News

Puerto Rico: Punk Rock Hurricane Relief

It's Goin Down - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 01:41

The post Puerto Rico: Punk Rock Hurricane Relief appeared first on It's Going Down.

While Trump gave himself a score of 10 for the disastrous relief efforts by the US government in Puerto Rico, punks, artists, queers and freaks of all stripes took matter into their own hands to feed people in their community and give them a place to hang out while they wait for electric power to be restored.

Music by Anti-Sociales

Categories: News

Philadelphia, PA: Antifa Ruins Leif Erikson Day for Keystone State Boneheads

It's Goin Down - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 01:37

The post Philadelphia, PA: Antifa Ruins Leif Erikson Day for Keystone State Boneheads appeared first on It's Going Down.

For years, neo-Nazis have converged in Philadelphia for ‘Leif Erikson Day,’ and since 2013, they have faced intense opposition. This year, neo-Nazis failed to materialize on the actual day but antifascists and anarchists converged regardless, as the Leif Erikson statue was fabulously redecorated. Neo-Nazis did mobilize however in secret for the following week, and people in Philadelphia were ready to meet them head on, as Philly Antifa reports. 

Acting on an anonymous tip sent by an infiltrator within Neo-Nazi circles, Antifa Philadelphia, Love City Antifa, local anarchists and several other organizations/individuals arrived at Fairmount Park Saturday morning to confirm that Keystone State Skinheads were indeed holding their Leif Erikson Day event.

Even before the Nazis had arrived, there were indicators that the tip was true. Civil affairs and Uniform PD were on the scene around the Gazebo, and a small detachment of Antifa were being shadowed by bike cops. Eventually though, Antifa made visual confirmation of Mark Daniel “Illegal Aryan” Reardon heading towards the Gazebo on Lemon Hill on his red bike.

Reardon met up with Bryan Christopher Sawyer, the model who was fired from his job at the PA Academy of Fine Arts after posting a video of himself harassing a black woman with racist and sexist insults and abuse. Sawyer was repping Red Ice, a Neo-Nazi media company based in Sweden.

Antifa attempted to approach Reardon and Sawyer to discuss some of their activities, but unsurprisingly they elected to run to the safety of Philly Police Department who had begun to congregate up around the Gazebo to undertake their traditional role as protectors for Fascists and Nazis.

“The Thorfinn Karlsefni statue got tarred, glittered, and spray painted before Lief Erikson day.” From Philly Anti-Capitalist

By now, KSS began to arrive in carloads. We blasted the info out on social media in hopes of gathering some more opposition on short notice. Surprisingly, this appears to have been a new low in terms of attendance for KSS for this event. They managed to muster only about 25 Nazis to rally despite having opened up the event to strangers like Reardon and Sawyer and having gathered 40+ for the last 3 years since moving the event underground following a disastrous 2013 event.

Their original plan was to march all the way to the art museum to give speeches in front of the Washington Monument in Eakins Oval which were to be broadcast on Red Ice. Once Antifa began to form up, though, that plan was quickly abandoned in favor of their time honored tradition of saying some dumb shit in a megaphone at the Thorfin Karlsefni Statue while Antifa chanted, shouted at and heckled them. After maybe 20 minutes at the statue, police pushed Antifa down the sidewalk and street to escort the Nazis back up Lemon Hill and to their cars.

“The Antifa fought bravely, using mace and fists to defend themselves against the bones who were armed with various weapons. Two of the Antifa sustained minor injuries. It could have been even worse, but a wedding was being held at the Swedish History Museum. As a result, the KSS after-party ended before it could even begin.”

As the Nazis left, Anti-Fascists blocked Lemon Hill Road to get pictures of the vehicles for future identification of any Fascists yet unknown to us.

The leaked info also gave Anti-Fascists the details on the KSS after party in FDR park, which was to be held in the stone pavilion behind the Swedish History Museum. Anti-Fascists also blasted this info out and small groups began arriving in the area.

This proved to be the one major mis-step Antifa made that day. By just releasing the info and not giving a point for opposition to converge, a roving band of about 15 KSS bones were able to target small groups of Anti-Fascists. One car with 2 Anti-Racist Punx was surrounded by KSS, some of whom were armed with pistols. Fortunately, they were able to de-escalate the situation and were uninjured. Less fortunately, 3 Anti-Fascists who had arrived on the scene to try and help evacuate the Punx were recognized from the earlier demo and attacked by KSS. The Antifa fought bravely, using mace and fists to defend themselves against the bones who were armed with various weapons. Two of the Antifa sustained minor injuries.

It could have been even worse, but a wedding was being held at the Swedish History Museum. Bystanders began recording the incident on their phones which prompted the KSS bones to run (well, one was limping) for their cars and leave the area. As a result, the KSS after-party ended before it could even begin.

10 years on and smaller than ever… Keep it up, yall.

While the Nazis’ event was totally ruined and shut down prematurely both at Fairmount and FDR, we cannot claim full victory when any of our comrades are injured. We also recognize that the situation in FDR park could have gone much worse. This op was planned on almost no notice and questionable intel which presented a real challenge for us. That all said, it’s safe to say that Leif Erikson Day 2017 was a disaster for KSS thanks to the bravery and hard work of local and regional Anti-Fascists.

Here are some pics of the Fascists who showed up Saturday. Our goal is to identify every single participant and expose them as the Nazis they are to their neighbors and co-workers. If you have any information on any of the Fascists who were there this weekend, e-mail us. When you come to Philly to rep KSS, Blood and Honour or any other Neo-Nazi organizations, and attack Anti-Racists, we will make you regret it.

Categories: News

Statement on ‘Great Lakes Antifa’ from Cleveland Antifascist Network

It's Goin Down - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 00:04

The post Statement on ‘Great Lakes Antifa’ from Cleveland Antifascist Network appeared first on It's Going Down.

People that have been with IGD for a long time know that we aren’t prone to secretarian attacks or the airing of internal movement divisions, however we feel that in this instance, a line in the sand must be drawn. In the last 9 months, many new people have come into our movement, and as people that have been involved for years, we must help point out problem behaviors, regardless of if they are in the work of disruptive elements, informants, or active agents of the State. With that in mind, we share and endorse the following statement from Cleveland. 

We do not undertake this task joyously.  Those in the anarchist milieu that have interacted with people from the Cleveland scene in the last few years know that we are not prone to get involved in personal conflicts and cause “drama,” and avoid it as much as we can.  We are also not very apt to air our collective decisions, particularly when they involve other groups, publicly.  But, with this said, this moment, and this specific situation is an exception to this rule.  Over the past 8 months we have watched as an organization known as Great Lakes Antifa has caused problems, not only within other cities, but within Cleveland as well, following a pattern of behavior that is dangerous and deceptive.  Over the past week this situation has hit a point of critical mass, with threats and recriminations being articulated by a number of different groups, which have forced us to have to articulate an otherwise internal decision publicly, and explain why we will not work with Great Lakes Antifa or anyone associated with them.

Before getting into the specifics of this decision there are some disclaimers that we would like to put forward first.  The decision that has been made internally within the Cleveland Antifascist Network is not a result of the horrendous behavior that we have seen some within GLA engage in over the course of the past week, since the Antiracist Action Network statement was released on October 6, 2017.  The only decision that has been made as a result of the gas-lighting, threats and general abuse exhibited over the past week has been to articulate already existing concerns in public.  This is also not a decision that has been made for personal reasons, or in relation to the dynamics of GLA’s conflicts with groups in other cities.  Our decision to not associate with GLA or any affiliated persons is a decision purely based on behavior we have seen in relation to those in Cleveland, and the risks that this behavior poses to our selves, our friends, our communities, our reputation and our projects; the question of whether we like or dislike members or GLA is irrelevant here.  This has nothing to do with personality conflicts, things that can be loosely called “drama,” or anything having to do with the social dynamics between us and them, and this is not a question of “purism” – an accusation thrown around by GLA consistently –  and one that has been aimed at us in the past.  We will be sticking to our reflections of their general strategy and style of action, and articulating our concerns in relation to this only.

We will also not be releasing personal information about people in GLA, although we have it, and we will not be revealing some of the more damning information that we possess.  At this point we are unsure what the motivations behind some of the more reckless and deceptive behavior that we will outline here are, but do not feel it is appropriate to reveal any information that could put GLA members at risk for repression by the state.  As such, we will reveal as much as we can, and nothing more, while avoiding any additional risk, beyond the risk that GLA poses to itself and others in proximity to it. We will only be discussing what is relevant in relation to the specific behavior that we would like to outline here.

This statement is also not a topic of continued discussion.  We have no desire to debate this.  For the past series of weeks we have been compiling information, doing our research, obtaining verifiable information and discussing events with people from a variety of scenes and political tendencies, and our conclusions are the same now as they were months ago.  We will not be responding to attacks on social media and we will not be engaging with those that wish to debate this.  If you do not like the decision that we have made, then please feel free to not associate with us.  Given some of the information that we have been privy to over the past week we will be taking a position of protecting ourselves from threats that anyone associated with GLA would like to make, and will be immediately documenting and making public within the anarchist milieu, nationally and internationally, any threats that we do receive without responding to those that may choose to resort to threatening tactics.  This is the case for any member of any group associated with the Cleveland Antifascist Network, and any of the people that are within our circles of trust, families, friend groups and associated circles.

Now, with that out of the way, lets get down to it.  The reasons that we have chosen, months ago, to not only not associate with Great Lakes Antifa, but to treat them as a possible threat to our safety, can be broken down into five primary categories of behavior: deceptive behavior, recklessness, horrendous operational security and the illusion of security expertise, inaccurate portrayals of relationships and associations in the attempt to gain entry into groups or scenes, and general shit-talking.  These behaviors will be outlined below, with as many specifics as we deem necessary to reveal.  This behavior began around the beginning of 2017, with our first contact with anyone associated with GLA occurring in February, and has continued throughout the entirety of this year.  The decision to not associate with GLA, just for context, was made internally at the end of April / early May, and has been held internally since that time.  Since that decision was made we have had other interactions with them, but have also been paying close attention to their behavior over the five months since we chose to quietly disassociate from them entirely.  In that time we have not only found that this behavior has continued, but that it has increased in frequency and magnitude, and has hit a point in which our grievances need to be aired to the anarchist milieu at large.

Timeline

“This person claims to be operating a “Resistance network” which had contacts in 27 states, Puerto Rico, the UK, Canada and Finland, and which has access to significant funding, “training and project management” and technical resources.  They also provided their personal cell phone number.”

The initial contact that any members from GLA made with Cleveland, through a Facebook sock puppet account, occurred on February 27th.  This account, which currently uses a username in Russian, but which at the time was under the name “Jessica Marie” and signed their message “Jessica,” sent a message in an attempt to get in contact with someone in Cleveland Antifa. We will refer to this person as “XX” as a shorthand to protect their (presumably) real name. This person claims to be operating a “Resistance network” which had contacts in 27 states, Puerto Rico, the UK, Canada and Finland, and which has access to significant funding, “training and project management” and technical resources.  They also provided their personal cell phone number.

The first record that anyone from Cleveland can find of XX undertaking any political organizing in the Cleveland area is a GoFundMe page created in February of 2017, attempting to raise money to defeat Rob Portman, a state politician, in 2022.  This page was set up by XX, prior to the creation of the Great Lakes Antifa page (which seems to have occurred in March of 2017), who has since become a distinct source of much of the controversy between antifascist crews in the region. This page, which we have found in our research into the group, was set up under an alias, one that has been the medium of much of the communication with groups in Cleveland, with the only update on the page being posted under a verifiable real name of XX.  At this point, contrary to claims that XX had been active in antifascist circles in Cleveland for years, none of us had ever had any contact with this specific person.  We would not make any contact with them until around one month later.

Our first record of real-life interaction with XX occurred on March 4th of 2017 during a counter-demonstration during a pro-Trump rally.  That evening, XX attended an IWW bowling social in town and had some discussions with members of the Red Triangle CLE nonprofit, a group attempting to raise money to open a radical community space in Cleveland. XX told the locals involved in the discussion that they were able to train people in security culture and secure their computers, as well as raise a bunch of money from wealthy liberals.  XX claimed that they were part of a big organization that was operating locally, but knew nothing about other groups operating in Cleveland.  A day later, XX contacted Red Triangle from a profile under the name “Jessica Marie,” but immediately gave their real name (we have verified this) and claimed to be locked up in organizing for Pikeville for the time being.  The following day XX messaged again, and said that they had gotten a call from the office of Senator Sherrod Brown and tried to get the group to attend a meeting about funding.  They then sent along a file claiming to be a “whitepaper” about this organization they were claiming to be a part of.  Upon checking on this organization we found it to be a small organization, with only a handful of members and no discernible sources for the funding that they claim to have access to.

“XX told the locals involved in the discussion that they were able to train people in security culture and secure their computers, as well as raise a bunch of money from wealthy liberals.  XX claimed that they were part of a big organization that was operating locally, but knew nothing about other groups operating in Cleveland.”

Around this time we had started vetting XX, who had contacted the Red Triangle group in late March / early April as a member of Great Lakes Antifa, an organization that has seemingly existed since March of 2017.  During this process we attempted to find any history of their past work, and could not find any.  We went as far as to contact people throughout the region, and to ask whether anyone knew who XX was, and no one had any experiences with them.  We heard through contacts in Louisville that word of the vetting process had reached XX, and they started complaining that they were being “picked on” and said that they wanted nothing to do with the “antifa community” anymore.  At this time the approach that was being taken was one of caution, but still possible engagement.  After their reaction to the vetting process, a common process in this area, suspicions started to be raised about their practices and their interactions with other groups in the region.  Nothing, at this point, however, was severe enough for us to completely cut ties.

In mid-March, after an admin on the Cleveland Antifa Facebook page made contact with XX to discuss Pikeville and transportation to the demonstration.  A meeting was scheduled and during, XX claimed to have experience in doxxing people, a claim that was echoed in their other Facebook messages to others within our circles. XX offered doxxing classes, food, transportation and lodging for Pikeville.  They also mentioned that they help people get resources for wheatpasting and banner drops.  At the end of the meeting, XX handed members of Cleveland Antifa their official business card, which listed their real job, their real name and their office phone number. The group was willing to accept the assistance in getting to Pikeville, but suspicions were beginning to be raised by some around how incredibly open this person was about illegal and pseudo-illegal activities and the connections they purported to have, especially because they were willing to do this and then identify with their real name.

Following this meeting there was a short discussion about logistics for coordinating the counter-demonstration to the white supremacist convergence in Pikeville.  Two days before Cleveland was to leave for Pikeville, XX told people from Cleveland that “basecamp” in Pikeville was compromised, that no one should go, and then cut off contact.  They then tried to get people from Cleveland to post this information to a group chat for the organizing of “basecamp” which people from Cleveland were a part of, but XX was not. Cleveland Antifa checked the information to others involved in organizing “basecamp” before posting it to the wider group, and were assured that this information was incorrect.  When asked where this information came from they said it came from Nashville, but when checked with people from Nashville this was also shown to be incorrect.  When confronted about this in Nashville, XX started arguing with others in the discussion, deleted their social media profiles and disappeared. Over the past week, we have been privy to a statement that was being drafted within Nashville Antifa, a crew very close to and comprised of many of the same people as GLA, in which they claim that this claim stemmed from someone in Cleveland outing the real name of this specific GLA member to the people running “basecamp.”

We will discuss this more later, but, in brief, the person being accused of providing XX’s real name to the organizers did not in fact know their real name; although XX was not that careful about what their real name was, having provided business cards to people in Cleveland, identifying with their real name to others in Cleveland and posting the GoFundMe page under both their assumed name and updating it under their real name.

After this incident, and the general behavior of XX and others in GLA around Pikeville, those within the Cleveland Antifascist Network decided that we were not going to have anything further to do with GLA or anyone affiliated with them, but at the time decided that we would keep this to ourselves and not go public with our experiences.  Throughout the summer we had no contact with XX or anyone else affiliated with the group.  This stayed the case until August 19th, when Burning River Anarchist Collective hosted a community solidarity event in the Slavic Village neighborhood with antifascists in Charlottesville.  This was a community oriented event, one that was meant to provide a space in which community organizing could be done around antifascist struggle.  During this event 4 members of GLA, including XX, showed up to the event in full black bloc, wearing body armor, held up a banner, snapped a picture and then promptly left.  Locally, this raised significant suspicions about the direction and general strategy of GLA, leaving many of us feeling as if their approach was generally reckless.

This prompted an argument, which played out over Facebook, between XX and a member of Cleveland Antifa.  The argument was started when the member of Cleveland Antifa criticized GLA for showing up to a community event and being generally intimidating, questioning their strategic decisions in relation to the event.  XX got immediately defensive and then cut off the conversation.  We have come to find out that this prompted a post on a Facebook page run by another member of GLA, which we will call YY.  In this post YY accuses an unknown group, which is clearly Cleveland Antifa, of being “purists” and fostering division, for merely being mildly critical of their approach to a community event.

Also, we came to find out in the weeks following this incident that XX was present at an anti-police brutality demonstration in Euclid, Ohio, an inner ring suburb of Cleveland.  During this event XX discussed purchasing weapons and body armor for a group of people.  They also stated that they were the “real antifa” and that “other antifa in Cleveland are unreliable and cannot be trusted.”  They then tried to recruit a number of people at the event.  This fits a general pattern that we have become aware of in the time since the Burning River event, in which XX will approach people either that live in suburbs, or that are on the fringes of activity in Cleveland, offering to provide training, and talking openly about purchasing “weapons” and body armor.

We have also become aware, since this time, that XX has tried to claim that they had done a lot of work with people in Burning River Anarchist Collective, in discussions with local liberals, even though Burning River only knows XX through showing up at their event, and had no interaction with them there.  A member of GLA, who we will refer to as ZZ, attempted to use one former member of Columbus ARA as a vouch with a member of the Cleveland Antifascist Network, even though this person had never met ZZ.  ZZ then started posting evidence of illegal actions directly to the Cleveland Antifa page on Facebook, encouraging members to participate.  We have heard that a person claiming to be in GLA has attempted to use Cleveland antifascists as a vouch in an attempt to get involved in Cincinnatti. We have also become aware that XX has moved to the area.  Since then we have been in contact with a number of people that have interacted with XX, who all have similar stories.  In this common narrative XX will show up at some sort of event in the suburbs, talk to the people there and then convince them that they should engage in low-level illegal activities, while convincing them that they can help with information security and resources.

“In this common narrative XX will show up at some sort of event in the suburbs, talk to the people there and then convince them that they should engage in low-level illegal activities, while convincing them that they can help with information security and resources.”

Since the ARA Network statement about GLA and Nashville Antifa we have become aware of a number of other incidents that are both disturbing and in keeping with a pattern of general retaliation, deception and recklessness.  The Cleveland Antifa Facebook page reposted the ARA Network statement about GLA, and immediately began to get attacked by trolls, claiming either to be in GLA, or to “know people” in GLA.  We have heard that XX claimed to have had a four-hour long meeting with Columbus ARA, during which they worked out their differences; we checked with Columbus ARA and this meeting never took place.  Through talking to people in other cities we have become aware of a general pattern of XX and others claiming affiliation with It’s Going Down and Idavox, both of which have only had passing discussions with them on Facebook (and with Idavox specifically interacting with them in an attempt to mediate the conflict between Nashville people in the wake of the release of the statement).  It has also become clear that GLA has a general pattern of isolating marginally connected radical-leaning people in a city through claiming that known groups vouch for them, then speaking ill of local antifascists and attempting to get people that they have isolated to engage in risky activity, even to the point of providing weapons and body armor.

Needless to say, this is a disturbing pattern; below we will be outlining the specific issues we have had with their behavior since the beginning of the year. In hearing these stories, having these experiences and generally coming to understand the scale of the disruption XX and others in GLA have caused throughout the region the decision was made to break our silence about this situation and explain our decision to not work with GLA or anyone affiliated with the group.  Again, this is a long standing decision that was made before our interactions with those in other cities about the subject.  We want to reiterate that we are unclear as to the motivations for this behavior, and do not want to openly speculate about this at this time.  We would just like to encourage other to approach GLA with extreme caution, to not necessarily take what they are saying at face value and to confirm any claims that they make with others that are involved.

Reasons Recklessness

The first thing that struck people in Cleveland as being amiss with XX and their close associates in Great Lakes Antifa that we have interacted with was the way in which they were 1) willing to both divulge details about their group, or what they said were details about their group, and 2) encourage others to do illegal actions in contexts in which their connections to said people were superficial and often did not extend beyond the immediate discussions they were having at the time.  This is coupled with a tendency to engage in a sort of aesthetic militancy, wherein GLA (or specifically XX) portrays itself as being “the most militant,” while not actually focusing on the proper or strategic action for the moment.

“This is coupled with a tendency to engage in a sort of aesthetic militancy, wherein GLA (or specifically XX) portrays itself as being “the most militant,” while not actually focusing on the proper or strategic action for the moment.”

The reality is that – for all of the talk and aesthetics of militancy put forward by XX and others within GLA, there is very little actual action to show for it.  They have been present at some actions, carried out some minor direct actions within march contexts (which they then would openly admit to online) and engaged in wheatpasting campaigns.  Beyond this, there is very little actual action to show for all of the work that they are claiming to have done.  Now, we aren’t saying this to discredit their militant credibility as “not doing enough” – rather we are concerned that, despite realtively little engagement in seriously disruptive or confrontational action, they are openly encouraging a sort of reckless militancy based in the idea that presenting as militant, and dressing the part, can compensate for a lack of strategic understanding of the context of actions, the wishes and desires of strategic unity from local organizers (both inside and outside of the anarchist / leftist milieu) or the ways that these impact local dynamics.  They tend to engage in this sort of aesthetic militancy in ways that are completely out of context for the actions that they are participating in, needlessly escalating dynamics and pushing community members outside of the closed bubble of the anarchist milieu away.

“They tend to engage in this sort of aesthetic militancy in ways that are completely out of context for the actions that they are participating in, needlessly escalating dynamics and pushing community members outside of the closed bubble of the anarchist milieu away.”

This generally demonstrates not only a complete misunderstanding of when militant resistance is called for, but also betrays a complete lack of understanding of localized strategic approaches to resistance, and the reasons that certain activities may be undertaken in said contexts. This lack of strategic awareness, if combined with rhetorical and aesthetic militancy and a lack of experience, creates the opportunity for newer participants to begin to engage in actions that they are not prepared without an understanding of the possible consequences of that action. By focusing entirely on the need to immediately escalate, without any attention to the strategic imperatives of specific forms of action, GLA risks putting the newer, less engaged and less experienced people within the fringes of the local scenes they tend to recruit their members from needlessly at risk of victimization by the state or our adversaries on the right.

GLA’s open talk of weapons, their tendency to show up to actions in body armor, and their tendency to present as “the most militant” also paints a huge target on their back in relation to the state.  This makes GLA a clear target for infiltration by federal agencies and local law enforcement.  While this would not be a reason to cease working with a group in and of itself, their tendency to engage in the aesthetics of escalation, combined with horrendous operational security (which we will talk about in a bit) and a tendency to work with newer and less experiences members of a community, presents a significant risk to those around active members of GLA – enough so that we in Cleveland are willing to go on record stating that we will be keeping our distance.

Horrendous Operational Security and the Illusion of Security

Since our first contacts with XX, and later with GLA formally, people in Cleveland have been generally concerned at the absolutely despicable operational security that the group has demonstrated.  The initial contact with XX resulted in them sharing information about some sort of secret organization that supposedly existed, being told the real first name of the person reaching out, and being told that they could provide money, support and information security training to individuals that they had not met or previously interacted with in any capacity.  This was followed by XX providing people in Cleveland with proof of their employment and real name in the form of a verifiably-true business card to one person in Cleveland Antifa, as well as revealing numerous details about their personal life to others with whom they have no reason to trust outside of a naive general sense of leftist camraderie.  XX and others in GLA have also been relatively open with near-strangers (including their own members, many of whom it is evident have not met each other in real life outside the context of anonymous masked action) about illegal and semi-illegal actions to others within the Cleveland Antifascist Network.  They have also generously extended this indiscretion to people outside the anarchist milieu, engaging liberal organizations in the area with talks of procuring weapons and body armor for near-strangers on their initial contact with said people.

“What is even more concerning is that XX has portrayed themselves as someone with a sort of expertise in operational security and information security practices.”  

What is even more concerning is that XX has portrayed themselves as someone with a sort of expertise in operational security and information security practices.  In the interest of being generous to the remains of their reputation, let us just say that when a person tries to convince others that writing their name on Facebook in Russian Cyrillic will protect them from doxxing – and who posts updates to online political fundraisers under their real name, even after creating the campaign under an assumed name sock puppet account – well, it doesn’t particularly inspire confidence in their capacity to teach good operational security.  It is clear that outside of the use of Signal chats, GLA carries out most of its organizational discussions over Facebook – a completely monitored and effectively compromised platform which has a history of collusion with law enforcement.  Members of the group are also completely willing to provide their personal contact information to people that they have no relationship with, and who they have only met online.

There are numerous problems here which would be enough for most of us to want to keep distance from a group of people.  However, the most troubling thing about these practices, and the almost total lack of any coherent operational security practices, is that XX attempts to convince others that they are some sort of expert in operational and information security.  This creates the idea that by following the practices that XX recommends that others will be able to protect themselves from surveillance, which is not only far from the case, but also which creates a false sense of security allowing for the open discussion of illegal actions on open social media platforms.  Not only are their security practices horrendous, but this false sense of security has made it incredibly easy to map out members of the group, find personal information, and even to get information and documents from people that participate in “private” Facebook groups about internal GLA operations.  From what we have seen, the tendency to default to Russian usernames, the shifting of sock puppet accounts while still maintaining the same circle of friends, the thinly-veiled opacity through which XX and others in GLA frame their discussions about internal matters with those outside of the group, gives off the air of people attempting to build opsec around what people who think they know about opsec – but do not actually understand opsec – think opsec is.

If it was this easy for people in Cleveland – who work full-time jobs, have kids and busy lives outside of antifascist work – to gain this much information about GLA and their membership in the span of just over a week of actual info-gathering, then we shudder to think about what the federal agencies have found out should GLA’s aesthetic militancy have alerted them to a potential threat.  When combined, the tendency to engage in public declarations of militancy, to openly talk about procuring weapons and body armor as declared enemies of the existence of the state, and to both encourage and brag about illegal activity, their failure to even impose a modicum of functional operational security is clearly a threat to anyone in or adjacent to this crew.

Deceptive Behavior and Inaccurate Portrayals of Relationships and Associations

It is almost impossible to know where to begin, given the layers upon layers of accusations that have been thrown back and forth between GLA and their detractors.  So, with that said, we will keep this discussion to the specifics of the local situation and our experiences with XX and GLA.  Our mistrust of XX initial was created by their willingness to make completely over-the-top claims about their access to seemingly unlimited resources and the connections that they claimed that they had.  In all of the research that we had done, and in all of the discussions that occurred, no specific evidence of the existence of this network of groups, nor of the resources that they claimed to possess, were ever produced or discovered.  For some of us, this raised suspicions immediately that not everything was at it was being presented to be by XX and their fellow crew members.

“When we take this tendency to exaggerate their connections with others in the light of a tendency to react to being called out, AS WELL AS a tendency toward building layers and layers of deception on top of one another, it becomes impossible for us to trust anything that XX, or anyone else in GLA, has to say.”

The experiences that Cleveland Antifa had around Pikeville essentially cemented that suspicion.  XX, after having discussions with people in Cleveland about funding their travels to Pikeville, became difficult to get a hold of for most of the two weeks leading up to the action.  When contact was finally re-established, XX asked someone from Cleveland Antifa to relay a message claiming that the Pikeville “basecamp” was compromised to an internal organizers list from which XX was intentionally excluded.  This claim was found to be entirely baseless, and XX vanished upon being confronted by organizers and offered no explanation to their contact with Cleveland Antifa.  We have been privy to a currently unreleased Nashville Antifa internal document, which is meant to explain some of the conflicts with ARA Network from their perspective, in which they make the claim that a person traveling with the Cleveland Antifa crew told people at “basecamp” XX’s real name.  The problem is (outside of the fact that they essentially dox this person by showing their real Facebook username in a screenshot in this document) the person in question was unaware of XX’s real name at the time, which we have confirmed with the person in question.  The name given to people in “basecamp” was in fact the assumed name that XX used freely with many of the people they interacted with.

As stated earlier, we have also been able to track a number of other deceptive claims that XX and others close to them in GLA have made around their associations and pasts in the antifascist and anarchist milieu.  XX claimed, for example, they had done a lot of work with Burning River Anarchist Collective , despite only meeting a couple of members of the group once and not actually talking to them about the group.  We found that a member of GLA, who we refer to above as ZZ, attempted to use their connection to high profile members of Columbus ARA as a vouch to get involved in Cleveland crews besides GLA; when we checked in with Columbus ARA, few people knew who this person was, and everyone that did said that they were completely unreliable and not to be trusted in an organizational capactiy.

As stated above, we have come to find out that XX claimed that they had a four-hour long meeting with Columbus ARA about the ARA Network statement, a meeting which never happened, and we checked with literally everyone involved with Columbus ARA.  We have seen evidence of GLA claiming to have a relationship with It’s Going Down, based off seemingly nothing more than a handful of Facebook discussions.  GLA has also claimed this relationship with Idavox, which again consists of a few Facebook conversations and people within Idavox attempting to mediate conflicts after the ARA Network statement.  Another member of GLA (reference them as QQ) attempted to use supposed connections in Cleveland (which do not exist) to gain access to people in Cincinnatti.  XX has also used a similar ploy, saying that they have been involved in the Cleveland scene for years, which is not the case, in an attempt to either convince others to work with them or to gain access to people in other cities.

Time and time again, people in Cleveland have been contacted and asked to look into these claims, and every time – literally every time – we have found these claims of support and relationships to either be completely overblown, or entirely nonexistent.  When we take this tendency to exaggerate their connections with others in the light of a tendency to react to being called out, AS WELL AS a tendency toward building layers and layers of deception on top of one another, it becomes impossible for us to trust anything that XX, or anyone else in GLA, has to say.

General Shit-Talking

Regarding the aforementioned statement about “purity politics” in the wake of our criticism of GLA at the Charlottesville memorial, we would like to take this opportunity to eschew pettiness and rather focus on their over-the-top defensiveness in the context of the other patterns of behavior exhibited by XX and their close associates in GLA, which paints a significantly more disturbing portrait of their conduct with those who question their methods or legitimacy as an organization. The initial issue here is that GLA has a tendency to take justifiable strategic critique and well-meaning discourse as an assault on their character, and react to it in over-exaggerated, overly-politicized ways, rather than addressing it within the context of the critique.  This approach tends to mean that minor criticisms, like a criticism of them showing up to a community event in body armor, makes them unbridgeable chasms of absolute political difference couched in absolutist terms.  In this specific case, we – a crew that spans tendencies from platformists to nihilists –  was accused of “purism” simply for implying that GLA may want to take a different approach to community – and declaratively non-militant – events.

“If we take these incidents individually, none of them add up to any specific necessity to inform the community at large.  But, when taken in aggregate, a problematic pattern emerges…”

The problem extends beyond this however.  In discussions with others locally that have had interactions with GLA, one common thread appears over and over again.  In all of these interactions we are told that XX has told others that all of the antifa and anarchist groups in Cleveland are unreliable, untrustworthy purists that should not be bothered with, and that GLA are the only group worth working with.  This generates a situation in which newer, and often younger, participants in the anarchist milieu in northern Ohio are isolated from older, more established groups, and compelled to work with XX and GLA, without any context to make that decision.  The conversations that tend to result, which often involve confused new participants wondering why we are awful would be humorous, if the reasons for their perceptions did not all lead back to the same person, at which point it just seems malicious and an attempt to construct a bubble of isolation around their recruits which renders them immune to criticism from what they consider bad actors trying to sabotage their “Herculean efforts” toward a revolutionary uprising. As we have come to understand over the past couple of weeks, XX went about trying to recruit new participants in the radical scene through a process of shit-talking local established anarchists and offering weapons, body armor and training for these new participants.  When combined with exaggerating their operational security and information security prowess, as well as making false claims as to the relationships that they have with other groups, the conclusion has been made, and was made long ago, to not associate with XX and others within GLA.

End

Though this statement may seem long – and fucking believe us, it is –  keep in mind that this is what has arisen out very limited interactions with XX and others in GLA in both Northeast Ohio and the wider region in which GLA operates.  We do not even have an extensive relationship with XX or anyone in the group – many of us have never met them or anyone in their crew – and this extensive recounting of their behavior has been the result of glancing and tangential interactions.  What has been displayed in these limited experiences, as well as the experiences with others, is a disturbing pattern of recklessness, deception, horrendous operational security, a tendency toward an unfocused militancy and an approach which isolates new participants and places them in a potentially insular and risky environment.

“This is not to say that everyone in GLA is unable to be worked with, but locally we have decided that we will not work with many of those within GLA, or the organization as a group.”

If we take these incidents individually, none of them add up to any specific necessity to inform the community at large.  But, when taken in aggregate, a problematic pattern emerges – not just in our own community but also in the context of incidents of nearly identical behavior reported by established antifascist groups throughout the region that have, for one reason or another, grown to distrust XX, YY and any number of their comrades who take part in their activities. This is not to say that everyone in GLA is unable to be worked with, but locally we have decided that we will not work with many of those within GLA, or the organization as a group.  We would highly encourage others to take the same approach, at least until the situation can be clarified, or steps are taken within the organization to remedy the conflict, pain, mistrust and damage that they have caused here in northern Ohio.

-Cleveland Antifascist Network

Note: Cleveland Antifa and the Cleveland Antifascist Network are not the same organization.  Cleveland Antifa is one group within the wider network that is the Cleveland Antifascist Network.

Categories: News

Call to Action: Murfreesboro, Tennessee October 28th

It's Goin Down - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 23:35

The post Call to Action: Murfreesboro, Tennessee October 28th appeared first on It's Going Down.

On October 28th, neo-Nazis from all over the region plan to hold a White Lives Matter rally in Murfreesboro, TN. Matthew Heimbach, the leader of the Traditionalist Worker Party, has stated that attendance is required for all Nationalist Front members.

These groups will initially meet in Shelbyville Tennessee (where another counter-demonstration is planned) and migrate to their permitted march which will be held in the Town Center Square of Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

The Nationalist Front consists of League of the South, Traditionalist Worker Party, and the National Socialist Movement, but they are also planning to bring other neo-Nazi groups such as Identity Evropa and Anti-Communist Action, as well as expecting local support. We anticipate a large crowd on their side, and we need your help to outnumber them.

We have all witnessed, either in person or through the media, these cowards spew their message of white supremacy, misogyny, and genocide while openly floating the threat of physical violence at every event they attend.

We are asking that people across the US join us in defending Middle Tennessee and preventing the rise of fascism. Bring your bodies, your voices, your comrades, and your skills to meet us at the square at 11 AM on Saturday, October 28th, intersection of South Maple and South Public Square. To contact local anti-fascist organizers, to find out about housing options, and to connect with others who are coming, email DefendMidTNAction@protonmail.com.

#DefendMidTN #O28
Categories: News

A Report-Back from the Rally Against Rapist Police

It's Goin Down - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 22:44

The post A Report-Back from the Rally Against Rapist Police appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following report back details a recent march in Brooklyn against rapist police officers. View the original call out here

In response to the neoliberal recuperation and commodification of “feminism,” we are calling for a prominent militant anarchist femme presence on the left. Feminist CEO’s and irony bros can fuck off. Combating patriarchy and sexual violence does not include whimsical “grlpwr” tote bags or chapo trash house donations. We uncompromisingly intend to liberate ourselves by supporting a diversity of tactics. This may manifest in a plethora of ways including: survivor support networks, safer spaces policies and survivor led accountability measures, rapist beat downs, and prison abolition to name a few.

Black, brown, indigenous, trans, and gender non-conforming lives are at stake. Sex workers and undocumented people’s lives are at stake. Physical and sexual violence are daily dangers to our comrades in the streets. The odds of experiencing sexual violence are only magnified for the incarcerated. It is imperative that we not only attack the systems that threaten our communities, but that we provide support through retributive and transformative justice to survivors.

IMG_2425.JPG

Our aim is to build a large and uncompromising anti-rape campaign in NYC and beyond, because our liberation and our lives depend on it. For this reason, we responded to the repulsive but unsurprising news that an eighteen year old was handcuffed, raped in a parking lot, and pushed out of an unmarked vehicle by two NYPD detectives, Edward Martins and Richard Hall who are now on desk duty as paid rapists. Similarly, on October 10th, a Bronx police officer was indicted on charges for paying a 15 year old girl for sex and taping it. Just hours before our demo, another Bronx officer was arraigned in criminal court for flashing his junk to 7 and 12 year old girls. We know all of these officers will rape again. This is not just the NYPD. If reported assaults happen so frequently within just this one department, how many nameless survivors must exists from other departments? The police tradition of using sexual violence as tyranny dates back to its inception. They will not stop until we demolish them.

On October 17th, we arrived at Calvert Vaux Park where Anna Chambers was kidnapped and handcuffed by the two rapist pigs. Unsurprisingly, they had five squad cars in the parking lot along with unmarked vehicles and undercover rapists on foot patrolling the area. We unfurled our banners and read our statement in solidarity with Anna Chambers and all victims of police sexual violence. From there, we marched down Cropsey Ave, the road where the rapist pigs drove Anna, passing the parking lot where they raped her. The entire way, we read out the recent violent sexual abuses by the NYPD.

IMG_2426.JPG

“In 2015 there were 131 allegations of sexual abuse against Riker’s staff. This year, New York City agreed to pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by two female inmates who accused a C.O. of serial sexual abuse.” This is no isolated incident. This summer, at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, nine female inmates came forward to tell of their serial rape at the hands of two lieutenants and an officer. This report surfaced after MDC passed their audit for the prison rape elimination act “with flying colors.” We know that rape is rampant but underreported in the jails and prisons. We know that police threaten prisoners with deportation, extended sentences and continued physical and emotional abuse. We know reform is not going to stop the systematic sexual abuse by the rapist police. It was both empowering and blood boiling to hear their abuses echoing down the streets as the rapist police made attempts to contain our march. We amplified our voices in solidarity with the courageous femmes that have come forward and for those who have been silenced. We want all victims of sexual violence to know that we believe you.

IMG_2423.JPG

They knew where we were headed. They were hosting an “open community meeting” at the 60th precinct, (the precinct responsible for patrolling the area of the recent rapes by rapist detectives Martins and Hall) where they could railroad community attempts to hold them accountable for being rapists, protecting rapists, and paying their rapist brothers. We shouted, “This year, Officer Michael Golden of the NYPD was discovered to have raped and sexually assaulted undocumented sex workers working in New York on the NYPD’s tab. As last reported, five of the six women went back to their countries of origin.” We know the police use the “justice” system as a weapon against the most marginalized.

Our aim was to provide an alternative assembly for the community they are terrorizing. As expected, they had the precinct barricaded off and had moved the “open community meeting” to a secret location. Unfortunately for them, we had received intel of the new location from a comrade. This secret location ended up being in a unit in the same building as Foxy’s Gentleman Club on Surf Avenue. The symbolism was not lost on us.

Regardless, we marched there, letting it be known that “this year, it came to light that female correctional officers at the Bronx Juvenile Detention Center were sexually assaulting underage male detainees, coaxing them with alcohol, candy, extra food, and phone privileges.” And, “In 2015, two officers of the NYPD special victims unit sexually assaulted a woman whose crime they were tasked to investigate, calling her their ‘favorite victim’ and harassing her via phone from across the country for months”. Our mic checks regarding these incidents were constantly interrupted by the trains passing overhead. The police found it humorous that we were unable to contiguously express our anger toward their seemingly endless number of rape cases. But we know they were petrified of our power. Of course they denied our entrance to the “open” meeting and strategically moved it to an inaccessible location unfit for communication. They are scared to hear the stories of survivors because they are rapists themselves. They know they cannot escape our wrath.

"Cops don't stop rape b/c cops are rapists!" Speakout in Coney Island Brooklyn against rapist cops. pic.twitter.com/vXebTQM45u

— Ash J (@AshAgony) October 18, 2017

We know the NYPD is well protected by their lawyers and superiors. We know they will take any measure and pay any price to protect their fellow rapists. Since we were barred from entering their “open” meeting, we held a community meeting of our own outside. We moved where we could be heard. We found a location far enough from the trains, but close enough so the police could still hear us. And to the beautiful backdrop of a shadowy ferris wheel, brave femme comrades shared their harrowing experiences with sexual abuse and police inaction.

One comrade likened the epidemic of rape to the pillaging of indigenous land. There is a clear delineation from the Indigenous Genocide and the slave economy to the continued epidemics of mass incarceration and rape culture that disproportionately violate our black, brown, and indigenous comrades. There are clear lines tracing the violation of our trans and gender nonconforming comrades to cis-male homophobia and misogyny. These forces are the lifeblood of the police. We acknowledge that fact, and we revel in the knowing feeling that we will win.

Police are rapists and domestic abusers at home and on the job #NYPD #ACAB https://t.co/Jac8VahAg4 pic.twitter.com/UN3BDqTyOn

— MACC NYC (@macc_nyc) October 17, 2017

Together, we can dismantle the violent systems that oppress us all. Our liberation depends on our collective commitment to burning this racist heteropatriarchy to the ground. We do not expect the state to administer restorative justice to our survivors. Cops don’t stop rapists because cops are rapists. We must be thoughtful, rigorous and committed in our support of survivors. While the pigs are throwing cum on their female rapist counterparts and extorting them for sex and money, we call on our cis-male comrades to bridge the gaps between theory and praxis. Groups like Fuck it, Masc off! must continue to deconstruct their masculinity and center anti-rape and anti-sexism in their struggle. This is non-negotiable.

Although the timing of our demonstration fell in the middle of the #MeToo campaign, we emphasize to all that this is a committment that must outlast the lifecycle of a trending hashtag. In an effort to respect survivors and prevent cops from interfering in our efforts, we need to be more militant on the streets, more diligent in our care, and stealthier on the internet. We compel you to endorse this sentiment in your personal lives and in your affinity groups.

In the wake of our march, one online rape apologist voiced his concern that we are fostering a culture of “lynch mobbing” men. If you are worried that we will come for you, then you should most definitely check yourself. We know who the rapists are. We know who the harassers are. You are not welcome. If you stand with us, you need not be afraid. Fear the replication of systems we aim to dismantle in our radical spaces. Affinity grows out of our unrelenting commitment to each other, and it feeds our movement.

Femmes, we are unified in our suffering. We are filled with rage. We love each other. We are dancing on the grave of Hugh Hefner. We are going to march the Harvey Weinsteins of the world to the slaughterhouse. We will not be dominated. Fuck the patriarchy! Fuck white feminism! Fuck the police! Fuck misogynists, racists, TERFS and SWERFS! In solidarity with sex workers, incarcerated people and all survivors of sexual violence, KILL ALL RAPISTS!

Cover photo from @huntedhorse and inspired by recent anti-frat march in Minneapolis
Categories: News

#NoNazisAtUF: Lessons for the Struggles Ahead

It's Goin Down - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 22:11

The post #NoNazisAtUF: Lessons for the Struggles Ahead appeared first on It's Going Down.

GAINESVILLE, Florida — The University of Florida and the surrounding community came out in force Thursday, October 19th, to show Richard Spencer and his cadre of white nationalists that white supremacy would not be given a safe place in our state. Before the sun set, cowardly fascists would flee the wrath of UF, Spencer would decry the “free speech” event attendees as “babies” for speaking over him, and Tyler Eugene Tenbrink—accompanied by William Henry Fears and Colton Jean Fears—would shoot at protesters on the corner of 34th and Archer. Self-defense, community organizing, and mutual aid remain our only hope for a future without masters, for a world built on a foundation of liberty, equality, and solidarity.

Gators Chomp Nazis

School spirit.

At the request of local organizers in Gainesville, we adopted a broad-based strategy to build popular support for the day’s resistance. Learning from the lessons of Auburn, Boston, and Berkeley, we eschewed the black bloc tactic in order to show community members that we were just like them: average, angry human beings with hearts that burned for justice. We say this in order to explain that while the black bloc can be an immensely strategic resource, at times it can also alienate the local populace. Tactically, we must be good listeners and show solidarity to our comrades who understand their communities more intimately than we ever could. By being responsive to community organizers’ desires, we can build broad-based movements that are inviting to sympathetic liberals and progressives while simultaneously being effective and militant in deplatforming fascist and racist organizers.

Street Art.jpg

Some street art on 34th.

“A particularly memorable occasion involved a local skinhead who’s been known in the community for instigating violence. After sieg heiling several times, calling people of color racial slurs, and referring to the protesters as “animals,” he was dealt a rather ferocious blow that has taken the internet by storm.”

Throughout the day, anti-fascists chased Richard Spencer’s supporters away from the event. A particularly memorable occasion involved a local skinhead who’s been known in the community for instigating violence. The Nazi punk marched into the protest zone, decked out in scarlet suspenders and a white shirt littered with hand-drawn swastikas. After sieg heiling several times, calling people of color racial slurs, and referring to the protesters as “animals,” he was dealt a rather ferocious blow that has taken the internet by storm. Anti-fascists proceeded to chase the skinhead from the scene, as blood drizzled from his nose and he wore his self-satisfied smirk. When we reached the edge of the “designated protest zone”—an area in which a wide arrange of materials were “banned” from entry—the militarized police force pulled out tear-gas launchers and loaded up rubber bullets, ordering us to disperse.

Richard Spencer was consistently drowned out by the fury of protesters, who managed to weasel their way into the event and organize a series of chants like, “Fuck you, Spencer!” and “Go home, Spencer!” Despite the fact that Identity Evropa members stood at the gates, despite the fact that Spencer’s National Policy Institute was given full control of ticket distribution and were even allowed to decide which journalists were permitted to attend the “free speech” event, local organizers ensured that the crowd inside the event was overwhelmingly populated by anti-fascist demonstrators who proceeded to silence Spencer and his crooked cronies, Mike “Enoch” Penovich and Eli Mosley.

"F– you, Spencer" chant takes over as he is introduced. "Thank you for coming," he says. #SpencerAtUF pic.twitter.com/XIYY7trQjB

— Claire McNeill (@clairemcneill) October 19, 2017

Spencer decried the crowd on several occasions, saying we’d, “Intimidated people who wanted to be here…unlike you childish antifa.” Unable to get scarcely a word in, Spencer was forced to end his event early. Although $500,000 had been spent on security for his event, in trademark fashion, Spencer threw a tantrum saying, “Do you not want to hear something, poor little babies?”

Spencer just bitching & whining at protesters now. $500,000 in university money to do this. #SpencerAtUF pic.twitter.com/z4hYqkMZGT

— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) October 19, 2017

Cutting through the rumors and misinformation thrown about in the lead-up to the planned Spencer speech proved difficult. One thing, however, was abundantly clear from the get-go: the fascists were not merely interested in holding a “free speech” rally on a public university campus, they wanted to get a head-start on their campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide by instigating violence. As was reported in the days leading up to Spencer’s event, the fascists had promoted “flash mob” style attacks and demonstrations at community centers. Over half-a-million dollars had been spent on “security,” but that didn’t stop three Nazis from trying to commit murder in broad daylight.

Tenbrink.jpg

Tyler Eugene Tenbrink

Tyler Eugene Tenbrink, William Henry Fears, and Colton Jean Fears were all chased off campus by anti-fascist demonstrators. We watched as Tenbrink literally threw himself over a barricade to get away from protesters—as has become yet another overnight internet phenomenon. We watched, with many others, as he was told that he would either have to return to the designated “free speech” zone or he would be “arrested.” Tenbrink chose “arrest.” We watched as the police clapped him in handcuffs and escorted him from the premises. People cheered, likely because they did not know, as the adage goes, “Cops and klan go hand-in-hand.”

Because the police released Tenbrink…then he and his Nazi buddies went to try and shoot some protesters.

Henry Fears.jpg

William Henry Fears

Colton Fears.jpg

Colton Jean Fears

“The Nazis sieg hieled, shouted about Adolf Hitler, and Tenbrink hopped out with a gun as the Fears brothers shouted “Shoot them!” One shot was fired, then the Nazis fled.”

On the corner of Archer and 34th, Tenbrink and the Fears Brothers drove up in a silver jeep to a number of demonstrators who held anti-Nazi signs. The Nazis sieg heiled, shouted about Adolf Hitler, and Tenbrink hopped out with a gun as the Fears brothers shouted “Shoot them!” One shot was fired, then the Nazis fled.

Now, more than ever, we must begin to organize in self-defense. These fascists and white supremacists are not merely organizing to defend the “First Amendment.” This is the thin veil they hide behind, hoping to win sympathy from liberals and conservatives across the traditional political spectrum. The true intentions they harbor are for ethnic cleansing and genocide, a campaign of hatred and violence against people of color, queer folks, trans* folks, Muslims, and other marginalized communities. They’re motivated by fear. Fear that the global paradigm of white, heteronormative patriarchy is crumbling all around them. Rather than join with us to face our common enemy—the State and all its corporate powers—they’ve chosen to become the lap-dogs and boot-lickers of oligarchs.

We have a choice. We can, as New York Times op-eds and university presidents insist, simply “ignore” the fascist creep, hope that if we bury our heads in the sand, white nationalists and neo-Nazis will simply “go away.” Or we can take back our streets, like the people of Gainesville, and organize our communities in mutual aid and self-defense. We carry a better world in our heads and hearts. Let’s start building it right here, right now.

Stay wild.

Categories: News

“State of the Co-op Economy” report counts 40,000 co-ops in U.S.

Grassroots Economic Survival - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 19:51
Link: New “State of the Co-op Economy” report counts 40,000 co-ops in U.S.

In recent years, NCBA CLUSA has estimated that there are about 40,000 cooperative businesses within the U.S. Now, new research from the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Cooperatives (UWCC) has validated that number.

In a presentation at this month’s Co-op IMPACT Conference and a companion piece headlining the Fall 2017 issue of the Cooperative Business Journal, Brent Hueth unpacks the center’s foundational work to develop the data infrastructure necessary to measure the cooperative economy in a way that enables ongoing reporting and analysis.

While an economist’s perspective on cooperative impact doesn’t necessarily tell the complete co-op story, a national cooperative census is integral to communicating effectively about co-ops in the public policy space, said Hueth, who directs the Center for Cooperatives and is spearheading its work to measure the cooperative economy in partnership with NCBA CLUSA and its Council of Cooperative Economists.

Read the rest at NCBA CLUSA

 

Go to the GEO front page

Categories: News

Spanish State: No State Will Make Us Free

Anarchist News - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 17:16

via Insurrection News

Note from Insurrection News: The following text is a translation of a leaflet that is being distributed by the comrades at Contra Madriz along with a series of posters, pamphlets and stickers that denounce all expressions of nationalism. The material will be distributed throughout the territories currently ruled by the Spanish State. You can read the original text in Spanish and download PDFs of the material HERE.

NO STATE WILL MAKE US FREE

No State, Spanish or Catalan, will give us any kind of freedom. Because the reason of being for every State is to subject the exploited and to guarantee the privileges of the ruling classes. The state regulates exploitation via the law and is responsible for ensuring that the oppressed never rise up against an order that exploits, humiliates, evicts, steals, murders and creates misery throughout the length and breadth of the planet.

No police, Mossos (Catalan police), Civil or National Guard protects us. They are the shock force of the state that protects private property and are responsible for repressing and persecuting those who do not kneel and decide to fight against their rotten world. There are no good police or bad police, all repressive bodies obey a very specific logic: maintain order. Let’s not forget the actions of all police forces in general strikes, demonstrations, neighborhood raids, racist controls, surveillance of prisons, evictions and even as a force of foreign occupation (remember the number of police officers deployed for international missions). They obey and serve their masters.

Democracy, parliamentary institutions and politicians do not look after our interests, but their own interests. No one but ourselves should look after our interests. Electing our masters, voting, submitting to majorities and / or minorities, acting within democratic frameworks…makes us complicit in our own domination and establishes in us the spirit of delegation in officials. We put our lives in their hands. Relying on politicians who only seek (as they all do) to profit from our struggles and our feelings, while submitting us or aspiring to submit us, makes us become a servile mass ready to mobilize or demobilize according to their electoral interests and their struggles for power.

No nationalism or flag should represent us. As the oppressed and exploited we should understand that we have more in common with the other oppressed and exploited than with an entrepreneur or politician who was born in the same place as us. Nationalism and patriotism are tools of power which infect and manipulate the oppressed and make them dance to the tune of the oppressors and bond with our class enemies and their constantly changing projects and needs. The affection for the land in which we live or our language are taken away to justify the creation of new states. Obviously, culture should be something living, in constant evolution and free development between individuals and communities. The state is the death of all free development, building borders and sowing the seeds of racism and xenophobia.

Under capitalism, the state and any form of authority, we will never be free. Let us build a new world on the ruins of authoritarian and state society. Let us build and fight for anarchy, as a constant struggle against all forms of oppression and exploitation, in solidarity and mutual support with our equals, no matter where they come from.

NO NATIONS! NO BORDERS!

(via Contra Madriz, translated by PDF)

Tags: spainCatalunyacategory: Essays
Categories: News

5 Facts About Mike Pence's Close Ties to the Koch Brothers Not Included in Jane Mayer’s New Yorker Article

deSmog - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 17:15

This is a guest post by Scott Peterson from Checks and Balances Project.

If you’ve read Jane Mayer’s deep dive into the ties between the Koch Bros. and the Vice President, “The Danger of President Pence,” you’ll understand why it’s the high-water mark of reporting about their relationship. 

Yet there are several facts that aren’t included in the New Yorker article. Here are five facts worth knowing in addition to her excellent work.

var icx_publication_id = 14813; var icx_content_id = '12225'; [Reuse options] Click here for reuse options! Tags: Mike PenceCharles KochDavid KochChecks and Balances Project
Categories: News

For Months, the Trump Administration Has Illegally Stopped Undocumented Women From Obtaining Abortions

Truth Out - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:59
The only way Truthout can maintain a sanctuary for real, independent news is with your support. Make a tax-deductible donation today!

The US Constitution grants all women -- including prisoners and undocumented immigrants -- the right to an abortion, no matter what obstacles fundamentalist Christians may create in certain states. But since Trump's inauguration, the administration has blocked young pregnant women who cross the border without papers from seeking abortions.

The San Francisco ACLU has now taken on one such case on behalf of Jane Doe, a pregnant 17-year-old who is being held in a federal immigration shelter in Texas. The shelter won't allow her to visit the doctor who has agreed to perform her abortion.

"The government may not want to facilitate abortion, but it cannot block it," US Magistrate Laurel Beeler told SFGate. "It is doing that here."

Several hundred undocumented pregnant women cross the border alone each year, but shelters do not allow minors to leave to get abortions without permission from the US Office of Refugee Resettlement. Instead, these women are forced to attend Christian-sponsored "crisis pregnancy centers" where they are falsely warned that abortions are dangerous, forced to look at sonograms of the fetus and pressured into carrying their pregnancies to term.

Jane Doe missed her first scheduled abortion on September 28 because the shelter forbade it, and she is now attending mandatory anti-abortion counseling.

"Jane Doe is a brave and persistent young woman who has already been forced by the Trump administration to delay her abortion for weeks," ACLU attorney Brigitte Amiri told SFGate. "The government is holding her hostage so that she will be forced to carry to term against her will."

According to SFGate, Scott Lloyd, director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, told a shelter staff person, "My priority is unborn children, and there will be no more abortions."

Plenty of others are on his side. In response to the ACLU's claim in court, seven states, including Texas, filed arguments stating that undocumented immigrants in American custody have no right to an abortion.

Categories: News

31 Hanford workers test positive for radioactive contamination

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 09:17

31 Hanford workers test positive for radioactive contamination | 18 Oct 2017 | Thirty-one Hanford nuclear reservation workers inhaled very small amounts of radioactive material after a take-cover order for a contamination spread June 8. An alarm sounded that morning at the Plutonium Finishing Plant when airborne radioactive contamination was detected as open-air demolition using heavy equipment was being done. Work was underway at the most contaminated part of the plant.

Categories: News

Cal Fire incident commander: Investigations are 'confidential'

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 07:22

Cal Fire incident commander: Investigations are 'confidential' --Death toll rises to 42; 53 are missing | 19 Oct 2017 | A Santa Rosa couple filed the first lawsuit against PG&E in connection with the deadly Northern California wildfires and alleges negligence and violations of various utility and safety codes. At the same time, the death toll from the disaster grew to 42 after the remains of a man were found in a residence late Tuesday, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office confirmed Wednesday morning. As of Wednesday, 53 people remained missing in Sonoma County alone although there are also wildfires in Napa, Mendocino, Lake, Butte and several other Northern California counties...As for the investigation into the wildfires, Cal Fire incident commander Bret Gouvea said the probes "are still ongoing." He added that the investigations are "confidential" at this point.

Categories: News

Lawsuit Claims Three U.S. Companies Funded Terror in Iraq

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 05:57

Lawsuit Claims Three U.S. Companies Funded Terror in Iraq | 17 Oct 2017 | A lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday contends that major American corporations doing business with the Iraqi government during the Iraq War also provided it with free drugs and medical devices that became an important source of funding for a Shiite militia that targeted United States troops. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of members of the American military who were injured or killed by attacks between 2005 and 2009, at the height of the Iraq War. It accuses five companies -- American firms General Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer and European drugmakers AstraZeneca and Roche Holding A.G. -- of winning contracts to sell their products to the Iraqi Ministry of Health with the understanding that they also provide additional medical supplies and medicines for free...After the 2003 [illegal] overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the procurement budget for Iraq's health [sic] ministry soared to more than $1 billion in 2004 from about $16 million, in part because of an infusion of aid from the United States. A State Department cable from 2006 quoted a top Iraqi politician as describing the health ministry as "The Ministry of Weapons Transportation."

Categories: News

US troops met with 'overwhelming force' in Niger ambush, official says

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 04:40

US troops met with 'overwhelming force' in Niger ambush, official says | 19 Oct 2017 | Confusion over what happened during an ambush of U.S. Special Forces in Niger earlier this month apparently sparked a full Pentagon probe of the incident announced Thursday, which some officials say could have had even worse casualties than four American soldiers killed from the small, "out-matched" team. Officials have described a harrowing burst of violence in or near a village close to Niger's border with Mali on Oct. 4, which led to the first U.S. combat deaths in the small African nation battling Islamist extremists.

Categories: News

Taliban attacks kill 58, nearly wipe out Afghan army camp

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 04:37

Taliban attacks kill 58, nearly wipe out Afghan army camp | 19 Oct 2017 | The Taliban have killed at least 58 Afghan security forces in a wave of attacks across the country overnight, including an assault that nearly wiped out an army camp in southern Kandahar province, officials said Thursday. The attack on the army camp took place late on Wednesday and involved two suicide car bombs, said spokesman Dawlat Wazir. It set of hours of fighting, killing at least 43 soldiers. Nine other soldiers were wounded and six have gone missing, Wazir said, adding that 10 attackers were killed.

Categories: News

The Polite (Canadian Way) to Get Rid of Bears

Citizens for Legitimate Government - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 04:31

The Polite (Canadian Way) to Get Rid of Bears | 19 Oct 2017 | The most Canadian wayto get rid of bears (video).

Categories: News

The Balanced Budget

Truth Out - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 04:00
Categories: News

Immigrants Fleeing California Wildfires Find No Sanctuary, Fearing Deportation and Avoiding Shelters

Truth Out - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 04:00

As catastrophic wildfires in California kill at least 42 people and leave thousands of homes and businesses in ruins, many of the area's 20,000 undocumented immigrants have had no sanctuary from the flames, with some sleeping on beaches in order to avoid federal agents at shelters. This comes as far-right media outlets like Breitbart are falsely reporting that an undocumented immigrant was arrested in connection to the fires. Police said there is no indication the man had anything to do with the wildfires. We speak with Alegría De La Cruz, deputy county lawyer of Sonoma County, and Juan Hernandez, executive director of the La Luz Center in Sonoma, California.

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

Major Victories for Climate Movement, but Global Chaos Grows: Roundtable With Leaders on What’s Next

Truth Out - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 04:00

After a summer of extreme weather around the world, we host a roundtable discussion with environmental leaders on next steps: Lindsey Allen, executive director of the Rainforest Action Network; Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with the Indigenous Environmental Network; and May Boeve, executive director of 350 Action, the political arm of the climate organization 350.org.

Please check back later for full transcript.

Categories: News

Americans' Appetite for Cheap Meat Linked to Widespread Drinking Water Contamination

Truth Out - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 04:00

Agricultural pollution is contaminating drinking water supplies for millions of Americans with potentially dangerous chemicals, says a new report. Environmental groups blame the meat industry, which requires massive supplies of industrially grown corn and soy to raise cattle, and are putting pressure on large-scale meat producers to get their supply chains to clean up their acts.

Scientists recently announced that the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, an area the size of New Jersey where oxygen levels are too low to sustain most forms of life, is larger than ever. For years, environmentalists have used annual surveys of the dead zone to bring attention to large amounts of agricultural pollution from the nation's breadbasket that flows down the Mississippi River and fuels oxygen-depleting algae blooms in the Gulf.   

This year, the message is hitting much closer to home, especially for those living near farmlands.

A new report from the Environmental Working Group shows that the agricultural pollution causing the dead zone is also contaminating drinking water supplies for millions of Americans with potentially dangerous chemicals. Environmental groups particularly blame large-scale meat production, which require huge supplies of industrially grown corn and soy to raise animals to satisfy the nation's appetite for cheap meat.

The US leads the world in meat production. One-third of all land in the continental US is used to grow feed and provide pasture for animals that will be killed for meat, according to the environmental group Mighty Earth. Now that agricultural pollution's impact on drinking water is coming into focus, meat producers such as Tyson Foods are coming under mounting pressure to set standards that would require large farms in their supply chains to clean up their acts.  

"People just naturally pay more attention to the pollution issue in their own backyard than they do [to] pollution issues thousands of miles away," said Matt Rota, senior policy director at the Gulf Restoration Network, a group that works to reduce pollution in the Gulf South.

Chemicals called nitrates and other pollutants can contaminate drinking water sources when fertilizer and manure drain from poorly protected agricultural fields. Drinking water supplies for roughly 200 million Americans in 49 states have some level of nitrate contamination, but the highest levels are found in rural towns surrounded by industrial farms, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Runoff from farm fields finds its way from rural watersheds to the Gulf, providing nutrients for summertime algae blooms that force fish to migrate and kill off smaller creatures at the bottom of the food chain. The dead zone spanned 8,777 square miles off the coast of Louisiana and Texas when marine scientists measured it over the past summer.

Agricultural Pollution Is a Threat to Public Health

Nitrates are naturally found in soil and water, but high levels of exposure have been linked to birth defects, cancer and a dangerous condition known as blue baby syndrome in infants, which results from low levels of oxygen in the blood. Few water supplies in the US have levels of nitrates above the federal limit of 10 parts per million, which was set 25 years ago to prevent blue baby syndrome, but studies have found that the risk of cancer increases at levels as low as 5 parts per million.

Treating polluted water is expensive, and drinking water utilities often use chlorine and other disinfecting treatments when agricultural pollution contaminates sources of drinking water with manure and other pollutants. When these treatment chemicals interact with plant and animal waste, they create potentially dangerous byproducts such as trihalomethanes (THMs), a group of chemicals linked to liver, kidney and intestinal tumors in animals, according to the Environmental Working Group.

The EPA sets limits on the amount of THMs allowed in drinking water, but environmentalists say those limits were based on the technical feasibility of removing the chemicals, not concerns over their long-term toxicity. In 2010, state scientists in California estimated that levels 100 times lower the legal limit would pose a one-in-a-million lifetime risk of cancer.

Nationwide, water supplies in 1,647 communities, serving 4.4 million people, are contaminated with THMs in amounts at least 75 times higher than California's one-in-a-million cancer risk level. In 2014 and 2015, 411 of those communities had levels of THMs at or above the EPA's limits, and two-thirds were found in five states with high levels of agricultural pollution -- Louisiana, California, Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas. (You can find out if THMs and other pollutants are in your water supply using this database.)

Craig Cox, the Environmental Working Group's vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said farmers can take simple steps to reduce agricultural runoff, but too few farmers are taking action. Agricultural trade groups have considerable political clout in Washington, and farmers are exempt from many state and federal environmental regulations. A federal program pays billions of dollars a year to farmers that adopt conservation practices; however, that money does not always support the best pollution control methods.

"Decades of ill-conceived federal farm policy has been a driving factor in this situation we have today that puts millions of American families at risk of drinking tap water contaminated with these dangerous pollutants," Cox said in a statement.

Activists Target Meat Mega-Producers

Environmentalists in the Gulf spent years fighting for tougher regulation of industrial farming to protect waterways from runoff and ultimately reduce the size of the dead zone, even filing an unsuccessful lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to act during the Obama administration. The EPA did introduce eight policy guidelines to help states reduce fertilizer pollution in 2011, but no states have implemented more than two of them because the program is largely voluntarily, according to the Mississippi River Collaborative.

Now that the Trump administration is in charge, prospects for establishing tougher standards are slim at best.

"I don't have a whole lot of confidence that the feds will be taking stronger steps to make sure that nitrogen pollution isn't getting into our drinking [water] supply," Rota told Truthout.  

Unable to change farming practices with regulation, activists are now focusing on brand-name companies that buy from industrial farms. Mighty Earth recently mapped high levels of nitrates in Midwestern waterways and found that supply chains for major meat companies were responsible for much of the fertilizer pollution. Tyson Foods, which produces roughly 20 percent of the country's meat supply through brands, such as Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms, Ball Park and Sara Lee, stood out from the rest, with major processing facilities in all five states that are top contributors to pollution in the Gulf.

Activists across the country are now calling on Tyson directly, demanding that the company pressure its subsidiaries and suppliers to clean up their acts. Audrey Beeble, a community organizer with the Clean It Up Tyson campaign in Louisiana, said that Tyson's new CEO has shown interest in sustainability, and activists see an opening to hold the company to task. Unlike individual farmers, large companies like Tyson are more responsive to pressure from consumers.

"They are a household name; everybody knows Tyson," Beeble said in an interview. "People want to know what's in their food. They are sick of unchecked corporations."

Activists say there are several methods farms can use to prevent agricultural runoff, including rotating crops with small grains, planting cover crops, optimizing fertilizer applications to prevent runoff and using conservation tillage practices. They are also calling for a moratorium on the further clearing of native prairie ecosystems for industrial farming.

Tyson, which runs meat packaging and processing plants, not farms, claims it's "misleading" to single out one company when water pollution is a problem across the agriculture industry. Nearly 40 percent of corn, for example, is grown to produce ethanol, not meat. In a statement to Truthout, Tyson said that real change on this issue requires "a broad coalition of stakeholders," and the company is working with trade associations and researchers to "promote continuous improvement in how we and our suppliers operate."

Rota said individual farmers generally don't want to cause problems in their own communities or downstream. He thinks they will do the right thing if they are provided with the right solutions and held accountable.

"Farmers aren't bad people, and I don't know of any farmer who goes out to say, 'I'm going to pollute other people's drinking water,'" Rota said. "But they are business people, and they need to be responsible for their businesses."

Support from readers provides Truthout with vital funds to keep investigating what mainstream media won't cover. Fund more stories like this by donating now!
Categories: News

Pages