Monday, June 6, 2011

NO to Privatization! Jobs and Justice NOW!

Memphis, TN:

TOMORROW AT 9:00AM! Stand with the workers of AFSCME 1733 as they face the threat of privatization--this is about jobs, dignity, human rights and the local that Dr. King came to Memphis and died for in 1968. There will be a picket beginning at 9:00am at City Hall, 125 N. Main.

TOMORROW AT 3:00PM! Rally to stop our city council from privatizing sanitation, slashing jobs and hours, and repealing the living wage ordinance.

TOMORROW AT 3:30PM! Tell the city council what your priorities are, and that it is inexcusable to make workers and the poor pay for the crises of capitalism!

Friday, May 20, 2011

NO to FBI Repression! END the Third Red Scare!

On May 18, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression released documents the FBI inadvertently left behind at a home during the coordinated raids on peace and international solidarity activists last September.

Among the documents were interrogation questions, which read like part of a Hollywood script parodying the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings:

- Have you ever taken steps to overthrow the United States government?
- Do you own a gun? For what?
- What is your personal view of the FARC?
- When you visited Israel, did you lie to Israelis [sic] authorities about the purpose of your trip?
- What do you think of terrorist groups? Do you support them?
- Do you have a "red" name? What is the purpose of a red name?

These absurd, intrusive questions, along with dozens of questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization affiliated with Fight Back! News*—including questions about whether they take notes at meetings, where their members are located, content discussed at meetings, whether they operate front groups, etc.—make it clear that the FBI is cracking down on organized dissent; they are threatened by any ideas that expose the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy.

The day before the planned release of these documents, the FBI and LA Sheriff's Department raided the home of veteran Chicano activist Carlos Montes due to his involvement with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and FRSO/FB.

Coincidentally, the Memphis International Solidarity Committee is a committee formed from a group of concerned citizens who met in response to an incident of harassment and intimidation from law enforcement. The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Shelby County Sheriff's Department and the Memphis Police Department's Tactical Squad disrupted socialists and activists who came together to sign FOIA requests inside the offices of the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center on a national day of action against the coordinated FBI raids. The FBI has claimed that they heard about the meeting (for which a press release was issued) through the Tennessee Fusion Center.

MISC stands in solidarity with FRSO/FB and all revolutionary groups that exercise their right and responsibility to engage in the struggle to develop policies and strategies to end the oppression of poor and working people at home and around the world.

Demonstrating the Obama administration's intensification of the disdain for civil liberties shown by the Bush presidency, the FBI and local law enforcement is constantly being exposed for raiding anarchist collectives, spying on pro-peace religious groups such as the Society of Friends or Catholic Workers, and infiltrating environmentalist or animal rights organizations. The attacks on principled dissent must end now! We STRONGLY condemn the FBI's actions, which amount to a Third Red Scare.

Download the recently released FBI documents left at an activist's home during the September raids...

More information about the document release from the Electronic Intifada...

* Two groups use the name Freedom Road Socialist Organization: Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OrganizaciĆ³n Socialista del Camino para la Libertad and FRSO affiliated with Fight Back! News.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 7, 8 & 9: The Cost of War at Home and Abroad

April 7, 2011 -
Film Screening: Budrus, hosted by U of M's Progressive Student Alliance
Callicott auditorium at Memphis College of Art
1930 Poplar Avenue

from the facebook event page:
Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about a Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites local Fatah and Hamas members along with Israeli supporters in an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Budrus shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat. The movie is directed by award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha (co-writer and editor of Control Room and co-director Encounter Point), and produced by Bacha, Palestinian journalist Rula Salameh, and filmmaker and human rights advocate Ronit Avni (formerly of WITNESS, Director of Encounter Point).

April 8, 2011 -
Teach-In: The Cost of War at Home and Abroad, hosted by MISC
University of Memphis Journalism Auditorium
3720 Alumni St. (off Patterson, U of M Main Campus)

from the facebook event page:
MISC is hosting a teach-in organized around the causes and effects of western imperialism. An educational evening full of video, speakers, and small group discussions. Guest speakers will include Huffington Post contributor Omar Baddar, and activists involved in the uprisings in Bahrain and Yemen. Admission is free, and all are welcome to attend.

April 9, 2011 -
Funeral March to Defund the Wars and Refund Our Communities, hosted by the Mid-South Peace & Justice Center with MISC, the PSA, and other community groups
National Civil Rights Museum
450 Mulberry

from the facebook event page:
April 9 marks eight years since the fall of Baghdad and a national day of action has been called to take to the streets in opposition to war at home and abroad. Join us in Memphis as thousands across the country call for an end to war and redirection of our time and resources towards building, not destroying. We will have a rally at the National Civil Rights Museum, followed by a funeral march to the river where we will honor all those who have died by sending a casket down the Mississippi.

Co-Sponsored by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, Progressive Student Alliance at the University of Memphis, Memphis International Solidarity Committee, First Congregational Church, Pax Christi Memphis, Veterans for Peace Memphis, Memphis School of Servant Leadership and a broad coalition of community, faith, and labor groups.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Please join the Mid South Peace & Justice Center, Radical Arts Memphis, the Center for Transforming Communities and MISC on Saturday, April 2 for an educational forum on homelessness.

Discussions will include an analysis of the systemic nature of homelessness and how it is manufactured and reinforced through neoliberal urban policies. A wide range of voices will explore problems surrounding affordable housing, restrictive ordinances, veterans' issues, mental illness and addiction, and the ten-year-plan to end homelessness to be proposed to the city council on April 19 that offers a housing-first approach to ending homelessness. There will also be a panel discussion with our current or formerly homeless brothers and sisters as well as spoken word and performance pieces.

Education is essential to dispel dangerous myths about homelessness, especially the pervasive myth that homelessness is a natural and necessary condition of humanity. While global capitalism ensures that there will always be segments of the population strategically singled out for the harshest segregation from society, we can still combat its effects here at home through appeals to reality--particularly the reality that homelessness exists only because we allow it to exist.

Home Sweet Homeless
April 2, 1:00-3:30pm
@ Center for Transforming Communities
258 N. Merton

RSVP on the facebook event page: Home Sweet Homeless

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Memphis Stands Against Bombing Libya

Demonstrators stood on the corner of Poplar and Highland in protest of United States' military intervention in Libya.

People speak out:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Donate to Support the Efforts of the Union Supporters

All seven union supporters were released today. Their bail, set at $2000 each, was covered by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center. Please join union members, activists, and other Tennesseans by sharing in this cost.  Small and large donations are welcome.

March 15- Anti-Labor Law Protests and Arrests

Memphis International Solidarity Committee (“MISC”) members gathered with over one thousand Tennesseans in Nashville today in protest against an anti-labor bill similar to those in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states. During a Senate Committee meeting, MISC members raised their voices in unity to draw attention to the bill, which would limit labor unions’ ability to collect dues and even strike. They chanted, “The people united will never be defeated.”

Five MISC members were arrested. Sally Joyner, Bennett Foster, Paul Garner, Jeffery Lichtenstein, Justin Sledge, and two others, Abbey Shoaf, and Ash-Lee Henderson were forcibly detained and arrested by Tennessee Capitol Police. They have been charged with resisting arrest as well as disorderly conduct. MISC recognizes that the fight for democracy and economic justice are one and the same. We stand in solidarity with those detained this evening and all those who struggle for justice everywhere.

Live Coverage..... Talking to people in Nashville

Live Coverage of Living Wages Rally

Webcam chat at Ustream

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CALL 2 ACTION: March 15 - NOON - State Capitol Building

Join the people of Tennessee in Nashville on March 15 to rally against union busting, teacher bashing, bigotry, heterosexism and a host of reactionary, anti-worker legislation. Tonight, the teachers and other public workers of Wisconsin were stripped of their collective bargaining rights through a procedural loophole. Tonight, the capitalists have proven to the world once again that they have no interest in even the veneer of democracy.

Let's stand up and fight back!

Information on the March 15 rally in Nashville:
March 15 - NOON
Capitol Hill Steps South
600 Charlotte Avenue
Nashville, TN

United Campus Workers - Rally Info
Workers Interfaith Network - Lobby Day
information about specific bills from

Saturday, February 26, 2011


What an overwhelming night! MemphisISC was thrilled to be a part of such an experience, and we thank everyone for coming out. This is just the beginning!

Please stay in touch with us through our facebook page and this blog; we will have pictures and videos up soon, and more information about the local struggles we can all engage in. Please join us and keep the conversation going--whether we are in Cairo, Memphis or Madison, WI, together, our voices are more powerful than any F-16.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

CALL 2 ACTION: March 1

H.O.P.E. Mobilization @ City Council (Mid-South Peace & Justice Center)
Tuesday, March 1: 3:30 - 6:30pm

City Council Chambers
125 North Main Street
Memphis, TN

From the event page:

For the past year MSPJC has been working with the policy and planning committee for the MAYORS’ Plan to End Homelessness in Memphis and Shelby County. At the core of all of the policy and programs within is an embrace of HOUSING FIRST principles and models and a shift towards rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing for the unsheltered. This has been a entirely data driven process, identifying best practices from cities
... all over the country and customizing them for maximum positive effect here in Memphis.

You can download a full copy of the report here.

This is the single most significant series of reforms for area homeless in modern history…. but…without your help and support, it’s just pretty words on paper.

On Tuesday, March 1st the Memphis City Council will be formally presented with this plan for approval and we need each and every one of you to join us in council chambers as we raise our voices in support of these badly needed reforms. Funding for these reforms will require some local funding from Memphis and Shelby County government, to augment existing federal and foundation dollars to be a full success. It should be noted that we could accomplish all of the goals of this plan for less than one percent of the annual operating budget of the city. These reforms will also save City and County tax dollars via decreased emergency medical cost to the MED, decreased calls to Memphis Fire and Police services and fewer 911 emergency calls in extreme weather, all of which accounts for tens of millions of dollars in government spending every year. Funding this plan is not simply the moral thing to do but it’s also in all of our long-term fiscal best interests as a community. Join us as we mobilize to support real positive change here in Memphis.

Please read the event page to find out more on why you can't miss this City Council meeting or contact Brad at the MSPJC:


Advancing Equality Day on the Hill (Tennessee Equality Project)
Tuesday, March 1: 8:00am - 3:30pm

Rhymer Gallery then together to Legislative Plaza
233 5th Avenue North Nashville, TN 37219-1901
Nashville, TN

From the event page:

We’re just over a week away from Advancing Equality Day on the Hill in Nashville on Tuesday, March 1. Tennessee Equality Project is already tracking bills like the “Don’t Say Gay in School” bill, a Birth Certificate bill, and a gender identity-inclusive hate crimes bill which are of great interest to the LGBT community.

If you haven't please your State Senator and Representative to request an appointment on March 1. Find contact ...information here: Be sure to schedule one appointment for you and others who reside in your legislative district. Share your appointment time with your County Chair if you have one.

After you've scheduled your appointment with your State Representative and Senator, share your meeting information with Tennessee Equality Project at Contact Michelle at if you have questions.

Please read the event page for detailed information on how to participate in this very well-organized lobby day for LGBTQ rights in Tennessee!

Local Artist Dwyane Butcher interviews Paul Garner about "From Cairo to Memphis"

(reposted from 

Paul Garner is an artist and musician born and bred in Shreveport,
Louisiana, currently residing in Memphis, TN. Paul is preparing to graduate with his BFA from the Memphis College of Art in May 2011. He is an active member in the MemphisISC.

Dwayne Butcher: Can you talk a little bit about the upcoming event, From Cairo 2 Memphis?

Paul Garner: The event is being held Friday, February 25th from 6-9pm in the
Callicott Auditorium at Memphis College of Art (1930 Poplar Ave). We
have several speakers talking on a range of subjects related to the ongoing revolutions across the Mid-East. I’m also really excited, because we’re going to be going LIVE with a few folks in Cairo, to get some perspective and analysis from the Arab world. We are also going to have a panel Q&A. 

Scheduled speakers will include Dr. Rob Canfield, Ahmed Zaafan (via skype),
Zeina Salem (via skype), Saad Kamel (via skype), Neal Gammill, Ahmed
Elnahas, Merci Decker, and Justin Sledge. 

DB: Why did you decide you needed to have such an event?

PG: I was at a group meeting at the (Mid South Peace and Justice Center) to discuss recent FBI raids on peace activist groups. The Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt had just happened and a lot of folks wanted to do something in solidarity with the people. We established a committee and organized a very successful demonstration at the intersection of Poplar and Highland, calling for the immediate step-down of Mubarak, an end to US funding of dictatorships, and to show solidarity with the Egyptian people. It was great event, but the situation has continued to develop and the spirit of revolution has spread. We felt that we needed to do an event specifically aimed at education, awareness, and hopefully generating a more informed dialogue between members of the Memphis community.

DB: Was MCA open to the idea? Do they have any special requests about
such an event? Are they helping you in any way?

PG: We are happy that MCA has agreed to let us use their space for the
event, and I believe there is an opening for an illustration show
dealing with topics of social justice going on simultaneously that
evening. The Student Alliance at MCA are really the folks responsible
for securing the space for us to use and we’ve had a lot of
co-operation from different faculty members and administrators. I
think it’s really significant to have something like this going on at
the Art College because it’s important that young artists are in tune
with current social/political events, especially with what we’re
seeing develop right now in the Middle-East. I think it’s a really
exciting subject for art-makers.

DB: What would you like to see happen as a result of this event?

PG: I think the main goal of the event is education, awareness, and
continued community participation. We plan to do a call to action and
provide attendees with sources for more information on ways to get
involved. Memphis International Solidarity Committee (the people who
put this thing together) are still getting organized as a group and we
hope that this and other up-coming events will foster participation
from anyone who wishes to be included. Also, more information will be
available at our new blog,

DB: Is it just about Egypt and the Middle East? What about recent
uprising in Wisconsin?

PG: Actually, one of the main focuses of the event is exploring the
various connections between the United States and the Middle East,
which includes the relationship between the struggles taking place in
the Arab World and here at home.

DB: Do you make socially conscious work? Can you talk a little bit
about your own work?

PG: Yes. Most of my work gravitates toward satire or social/political
commentary. Over the past four or five years, I have made
socio-political issues a main focus of my work. I’ve done several
pieces that deal with urban sprawl and homelessness in Memphis, which
is a huge problem here. I feel like the ability to create images is a
powerful gift. I am fascinated by the roles music, poetry and visual
art making have played as means of progressive resistance to
oppression throughout history.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


From Cairo to Memphis: A Public Discussion of Recent Uprisings In the Middle East

The local community and guests from Egypt are gathering to better understand and engage with the ongoing revolutionary activity in the Middle East and North Africa. Memphis's historical struggle with discrimination and poverty allow us to look into the unfolding of these events with inspiration and hope. In this spirit, we will explore how we can enact freedom, justice, equality, and dignity (the slogan of the Egyptian revolution) within our community. 

Panel discussion and Q&A to follow.

Free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome!