April 21, 2013 archive

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and the Paterson Silk Strike by JayRaye

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn with Pat Quinlan, Carlo Tresca,

Adolph Lessig, and Big Bill Haywood

Paterson, New Jersey 1913

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn Arrives

On January 27, 1913 at the Doherty Silk Mill in Paterson, New Jersey, a workers committee requested a meeting with management. They wanted an end to the hated four-loom system which had doubled their work load with no increase in pay, and had caused the lay-offs of many of their fellow workers. When four members of that committee were fired, 800 silk workers, almost the entire work force, walked off the job spontaneously. They were without union organization to back them up. Being mostly foreign-born, non-English-speaking, unskilled workers, the AFL’s United Textile Workers did not want them.

But, in fact, there was another textile union in Paterson at that time: the IWW’s National Industrial Union of Textile Workers, Local 152 which local organizers, Ewald Koettgen and Adolph Lessig had established over several years of organizing. It was there, with this stalwart band of 100 Wobblies, that the strikers found a union willing to back up their strike. As it became clear that Doherty would not bargain with the strikers, Local 152 request help from IWW headquarters in Chicago.

On February 25, 1913, national IWW organizers, Pat Quinland, Carlos Tresca, and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn arrived to speak at a mass meeting. All three were arrested that night at the meeting. Strikers followed them to the jail and held a rally outside the jail, singing and shouting for their release. Women shouted, “When the strike is won, Gurley Flynn will be the boss!”

By the time Big Bill Haywood arrived, later that week, the strike had spread to silk mills across Paterson. 300 mills were shut down, and 25,000 silk workers were on strike. Big Bill advised the strikers: “fold your arms or put your hands in your pocket and let the manufacturers do the worrying.”

Bahrain Grand Prix

Adapted from Formula One 2013: Sakhir Qualifying and Formula One 2013: Sakhir at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Bahrain F1 Event Goes Ahead Despite Human Rights Protests

By HARVEY MORRIS, The New York Times

April 18, 2013, 8:17 am

(T)he government’s strong-arm reaction to demonstrators demanding greater democracy and equal rights for the island state’s Shia population has failed to quash the protest movement.

Dozens of people were injured in March as protesters clashed with the riot police on the second anniversary of a Saudi-led military intervention to assist the Bahraini authorities confront the unrest.

As isolated clashes between the police and protestors were reported on Thursday, the main Shia opposition group said it was planning a major demonstration to coincide with preparations for the Grand Prix.

Human Rights Watch, one of a number of groups that called for the event to be canceled, warned there was a risk that the Bahraini authorities would use repressive measures to clamp down on the protests.

“Bahrain is already tightening the lid on protest as the Formula 1 race grows near,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the organization’s Middle East director. “The Formula 1 organizers apparently prefer to bury their heads in the sand, risking holding their race against repression it has provoked.”

Human rights groups say Bahrain’s Sunni rulers want to use the event to convey a semblance of normality in a country that is still wracked by regular clashes between the security forces and protesters.

The authorities have managed to confine the trouble mainly to Shia villages, out of sight of areas likely to be frequented by Grand Prix visitors.

“The public relations whirl around grand prix week always brings an attempt to suppress a few secrets that King Hamad’s regime would rather you did not see,” wrote Oliver Brown in the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.

It may seem to the casual observer that Bahrain is surprisingly quiet this year.

The political problems have not ceased, however, and Bahrain remains in the thick of its social upheaval. Negotiations between the government and the opposition began again in February, and the move in March to appoint Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa as first deputy prime minister was seen as a way to improve the negotiations, as he is considered to be a softer, more open man than his more hard-line father, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.

The opposition, meanwhile, is staging a series of peaceful demonstrations during the race weekend this year.

“These demonstrations show that the movement continues and the demands have not been met yet,” Khalil al-Marzouq, a leader of the main opposition group Wefaq, told Reuters on Wednesday. “Obviously, the presence of the media for the Formula One helps shed the spotlight on Bahrain.”

Bernie has been doing his unctuous best to try and pretend that he cares about anything except money-

Bernie Ecclestone has offered to speak with protesters in Bahrain this week as Formula One prepares for the most controversial race of the year.

“I’m happy to talk to anybody about this, as I did before.

“We don’t want to see trouble. We don’t want to see people arguing and fighting about things we don’t understand, because we really don’t understand. We don’t want to see people repressed as a result of the race.

“Some people feel it’s our fault there are problems. We are extremely sympathetic to them. Don’t forget, I was the one, when we had apartheid in South Africa, who pulled the race.”

Bahrain is worth £40m a year to F1, which is why the sport is loath to leave.

“I spoke to the people that represent the protesters [last year]. I met them in London and Bahrain and had a chat. And I spoke to the people we deal with, and it was really difficult to decide who is right and who is wrong. When you talk to the people that represent the protesters, that person is a very sensible, down-to-earth person, and understands what I’ve just said, that both sides may be wrong.

“You are always going to get people who are going to try and take advantage of any situation. If you are going to do something you might as well do it when there is a lot of worldwide TV there.

“I have sympathy with both sides of the argument. I wish they could sort things out. If there are any problems, which there are obviously – people are not making trouble if there are no problems – then they could get it sorted out.

“Whether they have or not, I don’t know, but you will always get people that will want to make riots anyway.”

“I don’t think the people who are arguing about their position are bad people, and I don’t think they’re trying to hurt people to make their point.

“We’ve had all sorts of protesters – look at those complaining about Mrs Thatcher. This happens all the time. People use these things when there is an opportunity.”

He added: ” The big problem is you have a set of people who want to have more of a say in the way there country is being run.

“It’s probably like our country, England, there are sectors there who sees things the other side are doing wrong and they would like things done their way. It happens worldwide.

I said to them [protesters] if you are going to achieve what you are trying to achieve, which is having control of the country, you are better off having control when the country is strong and respected worldwide than capture something nobody wants.

“Who wants to capture Syria at the moment? It’s not a big thing to have. It’s a liability not an asset. It’s the same with Bahrain. If they can get to grips with it, and get more control of a country that is strong, not a country that’s weak.”

But while Bernie has been going la la la, I can’t hear you and the toadies in the Sporting Media have been typically silent, what’s really been happening is brutal suppression.

Bahrain prince admits ‘issues’ on Grand Prix eve



Police were out in force for qualifying, with armoured vehicles deployed around the capital’s Pearl Square, epicentre of month-long pro-democracy protests in early 2011 that were crushed with deadly force.

Hundreds of Shiite demonstrators who attempted to gather in the square on Saturday evening were forcibly dispersed, witnesses said.

Police fired tear gas and chased demonstrators into side streets. Some protesters retaliated with petrol bombs, the witnesses added.

Hundreds had taken to the streets in Shiite villages outside Manama overnight, prompting clashes with police, but away from the circuit, witnesses said.

Prince Salman denied that the event was being exploited to boost the image and economy of the tiny Gulf monarchy that has a Shiite Muslim majority but is ruled by a Sunni dynasty and has been rocked by continuing Arab Spring-inspired unrest.

“We’ve never used this race to say that everything’s fine,” Prince Salman said. “We recognise there are issues in the country but they are to be solved in a political process which is well underway.”

Last year most teams stayed in Manama, Bahrain’s capital, and had to make a 20 mile trip to the track each day.  This year the teams are housed in a hotel steps from the paddock and are in virtual "voluntary" lockdown.  No Force India Molotovs this year.

Also, just like last year, independent journalists have been denied visas or ejected lest they report on things like this-

Bahrain protests to be stepped up before grand prix, says rights group

(P)ro-democracy protesters opposed to Sunday’s race have also been frustrated by increased security measures which have driven them out of the capital, Manama. Shehabi said: “There was a blanket ban on all protests after last year’s grand prix. People have been forced underground now. Protesters have been pushed to parts of small villages where they can’t be heard or seen. As long as you’re not seen or heard by anyone it’s OK.

“There is a continuation of government repression. We haven’t seen justice or accountability for the F1 staff who were sacked and arrested and tortured in 2011. They were tortured at the circuit itself.”

Said Yousif, spokesman for the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, said: “There has been a government crackdown here and it started two weeks ago, especially in the villages close to the F1 track, and 65 people have been arrested. Leaders have been beaten and tortured before being released, so everyone can see the marks of beating and torture. Houses have been razed in different villages. Tear gas has been used at close range. No one has died, as happened last year, but the crackdown has continued. I was in jail for a month three months ago just because I tweeted an injury in the capital.”

For make no mistake, protests are continuing.

Bahrain protests grow as Bernie Ecclestone considers city for F1 start

As tension built here on Friday, with an estimated 10,000 pro-democracy demonstrators gathering at Budaiya Highway in the afternoon and more serious trouble expected overnight, Ecclestone’s stance could be seen as provocative.

Around the Sakhir circuit itself, there was tight and vigilant security and those travelling here had to negotiate widespread road blocks. There were hundreds of police on view and police cars and armoured vehicles were even more in evidence than they were last year. Early in the afternoon a long plume of smoke could be seen a few miles from the circuit. As another security measure, everyone has been photographed on the way to the track.

According to sections of the Italian media, the Ferrari team were told to remain in their hotel at night, although this was denied by a spokesman, who said: “Everyone has just been told to be careful.” Nonetheless, more teams are staying in a trackside hotel to avoid driving through the capital, Manama, as many of them did last year.

Those who did drive back to Manama on Thursday evening went down a highway which separated demonstrators from the police, who looked to be firing tear gas. The Gulf Daily news carried a report of rioters blocking roads and attacking police as violence escalated on Thursday evening, with a Molotov cocktail attack on Sitra police station. Another report highlighted an attack on Tubli Primary School for Boys, with disruption caused by locking the gates with chains.

Meanwhile, the British government has upgraded its warning to visitors to Bahrain, telling them to avoid large crowds and demonstrations and Bahraini nationals have been advised to avoid villages and financial districts following last Sunday’s explosion at the Bahrain Financial Harbour, where a gas cylinder was detonated inside a stolen car.

Which I reported on here.

Protests held in Bahrain ahead of Formula One

Thousands of Bahrainis have demonstrated near the capital, Manama, urging democratic reforms, part of a series of protests planned by the political opposition ahead of next week’s Formula One Grand Prix.

A second opposition group, the February 14 Movement, organised another protest on Thursday night in the village of Khamis that was broken up by police.

Thursday night’s demonstration came as a report by Human Rights Watch said that police have been rounding up pro-democracy activists in bid to head off protests.

Clashes erupted when anti-riot police intervened to disperse the crowd and demonstrators responded with Molotov cocktails, witnesses said.

Human rights groups say a total of 80 people have been killed since February 2011.

Clashes as Bahrain gears up for Grand Prix

Clashes began when supporters of the February 14 Revolution Youth Coalition, a clandestine cyber-group that had called for a “Day of Rage”, tried to march on the former Pearl Square in Manama, the capital.

Police fired tear gas and shotguns to disperse the protesters before they neared the area, witnesses said, but no casualties were reported.

The movement’s supporters – armed with petrol bombs and stones – clashed with police in Shia villages outside Manama and burnt tyres to block main roads, the sources said.

Smoke from burning tire fires which the protesters use as barricades is visible from the track and the road to and from Manama is lined with Police and Military in riot gear.

I reported last week on Damon Hill’s staunch opposition to holding this race at all in which he is joined by current driver Mark Webber.

Ecclestone, however, has said he is considering returning Bahrain to its ‘Season Opener’ status next year which is attractive to the Bahrainis because the teams arrive a week earlier for additional testing and would further bolster their “Everything’s perfectly all right now. We’re fine. We’re all fine here now, thank you.” case, even though there is a premium fee to be paid to Ecclestone and Formula One Management.

Most teams are lukewarm at the prospect

Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali said: “I don’t think it would be good for Formula One to be involved in the political situation of the country because then there is the risk of being pulled from one side to the other, which is not really what we should do.”

His counterpart at McLaren, Martin Whitmarsh, said: “I think we’re only all qualified to talk about it from a sporting perspective and since Bahrain introduced Formula One to this region, it’s been a great event and a hospitable grand prix to attend,” and Lotus’s Eric Boullier added: “It’s true that we don’t want to be dragged into a political situation. If the promoter, the FIA and the commercial rights holder agree with the decision to race here, we race here.”

Others on the grid though, privately are looking forward to getting the first available flight out on Sunday evening.

Goodbye and good riddance.

Clashes as Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead

Al Jazeera

21 Apr 2013 17:26

The Formula One race has gone ahead despite ongoing clashes between Bahraini police and anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Manama.

Police fired birdshot and tear gas on Sunday to contain simmering resentment at a deadly crackdown by the Sunni royal family on Arab Spring-inspired protests that erupted two years ago led by the kingdom’s Shia Muslim majority.

Al Jazeera’s special correspondent, reporting from Manama, said that Sunday’s clashes had broken out at Al Jabrya secondary school, one kilometre from the centre of the capital.

“Students have barricaded themselves in, we could see smoke from burning tyres and I’ve seen pictures of tear gas outside classrooms. We’re hearing reports that two students are injured,” she said.

“The Lost Channel of Atlanta”

Adapted from Rant of the Week at The Stars Hollow Gazette

The Lost Channel of Atlanta

Under the leadership of Jeff Zucker, CNN broadens the definition of news to include more goat holograms and murder dramas.

Media Reassure Themselves They Didn’t Do So Bad in Boston Coverage

By Nicole Belle, Crooks & Liars

April 21, 2013 11:00 AM

Zucker actually sent his underlings a “you’re do(ing) a heckuva job” memo in the midst of them getting so very much wrong.

At the end up one of the busiest news weeks in recent memory-for CNN and every other major media organization-Jeff Zucker delivered his gratitude to his CNN staff in an internal memo obtained by POLITICO’s Dylan Byers.

Beginning with the declaration, “What a week,” Zucker goes on to praise his team for their “exceptional work.” He wrote, “It was important to see CNN, CNN.com, HLN and CNNI all shine this week,” and let the full staff know, “you have shown the world what makes us CNN.”

Zucker dismissed the criticism levelled at his organization as so much “jealousy”. Uh huh. Sadly, Rupert Murdoch offered a similar, albeit more abridged defense of his multiple news platforms:

Rupert Murdoch belatedly came to the defense of his newspaper, tweeting: “All NYPost pics were those distributed by FBI. And instantly withdrawn when FBI changed directions.” Murdoch did not go into detail about how exactly a newspaper can “instantly withdraw” a front page already published, although perhaps that would have taken more than 140 characters (and harnessing the power of the space-time continuum) to explain.

Among the mistakes the Post made this week: they inaccurately reported 12 people had died in the blast (three did); they claimed a Saudi man was a “suspect” in “custody”, when he wasn’t; and most prominently, they plastered the photos of two “suspects” on the front page with the headline "Bag Men." They didn’t outright say these two people were the bombers, but they did everything they could to insinuate it. Of course, it later turned out that neither men were really suspects, and one was a high school student who went to the police on his own to clear his name.


On This Day In History April 21

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here. (Click on image to enlarge.)

April 21 is the 111th day of the year (112th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 254 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1777, British troops under the command of General William Tryon attack the town of Danbury, Connecticut, and begin destroying everything in sight. Facing little, if any, opposition from Patriot forces, the British went on a rampage, setting fire to homes, farmhouse, storehouses and more than 1,500 tents.

The British destruction continued for nearly a week before word of it reached Continental Army leaders, including General Benedict Arnold, who was stationed in nearby New Haven. Along with General David Wooster and General Gold Silliman, Arnold led a contingent of more than 500 American troops in a surprise attack on the British forces as they began withdrawing from Danbury.

Sybil Ludington (April 16, 1761- February 26, 1839), daughter of Col. Henry Ludington, was a heroine of the American Revolutionary War who became famous for her night ride on April 26, 1777 to alert American colonial forces to the approach of enemy troops.

The Ride

Ludington’s ride started at 9:00 P.M. and ended around dawn. She rode 40 miles, more than twice the distance of Paul Revere, into the damp hours of darkness. This is especially remarkable because modern day endurance horse riders using lightweight saddles can barely ride such distances in daylight over well marked courses (see endurance riding). She rode through Carmel on to Mahopac, thence to Kent Cliffs, from there to Farmers Mills and back home. She used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors. She managed to defend herself against a highwayman with her father’s musket. When, soaked from the rain and exhausted, she returned home, most of the 400 soldiers were ready to march.

The memoir for Colonel Henry Ludington states,

Sybil, who, a few days before, had passed her sixteenth birthday, and bade her to take a horse, ride for the men, and tell them to be at his house by daybreak. One who even now rides from Carmel to Cold Spring will find rugged and dangerous roads, with lonely stretches. Imagination only can picture what it was a century and a quarter ago, on a dark night, with reckless bands of “Cowboys” and “Skinners” abroad in the land. But the child performed her task, clinging to a man’s saddle, and guiding her steed with only a hempen halter, as she rode through the night, bearing the news of the sack of Danbury. There is no extravagance in comparing her ride with that of Paul Revere and its midnight message. Nor was her errand less efficient than his. By daybreak, thanks to her daring, nearly the whole regiment was mustered before her father’s house at Fredericksburgh, and an hour or two later was on the march for vengeance on the raiders.

The men arrived too late to save Danbury, Connecticut. At the start of the Battle of Ridgefield, however, they were able to drive General William Tryon, then governor of the colony of New York, and his men to Long Island Sound.

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

 Boston bombs: Officials wait to question Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

21 April 2013 Last updated at 02:38 GMT

A top US interrogation group is waiting to question the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was arrested late on Friday when he was found seriously injured in a suburban backyard after a huge manhunt.

He is under armed guard in hospital. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said the suspect was stable, but not yet able to communicate.

The teenager’s brother, Tamerlan, died after a shoot-out with police.

Three people were killed and more than 170 others injured by Monday’s twin bombing, close the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Sunday’s Headlines:

Chinese earthquake kills more than 150

Worldwide, 20 per cent of children go unvaccinated

Flotilla raid fallout haunts Israel-Turkey talks

Egyptian police crack down on armed protesters

Paraguay election preview: Right-leaning Colorado Party likely to win

Marathon Suspect in Custody, Not Mirandized

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing on Monday was taken into custody last night in Watertown, MA. Nineteen year old  Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, was found hiding in a tarp covered boat in a backyard shortly after the “stay in place” order was lifted. He was bleeding heavily from gunshot wounds to the neck and leg. He is listed in serious condition in  Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, the same hospital where several of the bombing victims are recovering and his brother, Tamerlan, died of his wounds.

Boston Police commissioner, Edward Davis, thanked all who had helped in the manhunt stating, “It’s a proud day to be a Boston police officer.” Crowds lined the streets near the site of the capture, cheering the officers and other first responders as they left the scene. Crowds of relieved Bostonians gathered in the Commons chanting “USA” and “Boston” and waving American flags.

This morning, there has been no further word on Dzhokhar’s condition. The FBI has stated that he has not been read his Miranda rights at this time, citing the so-called public safety exception. Dzhokhar is a naturalized American citizen from Chechnya. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Dzhokhar should not be read his Miranda rights and should be questioned for “intelligence purposes.”

“It is clear the events we have seen over the past few days in Boston were an attempt to kill American citizens and terrorize a major American city,” McCain and Graham said late Friday in a joint statement. “The accused perpetrators of these acts were not common criminals attempting to profit from a criminal enterprise, but terrorist trying to injure, maim, and kill innocent Americans.” [..]

“We need to know about any possible future attacks which could take additional American lives,” they said. “The least of our worries is a criminal trial which will likely be held years from now.”

Constitution? What Constitution? Joseph Stalin would have loved these two.

Constitutional lawyer and columnist for The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald explains the “public safety” exemption:

(T)he Obama DOJ exploited and radically expanded the very narrow “public safety” exception to Miranda, which was first created in 1984 by the more conservative Supreme Court justices in New York v. Quarles, over the vehement dissent of its liberal members (Brennan, Marshall and Stevens, along with O’Connor). The Quarles court held that where police officers took a very brief period to ask focused questions necessary to stop an imminent threat to public safety without first Mirandizing the suspect, the answers under those circumstances would be admissible (in Quarles, the police apprehended a rape suspect and simply asked where his gun was before reading him his rights, and the court held that the defendant’s pre-Miranda answer – “over there” – was admissible).

The Court’s liberals, led by Justice Thurgood Marshall, warned that this exception would dilute Miranda and ensure abuse. This exception, wrote Marshall, “condemns the American judiciary to a new era of post hoc inquiry into the propriety of custodial interrogations” and “endorse[s] the introduction of coerced self-incriminating statements in criminal prosecutions”. Moreover, he wrote, the “public-safety exception destroys forever the clarity of Miranda for both law enforcement officers and members of the judiciary” and said the court’s decision “cannot mask what a serious loss the administration of justice has incurred”.

As Marshall noted, the police have always had the power to question a suspect about imminent threats without Mirandizing him; indeed, they are free to question suspects about anything without first reading them their Miranda rights. But pre-Miranda statements were not admissible, could not be used to prosecute the person. This new 1984 “public safety” exception to that long-standing rule, Marshall said, guts the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee that one will not be compelled to incriminate oneself. As he put it: “were constitutional adjudication always conducted in such an ad hoc manner, the Bill of Rights would be a most unreliable protector of individual liberties.”

As controversial as this exception was from the start (and as hated as it was among traditional, actual liberals), it was at least narrowly confined. But the Obama DOJ in 2011 wildly expanded this exception for terrorism suspects. The Obama DOJ’s Memorandum (issued in secret, of course, but then leaked) cited what it called “the magnitude and complexity of the threat often posed by terrorist organizations” in order to claim “a significantly more extensive public safety interrogation without Miranda warnings than would be permissible in an ordinary criminal case”. It expressly went beyond the “public safety” exception established by the Supreme Court to arrogate unto itself the power to question suspects about other matters without reading them their rights (emphasis added):

   “There may be exceptional cases in which, although all relevant public safety questions have been asked, agents nonetheless conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat, and that the government’s interest in obtaining this intelligence outweighs the disadvantages of proceeding with unwarned interrogation.”

That is what Graham advocated regarding Miranda: that Tsarnaev be interrogated about intelligence matters without Mirandizing him, and that’s exactly what Obama DOJ policy – two years ago – already approved. Worse, as (Emily) Bazelon noted: “Who gets to make this determination? The FBI, in consultation with DoJ, if possible. In other words, the police and the prosecutors, with no one to check their power.” At the time, the ACLU made clear how menacing was the Obama DOJ’s attempted roll-back of Miranda rights for terror suspects.

Constitution? What Constitution? Good work, Barack.

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