#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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#StrikeVZ !

Defend Union Rights:

Fight for Public Control of Utilities

Build A Party Of The 99%!

Communication Workers of America (CWA) and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have called a strike against Verizon in the middle of the most hotly contested Democratic Party primary in decades. 40,000 Verizon workers from Virginia to Massachusetts walked off the job last Wednesday morning. The same day Bernie Sanders was on the picket line with Verizon workers in New York. His denunciation of Verizon’s “corporate greed” led to CEO Lowell McAdam calling his comments “contemptible.” Sanders shot back: “I welcome their contempt.”

IMG_7953The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has spent 10 months bargaining fruitlessly with a company determined to force its union workers into “parity” with the labor market. The outrageous concessions that Verizon is demanding are par for the course in today’s environment: destruction of job security and pensions, increased medical costs, increased use of term and temp workers, offshoring more and more work, and a whole shopping list of changes to work rules to “improve efficiency” – including the right to “loan” workers out of their home state for four months a year. Verizon is a highly profitable company – that pays next to no taxes – that is leveraging new technology and changes in public policy to take back the hard fought gains in basic living standards that telecom workers won from “Ma Bell” over the past 75 years.
Verizon’s economic demands are based on its agenda to separate itself from its legacy as a regulated public utility that provides universal access to an integrated telecommunications network. Verizon wants to transform itself into a home entertainment, wireless communications, and internet data services provider. In the build-out of its new FIOS network, Verizon is redlining entire communities it deems “unprofitable.” Let’s not forget that Verizon Wireless and FIOS were built on the profits generated over the years from the landline network – and without that network backbone none of the new technologies and services would work.

Telecom workers have a proud history of militant struggle, but, more and more, all effective tactics to wage an effective strike are restricted and illegal. Here is the scene played out at countless work locations across the Mid-Atlantic: mass pickets of Verizon workers surround the office, standing shoulder to shoulder with linked arms, the watching scabs unable to force their way through the peaceful but determined picket line. Sheriffs walk around the line reading out the court injunction limiting pickets to six per entrance. Slowly, resentfully, the arms drop and the police begin to escort the scabs into the building. Until the labor movement rebuilds the capacity to build effective picket lines and prevent scabbing we will be fighting with one hand tied behind our back.

The barrier to victory is not the willingness to fight, or any lack of courage and tenacity on the part of Verizon workers. It is the legal and political forces aligned against us. During the 2011 strike, Verizon fired many employees for ‘strike misconduct’, most of them on flimsy trumped up charges. While the union was able to return the majority of these workers to their jobs, it came at the price of a signed agreement with the company on future conduct on picket lines.

The Verizon strike needs to be turned into a broader fight against the bosses ongoing offensive against what is left of the labor movement. We need to broaden our fight beyond the traditional limitations of economic industrial struggle and challenge the corrupt corporate power structures that are destroying the lives of millions of working class families. We can seize this opportunity to strike back at the billionaires and go on the offensive by mounting a political challenge to the Democratic party establishment and uniting with the grass roots working class movement mobilizing around the Sanders campaign to begin building an independent party of the 99%.

Let’s not forget that telecom deregulation began with a Clinton in the White House. Instead of “Medicare for All,” the Democrats brought us the Affordable Care Act. Our so-called “Cadillac Health Plans” are a key target of Verizon bosses in the negotiations. Bill Clinton gave us NAFTA and Hillary gives us the TPP. The Employee Free Choice Act was left to die in Congress and no one is even whispering about repealing the tangled web of restrictive anti-union legislation that strangles all efforts to organize. Congress, the FCC, the courts, State Houses, and utility boards are flooded with corporate money and lobbyists that write and enforce the rules in favor of the huge communications corporations.

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More than ever we need a national plan for implementation of new technologies into the telecommunications network so that they benefit all of us!

Socialist Alternative calls for an immediate halt to any further deregulation of telecom services. We need a national plan to upgrade the wireless, landline and broadband networks and bring these services to all our communities by bringing them back under public control. We Built it! We paid for it! For reliable and affordable universal service!

 

 

15 Now Philly Statement on 9/4 Fast Food Worker Strikes

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15 Now members in Philly are proud to stand in solidarity with Fight for 15 fast food workers who are bravely going on strike today for $15 and a union. These workers are on the frontlines of the most important worker movement in recent memory. But higher wages for fast food workers are only the beginning. 15 Now Philly members are organizing ALL workers in Philadelphia to demand at least a $15 an hour wage floor. McDonalds isnt the only bad employer in Philly. Look at Comcast, Aramark, the University of Pennsylvania, Stephen Starr restaurants, Rite Aid. These bosses CAN pay $15 an hour, and Philadelphians deserve $15 an hour. Over 30% of us live in poverty, and continuing to allow this is an unecessary stain on our city.

People have told us that raising the minimum wage in Philadelphia is impossible, because of the preemption from Harrisburg.  But we want to be absolutely clear that the 1% has written these laws to keep our city in poverty. The truth is: The only thing that’s impossible is winning any victory for workers by following the wealthy’s rules.

Did auto workers in the 1930s follow the law when they waged nationwide sit-down strikes that brought millions of workers into unions over a series of months? NO. Those strikes were not legally protected like today’s, but they were just and necessary. Workers had no neat legal process to form a union by petitioning the NLRB. So they struck at their workplace and they forced the bosses to the table by interrupting production and hitting the 1% right in their bottom line.

It’s clear today that fast food workers and healthcare workers are willing to do what it takes to win $15 an hour here. But are are our elected officials willing to do what it takes to fight for 15?  We in 15 Now are tired of playing nice, of living in poverty while our elected officials throw up their hands and say there is nothing they can do. We don’t accept that logic. When wealthy corporations tell City Council to break the rules for them, our elected officials say yes every time. Now Philadelphia’s workers are asking that City Council afford us the same luxury as CEOs.

We call on city council and Mayor Nutter to take immediate action to raise the minimum wage in Philly to $15 an hour NOW.

 

Follow Philly 15Now Here