Archive for the ‘this is what a police state looks like’ Category

A group of Antifa demonstrators encircled Richard Spencer’s house in Alexandria, Virginia and the cops come out and protect him:

Alexandria, VA: Richard Spencer Hides on His Roof From Angry Crowd

But when the local Charlottesville Reform Synagogue is threatened with being burned to the ground and is encircled with white supremacist KKK, Nazis with assault weapons, chanting white supremacist slogans,  the cops are no where to be found.
Cafe Intifada’s  Emma Rosenthal posted the following comment:
“Antisemitism never went away and the repeated refrain of “this is 2017 in America” ignores the warnings and outcry of Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, Jewish Voice for Peace, the new Jim Crow, the New Slavery, the growing prison industrial complex, No Ban No Wall, mass deportations, immigrant detention centers and the criminalization of entire communities. This is not the aberration. This should come as no surprise. In the wake of the exposure of police brutality and police killings many communities have had to develop civil defense. The Jewish community is no different. The other side of “don’t call the cops” is that when you do call them, if they don’t do any harm, they often don’t show up, they don’t do anything to help. The historic complicity of the police with the KKK is well documented.
Protect yourself. Reach out to the larger community. Join in solidarity against oppression in all forms.”

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There have been a few articles and several social media posts mocking the proposal that people wear safety pins to proclaim, in this new UhMurikan landscape, that “I am a safe space.” It’s a way for those of us in an unfamiliar place or under attack to identify an ally who will defend us or accompany us if we encounter violence, hate speech, threats or intimidation because of our real or assumed membership in a targeted group. One article appeared, written by a white presenting cis het presenting man, in the Huffington Post, that bastion of social responsibility and grassroots mobilization. (Snark!)

 Of course the safety pins are NOT ENOUGH.They’re a symbol, a statement, a promise and a commitment.

Are these publish worthy leftists also for the abolishment of: buttons and t-shirts (which must be manufactured, marketed and sold), banners, signs. How are these any different? Are we against any symbolism? What about ribbons? arm bands?

This petty self promotion  and put down of other activist efforts is tiresome. After all not EVERYONE gets Huffington Post press access.

The safety pin solidarity started in England after the passage of Brexit with the targeting of immigrants.  In England there may have been an issue with the pins, that it was a white thing: an insufficient badge of respectability, guilt, remorse, penance. But in the U.S., Occupied Amerikkka the targets are MOST OF US. And there are still people totally complicit from all demographics, so the symbol is important, easy, accessible, inexpensive, UNFUCKINGMARKETABLE, so we can let people know we are ready to take action; (and then we need to come through; that we are here for each other). After all with the increased rhetoric and the emboldened extreme right, white supremacist (rebranded, normalized, alt-right),  only white Christian cis het, ENabled, body normative men aren’t targeted. The vast majority, the rest of us are!

For way too long activism has moved from the grassroots, to self promotion, individualism,  survival of the fittest, scarcity resources and competition. Allies who aren’t movement stars (there’s a clear double standard here!)  are told they should just not show up, not take up space, sit down, shut up, listen, read more, go shopping.  There has been very little engagement in what real allyship might be, what solidarity looks like, how we check each other and check ourselves, from a position of responsibility, accountability and transparency, and not from a place of obedience, acquiescence and silence.  Hopefully the broad targeting of so many of us is a wake up call, that we need all our bodies on the line, and that we can’t do this in separate groups (which fuels the alt right’s rebranding, as it appropriates that language with claims that it is simply a civil rights movement for white people and that we all have our place in our separate nations.)

Maybe the movement stars who are so used to making it all about themselves:  the self promoters, the individualist who have for too long used “activism” as their own personal starting line in that great competition for speaking engagements, publicity and  non-profit managerial positions can show some solidarity instead of crapping on this very basic grassroots organizing effort. Maybe we can move the dialogue from whose voices matter to how we can assure our movement is as large and inclusive as possible (day care, DISability access, language translation, financial accessibility). Maybe we can start to have the difficult discussions around transparency and accountability around unlearning racism, sexism, ableism,  ageism, classism and all the other ways marginalization keeps us down and apart.

So let this be the start and not the end. Let the lists of other ways of showing solidarity, of putting our bodies, minds, reputations on the line for each other begin, but let us start with “AND” and not “BUT”.

Sure the safety pins are not enough, and your grandstanding is getting real tired, too.





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Emma Rosenthal, MacArthur Park, Rampart Division-LAPD, Los Angeles

I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today at this October 22 demonstration against police brutality on the theme, Resistance Matters,  focusing on a segment of EVERY community– people with dis-abilites.

People with dis-abilities are specifically targeted by police for abuse and brutality.

People who are deaf, unable to heed orders they do not hear, unable to communicate with authority, often are killed or battered by a system that doesn’t take their communication needs into consideration.

People with visible dis-abilities attract the attention of bullies, including the bullies in blue who know that there are no consequences for our ostracism or victimization.

People who appear, walk, talk differently are often singled out, accused of being drunk, and often have trouble with law enforcement because of both misunderstandings and the outright hostility toward us, by the police.

People with mental health conditions come in contact with police on the street, when our behavior doesn’t conform to society’s expectations, or when police are called to respond to medical emergencies.

Homelessness and prisons ARE our society’s mental health care system.

Police often respond to medical psychiatric emergencies with brutal and often deadly force, claiming they felt that they were in imminent danger.

Imagine if health care providers said they had to kill a patient because the patient’s condition threatened the lives of health care professionals.

It is the job of health care providers to treat people who are ill. We must demand no less of emergency personnel, including police, when answering a call for medical emergencies.


There is a nexus of gender, class and race with dis-ability, compounding our experience with authorities. We are part of every community, not a separate group, or geographic. There is no organization or outreach that can fully succeed without our full inclusion. You cannot address the issue of police brutality without also addressing the role of people with dis-abilities in the struggle for social justice.

Yet many social justice organizations don’t include people with dis-abilities fully, in addressing many social justice issues, and often perpetuate attitudes and policies that contribute to our marginalization.

You can’t defend our rights without our participation, our full participation. Nothing about us, without us. Working on our behalf without us, simply appropriates our exploitation in the service of rhetoric.

A movement that isn’t informed by the victims perpetuates the abuse. Planning that does not take our specific needs and issues into consideration often puts us in significant danger. Too often event security responds to us in much the same way that the state does.  I have been at demonstrations where the event coordinators did as much to endanger us, as the police do. This must be changed, this must be challenged.

We cannot fight a system by replicating its attitudes & practices. We cannot demand from society what we cannot also create among ourselves.

Expectations of people with dis-abilities merge with issues of race/gender and class to increase marginalization via expectations of behavior.

Thinking of people with dis-abilities as aberrant, undesirable, non-contributing and a burden have no place in the movement, these are capitalist attitudes.

Dis-ability rights isn’t charity. nothing short of full inclusion is justice. It is not your place to “help” us, but rather to work with us, to include us in ways that inform praxis.

It is NOT our job to make you comfortable with out conditions.

It is NOT our job to find our own way into your organizations.

It is NOT our job to say what you want to hear, and to leave our particular needs and experience out of the discussion.

Dis-ability inclusion is the collective responsibility of the entire community. 


Additionally, agents of repression know to use dis-ability to divide the movement, like they use gender & race; by relying on our own prejudice & bigotry.

Infiltrators use ridicule of people with dis-abilities. Police have been known to “street: us into demonstrations to provoke an angry crowd that knows we are acceptable targets.

These divisive tactics don’t work when we check ourselves, our own entitlements that mask as privileges that defeat us all. We cannot build a sincere movement w/o including the most marginalized sectors, and we cannot address police brutality by ignoring its specific nexus with dis-abilty .


It must also be  recognized that police not only target people with dis-abilities for abuse, but also, in their brutality, create dis-ability, leaving those who survive, injured and traumatized. Let us honor those comrades wounded in the struggle, injured by capitalism, with ramps, sign language & voice, as well as make room for all activists into the future, as any one of us can become a person with a dis-ability, at any time.

No more excuses. These are matters of resistance because resistance matters.

So, let us build the strongest resistance to police brutality and state hegemony by ever increasing the circle, by standing, sitting, signing, rolling arm in arm in solidarity, a strong movement that cannot afford to leave anyone behind, a movement that needs everyone’s voice, everyone’s story.

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Art and activism


What you can do!


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sticker that says "danger, Bart police might kill you...."

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ILLEGAL Racially Biased Policing,  and the Johannes Mehserle Verdict

By Mesha Monge-Irizarry
oscar grant "i am oscar grant and my life matters."I just watched the Channel 2 coverage of the verdict…

The Justice4OscarGrant supporters, family and friends are watching anxiously the many helicopters hovering around the crowd after the verdict outside the courtroom.

Oscar’s Mom did not at first made a public statement, obviously devastated. Then later spoke: “DO NOT GIVE UP” was the essence….

Oscar’s uncle was so eloquent, and made it clear that while protesters are responsible for their course of action, they are a non violent family and movement.

Chris Mohammed of NOI made a long statement about travesty of Justice, and calls for the feds to step up to the plate.

17 uniformed cops, 5 cops in civilian clothing , AND the sheriff dept.
Unprecedented law enforcement presence in the court room in the History of US.

Oaktown Mayor Ron Dellum does a puff piece for Channel 2, talking about community inappropriate responses, while contending that “Racism is a reality in America”

Mehserle, under Involuntary Manslaughter verdict, on August 6 2010 can serve 2 to 4 yrs, and under Gun Enhancement law could be sentenced to up to 12 yrs.

Or walk out on probation, and eventually be rehired out of county by another police department.

A white juror is seen by the reporter “weeping” while the verdict is read…. the others display NO emotion, according to the reporter.

Our crisis line at Idriss Stelley Foundation has been ringing off the hook
since 4:05 PM. Fear, outrage and anxiety being the essence, and a few Mehserle supporters.

We know, as Ocar’s uncle pointed out, that law enforcement may infiltrate the uprising of extreme disappointment and outrage about the “compromised verdict”, to swell the rank of “agitators” to justify criminalization and violence perpetrated against our Poor, Black and Brown communities in Oakland and across the nation.

Stay Safe, United and Strong, People !
In Unity & Respect

mesha, Idriss Stelley Foundation director
moderator ot this “Justice4Oscar_grant” yahoogroup

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and one demo, against racist Aryanzona!!!

Busy day L.A.!!!!

Come join BDS LA for Justice in Palestine and others today, Monday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Israel Consulate at 6380 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90048-5071 to protest Israel’s unlawful attack on unarmed civilians and to call for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. There will also be a second rally at 4:30 p.m. at the same location (organized by Al Awda).


Date:Monday, May 31, 2010Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pmLocation: Dodgers Stadium. Sunset and Elysian Park (Under the “This Is My Town” Billboards)Street: Sunset Blvd. and Elysian Park AveCity/Town: Los Angeles, CA

same struggle same fight!

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By Emma Rosenthal
Posted on the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre.  Written on the 30th anniversary of the massacre.  On a campus that was 5% Jewish.  75% of the students killed, and 50% of the students who were shot, were Jewish– no word from the ADL.  (bold text by Neil Young)


Tin soldiers and Nixon coming

We’re finally on our own

This summer I heard the drumming

Four dead in Ohio.” 

Tin soldiers are marching again

bayonets pointed at the multitude







  El Salvador



Kent State

Jackson State
Tin soldiers point their weapons at the tender flesh of the outspoken

there is fear of great numbers marching out of uniform

so the tin soldiers, eyes glazed and without vision

at the command of the generals take aim

point their state of mind

their point of view

the eyes of the state

the words of the state

the will of the state


four lives hit the floor

thirteen lives hit the floor

one hundred lives hit the ground

three thousand lives are swallowed by the dust

one hundred lives disappear behind prison walls

two million lives are swallowed by the state

six million lives are burned at the stake

are thrown into ovens

are tossed into ditches

are chained to the gates are lost for the ages

are hidden in attics and temples

are thrust behind the guns

are transformed into tin soldiers

are lulled into passivity

are hiding behind night clubs

this year’s fashions

the evening news that tells you nothing

the elections no one votes in

the television that doesn’t tell you your story

the latest horror movie about government conspiracy

But it’s just a story so don’t worry

it could never happen

someone would say something

and the government would never destroy a whole town

a whole village

just ask the indigenous of the Americas

Mai Lai

Love Canal

Three Mile Island



South Central

CIA drug sales while whole generations are thrown into jail

in the war against drugs

unless the drug can fund the war against the rising multitudes

and incarcerate a whole village here at home.

“Four dead in Ohio”

“Four dead in Ohio” 

“What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground

How could you run when you know?”

  Could you watch her tiny form as it fell

  could you call to the heavens and pray for her vision

  to continue to dwell amongst us

  could you watch her spirit as it lingered for a few seconds

  as it rose to the clouds and left us forever

  four dead

  ten dead

  hundreds dead

thousands dead

millions dead.

What does the loss of a hundred  thousand souls sound like?

What does the loss of a hundred thousand souls feel like?

What wealth have we lost

as the tin soldiers march and mark their territory in the blood of the forgotten?

Where are the paintings?

the stories

the poems

the discoveries

the cures

the embraces

the children running in the streets

playing among burned out cars, bombed out buildings

and land mines

that mark the territory and say

don’t walk here

don’t tread on this free soil

it has been apprehended from you

it is no longer a field of grain and sustenance

it is a land of horror and devastation?

“What would you do if you found her dead on the ground?

How could you run when you know?”

And when they catch you in the cross hairs of their high powered rifles

or in the cross hairs of a phone tap and the clicks on the line get louder

or your mail starts arriving already opened for you

or a stack of evidence is piled 

up against you for a crime you did not commit

for a crime that may not even be a crime

Will you run?

Will you name names?

like Elia Kazan

Will you rot in jail or twist and turn at the hands of your torturers

 at the executioner’s s

wing of the ax or turn of the knob

Dalton Trumbo

Julius and Ethyl

Sacco and Vanzetti

Ashata Shakur

Mummia Abu J


Where will you go?

Will you hide out in suburbia?

will you pack you brief case and kiss your vacant wife?

will you pack his vacant brief case with tuna fish sandwiches on white bread

and mayo and cut off the crusts for him

and be his vacant wife?

will you scream about having your own life

but never really get one?

will you cry behind the wheel of the Mercedes Benz

you used to croon about with Janis Joplin

and swear you’d never become what you are today?

Will you sit with your friends and insist that it’s all just too far away

to do any thing about?

and remember her broken body as her red blood

spilled onto the pavement

and left her pale and lifeless

and forget that you ran because it was

too close

It isn’t too far away

it’s right here

it isn’t gone

it hasn’t moved

the tin soldiers are poised and waiting to attack

their eyes are glazed over with the threads of disbelief

with the fog of discontent

with the need to belong

which is like food for the hungry

They are poised and ready

they are in your back yard or the park by your home

what would you do?

she is lying on the ground

will you hurl her into the bushes of your memory?

Will she rot behind the azaleas and the camellias?

will you bury her in peat

and water her daily

and let everyone tell you what at beautiful garden you have

while you forget that she is even there?

Will you fight?

speak your mind against the multitudes of the opiated?

will you raise your voice in protest to the destruction of the sacred

or will you run and hide and pretend you never knew?

pretend it was all about the next top album and sex and who had the best stash

or will you stand still and let them build a monument to the veterans

of the destruction on the graves of those who died

that day many years ago?


“How could you run when you know?”

How could you stand still over her body

while the guards circled and dug her grave and planted new grass

and erected a monument to their own perpetuity

How could you?

How could you not say something

were the gun pointed at you?

or was the next technological innovation

the next breath you wanted to breath?

Have they lulled you into the conspiracy?

have they taken you hostage behind the picket fence of your imagination?


“How could you run when you know?” 

How could you hide from the destruction all around you

and bury your life in the television of the visionless?

Tin soldiers point their weapons ant the tender flesh of the outspoken

there is fear of great numbers marching out of uniform

so your eyes glaze and are without vision

The command of the generals takes aim

points their state of mind

at your state of mind

Have they lulled you into the conspiracy?

Do you tell your self

it’s just a story so don’t worry?

it could never happen

someone would say something?

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A recent L.A. Weekly article “addressed” the “problem” of getting rid of “bad” teachers.  (see link below) 

As someone who retired from LAUSD with disability retirement after trying to get the most minimal of accommodations for my dis-ability and facing incredible harassment for such a request;

As someone who requested basic accommodations, found ways to make the whole proposal cost free for the District while offering to fill high need hard to staff areas of education, (bilingual special ed) and fully aware that if I had merely kept my mouth shut, showed Disney movies, gave out busy work, and gave all my students C’s, then I would have had no problem with the same administration, but only had a problem when requesting the resources to do my job well.

As someone who NEVER had a bad evaluation, had several outstanding evaluations, and wrote and received several grants and coordinated several school wide programs;

As someone who filed and won approx 30 grievances against the district for collective and individual violations of the contract, never observing any consequences, reassignments, discipline etc against these principals for such wanton rights violations;

As someone who observed and confronted gross misuse of school funds and a crony system that favored mediocrity and obedience over dedication and commitment to teaching;

As someone who used tenure to defend and advocate for students and the community and teachers, against the will of the administration;

As someone who ONLY KNEW ONE ADMINISTRATOR  who went after bad teachers– with the full support of the highly unionized faculty.  (I consider her the best administrator I worked with);

As someone who observed administrators go after activists, whistle blowers, community, educator, worker and student advocates while perpetuating or ignoring sexual harassment, sexual abuse, hate speech, racism, sexism, dis-ability discrimination etc. both by staff and students; 

As someone who graduated magna cum laude, is bilingual in English and Spanish, continues to study and to teach, is a life long activist and writer;

I find it hard to believe that:

1. Michael Kim, a man with cerebral palsy, who neurologically can’t control his hands, is the best example of the district trying to defend the rights of staff and students against sexual harassment and gropping! 

More to point, the District doesn’t WANT dis-abled teachers.  This whole case was totally offensive and outrageous, and should be transparent; a perfect example of how dis-ability discrimination is used to take us all down, to set a pretext for greater rights violations.

2. the present administration is able to select the appropriate teachers for dismissal– which of course would explain why it is so hard to fire the teachers the district is trying to fire.  It is quite possible that very few of these people should be fired and the ones that need to go are comfortably doing the principal’s bidding!!!

3 given that the City of Los Angeles decided NOT  to fire a single cop for beating up press and community members for the May Day demonstration a few years back, wonders what city employees ARE doing that warrants (“the easy” removal from their positions.

4. there are only bad teachers and not bad administrators, who also need to be removed from their positions which the district can do, and doesn’t.  It seems that a lot of bad teaching might be resolved by creating acceptable working conditions, starting with a supportive administration. 

5. that the grievance process is the problem, The grievance process is a three step process: 1.A meeting with the principal, 2. A meeting with the area supt. And 3. Binding arbitration with an arbitrator chosen by both the union and the district. A principal looses a grievance against a teacher when either the District or the arbitrator chosen by the district says a violation of that teacher’s rights has occurred.  In such a situation is it right to assume that it is the teacher that is failing to perform basic assigned duties?

6.that settlements of 40-100 thousand dollars  for the removal of teachers the District wants to fire,  are excessive and against whom no evidence exists, other than district say so, that these teachers deserve to lose their careers, which includes 5 years of university study, and often thousands of dollars each year for materials the District fails to provide and in a District that has bought out the contracts of several of its superintendants for over half a million dollars.

 The entire premise of the Weekly article is that the District can’t fire the teachers it wants to fire  because of the Union and tenure, and not that these constructs  actually protect the academic freedom of teachers who should not have been brought under scrutiny in the first place.

There is no evidence IN THE ARTICLE, except the District’s say so, that the District is actually trying to fire the BAD teachers. That is an essential missing element of the article.  Sure there are bad teachers.  But if the district isn’t going after bad teachers, but is going after teachers who demand their rights or the rights of others, then the waste of resources is even more outrageous.  


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we wonder if any educators in l.a. would be interested in organizing an exhibit of the art work of the children of gaza?  maybe hosted by utla?  human rights committee? progressive educators?  the iso or solidarity?  the jewish labor committee? coalition against (oops, my bad, they changed their name) for alternatives to militarism in the schools?  

co sponsored by cafe intifada and the l.a. palestine labor solidarity committee?  (of course we would, but who in the hall would associate with us!!!) 

yeah, i didn’t think so!  

(probably why iso member, and utla board member david rapkin calls me “too extreme”!) 

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