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Nov 15, 15

All The News You Didn’t Even Know Was Going Down

Originally posted to It’s Going Down

What a fucking week. From protests that blocked bridges in Montreal to riot police chasing and savagely attacking Normalista students in Mexico to the growth of a student movement against racism on college campuses across the US. Throughout the week across North America, we also saw everyday people struggle against low-wages, environmental disaster, and continued police terror. Then in Paris, it appears that people connected to the Daesh, (aka ISIS), carried out a series of coordinated suicide bombings, mass shootings, and attacks that left up to 129 dead with many more critically wounded in retaliation to France’s role in the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars. Fascists and nationalists in the National Front exasperated tensions and sentiments against refugees and violence flared against refugee camps already fleeing the violence of the Syrian Civil War. But the extreme right are not the only ones who are spurred to action, the state has already accelerated it’s schemes of repression. According to one article:

Shortly before midnight, French President François Hollande announced that France was closing its borders and imposing a state of emergency under a 1955 law that suspends key democratic rights. Several areas of Paris were on lockdown early Saturday morning, and authorities called on Parisians to stay inside, as police helicopters circled overhead and paramilitary police and army units deployed across the city.

The French political establishment backed Islamist militias in proxy wars for regime change in Libya and Syria, encouraging its citizens to join these militias by widely presenting them in the media as “revolutionaries” fighting Gaddafi and Assad. Now these forces, trained to carry out terrorist attacks and guerrilla warfare in the Middle East, are returning home. This has created a political environment in which terrorism can flourish and spread rapidly, and as a result the war has come home to France.

While IGD focuses on the territory known as North America, it is clear that these events will have reverberations across the whole world. We encourage people to read the statements released from comrades here and here. Already, New York Police are beefing up security on the streets as the FBI boosts surveillance. The right-wing is having a field day proclaiming that the attacks bolster an islamophobic, anti-immigrant, and anti-refugee position. Ann Coulter, a far-Right media pundit and borderline white nationalist declared that the attacks assured that Donald Trump will take the Presidency in 2016. The sad irony, is that decades of US and Western foreign policy trained and built up the forces and groups that now make up ISIS – and now those policies are coming home to roost. As these wars claims tens of thousands of lives, people flee in droves and become refugees, seeking shelter in the countries that spent billions creating proxy wars which displaced them in the first place.

Caught in the middle of it all, against both fascist, Nationalist, and authoritarian dictators such as Assad and the Turkish State as well as butchers like ISIS are anti-authoritarians like us. From the Kurdish fighters in Rojava, to those fighting French police to protect the ZAD.

Those of us on the ground in North America must remember that the forces of reaction, white supremacy, and war will always use such tragedies to their advantage. As Crimethinc wrote after September 11th:

Our government supplied the Iraqi government with military aid throughout the 1980’s, only to kill over one million Iraqi citizens with bombs and sanctions a few years later; we still support dictatorships across the globe, and disregard the human rights of any who are perceived to endanger the profits of our corporations. Our government and the business interests it serves have created an atmosphere of international terror, which has finally reached our own shores.

Bombings won’t kill terrorists any more than they served to put Saddam Hussein out of a job; but they do kill people, whether or not you see them die on your television. Every innocent person affected by the bombs we drop, the aid we provide to oppressive governments, the injustices we condone, becomes another potential terrorist. Save lives, overseas and at home–take your power out of the hands of the politicians and the terrorists they raise. Let them know they can’t count on your silence.

The gravest danger such events pose, is that they will bring people together on the side of the state, push them toward right-wing reaction and fascism and away from social struggles which attack it. See all of the calls for solidarity with France—ie, with the French state. As if mourning over the loss of life was inherently supposed to be a nationalist act; from the changing of one’s facebook profile picture to the lighting up of government buildings. Where were these empty gestures when Israel murders Palestinians, US drone strikes kill civilians, or even when ISIS bombs ripped apart Kurdish, leftist, and anarchist demonstrations? This phenomenon defangs social movements and creates a context for rampant support of government clampdowns and repression. We have to be sure of one thing, we can’t stop fighting. In that spirit, let’s get to the news.

In Montreal, indigenous militants and their supporters protested and at night time blockaded a bridge in an attempt to stop the dumping of billions of liters of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. Protests continued to be carried out as the sewage began to be released into the river.

In Denver, supporters of ‘Resurrection Village’ returned to a vacant lot after being evicted by police as snow began to fall. For more info, check out Denver Homeless Out Loud. According to Revolution News:

On Tuesday night, dozens came out and helped the villagers erect 12 tents and one Tiny Home was parked along the street, amounting to a mini community of otherwise unsheltered people taking care of themselves.

Denver Police have been under a great amount of scrutiny since the October eviction for their excessive use of force in evicting and arresting homebuilders of Resurrection Village, and on Tuesday night they did not arrest anyone or destroy anyone’s home at 2500 Lawrence Street.

Students in Missouri launched strikes, an Occupy styled camp out on their campus, and various protests against institutionalized racism and student debt which quickly grew across the country. As Democracy Now! reported:

Colleges across the country are seeing a wave of protests. On Thursday, students at more than 100 schools coast to coast rallied against institutional racism and mounting student debt. The week began with African-American students forcing the ouster of two top officials at the University of Missouri over a lax response to racist incidents. On Thursday, student protesters at California’s Claremont McKenna College won another victory when Dean Mary Spellman resigned amidst similar protests. Two Claremont students had declared hunger strikes, just as student Jonathan Butler had at the University of Missouri.

Students at Amherst college in Massachusetts have launched an occupation of their school library and across the US further demonstration took place against massive student debt and for free education. Here are some collected tweets.

Regarding the protests at the University of Missouri, one article read:

Beginning in September, a series of on-campus incidents involving racist slurs and insults aimed at black students and groups prompted protests organized mainly by Concerned Citizen 1950, a student organization taking its name from the first year the state university admitted black students. As of 2014, 27,654 undergraduates were enrolled at the campus, and about 8 percent of them were black.

Tensions escalated on Monday, with a student on hunger strike, others camped out with him in solidarity, and faculty members canceling two days of classes in lieu of a teach-in. The Missouri Students Association also formally called for Wolfe’s resignation in a letter to the Board of Curators Monday morning.

Dozens of Mizzou’s black football players said they would not play next Saturday’s game if Wolfe did not resign. After a meeting with the team on Sunday, Coach Gary Pinkel declared his support for the demonstrating players, posting a photo of him on Twitter with dozens of players, black and white, linking arms.

With campus demonstrations happening not only against white supremacy but also against debt and the rising cost of education being organized on a wide scale, this would be a good time to brush up on the 2009 California student occupation movement and think about how we can take these struggles into new territory.

In labor news, in Montreal, thousands of public sector workers walked off the job on strike while police made arrests of workers caught vandalizing government buildings. According to CTV News:

Thousands of workers protested Thursday in Montreal as public sector workers from the south shore, Quebec city, and other regions walked off the job. [Teachers] demonstrated in front of government offices on Fullum St. to reiterate their demand for a 13.5 percent pay increase over three years and smaller class sizes.

Meanwhile on Thursday morning vandals attacked the riding office of St. Laurent MNA Jean-Marc Fournier. One room in the government House Leader’s office was covered in confetti, while stickers were plastered on walls, desks, and inside a fridge and on a computer monitor. The stickers portray a toilet and read “The Boss’s Deposit.” The vandals, all apparently union members, attempted to flee before police arrived, but police managed to arrest 22 people.

Meanwhile, UAW autoworkers began to protest a union sell-out contract. According to one report:

After decades of concessions, the contract continues the assault on the jobs, wages and living standards of Ford workers. A central feature of the deal is the removal of the cap on tier two workers, which will allow the company to hire as many workers with inferior wages and benefits as possible. The aim of the UAW and the giant automaker is to establish a permanently lower wage and benefit rate by driving out higher paid senior workers.

In other labor news, the Fight for $15 movement continues to stay on the streets despite a push by the right-wing to defeat it. However, in the bay area of California for instance, gains made by the movement will only enter into law over the course of several years, not keeping low-paid workers up with the cost of living let alone able to afford to rent in the cities that they work in.

At the time of this writing, in the United States, police killed a disgusting 1,034 people since the start of 2015.

In Mexico, the state continued its brutal suppression of the Normalistas. Check out these tweets and videos.

In anti-fascist news, the excellent website continues to be a great source of original writings and we urge all people to check out. They have some pretty fantastic reports about KKK attempts at organizing in Oregon, Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers’ Party being banned form the UK and also causing a heap of white nationalist drama, an inside look at the recent Stormfront gathering, and a profile on Jack Donovan, a queer fascist and how many white nationalists are trying to distance themselves from homophobia. They also have top notch information about the upcoming Death in June tour and why people should organize to shut it down.

And, big shout out to the Torch Antifa Network and Philly Antifa for holding an awesome gathering this week. From their report:

Our 2nd annual conference was a huge success. Delegates were sent for the private plenary from Antifa Philadelphia, South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action, Los Angeles People Against Racist Terror (PART)/A.R.A.-L.A., NYC Antifa (who are not TORCH members but were vouched in as observers),Rocky Mountain Antifa and the Antifa International Collective, based out of Quebec (also non-members). Antifa International traveled down to make connections between TORCH and Canadian Antifa, as well as to discuss their International Anti-Fascist Defense fund, which TORCH has endorsed and many of its members will be participating in.

Once the public section started we also met up with members of Asheville Anti-Racists, New Jersey Antifa, independent Anti-Fascists from all over the region, and even a pair of Dutch Antifa who happened to be in the city for holiday. Attendees were treated to a panel discussion and Q&A about Militant Anti-Fascists role in the Black Lives Matter movement, a video of which should be posted online shortly. Afterwards they saw a Russian documentary just recently translated to English “Ivan, in memory of our friend…” about the life and death of Russian Anti-Fascist Ivan Khutorskoi. They also got a sneak peek of the up-coming documentary about the Anti-Fascist movement in the U.S. entitled “No Fascist USA” by seeing a 10 minute trailer that will be uploaded shortly as well.

In frightening as hell ecological news, as we discussed last week, despite all the fuzzy feelings about the shooting down of the Keystone XL plan, the environmental situation continues to become more and more dire. According to an article in The Washington Post:

Greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere reached another grim milestone earlier this year as carbon dioxide levels surpassed the symbolic threshold of 400 parts per million across much of the planet, the premier global meteorological association confirmed in a report to be released Monday.

Figures compiled by the World Meteorological Organization showed strong growth — and new records — in the concentrations of all three of the most important heat-trapping gases, continuing a long-term trend with ominous implications for climate change, the group said.

The report is likely to add to concerns about global warming in a year that climate experts say is almost certain to surpass 2014 as the hottest year in recorded history. “We are moving into unchartered territory at a frightening speed,” WMO Secretary General Michel Jarraud said of the report’s findings. Many scientists contend that the carbon dioxide levels should remain well below 400 ppm to avoid long-term disruptions to the Earth’s climate. But since 2012, several of the WMO’s 125 individual monitoring stations have detected readings above that threshold.

In Wisconsin, indigenous leaders blasted crude by rail trains as two more derailed in Wisconsin:

Two more derailments of oil-bearing trains last weekend, these two in Wisconsin, have prompted the Quinault Nation to issue yet another warning about the dangers inherent in such transport.

“The frequency of these train crashes combined with the danger they pose to people and to the environment that sustains us should alarm everyone, everywhere, to the point that they take a stand against increased oil train traffic,” said Quinault Nation President Fawn Sharp in a statement on Tuesday November 10.

As a recent report DC Direct Action News points out, any continued attempt by elites to extract the “30% of remaining fossil fuels in the so-called “United States” [will be] on land even the US government admits is Native American land.” Developing a strategy based around confrontational direct-action that seeks to shut down, destroy, and make inoperable extractive industries is one of the key tasks of humanity in the current age. This is also coupled with the need to build strong networks and struggles against neo-colonialism and build links between those fighting in urban centers and indigenous people already struggling across the continent.

But people will also have to break out of the domination of the white finger waging, upper-middle class who makes up the bulk of the current mainstream environmental movement. For decades the Left has strangled any attempt at open conflict with the established order, pushed struggles back into politics, and tried to lead and control movements through money, manipulation, and internal repression.

Despite the clear need for a militant and confrontational strategy, across North America, protests against pipelines and climate change continue, but by and large remained locked inside a “speaking truth to power” model of trying to make enough noise to get the ear of politicians. Clearly, there is no “progressive” march of history – we can only hope to end it once and for all.

In that same spirit, we leave you with some parting words of Mumia Abu-Jamal:

If recent elections have proven anyhing, they have proven this: those candidates are chosen to betray the electorate, and to serve Wall Street and the corporate elite. Few did this better than Bill Clinton; a master politician; a master betrayer.

Blacks worshipped him as ‘the first Black president’ – even as he savaged their interests to placate racist white fears and anxieties. He drove a stake into the middle class by supporting NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and exporting jobs abroad that never could be replaced.

That fealty to Wall Street was duplicated during the terms of Barack Hussein Obama, and Blacks lost more wealth during his administration than at any time since reconstruction.

Voting hasn’t been our solution; it’s empowered forces that have exacerbated our problems, they have presented the illusion of progress, while fastening new chains over our existence.

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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