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 Emanuel suffers primary blow in Chicago election http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/3/emanuel-suffers-primary-blow-chicago-election <p>Chicago, IL - In Chicago, people had good reason to celebrate on Feb. 24. Rahm Emanuel was denied reelection in the mayoral primary. He needed 50% plus one vote, but he received less than 46%. His main opponent, Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, received 34%, and will face Emanuel on April 7 in a runoff. In addition, 19 city council seats will have runoff elections, an all-time high.</p> <p>Emanuel had what the corporate-owned media and the LaSalle Street bankers thought was a winning hand. He had raised over $16 million for his campaign. He had the support of President Obama, who Emanuel had served as chief of staff in Obama’s first three years in office. Chicago is the president’s home and his endorsement had helped put Emanuel in office in 2011.</p> <p>What happened? For starters, Emanuel has always had a difficult time connecting with regular people, given his elite upbringing and abrasive personality. But he had the benefit of the doubt among African American voters in his first campaign because of Obama’s endorsement.</p> <p>For the masses of people, Chicago is a community in crisis. Unemployment remains high: 25% among African Americans, 12% for Latinos and 7% for whites. The number of home foreclosures has dropped significantly, but poor neighborhoods continue to deal with the effects of the&nbsp;housing&nbsp;crisis. Wages are flat or lower than before the economic crisis in 2008. The assault on workers and the oppressed nationality communities of African Americans, Chicano/Mexicanos and other immigrants and Puerto Ricans has continued unabated.</p> <p>Also, public sector workers have been the main target of the political attacks on unions in recent years. Nationally, Republicans have been the face of the assault, but this is a bipartisan issue, as they say in Washington. Emanuel, a Democratic mayor, has terrible relations with the labor unions representing his employees. Most famously, he declared war on the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), who rose to defend themselves, and at the same time, to fight for their students. The 2012 strike they waged - and won - set the stage for this electoral contest.</p> <p><strong>Fight-backs helped raise consciousness among voters</strong></p> <p>Rosa Luxemburg said, “Those who do not move do not notice their chains.” It’s often when workers resist cutbacks and other austerity measures that they realize they have class interests separate from the government and the employers. The organized movements to resist Emanuel’s agenda unfolded the understanding that he really is Mayor 1%.</p> <p>The teachers did the heaviest lifting against Emanuel’s agenda. The Chicago Public Schools have been starved for funding for decades. Emanuel’s main campaign pledge in 2011 was to reform education. His program? A longer school day and closing schools where students weren’t performing well on standardized testing. The CTU, in a model of class struggle unionism, took him head on.</p> <p>There were other anti-Emanuel fronts. His repression of Occupy Chicago and the protests against the NATO war makers was reminiscent of old man Daley’s crackdown on anti-war protests in 1968. The mental health movement captured broad sympathy and solidarity as they defended the clinics that so many people depend on - clinics that Emanuel closed.</p> <p><strong>Black and brown lives matter</strong></p> <p>Protests against police crimes started after the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner and then exploded when government prosecutors wouldn’t indict the killer cops. Chicago hasn’t had a week without marches and teach-ins since then, and existing efforts to fight for justice were rejuvenated and expanded. Young Black organizers had taken up the fight against police torture even before Ferguson, but since then, the rising tide of protest has advanced the campaign for justice for the victims of Jon Burge, the Chicago cop exposed for running a torture ring that had over 100 Black and Latino victims. The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression has been calling for an elected, Civilian Police Accountability Council for several years, but now this idea has been taken up by the groups Black Youth Project 100, We Charge Genocide and Black Lives Matter. And none other than CTU President Karen Lewis herself has come out and endorsed the idea.</p> <p>Police crimes did not become a front burner issue in the elections. The corporate-owned press didn’t pose questions to mayoral or alderman candidates about it. Some of the reform candidates for alderman, especially in African American wards, as well as the mayoral challengers, addressed themselves to the mass movement. But the repeated protests against Chicago murders of young Blacks by Chicago cops made it even clearer that the city of Chicago doesn’t serve the interests of the Black community.</p> <p><strong>Chuy</strong></p> <p>Karen Lewis had begun to ignite the people’s forces around her when she announced last year that she was preparing to run against Emanuel. A serious health issue changed that plan. When she withdrew, her choice for a champion was Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.</p> <p>Garcia has been an activist since the 1970s. He was part of the movement for electoral reform that elected Harold Washington, the first Black mayor in Chicago. That coalition of community forces in the Black, Chicano/Mexicano and Puerto Rican communities ended the white racist rule of the Democratic Party regulars.</p> <p>Garcia was next elected a state senator. His role in fighting gentrification in the Pilsen neighborhood caused Mayor Richard M. Daley to target him. Daley brought in major resources to defeat Garcia in a reelection campaign in 1998. During the years out of public office, Garcia continued as a community activist. He was an important figure in the massive immigrant rights movement that emerged in 2006. In 2010, he was elected Cook County Commissioner.</p> <p><strong>Rahm has to go</strong></p> <p>The runoff elections will be dramatic. Most of the attention will be on Chuy versus Rahm, but the alderman elections will be important as well. The city council under Emanuel has put up even less opposition to his corporate agenda than they did under his predecessor. Garcia will need allies in the city council to go against the agenda of the 1%. The CTU had endorsed a number of candidates, including David Moore, who won the 17th Ward election, and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, winner in the 35th Ward. They also backed CTU members Tara Stamps (37th Ward), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward) and Tim Meegan (33rd Ward). The CTU platform brings these Black, Latino and working class candidates together with Garcia.</p> <p>Kelly Hayes of the Chicago Light Brigade is an organizer for reparations for survivors of Chicago Police Department torture. In her view, Emanuel’s failure in round one has strengthened the movements that have been fighting him. In a piece on Truthout, she wrote, “Our respective battles have now been met with an unforeseen window of opportunity, as this mayor has never been more vulnerable.”</p> <p>Her article was posted the morning after the election, and just hours after the latest exposé about police torture and abuse in Chicago. The <em>Guardian</em> of London released an article late on Feb. 24 about a “black site,” a secret interrogation center of the Chicago Police Department, where there is no record of prisoners that can be obtained by lawyers or their families; where arrestees disappear from 12 to 24 to 72 hours; and where there is a growing account of torture, including beatings by police and shackling for prolonged periods. This has unleashed a new storm of controversy, which will raise the prominence in the runoff election for the issue of police crimes, especially against the Black community.</p> <p>Frank Chapman of the Alliance said, “Emanuel is the block in the road for all the things we the people need in Chicago: money for schools and clinics, an end to police crimes and the end of attacks on our democratic rights more generally. He has to be defeated to open up the possibility of victory on those fronts.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/3/emanuel-suffers-primary-blow-chicago-election#comments People's Struggles chicago Elections Public Sector Unions Rahm Emanuel Labor Tue, 03 Mar 2015 23:42:49 +0000 Fight Back 4655 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Filipino Communists oppose U.S. training of local police, military http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/3/filipino-communists-oppose-us-training-local-police-military <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Feb. 26 statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).</em></p> <p>The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) calls on the Filipino people to oppose so-called training programs being conducted by US special forces for local police forces after recent revelations point to the direct role played by the US military in the instigation, planning and conduct of the bloody Mamasapano operation last January 25.</p> <p>The CPP issued this statement amid another round of training programs being conducted since yesterday by US Marines with the 6th Special Action Battalion of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.</p> <p>Last Monday, the former commander of the PNP-SAF revealed that the US military provided trainings to its troops mobilized for the Mamasapano operation. Reports have revealed that the US military conducted the trainings inside the La Vista del Mar resort in Zamboanga City, which has long been exposed as a front for US military facilities.</p> <p>The US also provided intelligence information and equipment. Officers of the US military were also stationed at the PNP tactical command post providing the commander with live video feed from the surveillance drone being operated by the US military.</p> <p>“Through these trainings, provision of equipment and intelligence information, the US military is able to strengthen its operational and doctrinal control of the local military and police forces,” said the CPP. “The US and its puppet officials claim that these trainings ‘enhance interoperability’ when in reality, they only reinforce the dependence of the local military and police on US financing and training.”</p> <p>“The more influence and control the US military exercises over the Philippine police and military, the more Philippine sovereignty is degraded as this weakens the capacity of the puppet state to independently exercise its coercive power and wield political authority,” added the CPP.</p> <p>More such trainings are set to be conducted by the US military in the coming months under the planned Balikatan exercises and other programs. “The US and Aquino governments are also using so-called ‘security preparations’ for the APEC conferences to justify interference by US military forces.”</p> <p>“The closing ceremonies yesterday of the US Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P) do not mark a slowdown in US military intervention but the heightening of clandestine operations,” said the CPP. The JSOTF-P held its closing ceremonies in its headquarters inside Camp Navarro, the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command base in Zamboanga City.</p> <p>“Expect more units of the AFP and PNP to be subjected to the US military’s direct operational control as the AFP opens up more AFP camps to US military presence under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which will provide the US with so-called Agreed Locations where they can set up their facilities for their operations and trainings,” added the CPP.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/3/filipino-communists-oppose-us-training-local-police-military#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement anti-war Communist Party of Philippines Philippines Philippines Tue, 03 Mar 2015 23:36:30 +0000 Fight Back 4654 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Celebrate International Women’s Day 2015 http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/3/celebrate-international-women-s-day-2015 <p>March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate our accomplishments in the struggle for equality and liberation, to take stock of the situation we face and to plan for battles ahead. Nothing can hold us back.</p> <p>On March 8, hundreds of millions around the globe will celebrate International Women’s Day. Here in the U.S., the country where International Women’s Day first started, we urge progressives and revolutionaries to organize events.</p> <p>The origins of International Women’s Day can be found is in the struggle of working women in New York City. On March 8, 1908 there was a powerful protest of women garment workers. They went on strike for 13 long winter weeks and in the end they won. Inspired by this struggle, the German socialist leader Clara Zetkin proposed at a 1910 gathering of socialist women that March 8 be celebrated as International Women’s Day, and that the fight to get women the right to vote should be promoted on that day.</p> <p>This year we urge organizers of International Women’s Day events to highlight the fight to get justice for Palestinian American leader Rasmea Odeh – who will be facing the danger of up to 10 years in prison and deportation at her March 12 sentencing hearing in Detroit.</p> <p>Rasmea Odeh is a role model and example to everyone fighting for equality and liberation. As a young woman living in Palestine, she was an activist in the struggle to end the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of her homeland. In 1969, Rasmea was thrown in an Israeli prison where she faced horrific torture and sexual violence. After spending 10 years behind bars, Rasmea was released in a prisoner exchange and eventually she made her way to Chicago where she became an important leader in Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities.</p> <p>A strong and resilient leader, Rasmea Odeh became Associate Director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) and the head of its 600-person strong Arab Women’s Committee. When on trial last year, facing an absurd and trumped-up immigration charge, Rasmea conducted herself with incredible courage, facing down a court that would not allow her to present a meaningful defense. All of us should aspire to be like her and all of us should rise to her defense.</p> <p>On International Women’s Day, 2015 we have our work cut out for us. The inequality we face is not a thing of the past. It is right here, right now. There is no equality where we work and we do not get paid the same. Nor do we get the respect we deserve. In many states, our reproductive rights are under attack – especially the right to safe and legal abortion. Violence against us is widespread. On top of this, much of the elite-controlled popular culture mocks us, demeans us and defends our subjugation.</p> <p>Millions of low income women continue to be affected by the most vicious attack on the social safety net in U.S. history - President Clinton’s so called 'welfare reform,' which pushed millions of us into deeper poverty and continues to do so each year due to tightened eligibility and time limits on receiving benefits. On International Women’s Day, 2015 we should commit to defending the social safety net for our families and resisting austerity. We cannot afford to follow politicians who make our lives worse.</p> <p>International Women’s Day is our day. It is a day to look forward to liberation, where inequality and oppression is a thing of the past. Change is coming and collectively we will make sure that it happens.</p> <p>Long Live International Women’s Day!</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/3/celebrate-international-women-s-day-2015#comments Socialism International Women's Day Women's Movement Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:42:23 +0000 Fight Back 4653 at http://www.fightbacknews.org SDS Statement in Solidarity with Anti-Right to Work Protests in Wisconsin http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/sds-statement-solidarity-anti-right-work-protests-wisconsin <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following March 2 statement from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).</em></p> <p>Students for a Democratic Society stands with the Progressive Students of Milwaukee in solidarity with the working people of Wisconsin against union-busting "right to work" legislation proposed by the state senate and supported by Governor Scott Walker.</p> <p>Gov. Walker has consistently worked to dismantle public institutions, like the UW system, and to combat the power of the working class by attacking unions. Four years ago, Gov. Walker pushed through state tax cuts for the wealthy, which created a debt crisis for Wisconsin, while simultaneously proposing to solve the crisis by attacking public sector unions. An attack on the public sector which continues to this day with Gov. Walker’s proposed $300 million cuts to the University of Wisconsin system, a 13 percent cut to the higher education budget. In 2011, tens of thousands of working class people in Wisconsin stood up, occupied the Capitol building, and demanded a recall election to replace Gov. Walker. And he is at it again.</p> <p>Gov. Walker is now pushing for “Right to Work” legislation, which extends his attacks on the public sector to the whole working class. “Right to work" seeks to undermine the power of organized labor to fight for better wages, benefits and conditions for the working people of Wisconsin by prohibiting unions from collecting mandatory dues from employees. It seeks to bankrupt organized labor across Wisconsin, just as Gov. Walker is seeking to bankrupt and further privatize higher education with his proposed $300 million cut to UW.</p> <p>Progressive Students of Milwaukee (PSM) member and UW-Milwaukee graduate student, Andrew Carlyle states, "The people who benefit from attacks on unions are the same people who benefit from attacks on public education. When public services are liquidated and the proceeds are given away in the form of tax cuts, it's the capitalist class that benefits. When unions are crushed and workers lose their voice, it's the capitalist class that benefits. As students and as working people, we need to unite to fight back against the class war that is being waged against us."</p> <p>Students for a Democratic Society stands with the Progressive Students of Milwaukee in calling for an alliance between students and workers to stand together against attacks on unions and education. With this alliance, SDS and PSM believe we can stop these attacks and win victories for organized labor in Wisconsin and for students across the state.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/sds-statement-solidarity-anti-right-work-protests-wisconsin#comments right to work Wisconsin Labor Tue, 03 Mar 2015 02:57:18 +0000 Fight Back 4652 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Faith leaders urge dropping charges against Mall of America Black Lives Matter protesters http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/faith-leaders-urge-dropping-charges-against-mall-america-black-lives-matter-protesters <p>Bloomington, MN - As Bloomington City Attorney Sandra Johnson moves forward with criminal charges against 11 alleged organizers of the huge Black Lives Matter demonstration at the Mall of America, over 100 faith leaders have signed on to an open letter urging the charges be dropped.</p> <p>The letter asks Johnson to redirect public resources to address racial disparities in Bloomington rather than using public dollars to prosecute courageous leaders fighting against racial inequity and requests a meeting with her to open a dialogue on issues of racial disparities in Bloomington specifically.</p> <p>Eleven individuals targeted by Sandra Johnson will appear in court on March 10 for their arraignment on charges ranging from trespassing to disorderly conduct after their attendance at the peaceful demonstration which included nearly 3000 individuals on Dec. 20, 2014 at the Mall of America.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/faith-leaders-urge-dropping-charges-against-mall-america-black-lives-matter-protesters#comments Police Brutality African-American Black Lives Matter Mall of America Tue, 03 Mar 2015 02:53:27 +0000 Fight Back 4651 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Utah vigil for three young Muslims murdered in North Carolina http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/utah-vigil-three-young-muslims-murdered-north-carolina <p>Salt Lake City, UT - More than 50 people gathered at the steps of the Utah State Capitol, Feb. 25, in honor of three young Arab American Muslims murdered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. On Feb 10, Craig Hicks gunned down Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.</p> <p>The murders sparked protests and vigils across the country including Salt Lake City. United in Service for Humanity called for the vigil to build solidarity with the Muslim community and take a stand against Islamophobia.</p> <p>“Deah, Razan, and Yusor knew how to live, yet it was snatched away by someone who judged them before even knowing them,” said Wagma Mohmand, the Co-Founder and Director of United in Service for Humanity. She called for action, “To prove to the world that we are strong and that hate and ignorance will not tear us apart and bring us down. I don’t know why people choose to hate and judge, but I do know that if we stand together against hate, we will win.”</p> <p>“The mainstream national media also tried to pass this tragedy off as a parking lot dispute,” said Zuhaib Alam, a director of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake. He continued, “A parking lot dispute doesn’t cause young sisters to be fearful to wear their hijab, or cause young brothers to be fearful to wear their beard, or cause parents to reevaluate safety of their children. This was no parking lot dispute.”</p> <p>The final speaker Nadine Sbaih personally knew those killed. “Yusor was always my motivation.” She referenced their humanitarian service saying, “They were truly sincere, inspiring, motivated, beautiful, honest, close and just amazing people.” She continued, “That’s what I think so many people now strive for, and that makes me proud to see how much they’ve impacted so many lives.”</p> <p>The crowd vowed to continue forward. They will be holding another solidarity event on April 4 at the library square.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/utah-vigil-three-young-muslims-murdered-north-carolina#comments People's Struggles #ChapelHillShooting Anti-Racism Anti-racism Utaj Mon, 02 Mar 2015 23:04:26 +0000 Fight Back 4650 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Tampa immigrant rights group protests Tampa city council, pushes for drivers licenses for all http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/tampa-immigrant-rights-group-protests-tampa-city-council-pushes-drivers-licenses-all <p>Tampa, FL - A dozen people came together here, Feb. 26, to confront the city council and demand its members support drivers licenses for the undocumented. Alicia Gazga led the rally and chanted, "City council, shame on you!" and "What do we want? Licenses! When do we want them? Now!"</p> <p>"We were standing in the cold right outside the city council windows, demanding that they hear us out," said Michela Martinazzi of the Tampa Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR). "The city council members and their aides were there too, they even stared down at us but ignored us and ignored our demands!"</p> <p>Feb. 26 marks the one-year anniversary of when the first protest against Tampa city council on this issue took place. The protests were called by Raíces en Tampa to pressure the city council to publicly support drivers licenses being issued to the undocumented. The first protest in 2014 was called to pressure the city council to even meet with Raíces en Tampa.</p> <p>"Back in 2014, Tampa city council and their aides refused to even return our phone calls to meet with us," said Marisol Marquez of Raíces en Tampa. "After the protest, they began to call us back and we even met with six of the seven council members."</p> <p>During a public city council meeting, Raíces en Tampa tried to put their resolution up for a vote. City council meetings occur on Thursday mornings at 9:00 a.m., which are nearly impossible for most workers to attend. Over 20 community members took time off of work anyway to attend this meeting and publicly expressed to the city council why they should vote in favor of the resolution. Led by Councilman Charlie Miranda, the Tampa city council simply would respond with, "Thank you," after every community member spoke in favor of the resolution. Not documented on the minutes of the public meeting, at one point Councilman Mike Suarez silenced Raíces en Tampa member Marisol Marquez who to their faces, reminded city council they had indeed, met with Raíces en Tampa when they lied and said they did not.</p> <p>Some of the groups present with Raíces en Tampa were the Tampa CSFR, Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society and the Student/Farmworker Alliance.</p> <p>"My mom was driving with an expired license," says Alicia Gazga. "She was pulled over and was asked for her license and insurance. The cop told her that her insurance was not active, when it was. Then the cop told her to step out of the car, to call someone to pick up my two-year-old sister because she [the mother] was going to jail. When I came to pick her up my mom was already handcuffed and on the back of the cop car. My sister was terrified crying. No mother should she put in that situation!"</p> <p>Next steps for Raíces en Tampa include organizing for International Worker's Day - which will occur on May 1, 2015. There, Raíces en Tampa will organize for drivers licenses to be issued to the undocumented in Florida and for deportations to stop. Be sure to follow them and their upcoming events here: <a href="http://facebook.com/RaicesEnTampa" title="http://facebook.com/RaicesEnTampa">http://facebook.com/RaicesEnTampa</a></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/2/tampa-immigrant-rights-group-protests-tampa-city-council-pushes-drivers-licenses-all#comments drivers licence Raices en Tampa Immigrant Rights Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:53:37 +0000 Fight Back 4649 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Joe Iosbaker speaks out for Rasmea Odeh at Moscow conference http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/1/joe-iosbaker-speaks-out-rasmea-odeh-moscow-conference <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating a speech that U.S. anti-war activist Joe Iosbaker delivered at a conference in Moscow, Feb. 24. The conference, called "Developments in Civil Society in Russia and the USA," featured talks by several generations of anti-imperialist activists. A special guest was the Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia, Hoglys Martinez Nunez.</em></p> <p><strong>U.S. imperialism and the war on Arabs and Muslims</strong></p> <p>There is a growing degree of repression and racist violence in the U.S. Witness the murders of the three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina a few weeks ago. For the Black communities in the U.S., there is a police state, which has existed since the Africans were brought to America as slaves. And the U.S. government war on Arabs and Muslims, both abroad and at home, continues and expands, despite the drawing down of troops in Afghanistan and the end of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. I want to highlight the case of the Palestinian activist from Chicago, Rasmea Odeh, as the an example of repression of that community.</p> <p>Attacks on democracy domestically have always accompanied wars of aggression abroad. To understand U.S. imperialism today, it’s useful to look at the recent developments in the War on Arabs and Muslims; the wars fought abroad just in the past year; the level of racism and Islamophobia whipped up by the politicians and media; and the prosecution of Rasmea Odeh, the newest victim of political repression by Washington.</p> <p>This War on Arabs and Muslims began with George W. Bush. He used the 911 attacks to justify launch-ing wars of conquest in Afghanistan and Iraq, with plans for Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan. The U.S. had been in decline on the world stage since defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese in 1975. What he named the War on Terrorism was intended to put the U.S. back on top, to regain a position of power and profitability enjoyed in the 1950s and ‘60s.</p> <p>Things didn’t work out that way. The Iraq War ended a disastrous loss, and Afghanistan is an unfolding defeat.</p> <p>The empire didn’t learn the lesson from these losses that regular people learned - that the era where big powers can remake the map using military force has come to an end. The White House thinks it is a matter of smarter tactics, choosing wars more carefully and keeping the junior partners in NATO on board. Now President Obama deploys a variety of war fighting methods: drone warfare, special operations, color revolutions and proxy armies - but their objective is the same - to use military force and the murder of hundreds of thousands, as in Syria, to maintain and expand U.S. hegemony, to control markets and to ensure profitability.</p> <p>The newest Iraq War that started in August might seem to be a response to the danger to the world from the Islamic State. However, there’s nothing new about wars of ‘humanitarian intervention.’ The same pretext was used in Libya in 2011. The U.S. was looking for a reason to justify going back into Iraq, and now they have it.</p> <p>Officially, the War on Terrorism has ended. That rhetoric is no longer used. But in truth, there continues to be a war on the countries and nations of the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Why are they targeted? Because the countries where they are the majority are the largest oil producers. Because those peoples have had the audacity to believe that their national resources should be theirs to develop.</p> <p>The endless war on these peoples is required because they refuse to accept the dictates by Washington.</p> <p>In the U.S., there is a necessary corollary to these wars. It is a domestic war on Arabs and Muslims. The U.S. Attorney’s offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan, went after a Palestinian community activist in Chicago named Rasmea Odeh. Rasmea is 67 years old. She was put on trial and convicted in November, and now faces a possible sentence of ten years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and deportation. What crime did she commit? When she emigrated to the U.S. from Palestine, she failed to admit that she had been brutally tortured and raped by Israeli guards in 1969. She didn’t say on her application for citizenship that a kangaroo court of the Israeli occupation - a military occupation which is illegitimate and criminal in the eyes of the world, convicted her of a bombing, based on a confession that they tortured out of her, and which she immediately denied.</p> <p>There is no due process in Israeli military courts, which ‘convict’ over 99% of Palestinians who come before them, and ‘evidence’ from these should not be accepted in a court in the U.S. U.S. law doesn't allow the use of evidence obtained through torture. The War on Arabs and Muslims has changed that. We use torture against prisoners in our wars abroad, and our courts now uphold the use of torture by the Israelis.</p> <p>Rasmea was targeted by the U.S. government also as part of the repression of the pro-Palestinian movement. This movement, often called the BDS movement for Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions, has grown in recent years against Israel’s occupation and wars on Gaza.</p> <p>The case against her grew out of the investigation of 23 anti-war and Palestinian community organizers in Chicago and Minneapolis, who were subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in 2010. I am one of those activists. My home was raided by 25 FBI agents on Sept. 24, 2010. I was targeted for my role as an or-ganizer of a large protest against the Iraq War, and because I am a supporter of the cause of the Palestinian people.</p> <p>The grand jury is investigating myself and the 23 activists for allegations that we provided ‘material support of terrorism.’ This is a lie. The FBI and the Justice Department investigated us and are at-tempting to ‘criminalize’ efforts to empower Chicago’s Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities, as well as work to build solidarity with the struggle in Palestine. No one testified to that grand jury and, due to broad public support and a strong defense campaign, no one was indicted.</p> <p>Rasmea was not one of the 23, but she is a colleague of Hatem Abudayyeh, who was raided on the same morning I was. Hatem is the director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago, a community service organization. Rasmea is the associate director. But it is clear that Rasmea came under attack by the U.S. government because she is Palestinian, and because for decades, she has organized for Palestinian liberation and self-determination, the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes, and an end to U.S. funding of Israeli occupation.</p> <p>On March 12, Rasmea will be sentenced. We are asking the judge for leniency, and we are preparing for the appeal. Rasmea’s story is the tale of the Palestinian people. She and the Palestinians are victims of a brutal occupation that has cost many lives and much suffering.</p> <p>A growing movement has pledged to continue to work for her until she is out of prison and among the Palestinian community and their supporters. Free Rasmea Odeh.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/1/joe-iosbaker-speaks-out-rasmea-odeh-moscow-conference#comments Antiwar Movement Joe Iosbaker Political Repression Rasmea Odeh Rasmea Odeh Mon, 02 Mar 2015 04:09:46 +0000 Fight Back 4648 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Thousands rally in Madison against 'Right to Work' http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/1/thousands-rally-madison-against-right-work <p>Madison, WI – Thousands of union members and their supporters converged on the Wisconsin state capitol building, Feb. 28, to oppose a Republican-sponsored ‘Right to Work’ measure that aims at undermining labor unions in the private sector. The rally was organized by the AFL-CI0.</p> <p>Speaking to the crowd, Bill Carroll, president of Teamsters Local 344, said, "This Right to Work legislation is designed so we die a death of 1000 cuts, one scab at a time."</p> <p>The capitol steps and lawn were a sea of union signs and banners.</p> <p>After the rally, several thousand protesters ignored police and took the streets, marching around the Capitol square, their chants echoing off surrounding buildings. Many then marched inside to the capitol rotunda.</p> <p>Earlier in the day, about 400 union members and their backers rallied at Library Mall and then marched up State Street, chanting "What's disgusting? Union busting!" and "What's outrageous? Poverty wages!" as they joined the AFL-CIO rally. The enthusiastic protest was organized by <a href="https://www.facebook.com/defeatrighttowork">Defeat "Right to Work" in Wisconsin</a>, a grassroots group of rank-and-file union members.</p> <p>Speaking on Library Mall before the march, Jorge Maya of Youth Empowered in the Struggle at UW-Milwaukee described the attack on unions as a part of a broader attack on Wisconsin's working class.</p> <p>​"Workers are suffering, students are suffering, immigrants are suffering," he said.</p> <p>Cherrene Horazuk, president of AFSCME Local 3800, the union of clerical workers at the University of Minnesota, stressed the importance of solidarity, telling rally participants that there was nowhere else that she would rather be than standing with Wisconsin workers.</p> <p>Union members will be back at the capitol, Monday, March 2, when the Assembly labor committee takes up the Right to Work law, and again on Thursday, March 5, when the assembly is expected to vote on the measure.</p> <p>For its part, Defeat "Right to Work" in Wisconsin has vowed to continue building action to oppose union busting in Wisconsin.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/3/1/thousands-rally-madison-against-right-work#comments right to work Wisconsin Labor Mon, 02 Mar 2015 03:59:54 +0000 Fight Back 4647 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Undocumented and unarmed farmworker Antonio Zambrano-Montes murdered by Pasco Police http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/2/27/undocumented-and-unarmed-farmworker-antonio-zambrano-montes-murdered-pasco-police <p>On Feb. 10, an undocumented farm-worker, Antonio Zambrano-Montes was shot 17 times and killed by Pasco Police in Pasco, Washington. That Zambrano-Montes was supposedly throwing rocks is the excuse Pasco Police are using to justify his the murder. <em>Fight Back!</em> spoke with Fabian Ubay, who organized the first event - a Feb. 14 rally of 5000 - demanding justice for the surviving family of Zambrano-Montes. Ubay is a Chicano who was born, raised, and currently lives in Pasco.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: Why did you organize the first-ever protest demanding justice for Zambrano-Montes?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: There was no one standing up and fighting against the Pasco Police. Obviously, the police and even the politicians are going to try to keep the entire thing quiet. We, as the people of Pasco, needed to rise up and fight back.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: How did you hear about the Zambrano-Montes shooting and killing?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: I have always been close to the Zambrano family. I knew them before Zambrano was murdered and I am still close to them, now.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: Why did the family call on you to organize the first rally?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: I'm not embarrassed to talk and advocate for the people. And even though I had never organized a protest before, maybe the Zambrano family thought I could do something. I'm a musician and am used to speaking in front of people. I immediately had to hit the ground to organize this rally the day after Zambrano was killed, and tried organizing something as fast as possible. People were calling me, even the police contacted me to try to see what we would be doing during our rally.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: Tell us about the rally the day after Zambrano-Montes was murdered. Were people scared?</p> <p><strong>Ubay:</strong> Yes, people were really scared. They were asking me why there were snipers up on-top of the buildings.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: There were snipers on buildings while you all peacefully, marched?</p> <p><em>Ubay</em>: Yes. The snipers’ guns were pointing down at us, as if they were going to shoot us. There were so many of them, too. We had no weapons! We were demanding justice with our words, with our numbers, with our banners and our signs. People were very scared, but I kept reassuring them and telling them not to pay attention to them. I told them the snipers were there to intimidate us, so we kept marching.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: How did you secure your own protest?</p> <p><em>Ubay</em>: We bought 50 orange vests, we had radios which we were yelling into and leading the entire march and rally. People wanted to get involved themselves, they found the power within themselves to say, 'I'm gonna protect this event.' It was the community rising up, we were all directly from the community and we were demanding to protect our community.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: What was the family's reaction during the rally?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: All the family members and myself, marched together. The family didn't yell at the cops or anything like that, because there were no cops around. Aside from the snipers with their guns up on the roofs, no cop was on the ground with us.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: What are the demands from the Zambrano-Morales family as well as the immigrant, Chicano and Mexican community of Pasco?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: The family wants justice! Zambrano's mother wants the police officer to pay for the over-kill of her son. The shooting and killing is an act that is not uncommon, here in Pasco. One of the police officers who was present during the shooting slammed a Latina woman's face against his police vehicle. Pasco police now are paying her $100,000 in damages because of this cop. These are the type of cops present here in Pasco, and this is what we have to deal with in our community. We want justice and we want things to go in a better direction. The people of Pasco are already moving in the correct direction.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: During the rally did the police try to intimidate you?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: No, they didn't even try to touch me. With over 5000 people around me, no one would even dare to try to attack any of us during our rally and march.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: What types of attacks did you experience after you organized this rally?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: Facebook deleted my profile. The Facebook profile I had built throughout the many years was just gone. No warning at all was given to me, either. When I went to sign on right after the rally, my profile was just gone. I had to make a new one, actually.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: What would you tell people who want to fight back in their own communities?</p> <p><strong>Ubay</strong>: The way we have to see it is we have to take control of our own streets. We have to keep pushing against these attacks, it is our responsibility. Push back. Push back. Push back. Don't stop until you control your own streets. Just like us in Pasco, we won't stop until there is justice.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2015/2/27/undocumented-and-unarmed-farmworker-antonio-zambrano-montes-murdered-pasco-police#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Antonio Zambrano-Montes Police Brutality Immigrant Rights Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:46:50 +0000 Fight Back 4646 at http://www.fightbacknews.org