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Apr 14, 22

This Is America #164: Strike at Indiana University Kicks Off; Grand Rapids in the Streets for Patrick Lyoya; Eco-Defense Struggles Heat Up

Welcome, to This Is America, April 14th, 2022.

On today’s episode, we first speak with someone involved in the ongoing strike at Indiana University in so-called Bloomington. We talk about why graduate workers are striking and how other workers and students are standing in solidarity them. For a deeper dive into the strike, be sure to check out this recent article on It’s Going Down.

We then turn towards our discussion, where we tackle the continuing spread of gender fascist legislation and the impact of US sanctions abroad.

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

Living and Fighting

As discussed in our earlier interview, a massive graduate worker strike in Bloomington has officially kicked off, with the first day of pickets and walkouts however being cancelled due to severe weather. Be sure to follow @IUonStrike for future updates as the strike proceeds.

On Wednesday, pickets went up around the University, with graduate workers refusing to carry out any sort of work, including completing grades and teaching classes. According to a report on the ground:

As of Wednesday, the first official day of the strike, university administration has put all 2,500 graduate workers on probation regardless of their involvement in the strike, until further notice. In addition, faculty members who have signed letters of neutrality are being threatened with being “reprimanded,” for supporting the strike. Workers are fighting for living wages and against international student fee remission. Despite the escalation of these intimidation tactics, the Graduate Workers Coalition is standing strong and building even more solidarity with undergraduates and faculty who refuse to buckle in the face of this attempt at union busting.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, over 100 people took to the streets and marched on the City Commission meeting on April 12th to demand “justice for a 26-year old Black man, Patrick Lyoya, who was shot and killed last week by a city police officer.”

On April 13th, hundreds took to the streets following the release of video footage which showed an unarmed Lyoya being shot and killed by a white police officer during a traffic stop. For several hours, people marched – rallying outside the police station, throwing objects and pulling on a makeshift fence. More demonstrations are expected in the coming days.

Nearby in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a tree-sit was launched by a group calling itself, FIGHT Concord Pines, to stop the building of a gentrifying luxury apartment complex and save a section of forest. This is only the latest in a string of actions which have taken place in the last several months, including door-knocking campaigns, lockdowns, and community gatherings.

A statement released from the group stated:

The Concord Pines development is proposed by the nation’s largest luxury homebuilder, the Toll Brothers. The development would create 57 single-family luxury homes on the wooded site just north of Concordia University. The homes will cost over $600,000.

FIGHT Concord Pines, the group responsible for the work stoppages, opposes the creation of new luxury homes in the midst of Washtenaw County’s affordable housing crisis, and particularly objects to the destruction of hundreds of landmark trees – large, old, and/or historical trees– in order to create these homes.

There is no time left to stop the climate crisis by appealing to weak-willed government officials. Direct action must be taken to stop the destruction of our planet.

A report from the person engaging in the tree-sit wrote:

I’m up here because if we could vote our way out of our current climate disaster, we would have done so long ago…from Indigenous groups fighting against pipelines across Turtle Island, to Black liberation groups fighting for justice during the George Floyd uprisings, to the four IPCC scientists just a few days ago begging the world to listen as they chained themselves to the door of a Chase Bank…We aren’t just fighting Toll Brothers– we’re fighting the systems that support them, the systems of white supremacy, capitalism, and oppression of all kinds.

Last week in Buffalo, New York, students mobilized, protested, and ultimately shut down a talk by former Tea Party activist and Texas Republican party chair, Allen West, who was on campus to give a talk about how “racism did not exist” in the US. Last year, ironically, West spoke at far-Right Qanon conference. Students chanted and rallied outside of the room where the talk was scheduled, leading West to then be walked out of the area by police. Student organizers with the Kock brothers funded astro-turf group, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), later claimed that they were chased off campus and followed back to their cars by an angry “mob” of protesters.

In New York last week, as Ash J reported, “Protest[ers] marched from Tompskins Square Park to Washington Square Park to denounce Eric Adams and the NYPD, demand an end to violence against homeless folks (such as sweeps and evictions), and to demand housing for all. Radical artwork was placed up during the march” and people hung banners reading “Community Self-Defense.” The march came after arrests several days before, when demonstrators were arrested for protecting tents from eviction by police.

The following is a statement from someone involved in the Tompkins Homeless Collective which was read during a recent protest:

I’m a homeless person and member of the Tompkins Homeless Collective, and I’d like to read a statement. Recently myself and my homeless neighbors were victims of police violence, as our belongings and homes were ripped apart and thrown in the garbage. My peaceful homeless neighbor was attacked and violently arrested by police under orders from Eric Adams. We moved our camp around the corner, but police harassment only increased. It is clear that they will return again soon to rob us of our belongings, homes and use violence against us, just because we’re trying to live. We are asking for help from our beloved neighbors across New York to bring homelessness to an end, and finally break us free of the stranglehold that wealthy landlords and real estate have on us, on all of us, on you. There’s only one way to end homelessness: by moving all homeless people into the vacant apartments that already exist and ending evictions. You can’t end homelessness without stopping it from happening in the first place. We ask that our beloved people living in New York protect us, the homeless, the most vulnerable, from any further state violence. A new sweep defense network is building through organizations like @brooklynevictiondefense, @rentrefusersunited, @_t_h_e_g_y_m_ , @sweepalertnyc, @eastvillagemutualaid and @wspmutualaid. If we can build up this new community volunteer network to protect our homeless neighbors from sweeps, then we can together use the same network in the future to block evictions. This is everything to us. The suffering of our people is heartbreaking, and the violence against them by the state can not be allowed. Thank you for listening. This is one for all our people being victimized by the state. Peace, and love.

Resistance to the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory continues, as the company pushes closer to digging under the Wedzin Kwa, or Morice River. Check out our recent installments of Canadian Tire Fire for a roundup of ongoing protests, direct actions, and growing divestment campaign.

In so-called Montreal:

In the early afternoon, a small group of anarchists snuck into the RBC offices at Place Ville-Marie. Armed with flyers, stickers and spray paint cans, they left a message for the bank: DIVEST FROM CGL. Since the Fall of 2021, the Wet’suwet’en have been actively campaigning for RBC to stop funding the destruction of their land, but RBC continues to ignore them…As long as RBC is funding pipeline projects, they will find us in their way.

From a communique on North-Shore Counter-Info:

This week across southern Ontario and Quebec, we’ve lost count on how many RBC branches were targeted (we estimate 10+) for disruption and attack. These actions respond to a need to target investors in the Coastal Gaslink pipeline project – which is currently behind schedule thanks to the direct attack that took place in february as well as the successful campaigns to block the project thus far lead by Gidimt’en Clan – but is still rapidly being constructed on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.

RBC is one of its largest financial backers, and in the past week and preceding months, has been the subject of pressure tactics ranging from direct action interfering with bank branches, to pushing elites/clients to pull their money out of RBC accounts, to organizing to disrupt RBC’s Annual General Meeting in Toronto. The message is clear: the Royal Bank of Canada needs to divest from CGL immediately.

In hamilton, where we’re writing from, bank branches were vandalized, had their locks glued, and ATMs damaged. We chose these methods to directly interfere with the operations of the bank, hurt them financially and in their public image, and to contribute to the spread of easily-replicable, anonymous actions.

The fight for the Atlanta forest continues full steam ahead, with a call for a week of action coming up from May 8th – 15th.

According to a communique posted to Scenes from the Atlanta Forest:

Trees within a 300 yard radius were spiked to prevent clear-cutting in the South Atlanta Forest…Whether it be logging and construction for a police training facility, new subdivisions, or yet another unneeded bank or coffee shop, we oppose it’s existence and choose life over destruction.

Defend the Forest! Defend Yourself!

There is also a call for May Day actions in defense of the Atlanta forest. From the ‘Stop Reeves Young’ website:

This May Day, we are calling for solidarity actions in defense of the Atlanta Forest and against Cop City. Find your friends, make a plan, and fight for the forest. Across the world the police want to take what’s ours. We will stop them and we will win. Another word for world is forest.

Reeves Young, the primary developer behind the Cop City project, works with smaller companies such as Long Engineering, a subsidiary of Atlas Technical Consultants. Their smaller entities specialize in various aspects in construction for projects in over 40 states such as the Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino, California.

The contract between Atlas and Reeves Young is one of the pillars of the Cop City project that is threatening the forest. Through autonomous efforts of small groups and individuals we can convince Atlas to do the right thing and divest from their involvement with Reeves Young.

Check out how to plug into the campaign here.

Upcoming Events

  • April 16th: Panel and conversation on the George Floyd rebellion and Abolition at Nottingham Co-op in Downtown Madison, WI, 7pm.
  • 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 from the Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC).
  • April 22nd: Discussion on the ‘Abolitionist Fight in the Atlanta Forest,’ 7pm, 368 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn, NY.
  • April 23rd: Pacific Northwest Mutual Aid Spring Fair in Seattle, WA. Cal Anderson Park, 1pm.
  • April 30th: Spring Zine Fair and Anarchist Carnival. 2pm – 6pm. 16th and Spruce, Seattle, WA.\
  • April 30th: Anti-racist mobilization against white supremacist rally at Stone Mountain in Georgia. 10 AM, location TBA.
  • May 1st: East 8th Ave and Oak Street in Eugene, OR. Downtown Park Blocks, 12 PM. May Day Celebration.
  • May 1st: May Day celebration in Aberdeen, WA.
  • May 1st: Denton Anarchist Bookfair, Denton, TX.
  • May 1st: May Day celebration in Portland. Laurelhurst Park, 1pm.
  • May 1st: Day of Action to Stop Cop City and Its Subcontractors. More info here.
  • May 8th – 15: 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, to discuss the last two years of our organizing for survival. From our experiences and experiments with mutual aid and disaster relief, what are our present and future needs for coordination and confederation in order to build autonomy and dual power? More info here.
  • June 5th: Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair returns to Oakland, California. 11 AM – 5 PM, 5th and Harrison. More info here.
  • July 29th – 30th: At Dual Power 2022 we want to foster an atmosphere of generative co-learning and co-creativity. We want to connect people and bring them together around shared work. We want to create a space where ideas are exchanged, stories are told, and futures are imagined, in the context of building and maintaining dual power. More info here
  • August 6th-7th: Montreal Anarchist Bookfair. More info here.
  • August 13–21st: This August will mark the fourth Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s (IAT) Anarchist Summer School — eight days of popular education, blending theory and practice, for adults of all ages. Apply by April 22:

More info on all events here.

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