Protesters to counter racists at 9/11 rally in NYC

By LeiLani Dowell
New York

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, activists and community members are organizing to confront a racist rally being planned by anti-Muslim forces on that day.

The Emergency Mobilization Against Racism, War and Anti-Muslim Bigotry, a broad coalition formed in 2010, has reconvened and is holding a series of meetings in New York City. The group successfully held a counterprotest of some 10,000 people on Sept. 11, 2010, drowning out a much smaller hate- and fear-mongering rally protesting the building of an Islamic Center in the vicinity of Ground Zero.

This year — with all the fanfare surrounding the 10th anniversary — the Mobilization says, “It is more important than ever that we do not allow these racist hate-mongers to be the only voices speaking to the media and to the world. It is especially important to counter, in this period of economic crisis, the forces that want to blame immigrants and Muslims for the growing cutbacks in social services, rising unemployment and continuing wars.” Continue reading


‘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.

Demand end to raids & deportations: Detroit immigrants ’march without fear’

Nearly 500 people gathered Aug. 20 in Clark Park in Detroit for a “March Without Fear” aimed at speaking out against Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, harassment of immigrants, racial profiling and police brutality. The multinational, intergenerational event, which included several speakers and a march through southwest Detroit, was organized by the Alliance for Immigrant Rights and co-sponsored by the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, United Auto Workers Local 600, One Michigan, and several other organizations.

The rally speakers included representatives from co-sponsoring organizations, U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke of Detroit, and several undocumented youth from One Michigan, who spoke out against deportations and ICE raids which have occurred in their communities, including outside of elementary schools and food pantries. Continue reading

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

Durham, N.C., picket hits austerity budget

By Andy Koch, Raleigh-Durham FIST
Durham, N.C.

On the same day that Congress passed the so-called “deficit reduction” austerity bill, North Carolina residents were in the streets calling out the legislation for what it is: an attack on working people.

FIST member Eva Panjwani speaks to crowd
at VA hospital.
FIST photo: Dante Strobino

Members of local trade unions, activist groups and community members picketed outside the Veterans Affairs medical center in downtown Durham. Workers from the medical center also joined in.

“The VA center was chosen since both veterans’ benefits and public medical care in general are going to be cut under the new legislation,” one protester told Workers World. Drawing the attention of motorists and hospital foot traffic, the group chanted slogans such as “Fund people’s needs, not corporate greed” and “Congress, confess: You caused this mess!”

Speaking on behalf of the youth group Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST), Eva Panjwani pointed out the injustice of the austerity bill. “They are cutting services that people like us depend on to survive. Why don’t the congresspeople responsible explain to our children why they won’t be getting that birthday present or explain to our elderly loved ones why they will now have to pay out of pocket for medication they need?” Continue reading

FIST launches in Detroit

By Derek Thacker

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