SA at the Refuse Fascism Rally

 

Socialist Alternative stands shoulder to shoulder with all individuals, groups, and organizations who are protesting, organizing and building working class power to drive out Trump and defeat his administration’s right wing agenda. Let’s make Philly a real Sanctuary City for all working people.

 

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The Trump administration is the most racist, reactionary, vicious, climate denying, pro business, homophobic, transphobic, misogynist, anti working-class administration in decades. Along with the chaos and instability coming from the White House, the Republicans have been emboldened at the state and city level to carry out attacks on immigrants, women, lgbtq people, unions, worker health and safety, wages, public education, unions, and environmental regulations.

Trump’s election has invigorated a number of genuinely fascist and semi-fascist forces, the KKK, various Neo-Nazi and white nationalist organizations, and a semi-fascist layer growing out of the forces of the so-called “alt right.” The raised profile and activity of these reactionary organizations is a sharp warning to all progressive forces, unions, targeted minorities, and working people of the need to build mass action to defend our communities and push forward positive progressive demands that will unite the broadest possible movement to defeat Trumpism

Protesting can be an important expression of power that shows our will to fight back. It can help us build our networks and organizational capacity, but to win we need to engage with the millions of working people going through their everyday lives. We need to advocate unity of our daily struggles, stand by each other, and speak in language that is honest but relevant to our lived experience. Through community, neighborhood, and workplace organizing we can build the capacity to organize mass protests, direct actions, civil disobedience and strikes to take down this vicious right-wing administration. But we can’t stop there, we need to build an independent party of the 99% – that takes no corporate money- that can take on, not only the fascists, but Trump and the whole billionaire class. We need to fight, not only the far right, but the conditions that allow the far right to grow. The fight against fascism and the far right is 90% a political struggle:

  • We need an end to ICE raids and police persecution of our immigrant Sisters and Brothers. We need to go beyond simple ‘non cooperation’ with ICE and use our city’s resources to actively defend our immigrant communities. We need a real sanctuary city.
  • We need an end to ‘Stop and Frisk’ now #MayorKenny. We need an end to racial profiling by the police and all government agencies. We demand no tolerance for police and other law enforcement officers who openly espouse racist or white supremacist ideas.
  • We need an end to racist police murders. We demand fully independent investigations, with subpoena powers, in all cases of police killings. We need a real democratically elected community oversight board with full powers to subpoena, hire and fire police officers.
  • We stand with our LGBTQ comrades, fighting discrimination and violence, and all forms of homophobia and transphobia.
  • We must fight discrimination based on race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, and all other forms of prejudice. We need equal pay for equal work.
  • We stand with workers organizing and striking for union rights.
  • We need decent jobs and a $15/hour minimum wage.
  • We need full funding for our neighborhood schools. We call for the immediate abolition of the School Reform Commission and the institution of a democratically elected school board that represents students, parents and staff.
  • We need to invest in rehabilitation, job-training, and living-wage jobs, not prisons! Abolish the death penalty.
  • We need clean air, water and access to decent food. We need our polluted neighborhoods cleaned up, the lead out of our water, and the elimination of ‘food deserts’ in our city.
  • We need to tax the rich, the unimaginably wealthy corporations, and the big property developers who are making huge profits gentrifying our neighborhoods and turning our city into a playground for the wealthy. We need decent housing, community control of development and strong tenant rights protections. We need city services, social workers, youth, and community centers to strengthen the solidarity and social bonds in our neighborhoods.
  • We need to organize to stop Trumpcare and the gutting of Medicaid. We need access to affordable quality healthcare, we need improved Medicare for all, regardless of legal status, employment, or income.

Whether or not we face the immediate threat of a fascist government is debatable, but we take the vicious attacks on working people, immigrants, women, people of color, and LGBTQ people by Trump’s administration very seriously. Socialist Alternative stands shoulder to shoulder with all individuals, groups, and organizations who are protesting, organizing and building working class power to drive out Trump and defeat his administration’s right wing agenda. Let’s make Philly a real Sanctuary City for all working people.

15 Now Philly Statement on HB 1520 – $15 Minimum Wage Legislation

15 Now Philly stands with workers, their unions and other community and faith organizations pushing for the $15 minimum wage in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Representative Kim’s bill is the result of the tireless and brave work of low wage workers who repeatedly took the risk to go on strike in fast food restaurants, airports, healthcare facilities, and retail stores across the country and across the state. In Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, hundreds of workers walked off the job to demand $15 and a union. Thousands of local activists and faith leaders in groups like POWER and the MLK Dare Coalition took the streets to support striking workers. In City Hall, 15 Now Philly members pushed City Council for a local minimum wage hike to at least $15 an hour, in defiance of state opposition to local wage hikes.

Together our organizing brought the $15 minimum wage in Philly from an inconceivable pipe dream to a mainstream demand. In 2015, Mayor Kenney campaigned on $15 an hour; and now Representative Kim and Senator Daylin Leach have both introduced statewide legislation to raise the wage in PA to $15. This is a victory for workers, and we are hopeful HB 1520 is signed into law as part of the 2017-2018 budget negotiations.

Despite these years of hard work, Philadelphia is in crisis. We have the lowest minimum wage in the nation–$7.25 for untipped workers and $2.83 for tipped workers. A full third of our neighbors live in poverty, and 12% live in deep poverty. Every day, working class people and our families are facing life or death choices between housing and medical attention, buying food or maintaining their phone service.

Every single surrounding state has taken action on raising the minimum wage; and in the face of income inequality crises like ours, cities across the nation are daring to fight for workers wages. New York city and state fast food workers are on a path to $15. Washington DC voters easily passed a referendum for $15 in 2016. West Coast workers have achieved $15 nearly universally.

In Minneapolis, workers won $15 just last week after a tough campaign that lasted several years. The victory was won by building a broad grassroots movement that grew out of an airport struggle for $15. The fight included unions and community organizations and was propelled forward by a third-party electoral challenge to City Council by Socialist Alternative candidate Ginger Jentzen, who is also the executive director of 15 Now Minnesota.

In Philadelphia, now is the time for serious action. Jim Kenney and many City Council members campaigned and were elected overwhelmingly on the demand for $15 an hour. In fact, polls show 87% of Philadelphians support a $15 minimum wage.

15 Now Philly is fully aware Harrisburg believes it holds the legal monopoly on passing minimum wage legislation. Republicans, corporate Democrats, and big business have intentionally constructed barriers to a minimum wage hike in Philadelphia with the 2009 preemption law. They intend to keep our city powerless to confront our own wage crisis.

It is Philadelphia’s extreme poverty, however, that places our whole city in a state of emergency. We cannot settle for politicians unwilling to take dramatic action to face this emergency.

If Harrisburg lawmakers do not pass this bill as part of the closed-door budget negotiations, we call on Pennsylvania Democrats to continue to push this stand-alone bill forward after the budget is settled. Pennsylvania workers demand a raise, and our State legislators must prioritize minimum wage legislation all year long, not just as leverage in the yearly budget negotiations.

Locally, we again call on our local Democratic elected officials in City Council and Mayor Jim Kenney to pass binding $15 minimum wage legislation immediately, in defiance of the Pennsylvania’s preemption law. We must confront this unjust law head on. 

Workers, unions and community organizations must build and maintain a mass movement in the streets to win any wage hike in Philadelphia. We know Trump and the GOP in Washington, DC and Harrisburg will continue to reduce our wages, assault our health care, deport our immigrant neighbors, and expand mass incarceration and police violence in our communities until we unite and expand our fight back.

Philadelphia’s elected officials, however, can stand up to these attacks with us and make Philadelphia a true sanctuary city. Doing whatever it takes to win a $15 minimum wage is a critical piece of making our city a safe haven for working people.

Emergency Rally To Stop TrumpCare Vote!

19554074_1726219480725903_91327821411575691_nSenate Republicans are trying to rush a vote on Trumpcare this week that will repeal the Affordable Care Act and eliminate Medicaid as we know while giving a huge tax cut to the wealthiest 400 individuals!

Due to public pressure the vote has been delayed until after the July recess but the situation is still extremely urgent!

We are calling an EMERGENCY RALLY to stop the vote!

Thursday June 29th 5pm at Thomas Paine Plaza 

This bill will destroy Medicare and Medicaid as we know it and threaten the health care and lives of millions. The $839 billion sucked off Medicaid will be be served to the rich as tax cuts: $7M each for the richest 400! Flaws in the Affordable Care Act made it vulnerable to Republican attacks: we need to do more than defend the ACA, and instead fight for improved medicare for all, regardless of income, employment, or legal status.

Lets bring together all the forces fighting to defend healthcare in the face of the vicious attacks by the Trump administration!

All out against Trumpcare and welfare for billionaires!
Defend Medicare and Medicaid!
Universal Single-Payer healthcare now!

Krasner Wins! Keep Building The Resistance!

Larry Krasner’s victory tonight was a decisive show of support from the people of Philadelphia for much needed changes in our broken criminal justice system. By taking a bold stand on the issues Larry showed that it is possible to win running a strong progressive campaign. The local activists who poured their heart and soul into this campaign deserve a huge amount of credit for this significant victory.

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The election of a progressive DA, while a positive step, is only a start. One person cannot be expected to change the political culture of the city establishment. We need to keep organizing to put pressure on the whole system of mass incarceration and racist policing. We need to be vigilant for any dirty tricks from the city’s political machines between now and the November general election. We need to do the hard work of building independent political power linking ‘movement building’ to electoral politics to win real system wide reforms to improve the quality of life for working people. We need a party of the 99%.

 


Keep Building The Resistance!

Friday 5/19/2017  6pm

1315 Spruce St – William Way LGBT Community Center Ballroom

Confirmed Speakers To Date:

Andres Celin – Organizer with Youth United For Change*

Erika Almiron Niz – Executive Director Juntos*

Klyde Breitton – Organizer with Philly Tenants Union and member of Philly Socialists

Marty Harrison – TUHNA Executive Board Member*, 15 Now activist, and Member of Socialist Alternative

*ID Only

Build a Movement in the Streets To Win Philly DA Candidate Krasner’s Platform!

It’s Time To Build a Party of the 99%!

This Tuesday, May 16th, registered Democratic voters will decide the next District Attorney (DA) of Philadelphia amid a national progressive media spotlight. The former DA Seth Williams resigned in March after federal indictments revealed a frenzy of insider pay-to-play schemes leaving an open field. The seven way race now involves over $1.45 million from the coffers of billionaire George Soros and almost $250,000 from local Building Trade unions.

The November election is usually a simple coronation for the primary winner. A symptom of our one-party politics in Philly where low-turnout  elections mean political machines make decisions on winners long before votes are cast. But this primary election is different. It is taking place as millions of working people across the US continue to search for ways to resist the Trump administrations racist right wing agenda and the normally routine DA’s race has been transformed by the campaign of local civil rights lawyer Larry Krasner who has built a national reputation with his spirited defense of protesters from the 2000 Republican National Convention through Occupy Philly, Black Lives Matter, and the recent anti-corporate DNC demonstrations last summer.

Krasner’s platform calling for an end to mass incarceration, the death penalty, defense of civil liberties, and resistance to Trump’s right populism echoes the bold progressive messaging of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential primary run. He has linked his campaign to ongoing struggles in Philadelphia around education funding, stop and frisk, and the school to prison pipeline. His campaign has inspired Philly’s progressive community, caught the imagination of thousands of new activists, and re-ignited hopes of transforming the Democratic Party from within and building a new progressive majority in city hall.

But we know the machinery of mass incarceration cannot be dismantled from within the DA’s office so what kind of movements will it take to end mass incarceration?  The reforms won by the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s through the 1970’s resulted from mass mobilizations of working class people seeking radical change. From the lunch counter sit-ins across North Carolina to the March on Selma, to the mass demonstrations and strikes against the Vietnam War, hundreds of thousands wrested basic civil rights from a racist system through determined fighting tactics. We need to base ourselves on that fighting history. We need sit-ins, marches, demonstrations, and strike action to build a broad movement that both stands against Trump’s right wing policies, and fights for positive change for working people and all those under attack.

But we also need to do more than protest. We need to do the hard work of building independent political power, and link ‘movement building’ to electoral politics to win real reforms to improve the quality of life for working people. Like Bernie Sanders, the energy around  Krasner’s campaign shows what we could do if we had our own political party. A party that takes no corporate money and whose candidates pledge to take only an average working class wage.

Many people fighting to transform the Democratic Party into a real progressive force agree with this, but think that it makes more sense to take over the Democratic machine. We understand that this seems easier than building a new party. The Democrats have structure, power and money. But history has shown us that time and time again as local movements try to change the Democrats they come into conflict with the local and national corporate leadership of the party that has no intention of letting progressive movements find their full expression, or they are simply bought off and co-opted, and drowned in the the sea of corporate dollars. Historically, the Democratic Party has proven a graveyard of the mass movements needed to carry through bold progressive demands of working class people. The $1.45 million in super pac money that was dumped into the race to support Krasner is a warning to the movement of the resources that can be brought to bear against progressive politics if we do not build an independent base of support in our communities.

Philadelphia has proud progressive traditions, and it has been the birthplace of many social movements that have transformed US politics. Socialist Alternative argues that now is the time to start building a new independent party of the 99% free from the corporate ties strangling progressive reforms. Philadelphia’s progressive left, unions, and community organizations can come together to strategically run independent candidates for local and state offices that would unapologetically fight for the working people of this city. This is not an abstract problem, and we understand that there are serious procedural barriers for independent candidates in Pennsylvania. But with serious preparation and strategy, by combining the strength of progressive forces in this city, and mobilizing the active logistical and financial support of working people around a united program that addresses our needs, these barriers can be overcome without relying on George Soros’ Super PAC for financial support.

Socialist Alternative wholeheartedly supports the demands for ending mass incarceration and defending the civil liberties of all people. While we cannot ‘endorse’ his campaign, we wish Larry Krasner luck, and we will be fighting alongside him and all those working in his campaign to win the reforms he is fighting for. Win or lose we should maintain the local structures and activist networks built during the campaign to continue to broadly mobilize around the demands and to be a part of building a new independent party.

Continuing the Resistance after MayDay!

Making Philly a real sanctuary city.

Join us for a discussion on tactics and strategy to resist Trumps agenda and win.

The Trump administration is the most racist, reactionary, vicious, climate denying, pro business, anti working-class administration in decades. Along with the chaos and instability coming from White House, the Republicans have been emboldened at the state and city level to carry out attacks on immigrants, women, lgbtq people, unions, worker health and safety, wages, public education, unions, and environmental regulations.

The response by millions of youth and working class people to these attacks has been magnificent. Within hours of Trump’s election victory, we took to the streets to declare that we would resist. The ongoing wave of mass protests since Trump’s inauguration have underscored the complete lack of a mandate for his right wing policies. The temporary defeat of the Muslim ban and the departure of key cabinet appointments have shown that the Trump agenda can be beaten back.

But the fight is far from over. This administration will keep pushing its agenda as we saw last week when congress voted once more on repealing  the Affordable Care Act, this time passing it on to the Senate. Even more alarming, racist hate groups are seizing the political moment to come out of their holes and begin organizing in public, raising their banner and taking to the streets.

Philadelphia has declared itself a sanctuary city, that it will not cooperate with ICE on detaining suspected undocumented workers, and Mayor Kenny and City Council have said they will stand firm and defend it. This is a great first step, but to make Philly a real sanctuary city we have to go beyond simple non-cooperation with ICE and use our city’s resources to actively defend our immigrant sisters and brothers. We have to make Philly a real sanctuary city for all working people:

  • No one has sanctuary without a living wage to provide for themselves and their family. Philadelphia needs $15 and a union.
  • No one has sanctuary without a stable home. Philadelphia needs a massive program to rehab its crumbling housing stock, community control of development and strong tenant rights protections.
  • No one has sanctuary without access to quality healthcare. Philadelphia needs Improved Medicare for All.
  • No one has sanctuary without high quality public education. Philadelphia needs fair funding formula and a democratically elected school board.
  • No one has sanctuary without an end to the militarization of the police, mass incarceration, private prisons and the school-to-prison pipeline. Philadelphia needs a real democratically elected police review board with full powers to subpoena, hire and fire.

When we fight together to make Philadelphia a real sanctuary for immigrants, we make it a better city for all working people.


Join Us!

Friday 5/19/2017  6pm

1315 Spruce St – William Way LGBT Community Center Ballroom

Confirmed Speakers To Date:

Andres Celin – Organizer with Youth United For Change*

Erika Almiron Niz – Executive Director Juntos*

Klyde Breitton – Organizer with Philly Tenants Union and member of Philly Socialists

Marty Harrison – TUHNA Executive Board Member*, 15 Now activist, and Member of Socialist Alternative

*ID Only


 

Vote Cheri Honkala!

For an independent progressive voice in Harrisburg!

Socialist Alternative calls for a vote for Cheri Honkala in the PA197th Special Election tomorrow!

Voters in North Philly’s 197th House District will vote in a special election tomorrow to replace Democrat Leslie Acosta who was forced to step down after pleading guilty to felony embezzlement in 2016. Acosta is the second Democrat in a row to resign the seat due to corruption.

The Democratic Party nominated Freddy Ramirez to run for the open seat but he was kicked off the ballot for not living in the district, leaving Republican Lucinda Little as the only candidate listed on the ballot. This sordid tale of incompetence and corruption has left this heavily Democratic District up for grabs while the hard right is actively  pushing Trumps agenda at a state level. 

At a time when we have been arguing for building the broadest possible united movement to resist Trumps agenda, the Democrats in the 197th are crashing and burning – fielding no less than 4 write in candidates for the seat including the ‘official’ candidate Emilio Vazquez!

Is this a political party we can depend on to defend us against serious attacks on immigrants, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, worker safety, healthcare, pensions, jobs, public services, wages, education, environmental protections and more?

In the middle of this madness there is one independent candidate with a consistent track record of fighting for the working class citizens of the 197th. Green Party member Cheri Honkala is running a write in campaign for the seat. Pledging to use her office to fight the right, but also to advance a progressive working class agenda including a $15hour minimum wage, and linking movement building to winning real reforms.

While Socialist Alternative has some political, tactical, and strategic disagreements with the Green Party – we call for a new party of the 99% that bases itself on the interests of working people – we think that the Greens can play an important role in bringing about a new party, and Socialist Alternative stands ready to help build any and all movements to take on corporate domination of our society.

The need has never been greater to start building a real political alternative to the corrupt pro business parties. At a time when the right wing is on the move, a strong vote for Cheri will send an independent progressive voice to Harrisburg, send a clear message to Washington that we are ready and willing to fight back, and advance the struggle to build a new independent party of the 99%

Cheri’s Program:

  • Food for All
  • Housing for All
  • Healthcare for All –Inclusive of Mental Health
  • Full Living-Wage Employment. $15 an hour!
  • Fund Public Education
  • Allow Immigrants to Stay in Pennsylvania
  • Protect our Water & Land — and Our Children’s Future.
  • Legalize Marijuana and Expungement of Criminal Records
  • Zero-Tolerance for Police Brutality
  • All Public Prisons with Community Input
  • Restore Faith in Our Elections and Voting Systems
  • Pay Equity for Women and Paid Family & Maternity Leave
  • Protect our Water & Land — and Our Children’s Future.
  • Equal Rights and Opportunities for LGBTQIA+ Pennsylvanians

Vote Cheri Honkala!