A youth’s view from Durham to Wall Street

Lamont Lilly, New York City, Oct. 8.
WW photo: Rachel Duell

By Lamont Lilly
Occupy Wall Street, N.Y.

The scene was a perfect storm of organized chaos. Here were the young and old, students and workers, immigrants and oppressed, all addressing the failures of capitalism’s current worldwide crisis, outlining the destructive forces of global banking systems and highlighting the lack of communal values in a place that loves to cry patriotism.

Right-wing, conservative press would have you to believe that the only “fanatics” there were Ivy League, white, college kids — the privileged and idle-minded, or simply a cadre of recent graduates who have yet to find jobs after completing master’s degrees. But that wasn’t true at all. The idea of occupying Wall Street may have begun as a young, white thing, but by the time we arrived on the evening of Oct.8, there were participants of all nations, all races and all ages — raising a range of pertinent issues.

There were Haitians from the Bronx who had marched across the George Washington Bridge earlier that day in a show of solidarity. There were domestic and sanitation workers from Queens. There were the unions and labor organizations from all over the country — working-class adults who currently live the effects of capitalism from the front lines; blue-collar folks whose wages have been decimated by the manipulation of global markets, international corporatism and “Third World” exploitation. For this one night, I was living what democracy really looks like: the common masses united in a single front. Continue reading

Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Movement : Fight Racism, Sexism, LGBTQ oppression

These are hard times. There doesn’t appear to be any respite coming soon. The political atmosphere has shifted in response to the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression. This crisis, because of how the changes in technology, communication and production have made the world smaller, is global in its impact.

Corporations and financial institutions on Wall Street have become profitable again. Their profits were made possible by the more than $16 trillion in tax money doled out to them by Washington and because they have shed millions of jobs, ripped up workers’ contracts, forced concessions down the workers’ throats and because they make those left with a job work harder and produce more in less time. 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

LGBTQ liberation and the struggle for socialism

LeiLani Dowell
LeiLani Dowell
photo: G. Dunkel

Following are excerpts from a talk given by LeiLani Dowell, a Workers World managing editor and Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) organizer, at the Workers World Party national conference. Go to workers.tv to hear the entire talk.

I’d like us to have a moment of silence for all the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth who have lost their lives to anti-LGBTQ bigotry — whether by suicide, by police violence or by attacks by others.

A beautiful movement has taken place in the past few months where LGBTQ people have been posting videos, encouraging LGBTQ youth that it may be rough, but to stick it out because it gets better. A project called “We Got Your Back” aims to provide spaces for the voices of LGBTQ people of color.

And yet, we know that things don’t get better without struggle. Marx said that the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, and in this capitalistic society, you can bet that every single step toward LGBTQ liberation was won in the streets.

The final step toward LGBTQ liberation — the total, worldwide defeat of capitalism — will also be won in the streets. It will get amazingly better under socialism. But we know that nothing ever gets better without a fight. And yet, as LGBTQ people, our experiences tell us that the knowledge that it will get better through struggle is like a lifting of a heavy load; while the participation in that struggle keeps us going when every odd is stacked against us. Continue reading

Hundreds act to end bullying of lesbian couple

By Scott Williams
Raleigh, N.C. FIST

Some 200 people rallied at a Raleigh shopping center Oct. 17 to support a lesbian couple. A security guard had ejected the couple from the property three days earlier for displaying affection towards one another.

Demonstrators defend rights of lesbian couple<br>at shopping mall in Raleigh, N.c.
Demonstrators defend rights of lesbian couple
at Cameron Village shopping mall in Raleigh, N.C.
FIST photo: Scott Williams

Holding signs which read, “Being OUT Saves Lives” and “Bullying: Just Another Word for Violence,” the energetic crowd denounced the ejection as yet another incidence of bullying and oppression of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people.

Caitlin Breedlove, one of the women ejected from the Cameron Village Shopping Center, connected issues of privatization of public space with the rights of oppressed people. Speaking to the demonstrators, she said that “even on private property, LGBTQ people have the right to respect and safety. Only by reclaiming public space as our own, so we can be who we are everywhere!” Continue reading

LGBT Pride celebrated

By Judy Greenspan and LeiLani Dowell

San Francisco
San Francisco
Photo: Judy Greenspan

Just like in the fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” the U.S. military machine was stripped and paraded through the streets of SAN FRANCISCO for all to see. A small but vocal contingent of lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer activists used the June 27 LGBTQ Pride parade to condemn the homophobic U.S. military and its many interventions abroad and to demand, “Ban the Army, not the queers!”

The contingent, organized and led by Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, also carried signs protesting Israeli apartheid and the purchase of Israeli goods. Chants of “Free, free Palestine! Queers say no to Israel’s crimes!” echoed up and down Market Street. The radical, queer, anti-war statement was witnessed by more than one million Pride parade spectators, many of whom cheered and showed their strong support. 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