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 Chicago: Community Commission halts launch of police gang database <p>Chicago, IL - Monday, November 21 marked an important day in the fight for community control of Chicago’s police on two fronts.</p> <p>First, Monday was the last day for candidates running for District Council to file to be on February’s upcoming ballot for election. The newly created positions, established by the ordinance for Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS), are a central part of the mechanism to move towards community control over the police in Chicago. Once elected, the District Councilors will represent their communities on policing issues and implement public safety initiatives.</p> <p>As petitioning season came to a close, 71 candidates who worked with the ECPS coalition made it onto the ballot, with 122 candidates filing in total.</p> <p>Second, the Interim Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability (CCPSA) hosted their third public meeting to discuss the Chicago Police Department’s proposal for a Criminal Enterprise Information System (CEIS). This system would replace the police department’s former “gang database, which has been heavily criticized for racial profiling and discrimination. The database was brought under further scrutiny after civilians filed a lawsuit against the police department, triggering an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General. If implemented, CEIS would continue to collect and maintain data on “gang activity” and affiliations.</p> <p>The Chicago Police Department was set to launch CEIS by this past October. However, the Community Commission stepped in to halt the launch, demanding meetings with the superintendent and the mayor in order to answer pressing questions from both the commission and the public. After several of those meetings went unscheduled, the Community Commission turned their monthly public meeting into a public hearing on the CEIS.</p> <p>Anthony Driver, the president of the CCPSA, called the meeting, which took place over Zoom, to order shortly after 6:30 p.m. The commission began by hearing public comment on CEIS. 13 people spoke in total, including six candidates for District Council, most of who are running in districts on the South and West Sides of the city.</p> <p>Jim Blissit III, a district council candidate for District 3, congratulated commissioners and gave kudos on the calling of the meeting and forcing CPD to be more transparent to the public. He urged commissioners to stand against the CEIS database. Speaking on CPD’s classification of residents as gang members via racial profiling, Blissit stated plainly: “There’s no need to continue to trust our enemies to categorize us.”</p> <p>Krystal Peters, a candidate for district council in the 7th District, also spoke out against the newer version of the gang database. Peters stressed that CEIS would do more harm than good, and that the data does not support that gangs are the biggest source of violent crime in the city.</p> <p>“The gang database has been widely criticized for years,” said Dod McColgan, a co-chair for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. McColgan connected the inaccuracy and inefficiency of the gang database to higher rates of family separation, unemployment and “unnecessary interactions with police that lead to trauma, disability and loss of life.”</p> <p>After public comment, the Chicago Police Department gave a presentation on CEIS and took questions from commissioners and the public. Major points of concern over the database included what criteria made someone eligible to be added to the database, how residents would be notified if they were added to it, and how the use of data gathered by CEIS would perpetuate and further institutionalize racial profiling by CPD.</p> <p>After two hours of question and answer, the meeting concluded with an agreement from the Chicago Police Department that there is no decided timeline for the database to launch.</p> <p>The meeting was a culmination of a stage in the fight for community control of police in Chicago. When District Council members are elected in February 2023, they will then nominate new members of the Community Commission and help determine the course of the commissions’ efforts going forward. This will bring the people of Chicago into a democratic decision-making process about who polices their communities and how their communities are policed.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability Immigrant Rights In-Justice System Fri, 02 Dec 2022 12:13:26 +0000 Fight Back 10083 at Dallas celebrates People's Thanksgiving <p>Dallas, TX - On Saturday, November 26, more than 60 activists gathered at the Pan-African Connection bookstore in Dallas to celebrate People's Thanksgiving, a celebration honoring those who struggle against imperialism, capitalism and national oppression.</p> <p>The event was emceed by Ammar Hussein of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, who gave an opening speech welcoming the many organizations and participants to the event as well as praising the struggle of indigenous peoples for whom Thanksgiving is a national day of mourning.</p> <p>"We reject the colonialist myth of Thanksgiving, and we stand in unwavering solidarity with indigenous people in their struggle," stated Hussein. "There are many organizations you will hear from today representing various movements - both domestic and international, and what unites us is that we all share a common enemy, the forces of imperialism."</p> <p>Jo Hargis of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization gave a speech stressing the importance of opposing the rising far-right movement and their increasing attacks on immigrants and trans people: "I'm so heartened to see so many people here who want to build a better world, in the face of rising attacks on immigrants and trans people - we have to be the ones to stand up and stop the attacks."</p> <p>Xavi Velasquez of Los Frontera Nos Cruzo, a local immigrant rights organization, stated, "Anti - imperialism and Chicano, Latino, indigenous national liberation go hand in hand,” and “We in Los Frontera Nos Cruzo are fusing anti-imperialism and national liberation into the immigrant</p> <p>struggle, the indigenous struggle and the wider Latino struggle. One day we will have our land back."</p> <p>Jay Rodriguez of the Progressive Student Union at the University of Texas at Arlington gave a speech discussing the various struggles that PSU has participated in, saying, “We at PSU remind others that their lives are important, that they matter. That here we don't stand for transphobes, fascists, segregationists and sexual harassers. That the fight is still going and it's not gonna stop."</p> <p>Matt Leslie of the Dallas Anti-War Committee stated, “We stand in solidarity with international movements for self-determination, we stand in solidarity with the oppressed peoples of Palestine, the Philippines, Haiti, and all those who are victims of imperialism."</p> <p>Syd Loving, co-chair of the National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, gave a speech introducing NAARPR Dallas and their leading of massive protests during the George Floyd Rebellion in 2020, as well as the history of NAARPR nationally as an organization dedicated to freeing political prisoners such as Angela Davis.</p> <p>The event was called by the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression, Dallas Anti-War Committee, La Frontera Nos Cruzo, Progressive Student Union at University of Texas in Arlington, Malaya Texas, Dallas Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Palestinian Youth Movement, Texas Organizing Project, Dallas Peace and Justice Center, North Texas Industrial Workers of the World, Communist Party USA Dallas-Ft Worth, and North Texas Democratic Socialists of America.</p> <p>After the speeches, the event ended with a singalong to a rendition of Solidarity Forever.</p> People's Struggles Socialism People's Thanksgiving Thu, 01 Dec 2022 02:07:46 +0000 Fight Back 10082 at Tallahassee FRSO hosts October Revolution event <p>Tallahassee, FL - On November 6, the Tallahassee District of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization held a celebratory meeting at Florida State University to honor the 105th anniversary of the October Revolution.</p> <p>The October Revolution is the 1917 revolution that saw the overthrow of the czar, a Russian monarch, and the establishment of working-class power led by the Bolshevik party.</p> <p>About a dozen or so students and community members gathered to learn about the October Revolution and the lessons it presents for today.</p> <p>The event was facilitated by FRSO members Alex Carson, Regina Joseph and Delilah Pierre.</p> <p>The gathering consisted of a PowerPoint presentation, a reading of a FRSO statement <a href="">“The October Revolution and some lessons for the struggle for socialism in the U.S.”</a> followed by a short discussion.&nbsp;</p> <p>Facilitator Alex Carson said, “Lenin and the Bolsheviks cemented the struggle against social-chauvinism and imperialism as a key aspect of Marxism. This separated the Bolsheviks from the opportunists of the Second International and brought Marxism into the era of imperialism.”</p> <p>To join the FRSO visit <a href=""></a></p> Socialism October revolution Socialism Thu, 01 Dec 2022 01:33:53 +0000 Fight Back 10081 at Grand Rapids holds solidarity rally for Palestine Day <p>Grand Rapids, MI - The Palestine Solidarity Committee of Grand Rapids organized a sign-holding in conjunction with groups across the world recognizing the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, November 29. The event was part of a call to action put out by the US Palestinian Community Network.&nbsp;</p> <p>Drivers were met with Palestine flags and chants of, “From the belly of the beast - no justice, no peace!” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho! The occupation’s got to go!” at the busy intersection. A few onlookers joined in on the call to “Free Palestine,” while others honked their horns in support.&nbsp;</p> <p>“I would honk if I had a horn,” said a passing cyclist, raising his fist.&nbsp;</p> <p>The event opened with chanting, followed by two speeches from Mike DeRuiter and Hannine Aqel. DeRuiter connected the struggles faced by working people in receiving basic healthcare to the annual $4 billion of aid sent to Israel for the slaughter of Palestinians.&nbsp;</p> <p>DeRuiter stated, “Why can’t I afford basic necessities while so much money is going to Israel? In the West Bank, they just destroyed a school,” referring to the new Isfey al-Fauqa school demolished last week by occupation forces in Masafer Yatta. The school was attended by 22 students, aged six to eleven.&nbsp;</p> <p>Hannine Aqel, a Palestinian living in Grand Rapids, gave a moving speech followed by a poem she had written. “Parts of our culture and our revolution have been completely erased or misconstrued,” said Aqel. “I see it in American media, where the same rules don’t apply to us. We are not‘freedom fighters or revolutionaries; we are ‘terrorists and extremists.’”</p> <p>Aqel’s speech detailed her own identity struggles as a Palestinian woman, and her grappling with recognizing portions of her family still live under occupation.&nbsp;</p> <p>“The guilt ate me alive because I knew my family in Palestine would never get to see what I’m seeing or experience what I’m experiencing,” said Aqel. “They say ‘Janna is enough’ or ‘Heaven is enough’. I know they are right, but has the world failed them so badly they can only dream of life after death?”</p> <p>The speech ended with a beautiful poem she wrote, describing an embrace of her identity as a Palestinian.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>“I am Palestine&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>It’s as if God moved me from Her dirt</em></p> <p><em>As if my heart was built from the very stone thrown at armored vehicles</em></p> <p><em>Or as if my blood was created from the martyrs that came before me</em></p> <p><em>It’s as if my voice came from the screams of the voiceless</em></p> <p><em>As if my soul came from the breath of the Halhuli wind&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>And my veins were created were created from the roots of an olive tree</em></p> <p><em>It’s as if my brain was formed from the collective Palestinian knowledge</em></p> <p><em>Or as if my tears come from the Dead Sea</em></p> <p><em>Who am I, you ask?</em></p> <p><em>I am Palestine.”</em></p> Free Palestine Palestine US Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) Thu, 01 Dec 2022 01:27:54 +0000 Fight Back 10080 at Tallahassee condemns Police Benevolent Association moves against Taylor Biro <p><em>Fight Back News Service is circulating this statement from the Tallahassee Community Action Committee.</em></p> <p>On Nov. 16th, Florida Police Benevolent Association Big Bend Chapter, which represents TPD officers, called for the removal of Citizens Police Review Board (CPRB) member Taylor Biro. PBA Chapter President Richard Murphy targeted Biro over a sticker on her coffee mug which reads “Abolish the Police,” but has been consistently misreported as saying “F**k the Police”. Murphy decried that her mug promoted an “inappropriate, incendiary, and anti-police message”, and called for her immediate removal from the CPRB.</p> <p>The CPRB is a City-appointed board of citizens meant to provide community oversight of the Tallahassee Police Department. What each member brings to the table is a unique viewpoint on the actions and functions of policing, and collectively they are integral to establishing community oversight that is otherwise absent. Biro represents the views of many members of our community. The PBA does not get to pick and choose which viewpoints are allowed on the Board simply because they disagree or find them contrary to their goals. To do so would defeat the purpose of the review board.</p> <p>Over the course of her career, Taylor Biro has been responsible for training hundreds of officers on trauma-informed policing, co-authored a part of a statewide law requiring officers to be trauma-informed and culturally responsive, and wrote the curriculum that FDLE uses on trauma related to sexual violence. She is an extremely valuable member of the board and should not be unfairly removed over political beliefs that many in the community share and want to see represented on the CPRB.</p> <p>In a city where officers lie about and misrepresent events, attend and speak at anti-LGBTQ+ conferences, and murder with anonymity under Marsy’s law, it is essential to have members who will hold officers accountable for their actions. The Tallahassee Community Action Committee stands in unwavering support of Taylor Biro.</p> Police Brutality Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) Thu, 01 Dec 2022 01:09:48 +0000 Fight Back 10079 at Biden: Hands off rail workers and their right to strike! <p>On Monday, President Joe Biden publicly called on Congress to force union rail workers to accept the sub-par contract terms he helped craft. This is shameless union busting and pre-emptive strike breaking on behalf of the billionaire railroad bosses.</p> <p>The members of four unions representing the majority of rail workers already voted down the contract terms negotiated by President Biden and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. The Biden deal was widely criticized by the rank and file because it does not include any paid sick days - a basic right in most countries, and a sticking point for rail workers.</p> <p>The votes to reject the contract set up the possibility of a national rail strike involving hundreds of thousands of workers as soon as December 9. If just one union strikes, the other rail unions are expected to honor the picket lines. But Biden’s intervention on behalf of billionaire railroad bosses like Warren Buffett is a threat to break the strike and force the employer’s sub-par terms on the workers, by force if necessary.</p> <p>The railroads say a strike could cost the economy $2 billion a day. Even if some shipments and profits are delayed, a rail strike that wins better conditions for workers is in the interest of the entire working class. The railroads rake in billions in profits each year on the backs of the workers, and they should be required to provide paid sick days.</p> <p>The U.S. is a dictatorship of the super-rich where the rules are stacked against working and oppressed people. Throughout history employers have tried to prevent strikes by law and by force. But when workers collectively withhold our labor and stop production we prove that we have the power to win better working conditions, and more.</p> <p>Union democracy and the ability to strike are hard won rights that must be defended. We call on all working people and unions to support the rail workers in their righteous struggle for dignity and respect against the tyranny of the railroads.&nbsp;</p> <p>We call on the president and Congress to keep their hands off the rail workers, and respect their right to strike.</p> <p>Tell Congress and President Biden:</p> <p>“Hands of rail workers and their right to strike!”</p> <p>“Paid sick days now!”</p> <div></div> Labor Rail workers strike Labor Wed, 30 Nov 2022 17:37:35 +0000 Fight Back 10078 at Bookstore packed for FRSO program release party <p>Minneapolis, MN – About 70 activists packed Mayday Bookstore, November 20, for the release of the print edition of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization’s (FRSO) political program.&nbsp;</p> <p>FRSO Political Secretary Mick Kelly told the excited crowd, “Our program amounts to a declaration war against the existing order things. It is a clear statement that analyzes the conditions we face, lays bare the laws of capitalism, the need for revolution and socialism - and defines a clear strategy getting from here to there.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The room was filled with many of the movers and shakers in the Twin Cites people’s struggles. Kelly hailed their presence stating, “It is an honor to be among so many outstanding fighters in the Twin Cities people’s movements. You have led large demonstrations and strikes. Those of us here in this room have organized many large, and at times extremely militant, battles. And it is this activity that gives meaning to this program. Its power can be measured by the degree that people take up the ideas, demands and goals contained within – making it a material force in our struggle and in society.”</p> <p>Leaders from the labor, anti-police crimes, student, anti-war, climate justice and other movements spoke about the relevance of the FRSO Program to their struggles.&nbsp;</p> <p>The event was concluded with a champagne toast.</p> Socialism Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) Tue, 29 Nov 2022 04:29:41 +0000 Fight Back 10076 at Red Theory: Socialism and the national question <p>The Russian Empire under the Tsar was rightly called a “prisonhouse of nations,” because it oppressed, within its borders, whole nations of people. The Bolsheviks saw that it was a principal task of the socialist revolution to dismantle national oppression and support self-determination for the oppressed nations.&nbsp;</p> <p>The United States is likewise a prisonhouse of nations, where the African American nation in the Black Belt South, the Chicano nation in the Southwest and the Hawaiian nation are all oppressed within the borders of the imperialist U.S. It will be a principal task of the socialist revolution in the U.S. to answer the national question, and we can draw on the experience of the Bolsheviks and others to understand how to do that.</p> <p>The great African American communist leader and Marxist-Leninist theorist Harry Haywood lived in the Soviet Union, from 1925 to 1930, where he witnessed firsthand how the national question was handled there. In his autobiography Black Bolshevik, Haywood explained his experience there and the theory that guided the USSR on the national question. He writes,&nbsp;</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">“...the formation of peoples into nations is an objective law of social development around which the Bolsheviks, particularly Lenin and Stalin, had developed a whole body of theory. According to this theory, a nation is a historically constituted stable community of people, based on four main characteristics: a common territory, a common economic life, a common language and common psychological makeup (national character) manifest in common features in a national culture. Since the development of imperialism, the liberation of oppressed nations has become a question whose final resolution would only come through proletarian revolution.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Haywood goes on to explain that the overthrow of the tsar and the construction of socialism required the unity of nationalities, and that this unity had to be based on “equality before the law for all nationalities – with no special privileges for any one people – and the right of the colonies and subject nations to separate.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Thus, after the Bolsheviks seized power in the October Revolution, these principles were turned into the law of the land. Socialism set out to remove the effects of national oppression within the liberated nations of the former Russian Empire. Resources were diverted to them to raise their standards of living, education, health, and so on, while respecting and developing their cultural and political institutions. For example, Haywood writes of witnessing this policy in action in Crimea and the Caucasus in 1927 and 1928:</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">“The languages and culture which had been stifled under the czarist regime were now being developed. The language of the Crimean people was a Turko-Tartar language, but before the Revolution, almost all education, such as there was, was in the Russian language. Now there were schools established which used the native language.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Abolishing national oppression is the first step, since it is the material basis of racism and prejudice. But as Haywood explains, after the Bolshevik revolution,&nbsp;</p> <p style="padding-left: 30px;">“…remnants of national and racial prejudice from the old society were attacked by education and law. It was a crime to give or receive direct or indirect privileges, or to exercise discrimination because of race or nationality. Any manifestation of racial or national superiority was punishable by law and was regarded as a serious political offense, a social crime.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Haywood explains that in all of his five years in the Soviet Union, he only experienced a single instance of racism, which was met with outrage from bystanders, leading to an impromptu mass meeting and the arrest of the perpetrator. It may be hard to imagine in the U.S. today, where the police murder Black, Chicano, and other oppressed people with impunity every day, but in the USSR in the 1920s, a racial slur led to a night in jail for the offender. Creating a just society free of racism and national oppression was taken seriously.</p> <p>It isn’t possible to predict exactly how the national question will be resolved in the course of socialist revolution. What we can say is that the U.S. colonies, such as Puerto Rico and Guam, must be granted their independence – if they have not already achieved by their own efforts. The full sovereignty of native peoples must be respected as must the right to national development. And the Black, Chicano and Hawaiian oppressed nations must have the right to self-determination, to choose whether or not to separate their historically constituted national territory.&nbsp;</p> <p>The national question in the United States will be solved in practice by the working and oppressed people themselves in the course of socialist revolution. But we can draw many lessons from the experiences of others. In the Soviet Union this played out through the formation of Soviet republics of the formerly oppressed nations. In China it led to national autonomous regions.&nbsp;</p> <p>In any case, the national question must be answered correctly both before and after the revolution, for its purpose is twofold. First, it is necessary to right the past wrongs of U.S. imperialism and see that they are not perpetuated. As Lenin said, the right of national self-determination, like the right to divorce, can be the only basis for a true, voluntary unity. Second, that unity is the only way we can defeat the oppressors. Only the strategic alliance of the multinational working class and the movements for national liberation can form the core of the united front necessary to topple monopoly capitalism, and only by freeing all peoples can the working class itself ever hope to be free.</p> Marxism-Leninism ML Theory National Oppression red theory Mon, 28 Nov 2022 00:47:21 +0000 Fight Back 10075 at Seattle students hold banner drop in protest of national ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill <p>Seattle, WA - On November 18, the University of Washington’s Progressive Student Union (PSU) held a banner drop in protest of the national “Don’t Say Gay” bill, introduced by Congressional Republicans last month. Officially titled the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act of 2022,” this is a national version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year. The D.C. bill prohibits the use of federal funds for any topic or program related to sex education in schools. It also prohibits access of library books with LGBTQ topics to children. </p> <p>Raymond Chen of PSU said, “This bill is a shameless exploitation of LGBTQ people in education, medical care and legal aid. This rally promoted the unreasonableness of this bill and has taken a solid step in promoting our reputation.” </p> <p>PSU’s march and banner drop against this bill took place in the middle of campus during classes. Energized students chanted “Two, four, six, eight - separate the church and state!” and “What do we do when trans rights are under attack? Stand up, fight back!”</p> People's Struggles LGBTQ “Don’t Say Gay” bill Sun, 27 Nov 2022 15:03:55 +0000 Fight Back 10074 at China committed to support for socialist Cuba <p>Talks took place November 25 between General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping and First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez. The discussions took place in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.</p> <p>According to the New China News Agency, Xi stated, “Cuba is the first country in the Western Hemisphere that established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. Our ties have become an example of solidarity and cooperation between socialist countries, as well as an example of sincere mutual assistance between developing countries."</p> <p>Xi also stated, "No matter how the international situation may change, China's commitment to long-term friendship with Cuba will not change. China's determination to support Cuba in pursuing socialism will not change. China’s will to work with Cuba to safeguard international fairness and justice and oppose hegemony and power politics will not change."</p> People's Struggles Americas Asia China Communist Party of China Communist Party of Cuba Cuba International Fri, 25 Nov 2022 22:46:18 +0000 Fight Back 10073 at