Individual racism vs. systemic racism (Stokely Carmichael)

“Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms: individual whites acting against individual blacks, and acts by the total white community against the black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism. The first consists of overt acts by individuals, which cause death, injury or the violent destruction of property. This type can be recorded by television cameras; it can frequently be observed in the process of commission. The second type is less overt, far more subtle, less identifiable in terms of specific individuals committing the acts. But it is no less destructive of human life. The second type originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than the first type. When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city – Birmingham, Alabama – five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. When a black family moves into a home in a white neighborhood and is stoned, burned or routed out, they are victims of an overt act of individual racism which many people will condemn – at least in words. But it is institutional racism that keeps black people locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants, loan sharks and discriminatory real estate agents. The society either pretends it does not know of this latter situation, or is in fact incapable of doing anything meaningful about it.”

― Stokely Carmichael, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation

Inmates at the state prison in San Quentin, California, in June 2012

Anarchist Black Cross, 325 & Others Mentioned in Recently Leaked Stratfor Emails

Solidarity -- Free Jeremy HammondDue to the 10 year sentence handed down to anarchist hacker Jeremy Hammond in NYC yesterday Wikileaks decided to release the remaining Stratfor emails they had been sitting on for some time. Stratfor is a company that posed outwardly as a global intelligence information publisher but were in fact providing confidential intelligence services to many fucked up corporations, government and law enforcement agencies.

There are MANY emails – millions of them, but already we have found some emails of interest to the global anarchist movement, they are as follows…

Mention of Denver Anarchist Black Cross and also mention of ‘Black Cross activists’ being suspects in Texas State Govt mansion fire:

https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=5328523

FBI informant Brandon Darby was in contact with Stratfor:

https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=5316734

Emails of 14 US police officers revealed (including some undercover officers):

https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=547497

Stratfor monitoring of Occupy Austin planning:

https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=1240113

Stratfor monitoring of 325.nostate.net and attempt to establish owner of website… obviously not very astute students of revolutionary history otherwise they would know who Tommy Weissbecker was, hahaha!:

https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=1090854

These are some of the more interesting emails we have found so far – and please remember there are millions of emails to go through. You can search the emails yourself, try being creative with search terms, you might be surprised at some of the important information you can find!

Prisoner Sent to Solitary for Having “Copious Amounts of Anarchist Publications”

Via Will Potter:

Anarchist Political Prisoner, Mark “Migs” NeiweemAn inmate in Illinois has been in solitary confinement since July for possessing “copious amounts of Anarchist publications” and “handwritten Anarchist related essays,” according to prison documents.

Mark “Migs” Neiweem is a prisoner at the maximum security Pontiac Correctional Center who, in addition to the publications and his writings about the prison industrial complex, was also found in possession of anarchist symbols including a “Circle A” and “Circle E” (the latter, which stands for equality, is described in prison reports as representing “class warfare, the 99%”).

“I’ve been doing this work since 1979 and I can’t think of another case where someone has gotten a disciplinary report for something so obviously political as this,” said Alan Mills, who is Neiweem’s lawyer and a professor at Northwestern University.

Neiweem also had documents in his cell from the Anarchist Black Cross, which the Illinois Department of Correction says is “a political organization and openly supports those who have committed illegal activity in furtherance of revolutionary aims.” That’s a menacing way of saying that the group writes letters to prisoners and solicits donations so they can buy food from the prison commissary.

Prison officials spent months investigating Neiweem, combed through his cell, and even used a confidential informant to obtain more information on his anarchist views. According to a disciplinary report dated August 8, 2013, Neiweem was identified by the Intelligence Unit as an anarchist, and the confidential informant reported that he was attempting to recruit other prisoners to “be part of a collective.”

At a disciplinary hearing, at which Neiweem was not allowed to have an attorney present, he was found in violation of two departmental rules: possessing gang symbols, and possessing “written material that presents a serious threat to the safety and security of persons or the facility.”

Neiweem isn’t accused of plotting to harm guards or other prisoners, though; his political beliefs alone are described as a threat.

[…]

Read the rest of the article here.

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration and Racial Caste in the U.S.A.

How the racial caste system in the U.S. lives on today — slavery replaced with mass incarceration as the primary means of maintaining racial inequality.

Michelle Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration and the Age of Colorblindness” gave this talk at Riverside Church in Manhattan on May 21, 2011.

(Thanks to Joe Friendly for producing this film, and releasing it for free under the Creative Commons, Attribution license)

Fortresses of Solitude: Journalists Barred from Prison Isolation Units

Via Solitary Watch:

Cell doors in ADX FlorenceSupermax prisons and solitary confinement units are our domestic black sites—hidden places where human beings endure unspeakable punishments, without benefit of due process in any court of law. On the say-so of corrections officials, American prisoners can be placed in conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation for months, years, or even decades.

At least 80,000 men, women, and children live in such conditions on any given day in the United States. And they are not merely separated from others for safety reasons. They are effectively buried alive. Most live in concrete cells the size of an average parking space, often windowless, cut off from all communication by solid steel doors. If they are lucky, they will be allowed out for an hour a day to shower or to exercise alone in cages resembling dog runs.

Most have never committed a violent act in prison. They are locked down because they’ve been classified as “high risk,” or because of nonviolent misbehavior—anything from mouthing off or testing positive for marijuana to exhibiting the symptoms of untreated mental illness.

A recent lawsuit filed on behalf of prisoners in ADX, the federal supermax in Florence, CO, described how humans respond to such isolation over the long-term. Some “interminably wail, scream, and bang on the walls of their cells” or carry on “delusional conversations with voices they hear in their heads.” Some “mutilate their bodies with razors, shards of glass, sharpened chicken bones, and writing utensils” or “swallow razor blades, nail clippers, parts of radios and televisions, broken glass, and other dangerous objects.” Still others “spread feces and other human waste and body fluids throughout their cells [and] throw it at the correctional staff.” While less than 5 percent of US prisoners nationwide are held in solitary, close to 50 percent of all prison suicides take place there.

After three years of reporting on solitary confinement for Solitary Watch, a website I co-founded, I’m convinced that much of what happens in these places constitutes torture. How is it possible that a human-rights crisis of this magnitude can carry on year after year, with impunity?

I believe part of the answer has to do with how effectively the nature of these sites have been hidden from the press and, by extension, the public. With few exceptions, solitary confinement cells have been kept firmly off-limits to journalists—with the approval of the federal courts, who defer to corrections officials’ purported need to maintain “safety and security.” If the First Amendment ever manages to make it past the prison gates at all, it is stopped short at the door to the isolation unit.

[…]

Read full article at: http://solitarywatch.com/2013/03/05/fortresses-of-solitude-journalists-barred-from-prison-isolation-units/

Latif Letter About Guantanamo Speaks From the Grave: ‘I Am Being Pushed Toward Death Every Moment’

Camp X-Ray Detainees, Guantanamo BayExplosive claims in a letter to his lawyers reveal a Gitmo detainee’s fears about his captors’ intentions, well in advance of his mysterious death. Meanwhile, the investigation into his apparent suicide centers on the protocols meant to prevent it.

More than two years before he was found dead in his cell at Guantanamo Bay, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif reported that the people who oversaw his every move were facilitating his demise.

In a letter sent to his attorneys on May 28, 2010, the Yemeni detainee claimed he was given “contraband” items, such as a spoon and a “big pair of scissors … by the person responsible for Camp 5,” where uncooperative prisoners are sent.

“I am being pushed toward death every moment,” Latif wrote to human rights attorneys David Remes and Marc Falkoff. The communication was written in Arabic and translated into English by a translator Remes has worked with for nearly a decade.

“The way they deal with me proves to me that they want to get rid of me, but in a way that they cannot be accused of causing it,” Latif wrote.

On September 8, Latif was found “motionless and unresponsive” by guards in a cell in the very same Camp 5 cellblock he had cited in his letter. Two months later, the military produced a report that said he committed suicide.

The mystery surrounding the death of the eldest son of a Yemeni merchant who, by all accounts, did not belong at the offshore prison for suspected terrorists, is underscored by the almost prophetic nature of this singular letter. […]”

From Jason Leopold & Jeffrey Kaye in “Latif Letter About Guantanamo Speaks From the Grave: ‘I Am Being Pushed Toward Death Every Moment’” (Truthout, 10 December 2012)

—-

… And, on a side note:

“The Justice Department has ruled that the Obama administration does not have to disclose video showing the forced extraction of Guantanamo Bay prison detainees because doing so would be detrimental to national security.

US District Judge John Bate has decided that the Pentagon does not have to produce dozens of recordings taken at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba military detention facility, closing the case on a long-standing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by plaintiffs with the International Counsel Bureau (ICB) and the law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

The attorneys and ICB have been asking to see 45 video clips of forced cell extractions recorded at Gitmo as well as another tape showing a detainee shackled by guards against his will so that they could administer a haircut. On December 4, Judge Bate granted summary judgment to the government, giving Uncle Sam the go-ahead to keep the materials classified. […]”

Pentagon’s secret Guantanamo videos will stay classified (RT, 11 December 2012)