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The Militant this week
El Militante
Illinois socialists call for labor party
Protests answer L.A. cop brutality
Washington tightens its noose around Iran
Poverty up as end of recession is announced
Gains by tea party unnerve Republicans and Democrats
Drive opens to get out ‘Workers Power’ book, ‘Militant’ weekly
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Raúl Castro explains Cuba’s economic challenges to communist youth congress
Record of Militant Fightning Fund
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A socialist newsweekly published in the interests of working people
Vol. 74/No. 37      October 4, 2010


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(lead article)
Socialist candidates
back workers’ fights
Militant/Betsy Farley
John Hawkins, left, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Illinois governor, talks August 26 with Teamsters on strike at ProBuild lumber mill in Yorkville, Illinois.

Illinois socialists
call for labor party

CHICAGO—“Working people should oppose the layoffs and cutbacks that Mayor Richard Daley is setting the stage for in his 2011 budget,” John Hawkins, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Illinois governor, said to a crowd of 500 at a September 16 public hearing on the city budget. Hawkins was responding to plans outlined by Daley that place the burden of the economic depression on the backs of the working class.

Flanked by more than 20 city officials, the mayor said the worst recession in 70 years has had a huge negative impact on Chicago’s tax revenues.

In the last two years the city has cut more than $400 million in spending. Many city workers’ wages have been cut through unpaid holidays, mandatory unpaid furloughs, reductions in health care, and compensating overtime work with extra time off instead of pay.

Dozens of working people spoke at the hearing held at the North Grand High School. Several argued for the city to redirect its priorities to quality affordable housing, especially for the elderly. Others spoke of the need to improve city-funded mental health facilities, which have deteriorated because of budget cuts in recent years.

“The proposals these Democratic and Republican party politicians are making for job combinations and reductions in city services show that the living standards, wages, and working conditions of Chicago’s working class are not their priorities,” Hawkins said.

“They try to convince us that their spending proposals are in the interests of everyone. But that’s not true. Their priorities are in the interests of one class— the capitalist class—and not in the interests of our class—the working class,” emphasized Hawkins. “That’s why about 20 percent of their $3.4 billion budget goes to service the debt owed to a tiny handful of bondholders.

“We need a labor party, based on a fighting union movement, that puts workers’ interests first. That’s a course toward taking political power from the capitalists who exploit us.

“The Socialist Workers Party urges the union movement and all working people to join us in demanding: No cuts in city services; No layoffs of city workers; Give city workers back the 24 furlough days; Hands off the pensions of city workers.”

In response to Hawkins’s comments on the furlough days, several workers in the audience exclaimed, “That’s right!” Many applauded after he finished speaking. Several stopped to take campaign literature and buy copies of the Militant as they left the hearing.

The morning before the hearing the socialist candidate joined a picket line and rally outside state attorney general Lisa Madigan’s office demanding immediate hearings for 23 African American and Latino men in Illinois prisons convicted on the basis of false confessions extracted from them by cop torturers.

Protests answer
L.A. cop brutality

LOS ANGELES—The September 5 killing of Manuel Jamines by police here sparked several days of protests and an ongoing discussion about cop brutality in the working-class neighborhood of Westlake. Jamines, a 37-year-old day laborer from Guatemala, was shot twice in the head by Los Angeles Police Department officer Frank Hernandez. The killing took place on a busy street corner on a Sunday afternoon.

The day after the shooting hundreds of residents gathered and marched to the Ramparts police station in protest. The police responded in full riot gear, and attacked demonstrators. Hernandez and two other cops claimed they had been called because a man was threatening people with a knife, and that Hernandez fired when Jamines raised a knife and moved toward him. Ana, a school cafeteria worker who only gave her first name to the media, said she saw the shooting from across the street. Jamines “had nothing in his hands,” she insisted.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa vigorously defended the cops. “We’ve got to go through an investigation,” he said. “But when it’s all said and done, I’ll guarantee you what’s going to come out is that these guys are heroes, and I stand by them.”

“The cops definitely do not ‘protect’ the community. They do the opposite. They abuse the law,” said Danny Cruz, 23, a restaurant worker who lives a few blocks from where Jamines was killed. “The media is using this as another opportunity to criminalize Hispanics.”

Eleanor García, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress in District 33, has joined the rallies and vigils to protest the killing by police. “The capitalist politicians defend the cops and the entire ‘justice’ system that they use to punish and control working people,” she said in a campaign statement. “Police brutality is inherent in their system.

“Working people need to mobilize to demand the jailing of these killer cops!”

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