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Strangers in a Strange Land

November 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Devon G. Pena, Family, Politics

Recent Study Focuses Attention on Deportees

Devon G. Peña

While the Obama Administration continues to make news by breaking the record number of deportations, the U.S. and Mexican publics actually know very little about the demographic background, socioeconomic status, and living conditions of the deportees. I just returned from a lecture tour to San Diego and what I learned is very troubling.

It has been infuriating to witness the unfolding of the Obama Administration’s deportation policies, which have been driven by a monthly quota system established back in 2009 and designed to serve the demands of private correctional and prison corporations for a steady stream of bodies to fill the 34,000 beds in the nondescript and semi-secret detention centers built across the country since the end of the Bush II years. We first reported on this activity in October 2010 — see Detaining Profits – and will revisit the privatization of prison and detention institutions in a forthcoming post. (more…)

Speak Up

October 25, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Swanson, Politics

A New Kind of War Is Being Waged

by David Swanson

There’s a dark side to the flurry of reports and testimony on drones, helpful as they are in many ways.  When we read that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch oppose drone strikes that violate international law, some of us may be inclined to interpret that as a declaration that, in fact, drone strikes violate international law.  On the contrary, what these human rights groups mean is that some drone strikes violate the law and some do not, and they want to oppose the ones that do.

Which are which? Even their best researchers can’t tell you.  Human Rights Watch looked into six drone murders in Yemen and concluded that two were illegal and four might be illegal.  The group wants President Obama to explain what the law is (since nobody else can), wants him to comply with it (whatever it is), wants civilians compensated (if anyone can agree who the civilians are and if people can really be compensated for the murder of their loved ones), and wants the U.S. government to investigate itself.  Somehow the notion of prosecuting crimes doesn’t come up. (more…)

Unpleasant Truths

October 17, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Victoria Law

Following Hunger Strikes, California Reconsiders Solitary Confinement

by Victoria Law

“Tell us the truth, even if it’s not pleasant,” State Assembly member Tom Ammiano told California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials, advocates, formerly incarcerated people and family members.

On Wednesday, October 9, the California legislature’s Public Safety Committee held the first of several hearings about the use of solitary confinement in California’s prisons. These hearings were prompted by a 60-day hunger strike that rocked California’s prison system this past summer.

On July 8, 2013, over 30,000 people incarcerated throughout California refused meals. Hunger strikers issued five core demands: (more…)

Responsible Designs

August 22, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Angola 3 News, Politics

Saying No to the Architecture of Solitary Confinement and Cruelty

by Angola 3 News

Friday, August 16 marked the 40th consecutive day of a multi-ethnic statewide prisoner hunger strike initiated from inside the Security Housing Unit (SHU) of California’sPelican Bay State Prison. When the strike first began on July 8, the ‘California Department of Corrections and Reform’ (CDCR) reported 30,000 participants statewide, which the Los Angeles Times reported “could be the largest prison protest in state history.”

This week, as the striking prisoners’ health continued to worsen, the families of prisoners and supporters gathered on the steps of the State Capitol building in Sacramento, and over 120 health professionals called “upon Governor Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard, Secretary of the CDCR, to immediately enter into good-faith negotiations with the prisoner representatives, and to respond to their demands, in order to end this crisis before lives are lost.”

The current hunger strike follows on the heels of a similar 2011 strike that was also initiated from the Pelican Bay SHU, with the same five demands. Further illustrating the scandalous nature of California’s prison system, this month the US Supreme Court ruling once again that 10,000 prisoners must be removed from state prisons, and documentation has emerged of widespread sterilization of California’s female prisoners. (more…)

Justice Fast

August 19, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Pat LaMarche, Politics

Clergy Members Take Action on Behalf of Gitmo Detainees

by Pat LaMarche

The five pillars of Islam are pilgrimage, alms giving, profession of faith, prayer and fasting. And the last Christian Beatitude promises, “Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Perhaps that’s why it’s so fitting that I’ve partnered with a minister to join the Clergy Gitmo Justice Fast. Because I’m not a member of the clergy — not by a long shot — I can’t sign up on my own.

The Gitmo Clergy Fast calls on ordained clergy — of any religion — to do a water-only fast one day for one prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. There are 166 prisoners, so there needs to be 166 clergy. Even though I’m a dyed-in-the-wool confirmed agnostic, I’m still horrified by the U.S. indefinite detention of ‘terrorist suspects’ and I wanted to participate. (more…)

A Unique Struggle

August 02, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Devon G. Pena, Ecology, Politics

Farmworkers in Washington State Mobilize for Dignity, Rights

by Devon G. Peña

Burlington is not a very old city center and got its start in 1902 as a logging camp. Today the small town of 8,380, located in the  Skagit River watershed north of Seattle, does count with a prosperous fruit and vegetable agricultural industry. Of course, the industry relies on mostly migrant families for farm labor. This is especially the case during harvest work and strawberry crops present an opportunity for workers to seize the current condition of ‘labor scarcity’ and high demand for skilled pickers during harvest time to organize for their workplace rights. And that is exactly what has happened in the State of Washington, and not in the Yakima or Wenatchee valleys but on the western side of the Cascades where peri-urban farming is increasingly big business. (more…)

A Meaningful Future

July 31, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: David Bacon, Economy, Politics

What Real Immigration Reform Would Look Like

by David Bacon

Oralia Maceda, an immigrant mother from Oaxaca, asked the obvious last weekend in Fresno.  At a meeting, talking about the Senate immigration reform bill, she wanted to know why Senators would spend almost $50 billion on more border walls, yet show no interest in why people leave home to cross them.

This Congressional blindness will get worse as immigration reform moves to the House.  It condemns U.S. immigration policy to a kind of punitive venality, making rational political decisions virtually impossible.  Yet alternatives are often proposed by migrant communities themselves, and reflect a better understanding of global economics and human rights. (more…)


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