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Jan 7, 22

This Is America #156: Students & Workers Stage Walkouts as Omicron Surges; FBI Surveilled Portland Protests; One Year Since J6

Welcome, to This Is America, January 7th, 2021.

On today’s episode, we first bring you an audio report from a New Year’s Eve noise demo in so-called Tucson, Arizona, where in the past year, at least 10 people have died in the local jail. People rallied outside of the facility, playing music, making noise, shooting fireworks – and standing in solidarity with those on the inside.

We then speak with our legal correspondent, and break down news that the FBI was embedded within the George Floyd protests in so-called Portland, Oregon throughout 2020 and early 2021. We talk about what this news means and how it fits into a larger pattern of repression.

We then switch to our discussion, where we look back on the one year anniversary of the attempted January 6th coup in Washington DC. We talk about what has and hasn’t changed, how both the far-Right and the GOP has shifted, and why the possibilities for far-Right violence are higher than ever.

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

Living and Fighting

In the midst of the “great resignation,” workers are walking off the job and organizing sickout actions in the face of the omicron surge and the push by both corporate parties to force workers back into the workforce and students back into schools, as inflation grows and supply chains falter.

  • In Buffalo, New York, workers at Starbucks have walked off the job for several days in protest of working conditions.
  • In Portland, MN, workers at a pizzeria walked off the job after multiple calls for better workplace safety.
  • In Chicago, schools have shut down classes for over 340,000 students, after teachers demanded a return to online instruction. According to one report:

“Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the district have branded the walkout an illegal work stoppage for which teachers’ pay will be docked. The union has accused the mayor and officials of “locking out” teachers by freezing their online platforms, preventing a return to remote learning…The White House appeared to side with the district, with Biden’s press secretary saying on Wednesday and Thursday that it would continue to make the case for public schools to be kept open, including in Chicago.”

  • In San Francisco and Oakland, teachers have also organized sickout actions. These organized actions are part of a much larger wave in response to the spread of the coronavirus variant. Already, “according to [one] education tracker, 4,783 schools across the US have been forced to begin the semester remotely.” In Portland for instance, “Two of the city’s largest high school buildings will be closed on Friday, and students will be given online assignments to complete by themselves, due to staff shortages.”
  • In New York, around 300,000 students did not show up to school on Monday as classes resumed after the winter break, with many parents keeping their children home.

Both corporate parties have been clear that their push to re-open is based on a desire to protect the economy and supply chains from disruption. Such a policy has now led to over 800,000 deaths, a mass spike in infections and no end in sight for the pandemic. Despite attempting to align themselves within the culture war around the benefits of things like masks or horse medicine, both Republicans and Democrats have been united in their defense of ruling class economic interests over the health and well-being of the working-class. Such policies have resulted in an embrace of mass death.

Meanwhile, pipeline protesters in Chester County, Pennsylvania locked down to disrupt construction of the Mariner East pipeline.

In Boynton Beach, Florida:

Over 1,000 protesters and community members gathered in Boynton Beach to honor the life of Stanley Davis Jr., a 13-year-old boy on a dirt bike killed during a traffic stop chase by police. Demonstrators rode various vehicles, including road bikes and normal bicycles, and held signs demanding justice for Stanley, known to many as SJ. The rally first began from the gas station where SJ last filled up his dirt bike, heading down the route he was chased down until reaching the destination where SJ crashed and was killed.


Also in Florida, over a dozen prisoners at Taylor Correctional Institution went on strike against “slavery” and “forced labor.” A flyer circulated by inmates read, “This Means W.A.R. We Are Responding…Year after year, they continue to fail to do anything comprehensive to fix and undo the atrocities and destruction caused by their criminal and inhumane legislation.” Check out a full report here.

Upcoming Events

  • Saturday, January 8th: Chicago, IL, Federal Plaza, 12: 30 PM. Counter-demonstration against neo-Nazis in Patriot Front. More info here.
  • Saturday, January 8th: Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair.
  • Saturday, January 8th: Cambridge Community Center, 1 pm – 8 pm. Cambridge, MA. Really Really Free Market, zine tables, and more.

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