Fight Back! - News and Views from the People's Struggle http://www.fightbacknews.org/ 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 Working people in Houston demand $15 minimum wage http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/18/working-people-houston-demand-15-minimum-wage <p>Houston, TX – Close to 1000 people protested outside of a busy McDonalds restaurant here, April 15, to demand a $15 per hour minimum wage. As the large crowd marched from the University of Houston, a dozen police on horseback lined the median of Elgin Street. Upon arriving to rally in the parking lot, 15 more police guarded the entrances to the McDonalds.</p> <p>This was part of a national day of action in as many as 80 cities. Low-wage workers from across Houston came out to stand up to the bosses and demand $15 per hour in order to improve their lives. As they marched, they chanted, "We can't survive on 7.25!" People in the community waved in support.</p> <p>"Working people in Houston cannot live on $7.25 per hour. Most low-wage workers have families to support and bills to pay, which the current minimum wage makes impossible. These big corporations that own McDonalds and other fast-food chains have plenty of money, and could easily pay their workers $15 per hour,” said Diana Barrera with Fight For 15.</p> <p>Barrera continued, “Yet the bosses are more concerned with their profits than improving the living standards of their workers. We therefore are standing up to these corporations and will continue to fight until we get $15 per hour for all working people."</p> <p>Members of the Higher-Education Workers Association, a group that is organizing the low-paid adjunct professors in Houston, also rallied. Adjunct instructors are paid poverty level wages for the courses they teach, do not receive healthcare benefits or pensions, and have no job security. Each semester adjuncts struggle to fill their classrooms or else go without work. Many adjuncts must work a heavy course load to make ends meet. Many teach between fine and ten classes, working part time at two or more colleges instead of at one work place.</p> <p>The Fight For 15 movement is growing across the country with support from many unions. With mass support building up, some city councils like Seattle will pass progressive minimum wage laws. However, for workers to win other benefits and respect long term, they will need to organize at the place of production and form unions. As the Fight For 15 movement continues to build, more workers are overcoming their fears and standing up to the bosses.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/18/working-people-houston-demand-15-minimum-wage#comments Fight for 15 Labor Sat, 18 Apr 2015 18:09:18 +0000 Fight Back 4717 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Mall of America drops restitution claim against Black Lives Matter defendants http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/15/mall-america-drops-restitution-claim-against-black-lives-matter-defendants <p>Minneapolis, MN - According to a letter from their lawyer, the Mall of America (MOA) is no longer pursuing restitution from Black Lives Matter activists for lost revenue after they made the decision to shut down their stores during a Dec. 20, 2014 protest at the Mall of America. This news comes after a massive and sustained public pressure campaign urging the MOA to call on City Attorney Sandra Johnson to drop the charges. The campaign includes a boycott and takeover of the mall’s #ItsMyMall Twitter campaign.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson continues to pursue criminal charges and restitution against alleged organizers of the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis gathering at the Mall of America, seeking tens of thousands of dollars to pay for police overtime.</p> <p>11 of the defendants pleaded not guilty on the first court date, held March 10. Black Lives Matter Minneapolis called for a boycott of the Mall of America that same day. Amidst the public outcry to drop the charges, media accounts revealed that Mall of America security catfished Minneapolis organizers of Black Lives Matter to glean their data through a fake Facebook account. It was also revealed through a series of emails that Sandra Johnson acted in collusion with Mall of America representatives to coordinate charges being brought against alleged organizers.</p> <p>In an April 13 letter sent to attorney Jordan Kushner, a member of the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis legal team, representatives of the Mall of America confirmed that MOA will not be seeking restitution against defendants for the Dec. 20 demonstration.</p> <p>"In response to the massive outpouring of public support for Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, the Mall of America has backed down from its initial positions and stated it will not be seeking restitution. Now, we are waiting for the City of Bloomington to make a similar commitment, and to also drop the charges," said Bruce Nestor, attorney and member of the Black Lives Matter Minneapolis legal team.</p> <p>Public support has surged for Black Lives Matter Minneapolis supporters and alleged organizers since Sandra Johnson’s announcement of prosecution.</p> <p>The next court date for defendants is May 1.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/15/mall-america-drops-restitution-claim-against-black-lives-matter-defendants#comments African-American Anti-racism Black Lives Matter Mall of America Sandra Johnson In-Justice System Thu, 16 Apr 2015 04:11:39 +0000 Fight Back 4716 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Tampa protest disrupts event honoring Israeli Occupation Forces http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/13/tampa-protest-disrupts-event-honoring-israeli-occupation-forces <p>Tampa, FL - A group of ten activists stood out in front of the University of South Florida (USF) Hillel building, April 12, in protest of a vigil being held for Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). The vigil was in remembrance of IDF soldiers who were killed by Palestinian ‘terrorists,’ meaning the people who defend their land against U.S.-backed Israeli settlers. </p> <p>"When Hillel says 'fighting terrorism,' we understand what that truly means,” said Michela Martinazzi of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression-Tampa. “That means IDF soldiers senselessly murdering Palestinians. That means dropping bombs on Gaza in 2014 leaving over 20,000 homes in rubble. That means killing 2200 Palestinians in 50 days.”</p> <p>In reference to the so-called ‘terrorists,’ the Hillel vigil was held to condemn, Martinazzi asked, “This begs the question, who are the real terrorists?" </p> <p>Danya Zituni, a leader in both of the organizations present, spoke about how the event fell close to the anniversary Deir Yassin massacre, which helped lead to the occupation of Palestine. </p> <p>“Only a few days ago on April 9 was the anniversary of the Deir Yassin Massacre, when three Zionist militias attacked the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin, murdering over 100 women, men and children. This was one of many dozens of massacres that led to the ethnic cleansing of over 1 million Palestinians through which the state of ‘Israel’ was created.”</p> <p>Protesters managed to disrupt the event, with one of the Zionists even driving their van toward the group and parking in front of them to block their signs. This did not stop the group from chanting toward the attendees. </p> <p>"The enemy is not so scary if the best they can do is call us names and park vans in front of us,” said Gage LaCharite of Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society. </p> <p>The protest also honored Palestinian freedom fighters who have taken a stand against Israeli occupation. “We too can follow heroes like Rasmea Odeh and Khalida Jarrar who have stood up, and continue to stand up to the enemy," said LaCharite.</p> <p>The protest was organized by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression–Tampa and Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/13/tampa-protest-disrupts-event-honoring-israeli-occupation-forces#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Israel Palestine Palestine Tampa Tue, 14 Apr 2015 02:05:54 +0000 Fight Back 4715 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Anti-war leader slams U.S./Saudi escalation of war on Yemen http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/13/anti-war-leader-slams-ussaudi-escalation-war-yemen <p>Chicago, IL – Joe Iosbaker, a prominent anti-war organizer, is denouncing the latest escalation of the U.S./Saudi-led war on Yemen.</p> <p>“The Saudi monarchy has been bombing Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, for almost three weeks. Over 600 are dead, mostly civilians, including many children.</p> <p>“What crime did the people of Yemen commit? They rose up against an unpopular government that had stayed in office in violation of term limits. The Ansarullah movement surprised the Saudis, marching on the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and because of popular support, they were quickly able to defeat the old regime.</p> <p>“And how has the U.S. responded to this war by a dictatorship against the oppressed people of Yemen? Did they rush to support the popular revolution? According to U.S. propaganda, that’s what our government does.</p> <p>“No, the U.S. air force is carrying out in-flight refueling of the Saudi bombers. This latest outrage shows that the U.S. only cares about control of oil and maintaining pro-imperialist governments, no matter how undemocratic they are.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/13/anti-war-leader-slams-ussaudi-escalation-war-yemen#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement anti-war Yemen Tue, 14 Apr 2015 00:24:32 +0000 Fight Back 4714 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Minneapolis commemorates 1948 massacre of Palestinians, promotes #BoycottCoke Campaign http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/12/minneapolis-commemorates-1948-massacre-palestinians-promotes-boycottcoke-campaign <p>Minneapolis, MN - Some 30 people braved rain, sleet, hail and snow for a protest to build the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and to remember the Palestinian village of Deir Yassin. The Minnesota Anti-War Committee (AWC) organized a bannering at the busy Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue intersection, complete with Palestinian flags, signs and a new banner that read, “Boycott Israeli apartheid, boycott Coke!”</p> <p>As part as the ongoing international BDS movement, the campaign to boycott Coke was initiated last fall by the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN). Coke is produced in settlements built on stolen Palestinian land and it supports Israel as it commits crimes against the Palestinian people. Palestinians have called for an international boycott of Israel - from companies like Coke, to ending U.S. military aid to Israel.</p> <p>Protesters passed out information about the campaign to #BoycottCoke to people waiting at nearby bus stops, but foot traffic was light, due to severe weather. Carrying umbrellas with slogans calling for a Free Palestine, and wearing rain ponchos with Palestinian flags, the protesters soon set out for the Deir Yassin memorial.</p> <p>Deir Yassin is a Palestinian village west of Jerusalem and the site of a massacre of over 100 men, women and children by Zionist paramilitary gangs on April 9, 1948. The remainder of the village’s 750 people fled for their lives. After their expulsion Palestinians’ homes were destroyed, their cemetery bulldozed, and their land claimed by Zionist settlers.</p> <p>While by no means the largest massacre committed by Zionists in their drive to create the state of Israel, Deir Yassin is marked as a turning point. The massacre catalyzed the ongoing Nakba, the dispossession of over 750,000 Palestinians from their lands in 1948, and laid the groundwork for today’s apartheid Israel. While Deir Yassin was erased from the map, it remains a symbol of struggle in Palestinian memory.</p> <p>Several police cars had rolled up at the start of protest and they followed as protesters marched from the busy intersection to the Midtown Greenway, a bike thoroughfare where the memorial is located. Chants of “Free, free Palestine!” and “Israel, Israel, you will learn, by the millions we’ll return!” rang out along the four-block stretch.</p> <p>After flowers were placed at the memorial, the crowd moved indoors for several speakers to address the significance of Deir Yassin, and the ongoing Palestinian struggle.</p> <p>Bassim Sabri, who owns the building where the memorial was installed, shared his own family’s experience, in the town of Qalqilya, not far from Deir Yassin. “In 1967, I have, along with my family, been invaded by the Israelis. I was eight years old, and I vividly remember the Israelis hit our town with bombing, and you name it. My dad was just in a nearby town. I escaped among some workers, because they wouldn’t let anybody out of town, to tell my father there is a war. Shortly after, the Israelis gathered the 25,000 people, or those who were remaining, into two areas, and I could never forget that. The two areas were one big field where it’s part of the soccer arena. They dug gigantic holes inside that field and we were all families standing around, surrounded by Israeli soldiers pointing guns at us. You can imagine what we think is going to happen.”</p> <p>Sabri explained that his father, who understood Hebrew, heard a soldier say they were going to kill the townspeople. “My dad hugs us and starts crying. Everybody started crying.” He explained that a quick communication from the U.S. averted the massacre. “Today, you could have also been celebrating the death of some 20,000 Palestinians in Qalqilya.” He noted that today, Qalqilya is entirely surrounded by the apartheid wall, with only one entrance for 60,000 inhabitants.</p> <p>The Minneapolis Deir Yassin memorial was commissioned by Nick Eoloff, who died in May 2014. Nick and his wife Mary Lou adopted Israeli prisoner of conscience, Mordechai Vanunu, and dedicated their lives to the struggles of the Guatemalan and Palestinian people. Their family members were present at Thursday’s protest and commemoration, including grandniece BethAnne Nelson Stolp, who shared memories of the Eoloffs.</p> <p>“I grew up surrounded by a very pro-Israel message, but I have flashes of memory growing up, seeing Nick and Mary Lou at family events, and Uncle Nick who would have his Palestinian tie, or with the flag of Palestine on his lapel. What I always got from them was that so much of what has happened is not just the massacring and the expulsion, but the deliberate rewriting and denial of true history. History is being told in a way to influence the future to rewrite the past. To me, that’s why the Deir Yassin memorial is so important. It is a symbol of the Palestinian voice and the Palestinian story.”</p> <p>AWC member Jennie Eisert spoke of the connection between Deir Yassin and today. “This day 67 years ago, would not have happened without the help of the U.S. The U.S. has had its hands in the apartheid state of Israel since its creation. Currently, military aid to the state of Israel comes in second only after Afghanistan. The state of Israel utilizes this aid heavily, the massacre on Gaza this summer is one of many countless examples that we have that really pushes this fact from guns to tanks to subs to fighter jets, etc. This aid that exchanges hands from the U.S. to the state of Israel is off the backs of workers here in the U.S., by our tax dollars. I’m sure you all have plenty of better ideas on where that money could be spent than Congress and the President - no matter who’s in the chair.”</p> <p>Eisert, who is Colombian, shared one reason the AWC is eager to join the USPCN’s campaign against Coke, “Coca-Cola has a global reputation for being anti-union. In Colombia, they support paramilitary death squads who utilize tactics of intimidation, kidnapping, torture and assassinations of union leaders. We have been part of ‘Killer Coke’ boycotts in the past, protesting their bloody policies in Colombia. Today, we ask you to join us because of their oppression of Palestinians.”</p> <p>The AWC will hold a BDS forum on April 19 at 2:00 p.m. at 4200 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. They plan to announce that 4200 Cedar, home to many progressive Twin Cities organizations, is the city’s first Coke Free Zone. The USPCN was founded in 2006 to revitalize grassroots organizing in the Palestinian community in the U.S., as part of the broader Palestinian nation in exile and the homeland. More information about the Coke Boycott can be found on their website at uspcn.org.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/12/minneapolis-commemorates-1948-massacre-palestinians-promotes-boycottcoke-campaign#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Palestine Palestine Mon, 13 Apr 2015 04:23:34 +0000 Fight Back 4713 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Moscow demonstration demands end to U.S/Saudi war in Yemen http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/12/moscow-demonstration-demands-end-ussaudi-war-yemen <p>Moscow - The Anti-Globalization Movement (AGM) of Russia, in cooperation with the Anti-Maidan movement and Yemen Students Union, held a demonstration at the U.S. Embassy here, April 12, to protest the U.S./Saudi-led war on Yemen. Protesters demanded an immediate end to the bombing of Yemeni territory. More than 70 people participated in the demonstration.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/12/moscow-demonstration-demands-end-ussaudi-war-yemen#comments Antiwar Movement Anti-Globalization Movement (AGM) Russia Yemen Yemen Yemen Students Union Sun, 12 Apr 2015 23:52:18 +0000 Fight Back 4712 at http://www.fightbacknews.org PFLP urges solidarity with imprisoned Palestinian leader Khalida Jarrar http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/11/pflp-urges-solidarity-imprisoned-palestinian-leader-khalida-jarrar <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following April 5 statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).</em></p> <p><strong>Administrative detention order against Khalida Jarrar will not shake her steadfastness</strong></p> <p>In response to the Israeli occupation’s administrative detention order for six months against Palestinian leader and Palestinian Legislative Council member Khalida Jarrar, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that it is confident that this racist, fascist state and its attacks will in no way lessen or undermine the determination and resilience of the struggler Jarrar, nor will it lessen her ability to challenge and resist the occupier. She is an example of the great steadfastness of the Palestinian people, who do not stop resisting the occupation despite arrests or expulsions, as she did when she challenged and defeated the order expelling her to Jericho.</p> <p>The Front urged a wider campaign of solidarity with Jarrar and urged all Palestinian official institutions to uphold their responsibilities to act urgently on political and diplomatic levels in order to release her.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/11/pflp-urges-solidarity-imprisoned-palestinian-leader-khalida-jarrar#comments Khalida Jarrar Palestine PFLP Sat, 11 Apr 2015 19:45:45 +0000 Fight Back 4711 at http://www.fightbacknews.org South Carolina police murder of Walter Scott highlights racism and national oppression in the U.S. http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/11/south-carolina-police-murder-walter-scott-highlights-racism-and-national-oppression-us <p>Jacksonville, FL – On April 4, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shot and killed Walter Scott, an unarmed 50-year-old African American man. Slager, a white cop, pulled over Scott for driving with a broken taillight. Within hours, the North Charleston police began releasing statements supportive of Slager's claim that Scott had reached for his tazer, causing the cop to fire his weapon in fear for his life.</p> <p>Within three days, however, Slager and the police's story unraveled before the eyes of the world. Cell phone video taken on the scene by an eyewitness clearly shows Slager firing shots into Scott's back as he runs away. Scott never reaches for Slager's taser, as the police said. When Scott is shot down, Slager seizes the opportunity to handcuff the dying man, call in his bogus story to his superior officers, and plants a taser on Scott's body as false evidence.</p> <p>The video, taken by 23-year-old Dominican immigrant Feidin Santana, fueled protests against this latest police murder of an unarmed Black man. Having been caught in a lie, the North Charleston police arrested Slager on April 7 and charged him with murder.</p> <p>The murder of Walter Scott is the most recent case of racist police violence to draw national attention and protests. In August 2014, the murder of 18-year-old African American Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked a protest movement against racism and police brutality across the country. Similar cases, like the murder of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, emerged since that time.</p> <p>Thousands of activists, particularly young people, took to the streets to demand justice around the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” In many cities, activists have linked these nationwide high-profile cases with local police crimes, like the Dream Defenders' campaign in Miami, Florida, to win justice for a mentally disabled Black man who was killed by police earlier this year.</p> <p>In all of these high-profile cases of police killing unarmed African Americans, the officers involved were not charged. This includes the murder of New York man Eric Garner, who was choked to death by police while being filmed on a cell phone camera. Garner's last words, “I can't breathe,” became a rallying cry for the thousands of activists who took to the streets demanding justice. Despite clear video footage of the murder, a New York grand jury refused to indict the officer responsible for killing Garner.</p> <p>Now, the murder of Walter Scott by South Carolina police has ignited further debate around the usefulness of body cameras on police. The non-indictment of the police officer who choked and killed Garner highlighted a major flaw with this demand, since the entire murder took place on camera. The racist criminal injustice system, which prosecutes African Americans and Chicano/Latinos more than whites for similar offenses, allows police plenty of legal loopholes to inflict brutality on oppressed nationalities. Furthermore, the grand jury system gives state prosecutors – many of whom are bought off during elections by the police – a tremendous amount of power to frame these cases in a way that usually benefits the police.</p> <p>In Scott's case, the release of the video footage led to the prompt arrest of officer Slager. Although activists should welcome this positive development, an arrest alone is still a far cry from justice. Many of the same freedom fighters of the Black Lives Matter movement were active in the movement for justice for Trayvon Martin in 2012. While mass protests led to the arrest of George Zimmerman, the racist vigilante who killed Martin, the criminal injustice system found him not guilty on all charges, including second-degree murder.</p> <p>The video footage of Scott's murder is significant, but the travesty of justice in Eric Garner case reminds us to not overstate the significance of video evidence alone. The key to winning justice for Walter Scott and all victims of racist police crimes is to continue organizing and building a mass movement against the system of national oppression in the U.S.</p> <p>In places like Chicago, major groups in the Black Lives Matter movement have united around the demand for “community control of the police.” To better exercise this control, Chicago activists are organizing neighborhoods and communities to establish an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). The proposed CPAC in Chicago would have the power to appoint and dismiss the Superintendent of Police and issue subpoenas in investigations of brutality cases.</p> <p>The growing popular outrage at racist police crimes and the criminal injustice system continues to fuel the Black Lives Matter movement. Activists and organizers have a real chance to strike a blow at the heart of this system by continuing to build the mass movement against racism and national oppression.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/11/south-carolina-police-murder-walter-scott-highlights-racism-and-national-oppression-us#comments Police Brutality African-American Anti-racism Black Lives Matter Civilian Police Accountability Council michael slager National Oppression Police Brutality Walter Scott Racism in the Criminal Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Sat, 11 Apr 2015 17:02:35 +0000 Fight Back 4710 at http://www.fightbacknews.org 100 Florida students march against the KKK http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/11/100-florida-students-march-against-kkk <p>Tallahassee, FL - Over 100 students gathered at the steps of the Westcott Building on the Florida State University campus, April 9, to protest the Ku Klux Klan. The Tallahassee chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) called the rally after recent Klan provocations.</p> <p>Shivaani Ehsan, a member of SDS said, "We are out here today because we want to fight against the system of white supremacy and capitalism. We want to stand against the growing tide of white nationalism. Groups like the KKK are not to be taken lightly, they have been known to be involved in various police departments and other influential positions."</p> <p>The KKK made national headlines last week when two Florida Department of Corrections officers and one former officer, all suspected members of the KKK, were arrested for planning to murder a black prisoner when he was released from a north Florida prison. Last month, the same Klan group passed out hundreds of flyers in Tallahassee neighborhoods as part of a recent recruiting campaign.</p> <p>After rallying on campus, SDS members led a march through the streets of downtown Tallahassee toward the Florida State Capitol, with chants including "DOC, KKK, how many people have you killed today?" and "Indict, convict, send those racist cops to jail. The whole damn system, is guilty, as hell!" Protesters carried signs including "Crush the KKK - kill fascism" and "Klan out of Tally.”</p> <p>SDS organizers said they received messages from white nationalist militias threatening to organize an armed counter-protest to defend the KKK. However, no counter-protesters showed up.</p> <p>"It doesn't matter if they're skinheads, neo-Nazis, white secessionists or even the Klan. Their presence wasn't missed, but I think this definitely sets a precedent for how we will deal with Tallahassee's white supremacists in the future," said Naomi Bradley with Trans Liberation Front.</p> <p>The student protesters marched up and stood on the steps of the Old Capitol Building, while members of SDS and other organizations including the Black Liberation Action Coordinating Committee (BLACC), Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Trans Liberation Front gave speeches condemning the KKK and the Florida police abuses and murder.</p> <p>“I heard a lot of people who say, how can you connect the KKK to the police? And then you see what happens with the Department of Corrections how there's those three undercover Klansmen,” said Regina Joseph, a member of BLACC.</p> <p>As the rally came to a close, organizers brought out the Confederate Battle Flag. After spitting and stomping on the flag, organizers lit it on fire while the crowd chanted "Klan out now.” The student protesters then celebrated as the flag burned and was ripped apart. SDS organizers ended the rally by promising to continue organizing against the KKK and racism in Tallahassee.</p> <p>When asked what she hoped they accomplished, Ellena Fisher, one of the student protesters, said, “If there's a white supremacist terrorist group recruiting in my area than out of existential necessity alone I'm compelled to resist. We showed Tallahassee that we will not be complacent in our own torment, by staying silent and allowing the Klan to grow.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/11/100-florida-students-march-against-kkk#comments Anti-fascism Anti-racism BLACC Black Liberation Action Coordinating Committee Freedom Road Socialist Organization KKK SDS Students for a Democratic Society Sat, 11 Apr 2015 16:40:55 +0000 Fight Back 4709 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Caravana 43 in Milwaukee http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/7/caravana-43-milwaukee <p>Milwaukee, WI - The case of the forced disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students in Iguala, Mexico continues to draw immense support from communities across the nation, including Milwaukee, where over 150 students and community members participated in the Caravana 43 event on the UW-Milwaukee’s campus April 2.</p> <p>The Caravana 43, a caravan named after the number of disappeared students, is composed of family members and fellow Ayotzinapa comrades who are touring the U.S. to share the truth about the incidents that occurred in Mexico the night of Sept. 26, 2014, as well as other issues affecting Mexican communities internationally.</p> <p>The Caravana delegation brought the mother and uncle of two of the 43 disappeared and a fellow student who survived the night that Iguala police cowardly attacked the Normalistas (rural student teachers). The panel discussion shed light on the Ayotzinapa incidents as well as on what could be considered the roots of the problem.</p> <p>U.S. foreign policy was discussed throughout the program. The panelists discussed the importance of speaking about the Merida Initiative, as it has contributed to the violence now widely spread in Mexico. The Merida Initiative is a bilateral economic agreement between the U.S. and Mexico that pours millions of dollars per year into the Mexican state to 'combat' organized crime and criminal organizations. The initiative also sends U.S. arms into Mexico.</p> <p>According to the delegation, the more the U.S. supplies the Mexican government, the more they help the drug cartels, as they are the ones that in part enjoy the benefits of the Merida Initiative. They also expressed anger with this policy and the overall U.S. backed neo-liberal efforts, such as NAFTA, which has further marginalized poor and indigenous communities, has spread more violence to Mexican communities, and has expanded the cartels.</p> <p>The delegation asked the audience to call and write letters to members of congress demanding the U.S. end aid to Mexico through the Merida Initiative.</p> <p>According to the panelists, this is not the first time the Mexican government has carried out large scale attacks on students. These events have continuously occurred and have been covered up by Mexican authorities. The most infamous precedent is the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, the event which the Normalistas were preparing to commemorate before their 2014 disappearance.</p> <p>The Caravana delegation expressed frustration with the Mexican authorities for their lack of cooperation with the families of the 43. According to the delegation, the Mexican state has denied reports to the families, including reports on telecommunications and forensics.</p> <p>The Mexican state has stated that they have found the bodies of 28 of the disappeared in a mass grave, which was proven false by outside forensic teams. The surviving Normalista, Omar Garcia, stated, the government offered the families “chicken and cow bones” claiming that they were remnants of the 43.</p> <p>“It opened my eyes and exposed me to the truth,” said Eric Corona, who attended the Caravan event. “Hearing the atrocities happening to students like me in Mexico gave me goose bumps,” said Yoselin Colorado, who attended the panel as well.</p> <p>The panelists asked the public to look for alternative modes of obtaining news. They asked the public to stop watching Televisa and TV Azteca as these mainstream news sources are bought by the Mexican state and only misinform the people about what is occurring with the Ayotzinapa case.</p> <p>The Caravana 43 delegation closed by stating, “We must stand our ground and not give up,” and “We must lose fear to be strong.” As a final request, they asked the public to continue spreading the word about Ayotzinapa as well as participate in international solidarity actions happening the 26th of every month.</p> <p>The event was organized by Youth Empowered in the Struggle-UWM in collaboration with Voces de la Frontera and Caravana 43.</p> <p><em>Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos! </em></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/4/7/caravana-43-milwaukee#comments Ayotzinapa Caravana 43 Mexico Voces de la Frontera Youth Empowered in the Struggle-UWM Wed, 08 Apr 2015 03:12:53 +0000 Fight Back 4708 at http://www.fightbacknews.org