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 Durham protests slam police repression http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/20/durham-protests-slam-police-repression <p>Durham, NC - About 60 people marched to the Durham police headquarters, Dec. 19, to protest attacks by Durham riot police on peaceful protesters in recent weeks. The march kicked off with the chanting of Assata Shakur's words, "It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains!"</p> <p>Led by organizers with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), demonstrators brought with them over 500 petition signatures demanding an end to police repression of activists.</p> <p>In response to the lack of indictments of police in Ferguson, Missouri and New York in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, organizers in Durham have led several demonstrations over the last month, the largest of which saw hundreds occupy the streets of central Durham for hours. In several of these demonstrations, Durham police have reacted with force and deployed riot police to suppress the protesters. Adding insult to injury, the Durham police chief has also blamed "outside agitators" for the way protests have unfolded in recent weeks.</p> <p>As a statement from SONG notes, "In response to a peaceful protest attended by hundreds of Durhamites and local university students, our police department dressed in riot gear, wielded nightsticks used to hit demonstrators at random, and deployed sound cannons. Several of the 31 people who were unjustly arrested on that night [Dec 5] also sustained injuries from being thrown to the ground, kicked, pinned-down, and otherwise roughed-up."</p> <p>Standing outside the police station, protesters formed a line around both sides of the building and shined lights on the windows to show that Durham citizens are watching police and will not tolerate police violence.</p> <p>The protest came one day after about 50 people interrupted a city council meeting, denouncing the police attacks on protesters and demanding that city council take action.</p> <p>Some city council members have criticized protesters for violating city ordinances and protest rules. In a call and response at the city council meeting, protesters called out "Which side are you on?", then named civil rights icons and revolutionaries - such as Rosa Parks, Assata Shakur, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. - and detailed their ‘crimes’ of blocking traffic, disrupting business as usual and breaking laws.</p> <p>The message was to point out, as Martin Luther King Jr. did, that "an unjust law is no law at all" and the real issue is not whether protesters block streets or highways, but that people want justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and an end to police brutality, racist policing and political repression.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/20/durham-protests-slam-police-repression#comments Police Brutality BlackLivesMatter Eric Garner Michael Brown Political Repression In-Justice System Sun, 21 Dec 2014 03:24:01 +0000 Fight Back 4540 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Durham protests slam police repression http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/20/durham-protests-slam-police-repression <p>Durham, NC - About 60 people marched to the Durham police headquarters, Dec. 19, to protest attacks by Durham riot police on peaceful protesters in recent weeks. The march kicked off with the chanting of Assata Shakur's words, "It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains!"</p> <p>Led by organizers with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), demonstrators brought with them over 500 petition signatures demanding an end to police repression of activists.</p> <p>In response to the lack of indictments of police in Ferguson, Missouri and New York in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, organizers in Durham have led several demonstrations over the last month, the largest of which saw hundreds occupy the streets of central Durham for hours. In several of these demonstrations, Durham police have reacted with force and deployed riot police to suppress the protesters. Adding insult to injury, the Durham police chief has also blamed "outside agitators" for the way protests have unfolded in recent weeks.</p> <p>As a statement from SONG notes, "In response to a peaceful protest attended by hundreds of Durhamites and local university students, our police department dressed in riot gear, wielded nightsticks used to hit demonstrators at random, and deployed sound cannons. Several of the 31 people who were unjustly arrested on that night [Dec 5] also sustained injuries from being thrown to the ground, kicked, pinned-down, and otherwise roughed-up."</p> <p>Standing outside the police station, protesters formed a line around both sides of the building and shined lights on the windows to show that Durham citizens are watching police and will not tolerate police violence.</p> <p>The protest came one day after about 50 people interrupted a city council meeting, denouncing the police attacks on protesters and demanding that city council take action.</p> <p>Some city council members have criticized protesters for violating city ordinances and protest rules. In a call and response at the city council meeting, protesters called out "Which side are you on?", then named civil rights icons and revolutionaries - such as Rosa Parks, Assata Shakur, Bayard Rustin and Martin Luther King Jr. - and detailed their ‘crimes’ of blocking traffic, disrupting business as usual and breaking laws.</p> <p>The message was to point out, as Martin Luther King Jr. did, that "an unjust law is no law at all" and the real issue is not whether protesters block streets or highways, but that people want justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown, and an end to police brutality, racist policing and political repression.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/20/durham-protests-slam-police-repression#comments Police Brutality BlackLivesMatter Eric Garner Michael Brown Political Repression In-Justice System Sun, 21 Dec 2014 03:24:01 +0000 Fight Back 4540 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Thousands shut down Mall of America in MN saying, ‘Black lives matter!’ http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/20/thousands-shut-down-mall-america-mn-saying-black-lives-matter <p>Bloomington, MN – Thousands of protesters shut down large sections of the biggest shopping mall in the U.S., the Mall of America (MOA), in the early afternoon of Dec. 20, demanding an end to police brutality. The mall rotunda was filled demonstrators with raised arms, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!”</p> <p>Above the protesters in the rotunda, and alongside a giant artificial silver Christmas tree, a huge electronic billboard warned, “Those who continue to demonstrate will be subject to arrest.” More than 1000 protesters filled the store-lined corridors that radiate out from the mall’s rotunda. Some pressed through lines of mall security, with their hands raised and chanting. Many MOA stores closed up and riot-clad police could be seen marching up corridors. The protest continued until late afternoon.</p> <p>A statement from demonstration organizers, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, said, “Our basic demands are: an immediate end to the unjust police murders of unarmed Black people, including Black children and teens, and for Minnesota to take measures to eliminate the worst racial disparities in policing in the country.” The statement also called for a number of policy changes including, “adoption of legislation to end racial profiling, including an end to MOA’s illegal racial profiling.” </p> <p>The protest was joined by many progressive Twin Cites organizations including the Anti-War Committee and the Welfare Rights Committee.</p> <p>The protest at the Mall of America was one of the many that have taken place in recent months after the uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri in response to the police murder of Mike Brown, and the recent decision of a grand jury to let the New York cop who killed Eric Garner escape justice.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/20/thousands-shut-down-mall-america-mn-saying-black-lives-matter#comments Anti-racism Black Lives Matter Eric Garner Ferguson Mall of America Police Brutality Sun, 21 Dec 2014 00:50:41 +0000 Fight Back 4539 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Celebrate freedom for the Cuban Five! http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/19/celebrate-freedom-cuban-five <p>We celebrate the release of the Cuban Five - political prisoners held by the U.S. government for 16 years. Their freedom also marks a positive change in relations between the U.S. government and Cuba. Many anti-war and international solidarity activists who worked towards their release are raising their glasses to toast this victory!</p> <p>The Cuban Five are heroes who came to the U.S. to stop terrorist attacks against their country. Their commitment to the Cuban people is unquestionable. Their sacrifice and that of other Cuban internationalists knows no bounds.</p> <p>By secretly joining the most reactionary groups in Florida, the Cuban Five put their lives at risk in order to stop attacks on Cuba and its socialist system. They exposed CIA complicity in terrorist attacks on Cuba, while the U.S. government was claiming to fight terrorism.</p> <p>Freedom for the Cuban Five and the plans to normalize relations with Cuba announced by President Obama are to be applauded. The angry response of reactionary die-hards like Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is worrisome. They seem to want another Bay of Pigs invasion, or more assassination attempts, or hotel and airplane bombings.</p> <p>Anyone who has ever been to Cuba knows how much all Cubans hate the U.S. embargo and will be glad to see it go. However, President Obama can only loosen restrictions, not end the embargo. Congress needs to pass a law to do that. President Obama’s action will allow more business, loved ones remittances and travel. The large U.S. Interests Section building will become the U.S. Embassy. Cuba will no longer be on the U.S. state terrorism list. This meets many of wishes of the Cuban government and people.</p> <p>The victory comes in the context of left, progressive and democratic movements growing stronger and gaining power in country after country. From Venezuela to Uruguay, Bolivia to El Salvador, most of the revolutionary movement in Latin America sees Cuba as a beacon for socialism.</p> <p>The U.S. empire is losing its grip. U.S. imperialism is in decline. Meanwhile Wall Street wants to maintain its profit making, not to be further isolated. U.S. diplomats and big businesses know doors will open easier if they are positive towards Cuba.</p> <p>As Colombian peace talks take place in Cuba, it is time now to deepen our solidarity. Like the Cuban Five, we hope to see Colombian revolutionary Ricardo Palmera set free from the Florence Supermax Prison in Colorado and sitting at the peace table in Cuba. For us, our task is to continue building the struggle here at home against war and oppression.</p> <p>Victory for the Cuban Five! Free Ricardo Palmera!</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/19/celebrate-freedom-cuban-five#comments Cuba Cuban 5 Cuban Five Ricardo Palmera Sat, 20 Dec 2014 01:43:33 +0000 Fight Back 4538 at http://www.fightbacknews.org U.S. anti-war activists in Moscow, meet with Palestinian ambassador to Russia http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/16/us-anti-war-activists-moscow-meet-palestinian-ambassador-russia <p>Moscow, Russia - The delegation of U.S. anti-war activists met today, Dec. 16, with the Embassy of the State of Palestine Ambassador to the Russian Federation, Dr. Fa’ed Mustafa. Ambassador Mustafa agreed to the meeting after a request was made by the Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, the hosts of the international conference of anti-war forces.</p> <p>The delegation that met with the ambassador included Joe Lombardo, co-chair of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC), Bill Doares of the International Action Center and UNAC and Mo Hannah, also a member of UNAC and me.</p> <p>First on the agenda for our delegation was to talk with Ambassador Mustafa about the case of Rasmea Odeh, the Palestinian activist from Chicago and the newest political prisoner in the U.S. She was convicted in a federal court in November of a violation in her immigration application in 2004. In 1969, she was imprisoned by the Israeli occupying army in Palestine. She was convicted by a military ‘court’ there after being sadistically tortured, which caused her to confess to a crime she didn’t commit. In her trial last month, the judge ruled that no evidence could be presented of the crimes of the Israeli occupation.</p> <p>The ambassador of course knew a lot about her case, and expressed support for her. He agreed to share our report with Ramallah, and to continue to raise awareness about her among people in Palestine. He urged our delegation to link her case to the stories of thousands of Palestinians who are also falsely arrested and imprisoned, tortured and brutalized by the Israelis.</p> <p>Finally, we expressed to him that the U.S. government complicity with the Israeli occupation in Rasmea Odeh’s case exposes their overall role as the main backer of Israel’s occupation.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/16/us-anti-war-activists-moscow-meet-palestinian-ambassador-russia#comments Antiwar Movement Dr. Fa'ed Mustafa Joe Iosbaker Moscow Palestine Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:56:03 +0000 Fight Back 4537 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Jacksonville 19: Police return some seized phones, hold others http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/16/jacksonville-19-police-return-some-seized-phones-hold-others <p>Jacksonville, FL – On Dec. 15, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office returned some of the phones they seized from the 19 protesters who shut down the Hart Bridge last week. </p> <p>The protesters, dubbed the Jacksonville 19 by local activists and media, stopped traffic on the bridge on Dec. 8 to demand justice for Eric Garner. Garner was the African American man who the NYPD choked, leading to his death. A New York grand jury refused to indict the white police officer Daniel Pantaleo, adding fuel to the flames of a nationwide protest movement against racism and police brutality. </p> <p>Sheriff’s office staff called several protesters to let them know that they could pick up their phones from evidence. As of Dec. 15, police were still holding cameras belonging to protesters, and many phones and electronic storage devices remained in custody.</p> <p>Police seized every phone, camera and other storage device from protesters after arresting them for obstructing traffic. Officers claimed they were seizing these personal belongings to use as evidence against the protesters and to identify the people who attended another protest earlier on the same day.</p> <p>The Jacksonville Sheriff Office sergeant at the scene originally told protesters that they would receive verbal warnings and written citations for the offense, which is a misdemeanor in Florida. Activists say that the protesters were arrested after a communication from Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford, who gave the order to arrest everyone.</p> <p>Immediately after the arrests on Dec. 8, the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition called an emergency jailhouse protest outside the John E. Goode Pre-trial Detention Facility, where police held the protesters for several hours. More than 30 people assembled outside chanting “Jail killer cops, not justice protesters!” and “Free the Jax justice fighters!” </p> <p>With support from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, all 19 protesters were released or bonded out on Dec. 9.</p> <p>One of the 19, Siddie Friar, was charged with two felonies. Police claim that Friar resisted arrest with violence and assaulted an officer. At a separate bond hearing for Friar on Dec. 9, State Attorney Angela Corey's office asked the judge to raise Friar's bond, using Facebook posts as evidence of her political activity. According to activists present at the bond hearing, some of the Facebook posts presented by prosecutors were obtained through Friar's phone. Friar was eventually released with the same bond as the others. </p> <p>Police are still holding Friar's phone, along with many other devices.</p> <p>The court appearance dates for the Jacksonville 19 are set for late December and early January. The Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, along with several other organizations, is calling on State Attorney Angela Corey to return all seized belongings to the protesters immediately and to drop all charges on the Jacksonville 19.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/16/jacksonville-19-police-return-some-seized-phones-hold-others#comments People's Struggles Eric Garner Ferguson Florida Jacksonville Mike Brown New York In-Justice System Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:37:31 +0000 Fight Back 4536 at http://www.fightbacknews.org FRSO 7th Congress and Main Political Report http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/15/frso-7th-congress-and-main-political-report <p>The Freedom Road Socialist Organization is pleased to present the <a href="http://www.frso.org/about/7congress/index.htm">Main Political Report</a>, voted on and passed at our 7th Congress in the summer. The three sections - the U.S. Economy, Domestic Political Report and the International Report - describe the societal conditions in which we organize and struggle for a new society. These documents, debated and revised over many months, provide a basis for understanding the basic conditions of life, the forces in motion in society, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the movements for social change and revolution. We ask you to read, comment, discuss and share them. Improving our understanding of how society works will strengthen our leadership of mass groups and positively impact the people’s movements.</p> <p>The fact we held the FRSO 7th Congress this past summer is in and of itself a victory. It comes four years after the FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas charging activists, including members of the FRSO, with “material support for terrorism.” It took some backbone to withstand this U.S. government attack. We were able to fend off the worst of the attacks, with more than a little help from our friends. We are grateful to those who stood next to us in solidarity and who continue to organize against U.S. government political repression, especially targeting Palestinian and Arab Americans and Muslims.</p> <p>Looking forward, we are happy to share that the FRSO 7th Congress was a great success, in terms of defining current conditions, our growing capacity to lead and influence people’s movements, deepening our understanding of Marxism-Leninism, and recruiting to and building the FRSO. The FRSO is growing and expanding steadily. We are now in more cities and on more campuses than at any time since the original founding in 1985. Bundles of the regular print edition of <em>Fight Back! </em>newspaper is now distributed in 20 cities and towns.</p> <p>Our group combines a solid core of Marxist-Leninist leaders spanning many decades, with a large and expanding layer of younger revolutionary cadre. We are also now seeing the recruitment of experienced Marxist-Leninists from a variety of organizational backgrounds. The FRSO is a serious group with the capacity to move the masses and strike a blow against the Wall Street rulers and their politicians. We can provide leadership that impacts local and regional struggles, and sometimes people’s movements nationally. We invite you again to study our Main Political Report and other documents at <a href="http://www.frso.org">frso.org</a>. If you find yourself largely in agreement, then we want to you to consider joining the FRSO.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/15/frso-7th-congress-and-main-political-report#comments People's Struggles Socialism Freedom Road Socialist Organization frso Socialism Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:51:19 +0000 Fight Back 4535 at http://www.fightbacknews.org General strike in Belgium: the people show a choice for a completely different road than the government’s http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/15/general-strike-belgium-people-show-choice-completely-different-road-government-s <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following communiqué of the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB):</em></p> <p>On Monday, Dec. 15, Belgium was paralyzed by a general strike, organized by the major trade union centers, after a series of regional strikes, to protest the Rightist government's harsh austerity measures.</p> <p>“This is the biggest strike in Belgium in thirty years”, said Peter Mertens, chairman of the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB), who paid solidarity visits to several picketlines. “Action took place in almost all sectors, the roads were deserted, the active population decided not to go to work. The people have thus given a clear signal: it is really time for other policies, in which the people take center stage, and that dare to invest in social renewal.”</p> <p>Throughout the country and in a united front of the trade unions, railway workers, nurses, teachers, metal workers, dockers, artists, students,... showed their rage and made the general strike of Dec. 15 the most 'generalized' general strike since 30 years. All major industrial sectors, the transportation sector and the public services came to a standstill, but also many small and medium enterprises, shopping centers, schools, hospitals and other non-profit institutions were on strike – some of them for the first time in their existence.</p> <p>And all this notwithstanding the heavy pressures the employers brought to bear on the workers: invitation to stay overnight at their workplaces, financial pressure to come to work, the use of notices of default by bailiffs and even the threat of delocalization. Peter Mertens: “Today, by the force of their numbers and using the weapon of the general strike, the workers have put pressure on the godfathers of the Rightist government of Michel (liberal) and De Wever (Flemish nationalist): the large corporations and their employers' federations.”</p> <p>A new and encouraging phenomenon is that the citizens' movements 'Heart above Hard' (Dutch-language) and 'Tout autre chose' (French-language, meaning 'Something entirely different'), together representing more than 1000 organizations, joined the strike movement, with bicycle tours and visits to picketlines in several major cities. The extent of the strike movement in schools and universities is yet another indication of the broadness of the movement, that even got the support of magistrates, small shop keepers and medical associations.</p> <p>Peter Mertens: “At the picketlines we could feel the growing dissatisfaction with the government's deafness for the workers' demands. But also the great determination to continue the movement after the winter truce, if the government doesn't retreat on key elements of its plans, such as the postponement of the age of retirement to 67 years of age, the skipping of an indexation of salaries to price rises, or the dismantling of public services and social security.”</p> <p>Meanwhile, in the protest movement the need for alternatives is growing. Five years after the PTB launched its campaign for a millionnaires' tax, there is a much larger support base for such a measure, with 85% of the population supporting the demand to tax fortunes above 1 million euro. “A genuine tax on fortunes is the only way to really diminish the increasing inequality in society”, according to Peter Mertens. “The only reason that the government has never thought of implementing such a tax measure, is the fact that the influence of the very rich on the government circles is too important. The government rests fossilized in its own tunnel vision that 'there is no alternative'. But the problem is that Mr. Michel and Mr. De Wever refuse to see the alternatives that exist.</p> <p>Instead of the deadly austerity policies, destroying the social and cultural fabric of society, we plead for new investments in the social, ecological and industrial spheres. Instead of handing over ever larger parts of society to the market, we want strong public services to be the backbone of a democratic renewal. And instead of grabbing the money from the pockets of those who need it, we propose to activate the dormant wealth of the transnational corporations.”</p> <p>Raoul Hedebouw, PTB spokesman and member of the federal parliament, was also present at several picketlines in the provinces of Limburg and Liège. He noted: “Everywhere we go, we observe a great openness for real alternatives. The more than 900 PTB militants were received very warmly at the more than 1000 picketlines they visited in solidarity. In the coming days and weeks, they will continue to invest in the broad and ongoing movement to make the anti-social government retreat.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/15/general-strike-belgium-people-show-choice-completely-different-road-government-s#comments Belgium Belgium Europe general strike Workers Party of Belgium Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:57:33 +0000 Fight Back 4534 at http://www.fightbacknews.org University of Florida students hold die-in to protest police killings http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/15/university-florida-students-hold-die-protest-police-killings <p>Gainesville, FL - On Dec. 12, students and community members blocked the entrances to a basketball game between the University of Florida (UF) and Texas Southern University. The action was called as part of a growing movement to protest police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the U.S. This follows the failures to indict police officer Darren Wilson, who shot Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo, who choked Eric Garner to death. </p> <p>Around 130 people gathered at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center before the basketball game and held a die-in at the entrance as the doors opened. Then, the group moved to the student gate, blocking the entrance doors and the sidewalks leading to the other doors. Despite university personnel opening and closing certain entrances based on the location of the protesters, the group was able to finalize its position at the student entrance.</p> <p>Trenton Brooks of the UF Dream Defenders explained, “Our action today was to show that people cannot just go about their lives as if it's simply business as usual. There are systemic problems in this country and ignoring them just isn't an option.”</p> <p>Chants included “No justice! No peace! No racist police!” and one specifically for the occasion “You only care about us when we are in jerseys!”</p> <p>Farah Khan, of UF Students for a Democratic Society, talked about the impact the protest had on the game, “It definitely shook people up and left both attendants of the game and administration completely disoriented. Not a single person at that game could ignore us.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/15/university-florida-students-hold-die-protest-police-killings#comments People's Struggles Anti-racism Black Lives Matter Eric Garner Ferguson Mike Brown UF University of Florida Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:44:26 +0000 Fight Back 4533 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Utah protesters call for end to police brutality and racist discrimination in Ogden http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/14/utah-protesters-call-end-police-brutality-and-racist-discrimination-ogden <p>Ogden, UT - On a wet and cold Dec. 13, protesters gathered at the Ogden City courthouse to demand an end to police brutality in Utah and all across the U.S. In Utah, police murders are outpacing murders committed by drug dealers, gang members and child abusers. In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, police killed Dillon Taylor and Darrien Hunt in Utah. People have had enough.</p> <p>50 people rallied to a call for justice for victims of police violence and their families. They chanted popular slogans in solidarity with protesters in other cities: "Black lives matter!" "I can't breathe!' and "Hands up, don't shoot!"</p> <p>Malik Dayo spoke to the crowd, "The police are practicing racial profiling and it has got to end!" Latino youth are the main target of discriminatory practices by the Ogden police.</p> <p>After the rally came to a close, protesters took their message on a march through the area, where Ogden families were gathered to enjoy the Christmas displays in City Hall Park.</p> <p>Chris Manor, an organizer with Utah Against Police Brutality said, "It's great that people in Ogden are starting to build the struggle against police brutality. Even the smallest action plants the seeds which grow into a larger movement."</p> <p>Activists in Utah are using the hashtag #utahprotests for live updates on the ground.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2014/12/14/utah-protesters-call-end-police-brutality-and-racist-discrimination-ogden#comments Police Brutality Police Brutality In-Justice System Mon, 15 Dec 2014 04:54:37 +0000 Fight Back 4532 at http://www.fightbacknews.org