Prison-Industrial Complex

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Driving Divestment: Strategies, Challenges, and Successes
This panel will explore the strategy of divestment as an effective method for social and political change. It will present case studies of using divestment as a tool to pressure corporations to stop being complicit in the destruction of communities from here across America, to the US/Mexico border, to the Middle East.

Proposed speakers (tentative):
CODEPINK, Sarah Manasrah
-Divest from the War Machine campaign targeting the top 5 weapons manufacturers.

Freedom to Thrive, Meron Debeje
-Prison industry divestment campaign

Show Up America, Jan Weinberg
-Corporate divestment from the shareholder perspective

Make the Road NY, Mateo Guerrero-Tabare
-Successful #BackersofHate immigration detention and private prisons campaign

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel brings together the works of Darren Byler (Washington), Gerald Roche (La Trobe), and Bilal "Zenab" Ahmed (SOAS) to rethink Xinjiang with a leftist perspective that discusses the historical evolution of Chinese state activity in the province, and how it will continue to evolve, and have wider impacts through new models of administration, and population management, in particular through Belt and Road projects. Byler will be discussing "Terror Capitalism," in Xinjiang, with an examination of trans-carceral politics and the use of data science. Roche will look at Chinese internal colonialism, with partial reference to projects in Tibet. Ahmed will look at the use of neoplatonist philosophy in paramilitary and data science projects, in the province. Following the three presentations, there will be time for moderated discussion, and audience participation.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Referred to during the election campaign as “the shame of our state,” the non-unanimous jury scheme will no longer be used in Louisiana courts, but it was not applied retroactively. So the approximately 2,000 people serving 10-2 sentences will die in prison unless the law can “get all the way right,” as these writers advocate. The state is not cooperating and is sealing all jury polling records to hide the truth of the Black lives unjustly taken and still incarcerated by the non-unanimous jury scheme. Until Louisiana’s state Constitution was amended in the November 2018 election, Louisiana was the only state in the union where a person could be condemned to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole by a non-unanimous jury vote of 10 out of 12 jurors voting to convict – also known as a 10-2 verdict. This practice not only undermines justice by violating the standard of proof of beyond reasonable doubt, which accounts for Louisiana being a leading state in exonerations, but its origin is a direct iolation of our guaranteed 14th Amendment right to equal protection of law under the United States Constitution. The purpose of the “non-unanimous jury scheme” was for white Louisianians to silence and render African Americans powerless in the judicial process. The basis of their ideology was that African Americans were an ignorant people who should be subservient to whites. nitially, the law allowed for two Blacks to sit on a jury, but to ensure their vote would not count, it required only nine of 12 jurors to convict. At the 1972 Constitutional Convention, to resolve some disagreements about the old law, a compromise was reached that 10 out of 12 jurors could still find guilt. Since slavery was abolished and only two African Americans were allowed on juries, the non-unanimous jury scheme would legally allow for the reintroduction of slavery by assuring convictions for Blacks, while guaranteeing no convictions for whites. Initially, the law allowed for two Blacks to sit on a jury, but to ensure their vote ...the “mission” had been to “establish the supremacy of the white race in this state.” Louisiana’s long standing practice of judicial racial discrimination is a statement that Black lives don’t matter in the State of Louisiana. When the issue of the non-unanimous jury scheme was brought before the legislative committee in early 2018, one of the white members of the District Attorney’s Association stated, “It is what it is!” That statement angered some Black representatives; however, in the same fashion, this is exactly what those representatives said to the many people still incarcerated by the non-unanimous jury scheme, when they rewrote the law. In other words, slavery is no longer legal in the state of Louisiana but you can still keep the slaves that you already have. So the new law won’t apply to those already incarcerated whose appeal processes have been finalized. The illusion of white supremacy is rooted so deep in the state of Louisiana that even today’s Black reformers – advocates and lawmakers – would rather tap dance around an issue before they can summon the courage to stand firm and uphold the truth about African American struggles. The 10-2 issue is about more than just the non-unanimous jury scheme. It also encompasses a wide range of racially discriminatory practices that target African Americans in the state. Rather than talk reparations, by changing the law, state officials are acting as if no harm was done. To further add insult to injury, the courts are now sealing all jury polling records to hide the truth of all the Black lives unjustly taken and still incarcerated by the non-unanimous jury scheme. Now, representing the lead case in a class action civil rights violation against the state of Louisiana is Rev. Errol Victor Sr. A recent press release by the “Burning Bush” editorial reads as follows: “One thousand African American prisoners of Louisiana State Penitentiary are expected to join together in the removal and habeas in the United States Eastern District Federal Court in New Orleans, Case No. 18-10537, Rev. Errol Victor Sr., L.S., v. State of Louisiana. Rev. Victor avers that these prisoners are African American descendants who have been denied rights that arise under federal law providing for specific civil rights stated in terms of racial equality. ...“This is the last stance and second civil rights movement,” declares Rev. Victor. “The criminal justice system and law enforcement – the prison system – is the last racial stronghold in America that African Americans and people of color have to break the yoke and overcome before truly abolishing slavery and finally accomplishing the goal of complete human dignity, independence and equality.” UPDATE: Another 230 African American Louisiana state prisoners have joined, bringing the bringing the total to date to 461 and counting.

Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In light of the fate of the Syrian Revolution, which has been crushed by the genocide carried out by Bashar al-Assad together with his Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies, there has debate in the global left about the meanings of imperialism and anti-imperialism, and the political implications these carry. Many authoritarians claiming leftism cross-over with the white-supremacist right's open support for the Assad Regime by denying its crimes and overlooking the imperialist role played by Russia and Iran in Syria, focusing exclusively on the U.S.'s supposed opposition to Assad's rule. This tendency is a worrisome development, suggestive as it is of a red-brown alliance (or axis) that is not consistently anti-imperialist but rather, only opposed to U.S. Imperialism. It also fails analytically to see how the U.S. has increasingly accommodated Assad's counter-revolution.

In contrast to such approaches, participants on this panel will present anti-authoritarian class analyses of militarism and imperialism. Panelists will discuss the red-brown alliance (or axis) as recalling the “Holy Alliance” and fascism; the concept and reality of imperialism in the Middle East; the current wave of popular protests in Iran; left and right interpretations of geopolitics and political geography both historically and today; the lessons of the Bosnian genocide; and the tragedy of the Syrian Revolution.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

This panel examines prisons as part of a large carceral complex, investigating ways in which imprisonment extends far beyond the walls of prison facilities. It addresses explanations for and the impact of closing prisons, activist interruptions of the school to prison pipeline, the role of new regulatory agencies, and corporate bail and reentry issues. Presenters, including students and faculty from upstate universities, have been active in working in local schools, jails, courts, and reentry work assignments.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

In 2011, the execution of Troy Davis grabbed the attention of the world. Was an innocent man put to death? Even outspoken advocates of capital punishment asked this. As more & more stories of wrongful convictions are covered in the media, the question arises "how can we correct this & prevent it from happening again?" In this panel, we will discuss false confessions, faulty eyewitness testimony, & more from cases such as Troy Davis, Chicago's Death Row 10, & the West Memphis 3. Speakers will include former NY State Death Row prisoner Lawrence Hayes, defendant in the Central Park Jogger Case Yusef Salaam, & Alan Newton who was exonerated after 21 years.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The problem is the ex-prisoners get a free pass if they survive and manage to get back to the US. They dont have to return to prison. They are as free as any citizen. Some of them return to a life of crime that put in them jail in the first place. Top keep the release a secret local police are told not to respond to emergency calls involving these criminals.

Location: 
LA
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The United States is facing a current crisis in the criminal justice system with an unprecedented mass incarceration of its citizens which disproportionately impacts the poor and minorities, particularly African-American males. Individuals not only suffer imprisonment but they are also regulated to an underclass which often results in permanent disfranchisement due to the collateral consequences of a criminal record which may also deny a person the right to vote, the custody of their children, and right to many public entitlements, such as public housing, as well as exclusion from entire cities.
This workshop will review specific issues in the country which is reflective of this
trend, including the passage of the drug laws, the private lobby for building more prisons, the reductions of mental health and substance abuse services and criminalizing behaviors that had been previously handled outside of the criminal justice system.
The establishment of community bail funds will also be reviewed as a means for directly addressing some of this problems.