‘Stop privatization of education’, General strike in Chile unites students, workers

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across Chile supported the second day of a general strike on Aug. 25 as protests against the privatization of education escalated into demands for sweeping governmental and social change.

The government of right-wing billionaire Sebastián Piñera responded to the two-day general strike with repression and violence. This included mass arrests and the killing of at least one youth.

The 14-year-old boy, Manuel Gutiérrez Reinoso, died early Aug. 26 from a bullet wound in the chest. Witnesses said he had been shot by police. Dozens of others were injured and as many as 1,400 detained or arrested.

Police in full riot gear have used tear gas and water cannons against blockades that protesting youths set up. Cops also shot 18-year-old Mario Parraguez Pinto in the eye; he is in critical condition at a hospital in Santiago, the Chilean capital.

Gutiérrez Reinoso’s death followed a demonstration of some 600,000 in Santiago and protests in other cities throughout the country. Protesters are demanding free public education, increased taxes on the corporations and the wealthy, and better pensions and health care for workers.

The Workers’ United Center of Chile (CUT) and the Chilean Student Confederation (Confech) called the two-day strike, the first of its kind since the end of dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule in 1990. Continue reading

At U.N. African Union mission: ‘Hands off Libya!’

Photo: Anne Pruden

Omowale Clay, of the December 12th Movement International Secretariat, spoke in defense of Libya at an Aug. 23 news conference in New York City in front of the African Union mission to the United Nations. Fifty people, including a delegation from Côte d’Ivoire, came to support the African Union’s stand against the invasion of Libya. Speakers included New York City Councilmember Charles Barron, who was the Freedom Party’s candidate for governor of New York in 2010.

Peoples’ General Assembly: Protest flails ‘dictatorship of bankers’

By Dee Knight
New York

A People’s General Assembly near Wall Street on Aug. 2, organized by New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts and others, responded to the debt-ceiling deal signed that day in Washington after a weeks-long game of political “chicken.”

“We need to make sure people know that what happened on this infamous day is a threat to everyone who is not a billionaire or millionaire,” declared Larry Holmes of Workers World Party at the start of the assembly.

“There’s a reason we called it a General Assembly and not merely a rally or protest,” Holmes said. “We believe what we’re dealing with is a dictatorship of bankers and that democracy is a thin façade — if you blow on it you’ll find out it doesn’t exist.” Holmes recalled that German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler pushed out what the bankers and German industrialists considered a weak government in 1933, “because it could not wage war on the workers and the poor. They needed their own version of the so-called Tea Party, and so they got behind Hitler,” Holmes observed. “This was the beginning of fascism in much of Europe.” Continue reading

FIST launches in Detroit

By Derek Thacker
Detroit

Detroit FIST

The founding meeting of the new Detroit chapter of Fight Imperialism, Stand Together — FIST — was held on July 22.

Detroit has not had an active branch of the militant youth organization for about a year. But since late 2010, new youth have begun taking an interest in activism and have gravitated to work with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions & Utility Shutoffs, and Workers World Party.

Some of these youth moved to form a new FIST branch in Detroit in order to combat the effects of imperialism at home and abroad. The attendance was excellent at the initial meeting and the discussions were meaningful. Introductions were conducted, and the revolutionary program of FIST was introduced and reviewed. Continue reading

Socialism: What it is not

By Caleb T. Maupin

To more and more people in the world, it is abundantly clear that the capitalist system doesn’t work. At least not for the majority. The system that generates war after war, that allows millions in the U.S. to be unemployed, millions more to go without health care, while fomenting racism, sexism, and anti-lesbian/gay/bi/trans/queer bigotry, and offering no future to the next generation is a disaster for the workers and oppressed people inside the U.S. and worse yet for the rest of the world.

In this time of crisis, as capitalism shows its true face, many are thinking and talking about the alternative system — socialism.

It is important to point out that there are many political parties around the world, especially outside the United States, whose name is “Socialist Party,” although they may have no relationship at all to socialism as defined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels or as developed in the Soviet Union starting in 1917 or in the People’s Republic of China or in Cuba.

The rightist sections of the media have made a big deal out of the fact that Dominque Strauss-Kahn is part of the political party in France called the “Socialist Party” (PS) since its founding in 1969. DSK, as he is known, is facing charges in New York that he raped a housekeeper in a luxury hotel where he was staying. He was, until his recent resignation, the head of the capitalist International Monetary Fund — which brutalizes the working class, indeed entire countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and now even those in Europe. Continue reading

FBI steps up anti-communist witch-hunt

By Michael Martinez
Los Angeles FIST

The sun had not dawned yet on the cold, crisp morning of May 17 in Alhambra, a neighborhood east of Los Angeles. It was hard to believe spring had arrived that morning when at 5 a.m. the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team assembled in front of Carlos Montes’ driveway and front yard. The silence was shattered along with Montes’ door as the officers rammed it down and then sprang into his home bearing automatic rifles.

May 20 protest at Federal Building in Los Angeles.
WW photo: John Parker

Montes is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. He has been a long-time activist for immigrant rights and Chicano liberation in southern California. He was a founder of the Brown Berets and a fighter with Chicano Moratorium.

A leader in the Southern California Immigration Coalition, Montes has led the big May 1 immigrant marches in Los Angeles since 2006, along with many other fighters like BAYAN USA, Union del Barrio and the International Action Center.

Although the LASD claimed they raided Montes’ residence over an illegal weapon’s charge, the true nature of the raid was revealed when they ransacked his house and took historical political documents dealing with more than 40 years of his activism, photos, his computers and his cell phones. Continue reading

Mumia Aub-Jamal from death row: On Libya

Taken from a March 29 audio message. Go to http://www.prisonradio.org to hear Abu-Jamal’s audio columns and http://www.millions4mumia.org for updates on the struggle to free him.

And like that — blink — a new war. Just as the Arab spring erupted across the region of Mediterranean Africa and people took to the streets in opposition to their sclerotic kleptocratic rulers, the West has thrust its large nose into the tent and, voila, a new war has emerged — blessed by both the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League. Continue reading

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