Tag Archives: Protests

The national prison strike is over. Now is the time prisoners are most in danger

Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan

Photo: Pixabay

Over the last few weeks men and women across the United States – and even as far away as Nova Scotia, Canada – have protested to demand humane treatment for the incarcerated.

In 2016, when prisoners engaged in similar hunger strikes, sit-ins, and work stoppages, their actions barely registered with the national media. As someone who regularly writes about the history of prisoner protests and prison conditions today, this lack of interest was striking. Continue reading

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Worldwide #RiseForClimate Events Kick Off to Demand Action on Crisis of Warming Planet

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time,” say 350.org’s executive director. “It is a crisis of democracy, justice, and human rights.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-7-2018

Activists gathered in Melbourne, Australia on Friday as part of the weekend’s global #RiseForClimate movement. (Photo: @350Australia/Twitter)

Building up to a mass mobilization planned for hundreds of cities across the globe on Saturday, campaigners have already kicked off #RiseForClimate demonstrations that aim to raise awareness about the climate crisis, encourage urgent action from policymakers to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and call for a full transition to renewable energy.

More than 800 actions are planned throughout the world and in the United States, from smaller towns and cities like Portland, Maine, to the Rise for Climate, Jobs, and Justice event in San Francisco—expected to draw thousands for the West Coast’s largest ever climate march. Those interested in participating can locate events using the movement’s map and searchable database. Continue reading

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Prisoner strike exposes an age old American reliance on forced labor

American slavery was technically abolished in 1865, but a loophole in the 13th Amendment has allowed it to continue “as a punishment for crimes” well into the 21st century. Not surprisingly, corporations have lobbied for a broader and broader definition of “crime” in the last 150 years. As a result, there are more (mostly dark-skinned) people performing mandatory, essentially unpaid, hard labor in America today than there were in 1830.
Photo: Return to Now

Calvin Schermerhorn, Arizona State University

Prisoners in 17 states and several Canadian provinces are on strike in protest of prison labor conditions.

Their demonstrations are compelling Americans to understand that some everyday foods are produced behind bars, for cents on the hour, in a system many call “modern slavery.” Prisoners in the U.S. harvest and process eggs, orange juice, ground beef and fish. They also staff call centers, fight wildfires and make sugar.

For this work, they receive, on average, 86 cents a day, according to the Prison Policy Initiative, an advocacy group. Continue reading

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Legal Analysis Exposes Kavanaugh’s Long History of Siding With Corporate Power Over the Common Good

“The most eye-catching conclusion,” says the author, is the Trump nominee’s inconsistent reasoning coupled with an “overwhelming tendency to reach conclusions favorable to corporations.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2018

Critics of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh protested at Foley Square in New York City on Aug. 26. (Photo: Ivan Pereira/Twitter)

Bolstering calls for the Senate to block President Donald Trump’s deeply unpopular U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, an analysis out Wednesday reveals that Kavanaugh has overwhelmingly sided with corporate power over public interest while serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit over the past 12 years.

The new report (pdf), authored by Public Citizen president Robert Weissman, found that Kavanaugh ruled against public interest 87 percent of the time for more than 100 split-decision cases involving consumer and regulatory issues and administrative law, environmental protection, worker rights, alleged police or human rights abuses, and antitrust enforcement. Continue reading

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Lawyers Turn to Activism as Civil Liberties Come Under Attack

A new generation of social justice attorneys has risen to defend against the hard-line policies of the Trump administration, from immigration and abortion access to voting and gender rights.

By . Published 8-6-2018 by YES! Magazine

To train a new generation of lawyers to fight for the rights of immigrants after the 2016 elections, Claire Thomas started an asylum clinic at the New York City law school where she taught.

In Seattle, Michelle Mentzer retired five years early as an administrative law judge so she could volunteer as an attorney with the ACLU.

And in Texas, Anna Castro traded her full-time job for contract work so she could prepare to attend law school to better serve her community. Continue reading

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Saudis Move to Behead Female Activist as Facebook Censors Anti-Saudi Content

Although Saudi Arabia has killed or injured several thousand women in neighboring Yemen, beheading a female is completely unprecedented inside the Kingdom thus far.

By Randi Nord. Published 8-23-2018 by Geopolitics Alert

Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 29-year-old woman activist for crimes such as chanting slogans at a protest. Beheading a woman is unprecedented in the kingdom. Meanwhile, Facebook has sprung into action to protect Riyadh’s back by initiating a crackdown on hundreds of accounts posting anti-Saudi content.

  • Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five activists with non-violent charges.
  • All of the activists belong to the kingdom’s historically oppressed Shia minority. One is a woman.
  • Facebook has coincidentally begun removing anti-Saudi accounts under the guise of fighting “Iranian interference.”
  • A private cybersecurity firm with ties to the US military tipped off Facebook to the accounts.

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With Sixteen “Guilty” Verdicts All in a Row, Hundreds of Thousands Ready to Hit Streets If Trump Issues Pardons or Moves Against Mueller

“Manafort could spend the rest of his life in jail, and Cohen could be headed there too. This raises the threat that Trump will try to pardon his way to obstruction of justice. If he does, we will take to the streets.”

By Common Dreams. Published 8-21-2018

“If Trump pardons Paul Manafort, 350,000 Americans in more than 900 cities are ready to take to the streets to assert that nobody is above the law.”

In response to the admission of guilt to eight charges by President Donald Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen and the eight guilty verdicts against his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort on Tuesday afternoon, the national progressive advocacy group MoveOn.org issued a blistering thread on Twitter in which it said the developments prove the Special Counsel’s office, led by Robert Mueller, is “on the right track” and also vowed that its millions of members are standing ready to defend the probe against any interference by the president. Continue reading

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Demanding Wide-Reaching Reforms and an End to Slavery, Inmates in 17 States Plan Prison Strike

“Every single field and industry is affected on some level by prisons, from our license plates to the fast food that we eat to the stores that we shop at.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-18-2018

Supporters of Florida’s prison strike in January. (Photo: @IWW_IWOC/Twitter)

Incarcerated Americans in at least 17 states will go on strike this coming week, refusing to perform labor and engaging in sit-ins and hunger strikes to demand major reforms to the country’s prison and criminal justice systems.


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Anti-Pipeline Kayaktivists Hit With Felony Charges Under Louisiana’s New ALEC-Inspired Law That Criminalizes Protest

Activists battling the pipeline project say the fossil fuel company’s private security “abducted” the kayakers before they were charged by police

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-12-2018

Three kayaktivists who oppose the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana were charged with felonies Thursday under a new state law that criminalizes peaceful protests of fossil fuel projects. (Photo: L’eau Est La Vie/Facebook)

Three kayaktivists who oppose construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline—the tail end of Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access Pipeline—are reportedly the first people to be charged with felonies under a new Louisiana law that, like a model bill crafted by the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), criminalizes peaceful protests of fossil fuel projects.

The collective of activists fighting against the pipeline—who have created the L’eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life) floating resistance camp—said on Twitter Thursday that three kayakers were “abducted” by the pipeline company’s private security while boating through public waterways, and then arrested. Continue reading

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Women Dressed as ‘Handmaids’ to Confront ‘Vicious Theocrat’ Mike Pence in Philadelphia Over His Anti-Choice Agenda

“Pence is one of the most dangerous reactionary figures in modern history. He is a key figure in ushering in a theocratic society right out of the Handmaid’s Tale.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-23-2018

Since President Donald Trump assumed office last year, many women have taken to dressing as handmaids from the TV series and book “The Handmaid’s Tale” to protest Trump’s anti-choice agenda. (Photo: Carlos Lowry/Flickr/cc)

Resisting the Trump-Pence administration’s anti-choice and anti-woman agenda, dozens of woman dressed as handmaids from the novel and TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale” are planning to greet Vice President Mike Pence when he arrives in Philadelphia on Monday for a GOP fundraiser.

The white bonnets and red dresses and capes worn by the protesters will mimic those of handmaids in Hulu’s dramatic series and Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel, in which women are forced to give birth to the children of powerful men. Continue reading

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