#OccupyICE_PHL

36543820_2139656582715522_4357871288232968192_n

If We Don’t Get It! Shut It Down!

On the evening of July 2, 2018 the Center City ICE office at 8th and Cherry was shut down by – a coalition of a Occupy ICE PHL dozen left and progressive organizations, as well as myriad unaffiliated activists. Members of Socialist Alternative were on the ground from the initial planning discussions to the final arrests. Though representing a wide range of political tendencies, these activists were able to find sufficient common ground – politically and literally – to occupy a patch of concrete and asphalt outside the Philadelphia ICE Office for 4 days around demands to abolish ICE, close the Berks detention facility and end PARS data sharing.

In less than a week, Occupy ICE PHL changed the conversation throughout the entire city. Under pressure from the protests the Mayor’s office has agreed to meet with Juntos, New Sanctuary, and other Organizations later this week. The movement has pushed Mayor Kenney into a corner, exposing the shallowness of his claims that Philadelphia is a “sanctuary city”. As a progressive Democrat, Kenney enjoys the glow of dressing himself up as “the resistance” to the Trump presidency. Yet he signed off on a contract with ICE, granting access to the city’s legal database, known as PARS, and effectively assisting ICE to deport and detain immigrants in Philadelphia.

Since the final clearing of the occupation at 8th and Cherry by Police on July 5th, a second occupation was established at City Hall, and the original coalition has broadened to include activists attracted during the course of the protests. This coalition continues to meet to plan next steps and an escalating series of actions. Join us to discuss next steps for the movement!

Open Planning Meeting: Tuesday July 10th 6:30 – 9pm

Friends Center 1501 Cherry St

If you can’t come to the meeting but are interested in getting involved drop by the occupation at City Hall and let us know!

  • You can also call the Mayors office and tell him that you support the demand to end all cooperation with ICE. Call 215-686-2181
  • What to say: Hello, my name is ________  and I am calling on the city to end all cooperation with ICE. Specifically I support the demand that Philadelphia end its PARS data sharing contract. The city government’s relationship with ICE is unacceptable and I cannot support it.
  • Sign this Petition to end PARS

Occupy ICE PHL is an impressive uniting of the Philly Left, but to be truly powerful, this movement must reach out and engage the vast majority of working class people and their organizations without compromising on demands or politics. We want our elected officials in City Council and the Mayor’s office to make clear where they stand. Among the forces we need to mobilize are the unions, churches, and progressive community organizations. This means forcing the democratic establishment to make good on the promise of being a sanctuary city, even if it means dragging them kicking and screaming to fulfill the demands of this campaign.

A real sanctuary city would be one where all people, regardless of legal status, could access affordable housing, living wage jobs, quality public education, professional day care and excellent health care. To get there, we need real “resistance”— action which unapologetically disrupts business as usual built on the foundation of mass working class movements and effectively impedes Trump’s brutal immigration policy and deportation tactics.

  • Stop the Deportations: Abolish ICE

  • End Family Detention: Close Berks Detention Center

  • No Cooperation with ICE in Philly: End Philly’s PARS data sharing contract

Make Philly a Real Sanctuary City for the Working Class!

Sign Up To Get Involved!

#abolishICE
#ShutDownBerks
#EndPARS
#EndFamilyDetention
#ExpandSanctuary
#Juntos

Advertisements

Yo Larry! Drop All Charges Against ReeAnna Segin!

Socialist Alternative Philadelphia stands in solidarity with Philly Socialists in demanding that the DA’s office drop all charges against ReeAnna Segin.

At Philadelphia’s Pride parade on Sunday June 10th, a trans woman and Philly Socialists member named ReeAnna Segin was arrested at 12th and Locust for allegedly attempting to light a Blue Lives Matter flag on fire. She was held overnight in a men’s prison before being released on bail. Felony charges against Segin have since been dropped by the DA’s office, but misdemeanor charges remain.

Despite US courts establishing in 1989 that flag burning is legally protected free speech, there is a longstanding pattern of law enforcement using criminal and civil ordinances to arrest, detain, and otherwise intimidate and harass people exercising this right. DA Larry Krasner ran on a platform of not only ending mass incarceration but also declining to prosecute cases that are “insignificant” or that lack sufficient evidence. This week, Krasner used the events at Pride to pull himself some good press when he dropped felony charges against ReeAnna. The real truth of the matter is that they still face time in court, fees, and possible jail time – all of which demonstrates that Krasner is absolutely not living up to his campaign promises. We demand that Krasner drop ALL charges against ReeAnna.

We support ReeAnna  and are sympathetic to her cause. Her brutal treatment by Philly police is unacceptable, as is the fact that her message has, only days after the event, become essentially invisible in mainstream news outlets. In light of these issues and others, we continue to call for tactical and strategic discussions about organizing well-defended protests and non-violent direct actions. These are essential to communicating our messages widely and winning real concessions from the establishment. Socialist Alternative has consistently argued for well-organized, disciplined non-violent mass action that disrupts the status quo – with democratic accountable planning that can put forward clear messaging and demands to get the broadest support possible.

Do Cops Make Pride ‘Safe’?

The establishment is attempting to win their case in the court of public opinion by arguing that that ReeAnna’s actions ‘were endangering others’. The PPD has plenty of resources at hand for de-escalating and diffusing situations on the street, but instead responded by brutally tackling, detaining, and arresting a woman attempting to exercise her right to free speech. The ‘official’ role of the cops at Pride – and other similar events – is to provide public safety, street closures, and ‘crowd control.’  It is obvious that the PPD is far from filling their stated mission to ‘protect and serve’ the people of Philadelphia. Like the recent incident at Starbucks it is clear that the first response of the PPD is still too often lethal violence, arrests and hard felony charges to ‘solve the problem.’

The organized violence used against ReeAnna needs to be seen in the larger context of the Philly PD’s long history of corruption scandals, including outright theft of drugs & money, wrongful arrest, murder, prostitution, and lying on the witness stand to help convict and imprison innocent working class people. People of color and other marginalized and oppressed communities bear the brunt of this ‘police protection.’ All this is in addition to the large annual number of ‘officer-involved shootings’, many of which result in the deaths of young black men. We understand that our community’s relationship with the police is complicated: theft, violent crime, and public safety are real issues in working class neighborhoods across the city. DA Krasner pledged in his election campaign to prosecute ‘bad cops,’ but we need to make this concrete. We need a democratically accountable civilian police review board with full authority to discipline and fire racist, sexist, transphobic, corrupt and violent police officers.

What kind of Pride do we want?

This incident begs the question of what the relationship of the organizers of Philly Pride is to the political establishment, and what kind of Pride we want. The roots of the Pride movement are not in sterilized celebrations, or miles of corporate floats distributing t-shirts. The Pride movement began with trans women of color literally putting their bodies on the line when police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City. To this day, trans women and people of color are among the most vulnerable when it comes to treatment by cops and the criminal “justice” system. The organizers’ reliance on the police to provide security and crowd control for Pride celebrations in Philadelphia means that those same people who inspired the Pride movement 40 years ago now cannot safely attend the very event that is supposed to raise them up and celebrate them. The fact that a young woman’s journey to Pride ended up with her being incarcerated for 24 hours in a men’s prison shows how much work we have left to do.

Forward Not Backwards!

In the face of Trump’s reactionary administration, attacks on LGBTQ and other marginalized communities are escalating both in terms of direct physical violence and in terms of access to basic human rights such as healthcare and housing. The Philly LGBTQ community has certainly earned the right to celebrate out and proud in the streets, but while the establishment and organizers seem to want Pride to be apolitical, the LGBTQ community still desperately needs space and opportunity to organize and resist.

The organizers of Philly Pride need to find ways to keep the community safe that do not involve fleets of cops. We do not want a police presence at Pride, but we recognize that developing a structure in which the community is able to provide its own marshalls and other safety staff is no small task. The organizers of Pride would do well by convening an open meeting in which all interested community members are welcome to discuss the way forward. These decisions should be made with the democratic participation of working people in the LGBTQ community, paying special attention to those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk in the presence of the police.

We have no desire to “take Pride back to Stonewall,” we have all come too far, but the radical roots of Pride show the way forward. We need an approach to LGBTQ liberation based not in scattered individual actions, but in struggle and mass movements that are prepared to harness our collective power by using rallies, marches, strikes, and non-violent civil disobedience.

  • DA Krasner Immediately Drop All Charges Against ReeAnna Segin!
  • Philly Pride organizers should rapidly convene an open community meeting to democratically discuss the issues raised by this incident
  • The Mayor’s Office and DA’s office transparently develop clear procedures and protocols that direct the PPD on how to treat LGBTQ  people in the criminal ‘justice’ system with respect and dignity
  • Retrain all Philly police officers in non-violent de-escalation tactics
  • For a democratically accountable civilian police review board with full authority to discipline and fire racist, sexist, transphobic, corrupt and violent police officers.

#Justice4ReeAnna

Mayor Kenney – It’s Time To Confront Racist Cops

  • Prosecute Killer Cops
  • End Stop and Frisk Now
  • Real Community Control Of The Police

The white supremacist demonstrations and the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville have laid bare what people of color in Philadelphia already know: working people – and specifically Black and Brown people – face systemic violence on a daily basis in the United States.

From open police aggression in the street, to the structural defunding of urban public schools districts, to deportations in immigrant communities, to slave labor in prisons and hyper-low wages in the service sector, working class people in America struggle to survive. Overt racism and the resurgence of white supremacist organizing is not confined to the South. And racism itself isn’t confined to the KKK and the politicians like Donald Trump who directly abet them.

Structural racism is built into our society’s laws and the political actions of our elected officials at every level. Therefore, when we fight white supremacy, we must bring the fight home to Philadelphia. Our struggle must place demands on people like Mayor Jim Kenney, Police Commissioner Richard Ross and District Attorney Kelly Hodge. And as workers, activists, unions and faith-based organizations, we must build the mass movements in the streets to press these elected officials to change the PPD without delay.

Just this summer, we have lost two Black brothers to police violence here in Philadelphia. On August 11th, three police officers shot and killed handicapped man Tyreas Carlyle in North Philly in front of his grandmother. On June 8th, Officer Ryan Pownall murdered David Jones in Juniata as Jones fled. Pownall has a track record of reckless behavior. Seven years before murdering David Jones, Pownall paralyzed Black Philadelphian Carnell Williams-Carney by shooting him in the back. In another recent case, there  is a pending federal lawsuit against Officer Pownall for use of excessive force and unlawful arrest for his actions during a routine traffic stop in Philly in 2014. Pownall is still on the PPD payroll. He has not been terminated from his job, let alone tried for murder.

In the midst of this police violence, Mayor Kenney has called Philly “diverse and inclusive.” Democratic City Councilwoman Helen Gym has endorsed the removal of the infamous Frank Rizzo statue. More politicians will join her.  Socialist Alternative supports the removal of overt symbols of white supremacy, but words and symbols are just the beginning.

Philadelphians urgently need concrete, immediate reforms in the PPD to ease beatings, harassment and killings at the hands of police in our neighborhoods.

With the combined efforts of the labor movement, faith-based organizations, community  organizations, the families of victims of police brutality, socialists and other left forces, we can shut down the white supremacist right, and we can win justice for David Jones and Tyreas Carlyle. We can stop the PPD’s systemic violence against working people, poor, and specifically black and brown people. We can build a broad multi-racial, multi-gendered, working-class movement to fight for racial justice, a 15/hour minimum wage, decent housing, school funding, and all the economic and social issues challenging Philly’s working class communities.

Join Socialist Alternative and Sign the petition

HERE

to Mayor Kenney, Commissioner Ross, and Interim District Attorney Hodge to demand that they:       

  • Prosecute Killer Cops –  The State Attorney General and District Attorney must move forward as quickly as possible with a transparent independent investigation into the murders of David Jones and Tyreas Carlyle, who was handicapped. We demand the prosecution of Police Officer Ryan Pownall, holding him accountable for his actions on June 8th and other documented misconduct on the job. We demand the prosecution of all 3 police officers who killed Tyreas Carlyle: Officer Anthony Carapucci, Officer Jason Keen, and Officer Christopher Rycek
  • End Stop and Frisk Now-  ‘Stop and Frisk’ is a racist police policy Mayor Kenney and Police Commissioner Ross can end today. Stop and Frisk means police can search anyone at any time for any reason. The policy leaves communities of color exposed to the racial biases of individual police officers. Mayor Kenney ran on eliminating the practice upon his election, and it’s far past time for him to act.
  • Institute Real Community Control Of The Police- Give the Police Advisory Commission real authority to investigate, discipline and fire racist and corrupt police officers. Philadelphia needs an accountable, democratically elected community oversight board with full powers over the police.

#Justice4DJ #Justice4Tyreas