Front Page

Ferguson Responds to Lack of Indictment

by John Reed
November 26, 2014

On Monday night, November 24, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch made an announcement that surprised no one although it disappointed many. A grand jury had declined to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the killing of 18-year-old unarmed Michael Brown.

Within days of the August 9 shooting, McCulloch's refusal to bring charges against Wilson and his effort to hide behind a grand jury had met with widespread criticism and disdain. Jeryl Christmas, a former prosecuting attorney in the city of St. Louis and a defense lawyer, called McCulloch's handling of the grand jury “a charade” designed to avoid charges.

It’s nearly unheard of to present evidence to a grand jury without recommending charges or explaining how the evidence justified the charges. Nor is it customary to present justifications for the perpetrator’s actions, as McCulloch did. These actions betray extralegal motivations.

Race was the central issue behind the prosecutor’s charade. The murder of Michael Brown served as a tipping point in a long history of police violence against Black youth, and touched off weeks of protests that culminated in a nationwide march on St. Louis in October and exposed a culture of racist, predatory policing rampant in metro St. Louis and elsewhere.

Mass Incarceration and the Left

by Heather Ann Thompson
November 24, 2014

Finally, even if at least three decades too late, America’s politicians are beginning to take notice of the fact that we have become the country on the planet locking up more people than any other.

It would be nice to think that these elected officials are now discussing our historically unprecedented rates of incarceration because there has been some sort of moral awakening, some new degree of discomfort if not outright dismay that the United States now has more than seven million people, an overwhelming disproportion of whom are Black and Brown people, under some form of correctional control and more than 65 million marked permanently by a criminal record. It would be as gratifying if they were now reconsidering current justice policies because mass incarceration has orphaned millions of children, destroyed already fragile neighborhoods, and rendered millions of people permanently unemployable.

At the very least it would be a relief to know that they were motivated to consider a less punitive approach to the nation’s social ills, because mass incarceration has distorted the very democracy they claim to hold sacrosanct...

The Trials of Rasmea Odeh

by David Finkel
November 24, 2014

Rasmea Odeh, a 67-year-old Palestinian-American, associate director of the Arab American Action Network and organizer of the acclaimed Arab Women’s Committee in Chicago, was convicted in Detroit on November 10 of “unlawful procurement of naturalization” at the time she became a U.S. citizen in 2004. Her imprisonment immediately afterward has been the most shocking part of the case, as explained below.

The verdict itself, announced after only two hours of jury deliberation, looked practically inevitable in the wake of Federal Judge Gershwin Drain’s pre-trial rulings that severely weakened her possible legal defense. The government relied on documents from Odeh’s naturalization application, as well as earlier ones from 1995 when she first applied at the U.S. consulate in Jordan for permanent legal residency in the United States. On those documents she did not disclose her 1969 arrest and conviction for a bombing in Israel, or the ten years she served in prison before her release in 1979 in an Israeli prisoner exchange with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PLF).

The Murderous Spiral in Jerusalem

by David Finkel
November 19, 2014

The killing of four worshippers at Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in western Jerusalem throws a harsh light on the degenerative spiral of murder and mayhem in Israel and Palestine. It also opens a window into how most media coverage prevents the U.S. public from understanding what’s happening.

Secretary of State John Kerry, losing no opportunity to make a pompous fool of himself, proclaimed that “to have this kind of act, which is a pure result of incitement, of calls for ‘days of rage,’ of just irresponsibility, is unacceptable.” What Kerry means by “incitement” and “irresponsibility,” of course, is that it’s all the fault of the Palestinian leadership. That’s the line of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu--directly contradicted by none other than the head of the Israeli security agency Shin Bet, Yoram Cohen, who says the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas isn’t inciting anything.

Kerry didn’t mention how Palestinian bus driver Yusuf Hasan al-Ramuni, 32 years old and father of two, was found hanged in his vehicle in West Jerusalem one day earlier. Or how the Israeli police spokesperson announced that “no suspicion of criminal activity was found,” borrowing the time-honored custom of U.S. southern sheriffs declaring African American lynching victims as “suicides.” Or what a coincidence it was that this occurred in the wake of multiple attacks by Jewish settlers on Arab taxi drivers in Jerusalem.

The murders in the synagogue immediately became the lead story in world news. The death and probable murder of al-Ramuni was not...

Socialist Angela Walker Wins 20% in Milwaukee Sheriff Race

by Keith Mann
November 7

While the reelection of right wing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attracted most of the local and national media attention in the November 4 elections, there was also a bright spot for the left in Wisconsin. Angela Walker, an African-American bus driver and unionist running as an independent socialist candidate for Sheriff of Milwaukee County, received over 67,000 votes, representing 20.3% of the votes cast. This was a truly remarkable result given a hostile pro-business media which largely ignored her campaign, a limited budget, the lack of an organized political party behind her campaign, and the difficulty of third party and independent candidates to break the stranglehold of the corporation-backed Democratic and Republican parties.

Throughout her campaign, she denounced mass incarceration and police brutality in favor of a program of social justice that attacks the root of the social problems facing minority and working class people. Milwaukee is a city where racial segregation, police brutality, unemployment, and deep social inequality are particularly glaring...

November 26, 2014
by John Reed
On Monday night, November 24, St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch made an announcement that surprised no one although it disappointed many. A grand jury had declined to indict Ferguson,...
November 24, 2014
by Heather Ann Thompson
Finally, even if at least three decades too late, America’s politicians are beginning to take notice of the fact that we have become the country on the planet locking up more people than any...
November 24, 2014
by David Finkel
Rasmea Odeh, a 67-year-old Palestinian-American, associate director of the Arab American Action Network and organizer of the acclaimed Arab Women’s Committee in Chicago, was convicted in Detroit on...
November 19, 2014
by David Finkel
The killing of four worshippers at Kehilat Bnei Torah synagogue in western Jerusalem throws a harsh light on the degenerative spiral of murder and mayhem in Israel and Palestine. It also opens a...
November 7
by Keith Mann
While the reelection of right wing Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attracted most of the local and national media attention in the November 4 elections, there was also a bright spot for the left in...

All featured articles

November 23, 2014
by Keith Mann
The young Karl Marx admired and drew inspiration from their tenacious struggle.1 French belle époque poet and cabaret entertainer Aristide Bruant (subject of a well-known poster by Toulouse Lautrec)...
November 20, 2014
from the Joint Council of UAW Local 2865
At their July meeting, the Joint Council of UAW 2865, the UC Student-Workers' Union, voted to endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and to call for a full membership vote to be held...
November 19, 2014
by Wilma Olmo Corrêa
Favelas (slums) come together quickly due to the dire lack of housing in Brazil, mainly in large cities. Because of the housing deficit, thousands of extremely poor families in Brazil occupy empty or...
November 14, 2014
by Harvest Blog
As the historic resistance of YPG/YPJ (Rojava’s heroic People’s/Women’s Defense Forces) fighters against the ISIS gangs goes into its 58th day in Kobanê, the Kobanê Crisis Coordination group...
November 6, 2014
by Esther Vivas
Do the rich and poor eat the same? Do our incomes determine our diet? Today, who is overweight? Although often, and from certain quarters, the call for healthy and wholesome food is viewed with...

All recent articles