Event! 9/24/14: From the Freedom Summer to Ferguson: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Summer and the Struggle Today

 Advance the Struggle along with La Peña Second Generation proudly announce an exciting event on the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer.  The event will take place on Wednesday September 24th, 6:30pm at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA).  Below is a description of the event and the leaflets for the series.  Hope to see you there! 

With the recent protests and riots in Ferguson against the killing of Michael Brown by a white police officer, the issue of racial oppression has been thrust to the forefront of American popular consciousness.   It is telling, that events in Ferguson happened 50 years after the Freedom Summer movement descended on Mississippi to fight black disenfranchisement by building black political power.  Critical lessons were drawn from the Freedom Summer experience, such as the brutality of the state and it’s functionaries, the treachery of the Democratic Party towards black political demands, and the need to build independent political power and organization to challenge the structures of white supremacy.

Similarly, in Ferguson we have seen the deployment of the National Guard and the full repressive apparatus of the state to contain legitimate outrage by disenfranchised black residents over the killing of Mike Brown.  Now that the larger protests have subsided, Democratic Party operatives are calling for a renewed voter registration drive for black residents in Missouri and the South to channel their rage into votes for the Democratic Party machine.  But it is important to remember that this is the same party that houses both Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and his close political ally Jeff Roorda, a vocal police supporter and the man behind the Darren Wilson legal fund support page.  We have to ask: is this the only option?

This event will shed light on the insights from participants in the Freedom Summer on these critical questions in order to help inform the struggle against racial oppression today.

From the Freedom Summer to Ferguson-

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Skype Event Announcement (8/23)! Turkish Revolutionaries on their Experiences in Taksim Square!

Since 2011, countries around the world have had historic upsurges and have gained serious insight into the dynamics of anti-capitalist struggle in this period.  Advance the Struggle along with La Peña Second Generation proudly presents a monthly Skype series with revolutionaries from across the globe to discuss these massive social movements.  

The sixth session will involve militants from the Gezi Park protests and the ongoing movements in Turkey.  The event will take place on Saturday August 23rd, 12pm noon at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA).  Below is a description of the event and the leaflets for the series.  Hope to see you there!

Come Saturday August 23rd at 12:00 to hear Turkish revolutionaries who will skype about their experiences in the wave of struggles at Taksim square in Instanbul. As protesters were evicted from the square, sizable protests emerged, confronting the government. Soon after, a wave of different movements, fighting for workers rights, freedom of the press, all ascended with force. A presentation will begin followed up by direct discussion with the Turkish revolutionaries.

taksim square poster

Below is a video by Brandon Jourdan of Global Uprisings entitled, “The Taksim Commune: Gezi Park and the Uprising in Turkey,” which gives a fantastic first hand look at the escalating social movements for urban space and against political repression.  Enjoy!

Taksim Commune: Gezi Park And The Uprising In Turkey from brandon jourdan on Vimeo.

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Brenner and Weissman on the ILWU

The following article by Suzi Weissman and Robert Brenner was published earlier this week in the Jacobin online magazine. It’s a great overview of the past few years of ILWU’s struggles, the Longview uprising, the relationship between militant workers and various Occupies (Portland and Oakland in particular) and the treacherous role of the ILWU international.

One of the big questions that we’re left with after reading this piece is: what are pro-revolutionary activists and militants supposed to do in a situation where union leaderships are generally playing conservative roles, and when even those leaders who play more positive, militant, roles end up getting smashed?  What does it mean, concretely, that an “aroused rank-and-file” is the only means for the working class, and trade unions in particular, to get our of this slump?  

Our comrades have written about similar issues and begun to tackle these questions in the past years and generated debate, discussion and even controversy – so we welcome continued interventions into the important strategic discussion and debate.

ilwu image

Longview, Washington

Unions That Used To Strike

by Robert Brenner and Suzi Weissman

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, once known for its militancy and political radicalism, faces a choice between nurturing rank-and-file power and a slow, painful death.

In early July, 120 mostly poor and immigrant port truckers set up picket lines at three trucking companies in LA-Long Beach Harbor, extending their longstanding campaign to unionize. The next day, workers from the powerful and historically militant International Longshore and Warehouse Union honored the truckers’ picket by walking off their jobs, immediately shutting down three waterfront terminals.

The dockworkers had found themselves contractually free to refuse to cross the port truckers’ line, when their union’s agreement with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) had expired a short time before.

But almost immediately, a waterfront arbitrator ordered the longshoremen back to work. The ILWU had suddenly and without warning extended their agreement with the PMA for three days. Following the rules of their own contract, the union told its members to cross the truckers’ pickets and return to their jobs.

This action was in line with the ILWU’s informal pact with the PMA to maintain the flow of work after their contract had run out, and it snuffed out any potential the embryonic solidarity of the longshore workers and port truckers might have had to shift the balance of power between themselves and their employers.

In a small way, it encapsulated the two previous years of the union’s evolution. Continue reading

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Logistics, Circulation, Class Struggle and Communism Reader

portstrike
Part of our regular practice together is engaging in short term studies of relevant questions coming up on the pro-revolutionary left.  One of our recent studies has been centered on the strategic importance of sites of capital circulation as places where pro-revolutionary activists and proletarians should focus our intellectual and practical energies.

We’re offering up a formatted version of various texts that have already been published as well as a powerpoint we’ve used among ourselves to help frame the texts.

The texts in question are from Endnotes, Mute, Degenerate Communism and Libcom.  We give props and appreciation to those authors and publications for putting out important theoretical and strategic pieces to help pro-revolutionary activists around the world clarify our thinking.

Let us know what your thoughts are if you’re studying similar stuff, ways in which you’ve formatted study packets, and other thoughts.

Reader and presentation after the jump.  Enjoy.

Continue reading

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Sin Patron – The Workers Movement and the World Cup (Video)

We are happy to share this video from Ian Steinman, a comrade currently residing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  In it, he analyzes the development of the working-class movement in Brazil in the context of the recent World Cup soccer tournament that took place. He takes us through the various worker, student, and indigenous struggles against the displacement, gentrification, high cost of living, and lack of social services that have intensified with the government’s decision to host the World Cup in Brazil. In addition, Ian breaks down the various social forces in the resistance movement, the evolution of political tactics on the street, and the possibility of cross-sectoral rank-and-file militancy. 

Come here from Ian at our Revolutionary Skype Series event occurring this Saturday July 26th, noon at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA). We appreciate his work and thank him for bringing to light the process of the Brazilian working-class’ political re-awakening. 

For more information about the event see here.

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Skype Series Event! What did Brazil’s workers’ struggle look like leading up to the World Cup?  (7/26)

Since 2011, countries around the world have had historic upsurges and have gained serious insight into the dynamics of anti-capitalist struggle in this period.  Advance the Struggle along with La Peña Second Generation proudly presents a monthly Skype series with revolutionaries from across the globe to discuss these massive social movements.  

The fifth session will involve a militant currently participating in the protests around the World Cup in Brazil.  The event will take place on Saturday July 26th, noon at La Peña Cultural Center (3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA).  Below is a description of the event and the leaflets for the series.  Hope to see you there!

Sao Paulo metro workers, Rio de Janiero airport workers & bus drivers in Natal all on strike while huge popular mobilizations were held throughout the country. Join Advance the Struggle and La Pena 2nd Generation for a Skype conversation with Ian Steinman, activist in Rio de Janiero, about this wave of struggle in Brazil, its relationship to the world’s most popular event, and the current state of the movement as the cup comes to an end.

brazil flyer

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Dewey Academy in Danger of Displacement: Gentrification and the Oakland Unified School District

Originally posted on Classroom Struggle:

Dewey Academy in Danger of Displacement:

Gentrification and the Oakland Unified School District

By Aram Mendoza and N. Finch in collaboration with Dewey teachers

Displacement of long-time, low-income residents due to gentrification has been an all too common story in the Bay Area recently.  Now the same insidious process is targeting some of the most “at-risk” students in Oakland.  Over the past two weeks, in the end of school rush, the Oakland Unified School District’s administration revealed they have been in close discussions with gentrifying developers that puts Dewey Academy, one of the public continuation high schools in the OUSD, in the cross-hairs of real estate agents and developers.  The developers are already planning a 24 story luxury condo building overshadowing Dewey and now want to add Dewey and the old OUSD headquarters to the project.  What follows is an overview of the situation, why it’s problematic, how it’s situated…

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