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Updated: 21 hours 49 min ago

Minnesota unions bring solidarity to Puerto Rican teachers' union

Sat, 2017-10-21 12:05

San Juan, Puerto Rico — On Oct. 20, one month after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the secretary of AFSCME Local 3800, Brad Sigal, was in San Juan to bring a donation of money and medicines to the Puerto Rican Teachers Federation (FMPR, the union's initials in Spanish).

The donations came from AFSCME Locals 3800, 3937, 2822 and many individuals in Minnesota. At the FMPR's San Juan office, Sigal presented the donations to the teacher's union president Mercedes Martinez. The donations will be used in the FMPR's post-hurricane work brigades in hard-hit communities.

A month after the hurricane, the majority of Puerto Ricans still have no electricity or water and schools have not reopened. The U.S. government's flagrantly inadequate relief and reconstruction efforts have been punctuated by President Trump's racist and insulting comments and actions in reference to Puerto Rico.

PFLP: October 17 remains a heroic example of resistance

Fri, 2017-10-20 00:46

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

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades, the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, issued a statement on the 16th anniversary of the October 17 operation, emphasizing that those forces that attack the resistance and defend the enemy are on a criminal path, because the path to achieving the Palestinian dream and promise of liberation is that of resistance and revolutionary violence.

“The weapon of the resistance is not up for negotiated, and we will not allow it to be violated or compromised. These weapons are legitimate so long as the occupation remains on the land of Palestine,” emphasized the Brigades.

Marking the 16th anniversary of the assassination of the infamous extreme-right racist Zionist minister of tourism Rehavam Zeevi, the Brigades also stated that the way to break siege and free prisoners is well-known and is our top priority.

The Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades emphasized to the Zionist oppressors that their fighters are more capable and better equipped, yet on the road of the heroes of October 17. They emphasized their loyalty to the imprisoned leader, PFLP General Secretary comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, and confirmed that they march on the road of the October 17 heroes, Ahed Abu Ghoulmeh, Majdi Rimawi, Mohammed Rimawi, Hamdi Qur’an and Basil al-Asmar.

The elimination of the Zionist criminal Rehavam Zeevi was not simple revenge or a disorganized reaction. Instead it was a culmination of painstaking efforts made by the special units of the Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades to make it clear to the enemy and to all the enemies of the people that the blood of the Palestinian people and their leaders is not cheap and cannot be shed in vain. The operation also came to declare that all the projects of displacement, Zionization and attempts to disperse the Palestinian people will never succeed in eliminating or suppressing the resistance, a fact made clear by a single bullet in the right time and in the right place, emphasized the Brigades.

As we mark this heroic anniversary of struggle and pledge to win the freedom of the imprisoned fighters and leaders of October 17, we re-publish two pieces on this operation and its ongoing meaning:

University of Florida students shut down white supremacist Richard Spencer

Fri, 2017-10-20 00:36

Gainesville, FL — Over 1000 University of Florida students and other activists from around the state gathered at the University of Florida here, Oct 19, to protest a speech by white supremacist Richard Spencer. In the runup to the event, UF president Fuchs dismissed demands that Spencer's event be canceled - in light of his white supremacist view. Fuchs argued that the best response to fascists is to ignore them. Florida governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency, allowing the police to better prepare to repress anti-Nazi protesters.

Inside the event, hundreds of activists, outnumbering the very small fascist audience, disrupted Spencer’s speech for well over an hour with chants of, “Go home Richard Spencer” and “Richard Spencer you can’t hide, you support genocide.” During a Q&A session at the end of the event, a protester asked Spencer whether it hurt when he was punched in the face earlier this year.

Outside the event, hundreds more activists congregated around the barricades set up by police. As white supremacist speech attendees exited, the crowd pursued neo-nazis, skinheads and alt-right activists through the streets of UF shouting “Anytime, anyplace, punch a Nazi in the face.” Some of these Nazis attempted to stand against the crowd but were overpowered and escaped under the protection of the police.

“It’s inspiring seeing so many people gathered here to fight back against hate,” said Kylee Rena, a local high school student. Referencing UF President Fuchs she argued that “silence only enables hate.” Rena added that though this was only her second protest, she planned to continue fighting against racism and the far right.

“We’re not loud enough, we’re not angry enough,” said Reem Baitoon of Florida State University Students for Justice in Palestine. “If we want to get rid of people like Spencer we need to take action to prevent them from being able to spread their views.”

The protest was a rousing success, with Richard Spencer complaining that UF had failed in its attempt to prevent students from disrupting his event. UF spent over $500,000 on security for the event.

The October Revolution and some lessons for the struggle for socialism in the U.S.

Wed, 2017-10-18 21:24

This paper prepared collectively by the central leadership of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and was presented by leading member of FRSO, Frank Chapman, at the Centennial Commemoration of the October Revolution, held in New York City, July 2017. The event was sponsored by People’s Response for International Solidarity and Mass Mobilization (PRISM) in cooperation with the U.S. member organizations of the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS-US).


Introduction


As communists and revolutionaries, we welcome this opportunity to mark the 100th anniversary of Russia’s 1917 October Revolution, and to discuss its ongoing relevancy to the struggle today.


The October Revolution was a world-changing event. At one stroke, it settled the question of whether another world was possible. Releasing one-sixth of the world from the chains of wage slavery, it smashed the myth that rule by the few was a sort of permanent condition, and, by successfully establishing proletarian political power, the October Revolution succeeded in opening the road to socialist construction. For the years that followed, the great achievements of the Soviet Union created a new and better way of life and would exercise a powerful effect on working and oppressed people around the globe.


Not only did the October Revolution change the lives of the millions who lived in what would become the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), it changed the world revolutionary movement in a big way. Mao was later to say, that the October Revolution sent the “salvos of Marxism to China” where it was to become a powerful force in the movement for national liberation and socialism. In the U.S., the October Revolution came to exercise a magnetic pull on the revolutionaries in the socialist, labor and other people’s movements, contributing to the creation of a single, revolutionary Communist Party in the early 1920s, which became an important factor in the country’s political life.


How We Can Learn for the October Revolution in the U.S.


The Bolsheviks, under the leadership of Lenin, Stalin and others, creatively applied Marxism to the concrete conditions of Russia. In doing so they waged a consistent struggle against opportunism in the socialist and labor movements - internationally and in Russia itself. It was this struggle against opportunism that prepared the Bolsheviks to lead the working class in the seizure of power.


The October Revolution was a qualitative leap, from one historical epoch to another – a period in which moribund capitalism is heading for extinction and where socialism is on the agenda. This process in turn gave rise to Leninism; Leninism being Marxism in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.


Marxism-Leninism is a science, the science of revolution. It allows us to understand the laws that govern the processes at work in the world, and by understanding those laws, including those of how history develops, we can grasp the necessity and understand our freedom to change the world.


Because Marxism-Leninism is a science, a science that is by necessity and fact, universal in character, we can take the lessons of the October Revolution and learn from the experience in a materialist way that helps us to advance our work in the U.S. Lenin made the point that the soul of Marxism was a concrete analysis of concrete conditions, so we cannot say that it something that is fixed, static, or immutable. Rather, Marxism-Leninism is and will be constantly enriched through cycles of practice, and the summation of that practice.


We learn from the past, to guide our work in the present and to serve the future, which includes our revolutionary goals. We have no desire to be a historical reenactment society, and it should be obvious to all serious people that we cannot rely on analogies from Russian history to understand current conditions.


Conditions in the U.S. Today


The U.S. today is empire in decline, beset by contradictions internal and external. Lenin stated imperialism was capitalism in its moribund stage, and it is arguable that the irrational bigot Donald Trump is a fitting political representative of a sick and dying system.


Internationally, the U.S. faces a growing challenge for the national liberation movements and the national democratic governments, the socialist countries, and other imperialist rivals. Thus, the U.S. is increasing military spending, taking hostile actions against socialist Korea and Cuba, and is stepping up the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and other places.


Within the U.S., the monopoly capitalists are perusing an agenda of austerity and reaction, which means an intensification of racist discrimination and national oppression, directed at African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, Arab and Asian Americans, and indigenous peoples including Pacific Islanders. There is an attack on the standard of living of working people (including wages, health care, pensions, and perhaps most importantly - the right to have trade unions), attacks on the rights of women, and organized bigotry against Muslims.


The point here is not do draw up a comprehensive list of the crimes being committed by the monopoly capitalist class, nor is it to chart the restructuring of the economy and political polarization that has unfolded since the great economic crisis of 2007, rather it is to provide a general picture of a wide-ranging war that the bourgeoisie is waging on the people of the U.S. and by extension, the peoples of the world.


Fortunately, the war that the rulers of the U.S. are waging on working and oppressed people is not a one-sided one, and we are now in the midst of one of the greatest upsurges of struggle since the 1960s. In cities across the country, massive and militant protests have taken place against police crimes and there is a growing movement for community control of the police. There is a growing tide of anger over the anti-immigrant polices of the Trump administration. Trump’s attempted ‘Muslim ban’ drew hundreds of thousands of people into the streets and airports. It is estimated that about 20% of the people of the U.S have taken part in protests and demonstrations since Trump took office.


Finally, there another point concerning objective conditions that bears mentioning: the communist movement in the U.S. is small. This does not negate the fact that the existing Marxist-Leninist organizations have not made big contributions to the people’s struggle. We have. Rather it is recognition of the reality that the U.S. is a large country with big working class, and for those of us who are revolutionaries, the task of building a new communist party remains on our agenda.


At any given time, communists have three general tasks: to win all that can be one in the struggle while landing the strongest possible blows on the enemy; to raise the general level of consciousness and organization among the people; and to build communist organization win the advanced to Marxism-Leninism. As we carry out these tasks there is an incredible amount that we can learn from the October Revolution and the work by Russian communists to make it a reality.


The October Revolution and the Need for a Communist Party


Given that no ruling class, be it the capitalists and landlords who ruled Russia in 1917, or the monopoly capitalists who rule the U.S. today, have ever left the stage of history voluntarily, working and oppressed people need to be organized to take political power by whatever means necessary. This is basic lesson of the October Revolution that is universally valid.


Lenin made the following points about what is needed for revolution:


It is only when the "lower classes" do not want to live in the old way and the "upper classes" cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph. This truth can be expressed in other words: revolution is impossible without a nation-wide crisis (affecting both the exploited and the exploiters). It follows that, for a revolution to take place, it is essential, first, that a majority of the workers (or at least a majority of the class-conscious, thinking, and politically active workers) should fully realize that revolution is necessary, and that they should be prepared to die for it; second, that the ruling classes should be going through a governmental crisis, which draws even the most backward masses into politics… weakens the government, and makes it possible for the revolutionaries to rapidly overthrow it. (LCW Vol 31, p. 85)


To this we can add another precondition - the need for a Communist Party. The outstanding revolutionary leader, Mao Zedong put it like this:


If there is to be a revolution, there must be a revolutionary party. Without a revolutionary party, without a party built on the Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and in the Marxist-Leninist style, it is impossible to lead the working class and the broad masses of people in defeating imperialism and its running dogs. (MSW Vol 4, p. 284).


Our organization, Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), does not claim to be the party of the working class. We are a communist organization that is working to build a new communist party. The reason we do not claim to be the party is that we do not in any real way, to use Stalin’s formulation, encompass the advanced detachment of the working class. The problem is this: most advanced workers - the activists, organizers and leaders - are not revolutionaries or communists. The active of our class are in one place politically and the communists are in another. There is a gap. A separation. So, we need to fuse Marxism and the workers’ movement.


One of the great strengths of the communist movement in Russia is that it dealt with the problem of fusing Marxism and the workers’ movement in a practical and meaningful way. In 1899 Lenin posed the issue like this:


The separation of the working-class movement and socialism gave rise to weakness and underdevelopment in each: the theories of the socialists, unfused with the workers’ struggle, remained nothing more than utopias, good wishes that had no effect on real life; the working-class movement remained petty, fragmented, and did not acquire political significance, was not enlightened by the advanced science of its time. For this reason we see in all European countries a constantly growing urge to fuse socialism with the working-class movement in a single Social-Democratic movement. When this fusion takes place the class struggle of the workers becomes the conscious struggle of the proletariat to emancipate itself from exploitation by the propertied classes, it is evolved into a higher form of the socialist workers’ movement—the independent working-class Social-Democratic party. (LCW, Vol 4, p. 255)


In addition, Lenin and the Bolsheviks also developed measures to consolidate the party – organizationally, politically and ideologically - all of which we can learn from today.


Taken as a whole, conditions in the U.S. today are favorable for building communist organization. The large number people who self-identify as “socialists” in the wake of the Sanders presidential campaign is an indicator of this, as is the upsurge of struggle against police crimes, the large-scale protests against Trump, and the openness in the labor movement to class-struggle unionism. Also, coming off the economic crisis of 2007, and the restructuring of the economy that has taken place since then, there is a sense among many, especially among young people, that capitalism is a failed system.


In all of the people’s struggles, the issue of “Who will lead?” is a basic one. Communist leadership is not preordained. It is earned, though our clarity of political line, organizational capacity and hard work. Communists need to be good at learning at the same time as we teach others. We cannot afford to criticize from the sidelines. We need to step up, and if we do not do so, opportunists of various stripes will be glad to do it for us.


For example, objectively speaking, there is a movement against Trump. It began while he was on the campaign trial, and many of us marched against him and his agenda in the streets of Cleveland during the Republican National Convention. There was a huge outpouring of struggle, which was largely spontaneous, following his election, and we are now in a period where large-scale fightbacks can be organized against his more egregious attacks – such as the Muslim ban.


In building the movement against Trump, we need to contend with reformists and other class forces, including those tied with the leadership of the Democratic Party, over the issue of who should lead. The fact is the only way we can lead this movement is by being the ranks of those who are the practical organizers of it – which means that we are among those calling the demonstrations, organizing the big protests, and are among the speakers putting out a clear line on the issues of day. To the extent that we can, we want the movement to target not only Trump, but also the monopoly capitalists who stand behind him.


In this struggle, like every other popular movement, is critical for communists do more than work to raise the general level of consciousness among the masses of people, and we can’t be content with being the among the best of the activists either. In every battle that we engage in it is critical we are summing things up with the activists and leaders, helping them understand the laws the govern monopoly capitalism, and explaining the need for socialism. By doing this we grow the communist movement in this country, and lay the basis for creating a new communist party.


It should also be noted that this work of building communist organization in the crucible of the day-to-day struggle helps to create the material basis for Marxist-Leninist organizations, to engage in joint practice, to engage in summation, and, where possible, to the achievement of principled organizational unity.


Strategy for Revolution in the U.S. and the National Question


All revolutionary strategy is based on answering the question, “Who are our friends and who are our enemies?” This is impossible without understanding the specific features of U.S. society.


Our strategy for socialist revolution is constructing a united front against the monopoly capitalist class, under the leadership of the working class and its political party, with a strategic alliance between the multinational working class and the oppressed nationalities at the core of this united front.


It is vital to understand the special needs and demands of entire nationalities within the borders of the U.S - African Americans, Chicanos and Latinos, Asian Americans, Native peoples including native Hawaiians, Arab Americans and others, are bound by the chains of national oppression.


Racism in the U.S. carries the stench of the slave market. It maintains that Black people are inferior and that racial antagonisms are ahistorical and independent of the development class societies. We totally reject this notion.


Lenin referred to pre-1917 Russia as a “prison house of nations,” and that is exactly what the U.S. is today, where racist discrimination and systematic inequality in all spheres of life - economic, political, and cultural - is the order of the day. One of the main reasons that Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik) was successful in October 1917 was that it championed the fight against national oppression, and it consistently stood for the national liberation and self-determination. There is a lot we can learn from this experience.


Likewise, by waging a struggle against the opportunism and social chauvinism that characterized the Second International, Marxism-Leninism became the revolutionary theory, where the national question takes it rightful place, where is understood where it is in reality - as vital to the revolutionary process internationally and vital to understanding the core dynamics of change in a multi-national state like the U.S.


We make the following point in our Statement on National Oppression, National Liberation and Socialist Revolution, which crystallizes our understanding of the importance of the fight against national oppression:


The struggle against imperialism and national oppression is a revolutionary struggle, for just as the people of Asia, Africa and Latin America require revolutionary struggles to overthrow colonialism and liberate their countries, so will it take a revolutionary struggle in the United States to gain full equality for oppressed nationalities. Since it is the system of imperialism that profits from and causes national oppression, only the overthrow of this system can end national oppression.


Two things are needed to develop the strategic alliance. First, we need to build the African American, Chicano, and other oppressed nationality movements, and to promote working class leadership with in those movements. Workers from oppressed nations in the trade union movement bring with them the special demands of their national liberation movements. We fight for the trade union movement to stand in unconditional solidarity with the oppressed.


Second, as we build the multinational working class movement, we need to ensure that the fight against racist discrimination, and for consistent democracy, and full equality for the oppressed is at the core of our agenda. For example, in recent years the struggle against police crimes has exploded in Black community. In a number of places this struggle has expanded to encompass the fight for community control of police. In addition to building these fights, everything possible should be done to get the labor movement to support them.


Or to take another example, we have worked hard to build the immigrant rights movement, to resist deportations and to build the fight for legalization for all. In the cities where we do this, we have worked hard to draw in the labor movement.


The work to build this strategic alliance also requires carrying out a set of interrelated and at times difficult tasks. White workers, especially those who are active and forward-looking, have the responsibility to fight white chauvinism or racism among whites and play an active role in building the fight against all manifestations of national oppression. Racial prejudice is not the primary cause of national oppression. It is the consequence, the rationalization and justification of national oppression.

Revolutionary-minded oppressed nationality workers have the responsibly to oppose narrow nationalism among workers of their own nationality.


Building a united front against monopoly capitalism, building communist organization with the aim of constructing a Leninist party of a new type, or building a strategic alliance are all tasks that can be carried out now. All the basic contradictions of imperialism are sharpening and there is a real urgency to do what must be done.


Proletarian Internationalism


The monopoly capitalists who rule the U.S. also rule an empire that extends around the world. They are parasites and exploiters who rob vast swaths of the globe - hundreds of millions of people - of their labor, land and natural resources. They have built a military machine of an unprecedented scale in world history and the U.S. is waging continuous wars, from the Philippines to Iraq. They have placed Puerto Rico under colonial rule and block its path to independence. And they make the Zionist occupation of Palestine possible.


The people of the U.S. and peoples of world have something in common, a common enemy. Every blow that the people of the U.S. land on our rulers is good for people everywhere, and vice versa, and this is the material basis for proletarian internationalism, for the unity of the working class and for oppressed nations on a world scale.


Living in the center of an imperialist empire, revolutionaries have a special responsibility to oppose the wars of our ‘own’ rulers and extend support to the oppressed. As we do so there is a great deal that we can learn from the determined fight that the Russian communists waged against the social chauvinists, i.e. those who were socialist in words, but “great nation chauvinists” in deed. As we build the anti-war movement we constantly encounter those who what to join the in demonization of the national liberation movements. We cannot let these forces set the terms of the movement.


Along a similar vein, we can never accept the imperialists’ attempts to criminalize the national liberation movements with their slanders of terrorism or narco-terrorism, and we oppose their laws that seek to outlaw international solidarity.


The Future is Bright


The October Revolution opened the road to a new stage in human history that shows what our class can do – that we can “lose our chains.” Revolutionaries in the U.S. have a big job and we are well served by using the science of Marxism-Leninism and learning from advanced experience.

 

Monopoly capitalism is a failed, criminal system that had a beginning and that will surely have an end. Its gravediggers are already on the scene. And while we do not know the year or month – we are certain the U.S. will have its October.

Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution declares victory in governor elections

Mon, 2017-10-16 20:51

In the Oct. 15 regional elections, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution secured a major victory against the far-right opposition, winning 17 out of 23 governor seats - with one still undecided. States like Lara and Miranda, which had long been dominated by the bourgeois parties, were secured by the United Socialist Party (PSUV). Voter turnout, over 61%, was the highest turnout for governor elections in over a decade.

By all accounts, this was a significant victory for the national democratic process underway, and confirmed that the masses stood with the Maduro government and the Bolivarian Revolution. It showed that the people stood behind the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), currently in the process of writing a new constitution, and not with the anti-democratic opposition that organized violent protests over the past few months, leading to over 100 deaths.

To some, this summer looked like the beginning of the end of the Bolivarian Revolution. Rich neighborhoods were in open rebellion with roadblocks and fascist thugs lynching suspected government supporters. The Trump administration and the Santos government in Colombia were calling for a coup d’état and threatening military invasion. When elections were successfully held for the Constituent Assembly on July 31, economic sanctions from the U.S. were tightened on the Venezuelan economy, already hurting from structural weaknesses, economic sabotage and corruption.

The Bolivarian movement, despite the odds, has not only held the line against the reactionaries, but has advanced and secured further popular support for their national liberation struggle.

The dangers are not yet over, however. The far-right opposition has secured regional control over the states of Táchira, Mérida, and Zulia. Along the Colombian border, these states make up a largely rural region where ranchers and the old oligarchy still hold the reins of power. Colombian death squads have been known to cross the border - at the pay of the ranchers - to assassinate Bolivarian activists. Smuggling is rampant in this region, and is done under the watchful eye of far-right political leaders who want to see the Venezuelan economy bleed. Many in the Bolivarian movement are calling on the government to secure control of this region to prevent it from becoming a base for further destabilization and paramilitary violence.

Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution declares victory in governor elections

Mon, 2017-10-16 20:51

In the Oct. 15 regional elections, Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution secured a major victory against the far-right opposition, winning 17 out of 23 governor seats - with one still undecided. States like Lara and Miranda, which had long been dominated by the bourgeois parties, were secured by the United Socialist Party (PSUV). Voter turnout, over 61%, was the highest turnout for governor elections in over a decade.

By all accounts, this was a significant victory for the national democratic process underway, and confirmed that the masses stood with the Maduro government and the Bolivarian Revolution. It showed that the people stood behind the National Constituent Assembly (ANC), currently in the process of writing a new constitution, and not with the anti-democratic opposition that organized violent protests over the past few months, leading to over 100 deaths.

To some, this summer looked like the beginning of the end of the Bolivarian Revolution. Rich neighborhoods were in open rebellion with roadblocks and fascist thugs lynching suspected government supporters. The Trump administration and the Santos government in Colombia were calling for a coup d’état and threatening military invasion. When elections were successfully held for the Constituent Assembly on July 31, economic sanctions from the U.S. were tightened on the Venezuelan economy, already hurting from structural weaknesses, economic sabotage and corruption.

The Bolivarian movement, despite the odds, has not only held the line against the reactionaries, but has advanced and secured further popular support for their national liberation struggle.

The dangers are not yet over, however. The far-right opposition has secured regional control over the states of Táchira, Mérida, and Zulia. Along the Colombian border, these states make up a largely rural region where ranchers and the old oligarchy still hold the reins of power. Colombian death squads have been known to cross the border - at the pay of the ranchers - to assassinate Bolivarian activists. Smuggling is rampant in this region, and is done under the watchful eye of far-right political leaders who want to see the Venezuelan economy bleed. Many in the Bolivarian movement are calling on the government to secure control of this region to prevent it from becoming a base for further destabilization and paramilitary violence.

Northeastern University dining hall workers win incredible victory

Mon, 2017-10-16 09:30

Boston, MA - UNITE HERE Local 26 members on Northeastern University’s campus ratified a five-year agreement, Oct. 10, just hours before they were scheduled to begin a strike.

On Oct. 4, workers voted 316 to 2 to authorize a strike over a set of demands that was inspired in part by the 22-day strike at Harvard University. A key issue was workers’ low incomes, leading many to rely on public assistance to survive, even if they worked full time. Health care was the other main rallying point, as workers demanded affordability, citing lack of funds to seek medical care, or reliance on government health care.

The agreement includes wage increases that will bring full-time workers to $35,000 annually by 2019, and a dramatic increase to the number of full-time schedules available. The new contract will provide a total of $5.65 in hourly wage increases to all workers, across the board.

On health care, the agreement now provides an insurance plan that is paid for by the employer at 97%. In addition, workers were able to maintain access to a platinum-level plan with no takeaways.

The new contract provides enhanced protections for immigrant workers, strengthened non-discrimination language, including the addition of gender identity and expression, and additional sick days.

A new “snow days” provision elicited cheers; workers will now be able to use personal or vacation time if they are unable to come into work on days the state closes offices due to a blizzard or snow storm. Workers who are able to brave the elements to serve the campus will be paid time-and-a-half.

And, importantly, workers at Northeastern University will join the UNITE HERE Local 26 pension plan, allowing them to begin to accrue retirement benefits.

UNITE HERE Local 26 Lead Negotiation Michael Kramer said, “With the determination and leadership of the workers and students we have won an agreement that will be life-changing for our members and impactful in their communities. It raises the standard for campus food service workers across Boston whose value and importance in the university community is often forgotten.”

Northeastern dining worker and bargaining committee member Angela Bello states, “I am so proud of what we accomplished. It’s amazing to feel the power that workers have when we get together and are well organized. The ways this contract will impact our lives is almost hard to believe. Thank you to everyone who supported us and believed in us.”

UNITE HERE Local 26 represents nearly 10,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service and airport industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. UNITE HERE Local 26 members went on strike for 22 days at Harvard University in October 2016 to win sustainable annual income and affordable health care.

Northeastern University dining hall workers win incredible victory

Mon, 2017-10-16 09:30

Boston, MA - UNITE HERE Local 26 members on Northeastern University’s campus ratified a five-year agreement, Oct. 10, just hours before they were scheduled to begin a strike.

On Oct. 4, workers voted 316 to 2 to authorize a strike over a set of demands that was inspired in part by the 22-day strike at Harvard University. A key issue was workers’ low incomes, leading many to rely on public assistance to survive, even if they worked full time. Health care was the other main rallying point, as workers demanded affordability, citing lack of funds to seek medical care, or reliance on government health care.

The agreement includes wage increases that will bring full-time workers to $35,000 annually by 2019, and a dramatic increase to the number of full-time schedules available. The new contract will provide a total of $5.65 in hourly wage increases to all workers, across the board.

On health care, the agreement now provides an insurance plan that is paid for by the employer at 97%. In addition, workers were able to maintain access to a platinum-level plan with no takeaways.

The new contract provides enhanced protections for immigrant workers, strengthened non-discrimination language, including the addition of gender identity and expression, and additional sick days.

A new “snow days” provision elicited cheers; workers will now be able to use personal or vacation time if they are unable to come into work on days the state closes offices due to a blizzard or snow storm. Workers who are able to brave the elements to serve the campus will be paid time-and-a-half.

And, importantly, workers at Northeastern University will join the UNITE HERE Local 26 pension plan, allowing them to begin to accrue retirement benefits.

UNITE HERE Local 26 Lead Negotiation Michael Kramer said, “With the determination and leadership of the workers and students we have won an agreement that will be life-changing for our members and impactful in their communities. It raises the standard for campus food service workers across Boston whose value and importance in the university community is often forgotten.”

Northeastern dining worker and bargaining committee member Angela Bello states, “I am so proud of what we accomplished. It’s amazing to feel the power that workers have when we get together and are well organized. The ways this contract will impact our lives is almost hard to believe. Thank you to everyone who supported us and believed in us.”

UNITE HERE Local 26 represents nearly 10,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service and airport industries in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. UNITE HERE Local 26 members went on strike for 22 days at Harvard University in October 2016 to win sustainable annual income and affordable health care.

Jose Maria Sison: On the significance of the Great October Socialist Revolution

Mon, 2017-10-16 00:23

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement by Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman Communist Party of the Philippines that was sent to the Oct 14 Minneapolis celebration of the October revolution. The address can be viewed on youtube.

Comrades and friends,

I am highly honored and deeply pleased to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization on the occasion of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and to give some brief remarks on the significance of this earth-shaking revolution.

The epochal struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie was first defined by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto of 1848 in the era of free competition capitalism. The objective conditions of 19th century Europe gave rise to a series of historic events: the workers’ uprisings in 1848, Marxś thoroughgoing critique of capitalism, the International Workingmen´s Association, the Paris Commune of 1871 as prototype of the proletarian dictatorship, the Second International and the rise of Marxism as the main trend in the European working class movement in the last decade of the 19th century.

Lenin extended and developed the theory and practice of Marxism to the stage of Marxism-Leninism in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution. He made significant contributions to Marxist philosophy, political economy and social science. He upheld, defended and advanced the revolutionary essence of Marxism not only against the overt ideologists of the bourgeoisie but also against the classical revisionists headed by Kautsky in the Second International.

Most important of all, Lenin led the Bolsheviks in the overthrow of Tsarism in Russia in February of 1917 and then in the overthrow of the bourgeois Kerensky government on October 25, 1917 in order to establish the first durable socialist state on one-sixth of the surface of the earth. The most crucial element in socialism is the class dictatorship of the proletariat defeating that of the bourgeoisie and nationalizing the land and strategic industries, despite the vestiges of feudalism and medievalism, the exigencies of civil war and resistance to foreign intervention and transitory measures like "war communism” and the New Economic Policy.

Even while he was preoccupied with the immediate tasks of consolidating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Lenin paid attention to the prospective stage of socialist construction and the promotion of the world proletarian revolution through the Third International or the Comintern against the rule of the monopoly bourgeoisie in the centers and periphery of imperialism. After the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin followed up the New Economic Policy with full scale socialist industrialization and the collectivization and mechanization of agriculture and expanded the work of the Third International, especially to the colonies and semi-colonies where the bourgeois democratic and socialist stages of revolution are well defined.

As a pioneering socialist country, the Soviet Union demonstrated how in so short a time through a series of five-year economic and related plans, the proletariat, peasants and other working people could lift themselves up politically, economically, socially and culturally. In the face of the imperialist powers and the rise of fascism, the Soviet Union was able to strengthen itself in an all-round way and build a powerful Red Army under the leadership of the Communist Party. In World War II, the Allied Powers could defeat the Axis powers because of the decisive role of the Soviet Union in defeating the Nazi German invasion and in rolling back the fascists in an epical counteroffensive.

After World War II, the Soviet Union recovered fast from the destruction wrought by the Nazi German invasion to 75 per cent of Soviet industry and death to 27 million Soviet citizens. It continued to be the bulwark of socialism and the national liberation movements in colonies and semicolonies. It was able to develop its own nuclear weapons in order to counter the US nuclear monopoly and blackmail. It stood as an inspiration to the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world. Within the first half of the 1950s, one third of humankind lived in socialist countries and people´s democracies led by communist and workers´ parties.

But after the death of the Stalin in 1953, the modern revisionists headed by Krushchov were able to split the followers of Stalin and gain power in the Soviet Union in 1956. They instituted capitalist-oriented reforms within the ruling party, the state and the economy and propagated bourgeois populism and pacifism. Brezhnev took power in 1964, continued the restoration of capitalism, recentralized the ministries, plunged into an arms race with the US and engaged in social imperialism. The Soviet Union went into serious economic stagnation and deterioration from the latter half of the 1970s. By the time of Gorbachov, it was ripe for social disorganization and undisguised restoration of capitalism. It collapsed in 1991.

We are still in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution because the modern revisionists betrayed socialism and succeeded in subverting socialism and restoring capitalism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, causing a temporary retreat of the socialist cause and preventing socialism from becoming dominant in the world for the time being. However, upon the integration of former socialist countries in the world capitalist system, with Russia and China becoming big capitalist powers themselves, contradictions among the imperialists, between capital and labor, between the imperialists and the oppressed peoples and between the imperialists and countries assertive of independence have intensified more than ever before in what is now a multipolar world.

For a while, from the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. imperialism appeared to be the sole superpower in a unipolar world in which it could impose its will and brute force on the people of the world. But since then, the US neoliberal economic policy and neoconservative policy of full spectrum dominance have resulted in more frequent and worse crises and wars that have in fact undermined and debilitated U.S. imperialism. The strategic decline of US imperialism has accelerated in the 21st century. The U.S. is upsetting the world capitalist system with further crises and wars by desperately trying to reverse the trend. Its former hubris over Francis Fukuyama´s perpetuity of capitalism has turned into anxiety over Graham Allison´s Thucydides Trap.

The October Revolution remains highly significant and urgently relevant today to the proletariat and peoples of the world. It tells us to develop the subjective forces for winning the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and for socialism. We need to build the Bolshevik-type of revolutionary party of the proletariat that has a mastery of materialist dialectics and struggles against imperialism, revisionism and all reaction. Lenin teaches us that it takes a whole historical epoch for socialism to prevail over capitalism on a world scale and Mao also teaches us that in socialist countries there must be continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship to combat revisionism and consolidate socialism.

Under the leadership of the proletarian party with communist foresight, we need the revolutionary trade unions and the mass organizations of various oppressed classes and sectors of society. We need the Red Guards or the self-defense units of mass organizations and communities and the Red Army or people´s army wherever possible and necessary. We need to build the soviets or the local organs of political power that will become the base of the socialist state. We need the alliances in every country, the anti-imperialist solidarity of peoples and proletarian internationalism. We need to develop all the revolutionary forces and resources for waging all forms of struggle and winning the revolution against imperialism, revisionism and all reaction.

Jose Maria Sison: On the significance of the Great October Socialist Revolution

Mon, 2017-10-16 00:23

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement by Prof. Jose Maria Sison, Founding Chairman Communist Party of the Philippines that was sent to the Oct 14 Minneapolis celebration of the October revolution. The address can be viewed on youtube.

Comrades and friends,

I am highly honored and deeply pleased to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization on the occasion of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and to give some brief remarks on the significance of this earth-shaking revolution.

The epochal struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie was first defined by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto of 1848 in the era of free competition capitalism. The objective conditions of 19th century Europe gave rise to a series of historic events: the workers’ uprisings in 1848, Marxś thoroughgoing critique of capitalism, the International Workingmen´s Association, the Paris Commune of 1871 as prototype of the proletarian dictatorship, the Second International and the rise of Marxism as the main trend in the European working class movement in the last decade of the 19th century.

Lenin extended and developed the theory and practice of Marxism to the stage of Marxism-Leninism in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution. He made significant contributions to Marxist philosophy, political economy and social science. He upheld, defended and advanced the revolutionary essence of Marxism not only against the overt ideologists of the bourgeoisie but also against the classical revisionists headed by Kautsky in the Second International.

Most important of all, Lenin led the Bolsheviks in the overthrow of Tsarism in Russia in February of 1917 and then in the overthrow of the bourgeois Kerensky government on October 25, 1917 in order to establish the first durable socialist state on one-sixth of the surface of the earth. The most crucial element in socialism is the class dictatorship of the proletariat defeating that of the bourgeoisie and nationalizing the land and strategic industries, despite the vestiges of feudalism and medievalism, the exigencies of civil war and resistance to foreign intervention and transitory measures like "war communism” and the New Economic Policy.

Even while he was preoccupied with the immediate tasks of consolidating the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Lenin paid attention to the prospective stage of socialist construction and the promotion of the world proletarian revolution through the Third International or the Comintern against the rule of the monopoly bourgeoisie in the centers and periphery of imperialism. After the death of Lenin in 1924, Stalin followed up the New Economic Policy with full scale socialist industrialization and the collectivization and mechanization of agriculture and expanded the work of the Third International, especially to the colonies and semi-colonies where the bourgeois democratic and socialist stages of revolution are well defined.

As a pioneering socialist country, the Soviet Union demonstrated how in so short a time through a series of five-year economic and related plans, the proletariat, peasants and other working people could lift themselves up politically, economically, socially and culturally. In the face of the imperialist powers and the rise of fascism, the Soviet Union was able to strengthen itself in an all-round way and build a powerful Red Army under the leadership of the Communist Party. In World War II, the Allied Powers could defeat the Axis powers because of the decisive role of the Soviet Union in defeating the Nazi German invasion and in rolling back the fascists in an epical counteroffensive.

After World War II, the Soviet Union recovered fast from the destruction wrought by the Nazi German invasion to 75 per cent of Soviet industry and death to 27 million Soviet citizens. It continued to be the bulwark of socialism and the national liberation movements in colonies and semicolonies. It was able to develop its own nuclear weapons in order to counter the US nuclear monopoly and blackmail. It stood as an inspiration to the proletariat and oppressed peoples of the world. Within the first half of the 1950s, one third of humankind lived in socialist countries and people´s democracies led by communist and workers´ parties.

But after the death of the Stalin in 1953, the modern revisionists headed by Krushchov were able to split the followers of Stalin and gain power in the Soviet Union in 1956. They instituted capitalist-oriented reforms within the ruling party, the state and the economy and propagated bourgeois populism and pacifism. Brezhnev took power in 1964, continued the restoration of capitalism, recentralized the ministries, plunged into an arms race with the US and engaged in social imperialism. The Soviet Union went into serious economic stagnation and deterioration from the latter half of the 1970s. By the time of Gorbachov, it was ripe for social disorganization and undisguised restoration of capitalism. It collapsed in 1991.

We are still in the era of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution because the modern revisionists betrayed socialism and succeeded in subverting socialism and restoring capitalism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere, causing a temporary retreat of the socialist cause and preventing socialism from becoming dominant in the world for the time being. However, upon the integration of former socialist countries in the world capitalist system, with Russia and China becoming big capitalist powers themselves, contradictions among the imperialists, between capital and labor, between the imperialists and the oppressed peoples and between the imperialists and countries assertive of independence have intensified more than ever before in what is now a multipolar world.

For a while, from the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, U.S. imperialism appeared to be the sole superpower in a unipolar world in which it could impose its will and brute force on the people of the world. But since then, the US neoliberal economic policy and neoconservative policy of full spectrum dominance have resulted in more frequent and worse crises and wars that have in fact undermined and debilitated U.S. imperialism. The strategic decline of US imperialism has accelerated in the 21st century. The U.S. is upsetting the world capitalist system with further crises and wars by desperately trying to reverse the trend. Its former hubris over Francis Fukuyama´s perpetuity of capitalism has turned into anxiety over Graham Allison´s Thucydides Trap.

The October Revolution remains highly significant and urgently relevant today to the proletariat and peoples of the world. It tells us to develop the subjective forces for winning the revolutionary struggle against imperialism and for socialism. We need to build the Bolshevik-type of revolutionary party of the proletariat that has a mastery of materialist dialectics and struggles against imperialism, revisionism and all reaction. Lenin teaches us that it takes a whole historical epoch for socialism to prevail over capitalism on a world scale and Mao also teaches us that in socialist countries there must be continuing revolution under proletarian dictatorship to combat revisionism and consolidate socialism.

Under the leadership of the proletarian party with communist foresight, we need the revolutionary trade unions and the mass organizations of various oppressed classes and sectors of society. We need the Red Guards or the self-defense units of mass organizations and communities and the Red Army or people´s army wherever possible and necessary. We need to build the soviets or the local organs of political power that will become the base of the socialist state. We need the alliances in every country, the anti-imperialist solidarity of peoples and proletarian internationalism. We need to develop all the revolutionary forces and resources for waging all forms of struggle and winning the revolution against imperialism, revisionism and all reaction.

New group in Dallas holds protest for peace in Korea

Mon, 2017-10-16 00:16

Dallas, TX - About 20 protesters gathered at the Grassy Knoll near downtown Dallas. Oct. 14, holding signs and chanting to demand peace with Korea. The action was organized by the Dallas Community Action Committee (DCAC), a new organization in the city. It was also endorsed by the Dallas Peace and Justice Center, North Texas Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, and the North Texas Light Brigade. Several socialist groups also attended.

Protesters held signs reading "Peace in Korea" and "Two world wars were plenty." At one point the group broke out into chants of "We want peace. How about you? North Koreans are people, too."

Several speakers addressed those assembled. Dan Sullivan, speaking on behalf of DCAC, said that in the group's view the threats of war in Korea were against the interests of most Americans and served only the interests of the one percent. A speaker from Veterans for Peace read an open letter the group had sent to Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un calling for both sides to step back.

Cassandra Gemini, speaking on behalf of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, said that in her view north Korea's nuclear arsenal was a logical response to U.S. aggression against Iraq and Libya. "They have nukes so that the U.S. won't do to Korea what it did to Libya and Iraq - destroying their countries and murdering their leaders," she said.

New group in Dallas holds protest for peace in Korea

Mon, 2017-10-16 00:16

Dallas, TX - About 20 protesters gathered at the Grassy Knoll near downtown Dallas. Oct. 14, holding signs and chanting to demand peace with Korea. The action was organized by the Dallas Community Action Committee (DCAC), a new organization in the city. It was also endorsed by the Dallas Peace and Justice Center, North Texas Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, and the North Texas Light Brigade. Several socialist groups also attended.

Protesters held signs reading "Peace in Korea" and "Two world wars were plenty." At one point the group broke out into chants of "We want peace. How about you? North Koreans are people, too."

Several speakers addressed those assembled. Dan Sullivan, speaking on behalf of DCAC, said that in the group's view the threats of war in Korea were against the interests of most Americans and served only the interests of the one percent. A speaker from Veterans for Peace read an open letter the group had sent to Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un calling for both sides to step back.

Cassandra Gemini, speaking on behalf of Freedom Road Socialist Organization, said that in her view north Korea's nuclear arsenal was a logical response to U.S. aggression against Iraq and Libya. "They have nukes so that the U.S. won't do to Korea what it did to Libya and Iraq - destroying their countries and murdering their leaders," she said.

Minneapolis celebrates 100-year anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution

Sat, 2017-10-14 22:29

Minneapolis, MN - The walls were covered with red stars and Russian revolutionary posters, as more than 70 trade unionists, community, anti-war and student activists came together here, Oct. 14, to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1917 October revolution in Russia. The event was organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).

In a video address to the event, Professor Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines stated, “I am highly honored and deeply pleased to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization on the occasion of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and to give some brief remarks on the significance of this earth-shaking revolution.”

Sison went on to state, “Most important of all, Lenin led the Bolsheviks in the overthrow of Tsarism in Russia in February of 1917 and then in the overthrow of the bourgeois Kerensky government on October 25, 1917 in order to establish the first durable socialist state on one-sixth of the surface of the earth. The most crucial element in socialism is the class dictatorship of the proletariat defeating that of the bourgeoisie and nationalizing the land and strategic industries, despite the vestiges of feudalism and medievalism, the exigencies of civil war and resistance to foreign intervention and transitory measures like ‘war communism’ and the New Economic Policy.” Fight Back! will be publishing the entirety of Sison’s statement early next week.

Mick Kelly, from the national leadership of FRSO, stated, “The October Revolution was a world-changing event. At one stroke, it settled the question of whether another world was possible. Releasing one-sixth of the world from the chains of wage slavery, it smashed the myth that rule by the few was a sort of permanent condition, and, by successfully establishing proletarian political power, the October Revolution succeeded in opening the road to socialist construction. And for the years that followed the great achievements of the Soviet Union, that created a new and better way of life and would exercise a powerful effect on working and oppressed people around the globe.”

The final speaker of the evening, Steff Yorek, the political secretary of FRSO, talked about the need to build a new communist party that has the capacity to contend for power. Yorek also spoke the need for the working class to remake all of society.

“One of the most powerful lessons of the Russian revolution was an understanding of what we are up against and the need for organization,” said Yorek.

The event concluded with the singing of The International.

 

Minneapolis celebrates 100-year anniversary of Russia’s October Revolution

Sat, 2017-10-14 22:29

Minneapolis, MN - The walls were covered with red stars and Russian revolutionary posters, as more than 70 trade unionists, community, anti-war and student activists came together here, Oct. 14, to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1917 October revolution in Russia. The event was organized by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).

In a video address to the event, Professor Jose Maria Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines stated, “I am highly honored and deeply pleased to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization on the occasion of its celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution and to give some brief remarks on the significance of this earth-shaking revolution.”

Sison went on to state, “Most important of all, Lenin led the Bolsheviks in the overthrow of Tsarism in Russia in February of 1917 and then in the overthrow of the bourgeois Kerensky government on October 25, 1917 in order to establish the first durable socialist state on one-sixth of the surface of the earth. The most crucial element in socialism is the class dictatorship of the proletariat defeating that of the bourgeoisie and nationalizing the land and strategic industries, despite the vestiges of feudalism and medievalism, the exigencies of civil war and resistance to foreign intervention and transitory measures like ‘war communism’ and the New Economic Policy.” Fight Back! will be publishing the entirety of Sison’s statement early next week.

Mick Kelly, from the national leadership of FRSO, stated, “The October Revolution was a world-changing event. At one stroke, it settled the question of whether another world was possible. Releasing one-sixth of the world from the chains of wage slavery, it smashed the myth that rule by the few was a sort of permanent condition, and, by successfully establishing proletarian political power, the October Revolution succeeded in opening the road to socialist construction. And for the years that followed the great achievements of the Soviet Union, that created a new and better way of life and would exercise a powerful effect on working and oppressed people around the globe.”

The final speaker of the evening, Steff Yorek, the political secretary of FRSO, talked about the need to build a new communist party that has the capacity to contend for power. Yorek also spoke the need for the working class to remake all of society.

“One of the most powerful lessons of the Russian revolution was an understanding of what we are up against and the need for organization,” said Yorek.

The event concluded with the singing of The International.

 

UNF SDS takes a knee for Black lives

Fri, 2017-10-13 17:04

Jacksonville, FL - On Oct. 11, University of North Florida Students for a Democratic Society (UNF SDS) held a rally for Black Lives Matter and in solidarity with the protest going on in the NFL across the country. The event was called “Take a Knee UNF.” The event drew a crowd of over 150 students in support.

The 150 students who came out got the event started with a lot of energy and chants, including “Black lives matter!” and “When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” The event got started with speakers who brought in a variety of topics ranging from the connection between Palestinian liberation and Black liberation, to the current issues facing the city of Jacksonville, including a campaign for police accountability.

At the end of the event Dominic Mitchell and Monique Williamson, two leaders of SDS, read off a list of demands that the university should act on to promote equality and diversity. Students then took a knee with their fists up while chanting “UNF, take a knee, stop police brutality!” in solidarity with the fight against police crimes.

Overall the event was a huge success. Five or six counter-protesters came out, but were largely ignored and unable to disrupt the rally. Frustrated at their inability to disrupt the rally, at least one of the counter-protesters went home and, with the help of others, recorded a Snapchat social media video mocking the Black lives matter protesters. In the racist video, two young white men are seen acting like gorillas with a caption that reads “What actually went on at the BML (sic) rally.” The video has since gone viral, been reported to the administration, and has gained a level of national attention after writer Shaun King and actress Gabrielle Union posted condemnations of the video on Twitter.

SDS President Monique Williamson said, “We are going to fight back against this disgusting incident by lending support and standing in solidarity with various other organizations.”

UNF SDS takes a knee for Black lives

Fri, 2017-10-13 17:04

Jacksonville, FL - On Oct. 11, University of North Florida Students for a Democratic Society (UNF SDS) held a rally for Black Lives Matter and in solidarity with the protest going on in the NFL across the country. The event was called “Take a Knee UNF.” The event drew a crowd of over 150 students in support.

The 150 students who came out got the event started with a lot of energy and chants, including “Black lives matter!” and “When Black lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!” The event got started with speakers who brought in a variety of topics ranging from the connection between Palestinian liberation and Black liberation, to the current issues facing the city of Jacksonville, including a campaign for police accountability.

At the end of the event Dominic Mitchell and Monique Williamson, two leaders of SDS, read off a list of demands that the university should act on to promote equality and diversity. Students then took a knee with their fists up while chanting “UNF, take a knee, stop police brutality!” in solidarity with the fight against police crimes.

Overall the event was a huge success. Five or six counter-protesters came out, but were largely ignored and unable to disrupt the rally. Frustrated at their inability to disrupt the rally, at least one of the counter-protesters went home and, with the help of others, recorded a Snapchat social media video mocking the Black lives matter protesters. In the racist video, two young white men are seen acting like gorillas with a caption that reads “What actually went on at the BML (sic) rally.” The video has since gone viral, been reported to the administration, and has gained a level of national attention after writer Shaun King and actress Gabrielle Union posted condemnations of the video on Twitter.

SDS President Monique Williamson said, “We are going to fight back against this disgusting incident by lending support and standing in solidarity with various other organizations.”

PFLP denounces FBI “most-wanted” listing of the General Secretary of Islamic Jihad

Thu, 2017-10-12 21:27

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Oct. 6 statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Comrade Jamil Mizher, member of the political bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, strongly condemned the United States’ FBI’s inclusion of the name of the General Secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, Dr. Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, on its “most-wanted list.”

“The United States of America is the head of evil and the center of terror in the world. Its leaders, officials and generals must be brought before international tribunals for the crimes they have committed against the world and humanity,” Mizher said, noting that “the U.S. government is the last that should speak about human rights and the fight against terror. Its history is full of massacres and the bloodshed of women, children and elders, and its crimes are notorious against the Palestinian people and the peoples of the region.”

He emphasized that the Front stands with Dr. Shallah and the brothers in the Islamic Jihad movement, saying that the Front and all of the resistance factions and every free national voice are together in the struggle.

PFLP denounces FBI “most-wanted” listing of the General Secretary of Islamic Jihad

Thu, 2017-10-12 21:27

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Oct. 6 statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Comrade Jamil Mizher, member of the political bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, strongly condemned the United States’ FBI’s inclusion of the name of the General Secretary of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, Dr. Ramadan Abdallah Shallah, on its “most-wanted list.”

“The United States of America is the head of evil and the center of terror in the world. Its leaders, officials and generals must be brought before international tribunals for the crimes they have committed against the world and humanity,” Mizher said, noting that “the U.S. government is the last that should speak about human rights and the fight against terror. Its history is full of massacres and the bloodshed of women, children and elders, and its crimes are notorious against the Palestinian people and the peoples of the region.”

He emphasized that the Front stands with Dr. Shallah and the brothers in the Islamic Jihad movement, saying that the Front and all of the resistance factions and every free national voice are together in the struggle.

Part 3: Interview with Jose Maria Sison on the people’s war in the Philippines

Thu, 2017-10-12 01:37

Fight Back! interviewed Jose Maria Sison, the founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), August 19, in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This is the third and final portion of the interview. See also part 1 and part 2.

The interview was conducted by Fight Back! editor Mick Kelly, who is also responsible for the international work of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).

Fight Back!: What do you have to say about the role of the U.S. in the Philippines?

Jose Maria Sison: The U.S. has been alerted. The U.S. has certain laws. You don’t give aid to governments that violate human rights. Congress people were threatening to reduce aid - as a matter of fact, Duterte’s been complaining about not getting the supplies that he wants, appropriate to, you know, supposedly fighting terrorists and so on.

Obama was under advice by congressional leaders and other people to advise Duterte not to kill too many [laughs], because the extra-judicial killings were already being done by the thousands, from month to month.

It’s another question whether the U.S. is real defender of human rights [chuckles]. There is something hypocritical about U.S. imperialism. The U.S. is responsible for massive human rights violations, massive destruction of lives and property, infrastructure - social infrastructure - in so many countries. The U.S. can be described as the ‘number one’ violator of human rights - responsible for the death of millions, 10, 20 million since the end of World War II.

And then course, in the offensives made by the U.S. since the 1990s, it wasted the lives of American soldiers and trillions of dollars to carry out those offensives.

However, the U.S. uses the human rights issue in order to justify its domination over countries, to exercise control. It’s not so much of the love of human rights, but it is for the love of controlling [laughs] the puppets.

Even if Duterte says he wishes to maintain an independent foreign policy, the system he has inherited from his predecessors very much is a system that belongs to the U.S. and he has used personnel loyal to the U.S. Lorenzana [Major General Lorenzana, AFP (Ret.), Secretary of National Defense] is a longtime resident of Washington. He has long been connected to JUSMAG [Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group], the military advisor group that decides what kind of weapons to sell to the Philippine armed forces. And of course, the national security advisor, as well as the chief of staff, they are products of American forces, American forces training and also products of inter-operability training exercises in the yearly Balikatan exercises.

So, the U.S. is in control. Duterte may be dramatic, he’s as if trying to break off from the U.S. control, but, when the Marawi events came, you see how he was so grateful to the U.S. and he was so ready to accept the deliveries of the U.S. At two ends, Duterte has been manipulated. He has been manipulated by his close-in security advisors, and at another end is the IS creation - the Islamic State creation of the CIA, and the Moussad [laughs].

The CPP editorial, the CPP statement, described Duterte as having exposed himself as a tool of aggression, because he’s the one who looks insane, and who has admitted using fentanyl, no? Sending him to the skies, having him seated on cloud nine.

Duterte echoes the U.S. propaganda that Kim Jong Un is crazy. I thought that he knew well the geopolitics in which the U.S. operates. He doesn’t know that the DPRK could be it hit like Iraq of Saddam or Libya of Khaddaffi, if it does not have its nuclear weapons for self-defense.

So that’s Duterte. I have already mentioned the reasons that Duterte cannot be trusted to comply with what the people demand in terms of social, economic, political and constitutional reforms, to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.

It’s difficult to say whether the negotiations will be able to proceed under Duterte, because Duterte himself cannot guarantee his political survival. He can be thrown out by pro-U.S. elements in the military, or, a broad united front by democratic forces could overthrow him.

For instance, these extra-judicial killings, with impunity, they are becoming sort of a bomb exploding in the face of Duterte, whereas before, it seemed like it was the main factor for gaining his popularity. He was presenting himself as a strongman, using the mean face, and then he was going to do the quick fix. But, he as not solved the problem. Because in the first place, he’s just killing poor drug users and addicts. The highest level he went up to was killing three mayors.

But what about the governors and generals? What about his son, who’s now reputed to be the lord of the drug lords? The son now is accused of using ports, the ports of Davao and Manilla and possibly other ports, in smuggling drugs. So how can he stop the drug problem, if his own son, and if he himself cannot be aware or is aware in cahoots with the son?

Fight Back!: What do you have to say to our readers, to the American people, the people of the U.S.?

Sison: The Filipino people are trying hard to continue and advance the revolution. The people take pride in being able to develop the revolutionary forces, despite what may be called even a strategic retreat of the anti-imperialist and socialist cause since 1991.

The Filipino people are doing everything possible. The Filipino people become aware of their duty to wage the revolution no matter how long it takes. It took us 300 years to liberate ourselves from Spanish colonialism, and for a while we were a standout, before the U.S. imperialists intervened. We were the first to liberate ourselves from a Western colonial power, and that’s a big prize. As we sort of performed the role of being this torch-bearer in our part of the world, at least in Southeast Asia, that’s an inspiring thing to think of.

So, we are doing our best to be able to contribute to the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution and the broad anti-imperialist struggle. In turn, as we have the spirit of helping the proletariat and the people of the world to advance the revolution, possibly in all countries and continents. We expect that their struggles contribute to our own strengthening. So, there’s interaction between the proletariat and people in various countries, be these countries that are the advanced industrialist capitalist countries, and be they underdeveloped countries - which are still in the majority.

The time will come that more direct exchanges, more direct forms of cooperation will be possible and the stronger ones will help the weaker ones, in terms of moral and material support. The most important thing this is that we help each other by true solidarity, by fighting a common enemy.

We have always thought of the American people as having contributed a decisive help to the victory of the Vietnamese people, who were the first to score definite big victory against U.S. imperialism, I think, in history. The U.S. was defeated, and then of course, the rest of Indochina would follow, but the key point is this is one country where the U.S. [pauses]. You know, in the Korean War, the U.S. set a kind of stalemate, ending in the armistice agreement. But of course, in another sense, the U.S. was effectively frustrated in trying to dominate the north, or the DPRK. [returns to Vietnam topic] So a whole country driving away U.S. imperialism, the Vietnamese people achieved that.

And the American people contributed to that victory, because, inside the U.S., they demonstrated the unjustness of the war of aggression. The people showed the costliness and futility of all those bombs being thrown at the Vietnamese people. And so, the U.S. was compelled to retreat, to withdraw from Vietnam - mainly through the struggle of the Vietnamese people, but, you must also take into account what the American people did, in order to discourage the U.S. from going further in the war.

But anyway, they could not really go further in any justifiable way. Even in the boardrooms of the monopoly bourgeoise, the U.S. comforted itself, ‘Well, it’s better to act like good businessmen. We just don’t throw our metals and chemicals at Vietnam, we better sell our weapons to the oil-producing countries.’ That’s how they shifted, they justified the withdrawal from Vietnam.

But we have always regarded the support of the American people to the Vietnamese struggle as a model for us, and we take advantage of the fact that there has been this colonial and neo-colonial relationship, and there are quite a number of Filipinos - as early as the early 70s - they acknowledged we were 4 million Filipinos - you certainly have that figure if you also count in the Filipino-Americans, the second generation that has no more plans of going back to the Philippines. So, we have billions. The Vietnamese had less.

The Filipinos in the U.S., being able to cooperate with their solidarity friends of various nationalities within the U.S., we can do better in fighting against a common enemy right in the belly of the beast.

Part 3: Interview with Jose Maria Sison on the people’s war in the Philippines

Thu, 2017-10-12 01:37

Fight Back! interviewed Jose Maria Sison, the founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), August 19, in Utrecht, the Netherlands. This is the third and final portion of the interview. See also part 1 and part 2.

The interview was conducted by Fight Back! editor Mick Kelly, who is also responsible for the international work of Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).

Fight Back!: What do you have to say about the role of the U.S. in the Philippines?

Jose Maria Sison: The U.S. has been alerted. The U.S. has certain laws. You don’t give aid to governments that violate human rights. Congress people were threatening to reduce aid - as a matter of fact, Duterte’s been complaining about not getting the supplies that he wants, appropriate to, you know, supposedly fighting terrorists and so on.

Obama was under advice by congressional leaders and other people to advise Duterte not to kill too many [laughs], because the extra-judicial killings were already being done by the thousands, from month to month.

It’s another question whether the U.S. is real defender of human rights [chuckles]. There is something hypocritical about U.S. imperialism. The U.S. is responsible for massive human rights violations, massive destruction of lives and property, infrastructure - social infrastructure - in so many countries. The U.S. can be described as the ‘number one’ violator of human rights - responsible for the death of millions, 10, 20 million since the end of World War II.

And then course, in the offensives made by the U.S. since the 1990s, it wasted the lives of American soldiers and trillions of dollars to carry out those offensives.

However, the U.S. uses the human rights issue in order to justify its domination over countries, to exercise control. It’s not so much of the love of human rights, but it is for the love of controlling [laughs] the puppets.

Even if Duterte says he wishes to maintain an independent foreign policy, the system he has inherited from his predecessors very much is a system that belongs to the U.S. and he has used personnel loyal to the U.S. Lorenzana [Major General Lorenzana, AFP (Ret.), Secretary of National Defense] is a longtime resident of Washington. He has long been connected to JUSMAG [Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group], the military advisor group that decides what kind of weapons to sell to the Philippine armed forces. And of course, the national security advisor, as well as the chief of staff, they are products of American forces, American forces training and also products of inter-operability training exercises in the yearly Balikatan exercises.

So, the U.S. is in control. Duterte may be dramatic, he’s as if trying to break off from the U.S. control, but, when the Marawi events came, you see how he was so grateful to the U.S. and he was so ready to accept the deliveries of the U.S. At two ends, Duterte has been manipulated. He has been manipulated by his close-in security advisors, and at another end is the IS creation - the Islamic State creation of the CIA, and the Moussad [laughs].

The CPP editorial, the CPP statement, described Duterte as having exposed himself as a tool of aggression, because he’s the one who looks insane, and who has admitted using fentanyl, no? Sending him to the skies, having him seated on cloud nine.

Duterte echoes the U.S. propaganda that Kim Jong Un is crazy. I thought that he knew well the geopolitics in which the U.S. operates. He doesn’t know that the DPRK could be it hit like Iraq of Saddam or Libya of Khaddaffi, if it does not have its nuclear weapons for self-defense.

So that’s Duterte. I have already mentioned the reasons that Duterte cannot be trusted to comply with what the people demand in terms of social, economic, political and constitutional reforms, to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace.

It’s difficult to say whether the negotiations will be able to proceed under Duterte, because Duterte himself cannot guarantee his political survival. He can be thrown out by pro-U.S. elements in the military, or, a broad united front by democratic forces could overthrow him.

For instance, these extra-judicial killings, with impunity, they are becoming sort of a bomb exploding in the face of Duterte, whereas before, it seemed like it was the main factor for gaining his popularity. He was presenting himself as a strongman, using the mean face, and then he was going to do the quick fix. But, he as not solved the problem. Because in the first place, he’s just killing poor drug users and addicts. The highest level he went up to was killing three mayors.

But what about the governors and generals? What about his son, who’s now reputed to be the lord of the drug lords? The son now is accused of using ports, the ports of Davao and Manilla and possibly other ports, in smuggling drugs. So how can he stop the drug problem, if his own son, and if he himself cannot be aware or is aware in cahoots with the son?

Fight Back!: What do you have to say to our readers, to the American people, the people of the U.S.?

Sison: The Filipino people are trying hard to continue and advance the revolution. The people take pride in being able to develop the revolutionary forces, despite what may be called even a strategic retreat of the anti-imperialist and socialist cause since 1991.

The Filipino people are doing everything possible. The Filipino people become aware of their duty to wage the revolution no matter how long it takes. It took us 300 years to liberate ourselves from Spanish colonialism, and for a while we were a standout, before the U.S. imperialists intervened. We were the first to liberate ourselves from a Western colonial power, and that’s a big prize. As we sort of performed the role of being this torch-bearer in our part of the world, at least in Southeast Asia, that’s an inspiring thing to think of.

So, we are doing our best to be able to contribute to the resurgence of the world proletarian revolution and the broad anti-imperialist struggle. In turn, as we have the spirit of helping the proletariat and the people of the world to advance the revolution, possibly in all countries and continents. We expect that their struggles contribute to our own strengthening. So, there’s interaction between the proletariat and people in various countries, be these countries that are the advanced industrialist capitalist countries, and be they underdeveloped countries - which are still in the majority.

The time will come that more direct exchanges, more direct forms of cooperation will be possible and the stronger ones will help the weaker ones, in terms of moral and material support. The most important thing this is that we help each other by true solidarity, by fighting a common enemy.

We have always thought of the American people as having contributed a decisive help to the victory of the Vietnamese people, who were the first to score definite big victory against U.S. imperialism, I think, in history. The U.S. was defeated, and then of course, the rest of Indochina would follow, but the key point is this is one country where the U.S. [pauses]. You know, in the Korean War, the U.S. set a kind of stalemate, ending in the armistice agreement. But of course, in another sense, the U.S. was effectively frustrated in trying to dominate the north, or the DPRK. [returns to Vietnam topic] So a whole country driving away U.S. imperialism, the Vietnamese people achieved that.

And the American people contributed to that victory, because, inside the U.S., they demonstrated the unjustness of the war of aggression. The people showed the costliness and futility of all those bombs being thrown at the Vietnamese people. And so, the U.S. was compelled to retreat, to withdraw from Vietnam - mainly through the struggle of the Vietnamese people, but, you must also take into account what the American people did, in order to discourage the U.S. from going further in the war.

But anyway, they could not really go further in any justifiable way. Even in the boardrooms of the monopoly bourgeoise, the U.S. comforted itself, ‘Well, it’s better to act like good businessmen. We just don’t throw our metals and chemicals at Vietnam, we better sell our weapons to the oil-producing countries.’ That’s how they shifted, they justified the withdrawal from Vietnam.

But we have always regarded the support of the American people to the Vietnamese struggle as a model for us, and we take advantage of the fact that there has been this colonial and neo-colonial relationship, and there are quite a number of Filipinos - as early as the early 70s - they acknowledged we were 4 million Filipinos - you certainly have that figure if you also count in the Filipino-Americans, the second generation that has no more plans of going back to the Philippines. So, we have billions. The Vietnamese had less.

The Filipinos in the U.S., being able to cooperate with their solidarity friends of various nationalities within the U.S., we can do better in fighting against a common enemy right in the belly of the beast.

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