Orlando: Food Not Bombs loses Federal appeal

From the Christian Science Monitor:

A group of political activists in Orlando have lost their battle to establish that feeding the homeless is an act of political expression fully protected by the First Amendment.

In a decision announced Tuesday, a federal appeals court ruled against the group, Orlando Food Not Bombs, and gave a green light to city officials to enforce an ordinance restricting weekly feeding of the homeless in downtown parks.

“The city is in a far better position than this court to determine how best to manage the burden that large group feedings place on neighborhoods in the city,” Circuit Judge William Pryor wrote for the unanimous decision of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.

In a 15-page decision, the court said it was assuming, without deciding, that feeding the homeless in a public park was a form of expressive conduct entitled to some level of protection under the First Amendment.

But the court went on to decide that the city’s ordinance was a reasonable time, place, and manner restriction on the free speech rights of Orlando Food Not Bombs.

“The ordinance as applied to the feedings of homeless persons by Orlando Food Not Bombs does not violate the free speech clause of the First Amendment,” Pryor wrote.

The action reverses a federal judge’s injunction that had permanently blocked the city from enforcing an ordinance restricting the use of downtown parks for large-scale feedings.

Continue reading

Bangladesh: Cloth dyed in blood

From Libcom.org:

Recent worker deaths in the Bangladeshi garment industry from police repression and from a factory fire.

After lengthy negotiations since 2006 a minimum wage pay scale for garment workers was finally implemented from November 2010(1). But on receiving their wage packets workers in many factories found less pay than expected. Some factories simply ignored the new minimum wage, elsewhere previously agreed arrears payments were missing. Often no account was taken of seniority – workers of many years experience were downgraded to the same level as newcomers. Some employers downgraded their whole workforce in the pay scale, so minimising their wage rises.

As workers realised the shortfall on Saturday, strikes and demonstrations began; in Dhaka, the capital, thousands of workers at Ashulia in Savar, Rupganj in Narayanganj and in Gazipur vandalised factories, blocked roads and fought cops. At Gazipur a dozen workers were injured in an attack by managers after demanding payment according to the new structure, while in Narayanganj ten managers were attacked by workers.

In Chittagong, the south-eastern port city, over 100 garment workers of Young One Group in the city’s Economic Processing Zone (EPZ) walked out to protest the new pay structure; bosses initially tried to confine the workers to the factory by locking the gates, but strikers forced their way into the streets. Marching through the EPZ, workers brought out other factories in solidarity. As the crowd swelled to 2,000, they ransacked several of the company’s units, beat up several company officials and locked them in the factory. The Executive Director and other management personnel were later hospitalised.

(Young One built the ‘world’s largest shoe manufacturing plant’ near Chittagong; the $100 million plant employs 30,000 people and produces 100,000 pairs of shoes a day.)

The unrest continued on Sunday; in and around Dhaka 3,000 workers fought cops and blocked roads – while the Chittagong EPZ was forced to close as 4,000 workers battled police. As clashes intensified police fired 600 rounds of rubber bullets, 150 teargas canisters and made numerous baton charges. Workers replied with missiles and sticks; roads were blocked with burning and vandalised vehicles while 11 factories and 20 other commercial buildings were ransacked.

This was the first major test of the Industrial Police unit recently formed to curb workers unrest – and they sought to show a firm hand. Cops eventually began using live rounds and shot dead four people. Eight others received bullet wounds. Across the country around 200 were injured, including 50 cops.

Welfare and Warrantless Searches

Rochio Sanchez and the Fourth Amendment

By CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
CounterPunch
September 3 – 5, 2010

Opinions from Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal are of interest to a variety of people. Lawyers read them in order to learn what the law is with respect to issues that have been ruled on by the Courts in the Circuits in which they live. The poor, who live within the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, read them to learn how their constitutional rights differ from those of the well off. They were reminded of this in August by the same court that had tutored them three years earlier in the case of Rochio Sanchez v. County of San Diego.

Sanchez was decided by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in April 2007 and the U.S. Supreme Court announced in November of that year that it would not review the court’s decision. The case stands for the proposition that it is OK to search people’s homes without a warrant. Before my readers rush to add strong locks to all their doors I must reassure them. The case has no applicability to my readers. Their homes are protected by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that bans unreasonable searches and seizures. The people in California whose homes are not protected by the Fourth Amendment are those on welfare.

In 1997, the San Diego District Attorney came up with “Project 100%.” Under the program those wanting to participate in the county welfare program must consent to unannounced visits from members of the Public Affairs Fraud Division who walk through the house looking in drawers, medicine cabinets, etc. to make sure no crimes are being committed. The practical consequences are that welfare recipients are forced to trade the protection afforded by the Fourth Amendment for welfare benefits. That is not, of course, how the judge who wrote for the majority sees it. It is how Judge Harry Pregerson, writing for the dissenters, sees it. He said: “This case is nothing less than an attack on the poor. San Diego’s program strips these individuals of their rights of privacy. . . . This is especially atrocious in light of the fact that we do not require similar intrusions into the homes and lives of others who receive government entitlements. The government does not search through the closets and medicine cabinets of farmers receiving subsides.”

Continue reading

Iraq: Government forcibly closes trade union offices, prohibits union activity

From Libcom:

The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity has issued an edict that “all trade union activities at the ministry and its departments and sites” and authorizes the police “to close all trade union offices and bases and to take control of unions’ assets properties and documents, furniture and computers.”

Police raided and shut down electricity unions across Iraq in mid-July, carrying out an order from the Minister of Electricity that could have been lifted from Saddam Hussein’s rule book.

The order prohibits “all trade union activities at the ministry and its departments and sites” and authorizes the police “to close all trade union offices and bases and to take control of unions’ assets properties and documents, furniture and computers.”

The leader of Britain’s Trades Union Congress has called upon the Iraqi government “to withdraw the order, and allow unions to operate freely, underpinned by a fair, just and ILO-compliant labour law.”

The Iraqi trade union movement is calling on trade union members everywhere to raise their voices in protest.

Solidarity call for the “Platform of struggling workers”

Turkey... word.Militant workers from recent workers’ struggles in Turkey, including National Tobacco and Alcohol Monopoly (TEKEL) workers, Istanbul Water and Sewers Department (ISKI) workers, firemen, Sinter metal workers, Esenyurt municipality workers, Marmaray building workers, dustmen, workers from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and workers from the ATV-Sabah News Corporation, have come together and established a workers’ group called the Platform of Struggling Workers. We are calling on everyone to support the workers’ group.
Continue reading

Chicago: Man choked to death for stealing toothpaste while cop watches

The story of a man who was choked to death by a CVS employee after stealing toothpaste from the Chicago store on Saturday is getting even more scrutiny, after police admitted Monday that a Cook County sheriff’s officer was on the scene when the man, Anthony Kyser, was killed.

Kyser, a 35-year-old barber, was chased out of the Little Village store and restrained by an employee of the store who saw him stealing, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The employee then strangled him to death.

Witnesses said Kyser, of the 1400 block of South Hamlin, cried, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe!” as the CVS worker held him in a chokehold for what they thought was several minutes.

Witnesses told the newspaper that there was an off-duty officer on the scene while Kyser was being choked, and after initially saying they were unaware of a police presence, the Chicago Police Department now admits that a Cook County sheriff’s officer was on the scene:

As the correctional officer pointed a weapon at Kyser and told him to stop struggling, Kyser repeatedly pleaded that he couldn’t breathe, the witnesses said.

[Chicago Police Lt. Lt. Maureen] Biggane said a surveillance video shows the correctional officer in the alley, speaking on a cell phone, but does not show her pointing a weapon. The officer waited for an ambulance to arrive, but left before uniformed Chicago Police arrived, Biggane said.

Police wouldn’t release the correctional officer’s identity. Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Patterson said there is nothing for the sheriff to investigate, based on Chicago Police’s account of her actions.

Chicago Police will not press charges against the unnamed CVS manager, despite a medical examiner’s finding that man’s death was a homicide, reports MyFoxChicago.

Kyser was accused of stealing tooth paste and crayons, the Chicago Tribune reports.

This shows once again that the law is only enforced to protect the wealth of the rich. The cops know who they protect, which laws to enforce, and when to ignore a man’s murder. The occupying police forces of the rich must be thrown out of our neighborhoods.

Infoshop news post