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After a wild but empowering week of demonstrations in Pittsburgh, here’s a short media recap of some of the highlights. [alex]
Great short news video on why the protesters were in Pittsburgh.
Exposes the police repression felt by the whole city last week, not just protesters.
The successes of mass protest.
Finally, see this audio report from Free Speech Radio News for more context.
Organizers from Philly will be traveling across PA ahead of the G20 summit in Pittsburgh next week to meet with grassroots movements and strengthen statewide social change networks. This is being called the People’s Caravan. There are still spots available, so please RSVP if you’d like to join the caravan! – alex
Pennsylvania, along with the rest of the world, is in crisis. Many people do not have access to decent housing, education, healthcare, jobs, healthy food, transportation and communication. While we are told that there are not resources to provide for our basic needs, bankers and the ultra-rich get trillions of dollars in bail-out funding, and our services are cut and costly wars are waged. From pools, libraries and health centers in urban areas closing, to factory lay-offs and families losing their farms, Pennsylvanians are feeling the impact of an economic and political system that has placed profit over people. We will not pay for their crisis!
In the coal mines, steel mills, textile mills, family farms and in the front seats of rigs, poor and working Pennsylvanians built this state. As one industry after another has collapsed in Pennsylvania, we’ve become poorer. Our economic crisis didn’t start in 2007. Now, all across the state, local governments and business people are spending our taxpayers’ money on developments that benefit developers and not the communities that paid for it. Meanwhile, our population has been in decline for generations because too many of our young people see no future in our state, and need to look for jobs elsewhere.
What is the G-20?
The G-20 summit is a gathering of financial ministers and heads of states of the 20 richest countries in the world. They are meeting in Pittsburgh, September 24-25 to advance their agenda: cutting essential social services; privatizing schools, healthcare, and social security, promoting “free-trade,” which cuts labor and environmental standards across the globe and places corporate profit above human needs. They are meeting to rebuild the world’s economies- in a way that keeps them on top.
Pittsburgh’s history of economic decline is why it was chosen to host the G-20. It will be promoted as an example of how to rebuild an economy. They’ve done this by bringing in companies that provide low wage jobs while reaping large profit and rebuilding the region with little thought to community benefit. This is unfortunately a familiar story to not just Pennsylvania, but much of the country.
We want to take this opportunity to focus on Pennsylvania, and strengthen our statewide networks. We want to meet up with people who are organizing locally for their dignity and a better Pennsylvania. Whether you are working for better wages, organizing for childcare, demanding healthcare, fighting pollution, struggling to keep your home and put food on the table or to keep your family’s farm; we all have an interest in making our voices heard and working together to advance an agenda for economic human rights.
We will be taking our own vehicles, carpooling and splitting the travel costs. The caravan will depart Philadelphia on Monday morning, September 21, stopping in Lancaster, traveling to York for the afternoon, and then spend the evening in Harrisburg. On Tuesday, September 22, we will rally at the state capitol, make a stop in Altoona, and arrive in Pittsburgh for the G-20 summit.
This is a perfect time to make connections between our struggles and communities so that we can break our isolation and work together. We want you to invite your neighbors, church, family, school, VFW chapter, and your community organizations to join us on this caravan. While we bring stories of our struggles in Philadelphia, we want to learn from people struggling throughout the rest of Pennsylvania.
Contact us if you are interested in organizing a local event along the route that can benefit your work, joining or supporting the caravan. We need RSVP’s, and we can tell you about costs, ride information and answer any other questions.
An arson expert hired by the Texas Forensic Science Commission has issued a report that says there was no basis for a conclusion that arson caused the 1991 fire. He said the blaze that killed the three children may have been accidentally set.
“I have been persecuted 12 years for something I didn’t do,” were Willingham’s last words.
His case epitomizes why capital punishment must end. Even if it happens only once, that’s too often when the result might be the execution of an innocent person.
Davis received a last-minute reprieve last month, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered his case reheard to consider new evidence that might clear him. It was the first time in half a century that the high court took such a step.
“The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing,” said Justice John Paul Stevens in the majority opinion.
Until the Supreme Court’s ruling, lower federal and state courts had repeatedly denied Davis’ appeal for a new trial.
Georgia prosecutors maintain they convicted the right person. But they have presented neither physical evidence nor a weapon linking Davis to the crime. And seven of the nine witnesses who testified that Davis was the killer have since either recanted or changed their stories.
Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are among those who have called for clemency for Davis.
States such as Pennsylvania, which remain committed to the death penalty, should take note.
Davis’ and Willingham’s cases again raise strong questions about capital punishment and whether it can ever be fairly administered, especially when the defendant is poor or a minority, like Davis, and statistically more likely to get a death sentence.
Two men sent to Pennsylvania’s death row were later exonerated. The risk of a wrongful execution is simply too great to continue with capital punishment.