Trump directs attorney general to propose bump stock ban | 20 Feb 2018 | President Trump on Tuesday said that he wants to ban so-called bump stocks -- devices that can turn ordinary rifles into weapons that fire like machine guns, such as those used in the mass killing in Las Vegas. "After the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, I directed the attorney general to clarify whether certain bump stock devices like the one used in Las Vegas are illegal under current law," Trump said, referring to Jeff Sessions. "Just a few moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns," Trump continued at the White House.
Well, it looks like gun owners are going to be the sacrificial lamb yet again, as both the Trump administration and the NRA have decided to push for unconstitutional ATF/DOJ gun control regulations. [...]
The Paradise Papers investigation of wealth stashed offshore has won a George Polk Award, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist’s second Polk Award in as many years.
The team of more than 380 journalists from six continents was honored with the Financial Reporting Award, announced by the Long Island University (LIU) at a press conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Based on a trove of 13.4 million leaked files, the Paradise Papers exposed the secret tax machinations of some of the world’s most powerful people and corporations. The files were leaked to German reporters Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier of Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with ICIJ, which brought together a collaboration of more than 90 media partners, including The New York Times, the Guardian and others from around the world.
“What had been a powerful but invisible matrix of hidden wealth known only to specialists has been exposed to the full glare of global public scrutiny and – much to the chagrin of insiders – is now a topic of kitchen-table conversations around the world. And there is no going back,” ICIJ deputy director Marina Walker Guevara noted in ICIJ’s entry letter for the award.
This is the second year in a row that an ICIJ investigation has been honored with a Polk Award, after the Panama Papers also won the Financial Reporting Award last year. It is ICIJ’s third Polk Award.
This year’s awards also gave special recognition to journalists from The New York Times and The Washington Post for “their extraordinary effort in uncovering the connection between the Trump presidential campaign and the Kremlin that led to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation,” according to a statement from LIU.
“The Polk judges felt the investigative work, based on the cultivation of sources, was equally outstanding on the part of both newspapers and may play a significant role in safeguarding our democracy from foreign interference.”
Other winners announced on Tuesday included reporters from The New York Times and The New Yorker for exposing the decades-long sexual predation of the movie producer Harvey Weinstein, The Intercept for documenting the destruction of a covert U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Yemen, ProPublica and NPR for portraying the tragedies behind an alarming increase in maternal deaths in the United States and The Washington Post for digging into the past of U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama to disclose on-the-record accounts of sexual assault. Awards also went to journalists from The Naples Daily News, Phoenix New Times, Buzzfeed, VICE News, CNN, CBS News, and more.
End of the Line is an ongoing podcast about the pipeline struggles in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic. We feature the voices of those directly affected by the proposed infrastructure of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Each episode of End of the Line examines an aspect of the local pipeline struggle, working our way from the very beginning to the issues at stake right now.
Music by Restroy: milkfactoryproductions.bandcamp.com
and Lobo Marino: lobomarinomusic.com
In this first episode of 2018, the pipeline fight is entering a new phase. Tree cutting begins in Buckingham County, and MVP takes 300 landowners to court. Original air date: 2/16/18
Eric King support crew:
We would like to say this situation is representative of a bigger problem within the BOP. There was recent information that has emerged that shows that the way the BOP is handling the hiring freeze is to have nurses double as cops. To quote Nurse Hendricks “I am a guard first and a nurse second,” and THAT is the problem. In the medical field folks are asked to do no harm. Meanwhile they are asked to partake in the psychological torture that prison guards carry out and here is the kicker on the same people they are tasked to keep alive and healthy. One can not be in charge of the health of a person while at the same time the other aspect of their job is to dehumanize them.From Eric King:
Since I have been at FCI Florence I have seen some real cruelty and vileness at a level I didn’t think was possible, ugliness that would make your skin crawl. No, it wasn’t from the gangs or the drug dealers, it was from certain members of the Medical Team. Specifically R.N. Hendricks. Fuck R.N. Hendricks.
Imagine walking out of breakfast at 6:30 AM into the freezing cold mountain air. Once your feet step right outside you see someone wearing scrubs and a smile, and you assume this is a helpful caring person. You are sadly mistaken. Within seconds that person is in your face literally screaming ”SPREAD EM!,” referring to your legs. This person will then proceed to ”pat” you down so aggressively you would be forgiven for mistaking this pat down for an assault. That assault quickly becomes a Sexual Assault when she forcibly grabs your penis and balls, forces her hand between your ass cheeks, laughing horrifically, muttering to herself ”no one is getting past me today!” This is what life is like for many men at FCI Florence.
You may be asking yourself why she is taking this so fucking personal, that is because she sees herself as a ”cop first, nurse second, so don’t try to fuck with me!,” to which one inmate replied ”that explains the quality of your health care.” When an inmate tells her to keep her fucking hands off of his dick, her response is to quip: ”Well you shouldn’t have come to prison!,” before writing up that inmate for having the audacity to not want to be sexually assaulted. Is she looking for knives or escape tools you may ask? Is she doing it to protect herself and her co-workers? Nope, she is looking for extra milks that people may smuggle back to supplement their protein intake. I assure you that no one has ever hid a milk carton in their ass cheeks. Most prisoners held captive here at the FCI have had to deal with this sadistic handsy creep on this level, but some have to deal with her on a much more serious level, and at that more serious medical level Hendricks gets to really express her ugliness and hatred toward inmates.
There amount of horrors that she is accountable for is staggering and hard to put into paragraph form. Inmates with long histories of seizures have regularly had their dosages reduced by her-without doctors permission or knowledge – leading to ugly, violent seizures. If you make the mistake of having a seizure on the 2nd tier, you can expect to be carried down the steps not on a gurney, but by 4 members of staff, dragging you like a sack of potatoes.
Inmates with cancer have REGULARLY been denied doctor follow ups (despite the doctors request), denied medicine prescribed by the doctor, and had information continually withheld by R.N. Hendricks. There are countless grievances against her for ignoring actual doctors’ orders, losing medical inhalers, misplacing medicine, and changing dosages. I know this because I help type many of these grievances, and every time my heart aches for my comrades who have to go through this.
Imagine your brother, father or grandfather has had a doctor order testing for cancer, only to have R.N. Hendricks cancel the testing. Imagine them needing medicine for some disorder, only to have Hendricks change the medicine completely or deny it all together. This ruins lives. Recently she had the goons run into the room of an elderly inmate with colon cancer whom the doctor had ordered to have a walker. Was she racing in to help him? Fuck no; she was taking the walker back, despite the inmate having the approval forms on hand. This is real. This is serious. We have no other medical recourse. How does R.N. Hendricks justify this? ”Shouldn’t have came to prison.”
Recently an inmate filed a lawsuit against her after he went to the sick-call window complaining of pain and swelling in his testicles and she refused him service. He went back every day and each time she denied him help until it got so swollen they had to remove the damn thing. This isn’t shocking to the people inside, we see it happen all the fucking time.
Hendricks is a soulless maggot, but she could not do this without approval or permission from above. She, like every member of this fascist brigade, answers to higher ups. She cannot act alone. She is permitted to do this by the Bureaucrats who do not remove her from her post. By their refusal to act, they are not only allowing it to continue, but condoning the behavior, and why wouldn’t they? This is systematic abuse at its finest and this is what the BOP is masters of. The prison shields, protects, tolerates and accepts her behavior and the literal blood is also on their hands. R.N. Hendricks is an agent of a system that brutalizes other human beings, and as long as this system exists it will continue to act accordingly.
Fuck R.N. Hendricks. Until all are free.
So to update on that I feel it’s important that people know that I was called into the Lt’s office by Lt. Estrada and asked whether I had been sexually assaulted or not. If I said yes I would be placed in Protective Custody and the police would be called and an investigation
would develop which would lead to me being shipped. I am not an idiot. If I said yes and then refused to follow up that is another shot and I would get disciplined for that. I was told to sign a piece of paper saying I was never sexually assaulted by Hendricks. It is important to
note that I never said I was, and only pointed out her very aggressive and questionable behavior. I signed that paper and went to visit with you.
As we detailed a few weeks back, YouTube has become a platform for white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis to promote themselves and recruit new members. YouTube claims on the it “does not permit hate speech” on its platform while allowing these videos to proliferate. YouTube has taken half-measures on this content, such as placing content warnings at the beginning and removing advertisements that run along side the videos, to appease the public while avoiding angering its racist “content creators”. We demand the full removal of this content immediately.Neo-Nazi Groups on YouTube
YouTube is giving a platform to several neo-Nazi groups that are active in the US, two with a known history of violent attacks:
The violent neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division has garnered significant media attention in recent weeks due to links with several murders. In December, Nicholas Giampa, a teenage neo-Nazi who praised Atomwaffen on social media, killed his girlfriend’s parents when they encouraged her to break off their relationship. Samuel Woodward, who murdered Blaze Bernstein in a brutal stabbing potentially because Bernstein was gay and Jewish, was a member of Atomwaffen.
Atomwaffen’s YouTube videos promote the group and document their racist flyering campaigns at college campuses. Each ends with the same call to action:
Rise Above Movement
Rise Above Movement, a neo-fascist group in Southern California who takes inspiration from violent fascist groups in Poland, Italy, and Russia, is dedicated to physically fighting its political enemies. Members violently attacked leftist protesters in Charlottesville and Berkeley. Their YouTube videos glorify their fight training, aggressive physical attacks on anti-fascist protesters, and neo-fascist ideology.
Republic of Florida
Republic of Florida (ROF), a white supremacist militia, advocates for the creation of a white ethnostate in Florida. ROF claimed in media interviews that Nikolas Cruz, who last week killed at least seventeen people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had trained with ROF. Upon further investigation, it appears ROF lied about Cruz’s involvement with the group in an attempt to gain media for the group and recruit more members. It is abhorrent that ROF wants to claim a racist murderer in their membership for PR purposes. Their poorly produced YouTube videos show a pathetic small group of armed white men fetishizing Nazism.No Platform for Fascism Plug-In
We have built a plug-in (available for Chrome and Firefox browsers) that allows users to coordinate reporting of targeted videos for removal from YouTube. The No Platform for Fascism plugin allows anti-fascists of varying political ideologies and experience to take a small action from home to fight the rise of white supremacist activity. Thanks to the over 700 reports filed, so far 2 of the original 10 videos we have targeted using the plugin have been removed.
We have populated videos from these three neo-Nazi groups to the plugin, and will continue to populate additional videos to target for removal. We have also added some more helpful guides in the plugin to improve the user experience. Download the plugin at http://noplatform.macc.nyc
No platform for neo-Nazis! No platform for fascism!
Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Your Friends: Some Starting Places for Drawing Digital Boundaries
The post Take Care of Yourself, Take Care of Your Friends: Some Starting Places for Drawing Digital Boundaries appeared first on It's Going Down.The following includes some basic tips for beefing up online security in regards to your personal cell phone. Also check out, Your Phone is a Cop.
I was inspired by a recent conversation with a friend who works in encryption to write a gentle reminder that even those of us that aren’t really sure what private browsing does have the ability to set boundaries with our devices.
In movements like ours, we try to protect each other against reactionary forces like the state, right wingers and police – we shorthand these practices to ‘security culture’. Smartphones, apps, and social media has changed the way we learn, radicalize and seek care. A reminder: the first android smartphone was released in 2008. The first iPhone was released in in 2007. We have not had much time to adjust to the consequences of carrying a surveillance device in our pockets, especially not a device that behaves so helpfully and addictively, most of the time.
I write this note in the spirit of care – sometimes, phones are the most accessible tool to ask for help, to get emergency notifications, to connect with your friends and family. Don’t let these introductions to digital security and data isolate you or stoke your feelings of paranoia. Rather, consider this an opportunity to reevaluate your relationship with social media and being constantly connected, and try and set some boundaries with the digital world that we carry around with us, check at stoplights, and stare at more than we stare at anything else.
If you’re not technically-minded or don’t want to get too deep into it but still want to protect your privacy, I strongly recommend the Data Detox from the tactical technology collective and Mozilla: https://datadetox.myshadow.org/detox
If you know your way around a bit more, the electronic frontier foundation has detailed ‘surveillance self-defense kits’: https://ssd.eff.org/
To get a quick glimpse into how much google knows about you, log in to your google account and visit myactivity.google.com. Do this for every google account that you have, any google account you’ve logged into on your phone. Take stock of your feedings, delete what you feel moved to, disable some services that you don’t want or need.
Most people associate phones with wiretapping and location tracking – thanks, spy movies. Another, more banal and commonplace aspect is that our phones and social media profiles turn us into datapoints that can tell a bigger trend about our communities. In other words, by tracking Facebook profiles, police and others can get an idea of who knows who and who is influential online. There is a lot of software on the market that offer interfaces that makes this task easier – some available for purchase from the public, some cater to law enforcement. Facebook has a law enforcement login and their guidelines for use are here: https://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/law/guidelines/
For an more detailed piece from the Electronic Frontier Foundation on law enforcement and social media with regard to the J20 defendants, check this out: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/12/beating-back-rise-law-enforcements-digital-surveillance-protestors-2017-review-0
Right now, technology continues to advance and change. The way we think about our tools can’t stagnate. We build healthier boundaries with other people through trial and error and over time. We have to start doing that with our digital presences too. How has technology changed the way I think? What are my feelings of isolation and paranoia and unhappiness like before I look at my phone? After? Does interacting with people I know online deepen my connection to them or cause me to mistrust them? Am I feeling traumatized right now? Bombarded? Helpless? What do I need to do to strengthen myself to survive this moment? Do I want this moment of vulnerability to be on the internet or do I want to call someone who loves me? Why do I feel panic whenever I leave the house without my phone?
On August 22, 2017, Kiwi Herring, a trans woman, was killed by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department while defending herself against a homophobic neighbor. As the only witness to the murder, Kiwi Herring’s widow, Kris Thompson, has been punitively charged with Assault in the First Degree and Armed Criminal Action in order to silence Kris from speaking out against the police. If convicted, Kris faces a minimum of three years in prison with no probation or parole to the maximum of two consecutive life sentences. Please give generously.
Kris’s defense is complicated by the fact that the police department’s own force investigative unit, tasked with investigating Kiwi’s murder at the hands of their own fellow cops, is staffed by detectives who have a history and pattern of covering up police violence against innocent defendants. Not only is Kris’s case serious because the penalty is almost as harsh as a murder case, but the defense also involves investigating Kiwi’s murder.
Kris is represented by Joe Welch, an aggressive criminal trial lawyer with a proven record in defending people and activists who have been falsely accused by the police trying to justify their excessive force.
Here is a statement from Kris:
“I am the wife of Kenny Lee Herring…better known as Kiwi Herring. My wife was one of a kind who will be and still is truly missed..whose life was taken too soon. Everything came so unexpectedly. My children and I were so unprepared. We never thought my wife would be brutally murdered by St. Louis Law Enforcement, but here we are. Starting today we will not give up. We will pray, but while praying I myself and other supporters will be giving our upmost effort to raise funds for legal fees on order to get justice for my beloved belated wife. It hurts to live knowing I was never financially prepared to defend my wife being murdered. It was unforeseen. God says these things will befall us all. Right now I’m asking I’m praying for support from people who still have a conscience and the heart God blessed us all with. Thank you God bless you.”
Kris and Kiwi’s children have lost one parent and now face the possibility of losing another. If you can’t donate, please spread the word and share this with those who can.
The post Bloc Party: Repression and Political Prisoner Updates appeared first on It's Going Down.
While there’s been a lot going on around the bloc, we wanted to get out these very important political prisoner and repression updates as fast as possible.
First up, Scott Walker, a volunteer with No More Deaths was indicted on further felony charges by a grand jury last week. If found guilty, it would mean that others could be charged with “felony harboring” and also, conspiracy for providing humanitarian aid to those in need in the borderlands. These charges, along with the J20 case, attacks on Black Lives Matter and Water Protectors, tell us that the State is looking to expand existing laws in order to attack resistance movements. In this case, they are looking to criminalize the live saving humanitarian work that No More Deaths has been doing for years. As No More Deaths wrote:
Humanitarian Aid Worker Scott Warren indicted on additional felony charge, facing up to 20 year sentence
A grand jury has indicted Scott Daniel Warren, a volunteer with the organization No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, with three felony charges: two counts of felony harboring and one charge of felony conspiracy. The maximum sentence for these charges is 20 years in prison.
The new conspiracy charge is notable, as conspiracy charges have been used by the government to scare and suppress social justice movements and target political dissidents. This case holds critical weight as the Trump administration targets immigrant rights leaders and those who stand with them nationwide. Please donate to our legal defense campaign here: https://www.youcaring.com/nomoredeaths-1095179
No More Deaths is committed to resisting this troubling trend in enforcement and continue our work of ending death and suffering in the borderlands.
Like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera before them, the #BlackPride4 are the latest in the trans and queer tradition of those who are most vulnerable and marginalized within our communities putting themselves on the line in pursuit of liberation for us all.
— No Justice No Pride #FreeTheBlackPride4 (@NJNP_DC) February 12, 2018
The trial for the #BlackPride4 has ended. During the trial of the four Black queer and trans activists, who participated in an action that blocked a Columbus PRIDE march last year to bring attention to the murder of trans people of color, the group Stonewall Columbus actually testified against the #BlackPride4. No Justice, No Pride has the following report:
The trial has concluded for the #BlackPride4; protestors who, with Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus and in solidarity with #NoJusticeNoPride, took direct action on June 17th of last year to disrupt the pride parade in Columbus—the second largest pride celebration in the Midwest.
The direct action by the Black Pride 4 sought to draw attention to “the violence against and erasure of black and brown queer and trans people, in particular the lack of space for black and brown people at pride festivals,” and to highlight the disproportionately high number of trans women of color that had been murdered already, only six months into 2017.
For peacefully protesting police violence in a city whose Division of Police killed at least 28 people (21 of whom were black) since 2013 and is facing over two dozen lawsuits, many of which are for civil rights violations, Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton, and DeAndre Antonio Miles-Hercules were arrested on charges including aggravated robbery, resisting arrest, causing harm to a police officer, failure to comply with a police officer’s order, and disorderly conduct. Bail was originally set at $100,000.
As of Monday, February 12, the trial has ended and the Black Pride 4 are awaiting a verdict.
This is what state repression looks like.
This is what the criminalization of protest looks like.
This is what pride organizers' collusion with the state looks like.
— No Justice No Pride #FreeTheBlackPride4 (@NJNP_DC) February 12, 2018
LGBT spaces should be spaces that value and make room for the most marginalized members of our communities and encourage and support acts of resistance like those carried out by the #BlackPride4. Not spaces where activists are criminalized and attacked for speaking out.
Organizations that choose to name themselves after the Stonewall Riots should be supporting trans and queer people of color in their fight against police violence, not testifying against them. This is a desecration of the legacy of our ancestors.
The #BlackPride4 took action to draw attention to the violence and erasure of black and brown trans and queer folks within LGBT spaces. The fact that their actions were met with criminalization, violence, and laughter from white onlookers is a testament to the urgency of their message. Like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera before them, the #BlackPride4 are the latest in the trans and queer tradition of those who are most vulnerable and marginalized within our communities putting themselves on the line in pursuit of liberation for us all.
The online website, them wrote:
Stonewall Columbus’ executive director, Karla Rothan, has called their parade “a testament to the diversity and inclusiveness of this great city.” Those words were echoed in a post on Stonewall Columbus’ Facebook page following the verdict, which said the organization “is committed to increasing visibility, inclusion, and connection for the LGBTQ+ community.” Yet commenters on the post noted that that commitment became superfluous when Dr. Tom McCartney, Chair of the Stonewall Columbus Board of Trustees, testified in court against the Black Pride 4, calling them a “hate group,” according to the Columbus Free Press. And the swiftness with which the organization threw the protesters under the bus instead of protecting LGBTQ+ people of color says it all. Their efforts represent an attempt to hijack marginalized communities’ much-needed search for visibility for their own gain, under the guide of “diversity” — diversity, it would seem, that has never come.
Last year was cited as the deadliest year on record for transgender women, beating the year prior. Just six weeks into 2018, the fourth known transgender woman was murdered, continuing what has been called a state of emergency for trans women of color, who are killed on average of once or twice per week.
A fundraiser for the #BlackPride4 has been set up, and is getting close to its goal. With sentencing expected in a few weeks, it’s important that people donate and stand behind the #BlackPride4. The fundraiser’s last update wrote:
Legal support fees and care needs for the #BlackPride4 continue to mount, as they have been informed they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, Ashley Braxton and Deandre Miles are estimating costs to exceed $40,000 and need your support in this struggle for liberation for all.
We also want to bring attention to a man being accused of punching an officer in San Diego during protests against Alt-Right trolls coming to Chicano Park. In the following video, you see how the incident plays out, as an African-American man attempted to walk across the street to get away from the far-Right protest. Police then approached the man over literally j-walking, and then swung at him. Police then attacked the man and piled on him, spraying him in the face with pepper spray. As always, the police claimed that the man was looking to grab the officer’s gun, and that their lives were in danger. Support is needed for this individual, who faces several years in prison. Check the video here:
NYC Books Through Bars posted that they’re looking for donations of specific books. If you aren’t able to donate physical books during their book drive, hit them up via Twitter and send them some of that cash burning a hole in your pocket.
We are currently in need of these specific types of books:
* comic books
* graphic novels
* English dictionaries
* Mass-market mysteries/thrillers
Feel free to drop them off today. We have a packing session from 2-5pm at Freebird Books & Goods at 123 Columbia Street, Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/TOkdBXBKWO
— NYC Books Through Bars (@BtBsNYC) February 18, 2018
Animal liberation prisoner Walter Bond has been moved to the Terre Haute CMU:
FCI Terre Haute CMU
PO Box 33
Terre Haute IN 47808
If you recently wrote to Walter at the Greenville Illinois prison address, your letter will probably be forwarded to the new address. If your letter is returned in the mail, just re-send it to the new address.
Thank you to all the supporters who have sent funds for Walter over the last few months while he was on hunger strike and later while he was in the SHU. Now that he is no longer in the SHU and transferred to a new location, your donations will be put to good use.
New York City Anarchist Black Cross has an updated catalogue of political prisoners for download:
We’ve finished the latest version of the NYC ABC “Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War” and it’s available for viewing (and download) by clicking on the tab at the top of this page. This update includes updated mini-bios, photos, and address changes for several prisoners.
While NYCABC’s prisoner guide is an incredible effort, it is by no means a full listing of prisoners who need your love and support. In the coming weeks we plan to share a list of prisoners not otherwise listed in this guide, but who wish to receive support from anarchists and have consented to public address listing. Keep an eye out on the column for that.
The fight for keeping package access for New York State prisoners continues:
Care packages are a lifeline between those incarcerated in NYS prisons & their loved ones. Join us in telling @NYGovCuomo and @NYSDOCCS not to release any revised versions of Directive #4911A. Visit our campaign website today! https://t.co/TFgXCLf0yG #PackagingLove #TellDOCCSNo
— Free the NATO 3 (@FreeNATO3) February 12, 2018
Sacramento Prisoner Support has information about a campaign to stop restrictions in NYC prisons, Keith “Malik” Washington has a new article out on conditions of livestock animals in Texas prisons. Check out the monthly Black and Pink newsletter. In Harlem there is an upcoming benefit and event to free the Move 9 and bring attention to their fight for parole. Eco-anarchist prisoner Marius Mason has also been busy:
— Support Marius Mason (@supportmarius) February 15, 2018
— Support Marius Mason (@supportmarius) February 8, 2018
Durham County District Attorney Roger Echols announced Tuesday afternoon that he is dropping the charges against the five remaining people accused of destroying a Confederate statue in downtown Durham last summer.
The announcement follows a long day in District Court Monday in which a judge acquitted one defendant, Raul Mauro Jimenez, and dismissed the charges against two others, Peter Gilbert and Dante Strobino, after an assistant district attorney presented all her evidence.
“For my office to continue to take these cases to trial based on the same evidence would be a misuse of state resources,” Echols said.
Dozens of Black Panthers are locked away in prisons across the country or are living in exile like Assata Shakur and Pete O’Neal. We demand the immediate release of ALL political prisoners across the country, especially the members of the Black Panther Party! Former political prisoners like Angela Davis and the late Huey P. Newton were freed only through mass mobilizations. We call on our readers to support Black Panther political prisoners by educating people about their campaigns, writing letters to incarcerated Black Panthers, and donating to them directly in prison.
That’s the roundup for the week. We’ve got an exciting guest column coming up from some comrades in Canada involved with prisoner support and organizing efforts. For now, find a couple friends and crank out some letters to send between the bars!
Student School Massacre Survivors and CBS Reporter Party Like Rock Stars - Photos | 19 Feb 2018 | Shocking photos posted to Twitter of a CBS News reporter and students who survived last Wednesday's high school massacre in Parkland, Florida, that killed seventeen students and faculty, show the reporter and students laughing uproariously and posing for the photos like they are partying rock stars. The photos, featuring CBS reporter Gisela Perez and the students, were posted by CBS This Morning staffer Caroline West and student activist Cameron Kasky.
Welcome to volume #4, issue #1 of ATUBES: Digest of the Anarchist Tubes; for the month of January 2018. It took us a little longer than expected to put this all together, but alas here it is.
This month we're taking a closer look at 4 texts published on the website. Enclosed as a PDF, [Letter and A4 compatible,as well as an imposed PDF* of Letter and A4 compatibility] - the January Digest of the Anarchist Tubes.
PDF- https://anarchistnews.org/atubes/atubes_jan_2018.pdf (15 pages!)
Imposed PDF- https://anarchistnews.org/atubes/atubes_jan_2018_imposed.pdf (8 pages!)
The four texts included are:
- A Review of Anarchism in Korea by José Antonio Gutiérrez
- Iran: The Working Class Raises Its Head from insurrection news worldwide dot com
- Notes Concerning the Black Clothing Worn by Some Anarchist Men and Muslim Women by Duane Rousselle
- Illegalist Praxis: Notes on a Decade of Crime by Paul Z. Simons
* music while compiling: Pedropiedra - Rayito/Olita (video oficial) - https://youtu.be/TXPCh-MULRc
teh editor of ¯\_(ATUBES)_/¯
* Note about printing the imposed PDF: Pages are reordered, in one or more groups (signatures), then folded in half. If you have more signatures, you will have to bound them together like a book. With this option, you may want to decide the size of the signatures. This can be a fixed value (4,8,16, etc.), the whole book in a single signature, or an optimized size to reduce the number of blank pages.Tags: ATUBESkoreairanpraxiscrimelluviacategory: Projects
Relatively little attention has been paid to democratic and critical approaches that look into the embedded power dynamics that influence who is allowed access to organizational decision making: whose voices get heard and whose get left out. Where practice is concerned, we see a “democratic deficit” in board governance—that is, an absence of democratic structures and processes.1 Many nonprofit boards fall short of being broadly representative of the public. They tend to be limited to upper-income, professional employers and managerial persons, while the community has little or no representation. In addition, while some nonprofit boards do little beyond rubber-stamping the actions of their executive staff, others are prey to the “iron law of oligarchy,” where decision-making power is concentrated in a small number of non-elected board members and the executive director.GEO front page
It is becoming increasingly obvious to people that profit maximization has very little to do with meeting actual human or ecological needs. According to the Economic Policy Institute and other researchers, corporate profits and worker productivity rise independently of workers' real wages. And increases in corporate profit are more likely to enrich shareholders than to be reinvested in new jobs with good wages. We need better ways of doing business.
Fortunately, there are thousands of profitable businesses that are structurally aligned to take into account the actual needs of workers, and as such, the broader community. In these businesses, workers are the democratic owners of the business. They don't offshore their own jobs, they don't siphon dividends away from their own productivity and they are still provided incentives to maintain a profitable business. For that reason, I agree with The Sun's recent commentary supporting the Maryland Employee Ownership Act ( Jan. 2). It's a step in the right direction.
Go to the GEO front page
Shared-equity homeownership programs just had a big win: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (“the Enterprises”) committed in their Underserved Markets Plans to increase access to mortgages for shared-equity homebuyers over the next three years.
These Underserved Markets Plans (UMPs) were approved at the end of 2017, and are a part of the implementation of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) Duty to Serve program. The intent behind the new program is to bring liquidity to underserved markets and increase access to financing. This is precisely the issue that many shared-equity homeownership programs have faced, especially in the midst and aftermath of the foreclosure crisis: their mortgage-ready buyers have been unable to obtain financing for home purchase.
The barriers to mortgage financing for homebuyers in community land trusts and below-market-rate housing programs has—in large part—been explained by the lack of lender confidence that they could sell these loans on the secondary market, coupled with the greater administrative burden of underwriting these relatively small loans. In the multifamily space, resident-owned communities (ROCs)—in which residents cooperatively own the land on which their manufactured, or “mobile,” homes sit—have faced their own challenges to accessing financing.
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Mueller Probe Heats Up: Thirteen Russians Indicted, Ex-Trump Aide to Plead Guilty, Focus on Kushner Grows
There have been a number of significant developments in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump administration. CNN is reporting Mueller is now investigating Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and his attempts to secure financing for his family's business while working on the president's transition team. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times is reporting former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates has agreed to plead guilty and testify against Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager. Under the deal, Gates will plead guilty to money laundering and illegal foreign lobbying. These developments come just days after the Justice Department indicted 13 Russians and three companies in connection with efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election by orchestrating an online propaganda effort to undermine the US election system. We speak to Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties. She runs the website EmptyWheel.net.
Please check back later for full transcript.
Think of it as the chicken-or-the-egg question for the ages: Do very real threats to the United States inadvertently benefit the military-industrial complex or does the national security state, by its very nature, conjure up inflated threats to feed that defense machine?
Back in 2008, some of us placed our faith, naively enough, in the hands of mainstream Democrats -- specifically, those of a young senator named Barack Obama. He would reverse the war policies of George W. Bush, deescalate the unbridled Global War on Terror, and right the ship of state. How'd that turn out?
In retrospect, though couched in a far more sophisticated and peaceable rhetoric than Bush's, his moves would prove largely cosmetic when it came to this country's forever wars: a significant reduction in the use of conventional ground troops, but more drones, more commandos, and yet more acts of ill-advised regime change. Don't get me wrong: as a veteran of two of Washington's wars, I was glad when "no-drama" Obama decreased the number of boots on the ground in the Middle East. It's now obvious, however, that he left the basic infrastructure of eternal war firmly in place.
Enter The Donald.
For all his half-baked tweets, insults, and boasts, as well as his refusal to read anything of substance on issues of war and peace, some of candidate Trump's foreign policy ideas seemed far saner than those of just about any other politician around or the previous two presidents. I mean, the Iraq War was foolish, and maybe it wasn't the worst idea for America's allies to start thinking about defending themselves, and maybe Washington ought to put some time and diplomatic effort into avoiding a possibly catastrophic clash or set of clashes with Vladimir Putin's Russia.
Unfortunately, the White House version of all this proved oh-so-familiar. President Trump's decision, for instance, to double down on a losing bet in Afghanistan in spite of his "instincts" (and on similar bets in Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere) and his recently published National Defense Strategy (NDS) leave little doubt that he's surrendered to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, the mainstream interventionists in his administration.
In truth, no one should be surprised. A hyper-interventionist, highly militarized foreign policy has defined Washington since at least the days of President Harry Truman -- the first in a long line of hawks to take the White House. In this context, an ever-expanding national security state has always put special effort into meeting the imagined needs (or rather desires) of its various component parts. The result: bloated budgets for which exaggerated threats, if not actual war, remain a necessity.
Without the threat of communism in the previous century and terrorism (as well as once again ascendant great powers) in this one, such bloated budgets would be hard to explain. And then, how would the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines get all the weaponized toys they desired? How would Congressional representatives in a post-industrial economy get all those attractive "defense" jobs for their districts and how would the weapons makers get the government cash they crave?The 2-2-1 Threat Picture
With that in mind, let's take a look at the newly released National Defense Strategy document. It offers a striking sense of how, magically enough, the Pentagon's vision of future global policy manages to provide something for each of its services and their corporate backers.
Start with this: the NDS is to government documents what A Nightmare on Elm Street is to family films; it's meant, that is, to scare the hell out of the casual reader. It makes the claim, for instance, that the global "security environment" has become "more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory." In other words, be afraid, very afraid. But is it true? Is the world really more volatile now than it was when two nuclear superpowers with enough missiles to destroy the planet several times over faced off in a not-so-Cold War?
Admittedly, the NDS does list and elaborate some awesome threats -- and I think I know just where that list came from, too. When I went through the document, I realized that I had heard it all before. Back in 2015, when I taught history at West Point, a prominent departmental alumni -- a lieutenant general by the name of H.R. McMaster who, today, just happens to be President Trump's national security advisor -- used to drop by occasionally. Back then, he commanded the Army Capabilities Integration Center, which was basically a future-planning outfit that, in its own words, "develops concepts, learns, and integrates capabilities to improve our Army."
In 2015, McMaster gave us history instructors a memorable, impromptu sermon about the threats we'd face when we returned to the regular Army. He referred, if memory serves, to what he labeled the two big threats, two medium threats, and one persistent threat that will continue to haunt our all-American world. In translation: that's China and Russia, Iran and North Korea, and last but not necessarily least Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. And honestly, if that isn't a lineup that could get you anything you ever dreamed of in the way of weapons systems and the like, what is?
So can we be surprised that, in the age of McMaster and Mattis, the new NDS just happens to lay out the very same lineup of perils?The Two Bigs: "Revisionist Powers"
The document kicks off with a pivot of sorts: forget (but not forever!) the ongoing war on terror. The US military is on to even more fearsome things. "Inter-state strategic competition [which, in Pentagonese, means China and Russia], not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security," the document insists. Those two countries are -- the Pentagon's most recent phrase of eternal damnation -- "revisionist powers" that "want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model." In other words, they have the staggering audacity to actually want to assert global influence (the very definition of evil in any power other than you-know-who).
This section of the NDS reads like a piece of grim nostalgia, a plunge back into the pugnacious language of the long-gone Cold War. It's meant to be scary reading. It's not that Russian irredentism or Chinese bellicosity in the South China Sea aren't matters for concern -- they are -- but do they really add up to a new Cold War?
Let's begin, as the document does, with China, an East Asian menace "pursuing" that most terrifying of all goals, "military modernization" (as, of course, are we), and seeking as well "Indo-Pacific Regional hegemony" (as, of course, has... well, you know which other country).
The National Defense Straregy isn't, however, keen on nuance. It prefers to style China unambiguously as a 10-foot-tall military behemoth. After all, countering a resurgent China in the Taiwan Straits and the South China Sea ensures a prominent role for the Navy and its own air force of carrier-based naval aviators. In fact, the military's latest "AirSea Battle" doctrine hinges on a potential conflict in a place that bears a suspicious similarity to the Taiwan Straits (and thanks to the catchy name, the Air Force gets in on the action as well). Consider all of this a formula for more blue-water ships, more advanced fighter planes, and maybe even some extra amphibious Marine Corps brigades.
But what about the poor Army? Well, that's where that other revisionist power, Russia, comes in. After all, Putin's government is now seeking to "shatter" the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. No point, naturally, in reminding anyone that Washington was the country that expanded what was, by definition, an anti-Russian military alliance right up to Russia's borders, despite promises made as the Soviet Union was collapsing. But this is no time to split hairs, so bottom line: the Russian threat ensures that the Army must send more combat troops to Europe. It may even have to dust off all those old Abrams tanks in order to "deter" Vladimir Putin's Russia. Ka-ching! (Consider this, by the way, a form of collusion with Russia that Robert Mueller isn't investigating.)
If you look at the Pentagon's 11 "defense objectives" included in the National Defense Strategy document, you get a sense of just how expansive the one great non-revisionist power on the planet actually is. Yes, the first of those sounds reasonable enough: "defending the homeland from attack." Skip down to number five, though -- "Maintaining favorable regional balances of power in the Indo-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the Western Hemisphere" -- and you're offered a vision of what an expansionist attitude really is. Although the NDS claims this country is threatened by the rise of Russia or China in just two of these areas (the Indo-Pacific and Europe), it asserts the need for favorable "balances of power" just about everywhere!
By definition, that's an urge for hegemony, not defense! Imagine if China or Russia staked out such claims. An unbiased look at that set of objectives should make anyone (other than a general or an admiral) wonder which is really the "rogue regime" on this planet.The Two Mediums: "Rogue States"
Now, on to the next group of threats, Uncle Sam's favorite bad boys, North Korea and Iran. North Korea, we're told, is a land of "outlaw actions" and "reckless rhetoric" (never to be compared to the statesmanlike "fire and fury" comments of President Donald Trump). And indeed, Kim Jong-Un's brutal regime and the nuclear weapons program that goes with it are cause for concern -- but they also turn out to be deeply useful if you want to provide plenty of incentive for the funding of the Air Force's and the Navy's trillion dollar nuclear "modernization" effort (that already looks like it may actually cost more like $1.7 trillion). In other words, more nuclear subs, heavy bombers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles, not to speak of the immense cost of recent investments in such missile defense systems as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD).
In this way, "rogue states" couldn't be more helpful. Take Iran, which, according to the NDS, "remains the most significant challenge to Middle East stability." Hmmm. It's hard not to wonder why ISIS, Bashar al-Assad's rump Syria, Saudi terror bombing in Yemen, even old-fashioned al-Qaeda (and its new-fashioned affiliates) don't give Iran at least a run for its money when it comes to being the clearest-and-presentest danger to the region and to the United States. (And that's assuming that, in the Middle East, the US hasn't been the greatest danger to itself. Exhibition one being the decision to invade Iraq in 2003.)
No matter. Anti-Iranian hysteria sells fabulously in Washington, so who wouldn't want to run with it? In fact, the alleged Iranian threat to us is the gift that just keeps giving inside the Beltway. Iran's nuclear threat -- though there's no evidence that the Iranians have cheated on the nuclear deal President Obama signed with them in 2015 and that President Trump is so eager to abrogate -- guarantees yet another windfall for all the services. The Army's air defense programs, for example, should get a long-needed shot in the arm; the Navy will clamor for more Aegis cruisers (with anti-ballistic systems on board); and the Air Force will certainly need yet more bombers for the potential preemptive strike against the nuclear threat that isn't there. Everyone wins (except perhaps the Iranian people)!One "Persistent Condition": Terrorism
And then, of course, there's terrorism or, to be more exact, Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, that surefire funder of the twenty-first century. It may no longer officially be the military's top priority, but the National Defense Strategy assures us that it "remains a persistent condition" as long as terrorists "continue to murder the innocent." The proper question, though, is: How big of a threat is it? As it turns out, not very big, not for Americans anyway. Any of us are so much more likely to choke to death or die in a bicycle or car accident than lose our lives at the hands of a foreign-born terrorist.
And here's another relevant question: Is the US military actually the correct tool with which to combat persistent terrorism? The answer, it seems, is no. Though US Special Operations forces deployed to 75% of the world's countries in 2017, the number of Islamic fundamentalist threat groups has only risen in certain areas like Africa thickest with those special operators. It turns out that all the advising and assisting, all the training and coaching, has only made matters worse. As for those overstretched forces, relentless deployments are evidently breaking them down as reports indicate that rates of mental distress and suicide are again on the rise among them.
Still, here's the positive part of the NDS's continuing emphasis on "degrading" terrorist groups and "countering extremism": it ensures a financial and manpower bonanza for US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). In the Obama years, that "elite" set of forces already experienced a leap in numbers to almost 70,000. (By the way, at what point in the escalation game do such troops stop being so "special"?) Since SOCOM, a joint command that's home to personnel from all the services, hadn't yet been dealt into this NDS version of largesse, it's lucky that terrorism and the war on it isn't going anywhere anytime soon, which means that SOCOM will never want for funds or stop growing.Guns Versus Butter
In 1953, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, a West Point graduate and retired five-star general, gave a speech that couldn't have been more unexpected from a career military man. He reminded Americans that defense and social spending were always in conflict and that the "guns" versus "butter" tradeoff couldn't be a more perilous one. Speaking of the growth of the defense budget in that tense Cold War moment, he asserted that:
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed... This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron."
Those words still seem salient today. As Americans experience acute income inequality, the rising cost of a college education, and ongoing deindustrialization in the heartland, the country's runaway spending continues to rise precipitously. The planned 2019 Pentagon budget is now expected to hit a staggering $716 billion -- more than much of the rest of the world's defense spending combined.
The battle between "guns and butter" is still raging in the United States and, if the new NDS is any indicator, the guns are winning.
Lecce, Italy – Tilt: a place for information and struggle against the TAP ( Trans Adriatic Pipelines)
A place and a paper. Tilt is a new project to try to take up a train of thought that has never been abandoned: that of an opposition to the Tap – and not only – without mediations or compromise, a radical opposition whose point of strength and rupture is constant conflictuality; not only against the Tap and all its collaborators but also against the world of politics that has approved it, the economy that supports it and the managers of order who protect it.
A place in which to discuss, meet, exchange information, self-organize, give and receive suggestions. A paper from where to start to criticize what surrounds us, express what we have at heart.
A paper and a place with which to seek unexpected complicities, to take up again the onslaught of our boldest aspirations. A paper and a place that contribute to making protest explode. For direct actions are needed to stop the Tap, not recourse to the courts or petitions.
A place and a paper that nevertheless won’t be for everyone. They’ll take a side, the other side – the side that believes that the perpetrators of social and ecological disaster cannot be called upon to find a solution.
So inside Tilt, and on the pages of Tilt, there will be no space for parties, unions, committees (no matter how big or small they are), mayors or journalists. For our only chance is in their defeat – a rapid industrial tilt, an irreversible institutional tilt.
Lecce • Via Orsini Ducas 4
(On foot: from via A. Diaz, station underground passage;
by car: Via Lequile to the end of the closed road, then left)
Place for info and the struggle against TAP
Opening on Friday 9/2/2018 from 6pm
Permanent exhibition of ideas and practices on the ongoing struggle
All the enemies of TAP and of the technological monstrosities being realized in some way everywhere are invited.
The presence of authorities, parties (big or small), leaders and would-be leaders, men and women in uniform, mayors, priests, journalist, politicians… is not welcome.
[to put in tilt means to stop functioning, stop complying with the specific requests of a certain structure or organization.]
Translated by Act for freedom now!Tags: TAPTransatlantic pipelineitalycategory: International
Washington, DC, area students and supporters protest against gun violence with a lie-in outside of the White House on Monday, February 19, 2018, after 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last week. (Photo: Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)Why doesn't this site have ads? In order to maintain our integrity, Truthout doesn't accept any advertising money. Help us keep it this way -- make a donation to support our independent journalism.
Building on the nationwide mourning and outrage that followed a Florida school shooting last week that left 17 people dead, dozens of teenagers held a "lie-in" at the gates of the White House on Monday to protest years of congressional inaction on gun control and highlight the National Rifle Association's pernicious influence on the political process.
The demonstration began with protesters -- many of them from the group Teens for Gun Reform (TGR), which organized the event -- lying on the ground in front of the White House for several minutes, symbolizing "how quickly someone, such as the Parkland shooter, is able to purchase a gun in America."
"We have organized this protest in solidarity with all of those who were affected by the horrific school shooting in Florida," TGR said in a statement. "We call on President Trump and leaders from both parties to finally act in the interest of America's youth and end these tragic mass shootings. It is imperative that American children are safe in their classrooms, churches, malls, movie theaters, and streets."
Hoisting signs that read "NRA: There Is Blood on Your Hands" and "Protect Kids, Not Guns," demonstrators also directed "Shame on you!" chants at the White House.
But President Donald Trump -- whose speech in the aftermath of the Florida shooting didn't mention guns once -- was not in the White House to hear the chants or listen to the protesters' demands, as he spent President's Day playing golf at his club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
"We're tired of hearing thoughts and prayers from Congress," concluded one mother in an interview with the New York Daily News. "We want action from Congress."
Watch video of the demonstration:
Dozens of students hold a "lie in" outside the White House to call for tougher gun laws after the Florida shooting pic.twitter.com/FspmzGyiYN— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 19, 2018
Students chant “shame on you” at the White House during a protest calling for tougher gun control laws following the Florida shooting pic.twitter.com/xcM0QBttZY— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 19, 2018
via Freedom News
For most of the last 40 years it has been quite simple making anarchist arguments against the political system. There has barely been a cigarette paper’s difference between the main parties as both rushed to embrace the neo-liberal consensus that sees the role of the State as guaranteeing good conditions for business. And always taking the side of capital over labour in any dispute. Even people far removed from any sort of anarchist or communist politics make the same observation.
Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour Party and subsequent reinforcement as leader after the General Election has changed that. I am personally sceptical that he can deliver very much of what he has promised, but I am not alone in finding it refreshing that a now mainstream political figure has addressed issues that I hold dear, such as housing and workers’ rights. To use a phrase from Chomsky, Corbyn has committed to “widening the floor of the cage.” The experience of Syriza in Greece ought to make Corbyn’s cheerleaders take pause, though to their credit, Corbyn and McDonnell do seem to have thought about this quite a lot. Nor is there any getting away from the fact that there is an awful lot wrong with our society.
But none of this is an anarchist response. What do we say now that the easy “they’re all the same” line is not possible? It’s quite tempting to either fall back on the usual refusal to engage with politicians or be swept up in the momentum of a mild, fairly principled socialist leader suddenly being very popular — at least among certain parts of the country. Neither actually help. We need to revisit what is distinct about anarchism: we are opposed to Capital and the State. We should be talking about our problems with power in all its forms — and it will be interesting if Corbyn ever succeeds in his aim of devolving some powers away from Westminster, likely to be anathema to a centralising Labour Party.
Nationalisation is seen as a panacea by the left. While it is a logical step to try and bring some sense to our fragmented railways and cash-cow utilities, the idea that it is somehow a good thing independent of how it is operated is ridiculous. At no point have any of its cheerleaders suggested the idea of nationalisation under workers’ control.
Who will be in charge of a nationalised utility or railway? The government. Who has kept public sector workers’ pay frozen for eight years? The government. The Birmingham refuse strike was about a local council, Labour-run, trying to force through a significant pay cut. It was not alone — teaching assistants in Labour-run Durham have been fighting a long campaign against massive cuts in pay. This sort of thing seemed to get a lot more traffic when it was being done by the Greens in Brighton, I wonder why?
The Left imagines that the State can be captured and used to overturn the policies of the last 40 years, that all it takes is different personnel at the top. This ignores the class nature of the bureaucracy. Once senior managers in public services are in position, they always bring in reorganisations and new ways of working and usually leave shortly after. This does not just fall from the sky — bureaucrats are motivated by career opportunities and nothing burnishes a CV like a successful reorganisation.
Anyone new coming to this, without the experiences that have formed other bureaucrats, will inevitably look to what their colleagues suggest so as to fit in. The “good” people get captured by the system, which would tend to support a classical anarchist view that it is the system itself which is the problem.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of Freedom Anarchist JournalTags: LabourEnglandcategory: International
Borrowing ideas from the European New Right and "Generation Identity" in France, the "alt-right" is looking to expand a so-called identitarian movement onto US soil. The recently launched "Operation Homeland" project will attempt to recruit young folks on college campuses, beginning in March with an event at Michigan State University.
Surrounded by his bodyguards, alt-right leader Richard Spencer answers questions of reporters during a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, June 25, 2017. (Photo: Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
The "alt-right" didn't really enter the spotlight of mainstream US culture until it dropped back into the gutter. For the first years of its infancy, from the founding of "AlternativeRight.com" in 2010 until the popularization of the #AltRight hashtag in early 2015, members had focused on trying to rehabilitate the image of white nationalism.
A bad public image, terrorist violence, a history of mass genocide and vulgar racism had understandably made white nationalists pariahs, and Richard Spencer, the essential founder of the movement, wanted to wash all that away. Instead, the "alt-right" would take the example of the European New Right and focus on making a pseudo-academic movement that could influence what Spencer identified as "meta-politics" -- ideas and identities that are "pre-political."
It wasn't until the slew of trolls, podcasters and hashtags flowed into their world that the "alt-right" was able to expand, although it came at the cost of their previous base-building "intellectual" work. Now, their major publications have returned to their white supremacist roots, filled with expletive-laced vitriol toward non-white people.
As the "alt-right" movement tries to move from its online world, which has largely kicked members off of their web platforms and into real-world activism, members are having a tough time reconciling their online persona with practical organizing. Spencer is trying to repair that with a new project coming out of his National Policy Institute nonprofit and its tabloid "AltRight.com." This project, aptly titled "Operation Homeland," was launched in the beginning of December 2017 by Spencer and is taking its inspiration from the "identitarian" movement in Europe."Identity Is Our Movement"
The European New Right helped build a philosophical fascist system that was more appealing to Baby Boomers raised on New Left and post-colonial rhetoric, but it was usually separated from practical political organizing. Starting in the late 1960s, far-right philosophers led by Alain de Benoist worked decided to reframe fascist values and ideas in the language of popular national liberation struggles that were erupting across the colonized Global South.
Instead of vulgar racism, they would talk about the "right to difference," and argue for "Ethno-pluralism," which they called a "nationalism for all people." Nationalist politics in France has been dominated by Le Pen's Front National party that, while still marginal, came close to winning the presidential election last year. Marine Le Pen's second place at the finish line is a high-water mark for a party constantly muddled in controversy, but shows the power they are truly gaining. The European New Right's conception of politics, on the other hand, is revolutionary, not reformist, and its meta-political vision was more about building a sense of identity and counter-power.
The European New Right opposes wars because of isolationist views that reject intervention in foreign nations. This fascist movement is anti-capitalist, as members view international trade as culturally homogenizing, and have a vision of communities trading and living in mono-racial exclusivity. They even buck Europe's historically Christian character for its distant pagan roots -- all in an effort to reclaim a romantic mythology about their own heritage and identity.
Out of that philosophical tradition emerged a movement that was more radical than the nationalist parties known throughout Europe, and looking to build a ground-up grassroots movement rather than winning seats in parliament. This has broadly been called the "identitarian" movement; a well-crafted brand name for a movement that members claim is about identity rather than racial animus.
The best known piece of this movement is "Generation Identity" in France, which has banked its success on opposing refugee resettlement in Western Europe, going as far as blocking refugee boats and risking the lives of Syrian children. Generation Identity started as the youth wing of the nationalist Bloc Identitaire movement, bringing together young French people around the amorphous concept of "identity" as a unifying motivator. Immigration -- specifically in regard to immigrants from Muslim-majority countries -- has been Generation Identity's focus, taking the call from European New Right author Guillaume Faye that there is a battle with Islam for the fate of Western Civilization."Identity America"
The "alt-right's" Operation Homeland will be a further attempt at reviving the "identitarian" movement in the US, bringing Generation Identity's format to a broad-based far-right US audience. Operation Homeland will stake its claim on immigration, just as Generation Identity has -- an issue the US far right pursues since it has popularity with the mainstream GOP electorate.
"Our positions are clear: we support immigration restriction and free speech, and we resolutely oppose more wars fought in the interest of foreigners," wrote Richard Spencer in his announcement on AltRight.com. "Homeland is not a broad-based membership organization or social club. Rather, it is a core of part- and full-time activists who provide leadership to the movement as a whole."
From here, the "alt-right" wants to take the atomized world of young, mostly anonymous activists and train them to be leaders in the movement. Organizations like Identity Evropa have already been doing this for almost two years, focusing primarily on college-aged men in a fraternally modeled organization. Operation Homeland will expand that pool, becoming another organization that will work as an independent organization and movement.
Spencer has been building this cadre ever since the creation of AltRight.com and his push into public protests and college speeches. He has brought over a whole new host of young people to support his podcast, security teams and National Policy Institute operations -- many of whom have been publicly doxxed and fired from their previous careers because of their white nationalist views.
It is this group that has helped to organize many of Spencer's events over the past 18 months, including the disaster at Charlottesville, Virginia, last year, and the "alt-right" wants to employ those skills into a professionalized setting. This includes new "alt-right" figures like podcaster Gregory Conte, AltRight.com contributor Christoffer Dulny, Spencer's event-organizer Cameron Padgett, and Eli Mosley, who had a very brief tenure as leader of Identity Evropa. All of these figures publicly signed a letter of declaration on AltRight.com, showing a new willingness to be public with their white nationalism.
Spencer has always had an entourage around him, usually lesser-known commentators and writers in the white nationalist scene. His newest class has aged down significantly, most in their early to mid-20s, and who have given up careers and normal social lives to support his racialist mission. This newest formation owes more to Milo Yiannopoulos's inner circle's inner circle than Spencer's previous efforts, as well as to Spencer's renewed focus on college campuses.
Spencer has staked his claim on forcing state schools to allow him to use their spaces for public speeches and recruitment events. This has been supported by successful lawsuits from his attorney, white nationalist Kyle Bristow, and Bristow's organization, the Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas. The most recent success has been forcing Michigan State University, of which Bristow is an alumnus, to allow an "alt-right" conference on March 4 and 5. This will allow Operation Homeland, along with Identity Evropa, to continue to recruit, which will likely pull from dissident college Republican types and from crossover "alt-light" organizations like Turning Point USA.
While Operation Homeland actually held its first public action on December 3, 2017, along with the neo-Nazi allied Traditionalist Workers Party, it has remained relatively silent since then. The rally, held at Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, focused on Trump's border wall promise, and towed the line on immigration restrictionism. This acted as more of a "coming out" event rather than a part of the organizational program.
Instead, March could signal the real blitz from Operation Homeland, using the hype from campus appearances to start a wave of recruitment and public outreach. This gives an even larger impetus to student-faculty alliances like the Campus Antifascist Network, as well as other student-based antifascist organizing efforts that are seeing the effects of far-right growth on campus.
While the "alt-right" is seeing some level of decline, this may be a way for members to continue bringing new blood into a movement that needs a youth base to stay alive. If they are not challenged, they could become as large as Generation Identity, mobilizing reactionary anger into the kind of violent edge that can cost real lives.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!