Filed under: Analysis, Anarchist Movement, Featured, Repression, US
The idea for the Week of Solidarity Against Repression started as networks of friends began talking, thinking, and writing about the build up of repressive forces following the inauguration of Trump. This reality manifested itself in the felony charges leveled at over 200 people arrested in the mass kettle in Washington DC on January 20th, over 800 water protectors targeted by grand juries, and over 100 antifascists in Sacramento who await the ruling of the local DA.
During the week, we saw a wide variety of actions, from people vandalizing one of Trump’s golf courses, wheat pastes and banner drops in small towns, to large fundraising events throughout the country, a mass educational event in DC, rallies organized by the General Defense Committee (GDC) in Minneapolis and Seattle, and much more. We also saw inspiring solidarity from across the world: in Greece, at the ZAD in France, and in Germany.
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from last night's film screening and potluck for the week of solidarity against repression! check the end of https://itsgoingdown.org/call-week-solidarity-against-repression-april-1-7/ to donate to and support #j20 & #j20nola arrestees, water protectors, and others targeted for repression right now. (also, you can find the film we watched, "welcome to leith", on netflix) #movementdefense #freethemall #firetotheprisons #dropthecharges #fuckingfreethemall #solidarityisourbestweapon #disruptj20 #baltimore13 #blacksnakekillaz #acab
The current wave of arrests and charges have also been coupled with the police giving free range to far-Right actors to attack and even shoot anarchists and antifascists, an escalation in the rhetoric coming out of the Trump administration (highlighted at CPAC) directed against social movements, as well as the push by a variety of Republican lawmakers to further criminalize protest by making it easier to slap those arrested with heavy fines and felony charges. As Esquire wrote:
A New York Times article published two weeks after the inauguration about anarchist protests accorded just half a sentence to the fact that a Yiannopoulos supporter in Seattle shot and seriously injured an anti-fascist activist, and has yet to face charges. Fifteen paragraphs down, a mere mention was given to the mass arrest of the 200-plus anti-fascist protesters on Inauguration Day. The fact that these arrestees now face felony riot charges went unmentioned by the Times—blanket charges, which carry a heft unheard of in the last decades of protest history.
“In my over thirty years of practicing law, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said veteran D.C. attorney Mark Goldstone, of the charges. Goldstone, who has defended dozens of activist cases and is representing six of the J20 defendants, called the charges “unprecedented territory.”
Indeed, during the week of solidarity, the house of a DC organizer was raided by the police, who thrashed their home and took thousands of dollars of personal items while looking for things related to the “black bloc” and “Disrupt J20.”
Despite this, the push during the week of action to put pressure on DC officials through a mass call-in campaign successfully changed both the narrative around the arrests on J20 as well as brought into the spotlight the brutal actions of the police against demonstrators. As DCist wrote:
“The Metropolitan Police Department stands by its assertion that our officers acted responsibly and professionally during Inauguration Day,” MPD spokesperson Rachel Reid said in an emailed statement after the report’s release. “In response to the riots, the men and women of MPD made reasonable decisions during extremely volatile circumstances.”
Dead City Legal Posse disagrees. The group is organizing a call-in campaign this week to Bowser and members of the D.C. Council, asking them “to pressure the U.S. attorney to drop the charges, and open a formal investigation with public hearings into the police brutality” on Inauguration Day, says Menefee-Libey.
The campaign coincides with a week of solidarity from anarchist and antifascist groups to support arrestees at Inauguration protests, Standing Rock, and demonstrations against alt-right figures like Milo Yiannopoulos. “How effectively we support arrestees will determine how effectively we can continue resisting,” says the call to action.
Our comrades facing repression need many things. They need funds. They need legal help. They need rides and places to stay as they travel to and from court. But above all they need support, they need to know that their comrades have their backs no matter what. They need to know that for every one person that is singled out for repression, there are ten more to take their place and help them through these difficult times.
But moreover as a movement, we need to understand that repression is unfortunately part and parcel to living and fighting for the kind of world that we want to see. By expecting repression and keeping it in mind as part of our organizing strategies, we can better prepare for when the State clamps down. As we discussed in our recent interview with CrimethInc., we also need to use repression itself as an opportunity. We need to bring people into the organizing against it and make “diversity of tactics” a reality. This means going beyond just taking action in solidarity, raising money, and organizing film showings, it means creating and building a base of support for the movement inside the wider population. After all, the more that people support those under the gun of the State, the more people will be willing to do the things that would put them there in the first place.
While the week of action was ending, a hunger strike began in Tacoma, Washington at a immigrant detention facility. This hunger strike quickly grew into an encampment outside of the facility, with people holding rallies and building solidarity with those inside. As immigrant detainees are being swept up in massive sweeps and then forced to work for free in literal slavery, such revolts should be seen as what they are: slave revolts. Also, from April 10th to the 17th, there has been a call for a week of action to #FreeBresha, a young African-American woman who was sentenced at 14 for defending herself and her family against her father. Let’s remember to step outside of our established circles and show solidarity with others, building a culture of resistance as well as increasing all of our capacities to push back against repression.
Solidarity Actions Across the World
— Berkeley Antifa (@berkeleyantifa) March 17, 2017
- Berkeley, CA: Banner dropped against repression and CHP. Report here.
- Sacramento, CA: Graffiti slogans written against repression. Report here.
- Binghamton, NY: Wheatpasting of solidarity posters. Report here.
- Denver, CO: Graffiti messages in solidarity. Report here.
UW campus police just lost control & attacked a woman defending herself from a skinhead. pic.twitter.com/3JkPfPRbEl
— fred natural (@stupice) March 31, 2017
- Seattle, WA: A rally is held on the UW campus in solidarity with comrade Hex, an IWW and GDC member who was shot by an alt-right Milo supporter on January 20th. Several fascists show up, a confrontation ensues, and one person is de-arrested from the hands of the police. Report here.
- Minneapolis, MN: A rally is held in solidarity with Hex in Seattle and against the rising tide of fascism. Report here.
- Bay Area, CA: A punk/hip hip DJ benefit raises hundreds of dollars for those facing repression.
- Washington DC: Trump golf course vandalized in solidarity with those facing repression. Communique here.
- LA County, CA: Graffiti slogans written in solidarity with those facing repression. Report here.
- Savannah, GA: Tabling at events, and karaoke benefit event for those facing repression.
- ZAD, France: Banner and statement released from the autonomous zone of the ZAD (Zone to Defend) in France, in solidarity with water protectors. Read report here.
- Philadelphia, PA: Banner dropped in solidarity with those facing repression. Photo here.
- Broomfield, CO: Banner dropped in solidarity with those facing repression. Report here.
- Albany, NY: Poster pasted up in solidarity with those facing repression. Report here.
- Philadelphia, PA: Poster pasted up in solidarity. Report here.
- Minneapolis, MN: Banner placed up in community, flyers distributed. Report here.
- Richmond, VA: Rally held in solidarity with those facing repression. Report here.
- Richmond, VA: Banners placed up throughout the community. Report here.
- Durham, NC: Benefit event raises hundreds. Report here.
- Washington, DC: Local police raid an organizers home looking for materials related to the J20 mobilization. Call is put out for material support. Report here.
- Thessaloniki, Greece: Rally held in solidarity with Standing Rock by group fighting a mining project. Report here.
- Eureka, CA: Posters pasted in solidarity with those facing repression. Report here.
- Modesto, CA: Film showing and discussion on #NoDAPL struggle at Standing Rock.
- Portland, OR: Banner drop in solidarity with week of action.
- New Orleans, LA: Banner drop in solidarity with week of action. Report here.
- Frankfurt, Germany: Rally in solidarity with Standing Rock. Report here.
- Washington, DC: Mass community event about anarchism and antifa. On the same day, people confront, shut down, and chase Richard Spencer who organized a rally.
- A hunger strike begins in Tacoma, WA, with an encampment growing outside of it. The hunger strike grows to several hundred inmates. Report here.
- Week of action to #FreeBresha begins.
Ways to ‘Get the Word Out’ Beyond Banners and Wheat Paste
While we love wheat pasted posters and dropped banners, let’s remember that there are other ways to get our message out to people as well as other easy actions you can pull off by yourself or just a few friends. This can include:
- Setting up information tables in front of a busy public area. Outside Wall-Mart, a junior college, the library, the DMV during open hours, a courthouse, or the social services office are just a few easy ideas. Look for places where poor and working-class people already are and be in that space. Talk to people, give out free coffee and donuts, and have literature on hand.
- Make handouts and zines and put them in places everyday people go into all the time, like corner stores, the library, barber shops, etc. Ask the clerk if you can put them in their free area where newspapers are located. This way, you can start to develop a network of places to get out information.
- Find a free newspaper or real estate guide box that no one wants or is using and repaint it, cover it with slogans, and put flyers, and or zines inside. Set that up in a busy area.
- Make stickers and get them out all over town.
- Put flyers inside the local alternative weekly.
- Organize an “info point” with two or more friends holding a banner and other friends handing out flyers. This can be done best is places of high foot traffic like outside of a subway, a bus station, or other area where people are walking around. Here’s an example.
- Pool money to rent space at the local flea market or swap meet. Get a boom box, have fun, talk to folks.
The Martyrs Of Yesterday Are the Defendants of Today
As May Day approaches, we remember the anarchists that have fought and died in the generations before us. People who gave their lives so that we might live in a world that is free from domination and exploitation. They too were singled out for their role in militant movements and paid a heavy price, but in the campaigns that were organized to free them and stop their executions, new generations of revolutionaries were created in the thousands while workers across the world now celebrate them year after year.
In today’s word, not much has changed. Black rebels, native warriors, and anarchist fighters are still singled out in movements for liberation in the US to be made examples of. It is up to us to build the robust movements that can both support them and also build support for them within the wider population.
Repression is supposed to scare us off the streets. That that in mind, above all let’s remember that the answer to repression isn’t to lay-low and remove ourselves from struggle, the answer is quite simply – more resistance.