Last Saturday the people of Kansas City made the call to step into Main Street. The call was not made by PYO, not the first time nor the second time, but members of our organization were involved in taking the street. We were at the peoples back, answering the call and carrying our banner proudly to the frontlines. We will always be at the peoples back when the call is made. In recent days, however, it’s been made clear that The Kansas City Star – the local newspaper – does not have the people’s back. To those of us who were at the protest, watching Mayor Sly James, KCPD Chief Forte, and the Star try to make sense of the events has been like watching an episode of the Twilight Zone.
The people of Chicago did what no one had done since the 1960s: actually shut down an presidential election rally and they could not have picked a better person to shut down. The fascist clown Donald Trump was immediately kicked out before he even took the stage, due to pressure from the thousands of protesters outside, as well as those on the inside of the venue. Some sources claim that upwards of 60% of attendees in Chicago’s Trump rally were actually protesters.
Apart from seeing this as well as the events in St. Louis, we begin to see a trend where Trump’s rhetoric against Mexicans, Black people, Muslims and others are reaching a boiling point. A point where people no longer can stand quiet and do nothing as this beast is allowed to spew hate and sow seeds of discontent. In the past we saw crowds in the Trump rallies spit, punch and assault individual protesters with no interference from police, security or the Secret Service. Now we are seeing larger numbers come out not only to disrupt his hate speeches, but to rally outside his venues. The events in Chicago and St. Louis inspired us in Progressive Youth Organization to issue the call to get “Trump Out of KC”. Donald Trump had been scheduled to host a rally at the Midland Theater in Downtown Kansas City, at the same time as the Big 12 Basketball tournament was going on in the City and we had hoped to draw a huge crowd to meet him upon his arrival.
In essence thousands of people were going to be downtown, thousands more than usual. With less than two days to prepare, our organization was in full motion to not only coordinate the call to rally outside, but also to coordinate disruptions with our members and those taking our lead, as well as spreading the call to support the bail and legal fund for those that could have been and that were arrested. Inside our comrades as well as fast food workers from Stand Up KC and others disrupted Donald upwards to a dozen times for almost 45 minutes. It became so bad for Trump that much of his time was spent ranting about protesters and reading a newspaper about a snake for ten minutes, the meltdown of Trump after being disrupted for so long was taking a toll that he was forced to leave early.
The rallies themselves are almost circus like, complete with incomprehensible yelling, glam rock music and hooligan fans. Some comrades of ours had their hair pulled, signs torn up, and shoved. Others were spit on, with the Secret Service and the Kansas City Police Department doing absolutely nothing to protect protesters. In fact the police were culprits in the violence themselves. Shoving people by the neck, pulling batons out and rough handling people out of the venue. Continue reading
The chairperson of the Progressive Youth Organization, Andrés, was invited to speak at Longview Community College surrounding the issue of segregation. As a lifelong resident of Kansas City, in a segregated, now rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, our comrade gives an analysis of segregation as an institution of racism and ties it with the capitalist mode of production. He also comments briefly on the role Kansas City played in segregating America’s cities and how even after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act Kansas City continued and continues to remain a very segregated city. The video of the lecture is provided as well as the presentation paper to go along with it.
The Roots of RacismSo to begin we should go back to the roots of segregation which is a form of institutional racism. This begs a chicken and the egg question of which came first? Well when we talk of how people perceived one another some groups of people were viewed as being lower than others we see this in how the Romans and Greeks would call non-Romans and non-Greeks “Barbarian”. We see even in the Aztec world in which the slur for nomadic peoples was “chichimeca” or dog-speaker. People had a conception of prejudice of other people throughout millenia, there was a semblance of superiority even, but the institutional aspect of this prejudice taking the form of laws, the social division of labor based on race and nation only come about under capitalism. It would not be wrong to say then that we know what came first in this question. The chicken is capitalism, a capitalism which developed rapidly in the post-feudal, post-Black death age of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. We should reflect upon just how Western capitalism got it’s first start-up that is it’s first huge surges of capital and wealth, in the process in which Karl Marx called “the primitive accumulation” which he notes in his volume Capital:
The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. . . . [They all] depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode . . . . [C]apital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt. Continue reading
March 8th is International Working Women’s Day or International Women’s Day. This is a day of celebration and recognition for the struggles overcame and accomplishments achieved by women, especially working women. We begin on March 8, 1857 when garment workers in New York City march and picket demanding better working conditions, a ten hour work day and equal rights for women. The brave women who had dared to fight for better conditions were dispersed by the police. A full fifty-one years later on the same day on March 8, 1908, women in the needle trades in New York City marched again. The march this time, honoring that historic march on 1857 demanded the right for women to vote, they also demanded an end to child labor. Just as in the past the police were there to disperse them.
In commemoration of these struggles, in 1910 at the Second International, a worldwide socialist party congress, German socialist Clara Zetkin proposed that March 8th be proclaimed as International Working Women’s Day, to commemorate the mobilization of women workers in the US and honor working women the world over. Since then, we recognize all efforts to improve the lives of women, both locally and globally. It is also an occasion to unite, mobilize and struggle for a radical change that is still desperately needed. Continue reading