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March on Washington 50th Anniversary
Saturday, August 24, 20138:00am
This year we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. And yet despite the gains of the Civil Rights Movement, the vision of a racially just society put forward at that March remains a dream. Amidst the murder of Trayvon Martin and the shameful acquittal of Zimmerman, the rollback of the Voting Rights Act, the increasing militarization of police, the rise of mass incarceration, school closings, and disastrously high unemployment rates that disproportionately affect Blacks and Latinos, the struggle for justice continues.  Join the International Socialist Organization’s contingent at the March on Washington as we demand an end to racism and injustice and as we celebrate the great legacy of the 1960s struggles, which provide an inspiring glimpse of what we can achieve when masses of people organize to fight for a better world.

March on Washington 50th Anniversary

Saturday, August 24, 2013
8:00am

This year we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. And yet despite the gains of the Civil Rights Movement, the vision of a racially just society put forward at that March remains a dream. Amidst the murder of Trayvon Martin and the shameful acquittal of Zimmerman, the rollback of the Voting Rights Act, the increasing militarization of police, the rise of mass incarceration, school closings, and disastrously high unemployment rates that disproportionately affect Blacks and Latinos, the struggle for justice continues.

Join the International Socialist Organization’s contingent at the March on Washington as we demand an end to racism and injustice and as we celebrate the great legacy of the 1960s struggles, which provide an inspiring glimpse of what we can achieve when masses of people organize to fight for a better world.


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The second major landmark of the new disability rights movement was the formation of the group, Disabled In Action (DIA) in New York City, in 1970. Like the independent living centers, DIA sought autonomy for disabled people, but was more explicitly political and organized confrontational protests against discriminatory laws, attitudes, and institutions.

Out of and alongside these two organizations flowed countless springs of disability rights awareness, activism, and organization. This all played a fundamental role in changing the way that society—and most importantly, disabled people themselves—viewed the question of disability. This transformation is best expressed in the articulation of what has come to be known as the social model of disability. In sum, this model explains disability oppression as a phenomenon which limits the self-determination and life opportunities of people with impairments, and which arises primarily from social and political—rather than medical or personal—factors.

In other words, it is not the existence of a physical or mental impairment itself which diminishes one’s life, but rather the systemic unemployment, poverty, discrimination, segregation, etc., imposed upon people with impairments by an inaccessible and unaccommodating society. As Judy Heumann, founder of DIA, put it, “Disability only becomes a tragedy for me when society fails to provide the things we need to lead our lives—job opportunities or barrier-free buildings, for example. It is not a tragedy to me that I’m living in a wheelchair.”1

The disability rights movement of today can trace its immediate lineage—directly or indirectly—to these 1960s-era progenitors. Yet, it is possible to look even further back in US history to the Depression era of the 1930s, to see the very first emergence of a self-conscious movement for disability rights, organized by disabled people themselves, and promoting a view which closely foreshadows that of the social model.

It goes without saying that the Great Depression that began in 1929 had a devastating impact on the lives of all American workers, with official unemployment rates skyrocketing to 25 percent. But for disabled people the economic crisis hit even harder. One study found that 44 percent of deaf workers who had been employed prior to the crash had lost their jobs by 1935. The overall unemployment rate for disabled people was probably upwards of 80 percent, translating into crushing levels of poverty.2

Finding employment had been extremely difficult for disabled workers even in times of economic prosperity. Industrial capitalism had come to develop a tendency to discard all those whose labor was deemed insufficiently productive or too costly in relation to the amount of profit they could create for an employer.

The years leading up to and during the Great Depression saw a veritable explosion in the popularity of eugenicist ideas among the political, medical, and economic elite of the United States. These ideas posited all disabled people as so much worthless refuse to be cast aside in the “survival of the fittest” struggle that was free-market capitalism. As a consequence, millions of disabled people were subjected to forced institutionalization, sterilization, and/or death at the hands of both private and public officials.

Yet for all its nightmarish features, the 1930s were also marked by a great upsurge in working-class radicalism and resistance against exploitation and oppression. Strikes, occupations, sitdowns, pickets, and demonstrations for jobs, welfare relief, and against evictions, and for many other reasons became commonplace. Millions of workers formed labor unions to protect and extend their rights. Notably, the American Communist Party (CP) also grew during this period into a substantial force on the US left. It ballooned to a membership of approximately eighty thousand, with hundreds of thousands more passing through its ranks.

As a consequence of all this turmoil and struggle, the administration of Franklin Roosevelt had begun implementation of its New Deal program in the mid-1930s. A centerpiece of the New Deal was the creation of millions of federal jobs through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), inaugurated in January of 1935.

Yet even the WPA—as important a victory as it was for the working class—proved to be woefully limited in its scope. Among other flaws, state and federal WPA regulations barred disabled jobseekers from enjoying any of the program’s benefits, categorizing such individuals as “unemployable.” WPA advertisements underlined this point by explicitly stating that “only able-bodied American job-seekers” need apply.

To make matters worse, two additional pieces of New Deal legislation, following on the heels of the WPA, further codified federal discrimination against disabled people. The Social Security Act of August 1935 specifically defined “disability” as “inability to engage in substantial gainful work,” thus precluding anyone receiving any disability insurance from obtaining employment. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which established a national minimum wage, exempted workers with disabilities from the law’s coverage, thus giving official sanction to the common practice of employing disabled people in “sheltered workshops” where they were paid a mere pittance for their labor.

For one particular group of disabled workers living in New York City, such blatant discrimination on the part of the putatively progressive Roosevelt administration was simply too much to endure passively. On May 29, 1935, six of these individuals presented at the local office of the Emergency Relief Bureau (ERB) and demanded equal access to jobs under the new federal relief program. When told they did not qualify, being “unemployable,” they demanded to speak with the ERB director, Oswald Knauth. When Knauth refused, they began a sit-in right then and there, initiating an indefinite occupation of the ERB office.3

CONTINUED »


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Richmond police have arrested more than 160 protesters for trespassing at a Chevron refinery as part of an environmental protest against the oil industry.

Capt. Mark Gagan says more than 2,500 people marched to the Chevron refinery during Saturday’s planned nonviolent demonstration in Richmond.


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ADAPT Information Sessions
Join us to fight for your rights! You’re invited to attend one of two information sessions this August to learn more about BCIL’s new chapter of ADAPT, a national grassroots disability rights organization. BCIL ADAPT uses nonviolent direct action to achieve equality for people withdisabilities.
Currently, we are working to reverse the unjust fare increases in theRIDE, the paratransit system for those who face access barriers onthe T and buses. In July 2012, RIDE fares doubled from $2 to $4 formost one-way trips, with trips to some “premium” areas now costing $5. This fare increase has kept people with disabilities stuck at home, unable to afford trips to work, doctors’ appointments, and visits to family and friends.
Attend an information session to learn more! All are welcome.
When: Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 2:00-3:30 p.m. ORTuesday, August 13, 2013, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Where: Boston Center for Independent Living, 60 Temple Place, 5thfloor, Boston MA 02111
Who: People with disabilities and anyone who wants to fight for equal rightsRefreshments will be provided. To RSVP, or for more information or accommodations, please contact Allegra Stout at astout@bostoncil.org or 617-338-6665. Please let Allegra know if you are bringing a service animal, so we can accommodate an individual with allergies.

ADAPT Information Sessions

Join us to fight for your rights! You’re invited to attend one of two information sessions this August to learn more about BCIL’s new chapter of ADAPT, a national grassroots disability rights organization. BCIL ADAPT uses nonviolent direct action to achieve equality for people with
disabilities.

Currently, we are working to reverse the unjust fare increases in the
RIDE, the paratransit system for those who face access barriers on
the T and buses. In July 2012, RIDE fares doubled from $2 to $4 for
most one-way trips, with trips to some “premium” areas now costing $5. This fare increase has kept people with disabilities stuck at home, unable to afford trips to work, doctors’ appointments, and visits to family and friends.

Attend an information session to learn more! All are welcome.

When: Wednesday, August 7, 2013, 2:00-3:30 p.m. OR
Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Where: Boston Center for Independent Living, 60 Temple Place, 5th
floor, Boston MA 02111

Who: People with disabilities and anyone who wants to fight for equal rights

Refreshments will be provided. To RSVP, or for more information or accommodations, please contact Allegra Stout at astout@bostoncil.org or 617-338-6665. Please let Allegra know if you are bringing a service animal, so we can accommodate an individual with allergies.


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As we approach the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington led by Martin Luther King, Jr., and others in 1963, it’s worth revisiting this history in detail. (See excerpted article below)

This coming August 24th, people will March on Washington again. Now, as in 1963, the March is closely connected to the Democratic Party and the sitting President. In 1963 this meant that the politics of the event were strictly regulated and kept within a relatively narrow and moderate framework.

It was for this reason that Malcolm X referred to the March as the “Farce on Washington.” Recently Cornell West has criticized the planned August 2013 March in somewhat similar terms.

Nonetheless, it is important to remember that the 1963 March was tremendously important in terms of galvanizing the nascent civil rights movement, and bringing out millions of Black people who wanted to actively fight against racism and segregation. It’s also where Dr. King gave his famous, “I have a dream,” speech.

Thus, the negative similarities between these two Marches notwithstanding, it would be an utter mistake for anyone — especially radicals — to not participate in this March to the fullest extent possible. Yes, the March will be an Obama-Fest. But there will be literally thousands of radicalizing Black and anti-racist White people in attendance who will be open to a much more fundamental socialist critique of institutional racism and the shortcomings of Obama’s centrism.

It is for this reason that radicals must be present in order to offer a visible political alternative to Obama and the Democrats, whose role in dealing with the question of racism in the U.S. today has — on balance — been downright deleterious.

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The following is an excerpt from the above-cited article, “Roots of the Civil Rights Movement”:

The sit-ins and marches begun in April 1963 were met with ferocious violence, as Bull Connor unleashed police dogs, and used firehoses and clubs to disperse demonstrators, arresting hundreds in the process. Televised footage of the struggle in Birmingham sparked protests around the country and led thousands more to join the civil rights struggle. Under mounting pressure the Kennedy administration intervened and negotiated an agreement with Birmingham’s corporate bosses and elected officials. The agreement, as historians Meier and Rudwick argue, brought not “freedom now” but token concessions that later were not carried out.” But it forced Kennedy to announce his intention to introduce civil rights legislation. Birmingham also forced Kennedy to identify himself more strongly with the civil rights movement—and to attempt to co-opt and control its activities. The 1963 March on Washington provided the perfect opportunity.

Modeled after the 1941 March on Washington movement launched by A. Philip Randolph, the 1963 March on Washington was seen by SNCC and CORE militants as a mass protest that would paralyze Washington to express a growing militancy and impatience among Blacks. Under the control of more conservative elements in the civil rights movement—among them King and Randolph—it was to be a celebration and endorsement of Kennedy’s civil rights bill. In the end the march drew 250,000 to Washington and was seen by organizers and the Kennedy administration as a great success. But the march only convinced militants that King’s strategy had to be rejected, and many shared Malcolm X’s description of the event as “the farce on Washington.”

Even SNCC activist John Lewis, by no means a left-winger, had planned to criticize the Kennedy administration. “In good conscience we cannot support the administration’s civil rights bill, for it is too little, too late,” he had planned to say.

"There’s not one thing in the bill that will protect our people from police brutality…. What is in the bill that will protect the homeless and starving people of this nation? What is there in this bill to ensure the equality of a maid who earns $5.00 a week in the home of a family whose income is $100,000 a year?"

He never made those remarks, agreeing to remove them when pressured by march organizers. But even his censored speech raised thorny questions: “Where is our party? Where is the party that will make it unnecessary for us to march on Washington? Where is the political party that will make it unnecessary to march in the streets of Birmingham?”

By the end of 1964 many SNCC members would answer Lewis’s question by eliminating the Democratic Party from consideration. The strains between SNCC and civil rights leaders like King reached a breaking point, as SNCC consciously identified itself with more radical ideas. “By 1965 SNCC had become, in the eyes of supporters and critics, not simply a civil rights organization but a part of the New Left.”42 White violence, the government’s refusal to act, the moderation of civil rights leaders, and the slow speed of change had led SNCC militants to reject the politics they accepted in 1960.

http://isreview.org/issues/45/civilrights.shtml


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Must-read speech by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on the prospects of the development of a mass movement for racial justice in the wake of the outpouring of protest in solidarity with Trayvon Martin and against the criminal IN-justice system.

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The bitter anger that greeted the not-guilty verdict for Trayvon Martin’s killer, George Zimmerman, continued into a second week with vigils outside federal buildings in more than 100 cities on Saturday, July 20. The call for demonstrations by Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network and other liberal organizations—and even a rare acknowledgment of the issue of racism by President Barack Obama—showed the wide scope of discontent about the injustice in Sanford, Fla. At the protests, Sharpton and other speakers focused on the upcoming rally in Washington, D.C., to mark the 50th anniversary of a high point of the civil rights movement: the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

With the latest protests, activists are asking whether this marks a new movement against racism. At a forum on July 17, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a Chicago activist and author of the forthcoming Rats, Riots and Revolution: Black Housing in the 1960s, discussed what the Zimmerman verdict tells us about racism in America today—and what the struggle against bigotry and discrimination needs to take up.

 … Though it was supposed to be a trial to determine the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, it quickly turned into a trial of Trayvon Martin, his family and his friends. The way they were put on trial exposed the racism of George Zimmerman and his lawyers, of course, but also the racism of the system itself.

On one of the last days of the trial, some woman testified who had two Black youngsters break into her house—as if that somehow had anything to do with what happened to Trayvon Martin the night he was murdered. But this was allowed. So was the defense lawyers holding up a picture of Trayvon Martin with no shirt on—to say that this was the beast that confronted George Zimmerman.

There was clearly an attempt by the defense to appeal to the racism of the jury and invoke every racial stereotype in the book to try to legitimize George Zimmerman’s claims that he found Trayvon Martin suspicious, and had to follow him, and ultimately kill him.

But at the same time, the judge ruled that the issue of race couldn’t be discussed—because, he said, there was no evidence that George Zimmerman had ever made a racial insult or ever mentioned race. And therefore, if race isn’t mentioned, that means that racism isn’t a factor in the situation.

But for most of us, we know that whether it’s mentioned or not, racism is always involved in the criminal justice system, as it most certainly was in this case.

It’s why Martin was considered suspicious in the first place—because he was Black. It’s why the police believed Zimmerman, even though he was standing over the dead body of a 17-year-old boy—it was because Martin was Black. It’s why the police didn’t bother to find out if a teenager was missing from the nearby apartment complex where Martin was staying, and instead took his body and marked it as a John Doe—because he was Black. And it’s why it took it took 44 days for Zimmerman to be arrested in the first place.

All of these things happened because Trayvon Martin was Black.

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cool. also, it’s good that this map shows all the protest activity going on in Africa, which frequently gets left out of the discussion, viz., global resistance.

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We know that 2011 was the year of revolution in the Arab world, but how is 2013 shaping up so far? The Global Database of Events pulls together local, national and international news sources and codes them to identify all types of protest from collecting signatures to conducting hunger strikes to rioting.

Mapping the protests that took place in the first six months of 2013 isn’t perfectly accurate because we don’t know how many individuals took part but it does provide an insight into political action around the world.

Click on a protest below to see when it took place and how many times it was mentioned in the press.


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In Roxbury, Hundreds Rally In Support Of Trayvon Martin | WBUR
BOSTON — Rallies were held in virtually every major city across the U.S. — including Boston — in response to the Flordia verdict finding George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
A racially diverse crowd of 500 rallied in Roxbury’s Dudley Square Sunday night, as dozens of speakers took turns with a megaphone to voice outrage and call for action.
“Only in America would a young black man be put on trial for his own murder. It was not George Zimmerman on trial, it was Trayvon Martin on trial,” said Khery Petersen-Smith, a graduate student from Dorchester.
He says those who believe the justice system made a mistake are wrong. Instead, he says, the system was designed this way.
“You can think it made a mistake if you ignore the past 400 years,” he said. “‘Cause this has been happening to us for a long time. The law is not for us, it is against us. It was never for us. This has never been a democracy for us. We have to fight for our rights.”

In Roxbury, Hundreds Rally In Support Of Trayvon Martin | WBUR

BOSTON — Rallies were held in virtually every major city across the U.S. — including Boston — in response to the Flordia verdict finding George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

A racially diverse crowd of 500 rallied in Roxbury’s Dudley Square Sunday night, as dozens of speakers took turns with a megaphone to voice outrage and call for action.

“Only in America would a young black man be put on trial for his own murder. It was not George Zimmerman on trial, it was Trayvon Martin on trial,” said Khery Petersen-Smith, a graduate student from Dorchester.

He says those who believe the justice system made a mistake are wrong. Instead, he says, the system was designed this way.

“You can think it made a mistake if you ignore the past 400 years,” he said. “‘Cause this has been happening to us for a long time. The law is not for us, it is against us. It was never for us. This has never been a democracy for us. We have to fight for our rights.”


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Trayvon Martin supporters occupy office of Florida Governor Rick Scott

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Political activists protesting the not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial began a sit-in Tuesday in Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office, vowing not to leave until the governor returns to Tallahassee and addresses their concerns.

The protesters, a group of students known as the Dream Defenders, filled the governor’s office at the Capitol, saying they want a special session of the Legislature to address Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which was passed in 2005.

More than 75 people packed into Scott’s outer office and chanted, “Justice for Trayvon.”  In a video posted to YouTube, protesters could be seen holding signs and saying in unison, “The world is ours.”


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[When] 6pm the next day immediately following the announcement of the jury’s verdict

[Where] Dudley Square Station, Washington St at Dudley St, Roxbury, MA

[Description] More details TBA. We will gather at Dudley Station in Roxbury at 6pm the next day immediately following the announcement of the jury’s verdict. This is a facebook page so people can start inviting others and discussing details.

https://www.facebook.com/events/626725077346401/626922813993294


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People need to plan these for every fucking city in the USA! This particular protest is for Baltimore peeps.
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Justice for Trayvon Martin! Jail George Zimmerman Demonstration
By Baltimore People’s Power Assembly, March for Jobs & Justice and Save Read’s Drug Store: Defend Baltimore’s Black History


Wednesday, July 31, 2013



5:00pm until 6:00pm
Baltimore People’s Power Assembly

2011 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218



If George Zimmerman is acquitted, we are calling on all concerned people, groups: churches, students, unions, and community to come out to express our outrage! Say No to Racist Injustices!  URGENT NOTE: THE DATE ON THIS EVENT IS NOT ACCURATE, FACE BOOK REQUIRES AN ENTRY — THE DATE FOR THE PROTEST IS CONTIGENT UPON THE DATE OF THE VERDICT — WE WILL GATHER THE VERY NEXT DAY AFTER THE VERDICT IS ANNOUNCED AT MCKELKIN SQUARE, INNER HARBOR 100 E. PRATT.

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People need to plan these for every fucking city in the USA! This particular protest is for Baltimore peeps.

===

Justice for Trayvon Martin! Jail George Zimmerman Demonstration

By Baltimore People’s Power Assembly, March for Jobs & Justice and Save Read’s Drug Store: Defend Baltimore’s Black History

  • Wednesday, July 31, 2013
  • 5:00pm until 6:00pm
    Baltimore People’s Power Assembly
    2011 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21218

If George Zimmerman is acquitted, we are calling on all concerned people, groups: churches, students, unions, and community to come out to express our outrage! Say No to Racist Injustices!

URGENT NOTE: THE DATE ON THIS EVENT IS NOT ACCURATE, FACE BOOK REQUIRES AN ENTRY —
THE DATE FOR THE PROTEST IS CONTIGENT UPON THE DATE OF THE VERDICT —
WE WILL GATHER THE VERY NEXT DAY AFTER THE VERDICT IS ANNOUNCED AT MCKELKIN SQUARE, INNER HARBOR 100 E. PRATT.


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