This past week the College of Arts & Sciences Student Council received a plan to increase the A&S Course Fee to $60 per credit hour. They are standing to make $3.1 million from this increase, but at what cost to the students? This change would have impacted more than 9,000 students who would have to pay anywhere from $500-$1000 more in fees each semester. This fee is also recurring from year to year. Each year the fee will increase due to another decision by UMKC administrators. They haven’t informed any of their students of this proposal either, not even so much as a courtesy email or letter in the mail. PYO-KC as an organization flyered and posted information surrounding the town hall and imploring students to be involved to oppose administration and the CSA student council’s proposal.
The financial strain that this proposal puts on students is immense. A large amount of students who go to UMKC already rely on scholarships with many having to take out thousands of dollars in loans on top of those inadequate scholarships. UMKC students are forced to work long hours at local businesses, rely on their family, and sacrifice study time to pay for rising tuition costs. Nevertheless, we have won a concrete victory last night in regards to the proposed tuition hike on behalf of working class and oppressed nationality students. Last night at the University of Missouri-Kansas-City town hall meeting about the recent proposal to increase tuition we mustered up our forces. What we found was the scheduled town hall was to be held in a pathetically small room in the Administration building that could have fit no more than 30 people, our organization composed more than half of those in attendance nevertheless. We voiced our opposition in many ways, which the administration and College of Arts and Sciences student council was ill-prepared for. Continue reading “Dare To Struggle and We Won! UMKC Tuition Hike Defeated!”→
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 “Dare To Struggle, Dare To Win: Kansas City Rises Against Trump”→
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 Racism
So 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 “Capitalism and Segregation At the Roots (with Video)”→
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 “Working Women: We Have The Power!”→
As 2016 rolls around, so does the 5th year of the Syrian Civil War. Millions of people have fled the country attempting to escape the violence, preferably to Europe or the United States. In a 289-137 the US House of Representatives voted to make it harder for refugees fleeing the tragic violence to come here. In Missouri, Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and the Missouri Republicans want the State to deny entry for all Syrian Refugees. Meanwhile Governor Jay Nixon wants “more safeguards” to an already restrictive process. While in Kansas politicians like Sam Brownback are attempting to block refugees from coming in signing an executive order to prevent refugee resettlement! Governor Sam Brownback is a gubernatorial travesty, and is trying to shift the attention away from his failed policies and joins about 20 more governors, in denying refuge for those fleeing terror and violence caused by this country’s imperialist policies. They are not alone, presidential candidate Donald Trump, one never to disappoint with his racist rhetoric, has even gone as far as to call for a ban on all Muslim immigration and a national database as we “cannot be sure” if they are terrorists or not. Implying that the majority of the world’s Muslims are only a shove away from adopting the tenets of the Islamic State. This sort of language is what comes right before a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Using racist and Islamophobic rhetoric, the Far Right in this country has demonized and painted with a broad brush all Muslims and people of Arab descent as terrorists. We must stand together against these reactionaries because they do not only affect refugees from countries like Iraq or Syria, but also refugees fleeing violence in Central America.
Today on Transgender Day of Remembrance, let us remember all of the trans people whose lives we lost this year to violence and suicide. This is a day of sorrow, grief and despair for trans people and for all of humanity. TDOR is the only trans-specific holiday, yet it is not recognized by our governments. Our fallen receive no moments of silence in school halls, no flags at half mast, and little mention from the mainstream press. This is our holiday, and we must come together as one with our allies to remember, cherish and mourn the beautiful lives lost in our community.
We must stand with all trans people in their fight for liberation against systemic transphobia, transmisogyny, and anti-trans violence. Today, let us especially remember our trans sisters of color, who statistically experience more violence than our white sisters. Let us remember the victims from suicide, often our youngest – some of the world’s best and brightest – whose lives were ended prematurely from a sense of hopelessness, frustration and from mental illness brought on by a culture of hostility and transphobia. We must remember our fallen siblings who did sex work to survive, because we live in a world that economically disenfranchises us and puts many of us in situations where it’s survive, or turn our bodies into commodities. And once our bodies are commodified, it makes us vulnerable to forced sex trafficking – a violence so repugnant it must be wiped out immediately, yet law enforcement seems to consistently ignore it. We must remember these siblings’ lives, and honor them by fighting back. We must remember our non-binary siblings who have been killed, because they dare challenge a gender binary that is deeply ingrained in our history and traditions – history and traditions that are then spread around the globe via U.S. imperialism. We must remember our fallen trans and queer siblings in oppressed nations around the world, who don’t have access to the same care and communities that we have here in KC. We must demand justice for our sister Jennifer Laude, not only a victim of transphobic violence but racist imperialism since her murderer was a US Marine, who has still not answered to his crimes from either the government of the Philippines nor our own. Last but not least, we remember our anonymous dead, who are all greatly missed and loved. Continue reading “Recognition Is Not Enough! Trans Liberation Now!”→
Patriarchy manifests itself as the oldest universal oppression felt by women – reaching across class, racial and national lines through varying degrees. October is designated as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” nationwide. Domestic violence affects women and children, as well as men. However, the brunt of domestic violence is felt by women at a much higher rate.1
Patriarchal violence is not something that can be reformed; it has a history reaching back thousands of years, and is now repackaged and reproduced by capitalist society on a psycho-ideological level as well as a physical one. Whether it is through emotional or physical abuse, the feminization/pinkification of certain industries, gender roles, sexual harassment, restrictions on women’s health or the gender wage gap, the intersections of institutional and societal sexism, racism, queerphobia, transphobia and xenophobia all serve to amplify, and often justify, the atrocities perpetuated by a patriarchal system. All these issues together play as an act of violence against women, and they are fundamental to maintaining the structures that support modern day late-capitalism. Continue reading “Without Womxn The Sky Would Fall: PYO Statement on Domestic Violence Awareness Month”→
In our disgust over the continued purge of black and brown people – that is, in the campaign of the criminalization of our cultures, which we see in the mass incarceration of our people, and in the brutality of the police which is intentionally directed at us – we made it clear that our duty was to fight, with them, for their right to live, and to live freely; not behind bars, but as human beings. To do this meant first to identify, then to combat the first component of the global power structure with which all oppressed peoples are necessarily well-acquainted; that is, the state and national police, which resides in the belly of the beast and whose role is to enforce racist, sexist, and otherwise intentionally oppressive law.
In our horror over the abuse, rape, murder and needless incarceration of helpless Central and South Americans – who merely flee what has been imposed on them in their home country by crusades of destruction by the United States government, which, though with more subtlety, continue to this day – we made clear that our duty was to fight, with them, for their humanity. To do this meant first to identify, then to combat the second component of the global power structure with which all oppressed peoples are necessarily well-acquainted; that is, the imperial army, whose purpose is to extend the imperial dominion far beyond its official borders, and to enable the pillaging of the world’s resources.
In our anger over the continued exploitation of workers’ lives and their alienation from social life, we made clear our resolve to fight, with them, for the return of true political power to the proletariat. To do this meant first to identify, then to combat the third component of the global power structure with which all oppressed peoples are necessarily well-acquainted; that is, the capitalist mode of production, the purpose of which is to de-politicize the masses by alienating the class of people who build our civilization from their human value, from social life, and therefore from any meaningful political engagement, while creating an oligarchic class of super-rich aristocrats capable of pulling the puppet strings of the latter two components with wealth pillaged from the working class.
In our dissatisfaction with the present apparent aimlessness resulting from the actions of political groups – that is, with our comrades, who, like us, work with the oppressed in mind, but, not like us, work towards an end, if towards an end at all, with the oppressed out of mind.
We therefore organized a Serve the People Program. On March 28th, 2015, we, the Progressive Youth Organization, came together with friends and allies at 9th and Van Brunt Athletic Fields. We, as workers and students of Kansas City, did more than stand in solidarity with our fellow Kansas Citians, as we have done countless times before, but took time away from our jobs and schoolwork to provide the oppressed masses with material aid: We distributed donated clothes and shoes, toys, hygiene products, and even served food. But rather than serving, as the philanthropic liberals do, in the name of charity, we understood that the correct action was to empower the masses. For the best way to avoid injury is not to eternally replace bandaids, but to attack the cause of injury! When the people realize their true potential – that is, when their value is returned to them and the efforts of their labor is socialized – it will be possible for correct political action.
That is to say, revolutionis the only mechanism which utilizes the full power of the people; the full power of the people is achieved through service to and politicizing of the people; therefore, Serve the People Programs, which serve and politicize the masses, are the vehicle towards revolutionary politics.
On May 1st, 2015, Progressive Youth Organization will be holding another Serve the People Program at Budd Park starting at 4:00 PM.