The Coalition of Organizations Against Police Abuse and Murder invite YOU to

JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST POLICE BEATINGS AND MURDER OF CITIZENS

OUTRAGED!

MARCH FOR JUSTICE

DEMONSTRATION
WEDNESDAY, MAY 21ST
15TH & Market Street
Assemble: 3:00 PM

We demand Lynne Abraham the District Attorney to begin the Investigation of the wrongful attack of 3 Black Citizens.

We demand the Police involved in the beastly attacks are removed from duty without PAY pending the Investigation outcome.

We demand Ramsey to carry out the duties of his Office, To Serve and Protect US. We are all at risk with these rogue cops still on payroll and driving around in our communities.

We demand the 18 Philadelphia Police Officers and 1 SEPTA Cop Prosecuted for the wrongful beatings.

COME HEAR FIRST HAND THE TRUTH ABOUT THE POLICE ATTACK!

Yesterday, Hopkins, Hall & Dyches, next time could be YOU or one of your love ones.

There will be NO Peace until we get JUSTICE!

There comes the time when silence is Betrayal!

(Source: http://phillyimc.org/en/node/68255)

Those fuckers were caught on tape (watch out, violent): 

AP: 6 officers taken off street over beating on video, Philadelphia authorities probe video of 3 suspects being kicked, punched

Police Commissioner Ramsey says “We are… concerned” and “This behavior… is unacceptable” while making excuses that police officers were on edge after an officer was killed two days ago. Ramsey should call it like anyone can see: This is atrocious, racist, and brutal. This is cause for serious fucking outrage.

NOT ONE MORE, WAR

By Clare Bayard
Published on: March 25, 2008
Updated 4/16/08

Last night, I stood over a thousand candles on the lawn in front of San Francisco’s City Hall. Veterans for Peace had organized a vigil to mark the official 4,000 U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, which technically happened Sunday, March 24th. As people began reading the last 1,000 names aloud, my whole body suddenly wracked with mourning. My chest was exploding and I knew it wasn’t a coronary or panic attack, but grief saturated me so thoroughly I could barely stand. Loved ones held me up as we mourned together; I could hardly let go of a former Marine friend who chose military jail instead of Iraq, and I had never felt such frantic, choking relief to have him standing alive beside me. I can’t imagine the world without him now.

I say “technical count” because we don’t even have the numbers to do the math, which means the full picture is beyond our grasp.

4,000 official U.S. servicemembers killed

1-6,000 U.S. servicemember suicides- inadmissible as war casualties

over a thousand nonmilitary contractors, civilians, etc.

how many debilitating injuries?
Plus how many deeply affected partners, parents, family members, friends, lovers in the life of each one of these tens of thousands? the children they might have had, and the ones some already did?

…and, echoing in barely broken silence, the deaths of 650,000 to over a million Iraqis.

A Presbyterian minister, who participates a similar annual vigil for the deaths of San Francisco’s homeless people, began the ritual with a nondenominational invocation. She spoke of the tremendous loss of so many humans with all their talents and creativities, everything they might have brought to their communities.

I feel lucky to be alive today, walking in the spring sun and holding the fierce grief of so many deaths. I feel lucky that my father, a Vietnam Vet, is alive instead of a name on the black granite Wall in D.C., lucky that I was born.

But war doesn’t play duck-duck-goose, bypassing most people entirely and just taking a scatter of heads. No one in Iraq lives separate from the war, and in a dramatically different way neither do we in the U.S.

War defines daily reality in occupied lands. Where wars are being fought in the streets and skies, where depleted uranium underfoot rises in plumes of dust and a sudden noise might be the last thing you hear, war is everything from the toxic air to the mined soil. In the U.S. there is a myth that war is just happening “over there” where bombs are vaporizing houses and human bodies. As if war was not already here, and as if the multivariant violence of militarism does not return in the body of every veteran, alive or dead.

My perspective on this is profoundly shaped by being raised by a veteran father; the war on Vietnam lived in my house every day when I was growing up. I was lucky enough to be born. To be housed. 1 in 4 homeless people in my city are veterans. My dad’s class and race privilege and my mom’s waged and unwaged work kept us housed and together, even though war has never let him go. And in a way, I have come to understand myself as lucky to be the child of a war veteran, in the ways that it helps me to keep my heart alive during the crushing numbness of this “endless war.” I cannot see, or feel, myself as disconnected from war—either from those murdered by U.S. occupation, or those within the ranks of our military who are struggling to stay human.

War comes into homefront communities in many ways. It is the wartime economy, where every bomb explodes twice: once shattering lives in Fallujah, Karbala, Basra; then burning up our schools and universities, healthcare, levees, social system. It is the racist dehumanization of Arabs and Muslims that inflames hate crimes of street violence and hate crimes of state legislature. It is where “security” means genocide, and none of us are made at all safer by U.S. empire expanding. And war comes into our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces and social spaces, cloaked in the silent roar of a taboo topic: how veterans return from war carrying the violence of militarism. Some kill themselves quickly, with a bullet or a rope, and even when these deaths occur on a base they are not part of the official tally. These 4,000 recognized deaths are the tip of the iceberg of U.S. war casualties. Domestic violence murders, almost entirely women, don’t qualify even when under the clearest circumstances. Other vets die slowly, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, often on the streets. Many strain enough healing through gritted teeth to put their life back together, supported by their loved ones, not by their government, not by the drivers of SUVs decorated with yellow ribbons, and largely not by the peace movement.

I do not mourn these 4000 deaths (and the other invisibilized U.S. deaths) any more than the uncounted Iraqi lives, nor any less. The judgment that some lives are disposable is part of what we are struggling against, in demanding justice and peace. I don’t hold these 4000 accountable for engineering this war, nor do I excuse them for participating. To do so would remove their agency in the situation, and dishonor the choices that many U.S. soldiers are making every day to refuse orders, resist compliance with occupation. I won’t devalue the choices that the majority of young people in this country are making to not enlist at all, despite the outrageous lack of options facing them, especially working-class kids and youth of color. Every day, people act to resist the U.S. military, from around the world, from within its ranks. And how do we know how many of those names read out last night belong to resisters? How many were carrying an unloaded weapon, like Agustin Aguayo did for a year while the Army denied his conscientious objector status? How many were considering going AWOL? How many were pursuing, if they knew the option existed, a conscientious objector status? How many had done something recently to stand up to racism, misogyny, or some random violence within their unit? Mostly we’ll never know because now their mouths are filled with dirt and their stories will be carried only by those surviving them. The singers among them, the writers, the kid who was so good at math, the girl with the fierce will, the boy who protected his best friend from queerbashers, the dreamers, the confused, the 20 year old with a 2 year old daughter, the one who died so homesick, the one who learned Arabic to talk to the neighborhood kids, all the ones you and I will never meet, who died in a country that’s losing millions of its people to death and escape.

We do not stop organizing. We can’t. But as we keep organizing, we do also need to mourn. It keeps us human to mourn, to truly recognize the grievous loss of millions of people, to stand with their loved ones in remembrance and in defiance—to spit in the face of war. We say: no more lives, war, we will not feed you. All of us are needed, and war, we shall starve you.

About the Author
Clare Bayard heads the Anti-War program of Catalyst Project, organizing to connect work against wars abroad with domestic racial and economic justice struggles, and building the G.I. resistance support movement. Clare serves on the National Committee and Organizing Task Force of the War Resisters League, an organization that seeks to end all wars and the root causes of war.

Resources

Catalyst Project: http://www.collectiveliberation.org
War Resisters League: http://www.warresisters.org, notyoursoldier.org
Check out the brand new Iraq Veterans Against the War’s Winter Soldier hearings archive at: http://www.ivaw.org — Iraq Veterans Against the War

http://www.servicewomen.org — Servicewomen’s Action Network

http://www.couragetoresist.org — Courage to Resist

OPERATION HIDDEN COSTS: DEBATE-IN SUCCESS

Yesterday, the most lively debate on the costs of casinos occurred in Philadelphia. After four years of soundbites on the benefits of casinos, Governor Rendell has never articulated their costs to the city. Casinos have serious economic costs — a net loss of $52 million per year to the city budget according to our report “You Pay Even If You Don’t Play.”

We asked the Governor to present his analysis of the costs and debate them with us.

The Governor refused to attend — and he shut down his office rather than supporting participatory democracy and letting us speak with his staff. Police and building security prevented anyone from going up to his 11th floor office. (By the way, The building is managed by Ron Rubin’s company — Mr. Rubin is an investor in Foxwoods).

Undeterred, we held the Philadelphia first “debate-in” right in the lobby of the Bellevue. We set up a podium. Dozens of people spoke passionately about their concerns of the costs of having casinos in residential neighborhoods.

Attending the debate was a paper mache puppet ressembly Rendell. “He’s a puppet for the casino industry,” remarked several in attendance. The puppet was no more (or less) responsive than the Governor to citizens’ concerns.

Media response to Operation Hidden Costs has been huge. For example, you can see the puppet on the front page of the Metro. A quality story was written by PlanPhilly, including a live video, and we were covered on KYW 1060, Evening Bulletin, and various blogs. Philadelphia Inquirer produced an earlier article on the costs of casinos.

Watch Fox 29’s report on the debate-in.

You can still ask the Governor Rendell to debate us – (717) 787-2500 and/or write a letter telling him why you think $52 million is too much for Philadelphia.

Governor Edward G. Rendell
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
Phone: (717) 787-2500
Fax: (717) 772-8284
We’re opening a public debate. What are the costs of casinos? We say $52 million a year, even considering the benefits — and it’s not worth it.

Warmly,

– Daniel, Jethro, Nico, Lily and the rest of Casino-Free Philadelphia

What Is To be Done? Assessing The Antiwar Movement
By Matthew Smucker
From the Indypendent, March 14, 2008 issue

Remember February 15, 2003?

That day saw the largest coordinated global demonstrations in the history of the world. Ten million people from more than 60 countries sent a clear message to Washington that the world was saying no to a U.S. war against Iraq. The newest manifestation of the antiwar movement seemed finally ahead of the game. But when the Bush Administration ignored us, what were we to do next? This was no easy question, and organizers understandably struggled with direction, tactics and strategy.

Five years on, we have some assessing to do. Despite the dedication of many, our successes have been quite limited. We have been unable to translate popular antiwar sentiment into popular antiwar action. We have been unable to build the kind of grassroots political power strong enough to apply pressure to end the occupation.

Over the past several months, as part of an organizational assessment project initiated by the War Resisters League, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to nearly 100 grass-roots organizers and activists from across the country. Many of them work explicitly on issues of war and peace, while others focus on other issues, including labor, economic justice, gender justice, racial justice and the environment. We asked them about the biggest constraints they face in building a stronger and more effective peace movement and how it can become more diverse, cross-class and multiracial peace movement.

What we found was that a cross-section of organizers from diverse groups across the country — local efforts like the Port Militarization Resistance in the northwest; constituency-based organizations like U.S. Labor Against the War, Veterans for Peace and the Women of Color Resource Center; and national coalitions like United for Peace & Justice — are grappling with similar issues related to demographics, cultural constraints, strategy and capacity.

The movement has a demographic problem and an image problem (and they’re related).

“Military members represent a diversity in society that movement people often don’t. And I’ve always had that struggle as a former military person myself, that I’ve been in rooms where I look at everyone and I think, ‘You guys freak me out. I can’t relate to where you’re coming from.’”

— Aimee Allison, veteran and coauthor of Army of None.

Widespread opinion against the war does not equal a large-scale identification with a peace or antiwar movement. Some organizers even disputed the use of the term antiwar “movement,” questioning whether we have a solid enough base of people taking collective action to even constitute a movement.

Many of the people I spoke to sensed that a majority of Americans — and particularly working-class people and communities of color — felt alienated from the white, counterculture image of the peace/antiwar movement.

Some of the problem lies with how the media broadcasts the narrative of “hippies” and “the sixties” and makes “activists” and “protesters” an alien identity – as opposed to portraying activism and protest as actions reasonable people take when they’re fed up. At most antiwar demonstrations, however, there’s no short supply of folks providing images and sound bites that enable the media to run with this angle.

Some organizers suggested that we are so used to holding a minority position, that we have become emotionally attached to a marginalized identity. We have to breathe in the new political climate, realize that some of our positions are now popular, start connecting with more people, and reimagine ourselves as winners.

We need to focus less on big demonstrations, and more on organizing a base and building leadership.

“I think that a big obstacle to the antiwar movement building stronger, longer-term institutions is the politics of the philanthropy community. So much of movement infrastructure has been professionalized and is anchored by nonprofits in this country — some quite effectively, some quite destructively. The antiwar movement lacks access to the millions of dollars of philanthropy money going into different socialchange ventures. That limits the antiwar movement’s ability to create the kind of basic infrastructure and organizing that would help turn popular antiwar sentiment into action.”

— Patrick Reinsborough, San Franciscobased direct-action organizer and coordinator of smartMeme Strategy & Training Project

As a trend, organizers felt weary of mass rallies and marches in this political moment. No one in power seems to be listening, and national demonstrations seem to get less and less media coverage. A number of people pointed out that local demonstrations and other forms of local action often get more bang for the buck with media.

In addition, large rallys are resource-intensive, and the antiwar movement has a shortage of money, staff, infrastructure and leadership. Some organizers noted how the peace movement, in comparison to the labor movement, the environmental movement, and community organizing efforts, has fewer jobs and resources.

As social movements have institutionalized largely as nonprofits over the past decades, this lack of “peace jobs” is no small factor for the peace movement. One organizer described how he got involved in activism through issues of war and peace, but as he acquired the skills to stick with organizing for the long haul, he went to work with an environmental organization because that’s where the organizing jobs were.

As a result of this and other related resource factors, some classic models of organizing widely used in the labor movement — like identifying a target constituency, organizing some of them into a membership base, and developing the leadership of some members to continue to build an organization and base — are known or practiced by few in the peace movement. Many interviewees encouraged national organizations to focus more on supporting the leadership and skills development of local organizers and groups.

The growing GI movement is likely to play a critical role in ending the war.

“The majority of the military is workingclass, and there are connections there that we have not capitalized on. I think that even the construction worker with the American flag sticking on his helmet probably has a pretty negative opinion of the war and probably knows somebody who got fucked up over there. If the Longshoremen received a phone call from Iraq Veterans Against the War saying, ‘We’d like to talk to you guys about possible action,’ we would probably get a response, out of respect for the veteran part of it. I think the opportunity is almost ripe for the picking, and that’s probably the next step.”

—Jose Vasquez, Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), NYC Chapter President

We interviewed members of IVAW, Veterans for Peace, Service Women’s Action Network and other organizers who are military veterans. We also asked all of our interviewees about the role of soldiers, veterans and their families in ending the war, and also how others can best support their efforts. Most everyone we talked with felt that soldiers, vets and their families are uniquely positioned to organize in ways that others sometimes cannot, particularly in organizing active-duty GIs.

For a number of reasons, some problematic, they are also seen as some of the most credible critics of the war, and our interviewees unanimously saw them as effective spokespeople. Some folks viewed them primarily as spokespeople, while the veterans we interviewed were more excited about organizing other soldiers and vets. Because they are seen by many in the peace/antiwar movement primarily as spokespeople rather than organizers, people often viewed support as having them speak at an event or be at the front of a march.

Veterans’ groups tended to describe support more practically; lending a hand with logistics, raising money, and the like. Some veterans saw themselves as particularly well positioned to connect with working class constituencies, and help build a broadbased movement.

For example, IVAW is crossing a critical threshold, moving from what has for a long time functioned essentially as a speakers’ bureau of antiwar vets into a chapter-building organization with skilled organizers who are increasingly focused on activeduty soldiers.

• • •

While it’s easy to be critical of the current peace/antiwar movement, it is important to point out that a lot of its leadership shares these critiques but often lacks the capacity to correct the problems. It’s also important to recognize that some of the most critical organizing work is not made for television, but is the unglamorous jobs of developing leadership and building relationships and a base. We need more organizing — enough of it to leverage political power — but let’s start by amplifying what’s already happening, rather than starting from scratch.

A full report of WRL’s listening process will be published in WIN magazine in April. For more information visit warresisters.org. Matthew Smucker is the national field organizer for the War Resisters League.

Illustration by Gabriella Szpunt

SDS mobilizes over 600 youth to demand an end to the war.