Filed under: Canada, Mexico, Roundup, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
There’s a lot going on. Each week brings more evictions and displacement, another person killed by the police, as well as news of an upcoming pipeline, fracking project, fascist group holding an event, cut to basic social service, or new prison under construction. Beyond these almost weekly occurrences, there are the ongoing projects many of us dedicate ourselves to. Maintaining and updating methods of counter-information and outreach, running a space, infoshop, or bookstore, conducting a prisoner support project, being active in our self-organized groups in our workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods; all of these things take a ton of time and energy. Often we feel exhausted just holding down whatever forts we find ourselves in.
The weight of all of these things can push down against us. Many of us close off and tend to focus only on the things that we can do and also do well. This creates a movement where the hard work is regulated to certain individuals and is often gendered, while skills and knowledge fail to cross pollinate between organizations, individuals, and crews. When older folks cycle out or people move or fall out with each other, their skills and know how is lost, only to be painstakingly relearned by the next group.
One of our tasks to to make these different nodes work better together, so we can maximize all of the work that we do put in. This requires spaces and methods of communication and organization that are face to face and reoccurring. It takes networks and relationships based on respect and hard work to put these principles into practice, not just reading the same books, websites, and magazines. But more over, we also have to think about the becoming something bigger than we already are now. We have to think about how to link up and involve ourselves in the everyday political landscapes we find ourselves in and within the national and international situation.
In that sprit, let’s get to the news.
Destroy the Elections
It went down in Albuquerque, New Mexico outside of a Trump rally. We’d love to get a report from someone so in the meantime, here is some tweets:
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 25, 2016
Main exit for Trump rally in Albuquerque is blocked due to protesters outside, attendees have to file out alt exits: pic.twitter.com/pqdvt9FW1f
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) May 25, 2016
On social media someone wrote:
I was in Albuquerque tonight for the anti-Trump rally. People were jumping on cop cars, throwing rocks at police, lighting small fires, taking down police barricades, and brawling with pro-Trump people when they were stupid enough to challenge the crowd.
There were elders and little kids who stayed in the streets through multiple rounds of tear gas (the police are claiming they didn’t gas us but they definitely did). A joyous, community centered and totally militant showing of Mexican Pride, Native Pride, and youth culture. APD was super-unprepared, and I’ll be honest, so was I.
Still a few Trump protest signs around in Downtown ABQ: pic.twitter.com/PvWFGVaKbR
— Jeff Proctor (@cjproctor74) May 25, 2016
Protests also continue to grow in size against Hillary Clinton:
Protesters at Hillary Hartnell visit eventually bust thru barrier, lots of noise and yelling pic.twitter.com/tA9tk8rcOW
— Felix Cortez (@FelixKSBW) May 25, 2016
Lots of supporters outweigh the protesters at UCR for Hillary.. pic.twitter.com/fXYxdNxNky
— PE Photo (@PE_Photo) May 24, 2016
Also, we encourage people to check out a new article from STIR, entitled, I Know Why Poor Whites Chant, Trump, Trump, Trump. A great history and a great read. Here’s a taste:
As the British labor market improved in the 1680s, the idea of indentured servitude lost its appeal to many would-be immigrants. Increasing demand for indentured servants, many of whom were skilled laborers, soon bumped up against a dwindling supply, and the cost of white indentured servants rose sharply. Plantation owners kept skilled white servants, of course, often making them plantation managers and supervisors of slaves. This introduced the first racial divide between skilled and unskilled workers.
Still, African slaves were cheaper, and the supply was plentiful. Seeing an opportunity to realize a higher return on investment, elite colonial landowners began to favor African slaves over white indentured servants, and shifted their business models accordingly. They trained slaves to take over the skilled jobs of white servants.
As slavery expanded in the South and indentured servitude declined, the wealthy elite offered poor whites the earliest version of the American Dream: if they worked hard enough, they could achieve prosperity, success, and upward social mobility — if not for themselves, then perhaps for future generations.
With whites and Blacks divided, the wealthy elite prospered enormously for the next two hundred years while poor whites remained locked in poverty. With the potential election of Abraham Lincoln, however, the upper class began to worry they would lose their most valuable commodity: slave labor. The numbers were not on their side — not the financial numbers, but the number of bodies it would take to wage war should Lincoln try to abolish slavery. And it was white male bodies they needed. (Poor women were of little value to the rich, since they couldn’t vote or fight in a war.) So how did wealthy plantation owners convince poor white males to fight for a “peculiar institution” that did not benefit them?
If poor and working class whites who chant, “Trump, Trump, Trump,” believe they have little in common with these “enemies,” they are mistaken. We are all sides of the same coin, a coin that has been held in the pocket of the elite class since the first settlers arrived in the American colonies.
The real enemies fear us. They know that if we come together, we will have the numbers on our side. They’ve always known this and it terrifies them. We must stop doing what they want: fighting among ourselves and allowing ourselves to be held down by their fear.
In Mexico, striking teachers ain’t fucking around. According to one article:
After nine days of the work stoppage, teachers of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) and parents’ committees from at least 60 municipios of Chiapas formed alliances for continuing the teachers movement in the state.
After an assembly held on Sunday and the big march held this Monday morning, parents promised the teachers they would close all the schools that are still holding classes and said that they will not accept substitutes who arrive in the classrooms in case there are mass firings of teachers.
Federal and state police confronted this morning with members of the National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) that tried to block east and west accesses and exits of this capital, with a result of one police agent and several teachers injured.
The police arrived at the point known as La Pochota, at the exit for Oaxaca and Mexico City, and they took up positions. Almost immediately the teachers blocked vehicle movement, while helicopters flew over the zone.
Minutes before, at the eastern exit from this capital, on the stretch known as Parque Chiapasiónate, which connects with the state’s Highlands and Jungle regions, the teachers threw sticks and stones at the police, and they responded with tear gas and threw back the stones.
In the US, the boycott of Driscoll’s berries continues:
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) May 17, 2016
— Bradley Allen (@BradleySA) May 21, 2016
Look, if Verizon has its way, it will break the union and turn this into a twenty-dollar-per-hour job with no retirement and little or no health care . . . We’re not asking for some huge raise here we just don’t want to keep giving everything away. They want to reduce our retirement, raise our health care costs, or make this job so miserable that the well-paid people leave. We just want to keep our decent jobs but I don’t know if we’ll be able to. We are trying to stop the bleeding but I don’t know if this job has a future for my children in twenty years. I don’t know if they can live in a decent way.
— CWA (@CWAUnion) May 23, 2016
AT&T West workers in San Diego, California are now entering the fifth day of a strike over working conditions and the corporate offensive against pensions and wages.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has kept the workers at AT&T West on the job without a contract for two months, even as 39,000 Verizon workers on the East Coast have been on strike for more than five weeks. The CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) have sought to separate the struggles of the telecommunication workers on both coasts, even though there is widespread support for joint action.
Obama continues to intervene on Verizon’s behalf. On Monday, the National Labor Relation Board sought an injunction to prevent picketing at Boston area hotels that Verizon has been using to house strikebreakers. Earlier this month the NLRB requested and obtained a similar injunction in New York City. A federal judge, an Obama appointee, issued the injunction after a picketer was injured by a New York City cop driving a van of strikebreakers across the picket line.
Facing this gang-up, the only way Verizon strikers can take the fight forward is to break the isolation of the strike imposed by the unions and fight for the broadest mobilization of the entire working class against the government-backed corporate attack. In the first breakthrough 1,700 workers at AT&T West in San Diego went on strike last Friday. Strikers on the picket lines expressed their solidarity with the Verizon strikers and sympathy for united strike action on both coasts of the US.
In the US, the growth of working class militancy is accompanied by the beginning stages of a profound political radicalization, reflected initially in the broad support for Bernie Sanders, whose claim to be a socialist has magnified his appeal to millions of workers and youth who are rejecting capitalism and looking for a radical alternative. His campaign is a preemptive response to the growth of the class struggle and the danger of the emergence of an independent political and revolutionary movement of the working class. Its aim is to keep this movement trapped within the Democratic Party.
The Donald Trump campaign is likewise a preemptive response to the growth of working class opposition to the existing economic and political setup. Its aim is to direct this movement along chauvinist and nationalist lines and prepare the conditions for the ever more direct use of violence to repress social tensions at home.
Protests continued against North Carolina Governor Patrick McCrory, and his promotion of anti-Trans House Bill 2:
— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) May 18, 2016
In Santa Cruz, a biotech firm has been forced to close an animal testing lab:
Santa Cruz Biotech Agrees to Close Abusive Laboratory, Relinquish Animal Dealer License: from Indybay SANTA C… https://t.co/8fCMTDXif6
— submedia (@submedia) May 23, 2016
Meanwhile, the No New Animal Labs campaign continues:
— No New Animal Lab (@NoNewAnimalLab) May 22, 2016
Community members have occupied the Williams Lake band office. According to one report:
RCMP are on scene at the Williams Lake Indian Band administration office where at least four men forcibly entered the building just after 8 a.m. Tuesday morning and asked staff to leave.
It is unclear at this early stage what the group wants, however it is suspected their motive is political. Text messages from the group relayed to the Tribune indicate the men are unarmed, however that has not been confirmed.
As many as a dozen officers are surrounding the building with high powered weapons, while concerned band staff are gathered at the community’s resource building next door.
Only several days before, Band Leaders had a family evicted from a home. According to an article:
A 29-year-old First Nations man said he doesn’t know where to turn after leaders from the Williams Lake Indian Band had police forcibly remove him from his family home and community Wednesday.
“I grew up there and it hurts to be dragged out like that. It’s stressful … it hurts even more to be put out of the community,” Sheldon Wycotte said Thursday, the morning after three RCMP removed him from the home of his late grandfather Raymond Ned Moise, a respected elder in the community.
“I am taking a stand and fighting for my right to stay here with my girlfriend and our one-year-old child,” Wycotte told the Tribune Wednesday, in the hours before the eviction. “I have lived in this house since I was about 13 or 14 years old.”
Despite massive outcry and an occupation of the proposed work-site, construction has started for the Dakota Access Pipeline. One report wrote:
[T]he company Dakota Access LLC has begun construction of the 1,150-mile project, which will carry crude oil from western North Dakota to Illinois.
Construction has begun in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois, but not yet in Iowa, where regulators have declined to allow construction just yet. In consideration of the environmental impact of the project and other safety concerns, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not yet issued permits for the project to cross the Missouri River—Standing Rock’s main water source—or the Mississippi.
Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault insists that the fight to stop the pipeline has not come to an end and that the tribe and its allies will continue to exercise their rights to ensure that consideration of the health and well-being of the citizens of the Great Sioux Nation will be taken into consideration by the Army Corps of Engineers and other influential entities.
“The start of construction by Dakota Access will not deter us,” Archambault said in a statement. “To the contrary, the Tribe will continue to press forward, to demonstrate that the Corps has not adequately consulted with the Tribe regarding cultural resource issues, and has not adequately addressed the risk of an oil spill that would harm the Tribe’s waters. The Tribe is dedicated to the protection of our Treaty rights, our Reservation lands, and our people—and we will ensure that the federal government upholds its trust responsibility when it makes its decision regarding the Dakota Access pipeline.”
An encampment started outside of an INAC office in Regina has now lasted for over one month. According to Eagle Feather News:
The Colonialism No More Solidarity Camp officially began its occupation outside of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs (INAC) offices in downtown Regina on Monday, April 18th. The Camp, initially formed in solidarity with the Attawapiskat youth and the community’s declaration of a suicide crisis, operates solely on a volunteer basis for all day-to-day requirements. The Camp pushes for 3-4 occupiers to spend the night and calls on the community to bring meals and other essentials.
This week found a lot of cosmetic changes coming from the police with no actual change in the way that the police engage with the communities that they oppress.
The City of Baltimore, where the young female African-American mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who made a big deal about trying the police responsible for the horrific death of Freddy Gray, still found the police officer Edward Nero not to be at fault for the 25 year old’s death this week. Gray’s murder in 2015 sparked a round of furious riots and uprisings, which continued the momentum generated by the Ferguson and Oakland rebellions.
From Klee Benally: “Yesterday a group of folks held banners in front of City Hall and downtown Flag for #justiceforfreddie due to the acquittal of one of the officers responsible for Freddie Gray’s murder in Baltimore, MD. A young Diné relative joined us who said she was related to the person killed by cops in Doney Park on Saturday. She said she wondered if they would still be alive of they were not Native?”
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where police faced protests and scrutiny for a series of corruption scandals, leaked racist texts between officers, and also a series of horrific execution squad style murders, the police Chief Suhr finally stepped down from his post. As the pressure and anger mounted, a hunger strike of 5 individuals took place for almost three weeks along with a camp out at a police station in the working-class Mission District. As the hunger strikers had to be hospitalized due to the strike, massive protests were organized that sought to support them while Mayor Ed Lee refused to buckle. Then, several days ago the SFPD was involved in another killing of an unarmed 29 year-old African-American woman, Jessica Williams, who was fleeing from them. Only hours after, the Mayor, who has long worked to advance the interests of business and development in the city, announced that the police chief was resigning.
This move which was quickly followed by the appointing of an African-American police chief, much like what happened recently in Ferguson, shows the degree in which the system is attempting drastically change its appearance on the surface. At the same time, none of this will equate to any real change in the way that police interact and police the communities they patrol in, especially homeless and mentally unstable individuals, working-class and poor neighborhoods broadly, and black and brown one in particular. For those looking to mobilize against the police, we’re going to have to evolve in this changing landscape and these attempts at counter-insurgency.
According to The Guardian, as of this writing, 400 people have been killed by the police in the United States, for an average of 3.2 human beings killed per day by law enforcement.
Meanwhile in Olympia, the two young men who were shot by police a year ago after stealing beer joined others in the streets to mark the one year anniversary of the shooting. In 2015, the protests that followed the police attack featured clashes between anarchists and Black Lives Matter demonstrators, the police, and Neo-Nazi skinheads. According to one article on the recent anniversary march:
One year after Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin were shot by an Olympia police officer, protesters took to the streets again.
Chaplin and Thompson, who are brothers, joined in the march as protesters chanted, “No justice, no peace. No racist police.”
The two men have denied interview requests from The Olympian, citing legal reasons. Each is charged with two counts of second-degree assault for allegedly attacking Officer Ryan Donald. Donald was cleared of wrongdoing by the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Officer and by an Olympia Police Department internal review.
But their mother, Crystal Chaplin, said she felt it was time for the family to get involved. She said her family is typically private, so her instinct for the past year has been to remain out of the public eye. But Crystal Chaplin said she wants Olympia to remember what happened to her sons.
In Houston, anti-fascists rallied against white supremacists holding an anti-Muslim rally:
— #RIPBassemMasri ? (@Delo_Taylor) May 23, 2016
Also the American Renaissance conference happened last weekend, with over 300 people attending, a testament to the growing white nationalist movement in the age of Trump. Representatives from VDare and the Neo-Nazi American Freedom Party discussed with the press the need for Trump to “go full fash:”
“Next time there are illegal alien demonstrations, round them up and ship them out,” Brimelow of VDARE.com proposed.
[William] Johnson [of the American Freedom Party] believes Trump should simply override the judicial and legislative branches to make whatever immigration reforms he chooses.
“You could have a Trump do what Andrew Jackson did when he defied the U.S. Supreme Court and had the Trail of Tears,” Johnson said, pointing out that the president “controls the armies.”
There is a call for a global day of action in solidarity with Berta Caceres, who was a feminist and environmental organizer in the global south that was assassinated by persons unknown on March 3rd. From the announcement:
Following the murder of indigenous leader Berta Caceres, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) has convened a Global Action on 15thJune 15 to demand justice through demonstrations in that country and in front of the embassies of Honduras around the world.
The protests aim to demand the immediate establishment of an independent investigation group led by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), to clarify the crime and ensure the prosecution of all those responsible.
In addition, the demand is for the immediate and definitive cancellation of the concession granted to the company DESA for the construction of the hydroelectric project “Agua Zarca” on the Rio Blanco.
Berta Caceres, coordinator of COPINH, was killed on 3rd March at her home in La Esperanza, when unknown individuals entered in the morning. The environmental leader fought for the cancellation of Agua Zarca project because it is a threat to the indigenous peoples and nature.
Black Diamond Prisoner Support is looking for donations here.
It’s Going Down