Monday, March 22, 2010

Labor marches for peace in San Francisco » peoplesworld

Labor marches for peace in San Francisco » peoplesworld

Stars and Gears participated in this rally, although not as an organized group. It was heartening to see thousands of people still demonstrating against the occupation of Iraq after seven years and very little media focus. The Associated Press under estimated the crowd at the San Francisco march and rally to be "several hundred" when it clearly took up several blocks of San Francisco streets and consisted of multiple "feeder" marches that joined after the main rally in the Civic Center. The true size was probably closer to two thousand, which is still smaller than in the past considering it was on a weekend.

The anti-war movement needs to see the fact that thousands of people are still willing to march against war in the terms of what all of those people could be doing on a smaller scale in their communities. We need a diversity of tactics to educate people about the root causes of the occupations and create a dialogue about what use there is in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Left critics of health care reform

There are a lot of people on the left who criticize the Obama health care reform. And with good reason - it entrenches the insurance industry and hands the already-bloated health sector a fistful of government cash.

The criticisms are still wrong.

First, they overestimate the ease with which sweeping legislation "could" be passed. Do they forget that we live in capitalism, and to pass aggressive people-first reform in a bourgeois democracy is next to impossible? To say the Democrats "could" pass stronger legislation is to buy into all the lies about bourgeois democracy. The best that can actually happen is a capital-compromised partial reform --- what is on offer now.

Second, the critics dismiss the ideological precedent of the bill: confirming universal coverage as a popular expectation. The right-wing hates this idea and would love to see it defeated, because they know that once it is established, it will be super-difficult to reverse - witness the right's decades long, still unsuccessful fight to reverse other entitlements.

If the bill passes, we set the precedent. If (or rather when) the reform proves inadequate at meeting the ideological benchmark, then political pressure will be for more reforms to build on it.

Third, since the bill will provide subsidies allowing 30-40 million uninsured poor to get coverage, the bill represents a real, positive, difference in the lives of many workers and other poor. How many of the left critics don't have health care? Have they ever met people who don't? Isn't it cold and uncaring of them to disregard to fate of millions, to sacrifice these people for the sake of the purity of their radicalism?

Of course the reform is limited, of course it is capital-compromised, of course it is not a panacea, of course it is not a substitute for a socialist program, of course it does not preclude the necessity of more radical reform and ultimately socialist revolution.

It's still the best bourgeois democracy has to offer right now. Would you rather live in a capitalist country with the ideological value of universal health care, and with significant aid for getting it to the most downtrodden citizens, or one that rejects such things? It seems like a no-brainer.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March 20th Peace Rally and March--Update from organizers

On Saturday, March 20, thousands of people will be marching in cities across the country calling for an end to
wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and everywhere. Every day people, mostly civilians, are dying in
these wars, which cost more than $1 billion every two days. Meanwhile, more than 20 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs, homes and health benefits in the last three years. On March 20 we will be saying: “Money for Healthcare, Jobs, Housing and Education—Not for War.”

Here in San Francisco, the Executive Board of UNITE HERE Local 2 and many other unions have endorsed the March 20 march and rally. The march will be going to two of the boycotted hotels, the Hilton and the Westin St. Francis in solidarity with the hotel workers. The Local 2 workers’ fight for a decent contract and to keep healthcare benefits is important to all working people.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Students and Education Workers Take a Stand on March 4th : Indybay

Students and Education Workers Take a Stand on March 4th : Indybay

The March 4th rallies were an exciting moment where students and education workers stood up against the budget cuts to education in California and nationwide. What started out as just a date set by an anti-cuts conference in October ballooned into a day of mass action endorsed by every major student group and education union. See the Indybay website for detailed coverage.

Stars and Gears was individually at rallies in Berkeley and Vallejo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rite Aid action

Stars and Gears organized and carried out an action at a Rite Aid store in Oakland in support of the Rite Aid warehouse workers' new union. The company has been harassing, intimidating, illegally firing, etc. so we collected signatures on custom post cards to send to the company management. The cards said that the signatory was upset and would consider changing their shopping patterns away from the Rite Aid if the company kept strong-arming the union. We got plenty of signatures and the manager of the store got distressed and called his bosses, so it was a success in putting pressure on and raising awareness.

We'll continue to carry out actions in this campaign.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Feb. 27th, early afternoon--Solidarity with Rite Aid workers!

Stars and Gears will be outside of Rite Aid at 1400 Broadway in Oakland, distributing information on the struggle of ILWU warehouse workers in Lancaster, CA and asking them to sign postcards to Rite Aid's CEO.

Monday, February 22, 2010

EVENT: Feb 27th, Celebrate African American History

Celebrate African American History
Dinner & a Movie!

Soul food renderings – Bring a dish and tell about it!
Bring friends and family!

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, from 5 – 8 p.m.
Niebyl-Proctor Library, 6501 Telegraph Ave., Oakland
Suggested donation $5, no one turned away

Hosted by N. Calif. Communist Party USA
Information: (510) 251-1120 or

The struggle for jobs, equality and peace continues!