Mastodon Twitter Instagram Youtube
Jun 2, 22

This Is America #168: Fight to Save People’s Park in Berkeley, Oakland School Occupied, Hunger Strikes at ICE Prison in Tacoma

Welcome, to This Is America, June 2nd, 2022.

In this episode, we speak with two folks involved in ongoing resistance to development by the University of California at People’s Park in so-called Berkeley.

We then switch to our discussion, where we tackle the culture of mass shootings and growing tensions within the Republican party and the rise “Dark MAGA.”

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

Living and Fighting

Hunger Strikes in Tacoma, Washington Win Concessions at Detention Facility

A hunger strike that began in mid-May at the Northwest detention center in Tacoma, Washington ended after a week with concessions being made. According to The Seattle Times:

According to the group La Resistencia, detainees were provided clean clothes — but only in the unit where the strike began — and improved food portions. The group said more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were sent to the detention center to handle cases, which was one of the protesters’ demands.

The strikers also asked for better cleaning of the facility and units, more nutritious food, better access to medical services and jobs that pay a minimum wage. Nine people took part in the hunger strike at the fenced facility, which is among the largest immigration detention centers in the U.S., and where people are held as they go through immigration-status proceedings.

Soon after, another hunger strike began. As one local report wrote:

It’s the second hunger strike in as many weeks at the facility, both over concerns over a recent rise in Covid cases there. Detainees also complain that the food is often cold and the commissary is expensive.

La Resistencia alleges that those in quarantine are in conditions similar to solitary confinement, and that the solitary unit at NWIPC (called unit H) is currently full.

[On May 26th]…detainees in unit F4 have ended their hunger strike, according to advocacy group La Resistencia. Maru Villalpando says that Jack Lippard, ICE Assistant Officer in Charge, met with the hunger strikers Wednesday. She says Lippard told them that after reviewing their cases ICE did not think they could be released. Instead, Villalpando says, “he told them to request bond at their next court hearing. Despite the setback, the hunger strikers are not backing down; they have expressed their willingness to organize another hunger strike soon.”

School Occupation Launched in East Oakland

The ongoing fight against school closures in Oakland, which so far has seen teacher strikes, student walkouts, hunger-strikes, and protests, has now evolved into an occupation of one high school that is scheduled to be shuttered, Parker Elementary, in Deep East Oakland. A coalition of students, staff, and local residents have launched an occupation of the facility and set up programming during the summer.

As one report wrote:

The group of about half a dozen families has occupied Parker since then, and doesn’t have plans to leave unless Oakland Unified School District reverses its decision to close the school. Other community leaders, neighbors, and education advocates stop by to take shifts for supervision and security, or to drop off donations.

The occupation is the latest community action against school closures, which the school board announced in January and approved in February. Parker and Community Day, a school for students who have been expelled from traditional middle and high schools, won’t reopen in the fall. Next year, five more schools will permanently close

The occupation is reminiscent of a similar action that took place 10 years ago, at the site of what was then Lakeview Elementary School. Much like now, OUSD had announced it would be closing several schools, including Lakeview, in an effort to save money. Protesters occupied Lakeview for more than two weeks until OUSD police cleared them out.

According to Prism Reports:

…[M]ore than half of the students enrolled in four of the seven schools that will close are Black. Across the district, Black children made up 21% of the student population enrolled in the 2020-2021 school year, and over 47% are Latinx. The closures follow a 20-year pattern of school closures that deprive Black students of equal educational opportunities.

Donate to help the occupation grow, here.

Defend the Atlanta Forest

The fight in the Atlanta forest continues. One report on the ground stated:

[There have been reports of] clashes in the woods as Long Engineering/Atlas Technical consultants are accompanied, by a massive deployment of police in order to begin construction of a perimeter fence at the proposed future Cop City location. [Reportedly], protesters dispersed the bulldozer, workers, and police…using stones and fireworks; no detentions or arrests so far…

Forest defenders are calling on supporters to continue to put pressure on various construction firms to drop the Cop City project. Meanwhile, actions in solidarity with the Atlanta forest continue. In the bay area, a communique posted to Indybay read:

We smashed windows at Consolidated Engineering Laboratories in Oakland, an Atlas company, cause smashing is fun, engineers suck, and they smashed our camp in Atlanta…They want to build a “cop city’ to train pigs to put down urban insurrections, and erect souless soundstages to make shitty movies. They’ve buddied up with the FBI and a clusterfuck of police agencies to unsuccessfully drive forest defenders out of the woods.

We hope they don’t succeed, but our eternal hostility remains. Let’s see how long these monuments to liberal society stand.

Another communique took credit for an action in Erie, PA, also against Atlas, a company contracted out to build the “Cop City” project. In a anonymous post sent to Scenes from the Atlanta Forest the note read:

Stop cop city! Defend the atlanta forest and forests everywhere.

Fight for Reproductive Freedom

As a ruling from the supreme court on the possible overturning of Roe v Wade is expected this month, the fight for reproductive freedom continues, with ongoing targeted acts vandalism happening across the US. In Lynnwood, Washington, a pro-life pregnancy center was vandalized with graffiti reading, “If abortion isn’t safe, neither are you,” and also, “Jane’s Revenge,” a nod to various groups across the US who have also carried out similar acts of pro-abortion sabotage.

Screenshot of news report on Lynnwood vandalism.

In nearby Olympia, according to a communique posted to Puget Sound Anarchists:

Last night we vandalized four anti-abortion churches in Olympia. All of these churches have ties to anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy centers,” religious fake clinics that manipulate mostly poor people into having & keeping children they don’t want or aren’t ready for and marrying whomever impregnated them whether or not that relationship is healthy or safe. Crisis pregnancy centers are exploitative and serve the aims of upholding the patriarchal family, a primary site of violence against women, queers, and children.

A Mormon church, Calvary church, Harbor Church, and St. Michael’s Catholic church all received facelifts in the early hours of Sunday morning. We dumped red paint over the entryways and left messages of “If abortions aren’t safe then neither are you,” “Abort the church,” and “God loves abortion.”

Even in the likelihood that abortion remains legal in western Washington after roe v. wade is overturned, there are still local enemies who are doing everything in their power to make it as difficult and inaccessible as possible. These churches are terrified of people exercising bodily autonomy – whether aborting unwanted pregnancies or taking gender-affirming hormones/surgery or fucking whomever we want – because they need the rigid hierarchy of the family as the basic unit of control. It’s not even conspiratorial to say the Mormon church, Catholic church, and all others that punish abortion and reward marriage are patriarchal sex abuse cults. From the beginning the church has sought to control and destroy every impulse toward pleasure and self-determination.

While a little graffiti may be a small gesture in the war against patriarchal religious control, we wish to highlight that it’s easy and fun to attack. Our enemies are vulnerable and easy to find. In acting we learn to act, in waiting we only learn to wait. The secret is to really begin.

We echo the words of some crazy bitches from over a decade ago when we say that we are not asking for the right to choose, we are taking into our own hands the ability to abort a pregnancy. We are not asking for advertisements or media that pander to trans people, we’re wresting the tools to change our bodies out of the control of doctors. We are not appealing to state power for an end to patriarchal violence, but threatening: “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you.”

For joy, pleasure, and self-determination,
Jane’s Revenge
Bo Brown Memorial Cell

An “autonomous call to action against patriarchal supremacy” from under the banner of Jane’s Revenge has been published on a new website. The statement reads:

Within the month we anticipate a verdict will be issued that overturns Roe v Wade, setting in motion an evisceration of abortion access across the so-called United States.

This is an event that should inspire rage in millions of people who can get pregnant…and yet, the response thusfar has been tepid.

We have agonized over this apparent absence of indignation. Why is it that we are so afraid to unleash hell upon those who are destroying us? Fear of state repression is valid, but this goes deeper than that.

Your anger has been stolen from you.

To this we say: no more. We need to get angry.

We need the state to feel our full wrath.

We need to express this madness fully and with ferocity. We need to quit containing ourselves.

We need them to be afraid of us.

Last week, an evil creature slaughtered 19 children and two teachers in their classroom in Texas. While some may call this horrific act “senseless” or “random,” we know that’s not the case. We know that this was an act of male domination and patriarchal violence, meant to make women, children and teachers live in fear. We know it is deeply connected to the reproductive violence about to be unleashed on this land by an illegitimate institution founded in white male supremacy.

We cannot think of a clearer example in this time of the need for autonomously organized self-defense networks. We cannot think of a clearer example of the desperate need for those who can get pregnant to learn how to confront misogynistic violence directly. We also believe this unlearning of our self-containment can begin in the streets when we organize alongside one another to confront state forces of evil and domination.

Several weeks ago, we watched and waited as self-proclaimed “feminist organizations” and non-profits took the lead on arranging their demure little rallies for freedom. We were told to let them handle it, and to defer to the political machinery that has thusfar failed to secure our liberation. In a world where the news media has an attention span of about 24 hours on their best day, we knew these hollow gestures would fail to capture attention. We knew we were witnessing counterinsurgency in action. We cannot sit idly by anymore while our anger is yet again channeled into Democratic party fundraisers and peace parades with the police.

We were even told we must cooperate with them because they work alongside abortion providers and clinic escorts…a group of people who, at this moment in time, cannot possibly risk their lives or their livelihoods any further than they already are. We honor these providers and their service. We do not honor those who would use them as a shield against direct and militant action. We believe the greatest honor we could give them would be to act meaningfully in their name.

The time to act was decades ago. The next best time is now.

Whatever form your fury takes, the first step is feeling it.

The next step is carrying that anger out into the world and expressing it physically.

Consider this your call to action.

On the night the final ruling is issued——a specific date we cannot yet predict, but we know is arriving imminently——we are asking for courageous hearts to come out after dark.

Whoever you are and wherever you are, we are asking for you to do what you can to make your anger known.

We have selected a time of 8pm for actions nationwide to begin, but know that this is a general guideline. There may be other considerations involved in planning time and place. We do not claim to speak for every community or crew. We are simply calling out to you. And we hope you answer our cries.

To the cis male allies who would be interested in joining us in the streets, we say: you are certainly welcome, but you must use your privilege to shield and support us in a way that also enables us to get angry. Do not police us. Do not tell us what is and isn’t appropriate. But do aid us when we are in need.

We must also say: do not wait until the verdict arrives to organize.

Make plans now. Take action now.

It is not enough to share images on Twitter and Instagram (though that is still important to do). We cannot sustain this movement any longer with the same few hundred people who have been beaten down over and over again. We must not only circulate this call on social media, but reach out to communities who may not be in touch with “radical circles” online.

Mass action requires mass outreach.

We would not be issuing this call if we did not believe in our bones that this kind of action *is* possible. We have witnessed the wom*n of Argentina, Mexico and Poland organize autonomously for their reproductive liberation. We know it can be done…but we need every soul reading this to do their part.

To those who work to oppress us: If abortion isn’t safe, you aren’t either. We are everywhere.


Class War

Rent strikes are currently ongoing in a manufactured home park in Lockport, New York and in an apartment building in South Minneapolis, where tenants are fighting to force landlords to make basic improvements.

Remembering George Floyd in the Streets

Across the so-called US, people held events remembering George Floyd, and the wider uprising that was launched following his brutal murder in the early summer of 2020. Marches, film screenings and other events took place in Portland, Minneapolis, New York City and elsewhere.

According to a report back from Portland:

2 years have passed since the massive worldwide uprising began after the murder of George Floyd. In the span of 2 years the government has refused to change and instead has continued to push for more police and increasing police budgets. After 2 years activists in Portland planned a memorial in downtown Portland, while this event of remembrance was happening another group of activists planned a direct action event to show that we’re still here and this fight is far from over.

While the main event downtown marched from Pioneer Square to the Justice Center the smaller group went to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department on the other side of Portland. The group planned a quick action that left 4-6 massive windows shattered along with all the front doors which were also made of glass. Several large pieces of graffiti were drawn on the building including “Say His Name”, “George Floyd” and “Revenge Is Here.” The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department was targeted due to the fact it is also used as the county probation office, several people in Portland have been excessively charged over the last 2 years and this building directly has attacked and tried to intrap protestors from the 2020 George Floyd uprising in the probation system.

One thing that is constantly being learned and explained is how to adapt when police and the government continue to follow the same ways that got us here in the first place 2 years ago. Portland will continue to show up and do all the work that is needed to hopefully get to a better world one day.

Solidarity with Minneapolis

RIP George Floyd

In New York, people held marches and also a film screening.

In Minneapolis, “protesters marched with a banner reading, “Remember May 28th,” to the third precinct tonight where fireworks were sent up and shopping carts were set on fire before moving on.”

Upcoming Events

  • June 5th: Bay Area Anarchist Bookfair returns to Oakland, California. 11 AM – 5 PM, 5th and Harrison. More info here.
  • June 11th: Day of Solidarity with Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners. More info here.
  1. NYC, NY: Letter writing in the park. More info here.
  2. Philadelphia, PA: Anarchist prisoner solidarity BBQ. More info here.
  3. Cincinnati, OH: Benefit for Marius Mason. More info here.
  • June 25th – 26th: Autonomous Tenant Union Network 2022 Convention. Los Angeles, CA. More info here.
  • July 29th – 30th: Dual Power Gathering in Chicago. “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:
  • August 20th: Rock Against Racism mutual aid benefit show in Reno. More info here.
  • September 10th and 11th: New York City Anarchist Bookfair. La Plaza Community Garden (10th) and virtually (11th). More info here.
  • September 18th: Pushing Down the Walls, Southern California. Benefit for political prisoners. More info here.

It’s Going Down

If you value IGD as a revolutionary autonomous media resource in times of crisis and have the means, please sign up to support us monthly! Help autonomous revolutionary media grow into 2021!

Photo: People’s Park Berkeley on Instagram

While you’re here, we need your support. To continue running the website, we need support from community members like you. Will you support It’s Going Down, and help build independent media? donate?

Share This:

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.

More Like This