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 Madison rally to ‘Unite Against Fascism’ derails far right protesters http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/15/madison-rally-unite-against-fascism-derails-far-right-protesters <p>Madison, WI - On January 12, members of local progressive organizations joined forces at Wisconsin's capitol for a rally to unite against fascism and alt-right movements.</p> <p>Organizers met at the foot of the capitol building to show a strong front against a “We the People” rally planned for the same time by several far-right groups, including the 3% United Patriots.</p> <p>The far-right organizers met under the guise of support for the Second Amendment and in opposition of proposed ‘red flag gun laws’ by the new administration of Tony Evers.</p> <p>While the fascist rally ended two hours early and had a much smaller turnout than expected, the counter-protest of People United against Fascism grew in numbers and volume over time with peak attendance numbering around 250 people.</p> <p>After confronting the 3% United Patriots and their supporters at the top of State Street, the anti-fascist counter-demonstrators slowly and steadily climbed the capitol steps with loud and determined chants, such as “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!” Despite initially being blocked by a line of police, the group successfully reached the top of the hill within a few hours.</p> <p>Once there, the chants stopped in time for several representatives from the various groups to make impassioned statements on the victory of the counter-protest for the community that day.</p> <p>Continued mass actions such as this are key in the fight against the spread of xenophobia, racism, outright bigotry and the far right.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/15/madison-rally-unite-against-fascism-derails-far-right-protesters#comments People's Struggles anti-fascism Anti-fascism Wed, 16 Jan 2019 02:59:14 +0000 Fight Back 7193 at http://www.fightbacknews.org First day of ground-shaking UTLA strike http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/15/first-day-ground-shaking-utla-strike <p>Los Angeles, CA - At 6 a.m., January 14, over 50 teachers, students, parents and supporters joined the picket line at Breed Street Elementary. Breed Street Elementary, in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, is under attack by the mega-charter corporation Kipp Charter. Kipp Charter is trying to build a new charter school only one block away from Breed Street.</p> <p>Pouring rain and wind didn't seem to bother the angry and determined group. Centro CSO activists joined the teachers, chanting and helping to stop cars trying to enter school.</p> <p>Chanting, “Austin Beutner, you can't hide! We can see your greedy side!” “What do we want! Fair contract! When do we want it? Now!” and “Whose schools? Our schools! What kind of schools? Public schools!” Two picket lines blocked both entrances at Breed Street Elementary.</p> <p>“We arrived at 5 a.m.,” says Letty Navarrette, a Breed Street Elementary public-school teacher for over 22 years. “We arrived that early hoping to block the principal and support staff from entering. Unfortunately, they beat us, so tomorrow we plan on starting the picket line even earlier!”</p> <p>Breed Street Elementary is co-located with Extera, another charter school corporation, so two different picket lines were held. On the Breed Street side, a standoff between an Extera bus carrying food and UTLA picketers resulted in the Los Angeles Police Department attempting to escort the bus into the school. The picket line did not break.</p> <p>“On our side, the Chicago Street side, we had our standoff with two parents in two vehicles,” says Jaime Bermudez (known by his students as Mr. B), a teacher at Breed Street Elementary for 29 years. “We held our picket line for 20 minutes! Extera sent a charter goon to try to get us to move. We didn’t, and we won't!”</p> <p>The picket at Breed Street will continue for the duration of the strike, beginning from 7 a.m. and ending at 9 a.m. Centro CSO will continue joining teachers at Breed Street Elementary.</p> <p>After the picket line in the morning, UTLA teachers from around the district met at Grand Park for a large rally and march. They demonstrated an unwavering determination to strike for a better union contract and better schools in Los Angeles. Almost 30,000 people joined the rally. They marched through pouring cold rain through downtown Los Angeles. For over a mile the huge crowd stomped through puddles and potholes until the massive crowd finished at Beaudry Street - at the LAUSD headquarters. There thousands protested the LAUSD and new superintendent Austin Beutner for the attacks on public education.</p> <p>Superintendent Beutner and school board members like Monica Garcia are backed by charter school corporations and facilitating the privatization efforts of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Teachers chanting, “Down with privatization! Up with public education!” vowed to continue with the strike, rain or shine. Among their demands are fully-funded and staffed public schools with lower class sizes, ahalt to growth of charter schools, less testing and more staffing of counselors, librarians, nurses and teachers, and fair wages.</p> <p>In places like Boyle Heights and East LA, the demands include a defense of public education. In the last few years, charters have increased by 25%. Scrutinizing charter growth in other cities like New Orleans - which recently announced that it no longer has any public schools, only private and charter schools - UTLA is demanding a cap on charters.</p> <p>In Boyle Heights, there is a fight against KIPP Promesa Charter opening a new school that will massively disrupt the students and teachers at schools like Breed Street, 2nd Street and Soto Street Elementary. Centro CSO will continue to picket with Breed Street Elementary.</p> <p>Support the UTLA strike! Support public education!</p> <p>You can help protect public education in LA donating to the lawsuit against the KIPP here: GoFundMe.com/HelpCentroCSO</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/15/first-day-ground-shaking-utla-strike#comments People's Struggles Los Angeles strikes teachers Teachers Unions UTLA Labor Tue, 15 Jan 2019 17:20:43 +0000 Fight Back 7192 at http://www.fightbacknews.org 100th anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/15/100th-anniversary-murder-rosa-luxemburg <p>The following is an excerpt from Rosa Luxemburg’s work <em>Reform or Revolution</em>. Luxemburg, an outstanding leader in the world socialist movement, was murdered by German counter-revolutionaries in Berlin on January 15, 1919.</p> <p><strong>Capitalism and the State</strong></p> <p>The second condition of the gradual realization of socialism is according to Bernstein, the evolution of the State in society. It has become a commonplace to say that the present State is a class State. This, too, like referring to capitalist society, should not be understood in a rigorous absolute manner, but dialectically.</p> <p>The State became capitalist with the political victory of the bourgeoisie. Capitalist development modifies essentially the nature of the State, widening its sphere of action, constantly imposing on it new functions (especially those affecting economic life), making more and more necessary its intervention and control in society. In this sense, capitalist development prepares little by little the future fusion of the State to society. It prepares, so to say, the return of the function of the state to society. Following this line of thought, one can speak of an evolution of the capitalist State into society, and it is undoubtedly what Marx had in mind when he referred to labor legislation as the first conscious intervention of “society” in the vital social process, a phrase upon which Bernstein leans heavily.</p> <p>But on the other hand, the same capitalist development realizes another transformation in the nature of the State. The present State is, first of all, an organization of the ruling class. It assumes functions favoring social developments specifically because, and in the measure that, these interests and social developments coincide, in a general fashion, with the interests of the dominant class. Labor legislation is enacted as much in the immediate interest of the capitalist class as in the interest of society in general. But this harmony endures only up to a certain point of capitalist development. When capitalist development has reached a certain level, the interests of the bourgeoisie, as a class, and the needs of economic progress begin to clash even in the capitalist sense. We believe that this phase has already begun. It shows itself in two extremely important phenomena of contemporary social life: on the one hand, the policy of tariff barriers, and on the other, militarism. These two phenomena have played an indispensable, and in that sense a progressive and revolutionary role in the history of capitalism. Without tariff protection the development of large industry would have been impossible in several countries. But now the situation is different.</p> <p>At present, protection does not serve so much to develop young industry as to maintain artificially certain aged forms of production.</p> <p>From the angle of capitalist development, that is, from the point of view of world economy, it matters little whether Germany exports more merchandise into England or England exports more merchandise into Germany. From the viewpoint of this development it may be said that the blackamoor has done his work and it is time for him to go his way. Given the condition of reciprocal dependence in which the various branches of industry find themselves, a protectionist tariff on any commodity necessarily results in raising the cost of production of other commodities inside the country. It therefore impedes industrial development. But this is not so from the viewpoint of the interests of the capitalist class. While industry does not need tariff barriers for its development, the entrepreneurs need tariffs to protect their markets. This signifies that at present tariffs no longer serve as a means of protecting a developing capitalist section against a more advanced section. They are now the arm used by one national group of capitalists against another group. Furthermore, tariffs are no longer necessary as an instrument of protection for industry in its movement to create and conquer the home market. They are now indispensable means for the cartelisation of industry, that is, means used in the struggle of capitalist producers against consuming society in the aggregate. What brings out in an emphatic manner the specific character of contemporary customs policies is the fact that today not industry, but agriculture plays the predominant role in the making of tariffs. The policy of customs protection has become a tool for converting and expressing the feudal interests in capitalist form.</p> <p>The same change has taken place in militarism. If we consider history as it was – not as it could have been or should have been – we must agree that war has been an indispensable feature of capitalist development. The United States, Germany, Italy, the Balkan States, Poland, all owe the condition or the rise of their capitalist development to wars, whether resulting in victory or defeat. As long as there were countries marked by internal political division or economic isolation which had to be destroyed, militarism played a revolutionary role, considered from the viewpoint of capitalism. But at present the situation is different. If world politics have become the stage of menacing conflicts, it is not so much a question of the opening of new countries to capitalism. It is a question of already existing European antagonisms, which, transported into other lands, have exploded there. The armed opponents we see today in Europe and on other continents do not range themselves as capitalist countries on one side and backward countries on the other. They are States pushed to war especially as a result of their similarly advanced capitalist development. In view of this, an explosion is certain to be fatal to this development, in the sense that it must provoke an extremely profound disturbance and transformation of economic life in all countries.</p> <p>However, the matter appears entirely different when considered from the standpoint of the capitalist class. For the latter militarism has become indispensable. First, as a means of struggle for the defence of “national” interests in competition against other “national” groups. Second, as a method of placement for financial and industrial capital. Third, as an instrument of class domination over the labouring population inside the country. In themselves, these interests have nothing in common with the development of the capitalist mode of production. What demonstrates best the specific character of present day militarism is the fact that it develops generally in all countries as an effect, so to speak, of its own internal, mechanical, motive power, a phenomenon that was completely unknown several decades ago. We recognise this in the fatal character of the impending explosion which is inevitable in spite of the complete impending explosion which is inevitable in spite of the complete indecisiveness of the objectives and motives of the conflict. From a motor of capitalist development militarism has changed into a capitalist malady.</p> <p>In the clash between capitalist development and the interest of the dominant class, the State takes a position alongside of the latter. Its policy, like that of the bourgeoisie, comes into conflict with social development. It thus loses more and more of its character as a representative of the whole of society and is transformed, at the same rate into a pure class state. Or, to speak more exactly, these two qualities distinguish themselves more from each other and find themselves in a contradictory relation in the very nature of the State. This contradiction becomes progressively sharper. For on one hand, we have the growth of the functions of a general interest on the part of the State, its intervention in social life, its “control” over society. But on the other hand, its class character obliges the State to move the pivot of its activity and its means of coercion more and more into domains which are useful only to the class character of the bourgeoisie and have for society as a whole only a negative importance, as in the case of militarism and tariff and colonial policies. Moreover, the “social control” exercised by this State is at the same time penetrated with and dominated by its class character (see how labour legislation is applied in all countries).</p> <p>The extension of democracy, which Bernstein sees as a means of realising socialism by degrees, does not contradict but, on the contrary, corresponds perfectly to the transformation realised in the nature of the State.</p> <p>Konrad Schmidt declares that the conquest of a social-democratic majority in Parliament leads directly to the gradual “socialisation” of society. Now, the democratic forms of political life are without a question a phenomenon expressing clearly the evolution of the State in society. They constitute, to that extent, a move toward a socialist transformation. But the conflict within the capitalist State, described above, manifests itself even more emphatically in modern parliamentarism. Indeed, in accordance with its form, parliamentarism serves to express, within the organisation of the State, the interests of the whole society. But what parliamentarism expresses here is capitalist society, that is to say, a society in which capitalist interests predominate. In this society, the representative institutions, democratic in form, are in content the instruments of the interests of the ruling class. This manifests itself in a tangible fashion in the fact that as soon as democracy shows the tendency to negate its class character and become transformed into an instrument of the real interests of the population, the democratic forms are sacrificed by the bourgeoisie, and by its State representatives. That is why the idea of the conquest of a parliamentary reformist majority is a calculation which, entirely in the spirit of bourgeois liberalism, pre-occupies itself only with one side – the formal side – of democracy, but does not take into account the other side, its real content. All in all, parliamentarism is not a directly socialist element impregnating gradually the whole capitalist society. It is, on the contrary, a specific form of the bourgeois class State, helping to ripen and develop the existing antagonisms of capitalism.</p> <p>In the light of the history of the objective development of the State, Bernstein’s and Konrad Schmidt’s belief that increased “social control” results in the direct introduction of socialism is transformed into a formula that finds itself from day to day in greater contradiction with reality.</p> <p>The theory of the gradual introduction of socialism proposes progressive reform of capitalist property and the capitalist State in the direction of socialism. But in consequence of the objective laws of existing society, one and the other develop in a precisely opposite direction. The process of production is increasingly socialized, and State intervention, the control of the State over the process of production, is extended. But at the same time, private property becomes more and more the form of open capitalist exploitation of the labor of others, and State control is penetrated with the exclusive interests of the ruling class. The State, that is to say the political organization of capitalism, and the property relations, that is to say the juridical organization of capitalism, become more capitalist and not more socialist, opposing to the theory of the progressive introduction of socialism two insurmountable difficulties.</p> <p>Fourier’s scheme of changing, by means of a system of phalansteries, the water of all the seas into tasty lemonade was surely a fantastic idea. But Bernstein, proposing to change the sea of capitalist bitterness into a sea of socialist sweetness, by progressively pouring into it bottles of social reformist lemonade, presents an idea that is merely more insipid but no less fantastic.</p> <p>The production relations of capitalist society approach more and more the production relations of socialist society. But on the other hand, its political and juridical relations established between capitalist society and socialist society a steadily rising wall. This wall is not overthrown, but is on the contrary strengthened and consolidated by the development of social reforms and the course of democracy. <em>Only the hammer blow of revolution, that is today, the conquest of political power by the proletariat can break down this wall.</em></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/15/100th-anniversary-murder-rosa-luxemburg#comments People's Struggles Socialism Rosa Luxemburg Tue, 15 Jan 2019 16:44:58 +0000 Fight Back 7191 at http://www.fightbacknews.org MN Black liberation movement holds 4-year anniversary vigil for Marcus Golden http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/14/mn-black-liberation-movement-holds-4-year-anniversary-vigil-marcus-golden <p>Saint Paul, MN - On the eve of the anniversary of the murder of Marcus Golden by the Saint Paul police department, the Twin Cities Black liberation and anti-police terror movements gathered to hold a memorial vigil at the site where Golden was killed in 2015. Over 50 people were in attendance, representing many groups from the movement and family members of those lost to police crimes. </p> <p>On the early morning of January 14, 2015, what likely began as a clumsy cop slipping on ice turned into belligerent gunfire by Saint Paul police officers, ending in the murder of a young Black man. The police department tried hard to keep the story out of the media, or they spewed lies about Marcus Golden and the incident. After Terrance Franklin and before Jamar Clark, the murder of Marcus Golden by the Saint Paul Police Department was one of the pivotal moments in the Minnesota fight against police terror. </p> <p>Marcus Golden’s aunt, Monique Cullars-Doty, a leader in the Minnesota fight against police terror and for Black Liberation, emceed the vigil. She is a member of many groups, including the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar. She used the vigil to announce the “Golden Awards.” The awards will have categories such as “police federation president most likely to have a white hood in his closet.” The ‘winners’ will be announced February 14. The of #NoLove4Cops nominations can be posted at Bit.ly/goldenawards.</p> <p>The Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar’s Jess Sundin, spoke, “The fact is, the story of what happened to Marcus didn’t make the news. But Monique took that moment and transformed the community for the long-haul and so now we all know Marcus Golden. What we learned from this example is, ‘Don’t ever forget!’ We thank for Monique for teaching us the powerful place that families can have in the movement. We can’t all be Monique, but everyone can find a place in the movement. At TCC4J, we are committed to making sure that all the names and all the stories are told.” She added, “Monique is always talking about, ‘We need legislation! We need new rules!’ This is why TCC4J is fighting for community control of the police. We need an end to police terror in our communities! Justice for Marcus Golden!”</p> <p>At the vigil, the true story of Marcus Golden was told. There were many speeches and eulogies from community members, including Pastor Brian Herron, vocalist Bridgette from Sounds of Blackness and Loretta VanPelt of TCC4J. They honored the truths of a young Black worker who dedicated his life to serving his community and specifically his grandparents, providing them healthcare services and home upkeep. VanPelt ended the vigil by leading the Assata Shakur chant. Vigil attendees pledged to honor the memory of Marcus Golden, fight for justice, Black liberation, and community control of the police.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/14/mn-black-liberation-movement-holds-4-year-anniversary-vigil-marcus-golden#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality African-American Anti-racism Marcus Golden Saint Paul Police Department Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Tue, 15 Jan 2019 00:25:56 +0000 Fight Back 7190 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Peace walk held for sleeping man killed by LAPD http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/14/peace-walk-held-sleeping-man-killed-lapd <p>Los Angeles, CA – Chanting, “Say his name! Christian Escobedo!” and “If we don’t get no justice, then they don’t get no peace! No justice! No peace! No trigger-happy police!” on January 12 over 60 neighbors, family members, friends and allies gathered on Galena Street and Amethyst Street – where Escobedo was shot and killed. </p> <p>In the early hours of January 14 the year before, Christian Escobedo, who was 22 years old at the time, and a friend were asleep on the street. Someone called LAPD and the officers walked up to confront Escobedo, shooting him without provocation. LAPD claims they saw a gun, the friend ran, and they feared for their lives. Escobedo died almost instantly when LAPD shot him four times – once to the head.</p> <p>From the site where Escobedo was killed, the large crowd marched on the route Escobedo would have traveled - if he had lived. </p> <p>“That’s what he wanted to do, he wanted to get home,” Elizabeth Medrano, Escobedo’s mother. “Tonight, two days’ shy of the anniversary of his death, we will get him there.”</p> <p>At the end of the peace walk, the crowd wrote messages on white balloons and released them.</p> <p>“I am grateful for friends, family, community. This is a celebration of his life and I dedicate it to the community of Happy Valley.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/14/peace-walk-held-sleeping-man-killed-lapd#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-racism Centro CSO Chican@ / Latin@ Christian Escobedo LAPD In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Mon, 14 Jan 2019 19:23:44 +0000 Fight Back 7188 at http://www.fightbacknews.org FRSO congratulates Nicolás Maduro on his second term http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/12/frso-congratulates-nicol-s-maduro-his-second-term <p>On the occasion of the inauguration to a second term as President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) sends its warmest congratulations and solidarity to Nicolás Maduro and the people's movement of Venezuela.</p> <p>We salute the heroic achievements of the Venezuelan people and its political leadership, as you continue their project of building a sovereign nation, independent of imperialism and able to meet the needs of its own people. President Maduro’s re-election confirms that the Bolivarian Revolution speaks to the felt wants and needs of the vast majority of Venezuelans, particularly the working class, campesinos and other oppressed sectors. We recognize that the Maduro government continues to side with the workers and oppressed peoples of Venezuela in the years-long economic war with the comprador bourgeoisie, and we join in the hopes of Bolivarian revolutionaries that a new society will be born out of this struggle.</p> <p>We strongly condemn the latest round of sanctions of the Trump administration against the Venezuelan government, and its refusal to recognize Maduro as the legitimate president of the country. These disgusting displays of interventionism, along with the never-ending threats of war and total destruction, are testament to the monstrous nature of U.S. imperialism. For far too long the U.S. monopoly capitalist class has exploited the peoples of Latin America through its corporations and lackey regimes, enforced by repression and war. The multinational working class and oppressed nationalities of the United States toil under the rule of the same class. The rulers of the U.S. are the only ones that benefit from the continued exploitation and suffering we all experience, and have no right to rule over us for even one day longer.</p> <p>For these reasons, and in the name of proletarian internationalism, the FRSO stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Bolivarian Revolution and with Nicolás Maduro as its leader. Imperialism must be driven from every corner of this continent — it was forced from Cuba in 1959, and now the Venezuelan people are driving it from their land. Onward to victory across the Americas!</p> <p><em>¡Viva Nicolás Maduro!</em><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>¡Viva la Revolución Bolivariana!</em></p> <p></p> <p><em></em></p> <p><em>¡Revolución o muerte — venceremos!</em></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/12/frso-congratulates-nicol-s-maduro-his-second-term#comments People's Struggles Freedom Road Socialist Organization frso Nicolás Maduro Venezuela Sun, 13 Jan 2019 02:43:38 +0000 Fight Back 7187 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Milwaukee community rallies against Trump’s wall http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/11/milwaukee-community-rallies-against-trump-s-wall <p>Milwaukee, WI – An emergency rally was organized by local grassroots organizations and community members from diverse backgrounds, January 10, in Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park. The rally was part of a larger national call to action from the Legalization for All Network, as a response to President Trump’s threats of a National Emergency to fund his proposed wall. The common messages for the night were, “We stand against Trump’s wall” and “Asylum for the refugees.” The frigid Wisconsin temperatures didn’t slow the rally down as the energy increased and attendees chanted, “No hate! No fear! Refugees are welcome here!”</p> <p>A member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization told the crowd, “Trump is trying very, very hard to keep us divided at the ground level, so that we do not recognize our power as a united front to rid of billionaires like Trump, and imperialism altogether. But we are smarter than him, and that’s why we are all out here tonight.” The rally continued with speakers sharing stories of their parents making sacrifices to cross the border over to the United States. One stated, “My mother had the courage to cross the border, with the goal to give me a better life. She is not a criminal, none of the refugees are criminals.”</p> <p>The rally was sponsored by the Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump (MCAT), which includes the Young People’s Resistance Committee (YPRC), the Young Workers Committee (YWC), Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), and the Legalization for All Network, a national network of immigrant rights organizations. The Milwaukee Coalition Against Trump will continue to fight Trump’s racist agenda and every attack his administration takes against our communities.</p> <p><strong><em>No Border Wall, No Militarization of the Border!</em></strong></p> <p><strong><em><br /> </em></strong></p> <p><strong><em>Refugees are NOT Criminals!</em></strong></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/11/milwaukee-community-rallies-against-trump-s-wall#comments People's Struggles border wall Donald Trump Donald Trump state of emergency Immigrant Rights Fri, 11 Jan 2019 19:30:52 +0000 Fight Back 7186 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Tucson protests Trumps border wall threat http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/10/tucson-protests-trumps-border-wall-threat <p>Tucson, AZ - Around 40 people chanting “No wall, never,” joined a protest here January 10 in response to President Trump’s bid to finance his racist border wall. Protesters’ signs reading “Refugees welcome here!” drew many honks of solidarity from traffic in front the federal building. </p> <p>Plans continue to build mobilization against the deployment of thousands of troops to the Mexico border and the threat of a border wall. The Tucson protest was organized in response to a call from by the Legalization for All Network for national actions.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/10/tucson-protests-trumps-border-wall-threat#comments People's Struggles Anti-fascism Anti-racism Arizona Donald Trump Immigrants wall Immigrant Rights Fri, 11 Jan 2019 02:32:14 +0000 Fight Back 7185 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Minneapolis protest rejects Trump border wall and attacks on immigrants http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/10/minneapolis-protest-rejects-trump-border-wall-and-attacks-immigrants <p>Minneapolis, MN - Protesters gathered Wednesday evening, January 9, in frigid weather, on Lake Street in south Minneapolis to say no to President Trump’s border wall and his racist attacks on immigrants. The protest was organized on less than a 24-hour notice by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC). </p> <p>President Trump went on national TV from the Oval Office Tuesday night, spewing a string of lies and racist manipulation in an attempt to pressure congressional Democrats to fund his border wall in order to end the partial government shutdown, which is now the second longest shutdown in U.S. history. </p> <p>Rumors swirled that the president might use the January 8 broadcast to declare a national state of emergency in order to bypass Congress and simply go forward building a wall without their approval. </p> <p>A declaration of a state of emergency gives the president broad powers to take unilateral actions that can include many attacks on people’s rights. President Bush declared a state of emergency after 9/11, signing Proclamation 7463, which gave himself sweeping powers to mobilize the military and bypass normal congressional approvals and restrictions. That state of emergency has been renewed by Presidents Bush, Obama and now Trump every year since 2001. </p> <p>While Trump didn’t declare a state of emergency on Tuesday to build a border wall, on Thursday morning he told reporters he is very likely to do so soon if Congress doesn’t fund his wall. Trump said, “if this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely.”</p> <p>Congressional Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi so far have not given Trump the wall funding he is demanding to end the government shut down. But they will face increasing pressure to compromise with Trump in the coming days as the shutdown is leaving large numbers of federal workers working without pay. Protesters said they will continue to demand that Schumer and Pelosi refuse to give any money for Trump’s wall.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/10/minneapolis-protest-rejects-trump-border-wall-and-attacks-immigrants#comments People's Struggles Anti-fascism Donald Trump minneapolis Fri, 11 Jan 2019 02:28:46 +0000 Fight Back 7184 at http://www.fightbacknews.org In defiance of imperialism, Venezuela’s Maduro begins second term http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/10/defiance-imperialism-venezuela-s-maduro-begins-second-term <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Chicago, IL - On January 10, Nicolás Maduro was inaugurated to his second term as president of a nation under siege. The United States and its puppets in the region (the 13 governments of the so-called Lima Group, led by Colombia and Brazil) have declared that they will not recognize Maduro as the head of the Venezuelan state. This is in contempt of the 67% of Venezuelans that voted for him in the May presidential election, widely recognized as free and fair by the international community. </span></p> <p><strong id="docs-internal-guid-288a450f-7fff-0e54-934f-e3aa3f531b90" style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When Maduro took the reins of the national government, many analysts did not believe he had what it took to hold the Bolivarian project together. He proved them wrong. After five years with Maduro at the helm, the Bolivarian Revolution has - in the face of economic suffocation, fascist street violence, political terrorism, threats of invasion, and the attempted assassination of their president - emerged stronger than ever before.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 700; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maduro's first term: A fight for the life of the revolution</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">As his cancer worsened and it became clear that his end was nearing, Hugo Chávez gave his blessing to Nicolás Maduro to succeed him as leader the Bolivarian Revolution. This terrified the Venezuelan ruling class, as he was the favorite choice of succession among the Bolivarian ‘hard-liners.’</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Having spent the first two decades of his political life as a cadre of the Socialist League, Maduro joined Chávez's movement in the 1990s while serving as president of the Caracas bus drivers’ union. From that moment on, Maduro was at the center of the revolutionary movement sweeping the country. Among his many roles in Chávez's government, he served for seven years as the Foreign Minister, and was integral in the construction of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The five years of Maduro's first term were defined by a vicious struggle between a national liberation movement on the move, and a bourgeoisie on the retreat. When the right-wing opposition refused to recognize the results of Maduro's first election in April 2013, they organized street violence that led to the firebombing of Cuban-staffed health care clinics, United Socialist Party (PSUV) offices, and the murder of 11 Maduro supporters. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maduro's ascension to the presidency took place at the beginning of the economic war - the bourgeoisie's campaign to punish the Venezuelan people by acts of price gouging, hoarding of goods, gas smuggling and economic sabotage. The new government did not skip a beat, arresting hundreds of capitalists in its first year for these crimes. He passed the Law of Just Prices, which banned the collection of profit above 30% of the cost of production. To combat the war against the Venezuelan people that was happening on grocery store shelves, Maduro and the PSUV organized the now-famous Local Provision and Production Committees (CLAPs), which every three weeks distribute parcels of essential food items to millions of poor families. The economic war did not end, though, but intensified and continues to this day. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">When the right-wing opposition won a two-thirds majority in the 2015 National Assembly elections, the threat of counter-revolution came center stage. For the first time since 1998, the comprador bourgeoisie had complete control over a branch of government. Jubilant, they announced their intention to throw Maduro out of office within six months.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">That did not happen. Maduro's administration battled the National Assembly for direction of the country, while the Bolivarian movement struggled to prevent the Revolution's achievements from dying of attrition. The tension finally broke in March 2017, when the Supreme Court stripped the National Assembly of its authority for being in contempt of the Constitution. In the subsequent months, the right-wing opposition unleashed such fascist violence in the streets that many feared that Venezuela was on the verge of civil war.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">In an act of political brilliance, Maduro called for the formation of a National Constituent Assembly (ANC) to draft a new Constitution in order to bring social peace, consolidate the gains of the Bolivarian Revolution and prepare the next phase of struggle. The ANC, according to the Venezuelan Constitution, takes on all legislative responsibilities for the duration of its existence. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The ANC election in July 2017 brought the single-largest vote share for the Bolivarian movement in its history. This happened despite an opposition boycott, the shuttering of dozens of voting stations by fascist gangs, and the detonation of car bombs in Caracas. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Stunned by the people's resilience, and more isolated than ever from society, the opposition forces fell apart. They turned on each other and lost all political legitimacy. This was confirmed in elections in October and December 2017 - where the PSUV and its allied parties won an overwhelming majority of governor and mayoral offices - and ultimately on May 20, 2018, when Maduro won re-election as president with a resounding 67% of the vote. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Alongside the advance of the national liberation movement, Maduro's first term can also be defined by a qualitative change in the relationship of the working class to this movement. No social class has done more to combat the economic war than the working class, and in doing so have laid the groundwork for a totally new economy and society. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">At every opportunity possible, the national government proved which class it stood with. Early in his administration, Maduro voiced support for workers taking control of any workplaces shuttered by runaway companies, and many did so. Groups like the Productive Workers Army now travel the country to restore the productive capacities of abandoned or underutilized factories, doing more than anyone to build a new, sovereign economy. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">A year ago, the ANC passed a law - long demanded by revolutionary workers and supported by Maduro - enabling workers to form Workers Productive Councils (CPTs) in order to take control of their workplaces. As of today, over 1000 companies are now run in this way. Maduro appointed the lifelong revolutionary, Socialist League cadre and trade unionist Eduardo Piñate to head the Labor Ministry and support these efforts. Most recently he joined the workers of the Goodyear tire plant in their occupation of their factory, and ensured that the national government supported their occupation in the interests of restarting production.</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 700; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Maduro's second term: What will the future hold?</span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">From all sectors of the Bolivarian movement, there is resounding support for Maduro and the continuation of his government. There is a desire to deepen the revolutionary process, and to have by the end of his second term as country that is sovereign and an economy that meets the needs of the people (Maduro's so-called "Plan de la Patria"). From the many revolutionary corners of the country, the demands going forward are very similar - the strict enforcement of the Law of Just Prices and penalties for all violators; a further crackdown on politicians and capitalists engaged in corruption (Maduro in his first term led the largest anti-corruption campaign in Venezuelan history); the passage of a new, more radical Constitution; and supporting the economy being placed under worker control as the way out of the current crisis. </span></p> <p><strong style="font-weight: normal;"><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">It is obvious that the Venezuelan masses plan to create a society that exists completely independent and in opposition to U.S. imperialism. The U.S. monopoly capitalist class is aware of this. They know that the democratic process will only further deepen the resolve of the people. This is why the only option on the table for imperialism is the violent overthrow of the Maduro government and the destruction of the Venezuelan nation. </span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">The next five years will be decisive for the future of Venezuela, Latin America and all peoples in the world struggling against the empire. With leaders like Maduro at the helm, and the imperialists on the run, there is a great future in store for us all.</span></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/1/10/defiance-imperialism-venezuela-s-maduro-begins-second-term#comments Nicolás Maduro Venezuela Venezuela Fri, 11 Jan 2019 02:12:49 +0000 Fight Back 7183 at http://www.fightbacknews.org