Black August, 35 Years Ago, To Black Lives Matter, Today

From Popular Resistance:

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Black August, a month of political prisoner activism and commemoration, can help remind us of the nation’s exponentially expanding racist prison system.

Protesters march through the streets of Ferguson. (Jamelle Bouie / Wikimedia Commons)

A year ago this month, the streets of Ferguson, Missouri exploded in the wake of the murder of eighteen-year-old Black teen, Michael Brown, at the hands of white police officer, Darren Wilson. The world watched closely as military Humvees and the national guard armed with tear gas and rubber bullets transformed an otherwise quiet town in the Midwest into a historic battlefront for the Black Lives Matter movement, the present-day Black liberation struggle born after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman over the murder of the Black seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Since the Ferguson riots last August, Black Lives Matter has radically shifted the national conversation on anti-Black racism and police brutality through massive protests, demonstrations, and online mobilizations that have galvanized a new generation of youth of color in the United States and around the world who refuse to allow the police to turn them into another murder statistic. Just last month, hundreds of Black activists gathered together in Cleveland, Ohio in a historic meeting for the inaugural Movement for Black Lives Convening, which featured panels and workshops on Black labor organizing, queer and trans justice, lessons from the Black Panther Party, among others.

A new Pew Research Center poll released this month further shows how Black Lives Matter is transforming the racial views of Americans (and particularly white Americans) in astounding ways. According to the poll, 59 percent of U.S. citizens believe that changes are necessary to afford equal rights to African Americans, up from 46 percent just last year, with a majority of whites (53 percent) agreeing. Black Lives Matter and related mobilizations across the country have forced white Americans to take racism and police brutality seriously to the point where most of them have come to agree that that police treat Blacks less fairly than other groups. That hot, tragic summer day in Ferguson and the riots they gave birth to last August launched a crucial movement to remind the world that Black Lives Matter.

Yet, as we take a moment this August to honor Ferguson and the past, present, and future of the Black Lives Matter movement, it might be useful to take a moment to recognize another important moment in the history of the Black freedom struggle taking place this month: Black August. More than thirty-five years ago, Black August was created by Black political prisoners in California’s infamous San Quentin State Prison in August 1979 to commemorate the long legacy of prison protest and other forgotten events in the history of Black freedom struggles. As cofounder Shuuja Graham told historian Dan Berger, “We figured that the people we wanted to remember wouldn’t be remembered during Black history month, so we started Black August.” In August 1971, Black Panther leader George Jackson was killed in a prison uprising, while his younger brother was killed the previous August attempt to free three prisoners. August was also the historic month in which Haitian slaves rebelled and launched the Haitian Revolution (August 21, 1791), initiating the successful destruction of chattel slavery on the island and the world’s first independent Black republic, and the month that Nat Turner led a slave revolt in southern Virginia (August 21, 1831). As a “kind of secular activist Ramadan,” as described by Berger, Black prisoners fasted, read, studied, and engaged in physical training and self-discipline. As Mumia Abu-Jamal notes, “August is a month of meaning, of repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice; of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.”

Over the coming months, Black August’s origins within the prison system can help remind us that as Black men and women are being murdered by police on the streets, hundreds of others are being shipped away and locked up in the nation’s exponentially expanding penitentiaries. The United States has the largest prison population in the world—even larger than China or Russia—and Black Americans constitute a disproportionate percentage of that population. According to the NAACP, African Americans comprise 1 million of the 2.3 million total prisoners in this nation, and are incarcerated six times more than whites. Even though Blacks and Latinos compose one quarter of the national population, they comprised 58 percent of all prisoners as of 2008. Although 14 million whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug, African Americans are being sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites thanks to racist drug policies beginning in the 1970s. As of 2001, one in six Black men had been incarcerated, but if current trends continue, one in three Black men born today can expect to be imprisoned at some point in their lifetimes.

Black August can also help us remember that big money is increasingly behind this prison-industrial complex that devalues Black life. The past forty years have witnessed an unprecedented boom in incarceration rates in the United States. According to a report published by the National Research Council, the prison population grew from 200,000 to about 2.2 million between 1973 and 2009, which meant that the U.S. held about a quarter of the world’s prisoners. The period of prison privatization emerged in the 1980s when neoliberal policies began to expand across the globe, with the first U.S. private prison business operating in Hamilton County, Tennessee in 1984 under the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Today, privately run prisons are ubiquitous across the nation, even being dramatized on screen as seen in the last season of Orange is the New Black. Meanwhile, on the backs of Black and brown prisoners, CCA reported US$1.7 billion in total revenue in 2011 alone.

And Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the beloved “lesser of two evils” for many progressives, is just as mired in this racist monster of the private prison system. Last month, it was reported that Clinton was accepting contributions from known lobbyists for two of the country’s largest private prison corporations, CCA and the Geo Group, in addition to her usual donations from Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry. In light of this news, it’s no surprise that Clinton refused to address issues of structural racism when she was confronted by a group of Black Lives Matter activists in New Hampshire earlier this month. “She was not willing to concede that the inherent anti-blackness in the policies that were enacted to address problems is the cause of the problems we have today,” activist Julius Jones stated.

In the streets or behind gray prison doors, Black August offers a moment to focus and honor the long African American freedom struggles that are the current movement’s predecessors.

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View  the original article: www.teleSURtv.net/english

Copenhagen, Denmark: On the recent repression

From 325 & Contra Info:

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At 5.30 am Thursday August 13, the anti-authoritarian collective Bumzen was raided by a gang of masked cops from the police anti-criminal gang unit. They were followed by an army of armoured cops, who handcuffed everyone present in the building at the time.The pretext given was that they were looking for participants in a riotous Reclaim the Streets demo the previous weekend. However, it is clear to us that this was a politically motivated operation against the infrastructure of the radical movement.

Although about 25 people were present during the raid, none were allowed to supervise the police while they were searching their rooms and property. The police picked out the individuals, who had their official address at Bumzen to bring them to the cop shop to and charge them under paragraph 134a, participation in a riot.

Three other locations were raided the same morning. Two 17-year-olds were arrested and remanded, accused of smashing windows at a bank in Østerbro, despite their status as minors and vandalism being a fairly petty charge.

On Saturday August 15 a demonstration took place from Blågårds Plads to Bumzen, where there was people’s kitchen. All proceeds collected are being donated to to the prisoners.

Against repression and police brutality
Solidarity with the prisoners

Repression in Denver

Defend Denver:

Over the last year there has been a strong resistance to police murder and terror across the city of Denver. This is only the most recent surge in resistance to police terror in our city, going back to the loss of Paul Childs in 2003 or more recently Marvin Booker in 2010.

Denver Police have been systematically targeting and arresting those actively involved in this organizing. Denver Community Defense Committee, a group which has organized extensive support for families of people murdered by police, has five of its seven members under prosecution or known to be under investigation by the Gang Unit of DPD. Prominent independent journalists, those with an expansive reach through social media, have been targeted and arrested while filming the police in Denver.

At a rally outside the statewide conference of Chiefs of Police on July 20th it was observed that DPD had a handbook with names, photos and details on local organizers or participants in demonstrations against the police. DPD has a history of this type of behavior with the “Denver Spy Files,” (http://articles.latimes.com/2002/sep/10/nation/na-spies10) where local law enforcement had kept files on those involved in social movements for decades. While it was found to be illegal by a federal court to compile such files on community organizers and activists, and while DPD settled with the ACLU and promised to cease politically motivated surveillance, it appears that they have picked up the practice once again.

Since Friday, August 7 at least three organizers in Denver have been visited at their residences by Denver Police officers. DPD has been asking for people by name and snooping around their homes. At least two activists have found out that police officers tried to enter their residences, without a warrant, while they were away from home. Others who have pending legal cases have had more charges added, many months later with no additional evidence, by the office of Mitch Morrissey, Denver District Attorney. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that after demonstrations were held in front of Morrisey’s home to protest his failure to indict killer cops, his office is maliciously adding false charges against police brutality protesters. There was also a petition to recall Morrisey as DA that garnered 20,000 signatures, a petition supported by the same protester community he is now targeting.

This morning two activists who have been targets of this harassment from DPD were taken into custody. A month ago they were detained while they were walking down the street and given a request to appear with a detective for an interview. They then were notified they were to be interviewed by the Gang Unit. Last Friday 8 officers came looking for them at a previous address. Today they chose to turn themselves in and are currently being held awaiting booking and the setting of bond. Please contribute to their bond fund at: Denver Anarchist Black Cross Bail Fund

Knowing your rights does not ensure that the police honor them. They do not care. They are legally allowed to lie to you, and will lie to you. However knowing your rights and methodically going through them might help you in your interacting with the police and might help you later if you end up having to go to court.

  • Anything you say will be held against you. Do not answer questions. Do not talk to the police.
  • If police come to your door, you do not have to let them into your house if they do not have a search warrant. You do not have to answer any questions. You can exercise your right to remain silent and to speak to an attorney. Videotape them from inside your home.
  • If you are stopped on the street ask if you are being detained. If the answer is no, ask if you are free to leave. If the answer is yes that you are free to leave, leave immediately. Get as far away as you can, call friends and comrades who you trust.
  • If the police are searching your belongings or home, say out loud “I do not consent to this search.” Keep repeating “I do not consent to a search without a warrant.” It will not stop them from searching necessarily but it may impact what is admissible in court.
  • If they do have a warrant ask to see it(they can show it through the screen or glass, or slide it under the door) verify that it has been signed by a judge. Make note of the items listed on the warrant of what they are allowed to search. If they attempt to search or take any additional items say out loud that you do not consent to items being searched that are not on the warrant.

Let’s keep our heads up and hearts strong. And remember always, Mitch Morrissey’s dog is an anarchist.

If you are an organizer or activist being harassed, detained or have officers come to your home let folks know at defenddnvr@gmail.com and people can be in touch as quickly as possible! 

Repression only makes us stronger! Haters make us love harder! 

Solidarity with those arrested during the march against police terror!

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During the march against police terror on February 14th, multiple people were arrested. These people are going to need our help and support. We are asking for any and all donations to help with court fees, bond, and other associated expenses. If you would like to donate, go to our Fundly at: https://fundly.com/donate-to-denver-anarchist-black-cross# You can also donate via paypal at denvercommunitydefense@riseup.net We thank you all in advance for your support. Solidarity with the arrestees and the families and friends of those murdered by the DPD!

Bilal Ali, Co-founder of Occupy the ‘Hood, Beaten and Detained

I have just gotten information over the past couple of hours that Bilal Ali, co-founder of Occupy the ‘Hood Los Angeles, was apparently beaten and detained by LAPD officers in last night’s actions.

According to several people who have contacted me, Bilal and Joseph Thomas were kettled away from a larger group of Occupy supporters near Pershing Square sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 a.m. and were beaten repeatedly by LAPD officers with battons. Bilal appeared to be injured, perhaps seriously.

Bilal is a very well-known organizer and advocate for tenants, workers and the homeless in downtown L.A., especially over the past 8-10 years. In particular Bilal has figured prominently in a series of major conflicts with the Central City Association over questions of their influence over the City Council and other public institutions, including the police. It is this same association that has been working behind the scenes to get Occupy L.A. evicted and to get the City Council to enact a special ordinance to prohibit the use of City Hall as a platform for public protests. Continue reading

New Lawsuit Against Denver Police Alleges Cover Up in Brutality Case

In a few days it will be the one year anniversary of when Denver police beat Alexander Landau.  Photos taken soon after the beating show him wearing a neck brace, one eye is swollen shut, and his face and head bloody.  It’s this along with two other cases of police brutality that prompted Landau to sue the three officers in U.S. District Court in Denver, saying they tried to cover up the unwarranted attack. The 37-page lawsuit claims Internal Affairs routinely ignores serious complaints of “race-based or other violent retaliation and fabrication of evidence by the police force.”

 

 

 

Denver: Yet another assault at the hands of the Denver police

…but this time, it’s a whole family that was attacked… inside their home.

From KDVR Fox News:

DENVER — A Denver family has filed a lawsuit against the Denver police department after they say officers barged into their home without a warrant and beat up three members of their families.

According to the lawsuit, police were investigating allegations of drugs and prostitution at the home.  But police didn’t find the people who allegedly committed those crimes; instead, they found the Martinez family, who say police beat them first and asked questions later.

According to family members, police began pounding on the door of their home on Stuart St. at 11:00 p.m., so the father cracked the door open.

They say that’s when police barged in and started throwing punches.

Jonathon Martinez was 16 years old at the time of the incident, and he says an officer “pulled me back and then pushed my head through the window.”
Continue reading

Sign the Petition to Fire DPD Officer Shawn Miller

 

Amongst the ranks of the Denver Police Department there is a common theme of officers that ignore, neglect, and choose to violate people’s civil rights on a daily occurrence.  This is a problem from the top down.  Among the worst of a department that is full of “bad apples,” is Officer Shawn Miller, Badge No. 05134, District 6. Officer Miller earns the title as the most cowardice thug within the department.   Officer Miller’s rap sheet is appalling.  It includes, but is not limited to, assaulting a small town man enjoying a night out on the town, beating a disabled Iraqi war veteran to the point that he required resuscitation, and most recently, assaulting a blind woman.  Officer Miller’s actions are inexcusable.  He preys on the most vulnerable.  Miller is thug to the truest definition.  He has received no discipline of any substance.  He still “patrols” the same district and continues to terrorize citizens.  We move for the immediate termination of Officer Shawn Miller, anything less is unsatisfactory.  

Sign the petition here…and don’t forgot to forward it to your people!

Denver: Nearly 200 march against police

All cops...
Capitalist news coverage:

Dozens of people marched through Denver Saturday carrying signs and banners calling for a stop to police brutality.

The march started at 20th and Little Raven, the same spot where police were caught on tape using force against Mark Ashford who was trying to take a picture of an officer writing a ticket.

The next stop was 15th and Larimer in LoDo where police officers were taped beating Shawn Johnson and Michael Deherrera last year outside of a nightclub.

The march ended at the new justice center where jailers killed inmate Marvin Booker.

It was peaceful in terms of words, but the marchers made no disguise of their disdain for the Denver Police Department

The marchers said their main objective was to raise awareness about police brutality, but they had other demands as well. They want officers involved in the three police brutality cases to be fired and to face criminal charges. They’re also demanding that the videotape of Booker’s death inside the detention center be released to the public. The district attorney’s office has said it won’t release the tape during the criminal investigation.

Marchers said the resignation of safety manager Ron Perea wasn’t enough.

“We feel that just because one man has resigned, it hasn’t solved the problem that the community is facing, which is constant assaults and actually a homicide now at the new jail,” Glenn Spagnuolo with the All Nations Alliance said. “We want to make sure this stays in the spotlight until we feel something positive comes from it.”

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whitman told CBS4 that the cases the marchers are referencing are just a small percentage of those the department handles. He did say he’s concerned about the public’s trust.

Source and video

COMMUNITY MARCH & RALLY AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY

Join West Denver Copwatch, Aurora Copwatch, the hood, the barrio, the community, and concerned folks for a tour of police brutality.

Denver Law Enforcement has been brutal for years, however the situation has reached a pinnacle.

We will be marching to the sites of the most recent incidents of brutality

The march will be begin at 20th St and Little Raven where Mark Ashford was brutalized.

It will continue to 15th street and Larimer where Shawn Johnson and Michael DeHerrera were viciously assaulted.

The march will end at the Van Cise Justice Center where Marvin Booker was murdered by the hands of Denver deputies, and the rally will ensue.

Be there to demand JUSTICE, TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY, OVERSIGHT, and an END TO POLICE BRUTALITY

Where: Gather at 20th and Little Raven

When: Saturday August 28, 2010 @ 2:00pm, Step off @ 2:30pm

Bring your love and your rage

Contact info: westdenvercopwatch@riseup.net
720.878.3658