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 Continued resistance to FBI repression, 11 years later http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/23/continued-resistance-fbi-repression-11-years-later <p>On September 24, 2010 the FBI raided seven homes of anti-war activists and the office of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee. 23 activists were subpoenaed to a Chicago-based grand jury that claimed to be investigating “material support for terrorism.” None of those targeted ever stopped resisting this attempt to repress our movement and no one appeared before any grand jury. As time went on, the FBI continued their attack on anti-war and international solidarity activists by targeting important veterans of the movement who worked with the Anti-war 23, including Chicano activist Carlos Montes in Los Angeles and Palestinian organizer Rasmea Odeh in Chicago. Veterans of our movements showed solidarity with the other activists targeted by the FBI and helped push back against this attempt at repression.</p> <p>Over 11 years later, the FBI and local law enforcement continue their attempts to repress the people’s movements. Anybody who watched or participated in the nationwide rebellion after the police murdered George Floyd in Minneapolis could attest to that. Rather than bowing to the police and the wealthy elite they protect, the masses burned the 3rd Precinct police station to the ground in Minneapolis. Protests and demonstrations continued around the country, despite the best efforts of the enemy to stop and slow them down. Millions of people participated in these actions, calling for justice and an end to police crimes.</p> <p>The enemy is not going to stop trying to repress our movements. The broad masses of people in this country are not going to stop fighting for justice. It is important to realize that this contradiction is unavoidable and in fact demonstrates that the wealthy elite who rule this country are scared of the people’s movements. These movements represent a real challenge to the enemy’s system. There are several important lessons we can draw from the experiences of our struggles as we continue to build and advance forward in the face of repression.</p> <p>One important lesson is the key role that solidarity among activists and their communities, both locally and nationally, played in keeping momentum going and not allowing the enemy to achieve its goals. Without the unbreakable showing of solidarity shown both among the Anti-war 23 and veteran activists and the solidarity shown towards them by activists all over the world, many of our movement leaders would have ended up behind bars. Instead, they continue to organize in the streets and participate in important events like the George Floyd rebellion. If there are key lessons to learn from this showing of solidarity among activists, those lessons are: Don’t talk to the FBI or any law enforcement. You are only required to give your name, but then tell them to contact your lawyer and say nothing.</p> <p>Our movements must firmly oppose the different methods of oppression used against us, including grand juries and “material support for terrorism” laws. Grand juries are in no way fair and involve the prosecutor asking you questions without your lawyer present. It is important not to talk to grand juries at all and not attend them. Resistance is key to fighting back against this terrible one-sided system. Grand juries are also sometimes used to let killer cops off the hook, and should be abolished entirely. </p> <p>Likewise, bogus “material support for terrorism” laws are used to strangle free speech and to lock people up. Over the past decade, these laws have specifically targeted many important social movements, especially Arab and Muslim organizations like the Holy Land Foundation, a charity whose only focus was helping the less fortunate. Often the enemy will plant agents and informants into our movements with the goal of framing people using “material support” laws. We’ve seen this many times within movements that fight for Black liberation. It also happened back in 2008 when the enemy planted a spy named “Karen Sullivan” into efforts to organize a demonstration against the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota. This spy was directly involved in the FBI raids of the Anti-war 23 in 2010.</p> <p>Freedom Road Socialist Organization commends everyone who resists repression and urges every member of our social movements to continue organizing for a better world. The billionaires who run this system and leave poverty and destruction in their wake have got to go. Their system must be replaced by a society run by the working class and their allies, including the Black, Chicano, and Hawai’ian nations currently being oppressed. Together we can build a better world.</p> <p>Organize to win! Don’t speak to the FBI or police. Refuse to testify at any grand jury.</p> <p>Solidarity!</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/23/continued-resistance-fbi-repression-11-years-later#comments People's Struggles Anti-War 23 FBI raids Political Repression Fri, 24 Sep 2021 02:16:42 +0000 Fight Back 9287 at http://www.fightbacknews.org AFSCME members at Hennepin County rally to fund, staff libraries and restore services http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/23/afscme-members-hennepin-county-rally-fund-staff-libraries-and-restore-services <p>Minneapolis, MN - On September 20, Hennepin County library workers rallied at the East Lake Street Library, located in the heart of last year’s George Floyd rebellion, to call on county commissioners to fully fund and staff public libraries. At the rally, frontline support staff and library workers spoke out against cutting staff during a pandemic, saying that people need the library services more than ever.</p> <p>The workers held signs along the side of Lake Street as people passing by held out their fists and honked in solidarity. The library users appeared to be supportive, and when they learned that Hennepin County was cutting more positions, many called the county commissioner or asked how they could help.</p> <p>Sonia Meade, a resident of the area and regular East Lake Library patron came to the rally after hearing about it on the morning news. “I want more money for libraries not less,” Meade observed. “I want more library staff not less. I’m very concerned by what I’m hearing.”</p> <p>David Wang, a new Minneapolis resident came after seeing a post about it on Twitter. “It’s so important to support our libraries and their workers. Libraries have been so important during this pandemic. That’s why I came here today, to support library workers.”</p> <p>In the summer of 2020 the Hennepin County board cut&nbsp;66 full-time library positions, despite strong financial reserves. Later that year they attempted to cut an additional 35 positions but eventually decided not to after library workers and the community fought back against the move.&nbsp;</p> <p>The union members say that the county is looking at more cuts and a potential 14% reduction in total staff compared to pre-COVID levels. Despite widespread reports of staffing issues, the library is increasing hours by 376 hours in October. Library workers and their union support more hours but say that with current staffing levels it is not safe nor is it feasible and that, without increasing staff, library users will have to wait longer for books and movies, receive less support for job searches, computer questions and tech support; and overall will find diminished services.</p> <p>In addition to cutting staff, Hennepin County Library has also been cutting services, recently shutting down the Franklin Learning Center, which offered educational opportunities to new immigrants; cutting the collection budget and removing staff and public computers.</p> <p>After the rally, union leaders from AFSCME Local 2822 and AFSCME Local 2864 sent a joint letter to county commissioners calling for&nbsp;a return of the 66 positions cut last year and to retain all existing vacancies; and return plexiglass shields that were removed from public desks earlier this summer.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/23/afscme-members-hennepin-county-rally-fund-staff-libraries-and-restore-services#comments People's Struggles AFSCME Hennepin County Labor Thu, 23 Sep 2021 14:56:45 +0000 Fight Back 9286 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Family of David Ordaz, Jr., killed by East LA sheriffs, demands justice http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/family-david-ordaz-jr-killed-east-la-sheriffs-demands-justice <p>Los Angeles, CA - On September 18, the family of David Ordaz, Jr. held a march and rally calling for Mental Health awareness in honor of David, a 34-year-old father of three who was killed by the East LA Sheriffs on March 14, 2021. Ordaz, Jr. was having a mental health crisis, but the ELA Sheriffs responded by killing him in front of his family. </p> <p>The protest began with a brief kick-off at Belvedere Park gym on Chavez Avenue where Ordaz Jr. loved to work out, before protesters marched down Cesar Chavez and Mednik Avenues to the park’s lakeside bandshell stage, across from the East LA Sheriff’s Station. As Ordaz, Jr. was murdered during a mental health crisis, his family not only demanded justice and accountability for him, but also greater resources, awareness and understanding of mental health issues. Centro CSO and Say Their Names-LA helped provide organizing support.</p> <p>On March 14, the family of David Ordaz, Jr. called 911 to get him help as he was under mental distress and talking about suicide. ELA Sheriff’s deputies --including Remin Pineda, Edwin Navarrete, Jaime Romero, and Nathaniel Trujillo - arrived at the scene outside of the Ordaz family home in East Los Angeles. The ELA sheriff’s station - the home of the Banditos gang - is known for its aggressive violent behavior and long history of killing Chicano men. Although they were aware of Ordaz Jr.’s mental state, the deputies gunned him down as his family watched in shock. While the department says that Ordaz Jr. charged at the deputies with a knife, footage recorded by a neighbor shows that he did not pose a threat. </p> <p>In their speeches, the Ordaz family described the pain caused by the East LA Sheriffs and their journey to speaking out. Hilda Pedroza, sister of Ordaz Jr., said “Seeing my brother being murdered by the police was very traumatizing, and it really messed with me. Somebody asked me, why didn’t we do anything before? Why did we wait until six months to protest? Personally, I wasn’t ready for it. We needed to mourn what we could and I personally needed to take care of my own mental health.”</p> <p>Emily, the daughter of Ordaz Jr., spoke of the injustice of her father’s murder. “We shouldn’t have to be here, this is wrong. I’m barely 15, turning 16 in November and my siblings are 9 and 11. And we have to spend the rest of our lives without my dad and that’s wrong. Because of these officers, I know that one officer has children and he got to spend Father’s Day with his kids, and that’s wrong, because my dad didn’t get to do that,” she said. </p> <p>The rally at Belvedere Lake opened with Aztec Danzantes, a moment of silence, and an art therapy exercise. Sol Marquez with Centro CSO and Felipe Findlay helped introduce the speakers. Then the families of victims killed by police from across the Los Angeles-area spoke. Relatives of Feras Morad, Fermin Vincent Valenzuela, Donte Jordan, Ernie Serrano, Nicholas Burgos, Sawani Toussaint, Alex Flores, Anthony Vargas, and Marco Vazquez Jr spoke. Many of these families highlighted how their loved ones died in similar circumstances as Ordaz Jr. as they required medical assistance but were instead confronted by killer cops. </p> <p>Along with these families, organizers in the fight for police accountability spoke in support. Luis Sifuentes of Centro CSO called for community control of the police. Joseph Williams of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles explained the campaign to kick police “unions” out of the LA County Federation of Labor. Eunisses Hernandez of La Defensa described the resources that exist for families impacted by police violence. Esther Lim, Justice Deputy of Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, communicated Solis’ solidarity with the families killed by LASD and the Board of Supervisors motions to hold the LASD accountable.</p> <p>The Ordaz family has filed a federal lawsuit against four of the deputies involved in the killing. They also call for reforming LASD, in particular their response to mental health crises. </p> <p>Centro CSO is part of a wider effort at justice and police reform by participating in the Check The Sheriff Coalition and calling on people to participate in the fight for community/civilian control of the LASD. Centro CSO also fights for the demand of families to prosecute killer cops and to disband the LA Deputy Sheriff’s gangs.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/family-david-ordaz-jr-killed-east-la-sheriffs-demands-justice#comments People's Struggles Police Brutality Centro CSO Chican@ / Latin@ David Ordaz Jr. In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Wed, 22 Sep 2021 02:41:30 +0000 Fight Back 9285 at http://www.fightbacknews.org In split vote, Nabisco workers accept new contract offer, ending 39-day strike http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/split-vote-nabisco-workers-accept-new-contract-offer-ending-39-day-strike <p>Portland, OR - On September 18, more than 1000 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), who work for Nabisco across five states, voted in a split decision to accept a new contract offer from Nabisco and end their 39-day strike. The workers had been on strike in Portland, Oregon; Richmond Virginia; Chicago Illinois; Aurora, Colorado and Norcross, Georgia. </p> <p>The union has not released full details on the new agreement, but one thing that they point to is that there are hourly wage increases each year of the four-year contract. A picture of the agreement was leaked on social media which appears to show a 2.25% raise the first year, followed by 60-cent raises each of the next three years. The union also says that they have preserved their healthcare, won 401k matching, and made gains on some workplace policies.</p> <p>One of the main issues the workers struck over was forced overtime, where workers often had to work six or seven days of every week and do long unscheduled shifts. It is unclear currently if gains were made on this front in the new contract.</p> <p>Not all of the striking workers agreed that this new offer was better, or good enough to return to work. In Portland, local union members there say that over 200 of the workers in their area voted against the new contract and to continue striking, saying that the new offer was not much better than the previous one which they had rejected. It is unclear how deep this split opinion runs in other parts of the country but is clear that the decision was a divided one.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/split-vote-nabisco-workers-accept-new-contract-offer-ending-39-day-strike#comments People's Struggles and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) Bakery Confectionery Nabisco strike Strikes Tobacco Workers Labor Wed, 22 Sep 2021 01:52:21 +0000 Fight Back 9284 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Dallas protest stands in solidarity with Palestinian political prisoners http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/dallas-protest-stands-solidarity-palestinian-political-prisoners <p>Dallas, TX - On September 19, about 50 people gathered in Belo Garden Park in Downtown Dallas to support six Palestinian political prisoners who recently escaped from Israeli detention, and to call for the freedom of all Palestinian political prisoners. The rally was organized by Palestinian Youth Movement, American Muslims for Justice in Palestine, and Students for Justice in Palestine. Chants included "Intifada! Intifada! Long live the Intifada!" "We don't want two states! We want '48!" and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."</p> <p>Speeches followed the chants. Jhad Villena of Malaya Movement Texas discussed the similarities between the struggle against repression by Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines and the struggle against Zionist repression in Palestine, criticizing American military support to both Israel and the Philippines.<br /> "International solidarity is the answer when our enemy is transnational, and especially when our enemy is here right at home," stated Villena.</p> <p>Ammar Nanjiani of the Dallas Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression expressed solidarity with the struggle of Palestinian political prisoners and compared repression by Israel with repression of anti-police terror activists, pointing out that the Dallas Police Department sent cops to be trained by the Israeli Defense Forces. "The same racist colonialist project of American imperialism is responsible for both plights; we oppose a religious ethnostate invented by ultraconservatives that is known as Israel," stated Nanjiani.</p> <p>Next Daniel Sullivan of the Dallas Anti-War Committee condemned American support for Israel and expressed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle as a fight against American imperialism. "The U.S. support of Israel is very good proof of the reality of U.S. foreign policy, and how it is not concerned with human rights, not concerned with democracy, and not concerned with freedom, but is nothing but modern colonialism," stated Sullivan.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/dallas-protest-stands-solidarity-palestinian-political-prisoners#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Free Palestine International Middle East Palestine Palestinian political prisoners In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Wed, 22 Sep 2021 01:45:21 +0000 Fight Back 9283 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Minneapolis referendum on policing: Vote No on Question 2 http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/minneapolis-referendum-policing-vote-no-question-2 <p>Just last year, the halls of power in Minnesota shook when people answered the murder of George Floyd by rising up. We marched on the State Capitol, the county attorney, the state attorney general, the police federation and the interstate highways. Day and night, for weeks on end, we faced riot police, tear gas, National Guard troops and white supremacists. The Third Precinct police station was burned, as were hundreds of other buildings. And fires here sparked protests across the world and transformed the political landscape.</p> <p>Today, when Minneapolis is in the midst of its first local elections since the uprising, voters will consider dozens of candidates for local office, as well as a few ballot measures. </p> <p>At the top of the ballot will be the mayor’s race. As of this writing, no candidate has a clear path to beat incumbent Mayor Jacob Frey, but it’s important that he not be handed an easy victory. We can vote to send a message that he does not have support for his failures to address policing, housing, the pandemic and more. Whether you write in someone else, or if you choose a candidate who stands for things you can support, we urge people of conscience to use ranked choice voting to cast three votes against Jacob Frey. </p> <p>There’s another chance to vote against Frey, in the form of a ballot question. Question 1 asks to take most city council powers and turn them over to mayoral control. Consolidating power into fewer hands would weaken the fight for working class and oppressed peoples. We can’t just leave Question 1 blank. To be counted against expanded mayoral power, voters need to mark No on their ballots. </p> <p>There is also a ballot question, Question 3, related to rent control; we support rent control. </p> <p>While those are easy choices. All of Minneapolis is waiting for the final tally on a measure that aims to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety. The new department would be under the joint control of the mayor and city council, and could still include police. The measure would also end the minimum police staffing requirement currently in the city charter.</p> <p>Many good people have come out to support this amendment - Question 2 - and it’s been held up as an accomplishment of our movement. We see it as something that came from outside our movement, and which threatens to hinder the fight for real change. We’ll be voting No.</p> <p>Proponents argue that Question 2 is a pathway to abolition, but also say it’s not that. A campaign website FAQ asks, “Does…it mean abolish or defund the police?” Then answers in bold type, “No. It does not.” Question 2 was born on a stage in Powderhorn Park, adorned with words “Defund police,” but it neither cuts the police budget nor requires the transfer of police funding to other projects or programs. We support investment in mental health resources, addiction services and youth programs, but Question 2 doesn’t mandate any of those.</p> <p>And while we support ending the staffing requirement in the city charter, that alone does not get us the change our communities need.</p> <p>First, ending the requirement does not cut the budget or the size of the police force - doing that is still a political decision. This amendment leaves that decision in the hands of the city council. The same city council that declared their “veto-proof majority” on that stage in Powderhorn Park last June and has voted at least twice since then for more money for the Minneapolis Police Department. </p> <p>Second, to cut the number of cops without addressing accountability is meaningless. Take the example of Derek Chauvin, before he murdered George Floyd. He was a 19-year veteran of MPD with a display case full of commendations and medals. He would not be the first cut from a downsized police force. The only way to get rid of the Derek Chauvins is to demand accountability for someone like him, who has 26 complaints on his record and has killed five people before George Floyd. The killers of Terrence Franklin, Jamar Clark, Travis Jordan and others, are all still working for MPD, and as long-term employees, would be protected from any cuts in the force. The most direct way to ensure accountability is to end the practice of police being allowed to police themselves.</p> <p>Currently, the Office of Police Conduct Review (OPCR) is responsible for reviewing civilian complaints, but no complaint gets sustained by the OPCR unless a police panel agrees. The group Communities United Against Police Brutality found that only 0.36% of complaints result in discipline (compared to a national average of 7-8% for civilian review boards). Question 2 does nothing to end this practice, nor does it open past complaints or police murders for review. </p> <p>So long as police control the complaint process, there can be no accountability. So long as no one reviews past harms, there can be no justice. If there is no change in police conduct, cutting the size of the police force doesn’t protect us from police abuses.</p> <p>Currently, the mayor is the only civilian authority over Minneapolis police. Question 2 would change that, so that the mayor would share power with the city council. While the mayor has proven himself unwilling to rein in police, the city council has also showed us time and again that they are willing to pass the buck even on the things they can do. They have the power to address the complaint process, and have not done so. It is the city council that approves the contract with the Police Officers Federation, but they never press for changes that will protect community members. The city council has the power to eliminate the camping ordinances that invite police to criminalize our unhoused neighbors and carry out merciless evictions, despite the overwhelming housing crisis in our city, yet they have done nothing. These are just a few things that could change on a dime, if the city council were willing to take action. Yes, we need to take power over policing out of the hands of the mayor, but it gets us nowhere to put it into the hands of a body that has shown itself unwilling to make change.</p> <p>Proponents of Question 2 have invited us to reimagine public safety, but ask us to vote for a proposition that will do nothing to make concrete changes that will protect us from police violence in our communities, or address the harms already done by a violent, racist institution. Some worry that the defeat of Question 2 would be a blow against the movement to end police accountability and win Black liberation. In our view, the defeat of Question 2 will be an opportunity to get the focus back on concrete changes to address the needs our communities have right now.</p> <p>We will be voting No on Question 2, and throwing our weight behind the fight for community control of the police by establishing an all-elected Civilian Police Accountability Commission. Look for it in your ballot in 2022, and join the Black-led grassroots effort to get us there.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/21/minneapolis-referendum-policing-vote-no-question-2#comments People's Struggles Opinion Police Brutality African-American Anti-racism Elections Minneapolis elections Minneapolis Uprising Editorials In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Tue, 21 Sep 2021 22:10:08 +0000 Fight Back 9282 at http://www.fightbacknews.org SDS at Texas A&M demands takedown of Confederate statue http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/20/sds-texas-am-demands-takedown-confederate-statue <p>College Station, TX - On September 16, Students for a Democratic Society at Texas A&amp;M University held a protest against the continued presence of a Confederate statue on their campus, racial profiling in the surrounding community, and how TAMU continually fails to meet the needs of Black students on campus.</p> <p>Roughly 60 students, faculty and community members demonstrated in front of the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue, calling for it to be taken down. Protesters chanted, “Hey, ho, ho, Sully Ross has got to go!” </p> <p>Amorae’ Shamberger, from the organization Round Table Talks, spoke about her experiences as an African American Aggie, and how the university does not provide an inclusive atmosphere for oppressed nationality students, saying, “Sully is a representation of A&amp;M saying that they don’t care how he’s a symbol of oppression for students of color, they have the audacity to say put a penny on him, he is love. I’m pretty sure we can all say he don't represent an inch of love. Sully being removed would be the first step of A&amp;M taking initiative in saying they will not tolerate racism and any symbol of racism here.”</p> <p>A representative from the Black Graduate Student Association at TAMU called out the both the Bryan and College Station police departments for continued instances of racial profiling. They expressed that though we may be having these conversations on topics of racial injustice, we are not seeing change met in our policing institutions, demanding that “the police need to stop racial profiling,” that “it has been [proven] that people of color are still getting pulled over based on racial profiling.”</p> <p>SDS organizer Mia Ogolo spoke on the atrocities committed by Lawrence Sullivan Ross, detailing the heinous actions performed by him from his time as a Texan Ranger to his time in the Confederacy as a general. His crimes included the killings Black Union soldiers who had surrendered to him during the Civil War. Ogolo stated that Ross “personally participated in the disenfranchisement and plunder of Black progress. Even after the Civil War, he was a traitor to America and to democracy, circumventing federal efforts to uplift and educate newly freed African Americans.”</p> <p>Dr. Michael Alvard, SDS advisor and professor of anthropology at A&amp;M, echoed student sentiments and emphasized the power students have to achieve change.</p> <p>Ogolo presented the SDS’s list of demands, principal of which was the relocation of the statue to the university library’s archives. They also called for a shift to community control of police, and a decrease in funding to police departments, with a reallocation of these funds to social programs, education and infrastructure.</p> <p>The protest concluded with an opportunity for students to step up and share their stories, which affirmed the student discontent with their administration. This event was only one step in a much longer campaign to shift the culture of Texas A&amp;M University to one of diversity, inclusion and equality.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/20/sds-texas-am-demands-takedown-confederate-statue#comments People's Struggles African-American Anti-racism SDS TAMU Oppressed Nationalities Mon, 20 Sep 2021 13:58:25 +0000 Fight Back 9280 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Climate Justice Committee marches to end Line 3 Oil pipeline http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/19/climate-justice-committee-marches-end-line-3-oil-pipeline <p>Minneapolis, MN – On September 18 nearly 100 people rallied and marched to call for an end to the Line 3 oil pipeline. The Climate Justice Committee organized the rally to continue pressure on President Biden and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to end the permits for Line 3.</p> <p>Michael Johnson, an indigenous youth organizer with the Bloomington Anti Racist Coalition, started out the rally telling organizers, "As a young person, it's difficult to let your voice be heard. But I say our time is here and now. If you truly label yourself as an indigenous ally, use your voice, sign petitions, show up at rallies and get involved."</p> <p>The Line 3 oil pipeline runs through Minnesota crossing the Mississippi river at several points and violates the sovereignty of the Anishinaabe peoples and their land.</p> <p>Speakers made connections with other important struggles. Joe Vital from the East Phillips Urban Farm Initiative talked about their fight for community control in fighting industrial pollution and building a community space that empowers the residents and combats historic environmental racism.</p> <p>The protest marched to the Mississippi River to honor the water. Speakers made connections to the fight for community control of the police in the form of a civilian police accountability council (CPAC); the fight for Palestine and their indigenous struggle against Israeli occupiers; and the fight of students for control of their campus demanding university CPAC as well.</p> <p>CJ McCormick from the Climate Justice Committee said, "We need control over our own communities - the power to clean our air, to support ourselves, and to determine how our own spaces are used. That needs to be our future.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/19/climate-justice-committee-marches-end-line-3-oil-pipeline#comments People's Struggles Climate Justice Committee Environmental Justice Indigenous Peoples Line 3 Mon, 20 Sep 2021 00:45:01 +0000 Fight Back 9279 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Highway bannering keeps Palestine solidarity in focus http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/19/highway-bannering-keeps-palestine-solidarity-focus <p>Minneapolis, MN - On September 16, thousands of rush-hour commuters on Interstate 94 saw banners with slogans like “Free Palestine,” “End apartheid” and “End ethnic cleansing” hung from the Loring Park footbridge, amid a sea of Palestinian flags. Activists from American Muslims for Palestine - Minnesota (AMP-MN), the Anti-War Committee (AWC) and Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) then rallied in the park with chants and speeches.</p> <p>The occasion was the anniversary of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila Massacre in Lebanon, when an invading Israeli army encouraged local right-wing militias to murder thousands of Palestinian refugees and Lebanese Muslims over two nights. Activists highlighted the situation of Palestinian refugees in the present, whose right of return to Palestine continues to be denied by the Zionist occupation.</p> <p>The activists also called attention to Israel’s settler-colonial policies that are creating new refugees. In May, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood sparked an unprecedented wave of protest around the world. The Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem has called for international pressure to stop Israel from expanding the so-called “evictions” and the land registration procedures it uses as a pretext to take Palestinian lands and homes. Israeli officials have stated they plan to implement the policy of title and registration in all of east Jerusalem, which would pave the way for citywide ethnic cleansing.</p> <p>“After the world witnessed the human rights violations committed by Israeli forces in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, it is imperative that we keep that momentum going until all of Palestine is free - from the river to the sea,” Andrew Josefchak of the AWC told the rally.</p> <p>This year’s Sabra and Shatila anniversary came on the heels of a dramatic prison break from Israel’s notorious Gilboa prison. On September 6, six Palestinian revolutionaries escaped through a tunnel they painstakingly dug using only their prison cookware. Although four were recaptured in the following days, the escape galvanized resistance across Palestine, with the spoon emerging as a new symbol of Palestinian liberation.</p> <p>“The joy and the excitement that it brought to Palestinians and supporters of Palestine everywhere cannot be described. How can Israel destroy a people that dig tunnels with spoons?” asked Mariam El-Khatib of AMP-MN. “They brought humiliation to one of the strongest armies in the world.”</p> <p>Sarah Martin of WAMM called for an end to US aid to Israel. “The massacre at Sabra and Shatila was a direct consequence of the impunity given to Israel by the U.S. and the international community. The U.S. aids and abets Israel, as administration after administration continue to give unconditional political support to Israel and at least $3.8 billion per year in aid, mostly used for weapons against Palestinians.”</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/19/highway-bannering-keeps-palestine-solidarity-focus#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement American Muslims for Palestine (AMP-MN) Palestine Mon, 20 Sep 2021 00:41:19 +0000 Fight Back 9278 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Fight for voting rights! http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/19/fight-voting-rights <p>Ever since the Supreme Court conservative majority weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013, Republicans and the right wing have tried to pass more and more legal restrictions on voting. The main aim of these efforts is to suppress the votes of African Americans, who have long fought the racism and reaction of the modern Republican Party. These efforts redoubled in the wake of the 2020 elections with Donald Trump’s loss in the presidential race, and the election of one African American senator from Georgia. Trump and his allies’ lies about voter fraud have merged with this campaign for voter suppression. Their goal is not just to try to win elections in 2022 and 2024, but to lay the basis for trying to overturn future elections if the outcome is not to their liking. Disenfranchising as many African Americans, Chicanos and other oppressed nationalities is at the center of their efforts to turn the clock back.</p> <p>The struggle for voting rights has been part of the fight for democracy in the United States for more than 150 years. After the Civil War, during the Reconstruction, African Americans winning the vote gave rise to some of the most progressive legislation of the time. The struggle to abolish slavery and win the franchise, or right to vote, for Black Americans helped fuel the fight for women’s suffrage. And the Civil Rights movement of 60 years ago, of which voting rights was a central part, sparked struggles by Chicanos and other oppressed nationalities as well as the fight against the imperialist war on Vietnam, and the strengthening of the environmental movement. The fight for equality for women, the struggle for LGBTQ rights, and many other progressive movements grew in the wake of the Civil Rights movement.</p> <p>While the right wing was roundly defeated in the 2018 and 2020 elections, their decades-long campaign to pack the courts with right-wing judges is paying off. In June of 2020, the Supreme Court upheld two of Arizona’s voter suppression laws, giving a green light to similar bills in many other states.</p> <p>While some people who wish to marginalize the people’s movement try to pit voting rights against mass struggles, the fact of the matter is that people in the streets helps the struggle for voting rights. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 came after ten years of mass struggle against segregation and for voting rights. In 2020, voter registration picked up after the wave a mass actions, including urban rebellions and many acts of civil disobedience after the murder of George Floyd.</p> <p>It would also be wrong to pit the struggle for voting rights against our fight for socialism. As the Russian revolutionary V.I. Lenin said, “we are obliged for that reason to expound and emphasize <em>general democratic tasks before the whole people</em>, without for a moment concealing our socialist convictions.” [“What Is To Be Done?”, page 102, italics in the original]. Community control of the police and voting rights are both democratic demands, made even more important here and now because they are also demands of African Americans and other oppressed nationalities, who, along with the working class, make of the core of the struggle for socialism in the United States.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2021/9/19/fight-voting-rights#comments People's Struggles African-American Elections Voting Rights Mon, 20 Sep 2021 00:22:18 +0000 Fight Back 9276 at http://www.fightbacknews.org