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Nov 29, 15

All the News You Didn’t Even Know Was Going Down

Originally posted to It’s Going Down

What an intense week. From the continued rage of the eruptions in the United States to white supremacy and policing and also the ramping up of white nationalist and far-Right terror, to repression of the teacher’s movement in Mexico, to continuing resistance of Native communities in Canada.

While discussion of the resistance happening in big cities like Chicago, Minneapolis, Oakland, Denver, and elsewhere is inspiring, we want to let the recent pieces we’ve run speak for themselves and encourage other cities and especially original writers to send in their reports and analysis of what is going down on the ground. We are also greatly interested in what smaller cities and towns are doing; how are people taking action in these moments. How are they failing and succeeding and what lessons and questions do they have to offer us?

From several cities, we hear similar things coming to the forefront: the attempt by protest managers to contain struggles and recuperate them back into politics. In several cases, the “official” protest leadership are trying to get people to calm down and go home.

Those on the street that want to keep things confrontational, make them more generalized, and ratchet things up a notch are faced with several problems. How do we do so while coming up against these forces of bureaucracy? How can we overcome the racial divisions that the official movement leadership and the police try and sow between us? How can we build trust in moments of extreme rupture, tension, and sorrow? In many ways, these moments show us how our struggles are often very weak. We lack connections, trust, and affinity across racial lines, neighborhoods, and communities. In the future, we’d like to revisit this tension and talk about some of the ways that people are working to overcome not only these divisions, but also the weak points in our combative efforts.

Needless to say, the occupation in Minneapolis and marches and protests in Chicago continue. Solidarity demonstrations have also recently taken place in Denver, Oakland, and Philadelphia to name a few.

Also in the US, it appears that one of the richest families ever, the Walton’s, owners of Wal-Mart, one of the largest employers in the US, has been paying Lockheed-Martin and the FBI (Joint Terrorism Task Force no less!) to keep tabs on workers who have been organizing in their stores for better wages and the right to unionize. Despite a squeaky clean image of happy workers, dumb-ass bouncing smiley faces, and crappy corporate culture of stretching and chanting together (OH YES – WE KNOW), Wal-Mart is a house of shit and lies which, just like the American government, views all of its employees as potential proletarian insurgents. As Common Dreams wrote:

Retail giant Walmart enlisted the help of a private military contractor and the FBI to spy on workers pushing for a $15 hourly wage and organizing Black Friday protests in 2012 and 2013, newly released documents (pdf) reveal.

A document made public Tuesday by worker organization OUR Walmart reveals company testimony to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in January stating that Walmart had enlisted the help of arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor workers who were organizing for higher wages and the right to unionize. OUR Walmart workers said they were illegally fired and disciplined for taking part in the “Ride for Respect” strike during Walmart’s shareholder meeting in June of 2013.

But the surveillance had long been in progress. Walmart executives mobilized the so-called “Delta” emergency response team in 2012 when they first got wind of plans for a nationwide Black Friday worker strike. As Bloomberg explained in an investigative piece published Tuesday, “the stakes were enormous.” In addition to the NLRB testimony, the new reporting states, “The details of Walmart’s efforts during the first year it confronted OUR Walmart are described in more than 1,000 pages of e-mails, reports, playbooks, charts, and graphs.”

“Any attempt to organize its 1 million hourly workers at its more than 4,000 stores in the U.S. was an existential danger,” Bloomberg‘s Susan Berfield wrote. “Operating free of unions was as essential to Walmart’s business as its rock-bottom prices.”

Worth reading also is Bloomberg Business’s article which goes into a lot of depth:

A Delta team began operations. When global security heard that members of the Occupy movement might join the protests at corporate headquarters, they began working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces. The documents from the NLRB hearing don’t provide any details about the collaboration or indicate whether it was unusual for Walmart to bring in the FBI. The bureau had worked with local police forces across the country as they dealt with Occupy protesters.

The sickening level of coordination and cooperation between FBI, local police, and corporate interests shows the degree in which government is designed to prop up and protect the interests of the rich and powerful, as well as smoother and monitor movements that come about which seek to confront it.

Despite Our Wal-Mart and Fight for $15 being by and large ventures by big unions; bureaucracies in themselves that have no interest in a large scale revolutionary transformation of society, much less running combative organizing campaigns, these are still struggles that we believe people should interact with, intervene in, and try and push. Largely because, they are full of pissed off poor people that want to actually fight and organize. If you want a good starting point in contextualizing these movements, check out this interview with Phil from ULTRA who talks about being involved in the Fast Food Workers’ movement. One of his conclusions, is that radicals often make the decisive decision to not get involved in these struggles, giving up ground to Democrats, reformists, and activists. People who already have an idea where they want to channel anger and action: back into politics and the “official” movement.

On the other hand, such a venture involves confronting the same sort of protest managers as mentioned before—except this time, their grip on labor struggles has not been challenged in the same capacity that revolts like those of Ferguson, Oakland, and Baltimore have challenged the managers of anti-white supremacy and anti-police struggles.

Regardless, despite the massive government and corporate spying operation, actions on Black Friday continued to take place at Wal-Mart and other stores, often in conjunction with the Fight for $15 movement and #BlackLivesMatter. Here are some collected tweets:

Also in the US, other protests continued that encouraged boycotts on Black Friday in response to continued police murders. In some cases, malls and shopping centers were shut down. Damn Seattle, those balloons tho… Again, here’s some tweets:

In indigenous news, in the Bay Area, people also took to the streets on Black Friday to bring attention to a shopping mall in Emeryville, CA, near Oakland. The shopping center is built on top of an Ohlone Shellmound, a traditional burial site for indigenous people who have continued to demonstrate outside of the mall every year, which is located on ‘Shellmound Ave.’

Also a new video has been produced that showcases the ongoing resistance on Lelu island against an LNG plant that threatens to destroy the ecosystem around it.

Speaking of resistance to fracking, fossil fuels, pipelines, and industrial civilization in general, a new report on global warming stats is bringing another round of ‘fuck my life’ to humanity:

The World Meteorological Organization released a statement about global warming on Wednesday, detailing that the rise in temperature could reach as high as six degrees Celsius or more if we do nothing about the global warming situation as it currently stands. Director of the World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, Michel Jarraud stated “…the more we wait for action, the more difficult it will be,” in reference to reversing the rise in temperatures.

While some people on the east coast have been celebrating how mild the month of November has been relative to last year, the truth is that these milder temperatures do not bode well for our future or for global warming. According to Jarraud, we must take action immediately if we want to see any results within the next hundred or so years.

The average surface temperature of the earth is, according to the WMO, likely to reach a “symbolic and significant milestone” of exactly one degree Celsius above what the earth’s average surface temperature was in the pre-industrial era, around 1880 – 1899. The average surface temperature now is also approximately 0.73 of a degree Celsius above the average around 1961 – 1990.

For the past 30 years, greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere have reached a new record with the passing of every year. Though 2015 was admittedly affected by El Niño quite significantly, 2016 is expected to be even more significantly affected, meaning higher temperatures and possible even more greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.

As the new episode points out in their interview, drastic and revolutionary action is needed now and the reformist and statist methods of change must be thrown by the wayside. As the global elites ready for the COP21 conference, if the tens of thousands of people planning to march around the globe in permitted and peaceful rallies instead went back home and blockaded, sabotaged, and disrupted natural gas, oil, and pipeline infrastructure, we’d be in a lot better shape.

In far-right news that continues to grow more grave and horrific, a ‘lone gunman’ in Colorado shot and killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic before being arrested (without injury, even after killing one police officer.) One report read:

Witnesses reported hearing many gunshots in the compound during the course of the standoff. There were also reports that the gunman had brought unidentified devices with him into the clinic, which officials indicated might be explosives.

Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health care for women in the US, has been repeatedly targeted by right-wing political forces for performing abortions and providing birth control. About five million women use the organization’s services each year, the majority poor and working class.

Over the summer, Planned Parenthood was the subject of a right-wing smear campaign, backed by significant sections of the political establishment, involving doctored videos alleging that members of the organization were selling fetal tissue for profit. The campaign was led by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress.

Threats against the organization and other abortion providers have increased in line with this smear campaign. Four fires at Planned Parenthood clinics in recent months are being investigated as possible arson attacks.

In Mexico, teachers continued actions even in the face of massive police repression:

That’s gonna wrap it up for us this week. Stay strong out there and thanks to everyone that has submitted articles, sent us words of advice, shared our reports, and contributed in any way great or small to It’s Going Down.

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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