Originally published to It’s Going Down
What a couple of fucking weeks.
Just in the last few days, we’ve seen a wave of solidarity actions with #NoDAPL which have included occupied buildings and acts of sabotage as well as continuing bloody clashes between water protectors and police, corporate security, and military personnel in North Dakota as resistance camps have sprung up in other states against other pipeline projects. Meanwhile, far-Right violence and organizing continues alongside continuing anti-fascist activity, as white nationalists of all stripes await the turnout of the election. Just yesterday, we watched as David Duke was run out of Dillard University, a historically black college, while a black church was torched and left with pro-Trump graffiti in Mississippi. Meanwhile, riots, work strikes, and hunger strikes have continued inside the US prisons, nearly two months after the start of the national #PrisonStrike. If one thing is clear it’s this: despite the hum of the election spectacle in the background, nothing will be resolved after a new President takes office.
Celebrities, liberals, and politicians like Michael Moore and Bernie Sanders have tried their hardest to push young and working-class voters back into the arms of the Democratic Party.
But while our forces work overtime to build and organize for the long haul while also taking part in the struggles that expand in front of us, the Left continues to peddle the same lies that it has for almost the last 100 years. For instance, liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, in a last ditch effort to get young people and low-wage workers out to vote for the imperialist and neo-liberal Democratic Candidate, Hillary Clinton, has released a new film that is playing in theaters across the US. In TrumpLand, which is nothing more than Moore giving a speech, he extols the virtues of Clinton and declares that that people can successfully put pressure on her to make “progressive” choices. Sound familiar? This is the same sad song being peddled by everyone from Hollywood celebrities to Bernie Sanders. As one commentator wrote:
With the message that Hillary Clinton will be the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Moore has made a movie whose laugh lines fall flat and whose peroration in praise of the voice of Wall Street and the Pentagon is both politically appalling and pathetic.
Advocating a vote for Clinton, Moore goes much further in TrumpLand than the bankrupt lesser-evil argument advanced in some quarters. He rhapsodizes about a first 100 days of a Hillary Clinton administration, filled with executive orders that will usher in a new era of social reform. Clinton will stop the deportation of immigrants, rescue the residents of lead-poisoned Flint, release all non-violent offenders from prison and prosecute all police who shoot unarmed black men. Clinton will supposedly “kick ass in Congress”—never mind her constant appeals for Republican support and promises to seek “compromise.”
Qualifying his praise slightly, Moore goes on to explain that his dream of Clinton as a reformer isn’t going to happen “without a revolution behind her.” Repeating the argument of Sanders, who shifted quickly from denouncing Clinton as the candidate of Wall Street to boosting her as a progressive champion, Moore calls for mobilizing support to “get behind” Clinton and “hold her” to the promises of the Democratic Party platform.
After the spectacle of democracy is over in only a few days, none of the tensions and problems which propel the current wave of struggles will be resolved. The sign will read under new management, but nothing will have changed.
Whoever wins the election will only seek to contain, repress, and manage the current wave of social struggles and movements which are fueled by the crisis and breakdown of industrial capitalism.
We must remember that government is a ruling body of seemingly legitimate violence and force that seeks to manage and police a population and territory. It exists for the purpose of containing the contradictions inherent within a power structure based on exploitation and domination, and works to destroy or at least manage forms that it deems illegitimate. Remember the video that Pentagon released recently?:
Criminal networks [anything or anyone that is against the nation-state] offer opportunity for the growing mass of unemployed. This becomes the nervous system for non-nation state, non-aligned organizations and individuals that live and work in the shadows of national rule.
The government is the model for political activity. Politicians representing different countries, regions, or “communities” battle with each other. We are encouraged to support the leaders we disagree with least, and we’re never really surprised when they screw us over. All a politician’s working class background or radical ideals are worthless once they begin to govern. No matter who is in government, government has its own logic. The fact that this society is divided into classes with opposing interests means that it is always at risk of tearing itself apart. The government is there to make sure that doesn’t happen. Whether the government is a dictatorship or a democracy, it holds all the guns and will use them against its own population to make sure that we keep going to work.
The ethical position to make in our time is not to choose this or that manager of this nightmare, but to become part of the movement that seeks its destruction and the creation of a new way of life. But in order to strengthen that position, revolutionaries have to also draw lines in the sand within social movements and struggles that attack liberal and Leftist notions of social change. This is no easy task but as we have seen in all major cycles of struggle in the last several years, it is perhaps the biggest hurdle that we come up against each and every time.
For instance, one thing we have heard since the #PrisonStrike began and as more people have started to pay attention to us and our work, has been this reoccurring notion that we need to somehow make the mainstream media “care” about different struggles. “Why isn’t CNN covering the prison strike?,” we hear. “What about #NoDAPL?,” we see angry tweets directed at politicians and media corporations alike. Many people just can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that the mainstream media just does not give a fuck.
Trying to get the mainstream media to care has become for many, a struggle in of itself, or – the struggle. Tied to the dead-end of respectability politics, non-violence, “holding the Democrats accountable,” and working within the system, the belief that getting mainstream media attention is synonymous with social change has long been detrimental. The media isn’t in the business of changing the world; and the institutions and corporations that use it in order to manage their empire also aren’t going to let it’s coverage get out of hand or create a world view that runs counter to theirs. The media is pushed forward by it’s own drives, it’s own motives, and is managed and controlled by people who do not share our interests.
Ironically, we hear people say, “It’s almost like the corporations that own the news don’t want to stop making billions of dollars off fossil fuels and prison slavery.” Exactly.
But moreover, the media, and the drive to get media attention is often used as the yardstick in which social movements are measured. The more media attention one gets, the better, many wager. For instance, in a recent essay from CrimethInc. on clashes with police at Standing Rock someone wrote:
We run to our posts at the second blockade and begin loading tires into the street. Just then, a truck pulls up and out steps a paid nonviolent consultant who is on his way to negotiate a mass arrest. He gathers the barricade crew in a circle and makes an impassioned plea for us to leave the road clear. “When people see the images of them arresting us and storming our teepees with guns, they will know our struggle is right.”
Thus, the media ends up serving as both judge and jury over social struggles and the way that people fight back. But moreover, the media also plays a hand in taking social struggles and presenting them in ways that make sense within the framework of capitalist democracy. Thus a prison riot is reduced to people simply angry over lack of food, not the existence of prisons in themselves. The people that rioted against the police last night were criminals and hooligans, not people from a community coming together to defend themselves. The woman that shot her abusive husband or rapist was simply insane, not in her right mind. The workers on wildcat strike at the fast food chain were greedy for more pay and refused to listen to their managers in the union, as opposed to friends and family that we should support. This is the function media plays when it comes to social movements and struggles; breaking people apart into “good protesters” or “bad protesters,” “rioters” or “peaceful,” “criminals” or “citizens.” And these are the sound-bytes that are beamed into millions of homes and break-rooms where tired working people are looking for just a few tidbits of news.
But the media also often goes on the offensive and tries instead to attack a struggle head-on. For instance CNN drew criticism several days ago when it ran an article entitled, “Not all Standing Rock Sioux are Protesting the Pipeline,” at a time when violence was at its peak. Far-Right news outlets like BreitBart and Fox News have banked their careers in doing this full time; especially when it comes to black and poor people’s struggles.
Other times, the media comes in after a struggle is done as a way to “make sense” of it and simply pronounce it dead. For instance in the case of the prison strike, now 2 months into the historic action, many mainstream outlets are now running stories about the strike if only to throw in the towel. In this way, the media is able to “report” on something as a way to help control and contain the narrative; all that’s left is for some politician to either attack it or attempt to acquiesce to the energy created by it organically.
Our point here is not to attack anyone who is involved in anything that ends up getting talked about in the mainstream press, but to push our struggles and movements away from basing our success our failure solely on media coverage. To understand that the mainstream media is not our friend and has it’s own interests. But overall, to instead put our focus into creating and maintaining our own media and methods of communication and information sharing.
This is why IGD exists and this is why we intend to be around for the long haul. This is why we need your support, your contributions, and your help in making our project grow.
Destroy the Election
A political struggle has broken out between a section of the American ruling class and several members of its political police, the FBI. As Patrick Martin wrote:
The Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party continue to attack FBI Director James Comey for his letter to Congress October 28 announcing new “investigative steps” against the Democratic presidential candidate over her use of a private email server while Secretary of State.
The release of Comey’s letter has touched off a political and media firestorm, with Republican candidate Donald Trump claiming that Clinton is on the brink of indictment and arrest, while supporters of Clinton, both in the political establishment and the media, have criticized Comey for the timing of his announcement, only 11 days before the election.
While Clinton and her supporters have demanded that Comey clarify his vague, 166-word letter, the official FBI response has been to declare that there are so many emails found on a laptop belonging to former Representative Anthony Weiner, estranged husband of longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, that it will be impossible to draw any conclusions about their significance or relevance to the Clinton email investigation until after the November 8 election.
This underscores the extraordinary character of Comey’s letter, which dropped a political bombshell on the eve of the vote, highly detrimental to Clinton, without any underlying factual underpinning.
In fact, both factions of the ruling class have utilized the methods of scandal-mongering to fight out their battles. Over the past several months, the Democrats have centered their campaign against Trump on sex scandals and neo-McCarthyite, manufactured claims that Trump is a proxy of the Kremlin. In his letter to Comey, Reid doubled down on these charges by accusing the FBI of refusing to make public “explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government—a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States…”
Trump, for his part, had pointed to the pro-Clinton bias of the media, denounced the failure of the FBI to prosecute Clinton, and made thinly veiled appeals to anti-immigrant and racist sentiment by charging that Election Day would see systematic ballot-stuffing in predominantly immigrant and minority communities.
Meanwhile, most polls show not much distance between the candidates, as Clinton predictably veers towards the Right and white nationalist and far-Right groups make waves to back Trump on election day. Again, from Martin:
Five days before Election Day, with the US presidential race significantly tightening, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has stepped up her appeals for support from the military-intelligence apparatus. In a series of campaign appearances, she blasted Republican Donald Trump as unfit to be commander-in-chief, while Democratic Party operatives continued to push the manufactured claim that Trump is the candidate of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Republican Party and the Trump campaign have responded to the intervention of the FBI by escalating their threats to democratic rights, directed both against voters in minority neighborhoods, who may be targeted for political provocations on Election Day in an effort to suppress the Democratic vote, and in threats against Clinton herself, the constant target of demands to “lock her up” at Trump campaign rallies.
The 2016 election has boiled down to a contest between a billionaire demagogue who is encouraging fascistic and racist elements and a multi-millionaire reactionary who is the consensus choice of both Wall Street and the national-security establishment.
Email releases from Wikileaks have also shown widespread manipulation by Clinton and DNC elites to hinder the Sanders campaign and make changes in the primary voting process, as well as a wide network of Wall-Street donors and super PACs.
Meanwhile, as various factions of the KKK have thrown their support behind Trump, other white supremacist groups are organizing to “watch the polls” in working-class neighborhoods of color while many are also planning to organize counter-resistance. As NY Daily News wrote:
The alt-right web site “the Right Stuff,” announced plans to mobilize thousands of poll-watchers, install video cameras at voting sites in Philadelphia and dole out marijuana and liquor in the “ghetto” to keep potential voters from casting their ballots, according to a report in Politico.
Trump has specifically cited Pennsylvania when touting fears of voter fraud, saying in August that he could lose the hotly contested state if “in certain sections of the state they cheat.”
Trump’s longtime adviser and friend, Roger Stone, announced plans to organize “exit poll” watchers in order to compare official election results match their own voter surveys.
The effort, called “Stop the Seal,” has recruited more than 2,700 exit pollers so far, according to their web site.
The Oath Keepers, a right-wing group of former law enforcement officials who often show up to political demonstrations heavily armed, also announced plans to be present at the polls with cell phones to record activity. They have discouraged members from bearing arms, which could constitute voter intimidation, a federal crime.
In a video, Oath Keepers president asked supporters “to go out as part of our call to action, to go and hunt down, look for vote fraud and voter intimidation and document it, to do the best we can to stop it this election.”
In other Trump news, Trump continues to court the ‘cultural warrior’ and dominionist vote as he has promised to sign anti-LGBT legislation that would allow employers, landlords, and health-care providers to discriminate against queer people as long as their discrimination was motivated by religious beliefs. In December, Trump will be in court over allegations of raping a 13 year old person and upwards of 15 people have currently come forward saying that he sexually assaulted them as well.
#NoDAPL Solidarity and Resistance Spreads
Solidarity actions from occupations of DNC officers, to marches and demonstrations in solidarity, to acts of sabotage continue to grow alongside continued repression of the #NoDAPL movement. Grabbing the most headlines was the vandalizing of the North Dakota capitol building. As always, if you have reports of solidarity actions or videos, interviews, or any sort of media about these actions, please send them our way. Here’s some collected tweets:
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) November 1, 2016
— Louisette Lanteigne (@lulex) November 3, 2016
— Radis cool (@naklabic) November 3, 2016
— Kelly Bedoni (@kelbedoni) November 3, 2016
— Ash J (@AshAgony) November 1, 2016
— submedia (@submedia) November 1, 2016
— Zon W. (@ZonW) October 29, 2016
— Nikki (@NikkiAgain) October 31, 2016
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) November 1, 2016
[A]uthorities have charged water protector Red Fawn Fallis with attempted murder and a slew of other charges stemming from the standoff on October 27, when hundreds of police raided a frontline resistance camp. Authorities say Fallis fired three shots during the standoff. She faces up to 20 years in prison. This comes after Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said he could not confirm any shots were fired by water protectors on October 27.
As a resistance movement we must stand behind Red Fawn Fallis and all those that push back in self-defense and also not allow the state to railroad her. As for now, send letters of support to:
Red Fawn Fallis
c/o Morton County Detention Center
205 1st Ave. NW
Mandan, ND 58554
In Goldsboro, NC, inmates rioted for several hours, setting numerous fires. According to one article:
Two people — an inmate and prison staff member — were hurt during what officials are calling a “disturbance” that broke out around 4:30 p.m. at the minimum security prison. Two City of Goldsboro Police Department vehicles were also damaged.
During the more-than-4-hour incident, at least two fires were started by inmates at the prison which houses 788 prisoners, Pamela Walker, communications director for the N.C. Department of Public Safety, told CBS North Carolina.
According to Walker, the fires were started inside the prison’s diagnostic building and a storage shed that held supplies. The shed was destroyed. Inmates also broke windows and damaged four dorms.
Prisoners have died in two facilities where inmates are participating in a national prison strike, in what organizers say were preventable deaths caused by inadequate staffing.
At Kinross Correctional Facility in Michigan, where 400 inmates took part in a protest last month, an inmate named Charlie Anderson died on October 10 in an incident being investigated by local police.
That makes 4 people in 12 months that have hang themselves to escape the madness. HOLMAN SEG UNIT IS HELL ON EARTH
— FREEDOM FOR KINETIK (@for_kinetic) October 10, 2016
At Holman Correctional Facility, in Atmore, Alabama, Robert Deangelo Carter committed suicide on October 9, according to organizers with the Free Alabama Movement, a prison advocacy group that helped plan the national strike. The coroner’s office in Escambia County, Alabama confirmed the death to BuzzFeed News.
Carter was being held in solitary confinement. Kinetik Justice, a lead organizer of the national prison strike and former prisoner in Holman, was housed in a cell next to Carter at the time of his death. He has since been transferred to Kilby Correctional Facility, in what organizers say is retaliation for his role in helping to plan the strike and for communicating with media.
Report: Officials Denying Prison Organizer Kinetik Justice Water | Democracy Now! https://t.co/28l9pAIs4u
— Achmed bin Goldberg (@mdp4202) November 3, 2016
According to Democracy Now! Kinetik Justice of the Free Alabama Movement who was recently transferred due to organizing and has since went on hunger strike, is now being denied water:
The Free Alabama Movement is reporting that incarcerated organizer Kinetik Justice is being denied water by prison officials at the Kilby Correctional Facility. Justice was transferred to Kilby from Holman Correctional Facility, where he helped launch a nationwide work strike. He’s been on hunger strike since October 21 to protest his transfer. He now says prison officials have turned off the water in his cell. Pastor Kenneth Glasgow, the outside spokesperson for the Free Alabama Movement, said, “They are trying to kill him.”
CNN reports that prisoners in three states have joined the hunger strike along with Kinetik. Read more here.
Last week, two correctional officers, Christopher Huggins and Michael Dorsainvil, were found guilty in court of the March 2013 beating of inmate Carl Williams inside a holding cell at New York City’s prison complex, Rikers Island. The two will be sentenced on December 7, and face up to seven years in prison. Two other officers, Ronald Donnelley and Mark Anglin, were found guilty of falsifying records in a subsequent cover-up of the crime.
The incident occurred when the guards were escorting Williams back to the prison facility from a court appearance. The guards confiscated food that belonged to Williams, and he began to curse at them. As punishment, Huggins and Dosainvil threw Williams onto the floor of a cell and began punching him. The original indictment against the two also charged Anglin of participating while Donnelley watched from outside the cell. Williams was later treated for multiple cuts and abrasions to his head, and received nine stiches to his mouth.
One of the largest private prison companies in the country received major backlash from several community groups amid ongoing criticism.
Dozens showed up outside The Governors Club in Brentwood on Saturday to protest against Nashville-based provider Corrections Corporation of America, now known as CoreCivic following a new rebranding push announcement on Friday.
Southerners In Action led the protest as part of the Day of the Dead celebration. They posted outside the gated community where CEO Damon Hininger lives.
In Flint, Michigan the now two year old water crisis continues with no end in sight. As the Washington Post wrote:
More than one year after government officials finally acknowledged that an entire city’s water system was contaminated by lead, many residents still rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing.
Parents still worry about their kids. Promised aid has yet to arrive. In ways large and small, the crisis continues to shape daily life.
When President Obama came to town in May, the 40-year-old Dawson was among the Flint residents who met with him privately. He tried to explain how marginalized people feel, how certain they are that, had this happened in a more affluent community, change would have come far sooner.
“I told Obama, ‘It makes you feel like you don’t count,’ ” he says. “ ‘People sometimes feel that we don’t really matter. We’ve had to fight and wait, fight and wait, for things that should have happened but haven’t.’ ”
Nearly 5,000 transit workers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania launched an open-ended strike after the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 234 and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) failed to reach an agreement by midnight on Monday.
The strike has shut down the city’s buses, trolleys and subways, which carry an estimated half a million people a day, essentially paralyzing the city. The action by transit workers is the latest indication of growing opposition among workers throughout the country.
Meanwhile at Harvard university, upwards of 700 dining hall workers have ended a strike after reaching a tentative agreement.
At the time of this writing, 896 have been killed by the police in the United States.
Students clashed with the organizers from a local church group condemning the BLM movement and its supporters. The ringleader was captured on video telling Black men they were infected with a sexually transmitted disease. KXII reports that the group also stated that BLM supporters were “going to hell.”
— The Black Board News (@TheBlack_Board) November 2, 2016
Mexico On Fire
In Pueblo, Mexico an uprising kicked off after police killed a youth:
The murder of a teenager committed by state police during an operation to arrest suspected fuel thieves of a pipeline owned by Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) caused a revolt among citizens of La Magdalena Tetela, community in the municipality of Acajete, who burned a patrol of the corporation and have blocked the highway and federal road between Puebla with the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca to demand justice.
Expect a new Insumision in a few days, and also if you want to see expanded IGD coverage in Mexico be sure to back our crowdfunding campaign to help us interview groups, movements, and collectives. Check it out here.
White nationalists, KKK members, and Neo-Nazis are gearing up for the election and the post-election reaction – whatever way it goes. As Anti-Fascist News writes:
The Daily Shoah, and its website The Right Stuff, is not calling for an “agit prop” attempt at propaganda the weekend after the election. Following Alt Right posterings at the University of Michigan and the Iowa State University, who most assume the Daily Shoah was behind even though they persist they were not, they are calling for posters to be put up at major universities after the election. If Trump is to win, then it will gloat, if he does not, then it will scale up the revolutionary call for “white identity.”
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) November 3, 2016
David Duke was chased to his car after a Louisiana State Senate debate in an empty room as police kept angry protesters from entering the building:
— Justin Campbell (@jcampbellnews) November 3, 2016
— Matthew Hinton (@MattHintonPhoto) November 3, 2016
Nazi graffiti defaced a Jewish cemetery in Orange County, California. In Portland, clashes broke out between Bundy supporters and counter-demonstrators outside of court proceedings over the Malheur occupation earlier this year.
The FBI had 15 confidential sources feeding them information from their contacts with occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, a prosecutor confirmed in court Friday.
Waves of pro and anti-Trump vandalism continues. In Arizona, some Republicans summarize that upwards of 1,000 signs a day are being destroyed and someone recently cut the phone and internet lines to the party office.
At the Cali Calmerac Language Academy in Califonnia, pro-Trump and anti-immigrant graffiti was found and as was already reported on IGD pro-Trump graffiti was found on the walls of a black church that was hit with arson attacks twice in a years time.
Lastly, this weekend will see a showdown between anti-fascists and the Neo-Nazi ‘Nationalist Alliance’ that includes the National Socialist Movement (NSM) and the Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP), in Harrisburg, PA. More info here.
It’s Going Down
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