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 Hundreds turn out in Madison, WI for Day of Resistance to Trans Genocide <p>Madison, WI - 400 people braved snowy conditions to join the Day of Resistance to Trans Genocide rally on March 18. The rally, organized by a grassroots coalition from southern Wisconsin, was held to demonstrate stalwart opposition to the recent flood of anti-trans legislation, rhetoric and violence across the United States.</p> <p>Earlier this year, far-right commentator Michael Knowles announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” Since the beginning of 2023, over 400 bills have been introduced into state legislatures across the country, including bills that would legally define womanhood via biology, ban gender-affirming care for minors, block insurance companies from paying for gender-affirming care, and in some cases even allow the removal of children from parents for allowing access to gender-affirming care.&nbsp;</p> <p>Connolly, going by an alias for personal protection as one of the event organizers in light of the present conditions, said, “A lot of people just aren’t aware of the extent of the anti-trans legislation and how bad it is. The right likes to frame it as protecting children, but a lot of actors on the right have stated openly that their end goal is banning transition-related care for everyone of all ages. We are trying to make a visual impact that can’t be ignored so people have to at least be aware of what is happening.”</p> <p>They hope that this can help prevent Wisconsin from taking the same path as other states, saying, “It is also important for the trans community to come together with allies and to see that there are people that do care and who are trying to stop this absolutely horrifying legislation from coming to Wisconsin.”</p> <p>The rally started at Library Mall on the UW Madison campus. The crowd marched down the middle of State Street chanting “Defend trans lives!” and “Protect trans kids’ right to exist!” Volunteers linked arms to block busy intersections, allowing marchers to pass through on their way to the state capitol building. The march was led by a group of young people which included members of the Gay-Straight Alliance from a nearby middle school. The head of the march saw people carrying coffins representing deaths that will occur due to recent legislation.</p> <p>“Banning gender-affirming care will lead to deaths. It will lead to deaths by suicide,” said Connolly. “If you withdraw hormone replacement therapy from someone who is on it, it leads to health problems plus psychological problems associated with having to be forcibly detransitioned.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The march ended at the Lady Forward statue in front of the state capitol. Several speakers, including poet, activist and drag queen SunShine Raynebow, and Dina Nina, candidate for alderperson in Madison, focused on the joy of trans lives, the rights of trans people to exist publicly, and the need to recognize the scale and intent of anti-trans legislation.</p> <p>“The Lemkin Institute, which was founded by the person who coined the word genocide, has said that this is a genocide in progress. So we are not exaggerating when we use the word genocide,” said Connolly. “I have seen people say, ‘I agree with you but you shouldn’t use the word genocide.’ If you support us, you have to support us without that ‘but.’”</p> LGBTQ anti-LGBTQ legislation anti-transgender LGBTQ Tue, 21 Mar 2023 13:45:44 +0000 Fight Back 10353 at Milwaukee Anti-war Committee rallies for peace in Ukraine, against U.S. war machine <p>Milwaukee, WI - In solidarity with the protest in Washington D.C. on March 18 that saw organizers from all over the country descend on the capital, the Milwaukee Anti-War Committee (MAC) hosted a rally downtown to demand peace in Ukraine and reflect on the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Despite the frigid weather, members from the MAC, Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) came together to speak on the need to end imperialism and touched on the destructive history of U.S. economic and military interventions abroad.&nbsp;</p> <p>The event opened with an introduction to MAC, which formed in November 2022. “The Milwaukee Anti-War Committee is part of the growing international efforts to oppose U.S.-led, imperialist warmongering and proxy wars conducted from Iraq to Ukraine,” said Remi Schueler, member of MAC and FRSO. The crowd chanted “From Ukraine to the Philippines, end the U.S. war machine!” and “Whose streets? Our streets! Whose war? Their war!”</p> <p>Farzad Ghodsi, a member of the MAC, compared the war in Iraq to the proxy war in Ukraine. “This proxy war between the U.S. and Russia has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of people being displaced. The U.S. has appropriated over $114 billion to spend on this senseless bloodshed. Money that could be spent at home on far more important matters. Feeding the hungry, housing the houseless, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, educating our children, any number of things the American people are desperate for.”</p> <p>Farzad called for the end of NATO, which has served as an anti-democratic organization through military force, and to end all illegal sanctions placed upon countries such as Cuba, Iran, Venezuela and many others.&nbsp;</p> <p>Brian Velasquez-Verdin, a longtime community and peace activist in Milwaukee and member of the Milwaukee Alliance, spoke after Farzad. His comments focused largely on the hypocrisy of the U.S. response to Russia’s actions.</p> <p>“Ukraine and Russia share 1200 miles of border. The United States and Mexico share 1600 miles of border. Could you imagine if China – who’s supposed to be our adversary – started building up forces in Mexico? You think the U.S. [government] would stand for that?” said Velasquez-Verdin.</p> <p>Next up was Ryan Hamann from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, whose comments painted a picture of the general situation of the decline of U.S. imperialism, using specific examples to illustrate the point.</p> <p>“We want a peace treaty to end the destruction and violence, but also one that will curtail NATO's influence and reach. We know that at the end of the day, this war – just like all other wars waged by imperialism – is ultimately all about money,” said Hamann, member of FRSO.</p> <p>“U.S. imperialism has been thoroughly defeated in Afghanistan and continues to be in Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Syria, Iran, and a slew of other places. The policy of economic warfare is failing the world over, largely as a result of the continued rise of socialist China and their policy of building a world order based on cooperation and mutual benefit as opposed to domination and exploitation.”</p> <p>The event ended on a high note, with Hamann proclaiming, “We must continue to build a united front of progressive forces whose aim is to struggle for an end to endless war! Abolish NATO! Money for human needs, not the war machine!”</p> Antiwar Movement Milwaukee Anti-War Committee (MAC) Tue, 21 Mar 2023 05:01:14 +0000 Fight Back 10351 at Minneapolis marks the 20th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq <p>Minneapolis, MN - To mark 20 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a coalition of Minneapolis anti-war, peace and social justice groups held a protest on Saturday, March 18 as part of a national day of anti-war actions. The protest was held in the very busy Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. Hundreds of people driving and walking by and using public transit saw the visible anti-war statement. The Minneapolis event was called in solidarity with a national anti-war protest in Washington DC at the White House on March 18. That day saw protests being held in other U.S. cities as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Minneapolis protest was organized under the call of “20 years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. As the world teeters on the brink of World War 3: Peace - Say no to U.S. wars.” The protest call demanded “Stop Washington’s war moves toward Russia and China! No weapons, no money for the war in Ukraine!” and “Stop endless wars: Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, everywhere!”&nbsp;</p> <p>A call issued by organizers says in part, "As the US/NATO proxy war in Ukraine continues putting major nuclear powers in an escalating war, it is time to be in the streets in as large numbers as possible. Today, we see increasing aggression against China, another major nuclear power. All opposed to the ongoing U.S. wars and the unfolding of these new wars are urged to join the March 18 protest."</p> <p>Their statement included, "The events over the Black Sea on Tuesday, March 14 between a U.S. drone and Russian fighter jets show just how dangerous the current situation is; the U.S.-led proxy war could escalate at any time. There is an enormous need for all opposed to endless U.S. wars, all opposed to the danger of nuclear World War 3 to speak out now."</p> <p>Speakers at Saturday’s protest included an Iraq American anti-war activist Sami Rasuli; Natasha Docktor, an activist with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers; Nick Anderson with Minneapolis for a People's Democracy; Joshua Farris from Veterans for Peace, and Andrew Josefchak from the Anti-War Committee.</p> <p>At the protest, the MN Peace Action Coalition announced plans for a Saturday, April 15 protest against U.S. wars and interventions, the April 15 event is being called in solidarity with an initiative by the United National Anti-War Coalition for a week of protests.</p> <p>The Minneapolis March 18 protest was initiated by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and was endorsed by the Anti-War Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Students for a Democratic Society (UMN), Twin Cities Assange Defense, Veterans for Peace, chapter 27, Women Against Military Madness, and other local groups.&nbsp;</p> Antiwar Movement anti-war Tue, 21 Mar 2023 04:42:35 +0000 Fight Back 10350 at Los Angeles: School workers to begin strike <p>Los Angeles, CA - At 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday March 21, over 30,000 school workers in the Los Angeles Unified School (LAUSD) including food service workers, custodians, special education assistants and many more job titles will walk off the job on a strike. The workers are members of SEIU Local 99, also known as Education Workers United.</p> <p>LAUSD and SEIU Local 99 have been in contract negotiations since 2020. After three years of bargaining, they decided to call a strike to show the boss they are serious about winning a contract with significant wage increases, expanded health care benefits and sufficient staffing and resources to keep schools clean and safe.</p> <p>On Friday, March 17 LAUSD filed charges saying that a strike by the school workers would be against the law. However, those charges were quickly found to not have merit and dismissed. The union members say they are ready to move forward with the strike as planned.</p> <p>David Huerta is the president of SEIU California and SEIU United Service Workers West. Huerta released the following statement about the strike.</p> <p>“Workers’ right to take collective action – free from threats or intimidation – is what binds us together as a labor movement. We won’t stand by while a powerful employer like LAUSD bullies and harasses workers to gain leverage at the bargaining table. SEIU members in California – 700,000 strong – stand united with SEIU Local 99 school workers who are striking to demand the district respect their fundamental rights. School workers have our unwavering support as they bargain in good faith for wages that allow them to put food on the table for their own children and for the staffing and support that matters to all students in LAUSD.”</p> <p>The strike is set to run from 4:30 a.m. Tuesday through the school day on Thursday.</p> People's Struggles LAUSD strike Strikes Teachers Unions Tue, 21 Mar 2023 02:23:15 +0000 Fight Back 10349 at Against Trotskyism: The united front <p>Trotskyism disagrees with Marxism-Leninism on a number of important theoretical points. These disagreements aren’t limited to the field of theory but have a real practical impact on the movements of working class and oppressed peoples. In our day-to-day struggles, we see them come up again and again. Practically, the question of the united front illustrates very clearly the glaring difference between Marxism-Leninism and Trotskyism. This is a question of extreme theoretical importance, with tremendous practical consequences, so we should examine it closely.</p> <p>What is the united front? It is the organizational expression of a broad unity of action by diverse forces against a common enemy. The purpose of the united front, the reason for its existence, is to unite the many to defeat the few.</p> <p>In order to defeat the monopoly capitalist class - the imperialists who seek to plunder and rule the world through monetary influence and force of arms - the masses in their millions must unite broadly in order to attack the enemy from every angle. This requires a broad unity, beyond the tight, militant discipline demanded by revolutionary communists. We can and must unite millions of people - everyone whose material interests are opposed to those of the monopoly capitalists. One certainly doesn’t have to be a communist to understand that the interests of the monopoly capitalists are opposed to our own.</p> <p>We can and must fight together with the mass organizations of the working class, such as the trade unions. And we must also unite broadly with classes outside of our own. Building the strategic alliance between the working class and the movements of oppressed nationalities is essential to building the united front against monopoly capitalism. Thus, we should build and unite with the Black and Chicano liberation movements, including uniting with the national bourgeoisie who wants to fight back against the imperialist system at the core of national oppression. We must also seek to unite with progressive forces among the petty bourgeoisie, a doomed class crushed daily under the weight of the monopoly capitalists.</p> <p>The Trotskyites aren’t interested in this kind of united front, this uniting broadly with different class forces who are materially at odds with the monopoly capitalists. As always, they want pure proletarian revolution, and their understanding of the united front reflects that. To them, the united front should be a unity of socialist forces dominated by the Trotskyites. It is a unity of working-class forces arrayed against all other classes and strata. This is what we saw in how they addressed the Bolshevik revolution in opposition to the peasantry, and the Chinese revolution as well.</p> <p>The united front, properly understood, means that there are many contradictory forces at work, all seeking to lead it based on their own material interests. Thus, the communists must strive to maintain the independence and initiative with the united front, and should strive to lead it in a revolutionary direction. But how should communists exercise leadership in the united front? Through persuasion and example, and through the use of the mass line.</p> <p>Mao Zedong explained the mass line like this.</p> <p>“In all the practical work of our Party, all correct leadership is necessarily ‘from the masses, to the masses’. This means: take the ideas of the masses (scattered and unsystematic ideas) and concentrate them (through study turn them into concentrated and systematic ideas), then go to the masses and propagate and explain these ideas until the masses embrace them as their own, hold fast to them and translate them into action, and test the correctness of these ideas in such action. Then once again concentrate ideas from the masses and once again go to the masses so that the ideas are persevered in and carried through. And so on, over and over again in an endless spiral, with the ideas becoming more correct, more vital and richer each time. Such is the Marxist theory of knowledge.”</p> <p>Understanding the mass line is crucial to understanding how communists should relate to the mass organizations of the united front. We have to understand, as Mao put it, that the masses are composed of advanced, intermediate and backwards elements. The advanced are the activists who want to fight to make things better. The intermediate are the broad group who are not yet active, but aren’t opposed to progress. The backwards are the reactionaries who push back against change, oppose progress and champion the ideas of the enemy among the masses.</p> <p>The role of communists among the masses is to organize and unite with the advanced, active fighters. These are the people who are articulating the masses' felt needs. Together with the advanced, we can develop organizations, struggles and campaigns around these felt needs in order to mobilize the broad intermediate section of the masses while isolating or winning over the backwards in the course of the struggle. By doing this, we can win important victories and land blows against the enemy. Through the course of these mass struggles, we can raise the level of consciousness and organization among the masses. By helping to lead and sum up these fights, we can win the advanced fighters over to Marxism-Leninism and build communist organization. This is the correct, Marxist-Leninist method of leadership.</p> <p>The Trotskyites utterly fail to understand any of this. To the Trotskyists, what does united front organizing look like? They have two main, interrelated methods: entryism and commandism. What does this mean?</p> <p>Because the Trotskyites fail to grasp the mass line in united front work, their idea of organizing among the masses isn’t “from the masses, to the masses.” They have no real interest in the felt needs of the masses, or in the ideas of the advanced. Instead, they go into the mass organizations from outside, to seize control of them, maneuvering to dominate them and force their line onto them. This “entryism” is completely at odds with any clear understanding of the mass line in the united front. The purpose of going among the masses isn’t to dominate them and make the mass organizations into mere extensions of the communists. The mass organizations should arise from the needs of the masses, fight for what the masses want to fight for, and should have a much broader level of unity than that demanded of communist cadres. To make the mass organizations into a mere “front” of the communists robs them of what makes them useful to the masses, and what makes them valuable as an element of the united front in the revolutionary struggle. Instead, it twists the mass organizations into a shell, occupied by the parasitic, Trotskyite entryists. Once this happens, the advanced and intermediate soon abandon the organization, leaving the Trotskyites alone in their ideologically pure “mass” organization.</p> <p>If this fails, the Trotskyites have another option, one that they also frequently use. Their other method is to simply form these pure “mass” organizations whole cloth. These fake mass organizations are not made up of advanced activists from among the masses, but instead are composed almost entirely of Trotskyites. They use these organizations to try to command the masses. They stand in for the masses and speak for the masses, with no real connection to the actual struggles of working and oppressed people. From here they shout their slogans and peddle their papers, not as mass line tools of organizing, but as dictates from the sidelines of the struggle. Woe to the advanced activist who wanders into one of these Trotskyite “mass” organizations. They will quickly see that their options are to join ranks with the Trotskyites or be gone. This is the way the Trotskyites organize.</p> <p>The purpose of united front work is to unite all who can be united to defeat the monopoly capitalist enemy. The role of communists among the masses is a dialectical one, while the Trotskyites are mechanical in their approach. The Trotskyites seek to enforce their pure, idealistic formulas, while Marxism-Leninism seeks to transform real people in the crucible of real struggle.</p> Against Trotskyism ML Theory Trotsky Trotskyism Tue, 21 Mar 2023 01:49:28 +0000 Fight Back 10348 at New York celebrates International Women's Day <p>Brooklyn, NY – The New York Community Action Project (NYCAP) hosted an International Women’s Day rally outside of the Barclay Center on Sunday, March 19.&nbsp;</p> <p>The Barclay Center is not only well-known as a venue for basketball games and concerts, but it’s a gathering spot in Brooklyn for anti-police protests. Throughout 2020, thousands upon thousands gathered at the awning of the famous venue to demand justice for George Floyd.&nbsp;</p> <p>On this afternoon, NYCAP gathered as hundreds walked into a basketball game to demand justice for the women harmed by the NYPD, defend women’s rights, and fight for reproductive justice.</p> <p>Anevay Zappata was the first speaker from NYCAP who gave an overview of the state of women’s rights in the U.S., “There are people in this country who are attempting to undo all the work that has been done to progress the rights for the people. Work that organizers, activists and innocent civilians died for. And these people who are attempting to strip our right to humanity, they have names. Why don’t we call them out and see what they’re up to?”</p> <p>And they continued by bringing up some national events, “Speaking of DeSantis, four students were arrested for standing up against DeSantis’ attempt at destroying diversity programs at state colleges. All of which were women and non-binary folks. They were brutally charged at, held to the floor and arrested for peacefully protesting at their college.”</p> <p>While organizers were speaking and rallying, other protesters passed out flyers about women’s rights and community control of the police to all passersby.</p> <p>The rally ended with Briony Smith, the emcee of the rally, “So the New York Community Action Project will continue to fight for justice for the women victims of police violence. We will continue to demand an end to the attacks on our bodies and our rights. And we will continue to fight for community control, because we know that we can and that we will win!”</p> Police Brutality International Women's Day Women's Movement Mon, 20 Mar 2023 05:30:33 +0000 Fight Back 10347 at Students, community demands U of MN expand tuition program for native students <p>Minneapolis, MN - On Friday, March 17, over 50 students and community members gathered outside the Humphrey School of Public Affairs and braved the bitter winds to demand the University of Minnesota expand the Native American Promise Tuition Program and fund the American Indian Studies department. University of Minnesota Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) collaborated with the American Indian Student Cultural Center (AISCC) to organize this protest to fight for native students’ rights.&nbsp;</p> <p>Emcees from AISCC and SDS led chants and introduced the first speakers of the action. “The U of M is a land-grant institution that was part of the Morrill Act of 1862. It was built on stolen Dakota land,” explained Taryn Long, secretary of the AISCC. “Today these universities, including the University of Minnesota, continue to profit off of indigenous homelands.” As Bryce Riesner of SDS explained, despite the revenue and funding generated from this land, “the university established this program to make up for the sins that it has been complicit in since its founding, yet it has only helped 18 freshmen.”</p> <p>Laila Gourd, outreach coordinator of the AISCC stated, “Our demands include expanding the Native American Tuition Promise Program. Currently it does not include students that were enrolled last year, and we would like the tuition program to expand to include all undergraduate, graduate and professional-level students, as well as including transfer students from any college, not just the tribal colleges.” Gourd also raised the demand for transparency on statistics from the university, and highlighted the need to include all native students, both enrolled and descendants from any and all federal and state-recognized tribes, as currently the program only applies to native students enrolled in a Minnesota tribe.</p> <p>“The notion of confrontation politics arose part-and-parcel to American Indian Studies in this city. In 1969 the American Indian Studies Department was founded; it is the oldest department in the country, and we’re in the basement of Scott Hall, one of the oldest buildings on campus,” explained Nick Estes, a professor in the American Indian Studies Department. Estes went on to encourage students and faculty from across the University to support the fight, “This isn’t an Indian problem, this is everyone’s problem.”</p> <p>Speaking for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, David Gilbert-Pederson, who is also an AFSCME organizer said his union “fought really hard over the last year in bargaining with the university for paid time off for Juneteenth and paid time off to participate in tribal elections. The U fought us every step of the way, but we won, and we know that that wouldn’t have happened without struggle. We know that increasing the tuition promise isn’t gonna happen without struggle. We stand with you, because this isn’t just an issue of broadly racism, this is about national oppression.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Other speakers included Audrianna Goodwin of the TRUTH project; Anthony Taylor-Gougé, a member of the Anti-War Committee; Rachel Thunder of the American Indian Movement (AIM); a member of the Climate Justice Committee, and Frank Paro, the national chair of AIM.</p> Indigenous Peoples University of Minnesota Student Movement Mon, 20 Mar 2023 05:16:03 +0000 Fight Back 10346 at Detroit holds rally in solidarity with DC anti-war demonstration <p>Detroit, MI - In the early afternoon of March 18, braving the sub-freezing temperatures and biting wind, 40 activists gathered at Hart Plaza, in the heart of Detroit, to demonstrate against the U.S. escalation of its war against Russia in the Ukraine. The rally was in solidarity with the historic DC march occurring at the same date.</p> <p>Several speakers tied the brutal U.S. invasion of Iraq, which began on this day 20 years ago, to the U.S. war in Ukraine, noting the chilling parallels between the two.&nbsp;</p> <p>Movement elder Bill Meyer, representing the Michigan Peace Council, added his perspective to the event, saying “I have been in this fight for 60 years, first with Vietnam, through endless U.S. wars, and now with Ukraine. I am at this point convinced that U.S. imperialism and war is the greatest threat to humanity today.”</p> <p>The protest continued for an hour after speakers had finished, with demonstrators huddled close together, making new connections with each other, standing along busy Jefferson Avenue with signs and banners with many signs of support from those passing by.</p> <p>The rally was cosponsored by several groups, including Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Communist Party USA, and Moratorium Now! Coalition.</p> Antiwar Movement anti-war Mon, 20 Mar 2023 05:00:55 +0000 Fight Back 10344 at UTLA and SEIU Local 99 hold mass rally and call for 3-day strike <p>Los Angeles, CA – On March 15, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) and SEIU Local 99, which represents cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodians, teacher assistants and other education workers, held a massive rally at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles. The action culminated with the announcement that UTLA and SEIU Local 99 would go on a joint three-day strike, the first in the two unions’ history, from March 21-23.</p> <p>Enthusiastic delegations of union members arrived from all over the LA area carrying their schools’ banners or posters. Members of Centro CSO, a longtime ally of UTLA, joined the mass rally in solidarity.</p> <p>Both unions, which together represent roughly 65,000 workers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), have been in contract negotiations with the district for close to a year and are fighting for their members to be able to survive as inflation rises in Los Angeles. The district, led by superintendent Alberto Carvalho, have only responded with counter offers that show a disregard for the wellbeing of LAUSD’s workers, students and schools. He has also sent out voice messages and emails to parents discouraging the union plans.</p> <p>In February, 96% of SEIU Local 99’s members in LAUSD voted to authorize a strike. Many of its members are part-timers who make little more than minimum wage and must take on other work in order to support their families. The average salary of LAUSD school workers is $25,000 a year. Local 99 is demanding a 30% raise and $2 per hour equity wage adjustment as well as more full-time hours, staffing, and health benefits.</p> <p>UTLA – made up of roughly 35,000 teachers, psychiatric social workers and counselors – is demanding a pay increase of 10% for each of the following two years. Currently, two out of three LAUSD teachers can no longer afford to live where they teach, and many educators have considered leaving the profession. The force of Wednesday’s Grand Park rally has already made LAUSD move toward UTLA’s proposals, as the district offered a 14% salary increase over three years during the latest negotiations. UTLA countered by maintaining its position of 20% over two years.</p> <p>UTLA also wants the district to meet the demands of its Beyond Recovery platform, which addresses the needs of students, their families and underfunded schools. These demands include smaller class sizes, increased support for special education programs, fully staffed schools, more green spaces on campuses, and equitable funding. Superintendent Carvalho, rather than use the district’s $5 billion in reserves to transform public education in LA, has largely ignored the Beyond Recovery platform.</p> <p>In order to weaken the power of the strike, Carvalho has said that LAUSD will likely close next week while teachers and other LAUSD workers picket. However, UTLA and SEIU Local 99’s members, supported by students and parents, will not be deterred by Carvalho’s word and intend to show the superintendent – who only recently moved to the district from Miami – the power of organized labor in Los Angeles.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> SEIU SEIU Strikes teachers strike Teachers Unions Sun, 19 Mar 2023 14:13:06 +0000 Fight Back 10343 at Denver students continue push for campus demilitarization with speakout <p>Denver, CO – On March 15, students at Auraria Campus in Denver gathered to voice support for a resolution that would prohibit their campus police from obtaining military weapons from the Pentagon’s 1033 Program. The resolution comes after a yearlong fight led by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to pressure administration to agree to the ban.</p> <p>The Pentagon 1033 Program is a way for police departments to acquire military equipment from the Pentagon at low prices. While Auraria Campus Police Department (ACPD) claims they only use the program to acquire items such as office supplies, they notably did at one time own multiple M16 rifles acquired through the program. While these rifles were eventually sent back, students feel that the easy access to these weapons is part of a larger attempt to militarize police departments and college campuses across the country.</p> <p>“ACPD has said in informal exchange with SDS that they will not buy any more military equipment from the 1033 Program, but we cannot take them at their word,” says SDS member Kyle Burroughs, “It should be easy to make this formal if this is truly the attitude of ACPD and the Auraria Board of Directors.”</p> <p>Another SDS member, Keegan Estrella, noted over the megaphone that ACPD’s claim is in line with the demands of SDS, challenging ACPD to “come endorse our resolution.” He continued, “If you say that you don’t want those weapons and that you aren’t going to use those weapons, then come endorse our resolution!”</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Auraria Board of Directors has been dodging a vote on the resolution for at least two months, which, according to SDS member Sol Swain, is “a slap in the face to student organizers within SDS.” Swain continued “We’re somewhat baffled as to why such a simple resolution is being met with such hesitancy. Military weapons are not necessary on a college campus, but the Auraria Board of Directors apparently does not see eye to eye with us on this. I would like to see more money going towards my education, not military weapons.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Most recently, Dr. Janine Davidson, president of Metropolitan State University (one of the three schools on Auraria Campus) proposed edits to the resolution that would rob the proposal of any material conditions blocking ACPD from attaining military weapons. The suggested edits say that ACPD could get weapons so long as there is “notification and consultation with [Auraria Board of Directors] and community.” This edit essentially gives the directors more power over the police than they had in the first place, while stripping the actual campus community already fighting against the acquisition of these weapons of any power whatsoever.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The community is speaking out against the weapons right now. If Dr. Davidson truly wanted the community’s input on whether or not ACPD should have access to them, she would stop ignoring what the community is actually saying right now,” says Burroughs.</p> <p>That the proposed edit came from Dr. Davidson, who is a former undersecretary of the Navy and chair of the Department of Defense Policy Board is not surprising. SDS member Paul Nelson asserts, “Dr. Davidson has an extensive military background and plenty of experience with killing machines. I think she’s confusing this workplace with her old one.”</p> <p>The vote on the resolution is set to happen on March 29, meaning by the end of the month students will see whether the Auraria Board of Directors has listened to its campus community or decided to side with the police militarization camp.</p> Demilitarization Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) Student Movement Sat, 18 Mar 2023 15:45:30 +0000 Fight Back 10342 at