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

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Workers, community converge at Southern Human Rights conference

By Dante Strobino
Birmingham, Ala.

Under the theme “From Exclusion to Power,” hundreds of workers and community members gathered in Birmingham, Ala., from Dec. 10 to 12 for the eighth Bi-Annual Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference.

FIST photo: Dante Strobino

March on opening day of Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference, in Birmingham, Ala. Carrying lead banner are Daniel Castellanos; Pamela Brown, Community Voices Heard; and Araceli Herrera Castillo (left to right).

Jaribu Hill, conference founder and executive director of the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, opened up with a call for human rights and social justice activists from across the country “to retool and rethink, plan and build. In these critical times of unjust wars and economic decline, it is urgent that we forge unity based on common struggles and experiences.”

The gathering opened with a press conference — on International Human Rights Day — that highlighted the work of the Excluded Workers Congress and announced a new report that examines the plight of workers barred from labor protections and the right to organize.

The report said that in 1983, 20.1 percent of the U.S. workforce was unionized, whereas in 2009 that proportion was only 12.3 percent. In so-called right-to-work states, union density now averages 6 percent. (www.excludedworkerscongress.org)

Included in the press conference were the congress’s nine sectors, including domestic workers, farmworkers, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, day laborers, guest workers, workers from right-to-work states, workfare workers and formerly incarcerated workers. Continue reading

F.I.S.T. at USSF 2010 in Detroit!‏

Dear Friends of F.I.S.T.,

We are very busy preparing for the United States Social Forum next week in Detroit! We have three great workshops planned, as well as a social event we wanted to let you know about. Here they are listed at a glance, and below you can find full descriptions of the events.

  • Wednesday June 23rd, 1pm-3pm workshop, Youth and Students to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal in Woodward Academy, room 1437
  • Wednesday June 23rd, 1pm-5:30pm workshop, Capitalism is Killing Us. Fight for Socialism! in Cobo Hall room O2-44
  • Friday June 25th, 1:00pm-3:00pm workshop, The Fight for Education Rights: March 4th and Beyond in in Cobo Hall room D3-18
  • Friday June 25th, 5:30pm-7:30pm Meet F.I.S.T. social, free dinner at 5920 Second Avenue, near Wayne State University

Continue reading

‘Capitalism is killing us’, U.S. Social Forum meets in Detroit June 22-26

By Bryan G. Pfeifer
Detroit

Momentum is growing internationally for the United States Social Forum to be held June 22-26 in Detroit. Tens of thousands of progressive activists are expected to attend.

According to the USSF website, the days-long event is a movement-building process. “It is not a conference but it is a space to come up with the peoples’ solutions to the economic and ecological crisis. The USSF is [an] important step in our struggle to build a powerful multi-racial, multi-sectoral, inter-generational, diverse, inclusive, internationalist movement that transforms this country and changes history.” (www.ussf2010.org)

Adele Nieves, communications coordinator for the USSF, stated that over 1,000 workshops are scheduled and numerous demonstrations are being planned. Cultural contributions will be a central focus, with artists such as Dead Prez scheduled to perform. There will also be a tent city, tables for literature, grassroots food vendors, people’s movement assemblies and much more, including various art venues where progressive and revolutionary artists such as Antonio Guerrero of the Cuban Five will have their work displayed. The opening march on June 22 will have organizational contingents from all over the world. Continue reading

Bolivia offers people’s alternative to imperialist-led climate change efforts

By Jennifer Waller, NYC FIST

After the disappointment of the Copenhagen Climate Summit, the movement to find a solution to the global climate crisis is longing for a breath of fresh air. Most see the resultant Copenhagen Accord as imperfect at best, and detrimental at worst, as it does not mandate emissions reductions. After the world watched the governments of rich countries, led by President Barack Obama, co-opt the conference and drive into the ground any hope of a binding agreement on the climate crisis, many agree that the solution must be found by the people of the world, rather than by a small group of rich leaders. The government of Bolivia took the first steps to get this conversation underway by hosting a different kind of climate summit this spring: the ‘World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth,’ that took place in Cochabamba this April 19-22.

Bolivians waving flags during the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Photo by Jennifer Waller

Every country in the world was invited to the conference, and the event was presented as an open discussion. This is a contrast to the summit in Copenhagen, which excluded most scientists, communities, faith leaders, and NGO’s from the conference altogether, and conducted the real negotiations behind closed doors with only a few token leaders of developing countries. Largely as a result of the outrage expressed by Bolivia and other nations, the United Nations ended up not even endorsing or adopting the Copenhagen Accord, but merely “noting” it. Continue reading

Cuban Farming Shows the Way to a Greener World

By Natalie Goncharov , NYC FIST

In 1960, the United States imposed a financial blockade against Cuba – barring U.S. businesses from selling goods to or buying them from Cuba.  The U.S. also discouraged other countries from trading with Cuba through threats and intimidation. This diminished the amount of imports Cuba was able to receive. Later, the defeat of the  Soviet Union which led to the collapse of the COMECON (The Economic Organization of Communist States) brought the import of goods to Cuba close to an absolute halt. These historic events had immediate detrimental health effects on Cuban society, forcing the small island nation to become self-sufficient in providing basic needs such as food almost overnight. Productivity in agricultural exports became far more expensive. Unsustainable agricultural practices were wiped out from the island out of necessity. Cubans had to quickly resolve the question of how to feed their own people.

The system of Participatory Plant Breeding, where agricultural scientists work with farmers to determine better methods of growing and breeding various varieties of fruits and vegetables, allowed the Cuba to recreate its agricultural systems and rid of its historical dependency on foreign imports. In fact, Cuba’s new system of plant breeding, necessitated by a lack of modern agricultural products such as chemical fertilizers and gasoline, has led to a substantial increase in organic farming.  Also, Cuba has seen these new methods lead to higher yields and more varieties of agricultural products than were grown with agrochemicals. Continue reading

FIST Editorial: A Key to A Green Planet, More Red

What’s so revolutionary about being an environmentalist these days? To a casual observer, it might seem that there is almost universal consensus on the need to address global warming or “climate change.” Sure, there are those on the right who continue to deny the existence of global warming, but faced with mounting and overwhelming scientific evidence of this crisis, the ruling class has made its way into the “green” movement.

Everywhere you look — television, movies, advertisements — people are talking about “going green.” And, better yet, there is an entire new industry developing to profit off this crisis, ready to pump a slew of new “green products” into an already glutted market. Ruling class politicians and polluting capitalists propose schemes like cap-and-trade: a system that would create an entire new market where the rich could literally buy and sell pollution!

Yes, the ruling class has so far come up with countless ways to profit from the mass concern about the environment. The question remains: Will any of this actually prevent global warming? Continue reading