Category Archives: Analysis

Community Picnic to Take Back People’s Park!

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When: Sunday, June 18th at 4pm

This week, Bloomington Police began to occupy People’s Park, heightening policing and surveillance, harassing community members into leaving the park, and preventing food sharing and basic habitation of the park. This recent increase in police intimidation is part of a larger effort to drive poor people out of public spaces so that commerce can continue without interruption. Meanwhile, new luxury condos are built across the street. The social cleansing process enacted by the BPD aims to eradicate homeless people through constant intimidation, without addressing the root causes of homelessness in Bloomington.

For more than 50 years, People’s Park has been a vital space for political action, historical memory, and struggle in Bloomington. Shortly after the KKK firebombed a black social center, The Black Market, located on the park’s land in 1968, People’s Park was founded as a space of leisure and refuge open to all people, not just to the rich and white. Given this history, we must all do our part to ensure that People’s Park remains available to everyone.

Let’s celebrate the history of People’s Park and our ongoing diversity. Let’s stand together, eat together, and enjoy music together! We won’t allow the police to harass and arrest the most vulnerable members of the Bloomington community. Now’s our time to make sure that People’s Park lives up to its name — a place for everyone, for all people.

Come one, come all: workers, students, people without homes, non-human animal companions! Bring your game faces and your appetites.

Rumored events:
Community Potluck
Arts & Crafts (folks should feel inclined to bring lots of chalk)

Bring a dish/drink/food supplies if you can, and be creative in whatever other materials you feel it would be fun and/or useful to have.

Let’s make sure Bloomington stays the way we like it: full of space for folks with unique needs, creative and experimental.

Please forward widely and share the attached flyer online and in print!

May Day Reportback

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As always, we disseminate autonomous contributions and reports on actions and developments in the region.  Received from the Bloomington May Day Group, and posted in this spirit:

A Day Without Immigrants 2017

On May 1st, 2017 Bloomington, Indiana joined the largest immigrant strike since 2006. The Bloomington May Day Group, a group of five Bloomington residents (including undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni) working as part of Cosecha Indiana, hosted a rally, a march, and a financial boycott to demand permanent protection, dignity, and respect for ALL immigrants in the country, regardless of country of origin/heritage, race/ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, socio-economic position, status under the law, etc. These actions were a direct response to the call for a day-long Migrant Boycott made by Movimiento Cosecha, a national movement devoted to the advocacy for the over 11 million immigrants in the United States, many of whom are undocumented.

Read the rest of this entry

J20 Black Bloc Reportback

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Reposted from It’s Going Down:

People worked their way out of the shadows to meet at People’s Park. Participants were handed complimentary gift bags which included a handout on safety in the streets, face and hand coverings, noisemakers, and other fun items for a night out on the town. It feels like a sign of the times that all of these tools were enthusiastically accepted and used by most people who received them. It doesn’t seem hard for people to understand that in order to fight this regime and its “Alt Right” foot soldiers, we need to begin to protect ourselves and each other.

Stickers put over parking meters

While the small, but energetic, crowd of around 30 took the streets shouting “Fuck Donald Trump”, crews broke off in relative ease to relax by each of the city’s parking meters down Kirkwood, the main street in town. The meters were decorated with stickers drawing connections between the meters and the police (meter money helps fund the BPD). Stickers decorated with “Don’t Feed the Pigs,” solidarity slogans with refugees and prisoners, anti-police and Trump messages were placed strategically on the solar panels that power the meters in an attempt to sabotage their functioning. And let’s just say the pigs will go a little hungrier these days as the locks on over 35 meters were disabled with glue and/or had their card and coin slots blocked with expanding foam.

Dumpster rolled into street

Dumpster tipped over in the street

But our bellies were full of rage! As the march approached the building of Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing, balls full of paint were passed throughout the march. Individuals threw a dozen paint balls at the building as chants went up against Trump and the national security apparatus he now controls. The School of Informatics and Computing is directly tied to the ever-increasing web of control that Obama has perfected over the past 8 years, and which Trump will now inherit. The department’s Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research is funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and prison profiteers Eli Lilly and Company; it has ties to the National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Department of Homeland Security; and it has connections to JP Morgan Chase and AT&T, Microsoft and IBM Life Sciences, and other architects of the open air prison in which we live.

IU School of Informatics hit with paint

Onwards towards the Monroe County Jail! But first, it seemed like the right time to drag a bank’s rolling dumpster into the street, overturn it, and scatter its contents. With the dumpster blocking traffic, we came upon the jail, which received a beautiful new paint job as the crowd rained paint balls down on its pristine Indiana limestone. People are sick of suffering as their friends and family are locked up by the pigs with the guns and the pigs with the gavels, and are ready to fight back. Freedom to the prisoners!

County Jail hit with paint

Metal trash cans, news boxes, sandwich boards, flares, and flash fireworks were thrown and brought into the street as we proceeded back down Kirkwood keeping cars at a safe distance from the crowd. Why waste our time getting in petty back and forths with bystanders or people when there are more fun things to do?

Banner reading: "For FREEDOM FROM the American Dream"

With streets blocked and the spirit of the crowd strengthened by the progression of attacks up to this point, individuals began kicking things up a notch. Multiple ATMs were smashed, a bank entrance was repainted, and a bank window was smashed. We know that the coming years will require much of us. We have many skills to develop, projects to create, and social spaces to liberate. But without a capacity to fight – to attack those who want to murder, imprison, and deport us – our struggle will remain forever on the defensive. Last night showed that caring for each other, getting organized, being courageous, challenging our self-imposed boundaries, and attacking our oppressors is not only possible, but joyous, playful, transformative, and effective.

Banner: "All We Want Is Total Freedom"

As the march hit its end, we made our way to IU’s sample gates where a smoke bomb was let off and people dispersed into the night laughing and celebrating. Day one of the Trump administration, day one of a new terrain of revolt and social struggle. We have only begun to fight.

smoke cannister

New Year’s Eve Banner Drops

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Reposted from Plain Words:

Breaking away from the jail demo tradition, we kicked off the new year with something fresh and exciting. At the stroke of midnight we dropped four banners and let five thousand fliers rain down from two downtown parking garages. United with friends, we reveled in the togetherness we will carry with us into the new year. 2016 was shitty and we expect that 2017 will be as well; however, we recognize the need to continue fighting. With these modest acts, we sharpened coordination practices that we will need in the coming months and years. Each of the banners reflects an element of our revolt we intend to strengthen and spread over the next year – combative memory for our fallen fighters, solidarity with our imprisoned comrades, determination to continue fighting no matter what is thrown at us, and struggle against immediate manifestations of power.

As December ends, we also take time to remember the lives of our fallen warriors. William Avalon Rodgers was an Earth liberationist who took his own life on December 21, 2005 while in jail awaiting trial on arson charges. Kuwasi Balagoon was a former Black Panther, fighter in the Black Liberation Army, bisexual, and anarchist who died in prison from medical neglect due to AIDS-related illness on December 13, 1986.

December 2016 marks 11 years since Avalon’s death and 30 since Kuwasi’s. We will not allow those who sacrificed everything for freedom to be forgotten. As we continue our struggles against Power, we keep alive the memory of Kuwasi, Avalon, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, Sebastián Oversluij, Lambros Foundas, Mauricio Morales, Feral Pines, and all of our other comrades who have passed on. Memory, like fire, burns our enemies and keeps us warm.

We are consistently inspired by Marius Mason’s spirit and take strength from each of his paintings, poems, and letters. In an attempt to return the favor, we also chose to highlight his acts this New Year’s Eve. For many years, Marius lived and took action in Bloomington and we intend to maintain the passion and fighting spirit that he once embodied here.

As a quaint college town and liberal bastion in a red state, Bloomington’s iteration of state violence often takes the form of closing off public space to undesirable populations to maintain a sterile, commerce-friendly environment. One of the primary targets of this cleansing is the sizable homeless population. The city has deployed social worker cops, signs discouraging giving money to people on the street, and several new security cameras in popular hangouts like People’s Park. Despite their language of safety and compassion, we know that the city government has no interest in genuine solutions to the problems of poverty, unaffordable housing, and addiction; in reality, it exists to manage and police the conditions that create these problems. We have made a choice to not fall for the soft policing of the non-profits and charities that are in the pocket of the city.

Whatever 2017 brings, we plan to face it head on.

Call for autonomous organizing against the end of the world

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Received and posted:  an autonomous contribution to the debate on revolutionary strategy and to this website.

PDF handbill:  callout-for-organizing-against-the-end-of-the-world-bloomington

The situation: our world, the only home we will ever have, is being hurled into the abyss by imbeciles and nihilists. A 72-degree Christmas and a Trump presidency; lynching and deportation of our neighbors by police and ICE; pipelines desecrate the dead, while poisoning the living; billions of selfies, while 200 species go extinct every day; the feeling of powerlessness enforced by governments everywhere and the management of each detail down to the smallest part of our hearts: everything calls for this to end.

What’s necessary: that a new historical force rise up to face our situation; that we organize to make a better, livable existence on this earth and put an end to the reign of those who would continue this catastrophic course.

Our ethos: a spirit that stands against the end of the world — revolutionary and driven by the desire to fight, carrying the recognition that power needs to be built and organized. Committed to strategy, not ideology, we have a faith in practice, of an openness to the world, of being moved by the event, not criticality that puts one outside of every situation. We believe in freedom and know we cannot have it if we simply react and define ourselves against the forces that seek to dominate us: we must make ourselves a power in our own right.

The strategy: build autonomy and revolution from the ground up by establishing the infrastructural and organizational basis for another way of life. We must immediately and patiently grow our capacity and power — starting from our reality, what we want, what we need, and where we want to go. Everything we do, each piece, each practice, must be part of a broader strategy of giving ourselves the means to be more powerful and to face up to the need for another way of life, reducing our dependencies and increasing our power over our own networks of food, health, transportation, shelter, or communications. As we see it, a historical force capable of confronting capitalism, government, and catastrophe has to be materially capable of living through their end, of breaking their blackmail of enforced dependence. That’s why instead of mourning this world, we’ve begun getting organized together, to help such a force come into existence, to be a part of it, to do what we think is called for in our single existence on earth.

A tentative vision: a powerful, autonomous territory takes shape between a multiplicity of spaces and infrastructures –hubs, farms, clinics, hacklabs, cafes, workshops, print labs, gyms, mesh net- works, foundries, and forests— in neighborhoods and small towns from Bloomington to Chicago, to Evansville. Thousands of individual and organizational relationships are forged as fighters/ builders/growers young and old find each other, experiencing a solidarity born of combining their capacities –skills, knowledges, resources, and passions— along shared trajectories such that they will become capable of actually supporting an exit from our current, untenable way of life. In short, a territory full of all kinds of forms of life, rich in diversity yet united in the belief that this fight is the only dignified and just response to our time. And who over time have developed the means to take care of themselves and others in a growing and deepening way. As the Zapatistas say, we are “walking while questioning.”

Let’s find each other, and get going!

rififibloomington.wordpress.com   ill-will-editions.tumblr.com

SASV on Monday’s BLM Demo

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blmdemo

Students Against State Violence on the BLM Demonstration,  Monday, October 10, 2016

Students Against State Violence (SASV) and the IU Black Student Union hosted a Black Lives Matter Rally Monday, 10/10, at the Sample Gates, beginning at 6:30pm.The rally and the march that followed were carried out to protest the series of murders of Black people by police around the country during the month of September, as well as to pressure the BPD to cooperate with the family of Joseph Smedley, an IU student who went missing and then was found dead last Fall under suspicious circumstances.

The demonstration on Monday was an opportunity for us all to express our grief and anger about the constant police violence against Black people. This September was a particularly fatal month: On September 14, 13-year-old Tyre King was shot by Columbus, OH police while in possession of a BB gun. On September 16, 40-year-old Terrence Crutcher, an unarmed man, was shot and killed by Tulsa, OK police. On September 20, 43-year-old Keith Lamont Scott, who suffered from a traumatic brain injury, was killed by Charlotte, NC police. 23-year-old Korryn Gaines was killed by Baltimore, MD police after they invaded her home in response to a traffic violation from 5 months earlier. Her 5-year-old child was also shot during the incident, and on September 21 it was announced that the officers involved will not be facing charges. On September 27, 38-year-old Alfred Olango, an unarmed Ugandan immigrant, was killed by El Cajon, CA police, after his sister called emergency services because he was suffering from seizures.

SASV wants to make it clear that we think it is very important to not only focus on male, cis-gendered, or “innocent” victims of police violence. It is necessary for us to research the cases and know the names of Black women and trans people who have suffered at the hands of the police and other forms of state violence, and to defend those who the media and politicians ignore or portray as undeserving of sympathy or defense.

To bring attention to these murders, we heard speeches from Leah Humphrey and Kyra Harvey from Indy10 Black Lives Matter and Kealia Hollingsworth, President of the IU Black Student Union. Leah and Kyra spoke on the leadership role of Black women in the movement, and the need to lift up the stories of Black women who have been killed by the police, who are too often forgotten and ignored. Kealia focused on the experience of Black students on campus here at IU. Members of the theatre troupe for the upcoming play Resilience: Indiana’s Untold Story, about the legacy of Black people in Indiana, provided 200 balloons with the names of victims of police violence on them, which were released at the end of the rally.

Angaza Iman Bahar and OBAM, founding members of IDOC Watch (Indiana Department of Corrections) who are currently incarcerated at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, called in to the rally to express their support for the Black Lives Matter movement and to inform us about the struggle against prison slavery here in Indiana. Angaza is 41 years old and has been incarcerated for the past 23 years, convicted of the crime of attempted murder of a police officer when he was 18yrs old. He is due to be released in the next 2-3yrs and hopes to return to society and use the consciousness he has gained to add another voice to the movement for justice and social change. His writings can be read here. OBAM is 49 years old, serving a 75 year sentence with 17 more to do. He is a devout vegetarian, and in his words, “a politically conscious brotha” who is working diligently to get his time reduced. In the meantime, he seeks to form quality relationships and network with those on the outside with similar interests.

Then we heard a speech about institutionalized racism in the university context from Yassmin Fashir and a speech by Bella Chavez of GlobeMed, whose uncle Miguel was murdered by police in Oklahoma City in June of 2016. Finally, Stanley Njuguna, of Students for a Democratic Society, delivered an inspirational speech, and we released our balloons, before we took to the streets in protest.

We marched down Kirkwood to College Avenue, and then back east on 3rd street, blocking the whole road, and chanting “Black Lives Matter!”, Whose streets? Our streets!” and “USA, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?” as we marched. We blocked the intersection of 3rd and Lincoln, by the headquarters of the Bloomington Police Department (BPD), in protest of the department’s ongoing refusal to cooperate with the family of Joseph Smedley, a Black student whose body was found in Griffy Lake last Fall under suspicious circumstances. He had been missing for days without any indication being given by IU that a student was missing before his body was found, and his death was pronounced a suicide without sufficient investigation. For more information on Joseph Smedley’s case, please find and follow the “Justice for Joseph” page on Facebook.

During the intersection blockade, Indy10 Black Lives Matter led a call and response of the names of people killed by the police. Next, Andrea M. Sterling spoke on the need for active participation and accountability on the part of allies that goes beyond social media activism and one-off events. She called for sustained commitment to transformative change in our daily lives, through “solidarity, love, and support,” between and going further than protests and exciting actions. “Recognize that if you are here, and if you are really in it,” Andrea said, “then you’re not marching for me. You’re not rallying for me. If you’re fighting for freedom you’re fighting for your own as well.”  You can read her speech here. Then, Peter McDonald, who grew up in Columbus, OH, not far from where Tyre King was killed, spoke on the situation in that city and the institutional forces that drive police violence. Before we left the intersection, there was a spontaneous poetry reading. The intersection blockade lasted over twenty minutes. After that, we continued marching down third street, turned left on Indiana Avenue, and ended the demonstration with a blockade and speak-out in the intersection of Indiana and Kirkwood.

The protest was peaceful: An overwhelming majority of vehicles were able to turn around and find other routes, but a few aggressive drivers ignored courteous requests and alternate directions. Any conflict between drivers and protesters resulted from vehicles attempting to drive into the crowd, endangering lives. At least one protester was injured by a particularly aggressive and thoughtless driver, who tried to ram his SUV through the crowd. The Herald Times,’  report on the protest, written by Abby Tonsing, simply parroted back the BPD and IUPD’s statements about Joseph Smedley rather than engaging with any evidence or alternate viewpoints, and their article focused on the one moment where violence broke out, blaming the violence on protesters. The violence enacted by protesters in that moment was clearly in self-defense: watch the video and see for yourself. The majority of the people in the video are white, because throughout the demonstration white and other non-Black allies formed a perimeter in order to protect the more vulnerable bodies of our Black comrades. Better reporting on the demonstration, by the IDS and WFHB, can be read here and here.

It is completely unsurprising that news reports would portray protesters as “violent” and “scary”; like the police, they work for the elite, and they share the goal of keeping people scared to protest, especially against police violence. News outlets are more able to garner greater attention and viewership by appealing to reactionary aggression, as seen in many comments on these articles, rather than by conveying the messages and voices of those standing up and unifying in the face of systemic violence against black and brown bodies. Additionally, reports of the protest on social media have been met with many disturbing, threatening comments, by State Representative Jim Lucas, among others, often calling for violence against the protestors.

The negative reactions to our demonstration on social media bring into sharp focus the normalized disregard for Black lives that pervades society, and further illustrate the need for transformative change through collective struggle.