Lynne Stewart’s Husband Asks: Where are the Unions and Clergy?
Claiming the law gave him no choice, a federal judge rejected people’s lawyer Lynn Stewart’s request for compassionate release from a ten-year prison sentence. Judge John Koeltl said he would have given “prompt and sympathetic consideration” to such a request if it had come from the federal Bureau of Prisons, which maintains that Stewart’s health is “improving” despite the ravages of Stage Four breast cancer. Pressure must now be brought directly on President Obama, who “seems to enjoy doing the work of this oppressive corporate juggernaut,” said Ralph Poynter, Stewart’s husband and comrade in struggle. Poynter noted that “the unions have not participated as a group in the support for Lynne Stewart, Bradley Manning, Snowden, or any others on the issues of freedom of speech. The ministers have also not participated in this struggle.”
Dream Defenders Fight Criminal Justice Racism
Stand Your Ground laws are only part of the agenda of the young people occupying state government offices in Florida’s capital. Dream Defenders political director Ciara Taylor said their focus also includes “the school-to-prison pipeline that takes children out of school and puts them into jail cells,” and “racial profiling practices. We want to disassemble all three of these practices in Florida.” Ms. Taylor said “Trayvon Martin would not even have been in Sanford, Florida, at that time, had it not been for a school suspension that he received on the basis of a zero tolerance policy.”
Zimbabwe Shows the Way for Africa
President Mugabe’s landslide victory in Zimbabwe’s recent elections was not only “a plebiscite on land reform, it’s a barometer reading of what Africa is really thinking,” said political analyst Eric Draitser, founder of StopImperialism.com. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party “have stressed that political independence is meaningless without economic independence,” said Draitser.
Gold Rush Would Further Devastate Haiti’s Ecology
The U.S.-backed Haitian government is fashioning new laws to attract foreign mining corporations to exploit the country’s gold deposits. President Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly’s group “is, essentially, a kind of mafia, and they are joining hands with this international mafia of gold companies that are going around the world raping countries,” said Kim Ives, an editor of Haiti Liberte, the news and analysis weekly. “The people are very worried that words like ‘protecting national interest and sovereignty’ are a cover for just the opposite,” said Ives. Gold mining, which uses vast amounts of cyanide, has caused “an ecological disaster” in the neighboring Dominican Republic.
Why Not a Prisoner Exchange for the Cuban Five?
Every 5th of the month, supporters of the Cuban Five designate someone to write a letter to the U.S. president. Jane Franklin, author of Cuba and the U.S.: A Chronological History, did the honors this month. Asked about the prospects of a prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Cuba, Franklin replied: “Cuba has asked over and over again to sit down and discuss anything at all with representatives of the United States, but the U.S. has shown no interest in discussing the release of the Cuban Five.” The Cuban intelligence agents were imprisoned 15 years ago after revealing terrorist plots by Cuban exiles in South Florida.
New Black Activist/Scholar Think Tank
The Pan African Collective for Advocacy and Action makes its debut, this week, at a press conference in Washington, DC. “We’re sick and tired of these white organizations looking at issues within the Black community as if we’re some kind of terrarium or aquarium or incubator,” said Solomon Commisiong, one of the founders. The Collective “will do ‘white papers’” and such, but will not operate “solely as a think tank. It’s an organization of activists, scholars, and organizers whose aim is to go into our communities and work with grassroots organizations to try to deconstruct systemic issues that plague our communities.”
POP Chairman Reports on Mumia Meeting
Larry Hamm, chairman of the Newark, New Jersey-based People’s Organization for Progress, said his recent meeting with Mumia Abu Jamal was “a benchmark experience in my life that I will never forget.” The nation’s best-known political prisoner “has done more to bring about political consciousness than many of us who have our so-called freedom on this side of the prison walls,” said Hamm. During the two-hour visit, according to Hamm, Mumia said “President Obama has been able to enact policies that George Bush could not have gotten away with.” The first Black president’s election “has helped to demobilize people and blunt resistance that we might otherwise see in this country.”