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Boston Black History forum

Fight for jobs, against capitalism

Published Feb 27, 2012 9:54 PM

Larry Holmes,
Feb. 18.
WW photo: Liz Green

The Boston chapter of the Occupy4Jobs Network held a spirited community/labor forum focusing on the struggle to stop post office closings and the fight for jobs. The Feb. 18 meeting was held in the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad’s Mosque #11 in Grove Hall in the heart of Boston’s African-American community and just one block away from the Grove Hall Post Office, now slated for closing.

Minister Randy welcomed everyone on behalf of the mosque and NOI Minister Don Mohammad, who was a leading organizer of the event. Co-chairs were Dorothea Peacock, of the Women’s Fightback Network/Boston, and Deborah L. Wray, of the Rhode Island People’s Assembly, which brought a delegation. Bob Traynham, of the Boston School Bus Drivers Union and the Occupy4Jobs Network, led the crowd in singing the “Black National Anthem.”

Audrey Armand, a 27-year veteran worker at the Grove Hall post office, criticized the racist targeting of this post office and another one in Upham’s Corner. She explained how important both facilities are to the African-American communities they serve. Paul Kilduff, president of Boston METRO Local 100 of the American Postal Workers Union, spoke of Washington’s draconian plans to target thousands of local post offices.

Keynote speaker Larry Holmes, national coordinator of the Occupy4Jobs Network and First Secretary of Workers World Party, stirred the crowd with his descriptions of the beginnings of the global revolution against capitalism. He said that it started in Tunisia and Egypt, is expanding in Greece, Spain, Italy, Britain and elsewhere in Europe, and has arrived in the U.S. with the Occupy movement.

Holmes stressed that capitalism has no solutions for youth worldwide other than to build more jails. He explained that Occupy4Jobs’ perspective is to unite the Occupy movement’s struggles with the fight for jobs by African Americans, Latinos/as and other oppressed workers, who will also provide leadership and guidance.

Barbara Ware, of the Black Educators Alliance of Massachusetts and the Coalition for Equal Quality Education, gave a dynamic history of the decades-long Black community’s fight to attain equal access to educational resources and quality schools in Boston. She explained BEAM’s current lawsuit against Boston school closings as well as the upcoming battle to stop the mayor’s school resegregation plans.

Diane Dujon, of Survivors, Inc., raised the need to fight back against today’s conditions of poverty facing millions. Bishop Filipe Teixeira, OFSJC, of the Diocese of St. Francis of Assisi, and the Rev. George Walter-Slayon, of the Center for Church and Prison, raised the battle to stop the discriminatory “Three Strikes” bill being advanced in the Massachusetts Legislature.

Delegates came from the Brockton School Bus Drivers Rank and File Committee, UNITE HERE Local 26 and many community groups. Boston City Councillor Charles Yancy supported the program, while community radio station Touch 106.1 and the Grove Hall Neighborhood Development Corporation promoted it.