This Is America #38: The State Sends In the Army

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Welcome, to This Is America, November 2nd, 2018.

We were hoping to get this episode out sooner, but to make up for it, we’re releasing a extra large episode, jam packed with interviews!

In this episode, first we talk with Vanessa from Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, who discusses both the ongoing work that indigenous, community based, and autonomous groups are doing on the ground in Lumberton, North Carolina, as well as the ongoing disaster of the response fro the State and FEMA, before, during, and after the storm. To donate to the Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice, go here and here.

Next, is Juan from California Immigrant Youth, who’s been a guest on the program before talking about #AbolishICE actions in San Francisco. We talk with Juan about Trump’s recent rhetoric about gutting the 14th amendment as well as the situation surrounding the migrant Caravan. Be sure to read Juan’s recent piece entitled, “Our Birthright to Live.”

We then talk with three comrades who are part of Anti-Colonial Land Defense, a collection of both Indigenous and settler accomplices fighting resource extraction in so-called Minnesota. In our interview we talk about how they, along with a variety of other groups and Native communities are fighting Embridge’s Line 3 pipeline, the impact of the lessons of Standing Rock, their recent action camp, and beyond. To support and donate to them, go here.

Lastly, we talk with an anarchist involved in the group, If Not Now, based out of Pittsburgh. We discuss the situation surrounding the recent neo-Nazi attack on the Tree of Life synagogue, as well as the resistance that went into pushing back against Trump’s visit on Tuesday, as thousands flooded the streets.

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

Trump That Regime

There’s so much going on we’re just going to dive in. In economic news, according to one report:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which saw a sharp decline throughout October on fears of trade war with China, rising interest rates and a minuscule uptick in wages, rose 241 points Wednesday in response to profit reports from GM, Facebook and other companies.

General Motors saw a 25 percent rise in third quarter profits to a record $3.2 billion, the US automaker announced Wednesday. The spike in profits, despite falling sales in GM’s two largest markets, North America and China, is the result of relentless cost-cutting, which has been enforced through the collaboration of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.

US corporations are averaging around a 20 percent increase in profits chiefly through the suppression of workers’ wage demands, the intensification of work and the spread of part-time and temporary employment. This has been the principal strategy pursued by corporations in the US and around the world since the global financial crash of 2008 and the brutal reality behind the so-called economic recovery.

The Chinese military is actively preparing its troops to prepare for war with the US, and the trade war with China continues, and the two militaries have even come into conflict on the open ocean. As one report wrote:

In another sign of rapidly rising US-China tensions and the danger of conflict, the Chinese has told his country’s military to prepare for war. His speech last Thursday to the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA)…was a response to the Trump administration’s aggressive actions not just in intensifying trade war, but overtly readying for military conflict with both China and Russia.

Now to the caravan from Honduras. At the time of this recording, Trump has stepped up his racist and inflammatory rhetoric about the migrant caravan from Honduras, fleeing a US backed regime, poverty, and political repression. According to reports, the caravan is still over 1,000 miles away from the border, and even Pentagon documents stated that few are expected to reach the US border and pose no threat to the US. Despite this, Trump continues to push for the demonization of the migrant caravan, pushing conspiracy theories that it is filled with either “strong young men,” “MS-13,” or “Middle Eastern” people, in a play to his base to get out the vote next week in the midterms, but more over, expand and solidy Trump’s ability to marshal military forces.

Trump now has even gone so far as to state that he is going to send upwards of 15,000 troops to the border, almost 10,000 more than were deployed in the fight against ISIS, to give you bit of perspective. Already, there are 5,000 active duty service members at the border, organizing and conducting drills and riot training.

Trump has also referred to the troop deployment as a “human wall,” an obvious reference to the un-built physical wall along the border that Trump has long touted as a campaign promise. Trump has gone on to say that any bottles or rocks thrown by the caravan, which has only ever said that their goal is to legally apply for asuylm, will be met with deadly force by the military, even going so far as to say that rocks were as deadly as bullets.

He stated:

“We will consider [rocks thrown] a firearm. We will consider that the maximum we can consider that, because they’re throwing rocks viciously and violently. We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks, like they did at the Mexico military and police, I said, consider that a rifle.”

One report wrote:

The legal implications are chilling as US troops will be used in a domestic operation explicitly forbidden by the Posse Comitatus Act. The news comes the same week as President Trump declared his willingness to overturn the 14th amendment, ending birthright citizenship by presidential decree, in an illegal move to deprive millions of immigrant children of basic democratic rights. It also follows the anti-Jewish massacre in Pittsburgh by a fascist, the mail bomb scare by a Trump supporter, and the racist killing of two shoppers in a store in Kentucky.

Trump went even farther in his recent press conferences, stating that the those caught trying to cross the border would be held “indefinitely,” meaning, they would not be released pending an immigration trial; they would be held under they could be processed by an immigration court.

He stated:

“We are putting up massive cities of tents. The military is helping us incredibly well. I want to thank the Army Corps of Engineers, they have been so efficient, so good, so talented. We have thousands of tents, we have a lot of everything. We are going to hold them right there. We are not letting them into our country…you need massive facilities… we are building the facilities now, massive numbers of tents and we will hold them in tents.”

At recent campaign rallies, Trump has referred to immigrants as living in “nests” and stated that the US was being “overrun by masses of illegal immigrants and giant caravans” and counter posed them to the ‘real’ people of the United States, claiming that, “We are one people and one family and one glorious American destiny.”

Trump has even gone so far recently as to float the idea of gutting the 14th amendment, which guarantees citizenship to the children of immigrants born on US soil, and has long been a goal of white nationalists, Nativists, and those on the far-Right.

While of the liberal and progressive wings of the Democratic Party has by and large denounced Trump’s response to the caravan, they have at the same time passed it off as simply a ‘stunt,’ and not recognized it both as the flexing of Trump’s power along with the military getting to stretch its legs on American soil; and moreover, a test to see how such an operation will go over in the wider world. Other Democrats have also in turn doubled-down on their “tough” on immigration stance, and some of have even endorsed Trump’s calls to change the 14th amendment.

Adding to the violent mix is the fact that potentially thousands of far-Right militia members are currently mobilizing to head down to the border to act as an auxiliary force to the border patrol and active servicemen.

As many have pointed out, Trump is using the caravan as his Reichstag fire, or a fabricated event that will motivate his base and the larger power structure to give him more power and control, this time, over a huge territory with military support. If this becomes the new normal, once again this will set a dangerous precedent that will only accelerate the steady march into authoritarian rule.

One thing is clear, this is no time to leave the streets. In that spirit, let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

  • A legal fund set up for someone that had an altercation with James Alex Fields, Jr. in jail. Fields was arrested for the murder of Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right rally in August of 2017.
  • A trial is now set for next year, where 9 humanitarian aid workers on the border face felonies just for giving migrants water.
  • On October 16th in Pineville, West Virginia:

Around a dozen coal miners gathered to protest at Pinnacle Mine on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018 to demand answers from the company. This comes after Pinnacle Mine filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday.

Employees tell 59 News they’re afraid they are going to lose their pensions and insurance, and they are not sure if they are going to get paid for their last few weeks of work. Many said their biggest worry is how they’re going to take care of their families.

Dion Ortiz was sentenced on October 22, 2018 to a 16-month federal prison term pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement, becoming the fourth Water Protector arrested in relation to the DAPL pipeline resistance at Standing Rock to be sentenced to a substantial prison term.

  • New copies of the Salvo paper, an autonomous anti-capitalist publication, hits the streets of SoCal in brand new newspaper boxes.
  • In Des Moines, Iowa, youth organized a rally against racist graffiti found on a community mural.
  • On October 26th in Chapel Hill, UNC graduate student Maya Little was found “responsible” for vandalizing the Silent Sam Confederate statue at the campus. One report wrote:

“A student acting as prosecutor in the case has recommended probation for the spring semester, 60 hours of community service & restitution in an undetermined amount.”

  • On October 27th, people in East Oakland took over a plot of land and began making homes in order to house the homeless in the face of ongoing tent city evictions as winter draws nearer. Follow #HousingandDignityVillage for more info.
  • Picket in New York took place outside of a Wendy’s in solidarity with workers fighting for better wages and conditions.
  • In Colorado Springs, Redneck Revolt continues to feed people and offer harm reduction programs for opioid addition.
  • In Illinois outside of Evansville, people protest and marched on a Donald Trump rally before returning home to stand guard against threats by neo-Nazis. People held strong and no incidents were reported.
  • That night, in the wake of the Tree of Life massacre, people organize and held vigils and rallies across the US in response.
  • On October 28th, a massive “Trans People Deserve To Live” banner was dropped at Dodgers Stadium.
  • The homies at Southwest Occupied Distro held it down at the Phoenix Zine Fest.
  • Antifascists flyered various neighborhoods in Georgia after the Klan attempted to recruit in the area.
  • On October 30th, in Chicago people held a sit in against mass incarceration.
  • People organized a sit-in protest outside of the GOP office where Gavin McInnes spoke.
  • On October 31st, protests at Seton Hall University in New Jersey continued, as students continued a sleep and sit in at the President’s office to press a set of demands over the treatment of students of color. Students have organized protests and walk-outs as well. Follow their struggle, which is ongoing at Concerned 44.
  • Actions on Halloween take place across the so-called US. In Minneapolis for instance, according to Conflict MN:

This Halloween, some costumed hooligans set about causing some trouble in southside. A perfect night for the occasion; for a brief moment the mask no longer distinguishes between the citizen and the criminal, while there is not yet snow on the ground.

Some misfortune was visited upon a handful of boutique stores, while graffiti adorned the neighborhood and fireworks lit up the sky above. Candy was given out freely to those who passed by as well.

Also in so-called Michigan, a coyote hunt was sabotaged.

  • In Haiti, militant protests continued against political corruption and police attacks on protesters funerals.
  • On November 1st, in Seattle, walkouts were organized by Google workers who protested the company’s sexual harassment policy.

That’s gonna do it for us this week, we will see you soon!

Upcoming Events:

  • Ongoing: Support for the Vaughn 17 at trial. More info here.
  • Ongoing: Mutual Aid Disaster Relief tour. More info here.
  • Tuesday, November 6th, 6 PM, Portland, OR: March Against ICE. Gathering at City Hall. Call for antifascist presence. More info here.
  • Thursday, November, 8th: Antifascist Songcircle: Rosh Chodesh Krystalnacht, Brooklyn. More info here.
  • Saturday, November, 10th: Counter-protest National Socialist Movement (NSM) at Arkansas State Capitol. More info here.
  • Saturday, November 10th: #OutLiveThem antifascist mobilization in New York. More info here.
  • Saturday, November 10th #OutLiveThem antifascist mobilization in Chapel Hill, NC. More info here.
  • November 16-18th: SOA Watch Border Encuentro. Called by School of the Americas Watch, this will be a mobilization against border imperialism. More information here.
  • Saturday, November 17th, 11 AM, Washington Square Park. Come out to oppose the Proud Boys and other far-Right groups. More info here.
  • Saturday, February 2nd: Antifascist Mobilization at Stone Mountain, Georgia. More info here.

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