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Twin Cities International Workers’ Day celebration a major success

By Mick Kelly |
April 27, 2015
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Jess Sundin of Freedom Road Socialist Organization
Jess Sundin of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Award for ongoing fight back being presented to the Welfare Rights Committee
Award of recognition for ongoing fight back being presented to the Welfare Rights Committee

Minneapolis, MN – About 90 workers, community members and students came together here, April 26, for an enthusiastic celebration of International Workers’ Day. The May Day event was organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).

Labor leaders who spoke at the international workers day celebration included Kas Schwerdtfeger, a key figure in Defeat Right to Work in Wisconsin and member of Teamsters Local 344, Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800 and Jigme Ugen, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

Jess Sundin of Freedom Road Socialist Organization told the crowd that revolution and socialism was needed to eliminate exploitation and oppression, stating, “We are not looking for kinder politicians, bosses and cops, but overthrowing the capitalist system that is organized to oppress and steal from working people. We need a revolution, to get rid of capitalism, and we need to build something new. We need socialism. Socialism is a system that puts power in the hands of working people and our class. Under socialism, no one is skimming profits for private gain, and instead, we all benefit from the work that we all do.”

Sundin also addressed the issue of the repression that has been unleashed against FRSO and others in the anti-war movement, stating, “I want to turn to the question of repression, which has been directly leveled against Freedom Road, and our friends organizing around Colombia and Palestine. Many of you stood by us when the FBI raided my home and several others four-and-a-half years ago, along with the office of the Anti-War Committee. They attempted to manufacture a case against us, claiming we were supporting terrorism - while they dropped tons of explosives over Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and more.” Sundin told the crowd, “We’ve been told the investigation remains ‘ongoing.’”

Sundin recounted battles arising from the FBI raids. “First, there was Chicano leader Carlos Montes, in Los Angeles. They tried to imprison him, but we stopped them.” The crowd cheered.

“Then it was Rasmea Odeh, a long-time Arab and Palestinian community leader. I spent a month in Detroit last fall, and many of you came out for the trial in November and her sentencing in March. Because of our work, Rasmea is at home in Chicago, organizing hundreds of Arab immigrant women today. But the fight is not over. She was convicted of immigration fraud and her continued freedom depends on an appeal. We continue to demand justice for Rasmea, and I invite any of you to join me in Cincinnati for her next court date in September.”

Cherrene Horazuk, the president of AFSCME Local 3800 told the audience, “The big picture is that capitalism is a system that will never work for workers. The work we do every day is merely enriching somebody else. We need to get beyond our narrow struggles and join together as the working class and fight for the world that we want.”

Horazuk went on to say, “I know that when we fight, we don't always win, but if we don't fight, we will always lose.”

Awards of recognition for ongoing fight backs were presented to the Welfare Rights Committee, the One State One License Coalition, and Black Lives Matters-Minneapolis.

The event ended with a children’s program, followed by the singing of The International.

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