Category Archives: Uncategorized

Free Education – Newsletter for Bay Area Education Struggle

We would like to introduce you to the Advance the Struggle Free Education newsletter, an agitational tool we use at various campuses across the Bay to connect with school workers and students interested in engaging around the conditions and struggles of the education sector.

We welcome any feedback and encourage our friends and supporters to spread these widely!

Here is our first edition:
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Reflections on last years Oakland high school walkout

All of us have been paying close attention to development of black insurgency over the past few years.  The power of street protests, new black activist groups, and recent anti-racist demands at universities highlight the direction that the movement’s energy is going.  Further, the recent spread of pro black, anti-racist demands at numerous universities following the Mizzou protests  demonstrate one possible way in which the movement is cohering: through the development of common demands on college campuses.

The Berkeley High School walkout that went down last week shows us that high schools have tremendous potential in also becoming sites of anti-racist and black resistance.  In the spirit of exploring the dynamics of insurgent energy spilling over and taking new forms on high school and college campuses, we present to you some reflections on a high school walkout that happened a year ago in Oakland.  

 

While this action is no longer in the recent memory of activists, the way in which students self-organized and developed a set of demands on their specific institution – the Oakland Unified School District – presents an interesting moment that preceded this recent uprising on campuses.  We hope that it can contribute to the ongoing discussions on strategy that we’re all taking part in.  

 

November and December of 2014 in Oakland
Protesters block Interstate 580 in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Protesters block Interstate 580 in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, after the announcement of the grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Oakland was an exciting place to be, again, during the hot winter weeks of late November and early December 2014.  Protests raged nightly, and so many of us found ourselves marching together through the streets, evading cops, and blocking freeways and BART stations wherever was possible.  Walking down Broadway, turning right on 7th street and heading toward the West Oakland BART station.  Stopping midway and having debates about which direction to go – toward 980?  Back toward the 880?  Piedmont?  The chaotic discussions we had brought that familiar feeling of ungovernability back to our lives.  Our militant and disorderly activities were creative and generative to the extent that we got practice in challenging the infrastructure of Bay Area capitalism, attempting to block flows of traffic in ways that at least felt like we were disrupting flows of capital.  Celebrating militancy is important, but perhaps more important is pointing out some of the limitations of our courageous actions.  

There are three key limits that we want to highlight here.  

Continue reading

The Struggle for Reproductive Rights

The following piece is a contribution from a high school student in San Francisco. This is the first in a series of student and youth political writings on our blog. Big ups to all the young people engaged in the fight for justice and liberation!

by The Act of Kindness

Women’s rights have changed over the years. Back then women were suppose to just take care of the children and clean the house. They were not given a right education. In the millennial generation we have progressed to all women having voting rights at the age of eighteen, right to education in the U.S, and abortion rights. Currently, in the U.S having the right to abortion hasn’t really been the case. In a case in Indiana March of this year, Purvi Patel was charged twenty years for having a miscarriage; she is supposedly guilty of “feticide.” This charge not only caused a petition and protests, but made women wonder if it is really safe to tell doctors, clinics, etc. about their abortion due to the very real fear of getting locked up.

This is because of the gender roles that society “naturally” gave to us. We as women are considered the ones that must take care of the child and if not we are considered “bad” women because we don’t follow through with society’s ideology. In many cases, women cannot provide for their child because of lack of affordable if not free health care, substandard education, and affordable housing because the government lacks support for families.Yet the government still demands women create strong families.

In order for women’s rights to be passed working class women need to be aware that the government is not doing anything to help them. Then once they are aware women would sign a petition for women to have the same rights and present it to a government official and if that doesn’t work, strike until they get reproductive rights. Women need to fight for their kids so their kids don’t have to live in the same condition and once and for all have equal rights for women as men.

Happy Birthday Karl Marx!

To the theoretician of capital and it’s destruction, the founder of the First Communist International, and father of modern communism, we wish you a happy birthday!

For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.

– Karl Marx, The German Ideology

How do Movements become Revolutionary flyer

things to do flyer (1) 1

How to get involved flyer

Here is a flyer that we have been using in the Bay Area that seeks to continue and center the conversation of these protest around: How do movements become revolutionary? It seeks to provide some tips and ideas of how the community can get involved and how to ‘generalize the activities from the movement into other spheres of society’.

Hit us up so we can come up with more ideas together, share resources, and collaborate!

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.

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