One night in the summer of 1996, when I was eighteen, my (white, female, ex-gutter-punk) roommate and I rushed together to call the police when we were startled by a Peeping Tom outside her bedroom window. It was like a reflex, just what you do. We didn’t pause to consider other possible…
the only people sitting down at the coffee shop i work are an older couple who are having a hard talk about something and i think 69 love songs is really bumming them out.
Aisthesis, Jacques Rancière (translated miraculously by Zakir Paul)
The Seri people of the eastern Sonoran desert have spent the last 100 years fighting for their very survival against first the Spanish and then the Mexican government, which was determined to eradicate them. Today, just 800 remain on the coast — fishing and maintaining their traditions. Because their land is protected by law, the waters abutting it see fewer fishermen and thus are healthier than many of the communities to the north and south.
But the people here feel that their territory is still under attack from the outside. Specifically, they look to large industrial trawlers as interlopers that come in, take what they can, and leave devastation in their wake. As a result, many have started to board these large boats and demand a cut of their nightly haul. What many fisherman see as piracy, the Seri see as the only way they can fight powers that are seemingly out of their control.
Read more about the Seri people and the Sea of Cortez here, as reported on by writer Erik Vance and photographer Dominic Bracco II.
“D.C. WITCHES Hex United Fruit,” Guardian (1969)
Last Wednesday was a rainy day in Washington, a perfect day for witches to emerge and terrorize the countryside, as the old myths go. Eleven women, looking like countless secretaries streaming through downtown office buildings on their way to lunch, took an elevator up into the building at 1511 K St. NW here, where the United Fruit offices are located. They entered a door marked Women’s room, and emerged WITCHES.
Armed with drums, a steaming cauldron of banana peels with Chiquita labels, hexes and leaflets that spoke truth, they cackled and screamed down to the sixth floor and into the United Fruit offices to spread their evil:
United Fruit makes lots of loot
By robbing the poor who picks its fruit.
Bananas and rifles; sugar and death.
War for profit; tarantulas’ breath.
United Fruit makes lots of loot,
The CIA is in its boot.
Workers unite; the dictators fall:
United Fruit perish; freedom for all!
1. The Federal prison population has grown to 219,000 people, an increase of 27% over the last decade. Since 1980, the Federal prison population has exploded by 790 percent. Almost 50% of these prisoners are there for drug offenses. According to a new report (PDF) by the Urban Institute, Federal prison overcrowding will worsen if policy changes aren’t implemented. Federal prisons that are now 35 to 40 percent over capacity could reach 55 percent over capacity by 2023. The Justice Department’s budget for the federal prison system has increased from $5 billion in 2008 to $6.9 billion today.
2. We were still sterilizing women in U.S. prisons as late as 2010. Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
3. Prisons are still sites of violence and abuse. In April 2013, the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had launched an investigation of Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. I had written about the allegations of abuse and violence last year. The DOJ announcement came several months after a scathing report about conditions and abuses at the prison was released by the National Institute of Corrections (NIC).
4. Children are still not exempt from the torture of solitary confinement. Every day across the country, kids as young as 13 are held in solitary confinement with almost no human contact for days or months at a time6. Corporations are still profiting off prisons.
7. Immigrant detention is still inhumane and expensive. The National Immigrant Justice Center released a report (PDF) in April detailing the fate of children who are detained in adult facilities. It found that “…from 2008 to 2012, children under the age of 18 spent a combined total of 36,598 days in 30 adult detention facilities around the country.
8. The School to Prison Pipeline is still funneling mostly black and brown children into the juvenile and adult criminal legal systems.Just last week, the Vera Institute for Justice published a report that looks at “existing research about whether zero tolerance discipline policies make schools more orderly or safe, if out-of-school suspension or expulsion leads to greater involvement in the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, and what effect these policies can have on a young person’s future.” The report “concludes that, a generation after the rise of these policies and practices, neither schools nor young people have benefited.”9. We still lock people up for extraordinarily long periods for nonviolent crimes.
10. Private prisons are still the worst. In September, a group called “In the Public Interest” published a report titled “Criminal: How Lockup Quotas and “Low-Crime Taxes” Guarantee Profits for Private Prison Corporations.” The report shows “private prison companies mandate high inmate occupancy rates through their contracts with states – in some cases, up to 100 percent.”
Mother Jonesexplainsthat the report: “reviewed 62 contracts for private prisons operating around the country at the local and state level. In the Public Interest found that 41 of those contracts included occupancy requirements mandating that local or state government keep those facilities between 80 and 100 percent full. In other words, whether crime is rising or falling, the state must keep those beds full.
11. The so-called drug war is still racist and failed…
In June, the ACLU released an importantreportshowing the racial disparities in marijuana arrests in the U.S. It got a lot of press coverage because of the staggering statistics. The report found that: “Black people are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people despite comparable usage rates…The report also found that marijuana arrests now make up nearly half of all drug arrests, with police making over 7 million marijuana possession arrests between 2001 and 2010.”
12. It’s still open season on black & brown bodies by the police.
In March, the NYPD gunned down Kimani Gray sparking days of protest by young people in Brooklyn. In August, Miami Police tased 18 year old Israel Hernandez to death. In September, Jonathan Farrell was shot to death by police in Charlotte. A few days ago, Durham police said that 17 year old Jesus Huertashot himself in the head while his hands were cuffed behind his back. You get the picture…
13. Guantanamo is still open and still torturing prisoners. After 12 years, Guantanamo Bay Prison is still open.
14. Prisoners are still resisting all across the country.
15. People outside of prisons are still resisting.
15 (a). Some unions are joining forces with state governments to expand the use of private prisons. California’s co-optation of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) into support of expanded use of private prisons is one of the most ominous moves of our time.