ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

July 26, 2005

2005.07.26: Tues. 7/26-Stop Illegal NYPD Searches! Say NO to Racial Profiling

Filed under: Criminal Justice,Drug Wars,Police Abuse,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 11:57 am
Tags:

From: Julie N. Fry
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2005 3:57 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tues. 7/26-Stop Illegal NYPD Searches! Say NO to Racial Profiling

Stop Illegal NYPD Searches!
Say NO to Racial Profiling!

Tuesday, July 26
Union Square
5:00 – 6:00 pm

On Thursday of last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg  announced that NYPD would begin  searching bags, backpacks and packages passengers on subways, buses, ferries and the commuter rail system, a policy that completely violates the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

But this policy is more than just a violation of an abstract right–it is a dangerous policy of racial, ethnic, and religious profiling.  Although the Mayor claims that the NYPD will not engage in racial profiling, the history of the department and the manner in which the searches are already being carried out indicates otherwise.  Activists observing the searches throughout the city have observed that almost without exception, everyone targeted for these illegal searches are people of color.

The danger of this policy, and of the climate of fear and repression that it engenders, is clear in the recent police killing in London.  Police pursued and then shot a man at point-blank range five times merely because he “looked suspicious.”   This man was carrying no weapon, backpack, or suspicious package; his only crime was appearing to be an immigrant. Now the police are admitting that they killed the wrong person, and Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old electrician from Brazil, is dead, a victim of a vicious police execution.  Both Blair and Bush resort to “us vs. them” language to justify their policies of war and repression, but people on the street know that “us vs. them” usually translates into the police vs. people of color.

The climate created by these oppressive police tactics do not make anyone safer.  In fact, the hysteria endangers all people of color and immigrants, and is especially a threat to Muslim, South Asian, and Arab people.  It is vital that progressive and antiwar activists rally in solidarity with targeted communities and against unchecked police repression.

There are  4.5  million riders on the subway everyday.  There is no way that the NYPD can search even 1 in 20 riders.  So who will be searched?  It won’t be yuppies carrying briefcases on their way to Wall Street.

In a nation where racism is a pervasive fact of life–  28 percent of all Black men will spend time in jail at some point in their lives and institutionalized lynching persists in the police killings of Black youths–more police power doesn’t make anyone safer.  It only reinforces and strengthens the a racist and repressive environment.

Join us on Tuesday for a speakout and press conference.  We will rally at Union Square, a transportation hub where activists have already filmed cops carrying automatic rifles and accompanied by attack dogs.   Representatives from unions, community, antiwar, and civil rights organizations will join to denounce this new campaign of illegal searches and to begin a campaign to roll back the NYPD’s continued assaults on civil liberties.

**In addition to joining us for this important rally, we call on videographers and photographers to document these illegal searches and send the footage to us to help expose thee NYPD.  Send footage to nosearch@troopsoutnow.org.

July 12, 2005

2005.07.12: Re: Antiwar Bulletin: From An American in London

From: Lisa R. Edwards
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 3:52 PM
To: Michael Letwin; 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Re: Antiwar Bulletin: From An American in London

The occupation of Iraq is a domestic and international issue because the people who are dying there, besides Iraqis, are our American brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and mothers and fathers.

Our tax paying dollars being spent there could be used for domestic affairs which would benefit our clients and ourselves.

Also, I do not consider myself egotistical for believing that my voice counts as either an individual or as part of larger union. These same voices indivuidually and collectively mobilized the nation to finally strike down Jim Crow and unions have historically played a role in fighting oppression throughout the United States and other parts of the world such as South Africa.

Lastly, just because the issue may be sensitive and divisive does not mean it should not be addressed and it is not relevant. Let the EB address it and let the members respond and have their voices counted.

P.S. Thanks for the referral on estate planning.

>>> Michael Letwin 07/08 10:59 AM >>>

http://www.mikemarqusee.com/index.php?p=135#more-135

Message from London

A rapid response to this morning’s events

By Mike Marqusee

[Mike Marqusee was born in New York City in 1953, emigrated to Britain in 1971, where he is an anti-war activist with Iraq Occupation Focus (www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk). He is an author of books on Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan.]

This morning, the suffering, grief and terror that have visited so many innocents in recent years came to London. We have not paid the kind of price that people have paid in Fallujah, Najaf or Jenin, but it is a steep price nonetheless. And its root causes are the same.

The bomb blasts were grimly predictable. Indeed, they had been widely and repeatedly predicted – not least by rank-and-file Londoners, who knew that by taking Britain into Iraq side-by-side with the USA, Tony Blair had placed their city in the firing line.

As I write, the wreckage is being cleared and the casualties counted. But Blair has already appeared on television to address the nation, pledging to defend “our values” and “our way of life” against those who would “impose extremism on the world”. He spoke of the unity of “civilised nations” in resisting “terrorism”. While the delivery may be slicker, his “us” vs “them” world-view was indistinguishable from Bush’s. Even by Blair’s standards, it was a performance of nauseating hypocrisy, as he sought to seize the moral high ground in relation to violence and destruction that he himself helped unleash.

The Labour government, egged on by the Conservative opposition and the right-wing press, will now seek to play on fear and drum up vindictive feelings. At this stage, however, it is unclear how the British population will respond. Will the mood more resemble post 9/11 USA or Spain in the wake of the Madrid carnage?

Coming the day after London’s Olympic triumph, the attacks are a grim reminder that media-hyped feel-good boosterism will do nothing to mitigate the UK’s plummeting global standing. Blair’s closeness to Bush, his championship of the US neo-liberal model in the European Union, his aggressive pursuit of the “war against terror” have all diminished Britain in the eyes of Europe and the world.

This is a reality of which many people in Britain are acutely aware. Opposition to the invasion of Iraq spread across every sector of British society, and was overwhelming in London. Subsequent revelations concerning the bogus claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction have further embittered public opinion – and made the Prime Minister, according to every poll, one of the least trusted and most disrespected individuals in the country.

Of course, Blair was able to overcome this decided disadvantage and get himself re-elected in May thanks to the absence of meaningful opposition within the established political system. That absence will be felt acutely in the days to come as Britain wrestles with the consequences of the bomb blasts.

The Blair government will doubtless seek to use this morning ’s atrocity to escalate its alarming attacks on civil liberties. The country’s 1.5 million strong Muslim population, already subject to police harassment, will come under increased pressure. (Commentators have been quick to claim that the bombs may be the work of people hiding anonymously within the “law-abiding Muslim community”.) Anti-globalisation protesters – currently gathered outside the G8 summit at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland – will be branded as “terrorists” and dealt with accordingly.

Fomenting and exploiting fear has been a speciality of the Blair regime. Asylum seekers, teenagers wearing hoods, militant Muslims, anarchists, paedophiles … the list of targets is lengthy and frighteningly flexible. Whenever there is a need to distract people from the impact of the government’s neo-liberal economic policies, from its failure to rebuild the public sector, from its misbegotten foreign adventures, a new scapegoat is conjured up. The bomb blasts may aid this process, but there is also reason to hope that this time there will be substantial public resistance.

On 15th February 2003, some two million people gathered in London to demonstrate against the imminent attack on Iraq.
I remember speaking to a neighbour who told me proudly that he was going on the march – his first ever protest march – because he was damned if he was going to let Tony Blair endanger his children’s lives by making London a prime target for attack.

Everything that has happened since then – the exposure of lie after lie, the deaths of British soldiers, the refusal of ground realities in Iraq to conform to Blair’s scenario – has further entrenched popular resentment of the war, widely seen as a result of Blair’s determination to court favour with George Bush. The prime minister calculates that the bomb blasts will unite British people behind their government and that a touch of well-rehearsed statesman-like gravitas will refresh his image. Much of the media will pump out the message that we are all under threat from faceless barbarians irrationally opposed to “our way of life”. It will be up to the anti-war movement to articulate a different analysis, to remind people that this attack is a consequence of our role in dishing out brutality in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, and to insist that no amount of moralistic posturing by our leaders can substitute for a desperately needed change in policy.

July 8, 2005

2005.07.08: Antiwar Bulletin: From An American in London

Filed under: Antiwar — nyclaw01 @ 1:32 pm
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2005 11:00 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: From An American in London

http://www.mikemarqusee.com/index.php?p=135#more-135

Message from London

A rapid response to this morning’s events

By Mike Marqusee

[Mike Marqusee was born in New York City in 1953, emigrated to Britain in 1971, where he is an anti-war activist with Iraq Occupation Focus (www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk).  He is an author of books on Muhammad Ali and Bob Dylan.]

This morning, the suffering, grief and terror that have visited so many innocents in recent years came to London. We have not paid the kind of price that people have paid in Fallujah, Najaf or Jenin, but it is a steep price nonetheless. And its root causes are the same.

The bomb blasts were grimly predictable. Indeed, they had been widely and repeatedly predicted – not least by rank-and-file Londoners, who knew that by taking Britain into Iraq side-by-side with the USA, Tony Blair had placed their city in the firing line.

As I write, the wreckage is being cleared and the casualties counted. But Blair has already appeared on television to address the nation, pledging to defend “our values” and “our way of life” against those who would “impose extremism on the world”. He spoke of the unity of “civilised nations” in resisting “terrorism”. While the delivery may be slicker, his “us” vs “them” world-view was indistinguishable from Bush’s. Even by Blair’s standards, it was a performance of nauseating hypocrisy, as he sought to seize the moral high ground in relation to violence and destruction that he himself helped unleash.

The Labour government, egged on by the Conservative opposition and the right-wing press, will now seek to play on fear and drum up vindictive feelings. At this stage, however, it is unclear how the British population will respond. Will the mood more resemble post 9/11 USA or Spain in the wake of the Madrid carnage?

Coming the day after London’s Olympic triumph, the attacks are a grim reminder that media-hyped feel-good boosterism will do nothing to mitigate the UK’s plummeting global standing. Blair’s closeness to Bush, his championship of the US neo-liberal model in the European Union, his aggressive pursuit of the “war against terror” have all diminished Britain in the eyes of Europe and the world.

This is a reality of which many people in Britain are acutely aware. Opposition to the invasion of Iraq spread across every sector of British society, and was overwhelming in London. Subsequent revelations concerning the bogus claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction have further embittered public opinion – and made the Prime Minister, according to every poll, one of the least trusted and most disrespected individuals in the country.

Of course, Blair was able to overcome this decided disadvantage and get himself re-elected in May thanks to the absence of meaningful opposition within the established political system. That absence will be felt acutely in the days to come as Britain wrestles with the consequences of the bomb blasts.

The Blair government will doubtless seek to use this morning ’s atrocity to escalate its alarming attacks on civil liberties. The country’s 1.5 million strong Muslim population, already subject to police harassment, will come under increased pressure. (Commentators have been quick to claim that the bombs may be the work of people hiding anonymously within the “law-abiding Muslim community”.) Anti-globalisation protesters – currently gathered outside the G8 summit at the Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland – will be branded as “terrorists” and dealt with accordingly.

Fomenting and exploiting fear has been a speciality of the Blair regime. Asylum seekers, teenagers wearing hoods, militant Muslims, anarchists, paedophiles … the list of targets is lengthy and frighteningly flexible. Whenever there is a need to distract people from the impact of the government’s neo-liberal economic policies, from its failure to rebuild the public sector, from its misbegotten foreign adventures, a new scapegoat is conjured up. The bomb blasts may aid this process, but there is also reason to hope that this time there will be substantial public resistance.

On 15th February 2003, some two million people gathered in London to demonstrate  against the imminent attack on Iraq.
I remember speaking to a neighbour who told me proudly that he was going on the march – his first ever protest march – because he was damned if he was going to let Tony Blair endanger his children’s lives by making London a prime target for attack.

Everything that has happened since then – the exposure of lie after lie, the deaths of British soldiers, the refusal of ground realities in Iraq to conform to Blair’s scenario – has further entrenched popular resentment of the war, widely seen as a result of Blair’s determination to court favour with George Bush. The prime minister calculates  that the bomb blasts will unite British people behind their government and that a touch of well-rehearsed statesman-like gravitas will refresh his image. Much of the media will pump out the message that we are all under threat from faceless barbarians irrationally opposed to “our way of life”. It will be up to the anti-war movement to articulate a different analysis, to remind people that this attack is a consequence of our role in dishing out brutality in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, and to insist that no amount of moralistic posturing by our leaders can substitute for a desperately needed change in policy.

Blog at WordPress.com.