Filed under: Canada, Mexico, Roundup, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
Many people are pointing to the current election as an evidence of the American political system breaking down. Last week, TIME magazine’s front cover showed a picture of the Reagans with the title, “What Happened to this Party?” This position is hilarious in many regards, as it was the extreme policies of the neo-liberal Democrats of the Clinton and Obama Administrations as well as the “color-blind” white nationalism and interventionist imperialism of the Reagan and Bush Administrations that have helped to build our current reality.
But for all of us who herald this crisis within American democracy, we would do well to remember that elections are also times when both the Patriotic myth of the Empire is reinvigorated and also the corporate parties get to try out their new talking points and rebuild their bases of support. While the Republican and Democratic Parties seem to be having problems now, in several years they may return with a whole new face and set of snake-oils.
The task ahead in the coming years involves building hubs of power and resistance that are autonomous and antagonistic to these structures of domination. It means making books just as much as it means participating in riots. It means creating infrastructure as much as it means being involved in social struggles happening all around us. It means being a force on the streets, in our workplaces, and in our neighborhoods just as much as it means finding new ways to live and sustain ourselves.
In that spirit, lets get to the news.
— Eli Meyerhoff (@EliMeye) April 3, 2016
An occupation has begun at Duke University after the Vice President reportedly hit a parking attendant and then proceeded to call her a racial slur. As MuslimGirl.com wrote:
A total of 9 students – senior Amy Wang, juniors Mina Ezikpe, Lara Haft, and Carolyn Yao, sophomores Cindy Li, Ashlyn Nuckols, Jazmynne Williams, and Dipro Bhowmik, and freshman Sydney Roberts – launched a sit-in on Friday afternoon calling for the resignation of multiple Duke administrators, hiring reforms, and an independent investigation into an administrator-involved hit-an-run. The students spent the night in the Allen Building, home of the Office of the President, and hung a banner Saturday afternoon reading “Occupied: No Justice, no peace.”
The student activists were finally acknowledged by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Sue Wasiolek and Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Steve Nowicki late Saturday, and were told that they would be asked to leave on Sunday and charged with trespassing if they do not leave by an unspecified time. The students have said that they do not intend to leave and will continue to protest if arrested. In the meantime, a fund has been set up in their support, while other students have been prevented from sending them food and supplies, also under threat of arrest by the police forces that have surrounded the building.
A group of students protested Saturday evening at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, demanding that two of its donors urge Gov. Bruce Rauner reinstate higher education funding. The students targeted CSO donors Sam Zell and Kenneth C. Griffin as they chanted outside and made their way into the CSO lobby.
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) April 2, 2016
In Chicago, the teachers union called a one-day strike in an effort to channel anger rising from the rank-n-file and the larger community over school conditions. Teachers have worked 10 months so far without a contract. One report wrote:
The central aim of the “walkout” was to channel mass opposition among teachers to the attack on their jobs and on public education behind the Democratic Party, which is spearheading school privatization efforts in Illinois and throughout the country.
In order to cover up the role of the Democrats and the Obama administration, the CTU focused opposition on Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and the 10-month budget impasse in the state legislature, which has left higher education and social services crumbling without state funds. State Democrats and Republicans have been unable to conclude a budget agreement since June 30, not due to any principled differences, but rather disagreement on where precisely cuts will be made.
The CTU made teacher participation in the April 1 action mandatory. Numerous teachers expressed outrage on social media that the union threatened teachers with punitive actions if they did not support the stunt “strike.”
The CTU joined efforts with faculty unions and community groups at state and local colleges, putting on a series of events. Several thousand students and faculty gathered at Northeastern Illinois University, where faculty are under threat of losing their jobs.
American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, a close ally of the Obama administration, addressed the crowd at NEIU.
The one day walk-out shows the need to find ways to extend these events in all ways possible; outside of the hands of union bureaucrats and politicians especially. If unions are forced to call for these large strikes in the future, in order to try and get workers to ‘blow off steam,’ what could be ways that we could push instead for self-organization, direct action, and total autonomy from the existing organizations? These might include taking over schools and administration buildings, holding mass assemblies, and extending the strike through pickets and further walkouts.
In West Philadelphia, anti-condo graffiti was left on a construction site.
In Oakland, people protested a restaurant that hired several chefs in order to have them design an “ethnic” menu and then proceeded to fire them quickly after they had done so. Check out the video below.
— yael (@Yaelnc) April 2, 2016
Also, people continue to organize to gather water and other supplies for Flint, Michigan.
— Jawn Solo | Prof. of Praise, Dept. of Joy (@RandiGloss) April 5, 2016
Mexican Nissan workers in the industrial City of the Valley of Cuernavaca (Civac) struck for two days beginning April 1. The plant, located in the state of Morelos, employs 5,183 workers and produces the Tilda and Tsuru models, which are popular in Mexico and South America, pickup trucks and new models of taxis that operate in New York City.
Protests have now taken place in the wake of the police murder of Loreal Tsinijini, who was shot 5 times and killed by Winslow PD’s Austin Shipley. Shipley is pictured here below wearing a 3%er shirt, which is an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim militia group.
Portland Anarchist Black Cross has announced the formation of a new chapter located inside of a nearby prison. Get more information here.
Prisoner affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) launched a strike today in Texas prisons. A report released by the IWOC stated:
According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials as of 7:45pm on Monday (4/4), three prisons remain locked down (Wynne, Mountain View, Lynaugh)–on strike–while 3 others were but are no longer on lockdown (Torres, Polunsky, Roach). Robertson Unit officials refused to report in the evening and is therefore almost certainly still on strike/lockdown as they were when they confirmed earlier in the day.
Inmates at up to five Texas prisons pledged to refuse to leave their cells today. The strike’s organizers remain anonymous but have circulated fliers listing a series of grievances and demands, and a letter articulating the reasons for the strike. The Texas strikers’ demands range from the specific, such as a “good-time” credit toward sentence reduction and an end to $100 medical co-pays, to the systemic, namely a drastic downsizing of the state’s incarcerated population.
“Texas’s prisoners are the slaves of today, and that slavery affects our society economically, morally and politically,” reads the five-page letter announcing the strike. “Beginning on April 4, 2016, all inmates around Texas will stop all labor in order to get the attention from politicians and Texas’s community alike.”
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which oversees the state’s prisons, “is aware of the situation and is closely monitoring it,” spokesperson Robert Hurst wrote in a statement to The Intercept. He did not comment on the prisoners’ grievances and demands. Prisoner rights advocates said at least one prison — the French Robertson Unit in Abilene — was placed under lockdown today, but Hurst denied any prisons in Texas were on lockdown because of planned strikes.
Remember that further actions are planned across the US on September 9th and people are being encouraged to organize solidarity demonstrations and make connections with prisoners during this build up period.
Mexico On Fire
Regeneracion Radio has a new feature out about the new Atenco Law that was discussed in last week’s Insumision column. It is pretty terrifying, as it allows live ammunition and the suppression of various forms of protest. It’s designed to target everything from street protests to movements resisting mega-projects.
Our friends at Dorset Chiapas Solidarity have released the March edition of the Zapatista news roundup. Check it out to see what is going on in indigenous struggles across Chiapas and beyond.
A hunger-strike protesting Site C in Vancouver has been taken to the hospital after 19 days of not eating. According to one report:
A young woman has been taken to hospital after falling ill nearly three weeks into a hunger strike she’s held in protest of the Site C dam. Since March 13, Kristin Henry, 24, has camped outside the BC Hydro building at 333 Dunsmuir Street. Last night (March 31), she was transported to St. Paul’s Hospital after “her heart rate dropped to concerning levels”, according to a Facebook page created for the protest.
A new article from Upside Down World puts the recent assassination of environmental organizer Berta Cáceres in the context of neo-liberalism and its push into Central and South America. The article states:
International development banks and transnational corporations are pushing an expansion of mega hydroelectric dams at a rate never seen before. In Honduras, the Agua Zarca dam that Berta fought against is far from the only project: The Lenca people alone are facing the prospect of 17 dams being imposed within their territories.
Overall, 829 hydroelectric projects were approved in South America during 2014, with a total investment of $22 billion.This picture is being replicated across the region. In Colombia, President Juan Manuel Santos’ master plan for the strategic use of the Magdalena River calls for adding 11 to 15 megadams to those already in operation. In Peru, former President Alan Garcia made the construction of 20 megadams along the Marañon River into a national priority with the signing of a single decree in 2011.
The power and resource grab going on throughout Latin America has roots stretching back to Spanish colonization. The river Gualcarque — with its deep spiritual significance for the Lenca people — was famously defended against Spanish invaders by indigenous resistance leader and hero, El Lempira. Although the form has evolved, the struggle against powerful foreign forces in the region has continued to this day.
Conquering not with swords and horses but with a ruse of “corporate social responsibility” and market-based mechanisms, the plunderers of the 21st century are bolstered by a deepening and globalized neoliberal agenda. The package of privatizations, deregulations, and loosening of restrictions on trade and finance prescribed under the “Washington Consensus” for global trade — widely implemented by institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in the 1990s — tipped the balance of power towards the interests of corporate global elites.
In Humboldt County, California, a banner was dropped against salvage logging.
Lots happening in Humboldt.
"On highway 96, about two miles east of Happy Camp. Fog kind of obscures the photos…." pic.twitter.com/AeqD6OYBXM
— Humboldt Grassroots (@humboldtgrassr1) April 3, 2016
Posted to Montreal Counter-Info, a report has gone up that discusses the construction of a mega high voltage set of power lines and encourages people to get involved in resisting their construction, which threatens to displace people and natural environments. From the report:
We honor all acts of resistance, we salute the courage of the communities in struggle for self-determination and wild freedom, we are with those who oppose the devastating deforestation in Ouareau forest, with the Cree who oppose the cuts Broadback forest, Six Nations also fighting against logging in the Red Hill Valley in connection with a high-voltage line south of the so-called “Ontario,” with the Mi’kmaq struggling against fracking, with the Mohawks threatening to block the energy-East pipeline project, with those who occupy Lax U’u’la (Lelu island) by blocking the construction of the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal and all accomplices with a wild and fighting spirit.
Atlanta Antifa has released a new report about a pro-Confederate group that is also planning to rally on April 23rd along with the KKK. While the group ‘Protect the South’ has attempted to distance themselves from white nationalism, this new report discusses how one of the groups leaders, Wesley Sitton, is a long-time Neo-Nazi and white nationalist organizer. From the report:
Starting in mid-July 2015 after the Charleston massacre, Sitton began a flurry of activity on behalf of the Confederate flag and its cause. One of the first events promoted by Sitton’s newly-launched “Protect the South” page was a rally in Statesboro, Georgia which was part of a “Stand by the Flag” day of coordinated protests at Walmart parking lots due to Walmart’s decision not to sell Confederate flags. These protests were not just promoted on Facebook, but also on white nationalist sites such as that of the Council of Conservative Citizens (the organization whose materials had helped to radicalize Dylann Roof in the first place.)
Sitton has subsequently used “Protect the South” to promote several other Confederate rallies and events, including the November 14 Klan-organizedevent at Stone Mountain. Indeed, Sitton seems to have played a key role in persuading members of the (nominally non-racist) Georgia Security Force III% militia that the November 14 rally had nothing to do with the Klan and that the Klan would not be present.
Meanwhile, Sitton was also active on another front. Following the November 13 terror attacks in Paris, Sitton circulated a petition online calling for a Georgia Governor Deal to stop any settlement of Syrian refugees (called “potential terrorists” by Sitton) in the state. Sitton’s petition rapidly gained thousands of signatures. On November 16, Governor Deal announced that he would not accept Syrian refugees in Georgia–Deal’s decision may have been partially influenced by the same sort of public pressure mobilized by Sitton.
This approach shows that white nationalists are becoming more and more interested in reaching out to broader sections of the far Right that don’t want to be associated with the white power label. This strategy has had good results so far, with 3%ers providing security for rallies for instance. All the more reason that anarchists and anti-fascists need to step their game and out organize along with out fight, the fascists and white nationalists.
Protests, blockades, and disruptions of Trump’s events also continued this week, as a video went viral from Baltimore of youth rapping about how much they hate the Donald. In one instance, Trump supporters pepper sprayed one protester and then proceeded to call her a racial slur.
— Rob Schultz (@RobSchultzWSJ) March 29, 2016
— OverpassLightBrigade (@OLBLightBrigade) April 3, 2016
Lastly, One People’s Project has announced that several young people who were shoved by white nationalists such as Matthew Heimbach at a Donald Trump rally are launching a lawsuit against him.
— One People's Project (@OnePeoplesProj) April 2, 2016
The No New Animal Lab campaign continues. According to DC Direct Action News:
On the 4th of April, anti-vivisection activists showed up in front of the offices of BlackRock, which holds over 7 million shares of stock in Skanska USA construction. Skanska is building what is essentially a buried fortress vivisection laboratory for University of Washington. There were protests against BlackRock and other Skanska investors all over the continent on April 4. Here in DC activists began by fliering people going into BlackRock’s building, following up on polite letters which have been ignored. This is the opening round of the DC portion of the “fracture their finances” campaign.
— The Base (@TheBaseBK) April 5, 2016
The FireBrand Collective in Chicago is launching a crowd-funding campaign to open up a new social center. With everything happening in the area, from strikes, to walk-outs, to massive police protests, lets help Chicago see their hopes of such a space become a reality. Donate to them here.
We’re excited to announce our summer community organizing effort to help mobilize folks to #ShutDownLine5! We’re organizing a bike trip along the entire route of the Line 5 pipeline, a 750-mile stretch running from Marysville, Michigan to Superior, Wisconsin. It’s broken into two parts, with the Part 1 in the second half of May going from Marysville (near Sarnia) to about Reese (close to Bay City), and Part 2 running from early July to late August, going from Bay City all the way to Superior.
We’ll be hosting organizing community events along the way, and knocking on the doors of folks who live along the pipeline route to connect them with the issues surrounding Line 5. More info is available at biketheline.org. Also be sure to check out the Bike the Line Facebook Page.
There are so many ways you can get involved. You can bike with us for all or any part of the trip you are available to, or if you’re a community member who lives on or near the pipeline route, you can either help host an eventalong the route or host the riders for a night or two so they can get some rest. Or you can donate to support our work, or just spread the word.
The ‘Earth Liberation not Mass Incarceration’ mobilization happening in Washington, DC on June 11th – 13th, is making a call for donations to help get people to the event. They write:
We are launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise $3000 to help bring former political prisoners, family members and supporters of current prisoners to the Convergence in Support of Eco-Prisoners and Against Toxic Prisons. It is essential to have these voices present in DC and we want to ensure they don’t have to exhaust there own limited funds to get there.
Click here to donate: https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/help-us-converge-in-d-c…
From June 11-13th people from around the country will converge on Washington, DC to network, strategize, and take direct action against toxic prisons. We are putting together a great weekend of panels and discussions on a range of issues including: prisons and environmental racism; resisting immigrant detention facilities; a roundtable discussion with former political prisoners; justice for transgender prisoners, the Greenscare and FBI entrapment; and much more. On the 13th we will take the momentum built over the weekend into the streets of DC where we will take direct action against the Bureau of Prisons’ plans to build a new maximum security prison on a mountaintop removal coal mining site.
It’s Going Down
That’s it for us this week. Don’t forget to send us reports of things happening in your area. Keep us with us here.