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October 12

This Is America #91: PG&E Crisis, Syria, and Beyond

Welcome, to This Is America, October 11th, 2019.

In this episode, first we speak with a member of the Seattle Solidarity Network, and discuss their ongoing fight against the Purple Store over unpaid wages and an attempt to silence them in court.

We then launch into a discussion about the ongoing impeachment crisis and Trump pulling US troops out of Syria.

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

Living and Fighting:

Anarchist political prisoner and hacker Jeremy Hammond, according to his support website:

…has been found in contempt today for refusing to answer 7 questions in front of a Federal Grand Jury in the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA). Earlier this year Chelsea Manning was remanded into custody for failure to provide testimony before the same Grand Jury.

A statement from his support committee wrote:

We do not know what questions the grand jury is investigating. Moreover, it is unclear whether or not the federal prison sentence he was serving for which he was due to be released from just two short months from now, will be suspended as the result of being found in civil contempt.

By removing him from FCI Memphis before his time was completed, the government has added a minimum of six months onto Jeremy’s sentence. Judge Trenga has the option of jailing him indefinitely for contempt. The decision to compel Jeremy to testify despite his outspoken, long-standing anarchist beliefs and support for myriad brave grand jury resistors, only to place him under contempt when he adheres to those same core beliefs should be seen as little more than cruel and punitive.

In California, anger is brewing as nearly half the state has been hit by power outages from PG&E, whose crumbling infrastructure officials have blamed for 17 out of 21 fires in 2017. PG&E has been hit with felonies and is currently in bankruptcy following the deadly Camp Fire which leveled the working-class town of Paradise in 2018 and killed 85 people, not to mention being “on probation for [a] 2010 pipeline explosion, which killed eight people and leveled a neighborhood.” Yet, it still hasn’t completed the inspections and repairs that it has been ordered to make by a judge; things like trimming trees and fixing old equipment, which would in theory stop fires from sparking in the future. So, in order to get out of being slapped with more fines and lawsuits, the company has pushed to shut down massive areas of the electrical grid instead.

Sickeningly, these deaths and fires, made even worse by the California drought and climate change, could have been avoided by basic maintenance, which PG&E let go by the wayside while racking in the cash. As a judge recently commented in court, “PG&E pumped out $4.5 billion in dividends and let [it’s] tree budget wither.” This is something that the company has also been doing for a long time. In 2012, SF Gate wrote:

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. diverted more than $100 million in gas safety and operations money collected from customers over a 15-year period and spent it for other purposes, including profit for stockholders and bonuses for executives…

In response, anger has been growing against PG&E. In Colusa County near Sacramento, a PG&E truck was shot at on the freeway, luckily not injuring the driver. In Oroville, California, someone threw eggs at the front of a PG&E building, causing it to close. PG&E in San Francisco has also put up barricades around the entrance to its office for fear of impending protests. Bay area residents and radical groups are also mobilizing in the wake of the shutoffs and have made a spread sheet to coordinate mutual aid.

In labor news, the strike at General Motors continues, with many striking UAW workers now turning towards mutual aid programs as the strike enters its fourth week. If you are in the area by a strike, consider mobilizing support, both on the pickets, and to help with groceries. Also, the push towards a strike at fast food chain Burgerville in the Pacific Northwest moves forward, as the union has given the burger chain until the middle of the month to come to the table on raises and other improvements. Workers are unionized under the revolutionary anti-capitalist union, the Industrial Workers of the World or the IWW, and members at Burgerville claim they are prepared for a long strike if needed.

At the University of Florida, hundreds of anti-Trump demonstrators protested and disrupted a speech by Donald Trump, Jr. The billionaire President’s son spoke at the university, costing the school $50,000 in student fees and anti-Trump demonstrators outnumbers the small group of Trump supporters who should up, 20 to 1.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, thousands took the streets against Trump, who held a campaign rally and a small anarchist black bloc formed, moving aside police barricades, while the crowd clashed with police, lit one bon fire, and also burned Trump flags and hats.

In Chicago, a banner was dropped in solidarity with Jeremy Hammond.

And in Baltimore, Maryland, the Food, Clothes, and Resistance Collective is working to start a weekly food and clothing distribution hub.

Finally, the Turkish state and ISIS cells have begun an assault on the autonomous territory of Rojava now that the US has pulled its troops out, and people across the world are taking part in solidarity demonstrations and actions. Go here to find a solidarity event close to you – or organize one of your own!

Upcoming Events:

  • October 12th: Close Heartland Concentration Camps. Chicago, IL. More info.
  • October 12th – 14th: Tiny House Warriors Indigenous Resistance Gathering. More Info.
  • October 12th: #ClosetheCamps rally in Los Angeles. More info.
  • October 14th: Protest ICE. Portland, OR. More info.
  • October 18th: FANG Collective Presentation on anti-ICE organizing. New Bedford, MA. More info.
  • October 19th: October 27th: Mutual Aid Disaster Relief East Coast Tour. More info.
  • October 25th: Appalachian Fall Summit. Kayford, WV. More info.
  • October 25th: Rock Against Racism show. More info.
  • November 9th: Boston Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
  • November 30th – December 1st: Seattle Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
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It's Going Down

It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.

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