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 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 New Orleans protesters shut down eviction court and block landlords’ entrance <p>New Orleans, LA - On the morning of July 30, over 100 people gathered around the New Orleans Civil District Court building to demand that eviction court be closed. The crowd physically prevented landlords from entering. By the end of the demonstration, protesters shut down the entire court as well as city hall.</p> <p>The demonstration began with a mock trial that sentenced the court judges and local and state leadership to be evicted for not taking action to protect renters. Above the scene, demonstrators hung a banner from the court roof that read “Eviction = Death.” During the trial, protesters placed furniture in front of the entrance and some demonstrators chained themselves together in front of the doors. </p> <p>The New Orleans Renters Rights Assembly called the demonstration, with a number of other organizations joining. These included workers’ rights organizations like the City Waste Union and the New Orleans Hospitality Workers Alliance, Southern Solidarity, Freedom Road Socialist Organization and other groups.</p> <p>The speeches demanded that the city close eviction court and provide immediate relief to the 300,000 Louisiana residents who are at risk of being evicted.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo African-American Eviction Healthcare Housing Struggles New Orleans Rent cancellation Sistema de injusticia Nacionalidades Oprimidas Tue, 04 Aug 2020 12:19:13 +0000 Fight Back 8386 at Thousands march and rally in Portland <p>Portland, OR - Large marches rocked downtown Portland, August 1, as thousands took to the streets in defense of Black lives. Trade unionists had a visible presence in the large protests.</p> <p>Many rallied in front of the federal courthouse, which is surrounded by concrete and metal barriers.</p> <p>The federal courthouse has been the scene of intense clashes between protesters and federal agents sent by the Trump administration. As of midnight, police had no visible presence.</p> <p>According to reports, police declared an action in the Northeast Portland neighborhood to be an ‘unlawful assembly’ and arrested several people.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Portland Sun, 02 Aug 2020 22:36:25 +0000 Fight Back 8385 at Large protests continue in Portland <p>Portland, OR – The chant of “Black lives matter!” echoed off the Federal Courthouse Friday, July 31, as nearly 3000 demonstrators assembled in downtown Portland. Federal agents and local police were not visible, but a number of protesters stated that agents remain inside the courthouse. Many rally participants were well prepared for an attack, wearing head protection and gas masks to lessen the impact of teargas and police projectiles. No clashes occurred. </p> <p>The courthouse is covered with slogans and surrounded by concrete barriers topped by metal fencing. African Americans and other oppressed nationalities led the chants and were the speakers at the July 31 protest. A contingent of “Asian Americans for Black Liberation” were among the participants. </p> <p>Until Thursday, July 30, nightly battles have taken place with the federal forces dispatched by Trump.<br /> In earlier protests, federal agents critically injured a young man with a ‘less lethal’ round.</p> <p>Many around the country have spoken against the repression directed against the heroic demonstrators in Portland. </p> <p>Actions will continue in the streets today.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial Black Lives Matter Police Brutality Sistema de injusticia Sun, 02 Aug 2020 00:05:09 +0000 Fight Back 8384 at Federal $600 a week addition to unemployment insurance runs out <p>San José, CA - 25 million Americans or more are losing their additional $600 a week in unemployment insurance benefits even as the number of people applying for unemployment benefits continues to rise. Up to one-third of all renters have already lost eviction protection from the federal government, and the Republican proposal does not include extending it. Millions of other households are under threat of losing their electrical power for not paying their bills.</p> <p>The depth of the economic crisis stoked by the uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic was shown this morning, July 30, in the Commerce Department’s report on Gross Domestic Product for the second three months of the year. This period from April to June saw GDP fall 9.5% from the previous three months, the biggest drop on record. Economists’ historical estimates show that last quarter was worse than any single quarter during the Great Depression of the 1930s.</p> <p>More than 20 million jobs were lost in March and April, and millions of others who were self-employed or gig workers lost their livelihood. While about one third of the jobs lost came back in May and June, the economy is now sinking again with the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to record deaths in the United States in recent days. For the second week in a row, the new claims for regular state unemployment insurance rose, this time by 18,000 from last week’s estimate, to more than 1.4 million in the week ending July 25. This is the 19th week in a row that applications of unemployment insurance were more than a million.</p> <p>The total number receiving state unemployment insurance benefits also rose, up 867,000 to more than 17 million. Another sign that jobless workers are having a harder time getting back to work was the increase in number of people who are getting benefits through the federal program that offers an additional 13 weeks when the regular state benefits run out. This program, called the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation or FEUC rose by 115,000 people to over one million in the week ending July 11.</p> <p>Unlike the Democrats who passed their HEROES act in the House of Representative back in May, the Republican senators and White House do not have enough agreement to even pass a bill in the Republican controlled Senate. As soon as Republicans publicized their HEALS act on Monday that would cut the $600 a week additional unemployment by $400, differences broke out between Republican senators and between the Senate and the White House. Time also revealed more unsavory details of the Republicans’ Act. In addition to cutting the additional $600 a week by $400, and not extending the federal eviction protection, their proposal includes money for a new FBI building to be built across the street from a Trump business, money for Trump’s border wall, and a clause that would make it easier for businesses to sue their workers who challenge the safety of their workplace.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Capitalismo y Economía economy Fri, 31 Jul 2020 02:28:53 +0000 Fight Back 8383 at TCAC hosts first of three local candidate forums <p>Tallahassee, FL - The Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) held an online candidate forum July 25 to give TCAC members and the wider public a sense of which local candidates for City Commission might unite with TCAC’s progressive platform on community control of police and other issues. “TCAC does not endorse candidates,” clarified TCAC member and forum moderator Dawn Orocio at the start of the event, hosted on Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Live, “We encourage candidates to endorse our policy platform and our demands.”</p> <p>All active candidates for City Commission Seats 1 and 2 were invited to participate in Saturday’s forum. Neither incumbent, both of whom are endorsed by law enforcement - Elaine Bryant (Seat 1, appointed after Scott Maddox was removed on federal fraud charges) nor Curtis Richardson (Seat 2, former state house representative who’d voted in favor of Florida’s now-notorious Stand Your Ground legislation) - were present.</p> <p>In attendance were City Seat 1 candidate Jacqueline “Jack” Porter and City Seat 2 candidates Trish Brown, Geraldine “Gerri” Seay, and Bill Schack. TCAC members posed questions to all candidates on topics of community control of police, city budget, housing justice, city management, development priorities, public comment, LGBTQIA+ concerns, and the city hospital’s recent “F” grade in patient safety.</p> <p>Community control of police as a concept and goal - that communities gets to say how they are policed, by whom, and with what funding and equipment- seemed novel to most candidates, as well as the distinction between an appointed citizen Police Review Board (PRB), recently proposed by the City, versus an independent, all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) as proposed by TCAC and other coalition partners. The exception to this was Seat 2 candidate Trish Brown, longtime local activist, whose campaign centerpiece is community control of police and the election of a CPAC. All other candidates were in favor of “at least something,” regarding police oversight, though they differed in what that oversight should or could look like; who would serve on such a body; and how much power it would have, given present state law.</p> <p>“I am encouraged to see multiple candidates finally using the word ‘accountability’ and not just ‘review’ in regards to law enforcement,” said TCAC President Regina Joseph after the event. “While TCAC doesn’t endorse candidates, it is eye opening to see which candidates stand firmly with us, our vision and our demands, which candidates aren’t yet familiar with the decades long struggle for CPAC, and which ones just refuse to take up the fight for community control of police.”</p> <p>The Tallahassee Community Action Committee, other organizations, and many individual residents have been demanding the resignation and/or firing of city manager Reese Goad since his opaque selection process for chief of police last winter resulted in the installation of killer-cop Lawrence Revell at the helm of the Tallahassee Police Department. During Saturday's forum, all candidates present roundly condemned the city manager’s chief of police hiring process and each firmly declared, in their own words, that Goad must go.</p> <p>TCAC will host two back-to-back candidate forums Saturday, August 1. The first will be at noon, for public defender candidates, and the second at 2 p.m. for County Commission candidates. Both forums will be held over Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Live.</p> <p><em>Satya Stark-Bejnar (they/he) is an activist in Tallahassee, FL.</em></p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Brutalidad Policial TCAC Thu, 30 Jul 2020 02:14:05 +0000 Fight Back 8382 at Florida parents, teachers, students demand delay of school reopening as COVID cases rise <p>Tallahassee, FL - On July 25, the Tallahassee Community Action Committee along with concerned parents, teachers, students and allies marched from the Department of Education to the governor’s mansion to demand that Governor Ron Desantis, the Leon County school board and other responsible bodies keep schools closed until it is safe to return to in-person learning. Doctors, nurses and educators emphasized the urgency of the global pandemic and the need for a safe, science-based reopening strategy in the face of rising COVID-19 cases.</p> <p>Aspiring teacher and FSU student Shelby Shoup stated, “Although I have seen teachers and students face really atrocious working and learning conditions, I’ve never seen something so risky and dangerous as reopening schools in the middle of a pandemic. I have loved ones, I have colleagues, I have mentors who work and study in Leon county schools and I don’t want them to die. Even a single life loss is a preventable death and we should do everything we can to prevent those.”</p> <p>Shoop continued, “The call that is being put forward by school employees, and students and families across the country - for schools to open only after 14 days of no new cases reported by our districts - is the only way to go.”</p> <p>Incoming high school senior Maddelena Kaji expressed her family’s devastation at the loss of her grandfather to COVID-19 and how afraid she is for younger people who don’t take the pandemic seriously, bringing in-person attendees and livestream viewers to tears as she said, “I miss my grandad and I don’t want my friends to die, too.”</p> <p>Organizers held a moment of silence for Jordan Byrd, a 19-year-old faculty member working at Tallahassee Community College, who died from COVID-19. After the silence, protesters staged a die-in, lying down next to makeshift tombstones symbolizing present and past COVID-19 victims as well as faculty and students in danger of losing their lives to a hasty reopening of schools.</p> <p>Parents, teachers and students are continuing to organize virtually, locally and across the state, to combat the governor’s rush to reopen. Shoup stated, “You can beat down and abuse teachers and workers only for so long before they stand up and fight back!”</p> <p><em>Delilah Pierre (she) is an activist in Tallahassee, FL</em></p> Las Luchas del Pueblo COVID-19 Wed, 29 Jul 2020 03:09:19 +0000 Fight Back 8381 at Republicans propose $400 a week cut from unemployment benefits <p>San José, CA - After months of delay and weeks of infighting, on Monday, July 27 the Trump administration and the Republican Senate put forward their proposal for more economic relief from the pandemic and recession. With the $600 a week in additional benefits expiring, the Republicans want to cut this by $400 a week, down to $200. With the national unemployment benefit averaging about $350 a week, this would mean a more than 40% cut in their benefits.</p> <p>To make matters worse, it will hit the unemployed who have low-paying jobs the hardest. For example, a full-time worker in a small business that earns the minimum wage ($12 an hour in California) would lose more than half of their benefit under the Republican proposal. Lower-paid workers have been hardest hit by the recession, as low-wage service industries were shut down by the pandemic.</p> <p>Even worse, the Republicans want this $200 benefit to last for only two months, and then shift to replacing 70% of their previous wages. For the same lowest paid full time worker here in California, the extra benefit would only be $100 a month. On the other hand, unemployed people who earned three times the minimum wage or more will get more than $600 a month in additional benefits.</p> <p>But there is no way that states could switch their unemployment insurance benefits in two months. Right now, millions of jobless workers have not been able to apply or receive their unemployment benefits, with state systems swamped by those in need.</p> <p>The $600 in additional unemployment insurance benefits has allowed millions of unemployed to keep up with their rent. Others have kept a roof over their head because of eviction moratoriums which are also expiring. Millions of tenants are already at risk of eviction, millions more will be threatened by the Republican proposal to cut benefits by $400 a week.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Capitalismo y Economía Extended Unemployment Benefits Tue, 28 Jul 2020 14:35:26 +0000 Fight Back 8380 at Minneapolis protest demands justice for Vanessa Guillen, Breonna Taylor, women lost to state violence <p>Minneapolis, MN - On July 18, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis to demand justice for women lost to state violence. Organized by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC), the protest focused on Vanessa Guillen and Breonna Taylor. The dual focus on Vanessa Guillen, who was Latina, and Breonna Taylor, who was Black, aimed to build unity between Black and Latino communities as well as other communities in the struggle for justice.</p> <p>The protest took place in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. After a lakeside rally at Bde Mka Ska, protesters marched to the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, one of the busiest spots in the city, where they held a rally in the intersection for around a half hour.</p> <p>Several people spoke there about the need for justice for Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen. Then in the middle of the intersection, protesters took turns breaking open two piñatas that were in the shape of pigs, one with a police insignia and one with an ICE insignia.</p> <p>After the speakers and piñatas, the protesters marched back to Bde Mka Ska for a closing rally, ending just before the skies opened up with heavy rains.</p> <p>Vanessa Guillen was a 20-year-old Latina U.S. Army soldier who went missing on April 22 from Fort Hood in Texas and was missing for months. Her remains were finally found on June 30, having been brutally murdered and dismembered by a sergeant. Before she went missing, Guillen had told her family that she was being sexually harassed by a sergeant and that complaints by other female soldiers made against him had been dismissed.</p> <p>Breonna Taylor was a 26-year-old Black woman who was murdered by the Louisville Metro Police Department on March 13, when three plainclothes cops executed a no-knock search warrant on her apartment. Taylor’s boyfriend said they thought that the plainclothes cops were intruders. When they tried to defend themselves in their own home, the cops fired more than 20 rounds, murdering Breonna Taylor.</p> <p>In addition to demanding justice for Guillen and Taylor, speakers highlighted other cases of women murdered by the police. A speaker from Native Lives Matter demanded justice for the many Native women murdered by the police. An Afro-Brazilian speaker talked about the case of Marielle Franco, a Black socialist woman active against police brutality in Brazil who was on the city council in Rio de Janeiro and was assassinated by right-wing former police officers in 2018.</p> <p>The protesters made three demands in response to the murder of Vanessa Guillen: shut down Fort Hood (Vanessa’s case is not the only one like this there); stop setting up military recruitment stations in high schools, especially in low-income schools, and a congressional investigation for Guillen.</p> <p>In response to the murder of Breonna Taylor the protesters raised four demands: that the Louisville mayor and city council address the use of force by the Louisville Metro Police Department; fire and revoke the pensions of the officers that murdered Taylor; arrest, charge and convict them for this crime and ensure special prosecutor Daniel Cameron seeks full transparency and accountability; provide all necessary information to a local, independent civilian community police accountability council, and create policy for transparent investigation process due to law enforcement misconduct.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo Breonna Taylor MIRAc Vanessa Guillén Women's Movement Sistema de injusticia Tue, 28 Jul 2020 13:36:54 +0000 Fight Back 8379 at NYC rallies for People’s State of the Nation Address <p>New York, NY - Over 60 people gathered on July 26, in Woodside, Queens for the People’s State of the Nation Address. This action is organized every year in response to the U.S.-backed Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address. The event is a protest of his government, which has committed human rights abuses and wages war the people. It was organized by the Malaya Movement, Sige, Kabataan Alliance, and BAYAN USA Northeast.</p> <p>The action started at Woodside Plaza, where speakers addressed various topics about the Philippines, from migrant workers to women’s rights to the recent Anti-Terror Law, which has outlawed resistance to the Duterte government by expanding the definition of “terrorism.”</p> <p>The crowd then marched to Little Manila, a predominantly Filipino section of Woodside. The rally continued there with more speeches from Filipino organizations and supporters, who talked about how different local and international issues connect to what is happening in the Philippines. A common theme amongst the speakers was how the U.S. and its puppet governments around the world suppress opposition to its oppressive rule.</p> <p>Along with the organizations that sponsored the rally, there were speakers from Gabriela NJ, Migrante NY, New York Community Action Project, Anakbayan Manhattan, Anakbayan Queens, Association of Filipino Scientists in America, New York Boricua Resistance, Struggle-La Lucha, Within Our Lifetime-United for Palestine, and others.</p> <p>A few of the speakers highlighted the recent passing of Fidel Agcaoili, chairperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines negotiating panel. The crowd honored his legacy by promising continued struggle in order to win against the Duterte government and U.S. imperialism. The crowd joined together for a few more chants before ending for the evening.</p> Las Luchas del Pueblo BAYAN USA Filipinas Mon, 27 Jul 2020 23:15:27 +0000 Fight Back 8378 at