Originally posted on It’s Going Down
While the horror, outrage, and tragedy of Sandra Bland‘s murder continues to play out in the media and the streets, another battle over another police killing in custody is brewing in Homewood, Alabama. On July 21st, 6 people were arrested after they blocked streets in front of the police station in response to the death of Kindra Chapman. One report read:
Six people were arrested after around a dozen Black Lives Matter protesters gathered outside the Homewood Police Department at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday to protest the death of Kindra Chapman…[T]he group moved into the intersection of Highway 31 and 29th Avenue South, blocking two lanes of south-bound traffic. Protesters…were frustrated that the Homewood Police would not answer “basic questions” about their standard operating procedure.
Black Lives matter protest blocking traffic in Homewood pic.twitter.com/70vY5ojgWA
— Lillian Askins Lalo (@LillianLalo) July 21, 2015
In Toronto, Black Lives Matter activists interrupted a police board meeting in response to the death of Andrew Loku.
Toronto- Black Lives Matter protesters crash police board meeting to
demand answers in the death of Andrew Loku… http://t.co/18BDDGT9pF
— BlackOUT Collective (@blackoutcollect) July 17, 2015
A group was fed up with waiting, so they got a shovel and dug up a patch of grass next to Nathan Bedford Forrest’s grave and statue in a public park in the Medical District. The group says…he was a Confederate soldier, a KKK leader and a slave trader. “If he’s gone, some of this racism and race-hate might be gone,” said Isaac Richmond. ” We got a fresh shovel full, and we hope that everybody else will follow suit and dig him up.”
— Jessica Chasmar (@JessicaChasmar) July 24, 2015
Things in Texas got a little more scary earlier this week after another Confederate monument was defaced with graffiti and a dude showed up to defend it with an AR-15 – in flippy floppies. Chron writes:
Protesters defaced another Confederate monument in Texas early Monday morning. The message was clear: “This is racist” was spray-painted in a deep red over a memorial in Denton to Confederate soldiers. Later that day, a 69-year-old Denton man named William Hudspeth went to the statue with cardboard signs that read “Please move the statute to a confederate museum,” the North Texas Daily reported. Another resident met him there armed with an assault rifle. Oklahoma State student and Denton local Stephen Passariello brandished the loaded AR-15 while entering into a verbal altercation with Hudspeth.
— Julian Gill (@JulianGillMusic) July 20, 2015
In Raleigh, North Carolina, another Confederate statue was vandalized with ‘Black Lives Matter,’ while in Burlington, NC, police have gone so far as to put up cameras to protect the statues. In Manitou Springs, a woman who organized a Confederate flag burning party was also arrested on arson charges by the local pigs.
In New York, SEIU union bureaucrats literally downed a strike of thousands of airline workers across industry lines in an appeal for labor peace with management. Alan Whyte wrote:
A 24-hour strike planned to begin at 10 p.m. Wednesday night by about 1,200 workers at two New York City major airports has been called off. This comes after the workers unanimously voted for the job action on Tuesday. The strike was cancelled by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 32BJ, which is seeking to represent the workers. The reality is that after years of decline in the real value of wages, even $15 per hour would leave workers with a much lower standard of living than they had decades ago. These losses are the direct result of collaboration by unions across the country with “their” corporations. The primary goal of unions, such as the SEIU, is to increase their dues base by demonstrating that they can manage the workforce by keeping labor costs down and avoiding unrest. Airport workers should place no confidence in this union to fight for their interests. Last year, the SEIU in California sponsored $15/hour wage legislation that specifically excluded unionized workplaces.
The news wasn’t all bad in the big apple, as anti-gentrification activists won a major victory through collective bargaining to win rent control and tenant protections. As one organizer stated in a report from In These Times:
“What is typically called ‘gentrification’ is actually a cycle of exploitation, where long-term working-class tenants in a neighborhood are pushed out, and then the same landlords turn around and overcharge—illegally, in many instances—the new tenants. Not only are there shared material interests, but both groups need each other to break that cycle.”
— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallStNYC) July 24, 2015
Also in New York, fast-food workers are celebrating (eventual) raises after several years of strikes, walk-outs, and struggles over wages and the right to unionize. Other cities are following suit across the US. While this will offer some relief, in most cases, the raises will come in a matter of years; keeping wages down and workers still behind inflation as the cost of living in large cities skyrockets due to gentrification. Across the US, wages continue to fall, workers are working more than ever, and currently 22% of US children live in poverty.
Furthermore, Democrats and the labor union officials who support them are sure to use the Fight for $15 movement as a push to get Hilary in office. What the Fight for 15 movement does show however, is that people in even the most precarious workplaces can get organized, take action, and fight back – we just have to keep in mind where we want it to end: in ending this system.
In the San Francisco bay area, people protested the mass eviction of tenants on Yerban Buena island after the Navy sold their homes out from under them. They currently are being forced to move to nearby Treasure Island, but many fear unknown radiation levels.
The number of people killed by police in 2015 continues to skyrocket, hitting as of today, 657. In the last several days, protests have broken out in Chicago, IL, and Oakland, CA (to name two) in the wake of recent shootings.
In repression news, the city of Cleveland gears up for the Republican National Convention in 2016. According to Cleveland.com:
City Council on Wednesday approved fast-track legislation repealing and replacing the city’s existing protest rules, which were last updated in 2003. Among other things, the new rules for the first time define what constitutes a “parade” — a term that also can apply to public protests — and change the process and timeline for acquiring a parade permit. The changes also establish separate rules for “impromptu demonstrations” that typically are organized via social media.
Walk into church & kill 9 people to spark race war=NOT A TERRORIST
Travel across US freeing minks & gluing locks=TERRORIST
— Nah. (@MFHATER) July 25, 2015
In San Francisco, FBI arrested two Oakland individuals in Union Square in conjunction with freeing mink from fur farms. The two are being charged with terrorism. Check here, New York and Denver Anarchist Black Cross for more information in the coming days. According to the Star Tribune:
Two animal-rights activists have been charged with terrorizing the fur industry during cross-country road trips in which they released about 5,740 mink from farms and vandalized the homes and businesses of industry members.
The FBI says 31-year-old Joseph Brian Buddenberg and 28-year-old Nicole Juanita Kissane, of Oakland, California, were arrested there Friday by its Joint Terrorism Task Force.
A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Friday says they caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages during 40,000 miles of cross-country trips over the summer of 2013. They allegedly slashed tires, glued businesses’ locks and smashed windows.
That summer, hundreds of mink were set loose from a southeastern Minnesota ranch…just days after Wisconsin fur farm owners scrambled to catch their own mink with fishing nets following a similar action they called “devastating.”
Further documents have been released detailing the level of spying by FBI and Department of Homeland Security around the growing ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. As the Intercept blogged:
The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The documents, released by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Operations Coordination, indicate that the department frequently collects information, including location data, on Black Lives Matter activities from public social media accounts, including on Facebook, Twitter, and Vine, even for events expected to be peaceful. The reports confirm social media surveillance of the protest movement and ostensibly related events in the cities of Ferguson, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and New York.
They also show the department watching over gatherings that seem benign and even mundane. For example, DHS circulated information on a nationwide series of silent vigils and a DHS-funded agency planned to monitor a funk music parade and a walk to end breast cancer in the nation’s capital.
Solidarity demonstrations have also been called for against the Turkish State, in the wake of the Suruç Massacre and fierce rioting that has broken out in Turkey.
Now let’s get out there and make some good news!