Political Parties

Read the latest issue of the International Socialist Review

International Socialist Organization - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 03:14

Issue number 105 of the International Socialist Review is out now , with articles by Sharon Smith on Fighting for reproductive rights in the age of Trump , Ashley Smith on Trump and the crisis of the neoliberal world order , Lance Selfa on Trump's first 100 days , Phil Gasper on The Russian Revolution: A Brief Reading Guide and an interview with Justin Akers Chacón on...Read more

Categories: Political Parties

This is the time to unite and fight far-right terror

Seattle ISO - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 18:41

From SocialistWorker.org:

After the violence and hate of Charlottesville, the International Socialist Organization appeals for mass protest and solidarity to confront and defeat the rising far right.

August 15, 2017

Marching in Washington, D.C., in solidarity with Charlottesville, Virginia (Ted Eytan | flickr)

THE MASK has been ripped off the supposedly new “alt-right” movement to reveal the familiar and horrifying face of fascism that most people thought was a relic of history.

Last weekend’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, wasn’t about some fake defense of “free speech,” but championing a Confederate statue. It welcomed open Nazis into its ranks, who roamed the streets looking for people to assault–and ultimately committed a vehicle-terror attack against a crowd of peaceful protesters, killing 32-year-old local activist Heather Heyer and injuring several dozen others, many seriously.

The outraged response to Nazi terror in Charlottesville was immediate and powerful, with protests and vigils in hundreds of cities and denunciations of the violent racists coming from everywhere. Everywhere but Donald Trump’s White House, that is.

This is a decisive moment. “Will the overt displays of racism return the extreme right-wing to the margins of politics, or will they serve to normalize the movement, allowing it to weave itself deeper into the national conversation?” asked the New York Times.

The answer depends on what the millions of people who despise Donald Trump and want to stand against him and the right do in the coming weeks and months.

Now is the time to overcome the fear that the fascists want us to feel and organize demonstrations with overwhelming numbers–to stop this cancer now, before it can grow into something far more threatening. That means organizing broad protests open to everyone affected by this threat–which is just about everyone–to prove the far right is a tiny minority.

After the sickening violence of the storm troopers in Charlottesville, we know that the far right isn’t looking to gain power through winning votes, and they don’t care about approval ratings. We can’t defeat them by following the liberal advice to “just ignore them.”

If we don’t stop the far right today, they will stop us from organizing tomorrow–it’s that simple. This isn’t a battle that we chose, but it’s one we have to win.

Let’s also be clear that we can’t rely on the police to protect us from fascists or on the government to deny them permits. It’s up to all of us to defend our communities and our movements from the right.

If we’re successful, Charlottesville could be remembered as a turning point, not only in our fight against the right, but in our ability to organize for our own demands.

The International Socialist Organization is wholly committed to this urgent struggle, and we join with the call that has come from so many organizations and individuals since Charlottesville: for a united fight to confront and defeat fascism.

There will be flash points in the coming weeks, from Boston to Berkeley, but this fight needs to be taken into every city and town, into every community, onto every campus, and into every workplace. We appeal to all our supporters and the whole left to take this stand: Now is the time to unite and fight.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE MOST horrifying incident from Charlottesville last weekend was, of course, neo-Nazi James Fields’ terror attack, in which the Vanguard America member plowed his car into a contingent of marchers that included members of the International Socialist Organization, Democratic Socialists of America and Industrial Workers of the World, among others.

But the project of fascism is a lot larger than solitary terror strikes. They want to build an organization of disciplined thugs to systematically brutalize and intimidate the oppressed–a program that, as history shows, inevitably involves murder.

In this instance, it was James Fields who was the killer. But the Nazis and far-right “peacekeepers” who came heavily armed to Charlottesville were prepared to inflict violence on people of color, Jews and the left. They are more than willing to kill individuals in order to pave the way for their real aim–mass murder and genocide.

The real face of fascism was apparent throughout the weekend in Charlottesville: Hundreds of torch-wielding men, chanting “Blood and soil!” and assaulting counter-protesters; groups roaming the streets with weapons and shields, looking out especially for people of color like 20-year-old Deandre Harris to brutalize.

As ProPublica reporter A.C. Thompson wrote, the far right in Charlottesville:

exhibited unprecedented organization and tactical savvy. Hundreds of racist activists converged on a park on Friday night, striding through the darkness in groups of five to 20 people. A handful of leaders with headsets and handheld radios gave orders as a pickup truck full of torches pulled up nearby. Within minutes, their numbers had swelled well into the hundreds. They quickly and efficiently formed a lengthy procession and begun marching, torches alight, through the campus of the University of Virginia.

The fascists in Charlottesville were confident. One smug little Nazi named Sean Patrick Nielsen bragged to the Washington Post, “I’m here because our republican values are, number one, standing up for local white identity, our identity is under threat, number two, free market, and number three, killing Jews.”

All of which made Donald Trump’s initial statement condemning violence “on many sides” all the more sickening to millions of people–and a cause for celebration for the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website.

This is another warning sign of the dangers of the current moment–with a Trump administration infested with far-right racists, from alt-right promoter Steve Bannon to Euro-fascist ally Sebastian Gorka to Confederacy enthusiast Jeff Sessions.

We shouldn’t have any illusions: The toxic combination of a far right that spans the range from open Nazis to people with access to key White House personnel produced the biggest show of force for American fascism in generations in Charlottesville.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

OUR SIDE has a powerful potential weapon to use against this growing threat: overwhelming numbers. The events of Charlottesville–not only the terror attack, but the Nazi flags, the torch-wielding march and the thuggish violence–horrified the vast majority of U.S. society.

From Saturday night through Monday, solidarity demonstrations were called in more than 400 cities across the country–an explosion of protest that recalled the days after Trump’s election last November.

Jason Kessler, the Charlottesville resident who initially called the Unite the Right rally, was chased from his own press conference by furious local residents. Statements poured in from across the country condemning white supremacy, domestic terrorism–and Trump’s weak response. The corporate media suddenly stopped referring to Richard Spencer and his pals as “alt-right” and called them the more accurate “white supremacists.”

Dozens of Republicans in Congress, who made their careers out of pandering to racism and reaction, rushed to condemn the Nazis and distance themselves from Trump–who was finally forced on Monday to explicitly condemn white supremacists.

Even then, though, it should be noted that Trump’s response to Charlottesville is to call for more “law and order”–a racist buzzword that means giving police and immigration authorities more unchecked power to detain and brutalize people of color.

The forces of “law and order” were all over the streets of Charlottesville–and they stood by as the orgy of right-wing violence took place.

Instead of appealing to the government to defend us, we have to build mass protests to defend ourselves and one another. The strategy of relying on small groups of anti-fascists to fight on behalf of the oppressed was shown to be insufficient in Charlottesville by the bigots’ large mobilization.

This is the moment to build united fronts with as many organizations as possible to confront the right–not only left-wing groups, but unions and civil rights organizations, down to every possible club on campuses.

In Portland, Oregon, this type of coalition brought out more than 1,000 people in June to confront hate groups that celebrated the racist murders of Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche.

We need more of this kind of organizing in the coming weeks when the far right descends on Boston on August 19, and throughout the school year as fascists like Richard Spencer attempt a provocative tour of campuses. The Movement for Black Lives has called a national day of action for August 19.

On August 27, the far right is planning an all-out mobilization in Berkeley, California, for a “No to a Marxist America” rally, where they will try to repeat their racist rampages of last spring. But anti-fascists have been preparing for weeks to send the message that we will not retreat in the face of their violence and hate.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AMID THE many condemnations of the far right in Charlottesville, there has been one distinctly false note coming from many political leaders: that these fascists are somehow “un-American.”

Violent racism has deep roots in this country, and terrorism in defense of the right’s twisted ideals is as American as white sheets and a swinging rope.

But fighting back against racist terror is also very much a part of U.S. history. Those who tell us to ignore the racists and they’ll go away are either ignorant of that–or they don’t want us to build movements against the far right because they instinctively sense that our movements won’t stop there.

This is the time to learn the history of previous generations who fought the KKK and the courageous struggle against fascism in Europe. And it’s time to come together in action to give ourselves the courage to confront the forces that want us to stay home.

Just as we’ve taken strength from the bravery shown by the residents of Ferguson, Missouri, we can take strength from the words of Heather Heyer’s mother about her daughter: “She would never back down from what she believed in. And that’s what she died doing, she died fighting for what she believed in.”

The threat of the right is growing, but it has to be faced and overcome in order to fight for any of our demands. One organizer in Columbus, Ohio, gave voice to the instinct for solidarity and struggle that has been felt around the country since Charlottesville:

When we started planning the Columbus airport protest [against Trump’s Muslim travel ban] in January, several right-wingers and Islamophobic scum started posting graphic photos of animals and people being run over by cars.

Their aim was clear: to bully and threaten, and make people scared to come out. For several hours late at night, we just kept taking those photos down. Hundreds and hundreds of people showed up anyway to fight the ban. We kept a look out for errant cars, but they didn’t show up. And so we became part of the historic airport actions that beat back the first version of the Muslim ban.

These fascists will try to silence us, they will try to intimidate us, they will try to make us feel afraid. But we are many, they are few.

Categories: Political Parties

This is the time to unite and fight far-right terror

International Socialist Organization - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 04:01

After the violence and hate of Charlottesville, the International Socialist Organization appeals for mass protest and solidarity to defeat the rising far right.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

THE MASK has been ripped off the supposedly new "alt-right" movement to reveal the familiar and horrifying face of fascism that most people thought was a relic of history.

Last weekend's "Unite the Right" rally in...Read more

Categories: Political Parties

NAFTA, Deportations, Workers' Struggles

Peace & Freedom - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 04:00

Posted on August 15, 2017 by the webmaster

This resolution was adopted unanimously on August 13, 2017 by the State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party of California.

Cancel NAFTA! Tear Down the Wall of Shame / Not One More Deportation! Support Workers' Rights and Struggles in Mexico, the United States, and Canada!

Whereas, there is a stepped-up attack on immigrant workers -- documented and undocumented -- in the United States, and NAFTA has been used to pit U.S. workers against Mexican workers to benefit multi-national corporations from the U.S. and around the world, and

Whereas, the escalating attack on immigrant workers and people of color is a threat to all workers and to organized labor in the United States; the immigrant community and their children in schools are being terrorized by ICE and by the racist attacks on immigrants, and

Whereas, NAFTA has been used to privatize railroads, telecom, oil, education and the dismantling of Mexico's agricultural industry, causing forced migration of tens of millions of people from their homelands in Mexico, and

Categories: Political Parties

Socialist Party California Locals on the Far-Right Terrorist Attacks in Charlottesville

SP-USA: California - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 02:40

Socialist Party Los Angeles Local

“Terrorism. The media and our elected officials will work very hard to maintain the ‘lone wolf’ narrative. We will reject that narrative. This was terrorism. The history of the United States is a history of white supremacy, and while today’s terrorist attack was a tragedy and we extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims, we are as unsurprised as we are disgusted. Until systems of oppression are addressed, systems that transcend partisan politics, we will continue to suffer the effects of white supremacist terrorism.

The Socialist Party Los Angeles Local stands in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville, with those affected by today’s terrorist attack, and with the people as they fight the systems of oppression that are the keystones of capitalism.”

Socialist Party Bay Area Local

“The Bay Area Local of the Socialist Party USA unequivocally stands against the white nationalist terrorist attack today in Charlottesville, Virginia. While we wait for details on the total number of dead and injured, we express our solidarity and heartfelt condolences to those victims of the attack as well as their families, friends, and loved ones. Rather than intimidating us, this terrorist attack reaffirms our commitment to the fight against white supremacy, in all its forms.

History shows us that when we let fear from these attacks silence us, it only emboldens and encourages and reinforces their power. The time has come to fight back against fascist forces that are gathering to harm people. The capitalist state, and its protectors such as the police, will not defend us as long as it serves the interests of the rich and powerful; namely dividing the working class and attacking community leaders, organizers, and activists. The task falls to us confront white nationalism in our own towns and cities, as we know this is not an isolated incident, but is part of a long history of racist violence which our fellow community members face in every corner of this nation. We must fight for a socialist and democratic future free from racist terror.

We know that if allowed to continue unchecked, the many groups on the far-right responsible for this terrorist act will grow and continue to murder leftists, women, people of color, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, the disabled, Muslims, Jews, trade unionists and others. In short, we are all targets. The fact that white nationalists have chosen to take on such a large majority of Americans should give us hope, for we far outnumber them, and our collective strength is greater than anything they could imagine. We know when all is done and the dust has settled, we will win.

Today we grieve, and tomorrow we fight. We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing in this minute.”


Socialist Party Orange County Local

“The tragic events that occurred today in Charlottesville, Virginia echo similar outbursts of far-right terrorism seen in cities like Portland and Berkeley. Just like Portland and Berkeley, those in power will continue to ignore and redirect the heart of the issue — the bedrock of white supremacy that the United States is built upon. The same white supremacy,that for decades, was bubbling beneath the surface of our society has now boiled over with the election of Donald Trump. These events will not stop until the institutions that uphold this violence and oppression are torn down.

The Socialist Party Orange County Local stands in solidarity with the people of Charlottesville, the victims of today’s terrorist attacks, and with all oppressed and marginalized peoples. We will continue to fight against systems of injustice that are the keystones of capitalism.”

Categories: Political Parties

Support the anti-racists injured in Charlottesville

International Socialist Organization - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 08:23

A member of the Athens, Ohio, branch of the International Socialist Organization participating in the anti-fascist counterprotest in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12 was among the 20 people injured by a fascist vigilante who drove his car into the counterprotest, murdering at least one person and injuring several others.

The Athens branch of the ISO has created a YouCaring page where you can donate toward the comrade's medical expenses. A GoFundMe page has been set up to take donations for everyone injured in Charlottesville.Read more

Categories: Political Parties

Capitalism doesn’t give a flying f*#k

Seattle ISO - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 18:36

From SocialistWorker.org:

Leela Yellesetty explains why the abysmal conditions endured by airline passengers and workers alike have everything to do with the bosses’ bottom line.

August 10, 2017

Airlines are cramming more and more passengers onto each flight

DURING HIS brief but memorable tenure as White House communications director, Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci attempted to explain Trump’s vision for health care reform:

What the president is trying to do is make the health care system freer. So why not disrupt and decentralize the system, make it more price competitive, increase competition for the insurance companies and trust the process of the free market, like in telecom, like in airlines?

Really? Yes, the health care system is awful, but did the Mooch really think a good selling point for reform would be to make it more like Comcast, the most hated company in America? Or United Airlines, which wasn’t able to beat out Comcast even by dragging a bloodied man off a plane, so they decided to kill a bunny rabbit for good measure?

“No one wants health care to be like the airlines!” talk-show host Seth Meyers quipped in response, “‘How was the hospital?’ ‘Not great. My surgery was three hours late, my bed was double-booked so they dragged me out of the OR, and then they sent my appendix to Albuquerque!'”

What’s to blame for the awful treatment of passengers and airline workers alike? The problem isn’t bad business decisions, but the drive for sky-high profits.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

FOR THOSE of us who hate the elaborate torture that is U.S. air travel–that is, all of us who can’t afford first class–we have some tentative good news. A recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals directed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to address “the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat,” as one judge put it.

The ruling came in response to a petition filed by the consumer advocacy group Flyers Rights, which pointed out that the distance between seats, known as the “pitch,” has decreased from an average of 35 inches to 31, with some as low as 28, while seat widths have shrunk by an inch and half in the past decade–at the same time as the average passenger has grown larger.

The group argued that this posed a health and safety hazard by making it difficult to evacuate in an emergency and increasing the risk of passengers developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a potentially fatal condition caused by a blot clot as a result of prolonged sitting in cramped space.

The FAA rejected the petition, claiming–with “research” to back it up–that the issue of seat size was one of comfort and not safety. While the court agreed that the danger of DVT was not well established, on the safety claims, it blasted the FAA for a “vaporous record” of “off-point studies and undisclosed tests using unknown parameters.”

Indeed, the FAA refused to disclose most of the tests used to make its decision, claiming they were proprietary.

While the ruling simply directs the FAA to revisit the petition and doesn’t directly compel the agency to set minimum standards for seat size, it is certainly a positive development in the face of the ongoing airline assault on our safety and comfort, not to mention dignity.

Apparently not everyone is cheering this development, though.

In article sneeringly titled “Let Them Shrink: FAA Should Not Regulate Airline Seat Space,” Forbes‘ Omri Ben-Shahar argued that the airlines are actually giving consumers exactly what they asked for. That is, if we want cheaper flights, we should be prepared to suffer for them.

If you want better seats, just pay more–indeed, one reason our seats are shrinking is to make room for “premium” options for the lucky few.

William McGhee, author of the airline industry expose Attention All Passengerssummed up the attitude of Forbes writers and airline executives this way:

Things are just fine in business class and first class. I don’t think that’s coincidental. It reflects the larger issues we face as a society right now, the 99 Percent vs. the 1 Percent. I’ve talked to execs about deteriorating conditions in the back, and their response is basically, ‘You should pay for and sit up front,’ which is a bit of a ‘Let them eat cake’ response.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

AS EASY as it can be to dismiss an argument inspired by Marie Antoinette, it’s worth probing some of the claims that Ben-Shahar makes more closely.

For one thing, it’s true that airline travel is more affordable and accessible to the average person that it was in the glory days of free food and adequate legroom.

Back then, air travel was largely a preserve of the wealthy. For free-market enthusiasts like Ben-Shahar and the Mooch, therefore, the deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 was a victory for consumers, increasing competition and thereby lowering fares and improving service.

This sounds good, but it doesn’t remotely depict what has actually happened in the decades since deregulation. Instead, what’s played out is a sordid tale of rampant inefficiencies, corruption, bankruptcies, mergers and deteriorating conditions for both passengers and workers.

Right after deregulation, there were more than 400 certified carriers and 10 major airlines. Today, just four airlines control 80 percent of all domestic flights. Rather than encourage competition, deregulation removed antitrust provisions, allowing airlines to collude in raising fares while reducing service.

The 2013 merger of American and US Airways to create the world’s largest airline was accomplished by an army of corporate lobbyists, lawyers and economists, while executives and their Wall Street backers salivated at the profits to be made from the deal:

Indeed, government investigators had uncovered documents showing airline executives crowing about how mergers allow them to charge travelers more. “Three successful fare increases–[we were] able to pass along to customers because of consolidation,” wrote Scott Kirby, who became the president of the new American Airlines, in a 2010 internal company presentation…

A 2014 Goldman Sachs analysis about “dreams of oligopoly” used the American-US Airways merger as an example. Industry consolidation leads to “lower competitive intensity” and greater “pricing power with customers due to reduced choice,” the analysis said.

Another useful tool in the industry playbook is bankruptcy. All of the four remaining airlines filed for bankruptcy in the past decade–and they are now the four most profitable airlines in the world.

In fact, they were doing just fine before, but bankruptcy allowed them to slough off inconvenient costs of providing decent pay and benefits to their employees. As United Auto Workers activist Gregg Shotwell commented on American’s 2011 bankruptcy:

Capitalism isn’t above the law in the United States–it is the law. Peace and solidarity activists are hounded, harassed and arrested, but the forcible transfer of wealth from the working class to the investing class is protected concerted activity.

American Airlines’ debt doesn’t outweigh its cash and assets. In fact, American is financing its own bankruptcy. That’s not distress, it’s brass-knuckles union busting. The business press makes no bones about American Airlines’ plan to profit off the broken backs of labor contracts. In fact, they crow about it.

American Airlines ordered 460 new planes from Boeing and Airbus less than five months ago, at a cost of $38 billion. Those contracts will be honored even as American plans to dump pensions underfunded by about $10 billion for approximately 130,000 workers and retirees.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS UNION busting comes with real consequences for passenger safety as well. Abysmal pay and working conditions for pilots in budget regional carriers has resulted in an increase in crashes, to give just one example.

While cutting corners on workers’ rights has helped boost airline profits and executive compensation, the impact on fares for passengers is less than meets the eye. As Carl Finamore explained in a 2010 article republished at SocialistWorker.org:

Champions of the free market boast about upwards of a 20 percent reduction in fares since 1978 when airlines were freed to set their own prices without the nuisance of government regulators. But this is very misleading. There are several factors contributing to the decline in prices. For example, booking online has almost entirely eliminated the large commissions of travel agents. Experts state these fees normally accounted for a full 10 percent of ticket prices.

And while it is true that fares to large cities has benefited from increased competition, where it exists, smaller communities have, conversely, seen substantial fare increases as their airports have experienced reduced or lost service. Millions of travelers are also forced to purchase tickets to major hub airports they otherwise would have bypassed during the period of regulation where direct flights to and from smaller markets were offered.

The last major factor making the price of flights misleading is the explosion of fees for everything from luggage to meals to wifi to the ability to board early–coming soon: the surcharge if you would like to not be beaten and dragged off the plane. This has been the single largest source of profits for airlines in the last decade, with Delta alone pulling in $5.7 billion from such fees in 2013 alone.

As Tim Wu pointed out in the New Yorker, this pricing model sets up a perverse incentive:

Here’s the thing: in order for fees to work, there needs be something worth paying to avoid. That necessitates, at some level, a strategy that can be described as “calculated misery.” Basic service, without fees, must be sufficiently degraded in order to make people want to pay to escape it. And that’s where the suffering begins.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IS THERE any way out of calculated misery?

The current trajectory we’re on doesn’t seem promising. While the past few years saw record profits for airlines in part due to lower fuel costs, as costs begin to rise, we should expect new rounds of crisis, bankruptcies and mergers, all of which will, of course, be apaid for by further attacks on worker and passenger dignity.

Ultimately, we would be wise to heed the words of former American Airlines CEO Bob Crandall that “market forces alone cannot and will not produce a satisfactory airline industry, which clearly needs some help to solve its pricing, cost and operating problems.”

Nationalizing and making the airlines a public utility would be a rational response to the anarchic yet calculated misery of deregulation. In a sane system, we would also look for ways to reduce the amount of air travel, given its carbon footprint, but this would require reorganizing corporate practice and providing affordable, sustainable travel alternatives, such as high-speed rail, as well as providing workers more vacation days to make slower forms of travel feasible.

Of course, we should expect none of these solutions to be forthcoming from the airline executives–least of all under a certain president who, within weeks of taking office, gleefully told a group of them: “You’re going to be so happy with Trump.”

Instead our salvation from the unfriendly skies lies, as an anonymous Delta employee put it recently, in passengers and airline workers joining forces in support of each other:

Instead of indicting each other (employees and passengers), we should focus on fostering solidarity. Many of our interests are the same.

Most obviously, a passenger’s flying conditions are also an airline employee’s working conditions…The declining emphasis put on passenger comfort and airline employee working conditions can be traced back to a common cause: the deregulation of the U.S. airline industry and the relentless pursuit of profit.

Categories: Political Parties

Aug 22: Who’s to Blame for the Housing Crisis? A Socialist Analysis of Gentrification

Seattle ISO - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 18:37

Tuesday, August 22
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

RSVP on Facebook

Seattle is facing a major housing crisis. The median home price in the city in June was $729,000 and the average rent for a one bedroom apartment was $2,063. While the population of the city is rapidly increasing, it is becoming increasingly impossible for working class people to afford the cost of housing. The homeless population is increasing in size and many people are newly facing poverty, but yet the priorities and profits of developers continue to guide city policies at every level.

Join us for a discussion about the housing crisis and gentrification from a Marxist perspective. We’ll look at how these housing trends fit in with the capitalist system and neoliberalism, as well as whose interests are served by gentrification.

Categories: Political Parties

Aug 15: Seattle ISO Working Meeting

Seattle ISO - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 18:14

Tuesday, August 15
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

This week’s meeting will be a working meeting. We’ll be discussing our plans for building at the UW campus this fall, as well as continuing our discussion about our general perspectives for our local work.

Categories: Political Parties

ABC and L.A. Times Coverage of Stop LAPD Spying Coalition Call to Action: Stop LAPD Drones

SP-USA: California - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 12:49

ABC (with video) – http://abc7.com/protesters-shut-down-la-police-commission-meeting/2287083/

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — The Los Angeles Police Commission meeting was twice interrupted on Tuesday by people protesting drones and continued funding being approved for the cadet program.”Three hundred and eighty thousands dollars to do more of the same,” one man said during the meeting.

The commissioners had to leave the room due to the protesters, and one of the men threw his notebook at the commissioners. Others stood up and began chanting, “Fire Chief Beck.” The meeting resumed at about 10:45 a.m.

The LAPD cadet program has been plagued with problems, including a scandal involving a veteran officer and an underage girl. But Chief Charlie Beck has said that the program is “here to stay.”

The original reason for the protest was a presentation and discussion of a proposal for a pilot program using drones. About two dozen protesters held signs before the meeting outside police headquarters to say that LAPD should not be using drones as a tactical tool.

“None of the communities of color were surveyed to see if they were OK with this drone situation,” said Martha Camacho-Rodriguez, a special education teacher.

Beck said today was only the beginning of the discussion as to where and how drones would be used. Since the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department began using them in January, deputies have used them for search and rescues.”

Los Angeles Times – http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-drones-20170808-story.html

“For more than three years, a pair of drones donated to the Los Angeles Police Department were locked away, collecting dust after a public outcry over the idea of police using the controversial technology.

Seattle police saw a similar backlash when they wanted to use the devices, grounding their drone program before it even took off. And recently, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s use of a drone has been criticized by activists as well as civilian oversight commissioners who want the agency to stop.

On Tuesday, the LAPD again waded into the heated debate, as department brass proposed testing an “unmanned aerial system” during a one-year pilot program.

Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala told the Police Commission that the idea was to use a small drone to help officers during certain types of incidents, such as and reports of potential bombs or active shooters. The devices, she said, could help gather crucial information as such situations unfold, without putting officers at risk.

The LAPD would draw up clear guidelines before flying the drone and each use would require the approval of a high-ranking department official, she said.

Before the meeting, roughly three dozen activists from various groups — including the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, Black Lives Matter and Los Angeles Community Action Network — stood outside the LAPD’s downtown headquarters, denouncing the use of drones by police.

The Police Commission should “completely reject LAPD’s latest attempt to revive its drone program,” said Hamid Khan, founder of the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, an anti-surveillance group that frequently criticizes the LAPD.

”L.A. does not need further militarization by the LAPD,” said Paula Minor, an activist with Black Lives Matter.

Drones have been hailed by law enforcement across the country as a crucial technology that can help find missing hikers or monitor armed suspects without jeopardizing the safety of officers. But efforts to adopt the unmanned aircraft have frequently drawn fierce criticism from privacy advocates for whom the devices stir Orwellian visions of inappropriate — or illegal — surveillance or fears of military-grade, weaponized drones patrolling the skies.

“People are concerned because they associate the drones that police might be using with the drones that are being used by the military,” said Dan Gettinger, codirector of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College. “The word ‘drone’ just has that implication.”

Almost 350 public safety departments in the U.S. have acquired drones, nearly half of them last year, according to a study Gettinger’s center published earlier this year. Many of those drones are no more advanced than those used by hobbyists, he said.

Some agencies have adopted the technology without much public reaction. Still, Gettinger said, skeptics have expressed apprehension not just about how police use drones today, but how they might use the technology in the future.

“We’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The systems are going to evolve, and that’s going to bring with them questions about how they’re going to be used.”

In an attempt to strike a balance between privacy and public safety, more than a dozen states have adopted rules requiring law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants before using drones to conduct surveillance or searches, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A similar proposal by the California Legislature was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014.

The LAPD’s dance with drones began in 2014, when the department received two Draganflyer X6 drones from police in Seattle — drones the Washington agency unloaded after heavy criticism from the public.

Although the LAPD said it would deploy the drones for “narrow and prescribed uses,” civil liberties advocates questioned their use in even a limited fashion.

Less than a week after getting the drones, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said he would not fly the unmanned aircraft until the department had sought public feedback as well as approval from the Police Commission.

“I will not sacrifice public support for a piece of police equipment,” Beck said at the time.

The drones were then locked away in the office of the LAPD’s inspector general. Department officials said the move was a response to public perception and federal laws limiting use of the unmanned aircraft.

Earlier this year, L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced his agency’s plans to use a $10,000 drone to help deputies responding to arson scenes, suspected bombs and hostage situations. McDonnell said the drone would not be used in surveillance but could provide critical information from previously inaccessible vantage points.

Civil liberties advocates expressed concern over privacy as well as what they described as a lack of public input in the sheriff’s abrupt announcement. The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition staged a protest blasting the department’s use of drones.

On July 27, the majority of the Civilian Oversight Commission also expressed their desire for McDonnell to stop flying the drone, citing concerns over surveillance and safety.

The Sheriff’s Department still plans to use its drone, a spokeswoman said Monday. Deputies flew the device last week, she said, during an East L.A. standoff with a gunman who shot two people and refused to surrender.”

Categories: Political Parties

August issue of Socialist Worker out now

International Socialist Organization - Tue, 08/08/2017 - 03:26

The August issue of Socialist Worker is out now and available from ISO branches around the country.

The front cover headline is "The GOP's health care hunger games: Health care should be a right, not a business." Articles in this special section include "The way out of the health care hunger games," "Obamacare vs. Trumpcare: From bad to worse?" and "How the Democrats killed single-payer."

Featured on the back page is "When the right ran into a fight in Charlottesville," leading off a special section on fighting the right that includes: "How we organized for left...Read more

Categories: Political Parties

Protesters Demand Long Beach Become a Sanctuary City

SP-USA: California - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 22:13

By Barry Saks

About 20 people, mostly young and of color, stood on the corner of Willow Street and Santa Fe Avenue on Friday, Aug. 4, and chanted pro-immigrant slogans and demands for the Long Beach to become a sanctuary city.

The Filipino Migrant Center, which is part of Sanctuary LB (Long Beach), organized the protest.

The chants were in English, Spanish and Tagalog, also known as Filipino.  While most of the chants were in English, many were in Spanish and a small number in Tagalog.  Interspersed among the chants, the honking horns in solidarity could be heard, and at least once a hostile voice was heard out of a car.

One chant was “No Ban, no wall, sanctuary for all.”  Another chant was “What do we want?  Sanctuary.  When do we want it? Now.”  A third chant was “Move ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), get out the way ICE, get out the way.”  Another chant was “Education, not deportation.”  A fifth chant was “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here.”  A sixth chant was “When immigrant rights are under attack, what do we do?  Stand up, fight back.”  A seventh chant was “ICE out of Long Beach.”  And still another chant was “No borders, no nations, stop the deportations.” A ninth chant was “Tell me what you want, what you really want?  Justice.  Tell me what you need, really need?  Sanctuary.  How are we going to get it?  People power.”

Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, during a phone interview, after the protest, said, “I don’t oppose a local (sanctuary city) ordinance.  I don’t know what a local ordinance honestly would do….We can do one, which would be symbolic, but it’s not going to…really have an impact….We have so many individuals that are not only living in Long Beach, they may be undocumented but working outside the city.  So what good is it for us just to have a local Long Beach ordinance per se than a statewide one, where everyone is covered?”

Neither the Mayor, nor any of other eight City Councilmembers of Long Beach were available for comment.

Alex Montances, of the FMC, in an email before the event, said, “Long Beach should be a place where all its residents are cared for and protected, not a place where immigrant mothers, fathers, and children are afraid to walk to school, work, or even outside their house because they fear ICE and deportation raids. Mayor Robert Garcia and City Council need to pass a local Sanctuary City policy here in Long Beach to protect our immigrant community.  We need to make sure that our City is not participating, funding, or assisting Federal immigration enforcement.”

Leanna Noble was at the protest.  Noble said, “We need a local sanctuary city ordinance that’s got teeth, that will make sure that all of the residents…have their rights protected and that they can live here in peace and safety.”

Tamara Romero was also at the protest.  Romero said she was there in solidarity with the immigrant community and wanted Long Beach to have its own sanctuary ordinance because many immigrants live here in fear.

According to the Facebook event page of Sanctuary Long Beach, events are planned for Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 5:30 p.m., at Del Amo Boulevard and Atlantic Avenue, and Wednesday, 5:30 p.m., at Pine Avenue and Broadway.

Meanwhile, according to a Los Angeles Times story in early August, that Federal immigration agents have shown up twice at California labor dispute proceedings to apprehend undocumented workers and that California officials sent a memo in July instructing staff members to refuse entry to ICE agents who visit its offices to apprehend illegal immigrants.

The California Assembly Judiciary Committee, on Wednesday, July 5, passed California Senate Bill 54, known as the California Values Act, and the California Senate, on Monday, April 3, passed it.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee, on Tuesday, June 13, passed SB 31, known as the California Religious Freedom Act, and the California Senate on Monday, April 3, passed it.

The about page of the Sanctuary Long Beach reads, “(T)he Long Beach City Council passed a resolution in support of SB 54…which limits information sharing with state and local law enforcement and immigration enforcement agencies. While…this is a step in the right direction, we know from previous statewide legislation that addresses law enforcement, local policies are more effective for accountability, efficiency, and building trust with local leaders and (the) community.”

The Long Beach City Council, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, voted seven to zero with two absent to support SB 31, known as the California Religious Freedom Act, and to support as amended SB 54.

Those in favor were 1st District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, 3rd District Councilwoman Suzie Price, 4thDistrict Councilman Daryl Supernaw, 7th District Councilman Roberto Uranga, 8th District Councilman Al Austin and 9th District Councilman and Vice Mayor Rex Richardson.  Absent were 5th District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo and 6thDistrict Councilman Dee Andrews.

SB 54 would prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies, including school police and security departments, from using resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest people for immigration enforcement.  However, SB 54 provides two allowed exceptions.  First, it allows efforts to investigate, enforce, or assist in the investigation or enforcement of a violent or serious felony and second it allows the transferring of an individual to federal immigration authorities who has been previously convicted of a violent felony.

SB54 would also require by April, 2018, the California Attorney General to publish policies limiting assistance with immigration enforcement to the fullest extent possible for use by public schools, public libraries, health facilities operated by the state or a subdivision of the state, and courthouses and would require them to implement those policies.  It would also encourage other organizations providing services related to physical or mental health and wellness, education, or access to justice, including the University of California to adopt the policy.  SB 54 would require every six months, that a law enforcement agency participating in a joint task force with Federal immigration enforcement to submit a report to the Department of Justice and would require the California Attorney General by March 1, 2019, and twice a year after to report the types and frequency of those task forces, and to post those reports on the California Attorney General’s website.  SB 54 would require the Board of Parole Hearing or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to notify ICE of the scheduled release of all people confined to state prison serving for a conviction of a violent or serious felony or who has a prior conviction for a violent or serious felony.

SB 31 would prohibit a state or local agency or a public employee from providing the federal government information regarding a person’s religious beliefs, practices, or affiliation when the information is for compiling a database.  It would also prohibit a state agency from using its resources to assist in compiling such a database.  However, one exception is for targeted investigations of individual based on reasonable suspicion that the individual has engaged or have been the victim of criminal activity and there is a clear connection between the criminal activity and the information collected.  A second exception is to provide religious accommodations.



Categories: Political Parties

8/5 – Socialist Party Los Angeles Local Monthly Meeting

SP-USA: California - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 01:24

This is our monthly meeting, held every first Saturday of the month. We talk about current campaigns, actions and events on a both local and national levels. Some political discussion. This is a good meeting to come to if you’re interested in socialism and/or are interested in getting involved in grassroots efforts to effect change from the bottom up.

2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

2617 Hauser Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90016

Open to the public, except racists, fascists, sexists, Islamaphobes, neo-Nazis, the alt-right, provocateurs, moles and other assholes.

Categories: Political Parties

WFP Endorses Shontá Browdy for Hartford Board of Education

Working Families - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 11:23

Hartford, CT – Local educator and parent activist Shontá Browdy has received the unanimous endorsement of delegates from the Connecticut Working Families Party for her campaign for Hartford Board of Education. She will run solely on the Working Families Party ballot line for the election taking place on Tuesday, November 7th.

Shontá Browdy: “It is an honor to accept the Working Families Party endorsement. Now more than ever, our families and students need representation that will keep corporate interests out of our schools and give all parents a real seat at the table. Growing up in Hartford, my teachers shaped my life for the better. As a proud parent of two children in Hartford public schools, I want to ensure that today’s kids have the opportunities to reach their potential and contribute to our community.”

Shontá believes in the potential of our city’s schools to better lives and empower our youth. She stands firmly against school closures and school privatization, instead focusing on improving the quality and care of our public school system. To achieve opportunities for our kids, she advocates smart investments in skills training, nutritional education via urban agriculture programs, and greater transparency between parents and the Board of Education. As a parent, she has held the Board of Education accountable for over a decade. Now she is running to maximize that accountability and give parents real representation.

Carlos Moreno, Interim State Director, CT Working Families Party: “Working Families is proud to endorse Shontá Browdy, an educator, parent, and community activist who has truly shown up for our kids. Being a parent of two children in Hartford public schools herself, she knows just how important the stakes are for our children and our economy. Over the past decade, she has rarely missed a chance to fight on behalf of parents and students at Board of Education meetings. Now, Hartford voters have the chance to elect her to a real seat at the table, where she can fully represent the voices of parents like her.”

Robert Cotto, Jr., current Working Families Party elected on the Hartford Board of Education: “In my experience, I know that Shontá Browdy has what it takes to be a great member of the Board of Education. She has a passion for public education and a deep knowledge of our community and schools. I’ve seen her at school board meetings over the years asking the right questions and showing up for kids and families. She won’t stop until all kids have a great public education.”

Shontá Browdy grew up in Hartford, where she says public school teachers made all the difference in her life. When she left the city for college, she swore that she would come back to better her community. She has done just that. An education advocate for over a decade, Shontá has taught our kids as a substitute teacher, served as the Education Committee Chair of the Greater Hartford chapter of the NAACP, worked to remove barriers in the lives of children as the Director of P.U.R.P.O.S.E., and empowered young activists as the Co-Advisor for the Greater Hartford NAACP Youth Council.

A proud mother of two children in the Hartford public school system, Shontá holds an almost perfect record of meeting attendance holding the Hartford Board of Education accountable. Each spring, she leads a community gardening project focused on exposing children to healthy eating and an agricultural curriculum. She has resisted school closures and worked to elevate the role of parents in the education system.

The Working Families Party endorsement comes with strategic campaign support and candidate training. All candidates are carefully vetted to ensure that they reflect the views and goals of Working Families’ members. Recent polling affirmed Working Families’ members vote for candidates who fight for economic justice, tax fairness, living wages, and workers’ rights. They also want affordable healthcare, strong public education, and immigration reform.

In the last election, the Connecticut Working Families Party garnered its strongest showing to date, having received over 5% of the vote on its line for U.S. Senate. Approximately 87,948 votes were cast for Richard Blumenthal on the Working Families Party ballot line.

The post WFP Endorses Shontá Browdy for Hartford Board of Education appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

Union Workers Stepped Up – Again, Now It’s the 1%’s Turn

Working Families - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 19:43
It is time for the Connecticut’s wealthiest residents to take some responsibility for the health of our state.

In response to today’s Senate vote to ratify the SEBAC union deal:

Carlos Moreno, Interim State Director of Connecticut Working Families:

“The State Senate did the right thing today in ratifying the SEBAC deal, despite the efforts of a unified Republican opposition that would rather play politics with the lives of thousands of Connecticut workers for presumed political gain in 2018. Today, we heard Republicans pit public and private sector workers against each other. Rather than vilify state workers, who have reached into their pocketbooks for a third time since 2009 in order to help the state. Republicans should be asking why every worker in our state can’t make a living wage, and why every worker in our state can’t retire with a pension. State workers have stepped up – again. With 30% of the budget deficit closed by 2% of Connecticut’s working families, it is time for the wealthiest few to step up and pay their fair share to help close the rest.”

“Our Republican legislators in particular have failed to demonstrate the courage and honesty needed to step away from the race-to-the-bottom politics of harmful cuts, regressive taxes, and unjust corporate subsidies. At a time when working families are taking all of the hit, their only suggestion is to hit them harder.”

“We need a real vision for the future centered on investment in urban spaces, maintaining and growing Connecticut’s high quality of life, and developing the kind of modern workforce that today’s employers require. Though we are proud of public sector union workers’ continued willingness to sacrifice for the sake of us all, we also recognize that continuing this cycle of cuts is disastrous to the future of our state. We need revenue and meaningful investment, not cuts. It is time for the 1% to step up and pay their fair share.”

“There are common-sense ways that Connecticut can fix its fiscal crisis and truly invest in a brighter future. The Carried Interest Loophole costs our state $520 million per year, letting hedge fund managers pay a 19.6% lower tax rate than ordinary taxpayers. Massachusetts has created positive growth by partially closing that gap with a 12% capital gains tax. In New York, a higher marginal tax rate of 8.82% on millionaires helps to ensure the health of the state. Here in Connecticut, our legislature fails to invest in infrastructure and growth, while passing the burden of budget cuts onto our workers and towns. This is despite the fact that much of the fiscal burden has been caused by a decline in corporate tax collection caused by massive business tax credits and sophisticated corporate tax avoidance, dropping corporate tax collection from 13.2% of the budget in 1991 to less than 4% of the budget in 2015.1”

Source: 1 http://www.ctvoices.org/sites/default/files/Revenue%20Options%202017%20FINAL%20updated.pdf

The post Union Workers Stepped Up – Again, Now It’s the 1%’s Turn appeared first on Working Families.

Categories: Political Parties

August 8: Intersectionality, Privilege, and Marxism

Seattle ISO - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 00:24

Tuesday, August 8
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

RSVP on Facebook

Activists engaged in struggles against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other oppressions often reference the terms privilege and intersectionality. Privilege is a concept intended to highlight the concrete ways in which people’s lives are changed by oppression, but it is often focused on individuals and their ideas, rather than systems of oppression. Intersectionality, on the other hand, is a term used to indicate the way that different systems of oppression interact with each other to create particular forms of oppression for people who exist at the intersections of different types of oppression.

Join us for a discussion about these concepts and their relationship with Marxism, so that we can better understand how socialists should engage with fights against all forms of oppression in our society.

Suggested background:

Categories: Political Parties

Aug 1: Seattle ISO Working Meeting

Seattle ISO - Sat, 07/29/2017 - 00:13

Tuesday, August 1
7:00 p.m.
Common Good Cafe
(Downstairs at the University Temple United Methodist Church)
1415 NE 43rd St.
Seattle, WA 98105

This week’s meeting will be a working meeting. We’ll be devoting some time to discussing our national and local perspectives for building the ISO and other activist campaigns.

Categories: Political Parties

What happened at Evergreen State?

Seattle ISO - Thu, 07/27/2017 - 00:26

From SocialistWorker.org:

Patrick Edward H. writes from Washington on the events at Evergreen State College that led to a right-wing media crusade and threats of violence from the alt-right.

July 26, 2017

Students rally against racism at Evergreen State College (The Cooper Point Journal)

EVERGREEN STATE College in Olympia, Washington, made national headlines at the end of the school year over student protests that provoked violent threats from the far right, leading to a three-day campus shutdown in June.

Much of the media depicted the controversy as a story of political correctness gone haywire, with student demonstrators attempting to stifle a professor’s harmlessly stated opinions. But there’s more to the story than what the press chose to focus on.

The facts need to be made clear, not only to set the record straight about what happened at Evergreen, but because the events of the spring raise questions that the left needs to discuss: about how we take on the growing threat of the far right and what methods can best challenge racism–for example, calling for firings and suspensions or confronting and politically defeating reactionary ideas.

Evergreen is a small alternative college known for its progressive faculty and its founding goals of changing the dynamic of higher education towards group learning, ecology and social justice. Not surprisingly, it has long been a target of the right wing and regularly faces threats of defunding and privatization from the Washington state legislature.

Tensions between students and the administration have been high for some time, with, just in the past, women on campus protesting how staff conduct rape investigations; Black students objecting to inadequate training and over-arming of the campus police; and LGBT students challenging the understaffing of the trans and queer center. A majority of students has been sympathetic to these grievances.

These tensions came to a head following the night of May 14, after two Black students were woken in their dorm by officers at 11 p.m. and taken to campus police headquarters, where they were questioned until 2 a.m.

The interrogation stemmed from an online Facebook debate about what many people perceived to be a racist comment–and, later, an in-person argument in the cafeteria, though many witnesses stated it “was very far from physical.” Police singled out the Black students involved in the debate for hours of questioning, yet never formally detained the two or charged them with anything.

The following day, 100 protesters assembled near the campus administration building to stand up against this act of police harassment.

“Students involved cited the general distrust and dislike for police services, the administration and the general treatment of [people of color] on campus as reasons for gathering,” read a report in the Cooper Point Journal, Evergreen’s student-run newspaper.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

MEANWHILE, BRET Weinstein, a professor of biology at Evergreen, wrote an e-mail that would dominate media coverage of the Evergreen controversy afterward.

Weinstein’s e-mail objected to a change in a campus tradition called the “Day of Absence,” in which, in the past, staff and students of color left campus and congregated separately. This year, organizers of the Day of Absence instead called for whites to leave campus and discuss race issues separately.

Though participation in the Day of Presence has always been voluntary, involving several hundred students at most, Weinstein called this year’s plan “a show of force, and an act of oppression in and of itself.” Weinstein said he wanted to lead a “discussion of race through a scientific/evolutionary lens”–a proposal taken by many as intentionally provocative, given the shameful history of pseudo-scientific explanations to justify racism.

Weinstein is also known on campus for, late last year, publicly opposing a recommendation from the college’s Equity and Inclusion Council, designed to encourage diversity, for a formal “equity justification/explanation” process for all new faculty hires.

Protests around the previous questions, and now incorporating outrage at Weinstein, continued to build through May 24, when students occupied an administration building and demanded to be heard.

During the occupation, Weinstein and some of his supporters attempted to block students from passing through the building. Students say this wasn’t the first time Weinstein tried to confront students–throughout the previous week, he had approached protesters to engage in yelling matches, they say.

A coalition of students of color leading the occupation developed a wide-ranging list of demands that included disarming of Evergreen police and a ban on any expansion of their facilities or powers, along with numerous measures to add staff and services for LGBTQ undocumented and other groups of students.

The coalition also called for Weinstein to be suspended without pay, along with the suspension of an Evergreen police officer who had acted aggressively during the previous week’s protests, and the firing of an administrator involved in student conduct.

The protests continued outside the administration building until May 26, when Evergreen President George Bridges held a six-hour discussion with students to air their grievances with the administration. By the end, he rejected the demands involving the disciplining of staff and disarming of police, but agreed to meet the other demands. After Bridges’ concessions, protests continued, but were smaller.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IN THE meantime, Weinstein made himself a prominent figure on Fox News and other right-wing media with his claims that he was the victim of persecution by student “mobs” intent on a “witch hunt.” Always on the lookout for a right-wing cause to promote, Fox News compared Weinstein’s treatment by students to the murderous Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Right-wingers began to focus on Evergreen, subjecting students to online harassment. On YouTube and Facebook, there were comments calling for “a new Kent State”–referring to the National Guard shooting of antiwar protesters in 1970–and other threats against the campus.

On June 1, following Weinstein’s claims of persecution being publicized on Fox News and in the Wall Street Journal, the local county hotline received an anonymous call saying, “I’m on my way to Evergreen University (sic) now with a .44 Magnum. I’m going to execute as many people on the campus as I can get ahold of.”

The local “alt-right” moved into action when the group Patriot Prayer announced what it called a “Free Speech Evergreen State College” rally for June 15.

The day before, several dozen people turned out in downtown Olympia to show community support for the college. The next day, about 120 counterprotesters gathered to oppose Patriot Prayer, which finally arrived an hour after its announced starting time.

The two groups were kept separate by a line of state troopers in riot gear. Patriot Prayer’s chief organizer Joey Gibson and others were sprayed with Silly String, but that was the extent of the confrontation.

Ironically, President Bridges used the June 15 protest and counterprotest as an excuse to call for more police on campus. “Our hard-working law enforcement officers need the training, equipment, and staffing levels necessary to ensure their continued ability to protect all on our 1,000-acre campus,” Bridges said in testimony to a state legislature committee. “I will be seeking help from the Legislature to meet the challenges of campus safety.”

So a sequence of events that began in part with protests against the police presence on campus ended up being used as a justification for more police.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

OBVIOUSLY, FOX News and various right-wing organizations jumped at an opportunity to push their claim that right-wingers are being persecuted, especially on college campuses, just for expressing their opinions. They twisted the facts to suit their crusade against the left.

But students and activists could have responded to the right differently.

For example, when Weinstein started pushing his claims in the media, the reports on Fox and elsewhere included clips of students heatedly denouncing him. While highly edited and lacking context, some of the statements made by students in those clips were counterproductive to the goals of the protesters.

Likewise, the demand that Weinstein be suspended only lent credence to the idea that protesters were attempting to limit his “free speech”–for certain, it made it easier for Weinstein to play the victim. Plus, there is the long history of authorities using rules and laws intended to control the right against the left instead.

Activists could have focused on challenging Weinstein’s statements and exposing them as leading to reactionary conclusions. As students have shown in recent protests, they have plenty of evidence to show the existence of racism on campus and the need to challenge it.

Even the idea for the Day of Presence, while well intentioned, tended to lead toward the conclusion that students want “free speech” to be restricted or segregated. By focusing on this largely symbolic day, Weinstein successfully diverted attention from the many legitimate student demands driving the protests.

To raise these points is not to condemn the demonstrators, but to ask how we can strengthen our movements and avoid playing into the hands of the right. We know from all that has taken place since Trump’s election that the right wing and its media mouthpieces have found a new organizing strategy by claiming to be victims of left-wing oppressors who want to stop them from speaking out.

The controversy at Evergreen will die down over the summer, but since administrators are talking about adding more police and other student demands have gone unmet, the discontent is sure to surface again. In the meantime, the summer break provides an opportunity to reflect on what happened and strategize as to next steps.

Evergreen student Jacqueline Littleton–who received numerous racial slurs, and rape and death threats, and had her personal information posted online after defending the protests–reflected on the experiences of the spring in a New York Times op-ed article:

While recent events may have brought negative attention to my school, I am proud of students here who found a way to create change. In the movies, protests always look heroic, but they tend to be messy in real life. Weren’t the protests of the 1960s unpopular and messy sometimes, too?…

Mr. Weinstein’s story about Evergreen’s regressive campus culture fit neatly into many misconceptions about the “new left,” so it seemed to go unquestioned. However, for many students, staff and faculty at Evergreen, the harassment that came after the negative coverage of the protesters was a shocking and bitter twist. It is not lost on us that students of color are the ones who have been disproportionately targeted.

Littleton’s comments show the commitment of those who demonstrated at Evergreen not to be intimidated by the right, but to continue the struggle.

Alan Maass and Leela Yellesetty contributed to this article.
Categories: Political Parties

From Hiroshima To WWIII, August 5 in Berkeley

Peace & Freedom - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 04:00

Posted on July 23, 2017 by the Alameda County Central Committee

On Saturday, August 5 the Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Movement presents "From Hiroshima to WWIII: If Workers Won't End These Wars, Who Will?"

When: Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 2:00pm to 4:30pm
Where: Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley(MAP)
What: speakers and discussion
Sponsor: Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Movement
Contact: call 510-332-3865 or email cuyleruyle - at - mac.com
Cost: Free, but please buy food and drink at the pub

Hiroshima was not so much the end of WWII as the opening salvo in a series of new wars which must be ended if humanity is to survive. Will the working class fulfill its historic mission and end this madness? Or must we look elsewhere? We are inviting speakers to address this question.

Categories: Political Parties

From Hiroshima To WWIII, August 5 in Berkeley

Peace & Freedom - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 04:00

Posted on July 23, 2017 by the Alameda County Central Committee

On Saturday, August 5 the Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Movement presents "From Hiroshima to WWIII: If Workers Won't End These Wars, Who Will?"

When: Saturday, August 5, 2017 from 2:00pm to 4:30pm
Where: Starry Plough Pub, 3101 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley(MAP)
What: speakers and discussion
Sponsor: Alameda County Peace and Freedom Party and Movement
Contact: call 510-332-3865 or email cuyleruyle - at - mac.com
Cost: Free, but please buy food and drink at the pub

Hiroshima was not so much the end of WWII as the opening salvo in a series of new wars which must be ended if humanity is to survive. Will the working class fulfill its historic mission and end this madness? Or must we look elsewhere? We are inviting speakers to address this question.

Categories: Political Parties