Carlos Montes, a voice for change – the 60s, the civil rights movement and today

[Carlos Montes, a prominent leader of Chicano people in Los Angeles for nearly 5 decades, is the latest target of FBI raids aimed at international solidarity activists.  June 16, the same day as the court hearing in his case in Los Angeles, the Committee to Stop FBI repression is leading demonstrations nationwide to protest this repression and to pledge further deepening and broadening of the international solidarity movements.  See stopfbi.net for more information. — Frontlines ed.]

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http://www.alhambrasource.org/stories/voice-change-60s-civil-rights-movement-and-today

by Tim Loc, Staff, Alhambra Source, June 16, 2011

Carlos Montes | Photo from http://www.stopfbi.net

Activist Carlos Montes, a familiar face in the 1960s Chicano Movement, moved to Alhambra 20 years ago because he saw it as a peaceful enclave that was close to his homebase of East Los Angeles. He had a rude awakening on May 17 when the FBI and deputies from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s department executed a search warrant on his home. He was arrested after the search turned up a firearm. Montes speaks to The Alhambra Source on his history with activism, and what he alleges is the FBI’s agenda of targeting activists like him.

You were a co-founder of the Brown Berets. How did it begin?

It started as a civic youth group. It became the Young Chicanos for Community Action, and then it got more involved in direct grassroots organizing. Then it became the Brown Berets, and we dealt with the issues of education and police brutality. It started small, but once it took on a broader view of the political situation it grew really fast. It became part of the movement of the 60s. I grew up in East LA, so I saw the police mistreating the youth. We’d cruise down Whittier Boulevard with the music on in the car and we would be harassed by the sheriffs. And in the schools the students were mistreated and the classes were overcrowded. Continue reading

Wisconsin: Obama Rebuffs Invites to Stand with Workers

[The unions gave him unconditional support, just like they’ve always given Democrats. Obama talked “progressive” — even “left” (according to some reformists).  But since the election, Obama has consistently walked the “rightward” corporate road. The question is raised once again, when will workers organize to challenge the ways they are used? And to build a powerful movement independent of such charlatans? — Frontlines ed.]

March 13, 2011 by the Associated Press

Will Workers Stand with Obama Again in 2012?

by Sam Hananel

WASHINGTON  — Union leaders urged Vice President Joe Biden during a White House meeting last month to go to Wisconsin and rally the faithful in their fight against Gov. Scott Walker’s move to curtail collective bargaining rights for most public employees.

OBAMA'S SILENCE DEAFENING -- Over 100,000 rally, Saturday March 12, 2011 at Capitol Square in Madison, in Madison, Wis. The Obama administration rebuffed invitations to stand with the workers and their families. (AP/Steve Apps) Request rebuffed, they asked for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

OBAMA'S SILENCE DEAFENING -- Over 100,000 rally, Saturday March 12, 2011 at Capitol Square in Madison, in Madison, Wis. The Obama administration rebuffed invitations to stand with the workers and their families. (AP/Steve Apps) Request rebuffed, they asked for Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.

So far, however, the White House has stayed away from any trips to Madison, the state capital, or other states in the throes of union battles. The Obama administration is treading carefully on the contentious political issue that has led to a national debate over the power that public sector unions wield in negotiating wages and benefits.Some labor leaders have complained openly that President Barack Obama is ignoring a campaign pledge he made to stand with unions; others say his public comments have been powerful enough.

The stakes are high as Obama looks toward a grueling re-election campaign. Republicans have begun airing television ads linking Obama to “union bosses” standing in the way of budget cuts in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states.

As a candidate, Obama seemed to promise more to organized labor, among the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies.

“If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I’ll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself,” Obama said at a speech in 2007. “I’ll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.” Continue reading

An Open Call to the “Left Establishment”: Break with Obama Now! Support the People’s Struggles!

FBI Raids Continue Agency’s Dirty War against Radicals

by Ernesto Aguilar

1 October, 2010

Here is the transcript of my latest editorial for Shared Sacrifice. This week, I talk the recent FBI raids and the resistance. Audio component is posted online at dotrad.

This week, people in almost 50 cities organized protests to combat what they say is harassment targeting activists.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis last Friday. In addition, the FBI handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to eleven activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. Other individuals are reportedly being issued subpoenas to testify before the grand jury, which convenes in Chicago starting Tuesday, October 5.

Among the groups apparently aimed at in the sweep were the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Palestine Solidarity Group and Students for a Democratic Society, a youth activist network related inspired by the student group active in the 1960s.

According to media reports, the FBI searched activists’ homes as part of an investigation of those allegedly supporting groups labeled terrorist by the United States government, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The United States government considers a wide range of organizations terrorist, including the Tamil Tigers, Basque independence movement groups and the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army.

However, solidarity groups related to Palestine and Colombia people’s movements have built momentum the last few years, Groups like the Colombia Solidarity Network connecting the two crises with imperialism and war. Continue reading

Defiance of FBI attacks on anti-war and internationalist activism: Protests grow nationwide

Supporters of anti-war activists whose homes were raided by FBI agents gathered, Friday, Sept. 24, 2010 in Minneapolis.

Deborah Dupre, Human Rights Examiner

September 26th, 2010

Human rights defenders are planning mass demonstrations at FBI buildings across the nation this week in protest of Friday’s repression involving FBI and SWAT teams’ actions against peace workers opposed to the regime’s illegal and immoral occupations and wars. At least 19 cities will see demonstrations starting Monday and lasting three days.

A planned Gulf rally was canceled over the weekend due to threats of arrests. A source told the Examiner that organizers were informed that they have been watch-listed and any any attempt to protest the US military and chemical companies’ crime against humanity in the Gulf region could result in their arrest.

The Anti-war Committee are asking people of conscience to join them in opposing this political repression as they continue working to build the movements against US militarization, war and occupation.

“We denounce the Federal Bureau of Investigation harassment of anti-war and solidarity activists,” the group stated. Continue reading

ANSWER misrepresents FBI’s attack on international solidarity activists

[The FBI raids are not mainly an attack on our”civil liberties” or on the “anti-war movement”, as ANSWER claims. The goal of the FBi and the Obama administration with these allegedly “anti-terrorist” raids is to suppress the far ranging support network in the US  for the Palestinian people’s struggle, at a time when the Israeli state is facing global condemnation and de-legitimatization for its brutal occupation of Palestinian land. When people in the US join the worldwide opposition to imperialism and Zionism, it severely jeopardizes the continuity of existing wars and the launching of new wars—and preventing THIS is the government’s motivation for these attacks.–Frontlines ed.]

Stand with Anti-War Activists Targeted by the FBI!  ANSWER condemns FBI intimidation tactics

September 24, 2010

The ANSWER Coalition unequivocally condemns today’s FBI raids on the homes of anti-war and solidarity activists in Illinois and Minnesota, and the intimidation of activists there and elsewhere.

This morning, Sept. 24, teams of FBI agents from the “Joint Terrorism Task Force” served search warrants and grand jury subpoenas on the activists, allegedly relating to political speech in defense of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples. The FBI subpoenaed around a dozen activists to testify before a grand jury in Chicago in October. They confronted and intimidated activists in additional states as part of the operation. Grand juries are notorious political tools used by the government against progressive activists when it lacks actual evidence against them. Continue reading

Book Review: Take Back the Land–Land, Gentrification and the Umoja Village Shantytown

Take Back The Land, Give Root To Democracy

Book Review by Alex Knight

08 September, 2010, Endofcapitalism.com

Take Back the Land: Land, Gentrification and the Umoja Village Shantytown
by Max Rameau
Nia Press, 2008

I first heard about a group called Take Back the Land, which was illegally moving homeless families into empty homes in Miami, in a study group about the Civil Rights movement and the grassroots organizing that made it so powerful. The reference was highly appropriate. In many ways, Take Back the Land is a direct heir of that bottom-up, Black self-empowerment, civil disobedient, movement-building tradition, and is one of the most inspiring examples of a group renewing and developing that tradition today.

In our moment of crisis and stagnation, here is a group full of creativity, improvisation, and highly potent political analysis. Through its actions, the group proclaims: ‘Families are being foreclosed on and kicked out onto the street? We’re not going to lobby Washington and hope for some crumbs to come down. We’ll take matters into our own hands and move people directly into homes!’ This is precisely the spirit of direct action and participatory democracy that kick-started the Civil Rights movement, and the spirit that we need if we are to escape the human suffering that the elite are imposing on the poor and working class in this economic crisis.

Continue reading

On Hitching the US “Acceptable Left” Wagon to the Democratic Party Donkey

[As forces were gathered, two years ago now, to capitalize on the mass revulsion at the GW Bush years and to elect Barack Obama, promises were made aplenty that Obama would bring historic change–ending the wars, elevating education and rectifying a considerable range of social and political injustices.  There was wizardry in the hyperbole of the time, and tired reformists, many calling themselves revolutionary, joined forces to usher in the new day, and to suppress the nay-sayers.  Activists from such groups as Freedom Road Socialist Organization united with paid organizers from NGOs, non-profits, and trade unions, as well as with old-line activists from the CPUSA and Committees of Correspondence, to direct people into “Progressives for Obama,” “US Social Forum”, “Right to the City,” “Grassroots Global Justice” and other post-radical reform initiatives.

As we now approach mid-term elections this fall, the bubble of the Obama “promise” is bursting, but these same forces are gathering to defend the discredited Democrats against the reactionary Republicans. As past history shows, the acceptance of such calls has always collapsed or dissipated the very forces who could have contributed to building a solid and independent political movement to challenge the crisis-ridden system on every front as part of preparing revolutionary forces for the opportunities ahead.

But growing numbers of radicals and revolutionaries are not going along with this program.  From the membership of Freedom Road Socialist Organization comes the following resignation letter, protesting these developments.  The issues to which Patrick Ryan speaks will undoubtedly resonate among many activists, not only in FRSO, and hopefully, serious discussions and debates on the issues raised will ensue–and new revolutionary pathways created.–ed.]

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Letter of Resignation from Freedom Road Socialist Organization

by Patrick Ryan

“All resistance is a rupture with what is. And every rupture begins, for those engaged in it, through a rupture with oneself.”
— Alain Badiou.

This is a letter to all those who genuinely want to build a movement to overthrow oppression and establish a new society that aims for the transition to communism.

At present Freedom Road Socialist Organization is not on the path to accomplishing these goals, but rather finds itself focused tightly on partial demands, base building and Democratic Party politics that do not ultimately help organize and lead a movement to overthrow this capitalist and imperialist system. It leads us and the people deeper and deeper into the logic and rationalizations of bourgeois democracy.

After two years of being an active member, I have concluded that the current political trajectory of FRSO will only yield further from the goal of liberation and I now resign from that organization.

At the heart of this trajectory exists a bundle of assumptions about how fundamental radical social transformation can occur, and how we understand the role of the liberal-capitalist Democratic Party. This line promotes only structural reforms and defense of the capitalist welfare state, while obfuscating line differences within the organization. In practice this has meant concentration of cadres in NGOs, as board members in progressive nonprofits, and as union bureaucracies. This line is encapsulated in the statement:

“If the people don’t vote it [socialism] in or bring it about through mass national strikes and other popular forms, it will not happen!” 1 Continue reading

World Premiere of the film “Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert” in New York

The trailer of the film:

August 26 at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement in conjunction with ImageNation hosted the world premiere of the film “Black August: A Hip-Hop Documentary Concert,” directed by dream hampton. The night included a performance by Ghanian emcee Blitz the Ambassador and featured an ending discussion with Lumumba Bandele, Marc Lamont Hill, Talib Kweli, and former Black Panther, Dhoruba Bin Wahad.

News One talked with Malcolm X Grassroots Movement founder and director, Lumumba Bandele about Black August, international hip-hop exchange, and the makings of the film.

Q. How did Black August start and what’s the mission?

A. The Black August hip hop project started in 1998 at the request of two political exiles Nahanda Abiodun and Assata Shakur, both in Cuba, who had spoken to myself and two other brothers, Kofi Taha who was representing Students for Jericho and another brother, Clyde Valentine who was working with Stress magazine. We were all down for the World Youth Festival and both the exiles had asked us for a way to utilize rap music as a way to both raise awareness around political prisoners in the US and to raise resources and funds to fund that work. Another objective is to connect hip hop communities around the globe so we would travel to hip hop communities in Cuba, in South Africa, in Tanzania, in Brazil and have cultural exchange and establish some networks that would allow us to move our human rights work in all communities forward. Continue reading

An Open Letter to the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement: Suggestions on Next Steps, Strategy and Unity Building

http://navigatingthestorm.blogspot.com/2010/07/open-letter-to-justice-for-oscar-grant.html

July 15, 2010

By Kali Akuno

National Organizer – Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Director of Education, Training, and Field Operations – US Human Rights Network

The righteous anger and indignation on graphic display in Oakland, California Thursday, July 8th at the mockery of justice rewarded to Johannes Mehserle for murdering Oscar Grant and the open collaboration of several non-profit organizations with the government to contain and delegitimatize the people’s resistance is a clarion call. It’s a call not just for justice for Oscar Grant and the countless victims of police terror, but for radical, systemic change. The anger, and its focus, indicates a heightened awareness on behalf of a new generation of working class Black, Latino and Asian youth of the intractable contradictions between the imperialist state and oppressed peoples and the willingness to challenge them.

A new phase of development and a new set of challenges now confront the movement to win justice for Oscar Grant. Continue reading

Mass March Opens the US Social Forum

“In truth, the panelists at the USSF represent a strange mishmash of strategies and organizations…..another illustration that there is no singular strategy out of the mess that capitalism has left humanity in.”

By Billy Wharton

23 June, 2010
Countercurrents.org

Day one of the US Social Forum began with a thunderous demonstration through the streets of Detroit. Around 35,000 people representing social movements from throughout the country marched through the Downtown area. There was no united demand from the crowd other than the general sentiment that the system is failing them and grassroots organizing offers a way out.

A smaller feeder march started at the headquarters of Detroit Energy (DTE), the provider of gas and electric to the city of Detroit. DTE has a policy of shutting off gas and electric for those unable to pay their bills, even in the dead of winter. This has resulted in many deaths and particularly puts children, the elderly and the disabled at risk. Continue reading

Mao’s Concept of the Mass Line–and Some Misconceptions

Scott Harrison

We hope that this article will be the first in a series of articles and reader commentaries on the mass line and related concepts on FRS.  As the article explains, the concept of the mass line is talked about often, but is often misunderstood and misapplied with bad results. This article  is adapted from a letter written by the author to a fellow revolutionary in December 2009.

One of the biggest problems in talking about the mass line is that there are many different conceptions already out there of what it is all about. Strangely enough, however, both within the Maoist movement and outside of it (including within Sinologist circles) this multitude of different conceptions of what the mass line is very seldom recognized or taken seriously. Everybody seems to jump to the conclusion that their own initial notion of it is the correct notion and the notion that everyone else shares (or at least should share).

If someone were setting out to write a historical treatise on how the term has been used over the past 75 years, including in different countries, then all these various conceptions would have to be mentioned. And I suppose in that case there would be no right or correct view about what the mass line is, and no wrong or incorrect views. (This is the lexical semantics approach that modern dictionary makers use.)

But it has seemed to me that as Maoists we ourselves have the obligation to put forward Mao’s conception of what the mass line is all about. That is, we have the obligation to champion one particular conception of the mass line, and specifically the conception that Mao put forward. Continue reading

Join the Labor and Community Picket of an Israeli Zim Lines Ship — Oakland, California

 

An Israeli ZIM lines ship

Sunday, June 20 5:30 A.M (morning)

Port of Oakland,Berth 57, Middle Harbor Rd.

 

Protest Israel’s Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla!

Boycott Israeli Ships and Goods!

Lift the Blockade NOW – Let Gaza Live!

Bring Down Israel’s Apartheid Wall!

 

Unions, labor federations and other organizations around the world have condemned Israel’s deadly attack against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31, 2010. Nine people were killed and dozens seriously injured in the Israeli commando attack in international waters on ships attempting to bring humanitarian cargo to the suffering and blockaded people of Gaza. Six people aboard the ships are still missing and presumed dead. Continue reading

The Gulf Oil Spill…And a System not Fit to be the Planet’s Caretakers

[Revolution editors’ note: The following article draws on a May 4 talk given by Raymond Lotta on the Gulf of Mexico environmental disaster, at Revolution Books in New York City; audio of the talk is available for download at revolutionbooksnyc.org.]

A massive oil spill is taking place in the Gulf of Mexico—a devastating disaster that threatens to become an unparalleled environmental catastrophe.

The April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform, operated by British Petroleum (BP), killed 11 workers and unleashed an underwater volcano of gushing oil from one mile below the water’s surface. Estimates are that 210,000 gallons of oil are spewing out every day; the area covered by the spill stretches 240 miles east to west and 100 miles north to south. And the spill continues to spread.

The spill endangers fragile salt marshlands, fresh-water ponds, creeks, lakes, and other wetlands around the Gulf region, which contains up to 40% of total U.S. wetlands. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries estimates at least 400 species—from shrimp to pelicans to river otters and many others—could be impacted by the oil, including a dozen considered endangered.

Oil has already hit offshore islands. But the danger is not only to ecosystems on shore. Oil spills can be devastating to species living in the sea, and there are interactions between marine and shore life in the life cycles of many species. Around this time of the year, the eggs and larvae of dozens of species of fish and shellfish spend their earliest days floating on the water surface, where the oil from the spill sits. The oil is also lethal to adult turtles, dolphins, and fish. Already, more than 30 loggerhead sea turtles have washed onto beaches, their flesh oozing blood. A biologist told the New York Times, “The iconic images of oiled seabirds are just the tip of the iceberg, because oil spills affect life up and down the food chain.” Continue reading

Building the Anti-Imperialist Movement After Obama’s Election

On the November Elections and the Next Steps in Building the Anti-Imperialist Movement in the US

November 25, 2008

On November 4, 2008, millions of new voters stepped into political life with the hope that the traditional (as many put it) rich-white-male-Christian cultural monopoly on political power would no longer determine the conditions of life in the United States. These millions who stepped forward to be counted — young, poor, women, people of color, the wronged and abused, the falsely accused, sick and disabled, atheists, Moslems, Buddhists, and progressive Christians, displaced, evicted, and laid-off, and other “outcasts” and have-nots — were repelled by that de facto oligarchy, which had, they felt, excluded them. The Bush regime had arrogantly and unsuccessfully led that traditional elite for 8 years of widening wars and monstrous economic crises, which drew widespread domestic and global anger and condemnation. With high hopes, the millions of new voters were joined by millions of others who were trying to find a way out of the mess that this system has been making of their lives and of the world. Black people, Latinos, other people of color, workers, and youth stepped out of the shadows of solitude and “making do” and into political life, albeit within the confines of a presidential election.

By and large, these millions are responding to the promise of access, of open doors. They bring with them the worries and concerns and angers of their lives—of the wars being waged on false pretenses, of the worsening conditions of life. These are the issues they bring with them, though solutions to these issues were not on the electoral table.

On the night of November 4, hundreds of thousands in cities around the U.S. celebrated their success in electing the first Black president and the fact that millions of whites moved past the racist fears and codewords that have habitually set the boundaries of political life.

But to move forward, celebrations must turn to sober, straight talk.

The interests around which Barack Obama and the Democratic Party leadership have coalesced, despite the campaign banner of “change”, are the interests of the rich and the privileged, even as more wars are looming and the economics of the capitalist system here and worldwide are dragging the lives of millions into deeper crisis. Continue reading