Human Rights Week around the nation

What follows is but a small sampling of the scores of actions that took place across the country the week of Dec. 3-10. Look to “Online Extra” on the PWW’s web page,, for additional reports.

Berkeley honors longtime City Councilmember

BERKELEY, Calif. — It was like a big, loving family reunion as community leaders and activists streamed into St. Paul AME Church Dec. 10 to pay tribute to Maudelle Shirek, now 94, who left the City Council last year after 20 years of service. Speaker after speaker recounted the ways Shirek had profoundly affected the course of their lives.

Young progressive elected to Calif. school board

As California rejected its governor’s anti-labor propositions in November, Shane Brinton, a student at College of the Redwoods and member of the Young Communist League, was elected to the Northern Humboldt Union High School Board. The board governs four high schools and an adult education program in Northern California.

Aussie CP hits racism

In the wake of several days of rioting that involved thousands of white youths attacking people of Middle Eastern descent in suburban Sydney and at least two other Australian cities, the Communist Party of Australia issued a statement Dec. 13 that read in part, “This is racism and must be condemned and opposed.”

A Cuban tribute to New Orleans: New composition is powerful musical prayer

HAVANA — Legendary jazz pianist Chucho Valdés pays tribute to the people and music of New Orleans in a new composition titled “Canto a Dios” or “Song to God.”

Art, truth and politics

The following is excerpted from British playwright Harold Pinter’s speech accepting the Nobel Prize for literature, delivered by video in Stockholm, Sweden, Dec. 7. The speech is a hard-hitting indictment of the Iraq war and occupation policy of both the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The full text can be read here.

Talking about socialism in Detroit

Some of you might think that a discussion of socialism is premature — an example of being out of sync with the times. After all, since the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, we have been taking a battering from all sides. And since the tragedy of 9/11, things have gone from bad to infinitely worse.

We need to dismantle the myths of homophobia

It took the ascendancy of the extreme right and their backward views of same-sex relationships to force many of us to realize that Marxists have to produce and popularize an in-depth analysis of sexuality and gender. This question was brought to the front burner by the extreme right’s use of the issue of homosexuality to provoke a backward backlash amongst the masses of people.

Editorial: Summing up

What a difference a year makes. Just 12 months ago Republicans were popping champagne, giddy with success. Now the bubbles have turned to blues for their corporate ultra-right coalition.

A look back at 2005: No mandate, no surrender! was the battle cry!

On Nov. 3, 2004, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney convened a news conference at the labor federation’s headquarters to comment on George W. Bush’s narrow presidential win the night before.

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