A Statement from Haitian Prisoners Supporting Operation PUSH


Fight Toxic Prisons


The following is a statement is from a group of Haitian prisoners in the FL DOC system who are supporting the prisoner strike slated to begin on Jan 15.

The timing of this statement is particularly relevant, given the anniversary of the largest and most successful slave revolts in history, also known as Haitian Independence Day. On January first, 214 years ago, rebel slaves in the Caribbean inspired slaves worldwide and shook the foundation of the global economy. They set the stage for slave revolts that would sweep the planet, crippling colonialism and toppling empires.

It also comes on the heals of President Trump insulting Haitians by stating they “all have AIDS,” as his administration opted to end the Temporary Protective Status (TPS) which was enacted after an earthquake in 2010 killed 300,000 on the island.

Today, despite all its talk of freedom, the U.S. is home to the largest literal slave population in the world, thanks to mass incarceration policies coupled with the slave clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment. And some of those slaves are preparing for the next uprising.

This statement below was received following publication of the Operation PUSH call to action:


It’s high time to expose the rulers, law makers, and law enforcers in Florida and in this country at large. Therefore we are calling on the people of this state to help put a stop to all the injustice, lies, and deceit once and for all, especially those of us, whom through trickery, have been victimized and as a result are entangled in the web of lies and deceit.

Throughout the presidential campaign, Donald Trump, now this nations president, was adamant about deporting illegal and criminal immigrants. He was met with a hard fight with the governors of the states (especially the Democratic Party). Why? Because immigrants are their bread and butter.

The American people are always been led to believe that their leaders wisely put tax payers dollars to good use to keep the street of this country safe by keeping criminals and the corrections system and off the streets. The truth is tax dollars do not fund prisons, prisoners do. How? Free labor force!!!

Prisons in America are nothing but a different form of slavery plantations and the citizens of the country are walking zombie banks. There are so many Haitians, Jamaican, and Latinos in the FDOC serving sentences that exceeds life expectancy and or life sentences who are not being deported. They use all immigrants, for free Labor and then deport them.

Why flood the system with immigrants waiting to be deported after serving their entire sentence? Because of the benefit. The undeniable truth is Florida prisoners are slaves who work and do not get paid. New age slaves within the prisons system!!!

For more on Operation PUSH, check out this interview with one of the strike organizers

Interested in planning a solidarity demo on NYE or Jan 15? Take your pick of DOC facilities littering the state.
Via: itsgoingdown.org
Edited for mb3-org.com

The Standard Telephones and Cables strike, 1973

STC Picket line, Spare Rib.

Posted By

Mike Harman

The Standard Telephones and Cables strike in 1973 was one of a wave of strikes by black and asian workers confronting both the racism of their white colleagues and management, and sabotage from their own trade unions in the 1970s. It was preceded by the Mansfield Hosiery strike in 1972, and followed by the Imperial Typewriters strike in 1974.

Originally published as Racism, Discrimination and the Unions in Spare Rib issue 17, 1973. Geoffrey Sheridan was a member of the International Marxist Group who worked as a journalist for mainstream outlets at the time.

There was a rumor circulating on the picket line at Standard Telephones and Cables that a shop steward in the Electricians’ Union had threatened Asian workers that if they joined the West Indians who were on strike, they would be reported to the police and deported.

Perhaps the rumour wasn’t true, but the strikers were quite prepared to believe it. there was, after all, only one white worker at STC’s North London factory who had come out in support of the West Indian machine setter the members of the Electricians’ Union were refusing to train.

Witnessing the events at the gates of STC would have rapidly dispelled any doubts that racialism divides the working class, shatters elementary trade union solidarity and that white workers – men and women – are deeply imbued with the ideology by which the ruling class justified Britain’s imperialist ravages and now effectively isolates an increasingly more insecure and legally deportable labour force.

‘Throughout this part of the British Dominions,’ Earl Grey wrote of colonial Africa in the 19th century, ‘the coloured people are generally looked upon by the whites as an inferior race, whose interests ought to be systematically disregarded when they come into competition with their own, and who ought to be governed mainly with a view to the advantage of the superio race… the Kaffir population should be made to furnish as large and cheap a supply of labour as possible.’

Now the ‘Kaffirs’ are being imported to help prop up the decaying metropolis, and the trade unions, for the most part, turn a nearly blind eye to their super-exploitation. Officially, of course, they are opposed to racialism, as dozens of resolutions passed at annual conferences attest. In reality, they do next to nothing to confront it, or to take the practical steps necessary to recruit and involve the immigrant workers rooted in industrial backwaters.

‘It would be foolish to claim that there are no instances of prejudice to be found,’ Vic Feather acknowledged when he was the TUC’s assistant general secretary in 1986. ‘The trade union movement is concerned with a man or a woman as a worker,’ Feather went on to assert in his 1970 Westminster Trinity lecture. ‘The colour of a man’s skin has no relevance whatever to his work.’ To nail down the hypocrisy and futility of these noble-sentiments (self-evident to women trade unionists), the strike as STC serves as a useful hammer.

So far the management was concerned, it was an inter-union dispute. It’s hands were clean. STC is part of the Internation Telephone and Telegraph corporation, and ITT is pledged to complete equality of opportunity (not to mention attempting to sabotage national elections when it suits its multinational interests).

STC’s managing director, Ken Cornfield, had noted that at ITT’s head office in New York: ‘’At least a third of the secretaries are colored. They are not only bright and intelligent, but pretty and smart…’

It just so happens that half the 3,000 manual laborers at STC in North London are black, and although many of them have worked there for over 10 years, not one has been made a supervisor. Promotion of any kind – from the lower grade jobs to which the vast majority of West Indians and Asians are confined, to the skilled work which is virtually a white preserve – has involved organization and struggle on the part of the black workers themselves.

But it did not begin to happen until a younger generation in the late ‘60s refused to turn the other cheek. For West Indians like Basil Spence, who worked at STC as a machine operator for 13 years until he finally quit in 1969, it was nothing but a long period of ‘frustration and discontent’.

‘I had the desire and ability,’ he says, ‘but there wasn’t the opportunity to go forward. I made several attempts to seek promotion to various types of work but in all cases I was turned down. There wasn’t the ghost of a chance for a black man to rise up above semi-skilled work. I know so many who have tried and failed.’ Lewis now runs a successful record business, and is – bizarrely – a Conservative councillor in Haringey.

It was three years ago that the predominantly black machine operators in the press hop at STC decided to elect their own shop stewards, and the white machine setters – who earn £10 a week more, and have the benefit of lighter, skilled work – promptly left the AUEW to join the Electrician’s Union (EPTU). Transfers were speeded up when a white AUEW steward had his credentials removed for recommending the promotion of a white operator, instead of a black worker who had been on the job for 10 years, and when the management chose the former, there followed numerous stoppages and glo-slows until the first black was selected as a trainee setter, in 1971.

Roderick Adams, a young Jamaican, was the second to be selected, after five months’ vigorous negotiation, and last winter he started his 12-months training on the night-shift, where all the setters had joined the EPT. In July, after the AUEW setters on the day-shift had agreed to train a third black worker, the EPTU stewards immediately informed Adams that his training was at an end, and the management sent him home.

It was an open alliance between a racist management and racist white workers. ‘You are the niggers in the woodpile,’ the personnel manager subtly put it to the West Indian stewards, and the AUEW had little option but to make the strike for Adams’s reinstatement official. Two hundred West Indians came out, together with the white AUEW convener of shop stewards, Ted Corbett. It was the first strike at the plant for over 30 years.

‘I told the personnel manager,’ says Corbett, ‘that the woodpile he referred to was likely to become the funeral pyre of this factory if they don’t get the situation under control.’ But the management’s idea of control was a docile and divided labour force, and in the end they won. Adams went back, but he was forced to continue his training on the day shift. No doubt the EPTU celebrated.

The Asian workers might have been won over if the strike had taken up the issue of the Immigration Act, and explained that by fighting racism on the picket lines, the Asians would have been fighting for a stronger union – which would help defend them against racist laws.

As it was, the Asian workers at STC told Corbett that they wanted to join the strike but were afraid to do so. Instead, they became the largest contributors to the strike fund.

But most blame must be laid squarely at the door of the AUEW itself. The officials made it clear from the start that they didn’t approve of the confrontation. The union’s district office told a Red Weekl reporter: ‘We are trying to cool this strike down. You buggers are trying to hot it up!’ Strike pay had a habit of not arriving on time, or simply not arriving at all.

The struggle, however, is far from over. Immediately before the return to work, a day long discussion was held between the strikers and the members of the members of the black and revolutionary organizations who had supported them. One result is that a black caucus has been formed inside the factory, and regular discussion meetings are now being held, with outside speakers.

Half the black workers at STC are women, and a number joined the 200 or so who initially came out on strike. Although the strike committee agreed that pay and conditions for the black women were even worse than those of the men, they had little information on what the women’s situation actually was. They work in different sections from the men, and there was scarcely any communication between them. The newly-formed caucus operating within the AUEW aims to break down these barriers.


Edited for mb3-org.com

San Francisco dockers call strike to confront white nationalist rally

ILWU Local 10 march against police terror, 2015.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 in San Francisco have passed a motion to stop work and march on the site of a white nationalist gathering later this week.

The rally has been organised by the far-right Patriot Prayer group, whose leader Joey Gibson has a history of organising rallies attended by white nationalists and violent racists such as Jeremy Christian, the man who stabbed two men to death on a Portland MAX train as they intervened to stop him racially abusing and threatening two teenage girls.

Gibson has made pains to distance himself from more explicit neo-nazis in the fallout following the Charlottesville protests, where a white nationalist drove his car into a group of anti-racist demonstrators.

However, Gibson’s sincerity has been questioned particularly has it has come to light that the Oath Keepers, a heavily-armed far-right militia composed largely of ex-military and ex-law enforcement personnel, will be providing security for the event.

To combat this, a rank-and-file union meeting of ILWU Local 10 has resolved to stop work on Saturday 26th August, the day of the rally, and march to Crissy Fields, where the rally is due to take place.

In a statement, the ILWU Local 10 declares that:

far from a matter of “free speech”, the racist and fascist provocations are a deadly menace as shown in Portland on May 26 when a Nazi murdered two men and almost killed a third for defending two young African American women he was menacing; and our sisters and brothers in the Portland labor movement answered racist terror with the power of workers solidarity, mobilizing members of 14 unions against the fascist/racist rally there on June 4.

The statement goes on to cite ILWU Local 10’s “long and proud history of standing up against racism, fascism and bigotry and using our union power to do so”, citing their May Day 2015 shut down of Bay Area ports and march to Oscar Grant Plaza against racist police violence.

Indeed, ILWU Local 10, West Coast longshore workers in general, have a long history of using strikes to push political demands.

In 1939, two years before the attack on Pearl Harbor, West Coast longshore workers boycotted ships exporting scrap metal to Imperial Japan to build armaments for their invasion of China with workers picketing the ships along the waterfront up and down the coast.

In 1984, Local 10 boycotted the South African ship Nedlloyd Kimberley for 11 days as a protest against apartheid and in solidarity with the struggles of black workers in South Africa.

On January 20th 2017, the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, management requested that Local 10 dispatch 354 longshore workers, but only 35 showed up, again resulting in an almost total shutdown of the port in a de facto strike against Trump.

Most recently, on May 25th 2017, 100 longshore workers in ILWU at the Port of Oakland, 60% of whom are African American, walked off the job for half a day after finding a noose inside a dockside truck, as well as seeing the ‘n-word’ scrawled on port equipment inside the customs-secured area of an intermodal container terminal.

This most recent motion is seen by many as a continuation of ILWU Local 10’s tradition of using their industrial might in the service of progressive movements


Edited for mb3-org.com

Rent Strike in Toronto

Rent Strike in Toronto

Two hundred tenants are on rent strike in Toronto against increases they say are meant to price them out of their homes.

Posted By

Parkdale Organize

Two hundred renters are entering week two of their rent strike in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood. The rent strikers are demanding their landlord, MetCap Living, withdraw its applications for rent increases above the provincial guideline (totalling 15% over three years), and do the necessary repairs in their homes. The rent strikers are organized in committees based in six participating mid-rise apartment buildings.

The increases sought by MetCap are allowed under Ontario law, once approved by the Landlord Tenant Tribunal. The rent strikers oppose the increases on the basis that the landlord is trying to price residents out of their homes. The law allows landlords to raise rents as much as they like once the rental unit is vacant. This provides a financial incentive for landlords to evict longer term tenants.

Residents called their rent strike amid soaring rental prices and the rapid gentrification of their neighbourhood. A full 90% of Parkdale residents are renters. In all of Toronto, Parkdale is where residents spend the greatest proportion of their household incomes on rent, at nearly 50%. The rent strike is being taken up in defense of one of the last remaining working class neigbourhoods around downtown Toronto.

The emergence of this combative, neighbourhood-wide, multi-building organizing initiative is gaining widespread support in Toronto and across Canada. Supporters can help by participating on Tuesday’s phone zap action against MetCap and its multi-billion dollar investor, the Alberta Investment Managment Corporation (AIMCo). Financial contributions can also be made to the rent strikers defense fund.

Source: https://libcom.org/news/rent-strike-toronto-08052017

17,000 technicians and call centre workers on strike at AT&T

AT&T picket

17,000 workers at AT&T’s telephone service group in California and Nevada walked out on strike Wednesday after AT&T change work assignments for both technicians and call centre workers.

There has been no contract between the Communication Workers of American union and AT&T for nearly a year as contract negotiations continue while the previous contract is on a 72 hour rolling cycle.

This is the first major strike at AT&T for several years, but follows a 44 day strike last year at Verizon by over 30,000 workers during which there were several allegations of sabotage.

At the moment there was no end date to the strike.


Lessons of the Harvard dining hall strike victory

By Ed Childs

Part 1: Advance preparation

The 750 striking Harvard University Dining Service workers — cooks, dishwashers, servers and cashiers — brought multibillion-dollar Harvard University to its knees on Oct. 25, 2016. After a three-week strike, the university bosses caved, giving the members of UNITE HERE Local 26 even more than they had initially demanded. Most importantly, all the health care takeaways the Harvard Corporation had demanded were off the table. The strike victory holds valuable lessons for the workers and oppressed in the age of global capitalism — particularly now, under the Trump administration and the rise of fascist, racist elements. Workers World’s Martha Grevatt interviewed Chief Steward Ed Childs, a cook and leader in Local 26 for more than 40 years. This is the first in a series of articles based on the interviews where Childs explains how the workers won.

The Harvard University Dining Service workers are a majority women, a majority immigrant and half workers of color. Our members are from all over the world — Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. We have long-term veteran workers and young workers. How did this diverse workforce — who said to the world that “Health Care Is a Human Right!” — come together and defeat the Harvard Corporation, run by the likes of Citigroup and Goldman Sachs?

We had a militant rank-and-file committee, but most were new to organizing a fightback. Our strike was spread out over 20 different locations in eight schools in two different cities. How did we overcome these challenges?

We began preparing for a possible strike well in advance, holding numerous meetings in every dining hall, on every shift, as well as constituency meetings. These included constituencies within the union — cooks, dishwashers, servers and cashiers — but also constituencies on campus: law students and medical students; Black, Muslim, LGBTQ and women’s organizations; and other campus unions. At every meeting we went over Harvard’s takeaway demands point by point.

The need for affordable, quality and preventive health care is universally understood. Our rank and file was part of that experience. They recognized later why all these seemingly endless meetings were necessary.

Building union structure

Through the decades we have built a classic structure for union organizing and developed leadership in the rank and file. We did this through classes — for shop stewards, organizing and leadership — and by meeting with workers one-on-one. We brought leaders up from the bottom.

I teach a course on organizing. You need a structure. At each worksite there are one or two stewards and secondary leaders. We have regular steward and leadership meetings. The structure builds the ranks, gives you more options about how to organize and takes care of a high turnover of workers by not relying on just one leader. This means you can survive — it’s more work, but you get more satisfaction and results. In the General Motors sit-downs in the 1930s, the United Auto Workers had a structure that engaged the rank and file. It could not have succeeded with a top-down, business unionism model.

In the past there had been a large turnover of top leaders, so we focused on building leaders in the dining halls again. No hall went through the past year without a major meeting every couple of months.

Another purpose of these meetings was to politicize the issue of health care. As far as the bourgeoisie were concerned, the money that goes toward health care was forced upon them by past struggles, and now they were going to take it back and keep the money themselves. The capitalists let loose on us over health care.

There had been a successful campaign to get rid of the previous Harvard president, Larry Summers. The CEO of Goldman Sachs then took over the reins as interim president. That’s when Harvard Corporation took direct control. The president had an open house, invited union people and spelled out that the corporation intended to take a lot away and the main thing was health care. Throughout the entire economy, the bosses are doing it, so Goldman Sachs figures, why not at Harvard?

Goldman, Bank of America, Citibank and their ilk all have had campaigns to undo health care. They actually told us years before that they would target us. It was a political campaign to undercut pensions, to keep layoffs with no compensation, but particularly to cut our health care. They never said they couldn’t afford it. They said, “This is the industry out there.” To settle our health care demand would have cost them less than half a million dollars. But they offered $1 million to $1.5 million worth of stuff we weren’t even asking for if we would just drop our demand to hold the line on health care. Our ranks knew that.

On June 20 our contract expired. The usual summer layoffs took out all but 200 of our members. In September everyone came back ready to fight. There was a near-consensus on campus to support us if we struck for health care. We gave the bosses an ultimatum: If you don’t give in, we are going out.

Building coalition around health care benefits

Coalition building was paramount. Spending over 40 years in the leadership of Workers World Party has taught me that. We reached out to all groups that had an interest in joining us in the struggle to maintain health care benefits.

Everyone in the university community is in some way affected by the lack of adequate or affordable medical care or discrimination in health care. Professors and graduate student workers — who at Harvard are not unionized — are threatened by increased payments for health care. There are students who have no health insurance.

Women, Muslims, people of color and LGBTQ people are all discriminated against by the health care industry under capitalism. They had a stake in the coalition, which was built up slowly and with patience over time. It included groups like the Black Student Association, Harvard Islamic Society, Muslim Student Society, Harvard Law Students, Black Law Students, Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM), campus LGBTQ groups and women’s groups, and the Jewish student group Hillel.

Well before the strike began, the union embraced all these constituencies with a stake in the demand for affordable, quality, preventive health care for all. We met at a dormitory called Adams House in April, and this cemented the coalition among our members, students, faculty and other campus unions. A lot of radical students, including those in SLAM, live at Adams. Two progressive professors hosted the meeting. The union officialdom of UNITE HERE Local 26, who came at our invitation, tried to change the coalition-building character of the meeting and run it like a regular membership meeting, but we wouldn’t let that happen.

A lot of student and campus union allies spoke. Our rank-and-file leaders spoke. The Black law students had just had an occupation over racism, and no one had supported them until our union got behind them. They were fantastic when they spoke. That meeting was where we first met the medical students. The room sat 100, and it was not only packed but overflowed into the street. The meeting made an impression on the union leadership.

We also brought our coalition partners into our dining hall meetings so they would bond with the workers and the workers could see the living coalition. By the time the strike began in October, we had our fighting infrastructure well-established.

Phebe Eckfeldt, Steve Gillis, Steve Kirschbaum, Milt Neidenberg and Minnie Bruce Pratt contributed to this series of articles.