The post Anarchist & Antifascist Thoughts on The New Zealand Shooting appeared first on It's Going Down.An anarchist and antifascist response to the State’s reaction to the New Zealand mass shooting.
March 15, 2019 marks one of the most horrifically visible manifestation of far-Right hatred that most can think of in the last couple of decades. A “lone wolf,” whose actions were incubated in hate filled internet forums like 8chan, posted a Facebook link to a live stream of him murdering 50 people and wounding an additional 50. The victims were from two different mosques, several miles away from each other in Christchurch, New Zealand, between the ages of 2 and 71.
Littered throughout his video and the manifesto the killer linked before the domestic terrorist attack, were multiple signals to the racist memeing sub-culture he was inspired by. White supremacist symbols were drawn onto both his firearms and equipment, most notably a Nazi black sun wheel on his plate carrier and 14 words written on top of his red dot. During the live-stream on Facebook none of the 200 people watching live reported the video and immediately started posting its contents all over the internet praising the shooter for carrying out the attack. Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter failed to act quickly allowing the video to be circulated millions of times. Users also thwarted the AI of these platforms from ripping the video by slightly altering the video.
If you watched the video and dig into some of the reporting you will come to realize that in the middle of a city the gunman shot people for seven continuous minutes, left the area to another mosque across the city, nearly fifteen minutes away, and killed seven more people until he was confronted by a potential victim who was worshiping at the mosque when it came under attack. According to Abdul Aziz, he first confronted the shooter by throwing a credit card machine at him, then ducking behind cars to prevent being shot, only to chase him down again after picking up a gun the terrorist had dropped earlier.
“Abdul Aziz prevented more bloodshed with his decisive and aggressive response. He used improvised tools as well as the shooters own gun to stop the attack. The State and the police on the other hand were unable to respond in a timely manner.”
“When he saw me with the shotgun in my hands, he dropped the gun and ran away toward his car. I chased him,” he said. “He sat in his car and with the shotgun in my hands, I threw it through his window like an arrow. He just swore at me and took off.”
Abdul Aziz prevented more bloodshed with his decisive and aggressive response. He used improvised tools as well as the shooters own gun to stop the attack. The State and the police on the other hand were unable to respond in a timely manner. They did eventually stop him and now believe that he was on his way to a third mosque. The mantra, “when seconds count, cops are just minutes away” has renewed weight after this mass shooting. In fact, intelligence agencies set the stage by averting their gaze from white nationalist organizing under their nose and ignoring right wing extremism entirely from their intelligence gathering.
A blanket disarming of an entire populace under the barrel of police and military guns is just the thing a State with a terrified and vulnerable community do. Assuredly, if firearms were to remain available, Muslims and members of other targeted communities would begin to arm up in earnest, which is too threatening and challenging to the established order. The government did however manage to ignore warnings from within the community about the gun club the shooter was a member of. They were told by a concerned member of the community who had visited the gun club that members openly Islamophobic and proudly displaying confederate flags – proving once again that it’s a symbol of white terrorism. The concerned person was given no serious thought by authorities.
The rhetoric of DO SOMETHING! DO ANYTHING! pushes fickle and malnourished solutions presented by politicians to the front of the line. Often as that same practice does in America, it misidentifies the root causes of this violence, discourages the deep introspection and self criticism that would challenge societal structure, and appears to accomplish something while leaving substantive solutions erased from the popular consciousness or without the ability to gain momentum.
In fact, this instance, and for that matter mass shootings across the world, is an opportunist dream for the State to re-enforce its legitimacy and the need of the populace to depend on their security apparatus for safety. That is already being seen with the New Zealand police tracking down people at their workplaces and showing up at their front doors demanding they open their gun safe and give over their guns. “This isn’t us” dominates public discourse, when it is in fact exactly the collective “us” that allows the views which motivated the shooting to spread and fester until it consumes lives. Now the battle and energy in the discussion has shifted to gun ownership rather than Islamophobia.
“Often as that same practice does in America, it misidentifies the root causes of this violence, discourages the deep introspection and self criticism that would challenge societal structure, and appears to accomplish something while leaving substantive solutions erased from the popular consciousness or without the ability to gain momentum.”
In the weeks after the attack, New Zealand enacted a series of laws which reclassifies just about every semi automatic gun, with a capacity of more than 5 rounds for shotguns and 10 rounds for rifles, as a military style semi-automatic’s (MSSA) which put them under more strict licencing laws. The authorities will begin to institute a buyback program and will destroy the guns afterwards. No surprise to leftists, but the police will be the main entity administering the program and enforcing penalties on folks that are reticent to comply. Already the gun reclamation program appears to have taken a life.
Reportedly, a 16 year old boy in New Zealand had his profile picture reported to authorities on line, when he uploaded an old photo of him with an air rifle. Police came out in force to search the home. His father who was on his way back home, then fled the area when he saw the several police outside of his home. The authorities tracked down his vehicle shortly afterwards, catching him in a nearby park area. They deployed an additional helicopter, a spec operations team, and a negotiation team. They established contact with the 57 year old father and tried to get him to come out, while detaining his family. Reportedly he made calls to his son, an ex-partner, and a friend – telling them goodbye.
Authorities fired gas canisters into his car, blowing out his back window, and found him dead from an apparent self inflicted knife wound. Reporting on the story in the last few days suggest that he collected a bunch of WWII Nazi paraphernalia and a neighbor reported that he would do something similar to a Nazi salute at times. Those details certainly complicate the narrative, but interestingly him being a Nazi doesn’t appear to be the motivation for the raid or the reason for the militarized response. From the reporting that factor appears to be more happen stance than a material consideration in the authorities approach. So far, there isn’t any reported connection between this victim and the Christchurch shooter. In sum, it appears that authorities just received a tip from an online user reporting the sons profile picture, and responded with multiple units and a helicopter to execute a search warrant for weapons during what is supposed to be a 6 month amnesty period for gun owners to come into compliance with the law. Thus far, the implication is that, irregardless of political affiliation, this extremely cohesive and violent approach to gun owners can and likely will be repeated into the future.
The clearest example of misplaced weight being thrust into a fruitless gun debate and away from materially effective practices is New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and their powers under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 (FVPCA) to restrict certain Internet Service Providers which distribute offensive content. Despite being limited in its powers to filter internet content within the country at its conception, the program, also known as Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System (DCEFS), won that ability in 2010 and began implementing the filtering system, with the stated purpose of filtering sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Ironically, 4chan and 8chan has an established history in that category well before 2019, but the DIA wasn’t interested in ripping down those sites until they hosted and wouldn’t pull down video of the March 15th massacre. They did arrest a 22 year old in NZ for distributing the material under the FVPCA. So the legislation does in fact has some teeth relevant to terroristic video content. Even then, it was only a temporary measure for websites 4chan and Voat. Permanently denying access to the websites the shooter was radicalized on and tailored his content for is just too radical a measure apparently. As of right now 8chan is still blocked. The rub here is the battle around political dissent and free speech. Subsequently, there is very little push by the media to discuss this issue at length.
‘“This isn’t us” dominates public discourse, when it is in fact exactly the collective “us” that allows the views which motivated the shooting to spread and fester until it consumes lives. Now the battle and energy in the discussion has shifted to gun ownership rather than Islamophobia.”
This is the nexus of the upcoming battle lines in the US and technologically developed countries as reactionaries use the internet to organize and inspire random acts of violence the world over. Enter Cloudflare, a service that helps deliver the content of a given website to the viewer more efficiently as well as providing protection for the content. Cloudflare is particularly effective at stopping DDoS (Denial of Service) attacks on websites, as well as other forms of attack that could potentially severely disrupt websites, say like 8chan, which is an actual benefactor of that Cloudflare’s protection (so are several of the most popular ISIS websites for that matter). If Cloudflare were to end its protection of the site it wouldn’t take the website down, but it would remove its shielding making it very vulnerable, which almost guarantees the site would end up deplatformed and sequestered deep into the dark web, stunting its reach and impact. As a rough metaphor, they are just some of the cops from among a squad of cops that stand in between speakers and their audience.
Cloudflare and other similar service providers, such as BitMitigate, which now hosts Dailystormer after it was kicked off Cloudflare, take a strong stance on free speech and being “content neutral.” They have made strong arguments that it is not the responsible entity for monitoring and censoring the content of the websites it hosts. True enough, they are a private company who isn’t really beholden to anyone. Subsequently though, they are not a legitimate entity to stand in the way of legitimate feedback from the people either.
Cloudflare and the protections they are imbued to provide make them unaccountable referees of sorts, standing in between fascists and anti-fascists, the government and its people, speakers and their audience, and making sure that everyone plays by the rules of a game that doesn’t really have a name or any set goals. Those rules are being set largely by governments, but also loose agreements between the CEO’s of different intermediary companies in the internet supply chain who services make content accessible from the speaker to their audience.
Ironically, Cloudflare recognizes that protection from attacks on the web isn’t a guaranteed right. Less ironically, they don’t seem to understand that allowing feedback to speech is not something people who speak are protected from, and a DDoS attack is a form of direct feedback. Kinda like a noise demonstration drowning out the public speech of a racist. The fear from the CEO of Cloudflare, as well as the EFF and similar groups, is that removing those protections will make the internet as a whole the wild west, and that powerful entities like governments or big internet corporations, that are a fundamental part of the webs infrastructure and concentrated into into a handful of organizations, will wield undue power when they start making decisions on who can and can’t say whatever on the web.
Confused yet? So am I. It’s a complicated field and being effective at knowing how to tackle this problem through direct action is an area of analysis that the Left just hasn’t grappled with in a serious material manner or built our own infrastructure around. We have made good critiques of liberal conceptions of free speech, especially as it relates to the public realm, but may need to develop some more depth to figuring out direct actions on the web beyond doxxing, and how to leverage public pressure on who and what entities when it comes to internet infrastructure. What’s clear though, is that the collective we, especially folks with the skills to do so, should be spending time tracking, thwarting and infiltrating 8chan, 4chan, Voat and the like. The authorities certainly don’t seem interested in doing so.
Meanwhile, the media in America has hit the familiar sound bites after mass shootings by honing in again on firearm ownership and gun control legislation while focusing little on the threat of white nationalism and the infrastructure that supports is growth. They even go as far as minimizing his hatred as a ploy for fame and notoriety, while leaving his deep hatred of Muslims explored with little depth or structural analysis. He is portrayed as an aggregated individual, disconnected from mass culture- he is “NOT US.” The truth is, yes he was signaling to his chan buddies, but he didn’t murder 50 people principally to impress anyone. He was primarily trying to kill his enemy. He did it in a way that will inspire his allies in hate to act and commit violence. He did it to accelerate tensions and cause the most amount of conflict on the global stage. He did it on a stage that was built by global trends in white fear of vulnerable communities, led by Americans first and foremost.
“have simple plans in place for when violence on any scale happens if reactionaries enter into your space, and make security a normalized element of your political activities.”
In light of all this, targeted folks and dedicated community organizers everywhere are contemplating what we can do to prevent these actions in the future and what lessons can be drawn from this particular instance so we can fight like hell for the living. Developing tangible actions and analysis around who is responsible for what on the internet as discussed earlier is certainly one thing. Monitoring, infiltrating and deplatforming 8chan, 4chan, and similar sites is certainly another. Being that those are forums people are being radicalized in, we would do well to pay more attention to those areas. Outside of those considerations there is much more to consider in terms of practicality and assessing threats going forward.
First we should touch on the practical matters. The folks that inspired this attack don’t just target or hate Muslims, they hate folks of color, immigrants, women, and the LGBTQ+ community too. It is incumbent for us to have strong and renewed commitments to build networks across all those lines together. White nationalists are looking for soft targets among leftist organizers in particular.
In a post by crying Nazi Chris Cantwell, he encouraged, “mass shooters should find left wing activists and gun them down instead of random people in mosques and synagogues.” The shooter himself picked soft targets to attack. His manifesto reveals that he desired to live through the event, maybe eventually freed when a conservative wave pardoned him as a hero.His fleeing behavior after being confronted indicates that as well. He wasn’t looking for a fight, he wanted to do damage and run, not engage in a firefight. In fact, when police caught him it doesn’t appear that he had any intention to shoot at them and escape. Many mass shooters live through their attacks. Hardening your spaces and setting up a security plan with the ability to scale its response to escalating attacks should be extremely important now as an effective form of deterrence from non-state, vigilante violence. It’s also better equipped to address violence as it unfolds. Waiting on a security apparatus to respond quickly and efficiently to end a threat may not be the best answer. In Orlando the authorities took hours to neutralize the threat, and when physically confronted he shot at hostages he took while authorities where waiting outside, resulting in another death.
Video of the massacre also showed how quickly murderous violence can play out. He used common military and SWAT tactics of surprise, speed, and violence of action to overwhelm his victims. He was so effective at this that while he was reloading in the middle of the floor, with his backs turned to people he had not shot yet, that they stayed in their corner stunned. To overcome this we need to mentally prepare and train ourselves to have both the attitude and skills to fight off an opponent if the time comes. Abdul Aziz proved that point. He even did so without an actual weapon, just a credit card reader. If you don’t have the skills and attitude to fight, decisive action to get to cover or concealment is of vital importance.
Additionally, the speed of the attack should inform how you carry your firearm and how you set up security. If you carry a firearm with you, I hope that the speed of the attack will open your eyes to the reality of these situations and that you need to carry chambered if at all possible. In that environment having the fine motor skills to put a round in the chamber would prove to be extremely difficult.
“we gotta continue to call out liberals. Shifting the conversation to gun ownership instead of locking horns with white supremacy and the spaces they are allowed to operate is a fucking travesty.”
The time to take security concerns as serious as you do political analysis is here. Arm folks for security at your events, have simple plans in place for when violence on any scale happens if reactionaries enter into your space, and make security a normalized element of your political activities. If you are unable or unwilling to carry a firearm, effective mace can be a huge difference maker. Anti-racist and antifascist organizers, even if you aren’t militant, must begin to more seriously grapple with security concerns at our meetings and events.
In the American context, guns are most likely gunna stay. Reactionaries already have them, know how to use them, have the willingness to escalate, and see you as an acceptable target. Self-defense is not violence, its survival. You deserve to live. So, wherever you land on the gun debate, these weapons aren’t going away and you have to think through how you are going to deal with it. Are you going to have the the things in place which enable you to effectively fight back?
Folks focused on community defense have to think in particular how to organize and lend a hand in these situations. If you are arming yourself and your network you need to look at this instance and others and figure out what skills you need to develop. Learn cover and concealment, and the differences between them. Think through how to get your people out of a situation. Have an exit or extraction plan for your meetings. Dedicate brain power, real energy, and resources to building a security network that reaches past the symbolic sphere of politics and into the material world on a neighborhood or household level. Don’t just slap some ad hoc security shit onto your public or regular events and meetings as a last minute thought or an inconvenience to the operation of your community organization. Do an an actual area study of different threats and make it appropriately accessible and understandable to the people around you.
Antifascist and anti-racist organizers already do this, but double down. Jokes aren’t jokes, we need to call that shit out all day. Jokes are the bait and switch that 4chan and 8chan run off of. Fuck those jokes. Additionally, we gotta continue to call out liberals. Shifting the conversation to gun ownership instead of locking horns with white supremacy and the spaces they are allowed to operate is a fucking travesty. Their nauseating weak kneed responses that focus on the symptoms of a problem, is a core element allowing this shit to continue to fester.
Solidarity to all of you.
This article was written by the host of the Red Strings and Maroons Podcast. You can the audio episode related to the New Zealand Shooting here. Check out the podcast at patreon.com/redstrignsandmaroons or redstringsandmaroons.com. RS&M is available for download to your device via iTunes and Google Play.
From Anews podcast
Welcome to the anews podcast. This podcast covers anarchist activity, ideas, and conversations from the previous week on anarchistnews.org.
Editorial: Acting, by DimTOTW: Anarchist Anti-imperialism, with Aragorn! and notnull
sound editing was by Linn O'Mablewhat's new was written by Jackie and narrated by Chisel and DimMusic! 1) Tim Hecker - Rainbow Blood2) Tim Hecker - Dungeoneering3) Tim Hecker - Blood Rainbow
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.” – Assata Shakur
The #BlockTheWall Network is calling for April to be a month of solidarity and support for migrant communities. We are also calling for disruptive actions against ICE/Border infrastructure on May 1st.
Calling all anarchists, abolitionists, and anti-capitalists. Together we can support migrant communities, get resources for people in need, and build the political space for open borders, the abolition of ICE, and border-communities to be liberated from “open-air” prisons.
There are multiple initiatives already demonstrating hospitality to migrants and physically defying the border that separates the United States from Mexico:
- HELP END THE DEATHS IN THE DESERT! NO MORE DEATHS: NO MÁS MUERTES
- HELP CARAVAN WOMEN START KITCHEN BY THE BORDER: HELP CARAVAN WOMEN START KITCHEN BY THE BORDER
- SOMI SE’K VILLAGE BASE CAMP’S: SOMI SE’K VILLAGE BASE CAMP
- SOMI SE’K VILLAGE SUPPLY & BASE CAMP AMAZON WISH LIST: SOMI SE’K VILLAGE WISH LIST
- BUILD A VILLAGE; SAVE THE EARTH: SOMI SE’K VILLAGE VOLUNTEER SIGN-UP
- SOUTH TEXAS HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER: SOUTH TEXAS HUMAN RIGHTS CENTER
- PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE ON THE BORDER: PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE
- BORDER ANGELS CARAVAN AID SUPPORT: BORDER ANGELS CARAVAN SUPPORT
- CARAVAN SUPPORT NETWORK INTO ACTION: CARAVAN SUPPORT NETWORK
- NEW SHELTER FOR CARAVAN MIGRANTS: AUTONMOUS SHELTER FOR CARAVANER@S
- LEGAL SUPPORT FOR MIGRANTS: AL OTRO LADO
- LACAUSACARAVANA – JOIN THE MOVEMENT: OTAY MESA DETENTION RESISTANCE
- LGBTQ+ SAFEHOUSE: CASA ENYAA LGBTQ+ SAFEHOUSE
If you are in borderlands and are able to offer support on the frontline, assistance is needed daily in various forms, such as driving or walking donations across, showing up for a cooking shift, become a drop-off site for others to leave their donations, become an overnight assistant at a shelter, or look to indigenous-communities already leading resistance to the US-Mexico border. Send us an email to be connected to groups already doing great work, at email@example.com.FROM AFAR
Cash funds are the most valuable means of support. Needs and conditions change every day and hour. The local initiatives on the border are full of knowledge people. Cash funds give those folks on the ground greater flexibility and control as they respond to emergencies and build infrastructure that can adapt to their changing needs. We’ve also created our own to fund to help support local organizers.
There are many substantial ways for folks who live farther away from the border to contribute. We’ve listed some specific ones, but please let your imagination run. And, be sure to email us whatever solidarity initiative you get going—all the fundraising events, donation drop-off sites, sponsorship programs, knitting circles, etc.
Host a solidarity event as a fundraiser for one of the organizations or projects listed on our solidarity section. Accepting cash donations from attendees is a great way to build community and solidarity at the same time. Punk shows are planned to benefit migrant communities in DC, Dance Parties in Bloomington, and other events planned around the country.
Send valuable, hard-to-get resources, such as medical supplies, and tech devices to support migrant coordination and migrant-led & frontline reporting, such as cell phones, laptops, batteries, wifi hotspots, and wifi infrastructure.
Translate! Translation help is always in demand. Folks who speak Spanish, Creole, French, Russian, and indigenous languages common to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua could work from home on translations of legal documents, work papers, idenitfication records, etc.
Share your knowledge and create specialized, user-friendly multilingual guides. Migrants spend months waiting in an illegal list process at the border. They speak many different languages and have few reliable resources for information. Organizers need to know about security culture, identity protection, and doxx prevention. Medic field guides empower people to be ready for tear-gas attacks, wound care, dehydration, and other stress recognition, and diy women’s and trans health zines empower people to care for their bodies. Everyone can benefit from meditation or self-care zines full of affirmations. Children get no education and no programming as they wait. Digitized lesson plans, work books, blank coloring sheet designs can change that!
Become a sponsor through an active-placement network, like SURJ, or form a group with others to teach folks what the process of sponsoring an asylum-seeker is and support each other in this work. Sponsoring an asylum seeker can mean anything from a few months to a year’s commitment and can dramatically improve an asylum-seeker’s likelihood of release from detention.
Always boost fundraisers & call-outs within your networks by writing with personal comments along with your retweets & reposts.
Contribute a poster or shirt design and we’ll host it when we launch our support store.FOR MAY 1st
Disrupt the operation of detention centers in your community. Adults are imprisoned in over 200 centers across the US. There are also over 100 “shelters” holding children captive, often in residential neighborhoods, and often unlabeled. Find a center near you and fight for its closure, hold solidarity demos outside, hold those who profit from this machine accountable. Together we can show that migrants are welcomed.
Dismantle the arms of the system in your own community—there are many local resources that Chicanx, immigrant, Latinx and migrant communities have created. Those communities and resource outlets are lead by them and some are autonomous of the state. We ask that you find ways to get invited, allow them to organize within their communities’ capacity, and support in ways that protect their community’s organizing. Here is an article with a zine to help folks outside of migrant support communities to remember to be an accomplice.
Call for Anthology Submissions: There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart: Mending the World as Queered Anarcha-Jews
From Cindy Milstein
“On nights like these when the moon’s face is obscured by darkness, much is illuminated: the stars dance a dance over six thousand years old, and spin tales, new and old, of our collective and individual futures. Shadows come alive.” (From the zine Tohuvabohu)
This is a call for stories crafted by rad feminist and/or queer Jewish anarchists to be woven together into the fabric of an edited anthology in book form. It emerges from my own broken heart, and my constant quest to build up resilient scar tissue for the next ache. It also arises out of an increasingly full heart, strengthened over the past two years by crossing diasporic paths with other feministic and queer Jewish anarchists. And it lives in the “shadow space” of those of us who’ve too often been made invisible within or left out of Jewish traditions and histories, teachings and rituals, cultures and politics. As the quotation above begins to point to, though, we are coming alive, perhaps thanks to those shadows—rebels in a world that needs so much repairing.
Through stories, at once poetic and poignant, There Is Nothing So Whole as a Broken Heart aims to highlight that the convergence of radical feminism, queerness, anarchism, and Judaism is no accident. There is something—indeed, many things—about these parts that make for a greater whole, and a more ethical one at that. As such, this anthology aspires to illustrate that a queered anarcha-Judaism offers a powerful elixir to help us better critique and make sense of the present as well as envision and prefigure a future in ways that are deeply humanizing, egalitarian, and ecological. It also hopes to show how a queered anarcha-Judaism has much to contribute to contemporary questions related to structural forms of hierarchy and violence, such as colonialism, capitalism, statism, fascism, and heteropatriarchy, to name but a few, and equally crucial, forms of collective freedom that point beyond them.
So what tale would you want to tell—through lenses that can be personal and/or collective, magical and/or based on myriad lived experiences, philosophical and/or political, and much more—about what a queered anarcha-Judaism means to you and this world? How have we gotten here, based on ancestral trauma (such as enslavement, displacement, white supremacy, and genocide) as well as ancestral resistence, strength, and imagination, and what does or could that say to others who experience persistent historical pain and sustain their communities nonetheless, especially outside states? What do we do with the wholeness of our particular heartbroken self-understandings and liberatory values, in ways that stress our brave vulnerability and honest yet humble reflections, not to mention Jewish humor? How do you interpret or live out the imperative that “we are the grandchildren of the Jews they could not burn”? Or how do we draw from various cultural and religious teachings and practices to bring what could be seen as disparate identities—radical feminist, queer, anarchist, and Jew—into a fullness that holds out much promise?
I’m looking for fiction, nonfiction, and dreamy in-between stories by queered anarcha-Jews—those anarchists who are rad feminists and/or queers, and as expansively understood, Jews from across the diaspora and globe—who can also tie that into the content of their writing. I’m desirous of stories that are as beautiful in their wordsmithing as in their thinking—meaning, pieces that dig into the messy, nuanced, emotion-filled wholeness of what it means to strive to be a good person striving for a good society with others. I’m seeking storytelling the reflects the way that we Jews/anarchists question, debate, and continually rethink our ideas and practices. The tales should have a compelling arc, but not wrap up with tidy or “happy” ending. As Jewish political philosopher Theodor Adorno observed, “Open thinking points beyond itself”—and I’d add, open hearts do too. So I’m hoping for stories that allow people to see themselves in your words, in radically tender and insightful ways, and stories that challenge as well as touch people, allowing folx to co-learn and co-feel together. (For a sense of what I’m looking for in terms of “feel,” see my edited anthology Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief, published by AK Press.)
You can submit stories ranging from about 500 to approximately 4,000 words, or get in touch with questions or ideas, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send submissions as a Word file, in .doc format, Times Roman, 12 point, double spaced.
Deadline: September 1, 2019
Trump seeks to cut foreign aid to 3 Central American nations | 30 March 2019 | Taking drastic action over illegal immigration, President Donald Trump moved Saturday to cut direct aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, whose citizens are fleeing north and overwhelming U.S. resources at the southern border. The State Department notified Congress that it would look to suspend 2017 and 2018 payments to the trio of nations, which have been home to some of the migrant caravans that have marched through Mexico to the U.S. border...Trump has been promising for more than two years to build a long, impenetrable wall along the border to stop illegal immigration, though Congress has been reluctant to provide the money he needs.
Pete Buttigieg says his team raised more than $7 million in first quarter | 01 April 2019 | | 2020 Democratic contender Pete Buttigieg has raised over $7 million in the first quarter of the year, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor announced on Twitter Monday morning. Buttigieg is the first Democrat to publicly reveal his first quarter figure...[but] it's an impressive amount for a little-known 37-year-old mayor of a small town who is trying to break through a crowded field of better-known Democrats. "This is just a preliminary analysis, but our team's initial report shows we raised over $7 million dollars in Q1 of this year. We (you) are out-performing expectations at every turn. I'll have a more complete analysis later, but until then: a big thank you to all our supporters," he tweeted. Buttigieg launched an exploratory committee for a 2020 presidential bid in January, but has not officially launched a campaign.
For an introduction on how to write to prisoners and some things to do and not to do, go here. If you have the time, please also check IWOC’s listing of prisoners facing retaliation for prison strike-related organizing. And congratulations to Joseph Buddenburg, a former animal liberation prisoner who’ll be celebrating his birthday in freedom this month after being released last year!
Delbert Orr Africa: One of the MOVE 9. The MOVE 9 are nine men and women were imprisoned in August 8, 1978, following a massive police attack on their home in the Powelton Village neighborhood of Philadelphia. The raid was a major military operation carried out by the Philadelphia police department under orders of then-mayor, Frank Rizzo. During this attack, heavy equipment was used to tear down the fence surrounding their home, fill the house with tear gas, and flood it. One of the cops on the scene was killed by a single bullet, most likely fired by another cop from above during the raid. All nine members of the MOVE organization were put on trial and convicted of murder.
Birthday: April 2
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Delbert Orr Africa #AM4985
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733
Charles Sims Africa: One of the MOVE 9.
Birthday: April 2
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Chares Sims Africa #AM4975
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733
Georges Ibrahim Abdallah: Lebanese revolutionary political prisoner held in France.
Mr. Georges Ibrahim ABDALLAH
CP de Lannemezan
204 rue des Saligues
Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald: Black Panther political prisoner, held in prison since 1969 for his participation in a shootout between police and Panthers, as well as being framed on a separate murder charge.
Birthday: April 10
Romaine Fitzgerald B-27527
P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539
Janet Holloway Africa: One of the Move 9.
Birthday: April 13
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Janet Holloway Africa #OO6308
SCI Cambridge Springs
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733
Walter Bond: Imprisoned ALF activist serving 12 years for animal liberation arsons.
Birthday: April 16
Walter Bond 37096-013
FCI Terre Haute CMU
PO Box 33
Terre Haute IN 47808
Vadim Boyko: Antifascist football/soccer fan from Belarus, serving a four-year sentence for a fight with far-right hooligans.
Birthday: April 19
Use this handy form from ABC Belarus who can translate your message for you, or send mail in Russian or Belarussian to:
IK-17, ul. Pervaya Zavodskaya, 8
213004, Shklov, Mogilevskaya obl.
Boyko Vadim Sergeyevich
Roy Brown: Ferguson rebel convicted of looting during the Ferguson uprising, along with other unrelated robbery charges.
Birthday: April 20
Roy Brown #1310047
11593 State Highway O
Mineral Point, MO 63660
Mumia Abu-Jamal: Mumia is an award winning journalist and was one of the founders of the Black Panther Party chapter in Philadelphia, PA. He has struggled for justice and human rights for people of color since he was at least 14 years old; the age when he joined the Party. In December of 1982, Mumia, who moonlighted by driving a taxi, happened upon police who were beating his brother. During the melee, a police officer was shot and killed. Despite the fact that many people saw someone else shoot and then runaway from the scene, Mumia, in what could only be called a kangaroo court, was convicted and sentenced to death. During the summer of 1995, a death warrant was signed by Governor Tom Ridge, which sparked one of the most effective organizing efforts in defense of a political prisoner ever. Since that time, Mumia has had his death sentence overturned, but still has a life sentence with no opportunity for parole.
Birthday: April 24
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM8335
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733
Janis Mathis: A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now given up on its attempts to charge Mathis in relation to the Vaughn uprising, Mathis deserves respect for staying in solidarity with his codefendants throughout the process and refusing to cooperate with the prosecution.
Birthday: April 24
Sussex Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 500
Georgetown DE 19947
Janine Phillips Africa: One of the Move 9.
Birthday: April 24
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Janine Phillips Africa #OO6309
SCI Cambridge Springs
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733
The post Mexico: Update After Eighteen Days of the Prisoner Hunger Strike in Chiapas appeared first on It's Going Down.This communique comes from the Working Group No Estamos Todxs, family members and ex-prisoners after eighteen days of the prisoner hunger strike in Chiapas.
Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas
Monday, April 1st, 2019
Eighteen days have passed since six of our compañeros, prisoners in struggle, decided to begin an indefinite hunger strike. Since then, seven more have joined the strike. Seven others have supported and struggled from inside the prisons, but their health conditions or isolation has prevented them from carrying out the strike. Thus, there are twenty compañeros in total who are struggling from inside different prisons in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
This strike is the result of much injustice and torture, horrible legal processes and too many years of arbitrary imprisonment. It is also the result of organization, of struggle and of dignity. It is the response to a situation of kidnapping, the scream of dignified rage and rebellion of our imprisoned compañeros. It is also our scream.
In these eighteen days of walking together, prisoners, ex-prisoners, families, friends and the Working Group No Estamos Todxs, we have suffered many abuses.
The pressure we were able to exert forced the government to open a space of dialogue with the families and human rights organizations. This space, more than attending to the demand in the struggle for the freedom of our compañeros, became a space of re-vicitimization, and of exhaustion for the families and all of those accompanying this process. From the first meeting, the officials assigned to the dialogue could only offer to read the files and refer them, again, to the court-appointed lawyers. These lawyers, speaking in generous terms, have carried out a nefarious defense at best…and that’s when they actually did their work. In the end, what they offered us is what they are obligated to do and have not done for years and years. That is not a gift. That is their obligation! And if that wasn’t enough, they lie, they refuse to recognize the torture that is documented by the FRAYBA Human Rights center in the thirteen cases, and they ignore us in a racist and classist manner.
We, those who organize from below, share the pain and rage. We came together to carry forward this dignified struggle for the immediate and unconditional freedom of our imprisoned compañeros. Maybe we don’t understand the words of the government officials, but that is not a reason for them to denigrate us. We are not going to continue our dialogue with the government that doesn’t give us anything. We are not going to fall into this exhausting game and of course we will not accept the judicial solution they have proposed to us. We totally reject this type of mediation and we demand a solution to the situation of the twenty compañeros in struggle, with competent people that have the capacity to give a solution, and who recognize the political character of the struggle of our imprisoned compañeros. They have been pushed into a situation where they already feel they have nothing to lose and it will be the responsibility of the government if the life or well being of the prisoners is put at risk.In addition, the government has not fulfilled their commitment to guarantee the minimal conditions necessary for our compañeros to carry out their hunger strike. This past Friday, March 29th, our compañeros, Marcelino Ruiz Gómez and Baldemar Gomez Hernández—on a hunger strike in CERSS No. 10 of Comitán—decided to sew their lips together. The following day, the warden along with ten prison guards threatened our two compañeros. They submitted them to different forms of physical and psychological torture, stripping them naked and covering them in cold water against their will. The compañeros denounced the acts and decided to stop undergoing medical checkups. They demand the dismissal of the warden of CERSS No. 10 of Comitán, David Arias Jiménez, and we support that decision. We do not only hold the warden responsible, but also the director of the prison, the officials at the dialogue table, the state government lead by governor Rutilio Escandón Cadenas and the federal government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
We also demand fulfillment of the petition of our family members and compañeros of CERSS No. 14 “El Amate”. They seek a transfer to CERSS No. 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, in order to be closer to their families. Right now, because of the great distance and economic cost involved, they cannot be with them in these important moments.
In spite of the lies, deception, and disrespect that we have suffered throughout this time, we, as well as the compañeros in struggle inside the prisons, will not be intimidated. We will not allow ourselves to be insulted, kidnapped, assaulted and our rights to be violated. We know of the difficulties and the suffering that the path of this struggle brings but hunger, weakness, fatigue and sadness…are more than compensated for with solidarity and dignity. We know well that on this path only will we achieve the justice and freedom that we seek.
We hold responsible the state and federal government for any new aggression or other forms of harassment that our family members, our imprisoned compañeros and us might suffer. We also hold responsible the federal and state government for any health repercussions that the hunger strike might cause our compañeros. We also demand that the right of our compañeros to strike be recognized and that all cases of torture suffered by our family members and compañeros are investigated.
We reiterate that we do not recognize the dialogue table or negotiation that they have organized. We demand a political solution for the freedom of our compañeros. This way out can only happen through the immediate and unconditional freedom of our twenty compañeros, prisoners in struggle.
Finally, we want to thank all of the expressions of solidarity we have received since March 15th, both from those who were able to attend the different actions we have carried out, as well as to those that have supported us from a distance, both in Mexico and in other parts of the world. We especially want to thank our imprisoned compañero in struggle, Miguel Peralta Betanzos, who carried out a day long fast in solidarity with our compañeros from the prison of Cuicatlán, Oaxaca. We also want to thank the compañeros from Zapatista Europe who protested in front of the Mexican embassy in Madrid. And to many other compañeras and compañeros.
IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL FREEDOM TO THE PRISONERS IN STRUGGLE!
UNTIL WE ARE ALL FREE!
Family members, friends and compañerxs of the prisoners in struggle
Working Group No Estamos Todxs
Biden accused by second woman of improper physical contact | 01 April 2019 | A second woman has come forward to accuse former Vice President Joe Biden of inappropriate touching, further complicating the prospective presidential candidate's political future and intensifying what has become a social media reckoning on his previous public behavior with women. Amy Lappos, 43, first told the Hartford Courant in an interview published Monday that Biden grabbed her during a $1,000-per-plate October 2009 fundraiser for Connecticut Democrat Rep. Jim Himes. Lappos, who initially posted about the episode on Facebook on Sunday, was working as an aide for Himes at the time.
Connecticut woman says then-Vice President Joe Biden touched her inappropriately at a Greenwich fundraiser in 2009
Connecticut woman says then-Vice President Joe Biden touched her inappropriately at a Greenwich fundraiser in 2009 | 01 April 2019 | A Connecticut woman says Joe Biden touched her inappropriately and rubbed noses with her during a 2009 political fundraiser in Greenwich when he was vice president, drawing further scrutiny to the Democrat and his history of unwanted contact with women as he ponders a presidential run "It wasn't sexual, but he did grab me by the head," Amy Lappos told The Courant Monday. "He put his hand around my neck and pulled me in to rub noses with me. When he was pulling me in, I thought he was going to kiss me on the mouth."
The post CrimethInc. Podcast Returns with Interview featuring No More Deaths appeared first on It's Going Down.Long running anarchist media collective CrimethInc. returns with the Ex-Worker podcast to present an amazing interview featuring a volunteer with No More Deaths.
Listen and Download HERE
Clara: Hello, and welcome back to the Ex-Worker! Yes, you heard right—the Ex-Worker is indeed back from the dead. Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated. The truth is, there’s just too much still to do to wrap up this project just yet. Unless something pretty substantial has taken place between when we recorded this and when you downloaded it, chances are the world in which you’re listening to this still has borders, police, patriarchy, white supremacy, government, capitalism, and impending ecological catastrophe. So, suffice to say, we’ve still got our work cut out for us.
When started this podcast project almost six years ago – seems hard to believe! – the anarchist media landscape in North America looked quite different. The Final Straw was up and running as a radio show, and you could find traces of a very small and scattered handful of mostly dormant anarchist audio projects. But we were stepping into what we saw as a void in our efforts to make consistent contemporary anarchist analysis, news, ideas, history, interviews, and so forth in an audio format. The show has obviously changed a lot over the years, as those of you who’ve been longtime listeners know well. We’ve had episodes as short as half an hour and as long as over two hours; we’ve done audio documentaries, long interviews profiling local scenes or movements, historical reflections, theoretical discussions, audio versions of zines and articles that have appeared elsewhere from CrimethInc., and plenty of other things, not to mention three seasons of the Hot Wire news show.
And over that time, the anarchist audio and media landscape has really expanded. Whereas before we were just a couple of isolated projects, now we’ve got a whole litany of podcasts and other affiliated projects. The Resonance Anarchist Audio Distro, Solecast, This is America from It’s Going Down, Rustbelt Abolition Radio, Primal Anarchy, Rebel Steps, From Embers; the Final Straw is still raging after nearly a decade, including their occasional Error451 radical tech show. Not to mention all the badass video and other stuff our comrades at SubMedia keep putting out! And all of these projects and more are connected through the Channel Zero Network, and linking up with projects across the world like A-Radio Berlin in Germany, Subversion 1312 in Australia, Dissident Island Radio in the UK, and tons of others—and not just in English—through international networks of anarchist radio projects who now have a yearly gathering to discuss and coordinate activities. When we got started, we never could have imagined that we’d be part of such a vibrant and interconnected ecosystem of projects across the world.
So moving forward, what’s our niche in that ecosystem? What can we offer? We’re still trying to figure that out. Obviously there are limits to what we can do, being a small collective that has never made a dime from our efforts, and subject to the miseries of poverty, state repression, overwhelm, burnout, crises of confidence, heartbreak, and other mundane problems like all the rest of you. At the same time, we’ve got years of relationships built through interactions with you lovely listeners, connections throughout anarchist networks inside and beyond the US, and a platform we can use to make a contribution to the struggles that (at least have a chance to) make our lives livable and worth living.
So all of this is a long way of saying that yes, the Ex-Worker is going to keep on going. But like all things, it’s going to continue to evolve and change. As always, we’re open to your thoughts and feedback, and we’d like to hear from you about what direction you think we should go, and what role we can play alongside the other projects in the anarchist media landscape. But we’ve got some plans up our sleeve, and we want to tell you about them.MIGRATION, BORDERS, AND RESISTANCE IN THE TRUMP ERA
So it’s 2019, and even if you’ve been living under a rock the past two years you’re probably aware that borders and migration have been central points of conflict in the US and all over the world lately. Are we going to live in a world we can move through freely without borders, or one in which violent states and capitalist interests maintain global inequality by increasingly surveilling, constraining, and directing people’s movements? That’s the questions we’re all fighting to answer, and the stakes are high.
Those of you who follow other CrimethInc. projects know that a year and a half ago we released a book called No Wall They Can Build: A Guide to Borders and Migration Across North America. It describes both the first-hand experiences of a solidarity worker on the US/Mexico border over many years and the analysis about migration, the global economy, and state power the author developed through those experiences.
The recent government shutdown and Trump’s efforts to impose construction of a wall have put questions of the border and migration on everyone’s radar today, including lots of folks who really weren’t thinking about it or paying much attention to the crisis there previously. Folks are increasingly recognizing how more people were deported by the government under the Obama administration than in any previous presidency; of course, the communities targeted by this repression were organizing fiercely against it the entire time, but today there’s a new groundswell of activism in response to anti-immigrant rhetoric and policing.
The kind of xenophobic fury stirred up by Trump has a long history in the United States. Since the 1800s, nativist movements across class lines have targeted foreign-born Catholics, Jews, southern and eastern Europeans, anarchists and radicals, Chinese and Japanese, Mexican and Latin American, and most recently Muslim and Middle Eastern folks as scapegoats for everything from economic woes to moral decline. However much the targets change, the structure remains the same; Trump tapped a deep vein in the unconscious of the US that remains powerful.
But as we’ll hear, while right wing and Republican rhetoric takes an especially harsh anti-immigrant line, the two parties are united in their commitment to nationalism, citizenship, exclusion, and policing borders. As anarchists, it’s critical for us to articulate that Democrats will not be our saviors, that policing and borders themselves are the problem, and that direct action and solidarity have the best shot of building towards a world without them.
After Trump’s election, we made an effort here at CrimethInc to learn from what anarchists have been doing to show solidarity with migrants in and around Fortress Europe. We proposed a concrete direct action strategy to target ICE here in the US, which began to take hold in the summer of 2018, with blockades and other actions targeting ICE facilities around the US, as well as actions against private prison companies profiting from migrant detention.
Media reports swelled of horrific cases where ICE officials separated families, tore children away from their parents, and detained them in for-profit facilities. “Abolish ICE” moved from a fringe radical slogan to a mainstream demand, espoused even by some Democrats—which unfortunately indicates that it doesn’t go far enough (as if the point was to change which government agency oversees violence against immigrants, rather than ending that violence itself!) Yet despite the massive wave of negative attention, the current administration relied so strongly on anti-immigrant rhetoric to mobilize its base that it was willing to actually bring the federal government grinding to a halt over its determination to intensify the brutal border regime. Of course, the problem, we’ve argued, is that it didn’t go far enough—we want to shut down all of the coercive operations of government permanently while reclaiming the functions of horizontal coordination and social support that it appropriates for its own ends. Still, as the weeks ground on and the rhetoric escalated, anarchists helped to organize the “Block the Wall” call to action, in hopes of catalyzing the kinds of direct action that could redirect energy from Democrats and reforms towards actually interrupting the regimes of borders and policing that underlie both parties.
Yet as the country gears up for yet another nauseating presidential spectacle, we can already see liberals and even many radicals stuffing their heads in the sand as they prepare to justify going all out for the lesser evil. To address the death and despair along the border and the global caste system it upholds, we need a narrative that focuses not on the supposedly exceptional character of Trump’s border policy, but rather on the essential inhumanity of the institution, which persists from one administration to the next. So No Wall They Can Build, which documents the gross injustices of the border regime under Obama, is more timely than ever.
For some time we’ve been wanting to make an audiobook version of the text. In part, because we know many folks these days prefer the flexibility of listening to reading; in part, because it’ll become accessible to different people that those who’ll end up with a hard copy of the book; and in part, just because it’s a beautifully written and powerfully moving story, and we wanted to help give it voice and share it. And as we see it, now is as urgent a time as ever to be bringing attention to the senseless brutality of the border regime, and to do all that we can to catalyze solidarity with migrants throughout the Americas and beyond, as well as those who suffer consequences for acting in solidarity with them.
Another reason we wanted to promote the book today is because No More Deaths, whose solidarity efforts are described in its pages, has been subjected to a particularly harsh wave of repression in the months since it was released. At the time of publication, as you’ll hear in the introduction, no volunteer with the group had ever been convicted of any crime associated with their solidarity work. That has changed, as the state has initiated a wave of arrests of humanitarian volunteers in an effort to discourage and criminalize the group’s efforts to prevent death in the desert. We hope that if the stories contained in the book move you, that you’ll do whatever you can to show support for targeted migrant communities and the solidarity workers who attempt to help them.
To put the book into the context of the developments of the past two years since it was finished, we contacted a current participant in No More Deaths, who spoke with us about the differences and continuities between the border regime under Obama and under Trump, the impact of the national debate over Trump’s wall along the borderlands themselves, the surveillance and repression the group has undergone, and the forms of resistance that have intensified in recent years.INTERVIEW WITH NO MORE DEATHS VOLUNTEER
Alanis: Welcome to the Ex-Worker. Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little but about how you got involved with No More Deaths?
Maria: Sure. My name’s Maria; I’ve been volunteering with No More Deaths for over a decade. I initially came down around 2006–2007 to the border, did some work on the US/Mexico, both sides, and have been an active participant in the group ever since.
Alanis: So we’re about to be releasing an audio book of No Wall They Can Build, which goes into a lot of depth both with analysis about the border regime and how it works in terms of global migration from south to north and the flow of people, resources, capital, etcetera across these borders; and also with a lot of personal stories about life doing solidarity work in the desert. So the book was written over a period of many years, but mostly during the Obama era, when there was a president who a lot of people, accurately or not, thought was a lot more of a friend to immigrants and immigrant communities. Now that we’re living in the Trump era, Trump’s policies about immigration and the border are obviously one of the most high-profile things that radials tend to react against. So to get started with our conversation about releasing this book, I wanted to see if you could tell us a little bit about what continuities and what differences have existed since the time that this was written, since the Obama era through to the Trump era.
Maria: Sure. I think if you look at the differences between Obama and Trump’s managing of migration and enforcement, it’s really just one of vitriol in discourse; but if you actually look at the infrastructural policies, I think there’s a lot more continuity between the Obama era and the Trump era than a lot of people really acknowledge. I would say that Trump is only able to enforce a much more xenophobic and violent and wide-reaching immigration enforcement system because Obama has infrastructurally put in place both the physical infrastructure and the legal infrastructure for Trump to be able to expand the mandates and dictates of the Border Patrol and ICE in our current era.
So I don’t actually think there’s that much difference between them. It’s kind of a soft control versus hard control: where people get taken into custody and in what manner in what kinds of violence they experience at the hand of the state, and then the numbers. I think Obama played a game that had to do with differentiating between deserving and non-deserving categories of migration; Trump simply shifted those categories. I don’t actually think the game that Trump is playing is very different; it’s just about how criminality has been employed against undocumented communities in various ways. So the difference is really mostly in rhetoric, you know, which does have a difference.
And then also there’s been a lot of coverage in the news lately about the undocumented minors crisis, and taking children into custody. And I think it’s really to point out that that was policy that was put into place under Obama administration, and facilities in Pennsylvania and Texas have existed to incarcerate minors. And that the zero-tolerance policy under Trump would not have been possible, just logistically, without the infrastructural investments of the Obama era.
Alanis: Speaking of that difference you mentioned between hard and soft power, I’m been thinking about that in terms of making sense of the crisis going on in national politics around Trump’s effort to force the construction of a border wall, and the way that Democrats are positioning themselves as if they’re resisting Trump and talking about something totally different; whereas if you actually look at the proposal, it still involves more militarization, more funding for border enforcement, things like that, but just with the absence of a physical wall. So given that this has been such a major national controversy, I’m wondering if you could tell us a little but about how that’s played out on the border itself: how folks in Arizona are experiencing it, how they’re responding to it, what impact if any it’s having on migrants themselves, and what kind of responses you’re seeing to that rhetoric along the border.
Maria: Sure. So I would say that the damage of an increasingly militarized border, the human toll, has been lived. I mean, the urban centers were sealed in the 90s and traffic was funneled out into remote areas. It really was a gift to the cartels in terms of consolidating human trafficking. So correctly you’re highlighting that the difference between a Republican or Democratic approach to border enforcement just has to do with physical infrastructure, which Trump is obsessed with—an actual quote/unquote “wall”—versus other kinds of enforcement that the Democrats are more than happy to fund. And I think that it’s really important to remember that there have been studies done that correlate border militarization and infrastructure and its effect on found remains. And we do find with an increase in militarization, we find an increase in people dying crossing. So that is one of the primary effect that is has on people trying to cross through the borderlands: any amount of enforcement and militarization and funding of military and honestly paramilitary infrastructure on the border does concretely lead to loss of life.
And it’s been kind of Kafkaesque to hear Trump and the Republicans utilize this verbiage of there being a “crisis” on the border for their own ends, in order, honestly, to create more crisis on the border. Because, you know, there is a crisis on the border: there’s a crisis of death and disappearance, and there’s been a lot of lives lost and families affected by missing loved ones. But the crisis is one that’s being created by Border Patrol, by ICE, by the state as an enforcer. That is who is enacting violence on the border; that is where the real crisis lies. And it is one that isn’t just unfolding in the desert; it’s happening at detention facilities, with conditions that are subhuman. And so I think that it’s important to kind of try and check the really uncritical dialogue that people are trying to have about the border, and to understand where the sources of violence are really coming from. And I would say by and large they are coming from the state.
And I think as far was what people are trying to do to address that: you know, we’re here, we’re doing the same work that we’ve been doing for the last 15 years, albeit under a heightened environment of surveillance and repression. But you know, people are going to be continuing to do what they’ve always done, which is to help other people in the borderlands, and to reach out in solidarity to directly affected communities. So we’ll see. You know, at the end of the day the amount of money that is appropriated or misappropriated to increase border militarization is a problem, needs to be resisted, and does concretely lead to death and disappearance.
Alanis: You mentioned the increasing climate of surveillance and repression going on with No More Deaths in particular. I know one of the things that y’all have been dealing with there has been these legal cases against some of your volunteers, and there’s been some developments in that in recent weeks and months. So I’m wondering if you can start off giving a little bit of background about the arrests and the charges, the first wave of trials, and what’s coming up in the weeks and months to come.
Maria: Sure. So we’re about half way through our process, our trial process for our volunteers. The only outstanding defendant now is Scott Warren; he’s facing a misdemeanor and a felony, and the felony is related to charges of conspiracy and harboring. And we have finished with a series of misdemeanor trials that had to do with putting water out on the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. So we’ve been having discussions (and conflicts) with accessing really remote areas where we put water. And one of them is Cabeza Prieta, which is a National Park. And in order to cross in this extremely, extremely hot area, people have to walk across a bombing range. And Cabeza Prieta is the wildlife refuge where we put out water; it’s the closest area we have access to in order to provide water to folks who are crossing in that area. So the charges that we were dealing with had to do with driving restricted roads; basically, the wildlife land managers changed their permit to explicitly forbid humanitarian aid, when that had not been a previous policy, and then pursued these cases, harassed our group, and then they were definitely referred for prosecution. So the government has been prosecuting humanitarian aid volunteers for putting water out, while largely ignoring the deaths and disappearances that are happening in these areas. And these are you know the more extreme, the more remote, and the more fatal areas where we work.
So I think what has been shown in both the misdemeanor and the felony case is the level of collusion between different government agencies to surveil our organization in order to interfere and intimidate and try to stop the humanitarian aid work that we do. And then as we’ve been going to trial, we have been finding this counter narrative that’s really hard to push against in court, that Border Patrol is somehow also providing humanitarian aid, and there’s somehow a humanitarian component to their mission of enforcement. So one of the arguments we had during the last trial, the government was saying there are these beacons that get put out on Cabeza—there’s not very many of them—and that somehow pushing a button in a very remote area where there is no water, that will lead to someone’s incarceration and referral into the deportation and immigration detention facilities is somehow “humanitarian.” And so, you know, they’re saying, we don’t need to put water out because there are beacons for folks who are lost. So it’s been challenging to push against these very recuperative and bizarre narrative that somehow an agency that is a paramilitary agency by their own admission somehow has a humanitarian role to play in this scenario.
And this is of course a posit[ion] that is widely discredited internationally. Most aid organizations are very, very clear that you must separate the provision of humanitarian aid in low intensity war zones from any groups that are actively militarizing or enacting violence in those areas—and I would say that the border patrol definitely fits that definition.
Alanis: So what can folks do to show solidarity with the people who are still facing legal charges as a result of their humanitarian aid work?
Maria: So you can definitely look up the case; No More Deaths has an Instagram and a Twitter account. And also I would just like to say that Scott Warren is not the only person facing prosecution in this country for being in solidarity with undocumented communities, and there’s plenty of activists across the country who are fighting against their own deportations. And I really encourage folks to look up our cases; The Intercept is doing really great coverage if you want to go in-depth with the cases. You can definitely look there for more information, and you’ll see in a lot of the organizations and journalists and other groups that we work with in southern Arizona, that we are facing a level of repression that is being echoed in other communities and other activists are also facing. It’s just part of the general reign of terror, I would say, that the Trump administration has unleashed against undocumented communities and anyone in solidarity with them.
Alanis: And at the same time that this reign of terror has been going on, we’ve also been seeing a really wide range of actions that folks have been undertaking in the last couple of years, from airport occupations to ICE shutdowns to all sorts of other forms of solidarity. Are there any of these tactics or groups or initiatives that you’d particularly like to highlight or let folks know about, or ideas that you have about other ways that folks can show solidarity in the places where they are?
Maria: Yeah, definitely. I think one of the interesting opportunities that the internalization of the border provides us, as police departments are deputized across the country to check immigration, as ICE is getting more strong-armed in collaborating, doing more raids, and just, you know, as the rest of the country starts to reflect a place like Arizona where a traffic stop can lead to incarceration and detention: there’s also a proliferation of rapid response networks that are trying to address and trying to intervene in that point of enforcement. So I think it’s really an opportunity anywhere there has been an increase in enforcement, there’s also an opportunity to resist that enforcement in whatever way the local community finds to be most salient. And there’s been just a lot of coalition and faith-based organizations who are standing up for folks in their communities who are being targeted and are most vulnerable to this kind of state violence. So you don’t have to be on the border to resist the border; you can definitely connect with a local group pretty much, most places in the country people are realizing that this is negatively impacting people that they love and trying to do something about it.
Alanis: I have the sense that in recent years, it’s become increasingly prominent among anarchists in our sense of who we are and what it is that we’re about to be thinking about fighting for a world without borders; and that while obviously that struggle is, in one of the most intense ways, happening for us here on the US/Mexico border, it’s also something that we’re seeing all over the world as so many conflicts over migration and solidarity, and borders and undoing them, are unfolding all over the world. So just to close, I’m wondering if you want to share any reflections about how the solidarity work that you’ve been involved in on the US/Mexico border fits in to the broader struggle for a world without borders.
Maria: Yeah. Before I started working on the US/Mexico border I was definitely involved in other social movements for freedom of movement in other parts of the world, on the periphery of Fortress Europe and also in South America, and I think that at the core is people saying that there should be a right for basic dignities like the freedom of movement, the freedom to flee from state or paramilitary violence, the ability to provide for one’s family, the ability to seek a life where you can be sure that your kids are safe and have a place to sleep at night and are well fed. And I think that even though the specific polemics around these struggles can get framed in a local context in so many different ways, the common themes for me just have to do with acknowledging other peoples’ humanity and being present with them and trying to create a space for a more dignified life. And for me, that’s what I come back to again and again, that we can live in a different kind of world. It takes a lot of work. And resistance is something that you can do every day. And so I just want to encourage people as they’re waking up to or exploring for the first time the realities of the enforcement by the carceral state that for as many ways there are for the state to incarcerate and deport and detain our friends, there are people who are trying to resist those tendencies. So I think I don’t now if we’ll ever get there, but liberation is really in the process.
Alanis: Great. Maria, thank you so much for speaking with us.
Maria: Yeah, thank you for taking the time to get the book out and the message out, and to share our struggles with your listeners.CONCLUSION
Clara: Over the next three months, we will be releasing an audio book version of No Wall They Can Build: A Guide to Borders and Migration in North America, divided into 11 installments released once per week. If you prefer to read, you can find the entire book in PDF form at crimethinc.com/borders, as well as a Spanish translation. You’ll also find there a poster that visually diagrams the border regime, stickers to indicate solidarity with migrants, and other materials that you can order or download. On our website, crimethinc.com/podcast, you’ll find a list of links to organizations, writings, campaigns, and more that deal with the border and solidarity work.
In a few months, once we’ve released all of the installments of No Wall They Can Build, we’ve got other ideas for audio projects the Ex-Worker will present. So stay tuned, let us know what you think, and feel free to send us any feedback or suggestions for what you’d like to see, or hear, from us.
In the meantime, we hope that you’ll enjoy the audiobook, and that it’ll inspire you to take action in your own communities, wherever you live. As Maria said, you don’t have to live on the border to resist the border. Let’s do everything we can to fight for a world where all of us can live safely, move freely, and love fiercely.
Senate Democrats to introduce constitutional amendment to abolish Electoral College | 01 April 2019 | Leading Democratic senators are expected to introduce a constitutional amendment Tuesday to abolish the Electoral College, adding momentum to a long-shot idea that has been gaining steam among 2020 presidential candidates. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, plans to introduce the measure, along with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the No. 2-ranking Democrat in the Senate, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Also signed on to the legislation is Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., one of a growing number of presidential candidates who have called for electing presidents by popular vote, even though changing the Constitution is seen as virtually impossible today.
Several people found dead inside building in Mandan | 01 April 2019 | (Mandan, ND) Several people found dead at RJR Maintenance and Management in Mandan. Mandan police say they responded to a medical call around 7:30 a.m. at RJR Maintenance and Management in SE Mandan. Police say when officers arrived they found several people who were deceased inside. Mandan Police are investigating with the assistance of ND Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Morton County Sheriff's Office.
Enspiral is a rather unique organisation, often featured in this blog. Over the years the number of participants, its core structure and overall network have evolved in fascinating and informative ways. This evolution along with the many lessons learned is chronicled in their collective book “Better work together”.As such the book does not theorise. Instead, it offers tales of success and failure as well as the occasional bread recipe.
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The fossil fuel industry regularly deploys manipulative and dishonest tactics when engaging with communities of color, often working to co-opt the respect and authority of minority-led groups to serve corporate goals. That is according to a new report, “Fossil Fueled Foolery,” published today by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which outlines the top 10 manipulation tactics that the group’s members and partners routinely observe.Tags: naapcenvironmental justicefueling u.s forwardreaching americakoch industriesAtlantic Coast pipeline
From June 11th
June 11th: the international day of solidarity with Marius Mason and long-term anarchist prisoners. In the 15 years this tradition has been observed, June 11th has facilitated support and action inspired by imprisoned anarchists — from noise demonstrations outside of jails to letter-writing nights, from fundraisers to arson. Setting aside this day is one way of remembering anarchists who are serving long prison sentences, generating support for them, and inspiring solidarity actions.
Because social struggles phase in and out, this day is a way to make sure that our imprisoned comrades are not forgotten. Our lack of memory is partially a result of the techno-alienation of the larger culture we’re fighting against. But it’s also a product of the dynamics of the anarchist space. People become burnt out and the cycle of forgetting continues.
June 11th is a way of combating that amnesia, of trying to sustain a long-term memory in the anarchist space. Not only does this generate support for anarchists locked in the state’s prisons, it forces us to look back at what came before. Considering what previous generations did can both inspire us with ideas we’ve forgotten, and help us understand how our current practices came to be.
While those of us on the June 11th organizing crew focus on prisoners with long sentences, and sometimes point out how disproportionately long these sentences are based on the justice system’s own sentencing norms, it is not because we are criticizing the government for being unfair. Rather than lobbying for fair sentencing, we seek the total destruction of all prisons: both as physical cages that kidnap people, and as a logic of social control that includes surveillance technologies, parole, and ankle monitors. While we support those who can finagle the state’s own laws to get comrades released as early as possible, we’re committed to those who are still waiting and those for whom this is not possible. We want to push the boundaries of what that commitment means. Our emphasis on long-term sentences is to make sure our comrades continue to receive support as time moves forward.
The person who has been the focus of June 11th the longest is Marius Mason. Marius is an anarchist, environmental and animal liberation activist who is currently serving a 22 year prison sentence. He plead guilty to taking part in an arson of a Michigan State University lab conducting GMO research for Monsanto in 1999, as well as twelve other acts of property destruction. Marius was imprisoned in 2009 during the Green Scare, a time when the U.S. federal government was cracking down on earth and animal liberation struggles. He was incarcerated in a high security unit until 2017 when, after constant advocacy by outside supporters, he was moved to general population. Finally, earlier this year Marius was moved from Carswell to Danbury, where he is much closer to many of his friends and family. In 2014, he came out publicly as transgender, using he/him pronouns, and eventually secured access to hormone treatment in 2016. For more information, check out the website his support team maintains.
Sean Swain went on hunger strike during the month of September after prison administrators removed some of his privileges in response to his writings. Michael Kimble was one of eight Holman prisoners in June 2018 beaten by the riot squad and thrown in lockup with seemingly no pretext. Eventually he was released back into general population. Jeremy Hammond was attacked by a guard after accidentally bumping into them, put in the solitary confinement for months, and then transferred to FCI Memphis with a higher security status. He has been removed from college courses and a counseling program that would have reduced his sentence by a year.
Eric King has been placed in solitary confinement after defending himself from a guard’s attack in August 2018. He was transferred to USP McCreary, where his communication has been severely restricted. Joaquín Garcia has been sentenced to 13 years in prison for the bombing of a prisoner guard training facility in Chile. Connor Stevens of the Cleveland 4 will be released from prison in April 2019. Freddy Fuentevilla, who was imprisoned with two comrades 10 years ago for bank robbery and the murder of a cop, was released into parole in July 2018. Lisa, convicted of robbing banks in Aachen, was placed in solitary and then released back into general population earlier this year.
All charges in the J20 case in the USA have been dropped for the remaining defendants. This would not have been possible without all the support and coordination work done behind the scenes by defendants and their supporters.
Repression of anarchists continues especially in Russia and Italy. Russian anarchists are being tortured and arrested for membership in a fake organization called “The Network.” In Italy, the state is conducting multiple operations to clamp down on anarchists, including the ongoing Operations Scintilla, Renata, Panico, and Scripta Manent.
Most of this information would never have gotten out if it wasn’t for folks doing support work for anarchist prisoners. Thanks to all the support crews out there, the Anarchist Black Cross, Greek Imprisoned Fighters Fund, and everyone taking initiative to support imprisoned anarchists.
June 11th, 2019
We are calling on anarchists around the world to take initiative in whatever way speaks to one’s own heart. In the past, we have seen solidarity attacks, noise demonstrations, graffiti, letter writing nights, dance parties, fundraisers, and much more.
In the coming months, we will be posting additional content to build up towards June 11, 2019. As always, we welcome posters, art, fliers, prisoner statements, report-backs, communiques, and anything else. Check out june11.org for more information.Tags: june11prisonerssolidarity