THE BATTLE OF BLAIR MOUNTAIN: LABOR STRUGGLES AND THE BOSSES’ STATE

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by Al Simpson

In this article we’ll discuss one of the largest, best organized and most well-armed labor insurrections in U.S. history: the Battle of Blair Mountain. As you’ll see, brutality, open cynicism, and treachery on the side of the bosses were not in short supply, while workers displayed courage, daring and unity. Continue reading “THE BATTLE OF BLAIR MOUNTAIN: LABOR STRUGGLES AND THE BOSSES’ STATE”

I’VE BEEN WORKIN’ ON THE RAILROAD

A communist worker describes the struggle to build militancy and overcome racism in trade unions in the 1950s-60s

By Wally Linder     

In the 1950s, in order to move the working class to the left, the US Communist Party’s (CP) policy of industrial concentration aimed to build a mass base especially in the basic industries, those areas which held the lifeblood of the country in their hands: auto, steel, electrical, railroad and so on. So in that summer of 1953, I sought a job in auto plants, in GM Tarrytown, N.Y. and Ford in New Jersey but without success, but I soon was hired on the Baltimore & Ohio where I would spend the next decade. I later discovered that the CP had a railroad section comprising 65 members in 13 party clubs on 13 different roads in various crafts. Metropolitan New York’s 90,000 railroad workers comprised the second largest rail center in the US, next to Chicago’s. As it turned out, it became among the most rewarding and exciting decades of my seventy adult years, when I started “workin’ on the railroad.” Continue reading “I’VE BEEN WORKIN’ ON THE RAILROAD”

RIGHT-TO-WORK: ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF ORGANIZED LABOR

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by Ellen Isaacs

with major input by Student Worker Solidarity of Barnard College/Columbia University

The Supreme Court may soon rule against workers in Janus v. AFSCME, a case that will determine whether right-to-work legislation applies to the public sector. Contrary to the deliberately misleading framing, right-to-work laws do not give workers the “right to work.” In reality, they are a concerted well-funded effort to strip workers of their rights at work. Right-to-work laws allow workers at a unionized workplace to have the benefits of a union contract, such as higher wages and health insurance, without joining the union or paying the union a service fee for representing them. In other words, the intent is to undermine workers’ organizing and eventually defund, weaken, and destroy unions. This case would impose right-to-work on state and local governments in 23 states, in effect making it nationwide. Continue reading “RIGHT-TO-WORK: ANOTHER NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF ORGANIZED LABOR”

March for Our Lives-Build Multiracial Unity

by Karyn Pomerantz, March 23, 2018

Blog march for our lived feg 2018Thousands of young people are marching against mass violence in schools and neighborhoods.  They are demanding new gun control laws to prevent school murders, impressing many with their determination and maturity. Continue reading “March for Our Lives-Build Multiracial Unity”

VICTORY AGAINST RACIST DC TRANSIT BACKGROUND CHECKS

Untitledby Karyn Pomerantz and Linda Green.

Workers for the Washington Metro Are Transit Authority (WMATA) won a class action suit in 12/17 that awarded them $6.5 million to compensate for loss of income when they were fired or not hired due to criminal background checks. While the settlement does not require rehiring affected Metro workers, it is a first step in changing policy and is an important victory against unemployment and racism. It reverses a 2011 WMATA policy that banned people with criminal records from employment if they had ever been arrested but not convicted, committed a crime that had nothing to do with their job, were framed for a crime, or had completed serving a sentence years before. Metro conducted new criminal background checks on job applicants and workers who had been off from work for over 90 days due to illness, work-related injuries, or caring for a sick family member. The company also ran checks on workers who had lost their jobs for unrelated reasons, and were re-hired later. After Metro conducted the criminal background check, they fired even the workers whom they knew had a criminal record when they had been hired and had worked for WMATA for years. Metro will now review job applicants on a case-by-case basis rather than apply a rigid anti-hiring policy to all. Continue reading “VICTORY AGAINST RACIST DC TRANSIT BACKGROUND CHECKS”

From the 2017 American Public Health Association (APHA) Meeting: Antiracist Members Fight to Make Police Violence a Public Health Issue

apha 2017 rally pix

“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see … that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Letter from a Birmingham Jail, 1963. Continue reading “From the 2017 American Public Health Association (APHA) Meeting: Antiracist Members Fight to Make Police Violence a Public Health Issue”

CHARLOTTESVILLE SHOWS WE NEED A MASS MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT TO STOP THE FASCISTS IN THEIR TRACKS  

edited by Ellen Isaacs and Karyn Pomerantz, Sept 1, 2017 

charlottesville aug 2017

Thousands of anti-racists rallied in Charlottesville on August 12 against the largest rally by a combined force of white supremacists seen in decades.  Although protestors succeeded in disrupting the planned agenda of the alt-right, one anti-racist was murdered. This right-wing gathering was allowed to occur, as others will be in the future, because racism and terrorism are necessary to capitalism when it can no longer provide jobs and services that people need.  Trying to divide workers by race and nationality is the bosses’ way of protecting their interests and weakening us.  But we won’t have it! Continue reading “CHARLOTTESVILLE SHOWS WE NEED A MASS MULTIRACIAL MOVEMENT TO STOP THE FASCISTS IN THEIR TRACKS  “

Report from the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March  

millions march 2Speech by Tomiko Shine, Cultural Anthropologist and Lead Organizer of the

Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign

Saturday, August 19, 2017

My name is Tomiko Shine and I’m a cultural anthropologist who helps lead the organization, Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign.  The Campaign advocates for the release of aging people in prison and recognition of their human rights. Continue reading “Report from the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March  “

JOIN the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights

millions march 2By Tomiko Shine and Charlotte Malerich

This Saturday, August 19, the Aging People in Prison Human Rights Campaign (APP-HRC) marched with dozens of other organizations and thousands of concerned individuals to end slavery in the U.S. Continue reading “JOIN the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights”

Town Hall Meeting at the University of Maryland to Organize Against the Murder of Richard Collins III

By Karyn Pomerantz, June 5, 2017

On May 20, a white neo-Nazi student at the University of Maryland in College Park murdered Richard Collins III, a black student who was waiting for an Uber on campus.   This killing occurred just days before another neo-Nazi stabbed 3 people who were protecting 2 women from his vicious harassment. He killed two of the men and wounded a third who tried to prevent his stabbing two women because one wore a hijab.  Trump’s racism has emboldened many racists, spreading terror among black, Muslim, Asian and Latin people. Continue reading “Town Hall Meeting at the University of Maryland to Organize Against the Murder of Richard Collins III”