Tag Archives: ANSWER Coalition

The South and the Death Penalty

by KurtFF8

The recent execution of Troy Davis has caused many to again discuss the merits of the death penalty in the United States.  (It also sparked a mass march in New York City that was met with a heavy handed police response). According to the Daily Beast, the South has the highest execution rate in the country, as well as the highest murder rate.  On top of that, the incarceration capital of the world is a southern city: New Orleans.

These renewed debates not only bring into question broad topics like the death penalty itself, but they should also let us contextualize them in a regional sense.  We should begin asking why is the South the home to so many problems still (to throw yet another one in there: the South is “bearing the brunt” of the US’s raising poverty rate).  There are plenty of answers to the question of why the South faces these problems.  But one thing should be quite clear, it is something often repeated on this site: the South remains an important part of the country to organize progressive forces.

Amongst the many lessons we learned from the Troy Davis incident (to steal the ANSWER coalition’s article title), we should also add the lesson that the world pays attention to the South, not only to the injustices that happen there but to the folks that organize against those injustices.

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Filed under African Americans, ANSWER Coalition, Atlanta, Georgia, inmates, Leftists in the U.S. South, National Oppression, New Orleans, Prisoners, prisons, racism, Southern Identity, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, United States

Recent events in Florida’s Capital

[This was originally posted on the Tallahassee Socialist Organization’s blog]

By Mike C

There were a few events of interest in Tallahassee in the past week or so that should be noted:

Egypt Solidarity Demonstration 2/5/11

About a week an a half ago, a small crowed comprised of many TSO members stood at the Capitol to show their support for the Egyptian revolution.  The demonstration was a last minute call for a rainy day and was well received by those driving by on the crowded intersection of Apalachee Parkway and Monroe St.

The demonstration was covered by the newspaper of the Florida A&M University, the FAMUAN:

It was a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon as protesters assembled on the Capital Lawn carrying handwritten signs reading, “Freedom in Egypt” and “We Support Egypt.”

Local residents and organizations held a solidarity rally to express their support for freedom in Cairo.

Anti-government protests, demanding economic and political changes, began in Egypt on Jan. 25.

Since then, tens of thousands of people are filling the streets of Cairo and other cities and have called for President Hosni Mubarak to resign after 30 years in power.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” a famous quote by Martin Luther King, Jr., helps to define one of the many reasons why American protesters are voicing their opinions.

“It should affect us all as Americans because it is what a truly American concept is about putting in a democracy,” said Alla Hadi, an Egyptian-American attending Florida State, whose family, and friends that are worried about what is going on in Egypt.

“We have to voice our support.”

This demonstration was held the same weekend as demonstrations across the country, from California, to New York City, Washington, DC. and South Florida all held similar events, as well as other Southern cities like New Orleans. (For more information on other demonstrations, check out the ANSWER Coalition’s article)

Public Hearing on Racist Immigration Bill 2/7/11

On February 7th, a public hearing was held to discuss the possibility of the introduction of a bill similar to the now infamous  racist “SB1070” Arizona law that promotes racial profiling.  As the Florida Progressive Coalition Blog reports, 90 percent of the speakers at the hearing were opposed to the prospect of such a bill with only 2 people speaking in favor of it during the entire event.  Folks came from all over the state to voice their opposition to the bill as well as people from Tallahassee.

Here’s one example of the opposition voiced during the hearing:

Pro-Choice Action 2/17/11

Last but certainly not least was the recent visit to the Florida State campus by a group that attempts to equate abortion to genocide.  Florida State students organized a counter demonstration to show that groups that go around attacking womens’ rights are not welcome on their campus and that opposition will be loud and heard.  Chants like “When choice is under attack, What do we do? Stand Up, Fight Back!” were heard in a busy section of the FSU campus while those promoting their anti-choice message were attempting to spread their message of hate.

While the group that was traveling by may seem like a fringe group in its message, their visit to Tallahassee comes at a time when abortion rights are under attack by the Right-wing in America (including attempts to limit access, attacking Planned Parenthood).

The pro-choice counter-demonstrators outnumbered those anti-choice by dozens, and stayed until the anti-choice folks packed up for the day, opposition to their second day is expect as well.  The student newspaper is also expected to run a story on the event.

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Filed under ANSWER Coalition, Florida, Gender, Human Rights, immigration, Imperialism, Leftists in the U.S. South, LGBT, Southern Identity, Southern Strategy, Students, Women

Confederate anniversary no reason for celebration

By KurtFF8

This is a repost from the PSL website:

Confederate anniversary no reason for celebration
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
By: Austin Thompson

Say no to racism!

The Southern region of the United States has a rich tapestry of cultural tradition that includes contributions from Blacks, whites and Indigenous nations. Unfortunately, this collective tradition is constantly overshadowed by a perverted version of white Southern history that shackles the region’s past to the ghosts of 19th-century slaveholders.

Slavery
Slavery: the true legacy of the Confederacy

The New York Times and other sources are reporting that scores of southerners are planning to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Confederacy’s secession from the United States next year without addressing the legacy of slavery at all. The N.A.A.C.P. has already announced its intention to protest.

Earlier this year, conservative politicians like Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Bob McDonnell of Virginia supported the creation of official holidays celebrating the history of the Confederacy—11 Southern slaveholding states that seceded from the U.S. in 1860 and 1861. Naturally, African-Americans are horrified that public figures can memorialize the Confederate states, despite the hellish abuses suffered by enslaved Blacks in the antebellum South.

Racism is inseparable from Confederate history

Many well-intentioned white southerners have been bombarded with propaganda that the secession of the South was about “states’ rights” and not about slavery, but this is a deep misunderstanding of the Civil War. The principal “right” that the Confederacy defended was the right of a tiny white slaveholding class to own Black laborers as their personal property. In fact, immediately after declaring independence, the Confederacy explicitly made it illegal under their constitution to limit or prohibit slavery.

Revolutionaries recognize the right of all oppressed nations to self-determination and equality, but that does not mean support for wars for independence in every historical circumstance. Our critical position toward the Confederacy is totally justified by a Marxist analysis of the social and class composition of the Old South.

The South had an elaborate class society, held together by a racist ideology of Black inferiority. The ideology of white supremacy was so pervasive that even the writer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, was a proud racist and Southern slave-owner. Under this system, enslaved Africans were brutalized, sexually assaulted and exploited to fuel the birth of a productive economic system in the “New World.”

Contrary to conventional wisdom, poor whites were not equal beneficiaries of the slave system, and white skin privilege was not enough to save most from lives of squalor and hardship.

Despite propaganda in popular films like “Gone With the Wind” that Southern slave society was a “kind” and “gentle” community tied together by values and a prosperous social order, by the time the Civil War began it was an obsolete productive system defined by repression and an insatiable desire for Westward expansion into indigenous lands.

The secession of the Southern Confederacy was a failed effort by the slaveholder class to legitimize and defend their decaying social order through violence. While many white southerners are taught that the Civil War was an offensive by the North against the South, it was actually the aggressive provocations of the slaveholders to maintain their privileges and power that sparked the conflict.

Confederate defeat was a giant leap forward

Regardless of the contradictions within the Union and abolitionist movement leading up to the Civil War, the victory of rebellious slaves, northern free Blacks and abolitionists against the Southern Confederacy was a progressive moment in both American and world history. The destruction of the Confederacy set the stage for a second American revolution during the post-Civil War era, called Reconstruction.

Sadly, this potential revolution was undone by vitriolic hate and institutional racism that maintained a system of Black oppression. Elites were insulated from the threat of rebellion by white workers, by the use of racist ideology that divided the exploited classes. The 150-year celebration of Southern independence from the Union (independence for white southerners only) is more than a simple confusion of history. Reactionaries will use the anniversary to send a message that they are prepared to use violent force again to prevent any profound political or social reform by “big government.”

The celebration of the Southern Confederacy is not only insensitive to African-Americans whose ancestors were victims of slave society, but it also exhibits a callous disregard for the current confrontations of Black communities with racist institutions and discrimination. All progressive and revolutionary people should use this anniversary of the Confederacy as a moment to bring attention to the historical and on-going struggles against racism and exploitation in the South.

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Filed under African Americans, ANSWER Coalition, class struggle, Human Rights, Leftists in the U.S. South, Southern Identity, Southern Strategy, Southern United States, State's rights, The Left, United States, workers

Party for Socialism and Liberation Classes in South Florida

South Florida PSL Class Series on Socialism & Revolution

Monthly, Every Second Wednesday at 7:00pm | Free

The PSL in South Florida is hosting a winter series of monthly socialism classes (see below for the full schedule and more information). All classes are discussion based and free of charge.

The first class of the series beings on November 10th.

=====================================
Spanish River Library — Lakeside Patio
1501 NW Spanish River Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33431

MAP: http://goo.gl/maps/W5cB
FLYER: http://answerfl.org/flyers/PSL_SoFla_Winter2010classes.pdf
RSVP on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=160851793947962

Tri Rail: Boca Raton stop

CONTACT: 305-710-3189 or miami@pslweb.org
=====================================

Class #1
11/10: Capitalism vs. Socialism: Myths and Facts
Understanding the capitalist economic crisis and making the case for socialist revolution

Class #2
12/08: Imperialism, War, & U.S. Empire
The real history behind U.S. imperialist foreign policy and the legacy of anti-colonial resistance

Class #3
01/12: Defeating racism & building class unity
From police brutality to immigrant rights, taking a look at our task of unity in the face of racism, sexism and bigotry

Class #4
02/09: Is a revolution possible in the U.S.?
Discussing the role of organization and the necessity of a multinational working class party.

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Filed under ANSWER Coalition, Event Announcement, Florida, Gulf States, Revolution, Southern United States, Uncategorized, United States, Upcoming Events

ANSWER: Sat, July 31: Protests across Florida stand in solidarity with Arizona and demand “No SB 1070 in Florida!”

by KurtFF8

The ANSWER Coalition  is calling a demonstration on July 31st to protest the racist Arizona law, and mobilize members and allies to help prevent efforts to bring a similar law to Florida.

Demonstrations in Florida are:

West Palm Beach, FL
Sat, July 31, 5pm
Florida Attorney General’s Office
1515 N. Flagler Drive
(Map)
Contact: 305-710-3189 or info@answerfl.org
View and print English/Spanish flyer
RSVP on Facebook!
Orlando, FL
Sat, July 31, 5pm
Florida Attorney General’s Office
137 W. Central Blvd.
(Map)
Contact: 321-437-4785 or
info@answerfl.org
View and print English/Spanish flyer
RSVP on Facebook!

Tallahassee, FL
Sat, July 31, 5:00pm
State Capitol
400 South Monroe Street
(Map)
Contact: 850-567-8743
fsucpe@gmail.com
View and print English/Spanish flyer
RSVP on Facebook!

Flyer for event in Tallahassee

Miami, FL
Sat, July 31, 6pm
Losner Park
104 N. Krome Ave., Homestead
(Map)
Contact: 305-247-2202
RSVP on Facebook!

There are also demonstrations in other cities around the country:

Protests across the country to stop anti-immigrant racism:

Phoenix, AZ
Wednesday, July 28m 5pm
Arizona State Capitol
Corner of Adams & 17th
Sponsored by ANSWER Phoenix
Contact: 480-414-6553 or
phoenix@answercoalition.org

Los Angeles, CA
Wed, July 28, 9am
rizona (please contact us first)
Fri, July 30, 10am
Federal Building
300 N. Los Angeles, LA
Sponsored by the Full Rights for Immigrants Coalition

ANSWER LA: 213-251-1025,
answerla@answerla.org

San Francisco, CA
Thurs, July 29, 4-7pm
24th and Mission Sts.
Sponsored by various organizations
ANSWER SF: 415-821-6545,
answer@answersf.org

New Haven, CT
Wed, July 28, 6pm
141 Church Street
Sponsored by ANSWER CT and Unidad Latina en Acción
ANSWER CT: 203-606-0319,
connecticut@answercoalition.org,

Chicago, IL
Thur, July 29, 4pm
Cook County Jail: 26th & California
Initiated by the Moratorium on Deportations Campaign. Dozens of pro-immigrant groups will be joining the protest. ANSWER Chicago calls on all progressives to take a stand against the attacks on immigrants.
ANSWER Chicago:  773-463-0311,
answer@chicagoanswer.net

Boston, MA
Thur, July 29, 5:30pm
Gather at Park St. T station
March to the Fox News headquarters on Boston Common, near the State House
Sponsored and endorsed by the Boston May Day Coalition, Student Immigrant Movement (SIM), ANSWER Coalition, Latinos for Social Change, Mass Global Action, Socialist Alternative, Socialist Party and many others

ANSWER Boston: 857-334-5084,
boston@answercoalition.org

Albuquerque, NM
Wed, July 28, 7am
Transportation to Phoenix
Car pooling from 202 Harvard Drive SE
ANSWER Albuquerque: 505-268-2488,
abq@answercoalition.org

New York City, NY
Thur, July 29, 9:30am
Gather at Cadman Plaza, Brooklyn
ss the Brooklyn Bridge
Sponsored by Churches United to Save and Heal, Families for Freedom, American Friends Service Committee-NJ, New York New Sanctuary Coalition, Immigrant Defense Project, Wind of the Spirit, The Black Institute, & Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights

ANSWER NYC: 212-694-8720,
nyc@answercoalition.org

Syracuse, NY
Thur, July 29, 12noon
Federal Building: S. Clinton and Washington
Initiated by: Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse
Endorsed by: the Syracuse ANSWER Coalition and many others
ANSWER Syracuse: 315-491-6987,
syracuse@answercoalition.org

Philadelphia, PA
Tue, July 27, 6pm
Outside 3rd base entrance of Phillies Stadium, 11th St. and Pattison Ave. during Phillies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game
Thur, July 29, 11am-1pm
Welcome Park: 2nd & Sansome, march to ICE building
Organized by the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
ANSWER Philly: 267-275-8008,
philly@answercoalition.org

The statement by ANSWER:

This Thursday, July 29th, Arizona’s racist, anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, goes into effect. SB 1070 enshrines racial profiling and immigrant bashing into law.

A wave of protest has greeted SB 1070 since it was passed in April. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets in Arizona and across the country.

Protests this week are happening in Arizona and around the country. The ANSWER Coalition is mobilizing its member organizations and allies across the nation to stand up and fight back against racism.In Florida, ANSWER is working with its allies to organize a day of actions on Saturday, July 31st to stand in solidarity with the people of Arizona as they fight back against SB 1070.

The July 31st actions will also send a strong message of opposition to the racist politicians in Florida who are currently seeking to introduce an SB 1070 type law in our state.

Community protests will target the Attorney General of Florida, Bill McCullum, who is currently a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primaries.


Over the past several weeks, McCollum has used the offices of the Attorney General as a vehicle to further his political campaign by unilaterally adding Florida to a legal brief supporting Arizona’s SB 1070 and denouncing the lawsuits filed by the Department of Justice and civil rights organizations.Together, we are working to build a united movement to stop racism and for full rights and equality. An injury to one is an injury to all!

Join us to demand:

-No to SB 1070 in Florida!
-Repeal Arizona’s SB 1070 and HB 2281!
-End “Secure Communities” and 287(g) programs!
-No human being is illegal-Full rights for all!
-Stop the raids and deportations now!
-Stop the budget cuts! Jobs, healthcare, education and housing-not war!


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Filed under ANSWER Coalition, class struggle, Demonstration Announcements, Florida, Human Rights, labor movement, Leftists in the U.S. South, Prison Industrial Complex, Race, Southern United States, United States, workers

Effect of Oil Spill on Native American Tribes

By hastenawait

As part of the SEIZE BP Campaign’s first national day of action, we staged a rally in the university town of Hammond, Louisiana, which is mid-way between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. When I was interviewed by NBC 33 out of Baton Rouge at this event, I predicted that some of the worst effects of the environmental crisis would be felt by the oppressed nationalities living in the coastal areas. I was thinking mainly about African American, Latino, and Indochinese workers (large numbers of Vietnamese and Cambodian immigrants, for instance, are involved in the fishing industry here). I was referring to a general pattern of environmental racism, with which we are familiar in Louisiana.

But the crisis in the Gulf is also hitting coastal tribal peoples, the remnants of those who have survived centuries of genocidal repression. Heather Benno, in a Party for Socialism and Liberation editorial, reports:

Native American tribes in southern Louisiana continue their struggle against Big Oil after decades of land destruction. The Choctaw, Chitimacha, Houma, Attakapas and Biloxi tribes, all native to the Gulf marshes, have seen the oil from the BP spill destroy their fishing grounds and livelihoods.

Emary Billiot, a Native American fisherman from the region, explained: “Once the oil gets in the marshes, it’s all over, that’s where your shrimp spawn. Then we’re in trouble.”

Oil’s assault on Native lands is nothing new.  In the early 19th century, the federal government claimed the land and sold it off to oil and land companies. Oil companies dug canals for private pipelines that ruined the marshes by saltwater seepage.The destruction from BP’s April rig explosion, coupled with decades of legal Native environmental and cultural devastation, shows that the oil industry, and the government that supports it, are the problem. A historian with the United Houma Nation tribe explained, “This is not a two-week story, but a hundred-year story.”

Then there is the Atakapa Ishak tribe of coastal Louisiana. Here is a moving video about their plight. These effects – brought about by a multinational corporation and the U.S. government – are nothing short of environmental racism, and are part of the continuing national oppression of North American tribal peoples, whose right to self-determination has been brutally undermined since the arrival of European conqueors.

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Filed under African Americans, ANSWER Coalition, Corporations, Environment, Environmental Justice, fishing, Gulf Oil Spill, Gulf States, Louisiana, National Oppression, Native Americans, Race, Southern United States, Uncategorized, United States, workers

Happenings in the “Sunshine State”

By KurtFF8

There have been a few noteworthy events in Florida recently.

As part of the national “Seize BP” campaign: Destin, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft Myers, Key West, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee, and Tampa all had demonstrations in support of the call to seize BP’s assets as BP’s oil began to wash up on Florida’s shores in greater numbers.  These rallies drew out large crowds and quite a bit of support (and a note that many other cities across the South held these BP demonstrations in Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Virginia).

The idea that BP can just be boycott in general raises a few questions that those who argue for a boycott seem to not have thought out.  For example: what is the alternative (although perhaps some Leftists will argue that we should all shop at Citgo perhaps 😉 )  But what kind of lifestyle politics is “watch where you shop for gas” in the first place?  This is why ANSWER launched the Seize BP campaign: it’s the solution to this problem, and would put the assets of BP in the hands of those affected.  Also, something the Seize BP campaign has been questioned about many times thus far is the question of “why allow the Federal Government, who was complicit in the crisis in the first place, be allowed to handle the assets.”  There’s the first point of: they seem to be the only entity actually capable of such an action of seizure.  The second point is that the Seize BP campaign doesn’t call for those responsible for this crisis to be the administrators of such a trust that would be created from the assets, but calls for those affected (fishing and shrimp workers, BP workers, etc.) to be in charge of such a trust.

– There have also been various demonstrations in relation to the recently Israeli attack on the flotilla on its way to Gaza.  ANSWER coalition called for demonstrations in Tampa and Orlando, while the ISO of Gainesville held a demonstration on Monday.  These demonstrations had a clear message: opposition to Israel’s attack and a call on the US government to join in with the rest of the world in condemning the attack and stopping military support to Israel.  While there were various demonstrations condemning the attack around Florida, in Miami, there was a pro-Israel demonstration where some demonstrators even claimed that the Obama administration is going too far in “defending those who want to destroy Israel” (thus we see both demonstrations issuing out harsh criticism of the current administration).  The more reactionary tone of the Miami demonstration doesn’t come as a surprise to Leftists (especially those in Florida) as it’s well known that many reactionary groups are based there.

– Various Florida labor unions within the past month have come out in opposition to (Three paragraphs down) the racist Arizona bill.  The Florida AFL-CIO also passed a resolution coming out in opposition to the bill (not yet published online)

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Filed under ANSWER Coalition, Anti-Imperialism, Anti-War, Florida, Gulf Oil Spill, Gulf States, Imperialism, labor movement, Leftists in the U.S. South, Palestine, Southern United States