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Looking back at the key struggles of 2014

By staff |
December 31, 2014
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Minneapolis, MN - As 2014 comes to an end, we pause to look back at some of the most important Fight Back! stories of the past year. 2014 has seen an upsurge in many struggles - and Fight Back! has been there on the front lines with on-the-spot reporting and timely analysis.

There were many excellent Fight Back! stories this year that aren’t listed here -- you can see them all at the archive. (Also see the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 retrospectives).

If there were other Fight Back! articles you liked this year that aren’t listed here, let us know in the comments!

Rasmea Odeh

This year Fight Back! gave extensive coverage to the important struggle to stop political repression against Palestinian-American leader Rasmea Odeh. Here is a list of the coverage. The struggle to keep Rasmea Odeh free continues - find out what you can do at stopfbi.net.

Stop racist police brutality! #EricGarner #MichaelBrown

As the movement against racist police killings took off this year, Fight Back! reported from the front lines with extensive coverage on the movements for justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

Fight Back! had several eyewitness accounts from protests that rocked Ferguson, MO (more here, here, here, here, here, and here).

This movement reverberated around the whole country and even internationally, with connections being made to struggles around the world including in Palestine. We covered dozens of protests sparked by the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown from Utah to Florida to Milwaukee.

This year activists in Jacksonville, Florida won a victory in the struggle for justice for Jordan Davis. Fight Back! also covered Milwaukee protests demanding Justice for Corey Stingley, as well as protests from Nashville to New Jersey.

In addition to front line coverage, Fight Back! also provided political analysis, arguing that police and vigilante murders of African Americans are rooted in national oppression, and demanding justice for Michael Brown and for Jordan Davis.

Economy

Fight Back! covered the ongoing struggle to restore Extended Unemployment Compensation (EUC) for the millions of unemployed. The bill was bottled up in the U.S. Congress. While unemployment compensation was not forthcoming, the welfare rights movement continued to mobilize in Minnesota and other states.

This year Fight Back! analyzed how even though the economy was growing, working people didn’t benefit and income inequality continued to rise while labor force participation rate continued to decline.

And like usual, government austerity was good for profits, but bad for workers and oppressed people.

Labor movement

In 2014 Fight Back! continued in-depth coverage of workers’ struggles at UPS. In April Fight Back! analyzed how Teamster leadership hammers through UPS contract despite mass opposition by members. We covered how young UPS workers are fighting back, as well as sharp struggles in New York where UPS workers went out on strike to protest an unjust firing, then in retaliation UPS discharged 249 of the NYC strikers until Teamsters Local 804 and other workers around the country forced UPS to rehire the drivers. In Florida, a rank-and-file Teamster's grievance stops illegal UPS low-wage golf cart delivery.

Fight Back! gave in-depth analysis of how UPS and FedEx are owned by most of the same monopoly banks.

In February protests targeted Staples union busting against postal workers.

Nationally, the Supreme Court case Harris v. Quinn was a wake up call for labor. Fight Back! also analyzed an auto parts strike that achieved a major victory - no more two-tier wages at Lear Corporation, and published lessons from the UAW’s defeat at Volkswagen.

Fight Back! covered this year’s Labor Notes Conference as well as this summer’s AFSCME International Convention. This summer there was also a major commemoration in the Twin Cities as labor activists marked the 80th anniversary of the historic 1934 Minneapolis truckers strike.

In Florida, Immokalee workers demanded higher wages from Publix. In Minnesota, St Paul teachers and supporters protested the school board as part of a militant contract campaign that almost ended in a strike and won victories for teachers.

Oppressed nationalities

In Jacksonville Florida, the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition led struggles to successfully change the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School, led protests outside the trial of Michael Dunn, the racist vigilante who murdered 17-year-old African-American youth Jordan Davis, and campaigned to demand the resignation of State Attorney Angela Corey after the verdict.

In San Jose, 34th annual Day of Remembrance was commemorated. In Milwaukee, bridges were built as Black and Brown solidarity rally condemned both deportations and police brutality in Milwaukee. In Tennessee, protesters rallied against Nazis.

In North Carolina there was a huge turnout for the Historic Thousands on Jones Street march, while the Moral Monday movement spread to Florida. Also in Florida, the Dream Defenders confronted lawmakers, Governor Scott, at the opening of the legislative session.

The Chicano struggle continued this year, from the 44th anniversary of the Chicano Moratorium, to commemorating the 1968 high school walkouts to the ongoing struggle for ethnic studies in California. In December, veteran Chicano movement leader Carlos Montes announced his intention to run for Los Angeles City Council.

Texas’s execution of Mexican national Edgar Tamayo on Jan. 22 sparked worldwide outrage.

Fight Back! took on racist misconceptions and stereotypes while explaining the real significance of Cinco de Mayo.

Indigenous struggles made gains this year as cities such as Minneapolis changed Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day, and the movement against racist sports mascots grew as thousands said “We’re not mascots”.

Immigrant rights

The immigrant rights movement won a major victory (though partial and temporary) when President Obama was forced to defer deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrants via executive action. Fight Back! covered the movement demanding executive action all year. The Legalization for All Network analyzed Obama’s executive action and the ongoing struggle to win legalization and full equality for all.

This victory was won through mass movements taking bold action such as when Milwaukee community members disrupted Obama, and when Milwaukee activists shut down ICE.

In addition to this national victory, there were several local victories against deportations this year, including in Tampa and Minneapolis, as well as a statewide victory for tuition equity for undocumented students in Florida.

When thousands of Central American children fleeing poverty and violence and arrived at the U.S.-Mexican border this summer, Fight Back! provided anti-imperialist analysis of the Central American refugee children: Victims of U.S. intervention in Central America, and also covered protests like one in Minneapolis and one in Tampa demanding that these children not be deported.

Student movement

There were many exciting actions in the student movement in 2014. Fight Back! covered the Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s Student Commission meeting and plans for 2014.

Florida students won a statewide victory Tuition Equity for undocumented students, while students in Tallahassee organized to prevent FAMU-FSU College of Engineering split. Also in Florida, the Dream Defenders confronted lawmakers, Governor Scott, at the opening of the legislative session.

In California, the ethnic studies fight deepened as the fight for Black, Chicano Studies built at CSULA.

In Minnesota, SDS organized a large protest to confront Bush Administration war criminal Condoleezza Rice, while FSU students disrupted FBI recruitment and Milwaukee students disrupted CIA recruitment.

Anti-war/international solidarity movement

The anti-war movement was active in 2014. In January a South Florida rally demanded the closing of Guantanamo now. In Chicago the Anti-War Committee campaigned against Boeing’s killer drones, including running an anti-war activist for a spot on Boeing’s board of directors, and Minnesota activists also confronted a major drones advocate. Arizona protests targeted joint U.S./Colombia military exercises. Protests around the country protested ongoing U.S. war in Iraq and Syria.

When the mass media went into overdrive to promote U.S. intervention in Nigeria in response to the kidnapping of more than 200 girls, Fight Back! published a mother’s anti-war editorial on #BringBackOurGirls.

Palestine

In 2014 Fight Back! covered the ongoing Palestine solidarity movement, including a huge march for Palestine in Washington DC, the campaign targeting Boeing Company for their role in killing Palestinians, and massive protests around the country protesting Israel’s assault on Gaza. In October, Hatem Abudayyeh analyzed the lessons of Gaza, and the tasks of the U.S. solidarity movement.

Political repression

There were several victories against political repression this year, such as when the Cubans 5 won freedom, when Sami Al-Arian was freed at last, and when Lynne Stewart was freed.

Fight Back! also continued to cover the case of the Anti-war 23, noting the fourth anniversary of the September 2010 FBI raids on anti-war & international solidarity activists, and covering the unsealing of documents used for the 2010 raids on anti-war activists.

Fight Back! also covered the Osmakac trial and a panel featuring Lynne Stewart and CeCe McDonald.

Ukraine

This year Fight Back! covered the U.S./NATO intervention in Ukraine and the anti-war movement as well as resistance movement in Ukraine.

The anti-war movement said no to U.S. intervention in the Ukraine, as Western-backed Ukrainian fascists burned trade union building in Odessa and Ukraine’s phony elections made a billionaire the new president.

Fight Back! analyzed the Crimea reunion with Russia, and how the resistance in Donbas challenges U.S. backed Ukrainian fascists. In December Fight Back! published an exclusive interview with a Donbass resistance fighter.

In covering the anti-war movement from Newark to Tucson, Fight Back! also covered the controversy that erupted at a protest at the Chicago Ukrainian Consulate in March with the International Socialist Organization (ISO).

Syria

As U.S. intervention sharpened in Syria, Fight Back! provided coverage of anti-war protests, and provided eyewitness reporting from the Syrian elections in June and then follow up reporting afterward.

Fight Back! also gave analysis of U.S. imperialist goals in Syria: U.S. trying to oust Assad by any means possible, aims for compliant Syria.

Mexico

As the U.S.-backed Mexican government’s repression and impunity deepened the political crisis in México this year, self-defense movements sprouted up in parts of the country. In late 2014, 43 Mexican student activists were disappeared from the rural teachers college in Ayotzinapa, sparking a massive movement that has rocked México. Fight Back! demanded justice for the Ayotzinapa Teacher College students and covered protests in the U.S. calling for justice for the 43 missing Mexican students.

Presente!

Several important people in our movements passed away in 2014, including Leslie Feinberg, Yuri Kochiyama, Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, long-time rank-and-file Teamster leader Peter Camarata, Amiri Baraka, and people’s songster Pete Seeger.

Fight Back! also covered the passing this year of Israeli war criminal Ariel Sharon.

Culture

Fight Back! reviewed the new movie Cesar Chavez as well as the movie Stalingrad. A review of House of Cards analyzed how the Netflix series exposes the dictatorship of the 1%.

Socialism

In December Fight Back! published a report on Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s 7th Congress and Main Political Report. In February Fight Back! reported on the FRSO Student Commission meeting and plans to build the student movement in 2014.

As the Ebola crisis quickly spread out of control, Fight Back! covered socialist Cuba’s leading role in the international fight against Ebola. This is a result of socialist Cuba’s world-class medical system, which boasts an infant mortality rate lower than the U.S.

Celebrating International Women’s Day and May Day

Freedom Road Socialist Organization explained the reasons to Celebrate International Women’s Day 2014. Fight Back! covered International Women’s Day events from Gainesville to Chicago to Utah to Miami.

Fight Back! also extensively covered International Workers Day (May Day) again this year, including analysis from FRSO, coverage of immigrant rights and workers rights protests and events from Jacksonville to Gainesville to Utah to Milwaukee to Los Angeles to Minnesota to Tucson to San José.

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