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 SDS rally for Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in Milwaukee <p>Milwaukee, WI - On the evening of April 9, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) held a rally at Spaights Plaza at UW-Milwaukee to call for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in Milwaukee and renew their demands to defund campus police and refund programs that support students.</p> <p>“SDS is here supporting CPAC because it is an all-elected civilian accountability council with the power to draft MPD’s budget, a council that can and will conduct independent investigations into police crimes, a council that has the power to hire, fire and discipline Milwaukee’s police,” SDS member Jack Rongstad said, addressing the people in attendance. “As members of the CPAC coalition coordinated by the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, we know that CPAC is the program we need to guarantee that the people have real control over the police.”</p> <p>Rongstad continued by elaborating on the importance of CPAC to redirect public resources to community alternatives that address harm, instead of continuing to funnel them into an institution built to inflict it. For example, funding should be redirected to affordable housing, access to physical and mental health care, replacing police in schools with counselors, transformative justice models, youth programming, and investments into Milwaukee’s chronically underfunded public school system.</p> <p>Another SDS member, Mike Nelson, said, “CPAC is good for students too because we don’t want to defund campus police only to have more Milwaukee police presence on our campus, who, without CPAC, have no true accountability to the people. We need CPAC now!”</p> <p>SDS also used this rally to renew their demands to defund the UWM police department and redistribute their funds to programs that actually support students. Chancellor Mone has given flawed reasoning for why they should not and cannot defund the campus police, even though they have a $3 million budget (according to the UW Redbook). Meanwhile, services like mental health, multicultural student offices, and ethnic studies programs face budget cuts. If the $3 million budget of the UWM police department were redistributed, it would be enough to hire four new faculty across 15 departments. The solution is simple: defund UWM PD and redistribute its funds to programs that actually support students.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial civilian police accountability council (CPAC) Milwaukee SDS Movimiento Estudiantil Sat, 10 Apr 2021 23:42:25 +0000 Fight Back 8938 at Hundreds of Allina hospital workers picket over wages, essential pay in lead-up to potential strike <p>Minneapolis, MN - On April 7 in Minneapolis, around 500 SEIU Healthcare Minnesota members who work at Allina’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital picketed for around three hours. They have been bargaining for their next contract and have now authorized a strike across all eight Allina Hospitals by an overwhelming majority. The union members are demanding pay increases and financial recognition for working as essential workers through a global pandemic.</p> <p>Allina is one of the largest and most successful hospital chains in Minnesota. In 2020, it gave large bonuses - some of them rivaling a full year’s pay for the lowest-paid Allina workers - to members of their management team. Yet Allina is offering 0% in raises to their workers in the first year of the upcoming contract.</p> <p>The union appeared ready to strike if needed, and could be heard loudly chanting “What do we want? Fair contract!” and “If we don’t get it? Shut it down!” along the Chicago Avenue side of Abbott Northwestern Hospital, to honks and cheers from passing motorists.</p> <p>The union says that they will hold similar pickets every Wednesday at a different Allina Hospital until Allina takes them seriously at the bargaining table and offers them a contract the members are willing to accept.</p> <p>The next two pickets are scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 14 at Allina St. Francis Hospital in Shakopee and Wednesday, April 21 at Allina’s United Hospital in Saint Paul.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Abbott Northwestern Hospital Allina Hospitals SEIU SEIU SEIU Healthcare Minnesota strike Obreros Sat, 10 Apr 2021 23:39:35 +0000 Fight Back 8937 at Chicago Teachers Union raises concerns as COVID cases rise and high schools are set to open <p>Chicago, IL - Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has acknowledged that cases on COVID-19 are on the rise again in Chicago, yet she is sticking to her plan to reopen Chicago high schools in two weeks, without addressing ongoing safety concerns from teachers and from the community.</p> <p>Mayor Lightfoot has continued to hold off on vaccinating Chicago residents aged 16 and over despite the fact that the state of Illinois has opened up vaccine eligibility to those residents. People in that age group are currently being found to be the most significant cause of spread of the virus. National health experts are calling for states and cities to hold off on opening schools, bars, restaurants and other similar places right now due to the recent uptick in cases as well, as the more contagious UK variant has now been found to be the main variant found in the United States.</p> <p>The Chicago Teachers Union is demanding that the Chicago Public School system modify schedules for high schools to lessen unnecessary contact and limit the number of people in buildings to minimize COVID spread. The union also says that each Wednesday, high schools should be conducted remotely to provide teachers with additional prep time, which is in desperately short supply, and that teachers and other educators who are in higher risk categories, or have family members who are, should be given access to remote teaching opportunities or else paid leave. In addition, they say that the school system should vaccinate high school students and family members who are high risk, which would be permitted by Illinois current eligibility guidelines.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo COVID-19 CTU Teachers Unions Obreros Sat, 10 Apr 2021 23:34:35 +0000 Fight Back 8936 at More than 3200 Amazon workers cast ballots in historic union election <p>Birmingham, AL - On April 7, more than a week after union voting ended for workers at Amazon’s Bessemer Distribution Center, the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union says that 3215 votes were cast, which is 55% of the 5800 workers at the location. Up until now the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) - which oversees this type of union election - as well as the union and the employer, were engaged in a process of going through every name on the eligibility list and checking if they voted, and seeing if either the employer or the union wished to file an objection to the validity of each ballot based on eligibility of the voter.</p> <p>The vote was done by mail-in ballot, which can slow down the counting process, however even with a group of 5800 people it is highly unusual for a vote to take this long to count, or more than a few hours. The union says that this is a result of several hundred challenges being filed by the employer to votes cast, which has slowed the process considerably. </p> <p>Actual counting of the votes is expected to begin on Thursday, April 8 in the afternoon, or on Friday morning. While counting the ballots may only take a couple hours by itself, the counting process may be laden with more challenges to ballots by either party if one party or the other argues that a ballot has been spoiled. Ballots can be spoiled in many ways, including if a worker wrote their name on a ballot, or did not fill it out in a manner in which the intent is clear.</p> <p>Depending on the numbers, we may find out a result by the end of Friday. Or we may see further delays of weeks or even months if the number of challenges proves greater than the margin by which the vote is decided, which would mean the challenges would be ‘determinative’ and could result in a delay of results being certified until after those challenges are settled by the NLRB.</p> <p>Many in the U.S. labor movement see this as an important time for the movement and are watching results anxiously.</p> Alabama Amazon Ballot union union election Obreros Fri, 09 Apr 2021 01:32:26 +0000 Fight Back 8935 at In huge victory for the Arab Community, Sharon Brannigan defeated in Palos Township <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement by the #ByeBrannigan campaign.<br /> </em><br /> On Tuesday, April 6th, 2021, the #ByeBrannigan campaign, led by Arab community organizers of the southwest suburbs of Chicago, mobilized hundreds of Palestinians, Yemenis, and other Arabs to the polls to defeat the racist Sharon Brannigan, who lost the race for Palos Township Assessor in a landslide to incumbent Robert Maloney.</p> <p>But it wasn't Maloney who won the election. It was the Arab community and its allies that are responsible for this historic victory, three years and nine months after the launching of the #ResignBrannigan Coalition, which first protested Brannigan, the former Palos Township Trustee, in response to racist, anti-Arab, and anti-Muslim statements she has posted online.</p> <p>For almost four years, southwest suburban Arabs and other residents attended every monthly Palos Township board meeting, demanding Brannigan’s resignation, her censure by the rest of the board, and more transparency and accountability from the township in general.</p> <p>Despite verbal threats from Brannigan, some of the other board members, and other racists she recruited to attend the meetings, protesters never wavered, turning many of the gatherings into educational workshops on racism, white supremacy, and hate groups; free speech filibusters; and even civil disobedience.</p> <p>Brannigan and the board’s attempts to silence the community consistently failed, even after they hired a security company to bully protesters and call the Palos Hills police, leading to the arrests of five #ResignBrannigan leaders. Protesters were vindicated, however, when the judge deemed Brannigan’s testimony “contradictory,” dismissed the case, and “essentially affirmed the right of protestors to chant and challenge Brannigan and other trustees at the township meetings,” according to an October 2020 statement from the Arab American Action Network.</p> <p>#WhenWeFightWeWin</p> <p>“Yes, Brannigan is a Trump Republican, and received political support from Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison, who is also the chair of the county’s Republican Party,” said Husam Marajda, #ByeBrannigan Campaign Coordinator, “and yes, the southwest suburbs of Chicago is predominantly white and right wing, and historically votes Republican.”</p> <p>“But she was also supported by other members of the township board who are independents or Democratic Party operatives,” Marajda added, “so in its essence, #ByeBrannigan was not supporting Maloney or practicing partisanship. It was formed and organized exclusively to defeat Brannigan and her racism and white supremacy.”</p> <p>Some forces in the Arab community did not support the original tactics of #ResignBrannigan, believing instead that it should practice “respectability politics” and insist to the township board that Arabs and Muslims are “good neighbors and good people.” Some wanted to negotiate with Brannigan and accept her disingenuous apologies. And some supported Brannigan outright, with one Arab institution honoring her and Morrison together at a banquet, and other right-wing Arabs publishing articles or social media posts attacking the protesters and defending her racism.</p> <p>But these voices were easily isolated, as the broader working class and immigrant Arab community was mobilized for close to four years to protest Brannigan’s racism. This base learned lessons from the Black liberation movement and other anti-racist campaigns, understanding that white supremacists can never be left unchallenged, because hate speech leads to violence against the communities directly affected by it. This was seen many times in the past five years, ever since the announcement of Trump’s presidential campaign. When legislators like him spew hatred, racists and white supremacists are emboldened to attack.</p> <p>And this is why #ResignBrannigan confronted Brannigan and her supporters at every turn, why it refused “dialogue” and “negotiations” with the racists, and why it did not choose appeasement. Thousands of community members participated in some aspect of the protests over the years, because #ResignBrannigan had the correct, confrontational line against the enemy, and the majority of Arabs in the township agreed with it.</p> <p>#ResignBrannigan protests continued even during the COVID-19 pandemic, with community members joining the Palos Township board’s public Zoom calls to oppose Brannigan and her apologist board colleagues, and coalition leaders organizing car caravans to drive through board members’ home neighborhoods and expose their racism.</p> <p>Election operations</p> <p>When Brannigan announced that she was running for Palos Township Assessor instead of reelection as a trustee, #ResignBrannigan immediately declared a small victory, even though her opportunist fellow trustees tried (unsuccessfully) to separate themselves from her racism by running on a slate without her. #ResignBrannigan understood that she had grown tired of the monthly protests and was trying to run away from them without resigning. Little did she know that #ByeBrannigan would not allow her to rest.</p> <p>The independent #ByeBrannigan campaign ran an operation that made over 20,000 phone calls to Arab and other voters in the township, and knocked on close to 5,000 doors, calling on residents to vote against racism and white supremacy, to vote against Brannigan. Its negative campaigning hardly mentioned Maloney at all, focusing instead on Brannigan’s posts, words, and actions.</p> <p>Make no mistake. Arab voters were not mobilized by their interest in a township election. They were not mobilized by Arab candidates running for other seats. They were not mobilized by Maloney.</p> <p>Arab voters were mobilized to defeat Brannigan. They were mobilized by #ByeBrannigan to defend their community and their people by defeating Brannigan’s racism and white supremacy.</p> <p>And we won!</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Arab community chicago Illinois Sharon Brannigan Fri, 09 Apr 2021 01:25:02 +0000 Fight Back 8934 at FRSO event: Unite and fight violence against Asian Americans! <p>San Jose, CA - On Sunday, April 11, at 2 p.m. Pacific / 5 p.m. Eastern, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization is hosting an online program about the wave of violence against Asian Americans; violence which led to the recent massacre of eight people, six of whom were Asian American women near Atlanta, Georgia.</p> <p>Four community organizers: David Monkawa, Progressive Asian Network for Action, in Los Angeles; Monique Sampson, Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Jacksonville, Florida; Daisy Sim, Tallahassee Community Action Committee, Tallahassee, Florida, and Masao Suzuki, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, San Jose, California, will be speaking on how to fight anti-Asian American violence, understanding its historical roots, and building unity among Asian Americans and solidarity with other oppressed nationalities.</p> <p><a href="">Event details here</a>.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Asiaticos Masao Suzuki Thu, 08 Apr 2021 03:57:30 +0000 Fight Back 8933 at $20,000 dollars so far in FRSO fundraising campaign <p>Minneapolis, MN – In just a few weeks, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Spring Fundraising campaign has netted more than $20,000. FRSO has grown rapidly in this past year and will use the funds to establish a national office.</p> <p>FRSO members have active in many of the key struggles of working and oppressed peoples during the past year – especially the struggle against police crimes.</p> <p>Linden Gawboy, an unemployed worker and activist in the fight against police terror in Minnesota is one of those who has contributed their stimulus checks. “This country is at a turning point, and we have to be ready on all fronts. I’m laid off after ten years at one job, so, I’m on a budget, and I didn’t budget for the stimulus check, so it wasn’t a problem to use those funds for a good cause. We need Freedom Road to be a strong organization.”</p> <p>Over the next few weeks local districts of FRSO will be going out to members and supporters, requesting support for the fundraising campaign.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Socialism Freedom Road Socialist Organization Wed, 07 Apr 2021 05:33:30 +0000 Fight Back 8932 at Coal miners begin major strike in Alabama <p>Tuscaloosa, AL - On April 2 around 10 p.m., more than 1100 workers at the Warrior Met Coal mine in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, who are members of the United Mine Workers of America, walked off the job and began an ongoing strike. The strike includes workers from all of the plant’s areas of operation, which include the #4 mine, the #5 preparation plant, the #7 mine as well as its central shop.</p> <p>On April 3, large crowds of miners could be seen picketing in front of the entrances to the mine chanting “No contract, no coal!”</p> <p>UMWA says that members of management have received bonuses recently that were as large as $35,000.</p> <p>The strike is an unfair labor practice strike and UMWA has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board around management’s behavior throughout the contract negotiations, and the union expects those charges will found to have merit and go through as they are investigated.</p> <p>Management is reported to be looking at this as a long-term strike and beginning to make plans to bring in scabs in an attempt to bust the strike. While the use of scabs in any strike has a tendency to infuriate the striking workers, the coal mining industry has a special history in which use of scabs has created scenes involving destruction of company property and violence as a result. </p> <p>Many of the most remembered of these clashes took place around the Coal Wars which happened over several decades between 1880 and 1930. However in much more recent history, coal strikes have continued to evoke major battles between coal miners who feel they have few options and mining companies which attempt to extract as much as wealth as possible from those workers. What will happen if the company follows through and brings in scabs is yet to be seen.</p> <p>The UMWA says they are committed to this for the long haul and will keep fighting until they prevail.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Strikes United Mine Workers of America Warrior Met coal mine Obreros Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:02:32 +0000 Fight Back 8931 at Multiple Chicago protests against anti-Asian violence <p>Chicago, IL - The racist March 16 murders of Soon Chung Park, Juncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Paul Andre Michels, Hyun Jung Grant, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng and Delaina Ashley Yaun in Atlanta, Georgia have caused a wave of revulsion and anger among the people, especially in the Asian community. The mainstreaming of extreme right-wing politics in the past decade, as the crisis of monopoly capitalism has continued to unfold, coupled with the bipartisan attacks against socialist China and People’s Korea set the stage for this deadly attack. </p> <p>The Asian community mobilized quickly to defend itself from racist terrorism. In the Chicago area alone, there have been four mass demonstrations opposing racist violence against Asian women. The first, on March 20, on the northwest side Logan Square neighborhood, drew a militant, multinational crowd of over 300 people, mostly youth. There was a smaller rally of about 100 people the next day, March 21, at Laramie Park in the northern suburb of Skokie. On March 27, a mass rally of over 400 people was held in Chicago's Chinatown on the near South Side. The next day, a smaller rally was held in the North Side neighborhood of Uptown, home to a large Vietnamese and Cambodian community.</p> <p>At the Chinatown rally, a place was reserved on the speaker's list for the commander of the 1st District police station by politicians who play both sides, saying they help the people with one hand and holding them down with the other by working with the cops. This boss cop tried to pretend that the same police force that murdered LaQuan McDonald and Rekia Boyd would actually protect working-class Asians against attacks. However, Chinese youth kept the mood militant, with signs that read "Fuck your 'bad day'" and "We're not your punching bag.”</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo anti-asian Atlanta shooting Anti-Asian violence Asiaticos Nacionalidades Oprimidas Tue, 06 Apr 2021 13:48:18 +0000 Fight Back 8930 at Illinois governor signs bill restoring bargaining rights to Chicago teachers <p>Chicago, IL - On April 2, Illinois Governor Jay Pritzker signed a bill, in opposition of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, that restores bargaining rights for Chicago teachers over a wide variety of issues that affect teachers and students in Illinois. This bill repeals a previous law from 1995 that limited the teachers’ rights to bargain over things like class size, layoffs, the timing of the school year, and other things. The previous bill had given power over the school district over to the mayor and ultimately was part of setting up disputes between the Chicago teachers Union (CTU) and previous Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as well as current Mayor Lori Lightfoot, that led to multiple teachers strikes in Chicago.</p> <p>Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey had this to say about it, “With his signature today, Governor Pritzker has now restored the right to bargain freely for real equity in our public schools and advance our organizing for the common good. The restoration of our fundamental labor rights lies at the heart of Karen’s [previous CTU President Karen Lewis] legacy as a fighter for racial and economic justice and as a fearless advocate for those disenfranchised in our city by systemic racism and multi-generational neglect.</p> <p>“We owe our students, their families and community allies an enormous debt of gratitude in setting the stage to reverse this unjust 1995 law, passed by a Republican legislature and a Republican governor - and backed by three consecutive mayors.”</p> <p>The Chicago teachers argue that the Illinois state legislature has another step that they must now take, which is to give Chicagoans the right to elect their own school board as happens in other cities in Illinois. They say that would help bring equity and democracy to Chicago public schools.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Chicago Teachers Union Teachers Unions Obreros Tue, 06 Apr 2021 00:47:17 +0000 Fight Back 8929 at