Received and posted:
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, Glacier’s Edge Earth First! showed our love for Indiana’s wild forests with a demonstration at an active logging site in Morgan-Monroe State Forest. Ten forest defenders walked onto the site carrying banners that read “Make Like a Leaf and Get the Fuck Out”, “Defend What Remains”, and an Earth flag that read “Luv It or Leave It.” Work was temporarily halted as GEEF!ers stood in front of a logging truck and expressed their opposition to the pillaging of public lands for private profit.
The Indiana Division of Forestry and the private timber industry are working together to destroy Indiana’s last wild forests. The current logging in the Morgan-Monroe State Forest Backcountry Area represents an unrelenting march of domination across Indiana’s public forests, destroying entire ecosystems in the name of private profit, legitimized by bought-and-paid-for science. Glacier’s Edge Earth First! is dedicated to defending what wild areas remain in Indiana.
Prior to being clearcut by European settlers, Indiana was covered with magnificent, towering forests of beech, maple, sycamore, chestnut, oak, hickory, ash, and more. This land was populated by bears, mountain lions, grouse, snakes, deer, buffalo, bats, wolves, and innumerable others. Along with indigenous human communities of Miami, Potawatomi, Delaware, Kickapoo, Piankeshaw, Wea, and other tribes, these non-human communities were subject to displacement at best, and extermination at worst, at the hands and axes of European settlers. The Division of Forestry is proudly carrying on this tradition of human dominance over all things natural, wiping out the few areas that have dared to reclaim the majesty of the forests that once covered our state.
Hamilton Logging, Inc, which is currently logging the Morgan-Monroe Backcountry Area, has been subject to civil and criminal charges for illegal and irresponsible logging practices in the past. The state’s decision to enter into a contract with Hamilton Logging demonstrates a dangerous and cozy relationship between a rogue timber industry and policymakers. As long as the timber industry exerts its will over our public lands, our resistance will continue.
While we recognize that today’s action was more symbolic than it was confrontational, we think that it was an important first step– to make our resistance known to the companies and government officials who profit from selling off wild lands, to let them know that we are watching.
We can no longer rely upon government and non-profits to save our public lands. We demand that all logging in Indiana’s state forests cease immediately. These forests make up only 3% of all forests in Indiana, but their potential to regrow into the same wild forests that once blanketed the state makes their protection imperative. It is up to us to defend what remains of Indiana’s wild forests. This is your land to defend. This is the line in the sand.
DEFEND WHAT REMAINS!
Glacier’s Edge Earth First!
Ian Stark, a 24 year old man experiencing homelessness, froze to death Tuesday night in Bloomington, IN. In response, 50-70 people took the streets on Friday night with torches, banners, spray paint and fireworks to express rage over Ian’s death. The unruly mob, mostly masked up, was comprised of anarchists, anti-prison activists, students, homeless folks, social workers, and others who knew Ian.
The march held the streets for nearly two hours, covering almost all of downtown. Participants in the march disabled several dozen parking meters, wrote graffiti, paint-bombed banks, popped tires, and distributed hundreds of fliers about Ian’s death, homelessness, and policing in Bloomington. Participants also took the opportunity to run into several yuppie restaurants and rain fliers on the passive diners.
Despite several rounds of toe-to-toe conflict with uniformed police, the emergence of at least three undercovers, and interference from a mega-douchey citizen-cop during the course of the march, we stayed tight and found our way back into the streets, lighting more torches and fireworks. No one was arrested.
Ian’s death comes at a tense time in Bloomington. Conversations about policing, surveillance and homelessness are common, as the city has recently announced that the revenue from new parking meters will fund downtown police foot-patrols and new surveillance cameras. The city aims to curb the unsightly presence of homeless people downtown, redirecting them toward social services.
From a flier distributed during the march:
“…When the city unendingly talks about the “problem of homelessness in Bloomington,” they are talking about an eyesore, an abstract liability for downtown business and the ballooning dreams of developers.
When we talk about the “problem of homelessness in Bloomington,” we’re talking about constant police harassment, the veiling of poverty, and people being turned away from shelters in below zero temperatures.
In short: we’re talking about a person freezing to death.
We’re not here in the streets tonight to beg for compassion from the cops or an increased pittance from social service agencies.
As augmented police presence, surveillance and other mechanisms of social control are deployed against the most vulnerable segments of Bloomington’s population, we too feel the effects.
Their dreams of a controlled, sanitized city will never come to pass!”
Printable copy of the text distributed during the march (print double-sided, long edge): never!
From Anarchist News:
We hung two banners to honor anarchist and antifascist comrades from Bloomington who have
been kidnapped by the state.
Marie Mason is doing 22 years for actions including arsons against developments on
Lake Monroe, while the members of the Tinley Park 5 are doing 1-5 years for violently
breaking up a nazi meeting. Even with so much repression, struggles here continue to develop
along lines of class-conscious action, against all forms of domination.
We will never forget our prisoners.
Solidarity with the comrades in Brussels. We won’t rest until their prison-world is reduced to ashes.
Printable PDF: shelter.
Last year I rang in the new year with a big bunch of black-clad new/future friends and comrades at the local jail. I was blown away by the joy, passion, and camaraderie of the event. Since then, we’ve had a number of noise demonstrations in this town. They’ve varied in size and intensity, but we seem to get better at working together each time. This year’s new year’s celebration was called a little late and word on the street was that it couldn’t possibly live up to last year – especially since last year we had an occupied park as a hub and this year many comrades are in Texas for the tar sands resistance, exhausted from Tinley Park 5 support, or out of town visiting family or friends for the holidays. Then there was the weather… colder and snowing all day. Many didn’t like the idea of being outside in these conditions while others talked of how we needed to be able to work with whatever weather came our way. No one quite knew what to expect going into it as some were excited by stories of how inmates were still talking about the impact last year’s demo had on them in terms of providing hope and support in a dark time, while others wished we weren’t doing anything as they were afraid it would be a let down after last year.
We gathered at the park for the second time on New Year’s Eve 2012/2013. Earlier in the day we’d had a small mic demo that consisted of around 15 people, a table of (mostly) prisoner solidarity and/or anti-prison zines, a Tinley Park 5 support banner, a banner in support of the grand jury resistors (see picture), music, and at the end a reading of a small statement about the pacific northwest grand jury resistors. Now we stood in small but connected groups, waiting for the fun to start.
Someone threw a snowball and slowly others joined until nearly all of us (around 15 or so at the time) were part of the game. We giggled and dodged and smiled and our mischievous fun was contagious. Soon handfuls of people were joining us from the sidewalk and our numbers briefly doubled, though nearly all of those who came in for the fun left before we went mobile. I wonder if some might have stayed if we’d been quicker with the music… (lesson: always make sure the person with the mp3 player and play list is going to be able to be on time… though we made it work and the impromptu music often seemed oddly perfect to me).
After a few minutes we got out our grand jury resistance banner, turned on the music, and started down the street on the sidewalk as some were afraid we didn’t have numbers to hold the street. Quickly, though, the banner ran out into the street and most of us followed. The snowball fight from earlier resumed on a small scale with a few in the street vs. the few on the sidewalk. We were having a great time until a couple assholes ran out into the street with us and began grinding on participants without their consent. Somewhere in the resulting response from the group, a snowball flew through the air and landed smack in the middle of the biggest asshole’s face. He became enraged and he and his friend attempted to choke friends of ours in the street. We immediately physically removed them and separated them from the group with multiple bodies. Some tried to talk them down and the group proceeded down the street, but they continued to follow us while trying to start a fight. Eventually two people got between the drunks and the group, turned their backs them, and slowed their stride to create some distance. The group slowed a bit but continued to move forward and eventually they got bored and left.
We continued on our way – a bit tense but also, at least for some, filled with adrenaline. We proceeded to dance in the streets while onlookers often cheered, took pictures, and danced to our beats. We got to the jail about ten minutes before midnight with only one cop car following us and set up with the banner facing the windows, dancing bodies blocking traffic, and a small group began making a snowman a little way down the road. It was great packing snow so they were making fast progress until 2 cop cars showed up fairly close to them. A 2/3 built snowman was left in the middle of the lane as the builders rejoined the larger group. Our numbers continued to grow as firecrackers, road flares, and a small fire were lit in the middle of the road. Inmates began banging on the windows and flickering the lights and we continued to dance and make noise. By midnight our numbers had grown to around 30-40 and police presence grew to 5 cars. At midnight more firecrackers were lit and then we quickly cut the music and scrambled onto the sidewalk as folks noticed that the cops were gathering with handcuffs and seemed ready to move in our direction. We got the sound cart onto the sidewalk and began to chant, “Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons,” after screaming and just making noise together for a while. The cops began their approach and we quickly decided to disperse and left in small groups that blended in with the crowd and disappeared into the jubilant night.
Lesson for next time: I really wish I had found the time to make a banner reading “We heart (comrade inside the jail’s name).” I had planned to do this but it fell through the cracks as I got lost in other, seemingly more necessary, matters. I keep day dreaming that we had that banner and that we had held it up while chanting his name just after midnight… My biggest regret for the night was that this didn’t happen. Make time for this stuff; it’s important.
Lessons learned: We really do seem to get better at this every time… We had each other’s backs, made decisions together quickly, kept the sound cart safe, and knew when to call it quits. We showed solidarity with those in jail/prison while avoiding arrests and confiscated property. We each engaged in whatever kind of participation we felt drawn to and no one attempted to push people to do things they didn’t want to do or to stop people from doing what they wanted to do. We also took advantage of our conditions (snow) even when we originally perceived them to be a barrier. I had a great time and feel really good about our growing ability to work together.
In a dark Ballantine Hall classroom, with a backdrop of painted banners declaring “Strike” and “All Prisoners are Political,” about 60 protesters listened to the recorded voice of a prison inmate Friday night.
“Uhuru Sasa,” the voice said. “That means ‘freedom now’ in Swahili.”
The students and community members gathered to promote awareness of education cuts in Indiana prisons.
The event, called “Shake the Cage: Free Show to Support Indiana Prisoners,” was attended by groups such as Student Power IU and Decarcerate Monroe County, a group that challenges the local justice system.
“Shake the Cage” consisted of three live performances from local bands and speeches from individuals. The recorded phone call with the prisoner marked the first portion of the event.
Tom, a student who helped organize the prisoner recording portion of the event, described the speaker as a long term inmate and activist from an Indiana prison. He did not provide a last name.
Tom mentioned the importance of preserving the speaker’s anonymity, as many prison activists are punished if discovered.
They are often placed in isolation units, for up to 23 hours in one day, Tom said.
“When I first came here in 1999, higher education gave me a feeling of empowerment,” the prisoner said.
Much like the funding cuts universities are experiencing, prison education and other prisoner services have been sacrificed due to financial restrictions, the prisoner said.
These cuts have eliminated GED-granting programs and have restricted college classes, contact visitation and access to mail. The cuts have also limited prisoner showers from seven to three days per week, senior and former IDS opinion columnist Aidan Crane said.
Crane said the cuts are depriving prisoners of basic rights to education to better themselves.
News of the protest spread mainly via word of mouth, and the event’s purpose was outlined on a website called shitisonlygettingworse.blogspot.com.
“Educational programs are almost nonexistent,” the prisoner said. “It’s making the environment a lot worse.”
The protesters used the space in Ballantine without permission, keeping the door open with a duct tape wedge.
The protesters also broke other University rules, Crane said, including using amplified sound equipment and being there after hours.
“That itself is sort of a statement that the rules are restrictive,” Crane said. “They don’t run our lives and control our political expression.”
The group was striving to express their view rather than create a disturbance.
“Nothing destructive,” Crane said. “It’s just a concert.”
Three police officers arrived at the event at 10 p.m., leaving shortly thereafter without making arrests.
The event lasted until about 11 p.m. and included performances from the bands Ratón and The Underhills.
Singer Crescent Ulmer gave the final performance of the night, playing guitar and singing four original songs. Between songs, she spoke about how her brother was shot by police officers in 2005.
“My dad also spent some time in jail in his youth, and it definitely made him a different person,” Ulmer said.
She sang an original song titled “Futility.”
“The whole premise of the song is fighting against the futility in our lives,” she said. “Working with prisoners behind bars and the futility they’re fighting as well. It’s pretty awesome.”
The prisoner on the recording talked about students’ ability to build relationships with struggling prisoners. He encouraged community members to write prisoners letters or make them phone calls.
As both a student and someone with friends who are currently in prison, Tom said he appreciated the importance of the protest.
“There’s lots of prisoners in the inside that are drawing inspiration from student struggles in the same way that we are drawing inspiration from them,” Tom said.