The Life Of Clyde Bellecourt (1936–2022)

I had short hair the first time I met Clyde Bellecourt. It was Native American Heritage Month in 2005. Native students had invited him and fellow members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) to the University of South Dakota after police plastered posters on campus depicting a poorly drawn “Native American male” who had allegedly attacked a woman. The description was vague enough to implicate just about anyone; several students and university workers were called in for questioning. The posters were vulgar because of their bluntness: they appeared to confirm the worst stereotypes of savage Indians attacking innocent women.

So AIM called a press conference. They brought in the big drum.

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Mexican Auto Workers To Choose New Union In Landmark Vote

Workers at a massive General Motors plant in central Mexico will vote in a landmark election next week to decide which union will represent the plant’s 6,500 workers. A victory by the independent union there would be a big step toward breaking the stranglehold of the employer-friendly unions that have long dominated Mexico’s labor scene.

Employees at the factory in Silao, Guanajuato, voted last August to invalidate the contract bargained by a corrupt local of the Confederation of Mexican Labor (CTM), ending the CTM’s right to represent the workers there.

Four unions are now competing to represent them. Two have ties to the CTM; activists suspect a third union, about which little is known, was created to sow confusion.

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Indigenous Farmworkers Hold The Key To Healing Our Burning Planet

Anayeli Guzman was born into a Mixtec-speaking Indigenous community in San Miguel Chicahua in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her family raised chickens on their land, and as a child she would help plant corn, squash and radishes. They ate handmade tortillas with beans, eggs and salsa. Her grandparents taught her to care for the land and to revere the rain. Few people worked for wages. Rather, families owned small plots and grew seasonal, drought-resistant crops, exchanged produce with nearby communities and helped each other with big projects.

After migrating to the United States to be with her husband, Anayeli (along with 11,000 other, mostly Indigenous, immigrant farmworkers) toils for meager wages in the $1.9 billion wine industry of Sonoma County, Calif. In the past several years, record-breaking wildfires have ravaged the area, often during harvest season.

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Let Us Turn Our Anger At Biden Into Organization

We should take the examples of the Biden administration reversing course on unpopular decisions — refusing to extend the student loan moratorium, refusing to send masks, etc — as but a taste of the power we could have if we used our rage to get organized. Biden and his cronies are far more scared of our power as workers than they are of our tweets. So, what concessions have been given, have been given to stave off the birth of a social movement that could win a lot more.

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Alabama Amazon Workers Are About To Rerun Their Union Election

It’s a moment of increased bargaining power for the US working class. Workers on the order of millions are quitting their jobs and finding new ones that will pay them better. Those with unions are more willing to fight to begin undoing prior concessions, their confidence bolstered by the realization that employers will have more trouble than usual replacing them should they strike; that these fights do not approach the level of struggle of the 1970s, much less the 1930s, do not make them insignificant. And the momentum is with reformers within unions: see recent efforts to transform the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters, two still mighty organizations even after sustained and systematic decline.

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WAMM Still Saying ‘No To War’ – 40th Anniversary Celebration

Minneapolis, MN – Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) is still saying “No to war” as the group celebrates 40 years of organizing and fighting back.

On January 16, 2022, people gathered on the spot where WAMM held its first demonstration in 1982. They stuck signs in the snowbanks and fences, and their chants were heard for blocks around, “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation!” “Coups and sanctions cost lives, we don’t believe the media lies!”

Back in January 1982, more than 100 women attended the WAMM’s founding conference where they decided, “No meeting without action!” Kristin Dooley, WAMM’s director, described the first-ever march, “They braved the ungodly cold weather to walk along University Avenue near the University of Minnesota.”

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Strengthening Intergenerational Work On Israel-Palestine

As trainers, coaches and activists on Israel-Palestine issues, we have found ourselves in the middle of many heated intergenerational arguments. Disagreements can range from campaign tactics to who is most to blame for the continuing conflict.

Cherie recalls a time shortly after the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, when a young Jewish woman screamed at her during a training session. “Why isn’t your generation outraged about what is being done by Israel to Palestinians? Why aren’t you with us in the streets?” she said. Cherie thought for a long time afterwards about what she asked of her. As a young adult, Cherie was in the streets to protest the Vietnam War. She has certainly fought hard for decades to end the occupation.

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Newsrooms Are Unionizing Pretty Much ‘Nonstop’

Mike Kelly has worked at The Record for 46 years, and until Gannett acquired the New Jersey newspaper in 2016, he saw little need for a union.

But that changed once Gannett arrived. Kelly, a columnist for The Record, says Gannett chopped the newsroom’s staff from 190 in 2016 to 100 today and fired many of his fellow journalists in demeaning, callous ways.

“Our nationally known baseball writer was fired just eight hours after the last out of the World Series,” Kelly says. “One of our best investigative reporters — a Pulitzer finalist who was one of the first to expose Trump’s questionable deals in the New Jersey Meadowlands — was given just a few hours to clear out of the building.”

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After Sale, Valley Proteins Workers Continue Fight For Workplace Justice

Valley Proteins, the Virginia-based rendering company at the center of an ongoing union organizing effort and a large class action lawsuit over alleged wage theft, has been sold. On Dec. 28, sustainable food processing multinational Darling Ingredients, headquartered in Texas, announced it was acquiring the privately owned Valley Proteins in a $1.1 billion deal.

But current and former Valley Proteins employees are fighting to ensure that the sale doesn’t provide cover for a company they say has long fostered a toxic and abusive work environment that has led to exploitative, unsafe conditions across its plants — a point driven home by the deaths of two workers over the summer.

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Revolution In An Age Of Resurgent Fascism

The late sociologist Erik Olin Wright used the phrase “ruptural transformation” as stand-in for revolution, inaccurately summarizing this as “Smash first, build second.” His immensely popular and useful work also unfortunately erased historical European anti-fascist strategy whose approach to revolution differed from the caricature he presented.  To move beyond Wright’s important, yet misleading framework, one can even turn to DSA-founder Michael Harrington’s last book, Socialism: Past and Future.

Published in 1989, Harrington expanded upon his own earlier critique of the German social democratic party, specifically the electoral path to socialism as strategy against Hitler and the Nazis. Harrington would ultimately look to a leading member of that same party at the end of this book as the basis for what he referred to as a “new middle class” on the march of “visionary gradualism.” 

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Image Comics Workers Have Officially Certified Their Groundbreaking Union

After formally announcing the formation of Comic Book Workers United late last year—the first specific union to support workers within comics publishing—workers at Image Comics have voted to officially certify their union in the results of a secret ballot.

The vote’s results—7-2 in favor of organizing—were announced today in a move that officially certifies CBWU, which was formed with assistance from the Communications Workers of America. The successful vote entitles CBWU to recognition from Image Comics, which would allow the union to establish a bargaining committee and begin negotiating a contract for its members.

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Michigan Teachers Discuss Collective Action To Close Schools

Michigan teachers took part in an emergency meeting Tuesday afternoon to organize collective action to close schools and stop the spread of COVID-19. The meeting, sponsored by the Michigan Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, included a large number of educators, parents and young people from Detroit and other Michigan school districts, as well as teachers from Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York. Also participating was a leader of the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee in the United Kingdom, where 218,000 new COVID-19 infections were recorded Tuesday.

The emergency meeting was held as the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reported that the state saw 61,235 new cases and 298 deaths between last Thursday and Monday.

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Politics And Prose Becomes First Unionized Bookstore In DC

We are pleased to announce that Politics and Prose and UFCW Local 400 have reached agreement on the scope of a bargaining unit at P&P, and the union has now been formally recognized as the collective bargaining agent for the bookstore unit. Both parties are committed to working together collegially and constructively to negotiate a contract for unionized employees and ensuring that Politics and Prose continues to play a vital role in our community.

In a statement, P&P owners Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine said: “As stewards of a local, independent business with a 37-year legacy of progressive management and mission, we’ve valued collaborating with employees to solve problems and address needs, and we look forward to working with the union in the same spirit.”

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Retail Workers Are Organizing And Speaking Out

In a petition Indianapolis Target employee Andrew Stacy drafted, one of the key demands is for a minimum $17 per hour, but when Stacy and their coworker were posting the flyers in the break room and distributing them, they were caught. Management confiscated the flyers and human resources held one-on-one meetings with workers about working conditions and higher-ups at the location—a move that Stacy saw as an illegal effort to shut down organizing and find out more about the union activity. In response, they filed a National Labor Review Board complaint on Dec. 15. Prism has reached out to Target for comment on the concerns raised by workers as well as the complaint.

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Building Collective Power Within Our Organizations

As we imagine an alternative society, we should think about how we will create something more collective, something where all people have a voice. Most of us come from a tradition where a select few make large impactful decisions for social justice organizations. Organizations have practices that at times feel inadequate and inaccessible for all. How do we move more towards a democratic collective process?

These questions come to mind as many movement organizations are wrestling with creating collective democratic power internally. How can processes be more transparent in the organization—and how do we balance that with some need for confidentiality? How do we balance legal obligations/liabilities and honesty?

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