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Workers and oppressed peoples of the world unite!
‘No war on Syria’
By John Parker Los Angeles People of Syrian and Arabic origin from the Los Angeles area led the first demonstration in the U.S. to warn and protest against U.S. intervention in Syria. Hundreds of people gathered June 9 at the Westwood Federal Building in Los Angeles to demand “Hands off Palestine and Syria,” “No U.S. war on Arab lands” and “Money for jobs, not war on Syria.” Many signs were held by people from the Syrian community who support the Syrian government. While there may have been different evaluations of the Syrian government and the peaceful opposition forces in Syria, the main focus of the demonstration was loud and clear: People from the Syrian community, the international community and Arab Americans are overwhelmingly against any U.S. intervention in Syria, as are U.S.-based progressives. Many people held signs reading, “No more Libyas,” referring to the brutal U.S.-coordinated NATO bombing and war against that country. The protest was organized by the Arab Americans for Syria and the International Action Center. The Union of Progressive Iranians also participated in the protest along with anti-war activists. Counterdemonstrators, the overwhelming majority for U.S. intervention in Syria, held the French colonial version of the Syrian flag and images of the U.S. as a red, white and blue eagle under the slogan “Free Syria,” and one man even flew a large Saudi flag. A few times during the rally, counterdemonstrators drove by and spit on protesters. In spite of the sometimes violent tone of the counterdemonstrators, anti-interventionist and anti-imperialist activists were able to drown out their voices with speeches focusing on stopping U.S. war, exposing U.S.-sponsored terrorism in Houla, and messages of solidarity from progressive Iranians who spoke of the danger of the U.S., the U.N. and NATO against their country. Much attention was also given to the reading of a statement from former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark exposing past war crimes by the U.S. and NATO. The protest lasted until 9 p.m., with a silent candlelight vigil dedicated to all the children who’ve died from terrorism in Syria. All at the protest agreed that the U.S. and its allies in the Persian/Arabian Gulf region were responsible for sponsoring much of this terrorism. Everyone agreed — from Syrians to non-Syrian Arab people, to anti-war and pro-Palestine activists — that the worst thing for Syria and its sovereignty would be U.S. intervention. That would threaten the ability of the Syrian people to shape Syria in the manner they desire.
June 21, 2012
Vol. 54, No. 24
SYRIA AND IMPERIALISM’S LIES
ANTI RACIST ACTIVISTS IN COURT
Support the Tinley Park 5
By Caleb T. Maupin Bridgeview, Ill.
June 12 — Members of the International Action Center and Workers World Party from New York City, Wisconsin and Detroit attended a court hearing today of the Tinley Park Five in Bridgeview, Ill. The Five — Jason W. Sutherland, Cody L. Sutherland, Dylan J. Sutherland, Alex R. Stuck and John S. Tucker — allegedly broke up a meeting of white supremacists on May 19 at a restaurant in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park. The Five are represented by a legal team that includes the National Lawyers Guild. The prosecution requested the production of DNA evidence from the Five to be tested to see if it matches the DNA found on a list of alleged weapons, including two “axe-shaped weapons” and “a broken chair leg.” Many Five supporters came to the courtroom. A man wearing a swastika ring was seen trying briefly to enter the courtroom and then leaving abruptly. After the proceedings the attorneys spoke with the press. They commented that no victims have been named by the prosecution as of yet. Arraignment is planned for June 21. Read more on the case on pages 6-7.
Wilmington 10 Carlos Montes wins Fighting fascism
2 3 8
BATTLE TO SAVE HOMES
Mich. evictions fought Occupy Riverdale
‘FREE CECE MCDONALD’
Stonewall Warriors & Workers World Party at Boston Pride. See pages 6-7.
WW PHOTO: STEVE KIRSCHBAUM
‘Hands o Syria!’
LOS ANGELES Hundreds demand
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June 21, 2012
By Dante Strobino Oxford, N.C.
‘Demand pardon for Wilmington 10’
The NAACP National Board of Directors has unanimously passed a resolution calling on Gov. Beverly Perdue of North Carolina to grant full pardons to 10 young people wrongfully imprisoned in Wilmington, N.C., in 1972. The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the state’s NAACP, says that “the National NAACP’s support for full pardons for the Wilmington 10 adds great weight to the growing movement for some measure of justice for these 10 freedom fighters and their families. They were locked up for the best years of their lives because they stood up for the oppressed and marginalized portions of our society.” In 1970, Wilmington’s Black community was still feeling the pain caused by the coup d’etat of 1898, when the White Citizens’ Committee and the Ku Klux Klan declared “White Independence.” During Reconstruction, North Carolina had one of the most successful fusion governments in the South. Black officials were elected to both local and state governments, including nine city offices in Wilmington. But the white supremacists were outraged at losing their complete economic, political and social power over Wilmington. A mob of whites, led by a former Confederate general, invaded Wilmington’s Black section and firebombed many buildings, including the only Black-owned newspaper in the state. They killed at least 11 Black people, wounded 25 more, and chased hundreds of families out of town. The struggle in Wilmington today is also a continuation of the Black freedom struggle of the late 1960s. After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the uprising in Wilmington was reportedly the largest in the South. Then came demands to end racist suspensions and expulsions of Black students and the closing of majority Black public schools. The community struggled for the creation of Black studies programs, Black political power and democratic rights. Many of the state’s Black schools were closed, including Second Ward High School in Charlotte, Mary Potter High School in Oxford and Williston High School in Wilmington. According to “The True Story Behind the Wilmington 10” by Larry Reni Thomas, a former New Hanover High School student in Wilmington, “We had almost daily miniriots in 1970.” One such incident involved an altercation between a white woman and student Roderick Kirby, now known as the Rev. Kojo Nantambu, the current president of the Charlotte NAACP. This ignited more student unrest, resulting in more repression and arrests of Black students. Black students organized a boycott of the public schools to begin on Dr. King’s birthday in January 1971. Another student rebellion happened on Jan. 22, 1971. The early 1970s also saw the re-emergence of the Ku Klux Klan, which often operated in collusion with local police and federal agents. The KKK and a white supremacist group called Rights of White People sent members to Wilmington “to intimidate the moderate white school superintendent — cutting his phone line and hanging him in effigy in his front yard — and to send armed patrols through black neighborhoods.” (News and Observer, May 19) At this point, student and church leaders called on Ben Chavis Jr. of Oxford, N.C., who had led a mass campaign after the racist murder of a young Black Vietnam War veteran. Chavis, then 24, arrived in Wilmington on Feb. 1, 1971, and began organizing high school students. After violent attacks on the protesters by white supremacists, many sought shelter in Gregory Congregational Church. When a white-owned store was firebombed, firefighters who attempted to put out the fire were shot at. Many police returned fire on the church, resulting in over 5,000 bullet holes in its façade. This resulted in a full-on rebellion across Wilmington. Two people were killed and several injured during the battle that night and the next day. On Feb. 8, National Guard troops forced their way into the church, only to find it empty. The Wilmington 10 were young African Americans, all under age 24 and mostly teenagers, and one white woman. All had been active in the movement for racial justice. They were framed up and convicted of conspiracy and arson. A judge sentenced them to a combined 242 years in prison, but they were released on bail as the case went through state and federal appeals courts. Their case garnered worldwide attention. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the case after a key prosecution witness was deemed mentally unstable: he changed his statements to prosecutors at least 15 times before the trial began. (News and Observer, May 19) Fast forward to 2010, when local governments in North Carolina continued their pursuit of segregated schools and began attacking all public services, attacks which disproportionately affect Black and poor people. These issues and many more highlight the need for a massive movement that can challenge the root causes of all these racist, anti-worker practices. Such a movement is being forged by the NAACP in building the Historic Thousands on Jones Street Coalition. The Rev. Kojo Nantambu and the Charlotte NAACP recently challenged the closing of Black schools, resulting in civil disobedience and arrests that slowed down this racist attack. Young people, workers, civil rights leaders, immigrants and others across the state, the U.S. South and the entire country will be marching on Wall Street South in Charlotte prior to the Democratic National Convention, to put a spotlight on this history and the current situation. They are calling on the movement to “Join us in Charlotte on September 2! Join us to demand: Pardon the Wilmington 10! Free all political prisoners! Defend public education and make the banks pay for their crisis!”
this week ...
In the U.S.
‘No war on Syria’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Support the Tinley Park 5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 ‘Demand pardon for Wilmington 10’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Victory for defense in Carlos Montes case . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Homeowners & allies ght to stop evictions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Charges reinstated against Uhuru activist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Post-recall protest attacked by cops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What happened in Wisconsin? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Occupy Riverdale erects blockade to save homes . . . . . . . . 5 Support striking Palermo’s workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 LGBTQ workers & militants take to the streets . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 ‘Free CeCe McDonald!’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Solidarity for Tinley Park Five is ‘humbling’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Detroit meeting highlights CeCe McDonald injustice. . . . . 7 Charles Barron supporters rally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 History proves fascist terror must be fought. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Protest targets racist cops . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Book review by political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. . . . . 10 Facebook, capitalism & repression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Around the world
Quebec struggle continues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Still ghting to free the Cuban Five . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 August conference to defend education as a right . . . . . . . 9 No big shift in French legislative elections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 African Union, Sudan & the ICC . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Behind U.S. & Israel’s cyber warfare on Iran . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Syria: Lies and big lies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Noticias En Español
Sindicalización en ‘Hot and Crusty’. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 La Cumbre Rio + 20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Workers World 55 West 17 Street New York, N.Y. 10011 Phone: 212.627.2994 E-mail: email@example.com Web: www.workers.org Vol. 54, No. 24 • June 21, 2012 Closing date: June 12, 2012 Editor: Deirdre Griswold Technical Editor: Lal Roohk Managing Editors: John Catalinotto, LeiLani Dowell, Leslie Feinberg, Kris Hamel, Monica Moorehead, Gary Wilson West Coast Editor: John Parker Contributing Editors: Abayomi Azikiwe, Greg Butterfield, Jaimeson Champion, G. Dunkel, Fred Goldstein, Teresa Gutierrez, Larry Hales, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Cheryl LaBash, Milt Neidenberg, Bryan G. Pfeifer, Betsey Piette, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Gloria Rubac Technical Staff: Sue Davis, Shelley Ettinger, Bob McCubbin, Maggie Vascassenno Mundo Obrero: Carl Glenn, Teresa Gutierrez, Berta Joubert-Ceci, Donna Lazarus, Michael Martínez, Carlos Vargas Supporter Program: Sue Davis, coordinator Copyright © 2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of articles is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved. Workers World (ISSN-1070-4205) is published weekly except the first week of January by WW Publishers, 55 W. 17 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10011. Phone: 212.627.2994. Subscriptions: One year: $30; institutions: $35. Letters to the editor may be condensed and edited. Articles can be freely reprinted, with credit to Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., New York, NY 10011. Back issues and individual articles are available on microfilm and/or photocopy from University Microfilms International, 300 Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48106. A searchable archive is available on the Web at www.workers.org. A headline digest is available via e-mail subscription. Subscription information is at workers.org/email.php. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10011.
MARXISM, REPARATIONS & the Black Freedom Struggle
An anthology of writings from Workers World newspaper. Edited by Monica Moorehead. Includes: Black & Brown Unity: A Pillar of Struggle for Human Racism, National Oppression Rights and Global Justice! Saladin Muhammad & Self-Determination Larry Holmes Alabama’s Black Belt: Legacy of Slavery, Sharecropping & Segregation Consuela Lee Black Labor from Chattel Slavery to Wage Slavery Sam Marcy Harriet Tubman, Woman Warrior Mumia Abu-Jamal Black Youth: Repression & Resistance Are Conditions Ripe Again Today? Anniversary LeiLani Dowell of the 1965 Watts Rebellion John Parker The Struggle for Socialism Is Key Racism & Poverty in the Delta Larry Hales Monica Moorehead Haiti Needs Reparations, Not Sanctions Pat Chin Available at Amazon.com & bookstores around the country www.workers.org/reparations National O ce 55 W. 17 St. New York, NY 10011 212.627.2994 firstname.lastname@example.org Atlanta P.O. Box 5565 Atlanta, GA 30307 404.627.0185 email@example.com Baltimore c/o Solidarity Center 2011 N. Charles St. Baltimore, MD 21218 443.909.8964 firstname.lastname@example.org Boston 284 Amory St. Boston, MA 02130 617.522.6626 Fax 617.983.3836 email@example.com Bu alo, N.Y. 367 Delaware Ave. Bu alo, NY 14202 716.883.2534 bu firstname.lastname@example.org Chicago 27 N. Wacker Dr. #138 Chicago, IL 60606 email@example.com 312.229.0161 Cleveland P.O. Box 5963 Cleveland, OH 44101 216.738.0320 firstname.lastname@example.org Denver email@example.com Detroit 5920 Second Ave. Detroit, MI 48202 313.459.0777 firstname.lastname@example.org Durham, N.C. 331 W. Main St., Ste. 408 Durham, NC 27701 919.322.9970 email@example.com Houston P.O. Box 3454 Houston, TX 77253-3454 713.503.2633 firstname.lastname@example.org Los Angeles 1905 Rodeo Rd. Los Angeles, CA 90018 email@example.com 323.515.5870 Milwaukee firstname.lastname@example.org Philadelphia P.O. Box 34249 Philadelphia, PA 19101 610.931.2615 email@example.com Pittsburgh firstname.lastname@example.org Rochester, N.Y. 585.436.6458 email@example.com San Diego P.O. Box 33447 San Diego, CA 92163 619.692.0355 firstname.lastname@example.org San Francisco 2940 16th St., #207 San Francisco CA 94103 415.738.4739 email@example.com Tucson, Ariz. firstname.lastname@example.org Washington, D.C. P.O. Box 57300 Washington, DC 20037 email@example.com
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June 21, 2012
Victory for defense in Carlos Montes case
By Scott Sche er Los Angeles The attempted railroading of longtime Chicano, anti-war and immigrant rights leader, Carlos Montes, drew to a close in Los Angeles on June 5 in a victory for the defense. In the end, a plea bargain was accepted that precluded jail time. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression had organized a vigorous defense and support campaign. As a result, hundreds of supporters had come to court appearances, thousands signed petitions to drop the charges, and the district attorney’s phone lines had been flooded by people calling to lodge their protest over this FBI-instigated frame-up. The conviction on just one perjury charge, even if a bitter pill to swallow, stands in stark contrast to what Montes faced: a possible 18 – to 20-year prison sentence had he been convicted on all six of the original felony charges. Montes was sentenced to three years of probation and 180 hours of community service. It was a great accomplishment for the people’s movement to beat back this state vendetta. People founded CSFR originally in response to an FBI campaign that targeted dozens of activists in the Midwest. It’s now known that the FBI had planted an informant and had been working this Cointelpro-style campaign as early as 2008. In 2010, the FBI raided people’s homes and the office of the Anti-War Committee in St. Paul, Minn. CSFR activists knew that the FBI wanted to go after Montes too, because his name appeared on the search warrant used in the raid on the St. Paul office. In May of 2011, a SWAT team of L.A. sheriffs accompanied by FBI agents raided his Alhambra, Calif., home, arrested him and hit him with six felonies related to his ownership of firearms and the permit applications he’d filled out. The role of the FBI has been downplayed by the district attorney’s office in an attempt to depoliticize the case. The trial had been scheduled to begin June 20, but Montes was summoned to court two weeks early with less than a half day’s notice. Legally speaking, Carlos Montes’ defense attorney, Jorge Gonzales, had worked hard and put together the best case possible. But this was a difficult case that was based on the characterization of a 40-year-old arrest in the aftermath of a police assault on a student demonstration for Chicano Studies in 1969. Over time, records had disappeared and memories of the particulars of the original case had faded. If the judge in the current case had declared that evidence showed the old arrest had been for a felony, then the charges against Montes for being a convicted felon and owning a gun could have led to convic-
Carlos Montes, left, with placard.
tions on all charges. Even with all of the good defense work, and although there was a high level of confidence, there was never a breakthrough that anyone thought would guarantee this kind of a victory. It was the people’s mobilization that saved Carlos Montes from a vicious state attack. Forty years of fighting racism, standing against imperialist war, for workers’ rights, defending public education and being a leading organizer in the immigrant rights movement led to
WW PHOTO: SCOTT SCHEFFER
this strong support and helped beat the state’s attack. But the struggle is not over. Twentythree of those who were initially targeted in the Midwest were subpoenaed. They are still bravely refusing to testify before a grand jury. This attack on the movement was a broad one, and the victory will only be complete when all of the subpoenas are withdrawn and the grand jury is dissolved.
Homeowners & allies ght to stop evictions
By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire Detroit Efforts are underway in Metro Detroit to save the homes of Jerome Jackson of Inkster and Jennifer Britt of Rosedale Park. Both cases reveal that the banks and the federal government have not paused in their years-long policy of evicting people from their homes, when they should be entitled to assistance through already existing housing programs. Jackson, who has needed to use a wheelchair since age 14, is waging a campaign with supporters to halt an eviction from his home of a decade. Ten years ago, Jackson was living in an apartment in downtown Detroit when he was convinced by Wayne County Community Living Services that rents were too high and he would be better off purchasing a home. Jackson, whose income is $600 a month, was promised assistance through CLS, PNC Bank and Liberty Tree Housing in order to make payments on a mortgage for the home. The mortgage was $900 a month, only part of which is paid by Jackson. Despite these promises, assistance from the banks and the county government did not happen, and Jackson soon went into default on the mortgage. At present Fannie Mae, a taxpayer-paid and government-owned entity, is attempting to evict him from his home in Inkster. Community organizations and labor activists have come to Jackson’s aid. Members of the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shut-offs; Occupy Detroit; United Auto Workers Local 600; People Before Banks Coalition; and other groups packed the courtroom June 7 at a hearing in 22nd District Court in Inkster and set up a picket line outside. According to a statement issued by attorney Bob Day, Steve Babson of People Before Banks and A. J. Freer of UAW Local 600, “The lender, the builder, CLS and Wayne County all knew and understood that the only way Jerome Jackson could purchase his home was with regular housing support from CLS. Now when CLS decides to stop paying, they all agree that Jerome Jackson should be evicted from his home.” Advocating in court on behalf of Jackson, Day won an adjournment of the eviction proceedings for 60 days in an effort to work out a settlement with the government and the banks. The attorney representing Fannie Mae at the hearing did not object to the adjournment. Earlier that same day, the Wayne County Commission passed a resolution in support of Jackson’s efforts to remain in his home. Keep Jennifer Britt in her home Another egregious action by the financial institutions is the case of Jennifer Britt. A widow, Britt went through a family emergency and the loss of employment and fell behind on her mortgage payments to Flagstar Bank. The bank foreclosed on her home in the Rosedale Park section of Detroit in 2010. The property is now owned by government-controlled Fannie Mae, which carries out many of the evictions in the Detroit area and around the U.S. A statement issued by Britt’s supporters notes: “Jennifer now has a job and could make reasonable mortgage payments if Flagstar and Fannie Mae agreed to work with her. State and federal programs call for mortgage modifications to keep people in their homes. There is no good reason why Jennifer and her family should be evicted, leaving another vacant house in Detroit.” In February, Flagstar was assessed $133 million in fines by the federal government for fraudulent loan practices extending back over a decade. At the same time, the bank has yet to pay back the $267 million bailout it received from the federal government in 2008. On June 16, there will be a demonstration to demand that Britt be allowed to remain in her home. It will take place at the Dearborn Heights Flagstar branch at 26545 Ford Road from 11 a.m. to noon. Moratorium attorney appeals sanctions People’s attorney Vanessa Fluker, one of the foremost lawyers fighting to keep people in their homes, appeared before the Michigan Court of Appeals on June 5 in an effort to overturn sanctions leveled against her by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo. In 2011, Fluker was sanctioned and fined $12,000 for what Colombo said was filing a “frivolous” brief to stall the eviction of a homeowner by CCO Mortgage, a division of the Royal Bank of Scotland. The homeowner sought to examine the relevancy of a racial discrimination complaint brought against the bank and how it related to her case. Jerome Goldberg, who argued before the court on Fluker’s behalf, said that the sanctions were unwarranted and unjustified under Michigan law. Fluker’s supporters packed the courtroom during the hearing before a three-judge panel. A decision has yet to be issued.
Charges reinstated against Uhuru activist
By Terri Kay Oakland, Calif. Felony charges were reinstated June 6 against Uhuru Movement activist, Bakari Olatunji (aka Rickey Clay). Bakari was originally arrested on May 4 at an Oakland Police Department open house. He and other Uhuru activists were attempting to serve a people’s subpoena on Police Chief Howard Jordan. They wanted him to appear at the Court for Black Justice, where they recently put the OPD on trial for genocide against the African-American community. Bakari is facing a felony charge of threatening the police, even though it was the police who attacked him. The InternaAs they searched the room tional People’s Demofor Jordan, several InPDUM cratic Uhuru Movement organizers, including President (InPDUM) had held a Diop Olugbala and local leader press conference to anBakari Olatunji, were immedinounce plans for their ately attacked by the OPD and Court for Black Justice. physically removed from the It was held in front of building. Once outside, Bakari the OPD headquarters. was arrested and taken to jail. They then tried to go He was released, with charges inside to serve their dropped, on May 8. Then, subpoena on Chief JorPHOTO: WISEOLDSNAIL charges were reinstated and dan. At first they were Bakari Olatunji he had an appearance on June blocked from entering, even though it was a public open house. 6. Bakari’s arraignment will be June 20. When Uhuru activists demanded entry in Supporters are asked to pack the courtfront of all the media, the OPD was forced room at the Wiley Manuel County Courtto allow them inside. Chief Jordan, how- house on 7th and Washington in Oakland. For updates, go to uhurunews.com. ever, was nowhere to be found.
June 21, 2012
Post-recall protest attacked by cops
By Tommy Cavanaugh Milwaukee With the recall win of right-wing Gov. Scott Walker on June 5, the capitalist ruling class thought it had finally crushed the opposition and had full reign in Wisconsin. Members of Occupy Milwaukee and numerous other progressive organizations, however, answered on June 6 with a “Keep It in the Streets” rally and march in Milwaukee, while Occupy Madison held a protest at the state Capitol. Organizing for June 6 began weeks before the gubernatorial recall election between Walker and Democrat Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor who was defeated in the recall. A broad range of protesters participated, including those from the immigrant rights movement, the Black freedom struggle, unions, students, and anti-war, community and faith-based organizations. Many called for the need to build a completely independent, grassroots movement and pointed out how Barrett was a banker’s candidate. Protesters made it clear that Walker and the 1% program of cutbacks, austerity, union busting, racism and war will continue to be fought in Wisconsin and beyond. Demands included: Repeal Act 10 — hands off unions and collective bargaining; no cuts to education or Badger Care; restore the Equal Pay Act — end workplace discrimination; tax the 1% — hold the banksters and the 1% accountable for their economic crisis; and stop the cuts that penalize working and oppressed people. Also raised were demands for living-wage jobs and a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions. Gathering at Pere Marquette in downtown Milwaukee, numerous speakers declared the struggle against Walker and the 1% still in motion. After the rally, as protesters stepped off for the one-mile-plus march to their final destination of Zeidler Park, they were attacked by the Milwaukee police on horseback, in vehicles, on bikes and on foot. Cops beat & trample protesters As protesters marched in the streets and on the sidewalks, they were struck with batons and trampled by horses at the cops’ direction. Refusing to back down against the police violence, protesters chanted, “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “This is what a police state looks like!” They continued to march on, despite injuries, four arrests and police attempts to tear banners out of their hands. After making it to Zeidler Park, protesters denounced the police violence and again raised their demands. A diverse speakout took place, with speakers and cultural artists. When Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn came to the park in an attempt to justify the police violence, he was shouted down by protesters chanting “Police protect the 1%!” and other slogans. Protesters began immediately mobilizing to aid the four arrestees by calling the city jail to inquire about their status and then going to the Milwaukee city jail. Three of those arrested — Jacob Glicklitch, a member of the Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association, American Federation of Teachers Local 2169; Paul Freund, of Students for a Democratic Society Milwaukee; and Benjamin Clifford, of Occupy Chicago — were released the morning of June 7 and charged with various municipal citations. The fourth person arrested, Andrew Cox, was held in jail until June 8 and is being charged with a state misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. On June 7, an Occupy Milwaukee press conference at the Milwaukee County Courthouse demanded that Cox be released, all charges against the four be dropped, and police violence must end. The four are fighting the charges with the assistance of the Occupy movement in Wisconsin. Those injured by the police violence on June 6 are pursuing various forms of legal action. Bryan G. Pfeifer, an organizer with the Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, which endorsed and participated in June 6, told Workers World: “June 6 was an important historical moment in Wisconsin. We are inspired by the Egyptian and Greek workers who are fighting back against the bankers who are the real criminals, the ones who have caused the worldwide capitalist economic crisis responsible for so much pain and misery for working and oppressed peoples worldwide. “Here in Wisconsin Scott Walker is attempting to implement Greek-style austerity to make the 1% even richer. We refuse to let this happen. June 6 must be the beginning of a new stage of the people’s uprising and fightback in Wisconsin.” For updates and information on the continuing people’s uprising in Wisconsin, visit www.occupymilwaukee.org and www.wibailoutpeople.org.
What happened in Wisconsin?
By Stephen Millies If Wisconsin’s recall election had been held a year ago instead of this June 5, Gov. Scott Walker would have been toast. Fifty-eight percent of adults wanted to kick out this unionbuster, according to a St. Norbert College/Wisconsin Public Radio poll conducted in November 2011. Yet seven months later, Walker kept his job with a 172,000-vote margin over his Democratic opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. What happened? When Walker announced his antiunion bill on Feb. 11, 2011, thousands of people went to the state Capitol in Madison and occupied it for 17 days until they were locked out. Walker’s Act 10 prohibits public employee unions from bargaining over anything except their base pay. Any other issue — like health insurance — can’t even be discussed. “Limited-term employees” aren’t allowed health insurance or retirement benefits. Wages can’t rise above the inflation rate, unless a referendum is held. Workers’ pensions were cut and deductions for health care jacked up. Meanwhile, the state refuses to deduct union dues. Just to retain these limited bargaining rights, public unions will have to undergo yearly elections to represent workers. Workers and their supporters were outraged at this power grab in Wisconsin — the first state to establish collective bargaining with public workers in 1959. At least 100,000 union supporters demonstrated at the Capitol on Feb. 19, outnumbering a Tea Party rally more than 50 to 1. Despite a snowstorm, 150,000 protesters came to the Capitol again a week later on Feb. 26. One of the organizers of these historic protests was Gilbert Johnson, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 82 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and also a member of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the A. Philip Randolph Institute. Many workers in Wisconsin were inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. “Fight like an Egyptian” was a popular slogan. Working people around the world were inspired by the Wisconsin fightback. Dock workers in the International Longshore and Warehouse Union shut down the San Francisco and Oakland ports in solidarity on April 4, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. “This was Wisconsin on the docks,” said ILWU member Clarence Thomas. Messages of solidarity to Wisconsin came from Egyptian unions and Bangladesh’s Garment Workers Federation. How to continue the struggle? It was only because of this mass outrage that Democratic state senators went into exile and temporarily prevented a vote on Act 10. But Walker rammed it through the state legislature anyway. Walker signed this bill on March 11, 2011. The next day a crowd estimated by the AFL-CIO at 185,000 went to Madison to demonstrate. Among them were thousands of farmers who drove their tractors around the Capitol. That’s how popular this fightback was. Walker was forced to cut out a provision that would have allowed a fire sale of 37 state-owned power and heating plants without any competitive bidding. The billionaire Koch brothers, big campaign contributors to Walker, had to say they weren’t buying them. Ohio Gov. John Kasich pushed through a similar union-busting bill, called SB 5. But Ohio law allows a referendum to overturn laws. Despite millions spent to support SB 5, it was buried at the polls by a 22-point margin of almost 800,000 votes. There’s no reason to believe that Walker’s Act 10 wouldn’t have been similarly defeated. But Wisconsin only allows statewide referendums on amendments to its constitution. Union members and community activists discussed how to continue the struggle. The 45,000-member South Central Federation of Labor, based in Madison, unanimously passed a resolution to prepare for a general strike. A statewide “labor holiday” would have been a powerful answer to Walker and the billionaires. But this militant workers’ struggle was hijacked by Democratic Party officials and turned into a recall election. Tens of thousands of union members and activists were encouraged by politicians and union officials to put their efforts into collecting a million signatures, often in the snow. More than 1 out of 6 Wisconsinites signed it. The Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement supported this effort. With all the hard work that went into it, this recall campaign had severe limitations. The million signatures collected should have been sufficient to evict Walker from the governor’s mansion. Instead it set up a rematch between Walker and his 2010 opponent, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett. Most unions had endorsed Kathleen Falk, the former Dane County Executive. But she was defeated in the Democratic primary. Barrett, who came to City Hall by defeating Marvin Pratt, Milwaukee’s only Black mayor, never focused on Walker’s union busting. For many workers who had been in the streets fighting the governor’s union-busting drive, voting for Barrett didn’t present any real alternative. It just moved the struggle into an arena stacked against the working class and dominated by big money. The recall was reminiscent of many organizing drives. Despite a union signing up a majority of workers, bosses eke out a victory by delaying a representational election and wearing down the workers. That’s what Walker did — aided by at least $30 million in contributions from the 1%. The recall election occurred more than a year after people had flooded the streets of Madison. Elections always lag behind the class struggle. Harry Bridges, who helped found the ILWU, led the magnificent San Francisco general strike in the spring of 1934. A few months later, California Gov. Frank Merriam, who tried to smash the strike, defeated the ex-socialist Upton Sinclair by 259,000 votes. Yet Merriam’s victory didn’t stop the
labor upsurge of the 1930s. After all the work that went into the recall, many union members probably feel terrible and even betrayed by their neighbors. The worst enemies of working and poor people are claiming the Wisconsin results are a mandate for more attacks. Yet there were 480,000 fewer votes in the recall than in the 2008 presidential election in Wisconsin. Walker lost Milwaukee County, where he had been the county executive for eight years, by more than 106,000 votes and 26 percentage points. Mahlon Mitchell, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin, was defeated in the race for lieutenant governor. Nevertheless, it was a defeat for racism that Mitchell, who is African-American, got 1.2 million votes in a state that is 90 percent white. That’s why Wisconsin was chosen by the “banksters” — read financial gangsters — for this anti-union drive. Walker’s biggest ally was racism. The Census Bureau rated the Milwaukee metropolitan area as the country’s most segregated in 2010. Because of Walker’s cuts, hundreds of teachers have been fired in Milwaukee, where 87 percent of the enrollment is students of color. Tommy Thompson won four terms as Wisconsin’s governor by beating up on poor people. Instead of the mothers on welfare and their children whom Thompson beat up, it’s public workers who are now being demonized. Mitt Romney, after all, declared the country doesn’t need any more teachers. White workers under attack in Wausau, Marshfield or Green Bay should know that Black voters in Milwaukee voted 99 to 1 against the union-buster Walker. Menominee County, where the vast majority belong to the Menominee Nation, had the biggest percentage margin against Walker. The recall election was just one battle in the long war against capitalism’s 1%. Lessons learned from that battle will help the working class further develop the solidarity and unity needed to fight and win the many battles that lie ahead.
June 21, 2012
Struggle vs. Aqua America/PVR
By Betsey Piette Philadelphia Dozens of residents of the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, Pa. — along with nearly 70 supporters, including Occupy Wall Street activists — set up a huge blockade on June 1 to keep Aqua America/Penn Virginia Resources from destroying what remains of their community. The company had planned to start construction of a water pumping facility that day. With no advance notice to residents, the Aqua America/PVR consortium purchased the park in late March. The utility corporation planned to build a pumping facility on the site to withdraw 3 million gallons of fresh water daily from the adjacent Susquehanna River to sell to natural gas drillers for use in hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking. Aqua America/PVR has been actively lobbying on behalf of fracking extraction of natural gas. It is the second-largest, U.S.-based, publicly traded utility company. Aqua America’s CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis was a former head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources as well as director of Exelon Energy, a major player in both nuclear energy and the natural gas industry. Riverdale residents — members of a tightly knit working-class community — were ordered to leave by May 1. Aqua offered a $2,500 relocation “incentive,” even though the cost to move a mobile home ranges from $6,000 to $11,000. Under pressure, the company extended the deadline to June 1. The giant utility corporation may have assumed that because most Riverdale residents were low-income and working class they would not have the funds to hire lawyers to fight the evictions. However, Aqua did not count on the resolve and resistance from these workers determined to fight to save their homes.
Occupy Riverdale erects blockade to save homes
fracking community as well as OWS has been carried out through Twitter, Flickr, Livestream media and other social networks. The RagingChickenPress, left/progressive media based in Kutztown, Pa., has provided day-by-day updates. On June 5, Riverdale residents met with Aqua to negotiate the demand that the company allow them to remain in their homes. They are also demanding that the corporation adequately compensate displaced residents and acknowledge the right of return for those who left but want to come back. Occupy Philly protesters gathered outside the mansion of Aqua CEO Debenedictis in Ardmore, Pa., on June 9. Signs were hung on the mansion gates, and demonstrators went door-to-door visiting DeBenedictis’ neighbors to explain why they were there. Supporters are urged to call Aqua America’s corporate headquarters in Bryn Mawr, Pa., at 610-527-8000 to let them know that displacing Riverdale residents is unacceptable. For more information on Occupy Riverdale, visit saveriverdale.com.
Occupy activists outside Agua America executive’s mansion in Ardmore, just outside Philadelphia.
WW PHOTO: JOE PIETTE
‘We shall not be moved!’ While most of the families that called Riverdale home had already moved, 11 families — including children — refused to be evicted after seeing the dislocation of about 26 families who have not yet been compensated for their expenses. The protesting families were quickly joined by former residents, people from Occupy Wall Street and anti-fracking activists from as far away as Massachusetts and Ohio. Many questioned why an entire community had to be displaced for Aqua to build a single pumping station. Others raised opposition to the removal of massive quantities of river water, a public resource, for the profit of one corporation. Occupy Riverdale is taking on both of these concerns. One resident, who drives a truck for the drilling industry, went on his CB radio to explain the situation to other frack truck drivers who pass the site at an estimated rate of one per 30 seconds. When the residents’ original barricade signs were mowed down by the former owner of the site on June 7, activists re-
placed them with hand-painted message boards constructed from abandoned trailers. One sign read, “We are truck drivers, school bus drivers, pipe fitters, postal workers, mothers, veterans... .” Direct appeal to the broader anti-
Support striking Palermo’s workers
Strike supporters target pizza company.
WW PHOTO: BRYAN G. PFEIFER
Special to Workers World Milwaukee Over 150 workers at Palermo’s Pizza Company in Milwaukee are now entering their second week on strike. Members of the Palermo’s Workers Union, most of whom are Latino/a workers, have petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for a union election. It has scheduled a secret ballot election for July 6. “Soon after union organizing efforts began, the frozen pizza company began its anti-union campaign, threatening workers with termination and immigration audits,” stated the Milwaukee-based immigrant rights organization Voces de la Frontera, which is assisting the union, in a June 9 statement. “Management issued letters to a group of employees indicating they must re-verify their immigration status or be terminated by today. [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] then sent a letter indicating there was a stay on any actions. “Workers are demanding that Palermo’s immediately reinstate striking workers who were fired through the company’s hiring of replacement workers and generating ‘resignation’ letters on behalf of the strikers. Workers are also demanding that the company immediately stop hiring replacement workers.” Roberto Silva, a worker on strike at Palermo’s, said, “By standing together in a strong show of solidarity on the picket line and online, and by highlighting the pattern of retaliation and unsafe conditions workers have been subjected to at the workplace, we hope we can end Palermo’s unlawful intimidation campaign
Quebec struggle continues
Semi-nude youth demand end to tuition hikes, confront police
By G. Dunkel Demanding transparency in government, 3,000 mostly young people marched in the third nude protest since the struggle against the tuition hikes in Quebec began over three months ago. They aimed this protest at Montreal’s holding a gala for the Formula 1 race that generally brings 300,000 tourists to Montreal for the weekend. Some 39 people were arrested by cops using tear gas, pepper spray and batons. Montreal police spokesperson Ian Lafreniere claimed most arrests occurred because “police had reason to believe they were preparing to commit crimes and damage property.” (Russian Television, June 8). Protesters told reporters they went half-naked to emphasize their demand that the government be as transparent in negotiations as they are in the streets. One striking picture that is circulating on the French-language blogs in Quebec shows a half-nude young woman with the message: “Have I caught your attention? Negotiate!” written on her chest, standing arm-in-arm with a young woman in a hijab while another woman in a hijab takes their picture. The consecutive nightly demonstrations, now up to number 49, are continuing. Now, they are generally drawing hundreds of protesters rather than the thousands when the protests began. But they still keep the pressure on. Montreal is a big tourist destination in the summer, and some of its biggest attractions — Just for Laughs and the Jazz Festival — are seeing signs that attendance will be down significantly. Small businesses in the tourist sector are seeing an average drop in revenue of over $12,000. (The Gazette, June 7) The Charest government is opening up negotiations on June 15 with the teachers and staff in the institutions affected by the student strike. It is unclear what effect Special Law 78 will have on these workers’ rights. This legislative anti-strike attack “provides for fines of between $1,000 and $5,000 for any individual who prevents someone from entering an educational institution. The penalties climb to between $7,000 and $35,000 for a student leader and to between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations. In all cases, the fines will double for repeat offenders.” (Canadian Press, May 18)
and ultimately form a union.” In less than 24 hours an online petition began circulating and immediately garnered nearly 1,000 signatures of Wisconsinites and others, who are calling on Palermo’s to stop intimidating and firing workers for forming a union. Local activists are pledging to stop purchasing Palermo’s products until workers’ rights are protected. A strike fund has been started to help the workers recoup lost income during the labor dispute. A “Support Striking Palermo’s Workers” Facebook page was created. Other unions and community organizations are supporting the Palermo’s workers’ strike. These include American Federation of Teachers Locals 212 (Milwaukee Area Technical College-Milwaukee) and 2169 (Milwaukee Graduate Assistants Association), Steelworkers, Service Employees union, Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals Local 5011 (Sheboygan, Wis.), Industrial Workers of the World Branch 560 (Madison, Wis.), Occupy Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement. Riverwest Cooperative Grocery Store, located in the Riverwest neighborhood in Milwaukee, is the first business to officially declare a boycott of Palermo’s Pizza in their store. (theuptake.org) To find out how to support the striking Palermo’s workers, go to Voces de la Frontera’s website vdlf.org or call 414218-3331.
June 21, 2012
PRIDE UNIT Y FIGH TBA
By Gerry Scoppettuolo Boston Ever since the Los Angeles Compton Cafeteria and New York City Stonewall rebellions of the 1960s, Pride marches have brought lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, and their friends and supporters into the streets in the month of June, and in some areas in July or August, to honor and carry on the traditions of struggle. The commercialization and corporatization of Pride over the years has not been able to dim the essential spirit of fightback. That spirit was on full display in the Boston Pride march on June 9. Wellorganized and forceful contingents representing Free CeCe McDonald, ACT UP Boston, Local 26 of UNITE HERE, the Stonewall Warriors and the Anarcho Queer Bloc marched one after the other through the streets, passing hundreds of thousands of onlookers. These contingents consciously planned and organized to march together in a spirit of unity and militancy. They did not march to elect sellout Democrats to office. They did not march to advertise beer, luxury gay vacations or the Bank of America. The workers, unemployed and youth who took to the streets were there to raise up and organize around life-anddeath issues that face the most oppressed among us. Chants of “Free CeCe McDonald!” boomed from the open microphone of the Stonewall Warriors float, which led the contingents. McDonald had just been sentenced to 41 months in prison for fighting back in self-defense against a gang of openly fascist thugs just over a year ago in Minneapolis. The trans community and other supporters have been galvanized in defense of McDonald in recent months all over the U.S. Acclaimed trans activist and author Leslie Feinberg was arrested last week in Minneapolis for demonstrating support for McDonald and was released from jail just two days before Boston Pride. Stonewall means Fight Back! Members of the newly reorganized ACT UP Boston raised high their banners as well, their placards demanding: “Tax Wall Street! ACT UP! Fight Back! Fight AIDS!” More than 1,000 people living with HIV are homeless in eastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, and ACT UP Boston is planning direct action to demand affordable housing. Many marchers carried placards for Pvt. Bradley Manning, who is on trial in a military court for allegedly revealing the Pentagon’s war crimes in Iraq. Others carried signs for Tarek Mehanna, a 29-yearold Egyptian man from Stoughton, Mass., who was wrongly charged with terrorism in federal court after refusing to partici-
LGBTQ workers & militants take to th
pate in a violent action by undercover FBI “sting” agents. The largest contingent numerically was that of the hotel and restaurant workers of UNITE HERE Local 26. Their members, one after the other, took the Stonewall Warriors’ microphone to proclaim their recent union victories. The union and its student and community supporters recently won a resounding election
Leslie Feinberg upon release from jail:
victory for Northeastern University cafeteria workers by an unheard-of majority vote of 299-46! The national union has organized its locals to march in Pride every year across the country as part of the LGBT/Labor “Sleep With the Right People” campaign, which urges the communities to boycott hotels where there is an organizing campaign or a strike. This effort was initiated several years ago by Harvey Milk colleague and AIDS Quilt originator, Cleve Jones.
‘Free CeCe McDonald!’
By Kris Hamel Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a 24-year-old African-American transgender woman from Minneapolis, was sentenced June 4 to 41 months in prison for defending herself against a brutal attack by neofascists who verbally and physically assaulted McDonald and her friends outside a bar in June 2011. McDonald, who courageously defended herself and her friends against anti-trans, anti-woman, racist slurs and violence, was the only one arrested, charged and jailed at the time. Protesters came out in downtown Minneapolis the evening of McDonald’s sentencing, on the eve of her transfer to the state prison system, and took to the streets to hold a “noise” demonstration in solidarity with McDonald and to demand her immediate freedom. Leslie Feinberg, an award-winning author, transgender lesbian and beloved people’s warrior, was the only person arrested during the protest. Feinberg, who has publicly acknowledged that she is very ill with advanced Lyme disease, was held without bond for three nights in the Minneapolis jail and faced felony charges of property damage for allegedly spray painting “Free CeCe” on the outside walls of the county jail. Because of a flood of outrage in the form of calls and emails to the prosecutor’s office, Feinberg’s arraignment and bail hearing were adjourned several times and finally cancelled. The felony charge was dismissed and Feinberg was
The Tinley Park Five are anti-racist fighters who are still incarcerated in the infamous Cook County Jail in Chicago. Jason W. Sutherland, Cody L. Sutherland, Dylan J. Sutherland, Alex R. Stuck and John S. Tucker, all from Indiana, were arrested on felony charges on May 19 for allegedly physically confronting white supremacists meeting at a restaurant in Tinley Park, a suburb near Chicago. The combined bail for the Five is almost $1 million. Their arraignment is scheduled for June 12 at the Bridgeview Courthouse in Bridgeview, Ill. On June 8, WW managing editor Monica Moorehead interviewed Telly, from the Hoosiers Anti-Racist Movement community, about the Five and political issues related to the case. HARM is in the forefront of building solidarity with the Five. Go to tinleyparkfive. wordpress.com for more information on the case. Read more of this interview at workers.org. Workers World: What is your relationship to the Hoosiers Anti-Racist Movement? Telly: I’m a founding member of the Hoosiers Anti-Racist Movement and I’m personal friends with all five of the defendants in the Tinley Park Five case. HARM is a decentralized network of antifascist groups in the state of Indiana. It has connections and allegiance with the Anti-Racist Action network, but it’s its
Above, Leslie Feinberg after arrest on June 4. Left, CeCe McDonald.
released from jail. On June 8, Feinberg issued a statement, which reads in part: “The power of the people: felony charge dismissed before court hearing! “The felony charge I faced was dismissed before court hearing this a.m. I may be recharged within weeks — or within the next three years — on misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor charges. “If a month passes and I have not been recharged, … I will plan a trip here to South Minneapolis in order to take part in fundraising for CeCe and to offer our thanks to the ongoing work of the activist communities here. ‘It’s about freeing CeCe!’ “For media interviews, and other information about CeCe McDonald’s struggle,
please contact her defense committee — not me. As I wrote in the media statement after my release from the county jail: ‘This arrest is not about me. It’s about keeping the focus on CeCe McDonald’s struggle!’ “If/when the state summons me back to Minnesota on new charges, I would demand a jury trial and use every court appearance to help keep the focus on the struggle for CeCe’s freedom. “Over the summer, I plan to write a new introduction to the 20th-anniversary author’s edition of ‘Stone Butch Blues,’ which I drafted while inside the same jail that CeCe was being held in before transfer upstate. “The prosecution wants the struggle to free CeCe to be over. But it’s far from over! “FREE CECE!” For information on the struggle to free McDonald, go to supportcece.wordpress. com or join the “FreeCece McDonald” page on Facebook.
June 21, 2012
C K S O L I DA R I T Y P R I D E
No to racist violence, anti-LGBTQ bigotry
he streets Detroit meeting highlights
CeCe McDonald injustice
By WW Detroit bureau On June 9, the Detroit branch of Workers World Party held a forum on “Bigotry, violence and the capitalist state: the double standard of the 1%.” The meeting, held during the month of Lesbian/Gay/Bi/ Trans/Queer Pride, paid special attention to the case of Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald. Three speakers, all leaders of Detroit WWP and writers for this paper, addressed the current and historical context in which this obvious double standard of justice is applied on a routine basis. “For LGBTQ people, state repression dates at least as far back to 1533, when England’s King Henry VIII instituted laws against ‘buggery,’” explained lesbian labor activist Martha Grevatt. “Private sexual acts were punished by hanging as late as 1821. Here [in what became the U.S.] persecution of LGBTQ people did not exist before the European conquest. In Virginia, Thomas Jefferson opposed execution, proposing castration for men and nasal mutilation for women. “Anti-sodomy laws were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1986 Hardwick decision, which involved two Georgia gay men arrested in their home. The high court finally reversed Hardwick in 2003 in Lawrence vs. Texas — again two men were arrested for a private act. There were still 14 states that still had anti-LGBTQ
and: ‘Free CeCe!’ KIRSCHBAUM rs and WWP dem WW PHOTO: STE VE Stonewall Warrio
WW PHOTO: STEVE KIRSCHBUAM
The spirited Anarcho Queer Bloc organized dozens of their numbers from Occupy Boston and elsewhere in a rousing rebuke to assimilationists, gay and straight monied forces and, above all, the bourgeoisie. They and Workers World Party Boston proudly carried banners for CeCe McDonald with revolutionary commitment and homage worthy of the sacrifice of the first Stonewall combatants, true leaders in the struggle for LGBTQ liberation such as Sylvia Rivera and Marsha Johnson.
laws; the penalty in Idaho was five years to life [in prison] and in Michigan 15 years for the first offense, life for the second. “A majority of states have amended their constitutions to prohibit same-sex marriage. State bigotry encourages hate crimes against the LGBTQ community,” Grevatt concluded. Kris Hamel, a Workers World managing editor who has written on CeCe McDonald’s struggle, gave an update and talked about the importance of the case. McDonald is a young Black trans woman who was imprisoned for defending herself against white bigots. “Originally charged with second-degree felony murder and facing a possible sentence of over 40 years in prison, CeCe agreed to the prosecution’s offer of pleading guilty to a reduced charge of seconddegree manslaughter, with a prison term of 41 months,” reported Hamel.
“This was not an admission of guilt, or to say that CeCe had no right to defend herself. Every day across the U.S. thousands of oppressed people are forced to accept reduced time in prison for crimes they did not commit instead of risking a racist, sexist and/or anti-LGBTQ judge and jury that could sentence them to decades of incarceration. “CeCe was sentenced on June 4 to 41 months in prison. As she begins to serve out her sentence for defending herself against racist and trans-hating thugs, the movement must grow to spread the word about this outrage and to demand her freedom.” The final speaker, Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, addressed the racism of the capitalist state. “First we must reaffirm that, within the capitalist system under which we live, the Continued on page 10
ghter tells WW
for Tinley Park Five is ‘humbling’
own thing. One of the main things that’s being portrayed about us in the press is that we’re purely a direct action group, which is not at all the case. We do have a number of people that are willing to participate in direct action, but we have even more people that are in it to do education and to raise money for solidarity actions, and just to build community. HARM really isn’t as much of an organization as it is just a community of people that have “Anti-Racist” as the title, but unlike some other groups, our focus is not just on racism. We also oppose heterosexism, transphobia, Islamophobia. We’re a pro-equality group, and we’re really trying to fight a lot of different things that are going on in the state of Indiana. We see cases where people of color or more vulnerable populations are just completely denied their right to defend themselves. And so we feel like building solidarity with those groups is very important to everything that we’re about. Indiana has a really racist history and it also has a really anti-racist history. There’s been a struggle going on there for over 100 years. The south of Indiana especially was not real happy about being part of the north. There’s a lot of tension over that. However, it was also one of the main channels of the Underground Railroad. So into the 1920s and 1930s, the KKK dominated Indiana politics. There were street battles in the streets of Indianapolis over some of that stuff. This isn’t anything new. Our organization might be new, but this is a struggle that’s been going on in Indiana especially for over 100 years now. WW: Can you talk a little bit about the connections between the significance of the Tinley Five case to what’s going on worldwide? Telly: Usually fascism thrives in an economically depressed environment. That’s just been a historical fact, whether you’re looking at Germany or Italy. It’s usually when people are poor and looking for a scapegoat that xenophobia, racism really starts to organize to suppress workers’ rights and to basically advance fascism as opposed to just capitalism. A lot of people see people who dress up in Nazi uniforms and actually speak on Stormfront … they see them as a fringe element. And to a certain extent they are. Most people are not as explicit about their racism and their anti-Semitism; most people are a little more subtle about it. I mean, Fox News walks that line every day. But a lot of things people aren’t aware of, is people like J. T. [Jason Todd – WW] Ready, who just recently went on a murder-suicide spree in Arizona [and] had direct ties to Russell Pearce, who is the legislator who passed the SB1070 bill. If you look at Greece right now, the neo-Nazi party just got, I think, about a dozen or so seats in parliament. They’re not even trying to walk any line. One of their parliament members just assaulted a woman that was voicing opposition on a talk show — assaulted her in the middle of an interview on TV. So it’s a growing movement. It’s getting more popular and it’s pulling more people in. WW: With the Tinley Park Five, have you gotten a lot of support from the left? Telly: I find it very interesting that the Southern Poverty Law Center claims that [militant actions—WW] are counterproductive to the efforts against fascism while their own website admits that the number of fascist groups in the United States has increased 20-, 25-fold over the last 10 to 15 years. I have been a little surprised, if you move a little further left on the spectrum, with the amount of the attention that we’ve got in a positive light from you guys [WW], from the anarchist community, from anti-fascists all over the world [who] are contacting us, writing us letters, asking how they can set up a HARM in their area. The idea that people who have never met us are willing to risk life and limb just to show solidarity is the fuel that has gotten us through this, cause it’s been really stressful on the jail support … not on just doing the jail support, but also filtering through … for every email I get that’s like I need to read this, I have to read 15 other emails threatening to kill me and my family and or the Five’s families. WW: Why is solidarity so significant, especially in this case? Telly: The solidarity aspect of this has just been absolutely humbling. It’s to me, before all this happened, like jail solidarity meant retweeting some links. It meant sharing a post on Facebook. I was in Indiana not long ago and there was a strange incident where a car drove by the house and took some pictures, then drove away and then stopped right down the block and just sat there for like 10 minutes. So we’re all armed in Indiana. We’re sitting there stressed out. The mailman comes, and what kinda eased the stress is I opened a letter, and there’s a check for $100 from an anarchist group in a different city that we’ve never heard of. And that’s what keeps us going. In Indiana you can feel pretty isolated when you’re on an anti-fascist tip, so I can’t stress enough how important the solidarity that we have seen from other people has been. Not just us but also to those inside [the Tinley Park Five — WW], when we talk to them, we say, “Guess what happened?” And it’s what’s keeping them in a positive mood and in a good mindset. It’s what’s keeping us from turning on each other and getting paranoid and losing our heads over it. I just can’t stress enough how meaningful that is to both the jail support, the families and to the Tinley Park Five.
June 21, 2012
Charles Barron supporters rally
A special event — “Activists want Charles Barron in Congress” — was held at the Solidarity Center in New York City June 8. Barron, a city councilperson, is running for U.S. Representative for Brooklyn’s 8th Congressional District. The primary election takes place June 26. Barron is a former Black Panther who continues to connect with many sectors of the progressive movement. He has marched alongside oppressed activists and Occupy Wall Street in the fight against poverty, budget cuts, foreclosures, racial profiling like stop-and-frisk, police brutality, the prison-industrial complex, and all forms of injustice at home and abroad. Barron recently won the endorsement of District Council 37, the city’s largest public employee union, representing 125,000 members and 50,000 retirees, and the well-respected Black-oriented Amsterdam News. International Action Center CoCoordinator Larry Holmes, who emceed the special event, stated that if Barron wins the election, the movement will have an important radical and ally in Congress. Out of the 535 seats in both the House and Senate, only 42 are held by people of color, according to Barron. To learn more about and to help with Barron’s campaign, go to charlesbarronforcongress.com. — Monica Moorehead
Charles Barron, center, with supporters, June 8.
WW PHOTO: BRENDA RYAN
A revolutionary youth’s perspective
History proves fascist terror must be fought
By Caleb T. Maupin The ugly killing of Trayvon Martin, the campaign of anti-immigrant terror in Arizona, the racist killing spree in Tulsa, Okla., and the recent barrage of public appearances by the Ku Klux Klan have left many progressive people wondering what should be done. It is clear that some kind of action must be taken against this campaign of racist violence. The U.S. government, run by Wall Street bankers who use racism to divide the working class and hold on to power, has proved numerous times that it will not halt fascist terror and defend oppressed people. Only independent mobilizations of the people can counter fascist terror. During the horror of Jim Crow segregation, the U.S. Congress refused to halt the horrific crime of lynching. Between 1882 and 1968, more than 200 anti-lynching bills were proposed before Congress by liberals and anti-racists. Sometimes these bills were supported even by right-wing representatives, who simply were not content with the normalization and acceptance of extralegal violence. Yet none of these bills became law and the lynch mobs continued. The Smith Act of 1940 was used to imprison 18 leaders of the Socialist Workers Party during World War II and many members of the Communist Party later on. Yet the Great Sedition Trial of 1944, the only attempt to prosecute Nazi sympathizers under this law, ended in a mistrial. Even while the U.S. was at war with Hitler’s government, the federal courts could not manage to convict open Nazi supporters. Members of the Klan and the American Nazi Party shot to death five members of the Communist Workers Party in Greensboro, N.C., in 1979 in broad daylight. Their actions were recorded on film. The records show that the local police department had infiltrated the Klan and knew long in advance what was planned. Sixteen Klan and Nazi members were arrested; five were charged with murder. They all were acquitted by all-white juries. The Justice Department of the “liberal” Carter administration refused to bring federal charges. Anti-NATO activists currently face trumped-up terrorism charges for possessing beer-making kits. Yet the racist, anti-immigrant Minutemen patrol the U.S.-Mexico border openly carrying firearms. Brutal Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio identifies with the anti-immigrant fascists and has posed for photographs with neoNazis. The Internet activist group “Anonymous” has revealed that demagogic presidential candidate Ron Paul has frequent face-to-face meetings with a white supremacist. Oppressed people and their allies cannot, and must not be expected to depend on the Wall Street-run, racist government to protect them. Sam Marcy, founder of Workers World Party, wrote a groundbreaking book entitled, “The Klan and the Government: Foes or Allies?” explaining this to the progressive movement in the 1980s. Marcy argued: “The fascist menace cannot be legislated out of existence. The employment of legal, judicial and other methods in the struggle against fascism is necessary and often indispensable as a prerequisite to winning the broadest sections of the masses. But reliance upon the capitalist state to effectuate political measures directed against the threat of fascism is a hopeless, deadly illusion. “Nowhere, and at no time, has a capitalist government ever effectuated legislation clearly directed against fascism and proscribed existing fascist organizations without at the same time also limiting and proscribing the existence of revolutionary, working-class organizations. “The general tendency of capitalist legislation against fascist organizations generally comes down to banning ‘subversive organizations in general,’ which is an umbrella formula to prohibit progressive working-class and revolutionary organizations while at the same time protecting and defending the right-wing and fascist organizations.” Working-class resistance to fascism Self-defense against fascist terror that does not ask for the government’s permission has a long and honorable history in the U.S. and around the world. Robert F. Williams, Mae Mallory and the Deacons for Defense and Justice organized armed self-defense against the Klan. The Teamsters union in Minneapolis repelled fascist attacks from the “Silver Legion of America” by forming armed Workers Defense Guards. Youth Against War & Fascism, the youth wing of Workers World Party in the 1960s and 1970s, held its first demonstration against George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the U.S. neo-Nazi movement, who cancelled his New York appearance when 1,000 protesters showed up. YAWF also disrupted meetings of racist demagogue George Wallace with mass mobilizations. In Boston, YAWF defended African-American school children from racist anti-busing mobs. The united actions of the working class have defeated fascism countless times. In 1936 in London’s East End, the British Union of Fascists, similar to the modern British National Party, was shut down by a mobilization of 300,000 anti-fascists before it could march through a Jewish neighborhood. This was called the Battle of Cable Street. Workers of English, Irish, Jewish, African and Southeast Asian descent together halted the fascist parade, proclaiming “They shall not pass!” The Tinley Park Five, heroic anti-racists who allegedly shut down a neo-Nazi meeting in a suburb of Chicago during the lead up to the recent NATO summit, must be defended. Workers World Party demands that all charges against them be dropped and calls for all sections of the movement to defend them. Self-defense against fascist terror is the right of oppressed people and their allies, no matter what form it takes. This must be a principle of unity for all who struggle against fascism.
Protest targets racist cops
“Stop Stop and Frisk!” was one of the chants at a march and rally in Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood on June 9. The action was called by Black and Latina women in Mothers Resisting Racist Policing and supported by Occupy Wall Street’s Stop-and-Frisk Working Group. Almost one-third of Brownsville residents — mostly oppressed people — experienced the cops’ racist stop-and-frisk practice last year. Protesters marched and rallied in front of the entrance of the 73rd police precinct. A disabled mother and others spoke of racist police brutality perpetrated on them, their neighbors and families. Police brutality survivor Lorraine Matthews brought her grandchildren along. She has defended neighbors like the 43 youth recently snatched up over alleged affiliation with gangs. People in Brownsville gave gestures of support for — and some joined in — the militant protest against racist repression.
— Report & photo by Anne Pruden
June 21, 2012
Still ghting to free the Cuban Five
By Gene Clancy It is a classic tale of imperialist treachery and repression. Fourteen years ago, U.S. authorities arrested five men: Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Rene González Sehwerert, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort and threw them in prison. June 8 was the eleventh year of their conviction on trumped-up charges. The Cuban Five are sons, spouses, brothers, poets, pilots, college graduates and artists, three born in Cuba, two in the United States. Three of them fought in Angola against apartheid South Africa. The struggle for these heroes’ freedom continues. Since 1959, Cuba has been subjected to threats, sanctions, invasions, sabotage, a blockade and violent attacks on its soil, resulting in 3,478 deaths and another 2,099 wounded. Cubans have developed vigilance against foreign attacks. In 1976, a bomb exploded aboard a commercial Cuban airliner, destroying the plane in mid-air and killing 73 people. Behind the attack were two men of Cuban-origin, Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, former CIA operatives who the U.S. then sheltered. The Five’s ”crime” was to infiltrate the right-wing organizations that, with CIA backing, carried out many of these attacks and were plotting still more. When the Five discovered a real bomb plot and reported it to the FBI, the FBI arrested the Cuban Five. Despite the FBI’s supposed concern about terrorism, they let the perpetrators off, while the Five spent 17 months in solitary confinement cells. The trial took place in Miami and lasted seven months, the longest trial ever to take place in the U.S. up to that time. During the trial the U.S. government — through its official propaganda agency, the Broadcasting Board of Governors — was covertly paying prominent Miami journalists to saturate the Miami media with reports that were highly inflammatory and prejudicial to the Cuban Five. The presence of Miami journalists on the U.S. government payroll, who purported to report as “independent” press, goes to the heart of the unjust conviction of the Five. The Five were not only victims of a politically motivated prosecution, but a government-funded propaganda operation as well. Trial Judge Joan Lenard dutifully denied a change of venue for the prisoners. In October 2011, Rene Gonzalez was released after serving 13 years in prison, then forced to continue with supervised release in Miami, preventing his return to Cuba. Gonzalez has not seen his spouse Olga Salanueva since his birthday on Aug. 13, 2000, when the FBI arrested and deported her as part of a plan to pressure Rene to “cooperate.” (Rene Gonzalez, Documentary “Esencias”, January 2012, Radiocubana.cu) She and Gerardo Hernández’s spouse, Adriana Perez, are still prevented from entering the U.S. to visit their spouses. Despite over a decade of incarceration, their case has not been forgotten, and there are new reasons for optimism. On June 6, 2012, a motion requesting an oral argument and discovery was filed with the U.S. Southern District Court of Florida on behalf of Hernández. The motion aims to uncover and expose the U.S. government’s nefarious role of first keeping the trial in Miami and then poisoning the jury pool by secretly paying journalists to slander the defendants, a violation of U.S. law. During its 25th convention May 27-30, the Service Employees union made a historic decision to raise the issue of the Cuban Five for the first time. The day before the convention started, people brought the case to the almost 200 delegates of the SEIU Latino Caucus, who gave unanimous informal support to the campaign for the freedom of the Five and the right to family visits. And on June 8, delegates to the 35th convention of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union received postcards demanding that President
Gerardo Hernández Nordelo, Ramón Labañino Salazar, Antonio Guerrero Rodríguez and Fernando González Llort. Rene González Sehwerert, while recently released, is still being forced to remain in the U.S. against his will.
Barack Obama release the Cuban 5 and return them to their homeland. At their last convention in 2009, this rank-andfile militant union passed resolutions demanding U.S. entry visas for Perez and Salanueva to visit their imprisoned spouses, ending the U.S. blockade of Cuba and freedom for the Five. Meanwhile, more traditional support continues. From July 1-31 IFCO/Pastors for Peace will make its 20th caravan challenging the illegal blockade and delivering needed supplies to Cuba. Also in July, the 43rd contingent of the Venceremos Brigade will make its way to Cuba to not only support the Cuban Revolution, but make a living protest against Washington’s hostile policy toward Cuba. Both travel chal-
lenges make the case of the Cuban Five central to their organizing. On June 14, 2011, Carlos Hernandez, the mayor of Hialeah, a city in MiamiDade County, “honored” the FBI – and CIA-funded terrorist Luis Posada Carriles by giving him the key to the city. There is ample evidence linking Luis Posada Carriles to the 1976 bombing of the Cuban airliner and to involvement in the Hotel Copacabana bombing in Havana that killed Italian tourist Fabio Di Celmo in 1997. Nevertheless, there is reason to hope for supporters of Cuba and people interested in justice around the world. In 2011, for the 20th time, the United Nations General Assembly voted against the U.S. blockade of Cuba.
In Tijuana, Mexico
August conference to defend education as a right
By Cheryl LaBash The world crisis in education and the attack on public workers is the theme for a special U.S./Cuba/Mexico/Latin America/North America conference Aug. 17-19 in Tijuana, Mexico, which is next door to San Diego. It’s not just another conference to talk about how bad things are for workers battered by the global capitalist crisis. Participants include working-class leaders who fought for and won free, quality education for all. These leaders are spreading that right throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. They will meet with young workers and students fighting against foreclosures, tuition hikes and student debt, racism, police brutality, the school-to-prison-pipeline and for immigrant/migrant rights and the right to a future with meaningful work. People from Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador and Puerto Rico, teachers and students from Southern California, city and health care workers, veterans of the Occupy movement and fighters for immigrant/migrant rights have already registered. Participants can find out about Cuba’s Latin American School of Medicine that graduates young, debt-free doctors from the world’s underserved and oppressed communities — including those from the U.S. A strong push to free the Cuban Five is on the agenda. The Cuban Five have been imprisoned by the U.S. for 14 years. This injustice is the focus of an international movement for their return to Cuba. In a three-day class preceding the conference, instructors from Cuba’s union school, Lazaro Pena, will discuss the role of a labor union and its leaders in class struggle. Topics include what is class consciousness and why it is important, workers participation in their union, and workers’ unity. The instructors are giving the class, taught in Spanish, for a second time. This ninth annual conference is a project of the U.S./Cuba Labor Exchange, Union del Barrio, International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban Five, International Action Center and Federacion Sindical Mundial-Americas. In past years action programs following the conference have included national tours of selected U.S. cities by Latin American union leaders from Nicaragua, Colombia, Mexico and a Cuban representative from the FSM-A. In 2008, participants supported a strike of North Carolina plywood workers. Their actions resulted in a major buyer cancelling orders of scab materials. There were also support activities in the U.S. for Mexican electrical workers. When the Republic Windows and Doors workers forced Bank of America to the bargaining table in Chicago by occupying the factory they worked in, delegates from the Tijuana conference flew to defend the occupation and launched protests supporting the United Electrical workers in their home cities. Labor conference participants also attend the Encuentro Sindicato Nuestra America gatherings that work toward a unified understanding of and action by workers movements in Latin America. Register now at LaborExchange. blogspot.com. Together, the workers and oppressed in the Western Hemisphere can forge a winning strategy through solidarity.
No big shift in French legislative elections
By G. Dunkel The historical French Parliament made up of a broad spectrum of political parties, with its coalitions and deals necessary to form a government, no longer exists. Instead, the French government is looking more like the U.S. model, alternating between center-right and center-left governments. That was the main lesson of the first round of the French parliamentary election on June 10. The vote reflected no major shifts in public opinion from the presidential election. The nominally Socialist Party — the center left — whose candidate François Hollande was elected president in May, has a chance of winning a working majority in the next round of voting June 17. June 17 is when the runoffs between the candidates that got at least 12.5 percent of the vote in the first election take place. The elections had a low turnout of 60 percent, compared to the 80 percent in the presidential contest a month earlier. If the second round goes as expected, Hollande would have enough support in Parliament to impose a slight tax hike on the superrich — which is in his program — and for an end to harsh austerity, but not an end to all cuts. In northern France, a Rust Belt area called Pas-de-Calais, there was a direct confrontation between left and far right. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who had been the presidential candidate of the Left Front, ran in the same district as Marine Le Pen, the presidential candidate of the fascist National Front. Le Pen finished first, with more than 40 percent of the vote. The SP candidate finished second and Mélenchon came in third (L’Humanité, June 11). Mélenchon withdrew in favor of the “Socialist” candidate for the second term. That the National Front received 14 percent of the total vote shows that it still could develop into a threat outside Parliament. It does not, however, have a concentration in a particular district that would assure it of electing more than a few candidates to Parliament. The Left Front did significantly better than the Communist Party did five years ago, but depending on what happens in the second round, may not have enough seats to play a significant role in Parliament. Nearly all seats will be divided between the SP and the center-right UMG party.
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Rainbow Solidarity In Defense of CUBA
June 21, 2012
Syria: Lies and big lies
his editorial is neither an attack on nor an apology for the Syrian government. Our position has little to do with our evaluation of the Assad government, or whether the charges the imperialists and their hangers-on make against Syria have any truth to them or are completely false. These issues cloud the main dividing line in the worldwide class struggle, which, as a revolutionary workers’ newspaper in the U.S., it is our job to expose. It is about Syria’s powerful enemies, who are the enemies of 99% of humanity. It is about the military weapons these destructive forces have provided the Syrian “opposition.” It is about the even-more-powerful propaganda juggernaut these enemies of humanity have put in motion. The goal of this propaganda is to convince a large section of the population to allow the 1% to act against the interests of the 99% — by going to war against Syria. Start with the line up of enemies. Following a massacre of civilians — a massacre that has all the classic characteristics of a manufactured incident aimed to provide a pretext for war — Western governments expelled Syrian ambassadors. These governments include Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Spain, while Britain and the U.S. had already closed down diplomatic contacts. These countries call themselves the “international community” and the “champions of humanitarian intervention” on behalf of “freedom and democracy.” In reality, they are the former and present colonial powers, all NATO members, that are currently attempting by intrigue and war to reconquer those parts of the world that gained independence in the second half of the 20th century. They are — using current language — the major state powers representing the 1%. This diplomatic offensive against Syria coincides with the propaganda offensive attempting to blame the Syrian government and army for massacres against civilians.
‘PANTHER BABY’: The Journey of Jamal Joseph
Joseph, Jamal, “Baby Panther: A Life of paging emotions at the time. Why did he join Reinvention & Rebellion.” Chapel Hill, NC: the Party? Why not other such groups? Algonquin Books, 2012 What did his foster grandparents, who If one is high school age in America, the though they were old Garveyites [named after story of the Black Panther Party, one of the Marcus M. Garvey, the founder of an early most significant Black radical organizations of 20th century nationalist group], really think the mid-20th century, is virtually unknown. of his joining? Few teachers dare to teach it, burdened as That story is as funny as it is tender, for they are by the repressive, politically driven these parents — though not of his blood – testing frenzy that insures loved him intensely, and teachers stick only to the worried about a boy his age BOOK REVIEW tests, amid fears of the conserunning around with Black by political prisoner Panthers, people frankly quences of failure. If some rare teacher wants regarded as crazy. to teach this powerful period, Jamal’s story is one of a they need look no further than social movement, that, at the Jamal Joseph’s new autobiography, “Panther height, lifts all to new levels of possibility. Baby.” But like a wave, it can wash away, leaving the Jamal Joseph was a member of the New once-high steeped in mud. York chapter of the Black Panther Party, but Throughout this often heart-rending cycle a member with a difference. At 15, he was still of love and betrayal, Joseph finds his best in high school, and thus the youngest member self and arises from the mud to find a life of in the state. service and reconciliation. Thankfully, he writes with the head of a “Panther Baby” is a touching, beautiful and teenager, explaining his choices as they are transformative document. May it reach as presented to him — often based on his rammany young people as possible.
First of all, this claim is the apex of hypocrisy. These are the military powers that invented the term “collateral damage” to explain away civilians killed during strikes at alleged military targets — like bridges, factories, embassies and television stations during NATO’s 1999 air war against Yugoslavia. This is the U.S. that kills hundreds of civilians monthly with drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. These are the diplomats that defended Israel’s slaughter of civilians in Lebanon and Gaza. Second, the imperialists’ standard operating procedure is to use phony “massacres” as pretexts for war. The phony Racak massacre of January 1999 in Kosovo province of Serbia was the pretext for 78 days of bombing Yugoslavia. The phony slaughter of incubator babies in Kuwait was the pretext for the U.S.-led 1991 war on Iraq. Third, search beyond the vast ocean of disinformation and you will find that the Syrian opposition manipulated the killings in collaboration with imperialist secret agencies. Not only Russian news sources, but the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a conservative German daily newspaper, showed that the opposition army was maneuvering to create “massacres” and blame them on the government. The imperialist powers as of June 12 are all lined up against the Bashar Assad government. They send heavy weapons, money and intelligence to opposition fighters through Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Were there any doubt of the lineup of forces, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu cleared that up on June 10 by calling for Western military intervention against Syria. The lesson for progressives? Stand up against the propaganda onslaught. Refuse to be duped by it. Stand firm against the imperialist military, diplomatic and economic offensive against Syria. Imperialist hands off Syria!
Facebook, capitalism & repression
By Michael Ladson
In its highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO), Facebook offered its stock to any investor for the first time on May 18. For weeks prior to the event, the capitalist press had sung the company’s praises and pushed its estimated value higher and higher. Yet on the day of the IPO, it quickly became apparent that the frenzied hype was unjustified. The stock price quickly tanked, a computer glitch resulted in the loss of millions of dollars, and the entire affair was overtaken in scandal within days. Numerous media reports, investor lawsuits and state investigations have alleged that the IPO’s leading underwriters — Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs — engaged in insider trading with favored investors. The insider trading was based on the underwriters’ internal (reduced) appraisal of the Facebook company. However, the reasoning behind the reduced projections offers a deeper view of the social network as well as the interesting times in which we live. Facebook was famously started in a Harvard dorm by four classmates in 2004. It is now the world’s largest social network, with 901 million active users. For the Millennial generation (those born roughly from the mid-1970s to the late-1990s), the cultural significance of Facebook is difficult to overstate, but the social network has also absorbed a broad cross-section of the population in the wake of its rapid growth. beyond scanning the public internet to monitoring private computers, such as the recent discovery of “Flame,” a complex spyware program that was in all likelihood invented by a capitalist government. The program infected at least 1,000 machines, mainly in Palestine and Iran, and self-destructed after its discovery. In response to the recent upsurge of protest, the norms of ruling-class legality in respect to “free speech” in cyberspace and communications have increasingly fallen by the wayside. Last year the Bay Area Rapid Transit blocked cell phone reception in order to disrupt anticop protests. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron demanded social media restriction in the wake of a youth revolt there.
Facebook & the capitalist state
What is generally suspected but less understood is Facebook’s relationship with the capitalist state and its intelligence operations. One of Facebook’s earlier investors was a venture capital firm named In-Q-Tel, whose website openly brags of its purpose to produce “technology solutions to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader U.S. intelligence community.” However, Facebook’s owners are primarily motivated by profit. The social networking business model involves massive data mining that goes far beyond what you post on Facebook. Indeed, other websites visited by a user, even after logging out, are tracked by Facebook. The purpose is to create advertisements to suit an individual user’s specific interests. The company has continually reduced the privacy rights of its users to increase ad value, despite strong opposition. Even with all this information, Facebook has yet to turn the type of profit that would “justify” its IPO price. However, this seems to have more to do with the simple fact that Facebook users may not have the money to buy the commodities advertised. Given that the top capitalists predict lackluster profit potential for the company far into the future, the Facebook example only reinforces a general prospective that capitalism is at a dead end. The important thing to remember is that the capitalist crisis, its political fallout and the growth of new technology are not within the complete control of the capitalists and their puppets in government. The same developments that make them all the more dangerous — from Flame to drones to artificial intelligence — also accelerate the forces behind their decline.
Continued from page 7 state is designed to maximize the profit-making capacity of the ruling class,” Azikiwe explained. “What can never be overlooked is that the material basis for the formation of the U.S. was the forced removal and extermination of the Native peoples coupled with the importation and enslavement of Africans. “Despite the existence of an AfricanAmerican president and the presence of women in positions of authority within the state, racist and class-based violence continues unabated. If it had not been for the outcry of millions, led by the African-American community, there would never have been the arrest and charging of Trayvon Martin’s killer. “Only when capitalism and imperialism are defeated and the construction of socialism has been realized will there be genuine stability and prosperity for all of humanity.”
Political movements & social networking
Activists have used Facebook to great effect in their organizing. It has played a strong role in global movements over the last 18 months, from the Egyptian Revolution to Occupy Wall Street. However, social networking is something of a double-edged sword for progressive movements. The state uses social networking websites for surveillance and even to promote destabilization of states unfriendly to U.S. imperialism — for example, by spreading disinformation about Iran and Syria via Twitter. It is difficult to accept that these operations are conducted exclusively overseas, as the federal government claims. Within weeks of the Egyptian revolution in February 2011, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee angrily demanded why the intelligence services’ “opensource” mass-surveillance programs had failed to predict the uprising using its supercomputers and other advanced forecasting technology. In some cases, this mass surveillance goes
Capitalism at a Dead End
Job destruction, Overproduction and CRISIS in the High-Tech Era A Marxist View To order send $12 to World View Forum, 55 W. 17 St., 5th Fl., NY, NY 10011. Low-Wage Capitalism and High Tech, Low Pay are available at Amazon & bookstores around the country
June 21, 2012
Sudan & the ICC
Imperialist pressure forces move of African Union summit
By Abayomi Azikiwe Editor, Pan-African News Wire The African Union, a continental organization designed to foster greater unity and development, was formed 10 years ago. The AU was the successor to the Organization of African Unity, which was established in 1963 at the height of the independence movement against European colonialism. This year’s African Union Summit was scheduled to take place in the southern African state of Malawi, but it has been relocated to the AU headquarters in Ethiopia — a country whose troops have been fighting in Somalia in collaboration with the U.S. Continued imperialist intervention into the internal affairs of the African continent has resulted in a controversy over the possible attendance at the summit of Sudanese President Omar Hassan alBashir. Bashir is under indictment by the International Criminal Court, stemming from his government’s efforts to suppress a revolt by several rebel groups in the Darfur region. The AU has rejected the ICC’s 10-count indictment, saying the charges serve as an impediment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict. President Bashir has attended all AU meetings since the indictment was handed down by the ICC. The AU has refused to allow this Netherlands-based entity to dictate relationships among various member states. An AU meeting was held in Malawi two years ago, hosted by former President Bingu wa Mutharika, who passed away early this year. Malawi’s new head of state, Joyce Banda, says she must rebuild relations with donors who contribute to the government of the country, one of Africa’s least developed. Former President Mutharika had defied Britain and the United States by hosting Bashir, as well as refusing to accept conditions required by the imperialist countries in exchange for financial assistance. Toward the end of Mutharika’s life, Malawi came under tremendous pressure. After foreign aid vanished and sanctions were imposed, rebellions erupted within the country. Banda was straightforward in explaining her rationale for not wanting Bashir to attend the AU meeting in Lilongwe. Nonetheless, the fact that African governments must compromise their regional obligations in the leading regional organization to curry favor with the West speaks volumes about the ongoing program of imperialism to prevent principled unity among AU members. The ICC & African a airs The ICC grew out of the so-called Rome Statute, signed in 1998 by numerous states throughout the world, though not by the U.S. The court was ostensibly set up to hold heads of state and organizations outside of government to standards of international law. Nonetheless, all the states targeted by the ICC have been on the African continent. Despite the grave war crimes and other violations of human rights carried out by the U.S., NATO and the European Union, none of these has been investigated, let alone indicted, by the ICC. That is why the ICC has been labeled by many as the “African Criminal Court.” In addition to the president of Sudan, the former leader of Libya, Col. Moammar Gadhafi, was also targeted by the ICC during the imperialist war of regime change that resulted in his assassination in 2011. At present the ICC is in Libya to investigate the prosecution of Seif al-Islam, Gadhafi’s son and heir apparent. During early June, four members of the ICC delegation visiting Libya were detained by the National Transitional Council “rebel” regime that was installed by the U.S. and NATO between August and October 2011. Although their detention was a violation of international law, it brought no outcry from the White House or NATO. Other Netherlands-based special courts are active in selectively prosecuting political leaders. Former Liberian leader Charles Taylor was recently convicted and sentenced to a long prison term by a tribunal that examined the war in Sierra Leone during the 1990s and early 2000s. Yet another tribunal has indicted and prosecuted leaders from the former Yugoslavia. These cases involve actions related to the civil war where the imperialist states played a leading role in fomenting discord. African governments must strive to maintain genuine independence and sovereignty and reject Western attempts to intervention in their internal affairs. Despite the fact that the U.S. and other leading imperialist states are not signatories to the Rome Statute, they often utilize the ICC as a weapon against states that are deemed enemies to the ruling class, the Pentagon and the White House. Important issues require attention This year’s AU Summit must take up a series of challenges and political crises, particularly the military coups in Mali and Guinea-Bissau. Mali has been virtually partitioned, with the seizure of northern towns by Tuareg rebels from several organizations. In Guinea-Bissau, a national election was thwarted in the aftermath of a military seizure of power. Across Africa there is drought and famine, most of which is related to the ongoing political instability fostered by U.S. and NATO interference in the internal affairs of Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya and other states. The newly partitioned Sudan, where the South broke away in 2011 to form an independent state, has seen the escalation of tensions over territorial disputes and oil revenues. In Somalia, the U.S.-backed Transitional Federal Government, along with the African Union Mission to Somalia and the Kenyan Defense Forces, are waging a ground war against the Al-Shabaab Islamic resistance organization. The U.S. is carrying out drone attacks on a regular basis in Somalia, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of civilians. The Africa Command of the Pentagon is becoming more aggressive on the continent. As a result, more demands will be made on various governments to cooperate fully with its military actions. After the overthrow of the government in Libya, other states and organizations are being targeted by the Pentagon for regime change and liquidation. Until the African continent can break with imperialism, the problems of food deficits, internal conflict and underdevelopment will continue. Political unity in Africa must be based on the conditions within the continent itself as well as on the imperative of maintaining and honoring the sovereignty of various nationstates and regional organizations.
Behind U.S. & Israel’s cyber warfare on Iran
By G. Dunkel The United States, with some essential aid from Israel, has been waging cyberwar against Iran for the past three years. Reports from anonymous U.S. officials claim this attack has disabled 984 centrifuges in Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility by causing them to spin erratically. Corporate media are claiming that this attack was a serious blow to Iran’s capacity to enrich uranium. The International Atomic Energy Agency released records, however, showing that Iran maintained its production of enriched uranium. Some speculate production kept up because the Iranians ran their remaining centrifuges faster. These attacks were carried out by malware, which is the computer industry’s term for “malicious software.” This particular malware, called Stuxnet, had to be inserted into the programs that control this and many other industrial facilities. The German company Siemens developed these control programs, which are run under various versions of the U.S.based Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Carrying out this attack with software makes it easier for Washington and Tel Aviv to deny any connection with the damage it causes. It still destroys Iranian facilities just like a bomb would. But there are no aircraft flying over Muslim countries, no explosions and smashed buildings, just shattered centrifuges. The Pentagon has formally concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country and directed against the U.S. can be found to be an act of war. Such cyber attacks theoretically pose a significant threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines, although up to now it is mainly the U.S. that is using cyber warfare. A Pentagon official told the Wall Street Journal on May 31 the bellicose consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. “If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks.” While the U.S. used this particular malware against Natanz, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said the virus also hit the computer system at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. “This virus, which is very toxic, very dangerous, could have very serious implications,” he said. Comparing the malware’s impact to explosive mines, he went on to assert, “These ‘mines’ could lead to a new Chernobyl.” The 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl is the most serious nuclear disaster the world has suffered to date. (Reuters, Jan. 26, 2011) The Republicans have confirmed the accuracy of the revelations about the Stuxnet malware and the highly secret Olympic Games project to develop cyber weapons by demanding that the Justice Department appoint a special prosecutor to investigate how this information leaked to the New York Times reporter, David Sanger. Sanger just published a book, “Confront and Conceal,” which sums up the reporting the Times has done. According to “Confront and Conceal,” Stuxnet was designed to be spread by a USB, a small thumb drive that can be inserted into computers to transfer information and code. While U.S. cyberwarmakers designed and wrote the code for Stuxnet, it was Israeli intelligence that had the agents on the ground with the connections to get the USB into the hands of a system engineer who would attach it — perhaps unwittingly — to the Siemens controllers. These controllers had absolutely no security in place. The Iranian engineers relied on an “air gap” to protect their controllers. That is, there was no physical connection to the Internet. According to Sanger’s book, the U.S./Israeli cyber attackers crossed that air gap with the thumb drive. What let Stuxnet “escape to the wild,” which is how security engineers call malware spreading unplanned to the Internet, was some engineer attaching a laptop to the controller network. Stuxnet then infected the laptop and when the laptop was later attached to the Internet, Stuxnet spread wildly. Brian Krebs (krebsonsecurity.com) wrote a careful description of this worm in 2010, pointing out that the first fixes to plug the holes in Windows used by this worm were incomplete. But once the worm was known, any reasonably competent hacker could probably exploit these holes. The Department of Homeland Security had been investigating how to protect Siemens controller software because it is extensively used in U.S. industry and the agency did its testing just a few miles away from the lab where the cyber attacks were being perfected. (Confront & Conceal, p. 209). While no connection can be established, the opportunity was certainly present. An attack, whether by bombs or software, is still an attack and part of U.S. imperialism’s attempt to dominate the world.
Conversations on Black Life in America
Mumia Abu-Jamal & Marc Lamont Hill This book delves into the problems of Black life in America and o ers real, concrete solutions. Order at: www.freemumia.com/?p=684
THE CLASSROOM AND THE CELL:
Correspondencia sobre artículos en Workers World/Mundo Obrero pueden ser enviadas a: WW-MundoObrero@workers.org
Proletarios y oprimidos de todos los paises unios!
En la Cumbre de la ONU Rio + 20 es oprimidos vs opresor
Por Bill Dores Los países oprimidos del mundo, donde vive la mayoría de la gente, no crearon la crisis ambiental. No llenaron el aire con gases de efecto invernadero o envenenaron ríos y océanos. Sin embargo, sufren la peor parte de su impacto. Ahora, los países ricos que se enriquecieron e industrializaron al costo de ellos, quieren que asuman el cargo de tratar de resolver la crisis. Esto fue el tema de una charla en la ciudad de Nueva York el 31 de mayo por el Dr. Rene Orellana, quien lidera el equipo de la República Plurinacional de Bolivia para las negociaciones del Río+20, la Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el desarrollo sustentable que se celebrará en Brasil en junio 20-22. Bolivia fue una vez centro de la gran civilización Inca, que fue destruido por los conquistadores españoles quienes esclavizaron a ese pueblo en 1532. Tiene una población mayoritariamente indígena y es el país más pobre de América del Sur. Bajo el Gobierno de Evo Morales, Bolivia es ahora miembro del ALBA, la Alianza Bolivariana de las Américas y está desempeñando un papel de liderazgo organizando los países pobres para luchar por sus derechos ambientales. Orellana, quien es un especialista en temas ambientales, habló a un grupo multinacional de activistas ambientales, sindicales y de solidaridad en el Centro Sindical Martin Luther King Jr., la sede del Sindicato de Trabajadores Unidos de la Salud del Este, 1199SEIU. El Círculo Bolivariano Alberto Lovera organizó el evento. En lugar de ser un esfuerzo conjunto para promover el bienestar de toda la humanidad y la vida en la tierra, la Cumbre de Río se está perfilando como una lucha entre los estados ricos imperialistas de Europa Occidental y América del Norte y el grupo de los 77 más China, que representa los países explotados del mundo. El G77 — que fue fundado en 1964 por 77 países pobres y recién independientes y ahora tiene 143 miembros. “Vamos a Rio para luchar por nuestros derechos” Los países imperialistas, que deben su enorme riqueza y productividad a siglos de saqueo en África, Asia, Sur y Centroamérica, el Caribe, Oceanía y Europa Oriental, están exigiendo que los países pobres restrinjan su desarrollo por la “preocupación” sobre el medio ambiente. Orellana subrayó, “no podemos aceptar esto; 70 por ciento de las patentes mundiales están en los países desarrollados e históricamente han producido el 75 por ciento de gases de efecto invernadero del mundo. Nuestros pueblos viven en la pobreza, y tenemos el derecho al desarrollo. Contamos con importantes recursos no renovables. Si vamos a restringir las emisiones de carbono, debemos tener la transferencia de tecnología y las financiación de los países ricos”. Los países imperialistas, Orellana explicó, “quieren separar la cuestión del medio ambiente, de la pobreza y la crisis financiera que han creado. Pero la crisis tiene tres pilares: el social, el financiero y el ecológico”. Señaló que desde la pasada Cumbre de Río en 1992, ha crecido el número de personas hambrientas en el mundo, de 800 millones a más de mil millones y la esperanza de vida promedio, 44 años, no ha aumentado. El desempleo a nivel mundial ha aumentado astronómicamente. “Vamos a Rio para luchar por nuestros derechos”, dijo Orellana. “Nuestros países tienen derecho a la soberanía, al desarrollo, el derecho a levantar a nuestro pueblo de la pobreza, el derecho a ayudar a nuestra gente a vivir bien. Estados Unidos y Europa Occidental están más preocupados por la desregulación del mercado y su ‘derecho’ a invertir y controlar la tecnología. No podemos estar de acuerdo”. El grupo de los 77 más China están luchando por que la Conferencia reconozca los derechos de los pueblos indígenas y el campesinado, así como los derechos de la Madre Tierra y el concepto de la armonía con la naturaleza. Orellana dijo que algunas de estas cosas habían sido aceptadas en palabra por los países ricos, pero tendrán que ser logradas en la práctica por medio de la lucha. Dijo que China está desempeñando un papel positivo al apoyar las demandas de otros países oprimidos. Cientos de organizaciones de los pueblos de todo el planeta están planeando participar en la Cumbre de los Pueblos sobre el Desarrollo Sustentable que se llevará a cabo junto a la Cumbre de la ONU. Orellana subrayó que esta será un vehículo importante para presionar a los países imperialistas. Orellana terminó con un llamado a los/as activistas progresistas — especialmente en el creciente movimiento anticapitalista en los países desarrollados — a no sólo apoyar activamente las demandas del grupo de los 77 más China en el Rio + 20 y en la lucha mundial por el desarrollo sustentable, sino también para salvar el planeta de una catástrofe ambiental.
Los/as trabajadores/as ganan sindicalización en ‘Hot and Crusty’
La siguiente declaración a la prensa fue ofrecida por el Centro Unido de Trabajadores/as de Lavandería de Nueva York el 24 de mayo. Los/as trabajadores/as del Restaurante Hot and Crusty de la calle 63 votaron ayer [23 de mayo] para certificar un sindicato independiente, la Hot and Crusty Workers Association. Veinte de los/as 22 empleados/as elegibles para votar, lo hicieron en la Junta Nacional de Relaciones Sindicales. Después de una campaña pública de 4 meses de duración para llamar la atención sobre las injusticias en el trabajo, los/as trabajadores/as se alegraron con la noticia de su victoria. Luego de documentar violaciones laborales generalizadas que abarcan seis años, incluidas las horas extras y las violaciones sobre el salario mínimo, el incumplimiento de los códigos de salud y seguridad, el acoso sexual y el abuso verbal de las empleadas mujeres, los/as trabajadores/as comenzaron a organizar su campaña después de hablar con la organización comunitaria Centro Unido de Trabajadores/as de Lavandería para ayudarles en su esfuerzo. Tras el intento de los/as trabajadores por llegar a un acuerdo razonable con la empresa, las partes se toparon con un callejón sin salida cuando la administración se negó a negociar de buena fe sobre los términos y las condiciones de empleo. En respuesta a la amenaza de los empresarios de que “los cambios estructurales en el lugar de trabajo no ocurrirían [con] un sindicato”, los/as trabajadores formaron una organización sindical independiente y presentaron una petición para su certificación a la Junta Nacional de Relaciones Laborales. Empleando las disposiciones contenidas en la recién promulgada Ley de Prevención de Robo del Salario en el estado de Nueva York, apoyada por las organizaciones comunitarias y la senadora estatal Diane Savino, se presentó una demanda civil simultáneamente por las horas extras y las violaciones del salario mínimo, así como las indemnizaciones. Gene Eisner, del grupo Eisner y Mirer, abogado de los/as trabajadores/as, destacó la importancia de las “fuertes sanciones, las protecciones críticas e indemnizaciones para los/as indocumentados en reclamar lo que les es legítimamente debido a estos individuos trabajadores”. Aplaudiendo la disposición de los/as trabajadores/as al rechazar varias ofertas que no solucionaban las constantes violaciones en el lugar de trabajo, el fundador del Centro, Virgilio Aran dijo, “esta fue una lucha encabezada totalmente por los/as trabajadores/as y las decisiones fueron tomadas colectivamente para enfrentar los problemas estructurales que enfrentan muchos/as trabajadores/as inmigrantes en este país. Todos hemos aprendido mucho de su valor y su determinación para organizar”. Mahoma López, un líder de la campaña que ha trabajado en ‘Hot and Crusty’ durante más de siete años, destacó la importancia de la unión de los/as trabajadores/ as en su lugar de trabajo para enfrentar la injusticia, diciendo: “esta es una victoria para todos nosotros, especialmente para los trabajadores inmigrantes. Hemos demostrado a los patronos que cuando nos organizamos, nada puede detenernos. Cuando nos unimos, somos fuertes”. La empresa ha respondido a los esfuerzos organizativos de los/as trabajadores/ as, con amenazas, intimidación y ofertas de compensación monetaria, todo lo cual es ilegal bajo la ley Nacional de Relaciones Laborales. Los/as trabajadores/as de Hot and Crusty en otros lugares han hecho similares acusaciones por violaciones de horas y salarios que actualmente están siendo investigadas. Recientemente la compañía contrató a una empresa antisindical y les prohibió a los/as trabajadores/ as hablar a la prensa sobre el éxito del Centro de Trabajadores de Lavandería.
Nueva York el primero de mayo 2012.
MO FOTO: G. DUNKEL
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