From Coffee with ComradesEpisode 52: "Rural Rebels" ft. the IAF-FAI
Jul 16, 2019
Today, we share the second half of out two-part special
with comrades from the IAF-FAI, Bad Salish Girl and The Green
City. This time, we chat about the unique challenges and advantages
of organizing in the countryside.
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- Intro: "I Ain't Got No Home in this World" by Woody
- Interlude: "Fkkk You, Amerikkka" by Indigenize
- Outro: "A Matter of Action" by Klee Benally
PopMob Demands Statement of Regret, Retraction of Defamatory Tweet from City of Portland and Police Bureau
PORTLAND, OR: Today, on behalf of PopMob, Attorney Juan Chavez of Oregon Justice Resource Center sent a formal demand to the City of Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. We are demanding the city retract their false statement issued June 29th, 2019 via Twitter, which implied directly or indirectly that PopMob put cement into vegan milkshakes served at a counter protest in response to the threat of alt right violence in our city. In addition to retraction of their defamatory claim, PopMob also demands a correction and letter of regret released to as broad an audience as the original misinformation reached. This includes local, national, and international news organizations who published the falsehood as fact without critical analysis.
On Saturday, June 29th, PopMob and hundreds of Portlanders gathered at a joyful show of resistance against Proud Boys and alt-right hate groups. We provided a dance party atmosphere and served vegan coconut milkshakes. This unfounded and inflammatory claim by the PPB led to an onslaught of abuse and harassment, including death threats, leveled at PopMob and supporters on multiple social media sites, via email, and over the phone1 . This claim, and their continued refusal to admit culpability in perpetuating dangerous misinformation, is akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded building. It put the personal safety of our members at risk and put a target on all leftist demonstrators as the threat of far right violence rises in Portland and nationally.
Chief Outlaw, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and PPB continue to defend their unsubstantiated tweet despite a glaring lack of evidence. Outlaw stated, “As we get information, we want to alert the public”. The only method used to communicate this information was Twitter, despite a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) giving announcements continuously throughout the demonstration, and nearby police making no attempt to confiscate milkshakes or stop them from being consumed. While you cannot unring a bell, this refusal further damages the public’s eroding trust in their police force and perpetuates an adversarial relationship with the people it claims to protect.
We cannot rely on the police to protect the people of Portland when they continually aid the violent agenda of the far right. Per ORS 31.215, they have two weeks from the receipt of our demand today to retract their statement, issue their correction, and release a letter of regret.
1. A selection of screenshots representing the threats is enclosed with this release.
New York City Blackout Caused by Power Grid's Protection System Failing --Con Edison says normal protection system didn't isolate a faulty cable | 15 July 2019 | The blackout that plunged a swath of Manhattan in darkness on Saturday evening started with a faulty cable on the Upper West Side, utility officials said Monday. Consolidated Edison Inc. said in a statement that the relay protection system that is supposed to isolate faulty cables failed to shut down a 13,000-volt cable on West 64th Street...After "analyzing the large volumes of data," the utility said it had "identified the issues with the relay protection system." The declaration came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attacked the utility for its handling of Saturday’s blackout, which affected more than 70,000 customers, in a series of media interviews.
Judge reduces Sonoma Co. man's $80 million award from Monsanto to $25 million | 15 July 2019 | A federal judge in San Francisco on Monday reduced an $80 million award levied against Monsanto Co. to $25 million for a Sonoma County man who claimed the company's Roundup weedkiller caused his non-Hodgkins' lymphoma. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria upheld a jury award of approximately $5 million in compensatory damages to Edwin Hardeman, 70, of Santa Rosa, but said that guidelines in a 2013 Supreme Court decision required him to reduce the jury's $75 million in punitive damages to $20 million.
The post Seattle WA: #DivestfromICE Protesters Shut Down Bank of the West appeared first on It's Going Down.The following action report details a recent bank shut down which was part of the call from #BlocktheWall to protest banks profiteering from mass detention, deportation, and family separation.
On July 11th, over 30 people picketed outside the downtown Seattle branch of Bank of the West, demanding the bank cut ties with ICE. Protesters attempted to enter the bank branch but were barred by Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers utilizing bicycles as barricades. Shortly after, bank management informed SPD officers that the bank branch had locked its doors. The picket continued for an hour as protesters shouted chants, distributed leaflets to passers-by and continued to block the bank entrance. At 5PM participants in the bank shutdown marched to the Close the Concentration Camps rally at Westlake Center organized by El Comite and May 1st Action Coalition.
Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a large bank that provides funding to GEO Group, a private prison corporation contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain migrants. GEO Group operates the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, long a site of resistance and migrant solidarity, both inside and outside its walls. According to recent financial records, Bank of the West’s parent company, BNP Paribas, is listed as GEO Group’s “administrative agent” and is one of its leading lenders. Following activist pressure in March 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced that it would cease further financing of the industry. Wells Fargo, US Bank, Bank of America, and SunTrust have also recently pulled back. Without this access to capital, the future for CoreCivic (another large ICE prison contractor) and GEO Group is in jeopardy.
The bank protest was co-hosted by Olympia Assembly, El Comite and May 1st Action Coalition and was organized in conjunction with the July 8th-12 Week of Action to Shut Down ICE Profiteers.
The week of action encouraged concentrated disruptive protest be directed against financial firms invested in ICE prison contractors, GEO Group and CoreCivic. In a number of cities, the call was heeded with shutdowns at Bank of the West and PNC Bank branches, but also with protests at the offices of ICE-tech collaborators, like Microsoft and Amazon.
We Will Remember Freedom is a monthly fiction podcast series edited by Margaret Killjoy. Each episode brings a new story written by authors who are willing to imagine worlds without oppression or worlds where we fight against that oppression.
If you would like to support the podcast, please consider signing up for Margaret’s Patreon.
***When the Rains Come Back, by Cadwell Turnbull
Read by Niecee X.
This story first appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2018.When the Rains Come Back
Myron knew he’d find Sasha on the roof of their little domed house. Since she was little she’d climb the coconut tree onto the dome so she could watch the moon. From Ath during a crescent moon, you could see the faint glimmer of the moon’s greenhouses shining star-like out from the lunar night. Sasha hardly ever missed an opportunity to see it.
Myron stood on the massive stone at the edge of their yard. The roof of their house wasn’t very high. From his position he could see that Sasha was lying on her back, her hands cupped under her head, her elbows pointed like little wings. The stars sparkled overhead. You couldn’t get a view of the night sky like this in cities on the continent. Even Great Prince didn’t have a view like this, with all their city lights.
The greenhouses were one thing to behold, but what Sasha really wanted to see was the colony itself. The colony’s dome wasn’t made of clay like the dome of their house, but of tri-layered panels of glass, plastic and argon. The sort of thing only a capitalist could dream up. It was impossible to see with the naked eye, but Sasha liked imagining it up there, a thriving metropolis on another world.
Myron called out to Sasha. “Little one!”
“Yes, Pap,” Sasha said. “You need me?”
“No child.” Myron smiled up at his twelve-year-old daughter. “Just wanted to ask you something.”
Sasha sat up on the dome. “Hmmm,” she said, which meant spit it out; he was disturbing her night gazing.
“I’m going to Big Island tomorrow,” Myron said. “You want to come with?”
“By boat?” she asked.
“Sea plane,” Myron answered.
Myron couldn’t quite see his daughter’s face. But he knew she was smiling because he knew his daughter.
“Yes!” she said. “When?”
“Early morn,” he said. “Soon after rooster crow. Be ready.”
Sasha nodded and returned to her gazing. She would stay up there for a while longer and then climb down defeated, failing again to locate the object of her affection.
Myron hated the moon colony. But Sasha loved it; she wanted to visit it one day. Myron and Sasha’s mother Leanna could not get the fascination out of her. He just hoped that she would resist the lure of such things. Anarchists belong to Ath, not the moon.
Myron and Sasha watched from the beach as the seaplane came in for a landing. The plane roared as its floats touched down on the blue-green water, spitting up sea foam as it skimmed the surface.
Myron wiped his forehead with a piece of cloth. The sea breeze did nothing for the heat. Sasha was sweating too, but she seemed unconcerned about the beating sun. She watched the seaplane like it was some magnificent god.
The plane turned in the water, its twin propellers slowing to a stop. It settled next to the dock. A woman leaned out of the plane to call them forward. Myron, with his daughter in hand, made the short walk across the creaky dock that knifed out a little ways into the sea. They climbed into the seaplane and greeted the captain and her second, women Myron had never met.
They exchanged names. The second called herself Mamyeh. The pilot was Cianna.
“Beautiful day for a short hop,” said Mamyeh, smiling at Sasha.
“Yes, miss,” she said, smiling back shyly.
“Oh no no,” said the woman. “Don’t go calling me miss. I not so old yet.”
“What is your kind?” Myron asked. He made trips to Great Prince all the time, and was usually escorted by a team of Dema-socialists, also women. He’d come to know them well, and expected them for the escort. But these two were new.
“Just vagas, mister,” said the woman.
“Oh?” Myron smiled at the woman. Vagas were people without government who made their life working among different kinds. People without roots.
The woman smiled back at Myron with knowing eyes. “Don’t worry, mister. We got a community on Big Island. Fellow vagas. Good people.”
“Strap in,” said Cianna, her voice deeper and sterner than her second.
Myron and Sasha strapped in. And then they were off. As the plane skipped across the water and heaved itself into the salty air, Myron looked out the window at Little Princess. He watched the little community of domed houses, watched his people mill around in the heat. Not too many. The sun was too violent at this time of day for strolling about.
When he was too high up to see the people anymore, he surveyed the island in its entirety. He didn’t like what he saw. Usually from this high up, the island looked green and beautiful, dense plant-life that could attract any tourist just by looking. But now the sight was mostly brown. Everything looked worn and withered. As they passed the west farms, Myron had to look away. Nothing was growing. The few crops they managed to plant were wilting in the sun.
“Such a hideous thing,” said Mamyeh. “The rains have been gone so long, who knows how we poor islanders will survive.”
The dry period had been coming on for years. Now they were lucky if they got a few inches.
“Is it no different on Big Island?” Myron asked. “Surely you get help from other govs?”
Mamyeh nodded. “But all the region govs getting hit hard too. And many of the region govs on continent don’t have the means to transport their surpluses.”
The woman was looking at Myron, so she caught his change in expression. She nodded in affirmation. “Yes, the global govs have been helping us. But even with their help, things have been hard.”
Myron was the representative of his small gov. But he hadn’t travelled to Great Prince for a while. He was not fully aware of all the changes. His expression darkened. Now he knew the full scope of the summit.
“How many global govs?” Myron asked.
“Hard to say,” Mamyeh answered. “Maybe three or four. Regulations say that none a-them can have too much influence. They must work their deals through local and region govs.”
Myron nodded. “What kinds?”
“Two global socialist govs. Hamers and Angelies, I think. And one capitalist as far as I can tell. Maybe another one, though less powerful.”
“Coming in on Big Island,” Cianna announced.
Myron looked out the window and they were already descending. From this height Great Prince looked just as starved as home, all brown and dying plant-life. Maglev trains sped across the surface of Great Prince like silver veins. The sky was busy with small aircrafts that buzzed like mosquitoes. On the surface, solar cars snaked their way along cramped streets. Great Prince had two dozen govs, quite a few of them capitalist, so the tech was markedly more advanced than on Little Princess.
Soon they were on the water and pulling up to the dock, which was much more impressive than the creaky wooden one on their island. The women waved them goodbye as they exited the seaplane and found their way to the busy street and into a free shuttle.
The bus was cramped with travelers, so they had to stand. It didn’t take them too long to reach the summit building, strategically located near the docks.
A large crowd of gov representatives were already clamoring inside when they arrived. Myron allowed Sasha to walk ahead of him, since she’d be able to maneuver through the crowd and find them a good seat. It took him several minutes before he was through the doors of the summit building and another few minutes before he entered the hall. He spotted Sasha jumping and waving near the front and made his way down the aisle to where she had picked out a pair of seats.
The hall itself wasn’t anything spectacular. It could seat up to five hundred occupants comfortably, which meant many spectators would have to wait outside the building, watching the proceedings from a big screen set up for the purposes of spillover. Because he was a representative of a gov, he was guaranteed a space inside and a spot for a guest or two. Usually though, there weren’t this much people. This was clearly very important.
Before long, a short man made his way to the podium and the room quieted down to listen.
“Greetings residents of Great Prince and neighboring islands. We have an announcement.”
The man was pale, which meant he wasn’t from these parts. He had an accent Myron didn’t recognize. The United Governments must have sent him.
“This drought that has struck you is being felt all across the world,” he continued. “Other govs have suffered from your crop losses. Certainly not in the way you’ve suffered, but a loss anywhere is felt everywhere. If you have been tuning into our UG deliberations, you would have learned that we have placed humanitarian aid as our top priority. Great Prince is struggling, but because of your technological level, you’ve been able to stave off the worse. But many of your smaller islands with more-uh”—he paused to think—“reclusive governments,”—he nodded, apparently satisfied with himself—“have been suffering tremendously.”
Myron watched Sasha. She looked bored.
The man continued: “I know some of your govs might be hesitant to accept aid. But don’t be afraid. The UG is making sure that large governments will not exploit you. Any governments above regional designation must work through regional governments in order to offer aid. These partnerships will prevent any trouble. Local govs can then form partnerships with any regional gov they wish for as long as they wish and no longer. I trust that you will be able to work out the specifics among yourselves. Some govs have already started partnerships.”
The man smiled warmly. “That is the full announcement. Your choice and your trust under this wondrous panarchy remains preserved. Good luck in your lives. We hope this time of struggle passes.”
The man left the podium and people began to leave the summit hall.
“That was it?” Sasha asked, clearly annoyed. “They could have told us this from Little Island.”
“They have to invite people to come so people can protest if needed.”
Myron shook his head. “Nothing this time.”
Sasha huffed and folded her arms.
“At least we got a trip out of it,” Myron added.
This managed to change Sasha’s mood. She smiled.
“What you want to do today?” Myron asked as they got up and made their way out of the hall.
“Don’t know,” Sasha said. She was cupping her chin in thought.
Someone touched Myron on his arm. He stopped and turned to see who it was.
It was the same white man that made the speech. “Hello. I’m Hollan Feters. Could I trouble you to discuss the situation on your island?”
“Yes,” Myron said. “I’m afraid you have the advantage here. I don’t know anything about you, but you seem to know me.”
“It is my job to know people,” said Hollan with a smile Myron didn’t like. “You are from Little Princess, yes? Representative of the anarchist gov there?”
Myron nodded. He looked down at Sasha. She was quiet as usual, but watching the men intently. Always so attentive.
“Yes, I am the representative,” Myron answered. “Should we go to lunch?”
“Yes, naturally. I know a great place.”
“We usually eat fish and local fruits and vegetables,” Myron said.
“Oh.” Hollan looked a little saddened by the information. “Surely you wouldn’t mind a change of experience. The food is lovely at the place I’m inviting you to.”
Myron looked down at his daughter. She was nodding at him, which meant stop being so uptight and accept the man’s offer.
“Okay,” Myron said. “Lead the way.”
Hollan was right. The food was good. As Hollan talked, Myron chewed on a piece of steak. The meat was tender, not tough like the beef they ate on occasion when they slaughtered a cow getting on in years.
Yes, the meat was good. But what life did this cow live? Myron looked over at Sasha. She had left her meat untouched.
“Are you sure your daughter wouldn’t be happier going to the movies or something? Leaving us to this boring affair.”
Myron frowned. “Where I am from we don’t patronize our children. My daughter is perfectly capable of participating in this boring affair.”
“But she’s been so quiet,” Hollan said.
“She will speak when she wants.”
“Okay,” Hollan said, throwing up his hands. “Fine by me.” Hollan’s meal was already devoured. He wasn’t suffering from the same moral dilemma as they were.
“Which gov do you represent?” Myron asked. “One of the socialist govs? Or maybe you’re a capitalist.”
Hollan smiled at Myron. It was the same way he did before, that made Myron feel like worms were crawling under his skin.
“I belong to one of each actually. Angelies and Romana. I’m a dual citizen. But I’m here to serve Romana’s interests at the moment.” Another smile.
Myron drank down all his water and refilled it with a pitcher on the table. The restaurant was well decorated: pretty vases in the center of the table with flowers he’d never seen, intricately designed table cloths, long draping chandeliers, and servers dressed in elegant black and red suits and firm fitting dresses. This was definitely meant to impress Myron. He wondered what a show like this would cost his people.
“What do you want?” Myron asked.
“We’d like to offer you food,” Hollan answered.
“Yes, but you also want something.”
“Romana sets aside a certain amount of our budget for humanitarian aid. It makes us more attractive to potential citizens looking to join our gov.”
“You’re not answering the question,” Sasha said, looking up from her still-full plate.
Myron watched Hollan’s expression change. Genuine surprise. Myron had to admit. He liked seeing Hollan surprised.
“And the girl speaks. That is a sharp one you have there.”
“I do not have her. She has herself.”
“You anarchists,” Hollan said, and then catching himself: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to insult. Some of my best friends belong to anarchist govs.”
Probably anarcho-capitalists, Myron thought but didn’t say.
“On your island,” Hollan continued, apparently deciding to get to his point, “you have a certain type of mango, yes? Small and sweet. Not stringy like so many other small mangoes. Deep orange meat, like a sunset. Tourists come from all over to eat it. They pay well too, don’t they?”
Myron nodded, narrowing his eyes. “We call it sweet plum. And tourists do pay a price for it. We use that money to buy whatever tech we need. Solar lamps to light our houses. Electric stoves. Computers and laptops. Medicine. We have no other source of revenue.”
Myron took another bite of his meat, chewing slowly, keeping his eyes on Hollan. The man seemed to enjoy the attention, curling his lips in that disturbing smile. Myron swallowed.
“You cannot have it,” Myron said.
“We will pay generously—“
“Ask the communists from Queen Mary. We can’t stop you. They have sweet plum too, though not as sweet.”
“They said they originally got the seeds from you.”
“That’s honorable of them. Too bad for you though.”
Hollan glowered. “How long will you starve yourselves and refuse outside help?”
“But this isn’t help. This is coercion.”
Hollan was turning red. “You—“
Sasha interrupted. “Didn’t you say up there on that podium that global govs have to act through regional ones? You shouldn’t even be here right now, ambushing us like this.”
Hollan looked at Sasha. He was careful not to show any real aggression. He laughed nervously. “Such a smart girl.”
“Person,” Sasha corrected. “Don’t patronize me.”
Myron smiled proudly.
“Listen,” Hollan said, looking at both of them, forcing down his anger. “We just want the seeds. You can set the terms. We will only grow the ones you give to us. We will only sell as much as you allow. In exchange we will give you whatever food you need. Our green houses and hyperbolic growth chambers can match your natural environment perfectly. We can grow the food you like to eat.”
“That’s moon tech isn’t it?” Sasha asked.
Myron could see the interest in her eyes, even though she tried to hide it behind a tight jaw. He knew his daughter.
“Yes,” Hollan confirmed. “But we’ve been using it globally.”
Sasha nodded, satisfied. She returned to staring down at her plate.
“Please,” Hollan said. “Consider it. We will work through the regional govs as promised. And you can end the arrangement at any time.”
“I will bring it to my people,” Myron said. “That’s all I can do.”
There were so many people crammed into their summit dome that they had to crank their one air conditioner to the max. It did nothing. Almost one hundred people vying for space. Myron secretly wished some of them had stayed outside. But this was not their way.
“We have been living like this for over a century,” said one man. “We only started selling the mangoes because outside govs thought we were too isolationist. And now that’s not enough? They want to take our seeds too?”
The room erupted in shouts of affirmation.
A woman in the back of the room yelled: “Sell the damn seeds! My child need food!”
A chorus of agreement.
“We only need to do it for a little while,” said another woman. “When the rains come back, we can take back our seeds. We set the terms.”
“I am not a capitalist!” said someone from the front. It was Myron’s grandmother. “Some of ayo too young to care, but not too long ago, during the time of my great granpap, capitalists ruled Ath. And they almost destroy civilization! A few centuries before that they had all of we dark people as slaves! For profit! You believe a thing like that?”
People jeered passionately.
“I not trusting no damn capitalist,” his grandmother continued. “I don’t care if it makes me a bad panarchist.”
“But we don’t have any food,” said another woman, old but younger than his grandmother. “Soon we gon have to ration like those damn communists from Queen Mary!”
A few bits of laughter mixed in with murmurs.
Myron looked to his wife Leanna, sitting at his side at the discussion table. It was an honor they gave to the family of the representative, but that didn’t mean they had any more say over the decision than anyone else.
His wife was staring in the mid distance, seemingly in intense concentration. He knew she would speak and many in the room did too. They respected her, even though she was originally an outsider. She would be able to sway some people with her words.
When Leanna spoke it was soft. But the whole room hushed to hear her.
“Back when I was a child, there was another drought. Not quite as terrible as this one, mind you. But bad-bad. On Queen Mary we always kept ration, but our rations were shrinking. People were worried. Back then we decided we would throw parties every night. Bring all our rations together from the day to make a feast. So we ate under the stars, coal pots burning on our beaches, salt on our tongues. We passed the food round and everyone ate. We told stories by bonfires. We held our children. When the rains came back, we were skinnier, but we were happy.
“Now when I go back home to my family, there is a party on the beach every week. People save up their rations for it. And they pass the food ‘round. And they laugh through the night.”
Leanna was looking around the room now. Everyone was silent. Many knew that the communists had these parties, but Leanna’s words came from her mouth like magic. It felt like new knowledge.
“Whatever good or evil comes, it comes from people, not things. Not govs. Ideology doesn’t fill bellies. When the rains come and there’s no one left to see it, what will any of this matter?
“We live. We change. Leave stubbornness to the dead.”
Myron looked at his daughter. For most of the discussion she had been looking down at her hands. Now she was looking at her mother. He knew his daughter, but in moments like this he couldn’t tell what she was thinking. His little paradox. She’d be a woman soon enough. Who knows where she’d end up? He knew she would likely leave him one day, leave this little rock in this blue-green sea.
People had already started arguing amongst themselves again. Leanna had succeeded in winning over quite a few people, but there was still no consensus. They would have to go to vote or risk an endless deadlock.
“Okay,” Myron said, standing. “Shall we vote?”
Sasha spent a lot of her early nights on colony in her room reading history books about the collapse. When she was not at work in the colony’s growth chambers, she scoured the colony’s virtual libraries, pouring over books like a religion, learning things about Ath she’d never learned on Little Princess.
For one thing, most people back home believed the global economic collapse happened quickly. In truth, the collapse was slow, a culmination of many boom and bust cycles over several decades.
As global capitalism deteriorated, with each recovery more short-lived than the last, people started thinking up alternatives. It started among academics of relative privilege, playing out theoretical games with the world’s resources, devising better systems of distribution and stability and organizing people.
By the time of the collapse, people had secretly declared themselves members of all sorts of imaginary governments, had even enacted small-scale experiments in their names.
When things got bad, when Ath erupted into a war that lasted a half-century, it was these groups that proved the most tenacious. They carried around their governments in their heads, devised ways to distribute resources, to defend themselves, to gain influence. These govs had no borders, no lands, just the volunteered allegiance of their citizens.
Sasha found herself imagining those distant people, trying to find footing in a rapidly changing world. It helped her cope with the changes in her own world.
The transition to colony had not been easy. Sasha missed swimming in the ocean, missed running around without shoes on dirt roads and climbing coconut trees. She missed the cool breeze that whipped through her hair on tropical winter nights.
Her room in colony had windows, but all she could see was the inside of the dome, its artificial light, other buildings poking up from the moon’s surface like branchless trees. She could make the smart-glass show her images of Ath, of the sun shining over the blue-sphere of her home-world, but it felt too artificial. Sad to go to a place you had dreamed about all your life, she thought, and find that you were still dissatisfied.
So she read books.
Growing up Sasha had always been told that the panarchists came after the great economic collapse. So many things, she realized, were like this: half-truths, guesses, myths. Even the scholars deliberated on the fine details endlessly.
History is like water. It slips through fingers, gifting the world with wet hands. The rest falls away.
There was one idea that stuck, however. Sasha imagined it as a pebble in the constant stream. Ath held onto it, united behind it.
Governments should not force allegiance on their people. People should be able to choose. Anything less is slavery.
It was a mantra she read in all her books, in some form or another. It was elemental, encapsulating the world’s ideals, their hopes, their dreams.
Too bad this was also a half-truth. Nothing is so easy. Choices aren’t clean. They’re muddied by so many things.
“Your mother misses you. She wants you home.”
Sasha and her father were having dinner in her room, staring at each other from across a small steel table. He had only arrived on colony an hour before, his first time off-world. Of course he wasted no time to guilt her, to make her feel like she had abandoned them. They couldn’t even have a decent meal before he started in on her.
“Don’t put this on mamee,” Sasha said, barely concealing her annoyance. “You here for you.”
“Your mother agrees with me.”
“No she don’t. She told me last week that she was happy that I was happy.”
“But are you?”
Sasha took a bite of her saltfish. She chewed slowly, savoring the tender meat, the sweet plum glaze. Her father watched her, not touching his meal.
“I love my work,” Sasha answered finally. “The research I’m doing in crop science is groundbreaking.” There was something else she wanted to add, but she didn’t.
“Not an answer to my question,” Myron said, staring at her, trying to read her like a book. She hated that.
Sasha sighed, looking away from her father’s face to the plate in front of him. She knew why he wasn’t eating. Since they had decided to allow help from Romana, their community had been torn apart. When the rains came back, half the community decided to return to their old ways, and the other half decided to become anarcho-capitalists, maintaining their relationship with Romana through the Great Prince Dema-socialists. The two communities supported each other, but not without resentments.
“Come home,” her father said.
“I’m fine, Pap,” Sasha said, smiling. “Really.”
“Every year these damn capitalists exploit people, gaining more power for themselves. Now that they’ve left Ath, how long do you think it will be before they start thinking that they can force people to do what they want? How long before they enslave you?”
Her father shook through the words, unable to contain his fear. He picked up his fork and stabbed into the saltfish only to release the fork again. He wouldn’t eat much here, no matter what she placed in front of him. This was a place he thought people shouldn’t be.
“You won’t be safe here,” he said, confirming her thoughts. “You will never be safe among these people.”
“Colony is filled with people of all kinds, Pap,” Sasha said. “I’ve become a dual-citizen of our home-gov and an anarcho-socialist gov here under the dome. It isn’t just capitalists up here. They share influence just like on Ath.”
“But who holds the majority?”
Sasha didn’t answer. Her father already knew the answer to the question. That’s why he was asking it.
Truthfully Sasha was worried too. Panarchy had proven to be extremely durable. But could it span a solar system? A galaxy? Even with regulations, the global govs found a million different ways to stretch their power. What would that look like on a galactic scale?
On colony she had met people of all kinds. People from monarchies, technocracies, meritocracies, and oligarchies; she worked with communists and socialists and anarchists and capitalists and hybrids of every manner. She’d seen income-based economies and resource-based economies, share and gift economies, all co-existing in one place peacefully. But her readings had also taught her that peace was a fragile thing, that conflict was always clawing its way to the surface. What face will it have when it crests? What will be the price?
Sasha took a breath. Prepared herself. “I met someone,” she said.
“What kind?” her father asked.
“She is a wonderful woman. We take care of each other.”
“You are not answering my questions.”
Sasha stared into her father’s eyes. When she was a child, he trusted her so much, treated her like a person that could make her own decisions. Since she’d left, he’d changed. He no longer trusted her to make good choices. He didn’t believe in her. She felt her eyes burn, her throat tighten.
She watched his face change, like clay slowly molded into a new form. She barely recognized him, the way his nose flared and his mouth twitched, the way his eyes got so wide that the sclera surrounded the brown iris all around, drowning the brown in a sea of white.
“No,” he said. “Don’t tell me—“ He slammed his hand down on the table, denting the steel slab. The movement was sudden and explosive. Sasha gasped audibly.
“How could you do this?” he asked, his voice trembling.
“People do this all the time,” Sasha answered, her eyes wet with tears.
“I will not allow it.”
“Govs have no borders and neither does love,” she said defensively. “You married a communist.”
“I will not.”
Sasha glared at her father, the fire in her finally rising. “You don’t have a choice.”
Her father stopped talking then. He looked at her, his eyes pleading. But he had no power he could call upon to move her. No authority except a fatherly one that he’d never truly exercised, not in this way.
Sasha wanted to reach out and touch him, to tell him a convenient lie that would make it all right. But things hadn’t been all right for a long time. Everything had changed.
“They’re taking over the island,” her father said. Now he was crying in frustration. “They’ve taken our mangoes. They’ve corrupted our culture.”
Sasha remembered her mother’s words that day they had made the decision to live for now and not for some potential future tragedy. Now that tragedy was here. And what they did now would also have repercussions for the next future.
“I’m sorry,” she said to her father, reaching over to touch his bruised hand. He tensed at her touch, but eased into it, saying nothing.
She tried to smile at him, but it felt false and she soon gave up.
One day she’d have children. And what world would they choose for themselves? Perhaps they would choose something that would horrify her. Or something that would make her proud. Maybe that future would be entirely different from now. They’d be on some new planet, some distant moon. Maybe they’d be entering a war or ending one. Or maybe this peace will last a thousand years.
She rubbed her father’s hand gently. Later she would introduce him to Rosa. She hoped he would understand then. But she couldn’t be certain, of this or anything else. Only that she loved her father. Only that he loved her. She’d leave the rest for tomorrow.
“Okay,” Sasha said. “I’ll come visit for a little while.”
“That would be nice,” her father said.
In the ensuing silence Sasha thought of what it would be like to stare up at the Moon again from Ath. She’d dreamed of visiting it for all her life and now it was her home. So peculiar, the distance of things, and how time brings them ever closer. Given enough time, all things touch.
Since this interview was recorded, Cadwell’s debut novel The Lesson was released.
About the author: Cadwell Turnbull is a graduate from the North
Carolina State University’s Creative Writing MFA in Fiction and English
MA in Linguistics. He was the winner of the 2014 NCSU Prize for Short
Fiction and attended Clarion West 2016. His short fiction has appeared
in The Verge, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. His Asimov’s short story “When the Rains Come Back” made Barnes and Noble’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy’s Short Fiction Roundup in April 2018. His Nightmare story “Loneliness is in Your Blood” was selected for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018. His Asimov’s novelette “Other Worlds and This One” was also selected by the anthology as a notable story. The Lesson is his debut novel.
About the host: Margaret Killjoy is a transfeminine author and editor
currently based in the Appalachian mountains. Her most recent book is
an anarchist demon hunters novella called The Barrow Will Send What it May, published by Tor.com. She spends her time crafting and complaining about authoritarian power structures and she blogs at birdsbeforethestorm.net.
This podcast was made possible by the generous supporters of Margaret’s Patreon. In particular, thanks go out to Chris, Nora, Hoss the Dog, Kirk, Argawarga Press, Natalie, and Sam.Tags: We Will Remember Freedomfictionpodcastmargaret killjoy
The post Modesto, CA: Posters Put Up for Week of Action Against ICE appeared first on It's Going Down.The following report and photos was anonymously sent to It’s Going Down.
As part of the wave of action against ICE and the world of white supremacy, neoliberal capital, and prison society that it serves, we posted up a series of anti-ICE, and-border, and anti-Trump posters on a long running graffiti wall at a favorite fishing spot and swimming hole in town, used by poor and working people of various backgrounds. Our small act is part of a tapestry of direct action and individual and collective refusal against ICE, deportations, and mass internment which is being backed and facilitated by both the Trump administration and the Democratic Party.
In the past few weeks, the anarchist movement has stepped up along with a collection of newly self-organized groups, networks, and collectives to push back and attack the growth of the concentration camps. We have seen everything from mass street demos to people taking action against banks and Amazon, calling for divestment, to people rallying in the thousands outside of detention facilities, to Will Von Spronsen’s final act of courage, which attempted to take out several deportation buses in Tacoma, Washington.
13 years ago, we watched in the Central Valley, as a self-organized movement of student walkouts snowballed into mass resistance which defeated HR-4437, a bill that would have further criminalized undocumented folks and those that wold give them aid. Mass walkouts, led by high school students and those even younger, culminated in the May Day 2006 marches and wildcat strikes. This is the type of mass refusal we hope to push towards.
We’d also like to give a shout out to all the antifascist crews pushing against Proud Boys and Alt-Right trolls, land defenders and tree sitters from the Mattole to Yellow Finch, Native warriors holding it down in Secwépemc territory, all the queer and trans comrades fighting back in Hamilton and beyond to #FreeCedar, the rioters in Puerto Rico lighting up the night against the puppet government, Amazon workers on strike, and prison rebels trying to keep cool in the heat – we see you!
Originally published on Climate Liability News.
Climate change-related lawsuits, once mostly limited to the U.S., have now been filed in nearly 30 countries, targeting governments and corporate polluters, according to the latest analysis of the trend.
A new report was published this month by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. It tracks the progress of the suits — filed since 1990 — as they have expanded beyond the U.S., and predicts the trend will continue.Tags: climate litigationclimate lawsuitsCarbon Majors ProjectHuman Rights
Trump to require increased use of US steel, iron in federal projects | 15 July 2019 | President Trump will sign an executive order on Monday to require that the bulk of the steel and iron used in federal contracts is sourced from U.S. firms, according to a top trade adviser, the latest move by the White House to bolster domestic commodity producers. The action is slated to mandate that 95 percent of steel and iron used for government projects is provided by American firms, the White House's Peter Navarro told FOX News on Monday, an increase from the existing threshold of 50 percent.
In this abbreviated "lunch and learn" version of the VEOC's "The Search for a Good Exit" seminar, business broker Lynne Silva and Vermont Employee Ownership Center co-Executive Director Matt Cropp review key considerations for business owners looking to plan for their exit, and outline four possible paths: Sale to Outsider, Sale to Family, Sale to Managers/Key Employees, and Sale to the broader group of employees.
Go to the GEO front page
US lawmaker who oversees Puerto Rico calls for governor to resign after 6 arrested on corruption charges
US lawmaker who oversees Puerto Rico calls for governor to resign after 6 arrested on corruption charges | 11 July 2019 | The Democratic lawmaker who chairs the House committee that oversees Puerto Rico called on the island's governor to step down after six people, including Puerto Rico's former secretary of education, were arrested Wednesday on federal fraud charges. Former Education Secretary Julia Keleher and Ángela Ávila-Marrero, former head of Puerto Rico's Health Insurance Administration, were arrested on 32 counts of fraud, theft and money laundering, along with two businessmen and two sisters who worked as education contractors. In the indictment, prosecutors allege that Keleher steered government contracts "through a corrupt bidding process" to an unqualified firm run by Glenda Ponce-Mendoza and Mayra Ponce-Mendoza, with whom she had a "close relationship."
More than $1.28 billion has been clawed back by governments around the world after the Panama Papers investigation in 2016.
In April, we reported that more than $1.2 billion had been recouped (it’s grown since then, more on that later) and the reaction was generally either:
“That sucks! It’s really just a drop in the ocean compared with the amount of tax people should have paid.”
“Wow! Great journalism really can make a difference.”
The next question we’re often asked: “but how did you get that number?”Recommended reading
I was one of a handful of people at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists who helped tally up that massive figure – asking our partners to get in touch with local tax authorities – it was eye-opening to see the detail of information we require to count it. I also nearly lost my hair, but realized one thing: our numbers are conservative, very nuanced, but always correct.
For example: often we are told off the record (which means we can’t report it) that tax authorities have indeed recouped money due to our investigations. But, for whatever reason, they don’t want to make that announcement public. This limits our ability to count it.
It also made me realize that some countries have recouped a lot more in comparison to the size of their nation. As one ICIJ partner told me when he announced the figure: “it may seem small, but it’s very important to a tiny country like ours!” (And, in many countries, it’s not about the money being recouped – perhaps it’s about the previously disclosed wealth that’s now getting taxed, or it’s about starting a conversation.)
After we reported the $1.2 billion figure, our partners in Italy L’Espresso revealed more than $33.7 million was now in the Italian authority’s bank thanks to the Panama Papers.
They definitely won’t be the last.
To help lift the veil on how we reached that $1.28 billion figure, we have carefully (more hair was lost, trust me) broken down the tally country by country. (If you know about something that we’ve missed, let me know! Email: email@example.com)
We have also included some of the newer official investigations our partners reported to us. This is not a conclusive list – as that would be a very, very long list. You can find more information about Panama Papers impact here.
And, please remember, while a country may have $0 listed as “money in the bank” this refers to money that has been publicly reported. Many nations will not make public the amount of money that has been recovered.Argentina
Money in the bank: There are no official numbers released by the government in Argentina. (Last reported in 2019)
- $104 million was declared by citizens who entered a tax amnesty to start paying tax.
- President Mauricio Macri’s brother, Gianfranco Macri, declared $4 million and an investigation into his finances was opened.
- $65 million worth of U.S. properties that belonged to the secretary of the former president Nestor Kirchner was found by the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Media partners: La Nación, Diario Perfil, Infobae, Solo Local.info, Página 12Australia
Money in the bank: $92,880,415 in liabilities and cash (Last reported in 2019)
- There were 53 audits and reviews still in progress on Feb. 28, 2019.
Media partners: The Australian Financial Review, ABC AustraliaAustria
Money in the bank: $2,725,869 (Last reported in 2019)
- Two Austrian banks (Raiffeisen Bank International and the Hypo Vorarlberg) have been fined, but these cases are still going through the courts.
- 54 taxpayers listed in the Panama Papers were reviewed.
Media partners: Falter, ORFBelgium
Money in the bank: $18,749,010 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: Knack, Le Soir, Tijd, MO*Bulgaria
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
- The first criminal charges were filed in Bulgaria in late 2018 – married business owners Nikolay and Evgeniya Banevi have been charged for money laundering and tax offenses.
Media partners: 24ChasaCanada
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
- More than $11 million has been assessed – but not recovered (and not counted in our $1.2 billion).
- 116 audits have been completed, but 300 people have been identified for audits in the future.
- Less than 10 criminal investigations have been started.
Media partners: Toronto Star, CBC/Radio-CanadaColombia
Money in the bank: $88,884,000 (Last reported in 2017)
- One academic paper found there was a ninefold increase in the tax being reported by wealthy Colombians.
Media partners: Connectas, Consejo de RedacciónCzech Republic
Money in the bank: $36,462,741 (Last reported in 2017)
Media partners: Czech Center for Investigative JournalismDenmark
Money in the bank: $47,500,000 (Last reported in 2019)
- $111.6 million in untaxed income was identified. The government has recouped $47.5 million from 155 individuals and companies so far. Investigations are ongoing.
Media partners: Politiken, DREcuador
Money in the bank: $84,300,000 (Last reported in 2018)
- Petroecuador’s bribe scheme was the largest Panama Papers-related investigation in Ecuador. Seven people are in jail.
Media partners: El Universo, El ComercioFinland
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
- Authorities expect to recover between $1 and $2 million – but this related to Panama Papers and Paradise Papers. As this is yet to be recovered, it’s not included in our $1.2 billion.
- The country has launched 20 investigations related to Panama Papers and Paradise Papers.
Media partners: YLEFrance
Money in the bank: $135,696,000 (Last reported in 2019)
- Tax authorities have carried out more than 500 inspections.
- There have been 305 requests for international administration assistance.
Media partners: Le Monde, Premières LignesGermany
Money in the bank: $183,193,536 (Last reported in 2019)
- Authorities have launched more than 860 investigations.
Media partners: NDR, Süddeutsche Zeitung, WDRHungary
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: Direkt36Iceland
Money in the bank: $25,525,959 (Last reported in 2019)
- Authorities froze assets worth $8,508,653 in 2017 and 2018.
- There have been 24 investigations related to the Panama Papers completed.
Media partners: Reykjavík MediaIndia
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
- $225,431,400 worth of assets have been identified.
- 75 searches/surveys have been carried out.
- 30 criminal complaints filed.
Media partners: Indian ExpressIreland
Money in the bank: $452,320 (Last reported in 2019)
N.B.: This is a combination of money recouped due to the Panama Papers and ICIJ’s 2017 investigation, the Paradise Papers. So we do not include it in our $1.2 billion figure.
- Tax authorities issued more than 100 “enquiry letters” but 80% were closed without finding any issues.
Media partners: The Irish TimesItaly
Money in the bank: $33,697,840 (Last reported in 2019)
- Just after the investigation, 204 citizens used a voluntary disclosure program to disclose their offshore assets, worth about $33 million.
- About 900 cases with links to the Panama Papers have been investigated.
Media partners: L’EspressoJapan
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: Kyodo News, The Asahi Shimbun, NHKLithuania
Money in the bank: $358,831 (Last reported in 2019)
- Another $134,565 is still being disputed
Media partners: 15minLuxembourg
Money in the bank: $2,393,837 (Last reported in 2017)
Money in the bank: $10,706,938 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: Times of Malta, The Malta IndependentMexico
Money in the bank: $21,568,200 (Last reported in 2016) from the Panama Papers – this is included in our $1.2 billion total.
- In January last year, authorities also said more than $67,374,968 has been recovered from the Panama Papers, Bahamas Leaks and Paradise Papers – so this amount has not been included.
- There was a January 2017 amnesty announced and 5,414 people or companies paid $1,036,537,963 tax on around $19.5 billion worth of assets.
- 35 companies and 294 individuals exposed in Panama Papers have been investigated.
Media partners: Proceso, AristeguiNetherlands
Money in the bank: $8,283,390 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: Trouw, Financieele DagbladNew Zealand
Money in the bank: $410,400 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: Radio NZ, TVNZNorway
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
- $32,453,960 identified in undisclosed wealth and income. From that our partners at Aftenposten estimated that $2,035,440 tax would be generated, but there has been no official statement.
- 83 investigations were launched in total. 17 have led to penalties.
Media partners: AftenpostenPanama More than $1.2 billion has been recouped in 23 countries. (Dark Green). Investigations were sparked in more than 82 countries. (Light Green)
Money in the bank: $14,132,129 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: La PrensaPoland
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
- There was a taskforce set up after the investigation, but it has operated in secret.
Media partners: Gazeta WyborczaSlovenia
Money in the bank: $1,000,000 (Last reported in 2016)
Media partners: DeloSouth Korea
Money in the bank: $0 (Last reported in 2019)
- Korea’s tax authorities say they have collected a considerable amount of tax, but are unwilling to make it public.
- A multi-million dollar bribery case was launched in March 2019 indicting a former army general, according to Newstapa.
Media partners: KCIJ (Newstapa)Spain
Money in the bank: $164,104,468 (Last reported in 2019)
- After the Panama Papers publication, 61 taxpayers declared $100,641,200.
- 160 taxpayers in the Panama Papers have been investigated.
- 100 court proceedings have been filed related to 75 taxpayers.
Media partners: El Confidencial, La SextaSweden
Money in the bank: $19,295,056 (Last reported in 2017)
Media partners: SVTUnited Kingdom
Money in the bank: $252,762,000 (Last reported in 2019)
Media partners: BBC Panorama, The GuardianUruguay
Money in the bank: $1,000,000 (Last reported in 2016)
Media partners: Búsqueda
Contributors to this story: Leo Sisti, Paolo Biondani, Emilia Diaz-Struck, Nina Selbo Torset, John Hansen, Minna Knus-Galán, Scilla Alecci, Johannes Kristjansson, Leo Sisti, Rita Vásquez, Monica Almeida, Jan Strozyk, Ulla Kramar-Schmid, Martijn Roessingh, Kristof Clerix, Marco Oved, Jacob Borg, Juliette Garside, Anne Michel, Will Fitzgibbon, Vadim Makarenko, Alexenia Dimitrova, Emiliana Garcia, Andras Petho, Yongjin Kim, Frederic Zalac, Marcos Garcia Rey, Mathieu Tourlliere, Yasuomi Sawa, Colm Keena, Mariel Fitz Patrick and Ritu Sarin.
The post Counting the Panama Papers money: how we reached $1.28 billion appeared first on ICIJ.
Welcome to Social Government | 15 July 2019 | Each day we wake up and see the latest way conservative voices are being censored, shadowbanned, silently deleted, hidden from view, buried in searches, algorithmed out of existence. Whether it’s the biased search results hiding /r/The_Donald on Google and Reddit (or their questionable subscriber numbers), whether it's banning Twitter accounts that simply track violence against Trump supporters, creating policy to allow death threats against conservatives, censoring the Declaration of Independence for hate speech, blocking a conservative Marine for literally saying the sky is blue, labeling bible verses as porn, or simply banning the top conservative voices for no reason at all, Big Tech companies absolutely are controlling our speech...They cannot stop speech at the government level, it would never get past the Constitutional review. But private companies do not need to abide by the Constitution. As our lives become digital conduits that flow through private companies, they have congregated at the helms of these companies, silencing the right starting with the fringe and working their way in as far as they possibly can.
Con Ed can't explain what caused the Manhattan blackout | 14 July 2019 | Con Edison has yet to figure out why a large swath of Manhattan's West Side was plunged into darkness by the blackout that lasted more than five hours on Saturday night. In a statement released late Sunday morning, the power company said it "will be conducting a diligent and vigorous investigation to determine the root cause of the incident." Con Ed spokesman Alfonso Quiroz blamed the blackout on a "disruption on the transmission side" of the company's power grid. Officials initially suspected a manhole fire that affected an underground transformer, but Quiroz said there's "no evidence of a fire at this point."
From Anews Podcast
Welcome to the anews podcast. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week on anarchistnews.org.
Editorial: By Max Res
TOTW- Civ or Anti-Civ, and Models for Behaviour... with Aragorn! and Ariel
sound editing by Greg;
what’s new was written by Jackie and Greg, and narrated by Chisel and Greg
1) Alpha Blondy – Abortion is a Crime
2) Kraftwerk – It's More Fun to Computer
3) The InkSpots – I Don't Want To Set the World On Fire
How important is it to you that your everyday actions and life efforts are 'effective'? How much do you care that anarchist actions in general are effective?
I personally feel drawn to effectiveness as something I care about, and I thought about it more when I recently came across the following online critique of a recent anarchist action:
"My heart burns for a dead comrade, and this is sort of propaganda of the deed, but he had to know how going it alone would end. And this is only going to result in more suppression and more security. Undocumented people are going to suffer because of this.
We. Are. Powerless. Alone.
We have to organize and work together. Doing this alone is an ego driven decision. Your priority isn't liberation if this is your plan. And in a way, it's white saviorism. He could have joined his passion with others and connected with an organization that could help find safety for the people who are imprisoned if he could get them out. With comrades, with a plan, he could still be alive and people could be free who are still imprisoned."
There seems to be an implicit assumption in this comment that having power, working together, being effective to bring about 'liberation' is the critical goal.
I myself care about effectiveness. I don't want my actions in life to be 'meaningless' or based solely on making myself happy. I'd love to firebomb the state if it meant that we could all be free.
So does that mean that we *must* organize and work together? Am I forgoing effectiveness if I am not necessarily interested in sacrificing my passions to organize with others?
Is effectiveness important? Is it important for anarchists to be 'effective'? Is it even possible for humans, anarchist or otherwise, to not fixate on what's effective in their immediate lives?Tags: totweffectiveness
The post Pipeline Fighter Blocks Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction appeared first on It's Going Down.Report from Appalachians Against Pipelines on recent action that shut down construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).
Montgomery County, VA — Yesterday, pipeline fighter Phillip Flagg locked himself in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Elliston, VA. MVP has been clearing and grading this section of the pipeline’s path in preparation to lay pipe. Phillip laid his body in the easement and locked his body to an underground concrete blockade directly in the path of the pipeline. His action stopped MVP work at the site for 7 hours, preventing the company’s progression towards the nearby Yellow Finch tree sits. Around 5:30 pm, Phillip was extracted from his blockade and arrested. He was charged with misdemeanor obstruction and released on $1,000 bail.
Phillip, who previously spent months living in a tree sit blocking the MVP, stated: “I cherished the time I spent in the tree sit, and I think back on it fondly. But I’m not too proud to admit that the time I spent in the oak simply isn’t enough to stop this pipeline. The forces we are facing will not be dissuaded by any individual effort. Each of us has our piece to contribute — when one person steps up, others will follow.”
A banner near the site of Phillip’s blockade read “STOP THE MVP — BLOCK THE PATH — NO PIPELINES ON STOLEN LAND.” The latter part of this message refers to the fact that Indigenous people inhabited the hills and hollers of this region for thousands of years — including Monocan, Moneton, Cherokee, and other Native peoples — before white settlers arrived (bringing with them genocide and forced relocation). Extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure are a continuation of the legacy of colonization; Appalachians Against Pipelines stands in solidarity with Indigenous-led fights against pipelines, from Unist’ot’en to the fight against Line 3 and beyond.
In the holler adjacent to Phillip’s action, the Yellow Finch tree sits have been blocking the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for 313 days and counting. In support of Phillip’s action, one of the anonymous tree sitters stated: “Every day, MVP’s construction work gets close and closer to the Yellow Finch sits, decimating acres of Appalachian forests, mountains, and waterways in its wake. Today and every day, we are putting our bodies on the line to stop it. Now is the time to stand up and fight back against the destruction of the earth. Join us! We’re still here. We won’t back down.”
The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 42-inch diameter, 303-mile fracked gas pipeline that runs from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Earlier this month, a 70-mile extension into North Carolina (which was proposed in 2018) was denied its Section 401 Water Quality Certification by the NC Department of Environmental Quality. The Mountain Valley Pipeline endangers water, ecosystems, and communities along its route, contributes to climate change, increases demand for natural gas (and as a result, fracking), and is entrenched in corrupt political processes.
Resistance to the pipeline has only grown since the pipeline’s proposal in 2014. Grassroots-led pipeline monitoring and a nonviolent direct action campaign are ongoing. On June 17, 2019, builders admitted that the project’s budget has ballooned to $5 billion and that completion date has been delayed by 1.5 years at least.
The pipeline is in a state of uncertainty. MVP currently lacks permission to cross many water bodies and has been forced to explore alternate approaches in crossing through the Jefferson National Forest. The coming months will show whether construction is able to move forward in those areas, and whether investors will continue to believe in the pipeline’s ever-distant goal of completion.
On July 13, Willem Van Spronsen was killed by police while apparently taking action to disable the fleet of buses that serve the Northwest Detention Center, a private immigration detainment facility. His final statement, reproduced below, conveys that he was acting in response to the continuous raids and deportations carried out by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). His action occurred on the one-year anniversary of a hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center and an encampment outside. You can read a list of other acts of resistance that have occurred inside the Northwest Detention Center here.
We understand why Willem Van Spronsen decided to give his life to interrupt the violence that is perpetrated against undocumented people in the United States every day.
It is not hyperbole to say that the ICE raids are targeting our friends and neighbors, people who have lived and worked alongside us for years or even decades. The vulnerability of long-term undocumented people as a hyper-exploitable class has helped billionaires like Donald Trump to profit even more than they could have by legal means. To put the icing on the cake, capitalists then turn to the other workers they are exploiting and tell them that the poverty and misfortunes they experience are the fault of those who are poorer and more oppressed than them. It’s hard to imagine a more cynical strategy.
The disparity in rights between the documented and undocumented is a construct—just as the disparity in value that the Nazis constructed between Jewish people and gentiles was a construct. Both are mere inventions; they have no intrinsic existence except as a means for a powerful group to justify violence against a less powerful group. Those who justify obedience to the law as a good in itself stand alongside the Nazis whose laws condemned millions to the death camps, not to mention the racists who passed the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow laws in the American South.
Laws are just constructs. They have no value in and of themselves. They often serve to legitimize injustice that people would otherwise take action to oppose.
The further that the proponents of racist violence are permitted to legitimize invented concepts like slavery and citizenship, the more violence they will perpetrate—up to and including roundups, concentration camps, and mass extermination. We have seen this before, in Nazi Germany and elsewhere, and we are seeing it again today in the United States. The thousands of deaths that take place in the borderlands and the thousands murdered by police are just a foretaste of what is possible.
In this regard, the Jewish people who are carrying out blockades against ICE are engaging in rational efforts to prevent the recurrence of the same unthinkable injustices that were perpetrated against their ancestors—just as Willem Van Spronsen, who grew up in the wake of World War II, made the rational decision that the time had come to fight the rise of fascism just as people did in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
If more people had chosen to take action to fight the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, the Second World War might have been averted, and with it millions upon millions of lives would have been saved. Let no one say it is “violent” to attack the infrastructure of ICE and the mercenaries who maintain it. The real violence is the complicity of the Good Americans who do nothing as their neighbors are disappeared, just like those Good Germans who choose to ignore what was being done to their neighbors in the 1930s.
Every day, mercenaries around the world risk their lives in service to the agenda of the rich and powerful, obeying orders thoughtlessly, squandering their capacity to think rationally, to feel compassion, to take responsibility for their actions. Millions of people kill and die every year simply to increase the wealth and power of the tyrants who manipulate them. Willem Van Spronsen chose to think for himself. He took personal responsibility and did what he could to put an end to what he recognized as injustice. He did not use the Nuremburg defense to excuse his actions the way that every police officer and prison guard does.
In those regards, what he did was heroic.
We recommend the statement about Willem Van Spronsen’s action posted by La Resistencia, a grassroots collective led by undocumented immigrants and US citizens based in Tacoma, Washington.
“Anyone who is determined to carry out his or her deed is not a courageous person. They are simply a person who has clarified their ideas, who has realized that it is pointless to make such an effort to play the part assigned to them by capital in the performance…
In doing so they realize themselves as human beings. They realize themselves in joy. The reign of death disappears before their eyes.”
Audio manifesto: thesuper8.bandcamp.com
There’s wrong and there’s right.
It’s time to take action against the forces of evil.
Evil says one life is worth less than another.
Evil says the flow of commerce is our purpose here.
Evil says concentration camps for folks deemed lesser are necessary.
The handmaid of evil says the concentration camps should be more humane.
Beware the centrist.
I have a father’s broken heart
I have a broken down body
And I have an unshakable abhorrence for injustice
That is what brings me here.
This is my clear opportunity to try to make a difference, I’d be an ingrate to be waiting for a more obvious invitation.
I follow three teachers:
Don Pritts, my spiritual guide. “Love without action is just a word.”
John Brown, my moral guide. “What is needed is action!”
Emma Goldman, my political guide. “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.”
I’m a head in the clouds dreamer, I believe in love and redemption.
I believe we’re going to win.
I’m joyfully revolutionary. (We all should have been reading Emma Goldman in school instead of the jingo drivel we were fed, but I digress.) (We should all be looking at the photos of the YPG heroes should we falter and think our dreams are impossible, but I double digress. Fight me.)
In these days of fascist hooligans preying on vulnerable people in our streets, in the name of the state or supported and defended by the state,
In these days of highly profitable detention/concentration camps and a battle over the semantics,
In these days of hopelessness, empty pursuit and empty yearning,
We are living in visible fascism ascendant. (I say visible, because those paying attention watched it survive and thrive under the protection of the state for decades. [See Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.] Now it unabashedly follows its agenda with open and full cooperation from the government. From governments around the world.
Fascism serves the needs of the state serves the needs of business and at your expense. Who benefits? Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Betsy de Vos, George Soros, Donald Trump, and need I go on? Let me say it again: rich guys (who think you’re not really all that good), really dig government (every government everywhere, including “communist” governments), because they make the rules that make rich guys richer.
Don’t overthink it.
(Are you patriots in the back paying attention?)
When I was a boy, in post-war Holland, later France, my head was filled with stories of the rise of fascism in the ’30s. I promised myself that I would not be one of those who stands by as neighbors are torn from their homes and imprisoned for somehow being perceived as lesser.
You don’t have to burn the motherfucker down, but are you going to just stand by?
This is the test of our fundamental belief in real freedom and our responsibility to each other.
This is a call to patriots, too, to stand against this travesty against everything that you hold sacred. I know you. I know that in your hearts, you see the dishonor in these camps. It’s time for you, too, to stand up to the money pulling the strings of every goddamn puppet pretending to represent us.
I’m a man who loves you all and this spinning ball so much that I’m going to fulfill my childhood promise to myself to be noble.
Here it is, in these corporate for profit concentration camps.
Here it is, in Brown and non-conforming folks afraid to show their faces for fear of the police/migra/Proud Boys/the boss/beckies…
Here it is, a planet almost used up by the market’s greed.
I’m a black and white thinker.
Detention camps are an abomination.
I’m not standing by.
I really shouldn’t have to say any more than this.
I set aside my broken heart and I heal the only way I know how—by being useful.
I efficiently compartmentalize my pain…
And I joyfully go about this work.
(To those burdened with the wreckage from my actions, I hope that you will make the best use of that burden.)
To my comrades:
I regret that I will miss the rest of the revolution.
Thank you for the honor of having me in your midst.
Giving me space to be useful, to feel that I was fulfilling my ideals, has been the spiritual pinnacle of my life.
Doing what I can to help defend my precious and wondrous people is an experience too rich to describe.
My trans comrades have transformed me, solidifying my conviction that we will be guided to a dreamed-of future by those most marginalized among us today. I have dreamed it so clearly that I have no regret for not seeing how it turns out. Thank you for bringing me so far along.
I am antifa. I stand with comrades around the world who act from the love of life in every permutation. Comrades who understand that freedom means real freedom for all and a life worth living.
Keep the faith!
All power to the people!
Don’t let your silly government agencies spend money “investigating” this one. I was radicalized in civics class at 13 when we were taught about the electoral college. It was at that point that I decided that the status quo might be a house of cards. Further reading confirmed in the positive. I highly recommend reading!
I am not affiliated with any organization, I have disaffiliated from any organizations who disagree with my choice of tactics.
The semi-automatic weapon I used was a cheap, home-built unregistered “ghost” AR-15, it had six magazines. I strongly encourage comrades and incoming comrades to arm themselves. We are now responsible for defending people from the predatory state. Ignore the law in arming yourself if you have the luxury, I did.
Early this morning around 4am our friend and comrade Will Van Spronsen was shot and killed by the Tacoma police. All we know about what lead up to this comes from the cops, who are notoriously corrupt and unreliable sources for such a narrative. The story that we do have is that Will attempted to set fire to several vehicles, outbuildings and a propane tank outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma which houses hundreds of immigrants awaiting hearings or deportations. He successfully set one vehicle on fire and then exchanged gunfire with Tacoma police officers who fatally shot him. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
We find his actions inspiring. The vehicles outside the detention facility are used to forcibly remove people from their homes and deport them, often to situations where they will face severe danger or death. Those vehicles being destroyed is only a start of what is needed. We wish the fires Will set had freed all the inmates and razed the entire Northwest Detention Center to the ground. And we miss our friend and wish from the bottom of our hearts that his action had not ended in his death.
Will Van Spronsen was a long-time anarchist, anti-fascist and a kind, loving person. Here in Olympia some of us remember him as a skilled tarp structure builder from the Occupy encampment in 2011. Others remember him from the protests outside the NWDC last summer where he was accused of lunging at a cop and wrapping his arms around the officer’s neck and shoulders, as the officer was trying to arrest a 17-year-old protester. The very next day when he was released from jail he came right back to the encampment outside the center to support the other protesters. He is also remembered as a patient and thoughtful listener who was always willing to hear people out.
We are grief stricken, inspired and enraged by what occurred early this morning. ICE imprisons, tortures and deports hundreds of thousands of people and the brutality and scale of their harm is only escalating. We need every form of resistance, solidarity and passion to fight against ICE and the borders that they defend. Will gave his life fighting ICE we may never know what specifically was going through his head in the last hours of his life but we know that the NWDC must be destroyed and the prisoners must be freed. We do not need heroes, only friends and comrades. Will was simply a human being, and we wish that he was still with us. It’s doubtless that the cops and the media will attempt to paint him as some sort of monster, but in reality he was a comrade who fought for many years for what he believed in and this morning he was killed doing what he loved; fighting for a better world.
This evening around 8pm roughly 30 anarchists gathered at Percival landing in Olympia WA to remember Will Van Spronsen and to oppose ICE. We held road flares and banners reading “Rest In Power Will Van Spronsen” “Abolish ICE” “RIP Will” “Fire to the Prisons” and “Stop Deportation End Incarceration.” We shared stories and memories of Will with each other, laughed, and cried. Some people split off and plastered downtown Olympia with “Immigrants Welcome” stickers, while others drove circles around downtown flying the “Rest in Power Will” from the back of a truck.
May his memory be a blessing.
Love to those still fighting.