2017 comes to close, and while we’ll leave the year end analysis for another column, there’s been a lot happening this past month that we want to bring to your attention, from people delivering poop to a politician’s doorstep, Confederate monuments getting got, not giving the fascists an inch, to continued battles over pipelines.
As the political circus centered around the Mueller investigation in Washington heats up like fresh popcorn, if one thing should be crystal clear, it’s that the center-liberals will maintain their trajectory to nowhere while the Right will continue to drift into open fascism. Meanwhile, the effects of everything from the current tax-bill, global warming, and the continuing race to the bottom for workers and the poor will continue to have real life impacts on us all. The need for a robust autonomous material force is needed now more than ever, as much of ‘the Left’ anticipates with glee the coming of the 2018 elections, and signals that it has learned nothing over the past year, other than to accept the ‘new normal,’ with open arms.
We also want to remind people that on December 31st, across the US and beyond people will be holding noise demonstrations outside of jails, prisons, and detention facilities, on January 15th prisoners across Florida will go on strike, and during the week of January 20th in 2018, there is a call for outreach events, benefits, and community gatherings. Already, everything from benefit shows, conferences, and film screenings are being organized – what will you plan?
In that spirit, let’s get to the news.
Killing the Black Snake
There are anti-pipeline battles happening across the US and in Canada. If you can, find one near you, and see how you can plug into supporting it. First up, check out the coverage that Unicorn Riot has given to the fight against Line 3 and also check out the coverage from the Makwa Initiative here. Currently, the group has launched an encampment and is in need of funds. You can read their call for support here:
The Makwa Initiative is an Anishinaabe led group of water protectors building a community on piece of private property in Cloquet, Minnesota close to where the Line 3 pipeline is proposed to be constructed. There are around 50 of us right now and we are expecting more water protectors to come in the next few weeks/months. Much like Standing Rock, our group of water protectors live together, pray together and organize against the Line 3 pipeline, mainly using non-violent direct action. In the past month we have done 5 different actions that have halted Enbridge’s construction of the pipeline for hours at a time. All of our food, water, lumber, gas, supplies, etc. are being paid for out of pocket and by donations from friends, family and supporters. So, we are asking you to please support our frontline community here in Minnesota with money for supplies to survive the winter. Permits for the Minnesota section of the pipeline have not been approved yet, so we expect to be here for at least the next couple of months making sure that Enbridge does not get those permits, which would force the plans for Line 3 to be terminated.
Meanwhile, in Louisiana:
L’eau Est La Vie camp is a growing collective of people working to stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, an Energy Transfer Partners project and the tail end of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In Tacoma, actions led by the Puyallup Tribe against the construction of an LNG terminal has been ongoing. While in Vancouver, protests have continued against banks funding the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Also in so-called Canada, people are starting to build permanent structures against the construction of an Alton Gas pipeline and resistance to fish farms remains heated. Be sure to keep close eyes on Warrior Publications for future updates.
In Hudson Valley, the Earth First! tree-sit is still going strong. Read daily updates on the action and how you can support them here. Lastly in Arkansas, members of the ‘Racoon Rebellion,’ sabotaged the main operating valve of the Diamond Pipeline. According to Indybay:
On Christmas, with help and assistance from Santa Claus, his reindeer, and mischievous elves, some raccoons from the Arkansas Chapter of the national “Raccoon Rebellion” conducted a safety lockout tag-out on Diamond Pipeline Main Operating Valve (MOV) #2021 east of Jerusalem, Arkansas in accordance with common industrial safety procedures. The Lockout/Tagout devices were placed to prevent access and operation of this hazardous inter-state tool of the extractive, exploitative fossil fuel industry.
Using an eminent domain provision of the State Constitution – created in the last century, the Diamond Pipeline has been drilled, dug, and blasted across the Natural State. Chairman and CEO Greg “Scrooge” Armstrong of Plains-All American (PAA) used every loophole on the books to avoid common sense review, mediation, and mitigation while misrepresenting those that opposed the threat to their water as terrorists.
14 Counties, 13 major rivers and creeks, 11 drinking water watersheds, 4 Arkansas NRC Priority Watersheds, 10 Critically Endangered Species, 2 Nuclear reactors as well as major portions of the Arkansas and Mississippi River, 5 Heritage crossing sites, and countless homes, farms and property owners are affected. Any moment now the imported steel from the lowest bidder could break and the ghost of Mayflower past will coil like a black evil spirit – with no emergency plan in place.
Break the Borders
This month people took to the streets to show solidarity with Palestinians who revolted as Trump named Jerusalem the capital of Israel. In Chicago, a small group of neo-Nazis showed up to chant “Blood and Soil,” but were quickly driven away.
Meanwhile, in St. Louis, radicals took part in solidarity demonstrations:
In Washington DC, people showed solidarity with a group of Dreamers who had been on hunger strike:
In Tacoma, WA, resistance continues at the Northwest Detention Facility. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and get regular updates. They are also holding a day of solidarity on January 7th.
Patrick Strickland reports that churches are opening up their doors to give sanctuary to undocumented immigrants:
At least 32 congregations have opened their doors to potential deportees so far this year, according to World Church Services, an organisation that tracks the protest actions.
Nina Pruneda, a public affairs officer at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), explained that the agency’s policy normally forbids it from carrying out raids in “sensitive locations”, such as educational institutions, places of worship and medical facilities.
While this is enshrined in ICE’s policies, there is no law preventing the agency from carrying out raids in churches or other sensitive locations.
“Current ICE policy directs agency personnel to avoid conducting enforcement activities at sensitive locations unless they have prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or in the event of exigent circumstances,” she told Al Jazeera.
According to the Boston Globe:
The Trump administration is considering a new policy that would separate parents from their children when families are caught entering the country illegally, according to officials who have been briefed on the plans. The forceful move is meant to discourage border crossings, but immigrant groups have denounced it as draconian and inhumane.
Under current policy, families are kept intact while awaiting a decision on whether they will be deported; they are either held in special family detention centers or released with a court date. The policy under discussion would send parents to adult detention facilities, while their children would be placed in shelters designed for juveniles or with a “sponsor,” who could be a relative in the United States, though the administration may also tighten rules on sponsors.
In Oakland, city workers launched a series of strikes earlier in the month, while in Maryland, several hundred workers walked off the job at an airport.
Protests took place across the US against the Republican tax-plan, which will give massive tax breaks to the most wealthy and corporations, while paving the way for attacks on medicare, medicaid, and social security.
The Burgerville Workers Union of the IWW announced that another store of workers in the Pacific Northwest was joining the union. They also report that:
In November workers led a delegation demanding that the store close earlier, provide better training for the night crew, and grant $1.50 raises for closers. Now, just one month later, two of the three demands have been met!
Meanwhile, anarchists in the Solidarity and Defense group in Michigan picketed in solidarity with striking nurses.
In Oakland, CA, several hundred community members rallied and marched on a landlord that is threatening to evict Aunti Francis, a community organizer and former member of the Black Panther Party. Unicorn Riot also has a really amazing report on community push back taking a variety of forms against gentrification in Denver. Check it out here.
Also, check out this awesome campaign below:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the first round of J20 defendants have been found not guilty on all charges. The day after, a victory rally was held in DC, where members of Black Lives Matter read a statement of solidarity.
Also, if you haven’t seen this badass Democracy Now! interview with Alexi Woods, you gotta check it out:
Expect a new #DropJ20 Podcast Update from IGD soon!
According to KilledbyPolice.net, 1,176 people have been killed by US police since the start of 2017. In Florida, several police officers have been fired after texts surfaced of them talking about “shooting n*****s.”
In Mesa, Arizona, protests broke out in the wake of the police officer who killed Daniel Shaver being let off without any charges. Meanwhile, the video of the police killing of Dominique White in Topeka, KS, which shows White running away from the police, only to be shot in the back, is currently going viral. If this translates into people on the streets, remains up to us.
Autonomous Disaster Relief
Also worth checking out are these updates from Solidarity Houston:
We also wanna give a shout out to everyone doing disaster relief on the streets, giving out food to those hit hardest by capitalism. In Atlanta, people with Food Not Bombs are still serving despite attempts by the city to crackdown:
Run entirely by volunteers and dedicated to various peaceful anti-capitalist and anti-war causes, Food Not Bombs has operated in small, loosely affiliated teams all over the world since 1980. The Atlanta chapter works under an umbrella social justice collective called the Teardown Community, which is primarily coordinated by MacLean and social activist Marlon Kautz. Their East Atlanta home serves as a de facto headquarters for Food Not Bombs, as well as Copwatch of East Atlanta, the Atlanta Anarchist Black Cross, and a donation-based “free store.” It looks exactly how one might imagine a millennial anarchist headquarters to look: spray-painted rainbow colors on the outside, with graffiti-style messages like “Build up resistance, tear down oppression” and “Black Lives Matter.”
Here’s some other examples of what people have been doing this month:
Lastly, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is going to be hosting a tour in 2018. Their first date is announced for March. Check it out here.
Fighting the Far-Right
This month, members of the Alt-Right and various neo-Nazi groups upped their propaganda game, and anarchists and antifascists responded in turn.
Identity Evropa banner that met a quick demise.
Various Identity Evropa banners this month were also quickly found and destroyed almost as fast as they went up. As we move forward, both Identity Evropa and Patriot Front remain some of the most active groups, with Identity Evropa now attempt to branch out and engage in a broad range of ‘activism.’ Here’s a recap over the last month:
Antifascists also confronted a variety of far-Right and Alt-Right rallies, including several demonstrations by Patriot Prayer, as well as a collection of far-Right, pro-Trump, and Alt-Right groups in San Francisco who attempted to jump on the Kate Steinle bandwagon. In Charlotte, NC, antifascists rallied against threats, which never materialized, made by the neo-Nazi group Anticom that stated they would hold an event in the city. Also in Montreal, antifascists rallied outside of a right-wing station which spread racist fake news stories about a local Mosque, leading to threats from the far-Right.
In the South, people have been attacking and vandalizing Confederate statues, including in Georgia and in Nashville, where a statue of KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest was covered in paint.
We’re sad to report that George Ciccariello-Maher is will no longer teach at Drexel University. Read his statement here:
Also, a recent article that exposes a police informant in the Portland activist community gets a lot of things wrong. Rose City Antifa lucky published a statement which addresses these problems which can be read in full below:
The Willamette Week just published an article “What It’s Like to Betray Antifa to the Cops” by Katie Shepherd (we are not going to post a link) which gives an extremely distorted account of a person named Tan’s relationship with RCA and the Portland antifa community. Shepherd essentially uses this situation as an opportunity to craft a hit piece on antifa. Her narrative was so thoroughly cherry-picked that she was unable to use any of the statement we sent her other than one word “infiltrator” which was presented bereft of context. For that reason we have decided to publish the response we sent to Shepherd in its entirety.
It should be noted that RCA has had a fraught relationship with WW for many years. This will be the third hit piece WW has published on our group. WW has a poor track record in general covering the left, often portraying activists unfavorably (ie- Cop Watch, In Other Words, and many others).
Corey Pein was doing some good work for WW which gave us hope that the publication was perhaps improving and changing course post-Trump. In fact we altered our policy of not providing comment to WW, which had been in place since 2009 when James Pitkin published a piece portraying local white supremacists as innocent victims of RCA.
At any rate, this latest hunk of sensationalist garbage hypes up a pretty mundane situation with Tan into an opportunity to trot out some standard stereotypes about antifa as well as to create a fearful, distrustful environment among protestors. Guess the WW leopard never changes its spots. Here’s what we said to Shepherd:
“Describing Tan as having “participated” in our group is incorrect. Our group is a well-vetted collective of anti-fascist activists. Tan has never been part of that collective.
One aspect of our collective’s anti-fascist activism is staging events. Many people outside of our immediate group show up at our events, which are generally open to the public. Riot cops, in full uniform, come to
our events whether we like it or not.
The presence of police and their agents at our events is a serious concern, just as it is at all protests. It serves to intimidate activists, and repress those fighting for justice. For people protesting in this day and age, the presence of law enforcement and malicious agents of all kinds is now accepted only in the form of a risk that cannot be avoided. As always, we encourage activists to seek out good security culture, and organize only with those they know and trust.
Without getting too deep into specifics, I would say that the sort of information about our group that an agent could pick up by inter-mixing into the crowd at our public events is pretty limited. It would be about the same that the riot cops might gain, just by observing the crowd. Police agents mixing with the crowd at protests is a constant concern.
So while we do not take police repression of activists lightly, we certainly wouldn’t treat this one infiltrator as a danger above and beyond the standard danger of state repression. And, if this one particular person stops showing up to Portland protests, we would certainly not consider that that danger has decreased.”
It’s Going Down
What a crazy fucking year! Expect a year end analysis, more podcasts, another #DropJ20 Podcast update, and much more, over the next week. Remember that we are selling discounted copies of scott crow’s book, Setting Sights, as well as new t-shirts and other swag. Help us meet our end of the year fundraising goal and give a gift to IGD for 2018 by becoming a monthly sustainer of the website. Until next time!