CHOOSING SIDES
GETTING ORGANIZED

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December 6

Originally posted to It’s Going Down

According to the website Killed By Police, almost 1,100 people have been killed by law enforcement in the United States since the start of 2015. In the past couple of days alone, two different police executions have been recorded for the world to see; Mario Woods in San Francisco, and another in Miami. It seems as if everyday brings a new atrocity to the fore; another hash tag, another call for protest, another request for help in paying funeral expenses, and an angry post on social media that we hope will make us feel better. But if this in the context that we continue to find ourselves in, what are we doing about it?

We have to begin to think about tactics in terms of a strategy. We have to think about what we are doing, why we do it, what we get out of it, and then go out into the real world and attempt to act these ideas out. Beyond that, we have to communicate with other comrades in the struggle about our activities and evaluate them. This is one of the reasons that a site like It’s Going Down exists. To spread not only counter-information, but to create dialog around strategy and to strengthen our analysis.

But we also have to think about what we want to get out of actions and organizing against the police. We want to meet more people, and potentially for them to join with us. To increase the size, scope, and depth of our networks in and across various neighborhoods and towns. We want to deepen people’s political ideas and perception; not only in regards to the police, but their role in the wider system and their function within white supremacy. We also need to push the political tensions between the Democratic Party, the NGOs and non-profits, and the pissed off and angry people on the streets. But by and large, we want to increase the confidence that everyday people have in the midst of a horrific and dehumanizing event that makes everyone feel powerless. We must remember, those shot by the police die once at the hands of the pigs, then in the media, and again in court rooms where the cops are exonerated of their crimes.

With this in mind, many anarchist responses to police actions have fallen into three separate categories:

1.) Direct aid and support to the families of those involved in the shootings. In bigger cities, often this role is taken on by larger leftist groups. By and large, these groups seek to use families to advance their platform and pull people into their organization while at the same time, generating credibility for themselves. Often times, families are happy for whatever help they can get, and look to the advice of established groups.

But anarchists also have a history of direct support to families, communities, and neighborhoods facing off against the police. This includes the ongoing work of Denver, CO comrades in their fight against a brutal police force. Towards this end, they have organized marches, protests, and demonstrations outside of the DA’s home.

Solidarity can look much more than organizing standard protests, marches, and press conferences, but at times this is exactly the work that families ask of outside groups. By giving up ground to bureaucratic organizations, revolutionaries often cut themselves off from making links with the families of people at the center of a struggle. This sets the stage for our demonetization and being written off by entire neighborhoods.

2.) Next, is anti-repression work. This includes organizing and doing support work for people that have been arrested in anti-police rebellions and the families of those involved.

One example would be the Oakland 100 Support Committee that evolved into the Anti-Repression Committee. This group supports people arrested at riots, rebellions, and demonstrations, often young people of color that lack resources and connections to lawyers and broader support. It is an ongoing and concrete example of solidarity in the face of repression.

A smaller example of this could also be bringing extra masks and gloves to demonstrations where people might be taking risks. In places where high-profile rioting occurred, participants that hadn’t worn masks ended up facing repression after the fact.

3.) Lastly, is intervention in a wider rebellion and acting in solidarity with it. This includes a variety of actions. From calling demonstrations, autonomous actions that attack symbols of repression, graffiti and posters that communicate a perspective, to occupying buildings, to passing out flyers explaining why people should wear masks when they are looting, to a working on counter-information reports and analysis about where the revolt should go next. It also means long-term organizing in impacted communities, even during periods when there isn’t a lot of fight back happening. Another good project to look at and take inspiration from is We Copwatch, which has been organizing Copwatch groups in the Bay Area and in Ferguson.

The point is not, there is a ‘moral’ correct line to choose from when participating in a struggle, the point is always to combine tactics to increase the size and scope of success while engaged in a strategy. With groups like the Oathkeepers on the Right recently intervening in Ferguson, MO, and Left groups like Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURGE) organizing thousands across the country, revolutionaries have to step their game up. We can’t just sit by and wait for it to go down, we have to be prepared.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s get to the news.

First off, damn Seattle, is looking fucking nice as we write this. Several hundred people in the street and no Nazis or Hammerskins in sight. Expect a full report soon from the comrades, but as for now, check out these tweets:

https://twitter.com/MinkuAzad/status/673685013045633024

In Mexico, Normalistas continued protests against education reform as Mexican teachers also continued to go hard:

https://twitter.com/a0an0/status/670976714701414400

In labor news, the California Faculty Association (CFA):

…after rejecting an offer for a 2 percent wage raise, [voted to strike]. More than 94 percent of the members who voted approved strike action in the event negotiations with the chancellor’s office break down.

The CFA represents approximately 25,000 university employees, including professors, counselors, and sports coaches in 23 California State University (CSU) campuses—the largest state school system in the United States with approximately 460,000 students.

Hopefully if the professors go on strike, people can join them by taking buildings, holding discussions, showing films, and discussing how to attack the crisis of capitalist civilization. Use the strike as an opportunity – school is out!

In Toronto, taxi drivers ended their hunger strike against UBER and then took their protest inside city hall. One report wrote:

Earlier this week, three taxi drivers in the city vowed to give up food in an effort to protest against the growing infiltration of Uber. They camped in Nathan Phillips Square to express their anger.

In Wisconsin, workers at a Kohler plant have been on strike for several weeks. According to one report:

Two thousand workers at the Kohler faucet plant in Northern Wisconsin have been walking the picket since November 16. Such a strike would have been commonplace decades ago. Nowadays it is a rarity. Major strikes of over 1,000 workers are few and far between. Even rarer are open-ended strikes at an industrial plant.

Today’s battered labor movement no longer thinks of watershed strikes; we are so beaten down and used to defeat that no particular loss is seen as critical. And sadly, it’s not as if labor must win this particular battle to survive. The truth is labor has learned to live with defeat. But a more fundamental point is at stake: Labor must redevelop the ability to win this type of strike if we are to have any chance of survival.

The Kohler strike is an open-ended, large scale, non-publicity style strike in manufacturing, a traditionally organized industry. Labor has become adept at hit-and-run publicity strikes such as the Walmart, retail and fast food strikes of recent years. Although important, these are not the fight-to-the-finish type battles, nor do they involve anywhere near the number of workers or level of participation, that this strike does. It is likely that more days of work lost to striking have accumulated in two weeks of the Kohler strike than in five years of retail and fast food strike activity.

In far-Right news, attacks on Muslims across North America continue to occur in the face of the Paris attacks. This was evidenced by the recent shooting massacre in San Bernardino, which was first reported to have been ISIS militants. Muslims communities continue to live in fear of violence, despite the fact that the majority of violent shootings carried out in the US were by non-Muslims.

In many ways, the blanketing of all such acts of indiscriminate killing point to growing sense of alienation and disgust that is rising in America. Joesph Kishore wrote in one report:

Whether or not the perpetrators were tied to Islamist political organizations, the mass killing in San Bernardino is hardly an isolated episode. Explanations based on terrorist sympathies are not required and are, in fact, an evasion to avoid examining the social roots of the repeated manifestations of homicidal violence in the United States.

So far this year, there have been at least 353 mass shootings in the United States, with at least 461 dead and 1,309 injured. Wednesday’s massacre is the deadliest mass killing since Sandy Hook Elementary School, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 children and six staff members.

In virtually every case, the victims are mowed down indiscriminately. The killers are not striking out at any particular individual. Their actions express extreme alienation from other people and indifference to human life—the lives of others as well as their own. In the San Bernardino tragedy, the two perpetrators had a six-month-old baby, whom they reportedly left with relatives the morning of the killings.

It is notable that San Bernardino is known as the “Detroit of California.” In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, the city has been plunged into bankruptcy, mass unemployment and poverty. These conditions are mirrored in different forms throughout the country.

There is an acute level of social alienation that is felt by millions of people, with, at present, no progressive outlet. There are countless grievances that find no redress. Political life in the United States is deeply toxic, with the most backward and malignant conceptions fostered by the establishment and promoted by the media. In this confused environment, people snap and do monstrous things. With no mechanism for the legitimate expression of social and personal grievances, they take instead a maniacal form.

Matthew Heimbach, the poster-boy for the current crop of white nationalism continues to take his group, the Traditionalist Workers’ Party off into swastika land. Recently, Heimbach took a trip to Germany, where he spoke in front of a gathering of the National Democratic Party (NDP), which is seen by many as the ideological and organizational heir to the Nazi Party.

Lastly, a Donald Trump rally in North Carolina was disrupted by a continuous stream of protesters, causing Trump to walk out of the event.

That’s it for us this week! See you soon! Follow us online here.

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It's Going Down

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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