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Students and workers remove ‘Confederate General’ name from school

first_imgCharleston, W.Va.In a huge victory for the growing movement against racism and national oppression, members of the Kanawha County Board of Education of Charleston, W.Va., voted 5-0 on July 6 to change the name of what used to be known as “Stonewall Jackson Middle School.”Charleston protest, July 6. WW PHOTO: Otis GrotewohlThe junior high school has a Black student population of 44%, but it was shamefully named after a disgraced Confederate general, when it opened as a high school in 1940.The struggle to remove the name started in early June, shortly after the lynching of George Floyd in Minneapolis.  Students and staff alike quickly organized and took action.  An online petition was created and circulated by students and community members.  Teachers at the school unanimously voted to change the name through their Faculty Senate, with support from the community.  Following the petition and Faculty Senate vote, people addressed their results to the Board of Education.Students, teachers and community members started picketing the board office, even as the board was holding their meetings virtually, due to the pandemic.  In late June, students and community held a march from the Abundant Life Ministries building — a majority Black church that had been active in the struggle to change the name of the school — to the Kanawha County Board office, where it ended with several speakers.  On July 6, the board held a physically distanced, in-person meeting.  Several students gave passionate presentations to the board, as people picketed outside.Progressive-minded people throughout the city and state celebrated on social media after the board voted to make the change.  Jay O’Neal, a history teacher at the school who helped organize his colleagues, enthusiastically expressed his thoughts to Workers World, “It’s been exciting to see everyone in the school and community, come together to make the name change happen.  I’m proud to have been part of that.” (July 6)Many of the picketers proposed that the school be renamed after numerous African American heroes in history who are somehow historically connected to West Virginia.  One of the proposals is Katherine Johnson, a mathematician whose spirited story was portrayed in the 2016 movie, “Hidden Figures.” Johnson died earlier this year at the age of 101.Another person who has been suggested is Carter G. Woodson, an important figure credited with founding what is now celebrated as Black History Month.  Woodson was an educator who taught throughout the state.One of the people who attended the picket outside the board meeting told Workers World there were “several attempts to change the name before.” They added that  “this time was successful only because of the strong community support, in addition to the current, global rebellion against U.S. racism, led by Black, Brown and LGBTQ2S+ youth.”School district’s historical significanceThe removal of the school name is also symbolic in that the Kanawha County Board of Education building was the battleground of the “textbook war” several decades ago.  In 1974, Kanawha County Board Member Alice Moore started a bigoted crusade against what she considered “forced multiculturalism” and “egalitarianism” after the English Language Arts Textbook Committee of Kanawha County recommended that 325 books be used in the school curriculum. Among the books were titles by George Jackson, Eldridge Cleaver, Alex Haley, Kate Millet and Allen Ginsberg.Moore’s right-wing crusade was joined by white, evangelical zealots and the terrorist Ku Klux Klan. Meanwhile, progressive religious groups, unions and most of — but unfortunately not all — the self-proclaimed, local Marxist groups at the time supported the books.  Many of the white parents refused to send their children to school until the books were removed from the buildings and many backward coal miners also carried out “wildcat” strikes against the books.The Black community of Charleston supported the books being introduced into the classrooms because the list contained several African American authors who may not have otherwise been read or studied in the schools.  It was also obvious that the attacks on the books were a direct attack on all oppressed people.  The Klan planted dynamite at one of the elementary schools, shot at school buses and threw stones through the windows of homes of parents who opposed the “book boycott.”  Fortunately, there are no recorded fatalities from those incidents.Self-determination, decolonization are keys to defeating racismSadly, the textbook war is credited with giving birth to the arch reactionary Heritage Foundation, as well as inspiring white evangelicals to become active in national politics.  In some ways, the textbook war was similar to the struggle over  busing that happened in Boston in the early 1970s, where some progressive forces did not defend the aspirations of the Black community besieged by racists in South Boston.As Workers World Party founder and chair Sam Marcy wrote regarding the struggle over busing in Boston in the pamphlet “Busing and Self-Determination,” “It is the oppressed people’s right to choose, and it is the obligation of Marxists in the oppressing nation to vigorously support and relentlessly defend that right.”In contrast to what happened 46 years ago in Kanawha County, students, community members, workers and left activists united  — with very little opposition — to force the School Board to take considerate action on July 6.Throughout the U.S. — as well as the world — nationally oppressed and gender-nonconforming youth are taking matters into their own hands by tearing down monuments and statues of oppression.  As Marxist-Leninists, it is our duty to unconditionally lend solidarity to the Black Lives Matter movement.  Every time a symbol or a name of an historic exploiter is removed from a public space, our class comes closer to creating a better world! 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Levy hits back at West Brom after failed Tottenham bids for Saido Berahino

first_img Press Association It is understood the Baggies are unhappy with Spurs’ approach to the deal, which only strengthened their resolve to keep Berahino, who scored 20 goals last term. West Brom instantly rejected Tottenham’s two bids on Tuesday which were believed to only be marginally better than the north London club’s second offer, made last month, which would have only risen to £21million with clauses and add-ons. Players’ union chief Gordon Taylor has advised Berahino against carrying out his strike threat at West Brom. The Professional Footballers’ Association has offered its help to the Baggies and Berahino following the striker’s suggestion on Twitter he was prepared to down tools after Albion blocked a move to Tottenham on Tuesday. Peace rejected four bids in all from Spurs, including the two on deadline day. Berahino’s Twitter message read: “Sad how i cant say exactly how the club has treated me but i can officially say i will never play Jeremy Peace.” The player has been given until Monday off as West Brom look to take the sting out of the situation but it is understood he will be disciplined. The 22-year-old is expected to hold talks with head coach Tony Pulis on his return and Taylor, chief executive of the PFA, wants the matter resolved without any further issues. “Players know if they come to the end of a contract they have that right to move but if it’s during a contract there are other factors involved and it can’t be taken for granted. It’s always better for players to be playing,” Taylor told Press Association Sport. “Things can be said in the heat of the moment and contracts work both ways but players need to play and keep fit. “Young men are young men and sometimes things are said which are regretted. “We’re in a world of social media and a lot of our young players are expected to have old heads on young shoulders and sometimes can let off steam. “People get disappointed and sometimes things are done that, on reflection, wouldn’t be out in the public domain and we’re hoping that situation will be understood.” Taylor believes Berahino can be reintegrated into the Albion squad after being left out for their last three matches by Pulis. He said: “I hope so, sometimes that’s not always possible but for the most part it is.” Peace said on Wednesday: “Tottenham’s offers failed substantially to reflect Saido’s true value while the timing made no allowance for our own recruitment of a suitable replacement for a proven Premier League goalscorer. “Saido has been unsettled to the point where our head coach has not felt able to select him for our last three games. We are now left with the task of repairing the damage created by this unfortunate episode.” It sparked a response from Levy. Without naming West Brom as the target of his frustration, Levy forcefully defended Tottenham’s approach in the transfer market. He also said it was wrong for clubs to make public the news of players requesting transfers, as West Brom did in the case of Berahino last week. Levy said: “We have never, as a club, spoken about another team’s players and I am not about to do so now. However, I do want to make a few general points regarding transfers. “Firstly, there is hardly a transfer concluded across Europe which doesn’t include staged payments. This is particularly so when significant amounts such as £20m-£30m are involved – players don’t come cheaply these days. “Secondly, we do not make anything personal. None of the proposals, discussions or negotiations we undertake involve any personal elements or ego – everything we do is in the interest of what is best for our club. “Thirdly, we never make anything public, particularly in the best interests of the players involved. Making aspects such as transfer requests public is wholly disrespectful to a player.” Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has hit back at West Brom after his counterpart Jeremy Peace said Saido Berahino was “unsettled” by interest from White Hart Lane.last_img read more

Trojans swept by crosstown rival Bruins

first_imgWhen USC coach Chad Kreuter jogged to the pitcher’s mound with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday afternoon, he wanted reliever Chad Smith to relax. He also wanted to assure the sophomore he could get UCLA left fielder Cody Keefer out by pitching him low and outside.Up and down · Freshman designated hitter Cade Kreuter hit a solo homer in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to UCLA but also struck out twice on the day. – Courtesy USC Sports Information Apparently, Smith did not listen.Two pitches after the meeting, Smith shook off sophomore catcher Kevin Roundtree and went against the coaching staff’s pitch selection, choosing to throw an inside fastball. Keefer turned on the pitch and lined it over the right field wall for a walk-off, two-run home run that gave the Bruins (37-11, 13-8) a 2-1 victory and series sweep of USC (23-28, 5-16) at Jackie Robinson Stadium.“We’re baffled as a coaching staff,” Kreuter said. “That was a pitch he should have never thrown. That’s a cardinal sin. You don’t throw [inside] with the winning run at the plate with two out in the ninth inning.”Kreuter placed blame on both Smith and Roundtree for not following the instructions he imparted during the mound visit.“They have to trust that we’ve got a good scouting report,” Kreuter said. “We chart all the pitches and see what we’ve got guys out on. That should not have happened. It just shouldn’t have happened.”Up until the final pitch of the game, the only scoring occurred in the fourth inning when freshman Cade Kreuter launched a 1-0 fastball from Rob Rasmussen over the left-centerfield fence for a home run.Rasmussen allowed only six hits while striking out eight batters in seven innings, but senior starting pitcher Kevin Couture’s second consecutive strong performance had USC on the verge of salvaging one win against its rivals before Keefer’s homer.“Couture went through a rut [earlier in the season] where everyone was hitting everything off him, but today he pitched to the corners and kept the ball down probably the best he has all year,” coach Kreuter said. “I’m extremely proud of him.”Couture threw five scoreless innings while allowing only two hits Sunday, following a six inning outing against Long Beach State. He gave up only two runs on six hits in the Wednesday night start against the Dirtbags.But Couture didn’t get a win in either game as limited run support and bullpen woes haunted the Trojans.Against Long Beach, USC managed only four hits and one run – a line drive home run by senior outfielder Mike O’Neill.In the series against their crosstown rival, USC was outscored 30-10 with seven of those runs coming Friday night. Despite roughing up Bruins’ ace Gerrit Cole for five runs in five innings Friday night, the Trojans fell 13-7. Sophomore slugger Ricky Oropesa knocked four hits in the series opener and drove in four runs, including two on a towering home run that bounced off the Gifford Hitting Facility beyond the right field wall.But USC couldn’t overcome a short outing by sophomore starter Ben Mount (three innings pitched, three earned runs) and six runs allowed by the bullpen.It was more of the same Saturday. Junior starter Chris Mezger was knocked around for 10 hits and eight runs – six earned – in only four and  one-third innings pitched; the bullpen allowed an additional seven runs; and the offense was unable to string together hits, leaving 15 men on base and scoring only two runs.All of which made Sunday’s heartbreaking loss even more devastating.“That hurts because it’s stolen away from you with two outs in the ninth,” coach Kreuter said. “There’s more disappointment because we had the game won.”Prior to the current four-game losing streak, USC had won six of seven, including two of three from Arizona, who was nationally ranked No. 19 at the time. Kreuter hoped his team would carry the momentum of a three-game sweep of Utah into the games against Long Beach and UCLA.The Trojans are now buried at the bottom of the Pac-10 conference standings. Sitting three and one-half games behind the next closest team with only six conference games remaining, USC will need help to avoid finishing last in the conference for the second time in Kreuter’s four-year tenure — and only the third time in the last 80 years.last_img read more