Fight Back! - News and Views from the People's Struggle This newspaper exists to build the people's struggle! We provide coverage and analysis of some of the key battles facing working and low-income people. en Racine, WI: Demanding justice for Ty’rese West <p>Racine, WI - In a beautiful display of the power of community, 300 people rallied September 18 at the Racine County Courthouse to demand “Justice for Ty’rese” who was murdered mid-June by Sargent Eric Giese, a Mount Pleasant police officer. District Attorney Patricia J. Hanson decided that Giese’s actions were justified and that he will not be criminally charged. Officer Giese is expected to return to work.</p> <p>The community rallied to urge the district attorney to make the right decision, though the decision not to charge Giese was anticipated by those gathered there. The DA did not have the nerve to speak to the crowd herself. Ty’rese’s mother, Monique West, addressed the crowd bearing the news. </p> <p>“He is not getting charged,” Monique said. “But listen... it ain’t over. Once it hits federal, it’s coming out and [Giese] is going underneath the jail cell.”</p> <p>Ty’rese West, 18, was stopped by Giese for riding his bicycle at night with no headlight. 95 seconds after being stopped, Ty’rese was shot twice in the head while on his hands and knees.</p> <p>The Racine Police Department (RPD) has not released body cam or dash cam video. Giese stated he did not have his body cam turned on and the police department claims that the dash cam’s memory bank was full at the time of the incident. The RPD has had three months to cover up the evidence and the community is rightly angry at the circumstances.</p> <p>Officer Giese is known for his violent behavior while wearing the badge and has assaulted citizens while on patrol before. In fact, Giese is another local example of the issue of institutionalized racism. </p> <p>In the U.S., cops have a license to kill, beat and maim Black and brown people and the poor without consequence. Black and brown communities suffer daily at the hands of police. </p> <p>But there is courage in unity, strength in community, and power in solidarity. This was proven true yesterday, when the Racine community came together as one and made it clear that they will continue to fight for the justice Ty’rese West deserves.</p> People's Struggles Police Brutality African-American civilian police accountability council (CPAC) Justice for Ty'rese West Racine WI In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Fri, 20 Sep 2019 14:41:01 +0000 Fight Back 7603 at Workers want Chicago cops out of schools, parks <p>Chicago, IL - On September 13, SEIU Local 73 demanded an end to the city of Chicago spending $33 million from the budget of the public schools, and $12 million from the Parks Department, for police officers. The union, which represents 7000 school workers and 3000 workers in the parks, called for more money for the students and community members. The union was joined by the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Black Lives Matter and progressive alderpersons.</p> People's Struggles Police Brutality African-American Anti-racism Black Lives Matter Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression SEIU Local 73 Fri, 20 Sep 2019 13:32:43 +0000 Fight Back 7602 at Minnesota: Protesters demand Gov. Walz to divest from Elbit now <p>St. Paul, MN - Over 40 people protested in front of the Governor's Residence Monday, September 16, to demand the divestment of Elbit Systems by the State of Minnesota. The protest, which was organized by the Anti-War Committee, is the latest action in their current campaign to demand the divestment of Elbit Systems from the state’s public retirement fund. Currently the Minnesota State Board of Investments, which Governor Tim Walz chairs, holds $1.2 million, or approximately 10,000 shares, in Elbit Systems.</p> <p>Elbit Systems is Israel’s largest weapons company, which has been contracted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to further militarize the U.S.- Mexico border by installing “Integrated Fixed Towers” security systems; the same border militarization technology that has been deployed against the Palestinian people.</p> <p>Kane Widlicka, who spoke on behalf of the Anti-War Committee, explained, “We are not here to negotiate with apartheid, we are here to abolish it. The Anti-War Committee sees a particular connection on the war being waged by U.S.-funded Israel against Palestinians, and the war being waged against refugees of U.S. caused economic and violence crisis in Mexico. We see the connection between the war on Palestinians and the refugees because the systems that causes both is funded by and benefits the U.S. government.”</p> <p>Erika Zurawski representing the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) broke down how “Elbit systems is violating the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and violating the sovereignty of the native lands here in the United States. It is important that Governor Walz, who said he supported a pro-immigrant agenda when he was elected, knows that this is an anti-immigrant company."</p> <p>Mariam El-Khatib, representing the Minnesota chapter of American Muslims for Palestine, said, “It's become easy now to figure out what side you’re on. You either support walls or you don't. You either support kids being in cages or you don’t. You either support immigrant rights or you don't. Just talk to people - because most people are gonna want to stand on the right side of the street.”</p> <p>Chants and messages during the protest included, “From Palestine to Mexico, Elbit Systems has got to go!” “Divest from Elbit!” and “Walz, stop funding walls!” </p> <p>The MN Anti-War Committee’s next event is a BDS/border militarization teach-in and new members meeting at 4200 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis at 7 p.m. on September 25.</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Anti-racism Chican@ / Latin@ Divestment Elbit Governor Walz Immigrant Rights In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Wed, 18 Sep 2019 00:06:16 +0000 Fight Back 7601 at Yemeni forces strike Saudi Arabia; U.S. blames Iran <p>Milwaukee, WI - In the early morning hours of September 14 ten drones carried out an intensive bombing of two of the world’s largest oil refineries, both located in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Aramco facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais were decimated, crippling the productive capabilities of the oil manufacturers in the country. The Air Force of the Yemeni Army and Popular Committees have announced that these strikes are a part of what they’re calling the 2nd Operation of Balanced Deterrence.</p> <p>The attacks serve as the latest in an ongoing war of resistance by Yemen that began nearly five years ago. On one side, there are Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis) and its allies in the camp of resistance including Iran, Syria, and the political organization Hezbollah, and the Palestinian movement; on the other side, Saudi Arabia and their coalition forces - made up in one form or another of the United States, Israel, several Gulf States, and others.</p> <p>The involvement of the Saudi-U.S. coalition forces represents an intervention into the sovereign affairs of the Yemeni people. Ansar Allah has led the armed resistance against this foreign invasion. With the success of this attack, the tide of the war may have dramatically shifted in favor of the patriotic forces.</p> <p>The conflict in Yemen has produced the greatest humanitarian crisis in the world today, with tens of thousands of people dead, many more wounded, and millions either on the cusp of starvation, victims of disease brought on by the war, or on the move as they flee for safety. Despite the magnitude of the crisis and the fact that the fighting has been raging for nearly five years, the U.S. corporate media has hardly covered Yemen at all. Until now, that is.</p> <p>Over the last several days, mainstream media outlets have released story after story about this massive strike. A key piece to this narrative being spun by the Western press is that the attacks did not originate from Yemen, but Iran instead. The Iranian government has denied these allegations. As ever, U.S. President Donald Trump was quick to address the situation. The administration claims to be looking into the situation. Trump declared that they are “locked and loaded, depending on verification,” implying that they’re more than ready to retaliate directly in some capacity.</p> <p>Combining the denial of the Iranian government with the bluster of President Trump leads to the conclusion that the pinning of the attack on Iran is a part of the broader U.S. shift toward open military aggression. The situation represents a danger not only to the people of Iran and the greater Middle East, but to all peace-loving people on the planet.</p> <p>The demands of the anti-war movement in the U.S. must be clear: No to war on Iran! End military aid to Saudi Arabia! U.S. hands off Yemen!</p> People's Struggles Antiwar Movement Donald Trump Houthis International Iran Middle East Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia Yemen Yemen Oppressed Nationalities U.S. Tue, 17 Sep 2019 22:31:33 +0000 Fight Back 7600 at Venezuela: Elements of opposition reach deal with Maduro government <p>Chicago, IL - On Monday September 16, the leaders of several opposition parties arrived at the Foreign Ministry in downtown Caracas to participate in the Roundtable of National Dialogue organized by the elected government of Nicolás Maduro. The Roundtable was established in the aftermath of the fascist violence in 2017, which was a response to the Supreme Court's decision to strip the National Assembly of its powers after its refusal to adhere to the country's constitution. </p> <p>On the first day of the meeting, representatives from the government and the opposition parties announced six agreements that had been reached as prerequisites to the coming discussions. The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and its allied parties will have their delegates retake their seats in the National Assembly, a prerequisite to the body returning to its legislative duties. The opposition parties also agreed to work to end U.S. sanctions, to support the exchange of Venezuelan oil for food and medicine, and to support Venezuelan sovereignty over the Esequiba region currently in dispute with Guyana. In return, the government agreed to the selection of new leaders for the National Electoral Council (CNE) and to permit the opening of release trials for imprisoned opposition figures. </p> <p>This is a significant development. Since the end of the fascist violence over two years ago, the opposition had embraced the leadership of far-right parties such as Popular Will, whose leaders Leopoldo López and Juan Guaidó advocated the violent overthrow of the elected government of Nicolás Maduro. At the time, all of the opposition parties belonged to a single coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD). </p> <p>A split began to emerge in the opposition camp though, as it became obvious that the embrace of violence only led to the opposition's isolation from the Venezuelan people. Beginning in the summer of 2017, Popular Will's leaders called on all parties of the MUD to boycott upcoming elections. Several small parties broke ranks and fielded candidates, and in 2018 a handful of parties backed opposition figure Henri Falcón to run against Maduro in the presidential elections. It was when Juan Guaidó's campaign to overthrow Maduro began in January 2019 that the opposition coalition formally collapsed. Several parties refused to participate in a political movement whose only stated goal seemed to be seizing power through a U.S. invasion. </p> <p>Of the dozen opposition parties, four are participating in the Roundtable of National Dialogue - Progressive Advance, the Movement to Socialism, Solutions and the Movement for Change. While it is unclear if more plan to join, the announcement of today's agreements marks a huge blow to the U.S. campaign against the Maduro government. The beginning of dialogue demonstrates Guaidó's isolation and irrelevance from Venezuelan reality. </p> <p>It also reveals the failure of U.S. sabotage and sanctions. Far from breaking the unity between the Venezuelan people and the Maduro government, it has strengthened them, to the point where it is now becoming clear to opposition parties that the only way they will continue to exist into the future is if they join the revolution in rejecting U.S. imperialism.</p> People's Struggles Socialism Americas Bolivarian Revolution Chican@ / Latin@ Donald Trump International Nicolás Maduro Roundtable of National Dialogue Venezuela Oppressed Nationalities U.S. Mon, 16 Sep 2019 23:23:41 +0000 Fight Back 7599 at Chicago elected officials to join human rights delegation to Philippines Consulate <p>Chicago, IL - On September 16, community, civil rights, faith-based and peace activists will join 35th Ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 33rd Ward Alderman Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez and State Representative Jaime Andrade (40th District) in a delegation to the Consulate General of the Philippines, 11:00 a.m.,122 S. Michigan Avenue.</p> <p>The delegation will deliver a letter to Consul General Gina Jamoralin with regards to Brandon Lee, an American citizen who was shot in Ifugao, Philippines. Lee is a human rights activist and a native of San Francisco.</p> <p>Lee was attacked by suspected elements of the 54th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Lee survived the gun attack but has had eight cardiac arrests during multiple surgeries.</p> <p>The delegation will appeal to the Philippine government to ensure Brandon Lee’s safety and apprehend the assailants.</p> <p>This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a motion supporting the immediate evacuation of Lee from the Philippines and his repatriation to San Francisco to ensure his safety and access to adequate medical care.</p> People's Struggles Carlos Ramirez-Rosa Jaime Andrade Philippines Philippines Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez Mon, 16 Sep 2019 01:41:11 +0000 Fight Back 7598 at USF students demand no immigration authorities on campus <p>Tampa, Fl - On September 10, students at the University of South Florida (USF) participated in a national day of action that was called by National Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) to speak out against the Trump administration’s attacks on undocumented immigrants. The event was hosted by Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Over 30 students and staff attended.</p> <p>During President Donald Trump’s tenure, his administration has engaged in escalating attacks against undocumented immigrants. Some of these attacks include Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detaining undocumented children in horrid camp conditions indefinitely, and building urban warfare training facilities meant to replicate the conditions of the U.S. Southwest. </p> <p>Many of these occurrences were addressed in speeches given by SDS members. They also addressed how these attacks on immigrants can be seen on campus and how to fight back against them through their “Immigrants are Here to Stay” campaign.</p> <p>“We want USF administration to agree to be non-compliant with agencies, such as Customs and Border Protection and ICE, that seek to detain and deport undocumented immigrants. We encourage students to unite with us to protect our fellow immigrant students,” said SDS member, Ilena Scapicchio.</p> <p>Although a small group of students that support these racist attacks on immigrants tried to halt and distract others from the event, SDS members and attendees chanted, “No Trump, no wall, legalization for all,” against them. The Trump supporters were ultimately silenced.</p> <p>“We plan on holding more campaign events which will pressure USF administration, and the new university president, Steven Currall, to make policy change in order to make campus safe for undocumented people,” said Scapicchio.</p> People's Struggles Chican@ / Latin@ Donald Trump immigrant rights Tampa Bay SDS University of South Florida Immigrant Rights Oppressed Nationalities Student Movement U.S. Sun, 15 Sep 2019 00:10:20 +0000 Fight Back 7597 at Clerical workers confront U of MN President Gabel, Board of Regents <p>Minneapolis, MN - University of Minnesota AFSCME members confronted soon-to-be-inaugurated University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel at the September 13 Board of Regents meeting in the McNamara Alumni Center.</p> <p>Steph Taylor, AFSCME 3800 vice-president, said, “We presented over 1000 petition signatures demanding that our contributions should be respected with a contract that includes real wage increases and moves people to the top of the pay scale faster, with no increases to health care costs.”</p> <p>She added, “President Gabel has met with every employee group but refuses to meet with us while we are in negotiations. The fact is, this is the most important time to meet with us because what we are negotiating dictates our livelihoods - so we are putting ourselves on your agenda.”</p> <p>Cherrene Horazuk, AFSCME 3800 president said, “The university likes to talk about equity and inclusion, but they refuse to recognize and reward the contributions of the predominantly female clerical workforce. When it comes time for budgeting, the Board of Regents seems content to leave frontline staff behind.”</p> <p>Next week the university will be hosting inauguration activities and AFSCME will ensure visibility for the workers who do the behind- the-scenes work, every day, that makes the university run.</p> People's Struggles AFSCME Local 3800 Public Sector Unions Students for a Democratic Society (U of MN) University of Minnesota Regents Labor Fri, 13 Sep 2019 23:13:14 +0000 Fight Back 7596 at On the Manila arrest order against Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chair Emeritus of the ILPS <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Sept. 10 statement from the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS). </em></p> <p>The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) denounces in the strongest possible terms the US-Duterte regime for the issuance of a warrant of arrest on Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson Emeritus of the ILPS.</p> <p>Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina issued the arrest warrant last August 22 for Sison and 37 others in connection with the so-called “Inopacan massacre” supposedly committed by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) in 1985 in Leyte province and the discovery of mass graves in 2006. They are being falsely charged with 15 counts of murder. There is no basis for the allegations.</p> <p>As a matter of fact, Sison was in maximum security detention by the reactionary state forces under Marcos in 1985. He was arrested in 1977 and was in no position nor authority over the CPP and NPA.</p> <p>The so-called “massacre” and “mass graves” are actually fabricated by former national security chief Norberto Gonzales and retired General Hermogenes Esperon, now national security adviser. Esperon gathered the remains from various cemeteries and thus the issue was known as the case of “walking skeletons”.</p> <p>The Philippine Supreme Court under Chief Justice Reynaldo Puno already dismissed the case in 2007. Former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo was also charged with the same accusation and was granted bail.</p> <p>Among the accused is Joe Luneta who is already dead and Leo Velasco and Prudencio Calubid who were both abducted by the military and forcibly disappeared. Former peace negotiator of the National Democratic Front Luis Jalondoni was also included in the case when in fact he was overseas since 1976.</p> <p>Prof. Sison is a recognized political refugee under the Geneva Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. His passport was cancelled by Philippine authorities in 1986 and has since lived as a political refugee in the Netherlands and has tirelessly promoted anti-imperialist solidarity among workers and oppressed peoples and nations.</p> <p>While there is no formal extradition treaty between the Netherlands and the Philippines and progressive lawyers can easily refute the baseless and false accusations against Sison, the international community must remain vigilant and express their solidarity with the Filipino people against the on-going escalation of fascist attacks in the Philippines.</p> <p>The United States has been proven to be the Number One terrorist in the world and Duterte is fast being isolated in the global community for his extra-judicial killings and other grave crimes against the Filipino people.</p> <p>With this latest political persecution against Sison and Philippine activists, the ILPS calls on all members and allies to demand the immediate dropping of all trumped-up charges, release all political prisoners, and support the Philippine struggle for national liberation and democracy.</p> <p>[signed]</p> <p>LEN COOPER</p> <p>ILPS Chairperson</p> People's Struggles Anti-fascism Asia Asian Nationalities Donald Trump International Jose Maria Sison ndfp Philippines Rodrigo Duterte Oppressed Nationalities U.S. Fri, 13 Sep 2019 00:09:22 +0000 Fight Back 7595 at Chrystul Kizer bail reduction and justice denied <p>Kenosha, WI - When Cyntoia Brown’s case was brought forward to the media, there was a large public outcry for justice. How could a victim of human trafficking be imprisoned for killing her rapist and trafficker? Unfortunately, her case is not novel. Chrystul Kizer, a Milwaukee native, has been charged with multiple counts for defending herself against a sexual predator, Randall Volar III.</p> <p>Only 17 years old at the time of the incident, Kizer’s case is incredibly similar to Cyntoia Brown’s. Even more concerning is the fact that they were young, Black teenagers, charged with killing older white males who had sexually assaulted them. </p> <p>At the time of his death, Kizer’s perpetrator was under investigation for child pornography, sexual conduct with minors and human trafficking. Kizer's attorney, Carl Johnson, filed a motion to gain access to that evidence; evidence that includes explicit videos and photos of Kizer and other young girls.</p> <p>Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. It involves coercion, power and control, and often physical and sexual violence. Over half of suspected victims of trafficking are Black women and girls. Brown and Kizer were both under the age of 18 when these incidents occurred.</p> <p>Kizer’s most recent court hearing on September 6 at the Kenosha County Courthouse was a push by her defense team to reduce her unreasonably high $1 million bond. Her legal team argued once again that there was overwhelming evidence that Volar III was a rapist, pedophile and sex trafficker. They urged the court to consider that Chrystul was a victim, protecting herself against further harm.</p> <p>Prosecuting attorney Gravely attacked Kizer’s prior felony record as well as condemning the defense’s strategy of using coercion due to human trafficking. Gravely felt that this would lead to a dangerous precedent, where “serial killers” could use this defense to get away with murdering many people. </p> <p>Although Judge Wilk did not engage with Gravely’s arguments, he did deny Chrystul’s bond reduction, stating that she has “no ties to the community” as well as citing her past record.</p> <p>Members of UW-Parkside Students for a Democratic Society in Kenosha have been fixtures at Chrystul's pre-trial hearings over the last several months. The result of this session was a hard one for all of her supporters to swallow.</p> <p>“Knowing our criminal justice system, I fear the jury’s verdict," said Ethan Costello, a leader with SDS. "This system is not forgiving to Black and brown women, as it has always been for white men.”</p> <p>Kizer will remain in prison until her trial in March 2020. A court hearing to discuss the defense’s use of Wisconsin State Statute will be held this November 15. Join her supporters and pack the courtroom to demand justice for Chrystul Kizer!</p> People's Struggles African-American Anti-racism Chrystul Kizer Justice for Chrystul Kizer Kenosha SDS Racism in the Criminal Justice System Women's Movement In-Justice System Oppressed Nationalities Student Movement Wed, 11 Sep 2019 20:31:15 +0000 Fight Back 7594 at