Interviews This Is America #21: Fossil Fueled Firestorm, Resistance Heats Up

This Is America #21: Fossil Fueled Firestorm, Resistance Heats Up


Welcome, to This Is America, July 29th, 2018.

Today we’ll be wading through the latest Trump news, updates on large antifascist mobilizations, the latest developments in #OccupyICE, some inspiring examples of proletarian crime, and finally, a look at climate change and the growing crisis of wildfires, rising temperatures, and modern cities.

In this episode, we were lucky enough to be joined by someone at the #OccupyICE encampment in Philadelphia as they discuss the news that the movement forced the State into granting a huge concession, as well as long time anti-civilization anarchist writer and thinker, Kevin Tucker, who talks with us on climate change, heatwaves, the plans of the elites after ‘the event,’ wild fires, and more.

Trump That Regime

This week the heat has turned up once again on Trump, largely centered around the Mueller investigation as well as Trump’s former lawyer saying that he will testify against Trump and the fact that he produced a recording of himself and Trump discussing how to pay off yet another Playboy model to keep their affair a secret. Moreover, big financial movers and shakers from within the Trump Organization such as the CFO himself, have now been requested to testify about Trump’s financial dealings, a move which may finally force Trump to release his tax returns.

However if recent polls are to believed, many Americans could give a fuck – probably because our lives are going to shit regardless of what happens with Trump’s disgusting orange ass. Moreover, while the mainstream press distracts us with talk of Playboy models, Trump continues to push towards nuclear war with everyone from Iran to North Korea.

Moreover, Trump predictably failed to reunite hundreds of undocumented children with their parents. As one report wrote:

The deadline of Thursday, July 26, elapsed for the court-ordered reunification of the more than 3,000 children separated from their parents, with the Trump administration declaring at least 711 families “ineligible” for reunification, affecting nearly a thousand children. The administration now claims that it has met the burden of the court order, issued by District Judge Dana Sabraw of the Southern District of California, but only by classifying as “ineligible” all the families it failed to reunify.

In economic news, some people are wondering if recent slumps of home sales in California will signal the start of another crash or economic recession, as slumps within the housing market have been known to indicate. In short, in California home prices have continued to skyrocket, while wages have fallen or stagnated. In response, a lot of people have simply stopped trying to buy homes. In response, the market is now flooded with homes who’s median price is half a million dollars. In the meantime, more and more Americans live in poverty, existing paycheck to paycheck, and wealth continues to be concentrated into fewer and fewer hands.

$716 billion of that wealth is now earmarked for the Pentagon’s war machine, as a proposed new Pentagon package has now passed the house and is scheduled to go to vote in the Senate in August, at exactly the same time that idiots at Fox News start to roll out their talking points on the horrors of “socialism.” Ironic that boot lickers claim that we should only have the freedom to give the State our money for war, and not to ensure that we have access to things like health care or education.

But beyond these cosmetic and often comedic reminders that those in power lie and manipulate their surroundings to ensure a variety of upper class privileges and access to resources and power, Trump’s trade war is having major impacts on farmers (who largely voted for Trump) across the country. In light of retaliatory tariffs being thrown at US growers, many farmers lost millions and will let many crops rot because they cannot export them. In response, the State rushed through billions in farmer “aid” which amounts essentially to a bailout.

In response, politicians on both sides are are singing the praises of “free trade” and corporate globalization as Trump tries to carry out attacks on post-War manifestations of American capital and hegemony, from the World Trade Organization to the UN.

What the failure of Trump’s protectionism does show is that capitalism in general is a system that only succeeds in accumulating wealthy in a small amount of hands, while wasting mass amounts of resources in extremely inefficient ways. Whether a so-called free trade model which encourages countries to gut environmental, labor, and banking regulations and promote austerity to invite capital to come in, across borers, or the protectionist one, which seeks to build an economic nationalist model, and thus encourages simply the same degradation at home – capitalism is a failure for the earth and those who labor under its reign.

A true alternative would be instead of a mass system of “trade” and resource extraction based on non-renewable resources, would be localized, sustainable, production of things that human communities need, not what makes money in markets. Instead of massive system of international commerce, we could have localized systems, non-industrialized, that could work to meet our needs, while engaging in mutual aid and solidarity on a global scale; coming to each others aid in the spirit of a common humanity.

But such an alternative; a world without wage slavery and the private ownership of the means of existence – won’t come through piecemeal reforms or through starting small businesses, but in the exploited and excluded taking over the means of existence from those that control them now.

Drama In Fash Land

The Unite the Right #2 rally in DC continues to plod forward, however it seems that Jason Kessler is finding it hard to sign up anyone that actually wants to speak at his event. Also this week, antifascist released doxx information on rally organizers.

Meanwhile, Patriot Prayer has announced that instead of rally on the 4th at a federal park, they will instead be rallying close to the water, (a move pulled before many times), which will allow them to open carry. In a recent Facebook video, Gibson stated that the group had now acquired a set of small school buses that will be the “future” of how the organization protests. Meaning, instead of relying on the police to escort them, they will instead get on and off of their small buses in rapid time, and will be protected by armed guards.

Meanwhile, Amber Cummings, the organizer of the Berkeley rally, has launched a series of online tirades against the leader of the Sacramento Proud Boys, Gabe Silva, after Silva’s comments were featured heavily in a Southern Poverty Law Center about wanting to engage in violence against antifascists. Cummings then claimed that American Guard, a violent white nationalist group that fought at Unite the Right was no longer welcome, and thus, she had no security. Not to be outdone, Proud Boys made a separate Berkeley event page, but then seemed to signal that they were not coming. Amber also stated on social meda that people “might not want” to come to her own event. Meanwhile, Joey Gibson stated that he was still planning on driving his buses down to Berkeley to the rallies, despite the drama.

While the fash are at each other’s throats, antifascists should remember that this is much the same thing that these same organizers pulled last year in the bay area, and in the end, they still attempted to show up, Joey Gibson included. Currently across the US in August, antifascist mobilizations are growing, with more and more groups signing on to confront the far-Right and the Alt-Right.

Let Your Bonnot Flag Fly

Some interesting stories happened this week that involved straight up destruction, brawling, and even theft on a mass scale.

First off, someone took a pick ax to Donald Trump’s star in the walk of fame. They were arrested, but then bailed out by someone that had destroyed it with a pickax before them. How’s that for prisoner support!

Soon after, MAGA boot lickers rallied around their favorite ‘anti-globalist’ billionaire while another crowd of anti-Trump human beings also gathered, leading to a violent brawl in the streets you can watch below.

Not to be outdone, Idaho prisoners in one facility were able to hack JPay, an online payment processor for inmates which forces them to pay for access for literally everything one could do on a tablet, from looking at photos, to answering emails. According to one article:

Inmates in five Idaho prisons exploited a vulnerability on their JPay tablets to steal almost $225,000 worth of credits, according to officials. The Idaho Department of Correction said 364 prisoners boosted their JPay account balances, according to The Associated Press. The department unearthed the issue earlier this month, and noted taxpayer dollars were not affected.

Prisoners can use credits to buy music, ebooks, stamps (to pay for email and inbound video messages), games and even the JPay tablets themselves. They can use the tablets to catch up on the news, access educational materials and view photos and videos. Inmates’ loved ones can buy the tablets for them, and talk to the prisoners with a video chat visitation.

Living and Fighting

  • In Tacoma outside of the Northwest Detention Center barricades have been placed up, which appear on social media to be blocking the entrance of the ICE center. Police removed them the next day, but the barricades blocked the facility for hours.
  • A member of the family that was resisting pipeline construction at Camp White Pine is now in jail. According to one article:

Ellen Gerhart, a retired special education teacher from central Pennsylvania, is in jail tonight. This afternoon, four officers with the Huntingdon County sheriff’s department arrived on the Gerhart’s property to make the arrest acting in response to a motion filed by Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline company notorious for the Dakota Access pipeline. The company is claiming that the 63-year old grandmother was baiting bears and mountain lions onto a pipeline easement the company established using eminent domain to take the family’s land. There have been no sightings of mountain lions in Pennsylvania for 130 years.

  • An #OccupyICE encampment has been launched in Sacramento, California. They are calling for support and more people. Check them out on Twitter and Facebook to see how to plug in and support.
  • Crowds gathered in North Toledo, after police shot and killed 25 year old Lamar Richardson while fleeing police on a bike.
  • New York members of the IWW showed up in solidarity with fellow union members who are being locked out by Grassroots Campaigns, a canvasing company in Seattle. Members of the union talked with rank-n-file workers about the struggle in Seattle, which has won an IWW contract. Also, starting July 27th, Seattle wobblies at Grassroots Campaigns officially launched a strike. See updates here.
  • An appeals court has canceled a permit that would allow the Mountain Valley Pipeline to be built on federal lands. Appalachians Against Pipelines wrote: “We don’t yet know exactly what this means — although we can say with certainty that the fight isn’t over. There hasn’t been any mention yet of whether this decision will be enforced or what that would look like…”
  • People found, destroyed, and covered up racist graffiti, posters, and stickers in a variety of places:
  • In other anti-MVP news, Appalachians Against Pipelines also reported: “This morning 30 or so Mountain Valley Pipeline work trucks were delayed for up to an hour! They were halted by a rolling blockade led by a couple meandering cyclists taking in the sights near Craig Creek, VA.”
  • In a major victory for the #AbolishICE movement, in Philadelphia the Mayor announced Friday as Unicorn Riot reported that: “…he will not renew the city’s contract to allow ICE access to the Philly Police PARS (Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System) database. Revoking ICE access to PARS was a key demand of the camp outside city hall.” While the move by the mayor is seen as a success, the city government has also stated that the #OccupyICEPHL encampment must be removed by Saturday.
  • In Detroit, people were able to pull off a 5 hour blockade of an ICE facility. People wrote on Twitter: “After 5 hour blockade of the Detroit ICE Field Office, DHS busted up the camp. Fortunately, there were no arrests.”
  • In Chicago, protests and pickets continue against “Accenture [who] is profiting nearly $3,000,000 taxpayer dollars to facilitate surveillance, deportation, detainment, kidnapping, & rape of people of color at or near the US-Mexico border.”
  • Banner drops took place in New York, the Northwest, and Gainesville, Florida.
  • In Georgia, it was reported that someone through a sledge hammer through the windows of a local Republican Party office.
  • In Massachusetts inmates after learning of a hunger strike by ICE prisoners, launched a hunger strike in solidarity. As one report wrote:

Inmates at the Bristol County House of Corrections in North Dartmouth began a hunger strike Tuesday evening in solidarity with ICE detainees, says Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson.

Hodgson says 71 inmates refused dinner Tuesday night, and another 35 inmates joined them in refusing breakfast Wednesday morning.

ICE detainees in Bristol County were on a hunger strike last week in protest of a lack of medical care, “inedible” food, and other alleged abuses. The sheriff says, news coverage of those strikes led inmates in the general population to refuse meals this week to show their support.

  • Actions and shut-downs of the Bayou Bridge pipeline continue despite continued arrests and repression.
  • Across the world on July 25th, people held events and took action to support long term antifascist prisoners. These ranged from people writing letters to dropping banners. Here’s a collection:
  • People are still gearing up to the #PrisonStrike as actions and hunger strike kick off on the side. Groups like RAM are holding regular get togethers to write and send letters into the inside.
  • In Tampa, Florida, far-Right Trump supporters showed up outside of the #OccupyICE camp and held a protest. Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys also showed up at #OccupyICEPDX to harass those who were evacuating the camp.
  • No Cop Academy held a blockade in Chicago.
  • Neo-Nazis with Identity Evropa, one of the key white nationalist groups which have continued on after Unite the Right, were driven out of Comic Con in San Diego by a group of antifascist and antiracist convention attendees. Members of IE were driven out of the event and followed for upwards of a mile.

  • Pablo Villavicencio, a man held by ICE, was finally released to his family in New York after weeks of protests. He was captured by ICE while working as a pizza delivery guy.
  • Trumpers and ICE protesters squared off in LA.
  • In San Antonio, #OccupyICE actions led to disruptions and the stopping of deportation trucks.

That’s gonna do it for us for now, so go out and make some more news for us to talk about by Monday!

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