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Apr 8, 22

This Is America #163: Walkouts Grow Against Gender Fascist Legislation; Interview with Certain Days and Eric King

Welcome, to This Is America, April 8th, 2022.

First up, we have a special interview with someone involved in the Certain Days calendar, which benefits political prisoners and are joined by anarchist prisoner, Eric King, who talks about the ongoing call-in campaign to support him. During our discussion we talk about a variety of political prisoners including Mutul Shakur, Sundiata Acoli, Sean Swain, and Oso Blanco.

Also on today’s episode we bring you analysis and news, plus a discussion on the continuing investigation into January 6th and its implications within the halls of power.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s dive right in.

Living and Fighting

New studies show that under the pandemic global life expectancy has dropped nearly two years, the poor are upwards of five times more likely to die due to lack of access to healthcare – and the rich are richer than ever, while workers have been rocked by inflation, the rising cost of health-care, rent, fuel, and food. On one report wrote:

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported that median pay for CEOs rose to $14.2 million last year, up from a record $13.4 million in 2020. The report said that half of the companies reported wages for their workers increased in 2021 by 3.1 percent. However, this is less than half of last year’s inflation rate of 6.7 percent…[meaning] workers took an effective paycut.

Another study also showed that:

…people living in the lowest income counties died at five times the rate of those in the highest income counties. The United States is the only wealthy nation not to guarantee health services for all, and witnessed the biggest decline in male life expectancy during the COVID-pandemic of 29 nations…More than 980,000 Americans have died of COVID, the most of any country in the world.

According to the Guardian, states like California also allocated large amounts of COVID-19 relief funds to the police. As one report reads:

As part of the American Rescue Plan Act (Arpa), the Biden administration’s signature stimulus package, the US government sent funds to cities to help them fight coronavirus and support local recovery efforts. But most large California cities spent millions of Arpa dollars on law enforcement. Some also gave police money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (Cares) Act, adopted in 2020 under Donald Trump.

For instance:

San Francisco received $312m in Arpa funds for fiscal year 2020 and allocated 49% ($153m) to police, 13% ($41m) to the sheriff’s department, and the remainder to the fire department, according to the city controller. San Francisco also gave roughly 22% ($38.5m) of its Cares funds to law enforcement. Los Angeles spent roughly 50% of its first round of Arpa relief funds on the LAPD…

What this meant was:

In Fresno, the city allocated more than double of its Cares money to police than it did to Covid testing, contact tracing, small business grants, childcare vouchers and transitional housing combined. [In] Oakland, police allocation was greater than the amounts spent on a housing initiative, a small business grant program and a workforce initiative.

This reality is compounded by rising repression at home and abroad, as US political elites have blocked additional COVID-19 funding while pushing for a massive war budget. Moreover, according to Guardian, two years after the George Floyd uprising and amidst calls by Biden to ‘fund the police,’ police continue to kill on average three people per day. According to the report, “Police have killed roughly 1,100 people each year since 2013. In 2021, officers killed 1,136 people – one of the deadliest years on record, Mapping Police Violence reported.” This continuing mass death has been coupled with an increasing crackdown on houseless encampments as the US prepares to unleash a wave of evictions. In New York alone, thousands face eviction and the city has even run out of public defenders to represent them.

In the face of this deepening social crisis, Republicans have continued to push a series of draconian social measures attacking queer and trans people and reproductive freedom. In Tennessee, the GOP pushes a bill that would remove the bar on age for marriage. In Oklahoma, the legislature passed a near total ban on abortion, while Ohio has introduced its own “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which Florida’s governor has recently signed into law.

In the face of this wave of draconian gender fascism, students have been leading the charge, organizing walkouts, protests, and rallies. Here’s an update on student actions since the last episode.

On March 22nd, “Disney employees and their allies staged a walkout from various departments to protest the company’s donations to the Republican legislators behind Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.”

On March 25th, hundreds of high school students in New Orleans walked out against proposed bills.

On March 28th, dozens of students in New Jersey take part in walkout against bans on students flying the PRIDE flags.

On March 29th, high school students in Virginia were suspended “following their participation in a student-organized walkout on March 18th.”

On March 30th in South Dakota, 50 students walked out and took to the streets. In Jacksonville, Florida, around 70 students walked out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

On March 31st, 100 students in Waterloo, Iowa walked out in protest of a bill barring trans students from playing sports. More than 100 students walked out of class in Missouri in protest of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being proposed for the state. In DC, students organized a walkout. In Dallas Fort-Worth, about 200 faculty, students, and community activists gathered at the University of Texas to protest the decision to close the state’s only transgender youth health care program. At Park City High School, students and staff walked out of class to protest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in Utah and elsewhere…” Meanwhile in Minnesota, “Risking disciplinary action and braving near-freezing temperatures, over 20 Mankato West High School students walked out.”

On April 1st, students in George “rallied in front of the school against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.” In Montana, “about 50 students walked out of class…as part of protests nationwide.” Students in Dayton, Ohio also walked out and held a rally.

On April 2nd, anarchists students at Cypress Bay High School put up antifascist stickers in response to a recent fascist attack against a walkout opposing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

On April 6th, over, 1,000 West High students in Utah walked out against a ban on trans athletes.

Solidarity actions in defense of the Atlanta forest continue. In a communique posted to Defend the Atlanta Forest: 

This month we sabotaged card slots of Wells Fargo and Bank Of America in Center City, Philadelphia. This attack was done in solidarity and complicity with those disrupting the construction of a police training grounds in Atlanta. Cops in Atlanta want to cut down a forest to build a mock city to practice squashing uprisings. In response, individuals are occupying, protesting, and sabotaging. People have started staying in the forest and fucking with the construction. The Atlanta Police Foundation is being funded by Wells Fargo and Bank Of America. We are excited to hear about construction workers being chased out and construction vehicles being messed up.

As proponents of self-directed revolt we decided to target the banks contributing to building the cop city. We hope that by communicating our action others feel encouraged or inspired to attack and disrupt the social order in their own context. While it would be preferable if the police project in Atlanta collapsed, for us destruction is an end in itself. We take pleasure in disrupting capital.

On Long Island, people blocked streets in opposition to the North Brooklyn Pipeline.

Starbucks workers continue to organize as more workers push for unionization in various states as corporate heads raise the alarm. Meanwhile, Amazon workers in New York had a historic win against a massive union-busting campaign, following a successful unionization vote at a warehouse in Staten Island, as corporate continues to try and crack down on unionization efforts.

In West Palm Beach, Florida, anarchists marched in solidarity with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, protesting Wendy’s for their refusal to address concerns over wages, conditions, and sexual assault.

Anti-racist and antifascists counter-protested a group of white nationalist Groypers speaking at a College Republican event at Fresno State in California. Community members also held a counter-protest in Keizer against a far-Right event which brought together Qanon supporters, COVID conspiracy theorists, and grifters like Eric Trump. The event was followed by a Groyper organized event celebrating “Anglo-American Identity,” which was disrupted and reportedly shut down by protesters. Also in San Marcos, anarchists dropped banners denouncing neo-fascist millionaire and Fox News conspiracy troll, Tucker Carlson, who spoke at a far-Right mega-church.

Finally, there’s an ongoing call-in campaign in support of anarchist prisoner Eric King – please make calls and send emails. In Orlando, a banner was also dropped in solidarity with King.

Upcoming Events

  • April 9th: Really Really Free Market in Cambridge, MA, 5 Callender Street, 1 – 6 PM.
  • April 9th: San Antonio Anarchist Bookfair. 1- 7 PM. More info here.
  • April 19th: Campaign to Free Jessica Reznicek presents an online webinar on “Fighting the Criminalization of Water Protectors.” Register here.
  • April 21st: Eric King trial report back webinar from the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC). More info here.
  • April 22-23rd: In the Atlanta forest, “Singing Ourselves Back Together,” a two-day coming together of Muscogee community members, local residents, and forest defenders. More info here.
  • April 23rd: Pacific Northwest Mutual Aid Spring Fair in Seattle, WA. Cal Anderson Park, 1pm.
  • May 1st: Denton Anarchist Bookfair, Denton, TX.
  • May 8th – 15th: Call for week of action to defend the Atlanta forest. More info here.
  • May 20th – 22nd: This May 20th-22nd, Woodbine and Symbiosis will host a northeast regional gathering in New York City. More info here.
  • June 5th: Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair in Oakland, California. Workshops, speakers, tabling. More info here.
  • July 29th – 30th: Dual Power 2022 Conference. More info here.
  • August 6th-7th: Montreal Anarchist Bookfair. More info here.
  • August 13–21st: Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s (IAT) Anarchist Summer School. Apply by April 22:

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