
Harold Koh, Legal Adviser to State Department (T:202-647-4000   /F:/E:)
 
Samuel Bagenstos, Principal Deputy Asst. Attorney General (Civil Rights Division) T:202-353-9065/F:202-3072572/E: samuel.bagenstos@usdoj.gov 
 
Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General (T: 202-514-2001/F:E:AskDOJ@usdoj.gov)
 
President Barack Obama (T:202-456-1414/ 202-456-1111     /F: 202-456-2461/E: )
 
The US Human Rights Network formed to promote US accountability to universal human rights standards by building linkages between organizations and individuals. We strive to build a human rights culture in the United States that puts those directly affected by such violations, with a special emphasis on grassroots organizations and social movements, in central leadership roles. The Network is further committed to uniting the US human rights movement with the broader social justice movements both in the U.S. and globally. See U.S. Human Rights Network Reports to the UPR Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ushrnetwork.org/upr_reports.
 
Contact ushrnpp@gmail.com and firestormpp@gmail.com to report the number of e-mails and letters mailed/faxed.  Many thanks.  FREE ALL U.S. POLITICAL PRISONERS, NOW!
 

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