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. en Hundreds join Teamster picket at University of Minnesota <p>Minneapolis, MN – Upwards of 250 members of Teamster Local 320 and their supporters joined a spirited informational picket line, August 31 to “Turn up the heat” on the U of M administration, pushing their demands for a real raise and respect. The six-hour long picket took place on the Super Block, a huge complex of student dormitories. It coincided with move-in day.</p> <p>A strong showing by the university’s AFSCME Local 3800, along with the support of members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), other unions, and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) contributed to the event’s success.</p> AFSCME AFSCME Labor Teamsters Teamsters unions Labor Student Movement Tue, 01 Sep 2015 02:57:14 +0000 Fight Back 4955 at Chicago August 29 protest marks new stage in movement to stop police crimes <p>Chicago, IL - When thousands of people gathered at Federal Plaza Saturday, August 29, LaCreshia Birts and Michael Sampson of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression started the rally with a chant: "When we say fight back, you say CPAC!”</p> <p>CPAC stands for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council. The masses of people that rallied in Federal Plaza had all arrived at the same conclusion. As Mike Elliott, Chair of the Labor Committee of the Alliance put it, “It’s time to end the cycle: the cops kill a young Black or Latino; we protest and de-mand a killer cop go to jail; the protests die down, until another young man or woman is killed, and then the cycle begins again.”</p> <p>The answer put forward was to demand that the city enact community control of the police. The Alli-ance has created legislation to do just that, and named it CPAC.</p> <p>The mobilization was also the largest protest in Chicago against police crimes since the death of Mike Brown and the uprising in Ferguson. The organizers in the Alliance worked all year to build the coali-tion, and organize the affected communities.</p> <p>The coalition included families of the victims who were murdered and tortured by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). Speakers at the rallies before and after the march included Bertha Escamilla, whose son, Nick, was tortured into a false confession; Dorothy Holmes, whose son Ronnie Johnson was shot in the back in October 2014; Emmett Farmer, who had to watch a dash cam video of his son, Flint, being shot to death by a cop as he laid on the ground; Howard Morgan, a retired Chicago Police Officer, victim of attempted murder by active members of the CPD who shot him 28 times; and Martinez Sutton, whose sister, Rekia Boyd, was killed by officer Dante Servin.</p> <p>For this past year, the Alliance has spent days petitioning and leafleting in the working class, Black and Latino communities of Chicago such as Woodlawn, South Shore, Austin, Humboldt Park and others, where the level of police crimes is rampant. Over 21,000 signatures have been gathered, all these at street corners.</p> <p><strong>United front: Powerful weapon in the struggle against national oppression</strong></p> <p>The protest was a majority oppressed nationality: Black, Chicano, Latino immigrant, Arab, South Asian, Filipino and others. It included contingents from the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), whose national director, Charlene Carruthers, invoked the memory of the most famous murder victim of the CPD, Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party. The day after the march was Hampton’s birthday.</p> <p>The Arab American Action Network marched behind a banner carried by community icon, Rasmea Odeh. Odeh is under attack by the U.S. government for her continued resistance to the occupation of Palestine. Raped and tortured by the Israeli occupation forces in 1969, she has been a citizen and a leader among Palestinians in Chicago for many years. The Black Liberation movement and the Palestinians have struggled together over the years in support of each other.</p> <p>The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicagoland also had an impressive contingent, which include Dr. Alia Ammar, executive director of PEACE, a grassroots organization whose mission is to fos-ter collaborative interfaith and intercultural social justice activism.</p> <p>A new force that helped swell the size of the march were a number of unions and labor organizations. The largest was the Fight For $15. Adriana Sanchez, a McDonald’s worker, addressed the larger rally at Daley Plaza, demanding $15 an hour minimum wage and a union.</p> <p>Also, wearing their signature red shirts, was a big crowd from the Black Caucus of the Chicago Teachers Union. Michael Brunson, chair of the Black Caucus of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and recording secretary of the Chicago Teachers Union, brought up to the stage one of the hunger strikers from Dyett Green Technology High School, the last public school in the historic Black community of Bronzeville. These parents and teachers there are fighting to stop the closing of their school.</p> <p>SEIU Locals 73 and Health Care Illinois/Indiana, United Electrical workers, AFSCME Local 2858, Graduate Employees Organization, and UAW Local 551 all brought out members to support CPAC.</p> <p>Alliance Field Organizer Frank Chapman said, “This is what united action for community control of the police looks like. We've initiated a new stage in the struggle with a clear political objective demanding systemic change. CPAC is about power to the people!”</p> <p><strong>Lift every voice</strong></p> <p>Angelique Fullwood, a young activist who traveled from Florida who had previously been an organizer with the Tallahassee Dream Defenders, explained her views of the struggle. “CPAC is a radical demand because it establishes real people power that can be used as a template for Black and Latino communi-ties across the country to address police terror.” She added, “I believe the people of Chicago are at the perfect place in history right now to set the tone for the rest of the Black Liberation Movement.”</p> <p>Numerous spoken word artists came up to perform, speaking out against Black national oppression and police crimes. At the closing rally, the crowd joined in singing the Black national anthem,<em> Lift Every Voice and Sing</em>. The song was led by Pastor Rosalind Morgan, Church of the Living God and wife of Howard Morgani; and by actress and activist Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye, creator of the one-woman play, <em>The Fannie Lou Hamer Story</em>.</p> <p><em>Sing a song, full of the faith that the dark past has taught us.</em></p> <p><em>Sing a song, full of the hope that the struggle has brought us.</em></p> <p><em>Facing the rising sun of a new day begun,</em></p> <p><em>Let us march on till victory is won.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Police Brutality African-American Anti-racism Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Civilian Police Accountability Council CPAC Frank Chapman Racism in the Criminal Justice System In-Justice System Tue, 01 Sep 2015 01:03:00 +0000 Fight Back 4954 at Photo essay: Chicago march for community control of the police Police Brutality African-American Racism in the Criminal Justice System In-Justice System Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:42:47 +0000 Fight Back 4953 at 3000 march in Chicago for community control of the police <p>Chicago, IL - An historic mobilization took place in Chicago’s Loop, the center of the city, August 29, when 3000 people marched to demand an elected, civilian police accountability council.</p> <p>Frank Chapman, organizer of the march and field organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression said, “This is what united action for community control of the police looks like. We've initiated a new stage in the struggle with a clear political objective demanding systemic change. CPAC is about power to the people!”</p> <p>The march included families of victims of police crimes, Black Lives Matter groups, Palestinians marching around community leader Rasmea Odeh, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicagoland, trade unionists, immigrant rights activists and other groups.</p> Police Brutality African-American Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression CPAC Frank Chapman Racism in the Criminal Justice System In-Justice System Mon, 31 Aug 2015 00:07:52 +0000 Fight Back 4952 at Activists from across U.S. to march in Chicago against police crimes <p>Chicago, IL – Activists from all over the U.S. are arriving here to join the August 29 march against police crimes and to demand community control of the police.</p> <p>Michael Sampson of Washington DC states, “Chicago is a breeding ground for police terror with so many corrupt cops killing Black and&nbsp;Chicano working class people with impunity. This march and the fight for community control of the police is part of&nbsp;building a stronger movement for liberation.”</p> <p>Regina Joseph, a leader of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) in Florida, says, “I traveled from Tallahassee to Chicago because the struggle against police brutality is connected across state borders. The group leading the march, the Chicago Alliance against Racist and Political Repression, is doing something groundbreaking by demanding democratic community control of the police. I hope all Black people across the United States follow the lead of the Alliance to push historic reforms that actually make a difference in the lives of the oppressed.”</p> <p>Cherrene Horazuk, a trade union leader from Minnesota, says, “I am looking forward to marching with the labor contingent in this historic march. Working people need to stand up against oppression wherever it shows itself.”</p> <p>On August 29, the march will kick off at 12:00 Noon from Federal Plaza at Dearborn and Adams.</p> Police Brutality Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Sat, 29 Aug 2015 23:01:04 +0000 Fight Back 4951 at Protest slams Senator Klobuchar support for Israeli terror <p>Minneapolis, MN – More than 50 demonstrators rallied in front of the office of Senator Klobuchar (D-MN), August 26, to mark the end of the 2014 Israeli/U.S. war on Gaza. Cars driving up and down Washington Avenue honked in support.</p> <p>Sophia Hansen-Day of the Anti-War Committee told the crowd, “Last summer over 2200 Palestinians, 513 of whom were children, were massacred by the Israeli military in a horrific 51-day war. In terms of explosive force, the Israeli military used the equivalent of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in the course of its war on Gaza. International law experts agree Israel is guilty of nothing short of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and, incitement to genocide.”</p> <p>“U.S. military aid to the tune of at least $3 billion every year, unfaltering diplomatic support, media propaganda - the U.S. government directly supports Zionist terror, sustains the occupation and enables massacres such as the one we witnessed last summer. Today, we stand in front of Senator Klobuchar’s office to demand the U.S. government ends all military, political and economic support for the apartheid state of Israel,” Hansen-Day continued.</p> <p>After the rally at Klobuchar’s office, protesters marched through the streets, blocking rush-hour traffic and chanting. Upon arriving at May Day Plaza, Sarah Martin of Women Against Military Madness spoke and urged protesters to come to Cincinnati, Oct. 14, to support Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh.</p> <p>On May Day plaza, there was a heart-wrenching die-in. A member of the Anti-War Committee read an account written by a woman from Gaza who lost 18 people in one attack. She read out the relatives’ names and ages. After each name, the crowd chanted “Presente!” Protesters representing the family members fell to the pavement as each name was called. White sheets splattered with red paint to represent blood were draped over the people on the ground. After all 18 names were read, the crowd chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” and the die-in participants sprang up, joining in the resistance chant.</p> <p>The protest was initiated by the Anti-War Committee and endorsed by American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace - Twin Cities, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc), Students for a Democratic Society at UMN, Students for Justice in Palestine - U of MN, Welfare Rights Committee, Veterans for Peace, U.S. Palestinian Communities Network - MN Chapter, and Women Against Military Madness (WAMM).</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Gaza Israel Minnesota Palestine Palestine Thu, 27 Aug 2015 03:07:15 +0000 Fight Back 4950 at Stop Police Crimes! <p>The Chicago August 29 demonstration to stop police crimes and to establish community control over the police is nothing short of a historic step forward for the movement against racist discrimination and national oppression, and an advance in the fight for freedom, equality and liberation.</p> <p>A key demand advanced by the march is for the creation of an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) that would have the power to investigate and punish police crimes, and that would have real power to determine how policing is carried out in Chicago. The struggle for this demand to extend democracy has U.S.-wide implications and it deserves the consideration and support of everyone who is working to end police terror.</p> <p>The growing movement for community control of the police comes in the context of new upsurge in the African American liberation movement. During the last great upsurge in the late 1960s, the Black Panther Party demanded the community should control the police. Today, the rebellions against police terror and against police crimes in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, the rise of the Black Lives Matters movement and the mass protests against police terror in cities across the country are clear signs that community control of the police is an idea that’s time has come.</p> <p>The police in general, and Chicago police in particular, have made a name for themselves with a reign of killings, beating and torture centers that are disproportionally aimed at the African American, Native American, Chicano/Mexicano and Latino and other oppressed nationalities.</p> <p>The United States today is not about equality. It is about oppression. At the top are the 1% - the wealthy exploiters - and those who answer to them. The system is working very well for them, but for oppressed and working people it is a failure, a complete failure.</p> <p>Social services are being cut back and our labor unions are under attack. Good jobs are disappearing, and at every step the Black, Latino and other oppressed communities are hardest hit. There is no justice and the ‘peace’ that is imposed upon the communities is the ‘peace’ of police occupation and violence.</p> <p>The broad support generated by the August 29 march is the shape of things to come. There is yearning for change and the motion is there for real and concrete change. The time is now for a Civilian Police Accountability Council. We need community control of the police. The trade union backing CPAC, including the support of Karen Lewis, president of Chicago Teachers Union, is an encouraging development. Unity, a strategic alliance between labor and the Black, Latino and other oppressed communities is a powerful force for change.</p> <p>Across the country the crimes of the police are being challenged. The movement against inequality and racist discrimination is growing. Nothing can hold back those who are determined to fight for justice and freedom!</p> People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-racism Anti-Racism Police Brutality Police crimes Racism In-Justice System Tue, 25 Aug 2015 20:42:04 +0000 Fight Back 4949 at Communist Party of Greece on the early election <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following August 24 statement from the Communist Party of Greece (KKE).</em></p> <p><strong>In the face of the early elections</strong></p> <p>The SYRIZA-ANEL government recently resigned, resulting in new early parliamentary elections (most likely on the 20/9).</p> <p>As is well known, SYRIZA won the elections in January 2015, deceiving the workers, promising the abolition of the anti-people laws, which had been previously passed by the governments of PASOK and ND, after the agreements (memoranda) with the imperialist organizations (EU, IMF, ECB).</p> <p>The KKE had warned in a timely fashion that SYRIZA, a “left”, an opportunist party which mutated into a social-democratic party, was chosen by the bourgeoisie to manage the crisis and cannot implement a political line in favor of the people.</p> <p>Our party had formulated its position that there can be no way out in favor of the working class and the other popular strata inside the capitalist development path, the EU and NATO.</p> <p>As was demonstrated in a few months of managing capitalism, the “left” SYRIZA, which governed together with “right” nationalist party ANEL, not only did not abolish the 2 previous memoranda and most of the 400 anti-people application laws of the previous governments, but implemented them and passed through Parliament a third even more painful agreement (memorandum) with the imperialist powers. This agreement had the support of the other bourgeois parties and was voted for in Parliament by them: “rightwing” ND, “Social-democratic” PASOK, the “centre” party “POTAMI”. This new agreement massacres any rights that have remained, imposes new reductions in wages and pensions, abolishes social-security rights, imposes even more intense taxation of the popular strata, promotes the policy of privatizations etc.</p> <p>In addition, the “Left-patriotic” government consistently operated during these months inside the framework of our country’s participation in the imperialist unions of NATO and the EU, of the “strategic alliance” with the USA. It participated in every NATO mission and exercise, it organized military exercises even with Israel, it promised a new base for the USA and NATO (on the island of Karpathos), it voted in the EU for the extension and reinforcement of the trade war against Russia etc.</p> <p>So, in practice it has been demonstrated that the SYRIZA-ANEL government is another anti-people government, which with “”left” slogans served in an equally faithful way the bourgeoisie, the EU and NATO as the previous governments had done. Today, the governing SYRIZA-ANEL parties, using the same arguments that ND and PASOK had used in the past, defends the new anti-people agreement as the only way of keeping the country in the Eurozone and EU, something that it presents as the people’s salvation. SYRIZA, just as all the other bourgeois parties, sows the illusion amongst the working class and people that the EU and capitalism can be humanized, as long as the workers continue to endure the anti-people measures.</p> <p>At the same time, the bourgeois political system in order to curb and control any radical changes in the people’s consciousness that could be brought about by the exposure of SYRIZA’s role continues to manufacture new parties. One such party, with the title “Laiki Enotita” (People’s Unity), was formed by MPs and former ministers from SYRIZA. These forces, which were active as a “left platform” inside SYRIZA, bear grave responsibilities as regards the deception of the people. They participated, even as ministers, in the implementation of the previous anti-people laws. They actively participated in the attempt during the previous period to trick the people that there is an alternative proposal for them inside the walls of the EU and agreed with the anti-people agreement that was signed by the SYRIZA-ANEL government with the Troika on the 20th of February, with the anti-people proposal of 47 pages submitted by SYRIZA to the EU etc. Now that the illusions fostered by SYRIZA have been dented, these forces promote the return to the national currency as a solution for the people, along with other measures for the management of the system. They act as a “barrier” to the radicalization of the people, seeking to trap the people inside the capitalist development path.</p> <p>Over this entire period, the KKE consistently exposed the role of SYRIZA and the other bourgeois parties, struggled for the abolition of the memoranda and all the anti-people measures, to prevent new measures, to develop the workers’-people’s struggle for the recovery of their losses and the satisfaction of their needs in combination with the only alternative solution that is in the interests of the working class and other popular strata:</p> <p>The regroupment of the labor movement and the construction social-people’s alliance between the working class, the poor farmers, the urban self-employed, the youth and women from the families of the popular strata in order to strengthen the antimonopoly-anticapitalist struggle for the real overthrow, the socialization of the monopolies, the disengagement from the EU and NATO and the unilateral cancellation of the debt, with workers’-people’s power.</p> <p>We are waging the struggle with this line in order to strengthen the KKE in the labour-people’s movement and in Parliament, unwaveringly continuing the struggle for the interests of the working class and its liberation from the shackles of capitalist exploitation.</p> Greece Communist Party of Greece KKE Syriza Tue, 25 Aug 2015 03:14:48 +0000 Fight Back 4948 at Protest at Senator Klobuchar’s office on anniversary of Gaza War <p>Minneapolis, MN - The Twin Cities based Anti-War Committee is calling for a protest on August 26 to mark the end of the Gaza War of 2014. The protest will begin with a rally outside of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office at 1200 S. Washington Avenue in Minneapolis.</p> <p>Last summer 2200 Palestinians were massacred, including 519 children, by Israel during its 51-day war on Gaza. Israel receives more than $3 billion in U.S. aid every year and the protest will focus on Senator Amy Klobuchar’s support of this policy.</p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead, an organizer for the protest explains, “Senator Klobuchar has repeatedly voted for U.S. military aid to Israel and she needs to be reminded of what are the consequences of those votes. Every vote she makes for more U.S. aid to Israel allows Israel more weapons to use on the Palestinian people."</p> <p>The protest will honor the lives of those who were brutally killed last summer, through speakers, poetry and a play.</p> <p>Karmel Sabry, a Palestinian American activist with the Anti-War Committee, says, “It’s important to react when act of injustice occurs but it is equally, if not more important to fight just as hard when the struggle isn’t making headlines. At the end of the day, consistency and perseverance are what win the battle.”</p> <p>The protest was initiated by the Anti-War Committee and is endorsed by American Muslims for Palestine, Jewish Voices for Peace - Twin Cities, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc), Students for a Democratic Society at UMN, Students for Justice in Palestine - U of MN, Welfare Rights Committee, Veterans for Peace, U.S. Palestinian Communities Network - MN Chapter, and Women Against Military Madness (WAMM).</p> Antiwar Movement Gaza War Palestine Senator Amy Klobuchar Mon, 24 Aug 2015 00:53:03 +0000 Fight Back 4947 at March against police crimes August 29 <p><em>The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) is calling for a march on August 29 to demand civilian control of the police. They have written legislation to create a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), elected by the voters.</em></p> <p><em>Fight Back! interviewed Frank Chapman, Field Organizer of the Alliance, about the fight against police crimes, the march in August and CPAC.</em></p> <p><strong>Fight Back!:</strong> Why is the Alliance campaigning for this legislation? Doesn’t Chicago already have a civilian review board?</p> <p><strong>Frank Chapman:</strong> Our campaign for an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Council was agitated into existence by the present epidemic of police crimes here in Chicago and the nation. In the last four years Chicago police have shot over 90 people and 75% of them were Black. There has been only one police charged in 20 years and none disciplined or suspended without pay. So we have police crimes that get reviewed by the Independent Police Review Authority - IPRA - and the police are rarely charged and never punished.</p> <p>CPAC would replace IPRA, which is appointed by the mayor, and, as an elected body it would be empowered to hold the police accountable for the crimes they commit. Members of CPAC will be elected from each police district. This is the democratic solution to the problem of police crimes and torture.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!:</strong> Is the Black Lives Matter movement in Chicago behind CPAC? What about the unions? The families of the victims of police crimes?</p> <p><strong>Chapman: </strong>Yes! Black Lives Matter is definitely a supporter of our campaign for CPAC. We have a broad base of support coming from the Black Caucus of Chicago’s AFT [American Federation of Teachers], United Electrical workers Western Region, SEIU Local 73, Fight (4) 15, Black Youth Project 100, Church of the Living God, Howard Morgan and other victims and their families as well as the NAACP Southside and community-based organizations like Reclaim Our Community on the Westside. We have a long list of endorsers from all the various strands of the people’s movement.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!: </strong>There is a national movement that has emerged in response to the uprisings in Ferguson and now Baltimore. Why is it so hard for this movement to win justice for the families of the murdered Blacks and Latinos?</p> <p><strong>Chapman: </strong>The youth-led movements which have emerged nationally are momentous and yet they face perhaps the most corrupt, racist and insidious police force on earth at this moment of history. The task of politically winning the struggle for community control of the police is enormous but doable because it is a broad democratic demand capable of rallying millions of workers and oppressed people of color to the cause. To get justice, we must wage a relentless struggle for a democratically elected Civilian Police Accountability Council. There is no royal, velvet-covered road to victory. There is only the dirt and blood of battle that arises out each outrage of police brutality and this will continue to agitate into existence more massive movements against police tyranny. In this protracted struggle we must remember the words of our martyred comrade, Amicar Cabral: “Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories.”</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!: </strong>What are the origins of the idea for an elected, civilian police accountability council?</p> <p><strong>Chapman:</strong> The idea of community control of the police in the 20th century originated with the Black Panther Party in Berkeley, California in 1971. This movement was successful in getting an initiative on the ballot but they lost the election. In the wake of the murders of Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression made stopping police crimes a national priority at its founding convention, held in Chicago, in 1973. So we have been in this struggle for over 40 years and what we have learned from our history is that it is going to take a massive, grassroots-organized movement to win.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!:</strong> What do you say to people who say that the elected civilian police accountability council can also be co-opted?</p> <p><strong>Chapman: </strong>So what! Are you afraid to fight because you might lose? In that case there would be no struggle. If we insist that struggle must proceed in a straight, uncompromising line then we are doomed before we start. All we can guarantee is that we will keep losing if we don’t fight. We may not get all we fight for but we must fight for all we get. At any rate I believe in the people and not the democratic superstitions of the 1%. Every democratic struggle we win becomes the basis for fighting for another one. Freedom is a constant struggle.</p> Police Brutality Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Civilian Police Accountability Council Frank Chapman Racism in the Criminal Justice System In-Justice System Sun, 23 Aug 2015 19:40:29 +0000 Fight Back 4946 at