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Newark rally for victims of police violenceArrest Darren Wilson Now!
Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied!

A well-orchestrated and coordinated campaign to protect and immunize Darren Wilson, the police officer who murdered Michael Brown, is well underway. It has several facets:

The list above is certainly not exhaustive. But it suffices to make clear that the police, the politicians and the power structure are prepared to wage an all-out fight to prevent Wilson from being arrested and brought to justice.

What is the legal requirement for making an arrest at this point? Or, as Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, asked in the aftermath of the autopsy performed by Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, what else do they need to arrest the killer of my son?

The answer to her question is that nothing more is needed. All that has to be shown to justify an arrest is that there is “probable cause” to believe that a crime has been committed and that the perpetrator is the one being arrested for committing the crime. The results of the Baden autopsy and the statements of eyewitnesses are more than enough to show probable cause in this case.

The Wall Street Journal article of August 19 on the slaying of Michael Brown states “Probe Likely to Take Weeks, Officials Say.” NBC News quotes prosecutors as saying it will likely take months.

This will not fly. Justice delayed is justice denied! “NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE!” is the chant most widely heard on the streets.

Need for the Labor Movement, the Civil Rights Movement and All Progressive Forces to Mobilize

Carol Gay addressing Newark rally against police violenceWe in the labor movement have a great stake in the outcome of this fight. The same is true of the civil rights movement and all progressive forces. This is a showdown between the racists and those committed to equal rights, human rights, dignity for people of color, and due process.

We cannot depend on politicians and authority figures to make right what is so shockingly wrong. President Barack Obama, Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri and Captain Ron Johnson of the State Highway Patrol are the three most-quoted figures in this conflict. All three have one thing in common: None call for the arrest now of Wilson. Each, instead, urges people in the streets to be calm, orderly, patient and let the investigations run their course. They would like nothing better than to have protesters abandon the streets. But the opposite is what’s needed. The streets should be flooded in solidarity with Michael Brown, his family, and with the African American community in Ferguson and their allies, marching behind a banner that demands, “Arrest Darren Wilson Now! Justice for Michael Brown!”

The labor movement and our community partners can make the difference. We cannot afford the kind of defeat experienced in the Trayvon Martin case. It’s time now to organize a March on Ferguson and give meaning to the word SOLIDARITY. Let’s urge the protesters in Ferguson to hang in there and — in the words of the great labor song — “Hold the Fort, For We Are Coming!”

To read additional comments on the key issues facing the labor movement—and to share your own comments—please visit the Labor Fightback Blog.


An Open Letter to Our Brother and Sister Trade Unionists

[Note: unions and community organizations that agree with the Open Letter below are urged to fill out the form that is provided click the “Submit” button. Thanks!]

With the lockout of federal workers finally ended and with social programs being restored, attention is now being focused on what will happen next. The divide between the major political parties continues to linger and the prospect is for more government dysfunction and paralysis, albeit with bipartisan agreement that “entitlements” must be cut.

The undersigned trade unionists and community activists strongly endorse the position taken by the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations opposing all cuts to safety net programs — especially Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. We not only call for the preservation of these programs but also for their expansion and improvement.

We reject the claim that Social Security and Medicare — our earned benefits — will run out of money within a decade or two unless major cuts to these programs are enacted now. Today the big banks and corporations are sitting on top of trillions of dollars in reserves — thanks in large part to the trillions of taxpayers’ money used to bail them out. We call for taxing those reserves and at the same time eliminating the cap on the tax paid by the very rich to fund Social Security; enacting measures to increase the taxation on the wealthiest 1%; ending corporate welfare; and closing tax loopholes. These are but a few of the many options available to raise whatever revenue may be needed to deal with the fiscal crisis, so it is crystal clear that there is absolutely no justification for cutting earned benefits received by low and middle income families. We fought for those benefits and they belong to us! The politicians have no right to take any part of them from us!

Yet that is what is on their agenda for the coming months. While the major parties may have been at each others’ throats during the past several weeks, their leaders are agreed now on one thing: stick it to the 99% and make them pay though the nose to curb the debt and deficit. And number one on their hit list is Medicare.

To be sure, Democratic Party leaders insist that they will not agree to cuts unless the Republicans agree to tax increases, which the Republicans vow they will not do. But we can’t take it for granted that the major parties won’t come up with some kind of understanding on this question. After all, in 2011 the parties did join in making cuts to safety net programs — despite major differences between them — by enacting the sequestration (which was implemented after the Supercommittee could not agree on fashioning a “grand bargain”). The Wall Street Journal has now proposed a “compromise,” whereby agreement could be reached and an impasse avoided. The paper’s October18, 2013 lead editorial states:

“The way out is to negotiate a revenue neutral reform that lowers a rate in return for closing loopholes, which will lead to faster growth that will in turn produce more revenue. Democrats can get their new revenue, but only by growing the economy. That worked for Bill Clinton in his second term after he agreed to cut the capital gains tax in 1997. By “lower[ing] a rate” the Journal is talking about cutting the corporate tax rate from 35% to 28%, something the president has said he supports. In the Journal’s view, this will pave the way for cuts in “entitlements.”

Let’s not depend upon the politicians and their schemes to safeguard our safety net programs. Let’s depend upon our own organized power and our readiness to oppose all cuts, regardless of who is pushing for them and under what guise.

Where does President Obama stand on cutting earned benefits?

So the die is cast. And Democratic Party congressional leaders can be expected to fall in line to present a united front in making cuts — especially when it comes to Medicare — with Republicans pressuring from the right for the most far-reaching cuts possible.

The question now is what is to be done? We are convinced that without massive mobilizations of the labor movement and our community allies, including an occupation of Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. if necessary, a bipartisan congressional coalition could work its will under the mantra of “shared sacrifices,” and tens of millions of people could find the benefits they need to sustain themselves and their families substantially diminished. We must not permit that to happen!

To put it more succinctly, what is needed is a national mobilization to defend Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the other safety net programs, and in the process to demand that the government create a jobs program that will put millions back to work with quality and comprehensive health care.

There is no time to delay organizing a broad, united and massive fightback movement, keeping in mind that an agreement is supposed to be submitted by the bipartisan budget committee by December 13, which could very well call for cuts to earned benefits. We urge trade unionists and community activists to take this issue to your respective organizations. Pass resolutions demanding “NO CUTS!” and calling for protest demonstrations both on a local and national scale (see sample resolution below).

Please fill out the form below so that we can help publicize the extent of opposition to proposed cuts to the safety net, and our determination to do whatever is needed to protect our cherished earned benefits.


Sample Resolution

Whereas the AFL-CIO and other labor organizations have taken a strong position opposing all cuts to safety net programs — especially Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid; and

Whereas these programs must not only be preserved but also expanded and improved; and

Whereas since the U.S. government has no problem coming up with trillions of dollars to bail out Wall Street, seemingly unlimited funds to pay for foreign invasions, and providing tax breaks and subsidies to corporations, it is crystal clear that more than enough money is available to sustain and expand vitally needed safety net programs; and

Whereas programs like Medicare and Social Security are earned benefits that we paid for and which belong to us, and no politician has the right to undermine or cut them; now therefore be it

Resolved that [name of union or community organization] opposes all cuts to safety net programs; and be it further

Resolved that we urge the labor movement, together with our community partners, to unite and mobilize locally and nationally including, if necessary, occupying Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. if that’s what it takes to prevent Congress from legislating cuts to these programs; and be it finally

Resolved that a copy of this resolution be sent to [list organizations and individuals your organization deems appropriate].


Form Authorizing Listing of Organization’s Name as Signer of Open Letter and/or Reporting Adoption by Organization of Resolution Opposing Cuts to Safety Net Programs

   

       

 

 

 

 


Open Letter to AFL-CIO Convention Delegates
From Concerned Trade Unionists & Labor Activists

Petition to Stop the Criminalization of the Right to Protest:
Drop Charges Against Saladin Muhammad and Moral Mondays Labor Rights Arrestees!


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