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Arizona educators vote to strike

Fri, 2018-04-20 09:11

Tucson, AZ - With over 57,000 votes from across the state, 78% over education workers voted April 19 in favor of a walk out. This historic vote comes on the heels of a proposal from Governor Doug Ducey to fund the demand of a 20% raise by using monies from health care programs, the arts, and programs for the developmentally disabled. This vote is a rejection of Ducey’s lackluster effort to listen to the raging #RedForEd movement.

Plans for the coming week include three straight days of walk-ins before school and the walk-out day of Thursday, April 26.

Arizona has been the testing ground for many reactionary policies - like the infamous SB1070, which legalized racial profiling, and HB2281, which targeted Mexican American Studies. The state also allows an annual $14 billion in tax breaks for corporations; the ten-year drop in corporate income tax has resulted in a $2.5 billion shortfall of public schools’ funds.

Educators will continue to build community support and capacity to support students for when the strike hits. Many will model their efforts off the lessons shared by West Virginia educators, whose nine-day strike inspired a prairie fire of educator actions.

Twin Cites peace vigil speaks out against U.S. intervention in Syria

Fri, 2018-04-20 09:08

St. Paul, MN - About 25 people joined a peace vigil on Wednesday, April 18 in the Twin Cities to speak out against the U.S. attacks on Syria carried out last Friday evening.

The vigil was held on the Lake Street/Marshall Avenue bridge over the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and Saint Paul from 5 to 6 p.m. The vigil is held weekly and is sponsored by the End War Committee of Women Against Military Madness and the Twin Cities Peace Campaign.

The organizers focus on various issues each week and adapt the event to major news developments.

The April 18 event was organized under the call of “No U.S. War in Syria - No More U.S. Bombings - Troops Out Now.”

In addition to the recent airstrikes, the U.S. has over 2000 troops in Syria and carries out regular air and drone attacks using the pretext of fighting the Islamic State. The escalation of strikes against Syrian targets could lead to possible confrontation with Russia.

A statement by organizers notes, "Last Friday the Trump administration launched air strikes against Syria government facilities. These strikes, carried out in response to allegations of Syria chemical weapons use, only make the world a more dangerous place.

"U.S. military intervention is not intended to help people, or to resolve internal conflicts of nations in a humanitarian manner. U.S. intervention only serves the interests of the U.S. elite, who care nothing of Syrian people or the people of the Middle East," the statement added.

The statement continues, "The U.S. government has carried out an endless series of wars and intervention for many years in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. This new escalation will only lead to more dead, injured and displaced."

The WFTU in solidarity with the working class in France on the occasion of 19 April strike

Thu, 2018-04-19 09:41

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), representing 92 million members in 126 countries around the world, reiterates its internationalist solidarity with workers in France who will strike on 19 April.

In an international context where capitalists, multinationals and European bourgeoisies attack labor rights, promote anti-worker policies, reduce pensions and wages, dismantle social gains and union rights, European workers must organize their own counter attack. Today, it is more than ever necessary for workers to coordinate their struggles globally, under the values of internationalism and class solidarity.

At the same time, workers around the world must be well aware that the same political forces – like the Macron government – that are eliminating their labor rights are the same forces that bombed Syria a few days ago; they are the same imperialists who contribute to NATO and EU interventions and who, by assassinating peoples, maximize their profits. So, our answer must be the anti-imperialist struggle.

In this context, the WFTU expresses its solidarity and it guarantees the workers of France that will continue to firmly support their just claims.

Long live internationalist solidarity!

The Secretariat

Salt Lake City protest against U.S. strikes on Syria

Thu, 2018-04-19 09:38

Salt Lake City, UT - About 40 people gathered at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building, April 15, in downtown Salt Lake City to decry the recent missile attack on Syria. Protesters carried signs reading, “U.S. lies, people die! Stop U.S. wars now!” and “No more blood for oil. Stop the war machine!” Protesters chanted “No justice, no peace! U.S. out of the Middle East!” and “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation.”

Monica Moorehead, a leading member of the Workers World Party, spoke at the rally. She urged the crowd to link our struggles at home against capitalism to the struggles of people abroad resisting imperialism.

Brynn Dayton, an organizer with Students for a Democratic Society said, “SDS stands in solidarity with the Syrian people and we demand an end to U.S. aggression in Syria.”

Arizona educators reject governor’s proposal, call for strike vote

Wed, 2018-04-18 09:10

Tucson, AZ – Last Thursday, April 12, Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey presented his proposal for salary raises to the movement of educators called Arizona Educators United (AEU). It did not take long for teachers and educational support professionals to reject the proposal based on suspicions of a lack of new funding streams and the lack of recognition for classified support staff.

Upon further analysis, Ducey’s proposal would draw money from the state health care system, the developmentally disabled, and other programs important to working and poor people. Given Arizona’s demographics, this would disproportionately impact Chicano, Latino, Native and African-American communities.

In response to Ducey’s offer, AEU and the educators’ union, Arizona Education Association, teamed up to call a vote to determine support for statewide walk out. No date or duration for the action would be set until the votes are tallied after the window closes on the evening of April 19.

It must be noted that the Arizona public education budget has a $1.1 billion shortfall over the last ten years. Further, it is no coincidence that in that same ten-year period corporate income tax plummeted from 8.1% to 3.1%. Meanwhile, sales tax, widely recognized as a regressive tax punitive to the poor and working class, and individual income tax have both increased their share toward the state’s general fund. The result of this massive wealth transfer is a grossly underfunded public-school system and some of the lowest salaries for educators in the country.

Teamster Local 792 on strike against J.J. Taylor Distributing

Wed, 2018-04-18 09:06

Minneapolis, MN - The Teamsters Local 792 strike against J.J. Taylor Distributing, a beer hauler based in Minneapolis, continued into its ninth day April 17, with about 40 workers picketing all entrances into the company. Workers from several other workplaces and local unions joined Teamsters from J.J. Taylor on the picket line.

Teamsters are engaged in a struggle for safe working conditions and to protect seniority-driven work positions. The company wants to force workers to perform alone the task of dead-lifting 175-pound kegs of beer. Under the current contract that job is performed by a team of two workers who are assigned by bid based upon seniority. According to the company, the need for efficiency trumps the safety of its workers.

Union officials said that the company had reached out with an offer yesterday that they deemed offensive. That offer was worse than what was on the table when workers voted to walk off the job. The union remains willing to return to the table once the company agrees to bargain in good faith.

The company is currently operating by using scab drivers and warehouse workers. The lack of skills and training of those scabs was on full display as two tractor-trailers ended up buried deep in the snow. The scabs just are not up to the task of driving on streets that are less than perfect due to a recent snowfall. Despite the assistance of a crew of scab security guards attempting to direct traffic, the inexperienced scab drivers caused backups several times on the main thoroughfare.

On several occasions, scab drivers almost ran over picketing workers. Security guards steadily escalated their level aggression towards picketers throughout the day. As the day progressed, those guards began to physically push picketers off the line to get trucks through. Despite this antagonism, picketing workers remained good humored and maintained the picket.

The strike is expected to continue with a rally scheduled April 18, from noon until 8 p.m. at the Radisson hotel in Roseville (2540 N Cleveland Avenue) where scabs are being housed.

Milwaukee community rallies against U.S. attack on Syria

Mon, 2018-04-16 22:25

Milwaukee, WI – About 40 people came out during a record storm, April 14, outside of the U.S. Army Center, rallying against the attacks by the U.S. on Syria, and to stand in solidarity with the Syrian people.

Kas Schwerdtfeger stated “We condemn the attacks made on Syria, and demand that they stop.” The community chanted as the storm progressed, “Hands off Syria!” “Money for workers not war!”

The event was sponsored by the End the Wars Committee of Peace Action Wisconsin, Young People’s Resistance Committee, Milwaukee Anti-War Committee and by Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

70 join Minneapolis anti-war protest despite blizzard conditions

Mon, 2018-04-16 22:20

Minneapolis, MN - A Minneapolis protest on Sunday, April 15, called to coincide with national spring anti-war actions, brought out 70 people despite a heavy snow storm.

Over a foot of snow had fallen in the hours before the scheduled protest in the Uptown neighborhood. Many streets had become impassable, and service on many city bus lines had been suspended.

Organizers decided that with the U.S. bombing of Syria the day before, it was still important to have an anti-war statement. Plans were made to adjust the event to deal with the difficult weather environment.

Despite the conditions, 70 people attended the protest. One person attending said that after the bombing Syria, "I had to be here."

Among the speakers were Meredith Aby-Keirstead of the Anti-War Committee who said, "We are here today to speak out against last night’s U.S. military attacks on Syria. We denounce Trump’s fake moral outrage and call this attack what it is: a pretext for more war. Trump claims to be defending civilian lives in Syria while banning Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. with his racist Muslim ban and ordering missile strikes on the most heavily populated part of the country."

The protest was organized under the call of “Stop Endless U.S. Wars.”

The Minnesota Peace Action Coalition initiated planning and the protest was endorsed by a range of organizations.

Tampa rally against war on Syria held outside military base

Mon, 2018-04-16 22:14

Tampa, FL – As thousands mobilized throughout the country to denounce the April 13 missile attack on Syria by the U.S., France and the U.K., local anti-war activists organized a demonstration outside of MacDill Air Force base in Tampa. The demonstrators shouted anti-imperialist slogans for over two hours in front of traffic headed into the base. The slogans of “Hands off Syria!” and “No justice, no peace!” were prevalent in the rally. The event was candidly titled “Syrian Gas Attack = Iraqi WMD; We Don’t Buy the Lies!”

The protest rejected any act of aggression against Syria. Emboldened by the quickly diminishing credibility of American corporate media, the event sought to challenge the imperialist narrative on Syria which claims that President Bashar Al-Assad used chemical warfare against a civilian population in Douma a week and a half ago.

Dina Formentini, an organizer with St. Pete for Peace said, “We found it to be preposterous that Assad was being blamed for the gassing of his people.” Formentini made the point that, “The only video that was provided of the alleged attack was from a group name The White Helmets. This group was started by a British intelligence officer with money from USAID. The White Helmets are now almost entirely funded by the U.S. and British governments, who both have a vested interest in overthrowing the Assad government.”

Among the various groups in attendance, members of Freedom Road Socialist Organization were present. Bill Aiman, of FRSO, said, “I came out to the protest because it is crucial that all peace-loving people oppose U.S. imperial aggression and support all nations in their fight against U.S. imperialism.” The event featured other activists who asserted that the U.S. should prioritize the funding of public education over the bombing of foreign countries.

Formentini explained that, “The U.S. has a history of using false information, like the WMDs in Iraq, to get American support for war, and this is the same story. Syria is a sovereign nation and they have invited Russia into their country to assist them with fighting ISIS. The U.S. has not been invited.”

As American influence on the global stage continues to nosedive, events such as these are help others see through the lies of the warmongers.

Utah protesters demand justice for Elijah Smith, a Teamster killed fleeing in fear from police

Sun, 2018-04-15 22:56

West Valley City, UT - It was Elijah Smith’s smile that came up again and again, April 14, as roughly 75 protesters gathered to demand justice for the young Black man murdered by West Valley City police exactly one week earlier. It was a smile that caught everyone’s attention and brought light and levity to all who saw it, according to his friends and family. It was a smile that no one will have the privilege of seeing again due to the racist, corrupt, and violent practices of the West Valley City police department.

“He was always the one who was lifting other people up,” said Smith’s mother, Roshawna Carter, at a press conference before the rally.

Teamsters from Local 222 and organizers from Utah Against Police Brutality (UAPB) called the rally on the steps of city hall in West Valley. Smith was a Teamster who worked at the local UPS hub until recently. Protesters demanded the officers involved in the killing be fired and that the murdering officer be jailed. They also called for the release of body camera footage of the murder and community control of Utah’s police.

They chanted “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” “Release the footage!” and “Community control now!” as they mourned the loss of beloved Elijah.

“Something needs to be done about this and quick,” said Willie Townsend, Elijah’s grandfather, at the press conference. “We are tired of running. We are tired of hiding. We are tired. We are suffering.” Townsend also called for the officer who killed Elijah to be jailed.

Smith was murdered while seeking refuge from police who chased him as they searched for a suspect in an alleged robbery. Officials from the department say Smith matched the description of the suspect, though they have not specified exactly what that description was. His family believes that he ‘matched the description’ only because of the color of his skin.

As he fled in fear from a department known for its corruption, Smith entered two houses in the area of 3400 South and Redwood Road. Three WVC officers followed Smith into the second home, where an officer shot and killed him. Three unattended young children were present inside the home. Smith died at the scene.

Smith’s cousin, Monte Brown, told the crowd about how they used to make music together. Smith dreamed of success as a rapper. Brown also mentioned that they had more than one conversation about how they, as young Black men, feared racist police.

“I want justice for my cousin and my family,” he said. “Because this wasn’t right.”

UAPB organizer Dave Newlin spoke about the long criminal history of the West Valley City police department (WVCPD), including the 2012 murder of Danielle Willard by officer Shawn Cowley and the disbanded drug unit that was found to have stolen drugs and money, as well as mishandling evidence. Over 100 cases have been thrown out due to the illegal practices of drug unit officers. No officers were fired as a result. The unit has since been recreated.

“They are the absolute epitome of everything that is wrong with policing in the state of Utah and in the U.S.,” Newlin said. “This is one of the most corrupt, violent and awful police departments in the state of Utah and I want to make sure we don’t forget that.”

WVC cops have recently committed several other acts of brutality. One officer shot the teenage driver of a car in mid-March. Police officials say the car had “lurched” forward as the officer approached it. No footage or further information has been released regarding the incident.

WVCPD officers also invaded the home of a grieving family in late February. A young couple’s baby had died at a local hospital just hours before. When a family member refused to let the officers into the home as they recovered from their loss, the officers kicked down the door, assaulted several people inside, used pepper spray on family members, and illegally searched the home. Family members released footage of the incident they had recorded as it occurred. The two officers who committed the assaults have been reassigned but not fired.

“We’re tired of watching this happen, coming home to this news, and feeling this way about the city we live in,” said Francesca Ball, an organizer with Utah Against Police Brutality. “We are here for each other, and we want the community to have control now. Community control now! We will fight for it until you give it to us.”

UAPB organizer Deborah Blake demanded body camera footage be released immediately.

“We want the footage released before it is doctored and edited to fit their narrative,” she said. “The family deserves to know what happened. We the public demand it. That’s our footage.”

After the rally ended, a half-dozen WVCPD officers exited city hall and walked to their vehicles. The remaining protesters spontaneously gathered again to shout “No more racist police!” “Murderers!” and “Justice for Elijah!”

South Florida protest denounces U.S. war on Syria

Sun, 2018-04-15 22:23

Fort Lauderdale, FL - On Sunday, April 15, about 25 members of the South Florida activist community joined together outside of the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale to protest the latest U.S. attacks on Syria. The event was in reaction to the attack Friday night by U.S. and its accomplices, in which they illegally bombed three government-controlled sites in and around heavily populated areas in Syria.

Protesters held several “Hands off Syria!” signs and a large hand-painted banner that read, “Stop the endless war! U.S out of the Middle East!” As cars drove by along the busy downtown roads, the spirited group of protesters chanted slogans such as, “Hey, hey Donald J, how many bombs did you drop today?”

After about one hour of chanting and sign-waving, the group formed a circle to hear the organizers of the event speak about why protesting these endless wars is imperative.

Lifetime anti-war activist Ray del Papa, of Pax Christi, addressed the crowd by reminding them of the lies told by the media and the politicians in the months leading up to the Iraq War. He warned that the U.S. is playing a world-ending game against Russia in Syria, and that the stakes are high.

Conor Munro, an organizer with People's Opposition to War, Imperialism, and Racism (POWIR), also addressed the crowd, stating, “We know it’s not going to be Trump junior or senators’ sons that are going to fight and die in war against the people of Syria. It’s the 99% that will have to fight, and all to line the pockets of the big corporations.”

Munro continued, “While Donald Trump was out bombing Syria, we could have used that money to fix the poisoned water in Flint, or give health care to all Americans, or to provide free college for millions of students. And don’t let the news media fool you into thinking this is a humanitarian war. Do we really think that Donald Trump is a humanitarian?”

To show the hypocrisy in American ‘humanitarian intervention,’ Munro mentioned the desperate humanitarian crisis in Yemen caused by Saudi Arabia, the slaughter of dozens of Palestinians in recent weeks by Israel, and the millions of Iraqis killed in the U.S. ‘War on Terror,’ all acts committed by or assisted by the U.S.

New York Spring Action against war

Sun, 2018-04-15 21:59

New York, NY - Over 1000 people gathered at Herald Square on Sunday, April 15, to rally against U.S. wars abroad and at home. The event was part of a national call for Spring Action, where anti-war groups came together to speak out against Trump’s attacks, as well as U.S. imperialism. The protest itself happened just days after Trump launched more missiles at Syria.

The speakers included veterans, students, labor activists and national liberation groups. Each gave their own perspective on why everyone should oppose U.S. wars. Many spoke to the amount of money spent on war, as opposed to social programs, and the importance of standing with people living in countries targeted by the U.S.

Michela Martinazzi from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression NYC stated “Whether you’re doing anti-gentrification work, whether you’re doing immigration work, whether you’re standing up for Palestine or the Philippines or Colombia, you are dealing blows to U.S. imperialism and they know that.”

After speakers fired up the crowd at Herald Square, the crowd marched to Trump Tower. Protest chants included “Hands off Syria!” “From Palestine, to the Philippines, stop the U.S. war machine!”

The protest was organized by the United National Antiwar Coalition and many others.

Dallas rallies against U.S. attack on Syria

Sun, 2018-04-15 12:12

Dallas, TX - About 40 people gathered in Dealey Plaza in Downtown Dallas, April 14, to raise their voices against Trump’s attack on Syria the day before. Signs were present with slogans such as “Hands off Syria,” “No war on Syria” and “U.S. out of the Middle East.”

Protesters chanted “No justice, no peace! U.S. out of the Middle East!” and “No war on Syria.”

Organizations that were present at the rally were the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Solidarity, and The Dallas Peace and Justice Center.

“We are here to say no to the U.S.’s increasing imperialist attacks on Syria,” stated Cassandra Swart of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, one of the organizers of the rally.

New York stands with Palestine’s Great Return March

Sun, 2018-04-15 12:09

New York, NY – Around 50 people gathered in Union Square April 13 to stand in solidarity with the third week of Palestinians protesting on the border of Gaza.

The protest in Gaza is called “The Great Return March” and it’s a six-week action leading up to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba. The Nakba is the 1948 Palestinian exodus, which literally means the “disaster” or “catastrophe”. More than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs were expelled out of their homes during the 1948 war for the Zionist occupation of Palestine.

The people of Palestine have fought militantly for their land and freedom. The Great Return March is a testament to their powerful history.

The rally, called by Within Our Lifetime and Palestinian Youth Movement, was spirited and active as people chanted and gave speeches. Protesters in New York will continue protesting and standing in solidarity with Palestine until May 18, where there will be a march to commemorate Nakba Day.

Milwaukee teachers consider striking over budget cuts

Sat, 2018-04-14 22:40

Milwaukee, WI - The Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) has been fighting budget cuts and downgrades to public schools for years. Governor Scott Walker has been ruthlessly destroying the school system inch by inch and dollar by dollar. It is no exaggeration to say that every student, teacher, classroom and school connected to the Milwaukee Public School system (MPS) has been negatively affected. With hundreds of dedicated members spanning every school in the district, the MTEA has proven itself to be a committed and powerful force for justice within MPS. A force, it should be added, that is more necessary than ever as the school board releases a proposal for the upcoming fiscal period. The cuts are enormous and heartbreaking.

The proposal includes: a 5% overall cut to every single school (on top of additional cuts to student services); $17 million in cuts to worker health insurance and other benefits (which will translate to premium increases, copay increases and the carving out of spouses who were previously covered); the threat to entertain proposals from privatizers and more.

As of now, the MPS board has refused to consider the any of the following demands from their workers: the opportunity for educational assistants and educational support professionals to work more hours (something these workers have listed as something they must have in order to better serve their students’ needs); a pay increase to keep up with inflation and the increased cost of living in Milwaukee; and, most importantly, health insurance options for full-time substitute teachers. Substitutes are not currently offered any benefits at all. Teachers across the district have also requested to limit the excessive staff meetings in favor of more time to meet with students and parents and prepare for class-time activities. This has also been denied by the board.

The MTEA has been meeting regularly to discuss strategies for fighting these outrageous cuts and there are whispers of a strike among the ranks. As teachers’ unions across the country strike for better wages, new classroom materials and expanded benefits, it would be a victory to see MPS teachers join the movement. Milwaukee students deserve more than their spineless books held together with duct tape and binder clips. Milwaukee teachers deserve to spend their paychecks on themselves, not on pencils and paper for their classrooms. “Milwaukee Public Schools deserves a budget that honors the classroom,” not one that spits in the faces of every student and education worker.

Keep your eyes on Milwaukee! Viva la huelga! Stand with MPS students and workers!

Oshkosh, WI rally condemns U.S.-led missile attacks on Syria

Sat, 2018-04-14 22:37

Oshkosh, WI – On April 14, members of United Action Oshkosh braved Winter Storm Evelyn to hold an emergency protest against the missile strikes in Syria, launched by the U.S. and its allies.

The Oshkosh protest comes after the coordinated attacks in Syria on Friday evening, carried out by the U.S. and its French and British allies. At an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council today, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley further proved that U.S. attacks against Syria are not based in evidence or facts. The U.S. continues to try to dominate the Middle East.

Activists gathered at the Oshkosh Sun Dial in Opera House Square. Against the winds and sleet, they held signs and conducted chants that condemned the U.S. actions in Syria and the militarist nature of the government. “Hands off Syria!” could be heard throughout the square.

“I feel that what we achieved today was very important, even though it was a small group of us,” said UAO member Alicia Spietz. “We must not turn a blind eye to the horrific actions that took place last night. Demonstrations, like the one today, are absolutely vital in the fight for peace on any level.”

There is absolutely no evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. United Action Oshkosh opposes the attacks on Syria and calls for an end to violence against the Syrian people.

In the next month, UAO will hold a workshop on their campaign to make Oshkosh a sanctuary city, inviting the community to learn more about sanctuary cities and immigrants, at the Oshkosh Public Library on April 21. UAO hopes to draw support for their campaign while educating the public on how Oshkosh can benefit from the resolution. On April 28, a May Day rally and march will be held to show solidarity for the striking teachers across the nation and for workers throughout the world.

Minneapolis peace groups speak out against bombing of Syria

Sat, 2018-04-14 22:35

Minneapolis, MN - The Minnesota Peace Action Coalition (MPAC) organized a news conference on the afternoon of April 14 to speak out against the U.S. bombing of Syria the evening before.

The news conference also announced plans for a Minneapolis protest being held Sunday, April 15 as part of the national spring anti-war actions.

Kristin Dooley, Director of Women Against Military Madness said, "U.S. military attacks are not intended to help people, or to resolve the internal conflicts of small nations in a humanitarian manner. U.S. intervention only serves the interests of the U.S. elite, who care nothing of Syrian people or the people of the Middle East.

Dooley continued, "The U.S. government has carried out an endless series of wars and intervention for years in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. This new escalation will only lead to more dead, injured and displaced.”

Meredith Aby, a member of the Anti-War Committee said, "Yesterday the U.S. launched 112 tomahawk missiles at Syria, at a cost of $1.87 million each, which is $224 million total. We demand money for human needs like repairing Flint’s water pipes, like rebuilding American schools, like making health care available to everyone - instead of war."

Stop the attack on Syria!

Fri, 2018-04-13 23:02

Freedom Road Socialist Organizations condemns in the strongest possible terms, the cowardly attack on Syria carried out by the Trump administration, and accomplices in Britain and France. We demand that the missile and air strikes stop now!

While the scope of this attack is unknown at this time - except to the those carrying it out and the Syrian people who are experiencing it - we can say with certainty that this aggression deserves the opposition of all who are against war and injustice.

The Trump administration is claiming alleged chemical weapons use by Syrian government is the reason for this attack. This is not credible. At all. The U.S. lies to justify its wars. It was not so long ago that we were told that “weapons of mass destruction” were in Iraq, and Iraq was destroyed in the aftermath of this fiction. There is no evidence and no good reason to believe the talk about use of chemical weapons.

Syria is winning its war against reactionaries and foreign mercenaries, and a few weeks ago Trump claimed that he was thinking of withdrawing U.S. troops from the country. There is no underlying logic that makes the alleged chemical weapon usage by the Syrian government a believable story.

The U.S. is trying to maintain its domination of the Middle East, and that is the real reason it is attacking Syria. Syria is charting a path that is independent of imperialism, and as such, it is a thorn in the side to U.S plans for the region.

We urge all progressives to demand an end to the attack on Syria, and to support Syria in its efforts to resist those who would destroy it.

Stop the war on Syria!

End the missile attacks!

U.S. troops out now!

Honor the memory of freedom fighter Tyrone Rashad Williams

Fri, 2018-04-13 21:01

Minneapolis, MN - Across the Twin Cities, community members are reeling from the sudden death of Tyrone Rashad Williams, who was shot outside his family home on the early evening of Tuesday, April 3. As his sister, Raeisha said, “Honor my bro as an individual, not another slain African American male on the North Side, because that’s not who he is. His name was Tyrone Rashad Williams and he was a freedom fighter. He was a community activist. He was a lover, he was a father, he was a son, he was an uncle. He was a friend to many people.”

The Williams family homes have always been a hub of struggle. In 2009, Tyrone was part of the fight to stop the foreclosure of their house in South Minneapolis. Hundreds rallied around them, even as police arrived to evict the family during preparations for a birthday party for Tyrone’s oldest son.

Rosemary Nevils-Williams, Tyrone’s mother, said, “We are just increasing the struggle for social justice for all people of the world, for people of color politically, and for my community, the African American community, where our men are being killed, and our children are being killed and our women are being killed needlessly by law enforcement. We are not stopping we are going forward stronger.”

His friend Chauntyll Allen recalls standing with Tyrone in the struggle for justice for Jamar Clark, who was killed by Minneapolis police in 2105. “After white supremacist shooters came down to the 4th Precinct, he stood at attention, on guard for every person there. He was the guy who would come along and make everyone laugh when we were all hurting. He pointed out the most important part of the occupation was the love that we shared amongst each other, and the laughter and the bonding that happened, because it helped us heal. Through that healing we were able to continue to fight. And through this healing we need to be able to continue to fight.”

Since then, Tyrone stood on the front lines to demand justice for others killed by police, including Philando Castile, Chad Robertson and Cordale Handy. Tyrone is also remembered as a water protector for his part in the actions at Standing Rock. He worked to build unity and fight oppression, including through the Black Coalition, which started as a clothing line, but expanded to be a community organization, the Black Coalition for Social Justice and Community Defense.

One week after Tyrone’s death, community activists disrupted a city-sponsored community forum on public safety. They used a bullhorn to replay the last public speech Tyrone had given, at a similar forum that had happened two weeks ago. Both meetings seemed designed to avoid real talk about police violence the fight for accountability. Tyrone stood to demand getting rid of violent cops and for investing in the predominantly African American community of North Minneapolis. He said, “We need more action... I don’t wanna waste no more time.”

Tyrone is not someone who wasted time. He was always a comrade who led from among the people. Speaking out for justice last week, spending his last hours with his children, he was an example for all to follow.

He will be honored on Saturday, April 14, with a memorial procession and service. The procession will begin at 10 a.m. at 4th Street and West Broadway Avenue. An 11 a.m. visitation/wake and 12 p.m. funeral service will take place at Shiloh Church at 1201 W Broadway. The repast will be at 4 p.m. in the gym at Harvest Prep Academy, 1300 Olson Memorial Highway.

Minneapolis immigrant rights activists tell city council: ‘Municipal ID now!’

Fri, 2018-04-13 15:40

Minneapolis, MN - On Friday, April 13, in the City Hall rotunda, the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) held their third press conference with their coalition partners since the launch of their campaign for ‘Sanctuary Now’ in Minneapolis. Before the meeting of the city council, they demanded urgent action to implement a Municipal ID for Minneapolis residents - one of 13 points in MIRAC’s Minneapolis Sanctuary Platform unveiled on Sept. 20, 2017.

The demand for a Municipal ID as part of the Minneapolis Sanctuary Platform stems from the urgent and immediate need of immigrant communities as well as homeless people, transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people, students and youth, and others to have the right to access an identification that will enable all people to live in Minneapolis with greater respect and dignity.

Not having any form of identification is a barrier to gaining employment, housing, banking and other forms of participation in society. A Municipal ID can’t guarantee those things, but it removes one barrier. Municipal ID also provides a measure of important protection in interactions with law enforcement, which too often is a gateway for immigrants without any government-issued identification into county jail and then the deportation system. At the same time, a Municipal ID will include benefits for all Minneapolis residents, and activists encourage everyone to get one. A Minneapolis Municipal ID is an important element for building equality in our neighborhoods and in our city.

At the press conference, MIRAC member Daniel Romero said, “MIRAC takes great pride in the fact that two important platform points have already been enacted: U Visa certifications and the creation of the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, a new department. In addition, Mayor Frey has told us that several of our other platform proposals have already been completed or are already underway. Today, MIRAC is at City Hall once again, to ensure that the city council and the mayor continue to advance the Sanctuary Now Platform, which moves our city toward becoming in reality the welcoming city that we claim to be. Municipal ID is urgent, and we want the city council to vote on this policy proposal as soon as possible, but no later than June.”

Many of the largest cities around the country have implemented municipal ID programs, with much impetus coming from the immigrant rights movement. The Minneapolis city council is currently debating Municipal ID proposals, which immigrant rights activists in Minneapolis have advocated for more than ten years. A press statement from MIRAC laid out seven key points that they are calling on the city council to incorporate into the Minneapolis Municipal ID:

  • Control – Municipal ID must be controlled and implemented by the city and not privatized
  • Access – Municipal ID must be accessible in all languages spoken in our communities
  • Security – The city must destroy all Municipal ID personal data every six months
  • Reciprocity – We want the city to form agreements with other cities and counties to recognize the Minneapolis ID
  • Confidence - The Municipal ID must be a plastic card with a loadable magnetic strip, not a technological device
  • Funding - Municipal ID program must be funded at a minimum rate of $100,000 per year
  • Priority – Municipal ID is urgent and we want a passing vote before June 2018

After the press conference, organizers and activists presented the above written demands to city council members to guarantee community voices are represented as momentum builds for a Minneapolis Municipal ID.