Welcome, to This Is America, October 28th, 2019.
In this episode, we feature two interviews, the first with two people involved in the ongoing defense of the ancient Mattole forest in Northern California. We speak about how people have been fighting corporate logging of the forest for over 20 years and how this multi-generational struggle has evolved over the decades.
Next, we speak with two anarchists involved in the ongoing fight against neo-Confederate and white nationalist groups which are mobilizing to support Confederate statues after others were pulled down in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Donate to their bailfund here.
All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news!
Living and Fighting
Two members of the Tiny House Warriors, who are defending unceded Native territory in so-called British Columbia against pipeline construction, were arrested for “bugging” construction workers last week. Both were held for three days on trumped up charges and one land defender, Kanahus Manuel, suffered a broken wrist and had to be hospitalized. In recent weeks, the Tiny House Warriors have held events and expanded their resistance camp, which seeks to block pipeline construction and facilities holding large concentration of mainly male workers, known as man-camps. For more information, follow them on social media.
Protesters hit the streets in Pittsburgh, PA on Wednesday to march against Trump, who visited the city only a few days before the one year anniversary of an Alt-Right white nationalist murdering worshipers at the Tree of Life synagogue. Trump was in the city to speak at a pro-pipeline and fracking event which featured a variety of fossil fuel industry heads and politicians. Riot police made arrests as people blocked streets and water protectors joined members of the Jewish community in the streets outside the conference, uniting the struggle against white nationalism and neo-colonial resource extraction.
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) October 23, 2019
— Chandi Chapman (@ChandiWTAE) October 23, 2019
The Burgerville Workers Union (BWU), made up of members of the revolutionary anti-capitalist syndicalist union the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), on Wednesday launched a strike against the fast food restaurant Burgerville USA, demanding a living wage in the rapidly gentrifying city of Portland, Oregon. For over a year, members of the union have been in contract negotiations with the fast food chain, winning tips, holiday pay, and other concessions – but Burgerville has refused to come to the table on wages. The BWU is the first officially recognized labor union within the fast food industry and the IWW currently represents employees working in several stores across the Portland area.
Marchers are chanting ,”Boycott Burgerville, workers cannot pay their bills.” pic.twitter.com/pnPQ49Ygyn
— Emily Spookykoontz (@sharkasaurusX) October 19, 2019
On Saturday, the union rallied in Portland and then marched on a Burgerville store to picket, backed up by local residents, members of other unions, and various community defense, anarchist, and antifascist organizations. The union vows to continue picketing and organizing actions and is pushing for a “WobMob” this Saturday.
UNION BUSTING UPDATE: @BurgervilleUSA is at it again!
— Burgerville Workers Union (@BVWkrUnion) October 20, 2019
Burgerville corporate has also recently retaliated against one worker, the union reports on social media, writing:
Anthony, a father of a 1 year old daughter, and a Burgerville worker in Vancouver, WA…participated in a delegation with fellow union workers from across Southwest Washington to stand up to the racist and abusive managers at the Burgerville store where he works. Now, Burgerville Management has suspended him without pay pending “investigation”…
Meanwhile, across the US:
The number of striking workers ballooned to nearly 500,000 in 2018, up from about 25,000 in 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the largest number of people who have walked out on work since the mid-1980s. As employment numbers have rapidly risen over the 10-year expansion, wages have struggled to keep up. And as the labor market tightens, workers are becoming more confident about striking for better salaries and benefits.
As we speak, thousands of school support staff and teachers across Chicago remain on strike as do General Motors workers. Sadly on Tuesday, Roy A. McCombs was killed in Spring Hill, Tennessee after being hit by a car while crossing the street. Also, GM workers are currently voting on a contract backed by union officials, which many strikers have decried as a sellout contract.
BPD and the Monroe County sheriff say they only do ICE holds for violent offenders. They consider resisting arrest a violent offense. They can and will charge you with resisting for asking them too many questions.
BPD DOES ICE HOLDS AND LIES ABOUT IT. PASS IT ON. pic.twitter.com/YsYOATvRYh
— Southern Indiana Autonomous Defense Collective (@btownafa) October 22, 2019
In El Paso, Texas:
Two Cuban asylum seekers detained at the Otero County Processing Center attempted to commit suicide by slitting their wrists, and about 19 others have threatened to follow suit, immigrant advocates said Thursday.
[Meanwhile, local activists] said ICE detainees reached out to them from the facility in Otero County, New Mexico…about their intent to participate in a hunger strike sit-in on Friday. [Now local activists state that] those individuals are now threatening mass suicide.
US immigration officials deleted surveillance footage of a transgender asylum-seeker who died while in custody last year, according to internal emails reviewed by BuzzFeed News. Attorneys say the evidence was crucial in a pending wrongful death lawsuit.
Roxsana Hernández was in the custody of ICE at a private prison operated by CoreCivic when she died in 2018 at a hospital in Albuquerque. CoreCivic, previously known as Corrections Corporations of America, is one of the largest private prison companies in the US and operates under contracts with ICE.
The Honduran native died in ICE custody on May 25, a little over two weeks after she requested asylum…
Also in Tacoma, Washington, the latest hunger strike at the Northwest Detention facility has now grown into a work strike as supporters report that:
All kitchen activity is at a stand still at #NWDC detention center. Lunch hasn’t been served. Kitchen activity has been halted…
Strikers have also released a set of demands.
— Pittsburgh IWW (@PittsburghIWW) October 17, 2019
Today a small group of committed people showed out for Rojava and in solidarity with the Kurdish community. We did this action with less than 24 hours to organize on the heels of a successful but surreal demo at SeaTac Airport. pic.twitter.com/R7mPL7yhGd
— Rojava and Kurdish Solidarity Seattle (@RojavaSeaSol) October 21, 2019
— AllOutBayArea (@alloutbay) October 19, 2019
People continue to mobilize in solidarity with Rojava, the autonomous territory of northern Syria which is currently under attack by the Turkish State. Actions and demonstrations have been organized across the US and the world, last weekend a large crowd gathered in San Francisco and then marched to block the entrance to the bay bridge. In Detroit and New York, people protested Turkish Airlines, which is half owned by the Turkish State, and in Seattle, WA, people held banners and rallied in solidarity.
In South Dakota, the ACLU reports:
South Dakota’s governor and attorney general today backed down from their unconstitutional attempts to silence pipeline protestors. In response to a lawsuit we filed…the state has agreed to never enforce the unconstitutional provisions of several state laws that threatened activists who encourage or organize protests, particularly protests of the Keystone XL pipeline, with fines and criminal penalties of up to 25 years in prison.
The laws [blocked] include the “Riot Boosting” Act, which gave the state the authority to sue individuals and organizations for “riot boosting,” a novel and confusing term.
Pro immigration crowd chanting “an-anti, anti fasciste!” as they parade through Lacolle. A marching band keeps the beat. pic.twitter.com/MixBlPpY01
— Christopher Curtis (@titocurtis) October 19, 2019
Antifascists block a confederate tractor. There was a short standoff with police and traffic blocked temporarily. No arrests. pic.twitter.com/x8DaK3qPe3
— Lindsay Ayling (@AylingLindsay) October 19, 2019
In antifascist news, demonstrations took place on the so-called Canadian side of the border with the United States, as anti-racist groups mobilized against anti-migrant far-Right organizations. In Pittsboro, North Carolina, people showed up in force against neo-Confederate, militia, and white nationalist groups who were attempting to rally in support of a Confederate statue that is scheduled to be taken down, however opposition groups blocked them from marching to the monument. Protests also took place at Colorado State University against Turning Point USA and Donald Trump, Jr.
CSU Action Reportback (thread) pic.twitter.com/MJ8hVVsgya
— Rocky Mountain Youth Liberation Front (@RM_YLF) October 23, 2019
In other news, in Minneapolis, MN, autonomists demonstrated in solidarity with rebels in Hong Kong, while also passing out anti-capitalist texts.
Minneapolis stands with Hong Kong rebels—we share a common struggle for dignity and freedom!
Today, protesters marched around the University of Minnesota campus, followed by bootlickers of the Chinese state. pic.twitter.com/WjjcSmUSCV
— The Minnesota Wild (@lets_go_wild) October 18, 2019
In the Pacific Northwest, climate activists shut down train tracks in opposition to the Trans-Mountain pipeline.
— Portland Rising Tide (@pdxrisingtide) October 17, 2019
In Oakland, California, violence broke out when police attacked teachers, community members, and parents who were protesting school closures and the de-funding of public education at an Oakland Unified School Board meeting. Police made several arrests and at least one person was injured.
Oakland Unified School District board meeting tonight. OUSD police pulling, shoving, hitting, and arresting parents and teachers protesting school closures. Disproportionate and immediate OPD response. K-5 kids crying inconsolably. cc @mayaashleyyy @KPIXtv pic.twitter.com/YWajVpUEaJ
— Cheshire Isaacs (@cheshiredave) October 24, 2019
Lastly in Portland, OR, anarchist and antifascists marched on a police station to read the names of people killed by the police in the last year.
While the police, at least 35 officers and a contingent of motorcycle cops, waited at Westlake in Seattle for what they thought was coming. pic.twitter.com/bcmDMwqTgT
— Demand Utopia (@DemandUtopia) October 23, 2019
Stand in Solidarity
- Antifascist David Campbell has been sentenced to 18 months in the New York area after being arrested at a far-Right protest in early 2018. Please go to his support website to see how to offer solidarity.
- Another antifascist in Georgia is also being targeted under an anti-mask law for protesting a neo-Nazi group in 2018. Help them out here.
- October 23rd – 26th: Week of action in Solidarity with Burgerville Workers Union. More info.
- October 24th- 29th: Mutual Aid Disaster Relief Northeast tour. More info.
- October 25th: Appalachian Fall Summit. Kayford, WV. More info.
- October 25th: Rock Against Racism show. More info.
- October 26th: Memorial for Sean in Portland. More info.
- October 27th: All Out Against Anti-Semitism and White Nationalism in New York City. More info.
- October 29th: Abolitionist organizing panel. Evanston, IL. More info.
- November 2nd: Worldwide actions in solidarity with Rojava. More info.
- November 7th: Protest far-Right Grifter Andy Ngo at Corporate Backed Heritage Foundation in DC. More info.
- November 9th: Boston Anarchist Bookfair. More info.
- November 30th – December 1st: Seattle Anarchist Bookfair. More info.