Manipur: Female cadres of Maoist Communist Party vow to take on wrong doers against women

Imphal, September 27:  The Maoist Communist Party of Manipur has urged the women of the State to join its liberation movement waged with the aim of ushering in an egalitarian society to root out crimes against women. In a meeting attended only by leaders of its 14 women`s wings on the death anniversary of Lamyanba Hijam Irabot, the resolutions of strictly dealing with crimes committed against and intensifying the movement to liberate women by establishing women`s wings in all the 60 assembly constituencies in the State were taken, stated a press release from the party. Lamyanba Hijam Irawat had always supported political activism by women.

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Female cadres of Maoist Communist Party vow to take on wrong doers against women

Today, women have not only joined the Maoist Communist Party of Manipur but due respect is given to them by forming wings reserved for women only to raise their status, added the press release. This action will be a new strategy in the liberation movement and women will play a major role in our movement. It will also help in checking the increasing crimes against women in the State, it further added. Women in Manipur face immense hardships without any change even to this day. A man or woman in Manipur is put into a straightjacket by many factors. However, women in Manipur apart from this factor are suppressed and oppressed by men. Continue reading

Bangladeshi workers set fire to factories

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

Bangladeshi garment workers calling for a minimum wage increase clashed with police outside Dhaka. Source: AAP

The Australian, September 23, 2013

ANGRY Bangladeshi garment workers have blocked roads, set factories alight and clashed with police for a third day as protests demanding a minimum monthly wage of $US100 spread outside the capital Dhaka.

Abdul Baten, police chief of the Gazipur industrial district near Dhaka, which is home to hundreds of factories, said on Monday “up to 200,000 workers” had joined the latest demonstrations.

His deputy Mustafizur Rahman said about 300 factories, which make clothing for top Western retailers such as Walmart, were shut on Monday to contain the violence as protesting workers attacked plants that stayed open. Continue reading

We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement

 Prof. Umoja discusses why he wrote We Will Shoot Back

The notion that the civil rights movement in the southern United States was a nonviolent movement remains a dominant theme of civil rights memory and representation in popular culture. Yet in dozens of southern communities, Black people picked up arms to defend their leaders, communities, and lives. In particular, Black people relied on armed self-defense in communities where federal government officials failed to safeguard activists and supporters from the violence of racists and segregationists, who were often supported by local law enforcement.

In We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement, Akinyele Omowale Umoja argues that armed resistance was critical to the efficacy of the southern freedom struggle and the dismantling of segregation and Black disenfranchisement. Intimidation and fear were central to the system of oppression in Mississippi and most of the Deep South. To overcome the system of segregation, Black people had to overcome fear to present a significant challenge to White domination. Armed self-defense was a major tool of survival in allowing some Black southern communities to maintain their integrity and existence in the face of White supremacist terror. By 1965, armed resistance, particularly self-defense, was a significant factor in the challenge of the descendants of enslaved Africans to overturning fear and intimidation and developing different political and social relationships between Black and White Mississippians.

This riveting historical narrative relies upon oral history, archival material, and scholarly literature to reconstruct the use of armed resistance by Black activists and supporters in Mississippi to challenge racist terrorism, segregation, and fight for human rights and political empowerment from the early 1950s through the late 1970s. Continue reading

An Open Letter From Assata

My name is Assata Shakur, and I am a 20th century escaped slave. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex-political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984.

I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. Because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

In 1978, my case was one of many cases bought before the United Nations Organization in a petition filed by the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and the United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice, exposing the existence of political prisoners in the United States, their political persecution, and the cruel and inhuman treatment they receive in US prisons. According to the report:

‘The FBI and the New York Police Department in particular, charged and accused Assata Shakur of participating in attacks on law enforcement personnel and widely circulated such charges and accusations among police agencies and units. The FBI and the NYPD further charged her as being a leader of the Black Liberation Army which the government and its respective agencies described as an organization engaged in the shooting of police officers. This description of the Black Liberation Army and the accusation of Assata Shakur’s relationship to it was widely circulated by government agents among police agencies and units. As a result of these activities by the government, Ms. Shakur became a hunted person; posters in police precincts and banks described her as being involved in serious criminal activities; she was highlighted on the FBI’s most wanted list; and to police at all levels she became a ‘shoot-to-kill’ target.”

I was falsely accused in six different “criminal cases” and in all six of these cases I was eventually acquitted or the charges were dismissed. The fact that I was acquitted or that the charges were dismissed, did not mean that I received justice in the courts, that was certainly not the case. It only meant that the “evidence” presented against me was so flimsy and false that my innocence became evident. This political persecution was part and parcel of the government’s policy of eliminating political opponents by charging them with crimes and arresting them with no regard to the factual basis of such charges.

On May 2, 1973 I, along with Zayd Malik Shakur and Sundiata Acoli were stopped on the New Jersey Turnpike, supposedly for a “faulty tail light.” Sundiata Acoli got out of the car to determine why we were stopped. Zayd and I remained in the car. State trooper Harper then came to the car, opened the door and began to question us. Because we were black, and riding in a car with Vermont license plates, he claimed he became “suspicious.” He then drew his gun, pointed it at us, and told us to put our hands up in the air, in front of us, where he could see them. I complied and in a split second, there was a sound that came from outside the car, there was a sudden movement, and I was shot once with my arms held up in the air, and then once again from the back. Zayd Malik Shakur was later killed, trooper Werner Foerster was killed, and even though trooper Harper admitted that he shot and killed Zayd Malik Shakur, under the New Jersey felony murder law, I was charged with killing both Zayd Malik Shakur, who was my closest friend and comrade, and charged in the death of trooper Forester. Never in my life have I felt such grief. Zayd had vowed to protect me, and to help me to get to a safe place, and it was clear that he had lost his life, trying to protect both me and Sundiata. Although he was also unarmed, and the gun that killed trooper Foerster was found under Zayd’s leg, Sundiata Acoli, who was captured later, was also charged with both deaths. Neither Sundiata Acoli nor I ever received a fair trial We were both convicted in the news media way before our trials. No news media was ever permitted to interview us, although the New Jersey police and the FBI fed stories to the press on a daily basis. In 1977, I was convicted by an all- white jury and sentenced to life plus 33 years in prison. In 1979, fearing that I would be murdered in prison, and knowing that I would never receive any justice, I was liberated from prison, aided by committed comrades who understood the depths of the injustices in my case, and who were also extremely fearful for my life. Continue reading

Bangladesh garment factory collapse kills hundreds, ignites massive protests

[Bangladesh’s garment industry, the second-largest exporter of clothing after China, has a notoriously poor fire safety record. Since 2006, nearly 1000 Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires and building collapses, according to Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group in Amsterdam. Experts say many of the fires could have easily been avoided, but the profits generated by the lowest wages and no corporate spending on safety and health conditions have made the garment industry a death trap.  The industry employs more than three million workers in Bangladesh, most of them women. Activists say that global clothing brands like Tommy Hilfiger and the Gap and those sold by Walmart dismiss their responsibility for the working conditions in Bangladeshi factories that produce their clothes. “These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps,” Ineke Zeldenrust, the international coordinator for the Clean Clothes Campaign, said in a statement. “Their failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence.” — Frontlines ed.]

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Token, symbolic arrests over Bangladesh building collapse

Owners of collapsed buildings and an engineer responsible for maintenance arrested while death toll rises to 324

 27 Apr 2013
Bangladeshi police say they have made three arrests after a garment factory outside Dhaka collapsed, killing more than 300 people.The building’s owners and an engineer who was responsible for maintenance were arrested on Saturday after the death toll rose to 324.

“We’ve arrested Bazlus Samad, the chairman of New Wave Buttons and New Wave Style factories, and Mahmudur Rahaman Tapash, a managing director of one of these plants, after midnight,” Shyamal Mukherjee, deputy chief of Dhaka police, told AFP news agency.
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[Associated Press–Bangladeshis watch the rescue operations at the site of the collapse on Thursday.]

One manager for the New Wave Styles company, one of the five manufacturers in the building, said the owner had consulted an engineer but then ignored his warnings.”Those who’re involved, especially the owner who forced the workers to work there, will be punished,” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told lawmakers.

“Wherever he is, he will be found and brought to justice.”

The police said they plan to arrest at least ten more, after the Hasina’s statement.

Widespread anger has been fuelled by revelations that factory bosses forced 3,000 workers to continue working on Wednesday despite police orders to evacuate the building because of cracks found in the structure the day before.

Thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested on Friday.

Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Friday as protesters attacked factories and smashed vehicles, forcing many garment factories to shut down operations.

“The situation is very volatile. Hundreds of thousands of workers have joined the protests,” M Asaduzzaman, an officer in the police control room, told the AFP news agency. “We fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them.”

Modern Eugenics: UK aid helps to fund forced sterilisation of India’s poor

Money from the Department for International Development has helped pay for a controversial programme that has led to miscarriages and even deaths after botched operations

, The Observer, Saturday 14 April 2012

Sterilisation remains the most common method of family planning in India’s bid to curb its burgeoning population of 1.2 billion. Photograph: Mustafa Quraishi/AP

Tens of millions of pounds of UK aid money have been spent on a programme that has forcibly sterilised Indian women and men, the Observer has learned. Many have died as a result of botched operations, while others have been left bleeding and in agony. A number of pregnant women selected for sterilisation suffered miscarriages and lost their babies.

The UK agreed to give India £166m to fund the programme, despite allegations that the money would be used to sterilise the poor in an attempt to curb the country’s burgeoning population of 1.2 billion people.

Sterilisation has been mired in controversy for years. With officials and doctors paid a bonus for every operation, poor and little-educated men and women in rural areas are routinely rounded up and sterilised without having a chance to object. Activists say some are told they are going to health camps for operations that will improve their general wellbeing and only discover the truth after going under the knife.

Court documents filed in India earlier this month claim that many victims have been left in pain, with little or no aftercare. Across the country, there have been numerous reports of deaths and of pregnant women suffering miscarriages after being selected for sterilisation without being warned that they would lose their unborn babies.

Yet a working paper published by the UK’s Department for International Development in 2010 cited the need to fight climate change as one of the key reasons for pressing ahead with such programmes. The document argued that reducing population numbers would cut greenhouse gases, although it warned that there were “complex human rights and ethical issues” involved in forced population control.

The latest allegations centre on the states of Madhya Pradesh and Bihar, both targeted by the UK government for aid after a review of funding last year. In February, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh had to publicly warn off his officials after widespread reports of forced sterilisation. A few days later, 35-year-old Rekha Wasnik bled to death in the state after doctors sterilised her. The wife of a poor labourer, she was pregnant with twins at the time. She began bleeding on the operating table and a postmortem cited the operation as the cause of death. Continue reading