Public attention to issues of incarceration and policing have grown in recent years. Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow revealed stark inequities in US prisons and jails, building on the long-time work of abolitionists, such as Angela Davis and Ruth Gilmore Wilson of Critical Resistance, Mariame Kaba of Project Nia, and many others. The horrifying murders of black people, the impact of Covid-19 in jails and prisons, and the persistent organizing by public health activists pushed the American Public Health Association (APHA) in October 2020 to approve a policy to abolish prisons, release imprisoned people for health and humane reasons, and reallocate funds for community mental health, jobs, and housing. To surprised supporters, the governing body passed Advancing Public Health Interventions to Address the Harms of the Carceral System with a 92% vote after a hearing where more than 50 people lined up virtually to speak on it. This vote followed the 2018 policy affirming law enforcement violence as a public health crisis that took three years to overcome opposition. The persistent and dedicated authors of the End Police Violence Collective wrote and steered both resolutions to passage (see https://endingpoliceviolence.org). Many national and local organizations have applied its action steps in campaigns across the US.
On the local level, public health and education activists in Prince George’s County, MD organized a campaign to abolish police presence in the schools by removing School Resource Officers (SROs), armed police funded by the Police Department, from the schools to prevent physical and psychological abuse, arrests, and contact with police.
These policies are labeled as abolitionist, a strategy to eliminate repressive and typically racist practices, like policing, to create a more just and equitable world. Citing abolitionist Ruth Wilson Gilmore, the APHA resolution defines abolition as “a process of changing the social and economic conditions that lead to harm and of ensuring that people have what they need to thrive and be well, thereby eliminating the need for jails, prisons, detention centers, and policing.”
This article discusses the APHA policy and SRO removal campaign to fight racist carceral policies at the national and local levels, the potential for abolition under capitalism, and the replacement of punishment with restorative justice.
We should celebrate a victory in New York City (NYC), even though it is a temporary and limited one in a war that we should never need to fight.
Until Covid -19, single homeless adults in NYC were housed in up to 100 bed dormitories where crime and drug use were rampant. Many homeless people preferred to sleep on the street or the subways rather than in these facilities. However, the Covid-19 epidemic forced the City to use vacant hotels –even upscale ones – for shelter in the face of the highly contagious virus. One such move of over 700 single adults to four hotels in the prosperous and “liberal” Upper West Side of Manhattan resulted in a battle between wealthy racist property owners, who used racist slurs to castigate their new neighbors and demand their removal, and local anti-racists who fought back. The anti-racists not only organized petitions and demonstrations to pressure the feckless Mayor de Blasio into reversing his removal order, but they are providing aid and services to the homeless. The once-empty hotels are still home to the needy – for now.
In A Life of Labor and Love, Wally Linder reminds us of the power of a united working class to fight the capitalist bosses and of the special people that make up our class. He interweaves the political and the personal as he chronicles his 89 years of life. He shares the joys and the tragedies, and we get a glimpse of the heart and soul of this ordinary but extraordinary man.
By the time you read this, voting will be winding down, and people will be anxiously waiting for the results. The election has revealed the paucity of choices workers, students, and soldiers have to improve our lives. There is widespread (justified) terror of another 4 years of Trump propelling liberals to support the Biden/Harris ticket. Groups around the US are preparing to defend a Biden victory in light of Trump’s promise to challenge any loss.
The application of scientific knowledge has been embraced by industry as a means of enriching owners for over two hundred years. Science is knowledge of the natural and social world gained through observation and experimentation based on evidence.
The Industrial Revolution of the 18th century had a profound impact on workers’ diseases. Rapid technological progress and industrial growth led to crowded, unsanitary working and living conditions, with a rise in the number of accidents, and exposure to toxic contamination of workplaces and the environment. Science became increasingly important to owners of industry in the 20th century and proceeded to rapidly expand into the entire corporate world. Science has allowed for corporate capitalism to make profits from pens to bombs and from computers to organ transplants. There are museums and organizations dedicated to science and technology. Industry’s profit motive today provides seventy percent of science research funding.
“I’m very much afraid of this ‘Foundation Complex.’ We’re getting praise from places that worry me.” Ella Baker, 1963 quoted by INCITE!.
In our time of fervent uprisings against racism and the increased unity of workers, many foundations and ruling class opinion influencers like the New York Times (NYT) call for re-imagining or re-creating capitalism in order to save it. Non-profits, corporations, and universities have issued statements deploring inequality and racism as if they just discovered them.
This article discusses the role of foundations and corporations that fund non-profit advocacy, educational, and health organizations. Their motives are actually self-serving, providing tax benefits for themselves (depriving the government of tax revenue) and earning valuable public relations for corporate America.
We will specifically examine the liberal Soros Foundations and the Ford Foundation, their motivations, and the consequences that organizations and movements experience by accepting their support.
The system in “systemic racism” has a name: capitalism. The disaster in “public health disaster” has a name: capitalism. The abolish in “abolish police” needs to name that which must go: capitalism. There is talk of revolution, but revolving from what to what? From capitalism to workers’ power – communism. Not said. Let’s start naming names.
So many militant fists are raised as the nation destructs. So many multiracial movements are marching, stopping evictions, occupying streets, going on strike, but not naming capitalism. So many workers are risking their own lives to do their jobs, so many are volunteering to aid their neighbors, but not naming capitalism. So many articles are written on disparities but not naming the instigator: capitalism.
This essay shows that mass organized working-class counter-violence is a necessity for us to free ourselves from the exploitation and oppression – including racism, sexism, and xenophobia – of capitalism all around the world. Under capitalist rule, violence is a ubiquitous and ever-present fact of life, used to intimidate and dominate the working class domestically and internationally. Moreover, the capitalist class has no choice but to use planned violence by their wholly-owned state power if they are to maintain their control over their national and imperial interests.
Multitudes of workers are protesting racism in every American city and all over the world. The crowds are multiracial, mostly young, disciplined and militant. Nothing like it has been seen in over 50 years – it is indeed awe-inspiring.
As the movement continues for its second week since the police murder of George Floyd, it is settling on demands ranging from abolishing to defunding the police. So powerful is the movement that many politicians are even promising to take action on these fronts.
There are millions of useful jobs that could improve our quality of life. The Covid pandemic requires the mobilization of millions to provide healthcare, food, outreach, and the production and distribution of protective gear. The US and other countries also need infrastructure overhauls to prevent collapsing bridges and further climate devastation. There are great deficits in education, transportation, housing, and health care that need to be addressed. Unemployment plagues workers, especially black, Latin, and young people. Why is there so much unemployment when our needs are so great?!
This post reports on unemployment, why it exists, how communism can prevent it, and the ways US activists fought it during the Depression in the 1930s.