Category Archives: Resistance News

Evict This! A History of Housing in West Oakland and Tools to Resist Displacement

Everyone on the left recognizes gentrification is happening. Its political, economic and social implications are far-reaching, with the state aiding and abetting the process. Neighborhoods in L.A., San Francisco and Oakland look completely different now than even ten years ago. In a gentrifying neighborhood residents feel the effects with ‘in-your-face’ style evictions and/or foreclosure notices. These have become an almost daily occurrence for struggling families. Many are forced to find ways to cope or resist the shifting nature of their neighborhoods; while those conscious of it, and even active in confronting the major players driving it (banks, real estate companies and big developers), recognize they also play a role in it. Considering this, how does the left get a full understanding of how and why gentrification happens? And then, how do organizers bring up conversations with our neighbors that will lead to constructive dialogue and a collective fighting strategy?

The East Bay Solidarity Network, based in West Oakland, focuses primarily on direct-action eviction defense. As a group of radicals, they seek to develop a deeper understanding of the history, process and results of gentrification before embarking on an eviction defense project. They’ve spent months base-building in West Oakland by: hosting monthly tenants’ rights meetings, door knocking to neighbors, flyering around liquor stores, laundromats and dollar stores, in addition to organizing neighborhood BBQ’s.

Acknowledging that there is more to learn — they wrote a small pamphlet, passed it out to neighbors, and sought to gather as much feedback as possible.  The pamphlet, or zine, was a compilation of knowledge about gentrification learned through research, conversations, outreach and organizing; and an attempt to answer questions about the foreclosure crisis that re-ignited the gentrification in West Oakland. It explains how a national wave of foreclosures specifically affected this neighborhood, then goes on to highlight a history of West Oakland residents fighting back against federal, state and city policies. Policies which have resulted in the targeted displacement of Black residents since they arrived in the post-WWI boom years. It emphasizes that losing a house is not the fault of the individual, but instead a systematic approach by banks and big real estate companies to kick out long-term residents and drive up property values.

This is one strategy the East Bay Solidarity Network utilized to answer some of the most important questions to better understand gentrification; and was the medium used to talk to neighbors about how to fight back against a capitalist system that would rather — see their family-home empty with a ‘For Sale’ sign in the front — than with current and past generations living inside.

Advance the Struggle hopes to write a longer, more researched piece on gentrification in the upcoming months but would first like to showcase some of the work organizers have been doing. Here is the East Bay Solidarity Network’s zine:

Pages from Evict This

Click for full PDF version.

Solidarity with the CUNY struggle!

Students from the Ad-Hoc Committee protesting war criminal Petreaus.  Photo Credit: NYMag

Students from the Ad-Hoc Committee protesting war criminal Petreaus. Photo Credit: NYMag

We in Advance the Struggle write to express solidarity with the Ad-Hoc Committee Against the Militarization of CUNY (City University of New York), including members of the CUNY 6, who were brutally assaulted and arrested for protesting CUNY’s hiring of war criminal David Petraeus, along with the Liberate CUNY Front and the students suspended for defending the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur student and community center.  These comrades have not only exposed and resisted the increasing militarization of educational institutions in New York, but across the US.  As we have seen here in California with the appointment of former director of deportation Janet Napolitano as President of the University of California system, and “anti-terrorism expert” Arthur Tyler as Chancellor of City College of San Francisco, this is a disturbing trend that must be stopped.

The repression faced by our friends and comrades in New York is the same type of repression faced here in California by university students up and down the West Coast.  From Davis to Irvine and back up to Berkeley, students have organized against imperialist occupations in solidarity with Palestinian people, fought deportations, mobilized against fee increases and budget cuts; only to face direct repression by the UCPD, as well as legal attacks by UC administrators for speaking out and taking direct action against the likes of Zionists and many other forces of U.S. imperialism that get co-signed by the University of California system.  All tactics used by the state and administration to silence resistance to these policies.

While ties between the imperialist war machine and American universities is nothing new, the ruling class’ ‘securitization’ of the university is a troubling shift in structure and function highlighting a changing terrain of struggle. ‘Securitization‘ in this sense means both the increased repressiveness of the university through its integration and collaboration with the capitalist state and the increased role of debt and financial markets in the life of the university. In the age of violent austerity that strips state universities of any public or democratic character; students are forced to take out higher loans to finance their education, which the university business managers then sell to Wall Street investors.

This shift in the role of university education highlights a changing terrain of struggle, making it important to defend and reclaim spaces where we can take a break from the grueling demands of competitive and isolating workloads, and as a place where we can form a community of resistance against the university system – which remains part and parcel of capitalist exploitation.

Mass mobilization to defend the Morales/Shakur social center. Photo cred: http://realworldnews.tumblr.com/

Mass mobilization to defend the Morales/Shakur social center. Photo cred: http://realworldnews.tumblr.com/

This resistance must continue and expand at sites of production, reproduction, circulation and in the streets to fight a system that glorifies and hires war criminals, torture apologists and deportation lackeys whose policies have killed, tortured, and destroyed millions of lives throughout the world; the same system forcing austerity cuts that destroy quality affordable public education and other social services for many working class and oppressed peoples.

Therefore, Advance the Struggle expresses full solidarity with our comrades in New York and around the world, who struggle against the advancement of US security and imperial military interests.

Drop all charges against the CUNY 6!

Drop the charges against Taffy and Khalil!

Petraeus and Napolitano off our campuses now!

Liberate CUNY and all campuses!

For united proletarian action against capitalism and imperialism!

Defend and Transform: Next Steps in the CCSF Struggle

ccsf

Two days ago the battle to stop the destruction of the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) took another step forward when a protest of 300 students and supporters of CCSF gathered in downtown San Francisco.  The two principal demands of the movement at this point are for the mayor of San Francisco, Ed Lee, to immediately intervene to stop all sanctions against CCSF by the ACCJC, and to immediately fire the “Special Trustee” dictator Bob Agrella who has been specifically appointed by the ACCJC to carry out their plan for the destruction of CCSF’s existing programs through budget cuts and privatization. They’ve undermined the democratic decision-making power CCSF professors had in running their departments and determining their curriculum, along with the community learning aspect that remains deeply rooted in San Francisco’s working-class culture, all in order to “reform” the school along the corporate, privatized education model: bloated administrative bureaucracies, underpaid and overworked teachers with weak or non-functional unions, a reduced and underpaid staff, and a severely downsized student body with the limited options of a streamlined junior college-type transmission belt to four-year universities for those who can afford the debt, or technical programs for the development of an elite managerial class separated and above the working-class people CCSF still serves. For proletarian communities of color in San Francisco, this is a gutsy frontal attack. If not resisted, it will relegate tens of thousands of youth to low-wage service sector jobs without the chance of social advance, such as fast-food chains; it will exacerbate unemployment and speed-up the gentrification process that has so drastically changed San Francisco from a hub of multi-national/racial working-class neighborhoods to the next chic destination for wealthy Silicon Valley professionals in the high-tech industry.

As of today, we’ve found out that the lawyer for the city of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera, has initiated legal proceedings against the ACCJC for breaking federal regulations and having conflicts of interest, and against the Board of Governors that oversees California’s community colleges because it has ceded its legal authority over standards and funding in relation to community colleges to the ACCJC, a private body.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the City’s announcement of this lawsuit comes a day after the protest and sit-in that we organized. We should continue to demand that the local state, and the mayor in particular, intervene against the attack on CCSF;  this lawsuit and any possible actions on the part of the mayor are are possible only due to the self-organization of the students, teachers, and staff of CCSF. Now that the ACCJC is beginning to be delegitimized largely due to organized resistance, we are in a position to seize the momentum and expand the movement to put a definite end to the ACCJC’s reign of terror and take the struggle forward to expanding and improving the community college in the interests of the Bay Area’s exploited and oppressed.

Currently, the AFT 2121 leadership and a core of active teachers have expressed sympathy for a strike. The staff union leaders from SEIU 1021 have played a reactionary role by acquiescing to the ACCJC’s demands in hopes that teachers, who are actively fighting the ACCJC, receive the brunt of the attack while staff make it through this process unscathed. Rank-and-file staff have remained under the radar as they are unsure of the situation and know that their jobs are the most dispensable and likely to be cut.  As of now, the major strategic orientation of the movement should be the activation of the student body; it is a sleeping giant. However, it is critical we begin to build links with the two other key sectors of the proletariat in education, the teachers and staff. While one important step is for teachers and staff to self-organize within but independently of their union, we need a concrete plan to reach out to these sectors as students to build the links and lay the basis for a unified class struggle that takes up the demands of all three.  It is the social force of those who use the university that can be the backbone of the fight not only defend CCSF against its current round of attacks, but to be the organized body that can reconstruct and transform the CCSF we know now – a college that since the recession in 2008 has faced a total of $809 million in budget cuts, especially to lifelong learning and community programs that are not directly transferable to a four-year university or a technical profession, such as: childcare, ethnic studies, programs for ex-cons, seniors, and immigrants and help change it into the people’s college that we want it to be.

Continue reading

#HoodiesUp: All Out to the Justice for Trayvon Rally and Community Speak Out (7/15)


Here is a copy of the flier.  Please Distribute far and wide!

Here is a copy of the flier. Please Distribute far and wide!

Another Black youth murdered in cold blood, and the murderer, according to the courts, is not guilty! The case of Trayvon Martin is an example of what America is composed of, the racism that deeply penetrates its veins, and the state that overseas its process. Trayvon Martin was vilified by the courts as a thug, and its murderer was defended as a noble citizen. How many Black and Latino youth have to be victims of such violence? When will we build a movement so powerful that can challenge such violence? When will the working class be organized to shutdown the system when such racist violence occurs? These are the critical questions of the day. We have experienced the Rodney King movement, the movement around the murder of Sean Bell, Kimani Gray, Kenneth Harding, and Oscar Grant. Yet these murders continue unchallenged.

Our strategy against such murders shall be, in the short term, organizing militant protests when such verdicts are executed and organize the working class in the long term as preparation for such moments. Only until the working class, located in strategic industries, that shutdowns components of the system, will we see a viable movement challenging the system. In the Oscar Grant movement we experienced a wave of rebellions on January 7th, and January 14th, 2009, as well as ILWU local 10 shutting down the port on October 23rd, 2010. The combination of street rebellions and shutting down industry are effective tactics against the state. The state, a concentration of power, will not take anything seriously, until there is a force that challenges such power ascends in the field of political battle. Our history of struggles against police brutality has been paralyzed between disorganized bursts of anger coupled with nonprofit lead forces that channel anger back into the system.

We need a militant organized movement of the working class who utilizes its position in society against state supported racist violence. The racist nature of American society will never be challenged until the working class begins to shutdown the system as a political response. A political organization with such explicit aims is needed to accomplish such tasks. Now is the time to organize for justice.

Come support the rally occurring Monday, July 15, 2013 at 14th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland.

Continue reading

Now is the time! Unite and fight!

Junio_22_volante_ESPANOL

Click here for a Bilingual flier

RED SALUTES TO THE WORKING CLASS OF TURKEY! SELAM, YARATANA!

The world’s eyes are on the ongoing struggle in Turkey, where the people of Turkey are fighting against the repressive state and the capitalist development that it has undertaken.  While the dynamics on the ground are very complex and are rapidly developing, the massive demonstrations, strikes, and street battles have opened up new revolutionary potentials within Turkey.   This has inspired people throughout the world to struggle against the capitalist system and the repressive state.  With that being said, we endorse and repost a solidarity statement below.  For more information, and to sign the statement you can go here.

Photo Credit: Aljazeera

Photo Credit: Aljazeera

Red salutes to the working class of Turkey!  Selam, yaratana!  As internationalists and revolutionaries, we pledge our undying solidarity the working class of Turkey and its allies in its struggle against the Justice and Development Party government (AKP).  We are honored to greet you 50 years after the death of your great socialist poet, Nazim Hikmet on this day of June 3rd, 2013.

We watch with horror as you and your allies are gassed, beaten, shot at, and arrested by the brutal police forces of Erdogan and his authoritarian government.  We are impressed and humbled by your commitment to fight this repression, particularly the workers of KESK and Hava-Is in their strikes against the capitalist state. We hope that more workers will follow your lead and example and help spread the Taksim movement to every corner of Turkey and beyond.  Only a worker’s movement has the ability to bring the powers that exist to its knees in a way that no other class can.

Solidarity to the Turkish metal workers, who faced repression last November in Bursa and continue their struggle against the yellow trade unionists and other anti-labor pawns.  Solidarity to the brave students of Middle East Technical University, who were savagely attacked by the police in December of last year.  Solidarity to the youth of Turkey who have been arrested and called “plunderers” and “extremists”—your brave actions will not be forgotten.  Solidarity to all those workers and their allies who are now beginning to come together to fight against their capitalist oppressors.  We hope for your victory and urge you to be wary of those who come in the name of “help”.

May the fire of TEKEL continue to set your enemies ablaze in these difficult, but necessary times.

YAŞASIN GENEL GREV!

Advance the Struggle News Brief

A common practice in our internal meetings is for a comrade to prepare a report on current events and present it in a 10 or 15 minute agenda point. This post was prepared from the report made in our last meeting.

 

Five IWW organizers were fired from Chicago-Lake Liquors in Minneapolis after a large group of workers there delivered a set of demands for higher wages to the bosses. They have held 2 informational pickets and are distributing fliers to customers in an attempt to get their jobs back. On May 4th, 2013, they held a hard picket and turned away ninety per cent of customers despite attempts by security and management to break the picket. There will be another big picket on the 24th of May. This seems to be the best possible way to deal with a situation of salts getting fired, short of a strike of the remaining workers or an occupation of the workplace.

Well-known Russian anti-fascist, Alexey Gaskarov, was arrested April 28th, just days before he was set to lead large protests. He is a member of the Coordination Council of Russian Opposition. The arrest came just days before he was going to be the head of a leftist, anti-fascist, block at protests marking the one year anniversary of the very large demonstrations last year against electoral fraud, which were violently repressed by the police. This is important in light of the large growth of fascist groups in Russia in recent years.

On April 25th, about 3000 anarchists marched in solidarity to Athens Indymedia and 98 FM that have been censored by the Greek State since April 11th. Six of the arrested protestors were charged with offending the Greek national flag by replacing it with the red and black flag of anarchism. The State censorship was carried out under the banner of combating terrorism, when in fact this censorship is simply an attack on independent media that has served as a center for organizing actions against the capitalist agenda in Greece. These protests are important because there have not been many large mobilizations against state censorship of the internet and media such as this one.

Hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike in Bangladesh on April 26th following the collapse of a garment factory there that claimed the lives of 1127 workers, making it the largest industrial disaster since the Bhopal incident. The plant’s workers were evacuated after cracks in the building were discovered, but then managers ordered them back to work the next day. Then the building collapsed with everyone inside. The building was owned by Sohel Rana, leader of the local Jubo League, the youth wing of the ruling Awami League political party. This suggests a close relationship between the bureaucracy of the state and the worst aspects of capitalism in Dhaka. Hundreds of thousands of workers protested and struck following the collapse, forcing factory bosses to declare a day’s holiday. Factories that tried to operate the day following the collapse were attacked by striking workers. Protesters smashed windows and destroyed cars at the headquarters of the main manufacturers’ association, demanding justice. A coalition of 18 parties led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party called for general strikes on May 2nd, following large protests and strikes on International Workers Day. It is problematic that a political party based on religion and nationalism is leading this co-optation of the workers struggle. Communists should support the development of internationalist, Marxist, revolutionary parties in Bangladesh that can lead a struggle for the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the abolition of the wage system. In recent years there has been a rising tide of worker militancy in Bangladesh where groups like the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity have faced brutal repression as they try unionize some of the 3.6 million garment workers employed in Bangladesh’s 5,000 garment factories. Research suggests that their average wages of 38$ US per month are not enough to provide adequate nutrition for even the one worker who receives them, let alone a whole family. Communists over seas should attempt to connect with embryonic workers organizations in Bangladesh to develop unity around an internationalist communist program, and find ways to materially support each other’s struggles.

Workers in England have been hit with a new bedroom tax and a cut in the council tax rebate. The Huddersfield Anarchist League made front page news after they had a protest at the town hall on the 21st of March, demanding answers from Labour party officials about whether the local Labour Council would haul people through the courts and evict people as a result of the policies. The policies mean that people on the dole (welfare) would have to pay 270 pounds sterling more per year, from the council tax rebate cuts alone. The bedroom tax has reduced the housing benefit for people with vacant rooms by an average of 23 $ US per week (1200$/year), driving some people to despair. In April, the Huddersfield group staged a protest in a Barclays bank. The bank manager set off the alarm and police came. Protesters staged an impromptu rally outside and had a positive response from the public, who actively participated in de-arresting two protesters that were targeted by the police during the rally. This shows some resonance in the working class for the program of this anarchist group. These worsening attacks on the working class highlight the need for organization that unites serious revolutionaries around the world to abolish the capitalist dictatorship that forces us to sell our labor as a commodity. The dispossession of workers from the means of subsistence by state protected private property forces us to sell our labor to capitalists in order to afford the necessities of life and alienates us from decisions about production, preventing us from rationally addressing issues such as disease, homelessness, starvation, or anthropogenic climate change.

In South Africa, the new Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) is winning over membership in the platinum and coal mining sectors. Senzeni Zokwana, the head of the Communist Party (CP), called the union a group of, “vigilantes and liars”. He also accused the AMCU of business unionism, saying that the AMCU president Joseph Mathunjwa owned five companies (the crowd greeted this assertion with shock and disbelief). Basically, the CP and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) feel threatened by the new union and don’t like its critical stance towards the ANC. The CP leader said that the NUM needs to serve its members more effectively to combat the new union. This is likely empty rhetoric, but it could indicate that the AMCU is pushing the NUM and CP to the left in some way. The growing AMCU just took a blow with the murder of the regional organizer of Amcu in the Rustenburg platinum belt who was shot 4 times in the back at a tavern on May 12th. He was just about to testify at the Marikana Commission of Inquiry about the massacre of 44 striking miners by police forces last year.

There will be a wildcat strike in South Africa by the Amplats miners on Monday May 20th by the same miners that struck for 2 months at the end of last year. These latest strikes are a response to the announcement of the layoff (retrenchment) of 14,000 workers made by Amplats in January, which was revised down to 6,000 after outrage from COSATU and the NUM. A leading member of the workers’ committee, Evans Ramokga, explained that the workers had been promised wage increases following their strike at the end of last year, but instead of wage increases they were greeted in January with news of these layoffs.

In Morelia, Mexico, on May 16th, students training to become teachers returned to the State four state police officers that they had held captive for 11 days. This returning of the officers was a precondition for the state to enter into negotiations with the students regarding their demands for the opening up of 1200 new teaching jobs. The students blocked streets on the 29th of April and took control of many buses and vehicles. They took the food and other necessities from the trucks and distributed them to the people. Apparently, the buses are being used by the students to transport themselves to the capital of the State. It seems that the buses were taken by the students from “la escuela normal indígena de Cherán”. Some of the issues that are decried in the pronouncement of the Organización de Normales Oficiales del Estado de Michoacán, which is a leading force to some extent in these protests and actions, are the following: reforms to the curriculum of the normal schools; the elimination of the telebachilleratos (a radio and TV educational program); and the current situation of diminution of matriculation in the universities due to the imposition of a new CENEVAL exam.

In their analysis the educational reforms are actually economic, labor, and political attacks whose only goal is the privatization of education. The curricular reform in the normal schools that the State wants to impose in 2012 completes the cycle of reforms that they have been imposing over the last 9 years.

This rough translation of some of the pronouncement gives an idea of their politics: (We reject the study plans based in competitions with competitive and productivist focuses, because they impede the harmonious development of education, and in their place we pose formative projects of teachers, that surge from the social necessities based in the linking of theory and practice, the discovery and construction of knowledge by way of creating climates of constant critique of inequality, strengthening capacities, abilities, skills and values of the human being needed to live with plenitude, coexistence…)

There were protests of about 10,000 people on the 15th of May against the education reforms that had a contingent of 200 electrical workers (who have been militant in recent years) and other workers joining the protest in solidarity. The protests were in the Zocalo in DF (Mexico City) and went towards the installations of Televisa Chapultepec where dozens of police formed lines against the protesters.

On the same day as the protests, the president had a big celebration of the primary school teachers of Mexico where he met with Juan Díaz de la Torre, president of the teachers union (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación, SNTE) and 400 other teachers in attendance. That their union leader would meet with the president as such is a slap in the face to the movement against the educational reforms.

There were also strikes in the education sector in Spain, supported by Juventudes Socialistas de Martos among others, against “(the most conservative education reform that has been given in Europe)”. The reforms want to: segregate schools from a young age based on performance; eliminate Educación para la Ciudadanía which is a political / values education component in high schools that was created by the ‘socialist’ government of Rodriguez Zapatero; permit gender segregation in the classroom; and give greater emphasis to religion in education.

There has been a general strike in Bolivia for 10 days with the miners, teachers, health workers and factory workers at the head, with road blockages across the country. The strike is against the law of Pensions of the government of Evo Morales. The law, La Ley de Pensiones 065, requires workers to pay 97% of their rent, bosses to pay 3% and the government to pay nothing. Workers criticize the law because it would require the workers to be practically the sole financier of their pensions, which would come out to only 70% of the monthly salary they received while working. The law would also maintain 100% of salary pensions for military and police officers, a policy remaining from the Banzer dictatorship. Pensions in Bolivia currently range from 21$ to 29$ per month.  4,000 mine workers from Huanuni were at the head of the protests in the Plaza Murillo. The Church has called for the workers and government to end their ‘intransigence’ and come to some settlement, failing to clearly support the workers’ demands. Socialists from the Liga Obrera Revolucionaria-Cuarta Internacional are calling for the formation of a national strike committee to ensure the democratic participation of all the participating sectors and organizations in deciding how to overcome any obstacles to victory.

Who you calling an Outside Agitator: Rebellion in Brooklyn

Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?

Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?

On March 14th, Brooklyn had a rebellion against the NYPD killing of 16 year old Kimani Gray.  He was shot in the back. The community of East Flatbush rose up and 46 people were arrested from the rebellion. As usual, the establishment is blaming the outside agitator for the rebellion. The usual forces who do this are politicians of color who have decade long roots in the established components of the “community,” accumulating political power to rise higher in the state power structure. These people are our political enemies for liberation.  

 

In Oakland, the politicians of color, and the capitalist media, blamed outside white anarchist for the Oscar Grant rebellions. This was a joke. The anarchist could not pull off actions of such caliber. It was an organic rebellion made by largely the Black working class and dispossessed sections of society. It was youth of color who had enough.  What did not exist in Oakland during the Oscar Grant rebellions, nor in Brooklyn with the Kimani Gray rebellions, is an organization that speaks to, and coordinates these particular rebellions. These rebellions are not to turn into non profit permitted protest, nor ideological stages for demagogues, but fluid anti-permitted actions that are organized by Black and West indie youth.

 
As austerity is forced on us and the welfare state is eroded, the state has become almost a solely disciplinary force; one that’s focus is to terrorize and police the predominately black and brown  surplus populations of the city in order to ensure the smooth functioning necessary for capital accumulation.  With this in mind, struggles around police violence in communities of color will increase in number and importance.  We have written extensively about these experiences and the lessons we have drawn from them, and would encourage others to check it out.    

Here is a 10 point program to propose to our NYC comrades for the development of such a movement. These are the crystallized lessons we learned from the Oscar Grant movement.
 
 1) Coordinate unpermitted struggles in the streets in general terms. No permits.
 2) In particular, have successful snake marches that can make quick turns at moments notice against the state.
3) Have a spatial analysis of your landscape in order to do this.
 4) Have general assemblies in the street, to deepen the participatory character.
5) Play music in the streets that keeps the energy going.
6) Develop organic leaders through democratic means from these movements so its moves beyond the “tyranny of structurelessness .”
7) Link with Ghettos and Barrios across NYC and beyond.
 8) Orient towards the unionized working class of color, who are sympathetic to this rebellion. As the majority of ILWU local 10, who is majority Black, was sympathetic to the Oscar Grant rebellion, they shut down the port on October 23rd, 2010.
9) Politically struggle against the politicians of color, clergy and NGOs who will seek to co-opt this struggle for their own political capital.
10) Publicly advocate a revolutionary organization in these high times of struggle, to explain to the masses in struggle why spontaneous struggle is not enough.  
 
Hopefully, this movement in NYC, coupled with an increase of organized rebellion that maintains an anti-statist character, armed with a vision of a building a revolutionary working class movement, a new force for liberation can emerge in NYC.  With all that said, we would like to re-post Fire Next Time’s piece.

East Flatbush Rebellion, Not “Outside Agitators”

The following is a brief reportback from Will, a member of FNT who witnessed two of the last three nights of protests in East Flatbush following the police killing of 16-year old Kimani “Kiki” Gray.

eastflatbush

The “outside agitators” are back!

The legend of the outside agitator has returned. Clowns like city councilman Jumanee Williams and the leadership of Occupy the Hood are fueling the myth that last night’s rebellions was led / caused by white people or outside agitators.  I was there at last night’s rebellion, and let me tell you: there were fewer then 10 white people involved in a rebellion of hundreds of young Black militants.  Last night was led by young Black militants. Period.

Continue reading

Are we gonna let the ACCJC and the State punk us? Hell no!

Below is text and a link to a flier – written by an AS member – that will be circulated at tomorrow’s (3/14/13) CCSF anti-austerity rally.  The rally will converge on Civic Center, in front of San Francisco City Hall at 4pm.  For more information see here.  This continues our coverage of the ongoing struggle at CCSF.  Please join the discussion and check back for more updates!

Click for full PDF version in English.

Click for full PDF version in English.

ascsf1spanish

Click for full PDF version in Spanish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t the Accreditation Threat Because of Problems with CCSF?

No, the accreditation threat is a very political attempt to force major negative changes to this college, and ultimately every other one in CA and the USA.  CCSF has a lot of problems, but none of them will be solved by cutting student services, programs, class sections and laying off staff and professors.  But that’s the main requirement of the accreditation group: to pull money out of all of these central services of the college, and put it into more administrators and a savings fund! (check out saveccsf.org for more details)

Why Would the Accreditation People Want to Hurt CCSF?

Because they have a vision of education in the USA that’s about building a profitable industry where people go into heavy debt, instead of a society that shares the costs of education.  In the economic system we live with, capitalism, there’s always rich people with extra money looking for opportunities to make some extra profit. The big one they have now is that a lot of government services are being cut, to pay for all the money that government gave to other rich investors when their gambling went bad in 2008.

Is this just happening at CCSF?

No! It’s happening worldwide (although that means we have a lot of potential allies!)  All over the world, governments have responded to the financial crisis with a political choice to make working-class people pay.  Instead of taxing the rich, or taking over the failing banks and investment funds, governments have massively drained the public sector, cutting spending on anything that benefits regular people (but never cut the funding for their wars or prisons!)

In the US, a major part of this plan to cut social services, like education, both k-12 and college, which has all kinds of negative effects: less financial aid, less classes, higher fees, and lower quality education in general.  Basically people are getting shut out, mostly working-class people of color.

No more cuts! Restore and expand all services for teachers, workers, and students! 

To the ACCJC, Board of Trustees, and the State: Get your dirty hands out of City College! We will not allow you to destroy it! The school belongs to the students and workers, those who use it! 

Power to the People!

ALL OUT FOR MARCH 15th Protests to Defend ILWU Local 4 Locked Out Workers! For International Labor Solidarity!

In Advance the Struggle’s Notes on ILWU Local 4 Lockout, it argued that an orientation toward Asian longshore is necessary in order to challenge the PNGHA and United Grain capitalist attack on ILWU.  We are pleased to announce that Japanese National Railway union, Doro Chiba, has now entered the battlefield, organizing international solidarity for the longshore workers. They are mobilizing against Mitsui- United Grain, Friday March 15th. The Bay Area Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (TWSC) is supporting this international day of action, with a rally in San Francisco, Friday March 15th, 4:30PM at 1 Montgomery and Market.

Doro-Chiba asks ILWU members three questions, “Is our protest action against the Mitsui HQ meaningful for your current struggle? If so, what is your opinion about the optimal moment of our action? What are the most important demands?” These questions should be answered by the rank and file of the ILWU to generate a worker resistance with an internationalist perspective. The ILWU officialdom on the other hand is doing the opposite; they are channeling frustration against Japanese capital, or foreign companies that treat American workers badly. Organizing on an internationalist basis, with Japanese and other Asian labor organizations, is the first step to undercutting their anti-foreigner, xenophobic politics that the ILWU beaucracy is promoting.

All out for March 15! Now that San Francisco is organizing a solidarity rally on March 15th in conjunction with Doro Chiba, we call on labor solidarity activists to do the same in San Diego, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and Hawaii. The more the international solidarity develops contributing to the defense and support of ILWU local 4 rank and file, the more we can demonstrate the working class is in motion against the capitalist attacks that seek to destroy the power of unions, hollowing them out to pave the way for unchecked capitalist profit.     

Several hundred ILWU members and supporters marched to Mitsui-United Grain’s Vancouver headquarters on March 8, 2013.

Several hundred ILWU members and supporters marched to Mitsui-United Grain’s Vancouver headquarters on March 8, 2013.

Bay Area Transport Workers Solidarity Committee (TWSC)

RALLY TO DEFEND ILWU !

International Day Of Action

Stop Mitsui Union Busting and Concessionary Contracts

Fight the Lockout of ILWU by United Grain in the Port of Vancouver, Washington

Friday March 15, 4:30PM @ 1 Montgomery/Market Sts., SF

On March 15, 2013 there will be international actions and protests against the union busting lockout of ILWU Local 4 members by the Mitsui-owned company United Grain in the Port Of Vancouver, Washington.

Since the concessionary contract at EGT in Longview, Washington, other grain handlers have imposed a similar contract in NW grain ports after longshore workers voted 94% to reject it. The contract eliminated the union hiring hall, imposed a 12 hour day and allowed the replacement of union members if they stopped work for health and safety reasons. The other anti-union grain monopoly Cargill/Temco signed a separate agreement which includes many of these draconian measures which is being heralded by union officials as a “victory” because, they say, Cargill is American-owned. Longshore workers in Portland, the West Coast’s largest grain port, voted that concessionary contract down.

Continue reading

Notes on ILWU Local 4 Lockout

The Grain handlers capitalist coalition PNGHA and the UNITED GRAIN corporation, owned by Mitsui, are at war with ILWU. The crushing of ILWU is a serious defeat for the entire working class. In Vancouver, Washington, ILWU members now face there ninth day of being locked out. The ILWU’s political strategy so far has been to file an unfair labor practice grievance against United Grain Corp. complaining that a lockout is “extreme.” Grain handlers have long prepared for this situation, hiring security guards, and scabs -replacement workers- sub-contracted by union busting firm J.R. Gettier and Associates. On Longshore and Shipping News, a youtube is presented titled ILWU workers reach deal with U.S. company; Japanese company locks ‘em out. 

In this, two ILWU workers talk about their situation as if American companies are good, and United Grain, run by a Japanese company named Mitsui, is bad. One of the workers stated, “We’re American workers, trying to get American jobs.” This presents itself as a practical problem for the Marxist left. One of the basic tasks of the revolutionary left is to push for a (working) class against (capitalist) class political perspective, armed with an internationalist view of linking with workers abroad. The West coast longshore is geopolitically and internally racially divided. Los Angeles ILWU Local 13 is largely Chicano, Oakland/SF Local 10 is majority Black, Portland, Seattle and the Northwest are majority White, with the latter having a long history of racism. Beyond the internally divided locals, there is no clear links with Asian Longshore. This international link would be key in isolating Mitsui and the PNGHA. Between ILWU on the West coast and Asian longshore workers, the volume of commodity trade is integral to global capitalism. Domestically, there is a one sided class war, by the capitalist, towards the working class, partly through the crushing of unions.

This video, entitled Wealth Inequality in America, demonstrates the extreme character of inequality of wealth in the US:

The video demonstrates the attacks on ILWU local 4 are getting channeled towards Japanese capital. This modern day xenophobia, which paints a foreigner as the enemy, is poison to the working class.  This displaces the class antagonism onto a foreign other, instead of focusing on the common class enemy.

This PNGHA, United Grain capitalist offensive is based on the Longview, Washington ILWU local 21 contract signed in February 2012. This contract is the worst contract in ILWU history. In summary the contract attacks all forms of rank and file power. Below are six central points of the Longview contract.

1) Section Article II 5.05- the union losing the control of hiring hall

2) Article IX 9.01- No strikes or work stoppages of any sort

3) Article IX 9.02- Delegitimizing the variety of picket lines and conservatively narrowing the definition of acceptable picket lines

4) Article IX- 9.03- Requiring the union to behave as agent of workplace discipline to reinforce the capitalist valorization process

5) Article IX- 9.04- Framing the union and the company as a team that needs to unite in a world of competition.

Many in the left were proudly arguing that this contract was a victory for the working class. This includes official voices of Occupy Oakland, coupled with multiple “socialist” groups. The capitalist are quite fond of the contract as well. Pat McCormick, spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association — said, “We’d be happy to sign the agreement the union signed,” referencing the contract between ILWU Local 21 and Kalama Export Co. and Export Grain Terminal (EGT) in Longview. The content of the contract is the radical increase of the intensity of work, and the elimination of the power of the hiring hall, coupled with an array of changes favoring the boss’ power in determining the rules of the workplace. The PNGHA proposed contract, modeling itself off the Longview contract, contains over 750 changes in the contract. It was voted down by 94% of 3,000 Northwest longshore workers; thus, creating a tense stalemate in the Northwest.

Continue reading

Defend and Transform Public Education

As the struggle against austerity at City College of San Francisco heats up, this reflection by an Advance the Struggle militant attempts to spark a discussion on how revolutionaries relate to and broaden the horizons of anti-austerity struggles. It is not enough for us, as we build for resistance to budget cuts, to call for the mere “defense” of public education systems under a crisis-ridden and decadent class society; it is crucial we discuss how a conscious and organized worker/student/community movement can make concrete gains within the institution to begin transforming it into a base of ongoing struggle. Towards this end we put this out there. 

Defend and Transform Public Education

The ACCJC, the accreditation commission pushing for a deep austerity program at City College of San Francisco, placed March 14th as the deadline for the college to “show cause”, i.e. prove why it should not be closed down. If the CCSF officials give in to the Commission’s blackmailing, the budget cuts would be implemented the Fall 2013 semester.

As of now, the forces resisting remain too small to defend the school, much less to mount an offensive and make gains. A large part of CCSF’s constituency is unaware that their school, along with their economic and social aspirations, are dangerously close to being destroyed and gutted by the ruling classes needs for higher profitability. For those who are aware, the prevailing understanding is that the City College system is inefficient, outdated, and bureaucratic, thereby implicitly supporting the ACCJC’s demands for an end to such “nuisances” such as the democratic control professors exercise in electing their chairs, Ethnic Studies courses, faculty salaries, and the (at most) semblance of “shared governance” between faculty/staff, students, and administrators. The Commission seeks to narrow the Mission Statement, increase the amount of administrators, and place extra resources into a reserve pool. The implications are that by investing less in the reproduction of students’ labor-power (many of whom already sell their existing labor-power at low rates in order to get through school), the rate of profit for the capitalist class might be higher; the end to any pretense of “shared governance” aims to destroy any future resistance to these measures. The Commission (ACCJC) is, like the CIA, in the business of fomenting bogus “crises” in public institutions that then justifies their authoritarian control and implementation of steep austerity plans.

The latest event was last Thursday, February 28th. Several hundred people lined up along the campus in support of the teacher’s struggle against wage cuts and lay-offs. Around the same time, the Board of Trustees held an open meeting at a nearby building, which several of us attended. At first, the Board aimed to keep public comment until the very end of their meeting, which was to last several hours and therefore make it impractical for most students and community members to speak out. After heckling from the crowd demanded public comment to be moved to the top of the agenda, folks lined up and spoke out against the Board’s plan to to acquiesce to the ACCJC’s demands. Some begged the Board for mercy while others addressed the crowd and called out the Board as the sell outs and agents of austerity that they are. The most radical speeches made it clear that an alternative existed to the budget cuts and that it’d take a serious and militant confrontation with the system to make it into a reality.

67026_535686303139008_422217619_n

A massive amount of outreach needs to be done to win over a lot more people to the struggle. Teach-ins are being organized around the different campuses throughout these next two weeks. Our analysis needs to situate this struggle in the context of a global capitalist onslaught on proletarian living conditions and political organization, coupled with the many inspiring and insightful examples of resistance to this process, such as the student strike in Puerto Rico, Chile, Quebec, Bay Area 2009/10 and 1968, etc. Basically, we need a class war analysis that can polarize students, teachers, workers, and community members around common interests in both fighting this round of austerity, and turning the attack against us into an attack against the racist, sexist, capitalist system. If the small but emerging movement continues along the lines of pandering to the Board of Trustees or City Hall under the illusion that we are on the side same, we will not be able to harness the direct and militant political activity that emerges when people understand the actual causes of the problem and who their real friends and enemies are.

Continue reading

Unions, Ecology and the Contradictions of Our Time

There is a contradiction between workers’ immediate self interest and the broader and more long term interests of other parts of humanity and nature. Forced to sell our labor power to survive, we are deprived of any real ability to control the economy. We love under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Given nothing but lemons, the proletariat – even relatively well-paid parts of it – can only hope to make lemonade. This unfortunate fact leads to many complications in what, to the average radical, seems should be a simple formula of class struggle: class against class.

In fact, both major classes in the USA host struggles within themselves that sometimes make it seem like sections of the enemy class are more friendly to the interests of the proletariat than other proletarians are! For example, Ford hired black workers at a time when black migrants from the South sought economic opportunity and social freedom in the North, only to find that white workers did not welcome them in their jobs. To the black worker, Ford may have appeared more friendly than the white worker. WWII led to a great expansion of industry and unprecedented demand for labor, thus convincing millions of US workers of all colors that the war was a good cause. Meanwhile, US workers in uniform were conquering the globe for imperialism, just as their prior generation had in WWI. In the aftermath of one particularly militant strike, one famous robber baron once boasted that he could hire one half of the working the class to kill the other half (referring to professional strikebreakers). And of course let us not forget that, as Maria della Costa oted, there has never really been a truly “general” strike because even if all the men stopped working, the women still had to cook and clean the home.

APM-Terminals-Apapa-Named-Best-Terminal-Operator-of-the-Year-in-Nigeria

It is a normal function of the capitalist division of labor to combine the proletariat as a class facing the same condition of propertylessness in an uneven manner, causing a tendency for workers to fight one section at a time. The uneven character of the class struggle, allows for victories to be gained in isolation from other sectors, and this way perpetuating the selfish interests at the cost of those sections of the class who stand idle.

Today, many parts of the industrial proletariat have been convinced that growing the economy is in their self interest, and therefore support harmful development projects. This makes it hard for radicals, with our all-around consciousness gained primarily through university education in the social sciences and liberal arts, to identify with workers as workers. After all, worker consciousness tends to focus on wages which are one part of capital. We hate this part of ourselves, of our class, that is dependent upon and under the dictate of the bosses.

There are two clear contemporary examples of blue collar workers supporting the bosses’ vision of the world, plan for development and growing the economy. In these we see the union leadership endorse capitalist projects, presumably with the overriding support from the rank and file.

Continue reading

Discussion on Patriarchy and the Movement

As many of us know, there is patriarchy within our movements that need to be addressed. This is one forum in which these conversations are happening. You can livestream even if you are not in Portland! Information is on the poster below

Check out the Facebook event here:

anti-patriarchy

Students, faculty, and community members occupy City College of San Francisco!

On Thursday, February 21st, City College of San Francisco students, faculty, and community folks began a day of action against the privatization of their school at the main Ocean campus by rallying, holding signs, and listening to speakers. This comes after weeks of organizing and outreach work by the SaveCCSF coalition which sprung up to rally students against this major attack. After the rally, folks marched into the Chancellor’s building to meet with the Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman and present their demands, just as she promised. To no one’s surprise, she was nowhere to be found. In addition to this, Board of Trustees representatives and lackeys waited at the stairs next to police officers to prevent students from climbing upstairs to confront the institution’s ruling class. This is because William Walker, the Board of Trustees Student Representative, snitched to the police about the plans to occupy the building, even after the student coalition allowed him in their meeting a few days before and called for the plans to remain confidential. Walker remained at the occupation throughout the night, sitting with the other admin henchmen and pigs,  acting like he’s on our side during the occupationists’ discussions by promising our voices would be heard during Board meetings if we emailed him.

Regardless, a core of about 20 students ended up gathering blankets, sleeping bags, and food to remain in the building throughout the night and into the morning. Different media outlets showed up to interview occupiers and police officers. Supporters arrived with pins, food, and other support materials. Several times, occupiers made a circle to discuss their feelings about the actions, talk about why they loved CCSF and joined the struggle, and share anecdotes about their history in this institution. In the intervals, music played, students danced and sang, and debated political approaches to the developing struggle.

The next major event is scheduled for a rally at the SF City Hall on March 14th where SaveCCSF will present its demands to politicians. The forces resisting austerity against CCSF remain very small and  much work needs to be done to build that support by winning over students, faculty, campus workers, and community members. In the weeks prior to rally at City Hall, teach-ins and other forms of outreach are scheduled in order to counter the ideological war the San Francisco Chronicle and the local bourgeoisie wage against the movement, claiming that something is fundamentally wrong with CCSF that requires an accreditation commission to “fix it” by gutting its programs, department, teacher and campus worker pensions and positions, and busting its unions.

The issue for revolutionaries , however,  is not simply how we numerically increase an anti-austerity movement, as important as that is. We need to develop a politic that seeks to expose the reactionaries allied with the privatizers, administrators, and ruling class servants and align school workers, students, and supporters with a militant, uncompromising line when it comes to defending CCSF. Our analysis needs to identify the structural and historical causes of this capitalist attack, and why only unified student and worker (including teacher!) unity can win against these attacks and make gains that increase the scope and resources for CCSF, in addition to implementing measures for them to increase their democratic control over the running of the school.