Thursday, September 30, 2010

Harris County To Study Privitization Of Jails

 From The Mass Media

HOUSTON -- In a budget debate that included discussion of possibly raising Harris County taxes by 2012, ending take-home car privileges for county employees and closing county parks one day each week, Harris County Commissioners agreed to study the idea of handing over the Harris County Detention System to a private company.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack proposed the jail privatization idea as one of several ways for the county to trim its budget. The county’s budget officer told commissioners that, at the present mid-year review, the county has $34 million less to work with than expected and could have as much as $51 million less by the end of the fiscal year.

"And why not go ahead and explore the privatization of the jail? There's a lot of things the private sector can do cheaper than government and I think it's worth studying to see if it's possible to save a lot of money,” said Radack of the more than $200 million budget for the county’s jail system and the more than 1,500 detention officers in control of more than 7,000 inmates.

But the proposal does not have the support of Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia.

"There's so many state laws involved that I don't think those are the kind of things you can delegate, or privatize, so yes, I voted against it,” she said.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia cited the same concerns in his cautious opposition to privatizing the county’s detention system. He is constitutionally bound to maintain certain quality standards at the county’s jail facilities and questions how he could continue that control if he is no longer in charge of “private” employees.

“We’re doing some privatizing,” said Garcia of the numerous private vendors hired by the county for support services, “So I'm not against it entirely. But I do have legal obligations that tell me that I just can't deflect my responsibilities."

“That's where it gets, I think, unsure and not sure if it becomes impractical," he said.

More than 50 local, state, and federal detention facilities in Texas are managed by private corporations. The Joe Corley Detention Facility used by Montgomery County, the U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is under the management of the GEO Group. The Houston Processing Center near Bush Airport is operated by the Corrections Corporation of America under contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

But the union representing Harris County Jail employees says it “strongly opposes” privatizing the Harris County Detention System, which is part of the largest sheriff’s office in Texas.

“We understand and appreciate that Harris County is facing a budget shortfall, but to replace certified correction officers and certified deputies with private contractors is not in the best interest of the Citizens of this county,” the Harris County Deputies’ Organization said in a written statement. “We are equally confident that there are less essential services in the county budget that could be cut without affecting the law enforcement.”

The Sheriff’s Office instead requested that commissioners consider lifting the hiring freeze that the sheriff says has left more than 300 positions unfilled in the department.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fight Surveillance Society, Fight The State

As many have heard, the FBI has unleashed a wave of terrorism and repression on anti-war activists who have opposed US moves against Palestine, Iran, and Colombia. Monday, September 26th, people will be mobilizing around the country to oppose these vicious attacks. Statement on the raids here. Join us at:
Mick Leland Federal Building, 5-6:30PM

1919 Smith St. (The corner of Smith and St. Joseph Parkway)

Houston, TX, 77002

The following statement was released by the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee for demonstrations around the country:
We denounce the Federal Bureau of Investigation harassment of anti-war and solidarity activists. The FBI raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis on Friday, September 24, 2010. The FBI handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to eleven activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. The FBI also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.
This suppression of civil rights is aimed at those who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war. The FBI has indicated that the grand jury is investigating the activists for possible material support of terrorism charges.

The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including: the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. These activists came together with many others to organize the 2008 anti-war marches on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
We ask people of conscience to join us in fighting this political repression, as we continue working to build the movements against US war and occupation.

Take Action:

Call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 or write an email to: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov.
  • Stop the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.
  • Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.
  • End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.

Plan and Support national days of protest at FBI offices or Federal Buildings, September 27 and 28th.

A demonstration has been called at the Minneapolis FBI Office Monday, 4:30, September 27th(111 Washington Ave. S.).
In Solidarity, the Anti-War Committee – www.antiwarcommittee.org

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tomball Today

Today the crypto-fascists were at Tomball but so were we. It was less intense than last week- this week the pigs were recording everything. Good things and bad things on that, under the pretense of "protecting" us and checking out the teabaggers M.O. they are also studying us. Once again they are playing the dry branch card (a dry branch hangs low pretending to give us shade---dry  branches break easily!!!). PWOC folks talked to Tomballs head pig complaiing about Barney and how the police reacted to their calls. Another good thing about this is that the city is now wasting money having to baby-sit us, so hopefully they put more pressure on the teapartiers so they just fuckoff.

From early on the crowd was different than it was last week: there were fewer women and fewer kids. One guy even brought his pitbull. This week the conservatives tried a different tactic, they were getting people to sign a petition (for i dont know what) and not scaring people away. Steve Potvin, from Borderwatch, was walking around the parking lot talking to people and talking to the group of people doing a car wash.
This of course was what was planned. Two biker guys rolled up and immediately started trying to intimidate people. One called a Chicano a "nigger" and the other was pretending to shoot people in their head. This other guy, whose affiliation we do not know yet, was being really aggressive and seemed to hang out most with the bikers and Barney (Tony Moony) and this other man who has been known to be very violent and aggressive towards our folks.
Their usual pishposh continued for the resting hours.

Now for us.
We did things differently as well. Chants were not as prominent. The microphone was passed around waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than last time. There were about 5 speakers today, 3 of them doing the usual "youre stupid" or "youre racist" and repeating it over and over, 1 of them talked about the history of tx but added some classist rhetoric, and the last was tying things together in a more politically radical way. The last person talked about autonomy, self-determination, racism, history, and classism. That person had people in our side nodding and agreeing with them so they took the liberty to keep going in order to not get back to the usual "racists go home!" bullshit.
We had a couple of people who are from tomball stop by and ask us whats up and staying there and also the car wash folks  were asked to wash the bikes of the idiots and they said no, same for a big-ass pick up truck that was just leaving the conservatives side.

The actual people rallying with the t-partiers were actually not being very entertaining but the drivers by picked up the slack and we got quite a couple "go back to mexico" or "illegal aliens".

Oh! and odd fact, this lady kept yelling at us "I'm not racist! I'm not racist! Youre just a wetback!" that same lady also said "I don't care if youre black, brown, or a chink-o".

Please folks, we will be there every Saturday morning there. come out and support if you can, a couple of community folks are definitely interested in going out there as a weekly event.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Support Eric!

Dear friends,
It is with heavy hearts that we write to tell you that Tuesday, September 21st, the 9th circuit court denied Eric's appeal of his conviction and sentencing. Given all that has happened these past 4+ years, this news isn't shocking so much as it is maddening and upsetting. The state has, from the beginning, used dirty tricks and lies to hold Eric captive. As many have said, they wished to make an example of him...
And in that, at least, they have been successful. But not in the way that they might have wished. Because for us, Eric has been a constant example of strength, courage and integrity. Of staying the course, even when the deck is totally stacked against him. And of not losing one's Self in the midst of potentially crushing adversity.
This is a very difficult time for Eric and his loved ones. Please send Eric a note of support to let him know he is not forgotten. For more info on how to write Eric, you can visit his website at: http://www.supporteric.org
Eric's lawyer is pursuing a petition for a rehearing. This is not quite the end of the road as far as appeals are concerned. We will keep you updated on any progress.
If you would like to read the 9th Circuit's decision, it can be found here:

Our Important History

A History of "Anti-Racist Action"

For over 20 years ARA has been able to popularize the ideas of direct action in the fight against fascism and oppression. It has also been an arena for debate and action around the various forms of oppression and their interconnection. As we ACT we become CONSCIOUS, and our consciousness informs our action and all this outside of the control of the government, multinationals, religious institutions or other authorities.

But it wasn't always that way...

Flash back to 1987...

ARA originally came out of the efforts of Minneapolis anti-racist Skinheads to create an organization that could combat the presence of nazi skinheads in that city and its neighboring city, St. Paul. The Baldies, a multi-racial skinhead crew, were fighting the Nazi skinhead group, the White Knights. If Baldies came across the nazis, then the nazis could expect to be attacked, or served some of what the Baldies called "Righteous Violence."

While the Baldies actions went a long way to limiting the presence and organizing efforts of nazis in the Twin Cities areas, the Baldies realized that a successful drive against the nazis would mean having to form a broader group that appealed to kids other than just Skins. It would also have to have a larger, more diverse geographic area to stay ahead of the Fascists' national organizing efforts.

While this was going on, the west was experiencing it's own surge in Antifascist activity. ARA chapters sprung up in Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Vancouver, even out into Front Range, Colorado. All these chapters were represented (and joined by Midwestern comrades) at the first network gathering, which was held in Portland, Oregon. (This gathering took place at the same time as the civil trial of White Aryan Resistance founder Tom Metzger and his son John. The Metzgers were eventually found liable for their role in the murder of Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian immigrant beaten to death by Portland boneheads in 1988.)"

Up in Canada, anti-racist skinheads and others in the youth subcultures were also uniting to get nazis out of their scenes. From 1990 to 1992 in Edmonton, the Anti-Fascist League waged a street-level propaganda war against a racist gang called the Final Solution, who were recruited and manipulated by the Aryan Nations. In Winnipeg, the United Against Racism crew fought to keep the bars and streets free of fascist violence. And in 1992, Toronto's Anti-Racist Action formed to take on a similar threat posed by the neo-nazi Heritage Front.

ARA took the "no platform" policy of Europe's AFA (Anti-Fascist Action) in order to create as broad an appeal as possible among antifascists who might not see eye to eye on all things politically. The Minneapolis chapter inspired many chapters of ARA, where anarchists and feminists had tried to broaden the mandate of the early skinhead fighting crews. The Love and Rage Anarchist Federation also played a large role in the development of ARA as a political organization. Cues and strategies were borrowed from various other groups and movements and implemented in ARA's policy of "expose, oppose, and confront," as well as it's commitment to Antifascist education and culture building.

1994 was the first conference of the Midwest Anti-Fascist Network in Columbus, Ohio. The conference was called by Columbus' ARA group, to co-ordinate and sustain the constant protests against Klan rallies throughout the Midwestern U.S. -- rallies which were often protected by legions of heavily armed police. The keynote speaker was a survivor of the "Greensboro Massacre" of 1979, when a Klan cell linked to the Aryan Nations and heavily infiltrated by police and FBI, shot and killed five anti-Klan protestors in Greensboro, North Carolina. It was here that the ARA was more formalized into the form it exists in today.

But ARA is not rigid or dated. We have adapted with our enemy. We have expanded to no longer limit ourselves to just direct confrontations with card-carrying neo-nazis or klansmen. ARA is still fighting the fash at Klan rallies and white power events all over North America, but we're also defending women's right to abortion services and freedom from abuse and assault, we're protesting police brutality. We're confronting anti-queer fascists; we're writing to prisoners and standing up for First Nations' and migrants' rights. We've been represented in all kinds of anti-capitalist demos, and in the anti-war movement.

Every ARA chapter is different, but we join together because we find affinity in struggle. The network exists as a resource to chapters and members to share information/experiences and find backup/support. Involvement in ARA is never identical for two people. Some members have been very public, some totally clandestine. While ARA has a long history of protest and confrontation, some members focus more on Anti-Fascist culture building and education. What's important to remember is that in ARA everyone decides their own involvement, exposure, and level of confrontation.

Our goals remain direct but far from simple. We want an end to racism, sexism, homophobia, fascism, and the status quo. The state, the police, the church, and the bosses won't do it for us. We have to take the fight to those that would push the boot of oppression upon our friends, our family, our communities, and us.

ARA means push back!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Our Fight Continues!

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Yesterday, about 50 racists from the Border Watch, Minute Men, and Tea Party rallied for over 5 hours in front of the HEB Store at 28520 Tomball Parkway. The Tomball City Council's recent rejection of anti-immigrant proposals has energized these extremists and increased their numbers. Only 12 people showed up for our counter-protest, so we were badly outnumbered.

With our sound system and portable cd player, we drowned out the racists' rants with chants, Hispanic music, reggae, and labor songs. A couple of passers-by stopped to join us. A couple of others rejected the racists' lies after discussing the immigration issue with us. Despite our tiny numbers, we outlasted the racists again, chanting "Ya se van, ya se van, los racistas ya se van" as they departed.

Unfortunately, the extremists were able to get several passers-by to stop, sign their petition, and join their rally. Two carloads of racist youth drove through the site repeatedly, shouting, "White Power!" Confederate flags on the back of some trucks and signs in support of Joe Horn, the Pasadena man who killed two Hispanic burglars, conveyed the same racist message. A local Constable's Deputy honked in support of their rally as he drove by.

The morning included a physical confrontation in which one racist assaulted one of our organizers, who suffered a minor abrasion of his left arm but did not require medical attention. Frankly, we know the possibility of such incidents deters some progressive people from coming out to oppose these racists. But substantially increasing the numbers at our protests will minimize the likelihood of violence and help to defeat the Border Watch, Minute Men, and Tea Party.

Do we have a choice? Does anyone believe that ignoring these racists or foregoing counter-protests will make them go away? Does anyone doubt that the hysteria against immigrants, coupled with growing anti-Muslim bigotry, the racist backlash against Obama, rapidly changing demographics, and the continuing Great Recession provide fertile soil for an American fascism that wraps itself in the flag and the cross?

We urgently appeal to you to join us next Saturday, September 25, beginning at 8 am, in front of the HEB Store at 28520 Tomball Parkway. This event is being organized by the Latin American Organization for Immigrant Rights and the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee. We'll bring the sound system, signs, water, gatorade, a canopy, folding chairs, and sunscreen. And we'll be doing some outreach to Tomball residents during the week. But we need you to come out and join us. We also need a videographer. Please call us at (832) 692-2306 or Juan at (832) 282-6997 if you can help or would like more information.

In Solidarity,

David and Rona

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

LA Pigs Kill Immigrant Guatamalan

A broiling mob protesting the police shooting death of a Guatemalan immigrant in Los Angeles faced off last night against cops in riot gear who fired non-lethal foam projectiles at demonstrators. At least one man was injured as some 300 people set street fires and gathered outside a police station on the second night of protests against the weekend shooting. A police sign was torn down and eggs and rocks were hurled at the station's windows. Police—who blame a group calling itself the Revolutionary Communist Party for stirring things up—say Manuel Jamines, 37, was shot after he refused to drop a knife he was using to threaten cops. Only 40 seconds elapsed between the time police confronted Jamines and when he was shot dead, according to police chief Charlie Beck, who has launched an investigation into the killing. Those who knew him described Jamines as a friendly, hard-working father of three who liked to drink on weekends but was never violent, reports the Los Angeles Times. "Killing a drunk isn't right," said Jamines' cousin. But "getting drunk and threatening bystanders and LAPD officers with a knife is self-destructive in any language," the Los Angeles Police Protective League said in a statement. "This was not a controversial shooting."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Urgent Call to Action

The September 4 emergency action to defend day laborers in Tomball was a resounding success. About 20 people from diverse organizations came out to the city-sponsored day laborer site early in the morning. Apart from one "scout," the Border Watch, Minute Men, and Tea Party racists did not show up at the site. We're glad to report there was no harassment or intimidation of day laborers yesterday.

We soon learned the racists had assembled in front of the HEB store at 28520 Tomball Parkway (Hwy 249) and Main Street (FM 2920), so we went over there to oppose them and let people in the community know about the danger they pose. Several passers-by stopped to join us during the next few hours, so our numbers grew to more than 25 people. We outshouted and outlasted the racists and chanted, "Ya se van, ya se van, los racistas ya se van" as they departed.

Unfortunately, there were about 30 people on the other side--mainly Border Watch, Minute Men, and Tea Party racists but with a few other misguided folks as well. It was disgusting to hear some of the racists making fun of the Spanish language, calling immigrants "slime," and chanting in favor of deportation. It was also disgusting to hear some of the racists' young children shouting, "Go back where you came from."

Despite yesterday's successful action, the struggle in Tomball is just heating up. We learned late yesterday afternoon that these racists--most of whom do not live in Tomball--have been pressuring the Tomball City Council to end the city's sponsorship of the day laborer site. The Tomball Potpourri has reported that, at the August 16 City Council meeting, 9 individuals spoke against the day laborer site. Thankfully, 26 city residents and local business owners spoke in defense of the day laborer site. The Tomball Police Chief also supports the day laborer site.

The Tomball City Council will consider possible action on the day laborer site when it meets at 7 pm this Tuesday, September 7, at City Hall, 401 Market Street, in Tomball. We have reviewed the publicly posted agenda for the City Council meeting, and there are some other outrageous anti-immigrant items on the agenda. The City Council may act on proposals to make English the official language of Tomball and prohibit undocumented workers from renting or owning property, or owning or operating any business, in Tomball. These last two proposals are probably unconstitutional. Similar local laws passed in Farmers Branch, Texas; Fremont, Nebraska; and Hazleton, Pennsylvania have been stayed or suspended because of major lawsuits. Each of these cities is now considering property tax increases to pay for their legal bills!

We urge you to come to the Tomball City Council meeting this Tuesday evening and voice your opposition to all these anti-immigrant proposals. Members of the public (not just Tomball residents) can speak for 3 minutes in the public comments section of the meeting. But we understand you have to call the City Secretary at (281) 290-1002 to let her know you plan to speak.

We also urge you to come to an emergency action in support of day laborers this coming Saturday morning, September 11, beginning at 8 am. This action will be held in front of the HEB store at Tomball Parkway (Hwy 249) and Main Street (FM 2920). We know the racists plan to be there again.

Please spread the word about these two important actions, and please join us if you can. These actions are being organized by the Latin American Immigrant Rights Organization and the Progressive Workers Organizing Committee. Please contact us at (832) 692-2306 or (832) 282-6997 if you have questions or would like more information.


If y'all folks got any info on any nazis, racists, christian fascists, etc. Drop us a line at Texasantifa@gmail.com

Support the Arapio 5

On January 16, 2010, thousands of people took to the streets to show support for immigrants and to oppose Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. From the onset of the march, a group of marchers were targeted by the Phoenix PD, marching under the banner of an indigenous, anti-authoritarian, and allies contingent. As the march proceeded, the police became increasingly violent, leading to a final planned attack executed against the contingent and other protesters in the vicinity, as the march neared its end. Officers on horseback rode into the crowd, injuring some; then deploying large amounts of pepper spray throughout the area. This resulted in five of our comrades being kidnapped out of the group, brutalized and arrested. Although we are happy to announce that the charges against two of the arrestees have been scratched, the remaining three are now facing felony charges for “assaulting an officer”.

The Arpaio 5 Support Committee is a group of friends and supporters of the arrestees who have come together to help raise much needed awareness and legal funds.

What occurred on the January 16, demonstrates the violence that becomes inevitable when armed thugs are invited or allowed to be present at our protests or in our community. While our first priority is to ensure that our comrades do not face any further jail time, we hope that this also serves as a general call for further actions challenging any and all police presence; which we know only serves to protect an inherently racist and oppressive system.

This attack is not in isolation, but rather is part of a systematic attempt to repress any ideas which are vocalized or acted upon that encourage or manifest actualized resistance within our communities. We must be ready to support those who are targeted for continuing to fight despite these threats during the current and upcoming struggle. By forming community solidarity in response to this instance of repression, we create a framework that provides a base for further organizing against the police state, while also making the statement that we will not allow state sanctioned intimidation to silence and divide our movement.

Please explore our site and check back for current information and articles, and ways you can lend support.

Where ever they go, we go

What is Anti-Racist Action?
  • ARA is an international network of people from all walks of life who are dedicated to eliminating racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination from their communities. ARA got its start in Minneapolis in 1987; since then, we've expanded into dozens of communities in five countries and three continents, making us one of the world's largest and most extensive anti-racist youth movements.
  • All vouched-for chapters agree on the ARA Network's four Points Of Unity, but can decide on what actions they will take in their communities.
What does ARA do?

ARA's work generally falls into four broad categories:
  1. We Educate:
    • by doing serious and credible research on hate groups and issues involving racism and other forms of discrimination.
    • by sharing information with allied anti-racists in dozens of organizations worldwide.
    • by using this research to write and publish dozens of pamphlets, dossiers, articles, magazines, web pages, radio and television programs.
    • by distributing thousands of copies of all kinds of literature about racism and discrimination for free at schools, conferences, protests, concerts and parties.
    • by sending speakers to talk to hundreds of school groups, youth groups, church groups, community organizations and conferences all over the world.
  2. We Organize:
    • by acting as the primary contact for a new generation of anti-racist activists.
    • by mobilizing youth to combat racism and discrimination, Anti-Racist Action has become a key vehicle for young anti-racists to get involved in and help shape the direction of this struggle, more than any other movement or organization.
    • by initiating or supporting nearly every major anti-racist demonstration in North America in the last five years.
    • by hosting some of the most diverse, well-attended, constructive and practical anti-racist conferences, trainings and gatherings the anti-racist movement has ever seen.
    • by recognizing that racism is a multi-faceted issue entwined with a number of other problems our society faces and then using that knowledge to connect with literally hundreds of different groups and individuals from all walks of life.
    • by strengthening our understanding and resolve and improving our communities through work on issues related to racism, such as poverty, homophobia, prisons, police abuse, workers' struggles, sexism, & reproductive rights.
    • by defending other anti-racists and anti-fascists across the globe. For example, the ARA Anti-Racist Defense Fund has contributed over two thousand dollars to anti-racists in eight countries who were in trouble and needed our help. ARA Network chapters donate 10% of all money they raise, plus a biannual contribution of $25 per chapter or $10 per member (whichever is greater) to the Defense Fund. We also accept private donations to the Defense Fund. Click here for more information on the Defense Fund or to make a donation.
  3. We Confront:
    • by refusing to ignore the terrorists and thugs that comprise racist and fascist groups..
    • by publicly challenging hate groups when they attempt to recruit, organize, mobilize, propagandize and cause harm to people.
    • by using innovative, creative and highly-effective tactics that directly involve entire communities.
    • by denying hate groups the opportunity to monopolize public spaces and by denying hate groups the chance to turn public spaces into danger zones for people of color, women, immigrants, gays and lesbians, the disabled and others.
  4. We Celebrate:
    • through our commitment to developing a fun, authentic anti-racist youth culture.
    • by hosting parties, concerts and other events that encourage participation of people of diverse backgrounds in having fun in a safe and liberated environment.
    • by organizing regular weekend gatherings for young anti-racists to come to know and support each other.