Listen to the Episode — 37 min
Rebel Girl: November 15, 2017: The government changes its strategy in the J20 inauguration case, an interview with anarchist squatters resisting eviction in Chicago, an interview with a Polish anarchist who demonstrated against this weekend’s ultra-nationalist march of 60,000 in Warsaw, and much more on this episode of…
A weekly anarchist news show brought to you by The Ex-Worker.
With me, the Rebel Girl.
Welcome back to the Hotwire.
This week we have a BUNCH of anti-fascist news from all over the world. We also have interviews with anarchists squatting in Chicago, an anarchist anti-fascist in Poland, and one of the supporters of the J20 defendants with crucial updates on the first trial, which is set to begin any day now. Listen until the end for new and exciting calls to action!
If we missed something important, or to include something in a future Hotwire, shoot us an e-mail at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. A full transcript of this episode with shownotes and useful links can be found at our website, CrimethInc.com/podcast. You can subscribe to The Hotwire on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, just search for The Ex-Worker. You can also listen to us through the anarchist podcast network Channel Zero. Listeners in Tacoma, Washington can catch us every Wednesday at 9 AM on KUPS 90.1 FM. Believe it or not, every Hotwire is radio ready, so just get in touch if you’d like to put The Hotwire on your local airwaves. Our first season is coming to a close at the beginning of December, but we’ll be back in February 2018 with our second season of weekly anarchist news.
And now for the headlines…
Hunger strikes are breaking out in jails and detention centers across the country. Prisoners at Wabash Valley Correctional in Indiana have launched a hunger strike to protest deteriorating conditions. The Indiana Department of Corrections retaliates against politically conscious prisoners with solitary confinement and taking away “good time” that they’ve served. In our shownotes, we have details for a call-in to support the striking prisoners. Check out the latest IGDcast for an interview with the group Indiana Department of Corrections Watch, who are organizing support for the strike.
On Saturday, folks held a rally outside the immigrant detention center in Tacoma, Washington to support those inside awaiting deportation. The group Northwest Detention Center Resistance has maintained regular demonstrations outside the detention center over the last year. We have a link for their facebook page in our shownotes.
Last Thursday, a thousand immigrants and supporters, including high school students who walked out of class, occupied a senate office building in DC to call for passage of the DREAM act, two months after Trump announced the end of DACA, a DREAM act stop-gap measure, and days after the administration announced the end of protections for thousands of Nicaraguan climate refugees. For anarchist perspectives on the DREAM act and dreamer activism, check out our shownotes for a recent episode of The Final Straw podcast, which has interviews with two latinx organizers about DACA and the DREAM act.
As President Trump arrived in the Philippines on Sunday, hundreds of protesters clashed with police to demonstrate against Trump and US imperialism in general. On Monday, they set fire to effigies of both president Trump and President Duterte of the Philippines. Over at CrimethInc.com, you can find a DIY guide to making effigies so that your own protests may come alight.
Friday was Veterans Day in the US, but anarchists in Florida chose instead to observe the day in memory of the Haymarket Martyrs, for whom it was the 130th anniversary of being hanged for being anarchists who opposed all nations and their armies. A banner was hung in Tampa that read, “Solidarity with our Haymarket martyrs / 11–11–1887 – 11–11–2017 / Here you will tread upon a spark, but there, and there, and behind you and in front of you, and everywhere, flames will blaze up.”
On November 8, the anniversary of Trump’s election, 100 antifascists and other anti-Trump demonstrators marched on Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach, Florida.
On November 13, white nationalists held a “It’s Okay To Be White” rally in Vancouver, Washington—the same city and date where neo-Nazis beat to death Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw in 1988. The fash originally intended to hang their “It’s Okay To Be White” banner on an interstate overpass, but 50 anti-fascists showed up first with their own banners that read “fight racism” and “Mulugeta Seraw, we fight in your memory.” Not bad for 1 PM on a Monday! The white nationalists moved to another overpass a mile north, but anti-fascists were quickly on the scene and ripped down their “It’s Okay To Be White” banner. Check out a link in our shownotes to see a photo of the banner, which was corrected to now say “It’s Okay to Be Antifascist Action.”
In the evening, 60 or so anti-fascists and anti-racists met at the site of Seraw’s murder and marched to the cemetery, accompanied by a marching band and puppets. None of the far-right was anywhere in sight.
Last Wednesday, @AnonyInfo, a Twitter handle associated with the hacktivist collective Anonymous, announced the takedown of websites associated with League of the South, a white supremacist group who participated in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville and the White Lives Matter rally in Tennessee. Two of their domains, including their main website, were down for days.
On Sunday in Montreal, thousands rallied against racism and the Islamophobic Bill 62, which would ban face coverings like Niqabs from public buildings. Ahead of the rally, a group of self-described “anti-colonial anti-racists” covered a statue of one of Canada’s founding fathers, John A. Macdonald, with red paint.
In a communiqué claiming the action, the anti-racists stated, “John A. Macdonald was a white supremacist. He directly contributed to the genocide of Indigenous peoples with the creation of the brutal residential schools system, as well as other measures meant to destroy native cultures and traditions. He was racist and hostile towards non-white minority groups in Canada, openly promoting the preservation of a so-called “Aryan” Canada. He passed laws to exclude people of Chinese origin. He was responsible for the hanging of Métis martyr Louis Riel. Macdonald’s statue belongs in a museum, not as a monument taking up public space in Montreal.”
The statement ends with, “Ni patrie, ni état, ni Québec, ni Canada!”
We’d like to say congratulations to the student organizers at Virginia Tech for successfully driving an alt-right teaching assistant, with strong ties to neo-Nazis, from their school. The students have been organizing for months, through a series of demonstrations and educational campaigns, but unsurprisingly the university was unresponsive.
The protests at Virginia Tech show two things, first that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s model of going to the school administration to ask politely for change simply doesn’t work, even in the face of one student organizer receiving death threats from neo-Nazis. This same reality has played out across the US, as various schools such as CSU Stanislaus and UC Berkeley have done nothing to expel neo-Nazi students and have given a huge cover for the Alt-Right to organize. But Virginia Tech also shows the power of mass collective direct action on campus, which physically forced a neo-Nazi troll out of their community. The conflict at Virginia Tech shows how we can’t depend on the authorities to solve these problems; they are only interested in keeping ‘order,’ and not with ensuring safety in our communities.
Last Hotwire, we repeated an uncredible story from Politico about the Department of Homeland Security labeling Antifa as a terrorist group, and we’d like to issue a correction. The good folks at Antifa International got in touch and pointed out that while this story has been picked up by some larger news outlets, they all rely on one journalist who has an obvious bias against anti-fascists, and who suspiciously seems to be the only source to have seen or heard about the supposed Homeland Security documents in question. Now, there are certainly government forces trying to criminalize anti-fascists, but we don’t want to include fake news stories and state them as facts, lest it embolden our opponents who spin them or, worse, drive folks away from anti-fascist organizing. Thanks again to Antifa International for catching our mistake. We have a detailed fact-checking of that Politico article linked in our shownotes. Whenever we have corrections and clarifications to make, we include them at the bottom of each episode’s shownotes at crimethinc.com/podcast.
In Poland, 60,000 far-right nationalists marched against muslims and immigration on November 11, the country’s independence day. The march was organized by a fascist, anti-Semitic group, but some analysts commented that it’s possible not all of the march participants knew of the organizers’ explicit fascist beliefs. However, in the march’s coverage plenty of neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbols can be seen, plus banners with slogans like “Pray for an Islamic Holocaust,” “Europe will be white,” and “Clean blood.” Fascists from Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, and elsewhere in Europe came to Warsaw for the march. Richard Spencer was scheduled to go, but cancelled at the last minute. A coalition of fascist groups, including one called “Nationalist Autonomy,” held a nationalist black bloc.
The nationalist march was a dismaying spectacle, but there was anti-fascist opposition. 5,000 attended a counter-protest organized by Antifa Warsaw, and about a dozen elderly women bravely locked arms and sat in the path of the march, disrupting it. The old women were eventually injured by fascist marchers and dragged out of their way. Anti-fascists held signs invoking Heather Heyer’s name, linking their struggle to the struggle against white supremacy here in North America.
We were lucky enough to catch up with one anarchist from Poland who was on the streets protesting fascism and racism that day.
Thanks so much for speaking with us. What happened in Warsaw on Saturday? What did you see?
Polish Antifascist: On Saturday in Warsaw we had one of the biggest, if not the biggest, nationalist demonstrations in Europe. It’s a regular demonstration happening since almost 10 years ago. For maybe 6 years it has gotten really massive and for many years now, there are anti-fascist demonstrations that are being held on November 11. The last two years, they were held the same day, but since 2011 the formula of the demonstration is non-confrontational because the amount of people on our side and then on their side doesn’t give us lots of chances.
Rebel Girl: How did this march get to be so big? Were there developments, missed opportunities perhaps, that anti-fascists in other spheres should be aware of?
Polish Antifascist: This so-called “autonomous nationalism” thing which is pretty much copying all the radical left or subcultural factors and taking them, appropriating them, is pretty much what it happening everywhere in Europe right now. I think it is quite good to always acknowledge that black bloc, the straight edge movement, and all this stuff they are appropriating will never be theirs. This is just completely a non-understandable copy. They just can’t invent anything on their own. This is a good thing to acknowledge all the time.
When people were starting to organize this nationalist march it was pretty marginal and mostly hardcore neo-Nazis. It had quite a strong resistance towards it. Then afterwards when they got connected with some people with lots of money this is when the march has grown really, really rapidly. This is what is happening with the alt-right movement in the US for the last few years, and this is what’s having results right now, but maybe in bigger scales. Nazis connecting with money are always dangerous.
Rebel Girl: Let’s remember that fascism never goes away on its own. Unopposed, it grows. We have a list of anti-fascist organizing resources linked in this episode’s shownotes at CrimethInc.com/podcast.
Also in Poland, police arrested 22 anti-logging activists for blocking the headquarters of Poland’s forest management agency. One of the activists who chained himself to the building had this to say, “We’re calling for the withdrawal of heavy machinery from the Bialowieza forest… All of our activity — peaceful marches, petitions, blockades at the scene — have had no effect. Forest management continues to fell trees despite the decision of the European judiciary. And so we opted for this ultimate form of protest.”
Last week, Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources sold the timber rights to 300 acres of Yellowwood State Forest Back Country, home to some of the oldest and most diverse trees in the state. Despite over 200 people showing up to protest the sale, months of organizing against the planned logging, and a recent protest encampment on private property adjacent to the public land to be logged, the DNR insisted on selling another piece of some of the most wild and beautiful land in the state – for a mere $108,000. So during the weekend, the group N.O.P.E.—which stands for Night Owls Paint and Exteriors—painted hundreds of additional trees to match those marked for removal, to obscure the trees Hamilton Logging bought, and to force the DNR Division of Forestry to redo the work of marking these tracts, thus delaying when logging can start.
In a communiqué found on the Earth First! Newswire, N.O.P.E. stated, “To other defenders of Yellowwood: there are many more trees left untouched. All it takes it red or blue marking paint, and some careful navigation.” They conclude the communiqué with, “We wish you luck and look forward to all the other creative and inspiring ways you’ll think of to protect the land.”
What a hoot!
Resistance to pipelines and extraction continues all over North America. Last month in Charlottesville, Virginia, anti-pipeline activists held a People’s Tribunal against the Atlantic Coast pipeline. Virginia’s part of the project is pending approval in December, but earth defenders are preparing to stop the pipeline before it gets built. For more about the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines in Virginia, West Virginia, and North Carolina, check out Soundcloud.com/pipelinepodcast. Folks interested in fighting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia can get involved by going to facebook.com/noacpva.
In Nova Scotia, the indigenous Mi’kmaq Treaty Camp, which blockades the entrance of the Alton Gas project, is still going strong, but they’re in need of support and donations. Check out our shownotes for a short info-video from Sub.media about the camp and how you can help.
On Friday, water protectors from the Makwa Initiative halted the last piece of construction for the Wisconsin section of Enbridge’s proposed Line 3 replacement project. In defense of the earth, two water protectors locked together and weathered freezing temperatures inside a segment of steel pipe. A water protector stated, “We have attended public hearings, marches, and rallies. At this point we feel like the only way we can make are voices heard is by locking our bodies to the equipment. We want them to stop expanding tar sands infrastructure. We need to be thinking about our children’s futures.”
For the past thirteen months, anarchists in Chicago have kept alive the IRL squat, a former homeless shelter owned by the gentrifying, billion-dollar investment company Barnett Capital. Last week, they issued a statement, part of which reads:
“All entrances to the building have been barricaded and we are bunkered down in our squatted fortress. To Barnett Capital, we say: it’s on. We are committed to making it physically, socially, and financially implausible for them to carry out their war on poor people. To our comrades fighting in this war we say: don’t give in. We have pushed past the limits of what all respectable organizations deemed possible. We have proved that we can make these fuckers fear us. Rent is their illusion, it’s up to us to shatter it. SQUAT THE WORLD!!!”
These days, with so much of anarchist struggle focused on opposing fascist visions of the world, this Rebel Girl was uplifted and, frankly, pretty giddy at the brave resistance of the IRL squatters in Chicago. Besides making authoritarian blueprints untenable, we should also be planting seeds of radically free ways of life—ones that call into question sacred institutions like private property and the morality of law itself. And when those experiments become conflictual, mm-mmm, this Rebel Girl just has to get her interview on…
Rebel Girl: So, what’s the background of the squat? Has it just been a living space, or has it served wider social and political communities?
Chicago Squatters: Before our time at IRL it had already been squatted for a year. You know, we’re talking about something like thirteen or fourteen different units because it’s two huge buildings. It was a lot of Mexican families. The whole thing exploded…it felt different than anything we had ever done before. Everything we had done before with squatting…a lot of us come from a network of squatters how have been doing this for over 6 years, and this one jus felt different because it involved so many different people coming from very different identities and also people that reject identity as well.
Throughout the past six months there was an attempt to start a weekly squat-luck dinner, which we kind of conceived as a squat workshop that would be open to the public. They were really cool. We invited a bunch of people, we wheatpasted the neighborhood, and got some people to show up who were just interested in learning bout what squatting meant and how it was done. In the bottom of the squat, there’s also a squatted barbershop. That was a really important aspect of the space. Also we had a lot of fundraiser parties. The side of the building says “FREE KARA WILD,” so we kind of used the space that we had to send out a big public message to the whole neighborhood. The squat itself had a very, very wide social sphere, in that many, many people used the space, came to the space, and at one point we actually ran Chicago Anarchist Black Cross out of the space.
Our best friend Mikey, a really well known anarchist graffiti writer here in Chicago, was murdered. The day of his wake, we led a funeral procession—we took the streets, we marched from the location of the wake and we took the street. We took Cermak and marched all the way to the squat. It was one of those beautiful movements where people were playing music, doing graffiti all over Cermak, and we arrived at this beautiful, liberated, autonomous building that all our energies helped start and just turn into this beautiful and conflictual place. There were all these banners, and huge letters about Fake Culture—that was his graffiti name. I think a really important part of insurrection is joy, and I think that that place was obviously full of a lot of really tragic things that happened to us but I think it was a really beautiful and dope exercise in just living in a way that we want to live it: a life full of joy.
Rebel Girl: Why are y’all getting evicted and why did you decide to fight the eviction the way you are?
Chicago Squatters: The resistance to eviction has been going on more or less since last summer. At this point, even though we don’t have any legal argument for our staying there, we have decided to stay as a way of unmasking the violence of Barnett Capital and its role in the gentrification of the area.
I just wanted to add on the point of why exactly we are being evicted…we’ve been asking very different sets of questions as to whose land we occupy in this colonial setting. We came up with a set of responses that we’ve been playing with for a number of years now. One of those is to illegally take over land and illegally occupy dwellings.
As a part of this final push for the eviction defense, we’ve received a lot of support from the greater anarchist community, and that’s been amazing. What we’re also trying is to not be insular within the anarchist community but to be very connected as best we can to the greater fight of poor and working class people. We actually made a flyer that is a simple bullet pointed list of how this project is going to affect the lives of the people living in Little Village, which is the neighborhood of the squat.
Rebel Girl: Thanks so much for speaking with us. Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for other people at war with rent?
Chicago Squatters: Yeah! I guess, a piece of advice would be to take over whatever buildings are empty in your town and your city and confront the management companies, the landlords, and whatever big capital is trying to transform it.
Before I joined this crew of people, I had the concept that squatting in the US was a thing of the past, or that political squats were a thing of the past. I think that’s what’s so important about our message and why it has so much traction right now. This is a very possible and doable and incredible thing that you can do. I just would like everybody to know that they can do it too.
SQUAT THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rebel Girl: On Saturday in Philadelphia, supporters of the 190 people facing unprecedented charges for protesting Trump’s inauguration held a rally on the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The atmosphere was festive, with music, dancing, and beautiful enormous puppets that ridiculed the state and this outrageous case.
It turns out the festive rally did indeed have something to celebrate. Just on Monday, the prosecution reduced December’s trial group from 2 misdemeanors and 6 felonies to just 3 misdemeanors. As we go to press, trial for the first group is scheduled to begin today, Wednesday. With developments happening so quickly, we recommend keeping up with @defendj20 on Twitter and Instagram, or going to defendj20resistance.org.
We caught up with Sam from DC Legal Posse about the latest.
Sam: The trial for the first group of J20 defendants starts today, November 15. On Monday, November 13, the defendants in the second trial group, which is scheduled to start December 11, unexpectedly had their charges reduced from six felonies and two misdemeanors to three misdemeanors without any explanation. Their charges and the case in chief documents put forward by the prosecution are largely identical to the defendants who are facing trial starting tomorrow, and that reduction was only as the result of logistical complications due to solidarity, the strong solidarity of the defendants who are staying together and organizing together to resist these political charges and this state repression.
The charge reduction that the December 11 defendants won is a partial victory, and it’s important to keep in mind that over 180 other defendants are still facing horrible potential punishments. We need to ramp up our solidarity and not let this partial victory give us a false sense of security. If this reduction of charges shows us anything, it shows us that our solidarity is strong and that we should only be doing more collective action to bring about additional pressure on the prosecution, additional pressure on the US Attorney’s Office, and to force them to reduce the charges further, drop charges against more defendants, and hopefully dismiss the cases entirely.
In Washington DC on January 20, a division of the Mayor’s Office called the Office of Police Complaints deployed observers to monitor police activity that day. They issued a preliminary report in February documenting extensive brutality and departures from standard operation procedure, and recommending a full independent investigation. It was recently discovered by supporters of the J20 defendants, and elaborated by Sarah Lazare in The Intercept, that the supposedly independent organization contracted to conduct the independent investigation is actually run by cops and ex-cops, and they largely have a reputation for exonerating cops and standing on the side of the police. It’s important that we put additional pressure on the DC government in order to try and get them to conduct an actual independent investigation, and to recognize that this ties the J20 cases and the brutality on inauguration day to other fights against police brutality and other uprisings against the criminal injustice system across the country.
In Athens, Greece, political prisoners Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis, from the anarchist guerrilla organization Revolutionary Struggle, have begun a new hunger strike. They released a long statement that is well worth the read, but to sum it up for y’all here, it criticizes the leftist SYRIZA party, the political repression against Revolutionary Struggle, and the Greek prison regime in general. The communiqué ends with demands against Maziotis’ isolation and the use of isolation throughout Greek prisons, and they demand more time to visit each other and their child. We have a link to the full communique, as well as some of Roupa’s and Maziotis’ other writings, linked in our shownotes at crimethinc.com/podcast.
Rebel Girl: Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have for news. If you want us to include something in a future Hotwire, just send us an email at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
We’ll close out this Hotwire with next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
Anarchist author Mark Bray is touring around the west coast promoting his new book, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. This week, he has dates in… Davis, California on the 15. That’s today! Stanford University and San Francisco on the 16. Los Angeles on the 17. Berkeley, California on the 18. and San Francisco again on the 19 at the Howard Zinn Bookfair, where CrimethInc. will be tabling and other great revolutionaries will be speaking, like Cindy Milstein, Roxanne-Dunbar Ortiz, and former Black Panther political prisoner Sekou Odinga. Check out our shownotes for a link with Mark Bray’s full tour details, including specific locations and times.
The G7, the group of the seven wealthiest nations on earth, will meet in Canada in June of 2018 to decide on matters that affect the fate of millions across the globe. Anti-G7 resistance is ramping up in Quebec, with an organizing meeting being held on November 18 at Comité social Centre-Sud in Montreal. We have the full details for the meeting in our shownotes.
On November 21 at 8 PM eastern, CrimethInc.com will host a live video presentation in which an experienced legal support worker will explain what grand juries are, how they work, and how to resist them. Over the course of 2017, anarchists and radicals have actively resisted grand juries from Standing Rock to North Carolina. This presentation is intended to demystify a legal process that relies on secrecy, paranoia, and suspicion as a means to tear apart communities and resistance movements. One of our strongest weapons against this particular tactic of state repression is knowledge—alongside bold acts of solidarity! Find out more details in our shownotes, as well as a link to a brand new episode of The Ex-Worker podcast about surviving a grand jury, with testimonies from anarchists who resisted them.
From December 1 through 4, Hudson Valley Earth First! is hosting an action camp. They will be offering workshops, climb training, and most importantly campaign updates. The Hudson Valley faces many fossil fuel infrastructure projects—all gearing up for construction as we speak. Learn about the Valley Lateral Pipeline, the Lego Land theme park project, the Competitive Power Ventures Power Plant, and how to plug into the local resistance. The exact location for the action camp is to be announced, but for the time being you can RSVP or ask questions by emailing hudsonvalleyearthfirst[at]riseup[dot]net or by going to hudsonvalleyearthfirst.org.
The Animal Rights Gathering 2018 will take place on January 20 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Animal Rights Gathering seeks to carve out a space for intersectional, feminist, and anti-capitalist politics in the animal rights movement as a whole. You can find out more at argathering2018.wordpress.com.
Also for January 20, It’s Going Down, CrimethInc., and other signatories have issued a call to expand our networks and strengthen our spaces. We’ll quote at length from the call, “we’re calling for people to gather in anarchist and autonomous spaces on the week of January 20, 2018 in order to reconnect to the roots from which our movements draw strength, discuss the path ahead, and gather resources for prisoners, relief efforts, and ongoing struggles. Autonomous spaces include infoshops, community centers, and bookstores. But an autonomous space can also be a public place you make a habit of gathering in or a territory you share and defend. The advantage of open spaces is that they offer a way for people who are freshly curious about our movements to plug in, pick up literature, and begin fostering relationships.”
The call proposes anti-cop block parties, fundraisers for the J20 defendants, screenings of Sub.media’s show Trouble, letter writing nights for political prisoners, and plenty of other ideas for ways to come together to dream and scheme. Go to CrimethInc.com to read the full call.
And that’s it for your weekly Hotwire. Many thanks to Sam from DC Legal Posse, the squatters at IRL, our comrade in Poland, and as always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music. Don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful notes we customized for this episode at CrimethInc.com. Every Hotwire episode is radio-ready, so if you want to replay part or all of this show, just go for it! Just give us a heads up at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. You can also send us news or announcements to include in the future.
Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into The Hotwire.