Millions of Americans believe that President Obama has normalized relations with Cuba and ended over 50 years of U.S. efforts to strangle its economy. They might have been puzzled when the United States stood up against every other nation save one, in opposing the UN General Assembly resolution which passed, 191-2, on October 27, 2015. That resolution condemned the continuing U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba.
In the Media
Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign for the presidency has re-opened an American conversation about democratic socialism, and it's about time. The idea has never taken hold in the United States, although it's a respectable political philosophy in the rest of the world. Other countries have experimented with it in different ways. The socialist programs the Scandinavian countries have enjoyed, for example, have nothing in common with the totalitarian excesses of the Soviet Union under Stalin and his successors. Britain has a national health service and France has free college education and free medical care. If we moved in a socialist direction, we could expect the United States to develop a uniquely American brand.
Today, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) in coordination with the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee sent a letter urging President Obama to grant executive clemency to 71-year-old political prisoner and Native American activist Leonard Peltier.
On Sept. 12, protesters marched through Hollywood to say, “Planet over profits!” The action, initiated by ANSWER Coalition, was endorsed by the Center for Biological Diversity, SoCal 350, The Red Nation, Food & Water Watch, National Lawyers Guild, Carson Coalition, Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition, Office of the Americas, Party for Socialism and Liberation, and many others.
In the United States, the cops and the courts are essentially the same thing. Witness Ferguson, Missouri, 2014, a typical but nonetheless shocking systemic failure of justice—starting with the execution of an unarmed 18 year old Black man by a police officer, escalating into a secret trial manufactured to protect the killer by a cop-loving prosecutor1, culminating in a military exercise in the modern police state with more felony prosecutions than any protest scenario in the last 20 years.
The ACLU on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the city of Hayward, California and its police force after the department charged the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) nearly $3,000 to view body camera footage from a recent Black Lives Matter demonstration against police brutality.
The Cleveland Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Collaborative for a Safe, Fair and Just Cleveland, and the Cleveland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild today released an open letter outlining issues that must be resolved to better ensure that the Community Police Commission can operate more effectively and inclusively once established.
Brian Platt opines for CounterPunch:
“If I was an anarchist or even a regular protester,” explained the president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild Ron Smith, “I would probably not want to be infiltrated by the police… Just like the dope dealer on Third and Pike doesn’t want to get busted. That’s the price of doing business. It’s the whole package.” This startling bit of honesty from the Seattle police regarding their imperative to infiltrate and spy on social justice protests came as Ansel Herz, a reporter for the local newspaper The Stranger, questioned Smith regarding undercover cops at a Black Lives Matter protest last December.
The lawsuits against the city over the arrest of thousands of people protesting the Republican National Convention in 2004 seem like they've been dragging on for decades. In reality, it's only been about one decade. But on Wednesday the city settled the bulk of those cases, with more than 1,600 plaintiffs, for a whopping $18 million.