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 Stagehands push for $600 unemployment benefit <p>Grand Rapids, MI - Fifty union stagehands chanted, “$600 now!” while pushing music road cases thru downtown Grand Rapids. They began their push at the U.S. Federal Building to demand Senator Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans pass the $600 workers need.</p> <p>Outdoor diners gawked, homeless workers shouted approval and cars honked in solidarity as the stagehands rolled past on their way to a lively rally under the Rosa Parks statue.</p> <p>“We paid into unemployment our entire working lives. It is our money and we need the Republican politicians in the Senate to pass $600 now to pay our bills, pay for housing and pay for healthcare,” said Joshua Roskamp, the business agent for IATSE Local 26.</p> <p>“30 million unemployed nationwide. If we all want to compete for jobs; the value of jobs is going to bottom out. It will be a race to the bottom felt all the way up and down the working class spectrum. If the working class isn’t going to stick together, we are going to drown in a sea of sharks,” Roskamp added.</p> <p>Roskamp, who is the lead rigger at Van Andel Arena and often works at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids and Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo continued, “We need some of the big names we work directly for to understand our dire situation. Many of us have risked life and sanity to bring you your favorite shows. Making us try and start new careers in an already flooded job market doesn’t seem practical for us, or for your favorite shows, when they return in spring 2021.”</p> <p><strong>One woman’s life, millions’ experience</strong></p> <p>Lindsey Katerberg, a West Michigan stagehand for ten years, gives a detailed explanation, “As a single mom I pay for a two-bedroom apartment and buy groceries for a teenager who eats everything within a few days; without the $600 FPUC I will have to apply for food stamps.</p> <p>“There is too much uncertainty regarding the future. My student loans didn't qualify for relief under the CARES Act and my healthcare requires a quarterly payment that is soon due or I lose my benefits.</p> <p>“Here in Michigan I am at the maximum $362 per week payment for unemployment which doesn’t come close to covering my rent, health insurance and student loans totaling $1,720 every month.</p> <p>“The $600 FPUC has been a lifeline I cannot survive without. Now that it is expiring, I don't know how I am going to get by because our industry is shut down. I am just one of 140,000 union stagehands and there are over 5 million workers in live events and entertainment not working.</p> <p>“My life revolves around working gigs. I love my job and find my work fulfilling. It's very difficult having everything canceled or postponed until further notice. It's horrible not knowing what lies ahead and having little faith left in our leadership to do the right thing when all they seem to care about is us returning to work when it's not possible, and it's not safe! I look to the rest of the world and can't help but feel I would be better off with new leaders in our country. It’s not just financial ruin for me. It's millions of workers. It's the whole damn country!”</p> Capitalismo y Economía $600 unemployment benefit CARES ACT Protest stagehands Mon, 10 Aug 2020 01:20:07 +0000 Fight Back 8400 at Tenants in Milwaukee march and rally for an eviction freeze <p>Tenants in Milwaukee march and rally for an eviction freeze</p> <p>Milwaukee, WI - On the evening of August 1, around 70 people gathered at the Washington Park Senior Center to demand an end to home evictions and to cancel the mortgages and rents. The action was organized by the recently formed Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union (MATU), a collection of tenants from around the city looking to fight back against the looming crisis of evictions brought on by loss of jobs and income due to the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>MATU organizer Robert Penner gave a speech which highlighted the central role played by Berrada Properties and its owner, Youssef “Joe” Berrada, in the recent swell of evictions since the initial freeze was lifted in June. Nearly 20% of all evictions in the city since June have been tenants living in units owned by Berrada.</p> <p>After the speech, protesters followed a modest car caravan through Washington Park and several blocks in the Washington Heights neighborhood. Chants of “Cancel the rents! Cancel the mortgages!” and “Tenant power is worker power!” rang through the streets as people came out onto their porches and the sidewalk to snap pictures and show support. At the front of the march, protesters carried a banner that had pictures of notorious Milwaukee slumlords painted on it, dubbed the “Landlord Wall of Shame.”</p> <p>The march ended as the protesters came upon the lavish home of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Everyone gathered in the median in the shadow of Barrett’s house to listen to the story of Jacquee Clark, a leader with MATU and someone with intimate knowledge of the predatory practices of Berrada Properties. Clark was unfairly evicted from a unit owned by Berrada in 2019. She spent the better part of the last year trying to get back on her feet and was forced to pay double the security deposit at her current residence because of the eviction on her record.</p> <p>“The event today is a long time coming. You know, Milwaukee has been known for their notorious eviction practices,” Clark said. “Now with the big pandemic it’s worse, and it’s just really not fair because, particularly, it impacts people of color and low-income and poor people in the city of Milwaukee. I would love to see the moratorium actually be reenacted. 60 days was not enough time.”</p> <p>Clark continued, “In the city of Milwaukee, where we have the largest population of low-income people of color in Wisconsin, forcing people out of their houses, it’s not fair. Even those who own homes during this pandemic. It should not even be a question, you know? It should not even be a second thought. Stay in your homes until this pandemic is under some type of control.”</p> <p>MATU has a list of five demands that they are organizing around. These include: 1) An indefinite evictions freeze with no late fees or back-rent; 2) The enforcement of state law against landlords harassing and retaliating against tenants; 3) Make charging double security deposits for people with evictions on their record illegal; 4) Creation of a tenants’ court separate from civil court to guarantee tenants’ rights and provide free council; and 5) Remove COVID-19 evictions from tenant’s records and all prior evictions that have been satisfied.</p> <p>With the end of the $600 benefit provided to people on unemployment due to COVID as of July 26, more and more working-class people in Milwaukee - particularly predominantly Black and brown communities on the North and South sides - will be at the mercy of predatory landlords. The organizing being done by the Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union will only become more important over the coming weeks and months.</p> COVID-19 pandemic aid Housing Struggles Milwaukee Autonomous Tenants Union (MATU) Slumlord tenants rights Sun, 09 Aug 2020 21:24:35 +0000 Fight Back 8399 at Tribute to the outstanding communist Ka Fidel V. Agcaoili <p>On what would have been the 76th birthday of Ka Fidel V. Agcaoili, Freedom Road Socialist Organization joins in paying tribute to this great revolutionary and fighter for the liberation of the Philippines. Every communist can learn from his example and from his many contributions to the international communist movement. His passing is a cause for sadness among all of us who are working to end exploitation and oppression.</p> <p>Ka Fidel was a revolutionary who devoted the whole of his life to the struggle for national liberation and socialism. He came from a privileged background, took up the science of Marxism, and integrated himself with the workers and peasants, transforming himself as he fought to transform society. Young communists in the U.S. can learn from this.</p> <p>Ka Fidel had a keen analytical mind and he always made his starting point a concrete analysis of concrete conditions. This helped to make him an effective and outstanding organizer. Communists in the U.S. would do well to learn from this method.</p> <p>Ka Fidel was a man of action and courage. As the longest held prisoner of the Marcos regime, Ka Fidel faced torture and tribulations. He never wavered in his commitment to liberate humanity. </p> <p>On August 8, Freedom Road Socialist Organization marks the passing of Ka Fidel and urges revolutionaries in the U.S. to study his life and work. The contributions of Ka Fidel will live forever!</p> Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Ka Fidel V. Agcaoili Filipinas Philippines Tribute Recuerdos Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:44:48 +0000 Fight Back 8398 at Justice for Travis Jordan - 38th birthday protest <p>Minneapolis, MN - Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Minneapolis police’s 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis, July 31, to demand justice for Travis Jordan, on what should have been his 38th birthday.</p> <p>On November 9, 2018, Travis Jordan was shot and killed by two rookie officers of the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct during a wellness check for his suicidal ideation. Officers Neal Walsh and Ryan Keyes, who had each been on the police force less than a year, responded to the call. Instead of saving Travis's life and providing him with the mental health support he needed, they killed him. County Attorney Mike Freeman made the determination not to prosecute the officers involved and justified their use of deadly force.</p> <p>Speakers included Jordan’s mother, partner and friends, as well as the loved ones of others killed by police, and organizers with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar.</p> <p>Marshals on foot, car and motorcycles diverted traffic from the stretch of Plymouth Avenue in front of the 4th Precinct building where the rally took place.</p> <p>One group of artist activists erected a brightly painted house, about ten by ten feet, on the lawn. It was covered with the names of people murdered by police and was surrounded by fresh-cut flowers.</p> <p>Another grouping used large rollers of green paint to emblazon a full traffic lane of pavement in front of the killer cops’ building with Travis Jordan’s name, reminiscent of the pavement “Black Lives Matter” slogan in front of the White House. Several protest banners were lined up to protect the paint as it dried.</p> <p>The family of Travis Jordan is seeking systemic change in the way that police officers are recruited, hired, trained and, ultimately, held accountable. They are pushing for more attention, effort and resources to be directed toward mental health care and other community social services.</p> <p>Protesters demanded:</p> <p>-- Mental health professionals be the first responders on scene during a mental health crisis, not the police.</p> <p>-- Travis’ case be reopened and re-examined, along with all other cases involving the use of deadly force by police.</p> <p>-- The officers involved be charged and prosecuted for the murder of Travis Jordan.</p> <p>-- For all of Travis’s belongings to be given back to the family. The Hennepin County Attorney’s office is still in possession of a notebook and black leather bracelet that belonged to Travis, even though the case is closed.</p> <p>Travis Jordan has been included in local “Say their names” chants he was killed by the MPD. Jordan’s family and friends persistent demands for justice - along with the worldwide outrage over George Floyd’s murder - have given courage for more Minnesota families to demand answers for their loved ones’ killings.</p> <p>These families cannot get justice under our current system. We need community control of the police, which will let us go back and re-open the cases of killer cops.</p> <p>The protest was called by Justice for Travis Jordan. Supporting organizations included: Communities United Against Police Brutality, Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, Justice Squad, Minnesota Disability Justice Network, Racial Justice Network, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities Metro, Black Lives Matter St. Paul, Native Lives Matter, Movement Support Network Cop Watch Minneapolis, Justice for Justin Teigen, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Justice4MarcusGolden, and Justice for Phil Quinn.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial Travis Jordan Sat, 08 Aug 2020 03:22:03 +0000 Fight Back 8396 at Job growth slows in July <p>San José, CA - In March and April of this year, more than 20 million jobs were lost because of the economic crisis, COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders to fight the virus. Millions more who were working gig jobs or had their own businesses lost their livelihood. At the time when the government count was done in mid-July, more than 30 million people - almost 20% of the workforce - were collecting some form of unemployment insurance benefits.</p> <p>But most states quickly reopened their businesses, before the virus had been beaten down to levels where public health offices could track down and isolate new infections. The result? A quick economic bounce in May and June, with about a third of the jobs lost earlier coming back to work. But the virus also bounced back, reaching record levels in July. The virus has now spread to the entire country, and as a result, businesses are losing sales and governments are pausing or rolling back re-opening, and job gains slowed dramatically, from 4.8 million more jobs in June to just 1.8 million in July, according the Department of Labor’s monthly employment report released on Friday, August 7.</p> <p>The official unemployment rate fell from 11.1% in June to 10.2% in July. This is still higher than the higher rate during the so-called Great Recession of 2007-2009. This official rate also undercounts those who have lost income, as it does not count people who stopped looking for work, and those that have had their hours of work cut. The average workweek fell in July, a sign of weakness in the job market. The report showed that more and more people have been out of work for a long time. Almost half the unemployed have now been unemployed for 15 weeks or more. </p> <p>While workers of all nationalities were hit hard by this COVID-19 pandemic recession, white workers regained jobs the fastest in May, June and July. While their unemployment rate is a bit lower than African Americans and Latinos, Asian Americans saw the biggest increase in their unemployment rate. Their unemployment rate was more than 9% higher than in February, as compared to a 6.7% increase on average.</p> <p>The “Household Pulse Survey” taken weekly by the Census Bureau showed the economy slowing in July. The number of households that had lost jobs and that expected to lose income in the future both rose in July as compared to June. The survey also showed that more households ran short of food and/or were uncertain about making their rent payments in July as compared to June.</p> <p>But despite the tens of millions of people who have lost their livelihood and have to depend on government aid, the extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits and the federal eviction restrictions both ended at the end of July. Millions more unemployed workers are going to face their families going hungry or being put out on the street even as a pandemic is raging.</p> Capitalismo y Economía COVID-19 Household Pulse Survey Unemployment Sat, 08 Aug 2020 03:11:28 +0000 Fight Back 8395 at Washington DC deadlocked as 30 million have their unemployment benefits cut <p>San José, CA - Talks between Democrats and Republicans about extending economic aid remained deadlocked as of Thursday morning, August 6. In May, Democrats passed their HEROES act to extend the $600 additional unemployment benefit, known as FPUC, or Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, as well as other economic aid for renters, state and local government, and others. But Republican senators and the Trump administration did nothing, hoping that the COVID-19 pandemic would go away, and the economy would recover in short order. The Republicans have also been hampered by divisions in the Senate, where a large minority don’t want to extend any more aid. The Trump administration had its own proposal for a payroll tax cut that the Republican-majority Senate rejected.</p> <p>In the meantime, new applications for unemployment compensation topped 1 million for the 20th week in a row. The total number collecting – whether for regular state unemployment insurance, the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for gig workers and self-employed, or the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation for long-term unemployment - rose in the latest week reported, to 31.3 million people. These people have now lost their $600 a week in additional benefits that helped millions to stay current on their rent and feed their families.</p> <p>Republicans opposed extending the $600 a week on the grounds that it would discourage the unemployed from taking jobs - even though economic studies have found this to be not true. Even if it were, there are more than 30 million people who have lost their aid and only about 5 million job openings - in effect punishing tens of millions of people for not taking jobs that aren’t there. The fact of the matter is that the $600 a week additional aid helps to support the economy. Economists estimate that the loss of the benefit through the end of the year would result in a loss of a million jobs as the unemployed cut back on spending.</p> <p>Another sign of the weakening economy the private ADP report on private sector job hiring, which came in on Wednesday, August 5 at only 167,000 for the month of July - only a small fraction of the 1.2 million expected by economists. This points to a poor official government employment report coming out on Friday, with even a possible overall loss in jobs in July. State and local governments are expected to cut hundreds of thousands of jobs, as they did in June and May, with sales tax revenues down 12% in the April to June period alone, more than three times as great as in the 2007 to 2009 recession.</p> <p>A recent survey found that 31% of workers hired back in May and June after a first layoff in March and April had already been laid off a second time. Another 26% were told by their employers that they might lose their jobs again. This instability for workers is depressing spending, despite all the economic aid, with total spending for June 7% lower than it was before the recession began in February.</p> <p>Another concern is the growing number of evictions. Thousands of evictions notices have been filed, many of them despite eviction moratorium. With the federal eviction and foreclosure moratoriums also expiring at the end of July, more than 40 million people could be facing the threat of eviction. Millions could end up in the streets in the midst of the pandemic and just months before winter begins to set in.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Capitalismo y Economía Unemployment Fri, 07 Aug 2020 00:56:52 +0000 Fight Back 8394 at Waupaca, WI: Black Lives Matter protest disrupted by cops, protester violently arrested <p>Waupaca, WI - On the afternoon of August 1, members of United Action Oshkosh (UAO) and supporters of Black Lives Matter from the Fox Valley area gathered with local supporters in the small town of Waupaca for a march. Nearly 30 people plus a small caravan of cars turned out for the rural action.</p> <p>The Black Lives Matter march was the second in Waupaca for many of those in attendance, including the organizers from UAO. At the first march, the protest was greeted by a resistant police force and a slew of racists in their cars. At one point, one of these cars tried to drive through the back of the small march, nearly running over several of the protesters and leaving significant bruises.</p> <p>As a result of their first interaction with detractors in the Waupaca community, the activists came to the second demonstration with the means for self-defense, including some members legally open-carrying. They organized the car caravan to protect themselves from racists in pickup trucks and had a larger group.</p> <p>Despite the precautions, the action was met with counter-demonstrators who followed the march, brandishing weapons and making violent threats. The Waupaca police came with a more determined approach than the first time around. They were there to stop the protest and to make an example of the marchers.</p> <p>After harassing the marchers for much of their route, the police finally succeeded in pulling over the lead cars and halting their procession. As protesters milled along the side of the road chanting in support of Black lives and against police crimes, a scuffle broke out. Before anyone knew what was happening, one of the armed protesters, Matt Banta, was shoved into the ditch by a Waupaca police officer.</p> <p>Video of the incident shows Banta regaining control of his firearm to avoid any unforeseen misfires after being thrown to the ground unexpectedly. Officers descended on him as he tried to stand up, grabbing a hold of him and tackling him face-first into the grass. Banta was then handcuffed as several officers restrained him, including one who appeared to put his hands around Banta’s neck.</p> <p>The arresting officers refused to tell the protesters why Banta was being arrested or where they were taking him as they hauled him into the back of a squad car. As the police drove away, the crowd made their way to the Waupaca Police Department to demand for Banta’s immediate release. Unfortunately, their demands went unheeded.</p> <p>On August 3, a story was published that highlighted the laundry list of federal charges Banta is facing, including two counts of battery of a law enforcement officer, one count of resisting arrest, one count of disorderly conduct, and one count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety. In addition to these charges, he was given a $10,000 cash bail.</p> <p>In a show of solidarity, the money needed to secure Banta’s release from jail was raised in less than a day. However, he is still facing the ridiculous trumped-up charges and, if sentenced, could be sent to prison. He has a public hearing scheduled for August 11.</p> <p>“By doing everything they could to shut down a peaceful march, and framing an innocent protester with a long list of bogus charges, WPD has sent a clear message: they will not tolerate any political dissent in their town,” said Dan Pratt, a member of United Action Oshkosh. “The racist police force and their white supremacist supporters have planted their feet firmly on the wrong side of history, but the brave activists in Waupaca and their supporters from the surrounding areas won’t be so easily discouraged.”</p> <p>For those interested in making sure justice is done, call Waupaca County District Attorney Veronica Isherwood at 715-258-6444. Others were targeted by Waupaca police for their participation in the Black Lives Matter protest, including a number of those in the car caravan who are being hit with fines. People who call DA Isherwood should demand that Banta be cleared of these bogus charges and that all fines incurred by the activists be dropped immediately.</p> <p>Local activists and their supporters in the surrounding communities, particularly in Oshkosh and the broader Fox Valley, intend to keep the pressure on until the charges against Banta are dropped, and the fines incurred by other protesters are done away with.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Anti-racism Black Lives Matter Fri, 07 Aug 2020 00:51:41 +0000 Fight Back 8393 at Coalition to March on the DNC responds to Biden’s decision to stay home <p>Milwaukee, WI - While Joe Biden shelters himself from COVID-19 and the movement for Black lives in Milwaukee, the Coalition to March on the Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be in the streets. Regardless of whether Biden comes to Milwaukee or not, the Democrats will hear from the people on the front lines fighting police crimes, especially the families who have lost loved ones to killer cops. </p> <p>“Our main goal as a group is to defeat Donald Trump. He is the key figure in promoting racist killings of Black, Latino and indigenous people, whether by vigilantes or the police,” said Ryan Hamann, one of the co-chairs of the Coalition.</p> <p>Hamann continued, “But we need to also be clear in demanding that Joe Biden and the Democrats stop these killer cops who operate in Democrat-controlled cities like right here in Milwaukee. We must continue to build the people’s movements, especially against police crimes and for community control of the police.”</p> <p>The Coalition is working to unite the families of victims of killer cops, particularly in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas, to attend and speak at the event on August 20. </p> <p>The Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist &amp; Political Repression, a member organization of the Coalition, is an integral part in the fight for justice for victims of killer cops locally. They’ve led or participated in many of the actions demanding justice for “Thee Three” - Alvin Cole, Jay Anderson and Antonio Gonzales.</p> <p>“What we’re hoping to do during the DNC is shine a spotlight on the fact that killer cops exist everywhere, whether it’s a big city like Milwaukee or a small town like Oshkosh. We want to bring together as many families as possible from across Wisconsin,” said Lauryn Cross, a leader with the Milwaukee Alliance.</p> <p>“We want to make sure their cases get the national attention and pressure that they deserve. Cops are killing Black, Latino and indigenous people without consequence. They’re occupying our communities all across the country. We can’t breathe,” said Cross.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Antiwar Movement LGBTQ Brutalidad Policial 2020 election African-American Anti-racism Coalition to March on the DNC Elections Healthcare Housing Struggles Joe Biden Women's Movement Inmigrantes Sistema de injusticia Obreros Nacionalidades Oprimidas U.S. Thu, 06 Aug 2020 12:23:26 +0000 Fight Back 8392 at Oshkosh, WI protest demands justice for Isaiah Tucker on 3-year anniversary of his murder by police <p>Oshkosh, WI - On the evening of July 31, 50 people from Oshkosh and the surrounding Fox Valley participated in a protest and vigil for Isaiah Tucker. The event, organized by United Action Oshkosh (UAO), marked the three-year anniversary of Isaiah’s murder by Oshkosh police officers Aaron Achterberg and Kyle Roberts. This event was also a call for the Oshkosh Police Department to fire, indict and convict killer cop Achterberg and his accomplice Roberts, both of whom are still employed by Oshkosh Police Department. </p> <p>Attendees of the event took to the streets and marched to the Oshkosh Police Department to demand justice for Isaiah. Guest speakers included Isaiah’s brother, Bobby, as well as Lauryn Cross, a leader from the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist &amp; Political Repression, and Ryan Hamann, a co-chair of the Coalition to March on the Democratic National Convention.</p> <p>“We recognize that Trump is a leading figure goading killer cops and vigilantes, and that he needs to be defeated, but we must also demand that Joe Biden and the Democrats put an end to these racist killings like what happened to Isaiah Tucker,” said Hamann. “Through the march on the DNC, the Coalition hopes to shine a national spotlight on Isaiah’s case, to bring much needed awareness and pressure. Police crimes and killer cops exist everywhere. It’s an issue that isn’t restricted to the big cities and it’s high time we did something about it.”</p> <p>Some members of Isaiah Tucker’s family will be joining with the Coalition to March on the DNC in Milwaukee on August 20 to take their demand for justice to a national stage.</p> <p>The speakers put out a call to action to not only win justice for Tucker and his family, but also to establish a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) in the city. This council would provide civilian control over the hiring and firing of police officers in the city, to review and veto the police department’s budget, and to call for truly independent investigations of police crimes.</p> <p>Holding the Oshkosh Police Department accountable would give a measure of justice for Isaiah Tucker by firing, indicting and convicting Aaron Achterberg and Kyle Roberts, as well as ensuring that killer cops are held accountable to the people in the city and could not hold a job as police officers.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial Police Brutality United Action Oshkosh Sistema de injusticia Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:59:31 +0000 Fight Back 8391 at Statewide online workshop on community control of Florida police <p>Tallahassee, FL -The Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) hosted an online training and workshop, July 30, over Facebook Live on the topic of community control of police. The event was led by experienced anti-racism leaders who are active in the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), and also founding members of their local organizations: TCAC and the group that inspired TCAC’s own founding, the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC).</p> <p>“NAARPR, JCAC and TCAC all have political repression and police overreach central to their origin stories,” noted Tallahassee Community Action Committee member Satya Stark-Bejnar.</p> <p>“Founding members of each organization recognized that state repression through law enforcement and the judicial system, while astonishing on a case-by-case basis, can and must be expected systemically, and that durable, organized bodies - that know to expect this - are better suited to respond to cases of repression, violence and overreach as they arise than individuals going it alone, spontaneous, surprised and starting from scratch,” continued Stark-Bejnar.</p> <p>“Our movement is powerful because of our work with families of victims of police crimes, our work with police torture survivors, and our work to make sure that local police budgets don’t just bloat every year,” said JCAC panelist Michael Sampson, who opened the workshop. In addition to fighting for justice around specific cases of police violence, JCAC and TCAC are educating their communities about just how much money law enforcement gets from their cities, roughly 40% and 30% respectively, of the entire municipal budgets of Jacksonville and Tallahassee.</p> <p>“They spend a lot of this money on surveillance,” said Christina Kittle, also of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, who led the second segment of the workshop. “I learned, from my case, and the four others who were beaten and arrested along with me in 2017, that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office had already spent over $17 million to illegally surveil us, build files on us- Before that [physical] attack was even launched!”</p> <p>Sampson and Kittle’s workshop segments were followed by Tallahassee Community Action Committee panelists Delilah Pierre, Regina Joseph and Lakey Love, educating attendees about the difference between appointed police review boards and elected civilian police accountability councils (CPACs), the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights (LEOBoR), and introducing community control of police as an umbrella term that has, since the 1970’s included many specific demands that are currently trending around defund police/re-fund communities, and around police training, policy, oversight and accountability.</p> <p>“I wanted to make sure people understood what community control of police really represented, said panelist Delilah Pierre. “It's more than a simple change in where the police live, or of their tactics. It's more than ‘review,’ and more than the removal of ‘bad apples.’ It's a real movement to change the structure of the police - to put them under the control of a far more democratic process.”</p> <p>The workshop also focused on building a statewide coalition to tackle these issues, given limits imposed by LEOBoR, a Florida state statute passed in 1973 and strengthened since, which grants special procedures and special rights to police officers, helping them evade criminal conviction for misconduct, brutality and even murder.</p> <p>At the end of the workshop, panelists fielded questions from viewers: how to become involved in local, statewide and national actions; who are local and state representatives who support CPACs; and how to bring advocates for specific police-related demands into a unified fight for community control of police overall. To expand the reach of the online workshop, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee’s event was co-hosted on Facebook by the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, the South Florida Afro Pride Collective, the Florida Coalition for Trans Liberation, and the Florida Peoples Advocacy Center, resulting in a viewership of over 1900 and growing.</p> <p><em>Mary Correia (she/her) is an activist in Tallahassee, Florida.</em></p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial Community Control of the Police Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC) Tallahassee Community Action Committee Sistema de injusticia Wed, 05 Aug 2020 01:53:41 +0000 Fight Back 8390 at