This Is America #60: Strikes Spread, Tornillo Resistor Speaks

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Welcome, to This Is America, February 21th, 2019.

There’s a lot happening in the streets, and we have a lot of ground to cover. In this show after hitting resistance news, we talk to someone involved in Tornillo: The Occupation, a protest camp set up outside of the Tornillo Detention Facility, which was once one of the largest concentration camps of migrant children in the US, and this past weekend, saw a string of protests.

We then switch to discussion, where we talk about the Mueller investigation, Roger Stone and the Proud Boys, as well as a critique of sections of the Left already throwing their hats into the ring of electoralism and Bernie Sanders.

All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

In strike news, teachers in West Virginia were successful in beating back a bill that was widely seen as an attack on gains made from the strike wave of 2018. As one report wrote:

A bill in the West Virginia legislature that pairs meager salary increases with new attacks on public education has been indefinitely tabled in the face of massive rank-and-file opposition from teachers and school service employees who are continuing their statewide strike today.

The walkout by 33,000 teachers and school service personnel, which began Tuesday morning, forced the shutdown of schools in all 55 counties. An attempt to open by one district, Putnam County, failed miserably after teachers picketed, and buses and students did not show.

Striking teachers also went on strike in Chicago against charter schools, while in Oakland, CA teachers launched a strike starting on Thursday.

Bosses are starting to call for the State to crack down on striking maquiladora workers in Mexico while in Michoacan, teachers have taken to blockading trains in another labor dispute.

Striking teachers blockade train tacks in state of Michoacan.

In Virginia, the push to kick out the Governor, found to have worn blackface in the 1980s, continues. A rowdy march called for Northam to resign, as demonstrators sang the words to a song by the radical hip-hop group, The Coup, yelling, “We got the guillotine, you better run!” Many marchers also carried signs and banners linking the black liberation struggle with the battle against the Atlantic Coast Pipeline – which in good news, is now delayed until 2021.

In antifascist news, the scandal between members of Patriot Prayer and local law enforcement continues to deepen. Currently, there has been a split between the Pacific North West Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, Joey Gibson, according to one video, may have been voted out of Patirot Prayer, it appears that that one upcoming event organized by Gibson to complain about the city and Mayor of Portland has been cancelled, and rival far-Right groups are issuing violent threats to each other over social media.

But moreover, a collection of email exchanges shows Joey to be corresponding with a police officer in charge of monitoring political protests in Portland. In the emails, the police give Gibson info on antifascist groups as well as heads up so that his violent right hand man, “Tiny” Toese does not end up getting caught up on his warrant that he has out. In short, the police appear to use Gibson as a source of information, while both groups use the other as a vehicle to mobilize their forces for street clashes with antifascists. Most recently, Tiny also produced a video claiming that Russel Shultz was related to the head of the local gang unit, which if true, has pretty far reaching implications.

On top of these revelations, there’s also been a string of news stories that have involved the far-Right and potential mass violence. In Maryland, police arrested Coast Guard lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson, who had a mass of weapons and was planning on engaging in a string of murderous acts against DNC officials, media pundits, and members of the DSA.

In Georgia, a man flashed a gun, gave Nazi salutes, screamed “White Lives Mater” and “Heil Hitler,” inside a coffee shop. In the same state, an off-duty ICE officer shot someone in a Wall-Mart parking lot.

Lastly, Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys this week, who took over after Gavin McInness and who also attended the neo-Nazi rally, Unite the Right in Charlottesville, appeared at a Trump rally sitting behind Trump. According to posts on social media, the Proud Boys claim that they were in fact invited to the White House, however no one has been able to verify this information. In court, Roger Stone admitted to having a close working relationship with the far-Right group, saying that he even grants them access to his social media accounts. Lastly, former Proud Boys lawyer and leader, Jason Van Dkye, is currently facing suspension for practicing law.

In Sacramento, after a far-Right activist made threats against a local Mexican restaurant, antifascists flyered the neighborhood to alert the community of a possible visit by the troll – they never showed.

Lastly, in Florida people protested a visit by Donald Trump:

Upcoming Events:

  • February 24th: Appalachians Against Pipelines is holding a potluck celebration for their ongoing tree sit. More info here.
  • March 2nd: A day of queer resiliance and empowerment in Portland, OR.
  • March 16th – 20th: Mattole Forest Skillshare Camp in Northern California.

That’s going to do it for us this week, enjoy the interview and the discussion, and we will see you soon!


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