28 February, 2007

Thanks, guys!

I've been known to say that flag-waving is tantamount to flashing gang signs.

When I see someone wave a flag, that's what it looks like to me. (This does not apply to "freak flags" or the "flags" Christo and Jeanne-Claude put up in their enormous art installations. Those are different. I change my mind on whether or not it applies to black flags depending on the context.) Anyway, that's how I see it, and I can elaborate if you're interested.

I've been known to say things like this in the classroom (or write about them in newspaper op-eds, like for the Orange County Edition of the Los Angeles Times in December of 2001, which didn't win me popularity points). Well, last night I got an email from a very wonderful former student who shall remain nameless (even though he is readily identifiable in the photo below). He wrote to tell me that another former student of mine (also delightful and readily identifiable) was visiting him in the Big City. The photo below was explained as follows:

yep, thats us flashing gang signs in front of the flags of the world in honor of one of your best lines from class.

That is really funny! (But, guys, what's with the "metal" faces? So wrong, and yet so right.)

Juan Cole at UI!

Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture

"The Iraq Crisis and the Future of America"

Juan Cole, University of Michigan

Date: 02/28/2007 Time: 07:30pm
Location: Room 1505 , Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts & Sciences

more info here

Eddy Zheng on the outside for the first time in 21 years

[ACH Note: I received the following from Eddy's Guardian Angel. You can also see it and other updates on Eddy's blog.]

Friends & supporters of Eddy Zheng:

This afternoon, Eddy Zheng was released from immigration detention! This does NOT mean that he will not be deported. It only means that he is no longer being held in immigration detention, while the government goes through the procedures of carrying out his deportation, which could take a while. He is continuing to challenge his deportation order in federal courts, which will probably take another year. If the government is able to carry out his deportation before the courts overturn the deportation order, he will be sent back to China.

This was a very unexpected and unusual development, and we only found out yesterday that they were planning to release him today.

This is the first time Eddy has been on the outside in 21 years -- since January 1986. He was reunited with his family at around 1pm in San Francisco today. He asked me to let you all know that he is extremely grateful for all of your support over the years. He said that he is very excited and that it feels very natural to be out.

This is an extraordinary victory, although it is not yet complete. We are all extremely excited about focusing on winning the final part -- the overturning of his deportation order.

Stay tuned for info on an event to welcome Eddy back.

It's nice to finally share some good news with you all...

[If this is the first you're reading about Eddy, click on his name after the word "labels" below. ACH]

27 February, 2007

Vote Vern!

Here's a plug for one of my righteous and adorable students. If you're a UI student, don't forget to Vote Vern on March 5th!

Right on!

How cool is this, people? (Click on the image to see a larger version.)
I sure do love Norma Field!

26 February, 2007

"Cartoon du Jour - By Khalil"

This comes (courtesy of a friend) from Bendib Cartoons.

Click the image to see a larger version.

25 February, 2007

Heat and electricity

If you're in Iowa, you already know this, but an ice storm hit us yesterday. It was followed by snow. I've never seen chunks of ice fall from the sky before. The trees around my house are coated in ice, and now a layer of snow covers what must be like a giant skating rink below. I can still hear shards of ice falling from the trees. My power went out at 3pm on Saturday and is still out. According to the news I read online, it could take days (not hours) for power to be restored. I'm lucky, because the temperature in my home hasn't dropped below 48 yet (as of 3:30am). I've also been sleeping under a lot of blankets, so I'm fine. I keep wondering about the people in prisons and detention centers. There is a psychiatric detention facility near Iowa City. I wonder how the folks there are staying warm. What happens when the heat goes out in a jail or prison? They don't have as many blankets as I do, I'm sure.

I have very little laptop battery power and irregular wireless access, so it may be a while before I can reply to email messages. Please excuse the delays in my replies to email messages.

UPDATE (2:00pm Sunday)
My power is now back on! Slightly less than a day without.

24 February, 2007

So Cal, check this out!

Click on the image for a larger version.

Also, Raul of Oaxaca Vive and others are attending the "STOP THE MIGRA RAIDS SUMMIT" in LA. 26,500 people have been taken in raids this year alone.

23 February, 2007

Quick roundup

I just received and watched The Legacy of Torture, which you can also order from the good folks at AK Press. This is an incredibly important film, especially considering the ongoing case of the San Francisco 8.

In case you missed the annual Homeless Marathon, you can read about it here.

While I have listened to and/or watched Democracy Now regularly for over ten years (and would encourage others to do the same), I really want folks to check out today's segments on a Texas jail for undocumented immigrants, an Iranian Canadian family (with a 9 yr. old son) in US immigration detention, the largest immigration detention center in the US, and the ignorant anti-immigrant "game" devised by NYU Republican students.

Yifat Suskind's writes about the sexualized torture of women in Iraqi jails.

"A Trial for Thousands Denied Trial" by Naomi Klein reminds us of the torture of José Padilla.

Juan Gonzalez writes about the new Iraqi oil law.

And Chalmers Johnson maps the reaches of the empire.

"Hmong men have no talent other than to kill."

"UW professor says racist sh*t about Hmong folks" on Owen's LiveJournal!

This is how we get down! (Thanks, J!)

These are precious photos taken by my Pilipino anarchist brother and artist-activist extraordinaire J at a New Year's gathering at the home of the very youthful K and S in a certain neighborhood in the outer reaches of Tokyo. Good times! I was looking at documents that gave me goosebumps - stuff I'd read about, but never imagined being able to see. As you might imagine, the room was filled with smoke and laughter – and amazing homemade New Years dishes (including a vegan plate for our punk singer comrade), a sake decanter that sang birdsongs (truly!), real green tea, dishes and desserts that kept coming, and conversation that was animated until just before it was time for me to catch the last train back to Yokohama. In her book 帝国と暗殺, Naitô Chizuko writes about how anarchists were described in the newspapers around 1905-1910. They were "scandalous" for sleeping all day, staying up all night, partying and talking about politics and social justice until the crack of dawn. It appears some things really don't change.

22 February, 2007

Heartwarming work by Martha

Click the image to see a larger version.

21 February, 2007

Student X tells Prof. R what institutional racism is like!!

ACH Note: The following is a REAL (and only slightly redacted to preserve anonymity) exchange between Professor R and Student X at Law School X. Student X gave me permission to share this exchange.

Prof. R,

I've attached my presentation memo. I'll also respond to your email below. I respond in the hope that you will better understand my position.



> Let me respond to some of the ideas you presented in
> your journal. First,
> of course you wouldn't be singled out for extra work
> next semester. I'm not
> sure how the thought occurred to you that you might
> be.

I was only speculating, I thought it might be possible that students who believe strongly in what they were doing would get extra work. It seemed logical to me, maybe not to others.

> As to your future plans, if the program did nothing
> more than solidify your
> belief about how unappealing it would be to work as
> a defense attorney, it
> may have been worth it. It will have given you a
> sense of the institutional
> limitations on using the role of a defense attorney
> as a change agent.

I would say that the clinic gives me a better understanding of the criminal system and allows me to put energy into something I find meaningful - it's worth it in that sense, though I’ve never thought to question whether the clinic was “worth it.”

> With respect to your disillusionment with the other
> students in the group, I
> acknowledge that you have no particular
> responsibility for confronting them
> with your beliefs. On the other hand, what do you
> think would happen if you
> responded directly to the people who made the
> remarks you reported that you
> overheard?

I’ve been responding each time, in different ways, depending on various factors.

Do you fail to respond because you think
> it would be awkward for
> you?

Not really. Though many people of color I know don’t want to always be marked as the politically correct person of color unless they feel so threatened they are forced to respond.

> Ineffective in getting them to reassess their
> values?

When people roll their eyes and smirk at each other, it is demoralizing and not an effective use of my emotional energy or time. So as a strategic question, yes. Anti-racist strategy requires that I take care of myself enough to be able to carry on and to use my energy wisely.

Are my
> rhetorical questions "bogus" for the same reasons
> that you referred to in
> your journal concerning the student request I keep
> on my bulletin board?

This is ultimately asking me to explain how, when and why I respond to internal, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological racism (in anti-racism curriculum, we call this the four “I”s – in real life there are no circumstances when they’re separated). Because I have a certain level of trust in you and assume that you are well-intentioned, I will answer this question in the hope that you can better understand where I'm coming from. There is no way to answer this question in a brief manner, so what I’m about to write only skims the surface of what this question invokes.

I have been faced with different forms of racism for as long as I can remember, and am faced with it very often, and I have to decide when and how to perform social intervention. The decisions I make come from years of trying out different methods, practicing, and reflecting, including engagement in a range of deliberate, organized, anti-racist work. It is common, regardless of the setting, that white people provide prescriptions for how people of color should react to racism. Racial theorists often claim that this is a historical trend: it is how the oppressor keeps the oppressed preoccupied with their concerns. Though I agree with the principles that oppressed people must determine how they themselves will resist and this often means organizing their own communities, I have also found that some of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had involved voluntary workshops on white privilege where white people are receptive to having their power and privilege challenged. But my point remains that people of color are forced to develop their own strategies for dealing with internal, interpersonal, institutional, and ideological racism in their lives, especially at a place like LawSchoolX. Our strategies come from a very deep and personal place. This is not an intellectual exercise for us, it is something that we physically feel in our very bodies. Oftentimes, I respond to offensive remarks because to stand silent is a type of suicide, something that, once again, is felt in my very body. To devalue someone’s very identity can be a devastating act of violence. To respond to devaluation is sometimes an expression of the will to survive. Other times, silence is the only means of protecting my mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

I'll start with a concrete examples from law school. In E's class, whenever I tried to talk critically about race, people rolled their eyes and smirked at each other. Everyone would attack what I said, no one validated me. This was so demoralizing I stopped speaking up. E's response was similar to yours, she asked why I didn't speak up more and she may even have marked down my grade for lack of participation. It is not just that no one wants to be constantly on the defensive, constantly facing smirks and eyes rolling, it is happening in a certain context. On the very first day of school, during “minority orientation” we had an entire session on changing our behavior to be more like rich white people. The first bad sign was that the day was called “minority orientation” and the second was that I was being pathologized and my background devalued before school even began. Consider all the affectations at this school and how race, class etc. is implicated, and how this affects someone. Who do the big paintings on the walls look like? Why? Who do the administrative decision-makers and faculty look like? Hierarchies, not just those based on race, permeate the culture of this school (from the servers at receptions who do nothing but pour drinks to the faculty-only bathrooms). Depending on the individual, these things can have a real affect on the psyche.

Due to all the issues mentioned so far and many others, students of color in this school rarely have enough space to stand up for themselves. At one of the first law school social events, students made fun of Indian phone operators in front of an Indian American first year student. This student joined in the joking. Why did he respond this way? During an affirmative action debate encouraged by B, only white students spoke, and the discussion was very right wing. No students of color spoke (until they were in private after class). My friend acted as a juror in my final trial for trial advocacy. She is a confident, outgoing young woman who has been considering law school ever since her brother was sent to prison. She felt dismissed during the jury deliberation (even though her points were very good), and, when B couldn’t figure out how to place her, asked if anyone in the jury (i.e. her) went to a different graduate school. She said something that blew my mind: she said she went to business school. I have not asked her why she did this, but I can guess. Of course, this is not only about race. For instance, my roommate last year, a black woman, was asked by her corporate firm interviewer to get him a cup of coffee.

In anti-white privilege workshops, we ask participants to imagine how and why whiteness can be silencing, marginalizing, and threatening. Applied here, the law school is not a comfortable space for everyone. For some, it is a space that is silencing, marginalizing, and threatening. There are groups of students of color at our school who come together and spend hours processing the experiences they’ve had which offended them, and I’ve heard that they’ve gone to the Dean about some issues. To understand why they do not speak up in class is to understand how and why power and privilege can be silencing. The primary response to this should be empathy for those who are silenced, not a challenge for them to educate those who silence them. At OrganizationX, we told the youth that if they aren’t able to create a safe space for other youth to talk about personal trauma such as racism, then they shouldn’t expect to elicit a serious discussion about such issues. Unfortunately, such a space does not exist at this school. Similarly, one principle I usually adhere to is that I will not invest emotional energy into a discussion about race where participants do not take it seriously: it is too painful and a waste of time.

The clinic does not exist in a vacuum. To invoke the issue of racism is to call up a lifetime of memories that define who I am; is to call forth the self-hatred that has been deposited deep within me but which I struggle to purge from myself. This is why we precondition discussion of racism at OrganizationX with the creation of a safe space, where we take issues that might have personally affected people around us seriously (racism, poverty, physical/sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS, deportation, prison etc.) and not to assume that they can take such issues lightly.

Again, the examples and issues I've raised only skim the surface how I experience offensive remarks and when/why/how I respond to them.

The other side of this question is social change praxis, that is, a question of strategy. This has been my central topic of study for the last seven years of my life and I don’t even know where to begin to explain this (my honors thesis was 100 pages and that was nearly four years ago).

> If you're serious about wanting to use your legal
> training as an instrument
> for effecting social change, it is hard to
> understand your reluctance to
> engage as small a group as the criminal clinic.

I take social change very seriously (it is, almost literally, my life’s overriding purpose and has guided every major decision I’ve made for the last seven years, leading me to organizing as well as policy groups in six cities) so I take this comment very seriously. However, it is difficult for me to respond because I do not understand what the comment asks. Are you questioning whether I am serious about using legal training for social change? What does this have to do with engaging students at the clinic? Why is the size of the group relevant? Perhaps one answer is that I don’t see law students as an important sector to organize, which does not mean I don’t try, but it means I will give in if I do not feel I have the psychic energy to withstand a particular form of engagement or emotional presence. As far as strategic organizing/collective action at law school, one thing I did was to start an OrganizationY chapter my first year on campus and organize three events since then (including one on racism and the prison system where E was a panelist and one on the juvenile system). I don’t see how this type of work relates to using legal training as an instrument for social change- I would consider my work with OrganizationA, OrganizationB, OrganizationC, OrganizationD, OrganizationE etc. as more relevant, though I would classify all these groups as service or reform groups rather than base-building organizations.

> I'm sorry you feel the journal process is one sided.
> I guess that means my
> responses to what you wrote were of little value.
> Oh well. I tried.

If you look at my journal entry, I think you’ll see that I did not mean for you to interpret "the journal process is one sided" as "my responses were of little value." I think getting responses is better than not getting responses. I was merely saying I prefer dialogue which would, at minimum, allow for follow-up and clarifications. Such as an electronic bulletin board. I certainly would not say that your responses “were of little value.”

Finally, I ask that you do not share these emails with anyone. I only share these thoughts because you have gained enough of my trust and you seem open-minded.

Small blasts in the big screen: Can someone tell me something about the Revolutionary Army?

Owen, this one is for you!

I want to know more about the Revolutionary Army (革命軍) that's claiming responsibility for small bombings in Japan. The most recent happened at Camp Zama before Dick Cheney's arrival (to ask Japan for more troops).

"The Revolutionary Army said in a statement to media organisations that the blast was an 'angry blow of an iron hammer' at the US plan to increase troops in Iraq. 'It is an pre-emptive attack to stop Vice President Cheney's visit to Japan,' the statement said, attacking moves to strengthen the US-Japan military alliance."Source

Too bad it didn't work. Cheney still went, and he still asked Japan to amp up its contribution to the war on Iraq.

Owen asked me about this Revolutionary Army, and I honestly don't know anything about them. What they do makes the news for a moment, but then is quickly forgotten/lost. But they keep doing stuff. And maybe staying off the radar is part of a really solid strategy. Maybe it's a function of corporate media control and the interests common to those who oversee the concentration of media outlet ownership. I don't know. According to Reuters, "Police searched the area near the US Army's Camp Zama base southwest of Tokyo and found two pipes about 300 metres from the base, the spokesman said, adding that they were investigating the incident." Here is a variation on the same Reuters piece.

CNN Japan reports:

So, that's the basic corporate coverage.

The Sankei is saying it's being investigated as the actions of "radical guerrillas." That's the same vague (and dismissive) phrase used in relation to the earlier incidents I remember. Antiwar protests in Saitama on November 7 of 2004 were followed by reports that someone had set off a homemade bomb outside the nearby Asaka SDF Base. Two explosions were heard while Prime Minister Koizumi was visiting the base for a celebration marking the fitieth anniversary of the SDF. According to the Mainichi newspaper at the time, “radical guerrillas” were blamed. I have yet to hear any word on who these "radical guerrillas" are and am still quite curious. Is this the same group? Again, staying off the radar could mean so many things...

The name "the revolutionary army" is mentioned here too, and you can find a few other sources that say this RA has claimed responsibility for the bombings.

20 February, 2007

The under-reported, the distorted, and the deported

I had one lovely friend from California visiting me (she left today), I enjoyed dinner with 3 other lovely women tonight, and my lovely mom just called to talk. My girlfriends and my mom are the best. Our conversations were about racial justice, community, love, suffering, and the need to tell the truly important stories. The awareness that a better world is possible (and necessary and already "onamove") that I carry away from my conversations with these lovely women compels me to share the following.

I learned from Democracy Now that the head of the beast still talks out both sides of its mouth. The government insists it's NOT planning a war on Iran, but plans for a "massive air strike" have nonetheless been drawn. Here are the Democracy Now reports (you'll notice Cheney has also asked Japan to send more troops):

US Plans for Attack on Iran Revealed
The BBC is reporting the US military has drawn up contingency plans for massive air strikes against Iran. The plans call for attacks on Iran's nuclear sites, air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centers. As part of the plan, long-range B2 stealth bombers would drop so-called "bunker-busting" bombs to penetrate Iran's underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.
Second U.S. Aircraft Carries Arrives in Middle East
The BBC's report comes at a time of heightened tension between the United States and Iran. Earlier today the US aircraft carrier USS Stennis arrived in Middle Eastern waters. The US will soon have two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf for the first time since the start of the Iraq war. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has admitted the Stennis was deployed to the Gulf to send a message to Iran.

The good folks at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper sent me this link to an interview with Kamel Bell, Herman Bell's son, by JR on Flashpoints from Feb. 15th. It begins 38:30 into the program. Kamel talks about the historical background to the San Francisco 8 case, including COINTELPRO and the history of the government's attacks on the Black Liberation Movement and the Black Panther Party.

Latino youth in Chicago are organizing to fight the deportation raids. Their group, El Zocalo Urbano, warrants our support. Check out their MySpace page!
Click on the image to see a larger version of the poster.

Finally, I'm very disturbed by this report about a Pakistani man in Colorado who is facing deportation because he responded to racial slurs by getting into a fist fight.

19 February, 2007

UI partners with the One World Foundation!

The University of Iowa's International Programs and Opportunity at Iowa will collaborate to fund at least one student’s participation in the One World Foundation's summer program this year! All undergraduate and graduate students of color who meet One World's qualifications and who will return to the UI next year are eligible to apply for the programs in Cambodia or Mali. The deadline has been extended for us. Please contact me ASAP if you are interested in applying. Click on the image below to see a larger version of the flyer.

17 February, 2007

Indi on Murakami Haruki

"I don't know much about Japanese literature, but I can smell a fucking rat in the first paragraph."

"He's like Michael Flatley."

15 February, 2007

Local conscientious objector takes a stand on stage

Click here for details on the upcoming performances of Joshua Casteel's "Returns," a play based on his experiences as an Abu Ghraib interrogator.

The play debuts tomorrow night at 8 p.m. and will be performed at 8pm on Friday and Saturday as well. There's also a 2 p.m. show on Sunday, Feb. 18. The performances will be in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building. The production is directed by David Gothard, associate director of the Abbey Theatre, Ireland's national theater.

14 February, 2007

Free Agustin Aguayo

Click on the image below to see a larger version.

13 February, 2007

12 February, 2007

The SF 8

Read this latest update on the 8 arrested Panthers and this essay.

And if you are in the Bay Area, please take special note of the following, which comes by way of the good people at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper.

Support the Black Panther 8! Come to Court!

Attend the next court date scheduled for Wednesday, February 14th, 9:00 am, Dept 12, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco!

From the Talking Drum Collective

February 2007 Action Alert - Free The 8 Panther Vets On Lockdown



Plan of Action: Make phone calls, write letters, attend hearings/meetings/rallies, broadly distribute information, provide financial support and resources towards the struggle for the release of 8 senior citizen Freedom Fighters.

Eight former Black Panthers were arrested January 23, 2007 in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out after it was revealed that police used torture to extract confessions when some of these same men were arrested in New Orleans in 1973. Richard Brown, Richard O'Neal, Ray Boudreaux, and Hank Jones were arrested in California. Francisco Torres was arrested in Queens, New York. Harold Taylor was arrested in Florida. Two men charged have been held as political prisoners for over 30 years Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim are both in New York State prisons. A ninth man -- Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth is still being sought. The men were charged with the murder of Sgt. John Young and conspiracy that encompasses numerous acts between 1968 and 1973.

Harold Taylor and John Bowman (recently deceased) as well as Ruben Scott (thought to be a government witness) were first charged in 1975. But a judge tossed out the charges, finding that Taylor and his two co-defendants made confessions after police in New Orleans tortured them for several days employing electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation.

Purpose of Action: Let the world know of this federal witchhunt, harassment and kidnappings, as proof that this government will terrorize and torture freedom fighters, even in their senior years, to continue their war against those who dared to ever take a stand for the people.

Bail Hearing and Arraignment
Set for Feb. 14, 2007

The first court hearing for the four defendants who live in California-Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Richard O'Neal, and Ray Boudreaux-was held in San Francisco Superior Court on January 29, 2007. They are presently being held on bail of $3 million to $5 million each (!). Their arraignment and a bail reduction hearing was carried over until February 14 at 9:00 a.m.
The Superior Court is at 850 Bryant Street in SF.


How you can make a difference today:

1. Attend the arraignment and bail reduction hearing on Valentine's Day at San Francisco Superior Court. These men need to get bailed out, which is impossible with the present absurd bail amounts.

2. Write these Brothas and ask them what their specific needs may be (i.e. commissary, books, etc.). We must support them and let their captors know that they have folks on the outside looking out for them.

3. Stay posted on ongoing developments and Action Alerts by subscribing to cdhrsupport's e-mail list (address below) as well as websites in solidarity with these men.


Bro. Herman Bell
# 79C-0262, Sullivan Correctional Facility, Box 116, Riverside Drive,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116

Bro. Ray Boudreaux
2301300, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Bro. Richard Brown
2300819, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Bro. Henry (Hank) Jones
2301301, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Bro. Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), # 77A4283, Auburn Correctional Facility, 135 State Street, P.O. Box 618, Auburn, NY 13024

Bro. Richard O'Neal
2300818, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103

Bro. Harold Taylor
#07-00944, 5600 Nehi Road, Panama City, FL 32404

Bro. Francisco Torres,
#349071576, 1515 Hazen Street, East Elmhurst, NY 11370.

(taken from http://www.cdhrsupport.org/)

Goals and Outcomes


1. To make the release of these men a global issue.
2. To expose this government's campaign of terror against hundreds of U.S. political prisoners, prisoners of war, and exiles.


1. To achieve full acquittal of all charges on these freedom fighters, and completely clear Bro. John Bowman's name in connection with this.
2. To raise the demand for amnesty for all US freedom fighters by building an even stronger movement!

10 February, 2007


Big news for anyone interested in DIY culture and non-elitist arts that matter! The first winners of the cadre biannual grant for visual artists have been announced! I'm especially pleased to see that Nora Barrows-Friedman was among the winners, but they are all really cool! What makes cadre realy special is its DIY approach to supporting artists. Artists and others (myself included) make a donation as small as $10, and that money goes into the grant pot. If you contribute, you can apply for a grant. At the end of each cycle, cadre judges look at how much money is there and evaluate the entries. The money is then awarded in ways cadre judges feel can "make a significant difference in the realization of the work." In its first cycle, they had $3908.69 to award!!

09 February, 2007

Masizakhe screening at the Pan African Film Festival at the Magic Johnson Theatres in LA next week!

Click on the image below to see a larger version. My friend Rushay is featured in this new documentary, as is the MC extraordinaire J-Bux!

08 February, 2007

Press Conference Saturday: The homes of Black San Franciscans stolen in Black History Month!

This announcement comes from the good folks at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper.



Lisa Gray-Garcia, POOR Magazine: (415) 863-6306, (510) 435-7500 cell
Regina Douglas: (415) 240-5615 cell
Willie Ratcliff, SF Bay View: (415) 671-0789, (415) 571-1722 cell


The homes of Black San Franciscans stolen in Black History Month!

In the most recent attempt to eradicate Black families in San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom has given the land underneath the Alice Griffith public housing development (also known as Double Rock) to the Lennar Corp. for development in a bid to keep the 49ers. This is the latest in an unending chain of corporate-favoring displacement of San Francisco’s low-income families of color.

What: Press Conference and Rally
When: Saturday, Feb. 10, 9:30 a.m.
Where: Whitney Young Child Development Center, 100 Whitney Young Circle

“If this deal goes through, me and my family will have nowhere to go. They have been trying to get rid of Black folks up here for a while,” said Byron Gafford, staff writer with POOR Magazine, poet and life-long Alice Griffith resident. This dirty, backroom deal is just one of the many in a long line of redevelopment plans the city has implemented in recent years to gentrify many San Francisco neighborhoods. From Bayview Hunters Point to Valencia Gardens in the Mission to the Fillmore District, it has become clear that the local government has no intention of providing affordable housing for Black families, but rather wishes they leave altogether.

Over 700 Black San Francisco residents of Alice Griffith in Bayview Hunters Point are the latest group facing eviction due to yet another illegal contract forged by Newsom and his friends at Lennar, whose former first vice president and director of acquisitions, Laurence Pelosi, is Newsom’s first cousin and treasurer for Newsom’s mayoral campaign.

Lennar has promised to provide “affordable” housing but with its current homes in the Bay Area starting at above $650,000, Black residents are more than just concerned. Residents will also ask Newsom why the City gives “Master Developer” Lennar control of hundreds of acres from Candlestick Point to the Hunters Point Shipyard when neighborhood-based developers who hire local residents have proven expertise in building affordable housing. Why would a city that spurns big box and chain stores bring mega-developer Lennar all the way from Florida when local builders can do the job better.

“Between the Lennar Corp., the John Stewart Co., HUD HOPE IV-style gentrification, the City’s Housing Authority, Redevelopment Agency and the mayor, there won’t be any Black or poor folks left in San Francisco. These companies and their city counterparts have systematically destroyed many of the public housing projects with the promise of one unit of housing replacement for one unit demolished. The problem with that lie is it never happens. They told us they were going to do one for one replacement of housing in Valencia Gardens, and almost no one got housing in the new development,” said Lisa Gray-Garcia, editor of POOR Magazine and former resident of public housing.

With the fate of Black communities in not only the City’s, but also the corporations’ and redevelopers’ hands, yet again many Black families feel they will lose their homes unless they put up a fight in this year’s Black History Month. The lawsuit filed recently to reinstate the referendum against the Bayview Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan that more than 33,000 San Franciscans signed should have put Newsom on notice that ethnic cleansing will no longer be tolerated in San Francisco.

“Together we stand and divided we fall. This time, Mayor Newsom, you are in for the fight of your life, because this time we demand not only to sit at the table but for the table to be in our community,” said lifelong Bayview resident Regina Douglas

POOR Magazine is co-sponsoring the rally with the SF Bay View newspaper. POOR Magazine is non-profit media, education and arts organization dedicated to providing media access, arts education and advocacy to youth and adults in the Bay Area struggling with poverty and racism.

07 February, 2007

Mark your calendars: John Trudell coming to UI with documentarian Heather Rae

Thursday, April 12
7:30 pm
Englert Theater
See info here.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Kenneth J. Cmiel Human Rights Funded Internship Program 07

The UICHR is proud to announce the continuation of its annual Kenneth J. Cmiel Human Rights Funded Internship Program 07 to promote an understanding of international human rights issues among University of Iowa students. The program provides funding up to $2500 to selected students who have secured a summer internship with a local, national or international non-governmental organization or governmental agency engaged in human rights related advocacy, research or education. Program funds cover travel and living expenses associated with the internship.

Current UI undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who will remain enrolled in a degree program at the UI the semester following their internship are eligible to apply.

We are also holding an Informational Session on February 27th 2007, from 4:30pm onwards in 1117 International Commons, University Capitol Center in the Old Capitol Mall. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Kindly encourage your students to apply and share information about the Program as well as the Informational Session amongst colleagues and other community members.

Applications for the 2007 Human Rights Internship Program can be download at www.uichr.org and are due by 5pm on April 15, 2007.

Students or faculty with questions may contact the UI Center for Human Rights at 335-3900 or uichr@uiowa.edu

Support Indymedia

NHK guilty!

More here!

More on the eviction of homeless folks!

The First World Contempt for the Vulnerable

Shiori sent me this report [in Japanese] on homeless folks in Osaka who were forcefully evicted from a park. As she says, "it's bs." In addition to cops, 300 (!!!) private "security guards" were hired to evict 9 people! Is this the "beautiful Japan" Abe wants? One in which human beings are removed to make a park more "beautiful"? In time for the International Association of Athletics Federations 2007 World Championships, when a big track and field event will be held in that park? For more info, see this site and recent posts on the Irregular Rhythm Asylum Blog (especially this one and this one). Is it any wonder homeless folks get attacked? A liquor store owner allegedly tried to kill a homeless man by setting his cardboard box on fire on Christmas. It all really reminds me of what K said after the lynching of a homeless man in Shinjuku ...

The following video from YouTube is titled "Homeless in Beautiful Country."

Norma Field told me about this source for news in Japanese. As she said, "it's got a ton of stuff."

Yoli sent me to this video of Henry Giroux speaking on "Culture, Politics, and Pedagogy." It's quite good. I like him. If you do too and want to hear his talk about authoritarianism in the US, listen to yesterday's "Against the Grain" on KPFA.

Armando Castro, a 15 year-old in San Jose, CA, was charged with a FELONY for sitting down to rest on a golf cart at his school! Read a press release about this outrageous case here!! Please take the time to call the DA and superintendent, whose contact info are included on the press release.

06 February, 2007

Hey, Colorado!! Jesse Borrego is there!!

Oh wow, this is so exciting. I really wish I could be back home for this!!

Film and stage actor Jesse Borrego will star in Su Teatro's production of "Drive My Coche," a one-man show by well-renowned playwright Roy Conboy ("When El Cucui Walks"), and directed by Artistic Director Anthony J. Garcia for one weekend only, February 8-10, 2007 at El Centro Su Teatro,4725 High St. Curtain is at 8:05 PM.

"Drive My Coche" is a bittersweet drama about a Chicano reflecting on his first love, his tested friendships, and the joy and the turmoil he experienced the summer before he shipped out to Vietnam. Aside from performing, Borrego will also be in residence at El Centro Su Teatro from February 6 to February 11, where he will participate in story circles with Armed Forces veterans from the local GI Forum and the American Legion, as well as interviews and student workshops.

In 2005, Borrego, along with film star Rosanna DeSoto and recording artist Tish Hinojosa, performed in Su Teatro's production of the "Westside Oratorio" at the King Center Concert Hall. He has been a long time supporter of the organization, and this relationship has led to this production. Borrego's residency is made possible in part by a grant from the National Performance Network and the Network of Cultural Centers of Color.

Borrego will return to Denver in August to perform at El Centro Su Teatro's 11th Annual Chicano Music Festival. Tickets are $18/ general, and $15/ students and seniors. For more information about "Drive My Coche" or to schedule an interview, please contact El Centro Su Teatro at (303) 296-0219 or www.suteatro.org.

Click here for some good reading.

04 February, 2007

The time to stop a war on Iran is now!

I took this photo at an antiwar rally in Oakland four years ago.

"US gears up for war with [sic] Iran"

"US ex-generals reject Iran attack"

And back in October, Phyllis Benis wrote this.

03 February, 2007

Weather Report

I've never felt compelled to post about the weather until now, when the wind chill is expected to "dip" under 30 degrees below zero for the next few days. That freaks me out. The past two days have been the coldest days I've ever experienced. If you are reading this on Saturday night and are brave, bundle up and head over to the Hall Mall for a benefit for the Coup!! AV Collective will perform, as will several funky and experimental acts. It's the place to be! Stay warm and dance and help raise money for Boots Riley and the Coup crew.

Shono Yoriko

Check out this interview in the Dalkey Archive Press publication The Review of Contemporary Fiction.

02 February, 2007

"That's a good night when nothing bad happens."

While I'm sitting here wondering what really happened in Najaf, I can't help thinking about other ways in which the will of the powerful is enforced. I've been posting a lot about the arrested former Panthers. David A. Love wrote this piece on the subject. I also just watched the following videos, which a friend forwarded to me.

I'm really grateful to my students these days. Without a sense of hope that things can and will be better, it's hard to maintain. My students are giving me so, so much hope these days. I'm so humbled by how deeply they care, by how willing they are to take seriously the suffering of other people. I'm incredibly fortunate.

Also of interest:

Owen posted an article about race and labor on his January 30th LiveJournal entry. (And more recently info on Mark Wahlberg's hate crimes against Vietnamese, which I totally hadn't known.)

If issues of representation matter to you, Carla is on fire in her blog these days.

01 February, 2007

Stop Torturing Black People!

I received the following press release from The Center for Constitutional Rights.

CONTACT: Jen Nessel, CCR, 212.614.6449
David Lerner, Riptide Communications, 212.260.5000



January 23, 2007, New York Authorities in San Francisco today announced the arrests and indictments of former Black Panthers in the 1971 killing of police officer Sgt. John V. Young despite the use of torture to obtain confessions. Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) compared the documented torture by law enforcement of Black Panthers arrested in New Orleans in 1973 to the documented torture the U.S. government has practiced recently at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo.

CCR Legal Director Bill Goodman said, "The case against these men was built on torture and serves to remind us that the U.S. government, which recently has engaged in such horrific forms of torture and abuse at places like Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, has a history of torture and abuse in this country as well, particularly against African Americans."

CCR Attorney Kamau Franklin said, "These indictments are an attempt to rewrite history-- the history of the Black Panthers, the history of COINTELPRO, and the history of the Civil Rights Movement."

In 1973, New Orleans police employed torture over the course of several days to obtain information from members of the Black Panthers who were stripped naked, beaten, blindfolded, covered in blankets soaked with boiling water, and had electric probes placed on their genitals, among other methods. A court ruled in 1974 that both San Francisco and New Orleans police had engaged in torture to extract a confession, and a San Francisco judge dismissed charges against three men in 1975 based on that ruling. Two years ago, a grand jury convened in San Francisco to reopen the case, but several of the men involved felt they were being wrongly compelled to testify and refused to attend the proceedings.

CCR represents victims of torture by the U.S. at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, as well as Canadian rendition victim Maher Arar. In addition, CCR has filed suit against the NSA for the warrantless domestic spying program authorized by President Bush; the COINTELPRO program illegally spied on Black activists in the Sixties and Seventies and engaged in numerous unconstitutional acts against Civil Rights organizations.

About CCR
The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) is a non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to protecting and advancing the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights demonstrators in the South, CCR is committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

[ACH note: Check out the Freedom Archives too!]

Ehren Watada

Norma Field told me that Lt. Ehren Watada's mother was visiting the Univ. of Chicago today. I'll be anxious to hear what she had to say after the recent developments in his upcoming court martial case. His mother was in San Francisco for the J27 antiwar protest before leaving for Chicago. For more information on Ehren Watada's case, please see Thank you Lt. Watada and this article by Dahr Jamail that includes the transcript of a speech Watada gave last August.