TIA #36: The White Nationalist Kicking Black People Off Rolls

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Welcome, to This Is America, August 19th, 2018.

We have two very important interviews for you today. First, we talk with long time investigative journalist Greg Palast, who for years has written about voter suppression and stolen elections. In 2016, Palast attempted to break into the American mainstream by covering a story of a program being used in some states by Republicans entitled, CrossCheck. The system was fairly simple: it simply checked to see if “Jose Hernandez” was also a registered voter into more than one state. The Republican Party would then send a mailer to the person’s house to verify their information, and in many cases, it was simply thrown away as junk mail. In this way, in the 2016 election, millions of people, largely African-American and Latino voters, were purged from the voting rolls. The man behind this push, Kris Kobach, comes out of the legal arm of the white nationalist think-tank FAIR, (Federation for American Immigration Reform), who we here at It’s Going Down have covered at length.

Fast forward to 2018, and Kris Kobach, and Palast discusses, has now begun to help other Republicans engage in CrossCheck campaigns in their own states, including many of the recent cases involving African-American voters you may have heard on the news. And look to be real, while we here at IGD rep that red and black as autonomists and anarchists, we believe that the working class should never give up rights won through struggle, and that we should see the recent attempts by Republicans to remove literally millions of voters of color for what it is: a blatant racist attack on a broad section of the working class that is designed to keep in power a gang of pro-Trump bureaucrats.

As Ami du Radical recently wrote:

This is why the Kavanaugh confirmation was so vital to the GOP, and why the Trump administration has been ravenously confirming judges to lower courts. Just recently another 15 judges were confirmed to federal courts, all of them obedient New Right conservatives, some of them approved by the Federalist Society which has formed the backbone of Trump’s judicial reformation. This is a state organ which has been fundamentally reshaped to uphold corporate power, weaken civil rights, and most importantly, defend the administration at any cost. As a government without popular approval, the Trump regime literally cannot allow for the free exercise of democratic power without jeopardizing its own security. Anything less than a stranglehold on state machinery would result in disastrous electoral losses for the GOP. To justify their authoritarian methods, the regime is stoking fears of left-wing violence and social chaos.

Our next interview is with a spokesperson from Rose City Antifa, who discusses the events in Portland over the past few weeks. This conversation covers a lot of ground, starting with how the Right media took a protest vigil organized for Patrick Kimmons, an African-American man killed by the police, and turned it into a tale of “antifa taking over the city” to attack “white motorists.”

We then discuss the events that happened last weekend, where on Saturday night, Joey Gibson and members of the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, and other far-Right and white nationalist groups held a flash “Law and Order” rally, ostensibly in response to the buzz that was generated by far-Right media over the last week. This messaging soon changed after news of the Proud Boys attack in New York took over, and the rally was then changed to being against Mayor Ted Wheeler. Gibson’s goons then proceeded to harass a vigil for Kimmons, where Patriot Prayer members chanted “Crip Lives Don’t Matter,” and then proceeded to march around the city, looking for victims to beat up, settling on a small group of about 5 antifascist protesters that had been separated from the larger group. Ironically, in the wake of this latest violence, Joey Gibson has attempted to argue that the people who carried out the assaults were “not with him.”

After the violence this weekend, Portland police announced that back on the massive antifascist mobilization on August 4th, they had in fact found a stash of weapons and people associated with Patriot Prayer on a roof top, over looking the counter-protesters. Police claim that they were armed with “long guns” as well as “concealed weapons” which they had permits for, and quickly let those on the roof leave. This latest news has caused an outrage, as Portland police nearly killed one counter-protester with a flash bang grenade and lied about “bottles being thrown” at them to justify attacking the antifascist protesters. Police then allowed members of Patriot Prayer to roam around the city, attacking people at will.

After releasing news of the weapons roof top stash to the public, the Portland Mayor then announced that he was pushing a new protest ordinance, that would in the future, put opposing sides of demonstrators into protest pins. Rose City Antifa and a host of other groups have attacked this proposal as an assault on basic rights, but also as a ruber stamp of police containment and attack of antifascist protesters the State has already employed now for years; essentially facilitating and protecting violent fascist groups whenever and wherever they choose to rally.

We’ve got a lot to cover, but first, let’s get to the news.

Living and Fighting

  • Courts have ruled that construction for the Keystone XL Pipelines can began in 2019, and if completed, will move billions of gallons of crude oil out of the tar-sands and into the US. Native and ecological groups are already making plans to resist the project.
  • In Eugene, Oregon, a local business owner known for making swastika cookies and posting in white nationalist forums is upset that local antifascists have called her a “neo-Nazis,” and responded by suing them after hiring a long-time neo-Nazi organizer, William Johnson. Johnson, along with racist skinheads helped form the American Third Position.
  • In Florida, a chapter of Turning Point USA, a “conservative” group backed by billionaires and the President, has been found to be strongly influenced by the Alt-Right and its memes. As The Daily Beast wrote:

One member of the group posted a meme featuring a brown Pepe the Frog, the alt-right’s mascot, raping a Swedish woman, while another brown Pepe holds a gun to a man’s head. In the background of the image, a “Refugees Welcome sign implies that Muslim refugees in Europe will rape women.

Posters in the forum urged people to tone down their anti-Semitism and to be careful to not mention Alt-Right figurehead, Richard Spencer.

  • Trump has once again stated that he will send thousands of soldiers to the US border, as a caravan of people has left Honduras and is marching through Mexico. They are asking to be allowed sanctuary into the United States. Far-Right Republicans have responded by also playing up fears and conspiracy theories, with some stating that the marchers are being paid by Soros. One report wrote:

The Mexican government has responded to Trump’s orders by preparing to carry out the dirty work of his administration’s crackdown on immigrants, including physical repression. Yesterday, black airplanes carrying several hundred Mexican federal police armed with riot gear arrived at the Mexico-Guatemala border. Helicopters were also deployed to monitor the border region.

CNN reported earlier today:

A chaotic scene unfolded as a massive caravan of Honduran migrants reached the Guatemala-Mexico border Friday. A surge of migrants broke through a steel fence that had been padlocked shut. Mexican police in riot gear pushed them back, setting off smoke canisters. Hundreds of Mexican Federal Police sealed the border as drones and helicopters hovered above the crowd, which waited on a bridge in sweltering heat. Thousands of migrants are waiting to cross, according to CNN teams at the scene.

At least a dozen migrants stuck on the bridge have jumped into the river below. It is unclear if they are trying to swim across to the Mexico side of border, go back to Guatemala or just get relief from the crowds on the bridge. The migrants who remained told CNN they joined the caravan because they had no other choice, noting that they were desperate for work. Mexican officials had said people seeking asylum would be processed at the border. But it’s unclear what will happen next. Members of the group — many with children in tow — had cheered and chanted as they streamed toward the port of entry, with celebratory airhorns blaring.

  • On October 16th, students protested against Goldman Sachs recruiting event at Brown University for their backing of Energy Transfer Partners.
  • Protests continue in Haiti against government corruption.

Florida panhandle hurricane survivors need support and solidarity. Displacement and trauma along with existing in a community made unrecognizable, looking like a bomb dropped, are the realities. Many pathways for autonomous relief and response alongside community led efforts exist. The UU church of Panama City has been generous enough to let us use their building as a community hub for relief efforts. If you would like to assist with relief and recovery efforts here, email mutualaiddisasterrelief@gmail.com. People with chainsaw experience, construction experience, and people able to do mobile distribution with their vehicles are especially needed at this time.

  • On October 18th, L’eau Est La Vie Camp organized a disruption of an Energy Transfer Partner’s meeting to demand the end of construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline and repression of Water Protectors. Two people were arrested.
  • In Chicago, the Autonomous Tenants Union organized a disruption and picket of homes being shown where tenants were recently evicted from.
  • In so-called Victoria, Tiny House Warriors erected another Tiny House. This one located on the University of Victoria.
  • On October 19th, Parkdale Organize won a victory against the attempted eviction of several rent strike organizers.
  • L’eau Est La Vie camp lockdown action against Kelsey Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners.

Until next week, see you soon! Also, help us keep the lights on and It’s Going Down a project that continues into the coming years! Donate here.

Upcoming Events

  • October 19th – 22nd: Gathering in West Virginia to discuss ongoing resistance to pipelines in Appalachia.
  • Saturday, October 20th: Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the LA chapter of the Anarchist Black Cross federation. Going down in La Puente, CA.
  • Tuesday, October 23rd: Call to action against Turning Point USA. CSU-Long Beach, 7 PM. More info here.
  • October 31st to November 4th: National Lawyers Guild (NLG) conference in Portland, Oregon. More info here.
  • Tuesday, November 2nd, 6 PM, Portland City Hall: March to Abolish ICE. More info here.
  • Tuesday, November 6th, 6 PM, Portland, OR: March Against ICE. Gathering at City Hall. Call for antifascist presence.
  • Saturday, November 17th, 11 AM, Washington Square Park. Comeout to oppose the Proud Boys and other far-Right groups. More info here.

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