Friday, October 31, 2008

Oct 18 &19th: ICE Immigration Raids In Lansing Area

From the Lansing based community center, NorthStar

Across greater Lansing, MI this past weekend (Oct. 18th & 19) several immigration raids and detainment's occurred, carried out by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). ICE is a Department of Homeland Security under provisions of the Patriot Act.

Detentions resulted from raids at two restaurants and an apartment complex. Another detention occurred when a motorist working on a vehicle on the side of the road was stopped and questioned by ICE, and then arrested. All together there are 6 confirmed arrests and at least 3-6 more that have yet to be confirmed.

There is a need to speak out against these raids and detentions. ICE engaged in several actions that can only be considered as racial profiling and repression. Nothing else can explain why a motorist would be stopped and arrested by ICE agents while working on his vehicle. Its unlikely
that Homeland Security agents would stop this person other than that they were seeking out people of identifiable Latino/Chicano origins.

The arrests this past weekend are part of a larger national ICE campaign of raids and detentions. Thousands of working people are being arrested. Families and communities are being broken up. Those detained are being placed in crowded jails or in makeshift detention facilities that resemble those run by the United States government at Guantanamo Bay. Access to these facilities by lawyers and families is restricted in some instances, making communication between those detained and their families and communities difficult or impossible.

These are the first Immigration raids that have hit close to home, but over the past year there have been immigration raids in Grand Rapids, Detroit, Jackson and the Ypsilanti area. ICE
operations have been carried out with what amounts to terror campaigns with ICE officers kicking in doors, throwing people to the ground, and having drawn and loaded firearms pointed at families including mothers and their children. We need to wake up, these Gestapo tactics have been happening across the country and now they have come to our own back yard.

What Can We Do?

We need to inform those vulnerable to raids on how to protect themselves as much as possible. We need to speak out against the attacks on our neighbors, co-workers and community members. We need to start talking about what is going on and then take steps to do something about it. An Immigrant Rights Coalition of organizations and community members needs to come together and speak out PUBLICLY against the raids and educate people on how best to protect themselves. We hope this can be a collaborative effort between people and organizations from across the greater Lansing Area.

We call on our fellow citizens to defend all members of our communities against these ICE actions. Raids by ICE must be put in the context of the broader attacks being leveled against working people. As our communities face mounting troubles - economic and social - we cannot allow ourselves to be divided.


more news:

The raids were broader than first thought, with 64 people being arrested.

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Service confirmed today that they had detained 64 people over the course of last weekend in the
Lansing area for immigration violations.

See the rest of the story here

and story with video here

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Detroit,: Highland Park fire kills 4

Woman, 3 children die in Highland Park blaze

Video from WSWS: Detroit residents denounce social decay in fire deaths

Monday, October 27, 2008

Soul survivor... the veteran who gave Motown its voice

Reposted from Ireland's edition of the Independent

Oct. 25th, 2008. Levi Stubbs, who has died aged 72, was one of the most distinguished soul singers of his generation and, as lead singer with the Four Tops, a pioneer of the Motown sound that dominated the pop charts in the 1960s.

Between 1964 and 1968, the Tops enjoyed 12 Top 20 American hits, including I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honeybunch), It's The Same Old Song and Bernadette.

But perhaps the group's -- and Stubbs's -- finest moment was Reach Out, I'll Be There, a number one record in 1966 which characterised the Motown sound at its most sublime, with its galloping rhythm and symphonic orchestrations, and Stubbs's soulful, beseeching baritone pitched somewhere between a cry for help and a prayer against the silken harmonies of the other Tops.

Like most of the group's greatest hits, that song was written and produced by the team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland (H-D-H), the most consistently inventive and successful partnership at the Motown "factory".

For the Four Tops, they produced songs that were perfectly measured to Stubbs's declamatory, pleading style -- love songs tinted with desperation and melodrama in which Stubbs was usually cast as a wounded lover, begging for release or redemption.

"He would feel that type of thing, and he'd be able to sell it because he's basically a dynamic singer anyway," Eddie Holland once recalled.

The English songwriter, Billy Bragg would pay tribute to the emotional force of Stubbs's voice in his 1986 song Levi Stubbs' Tears: "She takes off the Four Tops tape and puts it back in its case / When the world falls apart some things stay in place / Levi Stubbs' tears ... '

Levi Stubbs was born in Detroit on June 6, 1936 into a family with a strong musical tradition. The soul singer Jackie Wilson was a cousin, and his brother Joe Stubbs sang with the Detroit R'n'B group the Falcons.

His singing career began in 1954, when he started performing with three other high-school students, Lawrence Payton, Abdul "Duke" Fakir and Renaldo "Obie" Benson, as the Four Aims.

Two years later, the group changed their name to the Four Tops, supposedly to avoid confusion with another popular vocal group, the Ames Brothers.

The Tops performed in supper clubs and lounges, and made records for Red Top, Riverside and Columbia, with no great success. In 1961, they were approached by a young entrepreneur, Berry Gordy. An erstwhile boxer, Ford production-line worker and songwriter, Gordy had recently founded the record label, Motown, gathering around him a crop of fresh young local talent that included Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells and the Temptations.

The Four Tops were seasoned veterans, but Gordy was determined to bring them to the label. "Smooth, classy and polished, they were big stuff," Gordy remembered. "I wanted them bad."

The Tops were initially sceptical, particularly when they learned of Gordy's policy of not allowing his putative signings to take contracts away from the office to study at their leisure. They persuaded him to make an exception in their case.

It was two years before they came back, explaining that while the contract was satisfactory they had doubts that a small, black-owned label like Motown could survive.

Their first Motown recording, a vocal jazz album, Breakin' Through disappeared without trace. For a while they marked time providing backing vocals for other Motown acts, including the Supremes.

Their first H-D-H production, Baby I Need Your Loving, in 1964, reached number 11 in the US charts, and they enjoyed their first number one, I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honeybunch), the following year.

The group would become popular in Britain, where, for a while, they enjoyed the distinction of being Motown's biggest-selling act.

Like Eddie Kendricks with the Temptations, and Diana Ross with the Supremes, Stubbs might easily have left the group to pursue a solo career.

But he remained loyal to his friends, arguing that the group could never break up -- "We'd be lost, baby lost without each other turning up for a game of cards or a sing-through."

The group would retain the same personnel until 1990, and the death of Lawrence Payton.

In 1967, H-D-H fell out with Gordy over profit-sharing and royalties, leading to their departure from the company.

The Four Tops' fortunes suffered, and in 1972 they too left Motown following a contractual dispute. Over the following years, recording for ABC and Casablanca, they enjoyed hits with Keeper Of The Castle, Ain't No Woman (Like The One I've Got) and When She Was My Girl, all of which displayed the group's customary polish without ever reaching the heights of their Motown work.

A glowing exception was the duet which Stubbs recorded with Aretha Franklin, I Want To Make It Up To You, in 1982 for her album Jump To It -- a smouldering call and res-ponse.

In 1983, the Four Tops returned to Motown.

But the homecoming was shortlived, and they moved on to Arista, for which they recorded the grating novelty song Loco In Acapulco, which gave the group their last British Top 10 hit, in 1988.

Their recording career effectively over, the Four Tops continued to tour and perform. Ill health finally led to Stubbs retiring from the group in 2000.

Levi Stubbs is survived by his wife, Clineice, and five children.

FAREWELL TO A MOTOWN LEGEND: Four Tops singer's legacy will live on

Friday, October 3, 2008

Understanding the capitalist crisis and financial meltdown

Paul Bowman of the Irish anarchist organization, the Workers Solidarity Movement (WSM), presents a talk of the nature of the current crisis and a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) both from the perspectives of the capitalist ruling classes as well as for revolutionary anarchists and the anti-capitalist movements.

While Bowman is speaking to an Irish audience, he makes his presentation relevant on an international basis, just as this recent crisis of capital is itself international.

Solidarity & Defense hosted this past April a presentation by a member of the WSM. The event was held in downtown Detroit.

listen to the audio talk by Paul Bowman here, The cause of the crisis and the opportunites it presents