Filed under: Canada, Mexico, Roundup, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
A lots been happening this last two weeks since this column came out last, in order to allow us to catch up on May Day events, reports, and analysis, so let’s not waste anytime and get straight to the news.
Destroy the Election
Protests and disruptions continued against both the main candidates over the last two weeks. In Southern California, people protested against Hilary Clinton, while in Eugene and elsewhere, people attempted to shut down Trump rallies.
— #dumptrumpeugene (@dumptrumpeugene) May 7, 2016
— Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) May 7, 2016
Also, tensions continue to erupt within the Democratic Party as many Sanders supporters are becoming more and more angry with the party elites. In Nevada for instance, the DNC chair quickly exited a primary vote count as Sanders supporters demanded a recount and police were quickly called to the scene. Patrick Martin wrote:
The Nevada state Democratic Convention broke up in chaos Saturday after the pro-Clinton chairwoman, Roberta Lange, declared Clinton had a narrow majority of delegates. The announcement came after 58 prospective Sanders delegates were ruled ineligible, enough to tip the balance against him.
Armed sheriff’s deputies dispersed the convention delegates, numbering several thousand people, after Sanders supporters refused to vacate the Paris Las Vegas Hotel ballroom, where the convention had assembled Saturday morning.
We write this not because we support Sanders or have hopes that his campaign will lead to something greater, but to show that millions of working-class, poor, and middle-class workers who support Sanders are becoming more and more fed up with the Democratic Party, which has done everything in it’s power to get Sanders to exit out of the race. What happens to these people when democracy works just the way that it is supposed to? Do we offer something else in place of the spectacle of a candidate?
With the presidential election happening on November 8th and the DNC and RNC conventions taking place this summer, anarchists and autonomous anti-capitalists have to start thinking about the possibilities of people moving in new directions in this context. What if Trump makes good on his promise that his supporters will riot if he doesn’t get the nomination? What happens if Sanders supporters start taking action at DNC events and occupying buildings? What will they do if and when Hillary is sure to get the nomination and many people are furious? Is there anyway that these possible actions could lead to something more autonomous and anti-political?
There’s also the possibility that Trump could win and surely fling whole sections of the country into unrest. What do you think would go down in your city if Trump was sworn into office? How will the autonomous far-Right react? Only time will tell but in the meantime we need to get organized, think strategically, and prepare for the worst as well as liberatory possibilities.
The Obama administration has officially stepped in to negotiate between Verizon and strikers. The strike has involved tens of thousands of workers and seems to be moving out the hands of union bosses as sabotage against Verizon property continues to be reported and workers have started to picket scab run stores. Forbes wrote:
As it entered the third week of one of the biggest and most contentious strikes of the last decade, Verizon reported a more than 100% increase in suspected vandalism of its network infrastructure. As of Wednesday, the total was 57 incidents across seven states, mostly in the Northeast. Verizon says the incidents have disrupted the services of thousands of Verizon customers, in one case including 911 emergency services.
Verizon says its network has suffered 57 incidents of vandalism in seven states in the two weeks since 36,000 workers went on strike. The “incidents of sabotage,” mostly involving the severing of fiber optic cables or damage to terminal boxes, “have cut off thousands of Verizon customers from critical wireline services,” the company said Wednesday.
Under normal conditions, there are only about a half-dozen incidents of sabotage over the course of a year, a Verizon spokesperson told Ars today. Verizon says it is still investigating the incidents and hasn’t pinned the blame on anyone specific. But the company’s announcement pointed out that “these malicious actions take place as Verizon is experiencing a strike.”
Verizon reported similar incidents of vandalism during another strike in 2011.
The CWA labor union in New York has also been silent after police run down a worker in order to bring in scabs to work at a Verizon store. According to Nick Barrickman:
On Monday morning picketers were protesting at the City View Inn in the New York City borough of Queens, where Verizon was housing strikebreakers reportedly from Kentucky. After a lengthy and angry standoff, the NYPD decided to evacuate the scabs from the hotel and loaded them up in police vans and unmarked vehicles, driven by the cops themselves. As one vehicle sped through the picket line it struck the parked car that James was in before continuing without stopping. Strikers have reported that the driver was a police lieutenant from the 108th Precinct in Long Island City.
The incident has shed light on the strikebreaking operation being coordinated by Mayor Bill de Blasio who has dispatched hundreds of police on behalf of Verizon to spy on strikers, escort scabs and herd striking workers behind metal barricades, regularly used against protesters in the city. The incident exposes the phony claims of support by Democrats, from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, and reveals the anti-working class character of the unions’ alliance with the Democrats.
The government-backed strikebreaking underscores the criminal character of the isolation of the month-long strike by the CWA, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the rest of the AFL-CIO and Change to Win unions.
With the Obama administration facilitating contact talks, the end of the strike may be in sight, but it also remains to be seen if workers will except whatever sell-out contract is rammed down their throats or if they will move father from the Democrats in the wake of the strike. One thing is clear, revolutionary anti-capitalists should head down to their local Verizon store and join pickets and begin to show solidarity with the workers that are on the lines. Strategic autonomous actions could also go far at this time to build a culture of resistance.
In many ways, the struggle of the Verizon workers represents the real struggle of the working-class and the working poor in the current period, as Verizon is looking to cut jobs, slash benefits, and move many workers into a more precarious status. The struggle of the strikers battling scabs, police, and attacking property is against the re-organization of capitalism, not against immigrants, Muslim refugees, or Black Lives Matter protesters. This is a struggle of the workers themselves against the rich and powerful that own and run this society and also the bureaucratic organizations which seek to contain the struggle.
The Driscoll’s boycott also continues, with actions and protests continuing to be carried out against the berry giant and in solidarity with an ongoing strike in San Quintin, Mexico. According to one report from a global day of action on May 7th:
In Burlington, WA with Familias Unidas and community members including Bellingham JWJ, WPEA, Skagit Labor Dems, WWU Students for Farmworker Justice and Whatcom-Skagit IWW.
In San Diego, CA Gloria Gracida, a spokesperson for Sindicato Independiente Nacional Democratico De Jornaleros Agricolas, joined local supporters at Whole Foods Market.
In Eureka, CA with North Coast Solidarity Berry Boycott at local Costco.
In Eugene, OR at Costco with Eugene Boycott Committee.
At Costco in Fairfield, CA – “They actually let us leaflet for about 20 minutes before they ordered us off their property. Then we moved and held our signs at the driveway entrance. Lots of people stopped to ask questions and get a flyer.”
In San Leandro, CA at Costco with Oakland Boycott Committee.
At Whole Foods Market in Santa Cruz, CA with the Santa Cruz Boycott Committee.
Many of those who participated in May 7th, 2016 day of action were with newly formed boycott committees as a result of the West Coast Farm Worker Tour and have been inspired to take action to support the Farmworkers. On Saturday, May 14th Sindicato Independiente Nacional Democratico De Jornaleros Agricolas (SINDJA) farmworkers in Mexico have called for a Global Day of Action. More actions will happen in places like Miguel Hidalgo Mexico, Sacramento, Chicago, Portland, and Watsonville to bring attention to the fight for justice in the berry fields.
This Driscoll’s Boycott, like the Verizon strike, represents a situation in which we can plug into both in a public (with groups or crews) and an autonomous way as individuals. This is a struggle in which individual actions as well as group participation can go far. The question is: are we up to the task and willing to act? Are we organized? For more info, check out Boycott Sakuma Berries.
In Delano, CA, a strike has also broken out by blueberry pickers who have walked off their job in a wildcat strike:
Hundreds of blueberry farm workers are striking this morning in protest of wages and what they say is unfair working conditions.
The workers have been protesting since dawn, after a recent slump in the price of a bucket of blueberries.
Workers say that price drop means lower wages. The United Farm Workers is aiding the workers, but says those workers are not currently members of the union.
The UFW is offering to sign up the workers, which would then allow the union to negotiate with the employer.
The fight against the Dakota access pipeline continues as the Sacred Rock Spirit Camp continues to go strong. Check out this great video and report from Unicorn Riot that discusses the recent happenings at the encampment. They write:
Unicorn Riot visited the Sacred Stone camp which over sees the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball River on April 30th, 2016. Near a month has passed since our last visit where we witnessed the setting up of the Spirit Camp to oppose the Dakota Access Pipeline. We arrived in time to catch the camp participants heading to a public hearing with Colonel John Henderson of the Army Corp of Engineers, Commander of the Omaha District. The Army Corps hasn’t given approval for the pipeline to cross the Missouri River.
Unicorn Riot live-streamed the meeting where close to 100 Native people’s all spoke against the pipeline project:
On May 3rd, the Army Corps stated they had not reached a decision on whether to approve the permit for the pipeline. Unicorn Riot will continue to follow the ongoing resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) May 7, 2016
— Red Power Media (@RedPowerMedia) May 14, 2016
In San Francisco, a hunger strike carried out by the #Frisco5 lasted up to 17 days before the hunger strikers decided to march to city hall in Downtown San Francisco. In doing so, the march picked up close to 1,000 people and after the Mayor refused to listen to those supporting the hunger strike (which was calling for the firing of the police chief), a group of protesters occupied the building and faced violent arrests. In the melee, tens of thousands of dollars in damage was done to the building and numerous windows were broken out.
— FireWorks (@FireWorksBAY) May 10, 2016
Soon after, it was announced that the hunger strike was to be called off, as those who endured the strike were placed in the hospital and a General Strike was called for the following Monday. Several hundred people then showed up and marched around city hall before calling it a day.
This experience shows how a large amount of people were mobilized around a community based struggle and it grew larger and more unruly, however ended without being able to extend itself into the future or even continue to put pressure on the city to see the main demand, the firing of a police chief, come to fruition. How could this have been different?
Meanwhile, in Ferguson, MO:
— Search4Swag (@search4swag) May 10, 2016
— Aaron (@AaronWBanks) May 10, 2016
Also in NYC:
— Ash J (@AshAgony) May 11, 2016
Actions against fossil fuels happened across the US and the world, organized by mainly larger NGO’s but with some grassroots groups particpating. Actions included blockades and disruptions. Check out the Earth First! Journal for more info.
— Amanda *$ ? (@Starbuck) May 16, 2016
Also, indigenous people in Manitoba erected blockades to keep out Hydro workers from coming to their work sites. More info here.
IWOC and Support Prisoner Resistance have a lot of updates on ongoing prisoner struggles as people continue to push forward towards September 9th, when a US wide prisoner general strike has been called. Also, supporters of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) appeared on Democracy Now talking about recent May Day actions carried out by prisoners.
FAM on Democracy Now!! Part 1: Alabama Prison Strike Organizer Speaks from Behind Bars: We Are Engaged in a… https://t.co/KRpMPd0uvU
— IWOC (@IWW_IWOC) May 13, 2016
In bizarre but somehow not surprising news, many people may remember the case of Gabriel Diaz, the cab driver from New York that enjoyed wearing his swastika armband…who is also black. He got some attention for defending his support of National Socialism even though he is clearly non-white. It appears that in recent months Diaz has taken him self one step farther and is now even working in the service of groups such as the National Socialist Movement (NSM). According to Philly Antifa:
About a year ago, Anti-Fascists around the country started seeing a man calling himself Mohammed coming out to demonstrations against Neo-Nazis and Klan as well as Anti-Fascist/Leftist events and conferences and trying to get involved in the Anti-Fascist movement.
“Mohammed” has been busy the past year, travelling from his home in the Bronx to places like Ohio, Georgia and here in Philly trying to make connections with Antifa and extract personal information from them. He managed to get a couple phone numbers and promptly handed them over to the National Socialist Movement (NSM). The NSM’s “head of security” Mike Scholer, then began making harassing and threatening phone calls to those Antifascists.
Fortunately, Scholer is about as smart as the rest of the NSM and couldn’t help but let certain clues slip during his calls that allowed Anti-Facists to realize not only that there was in infiltrator in their midst, but that the only person it could have been was “Mohamed.”
From there it wasn’t hard to figure out that “Mohammed” was actually Gabriel Diaz, also known as “The Nazi Cabbie,” who grabbed headlines 2 years ago when he suspended for 30 days after being photographed driving his cab around Manhattan wearing a Swastika Armband. Diaz got his license back after the suspension, but it is unknown whether he is still working as a cab driver or not.
Diaz was confronted when he attempted to join the May Day event in Union Square in NYC and sent packing. Scroll down in the link for video. Fliers with his face and affiliations were circulated among the crowd and he was told that if he is seen at any further leftist or Antifascist events he would be treated like any other Nazi bonehead.
If anyone spots Diaz at any Anti-Racist or Anti-Fascist events please e-mail us at [email protected] with details.
printable flyer about neo-nazi spy Gabriel Diaz pic.twitter.com/WSYdxp0ZAt
— New York City Antifa (@NYCAntifa) May 3, 2016
We also want to remind people that on June 26th there is a call out for people to blockade and shut down the Neo-Nazi rally being organized by the Traditional Workers’ Party and the Golden State Skinheads. It seems that white nationalist golden boy Matthew Heimbach has been hard at work uniting the various white supremacist skinhead groups to make a show of strength in Sacramento. We hope that those that are able to come to show their opposition do so and bring about 100 of their friends with them. More info here.
Mexico on Fire
We want to take a minute to remember and hold space for the memory of anarchist Andy Lac Hair, a Belgian anarchist who has lived in Mexico for many years. Salud y anarquia!
— Eduardo A. Rincón M. (@rinconsolar) May 15, 2016
Solidarity with Rojava
Events are happening throughout North America in solidarity with the Rojava Revolution. Check out a recent action report from Seattle and also see what went down in NYC:
— ILLUMINATED (@thepellareport) May 7, 2016
We got a couple of projects that we want to give a shout out to as well as come comrades that need our support.
First off, some friends are trying to get an Anti-Fascist music festival off the ground. Go here to help them out and see some of the bands.
Watsonville Brown Berets are in need of some support for a comrade that was arrested at a recent Trump protest outside of San Francisco. Get more info here.
— SantaCruzAntiRepress (@SCAntiRepress) May 10, 2016
If you’re in Denver, check out the Denver Action Network text alert system. Other cities, take note about use of this tactic.
It’s Going Down
Are you interested in helping out with It’s Going Down? Do you want to become part of an exciting project helping to give support to revolutionary autonomous projects across North America? Ready to get involved? Email us at: info [at] itsgoingdown [dot] org.