Filed under: Canada, Mexico, Roundup, US
This week the US was rocked with news that a 29 year old US born gunman opened fire and killed 49 people and wounded 53 more at the Pulse Nightclub, in Orlando, Florida at a queer and trans friendly bar that the shooter, Omar Mateen, had frequented before. According to one article:
Former coworkers [or Omar] have come forward to describe the killer’s far-right and racist views. Daniel Gilroy, who worked alongside Mateen between March 2014 and March 2015, can been seen in an interview posted on the New York Times web site describing his encounter with the future mass murderer.
Gilroy stated that he was “not surprised” when he heard that Mateen had carried out the Orlando massacre. “He was very racist, very sexist, anti-Jew, anti-homosexual and he made it known by derogatory statements as much as he could.” Gilroy has added that Mateen often talked about killing blacks. When his employer failed to heed his complaints about Mateen, Gilroy quit the firm.
Coworkers, family members and others have described him as harboring pathological hatred not only for gays, but also for African-Americans, whom he regularly referred to using the “N”-word, saying they all should be killed.
Further still, another article went on to write:
In an exclusive interview Tuesday with the Spanish language television network Univision, a man who identified himself only as Miguel and who appeared with his face and voice disguised said that Mateen had attacked the gay nightclub not as an act not of terrorism, but of “revenge.”
According to his account, Mateen was enraged over a sexual encounter with two Puerto Rican men he had met at the Pulse nightclub, one of whom, he said, later acknowledged that he was HIV positive. He described Mateen as “terrified” of becoming infected with the virus.
“I’m going to make them pay for what they did to me,” he recalled Mateen telling him, adding that “he hated Puerto Rican gays” because of the incident.
Despite this, as could be expected, President Obama and presumptive Democrat and Republican nominees Trump and Clinton were all quick to jump over each other in a rush to blame radical Islam for the shooting, claiming that lax foreign policy led to the massacre and only more aggressive attacks and drone strikes in foreign countries will make us safe in the future.
While we should be clear, we want to destroy ISIS and see it as a fascist organization and completely support anarchists, anti-capitalists, and the Kurdish resistance fighting against it in the free Rojavan territories – US imperialism isn’t our friend either. The US and other imperialist powers were quick to link up with the fascist Saddam and other regimes as long as it served their purposes and only opposed such dictators when they acted out of sink with their interests. We support autonomy with the people on the ground building alternatives to capitalism and the State not the nationalist groups which seek to set up authoritarian regimes over their own people for the sake of aiding globalized capitalism.
But back on the ground in the US, the speeches and statements made from both Trump and Clinton both serve as a means to galvanize support for more wars; wars which have led to the deaths of tens of thousands of people across the world and thousands of Americans. These are wars which have created US friendly regimes that ensure the continuous flow of oil and other commodities into corporate hands. From one article:
Democrat Hillary Clinton declared the slaughter of 49 innocent people at the gay nightclub in Orlando an example of “the barbarity that we face from radical jihadists.” Republican Donald Trump told his supporters that the massacre was the product of “importing radical Islamic terrorism into the West through a failed immigration system.
It was Clinton, however, who delivered the most telling—and chilling—line, invoking the September 11, 2001 terror attacks and declaring in conclusion that it was “time to get back to the spirit of those days, spirit of 9/12.”
Both the mainstream media and the major politicians have also largely overlooked both the blatant anti-gay and anti-trans nature of the attacks which fits into a period of growing far-Right violence. These acts are also part of an increasing breakdown of society itself brought on by mass alienation, destruction of nature, poverty, and the breakdown of community, which has lead to more and more horrific anti-social violence. The massacre in Orlando, the most horrific killing spree on American soil since the massacres at Wounded Knee and Sand Creek, which collectively left hundreds of Native Americans murdered, is only the latest in a string of deadly rampages carried out by alienated and disturbed millennials and workers.
In the media, these events are simply presented as a basic problem of a modern democracy: how do we solve the issue of gun violence in a modern industrialized country? Why can’t we all just use our words? But such a framing looks past both the fact that our society is founded upon and is kept together by massive amounts of violence, from the violence of poverty, eviction, prison, patriarchy, deportation, pollution, wage-slavery, and the police, to the fact that more and more young people are becoming increasingly nihilistic and hopeless. The issue isn’t about guns but about capitalist society itself.
Liberals predictably used the shooting as an excuse to ramp up calls for tougher gun laws and bans on assault weapons in the midst of an era of increasing political repression, police militarization, and attacks on gun ownership. For them, it’s just a question of getting weapons out of the hands of the “wrong people.” On the Right, politicians such as Trump called for tougher border enforcement and attacks on Muslims while fascists and white nationalists declared that the shooting shows that a ‘multicultural society’ simply can’t work.
None of these positions get the heart of what is driving the ongoing outbreaks of anti-social violence and nihilistic murder sprees: both an increase in far-Right reactionary ideology as well as a growing sense of hopelessness in the face of a civilization that continues to breakdown, leading to more and more mechanized murder and destruction. For further investigation, we suggest people check out recent writings by anarchist columnist Jenn Viscous, some queer comrades in Pittsburgh, John Zerzan’s latest podcast, and also a recent report by some folks in Minneapolis.
In the spirit of throwing all of this shit down the drain let’s get to the news.
Destroy the Elections
Bernie Sanders has now officially dropped out of the race, pretty much, kinda. The Democrats have seemed to keep his campaign (slightly) on to allow his supporters to feel like he’s still in the race and keep them engaged in the election spectacle, while Sanders himself has stated that he will work closely with Hillary Clinton in order to defeat Donald Trump while at the same time begging his backers to “transform” the Democratic Party. This dumb-assery can best be seen in the recent “People’s Summit” held in Chicago:
Some 3,000 supporters of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign met in Chicago June 17-19 for what was billed as the “People’s Summit.” The ostensible purpose of the meeting was to take stock after the failure of Sanders’ bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The real purpose was to prepare those assembled to support, actively or tacitly, an all-out campaign for the election of Hillary Clinton.
Also, while now a bit dated, we want to encourage people to read this excellent piece on Bernie Sanders from Hyphenated Republic, which attacks the image of Bernie as a “anti-war” candidate. From the article:
Sanders support leads to a bad bargain with the devil in the name of mainstreaming supposed socialist values. You can already start seeing it in motion. Sanders shat on BDS publicly and eagerly, leaving his enthused Arab, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian supporters looking like prize assholes. Thus, proponents of BDS fighting University of California’s attempt to brand Pro-Palestinian discourse anti-Semitism, found themselves in an awkward position—fighting for the life of their organizing freedom while simultaneously supporting a candidate who agrees wholeheartedly with the Regents. Rather than learn the lesson that supporting politicians without demanding concrete actions in return always leads to the same place, a new generation of activists came, once again, to the same conclusions as the last did with Obama, and the one previous with the first Clinton dynasty.
This is especially heart-breaking after the last 12 years of Democratic party shenanigans seemed to teach an irrevocable lesson that you can’t trust politicians or electoral politics. Ever. All that is dust in the wind now, just waiting for the new flavor of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Sanders to dispel all that disillusion and the opportunity to become excited for electoral saviors again.
I’m pretty confident Sanders will lose the nomination. He will give a speech not unlike the many given by Kucinich, pleading for unity against the horrible Republicans who seem to do the same things, but lack Sandersian rhetoric or progressive flavor. Former Sanders supporters will convince themselves that Sanders successfully injected his platform into Clinton’s and will probably become enthusiastic supporters. But even if this scenario proves false and Sanders wins the primaries and then most likely the general, things may even be worse, as new generations of Sanders-Simulacra defend his every gross imperial move and racist policy, making current Obama-bots look like amateurs. If you think you’ve seen this all before, you’re absolutely right.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump has been firing people close to his campaign as support for him slipped in the polls, he’s lost a shit ton of money, and the mainstream media predictably has gone from loving his click-bait ass to gunning for Clinton. According to one article:
Donald Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, on Monday, in a shake-up that saw his closest political aide marched out of Trump Tower by armed security guards. Lewandowski’s sudden departure was widely portrayed in the American media as a sign of severe crisis in a campaign which faces declining poll numbers and the drying up of financial support.
There are also reports that a sizeable group of delegates to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland is seeking a rules change whose adoption would allow delegates bound to Trump to vote for another candidate, potentially blocking a first-ballot nomination.
While internal conflict within the Trump campaign has been widely reported for months, since Trump brought on long-time lobbyist and political operative Paul Manafort to serve as chief delegate counter and campaign chairman, Trump aides had repeatedly denied there were tensions between Manafort and Lewandowski.
The conflict between Lewandowski and Manafort was not merely a personal power struggle, but reflected tensions between the semi-fascistic elements that were the initial core of the Trump campaign—Lewandowski is a former policeman and one-time organizer for the ultra-right political operation of the billionaire Koch brothers—and the more traditional influence-peddlers like Manafort, who was a Republican campaign operative as far back as the Ford administration, before making a fortune as a lobbyist for right-wing and authoritarian regimes.
According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Monday, the Trump campaign has only $1.3 million in its bank account…[and] critical commentary and exposés of Trump’s shady business practices in the corporate-controlled media, indicate that sections of the financial elite and the military-intelligence apparatus are shifting toward Clinton as a more reliable servant of their interests. But with more than four months to go before the election, further shifts and upheavals are not only possible, but entirely likely, given the increasingly unstable social and economic environment in the United States and globally.
Meanwhile, protests against Trump continued and remained heated and at times violent, both in Atlanta, GA, and elsewhere.
— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) June 15, 2016
Lion’s Guard Trump supporters also finally showed up in force for their fascist candidate, this time with shields in Dallas:
— Robert H. Fugate (@PrairieDogPress) June 17, 2016
— myrna perez (@Myrna_Perez) June 17, 2016
Mexico On Fire
People are fighting back in Oaxaca and facing the brunt of state violence in response. In the meantime, IGD is attempting to report on it as much as possible. We suggest you follow Scott Campbell, our resident Mexico writer to stay up to date. Also be sure to drop by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity for more English language updates as well as this excellent timeline by Dialectical Delinquents.
— Proyecto Ambulante (@proamboax) June 22, 2016
— AK Press (@AKPressDistro) June 23, 2016
In Baltimore, Officer Caesar Goodson, Jr. was found innocent on all charges in the horrific murder of Freddie Gray. The Baltimore Sun wrote:
The Baltimore Police van driver accused of giving a “rough ride” that killed Freddie Gray was acquitted of all charges Thursday by Circuit Judge Barry Williams.
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 46, had faced the most serious charges of any of the six officers indicted in Gray’s arrest and death last April, including second-degree depraved heart murder. Goodson was also acquitted of three counts of manslaughter, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office.
His acquittal, which comes after Williams considered the charges for three days, throws the rest of the cases into jeopardy. The other officers charged face similar, but lesser accusations.
In Oakland, a succession of police chiefs have stepped down or have been removed from office in the last week. We don’t want to give an exact number because by the time you read this it may change, but know that several police chiefs have been appointed and then stepped down or removed.
The Shockingly Corrupt Oakland Police Department Destroyed In 16 Tweets https://t.co/3vmkfEASRQ
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) June 18, 2016
To get to the heart of the matter, we should be using the appropriate language to discuss this current, and very narrowly focused “scandal”. This is not a sex scandal—the online sexting, the real world sexual stalking and harassment of Celeste Guap, under color of law is a rape scandal. This is not a sex scandal–the passing of Guap’s number from cop to cop is a human trafficking and pimping scandal and a sexual violence scandal. This is not a sex scandal—it’s a corruption scandal, in which the police chief himself sought to bury not only the evidence of statutory rape of Guap, but the possibility that one of the officers who raped Guap also murdered his wife, shortly before taking his own life.
The rape scandal is a vile node in a viral network of malfeasance and abuse of power demonstrating that 13 years after the consent decree that brought OPD under federal oversight, city and city council officials continue to give police cover and encouragement to flout their own disciplinary procedures. Every mechanism that exists to monitor, control and discipline OPD at the local level is an abject failure, and the OPD rape scandal is only the clearest example of it because it is the only one mainstream media have shown any interest in.
The focus on the falsely constructed sex scandal has already had real opportunity costs. A week ago, during the current media-frenzy sex-scandal, a Stanford study years in the making was released. It revealed that Black Oakland residents are stopped for searches at rates more than double their proportion of the population. Black suspects are handcuffed far more often than any other race—one in four Black men were handcuffed in the stops, compared to 1 in 15 white men. Its these racially motivated contacts with police that lead to police murder of Black men in Oakland and high incarceration rates and the terror that Black men experience on Oakland streets.
But almost no one is talking about that right now, three years into the Black Lives Matter movement, and 13 years into federal oversight of the OPD.
— The Counted (@thecounted) June 22, 2016
According to The Guardian 507 people have been killed in the US already this year.
Addressing the small crowd of supporters gathering down the street from Burgerville’s corporate headquarters in Vancouver, Washington, Vaandering acknowledged his nervousness. Not only had he never been part of a delegation to meet with corporate leaders before, but this was also the first time he was informing upper management that he and his co-workers had formed the Burgerville Workers Union, or BWU, and wanted to sit down for negotiations.
“We are forming the Burgerville Workers Union because we matter,” Vaandering said. “We work hard, we want respect, and we need a raise.” Despite the rising rents and living costs of the Portland metro area, Vaandering and his co-workers are making far below what is needed to survive in the city.
The delegation presented management with a letter, requesting that they negotiate with the union as it currently stands, not mentioning a union election or National Labor Relations Board process. It is this particular point that separates the BWU campaign from much of what we have seen in similar service workplaces.
Also, the Driscoll’s Boycott continues to build.
Two reports issued over the past week document the drastic worsening of the economic position of the American working class, and the consequent rapid rise in economic inequality.
Men with a high school education now make barely 50 percent of the wages of men with a college degree or more, according to data presented Monday by the White House Council of Economic Advisers. This is down from near equality between the college-educated and the non-college-educated 40 years ago (see Chart 1).
The CEA correlated the declining economic position of blue collar workers (using education as a surrogate for occupation) with the plunge in labor force participation rates among men of prime working age, those between 25 and 54 years of age (see Chart 2).
While 98 percent of men of prime working age were in the labor force in 1954, that figure has fallen to 88 percent today (81 percent actually working and 7 percent unemployed but available for work). The same divergence based on education was shown in these figures: 94 percent of male college graduates aged 25 to 54 were in the labor force, but only 83 percent of men with only a high school education.
In plain English, workers leave the labor force because they can no longer earn a living and support their families, which has a crushing moral and psychological impact in many cases.
The CEA report further finds that “the drop in the labor force participation rate for men over the past several decades may be explained by a decline in job opportunities for middle-skill workers and their reluctance to take jobs in other industries and skill classes.”
Again, in plain English, workers are dropping out of the labor force because they refuse to go from decent-paying factory jobs to low-paying work at WalMart, fast food or other so-called service industries.
In Washington, DC, tenants rallied against a landlord that had refused to pay refunds after an illegal rent hike, video here.
A showdown in looming between anti-fascists and the Traditionalist Worker Party led by media star Matthew Heimbach and his minions in the Golden State Skinheads on Sunday, June 26th in Sacramento, CA. Heimbach has put a lot into this mobilization and seems to have a lot riding on its success. He claims that after this victory, his fascist party will then go on to demonstrate at the RNC. On his new almost daily podcast, The Daily Traditionalist, which features a backing soundtrack of butt-rock like 90s era Sega Genesis game music and special guests including some random Neo-Nazi British guy, he stated:
Men are willing to sacrifice to save our people, but we have to have a plan for them to work towards and the Traditionalist Worker Party do have a plan. This message needs to be heard by people and that is what these podcasts are for, but it also needs to be heard in person by your average American in the habitable world. The Trad Worker Party are doing this by bringing it off the internet and onto the streets of Sacramento on June 26th. The Antifa are not happy about this, but there is no way they will be able to put a stop it. If the TWP can march in Sacramento, then they can hold a rally anywhere, since it is one of the most Liberal parts of the United States.
Heimbach goes on to surmise that his forces need a good, strong win, as well as the “psychological” feel good emotions of knowing that they can hold the streets and talk to the average 4-6 people that randomly are walking around the state capitol in Sacramento on a Sunday afternoon in 103 degree weather just looking to get into conversations with someone sporting a swastika tattooed on their upper lip. Of course what Heimbach fails to mention is that his forces are also calling on not just the skinhead crews like Golden State Skinheads to do most, if not all, of the organizing of the event, but they’re also counting on the cops to be there to enforce their permit.
What’s even more funny about all of this, is that Heimbach’s response to the anti-fascist mobilization has simply to repeat the same old tired line that’s existed in Hitler worshiping circles since the days of George Lincoln Rockwell, that anyone that opposes fascism and moreover all social movements that exist to fight capitalism and white supremacy, are in fact all run by “The Jews.” The logic is, that social movements are creations of a cabal of Jewish elites to destroy white people and promote both communism and capitalism. Furthermore, we can’t organize these things on our own, that’s why the Jews tell us what to do, goes the thinking. Kind of like how Matt Parrott, (yes, that’s his real name, and also Heimbach’s father in law), shamed IGD by saying: “All they’ve got is an endless supply of money to fund really slick websites…” It’s called wordpress you goddamn ass clown, shit is free.
This line of thinking comes out of and is reinforced by such famously bogus and hoax texts such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (which was printed in the thousands by Russian troops as a means to attack the Russian Revolution) and Holocaust Denial (all those Jews weren’t killed bruh, they just lied about it to make you feel bad!), both of which Heimbach endorses.
For a man that is counting on police protection for an ill advertised gathering of Neo-Nazi skinheads, all this is pretty hilarious, but moreover this idiotic Anti-Semitism coming from a kid that grew up in one of the richest neighborhoods of Maryland is just plain stupid. For more info on the mobilization to shut down white power in Sacramento on June 26th, go here.
In other antifa news, a Congressional candidate is drawing fire for putting up a billboard that reads, “Make America White Again,” while in Sacramento, a preacher that praised the Orlando massacre has apparently gotten his church evicted. Also:
Jim Stachowiak…the former police officer and ardent Donald Trump supporter has put out a “clarion call” for “lone wolf patriots” to join him at the GOP convention in Cleveland this summer to confront Black Lives Matter demonstrators. “I am encouraging patriots and Trump supporters and those that support liberty and freedom to come lawfully armed with lethal and non-lethal weaponry,” Stachowiak said in a video posted on his YouTube over the weekend.
In Milwaukee, people have kept on the pressure against local prisons in support of a prison led hunger strike:
A handful of Wisconsin inmates still won’t eat in hopes of forcing an end to long-term solitary confinement.
The Industrial Workers of the World, a labor union promoting the strike, has said seven inmates spread between the prisons in Waupun and Portage stopped eating June 10th. The union issued a news release Saturday, June 18th, saying the prisoners are still refusing to eat.
Waupun inmate Cesar DeLeon also has stopped drinking out of concerns the prison’s water is contaminated with copper and lead. DeLeon said in a June 14th letter to the union that 16 people started the strike but only three people were still striking at Waupun.
Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (WVCF), in Carlisle, Indiana has a long history of racist violence by guards against African American inmates. Recently, I have been informed of serious abuse being enacted by guards against Angaza Iman Bahar (Jimmy Jones) #891782, a long-term prisoner who has repeatedly fought for his rights and the rights of all prisoners.
He has been assaulted and placed in segregation, just 48 hours after being released from three months of segregation into general population. The guard who assaulted him bragged to other inmates about his plans to attack Angaza upon his return to population, because by “beating the big n****s, the others can be kept in line.”
Angaza is currently in fear for his life, and believes that the guards intend to provoke him to physical violence, so that they can keep him in prison for life.
Please call Indiana Department of Corrections Commissioner Bruce Lemmon ((317) 232-5711) and WVCF Superintendent Dick Brown ((812) 398-5050), and say “Stop the racist abuse by guards of WVCF inmate Jimmy Jones, #891782, and transfer him to a different facility immediately!”
Help donate to those arrested at the Trump protest in Atlanta here.
IWOC needs help building for the national prisoner work strike on September 9th. More info on how to help here.
Help the homies out in Rochester by kicking them down some monies and get a new anarchist paper going.
In Mexico, a new issue of El Anticarcelero is now out, an anti-prison publication produced by anarchist political prisoners and self-organized prisoner networks. More info on how to get a copy here. Also in Mexico in July, a gathering against extractivist industries will take place.
Lastly, a new film about the resistance at Lelu Island is coming soon, check out the trailer here.
It’s Going Down!
Email us with any questions or comments at: info[at]itsgoingdown[dot]org! Try and stay up with us here.
Oh, also fuck me, we just turned one year old today. Hooray for us!
At some point soon we will attempt to write up a big long retrospective on our year into IGD and perhaps create something amazing to celebrate. Until then, just keep making the fucking news!