Fight Back! - News and Views from the People's Struggle This newspaper exists to build the people's struggle! We provide coverage and analysis of some of the key battles facing working and low-income people. es Tucson demands “U.S.-NATO hands off Syria” <p>Tucson, AZ - Nearly a dozen anti-war activists answered the call for an emergency rally Friday afternoon, October 11, to make the demand that the U.S. and NATO member Turkey leave Syria. Amid rush hour traffic moving through downtown, there were several honks of solidarity with the message on posters saying: “U.S.-NATO out of Syria” and “U.S. hands off Syria.”</p> <p>Earlier in the week, President Trump announced that U.S. troops would be leaving northern Syria. This created an uproar in the corporate mainstream media that the U.S. would be “abandoning an ally” in regional Kurdish forces. A few days later, Turkey, a U.S. ally and NATO member, began an aerial bombing campaign aimed at targets just across the Turkish border into northern Syria, its most oil-rich region. While Turkey’s recent actions need to be condemned strongly, U.S. attempts to destroy Syria set the stage for recent events.</p> <p>“The Tucson Anti War Committee wanted to demonstrate our anger at the continued U.S. meddling in other countries’ affairs that have disastrous consequences for those people. We know the U.S. was only using the Kurds to try to balkanize Syria because the Syrian Arab Army, with help from Iran, Russia and others, have successfully defeated the coalition of terrorist groups backed by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel. We must oppose the most violent regime on the planet: U.S. imperialism currently led by billionaire president Donald Trump,” stated co-organizer Brian Dutz.</p> <p>“Turkey has long been a junior partner of U.S. imperialism through NATO, but we know that calls for continued U.S. intervention in Syria to help the Kurds is not the solution. We uphold the right of self-determination for Syria, and the U.S., with its 12 military bases in northern Syria, violate that right,” Dutz continued.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Antiwar Movement Tucson Anti-War Committee Mon, 14 Oct 2019 06:39:54 +0000 Fight Back 7631 at Minneapolis overpowers Trump rally with mass protest <p>Minneapolis, MN - Thousands of people poured into the streets on October 10 to resist the reactionary rally held by President Donald Trump in the heart of Minneapolis. Long targeted by the president’s racist incitement against the city’s immigrant, Muslim and Black communities, Minneapolis rose to the occasion with a massive display of righteous militancy.</p> <p>The evening began with several marches converging from multiple directions onto the Target Center stadium where Trump was set to appear. One march, organized by over a dozen union locals and labor organizations, shut down traffic for miles as well as a major bridge over the Mississippi River.</p> <p>At the intersection of 6th Street and 1st Avenue outside the Target Center, Trump supporters were forced to run a gauntlet of thousands of protesters in order to reach the venue entrance. Surrounded by the crowd, they were met with jeers and taunts at point-blank range, the MAGA hats ripped from their heads. Everyone from Somali women, to working-class retirees, to queer youth, jostled for a chance to express their rage at the supporters of a president who has brought uncertainty and worsening oppression onto their communities.</p> <p>Even armed brownshirt militias, like the Oath Keepers, who had confidently proclaimed their intention to “protect” the Trump rally, were helpless against the overwhelming demonstration of people power. Multiple attempts by police to enter the crowd were repulsed throughout the night.</p> <p>The jam-packed crowd sprawled down the block to the next intersection, in front of the First Avenue nightclub, where protesters erected a makeshift stage. Thousands filled the adjacent streets, chanting slogans like “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” “When the working class is under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” and “No Trump, no KKK, no racist USA!”</p> <p>Although the spectacle of impeachment proceedings in Washington dominated cable news headlines, protest organizers emphasized the concrete threats Trump represents to communities in Minneapolis. The city has been disproportionately affected by racist policies like the Muslim travel ban, as well as Trump’s support for Minneapolis police federation head and the infamous killer-cop apologist Bob Kroll, who appeared with Trump onstage. Trade unionists emphasized the attacks on union organizing rights by Trump-appointed judges. All present condemned Trump’s history of sexual violence against women, and his attacks on LGBTQ rights.</p> <p>Other chants included “No ban on stolen land!” and “From Standing Rock to Palestine, occupation is a crime!” reflecting the mass movement’s growing awareness of imperialism both inside and outside U.S. borders, and its ongoing consequences. Veterans of the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement, famous for its 1973 armed standoff with federal officials at the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, joined protesters onstage.</p> <p>“Bound up in all the various progressive people’s movements is the struggle against war, the struggle against colonialism, the struggle against imperialism, the struggle to resist the occupation of indigenous lands,” said Autumn Lake of the Anti-War Committee, to the cheers of thousands.</p> <p>“There’s a story they don’t tell you about why Somalis came here,” said Jaylani Hussein of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN). “And that is that this country played with our country, and used it as a proxy in the Cold War. That’s why we are here.”</p> <p>CAIR-MN was part of the ad hoc organizing committee for the event, which also included Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, Anti-War Committee, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Minnesota Workers United, No Cages Minnesota, Queer Revolutionary Workers Syndicate, Twin Cities Democratic Socialists of America, General Defense Committee Local 14, Immigrant Worker Solidarity, and others. Still more groups organized independently. Fight Back! spoke with many protesters who said they had been unaware that a demonstration was being organized at all, but simply knew they had to protest as soon as they learned that Trump was coming to town.</p> <p>The scale of the protest reflected the steady growth of the mass movement in the Twin Cities. Though challenges remain for the movement, its powerful display on the night of October 10 points to new revolutionary possibilities in the fights ahead.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Donald Trump Donald Trump Fri, 11 Oct 2019 14:15:47 +0000 Fight Back 7630 at Massive Twin Cities protest to say “No to Trump” <p>Minneapolis, MN - A wide range of organizations have come together to organize a massive protest on the evening of Thursday, October 10 outside the Target Center arena in downtown Minneapolis, where President Trump will hold a campaign rally. The protest will start at 5:30 p.m. outside the Target Center.</p> <p>A statement issued by organizers says in part, “The people of the Twin Cities are deeply opposed to Trump’s policies of racism and division, whether it’s his attacks on migrants or refugees or his not-so-veiled racist attacks on all Black and Brown people. We gather on October 10 to protest the racism, Islamophobia, and white supremacy that Donald Trump plans to whip up when he visits the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis.”</p> <p>Groups opposing Trump’s hate agenda include activists from youth, labor, religious, student, peace, justice, immigrant and indigenous rights, LGBTQ, environmental and other movements.</p> <p>“We encourage all Minnesotans to join us downtown in a mass mobilization of solidarity and support,” said Meredith Aby-Keirstead, representative from the Anti-War Committee who has been attending organizing meetings for the protest.</p> <p>The statement issued by organizers continues, “We say no to racism, white supremacy, war, bigotry and the unscientific denial of climate change. Among the groups calling for the October 10 protest are those that work to defend immigrant and workers’ rights, those that are demanding the closing of refugee detention camps, those who speak out against the prison industrial complex and demand an end to police brutality and those who work against war and for peace and justice.”</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo #DumpTrump Donald Trump Thu, 10 Oct 2019 02:29:11 +0000 Fight Back 7629 at Milwaukee: Residents urge the council to fund jobs and community, not more police <p>Milwaukee, WI - Milwaukee’s city council (called the Common Council) held a joint public meeting for the city’s 2020 budget, October 7. Residents came into city hall that evening, and a majority shared a similar message: put money into city services and divest from the Milwaukee Police Department.</p> <p>Milwaukee residents came to this meeting with concern about the amount of money being allotted to the Milwaukee Police Department. Most who spoke requested that elected officials put funding into services such as street repair, clean drinking water, and neighborhood services.</p> <p>Paul Spink, state president of the American Federation of State, City, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) put forth concern on behalf of the members he represents. “We are choosing not to invest in our neighborhoods and our children, and this budget ignores the fact that this community depends on far more than one department in this city,” Spink said.</p> <p>Billy Spencer, the owner of Spencer Renovation &amp; Construction, talked about the neighborhood services program that helped benefit the uptown community in Milwaukee, and how officials should continue to invest in these programs. Spencer had construction workers standing with him while explaining that the program “gives them the opportunity to enter into the construction industry, to earn a good salary, to learn a trade, take care of their families, help clean up the neighborhood while working within their own neighborhoods and staying out of trouble.” A couple of workers standing with Spencer gave their own testimony, expressing how this program has helped change their lives.</p> <p>“I speak for all the mothers and children in Milwaukee when I say we want to be lead free,” said Diana Branch, a mother with a child suffering from high lead toxicity as a result of the old pipes found all over the city.</p> <p>Branch and other residents in the audience held signs asking the city officials to invest in the Birthing Moms Pilot Project, an initiative that helps educate mothers and children about lead toxicity and how to prevent lead poisoning.</p> <p>Melody McCurtis, a representative of the Metcalfe Park Community Bridges organization, spoke out about housing issues in her residential area. She called for the development of community-owned housing, citing the run-down apartment units on the northside and their high rents.</p> <p>“Me and my community pay anywhere from $800 to $1200 in rent for housing that should be condemned. There is no rent cap in the city of Milwaukee. Landlords are not held accountable at all,” McCurtis said.</p> <p>According to the city of Milwaukee’s government website, the finance and personnel committee meets various days at 9 a.m. to discuss budget hearings. Live videos are available online for public audiences to watch. Various groups from around Milwaukee plan to continue applying pressure on the council and Mayor Tom Barrett leading into November when the budget is set to be finalized.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo African-American AFSCME AFSCME Anti-racism milwaukee city council Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) Sistema de injusticia Obreros Nacionalidades Oprimidas Wed, 09 Oct 2019 15:43:44 +0000 Fight Back 7628 at Philippines: Protest movement to gain further ground amid deteriorating conditions under Duterte <p>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Oct. 9 statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines.</p> <p>The nationwide protest actions mounted by jeepney drivers and operators and other transport workers last September 29 successfully manifested widespread opposition to the Duterte regime’s anti-poor plan of phasing-out jeepneys in the guise of “modernization.” Several days later, 5,000 public school teachers and government employees joined demonstrations to demand a salary increase to allow them to cope with the rising cost of living.</p> <p>Earlier, several thousand people joined protest actions across the country to mark the 1972 declaration of martial law and protest Duterte’s fascist reign. A few weeks earlier, students in Metro Manila and other cities rallied in their thousands to protest against the red-tagging of student and youth activist organizations and plans to establish police and military presence inside school campuses. At the same time, workers in different factories have been mounting protest actions and strikes as they assert their rights to organize and demand regularization and wage increases.</p> <p>These protest actions show that the broad masses have not been cowed nor silenced by the acts of tyranny and state terrorism under Duterte’s undeclared martial law rule. Over the past months, Duterte’s security and defense officials have relentlessly red-tagged the different democratic organizations to paralyze and clamp down on their activities. Using public funds, they have organized “pro-Duterte” fascist-type groups to misrepresent the interests of the broad masses. All these have failed to stop the democratic organizations from asserting the people’s rights and giving voice to the grievances and demands of their constituents.</p> <p>The recent mass actions also show that the various democratic sectors are increasingly vocal and active in pushing for their rights and welfare. In the face of worsening social and economic conditions in the cities and in the countryside, the people are being compelled to unite and take collective action. More massive protest actions in the coming months are bound to be ignited by Duterte’s anti-people economic and social policies and programs.</p> <p>In the countryside, millions of peasants are being pushed to rise up in the face of the grave consequences of the liberalization of rice imports on hundreds of thousands of palay farmers, and widespread dispossession and economic displacement resulting from relentless land-use conversion and land grabbing to pave the way for corruption-ridden infrastructure projects, plantations, mining operations and energy and tourism projects.</p> <p>In the cities, the broad masses of workers, semi proletariat and petty bourgeoisie are reeling from massive joblessness, rising prices of food and basic commodities, more onerous tax burdens, lack of income and low wages, homelessness, breakdown of public transportation and decaying social infrastructure and services and other social ills.</p> <p>Instead of putting into place measures to address the socio-economic crisis, the Duterte government implements old and discredited neoliberal economic policies which perpetuate economic backwardness and dependence on foreign loans and investments. These are accompanied by such anti-people measures as higher taxes, cuts in social subsidies, wage freezes, suppression of workers’ rights and so on. These are made worse by bureaucratic corruption and criminal collusion.</p> <p>The broad masses demand jobs, regular work, higher wages, lower prices, improvements in public services, an end to full liberalization of rice imports, a stop to land-use conversion, an end to corruption and police drug killings and other social ills. They cannot forever be placated by Duterte’s false promises, palliatives and short-term measures which fail to resolve the deeply rooted social and economic crisis.</p> <p>With the Duterte regime’s refusal to heed their demands and aspirations, rising up in collective action is the only democratic recourse of the broad masses.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Communist Party of the Philippines Filipinas Rodrigo Duterte Wed, 09 Oct 2019 14:25:26 +0000 Fight Back 7627 at ‘Joker’ isn’t a dangerous right-wing film, but it’s not great either <p>Jacksonville, FL - It’s tempting to say the outrageous moral panic and woke-scolding over <em>Joker</em> made it a less effective movie. Tempting but wrong. What really undid this Scorsese-esque ‘supervillain’ film was the rampant over-production of comic book movies (and television shows) in the last three decades.</p> <p>Put it another way, how many times have we seen the Bruce Wayne origin story? The five corporations that own almost all media - and creative intellectual properties - in the United States have run dry on ideas, content instead to retool stories from the past with proven records as cash cows. Batman and its associated universe are just among the most heavily exploited.</p> <p>The problem with over-mining intellectual properties and franchises is that, like real mines, eventually there’s nothing left to dig up. We’ve seen it all before, especially after Fox’s ‘Blue Lives Matter’ <em>Gotham</em> series, which ran for five seasons.</p> <p><em>Joker</em> had liberal commentators and Twitter personalities in an uproar months before its release. A full-blown moral panic ensued, with many warning that the film catered to right-wing misogynists and mass shooters in-the-making. Some predicted violence at movie theaters. It’s worth noting that the Republican Party made the same type of argument - that violent movies, video games and music cause mass shootings - after the El Paso massacre this summer by a Trump-inspired white supremacist.</p> <p>As it turns out, <em>Joker</em> isn’t a right-wing mass shooter manifesto at all. Its class politics are remarkably left-wing, especially when compared to the dozen or so Batman movies over the last 30 years. The problem with <em>Joker</em> is that for all its build up, it’s just not a very compelling film.</p> <p>Batman has always existed as a comic book character for the right wing. Bruce Wayne, a billionaire industrialist, vows to avenge his parents’ murder by a ‘street thug’ by donning a spandex bat-suit and waging a ‘war on crime’ as a vigilante. His only superpower is his outrageous wealth, which allows him to build a veritable arsenal and conceal his identity.</p> <p>Even the framing is right wing: Gotham - a composite of New York City and Chicago invented by D.C. Comics - is full of costumed criminals, freaks and weirdos, all with fantastical motives and vague backstories. These ‘supervillains’ see their plans foiled by the billionaire vigilante Batman, acting in alliance with ‘good cops’ in the city’s otherwise corrupt police force, like Commissioner Jim Gordon.</p> <p>Here’s what <em>Joker</em> gets right: In 30 years of Batman on screen, this is the sole movie to portray Gotham as a real city divided into classes - not just caricatures of ‘good heroes’ and ‘bad criminals.’</p> <p>Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a severely disturbed man working as a clown-for-hire, bringing in just enough money to take care of his aging mother. Emaciated and mentally ill, he makes it through the week thanks to a cocktail of anti-psychotic drugs and counseling sessions at a publicly funded clinic. He’s no working class hero, but it’s stunning to see a Batman movie center on someone who isn’t obscenely wealthy.</p> <p><em>Joker</em>’s class politics don’t start or end with Fleck. Immediately we’re shown a Gotham quite different from Tim Burton’s gothic playground or Christopher Nolan’s gritty war-zone. It’s 1980. The sanitation workers are on strike. Unemployment and poverty run high. Right-wing billionaire Thomas Wayne, father of Bruce/Batman and a stand-in for Ed Koch, is running for mayor on a platform of tax breaks for the rich and austerity for the working class.</p> <p>Life takes a rough turn for Fleck. In about 20 minutes of film, he gets mugged, loses his job, and bombs his first night doing stand-up at a comedy club. When Gotham’s right-wing city officials cut funding for public health care, Fleck can no longer afford his medication or counseling sessions. The inciting incident for his transformation into the titular Joker happens on a subway. Three drunk Wall Street bankers are harassing a woman. When they turn their aggression on Fleck, clad in clown makeup, he shoots and kills all three.</p> <p><em>Joker</em> makes an interesting point on class perspectives for anyone familiar with earlier Batman films. The corporate-owned media brings on Wayne and other spokesmen, to denounce the violence committed against their fellow one-percenters. Wayne takes the opportunity to ridicule poor people as “clowns,” too lazy to make something of themselves. His comments incite anger across Gotham’s working class, who see no great tragedy in the bankers’ deaths at all. They pour onto the streets in protest, with some ironically donning clown masks.</p> <p>Fleck’s Joker may be the focus of this movie, but you don’t come away from it calling him a hero, as many pre-game detractors claimed. He’s quite clearly insane and dangerous, at one point breaking into the apartment of a Black single mother based on a hallucinated relationship between the two. The movement we see on the streets of Gotham didn’t start with Fleck’s Joker, nor does he lead it in any discernible way.</p> <p>Instead, <em>Joker</em> does what every other Batman movie in the last 30 years has miserably failed at doing. It shows us characters whose actions are shaped by larger social and economic conditions; not stereotypes who do things “just because.”</p> <p>But old habits die hard. After the Joker is arrested on live TV, a riot ensues. We already know what’s coming next long before Thomas and Martha Wayne, with their little son Bruce in tow, step into that fateful alley where they will be murdered. Yes, for the 11th time across films and TV episodes in the last 30 years, we get treated to yet another re-enactment of Batman’s origin story. This time, it’s carried out by a protester seemingly unleashed by the Joker.</p> <p>Time is a flat circle for Batman movies. For all the ways <em>Joker</em> breaks the stale formula in character development and indicting Gotham’s billionaire class, we end up right back at the same place Christopher Nolan’s <em>The Dark Knight Rises</em> took us. The masses are once again an anarchic force prone to criminality. Thomas Wayne is no hero, but neither is the Joker. Offering no other solution, <em>Joker</em> leaves us with a sense that it will take some third force - a more just, more compassionate billionaire, perhaps young Bruce - to set all this madness straight.</p> <p>Joaquin Phoenix is now the fifth actor to portray the <em>Joker</em> in a theatrically released film over the last 30 years. When Heath Ledger did the Joker in <em>The Dark Knight</em> (2008), it was a sharp contrast from Jack Nicholson’s portrayal 19 years earlier. Nicholson’s Joker was a 1930s chain-smoking mobster. Ledger’s Joker, by contrast, was a deranged product of the War on Terror: an insurgency commander, badly scarred from combat and intimately familiar with explosives, who waged warfare on Gotham’s authorities, both militarily and through symbols.</p> <p>Phoenix draws his character from the headlines too - now mass shooters instead of terrorists - and has all the unsettling twitches and laughter we expect. It just feels played out at this point. We’ve had Al Capone-Joker (Nicholson), clown-prince Joker (Mark Hamil), terrorist-Joker (Ledger), theatrical-Joker (Cameron Monaghan), laughable white rapper Joker (Jared Leto) and more.</p> <p>Just before the film’s third act, there’s a scene where Phoenix, clad in clown makeup and the iconic purple suit, dances on a set of stairs while Gary Glitter’s <em>Rock n Roll Part 2</em> plays. For a second, you can see the glimmer of a genuine ‘moment’ of cinema genius... but all too appropriately, a bumbling set of cops interrupt the scene and it’s gone. This movie wants so badly to be game-changing, edgy and provocative, but it’s trafficking on dog-eared imagery and unclear messaging.</p> <p>I don’t think <em>Joker </em>glorifies its main character the way some allege, nor do I think the movie is dangerous. But we’re also too far through the looking glass in capitalist America to have a compelling story told about the ‘clown prince of crime’. Phoenix is a fine actor, but nothing in <em>Joker </em>remotely compares to the real larger-than-life supervillains on TV every night in the age of Trump.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Cultura alt-right Joker movie review Movies Tue, 08 Oct 2019 00:27:11 +0000 Fight Back 7626 at Day 20 of United Auto Workers Strike at GM <p>Wyoming, MI - On day 20 of their strike, workers waved “UAW on strike!” signs as they walked back and forth, October 5. Six groups of determined United Auto Workers of Local 167 stood outside and blocked entrances at the enormous General Motors (GM) plant in Wyoming, a working-class Michigan town. A total of 46,000 union strikers are out 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the United States. GM is losing millions of dollars while negotiations with the UAW continue. </p> <p>Every few minutes, men and women passing by in cars and pickup trucks honked and yelled out their windows in solidarity. One UAW picketer said, “People flash their lights at night, instead of honking, so as not to wake the neighbors." At one point a group of 25 motorcyclists roared past at funeral speed, fists raised in the air. </p> <p>This West Michigan GM plant makes lifters, cam phasers, and axles for light duty trucks. In days gone by it employed over 3000. Today there are 700 to 800 workers on three shifts. </p> <p>“The members out walking the picket line are in high spirits,” said Scott Poole, a UAW member who works in the plant. “Members from other UAW locals are coming down to support us. A group of four UAW retirees from Flint were here to walk the line in solidarity.” </p> <p>The big issues for union members on the picket lines are health care costs going up and the fact that most temporary workers are now past three years of employment. Temps make about half the pay of full-timers. Temporary workers now comprise 7% of the GM workforce. </p> <p>Negotiations are ongoing, with pay increases, pay progression for temporary workers, and pensions reportedly being haggled over. With GM making record profits in four recent years - a net income of $27.5 billion - workers are expecting to do far better than the past two UAW contracts.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Enfoque Enfoque 2019 UAW GM Strike Autoworkers Fight Back General Motors Strikes United Auto Workers Obreros Sun, 06 Oct 2019 23:12:10 +0000 Fight Back 7625 at Freedom Road Socialist Organization mobilizing for Minneapolis anti-Trump protest <p>Minneapolis, MN - Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) is among the organizations mobilizing for the massive “Dump Trump! Trump not welcome in Minneapolis!” protest set for Thursday, October 10, 5:30 p.m., at the downtown Target Center arena.</p> <p>Twin Cites FRSO leader Jess Sundin states, “There is no doubt that downtown Minneapolis will come to a standstill next week, as the streets are flooded with thousands speaking in one voice to protest Donald Trump coming to our city.”</p> <p>Sundin continued, “Minnesotans have been working to dump Trump since he first launched his campaign for president. We oppose his racist border wall and the heartless separation of families. We’re still against the Muslim ban and his policies of war. We are against his support for police, even as they murder Black folks and others every day. We stand against his attacks on unions and working people, on women, on trans and queer folks. Trump is the poster child for everything that’s wrong in this country today.”</p> <p>“On Thursday, Minneapolis will stand as a shining example of how to shut him down,” Sundin concluded.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Donald Trump Freedom Road Socialist Organization frso Sun, 06 Oct 2019 23:06:20 +0000 Fight Back 7624 at Labor unions to join national civil rights conference with Angela Davis in November <p>Chicago, IL - Unions are on the march in defense of their members across the country, with the autoworker strike against GM and strike authorization votes by teachers and other city employees in Chicago. Unions are also defending their members when they leave work and find their lives in danger from the very people paid to protect them: the police. </p> <p>Labor is joining a new effort to hold the police accountable for the killing, wrongful conviction, and even torture of young Blacks and Latinos. On November 22-24, veteran human rights activist Angela Davis will be in Chicago to re-establish the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR). This week, the 29,000-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 in Chicago added its name to the growing number of unions that have endorsed the conference.</p> <p>Local 73 has a new president, Dian Palmer, its first Black principal officer. Last week, Palmer and Local 73 joined President Jesse Sharkey and Vice President Stacy Davis Gates of the Chicago Teachers Union in a rally with Bernie Sanders, who came to support the unions as they prepare to strike the public schools and parks to win contract gains. The 25,000-member CTU is a sponsor of the NAARPR conference as well.</p> <p>Local 73 was moved to get involved in this cause because of the long list of their members who have been victims and survivors of crimes committed by the Chicago Police. Take the case of Armanda Shackleford, a lunchroom employee who retired from the Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Her son, Gerald Reed, is one of the men tortured into a confession by the Jon Burge gang of cops in the 1990s.</p> <p>Other union members include Charlie Hernandez, a retiree from the City of Chicago parking enforcement department. Hernandez’s sons, Juan and Rosendo, were framed by Detective Reynaldo Guevara, who has been exposed for more than 50 such cases in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.</p> <p>Regina Russell, an employee of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a member of Local 73’s executive board, is the mother of Tamon Russell, who was wrongfully convicted in 2001, framed when cops, working under another member of Jon Burge’s Midnight Crew, ignored the alibi for Tamon provided by Russell and her daughter.</p> <p>Sherry Nickerson, a retired Special Education Certified Assistant (SECA) from CPS, is the aunt of Rekia Boyd, murdered in 2012 by off-duty cop, Dante Servin, who had been drinking when he fired into a crowd of young Black people in Douglas Park on Chicago’s Lower West Side, killing Boyd.</p> <p>And Sable Russell, another SECA, is the aunt of Darien Harris, convicted in 2013 solely by an eyewitness who the police and the prosecutor knew was legally blind when he identified Harris in a murder trial when the young man was two months short of graduating from high school.</p> <p>Other unions involved in the conference include the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1177; American Federation of Teachers Local 1493; and locals 526, 2822, and 3800 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Prominent trade unionists including Coraminita Mahr, Executive Vice President of SEIU Local 1199 are also supporting the conference.</p> <p>Unions began taking a stand on the issues of racist police violence after Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called for unions to rally for justice for Brown’s family. Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, is a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial African-American Anti-racism Chican@s y Latin@s NAARPR Political Repression SEIU Local 73 Trade Unions Sistema de injusticia Obreros Nacionalidades Oprimidas Fri, 04 Oct 2019 19:38:16 +0000 Fight Back 7623 at Young Lords remember martyrs and march for the future <p>Chicago, IL - A standing room only crowd filled the Holy Covenant United Methodist Church on September 29 to commemorate Reverend Bruce Johnson and Eugenia Johnson. The reverend and his wife Eugenia were remembered for supporting the Young Lords and their role in the struggle against poverty, war and oppression. They were savagely murdered in their own home 50 years ago, stabbed to death, during a U.S. government campaign of repression known as COINTELPRO or the Counterintelligence Program. </p> <p>Ministers of the United Methodist Church, the Bishop of Chicago’s Episcopal Church and leaders from the Presbyterian McCormick Seminary honored the couple’s commitment to equality, justice and peace. Those who knew the martyred couple best spoke with reverence for their commitment to humanity and their dedication and love for their children and each other. </p> <p>During the church service, it became clear the radical Christian ideas espoused by Reverend Bruce Johnson were both a challenge and an inspiration to many. Those honoring him continue to try to live up to his ideas. It was during the Young Lords occupation of the McCormick Seminary in May of 1969 that Reverend Bruce Johnson stepped forward to offer aid and solidarity to the Young Lords. It was only a few months later he and his wife were killed. </p> <p>Along with the many women ministers who spoke, DePaul professor Jacqueline Lazu explained the history of the Young Lords. DePaul was one of the three big institutions involved in displacing people. Professor Lazu said, “Every day I think about how I came to teach at DePaul and how I benefit from the struggle of the Young Lords to open up access for Puerto Ricans.” </p> <p>Young Lords founder Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez said, “We are here today, to remember and honor the Reverend Bruce Johnson and Eugenia. They are our martyrs. Along with Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton and Mark Clark who were killed two months later. They gave their lives, as did Young Lords Manuel Ramos and Jose “Pancho” Lind. The Young Lords led our neighborhood struggle against displacement of poor people by the big developers.” </p> <p>Pat Devine, a religious and community organizer related, “70,000 people were forced out of the Lincoln Park neighborhood in four years, as developers made land grabs and built housing for only the wealthiest in Chicago.”</p> <p>After the memorial mass, nearly 100 people marched through the Lincoln Park neighborhood to the former site of People’s Church. People’s Church is where Reverend Bruce Johnson hosted the Young Lords. “We ran a day care center, breakfast program for school children and organized protests and occupations to stop the displacement of our community. We also rallied to free Puerto Rico!” Jimenez said. </p> <p>Tony Baez, Young Lord Minister of Education, said “Their deaths made us more serious as revolutionaries and propelled us forward. Young Lords went on to organize in other parts of society and in many other cities where Puerto Rican people lived.” </p> <p>The march ended with a rally at People’s Church. “We honor their sacrifice. We will be Young Lords until the day we die! Free Puerto Rico!” proclaimed Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial African-American Anti-racism Chican@s y Latin@s COINTELPRO Political Repression Puertoriqueños Reverend Bruce Johnson Young Lords Party Sistema de injusticia Nacionalidades Oprimidas Thu, 03 Oct 2019 21:40:07 +0000 Fight Back 7622 at