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Lethal Injustice: Standing Against the Death Penalty event at GVSU 3/30

March 28, 2011

Amnesty International, S.A.F.E. (Students Advocating Freedom & Equality), and Nouveaux Socialistes have teamed up to bring a 3 speaker panel to look at what’s behind our massive prison build-up, why so many people of color are locked up and what we can do about it.

From death rows to super-maxes, over 2.3 million men and women sit behind bars today. “Lethal Injustice” speakers are organizing on the front-lines of the fight against criminal injustice, taking a stand against the racist, prison build-up and harsh sentencing like the death penalty. The 3 Speakers are Victoria Law – author, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women, Mark Clements – former police torture victim, sentenced to life without parole as a juvenile and Randi Jones – activist, organizer, and member of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty.

Wednesday, March 30
7 – 9PM
GSVU downtown campus
Loosemore Auditorium

This event is free and open to the public. There will be plenty of time for Q&A after the panelists speak.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Matthew Davies permalink
    March 28, 2011 9:52 pm

    Someone should look into the financial arrangements with the state prisons ,the U.S. Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Bank (a private baking concern). My understanding is that there is a bond created for each prisoner and the State government benefits immensely from these covert financial arrangements. This would probably be similar to the birth certificate bond created for each child born in the U.S. to be traded as securities on wall street. The import was that it made a slave state via IRS taxation!

  2. jay permalink
    March 29, 2011 5:02 am

    Amnesty International, S.A.F.E. (Students Advocating Freedom & Equality), and Nouveaux Socialistes have teamed up to bring a 3 speaker panel to look at what’s behind our massive prison build-up, why so many people of color are locked up and what we can do about it.

    Shot in the dark here but is it because they actually committ more crimes then people not of color?

    What’s the one thing in common amongst crime ridden neighborhoods? Is it offensive if it’s true?

  3. Jeff Smith permalink*
    March 29, 2011 11:16 am

    Jay, that would be a shot in the dark, since you offer no evidence to support your slightly veiled racist comment. Perhaps you should come to the event and hear what the panelists have to say. You could also read the reports from the Sentencing Project http://www.sentencingproject.org/template/index.cfm and Michelle Alexander’s new book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”

  4. March 29, 2011 6:44 pm

    First of all, I’m glad to see that there is an event looking at the prison industrial system and how it targets people of color. Unlike the bigoted comment by “jay” above, it’s pretty clear to me (and many others to boot) that prisons are a means of social control aimed primarily at criminalizing folks of color. Not sure why that kind of racist drivel is allowed on this blog, but whatever.

    Secondly, it saddens me to see that the event is sponsored by “Nouveaux Socialistes.” As best I can tell this group is closely connected to the International Socialist Organization (ISO) which is one of the most disgusting of the all-too-many socialist sects that hang around like cobwebs in the attic of the U.S. left (the Nouveaux Socialistes links to the ISO’s news website and borrows language from the ISO’s statement of principles). The ISO advocates that the working class are the agents of revolution but that they must be “led” by a “vanguard party” (the ISO no doubt). Who would this vanguard be? The “revolutionaries” of the ISO no doubt (or maybe “the workers” after the ISO makes them aware of their own oppression and power—as if oppressed folks can’t figure that out themselves).

    In practice, this attitude has led to all manner of sneaky and despicable behavior on the part of the ISO over the years. Much of this has involved the “infiltration” of various grassroots movements with the goal of converting those movements to the ISO’s politics. The ISO has tried to co-opt the anti-globalization and anti-sweatshop movements of the early 2000s, as well as the anti-war movement. Most recently the ISO tried to take over the student demonstrations around tuition hikes in California. The ISO uses different tactics in different situations, but they tend to seek control of organizations to steer them towards their own ends. Failing that, they try to sabotage organizing efforts using parliamentary maneuvering and bloc-style voting in coalitions. Their leaders—always charismatic—never hesitate to link any issue (no matter how unrelated) to economic terms and the solution is always to “organize as a class.”

    Socialism as a whole is pretty well discredited by now, but the ISO keeps on peddling last century’s revolutionary failings as the answer to any and all social problems.

    Here is a good page that links up to a bunch of resources critical of the ISO and socialist vanguardism more generally:

    http://www.infoshop.org/page/ISO-FAQ

  5. Fermin permalink
    March 31, 2011 1:53 pm

    I am responding to the extremely Sectarian “revolutionnaires morts”

    1. You are incredibly sectarian, as most anarchists are, which actually serves the INTERESTS of the Capitalists especially in a period of re-emerging class struggle from below
    2. Your comment clearly illustrates that you dont know the politics of the ISO because they clearly state they dont see themselves as the “vanguard.”
    3. The ISO has been consistently rooted in the Campaign to End the Death Penalty since its inception and you’d rather denounce our hard work then acknowledge the effectiveness of our work
    4. Your sectarian attitude clearly distorts your understanding of what it means to have “United Front” Activism because you say its infiltration..
    5. You are mischaracterizing the composition of the ISO as if they are part of the 1% elite who control the worlds wealth and wish to push these interests forward.. I am a gay mexican immigrant and an ISO member and I am part of the working class..and one reason why I joined was because the ISO actually welcomed me in a way that wasnt sectarian
    6. The idea for the event came from the ISO and the leading organizer for the event (ME) was able to mobilize a good portion of the LGBT community at GVSU to take a stance on the death penalty.. something you’d probably rather denounce me for.. which again is fucked up on so many levels
    6. Again, you are sooooooooo sectarian and this attitude is serving the INTERESTS of the Capitalists

  6. give me a break permalink
    March 31, 2011 6:19 pm

    This site needs a recent comments widget so this kind of conversation doesn’t get lost. Here’s the directions on how to install it:

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/widgets/recent-comments-widget/

    This kind of discussion is critical.

  7. give me a break permalink
    March 31, 2011 6:25 pm

    If someone disagrees with you over strategy and tactics, that isn’t necessarily “sectarian” nor is it “serving the INTERESTS of the Capitalists.” That’s not taking disagreements seriously, it’s just taking the easy way out and trying to silence debate. But yeah, I probably “don’t understand” because I haven’t read the requisite number of dusty old socialist tomes and I probably haven’t attended a sufficient number of “study groups.”

    I learned all I needed to know about the ISO and their disgusting politics through their new member packet:

    Click to access NewMembersPacket.pdf

    It pretty clearly states that y’all participate in other struggles with the goal of convincing others of the need for a socialist society. But y’all don’t infiltrate… It also says you want to build a vanguard party. Maybe it’s just semantics, but in my experience over the years the criticism of the ISO cited above is quite valid.

    This discussion is just going to get buried and I have no time for that, so see ya later alligator!

  8. Down with Sectarianism! Up with Solidarity! permalink
    April 1, 2011 4:21 am

    Its not the disagreement over strategy thats sectarian..
    It’s that you actively go out of your way to spend “X” amount of time denouncing others on the left, which is what you clearly did

    Instead of speaking to excitement over the event you went out of your way to bash the ISO, which is sectarian.. It serves the interests of the capitalists because you are perpetuating divisions among the left which saves the capitalists from having to do that

    And of course your experience of the ISO sounds like it comes from the “Outside” not the “inside” which makes me not take you completely seriously in your critique.. Somehow you get the idea that you can “learn everything” from being outside the organization.. I hope you also don’t treat struggle this way and think you can learn everything from the “outside” of struggle.. Or simply by reading about struggle

  9. Down with Sectarianism! Up with Solidarity! permalink
    April 1, 2011 4:36 am

    What’s disgusting is that somehow you wish to gain legitimacy not by arguing your politics but by going around and denouncing the politics of others on the left

  10. Down with Sectarianism! Up with Solidarity! permalink
    April 1, 2011 4:37 am

    “GIVE ME A BREAK” From Sectarian Anarchists Please

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