Esloganes oficiales del Dia del Camarada Valentin de 2014

cvd-candy-cleaned

¡Trabajadoras/os! ¡Campesinas/os! ¡Todas/os que luchan por un mundo mejor!

¡Vamos todas/os juntas/os, ola en ola, iluminadas/os por los rayos rojos brillantes de romanticismo revolucionario del Camarada San Valentín!

¡¡Derrotemos el fetichismo de mercancía con el que la burguesía intenta sofocar el carácter proletario del Camarada San Valentín!!

¡¡¡Celebremos el rechazo de la homofobia heteropatriarchal por las masas en sus millones!!! ¡¡¡Avanzemos la victoria de la Línea Comunista del Camarada San Valentín!!!

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Posted in Culture

Bridging the Chasm between Environmental and Economic Justice: A Conversation with Bill Fletcher and Bill Gallegos

Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said about the choice between a clean environment and good jobs, “You can have both, or you have neither.”A rift exists between those good trade unionists who fight for decent jobs and a just economy, and those good environmentalists who fight for a planet where all human beings can be healthy.

In the Appalachian coalfields, the same corporations who deliberately keep non-coal jobs out of the region and blast the mountains apart for greater profits lie to mining communities that the reason for layoffs is the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called “War on Coal.” An eastern Kentucky retired miner writes, “I prefer dirty coal over ‘Christmas in Appalachia’ pity,” not recognizing greater options.

And so three activists decided to have a conversation about jobs and the environment. Bill Fletcher is committed to economic justice and working class solidarity. Bill Gallegos is dedicated to the environmental justice and climate justice movements. Anne Lewis is a documentary filmmaker with deep interests in labor and environmental justice.

We decided not to hold back from material and political divisions, or from the imagination that has built concrete experiments for unity.

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Posted in Crisis ecológica, Laboral

Appreciating what’s been said: Reflections on Amiri Baraka

Jamala_Amiri“Appreciating what’s been said and if I understand correctly…”

That was the routine and respectful phrase we used in the Congress of African People when we were about to engage in some serious discussion. As I faced the reality of Amiri Baraka’s death, I couldn’t help but reflect on his impact on my life.

As a young radical, heavily influenced by the Black Student and Black Power Movements, I was looking for a political home when a group of like-minded young people from St. Louis made a trip to New Ark, New Jersey to visit the headquarters of the Congress of African People (CAP). The rest is history.

The enthusiastic group came back to St. Louis and established the St. Louis chapter of CAP. We were not just swayed by the ideology of Black Nationalism or by Kawaida doctrine; it was the material manifestations that was inspiring. We saw the practical applications of Kwanzaa Principles such as Cooperative Economics and Collective Work and Responsibility with the internal restaurant and daycare as well as public enterprises like bookstores. We saw what organization looked like.

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Posted in ¡Presente!

Now that Madiba is Dead…

beware the icon makers
they will say he was great
they will laud his calls for peace
they will wring their hands and cry
speaking only of the man
disregarding the people
explaining away the movement
pretending the revolution was won
they will deny their guilt
denying their privilege
obscuring his birth in the pains and the blood of his people
denying the capital crimes
of neoliberal friends of apartheid still alive
now that Mandela is dead

they will say no one else will come
they will wink that we still organize
they will pretend that de Klerk was his friend
they will ignore the birth pangs in Jo’burg today
pretending to honor him with deceitful silence
in the face of Capetown shanties and Manenburg misery
and Durban oppression
while former murderers still prey
and bougie negros still play
while lying bishops still pray
and corporations still rape
and the people in South Africa still die
like people across the Global South
as the Revolution dies as Madiba’s children live in squalor
as the wine growers awake in shacks
as the homeless sleep beneath the floors of stores—after hours
when they will not be seen while they are still being sold

beware the speakers of phrases that lie
they will disremember liberation struggles
that have yet to be won
they will pretend that Mandela belonged to them
denying the people to whom he belonged

remember to remember Chris Hani
remember to remember Robben Island
remember to remember the South African Charter
remember to remember that icons created by oppressors
will never liberate the people
remember to remember that they are still killing Martin
remember to remember that they are still killing Malcolm
remember to remember that Assata still lives
remember to remember that our liberation will be sold to us for profits
unless we work for it with our minds and our actions
then we will remember Mandela as he was
for he will live inside us
and the lies will no longer deceive
because the struggle will continue
and the last will be first at last

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Posted in Poesía

Help the people and communities affected by typhoon Yolanda

Disasters like the deadly typhoon which has devastated the Philippines can be daunting for folk hundreds or thousands of miles away. What can we do? One thing is to contribute right now to relief efforts in these critical days.

But big relief agencies have huge bureaucracies whose lifeblood is our donations and work with repressive and corrupt regimes. Give instead through groups like the L.A.-based Pilipino Workers Center. The PWC has deep ties with worker and community organizations in affected provinces and has partnered with The Inquirer, a highly respected independent newspaper to get aid where it is needed now.

You can give through the PWC at the website here.

 

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Posted in Solidaridad internacional

“Uh-Oh, Instead of Defeating Us They Made Us Defiant”

Local 1199 members came from New York to be arrested, and at least 1,000 teachers mobilized for the final Monday. Photo: Ajamu Dillahunt.

Local 1199 members came from New York to be arrested, and at least 1,000 teachers mobilized for the final Monday. Photo: Ajamu Dillahunt.

Since April North Carolina has made national and international news with a remarkable social movement that has gathered thousands to protest, with nearly 1,000 arrests for civil disobedience.

The Forward Together Movement, led by the North Carolina NAACP, showed up at the General Assembly in Raleigh for 13 consecutive Mondays while the Republican/Tea Party-controlled legislature was in session.

Although 17 clergy members made up the first wave of arrestees, the activists who formed the backbone of the actions were part of the six-year-old, NAACP-led HKonJ Coalition (Historic Thousands on Jones St.—site of the legislature), which had mobilized thousands to the Capitol every February for a 14-point progressive agenda.

It includes civil rights, labor, environmental, and other social and economic justice groups. With each Moral Monday, more groups and thousands of individuals joined the ranks.

The Attacks

The laws passed this session were more than familiar austerity measures. They were ideologically driven measures meant to shrink government and give free rein to the private sector. At their center was a vicious racism.

Some lowlights (there’s a lot more):

  • 170,000 cut from federal unemployment support; cuts in amount and length of state unemployment benefits
  • federal Medicaid funds rejected, leaving 500,000 uninsured
  • cuts to education funding, loss of thousands of teacher and teaching assistant positions
  • overregulation, forcing closure, of women’s health clinics that also provided reproductive services
  • lower tax rates for the wealthy
  • repeal of the Racial Justice Act, which allowed inmates to challenge their death sentences when race played a role in their sentencing
  • the most restrictive voter suppression act in the country.

Each week displayed a different theme. After a rally, those who intended to risk arrest and their supporters entered the legislative building and stood outside the Senate chambers singing, chanting, and praying. When they refused to disperse, they were arrested.

The NAACP leads the Forward Together Movement, but has mobilized thousands of white middle-class residents in addition to its historic Black constituency. Those who filled the grounds outside the General Assembly and those who entered the building to be arrested were majority white, as is the state as a whole.

Unions On Board

United Electrical Workers Local 150, a pre-majority union for public employees, and Black Workers for Justice, a 32-year-old organization dedicated to workplace and community organizing, put out the call for a labor delegation and theme for the third Monday.

UE, BWFJ, the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, and postal union members showed up wearing yellow wristbands. Ten were among the 47 arrested that day.

State AFL-CIO top leaders and staff attended the early mobilizations, but it was not until the eighth Monday, after the NC AFL-CIO board voted to mobilize, that member unions turned out. State Fed Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan was a speaker, along with UE 150 President Angaza Laughinghouse.

The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), an NEA affiliate, was also late to the game. Political advisors had urged the union to remain cautious and quiet in dealing with legislators and the growing movement—in spite of pending cuts to teacher and teaching assistant positions, threats to tenure, the elimination of higher pay for master’s degrees, proposals for merit pay, and the introduction of school vouchers.

NCAE President Rodney Ellis was finally arrested in the twelfth wave and mobilized at least 1,000 teachers for the final action. Rank-and-file teachers and retirees report that members were ready to fight from the very beginning.

Perhaps the biggest scandal was the behavior of the State Employees Association of North Carolina, a Service Employees (SEIU) affiliate. Director Dana Cope denounced the protests. INDY Week quoted Cope, “If you want to move a progressive cause forward right now, what that takes is being at the table. Moral Mondays is just creating a spectacle.”

In one Tweet, Cope said, “we think it unwise to break the law & overburden fellow public employees. Prefer sit down/talk policy.” And in response to a conservative blogger he tweeted that he could not “control crazy people @1199 SEIU from coming in and acting against us.”

It is rumored that Cope told the predominantly Black and Latino union members of 1199 in New York City who were invited to join the protest to “keep their Yankee asses out of North Carolina.” Eleven 1199 members did become Moral Monday arrestees, however.

In any case, organizers took advantage of the large number of potential allies. OUR Walmart and the SEIU-initiated Fast Food Workers campaign were on hand to educate and recruit.

Organizers for the Southern Workers’ Assembly, which attempts to bring together union and non-union workers across the South, had a regular presence. The NCAE has even begun to relate to the Assembly.

Teacher activist Bryan Proffitt said canvassing at Moral Mondays helped recruit to a rank-and-file social justice caucus he is helping build. “There were so many school workers there, and they had pre-identified themselves as activists and potential activists,” he said.

Who’s The War On?

Often the legislative changes were framed as an assault on all the people of North Carolina. But the July verdict in George Zimmerman’s trial for shooting Trayvon Martin seemed to boost Black participation, after local rallies protesting the verdict.

During one protest, veteran BWFJ member Rukiya Dillahunt was chided by a white participant for holding a sign saying “Stop the War on Black America.” The person felt it should say “and white Americans.”

“I put her in check,” said Dillahunt, “by laying out the high Black unemployment rates, mass incarceration, and the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ we face.”

The next week, white protesters requested and carried several hundred of the same signs, along with Justice for Trayvon signs.

NAACP leader Rev. William Barber expressed the movement’s outcome best: “Uh-oh, instead of defeating us they made us defiant.” He said right-wing leaders had inspired unity and fire in young people.

At the thirteenth and last Moral Monday, as the legislative session ended, Barber told the crowd of thousands, “Here we are, all races, all colors, all sexualities, all communities, all incomes”—summing up the coalition that had developed on the ground.

Getting Each Other’s Issues

Proffitt’s take-away is that “Moral Mondays allowed everyone to walk away with a keener understanding of the ways that their lives and issues related.

“By being on the mall together, workers and women’s rights activists understood each other’s issues better. Environmentalists heard, relentlessly, about why the attacks on voting rights were so devastating.”

Now activists across the country are asking about the Moral Monday movement, hoping to duplicate its energy and politics. Georgia activists are planning their own Moral Monday campaign, and a Moral Monday protest in Chicago greeted ALEC, the incubator of right-wing legislation.

Local Moral Mondays have been held in four North Carolina cities, and another was held at the governor’s mansion September 16 against restrictions on youth voting and severe cuts to education.

Intensified voter registration drives are underway, aiming at both local and 2014 statewide elections—coupled with a call for local Peoples’ Assemblies, mobilization, and civil disobedience aimed at elected officials in their home districts.

Ajamu Dillahunt is a retired Raleigh Area Local Postal Workers president, a member of the Black Workers for Justice Coordinating Committee, and a former Labor Notes Policy Committee member.

A version of this article appeared in Labor Notes #415, October 2013.
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Posted in Estrategia electoral, Nacionalidades oprimidas

“Keep Your Dirty Lights On”

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Posted in Crisis ecológica

Stop the Militarization of CUNY in Its Tracks!

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Students in the City University of New York system, backed by CUNY staff and faculty and by people from the community, are waging a critical struggle against the militarization of their schools. The main battlefront right now is the pulpit the CUNY administration has given unindicted (so far) war criminal General David Petraeus in the form of a semester-long seminar entitled “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?”

In addition to trying to drive the Butcher of Fallujah and drone-happy former CIA director off of their campus, the students are trying to block the CUNY administration’s bid to bring the Reserve Officer Training Corps back to system campuses. This would be the first time CUNY would have a ROTC program since 1971, when student activists in the anti–Vietnam War movement forced their closure.system, backed by CUNY staff and faculty and by people from the community, are waging a critical struggle against the militarization of their schools. The main battlefront right now is the pulpit the CUNY administration has given unindicted (so far) war criminal General David Petraeus in the form of a semester-long seminar entitled “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?”

Whose CUNY?

This is a struggle with broad implications. Most obviously, it is a battle over whose interests CUNY will serve. A community-supported student strike and occupation of City College in 1969 forced the establishment of open admissions. In the decades since, fights have raged to defend and extend people’s programs and to stop the school from raising tuition and “standards” to force out students of color.

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Posted in Guerra e imperio

The War Drive Against Syria Has Been Stalled—Let’s Stop It Cold!

1. It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks since Barack Obama announced that US armed forces would launch a military attack on Syria, because of the Assad regime’s alleged use of poison gas in the civil war there.

Day by day, drama ensued. Global support was minimal. The British parliament voted against participating. The UN Security Council would not endorse it, nor would NATO. Representatives in Congress demanded a debate. Inconsistent and shifting statements from the administration about what was planned, and when, and even why, deepened the drama. Syria and Russia seized on one such statement, by Secretary of State John Kerry, to force the US to agree to negotiate over a plan for stripping Syria of its chemical weapons without an attack.

As news reports track the changing situation, we should not lose sight of one key thing: the principal factor in forestalling this attack is massive opposition from citizens of the US. From the start polls were negative, and only got more so. Senators and Representatives report being deluged by call and emails. Protests developed in smaller cities and towns across the country.

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Posted in Solidaridad internacional, Declaraciones del CEN

The Myth of the Middle Class: Who are the Working Class?

As class war becomes more and more apparent in 21st century America, here’s a real look and analysis of class, and how it manifests. The article below was an attempt to make discussion points to come to a more collective view of class. Although it was written in 2006, the correctness of this article has been shown again by the recent capitalist crisis and recession. The Workers Commission of FRSO/OSCL recommends this reading as an important grounding to understand the nature of class in the United States.

A main source was Michael Zweig the Director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life at the State University of New York Stony Brook. You may also want to check out latest information on the Pedagogy of class page.

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Posted in Laboral