Jersey City Man Shot In the Face And Blinded By Cop Faces 30 Years In Prison

Dispatches from the Underclass

Kwadir Felton, 22, was shot in the face by Jersey City Police Sgt. Thomas McVicar on January 10, 2010, and went blind as a result. Yet it is Felton who faces up to 30 years in prison for aggravated assault of a police officer.

McVicar says he was forced to open fire because Felton, intending to rob him, pointed a gun at him, which was allegedly found lying next to Felton after he’d been shot.

But Felton, who was 18 at the time, adamantly denies that he was armed. He testified that he had just left a baby shower and was on his way to his girlfriend’s house when he heard someone call his name and say, “Yo, you little black mother fucker, you better get the fuck down before I blow your fucking brains out.”

“There’s no reason to have a weapon on me,” Felton told the courtroom. “That’s not me…

View original post 617 more words

A.L.F. Communique Enlists Support in Destroying Fur Industry

The following is an anonymous message sent by a supporter of the Animal Liberation Front to Earth First! Newswire. Solidarity with all those struggling for a cruelty-free future. 

To my fellow liberationists,

Though I am nameless, faceless, unseen and unheard in nearly everyrespect, I am everywhere. I am the torment ofcaptivity and the despair of the caged spirit. I am the frozen steel of the transport truck, the corrosive agony of the testing facility, and the unspeakable pain of flesh torn from bone. Though my spirit has been subdued, shaken, tortured, repressed beyond all recognition, I also embody that which can never be stripped of me: I am the resistance to further incursions onto animal dignity and survival.

fur-farm-raid-1024x768

I come to you, fellow practitioners of direct action in service to the earth and her animal children, to formally enlist support in driving the fur industry into its long-overdue grave.

Through calculated acts of sabotage at the points of research, production and other strategically weak links, this monstrous industry will fall. To quantify the weakness that permeates this conglomerate of killers, consider that there is but one major supplier of vaccine against aleutian disease outbreak among mink. Its capacity to wipe out entire farms if left untreated speaks for itself: one strategic action against United Vaccines, Inc. (2919 Commerce Park Drive, Fitchburg, WI 53719) will have ripple effects across the entire industry.

Similarly, there is but one major pelt processing facility in the United States. The North American Fur Auctions plant (205 Industrial Circle, Stoughton, WI 53589) is already struggling to handle the current volume of raw animal skins, and it is the opinion of this anonymous liberator that two friends and a handful of incendiary creativity would assuredly relieve this facility of its workload.

As the single largest expense in raising animals for their skin, feed supplies are of tremendous significance. Any deliberate campaign (or single act) of sabotage and disruption against the material apparatus of mink and fox raising would have far-reaching effects on the very prisons in which these animals are held.

And isn’t this the point? Not to strike abstract blows against the goliath of exploitation, but to do all we can to relieve the suffering of those relegated to sheds and pens; to extend a hand in tearing open the cages which subjugate our brothers and sisters in fur.

To confront this exploitation and challenge it effectively is the duty of all whom proclaim love for the dying spirit of the wild. To embrace the dark of night as an opportunity to liberate, without yield, without compromise, is the task before us.

In these times of full-blown surveillance warfare, it may seem difficult to assume this role, as if one could not possibly research, practice and deploy the skills necessary to achieve freedom for the mink, fox, bobcat and lynx; but these fears will dissipate once concrete steps are taken to achieve them. Overcoming this fear is part of the liberation process, whereby the trembling hand becomes the courageous fist. After all, under the ubiquitous eye of ever-increasing counter-terrorism law enforcement, compassionate individuals have laid siege to farms in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Colorado and Wisconsin, within a four-month period.

As liberationists, our history is replete with mistakes, misfortunes, and regrets. Repeated battles with the iron fists of state repression have left us questioning our tactics and commitments, producing divisions among our allied networks of above- and underground support. Many of us have been separated from our loved ones, as our fellow warriors are locked in cages themselves, or even killed while acting as the counter-friction we all strive to embody. For them, we act.

The entity we face is unforgiving and unmoved by the trauma and death it perpetuates, so let us reel from history, correct our mis-steps, embrace our role as earth and animal defenders and have as our only regret that the strength within us to liberate was not channeled sooner.

As the next raiding season befalls us, let us envision an endless string of mornings in which the scattered ashes of breeding cards and the hollow remnants of empty cages are all that’s left.

With bolt-cutters, gloves and a heart full of bravery, a single individual can be the stark contrast between an existence spent in hell, and a life returned to the wild.

for love and liberation,

-A.L.F.

Notes: Dec. 6th, 2013

8 folks were on hand for our Anti-Oppression Forum meeting last Friday at the African Roots Library in the Family Partnership Center, Poughkeepsie. These are my notes from the meeting. -Schuyler

DECISIONS

-We will make 4 separate banners out of the large sheet brought in by Sharon. Sharon will dye the banners black before using white spray paint to decorate. 

-Ryan will create a Facebook page and Schuyler will write a blog post to publicize our concert fundraiser for Earth First! on January 21st.

-Jared will reach out to student organizations to endorse/participate in the Earth First! concert

-Ryan will look into Ustreaming the concert

-We should consider a film screening for a future action. As “homework,” collective participants are encouraged (by Ryan) to watch Home, a film about the destruction of the ecosystem. If we like it, that’ll be the film we show for movie night. 

-Schuyler will set up a Youtube page for the collective so that we can utilize best utilize video media. 

-We will host opinion pieces/debates on this blog

IDEAS

-Holiday direct action: Food Not Bombs outside Mayor Tzcick’s restuarant? Radical caroling?

-Nelson Mandela memorial event

-Metro-North train accident: What are its implication for worker/passenger safety?

UPCOMING EVENTS

December 15 @2:00 PM: Icarus Project radical mental health meeting at Panera Bread, 2020 South Road, Poughkeepsie NY

-December 16 @7:00 PM: Last Poughkeepsie City Council meeting of the year—opportunity to oppose city bus privatization! 

 

Egypt: We Don’t Need Permission to Protest

The following was posted on Infoshop News by Anonymous on December 2nd. Solidarity with popular resistance, from New York to Cairo! 

To you at whose side we struggle,

November 26 2013, we saw the first implementation of a new Egyptian law effectively banning any and all protest not approved and regulated by the Ministry of Interior. This is the same Interior Ministry whose soldiers have killed thousands of protesters, maimed tens of thousands and tortured unknown others in recent years. This security apparatus is acting with renewed arrogance since the July coup that returned the Egyptian Army to a position of direct authority. Around noon on November 26, riot police attacked a protest commemorating the murder of Gaber “Gika” Salah one year ago. Announcing that the protest was illegal, police fired water cannons and then baton-charged demonstrators, arresting several. Hours later, the ¨No Military Trials for Civilians¨ campaign organized a protest against the new anti-protest law as well as the inclusion of military trials for civilians in the constitution currently being drafted. This time, the police beat and arrested dozens, among them some of Egypt’s most renowned activists, the same people who fought the injustice and oppression of Mubarak, the SCAF, the Muslim Brotherhood, and now Abdel Fattah al Sisi and the puppet civilian government in place since the coup.

The public outrage that followed the release of footage of the police beating and sexually assaulting some protesters compelled authorities to release all female protesters as well as lawyers, journalists and a handful of prominent male detainees, while keeping 24 male protesters in detention. Protesters demonstrating against the same illegitimate law elsewhere across the country likewise remain in custody. The events of the past week make it clear that the so-called justice system in Egypt, and the anti-protest law in particular seek little more than the suppression of any form of political activity or protest. The demonization of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists provides the cover to crack down on dissent of any kind, including the continued calls for the revolution’s demands.

On November 27, six of the released female protesters informed the public prosecutor that they were the ones to call for the protest, which according to the new law would force the prosecutor to re-arrest them. The prosecutor ignored their claims, while extending the detention of the 24 male protesters, who have undergone continuous torture, by another 15 days. In the court, the detainees disrupted proceedings by chanting “down with military rule,” and have started a hunger strike.

On November 28, the repression continued as the police surrounded a student protest in support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo University. After preventing anyone from leaving the premises the police forces fired tear gas, buck shot and live ammunition at the demonstrators and other students inside. The body of Mohamed Reda reached the morgue later that night, with gunshot wounds. His friends claim he was neither politically active nor participating in the protest. The court in turn charged other students arrested in the protest with his murder. Hours later, the police stormed Alaa Abdel Fattah’s home without a search warrant, beat him and his wife and kidnapped him; all this for charges of organizing the protest on the 26th. The following morning the prosecution questioned him at the Cairo Security Directorate and extended his detention to four days pending investigation.

The protest law, draconian and Kafkaesque in its very essence, is not the first time that laws effectively criminalizing protest have been passed since 2011. The army and the Muslim Brotherhood both attempted and failed to pass and enforce such laws. This new one comes under the trappings of the rule of law, supposedly free of political weight, but its intention is clear: to crush dissent and further empower the police to use violence and lethal force. Egyptian lawmakers even have the gall to use oppression abroad to justify a crackdown at home.

This is not a call to reform the protest law. This is a rejection of all such laws and the system behind the law- a system that is merely a new face to the one we confronted on January 25 2011. Following the military’s coup on July 3, the army’s head of command appointed a government that is made up of liberals, retired police and military generals as well as a few individuals considered participants in the January 25 revolution. In their attempt to outlaw any opposition on the street, the role of the liberals and deemed “revolutionaries” is to whitewash the violence of the security regime. These figures are the handmaidens of the attempt to re-create a pre-January 25 Egypt where the regime’s murder and torture becomes the norm. It is their role to prevent outrage on the street. The justification for the return to this pre-January 25 state of normalcy is the fighting of “terror” and the need to impose “stability” and “order”.

We will not protest at the whim and convenience of a counterrevolutionary regime and its armed enforcers. After the generals’ latest attempt to co-opt the revolution by kidnapping the June 30 protests for their own desire for power, the January 25 Revolution has returned to the streets.

We will oppose the system everywhere we can. Stand by our side. This system must fall.

-Comrades from Cairo

Free Nestora Salgado!

The Anti-Oppression Forum is really excited to be getting involved in this campaign to free Nestora Salgado, a community organizer imprisoned in Mexico for standing up to politically powerful drug cartels. The following statement on Salgado’s story was written by the Freedom Socialist Party. You can sign the petition to free Nestora at this link

Nestora Salgado is a naturalized U.S. citizen who grew up in the small indigenous village of Olinalá in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. She moved to the United States in 1991 at the age of 20, working as a maid, nanny and waitress. She splits her time between Olinalá and Renton, Washington, where she lives with her husband José Luis Avila, a construction worker, her daughters, and grandchildren. Over the past four years, she made numerous trips to deliver clothing and supplies to the desperately poor residents of her hometown.

Fighting poverty and violence in Guerrero. Guerrero has the highest murder rate in Mexico and a history of state involvement in massacres of indigenous peasants. During her trips home to Mexico, Salgado witnessed increasing poverty and the rise in violent crime and political corruption. This led her to become a community activist for the human rights of indigenous people in Guerrero and neighboring parts of Mexico. In particular, she became involved in the indigenous movement for community policing that has swept through the region during the past several years. Guerrero State Law 701 and Article 2.A of the Mexican Constitution guarantee the right of indigenous people to self-government and self-defense, including forming their own police forces.

Soon, Salgado was putting the laws into practice by organizing with others to form a community police force in Olinalá. Its officers formed patrols to defend residents against organized crime, particularly the Los Rojos gang. The gang had been terrorizing the community and operating with impunity due to the complicity of local officials, including the mayor.

The impetus for forming the community force was the murder of a local taxi cab driver who refused to pay protection money to Los Rojos. Salgado led a mobilization of village residents to drive the gang out of town and set up checkpoints to keep them from coming back. Last spring Salgado was elected “comandante” or coordinator. She has worked hard to develop the leadership of indigenous women and to empower them to stand up against domestic violence and child abuse.

Initially, Salgado was able to obtain the support of Angel Aguirre, the governor of Guerrero, who promised in writing to provide the force with uniforms, small arms, training and other support. The impact of the community policing, which relied on traditional means of accountability and social control, was dramatic—a 90% drop in the crime rate and no murders during the 10 months that it was in operation. (In the two months since the governor shut down community police, crime has increased and there were four killings, despite the presence of over a thousand marines and soldiers as well as state and federal police. Government forces harass community organizers, sometimes threatening to kill them, while protecting criminal activity.)

Nestora Salgado’s abduction and arrest. The official pretext for seizing her on August 21, 2013, was the arrest of several teenage girls for dealing drugs and the local sheriff, Armando Patrón Jiménez, for tampering with evidence at the crime scene of a double assassination where he attempted to walk off with a cow, the property of the deceased. She is falsely charged with kidnapping both the sheriff and the girls.

At a meeting five days before her arrest between the mayor and Salgado, she refused to let the sheriff, a political crony of the mayor, go free without trial by a peoples’ court. A few days later, she found herself transported by private plane to a maximum security prison 2000 miles from Olinalá. The arrest appears to be in retaliation for a press release Salgado issued that outlined the mayor’s and other government figures’ ties to drug trafficking.

Prosecuting indigenous leaders like Salgado and suppressing autonomous community police forces also serves a larger purpose—silencing vocal opposition by indigenous communities to foreign mining companies that have large contracts to extract mineral wealth from the mountains of Guerrero.

Political persecution and mistreatment in jail. Salgado was seized without an arrest warrant by federal soldiers at a checkpoint while driving home. She had been harassed with death threats by marines for several days prior to her arrest. Since the day after her arrest, Nestora Salgado has been incarcerated in the high security detention center of El Rincon, in Tepic, Nayarit, several days travel from Olinalá. There is no basis for the government’s claim that such extreme measures are warranted because Salgado—a grandmother and well-respected citizen with no criminal record—is a danger to society. Furthermore, kidnapping is not a federal crime in Mexico and those accused are normally held in local jails.

Isolating Salgado from her supporters and family by transporting her so far away, without legal justification, is evidence that she is a political prisoner. Efforts to organize support in Olinalá for Salgado’s release and the revival of community policing are being suppressed by death threats and reprisals; Salgado’s advocates are being cut-off from public assistance, especially needed since a severe storm in mid-October.

For weeks, Salgado was held incommunicado. She was not allowed to see her attorney or family members, who had traveled the long distance to get to the penitentiary. She was only allowed a lawyer after the deadline had passed to petition for release while awaiting trial. Only one of her daughters and a sister has been able to visit her. This persecution is all for performing her lawful duties as the coordinator of the community police force.

Several years ago, Salgado was injured in a car accident that left her temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. Through extensive physical therapy, she was able to regain 90% of her functioning but is still unable to work. To manage severe neuropathy in her hands and feet, she relies on pain medication and frequent exercise. In prison, she has been denied both, worsening her physical and mental condition. Now she is being threatened with solitary confinement.

The recent assassination of another strong woman activist in Guerrero, Rocío Mesino Mesino, is a reminder that Salgado’s life is in jeopardy without close public scrutiny and strong support in Mexico and the United States.

UPDATE (December 4, 2013)

Read a letter to U.N. Secretary Miguel de la Lama requesting her release and a statement of facts related to her case.

Read the misleading AP article which incorrectly states that Nestora led a “vigilante” police force, and Guerry Hodderson and Fred Hyde’s corresponding letters to the editor.

You can help Nestora by clicking here to sign the petition demanding that President Obama secure her release.

Find information on demonstrations to be held on December 10, 2013 at U.S. Mexican Consulates at these locations.

ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS

Alianza Puertorriqueña, Los Angeles
Ángeles Sin Fronteras, Hugo Castro, Internacional Coordinator, San Diego
Anti-Oppression Forum, Poughkeepsie, New York
Bread is Rising Poetry Collective, New York City
Coalición Humanitaria Internacional Pro Migrante, Southern California & Mexico
Comité Por La Reagrupación Internacional Revolucionaria
Far North Queensland Deaths in Custody Watch Group, Cairns, Australia
Free Marissa Now, U.S.
Freedom Socialist Party, U.S. & Australia
Frente de Resistencia por México, Los Angeles
Feminist Resistance, New York City
Indigenous Social Justice Association, Sydney, Australia
International Action Center, U.S.
International Artivism Collective—US, México, Guatemala, Dominican Republic
International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal
International Socialist Organization, New York City
Izquierda Revolucionaria, New York City
Jobs with Justice, Portland, Oregon Chapter
La Voz Latina, WBAI-99.5 FM, New York City
La Zenka and Associated Indigenous Movements, New York City
Latin-American and Latino/a Studies Department, City College of San Francisco
National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles Chapter
Núcleo por un Partido Revolucionario Internacionalista, Dominican Republic
Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity (OWLS), Seattle
Partido Socialista-Frente Amplio, U.S.
Partido Obrero Socialista, Mexico
People’s Organization for Progress, Newark
Radical Women, U.S. & Australia
Socialist Core, New York City
Stop the Checkpoints, Port Angeles, Washington
Trabajadoras por la Paz, New York City
United American Indians of New England
United Front for Justice and Dignity, California
Washington Federation of State Employees, Local 304, Seattle
Witness for Peace Northwest, Portland, Oregon
Workers World Party, U.S
YoSoy132 Nueva York, New York City

Minutes: November 29th, 2013

Below are my notes on Friday’s meeting of the Anti-Oppression Forum. Our usual meeting space at the Family Partnership Center in Poughkeepsie was unavailable because it was closed for the holiday weekend. We settled for My Place Pizza on Main Street. Although Food Not Bombs beforehand had a larger turnout, I think only 5 of us stuck around for this meeting. -Schuyler

DECISIONS

-We need banner material—we can talk to Joe to see whether he has any sheets that can be used to make banners

-Ryan will make a 30-second PSA to publicize Food Not Bombs on the WHVW radio station

-One of us will write something for the About section of this blog, and as a group we’ll approve or improve it.

-I’ll add Darrett as an admin to this blog

-We will organize a concert to raise money for Earth First!’s efforts to protect the Loyalsock State Forest in Pennsylvania from fracking. The show will take place at My Place Pizza on the third Friday of January, which is Jan. 17th.

-In the next week, at least two of us should visit Christ and Beulah churches in Poughkeepsie to ask for space to organize Food Not Bombs indoors.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Monday, December 2: Jack’s birthday! Also, the Poughkeepsie City Council meeting will take place at City Hall. Advocates of public busing will protest the city’s plan to privatize the bus service.

Tuesday, December 3: The annual Dutchess County Budget hearing will take place at the Bardavon on Market Street in Poughkeepsie. This will give us an opportunity to raise hell on any number of issues, from jail expansion to raising the minimum wage. This is also an opportunity to make our presence known among the local political elites.

Thursday, December 5: Community activists will be holding a meeting to rally support around stopping the privatization of the Poughkeepsie bus service. The meeting will take place at the African Roots Library in the Family Partnership Center on N. Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie.

IDEAS

-Radical Film Night!

-Free clothes bin/Really Really Free Market