Defund the Police!
The people of the United States reacted in horror to the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police (See Lilac’s statement here). Thousands took the streets in Philadelphia alone to defund the police and stand against police brutality. The Philadelphia Police Department responded by attacking protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Mayor Kenney rescinded his initial call for a $19 million dollar increase in the Philadelphia Police Department’s budget, and City Council approved a budget that transfers an additional $14 million in police spending to the city’s managing director’s office. This token “cut” is insufficient and a number of organizations are demanding a cut of $120 million in the police budget. This money could be used to fund public programs and some activists are also calling for an investment in stimulus funding specifically for the Black community.
Join us on Tuesday to march against the city’s austerity budget and defund the police! The march will start at 3 PM at Broad and Snyder. You can RSVP to the Facebook event.
Rick Krajewski and Nikil Saval Win!
Insurgent, Lilac-endorsed candidates Nikil Saval and Rick Krajewski won both of their Democractic primaries by HUGE margins! These districts are Democratic strongholds and we expect both candidates to win the General Election. Nikil Saval is running for Pennsylvania’s first senatorial district and Rick Krajewski is running to represent the 188th district in the State House. Great work everyone!
- Lilac General Meeting: Online on Sunday, June 28th at 2:00 PM. Check the Facebook event for details on how to join.
- Red Rogues Socialist Trivia Online: Every Monday from 5:30 - 6:30 PM.
- Socialist Book Club - Hammer and Hoe: Saturday, June 27th at 1 PM. The zoom link will be posted in the Facebook event.
Help Wanted (reach out here if interested)
- The Newsletter is looking for people to write news summaries, provide original content, and take photographs.
- We are starting up our Mobilizer Program! We need help doing outreach.
Local News Summaries and Links
- Mayor Kenney has a long record of standing up for the police department. The City wasted $50 million renovating the Provident Mutual Building at 46th and Market as a new police headquarters while Kenney was on City Council. That project was a failure so Mayor Kenney has decided to renovate the former Inquirer Building on North Broad. This new renovation will cost additional $250 million. Without including the cost of the new headquarters, Kenney has increased the police budget 30% during his tenure, undermined transparency in complaints against cops, and neglected to substantively change arbitration policies that allow officers guilty of crimes to stay on the job.
- The mayor proposed cutting almost $45 million from the Housing Trust Fund and the Basic Systems Repair Program, which create affordable housing and help homeowners maintain their homes, after the coronavirus caused a drop in city revenues. Also, the city has received $11.5 million from the federal government for emergency rental assistance. 13,000 city residents applied for assistance from this program, but funds ran out after only 4,000 households. To help remedy the housing emergency, City Council has passed a new Emergency Housing Protection Act [Lea en español], and Kendra Brooks has proposed nixing what remains of Philadelphia’s 10-year tax abatement. In the meantime, unhoused people and their advocates, Occupy PHA and the Revolutionary Workers Collective, have established a homeless encampment on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
- Protest observers were attacked by violent vigilantes egged on by police at Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia (See Lilac’s press release here). These vigilantes occupied the area to protect the statue of plunderer and slave dealer Christopher Columbus. Mayor Kenney is considering removing the statue.
- The Philadelphia Student Union is circulating a petition to remove school police from public schools, and Kendra Brooks has called for defunding the school police. The petition reads in part, “We believe that black lives matter. We believe it’s time this country addressed the role of police in maintaining white supremacy and control.” Sign the petition by clicking here.
- Philadelphia Energy Solutions will not be required to pay back the United States government for the unpaid credits that allowed the refinery to continue operating without using renewable resources, according to a recent ruling handed down by the US bankruptcy court in Wilmington. This ruling has cleared the way for Hilco Redevelopment Partners to purchase the property and create a mixed-use industrial site that they say will employ 8,000 construction workers and offer 10,000 permanent jobs at the cleaned-up site. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson has introduced a bill to city council to continue the site’s expiring Keystone Opportunity Zone’s tax breaks for the new owners.
The Lilac Newsletter Group