The 5 arrestees from this morning’s blockade of an Anadarko fracking site face misdemeanor charges and a total bail of $57,500 for defending the wild what is wild. Visit their WePay account to contribute to the liberation of these brave ecodefenders!
Marcellus Shale EF! Halts Anadarko Hydrofracking Operation in the Tiadaghton State Forest
from Marcellus Shale EF!:
Waterville, Pa. — In the pre-dawn hours, activists with Marcellus Shale EarthFirst!, Pennsylvania residents and students took action to halt Anadarko’s hydraulic fracturing operation in the Tiadaghton State Forest. Protestors blocked the only access road to a wellpad by locking themselves to barrels of concrete, preventing workers from entering the site. Dozens more activists are holding a rally at Anadarko’s corporate offices in Williamsport, Pa. The activists are demanding an immediate halt to all plans for new drilling on Pennsyvlania’s public lands.
UPDATE 12:30 pm: Last protestors leaving the wellpad now after 6 hours of successful action. 3 locked down and 2 support people have been arrested. All of the rest of the support has been released! Thanks for your support.
UPDATE 11:30 am : After 4 hours of halting operations, the 3 folks locked down across the road have been removed, but the traffic jam we made won’t be cleared up for another couple of hours! Meanwhile, dozens of other activists are bringing the fight to Anadarko’s doorstep at their offices in Williamsport. Five confirmed arrests so far.
February 20, 2014: Pittsburgh PA — Russell Maroon Shoatz was released from solitary confinement into the general prison population at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford this morning, ending more than 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement. The news was confirmed by Maroon during a legal call with an attorney from the Abolitionist Law Center.
Maroon’s son, Russell Shoatz III, said, “We are very excited that this day has finally come. My father being released from solitary confinement is proof of the power of people organizing against injustice, and the importance of building strong coalitions. I especially want to thank all of those who have supported the collective struggle to end my father’s solitary confinement, including my siblings and members of the Shoatz family, the Human Rights Coalition, Abolitionist Law Center, Scientific Soul Sessions, the entire legal team, UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez, the 5 Nobel Peace Laureates, the National Lawyers Guild, Center for Constitutional Rights, along with the dozens of other organizations and thousands of individuals who have participated in this effort.”
An inmate who sued state officials to end more than two decades in solitary confinement has been transferred to general population at the State Correctional Institution Graterford, advocacy organizations announced late Thursday.
Russell Shoatz, 70, originally of Philadelphia, sued in May in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, claiming that he had no recent history of misconduct to warrant placement in solitary confinement. That lawsuit continues.
Shoatz had escaped twice from prison, in 1977 and 1980, and in 1983 became interim president of the inmate organization Pennsylvania Association of Lifers, according to his lawsuit.
"My father being released from solitary confinement is proof of the power of people organizing against injustice, and the importance of building strong coalitions."
Shoatz was sentenced to life without parole in 1972 after he was convicted of the 1970 slaying in Philadelphia of Fairmount Park police Sgt. Frank Von Colln.
In Pennsylvania, solitary confinement consists of 23 hours a day in a cell. Shoatz was placed on a Restricted Release List, which meant that only state Corrections Secretary John E. Wetzel could return him to general population, according to the complaint. The lawsuit asked for his release to the general population and payment of damages and attorney fees.
"This is a significant victory for a growing people’s movement against solitary confinement and the human rights violations inherent in mass incarceration," Mr. wrote Grote in the press release. "If we continue to work hard and support one another in this movement, these victories could very well become a habit.”
Anarchist Reading Group Pt 2: Social Centers and Gentrification
We will be reading and discussing four brief texts that deal with anarchist thought on gentrification and social centers in the U.S. and in Italy. Free copies of each will be available at the Big Idea. Each discussion starts at 3pm on Saturday Feb. 15, Feb. 22, and March 1.
For more info visit Solidarity Pittsburgh
Contact info updated
We have a new email address, please send any correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Halfway house escapee captured after he stole Pittsburgh detective’s car
from the capitalist media:
A man who escaped from a halfway house on Christmas is back in jail after he stole a detective’s personal vehicle, state police said.
After complaining about pain, Tyler Rutherford, 27, was transported from Renewal Inc. to UPMC Mercy, where he ran, trooper Robin Mungo said. He had been serving time for burglary.
Pittsburgh police arrested Rutherford at 9 a.m. Wednesday, after he stole a city detective’s personal vehicle at his home while it was warming up, she said.
He faces charges including criminal trespass, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and drug violations.
According to court documents, Rutherford has been in and out of jail since he was 18 years old and pleaded guilty to charges including burglary, forgery and drug possession in 2005 and burglary and fleeing from an officer in 2008.
from the capitalist media:
State police say four staff members were injured when as many as 11 juveniles rioted at a detention center in northwestern Pennsylvania.
The (Warren) Times Observer reports Tuesday that troopers responded to the incident about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Abraxas, a detention and treatment center about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Forest County.
Police say the juveniles — all between 14 and 17 — became unruly during free time in the center’s gymnasium, injuring three staff. A fourth staffer was assaulted when some of the male juveniles entered a female dormitory.
Police say eight of the juveniles left the facility briefly, but three returned voluntarily. Police found the other five inside a vehicle on the center’s grounds.
Abraxas officials haven’t returned a call for comment on the staff, who were treated at Clarion Hospital.
December Prisoner Letter Writing
Sunday December 15th, 2p at Crazy Mocha Lawrenceville
Meet with friends for snacks and write to some prisoners. Info, instructions, supplies, and snacks will be provided.
Fighback Pittsburgh/Workers Killin It, III
From the Capistalist Media:
The USW members have been locked-out by the company since 12 August 2013. The Neville Chemical Plant is on Neville Island, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
On 11 December around 250 people from all over the local region noisily assembled at the plant gate, together with USW president Leo Gerard. The message of the plant gate rally was to tell Neville Chemical to end the lockout and bargain fairly with its workers.
In an effort to reach a fair settlement, members of USW Local 5032 worked for more than eight months under the terms of their expired contract but in August, the company initiated a lockout by unilaterally freezing the workers’ pensions and imposing other cuts.
In recent rounds of contract negotiations, members of USW Local 5032 have agreed to significant concessions in order to keep the company profitable. Now the company is turning a profit and managers are still demanding that workers submit to further cuts.
Workers are standing up for their right to retire with dignity as the company demands a freeze to their pensions.
IndustriALL general secretary Jyrki Raina’s solidarity message to the 11 December mobilization read:
"We fully support the rally, which will bring together members of USW Local 5032, their families and the community of Pittsburgh at the gates of the Neville Chemical plant later today, to end the lockout and send a clear message to the company to bargain fairly with the workers."
The members of USW Local 5032 have an average of 30 years of service at the facility. They see the lockout as a betrayal because, for years, they have sacrificed to make the company profitable, most recently agreeing to steep concessions in 2006 and 2008 to help the company survive.
See more information on the website of Fight Back Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Chapter of the USW Associate Member Programme. Fight Back Pittsburgh has supported the struggle of Local 5032 and ensured sustained support from the local community.
Fighback Pittsburgh/Workers Killin It, II
From the Capistalis Media:
Chanting “Shame, shame, shame,” protesters urging Duquesne University to stop opposing a union drive by adjunct professors rallied Thursday outside the school’s administration building, carrying 20,000 petition signatures and scorn for the school’s stance.
About 100 people listened in the rain as speakers including clergy, union representatives and academics chastised the position maintained by the Catholic university.
"The pope recognizes unions, why won’t Duquesne?" asked Joe Fahey, a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College in New York and chair of the nonprofit Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice.
In response, Bridget Fare, a Duquesne spokeswoman, said protesters’ assertions do not change what the university sees as the fundamental principle.
"The core issue here is the university’s right to religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment," she said. "The petition is not cause for us to forgo that right."
The protest began about 10 a.m. as demonstrators marched along the university’s main academic walkway, intent on delivering the petition to the school’s president, Charles Dougherty. A delegation from the group was allowed into the building with the petition and met briefly with John Plante, vice president for university advancement.
Last year, instructors at Duquesne voted 50-9 to join the United Steelworkers.
Eighty-eight people teaching class in spring and fall 2011 were deemed eligible to vote, but the outcome covered about 125 part-time non-tenure-track faculty in the university’s McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts.
Duquesne is appealing results of the election conducted under the supervision of the National Labor Relations Board. It contends the church-operated school is outside NLRB jursidiction.
During the protest, campus police kept the demonstrators across the street from the building. The crowd, many clad in yellow rain ponchos and carrying signs, chanted and applauded as speakers framed the issue as one of social justice.
"One thing the Catholic Church is real clear about [is] workers have a right to join a union," the Rev. Jack O’Malley, chaplain of the Allegheny Labor Council, said. "Workers have a right for good health care. Workers have the right to a living wage."
The Rev. Neil McCauley, a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, said the school was “tap-dancing around the federal laws, looking for an excuse to avoid implementing their own doctrines.
"Where is the log jam? Is it the [university] president? Is it the head of the religious order? Is it the board of directors, whom I’m sure do not need food stamps," he told the crowd. "Is it some rich benefactor who’s wielding his power and donations to stop a union?"
Some in the crowd noted that at one point Duquesne agreed to an NLRB-sanctioned election, only to later revise its position.
In response, Ms. Fare said other universities, including St. Xavier University in Chicago, also are challenging NLRB jurisdiction over faculty.
"The administration took another look at it and, under further review, learned that there were other schools in the same position," she said.
The drive at Duquesne was announced in March of last year amid plans by the Steelworkers to organize adjunct professors on campuses across the city. The union stated as its goals improving wages, job security and working conditions of the adjuncts, who are not tenure track and are hired course by course.
In September, an opinion piece written by a union representative about the death of a longtime adjunct instructor let go by Duquesne tapped anger nationally over conditions facing temporary campus instructors.
The university said the piece appearing on the editorial pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was misleading and exploitive, and that the school made multiple efforts to help Margaret Mary Vojtko, 83, who taught French at the university for 25 years, at one point offering to house her on campus.
In his piece, Daniel Kovalik, senior associate general counsel for the Steelworkers, said the woman was nearly homeless when she died after a heart attack in September.