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 Commentary: Coup in Bolivia http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/10/commentary-coup-bolivia <p>Chicago, IL - Today, a military coup took place in Bolivia. The first act began on October 20 - the day that Evo Morales was re-elected president by a ten-point margin against his nearest opponent, starting with violent protests in the country's urban middle-class neighborhoods. The final act was carried out by the head of the Bolivian Armed Forces, Gen. Williams Kaliman, who went on national television today and demanded that Morales resign. This followed a day of police mutinies in key cities, and in totality it was clear that the elected government had lost the support of the armed apparatus of the state. Without arms to fall back on, and fearing the slaughter of their supporters, Morales, his vice president Álvaro García Linera, and the president of the Senate, Adriana Salvatierra resigned. Morales stated, ”I am resigning so that my comrades will not continue to be intimidated and threatened, so that [the reactionaries} will stop burning their homes and persecuting the humble people.”</p> <p>From the beginning, it must be clear that the street violence that led to this moment was not about "the people vs. the government." In Bolivia, where the people live under a constitution that was popularly written and democratically approved in 2009, the people are the government. For the first time since the Spanish invasion, the indigenous masses exercised political control over their own territory - Bolivia being the only country left in the Americas where the majority of the population is indigenous. In the entire history of this hemisphere, only two indigenous people have been elected president - Benito Juárez in México a hundred and fifty years ago, and Evo Morales in Bolivia. </p> <p>Before Evo came to office, Bolivia was the sole governance of a handful of families, the oligarchy whose historic roots lie in the Spanish Conquest and whose only fount of current legitimacy comes from U.S. capital. It was not long ago that the country was an apartheid state, where the indigenous were denied the right to vote and own property. A national democratic revolution in 1952 tore down this order, but the oligarchy quickly regained power in the new democratic order. It was in the mass revolt against this consolidation of power that Che arrived to fight, and ultimately die, alongside his Bolivian comrades. </p> <p>Evo came to office in 2005 as an indigenous trade unionist, at the helm of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), a political alliance of left-wing trade unions, peasant unions and indigenous organizations. In the thirteen years since first taking office, his government has led a transformation of Bolivia from an economic backwater - a country without any sovereignty, totally beholden to American imperialist thuggery - into a genuinely prosperous society. The mines and gas refineries that used to be the sole property of U.S. firms were nationalized, and their revenue directed to lifting the poor out of poverty. For as long as Bolivia has existed, it has not known a period of greater collective prosperity and genuine democracy. </p> <p>From day one, Evo's government has been a government of the mass movements, with indigenous workers and farmers occupying the halls of power that were built on their ancestor's backs. None of this could be forgiven by the oligarchy, nor by the social classes that benefited from their patronage system. These were the forces that have resisted MAS' transformation of Bolivia, and these were the forces that took to the streets on October 20th.</p> <p>So what are these demonstrations about, if not democracy? The protesters decry "electoral fraud" without offering any proof, although that does not matter at all for the shameless U.S. media outlets that serve as the faithful loudspeakers of any rich thug. But, do they turn their attention to the seats of government in the capital, occupying Congress and demanding a new election? No. Instead, they set fire to union houses. They drag the elected mayors of cities and towns, only those that belong to MAS, from their homes and beat them, along with their family members. They drag one, a proud indigenous woman, into the middle of a crowd and forcibly cut off her hair. They set fire to the house of Evo's own sister. This was terrorism, on an organized scale and with the open support of the far-right opposition parties and the U.S. media. </p> <p>What will now happen to the incredible society their movement has built is unclear. Reports are coming in that at least twenty people from Evo's government have sought asylum in Mexico's embassy in the capital. The wiphala, the flag that represents the diversity of Bolivia's indigenous people, has been taken down from government buildings in the capital. Evo, for his part, has declared that he will not leave. He and his vice president have gone to the countryside, to their base, in order to lead the grim struggle going forward. </p> <p>The coup faces one of the most organized mass movements on the continent, one whose resilience and revolutionary courage goes back centuries, from the resistance to the Spanish Conquest in the 1500s to the armed miner uprisings of only a few decades ago. The Bolivian people possess in their history and in their lived experience a great bravery. Now they must use it to defend the better society they have built. </p> <p>This week is a sober reminder that history does not move along a straight line. An incredible victory in one corner can be, and often is, accompanied by a terrible defeat in another. Such is the nature of war. And what we are witnessing in our continent, from Haiti to Chile, is a war. A contradiction, like any tension, can only last so long before it breaks. The Americas have broken open, and all energy must be coalesced into common struggle to cast the bourgeoisie of our countries - whose descendants consciously committed genocide and forced millions into slavery so that they could live in decadence - into the dustbin. "History is ours," said Salvador Allende as airplanes of the U.S. backed military dropped bombs around him and his comrades, "and the people make history." In Bolivia, we suffered a defeat today. Tomorrow, let us ensure a victory there and in every corner of our America.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/10/commentary-coup-bolivia#comments People's Struggles Opinion Americas Bolivia Bolivia Coup Evo Morales Latin America Op-Ed South America Mon, 11 Nov 2019 03:14:46 +0000 Fight Back 7672 at http://www.fightbacknews.org 102 years since October Revolution http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/7/102-years-october-revolution <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap;">This paper prepared collectively by the central leadership of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and was presented by leading member of FRSO, Frank Chapman, at the Centennial Commemoration of the October Revolution, held in New York City, July 2017. The event was sponsored by People’s Response for International Solidarity and Mass Mobilization (PRISM) in cooperation with the U.S. member organizations of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS-US).</span></p> <p><strong><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Introduction&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">As communists and revolutionaries, we welcome this opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary of Russia’s 1917 October Revolution, and to discuss its ongoing relevancy to the struggle today.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The October Revolution was a world-changing event. At one stroke, it settled the question of whether another world was possible. Releasing one-sixth of the world from the chains of wage slavery, it smashed the myth that rule by the few was a sort of permanent condition, and, by successfully establishing proletarian political power, the October Revolution succeeded in opening the road to socialist construction. For the years that followed, the great achievements of the Soviet Union created a new and better way of life and would exercise a powerful effect on working and oppressed people around the globe.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Not only did the October Revolution change the lives of the millions who lived in what would become the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), it changed the world revolutionary movement in a big way. Mao was later to say, that the October Revolution sent the “salvos of Marxism to China” where it was to become a powerful force in the movement for national liberation and socialism. In the U.S., the October Revolution came to exercise a magnetic pull on the revolutionaries in the socialist, labor and other people’s movements, contributing to the creation of a single, revolutionary Communist Party in the early 1920s, which became an important factor in the country’s political life.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">How we can learn for the October Revolution in the U.S.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The Bolsheviks, under the leadership of Lenin, Stalin and others, creatively applied Marxism to the concrete conditions of Russia. In doing so they waged a consistent struggle against opportunism in the socialist and labor movements - internationally and in Russia itself. It was this struggle against opportunism that prepared the Bolsheviks to lead the working class in the seizure of power.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The October Revolution was a qualitative leap, from one historical epoch to another – a period in which moribund capitalism is heading for extinction and where socialism is on the agenda. This process in turn gave rise to Leninism; Leninism being Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Marxism-Leninism is a science, the science of revolution. It allows us to understand the laws that govern the processes at work in the world, and by understanding those laws, including those of how history develops, we can grasp the necessity and understand our freedom to change the world.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Because Marxism-Leninism is a science, a science that is by necessity and fact, universal in character, we can take the lessons of the October Revolution and learn from the experience in a materialist way that helps us to advance our work in the U.S. Lenin made the point that the soul of Marxism was a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, so we cannot say that it something that is fixed, static, or immutable. Rather, Marxism-Leninism is and will be constantly enriched through cycles of practice, and the summation of that practice.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">We learn from the past, to guide our work in the present and to serve the future, which includes our revolutionary goals. We have no desire to be a historical reenactment society, and it should be obvious to all serious people that we cannot rely on analogies from Russian history to understand current conditions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Conditions in the U.S. today</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The U.S. today is empire in decline, beset by contradictions internal and external. Lenin stated imperialism was capitalism in its moribund stage, and it is arguable that the irrational bigot Donald Trump is a fitting political representative of a sick and dying system.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Internationally, the U.S. faces a growing challenge for the national liberation movements and the national democratic governments, the socialist countries, and other imperialist rivals. Thus, the U.S. is increasing military spending, taking hostile actions against socialist Korea and Cuba, and is stepping up the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and other places.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Within the U.S., the monopoly capitalists are perusing an agenda of austerity and reaction, which means an intensification of racist discrimination and national oppression, directed at African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, Arab and Asian Americans, and indigenous peoples including Pacific Islanders. There is an attack on the standard of living of working people (including wages, health care, pensions, and perhaps most importantly - the right to have trade unions), attacks on the rights of women, and organized bigotry against Muslims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The point here is not do draw up a comprehensive list of the crimes being committed by the monopoly capitalist class, nor is it to chart the restructuring of the economy and political polarization that has unfolded since the great economic crisis of 2007, rather it is to provide a general picture of a wide-ranging war that the bourgeoisie is waging on the people of the U.S. and by extension, the peoples of the world.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fortunately, the war that the rulers of the U.S. are waging on working and oppressed people is not a one-sided one, and we are now in the midst of one of the greatest upsurges of struggle since the 1960s. In cities across the country, massive and militant protests have taken place against police crimes and there is a growing movement for community control of the police. There is a growing tide of anger over the anti-immigrant polices of the Trump administration. Trump’s attempted ‘Muslim ban’ drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets and airports. It is estimated that about 20% of the people of the U.S have taken part in protests and demonstrations since Trump took office.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Finally, there another point concerning objective conditions that bears mentioning: the communist movement in the U.S. is small. This does not negate the fact that the existing Marxist-Leninist organizations have not made big contributions to the people’s struggle. We have. Rather it is recognition of the reality that the U.S. is a large country with big working class, and for those of us who are revolutionaries, the task of building a new communist party remains on our agenda.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">At any given time, communists have three general tasks: to win all that can be one in the struggle while landing the strongest possible blows on the enemy; to raise the general level of consciousness and organization among the people; and to build communist organization win the advanced to Marxism-Leninism. As we carry out these tasks there is an incredible amount that we can learn from the October Revolution and the work by Russian communists to make it a reality.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">The October Revolution and the need for a communist party</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Given that no ruling class, be it the capitalists and landlords who ruled Russia in 1917, or the monopoly capitalists who rule the U.S. today, have ever left the stage of history voluntarily, working and oppressed people need to be organized to take political power by whatever means necessary. This is basic lesson of the October Revolution that is universally valid.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lenin made the following points about what is needed for revolution:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">It is only when the "lower classes" do not want to live in the old way and the "upper classes" cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph. This truth can be expressed in other words: revolution is impossible without a nation-wide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters). It follows that, for a revolution to take place, it is essential, first, that a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious, thinking, and politically active workers) should fully realize that revolution is necessary, and that they should be prepared to die for it; second, that the ruling classes should be going through a governmental crisis, which draws even the most backward masses into politics… weakens the government, and makes it possible for the revolutionaries to rapidly overthrow it. (LCW Vol 31, p. 85)</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">To this we can add another precondition - the need for a Communist Party. The outstanding revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong put it like this:</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">If there is to be a revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of people in defeating imperialism and its running dogs. (MSW Vol 4, p. 284).</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Our organization, Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), does not claim to be the party of the working class. We are a communist organization that is working to build a new communist party. The reason we do not claim to be the party is that we do not in any real way, to use Stalin’s formulation, encompass the advanced detachment of the working class. The problem is this: most advanced workers - the activists, organizers and leaders - are not revolutionaries or communists. The active of our class are in one place politically and the communists are in another. There is a gap. A separation. So, we need to fuse Marxism and the workers’ movement.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">One of the great strengths of the communist movement in Russia is that it dealt with the problem of fusing Marxism and the workers’ movement in a practical and meaningful way. In 1899 Lenin posed the issue like this:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">The separation of the working-class movement and socialism gave rise to weakness and underdevelopment in each: the theories of the socialists, unfused with the workers’ struggle, remained nothing more than utopias, good wishes that had no effect on real life; the working-class movement remained petty, fragmented, and did not acquire political significance, was not enlightened by the advanced science of its time. For this reason we see in all European countries a constantly growing urge to fuse socialism with the working-class movement in a single Social-Democratic movement. When this fusion takes place the class struggle of the workers becomes the conscious struggle of the proletariat to emancipate itself from exploitation by the propertied classes, it is evolved into a higher form of the socialist workers’ movement—the independent working-class Social-Democratic party. (LCW, Vol 4, p. 255)&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">In addition, Lenin and the Bolsheviks also developed measures to consolidate the party – organizationally, politically and ideologically - all of which we can learn from today.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Taken as a whole, conditions in the U.S. today are favorable for building communist organization. The large number people who self-identify as “socialists” in the wake of the Sanders presidential campaign is an indicator of this, as is the upsurge of struggle against police crimes, the large-scale protests against Trump, and the openness in the labor movement to class-struggle unionism. Also, coming off the economic crisis of 2007, and the restructuring of the economy that has taken place since then, there is a sense among many, especially among young people, that capitalism is a failed system.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">In all of the people’s struggles, the issue of “Who will lead?” is a basic one. Communist leadership is not preordained. It is earned, though our clarity of political line, organizational capacity and hard work. Communists need to be good at learning at the same time as we teach others. We cannot afford to criticize from the sidelines. We need to step up, and if we do not do so, opportunists of various stripes will be glad to do it for us.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">For example, objectively speaking, there is a movement against Trump. It began while he was on the campaign trial, and many of us marched against him and his agenda in the streets of Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. There was a huge outpouring of struggle, which was largely spontaneous, following his election, and we are now in a period where large-scale fightbacks can be organized against his more egregious attacks – such as the Muslim ban.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">In building the movement against Trump, we need to contend with reformists and other class forces, including those tied with the leadership of the Democratic Party, over the issue of who should lead. The fact is the only way we can lead this movement is by being the ranks of those who are the practical organizers of it – which means that we are among those calling the demonstrations, organizing the big protests, and are among the speakers putting out a clear line on the issues of day. To the extent that we can, we want the movement to target not only Trump, but also the monopoly capitalists who stand behind him.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">In this struggle, like every other popular movement, is critical for communists do more than work to raise the general level of consciousness among the masses of people, and we can’t be content with being the among the best of the activists either. In every battle that we engage in it is critical we are summing things up with the activists and leaders, helping them understand the laws the govern monopoly capitalism, and explaining the need for socialism. By doing this we grow the communist movement in this country, and lay the basis for creating a new communist party.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">It should also be noted that this work of building communist organization in the crucible of the day-to-day struggle helps to create the material basis for Marxist-Leninist organizations, to engage in joint practice, to engage in summation, and, where possible, to the achievement of principled organizational unity.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; font-weight: 700; white-space: pre-wrap;">Strategy for revolution in the U.S. and the national question</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">All revolutionary strategy is based on answering the question, “Who are our friends and who are our enemies?” This is impossible without understanding the specific features of U.S. society.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Our strategy for socialist revolution is constructing a united front against the monopoly capitalist class, under the leadership of the working class and its political party, with a strategic alliance between the multinational working class and the oppressed nationalities at the core of this united front.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">It is vital to understand the special needs and demands of entire nationalities within the borders of the U.S - African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, Asian Americans, Native peoples including native Hawaiians, Arab Americans and others, are bound by the chains of national oppression.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Racism in the U.S. carries the stench of the slave market. It maintains that Black people are inferior and that racial antagonisms are ahistorical and independent of the development class societies. We totally reject this notion.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lenin referred to pre-1917 Russia as a “prison house of nations,” and that is exactly what the U.S. is today, where racist discrimination and systematic inequality in all spheres of life - economic, political, and cultural - is the order of the day. One of the main reasons that Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) was successful in October 1917 was that it championed the fight against national oppression, and it consistently stood for the national liberation and self-determination. There is a lot we can learn from this experience.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Likewise, by waging a struggle against the opportunism and social chauvinism that characterized the Second International, Marxism-Leninism became the revolutionary theory, where the national question takes it rightful place, where is understood where it is in reality - as vital to the revolutionary process internationally and vital to understanding the core dynamics of change in a multi-national state like the U.S.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">We make the following point in our </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-style: italic; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Statement on National Oppression, National Liberation and Socialist Revolution, </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">which crystalizes our understanding of the importance of the fight against national oppression:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">The struggle against imperialism and national oppression is a revolutionary struggle, for just as the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America require revolutionary struggles to overthrow colonialism and liberate their countries, so will it take a revolutionary struggle in the United States to gain full equality for oppressed nationalities. Since it is the system of imperialism that profits from and causes national oppression, only the overthrow of this system can end national oppression.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Two things are needed to develop the strategic alliance. First, we need to build the African American, Chicano, and other oppressed nationality movements, and to promote working class leadership with in those movements. Workers from oppressed nations in the trade union movement bring with them the special demands of their national liberation movements. We fight for the trade union movement to stand in unconditional solidarity with the oppressed.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Second, as we build the multinational working class movement, we need to ensure that the fight against racist discrimination, and for consistent democracy, and full equality for the oppressed is at the core of our agenda. For example, in recent years the struggle against police crimes has exploded in Black community. In a number of places this struggle has expanded to encompass the fight for community control of police. In addition to building these fights, everything possible should be done to get the labor movement to support them.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Or to take another example, we have worked hard to build the immigrant rights movement, to resist deportations and to build the fight for legalization for all. In the cities where we do this, we have worked hard to draw in the labor movement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The work to build this strategic alliance also requires carrying out a set of interrelated and at times difficult tasks. White workers, especially those who are active and forward-looking, have the responsibility to fight white chauvinism or racism among whites and play an active role in building the fight against all manifestations of national oppression. Racial prejudice is not the primary cause of national oppression. It is the consequence, the rationalization and justification of national oppression.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Revolutionary-minded oppressed nationality workers have the responsibly to oppose narrow nationalism among workers of their own nationality.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Building a united front against monopoly capitalism, building communist organization with the aim of constructing a Leninist party of a new type, or building a strategic alliance are all tasks that can be carried out now. All the basic contradictions of imperialism are sharpening and there is a real urgency to do what must be done.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Proletarian Internationalism</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The monopoly capitalists who rule the U.S. also rule an empire that extends around the world. They are parasites and exploiters who rob vast swaths of the globe - hundreds of millions of people - of their labor, land and natural resources. They have built a military machine of an unprecedented scale in world history and the U.S. is waging continuous wars, from the Philippines to Iraq. They have placed Puerto Rico under colonial rule and block its path to independence. And they make the Zionist occupation of Palestine possible.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The people of the U.S. and peoples of world have something in common, a common enemy. Every blow that the people of the U.S. land on our rulers is good for people everywhere, and vice versa, and this is the material basis for proletarian internationalism, for the unity of the working class and for oppressed nations on a world scale.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Living in the center of an imperialist empire, revolutionaries have a special responsibility to oppose the wars of our ‘own’ rulers and extend support to the oppressed. As we do so there is a great deal that we can learn from the determined fight that the Russian communists waged against the social chauvinists, i.e. those who were socialist in words, but “great nation chauvinists” in deed. As we build the anti-war movement we constantly encounter those who what to join the in demonization of the national liberation movements. We cannot let these forces set the terms of the movement.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Along a similar vein, we can never accept the imperialists’ attempts to criminalize the national liberation movements with their slanders of terrorism or narco-terrorism, and we oppose their laws that seek to outlaw international solidary.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-weight: 700;">The future is bright</span></span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The October Revolution opened the road to a new stage in human history that shows what our class can do – that we can “lose our chains.” Revolutionaries in the U.S. have a big job and we are well served by using the science of Marxism-Leninism and learning from advanced experience.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monopoly capitalism is a failed, criminal system that had a beginning and that will surely have an end. Its gravediggers are already on the scene. And while we do not know the year or month – we are certain the U.S. will have its October.</span></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/7/102-years-october-revolution#comments Socialism October revolution Socialism Editorials Thu, 07 Nov 2019 23:15:33 +0000 Fight Back 7671 at http://www.fightbacknews.org 102 years since October Revolution http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/7/102-years-october-revolution <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; font-style: italic; white-space: pre-wrap;">This paper prepared collectively by the central leadership of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and was presented by leading member of FRSO, Frank Chapman, at the Centennial Commemoration of the October Revolution, held in New York City, July 2017. The event was sponsored by People’s Response for International Solidarity and Mass Mobilization (PRISM) in cooperation with the U.S. member organizations of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS-US).</span></p> <p><strong><br /> </strong></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Introduction&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">As communists and revolutionaries, we welcome this opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary of Russia’s 1917 October Revolution, and to discuss its ongoing relevancy to the struggle today.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The October Revolution was a world-changing event. At one stroke, it settled the question of whether another world was possible. Releasing one-sixth of the world from the chains of wage slavery, it smashed the myth that rule by the few was a sort of permanent condition, and, by successfully establishing proletarian political power, the October Revolution succeeded in opening the road to socialist construction. For the years that followed, the great achievements of the Soviet Union created a new and better way of life and would exercise a powerful effect on working and oppressed people around the globe.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Not only did the October Revolution change the lives of the millions who lived in what would become the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), it changed the world revolutionary movement in a big way. Mao was later to say, that the October Revolution sent the “salvos of Marxism to China” where it was to become a powerful force in the movement for national liberation and socialism. In the U.S., the October Revolution came to exercise a magnetic pull on the revolutionaries in the socialist, labor and other people’s movements, contributing to the creation of a single, revolutionary Communist Party in the early 1920s, which became an important factor in the country’s political life.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">How we can learn for the October Revolution in the U.S.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The Bolsheviks, under the leadership of Lenin, Stalin and others, creatively applied Marxism to the concrete conditions of Russia. In doing so they waged a consistent struggle against opportunism in the socialist and labor movements - internationally and in Russia itself. It was this struggle against opportunism that prepared the Bolsheviks to lead the working class in the seizure of power.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The October Revolution was a qualitative leap, from one historical epoch to another – a period in which moribund capitalism is heading for extinction and where socialism is on the agenda. This process in turn gave rise to Leninism; Leninism being Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Marxism-Leninism is a science, the science of revolution. It allows us to understand the laws that govern the processes at work in the world, and by understanding those laws, including those of how history develops, we can grasp the necessity and understand our freedom to change the world.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Because Marxism-Leninism is a science, a science that is by necessity and fact, universal in character, we can take the lessons of the October Revolution and learn from the experience in a materialist way that helps us to advance our work in the U.S. Lenin made the point that the soul of Marxism was a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, so we cannot say that it something that is fixed, static, or immutable. Rather, Marxism-Leninism is and will be constantly enriched through cycles of practice, and the summation of that practice.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">We learn from the past, to guide our work in the present and to serve the future, which includes our revolutionary goals. We have no desire to be a historical reenactment society, and it should be obvious to all serious people that we cannot rely on analogies from Russian history to understand current conditions.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Conditions in the U.S. today</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The U.S. today is empire in decline, beset by contradictions internal and external. Lenin stated imperialism was capitalism in its moribund stage, and it is arguable that the irrational bigot Donald Trump is a fitting political representative of a sick and dying system.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Internationally, the U.S. faces a growing challenge for the national liberation movements and the national democratic governments, the socialist countries, and other imperialist rivals. Thus, the U.S. is increasing military spending, taking hostile actions against socialist Korea and Cuba, and is stepping up the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and other places.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Within the U.S., the monopoly capitalists are perusing an agenda of austerity and reaction, which means an intensification of racist discrimination and national oppression, directed at African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, Arab and Asian Americans, and indigenous peoples including Pacific Islanders. There is an attack on the standard of living of working people (including wages, health care, pensions, and perhaps most importantly - the right to have trade unions), attacks on the rights of women, and organized bigotry against Muslims.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The point here is not do draw up a comprehensive list of the crimes being committed by the monopoly capitalist class, nor is it to chart the restructuring of the economy and political polarization that has unfolded since the great economic crisis of 2007, rather it is to provide a general picture of a wide-ranging war that the bourgeoisie is waging on the people of the U.S. and by extension, the peoples of the world.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Fortunately, the war that the rulers of the U.S. are waging on working and oppressed people is not a one-sided one, and we are now in the midst of one of the greatest upsurges of struggle since the 1960s. In cities across the country, massive and militant protests have taken place against police crimes and there is a growing movement for community control of the police. There is a growing tide of anger over the anti-immigrant polices of the Trump administration. Trump’s attempted ‘Muslim ban’ drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets and airports. It is estimated that about 20% of the people of the U.S have taken part in protests and demonstrations since Trump took office.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Finally, there another point concerning objective conditions that bears mentioning: the communist movement in the U.S. is small. This does not negate the fact that the existing Marxist-Leninist organizations have not made big contributions to the people’s struggle. We have. Rather it is recognition of the reality that the U.S. is a large country with big working class, and for those of us who are revolutionaries, the task of building a new communist party remains on our agenda.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">At any given time, communists have three general tasks: to win all that can be one in the struggle while landing the strongest possible blows on the enemy; to raise the general level of consciousness and organization among the people; and to build communist organization win the advanced to Marxism-Leninism. As we carry out these tasks there is an incredible amount that we can learn from the October Revolution and the work by Russian communists to make it a reality.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">The October Revolution and the need for a communist party</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Given that no ruling class, be it the capitalists and landlords who ruled Russia in 1917, or the monopoly capitalists who rule the U.S. today, have ever left the stage of history voluntarily, working and oppressed people need to be organized to take political power by whatever means necessary. This is basic lesson of the October Revolution that is universally valid.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lenin made the following points about what is needed for revolution:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">It is only when the "lower classes" do not want to live in the old way and the "upper classes" cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph. This truth can be expressed in other words: revolution is impossible without a nation-wide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters). It follows that, for a revolution to take place, it is essential, first, that a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious, thinking, and politically active workers) should fully realize that revolution is necessary, and that they should be prepared to die for it; second, that the ruling classes should be going through a governmental crisis, which draws even the most backward masses into politics… weakens the government, and makes it possible for the revolutionaries to rapidly overthrow it. (LCW Vol 31, p. 85)</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">To this we can add another precondition - the need for a Communist Party. The outstanding revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong put it like this:</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">If there is to be a revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of people in defeating imperialism and its running dogs. (MSW Vol 4, p. 284).</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Our organization, Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), does not claim to be the party of the working class. We are a communist organization that is working to build a new communist party. The reason we do not claim to be the party is that we do not in any real way, to use Stalin’s formulation, encompass the advanced detachment of the working class. The problem is this: most advanced workers - the activists, organizers and leaders - are not revolutionaries or communists. The active of our class are in one place politically and the communists are in another. There is a gap. A separation. So, we need to fuse Marxism and the workers’ movement.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">One of the great strengths of the communist movement in Russia is that it dealt with the problem of fusing Marxism and the workers’ movement in a practical and meaningful way. In 1899 Lenin posed the issue like this:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">The separation of the working-class movement and socialism gave rise to weakness and underdevelopment in each: the theories of the socialists, unfused with the workers’ struggle, remained nothing more than utopias, good wishes that had no effect on real life; the working-class movement remained petty, fragmented, and did not acquire political significance, was not enlightened by the advanced science of its time. For this reason we see in all European countries a constantly growing urge to fuse socialism with the working-class movement in a single Social-Democratic movement. When this fusion takes place the class struggle of the workers becomes the conscious struggle of the proletariat to emancipate itself from exploitation by the propertied classes, it is evolved into a higher form of the socialist workers’ movement—the independent working-class Social-Democratic party. (LCW, Vol 4, p. 255)&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">In addition, Lenin and the Bolsheviks also developed measures to consolidate the party – organizationally, politically and ideologically - all of which we can learn from today.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Taken as a whole, conditions in the U.S. today are favorable for building communist organization. The large number people who self-identify as “socialists” in the wake of the Sanders presidential campaign is an indicator of this, as is the upsurge of struggle against police crimes, the large-scale protests against Trump, and the openness in the labor movement to class-struggle unionism. Also, coming off the economic crisis of 2007, and the restructuring of the economy that has taken place since then, there is a sense among many, especially among young people, that capitalism is a failed system.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">In all of the people’s struggles, the issue of “Who will lead?” is a basic one. Communist leadership is not preordained. It is earned, though our clarity of political line, organizational capacity and hard work. Communists need to be good at learning at the same time as we teach others. We cannot afford to criticize from the sidelines. We need to step up, and if we do not do so, opportunists of various stripes will be glad to do it for us.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">For example, objectively speaking, there is a movement against Trump. It began while he was on the campaign trial, and many of us marched against him and his agenda in the streets of Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. There was a huge outpouring of struggle, which was largely spontaneous, following his election, and we are now in a period where large-scale fightbacks can be organized against his more egregious attacks – such as the Muslim ban.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">In building the movement against Trump, we need to contend with reformists and other class forces, including those tied with the leadership of the Democratic Party, over the issue of who should lead. The fact is the only way we can lead this movement is by being the ranks of those who are the practical organizers of it – which means that we are among those calling the demonstrations, organizing the big protests, and are among the speakers putting out a clear line on the issues of day. To the extent that we can, we want the movement to target not only Trump, but also the monopoly capitalists who stand behind him.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">In this struggle, like every other popular movement, is critical for communists do more than work to raise the general level of consciousness among the masses of people, and we can’t be content with being the among the best of the activists either. In every battle that we engage in it is critical we are summing things up with the activists and leaders, helping them understand the laws the govern monopoly capitalism, and explaining the need for socialism. By doing this we grow the communist movement in this country, and lay the basis for creating a new communist party.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">It should also be noted that this work of building communist organization in the crucible of the day-to-day struggle helps to create the material basis for Marxist-Leninist organizations, to engage in joint practice, to engage in summation, and, where possible, to the achievement of principled organizational unity.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; font-weight: 700; white-space: pre-wrap;">Strategy for revolution in the U.S. and the national question</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">All revolutionary strategy is based on answering the question, “Who are our friends and who are our enemies?” This is impossible without understanding the specific features of U.S. society.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Our strategy for socialist revolution is constructing a united front against the monopoly capitalist class, under the leadership of the working class and its political party, with a strategic alliance between the multinational working class and the oppressed nationalities at the core of this united front.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">It is vital to understand the special needs and demands of entire nationalities within the borders of the U.S - African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, Asian Americans, Native peoples including native Hawaiians, Arab Americans and others, are bound by the chains of national oppression.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Racism in the U.S. carries the stench of the slave market. It maintains that Black people are inferior and that racial antagonisms are ahistorical and independent of the development class societies. We totally reject this notion.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Lenin referred to pre-1917 Russia as a “prison house of nations,” and that is exactly what the U.S. is today, where racist discrimination and systematic inequality in all spheres of life - economic, political, and cultural - is the order of the day. One of the main reasons that Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) was successful in October 1917 was that it championed the fight against national oppression, and it consistently stood for the national liberation and self-determination. There is a lot we can learn from this experience.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Likewise, by waging a struggle against the opportunism and social chauvinism that characterized the Second International, Marxism-Leninism became the revolutionary theory, where the national question takes it rightful place, where is understood where it is in reality - as vital to the revolutionary process internationally and vital to understanding the core dynamics of change in a multi-national state like the U.S.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">We make the following point in our </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-style: italic; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Statement on National Oppression, National Liberation and Socialist Revolution, </span><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-variant-numeric: normal; font-variant-east-asian: normal; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">which crystalizes our understanding of the importance of the fight against national oppression:&nbsp;</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-left: 36pt;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">The struggle against imperialism and national oppression is a revolutionary struggle, for just as the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America require revolutionary struggles to overthrow colonialism and liberate their countries, so will it take a revolutionary struggle in the United States to gain full equality for oppressed nationalities. Since it is the system of imperialism that profits from and causes national oppression, only the overthrow of this system can end national oppression.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Two things are needed to develop the strategic alliance. First, we need to build the African American, Chicano, and other oppressed nationality movements, and to promote working class leadership with in those movements. Workers from oppressed nations in the trade union movement bring with them the special demands of their national liberation movements. We fight for the trade union movement to stand in unconditional solidarity with the oppressed.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Second, as we build the multinational working class movement, we need to ensure that the fight against racist discrimination, and for consistent democracy, and full equality for the oppressed is at the core of our agenda. For example, in recent years the struggle against police crimes has exploded in Black community. In a number of places this struggle has expanded to encompass the fight for community control of police. In addition to building these fights, everything possible should be done to get the labor movement to support them.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Or to take another example, we have worked hard to build the immigrant rights movement, to resist deportations and to build the fight for legalization for all. In the cities where we do this, we have worked hard to draw in the labor movement.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The work to build this strategic alliance also requires carrying out a set of interrelated and at times difficult tasks. White workers, especially those who are active and forward-looking, have the responsibility to fight white chauvinism or racism among whites and play an active role in building the fight against all manifestations of national oppression. Racial prejudice is not the primary cause of national oppression. It is the consequence, the rationalization and justification of national oppression.&nbsp;</span></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:400;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Revolutionary-minded oppressed nationality workers have the responsibly to oppose narrow nationalism among workers of their own nationality.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Building a united front against monopoly capitalism, building communist organization with the aim of constructing a Leninist party of a new type, or building a strategic alliance are all tasks that can be carried out now. All the basic contradictions of imperialism are sharpening and there is a real urgency to do what must be done.</span></p> <p><strong></strong></p> <p></p> <p style="line-height:1.2;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;" dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:11pt;font-family:Calibri,sans-serif;color:#000000;background-color:transparent;font-weight:700;font-style:normal;font-variant:normal;text-decoration:none;vertical-align:baseline;white-space:pre;white-space:pre-wrap;">Proletarian Internationalism</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The monopoly capitalists who rule the U.S. also rule an empire that extends around the world. They are parasites and exploiters who rob vast swaths of the globe - hundreds of millions of people - of their labor, land and natural resources. They have built a military machine of an unprecedented scale in world history and the U.S. is waging continuous wars, from the Philippines to Iraq. They have placed Puerto Rico under colonial rule and block its path to independence. And they make the Zionist occupation of Palestine possible.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The people of the U.S. and peoples of world have something in common, a common enemy. Every blow that the people of the U.S. land on our rulers is good for people everywhere, and vice versa, and this is the material basis for proletarian internationalism, for the unity of the working class and for oppressed nations on a world scale.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Living in the center of an imperialist empire, revolutionaries have a special responsibility to oppose the wars of our ‘own’ rulers and extend support to the oppressed. As we do so there is a great deal that we can learn from the determined fight that the Russian communists waged against the social chauvinists, i.e. those who were socialist in words, but “great nation chauvinists” in deed. As we build the anti-war movement we constantly encounter those who what to join the in demonization of the national liberation movements. We cannot let these forces set the terms of the movement.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Along a similar vein, we can never accept the imperialists’ attempts to criminalize the national liberation movements with their slanders of terrorism or narco-terrorism, and we oppose their laws that seek to outlaw international solidary.</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;"><span style="background-color: transparent; font-size: 11pt; font-weight: 700;">The future is bright</span></span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">The October Revolution opened the road to a new stage in human history that shows what our class can do – that we can “lose our chains.” Revolutionaries in the U.S. have a big job and we are well served by using the science of Marxism-Leninism and learning from advanced experience.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="background-color: transparent; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; font-size: 11pt; white-space: pre-wrap;">Monopoly capitalism is a failed, criminal system that had a beginning and that will surely have an end. Its gravediggers are already on the scene. And while we do not know the year or month – we are certain the U.S. will have its October.</span></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/7/102-years-october-revolution#comments Socialism October revolution Socialism Editorials Thu, 07 Nov 2019 23:15:33 +0000 Fight Back 7671 at http://www.fightbacknews.org FRSO condemns wave of repression against trade unionists, progressive activists in Philippines http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/6/frso-condemns-wave-repression-against-trade-unionists-progressive-activists-philippines <p>Freedom Road Socialist Organization stands in opposition to the wave of political repression that is being unleashed in the Philippines. The U.S.-backed regime of President Duterte has carried out a series of raids on homes and offices, jailing more than 60 participants in the progressive and national democratic movement.</p> <p>According to reports, among those arrested in the raids were 40 members of the militant labor movement Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)/May First Movement. Leaders of the KMU have toured the U.S. in the past, speaking of their struggle for justice and a better way of life. They need our solidarity now. Also arrested were members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, women’s groups, patriotic movements, and organizations of the urban poor. The Duterte regime is trying to justify these raids and arrests with planted ‘evidence’ and attempts to whip up anti-communism.</p> <p>Duterte’s raids and arrests in Negros, Samar and Metro Manila are signs of the regime’s weakness and growing isolation. In the cites and the rural areas, the broad masses of people are tired of a tyrannical, corrupt government and its foreign backers.</p> <p>We stand with the national democratic movement in Philippines, which is fighting with all its strength for a country that has true democray, land reform, and better way of life for the broad masses of people.</p> <p>We demand that U.S. troops get out of the Philippines and that all assistance to the corrupt Duterte regime come to and end.</p> <p><em>Say no to the repression!</em></p> <p><em>Support the labor movement in Philippines!</em></p> <p><em>Support the just struggle of the Filipino people!</em></p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/6/frso-condemns-wave-repression-against-trade-unionists-progressive-activists-philippines#comments People's Struggles KMU Philippines Philippines Political Repression Rodrigo Duterte Wed, 06 Nov 2019 15:44:54 +0000 Fight Back 7670 at http://www.fightbacknews.org NYC protest demands release of activists, union members jailed in Philippines http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/nyc-protest-demands-release-activists-union-members-jailed-philippines <p>New York, NY - Several dozen organizers and community members gathered outside the Philippine Consulate on 5th Avenue, November 4, to demand that the government of the Philippines release the 62 organizers of legal, mass organizations who were arrested Negros and Metro Manila.</p> <p>The emergency rally was called as the Duterte Regime amped up its repression. On October 26, the military dropped 500-pound bombs on Samar Island to further crackdown on organizing. This was followed by raids on the regional offices of GABRIELA, BAYAN MUNA, and the National Federation of Sugar Workers on October 31. During these raids, 60 activists were arrested. There are reports that on November 4, a new slew of activists were also raided and arrested. </p> <p>The NYC rally was organized by BAYAN North East and had speakers from various organizations in solidarity with the alliance, such as The International Action Center, NY Boricua Resistance, and the New York Community Action Project. </p> <p>The protesters were out there for well over an hour and a half and ensured that the streets of New York not only heard their demands but heard their chants to oust the U.S.-Duterte regime!</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/nyc-protest-demands-release-activists-union-members-jailed-philippines#comments People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Anti-fascism Asia Asian Nationalities BAYAN International National Federation of Sugar Workers Philippines Political Repression Rodrigo Duterte In-Justice System Labor Oppressed Nationalities Tue, 05 Nov 2019 23:05:39 +0000 Fight Back 7669 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Tallahassee public housing tenants face displacement due to redevelopment http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/tallahassee-public-housing-tenants-face-displacement-due-redevelopment <p>Tallahassee, FL - November 5 marked the due date for 2019 applications to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. This year the city of Tallahassee has submitted two applications along with $1.3 million to secure funding for the redevelopment of Orange Avenue Apartments, currently the largest public housing community in Tallahassee, a 200-unit complex is on Tallahassee’s Southside.</p> <p>The redevelopment effort is being led in part by Purpose Built Communities, an Atlanta non-profit founded by billionaire investors Warren Buffett and Julian Robertson, along with the wealthy Atlanta real estate developer Tom Cousins. The non-profit’s mission statement is to replicate Cousins’ redevelopment of the East Lake Meadows public housing complex in Atlanta throughout the United States.</p> <p>The East Lake Meadows redevelopment has been criticized as “not a case study in community development, but instead a case study in community replacement.” by the <a href="https://www.atlantastudies.org/a-purposely-built-community-public-housing-redevelopment-and-resident-replacement-at-east-lake-meadows/" target="_blank"><em>Atlanta Studies Journal</em></a>. In 1998 the East Lake tenant association sued the Atlanta Housing Authority in an attempt to stop the demolition of their community, however, the courts ruled against them. Only about 16% of families returned to the East Lake Meadows community after redevelopment, due to strict screening practices used by the development company.</p> <p>"In Atlanta, I was there when they did it, I saw it, and I had friends who actually got mixed up in all of that. They kicked those people out," said Tifany Hill, a Southside resident. Hill grew up in Orange Avenue Apartments with her father Oliver Hill, Sr., the co-founder and president of the Orange Avenue United Tenant Association (OAUTA), which represents all public housing tenants in Tallahassee.</p> <p>The Tallahassee Housing Authority director Brenda Williams has stated that tenants will have a right to return after redevelopment. Hill is not convinced. "You are saying that all the tenants can come back, but let's put it in writing. Let's have all the parties sign it, let's get lawyers in, let's sign this paperwork, and that's what they are not doing here."</p> <p>She also criticized the lack of tenant representation, asking, "How are you going to have a committee when there's no tenant on it. And then you aren't talking to the tenant association. You're not even involving them."</p> <p>While tenants are given no representation, powerful business owners do sit on the boards of Whole Child Leon and its South City Foundation, which serves as the local arm of the Purpose Built Community redevelopment.</p> <p>"The city has no intent of replacing all demolished public housing units or of allowing residents to return. These wealthy developers only see poor Black people as an obstacle to overcome in their hunt for profit on the Southside," said Regina Joseph, president of the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC), an organization which campaigned earlier this year against the construction of the Tallahassee Police HQ in the Southside.</p> <p>According to the proposed development plans, the new apartments will only include 157 public housing units, while 97 market rate units will be added to the community. A two-bedroom market rate apartment would cost $1000 a month according to the plan, higher than what 80% of South City residents currently pay. The plans further specify that only “eligible” current tenants may return.</p> <p>Leon County suffers from a lack of affordable housing, with 43% of residents unable to afford their basic living expenses on their income according to the 2018 ALICE report by United Way. The Tallahassee Housing Authority has accepted applications for Section 8 vouchers for only one month in the last decade, and over 15,000 qualifying families remain on the waiting list.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/tallahassee-public-housing-tenants-face-displacement-due-redevelopment#comments People's Struggles African-American Public Housing Tallahassee Tallahassee Housing Authority Oppressed Nationalities Poor People's Movements Tue, 05 Nov 2019 22:54:38 +0000 Fight Back 7668 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Defend DACA, Stop Trump & other Bigots http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/defend-daca-stop-trump-other-bigots <p>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement by from the Legalization for All Network.</p> <p>November 12, 2019 the Supreme Court will begin hearing oral-arguments to determine if the Trump attack on DACA is lawful. Trump filed a lawsuit to rescind DACA in 2017 after Ken Paxton Attorney General of Texas threatened to sue Trump. Paxton began with a coalition of 7 states countering DACA, but the 7 are now 10 -- Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Kansas, Mississippi, and Maine. Since then, DACA has been under attack.</p> <p>Trump and the coalition of 10 states have been met with much resistance. 16 Democratic and nonpartisan state attorney generals filed their own lawsuit to counter Trump's fight on DACA. Additionally, this month, Harvard and 18 other colleges and universities jointly filed an amicus brief --which advises the United States Supreme Court to support DACA.</p> <p>It is important to remember the bashing of DACA and other Obama-era programs have not only been lead by Trump. In November of 2014, former President Obama announced the creation of a new program --Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). DAPA would have protected over five million undocumented immigrants whom already live in the U.S. But Greg Abbot, who in 2014 was the Attorney General of Texas, and 25 other states filed lawsuits and succeeded in stopping DAPA from materializing.</p> <p>The Legalization for All Network (L4A) condemns all of these attacks on the undocumented. November 12, 2019 will be an important day and one that should be met with support and mobilizations. L4A has been rallying behind the slogans and demands: Legalization for all of the undocumented, NO Trump Wall, NO guest worker expansion, and NO more repression or militarization at the border. November 12th many of us will be uniting to defend DACA.</p> <p>Some 200 DREAMers will be marching over 230 miles from NYC to D.C. to protect DACA. One transgender rights activist and attorney Chase Strangio has called for supporters to #RiseUpForDACA on November 12th. Some cities are already calling for walkouts and marches on November 12th.</p> <p>If you and/or your organization would like to participate, message us with your action and we will help project your event. If you are looking to sign onto the Legalization for All (L4A) network, send us an email <a href="mailto:legalizationforall@gmail.com">legalizationforall@gmail.com</a>, text/call us (262) 709-8820, <a href="twitter.com/LegalizeForAll">twitter.com/LegalizeForAll</a>, <a href="instagram.com/LegalizationForAll">instagram.com/LegalizationForAll</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/defend-daca-stop-trump-other-bigots#comments People's Struggles Legalization For All network Immigrant Rights Tue, 05 Nov 2019 15:09:52 +0000 Fight Back 7667 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Interview with Sarah Chambers on the CTU strike http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/interview-sarah-chambers-ctu-strike <p>Sarah Chambers is a rank-and-file member of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and a member of their bargaining committee.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: How did this strike compare to 2012? What you were demanding? What was won?</p> <p><strong>Sarah Chambers</strong>: There were a lot of similarities between 2012 and this year’s strike, because we were fighting for a lot of the same things: smaller class sizes, more staffing, wrap-around services, stronger protections.</p> <p>The biggest difference now is that in 2012, we were fighting austerity. Rahm was trying to steamroll the CTU and gut our contract. This time around, our new mayor, Lori Lightfoot, ran on CTU’s platform. During the strike it became clear she didn’t actually believe in what she campaigned on.</p> <p>In 2019, we won a lot of these items, even though they were “not strikeable” according to law 4.5 (Section 4.5 of the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act) passed in 1995. We were able to win enforceable small class sizes, which don’t exist in almost any contract in Illinois. We were able to win 250 more nurses, 209 more social workers, basically a social worker and nurse in every school. We won homeless student coordinators, which was never in our contract before. We won bilingual coordinators, and a lot more protection for special education and bilingual education, including class size.</p> <p>One of our biggest wins, which helped us a lot with our allies, was Sanctuary Schools - 10 articles including schools refusing to let ICE into the building in protection of undocumented students.</p> <p>It’s amazing that with this contract and this fight, we had just as many members out in the street as 2012. We had rallies with 40,000 teachers, workers, parents and allies out fighting for justice. This is one of the most historic contracts in CTU history. It blew away Law 4.5, all these things we weren’t allowed to strike over.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: CTU has more restrictions placed on it by state law than any other public sector union. How did that hamper you?</p> <p><strong>Chambers</strong>: In 1995, the state passed this law that removed mandatory subjects that we could bargain over and strike over. They added more things to it over the years, until it made it so we could only bargain over salary, benefits, preparation time and evaluations. We were not able to bargain over class size or staffing. We’ve been trying to bargain over these items especially since 2012. This law only pertained to Chicago Public Schools, not over the private sector, including the charter schools that are now part of the CTU. This past winter and spring we had a wave of charter school strikes where they were able to bargain and strike over anything.</p> <p>From that, they won contracts with language about smaller class sizes, increases in staffing. This ended up helping when we were fighting for our contract. So, when CTU members in CPS saw what the charter teachers had won, they said, “We deserve that, too. Why don’t our students deserve smaller class size and more staffing? That put a lot of pressure on Lori and CPS. It showed that teachers were fighting for what’s right for our students, and we’re fighting for justice.</p> <p>During this strike we’ve been able to win so many of these items that we’ve never won before. And in the last day or two of the strike, [State Senate President] Cullerton, [State House President] Madigan, and [Governor] Pritzker said they all would be supporting the elected school board bill and supporting the removal of 4.5. This has been an historic win for us, and I think a lot of our political work, and the charter school strikes helped us achieve this.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: After the 2012 strike, what was the impact on the rest of the class struggle in Chicago? What do you expect to happen now?</p> <p><strong>Chambers</strong>: After the 2012 strike, Rahm Emanuel’s image was really hurt, because people in Chicago, around the country, and the parents supported the teachers, and saw that we were fighting for what’s right and for the students. Before and during this strike, the polling showed that the teachers and the union had even more support. Before we struck, Lori, even after being in office only a few months, her polling was only at 54%. During the strike, Lori said she wasn’t budging on our major issues of class size and staffing. But by the end of the strike, we were able to win some of those things. This was only due to the intense struggle, the strong picket lines, rallies, and civil disobedience. Lightfoot eventually caved.</p> <p>Lori said she was going to be different than Rahm Emanuel, that she would support the schools and public services. But she continued to give $2.4 billion to Lincoln Yards and the 78, which is basically a rich people’s playground, instead of giving money to our schools. We were only able to take money out of the TIF [Tax Increment Financing] funds after days of striking. I believe after the strike that Lori will be a one-term mayor, because her popularity has plummeted, and she doesn’t have the political connections the Rahm Emanuel had.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: When we interviewed you just before the strike ended, you said “No matter what is in the contract, we know we’ll have to continue to organize and fight in the schools, the communities and the streets.” The vote in the House of Delegates was fairly close - a 60 40 split. Will the union be able to unite? Will that division hinder your post contract struggle?</p> <p><strong>Chambers</strong>: Even though we won this historic contract with a lot of new articles and protection, we know that CPS will try to break our contract. There are many articles in our contract now, such as Special Education laws, that many principals are currently breaking. Our saying is that CPS and Lori will do whatever we let them get away with. We have to ensure that we continue organizing in our schools, with the parents and the community to uphold our contract article and ensure that they’re following them.</p> <p>What that looks like in our schools is making sure we organize our committees, making sure we’re meeting with parents in the Local School Councils, and putting pressure on CPS to make sure they’re upholding our contract.</p> <p>Even though the vote in the HOD was fairly close, I believe that the ratification vote will be a higher percentage yes after the members fully read through the tentative agreement and fully understand what it means. I know that the union will be united around organizing to uphold our contract and around other current fights that we have to pick with CPS.</p> <p><em><strong>Fight Back!</strong></em>: Will you continue to see SEIU Local 73 unite with CTU?</p> <p><strong>Chambers</strong>: The unity between CTU and SEIU Local 73 was very strong on the picket lines. Our brothers, sisters, and siblings in 73 were some of the strongest on the picket lines, they kept the energy up. I foresee that continuing within our schools, and fighting for justice. I also know that November 22 - 24, there’s a big conference of the re-founding of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. I know a lot of CTU members and SEIU members are interested in going to that conference and participating in continuing the fight for our Black and Latino students and continuing the fight for Black liberation overall.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/5/interview-sarah-chambers-ctu-strike#comments People's Struggles 2019 Chicago Teachers strike African-American Chicago Teachers Union Chican@ / Latin@ Public Sector Unions Sarah Chambers SEIU Strikes Teachers Unions Labor Oppressed Nationalities Tue, 05 Nov 2019 15:07:17 +0000 Fight Back 7666 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Sean O’Brien addresses TDU Convention http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/2/sean-o-brien-addresses-tdu-convention <p>Chicago, IL – Frontrunning candidate for the next general president of the Teamsters, Sean O’Brien, addressed the convention of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), November 2. O’Brien, who currently leads Local 25, spoke about the future of the Teamsters. The election will take place in 2021.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/2/sean-o-brien-addresses-tdu-convention#comments People's Struggles Sean O'Brien Teamsters Teamsters Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU) Labor Sun, 03 Nov 2019 01:08:23 +0000 Fight Back 7665 at http://www.fightbacknews.org Condemn mass arrest and Duterte regime’s heightened fascist drive http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/2/condemn-mass-arrest-and-duterte-regime-s-heightened-fascist-drive <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Nov. 2 statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines.</em></p> <p>The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the mass arrest of activist workers, peasants, women, and media practitioners over the past few days in Bacolod, Escalante and Manila. Police arrested and detained more than 60 people belonging to various sectoral organizations. More than five children were also accosted.</p> <p>The CPP condemns the statement issued by Malacañang which makes the patently false claim that the arrested activists in Bacolod City were members of the New People's Army (NPA). This brazen lie aims to conceal the martial law crackdown on mass-based organizations.</p> <p>The mass arrest marks a heightening of the Duterte regime's fascist drive against all democratic forces. It is a brazen display of force and abuse of state powers. It seeks to terrorize the people and their democratic forces. It aims to silence the broad masses against worsening oppression under the Duterte regime.</p> <p>The mass arrest is an unbridled exercise of military and police power in Negros, which together with Bicol and Samar, are under Duterte's Memorandum Order 32. This is combined with Executive Order No. 70 through which Duterte has established a virtual civil-military junta and placed the entire country under undeclared martial law. The mass arrest is a dress rehearsal for a nationwide crackdown against all democratic forces.</p> <p>Duterte's all-out campaign of suppression are driving the broad masses to join the revolutionary underground. In the face of Duterte's brutal fascist drive, many are encouraged to join the New People's Army or seek its protection.</p> <p>The Party calls on the Filipino people and the broad democratic forces to condemn the Negros mass arrest and demand their immediate release. They must firmly oppose the attempt of the fascist regime to take away completely the people's democratic rights. They must rise up in protest, continue to defend their democratic rights, especially their right to organize and to oppose government treachery, corruption and tyranny.</p> <p>The Party urges the NPA in Negros and across the country to heed the Filipino people's demand for justice against Duterte's abuses. They must exert all effort to mount tactical offensives against the AFP and PNP units, especially those behind fascist crimes.</p> http://www.fightbacknews.org/2019/11/2/condemn-mass-arrest-and-duterte-regime-s-heightened-fascist-drive#comments People's Struggles Socialism Anti-fascism Asia Asian Nationalities Communist Party of the Philippines International New People's Army Philippines Political Repression Rodrigo Duterte In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Sat, 02 Nov 2019 22:56:51 +0000 Fight Back 7664 at http://www.fightbacknews.org