The Shocking Details of a Mississippi School-to-Prison Pipeline

by Julianne Hing, ColorLines
Monday, November 26 2012

Cedrico Green can’t exactly remember how many times he went back and forth to juvenile. When asked to venture a guess he says, “Maybe 30.” He was put on probation by a youth court judge for getting into a fight when he was in eighth grade. Thereafter, any of Green’s school-based infractions, from being a few minutes late for class to breaking the school dress code by wearing the wrong color socks, counted as violations of his probation and led to his immediate suspension and incarceration in the local juvenile detention center.

But Green wasn’t alone. A bracing Department of Justice lawsuit filed last month against Meridian, Miss., where Green lives and is set to graduate from high school this coming year, argues that the city’s juvenile justice system has operated a school to prison pipeline that shoves students out of school and into the criminal justice system, and violates young people’s due process rights along the way.

In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency.

Once those children are in the juvenile justice system, they are denied basic constitutional rights. They are handcuffed and incarcerated for days without any hearing and subsequently warehoused without understanding their alleged probation violations. Continue reading

China in Revolt

[This essay from Jacobin magazine traces the trajectory of recent working class struggle in China.  It draws on many unknown examples, and for that reason Frontlines posts this material for our readers.  The analysis and conclusions drawn by the author are his own. -- Frontlines ed.]

Few in the West are aware of the drama unfolding in today’s “epicenter of global labor unrest.” A scholar of China exposes its tumultuous labor politics and their lessons for the Left.

Workers on strike blocking the entrance gate of Hi-P International factory yell slogans during a protest in Shanghai Dec 2. Labor actions in the country are increasing. REUTERS photo

At the same time, Chinese workers are depicted as the pitiable victims of globalization, the guilty conscience of First World consumers. Passive and exploited toilers, they suffer stoically for our iPhones and bathtowels. And only we can save them, by absorbing their torrent of exports, or campaigning benevolently for their humane treatment at the hands of “our” multinationals.

For parts of the rich-world left, the moral of these opposing narratives is that here, in our own societies, labor resistance is consigned to history’s dustbin. Such resistance is, first of all, perverse and decadent. What entitles pampered Northern workers, with their “First World problems,” to make material demands on a system that already offers them such abundance furnished by the wretched of the earth? And in any case, resistance against so formidable a competitive threat must surely be futile.

By depicting Chinese workers as Others – as abject subalterns or competitive antagonists – this tableau wildly miscasts the reality of labor in today’s China. Far from triumphant victors, Chinese workers are facing the same brutal competitive pressures as workers in the West, often at the hands of the same capitalists. More importantly, it is hardly their stoicism that distinguishes them from us.

Today, the Chinese working class is fighting. More than thirty years into the Communist Party’s project of market reform, China is undeniably the epicenter of global labor unrest. While there are no official statistics, it is certain that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of strikes take place each year. All of them are wildcat strikes – there is no such thing as a legal strike in China. So on a typical day anywhere from half a dozen to several dozen strikes are likely taking place. Continue reading

“Hands off the People of Iran” exposes Tribunal on Iran’s 1980’s massacre of prisoners

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by “Hands Off the People of Iran”

1. Payam Akhavan (chair and spokesperson of the tribunal’s steering committee) has links to organisations that have accepted large amounts of money from the US government

2. The tribunal refuses to take a stand against war and sanctions on Iran
3. Mainstream lawyers and politicians like Sir Geoffrey Nice, John Cooper QC and Maurice Copithorne ideologically support the tribunal – why?
4. The pro-war Mujahedeen is closely involved with the tribunal
5. Many organisations and witnesses have withdrawn
6. Critical voices have been silenced
7. Conclusion: The tribunal has become part of the campaign to legitimise war and sanctions to enforce pro-western ‘regime change from above’.

The arguments in more detail: Continue reading

Bangladesh factory fire kills 112 in Dhaka

Blaze broke out at the seven-storey factory on Saturday and firefighters recovered more than 100 bodies on Sunday morning
Associated Press in Dhaka

guardian.co.uk, Sunday 25 November 2012

Bangladesh factory fire

A firefighter tries to control a fire at a garment factory in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka Photograph: ANDREW BIRAJ/REUTERS

At least 112 people have been killed in a fire that raced through a multi-storey garment factory just outside of Bangladesh‘s capital, Dhaka.

The blaze broke out at the seven-storey factory operated by Tazreen Fashions late on Saturday. By Sunday morning, firefighters had recovered 100 bodies, fire department operations director major Mohammad Mahbub said.

He said another 12 people who had suffered injuries after jumping from the building to escape the fire later died at hospitals. Continue reading

Tens of Thousands Protest in Indonesia

Indonesia protest

Workers demand a higher minimum wage and an end to outsourcing as unrest in southeast Asia’s largest economy amplifies.

Al Jazeera, November 22, 2012

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/11/2012112253436646925.html

Tens of thousands of workers have gathered outside
the presidential palace in Jakarta in Indonesia,
demanding higher wages, better working conditions
and that more economic growth trickle down to the
working class.

The demonstrations on Thursday come a day after a
governor in the capital Jakarta agreed to raise the
minimum wage by 44 per cent but protesters said
they wanted government to provide better health
care and pensions and wanted to ensure that the
courts do not over turn their decision. Continue reading

Brazil: Landless Peasant Movement facing violent repression

[See the following statement from CEBRASPO.  The rough English translation is followed by the Portuguese original text. -- Frontlines ed.]

CEBRASPO — Brazilian Center of Solidarity with the Peoples

Manga, November 23, 2012 

Cowardly attack by gunmen against families who occupied the farm Beirada  

Criminals!

Cabral and his band of gunmen attacked the peasant families who occupied the Beirada the night of Nov. 22.

Swine!

Cabral went into the occupation with his truck, said to be the “owner” of Beirada and threatened families.

The gunmen were recognized by the peasants and the people are old acquaintances Manga: Frederick Alencar, Ulysses Alencar, William (farm worker), Arnold (Three Rivers), Adalto (official Didimag), Afonso (Boa Vista), Dico (Boa Vista), Mark (New Brasília), Bira and Fabio (wanted for armed robbery at gas station in Ypiranga Manga), Isaiah, Roger Cabral, Toinzinho (New Brasília). All armed by landowners to keep land in the Beirada completely unproductive, and people in poverty.

Cowards!

On the morning of 22, gunmen attacked the families who were camped in a shed of Beirada. Fired guns at them, dropped bombs, and set fire to the families’ belongings. These cowards fired on children, and raided and burned the rooms where they slept. They threatened them with death. Continue reading

Spain: Economic crisis pushes funeral costs out of reach, many donate to science

[As the capitalist crisis -- the so-called "Great Recession" -- continues to shake up lives and property relations, real estate corporations are reorganizing housing markets to take advantage of mass desperation and this now also affects the funeral and cemetary markets.  For a diabolical view of how capitalist cost-benefit analysis anticipates death rates--soaring from suicides, but traffic deaths declining because people cannot afford car repairs or gas--and how science ends up with a body glut--see this article. -- Frontlines ed.]

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Economic Crisis Leaves Hard-Hit Spaniards Scrimping on Funerals

By Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, November 22, 2012

Fausto Ruiz wants to sell his family plots at the Montjuïc cemetery, where mausoleums, niches and graves can cost €100,000 or more.

BARCELONA — María Cristina Riveros can barely afford to live, let alone die. So when the end comes, she insists, there will be no spray of red roses or marble tombstone to mark her grave. Instead she is donating her body to science, to avoid being a financial burden on her family.

“I’m not upset about death — I’m upset about life,” said Mrs. Riveros, 53, an unemployed geriatric nurse and single mother, as she waited in line on a recent day for food at a church here. Her 16-year-old daughter, who suffers from a rare immune deficiency, needs €9,000, or about $11,500, for an operation, she said. Monthly insurance payments for her own funeral were out of the question.

Europe’s grinding economic crisis has left hard-hit Spaniards scrimping on death. They are defaulting on cemetery plots — and thousands face being evicted from them. They are opting for inexpensive funerals, or financing them in monthly installments. Pricey extras like grief therapy, organists to play “Ave Maria” or elaborate floral arrangements are being pruned.

But while austerity tears at the funeral industry — and some say the social fabric of the country — it has been a boon for science. Donating a body has become such a popular alternative to the cost of a funeral that some medical schools complain they do not have enough refrigerators to store all of them. Continue reading

Greece: Crisis-driven scapegoating, explosive growth of migrant detention

[In a mounting wave of xenophobia and fascist gangs pressing amateurish ethnic cleansing attacks,  officials are rounding up thousands of migrants.  Here, the most recent sweeps of hundreds more. -- Frontlines ed.]
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More than 400 migrants detained in latest sweep

The latest police sweep of undocumented immigrants in the capital led to 404 arrests, police said on Friday.

Authorities said six of the detainees were arrested because they were not in possession of the proper residence papers.

The sweep on Thursday included a search of four properties and was carried out as part of an ongoing crackdown on illegal immigration which has been code-named Xenios Zeus.

According to the police, 54,086 migrants have been briefly detained since the start of the sweep operation. Of these 3,994 were charged with being in the country illegally.

Source:  ekathimerini.com

India: NGO reform agenda designed to block radical solutions

[NAPM is reported to be a collection of imperialist-funded NGOs in India whose explicit function is to undercut, and drag intellectual supporters away from, the radical thrust of such alliances as represented by RDF --which the author falsely labels a "front organization," (thus implying with this innuendo that it has no independence or legitimacy)-- and from radical campaigns against Operation Green Hunt, against forced uprooting and displacement, to free political prisoners and other popular anti-repressive initiatives. The NGOs do this by leading people on separated issues into dead-end appeals to the system to adjust policies, rather than building and linking together mass political forces against the system as a whole. This article, from LiveMint/Wall Street Journal, details the utility and importance of NAPM for its Indian (Wall Street-ish) audience--corporate business interests and comprador government apparatchiks. -- Frontlines ed.]

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A non-violent, less radical agenda

Author urges, “Policymakers need to listen to the hundreds of such organizations that point out the failing of India as a nation.”

by Sudeep Chakravarti, in Live Mint/Wall Street Journal, Thursday, Nov 22 2012

Photo from mass struggle against displacement at POSCO. Author claims that “While ‘Maoist front organizations’ such as RDF naturally seek to promote Maoist interest, umbrella organizations such as NAPM feed a non-violent, relatively less radical agenda.” Photo: Hindustan Times

A meeting, significant in the context of the ongoing and future battleground of industrialization and protests against it, took place in Thrissur, Kerala, earlier this week. It was the biennial convention of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), an influential umbrella organization that seeks to primarily protect livelihood and property rights, and their close cousin, human rights.

A statement from NAPM firmly targeted the proposed land acquisition law expected to be debated in the winter session of Parliament which began on Thursday. NAPM’s assumption is that the draft law in its various incarnations has steadily been weighted towards business, that there is wilful ignorance of realities at the ground level where extreme policy coercion dominates free consent, besides concerns of loss of livelihood; and it ends in nasty business.

And so, the meeting resolved to “take forward the primary mandate of sangharsh and nirman (struggle and reconstruction) with establishment of a navnirman manch”, or a reconstruction, within NAPM. “The fight for the control over jal, jungle, zameen”—the trinity of water resources, forests and land—“by the communities will be fought tooth and nail through the gram sabhas and mohalla sabhas”. It further declared that decentralization of power is “the only way out”. This is towards a goal to strengthen panchayati raj institutions, seen both as a cure and curse of (when corrupted) from-the-ground-up empowerment and development.

For government and business to dismiss this as simple extremism would be unwise and symptomatic of denial. Continue reading

Delhi – Report of protest at Israeli Embassy against assault in Gaza

November 20, 2012

Hundreds of protestors raised slogans at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi today, protesting Israel’s assault on civilians in Gaza, and US support for this aggression. The protest demonstration had been called by All India Students’ Association (AISA), Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA), the JNU Students’ Union, All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Left and Democratic Teachers’ Federation (LDTF), All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA).

The protestors said that the Israeli decision to rain death and destruction on Gaza, to use lethal weapons of the modern battlefield on a largely defenseless civilian population, is the final phase in a decades-long campaign to ethnically-cleanse Palestinians. The US establishment is criminally guilty of backing Israel’s genocidal war, belying the newly re-elected President Obama’s tall talk of protecting the world’s democracy.

The all-out offensive attacks of Israeli army continue to rage the Gaza strip. The Israeli government has been arguing that the attack is a response to the month long rocket attacks on the civilian population of Israel by Hamas. But, the reality of the situation can be understood from the fact that in the current attack around 48 Palestinians have been killed and more than 400 are seriously injured, while the death toll has reached 4 in Israel and around 30 injured. Interestingly US and its other western allies have decided to either keep mum or open their mouths in support of Israel’s ‘self-defence’. Protestors also condemned the silence of the Indian Govt – which has called for peace but failed to condemn Israel’s aggression. Continue reading

Killing Hope: Why Israel Targets Sports in Gaza

Israeli Airstrikes Wrecked Palestine Stadium

Dave Zirin, The Nation, November 19, 2012

Let’s start with a fact. On November 16, the Israeli Air Force bombed the 10,000-seat Palestine Stadium “into ruins.”* The stadium also headquartered the center for youth sports programs throughout the Gaza Strip. This is the second time Israel has flattened the facility. The first was in 2006 and the people of Gaza have spent the last six years rebuilding the fields, stands and offices to keep the national soccer team as well as club sports alive in the region.

I’m sure the reaction to this fact will depend on what side people take in the current conflict. For the Israeli government and their supporters, they promised “collective punishment” following the Hamas rockets fired over the border and they are delivering “collective punishment.” Matan Vilnai, deputy defense minister of Israel has in the past threatened a “holocaust” and Gilad Sharon, son of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, called for Gaza to be the new “Hiroshima.” In this context, a sports facility must seem like little more than target practice.

For those attending daily demonstrations against the carnage, this news of a stadium’s destruction must also be seen as an irrelevancy. After all according to The Wall Street Journal, ninety Palestinians, including fifty civilians, have been killed in Gaza. Two hundred and twenty-five children are among the more than 700 injured, and these numbers are climbing. Israeli ground troops are massing at the border and President Obama can only bring himself to defend Israel without criticism. There is only so much concern for a stadium people can be expected to muster.

I think however that we should all take a moment to ask the question, “Why?” Why has the Palestinian sports infrastructure, not to mention Palestinian athletes, always been a target of the Israeli military? Why has the Palestinian domestic soccer league completed only seven seasons since its founding in 1977? Why are players commonly subjected to harassment and violence, not to mention curfews, checkpoints and all sorts of legal restrictions on their movement? Why were national team players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during the 2009 military campaign? Why did imprisoned national team player Mahmoud Sarsak require a hunger strike, the international solidarity campaign of Amnesty International, and a formal protest from both FIFA and the 50,000-player soccer union FIFpro to just to win his freedom after three years behind bars? Continue reading

Three Nobel Peace Prize Winners Say: Bradley Manning Deserves Americans’ Support for Military Whistleblowing

Bradley Manning, long waiting trial and prison for allegedly exposing war crimes, should be honored, not jailed — say Nobel Peace Prize laureates

Thanks to WikiLeaks, US citizens are better informed about wars prosecuted in their name. We owe Manning honour, not jail time

By Desmond Tutu, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel
The Guardian November 16, 2012
Last week, PFC Bradley Manning offered to accept responsibility for releasing classified documents as an act of conscience – not as charged by the US military. As people who have worked for decades against the increased militarization of societies and for international cooperation to end war, we have been deeply dismayed by his treatment. The military under the Obama administration has displayed a desire to over-prosecute whistleblowing with life-in-prison charges including espionage and “aiding the enemy”, a disturbing decision which is no doubt intended to set an example.
We have dedicated our lives to working for peace because we have seen many faces of armed conflict and violence, and we understand that no matter the cause of war, civilians always bear the brunt of the cost. With today’s advanced military technology and the continued ability of business and political elites to filter what information is made public, there exists a great barrier to many citizens being fully aware of the realities and consequences of conflicts in which their country is engaged.
Responsible governance requires fully informed citizens who can question their leadership. For those citizens worldwide who do not have direct, intimate knowledge of war, yet are still affected by rising international tensions and failing economies, WikiLeaks releases attributed to Bradley Manning have provided unparalleled access to important facts. Continue reading

Truth Universal — “Every 36 Hours” — OFFICIAL VIDEO


Nov 19, 2012

Truth Universal:  “We proudly present the visual treatment for “Every 36 Hours.” Produced by Shawde Banx, the song has been building steam across the country, being played by DJs who support meaningful music. We’d like to send a special shout out to those folks who care about this music and the messages being transmitted across the airwaves. We sincerely appreciate the support!

The song is based on a July 2012 study issued by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement(MXGM) and the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee(MXSC). The study, “Every 36 Hours: Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of 120 Black People,” documented the killings of 120 Black men, women and children, murdered by police or some extrajudicial force in the first half of 2012.” Continue reading

What is Israel Really Up to Gaza?

Smoke and fire from an Israeli bomb rises into the air above Gaza City

from Counterpunch by JOHN MEARSHEIMER

In response to a recent upsurge in tit for tat strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, Israel decided to ratchet up the violence even further by assassinating Hamas’s military chief, Ahmad Jabari. Hamas, which had been playing a minor role in these exchanges and even appears to have been interested in working out a long-term ceasefire, predictably responded by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel, a few even landing near Tel Aviv. Not surprisingly, the Israelis have threatened a wider conflict, to include a possible invasion of Gaza to topple Hamas and eliminate the rocket threat.

There is some chance that Operation ‘Pillar of Defence’, as the Israelis are calling their current campaign, might become a full-scale war. But even if it does, it will not put an end to Israel’s troubles in Gaza. After all, Israel launched a devastating war against Hamas in the winter of 2008-9 – Operation Cast Lead – and Hamas is still in power and still firing rockets at Israel. In the summer of 2006 Israel went to war against Hizbullah in order to eliminate its missiles and weaken its political position in Lebanon. That offensive failed as well: Hizbullah has far more missiles today than it had in 2006 and its influence in Lebanon is arguably greater than it was in 2006. Pillar of Defence is likely to share a similar fate.

Israel can use force against Hamas in three distinct ways. First, it can try to cripple the organisation by assassinating its leaders, as it did when it killed Jabari two days ago. Decapitation will not work, however, because there is no shortage of subordinates to replace the dead leaders, and sometimes the new ones are more capable and dangerous than their predecessors. The Israelis found this out in Lebanon in 1992 when they assassinated Hizbullah’s leader, Abbas Musawi, only to find that his replacement, Hassan Nasrallah, was an even more formidable adversary. Continue reading

Arundhati Roy: ‘Those Who’ve Tried To Change The System Via Elections Have Ended Up Being Changed By It’

[Common to capitalist politics, and especially in the areas of semi-feudal and semi-colonial countries dominated in comprador fashion by imerialism, is the currency of bribes, corruption, gangs and cartels all of which fuel the political system with gross threats and extreme illicit wealth.  Responding to inquiries about how this works in India, which has recently been visited by prominent anti-corruption campaigns, Arundhati Roy sums up some key points which illuminate this corruption in India and in many other countries. The interview appears in Outlook India Magazine, November 26, 2012. -- Frontlines ed.]

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On the anti-corruption movement that has implications for politics, media and the national discourse

Saba Naqvi Interviews Arundhati Roy

In August last year, Arundhati Roy wrote a piece that raised important questions about the Anna Hazare movement. A lot has changed since then and Arvind Kejriwal and Anna have taken divergent paths. Kejriwal will launch a political party on November 26 and in the last few months he has, along with lawyer Prashant Bhushan, taken on powerful politicians and corporates. Saba Naqvi sent Arundhati five questions on e-mail to get her views on what is an evolving situation that has implications for politics, media and the national discourse. Here are Arundhati’s very detailed answers.

What do you make of these many corruption exposes and do you see this as a healthy development?

It’s an interesting development. The good thing about it is that it gives us an insight into how the networks of power connect and interlock. The worrying thing is that each scam pushes the last one out of the way, and life goes on. If all we will get out of it is an extra-acrimonious election campaign, it can only raise the bar of what our rulers know we can tolerate, or be conned into tolerating. Scams smaller than a few lakh crores will not even catch our attention. In election season, for political parties to accuse each other of corruption or doing shady deals with corporations is not new—remember the BJP and the Shiv Sena’s campaign against Enron? Advani called it ‘Looting through liberalisation’. They won that election in Maharashtra, scrapped the contract between Enron and the Congress government, and then signed a far worse one!

“Each scam pushes the last out of the way. If all it ends in is an extra-acrimonious election campaign, it’ll only raise the bar of what our rulers think we can tolerate.”

Also worrying is the fact that some of these ‘exposes’ are strategic leaks from politicians and business houses who are spilling the beans on each other, hoping to get ahead of their rivals. Sometimes it’s across party lines, sometimes it’s intra-party jockeying. It’s being done brilliantly, and those who are being used as clearing houses to front these campaigns may not always be aware that this is the case. If in this process there was some attrition and corrupt people were being weeded out of the political arena, it would have been encouraging. But those who have been ‘exposed’—Salman Khurshid, Robert Vadra, Gadkari—have actually been embraced tighter by their parties. Politicians are aware of the fact that being accused or even convicted of corruption does not always make a dent in their popularity. Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Jaganmohan Reddy—they remain hugely popular leaders despite the charges that have been brought against them. While ordinary people are infuriated by corruption, it does seem as though when it comes to voting, their calculations are more shrewd, more complicated. They don’t necessarily vote for Nice Folks.

Why do you think stories that the media knew about but never carried or paid a price for carrying are suddenly coming out like a rash and new details are emerging in the process?

Just because there is a new kid in town, we mustn’t forget that some media houses and several other groups and individuals, at cost to themselves, have played a part in exposing major scams, like the Commonwealth games, 2G and Coal-gate, which shone the light on private corporations and sections of the media as well. Ironically, the Anna Hazare movement last year concentrated solely on politicians and let the others off the hook. But you’re right, there are cases in which the facts were known, but they remained unpublished until now. And suddenly it’s raining corruption scams now—some are even being recycled. Corruption has become so blatant, so pathological that those involved don’t even try very hard to hide their tracks. Continue reading