Cecil Taylor: Jazz revolutionary, 1929-2018

By MARTY GOODMAN “Technique is a weapon to do whatever must be done.”— Cecil Taylor “Conquistador” was the first Cecil Taylor jazz album that I ever heard. It astonished me, and the title piece nailed me to the wall with its dangerous, urban sound. Taylor’s sideman, Jimmy Lyons, blew amazing sax riffs; the coolest, hippest,…

A reprieve for death-row prisoner Kevin Cooper?

By JEFF MACKLER Executions are scheduled at one minute after midnight at San Quentin Prison, just over the San Rafael Bridge in Marin County and overlooking the San Francisco skyline. On the cold winter night of Feb. 10, 2004, death-row inmate Kevin Cooper was being fully prepped for the hereafter, dressed in a new set…

Philadelphia DA’s office stonewalls at hearing for Mumia Abu-Jamal

By JOHN LESLIE The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office continues to stonewall in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. At a court hearing on April 30, prosecutors failed, once again, to produce a memorandum allegedly signed by former Philadelphia District Attorney and retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. Under the 2016 Williams v. Pennsylvania…

Fast food workers strike in the South

By ANN MONTAGUE Activists with Fight For $15 renewed their struggle on Feb. 12 with rallies and strikes throughout the South in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Memphis, Tenn., sanitation worker’s strike. Fight For 15 teamed up with civil rights leader William Barber for a day of action in support of racial justice.…

Erica Garner — Fighter for Black rights

By BARRY SHEPPARD Erica Garner, Black Lives Matter activist and daughter of African American Eric Garner, who was brutally murdered by New York City police in 2014, died on Dec. 30. She was 27 years old. The proximate cause of death was a heart attack, extremely rare in one so young. The underlying cause was…

Philadelphia City Council pushes ‘diversity’ in the building trades

By a WORKING CARPENTER The Philadelphia city council passed a law allowing the city to secure loans for a program to renovate city parks, recreation centers and libraries called Rebuild Philadelphia. Some council members expressed skepticism about the program, asking whether any of the jobs created would go to people living the neighborhoods where the…

Films: John Coltrane Lite

By MARTY GOODMAN “Chasing Trane,” a documentary film by John Scheinfeld. “Trane is now a scope of feeling. A more fixed traveler, whose wildest onslaughts are gorgeous artifacts not even deaf people should miss.” — Amiri Baraka, poet, jazz critic, and activist In July 1967, I heard on a late night jazz radio show in…

Philadelphia DA’s office refuses to release Mumia files

By the MOBILIZATION FOR MUMIA COALITION In the latest attempt to further deny freedom to Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office has contemptuously refused to release the files they were ordered to make public by Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker. On April 24, Abu-Jamal’s 63rd birthday, his attorneys presented an appeal before Judge Tucker…

A DAY OF ACTION FOR MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!

Pressure DA’s office to release documents pertaining to former DA Ron Castille’s handling of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeals! PHILADELPHIA—On Tuesday, May 30, The Mobilization For Mumia, a coalition of human rights groups in support of political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, will host a 2 p.m. press conference and rally at the Philadelphia DA’s office to demand that the…

Jimmy Dennis: Free at last!

By JOHN LESLIE On May 13, Jimmy Dennis was released after more than 25 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The crime and the frame-up On Oct. 22, 1991, Chedell Williams and her friend, Zahra Howard, went to the Fern Rock Transportation Center in Philadelphia to buy a transpass. Outside of the…

Films: “I Am Not Your Negro”

By ERNIE TATE Now and then, and despite its capitalist and racial biases, our culture throws up something that can speak quite eloquently and uniquely about the times we’re living through. In this case, I’m referring to an amazing documentary film that has been released recently, “I Am Not Your Negro,” directed by Raoul Peck,…

Family and community demand answers in Connecticut police brutality case

By CHRIS HUTCHINSON The police shooting of 18-year-old Ra’Shamel Rogers on March 9 in Waterbury, Conn., has mobilized community members in support of his family to demand answers and a transparent investigation. Ra’Shamel was unarmed and shot three times, twice in the abdomen and once in the lungs. Police are trying to justify the shooting…