This Is America #57: The Flower of Revolt

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Welcome, to This Is America, February 5th, 2019

A lot has been happening over the last few days. First up, at Rock Stone Mountain on Saturday in Georgia, hundreds of antifascist, anarchist, socialist, an anti-capitalist groups converged to celebrate the canceling of a KKK and neo-Nazi rally that was originally called to protest the potential removal of Confederate statues at the park.

White nationalist rally organizers in the lead up to the event began to predictably attack each other and a few days before the rally was to be held, the organizer pulled out, citing that people should instead carry out a “lone wolf” strategy of terror with 3-5 people acting in small cells. Ironically, the same rally organizer groaned, “I don’t even know 3-5 people I can trust.”

As it turned out, the KKK and neo-Nazis were a total no show, as hundreds of antifascists marched in Georgia, a small contingent on the outside of the march was well armed, and people report no problems from the police. A KKK effigy was burned, speeches were held, and people then called it a day. There were no arrests. Check out our interview with three FLOWER Coalition organizers later in the program for an in-depth interview.

At the Metropolitian Department of Corrections in Brooklyn, over the weekend a revolt broke out on both sides of the walls, as word spread that power and heat had been cut off inside the facility, and inmates were living in horrific and frigid conditions. In response, an occupation began outside, with people spending the night on Saturday and issuing a call-in campaign. By Sunday morning, the crowd had grown and people attempted to storm the lobby of the facility, only to be pushed by by police pepper spray. There were also reports of guards using tear gas on inmates. Instead of scaring more people off, the clashes only made the insurgency grow, and people continued to push for relief for prisoners inside, while also communicating with them back and forth.

By Sunday night, the crowd had managed to force the State to mobilize resources to get the power back up and running in most of the facility, as it also brought in and distributed hand warmers and portable heaters. As of this writing it still appears that the heat is still not working completely, however people remain outside the facility, pushing until their demands are completely met. On Tuesday, guards put up a large fence, a huge light to stop protesters from communicating via flashlight with inmates, and built up their presence. In court it was also revealed that the prison had extra warm clothing, but refused to distribute it because it was a commissary item and “the computers were down.”

While the situation remains fluid, by creating a situation that was slipping out of control of the hands of the guards and the police, on both sides of the prison walls, people forced the State to act. But we should keep in mind this was simply to compile with their own rules. If this experience teaches us anything, it’s that we have the power to create a real state of exception; a situation out of their control where we have the power, and with that power we can do away with the institutions that create and maintain these conditions in the first place.

On Monday, a group of Catholic Workers shut off valves connected to the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota. According to Unicorn Riot:

Today four people calling themselves the “Four Necessity Valve turners” shut down Enbridge’s Line 3 and Line 4 tar sands oil pipelines in Minnesota citing “imminent and irreversible damage being done to the planet.” The activists entered pipeline service locations and advised Enbridge of their intention to stop the flow of oil by shutting down the safety valves. Enbridge eventually manually shut down both the Line 3 and 4 tar sands pipelines. The ‘four necessity valve turners’…documented their action in a live feed filled with prayer, song, and an encounter with law enforcement, with one officer who came on them with their gun drawn. The four identified themselves as Catholic Workers and farmers and said they wanted to defend life against the fossil fuel “industry that benefits the few in the expense of all life.”

In the past, other valve turners have successfully argued in court that their actions have been based on the need to take action in the face of drastic climate change – so much so that past valve turners have gotten off with no charges. The anti-pipeline activists are scheduled to come before a judge on Wednesday, but supporters are calling on others to call the jail stating:

PLEASE CALL THE JAIL AND DEMAND BRENNA CUSSEN-ANGLADA BE GIVEN THE MEDICATION SHE NEEDS. Itasca County Jail: 218-327-2875

Speaking of the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota, according to The Intercept:

Minnesota police have spent 18 months preparing for a major standoff over Enbridge Line 3, a tar sands oil pipeline that has yet to receive the green light to build in the state. Records obtained by The Intercept show that law enforcement has engaged in a coordinated effort to identify potential anti-pipeline camps and monitor individual protesters, repeatedly turning for guidance to the North Dakota officials responsible for the militarized response at Standing Rock in 2016.

Enbridge, a Canada-based energy company that claims to own the world’s longest fossil fuel transportation network, has labeled Line 3 the largest project in its history. If completed, it would replace 1,031 miles of a corroded existing pipeline that spans from Alberta’s tar sands region to refineries and a major shipping terminal in Wisconsin, expanding the pipeline’s capacity by hundreds of thousands of barrels per day.

The expanded Line 3 would pass through the territories of several Ojibwe bands in northern Minnesota, home to sensitive wild rice lakes central to the Native communities’ spiritual and physical sustenance. Given that tar sands are among the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel sources, Line 3 opponents underline that the pipeline is exactly the kind of infrastructure that must be rapidly phased out to meet scientists’ prescriptions for mitigating climate disasters.

But despite the repressive build up, resistance is still breaking out everywhere. In Virginia’s Pittslyvania County, authorities claim that over $500,000 worth of arson damage was done to an earth mover working on constructing the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

As one article stated:

The machine was located on the site of the Mountain Valley pipeline construction right of way, and the machine suffered approximately $500,000 in damage. 

The fire marshall said that the fire was set intentionally. There were no reported injuries or damage to nearby equipment at the site, according to authorities. 

Meanwhile in Georgia:

Vandals splashed what looked like a bucket’s worth of deep red paint on the Confederate monument in downtown Decatur over the weekend, but on Monday morning city workers cleaned most of the paint away.

Blue paint was also discovered on a German naval artillery cannon from World War I that is located on the other side of the old County Courthouse in Decatur Square. A second cannon was also splashed with green paint.

In Washington state at the Coyote Correctional Facility, over 1,500 inmates have launched a hunger strike over food conditions, while along the border in Texas, people marched in support against an encampment set up to fight border wall construction that threatens Native sacred sites, animal habitat, and people’s homes.

Somi Se’k Village Base Camp 发布于 2019年2月4日周一

In Toronto, tenants are occupying an apartment complex in order to not lose affordable housing, and in Virginia, demonstrations were recently held against the Mountain Valley Pipeline and for the Governor to resign in aftermath of photos surfacing showing him dressed in racist costumes.

In Sacramento, new documents released during the ongoing trial of three antifascists of color who face felonies after being attacked by neo-Nazis in Sacramento in 2016 reveal that the FBI began to investigate the small bay area based Marxist-Leninist group BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) due to their belief that the organization would violate the rights of KKK members and neo-Nazis. The documents revealed a department obsessed with investigating each and every group organizing against the status quo in the Trump era while giving a green light to far-Right violence.

General Motors began a round of mass layoffs while will lead to the closure of 5 plants in both the US and Canada and the destruction of over 14,000 jobs, meanwhile in Matamoros, Mexico tens of thousands of maquiladora workers remain on strike, after having thrown out their union bosses, and according to one report, are costing the bosses “$40-$50 million in losses per day.” They are also attempting to make connections with US workers at a time when US and Canadian unions are pushing xenophobic and Nativist ads and campaigns along lines of economic nationalism, when workers across Canada, the US, and Mexico could be teaming up and launching a massive strike to cripple the company.

That is going to do it for us today, we will see you next time, and enjoy the interview.


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