Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements

A book talk by editors Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein of the new book Until the Rulers Obey.Where: Mohawk Valley Freedom School (500 Plant Street in Utica at Cornerstone Community Church)
When: Friday. October 3 at 7:00pm

Sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Freedom School, CNY Citizen Action, and others.

Ross and Rein will give an overview of social movements in Latin America – what they are, their history and current struggles – and dialogue with the audience on the lessons these movements have to offer to people here in the U.S. engaged in working for a better world.

Here is a bit of information about the book itself:

Until the Rulers Obey: Voices From Latin American Social Movements includes interviews with more than 70 organizers, activists and scholars from 15 countries, Mexico to Argentina. The movements they’re part of helped bring new governments to power after decades of austerity and dictatorship. They’ve mobilized on a broad range of issues, fighting against mines and agribusiness and for housing and land; for rights as women, workers, LGBT and indigenous people; for the survival of their communities and our planet. Their organizing runs the gamut of nonviolent social change strategies, from land occupation to electoral participation to creating alternative communities.

Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein say, “This is the book we’ve been waiting for. Anyone interested in the explosion of social movements in Latin America—and the complex interplay between those forces and the ‘Pink Tide’ governments—should inhale this book immediately.”

Until the Rulers Obey is a profoundly necessary book. Little has been published about Latin America in the way of an overview from 1989 to the present, even less in the voices of the protagonists themselves. The great experiments of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s failed, but new and in many cases less dogmatic approaches to social justice have taken root in a number of countries south of the border. This book explores those efforts, often in the words of the change-makers themselves. Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein have done us a great service. Read this book for access to what the U.S. corporate media still doesn’t want us to know.”
—Margaret Randall, author of Sandino’s Daughters Revisited, When I Look Into the Mirror and See You, and Che on My Mind
For more information, please call 732-2382 or email maslauskas84@gmail.com


Protest Police Violence and the Killing of Michael Brown

When? Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 6:00pm

Where? Watson-Williams Park on James Street near Steuben in Utica

On February 24th, 2012, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman for “looking suspicious.” Though Martin was unarmed, Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges. On November 23rd, 2012, 17 year old Jordan Davis was gunned down by Michael Dunn for being a passenger in a car that played “loud music.” Though Davis was unarmed and not even focused on Dunn, Dunn’s trial for first-degree murder was declared a mistrial. On August 9th, 2014, 18 year old Michael Brown was slaughtered while his hands were up–a universal sign for surrender!–by police officer Darren Wilson. Though he surrendered and was unarmed, Wilson chose to end Brown’s precious life.

We saw something similar here in Utica on July 5th, 2002 when the then Utica police officer Samuel Geddes killed resident Walter Washington. Geddes’s actions were said to be “a reasonable and justifiable use of deadly physical force.” He was later promoted to a sergeant.

All victims had one thing in common: they were black.

The killing of innocent young black men is an unjust, immoral, and racist action that has become commonplace in America. We must fight collectively, diligently, and strategically to battle police brutality, racial profiling, and any other method that allows these murders to happen.

Please join us on August 21st, 2014 to gather in protest against police brutality, racial profiling, and to fight for Justice for Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Walter Washington, and the millions of other precious black lives that have been unjustly taken throughout the history of America. We will meet at 6 o’clock pm at Watson Williams Elementary School Park on the corner of Steuben and James.

“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line…”
W.E.B. Dubious
The Souls of Black Folk (1903)

“…the problem of the twenty first century remains the problem of the color line.”
Cornel West
Preface: Race Matters (2001)

Friday, August 8, 2014
at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School / Cornerstone Community Church
(500 Plant Street in Utica near State Street)
Please enter on the side entrance.

There will be a meeting this Friday to discuss how we can get involved locally to support the struggle in Palestine. Among the topics discussed will be planning future protests, educational events, and supporting the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) against Israel. If you would like anything added on the agenda, please let me know.

LANGUAGE NEEDS: This meeting will be in ENGLISH and ARABIC. If you need another language to translate the discussion to, please let me know.
Finally, there is another “Day of Rage” / Free Palestine protest in Albany this Saturday: http://www.answercoalition.org/syracuse/events/a-day-of-rage-rally-for-Palestine.html

Please email or call me if you have any questions. Let’s build a local movement to help free Palestine and end the occupation!

in solidarity and struggle,

Brendan Maslauskas Dunn
315 240 3149 (cell)


Free Gaza! – Rally and Protest
Friday, July 25, 2014
Utica, NY
(At the intersection of Genesee Street and the Baron von Steuben monument)!

End the siege in Gaza!
End the bloodshed!
End the occupation!
End Israeli apartheid!
End US complicity!

In light of ongoing events in the Gaza Strip, a coalition of Utica activists will descend upon the Memorial Parkway in front of the Baron von Steuben statue at the intersection with Genesee Street in South Utica.

About the Rally

The rally, in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, resulting from the current Israeli military incursion, Operation Protective Edge, will commence at 5 PM on Friday July, 25th. Among those involved are Occupy Utica, The Mohawk Valley Freedom School, The Green Party of Oneida and Herkimer Counties, local Palestinian refugees and other community action groups. This protest will also be carried out in conjunction with others like it in cities around the world.

About the Cause

While recognizing the State of Israel’s right to defend itself, international opposition to their policies toward Palestine has grown for decades. Among those policies most contested are the overwhelming military responses to alleged Palestinian provocations; Israel’s “collective punishment” philosophy, which involves a deliberate policy designed to punish the entire population of Gaza; the disparity in Israeli versus Palestinian firepower (Israel’s is the 11th largest military in the world, Palestinians have no military); Israel’s controversial apartheid policies against Palestinians; the death toll from Operation Protective Edge, which stands at over 400 as of the writing of this press release (with up to 80 percent of those deaths being civilian according to The Guardian); the use of banned/illegal/controversial weapons (white phosphorous, DIME munitions); the continued and illegal seizure of Palestinian land, property and assets; the continued denial of a viable economy from being formed in Palestine; Israel’s embargo against goods reaching Palestine; the diversion of 80 percent of Palestine’s fresh water resources into Israel.

The rally will be held as part of a growing international call for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, as well as the recognition of Palestine’s borders which make Israeli settlements illegal, the repeal of apartheid policies in Israel and recognition of Palestinian right to self-determination and human rights.

There is no position being taken on justifying either side’s violence, however with Israel’s enormous historic disparity in the ability to carry out destruction, as well as casualties inflicted, with significant US military aid, the State of Israel must be held accountable for the violation of dozens of internationally recognized treaties and laws.

Since 2000, over 6,000 Palestinians have been victims of the Israeli military – most of them, civilians. With the 600+ deaths in the last few weeks, and over 90 in the city of Shujaiya alone, this most recent Israeli offensive has been one of the most destructive yet.

- written by Derek Scarlino (with additions from Brendan Dunn)

Contact For more information and if you are interested in getting involved with a local Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign against Israel, please contact, Brendan Maslauskas Dunn – maslauskas84@gmail.com, 315 240-3149


A coalition of local groups will be sponsoring the “Fight for Fifteen” May Day Vigil for Fair and Living Wages on Thursday, May 1 between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on the public sidewalk on 100 block North Genesee Street (across the street from the Hess Gas Station), Utica.

“We are holding this event to press for a higher minimum wage, improved wages for food service, child care, and hospitality workers, and living wages for all workers,” said Brendan Dunn, one of the organizers for the event.  “We are joining with countless people across the country to demand a $15/hour minimum wage. This is a new movement that has gained considerable momentum in Seattle and has its roots in the recent upsurge of fast food worker organizing. May Day is internationally recognized as Labor Day and has its roots in the US. In recent years it has been revived by the immigrant rights and labor movements.”

Over three million workers in New York–37 percent of the state’s labor force–work in low-wage jobs that pay less than $15 per hour, according to a 2014 report by the National Employment Law Project and the Fiscal Policy Institute. Census data show that workers of color in New York are disproportionately concentrated in low-wage jobs, with 49 percent of Hispanic workers and 48 percent of black workers throughout the state holding jobs that pay less than $15 per hour.

Two out of three (66 percent) small business owners in New York think cities and counties should have the authority to set their own minimum wage rates above the state level, according to a new poll released by Small Business Majority. The poll signals broad levels of support among small businesses for legislation introduced this year (S. 6516/A. 9036) by State Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman Karim Camara that would grant localities in New York the authority to set their own minimum wage rates.

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, found that 77 percent of small business owners in New York support setting the minimum wage above the state’s current rate of $8 per hour, as well as indexing the minimum wage to rise each year with the cost of living. The respondents were predominately Republican–with 45 percent of small business owners identifying as Republican, 40 percent as Democrat and 15 percent as independent or other.

The event is free and open to the public.  Local co-sponsors include Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., IWW, Mohawk Valley Freedom School, Occupy Utica, and MoveOn.   For more information or transportation, please contact John Furman 315-725-0974, cnycitizenaction@gmail.com/Brendan Dunn 315-240-3149,maslauskas84@gmail.com.

For event details, please refer to http://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com or https://www.facebook.com/events/598887090224476/ .  Follow events on  ‪#FightFor15 ‪#15Now  #FightFor15CNY.


Last class we discussed the exciting history of the Industrial Workers of the World. We read the “Proclamation of the Striking Workers of Lawrence” (posted below) in class. Some students made comparisons between this proclamation, the Ten Point Program of the Black Panther Party, and the Declaration of Independence. The strike was referred to as the Bread and Roses strike because workers demanded the necessities for survival as well as dignity and joy in their lives. A similar strike occurred in the same years in the mills of Little Falls. More on that strike can be found here: http://upstateearth.blogspot.com/2011/01/iww-great-textile-strike-of-1912-in.html

One of the most dramatic labor struggles in American history took place in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912 when textile workers, mostly women, European immigrants speaking a dozen different languages, carried on a strike during the bitterly cold months of January to March 1912. Despite police violence and hunger, they persisted, and were victorious against the powerful textile mill owners. Borrowing from the U.S. Declaration of Independence1, the following strike declaration, issued by the workers of Lawrence, was translated into the many languages of the immigrant textile workers in Massachusetts and circulated around the world.

From Voices of A People’s History, edited by Zinn and Arnove

We, the 20,000 textile workers of Lawrence, are out on strike for the right to live free from slavery and starvation; free from overwork and underpay; free from a state of affairs that had become so unbearable and beyond our control, that we were compelled to march out of the slave pens of Lawrence in united resistance against the wrongs and injustice of years and years of wage slavery.

In our fight we have suffered and borne patiently the abuse and calumnies of the mill owners, the city government, police, militia, State government, legislature, and the local police court judge. We feel that in justice to our fellow workers we should at this time make known the causes which compelled us to strike against the mill owners of Lawrence. We hold that as useful members of society and as wealth producers we have the right to lead decent and honorable lives; that we ought to have homes and not shacks; that we ought to have clean food and not adulterated food at high prices; that we ought to have clothes suited to the weather and not shoddy garments. That to secure sufficient food, clothing and shelter in a society made up of a robber class on the one hand and a working class on the other hand, it is absolutely necessary for the toilers to band themselves together and form a union, organizing its powers in such form as to them seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that conditions long established should not be changed for light or transient causes, and accordingly all experience has shown that the workers are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves, by striking against the misery to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and ill treatment, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them to a state of beggary, it is their duty to resist such tactics and provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these textile workers, and such is now the necessity which compels them to fight the mill-owning class.


Famed labor activist and painter Ralph Fasanella’s “Lawrence 1912: The Bread and Roses Strike.”

The history of the present mill owners is a history of repeated injuries, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these textile workers. To prove this let facts be submitted to all right-thinking men and women of the civilized world. These mill owners have refused to meet the committees of the strikers. They have refused to consider their demands in any way that is reasonable or just. They have, in the security of their sumptuous offices, behind stout mill gates and serried rows of bayonets and policemen’s clubs, defied the State, city, and public. In fact, the city of Lawrence and the government of Massachusetts have become the creatures of the mill owners. They have declared that they will not treat with the strikers till they return to the slavery against which they are in rebellion. They have starved the workers and driven them to such an extent that their homes are homes no longer, inasmuch as the mothers and children are driven by the low wages to work side by side with the father in the factory for a wage that spells bare existence and untimely death. To prove this to the world the large death rate of children under one year of age in Lawrence proves that most of these children perish because they were starved before birth. And those who survive the starving process grow up the victims of malnutrition.

These mill owners not only have the corrupting force of dollars on their side, but the powers of the city and State government are being used by them to oppress and sweep aside all opposition on the part of those overworked and underpaid textile workers. The very courts, where justice is supposed to be impartial, are being used by the millionaire mill owners. And so serious has this become that the workers have lost all faith in the local presiding judge. Without any attempt at a trial, men have been fined or jailed from six months to a year on trumped-up charges, that would be a disgrace even in Russia. This judge is prejudiced and unfair in dealing with the strikers. He has placed all the strikers brought before him under excessive bail. He has dealt out lengthy sentences to the strikers as if they were hardened criminals, or old-time offenders. He has refused to release on bail two of the leaders of the strike, while he released a prisoner charged with conspiracy and planting dynamite, on a thousand dollars’ bail. He sentenced, at one morning’s session of court, 23 strikers to one year in jail on the fake charge of inciting to riot. This judge has declared he is opposed to the union that is conducting the strike.

The brutality of the police in dealing with the strikers has aroused them to a state of rebellious opposition to all such methods of maintaining order. The crimes of the police during this trouble are almost beyond human imagination. They have dragged young girls from their beds at midnight. They have clubbed the strikers at every opportunity. They have dragged little children from their mothers’ arms and with their clubs they have struck women who are in a state of pregnancy. They have placed people under arrest for no reason whatsoever. They have prevented mothers from sending their children out of the city and have laid hold of the children and the mothers violently and thr[own] the children into waiting patrol wagons like so much rubbish. They have caused the death of a striker by clubbing the strikers into a state of violence. They have arrested and clubbed young boys and placed under arrest innocent girls for no offense at all.

The militia has used all kinds of methods to defeat the strikers. They have bayoneted a young boy.2 They have beaten up the strikers. They have been ordered to shoot to kill. They have murdered one young man, who died as a result of being bayoneted in the back. They have threatened one striker with death if he did not close the window of his home. They have threatened to stay in this city until the strike is over. They have bayoneted one citizen because he would not move along fast enough. And they have held up at the point of the bayonet hundreds of citizens and Civil War veterans.

The city government has denied the strikers the right to parade through the streets. They have abridged public assemblage by refusing the strikers the use of the city hall and public grounds for public meetings. They have turned the public buildings of the city into so many lodging houses for an army of hirelings and butchers. They have denied the strikers the right to use the Common for mass meetings, and they have ordered the police to take little children away from their parents, and they are responsible for all the violence and brutality on the part of the police.

The Massachusetts Legislature has refused to use any of the money of the State to help the strikers. They have voted $150,000 to maintain an army of 1,500 militiamen to be ready to shoot down innocent men, women, and children who are out on strike for a living wage. They have refused to use the powers of the State for the workers. They have appointed investigation committees, who declare, after perceiving the signs of suffering on the part of the strikers on every side, that there is no trouble with these people.

All the nations of the world are represented in this fight of the workers for more bread. The flaxen-haired son of the North marches side by side with his dark-haired brother of the South. They have toiled together in the factory for one boss. And now they have joined together in a great cause, and they have cast aside all racial and religious prejudice for the common good, determined to win a victory over the greed of the corrupt, unfeeling mill owners, who have ruled these people so long with the whip of hunger and the lash of the unemployed.

Outlawed, with their children taken away from them, denied their rights before the law, surrounded by bayonets of the militia, and driven up and down the streets of the city by an overfed and arrogant body of police, these textile workers, sons and daughters of the working class, call upon the entire civilized world to witness what they have suffered at the hands of the hirelings of the mill-owning class. These men and women can not suffer much longer; they will be compelled to rise in armed revolt against their oppressors if the present state of affairs is allowed to continue in Lawrence.


1 “Proclamation of the Striking Textile Workers of Lawrence” (1912). In Charles P. Neill, ed.. Report on the Strike ofTextile Workers in Lawrence, Massachusetts in 1912,62nd Congress, 2nd Session, Senate Document 870 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1912), pp. 503-04.

2 On Tuesday, January 30, 1912, a young Syrian striker, John Ramy, was bayoneted in the back and later died.


Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
Union/Workplace Organizer Training

Saturday, March 29
10am-5pm (9:30am for breakfast)

Sunday, March 30
10am-4pm (9:30am for breakfast)

At Cornerstone Community Church
500 Plant St., Utica, NY 13501

Do you have a job? Will you have a job in the future? Are you a worker? Do you want higher wages and more benefits? Do you want to fight injustice at work? Do you want more rights, power and a voice at your work?

If the answers to any of these questions are YES, then you should consider organizing at work and joining the one union open to all workers, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). This training will show you how to organize at work and form a union. The IWW labor union is looking to form in Utica and excited to organize the unorganized. The union has an exciting history and formed at a time in US history when other unions were mostly concerned with organizing white, male, skilled workers. The IWW opened its doors to workers of all races, industrial and farm workers, immigrants, and women.

Local activists decided to have the training in light of the need to reach out to workers who are not in unions and to create a culture of grassroots labor organizing locally. It is being done through the newly formed Mohawk Valley Freedom School and is cosponsored by CNY Citizen Action.

You don’t have to be a member of the union to come to the training. The training is completely free and open to the public, including unemployed workers. As long  as people do not have the power to hire or fire anyone they are welcome to come. Organizing materials, information, and breakfast and lunch will also be provided.

Two experienced union organizers, will give the nuts and bolts of organizing at work, how to set up a workplace organizing committee, the AEIOUs of organizing, go over labor law, how to make demands on the boss, and build grassroots power at work. This is a very interactive training that includes role plays and active participation. The training will also go over social charting, mapping, contracts vs. solidarity unionism, and a history of the IWW.

It is an exciting moment in US history to get involved with social movements and stand up for dignity and justice. One way you can do that is at work by organizing with the IWW. We hope you join us in this exciting movement.

Please RSVP to the event by emailing mvfreedomschool@gmail.com or calling 315 240-3149.

More information about the IWW can be found at http://www.iww.org

Also, feel free to learn more about the IWW from scholar and activist Noam Chomsky. He also happens to be a member of the IWW.



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