Thursday, August 31, 2017

Baltimore Activist Alert - September 1 - 9, 2017

33] Peace vigil at White House – Sept. 1
34] WIB peace vigil – Sept. 1
35] Frederick Douglass Path to Freedom Walking Tour – Sept. 1, 2 & 3
36] Black Lives Matter vigil – Sept. 1
37] Yappy Hour at the Wine Bin – Sept. 1
38] See the film SUFFRAGETTE – Sept. 1
39] Ballroom Dancing – Sept. 1
40] Clean up a classroom – Sept. 2 & 9
41] Strike Out Hunger – Sept. 2
42] Feed the Hungry – Sept. 2
43] D.C. Vegfest – Sept. 2
44] Adoption event – Sept. 2
45] Adoption event – Sept. 2
46] West Chester peace vigil – Sept. 2
47] Cats-R-Us Adoption Event – Sept. 2
48] Anti-War Drone Death Walk – Sept. 2
49] Suicide Prevention Ceremony – Sept. 2
50] Casa Baltimore/Limay benefit – Sept. 2
51] Support the Wheeler family who lost their home in a fire
52] Sign up with Washington Peace Center
53] Donate books, videos, DVDs and records
54] Do you need any book shelves?
55] Join the Global Zero campaign

33] – On Fri., Sept. 1 from noon to 1 PM, join the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in a vigil urging the powers that be to abolish war and torture, to disarm all weapons, to end indefinite detention, to close Guantanamo, to establish justice for all and help create the Beloved Community! This vigil will take place at the White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Contract Art @ or at 202-360-6416. 

34] – On Fri., Sept. 1 from noon to 1 PM, join a Women in Black peace vigil. A vigil will take place in McKeldin Square at the corner of Light and Pratt Sts. Stay for as long as you can. Wear black. Dress for who knows what kind of weather. Bring your own poster or help with the "NO WAR IN MY NAME" banner.  When there are others to stand with, you don't need to carry the burden alone. Do this to be in solidarity with others....when everything around us says “Be afraid of the stranger.” Carpool and parking available. Just send an email that you need a ride [].  Peace signs will be available. 

35] –  On Fri., Sept. 1 at 4 PM or Sat., Sept. 2 at 10 AM, 1 PM, and 4 PM or Sun., Sept. 3 at 10 AM and 1 PM, take the Frederick Douglass Path to Freedom Walking Tour, hosted by Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Birthday in Fell's Point, Baltimore 21231.  Go to RSVP to or call Lou Fields @ 443.983.7974.

36] – There is usually a silent vigil on Fridays, from 5 to 6 PM, sponsored by Homewood Friends Meeting, outside the Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 N. Charles St.  The next scheduled vigil is on Sept. 1. Black Lives Matter.  

37] –  On Fri., Sept. 1 at 6 PM, get over to the Yappy Hour at the Wine Bin, 8390 Main St., Ellicott City 21043.  This will be a fundraiser for Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue. Free music, drinks, popcorn, lots of dogs and dog people are all part of the event.  100% of the donations that go into the jar go directly to MABCR (well, actually it's over 100% because Dave rounds up when he writes the check!). Come support the rescue, and bring your pack! Call 410.465.7802 or visit

38] – On Fri., Sept. 1 at 7 PM, come to the Free First-Friday Film @ the Peace Center of Delaware County, 1001 Old Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA to see SUFFRAGETTE.  “…they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality – their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives.”  This 2015 historical drama is directed by Sarah Gavron, and written by Abi Morgan. The film stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, and Meryl Streep.  Prior to the screening, come to a potluck picnic at 5:30 PM.

The screening is co-sponsored by the Brandywine Peace Community. For directions to the Peace Center of Delaware County, visit or call 484-574-1148.

39] – There is an opportunity to participate in ballroom dancing, usually every Friday of the month, in the JHU ROTC Bldg. at  8 PM.  Turn south on San Martin Dr. from the intersection of Univ. Parkway and 39th St.  Drive on campus by taking the third left turn. The next dance will be on Sept. 1. Call Dave Greene at 410-599-3725.

40] – On Sat., Sept. 2 from 9 AM to noon, help out with the Classroom Clean Up, Day 1, at the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore. The Volunteer Committee is gearing up for the education programs set to begin on Sept. 17! There will also be a cleanup on Sat., Sept. 9 from 9 AM to noon. Bring supplies, or just your lovely selves and your elbow grease!  Go to

41] – On Sat., Sept. 2 at 10 AM, Strike Out Hunger with the Baltimore Orioles and Catholic Relief Services at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  To celebrate Camden Yards’ 25th anniversary, help us raise enough money to send 25,000 meals to the women and children of Burkina Faso, West Africa. Sign up and package meals alongside Orioles Hall of Famer Mike Bordick and the Oriole Bird. There will also be Orioles game ticket and autographed memorabilia giveaways. Space is limited. Go to

42] – On Sat., Sept. 2 from 11 AM to 2 PM, participate in the Community Outreach with the Homeless & Less Fortunate, hosted by the LACC Foundation at St. Vincent de Paul Church, 120 N. Front St., Baltimore 21202. The LACC Foundation will be there on the first Saturday of each month. In the event that the weather is inclement, distribution will be mobile with stops at St. Vincent de Paul Church Park, Healthcare for the Homeless on Fallsway, Weinberg Resource Center on Fallsway and a few additional stops as necessary.

43] – On Sat.,  Sept 2 at 11 AM the Sea Shepherd Baltimore/DC will be at the D.C. Vegfest in The Yards Park, WDC.  Come to the tabling, and meet some of the Onshore Volunteers, learn about campaigns and check our merchandise. Visit

44] – On Sat.,  Sept 2 at 11 AM there is an adoption event at Pet-Valu Southside, 895 E. Fort Ave, Baltimore 21230-5117, with @Bella's Bully Buddies! Come see the adorable, adoptable dogs in need of loving, forever homes! Call 410-783-1590!

45] – On Sat., Sept 2 at 11 AM, come to a Baltimore Humane Society Adoption Event at Bark Catonsville.  BMORE HUMANE will be on site:

46] – Each Saturday, 11 AM – 1 PM, Chester County Peace Movement holds a peace vigil in West Chester in front of the Chester County Courthouse, High & Market Sts. Go to Email

47] – On Sat., Sept. 2 at noon, come to a Cats-R-Us Adoption Event at Bark Annapolis.  Cats R Us will be on site:

48] – On Sat., Sept. 3 from 11:45 AM to 1 PM, join the Philadelphia monthly Center City Anti-War Drone Death Walk. Meet at 12th & Arch Streets.  This is a silent vigil.  Please wear black in recognition of all the victims of Drone attacks.  It takes place the first Saturday of the month. Call Marge Van Cleef at 203-804-3013.

49] – Come to an Arlington National Cemetery Ceremony - Suicide Prevention on Sat., Sept. 1 at noon in Arlington, VA. Tragically, we lose 22 veterans and active duty service members to suicide every day. Honor these men and women at a special wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. This important ceremony is being held in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week. A livestream will be available for those who did not RSVP in time.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be broadcasting the special wreath laying ceremony. To share the livestream of the ceremony, go to at Noon and click “share” underneath the video. The livestream will be pinned to the top of AFSP’s Facebook page for easy access.  You must RSVP to Alexis O’Brien, AFSP Public Relations Director, at 202-441-8764 or

50] – Come to a party.  Confirmed musicians so far are Alfredo Rodriguez, Marlon Moreno, Guillermo Brown and Donna Plamondon.  Several others are hoping to make it too.  RSVPs are helpful but not required. On Sat., Sept. 2, Rain or Shine, from 5 to 10:30 PM, attend a fundraiser to benefit Casa Baltimore/Limay sister-city projects, including scholarships, farm animals, food for the elderly, medical fund, preschool/ nutrition center, and microcredit in Limay, Nicaragua.  The party will be at the home of Joanne Capizzi and Howdy Burns, 5 Candlestick Drive, Lutherville 21093.  Enjoy the tranquility of Dipping Pond Run, a beautiful trout stream in a gorgeous valley. Recharge your energy! Renew your faith in the universe!  Join in merry-making!  Around 7 PM, Barbara Larcom will describe her recent visit to Limay, with a special focus on climate change and potable water projects. No donation is too large, and no one will be turned away!  Bring a checkbook.

Donations are also taken online at  Bring LOVE, a potluck dish, a musical instrument, a lawn chair, a blanket and wading or hiking shoes.  RSVP and to carpool, call 410-444-1023 or email  From Greenspring Station, take Greenspring Valley Road west 1 mile.  Turn right to head north on Greenspring Ave.  Go half a mile to Highview Dr. (1st right, top of hill), and turn right again on Candlestick Dr. (2nd right).  End of court on right, #5.

51] – Activists Joyce and Tim Wheeler now live in Sequim, Washington, but their son, Morgan and his family have lived in the Wheeler’s Baltimore home, 816 Beaumont Avenue for some time.  Tragically, at 3 AM on February 4, the home was burned beyond recognition.  Morgan was able to get his family out, but the house and its contents are totally destroyed.  Morgan's daughter, Erin, has created a Go Fund Me page which you can access below.  Anything you are able to contribute to support Morgan and his family would be greatly appreciated. Go to 


 - Description:

52] -- The Washington Peace Center has a progressive calendar & activist alert! Consider signing up to receive its weekly email:

53] -- If you would like to get rid of books, videos, DVDs or records, contact Max at 410-323-1607 or mobuszewski at

54] -- Can you use any book shelves? Contact Max at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at

55] -- Join an extraordinary global campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons: A growing group of leaders around the world is calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons and a majority of the global public agrees.  This is an historic window of opportunity.  With momentum already building in favor of Zero, a major show of support from people around the world could tip the balance. When it comes to nuclear weapons, one is one too many.

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan


August 23, 2017 · by Rise Up Times · in ActivismMedianonviolent actionSocial Change · 2 Comments 
Calling out hard-left group Antifa’s extremist ideology and aggressive tactics, Noam Chomsky noted: “When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it’s the toughest and most brutal who win — and we know who that is.” Is Antifa handing the fascists the pretext they’ve been looking for?   
By MintPress News Desk  August 22, 2017
Noam Chomsky (pictured in 2012), who lives in the blue state of Massachusetts, said he would vote for Hillary Clinton if he lived in a swing state such as Ohio. | AP Photo
MINNEAPOLIS – On August 12th, New York Times writer Sheryl Gay Stolberg found herself heavily berated on social media for her reporting on the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Stolberg, however, had done nothing to buoy the case for the white nationalist or racist elements in motion that day. Her “crime” was instead to suggest that “the hard left seemed as hate-filled as the alt-right” during demonstrations that claimed one life and injured dozens more.
While Stolberg may have been maligned for casting a critical eye on the “hard left,” particularly the controversial group “Antifa,” she is now in good company, as legendary progressive and noted academic Noam Chomsky has also raised concerns regarding the tactics of Antifa and similar groups.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner published last Thursday, Chomsky called Antifa a “minuscule fringe of the Left,” adding that “what they do is often wrong in principle – like blocking talks – and [the movement] is generally self-destructive.” He continued: “When confrontation shifts to the arena of violence, it’s the toughest and most brutal who win – and we know who that is. That’s quite apart from the opportunity costs – the loss of the opportunity for education, organizing and serious and constructive activism.”
Essentially, Chomsky condemned the group, which characterizes itself as “defensive” in nature, for its violent tactics. Most notably, however, he opined that the group is counter-productive to those who aim to support progressive policies and oppose racism — stating that Antifa is a “major gift to the Right, including the militant Right, who are exuberant.”
Beyond Chomsky, very few progressives have spoken out against Antifa. One of the few condemnations in the progressive press comes from writer Nicholas Goroff who argued in a piece for Occupy that the Antifa movement is in many ways antithetical to progressive values.
Goroff writes: “Awash in 20th century Marxist doctrine, the presence of Antifa, and the left’s tolerance of them within their ranks, stands as a rejection of the civil enlightenment values liberals and progressives once stood for, and a slow embrace of the authoritarian orthodoxy which throughout the 20th century so often gave the left its bad name to begin with.”
Other writers, prior to Chomsky’s interview, had suggested that the “militant Right” were well aware that Antifa’s penchant for violence could be twisted to their advantage. As journalist Michael Brendan Dougherty noted in an article for the National Review: “The rally organizers came prepared for violence, and they wanted it. They wanted footage of themselves getting punched and maced so that they could use conservative antipathy to Antifa to erode conservative antipathy to actual Fascists.”
Despite a sympathetic mainstream press, Antifa’s tactics are proving progressives like Chomsky and Goroff correct, as they are revealing themselves to have more in common with authoritarianism than with the progressive values they purport to stand for.
Antifa background, current incarnation, and support pipeline
Antifa Flag at a rally in New York City, Photo Date: Aug 14, 2017
Antifa Flag at a rally in New York City, Photo Date: Aug 14, 2017
Antifa claims to date back to the 1920s and 1930s, tracing their roots to groups of militant leftists who fought fascists on the streets of Europe. Over the years, several low-key groups adopted the name to combat periodic resurgences of Neo-Nazism. However, these groups had little in common with today’s U.S.-based Antifa, whose birth followed in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election to the presidency last November.
While many of its predecessors were organic movements originating from local communities, Antifa has been identified as sharing links to billionaire philanthropist/activist George Soros. Though some may dismiss such connections between Antifa and Soros as “right-wing conspiracy-mongering,” videos of Antifa protesters in California literally yelling “George Soros, where is my money?” do raise cause for concern about the forces driving Antifa. The video was uploaded by Beverly Hills Antifa, which captioned the video, demanding payment to the tune of $15/hour for their time spent protesting. In addition, some former Antifa organizers have come out and stated that they were promised up to $2,000 per week to organize protests by Soros — money that they never saw. However, more concrete proof of the group’s association to Soros-funded organizations has yet to emerge.

Media for the people!  Learn more about Rise Up Times and how to sustain People Supported News.

Its indictment of Trump and his supporters – racist and non-racist alike – has won Antifa the support of mainstream media. Journalist John Bosnitch recently told RT that Antifa’s tendency to show up at rallies armed, masked and hooded “falls right in line with the attempt by the mass media and by the stubborn supporters of Hillary Clinton to create a political crisis in America. So I would not be hesitant to guess there is a connection here.”
Indeed, the mainstream media has been largely sympathetic to the group despite their violent tactics. NBC News interviewed sociologist Dana R. Fisher, who stated, “These men and women are basically deciding that there’s a violent alt-right that’s threatening people, and that they should arm and defend the left,” again casting Antifa as a “defensive” organization. CNN recently ran a story “unmasking” the group, claiming that Antifa seeks “peace through violence.” However, CNN later changed the headline, after Antifa activists asserted that the group was “non-violent.”
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How ICE Uses Secret Police Databases to Arrest Immigrants

Published on Portside (

How ICE Uses Secret Police Databases to Arrest Immigrants

Christie Thompson

Monday, August 28, 2017
The Marshall Project

   In 2011, then 19-year-old Luis Vicente Pedrote-Salinas was leaving a relative’s house and getting into his car when he was stopped by Chicago police. Officers found an unopened can of beer in the cupholder and booked him for underage drinking. He spent a night in jail, and the charges were dropped.

  But that wasn’t the end of it: The police who arrested Pedrote-Salinas were out on a “gang suppression mission” that night and added his name to their citywide database of suspected gang members. Officers said he admitted to being a member of the Latin Kings; he claims they lied and that he’s never been a member of any gang.

    According to a federal lawsuit filed in July, Pedrote-Salinas was arrested later in 2011 during an immigration raid targeting gangs and was detained for roughly six months. When he was released on bond, he applied for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status and, after being robbed at gunpoint while working at a Subway, a U visa for crime victims, in order to remain in the U.S. He was denied both despite having no criminal convictions. Now Pedrote-Salinas faces deportation to Mexico, which he left when he was five years old.
Immigrants’ advocates and attorneys say that more cases like Pedrote-Salinas’ are likely to emerge under the Trump administration, which has vowed to aggressively track down immigrants in gangs. Local police departments have long shared their gang intelligence with federal immigration authorities. But the feds may be using that information more now as Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests have increased nearly 40 percent from last year. Critics of gang databases say that because of the loose criteria used to identify potential members, people with no gang affiliation are likely to be swept up in raids meant for serious criminals. Several recent lawsuits have been filed by immigrants who say they were wrongly identified as gang members and detained by ICE as a result.

   ICE says police cooperation is key to identifying gang members in the immigrant community. “Law enforcement partners provide actionable intelligence which is critical in the targeting of gangs and their membership for enforcement actions,” ICE spokeswoman Danielle Bennett wrote in an email. A spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department said they could not comment on ongoing litigation.

   Police departments use gang databases to keep track of criminal activity in their city and help with homicide investigations. But advocates criticize the lists for casting too wide a net and say they’re a form of racial profiling. Individuals can be added to gang databases for wearing certain colors, hanging out in places frequented by gang members, or knowing or being related to someone in a gang. The databases are also relatively opaque: Individuals are rarely notified when they are added or given a way to fight the designation.

   While U.S. citizens can suffer significant consequences once they’re listed in a gang database, for immigrants, it can be far worse. A gang allegation can make someone a higher priority for deportation and the target of a raid. It can be the reason they are denied various pathways to remain in the U.S., like DACA or a U visa. It can also keep them from getting bond, so they must remain in detention while their immigration case is decided, which can take years given the current backlog. Once those allegations are made in court, attorneys say it’s difficult to prove a negative. Lawyers can also rarely prove that their clients were once in a gang but have since left.

   ICE proclaimed in May that the agency’s largest gang enforcement effort yet had led to the arrest of 1,095 “confirmed” gang members and affiliates. “Individuals are confirmed as gang members if they admit membership in a gang;...or if they meet certain other criteria such as having tattoos identifying a specific gang or being identified as a gang member by a reliable source,” the agency said in a press release. A similar series of raids this July, which focused on alleged teenage gang members, netted 650 people. Only 130 of them had criminal convictions.

   One of the men picked up in those raids was Wilmer Catalan-Ramirez, who was arrested by ICE agents at his home in Southwest Chicago this March. Catalan-Ramirez is partially paralyzed after being shot in January, and claims in a federal lawsuit that ICE agents further injured him during the raid. According to the complaint, Catalan-Ramirez was targeted because Chicago police had labeled him a gang member. His attorneys say he doesn’t know how or when he ended up on the list.

   An ICE spokesperson said she could not comment on the lawsuit.
For immigrant advocates, this cooperation between local police and federal officials shows how some cities that claim to be havens for immigrants — like Chicago — are anything but. “If Wilmer got turned over to ICE based on Chicago’s information, [it’s not] a sanctuary city,” said Tania Unzueta, legal and policy director for Mijente, a national organization focused on Latinx issues, and a volunteer with Organized Communities Against Deportations. Unzueta is currently working with several Chicago groups to obtain more information about the city’s gang list, including the criteria for being added. “I think we have an argument that it’s unconstitutional when there are such heavy consequences for something that doesn’t have a judicial process,” she said.

   A spokesperson for the Chicago mayor’s office wouldn’t comment on the two suits or the city’s gang database and relationship with ICE, but said in an email: “Chicago will continue to be a welcoming city and stand up for the values that have made us a beacon of hope for immigrants and refugees from around the world for generations.”

   Similar legal battles are playing out in other parts of the country. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in August over the evidence (or lack thereof) that ICE is relying on in Suffolk County, New York, to identify high school students as gang members. Law enforcement has labeled the plaintiffs members or associates of the MS-13 gang for doing things like wearing an El Salvador soccer jersey, being observed in the presence of other alleged gang members or writing El Salvadoran area codes in their notebooks. Local and federal law enforcement in Suffolk County have been focused on tracking down MS-13 members, who police say are responsible for 17 murders there in the last 18 months.

   While ICE would not comment on the lawsuit, a spokesperson noted that individuals can be identified as a gang member if they meet two of eight criteria, which include wearing gang clothing or frequenting places known for gang activity.

  “They’ll just arrest them based on an evidence-free allegation,” said immigration attorney Bryan Johnson, who represents some of the plaintiffs named in the ACLU suit. “They don’t have to share that information in court. There’s no process to challenge the allegations.”

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

The government decides not to prosecute the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance Six, Arrested on the U.S. Capitol Steps for Pleading for An End to War Funding

The government decides not to prosecute the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance Six, Arrested on the U.S. Capitol Steps for Pleading for An End to War Funding

    It was a long and winding road for six citizen activists arrested on July 12 by the Capitol Police, but the case was finally concluded on August 24 when our “Stop the War Machine: Export Peace”  banner and a red sash were finally released from police custody.  On that oppressively hot July 12, the anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s 200th birthday, Joy First, from Wisconsin, Malachy Kilbride, a Quaker from Maryland, Max Obuszewski from Baltimore, Phil Runkel, an archivist of Dorothy Day’s papers at Marquette University, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, also from Baltimore, and Alice Sutter, a retired nurse from New York City, visited the offices of the Senate and House leadership from both parties.

   A petition pleading for an end to war funding was taken to the office of Sen. Mitch McConnell and later to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office.  One of Schumer’s aides, who was of Pakistani heritage, engaged the group in a lengthy discussion, especially over the question of the legality of drone strikes.   From there, the petitioners went to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office, where a staff person accepted the petition.  Our final stop was to the door of Rep. Paul Ryan’s office.  On Ryan’s door, which was locked, there was a sign “Only people with a scheduled meeting were allowed to enter.”  We knocked, but there was no answer.  So a petition was then slipped under the door with a flyer condemning U.S. military operations. 

   We then proceeded to the steps of the U.S. Capitol, just across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court, and unfurled the banner and red sash, which represented the blood pouring out of the Capitol as our legislators consistently vote to fund the war machine.  We were wearing bloody tee shirts to signify what happens to the victims of war funding. Surrounded by Capitol Police officers, we took turns reading the petition.  We were given four warnings to cease or be arrested.  The reading kept getting interrupted as one-by-one, we were taken into custody.  Janice, a Roman Catholic woman priest, insisted to the police that she was going to finish reading the petition, and the police did not interfere.

   We were not handcuffed, were given cold water and were allowed to keep all possessions without being frisked.  There was no fingerprinting, but a photograph of each activist was taken. Then tables and chairs were brought out of a police van, and the officers gathered our personal information before giving the defendants a citation release document. We were charged with Crowding, Obstructing and Incommoding and ordered to report on July 13 to U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters to request a court date.  Actually, we had fifteen days to report. 
  Based on many arrests by the U.S. Capitol Police, I had never experienced one without being handcuffed.  I have no idea why someone in the Capitol Police hierarchy decided to follow this procedure.  I was arrested on those same Capitol steps during President Obama’s last State of the Union address in January 2016.  We spent 6 ½ hours in jail before being released.  
   On July 13, four defendants did appear at the Capitol Police Headquarters, and were given an arraignment date of July 26 to appear in D.C. Superior Court. Janice and I went to the headquarters on July 16, and were given August 2 as our arraignment date.   On July 25, Mark Goldstone, a renowned First Amendment attorney, was informed by the U.S. Attorney’s office that Alice, Joy, Malachy and Phil had their cases no-papered.   On our arraignment date, Janice and Max went online and discovered that we were not listed on the Superior Court docket.  So we presumed our cases were also not papered.  Now we began the saga to get the banner and sash released by the Capitol Police.  It took four visits to police headquarters, and the assistance of an Assistant Attorney General, before Janice could pick up the property. 
Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] petitioned the Congressional leadership on behalf of the voiceless, the poor, the middle class, the immigrants and people whose pleas are ignored.  And this was done on the 50th anniversary year of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech at the Riverside Church in Manhattan, entitled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.”

  It was important, as well, to read the petition on the Capitol steps as part of the Rivers of Blood II action. On September 20, 2007, the original Rivers of Blood action included a die-in by 31 peace activists in the crypt of the U.S. Capitol. So what has changed in ten years?   Congress still consistently  allocates tax dollars which go toward death and destruction in many parts of the world, most especially the Middle East.  

  On July 11, Joy received an email from “Andrew:” “I am wishing for more information on the call for action at the Capitol tomorrow.  I have been arrested previously for non violent [sic] demonstrations and want to seek more justice.  What time are we expected to demonstrate and what specific location.  Thank you.”   

  I had an opportunity to chat with the Capitol Police commander after the arrest and noticed his nameplate.  He was the mysterious Andrew who sent the email.  Of course, it is unethical for a police officer to lie, but not illegal.  We intended to subpoena “Andrew” to appear in court to testify during the trial. Was this the reason the charges were no-papered?  Did the other arrests taking place in July inside the Senate and House of Representatives buildings over Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act overwhelm the court dockets?

    Regardless of the reason our cases were dismissed, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance is gearing up for another action in the fall called Healthcare Not Warfare.  We will make a demand for improved Medicare for All.  Let me know if you would like to join us.  Again the action is planned to be commemorative of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s Riverside Church speech.

     Another anniversary to commemorate in 2017 is that of the ending of the Great War in 1917.  Randolph Bourne, a writer who died in 1918 of the flu epidemic brought on by World War I, understood a predicament which we are still protesting today: “War is the health of the State. It automatically sets in motion throughout society those irresistible forces for uniformity, for passionate co-operation with the Government in coercing into obedience the minority groups and individuals which lack the larger herd sense.”  Have common sense, not larger herd sense, and join us in direct action calling for funding healthcare for all instead of the profiting from warfare by the few.

Max Obuszewski is with the Baltimore Nonviolence Center

“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the US around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better" - Daniel Berrigan

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-323-1607; Email: mobuszewski2001 [at] Go to

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs0

Book Review: Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China by Leta Hong Fincher

Book Review: Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China by Leta Hong Fincher


  In this new book, Leta Hong Fincher argues that a discourse around young, unmarried ‘leftover women’ in China is propagated through state media news reports and television shows to mask the persisting sex ratio imbalance in the country and to encourage well-educated women to marry and have children sooner. Yang Shen believes that Fincher should be applauded for bringing together the under-theorised themes of women’s property rights, the rights of LGBT groups, and domestic abuse. A thought-provoking book, although some arguments are weakened by insufficient evidence and untrustworthy sources.

Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China. Leta Hong Fincher. Zed Books. April 2014.

  Leta Hong Fincher was a journalist before completing a PhD in Sociology at Beijing’s Tsinghua University. This book is based on her PhD project on the under-researched connections between leftover women, China’s property market, and gender inequality. Fincher has previously written articles discussing similar issues for the New York Times, CNN, and Ms. Magazine, through which these topics have already gained some popularity. With an abundance of interview quotes and contemporaneous media reports, this book is quite readable and has the potential to attract a wide audience.

   According to Fincher, the term ‘leftover woman’ in China ‘is widely used to describe an urban, professional female in her late twenties or older who is still single’ (p.2). In Chapter 1, Fincher examines the leftover women discourse mediated through ‘state media news reports, surveys, columns, cartoons and television shows’ (p.15), and argues that two reasons account for the state promoting the leftover women discourse: one is to maintain social stability in the context of the persisting sex ratio imbalance – China has 32million more men aged under 20 than women – that prevents a lot of men from finding wives; the other is to upgrade the ‘quality’ of the populace by urging well-educated women to marry. It is an insightful observation indeed that the state serves as a latent driver, disseminating this stigmatizing ‘leftover’ women discourse, which arguably has a profound impact on unmarried women over the age of 25.

    Chapter 2 considers how Chinese women have been ‘shut out of arguably the biggest accumulation of residential real-estate wealth in history’ because the pressure they experience in trying to avoid becoming ‘leftover’ means that they often ‘give up too much bargaining power within the marriage’ (p.12). Chapter 3 further deals with how ‘many parents discriminate against their own daughters by buying expensive homes for their sons only’, leading to a gendered wealth gap in house buying.

    The book is written in an accessible style, allowing general readers access to the subject. It also adopts an inclusive approach in that it covers a wide range of issues in relation to women’s property rights, including the rights of LGBT groups in Chapter 3 and Chapter 6, and the relationship between domestic abuse and women’s lack of property rights in Chapter 5. These issues are rarely discussed together when considering gender inequality in China, so the author is to be congratulated for this effort.
Girl in Beijing. Credit: Ernie CC BY 2.0
However, I did find that in places the evidence provided is insufficient to support the arguments presented. For example, readers are introduced to a female informant who has a university degree but left her job because ‘she wanted to make herself a more attractive marriage candidate, less intimidating to suitors’. She is quoted as saying “my most important duty is to find a good man to marry” (p.39). The author analyses the case by noting that ‘the state media campaign regarding “leftover” women has prompted some highly educated women to quit their jobs even before they get married’ (p.39). Aside from questioning how rare this case is, I find a lack of coherence between the analysis and the quotes as the informant did not explicitly suggest that she was influenced by the ‘leftover’ discourse.

   The imprecision in analysis can also be identified in Chapter 3. The author reveals that the informant Shang got married because she believed that she was getting older. The author links her anxiety with ‘the “leftover” women age threshold’ (p.107). Again, the informant did not specify the connection between her anxiety and the prescribed age of ‘leftover’ women advocated by the state media. By adopting the ‘leftover’ women discourse in a one-size-fits-all fashion, it can be argued that the author not only exaggerates the influence that the ‘leftover’ discourse imposes on women, but also ignores the intricate complexity of the reasons for their anxiety. It is not difficult to recognise that unmarried women’s anxiety around their increasing age existed before the emergence of the ‘leftover’ women discourse, and furthermore that it is seen in other countries where the ‘leftover’ women discourse does not exist.

   The author cites a remarkable amount of online sources to support her argument, showing engagement with a variety of sources. However Fincher doesn’t acknowledge that they may not be completely trustworthy. In Chapter 2, the author cites the 2012 Horizon and Report, noting that women’s names were endorsed on only 30 per cent of marital home deals (p.46). First, there are perhaps questions as to the credibility of the report, as it did not suggest how many informants were involved, nor how the survey was conducted. Furthermore, it is a pity that the author did not mention the trend indicated by the report, of a 10.2% increase in the number of women’s names on home deeds compared to the time prior to 2006, which can be interpreted as women’s rising power in property rights.

   Although there are thought-provoking points throughout, I find some of the findings intrinsically contradictory. For instance, in Chapter 3, Fincher reports that a daughter’s parents ‘often decline to help buy a home’ for their daughter (p.78). The author implies that it is because the parents consider buying a home to be man’s responsibility (p.83). However, the author finds out that many women contribute their whole savings to help their partners to buy homes without putting their names on the deeds. The daughters’ behaviour is in contrast to their parents’ perception that men should be the home provider. 

   Considering the author’s finding that a daughter has a sense of filial piety to her parents (p.82), I cannot help but wonder how the parents view their daughters’ behaviour of contributing their savings without being entitled to the property? Does it lead to any intergenerational conflicts? The book unfortunately does not discuss this.

Finally, the use of the word ‘resurgence’ is somewhat problematic in this context. As suggested in the Introduction, ‘this book argues that the state-sponsored media campaign about “leftover” women is part of a broad resurgence of gender inequality in post-socialist China’ (p.3). Resurgence here implies that gender equality was once achieved. I consider gender equality to have never been achieved and indeed that gender inequality has been persistent throughout China’s history (see LiuCroll and Stacey for further reading). In Chapter 4, Fincher conceptualises ‘resurgence’ by tracing back to the Song dynasty (960-1279), upholding that women at that time ‘had substantial, independent ownership and control of property’ (p.110). She then compares the women in the Song Dynasty to those in contemporary China, claiming that ‘Chinese women’s property rights have steadily eroded in the post-socialist, rural-to-urban transformation’ (p.131). The way in which she compares the women in contemporary China with the women one thousand years ago is problematic; although the author quotes historian Bernhardt, it seems that she disregards Bernhardt’s conclusion that ‘there was no “half-share law” in the Song and indeed could not have been. Instead, the principles of patrilineal succession applied, and women enjoyed inheritance rights only by default, in the absence of brothers and sons.’ (p.8). Chapter 4 leaves itself open to critiques of reductionism by merely discussing property rights without considering the corresponding social economic context.

   The dominant discourse among the Chinese media and public currently focuses on how women strategise to add their names to the deeds without paying for or paying very little for property. This book engineers to reverse the above mentioned discourse by discussing how women are disadvantaged in the real estate market. Unfortunately, by intertwining the ‘leftover women’ discourse and real estate market, the author’s intention to create a novel approach to demonstrate how women are disadvantaged in contemporary China fails to meet its purpose due to its reductionist approach, the not well-grounded evidence, and the insufficiently supported arguments.
Above all, this book looks likely to be controversial. Nonetheless it has the potential to be a bestseller due to the timeliness of the topic, Fincher’s eye-catching arguments, and the already established reputation of the author, regardless of how selective the views encapsulated in this book may be. Once again, it is worth saying that the author should be recognised for bringing together the rarely-discussed issues of women’s property rights, the rights of LGBT groups, and domestic abuse.
Yang Shen is a PhD candidate at the LSE Gender Institute funded by China Scholarship Council. Her current research focuses on peasant migrant workers in the catering Sector in Shanghai. Her research interests cover gender and work, migration studies, contemporary China Studies, and qualitative research methods. Yang has a BA in History from Fudan University and a MSc (with distinction) in Higher Education from Shanghai Jiaotong University. She worked as an intern at UN Women and she continues to work as a columnist for the newspaper UKChineseRead more reviews by Yang.
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