Workers and Immigrants Announce #FreedomCity Campaign in NYC

freedom-city-takingbacknycWe Want Freedom: Workers and Immigrants Announce Freedom Cities Campaign in NYC

On Friday January 20th at 11am in front of the Trump Hotel Central Park, the New York Worker Center Federation (WCF) will announce the launch of Freedom Cities, a new campaign that expands both the way safety is defined and the realm of who deserves protection.

Throughout Trump’s campaign he has sown divisions through his sexist, xenophobic, and racist rhetoric and campaign promises that threaten the safety and freedom of WCF members’ communities. In response to this multi-level attack, the WCF announces the Freedom Cities campaign with a six-point platform: Workers’ Rights, Safety Beyond Policing, Hate Free Zones, Community Control, Invest in Humanity, and Political Power.

“A Freedom City goes beyond the idea of a sanctuary city,” said Anshu Khadka, a community organizer at member organization Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM). “We want freedom for all of us: workers, all immigrants—documented or undocumented, people with criminal convictions, LGBTQ and GNC people, and all people of color. As we rise up and move forward, we know that none of us are free until all of us are free.”

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Princeton groups aim to divest from private prisons

princetonVia The Daily Pennsylvanian | By Chris Doyle

A petition from Princeton Private Prison Divestment is garnering campus support.

Composed by a vast array of student social justice groups, PPPD is a coalition that demands Princeton University immediately divest from what they deem are “particularly egregious” private prison corporations. The petition, first reported on December 13th by The Daily Princetonian, outlines why the coalition believes divestment is so important.

One of its central argument rests on what PPPD sees as a contradiction between investment in private prisons and Princeton’s stated values, as articulated by its informal motto, “In the nation’s service and the service of humanity.” PPPD says this motto is irreconcilable with the practice of privately operated prisons. According to the petition, these companies “exploit [the] wholesale caging of bodies for economic gain,” and thus promote unfairly “punitive justice,” while providing “poorly regulated service.” The group charges that they “perpetuate a national civil rights crisis” that contradicts Princeton’s stated goals.

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Portland halts investment in Caterpillar

Israeli forces use a Caterpillar vehicle to destroy a Palestinian home in occupied east Jerusalem, May 2013.

Sliman KhaderAPA images



Via Electronic Intifada | By Nora Barrows-Friedman

The city of Portland, Oregon, has voted to temporarily halt its investments in all corporate securities after a broad coalition of activists urged the city to drop financial relationships with companies involved in human rights violations.

Palestine solidarity activists, together with environmental groups and prison divestment organizations, demanded the city council add Caterpillar and Wells Fargo to a list of corporations that violate a socially responsible investment (SRI) policy adopted by the city in 2014.

In their unanimous vote on 21 December, the city council determined that investments in all corporate securities – including those two companies – will be suspended for at least four months.

Portland’s investments in Caterpillar and Wells Fargo “raised concerns around environmental desecration, weapons production, abusive labor practices, human rights abuses and corporate governance,” stated Enlace, an alliance of low-wage worker centers, unions, and community organizations in Mexico and the US that helped organize with other local groups.

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Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliances

(Photo: Alex Van; Edited: LW / TO)(Photo: Alex Van; Edited: LW / TO)

Via TruthOut | James Kilgore

Yusef Shakur is a Detroit community organizer who spent several years in Michigan State prisons. “The prison industrial complex has found the right person to feed it,” he told Truthout in response to the election results. Trump is of the same “cloth as Reagan, Bush and Nixon,” Shakur added. “I expect the worst in terms of patterns of repression.”

Among those working to end mass incarceration, Shakur’s perspectives are not unique. With Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, the Obama administration often provided wiggle room for reformers to craft and occasionally pass legislation or win changes in policy. In states like New York, New Jersey, California, Mississippi and Georgia, state and local level reforms yielded considerable drops in prison populations. While the process often appeared painfully slow, contradictory and at times counterproductive, many activists were able to make some political progress and even attain recognition within mainstream policy circles. Radical critics in favor of prison abolition also found space to oppose prison and jail construction and keep discussions alive about alternative paradigms of justice.

Now — boom. Any sense of a predictable shift toward reform is gone. A neo-fascist commander-in-chief who aggressively declares himself to be the “law-and-order candidate” awaits inauguration. His proposed chain of repressive measures by now have become frighteningly familiar fare: construct a wall along the Mexican border, set up a registry for Muslims, expand the scope for private prisons, restore stop-and-frisk policing.

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Portland City Council Votes to Stop Investing in Wells Fargo, Caterpillar and All Corporate Securities

December 21 – Portland City Council voted today to temporarily halt investing in all corporate securities, after broad community pressure to end investments in prison lender Wells Fargo and Caterpillar. Earlier this year, the Socially Responsible Investments Committee (SRIC) recommended the city end investments in ten of the “worst of the worst” corporations, including Wells Fargo and Caterpillar. The Portland Prison Divestment Coalition–convened by Enlace and representing 25 local leading racial and migrant justice organizations–Occupation-Free Portland, and clergy applauded the city’s step to align its investments with its values by stopping investments in Caterpillar and Wells Fargo. The city vote today means Portland is joining the chorus of local governments ending investments in Wells Fargo, and is a leader in ending ties with Caterpillar, the company Trump has said will build his wall to keep out the millions of immigrants he plans to forcibly deport.

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Portland’s Going to Cease Corporate Investments—For Four Months Or So


Via Portland Mercury | By Dirk VanderHart

The Portland City Council held the last meeting in its current form today. Its final decision? Ceasing investing city tax dollars in all corporate bonds.

At least for a few months.

In a somewhat dramatic turn (and amid a reluctance among city council members to stand specifically against some companies) the council promptly turned what was supposed to be a hearing on several corporate bad actors into a decision to direct the city’s treasurer to cease corporate investments altogether.

The move was partly choreographed—advocates pushing for divestment from private prisons had been told of a deal before this afternoon’s hearing. And the decision neatly allowed the city council to sidestep singling out companies like Wells Fargo and Caterpillar, which community members have pressed especially hard be put on the city’s “Do Not Buy” list.

Those two companies were among a list of nine corporations that a city committee recommended Portland officials rule out for tens of millions in city investments. Others included Walmart, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan Chase. Last month, the Mercury examined the push to divest from Wells Fargo because of its role in funding private prison companies.

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Banking on Deportation

Via Jacobin | By Jeremy Mohler

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump repeatedly said he’d deport all of the country’s estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants. But in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes the Sunday after the election, he dialed back his rhetoric: “What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably two million, it could be even three million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate.”

Like much of what Trump says, his plan to deport two to three million people is light on detail, but it appears to be a continuation of immigration policy under the Obama administration. Since 2009, President Obama has deported 2.5 million immigrants, many of whom were “criminals.” He’s relied on Clinton- and Bush-era policies that streamline deportation and empower local law enforcement. While some people have been deported for serious crimes, many have been sent back for merely reentering after being deported in the past, or even for violations as minor as driving without a license or running a red light.

The last three presidents built a deportation machine; Trump is lining up people who can shift it into high gear.

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