Archive for November, 2013

Partisan Defense

National Mourning

For full details about this important day go to, United American Indians Of New England.

In today from the Center for American Progress

Dignity Denied: LGBT Immigrants in U.S. Immigration Detention

by Sharita Gruberg, November 25, 2013

While the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, does not keep data on the sexual orientation or gender identity of people in its custody, reports of treatment of LGBT detainees obtained through Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, requests and through complaints filed by immigrant rights groups reveal that much like in the general prison population—where LGBT inmates are 15 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than the general population—LGBT immigrants in immigration detention facilities face an increased risk of abuse in detention.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment went as far as finding the treatment of LGBT immigrants in U.S. detention facilities in violation of the Convention Against Torture after it received information on gay and transgender individuals who had been subjected to solitary confinement, torture, and ill-treatment—including sexual assault—while detained in U.S. immigration facilities.

This report will examine the mistreatment LGBT immigrants face in immigration detention; the steps that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, has taken in an attempt to address these issues; the impact that legislation pending before Congress would have on immigration enforcement; and recommendations for how to ensure enforcement of immigration laws is conducted in a manner that is effective and humane.

Read more and download the full report here.

In today from the Gay Liberation Network in Chicago. Where members of the network have joined with others on a mission to Honduras.

Leading Honduran LGBT Activist Eric Martinec (center front) with members of the delegation.

“We recognize that we live in a very homophobic society, and that violence has been increasing. Before the coup, LGBT murders [in Honduras] averaged 3-4 a year. Since then, 24-25 a year.”

Jose Zambrano, from a meeting with LGBT leaders in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on Friday
Beginning this past Thursday, a group of 15 LGBT human rights activists from the U.S. have been visiting Honduras to meet with LGBT activists in the Central American country.  Their goal is to help bring more visibility to the rampant violence against LGBTs and others there.  
Gary Cozette of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America and the Gay Liberation Network’s Andy Thayer and  are on the LGBT delegation, dubbed the Honduran Equality Delegation, with GLN’s Buddy Bell and a few dozen more Chicagoans joining two delegations of the Chicago-based La Voz de Los de Abajo in the country.  The two groups are part of the Honduras Solidarity Network, which has fielded some 820 observers around the country this weekend.
Why the Focus on Honduras?
At least 115 LGBT Hondurans have been murdered since 2008, in a country which has a population not much larger than that of metropolitan Chicago. Of that number, 53 were Trans people. And that’s not to mention the countless non-LGBTs murdered in the wave of violence spurred by a U.S.-supported military coup which overthrew the country’s democratically elected government.
Sunday, November 24 will see the country’s first widely-contested elections since the coup which overthrew President Manuel Zelaya.  Zelaya had taken a series of initiatives to promote greater participation and control by Honduras’s historically discriminated against peoples, including LGBTs, angering the wealthy elite who were accustomed to uncontested rule of the country.
With their overthrow of Zelaya, the coup government and its allies unleashed a wave of violence, much of it politically motivated, which gave Honduras the highest per capita murder rate in the world, 86 homicides per 100,000 people.  The first two people killed in political violence following the coup were two transgender women in Honduras’s second city, San Pedro Sula. 
And it should be noted — Honduras doesn’t manufacture any guns — they all come from the United States. President Obama and Congress continue to arm the Honduran government despite a U.S. law which makes illegal the funding of governments established by military coups. (more…)

Wake Me Up Aloe Blacc

Posted: November 22, 2013 in Call to Action, Solidarity

In today from the National Day Laborer Organizing Network a beautiful song by Aloe Blacc.

To find out more about NDLON or the National Day Laborer Organizing Network go to their site HERE.

A thank you to Todd Boyle for this great video of Kshama Sawant speaking at the victory party after being elected to Seattle City Council. Thanks to Solidarity: a socialist, feminist, anti-racist group for posting this video on facebook. A hardy congratulations to all who joined together in Seattle to bring about his victory.

For an excellent article read, A Socialist in City Council, by Barry Sheppard published on Solidarity’s web site.

This is what we can do when joining together. In today from Freedom Socialist.

Sign of the times: Kshama Sawant of Socialist Alternative Unseats Seattle Democrat.

by Linda Averll

Seattle is a town that Microsoft billionaires and Democratic Party politicians assumed was their own. Well, the 2013 elections proved them wrong. In a game-changing upset, socialist Kshama Sawant won a seat on Seattle’s City Council, defeating 16-year incumbent and Democratic Party stalwart, Richard Conlin. While the election will be certified after the Freedom Socialist goes to press, Conlin has conceded.

In nearby SeaTac, Proposition 1 was also winning. The measure would establish a $15-an-hour minimum wage for 6,300 transportation and hospitality workers. It holds a razor-thin margin and will likely face challenge. Yet like Sawant’s victory, Prop. 1 even getting to this point is amazing in a system where big business buys elections.

Sawant ran as a candidate for Socialist Alternative (SA), a Trotskyist party. Her campaign attracted more than 300 volunteers and $110,000 in donations. Throughout summer, her colorful posters dominated city streets, broadcasting key demands: a $15 an hour wage, rent control, and taxing millionaires to fund mass transit and education. Union rank-and-filers, including Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) members, helped secure union endorsements and donations, and near support from the King County Labor Council, typically a stronghold of the Democratic Party.

Sawant’s win has spurred interest in socialist ideas, especially among young people. It also raises the question, what does this mean for the socialist movement? (more…)