Listen to the Episode — 34 min
Rebel Girl: November 29, 2017: Thanksgiving? More like things taken; anti-colonial actions across Turtle Island, mutual aid centers are sprouting up all over Puerto Rico, and the Olympia blockade grows into a commune on this episode of…
A weekly anarchist news show brought to you by The Ex-Worker.
With me, the Rebel Girl.
Welcome back to the Hotwire.
This week, the Rebel Girl gives no fucks—hey! I said “no thanks!” Sheesh, what is it with these guys? Anyway, we run down the last week of anti-colonial, anti-things taken actions across Turtle Island. The anti-fracking blockade in Olympia is going strong, opening up space for struggle and churning out innumerable demands. Anarchists in Chile demonstrate what anti-electoral action looks like, and decentralized mutual aid is spreading across Puerto Rico. Stay tuned until the end for updates on the first J20 trial and a new guide to supporting the defendants. We also have announcements for anarchist book fairs, marches, and other calls to action.
If we missed something important, or to include something in a future Hotwire, shoot us an e-mail at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. A full transcript of this episode with shownotes and useful links can be found at our website, CrimethInc.com/podcast. You can subscribe to The Hotwire on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, just search for The Ex-Worker. You can listen to us through the anarchist podcast network Channel Zero, or on your radio’s dial in Tacoma, Washington, every Wednesday at 9 AM on KUPS 90.1 FM; and in Eugene, Oregon every Sunday at 11 AM on KEPW 97.3 FM. Believe it or not, every Hotwire is radio ready, so just get in touch if you’d like to put The Hotwire on your local airwaves. This is our second to last episode for the season, but we’ll be back in February 2018 with our second season of weekly anarchist news.
And now for the headlines…
On November 19, the day of Chile’s presidential election, anarchists in the port city of Valparaiso built a barricade of burning tires to shut down the highway. They carried a banner that read, “No democracy will make you free,” and later published the following communiqué:
“Every forest cut, every lake and river that dries up, every mountain devastated, every species that goes extinct, every comrade that falls into their trap, that is repressed and beaten by police and lives through the abyss that is prison, every brother and sister beaten, tortured and killed in Wallmapu, every woman abused by a priest, every child violated and killed in the youth detention centers… Every one of them, and many more of these same miseries, are guaranteed by the violence and very existence of the state; these are the miseries endorsed by those who believe in and perpetuate democracy.”
The day after the elections, in Santiago, Chile, a subway line was sabotaged with concrete. In a communiqué, the saboteurs declared, “We could not allow things to continue their normal routine the day after their democratic election feast. It is not enough for us to just call on people not to vote, we decided to position ourselves against the State and its logic of control and domination over our lives. Our choice during this and all election processes is the permanent subversion that shows that a free life is created from the destruction of the authoritarian order and the necessary violence against the oppressors and their power structures. With this act of sabotage, we extend and send greetings of complicity and solidarity to all those who, from this side, confront power and its defenders.”
The communiqué ends with shoutouts to political prisoners in Chile, Italy, and Greece and against the ongoing anti-anarchist repression in Brazil. It was signed by the Santiago ‘Brujo’ Maldonado Sabotage Gang, referring to the indigenous solidarity activist disappeared and found dead after a Mapuche land rights demonstration in Patagonia.
Meanwhile, the state-sponsored murder of indigenous rebels in Patagonia continues unabated. One indigenous man died and two others were injured last Thursday after law enforcement shot into a crowd of recently evicted Mapuche Indians. In response, angry masked demonstrators in the city of Bariloche blocked traffic, set fires in the streets, and stormed the city’s cathedral.
In the capital city of Buenos Aires, demonstrators smashed up a Patagonian tourist information center and tagged “Benetton out!” referring to the landowning corporation protested by both Santiago Maldonado and the indigenous folks shot last week.
More than two months after Hurricane Maria, most of Puerto Rico is still without power, but in the anarchist spirit of mutual aid and do-it-yourself direct action, a rapidly growing network of autonomous, self-managed Centros de Apoyo Mutuo, which translates to Centers of Mutual Aid, are cropping up across the island. In towns like Caguas, Río Piedras, La Perla, Mayagüez, Utuado, Lares, Naranjito, and Yabucoa, the Centers of Mutual Aid offer a communal dining room, with delicious free food. They distribute goods donated both by locals and those abroad, and they organize brigades to clear roads with machetes and axes. In Caguas, anarchists from Mutual Aid Disaster Relief have worked with locals to establish a DIY water filtration system.
The Centers of Mutual Aid are established by and for their communities, and in the course of providing aid, they create spaces for discussion and political organization. In theory and in practice, they resemble the solidarity networks that left-wing Greek activists used to survive their country’s financial crisis. In the words of AgitArte, a radical San Juan art collective deeply involved in the centers, they don’t exist just to address urgent needs, but “to combat the onslaught of disaster capitalism and its henchmen.”
We have an in-depth report on the Centros de Apoyo Mutuo linked in our shownotes, alongside an excellent episode of Sub.media’s show Trouble on decentralized, autonomous disaster relief in Puerto Rico.
On Saturday in Quebec City, approximately 200 anti-racist and anti-fascist demonstrators squared off against almost twice as many members of far-right groups like La Meute, Storm Alliance, and more openly neo-Nazi groups. The CBC reported that, and this is a direct quote, “Officers used tear gas on counter-protesters who were throwing snowballs at them.” Forty-four anti-fascists were arrested by the end of the day. Unsurprisingly, the police lauded the fascist groups for their cooperation.
But the weekend wasn’t a total win for the fash. The previous day in Brantford, Ontario, a paltry showing of less than five Proud Boys were shut down by fifty anti-fascists. The Proud Boys literally ran and hid when the counter-rally entered the park where they had been timidly hanging around.
Students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor are currently carrying out a week of action against a possible speech by alt-right neo-Nazi all around smug frat boy Richard Spencer. The week has seen teach-ins, walk-outs, sign making parties, and tomorrow, November 30, there is an announced, all-day student strike. We wish the best of luck to the anti-fascist students of Ann Arbor.
Just days before Thanksgiving, police shut down Atlanta Food Not Bombs. In response, a call went out to for a festive serving in defiance of police repression this past Sunday. Over 200 people showed up to Hurt Park to share food, juggle, and play punk rock duck duck goose. Kids ran wild with black flags, and there were no cops! Atlanta Food Not Bombs has been sharing food with anyone who is hungry for over a decade, so stay tuned to It’s Going Down for any further updates on defending mutual aid in Atlanta.
Last Monday, during a Transgender Day of Remembrance event in DC, trans women of color ejected Police Chief Newsham, the same pig responsible for repeated mass arrests at protests, not to mention the police force that murders black folks like Terrence Sterling. One trans activist took to the stage and shouted at Chief Newsham to get off, saying Transgender Day of Remembrance was not a prop for the metropolitan police department, who repeatedly harass and profile trans women in DC.
Although we’re a week late, we’d like to take a moment to remember Scout Schultz, the anti-authoritarian, anti-fascist, queer student rebel killed in September by Georgia Tech Police. While Scout didn’t identify as trans, they were an outspoken gender dissident, and it was non-binary, gender-queer youth who led an angry memorial march days after Scout’s murder. We have a text in remembrance of Scout, and their lover who took their life weeks later, linked in this episode’s shownotes, along with the Transgender Day of Remembrance website, which has the names of courageous transfolks from across the world who were murdered this year.
NO THANKS GIVEN FOR #THINGSTAKEN
Last week, while millions of Americans gave thanks for the centuries of colonial things-taking, native rebels and other accomplices demonstrated against colonialism, and mourned for the millions of indigenous people dead from the white man’s conquest of the Americas.
Dozens of native folks gathered in Plymouth, Massachusetts for the 48th annual National Day of Mourning. They marched behind a bright red banner demanding freedom for American Indian Movement political prisoner Leonard Peltier, who wrote a letter especially for the day, which we will read from at length:
“With each new day we need to rise to the occasion to defend what is right and do what we can to right what is wrong.
Our enemy is not any person of particular color. Our enemy is those who are ignorant of the reality that we are all an intricate part of the circle of life. We must arm ourselves with the knowledge it takes to bring attention to the wrongness of their thinking, the wrongness of their exploitation of our mother earth, and the wrongness of their mistreatment of the indigenous peoples throughout our lands. I would encourage you to mourn if that is your way and do whatever length of time that is required by your teachings.
However, I sincerely encourage each one of you to take it upon yourself to become a warrior of one. Educate yourself. Find the knowledge it takes to survive and thrive in a good way. And to confront the ignorance of those who are destroying the natural. Confront them in such a way that they will come to know that to destroy the earth, to destroy our people, to continually ignore a philosophy and teachings that allowed this land to exist since the beginning of time in a beautiful natural existence, they will ultimately destroy themselves and all life.”
In New York, police arrested latinx DACA recipients and allies who disrupted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, calling on community members to stand up and fight for undocumented immigrants’ rights.
In Kalamazoo, a hatchet was lodged into the statue of a white settler pioneer, with red paint dripping down the side.
On the west coast, Colin Kaepernick joined the annual “Un-Thanksgiving Day” on Alcatraz Island, which commemorates the 1969 to 1971 occupation of the ex-prison by the group Indians of All Tribes. Kaepernick was quoted saying, “Our fight is the same fight. We’re all fighting for our justice, for our freedom. And realizing we’re all in this fight together makes us all the more powerful.”
Three tribes in Colorado participated in the Annual Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run, which commemorates when, 153 years ago this week, the US Army murdered nearly 200 Cheyenne and Arapaho victims, mostly women and children.
Last Monday, over a dozen sacred sites protectors showed up to the Arizona Snowbowl ski area’s opening day with banners that read “Defend the sacred,” and “Respect native culture, defend our environment.” Arizona Snowbowl operates on a mountain that is sacred to many of the area’s indigenous peoples, and, as if that weren’t enough, clear-cuts trees and processes an exorbitant amount of water and sewage in its operations. You can learn more at protectthepeaks.org.
This Rebel Girl observed things-taking by watching Black Snake Killaz, Unicorn Riot’s new, full-length documentary on last year’s indigenous-led mass-resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. You can stream Black Snake Killaz for free at UnicornRiot.Ninja. And while you’re at it, why not host a screening?
Rebels in Olympia, Washington did! Right down AT THE BLOCKAAADE. That’s right—the occupation on the train tracks in Olympia, which we reported on last episode, is thriving! In the last week the blockade has attracted more occupants, skillshare trainings, support and prayer from local indigenous groups, newly built rooms, warm meals, and reportedly, the best. punk show. ever. with occupiers dressed in all black moshing their hearts out in the pouring rain! Wow. Punk!
Instead of consumerist black Friday, participants in the blockade announced Block Friday, a day of action against extractive industries. Rebels in California answered the call by using jumper cables to short-circuit and shut down railways in Oakland.
The Block Friday call is just one of the many exciting and creative communiqués coming out of the Olympia blockade. We have links to some of our favorites in this episode’s shownotes at Crimethinc.com/podcast. Unfortunately, we can’t endorse all the texts coming from blockade participants. Anyone who has read the CrimethInc. text “Why We Don’t Make Demands” will be familiar with the pitfalls of limiting a movement to a few, specific demands. Making demands of the authorities legitimizes their power, centralizing agency in their hands. Making demands presumes that you want things that your adversary can grant. Making demands puts you in a weaker bargaining position. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to a movement is for its demands to be met.
That’s why we are positively dismayed to share with you the following letter from the Olympia Commune, in which they practically flaunt their disagreement with our position right in front of our masked up face…
“Dear City of Olympia, Some of us at the Olympia Commune have come to the understanding that “no demands” is an incoherent strategy which does not lend itself to “progress” or “results.” With this bright, new understanding, we have investigated our desires and come up with some ideas about what we really want the result of this blockade to be.
Our demands are innumerable; here are just a few:
1. make the port a beach again 2. blow up the sun 3. the complete destruction of time itself (for more on that, check out Hotwire episode 12) 4. a brick for every window 5. a wrecking ball 6. that, while science still exists, one of us be endowed with an Adamantium laced skeleton 7. a swift and brutal end to the exploitation commonly referred to as “science” 8. the destruction of all dams, and the return of the salmon 9. no motor boats ever again 10. that fascists and politicians spontaneously combust 11. compost the police 12. release of all prisoners and the Total Destruction of prison, in all of its forms 13. cessation of all space exploration 14. the return of the Tasmanian wolf, the aurochs, the dodo bird, the coral reefs, and all other creatures and habitats that have ceased to be 15. the wilderness 16. total freedom 17. ****CRICKETS SOUND EFFECT*** 18. the liquidation of Pacific Union’s assets, to be equally distributed among all children 19. mandatory clown uniforms for all Olympia parking employees And… 20. that Olympia City Manager Steve Hall fight a bear”
To avoid similar unstrategic errors in the future, we highly encourage our listeners to check out the CrimethInc. essay “Why We Don’t Make Demands,” linked in this episode’s shownotes. And to the Olympia blockaders behind this list of demands, we have just two words—dream bigger.
Black Friday was also subverted across the Atlantic, where Amazon workers in Italy and Germany declared Strike Friday on the busiest shopping day of the year. About a third of the workers in Amazon’s main distribution hub in Italy joined in on the strike, as well as Amazon workers in six warehouses across Germany. The preceding night, in Munich and Berlin, saboteurs carried out nighttime attacks on Amazon vehicles, and left the following communiqué:
“We do not want to be governed by information – and to the satisfaction of the managers‘ faces, blissfully grinning at the thought of the dull masses who are storming the shops on Black Friday like controlled zombies. So we also participate in a labour dispute, although we actually insist on vehemently refusing work and trying to keep each other away from it. The conflict of the striking workers at Amazon represents for us only a part of the gigantic problem of the change of the working world, the isolation of the battlefields and the isolation of struggle. Let’s disconnect the cables. Let’s be more than a zero and a one. In solidarity with Amazon’s fighting workers and in support of Block Black Friday, we attacked three Amazon express vans in various ways during the night of November 23 – burned down, stabbed tires, smeared with paint and left the call: ‘strike!’”
Years ago, the anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters called on consumers to boycott Black Friday, dubbing it “Buy Nothing Day.” But as this past Cyber Monday became the largest online shopping day in US history, it’s clear that the terrain of anti-capitalist struggle has shifted. For an in-depth look at digital revolutionaries spearheading contemporary anti-capitalist strategies, check out the brand new Trouble episode number 8: Hack the World, available for free from Sub.media.
Rebel Girl: In this week’s repression roundup…
The first trial in the J20 inauguration protest case is solidly underway. In a telling move about how right-wing paramilitaries do the dirty work of the state, yesterday prosecutors entered into evidence footage of public meetings taken by undercover Oathkeepers and Project Veritas members. For the unfamiliar, Project Veritas is a far-right undercover group that frames left-wing activists. They were particularly discredited earlier this week when the Washington Post caught one of the organization’s employees trying to pose as a victim of rape by republican Alabama candidate and all-around scumbag Roy Moore. The authenticity one of the videos used in the J20 case is in question. One of the U.S. attorneys claimed Tuesday it had not been altered despite the fact she’d previously admitted that an officer’s face had been redacted.
In spite of the prosecution’s attempts to villainize the J20 defendants, people are showing their support by packing the courtroom. On Monday, 50 supporters gathered for a rally right outside the courthouse in DC.
What happens in this trial could be a bellwether for what happens to the other 190 defendants, not to mention resistance movements as a whole. That’s why support is so crucial at this moment.
The Trump administration wants to set a precedent with this case so they can argue that anyone wearing black in vicinity of a broken window is participating in a conspiracy and deserves to spend the rest of his or her life in prison. Their goal is to criminalize protest itself. The prosecution has based their case on claiming that basic elements of large protests are evidence of a “conspiracy to riot” and commit acts of vandalism. As evidence, they are citing normal protest activities such preparing for the possibility of arrest, the presence of street medics and legal observers in case of police or fascist violence, and even sharing information about public plans to assemble. The outcome of this case could have disastrous consequences on all dissent in the United States.
At CrimethInc.com, you can find a new text with seven easy things you can do to support the J20 defendants, including a fundraiser, easy-to-share videos and memes for social media, and specific tips for if you live in DC. For the best up-to-date information about the case, check out @defendj20 on Twitter.
No one really knows when the first trial will be over, but supporters speculate that the week of December 11 will be a good time to come to DC and pack the courtroom.
With the first trials J20 protest trials continue this week, we want to remind our listeners of 18 others who fought the Trump regime from the beginning. On February 1, 2017, inmates in the C-building at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware took control of their unit and held staff hostage in an uprising that lasted over 18 hours. The prison rebels connected their daily struggles for humanity and survival to the broader political context we entered into collectively. They called the media, released a list of demands, and explained their actions as motivated by their conditions of confinement as well as the election of Donald Trump as President. One prison guard was killed by inmates during the uprising.
This came after numerous nonviolent protests by prisoners had failed to lead to the prison addressing their grievances. Just over a month ago, Delaware handed down an indictment against sixteen prisoners at Vaughn Correctional, which includes charges of murder of a correctional officer, kidnapping, and, you guessed it, conspiracy and rioting.
There is a useful support poster for the Vaughn prison rebels, which includes their addresses and some concrete ideas for supporting prisoner resistance in general. One such idea is being enacted by the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement chapter in New York City, who just started a new prison literature distro. On their website, they have printable catalogs of the titles they’re making available to prisoners. In our shownotes, we have links to both the Vaughn prison rebels support poster and the prisoner zine catalog from the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement.
While the J20 trials are just beginning in the US, the trials resulting from July’s spectacular resistance to the G20 in Germany are continuing to dole out sentences to anti-capitalists. The latest G20 resister to be sentenced to time is Peike from Amsterdam, whose support page we have linked in our shownotes. We also have a link to CrimethInc.’s exclusive, first-hand report on the historic protests against the G20 in Hamburg this year.
In Turkey, anarchist prisoner Shevket Aslan is beginning a new hunger strike. His demands include being recognized as an anarchist prisoner, being able to receive books, that the prison stop supposedly “losing” his written complaints, an end to standing for an excessively long time while waiting to see the prison administration, and access to painting materials.
Rebel Girl: Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have for news. If you want us to include something in a future Hotwire, just send us an email at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
We’ll close out this Hotwire with next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
On November 30, that’s tomorrow, there is an Anti-Rape and Police Abolition march in New York City, in response to two on duty officers raping 18-year-old Anna Chambers in Brooklyn in September. The call for the march reads, “As long as cops defend rapists on their force, all cops are complicit in sexual violence. The pigs won’t protect us from rapists because the pigs are rapists.” The call concludes with, “On November 30th at 6:30 PM we mobilize in Washington Square Park in NYC to confront the same pigs that perpetrate atrocities like this on a daily basis.”
Anarchist author Mark Bray’s book tour for Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook continues this week, with stops at Bowdoin College on November 29, that’s today; The University of Southern Maine on November 30; December 1 in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the Harvard Coop; and at Phoenix Books in Burlington, VT on December 5. Check out our shownotes for the details on each stop.
From December 1 through 4, Hudson Valley Earth First! is hosting an action camp. They will be offering workshops, climb training, and most importantly campaign updates. The Hudson Valley faces many fossil fuel infrastructure projects—all gearing up for construction as we speak. Learn about the Valley Lateral Pipeline, the Lego Land theme park project, the Competitive Power Ventures Power Plant, and how to plug into the local resistance. The exact location for the action camp is to be announced, but for the time being you can RSVP or ask questions by emailing hudsonvalleyearthfirst[at]riseup[dot]net or by going to hudsonvalleyearthfirst.org.
In Sao Paulo, Brazil on December 2 and 3 there is an anarchist and punk film festival, with exhibitions, literature distribution, vegan catering, workshops, and underground films from around the world.
The New Orleans Anarchist Bookfair is on Saturday, December 9 from 11 AM to 5 PM at Clouet Gardens, near the corner of Clouet Street and Royal.
Also on December 9, in Mexico City, there is a day of boxing matches to benefit anarchist prisoner Fernando Bárcenas. Fernando is serving time for torching a Coca-Cola sponsored Christmas tree during a demonstration in 2013, and the money raised will go to establishing an autonomous library inside his prison. The sparring in solidarity with Fernando begins at 10 AM at #20 Calle Godard, two blocks from La Raza metro station in Mexico City.
Cascadia Forest Defenders in Oregon have been fighting the logging of the Willamette National Forest. Check out the recent episode of the anarchist podcast The Final Straw with an interview about the forest occupation and re-contextualizing forest defense in a time of climate change. You can go to –forestdefensenow.wordpress.com to donate and find out more about how to get involved.
Defenders of the Ancient Mattole Forest in Northern California are hosting a training camp in early January. It’s still in the preliminary planning stages, but if you want to help make it happen e-mail email@example.com.
The 2018 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar is now available! Your group use the calendar as a way to fundraise for your organization. Single issues are available from LeftWingBooks.net and AK Press. They’re also looking for websites and publications to review the calendar, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Popular Organizing for Defense, Education and Revolution, or PODER Conference, is coming up on December 30. It’s a free, one-day opportunity for revolutionaries in California’s San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire to meet, discuss and build relationships. The conference is multi-tendency, though all participating organizations are loosely bound by a commitment to the abolition of class society. For more info, visit poderconference.org.
The Animal Rights Gathering 2018 will take place on January 20 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Animal Rights Gathering seeks to carve out a space for intersectional, feminist, and anti-capitalist politics in the animal rights movement as a whole. You can find out more at argathering2018.wordpress.com.
Also for January 20, It’s Going Down, CrimethInc., Sub.media, and Channel Zero have issued a call to expand our networks and strengthen our spaces. We’ll quote at length from the call, “we’re calling for people to gather in anarchist and autonomous spaces on the week of January 20, 2018 in order to reconnect to the roots from which our movements draw strength, discuss the path ahead, and gather resources for prisoners, relief efforts, and ongoing struggles. Autonomous spaces include infoshops, community centers, and bookstores. But an autonomous space can also be a public place you make a habit of gathering in or a territory you share and defend. The advantage of open spaces is that they offer a way for people who are freshly curious about our movements to plug in, pick up literature, and begin fostering relationships.”
The call proposes anti-cop block parties, fundraisers for the J20 defendants, screenings of Sub.media’s show Trouble, letter writing nights for political prisoners, and plenty of other ideas for ways to come together to dream and scheme. Go to CrimethInc.com to read the full call.
And that’s it for your weekly Hotwire. As always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music. Don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful notes we customized for this episode at CrimethInc.com. Every Hotwire episode is radio-ready, so if you want to replay part or all of this show, just go for it! Just give us a heads up at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. You can also send us news or announcements to include in the future.
Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into The Hotwire.