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Oct 11, 21

This Is America #149: The Mask on Biden Slips

Welcome, to This Is America, October 11th, 2021.

On today’s episode, we dive into headline and resistance news, before switching to our discussion, where we offer an anarchist critique and analysis of Biden’s continuing attacks on migrants and push to expand industrial petrol-capitalism.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

Headline News

Canadian fossil fuel company Embridge directed police to make arrests and carry out surveillance against Line 3 protesters and picked up the bill for everything from overtime, equipment, meals, and much more. According to The Guardian:

Enbridge is replacing the Line 3 pipeline through Minnesota to carry oil from Alberta to the tip of Lake Superior in Wisconsin. A report by the climate action group MN350 says the expanded pipeline will emit the equivalent greenhouse gases of 50 coal power plants. The project was meant to be completed and start functioning on Friday. Police have arrested more than 900 demonstrators opposing Line 3 and its impact on climate and Indigenous rights, according to the Pipeline Legal Action Network. [R]ecords obtained by the Guardian show the company meets daily with police to discuss intelligence gathering and patrols. And when Enbridge wants protesters removed, it calls police or sends letters.

Records obtained by the Guardian show a close working relationship between Enbridge and police. In December 2020, Cass county’s sheriff’s office began “proactive safety patrols” of communities along the pipeline route. Up to 6 August the Enbridge account reimbursed the sheriff $849,163.40 for these patrols.

New body cam footage from the first days of the George Floyd uprising show police in Minneapolis:

[Mocking] some demonstrators and [seeking] out others who were breaking curfew and [firing] rubber bullets at them. They made racially tinged remarks, derided the working press and celebrated direct hits with their rubber bullets. Later, the officers laughed in the back of the van as one talked about “anarchists” they saw earlier. He imitated the cartoon character Elmer Fudd, joking about hunting down the “anarchists.”

A Washington State prosecutor has found no crime” in the state assassination of Portland area activist Michael Reinoehl, who shot and killed an associate of the far-Right group, Patriot Prayer, after Proud Boys and other fascist groups flooded into Portland, waving Trump flags and attacking people on the street in the fall of 2020. Reinoehl had been a regular at Black Lives Matter protests and in an interview with VICE before he was murdered, claimed he acted in self-defense. On social media, Reinoehl stated his support for opposing fascism, but there’s no evidence he was involved in any specific antifascist group. Days after the fatal confrontation in September of 2020, Reinoehl was killed by a group of US marshals and local police as he walked to his car, eating gummy worms. Trump would later take credit for the assassination, which was coordinated by the Justice Department. For an in-depth look at the case, go here.

A new review of over 40 years of data show that deadly encounters with law enforcement, often when the victim is Black of brown, has been mislabeled or not reported at all. According to The Guardian:

More than half of all police-involved killings in the US go unreported with the majority of victims being Black…in the US between 1980 and 2018, more than 55% of deaths, over 17,000 in total, from police violence were either misclassified or went unreported. The study also discovered that Black Americans are more likely than any other group to die from police violence and are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans.

A new look at a DHS document analyzing the department’s brutal crackdown of the 2020 George Floyd uprising in Portland shows, according to Daily Kos:

An internal DHS review (that only surfaced this week reveals) was that it was also an extraordinary exercise in authoritarian incompetence. It demonstrates that senior DHS leadership pushed unfounded conspiracy theories about antifascists, encouraged the contractors they hired to violate protesters’ constitutional rights, and made spurious connections, based on no real evidence, between protesters who engaged in criminal activity.

A team of open source intelligence collectors, tasked with analyzing information obtained from public sources, also created dossiers on protesters and journalists—which they called “baseball cards”—despite having no clear connections to domestic terrorism or security threats.

The DHS internal review found that Wolf and his immediate underlings at I/A pushed staffers to describe the protests as “Violent Antifa Anarchist Inspired” (VAAI) actions—an entirely new category that had no evidentiary support or background.

Finally, the trial of anarchist political prisoner Eric King is set to enter the beginning phases in Denver, Colorado on October 14th. For more information, go here. For an update from Eric’s legal team, go here.

Abortion Access

The messages spray-painted in red, black and white on the building include the anarchist “A;” “No wire hangers ever;” “Bans off our bodies;” “Jesus [loves] abortion;” “Your church is dying LOL;” “My body, my choice;” and “No gods, no master.”

[A] group [marched] by the offices of the anti-abortion organization Birthright…Photos posted to Twitter later showed a shattered window at the Birthright offices, with pro-choice signs and coat hangers left on and around the windows and doors.

  • In Portland, a radical bloc joined the larger Women’s March, taking to the streets against attacks on abortion rights.

Ecological Struggle

  • Members of the “No Coal No Gas campaign…blockaded the entrance to New England’s only remaining coal plant” and used pick axes to break up the pavement.

  • In Portland, anarchist groups formed a black bloc, taking part in youth led climate protests.

Solidarity with Zapatistas

  • Responding to a call for solidarity with autonomous Zapatista communities under attack by paramilitaries, people held solidarity demonstrations in various cities including Detroit, Portland, El Paso, and Seattle.

  • Also in Mexico City, people squatted a “dilapidated government office” and turned it into a community space in solidarity with the Zapatistas.

Struggle for Abolition

  • Angry protests erupted in Portland, after a grand jury decided not to charge police with the killing of Robert Delgado, who was shot and killed by police while carrying a toy gun in a park. According to Willamette Week

At around 9 pm, the crowd moved to the east side of the Justice Center, where chants against the Portland police continued. All the while, spray paint-wielding teams of black bloc protesters graffitied the building with anti-police slogans, using umbrellas to shield their faces from view. People threw eggs and bottles of water at the building. Demonstrators then marched to City Hall, where the graffiti continued. People tore down the American flag from the City Hall flagpole and burned it on the front door of the building. Smaller bonfires were set on Southwest 4th Avenue facing City Hall, where newspaper boxes were used as barricades in the middle of the street.

  • In New York, protesters hit the streets in the Bronx against the police killing of Mike Rosado, hitting cop cars with eggs and dropping banners. Another demonstration was held for Fanta Bility, an 8 year-old African-American girl who was shot and killed by police in Pennsylvania, after officers opened fire on a vehicle following shooting outside of a football game. Bility’s sister was also injured in the shooting.

  • Black Lives Matter activists in Saratoga Springs are pushing back against police attempts to repress the movement by slamming activists with trumped up charges stemming from months old protests. According to the Times Union:

High-profile arrests of protesters…have fueled complaints that police are trying to intimidate racial justice advocates with arrests, and in the case of Saratoga Springs, hours of detention for low-level violations and misdemeanor charges.

  • Anti-ICE actions continue, with protests taking place outside of a facility in Plymouth and the home of the DHS Secretary, who’s house was covered in a giant metal ‘blanket.’

  • The movement to push cops off campuses in California continues, with banner drops happening across the UC Davis campus.

Class War

  • Carpenters in Seattle walked off their jobs, forming roving bands of pickets over the past few weeks. From one report:

Like other sections of workers, the carpenters are determined to overturn decades of union-backed concessions. They have sought to expand their struggle by calling out non-striking carpenters and other building trades workers. Despite the pandemic, Seattle is experiencing a construction boom driven by the new projects ordered by Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Facebook. Carpenters who cannot afford to raise a family in the area or keep up with rising fuel and other costs associated with long daily commutes are calling for a $15 wage increase over three years, increased employer contributions to health care and pensions and fully paid parking.

Small groups of carpenters, have begun a series of wildcat protests that they say has slowed or shut down around a dozen additional job sites. The union has viciously cracked down on these “unauthorized” actions, deciding to shut down all picket sites and encouraging the rest of the 2,000 striking carpenters to turn against the workers involved.

  • Across the so-called US, a strike wave is brewing, with Kellogg’s workers, bus drivers, and others others striking or set to strike. As the Inquirer wrote:

Interestingly, America has been here before. In 1946 — after essential workers worked long hours and made sacrifices to get the United States through a different kind of crisis, in World War II — millions of mostly factory workers joined the largest and also one of the most violent strike waves in the nation’s history. Despite GOP lawmakers working to impose some restrictions on union power (in the Taft-Hartley Act, still in force today), the overall impact was history’s greatest rise in middle-class prosperity, lasting from 1946 to 1973 and dubbed the Great Compression by economists because of the decline in income inequality.

But the solution lies not in politicians or the established union bureaucracy – which have worked to contain class struggle in favor of social peace and funnel dues to the Democratic Party, but instead in expanding strikes and pushing them into larger scale community struggles. We have already seen this at play during the mass wildcat strikes of teachers several years ago and in the recent Nabisco strike, where supporters and other groups of workers blockaded and stopped trains and scabs in an effort to aid strikers.


  • Anarchists took part in demonstrations commemorating the 1968 massacre of activists by police and military troops.

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