The First Death

We received the following letter just this morning. We deeply morn the loss of ‘Guero,’ the first to die in the hunger strike.  He died for more than himself. Killed by his conditions, by this system, we remember him.

It is with a heavy heavy heart I bring you the news that a hunger striker housed in 4B-3L of the Corcorcan SHU, named Billy Michael Sell, more commonly known as ‘Guero’, died on Monday the 22nd of July. I spoke with several prisoners today about him, some that knew him very well and they were very somber and concerned. The prisoners say, “Billy died because of the Hunger Strike”. That he was “strong, was a good person, a good soldier” and that the allegations by CDCR that this was a suicide are, “completely out of character for him and that he wasn’t like that” Several guys stated, “No one believes he killed himself” He was supposedly going without water as well as food and may have had other health issues, that is unknown. As stated below, Guero is reported to have started asking for medical attention around the 15th or 16th of July, in which he did not receive and died 4 days later. He is from Riverside but none of the guys knew how to contact his family.

Here is more about him from a letter drafted for the Statewide Medical Executive, Dr. Tharrett:

"We have confirmed that CDCR claims that Billy Sell, P41250, age 32, housed in the Security Housing Unit, allegedly took his own life on July 22, 2013. 

According to information we have gathered, Mr. Sell was not under care for mental illness at the time of his death.  According to other inmates near his cell, he had been requesting medical attention “for a few days” and had not received it by July 22.  The other prisoners who knew Billy confirmed that he was on the hunger strike and said it would be very strange and uncharacteristic of him to take his own life.  Inmates said that the guards reported he had hanged himself.  The other prisoners doubt the veracity of that story. 

So the time has come that we were dreading but also trying to prepare for. No matter how Billy died, his life mattered and I believe that we as a coalition need to respond. I would like to suggest that we do some kind of vigil/press conference/rally at the CDCR building in Oakland, unless that was already being organized. Of course we can talk about this at Mondays meeting but I really think we should start thinking of ideas now.

I know that the mediation team is preparing look into further investigation on the legal front, so we will see what happens with that. In the meantime of any of your loved ones/correspondents/etc. are housed at Corcoran in 4B-3L and they may have some info about this, have known him, heard him requesting medical attention, please let us know.

I hope you all are well and with someone you love

In honor and respect of Billy ‘Guero’ Sell,

~[Omitted]

The new film Long Distance Revolutionary, the latest documentary on Mumia Abu-Jamal, is coming to Seattle on Friday, February 22nd through the 28th. It features a list of noted radicals and people of conscience and has received great reviews. 

Mumia is the world’s most famous political prisoner. He strikes me as an example: A revolutionary who the state tried to kill and crush but who never gave in and continues to contribute to the cause of common freedom.

 We definitely want to invite people to attend this important new film.

From the film’s press packet:

"Before he was convicted of murdering a policeman in 1981 and sentenced to die, Mumia Abu-Jamal was a gifted journalist and brilliant writer. Now after more than 30 years in prison and despite attempts to silence him, Mumia is not only still alive but continuing to report, educate, provoke and inspire. Through prison interviews, archival footage, and dramatic readings, this riveting film explores Mumia’s life before, during and after Death Row—revealing, in the words of Angela Davis, "the most eloquent and most powerful opponent of the death penalty in the world…the 21st Century Frederick Douglass." With Cornel West, Alice Walker, Dick Gregory, Angela Davis, Amy Goodman and more. Seattle premiere.

"Q&A with producer Noelle Hanrahan on Friday & Saturday evening shows."

We have to understand all this in its context; at a time when millions are locked away in prison  and millions more are kept from work and basic rights because of the same system. With political repression is on the rise paired with an increasingly bloated and unrestrained repressive apparatus here in the USA learning about the political prisoners who are locked up seems important.  I look forward to watching this and learning with anyone who can attend.

The first showing is on Friday the 22nd at the Grand Illusion Cinema (1403 NE 50th St, Seattle)  at 6:45pm.  Other times are below.

Fri, Mon, Tues: 645pm & 9pm
Sat & Sun: 430pm, 645pm & 9pm
Wed: 9pm
Thur: 645pm

For those who want to help spread the world about the film just ask for fliers at:

Broadcast Coffee - Central District Location (1918 E Yesler Way) or Black Coffee (501 E. Pine St)

Find out more about Long Distance Revolutionary at:

www.mumia-themovie.com

www.grandillusioncinema.org

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What to the American slave is your Fourth of July?

This piece, a central piece by Frederick Douglass, is a marker for what should be our disdain for the empire we live in.  Every word of this reading, done by Morgan Freeman, is still pertinent today.

Please, watch and reflect.

Today, July 4th is the day to celebrate the US’ empire - a stronghold of exploitation and oppression of millions. Monday, July 8th is the first day where thousands of this country’s locked up and enslaved will go on strike. All eyes on US prisoners while they go on work and hunger strikes in four days.

Join us, the night before the elections, the 5th of November.

Some of the organizers of the Everything for Everyone Festival bring you a new performance: Remember, Remember the 5th of November; a night for hip-hop, rap battle, dance, and debate.

Performances from Suntonio Bandanaz, DJ Ohmega Watts, DJ Too Quick, and with our host Madshroom MC.  Rap battle, TBA, over the question of the day: What to do with the elections?

Breaking out of Democrats: Organizing for a revolutionary realignment

I am posting this not out of endorsement of the views in this piece but because it represents a perspective that is worth further discussion.  It posits a particular approach by revolutionaries to elections aimed at splitting the Democratic Party, in order to have a more favorable center of gravity for broad progressive movements and revolutionary movements.  Tell No Lies has a different view than I do in how to approach or interact with electoral politics.  I am engaging with his view in order to learn in the hopes that others will as well. 

To participate in further discussion feel free to follow this link to the original post on the Kasama Project.

by Tell No Lies

I have to say that while I agree with the general conclusion — that we shouldn’t be supporting Obama — I am also frustrated by the dogmatism and moralism of the attacks on progressives who have come to a different conclusion.

While there are plenty of people who are willfully blind to the unwavering imperialist orientation of Obama and the leadership of the Democratic Party the real argument we are having here is with people who do understand this but who make the political calculation to campaign for the Dems anyway. These people are not stupid. While some can be accused of being bought off, many can not and in both cases we still need to understand and answer their arguments.

 There are lesser evils

Lesser-evil arguments are not inherently bankrupt. Everybody, including revolutionaries, makes lesser-evil calculations all the time. Mao’s united front with the GMD during the anti-Japanese war is an obvious example for those who need such historical references.

And the Dems are, in my view at least, very clearly a lesser evil.

They are less racist, less sexist, less homophobic, and somewhat less cavalier about throwing the poor (at least the US poor who might potentially threaten social peace) to the wolves. And these differences do not just characterize the rank and file. These differences are real matters of the democratic rights of the people and when revolutionaries pretend they are trivial it is, in my view, a species of economism.

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Not Guilty Verdict from Queer Dance Party Obstruction Charges: Time to Dance Again

This is reposted from the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog.  Congratulations to Sarah Svobodny.  Our hearts go out to her. It is a fantastic thing that she was acquitted and the repression from the political police, in this instance, was defeated.

Find the original post online here.

By jseattle

Sarah Svobodny has gone in front of Seattle juries to face charges related to two separate activist incidents on Capitol Hill this year. And two times the jury has said she’s not guilty of a crime.

The 32-year-old was again acquitted Thursday morning, according to attorney Braden Pence of the Snohomish County Public Defender Association.

Pence was part of the successful defense of the “Chase 5” earlier this year in which protesters — including Svobodny — admitted to chaining themselves together inside the Broadway Chase bank branch.

In the Seattle Municipal Court case decided by a jury last week, Svobodny was accused of obstructing a police officer in this June street protest that garnered citywide attention when one of the protesters was doused with pepper spray.

SPD said it was launching an internal investigation of Lt. Gregg Calder’s actions on the night of the protest. We’ve asked for an update on that five-month-old investigation but have not yet heard back from SPD.

vimeo

Athens: Social Meltdown

Solidarity Statement against the raids and grand jury

You can find the original posting of this solidarity statement at nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.comThursday, August 2. Come to Seattle to stand against the Grand Jury witch hunt! There will be a demonstration in solidarity with those affected by the raids and subpoenas starting at 7:30am and throughout the day. The demonstration will be at the federal court house, 700 Stuart St., in Seattle.

On Wednesday July 25th, the FBI conducted a series of coordinated raids against activists in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. They subpoenaed several people to a special federal grand jury, and seized computers, black clothing and anarchist literature. This comes after similar raids in Seattle in July and earlier raids of squats in Portland.

Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that the federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free, and equal society. The warrants served specifically listed anarchist literature as evidence to be seized, pointing to the fact that the FBI and police are targeting this group of people because of their political ideas. Pure and simple, these raids and the grand jury hearings are being used to intimidate people whose politics oppose the state’s agenda. During a time of growing economic and ecological crises that are broadly affecting people across the world, it is an attempt to push back any movement towards creating a world that is humane, one that meets every person’s needs rather than serving only the interests of the rich.

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