Tom Burke

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Tom Burke

Tom Burke aka Tomas de Bourgha is a former Organizing Secretary, Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack!, Minneapolis, MN[1] He is the partner of Caryl Sortwell.

He is a Former Custodian/Bldg Engineer at District 97 Oak Park Elementary Schools. Now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Studied at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Tom Burke joined Freedom Road Socialist Organization in 1988. Burke spent 1983 in Manchester UK during the Miner's Strike. Resolved to become a labor union activist.[2]

Iosbaker's network


Joe Iosbaker April 4 2020.

From A worker at Trader Joe’s:  Hey will you please share these things? We're trying to show our coworkers fearing retaliation that they have people on their side.

Sean Orr, Daniel Ginsberg-Jaeckle, Kristen Jefferson, Benjamin James, Dave Schneider, Cherrene Horazuk, Richard Berg, Sarah Justice, Michael Sampson II, Mike Kramer, Regina Russell, Cathleen Jensen, Gabriella Killpack, Frank Chapman, Aislinn Sol, Sol Mar, Bassem Kawar, Martha Iosbaker, Mary Iosbaker-Azzouzi, Kas Schwerdtfeger, Tracey Schwerdtfeger, Tomas de Bourgha, Michela Martinazzi.

Marching in Caracas

Emily Elaine Butt March 19 2020.


Over 600,000 people took to the streets in Caracas, March 10, marching to support President Maduro and the Bolivarian government.

Tom Burke, Emily Butt, Gabriella Killpack, Jared Hamil.

Labor delegation to Venezuela


Jared Hamil and Tom Burke and Gabriella Killpack March 12, 2020.

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! (FRSO) labor delegation with with Tibisay Lucena (center), president of the National Electoral Council.

Caracas, Venezuela - The Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! (FRSO) labor delegation met today with Tibisay Lucena, president of the CNE (the National Electoral Council) to discuss the upcoming elections. Lucena spoke about this election as very important in the face of U.S aggression and the economic war.

Lucena explained the electoral processes in Venezuela are a result of democratic changes put forward in the 1999 Constitution after President Chavez was elected. The CNE is a new branch of government, the electoral branch, that oversees a fair and democratic process. This is in addition to the legislative, judicial and executive branches. The fifth branch of government as conceived by Simon Bolivar in 1826 is the Moral Power.

The delegation also met with space program officials, March 11, at the Bolivarian Agency for Space Activities. Pictured are Adolfo Godoy, the president of ABAE; Mariano Imbert, the manager of Commercial Development; Salvador Lugo, the vice minister of Science and Technology, along with members of the FRSO delegation.

Sao Paolo Forum 2019

From July 25 to 28 2019, delegates from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! (FRSO) will be participating in the 25th Sao Paolo Forum, held this year in Caracas, Venezuela. Over 1000 delegates from around the world will be attending, under the slogan "For Peace, Sovereignty and the Prosperity of the People: Unity, Struggle, Combat and Victory!"

The FRSO delegation will be led by Tom Burke, the Organization Secretary of Freedom Road.

Founding NAAPR

Bebster TanNovember 25, 2019 ·


With Mick Kelly, Tomas de Bourgha, Chrisley Carpio, Adrian Bonifacio, Rhonda Ramiro, Joe Iosbaker, Monique NB, Terry Valen, Frank Chapman, Cody Urban, Caiti Le Ward, Donna Denina and Mai Ya.

Delegation to Venezuela


The Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! is sending a delegation to Venezuela for May Day, and the delegates need your help to get there.

Four labor and anti-war activists will participate in the FRSO delegation to do eyewitness reporting for Fight Back! News. Sean Orr, Tracy Molm, Tom Burke and Mark Burton will write articles, conduct interviews and produce videos. They need your support and donations to make this a success.

We are asking all comrades and allies who support the Bolivarian Revolution and believe in international solidarity to help us cover our travel costs. Donate what you can, and share far and wide. Solidarity![3]

Meeting with communists

On their first day in Venezuela, April 28, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! delegation held a two-hour meeting with members of Communist Party of Venezuela (PCV) Central Committee and leaders of the Communist Youth of Venezuela.


The FRSO delegation is headed by Organizational Secretary Tom Burke.

The groups shared their views on the revolutionary struggle in both of their countries, and the importance of international solidarity.

Pedro Eusse, a PCV Politburo member and trade union leader, said "If there is anything positive about the U.S. aggression we face today, it is that there has been an explosion of solidarity from the United States and around the world."

Both groups agreed to move towards a closer working relationship in the future.[4]


The Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! delegation in Venezuela met the Minister of Communes Blanca Eckhout, after her triumphant speech about building 2.6 million new homes. Eckhout quoted Hugo Chavez, saying, "Our new society cannot be capitalist because capitalism is designed to destroy our homeland, our society and our people."

The FRSO delegation also met with communists, progressive political figures and members of Venezuela’s government.[5]

Supporting Simon Trinidad

Ariel Paz September 23, 2015 ·


With Mario Moreno, Martin Alfredo Moreno Flores, Tomas de Bourgha, Kerem Cantekin and Anil Aba at Federal Correctional Prison Super Max. Security.

FRSO banner


Freedom Road Socialist Organization/FightBack! banner at Chicago march against police crimes and for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC), August 29, 2015.

Pictured Regina Joseph, Chrisley Carpio, Kait McIntyre, Randy Evans and Tomas de Bourgha.[6]


The Progressive Student News September 1989 issue contributors were Chris Babiarz, Lorelei Berndt, Tom Burke, Joe Burns, Kim DeFranco, Susan Gregson, Pat Kearns, Jennifer Leazer, Catherine Lundoff, Bruce Nestor, Caryl Sortwell, John Stonebarger, and Michael Turnure.

Anti-Apartheid network

Joe Iosbaker December 5, 2013 ·

This plaque is among my most treasured possessions. Remember Nelson Mandela! Continue the struggle against apartheid in Israel! Victory to the liberation struggles of oppressed nations!


— with Dennis O'Neil, Lester Dragstedt, Lynne Adrian, Tracy Van Quaethem, Carol DeProsse, Richard Berg, Jim Potter, John A. Smith, Daniel Hughes, Mike Ascroft, Bob Hearst, Andrew Harvey, Josef Ignatious Fortier, Amy Kratz, Bob Cotter, Craig Perrin, Mike Price, Michael Turnure, Patrick Kearns, Kris Penniston, Stephanie Weiner, Judith Mentzer, Chris Iosbaker, Joe Burns, Bridgette Sheridan, Prexy Nesbitt, Tomas de Bourgha, Kit Bonson, Brenda Barton, Anne Evens, Juliet Holt Klinger, Michael Harvey, Saed Abu-Hijleh, Chip Young, John Stonebarger, Robin Potter, Barbara Ransby, Keith L. Perry, Mick Kelly, Tom Wilson, Beau Barry, Amy Smith, Lj Yanney, Richard Saks, Bruce Nestor, Hermalee Webb and Bethany McIvor.

Forward Motion

Tom Burke an activist with Humanity Allied Against Racist Mascots, an Irish freedom activist, and member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Socialist Organizing Network contributed an article to Freedom Road Socialist Organization's Forward Motion February 1994 .

Irish American Student Association

Tom Burke was the founder of the Irish American Student Association.[7]

Venezuela Solidarity Network

Venezuela Solidarity Network was founded in Washington DC, March 4-6 2006, when over 500 students, trade unionists and solidarity activists gathered , for the National Venezuela Solidarity Conference. They founded the Venezuela Solidarity Network and united the forces struggling against U.S. intervention in Venezuela. The conference was a huge success. Attendees gathered in support of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, lead by President Hugo Chavez.

Conference speakers included Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez Herrera and Venezuelan lawyer Jose Perierra, involved in the extradition case of the anti-Cuban terrorist Posada. Evening performances of poetry and music from Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia were popular.

The conference workshops were diverse: “What are the Bolivarian Circles and how to form one in your area,” with Jorge Marin, Coordinator of Bolivarian Circle of Boston; “Plan Colombia and its effects on Venezuela and the region,” with Meredith Aby and Tom Burke of the Colombia Action Network, Gerardo Cajamarca of the SINALTRAINAL union in Colombia and Berta Ceci of International Action Center.

There was also a workshop on “Solidarity actions in high schools and colleges,” with Kati Ketz and Eric Gardener of the Socialist Unity League, a student group at the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and Sonja Swanson of the Bolivarian Youth in Miami. Others workshops were held on Haiti, the Venezuelan cooperative movement, and the Venezuelan constitution.

Pieter Wessels from Socialist Unity League in Asheville, North Carolina commented, “It’s great to see so many people from so many different groups come here and put aside their ideological differences, however important those differences may be, in order to stand here this weekend, right here in D.C., the political heart of imperialism, to say that we are with Venezuela. We are with Chavez. We are against U.S. intervention in Venezuela on the part of capitalists’ interests. That hurts all of us, both here and in Venezuela. We uphold Venezuela’s right to self-determination and we won’t stand for any further interference in Venezuela’s affairs. This is what solidarity means. This is what it is all about.”[8]

March on Wall Street

On April 3 2008 Tom Burke of Freedom Road Socialist Organization endorsed a Bail Out the People Movement organized "March on Wall Street" ;

Because we must demand that the needs of the people come before the greed of the super rich. Millions are jobless and homeless, and millions more will be living on the streets if the government continues to waste trillions of dollars on saving wealthy bankers instead of saving people.[9]

"Support Bill Ayers"

In October 2008, several thousand college professors, students and academic staff signed a statement Support Bill Ayers in solidarity with former Weather Underground Organization terrorist Bill Ayers.

In the run up to the U.S. presidential elections, Ayers had come under considerable media scrutiny, sparked by his relationship to presidential candidate Barack Obama.

We write to support our colleague Professor William Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is currently under determined and sustained political attack...
We, the undersigned, stand on the side of education as an enterprise devoted to human inquiry, enlightenment, and liberation. We oppose the demonization of Professor William Ayers.

Tom Burke signed the statement.[10]

September 24, 2010 FBI Raids

On September 24 the F.B.I. raided the homes of twelve leftist activists across the U.S.A. looking for links to foreign terrorist organizations. Burke was one of those whose home was raided and who is being investigated by the FBI.[11]

SDS 7th Annual National Convention, 2012

According to Michela Martinazzi, 70 student activists from all over the country arrived in Gainesville, Florida to attend the annual Students for a Democratic Society National Convention Oct. 27-28, 2012. The activists arrived from as far as Utah and Minnesota.

Tom Burke, of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, was also on one panel. Burke was one of the 23 anti-war activists raided by the FBI in 2010.

Afterwards, Burke said, “Speaking to the SDS Convention was a powerful experience. I spoke about the FBI raids and grand jury repression, including members of SDS. I relayed my student experience with the Divest Now! campaign to smash racist Apartheid in South Africa. Then, with the Progressive Student Network in the 1980s, we organized campus protests against CIA recruitment. We acted in solidarity with the revolutionary movements of Nicaragua and El Salvador. In 1991, the PSN helped organize mass rallies to oppose the first U.S. Gulf War on Iraq.”

Burke continued, “Today’s student activists have known nothing but the U.S. always being at war. I spoke and emphasized the importance of supporting liberation struggles in Colombia and Palestine today, to stop U.S. intervention. Our effective organizing to stop U.S. funding of war and oppression is the reason Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas is continuing his investigation of the 23 anti-war activists, especially focused on Hatem Abudayyeh in Chicago.”[12]

Dump Trump

Tom Burke speaking, Mick Kelly second from right

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based activist Tom Burke, one of the lead organizers for what’s billed as the Coalition to Stop Trump and March on the RNC, says the protest has two aims. “One is it helps to build movements in this country by tying local groups to national issues. Secondly, it has an impact on the elections because the media starts to cover what the protesters are saying. We have a very different agenda than the Republican Party— and this year, in particular.”[13]

Rasmea supporters

Joe Iosbaker March 23, 2017 ·


With Mike Siviwe Elliott, Kent Mori, Sabry Wazwaz, Frank Chapman, Senee Nasha, Lorena Bunye and Tomas de Bourgha.

Protesting the Inauguration

Washington DC, Jan 20, 2017, Steff Yorek Left, Mick Kelly second from left