Posted by TAG - December 22, 2006 | News

A “Day Of Outrage” protester (Photo: Thomas Good)

New York, NY – December 21 The protests demanding justice for Sean Bell, gunned down by the NYPD on November 25, 2006, continue – and are getting more militant. A “Day Of Outrage” protest, called by the December 12th Movement / Black Men’s Movement for “Black Thursday” (December 21, 2006) drew several hundred angry participants. Responding to the call to “Shut Down Wall Street”, activists from a wide array of organizations gathered at Liberty and Nassau Streets in lower Manhattan’s financial district – meeting there to protest what organizers’ called “the police murder of unarmed Sean Bell and attempted murder of his unarmed friends Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman.”

“No more business as usual. Our demands are clear. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly must go! The head of the Organized Crime Bureau, Anthony Izzo must go! The cops involved in this murder must be indicted, prosecuted, and go straight to jail,” declared event spokesman Omowale Clay.

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Posted by TAG - December 17, 2006 | News

A CodePINK member holds a sign that expresses the feelings of New Yorkers (Photo: Thomas Good)

New York City – December 16, 2006. Thousands of New Yorkers filled the streets to express their outrage with the New York City Police Department (NYPD) today. “Shopping for Justice” was the tagline given the mass protest and march down Fifth Avenue. Organized by Reverend Al Sharpton and the National Action Network, the march included a number of progressive organizations, including trade unions, the NAACP, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS), CodePINK and many others. The SDS contingent included members of the Pace and Pratt chapters, MDS New York and the John Brown Caucus (JBC).

The march was called in response to the police execution of groom-to-be Sean Bell, gunned down on the eve of his wedding by NYPD undercovers. Two of Bell’s close friends were critically wounded in the barrage of gunfire – some fifty rounds were fired by police. The wedding celebrants were unarmed. They were also African-American which indicates the shooting may have been a bias crime. Bell, 23, was killed as he left the Club Kalua in Jamaica, Queens, early in the morning of November 25. Organizers and community activists are demanding an independent investigation to prevent a whitewash.

A young marcher (Photo: Thomas Good)

The protest marchers formed up on 59th Street and then proceeded south down Fifth Avenue. Marchers counted to fifty – to mark the fifty shots fired by police, chanted “Fifty Shots Equals Murder” and sang “Down On The Freedom Line” as the procession filled Fifth Ave. The march wound through New York City’s shopping district during one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Shoppers were addressed directly by members of the John Brown Caucus (an anti-racist, anti-imperialist SDS formation) who chanted: “Stop shopping! Start marching!” The JBC has issued a statement on the shooting that reads in part:

We demand it be called what it is: state racism. The type of institutional racism that advances the idea that a young black man is a threat, worthy of suspicion, and should always be approached and treated as a threat. It’s the type of racism that suggests that the sight of three young black men in a car requires several clips of ammunition, as in this case, one officer had to literally stop shooting and re-load before he could resume firing. Even officers of color are susceptible to this kind of racism. The only two colors that really matter for this racism to persist are the black shade of the targets skin and the set of ingrained presumptions and expectations that come from wearing a uniform of blue. The statement was endorsed by SDS New York, University of Central Florida SDS (UCF SDS), Central Florida MDS, Portland SDS and Ron Jacobs, author of “The Way The Wind Blew”, a history of the Weather Underground.

Saturday’s march stretched on as far as the eye could see and the massive column was populated by a cross section of New York’s diverse communities. The event drew a good police “turnout” as well – a wall of blue uniforms flanked the procession and many of the police heard firsthand the anger of the activists. It remains to be seen if New York’s elected officials will have the moral courage to appoint an independent investigator to ensure that justice is served.

View Photos from the protest

Posted by Wobbly City - December 15, 2006 | News

Leafletting for the CIW (Photo: Thomas Good)

by Tomer Malchi

McDonald’s makes its billions not only by selling more fast food than any other restaurant, but also by using its massive purchasing power to drive down the price of the tomatoes it buys. This downward pressure hits farmworkers the hardest: they earn 40 cents per 32-pound bucket of tomatoes picked for McDonald’s, the same amount farmworkers have been earning since the 1970’s. At this rate, a worker must pick nearly 2.5 tons of tomatoes just to make minimum wage for a 10-hour day. What’s worse, more than 1,000 farmworkers have been held in conditions of modern-day slavery in recent years. Were the tomatoes in your burger picked under threat of violence? McDonald’s refuses to prove otherwise.

Farmworkers in Florida won a boycott against Taco Bell in 2005, earning an extra penny per pound of tomatoes picked and oversight in the fields to prevent abuses and slavery. Now, farmworkers are demanding accountability from McDonald’s.

In NYC a group has formed supporting the Coalition of the Immokalee Workers, for more about their struggle, visit

To get involved in NYC contact:
or visit: http://www.ciw-online-org

“How can we retain students? Let’s stop arresting them…”
– Roger Salerno, Pace Professor (Photo: Thomas Good)

New York, NY – December 11, 2006 Around Noon on December 11th, 2006, the Pace University downtown campus, on Park Row, was quiet. As the first journalist on the scene I hung out near the undeployed NYPD barricades. Eventually Frank MacDonald, head of Pace security, approached me and asked who I wrote for – after I related that I was there to cover a faculty protest for Next Left Notes he walked off. A group of Pace professors had called an action in defense of 5 students who had been arrested for demonstrating on the grounds of the University (on November 15, 2006). At 12:30 pm things got lively. A small procession of Pace faculty approached the campus, walking north up Nassau Street. Some SDSers walked over to greet their professors: Chris Malone of the Poly Sci department and Amy Foerster of Sociology. The small concrete courtyard outside the vertical Pace campus quickly filled with SDS and their friends as the faculty members arrived. Malone ascended the steps and addressed the crowd.

“For some unknown reason some of our students were arrested here at Pace…”
– Chris Malone, Pace Professor (Photo: Thomas Good)

“I don’t want to be here”, said Malone. “I have papers to grade. None of these other faculty members want to be here either,” he added. “But unfortunately we have to be here, we have to be here. The reason why we have to be here is because, for some unknown reason, some of our students were arrested here at Pace University several weeks ago.” Malone concluded his remarks by declaring the Pace campus a “Free Speech Alley”. The crowd of faculty and students cheered as Pace security looked on.

After Malone spoke, Gus Karam, a member of the Economics Department who teaches at the Pleasantville campus (PLV), grabbed Lauren Giaccone’s hat and passed it – raising money for her legal defense – and all of the first amendment activists arrested by the NYPD. Other faculty members began circulating letters asking Pace President Caputo to drop all charges against the SDSers who were arrested on their own campus.

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Posted by TAG - December 11, 2006 | News

New York, NY – December 11, 2006.  Pace University faculty from both the New York and Westchester campuses will assemble at 1 Pace Plaza in Lower Manhattan Monday afternoon at 12:30 PM to express their views regarding the recent arrests of five individuals on the Pace University campus.

Three Pace students and two local activists were arrested on November 15, 2006 for assembling in front of the university and calling for the resignation of the institution’s president, Dr. David Caputo. While students were peacefully assembled, Pace officials authorized the NYPD to conduct arrests on university grounds. Two students were held overnight and another was let go the evening of the arrest. They face court proceedings later this month.

Faculty governing bodies on both the Pleasantville and New York City campuses condemned the arrests at their most recent meetings and demanded that the university drop disciplinary and criminal actions against affected students. They also urged the university not to serve as a complainant in criminal proceedings against the students.

Faculty members attending the event have written letters urging President David Caputo, Vice President of Student Affairs Darnita Killian and Dean for Students Marijo O’ Grady to drop campus disciplinary proceedings against the students, and these materials will be delivered to President Caputo’s office immediately after the 12:20 event.

Daniel McGowan (Photo:

Environmentalists, civil liberties advocates, and family, friends, and supporters will gather at a rally at Foley Square (Centre and Pearl Streets) in Manhattan, at 12:30pm on Thursday, December 7, to support New York City activist Daniel McGowan. Exactly one year ago, Daniel was arrested by federal agents at his place of work, He was extradited to Eugene, Oregon to face charges of conspiracy and arson with a potential prison sentence of life plus 335 years. This Thursday, speakers from the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, National Jericho Movement. and Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan will place McGowan’s arrest in the larger context of global environmental devastation and the government crackdown on dissent. One of the banners will ask the question, “What is eco-terrorism?” and feature images of clearcuts, bulldozers, smog and toxic sludge.

Many local organizations are co-sponsoring the rally, which is one of 45 events being held in 29 different cities around the world to raise awareness of the Green Scare, a widespread, federal attack on the radical environmental and animal rights movement. Green Scare describes a late 2005/early 2006 sweep of arrests, convictions, and grand jury indictments of alleged Earth Liberation and Animal Liberation activists on charges relating to acts of property damage, conspiracy, and arson. The government has labeled their investigation “Operation Backfire.” Despite the fact that none of the defendants were charged with a terror crime, the government has liberally used the term “terrorist” to stigmatize each of them.

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New on Robert Pardun’s “Impressions of Viet Nam”.

Photo of Robert Pardun: Shire Press

From The Editor’s introduction: Robert Pardun was a co-founder of the influential University of Texas at Austin SDS chapter in 1964. Later that same year he became an SDS regional traveller. In 1967 he was elected SDS Internal Education Secretary and spent much of 1967-68 working at the National Office in Chicago. Robert has chronicled his experiences in Prairie Radical: A Journey Through the Sixties, published in 2001, and served as associate producer of the SDS documentary Rebels with a Cause. (Prairie Radical is one of NLN editor Thomas Good’s top ten books {1}).

Robert’s report on his recent Vietnam visit not only offers a look at social and cultural rebirth in the lingering aftermath of the war, but shows Robert’s lasting concern for the Vietnamese. Much can be carried forth from this legacy as older and younger generations alike grapple with the unfolding tragedy in Iraq.

Read The Article…

{1} The others are (in alphabetical order):
Bringing The War Home by Jeremy Varon, Fugitive Days by Bill Ayers, The New Left Revisited by John McMillian and Paul Buhle, No Surrender by David Gilbert, The Politics of Social Ecology by Janet Biehl, Post Scarcity Anarchism by Murray Bookchin, Prairie Fire by the Weather Underground Organization, Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky, and Wobblies by Paul Buhle

Posted by John Brown Caucus - December 1, 2006 | News

Why is the NYPD still shooting young unarmed black men?

How could the spectre of three African American males sitting in a car unleash a barrage of police firepower (50 bullets) enough to leave one man dead and two others fighting for their lives? Rather than preparing for his wedding day, why was bridegroom-to-be Sean Bell being zipped into a body bag?

We in the John Brown Caucus of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Movement for a Democratic Society (MDS) strongly condemn the latest shooting and cold blooded murder perpetrated by members of the New York City Police Department.

We have watched this same scenario played out too many times at the hands of the police.

We have seen the massacre of Amadou Diallo, the senseless homicide of Qusmane Zongo, and the savage brutalization of Abner Louima and we say what we are witnessing is a systemic pattern of police violence against people of color.

We demand it be called what it is: state racism. The type of institutional racism that advances the idea that a young black man is a threat, worthy of suspicion, and should always be approached and treated as a threat. It’s the type of racism that suggests that the sight of three young black men in a car requires several clips of ammunition, as in this case, one officer had to literally stop shooting and re-load before he could resume firing. Even officers of color are susceptible to this kind of racism. The only two colors that really matter for this racism to persist are the black shade of the targets skin and the set of ingrained presumptions and expectations that come from wearing a uniform of blue.

This weeks shooting and murder fits into a long trail of police misconduct and profiling. It is yet another in a history of racist shootings, abuses and arrests, and we demand the police be held fully accountable for their actions.

We urge all SDS/MDS activists to call actions on their campuses and in their communities to protest not only police violence against people of color but the internal colonization of people of color that facilitates it.

We urge all civilians to join Copwatch organizations or to start one should none exist in their community. Building wider public awareness of ongoing police misconduct and brutality is essential to combating it and external oversight and review is desperately needed.



• SDS/MDS New York
• Ron Jacobs, Writer and Anti-Imperialist

Send mail to John Brown Caucus to endorse the statement.