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 Bookstore packed for FRSO program release party <p>Minneapolis, MN – About 70 activists packed Mayday Bookstore, November 20, for the release of the print edition of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s (FRSO) political program.&nbsp;</p> <p>FRSO Political Secretary Mick Kelly told the excited crowd, “Our program amounts to a declaration war against the existing order things. It is a clear statement that analyzes the conditions we face, lays bare the laws of capitalism, the need for revolution and socialism - and defines a clear strategy getting from here to there.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The room was filled with many of the movers and shakers in the Twin Cites people’s struggles. Kelly hailed their presence stating, “It is an honor to be among so many outstanding fighters in the Twin Cities people’s movements. You have led large demonstrations and strikes. Those of us here in this room have organized many large, and at times extremely militant, battles. And it is this activity that gives meaning to this program. Its power can be measured by the degree that people take up the ideas, demands and goals contained within – making it a material force in our struggle and in society.”</p> <p>Leaders from the labor, anti-police crimes, student, anti-war, climate justice and other movements spoke about the relevance of the FRSO Program to their struggles.&nbsp;</p> <p>The event was concluded with a champagne toast.</p> Socialism Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Tue, 29 Nov 2022 04:29:41 +0000 Fight Back 10076 at Red Theory: Socialism and the national question <p>The Russian Empire under the Tsar was rightly called a “prisonhouse of nations,” because it oppressed, within its borders, whole nations of people. The Bolsheviks saw that it was a principal task of the socialist revolution to dismantle national oppression and support self-determination for the oppressed nations.&nbsp;</p> <p>The United States is likewise a prisonhouse of nations, where the African American nation in the Black Belt South, the Chicano nation in the Southwest and the Hawaiian nation are all oppressed within the borders of the imperialist U.S. It will be a principal task of the socialist revolution in the U.S. to answer the national question, and we can draw on the experience of the Bolsheviks and others to understand how to do that.</p> <p>The great African American communist leader and Marxist-Leninist theorist Harry Haywood lived in the Soviet Union, from 1925 to 1930, where he witnessed firsthand how the national question was handled there. In his autobiography Black Bolshevik, Haywood explained his experience there and the theory that guided the USSR on the national question. He writes,&nbsp;</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">“...the formation of peoples into nations is an objective law of social development around which the Bolsheviks, particularly Lenin and Stalin, had developed a whole body of theory. According to this theory, a nation is a historically constituted stable community of people, based on four main characteristics: a common territory, a common economic life, a common language and common psychological makeup (national character) manifest in common features in a national culture. Since the development of imperialism, the liberation of oppressed nations has become a question whose final resolution would only come through proletarian revolution.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Haywood goes on to explain that the overthrow of the tsar and the construction of socialism required the unity of nationalities, and that this unity had to be based on “equality before the law for all nationalities – with no special privileges for any one people – and the right of the colonies and subject nations to separate.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Thus, after the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution, these principles were turned into the law of the land. Socialism set out to remove the effects of national oppression within the liberated nations of the former Russian Empire. Resources were diverted to them to raise their standards of living, education, health, and so on, while respecting and developing their cultural and political institutions. For example, Haywood writes of witnessing this policy in action in Crimea and the Caucasus in 1927 and 1928:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">“The languages and culture which had been stifled under the czarist regime were now being developed. The language of the Crimean people was a Turko-Tartar language, but before the Revolution, almost all education, such as there was, was in the Russian language. Now there were schools established which used the native language.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Abolishing national oppression is the first step, since it is the material basis of racism and prejudice. But as Haywood explains, after the Bolshevik revolution,&nbsp;</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">“…remnants of national and racial prejudice from the old society were attacked by education and law. It was a crime to give or receive direct or indirect privileges, or to exercise discrimination because of race or nationality. Any manifestation of racial or national superiority was punishable by law and was regarded as a serious political offense, a social crime.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Haywood explains that in all of his five years in the Soviet Union, he only experienced a single instance of racism, which was met with outrage from bystanders, leading to an impromptu mass meeting and the arrest of the perpetrator. It may be hard to imagine in the U.S. today, where the police murder Black, Chicano, and other oppressed people with impunity every day, but in the USSR in the 1920s, a racial slur led to a night in jail for the offender. Creating a just society free of racism and national oppression was taken seriously.</p> <p>It isn’t possible to predict exactly how the national question will be resolved in the course of socialist revolution. What we can say is that the U.S. colonies, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, must be granted their independence – if they have not already achieved by their own efforts. The full sovereignty of native peoples must be respected as must the right to national development. And the Black, Chicano and Hawaiian oppressed nations must have the right to self-determination, to choose whether or not to separate their historically constituted national territory.&nbsp;</p> <p>The national question in the United States will be solved in practice by the working and oppressed people themselves in the course of socialist revolution. But we can draw many lessons from the experiences of others. In the Soviet Union this played out through the formation of Soviet republics of the formerly oppressed nations. In China it led to national autonomous regions.&nbsp;</p> <p>In any case, the national question must be answered correctly both before and after the revolution, for its purpose is twofold. First, it is necessary to right the past wrongs of U.S. imperialism and see that they are not perpetuated. As Lenin said, the right of national self-determination, like the right to divorce, can be the only basis for a true, voluntary unity. Second, that unity is the only way we can defeat the oppressors. Only the strategic alliance of the multinational working class and the movements for national liberation can form the core of the united front necessary to topple monopoly capitalism, and only by freeing all peoples can the working class itself ever hope to be free.</p> Marxism-Leninism ML Theory National Oppression red theory Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:47:21 +0000 Fight Back 10075 at Seattle students hold banner drop in protest of national ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill <p>Seattle, WA - On November 18, the University of Washington’s Progressive Student Union (PSU) held a banner drop in protest of the national “Don’t Say Gay” bill, introduced by Congressional Republicans last month. Officially titled the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022,” this is a national version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year. The D.C. bill prohibits the use of federal funds for any topic or program related to sex education in schools. It also prohibits access of library books with LGBTQ topics to children. </p> <p>Raymond Chen of PSU said, “This bill is a shameless exploitation of LGBTQ people in education, medical care and legal aid. This rally promoted the unreasonableness of this bill and has taken a solid step in promoting our reputation.” </p> <p>PSU’s march and banner drop against this bill took place in the middle of campus during classes. Energized students chanted “Two, four, six, eight - separate the church and state!” and “What do we do when trans rights are under attack? Stand up, fight back!”</p> People's Struggles LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” bill Sun, 27 Nov 2022 15:03:55 +0000 Fight Back 10074 at China committed to support for socialist Cuba <p>Talks took place November 25 between General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez. The discussions took place in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.</p> <p>According to the New China News Agency, Xi stated, “Cuba is the first country in the Western Hemisphere that established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. Our ties have become an example of solidarity and cooperation between socialist countries, as well as an example of sincere mutual assistance between developing countries."</p> <p>Xi also stated, "No matter how the international situation may change, China's commitment to long-term friendship with Cuba will not change. China's determination to support Cuba in pursuing socialism will not change. China’s will to work with Cuba to safeguard international fairness and justice and oppose hegemony and power politics will not change."</p> People's Struggles Americas Asia China Communist Party of China Communist Party of Cuba Cuba International Fri, 25 Nov 2022 22:46:18 +0000 Fight Back 10073 at Victory for the people: Yes on A for sheriff accountability <p>Los Angeles, CA - At a press conference on November 16, the Check the Sheriff coalition announced a victory in the overwhelming passage of Measure A in the November 8 Los Angeles County elections. Measure A allows the removal of a sheriff by the LA Board of Supervisors for violation of a law. This is a major victory in the ongoing fight for community control of police.</p> <p>The coalition press conference included families who have lost their loved ones at the hands of the LA Sheriff’s Department, including those of Anthony Vargas, Paul Rea, John Horton, Marco Vazquez and Ryan Twyman.</p> <p>Also, election results keep showing that El Bandito rouge LA Sheriff Villanueva losing his re-election campaign [at publication, Alex Villanueva has conceded to former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna]. Alex Villanueva has a long history of justifying deputy violence and gangs. He also attacked the Civilian Oversight Commission and the LA County Board of Supervisors for their attempt to oversee the police. </p> <p>The Check the Sheriff Coalition is composed of many organizations and Centro CSO is one of them. Together they successfully pressured the Board of Supervisors to vote for an LA charter amendment to be placed on the November 8 ballot calling for stronger oversight of the LA Sheriff's position. This was called Measure A.</p> <p>Two-years of struggle and a family-led campaign exposed LA sheriffs’ violence, killings and deputy gangs (like the ELA Station Banditos), and resulted in a win for Measure A.</p> <p>With limited resources the Yes on Measure A campaign was launched via social media and local community events. Over 100 groups endorsed Measure A like: ACLU-SoCal, NLG-LA, BLM-LA, Centro CSO, UNITE HERE Local 11, and Dignity &amp; Power Now. Centro CSO started door-to-door canvassing of registered voters in East LA, El Sereno and Boyle Heights.</p> <p>Centro CSO continues advocating for community control of the police and sees the success of Measure A as a step forward.</p> <p>Let's continue the struggle for community control of the police, Contact CSO at (323) 943-2030, <a href=""></a>, or @CentroCSO on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for more information.</p> People's Struggles Police Brutality Centro CSO Measure A In-Justice System Fri, 25 Nov 2022 19:17:11 +0000 Fight Back 10072 at Huge win! LA district attorney files charges on sheriff deputy for the murder of David Ordaz Jr. <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from Centro CSO.</em></p> <p>On November 10, the LA District Attorney George Gascon announced that Deputy Remin Pineda has been charged in the murder of David Ordaz Jr. while he was experiencing a mental health crisis in front of his home in East LA. This is a huge win for the struggle against police terror in Los Angeles as former DA Jackie Lacey refused to press charges on any police officers involved with the 700+ deadly shootings during her tenure of 8 years.</p> <p>Pineda was charged with two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and assault under color of authority for the on duty shooting death of the 34 year old, father of 3. This is the 3nd instance where the DA Gascon’s office has pressed charges on law enforcement for unlawfully killing unarmed civilians.</p> <p>On March 14, 2021, the family of David Ordaz, Jr. called 911 to get him help as he was under mental distress and talking about suicide. ELA Sheriff’s deputies – including Remin Pineda, Edwin Navarrete, Jaime Romero, and Nathaniel Trujillo – arrived at the scene outside of the Ordaz family home in East Los Angeles. The ELA Sheriff’s station – the home of the Banditos – is known for its aggressive, violent behavior and long history of killing Chicano young men. Although they were aware of Ordaz Jr.’s mental state, the deputies gunned him down as his family watched in shock. While the department said that Ordaz Jr. charged at the deputies with a knife, footage recorded by a neighbor shows that he did not pose a threat. Deputy Pineda walked over to Ordaz as he lay on the ground bleeding, already shot multiple times and fired an additional deadly shot to his upper body.</p> <p>Since his murder, Ordaz’s loved ones have not only fought for justice in his case but also becoming leading fighters in the struggle against LASD and LAPD terror. His family has led multiple protests outside of the ELA Sheriff’s station, attended with Centro CSO the Second National Conference of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and helped organize the victory of Measure A to bring greater accountability to LASD.&nbsp;</p> <p>To become involved in the police accountability committee of CSO, reach us at (323) 943-2030, <a href=""></a>, or @CentroCSO on Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for more information.</p> Centro Community Service Organization (CSO) In-Justice System Fri, 25 Nov 2022 17:46:44 +0000 Fight Back 10071 at Twin Cities activists hold vigil to demand end to endless U.S. wars <p>Saint Paul, MN - On Wednesday, November 23, more than 40 peace activists from around the Twin Cities gathered on the Lake Street Marshall Bridge to demand an end to all U.S. interventions around the globe. The event was initiated by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC) in partnership with Women Against Military Madness (WAMM). WAMM has been holding weekly protests on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge for 23 years, consistently calling for an end to U.S. wars ever since NATO<br /> began bombing Yugoslavia in 1999.</p> <p>The call for action put forward a range of slogans, including “Say no to World War III,” “Stop the endless wars: Syria, Iraq, Somalia, aid to the occupation of Palestine, everywhere,” and “No new wars and interventions: China, Korea, Iran, Haiti, anywhere.” Peace protesters waved signs, chanted “Money for human needs, not for war!” and marched up and down the bridge as passing drivers honked and waved in support. Despite the efforts of the U.S. ruling class to drum up support for its proxy war against Russia, public reaction to the protesters’ call for an end to the war in Ukraine was overwhelmingly positive.</p> <p>Adam Biel of the Anti-War Committee delivered a speech near the end of the event, drawing attention to the economic motivations behind the U.S. and NATO’s prolongation of the war in Ukraine. He quoted the economist Timothy Ash, a member of the London-based Chatham House imperialist thinktank, as saying that U.S. spending in Ukraine is “peanuts” compared to the economic benefits that the war will produce for Western businesses. Biel summarized the situation: “This is about investing in misery now in order to grow profit later. Pure and simple. It’s about holding back any economic threat to the West in order to maintain supremacy around the world.”</p> <p>Biel gave a class-oriented perspective on the war in Ukraine, stating, “It’s the poor and working class who have their neighborhoods bombed, their families conscripted and killed, their futures stolen right out from under them. In the aftermath of this, it’ll be the U.S. and its ruling class who have the most say in determining the country's future — this ‘aid’ is never free. It’s also the poor and working class here at home that suffer. This is $91 billion that our public schools miss out on, our infrastructure misses out on, our social welfare programs miss out on; all of these opportunities to invest in the wellbeing of our own people squandered to fund a proxy war where the only winners are the ultra wealthy.”</p> <p>The protest was endorsed by Anti-War Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mayday Books, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Minnesota War Tax Resistance, Movement 4 People's Democracy, Party of Communists USA, Socialist Action, Twin Cities Assange Defense, Twin Cities Communist Party USA, Welfare Rights Committee, and Veterans for Peace Chapter 27.</p> Antiwar Movement anti-war Twin Cities Fri, 25 Nov 2022 17:40:44 +0000 Fight Back 10070 at Freedom Road Socialist Organization mourns the passing of Jean Pestieau, of the Workers Party of Belgium <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following message of condolences from the leadership of Freedom Road Socialist Organization to the Workers Party of Belgium.&nbsp;</em></p> <p>November 16, 2022</p> <p>To: Workers Party of Belgium</p> <p>From: Freedom Road Socialist Organization</p> <p>Dear Comrades,</p> <p>We were saddened to hear the news of the passing of Jean Pestieau, and we send out condolences to the Workers Party of Belgium and Jean’s family and friends.</p> <p>As a leading comrade in the PTB International Department, comrade Jean was friend, advisor and inspiration to revolutionaries around the world. He had was extremely knowledgeable, yet modest. He was friendly and diplomatic, yet firm on issues of principle. Jean was always ready to answer questions and explain his point of view in a down-to-earth way. He was an example of what a communist should be.&nbsp;</p> <p>Many leading comrades of Freedom Road Socialist Organization had the opportunity to met with Jean, and the comrade played a role in the development of our organization. We benefited greatly from his political clarity and helpful advice. When we met with the PTB in the mid-1990s, a period before the internet, it made a huge difference to find comrades who were thinking along the same lines as we were.&nbsp;</p> <p>Comrade Jean was an outstanding fighter for socialism who never doubted that humanity has a socialist future. He will be missed by many.</p> <p>In solidarity,</p> <p>Mick Kelly</p> <p>Political Secretary of the Standing Committee of the Central Committee&nbsp;</p> <p>Freedom Road Socialist Organization</p> Belgium Workers Party of Belgium Fri, 25 Nov 2022 17:24:45 +0000 Fight Back 10069 at Los Angeles FRSO hosts Venezuelan activist and former presidential advisor <p>Los Angeles, CA - This past weekend, the Los Angeles district of FRSO hosted Venezuelan political activist Dozthor Zurlent as he continued his speaking tour of the United States. Zurlent is a political activist and was an advisor to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He's currently traveling the country to talk about the successes and current challenges facing the Bolivarian Revolution, as well as using his trip to rally support for Alex Saab, a Venezuelan diplomat who is being held hostage by the U.S. government. Zurlent’s other stops on tour included Florida and Wisconsin in late October and early November.</p> <p>The event was held November 20 at the Church of the Epiphany in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. The choice of venue was intentional as the church has a long history of supporting and sheltering activists and revolutionaries. In the past it served as a shelter for refugees from El Salvador, provided protection for Brown Berets as well as being the headquarters of <em>La Raza</em>, a Chicano newspaper published in the 1960s and 70s.</p> <p>After a brief introduction on the guest speaker and the history of the church by FRSO and National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression members Sol Marquez and Luis Sifuentes, Zurlent began his speech. He started by talking about how both Venezuela and Aztlan are linked together, saying, “This is a land of struggle, a land of courage. People are linked together in struggle in spite of the fascists. It is the struggle of generations, and we are part of that struggle. Only through revolution will we achieve a society where we can all live together in unity.”</p> <p>After his opening remarks, the audiences were then shown a brief video on Alex Saab, before Dozthor started the second part of his presentation, where he spoke at length about the goals and achievements of the people of Venezuela highlighting their ongoing struggle against imperialism, or what he called the “supra state,” and the people’s mission to build a communal state from the bottom up rather than the top down.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the major successes that Zurlent mentioned was the massive housing initiative first undertaken by Hugo Chavez that has since resulted in millions of houses being built all across the country.</p> <p>The next part of the presentation focused on the sanctions that the United States has imposed on Venezuela. Zurlent said “The goal of the sanctions was to hurt the country, but the Venezuelan people are the ones who are the most hurt. They want us to get desperate, to say it's all Maduro's fault and to overthrow him. But we already have defeated all their tricks. They've tried three times to kill Maduro, they've tried to sabotage our water, to make our lives miserable and to promote a civil war. But in spite of all this, we continue to grow.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Since 2014, the United States has levied many sanctions against Venezuela and its government in attempt to cripple the South American nation's economy and force them to sell their resources such as their oil reserves, which are among the largest in the world to American corporations.</p> <p>Dozthor concluded his speech by restating Venezuela's commitment to the masses, by saying, “This is not a top down revolution. We're not in a hurry to declare ourselves a socialist country, but we are in a hurry to build popular power. We are not going to give up, we are going to continue to build this new system.”&nbsp;</p> <p>After he finished speaking, the next speaker, Carlos Montes of FRSO, spoke briefly about the history of international solidarity and cooperation that Freedom Road has with Venezuela.&nbsp;</p> <p>The final speakers for the evening were Jenny Bekenstein of FRSO and Centro CSO and Jared Hamil, a Teamster Shop Steward at UPS and an FRSO member. The two of them talked about their experience in Venezuela. Bekenstein said, “I was impressed by the high level of political consciousness the average worker in Venezuela has. They all have an encyclopedic knowledge of their nation and its history. It's really their first line of defense against imperialism.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Hamil talked about the need for workers to show solidarity, saying, “The owners of UPS are the same class at home as they are in Venezuela. The average worker in the U.S. has more in common with the average worker in Venezuela than they do with their boss. I urge everybody to show solidarity with workers abroad, but don't forget to fight your boss at home.”</p> Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Venezuela Wed, 23 Nov 2022 23:54:17 +0000 Fight Back 10068 at New Orleans LGBTQ community holds vigil for Colorado Springs victims <p>New Orleans. LA - The New Orleans LGBT Center, in collaboration with the Real Name Campaign, held a candlelight vigil on November 21. The vigil was organized after reports spread across the country of a mass-shooting that targeted Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs.</p> <p>Around 40 community members attended the intimate New Orleans vigil. Speakers from the LGBT Center emphasized the need for the community to defend LGBTQ community spaces as they face continuous attacks.</p> <p>Serena Sojic-Borne, an organizer with Real Name Campaign, told the community, “This shooting came on the heels of Donald Trump announcing his re-election campaign. It came on the heels of Louisiana misrepresentatives introducing a Don’t Say Gay bill to the U.S. Congress. It came on the heels of SCOTUS overturning Roe v. Wade. Bigots in power give a green light to bigoted murderers. Our strongest weapon against them is organization.”</p> <p>The vigil included an open mic portion where attendees expressed their grief collectively and shared grounding practices. At the end they blew all of their candles out together and held a minute of silence for the Q Club slain: Raymond Green Vance, Kelly Loving, Daniel Aston, Derrick Rump and Ashley Paugh.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> LGBTQ Colorado Springs LGBTQ Wed, 23 Nov 2022 22:40:21 +0000 Fight Back 10067 at