This Is America #67: In the Face of the Storm

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Welcome, to This Is America, April 6th, 2019.

On this show we feature an interview with someone from Wounded Knee, which is located within the Pine Ridge reservation, on Oglala Lakota land, about the recent flooding, the government response, self-organization in the face of the storm, and mutual aid relief efforts. To donate and learn more, go here.

We then feature a discussion on the growing crisis along the border and what it means that both Trump and the DHS are pushing for more power and draconian authority to intern, deport, and manage migrants and refugees.

All this and more, but first, let’s get to some headlines.

Living and Fighting

First in some bad news, there has been a slew of neo-Nazi and white nationalist attacks. First in Tennessee, there was an arson at the Highlander Research and Education Center, a long running hub for organizing in the South and in Appalachia. Found at the scene of the attack was a symbol once used by the Romanian Iron Guard, a fascist and violently anti-Semitic group which has been promoted almost entirely by Matthew Heimbach and the former Traditionalist Worker Party (TWP).

Meanwhile in Louisiana, there has also been a string of arson attacks against three black churches, while in Oklahoma City and in Maryland there have been racist graffiti attacks, as well as at the university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Meanwhile, new documents obtained by the Huffington Post show that:

Katie Gorka, a Trump administration political appointee in the Department of Homeland Security, suggested in a July 2017 email that the agency, which had just canceled funding for a group dedicated to deradicalizing white supremacists, redirect its efforts to focus on the real threat: anti-fascists.

On April 12th, independent truck drives are gearing up to launch a nation wide “slow down” action in response to new legislation, working conditions, and attacks on pay. As Business Insider wrote:

Truck drivers, whose salaries have plummeted by as much as 50% since the 1980s, feel that they’ve become less and less respected over time.

The April 12th action follows a series of other slow down actions across the US and is being organized over social media through the growing Black Smoke Matters movement, which is made up of a variety of groups and Facebook hubs. Central to the growth of the movement  has been widespread rejection of the electronic-logging-device (ELD) mandate and other regulations which drivers say make them more unsafe and negatively affects their pay. The ELD mandate has been supported by both parties as well as the (in trucker circles) much hated American Trucking Associations (ATA).

Black Smoke Matters shuts down I-95 in Washington in 2018.

The decrease in non-union trucking along with the passage of the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, has led to a drastic decrease in both the overpay of drivers and regulations ensuring good conditions. As pay decreased, drivers pushed themselves harder and harder to earn more per mile, which in turn led to some drivers getting into fatal accidents. The ELD mandate is an attempt by the state to solve this problem, but drivers still remain up against an industry that depends on selling low price consumer goods made possibly by under cutting workers.

This situation also is why many elites within the industry are pushing hard for complete automation and the growth of self-driving trucks which would displace a massive part of the US workforce. This displacement is excepted by the elites as inevitable and part of economic “progress.” As in Bob Woodward’s book, Fear, about the Trump presidency, Trump is warned by his economic advisors that under his reign, 25% of the American workforce would lose their jobs due to automation of trucking and other driving based careers.

Despite being called “domestic terrorists” by some truckers, no one doubts that trucking strikes can have enormous impacts on the economy, in which over 70% of freight is transported by trucks. If truck drivers struck for only a few days, it would mean that everything from gas stations to hospitals would run out of supplies.

In other labor news, the Burgerville Workers Union is now celebrating two more stores that have officially voted to join the union.

NO MVP: from a grandfather's heart: Scott Ziemer

In this video (text below), 69 year old, Scott Ziemer explains his emotional journey from a moment of awakening at age 10 to his present stand 50' aloft where he has joined Appalachians Against Pipelines' aerial blockade of the Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline in Elliston, VA.To support Appalachians Against Pipelines go here: bit.ly/supportmvpresistanceAs a resident of Albemarle County and a Virginia resident for 59 years, Mr. Ziemer’s home is closer to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which he has worked to resist for many years. He has chosen to make his stand with the communities of SW Virginia as an act of solidarity with all Virginia rural communities, especially those currently being actively harmed by MVP construction. In this sense of solidarity and urgency, Mr. Ziemer represents many from the ACP resistance community.Mr. Ziemer states, “I am passionate about nature and the health of the world we humans share with all other living creatures.I have worked outside almost my entire life. First as a carpenter, then as a builder and facilitator of ropes courses, next as an arborist, then as an owner of an outdoor adventure business and now as a sailing instructor. As someone who has to watch the weather carefully to make a living I have experienced the slow but steady changes of weather patterns and seasonal shifts. As a careful observer of wildlife I have noticed fewer insects and birds.I feel these observable earth changes have been caused by our addiction to the burning of fossil fuels and the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. I have written letters to the editors. I have lobbied my representatives in Richmond. I have attended meetings, joined and created groups, gone to rallies and protests all in an attempt to raise awareness about the looming climate crisis.Now I have decided to take another action to help raise awareness about the urgency of addressing climate change. By occupying a tree sit in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline I am adding my voice to those who are trying to slow down and stop the burning of fossil fuels that are the primary cause of climate change.”TEXT OF VIDEO: MY HEART STORY: SCOTT ZIEMERMy Heart’s StoryWhen I was10 years old my father, a Naval Aviator, was transferred to Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach VA. And so our family moved to Norfolk. One sunny day my mother asked me to go outside and spray insecticide on Japanese Beetles that were infesting the rose bushes in the back yard. With poison spray in hand I went about my task. The beetles flew off after being sprayed probably to die somewhere else. Then a flash of movement in the center of the bush caught my eye and wondering what it was I put my face right down into a break in the foliage and peered inside. As my eyes adjusted to the dim light I saw another world. A beautiful complex tangle of branches and leaves, dappled sunlight, spider webs, bugs and, in the center of the bush, a bird’s nest. In it four baby birds, their necks outstretched, opened their mouths wide. So small. The parents leaving must have been what caught my eye.At that moment a realization sweep over me. The poison I was spraying could not be aimed at a single creature. My heart opened up with pain and a new vision of my backyard as a web of life. Knowing the interconnectedness of life stays in my heart even to this day. And this day. 59 years later on Friday, March 15, 2019 I stood at the Free Speech Wall in downtown Charlottesville Virginia to support my step grand daughters and hundreds of other children striking for the climate. As I watched this event, organized locally by an 11year old girl, I felt the rush of interconnectedness flow over me again. These young people are the baby birds of my youth. They are standing up, some with notes in hand, some speaking from their hearts, pleading for the adults in power to stop making excuses, stop delaying, and get to work to address climate change. All of our futures hang in the balance but they are the baby birds, they don’t control their world, adults do.This climate crisis was created mostly within one generation. If we start making decisions with the futures of these children in mind, we might avoid the worst of it. We all need to do some soul searching, and take action, not later NOW!It is my turn to take a stand, to let these children know that I hear them and will do all that I can to amplify their cries for sanity. I have decided to occupy a tree sit blocking the Mountain Valley Pipeline, MVP. I am humbly joining this great international movement to keep unnecessary fossil fuels in the ground. I am also protesting the illegal seizure of property by eminent domain for private gain for both the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the MVP. For more information and to donate contact Appalachians Against Pipelines on their Facebook page. Become as active as you can with your busy life, then do something more, you won’t regret it.Scott Ziemerrelated media: https://www.roanoke.com/business/after-days-tree-sitters-are-still-standing-against-the-mountain/article_2e717f6c-2488-5ae9-9a55-dc6152afb9f9.html?fbclid=IwAR1eY4G_axzsRTuGrtNSOjxYvIFW7eDnTqR5BrIUVoAge99p91AuYfRB_Z4https://www.virginiafirst.com/news/local-news/new-pipeline-protester-joins-yellow-finch-tree-sitters/1899863481?fbclid=IwAR3d4HaQqfXeQi2IsqNIa95cNU50hWKC8M5Np5EEG6FLGBGx1z1UKs0BiOIhttps://www.wsls.com/news/virginia/new-river-valley/grandfather-joins-tree-sitters-in-protest-against-mountain-valley-pipeline?fbclid=IwAR3hhFKIDdFTmqhCoRFe2bQQvXTO0m8bgnC2lqMyUfImoq0J2WGqyQ6kTwo

Water is Life. Protect It. 发布于 2019年4月5日周五

In the southeast, the fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) continues with Appalachians against Pipelines writing:

The Yellow Finch tree sits have a new resident! Scott Ziemer, a 69-year-old grandfather from Virginia, has relieved one of the sitters and is occupying one of the tree sits to protect some of the last remaining trees in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). This blockade outside of Elliston has been blocking the MVP for 213 days and counting.

Scott says: “I have decided to take action to address the urgent issue of climate change and encourage others to do so as well. By occupying a tree sit in the path of the Mountain Valley pipeline, I am adding my voice to those who are fighting to slow down and stop the burning of fossil fuels, which are the primary cause of climate change.”

Scott’s home is close to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP), which he has been fighting for many years. He is taking a stand with the communities of southwest Virginia as an act of solidarity with all those being harmed by MVP construction.

In other news, journalist Manuel Duran is fighting deportation after literally spending a year in jail for covering an immigration protest that shut down a freeway. In what is being reported as the staggering 26th police involved shooting in Atlanta this year, Oscar Cain was shot and killed by police and is remembered as a long time organizer against police violence. Cain’s death also marks yet another young African-American who was deeply involved in the Ferguson uprising who has died. In Panama City, Florida, hundreds of Hurricane Michael survivors face eviction as a FEMA program is scheduled to end. Finally in Kentucky, university students have launched a hunger strike for not being able to afford food.

That’s gonna do it for us today, enjoy the interview and the discussion, and we will see you soon!

Upcoming Events

  • April 19th-21st: In Prescott, Arizona there is a three-day antifascist gathering called the Cliffrose Convergence at the Frantz Fanon Community Strategy Center being organized.
  • April 28th: #AllOut to mobilize against white nationalist “Patriot” militia holding a rally in Long Beach. More info here.
  • May 4th: All Out Against Pegida. Toronto, Saturday, 1pm. More info here.
  • May 18th: Mobilize against American Renaissance conference. More info here.
  • Sunday, May 25th: Mobilize against the KKK in Downtown Dayton, OH. More info here.
  • May 18th – 19th: Come out to the Revolutionary Organizing Against Racism Conference (ROAR) in the bay area. More info here.
  • June 14th-17th: Fight Toxic Prisons conference. Gainesville, Florida. More info here.
  • June 19th: Mobilize against Nationalist Solutions conference. More info here.
  • August 3rd-11th: Institute for Advanced Trouble Making in Worcester, MA. More info here.
  • August 16th-18th: Indigenous Anarchist Convergence in so-called Flagstaff, Arizona. More info here.

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