USW Local 8751 leads the way

first_imgMonica MooreheadFrom a WWP Conference talk by Secretariat member Monica Moorehead. When it comes to the U.S. labor movement, there are very few unions that fit the description of being organizing centers for the entire working class. There are the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 in the Bay Area, United Electrical Workers Local 150 and Black Workers For Justice.There is also Steelworkers Local 8751, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union. This union, which our Party had such a significant role in founding, grew out of the struggle against racism, especially the horrific attacks on Black school children who were being bused to all-white schools in South Boston.The situation in Boston during the early 1970s was very similar to the situation in the Deep South — separate and unequal schools and education. A national march of 25,000 people in Boston on Dec. 14, 1974, brought together people of all nationalities, ages and political experiences under one broad slogan, “Say No to Racism.”It was a popular way of expressing the right of self-determination for the Black community. For a period of time, this mobilization helped to beat back the racists, but today these same racist forces have reared their ugly heads in an all-out campaign to resegregate the neighborhoods, including the schools.Enter Veolia — a French-based transnational corporation in over a hundred countries which has a notorious history of union busting, low wages and privatizing services. Veolia is part of a broad conspiracy on the part of the city government and Boston Public Schools to destroy the right to public education. Their first target is the school bus drivers’ union. But as they have witnessed since Oct. 8, when the workers were illegally locked out, they are messing with the wrong union. They expected this union to abandon their leaders, who have consistently fought for their economic and political rights, but they grossly miscalculated.This union not only fights for the best wages and benefits but also fights for the political rights of the entire class. This union has organized delegations to Haiti; protested against apartheid South Africa; organized for Pride marches; defended Palestinians’ right to their homeland; mobilized for the 2012 March on Wall Street South against the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; and more.USW 8751 is all about class unity and solidarity — words that are the antithesis to what Veolia is all about, which are divide, conquer and then destroy. The bus drivers are part of the community. They are rooted in the political movement, and that is why Veolia won’t win in Boston, just as they didn’t win in St. Louis; Sarasota, Fla.; occupied Palestine and elsewhere.Our WW newspaper is THE paper of the bus drivers. USW 8751 leads the way in the struggle against Veolia and any other union-busting, criminal conglomerate that attempts to break the solidarity of the workers and oppressed. Union busting is disgusting!!FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

Solidarity with Ukraine anti-fascists at NY Gaza march

first_imgWW photo: Joseph PietteWorkers World Party and International Action Center activists spoke out in solidarity with the Donbass resistance and anti-fascist fighters in Ukraine at the Aug. 9 “World Stands with Gaza” march in New York.Protesters carried the flag of the Donetsk People’s Republic and signs linking the anti-imperialist/anti-fascist resistance of the people in Palestine and Ukraine. They also distributed a call to action from the Support Center for Antifascists in Ukraine, initiated by exiled member of the Marxist organization Union Borotba (Struggle) in Simferopol, Crimea.According to march organizers, this was the first time the Donetsk flag was flown at a Gaza demonstration in New York. Many people asked about the flag, and this opened up the opportunity for conversations about the Ukraine struggle and similarities with the Palestinian resistance.Russian and Palestinian television networks interviewed the activists.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

Syriza’s first anti-austerity moves hearten masses

first_imgManeuvers begin as bankers push backThe new left social-democratic government of the Syriza party was swept into office in Greece on an anti-austerity program on Jan. 25. The party targeted the harsh neoliberal cutbacks, budget cuts and privatization imposed by the “Troika” — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission.The new government immediately took concrete measures against the austerity program imposed by the banks. As the Jan. 28 British Guardian put it: “One by one [the austerity measures] were rolled back, blitzkrieg-style, mercilessly, ruthlessly, with rat-a-tat efficiency.“First the barricades came down outside the Greek parliament. Then it was announced that privatization schemes would be halted and pensions reinstated. And then came the news of the reintroduction of the 751-euro monthly minimum wage. …“After that, ministers announced more measures: the scrapping of fees for prescriptions and hospital visits, the restoration of collective work agreements, the rehiring of workers laid off in the public sector, the granting of citizenship to migrant children born and raised in Greece.”The measures that Syriza announced concerning an end to privatization and restoration of the workers’ standard of living are estimated to cost 13.2 billion euro. Despite the fact that Greece owes the Troika 240 billion euro, the Syriza government did not ask permission to break the austerity pact, which these measures surely do. (As of Feb. 2, 1 euro equals $1.13)These acts sent a wave of hope through the broad masses and shock waves into the boardrooms of finance capital.Austerity for masses equals aid to bankersPrevious governments had planned to raise funds by selling off to private capitalists and developers Greece’s two biggest ports, several airports, its power utility, a refinery and other public facilities, along with layoffs and cutbacks in workers’ wages, pensions and health benefits. All this was going to be done to pay for the bank loans made to previous Greek capitalist governments.It is worth noting that, in fact, the Greek government is not really sovereign. It has no control over its currency, a vital function of any capitalist state. Control of the currency lies in Frankfurt.The background to Syriza’s electoral victory is years of economic hardship, leading to years of mass struggle in the streets and workplaces.Greece in depressionGreece has been in depression for the last five years, with the official unemployment rate at 25 percent, 50 percent youth unemployment and an estimated half of the population living in dire poverty. People have been forced to forage in garbage dumps for food and household supplies, seek firewood and food in the forests, and subsist on food banks that have been set up in towns and cities.This is the result of the global capitalist financial crisis. But it is aggravated by the fact that Greece has been in the vise-like grip of the predatory bankers in Europe, led by German bankers and the government of Angela Merkel, with the support of the entire banking establishment of the continent.Years of struggle against austerityBut there has been fighting resistance. Mass anti-austerity demonstrations have rocked Greece since May 5, 2010, when two people were killed.From May to July 2011, the “indignados” (“indignant ones,” a term originating in Spain) occupied squares all over Greece, and on June 5 of that year up to 500,000 people gathered outside the Greek parliament. The movement was violently suppressed by the police.On Feb. 12, 2012, some 500,000 people demonstrated outside parliament. On June 9 of that year, there was a 24-hour general strike against austerity. On Nov. 17, 2014, tens of thousands demonstrated on the anniversary of the fall of the Greek dictatorship in 1974. The demonstration turned into an anti-austerity outburst.Over the years there have been numerous mass demonstrations, sit-ins, occupations, strikes and general strikes. There were two general strikes in 2014, in April and November. Many have been called by the Greek Communist Party, which has a long history of class struggle and militant resistance and a strong base in the organized working class. Syriza’s base is more general, among unorganized workers, the youth and pauperized small business people. It also made gains among the suffering rural population.This is the background to the Syriza electoral victory. The demonstrations, as frequent and strong as they have been, were not able to force the Greek political establishment to back off austerity. The parties and politicians of the two main parties are tools of the bankers, the developers, the ship owners and the big business media. Mass resistance so far has been unable to end the cruel “economic waterboarding,” as Yanis Varoufakis, the new Syriza finance minister, calls it.So the Greek masses turned to a parliamentary solution, voting out the traditional capitalist parties and voting in Syriza.Syriza’s contradiction: trying a ‘new deal’But having won office, Syriza is now faced with an enormous contradiction. On the one hand, the leadership, headed by Alexis Tsipras, has challenged austerity. But ending austerity requires funds. On the other hand, European finance capital has control of the funds; they are the ones who imposed austerity in the first place. They are now taking a hard line on any form of debt relief. This is the basis for future struggle.The Syriza government is seeking to negotiate a “new deal” with the banks — to give Greece respite from austerity and from a harsh loan repayment schedule in order to allow the economy to grow.There are two parts to their demands. The first, and most fundamental, is that they want Greece’s debt to be cut in half. Second, they are trying to loosen the payment regime — lower interest rates, more time for payment, tying payment to economic growth and so forth. Both Finance Minister Varoufakis and Prime Minister Tsipras have said they intend to honor the debt, but they want the amount and the terms of payment to be modified.Within hours of the Syriza victory, German President Angela Merkel ruled out any debt reduction. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned Greece about its negotiation tactics on writing off debt. In an interview with the London Guardian on Jan. 30, Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, said that it is “payback time” for Greece and “parents must pay their taxes.”Syriza’s strategy is to use the antagonism against the Merkel government to garner sympathy in other European capitals. Varoufakis immediately went to Paris to press this case. The French finance minister said he was sympathetic to Greece on the question of loosening loan payment conditions — but ruled out any debt relief. Varoufakis is scheduled to make the same pitch in Rome and London.Need struggle in streets to cancel debtSo long as this struggle remains within the financial constraints set by the bankers, trying to negotiate to loosen the chains around the necks of the people, the bankers have the overwhelming advantage.This must be turned into a mass political struggle against the debt. In order for Syriza to have any leverage at the negotiating table, cancelling the debt must become a battle cry in the streets and the workplaces. All the forces in Greece who have demonstrated against austerity and suffered under its harsh conditions must mobilize to come out into the streets and send a clear message to the bankers. The financiers need to know that unless they cancel the debt, they are not just dealing with arguments about accounting and financial matters but with a threat to their very system.No one should abstain from active participation in this struggle, regardless of historical or present-day differences. The masses must be imbued with the idea that the debt is illegitimate. For example, of the original 227 billion euro received in the Troika bailout of 2010, only 27 billion euro went to the Greek government to cover its expenses. The rest, 200 billion euro, went to the banks in loan repayment, bailouts, interest payments, etc. Meanwhile, Greek workers were losing their jobs and services and being plunged into depression-level poverty as conditions for the loans.Finance capital is always aggressive and voracious when it comes to extracting money from the people. German finance capital is notoriously aggressive and intransigent. In fact, German finance capital is the adventurous power that triggered two world wars. Now, instead of sending tanks into southern Europe, they and their fellow bankers are sending debt collectors to crush the people.This struggle must not be lost. No one can afford to stand aside. Fascists like Golden Dawn are waiting in the wings to see if the masses will be left in the lurch. Then Golden Dawn and the right wing can move in to capitalize on the suffering and rally the forces of fascism and anti-immigrant pogroms.Opening for revolutionary leftAll the more reason that the left, especially the revolutionary left, must be in the forefront of the struggle and win over the masses. If Syriza should falter or succumb to imperialist pressure on the implementation of austerity, then the left must be prepared to step in and give leadership.Syriza, in order to obtain a parliamentary majority, has made an unsavory alliance with the anti-immigrant, homophobic right-wing Greek Independence Party. This party has been given the post of heading the Defense Ministry, which is extremely dangerous. The Greek military historically has fascist sympathies. This position gives the military a listening post at Syriza cabinet meetings.It would be much better, if without joining the government, the Greek Communist Party and other left parties could pledge a united front in voting for genuine anti-austerity measures in the parliament as well as unity in the streets. Then Syriza would be assured of a parliamentary majority on its anti-austerity program, even if it ruled as a minority government. Then it would not have to rely on the Independence Party.On the other hand, it is very encouraging that the new Podemos Party in Spain, an anti-austerity party, was able to rally several hundred thousand people in Madrid in the wake of the Syriza electoral victory. This points toward the need to broaden the struggle to all of southern Europe, as well as Ireland — to everywhere the working class and the population are living in a state of debt slavery to the banks.The bankers have been threatening the Greek people with being put out of the eurozone if the government defaults or the agreements are violated. They hope that threatening conditions of financial chaos and economic ruin will force everyone to fall back in line.But should Greece have to exit the eurozone — should the bankers try to plunge the country into a state of economic dislocation and strangulation — that would be the signal for the working class to combat the crisis by seizing control of the economy and reorganizing it on a socialist basis.In the long run, an international struggle to overturn capital altogether is the only permanent way out of the present crisis.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

U.N. debates ‘sustainable development goals’ as world crisis grows

first_imgHeads of state attended a United Nations conference in New York City in late April to address Sustainable Development Goals 2030. Another gathering focused on the status of governments’ actions to curb climate change. The SDG program was adopted in 2015 after the Millennium Development Goals lapsed. The MDG set objectives of eliminating poverty and raising incomes beginning in 2000; the deadline was extended 15 years.During the first decade of the 21st century, significant economic growth occurred in leading states in Africa, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. Rising prices for oil, natural gas, strategic minerals and other commodities produced by so-called “developing countries” fueled profits for transnational corporations and governments in states where these resources were extracted and exported.Income generation in postcolonial and neocolonial states encouraged foreign direct investment in industrial production, technology transfers and greater cooperation among governments in the Global South. Household incomes rose in many regions of Africa, Latin American and the Asia-Pacific.  Political alliances among these states brought forward the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa Summit (BRICS), the Africa-South America Summit (ASAS) and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The distribution of wealth generated during the new millennium was not equitable. Wealthy social groups arose, while smaller enterprise owners and their workers experienced improvements in living standards.Much debt that had crippled the African continent during the 1980s and 1990s was written off and refinanced, giving the appearance of substantial development that would extend into the future. Further deregulation of the international financial industry provided credit for corporate investments and  household consumption.Rapid economic reversalBy the end of 2010, expansion of the credit-based economy was causing leading investment firms and banks to close. Western capitalist governments and central banks were compelled to bail out financial institutions with trillions of dollars and euros.This phenomenon’s effect in the U.S., Western Europe and China was not immediately apparent to many governments in Africa. Nevertheless, leading capitalist states’ strategic interests conflicted with those of emerging economies.Washington has been emphasizing domestic production of oil and natural gas in the U.S., prompting a precipitous price decline of these major exports in Nigeria, Russia, Venezuela and Brazil. South Africa — where the extraction of gold, diamonds, platinum, iron ore and coal was the engine of growth under the racist settler-colonialist system — witnessed major capital flight and job losses. There was a clear political agenda, too. Imperialists perceived the regional blocs of FOCAC, BRICS and the rejuvenated Non-Aligned Movement as threats to their hegemony in international exchange and the balance of military and economic forces.Zimbabwe President Robert MugabeMugabe says, ‘Stop the sanctions!’At the U.N. High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving Sustainable Development Goals on April 21, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe criticized imperialism’s economic sanctions that have robbed Zimbabwe of over $42 billion in revenue since the millennium began, hampering the country from reaching the MDGs. He placed the sanctions’ impact in the context of the economic crises facing former colonial and neocolonial countries.Mugabe said an urgent situation faced the majority of the world’s peoples and hoped that “the critical lessons of the Millennium Development Goals will instruct us … particularly on the imperative of moving swiftly from commitments to action, to assure success in our common and individual efforts.”  (Zimbabwe Herald, April 22)Mugabe stressed, “Recent revelations have shone light on the schemes … that deprive governments of huge financial resources which can be channeled towards development.” He called for international cooperation to  stamp out “financial engineering schemes that siphon resources from use for public good.”“For us in Africa,” noted Mugabe, “illicit flows, estimated at $60 billion a year, further hemorrhage the limited financial resources at our disposal. This area needs urgent resolution to ensure that an improvement in domestic resource mobilization efforts contributes to national coffers, and not to lining the pockets of those illegally transferring these resources from our countries.”The U.S. government has been stiffening sanctions against Zimbabwe by prohibiting transactions involving dozens of institutions and individuals as part of an imperialist scheme to interfere in Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections, reported the state-owned Sunday Mail on April 24. The newspaper has uncovered evidence that Washington is blocking Visa and MasterCard usage for all Zimbabweans on a list of “Politically Exposed Persons.”Banks operating in Zimbabwe have been warned of “stiff penalties” for people and institutions that do not carry out the sanctions. In February, Barclays Bank was fined $2.5 million for conducting financial transactions involving Zimbabweans and others on the list.Brazilian President Dilma RousseffDilma Rouseff resoluteBrazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who was subjected to an impeachment vote in the lower house of Congress on April 17, told the international audience at the U.N. climate change conference that she would fight to remain in power.  The attack on her is part of a politically motivated assault on the Workers’ Party in Brazil, which maintains the largest bloc within the legislative body.Rousseff blamed Brazil’s wealthy class for the “illegal attempt” to force her from office. She indicated she would appeal to Mercosur, the regional bloc of South American states, to suspend Brazil if she does not survive a Senate vote in May.  Mercosur’s platform includes a clause which says that if elected governments in member-states are overthrown, they can be suspended from participating in regional meetings, and economic sanctions can be imposed. Paraguay was suspended in 2012.  At a New York press conference, Rousseff said she “would appeal to the democracy clause if there were, from now on, a rupture of what I consider democratic process,” and will fight the “coup” with all her strength. (Reuters, April 22) FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

Racist murder of Black teen

first_imgJames MeansJames Means — a 15-year-old unarmed Black youth — was killed by William Ronald Pulliam, a 62-year-old white man, on Nov. 22 in Charleston, W.Va. That this attack was motivated by racism is evident from Pulliam’s unapologetic statement after the shooting: “The way I look at it, that’s another piece of trash off the street.”Means belonged to a program called Dream Chasers, helping “at-risk” children develop career goals. He hoped to become a car mechanic.Pulliam claims that Means pulled a gun on him. But even the police say that was not the case. Means had no gun. Pulliam himself was barred from owning a firearm due to a prior domestic violence conviction. Pulliam felt the need to punish Means for being “guilty” of being Black. According to Teonno White, a friend of Means, Pulliam had a record of racism.A vigil at the shooting site was held Nov. 23 to honor Means’ life. Family, friends and classmates were present. Local authorities are charging Pulliam with murder, and have asked the FBI to determine if the murder was a “hate crime.”Obviously this was a crime of bigotry and racism. Again and again we hear news stories of unarmed people of color being murdered by police, police-wannabes and civilian racists. Racism is an inherent component of life in Appalachia and, broadly, the United States.The murder of James Means, a teenager, by a man nearly five decades his elder, must be seen in the context of the ongoing wave of violence against oppressed peoples that has followed the election of President-elect Donald Trump. He won West Virginia with a nearly 70 percent share of the votes cast.There is a racist war raging against Black and Brown people, North to South, East to West, both domestically and abroad. Until we can establish revolutionary socialism across the globe, we cannot expect to see an end to racist killers, employed by both the state and vigilantes, who plague our society.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

Wealth more concentrated as poverty grows

first_imgPolice on guard next to the Congress Center ahead of the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.While 3,000 of the world’s wealthiest people wined and dined on champagne and caviar in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17-20, 9 percent of the world’s people went to bed hungry.These millionaires, economists and government leaders met at the World Economic Forum, as they do annually, in pursuit of international trade agreements and other measures which will provide wider markets and lead to higher profits for their countries’ companies. This year they’re worried. A major topic of discussion was the future of corporate globalization, which is endangered, as fury grows worldwide over rising income inequality. That and social polarization were viewed as risks to the world capitalist economy which could stymie globalization.The masses of people know that the super rich are getting richer and that they — the workers and oppressed people whose labor creates the wealth — are getting poorer. The WEF said that median income had fallen 2.4 percent from 2008 to 2013 in 26 industrialized countries. In Europe and the United States, some of that anger is terribly misdirected at immigrants and other oppressed people — who are just trying to survive — instead of at the obscenely wealthy capitalist class.In fact, the “global elite” are so concerned at growing international anger at financial inequities that an article included in the Forum’s agenda was entitled “Davos leaders agree: Share the wealth or face the consequences.” Christine Lagarde, head of the imperialist-run International Monetary Fund, asked, “When you have a real crisis, what kind of measures do we take to reduce inequality?” She concluded, “It probably means more redistribution.” After her comment, the topic was dropped. (weforum.org/agenda) That is not a popular idea among billionaires.Eight richest men worth $426 billionActually, a report prepared to coincide with the Davos conference by Oxfam, a British-based charity, asserted that eight men now own the same amount of wealth as the 3.6 billion people who form the poorest half of the earth’s population. Through evading taxes, driving down wages, fighting unionization, influencing elections and pressuring governments to gain pro-business policies, the super rich are amassing enormous wealth at an incredible rate — faster than ever.Who are these eight billionaires? Together they are worth $426 billion, equal to the wealth of half the planet’s population, said the Jan. 15 Guardian newspaper. Three years ago, Workers World newspaper reported that 85 billionaires owned that percentage of wealth. But due to acquisitions, mergers, expansions and lucrative investments, wealth has become more concentrated in fewer hands. Monopolies develop and prosper as their competitors are pushed aside, often shrinking their businesses or closing — with their workforce seeing hours or jobs disappear. Companies must expand or die.Take online bookseller Amazon, owned by Jeff Bezos, purchaser of the Washington Post. Now the mail-order conglomerate sells everything, even cookies from Australia. His company’s practices have forced independent bookstores to close, and pose a threat to other brick-and-mortar stores.Six of the most affluent eight men are U.S. residents. Topping the list is Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, a company found guilty of violating antitrust laws. Gates established Cascade Investments LLC; think-tank bgC3; Corbis, a digital image licensing company; and TerraPower, a nuclear reactor designer. Oxfam’s list includes corporate founders and CEOs Bezos, Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Larry Ellison of Oracle, and financial and news mogul Michael Bloomberg.The richest 1% has owned more wealth than the rest of the planet’s population since 2015, says Oxfam. They benefitted from the “jobless” recovery after the global economic crisis, garnering big profits, while U.S. and other workers lost ground. Despite reactionary economists’ pronouncements, no profits “trickled down” to the workers and communities here or abroad.Examining the impact of corporate globalization shows that the vast majority of the world’s poorest 50 percent work very hard to get by. One in 10 people (720 million), mostly women, struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. The increasing wealth concentrated in the hands of a few is not being shared with poorer countries or their inhabitants. There has been no “recovery” for them.Can capitalism be reformed?Panels in Davos discussed whether capitalism could be reformed. If so, what are the best ways, and how could globalization be improved to help the masses? Some crucial questions were not even addressed: Could workers be paid more? Can their bargaining power be strengthened? Can the super rich redistribute their wealth? Nor were education costs or access to health care taken up.Nobel-Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz explained that allowing more bargaining rights to workers is “where Davos man is going to get stuck. … Globalization has reduced the bargaining power of workers, and corporations have taken advantage of it.” In Davos, he did not hear discussion of how to change globalization to address inequality, with measures like transferring wealth and power to workers, more union bargaining rights and labor protections. (New York Times, Jan. 18)Will corporate moguls act on humanitarian appeals to share their wealth, to be generous to workers at home or abroad? No.Human labor creates the capitalists’ wealth; workers are paid a mere fraction of the value they create. That is the basis of all profits; it is intrinsic to the system. Corporations search the globe looking for the cheapest labor. They suppress labor struggles for higher wages, sometimes brutally.Capitalists are not interested in raising wages or sharing or redistributing their wealth. Not only are they greedy, but they are spurred on to expand their businesses and buy up or merge with other companies — or they will be pushed out by bigger corporations, by monopolies.To live under a kinder, fairer economic system requires that we — workers and oppressed people, immigrants, students and our allies — fight to get rid of heinous, inequitable and exploitative capitalism, based on private ownership of industry and the profit motive. We must establish socialism, with collective ownership, equal sharing of resources and true humanitarianism — and with equality, mutual respect and opportunities for all.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

Protests against tax hikes rock Haiti

first_imgBurning tires during protest in Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti.A series of militant demonstrations took place throughout Haiti in September and October. At first, the target of the protests was the new budget that President Jovenel Moïse imposed, raising taxes and fees. This would even apply to Haitians living abroad. When it became clear that the budget would not be modified, the most common demand in opposition was to call for Moïse’s resignation.Both the Lavalas Family Party (FL) of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the breakaway Dessalines Children Platform (PPD) of Moïse Jean-Charles have played leading roles in many of these protests. It appears that a very loose grouping, the Coalition of Democratic Organizations (COD), has been issuing calls for the protests.Even when Haitian police called off a protest, alleging there had been some violence, probably caused by provocateurs at a previous protest, people still came out to the demonstration called by the COD.In October, the COD called for several protests in Port-au-Prince, as well as Petit-Goâve, Saint Marc, Cayes, Jacmel, Cap Haïtien and Ouanaminthe on October 5, 7, 10, 12, 14 and 17. (www.loophaiti.com)The Moise government has stepped up repression against the protests and attempted to bring out its supporters in the Bald-Headed Haitian Party.Haiti’s top officials have also asked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to extend the Temporary Protected Status for another 18 months for Haitian immigrants living in the U.S. They would have to leave this country by Jan. 22 if an extension is not granted.Government leaders in Haiti say they are reluctant to have another 50,000 immigrants coming from the U.S. and “dumped” in their airports. They cite already-existing problems of absorbing Haitians being expelled from the Dominican Republic, mostly agricultural workers — a policy which has been strongly opposed by Haitians.Haiti’s officials say the country is still recoving from recent hurricanes and the horrendous 2010 earthquake, making it harder to absorb more people. They also state that the monetary remittances from Haitian workers in the U.S. to family members in the Caribbean island are very much needed.U.S. imperialism is largely to blame for the impoverishment in Haiti, having super-exploited the country’s workers and plundered their resources for years. Haitian immigrants should be allowed to remain in the U.S. if they choose, and U.S. companies should pay living wages to those workers living here and those living in their homeland.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

French unions want retirement ‘reform’ scrapped

first_imgIt was a tough holiday for transportation strikers in France.  Their pay packet for December was basically empty.A dancing picket line, Paris, Dec. 24The struggle on the national railroad (SNCF) at 23 days is longer than a similar struggle over the SNCF retirement plan in 1995 and shows every sign of lasting longer than the 28-day struggle in 1986-87.Protesters are still in the streets. The two most militant unions representing SNCF workers called for a march on Dec. 28 near the Paris railroad station Gare du Nord, which was broken up by cops firing tear gas after some bank windows were broken.The public bank account set up by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) for donations to support the strikers passed the million euro mark on Dec. 26. A big chunk of the money came from Twitch, a computer games network. At a rally in front of the headquarters of the Paris subway system, a high-ranking CGT leader, Marianne Ravaud, said, “This money came mostly in small donations from all over France.  It shows the basis of our support.” Public opinion polls report that between 60 and 70 percent of people in France support the strike.Most unions in France have no strike funds.One of the eight refineries in France has been shut down by its unions at the CGT’s call. Gas company Total’s refinery at Grandpuits, about 50 miles southeast of Paris, is still shipping out product in trucks but has lost its pipeline connection, so it will soon have to stop. Scattered outages of certain types of fuel have been reported, making drivers nervous. Picket lines have been set up at some bus depots from time to time, putting more pressure on the transportation system.In a blatant attempt to divide workers in order to win, the government of Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has not invited the head of the CGT, Philippe Martinez, to the next meeting of the striking unions and the government.  Meetings like this are generally where political strikes in France are settled.Ballet dancers at the Paris Opera held a picket line on Dec. 24 in front of the Opera House by dancing some scenes from Swan Lake accompanied by Opera musicians. The dancers’ retirement system dates back to 1698 under Louis XIV.  Dancers generally join the ballet corps between the ages of 8 to 10 and retire after 30 years of service, when they reach 42.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

Houston lab OKs execution drug

first_imgActivists handed out fliers ‘WANTED FOR MURDER’ in front of execution drug lab in Houston, Sept. 11.Anti-death penalty activists have exposed and humiliated a Houston science lab found to have approved the purity of raw pentobarbital. Since only a small number of pharmaceutical companies are still allowing their drugs to be used to execute people, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the U.S. Department of Justice located the pentobarbital in Houston.When Reuters News Agency asked Houston’s Eagle Analytical Services if they knew they were testing a drug that was to be used to execute people, their reply was, “No comment.” (tinyurl.com/y5eeyltk)On Sept. 11 at a busy intersection by the lab, activists held signs condemning Eagle lab for cooperating with the DOJ’s plans to bring back the federal death penalty. They handed out “Wanted for Murder” fliers to people at bus stops and to passing motorists.The group then went to the lab entrance, which is protected and surrounded by wrought iron fencing and is accessible only through electronically controlled gates. Employees came out to film the protest, and Houston cops surveilled the demonstration. One employee told the group, “Yes, I’m okay with the lab approving drugs for executions because I support the death penalty, and I am glad the federal government is executing people.” He refused to give his name.Yancy Balderas, who spoke to lab employees on a bullhorn, told Workers World, “It’s important we continue to protest and to inform people how this local lab secretly did this work for the U.S. government to kill people. We can’t leave the task of testing drugs to labs who have no oversight. The drug they approved is not only killing people but is torturing them in the process.”  As she was protesting and videoing the demonstration, activist Delia Perez-Meyer, said, “We have to organize against the death penalty at all levels, and right now particularly at the federal level because they are leading the country in executions this year. Plus, these are the same drugs that are used at the state level. The whole system of the death penalty is corrupt and needs to be totally dismantled.” Perez-Meyer has fought for decades to help her brother Louis Castro Perez, who is on Texas’ death row, prove his innocence.     Federal executions protested                                                                        The next scheduled executions by the Trump administration are of William LeCroy on Sept. 22 and Christopher Vialva on Sept. 24. Federal executions take place at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. Five federal executions have taken place already this year, three in July and two in August.In the midst of a global pandemic, the Trump administration and the DOJ decided to start executions while lawyers are unable to meet with their clients, investigators can’t properly do their work, and witnesses to executions are unwilling to travel to Indiana to be present. These are the first federal executions in 17 years. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, “the resumption of federal executions was criticized by corrections officials, religious leaders, conservative commentators, former state and federal judges, prosecutors, law enforcement and corrections officials, and family members of homicide victims.”Protests on Sept. 22 and 24 will take place in Terre Haute, as well as cities around the country. In Houston, they will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Mickey Leland Federal Building.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

 

Boston: Justice for Breonna Taylor

first_img— Workers World Boston bureau  FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare this Credit: G.CarensAt least four actions demanding Justice for Breonna Taylor took place in Boston over the Sept. 26-27 weekend, drawing thousands of marchers. Mass Action Against Police Brutality’s Sept. 26 rally demanded Taylor’s Kentucky case be reopened, after none of the three killer cops who murdered her on March 13 were charged with causing her death. For six years, MAAPB has provided essential support to families who have suffered at the hands of Massachusetts police officers. And the group demands the reopening of nine recent local cases where cops have gotten away with murders officially classified as “justified.” The MAAPB marchers ultimately joined a Party of Socialism and Liberation march on Boston Police headquarters — a force of occupation in the heart of the city’s Black community. The racist system fails to value Black lives from Louisville to Boston: Reopen the Cases Now! Justice for Breonna! last_img read more