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 Twin Cities Anti-War Committee to join March for Science <p>St. Paul, MN - The Twin Cities-based Anti-War Committee (AWC) is among the many organizations that will be assembling, April 22, at the Minnesota State Capitol to join the March for Science.</p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead of the AWC states, "The Anti-War Committee is participating in the March for Science tomorrow because we want to take a stand for science funding and against Trump's budget and climate science denial. In Trump's budget one can see the clear tradeoff between funding for the EPA and scientific research, to fund the bloated war machine. We want to join with the march to say, 'Money for science not for war.’”</p> People's Struggles March for Science Sat, 22 Apr 2017 02:16:45 +0000 Fight Back 6052 at Resolution of the WFTU on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following resolution of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)</em></p> <p>On the occasion of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on 17th of April, the World Federation of Trade Unions, representing 92 million workers in 126 countries all over the world, expresses its firm internationalist solidarity with the more than 6700 Palestinians, including 389 children and 56 women, currently imprisoned by the Israeli occupation forces.</p> <p>We strongly denounce the imprisonment of the Palestinian people by Israel, the inhumane detention conditions and the acts of abuse like the violent beatings against our Palestinian brothers and sisters and we demand the immediate release of all Palestinian prisoners and the end of Israel’s arrest campaigns, aggressiveness and occupation of the Palestinian territories.</p> International Palestinian Prisoners Day Palestine WFTU WFTU Thu, 20 Apr 2017 13:09:41 +0000 Fight Back 6051 at Hundreds rally in support of prominent Chicago teachers’ leader Sarah Chambers <p>Chicago, IL - Several hundred people gathered on the lawn of Maria Saucedo Academy today, April 18, in an after-school to rally in support of Sarah Chambers, who has been suspended and faces termination. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s appointed school board is coming after this teacher for her role in the fight to defend the public schools and Special Education. The crowd included students, parents, teachers, Chicago Teachers Union activists, trade unionists from other unions, and groups from the Palestinian and Filipino communities. Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia spoke and demanded that Chambers be returned to her students immediately. Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian community activist persecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice, also came out to show her solidarity.</p> People's Struggles chicago Chicago Teachers Union Labor teachers Teachers Unions Women's Movement Labor Wed, 19 Apr 2017 03:02:15 +0000 Fight Back 6050 at Lessons from the victory in the cases of Robert Almodovar and William Negron <p>Chicago, IL - For many years the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has campaigned to win freedom for the many victims of torture and other crimes by the Chicago police. This week, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx announced that she was dropping the case against two men, Robert Almodovar and William Negron, who had been framed by the notorious gang of Detective Reynoldo Guevara. Almodovar walked out of prison April 14, and we continue to demand freedom for Negron, who remains jailed on an unrelated case.</p> <p>There are several lessons to be learned from this victory for our movement. When Almodovar was interviewed outside Cook County Jail, he spoke about all the other innocent men that remain behind bars, including his codefendant, William Negron. In the local media, his words were broadcast over and over.</p> <p>In this atmosphere, we need to seize the time. The movement needs to continue to spread the word: there are over 100 known torture victims of the Burge gang still in prison; and 28 other known victims of Detective Guevara are still in prison, too. There are probably others that are yet unknown.</p> <p>News media report that Detective Guevara coerced witnesses in addition to suspects. Guevara and his gang of cops in Humboldt Park had a history of beating young people. The teenagers who identified Almodovar and Negron in the line-ups were also beaten or threatened. Like the men tortured by Burge, the cases of men framed by Guevara involved the use of unchallenged police violence.</p> <p>Almodovar said that Detective Guevara needs to be prosecuted because he tried to get him the death penalty. This is attempted murder. We agree, and call for prosecution of all the cops in Guevara’s Gang Crimes Unit that engaged in framing the 51 men, and for prosecution of every cop that engaged in torture or the cover-up of torture as well.</p> <p>Something changed when Kim Foxx intervened in this case. Press reports said that during the proceedings in court, when Foxx dropped the cases against Almodovar and Negron, Judge James Linn said he was "stunned" by the prosecution decision to abandon the case. “I'd never seen anything like this," the longtime judge said before tossing their convictions.</p> <p>However, the judge was only considering granting new trials. If he had done that, those proceedings would have taken at least two more years. But by dropping the cases, Kim Foxx freed Almodovar immediately. And Negron’s lawyer is now free to focus on challenging the other conviction. Apparently Judge Linn’s authority to conduct a lengthy new trial is worth more to him than the freedom of two innocent victims of police crime. A judge not consumed with racism and his own self-importance would have, instead, expressed shock that Guevara and his co-conspirators have not been indicted.</p> <p>Kim Foxx is moving to bring some justice in these cases because the movement has been making demands on her and on her predecessors. Her election was based, in the first place, on the anger of the people against continuing cover up of police crimes by the former state’s attorneys.</p> <p>In light of this victory, we must redouble our efforts. The Alliance calls on the movement against police crimes to join with us and the families of the victims to say: “State’s Attorney Kim Foxx: Free all victims of police torture and frame-ups, now!”</p> <p><em>Joe Iosbaker is a member of the Steering Committee of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. He is a rank-and-file trade unionist in SEIU Local 73.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Police Brutality Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Kim Foxx Robert Almodovar William Negron In-Justice System Tue, 18 Apr 2017 15:44:21 +0000 Fight Back 6049 at New York activists protest U.S. bombing in Afghanistan <p>New York, New York – About 50 protesters gathered at the U.S. Military Recruiting Center at the heart of Times Square, April 14. The protest was an emergency response to Donald Trump’s escalation of the war on war on Afghanistan. On April 13, a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), nicknamed the "mother of all bombs," was dropped on what is purported to be “ISIS targets” in Afghanistan. This is a continuation of a conflict started by the U.S. and NATO 16 years ago, the longest imperialist war the U.S. has ever been in. The dropping of the MOAB on the Achin district has death counts estimated to reach up to 94 people, and a blast radius estimated at one mile.</p> <p>In response to the attacks on Afghanistan, which show Trump is willing to use weapons of mass destruction, the International League of People’s Struggles (ILPS) made an emergency call to action to protest. The action was attended by NYC Students for Justice in Palestine (NYSJP), Anak Bayan New York, the Committee to Stop Repression, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner’s Network and SPARC. The protesters planted themselves in front of the U.S. Military Recruiting Center, calling for an end to imperialist occupation and shouting anti-war chants. Among these chants were "We demand justice! We demand peace! U.S. out of the Middle East!” "Donald Trump what do you say? How many bombs did you drop today?" and “Money for jobs and education! Not for war and occupation!”</p> <p>Michela Martinazzi of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) and ILPS had this to say, "Yesterday a 21,000-pound bomb was dropped in Afghanistan. Last week 59 tomahawk missiles were launched into Syria. We have a fleet encroaching on North Korea, and we just put troops in Somalia after 20 years. Donald Trump is beating his war drum and we have to demand an end to all U.S. wars. Demand an end to the U.S. war machine! Demand money to be spent here for jobs, healthcare and education!"</p> <p>Ann Wright, of Veterans for Peace, a former member of the U.S. military and noted anti-war activist, also attended and spoke. She stated, "I’ve been protesting the war since I resigned from the military and the U.S. government 15 years ago. If I could resign today, I would."</p> <p>The dropping of the bomb is just another example of Donald Trump furthering the U.S. imperialist agenda. With his posturing directed at Russia, the People’s Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Trump contradicts everything his campaign claimed about “non-intervention.”</p> <p>Trump is simply another warmonger intent on destabilizing oppressed nations in the interests of capitalism. Trump’s actions do not simply mirror the harmful U.S. actions in places like Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Vietnam and countless other nations; they are a direct and aggressive escalation. On April 7, Trump launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Al Shayrat Airfield in Syria, a direct act of aggression against the popular government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Rather than condemning an action Trump had himself once warned against, the neoliberal politicians in both the Democratic and Republican parties praised Trump’s actions.</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Afghanistan Afghanistan Asia Donald Trump Hands Off Syria Middle East Syria U.S. Mon, 17 Apr 2017 00:24:49 +0000 Fight Back 6048 at POWIR stands with the Jax5: Drop the charges now! <p>On April 7, 2017 five anti-war activists were brutalized and unjustly arrested in a violent attack by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) during a peaceful demonstration against the war in Syria. POWIR stands unequivocally in solidarity with the five who were targets of state repression: Dave Schneider, Connell Crooms, Willie Wilder, Kristina Kittles, and Tom Beckham. </p> <p>The Jax5, as the group has come to be known, can be seen in multiple videos being attacked without provocation, first by Donald Trump supporter and known white-supremacist, Gary Snow, and then by police. The horrible incident, all caught on cellphone video, shows cops using activists as punching bags, putting them in chokeholds, and slamming them to the floor. One of the five, Connell Crooms, was first assaulted by Snow then beaten and wrestled to the ground by a group of officers who used their tasers, firing at his back while he was pinned to the ground. Crooms, whose hearing aid was knocked out of his ear when Snow attacked him, was left deaf for the rest of the incident which ended with him being dragged into a police car and then into an ambulance, beaten and unresponsive. </p> <p>The treatment of Crooms and the rest of the Jax5 by the Jacksonville police is despicable. Beckham was taken down by JSO, choked, and almost passed out. Kittle was grabbed and slammed down, then hauled away, and William Wilder was choked and punched repeatedly in the face.  Furthermore, the charges brought against our fellow anti-war activists should be frightening to all who organize against U.S. wars of aggression abroad. All five were charged with felonies. Schneider was charged with “inciting a riot,” simply because he was one of the organizers of this peaceful protest, turned violent only by police actions. We will not stand for these bogus charges against fellow activists in the movement.</p> <p>The wars abroad always come back home. The use of military force by United States against other countries inevitably manifests within our own borders in the form of increased surveillance and repression of activists speaking out against U.S. imperialism. It is a fact that the JSO were spying on these activists for months before targeting them for arrests. This horrific display of suppression was planned and calculated and could happen to any of us in the activist community.<br /> We believe that an attack on one activist is an attack on all. We stand with all those in the anti-war, labor, and Black Lives Matter movements in solidarity with the Jacksonville 5. We find the actions taken by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office against this group of peaceful protestors beyond deplorable and we therefore demand that:</p> <p>1) All charges brought against the Jax5 be immediately dropped<br /> 2) That the JSO be prosecuted for its brutality and excessive use of force<br /> 3) A full independent investigation of the JSO is conducted regarding their misconduct, surveillance of Jacksonville community activists, and ties to white supremacists.</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Police Brutality #Jax5 Anti-racism FreeJax5 Political Prisoners In-Justice System U.S. Mon, 17 Apr 2017 00:10:47 +0000 Fight Back 6046 at LA Chicanos demand ‘Hands off Syria!’ <p>Los Angeles, CA - After the Tomahawk missile attack on Syria, Chicanos and anti-war activists joined together in in Boyle Heights April 15 to demand “U.S. hands off Syria!”</p> <p>Luis Sifuentes a Chicano public school driver, and member of Centro Community Service Organization (Centro CSO) said, “We organized today’s protest to demand we invest in public education, not in useless wars.”</p> <p>Joined by Eastside Greens, Union of Progressive Iranians, Morena of San Bernardino, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization, 30 people gathered at the very busy intersection of Soto and Chavez Boulevards in Boyle Heights. The angry crowd chanted, “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation,” and “Hands off Syria!”</p> <p>Irena Varjabedian, an Armenian immigrant and member of Union of Progressive Iranians said, “The U.S. either directly funds or supplies rebel groups in places like Syria, and then bombs Syria with the excuse that it’s against these very groups! No more! I am standing here with all of you to demand the bombings stop now, no more wars!”</p> <p>Various cars drove by honking in solidarity, many high-fived activists, and even joined in the chanting.</p> <p>Sol Marquez, a Chicana member of FRSO said, “We unite today knowing U.S. war does nothing for the working class. Trump is reigning terror on Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, and is now threatening to do the same to north Korea. These nations have a right to self-determination much like we Chicanos do here in Aztlan. Stop the bloodshed, stop the bombings, stop the missiles!”</p> <p>Centro CSO is working to make sure that the energy against wars and occupation to continues. On May 1, starting at 3 p.m., community members will assemble at the intersection of Chavez and Evergreen to march against Trump, Bracero programs, the U.S./Mexico border, deportations, Chicanos murdered by the LAPD, and against wars and occupations.</p> <p>Information on the planning meeting for May Day can be found here: <a href=""></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Antiwar Movement Centro CSO Chican@ / Latin@ Sun, 16 Apr 2017 22:25:42 +0000 Fight Back 6045 at MN Anti-War Committee statement in solidarity with the #Jax5 <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following April 17 statement from the Twin Cities based Anti-War Committee.</em></p> <p>The Minnesota Anti-War Committee stands in solidarity with the Jacksonville 5 who were brutally arrested on April 7 protesting President Trump’s escalation in the U.S. war on Syria. We stand with Connell Crooms, Willie Wilder, Christina Kittle, Tom Beckwith, and Dave Schneider, and call on the State Attorney in Florida to drop the charges against all five. Protesters were charged with multiple felonies, including inciting a riot. In fact, these five were the victims of a police riot.</p> <p>Countless videos show police arresting and assaulting speakers and organizers of the protest at Hemming Park in Jacksonville.</p> <p>Connell Crooms is a deaf Black man who is a well-known union activist and Black Lives Matter leader in Jacksonville. He was assaulted by a right-wing counter-protester and then savagely beaten, kicked and tasered by police. Crooms was beaten until he was unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital. The police also beat and arrested a 74-year-old Vietnam veteran, Willie Wilder; leader of the Jacksonville Coalition for Consent, Christina Kittle; and transgender activist, Tom Beckwith. Lastly, according to police, “The decision was made to detain the organizer of the protest.” Dave Schneider was charged with “felony inciting a riot” for his leading role in the protest.</p> <p>Even before the events of April 7, police had been spying on activists in Jacksonville. The Florida Times-Union reported that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) has monitored protesters on the internet and has conducted video surveillance at protests.</p> <p>We denounce all of these shameful attempts to stifle dissent. Actions around the globe by the Trump administration is inspiring a growing anti-war movement here at home. Troop deployments to Iraq, Syria and Somalia; airstrikes in Syria; the mega-bomb dropped on Afghanistan; and new threats against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We need a movement ready to respond to all of these, and whatever comes next. The criminalization and brutalizing of protesters in Jacksonville is an issue of concern to every anti-war activist in the country.</p> <p>We join with voices across the country to demand that the Florida State Attorney drop all charges against the Jacksonville 5. We also support Jacksonville activists call for prosecution of JSO for brutality; investigation into JSO misconduct and times to white supremacist groups/individuals; and a full investigation of surveillance and spying on community organizers and leaders.</p> <p>For more info: <a href=""></a></p> <p>Donate to legal defense: <a href=""></a></p> Antiwar Movement #Jax5 Political Repression Sun, 16 Apr 2017 20:56:55 +0000 Fight Back 6044 at Minneapolis slams escalation of war on Afghanistan, demands “Hands off Korea” <p>Minneapolis. MN - With only 24 hour’s notice, Minneapolis peace groups organized an emergency response protest against the use a massive U.S. bomb in Afghanistan. </p> <p>Over 60 people joined the protest held on Friday, April 14. Several people just walking by or waiting for their bus stopped and joined the protest. People in cars, trucks and buses passing by waved and honked in support of the anti-war message.</p> <p>On Thursday, April 13, it was reported that the Trump administration and the Pentagon unleashed the most powerful U.S. bomb – the 20,000 pound GBU-43, referred to as the ‘mother of all bombs.’ The weapon was used in Afghanistan.</p> <p>Twin Cities anti-war groups saw this as a major escalation of the U.S. wars and consulted quickly to call an emergency protest against this latest U.S. military move.</p> <p>Organizers also raised the alarm about the growing danger of a new U.S. war in Korea. News reports had indicated that the Trump administration had plans for an imminent attack on Korea.</p> <p>The protest was in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis. The neighborhood has many Somali immigrant families. </p> <p>Participants held signs and banners to make an urgent anti-war statement in the face or what one organizers called "a terrifying event." </p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead, of the Anti-War Committee told the crowd, “We need to build a movement to stop Trump. Today's protest isn't just about saying no to the use of this new mega bomb in Afghanistan. We are pushing back and demanding that it never be used again. We are concerned that the Trump administration is planning on using this weapon against North Korea. We cannot let Trump think that he is having foreign policy 'wins' in Syria, Iraq and Yemen because this will embolden him to attack North Korea and endangers Iran."</p> <p>The bomb, officially called the Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB), was used against Islamic State targets in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. The MOAB has a blast radius of one mile. </p> <p>The MOAB is said to be the largest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. The chance of civilian casualties is high. </p> <p>The protest was called by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC).</p> <p>A statement issued by organizers says in part, "This latest U.S. military escalation by the Trump administration follows the escalating attacks in Yemen, missile attacks on Syria last week, sending thousands of additional U.S. troops to Iraq, Syria and Kuwait, and an increase in the number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria from U.S. bombings."</p> <p>The statement also points out that "The U.S. has also sent a Naval Strike Force to Korea."</p> <p>There is speculation that the use of this weapon in Afghanistan is also intended as a threat to North Korea.</p> <p>The April 14 protest was organized under the call of, "Enough of the endless wars! Enough of escalation after escalation! No new wars – hands off Korea!"</p> <p>Chants included "Out of Afghanistan, out of Iraq, hands off Korea and don't come back."</p> <p>The protest was endorsed by Anti-War Committee, Mayday Books, St. Joan of Arc Peacemakers, St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace and Women Against Military Madness. </p> <p>"People should be alarmed by this latest escalation, people must speak out against these endless wars," said one protest organizer.</p> Antiwar Movement #DumpTrump Afghanistan Anti War Committee Sat, 15 Apr 2017 16:10:57 +0000 Fight Back 6043 at Interview with FRSO student leader Chrisley Carpio <p><em>Fight Back! interviewed Chrisley Carpio, a student activist and leader of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Student Commission. Carpio organizes with campus activists across the country from a variety of student groups. She is an experienced and tested leader who others can learn from.</em></p> <p><strong>Fight Back!:</strong> How did you get involved in student activism?</p> <p><strong>Chrisley Carpio: </strong>I joined Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Florida in 2010. I still remember the flyer that drew me out. It boasted that student protests won greater pay for the undocumented farmworkers in Immokalee, Florida. They worked for Aramark, our campus food company. I couldn't believe it.</p> <p>Then I attended my first SDS meeting, and after that I could believe it. That day I learned that ordinary people could change things.</p> <p>Then, in 2012, Trayvon Martin was killed in cold blood and we shut down the Sanford Police Department with student comrades and hundreds of protesters. That day showed me that people could not go on living in the old way under imperialism, and that people, including me, would risk a lot to change this. Within SDS were the first Marxists I ever met. FRSO gave me the tools to make change, build a movement, and become a leader.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!:</strong> What is the FRSO Student Commission?</p> <p><strong>Carpio:</strong> The Student Commission is where students and youth activists, members of the FRSO, get together to discuss and debate current issues. Based on our conclusions, we make plans to organize the student movement together. Students compose a large part of the FRSO and actually distribute Fight Back! newspaper on more than 15 campuses.</p> <p>Besides helping to lead campus protests, we also mobilize for national protests, like the ones against Trump on Inauguration Day. FRSO students are part of the Students for a Democratic Society, progressive student unions, immigrant rights groups, African American, Chicano, and other groups at universities, community colleges, and high schools.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!: </strong>What are the issues in the student movement today?</p> <p><strong>Carpio: </strong>Today’s students are hard at work organizing against the Trump administration’s attempts to defund public education, to deport more immigrants, and to militarize and go to war. As part of SDS, we support “Education For All”, winning in-state tuition for undocumented students. Now we are demanding support and funding for greater numbers of African Americans and others to obtain a college education.</p> <p>We are demanding sanctuary campuses that protect immigrants and Muslim refugees driven here by U.S. wars. We want an end to U.S. wars in the Middle East, and in Syria especially. We want free tuition everywhere for anyone seeking an education. We also organize against police crimes and support Black Lives Matters on campus and in the communities. FRSO comrades participate in and help lead these fights with our revolutionary goals in mind.</p> <p>There are big issues on campus today, where women continue to be the majority. We fight to defend and expand the rights of women and LGBTQI people, demanding equality and improving things like health care and ending sexual assault. This helps everyone. We are determined in our fight for liberation.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!: </strong>How do you see students’ role in society?</p> <p><strong>Carpio:</strong> In school, young people are taught that great men are the motor of world history. This is false. As Marxists we understand that the masses are the makers of history. And the working class is the revolutionary class that can advance human history. It’s the people who labor and produce everything. Students challenge the ruling class through organizing protests and marches, by supporting strikes by workers like the one at Harvard, and showing solidarity with the African American uprisings like in Ferguson and Baltimore against police killings. Students can show people their power, and their ability to change society by building a movement in solidarity with workers and the oppressed. This is the first step. It can then open people’s minds to learn about socialism, which we must consciously facilitate and encourage.</p> <p>We live under the rule of the most violent and exploitative class in the world today. The capitalist class, the billionaires and multi-millionaires, besides privately owning most of the means of production, also control the police and military, the courts, the media, and they fill Congress in the U.S. The rich use these institutions to oppress African Americans, Chicanos, and other oppressed nations and nationalities within the U.S., attempting to keep workers of all nationalities divided and disorganized. They also make endless war on other countries, killing ordinary working people using drone strikes, Special Forces raids, missile attacks and they also arm, fund, and run death squads. We need to do away with this system called imperialism. As a first step, we must build resistance to Trump and make the country ungovernable.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!: </strong>Why should students join FRSO?</p> <p><strong>Carpio:</strong> I meet plenty of young people who wanted to organize, but they do not have the structure, channels, or scientific perspective to find their bearings. They are alone as communists. Even if they have a reading or study group, they are still without a long-term plan. We are united by a plan as outlined in the FRSO document, “Class in the U.S. and Our Strategy for Revolution” found at <a href="" title=""></a>.</p> <p>Our goal is socialism, to put the multi-national working class and its allies in charge of the government, the economy and our society. Especially with the alarming election of Trump, students and young working people are contacting us every week and asking to join. It is an exciting time to be part of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.</p> <p><strong>Fight Back!:</strong> What should students do after campus activism?</p> <p><strong>Carpio: </strong>Stay in the struggle for life. Join the working class and organize to build lasting movements. With the FRSO, we collectively research and develop plans to join unions, organize in oppressed nationality communities, and build mass groups that fight for power. We work to bring Marxism-Leninism to the many angry, fed-up people we live, study, and work among. It can be done, but not without belonging to a group like the FRSO.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Socialism Chrisley Carpio Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Student Movement Fri, 14 Apr 2017 15:34:47 +0000 Fight Back 6042 at