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 Retrial of Michael Dunn: Protesters demand justice for Jordan Davis http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/22/retrial-michael-dunn-protesters-demand-justice-jordan-davis <p>Jacksonville, FL - Two dozen protesters gathered outside of the courthouse here, Sept. 22, demanding justice for Jordan Davis as the retrial of Michael Dunn gets underway. Jury selection began today and protesters, many from the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition gathered at 8:00 a.m.</p> <p>Michael Dunn is the racist killer who murdered Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old African American youth.</p> <p>Present at the opening of the trial was the father of Jordan Davis, Ronald Davis, who was part of a group prayer asking for justice. Also present was the mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton, who spoke about her son's case and its relationship to the Davis case.</p> <p>Protesters vowed to remain outside the courthouse for the duration of the trial until Jordan Davis's family received justice and Michael Dunn went to prison for the murder of their son. Members of the Progressive Coalition have a rally planned at 3:00 p.m. outside the downtown courthouse where the trial is going on.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/22/retrial-michael-dunn-protesters-demand-justice-jordan-davis#comments Jordan Davis Michael Dunn In-Justice System Mon, 22 Sep 2014 16:01:15 +0000 Fight Back 4348 at http://www.fightbacknews.org House Speaker Boehner still blocking extended unemployment benefits, says jobless have ‘sick’ ideas http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/house-speaker-boehner-still-blocking-extended-unemployment-benefits-says-jobless-have-sick <p>Washington DC - In a speech before the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute here, Sept. 18, the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner denounced jobless workers and said that they needed to be brought into “the mainstream of American society.”</p> <p>Speaking about unemployed workers, Boehner stated, “I think this idea that’s been born over the last – maybe out of the economy --over the last couple of years that, you know, I really don’t have to work. You know, I don’t really want to do this; I think I’d just rather sit around. This is a very sick idea for our country.”</p> <p>He then went on to talk the how hard he and other members of his family had to work, stating, “if you wanted something, you worked for it.”</p> <p>Speaker Boehner and other House Republicans have been blocking efforts to renew extended unemployment compensation (EUC).</p> <p>When the Democratic leadership failed to make benefits for the long-term jobless part of the budget compromise at the end of last year, Republicans got veto power over extending emergency unemployment benefits.</p> <p>About 3 million jobless workers have lost out on jobless benefits, causing utility shut-offs, hunger and home foreclosures.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/house-speaker-boehner-still-blocking-extended-unemployment-benefits-says-jobless-have-sick#comments Capitalism and Economy American Enterprise Institute EUC Extended Unemployment Compensation John Boehner Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:37:30 +0000 Fight Back 4347 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Israeli spy drone crashes in Lebanon http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/israeli-spy-drone-crashes-lebanon <p>The Lebanese news outlet Al-Manar is reporting that an Israeli spy drone has crashed in south Lebanon, Sept. 20. It reported that the drone was in good condition when it was picked up by members of Lebanon’s army.</p> <p>“It is likely that the enemy drone was conducting reconnaissance, like a lot of reconnaissance sorties carried out by the Zionist air force,” stated Al-Manar</p> <p>Israel regularly violates the airspace of neighboring countries, particularly in Lebanon and Syria.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/israeli-spy-drone-crashes-lebanon#comments drones Lebanon Syria Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:33:42 +0000 Fight Back 4346 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Students for Justice in Palestine confront Michael Oren http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/students-justice-palestine-confront-michael-oren <p><em>Fight Back! caught up with University of Florida Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizer Farah Khan after a militant demo against Michael Oren former U.S. Ambassador to Israel.</em></p> <p>Fight Back!: Can you briefly describe the event in Gainesville, Florida on Sept. 16?</p> <p>Farah Khan: The school event itself was titled “A Conversation with Ambassador Michael Oren and Italian-Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal.” Michael Oren and Rula Jebreal shared the stage, with Jebreal asking Oren questions. Audience members could also submit questions if they were submitted a few days in advance. It was hosted by ACCENT Speakers Bureau and the UF’s[University of Florida] Jewish Student Union. Students for Justice in Palestine was originally asked to co-sponsor the event, but we declined for political reasons. Instead, we held a demo against Oren.</p> <p>Fight Back!: Why were you protesting Michael Oren, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel?</p> <p>Khan: SJP found it necessary to protest Oren and his presence on our campus because he has been intimately and proudly tied to war crimes carried out against Palestinians and Arabs. We refuse to allow a war criminal to walk freely and unopposed on our campus when an entire population remains under occupation. Although Oren’s days in the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] are over, he now basically serves as a mouthpiece for the Israeli apartheid state, going on speaking tours and talking at events like this one to promote the occupation. We need to protest events like this so that our school knows that we are not a platform for war criminals. SJP members stood outside all the entrances to the event, with our supporters holding signs and chanting pro-Palestine and anti-apartheid slogans. Even though it was very cold and raining, our supporters remained strong and we held one of the most militant, successful demos SJP at UF has ever put on. There were over 30 cops trying to shut us down, but we stood strong in the face of the enemy, just like inspiring women like Rasmea Odeh stand strong against political repression. We were also happy to see our friends from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) participate.</p> <p>ACCENT tried to frame it as a balanced event, since Rula Jebreal, a Palestinian, was the one asking him questions. However, there is nothing balanced about this. The asymmetrical power dynamics are not addressed, and by having these two people share a stage the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land is normalized. The oppression that Palestinians face should not be viewed as normal. Rula Jebreal accepting to speak with Oren totally undermines all of the on-ground work that SJP and other activists are doing. These types of 'dialogue' centered events do not actually provide a voice for oppressed people, they are merely a more sophisticated means of further silencing the marginalized. SJP at the University of Florida is working towards a one state solution and campaigning hard for Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS): we are tabling every day, hosting teach-ins, workshops, speak-outs and protests. We are already delivering information to our student body. If students want access to an alternative viewpoint, it is right in front of their faces. We don’t need these types of events shutting us down.</p> <p>Fight Back!: What can other student activists learn from this action? In other words, how did you organize such a powerful event?</p> <p>Khan: We made sure to make a Facebook event for the counter-action well in advance. We also kept the event private to keep it from being discovered and foiled by any right-wing or Zionist organizations. Leadership talking to people individually helps a lot in getting everyone pumped up for a great action. We had a work meeting the night before to get all the materials ready for our demo. We came prepared for whatever weather Florida would throw at us, and held our ground. We also issued a press release the night before and had an op-ed prepared, ready to be submitted immediately after the action.</p> <p>Fight Back!: You've been working to defend Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian woman facing government repression in Detroit. Tell us about the recent repression SJP faced.</p> <p>Khan: SJP has faced repression at almost every level from the University of Florida. Last December, Student Government tried to pass an anti-boycott resolution that was a direct attack on SJP. This was an ugly preemptive strike against us, but we organized against it and made sure it wasn’t passed. This semester, we are working on getting our university to divest. We tried to get a referendum on the ballot for student government signatures, and even though we came prepared with more signatures than was necessary, we were shot down on technicalities. There are literally dozens of cases where Student Government has been lenient with other organizations, but because of the nature of SJP we were turned away before even making it to the ballot. Our political message is opposed to the Zionist views of Student Government, which is a training ground for the future politicians of the 1%.</p> <p>Fight Back!: What's next on the agenda for SJP and SDS?</p> <p>Khan: Just because we won’t be on the ballot this fall, doesn’t mean that our campaign ends. That’s only the beginning. If anything, that experience completely reaffirmed what we already knew: our school administration isn’t on our side. Rula Jebreal urged us after the event to work within the system, to try to have a conversation and go vote at the ballot box. What she didn’t mention was that the 'democratic' process here is actually far from democratic. How can we vote when issues we care about aren’t even allowed on the ballot? We have no intention of begging the Jewish Student Union or Hillel, actively Zionist organizations that fund the occupation, to talk to us. We know that to get what we want, we have to demand it and struggle for it. We have a series of workshops coming up to help build for our BDS campaign, coupled with actions that will be demanding Bernie Machen renounce his anti-boycott statements from spring and support a resolution for divestment. We know BDS at UF is going to be an uphill battle, but we’re prepared.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/students-justice-palestine-confront-michael-oren#comments Antiwar Movement BDS Michael Oren Palestine Students for Justice in Palestine Student Movement Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:23:22 +0000 Fight Back 4345 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Students for Justice in Palestine confront Michael Oren http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/students-justice-palestine-confront-michael-oren <p><em>Fight Back! caught up with University of Florida Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organizer Farah Khan after a militant demo against Michael Oren former U.S. Ambassador to Israel.</em></p> <p>Fight Back!: Can you briefly describe the event in Gainesville, Florida on Sept. 16?</p> <p>Farah Khan: The school event itself was titled “A Conversation with Ambassador Michael Oren and Italian-Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal.” Michael Oren and Rula Jebreal shared the stage, with Jebreal asking Oren questions. Audience members could also submit questions if they were submitted a few days in advance. It was hosted by ACCENT Speakers Bureau and the UF’s[University of Florida] Jewish Student Union. Students for Justice in Palestine was originally asked to co-sponsor the event, but we declined for political reasons. Instead, we held a demo against Oren.</p> <p>Fight Back!: Why were you protesting Michael Oren, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel?</p> <p>Khan: SJP found it necessary to protest Oren and his presence on our campus because he has been intimately and proudly tied to war crimes carried out against Palestinians and Arabs. We refuse to allow a war criminal to walk freely and unopposed on our campus when an entire population remains under occupation. Although Oren’s days in the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] are over, he now basically serves as a mouthpiece for the Israeli apartheid state, going on speaking tours and talking at events like this one to promote the occupation. We need to protest events like this so that our school knows that we are not a platform for war criminals. SJP members stood outside all the entrances to the event, with our supporters holding signs and chanting pro-Palestine and anti-apartheid slogans. Even though it was very cold and raining, our supporters remained strong and we held one of the most militant, successful demos SJP at UF has ever put on. There were over 30 cops trying to shut us down, but we stood strong in the face of the enemy, just like inspiring women like Rasmea Odeh stand strong against political repression. We were also happy to see our friends from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) participate.</p> <p>ACCENT tried to frame it as a balanced event, since Rula Jebreal, a Palestinian, was the one asking him questions. However, there is nothing balanced about this. The asymmetrical power dynamics are not addressed, and by having these two people share a stage the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land is normalized. The oppression that Palestinians face should not be viewed as normal. Rula Jebreal accepting to speak with Oren totally undermines all of the on-ground work that SJP and other activists are doing. These types of 'dialogue' centered events do not actually provide a voice for oppressed people, they are merely a more sophisticated means of further silencing the marginalized. SJP at the University of Florida is working towards a one state solution and campaigning hard for Boycott-Divestment-Sanctions (BDS): we are tabling every day, hosting teach-ins, workshops, speak-outs and protests. We are already delivering information to our student body. If students want access to an alternative viewpoint, it is right in front of their faces. We don’t need these types of events shutting us down.</p> <p>Fight Back!: What can other student activists learn from this action? In other words, how did you organize such a powerful event?</p> <p>Khan: We made sure to make a Facebook event for the counter-action well in advance. We also kept the event private to keep it from being discovered and foiled by any right-wing or Zionist organizations. Leadership talking to people individually helps a lot in getting everyone pumped up for a great action. We had a work meeting the night before to get all the materials ready for our demo. We came prepared for whatever weather Florida would throw at us, and held our ground. We also issued a press release the night before and had an op-ed prepared, ready to be submitted immediately after the action.</p> <p>Fight Back!: You've been working to defend Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian woman facing government repression in Detroit. Tell us about the recent repression SJP faced.</p> <p>Khan: SJP has faced repression at almost every level from the University of Florida. Last December, Student Government tried to pass an anti-boycott resolution that was a direct attack on SJP. This was an ugly preemptive strike against us, but we organized against it and made sure it wasn’t passed. This semester, we are working on getting our university to divest. We tried to get a referendum on the ballot for student government signatures, and even though we came prepared with more signatures than was necessary, we were shot down on technicalities. There are literally dozens of cases where Student Government has been lenient with other organizations, but because of the nature of SJP we were turned away before even making it to the ballot. Our political message is opposed to the Zionist views of Student Government, which is a training ground for the future politicians of the 1%.</p> <p>Fight Back!: What's next on the agenda for SJP and SDS?</p> <p>Khan: Just because we won’t be on the ballot this fall, doesn’t mean that our campaign ends. That’s only the beginning. If anything, that experience completely reaffirmed what we already knew: our school administration isn’t on our side. Rula Jebreal urged us after the event to work within the system, to try to have a conversation and go vote at the ballot box. What she didn’t mention was that the 'democratic' process here is actually far from democratic. How can we vote when issues we care about aren’t even allowed on the ballot? We have no intention of begging the Jewish Student Union or Hillel, actively Zionist organizations that fund the occupation, to talk to us. We know that to get what we want, we have to demand it and struggle for it. We have a series of workshops coming up to help build for our BDS campaign, coupled with actions that will be demanding Bernie Machen renounce his anti-boycott statements from spring and support a resolution for divestment. We know BDS at UF is going to be an uphill battle, but we’re prepared.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/21/students-justice-palestine-confront-michael-oren#comments Antiwar Movement BDS Michael Oren Palestine Students for Justice in Palestine Student Movement Mon, 22 Sep 2014 00:23:22 +0000 Fight Back 4345 at http://www.fightbacknews.org FBI returns personal papers to Hatem Abudayyeh http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/17/fbi-returns-personal-papers-hatem-abudayyeh <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Sept. 3 statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.</em></p> <p>Recently, the FBI in Chicago returned to Hatem Abudayyeh the boxes of documents and personal effects they seized from his home four years ago.</p> <p>Abudayyeh, a well known organizer in the Palestinian community of Chicago, had his home raided on Sept. 24, 2010, and was subpoenaed to a federal grand jury. The investigation involves a total of 23 people: anti-war and international solidarity activists, seven of them Palestinian.</p> <p>“This is another victory, but it’s not over,” commented Abudayyeh. “According to Barry Jonas, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is the prosecutor in our case, the government has an eight year statute of limitations on this investigation.”</p> <p>Lawyers for the activists also believe that the statute gives the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago four more years to investigate.</p> <p>“There’s no doubt that they copied all the documents, in addition to the thousands of documents seized from the homes of the other anti-war activists, so we’re not out of the woods yet,” continued Abudayyeh. “But this witch hunt must end. They’ve got nothing. All we did was work to end U.S. support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and that is not a crime.”</p> <p><strong>Rasmea Odeh the new target of Jonas</strong></p> <p>On Oct. 22, 2013, Barry Jonas played a role in the arrest of Rasmea Odeh, a legendary Palestinian leader in Chicago. Since her arrest, Odeh’s case has been linked to the case of the Anti-war 23.</p> <p>When all 23 refused to testify, with the support of a broad mass movement, the grand jury ground to a halt. The Department of Justice did not stop their efforts to suppress the movements for Palestine and against war, however. They first arrested Carlos Montes, a veteran Chicano activist from East Los Angeles. Thousands of people from around the country spent over a year defeating the prosecution of Montes.</p> <p>Then the Department of Homeland Security came after Odeh on the pretext that she failed to disclose in her application for citizenship that she had been unjustly imprisoned by the Israeli occupiers of Palestine and tortured into confessing to a crime that she did not commit.</p> <p>Abudayyeh is the director of the Arab American Action Network, and Odeh is his co-worker.</p> <p>Jonas was present in court the morning Odeh was arrested. He has a long history of persecution of Palestinians in this country for their efforts to support their homeland. He was the prosecutor in the case of the Holy Land Five, the leaders of the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. They are in prison and sentenced for up to 65 years.</p> <p><strong>Prosecutors and judiciary work together to uphold Israel’s criminal occupation</strong></p> <p>The case against Odeh turns on a confession extracted through sadistic, sexual torture by the Israelis. Barry Jonas upholds tortured confessions, as do many judges. Odeh’s lawyers objected to Paul Borman in Detroit, the first judge assigned to her case, because of his close ties to Israel and support for the occupation of Palestine. They feared that he would be one of those judges for whom Israel’s record of torture posed no problem. Borman was compelled by legal action and public pressure to recuse himself and step down from the case.</p> <p>Abudayyeh concluded: “Our efforts helped push Borman out of Rasmea’s case, but we have to redouble our efforts to support and defend her.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/17/fbi-returns-personal-papers-hatem-abudayyeh#comments Anti-War 23 Committee to Stop FBI Repression Hatem Abudayyeh Political Repression Thu, 18 Sep 2014 01:21:42 +0000 Fight Back 4344 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Family members condemn FBI for jailing, killing loved ones http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/15/family-members-condemn-fbi-jailing-killing-loved-ones <p>Tampa, FL - 70 people gathered at the First United Church of Tampa, Sept. 13, to hear speakers on FBI repression of Arab, Muslim and anti-war activists in the U.S. Topics discussed included entrapment, preemptive prosecution and solitary confinement. Over 80,000 people are currently under solitary confinement, a reality for many political prisoners in the U.S.</p> <p>The speakers were Nahla Al-Arian, wife of Dr. Sami Al-Arian; Hatem Fariz; Al-Arian’s co-defendant, who was imprisoned in a Communication Management Unit; Avni Osmakac, brother of Sami Osmakac; Tracy Molm of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and one of the anti-war 23; and Elena Teyer, mother-in-law of Ibragim Todashev.</p> <p>Nahla Al-Arian spoke about her husband’s case. Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian-American professor lost his job at University of South Florida after comments he made on the Bill O’Reilly show following 9/11. He was later imprisoned and then put under house arrest for supposedly working with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The reality was that Dr. Al-Arian was giving humanitarian aid to Palestine and was vocally critical of Israel. Due to an agreement with the government, Nahla and Sami Al-Arian will be deported to another country, which has proved difficult given his case and their Palestinian background.</p> <p>Nahla Al-Arian said, “They just wanted us to disappear.”</p> <p>Hatem Fariz was a co-defendant with Dr. Al-Arian and endured living in a Communication Management Unit, or CMU. Fariz spent four years in a CMU in Terre Haute, Indiana. Fariz described the deplorable conditions he lived under in the CMU, including waiting over a month to see a doctor, being allotted only two 15-minute phone calls a month, and two hour-long visits a month, which only included immediate family.</p> <p>“We didn’t send money to kill people. We sent money to feed people”, said Hatem Fariz.</p> <p>Avni Osmakac is the older brother of Sami Osmakac, an Albanian man who was coerced by the FBI to buy fake weapons for attacks in the Tampa Bay area. Sami Osmakac was put into solitary confinement even before his trial began. Osmakac began showing signs of mental illness in 2010, and started going to mosques for answers, where he met an informant that would entrap him in illegal activity, recorded him making threats, while keeping thousands of other recordings secret for ‘national security’ purposes.</p> <p>Sami Osmakac sentencing will occur in November at the Sam Gibbons Federal Courthouse in Tampa. On Sept. 15 at Genaro Coffee in St. Petersburg, there will be a film screening of <em>Informant</em>, where Avni Osmakac will also be speaking.</p> <p>Tracy Molm, one of the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists subpoenaed by a grand jury, also spoke. The activists had their homes raided and belongings seized in a witch hunt that attempted to silence dissent against the government’s foreign policies. Molm spoke about the connection between their case and Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian-American activist from Chicago who will be going on trial in November for supposed immigration fraud, based on a 20 year old application where she allegedly omitted an arrest she had in Israel over 40 years ago. While imprisoned in Israel, Rasmea was tortured into a confession.</p> <p>Despite the struggles endured as a result of her activism, Molm encouraged attendees to use activism to speak out against repression. “The thing that got us into this situation will be getting us out of it,” she said.</p> <p>Elena Teyer spoke about the murder by the FBI of her late son-in-law, Ibragim Todashev, in Orlando last year. He was questioned by the FBI because of a supposed connection he had with the suspected Boston bombers, all of whom were Chechen-American. He was forced into writing a confession by the FBI and when he attempted to refuse and leave his apartment, they shot him seven times, including once at point-blank range in the head. The FBI initially claimed that Todashev attacked the agents with a weapon, but were inconsistent about the type of weapon and he was later found to be unarmed. According to the autopsy report, three of the shots went through his left arm into his body, which indicated that he arm was close to his body and therefore could not have been trying to attack the officers.</p> <p>“Don’t let them abuse your rights,” Teyer urged the crowd.</p> <p>The event was sponsored by Friends of Human Rights and Committee to Stop FBI Repression, who are both part of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/15/family-members-condemn-fbi-jailing-killing-loved-ones#comments People's Struggles Committee to Stop FBI Repression Family FBI Florida political repression Racism Tampa Tracy Molm In-Justice System Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:39:46 +0000 Fight Back 4343 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Auto parts strike achieves major victory - no more two-tier wages at Lear Corporation http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/15/auto-parts-strike-achieves-major-victory-no-more-two-tier-wages-lear-corporation <p>Hammond, IN - By 4:00 p.m. Sept. 14, the negotiating committee from UAW Local 2335 had reached a tentative agreement with Lear Corporation. Over 700 workers walked off the job Sept. 13 demanding an end to the two-tier wage structure. In a major victory in the auto industry, the employer agreed to abolish the double standard in wages. Workers will return to work on Sept. 15 and have yet to ratify the agreement.</p> <p><em>Fight Back!</em> caught up with Mike Elliot, the chair of the Union Solidarity Committee of UAW Local 551 at the Ford assembly plant in Chicago. His local is the only local in the UAW that has a standing committee like this. Its mission is to build solidarity with other unions and social justice groups and mobilize members from the plant to picket lines, fights for justice, for women’s rights, human rights and even anti-eviction campaigns.</p> <p>“Without solidarity, none of this would be possible. We set up shifts and brought out a great number of our members to the pickets lines at Lear,” Elliot said. “It was announced this afternoon that Lear Corporation agreed to abolish the two-tier wage structure and increase workers at the top by 1.5%”. The details of the agreement have not been made public yet, but workers on the picket lines were celebrating their fight today.</p> <p>Elliot expressed how important this is to the 4500 workers at the assembly plant. “Our contract expires next year on Sept. 15, 2015. This is a major blow to what divides the workers: a two-tiered wage structure. You cannot survive long if you have people working next to one another doing the same work and one person is paid half of the other person.” Members of UAW Local 551 will be carefully building for their fight next year to dump the two-tier system there, he added.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/15/auto-parts-strike-achieves-major-victory-no-more-two-tier-wages-lear-corporation#comments People's Struggles Auto / United Auto Workers Auto workers Hammond Indiana Lear Corporation UAW wages Workers Tue, 16 Sep 2014 01:21:06 +0000 Fight Back 4342 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Minnesota marks Sabra and Shatila massacre, demands end to U.S. aid to Israel http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/14/minnesota-marks-sabra-and-shatila-massacre-demands-end-us-aid-israel <p>Minneapolis, MN - Over 100 people protested against U.S. military aid to Israel over the bridge connecting the Walker Sculpture Garden and Loring Park here, Sept. 13. The protesters were visible to many lanes of traffic as major streets and highways converged below them. After chanting for almost an hour protesters marched to Loring Park for a concluding rally.</p> <p>Meredith Aby-Keirstead, from the Minnesota Anti-War Committee, opened the rally, stating, “Today we mark the anniversary of the Sabra and Shatila massacre 32 years ago in Lebanon. This week in 1982, 3500 Palestinian and Lebanese civilians were slaughtered or disappeared from two Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon during the Lebanese civil war. The Sabra and Shatila massacre is an important anniversary to the Palestinian people – it marks the cruelty of the Israeli military forces, shows the lack of safety Palestinians have even after they have become refugees in foreign lands, and connects them again to the central demand of the right to return.”</p> <p>Aby-Keirstead concluded, “We are here today to demand that the U.S. end its support for Israel’s repeated attacks on Palestine. We are here to demand an end to U.S. military aid which is used to kill Palestinians – including children. We have a large task in front of us. The Anti-War Committee urges our supporters to call Minnesota’s senators – especially Senator Franken who is seeking re-election – and demand that he stop standing with Israel against the Palestinians and to stop sponsoring and voting for aid to Israel.”</p> <p>The protest had a significant contingent from the Minnesota chapter of Jewish Voices for Peace. Jeremy Levinger represented the group from the stage and declared to be proud to be Jewish and to support a free Palestine.</p> <p>Jessica Sundin spoke from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression to talk about the defense of Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. Sundin has been helping to lead the effort nationally to support Odeh and asked the audience to join her in Detroit for Odeh’s upcoming trial in November.</p> <p>The protest ended with a powerful theater skit by members of the Anti-War Committee, which compared the reality of the occupation of Palestine through one child’s experiences with the way in which the corporate media distorts the same events.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/14/minnesota-marks-sabra-and-shatila-massacre-demands-end-us-aid-israel#comments Antiwar Movement Palestine Sabra and Shatila Massacre Mon, 15 Sep 2014 04:27:10 +0000 Fight Back 4341 at http://www.fightbacknews.org 700 workers on strike at Lear Corporation, UAW fighting to drop two-tier wage system http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/13/700-workers-strike-lear-corporation-uaw-fighting-drop-two-tier-wage-system <p>Hammond, IN - At 6:00 am, Sept. 13, the factory that makes seats for Ford Motor Company went on strike. Contract talks broke off Sept. 12 and United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 2335 hit the picket lines.</p> <p>The parts supplied by this plant are considered critical to the safety of the vehicles. In manufacturing autos, just-in-time production means that by 10:00 a.m. the main Ford assembly plant in Chicago had been idled. Three other parts plant in the region were idled as the day went along, allowing workers from those plants to join the picket lines in Hammond.</p> <p>Lorenzo Jones, a spokesperson for UAW said, “This morning we walked out on strike. The company locked the gates; there is no production happening today.” When asked if he thought the company would try to open the plant, he said he didn’t think they could.</p> <p>“This is a fight for equality of the workers in this plant,” Jones said. “Lear Corporation has a slogan, ‘One Lear.’ We say, ‘One Lear, one tier.’” This slogan sums up the union’s fight in bargaining to get rid of the two-tier wage structure. “We have people working elbow to elbow, with some making $6 to $9 an hour less than the person working next to them doing the same job. We are united in the plant to say no to the two-tier system,” Jones added.</p> <p>What’s the context for this fight? Jones explained: “We had mostly only one shift four years ago, now we have three shifts running night and day.” With the auto industry, as well as Lear Corporation, rebounding after the economic crash in 2008, workers at this plant are demanding to share in the wealth created by them. Jones continued, “We are not going to stand for this corporate greed. We have built this company up, we are not going to stand for the take backs management wants. We are saying no to many of their proposed takeaways, including double time pay for work on Sunday, a six-year contract and small raises to the second tier and nothing to the first tier. We are fighting to bring everyone up to the first tier.”</p> <p>The union spokesperson said that the second tier workers are hired out at $11 per hour and cap out at $16 per hour. Many of those interviewed on the picket lines today are disgusted with management’s attempt to take away previous gains.</p> <p>One employee who has worked at the plant for 19 years said, “I was here and helped build this company from the ground up. When the economy crashed, the company came to us and asked for the two-tier wage system. We agreed to it, knowing we would have to fight to end it in the future. Well, this is the time to fight the two tier. One Lear, one tier,” using the slogan many were chanting on the picket lines. “Management wants to have us agree to go from three days pay for bereavement [leave for family members who have died] to one day paid. That shows how they disrespect us and our families,” she concluded.</p> <p>Throughout the day, the picketers received many honks in support from passing motorists. Workers and leaders with signs from other UAW locals were on the picket lines. Workers at Tower Automotive Inc, (which makes steel frames and undercarriages for Ford, as well as the ZF company, which makes axles and struts) and Dakota company (manufactures of headliners for vehicles) were all idled today because of the strike at Lear. They are represented by UAW Local 3112. A Tower worker on the picket line said, “We are here in solidarity with their fight to dump the two-tier wage structure”.</p> <p>Rank-and-file workers from the Chicago-based Torrence Ford assembly plant were out on the picket lines as well. Workers there said that they had run out of parts for assembly by 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The seats for the vehicle are considered part of the “Delta” operation. The seats are a critical safety component for the vehicle; without them, production comes to a halt.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/9/13/700-workers-strike-lear-corporation-uaw-fighting-drop-two-tier-wage-system#comments Lear Corporation strike Strikes UAW Labor Sun, 14 Sep 2014 04:47:53 +0000 Fight Back 4340 at http://www.fightbacknews.org