Today marks a tremendous victory in the fight for LGBTQ rights as Minnesota becomes the 12th US state to legalize gay marriage. On August 1st 2013 same-sex couples across the state will be able to become legally recognized partners. The legal equality of same-sex marriage comes with a total of 1,138 benefits that were previously withheld: families can adopt and have children with full rights granted to both parents, partners from other countries will be able to get green cards, legal processes for things such as inheritance will recognize their family, benefits in the workplace will be extended to all families, and transgender people will no longer be limited by the sex legally listed on their record in order to marry whomever they love - along with the basic and crucial right of legal recognition.
And as we celebrate, let's be clear - these rights were won not by electing Democratic majorities into the state house and senate, but by the immense pressure that LGBTQ communities and activists have built for equality. There has been a seismic shift in public opinion on gay rights across the country, with a growing majority supporting marriage equality. These changing attitudes and recent legal victories are due to grassroots organizing, militant activism, and greater visibility of LGBTQ people.
Grassroots organizing turned Minnesota voters out in November to show their support for the right to marry by voting to keep marriage discrimination out of our state constitution. But little did the far right expect that this momentum would build into an offensive fight for marriage equality in Minnesota through petitions, call-ins to legislatures, education and mobilization through social media, and demonstrations for equality. Through this movement it's become politically dangerous for DFL politicians to oppose gay marriage in Minnesota.
We must use this win for the LGBT movement as powerful momentum to fight for full legal equality for LGBTQ persons. While the legal recognition of same-sex couples will help dismantle homophobia, the structural economic inequality that LGBTQ persons experience remains. It is still legal to fire someone for being homosexual in 29 states and for being transgender in 34 states, LGBT youth homelessness rates are far above those of heterosexual peers, one in five transgender individuals have been turned away from healthcare (National LGBT Cancer Network), and 90% of LGBTQ students have been harassed (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). We need to keep fighting through demonstrations in the streets and organizing solidarity actions within our workplaces, schools, and communities until we have a truly just society where no forms of hatred and discrimination are tolerated.
What a beautiful Mayday! Thanks to everyone who came out and joined us in the parade. With over 30 supporters, we had by far the largest and most colorful Ward 9 city council candidate contingent. Such a fun way to demonstrate that we're building a serious campaign to put people over profit in Minneapolis.
And thanks to those pesky Billionaires for City Hall who added some humor by rallying the crowd for private utlities, tax dollars for stadiums, and using police to enforce their foreclosures.
Credit to Chris Juhn for taking these fantastic photos - juhnphotography.com
Check out these beautiful Ty Moore for City Council yard signs going up across Ward 9. We'll need a strong visual presence in our neighborhoods to demonstrate the widespread desire for a genuine change in City Hall. Let's do this!
We encourage all supporters of Ty Moore for City Council and Socialist Alternative to join and support the workers of Chicago Lake Liquors. We join their call to reverse the retaliatory firing of five employees for union activity and petitioning for a living wage.
On April 1st, employees at Chicago Lake Liquors presented a petition, signed by a majority of the workforce, for better wages. The petition called for a $1 increase of the starting wage which is currently a meager $8 per hour, a $1 raise for employees across the board, and increasing the $10.50 per hour pay cap. John Wolf, the store's owner, and his management swiftly fired five of the workers in a clear case of retaliation.
“Our campaign is calling for a living wage and a union for all workers in Minneapolis. We stand in solidarity with the Chi-Lake workers and their demands, and pledge to use our campaign to support their efforts and the struggles of all workers in the city to unionize," said Ty Moore who has pledged to only accept a worker's wage should he win the $80,000/year city council seat, donating the rest to social movements.
The five fired workers, Joe Giwoyna, Davis Ritsema, Max Specktor, Arella Vargas, and Hallie Wallace have since gone public as members of the Industrial Workers of the World's (IWW) Food & Retail Workers United. To that end, the IWW has organized informational pickets outside Chicago Lake Liquors. The pickets draw attention to the shameful business practices of John Wolf and his management, as well as presenting three basic demands: Rehire the five employees, provide a living wage, and stop union busting.
Socialist Alternative and the Ty Moore for City Council campaign support the bold actions that the fired workers of Chicago Lake have taken for a living wage. We stand with their demands, and support the unionization of all low-wage workers in the city. The actions of Chi-Lake workers are an example to all employees in food and retail, an industry that flagrantly ignores the rights of workers.
Working people have a right to economic security and dignity, yet in the US millions of jobs pay poverty wages. In Ward 9, in which Chicago Lake Liquors is located, a quarter of all residents live in poverty and the median income is under $40,000.
Only through mass direct action, bold organization, and community solidarity can workers achieve these rights. We encourage supporters to join the pickets of Chicago Lake Liquors, and we support the workers of Chicago Lake Liquors in their stand for worker's rights and a living wage. Check our Facebook page for updates on future pickets and actions.
Solidarity and Stay Strong,
Ryan Timlin, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, personal capacity
Larissa Pacella, organizer with Ty Moore for City Council
"At a national and local level, our current transportation infrastructure was constructed under the profit-driven influence of the auto and oil industries...This is the terrible legacy most major urban areas in the U.S. have inherited, with all the associated harms to our environment, quality of life, and economic inefficiency. Changing our priorities will mean challenging the vested interests that still dominate government at all levels. The good news is that pro-transit forces, bicycle enthusiasts, the environmental movement, and important sections of the labor movement are addressing these challenges...
We would prioritize funds for developing a sophisticated public transit system that could meet the daily transit needs of all residents alongside a bicycling infrastructure that ensured all Minneapolis destinations could be easily reached by bike using primarily protected roadways."
Thanks to the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition for their work to advance bicycling in our city.
Last week, we were all blown away by the energy and support at our Campaign Kickoff. We've been working hard ever since to prepare for our first, six-week canvassing drive! Join us this weekend for our Volunteer Training and first canvass in Ward 9!
In case you missed the kickoff, check out this video summary put together by supporter Mike Olson:
The 1% rules through their corruption of the political process. Yet the potential power of the 99% is in our numbers, unity, and self-organization. The success of our election campaign will hinge on our ability to mobilize a serious, politically confident activist base.
Starting March 24th, we are launching a major six week outreach effort, culminating in a big campaign contingent at Mayday Parade and Festival. This will include a major canvassing drive in the Foreclosure and Eviction Free Zone, where we will help build community solidarity for residents demanding justice from the big banks. Join us March 24th to learn more and find a role that fits your interests and skills.
Then, from 2PM-5PM, join us for our first canvass in Ward 9!
Thanks to everyone for making our campaign kickoff an AMAZING success. We had over 80 folks packed into May Day Cafe, and raised $3800!
The evening featured exceptional speeches from David Cruz, Robert Panning-Miller, Kelly Bellin, Antonia Alvarez, Dave Bicking, Mel Reeves, Lisa Luinenburg, Jaymie Kelly, and spoken word by Patrick Russell. Thanks to Ginger Jentzen for MCing, and Chris Gray for a great financial appeal. So many more people to thank - you know who you are! We're going to make history together.
Ty Moore’s campaign for Minneapolis City Council in Ward 9, which is endorsed by Socialist Alternative and the Green Party, officially kicks off this Saturday evening. The event will feature music, spoken word, and speakers from across the spectrum of the Minneapolis progressive activist community, including union leaders, homeowners fighting foreclosure, immigrant rights leaders, and more.
One of the speakers, Rob Panning-Miller, is former President of the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and currently a teacher and union rep at South High, explained: “Ty has always prioritized people and community over corporations and profit. A strong stable Minneapolis requires this mindset. With his passion, dedication, and values, Ty will be a great asset to Ward 9 and the city of Minneapolis.”
The campaign kickoff comes close on the heels of Moore’s recent civil disobedience arrest during a protest march on Wells Fargo Home Mortgage organized by Occupy Homes MN (see the Star Tribune’s article “Socialist Candidate Arrested” on Feb. 28). Frustrated by City Hall’s failure to use their power to stop the foreclosure crisis in Minneapolis, which has been especially devastating in Ward 9, the civil disobedience of Moore and 12 others drew attention to the emergency situation facing homeless families and many homeowners.
“We need more than lip service from our elected officials. We need action and real policies to solve the foreclosure crisis,” explained Moore. “Many cities, including Salinas, California, are looking to use eminent domain to purchase homes that have been foreclosed on and sell them back to the homeowners at fair value. Its only the politicians’ deference to the big banks that prevents that policy here.”
Socialist Alternative organizes and fights against the exploitation and injustices that people face every day. Ty Moore’s platform includes support for socialist policies like the municipalization of Minneapolis’ utility companies, and end to corporate welfare projects like the Vikings Stadium, a plan to extend voting rights to undocumented immigrants in city elections, and a halt to the wave of deportations that is breaking up immigrant families in the city. Moore hopes to use his campaign to challenge the one-party DFL machine in Minneapolis, whose policies has fallen short of their progressive rhetoric, and to popularise the need to transform our economy and society along democratic socialist lines.
The March issue of Southside Pride, delivered to the doorstep of all Ward 9 residents and beyond, features Ty Moore for City Council's campaign announcement as well as coverage of Ty's recent civil disobedience at a housing justice rally. Check it out!