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 PFLP condemns U.S. supported aggression on Yemen <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following March 31 statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.</em></p> <p>The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine condemns the US-backed aggression on Yemen, in a statement released March 29, expressing concern about the implications of these developments and their inherent risks at all levels.</p> <p>The PFLP emphasizes:</p> <ol> <li>Its condemnation of the US-backed aggression on Yemen, rejecting any interference in its internal affairs.</li> <li>The adoption of dialogue as a means to resolve internal issues and for a path of democratic and peaceful change determined by the Yemeni people.</li> <li>That it is the duty of the Arab nation and the Arab League to instead assist Yemen to resolve the crisis in order to achieve the aspirations of the Yemeni people for democratic governance, protect the freedoms of all, and protect them from sectarian or tribal conflict.</li> </ol> <p>Speaking in Ramallah at a mass rally commemorating Martyr’s Day, Comrade Khalida Jarrar said that the Front salutes the Arab people of Yemen, calling for their steadfastness and victory against this criminal US-backed war in the Gulf. “The people in the end will prevail, and Yemen will defeat the invaders,” she said.</p> Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Yemen Yemen Thu, 02 Apr 2015 01:57:56 +0000 Fight Back 4702 at Jacksonville community rally says: ‘Jail officer Cliff! Stop police crimes!’ <p>Jacksonville, FL - On March 30, about 150 people gathered throughout the afternoon to demand justice for Devanta Jones. Jacksonville Sheriff's officer Cliff Sames shot Jones, an unarmed African American, just the day before, after responding to Jones' phone call for help. After shooting Jones, the police told the media that Jones had been strangling his girlfriend, but his girlfriend immediately told reporters that was false. The shooting and subsequent rally took place at the Cleveland Arms Apartments complex in Jacksonville. This was not the first time that officer Sames shot someone.</p> <p>The day before, organizers and community members agreed to converge outside a nearby corner store and rally to show support for Devanta Jones and his family. For several hours, protesters held signs and chanted, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” along with “Black lives matter!” and “Fired up! Fight back, fight back!” Participating groups, including Hurting Families with Children in Crime, the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition (JPC), Kemetic Empire and iCare, were all present with banners and sign-up sheets.</p> <p>Wells Todd from the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition opened up a rally by setting the tone for the evening: “We're here to have a militant rally, and make sure we don't fill Jacksonville's jail cells tonight by being smart,” he told the crowd.</p> <p>Several local news stations were on the scene reporting on the events. After some more chanting and a few speeches, the crowd began preparing for a spirited march around the neighborhood.</p> <p>Rakeeme Joyner, brother-in-law to Devanta Jones, addressed the crowd from a bullhorn, “We're here to show that Black lives really matter, and ask that you please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers.” Afterwards, the crowd assembled behind a banner reading “Black lives matter – stop police crimes,” and began marching in the streets after involving most of the community members who had been participating in the day-long show of support.</p> <p>The police reacted immediately as the march began, blocking off lanes of traffic both up and down the street. Interestingly enough, several ambulances with flashing lights, busy-looking fire trucks and even a school bus suddenly appeared on the streets where protesters were marching. Several community members remarked how odd it was that a school bus was driving children home from school at 7:00 p.m.</p> <p>Many believed the police were deliberately trying to make the protesters look bad by trying to claim their interference as these service vehicles drove past. Jacksonville Progressive Coalition organizer Tefa Galvis saw through the trick and quickly organized the march to let the service vehicles past each time they appeared so that there was no delay to them. At the same time she told the crowd about the tactics police officers were trying to use against them. All the cops could do was stand by and look frustrated as the marchers went on chanting “Jail officer Cliff!” until the protest concluded later in the evening.</p> <p>Community members and organizers vowed to keep demanding justice for the police crime of shooting Devanta Jones. They agreed to keep struggling and fighting until the family had been served justice and officer Cliff Sames was put in jail.</p> Police Brutality Devanta Jones Jacksonville Progressive Coalition Wed, 01 Apr 2015 03:46:04 +0000 Fight Back 4701 at Anti-war leader urges opposition to U.S./Saudi war on Yemen <p>Chicago, IL - Joe Iosbaker, a prominent Chicago-based anti-war leader, is urging opposition to the rapidly escalating U.S./Saudi war on the people of Yemen. “Anti-war forces must condemn military aggression by the Saudi king against the people of Yemen. U.S. imperialism is fully behind this, of course. The U.S. wanted to continue to target Yemen for their drone warfare operations in that country, as well as in the Horn of Africa, to attack Somalia and elsewhere.”</p> <p>Speaking of the political situation in Yemen, Iosbaker states “The government of President Al-Hadi was collaborating with Washington. Al-Hadi was dictatorial and unpopular with all Yemenis, not just the Shias. 70% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, so they rebelled. They won concessions from Al-Hadi for a power sharing agreement. With his Washington and Saudi bosses, Al-Hadi was betraying that agreement, so the Ansarallah movement in the Shia community, with support from the Sunni community in the northern part of Yemen, ousted him. The White House and the monarchy in Riyadh [capital of Saudi Arabia] called this a coup, and now the Saudis are bombing the country.”</p> <p>“The Saudis and the other Arab regimes that are collaborating with the U.S. against Yemen have joined forces with Israel on this one. When Netanyahu came to [the U.S.] Congress, he expressed the need to get control of Yemen. Israel sends its submarines past Yemen on their way to threaten Iran in the Persian Gulf,” continued Iosbaker.</p> <p>Iosbaker urged progressives in the U.S to extend their solidarity to the people of Yemen, stating, “The Yemeni people are fighting for bread and justice, against imperialism, monarchy and Zionism. We should stand with them.”</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement anti-war chicago Yemen Wed, 01 Apr 2015 00:05:15 +0000 Fight Back 4700 at Tampa students stand against U.S. intervention <p>Tampa, FL - Over a dozen students at the University of South Florida (USF) gathered outside of Russell M. Cooper Hall on campus, March 30, to condemn recent interventions by the U.S. in Venezuela, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine. The students made speeches and chanted, attracting other students to listen. </p> <p>James Kramer of Tampa Students for a Democratic Society explained, "Cloaked in the rhetoric of ‘human rights, democracy and freedom,’ the U.S. ruling class supports invasion and the installation of dictators into countries where they have no influence, but vast interests. These intervention efforts by the U.S. cannot be recognized as anything other than criminal."</p> <p>"When the U.S. and the rich of Latin America unite to overthrow progressive governments and worker and student organizations in these countries, poverty and disaster are the effects! We must remember that this is another example of the clear determination that the U.S. has to rule over other countries,” said Marisol Marquez of Raíces en Tampa, an immigrant rights group. </p> <p>George Nassar of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression said, "It's important that we're gathered here today. Were we not here, these criminal threats would go unchecked. If we don't do this, no one will stop the U.S. bombings, sanctions and coups that have claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the last decade."</p> <p>Tampa Students for a Democratic Society stands against U.S. intervention of any sort. SDS pledges to continue to fight for the repeal of the University of South Florida memorandums of understanding with USCENTCOM and USSOUTHCOM military commands.</p> People's Struggles Anti War Florida Iraq SDS Syria Tampa Ukraine University of South Florida USF Venezuela Student Movement Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:42:40 +0000 Fight Back 4699 at SLC activists demand freedom from ICE detention for transwoman Nicoll Hernández-Polanco <p>Salt Lake City, UT - The detainment of Nicoll Hernández-Polanco is sparking protests across the country with Utah joining the fight. Nicoll Hernández-Polanco is a Guatemalan transwoman seeking asylum. However, she is currently being held in the Florence Service Processing Detention in Arizona. Hernandez-Polanco remains incarcerated in the men’s side of the detention center where she faces sexual harassment and assault.</p> <p>In Salt Lake City, 20 activists rallied to support Nicoll Hernandez-Polanco at the Matheson Courthouse, rallying with signs and banners. Some wore striped prison shirts and zip ties binding their wrists in symbolic solidarity.</p> <p>A. Romero of Stand for Queer Lives said, “This woman is being put in a men’s detention center. She’s being harassed by the guards as well as other detainees. Nicoll is not being treated like a human being or being treated with dignity as a woman.”</p> <p>Protesters marched through downtown SLC on major streets chanting, “Transliberation is the goal! We demand, free Nicoll!” and “Money for jobs and education, not for ICE and deportation!”</p> <p>Bárbara Ochoa said she came to the protest because, “I have a lot of family and friends who identify as trans and it’s important to show solidarity.” Ochoa went on to say that both undocumented and trans folk face unfair stigmatization, especially by police, border patrol and ICE. “There needs to be immigration reform because the U.S. is very difficult with recognizing amnesty.”</p> <p>“It’s an UndocuQueer issue,” said Eusebio Echeveste, an organizer with Utah’s Familia TQLM, explaining that people who are both undocumented and Queer face particular hardships.</p> <p>Echeveste continued, “We’re demanding justice, dignity and safety, not just for Nicoll, but for all transwomen, transmen, all our trans brothers and sisters.”</p> People's Struggles LGBTQ Anti-racism immigrant rights LGBTQ Rights Nicoll Hernández-Polanco Immigrant Rights Tue, 31 Mar 2015 00:45:54 +0000 Fight Back 4698 at Jacksonville sheriff's office shoots another unarmed Black man, community plans rally <p>Jacksonville, FL - A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) officer shot an unarmed Black man multiple times, at around 9:00 a.m., March 29, at the Cleveland Arms apartment complex. Neighbors say he is in his early 20s and was not at fault. The officer who shot him has been previously involved in multiple incidents. The young man is currently in the hospital, and his condition is reportedly stable.</p> <p>When Devanta DeJuan Jones called the police for help early on the morning of March 29, he probably didn't expect them to come and shoot at him. He had called the police to help him allegedly settle an argument at his home. The cop, Cliff Sames, shot Jones after chasing and hitting him with a stun gun three times. Officer Sames was involved in two police shootings in the past.</p> <p>This is just another one of the many cases of police crimes that are catching fire around the country. These cases, like the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, involve the police shooting an unarmed Black man. Afterwards, the police make up a ridiculous story so they can paint their shooting victim in a negative light.</p> <p><em>Fight Back!</em> caught up with a neighbor of Jones and fellow resident of the Cleveland Arms apartments, Karruah Parkinson, who is organizing for justice. Parkinson had this to say: "We'd just like people to come out to our rally tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. and show support. We're rallying to show them that Black lives really matter. It's not necessary for JSO to shoot a Black man every time something happens."</p> <p>Organizers with the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition and community members are organizing a rally on March 30 at the corner store across from Cleveland Arms apartment complex at 6:00 p.m. The address for the starting location is 5105 Cleveland Arms Road.</p> <p><em>Fight Back!</em> encourages readers to attend the rally and stay up to date on developments in the case.</p> Police Brutality Devanta DeJuan Jones Jacksonville Progressive Coalition Mon, 30 Mar 2015 02:00:07 +0000 Fight Back 4697 at Activist Sharon Rice Vaughan remembered <p>Minneapolis, MN - Sharon Rice Vaughan, a longtime and respected member of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) and the Twin Cities peace and justice movements, died in a car crash in Havana, Cuba on March 24. Her sudden and untimely death leaves a big hole in our community.</p> <p>Sharon was an early member of WAMM. She joined over 30 years ago and has been an active and important member. Board member Marie Braun said, “She was an enthusiastic supporter of WAMM and the issues we work on.” Braun, organizer of the weekly vigil on the Lake Street Bridge, said that when Sharon retired she made a commitment to come to the vigil every Wednesday. She rarely missed, and never because of weather.</p> <p>Sharon was key in the founding of the movement to end domestic violence against women. Mary Beaudoin, former director of WAMM and current editor of the newsletter said, “Sharon's advocacy for nonviolence extended to resisting war. She recognized that women and their children were often victims of war and among the most deeply affected by the violence of war. As a committed anti-war activist, she participated in marches, rallies and other events against war. In the last few decades, she frequently participated in the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue Bridge vigil, opposing U.S. wars and U.S. threats of war. She was an active member of Women Against Military Madness and held the position of co-chair of WAMM.”</p> <p>Sharon understood the importance of standing up against political repression. Without hesitation she drove with me to Canada for the trial of a local Central America and Cuba solidarity activist accused of helping a couple seeking political asylum to cross the U.S.-Canadian border. Her presence along with others who filled the court room, impressed the judge and resulted in no further jail time for the brother.</p> <p>In 2010, after many years on the WAMM board, she intended to take a very deserved break. However, I, along with 22 other anti-war and solidarity activists, had just become targets of the FBI and a federal grand jury in Chicago. Without hesitation she decided she needed to stay on the board and support me. Since then she became a very good friend of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.</p> <p>Several years ago Sharon answered a call to go to Alaska and stand in solidarity with a young woman going on trial. She did not know her but responded to the woman’s need for support. She traveled to Alaska several times to be with her through the trial. After the woman was convicted and sent to prison, Sharon continued to visit her. She was transferred to the Carswell Federal Medical Center prison in Fort Worth, Texas. During one of those visits, Sharon spotted imprisoned people’s lawyer, Lynne Stewart in the visiting room with her husband. Sharon was eager to introduce herself as one of many Minnesotans following Lynne’s case. Lynne still remembers that encounter.</p> <p>We really miss Sharon. She was warm, generous, compassionate, a great story teller and solid activist who really walked the talk.</p> <p><em>A memorial celebration will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 2, at Unity Church-Unitarian, 733 Portland Avenue, St. Paul, MN.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Antiwar Movement Cuba obituary Sharon Rice Vaughan WAMM Remembrances Women's Movement Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:14:08 +0000 Fight Back 4696 at Gaza protest declares: “Venezuela, Palestine is with you!” <p><em> Fight Back News Service is circulating the following March 21 statement for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) </em></p> <p>The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the Gaza Strip organized a rally in solidarity with Venezuela, in defense of Venezuela against the U.S. imperialist targeting of Venezuela’s Bolivarian project, in particular a recent decree by the U.S. administration imposing new economic sanctions on Venezuela and labeling the country a “national security threat” to the United States, a move that is a clear threat of escalated U.S. intervention against Venezuela and its elected government.</p> <p>A large crowd of comrades and representatives of popular organizations participated in the protest, carrying Venezuelan and Palestinian flags and posters of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, and the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, and slogans demanding an end to US threats against Venezuela.</p> <p>Comrade Jamil Mizher, member of the Political Bureau of the PFLP and leader of its branch in Gaza, spoke at the event, conveying the greetings and solidarity of the PFLP, its imprisoned leader, Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, and the Palestinian and Arab people to the people of Venezuela.</p> <p>“We stand today in Gaza City in solidarity with one of the most important centers of socialist development in the world, the descendants and heirs of the independence leader Simon Bolivar, and of the late comrade Hugo Chavez, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and its revolution.,” said Mizher, who noted that the escalating threats against the Bolivarian Republic are not different from the ongoing fascist Zionist attacks on the Palestinian people, and that both are integral parts of the U.S. imperialist/Zionist plans to suppress the rights of the peoples of the world to self-determination, sovereignty and independence.</p> <p>Mizher noted that the people and the government of Venezuela have strongly supported the Palestinian people and the Palestinian cause and have clearly condemned Zionist criminality, and that the Palestinian people and in particular the PFLP, pledge to stand by Venezuela and confront the brutal threats of imperialism and defend dignity and freedom.</p> <p>The recent U.S. threats against the Bolivarian Republic and President Maduro only reconfirm the correctness of Venezuela’s approach, gazavenez10continuing the path of the late Hugo Chavez, both on the domestic level – adopting comprehensive plans for economic development, social justice, popular participation, and ending domination, tyranny and corruption – and on the international level, through establishing a clear anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist policy in support of the rights of the peoples of the world, said Mizher.</p> <p>Mizher also noted the comprehensive rejection across Latin America of the U.S. plans, in particular the response from the emergency meeting of the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas, demanding the U.S. step back from its threats against Venezuela, as well as the response of Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Raul Castro of Cuba. “This wide solidarity with Venezuela confirms that Venezuela is not alone in this battle,” said Mizher. “These threats are not solely an aggression against Venezuela, but also against these countries.” He urged global action and organizing to resist these threats and reject imperialist globalization meant to undermine the freedom of peoples and their right to self-determination.</p> <p>Louis Daniel Lugo, the Venezuelan ambassador to Palestine, spoke via telephone, saluting the organizers participating in the event and the PFLP. “Venezuela is not a threat, but in fact a state of security for people who are suffering and the struggling peoples of the world, particularly in Latin America. It is determined to reject any plans for coups or interventions to impose a situation like the fate of Iraq, Syria, Panama and other countries.”</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Palestine Palestine Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Venezuela Venezuela Sun, 29 Mar 2015 03:05:36 +0000 Fight Back 4695 at Florida march demands farmworker rights <p>St. Petersburg, FL - Over 3000 farmworkers and supporters from around the country gathered at Bartlett Park, March 21, then marched to demand workers’ rights. Some chants heard during the march were, "Up, up with the fair food nation! Down, down, with the exploitation!", "One, we are the people! Two, a little bit louder! Three, we want justice for farmworkers!" and "J-U-S, J-U-S-T-I-C-E is what we want, is justice for Immokalee!"</p> <p>Sam Beutler of the Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society attended his first-ever Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) event. "This great event was led by mostly Central American, Haitian and Mexican farmworkers," says Beutler. "Events that are actually led and organized by those whom are affected are perfect examples of what we all should be trying to do in our own groups. The Immokalee, Florida workers are at the forefront of the fight against the slave-like conditions that many farmworkers all over the U.S. experience and they are fighting back! I as a student am here to fully, support their fight for justice and equality."</p> <p>Formed in 1993, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers teamed up with the Student/Farmworker Alliance (SFA) to demand basic worker rights for farmworkers like bathroom breaks, portable toilets on job sites, water, an end to harassment and even implemented a punch-card system for farmworkers. This year's event was titled Concert for Fair Food and organizers were able to book Grammy-award winning bands like Ruby Velle and the SoulPhonics, Ozomatli and La Santa Cecilia.</p> <p>Dr. Heidi Castañeda, an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida and an immigration researcher was one of the marchers. Castañeda says, "The principles for fair food and worker justice continue to be issues that people around the nation can rally behind. This weekend is both a celebration of previous victories in addition to calls for further action, and the CIW continues to energize the movement for farm-worker justice."</p> <p>Among the supporters present were Tampa and Gainesville groups like Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, local UPS workers, Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Raíces en Tampa.</p> <p>"As a member of the community and as an activist I believe that everyone deserves a fair pay," says Alicia Gazga of Raíces en Tampa. "Publix and Wendy's should be ashamed for not joining the fair food program. I grew up in Collier County, Florida which is about 45 minutes form Immokalee city. I spent many weekends helping the CIW with anything they needed for events like this. These are the types of actions we all should support!"</p> <p>A call to action was made by the SFA and the CIW for all who attended the Concert for Fair Food. Three major tasks people are urged to take on are to pressure the chain Publix - which is the biggest grocery company in the Southern U.S. - by publicly asking for them to support the Immokalee Workers. The second tasks is to schedule a public showing of the movie made by the CIW and SFA titled <em>Food Chains</em> (now available on Netflix) and to use it as a way to launch an action. And finally, to organize a protest in solidarity with the Immokalee Workers - demanding justice for those who experience the everyday effects that corporate America has on the lives of the undocumented.</p> <p>Marisol Márquez, of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization says, "It is no surprise that the majority of farmworkers are of Central American and Mexican descent and these are the same people are the ones who have all the worst living conditions put against them. Central Americans and Mexicans are almost always, undocumented and as things currently are, they are the same immigrants who will never be given the chance to apply for legal status. This concert, this march this weekend is them fighting back! As a Chicana who grew up in the fields who fully supports the fight for self determination, I am here supporting the efforts of these farm-workers. After all, we want liberation!"</p> People's Struggles Farmworkers Labor Immigrant Rights Labor Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:41:35 +0000 Fight Back 4694 at Texas Republicans propose ‘Show me your papers’ law, racially profile Chicanos and others <p>Houston, TX - Republicans in the Texas State Legislature introduced a new set of senate bills, SB 3 and SB 185, demonizing the immigrant community and racially profiling Chicanos, Mexicanos and others. SB 185 is strikingly similar to the racist SB 1070 in Arizona.</p> <p>The difference is the bill “allows” instead of “requires” the police to ask anyone who ‘looks undocumented’ for identification. While the racial profiling appears voluntary, police departments that do not racially profile can have their funding cut by the Texas Attorney General. It is an unusual and one-of-a-kind bill.</p> <p>"With SB 185, police will be checking students at high school and college campuses about their immigration status. This harassment of Chicano and Mexicano students at school by the police undermines their education. The Republican legislation legalizes racial profiling and creates a climate of fear and anxiety in the very large Chicano/Mexicano communities of Texas,” said Victor Ibarra, with the Frente Interdependiente de Latinos Unidos (FILU).</p> <p>The Houston Police Officers Union endorsed these bills and offered material support to a Republican lobbying campaign to get the bills passed. The police union is one of the most racist and xenophobic organizations in Houston. They consistently defend racist police actions, including police guilty of murder.</p> <p>On March 25, over 100 people from a number of immigrant rights groups gathered outside of the police union’s headquarters to protest their endorsement and to pressure them to revoke their support. Organizers, in a prearranged meeting, entered the office of the union to meet with police union representatives and were immediately threatened with arrest. The police union president backed out and refused to meet and talk.</p> <p>The protest continued outside on the sidewalk for three hours. People chanted, "Hey, hey, ho, ho, white supremacy has got to go!" The police union leaders could be seen inside of their building, laughing and making rude gestures. It was clear to everyone that the police are not on the side of the people, but work for big business and the rich.</p> <p>If the Texas state legislature passes these new racist laws, it is certain the immigrant rights movement will call more protests all across Texas.</p> Frente Interdependiente de Latinos Unidos (FILU) SB 1070 SB 185 SB 3 Immigrant Rights Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:58:30 +0000 Fight Back 4693 at