The Postmaster General’s New Attack on the Mail is a Fig Leaf for Privatization

May 07, 2021 / Dennis O’Neil

Masked people (Black and white, men and women) holding signs. Most prominent is a handwritten sign: "#Save the Post Office." Preprinted signs say "Stand with Postal Workers" and "Senators, do the right thing! Save USPS"

This rally in Phoenix, Arizona, was one of hundreds held last summer to oppose mail delay and call for emergency funding for the Postal Service. Last year’s villain, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, is back with fresh schemes. Photo: APWU National

The battle over the future of the Postal Service, which was a focus of American political life last year, is still on.

Corrupt and incompetent Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced in March (with the backing of the present Postal Board of Governors, headed by Chair Ron Bloom) a “10-year plan” to remake the post office from a constitutionally mandated public service into a corporate entity.

The DeJoy-Bloom plan openly promises slower delivery times for much of the mail, steadily increasing postal rates, and reduced access to post offices. (What a combo!) It sets out the next terrain of battle in our fight to save our public postal service.

A PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE

This plan was pushed out in a hurry as a pre-emptive strike before the Senate could vote to fill the open seats on the Postal Board of Governors with Biden’s nominees—who are apparently all pro-public postal service, pro-democracy, pro-union, and unlikely to support key elements of a plan like this.

It pays lip service to the mission of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), while abandoning that mission to become a corporate competitor in the parcel delivery business. The plan also opens up the postal service to privatization. It is announced as a 10-year plan to try and lock the changes in.

DeJoy has stopped denying that his proposals will result in delaying the mail and in poor service. Now the slower service is a feature, not a bug.

The plan would reset service standards so that first class mail would be delivered in two to three days in nearby areas (currently it’s one to two days) and up to five days for more distant destinations (currently three to four). The plan doesn’t say what will happen to standards for the other classes of mail: standard letters, catalogs and commercial broadsides, and especially periodicals.

This means a lot of mail processing plants will be closed down. Management just announced 18 plants it wants to axe by November.

More will follow. Iowa Postal Workers (APWU) President Kimberly Karol predicts two of the three plants in her state will be close, leaving only the one in Des Moines—which won’t be able to handle all the mail every day. So one day it will process mail for the eastern part of the state, the next day the northern part, and so on.

“Although they’ll keep delivering every day, the average person is probably only going to see mail three days a week,” Karol said. “This is the start of a very slippery slope.”

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Republicans’ Jim Crow 2.0 Voter Suppression Laws Spark Fight for Democracy (+1 more)

BY LEE DLUGIN

Republicans’ Jim Crow 2.0 voter suppression laws spark fight for democracyPeople rally outside of the Capitol in Lansing, Mich., April 13, 2021, during a rally to support voting rights and end voter suppression. | Matthew Dae Smith / Lansing State Journal via AP

The country is today faced with a fundamental crisis with the proliferation of voter suppression laws, nullification of votes cast, and the determination of the Republican Party and pro-fascist forces to prevent people—particularly African Americans, Latinx, youth, and seniors—from voting.

The so-called excuse for this proliferation is the myth of voter fraud, the same false excuse made for the last 30 years. The right-wing rationale for this myth is to undermine people’s confidence in the electoral system. This fraud is taking place in Maricopa County, Arizona right now with a fourth, and now secret, recount is being done by a private firm with no accountability or transparency almost six months after the election.

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Postal Workers Fight DeJoy Plan to Close Processing Centers and Eliminate Jobs

BY MARK GRUENBERG

Postal Workers fight DeJoy plan to close processing centers and eliminate jobsPostal workers sort mail at the U.S. Postal Service processing and distribution center in Oakland, Calif., on April 30, 2020. Trump-imposed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy plans to close 18 such processing centers nationwide. | Ben Margot / AP

WASHINGTON (PAI)—The 10-year U.S. Postal Service “reform” plan unveiled by Trump-imposed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy includes “the good, the bad, and the ugly” among its elements American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein says.

And right now, he adds, DeJoy is pushing the bad ahead of the good, as the PMG delivered a notice to the nation’s postal unions on April 27 that he intends to close 18 processing centers nationwide, shifting their services elsewhere.

The closures, Dimondstein said in a video Q-and-A with APWU members that night, would slow down service and cost postal workers’ jobs. “Fighting the closures is not easy, but it can be done if we mobilize,” he said.

He’s put union Vice President Debby Szeredy in charge of APWU’s panel of postal craft leaders to deal with DeJoy’s plans and mobilize members against them.

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The Messy Truth About America That the Right Wing Can’t Bear to Admit

The messy truth about America that the right wing can't bear to admitTim Scott John Stoehr May 03, 2021

This article was paid for by AlterNet subscribers. Not a subscriber? Try us and go ad-free for $1. Prefer to give a one-time tip? Click here.

I got a second dose Saturday. I was bed-ridden Sunday. I’m feeling better today, but writing is hard labor. I won’t do the usual dissection of recent events. I’ll instead swing for the fences and see what happens. Even if I strike out, it might prove to be useful.

The president and the vice president were asked last week if Tim Scott is right. In a GOP response to the State of the Union address to the United States Congress, the United States Senator said America is not a racist country. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris agreed. America is not racist country. But, they said, there is work to do.

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Conservative Maps Out Why the ‘Derangement of the Republican Party’ is Only Getting Worse

Conservative maps out why 'the 'derangement of the Republican Party' is only getting worse

Donald Trump supporters outside the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, Wikimedia Commons 

Alex Henderson May 03, 2021

The state of the Republican Party in the Biden era was the topic of a robust discussion on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on May 3, with a panel of guests agreeing with hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that the GOP has become increasingly unhinged.

The guests included conservative pundit Charlie Sykes — a blistering critic of former President Donald Trump — Financial Times’ Ed Luce, the Associated Press’s Jonathan Lemire, and Eddie Glaude, Jr., a professor of African-American studies at Princeton University who is often featured as a liberal pundit on MSNBC.

Scarborough, a Never Trump conservative and former GOP congressman, noted that pro-Trump Republicans have been going after Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming with a vengeance for condemning Trump’s role in the January 6 insurrection — and that in Maricopa County, Arizona, Republicans have been conducting an overtly partisan audit of the votes in the 2020 presidential election. Those things, according to Sykes, not only illustrate “the derangement of the Republican Party” but also, the “acceleration of the derangement of the Republican Party.”

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New Poll Confirms the GOP’s Fears on Voting Rights

New poll confirms the GOP's fears on voting rights

Rep. Kevin McCarthy // PBS NewsHour 

Kenny Stancil and Common Dreams May 03, 2021

Zero GOP lawmakers have backed the For the People Act, congressional Democrats’ comprehensive plan to strengthen U.S. democracy by making it easier to vote, curbing partisan gerrymandering, and limiting the influence of money in politics.

Republican voters, however, support many of the proposals in the 800-page bill, according to a new poll released Monday.

The survey (pdf) of 1,138 likely voters across the country—conducted from April 16 to April 19 by Data for Progress on behalf of Vox—found that, when presented without partisan cues, the voting rights and election reform bill is popular with voters across party lines. Overall, 69% of the electorate supports the For the People Act, including 52% of Republicans, 70% of Independents, and 85% of Democrats.

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In a World on Fire, Is Nonviolence Still an Option? (+4 more)

BY TIM DECHRISTOPHER 

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” John F. Kennedy, March 13, 1962

Over the past few years, advocates of nonviolence (such as myself) have been losing the debate in the climate movement. After decades of a well-funded and organized movement that has tried every nonviolent strategy, yet failed to pressure power structures away from the path of climate catastrophe, the promise of nonviolent success rests mainly on faith. 

Adding to the lack of efficacy is a startling rise in draconian consequences for peaceful activism, including dozens of states that have proposed laws legalizing vehicular homicide of activists marching on a public street. As proponents of nonviolence are increasingly ridiculed as “peace police” and booed out of movement spaces, Kennedy’s warning grows more urgent. 

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We Don’t Need Prisons to Make Us Safer

BY VICTORIA LAW

ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH BISHOP/GETTY IMAGES

To the statement that prisons provide safety, we should ask, “Safety for whom? And from what?”

The United States now has 2.3 million people behind bars of some form or another. These are not 2.3 million isolated individuals—their imprisonment sends reverberations into their families and communities. On any given day, 2.7 million children have a parent in prison. Incarcerating that parent removes a source of financial and emotional support for both children and adult family members. For families who are already in economically precarious situations, removing a parent can plunge them into poverty, reduce their safety, and make them more vulnerable to arrest and incarceration.

This is not to say that we don’t need interventions when harm and violence happen. But prisons have proven again and again to be an ineffective intervention. First, we must remember that incarceration is a form of punishment and incapacitation that happens after harm has occurred, not before. We must also remember that incarceration addresses only certain types of harm. People who sell drugs on the street risk arrest and imprisonment. But the same rarely applies to wealthy people like the Sackler family, who earned billions from OxyContin, the addictive painkiller launched in 1996 that spawned today’s opioid crisis. Likewise, board members and corporate executives responsible for oil spills and other environmental disasters or for precipitating economic crises rarely face handcuffs and jail time.

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Addressing Child Poverty Beyond the Pandemic

To Decarbonize the Economy Equitably, Start With Schools

The Significance of Uncle Tom in the 21st Century

Will Biden’s Central American Plan Slow Migration (or Speed It Up)? (+1 more)

By Aviva Chomsky

Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a town hall hosted by the Iowa Asian and Latino Coalition at Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 33 in Des Moines, Iowa, August 2019.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

This piece appeared originally in TomDispatch.

Joe Biden entered the White House with some inspiring yet contradictory positions on immigration and Central America. He promised to reverse Donald Trump’s draconian anti-immigrant policies while, through his “Plan to Build Security and Prosperity in Partnership with the People of Central America,” restoring “US leadership in the region” that he claimed Trump had abandoned. For Central Americans, though, such “leadership” has an ominous ring.

Although the second half of his plan’s name does, in fact, echo that of left-wing, grassroots organizations like the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), its content highlights a version of security and prosperity in that region that’s more Cold War-like than CISPES-like. Instead of solidarity (or even partnership) with Central America, Biden’s plan actually promotes an old economic development model that has long benefited U.S. corporations. It also aims to impose a distinctly militarized version of “security” on the people of that region. In addition, it focuses on enlisting Central American governments and, in particular, their militaries to contain migration through the use of repression.

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Gratitude, Simplicity, and Service—3 Community-Centered Values for Addressing Climate Change

By Andreas Karelas

Image credit: Gerd Altmann

Considering how the pandemic has called attention to the harms we’ve caused our planet, it’s fitting that this year’s theme for Earth Day is Restore Our Earth. The theme reminds us to value the home we share with so many other species as well as the opportunities we have to do better by our planet. Andreas Karelas, founder and executive director of RE-volv, is all about the opportunities to act on climate change solutions. One of the ways we can restore our Earth is to take a page or two from this passage of his book, Climate Courage, and adopt the three community-centered values he suggests. Our psychology and mindset toward climate change is just as important to be aware of.

***

Based on the latest findings of positive psychology research, I suggest that, in order to address climate change, we need to cultivate different values—values that place a greater emphasis on community and less on consumption—and that living according to these values will have the benefits of reducing our impact on the planet and increasing our personal well-being. To do this I’ll describe what I believe to be an effective three-step approach: (1) cultivate gratitude, (2) choose simplicity, and (3) focus on serving others. If we can learn to be more grateful for what we have, simplify our lives, and put more effort into serving others, I think we’ll be well on our way to a happier, more sustainable world.

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Lauren Boebert’s Stunt At Biden’s Congressional Address Hilariously Backfires (+2 more)

Travis Gettys

Lauren Boebert’s stunt at Biden’s congressional address hilariously backfires

(Screenshot via YouTube.com)

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) unfurled a thermal blanket during President Joe Biden’s congressional address to draw attention to the surge of migrants at the southern border, but her stunt backfired.

The silver blanket was similar to those distributed to migrants held in detention facilities, and Boebert tweeted about the border situation during Biden’s address to Congress — but her demonstration mystified and irritated many observers.

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Trump is ‘Fixated’ on Arizona Audit — and Republicans Fear It is Going to Backfire on the GOP

Bob Brigham

Trump is ‘fixated’ on Arizona audit — and Republicans fear it is going to backfire on the GOP: report

Gage Skidmore.

The controversial audit of Maricopa County votes in Arizona has been widely panned for lacking legitimacy, but former President Donald Trump is reportedly fixated on the political theater — even though it may backfire on Republicans.

“More than five months after the 2020 presidential election, and after numerous failed attempts to overturn the results, former president Donald Trump has seized on a new avenue to try to call the outcome into question: a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona’s largest county. Several advisers said the former president has become fixated on the unorthodox process underway in Phoenix, where the GOP-led state Senate took ballots and voting equipment from Maricopa County and turned them over to Cyber Ninjas, a private contractor whose chief executive has echoed claims that the election was fraudulent but has now promised a fair review of the November results,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.

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Trump Boat Parade Organizer Caught on Video Yelling ‘White Power!’

Sky Palma

Trump boat parade organizer caught on video yelling 'white power!'

https://www.rawstory.com/trump-supporter-white-power

Trump fans Dion Cini and Cliff Gephart held their pro-Trump boat parade earlier this month in Tampa, Florida, and they plan to take their parades nationwide, with more events planned for San Diego, Cleveland, and Las Vegas, according to the “Trumparilla” Facebook page.

This Wednesday, Mother Jones shared a video showing Cini at a Trumparilla event yelling “white power!”

According to Mother Jones’ Ali Breland, Cini yelled the phrase as he was being recognized from the stage by Gephart for his efforts to organize the event.

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Admitting Defeat in Afghanistan: American “State-Building” Fails Again

BY JOHN CLAMP

Photograph Source: The U.S. Army – Public Domain

So Rudyard Kipling’s arithmetic came to pass after all. ‘Strike hard who cares—shoot straight who can/ The odds are on the cheaper man.’ The U.S. has thrown in the towel. Another ‘superpower’ is set to depart Afghanistan. The symbolic date of September 11 is meant to have a ring of finality to it. It should: a trillion dollars later, the United States has failed in all its war aims.

Eschewing historical and scholarly knowledge, the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan was their first mistake. However impelled you feel to invade the fulcrum state, you should always count to ten. Some units entering the country will have passed Gandamak, where a British army was massacred in 1842. Few American soldiers will have noted the landmark.

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North Korea is Back on the US Agenda

BY MEL GURTOV

North Korea is rattling America’s cage again. It sent a reminder call when it recently fired off multiple short-range missiles after denouncing Washington for going forward with joint military exercises with South Korea. A few days later the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the formal name for North Korea) launched two new tactical guided ballistic missiles, in defiance of a UN ban. Some experts say the ballistic missiles, which have a high degree of maneuverability, could potentially be fixed with nuclear or biological weapons and thus pose a new danger to South Korea.

My analysis is that the missile tests reflect North Korea’s impatience with the US to produce a negotiating position that isn’t a repeat of the usual US approach: you eliminate your nukes, then we’ll talk about rewards. The Biden administration reportedly has tried to contact Pyongyang about talks, but Kim Jong-un’s powerful sister, Kim Yo-jong, dismissed the idea, saying that if the Biden administration “wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink.” The comment was widely interpreted here as a warning, but I contend her message was, “If you want to start talks, offer something different from sanctions, nuclear threats, and military exercises with South Korea.”

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Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam Revisited

BY MARK ASHWILL

Photograph by Nathaniel St. Clair

…The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.

– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., April 1967

Enough has been said, here and elsewhere, about the contents of the bestselling book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam (KATM) and the meticulous archival and field research on which it is based. It is a brilliant–a word I use sparingly–work about one of the most tragic periods in Vietnamese and US history. On the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the end of the US War in Vietnam, it’s worth revisiting the value of KATM’s singular contribution to the world’s knowledge about what the US did in and to Vietnam and its people.

In his spot-on review, Vietnam: A War on Civilians, Chase Madar sums up the war, as portrayed in KATM, thus: “The relentless violence against civilians was more than the activity of a few sociopaths: it was policy.” The same could be said of over 400 years of US history, both domestically and internationally, from 1607 to the present, especially for non-whites.

KATM, published eight years ago, is without a doubt the most emotionally wrenching book I have ever read. This might also have to do with the fact that the subject matter is intensely personal for me. I still have vivid recollections of many of the scenes author Nick Turse describes in excruciating detail. I am haunted by them.

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Forward to the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees!

Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International

May Day 2021 will mark the second year in which the international day of working class solidarity is held under conditions of a global pandemic. The International Committee of the Fourth International will mark this day with an Online Rally. It will issue a call for the formation of the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees (IWA-RFC).

The ICFI and its affiliated Socialist Equality Parties are advancing this initiative to begin and develop a global counteroffensive of the working class against the homicidal policies of the governments controlled by the capitalist ruling class, which are responsible for the worldwide catastrophe.

The formation of the IWA-RFC is a critically necessary response to a global crisis that has exacted a terrible toll in human life. When May Day was observed in 2020, the global death toll stood at just under 250,000. It is now 12 times that number, at more than 3,000,000.

The death toll in individual countries and regions is staggering. More than 850,000 people have died in North America, including more than 583,000 in the United States and 213,000 in Mexico. In South America, 640,000 people have died, with more than half, 350,000, in Brazil.

One million lives have been lost in Europe, including 130,000 in the UK, 120,000 in Italy, 110,000 in Russia, 100,000 in France and 80,000 in Germany. In Asia, the death toll is approaching 500,000, led by India with nearly 200,000 victims, Iran with 70,000, Indonesia with 44,000 and Turkey with 37,000.

More than 120,000 have died in Africa, with nearly half of the dead in South Africa.

Beyond the immediate death toll, the long-term consequences for those who have survived are colossal. Nearly 150 million people have been infected worldwide, with millions suffering with persistent symptoms long after they have nominally recovered. According to one recent study, those who have been infected but were not hospitalized have a 60 percent greater risk of death within the next six months than those who were not infected.

Nearly a year and a half into the pandemic, the virus is raging throughout the world. Fueled by the spread of new and more contagious strains of the virus, the average number of new cases worldwide is at its highest level ever.

Health workers carry a patient after a fire in Vijay Vallabh COVID-19 hospital at Virar, near Mumbai, India, Friday, April 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

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From global pandemic to global class struggle: Forward to the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees! Attend this online rally with speakers from throughout the world, organized by the World Socialist Web Site and the International Committee of the Fourth International.

REGISTER NOW

The ICFI and its affiliated Socialist Equality Parties are advancing this initiative to begin and develop a global counteroffensive of the working class against the homicidal policies of the governments controlled by the capitalist ruling class, which are responsible for the worldwide catastrophe.

On May 1, the International Committee of the Fourth International is holding its annual Online May Day Rally. The rally will be addressed by representatives of the ICFI and its affiliated Socialist Equality Parties throughout the world. It will be streamed live at wsws.org/mayday.

This year’s May Day is being held under conditions of a new surge in the global COVID-19 pandemic. The rally will issue a call for the formation of the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees (IWA-RFC). The ICFI and the SEPs are advancing this initiative to begin and develop a global counteroffensive of the working class against the homicidal policies of the governments controlled by the capitalist ruling class, which are responsible for the worldwide catastrophe.

Since the emergence of the pandemic more than one year ago, nearly three million people have died and more than 136 million have been infected. Fueled by the emergence of more contagious variants, the seven-day average for new cases is now approaching 700,000 and is close to its previous peak in January. More than 11,000 people are dying every day throughout the world.

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Guilty On All 3 Counts! (+2 more)


Jim Hightower and Maurice Mitchell from #WorkingFamiliesParty​ discuss the #ChauvinVerdict​, what it means for the community, policing and the work moving forward.

[Source]


Right Wing Media Melts Down Over Chauvin Verdict

Right-wing media melts down over the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict, including Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens, as well as other Newsmax and Fox News hosts.

[Source]


Florida Just Passed A Bill Aimed At Protesters

Sonali Kolhatkar speaks with Anna Eskamani about the Florida bill that just passed that aims at protesters.

Florida Governor Ron Desantis has signed a troubling bill into law that seeks to criminalize dissent and appears to be aimed squarely at the Black Lives Matter movement. While the pro-Trump Republican governor and his allies are claiming that the law is meant to protect the public from riots, the ACLU of Florida has called it an “anti-protest” bill. A broad coalition of grassroots groups, clergy, lawyers and liberal lawmakers have expressed their opposition to the bill for weeks. Now that it has been signed into law we’ll turn today to a progressive activist turned lawmaker elected to the Florida House of Representatives.

[Source]

Following the Chauvin Verdict: Stay in the Streets! Abolish the Police! (+1 more)

By Workers World Party 

Workers World Party expresses its solidarity with the family of George Floyd, along with the Minneapolis community and anti-racist activists everywhere, who understandably applaud the three guilty verdicts against the racist, white, killer cop, Derek Chauvin, who wantonly lynched Floyd May 25, 2020. 

Chauvin was found guilty today, April 20, 2021, of second-degree manslaughter, second-degree intentional murder and third degree murder. Three other cops, who stood by as Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck and body until he died, have been fired and will face charges for aiding and abetting in subsequent trials.

We are in solidarity with those who will be in the streets tonight and throughout the coming days and weeks who express relief with the verdict and at the same time, acknowledge its limitations. In the long run, more than the jailing of Chauvin or any individual killer cop is needed for eradicating police terror and white supremacy — two evils which go hand-in-hand.  

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WAAR on Chauvin Verdicts: ‘We’ll Accept Nothing Less Than Police Abolition’

By a guest author 

April 20 protest, New York City, WW PHOTO: Nathaniel Chase

The following statement was issued on April 20 by the Workers Assembly Against Racism, based in New York City.  

One killer cop in jail does nothing to address the violence and trauma that materially fills the experience of Black, Brown, and working people at the hands of our bloated, militarized police force.

Derek Chauvin is a tool of white supremacy, along with policing and incarceration as a whole. Although we’re witnessing this tool’s public “punishment,” we cannot accept these court proceedings as the theatrical interpretation of “justice” that the state so fervently desires. 

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