Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Incarceration, Midwest
Report back on New Year’s Eve noise demo from anarchists in so-called Rockford, Illinois.
We arrived in a small crew. A lot of us were nervous about the demo being announced publicly especially due to the fact that the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department had made a public announcement declaring a free speech zone as a lead-up to the event. There has been a lot of repression and many of our comrades are facing serious charges from the summer. Despite this, we went out to show solidarity with people in the Jail.
The turnout was relatively small. It probably 20 to 25 people. Despite our frustration because there were larger noise demos in the summer and the fall, we feel that the recent snowfall in Rockford was a big reason for dissuading people from coming out in addition to the large amounts of repression. We also noticed that many of the city’s well known “abolitionists” and “activists” were not present, it speaks to the critique in the zine, Notes from the Rockford Rebellionl which gets into how the “abolition” movement in Rockford is not invested enough in the destruction of prisons or autonomist politics.
The demo began with a few speakers discussing the importance of continuing to relationships with people inside of the Winnebago County Jail, putting money on people’s books, the mysterious deaths of Joseph McCormick and Eugene Washington inside of the jail and the fact that there is a still a protestor from the summer protests who is locked up. We departed a little bit after 11. There was a small speaker that played some classic anti-police joints by local rapper 23Sonny (fuck Jaimie Cox). Many of our comrades brought anarchist flags which was dope. We got to the jail and avoided the designated “protest zone.” We went to the back where prisoners are most likely to hear us. We started to make noise and scream.
At 11:59pm, we did a countdown. At 12am, some fireworks/firecrackers were shot off and an American flag was burned. A bit after this, some County Sheriffs came over and declared it “an illegal assembly,” (why we weren’t able to get any pictures.) We decided to leave because of our small numbers. Some tags were thrown up as we walked away from the pigs. We dispersed pretty shortly after. To be honest, the whole thing felt generally very anti-climatic. Not a lot of us brought out drums or other noisemakers so it was pretty quiet other than a few chants and fireworks. We felt that the call could have been made privately instead of publicly or it could have been publicized better.
Despite this, there has never been a NYE noise demo in Rockford. We hope that next year, it is a bit more well attended. We could do better by bringing more drums and noisemakers. Overall though, for a small city, we were pretty happy about the fact that the demo happened cause most of the time, we find ourselves going to larger cities for demos or just watching stuff on Twitter.
Fire to the prisons. Fire to the pigs. Fire to the whole damn plantation.
– Some anarchists in the 815