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.

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Mike Brown, Sunday’s Ferguson Rebellion & the Struggle for Black Liberation

Photo via @UrbanCusp
Photo via @UrbanCusp

Ferguson, a working class suburb north of St. Louis, erupted with outrage this weekend over the murder of Mike Brown, an 18-year-old African American boy, by a police officer. While mainstream media outlets largely ignored yet another police killing of an unarmed black youth, hundreds of grieving Ferguson residents took to the streets in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and demanded justice, many raising their arms and crying in unison “Please don’t shoot me.”

Witnesses of the murder say that Brown was walking to his grandmother’s apartment when a police officer in a patrol car told him and a friend to “get off the street.” Brown and his friend continued walking when the officer exited his car and fired a shot at the two men. Brown put his hands in the air and began to get down on the ground while the officer fired repeatedly, killing him. The Ferguson police department claims that Brown attacked the police officer and was shot afterwards, despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary.

It is clear that Mike Brown’s murder is yet another occurrence of the rampant police violence targeted at people of color across the United States. Last month, NYPD officers murdered Eric Garner, an unarmed black man selling loose cigarettes. In an under-reported incident in April in Philadelphia, two police officers in plain clothes shot 20-year-old Phillippe Holland, an unarmed African-American pizza delivery driver, after he drove away from them, thinking the officers were attempting to rob him. Holland did not die but was severely injured after being shot in the head, neck, and back.

Sunday night’s vigil in Ferguson was met with a heavy police presence. As the protest wore on, some participants engaged in looting and a local gas station was burned down. These actions represent the growing frustration and anger with unpunished police brutality, flagrant racism, and income inequality in America’s black working class neighborhoods.

Many onlookers are calling this looting “violence,” whereas a careful look reveals that the only “violence” that resulted in the injury of a human being yesterday was perpetrated by the state and by the police. Unfortunately US law under capitalism (and in turn the US media) prioritizes the preservation of corporate property over the destruction of black bodies.

Every capitalist state relies on this type of violence to reinforce and maintain property relations and systemic oppression. The police in such a state do not exist to protect and serve a diverse working-class, but the (largely white) ruling class and their corporations.

The question of Black liberation, however, does not easily reduce to a simple class question. There are special circumstances involved in the oppression of black people that require special attention and demands. The Ferguson rebellion cannot be dismissed as an unorganized or random occurrence and should not be called “the wrong way to express frustration.” Rebellions occur when a critical mass of oppressed people feel they have no other way to impact an unjust situation. Time and time again, police officers who brutalize people of color are treated with impunity, and Mike Brown’s friends and family now have no reasonable expectation of “justice” from the state. A police officer kills a black person every 28 hours in America. Nothing can bring our Mike Browns or Trayvon Martins back from the dead, and no amount of vigils or peace walks seem to be able to stop police violence in the future.

The Ferguson Rebellion demonstrates that working class people of color who are the victims of police brutality are actively seeking some alternative to our feckless elected leaders’ promises to “investigate” the police or “hold officers accountable.” All working class people–that’s you and me and everyone who is angry about Mike Brown’s death– need to build powerful organizations with an eye not just on punishing aberrant individual police officers, but on fundamentally overturning America’s racist police state and the capitalist system that relies on it.

Here in Philly there is a long history of police repression and corruption. The other day we were greated with the news of yet another scandal involving stolen drugs, money and planted evidence. Not only do the residents of Philly’s working class neighborhoods have to deal with unemployment, poverty wages, crime, and cuts in basic services, but we also have to suffer violence at the hands of those who are supposed to ‘protect and serve’.

We cannot rely on the city, state or feds to prosecute corrupt or violent police officers. We need independent democratically elected community police review boards with the power to investigate, discipline and dismiss racist, corrupt and violent officers. We need an end to ‘stop and frisk’. We need an end to the ‘war on drugs’ that is criminalizing our youth. We need decent schools and jobs in our communities.

It is the task of socialists to fight racism and all oppression with class unity, to build strategic channels for righteous anger that funnel energy towards dismantling the weapons of the ruling class, especially the weapons that overwhelmingly brutalize our black and brown brothers and sisters. These multiracial revolutionary channels will be built as we struggle together for a just socialist world. We stand in solidarity with the protesters in Ferguson and will be out this Thursday at 7pm at Love Park to stand alongside all Philadelphians building a movement against racist police brutality in our city and across the US.

Fund Our Schools Not the Massacre of Palestinian Children!

Another deadly night has passed in Gaza

Explosions rock the city, smoke obscures the blood.  The roar of tanks and gunfire almost drown out the wails of Palestinian mothers mourning the death of children, of hope – almost.  For nearly three weeks now, Palestine has been decimated by yet another invasion by the Israeli government of capital and settlements.  As of this writing, an estimated 1,100 Palestinians killed, 6,500 wounded, 400,000 displaced from their homes.  Nearly eighty percent of these casualty figures have been civilians and children.  Israel has suffered 48 deaths by comparison.  The invasion of Palestine by Israel is indeed a war crime.

In the U.S. we have been taught that America is the beacon of freedom to the world. But in the eyes of the world our nation is supporting a military machine that is massacring innocent families in Gaza. Since 2000, the U.S. has given $45 Bn in military aid to Israel. Our government knows full well that our tax money is allowing these massacres to occur. What else would Israel do with it?  Iran is presently contained.  Syria is in flames. The rest of the Arab world is too busy with the capitalist oil orgy to care.

It was Capitalist trade interests, that created this nightmare in the first place.  The highly praised, but deeply flawed, Balfour Declaration of 1917, said that Britain (with full U.S. support) favored,  “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”  This was done not for humanitarian reasons, but to protect trade through the Suez Canal, and to protect the most profitable British colony, India.  In essence, the Capitalists promised two ethnic groups, Jews and Palestinians, the same strip of land, laying the seeds of “divide and  conquer”, in the hopes of “free trade” and future profit.

The Palestinians were not consulted, nor would they have cared, about imperialist profit worries.  They had lived in Palestine since the end of the Crusades, farming, fishing, and raising generations of families.  It was only after the “Nakba” in 1948, that they formed so-called “militant” groups like the PLO.  Some of these groups had a socialist-leaning character, threatening Capitalism in the whole region ( also in the Arab countries).  As a reaction to that, islamist forces like Hamas were propped up by Capitalist governments.

It is important to understand that Capitalist Imperialism, Israeli, Arab and American alike, have no interest in either an end to the bloodshed, or a lasting peace.  For them it is paramount to feed the military-industrial beast with the blood of innocents, many of them children, to distract the Arab and Israeli masses from the real enemy.

American military equipment is sold to the Israeli occupation for the express purpose of slaughter.  Gaza is used as a proving ground for the latest military technologies. The U.S. and Israeli arms industries reap huge profits while drones stalk the skies over Gaza and Palestinian children burn.

It is important to note, that within the working classes of all three states, Israel, Palestine, and the U.S., there is vehement opposition to the current horror.  Daily protests in all three countries, with attendance in the hundreds and thousands, are growing rapidly.  In fact, right here in Philadelphia since March of 2014, there has been a monthly rally at the Israeli Consulate protesting an end to the massacre.  Even within Israel, opinion polls continue to indicate that a majority of the Israeli population supports the dismantling of settlements and ending the occupation. This is a touch of sunshine amidst the decay of yet another destructive imperialist war.

$45 Bn is a lot of money.  Money that could go a long way in rebuilding our crumbling schools and infrastructure, money that could go a long way towards strengthening our working class communities in Philly instead of being used to slaughter workers in Gaza. Why should we feed the capitalist war machine, when our own people are experiencing massive unemployment and hunger?

It is the duty of every Socialist, if not every human being, to speak out against these atrocities. To flood the streets, and airwaves, demanding an end to U.S. support of the occupation and massacre in Gaza. It’s time to build an international mass movement against war and terror, and an end to this system of exploitation and oppression. We have enough hell in this country, we don’t need to export it elsewhere.

Rally for the People of Gaza this Friday

August 1st – 4pm – Love Park