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March 2020


CONTENTS

Collective Statement…………………………………………………………….….2-3 Essays A History of Solidarity: Black Student Athletes and Workers at UNC by Joel Sronce………………………...……...……………………………………….…4-13 We Cannot React: Climate Crisis and the Importance of Community Building by Nate Rosenberger……………...……...…………………………………..……14-20 Reports Masks, Gowns, and Medicare for All by Jonathan Michels……………...……...…………………………………………21-25 Local Sunrise Organizers in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Struggle by Nate Rosenberger……………...……...………………………………………..26-31 Arts and Culture Poem, in baltimore by Lamont Lilly……….…….………………………………...………...…………...…..32 Visual art, Tools by Natasha Popkin.….……………………………..…………...…………………..…33 Organizational Profiles Housing Justice Now...........................................................................34 Carolina Jews for Justice.....................................................................35 Bits and Pieces Wordsearch……………………………………………………………………………...36 Coloring page.......................................................................................37 Talk of the Town.............................................................................38-39 COVID-19 resources…….……………………………………………………………40 Community resources…………………… …..…….……………………………...41 Cover art by Sidney Jones & Nate Rosenberger. Coloring page by Natasha Popkin.

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COLLECTIVE STATEMENT

A MESSAGE FROM THE PIEDMONT LEFT REVIEW EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE The world with which we on the left are confronted today is fraught with dangers and anxieties. The constant march of 40 years of neoliberalism has given way to the rising tides of white nationalism, ecofascism, and alienation. The beacons of the left that once lit the path to shore have grown dim and movements for popular liberation find themselves forced into lifeboats to escape the waves of reaction, while the rich and powerful slip away to their megayachts for their party at the end of the world. PLR chose the theme of rising tides to highlight what we are truly up against. Our reality is a dire one. Will we be crushed underneath the crashing waves of climate disaster? Will the leviathan of fascism cast us against the rocks and send us to the depths? Will the sirens of reform lead us astray? The lighthouses that once shown so bright are now defunct, and no ship is coming to rescue us. The effects of climate change are already here and ravaging our most vulnerable communities. Now, the incompetence of our political and economic system in adequately addressing the crisis of COVID-19 has intensified the disaster. Techno-fantasies will not save us; our only hope for salvation is organizing to provide direct aid in response to the global pandemic and climate collapse. Frontline communities fighting back against the plundering of the earth and reckless disregard for workers by massive corporations are the only viable solution. We protect us.

Fascists are already exploiting a decaying liberal order to push a monstrous vision of violence and genocide. It is not the neoliberal state that will save us. It is antifacist and antiracist resistance that can beat back white nationalism and dismantle these vile structures of exploitation and oppression. It is communities recognizing our collective duty to defend, protect, and uplift every single member that will turn back the fascist tide. Capitalism seeks to snuff out any hope for a vision of something better. It gives us dreamless sleep and a waking nightmare of misery 2


and suffering. But our collective histories and traditions have kept the flame of liberation alive, through the rain and wind, through the storms of right wing hegemony. We hope that the works presented in this issue will help keep that flame alight in the hearts and minds of our community. And that these glimpses into a socialist future will inspire you to see yourself not as a lonely voice against an inevitable dystopia, but as part of a working class movement to save the planet and each other. For even being cast adrift in this ocean of reaction, solidarity with one another in our fight against oppression is the greatest weapon we have. The voices of the marginalized and oppressed are our North Star. Even in this moment of despair, there is hope for a better world. It is easy to give into pessimism in the face of the forces we are up against. But it is our collective strength that will keep us afloat. And it is our collective struggle that will guide us home.

ABOUT THE EDITORIAL COLLECTIVE Garrison Clark (he/him) is an organizer in Greensboro, paw-paw tree enthusiast, and a member of DSA. Sidney Jones (she/her) is a calligrapher living & working in Greensboro. She enjoys birding, gardening, and perfecting her cartwheel. Hamish O’Brien (he/him) is an organizer in Greensboro, a grad student, and is ashamed to have been born in the North. Natasha Popkin (they/them) is a queer organizer, goofball, and artist. They work hard, hardly work, and want to keep making anticapitalist art forever Nate Rosenberger (they/them) comes from a large reactionary family and had to leave home to learn about the joys of socialism. They are involved in the DSA and SRA and is passionate about housing justice and community defense. Rachel Wieselquist (she/her) has been moving and shaking in Greensboro for almost her entire life. She is a community-centered socialist, enjoys cooking for friends, and loves podcasts and pets. 3


ESSAYS

A HISTORY OF SOLIDARITY: BLACK STUDENT ATHLETES AND WORKERS AT UNC BY JOEL SRONCE Footnotes and citations can be found online at https:// piedmontleftreview.com/2019/12/14/a-history-of-solidarity-black-student-

On the morning of Friday, December 13, 2019, anti-racist activists gathered at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill to protest the UNC Board of Governors’ meeting, or what would have been a meeting were it not for public outrage and mobilization. The board had recoiled to a conference call, though activists showed up at the Friday Center nonetheless, protesting the board’s impending orchestration of a $2.5 million payout – as well as a handoff of the recentlytoppled Confederate statue, Silent Sam – to the N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). The SCV has expressed its elation with the newly-awarded means to not only re-erect and display the statue, but to do so in new division headquarters it will build for the benefit and education of its followers. In a letter sent from the group’s commander, Kevin Stone, to its membership, Stone writes, “There have been those who say we’ve ‘lost the respect’ of the BOG, etc. while during this whole time, we were working directly with them and for the honour of our ancestors. What we have accomplished is something that I never dreamed we could accomplish in a thousand years and all at the expense of the University itself.” In an interview with the News & Observer last week, Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center noted the SCV’s staunch defense of the Confederacy and its principles, which includes a 1929 pamphlet displayed on the group’s website that claims, “[t]he negroes were the most spoiled domestics in the world.” Eight days ago, on Dec 5, student activists led by the UNC Black Congress and Black Student Movement were compelled to divert their time and energy from their final exams for the second year in a row. Once again, they refused to remain silent when facing another 4


university decision in favor of the upkeep of its anti-Black legacy. Once again they took up the taxing and sometimes even traumatic task of resistance. And they did so despite knowing all too well that the BOG’s payout to the SCV reaffirms something: the university has a seemingly unshakeable propensity to not only be engulfed in the harsh realities of racism and white supremacy that scar all along the length of American history, but to also be complicit in them. Yet this occasion marks not only another clash of anti-racists and their opposition, but an important anniversary. It’s the anniversary of a statement, one without which anti-racist activists on campus might not be as emboldened to mobilize once again and lend their voices to the resistance against the sponsorship of neo-Confederacy. One year prior, a statement was released that explicitly supported the Black Student Movement and other activists working to bring justice to campus. It was called the Black Athlete Statement, and its addition to the teaching-assistants’ collective action – one of the most visible, significant campus-worker movements of recent memory – reinforces an essential history of solidarity between student athletes and workers at UNC over the past 50 years. Less than a week after the Black Athlete Statement was released, Nicole Castro, a Ph.D. student and graduate worker at UNC, published an article in The Nation regarding the long history of opposition to Silent Sam and the anti-racist fervor and vigilance that she contends has always and will endure on campus. Yet those previous volatile chapters of opposition and victorious resistance may be unknown by most residents across the state. To that point, Castro asks, “[w]hy isn’t this vibrant history better known? Because altering the timeline to make today’s advocates feel small and alone is a time-honed tactic to mitigate activism, especially those of black and Indigenous lineages.” Castro underscores the historical legacy of protest in Chapel Hill that teaching assistants and other activists have joined, and without whom our current movements and struggles would have so much less foundation, direction, and empowering memory.

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In the same vein, the current and former student-athletes at UNC, who spoke out a year ago to call out the racist maneuvers of their university and show solidarity with campus workers and a fight for justice, might not have known that they, too, were standing on the shoulders of giants of UNC-student-athlete political activism. Another BOG maneuver to uphold a heritage of hate is upon us again. Here’s a dive into the history of political student-athletes at UNC over the past 50 years that illuminates just what tradition the Black Athlete Statement joined, as we now celebrate its first anniversary.

1969: UNC Food-Service Workers’ Strike UNC’s food-service workers’ first strike began in February, 1969, as a fight for better wages and fairer treatment. It lasted over a month and its conclusion saw an increase in the minimum wage for state employees in many occupations across North Carolina. The movement counts as one of the most important victories for workers of color in the Tar Heel State in the second half of the twentieth century. Yet few around the state now know the details of their struggle, and fewer still that the striking workers received vital support from a couple of the first Black members of the men’s basketball program, particularly Bill Chamberlain. Chamberlain grew up in Harlem, only a few blocks from Charles Scott, no doubt the more famous Tar Heel, who became the first Black scholarship athlete to desegregate the UNC men’s varsity basketball team. Even before Chamberlain’s move a few hundred miles down South – a move which his friends in the Black Power movement in Harlem critiqued openly – Chamberlain was no foreigner to racism. He experienced it from his own neighbors when he lived with his high-school basketball coach upstate in Brookville, NY. This taught Chamberlain an early lesson: “Essentially, when racism is a factor, folks who are in power enjoy the status quo.” Not only are his words so apropos of today, but racism and the status quo, as well as his part in a fight against them, would ultimately come to define much of his legacy in Chapel Hill. Chamberlain found a more militant avenue for change in the form of the Black Student Movement (BSM), a group that was founded by students on UNC’s campus in late 1967 to actively fight against racial injustice. 6


Perhaps the most famous struggle in which the BSM engaged was the majority-Black campus food-service workers’ strike in 1969. In support of the workers, the BSM held rallies, swelled the ranks of picket lines, distributed leaflets, occupied buildings, and amassed signatures on a petition. Early in the strike’s course, Chamberlain brought the petition to Smith’s office to inform his coach of the workers’ grievances, showing his coach the BSM petition against the workers’ current contract. According to Art Chansky’s book, Game Changers, Smith, who had asked the university chancellor to wait in the hall while he talked to Chamberlain, soon told the chancellor he would sign the petition and “ask others in the athletic department to do the same.” But Chamberlain’s involvement in the BSM and the workers’ strike wasn’t limited to passing around a petition. Outside of South Building in front of a couple hundred students, the freshman Chamberlain addressed the crowd regarding the BSM, the striking workers, and a meeting with the university chancellor. The accounts of the language he used differ, though according to an article published a few years later in Black Ink, the Black Student Movement’s newspaper, Chamberlain announced, “I feel that if I’m going to represent the university on the basketball court, they (the administration) should represent me and my Black brothers.” Yet despite the near-immovable stance of the university, after more than a month on the picket lines, the workers won. What’s more, J. D. Williams writes that “food service employees could take added satisfaction in knowing that the minimum wage increased for other workers on campus and for such state employees as hospital aides, laboratory technicians, office workers, ferry deckhands, laundry workers, recreation assistants, and truck drivers throughout North Carolina.” And though there were more important drivers of the strike’s course and outcome than Chamberlain, his choice to participate – courageous due to his vulnerability as one of UNC’s very first Black student athletes – lent an indisputable hand to the workers’ victory.

1990s: Housekeepers and the Black Awareness Council More than 20 years after the food-service workers’ first strike, Black workers and students at UNC – including student athletes – were still fighting for equality and representation. 7


The 1990s in Chapel Hill saw another one of the most successful labor struggles in the entire American south over the last few decades of the twentieth century. The movement was led by the UNC Housekeepers Association (HKA), who, by the end of their struggle, received more than one-million dollars in raises and back pay. As another majority-Black workforce at UNC, the housekeepers found their footing thanks to an important resource: campus workers’ history. As Charlotte Fryar writes, “The housekeepers’ movement, directed by the legacies of Black freedom striving, shaped the 1996 settlement by using the University’s history as a tool with which to pursue justice for Black low-wage workers at the University, creating a model for how histories of injustice could be used to rectify present conditions.” Not long after the HKA began to set its course in the early 90’s, a parallel movement maintained by student athletes took off as well. By the mid-1980s a proposal for a Black Cultural Center (BCC) on UNC’s campus had been developed, and near the end of the decade the initiative won a temporary space – what Black Ink revealed as “a one-room former snack bar” – in the Student Union. Yet it wasn’t until the death of Dr. Sonja Haynes Stone, a celebrated Black educator at UNC, in 1991 that students began to push more militantly for a free-standing BCC in her honor. The following year saw a coalition of racial-justice advocates, including the BSM, once again in an alliance with campus workers. This time, in the spring of 1992, when the coalition issued a list of demands to Chancellor Paul Hardin, the demands included better pay for the university’s housekeepers. When Hardin announced that he could not meet the requests, nor support even the idea of a freestanding center, the Black Awareness Council (BAC) formed in the following summer. The BAC was the thought-project of uncommon racial-justice leaders on campus: four players of UNC’s football team. They were John Bradley, who became the Black Student Movement president from 1993 to 1994, Jimmy Hancock, Malcolm Marshall, and Timothy Smith. Their mission was to “increase awareness among African Americans about issues on campus and in the community that have a direct impact on them and their people.” Their movement largely fought for the free-standing BCC, but it intersected with the housekeeping workers’ movement, too. And they meant business. 8


In September, John Bradley, the BAC, and hundreds of supporters marched to Chancellor Hardin’s house, chanting, “No justice, no peace” (and blasting Arrested Development’s “Raining Revolution”). A week later they marched from the Pit to the South Building and occupied it, promising more direct action if plans for the free-standing center weren’t formalized. Later the movement was joined by Spike Lee, who had read about the student-athletes in an article in the New York Times. He then spoke to thousands in the Dean Dome, praising the courage of the BAC’s student-athlete founders. The escalation worked. Near the end of the month, the university formed a working group (which included Michael Jordan’s mother, Dolores) to plan for the BCC. By the end of October, Hardin – who now claimed to favor a ‘multicultural’ center – was finally on board. Yet over the following months tensions escalated again when the site for the center couldn’t be agreed upon. In April – as Hardin sat in New Orleans watching the Tar Heel men’s basketball team win the National Championship – students began to stage more sit-ins in the South Building. Not long after the Championship game, men’s basketball player George Lynch joined the struggle, calling for an increase in students’ support.

In the middle of April, about 70 people crowded the building during one of the sit-ins, and the police arrested 16 students and one community member – the first mass-arrest on campus since the Vietnam War. (Later that day, Bradley led a march to the police station, where he assumed those arrested had been booked.) The charges were dismissed a few weeks later. Into the following semester the debate over where to build the center had yet to be resolved. During an October home football game at Kenan Stadium, a couple of planes flew overhead, trailing banners, including one that read, “UNC STOP BENDING OVER FOR BCC.” After the game, the Daily Tar Heel reports Bradley saying, “At a time when you’re trying to give your all to the University and you’re trying to represent the University in the best way possible… having something like that fly over really takes it out of you.” Finally, ground was broken for the BCC in 2001. The center officially opened in 2004, nine years after Bradley’s graduation.

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Had the movements for the housekeepers and the BCC not been in full solidarity with one another throughout their durations, it is likely that the latter would not have achieved its success without the former. In a 2017 interview with Charlotte Fryar, Bradley said it was through conversations about the housekeepers’ struggle that he had first heard about the movement for the Black Cultural Center. Bradley told Fryar that he thought the students at the time regrettably considered the housekeepers’ movement “an ancillary movement that they couldn’t identify with.” But it remains true that the group that he and the other football players initiated at the time – not to mention the successful construction of the Black Cultural Center itself – was thanks to the housekeepers’ courageous and public struggle.

2018: The Black Athlete Statement Finally, in 2018, a few days before the Black Athlete Statement emerged, anti-racist teaching assistants called for a strike following then-Chancellor Carol Folt’s proposal to spend $5.3 million to build a new on-campus facility to house the Confederate statue that had been ripped down by protesters four months prior. As some in the campus community pointed out, UNC would become the first university to re-erect a Confederate statue a couple of decades into the twenty-first century. The graduate workers’ collective action to withhold submitting the grades for thousands of undergraduate students grew to at least 80 participants across many departments. Statements, letters, and Google Forms in support of the collective action and the broader work of anti-racist activists poured in from universities, associations, and organizations across the country, and even from beyond our national borders. Then, one form emerged that raised some eyebrows: The university’s athletes — arguably some of the most equally powerful and silenced people in the community — began to make their voices heard. First came a Google Form displaying the title: “Current and former University of North Carolina Student-Athletes Against Silent Sam.” Its statement reads in part: “As current and former Tar Heels, we love our University and its people. We love our classmates and teammates, our coaches and our fans. All of them. A monument to those 10


who fought and killed to keep Black people enslaved has no place on our campus. White supremacy has no place on our campus. “We oppose any decision to keep Silent Sam on Carolina’s grounds as well as any retaliatory action against students and faculty.” Throughout the week leading up to the Board of Governors’ meeting to vote on the university’s $5.3 million proposal, athletes signed onto the statement each day by the dozens. By the end of 2018, nearly 300 athletes representing more than 20 varsity sports and spanning from the Class of 1967 to the Class of 2022 had signed onto the form. It included some famous NFL and NBA stars and plenty of athletes who are household names across North Carolina. John Bradley was among them, as was his teammate and fellow BAC-founder, Tim Smith. While this statement’s breadth is unmatched, it was soon joined by another one that surpassed it in its language and power. A few days later, on the eve of the BOG meeting, the Black Athlete Statement emerged. It strikes an even more demanding tone, including: “We would have liked to have heard the opinion of the athletic department leadership and coaches regarding this disposition of Silent Sam…especially in light of the high number of Black athletes who have participated on the basketball, football and track and field teams over the history of Carolina athletics. Their silence is very glaring and tells us a story. “We agree with the 500+ member Black Student Movement statement that Black students and faculty are often used by the university as “accessories.”... We love UNC but now also feel a disconnect from an institution that was unwilling to listen to students and faculty who asked for Silent Sam to be permanently removed from campus. “This ‘slap in the face’ is not new to African Americans though. We have learned and observed many times in U.S. history whereby institutions turn their backs on marginalized people… We make a pledge to stay informed and connected with our voice and resources to activists who will work to bring justice and light to matters at UNC.” Whether or not they read the statement before they met, the BOG couldn’t escape it. The day after the statement’s publication, as 11


more than one-hundred people gathered in protest outside their meeting, a woman exclaimed into the megaphone: “So I am here standing on behalf of Harrison Barnes, Vince Carter, Jerry Stackhouse, Marvin Williams, Theo Pinson, J.R. Reid, David Noel...who send their support and who want all of the students to know, especially the student athletes, that they stand in solidarity with us.” As the meeting stretched on, across town, players and coaches from the men’s basketball team held a press conference ahead of their game the following day. When asked about four of his current players signing the first Google Form, head coach Roy Williams said he supported their decision. Then, he expressed his own desire for the statue to not be re-erected on campus. A couple of hours later, the BOG refused Chancellor Folt’s proposal, a surprising turn of events considering the board’s conservative history, as well as its most recent decision in 2019. It’s no stretch to assume that they were quaking at the solidarity of the striking graduate workers, campus activists, and student athletes that thundered around them.

2020s These stories bring us to the immediate present, where the $2.5 million payout to the N.C. Sons of Confederate Veterans is only perhaps the most hideously blatant of many financial and discriminatory concerns across the university. These histories illuminate important solidarity, not only against white supremacy in all its forms, but against the exploitative arrangements that increasingly dominate modern universities. Regarding labor, food-service operations have been subcontracted. The $1.80 hourly wage that workers won in 1969 translates to $12.79 today, yet the contemporary median wage for a food-service worker across North Carolina (not limited to university campuses) is $9.26. In Orange County, home to UNC, it’s $9.36. Both median wages are less than 75% of the purchasing power of the wage for similar work that UNC food-service workers won half a century ago. Today immigrant housekeepers are facing new forms of discrimination at work, and a large percent of UNC’s graduate workers are paid well below the poverty line. 12


Where student athletics are concerned, last year, Roy Williams was paid $2,281,778. A few miles down the road, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski raked in $7,048,206. Countless other profits are made in universities, conferences, and the NCAA, while student athletes continue to hardly earn an education. An opinion piece in the News & Observer written last year by a former student-athlete – a football player at Vanderbilt who became a Ph.D. student at UNC – cited recently-released NCAA data that revealed the graduation rate for UNC’s Black male athletes at an indefensible 42 percent. That's 49 percentage points lower than the overall student-body rate of 91 percent. As the author writes, “This graduation crisis represents a betrayal of UNC’s black athletes, who predominate in the school’s lucrative men’s basketball and football teams. Under the NCAA’s ‘amateurism’ rules, the athletes get not one penny of salary from the athletic department’s near $100 million revenue.” Like Silent Sam, this university tradition belittles Black students. It’s necessary to recognize a link between the university’s stubbornness to fully rid itself of a monument to white supremacy and its failure to provide a legitimate education (much less, financial compensation) to its Black student athletes. Both endure through the safeguarding of a status-quo that prioritizes certain voices and lives over others to detrimental, discriminatory ends. The university, much like anything these days, is more and more beholden to the wrong traditions at the demand of the wrong people. It is in the best interest of the students, student athletes, staff, faculty, and greater university community that the university works to redress these wrongs immediately, and perhaps one day really become 'the university of the people.’

Joel Sronce is a contributor at PLR, a graduate worker at UNCChapel Hill, and an organizer in Greensboro.

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WE CANNOT REACT: CLIMATE CRISIS AND THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY BUILDING BY NATE ROSENBERGER Footnotes and citations can be found online at https:// piedmontleftreview.com/2020/03/28/we-cannot-react-climate-crisis-and-the -importance-of-community-building/ Note from the author: for more information on these outcomes, please read the cited works, which go into far more detail and far more science.

Do you deny climate change? If you are reading this particular article, in this particular zine you would most likely answer, “of course not.” At this point, climate change is a globally-recognized problem and there is only one major political party in the world that still denies its existence and humanity’s role in it, and that is the Republican Party of the United States of America. Yet despite a dwindling number of outright deniers, there is a large portion of Western society and even the “Left” that are not ready to accept climate change and the effects it will have on their lives.

Humor me in another question: if grocery store shelves went empty today, how long could your household feed itself? If you are like most working Americans, the probable answer is not for long, given that the average American household visits a grocery store 1.6 times a week. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that you have a two weeks supply of food, medication, and water for disasters, yet most of us do not follow that recommendation. Recently, Forbes magazine published an article by Maggie McGrath exposing what working class people already knew: 63% of Americans don’t have enough savings for a $500 emergency. For millions of households in the US, this expectation to be prepared is simply not realistic. It is nearly impossible to lay groceries and supplies aside for a rainy day when workers are scraping the bottoms of their cupboards on a daily basis. As I am writing this, COVID-19 is exposing the fragility of the capitalist world and while individual preparedness can prevent you from participating in panic buying and thus hoarding resources from those less fortunate, “prepping” is fraught with ideas about individualism and toxic male behavior. What this virus has really exposed is that these disasters do not happen in a vacuum. No matter how healthy, how prepared, or how 14


much better off YOU may be, these disasters affect communities rather than individuals. If your community is unable to survive, then neither will you. In this article I will attempt to summarize the current science on climate change, explain that we have less time than we think, highlight a recent natural disaster that foreshadows what we can expect, and, finally, what the hell we can do about it.

The Current State of the Planet Planet Earth is currently at 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has acted as the scientific standard for assessments of the state of the planet and its future, considers 2.0 degrees of warming as catastrophic and has, for over a decade, pointed to this standard as the threshold we should be working as hard as we can to not exceed. Most of the literature on climate change tends to agree with this threshold, partially because of the IPCC. However, as David Wallace (author of The Uninhabitable Planet) explains, another reason for this fixed focus is that scientists and the journalists that report on their findings are often worried about coming across as alarmist, specifically in the United States where one of the two major political parties maintains the position that climate change simply does not exist. This situation has led scientists to restrict themselves so that their findings are taken seriously and not dismissed as alarmist tree-hugging. If all countries followed the carbon emission goals and deadlines laid out in the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016, the IPCC says that we will likely not reach 2 degrees by 2100. However, not a single country that agreed to those goals and deadlines are actually slated to reach them and President Trump, leading the world’s largest polluting nation, has backed out entirely. This means we are still barreling down the path to hit the IPCC’s projection of 4.5 degrees of warming by 2100. To understand these effects better, here are Wallace’s own words on what each of these degrees of warming mean for us: “At two degrees, the ice sheets will begin their collapse, 400 million more people will suffer from water scarcity, major cities in the equatorial band of the planet will become unlivable, and even in the northern latitudes heat waves will kill thousands each summer. There would be thirty-two times as many extreme heat waves in India, and each would last five times as long, 15


exposing ninety-three times more people. This is our best-case scenario. At three degrees, southern Europe would be in permanent drought, and the average drought in Central America would last nineteen months longer and in the Caribbean twenty-one months longer. In northern Africa, the figure is sixty months longer—five years. The areas burned each year by wildfires would double in the Mediterranean and sextuple, or more, in the United States. At four degrees, there would be eight million more cases of dengue fever each year in Latin America alone and close to annual global food crises. There could be 9 percent more heatrelated deaths. Damages from river flooding would grow thirtyfold in Bangladesh, twentyfold in India, and as much as sixtyfold in the United Kingdom. In certain places, six climate-driven natural disasters could strike simultaneously, and, globally, damages could pass $600 trillion—more than twice the wealth as exists in the world today.” You may be tempted to simply reject 4.5 degrees of warming by 2100 as a worst-case scenario, but unfortunately it isn’t. In the halfcentury that we have been monitoring the climate crisis, the “safe estimates” - like the IPCC’s 4 degrees by 2100 - have never been correct. In a climate model created by leading economists Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman and using the IPCC’s own findings, there is an 11% chance we reach beyond 6 degrees of warming by 2100. The true absolute worst-case is the chance that we hit 8 degrees of warming or higher. In that circumstance, anyone living along the equator or the tropics will die from heat alone. If you still have a shred of hope that we can avoid more warming, know that even if we cease all emissions today, we should still expect more warming just from the carbon already in the air. Do not let the fact that 2100 is 80 years away fool you into believing you will avoid these nightmarish consequences; they are already here and will be rapidly worsening. In the next 2 decades we can expect each year to bring record-breaking hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, avalanches, and other natural disasters. The intricate ways in which ecosystems are tied together and the possible outcomes of their destruction are literally too numerous for scientists to calcu16


late. Here in North Carolina, hurricanes are one of our most frequent climate-induced disasters and current models show a 20% overall decrease in hurricane frequency but a 45% increase in frequency of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the early 21st century. As these catastrophic storms become more frequent, already thinlystretched FEMA funds will be unable to replenish before another disaster strikes and requires more resources. All this destruction still does not factor in the man-made problems that will arise as resource scarcity increases and large swaths of the global south continue to be hit with disasters. The countries of the global south are unable to effectively respond to such disasters due to neo-colonialist institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which keep those countries underdeveloped for imperialist gains. Another current climate-induced crisis is the rising number of climate refugees. The famed “migrant caravan” that made headlines in 2018 was fleeing Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador because of the increasing food scarcity brought on from heavy draughts and soil degradation in the area. This crisis is only going to worsen as the UN predicts that by 2050 there will be 200 million climate refugees. That is, unfortunately, the “reasonable” estimate given, with the high estimate being “a billion or more vulnerable poor people with little choice but to fight or flee.” One billion climate refugees. To date, the Syrian Refugee Crisis beginning in 2011 has resulted in less than 10 million refugees, and yet it has already sparked the newest wave of fascist populism that has swept across Europe and the United States. What horrific levels of unbridled fascism will we see in our lifetimes when 200 billion people are seeking shelter? What walls, camps, and raids will liberals silently allow without ever raising a hand to stop them? While we can only speculate about the response by studying past imperialist projects, those of us in the US actually have a direct blueprint for what climate disasters, their toll, and the government’s response will look like. Let us turn back the clock and recall Hurricane Katrina.

A Blueprint for What is to Come The category 5 hurricane named Katrina made landfall on August 23rd, 2005 and serves as a prime example of the United States’ 17


ability to respond to the upcoming climate crisis. While many of us remember the devastation it caused and the many lives it took, there are details about Katrina that the U.S. government has no interest in publicizing and chief among them is the invasion of New Orleans. Before civilian response services like FEMA and the Red Cross reached New Orleans, private military contractors had already infiltrated the city. The largest of these contractors was the company Blackwater, which was infamously used by the US in the invasion of Iraq and whose personnel have been convicted of war crimes. The Department of Homeland Security contracted Blackwater while wealthy business owners contracted many other smaller companies to protect their properties. These private contractors treated New Orleans like a warzone thanks to their last minute deputization by then-Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. This deputization gave contractors the authority to make arrests and even use lethal force while “securing neighborhoods.” The number of racially motivated killings by these contractors, the police, and white vigilantes during the disaster will never be fully known. Despite the exposure of multiple police cover ups, less than ten officers faced any consequential action. When the National Guard arrived, they also treated the twothirds Black city as a warzone. Brigadier Gen. Gary Jones, who commanded the Louisiana National Guard’s Joint Task Force, told The Nation, “[t]his place is going to look like Little Somalia. We’re going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control.” This notion of “taking the city back” is ridiculous given that before the storm hit the city was reported as being “calm” with the only exception being the preemptive militarization of the police, who violated the 2nd amendment rights of the citizens of New Orleans by confiscating all firearms. This effort did not impede the white supremacist militias’ ability to arm themselves as they held entire neighborhood blocks, shooting at anyone who approached their territory and robbing at gunpoint other people throughout the city. One group of white supremacists attempted to rob a health clinic in the primarily black neighborhood of Algiers but were halted by a multi-racial armed group including Malik Rahim, a former member of the Black Panther Party, and Scott Crow, a Texan anarchist who had come to New Orleans to help. During Katrina, Malik and other organizers created the Common Ground Collective. Together, they established medical clinics and 18


distributed resources. The Collective enlisted the help of the same gang members from whom the National Guard and private military contractors were “taking the city back� to distribute supplies and provide aid to their communities. This is the silver lining of disaster: in times of crisis, we see differences laid aside and moments of clarity regarding class consciousness. It becomes apparent who looks out for one another versus who buys hired guns to protect their vacation homes. After Katrina, the Common Ground Collective went on to reorganize with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief (MADR), an autonomous collective of relief efforts that has grown to be involved in nearly every climate-induced disaster since. These organizers are not alone; following the devastation of Hurricane Florence, the Socialist Rifle Association, at that point less than one year old, worked to deliver aid to the North Carolina and Georgia coasts. A month later they did so again with Hurricane Michael, delivering supplies down to the Florida panhandle. A year following, after Hurricane Dorian and under the new title of SRAid, they delivered over $4,000 in supplies and sent three teams to the coasts of North and South Carolina. SRA, MADR, and similar organizations operate under the philosophy of mutual aid with the understanding that state response will always be an echo of Katrina: racist, classist, and rarely adequate for what the working class needs. They also believe in working with community organizations already in the affected zones rather than simply propping up the state by assisting with organizations like the Red Cross or FEMA. This is how we will survive the impending climate crisis. This is how we will mitigate the effects of climate disaster for those who have contributed the least to the causes of this crisis, yet are left to bear the brunt of its consequences. We must act in solidarity and work to build networks between communities now, before we face more and more frequent Katrina-scale disasters.

What should we do? As people dedicated to helping our fellow humans, it is crucial that we embrace the science and material reality that faces us. If you are under the age of thirty you can safely put aside any ideas of retiring peacefully into whatever safety net you may have been able to scrounge up. You must abandon the idea that in thirty years the world will look the same as it does now, that the tech industry, our 19


own capitalist government, or even a Green New Deal will somehow save us from this future hellscape. However, we cannot let ourselves fall into nihilistic despair over the future. As dark as the future may be, it is our responsibility to our communities and the vulnerable within them to not let our despair discourage action. The groundwork we lay now is the foundation on which we build a better future. Community aid in the face of the disasters of capitalism is how we will build the future we want. We cannot afford to wait until it is too late. We cannot afford to abandon those who are least responsible for the crisis created by the bourgeoisie, whether they are fellow members of the working class or migrants from the global south. It is our responsibility to soberly embrace the current reality of the climate crisis and prepare our communities for it. We cannot fall into “prepping� on an individualistic or alpha mentality in which the rich survive and the rest of us are left to our own demise. Preparing our communities means building solidarity through action and relief. As our current health crisis wrecks the US and travel bans, supply chain problems, and the stock market wreak havoc on our world, we must constantly remind ourselves that we are only as resilient as the community we build. We are only as prepared for disaster as our community is. We keep us safe.

Nate Rosenberger is a member of the Piedmont Left Review editorial collective.

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REPORTS

MASKS, GOWNS, AND MEDICARE FOR ALL BY JONATHAN MICHELS Footnotes and citations can be found online at https://

Thoughts and prayers are nice, but healthcare workers need Medicare for All If patients want to support healthcare workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic, they should join us in calling for a universal, single-payer healthcare system. _________________________________________________________ Any hope that we might emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic unscathed is gone. So far, the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of 150 Americans and infected 10,442 others. Those figures are certainly higher because access to coronavirus test kits remains severely limited. I know full well the risks of contracting the deadly disease. I work as a radiology technologist at a large teaching hospital, where patients believed to be suffering from acute respiratory disease are likely to receive a chest x-ray upon check in. That means me. Like many healthcare workers, I might be infected right now and not even know it because of the lack of testing. As the coronavirus continues to tear through the United States, there has been a mass outpouring of love and solidarity directed at healthcare workers like me. People have sent us prayers and beautiful songs. More substantively, people have amplified our demands for more personal protective equipment (PPE), like gowns and N95 respirators, as well as paid sick leave. It means a lot knowing that I have the support of my community. But it’s not enough. 21


If patients want to support healthcare workers on the frontlines, they should also join us in calling for a universal, single-payer healthcare system more commonly known as Medicare for All. Under Medicare for All, coronavirus testing for all US residents would be free at the point of care and more importantly, so would treatment. Providing universal healthcare now will mitigate the damaging effects of COVID-19 and maybe even prevent future pandemics. Our expensive, inefficient and profit-driven healthcare system has left our communities defenseless against encroaching epidemics, a reality that will come as no surprise to frontline caregivers. We see daily the life-and-death consequences of a medical system in which profits are the chief measure of success. It was healthcare workers who first sounded the alarm about COVID19 -- weeks before President Trump declared a national health emergency. According to a survey conducted by National Nurses United (NNU), only 30 percent of nurse respondents said they had enough PPE to weather a massive surge in COVID-19 patients. I can personally attest that at this very moment healthcare workers are treating patients who do not yet know they are positive for coronavirus. Meanwhile, others are caring for confirmed patients without all of the tools to do the job. It is no coincidence that NNU, the nation’s largest nurses’ union, is also the most vocal proponent for Medicare for All. Nurses understand that the most efficient and affordable way to prevent and contain the spread of diseases like COVID-19 as well as improve the overall health of our communities is to ensure quality healthcare for all Americans, regardless of employment status or ability to pay. As a healthcare worker, I bear witness to a broad spectrum of suffering; the kind that we are all likely to face at some point during our lives. But what haunts me at the end of each shift is the pain that could have been prevented if patients who are uninsured or underinsured had been able to access care sooner. So while the scope and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic may be unfathomable, the challenges facing healthcare workers right now like safe staffing ratios and basic supplies are not markedly different 22


from any other day of the week. Our healthcare system routinely undermines caregivers’ ability to treat our patients while maintaining our own safety. The plan laid out by the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden calls for “eliminating cost barriers for prevention of and care for COVID-19,” but it would bolster and even expand the private health insurance system that is making healthcare workers feel like they are caring for patients with one hand tied behind their backs. Without transformative health reform like Medicare for All that is based on meeting human needs and not the needs of markets, Americans will continue to die needlessly long after the coronavirus pandemic has ended and the last quarantine is lifted. Despite some improvements from the Affordable Care Act, 28 million Americans are uninsured, without access to primary care that could prevent costly and life-threatening diseases. An additional 41 million people are underinsured, facing prohibitively expensive copays, premiums and deductibles that limit access to care. Healthcare workers--among the most at risk for contracting COVID19--are currently not guaranteed access to medical treatment. A 2009 study found that 11 percent of American healthcare workers are uninsured. That’s 1 in 8 caregivers who could be treating coronavirus patients right now. Medicare for All would prevent more than 68,000 unnecessary deaths each year while saving $450 billion annually in billing costs and administrative waste, according to a study published in The Lancet. Even if employers provide health insurance, some workers' low wages prevent them from purchasing coverage. Not only would Medicare for All increase the health of every American, it would be a big step in lifting healthcare workers out of poverty because the money that employers spend on providing health insurance could be shifted to raise wages. That would be life-changing for the estimated 1.7 million female healthcare workers and their children living in poverty. The staggering complexity of our healthcare system requires a tremendous number of administrative staff and resources which account for a whopping 25 percent of all US healthcare expenditures. 23


Yes, Medicare for All will eliminate around 1.8 million administrative jobs but in turn lead to the demand for 2.3 million full-time healthcare workers to accommodate the millions of patients newly eligible to receive care. This will help ensure that caregivers have the staffing levels they need to safely and swiftly respond to public health crises like COVID-19. Medicare for All would also give a boost to healthcare workers who want to unionize over unsafe staffing levels and a lack of basic supplies because hospitals would be barred from using public money to bankroll union-busting campaigns. The very groups that have linked rights in the workplace with the health of their patients have been nurses and healthcare unions, most notably National Nurses United. The pandemic has likely just begun in America but it has already shifted our attention away from ourselves and towards one another as more and more people come to the realization that collective problems require collective answers. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the gaping holes in our social and economic safety nets while underscoring the need for a robust medical system that empowers caregivers to truly meet public health challenges, big and small. That’s not what we have in the US right now, but it could be. Medicare for All, despite benefiting everyone, will not be won by appeasing medical profiteers. Private health insurers, medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and banks (which have ensnared millions of Americans indebted by medical expenses) stand to lose too much if America moves to a single-payer system. The growing enthusiasm around Medicare for All represents an existential threat to private interests. In a similar act of solidarity, they have coalesced to form the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future in order to stymie the Medicare-for-All movement and keep the money flowing for as long as they can. Voters have been inundated with anti-Medicare-for-All attack ads bankrolled by the Partnership in an attempt to turn them away from candidates like Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders who support the popular health reform. The dark money group reportedly spent a whopping 50 percent of all political advertising in advance of the Iowa caucus. 24


In addition to lobbying against universal healthcare, members of the Partnership are advocating for a $100 billion aid package for American hospitals. Leading the charge are the for-profit hospital corporations represented by the American Hospital Association, which stands to win big on the suffering of Americans amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Americans have a choice. What do we value more -- corporate interests? Or each other? Healthcare workers standing on the frontlines will not be enough to counter the well-financed interests standing in the way of transformative health reform. Thoughts and prayers are nice, but what healthcare workers actually need is for patients to join us in demanding Medicare for All. Jonathan Michels is a freelance journalist and healthcare worker based in Durham, North Carolina.

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LOCAL SUNRISE ORGANIZERS IN SOLIDARITY WITH WET’SUWET’EN STRUGGLE BY NATE ROSENBERGER

Since 2010, the Unist’ot’en homestead in the settler colonial territory of British Columbia, which includes a healing center and permaculture garden, lies in the path of an illegal pipeline. Coastal GasLink/Transcanada is proposing a 670-kilometer fracked gas pipeline that would carry fracked gas from Dawson Creek, B.C. to the coastal town of Kitimat. The proposed pipeline will cut through the sovereign and unceded territory of the Wet'suwet'en people, despite the 1997 ruling by the settler colonial Supreme Court of Canada that affirmed the Wet’suwet’en people, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to the 22,000 square kilometers of Northern British Columbia that make up the Wet’suwet’en Yintah (land). For some time, this ruling has protected the Indigenous lands from extractive resources and allowed anti-colonial projects like the Unist’ot’en healing center, which provides spiritual and mental health healing to the Wet’suwet’en, to exist. After the Transcanada proposal, all hereditary chieftains unanimously refused to allow it to pass through their Yintah and corrupt their land. Not only was this decision made to preserve the land but also to protect Indigenous women and two-spirit people from the worker camps that accompany these projects. A 2015 report by the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls commission determined that “state actions and inactions rooted in colonialism and colonial ideologies” were the root cause of the suspected 4000 missing and murdered Indigenous people. However, Capital’s interests tend to prevail over laws and treaties, and in December 2018, B.C. Supreme Court issued an interim court injunction granting Coastal GasLink permission to proceed with their fracked gas pipeline on unceded Wet'suwet'en territory. Through this interim injunction, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) forcibly and violently invaded the Wet'suwet'en Access Point that restricted access to the land via gate. This began the now two years of active struggle against the invasion of their sovereign territory. 26


On February 10th, 2020, Canada escalated their violence when a convoy of fully armored RCMP disrupted a ceremony in which the Wet’suwet’en call on their ancestors and honor missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. During the ceremony, they hung red dresses to remember the spirits of the murdered women, girls and two spirit people taken from them. Unist’ot’en Matriarchs Freda Huson (Chief Howihkat), Brenda Michell (Chief Geltiy), and Dr. Karla Tait were forcibly removed from the territories and arrested along with land defenders, including Victoria Redsun (Denesuline), Autumn Walken (Nlaka’pamux), and Pocholo Alen Conception.

Following this, the Wet’suwet’en tribes called on the international community to rise up in solidarity, sparking a wave of protests, train blockades, and port blockades. These actions threatened the Canadian economy and were violently shut down by the RCMP. Uniting these actions, many carried out by other First Nation tribes, was the rallying call, “Reconciliation is dead. Revolution is Alive.” These actions varied in militancy and size across Canada and the U.S. but followed the guidelines provided by the Wet’suwet’en that brought attention to their struggle. Locally, it was the Greensboro HUB of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led climate action organization, that heeded the call for international solidarity and on February 24th, the group distributed educational literature and dropped banners at Guilford College and UNC Greensboro calling for the Canadian government to halt the illegal invasion. The group had three demands: 1) to divest money if you have accounts with Wells Fargo and Citibank, the two American banks funding the pipeline. They instead suggested investing in local credit unions as a more ethical way to store your money. 2) to follow closely and share the struggles of the Wet’suwet’en in order to keep international eyes on the events, and 3) to donate to the Unist’ot’en legal fund which has been crucial to the defense of their lands. I spoke to Josh H., a local organizer and leader in the Sunrise HUB about the action and why he felt inclined to join it. On a personal level he spoke about how important many Indigenous scholars have been to his own anti-imperialist politics and how his recent trip to see speakers from the Red Nation, an Indigenous revolutionary socialist organization, solidified his commitment to the de-colonial struggle. Interviewers questions in bold. Answers have been edited for clarity. 27


You work with a few organizations but what made you use the Sunrise Movement as the way that you engaged with this call for solidarity rather than other left organizations in the Triad? Sunrise fights for the adoption of the Green New Deal and within that policy platform is a recognition of Indigenous rights to land. So it made sense to organize with the Sunrise Movement. Why not the other socialist organizations I am a part of? We did bring it up within the other socialist organization and many of the members were very supportive and eager to help out, but it primarily had to do with the fact that the Sunrise movement was a lot more mobilized right now around this type of action at the moment.

Sure, so a slogan that I think ties it together the best is, “Indigenous sovereignty is climate action.” That becomes clear when you learn that 80% of the world's remaining biodiversity is on Indigenous protected land. So if we want to take seriously the threat of mass extinction, which is tied very closely with the changing climate and how that's affecting ecosystems and making it difficult for all sorts of land to adapt, we really need to have bio diverse and resilient ecosystems to defend it and protect it and Indigenous people cannot do that without their sovereignty. That is why defending Indigenous sovereignty is climate action. Speaking more specifically about the action itself, what were the goals going into it? And could you speak a little about how those developed in the group? When we found out about the solidarity call we had a meeting of just a few of us to share what we knew about the situation and, within the time constraints, focus on how we could lend solidarity towards the Wet’suwet’en people. We wanted to take that feeling of solidarity, compassion, and hope for the Wet’suwet’en people and give that away to as many people as possible. Particularly students who, for whatever reason, I think can have more openness to messages about Indigenous people and their plight. So my main goal was to 28


take that feeling of solidarity and try to communicate that feeling to others. So you said that students are more receptive to Indigenous struggles. Do you want to talk a little about why you think that and some of the responses you got from the action? Was there pushback? The reactions from people on the different campuses were very supportive and people generally had heard of something going on in Canada with Indigenous people but they didn’t know specifics.

My analysis of why I think students may be more receptive [of Indigenous struggles] is that young people skew left of the political spectrum. They are less patriotic, less receptive to nationalist appeals. Youth, in general, are more accepting of difference, they are more interested in difference. Difference is actually a part of their mode of resistance, despite that difference being the way that they are often sold a lot of new products under Capitalism. Some of that has to do with age and some of that has to do with the political environment. They have grown up in the recession and are more skeptical of the status quo because of that. I think this creates an opening for socialists who want to push socialist policy. With hindsight of the action behind you and time to reflect on it, were there any particular successes in the organizing or carrying out of the action? Well, none of this would have happened without my comrades contributing labor. We had a work party where we put together our banners for the event and got language for the flyers, which was really important. You on your own put together an amazing flyer with all the correct information and then printed it off as well and that was vital. Will was able to provide rides to the members without their own transportation, which was important and helpful. Despite the fact that we didn’t get the turnout we wanted from volunteers, what contributed to the overall success was that from the beginning we were very clear that we weren’t going to spend a significant amount of time trying to work on getting the broadest, most perfect language to appeal to everybody. We were going to go and do a solidarity action, we were going to do this in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, and we were going to use the language that 29


was pre existing [from the Solidarity toolkit], and then do an action around that. I think that took a lot of pressure off of everybody from having to have perfection and allowed us to instead focus on our feelings of solidarity. So on the same note, you already highlighted a feature of the plan: knowing there would be low turnout due to the quick turnaround. But were there any other lessons to be learned from the action? I will say that we set up the action with the expectation that we may not get the turnout we need to do a huge event like a march or protest. We knew that going in, so we needed to figure out how to use small numbers to our advantage. Our initial strategy was a Flying Squadron based on the lessons of the textile strikers, where organizers go location-to-location to make a bigger impact than staying in just one place. I still believe that is a great idea but the execution of it, this time, was hampered by not having done the due diligence to figure out what the locations would be and what kind of things we should know about them. That would have been more effective had we prepared by contacting people at the school first and inviting them to participate or inviting them to criticize beforehand. So, I think that the plan was good and I like the idea of doing the Flying Squadron but I think the execution was a little rough because I didn’t take into account the specifics of each location and how we would be received there. Is there anything about the action or its planning that you didn’t get to talk about but would like to? We went out with people who hadn’t done this type of action before, that hadn’t flyered or talked to people about a political perspective, and who were very nervous, which is totally understandable. It was rewarding to be reminded of what it was like when I was first in that position. It was rewarding to be with people in the process of learning to find their voice and learning that it is only through repetition that they are going to be able to be confident in their own perspective. The people who went out with us have continued to be strong organizers with us. I think that’s something I want to remind people of: if they are discouraged about the political development of their group or whatever it may be, a lot of times all the trepidation isn’t something you can talk about, you just need to physically put yourself in a position where you get a chance to use your voice, over and 30


over and over again. And figure out how to present your politics, and it’s not online. It can’t be online. Is there any way for folks interested in staying connected with Indigenous struggles to do so through Sunrise? Is there a regular political education component to sunrise? I would have said yes but due to COVID-19 we went online and are now suspending activity. So I would recommend people follow the social media of Indigenous activists that are talking about these struggles. There are a lot of Indigenous people online who are posting stuff, media, scholars, etc. If you are not following Indigenous people online I really recommend that you do and that you listen to the lessons they are asking us to learn to develop our conscience. ——————————————————————————————————————————— This Wet’suwet’en solidarity action is just the latest in a long history of resistance against settler colonialism on the North American continent. Indigenous people are continuing to fight back against economic, property, and violent oppression from the Unist’ot’en homestead to right here in central North Carolina. To be in true solidarity, we can start with divesting from banks that stand to profit off of this oppression, follow and spread awareness of the struggles, and contribute to the aforementioned Unist’ot’en legal fund. Indigenous Organizations and Activists on Social Media International Indigenous Youth Council Instagram and Twitter: @iiycfamily Facebook: www.facebook.com/IIYCFamily/ Gidimt’en Checkpoint Instagram: @gidimten_checkpoint Twitter: @gidimten Facebook: www.facebook.com/wetsuwetenstrong/ Kanahus Manuel Instagram: @kanahus.tattoos Twitter: @KanahusFreedom Facebook: www.facebook.com/red.moon.1257604 31


ARTS & CULTURE

in baltimore Lamont Lilly

Note: in baltimore first appeared in Dissident Voice in honor of Black History Month, 2020.

in baltimore if you’re black they’ll just sprinkle some crack on you and call it a day

call the community so we can call you innocent and call for your release nah the police won’t do that

call it legal call it justice and call an arrest

in baltimore if you’re black they’ll just sprinkle some crack on you and call it a day

and then when they’re taking your black ass in to the county jail they’ll call the media call the press

a full day’s pay and tomorrow?

call the newspapers so they can call you crazy call you guilty and call you ghetto

on to somebody else’s child and they’ll be calling it good police work

what they won’t do is call you a minor call your parents

Lamont Lilly is a political activist, former columnist, poet and people’s journalist who has been organizing in his home community of Durham, North Carolina since 2005. During the Movement for Black Lives, Lamont traveled the U.S. as full-time field staff and a national organizer.

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Tools

Natasha Popkin Copper intaglio etching, watercolor. 2018. Artist’s Statement: The bolt-cutters are symbolic to the artist as a tool for revolution. They are used to cut open bolts, destroy chain-link fences, and to free people trapped in cages and prisons.

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What’s the mission of your organization? We believe that housing is a human right. We are dedicated to fighting evictions, slumlords, and gentrification in Winston-Salem. What are you working on currently? In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we were able to pressure Forsyth County to halt evictions until April 17th and are currently working to extend that timeline, as well as push for other relief efforts related to rent, utilities, and shelter for the houseless population. Landlords and the courts in WinstonSalem evict tenants at one of the highest rates in the nation, and we want to disrupt that process. Our eviction resistance efforts center around a Know Your Rights campaign to organize and support tenants fighting for their housing rights. We are also pushing the city to enforce code and make landlords repair housing with issues such as mold, broken appliances, structural damage, pest infestations, and sky-high utility bills due to water leaks, lack of weatherization, and other forms of neglect. In the longterm, we are fighting to develop power among tenants so we can stand up to gentrification, rising rents, and lack of autonomy in our living spaces. Crystal Towers residents, who face displacement from Downtown WinstonSalem at the hands of greedy developers and a callous housing authority, have organized themselves into a tenants organization, and we are supporting their efforts any way we can. In every neighborhood, we want changes to the way tenants have been denied autonomy, access to land, and a legal system designed to punish them. How can people plug in? Join our canvassing efforts. Donate money. Help us clog the courts and grind the eviction machine to a halt. Facebook: @HousingJusticeNowWS Twitter: HJNWinstonSalem Email: housingjusticenowws@gmail.com

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What’s the mission of your organization? CJJ is committed to creating a more just, fair, and compassionate North Carolina. We combine advocacy and education to organize a non-partisan Jewish voice for justice in North Carolina, as well as work to influence policy at the local and state levels and encourage individuals and Jewish institutions to take a stand on important issues in our community. In all of our programming, CJJ weaves together political education, leadership development, and community nourishment in order to inspire and empower North Carolina’s Jewish community to take bold, effective, faith-rooted action toward tikkun olam (Hebrew for “repairing the world”). What are you working on currently? We’ve helped to bottomline the Never Again Alamance action along with Siembra NC and JVP-Triangle. We are currently holding ICE verifier trainings for Siembra’s rapid response network for ICE raids and are on the core team of the statewide Raising Wages NC coalition fighting for a state-level law ensuring a $15/hr minimum wage for all workers. We have also facilitated trainings across the state on the intersections of antisemitism, white nationalism, and white supremacy, and will launch a statewide listening tour about antisemitism later this year. How can people plug in? We have chapters in Western NC, Charlotte, Durham/Orange County, and Wake County and are currently trying to build a Piedmont chapter. Twitter: @NCJews4Justice Facebook and Instagram: @CarolinaJewsforJustice Email: brandon@carolinajewsforjustice.org Sign-up to volunteer: https://t.co/DV9Z0AhmxL 35


BITS & PIECES

Can you find all the words? Note: words may be forward, backward, vertical, horizontal, diagonal. Answer key on page 39.

Capitalism

Hazard

Spring

Community

Moon

Stability

Destruction

Pollution

Tides

Disaster

Rebirth

Time

Flotsam

Resilience 36


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TALK OF THE TOWN  According to a post on his Instagram, infamous landlord and art-

collector wannabe Marty Kotis is contemplating a new “riot-themed” bar. Sources are unsure if said bar will include live audio-visual experiences similar to his war-themed restaurant, such as machine gun sounds and helicopters. One suggestion for the grand opening: feature performance art in which the establishment is set ablaze.  Sheriffs in both Guilford and Forsyth Counties, two of the highest

evicting areas in the country, will pause new evictions and foreclosures until April 17 as a bare-minimum attempt to care for vulnerable citizens amidst the COVID-19 crisis. However, they claim to have a legal obligation to evict outstanding cases by this date, more than 70 in total. Want to fight evictions? Housing rights groups in the Triad include WHOA, Greensboro Tenants Union, and Housing Justice Now.  Between March 16 and March 26, North Carolinians filed over

200,000 new unemployment claims with 88% of claims directly tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems this may be one of the most glaring indications that having healthcare tied to employment is unethical, ineffective, and an all-around bad idea. If you’ve lost employment, you can apply for benefits here: https://des.nc.gov/applyunemployment  Senator Richard Burr sold off $1.7 million in stock on February

13th after a senate briefing on the Coronavirus. In classic corrupt politician fashion, it took him over 2 weeks to brief any constituents— though he felt it appropriate to only include his major donors in said briefing. Since legal repercussions are unlikely, perhaps fate and Coronavirus will team up for justice.

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On Wednesday, March 25, Greensboro pastors rallied to support nursing home workers at Spring Arbor, Friends Homes, Accordius Health, and Camden Place. Paid sick leave is recommended by national health experts, not to mention workers across the country who are vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19. Hopefully, employers will decide to follow those recommendations.

North Carolina Lt. Governor and 2020 Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Forest commented on March 18 that Governor Cooper’s decision to shutdown restaurants would destroy the N.C. economy. While he later retracted his comment, Forest (and Cooper) have offered little to no plan to support restaurant workers, many of whom are now facing two weeks without pay. Got a news story you want to share? Send us your Talk of the Town by emailing piedmontleftreview@gmail.com.

Wordsearch answer key

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SUBMIT TO THE PIEDMONT LEFT REVIEW! We are always looking for essays, art, poetry, news, and events to publish. Send your submissions to piedmontleftreview@gmail.com.

COVID-19 RESOURCES

The PLR editorial collective has compiled a list of various resources available to provide relief for those with housing, employment, or other insecurity due to the effects of COVID-19. To access the spreadsheet, go to https:// tinyurl.com/vmsvvuh or simply use a QR-code reader or your phone camera to scan the image above. If you know of a resource that is not on our list, please email us at piedmontleftreview@gmail.com. 40


RESOURCES

A Woman’s Choice Reproductive care provider that performs abortions, STI testing, and more.

(336) 273-9485 2425 Randleman Rd Greensboro, NC 27406

Carolina Abortion Fund Organization that helps fund abortion care, including transportation. Leave a message and a volunteer will get back to you within 48 hours.

(855) 518-4603

Urban Survivor’s Union Provides free naloxone, clean syringe access, and safer drug use information.

(336) 669-5543 1114 Grove Street Greensboro, NC 27403

Interactive Resource Center Day center that provides services and materials for people experiencing houselessness.

(336) 332-0824 407 E Washington St Greensboro, NC 27401

Legal Aid Greensboro Provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income Greensboro residents.

(866) 219-5262122 N Elm St #700 Greensboro, NC 27401

Trans Lifeline Hotline Peer support hotline run by and for trans people. Available 10AM-4AM.

(877) 565-8860

Piedmont Domestic Violence Crisis Line

GSO: (336) 273-7273 High Point: (336) 889-7273

Food Not Bombs Organization that serves free meals to the community by cutting into the waste created by the food industry. Every Monday at 4:30 PM.

1-800-884-1136

Siembra NC Hotline Grassroots organization of Latinx and immigrant people in the Triad. Call to report ICE activity.

(336) 543-0353

407 East Washington St. Greensboro, NC

41


The Triad’s Socialist Magazine. The Piedmont Left Review is a cooperatively run zine. Members of the Editorial Collective receive no money and volunteer all labor involved. Being anti-profit, any funding we receive that exceeds the cost of production is given to our contributors to compensate them for their art and labor. If you would like to become a monthly sustainer our Patreon can be found at patreon.com/piedmontleftreview. Issue No. 3 of the Piedmont Left Review’s costs are broken down as follows: Paper and printing for the first run of 100 copies: $250 One time expense for a pamphlet stapler: $25.13 Our website is maintained annually for $50 Our statement of purpose can be found at: piedmontleftreview.com/2019/07/19/our-statement-of-purpose/

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PLR Volume 2 Issue 3  

The Winter 2020 issue of PLR is here! Check out essays on Community Response to climate change and the history of Black Student Athlete resi...

PLR Volume 2 Issue 3  

The Winter 2020 issue of PLR is here! Check out essays on Community Response to climate change and the history of Black Student Athlete resi...

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