This is the body of a flyer (PDF: Charlottesville text) distributed at yesterday’s vigil, called by Indivisible Bloomington (a front for the Democratic Party). The organizers of the vigil hoped to recuperate the tragedy of Heather Heyer’s murder into votes for the Democratic Party. Much of the crowd openly found this distasteful, leading many to leave early, while others called for a breakaway demonstration towards the end of the evening.
We find this text to be a potent criticism of Indivisible’s craven politicking:
We cannot separate yesterday’s murder from the structure of white-supremacist power in the United States. The police, the judges, the politicians have for the entirety of this nation’s history grounded their political base in the violent suppression and exploitation of people of color. Only now, when it has become politically opportune, have the Democrats and reformers made any effort to express their supposed opposition to alt-right and neo-nazi mobilization. But where was their outrage when the Traditionalist Youth Network was forming itself right here in Bloomington? Where were they when motorists were threatening and on numerous actions attempting to drive through peaceful demonstrations on these very streets?
Refining laws and electing politicians cannot dismantle white supremacy. The way to Honor Heather Heyer is to live as she died, fighting. It’s easier to attend SURJ meetings, finally cut your dreadlocks, and check off your daily call-a-congressman, than to struggle to materially, actually dismantle a centuries-old system of white power. With neo-nazis now openly marching and murdering leftists, let’s not get distracted with individual gestures of allyship, attending vigils to express abstract “solidarity”, or with electing one more Democrat, Republican, or “independent” who professionally pretends to solve the problem for us.
The truth is that the terrorist violence in Charlottesville did not magically appear out of nowhere. Fascists like the neo-nazis marching in Charlottesville, or the back-to-the-land white supremacists down in Paoli (that the Herald Times so enthusiastically promoted), do not appear out of nowhere. They are a paramilitary force, working on the same project of white power as Trump and the Fraternal Order of Police that endorsed him. You don’t have to look as far as Charlottesville to see the violence of white supremacy in action. To be fair, focus is hard. It’s difficult to train your eye on what’s important in life, especially when there are distracting, easy answers at hand.
Politicians and their local “organizer” allies know this, and their game (of thrones) is one of redirection. But if we take the question of fighting white supremacy seriously enough to take the time to refocus, it’s clear that there is plenty of work to be done right here, at our fingertips.
The Bloomington Police Department plays their PR game carefully. But even then, it’s a very thin veil over their classist and racist violence. It’s not a coincidence that the largest anti-racist movement in recent history, the Black Lives Matter movement, focused on dismantling the power of the police. It’s not a coincidence that it was a police officer in an unmarked car who was most recently threatened a peaceful Bloomington demonstration outside the jail (in defense of recently arrested homeless neighbors and friends). The BPD and Monroe County Jail have a recent and decades-old history of violence against people of color and the socio-economically excluded in Bloomington. It’s time to look at the whole system which perpetuates white supremacy, which includes BPD, and fight back.
While private security and cops from three different agencies were locking down and surrounding Franklin Hall on Tuesday night in defense of “scientist” and writer Charles Murray (who spews all manner of racist, misogynist, and oppressive ideas and “research”) and hundreds of Indiana University students, faculty, and others were gathered for a protest, we went to IU professor Aurelian Craiutu’s office to glue the locks and paint an anti-racist message.
Aurelian is the head of the Tocqueville Program – part of the Political Science Department – that invited Murray to speak at IU in order to explore, he said, the “Trump phenomenon.” Whatever the reason for the invitation, we abhor it. While we have no faith in the university, we do think that public figures like Charles Murray and the institutions and people who support him should be confronted. But those confrontations do not always have to take place on terrain that is presented to us. We don’t have to wait until a profiteering racist shows up on campus…or remain within the police barricades. While public opposition can be important, there is much that can be done when one is not surrounded on all sides by rows of police and cell phone cameras. Nor must we remain within the ideological terrain of the institutions regarding civility and the sanctity of property. Outrage at small acts of vandalism is laughable alongside the experience of so many students and others who are just now losing trust in the university that they expected to protect them. But now the interests and character of IU are made clear.
Shout out to all those who stood up against Murray, his supporters, and the massive police force assembled to protect him. Our anger didn’t subside when Murray was escorted off campus. One can move rather freely through many parts of campus. Glue is cheap. Let’s be creative.
Hundreds demonstrated against Islamophobia last week, after a racist attack in downtown Bloomington. More coverage from the IDS: Stand Up, Fight Back.
Demonstrators confronted fascists on IU’s campus and in downtown Bloomington earlier this evening. At least one antifascist demonstrator was snatched by police. Please send more detailed accounts or communiques our way. Photos from idsnews.com.
Printable flyer: Against Racism in Indiana’s Prisons
Calling all prison reform and prisoner justice activists in Indiana!
Join us in *downtown Indianapolis on September the 8th at 11am-1pm* to protest the Indiana Department of Corrections new policy of mail censorship and outright refusal of black empowerment/black liberation materials and their continued harassment of long time politically active black prisoners. These people have put their lives on the line for decades fighting for justice and humanity behind the prison walls; we must do what we can to support them and let the IDOC know that they can’t act with impunity. We are watching their every move!
Meet downtown in Indianapolis in front of the IDOC headquarters at 302 W Washington St. We’ll have banners and signs, but feel free to bring your own and/or bring noise makers. If you’re in need of a ride from Bloomington, email email@example.com to get in touch with drivers. See you there!
RACISM IN INDIANA’S PRISONS MUST BE STOPPED
The Indiana Department of Corrections is taking cruel and racist actions in a number of their prisons.
A New Afrikan prisoner was recently transferred from New Castle (because of their intolerance of his political organizing) to Pendleton, where Internal Affairs are seeking revenge on him for past political organizing. He is being threatened with state court for alleged weapons possession, while many members of the Aryan Brotherhood have recently been caught with upwards of 5 knives each and been only lightly penalized by comparison.
Another prisoner at New Castle dared to organize against the for-profit prison’s lack of transitional programming and transfer-to-population opportunities. For this, he was transferred back to the Secure Housing Unit, where he’s now indefinitely locked up in solitary confinement.
These men are clearly being targeted and excessively punished by a chauvinist administration which allows racist groups to form and thrive within their walls while snuffing out any and all sparks of radical organizing.
New Castle’s mailroom is another venue for racism and subjugation; it’s standard procedure for them to throw away or deny prisoners access to anything of an explicitly political/revolutionary nature, as well as anything related to black liberation and/or black empowerment. This blatantly racist repression will not be tolerated!
Additionally, Pendleton recently implemented a ludicrous new policy regarding the books prisoners are allowed to receive: they’re currently accepting publications from only three bookstores, two of which are religious (one Christian, one Islamic). This is obviously a move to stifle political action, as radical reading materials are invaluable in fostering connections between prisoners and enabling political organizing in an isolating environment.
Monday, September 8th, join us in protest: call in to the DOC office to demand that they abolish the stifling of radical politics/black empowerment through mailroom censorship, and allow inmates to receive books from any publisher they choose.
DOC central office: #(317) 233-6984
Pendleton mailroom supervisor: #(765) 778-2107 extn.1264