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Oct 6, 22

This Is America #175: How the Mission District Pushed Back on Police and Non-Profit Attempts at Social Cleansing

Welcome, to This Is America, October 6th, 2022.

On this episode, first we speak with a resident of the Mission District neighborhood in San Francisco, California, about a recent campaign to remove poor and working-class people from a popular plaza and how the neighborhood pushed back. We then speak to Nathan Jun, an anarchist and former professor about how they were targeted in a far-Right smear campaign.

We then turn our discussion towards recent headlines, but first, let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

Autonomous Mutual Aid Efforts and Anger Grow Across Florida, Cuba, and Puerto Rico in Wake of Hurricanes

As the death toll in Florida rises past 100 in the wake of Hurricane Ian, anger is growing at the State’s response to the disaster, as officials “did not issue a mandatory evacuation order for areas which would be affected by coastal flooding until 24 hours before [Ian’s] landfall.” With few options, many poor, disabled, and elderly folks were left to fend for themselves in rapidly flooding homes or in boats. Such a response from the State is nothing new; this is the same government that stood by while thousands died in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria and in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, as climate change fueled super storms become the new normal in a State controlled by a party which denies its existence.

In the wake of Ian, autonomous mutual aid groups have been organizing relief efforts. If you want to contribute, donate to Central Florida Mutual Aid here and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief (MADR) here. Mutual Aid Disaster Relief has also set up a real-world distribution hub in Tampa, Florida, where people can donate and get supplies. A recent article that reported on their efforts in Tampa wrote:

As we visited community after community in Englewood, we heard the same thing over and over again:…MADR was the first relief to arrive, we were told. Dominic Dawson said that all of the relief was on the rich side of town, adding, “On the poor side, the hood, I haven’t seen nothing over here.” Marginalized communities are often left to fend for themselves after disasters. And while Ian’s death toll is already estimated to reach into the hundreds, there will be far more deaths if people who need help don’t get it soon.

Even now, wellness check requests are coming in to MADR, especially to pay visits to older people who haven’t been heard from. Volunteers from around the country are now headed to Ft. Myers to visit with those in need and bring supplies from the Tampa hurricane relief hub established last week.

The Mutual Aid Disaster Relief network is also organizing folks to gather supplies and build autonomous supply chains which can funnel resources into impacted areas. As one article reported:

The Monday supply drive [in Carrboro, NC] was a collaboration with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief’s hurricane response. The organization sent a box truck from Virginia to pick up hurricane relief supplies in cities and towns on the way to impacted areas in Florida. Mutual Aid Disaster Relief currently has distribution hubs operating in Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota and Fort Myers.

Power outages in the wake of hurricanes have also led to a return of protests in Cuba, as people took to the streets to demand electricity be restored. In Puerto Rico, protests have been ongoing over the past three weeks, as anger at the island’s electrical utility, LUMA, exploded in mass protests and has now mixed with growing demands to turn power back on in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. Mutual Aid groups and reclaimed social centers, many set up in the wake of Hurricane Maria, are still going strong, feeding the ongoing protest movement and mobilizing much needed relief in impacted communities.

Mass Protests in Haiti Continue while Fascists Block Solidarity Rally in the Dominican Republic

Thousands continue to take to the streets of Haiti, calling for the fall of Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government, an end to foreign US interference, and against austerity, especially crippling fuel and food costs. In the Dominican Republic, a local socialist group also reported that fascists with the Old Dominican Order ailed with police, successfully blocked a solidarity demonstration with Haitian protesters.

Defend the Atlanta Forest

The struggle to defend the Atlanta forest continues. Late last month, it was reported that the home and vehicles of M. Miller Gorrie, chairman of Grasfield & Gorrie, which has been contracted to build the ‘Cop City’ project, was vandalized. A communique posted to Scenes from the Atlanta Forest claimed credit for the action.

State Wide Alabama Prison Strike Continues into Second Week

As It’s Going Down reported last week, a historic strike across Alabama prison facilities is now in its second week, as prisoners demand better conditions and fundamental changes in the racist parole and sentencing system. Starting last Monday, prisoners walked off their jobs, of which they are paid nothing for, and are refusing to cook, clean and do laundry, forcing many guards and prison staff to pick up the slack – bringing the system to a screeching halt. According to prisoners and their supporters, prison administrators have responded to the strike with attempts to starve out the strikers, canceling weekend visits, and bringing in other prisoners as scab labor.

Even prison guards have gone public about the repression. According to one local report:

Speaking to WAAY 31, a corrections officer at Limestone Correctional Facility said they believe administrators are intentionally delaying how long inmates have to wait between…meals. The officer, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation, said inmates at times are waiting 14 to 15 hours between meals.

Videos posted by Unheard Voices to social media last Saturday show prisoners at one facility locked arm and arm in a display of solidarity and report that efforts to break the strike have not been successful. reports that some prisons have managed to break the strike and return prisoners to work, while others continue to experience disruptions.

Nazi Metal Band’s Truck Goes Up in Flames in Los Angeles

In a move that was ironically extremely metal, in Los Angeles, Vishal P. Singh reported on Twitter that a truck belonging to a neo-Nazi metal band was reportedly set on fire outside of a fascist black metal concert entitled, “Rise of the Black Sun,” last weekend. On social media, photos of several bands were posted sporting neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic symbols.

Protest Encampment in Uvalde, Texas Grows

Since early last week, parents of children who were gunned down in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas have set up a protest encampment outside of a school district office to demand that officers involved in the response to the massacre be suspended pending an investigation. Brett Cross, one of the protest organizers stated, “I honestly feel that they don’t care. They want to keep making excuses. All they want to do is sweep it under the rug and act like it didn’t happen and go on with their merry lives, collecting their nice little paychecks and not being held accountable.”

Student Walkouts Against Anti-Trans Guidelines Rock Virginia

Across Virginia, thousands of high-school students carried out walkouts against newly proposed guidelines which attack transgender youth by requiring “students to use school facilities that match their biological sex and make it more difficult for students to change names and gender pronouns by requiring parents to give their approval for students who are minors.”

IWW Continues to Grow in the Pacific Northwest

The radical anti-capitalist labor union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) continues to grow in the Pacific Northwest. Last week, workers at Doughnut Workers United won a several year long campaign to unionize Old Town Voodoo Doughnuts. Also last week, another group of workers in the Burgerville chain joined the IWW as part of the Burgerville Workers Union, which began a union campaign against Burgerville over six years ago. The same group of workers earlier this week also walked out on strike, after corporate refused to close the store following the death of a bicyclist in front of the restaurant. In late 2021, union workers ratified a contract with the fast food eatery after years of strikes, job actions, and protests. 

NYC Anarchists Rally in Solidarity with CNT Members in Spain

Anarchists and wobblies in New York City demonstrated in solidarity in front of the Spanish consulate with anarcho-syndicalists in the CNT labor union who are currently facing repression.

Asylum Seekers in New Mexico Detention Facility Launch Hunger Strike

In New Mexico, over a dozen asylum seekers at a detention prison run by CoreCivic launched a hunger strike, despite ICE and prison officials denying its existence. According to one report:

The 13 detainees announced their hunger strike through an open letter signed by the men. The letter detailed “very poor” conditions, including mold growing in the bathroom, raw food, fungal infections on men’s heads due to unsanitary barber tools and an excessive amount of flies and mosquitoes.

The hunger-strikers also reported abuse from guards, cells without air conditioning, and lack of ability to communicate with families or legal council.

Communique Reports on Attack on Enbridge Machinery in Michigan

A communique posted to Abolition Media claimed responsibility for torching equipment belonging to Enbridge, a Canadian based company behind the construction of massive fossil fuel pipelines and one of the major corporations driving the climate crisis. This act of sabotage comes as a lawsuit, launched by the state of Michigan “to force Enbridge Inc to stop operating the Line 5 oil pipeline underneath the the Great Lakes,” heads to federal court. The aging pipeline, which in 1991 ruptured in Grand Rapids, creating the largest inland oil spill in US history, was ordered shut down in May of 2021, however Enbridge refused. The communique reads:

i write this from occupied anishinabewaki and odawa territory while one third of pakistan is underwater with 33 million people displaced from a monsoon with 600% more rain than usual, while nearly 200,000 around jackson mississippi have no access to drinking water after a flash flood that knocked out the city’s water treatment facility, while flint michigan still doesn’t have clean water.

i write this while the black snakes beneath my feet prepare once again to go under the mackinac straits, a sacred place where all of the great lakes converge. the great lakes which make of nearly 20% of the world’s fresh water. we must not let this happen. we need to cultivate a community of collective resistance and joyful militancy against all that oppresses and depresses us.

breaking into an enbridge facility and torching their heavy machinery may seem daunting, but in reality it is much easier than you’d think. their power relies on our fear of them and doubt in ourselves. find people you share affinity with, organize together, and fight back. if not us then who, if not now then when?

-the first of many

Enbridge also works directly with US law enforcement against environmental activists, and “has reimbursed US police $2.4m for arresting and surveilling hundreds of demonstrators.”

Ongoing Rent Strikes

Tenants in Syracuse New York have formed a tenant association and launched a rent strike to demand repairs to their apartment complex and in Los Angeles, tenants at one building under the banner of the K3 Tenant Council, are currently in their fifth month of a rent strike.

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