NATO once 'lost' underwater drone under Nord Stream, Gazprom reminds | 11 Oct 2022 | The US-led NATO alliance has been very active in waters around Nord Stream and once even managed to "lose" an armed underwater drone right under the pipeline, a Gazprom spokesman has said. "On November 6, 2015, a NATO underwater mine destroyer 'Seafox' was discovered during a scheduled visual inspection of the Nord Stream gas pipeline," Sergey Kupriyanov told Rossiya 24 on Monday. The device was found resting on the seabed at a depth of 40m between the Nord Stream pipelines, almost directly under one of them, Kupriyanov said. The incident, which received limited media coverage at the time, prompted a brief halt in gas deliveries, while the drone was ultimately recovered by the Swedish military.
A critical look at the past four years of organizing against the “Straight Pride” rally in so-called Modesto, California and how antifascists built an autonomous coalition to shut it down in 2022. Originally posted to Pinko.
On August 27th, 2022, over 200 people from across Northern California and the Central Valley converged in Modesto, a city of around 200,000 about an hour and a half east of the San Francisco Bay Area, to oppose the 4th annual “Straight Pride” rally which brought together a broad coalition of far-right groups under a white nationalist banner that openly attacked Jews and the LGBTQ community. While the counter-demonstration was violently assaulted by riot police several hours after it began when a small group of Proud Boys attempted to attack the much larger group, the counter-mobilization was successful in shutting down the rally with mass numbers and a clear antifascist, pro-LGBTQ and pro-reproductive freedom message.
— Pink Knight Press (@pinkknightpress) August 28, 2022
The low turnout on the far-right side, especially among the Proud Boys, is also indicative of a wider trend: despite its increasing embrace by the GOP and Fox News, this hasn’t manifested as big numbers in the streets. In fact, the opposite is happening: growing attacks on LGBTQ+ people and abortion access, both in the streets and the halls of power, are helping to build coalitions that did not exist during the Trump years.The Grundmann Cometh
In 2019, “Straight Pride” rallies gained national headlines when a washed–up Bay Area bigot named Don Grundmann called for a “Straight Pride” parade in Modesto and alt-right militants associated with a group called Resist Marxism in Boston under the banner of “Super Happy Fun America” announced a similar march in Boston. While the two rallies attempted to pull from both the far-right and Trump supporters, they were connected in name only. In Modesto, Grundmann worked with his long-time allies Mylinda and Ron Mason in the local Republican party to form the California Straight Pride Coalition, which grew to include a small cadre of supporters and boasted among its ranks a local pastor and even the former Modesto police chaplain. Also involved in the group was Ryan Schambers, a member of the Stanislaus County Republican Party Central Committee, whose name was quickly removed from its homepage when the media began reporting on Ryan’s involvement in a group that promoted outright white nationalism.
Grundmann then found 15 minutes of fame after appearing before the Modesto City Council, demanding that it sign off on a permit for the “Straight Pride” rally, which was then denied in the face of mass opposition, protests, and packed council meetings. A clip of Grundmann losing his cool before the council quickly went viral in which he referred to the Straight Pride Coalition as a “totally peaceful racist group.” The backlash was so bad that even the local Proud Boys put out a statement saying that they had nothing to do with the demonstration, and despite Grundmann’s statements, would not be attending the rally.
Over 250 people shut down the white nationalist "Straight Pride" rally today in #Modesto in front of Planned Parenthood. Police attacked the crowd with projectile weapons, injuring several, after it successfully repelled an attack by a small group of Proud Boys. pic.twitter.com/1snmjIcq5i
— OFF THE 99 (@Off_The_99) August 28, 2022
Grundmann’s first attempt at a “Straight Pride” rally was a total failure. First the group was kicked out of a local barn once it was discovered who they were, and when counter-protesters learned of their plans to rally in front of the Modesto Planned Parenthood, the group was quickly surrounded by hundreds of counter-protesters and shut down. Realizing he needed to expand his circle, the next year Grundmann and company began working more closely with the Modesto Proud Boys (several of whom attended the January 6th attempted coup) who organized a parallel, QAnon-themed “Save the Children” event. This “Straight Pride” rally also began attracting a local militia, the Echo company out of Oakdale, along with a tapestry of Boogaloo Boys, neo-Nazi American Guard members, and beyond.
Over the next two years, Grundmann and the Masons were able to mobilize around 100 supporters to rally in front of the vacant Planned Parenthood building. Despite the California Straight Pride Coalition website openly referring to the “superiority” of white people, Western Civilization, heterosexuality, and Christianity, Grundmann rushed to deflect calls of racism by harping on Planned Parenthood’s racist and eugenicist past (so much for opposing CRT!) and bringing on board the Black anti-LGBTQ bigot Jesse Lee Peterson, best known for a recent scandal over sexual relationships with his male supporters. The Modesto police were also playing ball, helping to set up barricades and facilitate the far-right rallies in 2020 and 2021, even pushing the Modesto City Council to pass laws targeting antifascists for carrying items like umbrellas and wearing helmets at protests.
Against a backdrop of rising rhetoric and attacks against the LGBTQ community and reproductive autonomy from the GOP, Fox News, and the far-right it seemed as if Grundmann had found a winning strategy.Wins and Losses
But while Grundmann was going viral, others were getting organized to oppose him. In 2019, the media spotlight brought out hundreds to protest his attempts at gaining a permit from the city for his rally, though apprehension by local officials had more to do with the response from “antifa” than the far-right threat. Several locals who set up a Facebook page for a potential protest also sent mixed messages to those who wanted to resist the fascists. At one meeting at a local coffee shop, the “protest” organizers were joined by local clergy and non-profit organizers who told people not to demonstrate, claiming they would instead set up “safe spaces” throughout the day which were all far away from the zone of potential conflict. Meanwhile, the police were pushing the city council to outlaw various “protest items,” using photos of “Berkeley antifa” to sow panic at the threat of Charlottesville-style chaos, rampaging through town.
Despite this, hundreds of people mobilized the day of the first “Straight Pride” rally at a local park, and upon learning that Grundmann and his followers were headed towards the nearby Planned Parenthood, began to march towards the clinic which was located only a few blocks away. Protesters filled the clinic’s parking lot, surrounding a group of about 20 “Straight Pride” supporters, covering their signs with massive banners and flags. Soon the far-right rallygoers called it a day and left the area. After capturing the attention of the nation, the first “Straight Pride” rally ended with a whimper and mass opposition.
The next year, Grundmann again called for protests. In response, autonomous groups that had pushed hard for people to self-organize and come out in opposition to the “Straight Pride” rally in 2019 took a step back as a local non-profit headed up organizing a counter protest. However, several weeks before the event, this group pulled out and called instead for a “caravan” protest to drive by in front of the rally. The day of, militia members and Proud Boys scowled while recording people’s license plates as around 30 cars drove past around 100 “Straight Pride” protesters and a small counter-protest of around 30 people rallied across the street. The event almost led to a brawl when Proud Boys crossed the street, forcing the smaller counter-protest to leave the area. Towards the end of the rally, a “Straight Pride” supporter attempted to run over a counter-protester with their truck, although they were thankfully unsuccessful in hitting them. Feeling defeated, local antifascists lamented this failure, even amidst the wave of rebellion of the summer of 2020.
Mylinda Mason, white nationalist, anti-LGBTQ bigot + key organizer of the 'Straight Pride' hate rally in Modesto re-posted a "prayer" for "victory in a mighty way" by Proud Boy leader Sean Adam Kuykendall. Sean has taken part in numerous violent rallies across the West Coast. pic.twitter.com/AjjKd6eZV4
— OFF THE 99 (@Off_The_99) August 23, 2022
The next year, local organizers tried a different tack, instead organizing a counter-rally at a local park featuring music, speakers, zine tables, and a festive atmosphere that was part anarchist bookfair and part counter-rally. The event itself was a big success, bringing out over 125 people. Despite an attempt by two local Proud Boys leaders to show up at the park and hold a banner (which was later stolen and burned), the far-right made no attempt to disrupt the festivities. However, the event ended on a sour note when a group of antifascists from the counter-rally attempted to support a small group of LGBTQ youth who had left the park to protest across the street from the “Straight Pride” rally. As soon as the antifascists stepped foot on the sidewalk, they were attacked by Proud Boys, who chased several groups of people back to their cars. The ensuing brawl was captured on film and became far-right click-bait celebrating the Proud Boys’ violence.
Going forward, people were left with a difficult question: with local non-profits and progressive churches refusing to back a counter-protest, how would they get out numbers? The initial media blitz around Grundmann in 2019 had also now dried up; the press couldn’t care less about Proud Boys unless they were beating up antifascists, and the local Modesto Bee certainly wasn’t going to run anything critical of the police or report on the GOP–far-right crossover. If organizers wanted to replicate the success of 2019, they needed to bring mass numbers against the far-right, holding the streets before they could mobilize and in such numbers that they could keep people safe.The Mobilization
Knowing that a large coalition needed to be formed to mobilize people across the Central Valley and Northern California, organizers began to network months before the now-4th annual Straight Pride rally was even announced. Meetings were organized and groups began to hold meet and greets in towns and cities across the Valley and beyond. Slowly, a buzz began to build. A website was set up, zines were made, and people prepared to mobilize in late August. By the 27th, a strong coalition of anarchists, antifascists, and some progressives had been formed that stretched across multiple cities and towns.
Amazing research by @Borwin10:
Proud Boys at center of #Modesto "Straight Pride" debacle also took part in:
👊Violent attack on #Pride event in Woodland, CA.
💩Rallied with "White Lives Matter" neo-Nazis against #Pride in Rancho Cordova.
👻Involved in "ghost gun" manufacturing. https://t.co/lkjbWWENU3 pic.twitter.com/LlLGNlnEIo
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) August 29, 2022
The counter-protest on August 27th began at 9 AM, three hours before the Straight Pride rally was supposed to take place outside of a Planned Parenthood which wasn’t even open on Saturday. For two hours, hundreds of counter-protesters rallied with colorful banners, sharing food, water, throwing insults at a street preacher across the street with a sign that looked like it was designed by Dr. Bronners, and taking photos of a police surveillance drone flying overhead. A little after 11 AM, about half a dozen Proud Boys, some like Tyler John Greenhalgh, who had taken part in violent disruptions of of local LGBTQ events across Northern California, dashed past riot police and attempted to attack the crowd. Rushing to the frontlines, people quickly repelled the far-right and in the process threw several fireworks and one smoke canister, which lit a plant next to the sidewalk on fire, billowing smoke into the air.
The violent police response in Modesto yesterday (including shooting people with pepper balls and less lethal rounds at close range) serves as an important reminder: not only do cops not keep us safe, they actively try to prevent us from keeping each other safe.
— UC Davis #CopsOffCampus (@UCDavis_COC) August 28, 2022
Police then pushed the small group of Proud Boys further up the street and then called an unlawful assembly, demanding that the 200+ counter-protesters leave the area or face arrest. Later it emerged that a larger group of Proud Boys had been waiting in a parking lot nearby, but after the first wave was pushed back so quickly, it seems the larger group decided not to engage the much larger crowd.
At this point, people were mainly occupying the sidewalk in front of the vacant Planned Parenthood and in the facility’s empty parking lot. After five minutes passed and another demand to clear the area was given by law enforcement, police began shooting off pepper balls and pushing the crowd back with their batons. Several protesters were hit with projectiles and clubs as cops pushed the massive crowd south onto a major street, Orangeburg Avenue.
In #Modesto today, police harassed counter-protesters over municipal codes about masks – codes cops pushed in order to target antifascists. Meanwhile, Proud Boys were free to cover their faces while engaging in attempted attacks on journalists + protesters. https://t.co/2tcbxC5nc4 pic.twitter.com/TeHMWSOV4Y
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) August 28, 2022
After being violently pushed out of the Planned Parenthood parking lot, the crowd took to the street, marching through a nearby neighborhood and finally rallying at a park. The scheduled “Straight Pride” rally in front of Planned Parenthood did not take place, although about 30 Proud Boys, boomers with the Straight Pride coalition, and elderly anti-abortion activists did rally later in the day in front of another reproductive health clinic across town (which was also closed for the weekend). During this rally a Proud Boy attempted to attack the car belonging to a left-wing journalist as it drove by, and several “Straight Pride” rallygoers were hit with eggs by unknown assailants. Despite having been pushed from their intended target, the “Straight Pride” crowd held a large anti-Planned Parenthood banner, a clear sign that they had failed to hold their ground. By the end of the day, police had arrested three people: two Proud Boys and one counter-protester.Conclusions
The Modesto experience shows both the strength of organizing autonomously, but also how hard it can be sometimes. Autonomous organizers have everything stacked against them: non-profits and local faith leaders push people not to protest, while the police join the attack on communities already under assault by the state and the far-right. While the media can bring attention to the threat of reactionary forces, more often it is simply interested in publishing click-bait and sensationalizing “both sides” without ruffling the feathers of those in power. The ability to go beyond and outside of all of these pitfalls demands of us not only infrastructure, legal observers, medics, communications, media, and beyond, but also the relationships and base building needed to actually organize — especially at a time when social media is hitting a wall of diminishing returns.
Brutal policing at #straightpride #modesto . "Less lethal" rounds fired into a chest, a jaw, and a stomach, rounds that the LAPD dropped because they fail too frequently and are "too dangerous" (LA Times). pic.twitter.com/dsSXeixuCa
— Pink Knight Press (@pinkknightpress) August 28, 2022
In this terrain, winning means being able to build and organize our own networks and infrastructure outside of the institutions and organizations which are poised to throw a wet blanket on self-organization and direct action. But this doesn’t mean also giving up on outreach, building up our coalitions and networks, and drawing in those outside of established radical milieus.
Moreover, it means realizing that despite calls by Biden and the Democratic Party establishment to oppose the “semi-fascism” of the GOP, the neoliberal center is still much more willing to turn its guns on the organized working class in the streets fighting to confront the far-right, than it is to go after the very same groups which took part in the attempted coup on January 6th and now have turned their rage towards attacking whole swaths of the population. The state is not coming to save us, but if we’re willing to fight and build, we have the power to save ourselves.
photo: Off the 99
Colorado: 30,000 foreign residents got vote registration mailer | 10 Oct 2022 | Colorado's secretary of state office says it mistakenly sent postcards to about 30,000 noncitizens encouraging them to register to vote, blaming the error on a database glitch related to the state's list of residents with driver's licenses. The office of Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold insisted none of the noncitizens will be allowed to register to vote if they try. The news comes at a time of widespread skepticism -- often unfounded -- of voting integrity following the 2020 presidential election and as Griswold, who has touted her role as a national advocate for secure elections, seeks reelection in the November midterms. Colorado's Republican Party chair, Kristi Burton Brown, condemned Griswold for the error, saying in a Monday statement: "Jena Griswold continues to make easily avoidable errors just before ballots go out" by mail on Oct. 17.
From ANews Podcast
Welcome to this week’s podcast. This podcast is on anarchist activity, ideas, and comments from the previous week on anarchistnews.org.Notes:
Written by chisel, read by chisel & grumples!
A reading from theanarchistlibrary
Curtains of Blood by Paul Z. Simons (excerpt)
Read & sound edited by Max Res
A discussion prompted by some things posted this week
Storywriting, Islam & Anarchism, Post-Anarchism & Psychoanalysis, Health Autonomy Convergence 2023.with special guest Fee, Max Res & octox
sound editing by octox
Music & Samples:
Queens Of The Stone Age – Sick, Sick, Sick
The Blasting Company – Prelude (Over the Garden Wall OST)
The Blasting Company – Pottsfield C.M. (Over the Garden Wall OST)
Flyleaf – I’m So Sick
Wretched – VI: The Exodus Of Autonomy (Instrumental)Tags: podcastANews Podast
Federal Reserve announces major 'pilot exercise' for ESG social credit score system By Jordan Schachtel | 30 Sept 2022 | The Federal Reserve has taken a major step in the direction of facilitating an ESG compliant monetary network that effectively acts as a parallel system to that of the Chinese Communist Party’s infamous social credit scoring system. The Fed said in a statement Thursday: "Six of the nation's largest banks will participate in a pilot climate scenario analysis exercise designed to enhance the ability of supervisors and firms to measure and manage climate-related financial risks. Scenario analysis--in which the resilience of financial institutions is assessed under different hypothetical climate scenarios--is an emerging tool to assess climate-related financial risks, and there will be no capital or supervisory implications from the pilot." In other words, The Fed is working with the big banks to monitor their ability to comply with the ruling class's preferred enviro statist technocratic tyranny... ESG acts as a trojan horse for the continuing centralization of the American financial system.
via The Hollywood Reporter
by Jordan Mintzer
It’s hard to think of a better title than the one writer-director Cyril Schäublin came up with for his second feature, which chronicles the political fervor swelling beneath the surface of a quiet, picturesque industrial town in late-19th century Switzerland.
That town, nestled cozily beside the Jura Mountains, is home to a factory where workers meticulously assemble watches by hand, setting the tiny balance wheel, known as an unrueh (unrest), with the type of scientific precision that the Swiss are famous for. But the real unrest is happening all around them, as the burgeoning anarchist movement takes hold of the factory as well as the community, pitting the workers — almost all of them women — against the powers-that-be who run everything like clockwork, reducing humans to mere cogs in the wheel of the capitalist machine.
Venue: New York Film Festival (Main Slate)
Cast: Clara Gostynski, Alexei Evstratov, Monike Stadler, Hélio Thiémard, Alice-Marie Humbert
Director, screenwriter: Cyril Schäublin
1 hour 33 minutes
The film occasionally shifts its focus onto two of the townspeople caught up in the struggle — the young watch assembler Josephine (Clara Gostynski) and the real-life Russian anarchist Pyotr Kropotkin (Alexei Evstratov) — but their story is only part of a larger one depicting Western Europe on the brink of transformation, with seeds being firmly planted for the labor and feminist movements that would explode during the next century.
Unrest is therefore a political film, as well as an historical one. But it’s also discreet and thus, extremely Swiss, with none of the fiery rhetoric of classic leftist dramas like Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1900 or Warren Beatty’s Reds. Schäublin draws more inspiration from Robert Bresson, casting non-professional actors and keeping passions subdued, while only hinting at a possible romance between Pyotr and Josephine. He also bears the influence of the French directing duo Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, who used Brechtian distancing techniques to convey their socialist narratives, with characters reciting texts rather than saying their lines.
While the drama never exactly ignites, Schäublin keeps us constantly fascinated with his detailed historical recreations and keen observations on science, manufacturing and technology, and how they weighed upon the souls of workers and owners alike. In the factory, Josephine and her fellow watchmakers are not only on the clock all day long, but their every gesture is measured down to the exact second, in a drive for industrial efficiency that, decades later, would come to be known as Fordism. The town itself is on the clock as well — actually several different clocks bearing different time signatures, with a telegraph message providing the precise time on the hour.
How human beings fit into this equation seems to be the major question posed by the anarchists, who have invented a form of collective action and mutual dependence that allows them to strive for universal workers’ rights while preserving a strong sense of community. Pyotr, who first appears on the factory doorstep as a visiting cartographer, is in reality a key ambassador of the Russian anarchist movement — he would famously pen several tracts and books in the decades that followed — and the map he’s drawing up is not an ordinary one, but rather a detailed chart of anarchy in the region.
It’s as if the town and Switzerland itself were in the midst of a seismic political shift, and Schäublin reveals how the ruling class is doing all it can to maintain the status quo. While the anarchists try to turn the tools of the capitalists against them, using telegrams to spread the word and photographs as an early form of agit-prop, the managers and elected officials — all of them men, of course — employ the rather friendly local police force, as well as other means, to keep the revolution in check.
Much of the political turmoil is either unseen or unspoken, or else spoken in a soft voice. There are no major battles in Unrest, no workers beating their ploughshares back into swords to fight the power. Like the watches that Josephine and the other women piece together in the factory, setting microscopic pins in place to get the mechanism running, the political upheavals here are being carefully assembled for the future.
Schaüblin’s filmmaking is at the same careful remove as his storytelling: Characters are typically framed off-center or in the background by cinematographer Silvan Hillmann, to the point that it’s sometimes hard to tell who the real protagonists are. The director used similar methods in his 2017 début, Those Who Are Fine, which tackled contemporary malaise in a Switzerland of stifling call centers and the criminally neglected elderly, using a distanced approach to convey the alienation of modern life.
Even if it’s aesthetically similar, Unrest is certainly the more hopeful of the two movies, set in a past where a better world, and perhaps a good love story, are still possible. It’s less interested in political grandstanding than in depicting how politics are lived on a quotidian basis — and how, in today’s parlance, the microaggressions one suffers on the job can gradually snowball into revolt. Like the photographs of Pytor, Josephine and other locals that are guarded by the townspeople as precious keepsakes, the film is a work of carefully realized group portraiture, freezing one moment in time amid the winds of change.
Venue: New York Film Festival (Main Slate)
Production company: Seeland Filmproduktion
Cast: Clara Gostynski, Alexei Evstratov, Monike Stadler, Hélio Thiémard, Alice-Marie Humbert
Director, screenwriter, editor: Cyril Schäublin
Producers: Linda Vogel, Michela Pini
Director of photography: Silvan Hillmann
Production designer: Sara B. Weingart
Costume designer: Linda Harper
Casting directors: Rhea Plangg, Io Baur
Sales: Alpha Violet
In French, Swiss-German, Russian
1 hour 33 minutes