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