The degree in which things are accelerating in the United States is happening at such a fast rate it can be hard to organize one’s thoughts, but here we go.
Charlottesville changed everything. Not just in the sense that it was a huge defeat for the Alt-Right, but also because it birthed the first truly organic and autonomous period of resistance on a mass scale within the Trump era. No wonder the hacks in the DNC and the Centrist and liberal press attacked it so hard. Only hours after people learned that Heather Heyer had been murdered by a neo-Nazi, thousands took to the streets. Soon after, actions, mobilizations, and autonomous actions began to be held across the US, not only against Confederate statues, but also against a wide variety of colonial symbols and relics. People rallied outside of Richard Spencer’s home, neo-Nazis were outed and driven from their neighborhoods and jobs, and thousands took to the streets in solidarity. As we speak, a small occupation has been started at the mall in Washington DC, and we hope that similar occupations of public space continue and grow.
The rich always seek to justify a system based on violence and control. pic.twitter.com/4KmEtaghni
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) September 8, 2017
These last several weeks have also seen the opening up of a horrifying window into the future: we are seeing the drastic start of the increasingly negative affects of climate change first hand with a series of devastating storms. Beyond the hurricanes, fires rage across California, rising heats leaves those without shelter in a potentially deadly situation, and in India and Africa, mass floods kill thousands. But out of the devastation, autonomous and anti-capitalist forms of relief are growing in the shadow of government, capital, and industrial civilization. As horrifying as the future is, building strong relief networks now and being able to help everyday people organize and find alternatives to government structures will be essential for our survival.
— BASH (@BayouStreetMed) September 8, 2017
We must remember that the hardest hit places will be the most impoverished and the areas outside of major cities that have already been hit by capitalism long before a natural disaster. There is also the devastating reality that flooded areas may become uninhabitable due to pollution and chemical leaking. Hurricane Irma also opens up the real possibility of a Fukushima type disaster, as the storm threatens to hit nuclear plants.
Due to weather, ICE canceled (for now) the largest nationwide raid of undocumented immigrants in the history of ICE. https://t.co/vPzmdY5d3y
— pdx law grrrl (@pdxlawgrrrl) September 8, 2017
Lastly, Trump has moved to attack DACA, setting in motion the possible mass deportation of over 800,000 “dreamers” as well as their families and communities of support by extension. The decision comes at the same time that DHS announced that it would carry out a massive raid, but then soon went back on their statement, citing concerns over hurricane Irma.
The DACA decision opens up an expanding rift between the growing force of tech capital which depends highly on immigration to staff it’s more ‘creative’ positions and the ‘economic nationalist’ camp that includes many within the Trump administration. Already, universities are suing Trump as are many cities, Chicago has declared itself a “Trump free zone” and literally banned the President, tech giants like AirBNB are saying they will defy the destruction of DACA, and a grouping of CEOs have officially come out against Trump’s latest decision. This includes the heads of Apple, Google, Adobe, Lyft, and others.
If you want an image of the future, imagine the rich playing golf while the world fucking burns. pic.twitter.com/JFf6tr0uAx
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) September 6, 2017
While the Democratic Party since the Clintons has pushed to align itself with the emerging class interests of tech capital, and whole sections of the liberal Left will welcome such a “progressive” decision, we should realize that one wing of capital that is in opposition to Trump is not in turn our ally. While tech may oppose the more egregious white nationalist segments of the Trump administration, this doesn’t mean that it’s own globalized worldview is any less authoritarian or draconian.
One thing is clear: the conflict between the elites is moving more out into the open, and sections of tech capital are moving to oppose Trump and his tycoon partners in the oil and energy industry. Whoever wins, we loose, so let’s keep our eyes on the prize and focus on building autonomy, dual power, and our movements for liberation and grassroots power.
In that spirit, let’s get to the news.
Native resistance in so-called Canada has been heating up these last couple of weeks.
Members of the Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia say they are building the first of 10 tiny homes that will be placed directly in the path of Kinder Morgan’s $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Kanahus Manuel of the Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society says the house is a symbol of sustainability in the face of an environmentally damaging project and is based on homes built at the Standing Rock protest in the United States.
Manuel says she lived in a tiny home at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest for three months in 2016 and asked the designer of the building to create plans for buildings that could be placed in Trans Mountain’s path.
A blockade by members of Six Nations has barred a portion of Argyle Street, the main road in Caledonia for the past 21 days.
The protest is connected to a parcel of land that was put into a federal corporation in March by Six Nations’ elected band council, allegedly reneging on an Ontario promise to return it to Six Nations people in 2006 to ameliorate the Caledonia Standoff — a protest that saw a group of Indigenous people occupy a housing development called Douglas Creek Estates. The blockade is situated near the site where violence broke out over 10 years ago.
A group of First Nations and environmentalists are occupying a salmon farm near Alert Bay, B.C., and say they won’t leave until the provincial and federal governments revoke permits for the facility.
Ernest Alfred, a traditional leader from the ‘Namgis, Tlowitsis and Mamalilikulla First Nations, said he and other protesters arrived six days ago at the farm owned by Marine Harvest Canada on Swanson Island and are now building a shelter.
He said the farm is threatening their traditional way of life by impacting wild salmon and herring stocks, and he’s also demanding an overall end to open-net fish farming in the sensitive Broughton Archipelago area.
“We can’t sit by. I cannot sit by any longer while these farms continue to infest our waters, putting all of our marine ecosystem at risk,” he said.
“The time for the very long debate about fish farms has passed. … These licences of occupation need to be removed immediately.”
Alfred added the company does not have a formal agreement with the ‘Namgis to operate in their traditional territories.
Then in September, a second farm was occupied:
Members of two British Columbia First Nations say they have occupied a salmon farm on a small island on the province’s coast, the second such protest to be held in the past week.
Chief Willie Moon, also known as Okwilagame, said about 16 members of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw and the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwamis arrived at the Wicklow Point salmon farm on Thursday afternoon.
He said about five protesters plan to stay until the provincial and federal governments revoke permits for the facility on Broughton Island, about 50 kilometres east of Port Hardy.
Hurricane Irma is expected to hit Florida on Sunday. Already it has destroyed and killed across the Caribbean, hitting Puerto Rico and other islands. The most at risk in Florida are the poor, the elderly, the sick, and those that cannot afford to leave the area. Already, airlines have been gouging up prices and during Harvey we saw similar attempts to profit off the disaster. Police and government are also using the hurricanes to check people’s immigration status and look for warrants, journalists are snitching on people taking food that can’t be sold from underwater stores, and prisoners are forced to drink toilet water while the wait for rescue.
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) September 7, 2017
As Grist wrote:
Irma, Jose, Katia: We’ve never seen this kind of hurricane power in the Atlantic.
The three storms collectively represent the most hurricane activity in the Atlantic Ocean, in terms of strength and size, in recorded history. That’s just one of many milestones.
As National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake pointed out, the three hurricanes are all threatening land at the same time. Again, that’s never happened before.
Climate scientists such as Michael Mann at Penn State says, “The science is now fairly clear that climate change will make stronger storms stronger.” Or wetter.
Scientists are quick to point out that Harvey and Irma would have been big storms before the atmosphere and oceans started warming dramatically about 75 years ago. But now storms are apt to grow bigger. That’s because the oceans and atmosphere are, on average, warmer now than they used to be. And heat is the fuel that takes garden-variety storms and supercharges them.
Matthew Taylor discusses how people in Puerto Rico are especially at risk:
Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans remain without power after hurricane winds downed power lines and severely damaged the island’s public electrical system, which has suffered years of neglect and mass layoffs due to privatization efforts and the island’s crippling economic crisis.
Seventy percent of the US territory’s 3.4 million US citizens lost power in the storm and 17 percent of the island does not have access to safe water. Officials are warning of the continued danger of flash floods. The ports remained closed as obstructions are cleared and the infrastructure is checked for any damage. Puerto Rico imports 80 percent of its food.
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) September 7, 2017
These hurricanes will hit the US hard, both in terms of lives lost, but also because they will take out infrastructure, energy, and drastically impact the economy. The toll on poor and working-class people in Texas will be staggering, as will it be in Florida. Many people will be displaced, made homeless, lose their homes forever, and also be forced to leave their neighborhoods due to pollution and chemical poising.
The solution to disaster capitalism is to reject, destroy, and create a livable alternative to it.
Bringing Down White Supremacy
It’s important to place both the spread of the Confederate flag in a post-Civil Right US as well as the Confederate statues themselves. With this history in mind, we can better understand why people are acting against and attacking them across the US.
The most recent comprehensive study of Confederate statues and monuments across the country was published by the Southern Poverty Law Center last year. A look at this chart shows huge spikes in construction twice during the 20th century: in the early 1900s, and then again in the 1950s and 60s. Both were times of extreme civil rights tension.
James Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association, says that the increase in statues and monuments was clearly meant to send a message.
“These statues were meant to create legitimate garb for white supremacy,” Grossman said. “Why would you put a statue of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson in 1948 in Baltimore?”
The history of the Confederate flag follows a similar trajectory, as it proliferated as a symbol of white supremacy in the face of the Civil Rights movement and growing black revolt and mobilization.
So if we understand these statues and symbols to be in response to attacks on American apartheid, then we can understand the importance of people across the US physically attacking and bringing them down decades after they were put in.
The attacks on Confederate statues, either as parts of broad mobilizations that actually bring the statues down with ropes, or actions carried out during the night, have also spread to symbols of the entire colonial order: Columbus, Missionaries, and beyond.
— Conflict MN (@conflictMN) September 3, 2017
— Heather Ly (@HeatherLyWGRZ) August 25, 2017
— News4JAX (@wjxt4) September 6, 2017
— Maria Neider (@KY3MariaNeider) August 30, 2017
— WTOL 11 (@WTOL11Toledo) August 28, 2017
No longer standing watch over Confederate graves. Damaged statue at Camp Chase removed after vandalism. Latest at 5… pic.twitter.com/R2pxp0yuda
— Tom Bosco (@tomwsyx6) August 22, 2017
— Eliot Kleinberg (@eliotkpbp) August 21, 2017
Fire to the Prisons
A “huge” prison riot broke out in Kansas:
Correctional officers compared a Kansas prison to “a Third World country” after a violent inmate uprising late Tuesday that saw multiple fires set in the facility.
Inmates smashed windows throughout the Norton Correctional Facility. They took over staff offices and destroyed computers. They broke into the prison’s clinic and stole syringes. And some were wielding homemade weapons when correctional officers from three other prisons arrived at Norton to help restore order, according to multiple correctional officers.
— Kansas City Now (@TLNKansasCity) September 7, 2017
The Kansas Department of Corrections described the incident as an “inmate disturbance,” but a correctional officer said it was a “full-blown riot” that involved 400 or more inmates in the prison in northwestern Kansas that houses roughly 850.
“When a little disturbance is when the inmates take over the facility, I don’t know what a riot is,” said the correctional officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “Basically, they tried to burn the place down.”
Meanwhile in Delaware, the Governor responded to the recent uprising at the Vaughn prison by making more things felonies.
This past labor day saw strikes, protests, and actions to demand $15 a hour and a union from the ‘Fight for 15’ campaign.
— Fight for 15 Florida (@FightFor15FL) September 5, 2017
— Fight for $15 LA (@Fightfor15LA) September 7, 2017
Members of the revolutionary anti-capitalist labor union the IWW also went on strike in Portland on Labor Day. On September 5th, they put out a call for solidarity:
Yesterday, workers with the Burgerville Worker’s Union – an affiliate of the IWW – WENT ON A DAY LONG STRIKE for holiday pay at the Convention Center Burgerville. We are asking all workers, union members, community supporters to call in to corporate today and support workers returning to work. We demand there be no retaliation against workers who participated in this action!
Burgerville Corporate line: (360) 694-1521
Here is a sample script to use when calling in:
Hello, I am a community supporter of the Burgerville Worker’s Union and I want to express my support for the workers at the Convention Center Burgerville who went on strike yesterday for holiday pay. The community stands with these worker’s and their demands. We will not stand for any retaliation!
Resistance in Oaxaca
In Oaxaca, teachers part of the CNTE union took to the streets against President Nieto and faced massive repression. Anarchists also involved in the clashes:
Members of the union managed to blockade streets in the early hours of the morning, also decrying educational reforms introduced by Nieto’s government.
During the clashes, a projectile hit a helicopter carrying media people covering the president’s visit to the region. No injuries from those on board the helicopter were reported but an emergency landing was made at a local field.
At least three police officers were also injured facing off with the protesters.
Police sought to repel the protesters by using tear gas.
— Scott Campbell (@incandesceinto) September 7, 2017
— RadioZapote (@RadioZapote) September 7, 2017
— ѕyndιcalιѕт (@syndicalisms) September 8, 2017