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Midwest Conference builds socialism: Power to the people!

first_imgRevolutionaries from throughout the Midwest and beyond have mobilized to build and attend the fightback conference, “Resistance Against Racism and Capitalism: The Struggle for Socialism.” The Detroit branch of Workers World Party and the Wayne State University branch of Students for a Democratic Society are co-hosting the event March 25-26.Registrants are from 12 U.S. states and over 20 cities. The Venezuelan consul general, based in Chicago, will be speaking, along with many other people’s fighters, like a delegation from the Boston School Bus Drivers Union, United Steelworkers Local 8751.The conference talks include: Resistance to capitalism in Detroit and beyond; solidarity with migrants under siege by ICE; a special tribute to Fidel Castro; Fight for $15 and other labor struggles; mobilizing against imperialist attacks on Africa, Yemen, Syria, China, Russia, Central and Latin America, and the anti-fascist forces in Ukraine; supporting public education; the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution; and the struggles and fightback of people of color, youth, students, retirees, women, LGBTQ people and their communities.To free all working-class and oppressed peoplesWorkers World recently spoke to some revolutionary cadre on why they’re attending the conference. Mond Jones, a Workers World Party candidate from Detroit and member of the Michigan Peoples Defense Network, commented:“As a young Black revolutionary, it is important for me not only to be at the forefront of the people’s liberation movement, but also to understand and study Marxist-Leninist theory, and connect with other organizers in the struggle. The Midwest Socialism Conference is going to link theory with praxis, with the understanding that a socialist revolution is the only thing that will free not only Black people, but all working-class and oppressed people worldwide, from the chains of capitalism and oppressive hierarchies. It will be a great opportunity to understand and develop ways on how to further that cause. This conference can only bring us closer to our goal and aid us in bringing true power to the people.” (facebook.com/MichiganPeoplesDefenseNetwork) (facebook.com/WWP.michigan)A WWP and friends’ delegation is traveling to the conference from Chicago, an epicenter of people’s struggles, including immigrant rights, the Chicago Teachers Union and the Black Lives Matter fight against police terror. Adjoa Achiaa, a member of the WWP Chicago branch and a BLM Chicago organizer, explained why: “I am excited to be going to the Midwest Conference because I want to engage in serious dialogue about capitalism, imperialism and a Trump presidency.“I am dissatisfied with notions that impeaching Trump or having a so-called democratic president would improve conditions of oppressed people. Black, Brown, Muslim, queer, trans, Indigenous, migrant lives cannot be liberated under neoliberal reforms, domestically or abroad. While Bernie made socialism a hot topic, I am interested only in discussing decolonization and true revolutionary socialism. Power to the people!” (facebook.com/ChicagoWWP)Working-class and oppressed peoples in the state now known as Wisconsin have been fighting against brutal Jim Crow austerity, including ruling-class attacks against private and public sector collective bargaining for unions. But the people have resisted at every turn, most notably with the February-March 2011 state Capitol occupation in Madison.Zach Gevelinger, a WWP candidate from southwestern Wisconsin and a member of the Rockford, Ill., branch of WWP, wants to intensify that resistance: “I’m attending the Midwest Conference because it is necessary to consolidate our forces against a growing racist, sexist, capitalist, bigoted enemy represented by Trump’s administration.“Building networks of communists and socialists is essential to building a vanguard party capable of defending the gains of the working class and of building socialism in our communities. Power is the organized masses. Developing our consciousness both in struggle and through conference discussion can give us weapons necessary to make capitalism a system of the past.” (facebook.com/rockfordwwp) (facebook.com/workersworldpartywisconsin).The Global Class WarSome attendees are coming from beyond the Midwest. Mattie Boyd, of the WWP Philadelphia branch ,said, “I’m traveling from Philadelphia to Detroit — two of the poorest big cities in the country.The forces of racist, imperialist austerity that have laid siege to both working-class Philadelphians and Detroiters are not isolated from each other.“These exist as part of a global class of exploiters — the same class that wreaks havoc in Latin America, Northern Africa and the Levant. Only on the basis of the united struggle of all working and oppressed people against our common imperialist enemy will our class create the conditions for lasting peace.” (facebook.com/WWPhilly).Right-to-work (for-less) laws in the Midwest are part of the rapid increase of racist, anti-working-class austerity under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Since 2013, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin have also become RTW states. Many of the capitalist henchmen who put these laws in place are now part of the Trump administration, including former Indiana governor and now Vice President Mike Pence.In West Virginia, the legislature passed a RTW bill in 2015. Benji Pyles, WWP member from Huntington, W.Va., outlined the devastation wreaked by  colonization and capitalism on his region: “The territory currently referred to as ‘West Virginia’ (actually Shawnee, Haudenosaunee and other Native nations’ territories) has been utterly ravaged by white supremacist capitalism that still reigns supreme here.“From the moment colonists came into the region with ethnic cleansing, committing genocide against the Native nations, the status quo has been to steal resources, mine and burn fossil fuels and cut down forests. This has led to poisoned land and water, harmful emissions and killing off of many species. According to the National Women’s Law Center, an Indigenous woman makes about 50 cents for every dollar a white man makes, while Black and Latina women make about 60 cents. Of course, given [racist] patriarchy, a white woman makes 70 cents.” (https://facebook.com/groups/WorkersWorldWV).Added Pyles: “West Virginia currently faces massive budget shortfalls that are being balanced on the backs of the poor, the workers and the oppressed nations through cuts to vital programs and through the implementation of regressive sales taxes. I urge West Virginians to come to the Midwest Regional Conference to learn how to challenge the wealthy and their capitalist system and fight for the power to establish a new economic system based on democratic planning by the working class and the oppressed.“We need a socialist system that allocates resources according to the needs of the overwhelming majority and not for the profits of the banks and those few who ‘own’ the tools with which we labor. Trump, whom white West Virginians strongly voted for, is no ally in this struggle. He is more interested in spending billions on bombing workers in Yemen and invading Syria.Truth is, neither the Democrats nor Republicans have any interest whatsoever in these tasks. It’s up to us!”For conference schedule, registration and more information, workersworlddetroit.org.View the Facebook event page at tinyurl.com/zpnhrej.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

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Athol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek Extends Off-B’way

first_img The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek Show Closed This production ended its run on May 31, 2015 View Comments Related Shows The world premiere of Athol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek has extended again off-Broadway through June 14; the production had previously been set to shutter on June 7. The play officially opened on May 11 at the Romulas Linney Courtyard Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center.Painted Rocks is inspired by the life of South African outsider artist Nukain Mabusa. Aging farm laborer Nukain has spent his life transforming the rocks at Revolver Creek into a vibrant garden of painted flowers. Now, the final unpainted rock, as well as his young companion Bokkie, has forced Nukain to confront his legacy as a painter, a person and a black man in 1980s South Africa. When the landowner’s wife arrives with demands about the painting, the profound rifts of a country hurtling toward the end of apartheid are laid bare.The cast includes Leon Addison Brown, Bianca Amato, Caleb McLaughlin and Sahr Ngaujah.last_img read more

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Cotton Crop Big

first_img“It’s a sizable crop,” said Steve M. Brown, an extension cotton specialist. “It’s the biggest wehave had in over 75 years, in terms of total bales.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that Georgia cotton growers planted 1.375 millionacres this year. That’s down from 1.5 million acres last year. This year’s crop is up slightly from 1.94 million bales last year. In 1990, Georgia farmerspicked just 405,000 bales on 350,000 acres. Again, rain is a factor. In this case, the harvest has been hampered by heavy rains in lateAugust and early September. “We also had more rain in October,” Brown said. “October is usually our driest month, so theweather created some real difficulties for us this year. But we’re in high gear in most areas ofthe state.” What made the difference? Rain. The Georgia cotton crop is usually harvested between mid-September and mid-November.Even though growers began picking cotton early this year, experts predict they will keeppicking until Thanksgiving. Georgia ranks second nationally in cotton acreage behind Texas. It ranks third, behind Texasand California, in bale production.center_img “Last year the average yield was 625 pounds per acre,” Brown said. “This year we’re likely tomake close to 700 pounds per acre.” Experts with the University of Georgia Extension Service figure this year’s Georgia harvestwill top 2 million 480-pound bales. Not since 1918 has Georgia seen this much cotton in the fields. The year’s cotton crop will go to market at about 72 cents per pound. Economists with theExtension Service say the crop contributes more than $691 million to Georgia growers and theeconomy of Georgia. “Last year we faced extreme drought in some areas of the state,” Brown said. “This year wehad some drought, but we set a better crop earlier on. And we had a little more scattered rainthan we had last year. Water is the biggest determining factor in how much cotton we make.” “We have an average of 45 percent of the crop harvested,” Brown said. “Some areas are wayahead of that, as high as 85 to 90 percent. And some areas are behind.”last_img read more