Filed under: Canada, Mexico, Roundup, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
Pundits, newspaper columnists, and heads of state are all repeating the lie of an “economic recovery,” 9 years after the financial meltdown brought on by increased financialization and deregulation of the banking industry. This crisis led to a massive waves of home foreclosure and kicked off the deepening of the class divide within American society. But now, almost 10 years later, those in power seem to contend that we have fully recovered. Unemployment is down, wages have risen in the last ten years, and in some states, the minimum wage has either increased, or is set to increase.
Despite these claims, the lives of millions of Americans have changed since the economic crisis of 2008, but not for the better. As another economic crisis looms just on the horizon and the WTO reports a deepening slump in world trade, the release of the ‘Panama Papers,’ shows just who has been benefiting in this time of precariousness, crisis, and increasing poverty: the super rich and powerful. But while politicians, CEOs, criminals, and captains of industry stock-pile zillions in off shore accounts to avoid paying taxes, for the rest of us, we are working longer hours for less and less money. As Mike Whitney wrote in Counter-Punch, this restructuring of capitalism has largely been propelled by the growth of the “gig economy,” and has created a world where people are constantly working several jobs at one time:
After eight years of applying this coercive ‘starvation strategy’, the plutocrat’s ‘grand plan’ is finally coming into focus. According to economists Lawrence F. Katz and Alan B. Krueger’s new paper titled “The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015″:
“All of the net employment growth in the U.S. economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.”
“Alternative work arrangements”? You mean there’s been zero growth in ordinary 9 to 5, 40-hour-per-week jobs in the last 10 freaking years???”
Indeed, that’s exactly what it means. It also means that Obama’s relentless crowing about the phantom “recovery” is mostly bunkum. There is no recovery. It’s an invention built on the ruined lives of people who have been forced to take all-manner of servile, low-paying, part-time, service-sector jobs just to keep food on the table.
Those outside of such an economy have faced overall attacks on their real wages and benefits. Americans are also now working more hours than ever before and in many bigger cities, gentrification and rising rents are pushing poor and blue collar workers further and further from the places where they work. Meanwhile, as wages have slowly gone up, in terms of rising inflation and the cost of living, the amount of money that workers make has actually gone down or stagnated. Even for workers on the bottom, making minimum wage, while some cities and states have increased the pay, many have promised to do so in several years time, continuing to lock many low-wage earners squarely in poverty. All of this economic restructuring has lead to massive profits by those on the very top and gutted the wealth owned by working people, especially people of color.
At the same time, the US continues to advance on a path to war with China as well as push for new trade deals, such as the TPP, which would further decimate unionized labor and environmental restrictions.
All of this is playing out against the backdrop of an increasingly militarized police force that is killing thousands of people each year and incarcerating millions more. Conditions on reservations, inner-cities, and increasing in suburban areas where the working-poor are being displaced to as gentrification abounds, continues to degrade. Meanwhile, industrial civilization is breaking down. Water systems poison those that drink from them in cities, drought leaves whole areas desolate, and pollution threatens entire regions. Climate change, once seen as a problem decades away, becomes more and more of an impending threat to all life on the planet; as this culture shows no signs of ending its addiction to oil and non-renewable resources.
The challenges facing us run much deeper than getting free college tuition or raising the minimum wage and won’t be confronted through the election of a “socialist” candidate like Sanders, a far-Right fascist like Trump, or the the good old neo-conservatives or neo-liberals like Cruz or Hillary. The hurdles humanity faces in the current period is that of finding both new ways to live outside of capitalist civilization but also through making these forms of life possible through the emancipation from and overthrowing of, the current State apparatus.
The situation is pretty clear…in all liberal democracies: the sphere of classical politics is fundamentally apocalyptic. Why? Because in fact the only thing it can manage to propose is to prevent disaster, to hold back the end. Classical politics [the State form, electoralism, the political party] says, neurotically, ‘Wait, wait with us, we’re going to try to limit the crisis, wait with us, we’re going to try to make sure everything doesn’t collapse right now…” The sphere of classical politics no longer believes in anything, and, it’s obvious, that’s why no one believes in it any more.
Our generation finds more sense in fighting with the police when they throw tear gas at us or beat us. This generation finds more sense in finding new political forms than believing in for a single second that the Socialist Party, or who knows what reactionary, is going to get us out of here.
In that spirit, let’s get to the news.
The boycott of Driscoll’s Berries in solidarity with the striking farm workers of San Quintin continues. In Watsonville, members of the Brown Berets and others protested inside of a Safeway in support of the boycott. What other creative actions can we think of?
Across the US, more than 40,000 Verizon workers are preparing to go on strike, as CalTrans workers rallied in California for a better contract.
In Detroit, Fiat Chrysler moved to lay off almost 1,500 auto-workers after workers turned down of a union sell-out contract, showing that this way of life is a gun to our head: continue as wage slaves or face unemployment, all to make wealth for a few and products which continue to destroy the earth.
In Flint, Michigan more people continue to die due to the water crisis as the Governor continues to shift blame around for the crisis itself.
Meanwhile, the occupation continues at Duke University:
— reclaim UC (@reclaimuc) April 8, 2016
— Duke BSA (@dukebsa) April 6, 2016
At Ohio State University, another occupation is also taking place:
— afrikanblackcoalition (@ABlackCoalition) April 7, 2016
In Seattle, graffiti was written in solidarity with prison rebels in Alabama. While these acts are inspiring to see, we must ask the question why prison rebellion is not met with the same level of solidarity as rebellion on the “outside.”
On Saturday, April 9th, events took place across the US in solidarity with the ongoing prisoner strikes and resistance in Texas, organized by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and others. These actions included:
- Kansas City: solidarity demonstration. One participant stated about the action:
This was a great event to bring together different groups in Kansas City for a common purpose. We held signs and handed out at least 150 info-paks and/or brochures about the Texas prisoner strikes and also the call for a national strike on September 9th. It’s exciting to think about how many of the people we gave them to are going to write to their loved ones in prison to ask them if they’ve heard about this.
- Milwaukee: open assembly, leafleting and demonstration at McDonald’s for their role in prison labor.
- Tucson: letter writing and informational event.
— Tucson ABC (@tucson_abc) April 12, 2016
Also from texas solidarity demo. pic.twitter.com/5EWeegWM9U
— Tucson ABC (@tucson_abc) April 12, 2016
- Houston: open assembly to plan future actions in solidarity.
- Providence: film showing and presentation.
- Fayetteville, AR: solidarity demonstration.
- Indianapolis: distribution of informational flyers.
- New York City: informational presentation by IWOC.
- Phoenix: letter writing and discussion.
- Austin, Texas: solidarity demonstration. From a submitted report:
Austin Anarchist Black Cross organized a demo outside the state Capitol to raise awareness about this historic event. With chants of “Prisoner rights are human rights!” and “Slavery continues, TCI profits!,” many bystanders showed support and interest in the cause. IWW information about the strike was distributed and new relationships were forged between various radical organizers who showed up for the event. A follow up information and planning meeting will take place on May Day to further support the prisoners who are brave enough to stand up against TDCJ. If you would like more information or would like to get involved, please contact: [email protected]
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) April 10, 2016
It’s great to see such a wide variety of cities taking part in the expanding fight against prison slavery in the United States. Hopefully these actions can be part of a build up for the upcoming strike on September 9th and information of these activities can also make its way into prisons. How could these actions be deepened and expanded by September 9th? Also, how could those looking to act without a set group or crew also pull off actions in their home towns? Banners, wheatpasted posters, and graffiti have already been seen as one avenue. How can those on the outside make connections with prisoners on the inside? Hopefully the events last weekend will give us more of an opportunity to learn and grow as we prepare for future engagements.
In Denver, protests took place against a sheriff who shot to death an anti-foreclosure activist, Martin Wirth, who was fighting an eviction.
— Kale Williams (@sfkale) April 9, 2016
Police shot and killed people in various states this last week. In SF, a shooting took place at a homeless encampment, which was quickly disbanded by police after people in the camp witnessed the shooting. According to The Guardian, 288 people have already been killed by police in the US since the start of 2016. If it is not clear yet, the degree and frequency in which police are killing people has not abated, and they are still murdering people at a rate of almost 3 per day.
In Toronto, organizers of the protest outside of the police station decided to end their protest occupation in exchange to expected time to sit and talk with city officials. City officials, who came out of their buildings to address to crowd quickly, refused to release the name of the police office involved in the shooting death of 45 year old Andrew Loku, but stated that they would meet with protest organizers at a later date.
We find the end of this occupation to be extremely sad. A potentially powerful action was ended simply due to the promise that those in the government would talk with “organizers,” (aka, protest managers and those in control of the potentially unruly crowd), in exchange for going home. Sound like a fair bargain to you?
— TreeHugger.com (@TreeHugger) April 7, 2016
Don Blankenship, the ex-CEO of Massey Energy Company was sentenced to one year for his role in safety violations that killed 29 miners in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion in West Virginia.
Protests against pipelines continue:
— Regulator Watch (@RegWatchCanada) April 6, 2016
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) April 4, 2016
— N.A. Energy News (@aen_texas) April 6, 2016
On Lelu Island, the Port Authority is trying to stop protesters from building shelters and other structures on the island. According to one report:
Protesters encamped on Lelu Island were asked to stop construction activities by the Port of Prince Rupert.
The site is where Pacific NorthWest has proposed a liquefied natural gas export terminal, which is still under review by the federal government. The protesters have occupied an area within the port’s administrative jurisdiction since the fall of 2015.
The port gave instruction to the individuals on Lelu Island after consulting with the leadership of local Coast Tsimshian communities.
“We respect the right of any individual or group to express their opinions concerning port development if it is done in a safe and peaceful manner,” said Don Krusel, president and CEO of the Port of Prince Rupert. “However, raising makeshift structures does not meet that definition and has not been authorized.”
— Red Power Media (@RedPowerMedia) April 12, 2016
In Oregon, 4 hydro-electric dams are slated to come down, dams which the Yurok Tribe has been fighting since their creation for negatively impacting salmon runs along the Klamath river in California and Oregon.
RCMP making an arrest are alleged to have battered an Alberta First Nation man’s head, hauled him naked from his home and taken him to a detachment before realizing he needed an ambulance, say his family, who are accusing the police of racism and brutality.
Christian Duckchief, 23, is recovering from a broken eye socket, a fractured cheek bone, a fracture to the back of his head and a broken nose.
Duckchief and his wife say they were sleeping in their home on the Siksika First Nation southeast of Calgary Friday when RCMP from the Gleichen detachment entered their home around 6 a.m. to arrest him.
— InterNacionalistes (@NacionsSEstat) April 9, 2016
The blockade of the Dakota Access Pipeline continues as the Lakota Sioux Nation invite others to join them in the struggle. TeleSur wrote:
Native American nations are joining a Spirit Camp built April 1 on the proposed path of a pipeline to protect tribal lands and prevent Keystone XL Pipeline-level environmental degradation from the project.
The Lakota Sioux nation led a 200-person horse ride to inaugurate the Sacred Rock camp, a site of teepees for tribal members and allies to pray, rally and teach in support of the North Dakota tribe for an indefinite period of time.
If any badasses make it out their in solidarity or you are reading this at the Spirit Camp, hit us up and send in a report!
A blockade took place in Chicago:
Meanwhile in Portland actions continued against rising rents and evictions:
Antifa in Atlanta report that Augustus Invictus, a Libertarian Party activist and neo-fascist, who is scheduled to speak at the National Socialist Movment (NSM) event this month in Georgia, might have been a past member of the organization. According to their report:
Last month, Florida lawyer and candidate for US Senate Augustus Sol Invictus announced that he would speak at the National Socialist Movement (NSM) national meeting and rally in Georgia, April 22nd to 23rd. Invictus accepted the offer to speak at the NSM’s neo-Nazi gathering at a time when Invictus was receiving increasing scrutiny and opposition for his fascist politics plus his assistance to far-Right groups such as the American Front.
In 2012, leaked membership lists of the National Socialist Movement were published online by the One People’s Project website. The name “Augustus Invictus” is listed as a member of the NSM in a September 2009 entry, with an address in Chicago IL accompanying the entry.
On Thursday, April 14th Donald Trump, will attend Manhattan’s GOP gala. Jon Kasich and Ted Cruz, who was not well received in the Bronx, will also be in attendance. One counter protest group has 4,500 interested, and there’s at least one call for a more militant, Women and Queer-fronted contingent.
In Long Island:
— #GetFree (@daneyvilla) April 7, 2016
— SCAM ? Pittsburgh (@scam_pgh) April 12, 2016
This week across college campuses, various acts of Islamophobia were disgustingly carried out. Check out a report here.
Denver is back on their grizzly! Coffee Not Cops has returned, MC Sole and DJ Pain 1 prepare to tour the US, and Defend Denver returns as a hub of anarchist counter-information. Check out this above video created by Denver Autonomous Media as well, which looks back on 2015.
The Sp(a)ce in Phoenix was recently vandalized, see their statement here:
An anarchist space is not a clubhouse. It is not all vegan potlucks and skate nights. It is a political statement, entirely intended to threaten specific people and power structures. We recognize that we were targeted for this by a political enemy, because we are and have always been at war. The organizing, ideas, and projects being built at the Sp(a)ce are not intended to be well-received by everyone, they are intended to directly confront and challenge structural oppression, while simultaneously building support networks and intentional community to help each other survive.
The Sp(a)ce was created to inspire action. If it didn’t inspire strong responses and create enemies, we would be failing entirely.
Liberals get ignored; anarchists don’t.
It takes much more than vandalism to break the bonds that we’ve been building together. Struggle brought us together, and it has made us stronger because our own futures have always been entwined with what we are building. We are determined that our outcomes will be of our own choosing.
We are reaching out to our community for a workday on Sunday, April 3rd from 11am-7pm, to restore the Sp(a)ce and get the doors back open. Broken glass will never destroy the Sp(a)ce. Anarchists don’t cry over broken windows anyway.
-the Sp(a)ce Program
If you are able to donate funds to help us with the clean-up, that would be very helpful and appreciated. Donations can be made at http://www.thespacephx.com/#!donate/yzem4
— Out of Order Games (@blocbybloc) April 12, 2016
Bloc by Bloc, a crazy ass role-playing game in which workers, prisoners, students, and neighbors must fight together to take over a city before the army comes in or the police kick your ass, is launching a Kickstarter! Check out their site and their video or print out your own to play now.
On April 23rd, the Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists are holding a white power march on Stone Mountain. On the same evening, a racist concert gathering will be held at a yet to be disclosed location. We are coordinating a mass gathering on Stone Mountain to shut down the march and disrupt further white supremacist efforts.
We are mobilizing locally and nationally for a show of anti-racist power on April 23rd at Stone Mountain. Our gathering time and location will be announced closer to the date—keep an eye out for updates.
It’s Going Down!
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— Black Rose Books StL (@BlackRose_Books) April 11, 2016