By JOHN LESLIE On June 9, 2017, a Philadelphia police officer, Ryan Pownall, shot David Jones multiple times in the back as he ran away. Pownall had stopped to search Jones, who had been riding a dirt bike. While police claim that Jones had a gun, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he “had already dropped … Continue reading What is the role of police under capitalism?
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 … Continue reading Films: John Coltrane Lite
By JOHN SCHRAUFNAGEL — ST. PAUL, Minn. — Four to five thousand people rallied at the State Capitol and marched through the streets of St. Paul on June 17, outraged over the unfair trial and unjust verdict in the case of Officer Jeronimo Yanez. Many said they had been hopeful but were not surprised that … Continue reading Thousands protest “not guilty” verdict for Philando Castile’s killer
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 … Continue reading Philadelphia DA’s office refuses to release Mumia files
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 … Continue reading A DAY OF ACTION FOR MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!
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 … Continue reading Jimmy Dennis: Free at last!
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, … Continue reading Films: “I Am Not Your Negro”
By JEFF MACKLER On Mumia Abu-Jamal’s birthday, April 24, about 125 demonstrators mobilized outside Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas in solidarity with Mumia’s effort to reverse his 1982 frame-up murder conviction and win a new trial that could lead to his freedom. Mumia Abu-Jamal is perhaps the world's best known political prisoner. He has been … Continue reading Mumia Abu-Jamal fights for a new trial and freedom
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 … Continue reading Family and community demand answers in Connecticut police brutality case
By JEFF MACKLER “It’s a Knock Out Punch,” says Mumia. “We did something that’s never been done before,” says Pam Africa, chair of International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal. On Jan. 3, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Mariani granted the motion filed by innocent political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal for a preliminary injunction ordering the … Continue reading Mumia wins court victory for prison medical care
By KAREN SCHRAUFNAGEL MINNEAPOLIS—The show trial dubbed by our local capitalist media, “Minnesota’s Terror Trial,” ended in November with the sentencing of the nine young men (eight Somali and one Oromo) who pled to or were convicted of charges relating to alleged attempts to join the “designated foreign terrorist organization” ISIS (the Islamic State). The … Continue reading Somali youth sentenced in ‘Minneapolis Terror Trial’
By MARK UGOLINI — UPDATED, Oct. 6 — The deeply racist character of police operations in Black communities is again on display with four more horrific murders by cops occurring within just 15 days of each other. The latest victims are Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Okla.; Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, N.C.; Alfred Olango in … Continue reading New Wave of Racist Cop Killings Spark Outrage
By JEFF MACKLER San Francisco 49er superstar quarterback Colin Kaepernick roiled the racist establishment when he “took a knee” rather than stand and salute the American flag during the playing of the National Anthem on Aug. 26 before the 49ers final pre-season game against the San Diego Chargers. This was the fourth time, but the … Continue reading Bravo 49er Colin Kaepernick!
By MARK UGOLINI On July 27, Baltimore prosecutors dropped remaining charges against three cops awaiting trial for involvement in the death of Freddy Gray. Gray, a 25-year-old Black youth, died of injuries sustained while in police custody a week following his arrest on April 12, 2015. Officers Garret Miller, William Porter, and Sgt. Alicia White … Continue reading Charges dismissed against Baltimore killer cops
By GAETANA CALDWELL-SMITH “Free State of Jones,” directed by Gary Carr. “The Free State of Jones” is based on a true Civil War story, a little known story, because its subject matter is in a controversial gray area. Here we have Newton Knight (a spot-on Matthew McConaughey at his scraggly, unkempt, bearded best), a Confederate … Continue reading Film: Defiance in the Old South
By JEFF MACKLER — Jeff Mackler is the 2016 presidential candidate of Socialist Action. — Five hundred and seventy one and counting have been killed by U.S. cops this past year, an all-time high in recent decades, according to figures posted in the U.S. edition of the British-based Guardian newspaper.* The majority murdered were Black, … Continue reading Anti-racist protests challenge killer police
On the fortieth anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Rebellion in South Africa, we reprint two articles from International Viewpoint, the English-language on-line journal of the Fourth International. The author of the first article, Noor Nieftagodien, is the head of the History Workshop at Wits University. The second author, Leigh-Ann Naidoo, is currently a PHD student … Continue reading Soweto: the Black students’ rebellion of 1976
In tribute to Muhammad Ali, who died on June 3, we are reprinting this biographical film review, “‘Ali’ is good … but not the greatest,” from our January 2002 issue. By JOE AUCIELLO “Ali,” directed by Michael Mann, starring Will Smith, Mario Van Peebles, Jon Voight. A Columbia Pictures release, 2001 (rated R, 158 … Continue reading Muhammad Ali: 1942-2016
By MARK UGOLINI Chicago State University (CSU) announced the layoff of more than 300 employees, effective on April 29. Widely considered only the first round of layoffs, it impacts about one-third of the university’s workforce. CSU and other Illinois state universities have been denied funds for nearly the entire academic year, resulting in layoffs, furloughs, … Continue reading Students, staff protest cuts at Chicago State
By KAREN and JOHN SCHRAUFNAGEL — MINNEAPOLIS — On the morning of Wednesday, March 30, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced there would be no charges brought against the Minneapolis police who murdered Jamar Clark on Nov. 15 of last year. In the version of events that Freeman presented as factual, while Officer Mark Ringgenberg … Continue reading Justice is denied for Jamar Clark
By BRUCE LESNICK I wholeheartedly support the populist programs that Bernie Sanders advocates—from single-payer health care, to free college tuition, to taxing the rich and more. But borrowing from Malcolm X [see excerpt below], Bernie is a house socialist and I'm a field socialist. Bernie doesn't want to replace or overthrow capitalism. Like all house socialists, he thinks capitalism can be fixed or tamed … Continue reading House socialists and field socialists
By MARTY GOODMAN Weeks of massive protests against election fraud in Haiti and calling for the ouster of the pro-U.S. Haitian President Michel Martelly forced the dictator to finally step down on Feb. 7. The Haitian constitution prohibits a succeeding five-year term, and Feb. 7 was the date for his term to end. Feb. 7, … Continue reading Haiti’s dictator resigns as election trap set
By BRUCE LESNICK It [is] too much the way of [mainstream politicians] to talk of this terrible [crisis] as if it were the only harvest ever known under the skies that had not been sown—as if nothing had ever been done, or omitted to be done, that had led to it—as if observers of the … Continue reading Flint: A Tale of Two Cities
By JOE AUCIELLO Harper Lee, “Go Set A Watchman,” (New York: HarperCollins, 2015), 288 pp., $27.99. Why throw away the Christmas turkey after it’s been eaten? It can still be used. Take the carcass, simmer with water, and the bones make a good stock for soup. Take the carcass of a popular novel—its discarded rough … Continue reading Harper Lee’s discarded leftovers
By RACHEL WOLKENSTEIN Below are excerpts from a report by attorney Rachel Wolkenstein on the fight of Mumia Abu-Jamal to obtain necessary medical treatment. Mumia, a noted political commentator and innocent political prisoner, was convicted in 1982 of killing a Philadelphia police officer. He received the death penalty, a sentence that was later reduced to … Continue reading Mumia’s fight for medical treatment