Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Recalling the Greensboro Massacre

On Nov. 3, 1979, members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party (ANP) attacked an anti-Klan march in Greensboro, N.C., that was organized by the Communist Workers Party (CWP). Five members of the CWP were murdered and 10 others were wounded with the collusion of federal and local law enforcement.

Workers’ Viewpoint Organization (WVO), which changed its named to the Communist Workers Party just days before the massacre, had been organizing in the North Carolina textile industry. Members had taken jobs in textile mills and worked to build multiracial union struggles. Their work in the mills had earned them the hostility of the textile bosses, local cops, and union bureaucrats.

Russia Cracks Down on LGBTQ Activists

In August, Ali Feruz was sentenced in a night court in Russia to be deported to Uzbekistan. He will spend time waiting for his appeal in a new prison for foreigners in Moscow, often known as the Russian Guantanamo. His parents and siblings are all Russian citizens. He had returned to Uzbekistan to study and while there reported on the authoritarian nature of the then Karimov regime. He was detained and tortured for two days. He then returned to Russia and asked for asylum.

Kurdish Independence in Northern Iraq: Between Hope and Contradictions

A referendum on the independence of the Iraqi Kurdistan, an autonomous region of northern Iraq since 1991 and composed of three provinces, will take place on September 25, 2017.

The vote will not be binding, but will trigger the independence process if the yes votes win. The Iraqi central government, dominated by the Shi’a Islamic fundamentalist movement, Da’wa, and many states in the region, including Turkey and Iran, are opposed to this referendum. At the international level, Russia, the United States and the European Union are suspicious of this poll.

NSA’s Cyberwarfare Blowback

In May and June, hackers took over thousands of computers around the world, encrypted their contents, and demanded ransom to decrypt them. They used tools developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) to exploit vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system.

China suffered most from the May attacks, and Ukraine from the June attacks, but both attacks spread worldwide, including to Russia and the United States.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Native Youth “Paddle to Protect” Water from Another Enbridge Pipeline

On August 12, a group of six indigenous teenagers and four adults from different tribes in Canada and the United States met at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, in northern Minnesota’s Itasca State Park, and set out on a 250-mile canoe trip to protest Enbridge Inc.’s latest endeavor—a so-called “replacement” of its aging Line 3 pipeline. The goal was to raise awareness about the danger the project poses to water quality, sacred wild rice beds and First Nation tribal sovereignty.

Enbridge—a multinational energy transportation company that operates the longest network of oil and liquid hydrocarbon pipelines in North America—is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. It specializes in moving diluted bitumen, a heavy crude oil from the Athabasca tar sands, to oil refineries in the United States. 

Striking Fast-Food Workers Rally at St. Paul McDonald’s

We need something to live on,” said 27-year-old Tay Polite, on strike from her job at McDonald’s in the city’s Midway district. “Even with a job we’re still struggling to support our families.

For as much as we work and as hard as we work, we deserve that $15 an hour.”

Fight for $15 strikes and demonstrations targeted fast-food employers in 400 cities worldwide on Labor Day.

Puerto Rican Activists Fight Coal Ash Dumping

Puerto Rico has suffered for generations under the direct and indirect rule by the United States. The wealth of the island has been stripped by corporate interests while farmers and workers on the island have struggled with political, economic, and environmental degradation.

Activists both at home and in the diaspora are leading a massive struggle against austerity and environmental destruction. Alexis Diaz, a Puerto Rican activist living in Connecticut, discusses the fight against the dumping of toxic coal ash in the poorest regions of the island.  This interview was conducted by Ernie Gotta for Socialist Action newspaper.

Ernie Gotta: What is coal ash and why are people protesting the dumping of coal ash in Puerto Rico?

MN Home Healthcare Workers Received Holiday Pay for the 1st Time This Labor Day

This Labor Day is the first day many of the roughly 27,000 home health care workers in Minnesota will receive holiday pay as a direct result of their union’s second contract with the state, which took effect July 1.

In addition to gaining time-and-a-half pay for five holidays each year, the new contract also raises the minimum wage for these workers to $12 an hour, increases the amount of paid time off they can accrue, expands their paid training opportunities and outlines the further development of an online registry where clients who receive support services can connect with care providers.

Why Aren’t Trains Evacuating People From the Path of Hurricane Irma?

As Hurricane Irma threatens Florida with historic destruction, little to nothing is being done to help residents evacuate. On Friday, Florida Governor Rick Scott and FEMA officials warned millions of residents to flee the path of the storm. How to flee has been left up to residents, with no assistance provided.

Over 20 counties are being told to evacuate, in what could be the largest evacuation in American history. It is quickly exposing the abysmal, anarchy-filled state of transportation in America. Those hoping to fly out were confronted with sky-high prices, in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, and now over 4,000 flights have been canceled. Extra flights were added, but operations wound down Friday afternoon, more than a full day before the storm. Many have been left stranded at the airport, with all shelters filled up.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Harvey Ravages Houston: A Glimpse of Future Disasters?

After swamping Houston and the Galveston Bay region, Tropical Storm Harvey wheeled into eastern Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Residents of Tyler County, Texas, were told by authorities, “Get out or die!” Over two feet of water was dumped on cities and towns that were still rebuilding from the legendary Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Tennessee, Arkansas, and Kentucky lie in the storm’s path, and are bracing for heavy rains and flash floods. The area hit by Harvey exceeds that affected by either Katrina or Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Are North Korea’s Leaders Crazy?

Much has been made—and quite astutely—of connections between the current lead-up to a potential war with North Korea and the events before the Iraq War: the collusion of mainstream media with a president that earlier they had largely disliked; massive fear-mongering about their weapons; and a narrative about the brutality of the regime. Yet the image of Kim Jong Un, and his administration that is crafted by American propaganda is also reminiscent of the image created of Japan during World War II. It is an Orientalist depiction of a supposedly irrational people—a racist conception that the U.S. is now using to justify yet another potential war.

Workers’ Struggles Repressed in the Former USSR

On the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, many people are rereading the history of the revolution that brought forth the very first worker’s state in history. Since 1991, however, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics no longer exists. The former USSR has splintered into 15 independent capitalist states. The Russian Federation is now the largest capitalist country in the world in area, occupying one-seventh of the earth’s surface, with a population in January 2017 of 146,428,420.

Climate Change and the Deportation Machine

The United States Border Patrol is going to keep its Rio Grande Valley checkpoints active in Texas through the duration of Hurricane Harvey “unless there is a danger to the safety of the traveling public and our agents,” according to a statement from the agency. “We’re not going to impede anybody getting out of here, but at the same time we’re a law enforcement agency, so we still have to conduct our duties,” a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) official elaborated. As the agency later clarified, so long as highways are open checkpoints will be too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Fourth International Resolution on Lesbian/Gay Liberation

Lesbian/gay movements have grown considerably in numbers and spread to every continent since the late 1960s. They have managed to win significant reforms in some countries while many other movements have been on the defensive. Since the 1980s lesbian/gay movements have emerged in many Asian, African and Eastern European countries where they did not exist before; regained strength in key Latin American countries (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina) where they had experienced setbacks; and on several occasions mobilized hundreds of thousands of people in Western Europe and North America.

The key lessons that we have learned during our participation in these movements and that are expressed in this text are:

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tens of Thousands Join Boston March Against Fascism and Bigotry

In the week following the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, which ended with the murder of Heather Heyer, anti-racist and anti-fascist protests erupted in hundreds of cities and towns across the United States. About 3000 marched in Philadelphia on Aug. 16, and 1000 rallied in Portland, Ore., two days later.

The largest mobilization of the week took place on Aug. 19, when tens of thousands of demonstrators filled Boston Common and marched through the streets to say, “No Nazis, no KKK, no fascists in the USA!” The huge outpouring of protesters dwarfed a simultaneous rally of right-wingers in Boston Common.