Friday, December 19, 2014

Finally the Cuban 5 Have Been Freed!

Over half a century of US hostility to Cuban independence ended yesterday when Barack Obama vowed to cancel an outdated approach that has failed to advance US interests.

Simultaneous press conferences by President Obama in
Washington and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro in Havana signaled the official beginning of a new bilateral relationship.

But the fruits of that new dawn had already been tasted by the families of three Cuban patriots held unjustly for 16 years in US prisons who were flown to their homeland.

Gerardo Hernandez, Antonio Guerrero and Ramon Labanino were able to enjoy the freedom previously savored by fellow Miami 5 members Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, who were released in 2014 and 2011 respectively.

Similar joy was experienced by the family of 
US agent Alan Gross, who was jailed in Havana five years ago for working on a secretive USAid contract to build an internet communications network under the noses of the Cuban government.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Lessons of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

The fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of the year long Montgomery Bus Boycott will be celebrated this December. According to the official version of the Boycott it was started by Rosa Parks on the evening of December 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her seat to a white man.

That was the day when the Black population of Montgomery, Alabama, democraticly decided that they would boycott the city buses until they could sit anywhere they wanted, instead of being relegated to the back when a white boarded. It was not, however, the day that the movement to desegregate the buses started. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1943 when a black seamstress named Rosa Parks paid her bus fare and then watched the bus drive off as she tried to reenter through the rear door, as the driver had told her to do. Perhaps the movement started on the day in 1949 when a black professor Jo Ann Robinson absentmindedly sat at the front of a nearly empty bus, then ran off in tears when the bus driver screamed at her for doing so. Perhaps the movement started on the day in the early 1950s when a black pastor named Vernon Johns tried to get other blacks to leave a bus in protest after he was forced to give up his seat to a white man, only to have them tell him, "You ought to knowed better."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Black Lives Matter protest in Duluth

Over 100 people marched through the streets of Duluth tonight from the Aerial Lift Bridge to the Clayton, Jackson, McGhie Memorial. The protest was against the police killing of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other Black and Brown victims of police brutality. 

To keep a spotlight on this vitally important issue, #politicsoffmybody is calling weekly candlelight vigils for every Sunday evening from 5-6pm.  The vigils will alternate between Duluth and Superior.  The next vigil will be in Duluth this Sunday (Dec. 14).

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Vigil Held for Eric Garner in Superior

With beautiful snowflakes falling all around, over 60 people turned out in Superior tonight for a silent vigil for Eric Garner, and all of the other African-American victims of police shootings around the country.  The event began with speeches by the event organizers, followed by folks holding candles and signs on the four corners of Tower Ave. and Belknap St.  A heart felt thank you to Reyna Crow and Kym Young for organizing this powerful event.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Protesting UWS Chancellor's Ball on Behalf of Laid-Off Janitors

Solidarity is alive and kicking in Superior, Wisconsin! Three dozen of the best people you could ever spend an evening with turned out tonight for a protest in support of the 27 janitors and grounds crew that UWS is laying off. We held a boistous and spirited picket outside of the fancy Chancellor's Ball that was going on. Several of the janitors were on hand and got to speak to the press about their plight. Our collection bucket asking for donations for the laid off workers was ignored by the blue bloods in fur coats and tuxedos, but several students came by and kindly donated. And to cap it all off we marched into the Student Union, where the Ball was being held, to share some of our chants and labor songs with the Chancellor. It wasn't our first protest to save UWS jobs, and it certainly won't be our last. The struggle continues!

Boycott Sodastream Protest in Duluth

On December 6 a group of local Palestine solidarity activists from the Break the Bonds Campaign held a protest calling on people to boycott Sodastream.  Sodastream is an Israeli beverage company whose factory is built on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The protesters picketed Central Entrance, and hit local stores like Target to hand out fliers to customers and to blow bubbles. Below is a brief video clip of the action at the Target store taken just before management came and kicked the protesters out:

Friday, December 5, 2014

Candlelight Protest Called for Eric Garner

In response to the NYC grand jury’s disheartening failure to indict the police officers responsible for the death of Eric Garner, #Politicsoffmybody, with Twin Ports Save the Kids, Idle No More Duluth, the UWS Black Student Union, All Black Zine, Loaves and Fishes, the UMD Student Association of Social Workers, the North Central Windows Program with support from People of Color with Henry Banks are holding a candlelight vigil /silent protest from 5:00 to 6:30 pm at Center City Park, 1504 Tower Avenue in Superior, WI. 

“The significance of these sad atrocities is of major concern and importance to not only the African American community, but for all of us who in the past have placed our faith in our justice system. Sadly that faith is fast eroding as the severe brokenness of the system is put front and center in our lives” says organizer Kym Young of #politicsoffmybody and Twin Ports Save the Kids. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Obama's Fake Immigration Reform

The Great Deporter’s new executive order for a “sweeping overhaul of the immigration system” deserves no praise. If there is anything “sweeping” about President Obama’s immigration policy, it is his six years of deporting 2.4 million immigrants, his repeated lies regarding his so-called legal incapacity to issue presidential executive orders to mitigate the horrors that immigrant communities have been subjected to, and his total failure to pursue anything resembling “comprehensive immigration reform.”

What Obama did do, as with his all-pervasive surveillance system, was to order the implementation of a vicious program to criminalize immigrants in order to jail or deport them at will and to spend countless additional billions to militarize the border to keep them out.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

UWS Shamefully Fires its Custodians & Grounds Worker

The UWS administration announced today that is laying off all of its custodian and grounds crew, and replacing them with non-union contractors.  Their claim is that they need to cut costs, so naturally they decided to go after the lowest paid workers on campus.  And adding insult to injury, these are same big shots who voted to give themselves 12% raises.  To these administrators who just destroyed the livelihoods of two dozen hard working men and women, we say rot in hell. To the thousands who participated in our 7 month campaign to save these jobs, a most sincere thank you.  Lets all take this opportunity to re-commit ourselves to the class struggle.  So that next time when we raise the call of "An Injury to One is An Injury to All!" it will be so loud as to bring the down the walls of power and privilege once and for all!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Northland Unions Say Management is Destroying Mail Service

Members of the Greater Northland Area Local 142 of the American Postal Workers Union joined postal employees across the United States Friday, Nov. 14, in another National Day of Action against their employer, the U.S. Postal Service.

Leafleting at Duluth’s Main Post Office, the workers’ action was to tell Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the USPS Board of Governors: Stop Delaying America’s Mail! 

Donahoe, who is said to be close to retiring, is poised to make devastating cuts in service to the American people – cuts so severe that they will forever damage the U.S. Postal Service say postal unions.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Mid-Term Election Charade

The results are in: The Republican Party won at least seven more seats in the Senate, and now controls both houses of the U.S. Congress. Disaster is in the making! Right?

The Democrats and Republicans spent an unprecedented mid-term, if not all-time, election total of $4 billion, roughly $2 billion each. The giant corporations that footed the bills for their chosen candidates undoubtedly will get trillions of dollars in return, as is always the case in capitalist elections. The working class, which creates all wealth, will continue to pay regardless of who officially runs the country.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NLRB Moves to Protect Workers Facebook Discussions

In a ruling involving a sports bar whose owners shorted their workers on state withholding taxes – leaving them cursing and stuck with unanticipated bills – the National Labor Relations Board moved to protect workers' Facebook discussions and posts. 

It also ordered the bar to restore the two workers it fired to their jobs. And it told employers they could not promulgate and enforce overly broad policies regulating what their workers say on the workers' own Facebook accounts.

At issue in the case, involving the Triple Play Sports Bar in Watertown, Conn., and workers Jillian Sanzone and Vincent Spinella, is whether workers' comments on Facebook are “protected concerted activity” under labor law. The three-member NLRB panel ruled they are.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Nurses Call for Higher Standards in Confronting Ebola

Following news that the first U.S. nurse has now tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, National Nurses United called for all hospitals to have in place the highest standard of optimal protections, including Hazmat suits, and hands-on training to protect all RNs and other hospital personnel to confront Ebola.

“There is no standard short of optimal in protective equipment and hands-on-training that is acceptable,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of nurses. National Nurses United represents 185,000 registered nurses across the country, including members of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Workers Rally in Duluth to Save Postal Facility

Letter Carriers from across Minnesota were joined by local residents at a rally Monday, Oct.6 to save the Duluth mail-processing facility.

The U.S. Postal Service has already consolidated 141 mail-processing facilities nationwide and another 82, including the one in Duluth, are on the chopping block.

Friday, October 3, 2014

400,000 March Against Climate Change

An estimated 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan on Sept. 21 for the largest single climate change protest to date.

The People’s Climate March, which took place two days before a one-day United Nations Climate Summit, was about twice as large as organizers had expected. There were so many present that by the time the back of the march began to move—over four hours after the front stepped off—many thousands of people had already finished the 2.1-mile route. It took more than six hours for the entire march to end.

The event was organized by and the liberal internet activism group Avaaz, with over 1500 endorsing organizations. While the New York march was the largest, 2646 companion rallies took place in 162 different countries. A West Coast People’s Climate Rally in Oakland, Calif., drew about 4000 participants.