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Fifty years ago, students at San Francisco State embarked on a campus strike that lasted five months – the longest student strike in U.S. history. Led by the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front, the strike was a high point of student struggle in the revolutionary year of 1968. It was met by ferocious repression, but the strikers persevered and won the first College of Ethnic Studies in the U.S. As part of Socialist Worker’s series on the history of 1968, current San Francisco State University Professor Jason Ferreira – the chair of the Race and Resistance Studies department in the College of Ethnic Studies and author of a forthcoming book on the student strike and the movements that produced it – talked to Julien Ball and Melanie West about the story of the struggle and the importance of its legacy for today.
May Day – International Workers Day – is celebrated around the world, including in the United States, honoring the fighting spirit and struggle of all working and oppressed people. It is a time when workers show their strength, demand their rights and forge global solidarity. Its roots are in the struggle for the eight-hour day in 1886 in Chicago. Only in the United States, whose working class gave birth to May Day, have the powers that be managed to conceal that history, erase the memory of May Day, and suppress the class struggle that it represents. ILWU Local 10 shut down all Bay Area ports on May Day for the fourth consecutive year.
On Dec. 14, 30 residents of the Midtown Park Apartments in the Fillmore-Western Addition, along with dozens of community supporters, picketed the San Francisco offices of Mercy Housing to demand Mercy’s removal as its property manager. Midtown tenants also formally announced the filing of a legal writ challenging a recent ruling by the San Francisco Rent Board that Midtown does not qualify for rent control.
On Black Friday 2014, 14 Black activists chained themselves together on a BART transit platform “to prevent trains from moving at the West Oakland station, in response to the seemingly unending war against Black communities.” The 14, a majority of them women, faced criminal charges. Now, after a year-long campaign by the Black Friday14 and a broad coalition of allies, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has dropped all the charges.
San Francisco police murdered another African American in Bayview Hunters Point on Dec. 2, 2015. Seven to 10 police surrounded Mario Woods, 26, and then shot him over 10 times, killing him. Community and labor people spoke out at a meeting on Friday, Dec. 4. The San Francisco NAACP is calling a public meeting to discuss the police murder of Mario Woods for Monday, Dec. 7, 6 p.m., at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister St., San Francisco.
On March 9, 2015, U.S. President Obama issued an executive order declaring a “national emergency” affirming that “the situation in Venezuela” poses an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” This is the latest measure of U.S. imperialist meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation like the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and as such is strongly condemned by the Hands off Venezuela campaign.
The history of technology in the United States is inextricably related to Negro labor and business conditions. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the country was characterized by its rural and agricultural nature. With the advent of mass production, a steady and inexorable shift occurred, resulting in an urban, industrial society with many people leaving Eastern and Southern farms and towns and migrating to Northern and Western cities.
The movement from farm to city forced the proletariat to unite in order to wrest decent pay and working conditions from large corporations, which tended to control entire industries as well as to reduce competition from immigrants and others, including Negroes. The history of the American labor unions, like that of big business itself, is filled with examples of racism, nationalism and exclusionism.
After telling the public that their main goal at the bargaining table was saving money to buy new trains, BART management blew up negotiations by insisting that employees sacrifice workplace protections in exchange for economic well-being. This was a poison pill for workers: Choose between your paycheck and your rights.
RUMEC has been at the forefront of the new labor movement. We would like to unify our people through construction, religion, art, music and education. We seek the liberation from outside forces that foment ignorance, oppression and poverty. We aspire to escalate into an established position of recognition and respect as an independent, all inclusive institution that represents our striving people.
"On April 4, when working people across this country demonstrated in solidarity with the Wisconsin state workers, the longshore workers of Local 10 in San Francisco did what they’ve always done ... the ports of San Francisco and Oakland were shut down in solidarity ... Now the employers’ group ... is trying to put an end to workers’ solidarity actions by intimidating the longshore union through a court suit." - Trent Willis. On Monday, April 25, at 11 a.m., join the mass action to support ILWU Local 10 at the PMA San Francisco headquarters at 555 Market St.