Teamsters Disaster Relief Team Returns After Mission in Puerto Rico, Calls For Solidarity

After two weeks in Puerto Rico, the Teamsters Disaster Relief finished their two-week long mission to bring the island back on its feet after it suffered the most devastating storm in modern history.

Yesterday, Now This released a video documenting the return of volunteer union members.

“I’m glad we were able to help, even if it was in a small way,” said Roy Gillespie, Joint Council 13 Human Rights Coordinator. “There’s going to be a lot more needed for the long term. They won’t be able to get back on their feet until everyone has clean drinking water, electricity, and all the stuff we take for granted. You go to stores, and the shelves are bare or there are still lines around the block.”

“When you’re at home watching this with your family, you can feel sorry about what’s going on there, but you have the luxury of turning off the TV and forgetting about it,” said Carl Gasca, a Local 174 Business Agent who was returning from San Juan. “These people will never forget about it. And the Puerto Rican people I met, they are truly wonderful people. They have a smile on their face, and they hope for the best but expect the worst.”

Jose Padilla is a Local 282 member that works for U.S. Concrete, and he has family on the island. As he boarded a flight, he reflected upon his time in the disaster zone.

“I felt good that I did this, and I’m happy that I did it for the proper cause,” said Padilla. “I’m proud that I was a part of this project, and I really hope that this island can recover. Now that this is over, the only thing I’m afraid of is planes – I really don’t like flying.”

Check out the video and share it with your coworkers and friends.

In solidarity,

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

November 1: Emergency meeting to stop 287g in Waukesha County

Hosted by Voces de la Frontera

Espanol: reunión de emergencia para poner un alto a la 287g en el condado de Waukesha en Casa se Esperanza en Waukesha miércoles 1 de noviembre a las 6pm. También llamen al alguacil al 262-548-7122 para decirle que no queremos 287g en Waukesha. Haz tu parte y comparte este video.

English: Emergency meeting to stop 287g in Waukesha County Wed. Nov. 1 at 6pm at Casa de Esperanza in Waukesha. Also call the sheriff at 262-548-7122 to tell him you do not want 287g in Waukesha. Act and share this video.

Viewpoint: Detroit’s Invisible Majority and the Crises of Municipal Governance

https://www.newsghana.com.gh/viewpoint-detroits-invisible-majority-and-the-crises-of-municipal-governance/

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Sunday October 29, 2017

“…Claims of revitalization exclude the social aspirations of African Americans and the working masses

During the week of October 23-27, the World Conference of Mayors held a conference in the city of Detroit at the luxurious MGM Casino Hotel.

This organization is not to be confused with the United States Conference of Mayors which has existed for decades. The World Conference mainly consists of elected officials and other affiliates from small and medium-sized African American majority cities in the southern U.S. along with some representation from Africa, Canada and the Middle East…

Another highlight of the week of action was the “Real Detroiters Speak Out” town hall meeting held at the Historic St. Matthews-St. Joseph’s Church on Woodward Avenue on October 26. Over twenty people from various community organizations addressed a capacity audience on the profound problems facing the city.

It is outcomes of such coalition and movement-building activities that solutions to the crises will emerge. At the root of the social problems of Detroit and other major cities is the decline of the capitalist system.

The present administrations holding power in the municipalities, state governments, Congress and the White House are a reflection of the inability of the prevailing economic system to resolve the fundamental needs of the people. The only solution is socialist reconstruction which would transfer the wealth generated by the working and oppressed communities from the capitalist ruling class to the masses.”

National Lawyer’s Guild: Anti-fascist and anti-racist activists and allies, especially anyone who was present in Charlottesville Virginia on August 11 or 12, 2017

To: Anti-fascist and anti-racist activists and allies, especially anyone who was present in Charlottesville Virginia on August 11 or 12, 2017

In the aftermath of this summer’s white supremacist rallies and attacks in Virginia, local and federal law enforcement are contacting anti-fascist and anti-racist activists and others who were in Charlottesville on August 11 and 12, 2017.

As of this writing (October 27, 2017) we are aware that state and local police (including the Charlottesville Police Department, Albemarle County Police Department, University of Virginia Police Department, and Virginia State Police) have contacted dozens of activists. We are also aware of two activists who have been contacted by federal law enforcement including the FBI. All of the activists contacted by law enforcement were injured either on the evening of August 11 at the University of Virginia campus or during the August 12 march in Charlottesville when a fascist rammed a car into the crowd. Law enforcement is telling all activists that the activists themselves are not the subject of the investigation, but that law enforcement would like to speak to them as victims and witnesses as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Everyone we have been in touch with directly has agreed to the above information being shared on their behalf in the interest of transparency and in the spirit of solidarity.

Many people have been calling for the state to prosecute fascists for the extreme violence, terror, and injuries inflicted on August 11 and 12. We recognize that in light of this some people may be considering sharing information with various law enforcement agencies for the purpose of prosecuting the fascists, and that some people have already done so. In this moment we would like to encourage everyone considering “helping” the state’s investigation of fascist violence get legal advice before deciding to talk to any law enforcement agents. We suggest that people start from the presumption that any information shared with law enforcement will be used against other anti-fascists & anti-racist activists, and that everyone keep the following points in mind:

  • Law enforcement can lie about what the subject of their investigation is.
  • Law enforcement agencies do routinely share information with other agencies (for example, local police departments may share the substance of an interview with the FBI or with ICE).
  • In fact, inter-agency structures are in place to facilitate exactly this type of information sharing (for example, the Virginia Fusion Center: http://www.vsp.state.va.us/ FusionCenter/index.shtm).
  • If you make statements now in order to assist police in the investigation and prosecution of fascists and the state later decides to broaden their investigation to include anti-fascist and anti-racist activists, you may be subpoenaed for more information. Refusing to comply with a subpoena later is more difficult (from a legal defenses perspective) if you have previously cooperated with law enforcement investigation efforts.
  • It is possible that a special grand jury either has been or will be convened to investigate anti-fascist and anti-racist actions and efforts surrounding the events in Charlottesville and elsewhere. Any and all information given to law enforcement deepens the reach of a grand jury investigation. Grand juries have historically been used as a tool to repress political movements.
  • Even simply confirming to law enforcement that you were present at an event on specific date or at a certain place can lead to further adverse actions against leftist activists and subpoenas to you for testimony and/or for access to your records (including electronic devices like cell phones and cameras) at a later stage.

We would like to remind everyone of your rights when interacting with law enforcement:

  • You are not required to speak with any law enforcement officer or agent.
  • You have a right to consult an attorney before talking to law enforcement or deciding whether or not to talk to them.
  • You have a right to have an attorney present while being questioned by law enforcement even if they tell you that you are not the subject of the investigation or if you volunteer to do an interview.

We recommend the following:

  • If you are contacted by law enforcement, simply get their name and contact information and firmly let them know that you do not want to speak with them at this time and that they will hear from your attorney.
  • If you do ultimately choose to share information with law enforcement, never discuss your political views or affiliations and never discuss anyone else in any way (including who else was present).
  • Remember that giving photo or video records to law enforcement that show other people does amount to confirming the whereabouts of other activists without their consent.
  • We also remind everyone that information shared with law enforcement will be used against other people in anti-fascist and anti-racist movements. Even seemingly innocuous details about where you were and at what time can end up being used against other people or simply to construct social maps of our communities. Sharing information can also inadvertently expose others to the type of right-wing harassment and doxing which have recently been so harmful to people in our communities.

For these reasons we recommend that no-one speak with law enforcement. If you have already done so, contact a lawyer as soon as possible for assistance moving forward. If you have been contacted by law enforcement and are considering speaking with them, don’t do it without first contacting an attorney to privately discuss these issues and to decide how to proceed. Always use attorneys who have experience representing members of political movements during criminal investigations or defending activists with criminal charges.

We also encourage people to continue to be transparent about these developments as they occur – secrecy leads to isolation and feeds fear, which are both harmful to solidarity.

Resources:

The best place to start to find experienced political attorneys to represent you in this context is to talk to other anti-fascist and anti-racist activists and the organizations you’ve been working through. It’s a good idea for groups to line up a suitable lawyer or group of lawyers in advance.

Also, your local NLG Chapter can provide assistance in finding political attorneys in your area: https://www.nlg.org/chapters/

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Know Your Rights materials: http://www.nlg.org/know-your- rights/ Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) If an Agent Knocks booklet: https://ccrjustice.org/if- agent-knocks-booklet

Freedom Archives background on how grand juries have been used against political movements in the past: https://search. freedomarchives.org/search. php?s=Grand+Juries

For more on grand juries and the criminal legal process for activists in general we recommend: A Tilted Guide to Being a Defendant: https:// tiltedscalescollective.org/ full-book/

P.S.  VERY IMPORTANT:  Remember the following:

People should be clear that they should not, under any circumstances, lie to law enforcement. It is a crime to lie to the FBI. It may be to lie to other law enforcement even if not expressly prohibited. It is often considered obstructing justice and some places disorderly conduct.

2017 Workers World Party National Conference: Unite to Smash White Supremacy & Capitalism! Fight for Socialism!

https://www.workers.org/wwp/2017conference/

Workers World Party 2017 National Conference

November 18 – 19 | Downtown Newark, NJ – near Penn Station

Register for the conference today!

This year, the movement has seen everything from the inauguration of arch-bigot Donald Trump to the toppling of racist confederate statues. It has responded in militant action to the attacks on migrants, the LGBTQ community, Black lives, and U.S. wars and sanctions abroad. We’ve watched in horror as colonized Puerto Rico and other oppressed nations suffer from global warming and genocidal policies, the murder of anti-racist activists and state repression of freedom fighters.

As the centennial of the Russian Revolution approaches, we are faced with an urgent need to unite and fight for our lives. The 50-year anniversary of Che Guevara’s martyrdom and the Newark Uprising offer critical lessons for going forward. Our comrades in the streets risking their lives to topple white supremacy need our support — a people’s army to back them up.

Workers World Party invites you to attend our 2017 conference in the heart of Newark, NJ (a short train ride from NYC) — one of the largest and most impoverished working-class cities in the Northeast, as well as a historic site of resistance. Hundreds of freedom fighters from across the country will gather to meet and discuss where our movement goes from here.

Join us for dynamic workshops, plenaries, cultural performances and more. As the battle against white supremacy continues to intensify, we are strategizing a path forward in the fight for socialism.

Register for the conference today!

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Puerto Ricans organize themselves to revive

By Linda Backiel posted on October 25, 2017

https://www.workers.org/2017/10/25/puerto-ricans-organize-themselves-to-revive/

“…It is the lack of maintenance that led to the collapse of the electrical generating and transmission systems. FEMA awarded $240 million contracts to a U.S. company for repairs — one of many such contracts — but the recipients do little other than pay their employees and distribute profits in the U.S.

Still, the communities are standing strong, serving hot breakfasts and offering medical, dental and educational services to their children, thanks to volunteer community labor.

The unions have opened “regional centers of solidarity” for their members and families where they offer everything from medical services to help with requests for material assistance. Restaurant chefs are providing meals to refugees and others. Almost all musical institutions and many artists are contributing their “grains of sand” — offering concerts and serenades, including to people waiting in long lines at banks.

The past stage of a supposedly happy and satisfied Puerto Rico waiting to be exploited by tourists and speculators has collapsed. Behind the scenes there is a Puerto Rico that is organizing itself to revive, building on its native roots to develop new institutions that serve the Puerto Rican people.”

Linda Backiel, a lawyer living in San Juan who is a longtime advocate for Puerto Rican independence, is a guest contributor to WW.