Kenosha Unified School District sent these t-shirts to educators asking them to wear them and take selfies using the hashtag #kusdstrong, but Kenosha educators aren’t feeling it. The district has them in buildings five days a week for face-to-face learning in a global pandemic that’s hit Kenosha particularly hard without the proper protection or protocols to deal with the virus. There have been 113 positive cases (10/27) in the district already this year. Educators are instead converting their shirts to #KUSDwrong and demanding the district go all virtual immediately.#DemandSafeSchools
Our educators have found themselves at the heart of a national crisis without the support and resources they need to be at their best for their students. Instead of ignoring the danger our schools and community are facing, Kenosha Unified School District should focus on prioritizing safety for students and staff. #KUSDwrong
Macomb county executive Mark Hackel (586) 469-7001
Police in Jim Crow Shelby Twp are charging 5 protesters with baseless felonies (resisting arrest, obstruction, assaulting) after an arrest for stepping off the sidewalk during a march. Officers came with riot shields, batons and even attack dogs to threaten peaceful protesters, bringing back a form of racism reminiscent of Birmingham, 1963.
These arrests and charges are an egregious violation of first amendment rights. Shelby Twp’s Chief of police Robert Shelide, Michigan’s own Bull Connor, has made statements calling protesters “vicious subhumans” and threatened to put them in body bags. This racist rhetoric is shocking to the conscience, and even more so when backed up with action by the officers who work for him, like we saw last week. Macomb county prosecutor Jean Cloud has chosen to pursue these charges, showing that she clearly stands with Jim Crow racism and the suppression of the right to protest. We demand that Jean Cloud drop these charges immediately!
Donald Trump is making it clearer every day that he will not peacefully give up the office of president. Trump may claim victory after instigating massive voter suppression, post office sabotage and attacks on absentee ballots. His right-wing supporters are being encouraged to prevent fair voting from proceeding. If Trump overturns the election, if he refuses to accept the will of the electorate or if his criminal interference is unacceptable to the people, how can he be removed from the Oval Office?
To expect the United States military to intervene should not be our plan. And the Supreme Court of the United States cannot be relied upon to deliver even a semblance of justice. To wait upon the military or the courts to act would be foolish and disastrous. Only the broadest mass movement of the working class and oppressed peoples can protect basic democracy in this period.
What is needed is to organize broad based People’s Committees to Defend Democratic Rights. This must be done very quickly. To be truly representative these committees must extend invitations to any and every progressive groups and labor organization in their locality. These must include churches, women’s groups, the LGBTQ community, immigrant rights groups, people with disabilities organizations, Black Lives Matter groups as well as traditional Civil Rights organizations, Native nations, Latinx associations, Asian & Pacific Islanders groups and all other progressive associations. Local labor unions must take this up as well as central labor councils and labor allies.
The aim of People’s Committees should be very clear. They must prepare to shut the entire country down if Trump tries to steal the election. They must popularize the idea of, and prepare for, a General Strike.
The largest labor organization in the country is the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) with 12.5 million members. The AFL-CIO should play an important role. The Constitution of the AFL-CIO mandates that it respond to the dangerous situation that is looming. The Preamble says in part:
“We will assemble a broad progressive coalition for social and economic justice. We will create a political force within the labor movement that will speak forcefully and persuasively on the public issues that affect our lives.” Article II, Objects and Principles, Section 12 instructs the federation:
“To protect the labor movement from any and all corrupt influences and from the undermining efforts of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, terrorism and all other forces that suppress individual liberties and freedom of association and oppose the basic principles of our democracy and of free and democratic unionism.”
This gives the AFL-CIO Executive Council, state and local central labor bodies and individual local unions the duty to assist in the formation of People’s Committees to Defend Democratic Rights. A general strike cannot just be called out of the blue. People’s Committees could call upon every union local, every organization and progressive group to discuss the idea and to conduct a vote of their membership asking them to authorize the calling of a general strike if and when it is deemed necessary.
Just imagine the terror felt on Wall Street among the big bankers and corporate bosses as word comes out of one union after another, one community group after another, one church after another, weighing in with a YES vote in favor of a general strike. Every day billionaire support for Donald Trump’s provocations would dry up and his mass right-wing base would become more and more isolated. It might very well be so effective that no actual work stoppage would even be needed.
How to Begin?
Circulate this call as widely as possible.
Take this call to your organization for discussion and endorsement.
Have your organization contact other local groups forming a People’s Committee to Defend Democratic Rights and participate in its meetings.
Plan to have your organization’s membership vote on authorizing and participating in a General Strike to stop Trump from stealing the election.
Voting is one of the many tools we use to protect our communities, ensure our needs are met, and to make sure we’re thriving. These are unprecedented times and we must do everything we can to make sure our communities are safe. Stay away from Election Day crowds and #VoteEarly!
Early voting begins on Oct 20th at many Madison area libraries. Check out the full list of early vote locations here: bit.ly/earlyvotemad Or mask up and vote on Election Day Tuesday Nov 3rd 7am-8pm.Find your polling location and who’s on you ballot here: myvote.wi.gov
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