The Socialist Party National Office organized the first summer "Freedom School" on May 16th with a presentation by the Friends of the MST on the history, strategy and currents struggles of the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (MST).  The event was held at the AJ Muste Memorial Institute, which is in the same building as the SP USA National Office in Manhattan.

Esneider Arevalo of the Friends of the MST gave a presentation and was joined by fellow Friends of MST members Eliene de Souza Howell and Saul Araujo and Rob Robinon from "Take Back the Land".

The discussion ranged form history and practice to ways to connect the MST and working people in the United States. A great start to the Summer "Freedom School!" 
 
 
Inspired by one of the earliest calls for a Mother's Day, members of the Socialist Party of Michigan and Kalamazoo for Justice, braving the threat of heavy rain, demonstrated against U.S. drone killings at the Kellogg Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek, which serves at a control center for strikes conducted with the MQ-9 Reaper drone.   A dozen demonstrators lined M-96 in front of the base entrance with messages such as "No Killer Drones", "Stop Remote Control Killing", and "Imperialism Sucks".  Many honks of support we given by folks on their way to celebrate Mother's Day.

From Julia Ward Howe's 1870 Mothers' Day Proclamation:
“Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says "Disarm, Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.  Blood does not wipe our dishonor nor violence indicate possession."
 
 
On Friday, May 15th, Becky Tarlau, a Postdoctorate Scholar from Stanford and Friends of the MST gave an L.A. Local Freedom School presentation to a packed house at the Hauser office. Friends from Socialist Alternative and Revolutionary Autonomous Collective - Los Angeles joined for a multi-media presentation which was followed by a lively discussion among attendants. From the event page: "Over the past two decades left-leaning governments have come to power throughout Latin America, sometimes referred to as the “progressive block” or “pink tide.” In Brazil, the Workers’ Party (PT) was founded in the early 1980s, at the same time as oppositional labor movements, women’s right’s groups, radical church-based organizations, and rural social movements were gaining force across the country. Now in power for a fourth consecutive term, what has the rise of the PT meant for these social movements? What is the relationship between the PT, social movements, and the mass mobilizations for free public transportation in June of 2013? And what are the implications of the current mobilizations calling for the resignation of Brazil’s PT President, Dilma Rousseff?"
 
 
Ventura local's Bob Schwartz represented for the SP at the Todo Poder Oxnard Strawberry Festival protest this morning. Pretty strong turnout, with folks from San Diego, Sacramento, Bakersfield and L.A. in the mix, young, old and in between. 

Some good crowd responses as well along with some good ideas about the need for what one
of the organizers called "Protest 101".
 
 
On International Worker's Day the Socialist Party of Marquette hosted a march and rally. It was attended mostly by labor union members, both current and retired.

We all met at the Father Marquette statue and ended at Harlow Park where Wayde Jackson spoke to the small crowd that had gathered and spoke about what Socialism means to the SPUSA and encouraged the workers there to support our efforts as a local.
 

May Day in Denver

05/06/2015

 
On this May Day the Front Range Socialist Party, participated in a rally on the west side of the state capital. Previously, we had agreed to meet on the east side of the building before joining the main event. Three dues paying members of the party were able to join Jeremy Craig, Brittany Holmes and Thomas Muja; as well as Eric Carouthers. 
 Although, we don’t have an official count there about 30 people in attendance at any given time. Many people floated in and out of the protest all day, however. The majority of the attendees were from Occupy Denver with a few additional members of the IWW. The primary focus of the rally was the police brutality that has been making news lately, but there was also a highlighting of economic issues like the $15 dollar minimum wage. The event was peaceful and was reported on by the Huffington Post.

 
 
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The Philadelphia Liberty Local 1, Southeastern Pennsylvania At-Large, and allies of the SP co-sponsored and converged on the 8th Annual Philadelphia May Day USA March, Rally and Family Celebration in Clark Park, West Philadelphia, a community fair of the Left, labor unions, social justice organizations, and the communities of Philadelphia organizing for social justice, workers power, justice for victims of police brutality and community empowerment, economic empowerment and liberation, environmental sustainability, and peace.

SP members Marc Train, Pastor David Reppert, John Mason, and Keon Mercedes-Liberato co-sponsored this event, and met and coordinated with a speak out and fair at Clark Park, including speeches, live music and spoken word performances.

 

May Day in Memphis

05/03/2015

 
The Memphis Socialist Party held a rally and march on May Day in recognition of International Workers’ Day. Specifically, the MSP wanted to draw attention to problems with a newly opened Bass Pro Shop at the Pyramid. These problems included a company history of racist hiring and promotion practices, not paying employees a living wage, and making a deal with the City of Memphis to pay greatly reduced property taxes.

The MSP was joined by other local groups and individuals from a variety of causes in solidarity with the workers of Memphis. These included the Memphis Bus Riders Union protesting for transit justice, Memphis United working for a stronger Civilian Law Enforcement Review Board, and individuals protesting in remembrance of victims of police brutality, #BlackLivesMatter, calls for body cameras on all cops, $15 minimum wage and a union, demilitarizing police, justice for the homeless, and reproductive rights for working mothers, among others.

Local news coverage:
Local news coverage (1)
Local news coverage (2)
Local news coverage (3)
Local news coverage (4)


 

Chicago May Day

05/03/2015

 
May day in the home of may day, chicago once again shows off its radical colors this year. 

Organized mainly by the local IWW, this year's march and rally was a group effort with a multi group "radical coalition". The local Chicago Socialist Party was just one of the groups helping organize the day's events in the "radical coalition". The CSP was joined by FURIE(feminist uprising to resist inequality and exploitation), American Party of Labor, Chicago Torture Justice memorials, Black Lives Matter Chicago, and Food Not Bombs Pilsen. 

The day started at 2:30 with the coalition along with many others from around the city convening in Union Park. The IWW handed out black and red bandanas and flags to anyone interested. Once things were set, the participants marched down Ashland to the nearby Mexican consulate where several speakers said their piece about the injustice of the disappeared students. From there the March made its way to Pilsen's Plaza Tenochtitlan on 18th and Blue Island for a brief stop. Among those who took the chance to make drum up rally cries on top of the statue in the center of the plaza was our very own Calvin Curtiss. 

After the quick breather, it was a long trek to the Cook County Courthouse and jail on 26th and California, the largest on site jail in the country. Once there, Food Not Bombs Pilsen provided the marchers a well deserved meal, free of charge. As many took the chance to rest for a while, TV crews seized the opportunity and began interviewing attendees. Among those interviewed was local co-chair Miguel DT for Fox Chicago News and Univision. There was then an open mic for anyone to share a quick speech or statements. Local CSP secretary Fernando Contreras was one of those to deliver a speech with the overall theme being state repression and racism. Activities resumed once ralliers were fed and rested with a noise demonstration outside the jail to express solidarity with all those being held within the walls of one of the most wretched detention centers in the US. The day's events concluded shortly after a noise demo across the street at the women's jail, part of the same jail.
 
 
Yesterday, May 1st 2015, members of the Socialist Party USA (SPUSA) joined other Socialist Parties and Civil Rights activist from the Black Lives Matter campaigns to protest the recent killings of unarmed black citizens across the US. In particular, the recent death in Baltimore of Freddie Gray, and the announcement of charges brought against six Baltimore Police officers.

In a show of solidarity, the SPUSA had joined with members of the Socialist Alternative and the Socialist Appeal to form the St Louis Socialist
Coalition for Justice and Black Liberation. The Coalition was responsible for organizing the rally and delivering the list of demands.  

The groups met up in South St Louis in Tower Grove Park near the corner of Grand Avenue and Arsenal around 6PM. The intersection of these two very busy streets were packed with cars and patrons of the local establishments. There, members from the Coalition spoke with other activist and the public about the purpose of the rally and subsequent march down Grand Avenue. The group waited a half hour or so after where their numbers grew as others joined the conversations.

The march began around 7PM with about fifty to sixty people, plus various others from news and other media outlets. Heading down Grand Avenue chanting and displaying signs, the group gained attention as people began coming out of the local businesses and residences to watch. Some joined in the chants, some shouted at the protesters, some honked their horns and showed support from their cars as they passed by, some even began marching with the group. Needless to say, this kind of attention also drew the watchful eye of the St Louis Police Department who began constantly circling the blocks the marchers traveled on.

After picking up some steam and motivated by the show of support from so many in the community, the group began their strategy to “#ShutItDown”. The marchers poured out into Grand Avenue where they paused in the cross walk and refused to yield to cars attempting to pass through the intersection. As traffic was at rush hour levels, this didn’t take long before it began having a grid lock effect in every direction.

As seen here in video courtesy of Twitter’s @STLDagger’s live streaming of the protest.

It didn’t take long after traffic had come to a complete stop in nearly all directions before police showed back up. This time however, they returned three and four to a car in an attempt to have less vehicles blocking the road. Protesters once again began taunting them as they slowly cleared the streets. Invigorated, the protesters met briefly at Mokabe’s Coffee where they planned to move the action back to the city of Ferguson and the scene of Mike Brown’s shooting.

More on that story to come.