New Haven Police Target Youth

Police in New Haven, Connecticut have adopted a new policy called the “Surge.” This shock-and-awe tactic was invented by police in New York City. It involves an unannounced surge in police presence in areas with a recent increase in complaints. It is intended as a show of force.

New Haven’s “Surge” has taken the form of police harassing young people, including those who are adults, for simply being in public at night. A group of college students were detained and ticketed for simply sitting in a parked car while they waited for their friend to return from the store.

Other young people were told to “go home” while walking through a public park.

If you doubt that young people are marginalized, if you doubt systematic ageism is real, then here is your proof. The police are hoping to arrest more people, including youth, so their buddies in the prison industry and the government bureaucrats can make money off of them. That is the true face of class society, a society where young people are held hostage for money.

Posted in Police Brutality, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richmond Halloween Parade Mourns Death of Grace Street

Pig puppet representing corporate America.

Pig puppet representing corporate America.

Richmond, Virginia’s 9th annual Halloween parade took to the streets last night, not only to celebrate Halloween, but also to mourn the death of a city so many people once loved. Billed as “a funeral for Grace Street,” residents from across the city and metro area gathered in Monroe Park on Halloween night to speak out against the ongoing sale of their city, and especially Grace Street, to corporate America.

Over a hundred people showed up, most of them in typical Halloween costumes. Giant puppets representing Mother Earth, Grace Street, and Corporate America were marched through Monroe Park and Oregon Hill. Fittingly, a hearse was also part of the parade alongside a float resembling a pirate ship. The puppets were used to represent the marriage of Virginia Commonwealth University and corporate America, resulting in the birth of “Cap’n Greed” and the “$$ Blahmart.”

A banner was displayed in route reading “We sold this city. VCU,” in reference to VCU’s claim that they “built this city.” They didn’t. Working-class people from all races, nationalities, and genders built this city in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Slaves built the “old Richmond” in the 19th Century. Now the accomplishments, history, and even livelihoods of so many workers and families are being forgotten, paved over, and sold to mega-corporations.

This year’s parade was dedicated to the memory of Ian Graham, a local photographer, journalist, and activist who passed away in September.

Grace Street (and surrounding streets) was once home to many local shops and bars. Its apartments were also home to locals and students alike (not that they are mutually exclusive). Now VCU, the largest college in town, is working to completely take over  Grace Street and bring in big-box stores like Walmart. That isn’t the worst of it. Earlier this year, nearby Monroe Park (a public park) was basically handed over to VCU and representatives of big businesses. And Mayor Jones and City Council have barely tried to cover up their corruption. They have invested taxpayers’ money and resources into private businesses at the expense of public schools and emergency services.

If you ever want to meet the bastard child of corruption, betrayal, and crony capitalism, then come to Richmond. Sadly, Richmond’s story is common in the modern world.  Public spaces are rapidly disappearing as once local businesses turn into evil giants or get gobbled up by monsters like Walmart and Altria.

Working people should make all of the decisions in their communities, not rich people, not politicians, and not businesses of any size. Corporations, the wealthy, the political parties, and politicians will all be sent back to Hell with the rest of the ghouls, goblins, and demons. This will happen not by the grace of City Council or the Virginia General Assembly, but by the actions and fighting spirit of workers’ councils and people’s assemblies in the streets and workplaces. Workers built this city, workers make it run, and workers fund it through taxes and bailouts. Richmond, America, and the rest of the world rightfully belongs to regular people, the working-class.

Posted in Corporations, Protests | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lay Offs Rock Virginia

Colonial Downs workers protest lay offs. Taken from CBS 6.

Despite false claims that the unemployment rate is shrinking, Governor McAuliffe of Virginia recently announced that he would lay off 565 state employees in order to close Virginia’s $2.4 billion budget gap. He also said the government would not hire as many new state police as intended. Not hiring more police is a good thing for the working people who have routinely been turned into targets and scapegoats by authority figures, but the fact that they are even cutting back police is telling.

Cut backs on federal spending have also lead to job losses for Virginians who work for, or are contractors for, the federal government, especially in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia.

In the private sector, Colonial Downs, the state’s only horse racing track, will soon be closed. Management was unable to come to an agreement with its horsemen’s association, resulting in the owners giving up their racing license. All workers will lose their jobs on November 1st.

The unemployment rate for the whole country may be going down on paper, but in reality it is unchanged. Less people are considered unemployed because their benefits ran out, not because they were able to find work. At least half of the available jobs are only part-time, making it hard for working-class people to get enough hours to support themselves. Given that it is the end of the year, many of the new jobs are only seasonal and will end in lay offs by February at the latest. The real unemployment rate is 12.6 percent.

Posted in Economy, Government | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Richmond Landlord Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

A local slumlord in Richmond, Virginia was sentenced to twenty years in federal prison earlier this week. Landlord Billy G. Jefferson Jr. took advantage of historic tax credits in order to commit multi-million dollar acts of fraud.

Jefferson was originally arrested on state charges for his tax credit scam, and the investigation lead to federal charges. Not only did he lie and say he was going to renovate historic sites in order to gain tax credits, he attempted to hide the money he owed to the government. His methods included hiding the money in a camouflaged PVC pipe, gambling it away in Las Vegas, and an aborted attempt to flee the country for the United Kingdom.

What the media isn’t covering, however, is the way he treated his tenants. Many former renters have come forth on social media to criticize Jefferson. He is accused of doing things like not returning security deposits after being ordered to by a judge, leaving his apartments in disrepair, intimidating tenants, falsely accusing them of writing bad checks, and trying to force his tenants to switch to a specific cable and internet provider. Of course, these are not the crimes that landed him in prison. When you lie and cheat the government or a large corporation, you get in trouble. When you do the same to regular people, such as your tenants or customers, it is overlooked.

Capitalism is a system where the big thieves jail the smaller thieves, and the best honest, working-class people can hope for is to be ignored instead of preyed on like field mice.

Posted in Corporations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Streets Bucket of Junk Mail Challenge!

Guess what, all of my WordPress and Facebook followers have been challenged. You have 24 hours to make a video of yourself dumping a bucket of junk mail on your head. If can’t do it, you have to share something from Our Streets. If you take the challenge, you can challenge three other people yourself.

To highlight the wasteful nature of capitalism, I decided to dump a bucket of junk mail on my head. Over 100 million trees are cut down annually to create junk mail, and over 51 million metric tons of greenhouse gases are created by junk mail production.

Here is a video of me explaining this concept, then dumping some junk mail on myself.

Posted in Corporations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Swedish Police Trample Protesters With Horses for Being in Road

Taken from RT.com

At least 10 people were injured after mounted police charged into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in Malmö, Sweden yesterday. 1,500 people gathered in the city’s Limhamn Square to protest, and hopefully block, a hate rally featuring a speech from Stefan Jacobsson. Jacobsson is the leader of a neo-Nazi group known as the Swedes’ Party (Svenskarnas Parti).

Demonstrators are reported to have been using firecrackers and smoke bombs, but video shows protesters simply getting in the middle of a road, prompting the police to charge them and trample them with horses. 10 people were injured, and five suffered serious injuries for simply being in the road.

Jacobsson was booed when he appeared on stage, and the crowd chanted “no Nazis on our streets.”

From Ferguson to Malmö, from Florida to Greece, the police are the stormtroopers of fascism. Their job is not to protect the people, but the property of the rich. Their jobs are not to keep the peace, but to maintain “law and order” by behaving lawlessly against the poor and the working-class. The police and their wealthy state and business masters want racism to divide us regular people so we will fight each other and not them.

Posted in Europe, Police Brutality, Protests, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Raoul Vaneigem on Invention

“When the conditions in which time is money have been abolished, occupations will cease being dominated by profit and social representation and will be organized according to the criteria of pleasure. Do-it-yourself activities, though they are now usually rather trivial, contain a kernel of a creativity that only awaits the moment when it can develop without constraint. Once it is able to make full use of the most sophisticated technologies, this creativity will enrich humanity within a few months with more ingenious and enjoyable discoveries and inventions than were produced in centuries of forced labor.” – Raoul Vaneigem, From Wildcat Strike to Total Self Management

Posted in Literature | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment