Free Leonard Peltier!

first_imgLeonard PeltierNov. 22 will mark 13,439 days of incarceration for Native political prisoner Leonard Peltier. This year’s commemoration of the National Day of Mourning, to be held in Plymouth, Mass., will once again honor Peltier, a hero-in-the-struggle who has been unjustly imprisoned since 1976.The so-called “Thanksgiving” holiday is a stark reminder of the centuries of horrific assaults unleashed against Native peoples, first by European colonizers and then by U.S. administrations. Their lands were stolen, their people killed and their cultures and languages under siege.The myth of the “benevolent Pilgrims,” so glibly portrayed in U.S. history books, sharing their bounty with Indigenous peoples, is shattered when the truth is revealed. The real story is one of bigotry, injustice and violence aimed at this country’s original inhabitants.Racist discrimination, oppression and exploitation continue today, at the hands of corporations and by governments at all levels. The economic crisis has exacerbated the Native workers’ unemployment crisis. Since the recession began, the jobless rate has doubled for these workers in the Midwest. Moreover, in the Northern Plains region, only 44 percent of the Indigenous were employed last year. Accessible jobs are often low paying and come with few benefits, if any. At least one-third of Native people are impoverished.Banks and corporations get mammoth bailouts from this capitalist government, and trillions of dollars are spent to wage war and occupy lands abroad, yet workers and oppressed people here suffer. The Washington politicians who determine national budgets should ensure living-wage jobs, housing, health care and nutritious food to Indigenous and other super oppressed communities.At the traditional National Day of Mourning ceremonies, Native speakers tell of their history, pay homage to their ancestors and speak of their struggles throughout the Americas. They relate their efforts to survive today in the face of this anti-people system.Yet, they will also celebrate their militant history — the many struggles for political, economic and social rights, and for the recognition of their sovereignty and right to self-determination. Their basic tenets of international unity and solidarity always shine through.The call for “Freedom for Leonard Peltier” has echoed worldwide as millions of people have demanded that he be released from his nearly 37-year ordeal. They deplore the many violations of his civil liberties since his arrest. Prosecutors withheld crucial evidence from his attorneys at trial, and he was then railroaded to prison, charged with shooting two FBI agents.Since Peltier’s arrest, he has had much support from Native communities and other progressive forces in the U.S. and worldwide. His supporters are now organizing a “Bring Leonard Peltier Home 2012 Concert” at the historic Beacon Theater in New York City on Dec. 14.They are working hard to raise awareness of Peltier’s cause and garner public support for him as they step up their campaign to win him clemency. There has been no response from President Barack Obama, who has been deluged with petitions with thousands of signatures for Peltier’s freedom.The ailing 68-year-old Peltier is imprisoned in a U.S. penitentiary in Florida, thousands of miles from his nation, the Turtle Mountain Band in North Dakota. His defense committee asks supporters to send letters and messages of solidarity to Leonard Peltier, #89637-132, USP Coleman I, U.S. Penitentiary, P.O. Box 1033, Coleman, FL 33521.The struggle goes on. Workers World Party stands in solidarity with all Indigenous peoples on the 43rd National Day of Mourning, as we loudly demand, “Free Leonard Peltier!”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Tribute to Leslie Feinberg

first_imgLeslie Feinberg in 1992.Photo: Bill HackwellShe brought ‘trans’ into labor’s vocabularyIn 1895, the year that Frederick Engels died, a 25-year-old V.I. Lenin wrote a tribute as an introduction to the first Russian language edition of Engels’ works. He opened with two lines from Russian poetry:“What a torch of reason ceased to burn,What a heart has ceased to beat!”These lines, which I first came across as a communist youth, came back to me again when I had to put together some thoughts about Leslie Feinberg. One could not help but notice her mind and her intellect, whether hearing her speak for the first time or again after many times. Or even in a short and pleasant conversation.Leslie was a patient but unyielding teacher. She taught us the word “transgender” as soon as it entered the English language. In 1994, at the founding convention of Pride at Work, I knew — thanks in part to Leslie — that it would not do to call ourselves just a lesbian and gay labor organization. Before the convention closed I made sure to make a motion to call ourselves the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Labor Organization. It passed unanimously. Back then it was a vanguard position. Now it is the norm in the LGBTQ movement and Leslie deserves some credit for that.Leslie and I shared the experience of being queer in a factory environment. We worked in some horrible sweatshops, she in Buffalo and I in Cleveland before I landed a UAW Chrysler job. I have met worker intellectuals in the factories, but too often they look down on their own class and tend to embrace capitalist individualist ideology. If anything, they embrace it more than their coworkers. Leslie was also a self-taught worker intellectual, but one who hated capitalism and fought for socialism.As a writer and editor, she absorbed vocabulary.  I remember writing about when George Bush stole the election in Ohio in 2004. I sent the email with the word “malfeasance” in the subject headline — but I didn’t use it in the article headline because I thought the word was obscure. But when the next issue of the paper came out, sure enough, the headline referred to “electoral malfeasance in Ohio.”Leslie loved words and words loved Leslie. But Leslie loved much more than language. She loved the species for which language is unique — she loved humanity. She loved her class, the working class, and fought for the most oppressed. She knew, even in her failing years, that three words — “Free CeCe McDonald,” chalked on a courthouse wall — would speak volumes.A warm and loving heart has ceased to beat, and the only real tribute we can pay is to fight a little bit harder ourselves for the communist future.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Youth’s visit to Moscow exposes U.S. imperialism’s lies about Russia

first_imgMoscow march against fascism in UkraineMoscow — As I arrived at the Hotel Metropol in Moscow, directly across from the entrance to Red Square, I saw the AntiMaidan demonstration being set up to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the neofascist coup in Ukraine, whose social support came from regressive demonstrations in Maidan Square in Kiev. Nearly 100,000 people marched in Moscow, representing various political forces in Russia, including the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Russian veteran organizations, Greens and Nightwolf Bikers, among many others. Their aim was to send a message that a “Russian Maidan” or a color “revolution” orchestrated by Washington or a Western non-governmental organization would be resisted. It was a show of strength among what could be referred to as patriotic Russian elements.I went to Moscow as part of a small delegation of peace activists from the United States. Our goal was to demonstrate that among working people of all countries, cooperation is possible and in our best interests. The other delegates were Óscar Hernández-Santoyo of Milwaukee, an immigrant rights activist with “Youth Empowered in the Struggle,” and Joe Iosbaker, of the Rasmea [Odeh] Defense Committee and the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.Demonizing Russia and expanding NATOIn the last few years, the mouthpieces of the Pentagon and State Department and their obedient media have once again begun hyping up the imaginary threat of the great Russian bear in the Kremlin, endlessly plotting the demise of the so-called “Land of the Free.” As Russia has begun to get back on its feet after the overthrow of the Soviet Union and the abolishment of socialist measures during the turbulent 1990s, it has once again started to stand up for itself and its allies. Russia’s defense of Iran and Syria from U.S. imperialism, while based on self-interest, is nevertheless very much appreciated by these countries as well as by anti-imperialist activists around the world. With the Russian government refusing to be pushed around at will by the U.S., it is facing “consequences.” Since 1990, NATO has expanded into 12 countries in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, most of thom are former members of the Warsaw Pact, which was the military alliance of the Soviet Union and its allies. NATO is thus encircling Russia militarily and politically. The goal is to intimidate and apply pressure on Russia, just as the U.S. did to the USSR decades ago, which had a significant role in the USSR’s dismemberment.Since the U.S./EU-backed coup in Ukraine, where the U.S. State Department handpicked the Kiev junta leadership, the Russian government has defended its interests. From Moscow’s viewpoint, the Kiev coup was one intervention, one encroachment too far. Because Moscow is standing up for its interests, the Russian government has come under attack.The result is a game of chicken between the world’s largest superpower and its NATO military bloc on one side, and Russia on the other. Russia’s large military is designed to defend Russian territory. The U.S. Armed Forces, on the contrary, stretch across a myriad of bases littered around the entire globe. Should Washington’s aggressive stance lead to conflict between two nuclear powers, it could mean the end of humanity.Our host during our stay in Moscow was Alexander Ionov, president of the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia. This is not a homogenous organization representing one ideological current. Some of its members subscribe to Korean socialism and some are “Putinists,” that is, champions of the Russian president, among other tendencies. The underlying current among the membership is staunch opposition to Western imperialism and the belief that all nations have the right to self-determination. On the wall in the group’s office are framed photographs of Hafez and Bashar Al-Assad of Syria, Kim Il Sung of socialist Korea, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara of Cuba, Moammar Gadhafi of Libya and Omar Torrijos of Panama — all political leaders that U.S. imperialism has demonized. The Anti-Globalization Movement held weekly demonstrations in solidarity with the Cuban 5 political prisoners as well as a demonstration in solidarity with the “Black Lives Matter” movement outside the U.S. Embassy. Human toll in Donbass bombingIn Donbass, the southeastern region in Ukraine that is in revolt against the Kiev regime, the U.S.-armed and -directed Ukrainian army indiscriminately bombs the civilian population. In the last year, an estimated 6,000 people have died in the fighting, many of whom are noncombatants. While in Moscow, I visited a hospital where seven Ukrainian children are being treated for injuries sustained in the shelling. One was a 10-year-old boy named Vanya, who is a famous case. One day when Vanya and his five-year-old brother were playing outside in the garden, the junta’s shelling struck their home, bringing it completely to the ground. Vanya’s brother died, and Vanya’s legs were blown off, he lost one arm, and he was entirely blinded by shrapnel. We visited others whose conditions were not as serious, but whose lives will be forever altered by this conflict that they had no responsibility for starting and had no say in. The head doctor at the facility has publicly called for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Putin to conduct their negotiations over the conflict near Vanya’s hospital bed, so they can be aware of the human toll at stake and to highlight who is bearing the brunt of the suffering.Most of the attendees at the Anti-Globalization Movement conference held in Moscow in late February were young and belonged to the organization. Besides our U.S. delegation, there was a speaker from Iran and a Venezuelan Embassy representative. The declaration of the conference, which this writer had a role in drafting, was based on mutual cooperation among the various peoples of the world. This understanding shaped the character of the event. From what I could see and ascertain, the Russian government does not seek conflict with the West, from which it can gain nothing. The sanctions imposed on them — which also affect the economy of the European Union countries — are mutually harmful to all parties, with the exception of a miniscule grouping inside the NATO sphere. The Russian ruling capitalists themselves, at this present stage, are primarily interested in commerce, and even German imperialists lose business because of the sanctions. Russian capitalists are in no way capable of, let alone interested in, landing on U.S. shores or bombing U.S. cities as they are portrayed in the Western media. To believe such tales, one would have to be completely ignorant of the balance of forces vis-a-vis NATO. Russia does not have bases stretching across the world. It does not have troops in Mexico and Canada. The vast majority of Russia’s army is behind Russia’s borders.We hope to further cultivate a relationship among the Anti-Globalization Movement, the Russian people and ourselves. To stop U.S. leaders from plunging humanity into a nuclear armageddon, we will be vocally on the side of those defending themselves from reckless imperialist aggression.Tom Michalak is an activist in Detroit with the national youth group Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST).FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Baltimore tribunal says decent housing a human right

first_imgBaltimore — In response to the deplorable and inhuman conditions of this city’s housing projects, several groups came together on April 2 for the first-ever citywide Tribunal on Housing.The Baltimore People’s Power Assembly, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Ujima People’s Progress Party sponsored the event at the St. Vincent DePaul Church in the heart of downtown Baltimore. For months, the People’s Power Assembly had interviewed and gathered information, photos and petitions from residents who have been lodging complaints against the Baltimore City Housing Authority and its commissioner, Paul Graziano. They gathered data at McCullough Homes, Poe Homes, Latrobe Homes, Douglas Homes, Perkins Homes and, last but not least, Gilmore Homes, where the arrest and killing of Freddy Grey in police custody had set off widespread protests.The trigger that led the PPA to mobilize in the communities was when a city employee, Lucky Crosby, who monitored homes needing repairs, heard a number of complaints from residents who had been threatened or coerced into having sex in return for repairs. When Crosby reported these documented incidents, he was terminated by the Baltimore Housing Commission. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Local 647 is in litigation defending Crosby, who is an executive board member of the union, over punishment he received for whistleblowing on these events. Housing Commissioner Graziano had known for some time that this extortion for repairs was going on. The PPA issued him a summons to appear before the tribunal. Sharon Black told reporters on March 29 that the summons was delivered to Graziano’s office and date-stamped by the BHC Legal Department. “We will see if he abides by the summons,” Black said. “Graziano can’t say he doesn’t know — as he did during the ‘sex for repairs’ scandal. All he has to do is attend and hear from the residents themselves and see the documentation that our residents have collected. Public housing is slum housing and is a violation of the United Nations charter on human rights.”  The PPA presented photos for the judge and jurors to examine as well as testimony from residents of different housing projects. Graziano was found guilty by the tribunal for the following housing code violations: no heat; mold; pest infestations, including mice, roaches and bedbugs; broken windows and doors; unhealthy water; broken plumbing; overcrowding; broken appliances; holes in ceilings and walls; broken railings; and lack of timely repairs, despite repeated requests by the residents. The judges were Lenora Knowles of the People’s Power Assembly, Ariane McBride of the People’s Power Assembly and Nnamdi Lumumba of the Ujima People’s Progress Party. The broadness of the tribunal was reflected in the jurors: Leo Burroughs, Committee of Concerned Citizens; the Rev. Annie Chambers, Big Mamma’s House; President Anthony Coates, AFSCME Local 647; ShaiVaughn Crawley, youth activist; Lucky Crosby, fired housing worker; attorney Carl Gentile, Union Labor Activists; Colleen Gillian, Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) youth group; President Kenneth Gwee, Christian Leadership for Economic Development; Courtney Jenkins, Postal Workers Local 181; President Lorraine Ledbetter, Poe Tenants Association; Kira Lynae, Baltimore Workers World Party; Amy Millar, Food and Commercial Workers union Local 1884; Gary Nelson, city firefighter; Leon Purnell, board member SCLC, Men’s and Families Center, Eastside; Torianne Tots, student at Maryland Institute College of Art; and Floyd Vines, J. Van Story Branch Senior Housing.Many individuals and residents testified. President Anthony Coates of AFSCME Local 647 said these problems have been ignored for 13 years.  A housing project activist said the ultimate goal of the city is to privatize housing, pointing out that $600 million of Baltimore city taxpayers’ money went to Harbor East for business development, while the city has 30,000 vacant and boarded-up homes.PPA activist Steven Ceci played a tape recording of a McCullough Homes manager threatening residents who go to the tribunal with eviction. Commissioner Graziano was also present at that confrontation to back up the manager’s threat. Floyd Vines, an electrician for city maintenance workers at the J. Van Story Branch of Senior Housing, said that “corruption is so deep in public housing that it is unfathomable.”President Lorraine Ledbetter of the Poe Homes Tenants Association testified that every time money was invested in the University of Maryland, adjacent to Poe Homes, both the city and the university promised they would also invest monies to rehabilitate Poe Homes. In 15 years, over $1 billion was loaned or invested in the UMB, yet Poe Homes still had a deficit. Ledbetter questioned why so much money went to wealthy white men for business development and not to provide housing and jobs for people living in the housing projects.People’s Judge Ariane McBride, herself a transitional housing resident, testified about transitional housing: “It is where the residents, mostly women and children, are waiting to move into established housing projects. However, the complex also is in need of repairs and is severely mismanaged.” Inspectors and managers make “surprise visits” and then blame residents for the disrepair, including broken lights and appliances. Most of the young residents with children are too scared to speak out, and so far six to seven families have lost their transitional housing status, meaning they are evicted and cannot apply for public housing for three years.One of the jurors said: “We cannot be color blind. This is a city that is almost 70 percent Black. This is a trend happening in all the large metropolitan areas of the U.S.: move Black people out of the city and give them Section 8 housing in the suburbs, then attract white yuppies into gentrified areas of the city, where they can spend their dollars and enhance the growth of the city, similar to the situation in D.C., where wealthy white folks are becoming the majority of residents.”The tribunal concluded with a number of action proposals: a fact-finding commission to continue the work with a follow-up meeting in May; a protest and caravan to Graziano’s residence; a campaign to demand jobs for housing project residents, especially the youth; that union apprentice training be given to carry out repairs and that the workers be paid $15 an hour; a campaign to stop gentrification; getting a city statute for greater whistleblower protection; and demanding a meeting with the Housing and Urban Development official at the national level.  All the judges and jurors noted this will be a protracted struggle and not a “one-shot deal.”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Harvard blockade bans neo-Nazi Bannon

first_imgChief Steward Ed Childs and Sarah Cleary of Harvard dining service workers, UNITE HERE Local 26.Hundreds of students, university workers, social justice activists and contingents of antifa and other antifascist activists from greater Boston blockaded the doors of the Kennedy School of Government in a cold, dark rain on Nov. 30, outraged that “liberal” Harvard had invited Stephen Bannon, former head of the white-suprem­acist and neo-Nazi Breitbart News, and other Trump “advisers” to a conference.Protesters viewed the “War Stories: Inside Campaign 2016” discussion as a declaration of war on campus. They came ready to fight. Without a permit and in the face of police, the crowd packed the Kennedy School entrance, chanting, “No Trump, No KKK, No fascist USA!”Cheers erupted when Tom Arabia and Zachary Lown, two organizers who put the demonstration together in 48 hours, announced that Bannon, a cowardly bigot, backed out last minute in the face of mass opposition.They called on demonstrators to keep the pressure on Kellyanne Conway, Corey Lewandowski and other Trumpsters inside and to counter the Kennedy School’s dangerous attempt to give legitimacy to racists with continued #HarvardSoFascist actions.NAACP Boston Executive Director Nia Evans applauded the mostly young, white crowd for coming out in such large numbers to fight racial hatred. Evans told the many new activists to “prepare to be in the streets every day to defend civil and human rights.”Ed Childs, cook at Harvard for 42 years and leader of Local 26’s recently victorious 22-day dining service strike, said, “The Harvard Corporation needs to immediately rescind their invitation to the bigots and warmongers. This campus belongs to the students, to the faculty, to the workers, and we didn’t invite these fascists here. They need to get off our property, now!”Nino Brown, of the Answer coalition, reminded people, “At no time in history has fascism ever been defeated by love. Fascism can only be defeated by shutting it down!”Many #JewishResistance and LGBTQ activists took the mic to denounce the Trump cabal’s Islamophobia, pledging to put their bodies on the line to defend Muslim and migrant sisters and brothers under attack.Young attorney Jasmine Gomez, a protest organizer, announced the day’s demands to rousing cheers and fists: “1. No normalization of bigotry, no platforms for hate! 2. Fire Bannon! 3. No to the Trump agenda of racial profiling, “law and order” policing, and legalizing anti-women and anti-LGBTQ discrimination! 4. Make Harvard a sanctuary school! 5. Build our movement by standing together against hate!”Steve Kirschbaum, vice president of United Steelworkers Local 8751 (Boston school bus drivers) and a Workers World Party leader, related Boston’s experience in fighting an earlier generation of white supremacists: “We’re a union that was born in the crucible of fighting fascism and racism. In 1974, we saw the ugly stench of neofascism.“They called it ‘Restore Our Alienated Rights’ then. That’s bulls–t, as much as calling it ‘alt-right’ now is bullshit. These are Nazis and Klan, and you don’t debate them, you don’t give them a chance, you shut them down!”The new generation of anti-fascists then streamed onto John F. Kennedy Street and into Memorial Drive, blasting, “Hey Trump, get out the way! Get out the way, Trump, get out the way!”FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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‘Resistencia a Trump’ se vuelve global

first_imgConsidere estos asombrosos números: 750.000 en Los Ángeles; 500.000 en Washington, D.C.; 500.000 en la ciudad de Nueva York; 250.000 en Chicago; 150.000 en San Francisco; 150.000 en Boston; 150.000 en Denver; 100.000 en Oakland; 100.000 en Londres. Estos números representan algunas de las manifestaciones más grandes que tuvieron lugar el 21 de enero (J21), estimuladas por la inauguración del racista, misógino y xenófobo Donald Trump como el 45º presidente de EUA.Se estima que más de 4 millones de personas, la gran mayoría mujeres, participaron en éstas marchas en más de 500 ciudades de EUA. También protestaron en más de 100 ciudades fuera de EUA – en todos los continentes, incluyendo la Antártida. Estas cifras estimadas fueron compiladas por Jeremy Pressman (@djpressman) en la Universidad de Connecticut y Erica Chenoweth (@ericachenoweth) en la Universidad de Denver, basados en numerosos informes de medios de comunicación, incluyendo Facebook y Twitter.Desde las masivas protestas mundiales del 15 y 16 de febrero de 2003, justo antes de la guerra contra Irak, tantas personas no habían salido a la calle el mismo día en solidaridad y resistencia, esta vez con los derechos de las mujeres como foco principal. Por la enorme magnitud numérica de estas demostraciones, las marchas del J21 no podían ser ignoradas por los medios de comunicación convencionales o la administración entrante de Trump.Lo que empezó como un modesto llamado en Facebook a una marcha el 21 de enero contra Trump por una mujer basada en Hawái la noche de las elecciones presidenciales del 8 de noviembre, explotó en un fenómeno trascendental. Los medios sociales se utilizaron una vez más como el catalizador para catapultar a millones de personas a las calles contra – sobre todo – la visión misógina que Trump representa.Y estas protestas no sólo tuvieron lugar en las grandes y medianas zonas urbanas. Según NBC News, el 21 de enero, en muchas ciudades y pueblos más pequeños, por lo menos el 20 por ciento o más de la población general asistió a las marchas J21. Para poner estos números astronómicos en una perspectiva más amplia, se estima que 160.000 personas asistieron a la inauguración de Trump en Washington, un tercio del número que asistió a J21 en el D. C. (New York Times, 22 de enero)Quién asistió a J21 y por quéMientras que en las marchas más grandes en EUA, las fuerzas del Partido Demócrata, las celebridades de Hollywood, líderes de sindicatos, elementos socialdemócratas y moderados dominaban la tarima, la mayoría de las personas en las calles estaban a la izquierda o estaban abiertas a políticas más radicales. Muchas mujeres recibían positivamente las ideas anticapitalistas y pro-socialistas.Las mujeres que asistieron eran en su mayoría jóvenes, incluyendo niñas, pero también había mujeres mayores, personas con discapacidades, lesbianas, bisexuales, transexuales y no conformistas. Aunque la composición social era abrumadoramente blanca, había muchas mujeres negras, latinas, asiáticas, musulmanas e indígenas.Los creativos carteles y banderas exigían justicia reproductiva, especialmente en vista de que la Ley del Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio fue desmantelada por Trump; En defensa de Black Lives Matter, los derechos de las/os inmigrantes y Planned Parenthood; Por $15 la hora y un sindicato; Por la vivienda, la educación, el cuidado de los niños y el agua potable; El fin de la guerra y la ocupación; Y muchos llamando a “Dump Trump” (Fuera Trump). Había carteles que decían “Hacer que América piense de nuevo”, un juego de palabras contra el tema de Trump “Hacer América grande de nuevo”, y una que decía “Lo siento mundo – pero arreglaremos esto”.Estas marchas ayudaron a empoderar a las mujeres que están justificadamente enojadas y disgustadas por el “pussy grabbing” (declaraciones obscenas y denigrantes hacia la mujer) de Trump, junto con su odio hacia las/os inmigrantes. Para esta escritora, que asistió a la marcha de Nueva York, quedó claro que las mujeres estaban de acuerdo en que cada tema social y económico es un asunto de la mujer y con la necesidad de solidaridad, especialmente con las mujeres más oprimidas y marginadas.¿Por qué J21 es tan importante?Queda cada vez más claro que un día de masivas marchas globales no revertirá los ataques globales contra los derechos de las mujeres, arraigados en la austeridad capitalista mundial. En su primer día en el cargo, Trump está avanzando con planes para menoscabar los programas contra la violencia femenina del Departamento de Justicia de EUA.Si el Congreso lleva a cabo los deseos de Trump, los programas financiados por el gobierno federal, tales como los centros de crisis de violación locales e incluso la Línea Directa Nacional de Violencia Doméstica serán cerrados. Ya ha habido un aumento en las agresiones sexuales, incluyendo violación, contra las mujeres de todas las edades – en los campus universitarios, en las escuelas secundarias, en el ejército y en el hogar.Grupos de mujeres están pidiendo a la gente que llame a sus representantes demócratas del Congreso para votar en contra de estos recortes. Pero esto no es suficiente.El Partido Demócrata ha demostrado ser impotente cuando se trata de luchar contra la extrema derecha del Partido Republicano. Esto se debe a que los partidos Demócrata y Republicano representan los intereses de los grandes negocios, no los de la clase obrera multinacional y especialmente de las mujeres.El Partido Demócrata está más interesado en recuperar los asientos perdidos en el Congreso durante las elecciones de mitad de mandato de 2018 y las riendas de la Casa Blanca en 2020. Esperan atraer a sus filas a las millones de mujeres que salieron en J21 para que voten por el PD.La clase dominante multimillonaria tenía sus esperanzas y sueños en que Hillary Clinton se convirtiera en la siguiente presidente por ser una imperialista inveterada, educada en el uso de la diplomacia para llevar a cabo recortes en el país y guerra en el exterior.Ahora, EUA corporativo tiene que depender del poco diplomático Trump para llevar a cabo la siguiente ronda de austeridad en EUA que la mayoría del mundo ha estado experimentando desde la crisis bancaria de 2007-08. Esto ha llevado a una crisis irreversible de declive para el capitalismo mundial.Mientras que la austeridad para la clase trabajadora está en un rumbo de colisión con las promesas de campaña de Trump, que prometía aumentar los empleos en EUA, su nominado para secretario de trabajo refleja las verdaderas intenciones – es descaradamente anti-obrero y pro-austeridad.No puede ignorarse que las más de 670 marchas J21 en EUA y en todo el mundo demuestran que las mujeres, sin importar dónde vivan, están sufriendo el peso de los ataques políticos y económicos de las fuerzas de la reacción.La elección de Trump ahora está alimentando las llamas de la lucha. El desafío para las/os revolucionarios en todas partes es unirse para ayudar a guiar a aquellas/os que quieren convertir la lucha en un movimiento mundial para un verdadero cambio revolucionario y sistémico. J21 muestra que las mujeres liderarán el camino de la construcción de un movimiento de este tipo.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Newark, N.J., Mayor Baraka leads trade delegation to Cuba

first_imgRas BarakaNewark, N.J., mayor Ras Baraka shared Newark’s concrete steps to overcome the economic, financial and commercial blockade imposed on Cuba by the U.S. government on March 25 at the National Conference for the Full Normalization of U.S.-Cuban Relations held here in Fordham University School of Law. It was initiated and hosted by the New York-New Jersey Cuba Si! Coalition to mobilize to end all U.S. economic, financial and travel sanctions against Cuba; to get the U.S. out of illegally occupied territory in Guantanamo; and stop all regime-change programs against Cuba.Baraka announced that the next day, March 26, he would lead a delegation of elected officials, medical personnel, educators, activists and social scientists to Cuba. The purpose of the trip is to establish trade relations between Cuba and Newark. The city, which has the largest seaport on the East Coast, is the largest seaport in the U.S  However, the port is struggling for jobs, goods and services.All U.S. systems have not worked for Black and Brown people, Baraka added. Hospital emergency rooms are being utilized because of the high cost of and limited access to health care. And hospitals are closing, replaced by unaffordable housing in Black and Brown communities.  Gentrification is not just about buildings, but about displacement and the lives of people in  existing communities. U.S. cities are overrun with homelessness and racialized poverty, said Baraka.Social changes made by Cuba can benefit Newark, stated Baraka, referring to Cuba’s nearly 100 percent literacy rate, free access to education and health care, and lower infant mortality than that in the U.S. In the city of Newark, he added that four times more babies die in their first year of life than in New Jersey as a whole. The comparison between Cuba’s health care and educational systems and those of the U.S. are embarrassing and atrocious, Baraka stated.Newark is doing things, and its relationship with Cuba may ultimately mean a matter of life and death for Newark residents, said Baraka.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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The first day in revolutionary Cuba

first_imgOct. 2 — The first full day of the 2017 “In the Footsteps of Che Guevara International Brigade” began with more than 250 delegates from 21 countries enjoying a well-prepared breakfast in the dining hall of the Julio Antonio Mella International Camp near Caimito, Cuba. As the morning progressed, many of the delegates slowly drifted away from the dining hall to explore the surrounding scenery of the camp before the start of the day’s activities.In the first item on our agenda, we marched to the monument of Julio Antonio Mella, a young revolutionary killed by the Batista dictatorship, for whom the camp is named. Upon our arrival at the site, a floral wreath was laid at the monument, and touching words were spoken by a Pioneer elementary school student in memory of Mella and the legacy he left behind.Delegations from around the world held banners, signs and flags to show their solidarity with the Cuban people. Banners from the Chicago, Albany, N.Y., and Washington, D.C., Cuba Coalitions in the U.S., and stunning banners from Chile and Greece, were joined by two handpainted Workers World Party/Partido Mundo Obrero banners. Both had portraits of Che Guevara and the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.The bilingual banner demanded “End the U.S. Blockade of Cuba/Fin al Bloqueo Contra Cuba.” The other echoed Cuba’s internationalism by opposing the U.S. war against Venezuela, Syria, Iran and the DPRK as well as demanding an end to the economic war on Cuba. A delegation of Puerto Ricans held a banner calling for an end to PROMESA, the bankers’ colonial financial control board, designed to squeeze the last cent out of the island’s working class.Walking where Che walkedAs we returned to the camp, the air was filled with enthusiastic cheers,  “Viva Cuba! Viva Che! Viva Fidel! Viva Mella!”Following the brief ceremony, the brigadistas congregated in the camp’s theater to watch a beautiful slideshow about Che Guevara.The song “Che Comandante” was the background music, and overwhelmed by emotion, everyone began to sing along, echoing the happiness felt in our hearts for the legendary man who fearlessly helped lead the Cuban Revolution.We were greeted by Fernando Gonzalez Llort, the president of Cuba’s Institute of Friendship. One of the legandary Cuban Five, Gonzalez Llort was imprisoned in the U.S. for over 15 years for defending his country against a right-wing overthrow. We also listened to inspiring stories from four of Comandante Che’s former associates.The day ended with a hearty dinner of rice, beans, chicken and ox-tail, followed by more music, singing and dancing at the Noche Cubana as we became acquainted with representatives of the global movement in solidarity with socialist Cuba. Indeed, a beautiful ending to a beautiful first day, a beautiful beginning to the brigade’s visit. For the next two weeks we lived, worked and traveled together, walking where Che walked.Adapted from a talk given Nov. 11 at a Workers World Party forum in New York City.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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‘McStrike’: Low-wage workers walkout in Britain

first_imgLow-wage workers at four companies in the retail and hospitality industry, sick and tired of being exploited on the job, staged a coordinated one-day work stoppage on Oct. 4 in six cities in England; Cardiff, Wales; and Glasgow, Scotland.They struck McDonald’s, TGI Fridays and JD Wetherspoon, demanding a $13.12 hourly minimum wage, union recognition and an end to precarious contracts. UberEats drivers joined, insisting on payments of $6.55 per delivery and another $1.31 for each additional mile they must travel per assignment.The strikers were backed by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union, labeling the fast food action a “McStrike,” and calling the walkout at JD Wetherspoon pubs a “Spoon’s strike.” Unite the Union, known as “Unite,” which has 1.2 million members, and War on Want helped build the work stoppage. Momentum, a Labor Party organization, set up picket lines at McDonald’s eateries.This is a youth-led movement, and it was inspired, in part, by the Fight for $15 an hour movement of low-wage workers in the U.S. Many strikers are young workers and students; many are members of immigrant communities. They are challenging the exploitative conditions of their employment — low-wage jobs lacking benefits are their only options. Only 8 percent of workers under 25 are unionized. Their weekly wages are abominable, while company executives roll in luxury, with exorbitant salaries and bonuses. The strikers were challenging the essence of capitalist profitmaking on employees’ backs.Boni Adeliyi, age 21, works days and nights at three jobs, including one at TGI Fridays. She explained that she was striking because the higher minimum wage would allow her to “focus on one job.” Her Unite membership gave her a “sense of safety and confidence [she] never had before,” reported the Oct. 4 Guardian newspaper.This is the eighth 24-hour walkout by Unite members employed by TGI Fridays against a change in its tip policy. Strikers say the company is pocketing their tips and ignoring their complaints.Show of solidarityTrade Union Congress General Secretary Frances O’Grady spoke at the London rally at Leicester Square. She told the media that the actions are “growing and spreading,” adding, “What I find really touching is that these are workers from different companies coming out to support each other.” (Guardian)A key struggle is over zero-hour contracts, where companies refuse to guarantee workers a minimum number of working hours, making it impossible for them to pay bills. O’Grady stressed that wealthy transnational companies “have deliberately put their workers on contracts that keep them scared. If you are on a zero-hours contract, they don’t have to sack you; they can just stop offering you shifts.”But many workers flouted their employers and walked out of their workplaces despite the risks, joining other strikers in a show of solidarity. This collective action boosted the morale of these workers and reinforced their determination to keep up the struggle for their rights and those of other workers.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Mumia speaks to Yale Rebel Lawyers

first_imgFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this On Feb. 1, students at Yale Law School courageously rescinded their invitation to Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner to be a keynote speaker at their Rebel Lawyers (Reb/Law) Conference of Feb. 15-16. This decision came after Krasner chose to appeal a court ruling that would have given political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal access to new Post Conviction Act Relief hearings. In Krasner’s place, the students invited Abu-Jamal to address their conference. The following is a transcript of his recorded speech.  Dear Friends at Yale Law School, Dear Rebel Lawyers — On a Move!When I think of the term “Rebel Lawyers,” the first things that come to mind are jailhouse lawyers. They are, by definition, rebels who oppose the prison-industrial complex, especially the courts. Jailhouse lawyers fight for freedom, for themselves and others, and sometimes they prevail. Some jailhouse lawyers, like John and Mo Africa of the MOVE Organization, defended themselves at trial and won acquittals. Because such men and women aren’t trained in the law, and do their work using logic and sheer will, they fall under the description of Rebel Lawyers. But I’ve got a feeling that this isn’t what students at Yale Law think of when they use the term. If you’re really interested in that subject, I urge you to see my book, “Jailhouse Lawyers.”Let us return to Rebel Lawyers, but with a peculiar twist. Two revolutionary leaders — Fidel Castro and Nelson Mandela — went to law school, but found that law, and the systems they lived under, were so corrupt, so biased, so dominated by unjust political elites that they learned that their very society had to be radically transformed before the law could be functional. The two men are rarely thought of as lawyers, even though both studied law, and one even briefly practiced it. Castro went to law school under the Cuban dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista — a tool of U.S. imperialism and a supporter of the American Mafia. Mandela earned his law degree under the racist National Party, which ruled South Africa with brutality and what they called “apartheid” — Afrikaans for “separateness,” a system of domestic colonialism that deprived all Africans of their most fundamental human rights. Both Castro and Mandela rebelled against such unjust systems and joined revolutionary movements to try and reform those societies. They are the very epitome of Rebel Lawyers. Unless I’m dead wrong, I don’t think there is a Fidel or a Nelson in this audience. But I’ll be glad to be wrong.The next rebel lawyer is a little closer to the mark. He is Clarence Darrow, who lived during the late 19th and early 20th century. He was a brilliant lawyer, a socialist back when millions of Americans voted for socialists, and an atheist. In 1902, Darrow went to the Cook County Jail in Chicago and spoke to the prisoners there about law. Here’s a little something of what he said: “See what the law is. When these men — the rich — get control of things, they make the laws. They do not make the laws to protect anybody. Courts are not instruments of justice. When your case gets into court, it will make little difference whether you are guilty or innocent, but it’s better if you have a smart lawyer. And you cannot have a smart lawyer unless you have money. “First and last, it’s a question of money. Those people who own the Earth make the laws to protect what they have. They fix up a sort of fence, or pen, around what they have, and they fix the law so that the fellow on the outside cannot get in. The laws are really organized for the protection of the men who rule the world. They were never organized or enforced for justice. We have no system for doing justice. Not the slightest in the world.”Those are the words of Clarence Darrow, one of the original Rebel Lawyers.In September 1925, Dr. Ossian Sweet of Detroit, was charged — and convicted — of murder, after shooting at a mob of whites assembled to attack his home for being a Black man who dared to move into a white area. When he was granted a retrial, Clarence Darrow took the defense case and won an acquittal. You law students should read the closing arguments, for you will read some of the finest arguments ever made in an American courtroom. I leave that to you, if you’re interested. Now I use Darrow as a model for rebel lawyers for a reason. You, as law students, have a wealth of doors open before you. Indeed, some of you will go into prosecutors’ offices and work to help build and strengthen the bulwark of mass incarceration. Why? Because the lure of power is powerful!How do you think mass incarceration came to be? Was it a mistake? No. Back during the early 1980s, neoliberals took power in major American cities and waged war on Black communities, led, more often than not, by Democrats like Philadelphia’s first Black mayor, Wilson Goode, who brought the infamous MOVE bombing into being. Shortly before him, District Attorney Edward Rendell would join with former Mayor Frank Rizzo to give his blessing to the Aug. 8, 1978, attack on MOVE. Several years later, Rendell would announce an end to the prevailing prison system by saying that prisons would no longer do rehabilitation. Their job, he said, was incapacitation.Thus we saw the so-called drug war achieve hyper status, with neoliberals joining conservatives to enact mass incarceration on a scale the nation and the world had never seen before. It should not therefore surprise us that Pennsylvania has the highest number of juvenile lifers on earth. Bipartisanship between neoliberals and conservatives built the monster we now call “mass incarceration.” No so-called “progressive prosecutor” can or will un-build it. That’s because it took the entire system — DAs, judges, cops, defense lawyers and prison administrators, not to mention the media — to collaborate on a monstrous project like mass incarceration. Only mass resistance can abolish mass incarceration. In other words: only a mass movement. Movements like Black Lives Matter or, for that matter, Reb/Law — movements of law students who stay engaged after they become “lawyers” and say “no” to monsters like mass incarceration and its architects. That’s why it’s important to make note of Darrow’s early days. He began his career as a corporate lawyer and made a pretty penny representing the people he would later call “the men who rule the world.” But his 1894 meeting with socialist activist and leader Eugene Victor Debs was transformative. Darrow resigned from his corporate clients and,  at serious financial sacrifice, began representing those who opposed the economic elites.He represented Debs at a federal espionage trial four years later and lost. But Darrow — socialist, anti-racist atheist — had begun his long walk as a rebel lawyer. He opposed the death penalty and represented 100 clients facing death — and never had a single one go to death row.And speaking of the death penalty, I want you to know that this isn’t my first trip to Yale. For in 1991, the Yale Law Journal published my essay, called “Teetering on the Brink between Life and Death.” It’s in Volume 100. One of my lawyers was exulted, saying, “I made law review!” I calmly replied, “Hmm, you’re right! And I didn’t take a class.”I thank you for inviting me back and welcome the work to come to abolish mass incarceration. From Imprisoned Nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.last_img read more

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