Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday

Black Friday

This Thursday, families across Texas will be coming together to celebrate and reaffirm their connections. Thanksgiving has traditionally been a day of rest – one of the few available to wage-earning workers in this country where there are no mandatory holidays. Even public transportation agencies will operate on reduced schedules to allow many of their workers to spend time with their families. Here in Texas, Houston METRO (1) and Dallas DART (2)  will operate Sunday schedules on Thursday, and Saturday schedules on Friday.

For businesses, however, Thanksgiving and Black Friday represent opportunities for profit. Walmart is currently advertising sales that start as early as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, although many 24-hour stores will remain open all day. Target, Kohl's, and Sears will also open their stores at 6 p.m. Workers will likely be required to report for work half an hour or an hour before these times. Add in the average commute of 25 minutes (3), and an employee scheduled to work the 6 p.m. opening would need to leave home between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m. These employees are being forced to give up time with their families for the benefit of their employers.

Walton Family Wealth

It is not simply that workers are being deprived of a traditional day of rest and togetherness. Corporations make money by paying their employees less than the full value of their labor. This value extracted from workers is then distributed to executives and shareholders. One example of this is the wealth of the Walton family, the heirs to the founders of Walmart. While many Walmart workers earn the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour (or $15,080 a year if they're full-time, before taxes), the wealth of the Walton family in 2010 was $89.5 billion, equivalent to the wealth of 41.5 percent of all American families combined. (4)

Protests

To support Walmart workers fighting for fair pay and better working conditions, people will be showing up at numerous Walmarts around the world to protest. Check http://www.blackfridayprotests.org/actions for locations in your area. Please remember that in Texas, you will not be able to protest on Walmart property, to include their parking lots and any sidewalks owned by them. The above site also includes more advice on what you can do.

James Wheat

1) http://www.ridemetro.org/SchedulesMaps/Holiday.aspx
2)  http://www.dart.org/rideralerts/fullra.asp?id=2324
3)  United States Census Bureau, Means of Transportation to Work by Selected Characteristics for Workplace Geography (2011-2013 American Community Survey 3-year Estimates). Retrieved from http://factfinder2.census.gov
4)  Bivens, J. (2012, July 17) Inequality, exhibit A: Walmart and the Wealth of American families. The Economic Policy Institute. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/blog/inequality-exhibit-wal-mart-wealth-american/

Socialist Party Statement on the Ferguson Grand Jury Ruling

Socialist Party Statement on the Ferguson Grand Jury Ruling

The mask is off. We have seen behind the curtain. American Imperialism has
come home to roost, and it is wearing a badge.

The grand jury decision in the case of Darren Wilson -- the officer who shot
Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old African American man six times -- is
another tragically clear indication that the people of the United States are
the targets of a brutally racist and oppressive system that has multiple
definitions of "justice" dependent on one's class position. Racism, police
brutality, and oppression have received pardons. Again.

The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin are tragedies, but
not isolated incidents. Such deaths have become disturbingly frequent in an
era of increasing police militarization, decreased police accountability, and
continued racial profiling.

Police departments have reacted with increasing force in response to protests
stemming from public outrage caused by the deaths of these men, and many
others. Across the country, many police officers have demonstrated their
willingness to harm innocent civilians with impunity. These are not mere
accidents, but rather the predictable result of aggressive ‘shoot first, ask
questions later’ policies that allow police officers to use lethal force with
little consequence.

The Socialist Party USA stands in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown.
We denounce Jay Nixon and call for his removal from office, and for Darren
Wilson to be held accountable for his criminal acts.

We stand by those who have taken to the street to demand justice for these men
and all the victims of police brutality and systemic racism. We support non-
violent efforts to confront the growing police state in the US and condemn the
constant harassment and brutality that communities of color and working-class
people face.

The people have received their marching orders. Together, we can and will
fight for the changes that deliver equality, peace, and justice for all.
Nothing short of universal equality, peace, and justice is acceptable.

Passed by the Socialist Party USA National Committee 11-24-2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Democrats Steer to the Right and into Defeat

Democrats Steer to the Right and into Defeat
by the Socialist Party USA National Action Committee 11/8/2014

If progressives can learn one thing from the 2014 election cycle, it is
that they no longer have a place in the Democratic Party.

With Republicans on the offensive, Democratic incumbents and hopefuls
spent the entire election running away from anything perceived to be
associated with President Obama. In effect, this created numerous
Democratic campaigns that ran to the right of a president that was already
on a long-standing drift to the right of his own. This is in contrast to
the normal state of affairs, which is where Democrats campaign on ideas
that appeal to the progressive base and then do not deliver when elected.

This set of events left progressives and even many liberals without the
party that they would normally identify with and vote for. The result was
a sweeping defeat for Democrats in the congressional and gubernatorial
elections, losing their Senate majority in the process.

At the same time that voters gave a resounding defeat to the Democrats,
they also voted heavily in favor of raising the minimum wage in several
states. Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota all
approved minimum wage initiatives by double-digit margins, while at the
same voting down statewide Democratic candidates by double-digit margins
in three of the four states. By doing this, working class voters have
proven that they are prepared and willing to embrace the issues and cast
off the party and politicians that fail to deliver on them.

Outside of the twin parties of capitalism, Tuesday's election saw
candidates running to the left of the Democrats collectively receive over
a quarter of a million votes. The parties and specific beliefs of these
candidates may be different, but the fact that so many people threw their
support behind at least one left-wing candidate cannot be ignored. Our own
Adam Adrianson can take credit for 33,000 of these votes from his
Socialist Party campaign for the Michigan State University Board of
Trustees.

Moving forward, progressives in the United States have to realize that
they no longer have a party that represents them. The Democratic Party is
on a one-way charge to the right, and progressive-minded people have no
place on that trip.

Politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the limit of what
the Democrats have to offer. They serve as icons to entice progressives
and liberals with populist messaging and hopes of building a radical
element within the Democratic Party. In reality, they are puppets meant to
distract voters and activists with hopes that will never be realized in
the current political alignment.

Aside from staying in place and becoming increasingly marginalized and
powerless, the only alternative for progressives in the United States is
to break from the Democratic Party and move to the Left. By this, we mean
the real Left, rather than the left that the Democratic Party has
pretended to be.

Socialism, specifically democratic socialism, offers the social justice
and economic democracy that progressives yearn for but will never see in a
Democrat majority or the capitalist system. By moving towards democratic
socialism, working class people who currently identify as progressive or
liberal will find radical ideas they could have never dreamed of with the
Democrats, along with a rapidly growing movement that is dedicated to
building a new society of radical democracy from below.

We hope you will join us in this struggle.

Join the Witness Against Torture

Please start making your travel plans to Washington D.C. for our
annual fast to close Guantanamo and end torture. - January 5th -13th,
2015.

You are all invited to Join the Witness Against Torture community as
we gather in Washington D.C. to remember the opening of the prison
camp in Guantanamo. This January 11th, 2015, marks 13 years of
torture and indefinite detention. Right now 149 men remain, 79 of whom
have been cleared for release but remain held without charge or trial.
The administration will not disclose how many of them continue to
hunger strike and how many are being tortured through the brutality of
force feeding. We continue to struggle until all those unjustly
detained are free.

If you can only come for one day, join us for the major event with our
coalition partners on January 11th. Or join us as we gather in
community all week, from Tuesday January 5 until Tuesday January 13th,
to fast in solidarity with the men at Guantanamo, especially those who
remain on hunger strike, and to use our creative energy to encourage
citizens and government officials in Washington D.C. to see the
humanity of the men in Guantanamo and call for the closure of the
prison. For more information about coming to DC contact us at
witnesstorture@gmail.com


Chris Knestrick <cknest11@gmail.com>
Cleveland Catholic Worker
Witness Against Torture

Mass Mobilization to Shut Down School of the Americas

November 21-23: 25th November Vigil in Georgia Mass Mobilization to Shut Down Latin American Security Forces Training School, Largest For-Profit Immigrant Detention Center

Columbus, Georgia - This year is the 25th anniversary of the 1989 University of Central America massacre, in which School of the Americas-trained soldiers murdered a 16-year-old girl, her mother, and six Jesuit priests. Every year since 1990, human rights activists have gathered to call for justice at the gates of Fort Benning. Thousands will gather this year, from November 21-23, to close the SOA/ WHINSEC, shut down Stewart Detention Center, and organize against the cruelly intertwined immigrant prison system and militarized US foreign policy.

The Central American refugee crisis, the "Drug War" massacres and disappearances in Mexico, and the racist police brutality in Ferguson have made clear, peoples' movements across the Americas are uniting and pushing back against militarized security forces that only "serve and protect" the interests of the elites. On September 26, 43 Mexican student activists were disappeared, prompting mass protests against the collaboration between the Mexican state and organized crime, and against the US-supported war on drugs, which is used as a cover for political violence.

Mexico’s security forces are being trained at the notorious SOA/ WHINSEC (School of the Americas, renamed in 2001 Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), and the institute continues to train the military muscle for US economic interests in Latin America. In 2009, Honduran president Manuel Zelaya made social reforms, considered closing a US military base on Honduran soil, and took on big business. In turn, SOA graduates staged a military coup and installed a repressive regime that was favorable to US corporate interests. Honduran security forces have since received increased US military aid and training, despite their well-known record of human rights violations and infiltration by the drug cartels they ostensibly combat.

“The annual November Vigil has grown to the largest annual anti-militarization gathering in North America,” said SOA Watch founder and veteran Father Roy Bourgeois, “because we stand with those whose bodies, lives, families and communities have been torn apart by militaries, police and prisons, on both sides of the border. We call for the closure of the for-profit Stewart Detention Center, just 30 miles from the SOA, and at the gates of Ft. Benning we will continue to call out the names of the martyrs killed by SOA/WHINSEC graduates. The struggles in Mexico, in Missouri, in Georgia, they stand together, as we will, with one voice, denounce those with blood on their hands and lift up our righteous demand for justice and peace.”

The three-day convergence will include a march to the Stewart Detention Center on Saturday, November 22, and a rally at the gates of Fort Benning in the afternoon. Speakers from North, Central, and South America will speak out against US military and political support of human rights abusers in their countries. A funeral procession will follow on Sunday, November 23 to commemorate the victims of US militarism. The event will also feature workshops, concerts and a movement strategy session. For a full schedule of events, visit SOAW.org/november

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Belated November Metroplex Calendar

Mon. Nov. 10 @ 3 pm: North Texas Rising Tide wkly. mtg.
Big Mike's coffee shop, Denton

Mon. Nov. 10 @ 7 pm: Queer Bomb Dallas wkly. mtg.
Cafe Brazil 3847 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas 75219

Tue. Nov. 11 @ 9:45 am: Veterans for Peace N. Texas chapter contingent in the Dallas Veterans' Day Parade.
Meet in parking lot E, position #44 in the parade line (off of Memorial Dr. near Reunion Blvd. in dntn)
Float fabrication begins in this site at 8 am
Cosponsored by Iraq Veterans against the War
Bell ringing commemorating Armistice Day will take place @ 11 am (11th hr. of the 11th day of the 11th mo.)

Tue. Nov. 11 @ 6:30 pm: Dallas Sierra Club monthly mtg.
REI 2nd floor mtg. rm. 4515 LBJ Fwy. Farmers' Branch 75244

Wed. Nov. 12 @ 8 am: Vigil for rest breaks & water for construction workers
Dallas city hall 1500 Marilla Dallas 75201
City council mtg. following on 6th floor @ 9 am, at which a city ordinance is to be presented & voted upon on this issue per city council rules
Sponsored by Workers' Defense Project

Wed. Nov. 12 @ 7 pm: Monthly Jobs with Justice coalition mtg.
CWA hall 1408 N. Washington Av. Dallas 75204

Th. Nov. 13 @ 7 pm: Panel discussion of racist pro sports team mascots
UTA University Hall Rm. 108
Sponsored by students of the Indigenous American studies pgm.

Th. Nov. 13 @ 7 pm: Dallas Area Christian Progressive Alliance's Faith Voices monthly sermon & discussion, followed by refreshments
Subject will be antiracism, presented by one of the attendees of the overpriced FACING RACE conference in Dallas sponsored by Race Forward


Northaven United Methodist Church 11211 Preston Rd. Dallas 75230

Th. Nov. 13 @ 7 pm: Dallas Peace Center Mideast committee monthly mtg.
La Madeleine 3072 Mockingbird Ln. Dallas 75205

Sat. Nov. 15 @ 2 pm: IOPS Open Information & Coalition Building mtg.
Dallas exponent of national initiative to make unions more bottom up & less driven by 'leadership' (this is one of the complaints which was made regarding last summer's union led protest of the ALEC convention)
Panera Bread 1804 Precinct Ln. Hurst 76054

Mon. Nov. 17 @ 3 pm: North Texas Rising Tide wkly. mtg.
Big Mike's coffee shop, Denton

Mon. Nov. 17 @ 7 pm: Queer Bomb Dallas wkly. mtg.
Cafe Brazil 3847 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas 75219

Wed. Nov. 19 @ 1 pm: Ft. Worth chapter of Texas Alliance for Retired Americans monthly mtg.
Furr's cafeteria 3233 Alta Mere Rd. FW 76116

Th. Nov. 27: Pls. do not shop on this date or patronize big box dept. stores which are open on Thanksgiving. Regardless of how one feels regarding the holiday itself (Indigenous issues), workers need this day off to spend with families. Plus, obscene "Black Fri." consumerism is extremely detrimental to the environment.

Fri. Nov. 28 @ 9 am: Black Fri. protest of Walmart
Walmart supercenter 2225 W. Interstate 20 Grand Prairie 75052
Sponsored by OUR Walmart DFW

Sat. Nov. 29 @ 11:30 am: International Day of Solidarity with Palestine
Dealey Plaza 411 Elm St. Dallas 75202
Sponsored by One Democratic State, North Texas BDS, Dallas Palestine Coalition

Austin Beloved Community

Dear all,

Please go onto the website www.austinbelovedcommunity.org for virtual play
and to share with co-workers,friends and family. Lots new including Spanish
by Andrea Zarate and Grassroots Leadership clips about Karnes (click on the
star on organizations).

Let us know what to add on the google history map http://goo.gl/maps/wW8GF
with more than 30,000 hits and new stuff for 2014. We might have missed
important ones!

Keep the events coming for the site but also Austin Beloved Community
Facebook where you can post.

Speaking of events -- bad conflict coming up on Thursday Nov. 13 at 7 but
please go to either!

I'm screening Anne Braden: Southern Patriot with AFT/ACC along with
discussion about Ferguson and a new civil rights movement. (Have you seen
that map of the mayoral race results?)
https://www.facebook.com/events/653080921478810/

Also Texas Jail Project House Concert with Gina Chavez
https://www.facebook.com/events/1538343879712783/?ref=6&ref_notif_type=plan_
user_invited
Again really important event for a great organization.

AND should we begin planning a new MAY DAY workers' celebration? Can we
coordinate with a march? Anyone interested in a meeting?

In love and solidarity,
Anne, Emma, and Jacob