Tell President Obama to take action to save the life of Troy Davis

Taken from the ANSWER Coalition’s website

The Obama/Holder Justice Department should launch a federal civil rights investigation right now into the case of Troy Davis and seek a stay of his execution that is scheduled for tonight at 7pm.

President Obama, who routinely lectures sovereign governments abroad about civil rights and human rights issues within their countries, has until now said nothing to the state government of Georgia that allowed racist police forces to intimidate and coerce witnesses in the effort to execute an innocent Black man.

It’s not too late to act. The clock is ticking before an innocent man is put to death.

Send a letter right this second to President Obama and Attorney General Holder insisting that he speak up and use the authority of the Presidency to prevent this outrage. Tell President Obama to order a Federal Civil Rights investigation into the case of Troy Davis.

You can also call the White House switchboard and tell them that you want President Obama to initiate a federal civil rights investigation and seek a stay of execution. Call the White House at 202-456-1414.

Background to the case of Troy Davis

More than 1 million people have signed a petition in support of Troy Davis. Demonstrations have taken place around the country and the world. Even the former director of the FBI has said that this execution is an injustice and should not go forward.

Of the nine witnesses, seven have recanted or altered their version of events. Five have signed statements saying they were coerced by police to testify against Davis, a common element of many racist “legal lynchings” targeting Black people. Three witnesses said that another man confessed to them that he killed the police officer.

The execution of Troy Davis shows with full clarity the true character of the racist legal system in the United States—its complete failing as any arbiter of justice.  Davis has accessed all allowed avenues of appeal in the U.S. justice system in his quest not be put to death, an innocent man.

The members of the politically appointed Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, impervious to any accountability to the people, have decided that they wish for Troy Davis to die. With their announcement today that they have denied clemency to Troy Davis, he is on course to be executed this Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 7pm Eastern, in the state of Georgia.

Absolutely no physical evidence has been found that implicates Davis in the killing. No murder weapon has ever been found, exposing yet another major gap in the prosecution’s case. This is the fourth time the state of Georgia has set an execution date for Davis, who was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989.

The ANSWER Coalition has been joining with hundreds of other organizations in demonstrations throughout the country in recent days and weeks.

There is worldwide opposition to Troy Davis’s execution. On Sept. 16, coordinated protests took place in cities all over the United States and the world.

Over 650,000 signatures in support of Troy Davis were delivered to the parole board. Now, over 1 million people have signed petitions in his support. Prominent signers include South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter, more than four dozen members of Congress, and many celebrities.

The decision to deny clemency to Davis reaffirms the unabashed racism and bankruptcy of the justice system. We are staying in the streets to demand justice! Stop the execution of Troy Davis! End the racist death penalty!

Send a letter to President Obama and Attorney General Holder right now demanding that the Justice department order a Federal Civil Rights investigation into the case of Troy Davis. Prevent the the state sponsored murder of an innocent man.

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Filed under African Americans, ANSWER Coalition, Georgia, Human Rights, Race, racism

Troy Davis Rallies

This was originally posted on the ACLU’s website.  Solidarity actions and awareness raising are crucial right now in this important case.  Please find the time to make it to a rally near you or organize one in your own community if you can.

From the ACLU’s post:

The State of Georgia has set the execution of Troy Anthony Davis for midnight on September 21.

Davis has been scheduled to be executed three times before and each time his execution has been stayed amid doubts concerning the impact of numerous witness recantations and new evidence against another suspect. Significant doubts about his guilt have been raised and remain unresolved.

Supporters of Troy Davis are planning rallies in cities across the country in the coming days, to stand in solidarity with him and call on the Georgia Board of Parole and Probation to commute his sentence.  This is a listing of upcoming events.  If you are planning a rally that is not listed, please send details to multimedia@aclu.org and we will include it.

NOTE: These listings are for informational purposes only. Inclusion on this page does not mean that a particular event has been sponsored or endorsed by the ACLU or its local affiliate.

Ann Arbor, MI
Thursday, September 15, 7:00 PM
Demonstration to Save Troy Davis
Northeast corner of Main Street and Huron Street
For more info: http://www.amnestyusa.org/events/demonstration-to-save-troy-davis

Atlanta, GA
Friday, September 16, 6:00 PM
Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis: March and Prayer Service
Woodruff Park (Peachtree St./Edgewood Ave.) to Ebenezer Baptist Church
For more info: http://www.amnestyusa.org/events/global-day-of-solidarity-for-troy-davis-march-and-prayer-service

Austin, TX
Friday, September 16, 5:30 – 8:30 PM
Stop the Execution of Troy Davis: Solidarity Rally
Texas State Capitol at 11th and Congress
For more info: http://www.nodeathpenalty.org/events/troy-davis-solidarity-organizing-cedp-chapters

Chicago, IL
Friday, September 16, 5:00 PM
Solidarity Rally for Troy Davis
130 E Randolph St.
For more info: http://icjpe.org/actions/SOLIDARITY-RALLY-FOR-TROY-DAVIS

Denton, TX
Friday, September 16, 7:30 – 9:00 PM
Solidarity for Troy Davis Rally
The Square, 110 West Hickory Street
For more info: http://www.nodeathpenalty.org/events/troy-davis-solidarity-organizing-cedp-chapters

Glassboro, NJ
Friday, September 16, 12:00 – 3:00 PM
Protest to STOP THE EXECUTION of Troy Davis!!
Student Center Patio, Rowan University
For more info: http://www.nodeathpenalty.org/events/troy-davis-solidarity-organizing-cedp-chapters

New York, NY
Emergency Rally to Stop the Execution of Troy Davis
Friday, September 16, 4:30 – 6:30 PM
42nd Street & 7th Avenue, Times Square
For more info: http://www.iacenter.org/actions/troydavis091311/

Oakland, CA
Friday, September 16, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Global Day of Action for Troy Davis
Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, near City Center/12th St BART
For more info: http://www.nodeathpenalty.org/events/troy-davis-solidarity-organizing-cedp-chapters

Philadelphia, PA
Friday, September 16, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Protest the Execution of Troy Davis
Philadelphia City Hall, West Side
For more info: http://phillysolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/377/

San Diego, CA
Stop the Execution of Troy Davis: Solidarity Rally
Friday, September 16, 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Hall of Justice, 220 W. Broadway
For more info: http://activistsandiego.org/node/3167

San Francisco, CA
Support Troy Davis on Union Square
Friday, September 16, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Union Square
For more info: http://www.amnestyusa.org/events/support-troy-davis-on-union-square

Santa Cruz, CA
Rally in solidarity with Troy Davis
Friday, September 16, 5:00 – 7:00 PM
Downtown at the Clocktower
For more info: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/09/13/18690214.php

Washington, DC
Rally to Save Troy Davis
Friday, September 16, 6:00 PM
Tivoli Square
For more info: http://www.amnestyusa.org/events/rally-to-save-troy-davis

(A typo appeared in the original posting of this article and has been corrected)

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Filed under Prisoners, prisons, Race, racism, Southern United States

Confederate Flag Debate Continues

By KurtFF8

Recently, the city of Lexington, Virginia passed an ordinance to prohibit Confederate Flags on city-owned poles.  The debate the emerged during the proposed rule brought up the fact that the debate on the flying of the flag is far from over.  The Sons of Confederate Veterans held a demonstration prior to the vote and, according to the article linked to above, vowed to “challenge the ordinance in court.”

Why is it that over 150 years after the start of the US Civil War that the debate over the Confederate flag is still relevant?  There are a few factors involved.

First and foremost: while the nature of the Confederacy itself is often cited in these debates, the usage of the flag since the end of the war is what drives these “cultural” conflicts.  Most importantly in recent history is the usage in the political movement against desegregation in the South.  The Flag became a symbol of resistance to the move to resist integration and stop “northern dominance” over the South.  This association is difficult to delink from the racist elements and motivations of the flag, considering the most recent historical widespread use of it was this political battle and the racist side that the flag symbolized.

As I have argued elsewhere, the States’ Rights argument that is often appealed to in these cases has historically been an excuse to actually prevent rights from expanding.  In the case of the Civil War: it was the right of states to continue to have the slave system.  In the civil rights era: it was the right of states to continue to segregate.  The Sons of Confederate Veterans argues that the Civil War was a war about freedom for the South.  They conveniently ignore or cease to elaborate for whom in the South that freedom was for.  Considering that the South explicitly seceded to preserve the institution of slavery, it is quite clear that the freedom was a very limited notion of the term.  The fact that the Sons of Confederate Veterans does not quite address this issue is quite telling of the nature of their organization and motivations for promoting symbols like the Confederate flag.

Each era that the flag was widely used (particularly the Civil War itself and the Civil Rights eras), it was a symbol of the oppression of black folks.  It would be a difficult case to make that it has been anything but this without getting into abstract debates about freedom of speech.  That’s not to say that the Sons of Confederate Veterans, or other groups are necessarily trying to promote a specific racist political goal in these cases.  But one thing that is undeniable is that they are attempting to promote the use of a symbol that has been used almost exclusively in history to promote racist political and social policy.

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Filed under African Americans, confederacy, National Oppression, Race, racism, slavery, Southern United States, State's rights, U.S. Civil War, Virginia

Stetson Kennedy dies at 94 in Fla.

From Forbes.com:

MIAMI — Author and folklorist Stetson Kennedy, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan six decades ago and exposed its secrets to authorities and the public but was also criticized for possibly exaggerating his exploits, died Saturday. He was 94.

Kennedy died at Baptist Medical Center South near St. Augustine, where he had been receiving hospice care.

In the 1940s, Kennedy used the “Superman” radio show to expose and ridicule the Klan’s rituals. In the 1950s he wrote “I Rode with the Ku Klux Klan,” which was later renamed “The Klan Unmasked,” and “The Jim Crow Guide.”

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Filed under African Americans, Florida, Race, racism

Tensions rise as Latinos feel under siege in America’s deep south

[From a recent Guardian article]

In Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina, new laws have been signed that represent the toughest crackdown on illegal immigrants – the vast majority of whom are Hispanics – in America. They give the police sweeping new powers and require them, and employers, to check people’s immigration status. In Alabama, they even make helping illegal immigrants, by giving them a lift in a car or shelter in a home, into a serious crime. For many, the laws echo the deep south’s painful history of segregation, sending out a message to people of a different colour: you are not wanted here.

“That is exactly right,” said Andrew Turner, a lawyer with the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Centre. “We view it within the context of the history of the deep south. It is using the law to push out and marginalise an ethnic minority.”

The new laws’ defenders deny that. They are merely enforcing the law, they say. Their problem is not with immigrants, but with those who came to America illegally. They say the laws are colour-blind and aimed at making sure everyone obeys the same rules and does not cheat the system.

Yet illegal immigrants have become a fundamental part of the American system. Huge swaths of the economy rely on the cheap labour they provide.

 

The article points out an important part of “illegal” immigration that is often referred to in the overall narrative.  That is that undocumented workers have “become a part” of the American system overall.  The mainstream accounts of this often even point to the drive for cheep labor by capital as the source of the “problem” here, yet they continue to allow reactionary rhetoric dominate the discourse and put the blame on those coming here to find exploitative conditions of work.

The only way to fight this framework and empower undocumented workers is to build a movement that fights back.  And this movement is currently underway in much of the South.

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Filed under Alabama, class struggle, Georgia, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, State's rights

Tampa, Orlando, and Feeding the Homeless

by KurtFF8

Tampa has recently joined with Orlando in cracking down on groups that feed the homeless on public property.  According to an article published today on tbo.com, Tampa police have shut down an operation of church group volunteers that have been feeding the homeless in downtown Tampa for 6 years.  This comes after Orlando police have been arresting activists with Food Not Bombs for feeding the homeless in Orlando.  Why is it that the “Sunshine State” has been cracking down on folks who are literally just trying to feed the homeless?  There has been some speculation that in the case of Tampa’s recent actives, it has to do with the upcoming Republican National Convention and an effort by the city to “clean up” before the convention is underway.  While the city denies it is related to the GOP convention, the effort to “clean up” the streets is certainly cited by officials.

There has been a recent upsurge in the population of those without homes, that has come at a time of continued economic crisis.  Florida is home to one of the hardest hit housing markets in the wake of the Great Recession.  It has also ceased to be one of the fastest growing states in the US, which has lead many in power facing an image problem (along with recent attacks on unions and immigrant workers by the state legislature).

There is certainly a problem with painting efforts to arrest and harass those feeding the homeless as “cleaning up” the streets of a given city.  It assumes that homeless populations are themselves a “problem” that need to be “taken care of,” and instead of addressing the real roots of that problem, they assault those who are the victims of economic circumstances.  Similar rhetoric has been used against the communities that recently were hit by major riots in the United Kingdom.

This crackdown on those feeding the homeless comes after years of non-enforcement of these ordinances that as the TBO.com article points out: are difficult to demonstrate laws were broken.  It really comes down to the class nature of law enforcement in places like Florida, where property is considered a “right” (see: the advice by the city to move the feedings to private property) and where human rights and dignity are pushed to the wayside.

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Filed under class struggle, Florida, housing, Southern Strategy, Southern United States

Cynthia McKinney in Raleigh,NC August 14th

taken from the Raleigh F.I.S.T. website

SUNDAY, AUGUST 14

3PM: Rocky Mount, NC — Booker T. Washington Theatre, 170 E Thomas St

7PM: Durham, NC — St. Joseph’s AME Church, 2521 Fayetteville St

We are excited to announce two North Carolina events as part of former US Congressperson Cynthia McKinney’s national “Libya Truth Tour” to reportback on the impacts of US/NATO wars in Africa.

McKinney recently led a fact-finding delegation to Libya during US/NATO bombings of that country. She has traveled and written extensively exposing the truth about the US role in broadening attacks on Libya and other African nations, and will report on the realities on the ground in Libya, relate her experiences there during the delegation, and break through the many myths and lies that are propagated in the US corporate media about Libya and the people there. This will be an evening and a perspective that you won’t want to miss, that will help provide clarity for the role the movement here can play to come to the aid and defense of the people of Libya.

In order to be able to bring us this unique analysis, Cynthia McKinney incurred many travel and other costs during the delegation to Libya, and this event is a fundraiser to help defray those costs and insure that McKinney can continue to do the work that she does. A minimum $10 donation will be asked at the door (though no one will be turned away for lack of funds). We invite any organizations or individuals who are interested in co-sponsoring and supporting this reportback to please contact us to submit a donation prior to the event, and to please help solicit donations from your members, neighbors and friends.

Co-sponsored by: Black Workers for Justice; Raleigh Fight Imperialism-Stand Together; In the Name of Humanity; Workers World Party Durham; Faith, Hope, and Justice Ministries; International Action Center

For more information, please contact us at Raleigh@FISTyouth.org or call 919-539-2051

RSVP and invite your friends on Facebook by clicking here!

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Filed under Demonstration Announcements, North Carolina, Upcoming Events