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Feb 3, 21

This Is America #135: Housing Struggle Spreads, Pressure Builds Against Schools Re-Opening

Welcome, to This Is America, February 2nd, 2021.

We we enter into the Biden presidency, things show no sign of slowing down – especially as struggles around housing and against the sweeping of encampments heats up. Across the so-called US, people are experimenting with new tactics, from occupying vacant buildings to demanding that local governments pay for empty hotel rooms to shelter the unhoused.

Over the past few weeks we also saw riots pop off in the working-class Pacific Northwest city of Tacoma, WA after police literally drove over youth who were taking part in a sideshow car event. Anger also boiled over in Rochester, New York, after police pepper sprayed a nine year old child while in the back seat of a police car.

We cover all these stories and then switch to our discussion, where we touch on the post-impeachment political playing field and much more – let’s dive in!

Living and Fighting

  • In Rochester, NY, people destroyed and overturned metal barricades outside of the police station, after hundreds took to the streets in solidarity with a 9 year-old child who had been pepper-sprayed by pigs while locked in the back seat of a police car.

  • In Tacoma, WA, a riot broke out following the police brutally running over youths during a sideshow. The next night, hundreds converged against the police; breaking windows, spray painting graffiti, and taking to the streets.

  • In San Jose, CA, over 50 people blockaded the local courthouse to shut down all evictions; clashes with police broke out, resulting in several arrests.

  • In Kansas City, KC Tenants rallied outside the home of a judge, after law enforcement shot a man in the midst of a mental health crisis and an eviction.

  • On February 1st, abolitionist groups held rallies across the US to demand the release of prisoners in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • In Tacoma, WA, people with Tacoma Housing Now “dumped more than 200 bags of trash in front of the un-elected City Manager Pauli’s house. The message: provide services like trash pickup and housing to our houseless community. Pay for it by firing her and killer cops!”

  • In the wake of a series of militant street marches that broke windows and spray painted anti-cop and anti-colonial graffiti at police and government buildings, police in so-called Vacaville, CA, retaliated against a mutual aid event, showing up in riot gear to make several targeted arrests, which resulted in several injuries. According to a post on

The founder of Voices of VV, a Black woman, was specifically targeted. An officer can be heard pointing to her and saying “yes her, grab her! They tackled her, put all their weight on her, with their knee in her back and neck. They twisted her arm and held it so tight, she sustained bruises on her arms and wrists for days after. Vacaville Police confiscated the phones of all those arrested as “evidence,” despite the arresting charge being “failure to leave the scene of a riot” and has yet to return them.

  • In DC, anarchists, abolitionists, and Black Lives Matter hit the streets against ICE and the police.

  • In Kalamazoo, MI, squatters took over a vacant building to house the unsheltered during the winter months and during the pandemic. The group was quickly evicted by the police, sadly.

  • In Berkeley, CA, people gathered in People’s Park in opposition to the local university’s plans to develop the park (a plan which they have unsuccessfully tried to implement for several decades, only to be met by riots, occupations, and protests). Park supporters took down a fence keeping the public out of an area being developed, tore down the fence, and marched it back to UC Berkeley, where they piled it up at the campus.

  • In Oakland, CA, people organized eviction defense of several outdoor squats, utilizing the shield wall tactic.

  • In St. Paul, anarchists and antifascists took to the streets to decry and new Biden administration and declare opposition to Line 3.

  • Resistance to the Line 3 pipeline continues to heat up, as mass marches, protests, and direct actions continue to target and block the project. In the past few weeks, Water Protectors and anti-pipeline protesters have locked down to equipment, stopping construction on an almost daily basis.

  • In Bellingham, WA, last week militarized riot police and an armored vehicle moved to evict camp “210,” which began in protest last November, becoming home to over 100 people. In response:

Protesters, who were mostly dressed in black, used wooden pallets to create barricades to block officials from clearing the encampment. The barricade allowed volunteers time to help the residents gather their belongings and leave.

Since then local organizers have helped people relocate to a new location, but threats of further displacement are not far behind. A week prior, on January 23rd, protesters marched into City Hall in protest and pried open doors to city hall; demanding better access to housing for the unsheltered.

  • In West Virginia, Appalachians Against Pipelines continues to block construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, with over two months now since the judge ordered that police could move against them.
  • In labor news, Haiti was rocked by a general strike on February 1st and 2nd to demand the resignation of the current President. A strike led by the Teamster’s union in New York at the country’s largest produce processor ended, with workers winning a minor pay raise. Lastly, across the so-called US, tensions are building between the State and teachers, as the number of COVID-19 deaths in the US rises past 45oK, new strands of the virus spread, teachers begin to launch job action, and Wall Street pushes for schools to re-open and parents to return to work. This reality is coupled by a drive by the Biden administration to re-open schools by spring-time in a joint effort with the leadership of the DNC controlled labor-unions. Will rank-n-file teachers break with the bureaucracy? The answer to that question is currently playing out in cities like Chicago, where teachers are threatening to strike against attempts to force them and their students to return to work. In response, the State is threatening teachers in Chicago and elsewhere with “lockouts, fines, mass firings and other punitive actions…” In DC and New Jersey, teacher’s unions are also facing legal threats after workers there have also voted in favor of a strike, while teachers in other cities and towns are engaged in sick out strikes and picket actions.

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