Friday, January 08, 2010

BASICS LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE

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Monday, December 28, 2009

"In the face of global economic crisis, migrants have no other choice but to organize Migrante Canada, December 18, 2009"

Video of panels from International Migrants Day - OPSEU, Wellesley/Yonge, Toronto

Part 1


Parts 2-7 available on Youtube

Statement by Migrante Canada

On the Occasion of International Migrants Day - December 18, 2009

Migrante organizations in Canada join migrants around the world in celebrating International Migrants’ Day and renewing our commitment to struggle for the rights and welfare of all migrants. As the Canadian state grapples with its own economic and political crises, migrants along with the Canadian working people persevere in their resistance to attacks on their rights.

Canada is one of the major destinations of Filipino migrants. It is also one of the countries with the worst track record in terms of labour and immigration policies. Labour and immigration rights especially those of migrants have been eroded and continue to be eroded. This year alone was marked by a series of US-style immigration raids, deportation of the undocumented and the sick, curtailment of migrants’ rights to organize through their anti migrant labour policies. Canada continues to do this while expanding its Temporary Foreign Workers Program, one that is designed to import cheap foreign labour without protection and without access to permanent residency.



The Philippine government, on the other hand, claims with pride that deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2008 increased by 14% from the previous year – what with the incessant and vigorous marketing efforts of its personnel abroad. It has also been very active in forging bilateral labour agreements to ensure the smooth outflow and bigger deployment of Filipino migrants. The Arroyo regime sent over a million workers abroad in the past year. Rather than addressing the root causes of poverty at home, this ruling clique like its predecessors would rather export Filipinos abroad.

Sending and receiving countries will continue to peddle “free market” globalization and force those conditions on the sending countries that will push workers to migrate, submit to even lower wages and acquiesce to even the most oppressive conditions. Gatherings backed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) will continue to become a tool of imperialist globalization to rationalize the systematic commodification of migrants.

There is no better response to such attacks on migrants’ rights and welfare than organized action. Filipino migrants in Canada recently scored victories but only after a persistent and still continuing campaign to win changes to the Live-In Caregiver Program. On Saturday, December 12, 2009, the Canadian Government announced that it would adopt the Juana Tejada Law, calling for the elimination of the required medical examination for live-in caregivers applying for permanent residence.

Still Migrante Canada as one of the organizations at the helm of this struggle must continue to strengthen and expand its ranks. With organizations in BC, Alberta, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, it must persist in building a strong countrywide alliance, unite with migrants of other nationalities and engage in solidarity with the Canadian working people if it is to carry such initial hard-won gains forward. Only through the strengthening of the grassroots migrants’ movement will the struggle for the rights and well being of migrant workers advance.


For reference:
Marco Luciano - 647.205.5908 migrantecanada@gmail.com migrante.ca

Monday, December 14, 2009

The FBI Assassination of Detroit Imam and community leader Luqman Ameen Abdullah

by Steve da Silva – Reporting from Detroit
Click here to listen to December 14 RADIO BASICS for a special feature on Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, and hear what Detroit community leaders are saying about his assassination.

On October 28, 2009, the 53-year-old Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the Imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq in Detroit, was shot 18-times by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and left for dead.

The FBI launched its attack on Imam Luqman after it had built up a formal criminal complaint against him using the statements provided by paid infiltrators of the mosque – who were themselves known criminals. But these documents contained neither charges of terrorism nor violations of federal law.

What the official 42-page indictment document did indicate, however, was that one FBI sources had tried to enlist Abdullah in a plan to attack the 2006 Superbowl in Detroit. Abdullah rejected the proposal by what he thought was a fellow member of the mosque (really an FBI agent) saying that he would play no part in hurting innocent people.

The charges listed in the criminal complaint were all constitutional rights of American citizens. Imam Abdullah was charged with possessing guns (which half of Americans own) and with preaching separatism (which is not only a matter of his freedom of speech, but has been a political position held by countless popular black, indigenous, Chicano, and Puerto Rican individuals and organizations in the face of systemic racism, barbarism, and exploitation in the U.S.).

According to the indictment document, built up from statements provided by the FBI infiltrators, Imam Abdullah had told his followers that if the police ever tried to take his weapon – again, a constitutional right – or tried to apprehend him, he would resist. With that information in hand, the FBI had the information they needed to construct a scenario where they Abdullah could be killed.

The FBI set up a warehouse of stolen goods, lured Imam Abdullah in through one of the infiltrators, and orchestrated a scenario were Abdullah would not come out alive. All that has been told to the public at this time is that Abdullah shot an FBI dog (which, if this is true, was most likely in self-defense after the animal attacked him. In response, we are told, Abdullah was shot 18 times and left to die while the dog was flown away by medical helicopter. Another telling detail is that Abdullah was handcuffed at some point throughout the affair – either before being shot 18 times, or after.

Representatives of the U.S. Attorney General’s office have confirmed that Imam Abdullah never fired on the federal agents.

As the National Lawyers Guild wrote on Novemebr 2: “By publicizing the killing and arrests as related to terrorism, absent any such allegations in the complaint, the FBI seems to be engaging in the same tactics used in its Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) [widely used in the 1960s and ‘70s] in which it spied on, infiltrated and disrupted political movements. Imam Abdullah had a close relationship with Imam Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, was a field organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later served as national chairman of the Black Panther Party (BPP).”

Director of the Masjid Al-Islam in Washington, D.C. told Press TV: “What the government is doing by assassinating Imam Luqman is trying to intimidate the Muslim community, especially the black community. And I say that because the immigrant community, which is about half of the Muslims in the United States and the African American Muslim community, which form the other half, have different views about Islam in America and how it should be fostered.”

“The immigrant community has been frightened since the 9/11 terrorist attack and they practice the kind of American-style Islam. Now, the killing of Imam Luqman is to intimidate us [African Americans]. But our message is different. We will not be intimidated by the United States government or by the FBI.”

Indeed, communities have not been intimidated by assassination, evidenced by the more than 1000 people in attendance at the Imam’s funeral on October 31, 2009, and the multiple demonstrations and events that have since been held.

Omar Regan, a son of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, greets friends
and family members at the funeral for his father on October 31, 2009.


Many organizations are calling for an independent investigation into the killing, which usually consists of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department to see if their were violations of federal law. Given the FBI is under the Justice Department – a Department that persistently targets Muslims and black community leaders on trumped-up charges – it would be na├»ve to the extreme to think that such an investigation could be independent.

A rally was held outside the federal building on November 5, 2009
to protest the assassination of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah of the Masjid Al-Haqq
.

Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor of the Pan-African News Wire, as well as the Detroit-based MECAWI (Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice), are calling for a truly indepdenent people’s commission on inquiry that would issue a report and demand sanctions and criminal charges against those involved in the shooting and in ordering the operation.

The only crime that Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah has committed in the eyes of the U.S. government is in being a strong and inspiring community leader and organizer, like countless black leaders and vocal opponents of the U.S. government have been gunned down by the U.S. government for precisely the same reason.

Currently, at least thirteen other individuals have been arrested and charged because of their association with Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah and his mosque, including his son Mujahid Carswell, ten other members of the Masjid AL-Haqq, and two Canadians from Windsor. Although the mainstream media has painted their arrests and charges with the same “counter-terrorism” brush used to legitimize Imam Abdullah’s assassination, no terrorism-related have been laid on any of the other individuals.

More resources on the case available on the Pan-African News Wire.

"MU TODAY, YOU TOMORROW": Artists Rally to the Defense of Mujahid Carswell, the son of FBI-Assassinated Imam

by Steve da Silva - Reporting from Detroit

Mujahid Carswell (right) and brother Jamil, sons of the assassinated Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, rapping at ‘Mu Today, You Tomorrow’ Benefit Concert.

On December 10, 2009, the downtown Detroit venue The Shelter hosted the ‘Mu Today, You Tomorrow’ Benefit Concert to raise funds for the legal defense of Mujahid Carswell – the son of the FBI-assassinated Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah (see BASICS coverage on this issue).

Over 25 artists and speakers rocked the mic that night, including Professor Griff of Public Enemy – the legendary Long Island hip-hop group founded in 1982. Undoubtedly one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time, in 2004 Rolling Stone magazine ranked Public Enemy as 44 out of the 100 “Immortals: The Greatest Artists of All Time.”

The crowd was also graced with revolutionary poetry of living legend Umar Bin Hassan – a founding member of The Last Poets, the group of poets and musicians founded in 1968 whose rhythms and raps have been credited with laying the foundation for the emergence of hip-hop.

Detroit rappers Invincible and Finale also threw down, along with a spoken intervention by Minister Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party. An incredible performance and some words were also provided by the assassinated Iman’s sons Mujahid Carswell and his brother Jamil. ‘Mu’ showed the crowd the ankle bracelet he was forced to wear since his release and had to leave the show early to make his curfew.



The large crowd and jam-packed bill of performers and speakers demonstrated that the people of Detroit haven’t being duped by the “counter-terrorism” lies propagated by the FBI and the monopoly media, which have served to justify the assassination of a community leader and the legal targeting of twelve other individuals associated with his mosque, including Mu Carswell, ten other members of the Masjid Al-Haqq in Detroit, and two Canadians from Windsor. Speakers and artists made no mistake in identifying the killing of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah as targeted assassination by the FBI, another black leader killed in the long list of state-sponsored assassinations conducted under the auspices of the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

Community organizations in Detroit are now fighting for a genuinely independent People’s Commission of Inquiry to bring to light details of the assassination.

Local MC Verse assaulted by Toronto police

by Mike Brito

On December 6, Toronto police in the downtown entertainment district assaulted Toronto-area hip-hop artist and youth worker, Verse.

The incident began when police decided to intervene in a discussion between the MC and a taxi driver. Verse was struck at least once, before being thrown to the ground and repeatedly punched. Verse sustained injuries that included bruising and swelling on his face and head, after which he was arrested and taken to 52 Division. He was detained throughout the night, for more than 8 hours and was eventually released with no charges.

Incidents such as this one are far too common in our city, as at least 6 Toronto Police have been charged with assault this year. This past October two Toronto Police Constables, Edward Ing and John Cruz were charged with the assault causing bodily harm after Richard Moore, a 58-year-old man was hospitalized. Const. Allan Racette was charged with assault, while Const. Boris Petkovic was charged with aggravated assault and for discharging his weapon. Const. Ricardo Gomez was also charged with assault, as was Const. Jason Goss who is alleged to have assaulted a man during an arrest in the Lansdowne and Bloor area. But for every case of an officer being charged with assault, there are countless cases where the police get away with their crimes. Frequently enough, the victims are themselves charged “assaulting a police officer” or “resisting arrest” after getting a beat down by the boys in blue.

This past October 2009, The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) was opened. On their website they describe their office as an “arms-length” agency of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General whose goal is to provide an objective office to deal with “public complaints against Ontario’s police”. Folks can make complaints against the police online on their website: www.oiprd.on.ca. According to critics, this new agency does little to protect the interests of the people making a complaint, and only forwards the concerns to the police agency in question. Until we have genuine civilian oversight of the police and community control over police policy, there will be little we can do defend against the day-to-day police abuse in our city.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Party for the People: A Fundraiser for BASICS

Join us to celebrate and support one of the few people's newspapers in Toronto - BASICS Free Community Newsletter: http://basicsnewsletter.blogspot.com/.

More than just a newspaper, BASICS is an organizing tool for the multiple struggles unfolding in our society -
the struggles for decent housing, for a livable wage, to bring police brutality to a halt, and more.



Party for the People
Saturday, December 19: 9pm-3am
7 Edgedale Rd. (west of Parliament, south of Bloor)

The party will feature live bands, with DJs and hip-hop. Performances will include:

Archerfish Band
http://www.myspace.com/archerfishband
and

some of TO's finest in revolutionary underground hip-hop:

Ali the Son of Abdul

Hobo Banditos

Unknown Mizery

Black
all of whom you can find at
peeptherevolution.com

&
Wasun

Cover: $5 b4 11pm / $10 after!

Party goes late - but live show starts at 10pm.

It's a house party - a large house party - but space is limited, so arrive early!
Drinks: $5.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Fred Hampton: The Canadian Connection

BASICS ONLINE
By Norman (Otis) Richmond


Shortly before his assassination Fred Hampton prophetically pointed
out, "I believe I'm going to die doing the things I was born to do. I
believe I'm going to die high off the people. I believe I'm going to
die a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletarian
struggle."

December 4th 2009 marks the 40th Anniversary of the assassinations of
Fred Hampton; the Chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black
Panther Party and Mark Clark of the Peoria Ill. Chapter.
Unfortunately, Hampton's predication came true.

The story of the murders of Hampton and Clark can be found in a new
volume "The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago
Police Murdered a Black Panther", by Jeffrey Haas. This work is
published by Lawrence Hill Books and is available at A Different Book
List, Knowledge and your better book stores.

Hampton had made one of his last speeches in Regina, Sask. only a week
earlier. This was Hampton only visit outside the United States. He
came to the University of Regina and spoke to students and the labour
movement. Ironically, El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) made only
one visit to Canada. He did an interview with the CBC and visited the
home of Austin and Betty Clarke on Asquith Street.

Hampton said he came to Canada to garner support for Chairman Bobby
Seale. He also was quoted in an interview saying, "I think also that
we'll see a lot more repression here in Canada. I think that with a
lot more people waking up, there'll be more repression -- of Indians
and of all progressive forces in Canada."

This quote is from the Prairie Fire, Regina, Sask., a progressive
Regina weekly newspaper that was printed from 1969 until 1971. The
Praire Fire devoted a great deal of ink to Hampton.  The Nov. 25-Dec.
2 , 1969 issue ran an editorial about how Hampton and two other BPP
members were harassed by Canadian Immigration officials, discussed in
the House of Commons and severely attacked by the Leader Post , a
Regina daily on its editorial page. In the same issue of the Praire
Fire an article, "Panthers Outline Program" an exclusive was granted
to the publication.

DON'T MOURN - ORGANIZE! , a quote from the great Joe Hill a leader of
the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), also known as the Wobblies)
jumped   out at you from the pages of P Fire. The editorial ended with
this quote, "Chairman Fred Hampton's name now joins the list of the
many people who have died in fighting for the rights of their people.

The last article, "In Memory Of Fred Hampton" discussed a memorial
torchlight parade for Hampton. The story ended with a powerful quote
from Labour, "George Smith, president of the Regina Labour Council,
expressed his solidarity with the Panthers, especially their efforts
to put socialism into practice with hot breakfast programs and free
medical clinics.

"He said many people in Canada and U.S. are left to die slow deaths by
malnutrition and poverty, and that these deaths are just as much the
result of our social system as deaths by gunfire which Blacks and
Indians meet every day."

"Many more will die before the fight is won, but the struggle for a
more progressive social system will continue".

Ten years ago the African Liberation Month Coalition and CKLN-FM 88.1
FM organized a screening of the 1971 film "The Murder of Fred Hampton"
at the Bloor Cinema. The inspiration came from Barry Lipton who made a
tape of Hampton's last speech available to me. The tape was played on
CKLN.

Lipton was one of the organizers of the Sask. event. Carm, Paul and
their father Corrado made the Bloor Cinema available to us for more
than a reasonable price which solved the venue question. Liam Lacey an
old friend of mine did a half a page article on the film in the Globe
and Mail. This did nothing by help us fill the place. Njeri supplied
the film and we were in business.

It was Hampton who put forth the concept of the Rainbow Coalition
first. The concept was later picked up and popularized by Jesse
Jackson. Akua Njeri pointed out in her book, "My Life With The Black
Panther Party", "Fred Hampton was the originator of the concept of the
Rainbow Coalition. He was the first person to come up with that
concept in 1969. That was an effort to educate and politicize other
poor and oppressed people throughout this world. He worked with and
attempted to politicize the young patriots organization, which was a
group of Appalachian whites in the near north area of Chicago,
politicizing them and organizing them to recognize the leadership of
the black revolution, the vanguard party, the Black Panther Party, and
to work in their communities against this huge monster we had to deal
with, which is racism."

Hampton continues to inspire singers, players of instruments and hip
hop artists. Ernest  Dawkins recorded "A Black Op'era" dedicated to
Chairman Fred Hampton live in Paris on January 13, 2006.  The CD was
written as a fig leaf of healing Akua Njeri, Fred Hampton, Jr., the
family, friends and comrades of Chairman Fred Hampton. Njeri and
Hampton Jr. were honoured guests at the Sons d'hiver festival when
this piece was recorded. Hampton is sampled heavy by dead prez on
their debut CD, "Let's Get Free". M1 and stick man are currently
working with Fred Hampton Jr.

Hampton once opined , "If you're afraid of socialism you are afraid of
yourself".  The vision of Hampton and Clark and the progressive forces
around the world are alive and well in Latin America.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

VIDEO LINK: BASICS, J4A, NO COPS - A Public Forum on Oppression, Popular Education, and Community Organization

BASICS, Justice for Alwy, and NO COPS speak at a Public Forum held by the Equity Studies Students Union of the University of Toronto, Monday, November 23, 2009.













Monday, November 30, 2009

NEWLY RELEASED SRO REPORT GETS FAILING GRADE


A Public Statement by NO COPS (Neighbourhood Organizing Coalition Against Police in Schools)

Toronto Police Services’ own report on the School Resource Officer program shows that the program has had no positive impact toward any of its claimed goals.

Toronto – November 25, 2009: The Neighbourhood Organized Coalition Opposed to Police in Schools (NOCOPS) questions whether the Toronto Police Services (TPS) misinterpreted or misrepresented the data from the 2008/2009 School Resource Officer (SRO)Program Evaluation Report. NOCOPS is a coalition of concerned parents, students, teachers and community members who have been monitoring the SRO program since its implementation in September, 2007

“If this report had been written by a student, it would definitely not pass as it draws conclusions contrary to its own data” said NOCOPS member and teacher James Campbell.

The Evaluation Report was released to the public on November 18, 2009 with claims that the data suggests the SRO program has been “beneficial to crime prevention, crime reporting and relationship building in schools and surrounding neighbourhoods.”

Yet an unbiased review of the data reveals that the report has had zero impact on student perception of safety and zero impact on student willingness to report crimes.

To quote from the report itself, “overall student perception of safety in their school and in the neighbourhood surrounding the school did not improve”. In fact, there was no increase in feelings that the SRO made the school safer even for students who had talked to the SRO informally or about a problem they were having. Perhaps of greatest concern is that the report confirms that many students feel less safe with SROs in the schools, as those students “who thought [the program] was a bad idea were more likely to say they did not feel safe (18%)”.

The data also shows that overall the presence of an SRO did not change students’ willingness to report being a victim or a witness to a crime.

The report also provides no credible data that the SRO program made any impact on reducing crime in or around school grounds. For this part of the report the TPS compared total number of offences and victimization from the 2007-2008 school year and the 2008-2009 school year – both on school grounds and within 200 meters of school grounds over all times of the day and concluded that “offences and victimization generally decreased in 2008/2009 compared to the previous school year”.

However, there were serious reliability problems with different aspects of how this crime data was analyzed. The study did not use any control (that is, collecting and comparing similar crime data from schools that did not have an SRO) or factor in overall reduction in crime statistics in the 2008/2009 school year compared to the 2007/2008 school year.

In addition, some of the data for this portion of the study was too small to have any statistical relevance. For example, data for incidence of victimization on school grounds during school hours compared only 2 incidents in 2007/2008 to zero incidents in 2008/2009 in a single school, generating an impressive (but statistically meaningless) 100% decrease in victimization.

Further, when comparing crime in SRO schools at the beginning of the program and at the end of the program, the report says that “When the geographical area for reported victimizations was expanded to 200 meters around the school, however, there were fewer victims over all hours and outside of school hours, but there were more victims during school hours.”[Emphasis added] The data suggests that the presence of SROs inside these schools has only served to displace victimization incidents off of school property.

NOCOPS community member Alok Premjee emphasized that “The survey methodology for the evaluation is seriously suspect and would not come close to meeting the basic requirements of any government funded program analysis, let alone be considered adequate justification for a program that costs over 5 million dollars per year to run. Among other things, there was no opportunity for students to respond if they had been negatively impacted by the SRO. The troubling arrest of a student at Northern Secondary is only one highly publicized event among numerous incidences we have documented where students have felt violated or targeted by the SRO at their school”.

The TPS misrepresentation of the results from this study is no surprise since the TPS not only initiated the program, but also developed the surveys, analyzed the data and wrote the report. There has been no independent evaluation with absolutely zero independent input anywhere. Even the most highly touted piece of data (suggesting an 11% increase in the proportion of students who felt the relationship between police and students was good or excellent) is inconsequential since the proportion of students who felt the relationship was poor or fair showed no significant change. Essentially, students who already felt comfortable with the police and liked the program and students who did not feel comfortable with the police and felt the SRO program was a bad idea felt exactly the same way a year later.

As stated by NOCOPS member and parent Niraj Joshi “it is particularly troubling that the TPS is using the study to recommend additional investment of precious funds and institutional resources in this failed program. We should not be wasting taxpayer money on the universally unproven and yet costly experiment of the SRO program. Instead, the TDSB and the province must allocate these provincial funds toward immediately implementing the recommendations put forward from two independent community consultations (the Falconer Report on School Safety and the Curling-McMurtry Report on the Roots of Youth Violence) for both engaging youth and making our schools safer”.

For More Information Contact:

Alok Premjee Luis Granados Ceja

647-887-7857 416-417-0931

alok.p@hotmail.com granados.ceja@gmail.com