#VaughnRebellion: Prisoners Take Control of James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware

From It’s Going Down:

vaughn-rebellion

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Earlier today, inmates demanding better living conditions took over a wing of the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware as the State responded with a massive police mobilization. Vaughn is a maximum security prison holding more than 2,500 people, including people on death row. The wing that prisoners have taken over holds at least 150 people. Somewhere between 3 and 5 guards have been taken hostage and there are reports that both guards and prisoners have been injured. All of Delaware’s prisons have been placed on lockdown as a result of the uprising, although Vaughn is currently the only site of resistance.

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In the early afternoon, audio from inside the prison was released by Delaware’s The News Journal. A person inside called the paper to relay that prisoners were demanding “remedies conducive to reform and rehabilitation.”

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The rebellion at Vaughn comes on heels of last fall’s national prisoner strike, which involved at least 29 prisons in 12 states. The strike was organized by the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), along with support from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), and a wide variety of anti-prison organizations. Tens of thousands of prisoners participated as the strike affected facilities across the US, while prisoners in Greece and Mexico joined the struggle in solidarity by going on hunger strike. Outside of prison walls, thousands took part in solidarity actions which included noise demonstration outside of prisons, mass marches, and autonomous attacks against corporations profiting from prison labor.

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Currently, police and first responders are amassing outside of Vaughn. For updates from Vaughn, follow #VaughnRebellion, where supporters are sharing news and messages of solidarity.

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This Is Not a Dialogue Not Just Free Speech, but Freedom Itself

From Crimethinc:

not-a-dialog

Maybe you missed this, but you’re not in a dialogue. Your views are beside the point. Argue all you want—your adversaries are glad to see you waste your breath. Better yet if you protest: they’d rather you carry a sign than do anything. They’ll keep you talking as long as they can, just to tire you out—to buy time.

They intend to force their agenda on you. That’s what all the guns are for, what the police and drones and surveillance cameras are for, what the FBI and CIA and NSA are for, what all those laws and courts and executive orders are for. It’s what their church is for, what those racist memes are for, what online harassment and bullying are for. It’s what gay bashings and church burnings are for.

This is not a dialogue. How could you be so naïve? A dialogue—from which some of the participants can be deported at any time? A dialogue—in which one side keeps shooting and incarcerating the other side? A dialogue—in which a few people own all the networks and radio stations and printing presses, while the rest have to make do with markers and cardboard signs? A dialogue, really?

You’re not in a dialogue. You’re in a power struggle. All that matters is how much force you can bring to bear on your adversaries to defend yourself from them. You can bet that if you succeed, they will accuse you of breaking off the dialogue, of violating their free speech. They will try to lure you back into conversation, playing for time until they need no more stratagems to keep you passive while they put the pieces in place for tyranny.

This isn’t a dialogue—it’s a war. They’re gambling that you won’t realize this until it’s too late. If freedom is important to you, if you care about all the people marked for death and deportation, start taking action.

 

Precisely what we’re talking about.

The following text is an updated version of an article that originally appeared in the ninth issue of Rolling Thunder. You can print out a flier version of the “Free Speech FAQ” to give out at anti-fascist actions. The entire text is available as a printable PDF.

Not Just Free Speech, but Freedom Itself

Anarchists have defended freedom of speech for centuries now. This is important in principle: in an anarchist vision of society, neither the state nor any other entity should be able to determine what we can and cannot say. It’s also important in practice: as a revolutionary minority frequently targeted for repression, we’ve consistently had our speeches, newspapers, websites, and marches attacked.

But we aren’t the only ones who have taken up the banner of free speech. More recently, the right wing in the US has begun to allege that a supposed failure to give conservative views an equal hearing alongside liberal views constitutes a suppression of their free speech. By accusing “liberal” universities and media of suppressing conservative views—a laughable assertion, given the massive structures of power and funding advancing those views—they use First Amendment discourse to promote reactionary agendas. Supposedly progressive campuses reveal their true colors as they mobilize institutional power to defend right-wing territory in the marketplace of ideas, going so far as to censor and intimidate opposition.

Extreme right and fascist organizations have jumped onto the free speech bandwagon as well. Fascists rely on the state to protect them, claiming that racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-gay organizing constitutes a form of legally protected speech. Fascist groups that are prevented from publishing their material in most other industrialized democracies by laws restricting hate speech frequently publish it in the United States, where no such laws exist, and distribute it worldwide from here. In practice, state protection of the right to free expression aids fascist organizing.

If defending free speech has come to mean sponsoring wealthy right-wing politicians and enabling fascist recruiting, it’s time to scrutinize what is hidden behind this principle.

Despite the radical roots of organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union that advocate for state protection of free expression, this form of civil liberties empties the defense of free speech of any radical content, implying that only the state can properly guarantee our ability to express ourselves freely and thus reinforcing the power of the state above the right to free speech itself.

The Rhetoric of Free Expression

There appears to be a broad consensus in the US political spectrum in favor of the right to free speech. While opponents may quibble over the limits, such as what constitutes obscenity, pundits from left to right agree that free speech is essential to American democracy.

Appeals to this tradition of unrestricted expression confer legitimacy on groups with views outside the mainstream, and both fascists and radicals capitalize on this. Lawyers often defend anarchist activity by referencing the First Amendment’s provision preventing legislation restricting the press or peaceable assembly. We can find allies who will support us in free speech cases who would never support us out of a shared vision of taking direct action to create a world free of hierarchy. The rhetoric of free speech and First Amendment rights give us a common language with which to broaden our range of support and make our resistance more comprehensible to potential allies, with whom we may build deeper connections over time.

But at what cost? This discourse of rights seems to imply that the state is necessary to protect us against itself, as if it is a sort of Jekyll and Hyde split personality that simultaneously attacks us with laws and police and prosecutors while defending us with laws and attorneys and judges. If we accept this metaphor, it should not be surprising to find that the more we attempt to strengthen the arm that defends us, the stronger the arm that attacks us will become.

Once freedom is defined as an assortment of rights granted by the state, it is easy to lose sight of the actual freedom those rights are meant to protect and focus instead on the rights themselves—implicitly accepting the legitimacy of the state. Thus, when we build visibility and support by using the rhetoric of rights, we undercut the possibility that we will be able to stand up to the state itself. We also open the door for the state to impose others’ “rights” upon us.

The Civil Liberties Defense

In the US, many take it for granted that it is easier for the state to silence and isolate radicals in countries in which free speech is not legally protected. If this is true, who wouldn’t want to strengthen legal protections on free speech?

In fact, in nations in which free speech is not legally protected, radicals are not always more isolated—on the contrary, the average person is sometimes more sympathetic to those in conflict with the state, as it is more difficult for the state to legitimize itself as the defender of liberty. Laws do not tie the hands of the state nearly so much as public opposition can; given the choice between legal rights and popular support, we are much better off with the latter.

One dictionary defines civil liberty as “the state of being subject only to laws established for the good of the community.” This sounds ideal to those who believe that laws enforced by hierarchical power can serve the “good of the community”—but who defines “the community” and what is good for it, if not those in power? In practice, the discourse of civil liberties enables the state to marginalize its foes: if there is a legitimate channel for every kind of expression, then those who refuse to play by the rules are clearly illegitimate. Thus we may read this definition the other way around: under “civil liberty,” all laws are for the good of the community, and any who challenge them must be against it.

Focusing on the right to free speech, we see only two protagonists, the individual and the state. Rather than letting ourselves be drawn into the debate about what the state should allow, anarchists should focus on a third protagonist—the general public. We win or lose our struggle according to how much sovereignty the populace at large is willing to take back from the state, how much intrusion it is willing to put up with. If we must speak of rights at all, rather than argue that we have the right to free speech let us simply assert that the state has no right to suppress us. Better yet, let’s develop another language entirely.

Free Speech and Democracy…

The discourse of free speech in democracy presumes that no significant imbalances of power exist, and that the primary mechanism of change is rational discussion. In fact, a capitalist elite controls most resources, and power crystallizes upward along multiple axes of oppression. Against this configuration, it takes a lot more than speech alone to open the possibility of social change.

There can be no truly free speech except among equals—among parties who are not just equal before the law, but who have comparable access to resources and equal say in the world they share. Can an employee really be said to be as free to express herself as her boss, if the latter can take away her livelihood? Are two people equally free to express their views when one owns a news network and the other cannot even afford to photocopy fliers? In the US, where donations to political candidates legally constitute speech, the more money you have, the more “free speech” you can exercise. As the slogan goes, freedom isn’t free—and nowhere is that clearer than with speech.

Contrary to the propaganda of democracy, ideas alone have no intrinsic force. Our capacity to act on our beliefs, not just to express them, determines how much power we have. In this sense, the “marketplace of ideas” metaphor is strikingly apt: you need capital to participate, and the more you have, the greater your ability to enact the ideas you buy into. Just as the success of a few entrepreneurs and superstars is held up as proof that the free market rewards hard work and ingenuity, the myth of the marketplace of ideas suggests that the capitalist system persists because everyone—billionaire and bellboy alike—agrees it is the best idea.

…So Long as You Don’t Do Anything

But what if, despite the skewed playing field, someone manages to say something that threatens to destabilize the power structure? If history is any indication, it swiftly turns out that freedom of expression is not such a sacrosanct right after all. In practice, we are permitted free speech only insofar as expressing our views changes nothing. The premise that speech alone cannot be harmful implies that speech is precisely that which is ineffectual: therefore anything effectual is not included among one’s rights.

During World War I, the Espionage Act criminalized any attempt to “cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, [or] refusal of duty” or to obstruct recruiting for the armed forces. President Woodrow Wilson urged the bill’s passage because he believed antiwar activity could undermine the US war effort. Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman were arrested under this law for printing anarchist literature that opposed the war. Likewise, the Anarchist Exclusion Act and the subsequent Immigration Act were used to deport or deny entry to any immigrant “who disbelieves in or who is opposed to all organized government.” Berkman, Goldman, and hundreds of other anarchists were deported under these acts. There are countless other examples showing that when speech can threaten the foundation of state power, even the most democratic government doesn’t hesitate to suppress it.

Thus, when the state presents itself as the defender of free speech, we can be sure that this is because our rulers believe that allowing criticism will strengthen their position more than suppressing it could. Liberal philosopher and ACLU member Thomas Emerson saw that freedom of speech “can act as a kind of ‘safety valve’ to let off steam when people might otherwise be bent on revolution.” Therein lies the true purpose of the right to free speech in the US.

Not Free Speech, but Freedom Itself

Obviously, anarchists should not organize against free speech. But the stranglehold of the state on the discourse of free speech seems to set the terms of the debate: either we condone censorship, or we condone state protection of our enemies and their right to organize against us and others. This results in paradoxes, such as radicals being accused of opposing freedom for shutting down a fascist speaker.

In contrast to state protection of KKK rallies and the like, there are models of free expression that neither depend upon the enforcement of rights from above nor sanction oppressive behavior. Anarchists might judge speech not as something fundamentally different from action, but as a form of action: when it harms others, when it reinforces hierarchies and injustices, we confront it the same way we would confront any other kind of abuse or oppression. This is simply self-defense.

When a xenophobic politician comes to speak at a public university, his honorarium is paid with tax money extorted from workers and given to universities so it will continue to circulate among the rich and powerful. Regardless of right-wing whining about the marginalization of conservative opinions, the fact that he is powerful enough to secure lucrative speaking engagements indicates that his views are hardly suppressed. As a wealthy white citizen and public figure, his opportunity to express himself can’t reasonably be compared to the opportunity of, say, the immigrants he scapegoats. If their voices and agency actually held equal weight, the politician could say whatever he wanted, but would be powerless to subject others to his schemes.

When we confront him directly rather than politely disagreeing, we’re not attacking his right to express his opinions. We’re confronting the special advantages he is accorded: taxpayer money, police protection, an exclusive soapbox. We’re confronting the power he wields over our lives through institutions built on violence, a power he means to extend by using speaking events to gain wealth, legitimacy, and recruits to his racist endeavors. Confronting him is a political practice that does not reduce freedom to rights, but challenges the privileges of the state—that makes no false dichotomy between speech and action, but judges both by the same standards—that does not enable the state to frame itself as the defender of free speech, but asserts that we are the only ones who can defend and extend our own freedom.

Less civil, more liberties!

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Appendix: Free Speech FAQ

Stopping fascists from speaking makes you just as bad as them.

You could just as easily say that not stopping fascists from speaking makes you as bad as them, because it gives them the opportunity to organize to impose their agenda on the rest of us. If you care about freedom, don’t stand idly by while people mobilize to take it away.

Shouldn’t we just ignore them? They want attention, and if we give it to them we’re letting them win.

Actually, fascists usually don’t want to draw attention to their organizing; they do most of it in secret for fear that an outraged public will shut them down. They only organize public events to show potential recruits that they have power, and to try to legitimize their views as part of the political spectrum. By publicly opposing fascists, we make it clear to them—and more importantly, to anyone else interested in joining them—that they will not be able to consolidate power without a fight. Ignoring fascists only allows them to organize unhindered, and history shows that this can be very dangerous. Better we shut them down once and for all.

The best way to defeat fascism is to let them express their views so that everyone can see how ignorant they are. We can refute them more effectively with ideas than force.

People don’t become fascists because they find their ideas persuasive; they become fascists for the same reason others become police officers or politicians: to wield power over other people. It’s up to us to show that fascist organizing will not enable them to obtain this power, but will only result in public humiliation. That is the only way to cut off their source of potential recruits.

History has shown over and over that fascism is not defeated by ideas alone, but by popular self-defense. We’re told that if all ideas are debated openly, the best one will win out, but this fails to account for the reality of unequal power. Fascists can be very useful to those with power and privilege, who often supply them with copious resources; if they can secure more airtime and visibility for their ideas than we can, we would be fools to limit ourselves to that playing field. We can debate their ideas all day long, but if we don’t prevent them from building the capacity to make them reality, it won’t matter.

Neo-Nazis are irrelevant; institutionalized racism poses the real threat today, not the extremists at the fringe.

The bulk of racism takes place in subtle, everyday forms. But fascist visibility enables other right-wing groups to frame themselves as moderates, helping to legitimize the racist and xenophobic assumptions underlying their positions and the systems of power and privilege they defend. Taking a stand against fascists is an essential step toward discrediting the structures and values at the root of institutionalized racism.

Here and worldwide, fascists still terrorize and murder people because of racial, religious, and sexual difference. It’s both naïve and disrespectful to their victims to gloss over the past and present realities of fascist violence. Because fascists believe in acting directly to carry out their agenda rather than limiting themselves to the Rube Goldberg machine of representative democracy, they can be more dangerous proportionate to their numbers than other bigots. This makes it an especially high priority to deal with them swiftly.

Free speech means protecting everyone’s right to speak, including people you don’t agree with. How would you like it if you had an unpopular opinion and other people were trying to silence you?

We oppose fascists because of what they do, not what they say. We’re not opposed to free speech; we’re opposed to the fact that they advance an agenda of hate and terror. We have no power to censor them; thanks to the “neutrality” of the capitalist market, they continue to publish hate literature in print and the internet. But we will not let them come into our communities to build the power they need to enact their hatred.

The government and the police have never protected everyone’s free speech equally, and never will. It is in their self-interest to repress views and actions that challenge existing power inequalities. They will spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on riot police, helicopters, and sharpshooters to defend a KKK rally, but if there’s an anarchist rally the same police will be there to stop it, not to protect it.

Anarchists don’t like being silenced by the state—but we don’t want the state to define and manage our freedom, either. Unlike the ACLU, whose supposed defense of “freedom” leads them to support the KKK and others like them, we support self-defense and self-determination above all. What’s the purpose of free speech, if not to foster a world free from oppression? Fascists oppose this vision; thus we oppose fascism by any means necessary.

If fascists don’t have a platform to express their views peacefully, it will drive them to increasingly violent means of expression.

Fascists are only attempting to express their views “peacefully” in order to lay the groundwork for violent activity. Because fascists require a veneer of social legitimacy to be able to carry out their program, giving them a platform to speak opens the door to their being able to do physical harm to people. Public speech promoting ideologies of hate, whether or not you consider it violent on its own, always complements and correlates with violent actions. By affiliating themselves with movements and ideologies based on oppression and genocide, fascists show their intention to carry on these legacies of violence—but only if they can develop a base of support.

Trying to suppress their voices will backfire by generating interest in them.

Resistance to fascism doesn’t increase interest in fascist views. If anything, liberals mobilizing to defend fascists on free speech grounds increases interest in their views by conferring legitimacy on them. This plays directly into their organizing goals, allowing them to drive a wedge between their opponents using free speech as a smokescreen. By tolerating racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia, so-called free speech advocates are complicit in the acts of terror fascist organizing makes possible.

They have rights like everybody else.

No one has the right to organize violence against our community. Likewise, we reject the “right” of the government and police—who have more in common with fascists than they do with us—to decide for us when fascists have crossed the line from expressing themselves into posing an immediate threat. We will not abdicate our freedom to judge when and how to defend ourselves.

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YOUR PHONE IS A COP: An OpSec/InfoSec Primer for the Dystopian Present

From It’s Going Down:

phone-is-a-cop

Are you hitting the streets in support of a righteous cause?

TL;DR Leave your phone at home. It is a conduit into your entire life and all of your networks. It contains years of passively recorded conversation transcripts. It has data on all of your associates, friends, and sexual partners. It tracks your movements down to the meter. It is a black box that can be recovered from your person and used against you in a court of law.

Leave it at home. Your phone is a cop.

If the above doesn’t make it abundantly clear WHY you should leave it at home, imagine the terror you feel when you hand someone your phone to show them a picture and they start swiping left or right. Now imagine The State swiping through your pictures. Hopefully we’ve convinced you! Information security (abbreviated to InfoSec because it sounds cooler) can seem intimidating, but it’s as easy as trading away some of your own convenience in exchange for obstructing the Panopticon of State/LEO/reactionary forces that seek to undermine your project. This document is not a deep dive into any of the topics covered. Devices and software exist in a state of flux, and what is considered secure now will likely be obsolete within months, weeks, or days of writing this. It is up to you to stay vigilant and informed.

The Case for Disconnection.

It’s important that we come to terms here. This is not aimed at the “Hold a sign and shout some slogans” crowd. If you are attending a *Fully Permitted and Peaceful Protest* and you want to bring your phone to document what you see and do, knock yourself out. Are you in the Black Bloc? Are you engaging in “black bloc things”? Are you covering your face? If any of these conditions apply to you, you need to leave that shit at home. We understand that these devices are integral parts of modern life, but if you are engaging in “effective resistance” the presence and use of any cell phone is a risk to everyone around you. If you are compelled to carry it or would somehow render yourself critically unsafe without it, you need to consider finding a different outlet for your dissent. While documenting abuses by state security forces is important, it is necessary to leave that task to journalists covering the action. Yes, they will do a horrendous job. Accept this and move on. Additionally, cell/LTE service breaks down quickly when towers get overpopulated. At a big protest, thousands of people are texting “R U HERE?” to each other simultaneously. The network will shit the bed in short order, leaving your device crippled until the traffic storm abates. It won’t be useful to you until you’re heading home or more likely until it’s sitting in an evidence locker waiting to be processed. If your device is limping along on a degraded network connection, there is a significant possibility that you aren’t communicating directly with the tower providing your signal. The police have access to technologies, Stingray among them, which will seamlessly intercept and record cellular communications. Calls and plain text SMS are vulnerable to these “man in the middle” attacks. Lock screen patterns are insecure. Four digit codes are insecure. They can be bypassed quickly and easily. You can be compelled to use your fingerprint to unlock your phone by a court order. Encryption can be bypassed using tool kits available to law enforcement. As careful as you think you’ve been, the odds are not in your favor. If your phone is seized as evidence, the fun isn’t over if the charges are dropped. Don’t assume present legal or cultural norms are going to protect you. Your information can sit in a database until it’s useful to The State.

We might be technical professionals, but it’s likely that you aren’t. You have fucked up when configuring something. Don’t leave things to chance, and don’t rely on some combination of official incompetence and your own perceived individual insignificance to protect you.

Leave your phone at home.

The Move 9, the Fraternal Order of Police, and the PA Parole Board

From Move 9 Parole:

The Justice and Accountability Campaign is still in full swing and is still going strong. We have dedicated 2017 to exposing and working around the puny excuse that the Pennsylvania Parole Board has used to so called justify denying parole for MOVE members in prison. The excuse the past four years has been in the words of the Pennsylvania Parole Board Parole denial reason cited the risk to the safety of the community at large. Earlier this month we talked on and exposed the character of Randy Feathers a former board member and known pedophile who resigned from the Pennsylvania Parole Board in the wake of the kiddie porn email scandal with disgraced now former Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

This will be an issue that we will continue to expose as time passes but in the meantime we want to talk further about the Fraternal Order of Police and their connection to the PA Parole Board. Since the beginning of this campaign we have exposed the connection between law enforcement and their ties to the parole board, Randy Feathers and Lloyd White were both former police officers that were not only on the Parole Board but voted against parole for the Move 9. Leslie Grey another board member with ties to law enforcement and who is still on the board has voted against parole for the Move 9. Which we have said from the beginning is a conflict of interest to have former police officers who are now parole board members voting over the hearing of inmates whose case revolves around the murder of a police officer.

On June 15th 2016 the Pennsylvania Senate confirmed Mark D. Koch as the newest member of  the Pennsylvania parole board. We just want to provide people with a little background information to who Mark D. Koch is and his VERY STRONG TIES to law enforcement. In 1980 Mr. Koch started as a police officer with the Department of Defense. From their in 1998, Mr. Koch was elected to the Board of the Pennsylvania State Fraternal Order of Police as their treasurer. In 2004, Mr. Koch was elected to two terms as State President of the Fraternal Order of Police representing more than 40,000 law enforcement officers. After his two terms were completed he then went on to serve as Director of Legislative Affairs for the Fraternal Order Of Police until 2012 and also included in his long storied resume of law enforcement is that Mr. Koch is a graduate of the Pennsylvania State Police Northeast Municipal Police Officer Training Academy.

It has been clear for quite some time now the role of the Fraternal Order of Police and not only their public outcry against any form of release for our political prisoners. You can look into the actions with the Fraternal Order of Police in New Jersey and how they were able to work within the courts and have a court ordered parole release for one of our political prisoners overturned. Look at another political prisoner in the federal prison system who has been held twelve years now past his maximum release date due to the influence of a the Fraternal Order of Police over the United States Justice Dept and the Department of Homeland Security. New York State where not only does the Fraternal Order of Police lobby AGAINST parole for New York State political prisoners but in fact they have an active member who sits on the board in the form of Sally Thompson.

So this is nothing new it’s just now being exposed to the public thru this campaign. In 2018 Delbert Africa, Edward Africa, Janine Africa, Debbie Africa, and Janet Africa will be making yet another appearance before the parole board. The issue of Mark D. Koch poses the strongest conflict of interest as per his background he is coming in with a vote against parole already decided against parole for our family. As we watch the Trump Administration put things in place for complete global dominance the Fraternal Order of Police, the Pennsylvania parole board, and Philadelphia officials have already set things in place to ensure that MOVE MEMBERS die in prison. All of this has occurred under the watchful eye of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf who has made hypocritical cries about their needing to be reform within the parole board yet he has watched the Fraternal Order of Police time and time again be the decision maker with our families parole denials.

In the month of February there will be a course of action to follow all of this in the meantime we urge people to share and sign the petition we have aimed at the United States Justice Department urging them to investigate the case of the Move 9. People can sign the petition at https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9.

Ona Move

The Justice and Accountability Campaign

 

Repression on South

From Philly Antifa:

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Something was not quite right Saturday afternoon when Philly Antifa arrived at local anarchist bookstore, The Wooden Shoe, to set up for a free community event. Cops had been waiting outside the store as early as 9:00 a.m. But later on, it looked like they were everywhere; blocks deep in either direction, out in large numbers, standing on corners, hanging around in all shapes and sizes of police vehicles, walking up and down the block, circling in packs of bicycle units. Counter terrorism trucks were parked at 7th and Bainbridge and were positioned with more police cars on the same corner.

An attendee left the bookstore and was followed by two police officers into a coffee shop, who monitored their activity and tailed them for blocks. More and more cops showed up, lining the street while filming and photographing everyone who entered or left the shop.

Concerned at the large and hostile police presence, some people who wished to come to the talk, thought it better to leave. The police seemed to be about to do something. In fact, they already had. The day before, two police officers entered the Shoe and asked that they cancel the event. The police made nonsense claims that they feared the presence of antifascists would result in street conflict, and made accusations about Antifa’s involvement with recent protest actions.

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We want to reiterate: Philadelphia Police tried to stop this event.

They were trying to shut down a free, open-to-the-public speaking engagement about antifascism with author and political scholar Matthew Lyons. Lyons went on anyway and spoke to a standing room only crowd regarding his most recent work, “Ctrl-Alt-Delete: Antifascist Report on the Alternative Right.” So many people turned up for the talk we ran out of room, and those who could fit inside got to learn about the rising tide of alt-right ideology and fascist activity. We hope that the cops watching and filming us through the windows enjoyed the talk as well; they obviously have an intense interest in fascism.

This behavior should sound the alarm. The state is poised to crack down on communities simply based on political ideology. Radical spaces, groups and associations are being targeted. Philly Antifa and antifascists everywhere are being threatened. We will not accept a world in which it is possible to silence a public talk at a bookstore. We must work together now to resist this blatant repression.

south-philly-fundraiser-flyerWe are hosting a fundraiser this coming Saturday at LAVA to support the PHL Autonomous Anti-Repression Fund. This Fund and show are the exact things we need to bring us together and sustain our spirits and resistance. Coming out to shows and fundraisers is not only really fun, but essential if you value radical spaces and groups fighting on the frontlines. We hope to see old friends and make new ones on Saturday.

As Philly Antifa, we exist to combat fascism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of oppression. We must reject the repression and intimidation tactics the police are trying to impose on us. We will not stop fighting, we will not be subdued and we will not be silenced.

Helsinki, Finland: Hugs and solidarity for Kara Wild and other Trans prisoners

From Takku:

helsinki-kara-solidarity

“Kara Wild is an artist, comrade and resilient force of nature, currently being detained in France. Despite a distinct lack of evidence, she is being accused of smashing a pole through a police car’s windshield moments before it was set on fire. Her charges are, “attempted voluntary manslaughter of a person holding public office, destruction of property, group violence and participating in a masked armed group.” She is a trans woman and is currently being held in a men’s jail. She is also a U.S. citizen and has been denied bond because French authorities consider her a flight risk.”

Freekarawild.org

Hearing she had been caught got us angry. Rather than being only sad we felt like painting a banner and letting her know she is not forgotten. Prisons are already horrible places but they are especially horrible for trans women who are in great risk of violence and rape. We are not interested to speculate whether Kara is behind the attack on the cop car or not because we do not believe in terms of “innocence” or “guilty”. Trans and queer people are oppressed and face lot of bullshit and therefore cops, transphobes, state, prisons, and machos will stay enemies to us. Its necessary for our existence to struggle with every means possible against cishetero normative patriarchy that wants to erase us.

Write letters, organize support events, support each other and get creative on international solidarity day for trans prisoners.

Let our message bring smile on your face.

Lets break the isolation of prison cells.

For total liberation

ps. Every day is good day for actions and showing solidarity.

– Couple of trans queer squatters (and their friends) from Helsinki

Check out:

https://freekarawild.org/

https://transprisoners.net/

 

Report Back: Milo Resistance at CU Boulder

Posted on It’s Going Down:

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On Wednesday, January 25th, despite diligent and persistent backlash and preemptive action from students, alumni, anti-racists, anti-fascists and parents, and with blatant disregard for the safety or well being of the university’s students and other demonstrators following the recent shooting at the University of Washington (not to mention common decency) CU Chancellor Phillip P. DiStefano allowed Breitbart’s shallow, ignorant, utterly repugnant editor, Milo Yiannopoulos to worm his way onto campus to give a speech he called “Why Ugly People Hate Me.” Milo, who was invited to the campus by the school’s chapter of Turning Point USA and College Republicans, has been shut down at multiple locations during his recent tour, and while folks were unfortunately unable to stop him from speaking in so-called “Colorado,” it was made clear that there will be no tolerance, no platform for those who may wish to reiterate his sentiments in our streets.

Resisters to Milo’s unfortunate brand of neo-fascist rhetoric started to arrive at the University of Colorado Boulder’s mathematics building before 4:00pm, two hours before doors, to find an already growing line of the event’s red MAGA hat clad attendees, as well as a strongly established police presence which had been patrolling the campus for the majority of the afternoon. Days leading up to the event were filled with aggressive posturing from right wing agitators calling for armed contingents of counter-protesters on various social media platforms, and resisters were cautious in their initial approach, having publicly called for the formation of an anti-fascist bloc to effectively resist potential agitators, as well as obscure their identities from snitchy liberals and alt-right trolls.

“Those present included several known white nationalists, a rifle toting libertarian, middle-aged, confederate flag waving bigots and a number of students.”

As the sun set and the temperature dropped the demo increased in numbers, effectively blocking off access to the front entrance of the building. Police formed a barricade around the back entrance and escorted those remaining in line into the building, refusing access starting at or around 6:30 and leaving a handful of would be attendees on the wrong side of the police line resulting in several scuffles and the expropriation of one or two MAGA hats. A small group of counter protesters had been forming to the east of the demo since around 5:00, either unable to or uninterested in getting into the event. Those present included several known white nationalists, a rifle toting libertarian, middle-aged, confederate flag waving bigots and a number of students. Our unwillingness to tolerate the presence of or to provide a platform for the racist, sexist, xenophobic, body shaming dribble of the fascists and their sympathizers was quickly made known. The burning of an nazi flag by members of the bloc (which was brought by protesters, however the Confederate flag was not) shortly after sundown started a chain reaction of resistance to the presence of any fascists within the demo that extended beyond the bloc. One of the major victories of the night was helping questioning liberals off of the fence and into the fight.

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Throughout the evening nearly every visible red MAGA hat was taken and burned. A confederate flag once draped over the shoulders of a counter protester also went up in flames. As was widely expected, the largest amount of contact by individuals within the bloc was made with obnoxious, overly privileged and entitled frat boys. Blasting nationalistic contemporary country music from a blue-tooth speaker, a group of five or six lit frat kids made their way through the crowd chanting “Trump” and the vacant alma mater rallying cries common at homecoming games and spring-break parties. After losing a MAGA hat of their own in a brief melee and suffering several blows to the head of one of their most vocal, they were again asked to turn off their music and leave. In a poor attempt at machismo posturing, the kid whose phone was playing said music waived it in the face of several anti-fascists.  Somehow that phone, after falling under several feet, also fell onto some fire.

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The event let out on the opposite side of the building after temperatures had continued to drop and most of the liberals at the demo had given up and left. Demonstrators quickly linked together to form a moving line and approach the attendees attempting to leave the building. Riot cops flanked the now moving march to the right, establishing a line between us and the Milo supporters, but not before several more MAGA hats were won from their side. While attempting to engage several attendees, two people were captured by the pigs, inciting a barrage of hard, frozen snowballs to rain down on the police as they detained them. Not having the numbers needed to dearest our captured comrades, the march began to move through the campus while several individuals called to take the streets. At this point, having lost a large majority of our numbers, the bloc broke down and scattered into the night, evading patrols of riot pigs on foot, in what looked like dune buggies, and bearcats to relish and debrief in the crisp alpine air.