Resistance to Trump

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Well, he's gone and declared a national emergency to scam the funds for his wall.

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West Virginia Teachers Launch Strike

In West Virginia, teachers are launching a statewide strike today over an education reform bill that Republicans are trying to pass in the state Legislature. The bill would legalize charter schools, which are currently not allowed in the state. Teachers’ unions say they were not consulted in the drafting of the legislation and that it is a retaliation for last year’s historic strike, which was credited with launching a wave of teacher walkouts in other red states. The action comes nearly one year after the 9-day strike led to a 5 percent raise for all state workers.

Meanwhile, teachers in Oakland, California, have announced they are planning to go on strike starting Thursday to demand fair wages, smaller class sizes and more resources for their students.

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Timebandit wrote:

Well, he's gone and declared a national emergency to scam the funds for his wall.

...

16 States Sue over Trump’s Nat’l Emergency Declaration

A coalition of 16 states have filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Trump’s national emergency declaration, claiming it is unconstitutional. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the suit on behalf of the group Monday. He says Trump’s move violates Congress’s power to control the budget and is a misuse of public money.

Also on Monday, President’s Day, protesters took to the streets around the country to denounce Trump’s emergency declaration. This is Diallo Brooks of People for the American Way speaking at a rally in Washington, D.C.

Diallo Brooks: “And we will fight at every turn for justice for everyone, no matter what you look like or where you come from. We will fight, and we will stand up, and we will make our voices heard. Thank you.”

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NYC: Protesters Take to Streets After Nat’l Emergency Declaration

In New York City, demonstrators turned out Friday evening in front of the Trump International Hotel to protest the emergency declaration. Multiple arrests were reported at the peaceful demonstration, after police blocked the sidewalks and protesters instead moved into the street. This is Jody Kuh of Rise and Resist, speaking to Democracy Now!

Jody Kuh: “It’s unconstitutional. It’s completely immoral. It’s against everything that we stand for. This is a nation of immigrants, and there is no reason that we should be keeping immigrants out. We should be celebrating them and welcoming them. If he’s going to mess with our business, we’re going to mess with his business.”

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“This Campaign Is Literally Making Socialists”

Ugo Okere is a 22-year-old Nigerian immigrant and democratic socialist running for Chicago City Council. In an interview, he describes his history as an activist, the smears he's faced from the incumbent, and why democratic socialism “is about democratic control of every single facet of our life.”

quote:

UO

Social justice was not a part of my life, activism wasn’t a part of my life, until I got to college. I had always cared about politics, but I cared about electoral politics. I saw it as different from activism — rather than how I view activism and electoral politics now, as part of the same apparatus for achieving the liberation of black, brown, and working-class people.

My freshman year of college was when the Black Lives Matter movement began. It was the first time that social justice became proximal to me. I knew that if I wasn’t taking part in the Black Lives Matter movement that [it could be] me that was in the grave with my parents crying over it on the 5 o’clock news. I knew I had to be a part of the struggle.

When you’re on a college campus and you get into these kinds of spaces, you also get pulled into all of the other activism that is going on. Because of that, I learned more and more about the movement for BDS on our campus, I learned about the wider realm of social justice. I knew I had to be part of the greater struggle for liberation for all marginalized people: “We ain’t free until we’re all free.”

I joined up with Anakbayan Chicago, which is an organization dedicated to the liberation of the Filipino people here in United States and in the Philippines. That was where I learned even deeper about the struggle for international solidarity and how a lot of the capitalist forces that subjugate us in the United States subjugate people across the world. After that, I became the chairman of Fuente del Sol, which is an organization on the Southwest Side of Chicago that [fights] for violence prevention and immigrant rights. In all that time, I was also gaining government experience. I was working in the Chicago City Clerk’s office, working for a congressional office.....

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West Virginia’s Political Strike Wins Big

Within hours of going on strike, West Virginia educators defeated a dangerous education privatization bill. They've again reminded us of a simple truth: strikes work.

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NYC: Activists Protest Whitney Museum Board Member, Maker of Tear Gas

And in New York City, activists from over 30 groups took over the prestigious Whitney Museum Friday to call for the removal of Vice Chair Warren Kanders, CEO of tear gas manufacturer Safariland, from the museum’s board. he protest launched a 9-week series of actions organized by Decolonize This Place. Democracy Now! spoke to one of the activists at Friday’s action.

Marz Saffore: “My name is Marz Saffore, and I’m with MTL+ Collective and Decolonize This Place. Today we’re here for week three of the 'Nine Weeks of Art and Action' at the Whitney Museum, demanding the removal of Vice Chairman Warren Kanders. Warren Kanders is the CEO of Safariland, an international weapons manufacturer who manufactured the tear gas used against migrant families at the border, water protectors in Standing Rock, black folks in Ferguson, Palestine, Oakland, Turkey, Egypt, and the list goes on.”

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“This Is a Win for Our City”: Chicago Teachers Celebrate End of Historic Strike After 11 Days

We speak with Stacy Davis Gates, the Executive Vice President of the Chicago Teachers Union, and labor journalist Sarah Jaffe.

quote:

STACY DAVIS GATES: Good morning. Our members took a ten-day sacrifice to finally bring about some equity in the Chicago Public Schools. Our school communities will have a nurse five days a week in every school, a social worker five days a week in every school. School communities on the South and West Side of the city are now being prioritized. They will get the wraparound supports that they need. The class size limits will go into effect almost—will go into effect faster for them. Look, this sacrifice that our members made has ushered in a new type of Chicago Public Schools that offer sanctuary to their students, that provides homeless students with the necessary supports. We are very pleased with the outcomes. And we just really thank our parents in the city for standing by us.

AMY GOODMAN: Talk also about the salary and healthcare benefits that you negotiated.

STACY DAVIS GATES: Virtually no change in our health insurance. Our members got a 16% COLA increase—cost of living increase. Our PSRPs, our lowest-wage workers in our bargaining unit, two-thirds of them were—their children would qualify for free and reduced lunch prior to going on strike. Now we have lifted that basement and those women who serve in our school communities, who are the glue in our school communities, they don’t have to exist in poverty anymore.

quote:

AMY GOODMAN: And can you talk about the fact that it was not only the Chicago Teachers Union, but SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, that also went on strike? The significance of this?

STACY DAVIS GATES: The significance of that is that these are black women who were making wages that did not make sense in a city that is growing increasingly unaffordable. These women went out on the picket line with the teachers and they won tremendous gains in their salary structure. I will be honest with you—I don’t think that this could have been as transformative, as monumental as it was without SEIU 73 members on the picket line with us. Those women settled their contract before we settled ours, and the very next day, they were on the picket lines with us. The solidarity that we had with the city, with each other was tremendous in this moment.

AMY GOODMAN: Stacy Davis Gates, you are a mom of three kids in the Chicago schools. I think about that editorial that talked about this utopian version of Chicago you’re looking for. Can you talk about what educational justice means?

STACY DAVIS GATES: It means that black children in Chicago don’t have to beg for a nurse, which is the very minimum for most children across this country. Listen, Chicago has a very terrible history of racism and segregation, and when you read editorials like that, it provokes those same feelings again. Look, our children, every single child in the Chicago Public Schools, deserves more than what we even won in this contract. This contract sets forth an infrastructure to help us fight for even more.

Listen, when you can take a public subsidy and build a playground in one of the richest neighborhoods in this country and call it a giveaway but then make teachers picket and strike for 10 days to get a social worker in school communities that have been ravaged by violence, poverty, employment and disinvestment, there is something wrong with the priorities and values of those who are in charge. What I am saying today is that I am proud that Chicago lifted its voice in unison to say that we are going to transform the way in which we prioritize children in this city, our school communities in this city and the public sector in this city.

Look, this is a movement that has been percolating for the last decade in this city, to bring about change that focuses on those communities that have been left behind while skyscrapers in downtown Chicago are built with taxpayer money. This is a shift in how we conceive of public resources actually helping those who need them the most. This is a win for our city. This is a win for our state. This is a win for our country.

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Braving snow and cold temperatures, thousands marched through the streets near City Hall during the eleventh day of an ongoing teachers' strike on October 31, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Heins / Getty Images

There Is No Way Forward Without Organized Workers

For two weeks last month, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) went on strike. Just as in 2012, the strike was widely acknowledged as a victory for the union. The successes for organized teachers are so numerous at this point that it is worth reflecting on exactly what the increased militance of educators and other workers means for US politics moving forward.

The CTU model of unionism — one that emphasizes internal democracy, a willingness to strike and take other militant actions, and bargaining for the needs of the community in which teachers teach — has been driving the upsurge of teacher militance in the United States over the past decade. It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of what the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) has done in making the CTU into an organization of warriors against neoliberalism and, as Eric Blanc has shown, serving as a model for organizing teachers across the country in 2018–19. Teachers in Chicago haven’t simply made an intellectual case against neoliberalism: as in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver, the CTU won many of their demands by taking the high-stakes action of walking off their jobs.....

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“Seattle Is Not For Sale”: Voters Rebuke Amazon, Re-electing Socialist Kshama Sawant

quote:

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: We end today’s show in Seattle, where a group of progressive city councilors were able to beat back a $1.5 million campaign by Amazon to flip the City Council. Seven of the seats on the Seattle City Council were up for grabs in last week’s election, which was widely seen as a referendum on Amazon, the city’s largest private employer and one of the most powerful companies in the world. Five candidates backed by Amazon and other business interests lost their bids for council seats. Perhaps the most visible face in the political fight against Amazon is Socialist City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who has been re-elected in a race that pitted her against Amazon-backed candidate Egan Orion. Amazon poured nearly half a million dollars into that race alone.

quote:

KSHAMA SAWANT: Thank you so much, Amy and Juan, for having this very, very important and, indeed, absolutely historic event that has happened in Seattle. And as you said, it has been a major repudiation, not only of Amazon and Jeff Bezos himself, you know, as the richest man in the world, but also it has been a referendum on the vision for Seattle. And I think Seattle is a microcosm for metropolitan areas in general. You know, what should our urban spaces look like? Should our cities be playgrounds for the very wealthy, or should they be places where ordinary people can live and thrive? And I think it is beyond any doubt that the voters in Seattle have spoken, that Seattle is not up for sale. Our democratic process in the city, you know, the elections are not up for sale.

And it has happened in this dramatic fashion, where not only Amazon — you know, Amazon is obviously the most visible player in the attempted sort of hostile corporate takeover that they did this year, in this year’s election, but it wasn’t just Amazon. It was the entire might of the corporate elite, of the capitalist class, that we went up against. So, it’s the trillion-dollar corporation Amazon, but also corporate real estate, all of the large businesses that fought viciously against $15 an hour four years ago, and also the businesses that were completely against the tax on big business that we attempted, and then was repealed, shamefully, by the majority of the City Council last year. And so, I think that this — you know, this shows what a tremendous opening there is not only for the left to seize opportunities, but, as you have seen, as a socialist movement, we have a grassroots socialist movement, went up against the richest man in the world, and we were able to prevail.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And also, you neglected to mention there the role of the media. The Seattle Times, of course, if you want to talk about their role in terms of this election, and also the fact that the City Council had suffered a defeat a year earlier, when Amazon effectively forced it to rescind a tax for affordable housing?

KSHAMA SAWANT: Yes. And, in fact, the role of the media is integral to the whole political process under capitalism. And it’s diametrically opposite to what you’re doing on Democracy Now!, and that’s why it’s really, really important that you’re covering this analysis here.

I mean, just to give you an example, The Seattle Times editorial board, which has been a longtime conservative, establishment, pro-big business and also pro-right-wing ideas, spilled so much ink, not only this year, against my campaign specifically, against my Socialist council office, against our movement-building approach, but, as you said, Juan, last year, when we — when our movement attempted to bring what we call the Amazon tax, which is a tax on the largest businesses, in order to change what we have as the status quo, which is a corporate tax haven in a city with the nation’s most regressive tax system, and The Seattle Times editorial board spilled so much ink spreading lies, distortion and misinformation about that tax, and then they carried that on this year.

And so, you know, while, on the one hand, all this corporate money into the four — over $4 million in the corporate PACs that were dumped by all these corporations, by the billionaires — while, on the one hand, it has completely backfired, and it showed that voters are rejecting this kind of attempted takeover, but, on the other hand, it also bought them incredible numbers of attack mailers that were sent to people’s mailboxes, endless attack ads on every type of social media and other media, and then, of course, the corporate media doing the bidding of the billionaire class. We were up against all of that.

And the fact that we have won despite that, not only the progressive slate, which is an incredibly important event, and it was important that we built towards this progressive unity, it’s a really important demonstration of how progressive movements can have honest debates and discussions among ourselves, but it’s also important for us to take a principled, unified stance against the billionaire class, which is exactly what we have been able to accomplish. And I’m really proud of rank-and-file Democrats and grassroots Democratic Party leaders and organizers taking a stand in solidarity with the Socialist movement and working together.

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..sawant part 2 is coming. not sure when.

..in the mean time

farmworkers and allies are on their way from FL for major march in NYC on Monday Nov. 18 to demand join the and protect workers from human rights abuses in its supply chain!

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A Strike for Racial Justice and Democracy in Little Rock Schools

The teachers’ strike wave shows no signs of ebbing anytime soon. Chicago’s school workers struck in October, teachers in Sonoma walked out this Wednesday, and now 1,800 educators in Little Rock, Arkansas are striking today.

Though every walkout is unique, Little Rock’s action is particularly exceptional: it’s a strike for democracy and racial justice, in a town that stood at the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement’s fight for school desegregation and which today is confronting a billionaire-backed push to dismantle the teachers’ union and public schools.

Little Rock teachers today are not demanding raises for themselves, but an end to the state’s push to resegregate schools, its takeover of their district, its decertification of their union, and its disrespect for school support staff. As second grade teacher Jenni White explains, “this is literally about standing up for our kids and not dividing our community.”

quote:

Over six decades later, the town’s schools and neighborhoods remain far from equal. Interstate 630 today marks a sharp dividing line between white and nonwhite Little Rock. But in a significant break from the 1950s, unionized educators are now fighting together with students of color against the impositions of billionaire-backed politicians — what the Arkansas Times called the “Walmarting of the Little Rock School District.”

The immediate roots of this week’s action go back to January 2015 when the Arkansas State Board of Education announced that it was taking over Little Rock’s schools due to low standardized test scores. By all accounts, the ensuing state takeover failed to accomplish its nominal goal of improving stability and educational opportunities for the town’s low-performing schools. Yet rather than return Little Rock School District to local control in 2020 as promised, the state board instead proposed in September of this year that it would continue to oversee so-called “F”-rated schools, those with the lowest test scores.

Since all but one of the “F” schools were in black and brown neighborhoods south of I-630, teachers and parents saw this an attempt to create a two-tier school system. “The plan was blatantly racist, it separated the haves and the have notes,” Jenni White told me.

In a dramatic protest on the evening of October 9, thousands of teachers, support staff, students, and community members congregated on the steps of Central High, where the Little Rock Nine had famously confronted the National Guard decades earlier. Teresa Knapp Gordon, president of the Little Rock Education Association (LREA), closed the rally with the following declaration: “Either we accept segregation, or we stand and fight.”

This public outpouring forced the state board to change tactics. At the next evening’s contentious Arkansas Board of Education meeting, it dropped the proposal to split Little Rock’s school district. But surprisingly, the board then immediately proceeded to cease recognition of the LREA as the educators’ representative, thereby scrapping the last remaining collective bargaining agreement for school workers in Arkansas. The decision was blatant retaliation against not only teachers but also Little Rock’s school support staff, who were in the midst of negotiating a pay raise......

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