Cover photo from Blockade Babes
This week brought everything from predictions on the collapse of civilization in 2040 as a result of a global food crash, to an increased drive from the Pentagon to go to war with North Korea, to the news that 129 J20 defendants has their charges “dismissed without prejudice.”
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to the news!
Trump the Regime
This week, the Pentagon has been preparing for a real push for war with North Korea, the US continued to arm neo-Nazis in the Ukraine, ICE keeps on targeting immigrant rights leaders, and Kentucky became the first state to make stipulations for those receiving medicaid, allowing the state to bar people from receiving benefits if they don’t have a job.
Meanwhile, the Democrats who last week helped the Republicans push through legislation that would make it easier for the State to spy on people and collect their internet data, and this week as the “the New York Times reported… top Democrats are preparing to work with Republicans in removing all remaining restraints on banks imposed after the 2008 crash.” Meanwhile:
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index published last month established that the fortunes of the world’s wealthiest 500 billionaires—many of whom will be in attendance—rose 23 percent over the past year, making them $1 trillion richer than at the end of 2016. And the obscene amounts of wealth keep rolling in, with the Dow closing at 26,000 Wednesday, recording its fastest ever 1,000-point rise.
And at the World Economic Forum, check out what is being discussed:
[The] principal report issued as the basis for the four days of meetings and closed-door discussions presents a picture of a global ruling elite living in mortal fear that growing economic and social crises, and, above all, the threat of world war and social revolution, may rob them of not only their fortunes, but their heads as well.
Titled “Fractures, Fears and Failures,” the WEF’s 2018 Global Risks Report includes subheads such as “Grim Reaping,” “The Death of Trade,” “Democracy Buckles,” “Precision Extinction”, “Into the Abyss”, “Fears of Ecological Armageddon” and “War without Rules.”
The report was drafted in conjunction with a survey conducted among nearly 1,000 banking and business executives, government officials and academics, which found that 93 percent of them feared a worsening of confrontations between the major powers in 2018. Fully 79 percent foresaw a heightened threat of a major “state-on-state” military conflict. The report cited both the confrontation between the US and North Korea, which has created the greatest threat of nuclear war since the height of the Cold War, and the increasingly complex inter-state conflicts produced by Washington’s military intervention in Iraq and Syria.
On Saturday, a government shutdown looms, as politicians in both parties debate the fate of DACA and Trump’s proposed border wall:
The latest version of the plan proposes even more money to further militarize the US-Mexico border ($18 billion over the next decade), including funds earmarked for Trump’s border wall (an immediate $1.6 billion down payment). It accepts the administration’s demand to end the diversity lottery visa program, which randomly picks immigrants from countries with low immigration rates to the US, and transitions to a so-called “merit” system of legal immigration. This is a more openly class-based system, designed to favor highly educated and skilled people from “priority” countries and largely exclude poor and working class people from impoverished parts of the world.
A shutdown would have the biggest impact on federal workers and the general public, triggering the furlough without pay of tens of thousands of government employees and curtailing social services from national parks to the passport service. The military, the intelligence agencies and the FBI would not be affected.
Throughout Trump’s first year in office, right-wing state legislators introduced dozens of bills designed to curb the activities of demonstrators in nearly 20 states, according to the ACLU.
Several states – among them North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Tennessee – have passed such bills into law.
North Dakota passed into law bills that criminalised protests on private property, increased penalties for riot offences and barred demonstrators from wearing masks to conceal their identities, among others.
In Oklahoma, new laws ostensibly made it possible for authorities to hold anyone arrested for trespassing financially accountable for any damages to property and punished protesters who knowingly trespass on “critical infrastructure.”
In Tennessee, a new law known as SB 902 introduced a $200 fine for protesters who obstruct the access of emergency vehicles, while South Dakota’s SB 176 expanded the abilities of authorities to limit or block protests on public land and highways.
This month, Durham County, North Carolina introduced a new proposal that would require protesters to give 48-hour notice before holding any demonstration on publicly owned land.
Also, The Intercept has shown how county prosecutors were able to push Facebook to give up names of those who were “Invited” to various protests in the Washington State area:
Despite the fact that no criminal charges have been filed in connection with the February action, Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney David McEachran repeatedly sought a warrant for the group’s Facebook page, ultimately securing private information including messages to and from the page and a list of everyone “invited” to the protest event.
McEachran’s first two warrant applications were withdrawn after the American Civil Liberties Union and Facebook raised objections. On the third try, however, the warrant was granted thanks to Facebook’s suggestion that McEachran’s office seek formal guidance from the nation’s top law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice. A public records request filed by The Intercept shows that the local agency and its federal counterpart cooperated to draft the ultimately successful warrant using a DOJ template.
Activists affiliated with the climate justice group, Red Line Salish Sea, view the investigation as retaliation for their February protest, a march against local fossil fuel projects and President Donald Trump’s executive orders expediting construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. “Not only does this warrant attempt to scare people from organizing, this warrant attempts to scare people from even looking at information,” Tina McKim, an administrator of Red Line’s Facebook page, wrote in a declaration.
Speaking of pipelines, a pipeline owned by everyone’s favorite, Energy Transfer Partners, spilled almost 150,000 gallons of drilling fluids in a wetland in Ohio.
The Anti-Defamation League has released a new report that confirms what we already knew, that white nationalist, neo-Nazi, far-Right, and Alt-Right violence is growing. In fact, since last year, the number of people killed by the hard Right has doubled, corresponding to the fact that Trump officials have pushed for far-Right groups and movements to be removed from the law enforcement microscope, and in general, have down played, ignored, or justified the threat posed by the far-Right and Alt-Right. It should also be kept in mind that the ADL is not on the side of social movements and struggles; just last year they were attempting to ‘educate’ law enforcement on the ‘threat poised’ by antifascists.
The US border patrol is under fire after videos of agents destroying water in the desert has gone viral. The videos confirm what groups like No More Deaths have been documenting for years, that US border policy is designed to kill and pushes people into the desert where thousands lose their lives. Check out one of the latest reports from No More Deaths here entitled Death and Disappearance on the US-Mexico Border.
Since the start of 2018, US law enforcement has killed 62 people, reports Killed by Police, making for an average of 3.4 per day. In Kentucky, a video of a man at a public meeting being assaulted and arrested by police has gone viral after:
[A]n estimated 1,400 residents of the eastern Kentucky county have been without water for days because of leaking pipes and decaying infrastructure in the economically depressed former coal mining area. The cash-strapped water district cut off water to residents after water pressure decreased rapidly due to freezing temperatures. Nine days after the shutoff, area residents still do not have regular water service.
Meanwhile in Ohio, a sheriff’s Deputy shot and killed 16 year old Joseph Haynes in a Columbus, Ohio courtroom. According to Joseph Haynes’ grandmother, when the court hearing was over, Haynes’ mom was getting her coat to leave when the Deputy put his hands on her and tried to force her out of the courtroom, Haynes pulled the Deputy off his mother, and the Deputy threw Haynes to the ground. While Haynes was on the ground and unarmed with his hands up, the Deputy shot and killed Joseph Haynes. Check this video here:
Also in Baltimore, protesters are taking police to court for brutality during protests over the police murder of Freddie Gray as The Real News wrote:
Court proceedings in a series of civil lawsuits against Baltimore Police officers for alleged brutality and civil rights violations during the 2015 uprising following the death of Freddie Gray begin Wednesday with the case of Larry Lomax, who was pulled to the ground by his dreadlocks after being pepper sprayed.
Lomax spent three weeks in jail after his arrest but was later found not guilty on all charges. “There was too many of us getting killed or brutalized by police,” he told The Real News after the verdict.
Lomax was protesting the illegal curfew on May 2, the day after Marilyn Mosby announced charges against six officers, when Lt. Christopher O’Ree allegedly sprayed Lomax’s face with “a large canister of pepper spray from only a few feet away,” according to the suit. O’Ree later testified in the criminal case against Lomax, in which he was found not guilty of all charges, that he used a large can of pepper spray intended for big crowds.
Immediately after he was sprayed, another officer, identified in the suit as Sgt. Keith Gladstone walked up behind Lomax, grabbed him by the hair and pulled him to the ground. “Still using Mr. Lomax’s hair, Sergeant Gladstone maneuvered him onto his side and then onto his stomach on the street,” the suit reads.
In video of the incident, which went viral, after other officers handcuffed Lomax, Gladstone ran off chasing other protesters with pepper spray.
Lastly, Cape Town in South Africa is looking like it will become the first major city that will run out of water, as some towns in the US are losing access to it as old infrastructure breaks down completely. Meanwhile, a new study predicts that civilization will collapse by 2040:
Dr Aled Jones, the Director of the Global Sustainability Institute, told Insurge Intelligence: “We ran the model forward to the year 2040, along a business-as-usual trajectory based on ‘do-nothing’ trends — that is, without any feedback loops that would change the underlying trend.
“The results show that based on plausible climate trends, and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses, and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots.
“In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.”
In other words, we stop industrial capitalism, or it stops us.
Bring the Ruckus
Today it was announced that 129 people have had their charges dismissed without prejudice in the J20 case, however 59 people remain with charges. While this is a huge victory, as expected, the State is signalling that it will double down on those that it sees as “organizers” or who they claim were involved with the breaking of the 5 corporate and bank windows that some are charged with doing.
An uprising broke out in a jail in Santa Cruz, California:
They tied trip lines from ripped jail-cell sheets, covered their arms with socks, hid their faces with makeshift masks and armed themselves with soap, a radio, mop, books and bottles of liquid.
The 26 men housed in the west-wing L Unit complained it was too cold and, about 2 p.m. Tuesday, drove an offensive against Santa Cruz County Jail officers entering the two-story, booby-trapped cell block. The men covered the unit floor with soap and water and blocked stairwells and walkways with mattresses as they tried to pelt the guards with books and soap, Sgt. Brian Cleveland said.
“They had been gearing up for an attack,” Cleveland said. “They set out trip lines as booby traps. They threw whatever they had access to.”
The men used mats to protect their bodies, he said.
“It was a hectic situation,” Cleveland said.
It started with a complaint Monday. The inmates, two appeared to be in charge of the others, told officers that it was too cold in their units and refused to return to their cells, Cleveland said.
Jail staff checked the temperatures, which were in the high 60s to low 70s in all the units, Cleveland said. Blankets were offered and declined. The men also declined to eat dinner on Monday, Cleveland said.
By Tuesday, the inmates of L Unit declined any offerings of blankets and dinner. The Water Street jail can accommodate 311 inmates.
“They all refused to return to their cells and had free access to the unit, which is not allowed,” Cleveland said. “This made a very tense environment for our corrections officers.”
Across the US, people are gearing up to confront neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer at various campuses, although it remains unclear to the extent that his “Danger Zone” tour will actually get booked. Currently, Spencer is scheduled to speak on the Michigan State University campus on March 5th. For updates on the mobilization against Spencer in Michigan, go here. Spencer was shot down from speaking at Kent State on May 4th, but it is expected that his lawyer will appeal the decision.
Across the Northeast, there has been a recent wave of vandalism against statues of Christopher Columbus and others. On Martin Luther King day on January 15th, a statue celebrating the national anthem was vandalized in Baltimore with the words “racist anthem” graffitied across it. Meanwhile in New Jersey:
Two Christopher Columbus statues in Camden County were among several targeted in a statewide vandalism spree, officials say.
Vandals daubed paint on monuments to the Italian explorer in Cooper River Park, Pennsauken, and Farnham Park in Camden, said Dan Keashen, spokesman for the Camden County Police Department.
A Christopher Columbus statue in Trenton’s Chambersburg neighborhood has become at least the fourth of the explorer’s likeness to be vandalized in New Jersey this week.
Vandalism against Christopher Columbus statue in New Jersey.
In South Carolina, a person has been arrested for writing anti-police, anarchist slogans, more info here. In Northern California, the occupation of a lighthouse that indigenous people and locals were carrying out in order to halt its placement on a sacred site has ended in victory. Check out coverage and background info on the occupation here.
In Minneapolis, houseless people successfully occupied and forced a shelter to remain open over the weekend. Not to be outdone, in Oakland, people set up a tent village in East Oakland, as homelessness is soaring in the wake of the tech boom and the squeezing out of poor and working-class residents.
In San Antonio, people organized a separate MLK march to protest ongoing police shootings, in the face of a city sponsored whitewash of Dr. King. Protests against police shootings also occured in Racine, Wisconsin.
The recent action camp in Northern California to support the logging blockade in the Matthole forest was a big success!
Lastly, January 22nd marks the international day of solidarity with trans prisoners. Events have already been taking place but check out some of these events that are going down, many a part of the #BuildtheBase week of outreach and solidarity.
Social Media Roundup:
It’s Going Down
#OperationPUSH continues forward, as the State is clamping down on incarcerated workers and organizers they perceive as leading the strike. Keep eyes on IWOC as well as here for updates. They are also calling for a phone zap on Monday, January 22nd. Please take part!
January 20th marks one year since J20, and people across the US are organizing conferences, gatherings, workshops, film screenings, benefits, and much more in over 50 US cities. To check out the list of events happening, go here.
On January 21st in Knoxville, Tennessee, neo-Nazis with the Traditionalist Worker Party plan on protesting against the Women’s March, and then marching in solidarity with an anti-abortion group. Antifascist groups with Nashville ARA and the Holler Network are calling on people to mobilize and demonstrate against them. More info here.
On the night of January 21st, according to posts on 4chan and Discord, neo-Nazis will also ramp up a anti-immigrant flyering campaign. More info and ideas about how to counter them here.
Stay frosty comrades!