USA

Strike for Democracy in the US

Since the day of the election of Donald Trump to office, demonstrations in the USA have continued in response to growing outrage at the right-wing policies and rhetoric of a man who seems destined to ignite previously unknown levels of solidarity across the US.

Since January discussion on social media, with Strike4Democracy (S4D) picking up the lead, has been focusing upon a general strike with a provisional date now identified… Continue reading

Crimethinc: A History of Anarchist Counter-Inaugural Protest

Thousands of protesters will stream into the streets of Washington, DC on January 20 to oppose the incoming presidency of Donald Trump. As they march, chant, unfurl their banners, and attempt to disrupt the inauguration, they step into a decades-long history of protests against the presidential spectacle.

 

 

What follows is a history of anarchist counter-inaugural activity from its first stirrings in 1969 to the high point of the… Continue reading

Fight the extradition of Lauri Love

On the 16th of September 2016 at Westminster Magistrates Court the extradition proceedings of Lauri Love (a computer scientist accused of hacking) were approved with leave to appeal. Lauri is being extradited to face charges of hacking to government websites and stealing data from three states in the U.S He faces a sentence of up to 99 years according to his U.S. lawyer Tor Eckland.

A group of… Continue reading

Notes from the USA: September 2015

Spying ======

Documents continue to emerge from Edward Snowden, the former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA). Significant data was published in mid-August which detailed how telecommunications giant AT&T willingly gave the Agency access to literally billions of emails transmitted across the former’s domestic networks – conceivably every one. These included the headquarters of the United Nations for many years. By 2013, the NSA’s top-secret budget for this partnership… Continue reading

Ferguson Legal Defence Fund Smashes Target

The slogan ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ has become emblematic of the protests.

A CROWD funding campaign to get legal reps for people detained during disturbances in Ferguson, Missouri, USA has more than doubled it’s target, reaching as high as $57,000 mark after a surge of donations. The huge boost to the Ferguson Defense Fund on Indiegogo was sparked as rioting broke out over the exoneration of killer cop Darren Wilson by a Grand Jury yesterday. Viral film stills showed Wilson, who sparked national unrest when he gunned down unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, smiling as he walked free from court. Violence broke out just hours later as heavily-armed police clashed with protesters who are calling the result a whitewash.The amount would double the campaign’s original target of $25,000, set last month by Javotti hip-hop label manager Donna Dragotta and firebrand music star Talib Kweli. In a statement yesterday Dragotta said: “The response to our defense fund is honestly astounding me right now … donations are pouring in.”In their campaign statement, the pair wrote: “These are young men and women who have put their lives on hold to stand up for all of our freedoms.

Continue reading

Notes From America: November

Louis Further rounds up news from the USA for the months of October and November.

 

Racism

Kalief Browder was a 16-year-old high school student from the Bronx when he was accused of stealing a Rucksack by a mistaken witness driving around in the back of a New York Police Department police patrol car. Although Browder did not take the Rucksack, indeed proved to the police at the time that he had none of the belongings of his accuser (who then changed his accusation to suggest the alleged theft was ‘attempted’), he spent nearly three years in solitary confinement at the notorious Rikers jail complex in New York City. Yes, Three years in solitary confinement! He was never convicted and maintained his innocence requesting a trial rather than accept a plea bargain for release, which would have given him a criminal record. Only at the end of September were matters successfully brought to the attention of a judge, who dismissed the case against Browder. Continue reading

Notes From the US: October/ September

 

Education

No-one ever got taller by being measured. In schools, the only tests that help are the ones that

offer guidance on what’s next, not ‘summative’ ones that merely record children’s progress. Last month in Florida a kindergarten (5-year-old children) teacher took a stand by refusing to administer the state-mandated standardised test to her pupils. In Gainesville, Florida 59-year-old Susan Bowles explained how the FAIR assessment (computerised for the first time in 2014) is difficult to administer, unfairly tests 5-year-olds’ computer abilities, and eats up hours and hours of critical classroom time. Bowles wrote on her own FaceBook page content that was then copied elsewhere within her local and the wider educator communities:

“This assessment is given one-on-one. It is recommended that both teacher and child wear headphones during this test. Someone has forgotten there are other five year olds in our care. There is no provision from the state for money for additional staff to help with the other children in the classroom while this testing is going on. A certified teacher has to give the test. If you estimate that it takes approximately 45 minutes per child to give this test and we have 18 students, the time it takes to give this test is 13½ instructional hours. If you look at the schedule, a rough estimate would be that it requires about one full week of instructional time to test all of the children.” Continue reading

Notes from the US: July

Louis Further rounds up the news from the US you may have missed in the month of July. 

Violence

Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily McMillan, on whose imprisonment Freedom has reported recently, was freed from Rikers Island jail in New York City in July. A short time afterwards a report by the ‘New York Times’ exposed the extent of brutal attacks by prison officers there. New York city’s health department carried out a secret study and found that abuse was widespread and routine. Over an 11-month period in 2013, ‘serious injuries’ were inflicted by staff on as many as 129 prisoners. In 77% of cases, the prisoner had a mental illness. (Rikers now houses approximately the same number of mentally ill people as all 24 psychiatric hospitals in New York state combined.) Typical seems to be one instance when jailers intervened to stop a prisoner from hanging himself. But he was forced to lie face down on the floor and punched so hard that he suffered a perforated bowel and needed emergency surgery. Another prisoner was beaten so badly that he nearly died. Continue reading

Notes from the US: Economics, Violence and Environment

Louis Further rounds up the news from the USA you may have missed. 

 

Environment

A review published in mid-June by the Associated Press found that the Obama administration does not inspect four out of every ten new high-risk oil and gas wells. It seems that The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been so overwhelmed by the current increase in fracking that it has not been able to keep up with the numbers of ‘regular’ oil wells still needing oversight; these include those near national forests and fragile watersheds. Even a former BLM field officer called the situation “a disaster waiting to happen”.

In mid July over a million gallons of saltwater from oil drilling operations in North Dakota leaked from a pipeline on a Native American reservation; the area covered is almost two miles. The leak by Crestwood Midstream Services has killed vegetation and may have reached a bay connected to a drinking water source for the Fort Berthold reservation. Continue reading

Notes from the US: Racism, Politics, Violence and Economy

Monthly roundup on the state of the USA by Louis Further Continue reading