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This Is America #88: We Only Want the World

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Welcome, to This Is America, September 11th, 2019.

On this episode, first we speak with King Poet about the upcoming day of action protesting the passing of Biden’s Crime Bill on September 13th which also sets the stage for an upcoming mobilization in DC against prison slavery in the Alabama prison system.

We then feature a special interview with two people from Earth Strike and Extinction Rebellion in the United States and talk about what a viable, direct action based movement against fossil fuels would look like. We also discuss how people are organizing for an upcoming week of action later in September, as mass mobilizations are being planned.

Then during our discussion, we discuss the current situation in Afghanistan and the firing of John Bolton as well as the recent FBI memo in Phoenix which centers on the so-called “lethal threat” of “anarchist extremists.”

All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news.

Living and Fighting

According to Politico, “the U.S. housing finance system is worse off today than it was on the cusp of the 2008 financial crisis,” and “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-controlled enterprises that stand behind half the country’s mortgages, are way too undercapitalized, and lending standards have actually deteriorated since the housing crash,” meaning that they are “less equipped for a downturn now than they were before the [2008] crisis.” Already in the capitalist press, there are reports that a new recession is kicking off in corners of the US, accelerated by the chaos of Trump’s trade war and a looming Brexit, as Trump’s approval rating continues to tank and he tells those close to him he is worried about about the rising popularity of anti-capitalist sentiment.

Meanwhile, The Intercept reports that:

Two Brazilian firms owned by a top donor to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are significantly responsible for the ongoing destruction of the Amazon rainforest, carnage that has developed into raging fires that have captivated global attention. 

The companies have wrested control of land, deforested it, and helped build a controversial highway to their new terminal in the one-time jungle, all to facilitate the cultivation and export of grain and soybeans.

But while the mainstream media focuses largely on Trump’s tweets and “Sharpie gate,” the war on migrants continues to escalate full steam ahead. This week Trump attacked hurricane Dorian refugees from the Bahamas, where over 70,000 have now been made homeless, leading some to be turned away from entry into the United States. The Supreme Court has also recently upheld a Trump administration rule that prevents Central American migrants from seeking asylum inside the United States.

In South Nashville an ICE agent opened fire on a man who asserted his rights and refused to provide his ID.

According to documents obtained by Newsweek, ICE is planning to build a facility in Georgia in order to engage in hyper-realistic “urban warfare” training.

The American Conservative reports on the growing profitability of mass detention. They write:

Two major prison companies, CoreCivic and GEO Group, have contracts with ICE totaling $280 million and $475 million, respectively. And with the average number of immigrants detained every day set to increase from just north of 44,000 last year to potentially as high as 60,000 in the near future, the windfall that these companies make doesn’t seem likely to level off anytime soon.

But private prisons aren’t the only ones with a stake in the immigrant detention economy. The small towns where immigration prisons are located, and public employees nationwide via their pension funds and 401(k) plans, have an economic interest in the continuation of immigration imprisonment as well.  

Many of America’s more than 200 immigration prisons are located in small-town America, and these communities view them as job-creating economic engines. They were brought in purposefully. In fact, over the last several decades, private prisons, including private immigration prisons, have been considered a “growth industry.” 

New studies show that mumps have swept through 57 migrant detention facilities and affected over 900 people.

New documents have exposed the arbitrary reasons in which migrants are being placed into solitary detention. According to The Atlantic:

Contraband sugar packets, calling a border guard a “redneck,” menstruating on a prison uniform, kissing another detainee, identifying as gay, requesting an ankle brace—these are just some of the reasons Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have placed detained immigrants in solitary confinement.

In other news, the courts continue to back the Trump administration’s use of force feeding hunger strikers in ICE detention, one of the first DACA recipients is not in ICE custody in Arizona, and its been revealed that the US and Mexican surveillance states worked together to surveill the various migrant caravans.

Mass protests, acts of sabotage, and action against ICE continues.

  • Protests and demonstrations continue outside ICE facilities in Aurora, Colorado, which was the scene of large scale actions that caught media attention several months ago. Next week, groups are planning a demonstration outside of the home of the warden of the local migrant detention facility.
  • In Troy, New York, hundreds of people organized a sit-in and mass march against ICE and sheriffs working together through 287(g). People converged outside of a jail that hands over migrants to ICE officials.
  • In New Orleans, people picketed and shut down roads outside of an ICE facility in response to the deportation of a severely ill Cuban man; 8 were arrested.
  • Meanwhile in Chiapas, Mexico, asylum-seekers continue to march and protest, demanding asylum in the United States.
  • In Mexico City, people marched against illegal evictions.
  • Amazon workers are planning to take part in upcoming Climate Strike actions later in September and are currently planning a walkout.
  • In the Portland area, fast food Burgerville workers and members of the revolutionary anti-capitalist union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) are continuing to threaten a strike as contract negotiations continue.
  • Gig workers recently held a protest in Sacramento against corporate giants Lyft and Uber.
  • In Appalachia, people are celebrating one year of the Yellow Finch tree sit blockade, which is blocking the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) in West Virginia.
  • In the Twin Cities, protesters took over and shut down Highway 494 West after police shot and killed hip-hop artist Brian Quinones. Check out the full report from Unicorn Riot.
  • Members of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) in Gainesville, Florida joined a new group of former prisoners who were demanding justice for Cheryl Weinmar, an inmate who is suing the Florida prison system after she was beaten and paralyzed by guards.
  • Finally, people continue to show solidarity with Rojava. In Northern Indian, a banner was dropped and in Seattle, a rally was organized by Demand Utopia and other groups in solidarity with the autonomous region and against threats of invasion from the Turkish State.
  • Police have been successful in using the DNA from a cigarette butt to link someone to charges stemming from the Standing Rock demonstrations. One more reason to quit smoking!
  • The trial against two police officers who raped a teenager in custody in 2017 is over, with both officers to receive no jail time. Anarchists have remained a constant presence during the trial, demonstrating against the police and in support of the survivor, Anna Chambers.
  • A prison in Pennsylvania saw a full-blown riot break out after air conditioners broke down, the latest in a string of disturbances at the severely understaffed Delco prison. One guard stated: “It’s been questioned whether the entire atmosphere, regarding the anti-prison groups and whatnot, encouraging individuals to create problems because they know all these things will be printed. That seems to be on the uptick.” Guards said they feared an uprising such as what occurred at the Vaughn T Correctional prison in early 2017. “This was just the beginning,” a guard said. “Now they’re prepared. They tested us and now they’re going to do it again, because they know we’re short staffed. I’ve been there long enough and I’ve seen enough to know that will happen.”
  • Finally, in Southwest Chicago, hundreds marched to oppose a white nationalist flyering campaign.

Solidarity

Upcoming Events

  • August 24th-September 12th: Rainbow Ridge Direct Action Mobilization to Save the Mattole. More info.
  • September 13th: Support the Vaughn 17 in Wilmington, Delaware. More info.
  • September 13th: Protest Palantir and ICE in Palo Alto, CA. More info.
  • September 13th: Counter-protest pro-ICE event in Rockville, MD. More info.
  • September 13th: Rally Against Biden’s Crime Bill in Brooklyn, NY. More info.
  • September 14th: Counter pro-Trump neo-Nazi Rally in Dahlonega, Georgia. More info here.
  • September 14th: Counter-protest against the Proud Boys in Albuquerque, New Mexico. More info here.
  • September 16th: Protest ICE in Philadelphia. More info.
  • September 18th-22nd: Symbiosis Conference in Detroit. More info.
  • September 19th: Anti-ICE Protest in Aurora, Colorado. More info.
  • September 20th: Alabama to DC: End Prison Slavery. More info.
  • September 20th-27th: Climate Strike and Extinction Rebellion Week fo Action. More info.
  • September 27th: Southeast Climate Strike & Rebellion. More info.
  • September 21-22nd: Victoria Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
  • September 28th: Toronto Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
  • October 6th: IWW Organizer Training. Olympia, WA. More info.
  • November 9th: Boston Anarchist Bookfair. More info.