Tag Archives: I-69

Microphone Demo in Solidarity with Bolivian Comrades

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From Anarchist News:

May 29th marked the one year anniversary of raids throughout parts of the anarchist, punk, feminist and animal rights scenes in La Paz, Bolivia. Out of 13 people arrested, only one person, Henry, has refused to make statements to the police. Today, Henry is out on house arrest, but still faces the charges of attempted murder and terrorism, connected to a series of attacks claimed in solidarity with a struggle against a highway, political prisoners, and animal liberation.

To commemorate this day in Bloomington, we held a microphone demo– we hung banners around a park, chalked slogans on walls and sidewalks, played music, read statements, and handed out hundreds of flyers. The atmosphere was generally festive.

Our struggles in Bloomington are connected – quite literally – to those of indigenous and anarchist comrades in Bolivia. Despite decades of sustained resistance, I-69, the NAFTA superhighway, is nearing completion in parts of southern Indiana. Running from Canada through the US and down to Mexico, I-69 will link up with another project, the Plan Puebla Panama. The PPP will then connect to IIRSA, a South American development plan that includes the bioceanic highway currently being built through TIPNIS, a former protected rainforest area and home to three indigenous groups.

Marie Mason, a former Bloomington resident who is serving 22 years in prison, was and remains a fierce opponent of these same massive infrastructure projects. In expressing solidarity with those facing repression in Bolivia, we also honor Marie and strive to retain the passion with which she fought against global capitalism and it’s environmentally devastating consequences. We do not forget our comrades who remain strong in the face of accusations of terrorism and increasing isolation.

By talking and remembering in the streets, we collectivize the conversation and the memory, inviting others to take them up and spread them beyond the enclosure that repression erects around us. Writing about such a trifling demo on the internet is one way to let others know that this conversation can happen anywhere. This is only one of many actions happening daily to keep our struggles alive and to make sure our comrades know they are not forgotten.

 

Text from the flyer distributed during the demo:

From Indiana to Bolivia, Solidarity to Those Who Resist Megamachine

All across the world, highways are being built or expanded to move an increasing flow of commodities from market to market. This flow has an increasingly high cost on our environment and our health, and the commodities being produced and consumed are increasingly antithetical to our happiness and well being. And it is not a coincidence that the expansion of infrastructure that goes along with this flow of commodities displaces people who provide for themselves or live in contact with the earth.

In Indiana, I-69 is one of several NAFTA superhighways being expanded in a process that destroys farmland and houses, pollutes our air, closes factories here and opens sweatshops in poorer areas, and drastically increases profits for the wealthy.

In South America, the “bioceanic highway” is being built from the Atlantic to the Pacific, also increasing pollution, profits, and displacement. In Bolivia, the socialist government is routing the highway through TIPNIS, a protected rainforest and indigenous territory, home to several native peoples. The highway is cutting the rainforest in half, and will also lead to increased logging and industrialization, eroding the ability of indigenous communities to provide for themselves.

On May 29, 2012, 13 people were arrested in La Paz, Bolivia, accused of carrying out over a dozen sabotage actions as part of the struggle against highway construction. A year later, several people are still facing the charges of terrorism, for actions of property damage which harmed no one, and attempted murder, for a smoke bomb set off in the lobby of a government building. They face 20 years in prison for actions they deny committing, despite a complete lack of physical evidence.

The construction of highways, the destruction of our environment, and the dangerous farce of “anti-terrorism” are an international reality. From Bolivia to Indiana, we need to amplify our struggle against capitalist development, against government repression, for the protection of our environment and our ability to live in contact with the earth, free from dependence on a harmful economic system.

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The state is a racket, and so are its projects.

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In the latest embarrassment to the I-69 project, it was recently uncovered that INDOT officials padded their own pockets through corrupt sales of family land.

From the Indy Star:

Troy Woodruff wasn’t the only one in the Woodruff household working for the state department of transportation at a time in which he and his family sold land — for a price well above the going rate — to the state department of transportation for the I-69 project.

Woodruff’s wife, Melissa, also was an INDOT employee, serving as the office manager at the I-69 project office in Washington, Ind., at the time all the Woodruff land deals with the state transpired. Organizational charts show that she reported directly to Sam Sarvis, the deputy commissioner overseeing the I-69 project

Ethics experts told The Star that scenario is troubling on two fronts: It seems inconsistent with Troy Woodruff’s statements that there was a strict “firewall” between him and his family’s land deals on the I-69 project; and Melissa Woodruff, like her husband, failed to disclose their land sale in writing to state ethics officials, though her signature also is on sales forms obtained by The Star.

Bloomington Residents Protest I-69, Keystone XL Pipeline at Offices of Crider & Crider

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While Governor Mitch Daniels hosts invitation-only events along the new Interstate 69 extension commemorating the opening of the first 67 miles of the controversial highway project, some Bloomington residents, along with Glacier’s Edge Earth First!, held a demonstration at the offices of Crider & Crider, Inc., in Bloomington.

The demonstration is part of a series of actions happening worldwide to express solidarity with the blockade of the Keystone XL pipeline in East Texas and to protest continued investment in a fossil fuels-based economy. Crider & Crider was chosen as a site for the protest because the contracting company has been awarded contracts to build part of I-69 in Monroe County, where opposition to the project has been overwhelming.

Demonstrators used pots and pans, a squeezebox, beans in tupperware, and other noise makers to disrupt business at the office for nearly an hour before police arrived.

Both the Keystone XL pipeline and the I-69 extension project represent a powerful minority pushing through an environmentally and socially destructive infrastructure project, while ignoring mass opposition from those most directly impacted–the communities through which the projects pass.

Opposition to both I-69 and the Keystone XL pipeline has been fierce, and the repression of such dissent has been more so. In Indiana, opponents of the highway project have been harassed by state and local police, arrested and charged with outlandish felony charges (which were later dropped on statutory grounds), and have been subjected to SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation). The same pattern has emerged among opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline, as protestors from Texas to Alberta–where much of the tar sands oil to be pumped through the pipeline originates–have faced severe police brutality, frivolous felony charges, and SLAPP suits.

The effects of climate change are impossible to ignore, with record droughts in the Midwest and devastating storms worldwide becoming commonplace. It is due time for our society to move past the antiquated and destructive methods of job-creation of the past and towards a sustainable future.

Today’s demonstration serves to draw a connection between these two projects. While the governor and his high-powered backers celebrate the progress of 20th Century infrastructure, we are calling for a new direction.

We ask, which is more important, short-term construction jobs or the long-term viability of human life on this planet?

For more information, visit http://www.tarsandsblockade.org, or contact Glacier’s Edge Earth First! at glaciersedge@riseup.net.

Block Party Reportback

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From Anarchist News:

A festive march took the streets of Bloomington, Indiana on Sunday afternoon, June 10th. This event was for the June 11th day of solidarity with Marie Mason and Eric McDavid, as well as longterm anarchist prisoners in the U.S. and internationally. The parade (complete with a drum line and banners) marched through downtown, making a stop at the Jail to make a ton of noise and try and communicate solidarity with those trapped inside.

The group proceeded to take over all three lanes of traffic on one side of the main square downtown. Couches were pulled into the street, caution tape was strung across all lanes of traffic and barbeque grills were lit. A water balloon fight ensued, and a cop-car-shaped piñata was hoisted. The space was held for about 15 minutes without incident when the pigs, who had passively tailed the march for its duration, got out of their cars and began to encroach upon the revelers.

When the party crashers threatened to wreck our shit, the group moved to take over the adjacent lawn of the old courthouse building for a party that lasted into the early evening. Some highlights of the party included several live bands and dj’d music, more piñatas (one shaped like a jail with pictures of Marie and Eric in the windows, to be broken free), fireworks, BBQ and picnic foods, parlour games, and temporarily erected graffiti walls. A banner was dropped off a building across the street reading “FREE MARIE MASON, FREE ERIC MCDAVID, EARTH FIRST!”).

Solidarity statements periodically read over the P.A. were loud enough to be heard through all of downtown. These statements expressed solidarity with Eric and Marie, gave information and history about June 11th, discussed locally relevant cases such as the Tinley Park 5, and read excerpts from Down, a new book about long-term prison rebels in Indiana state prisons. A statement was also read expressing solidarity with prisoners of the Greek state who are being held and charged as terrorists, just as Eric and Marie are. We also acted in solidarity with comrades in Turkey from Yeryüzüne Özgürlük Derneği (Freedom to Earth Association), British prison rebel John Bowden, as well as Andrzej Mazurek, the last remaining imprisoned comrade from the Greek riots of December 2008, who will appear before the court tomorrow to appeal an 11-year sentence, as well as many other comrades who are imprisoned across the U.S. and the globe.

Here in Bloomington, ensuring lasting support for Marie feels especially important– Marie was a member of the radical environmental and anarchist communities here for many years, and her absence is palpable here as in many other places. I-69, a superhighway project she fought against, is currently in the first stages of construction, after a 20+ year battle against it’s existence. Marie’s continuing struggle inside prison informs and strengthens the struggles we carry on outside, and vice versa- we stand adverse to the daily and systemic violence of capitalism, which creates both the environmental devastation that Marie fought against and the prison walls that hold her captive. The state has taken her away from us for now, but they will never erase her from our hearts and minds.

We can’t wait for tomorrow!
-Anarchists

June 11th Day of Solidarity for Marie Mason and Eric McDavid

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from Anarchist News

Everywhere that there exists dynamic struggle against the state and capitalism, there is some degree of repression. Capitalism knows well how to protect its interests, and it entails targeting and eradicating those who challenge it’s dominance. While we continue our daily struggle against this monster, we also fight to make sure our friends and comrades who have been imprisoned by the state aren’t forgotten, that their material and emotional needs are taken care of, and that they remain connected to the movements that they have been forcibly yanked away from.

Last year, as one small gesture to address this, June 11th was called as a yearly day of solidarity with two of our longest-imprisoned anarchist comrades, Marie Mason and Eric McDavid. While we realize that many of us have limited time or resources to put toward basic material support for prisoners, we hope that their names and stories, as well as the lessons learned from their cases, can become well known everywhere. In our actions and solidarity, we wish to draw connections between Marie’s and Eric’s cases and those of imprisoned anarchist comrades all over the world who are experiencing firsthand these alarming trends of lengthy sentences and increased repression. This is a preliminary call addressed to all those who fight against this prison society to take action on June 11th, in solidarity with Eric, Marie and all long-term anarchist prisoners.

The cases of Marie and Eric appear fundamentally different at first glance. We choose to connect them in the context of June 11th, not only because of their similar sentences and the fact that they both remained incredibly strong in the face of intense harassment, but also to highlight and analyze the U.S. government’s multi-faceted strategy of repression.

Marie Mason was arrested in 2008 after more than 30 years of both above ground and clandestine organizing and action. She has been involved in both environmental and labor struggles, edited many radical publications, and was involved in water rights, anti-infrastructure and anti-logging and development projects in the Midwestern United States. She had already been subjected to years of FBI harassment when she was indicted for a string of Earth Liberation Front (E.L.F.) arsons that had occurred in 1999 and 2000. Her indictment was only possible due to the collaboration her ex-husband, Frank Ambrose, with the FBI. Due to continuing expenses, pressure and threats of a life sentence in prison, she took a non-cooperating plea deal that recommended her for 15-20 years. Citing her actions and her unwillingness to collaborate, the State turned on its word and sentenced her to nearly 23 years. Since being incarcerated, she has suffered health problems and has had many difficulties accessing vegan food, has been harassed and threatened constantly and has been re-located to a prison in Texas, hundreds of miles away from her family in Michigan. In the special “medical” unit she is currently held captive in, correspondence with the outside world is extremely controlled; her conditions can be likened to a Communications Management Unit in the U.S. or the FIES units in Spain. Some of her supporters and her family are still attempting to pursue legal means of reducing her sentence, but judicial avenues seem to be thoroughly exhausted at this point.

Eric McDavid, on the other hand, is a young anarchist who was arrested for committing no action except thoughtcrime. In 2005 he was befriended by a young girl named Anna who apparently shared his passion for taking action in defense of the environment. However, “Anna” was actually a government informant, paid over $65,000 to infiltrate the anarchist and radical environmentalist scenes to entrap people. Anna heavily pressured Eric and two friends, Lauren and Zachary, to take action, and even went as far as to pay for renting a remote cabin in the woods where they could practice making bombs. The cabin was filled with hidden recording devices and cameras, and was funded by the FBI, who also paid for the transportation, bomb materials and provided bomb recipes. When the government felt that they had gathered enough information, they swooped in and arrested Eric, Lauren and Zach. At this point, no actions had been carried out. Lauren and Zach, under pressure from both the state and their families, collaborated with the government, while Eric remained strong and did not. His case went to trial and he was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Although jurors in the trial later stated that they didn’t understand the case and didn’t think the trial was fair, all of Eric’s appeals have failed.

These two arrests are just a small part of a broader plan of repression by the U.S. government known by anarchists as “the Green Scare,” an allusion to the Red Scare of the 1950’s in which communists in the United States were harassed, blacklisted and deported. Eco-anarchists and animal rights activists in the U.S. have faced a similar brand of coordinated harassment since 2001, being named the #1 domestic terrorism threat in the United States even though their action, through careful planning and consideration, have never harmed humans or animals. In 2005, the government’s “operation backfire” plan completely ripped apart the underground E.L.F. movement in the northwest United States, and subsequently Eric, Marie and others have been targeted for two apparent purposes: the first being to completely wipe out the E.L.F. in the United States, and the second being to foster a culture of fear and obedience. The state has unfortunately been quite successful in this task, thanks to tactics such as extensive surveillance, infiltration, and clever uses of laws such as the AETA (Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law that makes it an act of terrorism to cause financial impact on businesses that profit from animal exploitation), as well as laws against organized crime and conspiracy charges.

We don’t encourage solidarity on the basis of long-term sentences because we believe in a possibility for a reasonable or fair sentence for any prisoner (though both Marie’s and Eric’s 20+ year sentences are well in excess of the sentencing guidelines for their so-called crimes.) We focus on the longevity of their sentences because, whatever the circumstances of their arrest, the government is using these lengthy sentences to send a message, and to scare broadening circles of people into compliance and fear. By locking Eric and Marie up for decades, the state wishes to erase them. If, minimally, once a year, our comrades names are shouted from the rooftops and written on the walls, our enemies will have not fully succeeded in this sinister task. Of course we’re reminded of the absence of our comrades daily, but we hope that this yearly day of solidarity can be a starting point for keeping them the minds of a greater number of people more regularly.

Last year, events and actions occurred in over 30 cities across the U.S. and internationally. The expressions of solidarity were impressive, from a public noise demonstrations and events across the US to fundraiser dinner shows in Israel, and actions of sabotage from as far away as Russia and Peru. (A dossier of actions from last year, as well as information and material for this year are available at http://june11.org).

The heyday of the E.L.F. in the United States is over. We’re moving into a dynamic period of growing social antagonism, and need to make sure that prisoners such as Marie and Eric aren’t left behind or forgotten. Solidarity for them should not be relegated to prisoner support specialists or those who knew them personally – their absence is of importance to all of us, and support for them should be generalized. The struggle to free Marie, Eric and others is the struggle against the society that not only creates and maintains prisons, but also commits the environmental devastation that Marie and Eric raged against.

To other comrades facing or serving long term imprisonment: we send warm greetings to Eat and Billy, undergoing trial in Indonesia for acts of sabotage; imprisoned members of Conspiracy Cells of Fire and Revolutionary Struggle in Greece; Billy, Costas and Silvia in Swizerland; Tortuga, Freddy, Marcelo and Juan in Chile and all those implicated in the Caso Bombas; All other non-cooperating Green Scare defendants in the U.S., some of whom are about to be released: Daniel McGowan, Sadie, Exile, Jonathan Paul and the recently re-captured Justin Solondz. These are just a small sampling of cases, but unfortunately we could go on and on. We have no definition for what “long term” imprisonment could mean – every moment the state steals our loved ones away from us is too long.

Organize an event or action on June 11th, this year and every year. Let’s fight together, for the destruction of this prison society and to help remind our comrades they’re never alone!

May Day 2012 Recap

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A little rain didn’t stop May Day from popping off here in our little town.  All day long events and teach-ins culminated in a festive parade that snaked around downtown during the late afternoon, ending in a picnic-cum-dance party on the courthouse lawn.

How did you celebrate Mayday in Bloomington this year?  Send stories, pictures and write ups to rififi (A) riseup.net .  Remember to use safer internet protocol if your story involves illegal activity such as workplace sabotage.  See: Tor

Looks like the façade of Urban Outfitters got a little Mayday love… anyone got pics?

 

Also, are you still slaving away for finals?  Come take a break in the Wells Library in 5 minutes to eat bagels, hang out and talk about the University from 10pm – midnight! FREE (duh)