Hundreds of bicyclists staged a “die-in” in New York’s Washington Square Park, expressing outrage over the spate of killings of cyclists on the city’s streets. Three deaths came in a one-week period, finally prompting demands for public action: Robyn Hightman, a 20-year-old bicycle messenger and track racer, was killed by a truck driver in Manhattan. Ernest Askew, 57, riding an e-bike in Brooklyn, was hit and killed by a teen driver. And Devra Freelander, 28, an artist, was killed by a cement truck driver, also in Brooklyn. Hightman was the 12th cyclist killed on New York City streets in 2019; 10 were killed in all of 2018. (Photo: Streetsblog)
In Episode 35 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg interviews Emily Ramos, Pilar DeJesus and Kara Bhatti of the worker-owned marijuana consumer cooperative High Mi Madre, on their lobbying and activist efforts in support of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, still pending in the final countdown to the close of the New York State legislative session. They especially emphasize the demand for “Day One Equity” with cannabis legalization in the Empire State—reparative justice and reinvestment in the communities that had for generations been criminalized and oppressed by cannabis prohibition. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon. (Photo via High Mi Madre)
In Episode 22 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg rants in anguish about how he has been deprived of phone and Internet access by Verizon's cynical design to let its copper network deteriorate and impose the transition to cellular, fiber and wireless on consumers against their will. There is no reason to believe this outage will be temporary. The illusions of freedom of choice and communications convenience has left the CounterVortex editor and main ranter with no choice and no ability to communicate—or to produce the journalism he needs to daily produce to make a living. Weinberg contends that his right to work—guaranteed by Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights—is being violated with impunity. Verizon is in violation of international law, as well as New York state law. Weinberg calls upon the New York Public Service Commission to enforce the law on Verizon. He also calls upon the New York Public Utility Law Project to reach out to metro-area consumers similarly left without land-line service, and organize a class-action lawsuit against Verizon. Much more ambitiously, he calls for a public expropriation of Verizon, and the redirection of its technology, infrastructure and capital toward serving the social good rather than private profit. Listen on SoundCloud, and support our podcast via Patreon. (Photo: IBEW)
CountertVortex editor and main contributor Bill Weinberg (that would be me) is currently without phone service, and only intermittent Internet access, due to a Verizon equipment failure. The last Verizon chat-jockey I spoke with said "it is major cable issue and will need some time to be solved." That basically means they don't intend to fix it. I use DSL and a land-line—going through the old copper wires that Verizon is trying to phase out. If my service is not restored, I will have no means of producing CounterVortex—or the journalism I must write every day to pay the rent. Many people in New York and around the country are in the same position. We urgently must press Verizon to maintain the old copper-wire infrastructure we depend on—which they are required to do by law. (Photo: IBEW)
The Syria Peace Vigil in New York's Union Square was threatened by followers of the pro-Assad "Party for Socialism and Liberation," one of whom actually took a swing at one of the vigilers. It is hardly surprising that supporters of genocidal dictators will resort to violence to try to intimidate those who stand against those regimes. The question is why do the "anti-war" forces in New York and the United States continue to view PSL and its front groups like the ANSWER Coalition as legitimate allies? (Photo: Syria Solidarity NYC via Facebook)
Protesters for both the besieged Gaza Strip and the besieged Syrian enclave of Ghouta gathered in New York's Union Square on Friday night. Those standing for Gaza and Ghouta should be natural allies, but there was little interaction between the two protests. And some (by no means all) among the Gaza protesters were followers of Stalinist factions that support the dictatorship of Bashar Assad—who is raining death down on Ghouta just as Israel has serially rained death down on Gaza. What will it take to provoke the conversation that needs to be had on the American left, and build the unified but multi-issue movement so desperately needed at this dangerous moment, with fascist forces on the advance worldwide? (Photo: Syria Solidarity NYC via Facebook)
From anonymous radical-right xenophobes in Britain came the call to make April 3 "Punish a Muslim Day." Letters were sent to addresses across England, calling for violent attacks on Muslims. Police were on alert, and women who wear the hijab were advised to stay home. There were also reports that some of the letters had arrived in New York, causing the city's Muslim community to mobilize and the NYPD to beef up security. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams joined multi-faith leaders to condemn the threats. His comments were laudable in intent, but revealing in their wording: "Our message must be just as loud. Not punish a Muslim, let’s embrace a Muslim, let’s embrace a Christian, let’s embrace a person of Jewish faith…" Why has the word "Jew" become taboo, and especially in progressive circles? (Image: frgdr.com)
Pseudo-left sectarian outfits in the orbit of Workers World Party, which is actually in league with international fascism, now aggressively seek to exploit the anti-fascist upsurge in the United States for purposes of party-building and spreading their toxic politics. These supporters of genocidal dictators like Bashar Assad also sat down at a Russia-hosted Euro-fascist confab with the very neo-Confederates and white nationalists they now claim to oppose. It is imperative that activists do not take their bait.
Lynne Stewart, the fighting activist attorney who gained fame with her 2005 conviction for “providing material support” to terrorism, died at her home in Brooklyn. (Photo: The Indypendent)
The New York Police Department reached a new settlement providing greater oversight of intelligence-gathering programs, after a federal judge rejected an earlier deal.