March 2016 Archives


This Friday: 5pm April 1st at UC Berkeley Haas Pavilion 

"From the crime bill to welfare reform, policies Bill Clinton enacted--and Hillary Clinton supported--decimated black America." - Michelle Alexander, The Nation, February 10th.

On April 1st former US President Bill Clinton is speaking at UC Berkeley during the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference. His presidency engineered the structural racism of mass incarceration. The Welfare Reform Act (1996) pulled the rug out from under African American communities. The "Tough On Crime" Bill (1994) destroyed families as it incarcerated masses of jobless black men and barred them from employment, housing and welfare. In short, his presidency slashed public welfare programs and transferred the funding to a massive expansion of policing and prisons. A black child born today has a 1 in 3 chance of spending time in prison, a latino child 1 in 6, and a white child 1 in 17. This is on Bill Clinton.

We want to remind Clinton of the real destructive consequences of his policies. Mass incarceration and structural racism exist today. Apologies are not going to give the incarcerated their freedom back and restore destroyed families. The positive image that the Clintons' sponsorship of education and research creates should not go unchallenged. They should not be allowed to forget and neither should we. In 1992 Clinton used the execution of the mentally impaired black man Ricky Ray Rector as a publicity stunt to prove that he was tough on crime: "I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I'm soft on crime," he said afterwards. All the philanthropy in the world should not be allowed to overshadow this legacy.

This protest is organized by activists from Socialist Alternative and other organizations, on and off campus. 

We refuse to let the Clintons use our campus as tool for whitewashing their legacy. Join us at 5pm outside the Haas Pavilion April 1st to protest mass incarceration. We demand:

- End mass incarceration!
- End racist police violence!
- Defund the prison-industrial complex!

Donald Trump's pledge to murder the civilian relatives of terrorists could be considered quite modest -- and, in its bluntness, refreshingly candid -- when compared to President Obama's ongoing policy of loosing drones and U.S. Special Operations forces in the Greater Middle East. Those policies, the assassinations that go with them, and the "collateral damage" they regularly cause are based on one premise when it comes to the American public: that we will permanently suspend our capacity for grief and empathy when it comes to the dead (and the living) in distant countries... 

The American Way of War Campaign 2016

when I read about all the innocent civilians we've been killing over the years with the airpower that presidential candidate Ted Cruz calls "a blessing," I tend to think about the people left behind. Those who loved the people we've killed. I wonder how they received the news. I wonder about the shattering anguish they surely feel at the loss of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, friends. I wonder what memories come to them when they squeeze their eyes closed in grief. And I wonder if they'll ever be able to pick up the pieces of their lives and return to some semblance of normalcy in societies that are often shattering around them. 

-- Mattea Kramer, This Life After Loss

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Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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