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Oct 27, 20

This Is America #127: Up in Flames

Welcome, to This Is America, October 27th, 2020.

On today’s episode, we speak with someone involved in the recent strike at the University of Michigan, where grad students demanded a safe return back to school in the face of COVID-19 pandemic and to demand a defunding of the police on campus.

We then switch to our discussion, both about long-term organizing, and also about Trump and the upcoming 2020 election. All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news.

Living and Fighting

  • As this podcast was being completed, Philadelphia erupted in rebellion against the police, after two white officers repeatedly shot and killed a 27 year-old African-American man, Walter Wallace, Jr, in front of his screaming mother. Police were called to the scene by Walter Wallace’s family, who stated that he had mental health issues. In a video of the shooting, Wallace can be seen walking with a knife in the street, his mother attempting to diffuse the situation, and then police opening fire, killing him. A crowd soon gathered and hundreds then began to take to the streets, setting fires to police cars and looting stores. At one point, a line of police on the street was sent running by rioters.

  • According to the New York Times, “the parents of 545 migrant children still haven’t been found, according to court documents filed this week in a case challenging the practice.” This news comes hot on the heels of newly released documents that show in May of 2018, racist anti-immigrant career bureaucrat Jeff Sessions stated that, “We need to take away children,” in a meeting with US Attorneys. In short, the cruelty was and is the point. In the past, Trump has also called for migrants to be shot at the border and for moats to be dug and filled with snakes and alligators. Trump has defended the child separation policy by claiming that the imprisoned children are “very well taken care of,” despite the fact that multiple migrants have died in ICE custody, thousands have been separated from their parents since the practice began in 2018, many report rampant sexual abuse and assault and there is an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 in these facilities. Just this week The Guardian also reported that, “US immigration officers allegedly tortured Cameroonian asylum seekers to force them to sign their own deportation orders, in what lawyers and activists describe as a brutal scramble to fly African migrants out of the country in the run-up to the elections.” Not to be outdone, the Southern Poverty Law Center dropped a bomb this week, reporting that, “President Trump’s Deputy Communications Director Julia Hahn had connections to the white nationalist movement around the time she joined the White House as an aide,” including people like Peter Brimelow of VDARE.

  • Across so-called Canada, things seem ready to explode. Indigenous people are on the front lines, resisting resource extraction and land theft. For a full overview of the various territories in conflict asking for solidarity, go here. On Six Nations land, the #1492LandBackLane reclamation continues, with people digging up the road ways around a development site, flaming barricades being set, a school bus being flipped over, and clashes breaking out with police, forcing them out of the area. Follow Real People’s Media for update to the minute reporting.

  • In Northern Quebec, moose hunters attacked indigenous people holding down a successful blockade against moose hunting. At the time of this writing the blockades have been lifted as the season has now ended.

  • In New York, people egged Rudy Giuliani and drove out a collection of violent Trump supporters, Proud Boys, and far-Right goons attempting to hold a MAGA parade through the streets. Meanwhile in Carbondale, Illinois, people also managed to shut down a MAGA caravan in the streets.

  • Across the so-called US, rent strikes and other housing actions continue. In New York, the Housing Court building had its doors locked with a bike lock and anti-landlord graffiti was spray painted across the front windows. A communique was released demanding an end to evictions. In Kansas City tenants chained themselves to the doors of the Jackson County Courthouse downtown Thursday morning and shut down virtual eviction proceedings with online disruptions. The protest, organized by KC Tenants, drew about 100 people, who held signs saying “eviction kills” and “court’s closed today.”

  • In Oregon, people rallied to mourn prisoners who have died after contracting COVID-19 and to demand the release of all prisoners.

  • In Portland, the statue of Harvey Scott was toppled in Mt. Tabor park.

  • In Houston, over 100 teachers from at least 39 schools organized a sick-out wildcat strike to protest the threat of COVID-19 to their students and themselves as children flood back into schools.

  • Berkeley Antifa reports that a GoFundMe account set up by Proud Boy  and Groyper Phillip Anderson, the far-Right troll that organized a rally in San Francisco last Saturday that was shut down by hundreds of antifascists – has been taken down and the money returned. Anderson was fundraising to supposedly fix his two front teeth but also claimed that he was also going to use the money to hold another rally in the bay area.

  • In Atlanta, DC, and many other cities, there were solidarity demonstrations with the ongoing rebellion in Nigeria against the police and the State.

  • In Brooklyn, NY, people have been locking down to fight the construction of a gas pipeline.

  • In Seattle, WA, a ‘Back the Blue’ rally was disrupted and shut down.
  • Idaho, Animal Liberation Front (ALF) activists released thousands of mink from a fur farm.
  • Ojibway Warriors and the American Indian Movement (AIM) rallied in Winnipeg, setting up a blockade on Highway 75 outside of Manitoba in solidarity with the 1492 Land Back Lane.

  • In so-called Tucson, AZ, around 80 people rallied in solidarity with Native O’odham people fighting the militarization of the border and the destruction of sacred sites and burial grounds.
  • In nearby Mesa, AZ, a militant march was also organized for Angel Benitez.
  • In Philadelphia, “housing activists celebrated a historic victory Friday, after city officials agreed to hand over 50 vacant homes to a community land trust following months of organizing by unhoused people, including protest encampments and taking over vacant homes. Fifty mothers and children who have been occupying 15 vacant city-owned houses will also be permitted to stay as part of the deal. Philadelphia Housing Action, the group behind the direct action campaign, will set up the community land trust.”

  • In Portland, “friends of Sean Kealiher gathered to remember the fallen anti-fascist Sean Kealiher. They shared memories while they marched in the streets to Tilikum Crossing bridge. They lit up the sky with flares and fireworks in a celebration of his life.
  • In Los Angeles, LA Lakers fans rioted, clashing with police.
  • Rent strike across the US continue. Buildings in Los Angeles, CA, New York, and DC continue to remain on rent strike, with more buildings joining in.

Solidarity Needed

On August 31st, a peaceful protest in Washington, DC, was violently razed by the police. A group of no more than 100 demonstrators were met with rubber bullets, tear gas, and a crowd control tactic that remains in a gray area of the law, called kettling.

Kettling not only criminalizes the first amendment, but jeopardizes the financial stability of citizens guilty of nothing other than practicing their constitutionally guaranteed rights. This practice almost always ends in the arrests of parties unrelated to the alleged crimes committed.

Aye, a queer, non-binary activist was arrested along with 13 other demonstrators and held overnight on a controversial “felony riot” charge. Everyone was “no papered”, or released without charges the next day.

On September 9th, the US Marshals showed up to Aye’s apartment in Baltimore to serve an arrest warrant for “inciting a riot” & “assault on an officer”. The Marshals remained on the premises until a search warrant was approved and proceeded to tear apart the apartment Aye shares with their partner and roommate. They even helped themselves to $50 in laundry quarters.

On September 10th at 4:00am, Aye turned themselves in and the charges have since been dropped.

Then again on September 26th, law enforcement showed up with arrest warrants, this time for all three tenants. A case is being built on outlandish accusations against Aye and the people they live with, for being violent drug dealers with middle school clientele.

On the morning of September 17, 2020 Trey Quinn was falsely imprisoned by the Aurora Police Department. They presented a warrant that falsely accused him of Inciting a riot (class 5 Felony), Inciting a riot by giving commands (class 5 Felony), Engaging in a riot (class 2 Misdemeanor), False imprisonment (class 2 Misdemeanor), Obstructing government operations (class 3 Misdemeanor).

Trey has since lost his job due to this unlawful arrest happening at his place of work and his pending felony charges are keeping him from finding new job opportunities. Trey is not a part of any large organization and is therefore not being helped by those organizations who claim to be in solidarity with him. He Is a hard working writer, painter, activist, community member, and now unfortunately the forgotten political prisoner of the September 17th arrests. Help to support Trey in these hard times as his funds and resources must now come form the community he helped to protect.

On September 10th, 2020 around 11-am my apartment was raided for something I had no knowledge of and I was falsely accused of something I absolutely did not do. They executed the raid with a no knock warrant and after the raid was executed they arrested me out of the blue and said I scratched a first responder. The charge initially was a misdemeanor assault charge. It has been upgraded to a felony assault charge. I did not assault anyone and the entire time I had multiple panic attacks and was in obvious shock. Anyone that knows me knows I suffer from immense anxiety and panic attacks. This charge implication’s will ruin my life.

I am getting a Public Defender but am seeking a attorney that specializes in these type of cases that I have already talked to and is willing to take my case and my legal fees could be anywhere from $5000 to $8000 for the pretrial and $8000 more for the trial cost (if it goes to trial) and it could be a total from $8000 to $16,000. The lawyer that I need to represent me needs a down payment of $2500 to $4000 depending on the severity of the case to take my case and then at least I can make payments for the rest of the legal representation over due time. If anyone wants to make a direct payment to this particular firm on my behalf please message/email me directly and I will send you their contact information. After the initial consultation I will know what the pretrial cost will be and then will have the correct down payment information.

Many Public Defenders are swamped with case files and understandably they cannot give the attention a case of this severity it needs. I have to have a lawyer that will protect my innocence.

The next time I see the Judge will be on October 23rd. My consultation with this legal firm will be immensely soon. My goal is at least come up with the down payment which could be $2500 to $4000.

  • Support San Francisco Antifascist Facing Charges:

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