The world today cries out for radical, fundamental change.
We live on a planet where tens of millions of people died in the two world wars in the 20th century, and in other wars since then…and where large parts of humanity today continue to be caught up in brutal and destructive wars, resulting in massive loss of life and incalculable agony.
We live in a world where millions die from easily preventable diseases…and still more face hunger as a daily fact of life. We are locked inside a worldwide economic system that dispenses crumbs and extends privileges to a relatively small number, while forcing billions to seek desperately for work that more often than not numbs the mind, crushes the spirit and destroys the body…an economic system which has devastated and despoiled nature itself and now has put the future of human life into question.
We walk through our days in a world where the lives of countless children are ground up and destroyed, some as child laborers and even outright slaves, others as the victims of poverty and humiliation…their potential crushed, or their lives cut short. And everywhere, women—one half of humanity!—still face the gauntlet of rape and abuse, and the continual oppression and hostility that comes in forms both traditional and “modern.”
People whose sexual orientation or identity is different from the dominant norms in society—and this is particularly and acutely so where this in some significant way conflicts with the prevailing patriarchal sexual relations—are discriminated against and persecuted, and many are subjected to brutal, even murderous attacks.
Tens of millions of people in this country face a life of grinding exploitation and bitter desperation. Many have been driven here from countries which have been plundered by U.S. capital, only to find themselves dubbed “illegal” and forced into the shadows by Gestapo-like persecution. Especially among Black people, as well as other peoples of color and oppressed nationalities, great masses of people have been cast aside because they can no longer be profitably exploited. Instead of recognizing their humanity and unleashing their potential, this system has criminalized them—with one in nine young Black men locked down in prison, and with Black and Latino youth having to face harassment, brutality, and the constant threat of death at the hands of the police whenever they walk out the door. Meanwhile the apple-pie racism of America festers and often boils over, in forms old and new.
On top of all that, this economic and social system forces everyone to look at, and to treat, everyone else as potential competitors and antagonists. “Dog eat dog” and “look out for number one” are the true commandments of this society. Those who try to make things better, within the confines of this system, find their efforts constantly frustrated, unable to get at the underlying problems.
As a result of all this, alienation and despair run rampant, and people feel as if their lives are empty and meaningless. And for relief? Either the mindless chase after ever more commodities, or the false fantasies and consolation of religion.
But the cruelest fact of all is this: IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! For here is the glaring contradiction: in today’s world the production of things, and the distribution of the things produced, is overwhelmingly carried out by large numbers of people who work collectively and are organized in highly coordinated networks. At the foundation of this whole process is the proletariat, an international class which owns nothing, yet has created and works these massive socialized productive forces. These tremendous productive powers could enable humanity to not only meet the basic needs of every person on the planet, but to build a new society, with a whole different set of social relations and values…a society where all people could truly and fully flourish together.
Come to Atlanta on February 7 & 8 and Be Part of Planning to Take the Resistance to Police Murder to a Higher Level!
If you took to the streets in outrage after police murdered Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Tamir Rice, Mayra Cornejo, Akai Gurley, and so many others in the past few months alone…
If you live in the communities targeted by brutal, murdering police, or are a young person, or a student, or someone who believes in justice…
If you are in an organization, new or old, or a faith-based group, or not in any organization at all…
If you stood up in the fall or winter against police murder, or if you felt you should have stood up…or if you are just someone who feels that all this is INTOLERABLE..
If you want to see what began this summer and fall go to a higher level…
If you are determined to make this STOP…
Then YOU are Invited!
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) invites you to participate in a meeting to map out plans to build on the powerful, beautiful and very necessary outpourings of people all across the country calling for an end to the system putting its stamp of approval on police murdering people. This meeting will be held in Atlanta on Feb 7 & 8.
If 1000’s of people across the country hadn’t stood up and said NO MORE in response to the grand juries refusing to indict the cops who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, those murders would’ve been swept under the rug. But because we stood up, millions of people were challenged to look at how police kill people all the damn time and how the system never punishes cops for their murderous acts.
The authorities have worked desperately to recapture the offensive from the movement of resistance. They have arrested 100’s of protesters and tried to demonize the protests. They seized on the killings of 2 police officers in Brooklyn on December 20 to call for the protests to stop. We must not back down in the face of their offensive. The police haven’t stopped killing people, and the system hasn’t stopped giving killer cops a pass. So we must continue to take to the streets and call for these horrors to end. People have been doing this. But we must take our resistance to a higher level.
To that end, SMIN has issued a draft Call for a Shutdown Day on April 14, a day of massive resistance all over the country, with students at 1000’s of schools going on strike, taking over buildings and more; and people gathering in cities nationwide to disrupt America’s business as usual. And SMIN is developing a plan of resistance to build up to April 14.
If you want to see the horror of police wantonly murdering people STOPPED and are ready to get down to serious work to STOP it, come to this planning meeting in Atlanta. Be part of enriching and further developing the plans for the Shutdown Day in April. And be part of developing a plan for resistance that builds up momentum to a powerful day of resistance in April.
The authorities have declared that the normal routine of this society will continue to include wanton police murder of Black and Latino people. This normal routine must be disrupted.
Come to Atlanta on February 7 & 8, & be part of planning out how to do that!
Yeah, 2015… 2014 was quite a year. I won’t waste a lot of words here. But bottom line: #Ferguson. #MonthofResistance gets #2. But plenty much love to all the young and old brothers, sisters and (inclusive of and no disrespect to any queer or questioning or whatevs) peeps worldwide who stood up.
But yeah…. Something definitely shifted. From my lowly and humble position on the top tier globally, something moved in the superstructure. From channeled opium of the mass media to broadband handheld simulcast livestreams from Cairo to Quito to #Ferguson. #Trayon to #MikeBrown to #EricGarner to #RekiaBoyd to #Gaza and back again, #BlackLivesMatter.
No footnote to that.
We movin’ on towards a liberated future for all humanity. Believe that. We movin’ to the barricades, my brothers and sisters (and whatevs).
I stand, from the bowels of the belly of this imperialist beast, with you on the front lines. Keffiyyah tight, from W. Florissant to Gaza to Cairo to Roosevelt Rd. to Hong Kong, the people demand liberation. We will struggle on.
I don’t have all the answers, but what we living under – capitalism and imperialism globally – is the death of the globe. Liberation lies in the path toward socialism and communism. From the belly of the beast of U.S. imperialism, I stand with all those on the front lines of the struggle for liberation. If my life means nothing else, I stand with those that this world considers as refuse and irrelevant. Because this system considered me worse than that.
Another world is possible – and in birth. We can and must collectively craft another way forward. Let us collaborate and conspire together to bring this liberated future for all humanity into being.
Take to the Streets When the Ferguson Grand Jury Announces Its Decision
IF THE MURDERING PIG WALKS, AMERIKKKA MUST BE BROUGHT TO A HALT!
Carl Dix | November 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The grand jury investigating the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson will announce its decision any day now. All indications are that it will let the killer cop, Darren Wilson, walk free. This would amount to the system giving its stamp of approval, once more, to police wantonly murdering Black youth. This would be an outrage—one that we must refuse to accept.
When the decision comes down, people need to pour into the streets immediately. If the authorities let this murdering pig walk, America must be brought to a halt. Major streets and highways should be blocked, and traffic should be unable to proceed on bridges and tunnels. Professional athletes should join the response by refusing to play. Musicians should cancel appearances. Students should walk out of school when they hear that another murdering pig has gone free. If the decision is announced at night, the next day should be a day of NO BUSINESS AS USUAL at schools. Buildings on campus should be taken over, classes should become teach-ins on police murder of Black people. All this and more should be done.
Nixon’s State of Emergency: Illegitimate and Outrageous
On November 17, Missouri Governor Nixon declared a State of Emergency—mobilizing the National Guard, and authorizing violent suppression of protest—even before there is an announcement from the Grand Jury on whether they will indict Ferguson cop Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. For all the sanctimonious lies we are fed about “protecting free speech,” the “bottom line” for those in power is armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, toxic gas, violent assaults on news media—which Nixon’s press release calls “steps toward peaceful change.”
Nixon’s “State of Emergency” is an outrage on top of outrages—it violates this system’s own Constitution, and is completely illegitimate suppression of righteous protest. And it must be OPPOSED by anyone with any sense of justice!
Governor Nixon of Missouri has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard. The emergency we must act to stop is the murder of our youth by police. Nixon’s actions underscore the need for us to step up and step out to say NO MORE to police murdering our youth.
If the grand jury does indict Wilson, we still need to act. If it’s anything less than murder, that would be the system telling us Black life doesn’t matter much. Even if they indict him for murder, justice hasn’t been won yet. Zimmerman was indicted for the murder of Trayvon, but he was allowed to walk free after a trial where the prosecutors acted like they had forgotten how to prosecute.
What we do when the grand jury decision comes down has to be more than a one-day thing. It must be part of bringing into being a movement of millions of people who are determined to STOP the murder of Black and Latino youth by police and racist vigilantes. The day after Thanksgiving should become “Black Lives Matter” day instead of a black Friday of getting a jump on Christmas shopping. Walmarts should be a focus of protests because a young Black man, John Crawford, was murdered by police in Walmart in Ohio, and a grand jury let those killer cops walk free.
And all this has to be aimed at delivering a message to one and all that THE KILLING OF BLACK YOUTH MUST STOP! People must come together and say this in a loud and united voice. We must mean it, and we must act accordingly immediately when the decision is announced and going forward from there till the murder of our youth by police and racist vigilantes is truly no more.
TAKE TO THE STREETS AS SOON AS THE GRAND JURY DECISION IS ANNOUNCED!
JUSTICE FOR MICHAEL BROWN, ERIC GARNER AND ALL THE VICTIMS OF KILLER COPS!
A wide variety of organizations will hold street protests, symposiums, campus actions, outreach to prisons and courthouses. Initiated by revolutionary communist leader Carl Dix and Union Theological Professor Dr. Cornel West, the Call for the month is endorsed by families of those killed by police, former prisoners, clergy, academics, and community organizations, and public figures such as Chuck D, who recorded for the Month, and Alice Walker, whose poem “Gather,” is dedicated to Dix and Dr. West.
Dix has said “Like so many others I saw the video of police choking Eric Garner as he cried out ‘I can’t breathe.’ In Ferguson, MO I stood at the spot where a cop gunned down Michael Brown and left his body lying for hours. I protested his murder, and was picked out for arrest because I spoke in support of the youth righteously demanding ‘THIS MUST STOP!’ In October, tens of thousands of people from many different backgrounds will join together all across the country to act to stop it.”
Oct 1, 8:30am Chicago Protest at Cook County Jail & Press Conference
Speakers will include:
Gregory Koger, former prisoner and revolutionary communist activist with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Gregory is a torture survivor who spent over six years straight in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. He spent most of August in Ferguson, MO.
Hannibal Salim Ali, former prisoner with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, whose nephew, Anjustine Hunter was killed by police in Tennessee;
Mark Lewis Taylor of Princeton Theological Seminary* and founder of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal;
Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois*, Chicago (retired).
Family members of prisoners, ex-prisoners, family members of people killed by the Chicago police, students, community activists, revolutionaries, religious leaders.
Oct 1, 5pm Chicago Protest at Thompson Center & Press Conference
Speakers at Thompson Center at 5pm include:
Gregory Koger, Stop Mass Incarceration Network;
Ricky Ford, father of Denzel Ford shot 8 times by Chicago police;
Stephanie Curtis, Roosevelt University Students for Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Charles Perry, Trinity United Church of Christ*
Leon Bailey, Ph.D., Roosevelt University*
Brian M. Orozco, Attorney with Greg Kulis and Associates*, who has worked on criminal, civil, and family law cases for inmates in both California and Illinois, interacting with over 150 incarcerated clients in the process.
Furthering the Movement to Stop Mass Incarceration
Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro – Ballroom Salon B – C
2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States, with an additional 5 million under the control of the criminal “in”justice system on probation and parole. Over 30,000 are in immigration detention centers, and Obama has deported a record 2 million immigrants. As Michelle Alexander points out in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness, courthouse doors are closed to systemic legal challenges to the racial inequality which has lead to more than 50% of the prison population being people of color.
This will not stop without a mass movement that demands an end to mass incarceration and the criminalization of Black and Latino youth. In this panel, former prisoners and others intimately familiar with the broader social consequences of mass incarceration will lead a discussion on how to turn around what is now two generations living under the injustice of mass incarceration. We will call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October 2014, initiated by Dr. Cornel West and Carl Dix, co-founders of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.
Gregory Koger – Revolutionary communist activist with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN). Gregory just returned from spending most of the last month on the front lines of the Ferguson rebellion in response to the police execution of Michael Brown. A member of the National Lawyers Guild, paralegal and former jailhouse lawyer, Gregory spent 11 years in prison, including over 6 years straight in solitary confinement, where he transformed himself from a gang member to a revolutionary. Since his release from prison has dedicated his life to ending the injustices of capitalism. He has spoken from cellblocks to universities about need to build a mass movement to end mass incarceration as part of the struggle for a liberated world for all humanity. Deeply inspired by the California prison hunger strike, Gregory organized a Chicago Forum on the California Prison Hunger Strike and Torture in U.S. Prisons in August 2011. During the 30,000-strong resumption of the hunger strike in July 2013, he spoke on NPR and other radio stations in support of the brothers and sisters on hunger strike, and he spent two weeks on hunger strike in solidarity while locked down in Cook County Jail serving a 300-day sentence for recording a political statement on an iPhone. He is currently the Plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the decades-old policy of banning all newspapers in Cook County Jail (Koger v. Dart).
Mark Lewis Taylor – Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture at Princeton Theological Seminary. Writer, teacher, scholar and activist, Mark Lewis Taylor is a theologian in the vein of engaged thinkers who trace and analyze liberating spirit – the spirit of decolonizing political practices, wherein re-membered collective suffering of the earth and its oppressed peoples can become “specters,” material forces for multidimensional revolutionary change. In addition to being the author of several books, he is the founder of “Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal,” a group of teachers from all levels of education, organizing since 1995 for a new trial on behalf of Abu-Jamal, a journalist on Pennsylvania’s death row for 30 years. Activist movements achieved a victory in 2011, securing Abu-Jamal’s transfer from death row to general population. Nevertheless, the struggle to free him from prison continues, as many join in support of Desmond Tutu’s demand for his “immediate release.”
Brian Orozco – NLG member and practicing lawyer who has worked with prisoners and their families in California and Illinois and will speak to police/prison guard brutality, what the prisoners and their family members have been doing to protest their own conditions, and why massive resistance is needed to end the torture of solitary confinement and other atrocities. And why the NLG needs to be part of the Month of Resistance.
“We call for a massive Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October of this year; a Month that can impact all of society; one that can open the eyes of millions of people to the need to end this new Jim Crow.
In October, 2014, our resistance to mass incarceration must reverberate across the country and around the world. There must be powerful demonstrations nationwide on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Throughout October there must be panels and symposiums on campuses and in neighborhoods; major concerts and other cultural expressions; ferment in the faith communities, and more—all aimed at taking the movement to STOP mass incarceration to a much higher level. October, 2014, must be a month that makes clear that thousands and thousands are willing to stand up and speak out today and to awaken and rally forth millions.”
All those who have been personally affected and all those who cannot live with these horrors must be part of organizing for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration. Join with others to make plans and get involved to:
Spread the word and reach out to and meet with people in the streets, on the campuses, in the projects, among houses of worship, throughout the cultural scene, in the legal community, throughout all of society, all the while drawing hundreds more into organizing for a month of resistance in October.
Raise the tens of thousands of dollars that are needed to take this message to millions of people.
Bring thousands of people, including hundreds of high school and college students, into the streets of Chicago on the 19th annual October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
Spread the October Month Resistance via social media.
Break this story into the newspapers, radio and television.
Form a speakers bureau.
Design and produce the palm cards, flyers, posters, displays, and banners.
Contribute ideas and thinking about how to make the Month of Resistance a powerful nodal point in building a nationwide movement to end mass incarceration!
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is building a movement to stop the injustice of mass incarceration and police brutality; and the racially biased policies and practices of the police, the courts and the U.S. legal system; and to support the rights of prisoners and the formerly incarcerated. We call on all to join us.
For 2 generations, Black and Latina/Latino youth in the U.S. have been shipped off to prison in numbers never before seen anywhere in the world at any time. More than 2 million people, of all nationalities languish in prison — ten times the number 50 years ago. The U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prison population! More than 60% of those in U.S. prisons are Black or Latina/o. 32% of Black men between the ages of 20 and 29 are in prison or on parole or probation on any given day. More than 80,000 people in prison are held in solitary confinement under conditions that fit the international definition of torture.
The incarceration of women has increased by 800% over the last 30 years. They, along with those whose sexual orientation is not “mainstream” or who are gender non-conforming — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex prisoners — face extremely harsh and abusive treatment in prison, including widespread rape. Alongside this has risen a massive program of criminally prosecuting undocumented immigrants, essentially hidden from public view. As a result of the devastation of their homelands, these immigrants have been driven to this country to work without papers, and today they are being criminalized. The US chastises other countries for human rights violations, yet it enmeshes the lives of tens of millions of people in its criminal “injustice” system. The courts, cops, prisons and La Migra all play a part in enforcing mass incarceration. There are genocidal aspects and a genocidal logic to this program, and it has been gathering momentum. All this is intolerable, and, if it isn’t stopped, it will get much worse!
Mass incarceration has grown beside the criminalization of whole peoples; a situation in which every African-American or Latina/o is a permanent suspect – treated as guilty until proven innocent by police and racist vigilantes, if they can survive to prove their innocence. This is especially concentrated among the youth, starting with cops in schools, arresting children for things that used to mean a visit to the principal’s office at worse, putting youth on a trajectory from school to prison. Black and Latina/o youth have a target on their backs in this society. Literally tens of millions of lives have been scarred and worse – both the direct victims and their families and communities. People who heroically resisted these and other injustices have been imprisoned, some of them for decades. These political prisoners must be freed.
The malignancy of mass incarceration did not arise from a sudden epidemic of crime. Nor did it result from people making poor personal choices. Instead it arose from cold political calculations made in response to the massive and heroic struggle for the rights of Black and other minority peoples that took place in the 1960’s and 70’s, and in response to the enormous economic and social changes brought about by globalized production. This cancer of mass incarceration has been, from the beginning, nothing but a new Jim Crow in place of the old one. Like the old Jim Crow, it drew on, fed off and reinforced the deep-seated roots of the racism that grew up with slavery. Like the old Jim Crow, it has been, from the beginning, unjustifiable, utterly immoral and thoroughly illegitimate.
This must stop – NOW! Not the next generation, not in ten years, not any time off in some promised future that never seems to come. NOW!
But it will not stop unless and until millions of people, of all nationalities, stand up and say NO MORE, in unmistakable terms. The history of this and every other country shows that without struggle, there can be no positive change; but with struggle this kind of change becomes possible.
It is not enough to oppose this in the privacy of your own conscience or the company of like — minded people. It is not enough to curse this out, but then tell yourself nothing can be done. If you live your life under this threat, you MUST act. If you understand how wrong this is and how much it devastates the lives of so many millions, you MUST act.
NOW is the time to act. People are beginning to awaken and stir. Resistance has begun: Heroic hunger strikes by people in prisons and detention centers and outpourings in response to murders by police and racist vigilantes. Prisoners in solitary confinement in California declared a cessation of racial hostilities as Black, Latino and white prisoners came together to resist the torture of solitary confinement. All this must be taken to a much higher level. We call for a massive Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October of this year; a Month that can impact all of society; one that can open the eyes of millions of people to the need to end this new Jim Crow.
In October, 2014, our resistance to mass incarceration must reverberate across the country and around the world. There must be powerful demonstrations nationwide on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Throughout October there must be panels and symposiums on campuses and in neighborhoods; major concerts and other cultural expressions; ferment in the faith communities, and more — all aimed at taking the movement to STOP mass incarceration to a much higher level. October, 2014, must be a month that makes clear that thousands and thousands are willing to stand up and speak out today and to awaken and rally forth millions. It must be the beginning of the end of the mass incarceration in the U.S. To that end:
We the undersigned pledge to make October, 2014, as powerful as possible;
We pledge to support resistance to this monstrous system of mass incarceration between now and October; and
We pledge to utilize October as a launching pad to go still further, mobilizing more people until mass incarceration and the criminalization of entire peoples really is NO MORE!
Hosted by Rev. Jessie Jackson. Panelists:
Barbara Arnwine, attorney, President and Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law;
Jonathan Jackson, RainbowPUSH national spokesman;
Gregory Koger, Stop Mass Incarceration Network;
Dr. Donna Leak, former high school superintendent;
Michael Seng, Attorney, Law Professor, John Marshall Law School, Chicago;
David Shapiro, Attorney, Bluhm Legal Clinic, Northwestern University Law School.
Former inmate Gregory Koger and Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Alexis Agathocleous discuss the progress since Pelican Bay hunger strike and the merits of solitary confinement as torture - March 7, 2014