Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST)

Revolutionary socialist youth in the US South

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

FIST Will Continue to Protest Injustice and Build People Power! Capitol Police Will Know That Race-Baiting, Red-Baiting, Violence-Baiting and Surveillance of Protesters Will Not Stand and Must Not Divide Us

Posted by raleighfist on October 29, 2013

fist march

During the 2013 N.C. legislative session, nearly 1,000 people were arrested and tens of thousands more mobilized for the Moral Monday demonstrations in opposition to the racist, sexist, anti-LGBTQ, anti-worker, and pro-big business agenda of the Tea Party extremists that took power. The actions taken by the N.C. General Assembly should be viewed as nothing short of a criminal and wholesale attack on the people of our state.

The Moral Monday/Forward Together Movement is a mighty force of resistance to the Jim Crow politics and shows the power of building unity across the barriers that are meant to divide us – race, gender, and sexual orientation – especially in this reactionary period.

In recent weeks, many of those arrested have begun to stand trial. The state knows that its case is hollow while the support for the Moral Monday movement is overwhelming. The conviction of the first Moral Monday arrestee to stand trial – Saladin Muhammad – is a dangerous attack on the basic democratic right to protest. Muhammad’s conviction must be fought and overturned, and the charges dropped against all Moral Monday protesters.

Capitol Police Chief Jeff Weaver has used the Moral Monday trials as a stage from which to red-bait, violence-bait, attack, and single out our organization and two members of our organization. This is a conscious effort to remove the focus from the real issues at hand– the criminal policies of the N.C. legislature and the massive resistance that has been awoken. It is also an attempt to criminalize protest, to normalize police surveillance, and to create cracks in the unity that has been the bedrock of the Moral Monday/Forward Together movement.

Listening to Weaver’s testimony, one would think it is now a crime to be a Marxist, an anarchist, or to simply attend demonstrations against the backwards agenda of the N.C. Legislature. He stumbled through 30 minutes of testimony about previous actions that FIST had organized. Weaver also revealed that the Raleigh Police Department’s Threat Assessment Unit has been conducting surveillance on our group and other groups.

Youth & Students Resist Tuition Hikes in the UNC system – March 2010

As the N.C. legislature was set to vote on massive tuition hikes, and after organizing with students across the state to oppose the hikes, FIST helped organize a demonstration of young people and students at the legislature. We held a rally outside and entered the committee meeting where members were voting on the hikes and then requested to speak. When we were denied, youth and students began speaking out about the impact these hikes would have on their ability to attend the UNC system – that education should be a right for all and not a privilege for the rich, and that it would saddle students with more and more debt just to get an education.

High School Students Oppose the Worst Education Budget in Over a Decade – May 2011

Raleigh FIST worked with other organizations to hold a demonstration of 200 young people who marched from North Carolina State University (NCSU) to join more than 8,000 N.C. teachers who were rallying at the legislature. As we rallied outside, the legislature prepared to vote on a draconian budget with massive across the board cuts to education and other vital public services. Members of NC HEAT (Heroes Emerging Among Teens), a high school student-led organization and FIST wanted to speak out and take action in the face of the worst budget in the past decade. They unfurled a banner that read: “Tax Corporations – Bail Out the People – Defend the Public Sector” and disrupted the session as the vote on the budget was being taken, resulting in five arrests.

Since 2004, FIST has organized demonstrations in opposition to U.S. wars abroad, campaigned to kick military recruiters off high school and university campuses, fought against police brutality, demonstrated in solidarity with revolutionary Cuba and other peoples movements across the globe, for immigrant rights, for freedom for political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal and CeCe McDonald, and much more.

Throughout our history, FIST has unapologetically stood on the side of all people in the U.S. and across the globe who are exploited, disenfranchised, and oppressed by the capitalist system. We are not ashamed of being Marxists and believe that fighting for socialism – a system where the people have the power and the vast wealth of society is not monopolized by the 1%, but used to meet the needs of all people – is the only way to put an end to war, poverty, and all forms of oppression and injustice. We stand shoulder to shoulder with all our sisters and brothers, who want to fight back and create a better world – no matter how one identifies politically.

It is not a crime to oppose the policies of the Tea Party legislature or any form of injustice. The real criminals are Governor Pat McCrory, Art Pope, Thom Tillis, and Phil Berger, who have launched an all out assault on the people of this state. They want to bring back Jim Crow, turn back the clock on gains that have been fought and died for throughout our history, and deprive people of the most basic rights. The real criminals are on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms, the militarists who drop bombs on people across the globe, and the 1% who will do anything to preserve the decaying capitalist system that serves only their interests.

The dirty tricks that Weaver and the state are using to divide our movement have been tried before. These attempts to cause confusion and division demonstrate that those in power are terrified of the movement from below that is being built across this state – which is part of a growing global resistance.

They are scared of working class people, youth, people of color, women, LGBTQ, and all people moving forward together. They want nothing more than to break the solidarity that has been built through our struggles. But we won’t let them. Solidarity Forever! Onwards!

Stop the criminalization of the right to protest!

Drop the charges against Saladin Muhammad and all Moral Monday arrestees!

Build the Moral Monday movement and fight back against Tea Party legislature!

All Power to the People!

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, General, Imperialism, Socialism, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

2 Durham Events: Free CeCe/End Transphobia Friday, Pastors for Peace/Cuba Caravan on Tuesday‏

Posted by raleighfist on July 4, 2012

Friday, July 6 at 6pm: Free CeCe! The Fight to End Transphobia & the Criminalization of LGBTQ People! w/ guest speaker Imani Henry


Tuesday, July 10 at 7pm: Defend the Cuban Revolution! Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan Comes to Durham!

Free CeCe! The Fight to End Transphobia & the Criminalization of LGBTQ People w/ Imani Henry

Friday, July 6 at the Durham Solidarity Center (331 W Main St, Durham)

Potluck @ 6pm
Forum @ 7pm

Fight to End Transphobia & The Criminilization of LGBTQ People!
Overturn North Carolina’s Anti-LGBTQ Marriage Amendment 1 Now!
Free our LGBTQ political prisoners CeCe McDonald & Bradley Manning!


Join FIST and Workers World Party as we discuss the case of CeCe McDonald and the LGBTQ movement in North Carolina and the US South. We’ve invited prominent New York City-based LGBTQ activist, organizer, and performer Imani Henry to speak on the nationwide movement for equality. LGBTQ people are targeted for violence, discriminated against in housing searches, and paid less as workers. We’ll hear from local activists about the movement in North Carolina, and its ties to the continuing fight against racism, xenophobia, and sexism.

CeCe McDonald is a young African-American transgender woman from Minnesota. After defending herself against unprovoked racist and transphobic slurs and violent street harassment from white onlookers, she has sustained injuries and also been falsely accused of murder. Cece had been into solitary confinement at a Minnesota prison for men, and had to wait almost two months for a much-needed follow up appointment with a doctor. Her supporters are calling for the Minnesota District Attorney to label the case as a hate crime, reducing the charges against Cece.

FIST will join over 70 other organizations in a March on Wall Street South in Charlotte, NC during the Democratic National Convention on Sat. Sept 2. Brief discussion about how to build an LGBTQ and international solidarity contingents in the march. This June marks the 43rd anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which was also led by trans women of color. Workers World Party joins together to celebrate the struggles that women like Cece have led for decades.


RSVP on Facebook!

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Defend the Cuban Revolution! Pastors for Peace Caravan comes to Durham!

Tuesday, July 10 at 7pm

Shephard’s House United Methodist Church (107 N Driver St, Durham)

Defend the Cuban Revolution! The IFCO/Pastors for Peace Cuba Caravan will be challenging US laws and attacks on Cuba.

Potluck dinner and discussion! Bring some food!

This year we will be commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Friendshipment caravans to Cuba. We will also continue to lift up the life of Rev Lucius Walker, Jr., the founding director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, who for 18 years gave prophetic and visionary leadership to our caravans to Cuba in defiance of the US blockade, and who died peacefully in September 2010.

Despite some steps taken by President Obama to allow Cuban-Americans to more freely visit their families, and to allow colleges, churches and others to more easily get licenses to go to Cuba, the travel ban remains for most US citizens and the economic blockade remains in full vigor. The work started by Rev Walker must therefore continue!

So in July we will visit cities across the US and Canada, challenging the US government to revoke the blockade and establish a foreign policy based on mutual respect between the two countries. Over 100 people will travel to Cuba with construction, medical, school and other supplies collected from groups across the US, refusing US Treasury Department licenses, as a collective challenge to the blockade and travel ban.

Hear the voices of these young folks talk about why they are traveling to Cuba!

FIST will join over 70 other organizations in a March on Wall Street South in Charlotte, NC during the Democratic National Convention on Sat. Sept 2. Brief discussion about how to build an international solidarity contingent in the march. See http://wallstsouth.org for more info

Bring your questions about the Cuban revolution!


RSVP on Facebook

Posted in Cuba, Gender System, General, Imperialism, Socialism | Leave a Comment »

99% Spring Targets Wall Street South

Posted by raleighfist on May 16, 2012

By Dante Strobino
More than 1,000 people defied police threats and arrests to protest the Bank of America shareholders’ meeting here May 9. Their three main demands were to end home foreclosures, end the financing of dirty coal, and assert workers’ rights against banks’ control of politicians and the electoral system.

The action showed that a fighting movement is brewing across the United States. This movement is passionately fighting for people’s needs to be placed before the needs of private profits of the banks and corporations.

Protesters in Charlotte included domestic workers from Atlanta, migrant workers from New Orleans, state workers from across North Carolina, and public housing residents from New York City to Durham, N.C. Students, workers, the structurally unemployed, immigrants and many others joined. Three issue-based feeder marches joining the protesters symbolized the three main demands of the protest.

This action was part of the “99% Spring” protests against shareholder meetings of such major corporations and banks as General Electric, Wells Fargo, Walmart, RJ Reynolds Tobacco and others all across the country. The recently formed North Carolina Coalition Against Corporate Power coordinated the Charlotte protest.

Charlotte’s city government used the May 9 protest to trigger a new repressive ordinance that restricted people’s ability to assemble and speak freely. The ordinance was passed in response to Occupy Charlotte and in preparation for the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Raul Jimenez Arce, member of Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST), told Workers World, “I joined the protest against Bank of America because I am tired of big corporations deciding our future, buying politicians and creating their own agenda at the expense of the working class.”

Despite the new restrictions, protesters bravely marched into the streets without permits and occupied two different intersections for a few hours, shutting down traffic to stop business as usual. Since Bank of America and Wells Fargo own most uptown buildings, this was truly a bold step.

Demand end to foreclosures

By 9 a.m., the marchers had taken over the intersection at 5th and College streets in uptown Charlotte, directly in front of where the rich shareholders were meeting and where they had just passed a pay package of $7 million for CEO Bryan “Big Banks” Moynihan.

The occupiers assembled behind a 10-foot-tall ball and chain marked “debt.” This symbolized all the debt that state and city governments, students, homeowners and others are strapped to because of the Bank of America’s capitalist, predatory practices. Trapped also by long-term unemployment, many marchers will never be able to pay back their debt.

Bonita Johnson, a low-wage kitchen worker in a state mental health facility in Butner, N.C., and member of the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, Electrical Workers (UE) Local 150, told WW: “These big banks are making mega money and not paying any taxes. We, as state employees, are struggling, working two and three jobs and paying taxes even on the little that we do have. I knew I had to join this protest.”

Sylvia Sanchez was the first speaker at the rally. A member of a community group, Action NC, Sanchez is a Latina mother of a disabled child. Bank of America is about to foreclose on her Charlotte house.

Marchers demanded that Sanchez’s home be saved and that principal loan costs be written down on all “underwater” loans to help keep families in their homes. Some demanded the federal government put a moratorium on foreclosures altogether, so families can stay in their homes while payment terms are negotiated.

“Let Johnny in, let Johnny in!” chanted the marchers in support of Johnny Rosa, an African-American man whose home BOA was foreclosing on. Rosa was simply asking for a voice at the table to be heard by the bank’s top executives. Cops swarmed Rosa, threw him to the ground and quickly arrested him, but not without the crowd standing up for him.

Four other courageous protesters were also arrested throughout the course of the day, most in planned civil disobedience.

Many other movement leaders spoke, including members of All of Us NC, a lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, queer organization that led a grassroots fight against a state constitutional amendment that banned all civil unions and rights of domestic partners. This reactionary amendment passed during the May 8 primary ballot.

Protesters take the streets

Protesters then began marching up Trade Street and south on Tryon Street, completely blocking one direction of traffic as they marched toward the Bank of America stadium, where President Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech during the September Democratic National Convention. Environmental activists, who draped a huge banner over its facade days before the protest, now call this arena “Bank of Coal stadium.”

Yen Acala, member of Occupy Charlotte and leader in the Coalition to March on Wall Street South, underlined the significance of the May 9 event, saying it will help spark people’s enthusiasm to demonstrate an even bigger challenge to the big banks, corporations and both corporate parties during the DNC.

All regions of the country will have their own face, their own struggles. That such a struggle movement is now brewing in the U.S. South has epic potential, especially since this region is home to well over 60 percent of all foreign direct economic investment — the construction of industrial productive factories — and a vast unorganized, non-union, low-wage work force who offer a vast potential for organization.

The time is ripe for a mass, militant march on Wall Street South — Charlotte — that can truly unite all sectors of the working class from across the region. This will be the next giant step forward for full democratic rights and ownership over all the factories, the schools, the banks and all institutions that make society run. It can truly challenge the ownership and property rights of the 1% and begin to leverage power and democratic control of these institutions in the hands of the 99%.

Organizers call on people from all over the U.S. to join them in the streets of Charlotte from Sept. 2-6 during the Democratic National Convention. You won’t want to miss it!

For more information, visit wallstsouth.org.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, General, Imperialism, Labor, Occupy Movement, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

Get on the bus! Protest Bank of America Shareholder’s Meeting in Charlotte on May 9

Posted by raleighfist on April 30, 2012

Join the 99% to Fightback at the Bank of America Shareholder’s Meeting in Charlotte

Converge for Justice — Occupy Wall Street South

Demand a Moratorium on Business as Usual!

May 6-9, Charlotte, NC 


GET ON THE BUS MAY 9

GET YOUR TICKETS FOR THE SHOW DOWN IN CROWN TOWN! Only $5

Tickets going fast, sign up today!

 

On May 6-9 people from across the country and world will be converging in Charlotte, NC, home of Bank of America’s Headquarters and their annual Shareholder meeting, to demand an end to their practices that are bankrupting our economy and wrecking our climate.

Homeowners, students, immigrants, environmentalists, workers, women’s groups, peace activists and more will be in Charlotte, bringing their stories, hearts and communities to the fight against Bank of America and the economic inequality, racial injustice and environmental destruction they have wrought.
Not only is Bank of America and the other big banks responsible for the crash of the entire world capitalist economy, but they also are:

  • #1 forecloser of homes in the US,
  • #1 funder of the US coal industry,
  • Job killer by letting go of nearly 100,000 workers over the past several years,
  • Bonus Buster paying its top five executives over $500 million in bonuses,
  • Saddling students with a lifetime of debt, and
  • Financing the war machine.

Bank of America, and its profits-over-people-and-planet business model, is drowning our democracy through huge financial contributions to lobbyists that are serving the interests of the 1% and are participating in corporate-funded groups like American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Financial Services Roundtable.

As a global community united for real economic and racial justice, it is time that BoA is held accountable, invest in public needs and services, or face being broken up to achieve the justice we need. Whether you are a community member, homeowner, worker or student, we need to come together to challenge corporate power and create an economy and democracy that works for all of us.

Get on the Bus with FIST in Durham!  One Day trip to Charlotte to join the Show Down on May 9!

Members of Raleigh-Durham FIST are helping to organize a bus from Durham!  We are loading buses at 4:30am sharp at the Main Library at 300 N. Roxboro Street DurhamNorth Carolina 27701.  We will be expecting to arrive back in Durham before 7pm. Please RSVP by emailing RaleighFIST@gmail.com and calling 919-539-2051 to get a ticket!

Sign up for tickets from Durham here !

May 9th BOA Shareholder Meeting Action Plan:

On the morning of May 9 at 8 am, people from around the state, country and world will converge on the “Wall Street of the South” to participate in creative, mass non-violent direct action to “Break Up Business As Usual for Bank of America.” Our marches will carry our call for justice to the doors of the Shareholder meeting and surrounding areas.  On the day of the Shareholder meeting, people will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of creative educational, cultural, theatrical, visibility, and nonviolent direct action activities.



There are also other buses coming from cities across the state:

Asheville bus: jim brown,  Jim@P-e-a-c-e.org
Raleigh bus: Adam Orlovich” <adam@aflcionc.org>  + nick wood: nickwood1979@gmail.com
Fayetteville bus: bryan conlon,  bryan.p.conlon@gmail.com
Wilmington van: keenen,  keenen25@gmail.com
Greensboro bus: todd warren, toddafwarren@gmail.com
Chapel Hill bus: tait chandler, tait.chandler@gmail.com

March Assembly Sites:

Housing Justice Now! — Bank of America, N. Tryon @ 9th St.
Stop Funding Coal and the Militarization of Our Communities! — The Green, Tryon @ Levine Ave of the Arts
Worker’s Rights! Corporations Out of Politics:  Pay Your Taxes Not Your Lobbyists! — Old City Hall, Davidson @ 4thSt

For more information on how to get involved in organizing for the Bank of America Shareholder’s protest, visit www.ncagainstcorporatepower.org

Facebook event: Protest the Bank of America Shareholder Meeting
https://www.facebook.com/events/283287288413972/

Twitter: #MakeBoAPay

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, General, Imperialism, Labor, Occupy Movement, Socialism, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | 1 Comment »

May Day March for Workers and Immigrants Rights, Durham, Tues May 1

Posted by raleighfist on April 27, 2012

May Day Triangle 2012 Invitation

(Para español lea abajo)

WHAT:  March for Workers and Immigrants Rights
WHEN: International Workers Day, Tues, May 1  6pm – 8pm 
(cultural events and food start at 3pm)
WHERE:  CCB Plaza, corner of Chapel Hill St and Corcoran St (Near Marriot and the bronze bull), downtown Durham

We invite everyone to participate in a May Day 2012 mobilization together. 
 
May 1 is celebrated around the world as international workers day and originated in Chicago after the 1886 Haymarket Massacre, in which police fired on workers during a general strike for the eight-hour workday.
 
On May 1, 2006, in the largest single day protest in the history of the United States, massive migrant marches re-ignited May Day as a day of resistance, a near-lost tradition in the US. May Day is important this year as a day of action for economic justice and equality.
 
Over the past year, we have been inspired by people’s movements, resistance and actions around the globe. We have experienced an awakening over the past year that has created a new political movement and a focus on economic justice, and we believe that May Day 2012 is an opportunity for us to cultivate a broad and potent coalition of communities, organizations, and others seeking to build a different city and a different world. We believe that it can be not only a moment to demonstrate our discontent, but to begin to think together toward building self-determination for and from our communities.
 
Join us on May 1 (in Durham’s People’s Plaza) as we rally for:
  • Good jobs and living wages
  • The right to join a union, the right to organize for all workers, and the right to collective bargaining
  • Justice for immigrants, including amnesty and an end to deportations
  • An end to police brutality, mass incarceration of communities of color, and all forms of oppression and discrimination
  • Public sector jobs and services and public budgets that meet human needs

Organizations with speakers include: Black Workers for Justice, Compassion Ministry, Durham City Worker’s Union-UE150,  National Association of Letter Carriers local 382, El Kilombo, FLOC (Farm Labor Organizing Committee)-AFL-CIO, NC AFL-CIO, NC Dream Team, NC Justice Center, Student Action with Farmworkers, UNC Student Action with Workers.
 

Some of the organizations that have signed on as supporters: The Human Rights Center of Carrboro and Chapel Hill; UE150, Durham City Workers Union chapter; Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), Workers World Party, Durham branch; Freedom Road Socialist Organization; People’s Durham; Durham National Association of Letter Carriers Union, local 328; American Postal Workers Union, local 24; Immigrants and Allies United for Justice

  
Schedule:
3 p.m. Arts and Cultural Festival at People’s Plaza (CCB Plaza) in Durham
5 p.m. Potluck
6 p.m. March through downtown Durham starting at People’s Plaza
7 p.m. Rally and speeches at People’s Plaza

More information at http://maydaytriangle2012.blogspot.com/

****
Invitamos a todos para que participen en la movilización de May Day.

El 1 de mayo se celebra al nivel mundial como el Día Internacional de los Trabajadores, día conmemorativo que se originó en Chicago después de la Masacre Haymarket en 1886, durante la cual la policía disparó a trabajadores que realizaban una huelga general a favor del día laboral de ocho horas.

El 1 de mayo de 2006, en la mayor manifestación de un solo día en la historia de los Estados Unidos, las protestas masivas de los inmigrantes resucitaron a May Day como un día de resistencia, una tradición que estaba al punto de la desaparición en los EEUU. May Day supone un día importante este año para actuar a favor de la justicia económica y la igualdad.

Dentro del ultimo año, nos han inspirado los movimientos, la resistencia y las acciones populares que se han visto alrededor del mundo. Hemos experimentado un nuevo amanecer, lo cual ha creado un nuevo movimiento político enfocado en la justicia económica. Creemos que May Day 2012 servirá como una oportunidad para cultivar una colaboración de comunidades, organizaciones e individuos que buscan construir una ciudad nueva, y un mundo diferente. Creemos que este movimiento no solo demostrará nuestro descontento, sino que ayudará a que pensemos en cómo cultivar la autodeterminación desde y para nuestra comunidad.

Únase con nosotros el 1 de mayo a favor de:

  • Por los empleos y salarios adecuados
  • Por el derecho de pertenecer a un sindicato, de organización y negociación colectiva
  • A favor de la justicia para los inmigrantes, por la amnistía y la abolición de la política de deportación
  • Contra todas las formas de opresión y discriminación, incluso la violencia realizada por la policía y el encarcelamiento masivo de las comunidades de color
  • Por el establecimiento de empleos, servicios y fondos dentro del sector público que alcancen las necesidades de la comunidad 

Agenda:
3pm Festival de artes y cultura en People’s Plaza (CCB Plaza) en Durham
5pm Cena colectiva (todo el mundo llevará un plato)
6pm Marcha por el centro de Durham, comenzando en People’s Plaza
7pm Reunión y discursos en People’s Plaza

Mas informacion por http://maydaytriangle2012.blogspot.com/

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

March on Wall Street South

Posted by raleighfist on April 27, 2012

By Ben Carroll

From Sept. 1-6, poor and working people from across the world will march on the “Wall Street of the South” in Charlotte, N.C.

The Coalition to Protest at the Democratic National Convention held its national organizing conference April 14 in Charlotte to discuss action plans. Activists from throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Detroit, Atlanta, New York City and Philadelphia discussed and adopted action plans for the first week in September.

The coalition represents more than 60 organizations from across the country, including organized labor, peace and anti-war groups, students and youth, immigrant rights organizations, Occupy groups and more.

Reports and updates were heard from members of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee; Committee to Stop FBI Repression; Coalition to March on the RNC; Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO; the Moratorium Now! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs; North Carolina Coalition Against Corporate Power; Occupy 4 Jobs Network; United 4 the Dream; Occupy groups throughout North Carolina and other states; and the Wisconsin Bail Out the People Movement, among others.

Plans for actions take shape

The conference resolved to call a major March on Wall Street South demonstration on Sunday, Sept. 2. Charlotte is second only to New York City in the amount of finance capital concentrated in the city. It is home to the world headquarters of Bank of America and the eastern headquarters of Wells Fargo, two of the most notorious and hated institutions among the big banks because of the attacks they are making on our communities — with home foreclosures, student loan debt, funding the prison-industrial complex and more.

Other actions discussed and adopted for the week of Sept. 1-6 include a Southern Worker’s Assembly; a People’s Tribunal on the Banks; supporting Charlotte’s Labor Day march; and a Youth/Student “Education not Deportation” Festival. Occupy events and actions will also take place throughout the week.

Mayra Arteaga, an activist with the youth immigrant rights group United 4 the Dream, reported that “The conference went extremely well. There was a lot of support from other organizations to help us mobilize Latino/a youth and students to participate in the actions around the DNC, especially the ‘Education not Deportation’ festival, and to encourage us in our goals to get the word out about the need for education in this country.”

Organizers demand right to protest

The city of Charlotte still has not granted any protest permits despite the coalition’s efforts to secure permits for the past seven months. If the city does not grant them, the coalition will launch a major campaign to demand the city issue permits.

The coalition, along with leaders from organizations across the U.S., held a press conference at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on April 13 to announce plans to march during the DNC and to again demand permits. Elena Everett, co-chair of the Legal and Permits working group of the coalition, said, “The rights of the people to present their demands for economic, social and political justice to the delegates of a major electoral party must not be curtailed by excessive delay tactics.”

“We won’t tolerate any effort to stop us from exercising our constitutional rights to protest,” said Larry Holmes, with Occupy 4 Jobs in New York. “If they have to arrest 10,000 of us, if we have to fill the jails … we will be here.”

Reports from RNC organizing

A delegation from the Coalition to March on the RNC traveled from Florida to attend the conference and report on their organizing for protests during the Republican National Convention, to be held in Tampa from Aug. 27-30. Their coalition is also fighting the city of Tampa for permits to march on the opening day of the convention. The two coalitions are working closely together and building solidarity for demonstrations at the conventions of the two pro-war, pro-Wall-Street parties.

An organizer with the N.C. Coalition Against Corporate Power also gave an update on an upcoming major demonstration at Bank of America’s shareholders’ meeting on May 9 in Charlotte.

Next steps

Overall, the conference represented a big step forward in the work to build for demonstrations during the DNC and to sharpen the focus on the big banks and corporations that call Charlotte home.

Over the coming months, organizers with the coalition will be participating in many mobilizations across the country as well as conducting an organizing and outreach tour to help spread the word and engage a broader base around the Sept. 1-6 actions.

For more information and to find out how you can get involved, visit protestdnc.org, email info@protestdnc.org, or call 704-266-0362.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

No Justice, No Peace!

Posted by raleighfist on April 10, 2012

By Monica Moorehead

April 10 was declared “National Hoodie Day” and “An International Day for Justice” in honor of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American who was lynched by a vigilante’s bullet in Sanford, Fla.

Thousands of people were expected to protest around the country on what marked the 44th day since George Zimmerman shot to death the unarmed Martin as he was coming home from a store. Zimmerman tried to justify the killing by claiming that Martin looked “suspicious” because he was wearing a hoodie.

The police said they decided not to arrest Zimmerman because he was protected by the “Stand Your Ground” law — a Florida law that upholds an act of self-defense as justification for maiming or even killing the so-called perpetrator without facing prosecution. The Sanford police have a notorious reputation for not arresting anyone accused of assaulting Black men.

On April 9, special prosecutor Angela Corey announced that a grand jury would not be convened to hear testimony on whether Zimmerman should be charged with killing Martin. She added that the investigation would continue. Whether or not Zimmerman will be charged with the killing of Martin is a source of both confusion and anger for the masses, who want to see justice served for Martin and his family.

The main question being asked is why it is taking so long for the Florida authorities to make a decision when all the evidence points to the fact that Martin died solely for “walking while Black” in a gated neighborhood. Some in the media are saying that even if Zimmerman is arrested, he will most likely not be charged with first-degree murder but with manslaughter. Only time will tell.

Resistance, voices of outrage grow

On the same day that Corey made her announcement, six young students — Black, Latino/a and white — locked arms and sat down in front of the Sanford Police Department headquarters, blocking the front entrance. These youth and their supporters sang traditional Civil Rights songs, updating the words to apply to justice for Trayvon. Their actions forced the police to shut down the station for several hours.

On the weekend of April 7-8, 40 college students marched from Daytona Beach to Sanford in support of Martin. Across the country on April 8, motorcyclists of all nationalities, genders and gender expressions mobilized for Trayvon Martin by driving in processions while wearing hoodies. Black motorcycle riders rode together in Durham, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Charlotte, N.C., to demand justice for Trayvon. Recently in Anchorage, Alaska, the NAACP organized a rally for him during a snowstorm.

More than 300 protesters, mostly African Americans, marched to Dudley Square in Roxbury, a neighborhood in Boston, on April 6 to demand justice for Trayvon Martin. There were many youth as well as leaders from the most independent, activist ranks of the community. Speakers at the rally were Tony Van Der Meer, Rosa Parks Human Rights Day Committee founder and professor of Africana Studies at UMass, Boston; Bishop Filipe Teixeira Ofsjc, an immigrant rights leader from Brockton, Mass.; Boston City Councilor Charles Yancey; and Corey Yarborough, executive director of the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition of Boston.

The Rev. Cortly “C. D.” Witherspoon, president of the Baltimore Southern Christian Leadership Conference and an organizer of the March 26 Baltimore protest of 10,000 for Trayvon Martin, proclaimed, “Thousands of people came out in the streets of Baltimore to express their outrage and anger. We are turning our attention to organizing our next steps. We, along with the Occupy 4 Jobs Network and the All Peoples Congress, have formed an umbrella committee, Justice 4 Trayvon Martin, Maryland LOC, which is calling for an emergency response if special prosecutor Angela Corey does not indict Zimmerman. If this happens, we have called on people to join us downtown, where we intend, by our sheer numbers and our dedication, to shut business as usual. We occupied City Hall and stopped the evening hearings on March 26; we can occupy Baltimore City’s downtown.”

Sharon Black, Baltimore All Peoples Congress organizer and representative of the local Occupy 4 Jobs, stated, “We have been inspired by the Dream Defenders and are planning a Trayvon Martin march to Washington, D.C., walking 41 miles to the Justice Department to join the Occupy and Mumia movement on April 24.”

The legendary retired basketball player Earvin “Magic” Johnson said on CNN on April 10 that many players in the National Basketball Association can relate to the Trayvon Martin case because they come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds. Johnson also called for the arrest of Zimmerman.

Demonstrations along with teach-ins, prayer vigils and civil disobedience have mushroomed around the country for the past three weeks once this case gained national attention on Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Million Hoodie Marches took place during the latter part of March in dozens of cities. International demonstrations have taken place in London, Paris, Australia, India and elsewhere.

Racist backlash & capitalism

The fact that the police have allowed Zimmerman to remain free has not only evoked an anti-racist response of outrage but has also emboldened racist reaction. The senseless murder of Trayvon Martin has helped to rip off the facade of a “post-racial” society that many believed the election of U.S. President Barack Obama signaled. Even Obama, who carries out the interests of Wall Street and the Pentagon, has received death threats from the ultra-racist right-wing since he has been in office. As the global capitalist economic crisis accelerates, notwithstanding some temporary ebbs and flows, so does racist repression.

Racist graffiti praising Zimmerman’s actions was spray painted on a wall of the Ohio State University building where the Black Student Union has its office. A racial slur against Martin was seen on a neon sign off a major interstate near Dearborn, Mich. When five graffiti artists created a mural in tribute to Martin in Elmswood Park, N.J., local officials forced them to remove it, claiming that the mural “promoted a gang mentality.”

An eighth-grade teacher of color, Brooke Harris, was fired at a non-unionized charter school last month in Pontiac, Mich., for promoting a fundraiser for Martin’s family, which grew out of classroom discussions with her students about the killing. Harris, a two-time Teacher of the Year recipient, stated that many of her students, a majority of whom are African-American, expressed that what happened to Trayvon could also happen to them. Her class was also planning to organize a “wear-a-hoodie day” in memory of Trayvon. The school administration charged that Harris’ actions were a “distraction” from the students’ academic studies. A petition demanding her reinstatement can be found at change.org.

The police killing of African-American U.S. Marine veteran Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. in White Plains, N.Y., this past Nov. 19; the random shootings of five Black people, resulting in three deaths, in Tulsa, Okla., by neo-Nazis on April 7; the police killing of Michael Lembhard in Newburgh, N.Y., on March 7; and now the Trayvon Martin killing are just recent examples of how Black lives in the capitalist U.S. are viewed as expendable, like trash. Both Chamberlain and Lembhard were shot multiple times by the police in their homes. In both instances, there were no arrests.

Vigilantes like Zimmerman and the Tulsa neo-Nazis are given the green light to carry out their extra-legal murderous assaults. Neo-Nazis were reported by ABC News to be roaming the streets of Sanford, threatening the Black community. The police as a deadly force are given carte blanche by pro-rich laws to unleash their legal terror on the masses, especially if they are Black and Brown. It is just a matter of time before the frustrated masses decide there is no other recourse but to rebel, when justice is denied them by the courts and the police.

No matter how the Trayvon Martin case or the other individual cases of heinous injustice play out, the masses are more and more waking up to the fact that this capitalist system not only denies them any real justice, but also cannot provide them quality jobs, education and other human needs. The killing of Trayvon Martin has helped to kick the door wide open for a burgeoning new movement. The key is to keep this door permanently open until a new society, based on providing equality and opportunities for all, arises out of the ashes of this rotten, capitalist system that relies on the doctrine of white supremacy and protecting the private property of the 1%.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, General, Imperialism, Labor, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

Mental Health Workers Challenge Lawmakers

Posted by raleighfist on April 5, 2012

By Dante Strobino

Public mental health workers from across North Carolina, members of United Electrical Workers Local 150, the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, with support from Rev. William Barber II, President of N.C. NAACP, and members of Occupy Raleigh converged on the state legislature on March 13 to deliver a message to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services.

Workers in UE 150 have been fighting for the state to pass House Bill 287 (SB 481), the Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights. However, even after months of written requests, State Rep. Nelson Dollar and Sen. Louis Pate denied front-line workers even five minutes to share their expertise and concerns.

Since the workers were not allowed to address the meeting, they went inside the committee room with one letter pinned to each worker’s shirt, spelling out “LISTEN TO WORKERS.” They stood before the committee in silence making their statement that the workers must have a voice to ensure standards for quality care.

The workers delivered packets of information and a letter about the poor working and service conditions that workers and patients currently face, including 1) continuously and outrageously high rates of worker injuries at Cherry Hospital; 2) the sudden release of several hundred agency-hired, privatized workers without immediate replacement with state workers at Central Regional Hospital, causing severe understaffing and forced overtime; and 3) the unfair discharge of 10 workers whom UE 150 helped reinstate over the last 18 months, along with six more cases still pending.

These cases have cost the state more than $2 million in back wages, legal fees and training, and have forced workers to bear a huge burden of upfront costs, including cashing out their retirement funds early.

To address the issues that face all workers in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights would give workers the right to adequate staffing levels, training, a fair grievance procedure, the right to a safe workplace and the right to refuse excessive overtime, among other rights.

UE 150 members around the state have collected more than 2,000 postcards (and plan to collect over 10,000 before the legislature opens in May) and many resolutions from churches calling for passage of the bill.

At a press conference called by UE 150, Kevin Yancey, a youth program assistant 2 at Murdoch Developmental Center in Butner, N.C., explained why they went to the legislature. “The more we would call the legislative members, the less we would hear from them. We’d hear from their staff that they’d ‘get back to us,’ but they’d never get back to us.”

Cuts cause workplace injuries

Occupational Safety and Health and injury logs at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, N.C., showed that workers had more than a 40 percent chance of getting a bad injury in 2010 and a 32 percent chance in 2011. Workers’ recent complaints there led to an investigation that is currently being conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These logs show a large increase in total days missed from work due to injuries at all state-operated facilities in the DHHS.

“There are a number of serious injuries at Cherry Hospital recently, bones have been broken, one staff was choked unconscious, and the severity of the injuries is horrible. That is part of the reason that I will be retiring early at age 62, after 21 years of service to the state. I want to be able to enjoy my retirement and not suffer from workplace injury,” stated Larsene Taylor, health-care technician at Cherry Hospital and Chair of UE 150 DHHS Council. “All the issues that workers spoke out about today are core elements of our Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights. Our voices must be heard!”

DHHS has cut 1,179 positions in state mental health facilities since the 2001 Mental Health Reform plan was implemented, which contributed further to already severely understaffed units. This includes 321 positions cut since June 2010.

“Several hundred agency-privatized workers were let go by Central Regional Hospital. However, they did not hire nearly enough state workers to replace them. Most units are understaffed by a handful of workers,” stated Bernell Terry, health-care technician at Central Regional Hospital, and UE 150 Chapter Vice President. “We were already understaffed before all the agency workers were let go. This has forced us to be severely understaffed.”

The lack of adequate resources and fair standards, as described in the Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights, is the true cause of the serious problems undermining the efforts by workers to provide quality care to mental health patients and patients with disabilities. The department and the media like to blame the workers.

The letter delivered by UE 150 members calls on the committee to do the following before the beginning of the May legislative session: 1) recommend passage of the Bill of Rights to the standing committees; 2) investigate the number of workers who have been unfairly fired, who quit or who have retired early over the last two years as a result of poor working conditions and a hostile work environment; and 3) send delegations of legislators to all state mental health facilities to hear directly from the workers, without interference by management, about the working conditions they face that make it too difficult to provide quality care.

The workers in the union will be meeting to discuss the next steps to assure their voices are heard.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Gender System, General, Labor, South, White Supremacy | Leave a Comment »

NC Students Mobilize, Take Action

Posted by raleighfist on April 1, 2012

By Andy Koch

 

More than 300 students from across North Carolina stormed and occupied the University of North Carolina Board of Governors meeting Feb. 10, forcing the unelected, mostly ruling-class board members to exit out the back door of their own building. Moments before, the board had approved unprecedented tuition hikes, resulting in the students fighting back with the strongest resistance the state has seen in years.

The statewide student movement took another stride forward on March 24. Education activists with the NC Defend Education Coalition came together in Greensboro to plan their next move in the struggle against the attacks on public education engineered by the board and the state legislature — both of which are controlled by North Carolina’s capitalist ruling class.

The gathering was dedicated to the memory of Trayvon Martin, the murdered youth in Florida. Seventy education activists, students, community leaders and veteran freedom fighters came from across North Carolina. At the conclusion of the conference, attendees joined with more than 400 community members to march in the streets of Greensboro to demand justice for Trayvon Martin and an end to all the racist attacks on Black youth and all youth of color.

The meeting’s keynote speech was delivered by Waldemiro Velez Soto, a leader of the vibrant Puerto Rican student movement, which has waged two highly successful general strikes in recent years against privatization, rising tuition, police on campus, neoliberal reform of education, and assaults on the entire public sector.

“When they tried to attack our dreams of an education, we decided to get organized,” Velez Soto said. “We brought our own proposals and ideas of how the university should be run. Then they attacked, and we went on strike!”

The strikes shut down the entire University of Puerto Rico system and won a temporary hold on tuition hikes as well as amnesty for all strikers, who endured 320 arrests. In 2011, the movement in Puerto Rico forced the UPR president to resign, and today the struggle continues.

Uniting against the 1%

Participating in the conference were representatives of eight public universities, two community colleges and a high school. Representatives from several labor and community organizations also attended.

One student speaking on the opening discussion panel addressed the effects of these attacks on communities of color. “I’m from an HBCU [historically Black college or university], and they say when America gets a cold, Black America gets the flu,” said Grace Anderson of Winston-Salem State University. “I see it all around me. Our school struggles on a daily basis, so the tuition hikes and budget cuts are hitting us especially hard.”

Participants spent the day discussing their experiences in the struggle, sharing organizing skills, strategizing and making concrete plans for how to intensify the fight to defend public education.

“For me, the whole day was a great opportunity to share and learn,” explained Raul Arce, an activist in Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST), a socialist youth group. “I led a discussion to share what I know on the struggle for the DREAM Act by undocumented youth, and also got to attend a workshop on how to build student-worker solidarity.”

While the conference showed a rich diversity of issues, struggles and views, all attendees were unified and clear on who their common enemy is: the banks and corporations, the capitalists. “This economic crisis that they are trying to make us pay for wasn’t created by Latinos, Black folks or the workers of this country,” said Velez Soto. “It was created by the banks, politicians and managers of corporate interests.”

The conference ended with a general assembly-style discussion of the next steps of the NC Defend Education Coalition. Plans included all-out mobilizations confronting the legislature to fight tuition hikes and attacks on the public sector, as well as statewide actions against legislative attacks on university workers’ rights.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

Protest Wells Fargo CEO in Raleigh on November 30!

Posted by raleighfist on November 24, 2011

On Wednesday, November 30, the President and CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, will be speaking on NCSU’s campus in Raleigh. With the growth of the Occupy movement across the country, fat cat bankers like Stumpf and other 1%ers have been confronted in many creative ways for their role in foreclosing on millions of working peoples’ homes, for sitting on trillions of dollars in bailouts and lining their pockets while more than 30 million people are unemployed, while people are hungry, or without healthcare, and while state governments carry out brutal austerity programs. Wells Fargo and other big banks also invest millions of dollars into the prison industrial complex, and in particular immigrant detention center, and are a primary engine behind the record number of raids and deportations of immigrant families — all in the name of profit. Raleigh FIST is circulating the following announcement from Occupy NCSU and Occupy Raleigh with important information about various actions that will take place on November 30. Please circulate this far and wide and come out to put some heat on Stumpf in Raleigh!

 

Make the banks and corporations pay for their crisis!

Tear down the prison industrial complex!

Stop the raids and deportations!

Expand the Occupy movement!


***********

Brothers and Sisters!

John G. Stumpf, President and CEO of bailout-recipient Wells Fargo is coming to NC State’s Campus next Wednesday, November 30th at 4:15pm. He’ll speak to students and the public about his career, leadership experiences, and perhaps the $19 million in taxpayer money he earned last year foreclosing on American homes. At the conclusion of his speech, he will take questions from the audience.

More info: http://www.poole.ncsu.edu/index-exp.php/events/entry/wells-fargo-executive-lecture-nov30/

Occupy NCSU is calling you, all local occupations, and all citizens concerned with economic injustice to action on November 30th. Together, we will voice the message of the 99%, the message of fairness and justice to the economic majority. Occupy Durham, Occupy Chapel Hill and Occupy Raleigh will all be participating! United we are strong. Together we are stronger!

Meet at 1:00pm in the Brickyard Plaza in front of DH Hill library for an Action Orientation. There will be MANY fun ways to participate. If you want to join us, but are not sure what you’d like to do, this will be the best time to figure it out! Location: http://goo.gl/9E4qP

Our Embargo Wells Fargo demonstration starts at 2:15pm on the sidewalk on the Hilsborough Street side of Nelson Hall. Bring your favorite 99% signs. Shout your favorite 99% slogans. Let’s be heard! Location: http://goo.gl/RTw3J

Planning to Go Inside?

Be sure to arrive between 3:30pm – 4:15pm to reserve your seat inside the Nelson 3400 Auditorium (3rd Floor). The auditorium holds 350 people and is open to the public. You’ll have the opportunity to participate in the Q&A session following the speech, so come prepared!

And afterwards…?

We’ve discussed several awesome ideas, but no consensus yet. Final plans will be made at next Tuesday’s Occupy NCSU meeting. More details as they become available.

Thoughts?

Discuss

See you soon!!!

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, General, Imperialism, Labor, Occupy Movement, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

 
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