On Tuesday February 18th, I went to Attica to visit Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony L. Bottom or Prisoner #77A4283) along with other activists. This was my first time at a maximum security prison. With its impossibly high walls and multiple turrets, it looked like a castle, albeit an ugly gray one, and I half expected to be intercepted by a moat.
The inside of the prison is coldly institutional, regulated, bland. The visiting room is large, furnished with tables and chairs, and an entire wall of vending machines. The walls are painted with dolphins and miscellaneous underwater scenes. I soon understood why. Many families visit with young children in tow and soon their noisy chatter began to reverberate throughout the carefully reinforced and supervised space we were in.
Jalil joined us after 15-20 minutes. Tall, affable, with a warm smile on his face and a taqiyah (Muslim skullcap) on his head, it was easy to fall into conversation with him. Jalil is interested in everything. He asked Diane about her work as a Rochester city high school teacher and discussed my films with me, including issues related to Islam and feminism and the Partition of India. His charm and lively intelligence make it hard to imagine that he’s spent more than 40 years of his life in prison. He was a young Black Panther when he was arrested in 1971. Since COINTELPRO, a secret FBI program aimed at sabotaging dissent and disrupting movements for self-determination within the US (from the 1950s to the 1970s) has now been exposed for its illegal activities, it’s incredible that political prisoners like Jalil continue to be locked up.
Naomi Klein, in her book, The Shock Doctrine, told how the global banking system took advantage of crises, and sometimes created crises, in order to force national leaders to accept policies against their will. This seems to be what is going on in Ukraine.
Ukraine has beem in gave financial difficulties. Last fall the International Monetary Fund offered Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich a bailout, under conditions that reportedly included a doubling of prices for gas and electricity to industry and homes, the lifting of a ban on private sale of Ukraine’s rich agricultural lands, a sale of state assets, a devaluation of the currency and cuts in funding for schools and pensions to balance the budget. In return, Ukraine would have got a $4 billion loan, a small fraction of what was needed.
On February 1st, 2014, the “Struggling to Win: Anarchists Building Popular Power” nationwide speaking tour came to Rochester. The tour was organized by the Black Rose Anarchist Federation and will ultimately stop in 25 cities around the United States. Watch the video of their stop in Rochester here!
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for New York governor, addressed a crowd at the Flying Squirrel Community Space on April 10. Topics included environmental and energy issues, education, labor, minimum wage and health care.
RocSubway was informed over the weekend by two separate and anonymous sources that a new independent grocer may be coming to downtown Rochester in 2014. Admittedly, this may be unsubstantiated and premature. But these sources have been very reliable in the past. And if true, this would be wildly good news for downtown.
And what the hell, this is a blog, not the Associate Press. I think I have the right to circulate some juicy gossip once in a while…
People, let’s be frank. We all have complicated relationships with our bodies. Oh, yeah, we do. This couldn’t be more true for W and me. We have both struggled with body image for…most of our lives. We are both fat people. We both have been fat for most of our lives, except for little periods of time when we dieted heavily or were really stressed out and unhealthy. I can only imagine I’ll have even more feelings about my body after pregnancy (assuming our plans go off as we hope).
(EDIT: I have personally gone back and forth between what is considered “average size” and plus size, but I have felt fat my whole life and I’ve been “overweight” compared to the little doctors’ charts my whole life. It is only recently that I’ve claimed fat as a positive and affirming identity, but I’ve benefited from average size privilege in the past, even if I had crappy self-esteem. There are people that have suffered much harsher and crueler fatphobia than me and I totally get that.)
I am writing this Statement with the hope of enlightening the Media, Social Media, all Cyberspace users; and our United States Government attempting to make them aware of our forgotten Political Prisoners Languishing Away in prisons across America without any empathy for them and their families. The Local States and their Parole Boards are abusing the Constitutional Civil Rights Law by consistently using the outdated verbiage “Nature of the Crime” and “Impact of the Crime on Victim and Victim’s Family” to deny their freedom. Political Prisoners are Victims of our Government which also Impacts us as their Families.
A Mother's Cry
This is the voice of a mother crying for the freedom of her child, Anthony Leonard Bottom aka (Jalil Muntaqim 77A4283) who has been swallowed up in the New York Penal System for 37 years; (1977-2014). My child has been held captive in the Belly of New York State Prisons without any regard of his Constitutional Human Rights. Consequently, as a Political Prisoner, he has become a Forgotten, Disenfranchised Citizen of the United States of America. Anthony (Jalil) was 19 years of age when he was arrested in San Francisco California. The California Penal System sentenced Anthony (Jalil) to 5 Years for Aiding and Abetting; he served his time in San Quentin State Prison. Anthony (Jalil) was 25 years of age when he was extradited to New York where he has been since 1977; October 2013 Anthony had his 62nd birthday. Anthony (Jalil) is America’s Nelson Mandela; in fact, he has been incarcerated longer than Mr. Mandela, who was incarcerated 25 years. Our Government has negotiated release of Foreign Political Prisoners; but unfortunately, has not acknowledged or negotiated the release of its own Domestic Political Prisoners. Perhaps it’s because our Government is the perpetrator of these disenfranchised citizens. If we go back 46 years ago, our Government: (John Edgar Hoover) FBI; John Erlichman CIA; collaborated with President Richard Millhouse Nixon and initiated their Counter Intelligence Program (CoIntelPro) under the guise of protecting our “Homeland Security” against those accused of Communistic Ideals and the Black Panther Party (BPP) as Revolutionary Descendants, and planned a full fledged war against these citizens.
Submitted by SusanGalloway on Wed, 2014-04-09 01:13
In 1956, Ellery Schempp at 16 years of age staged a protest against his high school's requirement that each student read Bible passages and recite Lord's Prayer each day during homeroom. To protest Ellery brought a copy of the Qur'an, even though he did not identify as Muslim, and read from that. He was the primary student involved in the landmark 1963 United States Supreme Court case of Abington School District v.
I spend a lot of time in both men’s and women’s public restrooms. Or more accurately, girls’ and boys’ restrooms – I clean toilets, and I work at an elementary school. There are also a few gender neutral bathrooms, for staff, which is pretty great. For a tally, there are 3 girls’ gang bathrooms and 3 boys’ gang (That’s really how they are referred to, which totally conjures images of ruffians scribbling graffiti all over the walls and pulling all the toilet paper off the rolls. Oh, and smoking and fighting and stuff.), 3 gender neutral bathrooms for staff, one women’s room, one men’s room, and 7 bathrooms within classrooms (also gender neutral).
For my first half-hour of work, kids are still in school. I like to get a head start on some areas I can access before they leave for the day, and gang bathrooms are one of the places I can start. But only if I’m sure no kids are in there, and they’re not likely to come in. Especially for the boys’, because technically I am female. This is very serious.
Before I labor over that point, here’s a little back story about my take on which bathroom I personally should be in: Over the holidays, I got to hang out with two out-of-town friends who are both trans*. They were both describing dreams they’ve had where they went into an unaccommodating bathroom, like stalls were missing or it was more of an open locker-room vibe. And they asked my partner and me if we’ve had public restroom anxieties, and we both replied, “No.” And in that sense, it’s true. I strongly feel myself to be non-binary and genderqueer (and my sense of self is closer to male than female), yet I really have no questions or reservations about which public restroom to use. If a gender-neutral or family one is available, I will use that. Otherwise, I will use the women’s room. And if people are doing a double take or wondering if I should be there, that’s kinda their problem. Because it’s the bathroom I feel more comfortable in. I didn’t always feel this way. I used to always feel very anxious about the whole endeavor of going into the women’s room. Honestly, I’m not sure what changed, other than the fact that I’d rather be in there than in the men’s room, and I’d rather feel calm than anxious?
On March 22 the Afghan Peace Volunteers called for an International Weekend of kite flying in opposition to the piloting of lethal Reaper and Predator drones over the towns and cities in Afghanistan threatening their homes and their families. The local event was sponsored by Rochester Against War.