Filed under: Bloc Party, Canada, Housing, Incarceration, Indigenous, Mexico, Political Prisoners, Repression, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
In the short months we have written this column we have so often found ourselves with a fury inside and the heavy hearts to match. Recently someone reminded us of how we continually must re-learn how to transform our fury, our rage, our brokenness into a weapon. Occasionally we see glimpses of what winning can look like, but the rage that bubbles remains a companion even in our victories. After four and a half decades in prison, most of which were spent in solitary confinement, Albert Woodfox walked into freedom to celebrate his birthday among friends. This is a victory, though one that was hard won and had many losses along the way. We haven’t forgotten that Herman Wallace walked out of Angola only to take his last breaths days later, losing his battle to cancer. Fortunately his final goodbyes were amongst friends and with warm embraces from loved ones.
Albert is free. But, we cannot help the feelings of vengeance even still. We cannot help but turn our thoughts to Jay Chase, to Eric King, to Sean Swain and to so many others who’s names are too numerous to list. These are friends, lovers, comrades. These are lives stolen and those who stole them are fucking mocking us. Today with the glimpse of what winning looks like so fresh in our minds, we urge you to turn both your joy and your fury into a weapon. Let’s fucking tear this shit down, friends.
Before we jump into prisoner and struggle updates, we want to recognize the loss of someone out in Colorado. Martin Wirth, a community activist, was embattled in attempts to maintain his home and protect it from foreclosure. He lost his battle on Tuesday with Park County Sheriffs during their attempt to serve an eviction and forcibly remove Martin from his longtime home. A gun battle ensued, with details still very unclear, and Martin was killed. We cannot shed any tears for the sheriff who was killed or the other with life threatening injuries. But, our tears our plentiful for Martin. Rest in goddamned power. You didn’t go out without a fight and we believe that to be true. Our hearts ache with the reminder of how desperate this fight against Capital and the State can force us all to become. Again, we are reminded of turning our pain and our fury into a weapon. Fuck the banks. Fuck the sheriffs who serve capital and power. Fuck those who steal the homes of others for profit and back them into corners where it can seem as if there is no way out. Rest in your power, Martin. We won’t forget you.
Now for all those updates of what’s going down on the bloc.
As we stated above, Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 was freed this week after 43 years in solitary confinement. Check out his post-release interview on Democracy Now here. Currently, there’s more of a spotlight on former Black Panther, Black Liberation Army, and MOVE prisoners with the release of a new documentary on the Black Panthers that has hit theaters and has been shown on TV. Some prisoners are up for parole, as in the case of the MOVE prisoners, or facing massive health battles, as in the case of Mumia. Let’s use this limited (and limiting) spotlight to push even harder for those that are still locked inside.
— 1Hood (@1hood) February 13, 2016
Anger is currently growing against the FBI’s push to crack smart phone encryption. Rallies across the US took place on February 23rd, and as Revolution News writes:
In Washington, DC protesters will gather at FBI Headquarters EFF press release – Concerned iPhone users and digital security supporters will gather at Apple stores in more than 30 cities this coming Tuesday, February 23rd, exactly one week after a court order that attempts to force Apple to write software that would undermine the safety.
While these rallies were limited, and have a very backwards message that attempts to find common cause with technology giants who already are working hand in glove with the State, we can hopefully intervene in these protests and push the dialog (and possibly the action) in a much more radical direction. We have to push the conversation away from one of “privacy” and into one of resistance against surveillance and counter-insurgency in general. We also have to make the case that corporations like Google, Apple, and all the rest, are working for the State, designing everything from war robots to malware that spys on you. Technology is never neutral, after all, and will also be a tool in the hands of the class and colonial enemies.
According to DC Direct Action News:
Prior to the Snowden revelations, iPhones were known to many in [some] circles as a dangerous security hazard, and for years Apple gladly give police and the FBI anything they wanted. Then came the Snowden revelations, which suddenly made people think twice about where all their data wwas going. With Europe talking of banning their data going to US servers and even Facebook and Google sweating hard, Apple stepped up to the plate and installed encryption by default on all their phones.
Eric King‘s support crew is calling on a flood of letters and support to him after the prison was placed on lockdown. They write:
It has come to our attention that after a difficult time in court today before Eric’s facility has gone into lock-down. These lock-downs usually last a week and during this week prisoners are not permitted to speak to their loved ones while the prison tosses cells one unit at a time. We wanted to put a call out to folks to take a few minutes and send Eric a post-card, card or letter to help remind him that folks have his back.
Here is Eric’s address:
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Folks continue to rally to support Janye, an African-American militant arrested on charges from the rebellion in late 2014 in Oakland. He just had another court date and his supporters did a “Coffee Not Cops” serving at the courthouse in Oakland, which is an awesome activity we encourage people to replicate. People have also set up an awesome tumblr as well as a place to give donations.
This week marks five years since Abdul Haqq’s sentencing in Denver, for actions taken in defense of the earth and animals. Haqq’s comments to the court at the time of his sentencing (who then went by Walter Bond) still are worth a read:
I know many people think I should feel remorse for what I’ve done. I guess this is the customary time where I’m suppose to grovel and beg for mercy. I assure you if that’s how I felt I would.
But, I am not sorry for anything I have done. Nor am I frightened by this court’s authority. Because any system of law that values the rights of the oppressor over the down trodden is an unjust system.
And though this court has real and actual power, I question its morality.
I doubt the court is interested in the precautions that I took to not harm any person or by-stander and even less concerned with the miserable lives that sheep, cows and mink had to endure, unto death, so that a Colorado business could profit from their confinement, enslavement, and murder.
Seldom has there been such a personally powerful and internationally effective movement in human history. You cannot join the A.L.F. but you can become the A.L.F. And it was the proudest and most powerful thing I have ever done.
When you leave this courtroom today don’t be dismayed by my incarceration. All the ferocity and love in my heart still lives on.
Every time someone liberates an Animal and smashes their cage, it lives on! Every time an activist refuses to bow down to laws that protect murder, it lives on! And it lives on every time the night sky lights up ablaze with the ruins of another Animal exploiters’ business!
That’s all Your Honor, I am ready to go to prison.
Also, if you want another trip down memory lane, you can check out a new documentary entitled, “Eric and Anna,” about the FBI’s use of an informant to entrap eco-anarchist prisoner Eric McDavid. The film includes surveillance footage that the FBI took which can now be seen for the first time. Check the film out here.
Animal liberation prisoner Tyler has a court date coming up in March. Their support site writes:
On March 23, Tyler Lang has his sentencing hearing for his charges under the AETA for releasing thousands of animals from a fur farm. If you can be in Chicago, please attend the hearing to show support for Tyler. It is important that on this difficult day for Tyler that he feel surrounded by love and solidarity, and that the judge see that Tyler is part of a community that is there for him.
Indian County Today reported that events and actions happened across the US in support of freedom of indigenous warrior Lenorald Peltier. The article states:
Leonard Peltier supporters gathered in New York, California, Oregon, Paris, Barcelona, Belfast, Brussels and Berlin on Saturday February 6, 2016, for an International Day of Solidarity. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, home to the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, an overflow multi-generational crowd congregated at the First Unitarian Church to commemorate with prayer, discussion, music, dance and drumming the 40th anniversary of Peltier’s incarceration in the U.S. federal prison system. “Twice as many people as last year,” according to Peter Clark, co-director of the Defense Committee, “More than any Peltier event in Albuquerque in recent memory.”
As always. If you have reports from these events, we encourage you to send them in!
Supporters of Maliki Latine are calling for letters of support for an upcoming bid at parole and MOVE 9 supporters are also are calling for support as they continue to push for parole of the remaining MOVE members still locked inside. Check out the support site here. Also, if you want a great idea for an upcoming movie night in your hometown, we suggest showing the amazing and shocking documentary film, ‘Let the Fire Burn,’ which details the bombing of the MOVE building by Philadelphia police. One last quick shout-out, the Zapatista prisoner Fernando Sotelo has an update here.
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) February 25, 2016
In repression news, as we wrote above, Martin Wirth was shot to death by pigs in a shoot out at his home. According to an article by Unicorn Riot:
On the morning of February 24th, Martin Wirth was shot and killed in Bailey, Colorado as the Park County Sheriff’s Office attempted to serve him with an eviction notice in the home where he had lived since 1998. A Corporal from the Sheriff’s Office was also shot and died on the scene. A Sheriff’s Deputy and a Captain were shot in the incident as well, and one of them remains in critical condition in the hospital.
Nationstar Mortgage, LLC, the entity which initiated foreclosure proceedings against Martin Wirth, has repeatedly come under fire for its predatory practices towards homeowners. As of earlier this month, a man in Charleston, WV is suing Nationstar Morgtage for alleged acts of fraud and illegal debt collection abuses.
Wirth had consistently maintained that his home was still his property, and that any foreclosure or eviction process initiated by Nationstar was illegitimate. In a video posted on Youtube, Martin stated that Nationstar was a “bunch of crooks” and that he and other homeowners whose mortgages were under Nationstar’s control were being “defrauded” and “foreclosed upon despite being current on their mortgages, they were being defrauded by this scam mortgage lenders use, Bank of America’s used it, Nationstar has used it.” Martin was also involved with the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition and would help out others in need.
Many Colorado residents are facing increasing rents and foreclosures and affordable housing is becoming more scarce every day. The day before his death Martin had “liked” an article on the Denver Solidarity Network highlighting how “Young renters have it hard but it’s even worse if you’re older”.
Repression against homeless and displaced people is ramping up across the US. In San Francisco, the city is making moves to displace large tent cities of homeless people, by and large pushed together as the city got ready for the Super Bowl. In LA, the city is also seizing the ‘tiny homes’ owned by homeless people on the street.