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Welcome, to This Is America, November 25th, 2022.
On today’s episode, first we speak with two members of the Black Rose Anarchist Federation about the ongoing mass United Auto Workers (UAW) strike across the University of California system. We talk about how the strike grew out of a wave of wildcat strikes in early 2020 across the UC system and how workers are fighting to build rank-n-file power and win a cost of living wage increase, in one of the most expensive housing markets in the US.
We then turn towards our discussion, as we offer up an anarchist analysis of the midterms, why the pundit class got it so wrong, and what this means for social movements and struggles going forward.
All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news!
Living and Fighting
In the midst of increasing attacks against the LGBTQ+ community, both from the Republican party and from far-Right actors, people across the US are reeling after a 22 year-old gunman walked into a LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, just before the start of Trans Day of Remembrance, and opened fire, killing five people and injuring many more. The gunman was thankfully stopped – not by police – but by people inside the club who disarmed and then beat the shooter.
While more information is coming out all the time, we do know that the shooter’s grandfather is a MAGA Republican in California and his own father when interviewed espoused anti-gay views. People who knew the shooter have also reported that he often used anti-gay slurs and a video has also emerged of the shooter and his mother shouting racist slurs at an airport. The wider Right has responded by attacking those who stopped the shooter for attending an LGBTQ+ event in the first place while doubling down on attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
Across the US, people held vigils and rallies in solidarity, denouncing the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks and threats by groups like the Proud Boys against Pride and beyond.
Anarchists and militant queers and trans people also dropped banners, held vigils, and in Colorado Springs, vandalized the front entrance to the anti-LGBTQ+ group focus on the family, writing, “Their Blood Is On Your Hands, Five Lives Lost.” Focus on the Family is most well known for raising millions to attack same-sex marriage and promote the horrific practice of “conversion therapy.” A statement from the anonymous group who take credit for the vandalism stated:
It is important to us that you understand why Focus on the Family must be held accountable for the ramifications of their hateful theology. You have likely seen the onslaught of anti-trans legislation, of which Focus on the Family is a huge proponent, both in funding and propaganda. With an alarmingly expansive network, they work closely with powerful entities, such as the DeVos family, to promote and fund this anti-trans legislation. Focus on the Family’s goal is to eradicate queerness. Tactics they use to achieve this include indoctrination, media saturation, falsified research, and conversion therapy. We encourage you to continue to investigate the many examples of their culpability, which can be found front and center on their own website.
Source: Colorado People’s Press
The White House has now stepped in to try and stop a potential railroad strike right before the holidays, after workers at the largest US railroad union voted down a Biden backed deal. In 1991, then President Bush, later backed by Congress, crushed a national rail strike by ordering over a quarter of a million workers by to work after only a day.
In California, tens of thousands of United Auto Workers remain on strike across the University of California system, demanding a cost of living wage increase. At UC Davis and UC Santa Barbara, after a week of barricades on the campus, dining halls on both campuses were “liberated” and made free to everyone.
Source: Cops off Campus Davis
A statement published online wrote:
This dining commons belongs to you (it’s right in the name: commons, something held in common by a community). This university belongs to you. For as long as it lasts, it belongs to everyone. It runs on the labor, research & study of students, workers, & staff. Bureaucratic administrators have one function: to exploit that labor & research. They exist to underpay workers, treat students as clients & customers, & build a wall between the campus & the community that they also rip off as landlords. This exploitation is such an unpopular idea that they need an armed wing to make it work or everyone would laugh at them. That’s the cops. Today we do this act of common-making in solidarity with everyone who is food insecure, rent-burdened, & everyone whose research & labor is exploited including those striking for a better contract. We are in solidarity with their demand for a COLA & their community safety demands that include the call to defund the university police. Have a meal; it’s yours.
In Seattle, thousands of high school students organized a walkout after the shooting death of a student and to denounce calls for more police in schools, instead putting forward the demand for more counselors per student.
In Boise, Idaho, antifascist researchers outed a white supremacist police officer, Matthew Bryngelson, who spoke at the recent white nationalist ‘American Renaissance’ conference and who had contributed to its website in the past under a pseudo-name that referenced a neo-Nazi in the movie, American History X. Bryngelson, who retired from the police force in September of 2022, also hosted the department’s podcast over the course of the year.
Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Struggle for Sovereignty
Responding to a call for action in solidarity with the ongoing fight for sovereignty in Wet’suwet’en territory, several direct actions were claimed. On Puget Sound Anarchists, the following communique was posted:
Over the last several weeks we have spiked large swaths of trees in the so-called “Capitol State Forest” in rural so-called “Thurston County, Washington” (ancestral Nisqually, Squaxin, and Chehalis land), leading up to the November 5th day of action in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en struggle against Coastal Gas Link and the Canadian government’s colonial intrusion into their territory.
This seasonal transition has been sharp and hard on the land. Our forests here experienced an unusually sudden shift from severe heatwaves and drought that lasted late into the fall, to floods and freezes with minimal autumnal gentle rains to steward the earth into the rainy season. These forests which have fed so many for time immemorial show the consequences. As climate change-fueled “natural” disasters become more and more devastating every year, the industrial rate of destruction of everything that sustains the land and the people on it only escalates. Politicians speak out of one side of their mouths about “truth and reconciliation” or “climate action,” while with the other side of their mouths they send the police to clear the way for mining and logging companies. Swaths of land dripping in moss and bubbling with streams, teeming with mushrooms and other life will soon be left as dry mangled fields, mirrors of the hellscapes being created in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Lifeless, and robbed of all sustenance and culture, useless to anyone but the corporations and people who sold off a forest they had no connection to.
All of these industries are on the side of Coastal Gas Link and they are all our enemies. We feel the rage, creativity, and determination of the people of Wet’suwet’en and Wedzin Kwa, and must all act against every aspect of colonial industry which threatens the sovereignty and lifeblood of lands and waters. We hope this message serves as a warning to deter all upcoming timber sales in the Capitol Forest. If the trees are cut, we hope for maximum damage to the chainsaws and mills.
Up in Wet’suwet’en territory, CGL just blew up Lamprey Creek, an active salmon and eel spawning ground, and home to two elders’ cabins on the Wedzin Kwah river. These waters and forests are lifeblood being stolen and desecrated. Drilling under the crystal clear Wedzin Kwah is active, while salmon actively spawn nearby. Wet’suwet’en protectors have specifically called on anarchists to step up. This comes with huge risk for the Wet’suwet’en. Let that call be heard and felt by our friends and our enemies.
DECOLONIZE THE PLANET
GO LOG IN HELL
WORLDWIDE SOLIDARITY WITH WET’SUWET’EN
CGL FUCK OFF
ALSO STOP COP CITY – DEFEND THE ATLANTA FOREST
SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING
Meanwhile in so-called Philadelphia, a report posted to Philly Anti-Capitalist wrote:
On the night of November 5th, a small group of Anti-colonial Anarchist settlers in Lenapehoking blockaded a chokepoint of a high frequency railway in Solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en resisting drilling in the Wedzin Kwa and all those resisting colonial capitalist development and infrastructure all across Turtle Island and the World!
We hope to inspire many more and frequent railway blockades as an effective action to disrupt colonial and ecocidal infrastructure all across Turtle Island and Globally.
Shut down Canada, Colonialism, and Capitalism everywhere!
Finally, a communique posted to Northshore Counter-Info took credit for actions in Ontario, writing:
In the early hours of Nov 5, groups of anarchists acted in solidarity with Sleydo’s call for action to support the ongoing Wet’suwet’en battle to protect the yintah and kill the drill. Rail lines were sabotaged at several points in a disruption of business-as-usual along main arteries of the freight system. They will continue to be sabotaged at random far into the future, at every corner of rail line across the turtle’s back.
The night sky yawns and the stars and moon stare down at us, working in the night. They cast their gaze upon us near and far, as they do also on the shimmering waters of the Wedzin Kwa. The drilling begins, and while we weep for the water, the salmon, and our beloved dead, our rage begins to burn, a lit fuse.
CGL, RBC, Kkkanada – you are not safe and you have ignited something that will never die.
ELF Prisoner Sentenced to Time Served
Eco-prisoner Joseph Mahmoud Dibee has been sentenced to time served. As Unicorn Riot reported:
Joseph Mahmoud Dibee, a 54-year-old environmental activist and former Earth Liberation Front saboteur, was sentenced to time served today after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit arson and one count of arson. Dibee was also ordered to complete 1,000 hours of community service.
Dibee is a former member of an autonomous cell of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, loose networks of activists who in the late 90s and early 2000s took responsibility for a string of attacks on industries, businesses, and government entities they saw as responsible for the mounting environmental crisis.
In 2005, in the midst of post-911 anti-terrorism fervor, the FBI rolled out Operation Backfire, which ultimately led to the indictment of nearly 20 people on serious felony charges. Although Dibee was not initially charged in the case, he was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury to testify against another activist. When confronted with the choice of whether or not to cooperate, or ‘snitch,’ Dibee chose to flee to Syria, his family’s country of origin. Shortly thereafter, he was indicted in a sweeping conspiracy case.
Antifascists Continue to Mobilize Against Far-Right TERFs
Source: Ash J
Demonstrations continued against a tour put on by “Let Women Speak,” a group of far-Right connected TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists), who attempted to hold anti-trans rallies across the US, often linking up with fascist groups like the Proud Boys. In both Philadelphia and New York City, over 100 people in each city mobilized to shout down the anti-trans activists, effectively shutting down their rallies.
Action in Defense of the Atlanta Forest
Action in defense of the Atlanta forest continues. First up in our action roundup, people claimed credit for closing “down the Atlanta Police Department’s shooting range” inside the Atlanta forest. According to a communique posted to Scenes from the Atlanta Forest:
On the evening of Saturday, November 19, chainsaw-wielding militants took action to close down the Atlanta Police Department’s shooting range inside the Weelaunee Forest, where APD trains weekly to kill and maim the people of Atlanta. A few small trees were selectively felled in order to block the access road to the shooting range. One of the felled trees hit a power line which provides electricity to the shooting range, leading to a power surge which blew a transformer and disabled the cameras, which were then destroyed with fire and hammers. The power line only services the shooting range. No residential areas were impacted by the outage.
Since the closing of the shooting range, the Weelaunee forest has not been quiet – even the cold November woods are full of life and noise – but it has been more peaceful without the police filling it with the sounds of war. We hope that all the residents of the forest and the surrounding neighborhood can relax better in the relative silence, but we must be clear that we didn’t do this for their sake.
We took this action for the dead – for Rayshard Brooks and every person killed by the Atlanta Police, for every murdered revolutionary, for the Muskogee who were forced from this land, for every enslaved person who lived and died on the plantation here, for every prisoner killed by guards at the old prison farm and buried in unmarked graves in the forest. This forest is theirs and we will not allow the police to desecrate it with their presence.
We will not allow the police to bulldoze over the history of their own crimes.
The land remembers. We remember. Cop city will never be built.
According to an anonymous report posted to Scenes from the Atlanta Forest, another report claimed credit for torching another work truck:
In the late afternoon hours of Tuesday, November 8 (Election Day), another tow truck entered the parking lot of the Weelaunee People’s Park with the intention of carrying away the charred remains of Ryan Millsap’s tow truck, which was burnt back in July. The latter truck has become a monument to the power of this movement, and had already been defended from extraction at least once before. So when this new truck came–its driver saying that he had already called the cops, and he’d be towing our truck as soon as they arrived–forest defenders were quick to respond. The police, on the other hand, were not. When it became clear to the driver that the cops were too lazy, overextended, and scared to come to his aid, he abandoned the vehicle with the keys inside. When DKPD did finally arrive on the scene, they were too scared to even enter the parking lot, let alone the forest. Forest defenders drove the truck to the RC field in an attempt to block the path where a bulldozer had entered last May. Then they set it ablaze, taking great care to ensure that the surrounding grass didn’t catch.
Meanwhile, those Americans that still believe in the ritual of voting were casting their ballots for the maintenance of one or the other version of the status quo. They think of this as freedom, as though the choice between 100 brands of cereal were the same as choosing how to live. We chose another route. We chose to defend a territory that has been claimed by the people, for the people–where the police do not dare to go because they have seen what happens to enemy vehicles. We elected a raging fire beneath a full moon!
Source: Scenes from the Atlanta Forest
Finally, another report took credit for the burning of an excavator:
NS EXCAVATOR BURNT ADJACENT TO RAILROAD TRACKS, WELAUNEE WOODS, ATL.
This excavator belonged to Norfolk Southern, a supporter of the proposed Cop City Project in ATL. It was decommissioned by fire. Fire heals all. Fuck northfolk southern railways.
Submitted anonymously over email
A communique claiming credit for vandalizing a building belonging to Adidas was posted to various counter-info sites reading:
Early November 20th, several hours before the opening ceremony of the 2022 World Cup, we smashed up most buildings at the Adidas North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon. We shattered windows, broke doors and covered walls with paint across the corporate campus, including office buildings, the gym and cafe. Adidas is one of FIFA’s primary long-term partners, and a main sponsor of the World Cup in Qatar this year.
The history of the World Cup is one of death and displacement. Every stadium stands upon the dead bodies of workers who built it. In Qatar, over 6,500 migrant workers from South Asia died during the decade of preparations for the 2022 World Cup, forced to work in slave conditions. The World Cup was made possible by hundreds of thousands of migrant workers forced into labor through a combination of physical violence, threats of imprisonment, passport confiscation, debt bondage, and more. Every World Cup involves the violent evictions and displacement of thousands, replacing whole neighborhoods with stadiums and other infrastructure. The entire operation is protected by huge increases of militarized policing and surveillance, with 3,000 riot cops sent from Turkey, 4,500 soldiers from the Pakistan army and forces from the British Royal Navy and Air Force coming to Qatar to enforce control during the World Cup.
All this is enabled by the huge companies that sponsor the World Cup and FIFA in the interest of profit.
We reject the logics of global capitalism and the state, and the endless violence they create together. All that’s left to do is fight back.
Animal Liberation Front (ALF) Releases Thousands of Mink
According to a series of communiques released by cells of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) posted to the Animal Liberation Press office, thousands of mink across fur farms in Ohio and Michigan have been released back into the wild. In early November, 1,000 mink were liberated in Ohio, followed by 800 mink in Michigan. Then on November 15th, at least 10,000 minks were released from another farm in Ohio. According to The Truth About Fur, there are around 120 mink fur farms in the US and 60 in Canada, each generating tens of millions a year in profits.
- Long-term anarchists Lorenzo Komboa Ervin and JoNina Abron-Ervin are in need of support with their housing situation. Please donate here.
- November 29th: Seattle Mutual Aid Fair. Cal Anderson Park. 11th and Olive at Black Lives Memorial Garden. 4 – 8 PM.
- November 29th: Cindy Milstein speaks at Firestorm in Asheville, NC. More info here.
- May 2023: Healthcare Autonomy Conference. Durham, NC. More info here.
It’s Going Down
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cover image: Pride Was a Riot