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 Democratic Korea calls for end to U.S. military occupation of south Korea <p>The leading newspaper of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, <em>Rodong Sinmun</em>, urged all Koreans to put an end to U.S. military occupation and domination over south Korea, in a Jan. 26 article.</p> <p>The article noted that “The south Korea-U.S. ‘mutual defense pact’ concluded 65 years ago is an unpardonable country-selling one as it has desperately blocked the independent development of the south Korean society, laid a stumbling block in the way of the Korean nation for peace and reunification of the country and brought a war disaster to Korea.”</p> <p>The article also noted, “The south Korean people can neither get rid of misfortune and pain nor can the danger of war be defused on the Korean peninsula nor the north-south relations improve as long as the U.S. keeps south Korea under its military occupation and domination and sycophants and traitors are allowed to kowtow to the aggressors.”</p> <p>The U.S. has about 30,000 troops stationed in south Korea and regularly partners with the south Korean authorities to stage provocative military exercises.</p> <p>The U.S. recently upped the number of its troops on the Korean peninsula as a part of Washington’s “pivot towards Asia.” The “pivot” or “rebalancing towards Asia” as it has recently been rebranded, is the current U.S. strategy to dominate the Pacific region and contain socialist China by projecting military force, treaties and economic agreements.</p> Asia Democratic People's Republic of Korea Korea Korean Reunification Korean War US imperialism Wed, 28 Jan 2015 01:23:23 +0000 Fight Back 4574 at Fight Back! fundraising event builds the newspaper that builds the struggle <p>Minneapolis, MN – About 50 people came together here, Jan. 25, for an event that raised more than $1500 for<em> Fight Back! </em></p> <p>Leaders in the labor, immigrant rights, student, anti-war and welfare rights movements gave short toasts stressing the importance of<em> Fight Back!</em> to the struggles they are building.</p> <p><em>Fight Back!</em> editor Mick Kelly stated that the role of revolutionary press is to build the struggle, help people understand that we have an enemy – the capitalists and their system - that can and will be destroyed and to advocate for socialism, a system where the working class holds political power.</p> <p>Kelly also reported that the online edition of <em>Fight Back!</em> had about 1 million page views this past year and that the next print edition of the paper would be out in late February.</p> People's Struggles Fight Back! News Mick Kelly Mon, 26 Jan 2015 23:29:34 +0000 Fight Back 4573 at Israel stepping up aggression against neighboring countries <p>Lebanon’s National News Agency reported on Jan. 25 that once again Israel is violating Lebanon’s airspace and carrying out new provocations.</p> <p> “An Israeli enemy reconnaissance plane breached the Lebanese airspace at 6:45 a.m. Sunday over the town of Alma el-Shaeb, circled over the South region, as well as Beirut and its suburbs, and then left at 3:00 p.m. from above the aforementioned town,” stated the National News Agency report. It was also reported that up three other Israeli aircraft flew of Lebanese territory later that day. </p> <p>Another Jan. 25 National New Agency report says, “Israeli enemy forces fired around 7:00 p.m. Sunday, six flares over the eastern hilltops of Kfarshouba in the South, which coincided with an Israeli pilotless plane's violation of national airspace and circling over the occupied farms.”</p> <p>These new acts of aggression come on the heels of the Jan. 18 Israeli attack in Quneitra, Syria targeting the progressive Lebanese resistance group, Hezbollah. The attack, on what has been reported to be an observer group looking into cooperation between Israel and Syrian sectarian terrorists, killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general. </p> <p>The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Mohammad Ali Jaafari, stated that there will be a response. Hezbollah is expected to say more about a response later this week.</p> Hezbollah Israel Lebanon Lebanon Middle East Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:26:15 +0000 Fight Back 4572 at Michigan workers hurt by ‘right to work’ laws <p>Grand Rapids, MI - Michigan workers are now seeing the harm caused by last year’s so-called ‘right to work’ law. Passed by Republican politicians in Lansing in 2013, the new law caused a noticeable drop in union membership - from 16.3% down to 14.5%. The trend is likely to continue as more union contracts, typically three years long, come to an end.</p> <p>Later this year, the United Auto Workers (UAW) will feel the effects of the law as the contracts with big car-producing companies expire.</p> <p>‘Right to work’ says workers are not required to belong to the union at a unionized work place, despite the votes and decisions of the majority. It creates a division amongst the workers and weakens their ability to act in concert for good contracts and to enforce safety work rules, fairness and equality.</p> <p>In 2013, there were 3.9 million employed workers in Michigan, of whom 633,000 were union members. Now in 2014, there are 4 million employed workers of whom 585,000 are union members. The number of employed workers in Michigan increased by 139,000 overall, while the number of union members decreased by 48,000, hurting the unionization rate even more.</p> <p>The statistics show that a higher percentage of workers covered by union contracts stopped paying their dues. These ‘free riders’ benefit from the union contract that their co-workers negotiate and pay for.</p> <p>Michigan Republicans also stripped teachers of the ability to pay their union dues via direct deposit with their employer. Government workers know it as dues check-off and, despite its popularity, Republicans passed a law denying this basic right to teachers.</p> <p>Across Lake Michigan, in the state of Wisconsin, Republicans are threatening a similar law and union members are beginning to mobilize to fight it. Jacob Flom is the creator of a Facebook page “Defeat Right To Work in Wisconsin” (<a href="" title=""></a> )that says “We are rank-and -file union members and Wisconsin residents who want to keep our state union strong. Fight Governor Walker's union busting agenda with mass protest!”</p> <p>Unions are based on workers joining together to act as one in relationship to their bosses and owners. Union contracts provide millions of workers around the world with higher wages, better health care, sick time off, vacations and a chance to defend themselves from arbitrary discipline and firing. Union members like nurses and health care workers can enforce health and safety rules for themselves and the public they serve.</p> <p>Republicans plan to finish off unions, attacking and outlawing them state by state. The Democratic Party stands idle, feigning surprise. Judges rulings in U.S. courts are threatening to do away with public sector unions over the next five years as well.</p> <p>Union members in the U.S. tend to live better lives than non-union workers and command more respect from their bosses. Bureau of Labor Statistics show median income for a union worker in 2014 was $970 per week, while non-union was $763.</p> labor rights labor unions Michigan right to work Labor Sun, 25 Jan 2015 23:15:33 +0000 Fight Back 4571 at UN condemns Israeli home demolition rampage <p>On Jan. 23, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, James W. Rawley, commented on the Israeli authorities’ recent wave of demolitions of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.</p> <p>“In the past three days, 77 Palestinians, over half of them children, have been made homeless,” said Rawley. “Some of the demolished structures were provided by the international community to support vulnerable families. Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately."</p> <p>Israeli apartheid authorities make it very difficult for Palestinians to get building permits. The lack of building permits then serves as a pretext for home demolition. Israeli authorities also routinely destroy the homes of Palestinian freedom fighters.</p> home demolitions Palestine United Nations Sat, 24 Jan 2015 23:19:34 +0000 Fight Back 4570 at No assistance for long-term unemployed <p>Washington, D.C. - Statistics compiled by the federal government indicate that there is still a large number of long-term unemployed workers, despite the modest economic expansion. According a Jan. 9 statement from the Bureau of Labor Statics, “In December, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) was essentially unchanged at 2.8 million and accounted for 31.9% of the unemployed.”</p> <p>The real number is much larger, as many workers have left the labor force and are no longer counted as unemployed.</p> <p>Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) was allowed to lapse On Dec. 28, 2013, ending benefits for the long-term unemployed. At the time, Democrat congressional leaders failed to insist on putting extended employment benefits in the budget compromise, giving Republicans veto power over any attempts to restore the program.</p> <p>Currently, politicians from both political parties are largely silent on the issue of assisting unemployed workers.</p> Capitalism and Economy Emergency Unemployment Compensation Federal unemployment benefits Unemployment Thu, 22 Jan 2015 07:13:22 +0000 Fight Back 4569 at Hundreds march in Grand Rapids for MLK Day, mother of Trayvon Martin speaks <p>Grand Rapids, MI - More than 1000 students and community members marched in the streets here and at the nearby Grand Valley State University (GVSU) to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 19. Thousands then filled college field houses to hear Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin. Martin was the African American teenager murdered by vigilante George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was allowed to walk free from a Florida court.</p> <p>The march through downtown Grand Rapids was sometimes somber, but sometimes joyful as spectators smiled, waved and encouraged the student protesters. The march stretched a block long with city notables and educators in the lead. It united African Americans with whites, Chicanos, Latinos and other nationalities. Students from Grand Rapids Christian High School and Northview High School enthusiastically participated, linking arms as they marched in the cold winter weather, sharing their message of opposing racist discrimination and police brutality.</p> <p>Nearby, hundreds of college students marched silently across the GVSU campus, passing yard signs highlighting the life and struggles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There was quiet anticipation as the GVSU field house filled up to standing room only. After an inspiring rendition of <em>Lift Every Voice and Sing</em> and introductory remarks, the crowd rose to their feet in thundering applause at the introduction of Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother.</p> <p>Fulton opened with a moment of silence for Martin Luther King Jr. and others, like her son Trayvon Martin, killed by gun violence in the U.S. She was steadfast, “This could not happen to a more average family,” adding, “We should not be comfortable with burying our children.” She clarified her purpose, “So what happened to Trayvon, we don’t want to happen to any more of our children.”</p> <p>Fulton, a labor union member, described discrimination on the basis of race, class, religion and gender, exhorting, “All of these things are a form of profiling, are a form of discrimination, and they need to be got rid of in the U.S.”</p> <p>She finished by expressing, “It hurts my heart to see what continues to happen in our country. Are you going to sit back and just do nothing, or are you going to participate in what is happening in your country? We cannot continue to remain silent.”</p> <p>In response to an audience question, Fulton gave an energetic response, “The community has played a big role, but more importantly the colleges and universities have played a big role because they were active in their protests, they were active in their marches...I give it to the college students who were on the social media and constantly keeping this story alive. Even before CNN and ABC and CBS and all of those networks that got involved, it was the college students that got involved first and they were fed up with what was going on.”</p> <p>Fulton emphasized, “It is the young folks that keep this movement going, that say, ‘I’m just not going to take this anymore.’”</p> African-American George Zimmerman Grand Rapids Martin Luther King Jr. MLK Day MI Michigan MLK Trayvon Martin Oppressed Nationalities Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:57:40 +0000 Fight Back 4568 at PFLP mourns the martyrs of the Lebanese resistance assassinated by Zionist airstrike <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Jan. 19 statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).</em></p> <p>The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine sent a message of condolences to Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the General Secretary of Hezbollah, in the name of its General Secretary, Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, and all of the leadership and members of the PFLP, mourning the martyrs, six Hezbollah leaders and cadres assassinated in Syria by a Zionist airstrike.</p> <p>The Front saluted Hezbollah’s “escalation of the resistance as a strategic option and a comprehensive culture…building a serious force to be reckoned with and confronting the Zionist enemy both with words and deeds, which has earned the well-deserved respect of the revolutionaries of the world.”</p> <p>The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the PFLP, had earlier issued a statement mourning the slain leaders of the Lebanese resistance: Mohammed Issa, Jihad Imad Mughniyyeh, Abbas Hijazi, Mohammed Ali Hassan Abu al-Hassan, Razi Ali Dawi and Ali Hassan Ibrahim, noting that the Palestinian and Arab resistance are together in the fight against the Zionist criminal enemy.</p> Airstrikes Hezbollah Israel Middle East Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Syria Tue, 20 Jan 2015 04:30:48 +0000 Fight Back 4567 at Thousands honor MLK Day in St. Paul, say ‘Black lives matter’ <p>St. Paul, MN - Several thousand protesters took the streets here, Jan. 19 to reclaim the Martin Luther King Day holiday and proclaim that “Black lives matter.” The family of Marcus Golden, killed by Saint Paul police on Jan. 14, carried the lead banner for the march. Protesters attempts to take over I-94 were thwarted by 30 State Patrol squad cars.</p> Police Brutality African-American Marcus Golden Police Brutality In-Justice System Tue, 20 Jan 2015 00:18:52 +0000 Fight Back 4566 at Corrupt Jacksonville police union president pleads guilty in corruption case <p>Jacksonville, FL – Despite pleading guilty to several charges in a federal racketeering investigation, Nelson Cuba, the former president of the Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), will spend no time behind bars. On Jan. 6, Cuba pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor and two third-degree felonies for his role in an illegal $300 million gambling operation. Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester sentenced Cuba to one year of house arrest and a mere four years of probation, in addition to imposing several fines.</p> <p>Cuba was one of 57 public officials, business owners and attorneys arrested in March 2013 for operating an illegal network of store front casinos and ‘internet cafes’ used exclusively for gambling. The operations’ stated purpose was to generate funds for a Florida-based charity called Allied Veterans of the World. Federal investigators found that of the $300 million raised by the casinos, only $6 million - about 2% - went to the actual charity.</p> <p>Cuba, along with other police officials, used police union bank accounts at BBVA Compass and Bank of America to launder $420,000 in revenue from the internet cafes that they owned and operated. While Cuba originally faced additional racketeering and money laundering charges, prosecutors dropped most of his charges before striking a plea bargain that included no jail or prison time.</p> <h3>The criminal injustice system lets cops off the hook</h3> <p>The announcement of Nelson Cuba's light sentence comes amid national outrage over two grand jury decisions to not indict white police officers for the murder of two Black men. In November, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri chose to not indict Darren Wilson for the murder of 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown. Just days later, a New York grand jury also declined to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner to death. Both injustices prompted nationwide protests against police brutality and the racist criminal injustice system.</p> <p>In Jacksonville, police arrested 19 protesters on the order of Sheriff John Rutherford for obstructing traffic. Dubbed the 'Jacksonville 19' by activists and local media, the protesters slowed traffic on the Hart Bridge during rush hour traffic to demand justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown.</p> <p>Although the police sergeant on duty said that the protesters would receive written citations and verbal warnings, Rutherford ordered the police to arrest the entire demonstration. Jacksonville State Attorney Angela Corey continues to pursue charges against the Jacksonville 19.</p> <h3>Disgraced police union president was a close ally of Angela Corey</h3> <p>Although the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) calls itself a union, it actually operates to protect police from facing justice for racism, brutality and corruption. It also acts as a private organization for the police to leverage their political muscle and push racist policies through local and state government.</p> <p>One of the main political objectives of the FOP in Jacksonville was putting Angela Corey in the State Attorney's office. Corey gained nationwide infamy for her botched prosecution of George Zimmerman, the racist vigilante who killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. Activists in Jacksonville have called for her resignation because of her disproportionate prosecution of African Americans, particularly Black youth. In the entire state of Florida from 2006 to 2011, 52% of the male juvenile offenders tried as adults were African American, while white male juveniles comprised only 25% of those tried as adults. These inequalities alone are staggering, but in Corey's Fourth Judicial District during the same period, African American males comprised 70% of all juvenile offenders tried as adults, while white males comprised just 18%, according to an April 2014 report by Human Rights Watch.</p> <p>In Jacksonville, the FOP under Nelson Cuba worked hard to put Angela Corey in the State Attorney's office. A deposition taken during a public records lawsuit that Corey filed in 2008 against then-State Attorney Harry Shorstein revealed, by their own admission, that Cuba and the FOP had decided to back Corey for the office in 2004. They offered Shorstein their endorsement in the 2004 election in exchange for his backing of Corey for State Attorney in 2008. Shorstein agreed, but broke the agreement by firing Corey shortly after he won re-election.</p> <p>During the 2008 Fourth Circuit state attorney election, the Jacksonville FOP endorsed Corey and held political rallies on her behalf. Corey appeared at numerous campaign functions with Cuba and other Jacksonville FOP officials. In pure campaign donations alone, at least 10% of the $534,507.75 raised by Corey's campaign came from police officers or their families in 2008. Of the 504 donations from Jacksonville police and associated persons, about 43.1% were in amounts of $100 or more. Corey won the 2008 state attorney election with 64.38% of the vote; only about 12% of people in Jacksonville voted.</p> <p>Corey also reaped substantial contributions from BBVA Compass bank, which made 15 separate donations to her campaign totaling $7469.13 starting in 2007. In federal depositions from the Allied Veterans racketeering case, prosecutors noted that Cuba primarily laundered money from his gambling ring through accounts set up at BBVA Compass, totaling $464,295.</p> <p>Many community activists in Jacksonville have noted the close connection between corporate donors to Corey's campaign, like BBVA Compass, and the FOP. They say this further highlights the nature of the police as a tool of the banks and corporations to repress the people.</p> Police Brutality Angela Corey Nelson Cuba In-Justice System Sun, 18 Jan 2015 04:47:58 +0000 Fight Back 4565 at