Occupy the Dance Floor: Dance Dance REVOLUTION: Durham, NC FIST Fundraiser

Occupy the Dance Floor: Dance Dance REVOLUTION

THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE CHOREOGRAPHED

SATURDAY, DEC 3rd

Doors open at 9pm, Show Starts at 10pm, Dancing until 2am!

The Pinhook, 117 W Main St, Durham, NC
We all know the crisis is raging, but why aren’t you? Dress to sweat off your capitalist blues, and join FIST in occupying the dance floor for a night of rock and hip hop. We’re raising funds the fun way for the court costs of some young comrades who have been arrested fighting for education, against the banks and for immigrant rights in NC and beyond.

Winter’s got us all worked up, exams coming your way, and occupying your city or school is cold and hard — warm up on the dance floor with our amazing list of boogy-enducing DJ’s & music acts:

TripKnight
Lucky Strikes
And DJ Yammy !

$5 (21+)/$7 (under 21) admission
this is a fundraiser for FIST! be as generous as you can

check check check us out — http://raleighfist.wordpress.com/ & http://thepinhook.com/

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Occupations take root across the country, attract growing support

By LeiLani Dowell , NYC FIST

Following the lead of Occupy Wall Street, occupations are growing in size and number across the country, with actions taking place in hundreds of cities. The following reports from Workers World correspondents give a flavor for some of those demonstrations.

Boston: More than 100 arrested

Philadelphia
WW photo: Joseph Piette

At 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 11, hundreds of state, transit, city and riot police tore into the second campsite of Occupy Boston, dragging and handcuffing participants and arresting 100 of them. The cops also stole tents and removed them from the site.

The previous day an estimated 10,000 union members, students, veterans, fami­lies, women and men of all ages had marched from the Boston Common to Dewey Square, and then to the North Wash­ington Bridge, to demand economic justice. Police stopped these protesters at the bridge, and one person was arrested. Later the demonstrators joined Occupy Boston, which expanded to fill the second site.

Rochester, N.Y.
Photo: Josie Clancy

At the General Assembly the evening before the arrests, Pat Scanlon of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Vets for Peace received a big ovation after offering words of encouragement and a brief history of the Vietnam War movement. The Brigade has been critically supportive of Occupy Boston. 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

DREAM students win in Texas

By Gloria Rubac
Houston

Texas DREAM students — advocates and activists for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act — won a major victory on July 25 as Marlon Arboleda, a University of Houston student, turned himself in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities and came out with a deferred action on deportation. When Arboleda and his attorney emerged less than an hour later, shouts of joy filled the air.

The sidewalk in front of the Immigration Processing Center in north Houston was filled with young DREAM students and their supporters, who cheered upon hearing the good news. Earlier in July Arboleda’s brother, Mauro Arboleda, was detained by ICE agents as he left his home to tutor a student, despite having a valid driver’s license. Mauro eventually got deferred action on his deportation and was told his brother had to turn himself in to be considered for deferred action. Continue reading

High school student prefers socialism

My teacher assigned my class to write an essay on whether we are for capitalism or socialism. I chose socialism.

Here is my essay. I got 100 on it.

The system of socialism is far better to me than capitalism. Socialism, in which the people own public property and have equal distribution among the people, was an idea brought up because people were sick of capitalism. Capitalists show self-interest by the tactics to make profit for themselves; some means can be by corruption for these profits. In a system of socialism, a community of comrades work together to form profit and it’s fair when it would be done.

I could also agree with socialism on different standpoints. Socially, everyone is united and helps each other through socialism. Through capitalism, people care about themselves and not the welfare of their community. It’s financial, which leads to people’s ideas that socialism couldn’t work. Continue reading

Rally to free Sekou Odinga & all political prisoners

Chokwe Lumumba
Chokwe Lumumba

Attorney Chokwe Lumumba, a Jackson, Miss., City Council member, and revolutionary rapper M-1 from Dead Prez were among those on the platform during a “Political Prisoners Unity Rally” held Oct. 17 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Special attention was given to freeing Sekou Odinga, an activist who was imprisoned for actions with the Black Liberation Army in the 1960s and 1970s.

M-1 of Dead Prez.
M-1 of Dead Prez.

Called by the Sekou Odinga Solidarity Committee and the Committee to Honor Black Heroes, the large gathering of supporters was inspired by speakers at this rally. Lumumba said of these prisoners, “They’ve given their all!” Pam Africa of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal talked of buses being arranged for Mumia’s Nov. 9 hearing in Philadelphia, and how Mumia — innocent and still threatened with execution — represents all political prisoners and the racist frame-ups they have suffered. Other speakers included Charles Barron, Freedom Party candidate for New York governor, Fred Hampton Jr., Coltran Chimurenga of the December 12th Movement, and Dr. James McIntosh of Cemotap.

One conclusion and goal of those present was well expressed by revolutionary rap artist M-1 when he said “We have to dismantle the system!”

HARTFORD SHOOTINGS Racism & sick economy bring tragedy

Racism & sick economy bring tragedy

By Larry Hales

Published Aug 11, 2010 6:06 PM

Early on Tuesday, Aug. 3, Omar Thornton was in a meeting with officials of Hartford Distributors and the Teamsters local that represents drivers at the beer wholesaler in Manchester, Conn. The company alleges that employee Thornton had been stealing beer and that it had videotaped evidence after being allowed by the union to use surveillance against Thornton.

According to Steve Hollander, whose family owns the distributor, Thornton was given the option of being fired or permitted to resign. He said Thornton chose to sign resignation paperwork, but before leaving pulled out a pistol and began shooting.

In all, nine people died after being shot at the warehouse — Thornton and eight others who worked there. Thornton’s family, his companion and her mother, an ex-partner and her family all say that Thornton had taken pictures of racist images in the plant, had recorded conversations of co-workers and had complained to them about racist harassment.

Hollander describes Thornton both as having been very calm and as having gone on a rampage — a seeming contradiction. Dr. Keith Ablow, who once was brought in to psychoanalyze a white supremacist to help his defense attorneys prepare an insanity plea, claims that deep-seated rage, not racism, caused Thornton to commit the acts he is alleged to have committed.

Ross Hollander, president of Hartford Distributors, and the company’s lawyer report that no complaints of racism had been filed. Officials of the union local have corroborated the company officials’ story and proceeded to trumpet the beer distributor’s long-standing commitment to the city of Manchester, a small town in Hartford County, Conn.

To be sure, the events of that Tuesday were terrible and can’t be made light of. The act itself cannot be condoned nor can one dismiss the hardship and heartache of the families involved, including the loved ones of Omar Thornton.

Teamsters official Christopher Roos said the shootings had “nothing to do with race” and labeled the 34-year-old Thornton as merely a “disgruntled employee.” This statement is, at the very least, irresponsible. Political people have to scrutinize the events that led to the shooting and also see them in a larger context of national oppression.

Thornton made a 911 call after he spoke to his mother and shortly before taking his own life. He explained his rationale: The company and the town of Manchester, where he worked but did not live, are racist, and he had been subjected to ill treatment since he began with the company. He said, “They’re treating me bad over here. And treat all other Black employees bad over here, too. So I took it to my own hands and handled the problem. I wish I could have got more of the people.” He added, “But yeah, these people here are crazy. And they treat me bad from when I started here. Racist company. Treat me bad. I’m the only Black they’ve already got here. They treat me bad over here, treat me bad all the time.” (www.masslive.com/news, Aug. 6)

Thornton began working at the company two years ago and was more recently promoted to driver, a position with a better salary and benefits.

His companion, Kristi Hannah, describes him as happy at the change in position but says he complained of racism at the warehouse. He took pictures of racist graffiti in a bathroom and showed them to her. He attempted to file a complaint but got no response to his attempts.

Friends corroborate racist treatment

Friends and family describe him as loving, generous and calm. Bruce LeFebvre, owner of Chemstation New England and a former employer of Thornton, remarked about how nice he was when he worked at that company. (Hartford Guardian, Aug. 4; all the following quotes are from this article)

The Hollander family, Teamster official Roos and town officials may claim there was no racism, but they are not people of color. Their denial of and refusal to acknowledge that is the type of behavior that can contribute to an employee feeling isolated, with few options for recourse. Thornton, reportedly either the only Black person or one of four Black people at the warehouse, told his companion that his complaints were ignored.

Latroy Dale Jr., who attended the same truck driving licensing school as Thornton in 2000, said that his friend spoke to him about having made nine complaints about his co-workers’ abusive treatment.

Thornton got his truck license before he applied for the job at the distributor but was denied the position of driver. Latroy Dale Sr. said, “They had him in that warehouse for about a year and a half, talking about he was slow. They said he wasn’t ready. Omar made about eight or nine complaints to those people . … Omar let it got to him, and he snapped.”

Thornton’s brother, Edward Kinder, said that on the job Thornton was called “n—-r” and “porch monkey.” Another friend, Lou Daniels, who worked at a gas station in Bloomfield, Conn., remarked that Thornton had complained to him about the difficulties he had on the job the last time they spoke. Daniels said, “He was such a low-key kind of a person. He was quiet. I think something drove him to that point.”

Thirman L. Milner, who was the first Black mayor of Hartford back in the 1980s, said, “I don’t think the young man would’ve made up those kinds of allegations. … He probably didn’t know he could turn to organizations to file his complaint.”

There is little indication that there will be any investigation into the racism at this company, but racism is pervasive in U.S. society. There is the systemic racism, evident in the overwhelming numbers of Black people and other oppressed people in the criminal justice system, the legal and extra-legal targeting of Latino/a immigrants, and the high unemployment rates of people of color. In many inner-city areas, unemployment for young Black men is as high as 60 percent.

When Latroy Dale Sr. told the Hartford Guardian, “Everybody who is Black knows what happened,” he was speaking an irrefutable truth. An oppressed person understands the anger and frustration that can build up and also knows that people who do not face such daily indignities cannot understand the feelings that well up inside a person.

The media focus on whether or not Thornton stole cases of beer is obfuscation. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But that is beside the point in a society where even the president of the country, a man who is 100 percent behind the wars abroad, has been subject to racist campaigns against himself and members of his cabinet, like the environmentalist Van Jones and other people of color in high positions, which ended in Obama bending to the whims of the reactionaries.

Omar Thornton was not in a high position. He was a worker who, like many others, was deep in debt and couldn’t walk away from his job in a period of serious economic crisis and an epic unemployment rate among Black men. He had suffered for two years through racist taunts. He got no help from his union. All workers should be asking themselves: What can we do to keep such a tragedy from happening again?