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Tidbits - May 28, 2020 - Reader Comments: I Can't Breathe - Again; Trump Second Term Means Tyranny; Reader's Respond on Tara Reade; Open Churches?; Vietnam; Indonesia; Chile; Nuclear Testing, Nuclear Cold War - Again; announcements; resources

Reader Comments: I Can't Breathe - Again; Trump Second Term Means Tyranny; Reader's Respond on Tara Reade; Open Churches?; Vietnam; Indonesia; Chile; Nuclear Testing, Nuclear Cold War - Again; Resources; Events:COVID and mass incarceration; June 20th

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Tidbits - Reader Comments, Resources, Announcements, AND cartoons - May 28, 2020, Portside

George Floyd's murder -- cartoon by Clay Jones
Donald Trump's social media threat  --  cartoon by Steve Bell
Re: A Trump Second Term: Tyranny by Another Name (Stephan Franciosi; Gordon Galland; Lydia Brady; Jose Perez)
Re: We Should Take Women's Accusations Seriously. But Tara Reade's Fall Short. (Laurie Litman; Michael Luis Ristorucci; Maria Elena Gomez; Bernadette Feris; Clare Max; Eleanor Roosevelt; Susan Harrell; Robin Jones)
Re: We Need a Party That Tells the Truth and Represents Workers (Laurel MacDowell)
Re: Federal Judge Strikes down Restrictions on Florida Felon Voting (Hope de Waardt-Jemerson)
Re: Trump Ordered States to Open Churches. Can He Do That? (John Mendez; Aida Rivera; Kay Eshelman; Rich Cardia)
Being Black In America: If the cops don't get you, the Corona will  --  cartoon by Eric J. Garcia
Re: In a Pandemic, Military Spending is an Extravagant Waste (Ed Ott)
Re: Jacinda Ardern Calls for Four-Day Week: No Wonder She's Popular (Peggy Dobbins; William Leffingwell)
Re: Cuomo is Letting Billionaires Plan New York's Future. It Doesn't Have to be This Way (Jose Hernandez; Mariecel Maldonado)
Only Banks Worth Bailing Out  --  cartoon by Drew Sheneman
Re: "Reconstruction Never Ended": A Review of Eric Foner's Second Founding (Pensar lo contempor neo)
The Taint  -- poem by Seymour Joseph
Re: Internationalism in Vietnam, Then and Now (Joseph Kaye; Frank V Martinez; John Gehan)
Re: How `Jakarta' Became the Codeword for US-Backed Mass Killing (B Fearn; Dan Morgan)
Remembering Those Leftists That Came Before..... (Daniel Millstone)

Resources:

Historically Reckless Resumption of Explosive Nuclear Weapons Testing - Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) letter to President Donald Trump
Thank goodness for cell phones  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich
APALA Enraged by Asian American Officer Who Stood as a Bystander During George Floyd's Violent Murder (Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO)
New York Assemblywoman Fahy Wants Federal WPA-Style Program (Nick Reisman - State of Politics)
New Book from The Democracy Collaborative: The Future is Public
Police killings of Black citizens - A different training and understanding needed (Bernard Demczuk, Ph.D. and Sharita Jacobs-Thompson, Ph.D.)

Announcements:

California Beyond Recovery / Northern California Renter Assembly - May 30 (Right To The City Alliance)
Film Screening and Discussion: "We Cried Power" - June 2 (United for Peace & Justice)
Webinar - June 3 - COVD-19 and the global fight against mass incarceration (Transnational Institute)
21st Century Imperialism: Theory and Practice - Webinar - July 18 (Liberation Road & Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism)

 

I Can't Breathe - George Floyd's murder -- cartoon by Clay Jones
 

Clay Jones
May 27, 2020
Tucson Weekly

 

Donald Trump's social media threat  --  cartoon by Steve Bell
 

Steve Bell
May 28, 2020
The Guardian

 

Re: A Trump Second Term: Tyranny by Another Name
 

I'm not convinced that simply removing Trump will stop a trend that has been developing most notably since the patriot act, unabated under Obama. This looks bigger than one president. Sanders was the best chance for a more liberal democracy, but the democrat leadership crushed his movement. Thanks for the help, "liberals."

Stephan Franciosi
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

If Trump deputizes or otherwise grants official status to these militias, and if Stephen Colbert is replaced by Jim Gaffigan; then run, don't walk, to the nearest exit.

Gordon Galland
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

This is certainly a must read for those who are thinking of voting for a third party.

Lydia Brady
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

If our nation continues to weaken our human rights and not fallowing the rule of law, the over 200 years of legislative work will go down the drain. Trump & his Republican (Trump Party) will destroy our way of life. The American Nightmare.

Jose Perez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: We Should Take Women's Accusations Seriously. But Tara Reade's Fall Short.
 

I am very disappointed in Portside for deciding to promote this rape-apologist article. No, we don't need to support a racist rapist sexist just because Trump is a disaster. You generally run substantive articles that I find very thought provoking and educational. Sad to see you selling out to the DNC and Dem establishment. This should have been way below your standards. 

Laurie Litman

     =====

What a disgrace that Portside published that piece on Tara Reade.

Michael Luis Ristorucci

     =====

The choice is between Biden and Trump. Each person has to make their choice and live with the consequences.

Maria Elena Gomez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

I just wonder why she is stepping out with this now?? There is also a lot of conflicting versions of what she claims "happened" in light of fellow co-worker accounts and also testimony by her immediate supervisors. I would think a detailed, impartial investigation should be done to determine the facts that can be supported by docs, testimony, e-mails, etc.

Bernadette Feris
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Nothing like throwing women's rights under the bus for political efficacy to show us that Trumpism is alive and well.

Where is the 'booo this' reaction?

Clare Max
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Ignoring the question doesn't make it go away. I don't know about you, but I don't want to see the young women I care about living their lives in a world where you can get away with anything if you're The Right Kind Of Scuzzy White Man. The system is the problem. Trump and Biden both are symptoms of a system that is profoundly diseased. And if you're not fighting it, you're part of it. That's *your* decision.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Susan Harrell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

I wonder why she didn't come forward when Biden was running for vice president.

Robin Jones
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: We Need a Party That Tells the Truth and Represents Workers
 

A very true article! Let us hope new leaders emerge from the working class who are honest and can mobilize people to fight for themselves. Haven't had that since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Trump is a disgrace and a bad President and Biden is not very progressive and will not be a great reformer. Bernie is beaten and tired. He educated many younger people politically and hopefully some will emerge to lead the Democrats and transform it into a real reform party. The billionaire class in business and in politics not only is destroying American democracy but they are destroying the planet .

Laurel MacDowell

 

Re: Federal Judge Strikes down Restrictions on Florida Felon Voting
 

"Throughout his 125-page ruling, Hinkle chided the state for a "pay-to-vote" system that he said was Byzantine because, in some instances, former felons could not even figure how much money they owed."

Hope de Waardt-Jemerson
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Trump Ordered States to Open Churches. Can He Do That?
 

So if the States say ok open. Can the church say not now for the safety of their people. That's where separation of state and church comes in.

John Mendez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

I don't think so... is up to the states to decide, not him.

Aida Rivera
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

No as it was the states that closed them. He has no authority in this. Also he and his family DO NOT attend church. Does he (I wonder) want more people to die. A church is where you pray and sing to your higher being, it does not need to be a large congregation of people.

Kay Eshelman
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

" open them churches"
No,I wont be attending,I have golf"
Yes,I realize cases are spiking.
No, we don't have a test or tracing plan.
But hallelujah...open them doors !
And then watch everyone stop and congregate at the entrance and chat with their long lost Christian friends.
Come on..wake up...its not time.
Church on line works just fine.

Rich Cardia
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Being Black In America: If the cops don't get you, the Corona will  --  cartoon by Eric J. Garcia
 

Eric J. Garcia
May 28, 2020
Pocho.com

 

Re: In a Pandemic, Military Spending is an Extravagant Waste
 

A total waste. Medicare for All!

Ed Ott
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Jacinda Ardern Calls for Four-Day Week: No Wonder She's Popular
 

Maybe this isn't the right time, but when is? My only, but recurring, disappointment with Warren's campaign was never seeing a Warren PLAN that made the case for delivering at least some of the advances in the real productivity of labor to real laborers in the form of more real freedom (free time, shorter hours no cut in pay or time off a secure job). 

I think it important to what Biden understands as the "soul of America to bring out the link between real freedom, as opposed to "leisure" and preserving the value of labor to our human species' interdependence and evolution of civil discipline. Maybe someone could bring this out? I'd be delighted to brain storm with them

Peggy Dobbins

     =====

Decades ago my father finished his civil service career as a computer programmer with a four day work week.

William Leffingwell
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: Cuomo is Letting Billionaires Plan New York's Future. It Doesn't Have to be This Way
 

They are doing the same everywhere... they appoint private officials to make the important decisions that affect us all and don't have to be accountable to the people.

Jose Hernandez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

Terrible what this article poses. Don't stop reading it.

Mariecel Maldonado
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Only Banks Worth Bailing Out  --  cartoon by Drew Sheneman
 

Drew Sheneman
May 27, 2020
Newark Star-Ledger

 

Re: "Reconstruction Never Ended": A Review of Eric Foner's Second Founding
 

[Eric] Foner confidently asserts at the beginning of the book that "we are still trying to work out the consequences of the abolition of American slavery. In that sense, Reconstruction never ended." Foner wants us to acknowledge that the Reconstruction Era is responsible for the constitutional rights that are most fiercely contested in the 21st century. This should encourage us all to teach Reconstruction and not just because it's important to understand how history informs the present. We should teach Reconstruction because it empowers students to confront the legacies of slavery that persist into the present.

Pensar lo contempor neo
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

The Taint  -- poem by Seymour Joseph
 

The poem in honor of Ahmaud Arbery was moving. Here is a poem I wrote recently about what has happened to white people as a result of slavery.

Seymour Joseph

 

The Taint

I am four-hundred years
and racially removed from it,
a bedrock of where we went,
what we did and how we felt.

The subtleties of its transmission
through the centuries has come down to us,
not consciously but no less here
in forms obscure yet traceable.

And so I go with marks it gave me
and all who insist they're free
of any taint of slavery.

May 28, 2020

 

Re: Internationalism in Vietnam, Then and Now
 

An excellent article, but marred by the omission of the period when China adopted a hostile policy toward Vietnam, even going so far as to invade it.  It may be inconvenient to include this under present circumstances, but our political education requires absolute fidelity in our historical narrative.

Joseph Kaye

     =====

Suppressed by colonialism now free at last, they still have to look over their shoulder at China.

Frank V Martinez
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

     =====

"Vietnam is building on the internationalist traditions of Ho Chi Minh. True patriotism, is quite different from narrow, selfish nationalism - it should always respect the rights and interests of other nations without harming common interests, while at the same facilitating one's own just and legitimate national interests.

International solidarity made a significant contribution to the ultimate victory of the Vietnamese people in an uneven fight against the aggression of the most powerful imperialist country.

By winning significant victories against the imperialist forces in Vietnam, the Vietnamese Resistance diminished the overall capacity of these forces to expand their military operations in other parts of the world, and in this way, too, contributed indirectly to the world struggle for peace and justice."

John Gehan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Re: How `Jakarta' Became the Codeword for US-Backed Mass Killing
 

This excellent article by Vincent Bevins reminded me of a quote by William Blum, "No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine." 

B Fearn

     =====

The very word 'Yakarta' or 'Jakarta' was graffiti on walls in the richer areas of Santiago before the coup in Chile, 1973 - threats of what was to come.

Dan Morgan
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Remembering Those Leftists That Came Before.....
 


Judith Montell
Photo of Judith Montell from Connie Field's post on Facebook

The sad death reported here by Connie Field of film-maker Judith Montell brings up two issues. Judy Montell made movies that were and are important to me and my family about the Veterans of the Spanish Civil War, about the Jewish Communist (and non communist) chicken farmers of Petaluma, about Saul Wellman, of blessed memory. We don't see these movies enough. How do we help ensure that these and their like remain in the library of work we use? The other issue, which I have raised before? How do we, on the left, memorialize our dead? Judy was moderately well known (a C-list celebrity Margot Adler said of herself). Shouldn't some institution on the left host an obituary library of dead leftists. A few years ago, I asked Katrina Vanden Heuvel whether The Nation Magazine would be the host and she said: no. too much work. Any other outfit willing to try this? Portside? In These Times?

Daniel Millstone
Posted on Portside's Facebook page

 

Historically Reckless Resumption of Explosive Nuclear Weapons Testing - Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) letter to President Donald Trump
 

May 23, 2020

I write to oppose in the strongest possible terms a historically reckless resumption of explosive nuclear weapons testing.

According to the Washington Post, on May 15, 2020, senior Trump administration officials discussed the possibility of ending the nearly three-decade-long U.S. nuclear weapons testing moratorium.[1] This reporting comes as your Administration has engaged in a concerted campaign to dismantle the nuclear treaty architecture that has held off nuclear conflict and prevented a new nuclear arms race. These officials are reportedly searching for ways to coerce both Russia and China into a trilateral agreement to limit nuclear arsenals despite the availability of other commonsense options to preserve and enhance the global arms control regime. Should your Administration conduct a test, the United States would join North Korea as one of only two countries known to have tested a nuclear weapon in the last two decades.[2]

There is simply no justification for such a dramatic shift in U.S. nuclear policy. First, it would fail to achieve the reported objective, as there is no logical connection between a resumption of testing and China's propensity to join a trilateral arms control agreement. Second, there is no apparent technical basis to take the extraordinary step of testing any warheads or bombs in the enduring U.S. nuclear stockpile. The Los Alamos, Sandia, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, along with the United States military, must annually affirm the safety, security, and effectiveness of our nuclear weapons. Advances in computing and surveillance have further enhanced the ability of scientists to model nuclear phenomena without resorting to tests. In fact, former Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz noted in 2015 that "lab directors today now state that they certainly understand much more about how nuclear weapons work than during the period of nuclear testing."

Read full letter here

1. John Hudson and Paul Somme, Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades, Washington Post (May 22, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/trump-administration-discussed-conducting-first-us-nuclear-test-in-decades/2020/05/22/a805c904-9c5b-11ea-b60c-3be060a4f8e1_story.html.

2 Anita E. Friedt, Building Towards a Nuclear Weapon Free World, Remarks by the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, U.S. Department of State (Aug. 29, 2016), https://2009-2017.state.gov/t/avc/rls/261327.htm

 

Thank goodness for cell phones  --  cartoon by Mike Luckovich
 

Mike Luckoviuch
May 27, 2020
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

APALA Enraged by Asian American Officer Who Stood as a Bystander During George Floyd's Violent Murder (Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO)
 

For Immediate Release:  May 26, 2020
Contact: apala@apalanet.org

On Monday, May 25th, George Floyd, a 46 year old Black man, died after being violently arrested and pinned to the ground in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Floyd had just moved to Minneapolis a few years prior to be closer to his family. He was a bouncer at a local restaurant but was hoping to train to become a truck driver. The news of his violent murder is heartbreaking for many who knew him, and for the nation that continues to grapple with racial injustice. 

It was just a few weeks ago that our communities had to rally for justice for Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. It has been six years since we heard Eric Garner cry "I can't breathe." We will not see justice for Black people until we address our nation's violent carceral system, which is more clear than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic. Transforming our nation's harmful carceral system means that police officers should maintain social distancing by decreasing their presence in our communities and that folks jailed, incarcerated, and detained should be released so that they can practice social distancing and better hygiene. 

Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance said, "We are equally enraged and ashamed to learn that an Asian American police officer, Tou Thao, just stood watch as his co-worker treated George Floyd inhumanely. This hits home for us as we close out Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, a time when so many of us reflect on our Asian American identity and how it had emerged from the Black liberation movement. We've said this before and we'll say it again because the work continues; we all have a role in responding to atrocious acts of violence. As Asian American and Pacific Islander working people, we commit to leveraging our power to dismantle oppressive systems, addressing anti-blackness in the AAPI community, and loving and fighting for our black siblings."

 

New York Assemblywoman Fahy Wants Federal WPA-Style Program


Courtesy: Library of Congress  //  WGBH/American Experience

By Nick Reisman 
April 27, 2020
State of Politics

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy is reaching back to a Depression-era jobs program to jumpstart the economy and aid the millions for people who have become unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fahy, an Albany Democrat, wants a modern-day version of the Works Progress Administration, a creation of President Franklin Roosevelt's administration meant to boost employment during the depths of the depression.

Fahy made the proposal in a letter released on Saturday to the state's congressional delegation.

One area to begin: Hire and train thousands of people to be public health contact tracers, who would be part of the effort to halt the virus's spread in the second phase for the response.

The effort could also include the hiring of people for green infrastructure projects, habitat restoration and other clean energy transitions.  

Adjusted for 2020 dollars, the WPA was a $92 billion jobs program.

"We need a new short-term WPA-style program to create jobs to bolster America's struggling creative arts and cultural institutions, and for building our clean-energy infrastructure at a time when it is desperately needed," Fahy said. "In order to provide the immediate economic security and relief New York and American working families need - we need a federal WPA-style initiative to begin building the economy of tomorrow."

 

New Book from The Democracy Collaborative: The Future is Public
 

The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy has helped underscore a growing recognition that the privatization wave of the past several decades has been an abject failure. This new book from the Transnational Institute, co-published by The Democracy Collaborative and numerous other international partners, chronicles the global advance of municipalization, or bringing essential services under democratic, public control.

The book details more than 1,400 successful municipalization and remunicipalization cases involving more than 2,400 cities in 58 countries around the world. The book includes a chapter on municipal broadband in the United States co-written by Democracy Collaborative Research Director Thomas Hanna and Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. 

Read more here.

Democracy Collaborative
1200 18th Street NW
Suite 1225
Washington, DC 20036

 

Police killings of Black citizens - A different training and understanding needed
 

History hurts. But it can also heal Teaching police 400 years of Black history and culture 

There are many new and effective police training exercises and rules popularized of late due to rampant police killings of unarmed Black citizens. Implicit bias training, lesser use of force training, real community engagement, civilian violence interrupters, and procedural justice seminars - all valuable and all necessary but not sufficient. Police need to know their history. They need to know that Black Americans know police history but police do not know Black history, and, just as important, Black culture. 

During the summer, DC residents naturally come out of the house into our streets enjoying pleasant weather. With more people occupying sidewalks, streets, parks, backyards and communities, more interaction between citizens and police organically occurs. Before streets fill with more history on policing in our city, let us pause to reflect on American history of policing Black communities. Fair warning, history hurts. But, if we teach it "without anger or apology," as Congressman John Lewis says, it can teach, liberate, rectify, empower, and, even heal. 

Teaching the hurtful history of police and the Black community is long overdue. But DC police are taking a bold leap into the future by going back into history. They first learn about Sankofa, a peculiar bird in West Africa that walks forward along the beach looking backwards. Sankofa means "fetching the past." Police learn from the old African proverb that we cannot understand where we are and where we are going unless we know where we have been. "Know thy history, know thyself" says the proverb. 

Since 2018, we have taught 3800 sworn DC police officers, 660 civilians and a monthly class of 25 new recruits. Class starts at 6:00 AM with a three hour lecture/dialogue on 400 years history and culture of the African American experience in America. emphasizing police history in Black communities. We then, for six hours, tour the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) graphically examining the Black experience and contributions in America as it relates to policing in America. 

New recruits study Black history sixteen hours with a two-hour tour of a popular Black community named Shaw (yes, named after Union Commander Robert Gould Shaw of the all-Black troops of the Massachusetts 54th), examining police brutality and culture in DC during the 1950s-1970s when the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) was over 80% White and the city over 70% Black. What's wrong with that picture? 

By examining our history and culture, we come to understand our current situation and project our future. We teach police students that we cannot change history, but if we understand and analyze the past, we can change the future. Make no mistake about it, the history of policing in America has not been a pretty picture. This truthful interpretation of American history is fraught with police being on the wrong side of history for over 310 years. 

Historians have identified 1706 as the first slave patrols established around rice and tobacco plantations in Virginia and South Carolina to thwart run-away enslaved Africans. Thus, began the first police patrols targeting Black Americans. From then on, police were used to enforce Slave Codes in the Antebellum period to prevent Africans and African Americans from learning to read, marry, gather in groups more than three, possess tools that could be used as weapons and to prevent run-aways, revolts or rebellions. 

The military institutes, Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and The Citadel, were established, in 1839 and 1842 respectively, as paramilitary training centers to stop Black rebellions and runaways escaping to freedom as a result of the Nat Turner Rebellion in 1831. Police were used after emancipation to enforce new Black Codes, laws that monitored and crushed Black aspirations for equality and justice in their new freedoms after slavery. Black Codes enforced by police locked Black men, women and children into penitentiaries to be leased-out as convicts to cut sugar cane, pick cotton, build levees and clear and drain swamps to establish massive cotton and sugar cane plantations in the Deep South. 

It was slavery by another name. These convict-lease systems were the beginning of mass incarceration begun in the 1870s that continues today, a result of over-surveillance and over-policing Black communities imaging Black youth as "super-predators". No wonder the Great Migration brought six-million African Americans to northern cities between 1895-1970. This is how DC became the first major American city majority Black in 1955. 

Police were used to support the lynching of 4,743 Black people from 1877 - 1968. Many police wore law enforcement uniforms during the day and KKK regalia at night. During the Modern Civil Rights Movement police were used to terrorize and halt civil rights activists from petitioning for equality and voting rights. Exhibits at the NMAAHC tell these story poignantly. 

Which brings us to today. Stop and Frisk, police shootings of unarmed Blacks, enforcing drugs laws that target Blacks and ignore a larger more hidden drug use and abuse in white communities, police have been on the wrong side of history targeting Black people and over-criminalizing them. And people wonder why Freddie Gray ran away from police when they approached him in Baltimore in 2015 or why 19-year old Anton Black ran away from police recently in Caroline County, Maryland in 2018. Both apprehended after a foot race and killed by police thereafter. 

Black men in particular have been viewed in our white supremacist society as predators from day-one enslaved in 1619 on the shores of Point Comfort in Newport News, Virginia, 400 years ago last August. 

Driving while Black in the suburbs, napping while Black in a college lounge, walking your dog while Black in a gentrified neighborhood, sipping coffee too-long while Black in a cafe and shopping while Black anywhere in the USA can and will get the police called on you for being - well - Black. 

Last week, a white lady called the police on a Black birdwatcher for requesting her dog be leashed in an area of the park clearly marked by signs saying "Lease Your Dog." 

In the last two weeks, we have been watching in horror two more Black men killed by a Brunswick, Georgia retired police vigilante and Minneapolis police smothering a suspect with his knee while hand-cuffed calling out "I can't breathe". Where have we heard that before? 

MPD teaches the above is over-policing. MPD is the first police force in America to adopt this training curriculum. Understanding our history and our culture leads directly to a better understanding of implicit biases, knee-jerk escalation of force, and the distrust of police in the Black community. History hurts. But history can also heal if we are willing to face the truth and confront its reality. MPD has been a leader in police training since 1869 when it became the first police force in America to hire African American officers. 

In 1948, MPD was first to create civilian reviews listening to citizen complaints. MPD created the concept of "community policing" in the early 1970s led by a young upstart in the Shaw community named Marion Barry who forced an honest dialogue between police and the Black community in 1969. DC hired the first major-city African American police chief, Burtell Jefferson, in 1973. By the 1980s, MPD led the country in hiring and promoting Black, Hispanic, women, gay & lesbian, and Muslim police officers. MPD train police for hours in implicit bias and de-escalation of force. 

Our police force looks like our city population. They wears locks, beards, heads scarves and rainbow badges on their uniform. They are every color, shape and size. They are stepping up their own insight into how and why some members of the Black community distrust them. Fortunately, most people join MPD today to "do the right thing" and be of service to their community. MPD is considered by criminal justice experts as the best big-city police agency in America. 

Remember May 12, 2107, the mayhem that occurred by the Klan and Neo-Nazis demonstrating for white supremacy in Charlottesville, Virginia? When they came to DC a year later on that anniversary, the whole wide world was watching our police force and how it handled those Klansmen/Nazis and 40,000 DC protestors against them. On that day the world watched the DC police force perform brilliantly permitting everyone to have their First Amendment Rights honored yet with no violence. The Washington Post opined afterwards that MPD showed the world what "smart policing" looks like. 

Attending this training have been police officers and trainers from as far away as Sacramento, California and Denver, Colorado, and as close as the FBI, the US Capitol and Hyattsville, Md. police. Recently, the chiefs of police from Prince Georges County and Anne Arundel County took our course to adopt it to their police forces. On the side of each MPD squad car is their work motto: "We are here to help." Interaction with our MPD men and women for intense and tough dialogues and on dozens of night shift ride-alongs, has given us a deep appreciation of just how curious and engaged our police force really is. 

We have seen grown men cry during tours of the NMAAHC and in class discussing their past and coming to grips that they are saddled with this untoward history. History, like their equipment belt, hangs heavy on them. History does hurt, but if taught appropriately, it can also teach, liberate, rectify, empower and heal. Summer is here. We will be out and about. Let's make good history, not bad history. 

Bernard Demczuk, Ph.D.
Sharita Jacobs-Thompson, Ph.D.

[Drs. Demczuk and Thompson are both professors of African American history and culture at the University of the District of Columbia teaching DC police at the MPD Police Academy and NMAAHC since January 2018.]

 

California Beyond Recovery / Northern California Renter Assembly - May 30 
 

Greetings all! Homes for All California and Tenants Together invite you to join the campaign to #CancelRents #CancelMortgages and #HomesForAll.

We wanted to remind everyone that there will be no campaign call this week or next week. Instead, we hope that you can register and participate in the Northern California Renter Power Assembly (online) taking place on Saturday, May 30th from 10:00am - 1:00pm. The Assembly is open to renters from all across the State (was originally set to be an in-person event in Nor Cal), and will include important workshops on CLT's and Tenant Opportunity to Purchase campaigns, updates on current renter policies that are moving through the California legislator right now, and workshops on how to organize tenants and build tenant unions. The final hour of the Assembly will be a Know Your Rights workshop where renters can ask questions of legal allies.
 

May 30, 2020 10:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Right To The City Alliance
388 Atlantic Avenue 3rd Floor | Brooklyn, New York 11217
844.RTT.CITY (788.2489) | info@RightToTheCity.org

 

Film Screening and Discussion: "We Cried Power" - June 2 (United for Peace & Justice)
 

United for Peace and Justice invites you to find inspiration and motivation as we host a screening of “We Cried Power ”on Tuesday, June 2 at 8:00-9:30 pm EDT; 7:00 – 8:30 pm CDT; 6:00 – 7:30 pm MDT; 5:00 – 6:30 pm PDT.  

We’ll watch and discuss this documentary about the Poor People’s Campaign’s 40 Days of Moral Action in Summer 2018. And we’ll also catch up on organizing for the mass Poor People’s Digital Assembly on June 20. Don’t miss this! ...Click here to register.  

United for Peace and Justice is proud to be a national mobilizing partner in the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. RSVP for June 20, 2020 – Digital Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington.

Here are some additional actions you can take to support the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival:

United for Peace & Justice (UFPJ)
UFPJ
P.O. Box 71523
Oakland, CA 94612

info.ufpj@gmail.com
(917) 410-0119

 

Webinar June 3 - COVD-19 and the global fight against mass incarceration (Transnational Institute)
 

Our weekly Wednesday COVID Capitalism series continues next week on 3 June 2020 4pm (CEST) on COVID-19 and the Global Fight against Mass Incarceration. Register here.

The webinar will bring activists and researchers from across the globe to analyse the impact of COVID-19 and share strategies to reverse the long-standing trend of mass incarceration as a response to crime. What strategies for action have been effective? What drug policies need to change? How can we ensure that short-term prison releases mark a shift towards long-term structural reform and an end to mass incarceration?

We are deeply encouraged that our webinars have been so well received. A record 2469 people registered for our most recent Feminist Realities webinar. It was another rich international conversation with some amazing feminist thinkers and activists, providing critical analysis of the intersections between patriarchy and this pandemic and sharing strategies on how to make this a turning point towards radical democratic systems that care for our planet and wellbeing. You can listen to a recording here.

Our earlier webinars are also available as videos and podcasts. We're committed to providing these webinars and materials for free, but it does cost us time and resources. Please consider supporting our work. We appreciate any contributions.

Ahead of next week's webinar, TNI has been delighted to work alongside Penal Reform International, International Drug Policy Consortium and the Washington Office on Latin America to explore strategies to build a global movement against mass incarceration.

June 3 at 4pm CEST.(Amsterdam time; EDT is 6 hours earlier)

Register here

(French and Spanish interpretation will be available)

Panelists 

  • Olivia Rope, Director of Policy and International Advocacy, Penal Reform International
  • Isabel Pereira, Principal investigator at the Center for the Study of Law, Justice & Society (Dejusticia), Colombia
  • Sabrina Mahtani, Advocaid Sierra Leone
  • Maidina Rahmawati, Institute of Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), Indonesia
  • Andrea James, Founder and Exec Director, National Council For Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, USA

This webinar is organised by Transnational Institute and co-sponsored by IDPC (International Drug Policy Consortium), WOLA (Washington office on Latin America) and Penal Reform International.

Transnational Institute
PO Box 14656
1001 LD Amsterdam
The Netherlands

tel: + 31 20 662 66 08
email: tni@tni.org

For media enquiries contact Denis Burke on +31 6 22 12 39 08 or email d.burke@tni.org

 

21st Century Imperialism: Theory and Practice - Webinar - July 18 (Liberation Road & Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism)
 

Saturday, July 18, 2020  --  Noon to 8 pm EST
via Zoom

Featuring

Session 1: Imperialism Today

Medea Benjamin, Code Pink; Jerry Harris, Global Studies Association; Vijay Prashad, Tricontinental

Session 2: Systemic Conflicts

Sangeeta Kamat, UMASS-Amherst; Alfred McCoy, U of Wisconsin; Tarso Luis Ramos, executive director of Political Research Associates

Session 3: A Talk Show on International Solidarity

Host: Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Panelists: Lisa Brock, Cuba Solidarity Work; Oscar Chacon, Immigrant Rights; Meredith Tax, Feminist and Kurdish Rights Advocate; Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice

THE TELECONFERENCE will consist of 3 two-hour sessions, each with 45 minutes for Q&A. The first will begin at noon EST, followed by an hour break. A second will be from 3-5pm EST. A final session will take place from 6- 8 pm EST. A headset & webcam, or a smartphone, is recommended

TO REGISTER, GO HERE

THE 21st CENTURY HAS BROUGHT NEW FORMS OF CAPITALISM - from the globalization of production, to financial speculation, to new kinds of cross-national class formations. Paralleling these changes in the nature of national and global capitalism have been new resistance from Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement, to the Pink Tide in Latin America, to international boycott campaigns, to global worker mobilizations to fight Covid 19. Given the rise of neoliberal globalization, drone warfare, crippling economic blockades, a burgeoning climate crisis, and new forms of rightwing populism organized around racism, sexism and revanchism, it is time for the left to have a serious conversation about twenty-first century imperialism.

For more details contact Bill Fletcher <billfeltcherjr@gmail.com> or Harry Targ <targ@purdue.edu>, or Janet Tucker <jlynjenks@gmail.com>