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Oct 17, 19

This Is America #92: An Anarchist in Rojava Speaks

Welcome, to This Is America, October 16th, 2019.

In this episode, we are lucky enough to be able to speak to an Assyrian anarchist living in Rojava, the autonomous region of Northern Syria. We speak about the unfolding crisis, the withdrawal of US troops, the ongoing Turkish invasion, the impact the bombings have had to the civilian population, the extent of the social and political revolution inside of the autonomous areas, and how anarchists are attempting to aid in the struggle.

We then switch to a discussion, where we take a break from discussing national news and touch on the topic of “left unity.”

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

Living and Fighting

Soon after midnight on Saturday, October 12th, a 23 year old Portland based anarchist, Sean “Armenio” Kealiher was killed about a block away from Cider Riot, an antifascist bar, in what is being investigated as a homicide, although local antifascist groups have stated that it appears that the far-Right was not involved. Due to far-Right trolls spreading misinformation online, Sean’s family has asked friends and supporters to not discuss the case in the media and instead differ to them. Sean’s family is organizing a memorial in Portland on October 26th. Anarchists and antifascists in Portland converged on Sunday night in Portland at the scene of Sean’s murder to #LightTheSkyForSean, as did others in multiple cities across the US and the world.

Here’s a roundup of how people remembered Sean and lit up the night across the US and beyond.

Oakland IWOC is reporting that a recent phone zap campaign has been a success, with inmates inside “Corcoran finally [getting] their food packages and commissary partially restored.” Inmates wrote in a statement:

“On behalf of 3C and their loved ones. We would like to say thank you to all who participated in the phonezap. CDCr staff took messages (or resorted to ignoring calls due to the number of people calling!) Trust they got our message though & our voices were heard!

On Thursday in Old Corcoran, staff relented and passed out $55 store (finally) including food to Southern Mexicans. Let’s continue to work together and advocate against CDCr cruel & unusual punishment!! Lets look at this as a civil rights movement. No race, group, gender or religion is ever exempt from CDCr’s deliberate indifference, discrimination and corruption.

Please be aware “modified program” is just different terminology CDCr uses for “lockdown”. Its CDCr’s way of manipulating their way around court rulings and keeping our men on lockdown longer than 14 days. Lockdown is a type of torture in the form of sensory deprivation. We want CDCr to stop these indefinite lockdowns, to follow the law and their own rules & regulations, and stop the wordgames. You are fooling no one!!”

In Chicago, the Little Village Solidarity Network reports that hundreds came out to their recent action against child detention facilities located within the Little Village neighborhood. In a post on Facebook they wrote:

Several hundred people marched to both migrant child detention centers… we stopped to chant and sing our love and solidarity to the children held hostage inside. We then took to the streets to let our neighbors know that Heartland Alliance is jailing kids in our neighborhood for money. After we shut down Clark St and Morse Ave, police attacked us as we attempted to march down Sheridan Road, arresting two people before we were able to outmaneuver them and reach our final destination at Loyola station. Both individuals are now free and we will let everyone know if further support is needed. Now that we’ve gotten attention from the neighborhood, our next event will be a community teach-in where folks can come and learn more about Heartland’s detention centers and how to get involved in the movement to close them! We hope to see y’all there.

In Texas, protests took place following the horrific murder of Atatiana Jefferson inside her home by a police officer who came to her door to do a wellness check while she was playing video games with her nephew. The police officer behind the killing, Aaron Dean, how now been fired and faces murder charges.

In Haiti, tens of thousands of people continued to take to the streets and march in affluent neighborhoods, while clashing with riot police and burning tires. Massive protests have continued daily over the rising cost of living and widespread government corruption, as demonstrators are pushing for the ouster of the current president. According to the Miami Herald:

Thousands of Haitians demanding the resignation of the Haitian President took to the streets of Port-au-Prince Sunday in one of the largest anti-government protests to engulf the Caribbean nation since the marches renewed last month.

This weekend saw a day of action against ICE, as people targeted detention centers and corporations with contracts. In Texas, Never Again demonstrators protested outside of T. Don Hutto Detention facility in Taylor where protests and growing anger of rampant sexual abuse forced the State to end a contract with the facility, only to see it then be picked up by CoreCivic. Meanwhile in Portland, Maine, people are fighting the opening of a new ICE facility and at Duke University, protests were organized against contracts and recruiting by Palantir.

On Indigenous People’s Day, actions took place across the country. In northern Minnesota:

[M]ore than 200 Indigenous leaders and allies marched down a highway to Enbridge Inc.’s U.S. pipeline terminal in Northern Minnesota, to protest the proposed Line 3 oil pipeline replacement project.

Braving cold temperatures and a foul stench in the air from the oil terminal, supporters from across the state and region held up signs with messages such as “Water is Life,” “Protect the Sacred” and “Honor the Treaties,” and chanted “Stop Line 3!” As they marched toward the terminal, a large, loud tractor with a “Minnesota for Line 3” sign drove ahead of the group, trying—unsuccessfully—to drown out the chants.

Protesters arranged themselves in a circle outside of the terminal entry gates as Anishinaabeg speakers demanded treaty rights be respected, water sources protected and climate disaster averted. Behind them, large white cylinders, holding tanks containing tar sands oil jutted from the cornfields.

In San Francisco, California and in Providence, Rhode Island, statues of Christopher Columbus were splashed with red paint and anti-colonial graffiti slogans. In New York City, people marched to demand the removal of another statue and in so-called Flagstaff, Arizona, there was a disruption of a city sponsored event.

Finally, the strike by United Auto Workers against General Motors is at a major turning point, as union officials have reached a tentative agreement that they will now send to membership to ratify, although they have kept them in the dark about the new contracts contents.

Meanwhile, truck manufacturing workers in

Pennsylvania, Maryland and Florida walked off the job on Sunday in their first strike in 35 years. More than 2,000 copper miners and smelter workers in Arizona and Texas, members of the United Steelworkers and other unions, walked out late Sunday and early Monday morning against Asarco, the world’s third largest copper producer, owned by the giant conglomerate Grupo Mexico.

In Chicago, more than 20,000 teachers and support staff have voted to strike Thursday over stagnating wages, higher health care contributions and decades of budget cuts and school closures. The teachers are joined by 7,500 special education aides, custodians and other staff, along with 2,000 public park workers, who have also voted to strike.

Lastly, this weekend members of the Burgerville Workers Union, part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), will reach an end to bargaining with Burgerville corporate and will announce if the workers will indeed launch into a strike in order to fight for higher wages and improvements on the job.

Upcoming Events

  • ONGOING: For roundup of events in solidarity with Rojava, go here.
  • October 18th: Humboldt Mutual Aid Skill Share. More info.
  • October 18th: FANG Collective Presentation on anti-ICE organizing. New Bedford, MA. More info.
  • October 19th: Mobilize against neo-Confederates and White Nationalists in Pittsboro, NC. More info.
  • October 19th: Rally for IWW Bugerville Workers, Possible Start of Strike. Portland, OR. More info.
  • October 19th – October 27th: Mutual Aid Disaster Relief East Coast Tour. More info.
  • October 24th: Protest far-Right Grifter Andy Ngo at Corporate Backed Heritage Foundation in DC. More info.
  • October 25th: Appalachian Fall Summit. Kayford, WV. More info.
  • October 25th: Rock Against Racism show. More info.
  • October 27th: All Out Against Anti-Semitism and White Nationalism in New York City. More info.
  • November 9th: Boston Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
  • November 30th – December 1st: Seattle Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
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