Fruit of Labor June 2016 Newsletter

June 2016 Fruit of Labor World Cultural Center Newsletter

produced by: Black Workers For Justice's Hip Hop 4 Justice edited by: Mari Caldwell-Robinson Contact Information: Address: 4200 Lake Ridge Rd, Raleigh NC 27604 (919) 231-2660 – Anytime (919) 876-7187 – Day email: website: 

Verizon strike picket lines proliferate: With at least ten Verizon strike picket lines from Germantown to College Park and DC today, there’s sure to be a line near you to show your solidarity with the nearly 40,000 striking CWA and IBEW members. A number of local unions and organizations – including Jobs with Justice, Jews United for Justice, SEIU 32BJ, and the transit workers -- have adopted area picket locations; check our updated calendar listings here for the latest details. The main event this week is tomorrow’s Verizon National Day of Action, with major picket lines planned for DC, Montgomery County and Annapolis; we’ll have complete details in tomorrow’s Union L Street picket line Tuesday; photo by Chris Garlock/Union City


Prince was a champion for working people: The world lost a musical icon when Prince died, and working people lost a champion. The AFL-CIO Now blog recently reported on Prince's career-spanning fights on behalf of working people. For more than 40 years, Prince was a union member, a long-standing member of both the Twin Cities Musicians Local 30-73 of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and SAG-AFTRA. Beginning with "Ronnie Talk to Russia" in 1981 on through hits like "Sign o' the Times" and later works like "We March" and "Baltimore," Prince's music often reflected the dreams, struggles, fears and hopes of working people. And he wasn't limited to words; his Baltimore concert in the wake of Freddie Gray's death raised funds to help the city recover. Few of America's artists have so well captured the plight of working Americans as Prince, putting him in the line of artists like Woody Guthrie and Bruce Springsteen as working-class heroes. "Prince was not only a talented and innovative musician, but also a true champion of musicians’ rights,” said AFM president Ray Hair.


Legal SEIU Law Student Program, SEIU (Posted: 4/28/2016)

"Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement Meeting with US House of Rep. GK Butterfield"

On May 9th, we finally met with U.S. House of Representative G.K. Butterfield (Wilson, NC/1st District ) at his Durham district office at the NC Mutual Insurance Bldg. He is the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus/CBC.  We been trying to set this up with him since Nov.2015 to share our opposition to Pres. Obama's and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's

secretly negotiated "Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement" also known as TPPA or TPP.  Our phone calls , e-mails, letters and persistence pays off.

Eighteen people representing Black Workers for Justice ( Linda Suggs/Jim Grant), NC Public Service Workers Union-UE Local150 ( Angaza Sababu Laughinghouse), Common Cause, Communication Workers of America, Durham People’s Alliance, Eastern  NC Labor Council, Food & Water Watch, NC Council of Churches, NC Democratic Party Executive Committee, NC Environmental Justice Network, Southern Workers Assembly,NC Raise Up for 15, NC State AFL-CIO, Pitt County Coalition Against Racism, Triangle TPP Working Group,  and Witness for Peace Southeast.  Our delegation showed Representative Butterfield that opposition to the TPP is broad and diverse.

We were very pleased with Representative Butterfield’s demeanor.....( he recognized Jim  Grant {arrested w/GKB}, Angaza Sababu {1980's NC ML King State Holiday Day petition campaign/MWBE/Collective Bargaining & Workers Rights efforts, George White Day events}, Linda {she is everywhere representing labor and BWFJ ! ], Marybe {NC AFL-CIO}, and CWA {as political financial contributors)  and had a warm response to our large Anti-TPPA delegation. We showed up with 13 more representatives than protocol of 5 allowed, but he assured us he knew many of us and would “make it work” and heard our concerns in the reception area of his office.

Each representative was introduced and briefly explained why  our various constituency was opposed to the TPP. He stated that our presentations were well organized. Then, MaryBe McMillan from NC State AFL-CIO asked if Representative Butterfield would publicly oppose the TPP.

Rep. Butterfield stated that if he had to vote today, he would vote no on the TPP. He noted that the vote is unlikely to come up before the election in November, so to assure us of his position, he stated that he is 99.9% against the TPP. He explained that he was "taught a long time ago that a congressional representative should never come out 100% for or against an issue, because things can change so quickly on Capitol Hill". For example,  a vote on the TPP could be included in a bill that affects the essential functions of the federal government, like a budget bill. He assured us that if his position changes, he would let us know.

We are pleased with this initial  result. However, we have to remember  that this meeting was not the end goal ! The ultimate goal is getting a vote against the TPP from Representative Butterfield.

We must continue this conversation and invite more voices from NC District 1 to engage in this oppositional TPPA struggle for workers rights at home & abroad,

safe/clean environment/Mother Earth  and living wage jobs for all.

Report & photos submitted by Linda Suggs, Jim Grant and Angaza Sababu Laughinghouse

 Black Power: The Women's Movement

A coalition of young Black women raise their fists in a gesture of Black power and defiance as they block all traffic on  a major Chicago roadway! Both the intersection of resistance and culture and the clear-cut demands hark back to the best of the sixties motion for self-determination.  I'm uplifted & encouraged as we continue to battle in the "trenches".  Check it out!>

Culture is a main arena of identity and struggle
Clintons took payments from Trans-Pacific Partnership backers last year | 18 May 2016 | Former President Bill Clinton raked in millions of dollars from special interest groups in the weeks just before and after his wife announced her presidential campaign, including $325,000 from a group that pushed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Hillary Clinton came out against the trade deal in October under pressure from her rival, Bernie Sanders, and his progressive supporters. Sanders denounced the agreement early in his campaign, arguing the deal benefits major corporations at the expense of American jobs. But the National Association of Manufacturers, which paid Bill Clinton a hefty fee just one month before Hillary Clinton launched her candidacy in April, lobbiedfor the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

New poll shows Trump beating Clinton in general election | 22 May 2016 | Donald Trump's presidential campaign has been given a boost by a new poll showing the presumptive Republican nominee winning November's general election against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. An ABC News/ Washington Postpoll published on Sunday shows Trump with a two percent advantage over Clinton with registered voters in a hypothetical general election matchup. According to Langer Research, Trump's "enhanced competitiveness reflects consolidation in his support since his primary opponents dropped out."

NRA Endorses Donald Trump at National Convention | 20 May 2016 | The National Rifle Association endorsed Donald Trump at its national convention here on Friday, a late show of support from the nation's biggest pro-gun-rights group for the presumptive GOP nominee. The endorsement comes despite persistent skepticism from conservatives over Trump's sincerity on the Second Amendment, after the candidate shifted from backing an assault weapons ban in 2000 to voicing outspoken opposition to any weapons bans and support for an expansion of gun rights since launching his presidential bid.


WORKERS ARE IN CRISIS!  Two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with the money to cover a $1,000 emergency, according to an exclusive poll released Thursday, a signal that despite years of recovery from the Great Recession, Americans' financial conditions remain precarious as ever. These financial difficulties span all income levels, according to the poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Seventy-five percent of people in households making less than 50,000 a year would have difficulty coming up with 1,000 to cover an unexpected bill.

San Francisco police chief resigns under pressure after officer shooting | 19 May 2016 | San Francisco's embattled police chief, Greg Suhr, resigned under pressure from the city's mayor on Thursday, just hours after an officer fatally shot a black woman, as the mayor indicated he had lost confidence in the chief. The police department and Suhr have faced mounting criticism and protests for months in the wake of several high-profile police killings and a racist text scandal.

 "Our Heroe/mentor transitioned... Brother Jim Haughton Presenté!"

Meet our beloved Brother Jim Haughton of " Harlem Fightback" as a teenager when I lived  on 178th St. and St. Nicholas Ave. in the Bridge Apartments/Manhattan NYC. Finding good paying jobs was hard for Black youth then in the 1960's and spurned our interest and involvement in the rising tide of protest and resistance !

Our beloved leader Brother Jim, a socialist/anti-capitalist veteran activist and organizer, helped Black workers develop the political understanding, strategy,tactics and protest that altered the racist economic power relationships between us , the construction industry and several "white only" construction skilled trade unions. These historic and powerful  protests were workplace actions lead by Black workers and our community.They later evolved and created the "affirmative action programs" that you and others enjoy today !

Brother Haughton, a former Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) white activist and neighbor Don Hamer, and our Black Workers movement got me a union construction job with great pay and benefits through engaging in these militant protests ( chaining up the construction site fences with live young bodies of Black workers and powerful chains).I These protests at the late 1960s-1970 Harlem State Office Building construction site at a 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd ( now known as Malcolm X Plaza) had a great impact on our communities, national unions and  the broader society.

The racist International Brotherhood of Electricians ( IBEW) Local 3 and the white Construction / Development Co. were also sued by African-American working class youth, Harlem Fightback as well as the Workers Defense League in a historic class action discrimination legal action. We won and I became an "apprentice electrician" in IBEW Local 3.

No doubt, many youth like myself were engaged and politically educated in this struggle, and we became strong activists in this struggle against the racist construction trades in NYC and other struggles for power around the U.S..Jim Haughton taught and made us study his self authored  brief pamphlet "The Centrality of the Black Worker: in the Black Liberation Movement  & Labor Movements ". We were encouraged to join in political youth organizations, continue our formal and political education, and use it to serve our people and class struggle for fundamental change and power,

During the mid 1960's period, Malcolm X had lectured at Columbia University and left his mark on forward thinking students, especially its few Black students. By 1968, my older Brother Adilifu ( Charles Levonne) attended Columbia in the midst of these students'  historic rebellions and subsequent protests. While I was at Stuyvesant High School, my brother had invited me to stay with him in his campus dorm room. This was  yet another important lesson about the urgent need to challenge racism, white supremacy and classism. I applied to attend Columbia with my brother's encouragement and was accepted.This was an exciting time, like the struggle today, in our peoples ' struggle !

Please take time to borrow/copy  Haughton's papers from our home library or the FRUIT OF LABOR WORLD CULTURAL CENTER"S ARCHIVE  This and other readings/studies and actual early organizing efforts working with youth and elders nurtured my revolutionary spirit and growing into a socialist. Later, when I turned nineteen or twenty years old,  I was hired as a recruiter and organizer for the "Workers Defense League" and later A. Phillip Randolph's & Bayard Rustin's RECRUITMENT & TRAINING PROGRAM, INC taking on the .challenging work of continuing this important organizing work.

Please take the time to read up on the piece below and the web sites within. It will give you insight into your Dad and our peoples' struggles.

Angaza Sababu Laughinghouse