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Jun 18, 20

This Is America #119: Down To Their Level

Welcome to This Is America, June 17th, 2020.

In this episode, first we talk with two people who have been spending time in the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ. We discuss their experiences, the extreme amount of misinformation that has been pushed by the far-Right, and what day to day life looks there.

We then speak with two people from the Palm Beach Tenants Union about attacks on their organization since they launched a series of direct actions last December. The group needs some real support, so please donate here.

We then switch to a discussion, were we continue to look at the evolving terrain of the rebellion and attempts by both liberals and the State of crush it.

All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

There’s a lot going on! Here’s some quick headlines.

Autonomous Zones

  • The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) continues, although at this point there are reports that numerous self-appointed leaders have entered into discussions with the city government. In Seattle last Friday, over 60,000 people marched in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the police precinct that police vacated is still empty. Despite numerous attempts by Fox News and far-Right trolls to discredit the movement through misinformation and outright lying, the CHAZ has continued to enjoy wide scale support. On Monday June 15th, members of the Proud Boys gang armed with hand guns attacked someone filming them outside of the CHAZ, destroying their phone, and beating them. To follow the CHAZ, check out this site.

  • Over the past week, other autonomous zones have also been launched, each with different levels of success. One was attempted in Asheville, North Carolina, however it was shut down quickly by the police. In Nashville, Tennessee people have set up a protest at the State capitol and it is ongoing. In Philadelphia, PA an encampment led by Black abolitionist organizations and houseless folks demanding housing has been set up an encampment which is growing. Meanwhile in Chicago, people last Saturday ended a protest after “occupying the University Of Chicago Police Department after demanding their dissolution” for several days. 

Continued Resistance in the Streets

  • In Atlanta, Georgia a rebellion kicked off after police shot and killed Rayshard Brooks outside of a Wendy’s on Saturday. A mass demonstration the day after took to the streets, clashed with police, attacked police cars, looted stores, wrote graffiti, and also set fire to the Wendy’s outside of where Brooks was murdered. Police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas, which was quickly put out by the crowd. Following Brooks’ murder, the police chief quit and the “two officers involved in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, were fired and placed on administrative duty respectively.” Hip-hop artist Killer Mike of Run the Jewels also appeared at one point attempt during the demonstrations in an attempt to calm the crowd down, but had no affect.

  • Mass protests, marches, rallies, and pickets continued across the US.
  • In Olympia, Washington there was a larger rally outside of the police station.

  • In Boston, MA there was a mass march on City Hall to demand that police be defunded.

  • In San Francisco and Pittsburgh, skateboarders held Black Lives Matter rallies.

  • In Columbus, Ohio large demonstrations continue to march on the police station.

  • Intense and violent standoffs continue at the fence erected by the police in Portland, Oregon. With people continuing to defy the police and rally each night, often facing extreme violence from police projectiles.

  • Noise demonstrations were also organized outside of the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York.

“Everywhere I go, statues crumble for me…”

The current wave of anti-racist and anti-colonial action has also led to Confederate and colonial statues across the so-called United States (and beyond) being pulled down, destroyed, and simply vandalized by groups of people both large and small. This includes but is not limited to:

Class War

  • Tenants across so-called North America are joining the rent strike or continuing to strike. In Toronto, the Keep Your Rent movement is heating up, with mass actions and mobilizations happening against landlords and people preparing for a wave of potential evictions as the COVID-19 crisis shows no signs of slowing down.

  • Fruit workers in Washington are declaring victory in a series of strikes against agricultural corporate giants. Social media reports that strikes have forced companies to recognize the workers as a bargaining entity and also adhere to social distancing and PPE demands.

  • Renters in Portland have set up a new website for anti-eviction response. Check it out here.

  • McDonald’s workers recently went out on strike in Berkeley, California after over half a dozen tested positive for COVID-19.

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