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May 14, 22

This Is America #166: Biden Pushes War & Police as COVID Deaths Hit One Million; Abort the Court Action Wave; Fight to Defend Atlanta Forest

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

On today’s episode, first we bring you an interview with Adi Callai, the creative force behind a new anarchist YouTube channel that investigates the George Floyd uprising, identity politics and modern revolt. We speak about the idea of “elite capture,” how neoliberalism has weaponized identity politics, how this played out in the midst of the George Floyd uprising, and much more. Be sure to check out their channel here.

Next, we dive into our discussion, were we tease apart the ideology of those on the so-called Supreme Court, who cite medieval sources in their push to bring down Roe v Wade.

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

Living and Fighting

Biden Marks 1,000,000 COVID-19 Deaths By Pushing for More War, More Police, and More Migrants in Prison

As people across the US this week scrambled to find baby formula and gas prices again spiked, the US Department of Agriculture predicted that inflation would continue to drive the cost of food up by another 5-6%, as corporations report record profits against a backdrop of increasing domestic repression, an escalating threat of war, and a deepening social crisis. Sickeningly, the US has now officially past the 1 million deaths mark due to COVID-19 – yet as cases again continue to grow, “federal pandemic funding dried up in March, and over 30 million uninsured Americans can no longer access free testing or treatment.” Not to be outdone, Biden has pushed states with remaining COVID-19 funds to spend it not on vaccines, testing, or relief, but instead on “crime prevention programs and [the hiring of more] police officers.”

Meanwhile, Democrats and Republicans pushed through another $40 billion in military and financial aid to the Ukrainian war effort, bringing “the total amount allocated to the war to a staggering $53 billion.” This latest package of war funds again shows the priories of the ruling parties, as Republicans also fought to block a much smaller COVID-19 package of $10 billion, supposedly in an effort to block Democrats from lifting Title 42, a racist Trump era policy that bars refugees and migrants from seeking asylum in the US, ironically under the auspices of stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Democrats, moved not by a desire to protect migrants and refugees from such Nativist legislation, instead argued that Title 42 should be scrapped because it does not prosecute those crossing the border and instead called for harsher penalties for migrants and increased deportations. In fact, amidst outcry over horrific conditions inside detention centers, the Biden administration is readying the incarceration of another 20 thousand migrant children alone.

Abort the State

Over the past two weeks, people have hit the streets in opposition to attacks on access to abortion access and reproductive autonomy, after leaks from the supreme court showed that it would likely overturn Roe Vs Wade. For a deeper dive into the implications of this decision, check out our last episode of the It’s Going Down podcast.

Protests kicked off last week almost immediately after the leak from Politico went viral, with protests forming first in DC, where people rallied into the night and confronted anti-abortion protesters outside the US Supreme Court building. Over the next few nights, rowdy demonstrations and clashes broke out with police in Austin, Texas, Portland, Oregon, and Los Angeles, California. In Washington DC, Phoenix, Arizona, and Denton, Texas, people also squared off against various far-Right groups who showed up attempting to intimidate pro-choice protesters.

Over the past week we also saw the proliferation of demonstrations outside the homes of several on the Supreme Court, which quickly pushed Congress to pass new laws, extending security to the immediate families of those on the court. Republicans are also now calling for a clampdown against the protests, citing a law from 1950 which they claim prohibits demonstrations outside of the homes of judges.

Ironically, since the pandemic broke out, far-Right groups opposing masks, lockdowns, and mandates have demonstrated outside of the homes off elected officials – none of which drew the same amount of concern from the finger pointing bureaucrats in DC or the hand-wringing neoliberals in the press.

While not grabbing the same amount of headlines, students across the US have organized walkouts on their campuses. On May 5th, hundreds walked out of the University of Washington in Seattle. On Monday, May 9th, “students from over 40 high schools across Virginia organized” walkouts. On Thursday, May 12th, hundreds of students in New York walked out of class. In Louisville, Kentucky, students walk out, building off of previous walkouts that had started the week before. High schools across Utah saw walkouts, as did Austin, Texas on May 6th and 12th, students across Iowa, Little Rock, Arkansas, Eugene, Oregon and in Kansas also saw action. In Colorado, “students from more than a dozen high schools throughout the Denver metro walked out” along with schools in Jefferson County. In California, students in Berkeley, CA and San Luis Obisbo County also walked out in protest.

On Friday, May 13th, medical staff and students in Boston organized a walkout, as large-scale student walkouts, rallies and protests took place in Philadelphia, Madison, Wisconsin, Seattle, Washington, New York City and many more.

And while thousands have flooded the streets, marched on the homes of the powerful and walked out of schools and workplaces, a wave of autonomous actions have also targeted anti-abortion groups and their offices, often referred to as “crisis pregnancy centers.” As American Progress wrote:

Fake women’s health centers—sometimes referred to as crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs)—are a vital part of the anti-choice movement, supported by major national organizations and anti-choice policymakers alike, while receiving significant taxpayer funding in states across the country. Since [a] Supreme Court [ruling in 2016] restricted the movement’s ability to shut down legitimate women’s health clinics, the movement has attempted to bolster the ability of fake centers to manipulate women and block them from accessing comprehensive care—essentially, to secure the legal right to lie to women and politicize health care.

Fake centers are sophisticated organizations designed to dissuade women from seeking comprehensive reproductive health services. The vast majority use misleading tactics—such as advertising that they provide information on abortion care and using names similar to those of comprehensive health clinics—to hide their anti-choice mission and lure those whom they call “abortion-minded women” through their doors in order to manipulate them further. Any “counseling” provided is an attempt to further their political agenda.

In Portland, Oregon, a pro-life center was hit with pro-abortion graffiti and had its windows broken out.

In Frederick, Maryland, a pro-life pregnancy “clinic” was covered in pro-choice graffiti.

In Boulder, Colorado, as Abolition Media reported:

An anti-abortion Catholic church…was tagged with circle-As and messages, including “Fuck the Church, Fuck the State” and “Keep Your Religion Off Our Bodies.” A window of the church was also smashed in the action.

The anti-abortion church is well known locally for an annual display featuring thousands of crosses, which say they represent the number of abortions performed each day in the United States.

In Denton, Texas, a pro-life “clinic” was vandalized with graffiti reading “Forced Birth = Murder” and “Not A Clinic.”

In Keizer, Oregon, the “Right to Life” building was reportedly vandalized.

In Houston, Texas, a Catholic church was vandalized with graffiti reading, “Pro-Choice is Pro-Life.”

In Manassas, Virginia, a pro-life center was vandalized with slogans such as: “Abortion is a right,” “Fake Clinic,” and “Liars.”

In Fort Collins, Colorado, according to a communique posted to Abolition Media:

Colorado Anarchists visited the St. John XXIII Catholic Church of Fort Collins last night, leaving multiple broken windows and painted messages, in retaliation for its material support of dangerous anti-abortion groups like 40 Days for Life. These groups have terrorized local visitors of Planned Parenthood for years now and must not be tolerated.

In Madison, Wisconsin, windows were busted out and pro-life graffiti was written over the office of a pro-life organization. A Molotov cocktail was also throw inside one of the office rooms, destroying office equipment. A communique sent to the media read:

This is not a declaration of war. War has been upon us for decades. A war which we did not want, and did not provoke. Too long have we been attacked for asking for basic medical care. Too long have we been shot, bombed, and forced into childbirth without consent.

This was only a warning. We demand the disbanding of all anti-choice establishments, fake clinics, and violent anti-choice groups within the next thirty days. This is not a mere “difference of opinion” as some have framed it. We are literally fighting for our lives. We will not sit still while we are killed and forced into servitude. We have run thin on patience and mercy for those who seek to strip us of what little autonomy we have left. As you continue to bomb clinics and assassinate doctors with impunity, so too shall we adopt increasingly extreme tactics to maintain freedom over our own bodies.

We are forced to adopt the minimum military requirement for a political struggle. Again, this was only a warning. Next time the infrastructure of the enslavers will not survive. Medical imperialism will not face a passive enemy. Wisconsin is the first flashpoint, but we are all over the US, and we will issue no further warnings.

And we will not stop, we will not back down, nor will we hesitate to strike until the inalienable right to manage our own health is returned to us.

We are not one group, but many. We are in your city. We are in every city. Your repression only strengthens our accomplice-ship and resolve.

-Jane’s Revenge

The response from the Right, which for years has been building coalitions between the GOP and fascist, paramilitary groups while openly calling for violence, murder, and the targeting of entire communities of people, has been predictable: paint “conservatives” as victims of escalating Left violence. Yet many have been quick to point out that for decades the so-called pro-life movement has carried out a bloody campaign of mass murder, violence, and bombings in an effort to terrorize clinics into closing by force and pushing the State to criminalize bodily autonomy.

Members of groups such as the Army of God, such as Eric Rudolf, carried out horrific acts of murder and terror, including the indiscriminate bombing of the 1996 Olympics in the name of attacking “socialism” and “abortion on demand,” which killed 2 and injured over 100. Rudolf would go on to bomb an LGBTQ nightclub and two abortion clinics before being arrested. But Rudolf was only part of a wider, much deadlier movement.

According to NARAL:

Anti-choice zealots murdered 11 people—including doctors, clinic employees, a clinic escort, a security guard and a police officer—between 1993 and 2016. There were 26 attempted murders in the same period.

According to Vox:

[From] 1977 [to 2015] there have been…42 bombings, and 186 arsons targeted at abortion clinics and providers across the United States. In some cases, a small group of clinics have been targeted multiple times.

Since 2015, according to the National Abortion Federation, there has been 8 more arson attacks on abortion clinics, with four happening in 2015 alone.

Outside of the increasingly fascist Right and the neoliberal center that tries to paint all forms of self-organization or direct action as criminal or conspiratorial, response to the various forms of action by many has been positive, with many people realizing the threat posed by increasingly minoritarian rule which seeks to curtail basic freedoms under the threat of State violence and authority, needs to be opposed – and that the Democratic party is not the vehicle to continue that fight forward.

Defend the Atlanta Forest

The fight to defend the Atlanta forest from destruction to make way for a police counter-insurgency training facility and expanded a movie studio lot continues.

According to post on Scenes from the Atlanta Forest:

On Wednesday May 4th police…encountered a flaming barricade as soon as they opened the fence. They eventually cleared the barricade and drove into the forest a little ways. Then promptly backed off when met with a barrage of rocks and smoke bombs. It is not clear what the objective of the police was that day, but they definitely did not achieve it. It was also observed that barricades and the Atlanta steamer were restored by the next day. Nature is healing.

Four days later, kicking off a week of action, forest defenders placed a flipped over black car in the middle of a major entrance into the forest, along with a banner reading, “Fuck this World And Its Cops.”

On May 9th, as Unicorn Riot reported: “A group of 30-40 people gathered in front of the home of Shephard Long, principal of Long Engineering, one of the subcontractors hired to build the “Public Safety Training Center,” also known as “Cop City” in the Atlanta Forest.”

The next day:

On Wednesday, two DeKalb County park police entered the forest to inspect the path created by bulldozers on Monday... As they were exiting, forest defenders ambushed them by throwing rocks and bottles at their cars, smashing windows.

At Noon, a van with “LAW ENFORCEMENT – DEPARTMENT OF JUVENILE JUSTICE”…pulled into the parking lot of Intrenchment Creek Park by the gazebo. Around an hour later, the van was attacked suddenly by a barrage of rocks and multiple tires were slashed. The van attempted to escape but was left stranded in the parking lot until DeKalb Police were able to escort it out. Police were nervously walking backwards in order to keep their eyes on the tree line where they knew forest defenders would be watching them…

Multiple police vehicles were damaged. Nobody was detained or arrested. Juvenile justice was served, but probably not in the way they meant. Atlanta will remain a forest.

The same day, on May 11th, over 60 people rallied in front of a downtown Atlanta AT&T office to demand that the telecommunications giant pull out of the “Cop City” project.

Then on May 13th, the offices of Brassfield and Gorrie, subcontractors involved in the destruction of the Atlanta forest, were covered in paint with graffiti slogans reading: “No forest, no peace,” and “No Cop City.”

Solidarity and Defense

  • In both Seattle and Minneapolis, resistance to the sweeping of houseless encampments continues.

  • At City College in San Francisco, faculty have set up an encampment on campus to protest faculty cuts.

  • In Atlanta, members of the Fang Collective were violently arrested after protesting the shareholder meeting of Invesco, demanding that they divest from the Wyatt Detention Center.


Upcoming Events

  • May 8th – 15: Call for week of action to defend the Atlanta forest. More info here.
  • May 15th: Stop the Criminalization of Homelessness rally, Boulder, CO. More info here.
  • May 18th: Cops off Campus hosting mutual aid event at UC Davis. 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.
  • May 21st: March Against Anti-LGBTQ/Anti-Abortion Rally in Boulder, CO. More info here.
  • May 24th: “Mutual Aid, Mass Politics and the Spirit of May 28th” at the Landing Strip in Minneapolis, MN.
  • May 26th: Civil Liberties Defense Center ‘Know Your Rights’ training.
  • May 28th: BBQ Celebration at the Landing Strip in Minneapolis, MN.
  • June 5th: Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair returns to Oakland, California. 11 AM – 5 PM, 5th and Harrison. More info here.
  • June 25th – 26th: Autonomous Tenant Union Network 2022 Convention. Los Angeles, CA. 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:

It’s Going Down

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It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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