WW News Service Digest #378

 1) NYPD kills again
    by WW
 2) 'Dr.' Laura draws protest
    by WW
 3) Milwaukee steel workers protest plant shutdown
    by WW
 4) Danny Glover stands tall
    by WW


From: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> (WW)
Date: tiistai 29. tammikuu 2002 03:43
Subject: [WW]  NYPD kills again

-------------------------
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Jan. 31, 2002
issue of Workers World newspaper
-------------------------

NYPD KILLS AGAIN

By Imani Henry
Brooklyn, N.Y.

There is anger in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn over
the police killing of a 23-year-old Black man, Louis Geme.
On the afternoon of Jan. 16 he was shot at close range by
Sgt. Thomas Muirhead and Officer Joe Thompson. They fired a
volley of bullets near the busy front entrance of 3501
Foster Ave. in the Vanderveer Estates, barely missing
community residents who ducked for cover. Many horrified
residents had just arrived home after picking up their
children from school.

This is the first known police killing since Michael
Bloomberg was sworn in Jan. 1 as mayor. Ever since Sept. 11,
there has been an orchestrated effort to portray New York
police as national heroes, despite continued reports of
police brutality and harassment.

Within two days Police Commissioner Ray Kelly gave his nod
that the shooting was justified. The two officers were put
on "modified duty"--more a vacation than a punishment--
pending further investigation.

Workers World visited 3501 Foster Ave. one day after the
shooting. No investigation was taking place. There was no
police caution tape to seal off the area. Anyone could walk
right up and witness the large stain left by Louis Geme's
body.

Many residents of this working-class neighborhood made clear
they were furious at the police but feared reprisal. They
told Workers World that after an incident a month earlier,
in which a bicycle falling from a roof had hit a cop, police
harassment had increased.

The official story

New York Newsday on Jan. 18 alleged that after an
altercation with residents in the courtyard, Geme had forced
his way into an apartment, wrestling with a 14-year-old boy
and his grandmother. After stealing a kitchen knife and a
"hook," he then ran back out into the courtyard, where
police confronted him. They said he lunged at them with a
knife before they opened fire.

Geme was portrayed in some commercial media as a mentally
disabled person. The Jan. 17 New York Times reported that he
"had behaved erratically, scuffling with several people on
the street before forcing his way into an apartment, where
he grabbed the knife and hook."

The New York Police Department has a history of killing
mentally disabled people. In August 1999, in the Borough
Park section of Brooklyn, police responding to a noise
complaint dragged Gideon Busch, a Hasidic Jew, from his
apartment and pepper-sprayed him. When he broke away from
them and rushed down the street holding a small hammer, they
shot him to death.

In this latest police shooting, neighbors agreed there had
been an altercation in the courtyard, and said Geme was
beaten up. But some told the press they believed Geme had
been the victim of an anti-gay bashing--and was then gunned
down by police who had been called to help him.

Whether or not Geme was gay, the police have sent a clear
message to the lesbian, gay, bi and trans communities: you
can be shot and killed by the police if they are called
after a bashing.

Eyewitnesses who spoke to WW disputed the press accounts
that said Geme had a knife in his hand. They had seen only a
short wooden bat.

One woman, on her way to pick up her kids from school, was
right behind Geme when he was shot- so close that his blood
splattered on her face and she could smell the gunpowder.
She reported that he did not move towards the cops or even
speak before they fired on him.

Another eyewitness, who says more than eight bullets were
fired, watched the police comb for shells in a grassy area
nearby. A medical examiner's autopsy found that shots hit
Geme in the left forearm and left leg; the left buttock, the
left side of his lower back and the left side of his body.
Another young Black man said the police had deliberately
kept medical workers from treating Geme, only allowing them
to approach once he was dead.

Not isolated incidents

Before the tragedy of Sept. 11, the NYPD and the mayor, Rudy
Giuliani, had been on the defensive over a legacy of
violence and terror, especially against communities of
color. Amadou Diallo had been shot 41 times, supposedly
because his wallet was mistaken for a gun. Abner Louima had
been raped with a plunger in a police station.

These cases of police brutality brought about the resurgence
of a militant, multi-national movement across the city. But
after 9/11, with the so-called war on terrorism and the
bombing of Afghanistan, a new wave of right-wing,
reactionary fervor has turned racial profiling into
patriotism and Giuliani and the cops into heroes, who save
lives instead of take them.

Now the killing of Louis Geme once again exposes the real
role of the police: to serve the interests of the rich and
terrorize the communities of the poor and oppressed. While
the new city administration and media try to bury the truth
behind Louis Geme's death, community and police brutality
activists have begun their own inquiries.

[Michelle Quintus contributed to the research for this article.]

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to
copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but
changing it is not allowed. For more information contact
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] For subscription info send message to:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] Web: http://www.workers.org)






From: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> (WW)
Date: tiistai 29. tammikuu 2002 03:44
Subject: [WW]  'Dr.' Laura draws protest

-------------------------
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Jan. 31, 2002
issue of Workers World newspaper
-------------------------

'Dr.' Laura draws protest

MESSAGE TO BOOK BOSSES: HATE DOESN'T PAY!

By Bob McCubbin
San Diego

Notorious bigot Laura Schlessinger surfaced in San Diego for
a book signing on Jan. 20.

"Dr." Laura, as she calls herself, has earned the hostility
of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities
and all decent people with such assertions as, "Hear it one
more time perfectly clearly: If you're gay or a lesbian,
it's a biological error that inhibits you from relating
normally to the opposite sex."

Referring to Matthew Shephard, a gay man who was beaten to
death by bigots in Wyoming, she said publicly: "He went to
the bar. He left with two guys he thought he was going to
have sex with. He got murdered. If Matthew hadn't been
willing to leave for sex, he might still be alive."

Shortly after the announcement that Borders Books & Music
was sponsoring a book signing for Schlessinger, bookstore
employee Clayton Tschudy quit in protest. "I just cannot
work for a company where they promote hatred towards
homosexuals," he told a Gay and Lesbian Times reporter.

But Clayton was back at Borders on Jan. 20, along with a lot
of other concerned people holding signs condemning
Schlessinger's bigotry. Clayton and his boyfriend managed to
get into the store despite heavy security and confronted
Schlessinger. Before they were ejected, the two men managed
to embrace each other and kiss, to the disapproval and great
discomfort of Dr. Fraud.

Meanwhile, the demonstrators outside the store managed to
turn away many potential customers. The message to the
Borders company CEOs was loud and clear: Promoting hate
doesn't pay.

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to
copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but
changing it is not allowed. For more information contact
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] For subscription info send message to:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] Web: http://www.workers.org)






From: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> (WW)
Date: tiistai 29. tammikuu 2002 03:45
Subject: [WW]  Milwaukee steel workers protest plant shutdown

-------------------------
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Jan. 31, 2002
issue of Workers World newspaper
-------------------------

In the spirit of Dr. King

MILWAUKEE STEEL WORKERS PROTEST PLANT SHUTDOWN

By Bryan G. Pfeifer
Milwaukee

On Jan. 21, the federal holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr., the remaining members of Smith Steel Workers Local
19806 and their allies marched on the Tower Automotive plant
where they labor. They protested a threatened plant shutdown
by Tower bosses. The Steel Workers combined their current
struggle with the onslaught of job losses their working-
class sisters and brothers have endured.

Gone: 100,000 living-wage jobs in the last decade. On paper
this figure can never describe the devastation that the
working class and oppressed in the Milwaukee metropolitan
area have suffered.

"19806 is not dead. We are going to stand, we are going to
fight, we are going to unite. We can come together to send a
message to this city, state and country that people can
stand together," said Earl Ingram, a 19806 member who has
worked at Tower for almost 30 years.

Tower, which bought out A.O. Smith's steel automobile frame
division in the early 1990s, is but one example of the
decline of manufacturing here in what was once an industrial
epicenter.

At its peak in the early 1970s, A.O. Smith employed more
than 6,000 workers in plants that operated on eight city
blocks. Parking lots, lunchrooms, local establishments and
the union hall were bustling with activity.

Many of these workers were African American men who had
migrated from the South in search of better wages and
benefits. A significant number were also the sons or
grandsons of previous migrants.

Today, 750 workers remain, working in a few buildings.
Barren parking lots and abandoned buildings are now the
reality. Former Steel Workers, many with decades of
seniority, now work at non-union service-oriented jobs,
often at less than half what they made at Tower or A.O.
Smith.

Despite countless union concessions and givebacks, and
millions in tax breaks from the city and state, the Tower
bosses have continued their union-busting tactics, most
notably and ironically by using relocation to non-union or
low-wage areas in the South. As a result, families and
communities have been shattered. Their ultimate goal is to
close the Tower plant for good.

But as the Jan. 21 rally clearly illustrated, the remaining
Steel Workers aren't going down without a militant fight.

The list of plant shutdowns, relocations and massive layoffs
here is long. Familiar names like Allen Bradley, Briggs &
Stratton, Master Lock and Steel Tech are flanked by hundreds
of smaller companies that have been wiped out by the loss of
tens of thousands of living-wage union jobs.

On the same day as the Steel Workers' rally, the Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel's Business Section published an article
entitled, "Wisconsin's unions suffer worst decline in
nation." According to new data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, the unionized work force continued its steady
decline in 2001. A few of its findings were:

* 16.2 percent of the state's work force was unionized in
2001, down from 17.6 percent in 2000--the biggest percentage
point drop in the country;

* there were 35,000 fewer union workers in 2001, a 7.8
percent decrease from 2000;

* the state dropped to 15th-largest in percentage of
unionized workers, down from 10th in 2000;

* the four-county Milwaukee area had almost 6,000 fewer
factory jobs in November than last January.

The Milwaukee-based labor and community organization A Job
is a Right Campaign issued a solidarity statement for the
Steel Workers' rally that honored Dr. King's unshakable
support for working people.

Stressing that he was assassinated while supporting striking
sanitation workers in Memphis on April 4, 1968, the
statement expressed the belief that if Dr. King were alive
he would be supporting the Steel Workers and all those who
have lost their jobs. He would be helping organize the
unorganized, like W-2 recipients formerly on public
assistance and now forced to work at substandard wages. He
would be opposing the racist war that the U.S. is waging all
over the globe.

The statement concluded, "It becomes clear in listening and
reading to Dr. King's speeches that he lived and died by the
famous labor slogan, 'An injury to one is an injury to all.'
Today, as we support the Smith steelworkers, let it be known
that we, like Dr. King, believe that we are not free until
all working and oppressed people are free."

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to
copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but
changing it is not allowed. For more information contact
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] For subscription info send message to:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] Web: http://www.workers.org)






From: <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> (WW)
Date: tiistai 29. tammikuu 2002 03:47
Subject: [WW]  Danny Glover stands tall

-------------------------
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Jan. 31, 2002
issue of Workers World newspaper
-------------------------

Modesto, Calif.

GLOVER STANDS TALL

By Bill Hackwell
Modesto, Calif.

An overflowing crowd of 1,000 people crammed into the
predominately African American Christ Unity Baptist Church
here on Jan. 19 to hear well-known actor and activist Danny
Glover and to commemorate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther
King Jr.

Glover was the target of a right-wing media attack following
a speech he gave at Princeton University in which he
condemned the death penalty and military tribunals, and
defended opposition to the war.

This event--a moving display of solidarity--came after the
Modesto City Council and the Modesto Junior College had
withdrawn their invitation for Glover to speak at the eighth
annual Martin Luther King commemoration.

The multinational character of those who came out reflected
the organizing efforts done by the African American
community in Modesto and the students at MJC. Christ Unity
Baptist Church, Modesto Peace Life Center, Associated
Students of Modesto Junior College, The Nation of Islam and
others sponsoring the event.

Glover reminded the crowd that Martin Luther King had come
out against the Vietnam War and said, "If Martin Luther King
would've been alive today he would have been against the
targeting of Arab Americans and he would have joined me in
decrying the death penalty."

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to
copy and distribute verbatim copies of this document, but
changing it is not allowed. For more information contact
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011; via e-mail:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] For subscription info send message to:
[EMAIL PROTECTED] Web: http://www.workers.org)







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