#OccupyICE_PHL

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If We Don’t Get It! Shut It Down!

On the evening of July 2, 2018 the Center City ICE office at 8th and Cherry was shut down by – a coalition of a Occupy ICE PHL dozen left and progressive organizations, as well as myriad unaffiliated activists. Members of Socialist Alternative were on the ground from the initial planning discussions to the final arrests. Though representing a wide range of political tendencies, these activists were able to find sufficient common ground – politically and literally – to occupy a patch of concrete and asphalt outside the Philadelphia ICE Office for 4 days around demands to abolish ICE, close the Berks detention facility and end PARS data sharing.

In less than a week, Occupy ICE PHL changed the conversation throughout the entire city. Under pressure from the protests the Mayor’s office has agreed to meet with Juntos, New Sanctuary, and other Organizations later this week. The movement has pushed Mayor Kenney into a corner, exposing the shallowness of his claims that Philadelphia is a “sanctuary city”. As a progressive Democrat, Kenney enjoys the glow of dressing himself up as “the resistance” to the Trump presidency. Yet he signed off on a contract with ICE, granting access to the city’s legal database, known as PARS, and effectively assisting ICE to deport and detain immigrants in Philadelphia.

Since the final clearing of the occupation at 8th and Cherry by Police on July 5th, a second occupation was established at City Hall, and the original coalition has broadened to include activists attracted during the course of the protests. This coalition continues to meet to plan next steps and an escalating series of actions. Join us to discuss next steps for the movement!

Open Planning Meeting: Tuesday July 10th 6:30 – 9pm

Friends Center 1501 Cherry St

If you can’t come to the meeting but are interested in getting involved drop by the occupation at City Hall and let us know!

  • You can also call the Mayors office and tell him that you support the demand to end all cooperation with ICE. Call 215-686-2181
  • What to say: Hello, my name is ________  and I am calling on the city to end all cooperation with ICE. Specifically I support the demand that Philadelphia end its PARS data sharing contract. The city government’s relationship with ICE is unacceptable and I cannot support it.
  • Sign this Petition to end PARS

Occupy ICE PHL is an impressive uniting of the Philly Left, but to be truly powerful, this movement must reach out and engage the vast majority of working class people and their organizations without compromising on demands or politics. We want our elected officials in City Council and the Mayor’s office to make clear where they stand. Among the forces we need to mobilize are the unions, churches, and progressive community organizations. This means forcing the democratic establishment to make good on the promise of being a sanctuary city, even if it means dragging them kicking and screaming to fulfill the demands of this campaign.

A real sanctuary city would be one where all people, regardless of legal status, could access affordable housing, living wage jobs, quality public education, professional day care and excellent health care. To get there, we need real “resistance”— action which unapologetically disrupts business as usual built on the foundation of mass working class movements and effectively impedes Trump’s brutal immigration policy and deportation tactics.

  • Stop the Deportations: Abolish ICE

  • End Family Detention: Close Berks Detention Center

  • No Cooperation with ICE in Philly: End Philly’s PARS data sharing contract

Make Philly a Real Sanctuary City for the Working Class!

Sign Up To Get Involved!

#abolishICE
#ShutDownBerks
#EndPARS
#EndFamilyDetention
#ExpandSanctuary
#Juntos

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Protesters Arrested at ICE office

Arrests happening at Philly ICE occupation

8th and Cherry

Bailfund @OccupyIcePHL

Philly ICE Occupation!

Updates:

7:30am ICE OFFICE

Still here

114 N 8th St.

Bring water, vegan food, people!

Venmo occupyicephl if you’re so moved!

See also the updated FB event:

https://www.facebook.com/events/598568023849279/?ti=ia

Take action to stop ICE! Mass public outrage has forced Trump to withdraw the policy of separating families in detention facilities. But this is not enough: detention without separation is not acceptable either!

Immigration has effectively been criminalized – that’s how far back we’ve been set. It should not be a crime to flee poverty and violence, especially since that poverty and violence is often the result of US intervention in the countries from which immigrants come. To begin to fix this, we must abolish ICE, and end the threats of detention and deportation of immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees.

We must carry the momentum forward and fight to completely decriminalize immigration. Join us to rally at City Hall.

We demand:

1. Stop the Deportations: Abolish ICE

ICE is responsible for family separation and for raids of homes and workplaces. ICE is also an economic weapon on working people, used to drive down wages and working conditions of immigrants, and by extension, the broader working class. ICE is a humanitarian abomination, and also an obstacle to the progress of all working people.

2. End Family Detention: Close Berks

The Berks County Family Detention Center, outside of Philly, is 1 of 3 family detention centers in the country, and the only one that can hold families indefinitely. We demand Gov. Wolf order the closure of Berks. Families must be guaranteed legal status and an option of high quality housing in-state, NOT be transferred to another facility upon closure.

3. No Cooperation with ICE in Philly

ICE has access to PARS, a legal database used by the city. This contract ends on 8/31, and we demand that Mayor Kenney cancel it.

Ending the criminalization of immigrants is a crucial part of the fight to secure true safety and security for all working people and the oppressed – a fight which includes affordable housing, a living wage, quality public education, and a massive jobs program.

#abolishICE

#ShutDownBerks

#EndPARS

#EndFamilyDetention

#ExpandSanctuary

Coalition members:

Socialist Alternative

Philly Socialists

Party for Socialism and Liberation

Montgomery County Socialists

Liberation Project

Philly DSA

Reclaim Philadelphia

Green Party of Philadelphia

International Marxist Tendency

POWER

IWW Philly

Yo Larry! Drop All Charges Against ReeAnna Segin!

Socialist Alternative Philadelphia stands in solidarity with Philly Socialists in demanding that the DA’s office drop all charges against ReeAnna Segin.

At Philadelphia’s Pride parade on Sunday June 10th, a trans woman and Philly Socialists member named ReeAnna Segin was arrested at 12th and Locust for allegedly attempting to light a Blue Lives Matter flag on fire. She was held overnight in a men’s prison before being released on bail. Felony charges against Segin have since been dropped by the DA’s office, but misdemeanor charges remain.

Despite US courts establishing in 1989 that flag burning is legally protected free speech, there is a longstanding pattern of law enforcement using criminal and civil ordinances to arrest, detain, and otherwise intimidate and harass people exercising this right. DA Larry Krasner ran on a platform of not only ending mass incarceration but also declining to prosecute cases that are “insignificant” or that lack sufficient evidence. This week, Krasner used the events at Pride to pull himself some good press when he dropped felony charges against ReeAnna. The real truth of the matter is that they still face time in court, fees, and possible jail time – all of which demonstrates that Krasner is absolutely not living up to his campaign promises. We demand that Krasner drop ALL charges against ReeAnna.

We support ReeAnna  and are sympathetic to her cause. Her brutal treatment by Philly police is unacceptable, as is the fact that her message has, only days after the event, become essentially invisible in mainstream news outlets. In light of these issues and others, we continue to call for tactical and strategic discussions about organizing well-defended protests and non-violent direct actions. These are essential to communicating our messages widely and winning real concessions from the establishment. Socialist Alternative has consistently argued for well-organized, disciplined non-violent mass action that disrupts the status quo – with democratic accountable planning that can put forward clear messaging and demands to get the broadest support possible.

Do Cops Make Pride ‘Safe’?

The establishment is attempting to win their case in the court of public opinion by arguing that that ReeAnna’s actions ‘were endangering others’. The PPD has plenty of resources at hand for de-escalating and diffusing situations on the street, but instead responded by brutally tackling, detaining, and arresting a woman attempting to exercise her right to free speech. The ‘official’ role of the cops at Pride – and other similar events – is to provide public safety, street closures, and ‘crowd control.’  It is obvious that the PPD is far from filling their stated mission to ‘protect and serve’ the people of Philadelphia. Like the recent incident at Starbucks it is clear that the first response of the PPD is still too often lethal violence, arrests and hard felony charges to ‘solve the problem.’

The organized violence used against ReeAnna needs to be seen in the larger context of the Philly PD’s long history of corruption scandals, including outright theft of drugs & money, wrongful arrest, murder, prostitution, and lying on the witness stand to help convict and imprison innocent working class people. People of color and other marginalized and oppressed communities bear the brunt of this ‘police protection.’ All this is in addition to the large annual number of ‘officer-involved shootings’, many of which result in the deaths of young black men. We understand that our community’s relationship with the police is complicated: theft, violent crime, and public safety are real issues in working class neighborhoods across the city. DA Krasner pledged in his election campaign to prosecute ‘bad cops,’ but we need to make this concrete. We need a democratically accountable civilian police review board with full authority to discipline and fire racist, sexist, transphobic, corrupt and violent police officers.

What kind of Pride do we want?

This incident begs the question of what the relationship of the organizers of Philly Pride is to the political establishment, and what kind of Pride we want. The roots of the Pride movement are not in sterilized celebrations, or miles of corporate floats distributing t-shirts. The Pride movement began with trans women of color literally putting their bodies on the line when police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York City. To this day, trans women and people of color are among the most vulnerable when it comes to treatment by cops and the criminal “justice” system. The organizers’ reliance on the police to provide security and crowd control for Pride celebrations in Philadelphia means that those same people who inspired the Pride movement 40 years ago now cannot safely attend the very event that is supposed to raise them up and celebrate them. The fact that a young woman’s journey to Pride ended up with her being incarcerated for 24 hours in a men’s prison shows how much work we have left to do.

Forward Not Backwards!

In the face of Trump’s reactionary administration, attacks on LGBTQ and other marginalized communities are escalating both in terms of direct physical violence and in terms of access to basic human rights such as healthcare and housing. The Philly LGBTQ community has certainly earned the right to celebrate out and proud in the streets, but while the establishment and organizers seem to want Pride to be apolitical, the LGBTQ community still desperately needs space and opportunity to organize and resist.

The organizers of Philly Pride need to find ways to keep the community safe that do not involve fleets of cops. We do not want a police presence at Pride, but we recognize that developing a structure in which the community is able to provide its own marshalls and other safety staff is no small task. The organizers of Pride would do well by convening an open meeting in which all interested community members are welcome to discuss the way forward. These decisions should be made with the democratic participation of working people in the LGBTQ community, paying special attention to those whose lives and livelihoods are most at risk in the presence of the police.

We have no desire to “take Pride back to Stonewall,” we have all come too far, but the radical roots of Pride show the way forward. We need an approach to LGBTQ liberation based not in scattered individual actions, but in struggle and mass movements that are prepared to harness our collective power by using rallies, marches, strikes, and non-violent civil disobedience.

  • DA Krasner Immediately Drop All Charges Against ReeAnna Segin!
  • Philly Pride organizers should rapidly convene an open community meeting to democratically discuss the issues raised by this incident
  • The Mayor’s Office and DA’s office transparently develop clear procedures and protocols that direct the PPD on how to treat LGBTQ  people in the criminal ‘justice’ system with respect and dignity
  • Retrain all Philly police officers in non-violent de-escalation tactics
  • For a democratically accountable civilian police review board with full authority to discipline and fire racist, sexist, transphobic, corrupt and violent police officers.

#Justice4ReeAnna

TEACHERS WIN VICTORY AGAINST REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT!

THE LESSONS OF WEST VIRGINIA’S WORKING CLASS REVOLT

Socialist Alternative members from Pittsburgh, Columbus, Philadelphia, and Seattle traveled to Charlestown to stand in solidarity with the striking teachers. We engaged in many conversations, listening to what workers had to say and expressing our support for their struggle. Teachers were more than happy to talk to us even though there was some suspicion of “socialism”. But once we established that we were there to listen and support their struggle, they were actually excited to speak with open socialists….

While much of the American liberal left concluded that the working class in states like West Virginia, which voted 68% for Trump, should be dismissed as one reactionary mass, Socialist Alternative explained the contradictory reality and the need for the labor movement to take a stand and build a movement that spoke to the common interests of all working people while also boldly fighting racism, nativism and sexism. The West Virginia teachers, less likely to vote Trump than the state as a whole and also inspired by the emerging women’s movement,  point precisely to the class contradictions in Trump country. Led in part by leftists, the rank and file revolt won the support of the mass of the West Virginia working class in a stand-up fight with a reactionary, Republican dominated legislature…..

The boldness of the West Virginia teachers shows that there is no time to waste. Workplace meetings and rallies should be held at every unionized public sector workplace in the country against Janus. This should be the launching point for a massive national day of action where millions of unionized workers come on the streets to say that they won’t be pushed back to the pre-union era and to declare that they are fighting not just for themselves but for the entire working class. This will put the labor movement on a direct collision course with Trump, the Republicans and the whole corporate elite but that’s exactly what needs to happen.

Read the full article here

In Solidarity With West Virginia Strikes

West Virginia Public School Teachers have been on a wildcat strike for 8 days. On Sunday morning 1500 CWA workers went on a statewide strike against Frontier Communications. Socialist Alternative has members on the ground in Charleston doing solidarity work. The following is the solidarity statement from Socialist Alternative that is being distributed in Charleston.

West Virginia Teachers Must Win!

The Labor Movement Can Push Back Anti-Union Attacks

Working people around the country and world are tremendously inspired by the struggle of West Virginia teachers! Your strike – battling for health care – against a callous billionaire shows an amazing example of how workers, union and non-union members, can fight and win  against the vicious attacks on working people.  On Saturday, members of Communications Workers District 2-13 members decided to go on strike – their determination inspired by the teachers’ grassroots movement. Socialist Alternative is in solidarity with your struggle and below we include quotes from a few prominent members.

In her message to striking West Virginia public school workers Kshama Sawant wrote:

“As a Seattle City Councilmember, a rank and file member of AFT Local 1789, and a member of Socialist Alternative, I am writing to congratulate you on your inspiring struggle against the inhumane pay and healthcare costs imposed on you by the West Virginia Legislature. I thank the members and organizers of the American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia, the West Virginia Education Association, the West Virginia School Service Personnel Association, and other workers for standing courageous and united in this historic strike action.

“By inviting walkout votes from all public school workers across the state, regardless of union membership or job description, you have shown how labor unions, and the working class as a whole, can successfully fight when we stand together. By uniting teachers, administrative staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians in demanding a response from politicians in the state legislature, you have offered valuable lessons for us all.”

Working people are feeling the brunt of horrific inequality at a time when billionaires are disproportionately expanding their wealth. The twenty wealthiest people in America­ now own more than the entire bottom half of the nation’s population. Governor Justice of West Virginia, who brazenly said teachers and other public school employees should accept one or two percent wage increases and ballooning health care costs, is himself is a billionaire and one of the richest politicians in the nation.

Such incomprehensible wealth is possible only alongside the impoverishment of tens of millions of working people who make our cities and states run. Public services and public-sector employees have seen draconian funding cuts and relentless austerity measures. Already the right wing and the Republican Party have attacked public sector unions with “right to work” legislation in twenty-eight states, including West Virginia. The Janus case now being heard in the United States Supreme Court could dangerously pave the way for an even more precipitous decline in living standards and workplace rights.

Your strike has showed the potential for the labor movement to put both the Supreme Court and the political establishment on notice, and to win victories, even in the face of attacks on the public sector.”  – Ryan Timlin, President ATU Local 1005 (personal capacity)

What would happen if public sector workers coast to coast took united and coordinated strike action like you have done in West Virginia? Further, could the labor movement push back against the right wing and corporate politicians by running its own independent working class candidates?

To win, the struggle should continue and be broadened out including the possibility of solidarity actions from union and non-union workers.

“We will stand with you as you figure out your next steps. Your fight is our fight. Your victory will be our victory, and will be an example to educators and other public sector workers around the country who are looking for a strategy to fight back against punishing budget cuts and attacks on union rights.” – Stan Strasner, Vice President of the Seattle Substitute Association, Seattle Educators Association – NEA (personal capacity)

Not One More…

Five years and 239 school shootings after the massacre of Sandy Hook – years during which the politicians hired by the gun lobby have repeatedly used “thoughts and prayers” to silence any serious discussion about addressing the madness of a society awash with guns, including automatic weapons meant for the battlefield – the dam has been broken by a group of energized and furiously angry high school students.

https://www.socialistalternative.org/2018/02/21/parkland-school-massacre-youth-rise-violence-inequality/