Currently in the halls of politics, the Mueller investigation is playing out with predictable spectacle and slow speed, however beneath the surface much more is happening that is going underreported that will actually impact the lives of poor and working-class people.
Regardless of what happens with the investigation, Trump along with Bannon are cultivating a coup within the Republican Party, potentially building something independent of it if need be, while the Democrats proceed on their trajectory of an alliance with tech capital and the security State apparatus, as they continue on a march towards predictable irrelevancy. In the face of massive attacks on health care, the drumbeat of war with North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and a host of other nations grows louder, along with increasing calls for repression at home and attacks on migrants, Muslims, journalists, and protesters, while the DNC has remained focused on Trump’s ties to Russia.
The Pentagon hates freedom and loves spying on you.
In this context, it is important to keep in mind both the potential and importance for mass action from below. For this is what the entire political and elite class is afraid of, along with their accomplices among much of ‘the Left:’ a mass defection from party politics and the growth of autonomous class struggle and resistance. On the other hand, support for Trump remains as low as it ever was, with many people who originally thought that Trump would ‘bring the jobs back’ or ‘shake things up,’ abandoning the Orange man baby as simply just another politician. Who would have thought.
Ned Ludd was right.
This is the real majority. The masses and masses of people who have no hope in this system. Who don’t vote. People that don’t believe that things are getting better under this, or any regime. People who think that the entire establishment is based on lies, fear, and manipulation. These people aren’t uneducated, they aren’t nihilists, and they aren’t uninformed – they are realists who understand that the current network of domination doesn’t serve their interests, and see no reason to place any hope or faith in it. This is where we need to build, where we need to organize, and where we need to foster relationships.
The main character from Despicable Me breaks down why Trump’s new tax cuts equal class war.
This month the announcement that a robot would be given citizenship in Saudi Arabia, a puppet government of the United States known for horrific public executions and political repression, was coupled with the release of a report documenting the falling of life expectancy among working-class and poor adults. Meanwhile, the daily grind of rising opioid and drug overdoses, the continued push of automation, robots now working at WalMart, and tax cuts for corporations signals the beginning of the close of the millennial generation that was in part birthed and nurtured by the “progressive notions” of the Obama Presidency and the much touted ‘democratic’ and liberatory nature of neoliberal technology made available to the masses.
In Trump, we see the burning to ashes any assemblage of hope (for us of course there never was any) the notion of “economic nationalism” of the proto-fascists of the world, producing anything different than the discredited neoliberalism of the previous period, for the world’s global masses of exploited and excluded. The battle cry for the future is not globalism vs nationalism, but autonomy vs the State, commons vs capital, and the Earth vs industry. Anyone saying different is just selling different flavors of the same bullshit popsicles.
In that spirit, let’s get to the news.
Anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and autonomists had some fun this year on Halloween, as do we always. First up, check out these bad ass Jack-O-Lanterns!
Happy #samhain (#witchesnewyear) @hotwaterwolf carved a #trumpkin for a #collectiveinstaspell 👐🏽🔮🌒⚡️ Channel yr rage, yr hurt, yr spirals into #ruralresistance & destroying this ass! Brought to you also by @hexasheville with the assistance of @peepaws. #queerwitches #instaspells #grannywitches #queernorthcarolinia #queerappalachia #queersouth #electricdirt
— Conflict MN (@conflictMN) November 2, 2017
Meanwhile, people in Houston had a bad ass time:
Also in Richmond, Virginia, anarchists and antifascists participated in a Halloween, “Funeral for the Confederacy,” march. Check out these beautiful photos, also up on the top image from Richmond is Burning.
Trump that Regime
Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico was an attempt at spectacle and like always, played to his base. However, after Trump left the island, it was revealed that almost 1,000 have already died in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. As Buzzfeed reported:
Funeral home and crematorium directors are being permitted by the Puerto Rican government to burn the bodies of people who they say died as a result of Hurricane Maria — without those people being counted in the official death toll.
The FBI has issued a new report that refers to Black Lives Matter as “Black Identity Extremists,” with many in Congress clamoring for a terrorist designation to be applied to pipeline protesters as well:
It’s difficult to know for sure whether the Trump administration engages in the practice more often, however, because the FBI and other law enforcement entities rarely make that information available to the public. But rhetoric critical of certain groups by the Justice Department and the White House also tends to inform FBI decisions, German said, and empowers those seeking to target those groups.
The problem, Shamsi said, is partly in the overly broad definition of domestic terrorism in the Patriot Act as a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States that is “dangerous to human life” and appears to be intended to “influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion.”
Eighty-four members of Congress cited that intention to intimidate or coerce in a letter to the Justice Department this week that asked whether the department had labeled Dakota Access Pipeline protesters domestic terrorists. Calls and emails to multiple members of Congress who signed the letter were not returned.
Protests of the pipeline’s construction led to the arrest of 761 people, most of them on misdemeanor charges, according to the Morton County, N.D., Sheriff’s Department. Some of the protesters accused of setting fire to campsites and turning off safety valves in efforts to shut down the pipeline were charged with more serious crimes.
“Damaging pipeline infrastructure poses multiple risks to humans and the environment. When an individual burns a hole through a pipeline currently in operation, there is a high probability this could ignite the contents, killing not only the perpetrator but other innocent victims,” said the letter, written by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo. “It also has the potential to cause property and environmental damage, as well as disrupt services to communities and consumers.”
Also, check out Abby Martin’s new episode of the Empire Files on J20 below.
— Abby Martin (@AbbyMartin) November 3, 2017
While automation continues to take more jobs than immigrants all of the time, it is becoming apparent that AI robots will soon only accelerate that push. Tech movers and shakers have either largely welcomed this ‘march of progress,’ or simply taken a transhumanist position that people should be made to compete with machines and get cybernetic implants. There’s another possibility, just fucking not do any of that and leave behind capitalist civilization. As The Conversation wrote:
The rise of artificial intelligence threatens to eliminate jobs once considered impossible to automate. One series of papers by Oxford researchers ranks jobs by their estimated susceptibility to automation. Among those most rated likely to vanish — because they involve work that AI can increasingly accomplish less expensively — are real estate brokers, insurance claims adjusters and sports referees. Could anything good come of mass unemployment? History tells us that when technology squeezes people out of jobs, they revolt. Industrialization in 19th-century England, for example, gave rise to Luddite activism. What AI will do is to turn nearly everyone into displaced workers, even some who were previously among the elite.
Also, there are continued attacks on abortion rights. According to Right Wing Watch:
On Wednesday, a House subcommittee chaired by Rep. Steve King of Iowa will hold a hearing on a bill that King has sponsored that could ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy—that is, before many women even know that they are pregnant.
The bill, the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017, is based on legislation that Ohio activist Janet Porter has been pushing on the state level for years. The federal version of Porter’s bill would ban abortion after a “detectable heartbeat” is found in the fetus, which can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy; it allows for an exception only when the pregnant woman’s life is endangered by “physical” causes. Porter has openly stated that she hopes that as “technology improves” fetal heartbeats will be detected earlier and earlier so eventually her bill will ban abortion “before the mother even knows that she’s pregnant.” She has boasted that her bill is “the foot in the door” to outlaw all abortion. She recently presented her proposal to Vice President Mike Pence at the White House.
Finally, Jeff Sessions has removed protections for trans people out of civil rights legislation:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo this morning declaring that the Department of Justice does not interpret Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as offering protections to transgender individuals in the workplace.
Burn Down the Plantation
On February 10, as the raids kicked off, an ICE executive in Washington sent an “URGENT” directive to the agency’s chiefs of staff around the country. “Please put together a white paper covering the three most egregious cases,” for each location, the acting chief of staff of ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations wrote in the email. “If a location has only one egregious case — then include an extra egregious case from another city.”
Within hours, stories of ICE’s aggressive tactics dominated the media, as Austin residents reported that agents had set up checkpoints on the street, detained a teenager, and mistakenly apprehended a legal resident with no criminal history as he dropped his kids off at school. As anxiety over the raids escalated, elected officials issued public condemnations, and local and national reporters inundated the agency’s Texas offices with requests for comment.
In their first media responses, ICE officials maintained the line that the raids were in the public interest, telling reporters that “by removing from the streets criminal aliens and other threats to the public, ICE helps improve public safety.”
As criticism escalated, ICE shifted to downplaying the operation as “no different than the routine,” telling reporters that the raids were the same “targeted arrests carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations Teams on a daily basis,” and suggesting off the record that claims to the opposite were “false, dangerous, and irresponsible.” As it became clear that dozens of individuals with no criminal history had been apprehended, ICE shifted gears and told reporters that in addition to targeting safety threats, the raids were always meant to target those whose only crimes were immigration-related, like re-entering the U.S. after deportation: “The president has been clear in saying that DHS should be focused on removing individuals who pose a threat to public safety, who have been charged with criminal offenses, who have committed multiple immigration violations or who have been deported and re-entered the country illegally.”
Moral of the story: pigs fucking lie, and use the media to manufacture consent of the governed through the manipulation of opinion by seeking to justify actions which most people don’t agree with.
Meanwhile, in Richmond, CA, conditions are so bad at one detention facility that people are asking to be deported in order to get out of confinement:
The jail cells, she said, have no toilets, and when inmates need to use the bathroom, they must wait for jail staffers to let them out of their cells. Sometimes, Menendez said, inmates are locked up for 23 hours before they can leave their cells, which hold one or two inmates. She described hearing the sound of other distressed female inmates, screaming and pounding on their cell doors.
Their choice, she and others said, is humiliating: urinating and defecating in their clothes or in plastic bags in their cells, which some inmates place into trash cans they squat over.
Do any other detainees live this way?
“All of them,” Menendez told me.
N.J. police chief said black people are ‘like ISIS’ and he’d like to be ‘on the firing squad,’ feds say https://t.co/eyzBjbDjOW
— zellie (@zellieimani) November 1, 2017
As of this writing, American law enforcement agencies have killed 999 people in the US since the start of 2017.
The Motherfuckin’ Resistance
There are currently 18 immigrants detained at the Northern Oregon Regional Corrections Facility (NORCOR), a rural jail in The Dalles, OR, actively participating in a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions at the jail. Detainees demands include nutritious meals, family visitation, cheaper phone calls, cheaper commissary for hygiene products and food to supplement the unhealthy meals they are provided, and access to a stocked library and recreation yard and we need your help.
In Queens a labor rally turned bloody as a scab attacked several people, meanwhile an immigration protest organized by SEIU union members outside of a Republican office was attacked by someone driving a car through the demonstration. Also, dancers in New York have been on strike for a week over bartenders stealing tips – we wish them victory!
— Bryce Covert (@brycecovert) November 3, 2017
Demonstrations, marches, and rowdy protests have continued non-stop in St. Louis for over a month now. To see what is happening, check Search 4 Swag and Rebelutionary Z on Twitter. Patrick Strickland for Al Jazeera wrote on the day of this writing:
On Saturday, protesters marked seven weeks of unrest when they showed up to demonstrate at a St Louis Halloween party in the city’s Central West End area.
On Tuesday, dozens of community members rallied outside the Mayor Lyda Krewson’s home for at least the third protest outside the city leader’s house.
And on Thursday, faith leaders issued a call for an economic boycott of local stores in the city.
“We are going to continue even through the holidays… making sure we’re at malls and asking our people not to spend money,” Stancil explains. “If you kill our kids, we will kill your pockets.”
He adds: “It’s a large economic hardship for the city, but that seems to be the only language they understand. If that’s the only language they understand, then that’s the language we’ll speak.”
As the protest movement grows and police respond with mass arrests, St Louis, which is in the state of Missouri, has become the epicentre of the African American struggle for civil rights and equity.
“St Louis is the new Selma,” argues Stancil, referring to the Alabama town that became a crucial hub for the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
In antifascist resistance, Canada saw wide mobilization against anti-Muslim groups recently across a wide variety of cities. Austin, TX has continued mobilizing against Confederate monuments, even in the face of threats and harassment from far-Right goons and militias. Mark Bray’s speaking tour for his book on antifascism is still going strong, despite threats by the far-Right. Send some Knoxville antifascists facing heat some love, check out updates from Nebraska Antifa on Vanguard America fuckwads here, and also check out all the latest Dischord releases from Unicorn Riot.
Here’s our roundup of action tweets:
— HaitiInfoProject (@HaitiInfoProj) November 2, 2017
— Lindsey O'Laughlin (@lmolaughlin) November 2, 2017
Such an amazing turn out & tons of letters getting sent out from our letter writing night tonight! Thank you to everyone who came out! 💎✉️💎 pic.twitter.com/ylUWYWc1Lv
— NC Resists (@NCResists) November 2, 2017
La marcha de las Catrinas. Alto a los feminicidios. Ni una asesinada más. pic.twitter.com/sgrDm7Amue
— Regeneración Radio (@regeneracion_r) November 2, 2017
— Scott Campbell (@incandesceinto) November 1, 2017
— Daily Titan (@thedailytitan) November 1, 2017
Coatesville students walk out in protest over racist pumpkin carvings – The kids are alright. https://t.co/Tx5tnPyOwC
— Antifa International (@antifaintl) October 31, 2017
protesters pushed thru campus security gate, in lobby of Lerner now pic.twitter.com/bacUGHwuLF
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) October 31, 2017
— Ash J (@AshAgony) October 30, 2017
We got kicked out of BC Place for this banner because MLS told them to do it. pic.twitter.com/kEGAZaXVYz
— Tom Biro (@tombiro) October 30, 2017
BREAKING NEWS: McCormick Prison prisoners on the RHU just sent us an email, they have taken over unit and set fires. Waiting on more details
— MillionsforPrisoners (@milli4prisoners) October 30, 2017
— Eric Dirnbach (@EricDirnbach) October 30, 2017
— No Justice No Pride (@NJNP_DC) October 28, 2017
— The Base (@TheBaseBK) October 28, 2017
— DecolonizeThisPlace (@decolonize_this) October 26, 2017
UPDATE ON PROTEST THAT STARTED OVER RATION 1 CUP OF WATER A DAY AT MCCORMICK C.I: Rebellion. Prisoners stab guards on riot team today.
— MillionsforPrisoners (@milli4prisoners) October 24, 2017
— Ash J (@AshAgony) October 24, 2017
— Joshua Scott Albert (@jpegjoshua) October 21, 2017
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) October 21, 2017
— Kolten Parker (@KoltenParker) October 20, 2017
— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) October 20, 2017
Florida Gulag Commander over all Gulags been placing prisoners with connections 2 Jailhouse Lawyers Speak on lockup. Ramifications of A19
— prison slavery 276 (@SlaveryPrison) October 20, 2017
— Aaron Cynic (@aaroncynic) October 20, 2017
Dane Powell is out! Please donate to his support fund here. Stay up with #DropJ20 news here and help support defendants. Two felonies have recently been dropped, but much more remains to be done. Watch IGD and Defend J20 Resistance for more info. Big ups to the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America union for recently passing a resolution in support of J20 defendants. Solidarity!
Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain has a new book out! Buy it before Swivilization crashes!
Channel Zero is doing big things! Check out the 24/7 stream here!
— spencer sunshine (@transform6789) November 3, 2017
Lastly, fuck all this noise about “antifa civil war” and the surrounding conspiracy theories. Remember that when the Right depends on lying to its base in order to stay relevant, it speaks to a deeper crisis from within itself. If you are looking to share articles with family and friends about what all the craziness is about, we suggest this article here.
It’s Going Down!
In the next several weeks IGD will be rolling out brand new shirts, as well as some new features in regards to streamlining information on the website about prisoners, a list of groups to plug into, and hopefully a interactive calendar that will allow people to post events to. This will help to make the site more of a resource both for established organizers as well as the general public.
When our new batch of shirts come in, we will also be launching a Winter holiday fundraiser, so we ask that supporters help us by donating and sharing the call out. If you can, please donate here or sign up to be a sustainer of IGD and donate monthly here. Without support, IGD can’t function. Please help us continue.
Also, if you have Instagram, every Friday Bloc Party has been taking over our account with news and info about political prisoners and prisoner revolt. Check out it here! We also just hit 30K followers on Twitter. See what all the yelling is about here and follow us on Facebook here.