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 The good, bad and the ugly: Economic commentary on Friday, March 22 <p>San Jose, CA - Friday, March 22 was a day of good news, bad news, and ugly news.</p> <p>The GOOD: it was Friday. TGIF.</p> <p>The BAD: U.S. and global stock markets fell almost 2%, with the U.S. Dow Jones index falling almost 500 points on bad economic news out of Europe. A Eurozone measure of manufacturing for March fell more than expected, increasing fears of a recession in Europe. This increased worries about the U.S. economy, and interest rates on longer term (10-year) bonds fell as investors expected interest rates in the future to go down with a slowing economy. Typically interest rates on longer term loans are higher than short term ones as there is greater danger that inflation will reduce the purchasing power of interest and loan repayments in the future. But on Friday, interest rates on 10-year bonds fell below interest rates on short-term, 30-day bonds, a so-called ‘inversion’ of interest rates. This inversion has happened before every U.S. recession since 1975, increasing fears of a recession in the United States, causing the stock market to plunge.</p> <p>[Editor’s note: you can read Suzuki’s speculation about a U.S. recession that he made in December <a href="">here</a>]</p> <p>The UGLY: President Trump announced that he plans to nominate Stephan Moore to the Federal Reserve board of directors. The Federal Reserve or Fed is the U.S. central bank, in charge of printing money (check out your paper bills, they are all “Federal Reserve Notes”) and setting interest rates. The Federal Reserve traditionally follows a bank and business-friendly policy, indeed, the current chair of the Fed, Jerome Powell, had a long career on Wall Street. But Moore is more (or less), a Trump toady who makes up facts like the president. While Trump has claimed that President Obama was not born in the United States (he was) and that Trump won the popular vote in 2016 (Clinton did), Moore is a supply-sider who claims that cutting taxes will increase government tax revenues (it didn’t under Reagan in the 1980s, and isn’t now - in both cases the tax cuts led to far larger U.S. government budget deficits). Even worse, Moore claims that the U.S. is going through deflation, that is, that prices are dropping. He obvious is unaware of - or doesn’t care, or easily lies about - the fact that prices, especially rents, are on the rise for working people. Having such a hack on the government’s most powerful economic institution is downright scary.</p> <p>But please, enjoy your weekend. Saturday is National Puppy Day! Hooray!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy stock market Sun, 24 Mar 2019 08:36:48 +0000 Fight Back 7334 at Venezuela builds health sovereignty, in defiance of the U.S. government <p>Chicago, IL - On March 20, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro visited Jipana, a large automated warehouse in the state of Miranda. Built with the cooperation of Chinese experts, Jipana - made up of five warehouses across Venezuela - has the capacity to store and distribute 100% of the antibiotic, hypoglycemic, hypertensive and analgesic needs for the tens of thousands of free community clinics that make up Mission Barrio Adentro, as well as all of the anti-malarial, anti-retroviral, anti-parasitic and contraceptive needs of the Mission's nationwide ambulance service.</p> <p>While at the warehouse, Maduro called for the launching of the "Pharmaceutical Engine," a plan of production and distribution "to guarantee that U.S. imperialism cannot have an impact on our medicine, on the health of the Venezuelan people." He appointed Dr. Henry Ventura, the director of the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Cuba, to head the Engine, and tasked him with preparing an import substitution plan for the active ingredients that Venezuela has had to buy from abroad in order to produce the medicine its people need.</p> <p>While the Maduro government has long-planned to build a sovereign pharmaceutical industry, the need for such a goal was made even more clear last month, when the Trump administration withheld $5 billion in U.S. loans that were to be used by Venezuela to purchase active pharmaceutical ingredients.</p> <p>Maduro also called on ministers Tareck El Aissami and Aristóbulo Istúriz to form a workteam to establish a fixed pricing system for pharmaceutical goods, backed by direct subsidies to the poorest Venezuelans. "A tremendous effort is being made so that free quality health care reaches the workers, and the people in general," he added.</p> <p>Maduro made sure to point out the international alliance that gives Venezuela the ability to build health sovereignty. "We have a deep alliance with our comrades in the Republic of Cuba, with the Cuban health missions, an alliance with China, Russia, India and now with the World Health Organization."</p> People's Struggles Nicolás Maduro Venezuela Fri, 22 Mar 2019 20:49:54 +0000 Fight Back 7333 at Justice for Rasmea Odeh! Justice for Palestine! <p>The Committee to Stop FBI Repression strongly supports Rasmea Odeh’s right to speak in Berlin about the Palestinian liberation struggle. We stand with the many other organizations who condemn the German, Israeli, and U.S. governments’ attacks on Rasmea and their attempts to silence her by revoking her visa and prohibiting her from political activity (<a title="Condemn the attack by German authorities on Rasmea Odeh" href=";id=1ac2a665c4&amp;e=d0bced7360" target="_blank">see article about the March 15 incident</a>).</p> <p>The actions of these governments blatantly reflect their racist anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim views. But we want to draw attention to the underlying reason for their targeting of Rasmea. The attack on her right to speak is deeply tied to U.S. and German support for the Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism in Palestine. Moreover, the attack on Rasmea reflects these countries’ imperialist strategies for control of the Middle East. By the same token, these governments are clearly acting out of fear - fear that when Palestinian women and activists like Rasmea speak up, it chips away at such countries’ grasp on Palestine and the surrounding region.</p> <p>The attacks on Rasmea and Palestine also relate to political repression taking place across the globe. Germany, the U.S. and Israel are attempting to silence Rasmea for the same fundamental reasons that the Duterte government has murdered and attacked activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines; that the U.S. government is trying to forcibly install a new government in Venezuela; and that the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group is surveilling and harassing leaders and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. The imperialists who are in power are clearly afraid that people like Rasmea might inspire others to rise up and fight back against the racist and oppressive system in place.</p> <p>We want to send a message to these imperialist powers, to say that fighting back is exactly what we plan to do. It is imperative that we fight back against this unjust system that tries to silence Palestinian women like Rasmea. We demand that Rasmea Odeh be permitted to speak in Germany, and we demand an end to state repression against all Muslim women, and all Palestinians who have boldly raised their voices against the imperialist and colonialist powers that are oppressing people across the world.</p> <p>Activists are not terrorists! We stand in solidarity with Rasmea and all Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.</p> <p>-- NYC Committee to Stop FBI Repression</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Anti-racism New York City Palestine Political Prisoners political repression Political Repression Rasmea Odeh Women's Movement In-Justice System Thu, 21 Mar 2019 16:44:36 +0000 Fight Back 7332 at LA: Boyle Heights honors International Women’s Day <p>Los Angeles, CA - The neighborhood of Boyle Heights celebrated International Women’s Day, March 8, by honoring women on the Eastside who shake things up. Organized by Centro CSO, the event took place in the historic Casa del Mexicano building. The celebration doubled as a fundraiser for legal fees in a major lawsuit against big-time corporation KIPP Promesa Charter school. A large group from all over East Los Angeles and Boyle Heights attended.</p> <p>Headlining was Fe Montes, of Mujeres de Maíz, who performed multiple readings, poems, and chants. Met with applause, Montes spoke about the need to honor the “Chingonas we grew up with and who are leading today.”</p> <p>Liza Ceballos of Translatin@ Coalition put in long hours to set up the event with members of Centro CSO. Ceballos spoke about the need to be united with trans issues every day, and not just on International Women’s Day. She told the crowd, “We have to be there for each other through the good times and the bad times.”</p> <p>Lisa Vargas, mother of Anthony Vargas, spoke about police crimes against the Chicano, Mexicano and Samoan people living in East Los Angeles. “Not a lot of people know that my son killed on August 12, 2018 by East LA Sheriffs was part Samoan. I am a proud Chicana and it is my duty to fight back when my family is under attack. I fight for my son Anthony but I also fight back for the women and the survivors in my community. I have been for years and years.”</p> <p>Eloisa Galindo of Eastside Padres Contra la Privatizacion walked on stage with her children and nieces holding a banner. She spoke about the fight against charter school corporations who are moving into the Eastside. “Today I give honor to all the strong women in the fight against multi-billionaires and sellouts like LAUSD board member Monica Garcia! Today I honor all the mothers who fight for their children against privatization of education!”</p> <p>UTLA teacher in Boyle Heights from Sunrise Elementary, Mimi Duncanson, gave a powerful and educational presentation about countless women throughout history who have shaped the conditions for women today. She spoke of the recent teachers strike in LA in which 35,000 teachers fought for higher wages, against privatization and for smaller class sizes, saying that “when we organized one of the most significant strikes in the second-largest school district in the U.S., I know that a majority of us were women.”</p> <p>Sol Marquez of Freedom Road Socialist Organization spoke about the origins of International Women’s Day. “Proposed by German communist Clara Zetkin, International Women’s Day has its origins in the socialist working-class. Today we hear a lot of people calling themselves socialists - like Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which is a good thing. But the FRSO takes up issues like self-determination, for us Chicanos, and the need for the working class to take all political power in its hands. This will lead to our ultimate liberation.” Marquez ended by referencing Alexandra Kollontai’s writings on communism and the family as necessary reading to see what socialism can do for working-class women.</p> <p>A photobooth, food donated by Boyle Heights businesses like Casa Fina, and music performances by a Chicana musician named Samantha, made Boyle Heights’ International Women’s Day celebration and fundraiser a huge success.</p> <p>To donate to the Centro CSO fight against gentrification in Boyle Heights go here: <a href=""></a></p> People's Struggles Centro CSO International Women's Day KIPP Promesa Women's Movement Thu, 21 Mar 2019 03:14:19 +0000 Fight Back 7331 at Minnesotans protest Senator Klobuchar’s pro-war record <p>Minneapolis, MN - On March 15, 30 protesters gathered in front of Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Minneapolis office to condemn her support for the Trump administration policy of regime change in Venezuela and support of U.S. aid to Israel. Since Klobuchar has kicked off her presidential campaign, the Twin Cities anti-war movement has responded by holding multiple protests, including a picket at her presidential announcement at Boom Island, to draw attention to the senator’s long record of voting for military aid and U.S. intervention.</p> <p>Responding to the savage and racist mosque attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, Misty Rowan of the MN Anti-War Committee (AWC) opened the protest with, “The reactions of Klobuchar and other politicians to the recent tweets and comments by Ilhan Omar about AIPAC demonstrate the dangers of seeing one form of discrimination but not another.” She continued, “I've just been informed that a fellow committee member called Klobuchar's office this morning to ask if she has made any statement about the Christchurch attacks. The office person said, basically, no comment. So while she felt it was important to put out a statement against her fellow lawmaker, this [Christchurch] happens and she chooses to stay silent.”</p> <p>Christine Hauschildt, also a member of the AWC, addressed the crowd on the senator’s hawkish stance on Venezuela, “We are concerned with the overwhelming negative impact that the U.S. intervention has had on the safety and security of the Venezuelan people. Senator Amy Klobuchar does not share that concern.” Instead, “Senator Klobuchar supports the destabilizing a foreign, elected leader through U.S. intervention.” This intervention includes the brutal sanctions imposed on Venezuela, disguising weapon shipments to the right-wing Venezuelan coup forces as ‘humanitarian’ aid, and the sabotage that affected the Venezuelan national electrical grid.</p> <p>Brad Sigal from Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) spoke about the primary focus of MIRAC being the fight for legalization and full equality for immigrants, while also opposing U.S. interventions across the world. Sigal explained, “we also stand with anti-war efforts to put an end to U.S. government policies that provoke forced migration. And that means ending U.S. intervention in other countries. So many people come here from Mexico, Central America, East Africa and Southeast Asia because they are displaced by U.S. intervention in their countries. We stand with the anti-war movement because today's war creates tomorrow's migrants and refugees.”</p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead, a member of the Anti-War committee, was the last speaker at the protest. She contrasted the courageous stands by Representative Ilhan Omar with the terrible positions that Senator Klobuchar has taken during her run for president. Minnesota’s 5th district Representative Ilhan Omar dared speak truth to power about the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and exposed the injustice of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Senator Klobuchar is the only Democratic presidential candidate to vote to penalize the BDS – the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement; she is the candidate seeking to be recognized as most friendly with AIPAC, and joined in the racist attacks against Representative Ilhan Omar.</p> <p>Aby-Keirstead continued by noting that Klobuchar’s support for Israeli human rights abuses is not new. From 2006 until the present, as thousands of Palestinians have been killed and wounded by Israeli aggressions, Klobuchar has been silent. To underscore this indifference she explained, “In 2008 I was at a constituent meeting with Senator Klobuchar where she heard testimony from our local Palestinian community about how Operation Cast Lead was affecting their families in Palestine. They showed her pictures of dead children and told her horror stories, but she was shockingly unmoved despite the heartache of her constituents.”</p> <p>The protest was organized by the MN Anti-War Committee and endorsed by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) UMN and Women Against Military Madness.</p> <p>The next Twin Cities protest concerning U.S. intervention in Venezuela will be on March 30 at 1:30 p.m. at the intersection of Lake Street and Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis.</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Senator Amy Klobuchar Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:33:06 +0000 Fight Back 7330 at Venezuela coup supporters break into NYC Consulate <p>New York, NY - An emergency action was held at the Venezuelan Consulate in New York City, March 18, after news broke that supporters of the Venezuelan coup were let into Consulate by the State Department. One of the participants was live-tweeting the takeover, claiming that they “assumed control” of the Consulate.</p> <p>A crowd of 30 people gathered in front of the Consulate, waving a Venezuelan flag and leading chants against the coup. Attendees attempted to go into the Consulate six times, and some hecklers trolled the action, but were quickly shouted down by the protesters.</p> <p>The call was spread by No War on Venezuela, a broad coalition of organizations against U.S. intervention in Venezuela.</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Venezuela Venezuela coup Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:25:31 +0000 Fight Back 7329 at FRSO event on Marxist perspective of the U.S.-orchestrated coup attempt in Venezuela <p>Minneapolis, MN - On March 17, 50 people filled Mayday Books to hear Sean Orr, a Latin America solidarity activist, trade unionist, and member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), speak about the current crisis facing Venezuela. In a presentation entitled, "The U.S. Orchestrated Coup in Venezuela: A Marxist Perspective," Orr highlighted the leading role of the United States in the destabilization of Venezuela as well as its efforts to foment regime change.</p> <p>The United States has attempted to interfere in the political and economic development of Venezuela in a major way since oil was discovered in the country in the 1920s. After the election of Hugo Chavez as president of Venezuela in 1998, the U.S. has periodically intensified the hostile measures taken against the Venezuelan people.</p> <p>The most recent manifestation of this aggression began when John Bolton, President Trump's national security advisor, named Venezuela as a target for destabilization, along with Cuba and Nicaragua. This hostility continued with Trump's recognition of the reactionary Juan Guaido as the interim ‘president’ of Venezuela, the imposition of additional economic sanctions, material support for the political opposition, and a coordinated attack that left the country without electrical power for nearly a week.</p> <p>Orr explained that prerevolutionary Venezuela was plagued by economic and social inequality, and that the economy was oriented to serve U.S. imperial interests. "It's not hard to understand why the Venezuelan masses rose up and rallied behind Hugo Chavez in 1998," explained Orr, "They demanded a government that worked for them, not one that tried to appease them while working for foreign interests."</p> <p>Elaborating further, Orr explained that after the Venezuelan economy was reoriented to meet the people’s needs under Chavez, both the capitalist classes of the United States and in Venezuela consistently engaged in destabilization efforts in an attempt to undermine the national democratic Bolivarian Revolution. From the coup attempt against Chavez in 2002, to the price fixing by private enterprises, Venezuela's political and economic wellbeing was under constant attack.</p> <p>Orr detailed how the constant subversion of Venezuelan democracy continued after the death of Hugo Chavez and intensified after the election of Nicolas Maduro in 2013, stating, “The bourgeois opposition went on the offensive against Maduro from day one. It must be understood that the Maduro government has not known a single day of peace."</p> <p>In speaking of how Bolivarian Revolution continues to resist the efforts of the U.S. and the Venezuelan opposition, Orr said, "For the past 20 years, the country has been led by a mass movement, a national liberation movement, committed to sovereignty and independence from imperialism. The dogged commitment of the Venezuelan people to their own interests must be a great source of frustration for the bankers of Wall Street."</p> <p>Orr continued to emphasize that the society that is being built in Venezuela - one that meets the people’s needs and prioritizes the working class - continues to grow towards the establishment of socialism, with the development of workers’ communes and the Constituent Congress of the Working Class. It is precisely this development that draws the ire of the United States.</p> <p>Orr said that the U.S. intends to, “make the Venezuelan masses suffer for their willingness to stand tall, for their courage in the face of everything, and for the hope they give to peoples across the world, including right here in the United States, struggling to shake the monopoly capitalists off of our back and bring about a new world.”</p> <p>Sean Orr is the main Venezuela correspondent for <em>Fight Back!</em>, a trade unionist, and a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. The March 17 event was organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization – Twin Cities.</p> People's Struggles Socialism Antiwar Movement Americas Donald Trump Hands off Venezuela International Nicolás Maduro Sean Orr Venezuela Labor Oppressed Nationalities U.S. Mon, 18 Mar 2019 16:59:20 +0000 Fight Back 7328 at Frank Chapman condemns political repression against Rasmea Odeh <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from Frank Chapman, Field Organizer of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.</em></p> <p>Rasmea Odeh, an historic figure in the Palestine national movement, is being threatened by German authorities with denial of her right to speak in Germany, as well as attempting to take away her visa.</p> <p>The Chicago Alliance once again expresses our complete solidarity with our dear sister, Rasmea, and with her beloved Palestine. For a number of years, the Alliance and the U.S. Palestinian Community Network marched together to defend Rasmea from the political trial that she was subjected to by the U.S. Dept. of Justice; and the Palestinian organizations that Rasmea helped to lead marched together with the Black community in Chicago in our struggle for an end to police crimes by calling for community control of the police.</p> <p>In 2014, I saw the Palestinian people in Ferguson, Missouri, expressing their solidarity with Black people there who had risen up to demand justice for Mike Brown, the innocent young Black man who was slain by a white police officer. That uprising reignited the Black liberation movement in the U.S.</p> <p>I said then and I say again today that Black people and Palestinians have a future together. In Chicago, we face a police department that occupies our communities, as Palestinians are occupied by the Israeli military. Hundreds of Blacks and Latinos in Chicago were tortured by cops into confessing to crimes they did not commit, just as Rasmea was tortured in 1969 into such a confession. The Palestinian people are fighting for their liberation since their land was taken from them in 1948. Black people have been fighting for our liberation since we were stolen from Africa centuries ago.</p> <p>Let Rasmea speak!</p> People's Struggles African-American Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Frank Chapman Political Repression Rasmea Odeh Rasmea Odeh In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:53:16 +0000 Fight Back 7327 at Twin Cities Remembers Cordale Handy <p>St. Paul, MN - On March 15, the mother of Cordale Handy, members of the community and other families who lost loved ones to police violence gathered here to remember Cordale Handy, who was murdered by police on this date in 2017.</p> <p>The most impactful part of the evening was hearing from other families from across the country who have been affected by police, including Pamela Brooks, whose teenage son Amir, was killed by an off-duty Prince George's County, Maryland officer; Lisa Simpson, whose son was killed by Los Angeles police, and two families from Minneapolis, Thurmond Blevins, who was killed by Minneapolis Police in June 2018 and Jerome Gordon Jackson who was murdered by Hennepin County Sheriff's deputies in 2013.</p> <p>Kim Handy Jones, who is the mother of Cordale Handy, has fought for justice for not only her son, but for the other families who have lost loved ones to the police. She brought the mothers and loved ones to Saint Paul for the Friday night vigil and for a Saturday banquet to raise funds to help other families.</p> <p>Trahern Crews, who emceed the event, made a demand that Saint Paul Police should seek atonement for the harm they caused the community. The SPPD is the most deadly and dangerous force in the state of Minnesota.</p> <p>On March 16 a second night “Boots on the Ground, Cordale Handy Remembrance Celebration” was held. The night again brought together mothers and family members of those lost to police crimes. Many of those involved in the movement to stop police crimes were in attendance.</p> <p>The event was hosted by the Racial Justice Network. Speakers during the event included the Minneapolis NAACP, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J), Black Lives Matter Minnesota, Justice for Justine Damond Ruszcyk, Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB), Trio Plant Based restaurant, Hope and Healing Counseling Services, and the Racial Justice Network.</p> People's Struggles Police Brutality African-American Cordale Handy Twin Cities Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar (TCC4J) In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Sun, 17 Mar 2019 13:46:19 +0000 Fight Back 7326 at Condemn the attack by German authorities on Rasmea Odeh <p>Freedom Road Socialist Organization sharply condemns the decision by German authorities to prevent the respected Palestinian leader Rasmea Odeh from speaking in Berlin, March 15. According to reports we have reviewed, German police accosted Rasmea outside the hall where she was scheduled to appear, surrounded the venue with hundreds of cops, and handed her documents that canceled her visa. Police then followed Rasmea, demanding she go to another part of the city, and harassed her as she did so.</p> <p>These acts of political repression were preceded by a noisy campaign by the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors and the right-wing media against Rasmea’s appearance in Germany. This repression should be opposed by everyone who cares about justice and democratic rights.</p> <p>Rasmea Odeh was a long-time leader of the Palestinian American community in Chicago, until she was arrested on trumped-up charges, stripped of her U.S. citizenship and deported. Rasmea had done nothing wrong. Her real ‘crime’ in the eyes of the U.S. government was her commitment to ending the Zionist occupation of Palestine.</p> <p>Rasmea is in fact is a hero whose lifetime of struggle embodies the hopes and aspirations of the Palestinian people. Freedom Road Socialist Organization has worked tirelessly in the past to oppose any act of repression against Rasmea and we will continue to do so now.</p> <p>The forces of reaction who want to criminalize those who embrace Palestine’s freedom are doomed to failure. Support for Israel is waning. The Palestinian liberation forces, along with a growing camp of resistance in the Middle East, are growing stronger.</p> <p><strong><em>Let Rasmea speak her mind!</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>End U.S. support for Israel!</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>Freedom for all of Palestine!</em></strong></p> People's Struggles Rasmea Odeh Rasmea Odeh Sun, 17 Mar 2019 04:08:22 +0000 Fight Back 7325 at