Category Archives: Action Alerts

Eyewitness Arizona: Report from the Frontlines

The following article concerning Arizona’s SB 1070 by James Jordan is from Fight Back! News, and was published today with the following editor’s note: “Editors note: SB 1070 was signed into law, Friday April 23. Protests are under way in Arizona.”

Tucson, AZ – “They have every right to be here. This is about civil rights. And the youth are leading the way.” Those were the words of Pima County Board of Supervisors Chair Richard Elias as we talked across the street from where over 100 students had gathered to protest Arizona’s SB1070 – the harshest, most anti-immigrant legislation in the country.

The bill would turn Arizona into an apartheid state, requiring people to carry proof of citizenship on their person at all times – reminiscent of the hated passbook laws in segregated South Africa. While the law doesn’t explicitly state that requirement, it gives local and state police the authority to detain and investigate anyone they suspect of being an undocumented immigrant. In other words, any Latino-looking person who is speaking Spanish can be arrested if they are not carrying identification on their person. The bill includes a number of other repressive components, including provisions to sue governmental agencies for not enforcing immigration laws aggressively enough, requiring citizenship checks for all government services, making it illegal to solicit day labor or to hire day laborers and outlawing churches and government entities from offering sanctuary or instructing local police to not enforce immigration laws.

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Petition campaign underway to demand freedom for Ricardo Palmera

The following is from Fight Back! News:

The National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera is launching a petition campaign targeting U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The National Committee is demanding the U.S. government immediately release the Colombian revolutionary and stop violating Palmera’s human rights. Angela Denio said, “The U.S. government is acting like a tyrant in Colombia and abusing Ricardo Palmera in a Colorado prison by chaining him from head to toe with the constant threat of electric shock. It is outrageous. Where is Obama on all of this? He promised to stop torture.”

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Colombian activist Liliany Obando’s trial postponed again

The following article by Angela Denio is from Fight Back! News:

The jailing and repeated postponement of trials of Liliany “Lily” Obando tells the story of a powerful woman. She is dealing firsthand with the extreme repression facing many Colombians who oppose the government. In Colombia there are over 7000 political prisoners. Colombian trade unionist Liliany Obando was arrested in the summer of 2008. Her arrest came during a string of attacks by the Uribe government targeting leaders of Colombia’s growing struggles for social change.

Obando is a typical Colombian. She has taken up the challenge to fight for the rights of the people – the ones who don’t matter to the rich in charge in Colombia and their puppeteers here in the U.S. government. Through her work with FENSUAGRO, a Colombian union, Obando championed the rights and welfare of Colombian farmers and rural wage laborers. Her work was transparent and legal under Colombian law, but Liliany Obando now sits in prison. Continue reading

Electric shock “trial,” sickening violation of Ricardo Palmera’s human rights

Ricardo Palmera

The following article is from Fight Back! News. For more on the history of the case, see the Ricardo Palmera Fact Sheet from the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera.

Tom Burke, spokesperson for the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera, urgently requests, “Help and aid from Americans, Colombians, and the international community to stop a crime.” Professor Palmera is being put on trial in Colombia while held in solitary confinement in the U.S. He is being forced to wear prison clothes, shackled at the hands and feet and then chained together around the waist, with the ever-present threat of electrical shock if he moves too quickly. This ‘trial’ is a violation of Professor Palmera’s dignity and his rights as a prisoner of war. Tom Burke says, “There is nothing fair or just about the trials and imprisonment of this brave Colombian freedom fighter Ricardo Palmera. Ricardo Palmera should be set free.”

Professor Palmera is held by the U.S. government in solitary confinement, under inhumane conditions in the Florence, Colorado Supermax prison. Tom Burke says, “We need friends and sympathizers to support freedom for professor Ricardo Palmera (popularly known in Colombia as Simon Trinidad). We denounce the wrongs committed against Ricardo Palmera by the U.S. and Colombian governments, along with the abuses and violations of human rights.”

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FRSO: Education is Under Attack!

The following statement is from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization:

Today education is under attack. Tuition and fee hikes are closing the doors to higher education. Working class and even many middle class college students are being forced out or are taking on crushing debts. Cuts in financial aid and student services and extra fees for undocumented students are limiting access. Furthermore, programs won through past struggles such Ethnic Studies and campus Women’s Centers are coming under attack. We say “Education is a Right, Not a Privilege”!

Across the country students are fighting back. Mass protests and building occupation rocked the University of California in opposition to tuition hikes. Workers, teachers, and their unions have joined with students to fight for their jobs and for education. The recession and financial meltdown have led to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Lay-offs, foreclosures, and budget cuts are hitting our communities while the government bails out the big banks and corporations. March 4 is a national day of action to fight these cuts on campuses and schools across the country.

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NFEJ: Justice for Southern workers! Support University of Alabama bus drivers fighting for a living wage!

Students in solidarity with the Crimson Ride bus drivers

The following call to action is from the Network to Fight for Economic Justice. See also Jenae Stainer’s article Bus drivers continue fight for living wage from Fight Back! News:

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, bus drivers are in the midst of a struggle for a living wage. Fed up with earning poverty wages, the bus drivers are demanding their first union contract. Nearly a year ago, the Crimson Ride bus drivers voted unanimously to join Amalgamate Transit Union (ATU) Local 1208.

The University of Alabama contracts out to First Transit, a division of the massive British multinational FirstGroup PLC, which runs the Crimson Ride bus service on campus. The university pays the company $55.50 an hour, and in turn, the company pays the drivers a paltry $9.50 an hour – poverty wages. The union drivers are demanding $14 per hour and benefits comparable to university bus drivers in other states.

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‘We Say Fight Back!’ national conference to be held in Chicago

SK Hand Tools Teamsters strike for health care

SK Hand Tools Teamsters strike for health care

The following article is from Fight Back! News:

‘We Say Fight Back!’ national conference to be held in Chicago 

By Chapin Gray  

In the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, leaders and organizers across the country are gearing up for the “They Say Cut Back, We Say Fight Back!” national conference planned for Oct. 3 in Chicago, Illinois. From California to New York, people who for the past years have been fighting back against cuts to programs that serve our communities, against home foreclosures and evictions and against plant closures will come together to share experiences and make plans to work together in the coming years.  

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