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Jan 21, 21

Resistance In the Streets on #J20 Confronts Far-Right & ICE; Denounces Neoliberalism

Four years after hundreds of anarchists and antifascists took to the streets of Washington DC in opposition to the inauguration of Donald Trump, today across the so-called US, anarchists, abolitionists, and antifascists again mobilized in the face of far-Right rallies that completely fizzled, to demand the dismantling of ICE and the release of those in detention, and to voice a clear anti-capitalist opposition to the incoming neoliberal Biden administration that helped give birth to mass incarceration and corporate globalization. In Portland, after hundreds took to the streets, DHS and federal troops violently attacked and gassed a crowd gathered in protest outside of an ICE building – in a sign that seemed to only cement the feeling on the street: meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

While Biden has predictably rolled back much of Trump’s most egregious executive orders and called for a several month moratorium on deportations, thousands of people across the US remain locked up in detention facilities, threatened with future deportation, and possibly contracting COVID-19.

As USA Today wrote:

More than 69,000 migrant children are held in U.S. custody, officials have lost track of the parents of hundreds of migrant children, and thousands of migrant children have reported instances of physical and sexual abuse while in government custody.

And, while Biden has ended construction of Trump’s disastrous wall, for years the Democrats have instead been pushing for a “smart wall” which would utilize technology to enforce the US line in the sand. With climate change, US imperial foreign policy, and neoliberal globalization generating literally millions of refugees – the Democrats know that the era of mass migration is here and wants the best tools ready at their disposal.

As The Guardian wrote:

Biden has promised to end many of the Trump administration’s border policies, but has yet to unveil the kind of bold immigration plan that would suggest a true departure from Obama-era priorities. Cecilia Muñoz, Obama’s top immigration adviser who memorably defended the administration’s decision to deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants, was recently added to Biden’s transition team.

During his time in the Senate, Biden voted for both the 2005 Real ID Act and the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which approved the construction of hundreds of miles of barriers along the southern border. During the Obama administration, when he served as vice-president, the government poured funds into agencies such as ICE and deported more than 3 million people.

This is to say nothing of Biden’s troubled track record on climate change and the continuing threats of mass evictions and escalating COVID-19 deaths, on top of the growing push for more “domestic terror” legislation that would be leveled against autonomous social movements more harshly than the far-Right.

Above all, Biden’s grand project is putting a lid on exploding class struggle under calls for “unity” and a return to normalcy. His push against “extremism” have more to do with silencing the rebellion that engulfed the country following the murder of George Floyd than it does with combating the rise of the fascist far-Right, which the Center has allowed to fester for four years while demonizing Black Lives Matter and antifascists. And it’s this: the continuation and growth of organized class conflict from below that the Democrats fear the most – much more so than Qanon supporters and militia members storming into an empty building.

And while Trump may have brought these tensions front in center, it was the Clinton-era Democratic party who helped create the conditions for Trump’s rise in the first place. From their coupled push for austerity and attacks on social programs combined with mass incarceration, passing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) alongside border militarization in the face of growing economic refugees, to an embrace of never-ending imperialistic ventures abroad and mass surveillance, spying, and attacks on civil liberties at home.

While the transition from Trump to Biden will surely drastically change the context of social struggles, class conflict, and mass movements in the United States – the fundamental realities of racial and wealth inequality, State repression, ecological fallout, and declining material conditions aren’t going away anytime soon – no matter who is President.

The task for autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements then is not only to adapt and grow with the changing terrain, but to continue to organize and mobilize in their respective communities; building up bases of support and communities of resistance in the face of neoliberal capitalism and white supremacy.

Seattle, WA

Militant march of several hundred hits the streets to reject Biden’s policies and fight to abolish ICE. Various corporate store windows were targeted and anti-capitalist slogans were painted.

From the New York Times:

Seattle saw…people push their way through the streets, with some breaking windows, spray-painting anarchist insignia and chanting not only about ICE, but the many other issues that roiled America’s streets last year under the administration of former President Donald J. Trump.

“No Cops, Prisons, Borders, Presidents,” said one banner, while another proclaimed that the conflict over racial justice, policing, immigration and corporate influence in the country was “not over” merely because a new president had been inaugurated in Washington, D.C.

“A Democratic administration is not a victory for oppressed people,” said a flier handed out during the demonstrations, during which protesters also smashed windows at a shop often described as the original Starbucks in downtown Seattle. The communiqués used expletives to condemn Mr. Biden and “his stupid” crime bill, passed in 1994 and blamed for mass incarcerations in the years since.

One member of the group handed out fliers to people on the street that said, “Biden won! And so did corporate elites!” The fliers explained that a “Democratic administration is not a victory for oppressed people” and that “Biden will not save us.”

Eugene, OR

Community forum held about plugging into ongoing community organizing campaigns and initiatives was organized.

Portland, OR

Several hundred took the streets for a militant march that broke windows and spray painted slogans at a DNC office. Later in the night, a riot broke out when federal troops attacked a crowd gathered in protest outside of the downtown ICE building.

According to the New York Times:

In Portland, Ore., lines of federal agents in camouflage — now working under the Biden administration — blanketed streets with tear gas and unleashed volleys of welt-inducing pepper balls as they confronted a crowd that gathered outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement building near downtown. Some in the crowd later burned a Biden-for-President flag in the street.

Earlier in the day, a group of about 200 people — a mix of racial justice, antifascist and anarchist activists — marched to the local Democratic Party headquarters, where some of them smashed windows and tipped over garbage containers, lighting the contents of one on fire. “We don’t want Biden — we want revenge,” said one sign, referring to killings committed by police officers.

In a city that has seen months of demonstrations over racial injustice, economic inequality, federal law enforcement and corporate power — and some of the harshest law enforcement responses to such protests — protesters have vowed to continue their actions no matter who is president. “We are ungovernable,” one sign in the crowd said.


Sacramento, CA

Over 150 antifascists and anarchists converged and marched on the state capitol against a scheduled far-Right, pro-Trump rally which never materialized.

Merced, CA

Anti-ICE rally held.

Bay Area, CA

Anonymous individuals took credit for smashing windows and painting graffiti slogans at an ICE building in San Francisco.  From the communique:

On January 18, as strong winds raged, 30+ anti-racists attacked the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in San Francisco. We thoroughly painted the walls, smashed the windows, and breached the building to wreak havoc inside. We did this to initiate what will hopefully be the first in a series of breaks into and out of prisons and detention centers throughout the country. Like the tremors presaging last summer’s uprising, we are responding to a generalized call to liberate all those locked within the modern plantation system.

We carried out this attack to show everyone where abolitionists and anarchists stand. On the eve of the inauguration and the so-called transfer of power, street-level white supremacists and the State fight one another for control over all of our lives. We act fiercely for ourselves and our loved ones. In the unfolding chaos, there is real opportunity. The fragility of the State is on full display. We’ll continue to attack both the liberal and fascist wings of the State proactively and relentlessly, as they are mutual participants in the maintenance of exploitation and repression. In the final analysis, they are functionally the same.

We know that Biden and Harris will try to keep ICE running just as it did under Trump and under Obama. ICE follows the three miserable directives of “Homeland Security Investigations, Enforcement Removal Operations, and Management and Administration.” We take joy in the disruption our attack caused to that nightmarish routine.

We join all prisoners and ICE detainees who continue to fight by way of hunger strikes, escapes, and riots against repression and neglect from the State. We see you, we hear you, until every prison door and border wall is open. Solidarity means attack!

Another communique also claimed responsibility for breaking windows and graffiti slogans at the South San Francisco Courthouse:

As it enters a new phase, the violence of the amerikkan empire remains disgusting and demented, as designed. While we are faced with new challenges in enacting decolonization and the abolition of capitalism and all oppression, we will remain on the offensive, exposing the violence inherent to amerikkka and exploring the freedoms of possibility.

We acted with this in mind: whatever happens in our urban centers in response to another president, the urgency and possibility of everyday actions to dismantle this shitsystem can proliferate across the land through actions of individuals, affinity groups, neighborhoods, communities of all forms. Our power lies in our willingness to act in spontaneous, unpredictable ways. There are possibilities to be realized everywhere and at all times. This energy could never be contained or governed.

We have infinite power in the spiritual and emotional release that comes with acting in accordance with the land. A window with logos of the police and carceral State existed yesterday, and are gone today. A powerful cleanse of the spirit; a dance with the entities haunting this occupied land. This is the power we can continually harness within ourselves and the people we build futures with. This is the power that whiteness suppresses, it is our upper hand and a path to individual and collective liberation.

The justifiers of white supremacist violence will change their aesthetic from red to blue, but their day of reckoning quickly approaches with every drop of freedom exercised by those brave enough to act with feeling and love.

Los Angeles, CA:

Banner drop was reported.

Denver, CO

Hundreds gathered at the Colorado capitol against a scheduled far-Right rally that never materialized. Speakers addressed the crowd and then marched through the downtown.

Bloomington, IN

People rallied against Biden policies of supporting a “smart wall” made up of surveillance and AI technology along the US/Mexico border.

Minneapolis, MN

A coalition of anti-capitalist and anti-fascist groups hit the streets and rallied outside of the burned precinct in Minneapolis, which was again covered in graffiti slogans.

Columbus, OH

Antifascist mobilization in response to threats from the far-Right to hold a pro-Trump rally. Large antifascist presence; smaller turnout from far-Right.

Washington DC

Banners were dropped throughout the city and Black liberation and autonomous anti-capitalist groups handed out free food and warm weather supplies.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Anarchists rallied in solidarity with those locked inside a local detention facility.

Pittsburgh, PA

Banner drop reported.

Philadelphia, PA

Graffiti reported.

Crown Heights, NY

Abolitionists rallied and then took to the streets.

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