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 Parents of Jesse Romero angered by LAPD Police Commission decisions <p>Los Angeles - Chants like, “Fire Chief Beck,” flooded the packed Police Commission meeting at Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) headquarters today, July 25.</p> <p>Teresa Dominguez and Jesus Romero, parents of late 14-year-old Jesse Romero, killed by the LAPD Feb. 6, 2016, attended their first LAPD Police Commission meeting. The commission wound up justifying the use of deadly force by LAPD in both Kenney Watkins and Jesse Romero cases and ruling the killings within policy.</p> <p>Romero’s parents were joined by Centro Community Service Organization (CSO) members Luis Sifuentes, Carlos Montes, Sol Marquez, Estela Rodriguez and Josefina Rizo, along with Black Lives Matter-LA, Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, and the families of the late Jose Mendez, Edwin Rodriguez, and Carlos Oliva.</p> <p>“It angered me to see Chief Beck not even offer his personal sympathies,” says Teresa Dominguez. “I couldn’t contain my anger, frustration and lack of trust in police officers because of their decision.”</p> <p>Repeatedly activists and family members demanded answers from Chief Beck and Commissioner Matt Johnson. And repeatedly Chief Beck and the commission reacted defiantly, twice forcing the meeting into recess, with the commission president threatening to end it.</p> <p>During public comment, Teresa Dominguez spoke and demanded justice for her son. On behalf of Centro CSO, Carlos Montes denounced six police killings by LAPD Hollenbeck station in Boyle Heights, calling it a human rights violation. Montes demanded Chief Beck, “Clean up the Hollenbeck Station of Police assassins.”</p> <p>In addition to the Police Commission meeting, Teresa Dominguez and Jesus Romero and a delegation attended the LA city council meeting, attempting to speak with Boyle Heights Councilmember Jose Huizar and Mayor Eric Garcetti. Neither were available according to staff, but the parents warned they will be following up with appointments.</p> <p>“I made sure to let the staff of Boyle Heights area Councilmember Jose Huizar know who I was and gave them my personal cellphone number,” says Teresa Dominguez. “He might not schedule a meeting with us, but I’m not waiting for a call. Instead, I’m going to be calling, he won’t be able to ignore us anymore.”</p> <p>The families are all calling for an independent investigation of LAPD Hollenbeck police station by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Alarming killings and brutality include: Five Boyle Heights, young, Chicanos who were killed in 2016 by LAPD Hollenbeck; the Feb. 16 tasing of Carlos “Charlie” Gonzalez by LAPD - ultimately causing his death; the shooting and killing March 26 of Fred Barragan by LAPD at the Soto metro station in Boyle Heights; and the shooting of Pedro Echeverria on June 8. Echeverria is 18 years old and had graduated from Central High School the day before he was shot. His shooting occurred at 3 p.m. on a neighbor’s front yard. He was shot four times by LAPD, but survived due to intervention by a neighbor yelling at cops to stop shooting him.</p> <p>Centro CSO is pushing for unity and support from neighborhoods in Boyle Heights and East LA, along with families affected by LAPD and LA Sheriffs’ violence. </p> <p>“These killings are unfortunately not anything new for Chicanos and Latinos,” says Sol Marquez of Centro CSO. “We have so much work to do in winning justice for these families, and even going beyond these particular cases – we still need to obtain total freedom from national oppression.”</p> <p>CSO and the families plan on attending the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council meeting on July 26, where they hope to obtain even more support from local leaders. CSO members plan on marching in the National Night Out on August 1 - which is annually hosted by the LAPD. Centro CSO is asking families and activists in California to contact them about their local police killings, and unite in a statewide network against police killings. </p> <p>Contact Cento CSO at <a href=""></a> or 323-943-2030 or at <a href="" title=""></a>.</p> People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-racism Centro CSO (Community Service Organization) Chican@ / Latin@ Immigrant Rights In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Poor People's Movements Fri, 28 Jul 2017 05:33:49 +0000 Fight Back 6220 at Tucson to tell Trump: Hands off Venezuela! <p>Tucson, AZ - The Tucson Anti-War Committee has called for an emergency rally on Thursday July 27, at 5 p.m. at the Federal Building located at 300 W Congress Street. This is organized to tell the Trump administration and U.S. Senators like Marco Rubio: “Hands off Venezuela! No sanctions!”</p> <p>The U.S. sanctions come as a threat to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's call for a Constituent Assembly as a popular, democratic means to end the months-long right-wing opposition violence and destruction. </p> <p>For more info visit the Tucson Anti-War Committee page on Facebook</p> People's Struggles Capitalism and Economy Socialism Americas Venezuela Venezuela Poor People's Movements Thu, 27 Jul 2017 02:21:55 +0000 Fight Back 6219 at Stand with Rasmea at her sentencing August 17 <p><em>Fight Back News Service is following statement from the Rasmea Defense Committee, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and U.S. Palestinian Community Network.</em></p> <p>The Rasmea Defense Committee, Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and U.S. Palestinian Community Network are urging everyone to join us in Detroit, August 17, to show our love and support for Rasmea at her sentencing in federal court. The will be her last court appearance and Rasmea is planning to make a statement.</p> <p>The plea agreement that has already been reached states that Rasmea will not get additional jail time – but she will have to leave the U.S. </p> <p>Given the near daily attacks on Rasmea in the right-wing and pro-Israeli media, we expect that a fair amount of attention will be focused on the sentencing. It is critical that the courtroom be filled with her supporters.</p> <p>WHEN: Thursday, August 17, at 1:30 PM Eastern Time (rally at 1:30 PM, hearing starts at 3 PM)</p> <p>WHERE: U.S. District Court, 231 W. Lafayette Blvd., downtown Detroit, Michigan</p> People's Struggles #FreeRasmeaNow #Justice4Rasmea Political Prisoners Political Repression Rasmea Odeh Racism in the Criminal Justice System Women's Movement Immigrant Rights In-Justice System Poor People's Movements Wed, 26 Jul 2017 22:38:21 +0000 Fight Back 6218 at Jacksonville activists demand police accountability at city council <p>Jacksonville, FL - Almost two dozen members of the Jacksonville Community Action Committee (JCAC) spoke at the city council meeting July 25 in favor of police accountability.</p> <p>The newly launched JCAC is fighting for a Jacksonville Police Accountability Council (JPAC) designed to provide real community control of a currently out of control law enforcement agency. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office (JSO) has committed numerous offenses against working-class Black people over the past few years. These police crimes include the murder of the unarmed Vernell Bing Jr. last year and the murder of unarmed Selwyn Hall earlier this year.</p> <p>More recently, JSO made national headlines when Devonte Shipman and another Black man were stopped by JSO officer J. S. Bolen for crossing the street. Bolen harassed and racially profiled Shipman, asking him about weapons and drugs, but he knew his rights. Shipman was issued two tickets by the corrupt officer, one for jaywalking and another for driving with a suspended license, even though he was clearly walking and not driving. Due to public pressure, JSO dropped the suspended license ticket.</p> <p>It's clear that Jacksonville, like many other cities in the U.S., needs a mechanism for police accountability. The JCAC vowed to continue fighting for community control of the police as a step forward in the fight against racism and national oppression.</p> <p>JCAC organizer Joshua Parks said, "We need JPAC because historically, the police have never been held accountable to Black, brown and poor communities. The only way to gain accountability is to empower our communities to gain control over the institutions that they pay for with taxes and affect their lives."</p> Police Brutality Jacksonville Community Action Committee Jacksonville Police Accountability Council JCAC JPAC JSO Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:46:52 +0000 Fight Back 6217 at Step forward in Chicago fight for special education <p>Chicago, IL - Teachers and parents fighting Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s attacks on public education scored a concession from the city. In April, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) fired Sarah Chambers, the teacher who chairs the Special Education Task Force for the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU). The fightback to this latest attack got the administration to end a budgeting practice implemented last year known as “comingling.”</p> <p>CPS commingled the special education and general education school budgeting to hide substantial cuts in special ed. In addition to at least $85 million in cuts, CPS Central Office held back 4% of each school’s special ed funds for an appeals process - one that was proven to be racist, as predominantly white schools were granted the appeal while African American and Latino dominant schools were not.</p> <p>According to the Principals’ Association, 95% of principals surveyed preferred when the budgets were un-commingled and 71% said that they couldn’t meet the needs of their students in this fashion. CPS has a history of delaying and denying students with special needs their federal and state civil rights.</p> <p>The CTU Task Force, made up of organizations, teachers and community activists, fought for the duration of the 2016-2017 school year to un-commingle these funds. Throughout the course of the academic year, the Task Force held six Teacher and Parent Know Your Rights Trainings; held protests at city hall, the Board of Education, and Network Level Offices for CPS; and attended and spoke at almost every school board meeting. Through this united effort, CPS announced July 20 that the Special Education and General Education funds were no longer going to be commingled.</p> <p>Co-chair of the Special Education Task Force, teacher Natasha Carlson stated: “While this a victory for our students with special needs as we now have more transparency on CPS’ investment in our most vulnerable population, we still must continue to fight to get our special education students the education they deserve from CPS.”</p> People's Struggles chicago CTU Labor teachers Teachers Unions Labor Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:29:49 +0000 Fight Back 6216 at ATU bus drivers shut down west Michigan politicians <p>Grand Rapids, Michigan - Upset they still do not have a union contract after two years, ATU Local 836 bus drivers forced west Michigan politicians to end a press conference early. Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalyn Bliss, a Democrat, and several suburban mayors are refusing to negotiate a union contract with the bus drivers that serve their communities.</p> <p>Joined by a spokeswoman for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, the politicians were there to “celebrate the environment” with new buses that use compressed natural gas from fracking.</p> <p>A group of ATU bus drivers and their supporters held signs reading, “No contract! No millage!” and “ATU bus drivers deserve a contract!” Then, joined by young people, they marched to the front of the podium and started chanting “Shut it down!” This brought the press conference to an end.</p> <p>A leaflet at the protest read “Vote no on the Rapid millage on Nov. 7.”</p> <p>The leaflet continued, “In 2011 voters barely approved a millage request that substantially raised their taxes by over $15 million, passing by a mere 136 votes. Most of this tax increase was used to pay for the wasteful Silver Line system, a system that mimics a route that already exists (Route 1 on Division) at a cost to tax payers of $40 million dollars.”</p> <p>The union bus drivers point out that two free bus lines in Grand Rapids only serve college students and the downtown portion of the Silver Line, while working people must pay for bus service everywhere else.</p> <p>The ATU bus drivers want to see public funds invested in the workers instead of giveaways to big energy companies and construction firms. The transit board is using new Michigan right-to-work laws in the attempt to break their union.</p> People's Struggles Grand Rapids Labor Michigan Labor Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:19:56 +0000 Fight Back 6215 at PFLP Prison Branch: We urge the formation of a national leadership to lead the open struggle with the occupation <p>May the Jerusalem uprising spread throughout the nation and confront the next stage</p> <p>Our steadfast people in Jerusalem, our eternal capital...</p> <p>Salutes to you as you continue the process of uprising and sacrifice with a revolutionary spirit and continuous escalation and confrontation of the occupation’s aggression and resistance. The occupation has turned the city into a closed military barracks, but you have consistently confronted these actions and the systematic and open war on Jerusalem through which the occupation tries to cement its control and imposition of facts on the ground. You have challenged the most recent actions of the fascist occupation, coming in the wake of the heroic operation in the area of Al-Aqsa, including the installation of electronic gates at the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque. We are certain that you will break these gates and you will continue your heroic struggle in which you prove to the occupation and its fascist government, to the enemies, the conspirators, the occupiers, the reactionary regimes, that you are the children of Jerusalem and that you hold fast to its holy sites and its Arab identity.</p> <p>To the masses of the Palestinian people in the homeland and diaspora…</p> <p>In light of the rapid developments in Jerusalem which indicate a new phase of comprehensive popular uprising, and in order to support the pillars of this growing popular struggle, we in the PFLP prison branch inside the occupation prisons emphasize the following:</p> <p>1) We salute the martyrs of the “Day of Rage,” who today rose up in defense of Jerusalem (the martyrs Mohammed Mahmoud Khalaf, Mohammed Abu Ghannam and Mohammed Mahmoud Sharaf)</p> <p>2) The blood of the martyrs, which runs in the streets and alleys of Palestine and the squares of Jerusalem, will not be wasted. In this context, we urge the organization of marches and symbolic gatherings in all of the streets of Palestine to commemorate the martyrs and praise their struggle and to emphasize the continuity of resistance and intifada on the road to return and liberation.</p> <p>3) We salute the heroism of our people in Jerusalem and their steadfastness in the face of the systematic oppression and war waged by the occupation against them. We also express our pride in the masses of the Palestinian people in the villages, cities, refugee camps and in the diaspora who today defend Jerusalem and its people, especially the masses of our people in the West Bank, Gaza and our people in the occupied homeland of ’48 who have given birth to these great strugglers, emphasizing the unity of the land, the people and our destiny.</p> <p>4) We urgently call for the formation of a unified national leadership to manage the open struggle with the occupation and to elevate the level of popular struggle and action in the context of a unified framework to mobilize the energies of our people, especially in light of the lack of legitimacy of the present official leadership.</p> <p>5) We call to continue the days of anger throughout the week in support of our people in Jerusalem and to defend its holy sites and embody the slogan of continued intifada and resistance.</p> <p>6) In the framework of current developments, we urge Palestinian national efforts to end the division and restore national unity as an urgent necessity on the basis of a formulation of a program of national struggle. This means a complete break with the Oslo Accords, its symbols and its security, economic and political commitments, first and foremost, security coordination.</p> <p>7) We call on the military branches of the resistance factions to unify their action and escalate the resistance against the occupation, its military sites, positions and settlements in the West Bank and Gaza to carry out qualitative operations to support the intifada and the steadfastness of our people in Jerusalem and direct messages of fire that make it clear to the occupation that the resistance is present and able to respond even in the most difficult moments.</p> <p>8) We call on Palestinian media and satellite channels to cover the reality of what is happening in Palestine, especially in Jerusalem, and to publish and document the crimes of the occupation and put the struggle of our people against Zionist terror in Palestine before the eyes of the world.</p> <p>9) We call on the Arab masses to rally around the cause of Palestine and our people in Jerusalem and their holy sites, and to take to the public squares to uphold the cause of Palestine and rehabilitate it as a priority on the agenda of the Arab nation.</p> <p>To our masses….</p> <p>There is no voice above the voice of Jerusalem. There is no voice above that of Al-Aqsa and the holy sites. There is no voice above that of the martyr, the prisoner and the wounded. There is no voice above the voice of intifada and resistance. Come to the fields of struggle and sacrifice to defend the Arab and Palestinian identity of Jerusalem!</p> <p>Glory to the martyrs and victory is inevitable!</p> <p>The leadership of the PFLP branch in Israeli Jails<br /> Friday, July 21</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Middle East Palestine Palestine Poor People's Movements Mon, 24 Jul 2017 20:25:16 +0000 Fight Back 6214 at Minneapolis rallies against ‘Endless U.S. Wars’ <p>Minneapolis, MN - In response to the ever-escalating series of U.S. wars and interventions around the world, over 60 people joined a Minneapolis anti-war protest on July 22.</p> <p>Korean American Sharon Chung told the crowd, “Since taking office, President Trump has engaged in dangerous saber-rattling, including threats of preemptive, unilateral action. In further escalation, the Trump administration announced just yesterday a ban on U.S. travel to north Korea."</p> <p>The protest was organized under the call of Say No to Endless U.S. Wars. The event was initiated by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC).</p> <p>A statement issued by MPAC says in part, “The Trump administration is carrying out a stealth escalation of U.S. wars and interventions around the world. More U.S. troops are being sent to Afghanistan, there are threats of a new Korean war, more drone strikes in Somalia and threats of escalations in Syria and Iraq.”</p> <p>The statement went on to say, "In recent weeks we have seen new war threats against Korea, U.S. Special Operations Forces being sent to the Philippines, escaping bombing in Iraq and Syria, and discussion of plans to sending thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan."</p> <p>"It urgent that all opposed these wars and interventions speak out," the statement continued.</p> <p>Speakers included representatives from several of the endorsing organizations.</p> <p>Lucia Wilkes Smith of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) said, "WAMM sees the connection between U.S. killing abroad and in the streets and alleyways of our cities and towns."</p> <p>Jennie Eisertt, of the Anti-War Committee stated, “It’s important that we keep showing up to say no to endless war and occupation. It’s important to know that regardless of who’s in office this is what will keep happening because of U.S. imperialism. It makes me proud to know that we are on the other side speaking out against them and their atrocities. “</p> <p>Organizations that endorsed the protest included Anti-War Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Mayday Books, St. Joan of Arc Peacemakers, Socialist Action, Socialist Party (USA) Students for a Democratic Society (UMN), Twin Cities Metro, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, and Women Against Military Madness.</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement anti-war minneapolis Minnesota Sun, 23 Jul 2017 23:12:35 +0000 Fight Back 6213 at St. Paul protest demands end to U.S. aid to Israel <p>St. Paul, MN - 20 people rallied in here July 21 to demand an end to U.S. aid to Israel. Organized by Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) and the Anti-War Committee (AWC), the protest began with the echo of chants, “From the river to the sea; Palestine will be free,” and “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Aid to Israel has got to go!”</p> <p>The rally was held at a busy rush hour intersection and the honks from passing vehicles, especially trucks, demonstrated a high level of support from the community. Speakers detailed both the enormous sums of money that the U.S. government has given Israel, and the results of that aid.</p> <p>The U.S. has given $234 billion in aid to Israel since 1948 for the occupation of Palestine, with another $38 billion in American aid to Israel in the pipeline for the next ten years. What has been purchased with this aid? As Sara Olson from WAMM noted, “Israel has become a human rights pariah around the world in its effort to eradicate the Palestinian people from their ancient homeland.” She further stated the “Palestinians live under an apartheid system,” which the worldwide Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement is resisting.</p> <p>Christine Hauschildt from the AWC spoke of her visit to Palestine, emphasizing the militaristic nature of the Israeli occupation saying, “Billions of your hard-earned tax dollars fund military aggression,” and “Young Israeli soldiers strapped with automatic weapons stop Palestinians, question them, search them, and harass them.” She noted that as the protest in Saint Paul was happening, escalating Israeli attempts to impose apartheid control over the Al-Aqsa mosque prompted thousands of Palestinians to protest in Jerusalem and across Palestine.</p> <p>Simultaneously, in response to a call from Palestinians, thousands more across the world were protesting these brutal encroachments by Israel. This context added a real feeling of solidarity to the protest in Saint Paul and to the demand, “End U.S. aid to Israel!”</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement anti-war Israel Palestine Sun, 23 Jul 2017 23:09:15 +0000 Fight Back 6212 at Minneapolis anti-police terror movement shuts down Mayor Hodges press conference <p>Minneapolis, MN - On July 21, 150 people gathered together at Loring Park for a demonstration demanding justice for Justine Damond, who was murdered by the Minneapolis Police Department. The demo was held in spite of an announcement the same day that Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau would resign and Assistant Police Chief Medaria Arradondo would take her place.</p> <p>At 6 p.m. the “Solidarity March: Justice for Victims of Police Violence” began. It was hosted by members of community groups, such as Active Resistance 14, Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Native Lives Matter Grassroots, New North, and Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar. Activists gave speeches, and then proceeded to march down Hennepin Avenue towards the Minneapolis City Hall.</p> <p>Upon arriving at city hall activists voiced concerns that the mayor’s press conference was moved. It was scheduled to take place live on the city hall steps where Hodges would talk about the resignation of Chief Janee Harteau and appointment of Assistant Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. As anger spread through the crowd, chants of “No justice, no peace,” “Justice for Justine,” and “Indict, convict, send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell,” rang out.</p> <p>The crowd then moved from the front steps to the back entry. Finding all entries locked, they continued chanting.</p> <p>As a press person walked up and tried to enter the building, the crowd then grew angry again. The press person was directed into another entry and began sprinting to enter. The crowd then began sprinting after him. But they were again locked out.</p> <p>The Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar began the call for entry and the crowd split to cover both entries. In the back, the crowd encountered three Minneapolis police officers and demanded to be let into the press conference. As the encounter progressed, the police began to retreat, during which additional press was let into the building. As the door opened, the crowd led by the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar entered the back doors and into the city hall rotunda. Security code calls and alarms began echoing in the rotunda. They crowd celebrated their victory and then began organizing to bring the other half of the group into city hall.</p> <p>Upon both groups converging, they proceeded up to the third floor where the Mayor Hodges press conference was taking place behind closed doors. The crowd burst into the room packed full of local, national and international press live-broadcasting Betsy Hodges’ explanation of Janee Harteau’s forced resignation.</p> <p>John Thompson, Philando Castile’s friend and member of the New North, began the disruption of Hodges speech. Although Hodges persisted, the community overpowered her speech with chants of “Bye, bye, Betsy,” as more community members streamed into the room. Staff members then began trying to block the door but the community would not be stopped, despite the pushing and shoving.</p> <p>Mayor Hodges was forced to retreat from the press conference and the community then took over the podium and began to hold a People’s Press Conference. John Thompson began speaking on the inequities of the police system. He was followed by Chauntyll Allen from Black Lives Matter Twin Cities who reiterated the call for Betsy Hodges’ resignation, and Michelle Gross from Communities United Against Police Brutality spoke addressing the ineffectiveness of body cams and poor police oversight.</p> <p>Sam Sanchez from the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar spoke, “The people are tired of not being listened to. Body cams that aren’t turned on after all our tax dollars were wasted on them. We can’t even get the police officers to have self-insurance.”</p> <p>Sanchez continued, “It is time for the community to take back this building. It is time to take back control of the Fourth Precinct and turn it back into a recreation center! It is time for the community to take control of the police, not bullshit control, not no half-ass control! We are not going to beg city council for what we want, we are going to take it directly. We want hiring, we want firing power, we want control of the contract! We want removal of white supremacist Police Federation President Bob Kroll. We want those killer cops sent to jail and we are going to get that via community control. All power to the people.”</p> <p>After the People’s Press Conference ended community groups then held a rally outside on the City Hall front steps. After the rally, they then marched back to Loring park arriving around 9 p.m.</p> People's Struggles Police Brutality minneapolis Minnesota Police Brutality Sun, 23 Jul 2017 23:04:28 +0000 Fight Back 6211 at