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 South Florida police murder UPS Teamster hostage in shootout <p>Miami, FL - The busy holiday season for UPS Teamsters took a deadly turn on December 5 in South Florida. Miramar police shot and killed UPS driver Frank Ordonez while firing dozens of times into the side of a UPS truck he had been taken hostage in. They also killed a civilian who was nearby.</p> <p>After committing a failed robbery at a jewelry store in Miami suburb Coral Gables, the two burglars carjacked a UPS truck and took the driver hostage. They led police on a chase 20 miles north to Miramar. Upon getting stuck in traffic, police immediately began using cars filled with civilians who were waiting at a traffic light as human shields. They fired blindly into the truck with automatic rifles and killed not only the burglars, but the hostage and a motorist who happened to be on the scene.</p> <p>Miramar resident Conor Munro said, “I watched the whole episode unfold live. That intersection is one of the busiest in the area, and the police turned it into a war zone. Instantly hundreds of cops were on the scene, firing easily 50 times. It’s no surprise they killed an innocent woman just sitting in her car. The killers need to be charged. Not only that, there needs to be a way we can stop this from happening again. Endless police militarization will only lead to more deaths like these. We need community control of the police now.”</p> <p>Teamsters locals across the country released statements expressing their condolences for the driver and his young family. Meanwhile, UPS released a statement thanking law enforcement for their work without acknowledging the murder, implicitly taking the side of the police over Ordonez, his family, and the safety of UPS workers everywhere.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial Teamsters Teamsters UPS Fri, 06 Dec 2019 14:48:54 +0000 Fight Back 7709 at Immigrant rights activists protest ICE detention at Sherburne County commissioners' meeting <p>Elk River, MN - Immigrant rights activists mobilized to the Sherburne County commissioners' meeting at 9:00 in the morning Tuesday, December 3 in Elk River, a town of around 20,000 people an hour northwest of Minneapolis. They held signs throughout the meeting, and several of them spoke passionately during the public comment section of the agenda, appealing to the commissioners to stop participating in and profiting from immigrant detention in the Sherburne County Jail.</p> <p>The Sherburne County Jail has a contract for 300 beds to detain immigrants for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), making it the largest ICE detention facility in Minnesota. From their 300 beds, the county earns around $10.9 million a year - profiting from separating immigrant families as part of the Trump administration’s massive immigrant deportation apparatus. Not content with that, Sherburne County officials have proposed to expand to 500 immigrant beds in the jail, to make even more money from the separation of immigrant families.</p> <p>The mobilization to the commissioners’ meeting was initiated by Sanctuary &amp; Resistance to Injustice (SARI), an organization based in Elk River that holds a weekly protest outside the Sherburne County Jail and is committed to ending the detention of immigrants there. SARI members pledged to keep coming back until county officials stop using their jail to detain immigrants. Also present were members of the Interfaith Coalition on Immigration (ICOM), Asamblea de Derechos Civiles, and the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC).</p> <p>Daniel Romero, a member of SARI, ICOM and MIRAC who spoke at the commissioners’ meeting said, “Sanctuary and Resistance to Injustice (SARI) is a faith-based community organization, and many of us are motivated to take action to advance immigrants' rights based on our faith values. Many Sherburne County Board members are also people of faith. Today, SARI members asked the County Board to choose between worshiping God or mammon. [money]. There can be no immigration enforcement - deportation - without the immigrant detention eagerly provided by the Sherburne County jail. The Sherburne County jail and ICE are one in the same, there is no difference.”</p> <p>The movement to end ICE detention in Sherburne County is part of a growing statewide movement coalescing around a sanctuary state campaign to stop ICE detention and separation of families statewide.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo ICOM MIRAc SARI Inmigrantes Wed, 04 Dec 2019 18:53:34 +0000 Fight Back 7708 at Activists decry Minnesota investments in border militarization, climate destruction <p>St. Paul, MN - The Minnesota State Board of Investment (SBI) held its quarterly meeting at the State Capitol December 2 and got sharp criticism from immigrant rights and anti-war activists, as new documents revealed a nearly $1 million increase in investment in a controversial military technology company. Youth climate strikers also highlighted the SBI’s inaction over state ties to environmental destruction. Both groups were met with vacillation and excuses from the board which is tasked with the responsible investment of public pensions and related funds.</p> <p>At issue was Elbit Systems, an Israel-based manufacturer of white phosphorus and cluster munitions used in Gaza and contracted by both the U.S. and Israeli governments for border militarization. Documents published on the SBI’s website showed state investments in Elbit worth over $2.1 million, up from around $1.25 million from the previous reporting period, despite years of calls for divestment. In 2017, the Saint Paul-based public Metropolitan State University partnered with Elbit to build a cybersecurity training center.</p> <p>“Our state cannot continue to invest in a company like Elbit. With our investment, we are complicit in human rights abuses committed by Elbit’s weaponry. Why is this even a debate?” asked Austin Jensen of the MN Anti-War Committee, one of the action’s co-sponsors. Other endorsers included Women Against Military Madness, American Muslims for Palestine, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee, Minnesota BDS Community, and No Cages MN.</p> <p>“I personally am implicated in these violations of human rights because I receive a state pension as a retired public school teacher,” said Lucia Wilkes Smith of WAMM. “I need those pension dollars to live month to month, yet I personally have travelled to Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Gaza, where I have learned directly from people living in dire circumstances.”</p> <p>Wilkes Smith added, “I’m remembering the anti-apartheid movement that successfully called upon U.S. institutions, decades ago, to divest from holdings in South Africa. I know that individuals in this room were arrested for non-violent action taken as they demanded divestment.”</p> <p>The State Board of Investment includes self-styled progressives like Attorney General Keith Ellison and State Auditor Julie Blaha, and is chaired by Governor Tim Walz.</p> <p>Activists from Minnesota Youth Climate Strike also addressed the board. “The SBI must proceed toward divestment. The risk assessment must include the unequal health and safety threats posed by climate change to communities of color and underprivileged communities,” said Juwaria Jama, who called for litigation against fossil fuel companies such as Enbridge and Koch Refineries. The strikers also criticized a climate investment report, prepared for the SBI by a private firm, for diminishing the importance of divestment.</p> <p>The SBI, for its part, lauded that report, with Ellison calling it “a good piece of research” and Chief Investment Officer Mansco Perry championing the report’s claim that “divestment of fossil fuels ... does not directly impact carbon emissions.”</p> <p>Governor Walz went even further, claiming that the SBI lacks the authority to divest based on social considerations, insisting, “The process matters...the process of how we come up with where we’re investing and how we’re investing.”</p> <p>Undeterred, the Minnesota Youth Climate Strike plan to rally at the State Capitol on Friday, December 5 at 3 p.m.</p> <p>The MN Anti-War Committee, along with Women Against Military Madness, American Muslims for Palestine, and other progressive organizations, have called for a protest outside Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office at 1200 S Washington Avenue, Minneapolis, for International Human Rights Day, December 10, at 4:30 p.m.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Antiwar Movement Elbit State Board of Investments Wed, 04 Dec 2019 02:46:50 +0000 Fight Back 7707 at In photos: Refounding conference of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Las Luchas del Pueblo Tue, 03 Dec 2019 06:57:23 +0000 Fight Back 7706 at Miami activists unite against U.S. imperialism in Latin America <p>Miami, FL - On December 1, immigrant groups representing several different countries in the Caribbean and South America rallied together at the Torch of Friendship to show unity and strength against U.S imperialism and far-right political violence in Latin America. Various groups of immigrant activists united in what they said was just the beginning of a new movement in South Florida to bring together the various struggles in Latin America against neo-liberalism and neo-colonialism.</p> <p>Activists representing Chile, Bolivia, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Brazil spoke out against neoliberal policies, U.S militarism, and U.S.-backed right-wing governments in Latin America.</p> <p>The activists sang protest songs that conveyed how the policies of the United States and the governments it supports in the region are leaving the indigenous and working people, Afro-Latinos and farmers, students and activists throughout the region in a state of destitution.</p> <p>Speakers at the event denounced the violence being committed by the Chilean government against protesters; the racist, right-wing coup in Bolivia, and the ultra-right government in Brazil. They also condemned U.S. capitalism run amok in Puerto Rico through vicious austerity measures and the murderous violence against labor leaders and activists in Colombia.</p> <p>The event finished in song as the protesters belted, “El pueblo unido, jamas sera vencido!”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Américas Latin America Tue, 03 Dec 2019 03:19:21 +0000 Fight Back 7705 at DPRK tests new weapon system and strengthens defenses <p>Washington DC – The Democratic People's Republic of Korea tested a new rocket launching system on November 29. </p> <p>According to a report from the Korean Central News Agency, “Kim Jong Un, chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and supreme commander of the armed forces of the DPRK, inspected the test-fire of the super-large multiple launch rocket system conducted by the Academy of Defense Science.”</p> <p>In a related development, Kim Kye Gwan, advisor to the Foreign Ministry of the DPRK, commented on past meetings with the Trump administration, stating, “Three rounds of DPRK-U.S. summit meetings and talks were held since June last year, but no particular improvement has been achieved in the DPRK-U.S. relations. And the U.S. only seeks to earn time, pretending it has made progress in settling the issue of the Korean peninsula.”</p> <p>Kim Kye Gwan continued, “We are no longer interested in such talks that bring nothing to us.”</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Socialism Antiwar Movement Asia Asiaticos Democratic People's Republic of Korea Donald Trump DPRK-U.S. summit meetings Internacional Corea North Korea Nacionalidades Oprimidas U.S. Sat, 30 Nov 2019 13:43:49 +0000 Fight Back 7704 at Read Friedrich Engels on Engels’s birthday <p><em>To mark the Nov. 28, 1820 birthday of the revolutionary Frederick Engels, Fight Back News Service is circulating the one of his writings – On Authority.</em></p> <p><strong>On Authority</strong></p> <p>A number of Socialists have latterly launched a regular crusade against what they call the principle of authority. It suffices to tell them that this or that act is authoritarian for it to be condemned. This summary mode of procedure is being abused to such an extent that it has become necessary to look into the matter somewhat more closely.</p> <p>Authority, in the sense in which the word is used here, means: the imposition of the will of another upon ours; on the other hand, authority presupposes subordination. Now, since these two words sound bad, and the relationship which they represent is disagreeable to the subordinated party, the question is to ascertain whether there is any way of dispensing with it, whether — given the conditions of present-day society — we could not create another social system, in which this authority would be given no scope any longer, and would consequently have to disappear.</p> <p>On examining the economic, industrial and agricultural conditions which form the basis of present-day bourgeois society, we find that they tend more and more to replace isolated action by combined action of individuals. Modern industry, with its big factories and mills, where hundreds of workers supervise complicated machines driven by steam, has superseded the small workshops of the separate producers; the carriages and wagons of the highways have become substituted by railway trains, just as the small schooners and sailing feluccas have been by steam-boats. Even agriculture falls increasingly under the dominion of the machine and of steam, which slowly but relentlessly put in the place of the small proprietors’ big capitalists, who with the aid of hired workers cultivate vast stretches of land.</p> <p>Everywhere combined action, the complication of processes dependent upon each other, displaces independent action by individuals. But whoever mentions combined action speaks of organization; now, is it possible to have organization without authority?</p> <p>Supposing a social revolution dethroned the capitalists, who now exercise their authority over the production and circulation of wealth. Supposing, to adopt entirely the point of view of the anti-authoritarians, that the land and the instruments of labor had become the collective property of the workers who use them. Will authority have disappeared, or will it only have changed its form? Let us see.</p> <p>Let us take by way if example a cotton spinning mill. The cotton must pass through at least six successive operations before it is reduced to the state of thread, and these operations take place for the most part in different rooms. Furthermore, keeping the machines going requires an engineer to look after the steam engine, mechanics to make the current repairs, and many other laborer’s whose business it is to transfer the products from one room to another, and so forth. All these workers, men, women and children, are obliged to begin and finish their work at the hours fixed by the authority of the steam, which cares nothing for individual autonomy. The workers must, therefore, first come to an understanding on the hours of work; and these hours, once they are fixed, must be observed by all, without any exception. Thereafter particular questions arise in each room and at every moment concerning the mode of production, distribution of material, etc., which must be settled by decision of a delegate placed at the head of each branch of labor or, if possible, by a majority vote, the will of the single individual will always have to subordinate itself, which means that questions are settled in an authoritarian way. The automatic machinery of the big factory is much more despotic than the small capitalists who employ workers ever have been. At least with regard to the hours of work one may write upon the portals of these factories: Lasciate ogni autonomia, voi che entrate! [Leave, ye that enter in, all autonomy behind!]</p> <p>If man, by dint of his knowledge and inventive genius, has subdued the forces of nature, the latter avenge themselves upon him by subjecting him, in so far as he employs them, to a veritable despotism independent of all social organization. Wanting to abolish authority in large-scale industry is tantamount to wanting to abolish industry itself, to destroy the power loom in order to return to the spinning wheel.</p> <p>Let us take another example — the railway. Here too the co-operation of an infinite number of individuals is absolutely necessary, and this co-operation must be practiced during precisely fixed hours so that no accidents may happen. Here, too, the first condition of the job is a dominant will that settles all subordinate questions, whether this will is represented by a single delegate or a committee charged with the execution of the resolutions of the majority of persona interested. In either case there is a very pronounced authority. Moreover, what would happen to the first train dispatched if the authority of the railway employees over the Hon. passengers were abolished?</p> <p>But the necessity of authority, and of imperious authority at that, will nowhere be found more evident than on board a ship on the high seas. There, in time of danger, the lives of all depend on the instantaneous and absolute obedience of all to the will of one.</p> <p>When I submitted arguments like these to the most rabid anti-authoritarians, the only answer they were able to give me was the following: Yes, that's true, but there it is not the case of authority which we confer on our delegates, but of a commission entrusted! These gentlemen think that when they have changed the names of things they have changed the things themselves. This is how these profound thinkers mock at the whole world.</p> <p>We have thus seen that, on the one hand, a certain authority, no matter how delegated, and, on the other hand, a certain subordination, are things which, independently of all social organization, are imposed upon us together with the material conditions under which we produce and make products circulate.</p> <p>We have seen, besides, that the material conditions of production and circulation inevitably develop with large-scale industry and large-scale agriculture, and increasingly tend to enlarge the scope of this authority. Hence it is absurd to speak of the principle of authority as being absolutely evil, and of the principle of autonomy as being absolutely good. Authority and autonomy are relative things whose spheres vary with the various phases of the development of society. If the autonomists confined themselves to saying that the social organization of the future would restrict authority solely to the limits within which the conditions of production render it inevitable, we could understand each other; but they are blind to all facts that make the thing necessary and they passionately fight the world.</p> <p>Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to crying out against political authority, the state? All Socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and will be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having used it freely enough?</p> <p>Therefore, either one of two things: either the anti-authoritarians don't know what they're talking about, in which case they are creating nothing but confusion; or they do know, and in that case they are betraying the movement of the proletariat. In either case they serve the reaction.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Socialism Frederick Engels Marxism On Authority Thu, 28 Nov 2019 14:18:38 +0000 Fight Back 7703 at Philippines: Release of veteran communist demanded <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Nov. 26 statement from Communist Party of the Philippines.</em></p> <p>Immediately release Ka Diego!</p> <p>The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounces the arrest of Jaime "Ka Diego" Padilla, spokesperson of the New People's Army (NPA) -Southern Tagalog (Melito Glor Command).</p> <p>Ka Diego, who is in his senior years, is suffering from heart problems and various physical ailments. With the material support and various assistance of friends and allies of the CPP and NPA, he was brought to Manila to undergo diagnostics and medical treatment. He was confined in a Manila hospital when he was arrested last night.</p> <p>The CPP demands the immediate release of Ka Diego and his three companions and the dropping of all trumped-up criminal charges filed against him to prolong his detention. He must be given full access to his lawyers as well as doctors and medical care services. The Party demands that he be accorded full respect which he deserves as a revolutionary activist and humble servant of the people.</p> <p>Indeed, the toiling masses and people of Southern Tagalog consider the arrest of Ka Diego as a setback to their revolutionary cause. In the past three years, the NPA spokesperson has ably represented the NPA forces in Southern Tagalog in his interaction with the media and the public in general. He has consistently exposed the disinformation and fake news churned out by Duterte's factory of lies. He has exposed and denounced as well the grave crimes and rights abuses perpetrated by the AFP against the people of Southern Tagalog.</p> <p>The AFP has long wanted to silence Ka Diego. His arrest, however, will fail to suppress the truth about the oppression and the struggles of toiling masses of Southern Tagalog against the tyranny and state terrorism of the Duterte regime, the grave exploitation of workers and peasants, and the imperialist and big corporate plunder of the rich resources of the region.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Antiwar Movement Anti-fascism Asia Asiaticos Communist Party of the Philippines Internacional Ka Diego New People's Army Filipinas Nacionalidades Oprimidas Thu, 28 Nov 2019 14:09:21 +0000 Fight Back 7702 at Asarco strike enters week 7: Interview with USW Local 937 President Alex Terrazas <p><em>Fight Back!</em> interview with the president of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 937 Alex Terrazas.</p> <p><strong><em>Fight Back!</em></strong>: How have negotiations with Asarco gone so far?</p> <p><strong>Terrazas</strong>: After ten years without a raise, and four years without a new contract, our members voted overwhelmingly to strike. Day 1 began at midnight on October 13 and only after a full month of shutting down the majority of production did Asarco decide to come to the table on November 14. They did not bring a new proposal, nor change their stance. They are unwilling to actually negotiate. They are not taking us seriously. After the one day of so-called negotiations, there haven’t been any further negotiations and no date set. It was super clear that they only did this to try to make themselves look good. All we want is a fair, equitable contract, but this is a very greedy company.</p> <p><strong><em>Fight Back!</em></strong>: What has given the strike its longevity?</p> <p><strong>Terrazas</strong>: Our members understand exactly the importance of this fight. They are willing to do what it takes to win. Some people think that striking workers are lazy. Well, this is exactly the opposite. Some members and officers are sacrificing 12, 13 hours a day to help out. They are working jobs and still coming to the picket line to help out. There’s nothing lazy about them they are working three times as much as before the strike. They are so dedicated.</p> <p><strong><em>Fight Back!</em></strong>: What kind of support have you all received?</p> <p><strong>Terrazas</strong>: Our union’s strike defense funds have helped our members a lot. There has also been support from the AFL-CIO and Pima Area Labor Federation in terms of connecting our members to food donations collected at the city ward offices, donations from the Community Food Bank, donated dental services, resource fairs, and wood for fires. State Representative Andres Cano helped members get connected with state healthcare benefits. Another huge piece for us has been the connection with One Stop that has found jobs for our members so that they can have some income and more importantly not cross the picket line. We have had great community support, RedForEd has been down here a couple of times. We are starting a campaign to get local businesses to support us by putting signs in their windows. We have had good coverage in the media so far to expose Asarco’s greed.</p> <p><strong><em>Fight Back!</em></strong>: What kind of leverage do you have in a unfair labor practices strike?</p> <p><strong>Terrazas</strong>: So of the four mines in Arizona, the Hayden site is a smelting operation and we had that shut down by week two of the strike and the Amarillo, Texas smelting site is shut down as well. This has forced Asarco to load up railcars and sent them to Mexico, which we know if costing them lots of money in transportation costs. We have shut down operations and crippled production by more than half! We also know that we have the majority of skilled labor out on strike and that costs Asarco a lot of money because the scabs don’t know how to fix the machines and how to operate all the equipment. At the north mill at the Mission mine, there aren’t even one-quarter of the shovel drivers, so this too is causing the company to lose a lot in profits. As I said before, this is a very greedy company and we’re gonna screw them by hitting them in the pocketbooks.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Alex Terrazas Asarco Chican@s y Latin@s Strikes USW Local 937 Obreros Nacionalidades Oprimidas Tue, 26 Nov 2019 14:30:17 +0000 Fight Back 7701 at Chicago conference to relaunch National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression a huge success <p>Chicago, IL - More than a 1200 joined together for an historic gathering on the weekend of November 22 – 24, at the hall of the Chicago Teachers Union, to refound the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The newly refounded Alliance will concentrate its efforts on building the fight against police crimes and for community control of the police, and it will campaign for the release of political prisoners and the wrongfully convicted.</p> <p>Longtime leaders of the Black liberation movement Angela Davis and Frank Chapman, along with elected officials, trade unionists, and other progressive activists addressed the packed Nov. 22 rally that opened the conference.</p> <p>Frank Chapman, the Co-Chair of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and conference organizer, told the enthusiastic crowd, “We know why we have come here tonight. We are here because we all know and realize that we have come to the point that we have to make a renewed and powerful commitment to end, to overturn the regime of racist and political repression perpetrated against our people by those outlaws who currently occupy the White House and their cohorts here in Chicago, in Saint Louis, Minnesota, Baltimore and over a hundred cities and 28 states represented in this hall tonight.”</p> <p>Conference participants attended workshops and formulated strategies to achieve police accountability and community control of the police, fight to free political prisoners including the wrongfully convicted, advance the struggle against racist and anti LGBTQ violence. Family members who have lost loved ones to police violence shared their stories and discussed their efforts to get justice.</p> <p>Conference participants unanimously elected Frank Chapman to serve as the interim executive director of the Alliance and created a Continuations Committee that will work to develop the organization.</p> <p>The National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression was initially formed in 1973 and was a powerful force in pushing back against the political repression of those times. Conference organizers vow the refounded Alliance will build on the proud history.</p> <p>Frank Chapman states, “We did not call you to this refounding conference of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression to commemorate or celebrate what we did 46 years ago. We called you here to join us in rededicating ourselves to defend the inalienable democratic right of our people of oppressed nations and workers to rise up and overthrow their oppression in this present moment of history.”</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Tue, 26 Nov 2019 01:49:24 +0000 Fight Back 7700 at