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Updated: 6 hours 16 min ago

New York protest demands end to killings in the Philippines

6 hours 25 min ago

New York, NY - On the evening of Dec. 10, approximately 70 activists gathered at the Philippine Consulate in on 5th Avenue to protest the regime of President Duterte and to demand an end to its state-sanctioned mass killings.

The rally was held on International Human Rights Day, a time to remember and reinforce the need for democracy and human rights, and to highlight the crimes against the people of the Philippines under the Duterte’s rule.

Since Rodrigo Duterte took power there has been a wave of human rights abuses. It began with the Drug Wars, which Duterte claimed was a way to cleanse the Philippines of crimes, but instead were used to murder over 13,000 civilians. Second, Duterte has reinstated martial law in Mindanao, hurting indigenous people. Most recently, Duterte forces have murdered militant fighters for democracy and named the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as a terrorist organization.

The escalation of human rights abuses against people supporting the National Democratic movement began shortly after President Donald Trump’s visit.

The rally aimed to stand in solidarity with those fighting the Philippines, remember the struggles of those who died at the hands of repression, and wage forward in the fight for liberation. The event was organized by Bayan USA and was attended by members of a multitude of different organizations such as: Migrante, Gabriella NY, Anakbayan NY and NJ, NYC Students for Justice in Palestine, Committee to Stop FBI Repression - NY, and the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners Solidarity Network.

In between speeches, the chants rang out from the people, including “No justice, no peace! No more war in the Philippines,” and “U.S. imperialist, number one terrorist!”

Organizers used a projector to shine slogans onto the walls of the consulate with phrases such as, “Fight against the fascist U.S.-Duterte regime” throughout the night’s event.

Mike Legaspi, from Bayan USA, closed the rally saying, “Rodrigo Duterte, like all the other puppet presidents, will be relegated to the garbage bin of history. It's been a little of a year since he's been president and when he came in, people of the Philippines were so optimistic. A lot of people who organize for that National Democratic movement were also optimistic because they thought he would bring an end to the decades long civil war through peace talks. He did initially open up peace talks with the National Democratic movement of the Philippines and the CPP, but he has recently cancelled these peace talks. Now Duterte and his military supporters have deemed the CPP as a terrorist. But Duterte has gone beyond this and said that the legal democratic mass movement is also terrorist. That means that he's looking for terrorists when all he has to do is look in the mirror.”

People’s Thanksgiving honors memory of Pat Hunt

10 hours 9 min ago

Chicago, IL - The People’s Thanksgiving dinner is held each year as an anti-racist holiday event by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) in Chicago. Usually a festive affair, this year included a note of sadness because local peace activist Pat Hunt had died only days earlier.

Pat had been a key leader in the anti-war movement in Chicago since 2004. As Libby Frank, her friend, said in her remarks at the dinner, “Pat became ‘woke’ after Bush was elected the second time. Launching the illegal and immoral war in Iraq and Afghanistan brought her into the anti-war movement.”

Pat was a co-founder of CODE Pink; a leader in the defense campaign for the anti-war and international solidarity activists raided by the FBI in 2010; and co-chair of the Coalition Against NATO/G8, which marched on the NATO Summit in Chicago in 2012. That march was the largest anti-war protest in the country during the Obama years. She also played a leading role in the Chicago Coalition Against War and Racism, and Chicago Area Peace Action, among other groups.

In his remarks about Pat, Joe Iosbaker of FRSO, said that she made him think of a story told by Mao Zedong, leader of the Chinese revolution. “In a talk given by Mao in 1944, he said, ‘All men must die, but death can vary in its significance…it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather. To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.”

“Pat Hunt lived for the people, she served the people,’ stated Iosbaker.

The Dec. 3 dinner also gave recognition awards to leaders from a number of struggles, including: John Palmer, a Teamster reformer elected Southern regional vice president on the anti-Hoffa slate last year; Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), the most prominent leaders in the fight to stop deportations in Chicago; Armanda Shackleford, Bertha Escamilla, Carolyn Johnson, and Anabel Perez, all prominent activist mothers whose prisoner sons were tortured by Chicago cops; the Rasmea Defense Committee, the grass roots committee that led the historic fight for the beloved Palestinian community icon, Rasmea Odeh; and the Restore the 34 Movement, a militant group of Chicago Teachers Union members who defeated Mayor Emanuel when he moved to eliminate their jobs.

The program also included the talk by Frank Chapman of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (reprinted in Fight Back!); and a video message from Rasmea Odeh from Amman, Jordan. This year’s dinner, the 26th annual, raised $1400 for Fight Back!

Dallas Palestine Coalition protests Trump's Jerusalem announcement

10 hours 15 min ago

Dallas, TX - The Dallas Palestine Coalition organized a protest, on Dec. 10, against Trump's announcement that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. About 1000 people attended the rally at Dealey Plaza near downtown Dallas.

Led by the DPC's coordinator Masoud Khayyat, protesters chanted, "Jerusalem, don't you cry, Palestine will never die," and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." Signs at the protest stated that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine and had other pro-Palestine messages, while others called for Trump's impeachment.

Many Palestinian flags were in evidence, but someone also passed out U.S. flags to the crowd.

A lone member of the Three Percent militia group appeared as a counter-protester, briefly heckling a speaker. During an argument with protesters, he called himself a "proud fascist." After being yelled at for a while, he moved on.

The Dallas Palestine Coalition is planning another rally next week in Fort Worth.

400 join Tampa protest against Trump’s Jerusalem announcement

Sun, 2017-12-10 20:47

Tampa, FL - Over 400 people joined a protest in Temple Terrace, Tampa, Dec. 8 to denounce Trump’s announcement that the U.S. “recognizes” Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The protesters condemned plans to move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In speeches and chants, protesters made it clear that they recognize Jerusalem as the historic capitol of Palestine, and that Trump’s announcement is an attack on the Palestinian people. One sign said: “Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine.”

Trump’s recent announcement led the major Palestinian political parties to call for “Three Days of Rage” and for Arabs and Muslims to protest this genocide worldwide. This protest joined countless demonstrations across the globe, as well as within Palestine itself, from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to Jerusalem proper. The Israeli Defense Forces have retaliated by using tear gas on protesters, shooting into the crowds, raiding neighborhoods, deliberately targeting medical facilities and ambulances carrying injured Palestinian protesters, and bombing Gaza.

Calvin Kirby, one of the protesters stated, “Anyone who thinks the U.S. is a broker of peace in the region can see by now that that is not their priority. What Trump wants to do is annihilate Palestinian sovereignty completely, starting with its capitol. This is why we need to continue protesting and attending events like this, to show Trump and Israel that nobody will let them get away with this.”

Venezuela and the fight for socialism

Sun, 2017-12-10 20:37

Milwaukee, WI - An understanding of Bolivarian Venezuela is critical for revolutionaries in the U.S. Alongside Cuba, it is the strongest enemy of U.S. imperialism in the Western Hemisphere, and is on the short list of countries with which the Trump administration is openly threatening war. This alone is reason enough for Marxist-Leninists in the U.S. to want to understand Venezuela and stand in solidarity with its people. Their ability to defeat the reactionary efforts of the American monopoly capitalists is an inspiration for all of us who wish to see a world without imperialism.

But Venezuela is more than that. In the eyes of the bourgeois press, both political parties, and many leftists, Venezuela is a socialist country. The national government of the United Socialist Party (PSUV) has declared as such, with Hugo Chávez declaring that they will lead the founding of “21st century socialism" in Latin America.

In this situation, it is important for us to look honestly at reality. Venezuela is still a capitalist country, but one where a radical national democratic movement — the Bolivarian Revolution — has seized political power. Much of the Bolivarian rank and file want to see socialism take hold of the country. But, in the words of the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV) Politburo, the point of unity of the Bolivarian movement is not socialist revolution, but rather “the defense of national sovereignty against the neo-colonial pretensions of U.S. and European imperialism.” It is a national democratic movement, first and foremost, one where many classes participate.

From the moment that Hugo Chávez swept into office at the head of a broad coalition of forces, there has been a debate over the direction of the Bolivarian Revolution. Like with all national movements, there is an internal class struggle within the Bolivarian movement over which class will lead. Whether or not the Venezuelan masses will establish socialism will be decided by this internal dynamic. This struggle happens in fits and bursts, as the movement often must close ranks to defend the national sovereignty from U.S. imperialism and the reactionary bourgeoisie.

Events in recent months have given the Bolivarian movement some space. The bourgeois opposition is in tatters after their failures in several recent elections. As a product of this infighting, most right-wing parties will boycott the municipal elections on Dec. 15. This means that there is little fear within the Bolivarian movement of dividing the votes of their participants. Now the simmering class tension within the movement has room to come to the forefront.

Working-class Bolivarian forces, led by the Communist Party and other organizations, have long been frustrated by the political dominance of the PSUV, which has led the government since its formation in 2008. They are particularly frustrated by the lack of a functioning coalition. For over two years the Simón Bolívar Great Patriotic Pole (GPP-SB), the political leadership of the Bolivarian Revolution, has not done its job of meeting regularly, endorsing candidates, and giving political direction to the government. Instead, the PSUV has put forward its own members for office, and expects the other GPP-SB members to endorse or risk being accused of sectarianism.

Municipal elections

Revolutionary forces are breaking with this norm for the municipal elections. While the vast majority of PSUV candidates have their endorsement (a sign of the absolute importance they place on unity in the face of the enemy), any politician accused of corruption, opportunism or anti-communism is facing a nominee from the Communist Party or another revolutionary group.

One stunning turn of events is happening in the capital of Caracas, where the PSUV candidate is facing a strong challenge from Eduardo Samán on a joint ticket of the Communist Party and Homeland For All party. Samán is no political outsider: having held the positions of trade minister and president of Venezuela’s consumer protection agency, he is a well-known figure in the Bolivarian movement.

Samán gained the love of Venezuelan workers for his efforts to nationalize companies accused of hoarding or working against the national interest. These same actions earned him the hatred of the bourgeoisie, who tried to assassinate Samán with a grenade attack in 2013. Samán’s candidacy has won the endorsement of over a dozen Bolivarian parties and organizations, as well as the support of former Caracas mayor Juan Barreto.

In several regions, the communes - one of the great revolutionary products of the Bolivarian period - are fielding their own candidates for the first time. A fledgling form of socialist political and economic power, communes are units of self-government and worker-owned production. There are currently thousands of communes across the country, and they have begun to centralize their efforts into higher regional bodies. Where they exist, communes are a dual power to the traditional political structure, and are a source of anxiety for many reformist politicians. The Communist Party and others are vocal supporters of the communes, and advocate a ‘communal state’ as the revolutionary replacement to the bourgeois liberal state currently in place.

One of the most famous communes is El Maizal, an agricultural commune in the state of Lara that produces corn and other essential foods. Its leader, Angel Prado, is now running for mayor of Simón Planas on a joint ticket with the Communists and the Tupamaros. However, the election commission is refusing to recognize his candidacy, arguing that Prado cannot run until he is relieved of his duties as a delegate to the National Constituent Assembly (ANC) — despite the fact that a number of sitting governors and mayors are delegates. Appeals to the ANC to allow his candidacy were ignored, so over a thousand comuneros marched to the ANC headquarters in Caracas, demanding to be heard.

The leadership of the PSUV is split in how to answer to this revolutionary push. Some, like former Commune Minister Reinaldo Iturriza, support these candidacies as expressions of the desire of the Bolivarian rank and file. Others, like PSUV vice president Diosdado Cabello, condemn the Communist Party as sectarian and call on supporters to push out elements that “seek division within the Bolivarian Revolution.”

The National Constituent Assembly

The National Constituent Assembly, elected July 31 to rewrite the Venezuelan constitution, has become a historic point of struggle over the direction of the Bolivarian Revolution. It is a forum where the struggle over Venezuela’s future could be decided. As José Novoa, an ANC delegate and member of the Revolutionary Party of Labor, recently said: “At the center of the ANC is a grand debate that has opened in the heart of the people’s movement, to define where the Bolivarian process is going, and not only define it, but to travel towards the real construction of that process which we desire, which is breaking with the bourgeoisie and definitively advancing to the construction of socialism.”

This struggle is taking place in the context of economic crisis. Ever since the escalation of tension between Venezuela and the U.S. over the summer, the Venezuelan currency, the bolívar, has been in free fall. The cost of basic goods has skyrocketed, bringing great harm to working-class families. The question of how to handle the crisis is where the debate over the movement’s future arises.

President Maduro, ANC President Delcy Rodriguez, and the PSUV leadership are clear that their priority is rooting out corruption and economic saboteurs. They have empowered Attorney General Tarek Saab, to carry out the largest anti-corruption campaign in their history, arresting dozens of business and political figures, including the two most recent presidents of PDVSA, on charges of imports fraud, smuggling, embezzlement and economic sabotage. Maduro himself has said that eliminating “bourgeois corruption” in the ranks of the government is the top priority at this moment.

Revolutionary forces, organized into the Anti-Imperialist and Anti-Fascist Popular Front (FPAA) and led by the Communist Party, argue that arresting the corrupt is not enough. The economic depression, while enflamed by corruption, is a product of capitalist crisis, and only by breaking with capitalism will Venezuela be saved. The FPAA, with the support of much of the Bolivarian rank and file, demand the seizure of industries, the nationalization of banks, and the handing of economic power over to the working class.

The way to handle the economic crisis has led to open struggle in the ANC. When the body’s vice president gave a press conference saying not enough was done to tackle the crisis, he was removed and replaced by another leader who said anyone that criticized the government’s response to the crisis was a “traitor to the revolution.” This statement was condemned by the Communist Party, the FPAA, and Elias Jaua, a leading ideologist of the PSUV.

Where will this go

The challenge in Venezuela is how to move forward. For the Bolivarian rank and file and the Venezuelan working class, the path forward is the one that leads to socialism. For the Communist Party and other revolutionaries, this means seizing control of the economy to destroy the power of the bourgeoisie, and purging corrupt elements from within the ranks of the Bolivarian Revolution. The movement is pressuring the government to take on the economic crisis head on, to seize control of major industries, nationalize banks, and hand power over to the working class. The coming period will be critical in determining whether or not such a new and glorious society will come to existence.

Thousands in NYC say, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

Sat, 2017-12-09 21:35

New York, NY - Approximately 4000 Palestinians and allies rallied and marched in the center of New York city in protest of President Trump moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Currently, the U.S. Embassy is in Tel Aviv, the capital of Israel (Occupied Palestine). Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would end up emboldening Israel’s criminal occupation. Even imperialist countries, such as France, have denounced the President Trump’s move.

The protesters in New York joined the with Palestinians, who called for three days of rage in response to Trump’s action. The event started in Times Square, where the sheer number of people overflowed the police barricades and spilled out into the streets. A 25-foot Palestinian flag covered the crowd, undulating as the people moved.

A few pro-Zionist forces were drowned out by thousands of voices chanting, “Free, free Palestine!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

The crowd chanted and swelled in size for over two hours. At the end of the rally there was a short list of speakers, including Lamis Deek from Al-Awda NY. She spoke about the importance of Palestinian struggle and how Israeli occupation is a hindrance to peace. She said, “Wherever there is Israel there is violence. And where there is Palestine, there is freedom!” to which the whole crowd erupted in cheers.

The march began with people marching filed in a line, talking up several city blocks, chanting the whole way, waving hundreds of Palestinian flags.

The march ended in front of the CNN building by Columbus Circle, right near Trump Towers, a symbolic moment highlighting the connection between the U.S.'s brutal history of colonialism and Israel's occupation of Palestine. Despite a large police presence, the people kept chanting and waving Palestinian flags, declaring that Palestine one day will be free.

Twin Cites stands with Palestine

Sat, 2017-12-09 21:24

St. Paul, MN – About 50 people rallied at the corner of Snelling and Summit Avenues in Saint Paul, Dec. 7, in response to Trump’s illegal plan to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Many of those participating were from the local Palestinian community. Motorists honked to the loud and spirited chants including “Free, free Palestine” and “What is the capital of Palestine? Jerusalem.”

Kent Mori, a protest organizer said, “When U.S.-supported Israeli occupation increases injustice, violence and oppression, Palestinians resist from Gaza to the West Bank and everywhere from the river to the sea.” The rally was organized by Women Against Military Madness and the Anti-War Committee, and endorsed by Students for Justice in Palestine-UMN.

100 years after Balfour: Jacksonville supports Palestinian resistance

Sat, 2017-12-09 21:07

Jacksonville, FL - On Dec. 2, over 45 people gathered at the University of North Florida in the Student Union Building for a panel hosted by the Jacksonville Palestine Solidarity Network (JPSN). The panel was focused on explaining the Balfour declaration and its ramifications. The Balfour declaration was a statement the British government issued in 1917 announcing support for building a Zionist state in Palestine.

Sara Haj-Yahia, co-founder of JPSN and member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, moderated the event. Haj-Yahia stated, “This event was vital with the current political climate regarding the colonization of Palestine. Attendance was great and shows that the community here is ready and capable of furthering the fight for Palestinian liberation.”

Haj-Yahia continued, “Ahead of the current administration's plans to recognize Palestinian Al-Quds [Jerusalem] as the capital of the colonial state of Israel, it’s really important for there to be local efforts working against normalization.”

There were three other panelists along with Haj-Yahia. They included Fernando Figueroa, a leading member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization who helped in the defense of Palestinian freedom fighter Rasmea Odeh; Monique Williamson, president of UNF Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); and a representative of the Palestinian Youth Movement USA chapter.

A banner hung at the front of the room reading “Free Palestine - end the occupation.” There was a wide variety of tasty food, much of it prepared and donated by local Palestinian and Arab community members. At the end of the panel, the JPSN announced that monthly meetings would begin early next year to develop further solidarity with Palestine.

“The time is now to educate ourselves and organize for Palestinian liberation. Zionism is a pathetic giant that crumbles with every blow we strike,” said Figueroa regarding the panel, “Whether we are discussing the Balfour declaration from 100 years ago or Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we know that the Palestinian cause grows stronger daily by an increasing base of support for liberation - a base that we’ve begun developing in Jacksonville.”

PFLP announces cancellation of its anniversary rally and its transformation into a march of anger

Sat, 2017-12-09 18:17

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Popular Frontfor the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced the cancellation of its planned anniversary events, including the central festival scheduled for Gaza City on Saturday, and transforming those events into marches of anger to confront U.S. imperialism and Zionism following Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem

 

In a press conference on Thursday, the Front said that a march will begin on Saturday at 12 noon in Gaza under the slogan, “The revolution continues until return and the liberation of Jerusalem.” The march in Gaza City will be held simultaneously with a march in Ramallah organized by the PFLP.

 

The Front invited the Palestinian masses in all of their national and popular sectors to participate in these actions and noted that it considers December 11 to be a day of confrontation of the Zionist forces. It also emphasizes that the Palestinian people are entering a new stage of struggle to establish a national strategy in which all Palestinian movements are united to serve the objectives of our people through resistance and confrontation of the occupation in all locations.

 

The PFLP also emphasized that its march of anger and revolution will raise its voice against U.S. imperialism, Zionist colonialism and Arab reactionary collusion. It demanded the Palestinian Authority end its continued reliance on negotiations and end security coordination with the occupier.

 

It called on the Arab and Islamic nations and peoples and all supporters of justice in the world to take to the streets and squares to reject Trump’s declaration and to confront all forms of attack against the Palestinian and Arab people.

 

For its part, the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades emphasized that it is open to targeting U.S. interests, especially on Palestinian land, in response to this action. “We confirm that the U.S. imperialist enemy is not welcome on Palestinian land,” said a spokesperson for AAMB.

The AAMB spokesperson added that the rights of the Palestinian people to their land cannot be revoked by an American decision or an act of any state, and noted that the U.S. puts its interests on the land of Palestine in the eye of the target for Palestinian resistance and the Palestinian people.

People’s Thanksgiving 2017 - FRSO speech by Frank Chapman

Fri, 2017-12-08 15:09

We are circulating the text of Frank Chapman’s Dec. 3 speech at Chicago’s 26th annual People’s Thanksgiving event. Frank Chapman is a veteran of the Black Liberation Movement and a leading member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Good evening comrades and friends,

Here we are coming together again to pay tribute to those who are fighting on the front lines for democracy, peace and socialism. Let us take a moment to clarify what we mean by the struggle for democracy, peace and socialism.

In the United States of North America is still believed by many to be the cradle of democracy for the modern world. Why? Because over 200 years ago a group of slave holders, landlords and capitalist merchants wrote a Declaration of Independence declaring that “All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Women were obviously excluded, for they did say and mean men. But they did not mean all men - they meant white men with property. They didn’t mean white indentured servants or property-less white people whose sole existence depended on the demand for labor, on the changing state of business and vicissitudes of the market place. They did not mean Black people who were chattel bought and sold in the market place like any other commodity and counted among the livestock and beast of burden on the plantation. And after they successfully carried out a revolutionary war against King George of England they established a limited democracy, a federation of slave holding and non-slave holding states that rested on land stolen from indigenous people.

It took another revolution, the Civil War, to settle once and for all the question of chattel slavery, the institutionalized practice of buying and selling human beings as property. The immediate fruits of this revolution were to usher in the most radical, democratic decade in the history of the U.S., wherein Black people were empowered politically, backed up by an armed Black militia, to claim their freedom and settle accounts with their former masters. Many of the gains of Reconstruction, like public education and elimination of property qualifications in voting, are still with us. But for the most part counter-revolution was triumphant in 1877 and out of the ashes of this short-lived democratic revolution arose the present-day system of institutionalized racism and national oppression that holds Black people in bondage.

This successful counter revolution justified by white supremacy and carried out by state-sanctioned terrorism historically set the tone for the struggle for democracy in the U.S. And it was able to do so because this republic was born out of land theft from the indigenous people and the congenital blood stain from the enslave of the African people.

Today the struggle for democracy is not only about overcoming the vestiges of slavery and the unbridled competition that keeps workers bond in wage-slavery. Today the struggle is about defending the democratic rights of the people to organize and struggle for democracy, peace and socialism.

What constitutes the driving force in the struggle for democracy? Is it freedom of the press, conscience, speech, assembly, the right to vote and due process? As important as these liberties are there is no mass struggles focused on them.

What then constitutes the heartbeat of the struggle for democracy is the fight for community control of the police, for an all elected Civilian Police Accountability Council. Until we have community control of the police we have no power to stop, on a daily basis, murder, torture and mass incarceration. The police, the jails and the prisons are the principal agents of racist and political repression in this moment of history and are therefore, the greatest violators of the democratic rights of the people to organize and protest against status quo. The only way to turn this around is that we the people hold the police accountable. And the democratic vehicle for this is an all elected Civilian Police Accountable Council.

This struggle is key to the survival of our movements. My comrades in the Freedom Road Socialist Organization are a living testament to this fact. For their participation in peace and solidarity movements they were targeted as terrorists by the FBI and threatened with indictments and imprisonment. Of course, the FBI was lying and falsely accusing us but nonetheless they are still holding this threat over our heads.

In the Rasmea Odeh case we have another living testament. Rasmea was targeted by Homeland Security because of her courageous and outstanding work supporting Palestinian women victimized by Israeli military aggression and deprived of their homeland rights. For standing with her people she was prosecuted and deported. The Rasmea Odeh case is clearly the government’s declaration of war against peace movements in solidarity with national liberation struggles against imperialism. We were attacked but FRSO, in unity with the Chicago Alliance, the USPCN and others, stood up and fought back. We kept Rasmea out of prison by putting the U.S, government on trial and building a mass movement in her defense.

As we continue to build a mass movement in defense of our democratic rights, as we continue to heighten and deepen our struggle for community control of the police we see the attacks against the immigrant community with the federal and local police being the cutting edge of mass deportations. So, we must raise the question what does it mean to have a sanctuary city, with rogue, racist cops who kill and trample on the rights of the people with impunity? It means you have what Rahm Emanuel is proposing, namely, a sanctuary city in form but still a city of police tyranny in content. The immigrant community must become united with the Black community in their demand for community control of the police. Together we can stop the ICE raids and the police tyranny in our communities.

We also seeing in this moment the FBI and Homeland Security gearing up to attack the Black Lives Matter Movement with their characterization of it being ‘Black Identity Extremist.’ Clearly this is setting the stage to use the police as battering ram against the Black Liberation movement. Again, our response must be to intensify the struggle for CPAC, to build a movement that is so powerful and mass based that victory becomes inevitable.

We can do this, and the proof is the recent exoneration of some 19 victims of police crimes and torture and a dozen who have been recently set free. The States Attorney Kim Foxx is not just another states attorney caught in the noose of corruption and dancing to the tune of the FOP. No, she’s not! She has publicly endorsed CPAC and she has called Chicago the torture capital of the U.S. Our movement must take full responsible for this because we are responsible for it. These are clear indications that we can make victory inevitable by keeping on the path we are on.

We believe the struggle for peace is of paramount importance at a time when the White House is the main perpetrator of wars and the rumor of wars today. Our pathway to the struggle for peace must be clear. We must stand in unconditional solidarity with the oppressed nations and people who are fighting against U.S. imperialism for their liberation. We support all the various anti-imperialist, national liberation movements because it is our duty as Marxist-Leninists, as internationalists, to stand in solidarity with them and to demand that the U.S. accept their demands for peace and freedom. Free Palestine, get out of the Philippines, hands off Libya, Zimbabwe, Southern Africa and all of Africa. Cease and desist in the undermining of democracy in Venezuela and all of Latin America. We are not confused; we stand united with the oppressed people of the world against all forms of imperialist domination and wars of aggression.

We are also not confused about the need to fight for socialism. In the last presidential election candidate Bernie Sanders raised the question of socialism. We got a lot of class analysis during Bernie’s campaign. There was lots of talk about the billionaire class and their crimes against the people, about how in 2007-08 we experienced the greatest transfer of wealth in U.S. history form the working class to the banks, about how we’ve got the best congress and best elections money can buy and so forth and so on.

Class analysis, as profound as it may be, does not lead to socialism. It is class conscious, class struggle that leads to socialism, and the class struggle is heating up as the crisis of capitalism deepens. As the government continues, like with the latest tax law, to play Robin Hood in reverse taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

It is our job as communists to spread the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat which Engels described as “That Class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence demands on the demand for labor - hence, on the changing state of business...”

Due to the changing state of business our conditions either improves or worsens. And as long as the capitalist bosses own and control the means of production that is how it’s going to be. Class-conscious workers are those workers who are no longer fighting to become better fed and better clothed slaves, they are those workers who are fighting for abolition of wage-slavery so that our economic conditions are no longer determined by the need for profit of the capitalist bosses.

Freedom Road Socialist Organization sees and accepts the centrality of the struggle for Black liberation and the liberation of all the nationally oppressed people under the tutelage and rule of the U.S. Our organization can only develop as a class conscious, revolutionary organization by standing in unconditional solidarity with the Black Liberation movement. The fight against racism, white supremacy is essential to developing a class conscious working-class movement capable of bringing socialism to this country.

In concluding I want to appeal to our friends here in OCAD, CTU and the rest of labor to join in united actions with FRSO and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression and Black Lives Matter because we are on the cutting edge of the struggle against white supremacy and the war declared against our people by the Trump administration. We invite you to join us at a summit table we are calling for Jan. 24 next year so that we can collectively explore ways in which our various movements can be united so as to increase our strength and capacity to muster and organize our people forces to meet the challenges we presently face so we can pave the road to victory.

I also want to make a special appeal to Black, Latino, Palestinian, Filipino, Asian and any and everyone from an oppressed community or nation to join Freedom Road and become a part of a great revolutionary struggle to rid humankind of the scourge of capitalism which daily increases our misery and threatens the existence of everything living on our planet. Workers and oppressed peoples of the world must unite, for we have nothing to lose but our chains and a world to gain.

All Power to The People!

Twin Cities protest to say ‘No’ to Trump plan to move U.S. embassy to Jerusalem

Fri, 2017-12-08 00:04

Saint Paul, MN - Trump’s announcement to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as Israel’s capital is widely opposed internationally, including by the 57-member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Palestinians are calling for three days of rage and people of conscience across the world are joining in. Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) will protest Trump’s unjust, illegal action on Friday Dec. 8, 4:30 p.m., at Summit and Snelling Avenues in Saint Paul.

This unilateral U.S. move is further proof that Trump and the U.S. are not and never have been ‘honest brokers for peace’ in the Middle East.

Thousands march in Chicago to oppose Trump’s move on Jerusalem

Thu, 2017-12-07 23:32

Chicago, IL - “This is unacceptable - Jerusalem is our capital!” was the chant led by Muhammad Sankari of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), as over 500 people protested in the Federal Plaza in Chicago’s Loop, Dec. 7. An hour later, by the time the crowd arrived at the Israeli Consulate, the march had swelled to 2000 people - in a sea of Palestinian flags and keffiyehs, the traditional Palestinian scarves.

The protest was called in response to Trump’s support for Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem, and the declaration that the U.S. will now recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the apartheid state. The Coalition for Justice in Palestine, made up of all the main organizations in the Palestinian community, called the protest.

Other organizations involved included Jewish Voices for Peace and the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Frank Chapman of the Alliance expressed his solidarity with the Palestinian people. Speaking in the plaza, he explained, “The U.S. developed apartheid here first, to oppress Black people, and we stand in solidarity with the Palestinians in your struggle to overthrow Israeli apartheid.” After saying, “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine,” he closed with, “You have to take back your land.” The mainly Palestinian gathering roared agreement.

In a statement earlier, USPCN said that politicians in both parties in the U.S. government are “only interested in making sure Israel is strong enough to always defend U.S. imperialist interests in the region.”

In response, Palestinians have declared they will continue their fight for their “rights of return, self-determination, liberation and an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Protests will continue in Palestine and elsewhere for three ‘Days of Rage’ called by many forces in the Palestinian liberation movement.

PFLP: Our struggle - not Trump - will decide the fate of Jerusalem

Wed, 2017-12-06 23:43

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine described the declaration of US President Donald Trump as a declaration of war against the Palestinian people and their rights that makes the U.S. position clear as a hostile entity toward our people and a partner of the Zionist state in its crimes against the Palestinian people and land, and it must be addressed on this basis.

Further, the Front considered that Trump also launched a “bullet of mercy” on the so-called two-state solution, the settlement project and the delusions of the peace process. It called upon the Palestinian leadership to learn the necessary lessons from the devastating experience of reliance on negotiations and U.S. domination and announce the immediate withdrawal from the Oslo agreement and all subsequent and attendant obligations.

The PFLP called on the Palestinian masses and their organizations to unite their efforts and respond collectively, practically and forcefully to this decision through action and escalation of the momentum of the popular movement.

The battle for Jerusalem is one for all of Palestine. For us, Jerusalem is Haifa, Safad, Yafa, Gaza, Ramallah and every village and city in Palestine.

Further, the Front emphasized the need to confront the triangle of conspiracy against Jerusalem and Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian and Arab people, that of imperialism, Zionism and Arab reactionary regimes, and to open the door to appropriate options to resist these schemes.

The Arab masses also clearly reject this decision, which clarifies further the nature of U.S. imperialism as the primary sponsor of Zionist terror in the region that constantly seeks to ignite the region in order to maintain its hegemony.

Jerusalem will always remain the capital of the Palestinian people and the State of Palestine and the imperialist-Zionist alliance will not succeed in its attempts to obliterate the city’s Arab identity and its status in the Arab and Islamic world.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

December 6, 2017

Solidarity march with Muslims and immigrants set for Human Rights Day

Wed, 2017-12-06 17:19

Minneapolis, MN - The Anti-War Committee and the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) are co-sponsoring a community march on International Human Rights Day to show solidarity with the communities whose human rights have been violated by the Trump administration. Protesters will rally in Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m. and will then march on Lake Street past hundreds of immigrant-owned businesses to say “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!”

Meredith Aby-Keirstead, from the Anti-War Committee, explains, “We hold a protest every year to highlight the importance of International Human Rights Day. This year it is more important than ever to protest. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Trump’s racist Muslim ban is legal. The civil rights of Muslims need to be defended!”

William Martinez from MIRAC agreed, “Trump's Muslim ban is not only racist, it's criminal and inhumane. Those of us who are victims of U.S. wars have seen our friends and family killed for U.S. interests and do not come here willingly. We are violently forced from our homes. We uproot ourselves into a system that criminalizes us for our color or for our religion. All immigrants from all countries and all of our allies in the U.S. and around the world must resist this attack on our Muslim sisters and brothers. We will unite in struggle on International Human Rights Day to defend the rights of all immigrants.”

The protest will include performances by Maria Isa and the Calliope Women’s Chorus.

The event is sponsored by the MN Anti-War Committee and MIRAC's No More Deportations Campaign. The protest is endorsed by: 320 Members First, AFSCME Local 3800, Black Lives Matter MN, blacklivesmattertwincities, Blue Lies Matter, CAIR - Council on American Islamic Relations - MN, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Filipinx for Immigrant rights & Racial justice in MN, Interracial Student Movement, Mayday Books, MN Neighbors for Justice, MN Peace Action Coalition, Native Lives Matter, Rise Up Times, SEIU Local 26, St. Paul Eastside Neighbors for Peace, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace - Chapter 27, Welfare Rights Committee, Women Against Military Madness, and Universal Movement for the Advancement of Hip Hop.

4000 protest Trump’s plans to slash Bear’s Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante

Tue, 2017-12-05 21:48

Salt Lake City, UT - Over 4000 people gathered in protest Dec. 2, on the stairs of the Utah State Capitol Building. They gathered in solidarity with the indigenous tribes, and in preparation of Trump’s visit on Dec. 4, when he is expected to announce the significant shrinking of two national monuments located in southern Utah; Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. The rally was hosted by 16 different groups, mainly environmental non-profits, and indigenous groups such as PANDOS and Utah Diné Bikéyah. The event was preceded by a drum circle and dances.

Bears Ears was created by executive order under President Obama less than a year ago in 2016. Bears Ears is significant in that it is managed not only by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, but also by a coalition of the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and the Ute Indian Tribe. The members of this coalition are not just managing public land, they are managing sacred land.

Some people, notably Orrin Hatch, the senior senator for Utah, support the shrinking of these and more national monuments to make way for oil drilling. We must not let this be framed as simply a states’ rights vs. big government issue. And we must also resist the temptation to frame it only as an environmental issue. These lands do not only support the protection of natural resources, but they also support the protection of indigenous culture, which has been under attack since the first conquerors arrived on this continent. Trump cares nothing for indigenous people and will continue to disregard indigenous issues by shrinking these national monuments in Utah.

As we stood on the steps of the capitol on Friday, we will protest again on Monday. We will show Trump and his administration that we will fight in solidarity with indigenous peoples and that we will fight to protect the preservation of natural resources. Let us continue this struggle against the forces that continue to oppress indigenous people and attack the environment.

Yemen’s Houthi movement eliminates former president Saleh for ‘treason’ amid Saudi war

Tue, 2017-12-05 18:25

Jacksonville, FL - On Dec. 4, Yemen’s Houthi movement reported they had killed former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a military operation just outside of Sanaa, the capital. Both Saleh’s own party - the General People’s Congress - and Saudi media confirmed Saleh’s death.

Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi called the successful roadside attack on Saleh a “historic, exceptional and great day, in which the conspiracy of betrayal and treason failed, this black day for the forces of the aggression.” Saleh, once part of the resistance against the nearly three year U.S.-backed Saudi-led war on Yemen, switched loyalties on Dec. 2, abandoning his former Houthi allies.

The Saudi-led coalition resumed bombing of Sanaa just hours after confirming Saleh’s death, effectively reimposing a Saudi blockade on the war-torn nation. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a savage war against the Houthis and the people of Yemen, with the backing of the U.S. Their blockade, which was briefly lifted to allow international aid workers to deliver food and medical supplies, has drawn widespread condemnation for effectively sentencing millions of Yemenis to starvation and death.

Saleh and the Houthi movement

Yemen is the poorest country in the Persian Gulf and has fought against foreign domination and colonialism for much of its history. In 1962, Yemen won its independence from Britain but divided into two countries - north and south - just five years later. A revolution in southern Yemen led by socialists and communists gave birth to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, while the north remained firmly aligned with Western interests. Saleh became president of North Yemen in 1978 and oversaw the reunification of the nation in 1990.

Reunification brought economic and political ruin to the south, which led to a civil war in the early 1990s. But Saleh faced other challenges in the country’s north with the emergence of the Houthi movement. Founded as a liberation theology movement similar to Hezbollah of Lebanon, the Houthis drew widespread support from Yemen’s poor and religious minorities and quickly became a leading force against Saleh’s pro-U.S. government.

Brutal political repression and harsh economic inequality marked Saleh’s 33-year rule. Fearing the traction gained by the Houthis, he ordered a wave of political arrests in June 2004, which culminated in the extrajudicial execution of the movement’s founder, Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi. While cracking down on dissidents, Saleh simultaneously cooperated with Washington’s War on Terror - first with the Bush administration and later allowing the Obama administration to conduct drone strikes in his country with impunity.

The Arab uprisings of 2011 eventually spread to Yemen, and a series of mass protests forced Saleh out of power. However, another Saudi/U.S. puppet, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, stepped into the power vacuum and continued Saleh’s repressive, pro-Western policies.

War and the united front

On Sept. 21, 2014, the Houthi movement drove out Hadi’s government and seized power in Sanaa. The popular national democratic revolution struck fear in neighboring Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf monarchies, which formed a coalition and launched a savage war against the Houthis. As the Houthis mobilized the nation against the Saudi-led coalition, Saleh sensed an opportunity to regain power. He joined the Houthi-led united front and pledged his support for the effort to defeat the Saudi-led attack.

Despite unleashing savage destruction on Yemen, the war effort has not gone well for the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition. In almost three years of fierce bombing, they failed to dislodge the Houthis from their strongholds, instead drawing widespread international condemnation. Already facing giant budget deficits from the global slump in oil prices, the war in Yemen has driven Saudi Arabia further into economic crisis with no end in sight.

As the Houthis’ power grew stronger in the face of war, Saleh became increasingly concerned that victory against the Saudi-led coalition would see the Houthis come to power in a national democratic government, rather than a restoration of his rule. Reports in recent months indicated that Saleh’s forces began conducting back-channel talks with the Saudi-led coalition to negotiate a settlement to the conflict - a settlement that did not include the Houthis in power.

Sic semper tyrannis

The tenuous alliance between Saleh’s forces and the Houthis came to an end on Dec. 2, when the former Yemeni ruler formally switched sides and vowed to destroy the Houthis. In a televised broadcast, Saleh blamed the Houthis for the nation’s problems and called on forces loyal to him to fight his former allies. President Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia at the outset of the war, announced his forces would also join the fight against the Houthis in Saana.

Saleh’s opportunist betrayal drew criticisms from patriotic elements in his own General People’s Congress party. Street battles erupted in Saana between the popularly supported Houthis and small pockets of Saleh’s loyalist forces.

Just two days later, Houthi media reported the death of Saleh in a roadside ambush outside the nation’s capital. In a video posted to social media showing Saleh’s body, Houthi supporters chanted “Your revenge, Sayyidi Hussein,” a reference to the Houthi founder hanged by Saleh in 2004.

With Saleh eliminated, the resistance to the Saudi-led coalition presses forward. The Houthi movement aims to create a democratic, non-sectarian republic, and Saleh’s death rules out the possibility of a return to the status quo. In recent years, elements in southern Yemen have joined the Houthi-led united front, and a successful rocket attack on Riyadh’s international airport - a staging ground for Saudi warplanes - in early November demonstrated the resilience of the insurgency.

Carnage in Yemen

In early November, the Saudi-led coalition announced a comprehensive total blockade of Yemen, closing land, air and sea ports to aid workers and journalists. Yemen imports 90% of its food and medicine, meaning this blockade essentially starves the Yemeni people, who already face firebombs and Saudi-backed death squads waging war in their country.

Aid agencies briefly resumed deliveries of food and medical supplies after Saudi Arabia briefly lifted its blockade of the country. However, the renewed Saudi bombing of Sanaa on Dec. 4 effectively reimposed the same blockade - with all of its ghoulish consequences.

Death and destruction continue to rain down on Yemen since the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition declared war in early 2015. By January 2017, the war had killed over 10,000 civilians and injured 40,000 others, according to a report by the United Nations. This number has almost certainly risen in the last year.

But the carnage in Yemen isn’t confined to military casualties. The war skyrocketed the price of fuel and drove up the already high price of imported food, water and medicine, bringing with it starvation and disease.

UN officials and more than 20 aid organizations say that Yemen will face the world's largest famine in decades as a result of the Saudi-led war and blockade, making it larger than the monstrous famines in South Sudan and Somalia earlier in 2017. Out of Yemen's population of 28 million people, about 20 million "do not know where they're going to get their next meal," said one UN official in November.

The war has taken a particularly high toll on Yemeni children. Every ten minutes, a child in Yemen dies from conditions stemming from war, according to UNICEF. 50,000 will die from famine by the end of 2017, and another 400,000 will require treatment for acute malnutrition, according to the Save the Children charity.

Yemen has suffered the worst outbreak of cholera in well over a century as a direct result of the war. More than 900,000 people have contracted the deadly disease as a result of the nation's devastated water and health care infrastructure. Modern medicine basically eliminated cholera in the 20th century. However, deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure by Saudi warplanes has destroyed wells and plumbing, leading to a staggering 400% increase in the price of water in much of the country. The lack of affordable clean water and the resulting cholera epidemic stand to get much worse as the Saudi blockade continues.

Support from the U.S. and the United Kingdom allows the Saudi-led war on Yemen to continue. Since the beginning in 2015, the U.S. and the U.K. backed the campaign by selling arms, refueling warplanes and providing international diplomatic cover. Most of Saudi Arabia’s arms come from the U.S. and the U.K. Under Trump, U.S. weapons sales to Saudi Arabia increased from previous highs under the Obama administration. Similarly, Britain has seen a 500% increase in arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the course of its three-year war on Yemen, according to a report by the U.K. Independent newspaper. Other imperialist countries, like Sweden, have stepped up arms sales to core partners in the Saudi-led coalition.

The camp of resistance in the Middle East

The Houthi-led united front in Yemen belongs to the camp of resistance in the Middle East. Anchored by the Islamic Republic of Iran, it includes the Syrian Arab Republic, Hezbollah and other patriotic forces in Lebanon, the Palestinian liberation movement, and other progressive groups in the region. Together they form the largest bloc of resistance to the U.S. and its allies - Israel, Saudi Arabia and most of the gulf monarchies, and Turkey.

While comprising a key part of this camp, the Houthis are not foreign puppets of Iran like the Saudis claim. They are a national democratic movement with deep roots among the Yemeni people, heroically fighting to free their nation from foreign domination and slaughter. As outrage grows over the U.S. role in the massacre of Yemen, working people should stand in solidarity with the Houthis and demand the end of arms sales to the Saudi-led coalition.

Legal Aid lawyers walk out after another ICE arrest

Mon, 2017-12-04 23:54

New York, NY - On Nov. 28 in Brooklyn, at around noon, lawyers staged a massive walkout when the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) grabbed a defendant from the hallway midway through a court hearing.

100 attorneys from UAW Local 2325 (Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, employed by the Legal Aid Society) and 50 lawyers from the Brooklyn Defender Services, who are non-union, walked out of the Brooklyn Criminal Court when a Legal Aid client, Genaro Rojas Hernandez, was detained by ICE.

The judge refused to set bail, which would have allowed the client to return to Rikers Island and kept out of ICE custody. The district attorneys, seemingly working with ICE, refused to take a position on the bail, which is out of character, as they normally jump on the chance to lock Black and brown people up for minor crimes.

The defense attorneys walked out and formed a picket line outside the courthouse, and then marched to the DA’s office. Throughout the picket and march the attorneys chanted, “What do we want? ICE out! When do we want it? Now!" and “Sanctuary courts now!”

In response to the attorneys’ protest, the Brooklyn DA put out a statement endorsing the action and supporting the protesting public defenders. However, the union president of the court officers, Dennis Quirk, quickly rebutted with a statement accusing the UAW attorneys of aiding clients in breaking the law by suggesting the attorneys advise clients to escape. Quirk also accused of the attorneys of assaulting court officers while attempting to help their client. In the statement, Quirk warned that if actions of this sort continue, all protesting attorneys and UAW members in attendance would be arrested.

Once they received the favorable statement from the Brooklyn DA, the attorneys returned to work after 2 p.m.

The nature of the wildcat strike was spontaneous but the union attorneys have been feeling anger and frustration towards ICE and how they’ve adeptly found a loophole that allows them to continue arresting immigrants.

While New York City passed a sanctuary city ordinance, it hasn’t stopped the violence and ruthlessness of ICE. Agents have been known to stalk immigrants in state courthouses, rather than local city ones, as they can’t grab them from jails, police custody, schools, etc. Currently, the borough with most ICE arrests from the courthouses has been Brooklyn, where a different client was arrested the previous week. Tensions continue to rise as attorneys feel they can’t properly defend their clients, and as ICE skirts around the Sanctuary City Policy and violently grabs immigrant clients from the courts.

The attorneys who protested last Tuesday are committed to keep protesting and fighting until they’re able to carry out their task of defending their working-class and immigrant clients in a system that was set up against them. Technically, this strike was a violation of a labor law, as the UAW attorneys are under contract and work stoppage is considered illegal. However, these were the same lawyers who a few years ago walked out in protest of the murder of Eric Garner.

Jane-Roberte Sampeur, from Attorneys of Color at Legal Aid, spoke about why it’s vital for lawyers to get involved with the fight for immigration rights, “The issue of immigration affects us all. The climate being created in this country is unacceptable and we should consistently make clear that we won't stand for this dehumanization and deprivation of basic human rights. In this instance, it was important to make clear our position that if OCA [Office of the Court Administration] continues to allow ICE to arrest our clients and deprive them of due process, it will not be business as usual. We will not normalize this behavior."

The attorneys will continue protesting until the Office of the Court Administration and Chief Judge Janet DiFiore implement a Sanctuary Court Policy. This policy would effectively bar ICE agents from entering courts to apprehend clients. Second, the attorneys are demanding an end to all deportations, and call for citizenship for all.

The next action will be a rally on Thursday, December 7 at 1 p.m.

https://www.facebook.com/events/608553556202693/

UPS imposes 70-hour work week

Sun, 2017-12-03 18:44

Milwaukee, WI — As the critical month of December rolled in, the United Parcel Service mandated nationally new work rules for package delivery drivers, increasing the workweek to 70 hours for the duration of the holiday, or peak, season.

Year after year, management at UPS has failed horribly to accurately predict and plan for the increased volume that comes with the holidays. It is a common belief among workers that their failures have been intentional, forcing their own management team, including dispatchers, direct on-car supervisors, upper level managers, and even salespeople onto trucks and into the warehouse to deliver even larger corporate profits during Christmas. Management employees who do the work of union personnel stop jobs from being created, putting money directly back into the pocket of UPS, and rob workers across the U.S. of an opportunity to make money for the holiday season for their own families.

Rather than hire enough employees to competently do the work, UPS relies on pushing its current staff to the absolute breaking point and beyond, with drivers pushed to delivering to homes past 9 p.m.

An 11-year package car driver in Wisconsin, speaking on condition of anonymity, talks about his day, saying, "I get up at about 6 a.m. to get ready for work, and go grind it out until about 10 p.m. That's our curfew, which is another way of saying that's what time they expect us to work until. When I come home, I barely have time to wash my clothes and take a shower before I pass out from sheer exhaustion. This company is only motivated by making money, by any means necessary."

Workers once fought battles with business owners to demand the eight-hour work day. In my own state of Wisconsin, it culminated in what became known as the 1886 Bay View Massacre, in which 14,000 workers staged a citywide general strike in Milwaukee, demanding an eight-hour day with raises, so that there would be no reduction in pay. Wisconsin's governor sided with the companies and against the eight-hour day, and ordered state militia to confront Milwaukee's workers. The standoff ended when the state militia fired into the crowd, leaving seven dead and others injured, including children and the elderly.

The sacrifice of those people led, in part, to the creation of the eight-hour day, the weekend and overtime regulations, which were designed to stop the abuse of workers and allow for us to spend time with our families year round, not just when it is convenient for our employers.

Workers at UPS will need to stand together with their union to enforce their rights this holiday season, and look to demand improvements from the company in the contract negotiations next year. The Teamsters at UPS have the largest private sector contract in the U.S., and, together, have the strength to set the tone for the entire U.S. labor movement, and improve the lives of workers not just at UPS, but across many different companies and industries. A weak contract should be rejected, and it will be up to every rank-and-file member to hold UPS accountable for its treatment of its employees, including a national strike, if necessary.

Solidarity to all, and be safe out there.

Kas Schwerdtfeger is a package car driver at UPS and a proud union steward for Teamsters Local 344 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

U.S. imperialism created slavery in Libya

Sat, 2017-12-02 18:21

Chicago, IL – The corporate media has only now begun reporting the atrocities committed against black Libyans and African migrant workers by racist CIA-backed proxy forces since they ravaged the country and overthrew the Libyan government in a 2011. CNN reports that African migrants are currently being sold for as little as $400 each to perform excruciating labor. The racist proxy forces engaged in the slave trade would not exist without NATO.

One of the CIA-trained proxy forces was called “The Brigade for purging slaves and black skin”- which sought to ethnically cleanse the Tawurgha area, was supported by NATO strikes from the air and on the ground by U.S. Special Forces. Tawergha was mostly inhabited by black Libyans, due to its 19-century origins as a transit town in the slave trade.

There was horrific video footage showing public lynchings of black soldiers from the Libyan army, migrant workers from other African countries, and any darker skinned Libyan civilians.

Human Rights Watch reported: “Dark skinned Libyans and sub-Saharan Africans face particular risks because [the CIA-trained proxy forces] consider them pro-Gaddafi mercenaries.” Amnesty International also reported on the cruel detention of Libyans and other Africans by the CIA-trained proxy forces.

The myth of black mercenaries fighting to protect Libya from foreign occupiers was spread by NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu, British Defense Minister Liam Fox, and other Western leaders. This myth was useful to claim that the NATO invasion and occupation of Libya was actually a war “between Gaddafi and the Libyan people”, as if he had no domestic support at all - a colossal fabrication.

What did Gaddafi really do for Libyans, and African people as a whole? He openly challenged AFRICOM’s intent to establish U.S. military bases in Africa, and often backed national liberation movements, including that against Apartheid South Africa as a close ally of Mandela. He oversaw a range of projects intended to lessen African dependency on the West, and challenge the legacy of Western colonialism. By challenging Western military and economic domination over the whole of Africa, he was a rival to U.S. interests in real terms. U.S. companies such as ConocoPhillips, Marathon and Hess Energy have already profited from new oil contracts in Libya.

What does it mean when the West slanders an African head of state who promotes African economic independence, funds public housing and subsidizes incomes? It means that he is progressive. Western imperialism is trying to impose a dictatorship of capital on Africa. It must be stopped.

PFLP: Deporting Comrade Leila Khaled from Italy will not silence the voice of the Palestinian people

Sat, 2017-12-02 00:29

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine strongly condemned the action of the Italian authorities in denying entry to Comrade Leila Khaled, member of the Political Bureau of the Front, canceling her visa and forcing her to board the next plane to Amman. She was invited to Italy for a series of political events organized by the Arab Palestinian Democratic Union in Italy to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the launch of the PFLP.

The Front emphasized that this action followed upon a racist campaign waged by the Zionist movement and the forces of the fascist right wing in Europe over the past months against the Popular Front and the Palestinian and Lebanese Resistance. This action by the Italian authorities is part of this ongoing campaign, which will only be met with more insistence on transmitting the voice of our people to the world.

The Front further considers that the leading role of the struggler Leila Khaled and her revolutionary and symbolic role on a Palestinian, Arab and international level has enraged the Zionist state and its allies in Europe, pushing the forces of the Zionist movement to demand her arrest or deportation. They have failed to prevent her from giving public talks and appearances in Germany, Spain, Belgium, and elsewhere in Europe.

Further, the Front emphasized that this action on the part of the Italian authorities is a blatantly political decision in favor of the occupation state and racist Zionism. It does not reflect the position of the progressive, democratic forces in Italy or the values of the Italian people who reject war, racism, fascism and occupation.

The PFLP emphasized that it will, in cooperation with friends and supporters in Europe in general and in Italy in particular, continue to pursue the issue of the expulsion of Comrade Leila Khaled on political, media and legal levels.

The Front also praised all of the Italian and European voices, personalities, parties and organizations that expressed their condemnation of this unjust decision and their support for the rights of the Palestinian people and their just struggle for liberation, return and the establishment of an independent Palestine with Jerusalem as its capital.

The PFLP expressed its appreciation of the comrades in the Arab Palestinian Democratic Union for refusing to cancel the scheduled events honoring the launch of the Front despite the wave of incitement, pressure and Zionist provocations.

The Front urged all left-wing forces and supporters of Palestine in Italy to expand the campaign to boycott the Israeli occupation state and build campaigns of solidarity with the Palestinian people and their legitimate rights.

It saluted all of the efforts being made in this period against the Giro de Italia, an international cycling competition, demanding an end to the collaboration with the occupation state and that the launch of the route be removed from occupied Palestine, where it is scheduled to begin in May 2018.

In conclusion, the Front emphasized that the voice of the resistance, represented by the struggler Leila Khaled and all of the progressive and freedom-loving forces in the world, will not be silenced and will continue to pursue the occupation, its allies and supporters everywhere.

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine

November 29, 2017

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