Filed under: Anti-fascist, Anti-Patriarchy, Austerity, Canada, Capitalism, Environment, Labor, Mexico, Police, Roundup, US, White Supremacy
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
This week, US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drew scorn after he declared that a ban should be placed on all Muslims entering the United States in the wake of the Paris attacks carried out by ISIS. The anti-Muslim comments are only the latest in a string of racist and xenophobic statements that have included endorsements of violence against Black Lives Matter protesters, attacks on immigrants, and in some cases, even repeated verbatim talking points used by White nationalists and neo-Nazis who have vocally supported Trump’s campaign.
Furthermore, Trump’s statements will only go on to embolden a growing surge of anti-Muslim harassment, violence, and racism that is seething across the US and in the West, much as his previous comments did so in regards to violence against immigrants and [email protected]. But while some of the Republican elite attempts to distance themselves from Trump’s actions, the American political establishment gears up for continued war and imperialist ventures in the Middle East while slamming doors shut for thousands of Syrian refugees. Thus, while the bureaucrats in DC balk at Trump, they likewise are pushing for continued death and destruction of millions of people across the globe for the sake of capitalist and geo-political interests.
All the while, domestically, repression against popular movements continues, everyday life becomes more and more surveilled, and the domestic police forces grow increasingly militarized and networked with the federal government.
In this context, struggles break out, calls for solidarity are generated, and demonstrations are called against Islamophobia, in support of refugees, and increasingly, against open White nationalists and far-Right fascists and Neo-Nazis. In the last several months, large scale demonstrations have been called by anarchists or have been supported by them that have led to at times, intense battles. This includes the anti-Klan and National Socialist Movement (NSM) protests that occurred in South Carolina this summer, the showdowns in the streets of Olympia in September, and most recently, marches against the neo-Nazi Hammerskins in Seattle. Just this week, comrades in Atlanta announced that they are making a call to physically oppose a planned march by White nationalists and neo-Nazis in April. Expect a more detailed call out soon, but make plans to rumble in the spring down south if possible.
Both historically and within the North American context of the last several decades, anti-fascist struggles are not new ground for revolutionaries. Groups like Anti-Racist Action (ARA), built up networks and crews and faced off with an extremely violent and murderous white power movement in the 1990s and emerged having won key victories by the early 2000s to the present day. Such confrontations included large scale rebellions, violent showdowns, and the disruption of white power concerts and attempts at organizing. By the mid-2000s, the White nationalist movement shifted and again we worked to counter their influence within the burgeoning anti-immigrant movement, which combined elements of the Patriot and militia groups.
Now, in the wake of Black Lives Matter and the fight back against the Confederate flags and symbols throughout the South, it appears that the far-Right is posed to attempt to make a comeback in a real way. This is evidenced by neo-fascists in the Traditionalist Workers’ Party, who recently marched in a Kentucky Christmas parade, handing out thousands of anti-immigrant flyers and candy to children and parents. As the Trump campaign shows, their is a large element of support within reactionary segments of the white working-class and the declassed middle that supports White nationalist politics and has the potential to rally behind mass racist violence (either autonomous or state sanctioned).
While this has always been a linchpin within US capitalism that is built upon white supremacy, in part it is engendered by a feeling of being “left behind” by this system, and a drive to blame those at the bottom (African-Americans, immigrants, the unemployed, the homeless) for structural and economic problems felt by poor and working-class whites. In short, many whites are getting a small taste (home foreclosure, drug addiction, lack of access to education, crippling unemployment, poverty) of what people of color have felt for centuries and the solutions offered by the far-Right are xenophobic, fascistic, and racist. But such a message comes with the promise of power, to “Make America Great Again,” and of a cross-class solidarity between the elites (like Trump) and the working masses, who Trump reminds, “You built this country!” Out of the crisis of capital, the right offers a taste of racial power.
But while the far-Right is mobilizing its forces, at the same time, when faced off in the street, in general we have the numbers to win an engagement. But such engagements bring up many questions and points of pause to consider strategy and where in general we are weak. If we are to continue to find ourselves in the streets fighting White nationalists (and also attempt to make connections in poor and working-class white communities as the far-Right attempts the same), then we’ll have to come to understand why such confrontations and battles are important and where we need to work on building our strategy.
Engagements with White nationalists, neo-Confederates, and neo-Nazis are important, because simply we cannot allow the far-Right to grow. Looking at Europe, where far-Right, fascist, and openly racist parities are getting more powerful and taking aim at autonomous social struggles and groups, we must realize that we cannot allow such a situation to develop here in North America.
And often we can win. In big cities certainly, there are many who will come to a demonstration, picket, or confrontational action which seeks to physically stop White nationalists from organizing or protesting. In these situations, we must work to not only pull in segments of the broader social movements, Black Lives Matter (speaking broadly) for instance, but also use the moment of engagement to push a politics that is based around conflictual direct action, self-organization, and pushes back against movement managers.
— Enough 14 (@enough14) December 12, 2015
Certainly, anarchists have a long history of fighting fascism, and we can use this to our advantage. We can share with other people new to autonomous politics and action what we have learned over the years and why we engage the way we do. This can be a moment in which bonds can be made and affinity can be formed across groups and organizational lines and most importantly, across racial lines as well. Using the recent shootings in Minneapolis as a point of discussion, we can talk about White nationalism and the need for a militant anti-fascism with a broad audience. Hopefully, the next time something pops off, such divisions along lines of race, political identity, or neighborhood when facing down a greater enemy, can be more quickly overcome.
But while anti-fascist action has the potential to bring a lot of people together, we also have to think in terms of where our work often is weak: namely in poor and white working-class areas. We know from past engagements, that often White nationalists and neo-Nazis will flyer and attempt to recruit in white neighborhoods before big demos; sometimes even being called to a town by someone from those districts. Before large mobilizations, we have to flyer, hold events, and attempt to articulate our message of resistance to white supremacy and in support of a class war politics in these areas. This could mean wheat-pasting and putting up posters, going door to door and talking with neighbors, handing out flyers to seniors and youth in trailer parks, holding an anti-fascist BBQ in a nearby park or community center – anything that seeks to bring people together in a real way against fascism. This is work that fascist groups are already attempting to do against us, and we cannot allow them to gain a foot hold in poor and working-class white areas. Let’s cut off the base of support such groups hope to gain before they have the ability to organize in the here and now. This work is not glamorous, easy, or potentially, even safe, but if we are serious, we’ll put our money where our mouth is.
With these thoughts in mind, let’s get to the news.
Outrage Over US Police Killings Continues
— Kale Williams (@sfkale) December 11, 2015
— Chicago Rising (@ChicagoRising) December 13, 2015
In Chicago, San Francisco, and across the US, protests continued in the wake of continued police murder, which at the time of this writing reached 1,129 people. In both Chicago and San Francisco, people rallied to demand the resignation of police chiefs that oversaw the deaths of Laquan McDonald in Chicago and Mario Woods in San Francisco. In the Bay Area, students in the working-class Mission District staged a walkout of various public schools and squared off against police while in Chicago protests continued throughout the city.
Autoworkers in US Face Down Sell-Out Contract as US Workers Continues to take Losses
— The Detroit News (@detroitnews) December 9, 2015
In the US, members of the United Auto-Workers (UAW), were put out on a short strike (but then ordered to work on Saturday to make up for lost production), as a way to blow of steam and ram down the member’s throats a sell-out contract from union bureaucrats. Workers opposed the last union contract by over 97%, and face cuts in pay, medical coverage, and attacks on job conditions.
The struggle of the UAW members is important, because it represents the struggle of a group of workers not only against their bosses, but against those in the union establishment as well. In one video, one striker states: “I think everybody [needs to stand up.] At the gas stations and grocery stores, people got to start standing up for themselves, because if you don’t, what are you going to have?” This message is paramount to working-class Americans, who for decades have worked longer and longer hours for less and less pay while benefits, working conditions, and wages have all been attacked. In a recent report by the Pew Research Center, it revealed that middle-income families for the first time in American history no longer constitute a majority, as median wealth slips away and the wealth gap between rich and poor grows exponentially, with black and brown families hit the hardest.
In big cities, the threat of rising rents and gentrification is only aiding to this growing class divide. As one report in the SF Chronicle reports, the costs of commuting to big urban centers like San Francisco is so great, that many workers are unable to afford to spend long hours driving back and forth to work and are fleeing the city.
Member of Mexican Teachers Union Killed by Police
During intense clashes between police forces and teachers protesting attacks on education, tragically one teacher has been killed. According to one report:
One demonstrator is dead after protesting teachers and their supporters tried to crash a flaming bus through police lines in southern Mexico. The teachers are protesting mandatory teacher evaluations introduced under a 2013 education reform.
The federal police said Tuesday that about 3,300 teachers and their supporters blocked a highway in southern Chiapas state. Police said some of the protesters loaded a bus with gasoline bombs and tried to drive it into police lines, but the bombs ignited early, forcing the bus out of control.
The bus ran over and killed a protester and injured three officers. None of those injuries are life-threatening. In recent weeks, teachers in other states have tried to blockade testing centers, and some have sneaked inside and unplugged computers.
Clashes between police and teachers in Chiapas has also lead to hostage taking, on both sides. According to one report:
The state government liberated three teachers, two normalistas and a father who were detained on Tuesday, during the confrontation between police and members of Sections 7 and 40 of the National Education Workers Union (SNTE, its initials in Spanish), when they tried to boycott the application of the teacher evaluation.
The liberation occurred at 6 PM yesterday, after a meeting between federal and state functionaries with the leadership of the Chiapas teachers, in which the teachers agreed to deliver a federal agent, two policewomen and two “informants” retained Wednesday afternoon.
The teachers retained these five persons after a confrontation that occurred at midday with federal police in front of the hotels in which the police were lodged. Yesterday, the federal police were guarding the teachers that went to the exam at the National School for Civil Protection, located in the municipality of Ocozocoautla.
Montreal Pops Off
Over the past few weeks it’s been popping off in Montreal, as public service workers had been threatening to strike for nearly a month. On December 9th we saw the largest public sector strike in the city since the early 70’s. Ahead of this, anti-capitalist comrades held a night demonstration on November 30th that clashed with police and blocked streets with barricades. A second, larger demonstration also took the streets the night of December 9th which you can read about here. Montreal also saw a combative feminist demonstration earlier this week as well.
Resistance Continues in Native Communities in So-Called Canada
A surge of indigenous and allied resistance is challenging pipelines, logging, mining, and development in BC and across western Canada. This list is compiled to keep track of current, ongoing, and flying blockades.
- Injunction and arrests at Shawnigan Lake, Vancouver Island: Community residents, including indigenous people, are rallying to protect their water. The Shawnigan Residents Association is seeking an injunction to shut down toxic soil dumping in their drinking watershed. The dump overflowed during heavy rain Nov 13 2015. Meanwhile the company has obtained an injunction to shut down the protestors, two of whom were arrested Nov 13. Forest Action Network is providing legal support. Facebook page here.
- Injunction at Walbran Valley blockade: South Islanders first set up a checkpoint to turn away logging crews. The logging company obtained a court injunction and threatened the protectors with arrest, and the volunteers moved to a witness camp to monitor and protest the clearcutting of ancient cathedral forests just outside Carmanah Park. The camp is supported by members of the Pacheedaht First Nation. The Walbran was the site of massive protests, civil disobedience, and sabotage for over twenty years. Forest Action Network is providing gear and campaign support, and we are recruiting volunteers. Read our statement on the Walbran Valley here. Facebook page here.
- Ongoing: Coastal First Nations vs. Grizzly hunters. For two years, the Coastal Guardians have been patrolling the central coast of BC and “educating” grizzly hunters and guides about the ban on hunting on their territory. The province continues to issue trophy hunting permits and now the Guardians say they are escalating their enforcement of the ban.
- Victory: Members of the Ahousaht First Nation on Vancouver Island occupied a floating platform and part of a bay to stop a new salmon farm in their territorial waters. News reports here.
- Ongoing: Gitdumden Clan of the Wet’suwet’en (neighbours to Unist’ot’en) in Northern BC. They are occupying their territory to block pipelines, logging, and mining.
- Likhts’amisyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en (neighbours to Unist’ot’en), Northern BC. They are occupying their territory to block pipelines. This is Chief Toghestiy’s camp. FB page.
- Ongoing: Lax Kw’alaams First Nation vs. LNG pipeline terminal, near Prince Rupert BC. The drilling platform was barged into position near Lelu Island in a bay that holds millions of young salmon. The community is mobilizing to occupy the island and surround the barge. News story here and Facebook page here.
- Nicola Valley Chiefs and locals are blockading a biosolids dump near Merritt, BC and preventing sewage sludge from being trucked into their community. No shipments have made it through the blockade in over a month, and the companies responsible are preparing for a court hearing to have the protestors removed. Fundraising link here.
- Ongoing: Voices of the Voiceless camp is an Indigenous re-occupation of Junction Creek area, St’at’imc Nation, 50 km north of Lillooet and about 250 km north of Vancouver. This camp was set up March 2015 under the direction of Xwisten elders to stop logging. The site is near a heritage site and the Junction Creek summer village, a traditional meeting place where people hunt, gather and process food. Video: Re occupying Junction Creek, Christine Jack’s Welcome – YouTube
- Victory: The Heiltsuk First Nation is fighting for the recovery of herring stocks on the Central Coast of BC. After the feds opened their territory to commercial fishing in March 2015, they occupied offices and set off solidarity rallies. UPDATE:Their blockade is now over and the government has caved in and closed the fishery.
- The Sapotaweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba is protecting sacred sites by blockading workers cutting trees for a hydroelectric transmission line.
- Ongoing: Burnaby/Langley – Kinder Morgan pipeline: 120 locals and allies were arrested in two weeks at a tarsands pipeline test drill site near Vancouver. In 2015, drillers and surveyors are trying to do their work in various locations but people report their whereabouts and they are confronted and prevented from working. The Kwantlen First Nation is leading the charge for the next round of resistance, which shows signs of escalating further (workers threatened, truck vandalized, equipment stolen).
- The Nuu-chah-nulth Nations have closed the spring herring fishery in the strait off the west coast of Vancouver Island. They are promising to intercept commercial vessels with their own boats.
- Blockade down: The Northern Trappers Alliance, a traditional Dene group, was blocking forest roads near Ducharme, Saskatchewan to push back against the loss of wildlife and land to drilling, pipelines, and gates. The protest camp and picket line were moved to the side of the road after an injunction was issued and RCMP seized a trailer.
- Victory: Tseshaht Nation, Port Alberni, Vancouver Island: Blockade down and victory – the province has agreed to stop timber sales in old-growth forests of the Nahmint Valley. The Tseshaht are monitoring to make sure this agreement is respected.
- Blockade down: Klabona Keepers, Talhtan Nation (near Iskut) Blockade removed after injunction issued. They were blocking Imperial Metals mine in Sacred Headwaters and other projects in various locations. They are still seeking volunteers, rideshares, donations, and legal help. These traditionalists boycotted the injunction hearing and withdrew for now.
- Victory: Penelakut (Grace Islet, near Salt Spring Island) Development site on burial ground. Blockade down: The province is moving to intervene and purchase the development site.
Ongoing: Madii Lii Camp (Gitxsan) New permanent camp – blocking tarsands and gas pipelines.
Islamophobia and Far-Right Growth Continues
According to Salon.com the White nationalist and neo-Nazi web forum Stormfront.org has had to upgrade to new servers due to the growing popularity of far-Right fascists posting about Trump. According to the report:
Donald Trump’s racist, nativist and bigoted campaign has grown so popular that America’s most prominent white supremacist website has been forced to upgrade its servers to deal with the Trump-inspired traffic bump. Politico reports that Stormfront, [has seen]…a 30 to 40 percent spike in traffic whenever Trump spews his anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim bile.”
Across the world and especially in the US, Islamophia continues to grow and expand, both in conjunction with Trump’s anti-Muslim comments and also due to a growth in right-wing activity and ideas. In the Bay Area, a Muslim woman was attacked after praying and in Riverside, California, a mosque was firebombed. In North Dakota, a Muslim-owned cafe was firebombed after being painted with Nazi graffiti. Offering material solidarity to communities under attack is something that we should think hard about and what forms it would take, as well as keep our keys open for point of intervention against anti-Muslims right-wingers.
— Ash J (@AshAgony) December 11, 2015
— POLITICO (@politico) December 11, 2015
Protests against Trump have also spread, including demonstrations outside of his businesses and at his political appearances.
Disgusting Agreements between Environmental Organizations and Oil Companies
The Financial Post revealed that four prominent Canadian Environmental groups sat in secret negotiations with oil companies for months, and — according to the report — agreed to stop campaigning against certain tar sands pipelines in exchange for the tepid climate measures Alberta’s NDP government announced at the end of November. The problem: the NDP’s measures allow for a 40% increase in tar sands extraction, and flout the consensus among climate scientists about what is needed to prevent “game over for the climate”.
In the interceding years, Canada has seen two major agreements between corporations and environmentalists.
The Great Bear Rainforest Agreement started as a huge battle between environmentalists and First Nations on one side and logging companies on the other. The agreement itself happened when funders turned off the tap and the major environmental groups joined secret negotiations with logging companies. The result was a major capitulation to logging companies presented to the public as a victory. Because major green groups switched sides, the odds that resistance to continued logging could be effective went from improbable to impossible. Facing off against Weyerhaeuser is one thing; facing off against Weyerhaeuser and Greenpeace, Sierra Club and ForestEthics is quite another.
Struggle Against Patriarchy and Sexual Violence
— Drew Drew (@drewshane) December 11, 2015
Also this week, as the anti-abortion and anti-woman Planned Parenthood murderer Robert Dear, who declared himself a “warrior for the babies,” appeared in court, Daniel Holtzclaw, a former cop, was also found guilty of the rape of 13 African-American women. In a sad display of disbelief that his power would ever be stripped of him, Holtzclaw cried openly in front of the jury who suggested that he receive 263 in prison and mouthed, “How could you do this to me?” Ironically, several of the women who testified before the jury that Holtzclar raped them stated that the never believed that anyone would have ever believed them because they were poor, black, and female.
As the far-Right expands and seeks to grow more powerful through the use of collective and individual acts of violence, attacks against women and reproductive freedom will only increase until we take it upon ourselves to combat them.
In Bloomington, Indiana, students dropped a banner against rape culture on campus:
Today, SASV members installed the two banners pictured below on Ballantine to address the complicity of IU administration in the perpetuation of sexual violence in Bloomington, and to inform others of this event. The top banner was taken down within 5 minutes, and the second was removed about 15 minutes later. It is clear that, when students voice dissatisfaction with the university’s priorities, their response is not to listen, but to shut us down.
Many believe that IU is apathetic towards campus rape, or that administration recognizes the problem but is simply unequipped to resolve it. We propose that, rather, the university has a vested interest in maintaining the normalcy of sexual assault on campus, and in silencing those who speak out against it. IU is not merely an apathetic or cavalier bystander to the rape culture here; it is an active aggressor.
IU is in a unique position in that its research prowess allows for simultaneously maintaining both a reputation as a ‘party school’ and as a legitimate academic institution. This can be – and is – used to foster and market a party culture that draws wealthy, often out of state, students to the university. Not coincidentally, many of these students are part of the ‘Greek’ system, an institution that administrators have a strong financial incentive to cater to. Fraternities breed loyal and generous alumni donors, save them untold millions of dollars in student housing (that they do not have to build or maintain, allowing for the admission of even more students), and serve as a form of advertising for even more potential wealthy donors in the form of undergraduate recruits. The decision to protect fraternities and keep them happy, even when they enact violence against other students, is therefore simply good financial sense.
That’s it for us this week. Also be sure to check out this report on a conference on political prisoners in Mexico, a new anti-gentrification research project in Philly, and a mighty cry of respect for the passing of indigenous militant and author John Trudell. Until next week, try and keep up with us on Twitter!