Disabilities caucus condemns attempted execution of Mumia by medical neglect

Disabilities caucus condemns attempted execution of Mumia by medical neglect

first_imgWadiya Jamal and Mumia Abu-JamalThe People with Disabilities Caucus of the People’s Power Assembly joins the international progressive community in condemning the attempted execution by medical neglect of Mumia Abu-Jamal.Writing from behind the walls of the prison-industrial complex, internationally renowned political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal is known for exposing the racist foundation of capitalism, from mass incarceration of people of color in for-profit prisons to U.S. war and intervention abroad.Unjustly convicted of killing a police officer, Mumia has spent 30 years in prison, until recently in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s Death Row. His demand for a new trial and freedom is supported by heads of state and prominent politicians in France, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America and by Nobel laureates Nelson Mandela, Toni Morrison, Desmond Tutu and others.Mumia is now seriously ill. He is suffering from life-threatening diabetes, full body skin disease, weight loss of 80 pounds in the last two to three months, extreme dehydration, multiple neurological symptoms, [including] uncontrollable shaking, slurred speech and loss of memory with fugue states. He now uses a wheelchair. Mumia’s family and friends hold the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections directly responsible for neglect, malpractice and inadequately addressing the alarming deterioration of his health. Only if he is released will he be able to get the proper medical care to give him a chance at recovery.Prisons are a disability issue. Mass incarceration has resulted in the jailing of people with mental, developmental, emotional and physical disabilities in disproportionately high numbers. Many are unjustly incarcerated. Once in jail, they often receive inadequate treatment for their disability or no treatment at all. This violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which guarantees prisoners with disabilities the right to adequate health care.As activists in the disability rights movement, we demand that Mumia, and all prisoners with disabilities, be immediately granted full medical rights, as protected by the ADA.We demand that Mumia be able to see a doctor of his choice. We demand that Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been imprisoned for decades for a crime he never committed, be released immediately.We urge you to join us in phoning and emailing:• Secretary of the Department of Corrections, John Wetzel, to demand that Mumia be treated by a doctor of his choice. 717-728-2573; [email protected] pa.gov• Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to demand that the state halt attempts to execute Mumia by medical neglect. 717-787-2500; fax 717-772-8284; [email protected] also urge you to circulate this statement as widely as possible.People with Disabilities Caucus of the People’s Power AssemblyPeoplespowerassemblies.org; 212-633-6646.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

French unions defend workers’ actions

French unions defend workers’ actions

first_imgThe pictures flashed around the world Oct. 5. Faced with angry workers who tore off their bosses’ white collars, top executives of Air France had to climb over a fence to escape.The executives had planned to lay off 3,000 workers in a drive to impose austerity. French law requires a meeting of workers and management to discuss such a layoff.The next day, French President François Hollande gave a national address calling the workers who took the strong action “thugs.” The workers are mainly members of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) or of Workers’ Force (FO), which together have about a million members. Prime Minister Manuel Valls apologized to the executives.A week later on Oct. 12, police arrested five employees of Air France at 6 a.m. in their homes on charges of violently interfering with the executives’ right to work. Lilia Mhissen, the CGT lawyer, in a statement on I-Tele said, “This arrest was totally disproportional. It is how bandits or terrorist are treated while in principle they could have been given a letter asking them to come to the police station.”A few hours after the arrest the unions held a small demonstration in front of Air France headquarters at Charles de Gaulle Airport near Paris and a larger one in Metz, in northeastern France, where the minister of the economy was holding a meeting.The CGT has called a strike for Oct. 22 to support the arrested workers and all those facing layoffs. On the union confederation’s Facebook page it tells the president, “You do not know the fear of losing your job; you are president; you do not know insecurity and misery” of the unemployed.There, the CGT also satirizes the French media and its support for Air France and the heads of the French government, calling them the “real thugs” who are threatening French workers.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Alabama resists racist Cabinet nominee

Alabama resists racist Cabinet nominee

first_imgAlabama occupiers at Sessions’ Mobile, Ala., office.Two dozen members of the Alabama NAACP occupied the office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 3. Protests were also held at other Sessions’ offices in Alabama. The NAACP actions kicked off resistance to the far-right-wing Cabinet proposed by president-elect Donald Trump.Sessions, the Republican senator nominated to be U.S. Attorney General, was rejected for a 1986 federal judgeship when former Justice Department colleagues testified to his racist comments and behavior when serving as U.S. district attorney in Mobile.His comments included calling the NAACP “un-American,” the Ku Klux Klan “OK” and stating that a white lawyer defending Black clients “betrayed his race.” (New York Times, Jan. 8)During the occupation, six African-American and white protesters were arrested, including Cornell William Brooks, national NAACP president, who said the occupation was “an act of civil disobedience standing in the tradition of Rosa Parks.”Bernard Simelton, Alabama NAACP president also arrested, stated the group would have acted even if Sessions had never made his statements. “He has not been a champion for civil and human rights.”This is an understatement about the political record and beliefs of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, named like his father and grandfather for Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate slavocracy, and P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate general.Heinous segregationist historyBorn in Selma, Sessions was educated at then-segregated, all-white Wilcox County High School and all-white Huntingdon College. Wilcox County, with 72 percent African-American population, is still the poorest county in Alabama because of the economic consequences of enslavement and apartheid-like conditions that persist.Sessions has continued to hold to segregationist patterns, including hostility to the 1965 Voting Rights Act prohibiting racial discrimination at the polls, which he called as “an intrusive piece of legislation.”In 2013 a Supreme Court decision nixed a core provision requiring Justice Department approval to change election laws in places with discriminatory histories. In the Times article, Sessions called that “good news … for the South.” That meant in coded language “good for the white South.”Sessions’ attack on African-American voting rights was most dramatically revealed in his 1985 prosecution, as U.S. District Attorney, of the “Marion Three.” These were Black community activists tried for so-called “ballot-fixing.”One activist, Albert Turner, had been an adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and one of the Selma marchers attacked by state troopers. Sessions’ case fell apart in trial as voter after voter testified to the activists’ innocence.Sessions has fought to keep additional state money from going to schools in poor districts. He has supported reviving chain gangs of Alabama prisoners. He has declared same-sex marriage a threat to “American” culture and gone to court to deny funding to LGBTQ student groups. He revealed his anti-woman bias when he said that Donald Trump’s videotaped boasts of sexual assault were not technically illegal.Sessions is OK with the Christian nationalist bias of an Alabama judge who illegally posted the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. Sessions is also OK with Trump “building a wall” against Latinx immigration and banning Muslims from entered the U.S.In 2015, Sessions was chosen as annual Keeper of the Flame by the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C., think tank promoting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories.Wayne Flynt, professor emeritus in Auburn University’s Department of History, has followed Sessions’ career for decades. Flynt says, “His whole life, [Sessions] has been on the wrong side of every issue.” Senate hearings on nomination of Sessions to supervise “justice” as U.S. Attorney General began Jan. 9. (NY Times, Jan. 9)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward, pioneer in medicine

Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward, pioneer in medicine

first_imgDr. Susan Smith McKinney StewardAfrican-American history is part of U.S. history. In reclaiming that history, one African American to be remembered is Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first Black woman to earn a medical degree in New York state and the third in the U.S. She practiced medicine for 48 years.Born in the historic village of Weeksville, Brooklyn, N.Y., in March 1847, Smith became a student of music early in her life. However, she turned her focus to studying medicine, and in 1867, Smith enrolled at the New York Medical College for Women. Earning her medical degree in 1870, this brilliant woman was the valedictorian of her graduating class.The following year Dr. Smith married the Rev. William McKinney, who died in 1892. They had two children. She set her up her own medical practice in Brooklyn from 1870 to 1895; co-founded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary for the African-American community; and obtained a postgraduate degree. She also practiced at other hospitals, with specialties in prenatal care and childhood diseases.Dr. Smith McKinney married the Rev. Theophilus Steward, an Army chaplain, in 1896, and traveled westward with him, obtaining medical licenses in Montana and Wyoming. Wilberforce University in Ohio hired the doctor in 1898 as a campus physician and faculty member.  There she taught nutrition and health and lived out the rest of her life.A public speaker, Dr. Smith McKinney Steward was frequently invited to address conferences and meetings.  She spoke about Black women in the U.S. at the first Universal Race Congress at the University of London in 1911. Three years later she spoke on “Women in Medicine” at the convention of the National Association of “Colored” Women’s Clubs.  She was also an advocate for women’s suffrage.Dr. Smith McKinney Steward’s achievements were so great and she was so well-respected that W.E.B. Du Bois gave the eulogy at her funeral in March 1918. She was buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.A Brooklyn school was renamed Dr. Susan Smith McKinney Steward Junior High School in 1974 to honor this groundbreaking woman. Two years later, African-American women doctors named a National Medical Association chapter for her.Weeksville: A historic Black community The area known today as Brooklyn was originally inhabited by the Indigenous Lenape Nation, then by Dutch colonizers and then by the British beginning in the 1600s until their ouster in 1783. By 1834, the city of Brooklyn had consolidated and was incorporated.The village of Weeksville where Dr. Smith McKinney Steward was born has a unique history. In 1838, James Weeks, a longshore worker and formerly enslaved person from Virginia, bought a two-acre plot of land in the eastern area of Brooklyn, only 11 years after the abolition of slavery in New York.Weeks founded a village there that grew eventually to include 700 families; it was one of the first “free” African-American communities in New York state.  It was named Weeksville after him.Land was easily available for purchase then. Many African Americans saw acquiring land as their chance to obtain economic and political freedom by building their own communities.  In New York, before the Civil War, men of color had to own property valued at a minimum of $250 and pay taxes on it  in order to vote.Weeksville founders were Black political activists, artisans and land investors. By the 1850s, the village had become a refuge for more than 500 people from around the East Coast; nearly 40 percent were born in the South. The community was also a safe haven for many African Americans fleeing the violent, virulently racist 1863 New York draft riots in Manhattan.Weeksville had its own churches, a cemetery, an orphanage and a home for the elderly. One of the first African-American newspapers, the “Freedman’s Torchlight,” was published there. The village became the national headquarters of the African Civilization Society in the 1860s. The community’s school for African-American children was the first such school in the country to integrate its staff and student body.Soon after the Hunterfly Road Houses were discovered in 1968, the Society for the Preservation of Weeksville and Bedford-Stuyvesant History was established. It is now the Weeksville Heritage Center, a national historic district bordering the neighborhoods of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Four residential buildings remain, which were built during and after the 1860s in the Black community of Weeksville.The wooden-frame dwellings sit alongside a road dating back to Native peoples’ habitation of the area. The houses were declared New York City landmarks in 1970, purchased by the preservation society in 1973 and then rehabilitated in the 1980s. Education and cultural centers were built adjacent to the houses. All facilities are open to the public.Sources:  BlackPast.org; “Brooklyn’s Promised Land: The Free Black Community of Weeksville, New York” by Judith Wellman (NYU Press, 2014);  Brooklyn Historical Society.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Trump, el presidente gánster

Trump, el presidente gánster

first_imgDe acuerdo con su papel en la sociedad capitalista, la mayoría de los altos funcionarios del gobierno, elegidos o nombrados, tienen cualidades de gánster. Estos funcionarios pasan gran parte de su tiempo conspirando esquemas con los ricos para estafar o atacar de otra manera a las masas populares. A diferencia de la mafia, deben obrar en el marco de la política capitalista.La mafia se diferencia del establecimiento capitalista en que no está obligada a cometer sus crímenes bajo cobertura legal. Al contrario, las actividades de la mafia ocurren fuera de los límites de la legalidad burguesa con el consentimiento silencioso de la clase dominante y sus agencias policiales. Además, los crímenes de la mafia son mucho menores que los crímenes del Pentágono, la CIA y el FBI.Dicho esto, entre los políticos burgueses con más cualidades de gánster, está Donald Trump. Él es un mimado multimillonario de bienes raíces que funciona ordenando a sus subordinadas/os, robando a contratistas y a trabajadoras/es. Cuando se ve atrapado en un error, moviliza a su ejército de abogados para que lo limpien.Ganó la presidencia utilizando su carrera televisiva como un trampolín y aprovechando la quiebra de la dirección del Partido Demócrata. Sus estrategas de campaña también se aprovecharon de la antidemocrática institución del Colegio Electoral para conseguir una victoria electoral mientras perdían el voto popular. (Hillary Clinton ciertamente era también una enemiga del pueblo, corrupta, militarista, propiedad de Wall Street).Presidencia como el camino hacia (más) riquezasTrump no sólo ha rehusado desprenderse de sus multimillonarios activos, sino que ha tratado de ganar aún más al estar en la Casa Blanca. Sigue instando a líderes y asociados extranjeros a quedarse en su hotel en Washington. Ha aumentado el costo de la membresía en el club de golf de Mar-a-Lago de $100.000 a $200.000. Ha rehusado publicar sus declaraciones de impuestos para así cubrir sus inversiones. Tiene negocios en Turquía, Azerbaiyán y otros lugares alrededor del mundo. Ha elaborado un plan de impuestos del cual él y sus compañeros magnates inmobiliarios cosecharán cientos de millones de dólares.Su hija, Ivanka Trump, sigue difundido su marca mundialmente. Su yerno y consejero principal Jared Kushner, mantiene su propio imperio inmobiliario. “Aunque el Sr. Kushner renunció en enero a su cargo de director ejecutivo en Kushner Companies”, informa el New York Times del 26 de abril, “sigue siendo el beneficiario de los fideicomisos que poseen el creciente negocio de bienes raíces. La firma ha participado en aproximadamente $7 mil millones en adquisiciones durante la última década, muchas de ellas respaldadas por socios extranjeros cuyas identidades no revela”.Ahora este bufón derechista, autoritario y fanfarrón, que no sabe nada de política burguesa y no tiene ninguna inclinación de aprender o buscar consejo, está formalmente a cargo del imperialismo estadounidense.Cuando Trump mete al capitalismo estadounidense en problemas con sus aliados imperialistas estadounidenses en la OTAN, o amenaza los intereses corporativos al hablar de las guerras comerciales con la República Popular China (1.3 mil millones de habitantes), Canadá y México (los dos mayores mercados comerciales de EUA), no puede conseguir que el Congreso Republicano quite asistencia de salud a 24 millones de personas, o apruebe una prohibición de viajar contra musulmanes que provoca un movimiento mundial, o amenaza con provocar una rebelión masiva diciendo que deportará a 11 millones de trabajadoras/es indocumentados, etc., todos sus subordinados, lacayos y abogados no pueden ayudarle a salir del problema.La clase dominante está ambivalente acerca de Trump – con razón. Por un lado, están salivando sobre su recorte de impuestos para multimillonarios y grandes corporaciones. Están extáticos por su campaña de desregulación que permite, entre otras cosas, a las compañías de carbón envenenar el agua potable, destruir las normas de emisiones de autos para ayudar a la industria automovilística y eliminar las regulaciones ambientales para ayudar a la gran industria. Y, por supuesto, les encanta sus exenciones tributarias para las compañías de seguros de salud.Por otro lado, se sienten frustrados porque esperaban obtener grandes exenciones tributarias a partir de la revocación de la Ley de Cuidado de Salud a Bajo Precio, y querían poner sus manos en $880 miles de millones en recortes de Medicaid para que se  financiaran incentivos fiscales para los ricos. Sin embargo, aunque la clase dominante quiere aprovecharse de los recortes tributarios de Trump y las  desregulaciones, no quieren que arruine su sistema. Por eso han tomado medidas contra él. Primero, lo han rodeado de generales y banqueros de Wall Street en la Casa Blanca y el Gabinete.Limitan presupuesto de Trump y rechazan NAFTAPero últimamente le han dado una paliza en las negociaciones presupuestarias. En el último presupuesto de $1,2 billones, Trump salió con las manos vacías, a pesar de toda su gritería. En las negociaciones, Trump fue rechazado por los representantes fieles de la clase dominante en el Congreso sobre cuestiones clave:El gasto interno aumentó, en lugar de los $18.000 millones en recortes exigidos por Trump.Trump quería que el presupuesto nacional de los Institutos de Salud se redujera en $1.2 miles de millones. En cambio, se incrementó en 2.000 millones de dólares.Trump pidió que el presupuesto de la Agencia de Protección Ambiental se redujera en un 33 por ciento. En cambio, se redujo en un 1 por ciento.Planned Parenthood continuará siendo financiado a los niveles actuales en estados que no voten para retirar la subvención.Trump pidió $30.000 millones en aumento del gasto militar. Consiguió $12.500 millones y otros $2.500 millones cuando presente un plan para derrotar al grupo del Estado islámico.No hay dinero para su amado Muro de la Frontera; sólo fondos de seguridad fronteriza para nuevas tecnologías y reparaciones; de hecho, los fondos para la “seguridad fronteriza” se redujeron y no hubo dinero para una fuerza de deportación.Los subsidios de salud para los pobres seguirán (el dinero va a las compañías de seguros).“El gobierno de Trump dijo que ya no estaba considerando retirarse del TLCNA, después de un día de intenso cabildeo de líderes empresariales y legisladores que se unieron para anular la discusión interna de la Casa Blanca sobre la perspectiva”, escribió el Wall Street Journal el 27 de abril. Trump se vio obligado a llamar a los presidentes de México y Canadá para decirles que había abandonado la derogación. Luego emitió un tuit diciendo que lo habían llamado, en lugar de admitir que los grandes negocios y la agroindustria lo habían obligado a retroceder.Trump, China y la RPDCWashington está en medio de una crisis en Corea. Aunque necesita la cooperación del régimen surcoreano para perseguir su agenda beligerante, Trump aprovechó este momento para decirle al gobierno surcoreano que quiere romper el acuerdo comercial con su país. Es un “mal acuerdo” negociado por el presidente Obama, según Trump. En realidad, fue negociado bajo George W. Bush.Empeorando las cosas, Trump le dijo al gobierno de Corea del Sur que tendría que pagar $1 mil millones para el sistema antimisiles THAAD del Pentágono, a pesar del acuerdo existente en que EUA pagaría el costo de su despliegue. El Asesor de Seguridad Nacional, General H. McMaster tuvo que telefonear a funcionarios  surcoreanos y asegurarles que EUA pagaría. (WSJ, 30 de abril)Trump tiene una visión excesiva de sus poderes personales. Afirma tener una buena relación con el presidente Xi Jinping de la República Popular de China. Afirma que debido a sus llamadas telefónicas con Xi, China va a ayudar al gobierno de EUA a salir de su situación con la desafiante República Popular Democrática de Corea.Trump ha tratado de hablar suave con China y duro con la RPDC. Pero la verdad es que los líderes de la República Popular China, especialmente su ejército, el Ejército Popular de Liberación, no pueden ignorar los hechos imperantes de la crisis en la península coreana.En una llamada telefónica el 23 de abril, el presidente Xi pidió a Trump que se abstuviera de aumentar las tensiones en la región, incluso si la RPDC anunciaba pruebas de misiles o armas nucleares. Xi hizo un llamado a Trump para que no se entretenga en disputas y se mueva hacia negociaciones.Evidentemente, no estamos de acuerdo con Xi en que la RPDC debe presionarse para que abandone su lucha por construir un elemento de disuasión nuclear. Pero, de todas formas, el jefe de la República Popular China pidió a Trump que bajara el tono.Un día después, el 24 de abril, en plena noche, EUA desplegó en Corea del Sur el sistema anti-misiles THAAD, que está equipado con un radar de alta potencia que llega más allá de la RPDC y puede ser utilizado para espiar el Ejército chino. La República Popular China ya ha dicho que este despliegue desestabilizaría el equilibrio estratégico en la región a favor del imperialismo estadounidense.El liderazgo chino y el EPL están conscientes de la amenaza. No puede ser coincidencia que el mismo día del despliegue, China probó su primer portaaviones de fabricación nacional. El buque se completará en 2020. “China ha lanzado su primer portaaviones construido por sí sola, en una demostración de la creciente sofisticación técnica de sus industrias de defensa y la determinación de salvaguardar sus reivindicaciones territoriales marítimas y rutas comerciales cruciales. El transportador de 50.000 toneladas fue remolcado de su astillero justo después de las 9 de la mañana del miércoles.” (Washington Post, 26 de abril)Pero el mensaje implícito es que China tiene su propio poder naval, incluyendo un portaaviones armado y funcional construido por la ex-URRS que obtuvo de Ucrania y fue restaurado. China contuvo su respuesta a Trump y al Pentágono al no desplegar su portaaviones armado y desplegar en su lugar el aún sin terminar. Pero el mensaje fue enviado.Lo que también queda claro de estos acontecimientos es que el imperialismo estadounidense y el Pentágono son los enemigos tanto de la RPDC como de la República Popular China. El Pentágono obra por venganza contra la RPDC porque este heroico país socialista se ha enfrentado sin temor a Washington, tan firmemente ahora como lo hizo durante la Guerra de Corea de 1950-53, cuando rechazó la poderosa máquina de guerra estadounidense.El imperialismo estadounidense también se opone a la República Popular China porque, a pesar del crecimiento de millonarios y multimillonarios capitalistas dentro del país socialista, el Partido Comunista de China y el Ejército Popular de Liberación siguen siendo guardianes de las empresas estatales y de la planificación económica que son características del socialismo.Washington se da cuenta de que mientras el imperialismo estadounidense está sumido en el estancamiento económico y crisis militares y políticas en todo el mundo, China se está fortaleciendo cada vez más, tanto económica como militarmente. Está aumentando su influencia en Asia, África y América Latina a través de proyectos de infraestructura que ayudan a las antiguas colonias a superar el subdesarrollo impuesto por los imperialistas.En un momento en que el imperialismo de EUA está fuera de balance tanto en el país como en el exterior, la clase dominante capitalista tiene que mantener a raya a su presidente gánster, para que no aumente la inestabilidad de Washington.A pesar de todos los intentos de la clase dominante de distanciarse de Trump, el gobierno capitalista es el comité ejecutivo de la clase dominante. Karl Marx lo dijo hace mucho tiempo, y todavía es cierto hoy en día.Hay muchas maneras en que los patronos podrían deshacerse de él, dada toda la ilegalidad de su régimen de enriquecimiento familiar. Sin embargo, la clase dominante es la responsable de mantener a Trump en el cargo y por cada acción racista y reaccionaria que éste haga. Trump es el representante de su clase, y las masas deben responsabilizar a los capitalistas por cada crimen que comete contra el pueblo.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Israeli massacre in Gaza protested

Israeli massacre in Gaza protested

first_imgWithin a few hours of the news that Israel had attacked the Great March of Return, a crowd gathered in New York’s Washington Square Park to protest this new Israeli massacre.Speakers at the rally pointed out that Israel killed 17 and wounded 1,400 — according to the latest figures available April 1 — at “peaceful protests called by all the political groups in Gaza to demand Palestinians’ Right of Return to their native villages now controlled by Israel and to protest the dire conditions in Gaza.” The protests began on Land Day March 30 and are scheduled to end on al Nakba, May 15.Land Day commemorates the six Palestinians killed and hundreds wounded over the 1976 expropriation of hundreds of thousands of hectares of Palestinian-owned land. Al Nakba, “the catastrophe,” commemorates the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians from the lands that were to become Israel in 1948.The chants were militant: “NYC, you will learn, that refugees will return!”; “Free, free Palestine! Long live the Intifadah!”; and “Resistance is justified, when people are occupied!”The Facebook page for the protest at Washington Square Park lists Within our Lifetime-United for Palestine as calling the protest, which was endorsed by NYU Jewish Voice for Peace, Jews for Palestinian Right of Return, Samidoun, NY 4 Palestine, which includes American Muslims for Palestine, and the International Action Center, Al-Awda, Decolonize This Place, NYU Students for Justice in Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine at the College of Staten Island and Labor for Palestine.There were protests March 31, especially in Tunisia, Turkey and Lebanon. More protests over the new Israeli massacre are expected the first week of April.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

U.S. actions show solidarity with Palestine

U.S. actions show solidarity with Palestine

first_imgEvents around the U.S. expressed solidarity with Palestine during the first two weeks in June. Here is a sampling from WW correspondents.New York CityWithin Our Lifetime/United for Palestine held a community Iftar on June 8, Al-Quds Day, at the Solidarity Center in New York City to celebrate the Palestinian people’s right to resist until return and liberation.AtlantaMore than 100 demonstrators gathered at CNN headquarters in Atlanta for Al-Quds Day. There, they held a rally, with speakers from Christian, Islamic and Jewish organizations as well as secular solidarity groups, including the International Action Center and Jewish Voice for Peace. The rally was followed by a march through downtown Atlanta to Troy Davis (Woodruff) Park, another short rally and then a march back to CNN.A midday protest on June 5 in Milwaukee focused on the Israeli ambassador, who was speaking at the war memorial. The protesters were a multinational group, outraged that the ambassador came to peddle U.S.-Israeli genocidal lies during a luncheon. At the 3-hour protest, which began outside the war memorial building, participants chanted, “Free, free Palestine!” and other slogans loud enough to be heard clearly inside the luncheon. The protesters then moved to where those who attended the luncheon were exiting the parking lot and chanted, “Shame!” for their complicity in the slaughter of Palestinians and in the U.S.-Israeli theft of Palestinian lands. Numerous labor, community, peace and anti-war organizations united to publicize and participate in the protest.Portland, OregonMembers of the Workers World Party Portland, Ore., branch organized a demonstration June 8 in response to the Palestinians’ call for support of their ongoing anti-colonialist struggle. Demonstrators joined an event for housing justice and were given a platform to speak. They condemned the deliberate murders of medic Razan al-Najjar on June 1 and journalist Rachel Corrie on March 16, 2003.Bill Dores, Jimmy Raynor and Joshua Hanks contributed to this article.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

On the picket line

On the picket line

first_imgD.C. transit union refuses to work on Nazi-only trainsAfter neo-Nazis decided to commemorate last year’s Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Va., with an Aug. 12 march this year in Washington, D.C., it was leaked that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority would coddle the Nazis with private cars. But Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 immediately fought back. Local President Jackie Jeter said in a statement, “More than 80% of Local 689’s membership are people of color, the very people that the Ku Klux Klan and other white nationalist groups have killed, harassed and violated. The union will not play a role in their special accommodation.” (Washington Post, Aug. 3) The statement went viral, and WAMATA responded Aug. 4 that it was canceling the special train.But that’s not what happened Aug. 12 between approximately 1:20 and 1:40 p.m. Metro’s management, in conjunction with the police, opened the north entrance of the Vienna station to transport the Unite the Right fascists. The union immediately called out WAMATA for lying to riders and the public: “DC, now you see who was telling the truth about the racist marchers being escorted onto Metro and who lied,” ATU Local 689 tweeted. “[Metro General Manager Paul] Wiedefeld lied to riders and public when the truth was more convenient.” (The Hill, Aug. 12)Workers World expresses solidarity with ATU Local 689 in denouncing this treachery and cheers the local’s resistance.JetBlue pilots sign first contractJetBlue Airways Corp.’s 3,037 pilots approved the first labor contract in the carrier’s history by 74 percent of those voting, announced the Air Line Pilots Association on July 27. The agreement, which took more than three years of negotiations, “provides significant pay increases, improvements to retirement and enhanced working conditions,” said ALPA President Tim Canoll. This is JetBlue’s first labor agreement since its founding in 1998.Meanwhile, the company’s flight attendants voted this spring to join the Transport Workers Union, after two previous attempts failed. “This … is yet another example of the tide turning in America as workers continue to lock arms and fight back to defend their livelihoods,” said TWU President John Samuelsen in an April 17 statement. The inflight members’ bargaining team met June 28 to discuss upcoming contract negotiations, which include job security, a grievance procedure, improved wages and benefits, and “a seat at the table in case of possible merger or acquisition.” (TWU.org, June 28)Window washers protest low pay and benefits, July 18.Chicago window washers win historic raiseAbout 260 Chicago window washers — who struck for over a month after their contract expired June 30 — won a historic 27 percent wage hike! This raises the pay that a seasoned window washer earns from $21 an hour to $26 over the life of the new five-year contract. An essential demand for these high-risk workers was also met: their life insurance was doubled from $50,000 to $100,000. (Chicago Sun Times, July 27) The union overwhelmingly ratified the contract. Washer Cruz Guzman cheered, “We put our livelihood on the line and won the biggest wage increase for Chicago window washers in Local 1 history.”The bosses at Corporate Cleaning and Service 1, two of the six companies that employ the washers in the city’s downtown buildings, tried to beat the mainly Latinx workers down. The companies threatened that they’d go bankrupt, though they enjoy massive tax breaks. But the workers, represented by Service Employees International Local 1, fought back. They dressed up like superheroes and stopped traffic to bring attention to their low wages. (WW, July 10)Disneyland theme park workers win $15 an hour by 2019The 9,700 workers at Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park and Downtown Disney, represented by four labor unions in the Master Services Council, ratified a new contract on July 26. (For background, see Workers World article, May 28.) Disneyland Resort officials agreed to a minimum wage rate increase of 40 percent within two years of the agreement. This will put cast members at $15 per hour by 2019, which will be one of the highest minimum wages in the country and three years ahead of the state’s minimum wage standard.A full-time cast member who currently earns $11 an hour would earn an additional $8,000 per year. Minimum rates for hourly cast members will increase by 20 percent immediately from the current minimum rate of $11 to a new minimum rate of $13.25. Even though Disneyland Resort portrays this precedent-setting agreement as recognizing the value of its cast members, it took a well-organized union fightback campaign of many months to end poverty wages. (DisneylandNews.com, July 29)FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Occupy ICE shuts down ICE in Los Angeles

Occupy ICE shuts down ICE in Los Angeles

first_imgOn Sept. 11, LA cops arrested CJ Fitisemanu (far left) and WWP member John Parker (center) for blocking entrance to Metropolitan Detention Center Almeida, in support of Occupy ICE.Occupy ICE Los Angeles called a protest press conference on Sept. 11 at the Metropolitan Detention Center. The purpose was to bring awareness that the day remembered by many as the anniversary of an “act of terrorism” in the U.S. actually led to the creation of a terrorist organization in 2003 known as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).Sept. 11 was used by the U.S. to fuel more imperialist wars that create the crises and conditions that force people to become immigrants and refugees in the first place. Now ICE kidnaps and incarcerates those very im/migrants.The Occupy ICE LA demands were to close all detention centers, end family separation, and abolish ICE, the police and the Pentagon.Several organizations hosted and supported the press conference, including Humanity First, American Indian Movement SoCal, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Black Lives Matter, Assistance for the Resistance, Puerto Ricans in Action, Union del Barrio, FIRE (Fight for Im/migrants and Refugees Everywhere), Democratic Socialists of America and Workers World Party. The National Lawyers Guild was also present.The people decide: ‘Shut it down!’John Parker of WWP spoke at the press conference on the role of U.S. imperialism in forcing migration, the war that targets Black and Brown people within U.S. borders, and the necessity for people to resist these terroristic policies and close down ICE by any means.After the press conference, attendees collectively decided to take direct action to shut down the ICE facility. First, several banners were used to block the Alameda entrance to stop a Department of Homeland Security van from leaving the facility. Then DHS officers started pushing and throwing people out of the way and into the street, ultimately arresting several people.But the people’s action forced the cops to put the main entrance into lockdown. This, ironically, would later result in three Orange County sheriff’s buses, the cars of some government “employees,” and several DHS vehicles being blocked and denied entry.DHS agent Jason Lynd, who is known for his white nationalist tattoos, and another officer then used their vehicle to drive over and destroy a memorial that had been placed at the Occupy ICE encampment on Aliso Street.Finally, all three entrances were taken by the people. When an escalation occurred between the demonstrators and cops at the Temple Street entrance and DHS staff became more violent, the protesters took direct action, which shut down that entrance entirely. After that, several state agencies got involved, including officers from DHS, Los Angeles Police Department, LA County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Marshals and the Department of Justice.After all entrances to the facility were successfully shut down for a large portion of the day, LAPD arrested CJ Fitisemanu and John Parker.Fitisemanu, who works with Assistance for the Resistance and Humanity First Coalition, later stated: “[I] have been a part of the Abolish ICE actions taking place at the Downtown Metropolitan Detention Center LA (where [the state] holds immigrants trying to seek asylum) for over three months. I feel strongly that our government is practicing unjust and inhumane acts against these families who are seeking asylum. … My wife Lanee Fitisemanu and I feel protesting and going to jail is a small price to pay when there are kids and babies that can’t even speak yet who are being separated from their families and put in cages by companies like GEO Group, which are profiting off human trafficking. We will not be silent and we will not stop until all families are safely together and out of prison!”John Parker said, in part, after his arrest: “Officials working at the Metropolitan Detention Center, the LAPD and whatever government entity was advising these forces, seemed unprepared for the level of militance by activists and their organizations on the day that facility was essentially shut down by midafternoon. … The participants of this demonstration were determined to block all three of the entrances into the Detention Center, in spite of the shoving, even if it meant arrests.“We decided it was time to do something that would stop traffic permanently and force an arrest. So, we simply sat down in front of the driveway. They then amassed about 17 LAPD cops, cops with bean bag guns, then more cops on horseback to be used to surround and intimidate us — still we didn’t move!”This action truly demonstrated the movement chant, “When we fight, we win.” Righteous people’s resistance shut down one of the state’s detention centers in Los Angeles for almost an entire day.A total of four people were arrested during this action. There will be court support for them on Oct. 3. The resistance has inspired plans for more actions, even as Occupy ICE LA continues to hold weekly events.The vow is to continue to fight until ICE and the system that creates these terroristic, fascist forces are abolished.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Oakland teacher unions prepare for action

Oakland teacher unions prepare for action

first_imgJan. 15:  Yesterday 30,000 Los Angeles public school teachers went out on strike. Today teachers will be picketing 1,000 schools in the second-largest school district in the U.S. With the slogan “On strike for our students,” their demands include more nurses, counselors and librarians, smaller class sizes.Jan. 12 — Today, the people’s protest site in downtown Oakland, Oscar Grant Plaza, was red with over 2,000 teachers, educators, students and community activists who came out to support public education. Activists wore red shirts, jackets and armbands to show support for California teachers who are fighting for a living wage and better working conditions. The East Bay Rally for Public Education drew the support of dozens of Bay Area unions and community organizations.Bay Area teachers, students, parents, unions and community organizations rally Jan. 12 in support of growing militancy by California education workers.On Jan. 14, thousands of Los Angeles teachers, members of United Teachers of Los Angeles/California Teachers Association, will go on strike for a living wage, smaller class sizes, funding for public not charter schools and better school funding overall. The Oakland Education Association, the Oakland teachers’ union, is not far behind. On Jan. 11, Oakland teachers participated in school walk-ins to support L.A. teachers. Today’s rally highlighted the demands of L.A., Oakland and all public teachers who are coalescing in a national movement to fund and save public education. The streets of Oakland shook today with chants and songs as hundreds of OEA members, their families and supporters marched from Lake Merritt to the rally site. Hundreds of local unionists, students and the Bay Area progressive community came together there to demand an end to attacks on public education.Due to low wages and worsening conditions in Bay Area schools, there is a serious shortage of public school teachers. Many teachers at today’s demonstration talked about how impossible it is to survive in the Bay Area on their low salary. Teachers in both Los Angeles and Oakland are feeling the impact of the funding cuts on public education. At the same time, school districts are supporting and funding the opening of privatized charter schools. In December, the Oakland Unified School District announced plans to close or consolidate 24 public schools. Although the list of schools to be closed has not yet been made public, community members and OEA teachers have begun to mobilize to save their community schools. Over 150 students, teachers, parents and their supporters from Roots International Academy, a predominantly African-American public school, rallied inside the Jan. 9 Oakland School Board meeting demanding that their school be kept open. Roots families also attended today’s rally and spoke from the stage about the fight to save their school.It is well known and accepted that California “skimps” on education spending. Some studies place California 41st in per-pupil spending and 46th in money spent per student. California, however, ranks first in prison spending. A recent article by EdSource.org, explains that for the last four decades, California simply has not made education a priority. (tinyurl.com/y6w3336c)The state’s failure to prioritize spending for public education, including real cost-of-living increases for teachers and support staff, is a catalyst behind the rapid radicalization of California’s teachers. Several high schools have already organized day-long sick-outs to put pressure on the school board to bargain in good faith. Although the Bay Area is one of the most expensive areas to live in, the school board has refused to offer a cost-of-living increase or to consider a reasonable reduction in class size.Teachers all over the country will be watching the Jan. 14 Los Angeles strike by the second largest teachers’ union in the country. OEA believes that it too will be on strike in the near future. Teachers say the future of public education is at stake.Greenspan is an Oakland public school teacher and a member of the Oakland Education Association.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more