Filed under: Featured, Interviews, Radio/Podcast, This is America
Welcome, to This Is America, August 15th, 2019.
In this episode we speak with someone from the New London Mutual Aid Collective about their ongoing work of planting a food forest on land left vacant after a giant pharmaceutical company’s land grab of an entire neighborhood through eminent domain feel through.
We then speak to someone involved in PopMob, or Popular Mobilization about the upcoming demonstrations against the Proud Boys in Portland, Oregon, the surrounding media controversy, and picking apart the false narratives coming from the Right and the Center.
We then switch to discussion, where we analyze the recent mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas.
All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news!
Living and Fighting:
It’s been revealed that the Department of Justice has been actively suppressing reports that show the drastic rise of far-Right, neo-Nazi, and white nationalist violence. This comes at the same time as new reports show that the FBI still views “animal rights,” anarchists, and “Black Identity Extremists” as some of the largest threats to the public.
Meanwhile, in New York during the trial against two Proud Boys, one who was video taped giving a fascist salute during the beating of anti-racist and antifascist protesters last year and was also photographed in court doing the same, it has been revealed that the DA went to great lengths to gather information on counter-protesters after the violent far-Right attack. According to the Daily Beast:
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office admitted it demanded Google hand over account information for all devices used in parts of the Upper East Side. They didn’t do this to find the Proud Boys; they did it to find Antifa members.
Reverse search warrants have been used in other parts of the country, but this is the first time one was disclosed in New York. Unlike a traditional warrant, where law enforcement officials request information on a specific phone or individual, reverse warrants allow law enforcement to target an entire neighborhood. Police and prosecutors create a “geofence”—a map area—and demand information on anyone standing in the zone. This flips the logic of search warrants on its head. Rather than telling service providers the name or phone number of a suspect, reverse search warrants start with the location and work backwards.
Meanwhile in Portland, Oregon, the city braces for a far-Right rally organized by former InfoWars employee Joe Biggs, who recently was visted by the FBI after weeks of continued violent threats on social media. Ironically, Biggs is rallying with members of the Three Percent militia, tied to multiple mosque bombings and the American Guard, founded by a neo-Nazi skinhead of the Vinlanders Social Club, in order to support antifascists being labeled “domestic terrorists” by the State. So much for being a “Libertarian!”
In the lead up to the rally, Portland police have made arrests of numerous Patriot Prayer and Proud Boy associates in connection to a violent attack against patrons outside of a bar on May Day that left one person hospitalized. Portland officials, law enforcement, and business owners also attempted to send a united message that “both sides” are to blame for “protest violence,” yet even some speakers selected for a press conference on Wednesday pushed back. Rabbi Debra Kolodny stated:
“Creating false equivalencies between violent white nationalists and those willing to defend our city against their violence is unacceptable. Pandering to a climate that accuses Portland of being soft on antifa is unacceptable.”
On Wednesday police also announced that a queer family in Portland and a neighbor had found unlit Molotov cocktails on their lawn and had also received anti-LGBTQ messages texted to their phone reading: “I dislike your type and the rainbow flag you displayed on the street too.”
In other Portland news, the Burgerville Workers Union, made up of members of the revolutionary anti-capitalist labor union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) went out on a one day strike in the face of contract negotiations breaking down.
Solidarity with the @BVWkrUnion who are on strike at three locations today after @BurgervilleUSA shamefully refused to show up to bargaining with workers! When they don't show up to bargain we won't show up to work. You have the whole fast food workers movement behind you! #1u pic.twitter.com/y7GtxyecLu
— Little Big Union 🍔✊🏼✊🏾✊🏿 (@LBU_IWW) August 9, 2019
“I’ve had to sell the only things I had left from my dad before he passed away, just to put food on the table. I’m going on strike because they keep stalling and we need a raise and fair contract now,” said Betty Buchanan, a Burgerville worker at the Montavilla store, who went on strike on Friday because when Burgerville corporate delays bargaining on wages, it impacts her and other workers who can’t afford to keep waiting for a raise.
Friday morning, workers from across three different Burgervilles walked off the job, because none of us can afford to wait any longer for a raise. If a strike is what it takes to get Burgerville to bargain with us in good faith and bring us a serious proposal on wages, we’re here to prove with our actions that we’re ready.
Support striking workers by donating to the BVWU Strike and Hardship Fund, which helps pay workers lost wages while they stand up to the boss via direct action.
On Wednesday, the union announced that it had won holiday pay after a one day unfair labor practice strike and would continue to fight for better pay and conditions in negotiations and through another strike if necessary.
In other labor news, the blockade of coal trains by miners in Harlan County Kentucky continues, as support groups on the ground and community members remain active in gathering materials and funds to support the miners and their families and recently organized a free store at the blockade and are currently organizing to gather items for children of blockading miners who are going back to school.
On miner involved in the blockade recently told Time magazine:
“We are not stopping until we get paid. There is just tremendous support for all of us. We’ve had other blue collar workers tell us that they ‘need to do what the coal workers are doing.’”
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We're having a free store and cookout pop up today. Come see us, sort some donated clothes, stuff backpacks, help us grill, or fill up a bag for $5 (or free if you don't have the cash!) We are happy to accept a couple hours of work instead and could use the help!!! We mostly have clothes but might have some dry foods to give away as well, it's hard to keep our donated foods fresh out here in the heat, but don't think this means we don't still need donations, we do!!! We just want to share the love with all of y'all.
In Mexico City, angry protests kicked off last Monday, after 4 police officers raped a 17-year old girl in their patrol car outside of the capitol. In response, angry feminist collectives and outraged community members smashed up the Attorney General’s office, demanding the guilty be punished.
#Mexico: Angry protests erupted in Mexico City on Monday, after 4 cops picked up a 17-year-old girl, raped her in their patrol car as she left a party in the municipality of Azcapotzalco, north of the capital.#NoMeCuidanMeViolan pic.twitter.com/l0f6iNoqol
— th1an1 (@th1an1) August 13, 2019
Abolish ICE actions continue, with this past week seeing demonstrations against ICE profiteers along with word that another larger bank, PNC, was divesting from private prisons. Protests took place in Troy, Michigan demanding that Prudential divest as well as in Olympia, Washington. Meanwhile in New York, a massive crowd of #NeverAgain protestors shut down an Amazon bookstore due to their contracts with ICE. On Wednesday, #NeverAgain demonstrators in the hundreds converged to shut down entrances to an ICE detention center in Rhode Island. Later in the evening a guard drove their truck through protesters blocking the road way while other guards proceeded to pepper spray them. Two protesters were sent to the hospital for injuries related to being run over by the vehicle and an 74 year old woman was hospitalized after being pepper-sprayed.
BREAKING: Here is HD video of an ICE guard driving his truck into us as we sat peacefully blocking the Wyatt Detention Center.
We’re putting our bodies on the line because we see the camps and the roundups. We’ve learned from our ancestors: NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE. pic.twitter.com/KnOu5xoOEb
— ✡️ Never Again Action ✡️ (@NeverAgainActn) August 15, 2019
— Abolish ICE Detroit (@abolishice313) August 13, 2019
Meanwhile last weekend saw a massive raid of migrant workers in Mississippi, which targeted workers at 7 poultry plants. Many of those picked up by ICE were members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union who had fought to improve working conditions and stop racial and sexual harassment at the plants. As many have pointed out, this part of an ongoing trend by ICE, to specifically target plants where workers have fought back on the job and organized unions or launched lawsuits to improve their workplaces. This example also shows the degree in which ICE is not designed to “stop” immigrants from participating in the economy as a class of second class citizens with few benefits and lower pay, but instead acts as an auxiliary force, designed to scare workers from speaking up and fighting back whichs helps to keep wages low and the pockets of the bosses padded with cash.
Meanwhile in Louisiana, according to Perilous:
Approximately 30 immigrant detainees were pepper-sprayed following a protest in the cafeteria of the Bossier Medium Security Facility [in Louisiana]. The protest occurred in the midst of a hunger strike at the facility that began Friday, July 26.
Text messages from a detainee within the facility obtained by Mother Jones described the violent incident: “There are lots of cops who came from another prison, they beat up the Cubans, they pepper spray them and handcuff them. There’s even an ambulance here. Help us please this is ugly!”
According to Bill Davis, a spokesperson for the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office who spoke with Buzzfeed News, detainees “began yelling and becoming disorderly, throwing their food trays at the door.”
Guards responded with “a short burst of [pepper spray] in the air towards the disorderly group,” said Davis, who denied that the force used by guards went beyond pepper spray.
“We cannot have an uprising period,” he said.
According to Davis, the hunger strikers are upset about a lack of communication with ICE about their immigration cases.
The hunger strike at Bossier marks the third hunger strike at a Louisiana ICE Detention Facility in a month. The day after the cafeteria protest at Bossier, approximately 100 immigrant detainees at the ICE Processing Center in Pine Prairie were pepper-sprayed during a protest on the facility’s yard.
Then on July 27th:
Guards deployed pepper spray after more than 100 immigrant detainees held a demonstration in the prison yard at Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center, a privately run ICE detention Facility owned by GEO Group.
The immigrant advocacy group, Freedom for Immigrants, which fights to end immigrant detention, refuted the claim that there were no injuries. According to the group, 115 immigrant detainees who had been on hunger strike for over 5 days were “tear gassed, shot at with rubber bullets, beaten, placed in solitary confinement, and blocked from contacting their families or attorneys. ”The group posted photos showing detainees with bruises that they say are the result of being shot with rubber bullets.
Anarchists marching down the street in arms to protect the people of Eugene, Oregon. What a beautiful sight to behold. !No Pasaran! https://t.co/VutHG4QNzg
— Vancouver Antifascists (@VanAntifa) August 11, 2019
In other antifascist news, the bosses in Major League Soccer have attempted to ban fans from displaying the antifascist “three arrows” symbol and it isn’t going well, with many clubs of supporters openly continuing to display political banner and messages at games in defiance of security. Such defiance also comes a week after members of the Proud Boys physically attacked Seattle Sounders fans in the streets for wearing shirts displaying the antifascist “Three Arrows” logo, spurring many soccer fans to stand behind antifascists.
— Logan Booker (@LoganMBooker) August 11, 2019
In New York, antifascist and anarchist groups also held a memorial for Heather Heyer and those injure at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Meanwhile in Charlottesville banners were dropped in memorial and in Atlanta, posters were pasted up.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains. pic.twitter.com/r2QAV701sQ
— Outlive Them NYC (@outlivethemnyc) August 12, 2019
To mark the two-year anniversary of the bloody "Unite the Right" racist rally in Charlottesville, VA, we placed giant posters at a high-visibility spot in Atlanta. #Charlottesville #ElPaso #Atlanta #Antifa #neverforget pic.twitter.com/jDeqImKHkg
— Atlanta Antifascists (@afainatl) August 12, 2019
— SURJ Charlottesville (@SURJ_Cville) August 12, 2019
- A member of Jacksonville IWOC was arrested at a meeting and is in need of solidarity! Please donate here to cover legal costs.
- Help donate to the antifascist mobilization in Portland on August 17th! Donate here.
- Be sure to support the Burgerville Workers Union strike fund!
- August 16th-18th: Indigenous Anarchist Convergence in so-called Flagstaff, Arizona. More info.
- August 17th: Counter-mobilization in Portland against far-Right. More info.
- August 22nd: Protest Migrant Prison Construction in Montreal. More info.
- August 23rd-24th: Bend the Bars Conference in Lansing, Michigan. More info.
- August 23rd-25th: Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair happening in Asheville, North Carolina. More info.
- August 24th: Protest against white nationalist “Straight Pride” parade in Modesto, CA. More info.
- August 24th-September 12th: Rainbow Ridge Direct Action Mobilization to Save the Mattole. More info.
- August 31st: Benefit for Political Prisoners organized by Bakersfield Anarchist Black Cross (ABC). Show with speakers happening in Bakersfield, CA. More info.
- August 31st: Benefit for Miguel Peralta in Los Angeles. More info.
- September 7th: Halifax Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
- September 7th: Running Down the Falls in Philadelphia. More info.
- September 18th-22nd: Symbiosis Conference in Detroit. More info.
- September 21-22nd: Victoria Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
- September 28th: Toronto Anarchist Bookfair. More info.