This is America #1: An Anarchist Headline News Podcast


When It’s Going Down first launched, our column, All the News You Didn’t Even Know Was Going Down, offered a weekly roundup of revolt and headline news from an anarchist perspective. However, as this project has grown, we’ve seen a growth both in the amount of anarchist media produced in so-called North America, but also in the need for more continuous reporting and analysis of daily life in the Trump era and resistance to it.

This is why we are excited to roll out today, This is America, which we hope to produce upwards of three times a week. Each show/podcast will be under 30 minutes and will be radio ready – no cursing.

The goal of This is America comes out of discussion with our comrades at Sub.Media about what it would mean to push both ourselves and our movement in terms of generating media. We see the need to work towards the day when we can compete and ultimately leave in the dust, both the progressive Left exemplified by Democracy Now and the far-Right ala InfoWars. Ultimately we see this project as a step towards what a daily/weekly internet talk show would look like; one that could be streamed on social media, on phones, computers, and the radio. This is a tall drink of drink of water, one which today seems impossible, but then again, so did this project in early 2015.

With this project we hope to push towards:

  • Putting out an episodes of This is America throughout the week. We’d are pushing to run episodes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday currently. We hope to put up episodes in the early AM, so those on the East Coast can download and listen to episodes before early work commutes. As a goal, this may take us some time to get to, but we hope that the work becomes more streamlined.
  • Each episode will be radio ready and be around 10-15 minutes. This will allow people with access to public and pirate radio the ability to play the show as a form of headline news. This same format is currently in use across the US through the Pacifica Network, and there’s no reason that our forces can’t push to add this project to already existing station lineups.
  • Streamline our audio reports into This is America to give those on the ground reporting on unfolding events a larger platform.
  • Give listeners a short, fast, and accessible anarchist take on headline news that not only expands our talking points and analysis of capitalist civilization and self-organized revolt against it, but also gives those already within our movement information on daily events that they can use.
  • Building up our listener-ship. This is America will be featured on the It’s Going Down podcast page of this website. To add that RSS feed to your phone or computer so you never miss a post and have the show directly downloaded to your device, follow this link, (fyi, a few months ago that link was updated, so you may want to refresh). Follow us on iTunes here. Follow us on Stitcher here. Please rate and leave comments on these platforms if you can to expand our audience.

This is America #1

Welcome to This is America, May 28th, 2018.

The last few days have been rocked by headlines surrounding ICE, a department of the Homeland Security Office which was formed in 2003. Last week, Donald Trump referred to migrants as “animals,” people protested, sabotaged, and blockaded a Georgia Governor candidate’s ‘Deportation Bus‘ and a racist lawyer connected to the Proud Boys was hounded across New York after demanding that employees at a restaurant who were speaking Spanish to a customer be deported. This week however, the news became much more horrific, as it was discovered that upwards of 1,500 children have gone “missing” within ICE detention facilities over the last few months.

As the Huffington Post wrote:

Tens of thousands of children from Central America are apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border each year, straining the government system caring for minors traveling to the U.S. without their parents. Now Donald Trump’s administration is stretching the system even further.

Until recently, families that illegally crossed together generally faced deportation proceedings in civil court. But as of this month, the Trump administration is following a blanket policy of referring for prosecution all people who cross illegally. The change means that authorities send parents to jails run by the U.S. Marshals Services and their children wind up in the same agency as minors who came to the U.S. without their parents ― sometimes without their parents being able to locate them.

White House chief of staff John Kelly told NPR this month that once separated from their parents, children “will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”

By “whatever,” Kelly is supposed to mean programs which find guardians for migrant children, forcibly separated from their parents. Kelly also stated that this policy of ripping families apart was supposed to act as a deterrent to migrants crossing the border. But the system in place is also described by officials as “strained,” and has led to some of the tens of thousands of children which have been picked up in recent years, slipping through the cracks, including into the arms of some human traffickers, according to Think Progress.

The article went on to state:

With limited access to phones and no right to a public defender, parents might not be able to find out where their children are.

The Trump administration itself has also sent mixed messages to why such draconian policies are needed, at a time when more immigrants are leaving the US than entering it, and automation, outsourcing, and the gig economy is destroying more jobs than any undocumented boogeyman dreamed up by the far-Right. At a recent campaign stop, Trump even stated that the US needed migrant workers in order to keep food and basic commodity prices down. Kelly on the other hand stated those coming across the border to work were too ‘rural’ and that,  “They don’t speak English. They don’t integrate well. They don’t have skills.”

This reality points to the double fisted narratives presented by the far-Right: lies based on fear and conspiracy theories, and out right racism and white supremacy of ‘the Other.’

The White House and Trump have also doubled down on tough talk on MS-13, a gang that grew out of the El Salvadorian civil war, largely in part due to the US’s colonial and imperialist interventions within the country. Despite the fact that MS-13 is not based in Mexico, where the majority of undocumented people migrate from, the gang with a violence history serves as a useful ISIS like boogeyman. The creation of such enemies that mobilize the imaginations of the proto-fascist Trump base are also being coupled with the strengthening of settler-colonial myths, such as when Trump on Friday talked of taming a savage country and the building of a great and powerful empire. Speaking at a Naval Academy Friday, Trump stated:

“Our ancestors tamed a continent,” adding that “we are not going to apologize for America.”

Also speaking Friday was the aunt of Claudia Patricia Gómez González, Dominga Vicente, who spoke at a news conference in Guatemala, talking about how Claudia, an accountant, had left her country in search of work, but was shot and killed by US border patrol. “Don’t treat us like animals,” Claudia’s aunt stated. One witness to the shooting stated “There was no weapon. They were hiding, [I] didn’t hear any yelling or ‘stop’ or ‘don’t run.’”

We should take both current events and Trump’s comments dehumanizing everyone from migrants to protesting NFL players for what they are, both a call for mass brutality and a justification for the regime’s current actions.

We should all take steps to try and get involved in ongoing resistance to ICE and police terror in general, this means linking up with those organizing rapid response initiatives that block ICE from conducting raids, helping to facilitate the distribution of Know Your Rights information, organizing and standing in solidarity with those demonstrating against ICE detention facilities and prisons, and also giving support to churches and houses of worship which are actively giving sanctuary to migrants as part of a new underground railroad.

There is literally no time to wait, those in power have already spelled out their intentions.

Neoliberalism Leaves Millions Behind and Makes Billionaires Richer

Despite both cheerleaders from the Democratic faithful; such shows like Saturday Night Live, or Trump stating that the economy has made a complete rebound, a new study entitled Wealth X, documents that while 51 million US households cannot afford or gain access to basic needs such as rent, healthcare, and food, the number of billionaires has grown while the wealth gap has only increased. Currently, 2/3 of US jobs are low-income, while 4 in 10 US adults are unable to cover a potential emergency expense of $400. Millennials, born in the 1980s are also the greatest at risk of becoming a “lost generation,” as they are the most likely to be crippled with massive amounts of debt.

Despite Breaking Apart of Alt-Right, Attacks and Influence Continue

A 34 year old man is under arrest after spray painting swastikas over the graves of hundreds in Illinois.

Leaked emails show that Proud Boys leader, Gavin McInness directed and encouraged members of his ‘Alt-Lite’ group, which includes many who are sympathetic to and work closely with members of the Alt-Right and white nationalists, to harass progressive humorist Vic Berger. Berger, who is part of a duo behind Super Delux, is best known for making videos mocking Alex Jones and other far-Right figures. Recently, Berger posted a montage video of McInness shouting racial slurs including the N-word on his pay-per-view show, Get Off My Lawn. Angry that the video was hurting his reputation, McInness encouraged Proud Boys to harass Berger.

Soon after the email was sent, a member of the Proud Boys showed up at Berger’s house. According to an article in the Huffington Post:

“When I answered the door, he seemed nervous, like he wasn’t expecting me. It was the middle of the day, and my wife was home,” Berger told HuffPost. “He said, ‘Are you Vic? Your videos are hurting a lot of people. You’re really hurting the Proud Boys. You need to stop making these videos.’”

The targeting of Berger should be seen as the escalation that it is. Many on the far-Right are feeling the heat post-Charlottesville and are turning more and more against not just antifa, but journalists who are exposing them. The threats directed against Berger bring to mind the murder of Jewish radio host Alan Berg in Denver, who was killed by the neo-Nazi group the Order at his home. Berg was known for openly talking about and attacking far-Right, KKK, and neo-Nazi groups on this radio show, which gained him the attention of the Order, which was based in the Pacific Northwest.

Also, late last week, Trump nominated Ronald W. Mortensen, a fellow with the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), for Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mortensen marks the fourth individual from an anti-immigrant hate group to find a home in the Trump government. According to the SPLC:

CIS was founded by white nationalist John Tanton who wrote in 1993, “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

Meanwhile Republican Senate hopeful in Oregon, Joey Gibson (leader of ‘Patriot Prayer’) conducted a campaign event recently where he complained that the neo-Nazi ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville was a “set up” to get “conservatives” to look bad. He stated that attendance at “Free Speech” events were down, as people did not want to be seen with Nazi flags flying.

Ironically, Gibson livestreamed his event with the symbol of “FOAK” or the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, the ‘para-military’ division of the Proud Boys, stamped on the bottom of the feed. Both Proud Boys and members of FOAK attended Unite the Right, and Augustus Invictus, a FOAK leader, was also scheduled to speak. Baked Alaska, a long time neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic social media personality also attended many of Gibson’s events before Unite the Right despite his open embrace of neo-Nazi politics. Kyle Chapman, who has a long history of working with Gibson, also had originally planned on attending Unite the Right, but in the end backed out of the event. As leader of FOAK, he was still named in the initial lawsuit following the death of Heather Heyer, however.

“Every Day is Social War”

Sunday marked eight months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and about 14,500 people there still don’t have electricity according to ABC News, let alone clean drinking water. Meanwhile, officially hurricane season is set to start next week.

The city government of Flint is considering suing the Republican governor, who has stated that the tap water is now safe to drink, and currently various groups are attempting to organize new water distribution programs after governor Snyder announced that the free bottled water program would conclude, at the same time as Nestle announced the opening of a new bottled water plant.

According to Killed by Police, 512 people have been killed by US law enforcement since the start of 2018, making for an average of 3.5 people killed by US law enforcement per day.

The Frontline is Everywhere

Across the US and Canada, tenants are getting organized and launching rent strikes. In LA’s South Central, tenants have launched a rent strike and organized several marches and home demonstrations against their slumlord, demanding that they meet tenants demands. Follow @LATenantsUnion for more info. Also in Southern California, people are taking to social media to film themselves tearing down “House Flipper” signs, noting their connection to gentrification.

Meanwhile in Chicago, the Autonomous Tenants Union continues to organize and bring people together against some of the largest real estate corporations in the windy city. Check them out on Twitter and get inspired @AutonomousUnion.

In Los Angeles, a new group called Mutual Aid Organizing Committee put on an anti-gentrification free store event at Leimert Park yesterday.

Cities across the US continue to mobilize against seeking to build it’s HQ building in a major city. Most recently, DC residents held a mass meeting about organizing against the facility. As DC Direct Action News wrote:

On the 22nd of May, a wide spectrum of community organizations held a town hall meeting at St Stephens Church to begin organizing strong opposition to proposals to locate’s “HQ2” in DC, Montgomery County, MD, or in Northern VA. One of the speakers revealed that the sudden push to close the homeless shelter at DC General may be to clear the site for Amazon to build there.

In Louisiana, support is building for a teacher’s strike, however union officials are fighting to keep class combat from breaking out in opposition to bureaucrats in the Democratic Party. Meanwhile outside of Atlanta, actions by bus drivers continue to fight for several drivers to be rehired for participating in a sick-out strike. Meanwhile in Minnesota, Teamsters declared victory and signed a new contract, after a 6 week strike with beer giants.

In so-called British Columbia, resistance continues against the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which faces a hard May 31st deadline to see if it will continue forward. Meanwhile in Montreal, people demonstrated in solidarity against the pipeline as Kinder Morgan faced embarrassment as section of the pipeline broke and spilled.

Resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline continues, as Energy Transfer Partners continues to build in Louisiana despite being told legally to halt construction. For action updates, check the No Bayou Bridge Pipeline resistance Facebook page.

Meanwhile in the Hellbender Autonomous Zone of the Virginias, tree sitters who have been on Peter’s Mountain for three months issued the following statement:

We must not lose the forest for the trees.

It is by overwhelming their resources with a superior show of numbers and will, with an unyielding resilience and long-term commitment, and a stubborn rejection of compromise, that the tides change.

It is with a smile that great violence is committed against the planet. With the swing of a gavel that the rights of profit are enshrined and the rights of the individual dismissed. With the cold press of a rubber stamp, wholesale destruction sanctioned. It is the system against us. Its institutions aligned in opposition.

Fortunately, the lines are clear. They have carved them into stone. The forces of greed, power, exploitation, and extraction stand where they’ve always stood. Now as the banner erected alongside fern’s blockade demands, “Which side are you on?”

From the first season of Hellbender, to a perennial presence. And as always, my profound thanks to all those in the good fight!

Meanwhile, at nearby Little Teel Crossing, repression of tree sitters fighting to save homes and land impacted by the Mountain Valley Pipeline continues, with issues to appear in court being brought against tree sitters. For more info, check for the latest press releases.

The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee conference just wrapped up, complete with a demonstration outside of a Florida work camp. IWOCers, anarchists, and prison abolitionists are both sides of the prison walls are gearing up for a national prison strike on August 21st to September 9th. Check in the coming weeks for more info.

Actions in solidarity comrades who have passed on continues. Check Conflict MN for a roundup of graffiti in memory of Toor, and Philly Anti-Capitalist for a militant remembrance of Pablo Avendano, who died while working his gig economy job.

Lastly, this week will be big in terms of the J20 trial. Last week, it was found that the prosecution knowingly used selectively edited footage from the far-Right media group, Project Veritas, known for often manipulating their footage to attack protesters and Leftists. While the judge didn’t declare a mistrial, the implications and repercussions of Kerkhoff and friends lying for over a year about the footage doesn’t look good for the State. As friends told IGD who heard Kerkhoff mutter under her breath in the elevator, “This is a crisis.”

Be sure to watch It’s Going Down, Defend J20, and Unicorn Riot for future updates, as this Thursday the judge is supposed to rule on the matter.

Until next time, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, support us with a monthly or one time donation to keep us going here, and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher here.

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