FIST statement by Danielle Boachie & Andy Katz
The story is all too familiar: an unarmed Black man is executed by racist police officers. This time the victim is 18 year old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo. On August 9, Brown was fatally shot multiple times by anofficer of the St. Louis suburb while attempting to surrender. Dorian
Johnson, Michael’s friend who was with him during the murder said that after Brown
“felt that [first] shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air …He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.” Michael Brown’s tragic death, occurring less than a month after Eric Garner was murdered by the Staten Island police department, demonstrates once again that black lives do not matter to the white supremacist police state.
Brown’s death has sparked forceful anti-racist uprisings by the youth of Ferguson, and people nationwide – it is our right to fight back by any means necessary. The social role of the police is to maintain the status quo, violently keeping people of color and working class people from
rebelling against our fundamentally unjust capitalist economic system. They are our class enemy. The narrative presented in the corporate media and white society perpetuates a white supremacist view of young Black men as inherently violent serves to excuse the pigs that commit these heinous crimes. The nation’s increasingly militarized police force justifies their actions by blaming Black men for being “aggressive”. Yet the history of “law enforcement” in this country – from slave-catchers to today’s mass incarceration system – shows that it is in fact the police who are the aggressors. Michael Brown – like Ezell Ford, Trayvon Martin and too many others – was unarmed and surrendering.
Repression breeds resistance. We are already fighting back, and greater injustice will only lead to greater struggle.
No justice, no peace!
Baltimore FIST marches with other FIST comrades at Aug 2 Demo in DC for Gaza, connecting the struggle in Baltimore to the struggle of the people of Palestine
by David Carroll
Following the City Hall protest of the Baltimore chapter of FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) against a new repressive youth curfew law, the city government has been on the defensive. FIST has led the struggle against the curfew, uniting several community groups and generating significant media attention on the issue.
The new law will increase the amount of hours that young people are forced to be inside. Previously, people under 18 years of age had to be indoors by midnight. Now it is 11 p.m., with those under the age of 14 forced to be indoors by 9 p.m. This, combined with a daytime curfew of 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., will permit young people only a few scarce hours to be in public spaces.
When children are found in violation of the curfew, they will be taken to one of nine detention centers being set up in the city, and parents will be fined up to $500 in order to retrieve their child. This is money that the predominantly working-class people of Baltimore do not have.
In the face of mounting opposition to the curfew law, the mayor, along with the police commissioner and several government officials, decided to hold two “community forums” about the newly enacted law. FIST seized the opportunity and called for a demonstration outside of the second forum on July 29.
On the sidewalk outside before the forum began, FIST members and community activists spoke out against the curfew while wearing handcuffs, zip ties and T-shirts imprinted with different things a young person could be doing when out after curfew. These included “Went to get medicine for mom,” “Home has no air conditioning” and even “I have no home.” This sent a powerful message to those passing by about the reality of what it means for the curfew to be enforced on young people.
The forums themselves, held at two local universities, were advertised as a way for the Baltimore community to be involved with the law and have their thoughts and concerns heard. But from the way that they were conducted, this could not have been further from the truth.
From the very beginning, each forum was a public relations stunt for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and her government. The city officials were given the majority of the time to speak, saying only positive things about the new law and promising that the police would behave in enforcing it. When the audience’s questions were finally heard, the vast majority of voices allowed to speak were those members of various city government offices in support of the curfew. These were not the voices of the masses of Baltimore.
The few community people who were allowed the opportunity to speak who were not in full support of the curfew were cut off early and had their concerns coldly dismissed. Any criticism at all of the necessity of a curfew on the youth of Baltimore was scoffed at with accusations of irresponsible parenting. When the issue of police violence against noncompliant youth was raised, the mayor and police commissioner both asserted that being taken to the detention centers was mandatory, thus leaving open the ability for police to use violence against young people.
Tensions ran high as the forum came to an end without the concerns of average, working-class residents being heard. As the mayor was given the stage for closing remarks, sections of the crowd erupted into chaos and shouting. People were heard yelling things such as “You’ve spoken enough!” “We’re not finished!” and simply “No youth curfew!”
One angry person demanding answers approached the stage, where the city officials were seated. At this point the mayor and her ample bodyguards rushed out of the hall, clearly terrified of the anger that they themselves had provoked in the people in the room.
The events of that night show quite clearly that although the mayor would have us believe that the curfew is for the common good, the community is not buying it. This law is a thinly veiled version of the infamous “stop and frisk” policy, this time targeted towards the young people of Baltimore in particular. The law has also been compared to various “show your papers” laws, due to the requirement that youth have identification in order to prove their age and innocence.
The people of Baltimore, two-thirds of whom belong to working-class Black families, know what this law will bring to their communities: more police violence. This law will give police nearly unlimited authority to cause confrontations with any young person and will undoubtedly lead to violence and possibly even the death of young people.
Baltimore FIST stands with the parents and young people of Baltimore against this unjust law and will continue to fight back, demanding jobs and recreation centers, not curfews and detention centers!
FIST activist Scott Williams will be speaking in three cities in Upstate New York on the US-made crises in Gaza, Syria and Iraq from August 4-7. Williams will be connecting the US drive for endless war across the world with the economic crisis within the United States, while bringing the demand to activists in the United States for unconditional support to the people of Palestine, Syria, and Iraq as they fight of US-funded rightwing insurgents.
Gaza, Syria and Iraq: Wars Made in USA. Making the Connections Upstate NY Speaking Tour
Williams, far right, speaking on Syrian Elections at United Nations, along with Judith Bello, far left, of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars and United National Antiwar Coalition
On June 3, over 11 million Syrians voted across the world, despite threats of violence by US-backed armed insurgents. Over 73% of Syrians voted, 88% of which voted for President Assad. This election marked a turning point in the war against Syria, proving that millions of people united can defeat imperialist aggression and maintain their sovereignty.
Election observers from 32 countries, including the USA, Russia, Brazil, Uganda, Venezuela, Bolivia, Canada, Ireland, and Iran witnessed the historic election in Syria.
Judy Bello, a member of the Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, and a member of the UNAC Administrative Committee and Scott Williams, a National Coordinator of FIST – Fight Imperialism, Stand Together, an anti-imperialist youth organization and an organizer with International Action Center, will be reporting on what they saw as part of this delegation to observe the Syrian Elections. Speakers will be connecting the US-funded crises in Syria, Iraq and Palestine and lead a discussion of how to build a broad, united movement to end US support of Israel and armed insurgents in Syria and Iraq, and to end US occupation of Iraq.
FIST will be mobilizing to Washington DC this Saturday, Aug 2nd, at 1pm across from the White House, along with many other people and organizations from across the US. All out to stand with Gaza, the Palestinian resistance, and to oppose U.S.-funded genocide! Contact us if you want to meet our contingent.
Victory to the Palestinians!
Israel’s bloodthirsty siege of Gaza, based on a contrived excuse of the killing of three Israeli boys in Palestine, has nothing to do with self-defense and everything to do with elimination the Palestinian people.
Armed with $4 billion in military support from the US, Israel has invaded Palestine and killed over 1,000 Palestinians, most of which are civilians. Many thousands more have been injured and lack necessary medical care because of Israel’s devastating blockade of Gaza.
Hamas, the elected leadership of the Palestinians in Gaza with, has been the target of endless propaganda which seeks to defame it. Yet the resistance of the Palestinians is successful and growing.
Millions of people in every continent have mobilized for the Palestinians, to the point at which the UN has had to act. Last week at the UN, only one country voted with Israel as to whether they had committed violations of human rights, the United States. The people of the world have condemned Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians 77 different times at the UN. Yet the UN is not where the Palestinians will get justice. The US will never let this happen.
Zionism, much like the US colonists’ ideology of Manifest Destiny and the following annihilation of the indigenous people of the Americas, has nothing to do with religion, but everything to do with imperialism and oppression. Similar occupied territories exist because of US and European imperialism, like Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the entire United States, Northern Ireland, Golan Heights, Taiwan, and many more.
Imperialism is an economic system, the development of capitalism on a world scale in which monopolistic banks and corporations dominate the world. Expand or die, this is the rule for imperialism. US imperialism, in its attempt to lift itself out of economic turmoil, is the primary source of violence in the world today. The United States’ interest in Israel is not religious, but economic. “The dollar follows the flag and the flag follows the dollar.” This is US policy across the world. For the US wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, as well as its drone killings of mostly civilians in Somalia and Pakistan, Israel is home base and a tool of US corporate domination.
Yet we know that the power of the people is stronger than any amount of fighter jets, high-tech bombs, or occupations. The millions of people in the streets all over the world in solidarity with Gaza must continue to put pressure on Israel and the US. The struggle of the Palestinian people is foremost example for the world of people fighting back against imperialism. Together, linked in our struggle against US and Israel’s apartheid and genocide, we will win.
The young revolutionaries of Fight Imperialism, Stand Together are organizing in cities across the US, from Detroit to Los Angeles, New York to North Carolina, to support the Palestinians fight for their entire homeland. We urge all people to build unconditional support for the Palestinian people to fight back, by any means that they determine are necessary. A victory for the Palestinians is a victory for all the oppressed and the exploited!
From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free!
by Caleb Maupin
The recent controversy regarding the “border children” in the United States needs to be placed in a proper global context.
In response to the influx of children from Central America, who are fleeing the US backed devastation in Honduras and Guatemala; fascists in the United States have revealed themselves once again.
In Murieta, California, bands of right-wing extremists blocked buses filled with children from Central America. The police stood aside, and allowed these right-wingers to terrorize and threaten a group of child and young refugees who were being transported by the US Border Patrol.
The event was highly publicized, and the members of this “movement” were soon filling the airwaves, calling for similar action against people they consider to be “illegal.”
It has been revealed that the entire “movement” against the “border children” was staged in close coordination with the police and border patrol agents. Members of the Border Patrol “leaked” photographs of the children to right-wing media. Police and Border Patrol Agents even coordinated with the ultra-right wing activists as to when the buses would arrive, so that the “protest” of right-wing flag waving racists could be staged at the exact right moment.
The rhetoric of these “anti-immigrant activists” is classical fascist rhetoric. It calls for “restoring America’s greatness” by purging “undesirable” elements. It preaches extreme hatred not just for immigrants, impoverished people, and others, but also for any forces that seek to build solidarity with the oppressed. The “Tea Party”, the John Birch Society, the Ku Klux Klan, the “militia groups” now being formed in Border States, all hate labor unions, anti-racist activists, and all who call for social equality. In their hate filled rants, they often speak is obsessively about what they consider to be their ultimate enemy: Communism.
The children, who fled the horrific results of fascism in Honduras and Guatemala, are now being targeted by fascists in the United States.
Fascism in Latin America
US media talks of the recent rise in immigration to the US from Central America as if this is completely unrelated to anything else. Let’s talk about the facts.
The Central American country of Honduras is economically under the control of Wall Street, and neo-liberalism. Currently, over 51 percent of the people in Honduras are unemployed. 59 percent of the country lives in poverty, with the rate of “extreme poverty” rapidly increasing. This poverty is accompanied by crime, and Honduras has the highest rate of murder in the entire world with 90.4 homicides for every 100,000 people.
In 2009, the President of Honduras was Manuel Zelaya. Zelaya was a populist, supported by labor unions and other progressive political forces. His democratically elected government was implementing reforms to elevate poverty. He was bringing Honduras closer to Venezuela, Bolivia, and other countries in the growing Bolivarian movement of Latin American countries. Zelaya talked of writing a new constitution that would be more democratic, and ensure more representation for the masses of working and impoverished people.
This moment of hope for the people of Honduras was swept away with a brutal military coup. The elected government was removed by military force. Zelaya was exiled from the country, and a campaign of violence and terror was unleashed.
In the wave of fascist violence since the 2009 coup, 30 journalists have been assassinated. 176 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists have also been killed.
Behind this campaign of violence in Honduras, is the government of the United States. The CIA facilitated the coup against Zeleya, and US money has backed the leaders in years of violence and repression that followed. US corporations are reaping the benefits of the neo-liberalism and privatizations imposed after Zelaya were removed, getting wealthier each day. The government in place since the coup is friendly to Wall Street, and happy to do the bidding of western finance capital.
In Honduras, all who would seek to try and change the horrific economic circumstances in the country live in fear of their lives. Leftist activists frequently disappear, and are later found dead. The people of Honduras live under fascism. Fascism is nothing but capitalism, enforced by a mass campaign of violence and terror.
Guatemala is also the site of violent repression of democratic and progressive activists. Police terror is routinely unleashed on the indigenous people, the labor movement, and other forces that seek to improve the conditions for the majority of the population.
The rise in fascism on a global level is not unique to Latin America, or Ukraine. Fascism is growing in Europe with organizations like the English Defense League, the British National Party, and the Golden Dawn. Fascism exists, and is growing, in the United States as well.
The ultra-right wing activists in the US were so angered after Obama, an African-American, was elected President in 2008 that in Staten Island, New York, a group of them brutally beat a random black teenager. Ali Kamara was targeted for no other reason than that he was same race as Obama, and was nearby a group of right-wingers on election night. They chanted “Obama! Obama!” as they pummeled him with baseball bats.
When Obama’s “Healthcare Reform” law was being discussed in congress, the “Tea Party” showed up at healthcare meetings with guns. Even as Obama serves Wall Street, the ultra-right wing claims he is a communist. Some ultra-rightists have even openly called for armed acts of violence against the Democratic Party.
The nature of fascism
The groups of armed vigilantes in Honduras and Guatemala, who slaughter left-wing activists and others, are not always officially part of the police or the military. Many are right-wing political activists, who believe they are on some kind of noble mission to preserve Christianity and free market capitalism. Though they work closely with the government, getting direction from the police and the military, they are often officially independent. Government officials will sometimes symbolically condemn their actions, while giving a nod of approval and taking no action to stop them.
This is the common reality of fascism. The Ku Klux Klan in the United States, Hitler’s “Brown shirts”, the Fascisti Brigades of Italy, the Fallangists in Spain, all functioned this way. They preached a demagogic message with lots of religion and mysticism mixed in with hating leftists. Fascists call to “restore a glorious past” with vigilante violence, hateful propaganda, and targeted killings.
Fascists often spew rhetoric that sounds “revolutionary” or “radical.” They will denounce corporations or government officials they consider to be “unpatriotic.” They will bemoan worsening economic conditions. In some instances, fascists may even claim to be against capitalism.
However, the target of fascist violence is never the rich and powerful. Fascists always turn their guns against the poor, the dispossessed, and those activists who would defend them. Their funding always comes from big business. The wealthy use fascists as pawns, hoping that with their violence and terrorism, and the chaos and fear it creates, movements for social reform and equality can be pushed back.
Fascism was unleashed in Ukraine, in order to deliver the country into the hands of Wall Street, the IMF, and European Union. Fascist groups in Venezuela seek to overthrow the popular government led by the United Socialist Party.
Wall Street is unleashing fascism in Honduras, Guatemala, and other Latin American countries. The US work closely with the Guatemalan and Honduran regimes and the fascist terrorist organization in those countries, in order to secure control of those countries. Imperialism would rather see fascist terror in Latin America, than lose control of their natural resources and cheap labor.
The response of many people in Guatemala and Honduras has been to flee. They seek to escape the violence and poverty the US has imposed on their homeland. These children have been rightly called“refugees.” Just like those who flee Syria, as US backed terrorists wage a campaign of violence against the government, children, as well as many adults, are fleeing Honduras and Guatemala in response to horrific conditions.
It should be noted that very few children are fleeing the nearby country of Nicaragua. The government led by the Sandinistas is implementing progressive reforms, elevating poverty, and making life better. The people of Honduras once had a President with similar intentions, but he was swept away in US backed coup.
What the fascists fear
Fascists, in Guatemala, Honduras, the United States, and everywhere else, are shock troops for Wall Street. They attack the poor and oppressed, as well as the forces that stand for social progress, equality, and democracy. The rise in fascism is a response to the Bolivarian movement in Latin America that has broken so many of the chains of western economic domination. Fascism is a response to the rise of Russia and China as economic players on a global stage, not allow the US control the markets as it once did.
The rise of fascism is also a response to the growing discontent in the US with income inequality.
Fascists everywhere are hoping that they can turn back the clock. They long for the world of yesterday, where a small group of billionaires in the US had absolute control of the global economy. They want a United States where workers don’t have the right to form unions, and African-Americans, immigrants, and other sectors of society don’t have anything close to equality. They want a society without the strides toward social equality and economic justice that have already been won. They want nothing but absolute freedom for the billionaires and many of the so-called “libertarians” among their ranks will openly proclaim this goal.
Behind the rage of the fascists is a subconscious realization that they will fail. Time does not move backwards. Humanity is marching toward a new world of justice, equality, and freedom. The world is changing, and the age of empires and slave masters is fading away. This scares them more than anything else.
The people of Venezuela continue to rally around the United Socialist Party and the revolutionary leaders of the Bolivarian movement. The people of East and Southern Ukraine have not surrendered, despite being subject to the harshest terror and repression. Demonstrations demanding equal rights for immigrant workers in the US, and huge rallies against austerity and cutbacks in Europe, are on the rise. The hope stays that the fascists, along with the social forces they serve, will eventually be eliminated.
Originally published on RT here.
What do PALESTINE, REFUGEE MIGRANT CHILDREN, UKRAINE, & SYRIA have in common?
IMPERIALISM on the Offensive: How We Will Fight Back
A Statement and Call to Action from Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST)
The aggressive apartheid settler state of Israel is once again attacking the people of Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank. The pretext this time was the death of three Israeli teenagers, but the results are all too familiar. At the time of this writing, 167 Palestinians have been confirmed killed in the airstrikes, 1,100 injured, and hundreds arrested. This chapter in the ongoing genocide of Palestine recalls the massive bombings of 2008-2009, which killed 1,417 Palestinians.
Meanwhile, in the United States, over 50,000 refugee children and youth, primarily from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, are being held in concentration camps at the border. The U.S. governments ineffectual efforts to relocate some of them have in some areas been met by proto-fascist demonstrations of whites opposing migration.
On the other side of the world, in Ukraine, a pro-U.S./E.U./NATO government effected a coup of the democratically elected leader with the help of a growing fascist movement. At the time of this writing, the popular workers’ movement in East Ukraine is being exterminated by those same fascists who now wear government uniforms.
Syria, a nation suffering immensely from a civil war, recently re-elected its president Bashir al-Assad by a wide margin with high levels of public participation. Opposing the government is a right-wing U.S./Saudi-funded grouping of “contra” mercenaries, who are raised up as “freedom fighters” in the U.S. media while the Syrian government is demonized.
Nowhere in the capitalist-controlled media are these events portrayed as related in any way – yet they are intimately connected. Each is a product of the world system of imperialism.
IMPERIALISM IS THE ROOT CAUSE
Imperialism is not just the tendency of U.S. and European nations toward aggressive wars. It is not simply bad policies of a particular president or political party. Imperialism is a global economic system – it is the highest stage of capitalism, in which monopolies and a financial oligarchy rule, the imperial nations divide the world amongst themselves, the entire world is subjugated and exploited economically by these powers, and those nations or peoples which do not obey are crushed militarily.
Israel is imperialism’s outpost in the Middle East – a genocidal white settler nation armed with nuclear weapons, a high-tech military, funded by the U.S. Since Israel’s establishment as a state, it has served to destabilize all other independent nations nearby, halting anti-imperialist development and keeping it’s oil-rich neighbors weak and open to exploitation by the west. Were it to make peace with it’s neighbors and truly reverse the historic crime of occupation and genocide against Palestine, it would lose its utility to the imperialists. Racism and apartheid keep the flame of conflict burning, and keep the missiles falling on the oppressed peoples of the Middle East.
The poverty and conflict in Central America is a direct result of more than 150 years of U.S. imperial policy – effecting right-wing coups, halting independent development – all in order to keep the resources and peoples’ labor open to exploitation and profit. Most recently, in 2009, the U.S. supported a coup that displaced the left-leaning democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya. Popular opposition to this crime was crushed with massively increased police repression, combined with more exploitative working conditions, leading ultimately to a mass exodus – many of whom are now imprisoned at the U.S. border.
When the government of the Ukraine wavered in its resolve to strengthen ties with the E.U. and NATO and considered moving towards closer ties with Russia, a fascist-supported violent coup came swiftly after to bring the nation – and its crucial energy infrastructure and resources – back into the imperialist fold.
Syria has long materially supported the Palestinian peoples’ struggle for self determination, having had its own Golan Heights stolen and occupied by the settler state. The U.S. seized on internal turmoil is Syria to fund and support right-wing fundamentalists in their war with the Syrian government and people. Syria, Iran, Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon – these nations are under constant attack and pressure precisely because they oppose U.S.-led imperial domination and exploitation of the region.
HOW WE WILL FIGHT BACK
FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together) calls upon all people, particularly youth, to take to the streets against these crimes. Demonstrations against the genocidal attack on the people of Palestine have been called in many areas – we praise and support these. We connect the struggles of all people under attack – Palestine, migrant refugees, the people of Syira and Ukraine, and all independent peoples of the world. We must be clear about the root cause of the violence whenever we take a public stand: imperialism is the enemy of all humanity. It is not a particular law, lobbyist group, or president. It is the system itself, and the independent peoples across the world will only be free to follow their own path when it is defeated.
The most crucial political principle in opposing imperialism is to unconditionally support the right of oppressed peoples to self determination. We must defend the right of the Palestinian people – and all peoples across the world under imperialist attack – to fight back in whatever way they choose, by any means necessary. What kind of solidarity would we be showing if we denounce the U.S. and Israel while at the same time preaching to the oppressed how they should struggle? Our duty is to oppose imperialism!
Learn more about FIST, socialism, and how to fight back at fightimperialism.org