Workers World 4/18/19: “Imperialism by the Inch,” an interview with Susan Abulhawa

“Just because it doesn’t look like the exterminations we’re accustomed to seeing doesn’t make it any less genocidal,” says novelist and activist Susan Abulhawa. The bestselling author of “Mornings in Jenin” and “The Blue Between Sky and Water,” she is also the founder of the nonprofit organization Playgrounds for Palestine. She was arrested by Israeli border authorities last November when returning to her homeland for the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival. She was deported back to the United States where she currently resides.

Abulhawa spoke with Ted Kelly of Workers World on the eve of the Israeli elections on April 9 that resulted in the reelection of hardline, racist, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Workers World 4/9/19: Philly judge challenges “liberal” DA over Mumia’s appeal rights

In December, prison abolitionists and supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal hailed Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker’s ruling that granted new appellate rights to the internationally celebrated activist and author. Due to various suspicions about bias on the part of former State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, Tucker ruled that Mumia should have the right to appeal his fraudulent conviction for the killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner.

After first revealing that staff had “discovered” several new boxes of evidence that had previously been concealed from both the courts and Mumia’s legal team, Philadelphia District Attorney Krasner’s office then challenged Tucker’s historic ruling.

Krasner, elected in 2017, was hailed at the time as a reformer. But his adamant attempts to cover up the frameup of the former Black Panther have now alienated him from some of his most progressive supporters. And he has also drawn the ire of Leon Tucker, a twice-elected Black judge.

Mundo Obrero 4/9/19: Cientos se unen contra la OTAN reactivando movimiento contra guerras

Varios cientos de activistas y organizadores tomaron las calles de la capital de los Estados Unidos el sábado 30 de marzo, llegando de todo el mundo para oponerse a la OTAN y a todas las guerras imperialistas mientras los líderes militares se reunían allí para conmemorar el 70 aniversario de la formación de la OTAN.

A los manifestantes se unieron activistas contra la OTAN de Grecia, Ucrania, México, Argentina, Bélgica y Gales. Un gran contingente de conductores de autobuses sindicales de Boston, equipados con carteles y pancartas, vinieron para la marcha y estuvieron representados en el mitin por el presidente del sindicato de trabajadores del acero, United Steelworkers Local 8751, el haitiano Andre François.

William Camacaro, un activista venezolano del Círculo Bolivariano de Alberto Lovero, recientemente regresó de una visita a su país de origen. “Cualquier confrontación contra Venezuela sería un desastre no solo para los venezolanos sino también para toda la región: para Colombia, para Brasil, para las islas del Caribe. Y eso realmente creará una crisis humanitaria.

Workers World 4/3/19: Hundreds join anti-NATO march through U.S. capital in revival of broad antiwar movement

Several hundred activists and organizers took to the streets of the U.S. capital on Saturday, March 30, traveling from all over to world to oppose NATO and all imperialist war as military leaders assembled there to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO’s formation.

Joining the demonstrators were anti-NATO activists from Greece, Ukraine, Mexico, Argentina, Belgium and Wales. A large contingent of union bus drivers from Boston, equipped with signs and a banner, came for the march, and were represented at the rally by the president of United Steelworkers Local 8751, the Haitian-born Andre François.

William Camacaro, a Venezuelan activist with the Alberto Lovero Bolivarian Circle, recently returned from a visit to his home country. “Any confrontation against Venezuela would be a disaster not only for Venezuelans but also for the entire region: for Colombia, for Brazil, for the Caribbean islands. And that really will create a humanitarian crisis.

Workers World 3/25/19: Black and Brown workers reveal Philadelphia City Council gentrification scheme

At 2 a.m. on the night of Feb. 23, over 50 people were gathered outside Philadelphia’s Ninth Police Precinct building at 21st and Hamilton. Despite frigid temperatures, the dozens of primarily Black activists rallied, chanted and shut down traffic demanding the release of Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, arrested earlier that evening at City Hall.

Muhammad is one of the founders of the Black and Brown Workers Cooperative, dedicated to the liberation of the most oppressed sectors of the working class. BBWC has launched several campaigns to combat gentrification in Philadelphia, as well as confronting white supremacy in the city’s LGBTQ institutions.

Muhammad, who is HIV positive, put their body on the front lines of the struggle by engaging in a “med strike” — forgoing the medications that keep the virus at bay. Shein and another executive resigned within three days. BBWC is working with the Mazzoni Center to assure that structural changes are made to address workers’ demands.

Workers World 3/23/19: Pennsylvania inmates subjected to dangerous and demeaning treatment, sexual harassment

[Part 2 of 2] Prisoners and prison abolitionists in Pennsylvania have debunked bogus claims by Gov. Tom Wolf and Department of Corrections Secretary John Wetzel, who asserted that drug trafficking in the summer of 2018 led to the sickening of dozens of prison staff by exposure. The two accused prisoners and their loved ones of smuggling in contraband drugs through the mail and visitations, and in August 2018 they ordered an indefinite lockdown of all state facilities that lasted over a month.

Since then, two corrections officers have been arrested for trafficking K2, a type of synthetic marijuana. The first officer was arrested in Delaware County after being caught trying to distribute the drugs during the lockdown. In February, a second prison officer in Northumberland County was caught with synthetic drugs in their locker at the facility.

It should be clear that the illegal market within Pennsylvania prisons is a side hustle for the guards to make money selling illicit drugs to inmates. However, it is the prisoners themselves who are facing repercussions for the crimes committed by these agents of the state.

Workers World 3/19/19: Protests Hit Aggression Against Venezuela

Over a thousand activists converged on Lafayette Park in front of the White House March 16 in a show of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution of Venezuela and the government of President Nicolás Maduro. Coming just days after the U.S. sabotage of Venezuela’s electrical grid, which left the country without power for over 48 hours, the protest, called by Answer, was a rebuke to the ongoing coup attempt orchestrated by the Trump administration.

Representing Workers World and the International Action Center, Loan T.and Taryn Fivek spoke from the stage to the rally.

“We remember Vietnam, we remember Libya, we remember Syria, we remember Yemen. We know what is happening in Venezuela right now,” said Loan T., from Durham, N.C. “Democracy under capitalism is democracy for the rich, it is democracy for killer cops, it is democracy for Jeff Bezos and for Donald Trump. It is not democracy for working people!”

Workers World 3/15/19: Pennsylvania prisoners punished after Dept. of Corrections embarrassed in Federal Court

[Part 1 of 2] Frackville, Pa. — For the last six months, Pennsylvania state prison staff have been systematically opening and duplicating all legal correspondence exchanged between inmates and their attorneys.

This flagrant violation of attorney-client privilege, made official policy by Gov. Tom Wolf in July 2018, was challenged by a joint suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Abolitionist Law Center, the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project and the Amistad Law Project.

After just one day of testimony in federal court, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections announced its intention to settle the suit and will stop photocopying and storing prisoners’ legal mail.

Socialist Viewpoint 1/27/19: Lockdown Measures Persist in Pennsylvania Prisons

In Frackville State Correctional Facility in central Pennsylvania, the lobby and visiting room look much the same today as they did last July. Rows of vending machines that were previously stocked with snacks and drinks for visitors to purchase and consume with their loved ones stand empty, six months after their contents were raided by corrections officers for “safety reasons.” No prisoners have been allowed to take photographs with their visitors since the lockdown, either. 

While these lockdown measures were supposed to be lifted after 90 days, just in time for inmates to break bread and take pictures with their families for the fall and winter holidays, the state arbitrarily extended the ban. Photos and food won’t be allowed back into visitors’ room until sometime this Spring, authorities say. And the microwave that was in the visiting room to heat up commissary food items like small frozen pizzas has been permanently removed.

Workers World 1/27/19: Life imprisonment — for profit — is the crime

When Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered an unprecedented statewide lockdown of prisons last summer, the state’s Department of Corrections claimed that the crisis was prompted by prison staff becoming sick from illicit drugs somehow smuggled into state facilities. It was just a coincidence, the authorities said, that the lockdown was ordered in the midst of a national strike by prisoners to demand improved conditions and pay for their labor.

Now, over six months later, Pennsylvania authorities in Harrisburg have admitted that toxicology reports showed only one prison staff employee was exposed to anything resembling illegal drugs. Multiple prisoners in various corrections institutions across the state have claimed that it is the guards themselves, not prisoners or their visitors, who are responsible for the smuggling of illicit drugs into facilities.

Workers World 1/24/19: Mumia supporters call out Philly DA for hiding evidence

Supporters of former Black Panther and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal held a press conference on Jan. 15 to denounce the highly suspicious, delayed release of new evidence related to Abu-Jamal’s case by the office of Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.

Addressing a room packed with media and activists in West Philadelphia, Mike Africa Jr., son of recently freed MOVE 9 members Debbie and Mike Africa Sr., and attorney Rachel Wolkenstein, who represented Abu-Jamal in a 1995 appeal, made clear what Mumia’s advocates have known for decades: Authorities are hiding evidence to keep this innocent man behind bars.

Mundo Obrero 12/17/18: Solidaridad en la frontera – Delegacion de FIRE lleva suministros a la caravana

Tijuana, México – Una delegación de solidaridad organizada por Fight for Im/migrants and Refugees Everywhere (FIRE, siglas en inglés) viajó a México del 6 al 9 de diciembre para reunirse con organizadoras/es de la caravana y brindar ayuda humanitaria a las miles de familias centroamericanas que se encuentran abandonadas en la frontera con Estados Unidos.

La delegación de FIRE se unió a las/os activistas de Border Veterans, una organización para veteranas/os del ejército de EUA que fueron deportados, Veterans for Peace de EUA y también con grupos de iglesias locales y miembros de la comunidad para llevar los suministros que tanto necesitan las familias migrantes en Tijuana como en el cercano Barretal, el campamento de refugiados más grande para solicitantes de asilo en México.

Workers World 12/12/18: Solidarity at the Border – FIRE delegation brings supplies to caravan

Tijuana, Mexico – A solidarity delegation organized by Fight for Im/migrants and Refugees Everywhere (FIRE) went to Mexico from Dec. 6 to 9 to meet with caravanista organizers and provide humanitarian aid to the thousands of Central American families who find themselves stranded on the U.S. border.

The FIRE delegation joined activists from Border Veterans, an organization for U.S. military veterans who have been deported, U.S. Veterans for Peace, and local church groups and community members to bring much needed supplies to the migrant families both in Tijuana and in nearby Barretal, the largest refugee camp for asylum seekers in Mexico.

Workers World 12/4/18: Black commentator fired over call to end Israeli apartheid

Temple University professor and author Marc Lamont Hill has been fired from CNN after giving an impassioned address to the United Nations on Nov. 29, International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Dr. Hill made an unequivocal call for the end of apartheid conditions for Palestinians and Africans living within the borders of the so-called state of Israel.

Dozens of protesters gathered in front of CNN headquarters here on Saturday morning demanding that the network reverse its decision and reinstate Hill as a contributor. His termination makes it clear that recognizing the humanity of Palestinians is a fireable offense in the United States.

Workers World 11/8/18: Prison crackdown, prisoner boycott

[Part 2 of 2] The prison crackdown is meant to exacerbate the breakdown of social ties caused by mass incarceration. Some friends and family understandably are scared to put themselves at the mercy of prison officials at a time of such intense repression.

The day Arroyo called for the mail boycott, an older couple who came to visit the man’s brother was turned away because the woman was wearing a bra with a small metal clasp, which set off a metal detector.

“It’s straight-up sexual harassment,” Arroyo commented to WW. The “no-bra” policy is apparently unique to SCI Frackville and reportedly not in force at other Pennsylvania Department of Corrections facilities.

Workers World 11/5/18: Israeli state blocks Palestinian author, can’t stop her words

An Israeli judge ordered the deportation of Palestinian novelist Susan Abulhawa after security forces held her for over 36 hours. Border security detained Abulhawa in the Tel Aviv early on Nov. 1, when she arrived to attend the Kalimat Palestinian Literature Festival, where she was scheduled to speak in both Jerusalem (Al-Quds) and Ramallah.

Learning of her detention, over 2,500 people signed a petition in a matter of hours demanding her immediate release. Despite protest from festival organizers and from supporters worldwide, the Israeli court denied Abulhawa’s appeal. A prison van took her to the Tel Aviv airport and placed her on a flight back to the United States on Nov. 2.

San Francisco Bay View 9/27/18: Pennsylvania prisoners launch boycott of new mail system privatized by prison profiteers

“I am going to boycott the third-party correspondence system,” Bryant Arroyo, an activist and organizer currently detained at SCI Frackville in central Pennsylvania, told this Workers World reporter during an extended Sept. 23 interview.

Arroyo urges all prisoners to immediately cease sending and accepting mail in response to the draconian new prison policies of current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Eliminating the right of prisoners to send and receive correspondence via postal service is the most controversial aspect of a sweeping crackdown imposed in September by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Prisoners will no longer be allowed to receive mail directly at state correctional facilities. Instead, their mail is being routed through a third-party company that rakes in profits from the enslavement of U.S. workers.

Workers World 9/25/18: Inmates in Pennsylvania launch boycott of prison profiteers

[Part 1 of 2] “Big Brother has invaded the DOC. We don’t have rights in here, “ Arroyo explained to WW, “only privileges.” Even the right to unfettered legal defense can be capriciously suspended without warning by state authorities. But Arroyo is intent on fighting for restoration of the precious few resources prisoners have to defend themselves: “This is survival mode. When you’re backed into a corner, you fight to live.”

This is why he is urging prisoners to boycott the mail. Arroyo’s boycott announcement comes as the American Civil Liberties Union and many public defenders have announced their intention to stop sending legal mail through the Pennsylvania prisons.

“Every prisoner must act as an individual and as a collective front not to send mail to the third party,” he said. “This is not only a breach of our privacy but a breach of attorney-client privilege.