“If I Die in Police Custody, Burn Everything Down!”

Originally posted to IT’S GOING DOWN:

Across the US, in response to the outpouring of rebellion in the wake of a tidal wave of police murders, a handful of cops have been charged, several have been fired, and a few have simply quit. Those in power, from president Obama to the local police chiefs, rush to make cosmetic changes to an ever militarizing police force. They hurry to buy police body cameras while at the same time departments spend millions on decommissioned military vehicles and weapons to suppress future rebellions.

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They say the conversation on policing and race and America has changed, but the daily reality of American life continues to produce piles of dead bodies and millions of people incarcerated. Since Mike Brown’s murder by Ferguson police, over 1,100 people have been killed by law enforcement in the United States.

We aren’t in a crisis of policing – we’re in the middle of a war.

“That’s the Only Way Motherfuckers Like You Listen!”

At the same time, due to the ongoing rebellions in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Oakland, those in the “opposition,” from the unions, to Jackson and Sharpton, to the Nation of Islam, have all intensified their rhetoric. The commemoration for the ‘Million Man March’ is entitled, “Justice or Else!” The recent disruptions of the Presidential debates, from Sanders to Clinton to Bush all point to a growing anger at politics as usual and an acceptance of more radical action. But these protests also continue this idea that if “justice” is not served, there will be consequences. “If you don’t negotiate with us, we’ll set the rabble loose!,” say the activists and politicians in waiting.

But it hasn’t been the ‘leaders’ of the official Black Lives Matter group, the New Black Panthers, or any of the leftist parties that have pushed the current uprisings; the revolts has by and large been carried out by the people themselves and the youth in particular. In Baltimore, it was high-schoolers who trashed cop cars and threw stones at police, driving them out of the neighborhood. In Ferguson, it was the neighborhood of Canfield which fought back every night for weeks in the face of a military occupation. It was a collection of graffiti writers, youth of color, and anarchists who held the streets and blocked freeways in Oakland for close to a month.

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During these rebellions, the “official” organizations, whether the Democratic Party or the non-profits, were all trying to smoother the uprisings. Now, they hope to turn this energy into votes and new members. But while the official groups try to match their rhetoric to the actions of the people, all they have as leverage against those in power to make changes is the actions of the people they hope to drown out. “Listen to us and we will make sure there isn’t a riot,” they say. “Make these changes, put us in power, and there won’t be an uprising.”

But things must change, everything must change.

The riots were just the start, we must go much further.

“Rise the Fuck Up! Shut that Shit Down!”

Buildings have been burned, freeways have been blocked, and millions of dollars of property and police equipment has been destroyed. “But nothing has changed,” we hear people say over and over again. And they are right.

With each cycle of revolt, things only seem to get worse. The anti-war movement, the student movement, Occupy, and Black Lives Matter – all of these moments were largely based around the idea of exacting a cost on a system in order to push it to make structural changes. From blocked freeways, to burned buildings, to shaming hashtags, “Here, have a taste of our anger,” was our mindset.

But those in power became quite adapt at making changes – changes that didn’t amount to shit. Their rhetoric changed; they said words like, “the 99%” and “Black Lives Matter,” around election time. They put cameras on police, but in the end the cameras are still pointed at us. They took healthcare away from prisoners and diverted it into higher education. They passed laws upping the minimum wage to $15 in several years time; keeping us squarely locked in poverty. All the while, this society continues to break down and the ecological system continues to hurtle us towards apocalypse.

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The militant movements of the last several years have been failures because they have only sought to generate reforms from the present system, even if they didn’t make demands. We went into the streets knowing something was wrong, but in the back of our minds we hoped those in power would listen to us and make changes.

Those in the Left groups with their newspapers claimed we lacked a vanguard party to guide us. The unions claimed we lacked representation in the workplace. The churches and mosques said we lacked moral superiority in the face of state violence. The non-profits whined we had a poor outreach strategy.

The riots, blockades, occupations, and shut-downs failed because they didn’t go far enough.

Revolutions that go half-way, dig their own grave.

“If I die in police custody, don’t let my parents talk to…Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, or any of the motherfuckers who would destroy my name.”

Being a revolutionary in the present terrain means knowing that things aren’t going to get better; that currently there are no reforms that the system can grant that will get us out of the current crisis. Those in power will continue to offer only more repression, surveillance, incarceration, and policing to quell in rebellion, while also attempting to placate to popular anger by attempting to offer cosmetic changes or “expand the dialog.”

But what would a revolutionary strategy look like? What has already taken place in the streets that can show us a way forward? In the past several years, across the world, from Oakland to Egypt, we’ve seen the proliferation of various tactics and strategies – all responding to a historical moment of crisis that defines our era.

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We have seen the proliferation of occupations, whether in camps, squares, or buildings. These communal spaces serve as a vehicle to get organized from and meet the needs of the insurgents involved. We saw this in many Occupy camps, in Tahrir square, and in Ferguson around the burned QT building. All insurrections need bases of operations; they need space. But we have to push and expand this space, into schools and universities (such as in various occupations across Chile and Europe), in occupied union halls and workplaces (such as in Greece), and into public areas and whole regions (such as in Turkey at Gezi Park, throughout the Rojava Revolution in the autonomous region of Kurdistan, indigenous blockades of pipelines such as across Canada, and at the ZAD in France).

Autonomy is power.

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Beyond just being a place where people talk and make plans, these places need to expand the communal activity of people organizing themselves and meeting their needs directly. But such space will always need to be defended. Whether it is the streets of Ferguson from the police and the National Guard, or the occupied Egyptian squares, rioting has been the offensive capacity by which people have defended themselves from government forces and expanded their territories.

“Let them know, that my sisters got this!”

Rioting, in a defense and offensive capacity also allows people to attack the infrastructure of the enemy: namely the police, surveillance systems, and the like. However, beyond bank windows and burned patrol cars, the use of blockades has proven to be a very effective tactic in shutting down the flows of capital, stopping the construction of a project, and preventing the movement of state forces. We can see this most spectacularly in the indigenous struggles in Canada (such as the Mi’kmaq and Unist’ot’en), where Native groups are setting up encampments to stop the development of fracked oil pipelines.

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But these tactics by themselves are just that, tactics. Blockading a freeway against white supremacy might be the start of a longer revolutionary struggle or a way to gather our forces, but simply going onto a freeway and hoping that something will materialize (or worse yet, someone will listen,) is delusional thinking. If we want to build a revolutionary force capable of destroying this system of domination, white supremacy, and exploitation, then we have to think about tactics in terms of a strategy.

Thinking about a strategy means paying attention to the situation we are in both locally where we live, but also nationally and internationally. We have to think about how the Left and those that try and control social struggles will react and try and hinder our efforts. We have to think about how the state will try and repress us for attacking the social order.

But above all, we have to think about how our actions can grow, expand, become more powerful, and ultimately link up with others across the social terrain.

 

The above text has been condensed into a flyer which you can download below. Use the box to fill in a link to local projects. 

Whole page. Quarter sheet.

Call for solidarity with demonstrators in Toulouse, France

arton736From: https://iaata.info/A-propos-des-arrete-e-s-des-condamne-e-s-et-des-enferme-e-s-de-novembre-et-736.html

About the arrestees, the condemned and the locked-in of November and February in Toulouse. Call for solidarity.

There is currently an international solidarity campaign against the conviction of a single November demonstrator (https://www.facebook.co /pas.de.prison.pour.gaetan ). It seems important to us to sum up the verdicts and bring forward our point of view about the situation. And call widely for solidarity for all.

The November demonstrations started with the death of a young man (Rémi Fraisse, on October 25th). Around Testet (area of the environmental resistance camp) there were people saying that one day or another the wild, legal and determined action from the state forces will make things end up badly. For many, the emotion was strong, because we could have been in his place. But the identification with the victim was not the same when some days earlier, in the center of Toulouse, a cop killed a young man during a robbery.

Demonstrations started from Sunday, October 25th but the repression had to wait until November 1st.

We counted :
1st of November, 16 arrests ;
8th of November, 21 arrests ;
22th of November, 18 arrests ;
21th of February, 13 arrests.

verdicts sum up :
6 persons in prison (4 are still in)
47 months of imprisonment
34 months of suspended sentence

860 hours of community service
5000€ fine
10 450€ of damages for the cops
2 400€ for the cop’s lawyers
45 500€ of damages for the store front

68 persons in total were arrested during these demos. Some of them were released without charges. Without counting the repression against the ZAD (Area to Defend, an environmental resistance camp in the forests) and against the demonstration in Tarn (region where the Sivens ZAD is) counting itself 41 arrestees.

We refuse to see this as a new and uncommon repression. We have seen the militarization of the police, their constant presence in the popular districts, the use of special forces and aggression ending up with injured and dead people. This is not an excess or an accident. This is the logic of the law enforcement. We believe we have to organize solidarity and arm our defense, in order to face the difficulties put upon us in our struggle by the justice system, by the police and by its weapons. We have to make the link between the repression of the everyday small crime/illegal actions and the repression against our struggles. We have to get rid of the idea that the police is doing a good job except when it represses us. The police, the justice, the prison are tools which make the rollback of social achievements possible.

We keep sending money to people in jail every month ; in general we help people accused in this kind of cases. This is a hard task for us so we call for a wide solidarity. You can help up by sending money. To do so, send an email at : caj31@riseup.net

The Toulouse Self Defense Legal Aid Fund
aka
Caisse d’Autodéfense Juridique de Toulouse

France: The state and the bosses only understand one language

France.The following is a communiqué that appeared on Paris Indymedia, written by comrades who briefly occupied the Opera in Bastille, Paris on Saturday. Since the appearance of this communique, mainstream media reports rising violent resistance across France on Tuesday, as once again up to three million people took to the streets and riots occurred from Lyon to the Paris suburbs. As the Guardian reports, the strikes have “appeared to be pushing France closer to crisis today as fuel shortages were felt across the country and violence erupted on the sidelines of protests by children.” According to media, if fuel is not made available to cargo trucks in the next few days (due to blockades and strikes), the economy could become paralyzed when factories and workplaces run out of supplies.

Translated from French:

Monday, October 18th, 2010

During the last days numerous initiatives have begun to flourish everywhere: secondary schools, train stations, refineries and highways have been blockaded, there have been occupations of public buildings, workplaces, commercial centers, directed cuts of electricity, and ransacking of electoral institutions and town halls…

In each city, these actions are intensifying the power struggle and demonstrate that many are no longer satisfied with the forms of actions and words of order imposed by the union leaderships. In the Paris region, amongst the blockades of train stations and secondary schools, the strikes in the primary schools, the workers pickets in front of the factories, people create inter-professional meetings and collectives of struggle are founded to destroy categorical isolation and separation. Their starting point: self-organization to meet the need to take ownership over our struggles without the mediation of those who claim to speak for workers. Many of us do not organize ourselves according to the traditional forms of strikes on work sites, yet provided, we still find a desire to contribute to the general movement in economic blockade. Thus, we find this movement as also an opportunity to go beyond the single issue of pensions, the question of work, in order to develop and build together a critique of exploitation.
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France: Interior Minister files charges against websites critical of the police

Brice Hortefeux, the Minister of the Interior, announced on Monday that he’d brought charges against two Internet sites that are hostile to the police.

Hortefeux, who was away on business with his Spanish counterpart Alfredo at the police station at Dammarie-les-Lys, which was on 16 March the target of a gunman thought to be connected with the armed Basque group ETA, didn’t want to mention the sites in question “so as to not give them any publicity.”

According to a source close to the Minister of the Interior, they are http://juralibertaire.over-blog.com%5B1%5D and grenoble.indymedia.org.

The Minister brought a complaint for the “public insult and defamation of the police.” He explained that, “there were campaigns that shocked me that I couldn’t let stand.” According to him, the content of these sites “attack the honor of the police.” In particular, “the police are called ‘bands of killers’ and the BAC [the anti-criminal brigade] is called an ‘armed band of criminals.’”

At the portal to the first of these two sites, which is apparently close to the anarcho-autonomous movement,[2] one can read: “The police work . . . for social apartheid.”

In September 2009, Brice Hortefeux brought a complaint alleging defamation of the national police against the makers of remarks reported by the AFP and Libération.fr.

(Written by the AFP and published in Libération on 26 July 2010. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! on 28 July 2010. Footnotes by the translator.)

[1] See the interview conducted by Paco for more information about le Jura Libertaire: http://www.notbored.org/le-jura-libertaire.html

[2] A repetition of the meaningless phrase once applied to the Tarnac Nine.

Illegal police surveillance of the Tarnac Ten

Translation of recent article concerning police surveillance of the Tarnac group pre-November 2008.  (courtesy of NOT BORED!)

Discovered in the grocery of the group by an agent of France Telecom in March 2008, an illegal listening device installed by the police threatens the consistency of the investigation.

In the investigation into the sabotage of the high-speed train lines, it is a new shadowy zone. The shadow of manipulation, even. Several wiretaps of the telephones of the young people in Tarnac have been, since March 2008, hidden from justice until today. The police forces haven’t said everything there is to say and this opacity, not at all permitted in a legal case, could become one of the crushing arguments from the defense, which addressed to the judge a new Request for Investigative Measures on Monday.

As Le Canard enchaîné has indicated, one of these eavesdropping devices was unintentionally revealed to a co-manager of the grocery store in Tarnac (Corrèze) in April 2008 by an agent of France Telecom. The agent was penalized. Ever since then, the management of France Telecom has retreated into silence. And for good reason. This eavesdropping had been effectuated outside the perimeter of the legal investigation that was opened after the sabotage of the TGV lines in November 2008 and even before the opening of the preliminary inquest on 11 April 2008.

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Paris: Seven arrested for ‘terrorism’ in Vincennes solidarity actions

On Monday and Tuesday 15 and 16 February, seven people were arrested as alleged terrorists in Paris in connection with solidarity actions with prisoners accused of arson of the Vincennes detention Center in July 2008.

Courtesy of libcom.  We cleaned up the translation a bit.  Sorry for the remaining typos. — Denver ABC

Terrorism: The Show

Vincennes Detention Center burns in prisoners' revolt of 2008

Several months ago, occupations, demonstrations and actions took place in Paris and around.  Sans-papiers [undocumented] people occupied their workplaces, and wild unannounced demonstrations covered the streets with posters, informing about banks that denounce the “illegal” migrants.  Weeks of solidarity were organized for the Vincennes Detention Center detainees, who were appearing in court, accused of the prison’s total arson in July 2008.  This prison totally burnt down after an inner revolt.  It’s in this atmosphere that police came to arrest and to put pressure on comrades who took part in the solidarity work.

On Monday, February 15th, six people have been arrested in Paris–and had their homes searched.

One more person was arrested on Tuesday.  Several parents‘ houses were also searched on Monday.  Cops took computers, some flyers and brochures, and seemed to look for specific clothes.

The arrested have all been taken to 36 quai des Orfèvres–the SDAT (anti-terrorist section) office.

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