Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST)

Revolutionary socialist youth in the US South

Archive for the ‘Education’ 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 »

NAACP says: ‘Demand pardon for Wilmington 10’

Posted by raleighfist on June 14, 2012

The NAACP National Board of Directors has unanimously passed a resolution calling on Gov. Beverly Perdue of North Carolina to grant full pardons to 10 young people wrongfully imprisoned in Wilmington, N.C., in 1972.

The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the state’s NAACP, says that “the National NAACP’s support for full pardons for the Wilmington 10 adds great weight to the growing movement for some measure of justice for these 10 freedom fighters and their families. They were locked up for the best years of their lives because they stood up for the oppressed and marginalized portions of our society.”

In 1970, Wilmington’s Black community was still feeling the pain caused by the coup d’etat of 1898, when the White Citizens’ Committee and the Ku Klux Klan declared “White Independence.”

During Reconstruction, North Carolina had one of the most successful fusion governments in the South. Black officials were elected to both local and state governments, including nine city offices in Wilmington. But the white supremacists were outraged at losing their complete economic, political and social power over Wilmington.

A mob of whites, led by a former Confederate general, invaded Wilmington’s Black section and firebombed many buildings, including the only Black-owned newspaper in the state. They killed at least 11 Black people, wounded 25 more, and chased hundreds of families out of town.

The struggle in Wilmington today is also a continuation of the Black freedom struggle of the late 1960s. After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the uprising in Wil­mington was reportedly the largest in the South. Then came demands to end racist suspensions and expulsions of Black students and the closing of majority Black public schools. The community struggled for the creation of Black studies programs, Black political power and democratic rights.

Many of the state’s Black schools were closed, including Second Ward High School in Charlotte, Mary Potter High School in Oxford and Williston High School in Wilmington.

According to “The True Story Behind the Wilmington 10” by Larry Reni Thomas, a former New Hanover High School student in Wilmington, “We had almost daily mini-riots in 1970.” One such incident involved an altercation between a white woman and student Roderick Kirby, now known as the Rev. Kojo Nantambu, the current president of the Charlotte NAACP. This ignited more student unrest, resulting in more repression and arrests of Black students.

Black students organized a boycott of the public schools to begin on Dr. King’s birthday in January 1971. Another student rebellion happened on Jan. 22, 1971.

The early 1970s also saw the re-emergence of the Ku Klux Klan, which often operated in collusion with local police and federal agents. The KKK and a white supremacist group called Rights of White People sent members to Wilmington “to intimidate the moderate white school superintendent — cutting his phone line and hanging him in effigy in his front yard — and to send armed patrols through black neighborhoods.” (News and Observer, May 19)

At this point, student and church leaders called on Ben Chavis Jr. of Oxford, N.C., who had led a mass campaign after the racist murder of a young Black Vietnam War veteran.

Chavis, then 24, arrived in Wilmington on Feb. 1, 1971, and began organizing high school students. After violent attacks on the protesters by white supremacists, many sought shelter in Gregory Congregational Church. When a white-owned store was firebombed, firefighters who attempted to put out the fire were shot at. Many police returned fire on the church, resulting in over 5,000 bullet holes in its façade.

This resulted in a full-on rebellion across Wilmington. Two people were killed and several injured during the battle that night and the next day. On Feb. 8, National Guard troops forced their way into the church, only to find it empty.

The Wilmington 10 were young African Americans, all under age 24 and mostly teenagers, and one white woman. All had been active in the movement for racial justice. They were framed up and convicted of conspiracy and arson.

A judge sentenced them to a combined 242 years in prison, but they were released on bail as the case went through state and federal appeals courts. Their case garnered worldwide attention. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the case after a key prosecution witness was deemed mentally unstable: he changed his statements to prosecutors at least 15 times before the trial began. (News and Observer, May 19)

Fast forward to 2010, when local governments in North Carolina continued their pursuit of segregated schools and began attacking all public services, attacks which disproportionately affect Black and poor people. These issues and many more highlight the need for a massive movement that can challenge the root causes of all these racist, anti-worker practices. Such a movement is being forged by the NAACP in building the Historic Thousands on Jones Street Coalition. The Rev. Kojo Nantambu and the Charlotte NAACP recently challenged the closing of Black schools, resulting in civil disobedience and arrests that slowed down this racist attack.

Young people, workers, civil rights leaders, immigrants and others across the state, the U.S. South and the entire country will be marching on Wall Street South in Charlotte prior to the Democratic National Convention, to put a spotlight on this history and the current situation. They are calling on the movement to “Join us in Charlotte on September 2! Join us to demand: Pardon the Wilmington 10! Free all political prisoners! Defend public education and make the banks pay for their crisis!”

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

People’s Victory in Charlotte as March on Wall Street South Wins Permits

Posted by raleighfist on June 2, 2012

The Coalition to March on Wall Street South announced a major victory on May 29. The city of Charlotte granted conditional approval for permits for the Sept. 2 March on Wall Street South — after more than eight months of march and parks permit requests, a national petition campaign and threats of legal action. The march will take place one day prior to the Democratic National Convention.

While coalition organizers must still meet and negotiate with officials, the march route passes the major targets in uptown Charlotte: Bank of America’s world headquarters, Wells Fargo’s eastern headquarters, the Bank of America Stadium and the Time Warner Cable Arena, site of the DNC.

With permits won, the stage is now set for the Sept. 2 demonstration. Thousands of activists are expected to flood the streets of Charlotte to raise a people’s agenda to the big banks and Democratic Party delegates. Their program calls for jobs, human needs, workers’ rights, justice and equality for Black, Latino/a and Native peoples, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities. The Call to Action also raises the need to fight for economic and environmental justice, while opposing wars, anti-immigrant repression, racial and political profiling, incarcerations and foreclosures.

Mass campaign key to victory

The coalition launched a national petition campaign in May, after numerous delays and administrative runarounds, unreturned phone calls and being put through bureaucratic hoops. Petitions demanded that the city grant the permits, repeal newly passed repressive protest ordinances and immediately make public the permitting process for actions during the DNC.

More than 1,500 people across the country signed the petition, including prominent leaders from unions and community organizations. Every signature triggered emails to city, county and national officials.

Coalition organizers planned to deliver the petitions to the May 29 Charlotte City Council meeting. Just two hours before the meeting was to start, officials called coalition organizers to inform them that the permits had been granted. Even with this major victory, plans to pack the meeting and speak out moved forward. More than three dozen activists from Occupy Charlotte; Occupy Winston-Salem; United Electrical Workers Local 150; Raleigh Fight Imperialism, Stand Together; Students for a Democratic Society; and other organizations turned out.

“This is a huge victory for democracy,” said Scottie Wingfield, of Occupy Charlotte. “We want to thank the more than 1,500 people from across the country who signed the petition. The eyes of the world are on Charlotte and on how the city will treat those who do not have lobbyists to represent their interests. Our work goes on, and we will continue to call on the city of Charlotte to repeal the repressive protest ordinances they passed earlier this year that grant police extreme power and endanger people’s rights to freely demonstrate.”

The coalition was also preparing to take legal action to secure the permits for the right to demonstrate in Charlotte. Affidavits had been collected from nearly two dozen leaders of organizations from across the U.S., including Marilyn Levin, co-coordinator of the United National Antiwar Coalition; John Parker of the Southern California Immigration Coalition; George Friday of Move to Amend; the Rev. Cortly C.D. Witherspoon, president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Baltimore chapter; Steve Gillis, vice president of Steelworkers Local 8751, the Boston School Bus Drivers Union; and Sara Flounders, International Action Center co-director.

Alissa Elliss of Occupy Durham stressed: “This is a great success. We want to thank the legal team for the amount of work they put in, not only in preparation for the petitions, but also all the preparation that went into facing likely litigation. It was only through the legal team’s hard work and the mass support of petition signers that we were finally able to make the city and county of Charlotte recognize the power of the 99% and give us our right to protest.”

Stage set for March on Wall Street South

March organizers have issued an all-out call for this major demonstration and others during the DNC:

“We welcome all working people who have suffered during this economic crisis to come down to Charlotte on Sunday, September 2,” said Matt Hickson of University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill Students for a Democratic Society. He emphasized: “Bank of America and Wells Fargo are responsible for kicking people out of their homes, plunging students and families deep into debt, funding the prison-industrial complex and destroying the environment.

“The Democrats and the Republicans have not addressed the dire situation faced by working people and families in this country. We need jobs, an end to deportations and money for housing, education, health care and people’s needs, not for wars and jails. These are some of the issues we’ll be raising at the March on Wall Street South on September 2 and throughout the week of actions during the DNC.”

For information, see wallstsouth.org, Twitter: @wallstsouth or call 1-704-266-0362.

Posted in Counter-Recruitment, Cuba, Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, Imperialism, Labor, Libya, Occupy Movement, Socialism, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | Leave a Comment »

All out to protest the KKK! Saturday, May 26 @ 1pm

Posted by raleighfist on May 25, 2012

Raleigh FIST is working with organizations from across NC to organize this counter-demonstration to oppose the KKK rally that is being planned for this Saturday, May 26 in Harmony NC. Please help to spread the word as far and wide as possible so we can build broad solidarity to stand against the violent racism and white supremacy espoused by the KKK, especially now during this time of severe economic crisis.


NC Against the KKK–Unity in Harmony, NC

Gather at 103 Jackson St in Yadkinville, NC to caravan to Harmony, NC

The KKK has begun holding publicized meetings throughout NC this spring, including May 8 in Eden, NC.  The next scheduled cross burning is set for tomorrow, May 26, in Harmony, NC and a coalition of groups and individuals will protest the event.

In the spirit on nonviolent, anti-racist protest, NC Against the KKK: Unity in Harmony will hold a peaceful rally against racism and hate tomorrow.  Activists have organized caravans from a meeting point in Yadkinville, NC, which will leave from 103 Jackson Street at 1 PM.

We will not allow the Klan to further divide the people of North Carolina.  Instead, we will show them we stand together against racism and bigotry.  Our peaceful demonstration will focus on bringing a diverse and multiracial group of North Carolinians together as part of the continuing struggle against racism and injustice in this state.

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

Anti-gay Amendment spurs solidarity

Posted by raleighfist on May 24, 2012

By Andy Koch

Progressive-minded people across the United States watched with dismay on May 8 as North Carolina became the 30th state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. However, the feeling here in North Carolina is not one of defeat, but of power and hope. The struggle against the amendment was one of the broadest and most dynamic the state has seen in years, involving hundreds of community and faith-based groups and more than 16,000 volunteers.

“Our win is humongous,” said Kai Lumumba Barrow, Southerners On New Ground organizer, in a video the group released on May 9, “because our dialogue is not just about gay marriage. It’s moving toward a dialogue about what does it mean for poor people, people of color, queer people coming together to fight for each other’s liberation. This amendment made that possible.”

North Carolina already had a statute on the books prohibiting gay marriage. So why pass this new constitutional amendment?

For one thing, the wording of the amendment not only bans same-sex marriage, but would wipe out legal protections for women and children in physically abusive unmarried partnerships, as well as numerous other rights that such couples currently hold.

The amendment’s right-wing authors in the state Legislature would tell you that a constitutional amendment ensures that the conservative definition of marriage is protected from being altered in the future. Such reactionary beliefs were a motivator for legislators and supporters of the amendment.

Building solidarity is key

But in order to understand these kinds of oppressive attacks as a social phenomenon, we have to look at the class forces at work. The capitalist ruling class is in some serious hot water right now. Their system is in crisis. They’ve had to pull out every trick in their book to keep profits up — like starting new wars and the huge bank bailouts — yet they are still struggling. Importantly, the people of the U.S. are fighting back against their rulers on a scale not seen in decades. This is what scares the capitalist ruling class most of all.

So what does the ruling class do? Everything they can to put the working class and oppressed people on the defensive. They take back welfare protections that people won through mass struggle. They slash state budgets for public services and education. They smash unions and collective bargaining rights.

Intensifying the oppression of lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer people by putting discrimination into the state constitution is also part of their strategy. Capitalists across the country and in North Carolina hope the people will be too busy defending themselves against new attacks on their human rights to wage an offensive struggle against the ruling class. They hope that the working class and oppressed people will be further divided by LGBTQ oppression.

And this division is a very real danger — the U.S. South has had a historically weak labor movement due to the divisive effects of white supremacy. The only way that this division can be overcome is through unconditional solidarity among the working class and all oppressed people. The progressive people of North Carolina don’t feel defeated at the passage of this anti-­LGBTQ amendment because the struggle against it has been a shining example of this kind of solidarity.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Gender System, Labor, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | 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 



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

Twitter: #MakeBoAPay

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

Guns, racist terror and self-defense

Posted by raleighfist on April 24, 2012

By Caleb Maupin

In New York City, it is illegal to carry a firearm, whether a handgun or sporting rifle, without a permit. With this ban as an excuse, the New York City Police Department carries out a policy of “stop and frisk” that is aimed primarily at youth of color.

The police, for no legal reason, frequently stop Black and Latino/a youth and pat them down under the guise of hoping to find illicit weapons. The justifications given for these degrading “stop and frisks” are outrageous, such as “a suspicious bulge” or “furtive motions.” As a coalition of mostly young Black activists fighting this policy put it, the real reason is almost always nothing more than “walking while Black.”

Recently, Ramarley Graham was walking home in the Bronx. He was stopped by police, but rather than be searched, he escaped. In response, the police stalked him and fatally shot him in his apartment.

There is a group of “gun rights” activists who call themselves the Second Amendment Movement, referring to the part of the U.S. Constitution that guarantees the right of the people to bear arms. However, they are not involved in the struggle against “stop and frisk.” Nor can they be found among those who have been part of the heroic civil disobedience campaigns and protests aimed at this repressive policy.

This right-wing movement instead campaigns for capitalist politicians, rails against communism and now champions the racist killer George Zimmerman.

They and the rest of the gun lobby are sponsored by firearms manufacturers and the military-industrial complex. The aim of these forces is not to protect oppressed people from the repressive capitalist state, but to protect and reinforce the racists and vigilantes who terrorize oppressed people.

In addition, these groups whip up racist stereotypes and fear of crime in order to sell more of their products. They promote this vile racism, resulting in more senseless killings.

Does this mean that a ban on firearms would be a good thing? No! A ban on firearms would be a setback for the workers and oppressed peoples of the U.S.

Right to self-defense

Racist murderers like George Zimmerman and his racist ilk in the Ku Klux Klan and other neofascist vigilante groups will always be able to obtain weapons. Their allies in the police departments, the FBI and other organs of the state will enable them to wage terror against oppressed people, whatever laws exist.

A ban on firearms would also not disarm the racist murderers in the police departments throughout the country. The Pentagon brass, the greatest collection of armed, warmongering profiteers, would remain armed to the teeth.

Marxist-Leninists unapologetically defend the right of workers and oppressed people to defend themselves with any means available. Historically, there have been many occasions in the people’s struggle for justice where guns have been utilized.

When civil rights activists were being murdered in the South, the Monroe, N.C., chapter of the NAACP, under the leadership of Robert F. Williams and Mae Mallory, beat back KKK terror in the 1960s through armed self-defense of their community. The Black Panther Party shook up the racist establishment when its young members patrolled Oakland, Calif., monitoring the activities of the police while carrying shotguns and law books.

During the Depression, when Nazis from the Silver Legion of America mobilized to attack the Teamsters in Minneapolis, the union, led by communists, formed workers’ defense guards. This caused the fascists to back down.

For years coal miners had to arm themselves against the violence of company goons trying to break their union.

As long as class oppression and racist violence exist, workers and oppressed people will need to defend their just struggles, sometimes with weapons in hand. It is a right that must not be surrendered.

Posted in Economic Crisis, Education, Imperialism, Labor, Occupy Movement, Socialism, South, White Supremacy, Youth in Action | 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 »

Racism robs Black youth of their dreams

Posted by raleighfist on April 6, 2012

By Larry Hales

Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Black youth killed by racist vigilante George Zimmerman, was robbed of any opportunities that the future may have held for him. His parents were robbed of their son, his younger stepbrother a guiding hand, his girlfriend, other family members and friends a person who brought them immense joy, laughter, heartache — all the gifts and frustrations that a loved one brings.

And that he was killed by a man who by his own admission chased him because he was Black and wearing a hoodie, yet still walks free because of some dubiously written law, makes the tragedy that much greater.

Many wonder how Zimmerman remains free when the facts of the case are so clear. Trayvon had no weapon and was significantly lighter than Zimmerman, outweighed by nearly 100 pounds.

Trayvon was the one being stalked and then chased in fear for his life. This was validated by the young woman on the other end of the telephone call with Trayvon as the young man fled.

It would seem that the specific provisions of the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law would contravene the decision of the Sanford Police Department to allow Zimmerman to walk free, citing his right to self-defense.

However, this is U.S. society, where the seeds of white supremacy were first planted, a country built on the most extreme forms of oppression and repression. Therefore a law may be written in general, but the atmosphere is poisoned by racism and national oppression. The Florida statute may state that the person using deadly force has to reasonably believe that his or her life is in danger, Zimmerman may have outweighed Trayvon, and Trayvon’s only weapons may have been a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles, but apparently his Blackness was not only enough to draw suspicion but justified the use of deadly force.

The overwhelming evidence showing that a young Black man was executed by a vigilante and then again by a police force that is on record for covering up crimes, especially committed against people of color, begs the question — what is the value of a Black life?

Justice for Trayvon would mean that Zimmerman is arrested, tried and imprisoned; that the entire police department and the officers involved are fired and then tried for covering up the facts of this case; and that the SYG law, in a racist society like this one, is repealed. That would be merely the beginning.

Countless Trayvon Martins

What of Ramarley Graham, the young Black male shot in his bathroom in front of his grandmother and six-year-old brother in Bronx, N.Y., earlier this year?

What of Travis McNeal killed by Miami cops Feb. 11, 2011, when he and his cousin were stopped while driving, or of Decarlos Moore, Joel Lee Johnson and the four other unarmed Black men killed by Miami police last year?

What of 18-year-old Dane Scott Jr. shot in the back by police after a car chase in Del City, Okla., this year?

What about the many more unknown innocent Black men and women beaten, killed or humiliated by police all across the country, or the millions of Black women and men in jail, prison or on parole or probation? These are victims of the racist criminal justice system and of a society that cuts back on spending for schools and allows a greatly disproportionate number of people of color to be jobless, homeless and without hope of finding a well-paying job so they can care for themselves and their families.

The Black unemployment rate is still over 14 percent, and if that number alone isn’t enough to indicate how dire the situation is, a more accurate account reveals that only 56.6 percent of the Black population is employed. For Black youth the unemployment rate is over 40 percent, and the employment ratio is barely over 50 percent.

In his 1967 speech “Where Do We Go From Here,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Of the good things in life, the Negro has approximately one half those of whites. Of the bad things of life, he has twice those of whites.”

That remains so, in housing especially, considering that a large number of people being foreclosed are people of color, with a high number Black. Adjustable rate mortgages were forced on them where the payments quadrupled after four or five years. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 11 percent of Black homeowners lost their homes from 2007 to the present.

The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness reports that Black families are seven times more likely to be homeless than whites and 38.8 percent of sheltered people in families are Black. A 2009 Regal Magazine article states that 49 percent of homeless people in total are Black.

Those who live in poverty or near poverty number are about 150 million. The official poverty threshold for a family of four is $24,343, and even a family with a household income of $49,000 struggles.

The average Black household income measured in 2011 was $32,000, a decline of 3.2 percent from the prior year.

Though the statistics appear stark enough, it is important to elucidate the reasons behind the conditions that Black people in the U.S. and all people of color really face.

What is the value of a Black life?

To repeat, what is the value of a Black life? All life is precious. But a system that places the profits of a few over the needs of the many turns the just mentioned mantra on its head. How can life be precious if the necessities of it are commodities to be sold for profit? How can life be precious if much of humanity is engaged in selling their labor to make wealth they will never see for a wage designed to ensure that the buyer of the labor gets their profit and becomes richer still?

It is people of color, Black, Latino/a, Indigenous, Arab and Asian who disproportionately live on the fringes, suffering from years of conquest, genocide, slavery, apartheid and racism — all symptoms of national oppression. Because of their conditions, they are the greatest impetus for change.

National oppression is a byproduct of the for-profit system, a weapon to keep working people and their families from seeing their commonness, to keep people fighting amongst one another over differences in culture, religion and other beliefs.

Trayvon Martin had his life to look forward to. He was just beginning to dream, to piece together what he wanted his adult self to be, but he was a victim of the racism that pervades U.S. society. He was no less than any other 17-year-old, and he may have gone on to do great things, become a leader or a scientist — one will never know.

But, what is sure, is that for any young person, especially an oppressed person, to be guaranteed to reach their full potential, the society that has created disproportionate suffering and hardship based on skin color must be thrown into the dustbin of history, and a new one must be born. Trayvon may have been the leader of such a struggle, but as it is, it will have to be waged in memory of him and all those young Black and other oppressed youth who were victimized until they were sent to an early grave.

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