Category Archives: Analysis

Materials against the tech park

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Thanks to the Bloomington Solidarity Network for their research and organizing.
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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.

Meeting against the social cleansing of People’s Park

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flyerpeoplespark

A call out to discuss resistance to the city’s recent attempts at social cleansing in People’s Park. The DRO Police have instructed churches not to offer food to park denizens, have chased away citizens offering clothes and lunch, have attempted to target and ban Food Not Bombs, have threatened to chase out a local Street Outreach Project and have requested that the Indiana Recovery Alliance cease doing outreach early next month.
The mayor and police recently announced a plan to increase police
presence, which led to park sweeps and the arrest of multiple
“problematic” people just before the students returned. The police have also promised to install cameras to increase surveillance.

Of course, the city has offered no alternatives for food on Sunday
evenings, services over the weekend or space to exist without harassment for those they who will be negatively affected. Just the continuation of the criminalization of poverty, addiction and homelessness. City officials want our friends to disappear, or perhaps to float away on balloons, as a dear friend suggested years ago.

Join us before this event at 5:30pm for a presentation with Jesse Speer about homeless encampments and resistance in the Persimmon Room in the Indiana Memorial Union, then we’ll move to the Park by 7pm to discuss next steps.

<https://www.facebook.com/events/1704637926523577/>

Strike Solidarity, Day 3: Noise Demonstration

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Reposted from It’s Going Down:

On the night of September 10th, 30 rebels took advantage of the first home-game of the season, when most law enforcement were kept busy elsewhere ushering crowds and responding to drunk bros (college towns take note!), and staged a simple yet raucous demonstration outside of the county jail in solidarity with our friends and family locked inside as well as the hundreds of prisoners across the country currently on strike.

Noise was made, smoke-flares set off, and fireworks lit, illuminating the air as chants echoed off the walls in tandem with the honking horns of the blocked traffic. 800 flyers advocating solidarity with striking prisoners and condemning prison slavery were both strewn about and passed to curious passersby/motorists.

When the state kidnaps people and throws them into these concrete tombs it is because they wish to isolate them from “the outside,” from their families, communities, and support networks – in other words, to bury them alive and erase them from our memory so that prison officials may do anything to their captives without fear of repercussions. But we will not and do not forget, and we do not forgive.

While we lament not taking full advantage of game-day policing strategies, small gestures against policing and the prison industrial complex such as these let those locked up know that they are NOT forgotten, that prison officials may NOT do what they please with impunity, that there are people out on the streets who understand that we are one small mistake from being locked away ourselves and thus choose to stand with those on the inside who have already fallen into the state’s clutches.

For a world without prisons and police!

For total liberation!

Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America’s prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand. — This Is a Call to End Slavery in America, 2016

Memory versus Militarism

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Reposted from the H-T:

I hate the Fourth of July. I’d like to tell you why.

It is a celebration that, for me, reeks of rancid, shallow
sentimentality and ignorance of the true cost of war. I hate the cheesy flags, the flowing beer, the breezy one-day fraternity of neighborhood collegiality. Nowhere do I see or hear the reverence for the dead.

You see, I am a combat veteran of the American war in Vietnam, enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1968, at 17. I hate war and everything related to it.

I was not overly bothered by the egoists carrying the machine guns and other killing accoutrements in this year’s parade. Those weapons are precisely what combat is about — showing vicious and deadly intent to control and kill. My only complaint about their float entry was that it was a stunt for showing off their macho egos, but the weapons they were carrying are precisely the weapons used to kill. And, that is what war does — kill. The minute we ignore that, we are refusing to face reality. And, it is such a blatant lie to profess concern for your children seeing those weapons when we are the most warring nation on the face of the earth. War can not be made pretty—no matter what technology Crane employees try to hide it in.

My combat turned me from an 18-year-old naive Marine into an emotionally crippled 80-year-old man by the day I turned 19. I have never recovered. I never will. I live with post-traumatic stress daily. I had to leave IU in 2013 because of it; I am now on Social Security disability and 70 percent VA disability. I am so committed against war that it is all that I think of. I went to Crane to protest war on the day Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visited and was kicked off the property within 23 minutes by Navy security.

We praise the military like it is some kind of religious icon, calling
all of them “heroes” and cheaply thanking them “for their service.”
Then, we wring our hands when the violence comes home with them.

A headline in a recent USA Today article (July 19) states: “Army seeks balm for veterans’ rage.” Really? The Army does know why veterans rage. They rage, as I do, because we were and are brainwashed in boot camp into the easiness of killing another human being, and then we receive zero re-socialization upon our return and discharge. The military does not want to see this very visible one-on-one relationship because it does not want to stop teaching soldiers, sailors and Marines how to kill. That —simply, simply, simply — is why the military exists. To kill.

I deeply resent the easy pseudo-patriotism exhibited by Bloomingtonians and all other Americans who are uncritical of their own complicit and complacent behavior and the behavior of our government. We can stop war, but to do so we must put our body, mind, money and spirit against the profiteers’ wheels. Until we do that, nothing will change.

-Tim Bagwell