News of the week

News of Week: Week ending April 11

Here are some comments on the Derek Chauvin trial as it was unfolding plus comments on some other news, for the week ending April 11. Where I have included a few comments from others, their names are shown.


CNN summarizes prosecution’s claim that Chavin’s actions were contrary to MPD policy

Listening to MPD chief Arradondo testify. If I didn’t know better, I’d be believing that he and the police really do everything in their power to “protect and serve” the community. He is thereby headed towards helping the prosecution accomplish their goal of convincing people that what Chauvin did was totally out of sync with the MPD and therefore should be convicted.

He gave the example of the MPD hearing from the “gender nonconforming community”, having conversations with them including how the MPD interacted with them, etc. and how educational that is for members of the MPD.

“Protect and serve… protect and serve.”

Perfect example. “Professional policing” means treating people with “dignity and respect.”

So now the defense is cutting through the feel-good, nicey nicey view of the police in order to show that what Chauvin did was necessary. Supposedly.

April 6
I’m really learning a lot from watching the Chauvin trial in terms of making my theoretical ideas concrete.

You have a layer of society – black people – who in general are kept impoverished or on the brink of poverty. Those who aren’t on the brink “look” like those who are, so from the point of view of most white people, what is the difference? So, when you have a layer of society in that situation, when you have poverty amidst plenty, then you HAVE to have some force to keep them down. If that layer doesn’t openly revolt, at least they will be engaging in illegal activities, disruptive activities, in order to survive. So the police HAVE to be an oppressive force.

But the great majority of people don’t see it that way. They see the cops as being positive and necessary because capitalism, itself, is necessary. The defense has constantly raised the idea that use of force is not pretty… but it’s necessary. And the great majority of people i n the US would agree.

So the prosecution starts out with two strikes against them, mainly because it cannot challenge this narrative. Even if they did, it would be trying to undo a lifetime of “learning” in just a fee weeks.

One other point: it wasn’t just Chauvin nor was it just the cops’ kneeling on George Floyd. The first cop to approach the car that Floyd was in pulled his gun on the driver. Why? His hands were visible. That, in itself, was an assault. Second, Floyd never should have even been arrested. Anybody, your or I, could pass a counterfeit $20 bill without knowing it was counterfeit. So he never should have been arrested in the first place.

But this is all part of the “necessary” role of the police — to intimidate and hold down (both figuratively and literally at times as in this case) oppressed people.

And that’s another strike against the prosecution, because the class view of the world – class consciousness, in other words – is relatively low in the US. It’s not true that it doesn’t exist, but it is lower than in other industrialized countries. Most people see themselves as belonging to a particular “race” first and foremost, although they also would have contradictory self-identities (meaning as workers, for example). The defense is starting to play on that in subtle ways – presenting images of a dangerous black mob and a large, drugged up and violent black man vs. a white cop. The defense can’t be too blatant about it, but it’s there.

As I say, I don’t think it will be enough to win over the majority of the jurors, not even the white ones, because of the absolutely overwhelming evidence of this blatant crime. But all the defense needs is to win over one juror.

Rick Sklader

Kirsten sat down with me to catch a few minutes of the Chauvin Trial with Nelson a few minutes into his Cross Examination of MPD Chief Arredondo. Suddenly, we both blurted out Objection. We did so because we recognized that Nelson in his questioning of Arredondo is scoring points based on painting a picture about general problems police face with hostile people they’re trying to arrest and/or subdue; which is not what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd who was subdued already and not resisting with his hands cuffed behind his back sitting on the sidewalk after again being improperly removed from the squad car. The reason for the Objection is twofold. First to make the point that this trial is about what Derek Chauvin did not some Tom, Dick or Harry and secondly to break the Defense Attorney’s Narrative. The Objection would be that the question is immaterial. The Prosecution may not be sustained but nonetheless will have made their point.

I learned to utilize this technique while on Trial with other members of SDS in which 5 out of 15 of us chose to defend ourselves. We learned how to use legalisms to politically defend our actions and win the Jury over.

April 6
 John Reimann

Defense is questioning an MPD trainer. I see what he is after. I dont think he thinks he will get an outright acquittal on all charges. He is trying to open the way for just one juror to have an excuse to hold out for not guilty so there will be a hung jury.

April 7

 John Reimann

Watching the defense question this Los Angeles police department use of force expert the defense is falling back on his general strategy of throwing up so much doubt so much of a smokescreen attempting to convince people that they did not see what they saw

But one fundamental aspect of the defenses argument rest on the alleged potential threat to Chauvin both from the crowd and also from George Floyd but a fundamental tactical question must be asked: if Chauvin was under threat from the crowd the most logical response would be to stand up

 John Reimann

Watching the trial, one thing becomes clear: You can see why the single most important factor in determining the outcome of any trial is money – who has it and who doesn’t. Preparing all these witnesses and preparing FOR these witnesses on the part of the defense takes hours and hours, and somebody must get paid for that preparation.

 John Reimann

Now here’s another detail about Chauvin’s actions: The defense is trying to show that his weight was not so much on George Floyd’s neck as between the shoulder blades. From what I understand that might possibly be true but also from what I understand and I am not an expert far from it what stopped George Floyd from breathing may have been mainly the weight of three men on his body as a whole. In that case all three cops are equally guilty of murder. But again that is a problem for the prosecution which does not want to make clear how widespread brutality is in the police force

April 8

Devastating testimony from a pulmonologist explaining clearly and precisely exactly how it was that George Floyd was unable to breathe but one other point and that is from all of his testimony it seems clear to me that the cop who is next to Chauvin was also equally or almost equally guilty because of the weight he was applying to George Floyd’s body

It was interesting to hear the defense question the medical expert, Dr. Tobin. First he asked him some questions regarding his fees. It seemed he was building up to trying to personally discredit Tobin, maybe in his final summation. From there, he tried to blow a lot of smoke. He asked a lot of questions about Tobin’s analysis being about just one particular moment in time, as if other moments could be different. Then he shifted to the possible effects of heart disease, smoking, and Fentanyl. He’s going to use that in his summation. More important, as I said, I think more and more that what the defense is playing for is to give at least one juror an excuse to say she or he has “reasonable doubt” and, therefore, a hung jury. A total “not guilty” verdict I think is highly unlikely and I think the defense knows it.


One other interesting thing: I think if George Floyd died because of his position, including his arms being where they were, plus the weight on his back, then the other cop (I think it was King) is equally guilty. the defense is doing everything it can to try to show that Chauvin alone wasn’t the cause of George Floyd’s death. Why, in that case, doesn’t he bring up the other cop? Funny how solidarity works, no?


April 9

The forensic pathologist who is testifying now just went off script. She was asked about a study of police arrest in Canada in which there was some thing like 3000 instances out of over 1 million in which the police had placed the arrested person in the prone position. The defense asked her about the fact that not a single case of deaths resulted. The forensic pathologist just replied isn’t that amazing I don’t know what is happening in Canada that is different they are not a single death from this and in the United States we have several I wonder what the police are doing differently in Canada. She was of course admonished by the judge.

So what the defense lawyer is doing is something like what a magician does with constant chatter and attracting attention to one hand while the other hand is doing the so-called magic. He is questioning the forensic pathologist about George Floyd‘s heart condition which was not great and also about the presence of drugs and George Floyd system. Thereby he is drawing attention to those factors and away from the fact of positional asphyxia as it is called.

The CNN analyst commented on the defense lawyers raising a hypothetical situation that has nothing to do with these actual facts. She pointed out that that gives the prosecution the opportunity to remind the jurors once again of what these actual facts are. She then commented on how dangerous it is for the defense to use this approach. The problem for the defense is that they have no alternative but to use this approach. 

An excellent column which discusses why it is that a disproportionate number of the January 6 rioters came from areas that were mainly Democratic but which exprienced a marked decline in the non-Latino white population. This was a threat to their status as they understood it. There is an international aspect to this challenge in status which the writer doesn’t discuss: That is the decline in the power of US capitalism globally. The overwhelming majority of people in any country associate with their ruling class. A weakness in that class internationally is felt as their weakness. Trump also spoke to that decline in status – for example his attack on the Iran nuclear deal.

This feeling of a decline in status cannot be reversed by logic, nor appeals to decency, nor even by class appeals in the abstract. The only way this can be reversed is by a working class movement which makes those white workers feel powerful again, but as workers rather than as white people. See:


‘By Dec. 7, Volz had come up with an estimate by comparing the growth of B.1.1.7 with other variants that the new variant was 70% more transmissible. Even so, Volz was confused – initially – because variants sometimes show fast growth spikes, then fizzle out. But “the more we studied it, the more concerning it became,” he said.’

According to one scientist quoted in the article, the spread of this variant will “hit a wall” once enough people are vaccinated. This implies that the vaccines are effective against this particular variant. How about some new variant that can evade the vaccine?

Of Myanmar’s 600-700,000 garment workers, 70% are no longer working according to the latest info. This article doesn’t go into such detail, but the percentage is surely higher for those garment workers located in major industrial zones in the big cities, who played a very important role through their unions in the first weeks of the anti-coup uprising (other mills are scattered around the country in small towns). In Hlaingthaya, the huge factory district in Yangon, the regime burned down two Chinese factories on March 14 and then went on a rampage massacring workers in “retaliation”. That night it cut off mobile internet service for good. Much of the population of Hlaingthaya and similar industrial zones, primarily women migrant workers, have since fled back to their home villages and rural towns for fear of being totally isolated amidst continued killings.

The industrial boom in East Asia in recent decades has been based on the creation of an oppressed, super-exploitable rural proletariat which is incapable of effectively organizing itself. The continued revolution in Myanmar, which remains most powerful in the countryside even after such massacres, represents the greatest challenge that economic system has yet faced. It is *even more* vital now that the traditional organizations of labor have been busted that those of us in international solidarity find a way to actively support the continued resistance.

Nigeria is a Threat to Global Peace under Buhari.

Comrades, the president has fled Nigeria at a time the country is bleeding in all the fronts.

Every sector of the economy is down as a result of fascism and sectarianism.

Let us not make the mistake to negotiate with the bandits.

We are not interested in reforms. It is either socialism or barbarism.

We have to implement the transition program in Nigeria. We are calling on organised labour, NLC/TUC to declare the general strike today to expose the reality of the danger going on in Nigeria.

The hospitals in Nigeria has collapsed, bandits cannot allow the children go to school. The bandits in return get amnestise. Nigeria has become a threat to civilization and global peace.

We have only today to confront fascism and the sectarian bandits, neo-liberal doctrines, anti-people policies, austerity, privitisation, deregulation, commercialization and casualisation.

Let me tell you, if you have lost a loved one as a result of poor services in the Nigeria hospitals, and you voted a senile person into office who draw budgetary allocations on health yet uses tax payers money to do medical tourism and his/their families do not live in Nigeria is enough evidence that the set of bandits running Nigeria are terrible mercenaries.

solidarity with the Nigeria people and would remain in the barricades with the people who suffers in the hands of the rapists, political thugs, bandits, and kidnappers.

Gulf of the Guinea.

Where Mother Earth pulsates in every 26 seconds.

US Politics
Here is Republican in “Democratic” clothing justifying not voting for weakening the filibuster. His claim is that it is a democratic (with a small “d”) procedure because it safeguards the rights of small states like his. In actual fact, it gives disproportionate power to rural voters over urban ones. It simply multiplies the undemocratic nature of the US Senate itself, whose nature was set up that way by the framers of the Constitution as one aspect of ensuring to that the laboring masses never could really control the government.

We all know that politicians discover whatever arguments suit their interests. My belief is that Manchin has made a deal with the Republicans that if he plays ball with them, they won’t mount any real challenge to him when he runs for reelection. Now, we will see if the “left” Democrats mount a primary challenge to this reactionary. So far there is not even a rumor of this. Here is his opinion piece:

Matt Gaetz
“If I were Matt Gaetz I wouldn’t be feeling very comfortable right now.” So spoke the lawyer for Trump-act-alike Gaetz’s closest associate, Seminole County (Florida) tax collector Joel Greenberg. As we know, Greenberg allegedly was caught on camera going through the trash can looking for discarded drivers’ licenses in order to make fake ID’s. He then allegedly used these ID’s for developing a sex trafficking ring of underage girls. Gaetz was allegedly involved in all this, including transporting an underage girl across state lines for the purpose of having sex with her. There must be a reason why politicians like Gaetz are so very slimy on the purely personal level. I guess it has to do with a complete lack of human decency in any way.



BROOKWOOD, ALABAMA – “Look I ain’t been to sleep since yesterday,” said United Mine Workers of America District 20 Representative Larry Spencer as we arrived outside of UMWA Local Union Hall 2397 on Friday around noon. 

Spencer wasn’t the only one who hadn’t gotten much sleep at the Union Hall. At midnight on Thursday, more than 1,100 coal miners went on strike at Warrior Met Coal in the hills of Brookwood, Alabama, 45-minutes outside of Tuscaloosa. 

Many of those miners, particularly the “old-timers,” had been up all night getting picket signs, food, and coffee ready for picket line duty. 

It was the first time UMWA coal miners went on strike at the gigantic mine complex in 40 years. For more than 100 years, the mineworkers union in Northern Alabama has been racially integrated and in this part of rural Alabama, nearly one-third of the workers in the coal mine is Black. 

More evidence that the unions will have to transform the consciousness via injecting the class question into every aspect of US society. But how can they do that when the overall position of the leadership is that the workers are on the same team, both on the job and politically (the Democratic Party)?

‘Greetings from the Burgh, where we’re watching a live stream of the union vote at Amazon in Alabama.

No’ Votes Are Leading in Early Count Nearly 2 to 1

Here, Payday Report explains the flawed strategy of the union leadership as far as union organizing. Mike Elk of Payday explains how the union leadership relies exclusively on using the official, legal channels rather than relying on the activity of the workers themselves, including on-the-job action. So, the workers are left with the feeling of the devil they don’t know vs. the devil they know. In this case, the fact that the work force is predominantly black and Amazon used black managers to put out the pro-company propaganda also had an effect, as did the fact that some workers had had experience with the RWDSU and weren’t impressed. The result: Another defeat. full Oaklandsocialist article on rejection of the union at Amazon in Bessemer)

(See full Oaklandsocialist article on rejection of the union at Amazon in Bessemer)


An interesting article on the US economy and banking. Anybody with a further understanding of it – their comments would be appreciated

Inflation, here we come!

¾” plywood standard:

3/2020: $37.98/sheet

2/2021: $72.49/sheet

3/2021: $83.49/sheet

CNN summarizes prosecution’s claim that Chavin’s actions were contrary to MPD policy

Categories: News of the week

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