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Strike While the Iron is Hot: #DivestfromICE Victories and the Movement Moving Forward

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 20:55

The post Strike While the Iron is Hot: #DivestfromICE Victories and the Movement Moving Forward appeared first on It's Going Down.

Report from the Block the Wall Network on recent victories won by the anti-ICE divestment campaign and where things can go from here.

As the Abolish ICE movement erupts again, private prison corporations contracting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain migrants are feeling the heat. GEO Group and CoreCivic, who together exert near duopolistic power over the private prison sector, have been hit hard by a wave bank divestments. In just a few weeks, some of the industry’s leading lenders, Bank of America, SunTrust and BNP Paribas (parent company of Bank of the West) all announced plans to cut ties with private prisons. They join JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, who agreed to cease further financing the companies in March 2019.

The majority of immigrant detainees (around 70%) are imprisoned in detention centers operated by private prison companies like CoreCivic and GEO Group. These companies are structured as Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), which makes them particularly reliant on financing from large financial institutions and vulnerable to credit loss. Stocks in the industry are reeling, with CoreCivic down 27% and GEO down 22% over the last month. As GEO leadership admitted in May, divestment jeopardizes the industry’s future.

Private prison company GEO Group is warning investors that growing public pressure to divest from the private prison industry “could have a material adverse effect on our business.” – Newsweek

The divestments have roughly correlated with a groundswell of rebellion. Large swathes of U.S. society are recoiling in the face of the draconian xenophobia of the Trump administration, particularly after conditions detailing the mass detention of migrant children were revealed. Never Again Action and Movimiento Cosecha have revived the disruptive spirit of Occupy ICE from a year ago, launching new rounds of blockades at detention centers, ICE Field Offices and the offices of political leaders.

In mid-June Block the Wall Network and Olympia Assembly released call for a week of action against ICE profiteers from July 8th-12th. Identifying private prisons as a weak link within the deportation and detention infrastructure, the call urged coordinated direct action to shut down bank branches of Bank of America, PNC Bank, SunTrust and Bank of the West. Before the week of action began, Bank of America divested, SunTrust divested on July 8th and Bank of the West followed suit on July 12th; PNC remains invested as of this writing.

During the week, Bank of the West branches were shuttered on multiple occasions in Seattle and Portland, anarchists took action against PNC in NYC and Asheville and ICE-tech collaborators Microsoft, Amazon and Palantir all faced protests. Phone zaps were also organized against PNC and Bank of the West branches. Although much credit must be extended to longstanding divestment campaigners, the intervention of anti-authoritarians advancing an explicit direct action strategy into the movement could have been the last straw for some financial firms.

Widespread and targeted disruption can also likely explain the failure of Trump’s promised mass ICE raids to materialize. Here, the heroic sabotage of transportation infrastructure at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA by Willem Van Spronsen warrants specific mention in most immediate terms, while the movement generally can be credited with producing a hostile environment for ICE and Border Patrol agents. The true tactical diversity – from blockades, sabotage and divestment to popular education, mass marches and mutual aid – of Abolish ICE has been its greatest strength. This fluid repertoire of action has permitted participation of various form and allowed Abolish ICE to evade capture by NGOs or the Democratic Party. Divestment has been but one, crucial, component to this movement.

Who Next?

Although the #DivestfromICE movement has secured key victories recently, more work remains to be done. Other banks maintain investments in CoreCivic and GEO Group. CoreCivic and GEO also have large institutional shareholders who haven’t indicated they will relinquish their stock holdings. As leading financiers crumble under public pressure and exposure (or even the mere threat of pressure or exposure), now is the time to up the ante. Find what’s connected to ICE near you and organize!

Remaining Banks Invested in GEO Group and CoreCivic

According to financial data published in April 2019 (Bank of America, SunTrust and BNP have divested since), these are some of the larger banks continuing to issue term loans and revolving credit lines or are underwriting bonds to GEO and CoreCivic:

PNC Bank – CoreCivic.

Find PNC branches.

Barclays – GEO Group and CoreCivic (bond underwriter)

Find Barclays branches.

Citizens Bank  – CoreCivic.

Find citizens bank branches

Regions Bank – CoreCivic.

Find Regions Bank branches.

Fifth Third Bank – CoreCivic.

Find Fifth Third Bank branches.

Major Institutional Shareholders of GEO and CoreCivic

*This data was obtained through institutional holdings listings on NASDAQ and was last updated on 3/31/2019. Total stock values are rounded. To find exact holding values use the NASDAQ website for GEO or CoreCivic. Offices listed may or may not be accessible to the public.

Vanguard Group – CoreCivic and GEO Group

Vanguard offices.

BlackRock – CoreCivic and GEO Group

BlackRock offices.

Prudential Financial – CoreCivic and GEO Group

Prudential offices.

State Street Corp – CoreCivic and GEO Group

State Street Corp offices.

Categories: News

FANG Collective Member Statement on Resisting ICE

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 09:33

The post FANG Collective Member Statement on Resisting ICE appeared first on It's Going Down.

Statement from a member of the FANG Collective who begins a short jail sentence on fighting ICE.

Earlier today Amory began an eight day jail sentence for resisting ICE in Bristol County, Massachusetts. PLEASE READ Amory’s statement that they released before beginning their sentence:

“Last summer, some friends and I demonstrated outside the Bristol County Jail, a jail and ICE detention center in North Dartmouth, MA. We were there to protest the caging of human beings––by ICE and the rest of the carceral system, too––and to support the prisoners’ hunger strike. After police officers recklessly and haphazardly tore two of us out of our tripods and jackhammered Holly and I out of our blockade, the four of us sat in jail overnight. Today, after a long and confusing legal proceeding, I am returning to a jail cell for 10 days for that action.

I wouldn’t say I’m optimistic or pessimistic about a future without incarceration and other weapons of colonial control. Rather, I am certain that the future is an infinite compilation of presents, and what we choose to pursue now creates the next now. I am certain that through action, a world without ICE, without prisons, police, or military of any kind is not just possible, but inevitable if we decide it is. Blocking entry to a detention center is just one action among many we can take to chase that future.

The New Bedford District Court knows this sentence is a repressive political strategy to discourage dissent. This may put us away for a week and a half each, but it will not cover the shame of caging people and their children for being born on the other side of an arbitrary colonial border, of the state’s history of incarcerating and brutalizing Black and Indigenous people, of buttressing the US military’s crimes against humanity, of continued environmental devastation the state oversees, or of sustaining an irredeemable nation built by stolen labor from stolen people on stolen land. Nor will it cover the necessity of continued opposition to ICE; in fact, it exposes how scared the state is of our power, and how impactful we can be should we choose to forego fear of these courts.

Being 19 years old makes me 4 years older than ICE. Envisioning a future without such a law enforcement agency doesn’t require any imagination; we’ve very recently lived in a world without it. If we can envision a future without ICE, we can dream of a world where the notion of “citizenship” is an unpleasant memory, composted into a flourishing decolonized present — I can, anyway, and it’s wonderful. Without ICE, we can start to see a world without other forms of police, borders, and militaries. So what actions are necessary to grow this? What can we do in this present?

Hey, by the way, speaking of actionable things: Sherrie Andre, a co-defendant and one of the coolest people I’ve had the privilege of sharing space/action with, is still fighting their charges. If you can, you should come to their court dates to support them!

After I sit in jail for 10 days, many others will stay longer, with less support than me, with fewer resources after getting out. This sentence, heavy handed as it is, is nowhere near the worst the courts have slapped people with. My hope, then, is that those who support us and advocate our freedom will extend that compassion to every victim of incarceration. Every single prisoner is a political prisoner, and every single one deserves our solidarity. Nutty, an activist fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Appalachia (and whose beautifully eloquent statements are the main inspiration for this one), said it best:

“Fuck the liberal ideologies of people who take offense at the punishments endured by some land defenders while they proclaim how distinct we are from those who share our jail cells. The courts are wrong for prosecuting us. And they are wrong for prosecuting all those who lack the extensive networks of support that our movement provides. The courts take people in the hardest moments of their lives and make them even harder, steal people from their families, jail them for not having the money for bail and then imprison them for not being able to afford a fancy lawyer.”

Instead of courts, cops, and any arms of the state which help white supremacists and capitalists lock children and families in cages and profit off it, instead of prisons descended from slavery and Jim Crow, what we need is solidarity and radical neighborly love for each other. We need to see no one as disposable and everyone as precious. And ultimately, we need to be free to grow together beyond what white supremacy would have divide us. Strong communities make the state obsolete.

Thank you to the people who came to the courthouse to support me today. My love and rage goes out to organizers and friends everywhere fighting ICE and linked oppressive machines, as well as those gathering the courage to get involved now. Together, we are sowing the seeds of a better world.”

***

Amory is the second person to serve a jail sentence after taking part in the August 2018 action that shut down the entrances of the Bristol County House of Corrections. The action was carried out in solidarity with people being held by ICE who went on hunger strike to demand better conditions at the facility.

You can read more about FANG’s #ShutDownICE campaign, and the action that Amory participated in here: https://shutdownicenow.org/

Tomorrow at 9am at New Bedford District Court, Sherrie, who took part in this action has a hearing. Please come out to support Sherrie: https://www.facebook.com/events/398928017418047/

And you can pledge to take action to resist ICE here: bit.ly/ShutDownICE

#End287g #AbolishICE

Categories: News

Announcement and Call for Submissions! Oak: A Journal Against Civilization

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 09:23

The post Announcement and Call for Submissions! Oak: A Journal Against Civilization appeared first on It's Going Down.

A call to participate in a new anarchist journal, entitled, Oak, from an anti-civilization perspective.

There is no food that means more to me than the acorn, for the acorn fulfills both a promise and a fantasy: that the forest will provide for me.

– Samuel Thayer

Issue 1: Perpetual Apocalypse – Spring 2020

Few things are as breathtaking as a forest of oak and its many expressions. The incredible symphony of falling acorns — a harbinger of bounty and community. For millennia the acorn has provided food for humanity and countless other species. The promise and resilience of the oak stands as a reminder of possibility. It’s likely that for thousands of years fires were set, not just to create areas for game, but to preferentially seed oak trees. It seems fitting that we should show homage to the ubiquitous oak by celebrating it in our title.

Since I can remember there’s been unceasing division within the anarchist and anti-civilization milieus, both at large and in my immediate experience. It seems we’re always knives first, taking aim at the comfortable targets a few degrees away from us. While I’m all for good sparring practice, I believe the connections must remain if we are to survive and thrive.

The possibility of maintaining an intimate and dynamic meshwork of communication is real. In the wake of civilized life, finding someone — anyone — who also chooses to reject the dominant paradigm of perpetual nightmare should be exhilarating. There will always be lines to draw, many of them are already drawn for us by the active overlords and domesticators. But many other lines are blurry at best and, given our context, meaningless at worst. Too many disagreements in the digital age end in snarky division articulated via electronic communication, a pathetic reality not worthy of our once-wild selves.

So here, in Oak, we will attempt to let those divisions fizzle in the ether of the internet. We may still draw lines and gnash teeth in these pages, but it will be in the realm of action — the realm of articulated living — that we will brandish our weapons, both literal and figurative.

The battles ahead are more meaningful than suffixes and prefixes added for personal identification; words will be spoken out loud that make the clattering disagreements coming through keyboards and illuminated screens seem less than petty. The world is literally dying. Some form of it will always exist; the wild, the uncontrollable will always prevail. But until that time when we are dust and bones, I hope we can tie our meshwork of personalities and ideas together, spar as needed, and realize some semblance of a world (perhaps many different worlds) without civilization.

***

We are looking for all relevant works to the anti-civilization and anarcho-primitivist discourse. All submissions will be reviewed with care and with the intent to publish as many as possible, working directly with authors over any editorial concerns.

Oak will be magazine format, hopefully with available funds for at least a color cover. The exact format will be determined based on the scope and content of submissions, as well as available funds. Oak will operate with the goal of being interesting to the passerby and attractive to the inquisitive. Currently Oak is scheduled as a bi-annual.

In addition to print, each issue will be produced as an audiozine. We are looking forward to curating interviews, readings, music and much more in a multi-episode production of each issue.

Please submit any work by November 30th, 2019 or get in touch by November 15th if you need more time on a longer piece.  Submission guidelines are being developed, until then we ask for endnotes rather than footnotes and consistent document formatting in each submission.

We are looking specifically for pieces that look at some of the following (don’t consider this list exhaustive):

  • Pipeline blockades and diversity of tactics, including perspectives from the front-lines
  • Forest defense updates
  • Resistance dynamics amidst rising state fascism and exponential climate change
  • Subsistence journals, wild experiences, lessons learned from living with and through the land
  • Anti-civilization praxis, challenges and ideas

Some brief words on this issue’s theme of Perpetual Apocalypse: Worlds have been and are being destroyed. In each instance of devastation, from the perspective of life within each area, each multiplicity of connectivity, the apocalypse was and is real. The death of the planetary world as a singular event is not within the capacity of the human experience, thus apocalypse is both perpetual and unending in civilized life — we merely see each apocalypse from a voyeur’s perspective. How much longer do the spectators have before the fire is no longer just illuminated pixels?

The theme is nothing more than possible inspiration, though pieces that are inspired by it are of course appreciated. We are aiming for a vibrant, diverse and engaging magazine of anti-civilization thought, practice and, above all, life.

– Steve Kirk for Oak Journal

All recipients are encouraged to forward this announcement to relevant parties and not the cops. Please reach out with ideas, inspirations, criticisms, etc: oakjournal@protonmail.com

Categories: News

‘Little Big Burger’ Fires Fast Food IWW Organizer

Thu, 07/18/2019 - 08:41

The post ‘Little Big Burger’ Fires Fast Food IWW Organizer appeared first on It's Going Down.

Report from Little Big Union on a recent firing of an Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) organizer in Portland, Oregon.

On July 10th, Little Big Burger fired another union leader. After working at the Northwest 23rd location for over 2 years, Cam was terminated in front of the store surrounded by district management, HR consultants, and the President of Chanticleer Holdings, the North Carolina-based corporation that owns Little Big Burger. Why? He allegedly failed to refill napkins and fry sauce containers on one closing shift a few days prior. To our knowledge, no other worker has ever been fired for such an infraction. In his termination meeting Cam asked about this and his regional manager replied with a non-answer: “This is not about anyone else, this is about you.” Management went even beyond firing him under dubious circumstances, as corporate threatened to call the police if he ever returned to any Little Big Burger locations.

The timing of this firing and ban makes things a bit more clear. This came in the middle of an active union election cycle, where workers are currently voting on whether Little Big Burger will be forced to bargain with their union. Cam was fired because Little Big Burger is union busting and does not want workers who speak up and stand by one another. Cam is devoted to his co-workers and making a healthy environment to work in for everybody. He’s known across many Little Big Burger stores for his friendliness and commitment to improving working conditions. Less than a year ago he was offered the store manager position, and just last month was praised by management as “one of the best trainers we have.”

Workers like Cam go from being “good” employees to “bad” employees when management learns of their union affiliation. Cam is the SEVENTH union worker to be fired since the union was announced March 16th, 2019. That’s 7% of the entire workforce voting in the current election, when ballots are counted in two weeks. Corporate is attempting to foster a culture of fear and confusion for workers who promote the union. That’s against the law, and the National Labor Relations Board agrees. This month, the NLRB has begun to find merit in favor of workers who were fired or disciplined as targets of “gross retaliation” by Little Big Burger management. Despite this, Little Big Burger chose to continue ignoring the law by firing Cam. In their calculation, it was worth it to try and tip the election. Cam is a beloved Little Big Union member and though we are not surprised, we are furious. Their tactics are transparent, their firings are targeted, and we will win anyway.

“All management has been doing is stoke fear and division,” Cam said to Northwest Labor Press. “All we can do is provide mutual aid, be there, and try to improve one another’s lives. That’s a message that resonates much better than fear and division.” We agree!

Please consider contributing to our “Strike and Hardship Fund” to support unionists like Cam who face financial hardship after being retaliated against for standing up for what is right.

https://www.gofundme.com/littlebigunion

Categories: News

Migrants from Cameroon and Eritrea Block the Port-of-Entry

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 23:06

The post Migrants from Cameroon and Eritrea Block the Port-of-Entry appeared first on It's Going Down.

Report from Commotion.World about recent actions at the border in Tijuana by migrants against conditions and corruption of officials. All photos by A. López Uribe.

On July 9, 2019, approximately 100 Cameroonians and Eriteans blocked the path of the Mexican vans that transport migrants to the U.S. The migrants protested Mexican officials taking bribes, not calling list numbers, and skipping over the Africans on the list.

African migrants, many fleeing political persecution, have been stuck in Tijuana for months.

Early every morning, migrants from all over the world gather at the El Chaparral port-of-entry to put their names on a wait list, get a number, and hear the numbers called for that day. This is how the process for seeking asylum in the U.S. begins. Your name on a list in a paper notebook kept at the El Chaparral port of entry. The list saves a spot for the few border-crossing slots that CBP makes available each day. When the Mexican government, Grupos Beta, calls your number you have the chance to cross and present yourself for asylum in the U.S. The list is a response to the U.S. police called metering, which managed the flow of migrants in Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and Ciudad Acuña, roughly since December 2017.

The CBP “metering” policy and the list came into effect when thousands of Haitian refugees fleeing destitution after Hurricane Matthew arrived at the southern border. The U.S. declined to allow the black migrants entry, instead requiring them either to wait for an asylum appointment with the CBP or try to cross the border on their own.

Consistent with the new “Third Country” rule, the U.S. has slowed down its acceptance of asylum-seekers at the Border this July. For the past four days, the Grupos Beta has called no numbers. All migrants continue to wait. The list continues to grow.

The number of names on the list has now reached more than 9,150 people, its highest number ever. The number of people taken by CBP for processing per day in January averaged about 42, that dropped to about 24 people per day in June.

From Tuesday July 1st to Sunday July 7th, Grupos Beta called no numbers in Tijuana. On Monday, July 8, they called the same number as July 1, which had been a large group divided into two and they were allowed to cross.

On Tuesday, July 9th, the Cameroonians and Eriteans blocked the street outside of the El Chaparral port-of-entry. They demanded fair treatment on the list. No numbers were called.

When the media responded to cover the blockade on Wednesday, the Grupos Beta resumed calling numbers but only one, so again ten people.

On Thursday, the Grupos Beta called three numbers, and then on Friday, Saturday and Saturday called no numbers.

During the protest, some migrants, mostly from Central America, called for the Africans to clear the street. The Central Americans believed that the protest was causing Grupos Beta to stop calling numbers and allowing people to cross. However, there is not way for the migrants to require the Grupos Beta to call numbers and the CBP to allow migrants to cross.

While they wait, many migrants sleep on the street near the U.S. border or group together to rent expensive apartments. Migrants from African countries have difficulty tapping into many of the resources available to Central American and Mexican migrants due to language and other cultural barriers. For example, instead of staying at shelters for migrants in Tijuana, Eritreans often pool their money to live in hotels, often in dangerous parts of the city, where they stay several people to a room. Though many Cameroonians in Tijuana are from a persecuted English-speaking minority, they have been able to access the Haitian community to an extent because they speak some French.

This year, here have been 1,044 detentions of African migrants in Mexico. Overall, their number has increased over the past five years, but migrants from Central African countries, like Eritrea, Cameroon, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo, have the highest proportions in 2019. Many have traveled through South America, Panama, Central America, and Mexico, only hit a dead end at the southern U.S. border. This influx poses a problem for the Mexican government, which can easily deport and turn away Central American migrants. Mexico has no effective way to return Africans.

After the blockade, eight African asylum-seekers met with Mexican officials. The protest ended after the government agreed to call the correct numbers and to allow the African migrants to double check the numbers.

There is no way to ensure that the Mexican government will abide by this agreement, just like there is no way to ensure that the U.S. will accept asylum-seekers.

Like the hunger strikes in November, the Africans’ protest has pushed back against this immigration system, which is not designed to help them find refuge, but instead designed to force them away.

Below is the report on the protest from KPBS, a local San Diego public radio:

The complaints of the Cameroonians stem from the Mexican authorities refusal to accept migrants from Africa for transport to the U.S. side of the border, where they can officially declare asylum. The Africans claim that days have gone by without Mexican officials calling any numbers from an unofficial “waiting list,” and yet Central American asylum seekers have been granted entry to the U.S. on those days.

“It’s corruption plain and simple,” said an asylum-seeker named Beatriz, who asked that her last name not be published. She said Central Americans have been paying bribes to the immigration officers. Beatriz has been waiting two months to cross into the United States and saw her number recently skipped over. “I can’t wait another two months.”

Asylum-seekers from Cameroon are, for the most part, members of the English-speaking minority in the country, and they have faced intense persecution since 2016. Many have traveled through South America, the jungles of Panama and Central America, only to run out of time and money south of the U.S. border.

“We’ve been suffering for two months. We have nothing to eat. We’re sick. Everything is finished,” said Stanley, an asylum seeker.

He also asked that his last name be withheld.

Stanley was part of a group of eight African asylum-seekers that were asked to meet with Mexican officials in the hopes of ending the protest, which had drawn the attention of the newly-formed Mexican National Guard.

After an hour-long meeting, the asylum-seekers and Mexican officials emerged with a “deal” that the African asylum-seekers would be able to verify the unofficial list each morning, to make sure the correct numbers were being called. The group dispersed and let the immigration vans proceed, but not without a promise by many to hold the Mexicans to their word in the final stage of what has been a very long journey for them.

Over a hundred asylum-seekers from Cameroon blocked the path of Mexican immigration vans Tuesday morning in Tijuana, in protest of what they believe to be corruption by Mexican immigration officials.

Categories: News

Analysis and Reflection of #AllOutDC: On the Past and Future of Antifascist Tactics

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 22:23

The post Analysis and Reflection of #AllOutDC: On the Past and Future of Antifascist Tactics appeared first on It's Going Down.

A report and analysis of the recent #AllOutDC mobilization that brought out hundreds against the Proud Boys and Alt-Lite conspiracy theorists in Washington DC.

On July 6, fascists attempted to hold a “Demand Free Speech”1 rally in Washington, DC. Anarchists and DC Black Lives Matter mobilized in response. Although the massive police presence hampered what anti-fascists could do, the fascist rally was not a success, confirming that anti-fascists have largely succeeded in thwarting the street-level fascist movement that many feared would emerge in the Trump era. The question, now, is how we can employ the tactics we have popularized in the anti-fascist movement—black blocs, de-platforming, and —in other movements and contexts.

Here, we offer a short report from DC on how previous mobilizations in DC have informed the strategies they employ today and an account of the day’s events.

A group of neo-fascists promised to bring out 1000 people to a rally in Washington, DC on July 6, including 100 or more battle-ready Proud Boys. The rally had big names associated with it and local, institutional, and regional support; the organizers included Enrique Tarrio, chairman of the Proud Boys. Because it was sandwiched between Donald Trump’s 4th of July rally and “Christians United For Israel,” a major gathering of the Christian right, DC anti-fascists feared that this event could draw a much larger turnout than recent far-right events had in the area. If a new right-wing coalition emerged that could put numbers back into the streets, that would mean another round of draining confrontations between fascists and anti-fascists.

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Let’s beat hate together #allout #alloutdc

A post shared by All Out DC (@all_out_dc) on Jun 25, 2019 at 9:08am PDT

In the end, the “Demand Free Speech Rally” was disorganized and undermined by infighting. Their event was a bust: it brought out dozens, not a thousand. The Proud Boys, which seemed like the last group standing among the fascist organizations of two years ago, couldn’t muster the 100 attendees they promised. Identity Evropa also made a last-minute push and failed to bring out the numbers they anticipated.

While repugnant characters like Adrienna DiCioccio and Jack Posebiac have huge Twitter followings, that doesn’t translate into an on-the-ground street movement. They are social media grifters who consider a trending hashtag more important than the kind of organizing that can mobilize people. They can use their platforms to create misinformation campaigns that cause police to crack down on anti-fascists, but they lack the relationships, skills, and political savvy to produce mass turnout for their own events.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn those skills. We were not born with those skills either. We have to remain vigilant, mobilizing resistance whenever there is a chance that fascists will succeed in their publicity stunts, so they are never positively reinforced for their efforts to recruit.

Over the past two and a half years, organizers in DC have learned harsh lessons about the risks of collective action. DC anarchists were shocked when DC police chose to mass-arrest and then mass-prosecute over 200 people for the courageous actions of January 20, 2017. The preceding 10 years of comparatively restrained police tactics had made DC anarchists complacent. We had conceded ground to liberals when we should have been developing strategies that could prepare us for the moment when that scenario changed.

The now infamous Anti-Capitalist and Anti-fascist Bloc that responded to the inauguration of Donald Trump was isolated from the majority of people on the street in DC that day, leaving it vulnerable to repression. In setting out to deepen our relations with other social movements, local anarchists aim to ensure that we cannot be isolated from our communities.

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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . #blacklivesmatter #streetmeetdc #alloutdc #streetphotography #streetphotographer #everybodystreet #blm #photographer #dreaminstreets #streetdreamsmag #streetperfection #wearethestreets #urbanstreetcaptures #bnw_greatshots #bnw_capture #bnw_captures #bnwphotography #bnw #fujilove #filmphotography #fuji_xseries #fujixt3 #fuji_street #fujifilm #202spc #dc_spc #blurredexpressions #dcstreetphotography

A post shared by Jake (@blurred_expressions) on Jul 6, 2019 at 3:02pm PDT

One role the black bloc can play is to defend those who are vulnerable to police attacks. On July 6, the bloc mobilized when we heard a large number of fascists were close to the park; our goal was to preserve space for people from targeted communities.

Just a year ago, anarchists were asked to stay out of the sites of permitted demonstrations for fear of mass arrests and police violence. Our recent efforts to connect with others have enabled us to make space for anarchist actions in a way that was not possible between 2016 and 2018. Building and deepening relationships takes time, patience, and understanding. We hope that these efforts will equip us to be better prepared for demonstrations in DC in the future, the next time anarchists and anti-fascists mobilize.

When we act, ideally we should be swimming in a sea of people, not alone against the stream of police repression. Different tactics make us stronger and sharing space makes those tactical experiments safer. It’s harder to make a bugaboo out of the black bloc when other people in the streets know who we are and what we are there to do.

Don’t Mute DC

Earlier this year, white gentrifiers demanded that Shaw’s Metro PCS store shut off the music it has been playing for over 20 years. In the 1990s, Metro PCS was rocking Go-Go outside and selling beepers, back when the U Street corridor was known as “Black Broadway.” Formerly known as Chocolate City, DC has been seeing Go-Go events pushed out of the city into Maryland.

Live Gogo band drowning out the #ProudBoys with DC homegrown funk #AllOutDC pic.twitter.com/7i1UaTRC9s

— Legba Carrefour (@legbacarrefour) July 6, 2019

Go-Go is a historically Black music that developed in Washington, DC—a homegrown variant of funk, old-school hip-hop, and R&B music, founded by DC legend Chuck Brown. The disappearance of Go-Go from nearly every neighborhood illustrates the displacement of Black people from DC.

A massive community-led response to the pressure on Metro PCS brought thousands out to U Street in the face of policing and gentrification. Later in spring 2019, Metro PCS returned Go-Go music to Chuck Brown Way. While police have been shutting down these shows, communities have been using Go-Go dance parties as a form of resistance to gentrification in DC.

When anarchists, Black Lives Matter activists, and local anti-fascists became aware of the right-wing mobilization, we believed it would be important to hold space for Black, Brown, and Indigenous joy in the face of white supremacy. We set out to help bring together social movements in a way that would secure the safety of DC residents and give the protest a specifically DC atmosphere.

Before the Demonstration

While DC organizers believed that this could be a large mobilization, the material force the Proud Boys promised didn’t show. It was a far cry from the “thousand give or take a few hundred” they predicted to the park service.

Leading up to the mobilization, we intentionally did not discuss their politics. We just branded their event for them, clarifying for everyone that it was part of the same fascist current as previous such demonstrations in DC. A week before the demonstration, public pressure compelled the Spy Museum to publicly denounce the alt-right and cancel their VIP event.

In a last-minute attempt to mobilize supporters and escalate the likelihood of right-wing violence, far-right media began circulating rumors about “antifa acid attacks.” Numerous Proud Boys used this opportunity to announce that they planned to carry loaded guns. On the other hand, these rumors also provided cover for several of the speakers to cancel in the face of public pressure from DC antifascists. Jack Posebiac, Mike Cernovich, and Omar Navarrow all backed out before the rally.

Roger Stone was a no-show. Laura Loomer blamed antifa for the rally ending early. All in all, their rally was logistical failure, with numerous events ending early and lacking attendance.

Tactically Unimpressive, But Politically Successful?

10:30 am, at the beginning of the rally—Black Lives Matter organizers explicitly expressed support for the black bloc. “See the people with masks over their faces, and in all black? Those are our people. They are here to keep us safe because police don’t. We keep each other safe.” As the demonstration got underway, crowds gathered against the backdrop of DC’s homegrown funk while anti-fascist speakers from different communities alternated with bands brought in by anti-fascists of color and Black Lives Matter DC.

Antifa is now in the middle of 14th and F st. #AllOutDC pic.twitter.com/QJ6xl9riQ7

— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) July 6, 2019

“While the Nazis may be out here today, the police are in our neighborhood every single day extending white supremacy and anti-Blackness”#MuteTheAltRight #AllOutDC #MuteWhiteSupremacy pic.twitter.com/z8IFimGIuR

— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) July 6, 2019

Around 11:30 am, as the rally was getting started, groups of right-wing journalists repeatedly attempted to film the demonstration without the consent of organizers or the community at large. Organizers aimed to create an atmosphere characterized by consent and solidarity in which the attendees would actively prevent fascists from attacking community members. At one point, a group of drag queens chased out a group of fascists.

Video: Drag queens use hand fans to drown out a far-right media host who had been antagonizing #AllOutDC protest crowd pic.twitter.com/sypEKxKguK

— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) July 6, 2019

This began a skirmish between fascists and anti-fascists. As this unfolded, some of them continued heckling and attempting to film. Numerous Proud Boys and their supporters repeatedly came over and were chased away by community members, not just participants in the bloc.

For those not in the streets in DC on July 6, the black bloc was hardly the wrecking ball we were on J20. There are no smashed windows to write about, no video clips of Richard Spencer being punched in the face. The most exciting moments of the day were funny rather than inspiring—for example, playing tug of war with police over a newspaper box.

Around 1:30 pm, the bloc took the streets to confront Identity Evropa, who were a block away from their permitted rally.

Other participants in the movement are no longer seeking to police our actions, but the police are still eager to suppress even the most mundane acts of rebellion.

BlackLivesMatter chants erupts in streets #AllOutDC #MuteTheAltRight #MuteWhiteSupremacy pic.twitter.com/el68Kp7nMT

— ChuckModi (@ChuckModi1) July 6, 2019

At 5:30 pm, anarchists, Black Lives Matter, and other rally attendees met up again in front of Trump hotel. Despite hundreds of police, several dozen people were able to hold their ground in front of the VIP Bus, delaying its departure by over an hour and a half. The bus, which was supposed to leave by 6:30, left around 8 pm for an undisclosed location in Northern Virginia.

In short, while the day can hardly be said to be a tactical victory, we were able to diminish and contain the threat that the rally posed to our communities. It’s for the best that we didn’t have to physically fight a large group of fascists, in any case.

Towards the Future

Days after the #DemandFreeSpeech rally, the “Mother of All Rallies” organizers cancelled their annual pro-Trump demonstration. They cited censorship on social media, but it’s significant that this occurred days after the flop of the “free speech” demonstration.

When we think about the future—about how to make sure we gain strength and our opposition lays dormant—we need to reflect on the limitations we have experienced in this era and how to make sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

View this post on Instagram

#alloutdc #sidewithlove #StoptheAltRight #endwhitesupremacy

A post shared by Patti Francis (@patti_francis_serpentine_walls) on Jul 6, 2019 at 12:17pm PDT

In many different mobilizations, we have repeatedly confronted the same issues. When there is a small minority of people who feel comfortable standing up to the police, how do we relate to others who are not prepared to? How do we address the questions of timing and the safety of participants both inside and outside the bloc? When should we push the envelope, and when should we play a supporting role?

If we want to increase our ability to act and build relationships with other revolutionary movements, these are important questions. But we can think bigger about what we do next. How do we push for militant resistance in the face of border militarization, concentration camps, police killing, and state violence? How do we take the focus from individual fascists towards state-sanctioned racial violence.

View this post on Instagram

When the tongue comes out. Pershing Square, Washington DC. 2019. #alloutdc #dontmutegogo #blackgirlmagic #robferrell

A post shared by Rob Ferrell (@bmore_radical) on Jul 7, 2019 at 7:02am PDT

As we look forward to replicating the success of mass anti-fascism, we can look to use the skills we’ve built in other arenas. The Republican Party’s vision, while not quite as overt as Richard Spencer’s program, still includes systemic ethnic cleansing and concentration camps for children. How can we map the relationships that create these policies? How can we build campaigns that make it unpopular to support racialized policing and mass incarceration? How do we use research, counter-intelligence, social mapping, and street militancy against ICE and prisons? How do we use these skills in mutual aid projects as well?

On one hand, we have to build the ability to sustain and intensify our offensive organizing. On the other hand, we have to support each another through crisis capitalism.

  1. Rather than the kind of state-enforced “freedom of speech” in which armored riot police bludgeon the general population while fascists call for even more violence, anarchists seek real freedom, in which communities can self-organize to defend against the violence of police and fascists alike.
Categories: News

Sub.Media: What is Violence?

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 20:56

The post Sub.Media: What is Violence? appeared first on It's Going Down.

SubMedia offers up another video installment in their A is for Anarchy series. This episode takes on violence, what it means, how it plays out in struggles, daily life, and how it is utilized by the State and forces of domination.

Our societies are heavily dependent on violence to function. While states will attempt to hold a monopoly on violence and constantly find new ways to legitimize their use of force, people struggling against domination can also use violence to confront the hierarchical systems oppressing them. While debates around violence and tactics seem to be revived every time someone decides to fight back, the necessity of physical attacks on power cannot be ignored. So, what is violence exactly, and how does it function in the world?

Music: Outspoken Beats & Blaze Audio

Download [HD * SD * Torrent * English Subs] * Translate

Categories: News

Anarchist Prisoners Luis Fernando Sotelo and Cedar Both Released from Prison in Mexico & Canada

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 19:28

The post Anarchist Prisoners Luis Fernando Sotelo and Cedar Both Released from Prison in Mexico & Canada appeared first on It's Going Down.

Abolition Media Worldwide reports on the release of two anarchist comrades, Cedar in so-called Canada, and Luis Fernando Sotelo in Mexico, who were both recently released form prison.

In Mexico:

Anarchist political prisoner Luis Fernando Sotelo was released from prison on July 12 after more than 4 years and 8 months. Sotelo was arbitarily detained while protesting for the missing 43 Ayotzinapa students. The comrade burned his prison uniform after being released.

His detention was irregular; the judicial process never managed to prove his participation in the action that was prosecuted judicially. Despite this, the prosecutor for capital injustice kept him in custody. With an initial sentence of 33 years and despite all the inconsistencies of the process, they dismantled the lies of the government and thereby lowered the sentence.

It was thanks to his resistance, courage and knowledge of his innocence that he remained firm in his struggle. Many compañeras and compañeros joined his fight for freedom, among them the compañeras that made up the Luis Fernado Free Committee! who came every week to visit him in the Southern Prison.

#Anarchist political prisoner Luis Fernando Sotelo was released from prison yesterday after more than 4 yrs & 8 mo. Sotelo was arbitarily detained while protesting for the missing 43 #Ayotzinapa students. The comrade burned his prison uniform after being released. Free Them All! pic.twitter.com/NUr47YLiGC

— Voices in Movement (@VIM_Media) July 14, 2019

Organizations such as the Popular Organization Francisco Villa de Izquierda Independiente, Weaving Revolutionary Organization, the comrades of the Vendaval cooperative, Street Brigade, organizations and collectives that fight together with the Indigenous Council of Government and support the EZLN, comrades who fight in the anti-prison movement, the CGT of the Spanish State, Zapata Vive coffee, among many others, participated in the meetings held in the courts, in the SCJN and in the marches called to demand his release.

Finally, this July 12, the comrade Luis Fernando left the Southern Prison in the company of his family and comrades who sang, hurled slogans and embraced him to welcome him.

After hugging his family, the comrade burned the uniform he had to wear in these years and gave a message of thanks to the organizations and compañerxs present and recalled that there are still many political prisoners in the country, inviting them to keep fighting for their release.

Down with the walls of the prisons!

FREEDOM for political prisoners!

 

Luis Sotelo

In Canada:

Anarchist comrade Cedar Hopperton has been released after spending nearly a month in jail for allegedly violating their parole conditions after giving a speech arguing that police should not be part of the queer community and applauding those at Pride who stood up to the police and fascists.

Despite the fact that they weren’t at Pride, Cedar spent weeks in jail in a clear case of retaliation by the Hamilton police against Cedar for expressing their anarchist convictions. Cedar went on hunger strike after their arrest, and the queer and anarchist communities of Hamilton mobilized in their support.

The Tower, an anarchist social space in Hamilton, posted on Facebook Tuesday that Cedar was free, along with a photo of Cedar holding a “Free Cedar” poster.

“The rumours are true, and this time it’s a good thing — Cedar is free!” The Tower said. “A statement with more details is forthcoming.”

Asaf Rashid, Cedar’s lawyer in the parole board challenge, confirmed that Cedar was released in relation to some credited time around their incarceration. Cedar was initially due to be released at the end of July.

The parole board dismissed the false claim by Hamilton police that Cedar was at Pride.

Cedar’s release is a victory for the anarchist movement in Hamilton and beyond and a defeat for the oppressive Hamilton police force.

Categories: News

Vancouver, BC: Posters Pasted Against ICE and Migrant Detention Prisons

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 19:18

The post Vancouver, BC: Posters Pasted Against ICE and Migrant Detention Prisons appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following report was sent to It’s Going Down anonymously. We repost it here. 

It reads:

To remember Willem Van Spronsen and stand in solidarity with actions against I.C.E. and the violence of borders and capital more broadly, we posted up roughly 100 posters in so-called “Vancouver, Canada.” In the same ways that Willem’s act has inspired us, we hope that our small act feeds into a larger movement of resistance against the inherent violence of borders and capital.

In our community we are seeing the expansion of the state’s capabilities to detain those seeking asylum. After reports of the “prison like conditions” and 2013 death of Lucia Vega Jiménez at the Immigration Holding Centre at Vancouver’s International airport, the CBSA (Canada Border Service Agency) has announced the opening of a new more “humane” detention center in “Surrey, BC”. Like Willem, who wrote in his manifesto that “the handmaid of evil says the concentration camp should be more humane,” we believe that no form of detention can be ethical and all forms of crimilinalization should be resisted.

The detention facility in Surrey is being built at 1310 76th Avenue on the traditional and unceded territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations. The facility’s intended completion date was January 2019, but the project has failed to meet the majority of its deadlines. We are working to build resistance to this expansion of the state’s attempts to criminalize those seeking asylum. In Willem’s words, “it’s time to take actions against the forces of evil.” Let his action ignite a spirit of resistance among us all.

– some anarchists in so-called Vancouver Canada

Categories: News

Orange County, CA: Birds to be Euthanized Liberated in Wetlands

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 19:07

The post Orange County, CA: Birds to be Euthanized Liberated in Wetlands appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following communique was sent anonymously to It’s Going Down which we republish here.

It reads:

A cowbird trap was discovered during a late night stroll through the San Joaquin Wetlands in Orange County, CA. Under the light of the moon, wire cutters were used to cut the top off the trap – releasing 6 brown-headed cowbirds into the wild. Government agencies and so-called conservation groups have labeled the brown-headed cowbird as “invasive” and using them as a scapegoat for struggling song-bird populations. Each year hundreds of these traps – usually latter traps containing between 4 to 6 live cowbirds as “decoys” – are set up in parks and wildlife areas throughout Southern California between April and mid-July, where thousands of cowbirds are captured and “euthanized.” These traps are usually unguarded and in many cases held together with nothing more than plastic zip-ties, making them laughably simple to sabotage.

In memory of anarchist Will Van Spronsen who died fighting for real freedom for all and a life worth living.

Categories: News

Cracks In the ICE: History, Abolition & the Path Ahead

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 10:10

The post Cracks In the ICE: History, Abolition & the Path Ahead appeared first on It's Going Down.

As this is being written, Abolish ICE protesters have surrounded the DC based ICE headquarters and today it was announced that BNP Paribas, which owns the US based Bank of the West, would be just the latest in a growing collection of big banks such as Bank of America, SunTrust, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo who have all decided to divest from ICE and pro-profit prisons after a wave of direct actions, bank shut downs, call-in campaigns, and protests.

All of this comes hot on the heels of both a complete and total public relations disaster by the Trump administration following Trump’s racist comments, his lies on Monday morning that the ICE raids were a massive success, and Pence’s trip to a detention facility in Texas, (taking place only hours before over 700 cities saw larger than expected protests), which ended in him singing the praises of the squalid conditions inside while journalists who accompanied him spoke of the horrific overcrowding, stench, and lack of access to basic hygiene and food.

After spending only seconds inside, Pence commented that he “couldn’t be more impressed with the compassionate work that our Customs and Border Protection are doing here,” before stating, “It’s time we moved past the harsh rhetoric of the American left.” This vapid doublespeak however has done nothing to stop the growing anger over the situation in the camps, made worse by the coming to light of secret racist Facebook groups that many Border Patrol agents belonged to online, including the head of their entire agency, Carla Provost.

The Intercept reported that:

[Border Patrol] used the page to joke about migrant deaths and share sexually violent and threatening posts about several Democratic lawmakers, including, in particular, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y. Politico followed up by reporting that senior officials in the Border Patrol, as well as CBP public affairs officials, had known about the group for years and used it as an “intelligence” stream to monitor the sentiment of the workforce. The Intercept then reported that the public revelations sparked an internal purging of the Facebook group’s content, but not before we archived hundreds of posts shared over multiple weeks.

“This victory is perhaps one of the most important wins by autonomous social movements against Trump’s policies since the Muslim Ban, and like the airport blockades, was based around the logic of direct, not symbolic action, and happened in opposition to Democratic Party leadership, not because of it.”

This revelation came after months of open collusion between far-Right border militias and Border Patrol officers, who were video taped working together at the border and officers were even filmed giving tours of the border fence to members of the AZ Patriots, a far-Right group linked to neo-Nazi organizers like Antonio Foreman who attended Unite the Right in Charlottesville.

But while the hood of the Border Patrol, who’s origins trace their history from white vigilanties and surpemacist groups like the KKK, was being pulled off, tens of thousands of people were taking to the streets across the United States in opposition to ICE, migrant detention, and Trumpism.

The result of this continued action, has been powerful. Twice in the past several weeks and in the face of threats of mass deportations, we saw nearly daily actions which led to ICE raids, at least this weekend with only a few exceptions, never materializing on a large scale.

This victory is perhaps one of the most important wins by autonomous social movements against Trump’s policies since the Muslim Ban, and like the airport blockades, was based around the logic of direct, not symbolic action, and happened in opposition to Democratic Party leadership, not because of it.

The growing #AbolishICE movement, since it first kicked off last year with a wave of encampments and occupations, has taken many forms: physical Occupy style blockades and campouts, mass marches, graffiti and wheatpaste, call-in campaigns, “Know Your Rights” trainings and community patrols, pro-divestment protests and rallies, sabotage actions, and the spread of a network of sanctuary spaces. This diversity of tactics has given the movement strength and complete autonomy, as it has largely divorced itself from electoral politics and the control of the Democratic Party apparatus.

As Eric London wrote:

House and Senate Democrats voted in June to provide Trump with $5 billion to fund ICE and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), giving the administration the funds it is now using to conduct raids and lock up children in desert camps.

These votes were not capitulations to Republican demands, but conscious political decisions to provide the police and immigration Gestapo with whatever legal and material powers they require to crush opposition and defend the capitalist status quo.

All talk of halting the persecution of immigrants by pressuring or appealing to the Democratic Party is hopeless illusion or deliberate deception. Those who advocate such a program—most notably the Democratic Socialists of America—are servants of the ruling class whose goal is to channel opposition back into the Democratic Party where it can be rendered harmless.

Democrats and the pro-Democratic media [have given the] White House a blank check to expand its network of concentration camps, intensify its police state tactics and accelerate its program of mass deportations.

In editorial board statements published in Sunday’s print editions of the New York Times and Washington Post, the publishers of the Democratic Party-aligned newspapers effectively endorsed the anti-immigrant pogrom.

The Times statement, titled “All Presidents Are Deporters in Chief,” denounced left-wing opposition to Trump’s attack on immigrants. It declared that “the office [of the presidency] comes with the responsibility to enforce the nation’s laws—laws that require that the borders be secure and that some of the people who aren’t legally authorized to live here be deported, after being afforded due process.”

This “shouldn’t be a provocative assertion,” the Times continued, while condemning “inflamed passions” and opposing those advocating “greater extremes,” including “calls to abolish ICE outright.” The editors concentrated their fire on those on the left who are “flirting with radical changes to the country’s immigration laws,” and concluded by declaring that “the next president has to be ready to assume the role of deporter in chief.”

Thus, this autonomous, radical, and self-organized movement has achieved, at least for now, more than even the most progressive wings of the Democratic Party have – which is nothing. Collectively, this mass resistance has also been strengthened by Trump’s own miscalculations and stupidity, leading to a decisive, albeit for now, victory over the State.

But despite the fact that there has been significant push back against proposed raids, at the same time, thousands still suffer in migrant detention facilities, and the continued need to mobilize and build a movement to liberate them from these prisons grows more dire by the day.

Concentration Camps and Mass Deportations: As American As Apple Pie

The Right has pushed a narrative that, led by Democrats like AOC, “the Left” on the streets is being worked into a frenzy because of extreme rhetoric around “concentration camps.” This type of conspiratorial thinking fits perfectly into their narrative; social movements are simply puppets of politicians and the elites and that those taking action against ICE are really just stupid snowflakes who are worked up over nothing – you know, as opposed to those galaxy brain folks who fall in behind Qanon, Pizzagate, and Trumpism itself.

In reality, people don’t need politicians to see the truth of what is going on, and it is horrific. Making things even more terrible, is the reality that concentration camps and mass deportations as a means of ethnic cleansing have long been a tool used by the US government and past example bare many similarities to what we see being carried out today.

People rounded up during “Operation Wetback.”

Starting in the 1830s, the US began rounding up thousands of Native Cherokee people and placing them in concentration camps, leading to rampant death, starvation, disease, and ultimately the “Trail of Tears.” This was part of a larger process of pushing settlers westward and achieving “Manifest Destiny.” Ideologically, this grab for land was justified because of the need to spread so-called, Western Civilization.

As All That’s Interesting wrote:

As white settlements formed into the American states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida, their borders crossed into Native American land. Natives, then, were viewed as a roadblock in the path of westward expansion. This “Indian Problem,” it was believed, could be resolved through a policy of “civilization.”

“Civilization,” as proposed by Thomas Jefferson, would eradicate the Native American’s way of life and assimilate them into western culture. Jefferson believed that Native Americans were stunted by their “savage” customs and so required missionaries to teach them how to be Anglo-American. If they could be converted to Christianity; learn to speak, read, and write English; as well as dress like whites, eat like whites, and most importantly convert to European notions of individual ownership and commerce then they could be saved.

Andrew Jackson’s motivation was to expand the influence and economic prosperity of the United States. In particular, he wanted to make way for cotton growth on a large scale. Native Americans, consequently, did not fit into this plan for the new southeastern United States.

During the Civil War in Minnesota, the US launched a war against the Dakota people and other indigenous nations, even offering money for indigenous people’s scalps. In December of 1862, thirty eight Dakota warriors were hanged in the largest mass execution on US soil by order of Abraham Lincoln, with hundreds more prisoners being sent to camps in other states. 1,700 Dakota women, children, and elderly were then forced marched to Fort Snelling; as they marched they were violently attacked by white mobs. Once at Fort Snelling, hundreds died as men and women were broken apart and children were forced into boarding schools, forced to learn English and assimilate to Christianity, as authorities sought to ultimately “Kill the Indian…and save the man.”

In New Mexico, at least 4,000 people died due to horrible conditions, starvation, and disease in concentration camps, after 10,000 Najavo people were forced from their land in the “Long Walk” of 1864.

Around the same time in Natchez, Mississippi, Union forces in the South began a system of capturing freed slaves and forcing them to work in concentration camps. As one article wrote:

The Devil’s Punchbowl is a place located in Natchez, Mississippi where during the Civil War; authorities forced tens of thousands of freed slaves to live into concentration camps. Westbrook adds that, “The union army did not allow them to remove the bodies from the camp. They just gave ’em shovels and said bury ’em where they drop.”

According to researcher Paula Westbrook, she researched through Adams County Sheriff’s reports from the time.

“When the slaves were released from the plantations during the occupation they overran Natchez. And the population went from about 10,000 to 120,000 overnight,” Westbrook said.

“So they decided to build an encampment for ’em at Devil’s Punchbowl which they walled off and wouldn’t let ’em out,” Don Estes, former director of the Natchez City Cemetery, said.

Estes said that history research is his life. During his studies he said he learned that Union troops ordered re-captured black men to perform hard labor. Women and children were all but left to die in the three “punchbowls”.

“Disease broke out among ’em, smallpox being the main one. And thousands and thousands died. They were begging to get out. ‘Turn me loose and I’ll go home back to the plantation! Anywhere but there’,” Estes said.

The Devil’s Punchbowl, a concentration camp made up of former slaves help captive by Union troops. Tens of thousands were worked to death.

In the early 1900s, the US exported the use of concentration camps during the Philippine-American war. As part of a counter-insurgency operation against rebels, the US began a scorched earth policy of killing crops, plants, and animals across a wide area, and setting up concentration camps, called reconcentrados, to house Natives, behind US controlled lines. As OZY wrote:

Insurgent fighters captured by U.S. forces were dealt with swiftly through deportation, imprisonment or execution, while tens of thousands of civilians were herded into “zones of protection” to protect them and prevent them from joining guerrilla bands. These “reconcentrados,” or concentration camps, were crowded and filled with disease; as the frustrations of guerrilla warfare grew, many U.S. fighters resorted to some of the brutal retaliatory measures reported in the Ledger. One camp commandant referred to them as the “suburbs of hell.”

The U.S. State Department estimates that around 20,000 Filipino and 4,000 U.S. combatants died in the fighting in the Philippines, and as many as 200,000 Filipino civilians died as a result of violence, famine and disease, with most losses attributable to a cholera epidemic near the end of the war. “The U.S. conquest of the Philippines,” Stanley Karnow claims in In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines, reflecting a common view of historians, “had been as cruel as any conflict in the annals of imperialism.”

In the World War II period under executive order 9066, the US government set up concentration camps for Italian, German, Alaskan Native people, and Japanese Americans. Conditions in the camps were harsh, with some people dying due to medical neglect and others being killed by guards for attempting to escape or walking too close to the fence line. After the end of internment, in many instances people returned to find their homes and belongings had been sold, their jobs gone, and often faced racist violence from white vigilantes and mobs.

In 1950, Democratic Senator Sen. Pat McCarran passed the Emergency Detention Act, which brought about the construction of several concentration camps for the purpose of interning communists, civil-rights activists, and other dissents in the event of a State of Emergency. The camps were never used but up-kept until the 1960s.

As the Densho Encyclopedia wrote:

In December 1952, attorney general J. Howard McGrath designated six potential camp sites under the provisions of Title II. One of them was the Tule Lake site that had been formerly used to detain Japanese Americans.

Ultimately, the law was never invoked and concentration camps were never activated. Despite opposition from civil liberties groups, the waning of anti-communist/Cold War hysteria, and being defunded in 1957, the law remained on the books for nearly twenty years until an ultimately successful effort to repeal it came into being in the late 1960s.

From the Cold War and then into the War on Terror, concentration camps were also put to use from Vietnam, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, not to mention through the spread of the prison-industrial complex, coupled with the growth of migrant detention facilities.

What unites all of these examples however are largely two things: first, the bureaucratic nightmare created by the State which gives rise to conditions of mass starvation, disease, and death by neglect, along with an attempt by the State to justify this reality either as a way to protect the wider public or even “save” those being interned themselves. Then as now, this is presented as a way to defend so-called Western Civilization or America itself. We see this play out in contemporary far-Right discourse all the time, as people like Rush Limbaugh defend the conditions of the current camps, because drinking toilet water is a “step up” for migrants.

But if concentration camps are as American as apple pie, so to then are mass deportations, even of American citizens as long as they are carried out along lines of race, or occasionally, against revolutionary anti-capitalists, such as with the Palmer Raids of 1919 and 1920. A decade later, during the aftermath of the Great Depression, over a million US citizens from Mexican backgrounds were deported, along with many more who were undocumented.

According to History.com:

These were the “repatriation drives,” a series of informal raids that took place around the United States during the Great Depression. Local governments and officials deported up to 1.8 million people to Mexico, according to research conducted by Joseph Dunn, a former California state senator. Dunn estimates around 60 percent of these people were actually American citizens, many of them born in the U.S. to first-generation immigrants. For these citizens, deportation wasn’t “repatriation”—it was exile from their country.

The logic behind these raids was that Mexican immigrants were supposedly using resources and working jobs that should go to white Americans affected by the Great Depression. However, modern economists who’ve studied the effect of the 1930s “repatriation drives” on cities argue the raids did not boost local economies. “The repatriation of Mexicans, who were mostly laborers and farm workers, reduced demand for other jobs mainly held by natives, such as skilled craftsman and managerial, administrative and sales jobs,” write economists in a 2017 academic paper circulated by the non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research. “In fact, our estimates suggest that it may have further increased their levels of unemployment and depressed their wages.”

These raids were then followed by so-called “Operation Wetback,” as a new round of deportations began in the mid-1950s. As History.com wrote:

Operation Wetback, the biggest mass deportation of undocumented workers in United States history. As many as 1.3 million people may have been swept up in the Eisenhower-era campaign with a racist name, which was designed to root out undocumented Mexicans from American society.

The short-lived operation used military-style tactics to remove Mexican immigrants—some of them American citizens—from the United States. Though millions of Mexicans had legally entered the country through joint immigration programs in the first half of the 20th century, Operation Wetback was designed to send them back to Mexico.

Timeline noted:

Rather than dump deportees on the other side of the border, where many would simply cross back over, the U.S. government negotiated with the Mexican government to transport them by train, truck, or plane to southern Mexico, hundreds of miles away. Since many of the deportees were from other places, this stranded them, without connections or access to money or food. For the sake of speed, civil rights went out the window. As during the massive deportation push of the 1930s, when more than half a million U.S. citizens were deported, hundreds of Americans who could not quickly produce proof of citizenship were swept up in Operation Wetback’s dragnet and hauled off to Mexico.

As with concentration camps, looking back at the mass deportation campaigns of the 30s and 50s, we can see commonalities. First, the push for mass deportations was grounded in a desire to physically ethnically cleanse the United States, although it was often sold to the American people along economic lines or through the creation of a manufactured anti-social threat. Second, these raids were carried out quickly, sloppily, and done with the full knowledge that they were sweeping up many actual American citizens in the process and trampling on people’s rights.

We see the same realities at play today, as the current concentration camps are marred in thousands of people lacking access to basic hygiene, food, a place to sleep, legal representation, and water. These are victims of a brutality largely defined by systemic antipathy and bureaucratic negligence. Meanwhile, like the mass sweeps of the past, today they are carried out due to an ideological drive, namely from white nationalist think tanks like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), and not because of some sort of actual crisis caused by migrants living in the United States.

Examples of the outcome of these policies is everywhere, from people being forced to drink out of toilets, being punished with sleep deprivation techniques, not being allowed to bathe for weeks at a time, forcing toddlers to choose between which parent they want to be separated from, the rising amount of deaths, the looming threat of disease, to the rampant reports of sexual abuse and assault.

These atrocities, from the tens of thousands who have perished in American concentration camps over the decades, to those who have died in an attempt to make it across the desert, to those now anguishing inside the camps now, are all based around creating an entire state of exception; the suspension of the rule of law over an entire population in the name of the supposed “public good,” based simply upon a person’s skin color, what neighborhood they live in, and their family background.

This is done to make the job of the State that much easier, but also prepare the rest of the population for what could possibly come next.

Fort Snelling Cherokee concentration camp.

Setting Hell on Fire

To make a complete timeline or catalogue of actions for the #AbolishICE will be a task for a later date, however the movement has largely been both abolitionist in the sense that its overall goal is the complete dismantling of ICE (and for many others, the entire State structure). Beyond that, the tactics used by the movement have by and large been based in direct action, as opposed to symbolic actions such as passive candle light vigils, permitted marches that go in circles, or attempts to build support for Democrats in the upcoming 2020 election. There was an attempt to push the movement in that direction last Friday as many liberals were organizing and leading the #Lights4Liberty protests, but the fact that so many exploded into expressions of organic outrage and anger, showed that this simply was not going to be the case.

#JewsAgainstICE still blockading the Atlanta ICE Field Office! We’re not moving because every day that ICE is “just doing their job” is another day of roundups, concentration camps, family separation, & terror for our undocumented neighbors.

Take Action: https://t.co/O0VeXq9pbp pic.twitter.com/ZRiKYA65GK

— ✡️ Never Again Action ✡️ (@NeverAgainActn) July 15, 2019

Furthermore, the acceptance if not embrace of the actions of Willem Von Spronsen, and the sentiment that direct action is needed to physically stop this from happening, has caused many liberals to at least acknowledge that direct forms of resistance in a situation such as this are in fact, acceptable if not outright needed.

Over all the #AbolishICE movement has utilized a wide variety of tactics, yet they broadly can been lumped into several categories: disruption, divestment, community organizing, and sabotage.

We have literally trapped DHS officers on the street outside the employee parking garage. We’re chanting “there are no excuses for human rights abuses.”#ShutDownICE #NeverAgainAction pic.twitter.com/7eWjjoUQwa

— Sophie Ellman-Golan (@EgSophie) July 16, 2019

As we saw last summer, and with lessons learned from Standing Rock, Black Lives Matter, and antifascist mobilizations – disruption, blockading, and the physical shutting down of infrastructure is key to stopping the State from being able to continue to carrying out its maneuvers. This was clear last summer, when the Abolish ICE camps shut down ICE centers for weeks, as it was today, when ICE HQ was shut down and employees scrambled out of the building. Such actions show the power of mass mobilization and the ability to impact bureaucratic and top-down systems that already are in crisis and deeply unpopular.

Many groups have also adopted a strategy of divestment, which as mentioned earlier has already led to large banks such as Bank of America, SunTrust, Bank of the West, and many more, divesting from private prisons. Other campaigns have also gained steam, such as against Amazon’s contracts with ICE, as well as Planatir, a mega-tech company which has massive deals with ICE.

Activists protest in front of Amazon’s SF HQ on #PrimeDayAmazon to call for the company to break ties with ICE. @KRON4MKelly pic.twitter.com/zZR8Smgz8r

— Maureen Kelly (@KRON4MKelly) July 15, 2019

Many groups have also been heavily involved in bread and butter community organizing; putting on Know Your Rights workshops, distributing information to impacted communities, setting up social media accounts, phone trees, and community response systems. In some instances that we know about, this type of organizing has had a big impact, with reports coming in of many people refusing to cooperate with ICE after they failed to produce a warrant.

Lastly, there’s been a small trickle of direct acts of sabotage, from people putting glue into ATMs of banks profiting off ICE prisons, the leaking or hacking of private info related to ICE, graffiti and wheatpaste campaigns, and of course Williem Von Spronsen’s final attempt at throwing a wrench into the deportation machine. While these actions, all aimed at property, not human life, have remained small in number, at the same time have represented yet another set of tactics being used in the broader struggle.

What unites all of these tactics visions, is the realization that the time to act is now. As the anarchist Jean Weir once wrote, “The secret is really to begin” and as anarchist historian Mark Bray pointed out, the point is not to fight fascism when it gets to the point of concentration camps, but to fight it so that such things never come to pass. The present moment offers us both a clarity of what horrors may lay just on the horizon: mass deportations which could lead to full scale slaughter, camps riddled with disease and death, children continuously torn from their families for years and decades, and moreover the proliferation of the concentration camp system into more and more facets of social life with more and more people being brought under the state of exception.

Thus at our present moment, there is no reason not to act, and act now. There is also every reason to fight, and fight hard, to stop the horrors that have yet to come to fruition from ever seeing the light of day as well as against the nightmare that’s already here.

Camps in the Desert, Lines in the Sand

Trump is entrenching himself further and further into the camp of boomer resentment and white identity politics, while Steve Bannon dreams of Trumpism representing a return of manufacturing jobs (“economic nationalism”), a border wall (“national sovereignty”), and an end to foreign wars (“isolationism”), has been put to bed as a total failure.

While unemployment is low and profits are up, this is because people are working more for less pay, and the GDP is rising because of this austerity model. This is compounded by a mass restructuring of the tax system along with cuts to environmental and worker regulations; all which benefit a small elite class and have transferred, thanks to the government, mass amounts of wealth out of the hands of poor and working-class. and into those of the elites. Socialism indeed.

Far from bringing ‘manufacturing jobs back’ (since 2000, more than 80% of jobs lost has been to automation, not corporate globalization and outsourcing) many staple blue collar jobs on currently on the chopping block to be automated. Far from ending imperialist interventions into other countries, Trump has in fact put more money into the war machine and brought the US into increased tensions with more countries. On top of that, his policies only will exasperate the problems; from US intervention to climate change, that are leading so many people to migrate.

But while Trump has failed on all these fronts, he hasn’t lost his core base that is enthralled with his open racism and mysogyny; his ability to “trigger the libs.” Going into 2020, this seems to be Trump’s campaign strategy as well, simply holding onto that base and hoping that enough voters on the other side lose interest long enough for him to pull off a repeat of 2016.

Meanwhile, in response to the success of the #AbolishICE movement this weekend, Trump has now pushed forward new rules that will not allow people to apply for asylum if they cross over another country without apply there first.

As one report wrote:

“The Trump administration is today implementing an “interim final rule” drafted by the US Justice and Homeland Security Departments that will effectively seal the US southern border to men, women and children seeking asylum from violence and repression in Central America and beyond.

In yet another assertion of untrammeled executive power, Trump’s asylum decree rides roughshod over both US and international law.

The interim rule orders US border officials to summarily deny asylum to anyone who “enters or attempts to enter the United States across the southern border after failing to apply for protection in a third country outside the alien’s country of citizenship, nationality, or last lawful habitual residence through which the alien transited en route to the United States.”’

This means that those attempting to apply for asylum at ports of entry along the US southern border will simply be asked if they applied for asylum in Mexico or Guatemala and, if they say no, will be turned away. Meanwhile those crossing the Rio Grande and the desert and turning themselves in to the border patrol will be deported on the same grounds without any semblance of due process.

While various groups are now launching law suits against the Trump administration, what is clear is that Trump and the rest of the racket that is the political class is more than willing to let the situation get even worse. In many ways, an escalation along the border benefits both corporate parties, with Trump appealing to his base and the Democrats helping fund Trump’s operation but putting on a show of looking disgusted and surprised.

The task remains on everyday people who are coming together everywhere and taking action against ICE and its world of bureaucratic misery to continue the struggle forward and see it through to the end: abolition.

Categories: News

Portland, OR: Vigil Outside of ICE Detention Center July 17th

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 00:00

The post Portland, OR: Vigil Outside of ICE Detention Center July 17th appeared first on It's Going Down.

Call from Occupy ICE PDX for a vigil outside of the Portland ICE Detention Center on July 17th.

On July 17th, at 8:30pm OccupyICEpdx will be hosting an outdoor vigil beside Portland’s ICE Detention Center located at 4310 SW Macadam Ave. Join us as we remember a fallen comrade Willem Van Spronsen, a person who gave their life in order to stop the seperation of North Western families. Let us also honor and mourn all migrants and assylum seekers killed by today’s harsh immigration policies.

Before we begin the much needed work of strengthening our communities resistence to ICE, let us honor the actions of Van Spronsen and mourn their loss. We must close Portland’s ICE Detention Center and North West Detention Center, then  keep shutting them down until they are all abolished. As Maru Mora Villalpando from La Resistencia said “If this place wasn’t here (NWDC), that person would be alive today. People have died because of the detintion center and people keep dieing because of immigration enforcement.” We are the fire that Will melt ICE!

The vigil begins at 8:30pm with an Indigenous land acknowledgement, followed by the reading of William Van Spronsen’s manifesto. We will finish the event with a few chants that hopefully have us walking away from the vigil feeling joyfully revolutionary.

Categories: News

PopMob Demands Statement of Regret, Retraction of Defamatory Tweet from City of Portland and Police Bureau

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 04:57

The post PopMob Demands Statement of Regret, Retraction of Defamatory Tweet from City of Portland and Police Bureau appeared first on It's Going Down.

Press release from PopMob in Portland, Oregon, which states they will fight legally against the amplification by local police of far-Right conspiracy theories.

PORTLAND, OR: Today, on behalf of PopMob, Attorney Juan Chavez of Oregon Justice Resource Center sent a formal demand to the City of Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw. We are demanding the city retract their false statement issued June 29th, 2019 via Twitter, which implied directly or indirectly that PopMob put cement into vegan milkshakes served at a counter protest in response to the threat of alt right violence in our city. In addition to retraction of their defamatory claim, PopMob also demands a correction and letter of regret released to as broad an audience as the original misinformation reached. This includes local, national, and international news organizations who published the falsehood as fact without critical analysis.

On Saturday, June 29th, PopMob and hundreds of Portlanders gathered at a joyful show of resistance against Proud Boys and alt-right hate groups. We provided a dance party atmosphere and served vegan coconut milkshakes. This unfounded and inflammatory claim by the PPB led to an onslaught of abuse and harassment, including death threats, leveled at PopMob and supporters on multiple social media sites, via email, and over the phone1 . This claim, and their continued refusal to admit culpability in perpetuating dangerous misinformation, is akin to yelling “fire” in a crowded building. It put the personal safety of our members at risk and put a target on all leftist demonstrators as the threat of far right violence rises in Portland and nationally.

Chief Outlaw, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and PPB continue to defend their unsubstantiated tweet despite a glaring lack of evidence. Outlaw stated, “As we get information, we want to alert the public”. The only method used to communicate this information was Twitter, despite a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) giving announcements continuously throughout the demonstration, and nearby police making no attempt to confiscate milkshakes or stop them from being consumed. While you cannot unring a bell, this refusal further damages the public’s eroding trust in their police force and perpetuates an adversarial relationship with the people it claims to protect.

We cannot rely on the police to protect the people of Portland when they continually aid the violent agenda of the far right. Per ORS 31.215, they have two weeks from the receipt of our demand today to retract their statement, issue their correction, and release a letter of regret.

1. A selection of screenshots representing the threats is enclosed with this release.

Categories: News

Seattle WA: #DivestfromICE Protesters Shut Down Bank of the West

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 01:13

The post Seattle WA: #DivestfromICE Protesters Shut Down Bank of the West appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following action report details a recent bank shut down which was part of the call from #BlocktheWall to protest banks profiteering from mass detention, deportation, and family separation. 

On July 11th, over 30 people picketed outside the downtown Seattle branch of Bank of the West, demanding the bank cut ties with ICE. Protesters attempted to enter the bank branch but were barred by Seattle Police Department (SPD) officers utilizing bicycles as barricades. Shortly after, bank management informed SPD officers that the bank branch had locked its doors. The picket continued for an hour as protesters shouted chants, distributed leaflets to passers-by and continued to block the bank entrance. At 5PM participants in the bank shutdown marched to the Close the Concentration Camps rally at Westlake Center organized by El Comite and May 1st Action Coalition.

Bank of the West is a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, a large bank that provides funding to GEO Group, a private prison corporation contracted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain migrants. GEO Group operates the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, long a site of resistance and migrant solidarity, both inside and outside its walls. According to recent financial records, Bank of the West’s parent company, BNP Paribas, is listed as GEO Group’s “administrative agent” and is one of its leading lenders. Following activist pressure in March 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced that it would cease further financing of the industry. Wells Fargo, US Bank, Bank of America, and SunTrust have also recently pulled back. Without this access to capital, the future for CoreCivic (another large ICE prison contractor) and GEO Group is in jeopardy.

The bank protest was co-hosted by Olympia Assembly, El Comite and May 1st Action Coalition and was organized in conjunction with the July 8th-12 Week of Action to Shut Down ICE Profiteers.

The week of action encouraged concentrated disruptive protest be directed against financial firms invested in ICE prison contractors, GEO Group and CoreCivic. In a number of cities, the call was heeded with shutdowns at Bank of the West and PNC Bank branches, but also with protests at the offices of ICE-tech collaborators, like Microsoft and Amazon.

Categories: News

Modesto, CA: Posters Put Up for Week of Action Against ICE

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 23:43

The post Modesto, CA: Posters Put Up for Week of Action Against ICE appeared first on It's Going Down.

The following report and photos was anonymously sent to It’s Going Down.

As part of the wave of action against ICE and the world of white supremacy, neoliberal capital, and prison society that it serves, we posted up a series of anti-ICE, and-border, and anti-Trump posters on a long running graffiti wall at a favorite fishing spot and swimming hole in town, used by poor and working people of various backgrounds. Our small act is part of a tapestry of direct action and individual and collective refusal against ICE, deportations, and mass internment which is being backed and facilitated by both the Trump administration and the Democratic Party.

In the past few weeks, the anarchist movement has stepped up along with a collection of newly self-organized groups, networks, and collectives to push back and attack the growth of the concentration camps. We have seen everything from mass street demos to people taking action against banks and Amazon, calling for divestment, to people rallying in the thousands outside of detention facilities, to Will Von Spronsen’s final act of courage, which attempted to take out several deportation buses in Tacoma, Washington.

13 years ago, we watched in the Central Valley, as a self-organized movement of student walkouts snowballed into mass resistance which defeated HR-4437, a bill that would have further criminalized undocumented folks and those that wold give them aid. Mass walkouts, led by high school students and those even younger, culminated in the May Day 2006 marches and wildcat strikes. This is the type of mass refusal we hope to push towards.

We’d also like to give a shout out to all the antifascist crews pushing against Proud Boys and Alt-Right trolls, land defenders and tree sitters from the Mattole to Yellow Finch, Native warriors holding it down in Secwépemc territory, all the queer and trans comrades fighting back in Hamilton and beyond to #FreeCedar, the rioters in Puerto Rico lighting up the night against the puppet government, Amazon workers on strike, and prison rebels trying to keep cool in the heat – we see you!

-some anarchists

Categories: News

Pipeline Fighter Blocks Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction

Sun, 07/14/2019 - 23:11

The post Pipeline Fighter Blocks Mountain Valley Pipeline Construction appeared first on It's Going Down.

Report from Appalachians Against Pipelines on recent action that shut down construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP).

Montgomery County, VA — Yesterday, pipeline fighter Phillip Flagg locked himself in the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline near Elliston, VA. MVP has been clearing and grading this section of the pipeline’s path in preparation to lay pipe. Phillip laid his body in the easement and locked his body to an underground concrete blockade directly in the path of the pipeline. His action stopped MVP work at the site for 7 hours, preventing the company’s progression towards the nearby Yellow Finch tree sits. Around 5:30 pm, Phillip was extracted from his blockade and arrested. He was charged with misdemeanor obstruction and released on $1,000 bail.

Phillip, who previously spent months living in a tree sit blocking the MVP, stated: “I cherished the time I spent in the tree sit, and I think back on it fondly. But I’m not too proud to admit that the time I spent in the oak simply isn’t enough to stop this pipeline. The forces we are facing will not be dissuaded by any individual effort. Each of us has our piece to contribute — when one person steps up, others will follow.”

A banner near the site of Phillip’s blockade read “STOP THE MVP — BLOCK THE PATH — NO PIPELINES ON STOLEN LAND.” The latter part of this message refers to the fact that Indigenous people inhabited the hills and hollers of this region for thousands of years — including Monocan, Moneton, Cherokee, and other Native peoples — before white settlers arrived (bringing with them genocide and forced relocation). Extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure are a continuation of the legacy of colonization; Appalachians Against Pipelines stands in solidarity with Indigenous-led fights against pipelines, from Unist’ot’en to the fight against Line 3 and beyond.

In the holler adjacent to Phillip’s action, the Yellow Finch tree sits have been blocking the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for 313 days and counting. In support of Phillip’s action, one of the anonymous tree sitters stated: “Every day, MVP’s construction work gets close and closer to the Yellow Finch sits, decimating acres of Appalachian forests, mountains, and waterways in its wake. Today and every day, we are putting our bodies on the line to stop it. Now is the time to stand up and fight back against the destruction of the earth. Join us! We’re still here. We won’t back down.”

The Mountain Valley Pipeline is a 42-inch diameter, 303-mile fracked gas pipeline that runs from northern West Virginia to southern Virginia. Earlier this month, a 70-mile extension into North Carolina (which was proposed in 2018) was denied its Section 401 Water Quality Certification by the NC Department of Environmental Quality. The Mountain Valley Pipeline endangers water, ecosystems, and communities along its route, contributes to climate change, increases demand for natural gas (and as a result, fracking), and is entrenched in corrupt political processes.

Resistance to the pipeline has only grown since the pipeline’s proposal in 2014. Grassroots-led pipeline monitoring and a nonviolent direct action campaign are ongoing. On June 17, 2019, builders admitted that the project’s budget has ballooned to $5 billion and that completion date has been delayed by 1.5 years at least.

The pipeline is in a state of uncertainty. MVP currently lacks permission to cross many water bodies and has been forced to explore alternate approaches in crossing through the Jefferson National Forest. The coming months will show whether construction is able to move forward in those areas, and whether investors will continue to believe in the pipeline’s ever-distant goal of completion.

Categories: News

On Willem Van Spronsen & His Final Statement

Sun, 07/14/2019 - 22:25

The post On Willem Van Spronsen & His Final Statement appeared first on It's Going Down.

Statement from CrimethInc. on the recent death of Willem Van Spronsen, who was killed by Tacoma police after attempting to set fire to buses at the Northwest Detention Facility in Tacoma, Washington. Includes a written statement from Spronsen.

On July 13, Willem Van Spronsen was killed by police while apparently taking action to disable the fleet of buses that serve the Northwest Detention Center, a private immigration detainment facility. His final statement, reproduced below, conveys that he was acting in response to the continuous raids and deportations carried out by Immigration Customs and Enforcement (ICE). His action occurred on the one-year anniversary of a hunger strike inside the Northwest Detention Center and an encampment outside. You can read a list of other acts of resistance that have occurred inside the Northwest Detention Center here.

We understand why Willem Van Spronsen decided to give his life to interrupt the violence that is perpetrated against undocumented people in the United States every day.

It is not hyperbole to say that the ICE raids are targeting our friends and neighbors, people who have lived and worked alongside us for years or even decades. The vulnerability of long-term undocumented people as a hyper-exploitable class has helped billionaires like Donald Trump to profit even more than they could have by legal means. To put the icing on the cake, capitalists then turn to the other workers they are exploiting and tell them that the poverty and misfortunes they experience are the fault of those who are poorer and more oppressed than them. It’s hard to imagine a more cynical strategy.

The disparity in rights between the documented and undocumented is a construct—just as the disparity in value that the Nazis constructed between Jewish people and gentiles was a construct. Both are mere inventions; they have no intrinsic existence except as a means for a powerful group to justify violence against a less powerful group. Those who justify obedience to the law as a good in itself stand alongside the Nazis whose laws condemned millions to the death camps, not to mention the racists who passed the Fugitive Slave Act and the Jim Crow laws in the American South.

Laws are just constructs. They have no value in and of themselves. They often serve to legitimize injustice that people would otherwise take action to oppose.

The further that the proponents of racist violence are permitted to legitimize invented concepts like slavery and citizenship, the more violence they will perpetrate—up to and including roundups, concentration camps, and mass extermination. We have seen this before, in Nazi Germany and elsewhere, and we are seeing it again today in the United States. The thousands of deaths that take place in the borderlands and the thousands murdered by police are just a foretaste of what is possible.

In this regard, the Jewish people who are carrying out blockades against ICE are engaging in rational efforts to prevent the recurrence of the same unthinkable injustices that were perpetrated against their ancestors—just as Willem Van Spronsen, who grew up in the wake of World War II, made the rational decision that the time had come to fight the rise of fascism just as people did in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

If more people had chosen to take action to fight the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany, the Second World War might have been averted, and with it millions upon millions of lives would have been saved. Let no one say it is “violent” to attack the infrastructure of ICE and the mercenaries who maintain it. The real violence is the complicity of the Good Americans who do nothing as their neighbors are disappeared, just like those Good Germans who choose to ignore what was being done to their neighbors in the 1930s.

Every day, mercenaries around the world risk their lives in service to the agenda of the rich and powerful, obeying orders thoughtlessly, squandering their capacity to think rationally, to feel compassion, to take responsibility for their actions. Millions of people kill and die every year simply to increase the wealth and power of the tyrants who manipulate them. Willem Van Spronsen chose to think for himself. He took personal responsibility and did what he could to put an end to what he recognized as injustice. He did not use the Nuremburg defense to excuse his actions the way that every police officer and prison guard does.

In those regards, what he did was heroic.

We recommend the statement about Willem Van Spronsen’s action posted by La Resistencia, a grassroots collective led by undocumented immigrants and US citizens based in Tacoma, Washington.

“Anyone who is determined to carry out his or her deed is not a courageous person. They are simply a person who has clarified their ideas, who has realized that it is pointless to make such an effort to play the part assigned to them by capital in the performance…

In doing so they realize themselves as human beings. They realize themselves in joy. The reign of death disappears before their eyes.”

Alfredo Bonanno

Willem Van Spronsen’s Final Statement

Audio manifesto: thesuper8.bandcamp.com

There’s wrong and there’s right.
It’s time to take action against the forces of evil.

Evil says one life is worth less than another.
Evil says the flow of commerce is our purpose here.
Evil says concentration camps for folks deemed lesser are necessary.
The handmaid of evil says the concentration camps should be more humane.
Beware the centrist.

I have a father’s broken heart
I have a broken down body
And I have an unshakable abhorrence for injustice
That is what brings me here.
This is my clear opportunity to try to make a difference, I’d be an ingrate to be waiting for a more obvious invitation.

I follow three teachers:
Don Pritts, my spiritual guide. “Love without action is just a word.”
John Brown, my moral guide. “What is needed is action!”
Emma Goldman, my political guide. “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be in your revolution.”

I’m a head in the clouds dreamer, I believe in love and redemption.
I believe we’re going to win.
I’m joyfully revolutionary. (We all should have been reading Emma Goldman in school instead of the jingo drivel we were fed, but I digress.) (We should all be looking at the photos of the YPG heroes should we falter and think our dreams are impossible, but I double digress. Fight me.)

In these days of fascist hooligans preying on vulnerable people in our streets, in the name of the state or supported and defended by the state,

In these days of highly profitable detention/concentration camps and a battle over the semantics,

In these days of hopelessness, empty pursuit and empty yearning,

We are living in visible fascism ascendant. (I say visible, because those paying attention watched it survive and thrive under the protection of the state for decades. [See Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States.] Now it unabashedly follows its agenda with open and full cooperation from the government. From governments around the world.

Fascism serves the needs of the state serves the needs of business and at your expense. Who benefits? Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Tim Cook, Bill Gates, Betsy de Vos, George Soros, Donald Trump, and need I go on? Let me say it again: rich guys (who think you’re not really all that good), really dig government (every government everywhere, including “communist” governments), because they make the rules that make rich guys richer.
Simple.
Don’t overthink it.

(Are you patriots in the back paying attention?)

When I was a boy, in post-war Holland, later France, my head was filled with stories of the rise of fascism in the ’30s. I promised myself that I would not be one of those who stands by as neighbors are torn from their homes and imprisoned for somehow being perceived as lesser.
You don’t have to burn the motherfucker down, but are you going to just stand by?

This is the test of our fundamental belief in real freedom and our responsibility to each other.
This is a call to patriots, too, to stand against this travesty against everything that you hold sacred. I know you. I know that in your hearts, you see the dishonor in these camps. It’s time for you, too, to stand up to the money pulling the strings of every goddamn puppet pretending to represent us.

I’m a man who loves you all and this spinning ball so much that I’m going to fulfill my childhood promise to myself to be noble.

Here it is, in these corporate for profit concentration camps.
Here it is, in Brown and non-conforming folks afraid to show their faces for fear of the police/migra/Proud Boys/the boss/beckies…
Here it is, a planet almost used up by the market’s greed.

I’m a black and white thinker.
Detention camps are an abomination.
I’m not standing by.
I really shouldn’t have to say any more than this.

I set aside my broken heart and I heal the only way I know how—by being useful.
I efficiently compartmentalize my pain…
And I joyfully go about this work.
(To those burdened with the wreckage from my actions, I hope that you will make the best use of that burden.)

To my comrades:
I regret that I will miss the rest of the revolution.
Thank you for the honor of having me in your midst.

Giving me space to be useful, to feel that I was fulfilling my ideals, has been the spiritual pinnacle of my life.

Doing what I can to help defend my precious and wondrous people is an experience too rich to describe.

My trans comrades have transformed me, solidifying my conviction that we will be guided to a dreamed-of future by those most marginalized among us today. I have dreamed it so clearly that I have no regret for not seeing how it turns out. Thank you for bringing me so far along.

I am antifa. I stand with comrades around the world who act from the love of life in every permutation. Comrades who understand that freedom means real freedom for all and a life worth living.

Keep the faith!
All power to the people!
Bella ciao.

Don’t let your silly government agencies spend money “investigating” this one. I was radicalized in civics class at 13 when we were taught about the electoral college. It was at that point that I decided that the status quo might be a house of cards. Further reading confirmed in the positive. I highly recommend reading!

I am not affiliated with any organization, I have disaffiliated from any organizations who disagree with my choice of tactics.

The semi-automatic weapon I used was a cheap, home-built unregistered “ghost” AR-15, it had six magazines. I strongly encourage comrades and incoming comrades to arm themselves. We are now responsible for defending people from the predatory state. Ignore the law in arming yourself if you have the luxury, I did.

Categories: News

Olympia, WA: “We Are The Fire That Will Melt ICE”

Sun, 07/14/2019 - 21:33

The post Olympia, WA: “We Are The Fire That Will Melt ICE” appeared first on It's Going Down.

Report from Olympia, Washington of an event remembering Will Van Spronsen that was originally posted to Puget Sound Anarchists.

Early this morning around 4am our friend and comrade Will Van Spronsen was shot and killed by the Tacoma police. All we know about what lead up to this comes from the cops, who are notoriously corrupt and unreliable sources for such a narrative. The story that we do have is that Will attempted to set fire to several vehicles, outbuildings and a propane tank outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma which houses hundreds of immigrants awaiting hearings or deportations. He successfully set one vehicle on fire and then exchanged gunfire with Tacoma police officers who fatally shot him. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

We find his actions inspiring. The vehicles outside the detention facility are used to forcibly remove people from their homes and deport them, often to situations where they will face severe danger or death. Those vehicles being destroyed is only a start of what is needed. We wish the fires Will set had freed all the inmates and razed the entire Northwest Detention Center to the ground. And we miss our friend and wish from the bottom of our hearts that his action had not ended in his death.

Will Van Spronsen was a long-time anarchist, anti-fascist and a kind, loving person. Here in Olympia some of us remember him as a skilled tarp structure builder from the Occupy encampment in 2011. Others remember him from the protests outside the NWDC last summer where he was accused of lunging at a cop and wrapping his arms around the officer’s neck and shoulders, as the officer was trying to arrest a 17-year-old protester. The very next day when he was released from jail he came right back to the encampment outside the center to support the other protesters. He is also remembered as a patient and thoughtful listener who was always willing to hear people out.

We are grief stricken, inspired and enraged by what occurred early this morning. ICE imprisons, tortures and deports hundreds of thousands of people and the brutality and scale of their harm is only escalating. We need every form of resistance, solidarity and passion to fight against ICE and the borders that they defend. Will gave his life fighting ICE we may never know what specifically was going through his head in the last hours of his life but we know that the NWDC must be destroyed and the prisoners must be freed. We do not need heroes, only friends and comrades. Will was simply a human being, and we wish that he was still with us. It’s doubtless that the cops and the media will attempt to paint him as some sort of monster, but in reality he was a comrade who fought for many years for what he believed in and this morning he was killed doing what he loved; fighting for a better world.

This evening around 8pm roughly 30 anarchists gathered at Percival landing in Olympia WA to remember Will Van Spronsen and to oppose ICE. We held road flares and banners reading “Rest In Power Will Van Spronsen” “Abolish ICE” “RIP Will” “Fire to the Prisons” and “Stop Deportation End Incarceration.” We shared stories and memories of Will with each other, laughed, and cried. Some people split off and plastered downtown Olympia with “Immigrants Welcome” stickers, while others drove circles around downtown flying the “Rest in Power Will” from the back of a truck.

May his memory be a blessing.

Love to those still fighting.

Categories: News

La Resistencia Statement on Shooting Death of Northwest Detention Center Protester

Sun, 07/14/2019 - 21:17

The post La Resistencia Statement on Shooting Death of Northwest Detention Center Protester appeared first on It's Going Down.

A statement from La Resistencia on the shooting death of Willem Van Spronsen by police outside of the Tacoma North West Detention Center. La Resistencia is a long-running immigrant led collective in Tacoma, Washington, fighting the Northwest Detention Center.

Tacoma, WA– Early this morning, a person who appears to have been engaged in protest against the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma was shot and killed by members of the Tacoma Police Department. Today marks yet another death linked to the detention center, and another death at the hands of the police. Based on available information, including the police scanner recording, Willem Van Spronsen, the protestor killed, appears to have been targeting not the detention center itself, as has been widely reported in the media, but the parking lot across the street from the detention center which houses the NWDC’s transportation infrastructure. This infrastructure includes a fleet of buses that transports immigrants to be caged at the detention center, and that transports immigrants from the detention center to the Yakima Airport, from which they are deported.

“Based on available information, including the police scanner recording, Willem Van Spronsen, the protestor killed, appears to have been targeting not the detention center itself, as has been widely reported in the media, but the parking lot across the street from the detention center which houses the NWDC’s transportation infrastructure.”

Mr. Van Spronsen was apparently trying to set the deportation buses on fire when he was shot and killed. His actions sadly reflect the level of desperation people across this country feel about the government’s outrageous violence against immigrants, which includes the use of detention centers to cage migrants both currently living in the U.S. and those seeking asylum. This death results from the federal government’s unresponsiveness to the anger and despair people feel at the horrors unfolding both at the border and in the interior, and from the inability of officers to de-escalate rather than shooting to kill.

But for the City of Tacoma allowing the GEO Group’s facility to be built and expanded in Tacoma, this death, and the death and suffering of those inside the detention center would have been avoided. The NWDC has become a liability not just for the tens of thousands who have been caged there, but for the city of Tacoma itself. It’s past time for the city of Tacoma to cancel GEO’s business license. It’s clear that this “business” is a deadly one, that has only brought pain and suffering to our region.

La Resistencia calls on the City of Tacoma to hold immediate public hearings addressing the Tacoma Police’s actions today that resulted in the loss of life at the Detention Center and why the City continues to allow GEO to operate with a city business license.

La Resistencia (formerly NWDC Resistance) is a grassroots collective led by undocumented immigrants and U.S. citizens based in Tacoma, Washington. It is an unincorporated association founded to confront human rights violations at the Northwest Detention Center and dedicated to ending the detention and deportation of immigrants.

Categories: News

Danny Goldberg on Nirvana’s Endearing Rebellious Spirit

Sat, 07/13/2019 - 19:04

The post Danny Goldberg on Nirvana’s Endearing Rebellious Spirit appeared first on It's Going Down.

This episode, originally recorded for radio, features an interview with Danny Goldberg, a long-time author, activist, and former manager of the band Nirvana, who revolutionized music and brought the underground to the masses with the release of their second album, Nevermind.

Now 25 years after the passing of Nirvana’s front-man, Kurt Cobain, Goldberg looks back on his time with the band and discusses his brand new book, Serving the Servant: Remember Kurt Cobain. In this interview we talk about the working class backgrounds of the band, their punk ethos, and cultural and political beliefs which guided their art throughout their short but infamous career. Features a Q and A section with KPFA audience.

Categories: News

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