Judges will not save us. It’s the people who make history


Stephen Millies

Millions of people are worried that Trump will nominate a fascist to the U.S. Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Especially endangered are women’s reproductive rights, rights that enable women to control their own bodies.

Revolutionaries don’t sneer at these concerns. The courts are the most reactionary part of the capitalist government. Supreme Court justices have upheld jailing children in cages because they are migrants.

Hundreds of poor people have been executed because of racist judges. Troy Davis was strapped to a gurney while he waited for a stay of execution on the evening of Sept. 21, 2011.

The Black man had been framed for the killing of a Savannah, Ga., police officer. Seven of the nine witnesses recanted their testimony. Even Pope Benedict and former FBI Director William Sessions pleaded for the execution to be stopped….

The courage of Colin Kaepernick in protesting police brutality is more important than all the judges put together. Judge Ruth Ginsburg attacked Kaepernick for his actions although she had the decency to later apologize. 

It’s the Black Lives Matter movement with more than 20 million people who have joined in the demonstrations that is changing U.S. politics. As dangerous as Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court will be, the people can fight back.

Both the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate are undemocratic and need to be abolished. Only by bringing millions of more people into the struggle will we defeat all the Trumps.

Transdev fires ATU leader in “Blatant union-busting move”

ATU Local 1764 reports that Transdev, the company which operates the Fairfax Connector bus service, is back to its old union-busting ways. Transdev has fired ATU Local 1764 shop steward Vance Young in retaliation for his union activities, the union says. Young was first brought up on charges by Transdev after he raised safety concerns about clean buses with a County official, and when the company couldn’t justify disciplining him for that, they scheduled an investigative interview during his regularly-scheduled shift. After Young missed the meeting because the company did not relieve him from operating the bus, they fired him for insubordination. “The Union will fight to win Vance’s reinstatement and is confident it will prevail,” said Local 1764’s John Ertl. “This disgraceful conduct by Fairfax County’s contractor is a perfect illustration for why public services should not be entrusted to for-profit companies like Transdev.”

ATU Local 1764

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President of Kenosha Education Association (KEA) to School Board: ‘The reckless disregard for safety must stop’

“My name is Tanya Kitts-Lewinski and I am a proud special education teacher and President of the Kenosha Education Association. This week, KUSD experienced a surge in educator absences, causing several schools to pivot to virtual instruction to protect the safety of students and our community. Kenosha isn’t unique. Schools across Wisconsin and America are in the same dangerous and untenable situation.

Educators in Kenosha and everywhere want nothing more than to be with their students. But it is utterly unsafe to do so at this time. Rather than receiving the same encouragement and support as other essential workers in our community, we have been blamed for nearly every single thing that has gone wrong throughout this global health crisis. Schools closed, blame the teachers. Taking necessary precautions to keep students and coworkers safe, blame the teachers.

Educators are exhausted from bearing the brunt of this pandemic and from being forced to enter unsafe buildings that put our students, themselves, and the community at risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19. Not only does KUSD’s Return 2020 Plan guarantee further spread of the virus, being forced to simultaneously provide virtual and in-person instruction is prohibitive to providing a high-quality and equitable education for anyone. No one is benefiting from this setup.

Every Kenosha educator is dedicated to our students and has the utmost concern for their health, well-being, and academic success, but we have to be alive and healthy to serve them. Within the first week of in-person instruction in KUSD, there have been several positive cases causing a number of students and staff to quarantine. There are reports that there have been positive cases at Indian Trail, Tremper, Lakeview, Prairie Lane, Bullen, Strange, and Washington. DHS released a reopening school buildings risk assessment tool to assist in making decisions about reopening school buildings during the pandemic.

If the answer to any of the questions on the tool is “no,” school buildings should not be reopening until you can answer “yes.” To date, there have been 159 violations cited by educators based on categories from the tool, with reports coming in from 23 different buildings. This reckless disregard for safety must stop, and this school board has the power to put the brakes on.COVID-19 has no barriers and, as individuals who are in constant contact with students for hours at a time, we have an obligation to ensure we are not unknowingly spreading the virus to our students or to our families, which is why we are encouraging all educators to go get COVID tested at the end of this week.

It is the responsible and prudent thing to do while in the midst of a pandemic. Like everyone else, we wish there was not a pandemic, but the reality is that Kenosha has a high infection rate as defined by DHS. It is clear that in-person instruction will further contribute to community spread and will have harmful, and potentially fatal, consequences for students, educators and families. Public safety must be prioritized over personal opinions. Our students, staff, families, and community need and deserve better.

– Testimony before the KUSD School Board, 9/22/20

#SafetyFirst #notonedeath #standwithkenoshateachers

Photo: Joe Brusky

Solidarity with the Denver Anti-Racists

Elijah McClain, murdered by police August 24, 2019.
Elijah McClain, murdered by police August 24, 2019. | Image: Law & Crime

By Fighting Words Staff

The Communist Workers League expresses complete solidarity with, and support for, the anti-racist activists recently arrested in Colorado and with the entire Colorado Black Lives Matter movement which has been demanding justice for Elijah McClain and all victims of police terror and white supremacy.

We call for authorities to drop all of the outrageous and serious charges brought against leaders of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Front Line Party for Revolutionary Action. These charges are clearly designed to discourage dissent and intimidate organizations and their leadership from continuing the nationwide movement for justice.

We believe that Colorado police and prosecutors are acting directly or indirectly under the influence of President Trump and U.S. Attorney General William Barr. On June 1 Barr told governors across the nation “we have to take out the professional instigators and the leadership group in the major cities.” Trump also told state leaders to “dominate” the streets and jail protesters “for ten years.” [abcnews.com, June 1, 2020].

On August 18 Attorney General Barr visited Detroit, Michigan and met at length with Police Chief James Craig. Five days later Detroit riot police launched a brutal, unprovoked attack against peaceful protesters in the downtown area. Notable in the violence by the police was the targeting of some individuals who have been playing a leading role in the Detroit movement.

We urge all progressive people to unite behind the Denver anti-racist activists and to demand dropping of all charges. Free the protesters! Jail the killer cops!.

Sign the solidarity statement

Sign the petition to drop all charges

Organize, organize, organize!

Despite the ongoing pandemic, local union organizing continues; here are three recent wins:
The staff at The Hub Project, in partnership with the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, have unionized and requested voluntary recognition from management.
Office staff working for the Democratic Party of Virginia have unionized with UFCW Local 400 and negotiations on a first contract will begin shortly.
Staff members at Planned Parenthood’s national Washington, D.C., office have unionized with SEIU 500 and reached an agreement with management to improve workers’ rights.
See also “The latest frontier in worker activism: Zoom union campaigns”, by Eli Rosenburg, Washington Post, September 10, 2020

Labor Radio-Podcast Weekly: Thoroughbred Teamsters; The Voice of Oregon’s Workers; Crimes of Capital; RadioLabour

Highlights from labor radio and podcast shows around the country, part of the national Labor Radio Podcast Network of shows focusing on working people’s issues and concerns. #LaborRadioPod

RadioLabour on labor’s calls for reform of post-pandemic corporations, plus singing “Hold That Line”; Thoroughbred Teamsters’ update on the story of J’s Teamster cousin and his family losing their home in Oregon fire; The Voice of Oregon’s Workers catches up with Lamar Wise, a Political Coordinator with Oregon AFSCME and an organizer on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter movement with Rose City Justice; Crimes Of Capital on The Cochabamba Water Wars and its lessons for U.S. activists. Plus Labor History in 2 on “The End of My Sweet Jennie.”

Edited & produced by Chris Garlock; social media guru: Harold Phillips

September 24, 2020: The Film, Resisterhood (Online)

FREE via Zoom; RSVP here
Introduced by AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Liz Shuler; Q&A with director Cheryl Jacobs Crim; Hosted by Dyana Forester, president, Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO & Elise Bryant, president, Coalition of Labor Union Women.
Resisterhood is a feature-length documentary about the power of women, hope and resistance in the age of Trump. It follows fledgling and veteran activists as they fight for our rights on the streets and in the halls of power. Produced, directed, filmed and edited by women, Resisterhood is a testament to the strength of ordinary Americans in this extraordinary time.