On March 7, members of Northeastern University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) were informed by the school’s Center for Student Involvement that their chapter had been suspended for at least a year.
In a letter sent to the SJP chapter and provided to me by Max Geller, a second year Northeastern University School of Law student who actively campaigns with SJP, the school’s Director of the Center for Student Involvement, Jason Campbell-Foster, offered a litany of charges against the students. At the top of the list was the SJP’s February 24 distribution of notices across Northeastern campuses that mocked the sort of eviction notices slapped on Palestinian homes slated for Israeli demolition – an awareness-raising tactic increasing in popularity among SJP chapters nationwide.
At 10 AM that same day, members of Northeastern SJP received phone calls and visits from campus police officers. “All of the sudden the school was accusing us of an act of criminality for simply [an] act of leafleting,” remarked Geller. “A special investigation was launched for what the university claimed was a petty handbook violation and NYPD-style tactics were used against students. It was so disproportionate to what happened and a complete misappropriation of university funds.”
MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Should Detroit annex itself to the Ukraine to receive US financial aid?
Biting satire, as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report so uproariously reveal, is often closer to the heart of reality than the “packaged reality” it mercilessly skews.
In the BuzzFlash at Truthout e-mail this weekend, we received our weekly quips from Howard Albrecht, an octogenarian comic writer who staffed many of the top shows of the golden age of comedy during the ’50s and ’60s. Retired now, Albrecht’s audience is his list serve. This Saturday, his package of one-liners included this one: “To help stabilize the region, the US is giving a billion dollars to Ukraine. In an effort to uplift their city, Detroit just declared war on Russia.”
Like the cutting remarks on Comedy Central, there is a ring of absurdist truth in Albrecht’s sarcastic proposition: if we want to save an American city decimated by national and corporate financial neglect and abandonment, then instead of declaring the city bankrupt, why don’t the remaining citizens of Detroit issue a declaration of war against Putin’s Russian Federation?
In turn, Putin can threaten Detroit, and the Neo-Cons then — in order to defy the bear of Moscow — would urge massive funds be sent to the Motor City.
Of course, Albrecht’s proposal was written for laughs, but it raises the point that we are allowing many of our own cities and citizens to collapse into moonscapes of destitution while massively funding nations thousands of miles away merely because the ex-head of the KGB, Putin, growls at them.
International Women’s Day 2014 - Oakland, California
#FreeMarissa - We stand with Marissa Alexander!
Photo by Tess Unger
New York’s returning police commissioner is reportedly relying on his trademark style of policing policy, developed in his years as Mayor Giuliani’s top cop. Bratton, who returned to the commissioner post under new Mayor Bill de Blasio, is enacting “broken windows” theory policing. Focusing on minor violations and particularly targeting peddlers and panhandlers on the subway, once again Bratton’s “tough-on-crime” approach means tough on the poor.
As the New York Times reported Thursday, under Bratton’s first two months of leadership this year, “arrests of peddlers and panhandlers on subways have more than tripled over the same period last year.” Similarly “police statistics also indicate a noticeable spike in arrests for low-level violations in public housing developments … [and] arrests for violations — a category of infractions that includes drinking beer in public and riding a bike on the sidewalk — has increased by more than 21 percent.”
Meanwhile, as Bratton had promised, the number of suspicionless stop-and-frisks has dropped significantly. As the Times noted, “In the transit system so far this year, police officers recorded making 353 stops for behavior deemed suspicious, compared with 5,983 last year.”
Certainly a drop in stop-and-frisks is a welcome change. However, if it has simply been replaced by arresting more and more New Yorkers for petty crimes regularly reflective of hard economic circumstance — like busking and begging — or drinking in public, then the NYPD are no less a bane for New York’s poorest.
Qalandiya, occupied Palestine: Clashes on International Women’s Day between the occupation forces and Palestinian youth at Israeli military barrier, March 8, 2014
Ukraine: Anger as Neo-Nazis Display Confederate Flag in Kiev
This was the flag of slave holding states in the United States that seceded in 1861, causing the Civil War. Today the symbol is used by the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi groups, and other organizations who are hostile to African-Americans. For the last several decades, protests have continued, demanding that this flag not be displayed in public places.
Many people were greatly disturbed to see that the Confederate Flag is now being displayed, not in the United States, but in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine.
Larry Holmes, a civil rights activist in New York City, explained why the flag is so offensive. After Kiev was seized by US backed anti-Russia protesters, the confederate flag was displayed in city hall. Holmes says that this causes him to be very concerned about the new regime.
By Ajamu Baraka
When President Obama and members of the corporate elite condemn the Russians for violating international law, the contradictory nature of that position is clear to those of us who are the ongoing victims of Western oppression and whose lives depend on seeing reality as it is.
From our point of view, it is absolutely bizarre that the same country that violates the sovereignty of other states worldwide with drone strikes, military interventions and political subversion can actually suggest to the Russians that it runs the risk of being a “pariah” state.
The U.S. is playing a very dangerous game by attempting to implement its strategy of encircling the Russian Federation. But the Russians also played a very dangerous game when they decided not to veto U.N. Security Council resolution 1973, which gave NATO colonial gangsters the green light to destroy the Libyan state, and then pretended to be surprised when NATO did just that. The aggressive encirclement of Russia by NATO is now a case of the chickens coming home to roost.
Perhaps the Russians did not fully understand what those of us from the African American community have always understood—that U.S. geostrategic decision-makers will ally themselves with right-wing forces if it will help them maintain the hegemony of their empire, from racist nationalists in Ukraine to rightist Islamic fundamentalists in Syria.
HOUSTON — Anthony Graves survived 18 years in prison for murders he did not commit, a dozen of those years on death row, where he was twice scheduled for execution.
On Wednesday, Graves stood defiant outside a courthouse in a blue pinstripe suit with several state lawmakers and announced that the State Bar of Texas would be investigating his complaint against the prosecutor who convicted him, Charles Sebesta.
“Give us justice,” said Graves, 48, of Houston.
Russell S. Novack, a Legal Aid lawyer who represents low-level offenders in court in Midtown Manhattan, said that some of those arrested in recent weeks in the subway system “don’t all fit the profile of the homeless panhandler.”
“In recent weeks,” Mr. Novak said, “I represented a woman arrested for selling churros in the subway system,” as well as a steady stream of people who were arrested after asking passers-by for MetroCard swipes so they could pass through the subway turnstiles.
One of the *new* stop-and-frisks that aren’t called stop and frisk.