THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Thursday, July 26, 2012

PHOENIX Hearts Anaheim: Resist the POLICE STATE!

 SPACEBOOK EVENT PAGE:




My Phoenix at sunrise. 
July 27, 2012



For folks who haven't yet heard about the uprising in Anaheim, here's the mainstream media version of why protests are spreading across the country...


----------from NBC Los Angeles------------

Anaheim Police Shootings Spark National Protests

Cities across the country are planning protests in solidarity with demonstrations around two fatal Anaheim police shootings

By Jason Kandel / NBC Los Angeles
Thursday, Jul 26, 2012 

A series of protests sparked after two fatal police shootings in Anaheim have caught on nationally, as several cities including New York, San Francisco and Seattle have planned demonstrations in solidarity.

The protests planned for Thursday night in San Francisco and Friday at various locations were prompted in response to the July 21 shooting of Manuel Angel Diaz, who was unarmed when police shot him after a foot chase through an Anaheim alley.

In response, hundreds of people have demonstrated in the streets, at the police station since and City Hall. The protesters tensions were heightened when Anaheim police fatally shot a second man, Joel Acevedo, in a separate incident on Sunday.

A protest was planned on Thursday night at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Some 200 people responded to a Facebook event organizing a march through Harlem on Friday.

Demonstrations were planned for Friday in Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle.

“We will not take excuses for violence on our communities, especially those of color, anywhere,” wrote the organizers of the event in Seattle. “Not in Anaheim, not in Dallas, not in Oakland, not here in Seattle and surrounding area.”

Los Angeles police had only recently heard that protests were planned downtown on Friday and had no immediate comment.

The police shootings, meanwhile, have prompted some Anaheim houses of worship to hold prayer vigils and events to call for peace.

Some 300 congregants are expected to attend services at the Agape House of Prayer.

“This is really to let people know, we’ve got to come together,” said Dean Garcia, the church’s executive pastor. “We want to be a bridge to let people know that we’re praying for peace and hoping that the situation be alleviated properly.”

Police have stepped up patrols in Anaheim in the wake of the incidents.

Police have said that both men were gang members. They said they thought Diaz had a gun when he reached for his waistband. Police said they saw several objects thrown onto a roof during the foot chase with Diaz. 
Police did not find a weapon.

In the second shooting, police said they found a weapon near Acevedo.

The police department -- which has recorded eight police shootings so far this year amid rising crime -- faced additional criticism because after Diaz’s death, a police dog got out of an unsecured squad car and bit protesters.

Diaz’s mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit, alleging police shot Diaz at least twice -- once in the back and once in the back of the head.

Police were not talking about the details of the case, pending the outcome of parallel investigations by its own department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. The FBI is considering conducting its own probe of the case.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has called on the state Attorney General and U.S. Attorney General’s Office to investigate. He apologized publicly for the dog biting incident, saying the department would pay for medical bills of those injured.

Tait blamed the protests on a group of agitators from outside Anaheim. The largest of the protests occurred Tuesday when some 500 people gathered outside City Hall and police arrested 24 people.

"Vandalism, arson and other forms of violent protest will simply not be tolerated in our city,” he said in a statement. “We don’t expect last night’s situation to be repeated, but if it should, the police response will be the same: swift and appropriate.”

The shootings come as Anaheim has been seeing a spike in crime and tensions rising. Anaheim is also dealing with a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union surrounding the city's lack of Latino representation in city government.

Dana Douglas, the Diaz family attorney, said tensions between police and the Latino community are “highly strained.”

“Young men in the neighborhood are actually the targets,” she said. “We don’t allege some racial motivation. But it’s part of the environment in which these things can occur.”



Radical Phoenix is holding a street festival in solidarity with the Anaheim resistance tomorrow night (Friday July 27) at 8pm at the corner of Garfield and 5th Street. Here's the Spacebook page: 


FEEL FREE TO DOWNLOAD THE FLIER BELOW.

or, if you prefer, download this one...


Monday, July 23, 2012

Freeing Avi Naftel...


Avi was a friend of mine before I knew he had also been a prisoner. He was committed as Arnold Naftel, #45287, to the AZ DOC  at the age of 28 for disarming and kidnapping a state trooper…which isn’t quite what it sounds like. He was trained as an Israeli soldier as well as a Navy Seal – of course he disarmed her when she drew on him and demanded his papers.
 
Avi survived over 26 years of violence, abuse, and gross medical neglect in Arizona's state prisons. He spent much of his time in the hole, but he was also a hell of a jailhouse lawyer. And he left a corrupt, brutal guard with a limp for years (warning - this is the man I learned self-defense from).  There were questions about how Avi died - the cops now say there was no foul play, at least. I think Avi made amends with the people he loved as best he could, and went out the way he wanted to - living freely. I hope I am so lucky when it‘s my time...


----------my original post to Prison Abolitionist   from 7/15/12-------

 

A couple of friends and I journeyed to the Kibbutz Elfrida today in search of our beloved Avi Naftel , who had fallen out of touch with everyone for several weeks. We discovered when we arrived that his body had been found near his camp by the Cochise County Sheriff's office at the end of June after a neighbor reported him missing.

The sergeant we spoke to in Elfrida at the Sheriff's department substation suggested that his death was being looked at as a possible homicide for several reasons he shouldn't have disclosed to us. In any case, despite that and the news reports  of his "suspicious" death  at the time, I think the man died on his own terms out there. Here's an excerpt from Avi to another friend (from the Kibbutz Elfrida Facebook page) that kind of sums up why I think this...

“I'm very sick and painful and won't be able to get there for BCR4 as I'm broke. However I bought that land in S AZ so that I can die in peace there. The doctors told me not to lose hope but get my affairs in order. At this time I'm not sad at all, I'm very finding serenity and not afraid at all. In fact I may welcome death as I'm tired of being sick and though I have loving friends and would love to continue traveling around, its getting too difficult for me. My guitar is my gift for you since its such a sweet sound, it is a blessing for me to do this."

Visit Avi's Spacebook  page for updates and to leave good thoughts for his family. I'll post more here later, once I'm really ready to let this good soul go.

Blessings to you as you continue your journey, Avi: so glad you lived and died a free man. 

Thanks for letting me spend a bit of time with you along the way - it was a  great ride.




Avi and Cookie, Phoenix   



 Cookie biker, in doggles


Cookie was specially trained and provided by the VA Hospital to alert Avi when his blood sugar levels endangered him...
She is such a lovely soul, as well, and has been adopted out to a good family.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Seawright Prison Justice Project: ideas from Audre Lorde


Prison abolition in practice, from the good people at the Audre Lorde Project...this is the kind of thing I'd much rather spend time on, not fighting with the FBI. I am reminded that when we look to the state to define and achieve "justice" for us, we validate and reinforce that very system we wish to destroy. This group below offers one alternative to looking to the police to make us safer in our communities....


------------from the Audre Lorde Project-----------


Safe OUTside the System: The SOS Collective


The Safe OUTside the System (SOS) Collective is an anti-violence program led by and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non Conforming people of color. We are devoted to challenging hate and police violence by using community based strategies rather than relying on the police.

 

Join Us

  • Membership within the SOS Collective is open to all LGBTSTGNC people of color who live in Bed-Stuy or surrounding neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
  • We have open meetings every 2nd Tuesday of the month.
  • Although our meetings are not open to allies, we welcome the support of our non-LGBTSTGNC and white allies. Please contact us at 718.596.0342 ext. 22 to learn how you can support our work.

 

Current Work

  • Safe Neighborhood Campaign: The S.O.S. Collective organizes and educates local businesses and community organizations on how to stop violence without relying on law enforcement. Want to become a Safe Space? Interested in recruiting more Safe Spaces? Join us in stopping violence one Safe Space at a time!
  • Save Starlite: Join us in fighting the eviction of one of our Safe Spaces the Starlite Lounge. The Starlite Lounge is the oldest, black owned, non-discriminating, gay-friendly bar in Brooklyn.
  • Community Support: The S.O.S. Collective works to support LGBTSTGNC people of color survivors of police and hate violence in Central Brooklyn. From fundraising, to referrals, to outside of the system organizing strategies feel free to call on us for assistance.
  • Reclaiming Safety: The Audre Lorde Project, CUAV, and several organizations around the country opposed the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Act. We believe that sending more resources to law enforcement make us less safe instead of more. The S.O.S. Collective and Communities United Against Violence (CUAV) in San Francisco have been strategizing, organizing, and educating our communities to shift the national discussion on ending hate violence towards community led strategies.

History

  • The Working Group on Police and State Violence (now SOS Collective) began in 1997 in response to a rash of street violence, repressive state violence tactics, an increase of police harassment, and brutality, and the “Quality of Life” policies of the Giuliani administration.
  • In working to build a citywide movement, the WGPV participated in founding the Coalition Against Police Brutality (CAPB). With the other POC based organizations part of CAPB, the working group helped organized People’s Justice 2000, 41 days of action in the wake of Diallo and Louima, and annual Racial Justice Day (RJD) events, where the families of those who have been brutalized and killed at the hands of the NYPD raise their voices and demand justice.
  • In our work, we have also taken on cases of community members, such as Jalea Lamot, a trans woman who, along with her family, was brutalized and arrested in her home by the NYCHA police.
  • In addressing the broader issues of State Violence, we have collaborated with other POC organizations both citywide and nationally (TWW-Peace Action Coalition and Racial Justice 911, respectively) in response to post September 11th government policies and practices.
  • We also held two War Against Terror Meetings, which worked to build and make visible an analysis of how homophobia and trans-phobia are cornerstones of the right wing agenda. And that this agenda is responsible for the repressive practices the “war on terror” and how LGBTSTGNC people are impacted on a daily basis.
  • The WGPV also helped coordinate Operation Homeland Resistance, a civil disobedience after the invasion of Iraq, which connected oppressive tactics at home to imperialist war of aggression abroad.