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 UIC workers march, call for Gov. Pritzker to support their demands http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/uic-workers-march-call-gov-pritzker-support-their-demands <p>Chicago, IL - Over 1000 University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) workers from SEIU Local 73 and the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) flooded the center of downtown Chicago, September 18, calling for Governor JB Pritzker to support their demands in the largest strike ever at the university.</p> <p>The strike began last Saturday, September 12, when INA nurses walked out at UI Health, where UIC has refused to negotiate safe staffing limits. 4000 Local 73 workers bolstered the lines September 14, joining the strike, demanding safe working conditions, staffing and a living wage. Large rallies and lively picket lines have marked the past week as workers have continued to press their demands.</p> <p>The march began early in the morning at Millennium Park and proceeded to outside Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office at the Thompson Center, the State of Illinois office building.</p> <p>Angie Ross, a medical office specialist in physical therapy at UIC fired up the large crowd. “We know our governor has the ability to do what’s right and help our union win this battle. We hope you take the chance to protect the workers of this state. My sisters and brothers, out here we will not stop fighting until UIC does what’s right by us.”</p> <p>The rage at the disrespect, low wages and unsafe conditions was clear at picket lines and rallies throughout the past week. The strike is the largest since the start of the economic crisis, and the largest ever at UIC. The strike was born out of the same sentiment that launched the country-wide rebellion against police terror. UIC workers have gone beyond calling for improvements at work to demanding justice in their communities, with Black lives matter being a major slogan of the strike.</p> <p>The message is clear: working people and the oppressed are sick and tired of being sick and tired.</p> <p>In 2018 many unions, including SEIU Local 73, mobilized their members to support Pritzker for governor. At the time of writing, he has not issued any statement about the strike at UIC.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/uic-workers-march-call-gov-pritzker-support-their-demands#comments People's Struggles SEIU SEIU Local 73 University of Illinois - Chicago (UIC) Labor Sat, 19 Sep 2020 01:13:49 +0000 Fight Back 8521 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Anti-police crimes group demands Green Bay Packers honor memory of Jonathon Tubby http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/anti-police-crimes-group-demands-green-bay-packers-honor-memory-jonathon-tubby <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement issued by the Wisconsin Alliance Against Racist &amp; Political Repression (WAARPR) in conjunction with the Tubby family.</em></p> <p>Green Bay, WI - The resurgent movement for Black lives and against police crimes, sparked by the public execution of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department on May 25, is maintaining momentum as summer draws to a close. This is because the police continue to kill Black men and other people. 288 people have been killed by police since Floyd’s murder.</p> <p>Like many other aspects of life in the U.S., sports have been impacted by this country-wide upsurge. Players from various sports have marched in the streets with protesters, practices were called off as a result of player actions, and wildcat labor strikes occurred that resulted in the postponing of games in the NBA and MLB.</p> <p>On the opening day of their 2020 regular season, the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings paid tribute to the life and family of George Floyd. Their opponents, the Green Bay Packers, have made several statements in support of the struggle against racial injustice and police brutality, particularly since the attempted murder of Jacob Blake by the Kenosha Police Department on August 25. This is good, but we want the Packers to do more in their own community to combat these societal problems.</p> <p>On October 19, 2018, the Green Bay Police Department and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office jointly participated in the murder of Jonathon Tubby, a proud young indigenous man and member of the Oneida Nation. The injustice has been perpetuated, with Officer Erik O’Brien facing no discipline for the murder. Instead, O’Brien received a promotion with the GBPD. The Wisconsin Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, together with the family of Jonathon Tubby and the Justice for Jonathon group, are calling on the Packers to put their money where their mouths are.</p> <p>We want the Packers to honor Jonathon’s life like the Vikings honored George Floyd’s, including an invitation to the Tubby family to be welcomed at Lambeau Field for the home opener. We call for the Packers to take part in the struggle for justice for Jonathon by pressuring those with the authority to reopen the investigation and to push for Officer Erik O’Brien to be fired, indicted, and convicted for murder.</p> <p>We look to the Green Bay Packers to use their platform to elevate the call for justice for Jonathon and show that these issues matter beyond just making comments to the media. The Wisconsin Alliance recognizes that now is the time to stand alongside the Tubby family. If the Packers organization, it’s players, and its coaches are serious about what they’ve said regarding the fight against racial injustice, we hope they will join us.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/anti-police-crimes-group-demands-green-bay-packers-honor-memory-jonathon-tubby#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Indigenous Peoples Jonathon Tubby Wisconsin Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression (WAARPR) In-Justice System Sat, 19 Sep 2020 00:52:54 +0000 Fight Back 8520 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Milwaukee frontline workers demand extended unemployment benefits, justice http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/milwaukee-frontline-workers-demand-extended-unemployment-benefits-justice <p>Milwaukee, WI - Frontline and essential workers will speak out about working conditions under the pandemic, the need for extended benefits, the fight for racial justice, and the urgency of defeating Trump. </p> <p>The Milwaukee Area Labor Council's Young Workers Committee is hosting a rally on September 20 at 4 p.m. on 4th Street (Vel Phillips) and Michigan in downtown Milwaukee.</p> <p>"Working people are struggling to get by while they wait for action from Trump and Congress as the pandemic drags on and nearly 200,000 people have died in the U.S. While we fight COVID, we are also fighting for racial justice, and against Trump's attacks on unions, the U.S. Postal Service, and the VA," said Tracey Schwerdtfeger, a hospital nursing assistant. "The stakes in this election couldn't be higher for working-class people, Trump must be stopped." </p> <p>Speakers at the rally will include a USPS employee, a public transit driver, healthcare workers, an art museum worker and a factory worker.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/milwaukee-frontline-workers-demand-extended-unemployment-benefits-justice#comments COVID-19 pandemic aid Labor Fri, 18 Sep 2020 23:26:32 +0000 Fight Back 8518 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Latest unemployment insurance report shows economic crisis continues http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/latest-unemployment-insurance-report-shows-economic-crisis-continues <p>San José, CA - The weekly report on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims issued on Thursday, September 17 by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that the economy continues to struggle. Seasonally adjusted new claims for regular state unemployment insurance fell by 33,000 to 860,000 for the previous week ending September 12. This number is still about four times the weekly claims number in February, when the recession began. It is also above the high mark for claims before this recession, which dates back to October 1982.</p> <p>Continuing claims, which measures the number of people receiving regular state unemployment insurance benefits, fell by much larger number, dropping 916,000 to 12.6 million for the week ending September 5. But much of this drop was because the surge in unemployment insurance claims began in March, when travel, hospitality, and restaurants began to cut back because of the COVID-19 pandemic.</p> <p>The broadest measure of unemployment insurance rose by 98,000 for the week ending August 29, to a total of 29.8 million. This number includes the regular state unemployment benefits, the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or PUA for gig workers and the self-employed, the federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation or PEUC and the state Extended Benefits program, both which aid those who have run through the six months for regular state unemployment.</p> <p>Other signs that the economy continues to slow emerged this week. On Wednesday, the government report on retail sales for August saw a gain of only six-tenths of one percent. This was just more than half of what most economists expected, and a drop from August’s increase. But this was not unexpected, given the expiration of the $600 a week in additional unemployment insurance benefits.</p> <p>Trump’s executive order granting an additional $300 week has also ended after only five weeks. While many states are still making retroactive payments, they will run out soon, leaving almost 30 million people high and dry.</p> <p>Another sign of weakness was that new construction on homes and apartments fell 5.1% in August, led by a big decline in apartment construction projects. This is no surprise as more and more people are being evicted, despite a moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control. The big problem with the CDC order is that the federal government is not providing any money for rent relief. A better approach has been proposed by Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who call for rent forgiveness for tenants hit by the recession, and government aid to landlords who commit to more protection for their tenants.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/18/latest-unemployment-insurance-report-shows-economic-crisis-continues#comments Capitalism and Economy Economic Crisis unemployment insurance Fri, 18 Sep 2020 18:58:20 +0000 Fight Back 8517 at http://www.fightbacknews.org UIC: Largest strike since start of the economic crisis http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/17/uic-largest-strike-start-economic-crisis <p>Chicago, IL - The strike of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73 and the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) shows no sign of ending. Starting when the INA, representing 1300 nurses walked out Saturday, September 12, the strike ballooned to 5300 on Monday, September 14, when Local 73 put down their brooms, keyboards and medical equipment to hit the picket lines.</p> <p>Many people believe that the modern labor movement was born in a strike wave with the 1929 stock market crash that ushered in the Great Depression. In fact, the first strikes during the depression were two years later, and there weren’t a large number of strikes until 1934. Since the pandemic triggered the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s, other than small strikes at Amazon and other warehouses, there have been no significant strikes to speak of.</p> <p>Management at UIC certainly did not expect this strike, as the INA has never struck UIH, and Local 73 has only had one strike of several hundred workers in the professional civil service titles in 2012.</p> <p>The deaths of four workers in the hospital, and the death of a nurse’s spouse due to management’s failure to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the sparks that launched the strike. For the Local 73 members, their anger focused on the death of Juan Martinez, a surgical technologist who had been a founder and leader of the Technical Workers bargaining unit. (<a href="http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/15/5300-uic-workers-strike-our-lives">Link to a previous fightback!</a>)</p> <p>For INA, two nurses and the spouse of another nurse at UIH died of COVID this spring. One of the nurses who died, Joyce Pacubas-Le Blanc, was Filipina. Sheila Puntal, another Filipina nurse who contracted the virus because of management’s refusal to provide adequate PPE passed it to her husband, Anthony Walo, also Filipino, who died from it. Nurse Puntal gave heart breaking expression of her pain when she spoke to a strike rally on Tuesday, the 15, of how she brought the disease home that killed her husband.</p> <p>At UIC, the vast majority of Local 73’s 4000 members are Black and Latino, and the INA’s 1300 members are mostly oppressed nationality as well. The largest number of nurses are Filipinos, but among the strikers there are also East Asians, South Asians, Latinos and Blacks. It is well known that disproportionately, all of these oppressed communities suffer much higher infection and death rates from COVID-19. This racist health disparity fuels much of the anger on the picket lines.</p> <p>Nerissa Allegretti, a Filipina community organizer with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, and a health worker herself, spoke to the INA rally on Saturday, September 12. “I came from a 12-hour night shift to join you this rainy day. The loss of lives of my fellow front-liners, nurses, health workers, essential workers and their families to COVID-19 could have been avoided if the UIC management acted on the need for PPE. My heart cries and is raging with fire for all the nurses and workers who are taken away from us not only because of COVID but because management doesn’t have a heart for its workers. When management ignores us, it is just to strike! Strike is life!”</p> <p>All the nurses applauded, but the Filipinos among them echoed her derision when Allegretti cursed as she spoke about the crisis-ridden economic system in their homeland such that 6000 of their compatriots are forced to leave the Philippines daily for overseas work.</p> <p><strong>The nationwide rebellion emerges in the labor movement</strong></p> <p>There was another fuse that was lit this spring with the police murder of George Floyd. The greatest uprising of protests in U.S. history has occurred since May 25, with 20 million or more people having taken part in protests. In Chicago, perhaps 200,000 have been in the streets starting on May 30 when the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression brought 20,000 into the Loop to call for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.</p> <p>On Wednesday, September 15, strikers marched on the mansion home of Chancellor Michael Amiridis. One of the speakers was Angie Ross, a medical office specialist in physical therapy.</p> <p>Ross stated, “It’s so good to see everybody joined together here today, showing how strong we really are. I’ve been a UIC employee for over eight years, and I’ve been in the battle with you all. Management treats us like we don’t matter. If someone is essential, you take care of them. PPE should be readily available to us in the office or in patient care. Why are we underpaid? We risk our lives every day. We stepped up to the plate against COVID, now UIC needs to step up and take care of us! We are humans: treat us like a human being! We make that hospital run. We make the campus run, and if you want us to continue to make it run, you need to step up to the plate and give us what we need.”</p> <p>Listening to Ross, the crowd of more than 1000 workers was on fire. In fact, the tone of the strike by INA and Local 73 has been fired up since it began.</p> <p>Ross - and Local 73 picket signs - used language from the uprising: Black lives matter. Also, Local 73 is led by its first Black president, Dian Palmer. President Palmer also led 7000 members, overwhelmingly Black and Latino out on strike against the Chicago Public Schools in the fall. And when the Chicago Alliance marched and drove into the Loop on May 30, Dian Palmer was there as well.</p> <p>Also like the rebellion in the streets against police crimes, this strike in on the offense. SEIU strikers are not just trying to hold on to past gains, but instead demanding significant wage increases, and the nurses are demanding staffing levels like they have in California.</p> <p>For all these reasons, the UIC strike is the biggest thing happening in labor in the country.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/17/uic-largest-strike-start-economic-crisis#comments People's Struggles chicago SEIU SEIU Strike Strikes UIC Labor Fri, 18 Sep 2020 01:46:04 +0000 Fight Back 8516 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Palestinians slam Arab regimes' ‘normalization’ with Zionist occupation http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/17/palestinians-slam-arab-regimes-normalization-zionist-occupation <p>Chicago, IL - On September 15, the Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine (CJP) held a press conference to reject the charade that was happening the same day in Washington, DC, where the Trump administration was holding a signing ceremony for a ‘peace’ arrangement between Israel and both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.</p> <p>CJP represents all of the major Palestinian organizations in Chicago. They spoke against the Arab regimes' ‘normalization’ with the Zionist Israeli enemy. Solidarity activists with the American Friends Service Committee and the Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy and others the agreement and criticized the U.S. role in continuing to support Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people.</p> <p>Husam Marajda, co-chair of the Chicago chapter of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, spoke at the press conference, "This will not in any way change the material conditions faced by the Palestinians. The annexation plan was halted not because of a deal with the UAE, but because of the worldwide resistance to U.S. support of Israeli colonization and occupation of our lands. The Palestinian, Arab and world streets already reject these agreements, and will remain steadfast in fighting for our full liberation - from the river to the sea!"</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/17/palestinians-slam-arab-regimes-normalization-zionist-occupation#comments People's Struggles Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine Palestine U.S. Palestinian Community Network Thu, 17 Sep 2020 14:22:54 +0000 Fight Back 8515 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Pretrial hearing for cops that killed George Floyd, large protest demands justice http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/16/pretrial-hearing-cops-killed-george-floyd-large-protest-demands-justice-0 <p>Minneapolis, MN - Nearly 500 gathered outside the barricaded Family Justice Center on Friday, September 11, where the four former cops who murdered George Floyd had a pretrial hearing. Each of them has filed motions for dismissal of their charges and for a change of venue to move the trial out of the metro area. TCC4J organized what became a six-hour presence outside the courthouse, with speakers, chanting and music. </p> <p>In addition to the concrete barricades blocking the street and a ten-foot high fence around the building, organizers had to deal with a handful of disruptors, one of whom was inexplicably riding a scooter around the space, heckling some of the speakers at the event. TCC4J largely ignored the disruption, instead focusing on justice for George Floyd and giving a platform for the families to speak.</p> <p>Among those who spoke, Toshira Garraway of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence gave an impassioned speech calling for an end to infighting in the activist community and for people to recognize the manipulation of the facts by the defense in the George Floyd case. “How many were not filmed? How many did they get to edit? If they’re trying to dismiss the charges and they’re trying to pin George Floyd’s murder off on something else, and we watched it with our own eyes - we saw him get murdered on that ground! So imagine what they have done for what we did not see.”</p> <p>Michael Toussaint, father of Myon Burrell, spoke about his son’s wrongful imprisonment 17 years ago. Burrell’s case has received a great deal of attention since Amy Klobuchar used it in her failed presidential campaign as an example of her positive work on behalf of the African American community. Current Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman also prosecuted the case, after the first conviction was thrown out. Burrell is still fighting for his freedom today, despite overwhelming evidence that he had no part in the murder of Tyesha Edwards. Toussaint called out Freeman’s role in the Burrell case, along with his failure to prosecute the cops who have killed dozens of civilians during his time as county attorney.</p> <p>At one point, news reached the crowd outside that Judge Peter Cahill had ordered Mike Freeman off the case (the prosecution is led by state Attorney General Keith Ellison), in part for his sloppy work early on in this case. Despite this ruling being in favor of a defense motion, the crowd of protesters cheered the decision. Freeman is wildly unpopular.</p> <p>In an official statement read at the event, TCC4J also reiterated the need for community control of the police. “If we had that, these killer cops would not even be on the force. New recruits would not be trained to kill, maim and brutalize as a first resort. Bystanders would have been empowered to step in and save Mr. Floyd’s life, without fear of being killed themselves.” </p> <p>As it became clear that the crowd was committed to stay until the end of the hearing, emcees Jae Yates and Angel Smith El brought many other community leaders up to speak to the crowd and hold the space. These included Elizer Darris of ACLU-MN; Anika Bowie of NAACP-Mpls’ Mohamed Ibrahim from CAIR-MN; Trahern Crews of Black Lives Matter MN; Danielle Burns, Jamar Clark’s sister; Monique Cullars-Doty from TCC4J, a member whose nephew Marcus Golden was killed by SPPD in 2015; Michelle Gross of CUAPB; Yariah Myers representing TCC4J; Chauntyll Allen of Black Lives Matter-Twin Cities Metro; Marques Armstrong from Racial Justice Network, and Cortez Rice, George Floyd’s nephew.</p> <p>Shortly after the hearing ended, the killer cops walked out of the building. As soon as they were spotted by protesters, the crowd erupted with angry chants and jeers. Thomas Lane and Aleander Keung were escorted through the crowd by police, and hundreds took off after them, following them down the block and around the corner. A smaller crowd of protesters spotted Derek Chauvin taking a different exit and shouted as he was placed in the police vehicle for his return trip to jail.</p> <p>Once Chauvin was off the scene, protesters returned to the courthouse, where George Floyd’s family and their attorneys held a press conference and addressed the crowd of protesters, thanking them for their support. Rather than ignore the crowd, the family’s representation took a wireless mic from organizers so that the crowd could hear the address. Attorney Ben Crump spoke to the allegation that George Floyd’s death was caused by overdose. “They are trying to claim that the knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds had nothing to do with his death. The only overdose that killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force and racism.”</p> <p>As part of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, TCC4J’s is organizing a march for the upcoming National Day of Protest on September 19. Nationally, they are demanding community control of the police, an end to the slaying of Black lives, and an end to police and military forces being deployed to suppress protests. In Minneapolis, TCC4J will also call for the re-opening of local cases of police murder that were never prosecuted. The march will begin at 1 p.m. at Plymouth and James Avenues North, at the site where Jamar Clark’s life was taken by the Minneapolis Police Department in 2015.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/16/pretrial-hearing-cops-killed-george-floyd-large-protest-demands-justice-0#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-racism Derek Chauvin George Floyd minneapolis Racism in the Criminal Justice System In-Justice System Wed, 16 Sep 2020 15:39:24 +0000 Fight Back 8514 at http://www.fightbacknews.org South Los Angeles continues to seek justice for Dijon Kizzee http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/15/south-los-angeles-continues-seek-justice-dijon-kizzee <p>Los Angeles, CA - Thousands of supporters from South LA, along with multiple political forces, continued to denounce the killing of 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department (LASD) at a protest on September 12. Kizzee was shot 20 times by deputies from LASD’s South LA station for an alleged vehicle code violation that ended in a fatal altercation on August 31. Kizzee’s family called for murder charges against the sheriff deputies responsible for his death.</p> <p>Organized by Coalition for Community Control of Police, Black Lives Matter-LA and several other organizations, the action started at the site where deputies shot and killed Kizzee. Protesters then marched through the neighborhood until arriving at a nearby intersection next to the sheriff's station. They were met with sheriffs in riot gear who blocked the main road of Imperial Highway with barricades and military vehicles.</p> <p>Several families who have lost their sons to police killings denounced the LA County Sheriffs and LAPD. The groups called for prosecution of the police, the ousting of LA’s District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and voting Trump out in the 2020 November elections. Carlos Montes with Centro CSO spoke of the unity and solidarity that exists between the Blacks and Chicanos. He called for community control of the police and Black power, saying that once Black people are free, we will all be free!</p> <p>Since the killing of Dijon Kizzee, actions at the South LA station have ranged from press conferences to protests. The South LA County South LA Sheriff's station has met these organized and spontaneous actions with violent repression and has shot teargas, rubber bullets and flashbangs at participants, including journalists and photographers. Participants have compared deputy repression to a warzone. In a few instances, the sheriffs declared the protests an unlawful assembly within five minutes, which they used as justification to instigate violence and ultimately ambush and arrest protesters for being present or “looking like protesters.” Sheriff press conferences have labeled protesters as “outside agitators'' to further divide and confuse the public on the actions occurring at the station.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/15/south-los-angeles-continues-seek-justice-dijon-kizzee#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Anti-racism Black Lives Matter BLM California Dijon Kizzee LA Police Brutality Police crimes In-Justice System Wed, 16 Sep 2020 01:54:35 +0000 Fight Back 8512 at http://www.fightbacknews.org The West Coast is burning, and capitalism is the blame http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/15/west-coast-burning-and-capitalism-blame <p>Freedom Road Socialist Organization stands with working people on the West Coast who are threatened by the massive wildfires that have taken scores of lives. Dozens more are missing and feared dead and thousands of homes were destroyed. We encourage FRSO members in California, Oregon and Washington to assist in whatever way possible in efforts that ensure the safety of your neighbors and contribute to pro-people recovery efforts. It is important to combat the fear mongering around the fires that is happening in the service of a cynical right-wing political agenda.</p> <p>There is nothing natural about the disaster that is engulfing the West Coast, it is the product of climate change, which in turn has been created by capitalism. A decade of hotter and drier summers, lower levels of winter precipitation and rapid spring melt outs has created fuel for the fires. Large, extremely hot fires are in turn reshaping the ecosystems that they ravage. In some areas even jack pine seeds, which normally thrive on fire, are being killed by the intensity of the infernos. In some places, what was once a forest is being replaced by grassland. That means that the trees that are so necessary to clean carbon dioxide from the air will not be coming back, leaving more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to fuel warming.</p> <p>Big business, in particular the fossil fuel industry, have economic interest in blunting measures that would slow or roll back climate change. Capitalism rewards a greedy few and encourages short-term thinking in order to maximize profits today. The result is a world that is growing hotter, has more extreme weather events, and is posing an existential threat to life as we know it and possibly even to humanity.</p> <p>In the White House, the main political representative of monopoly capitalism is steadfast in his opposition to science, and blabbers about “raking the forest.” That kind of ridiculous commentary and denial of science is not funny when whole towns are being burned to the ground.</p> <p>Every progressive person should support government assistance to help the people of the West Coast battle this disaster and rebuild their lives. The wealthy that run this country have plenty of money; they can be taxed and made to pay for this crisis.</p> <p>Our movements need to insist that the government needs to get serious about addressing climate change. Trump has no intention of doing that and that is one of the many reasons he needs to go. That said, we will need to stay in the streets no matter who is elected to force a serious battle against climate change. </p> <p>Capitalism is a failed system. It is destroying our planet for the profits of a few. There is no hope to stop climate change in the context of the chaotic market-driven forces of capitalism. The sooner the powerful and privileged are overthrown, and socialism – a system where everything is done to improve people’s lives - replaces it, the better it will be.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/15/west-coast-burning-and-capitalism-blame#comments People's Struggles California Capitalism Environmental Justice Oregon Washington West Coast Wild fires Editorials Wed, 16 Sep 2020 01:40:29 +0000 Fight Back 8511 at http://www.fightbacknews.org The West Coast is burning, and capitalism is the blame http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/15/west-coast-burning-and-capitalism-blame <p>Freedom Road Socialist Organization stands with working people on the West Coast who are threatened by the massive wildfires that have taken scores of lives. Dozens more are missing and feared dead and thousands of homes were destroyed. We encourage FRSO members in California, Oregon and Washington to assist in whatever way possible in efforts that ensure the safety of your neighbors and contribute to pro-people recovery efforts. It is important to combat the fear mongering around the fires that is happening in the service of a cynical right-wing political agenda.</p> <p>There is nothing natural about the disaster that is engulfing the West Coast, it is the product of climate change, which in turn has been created by capitalism. A decade of hotter and drier summers, lower levels of winter precipitation and rapid spring melt outs has created fuel for the fires. Large, extremely hot fires are in turn reshaping the ecosystems that they ravage. In some areas even jack pine seeds, which normally thrive on fire, are being killed by the intensity of the infernos. In some places, what was once a forest is being replaced by grassland. That means that the trees that are so necessary to clean carbon dioxide from the air will not be coming back, leaving more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to fuel warming.</p> <p>Big business, in particular the fossil fuel industry, have economic interest in blunting measures that would slow or roll back climate change. Capitalism rewards a greedy few and encourages short-term thinking in order to maximize profits today. The result is a world that is growing hotter, has more extreme weather events, and is posing an existential threat to life as we know it and possibly even to humanity.</p> <p>In the White House, the main political representative of monopoly capitalism is steadfast in his opposition to science, and blabbers about “raking the forest.” That kind of ridiculous commentary and denial of science is not funny when whole towns are being burned to the ground.</p> <p>Every progressive person should support government assistance to help the people of the West Coast battle this disaster and rebuild their lives. The wealthy that run this country have plenty of money; they can be taxed and made to pay for this crisis.</p> <p>Our movements need to insist that the government needs to get serious about addressing climate change. Trump has no intention of doing that and that is one of the many reasons he needs to go. That said, we will need to stay in the streets no matter who is elected to force a serious battle against climate change. </p> <p>Capitalism is a failed system. It is destroying our planet for the profits of a few. There is no hope to stop climate change in the context of the chaotic market-driven forces of capitalism. The sooner the powerful and privileged are overthrown, and socialism – a system where everything is done to improve people’s lives - replaces it, the better it will be.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2020/9/15/west-coast-burning-and-capitalism-blame#comments People's Struggles California Capitalism Environmental Justice Oregon Washington West Coast Wild fires Editorials Wed, 16 Sep 2020 01:40:29 +0000 Fight Back 8511 at http://www.fightbacknews.org