Last weekend, a CrimethInc. operative participated in the first Anarchist Book and Propaganda Fair in Lima, Peru. Here follows his detailed report, including photographs and a few comments on the situation of anarchists in Peru.
This morning, environmental activist Daniel McGowan was taken back to jail despite his exemplary parole record, presumably in retaliation for his recent article on the secretive Communications Management Units the US prison system uses to silence political prisoners.
Daniel’s article cites court documents confirming that, during his incarceration for environmentally motivated direct action, Daniel was moved to a CMU to punish him for expressing his political views. Despite first facing the threat of a life sentence, and then serving years in the CMU with very little contact with the outside world, Daniel has never cooperated with efforts to incriminate other activists, nor ceased to speak his mind. The US government is determined to make an example of Daniel for this. We too might hold him up as an example, showing that no amount of threats and coercion can break the spirit of a person determined to stand up to oppression.
There are two and a half million people in prison in the US, more than there were in the gulags at the height of Stalin’s reign in the Soviet Union. As in the Soviet Union, the authorities do everything they can to keep this population invisible: to prevent them from communicating with the rest of society so most people never learn how much violence and coercion are necessary to maintain this social order.
We should respond to attempts to silence Daniel and others like him by listening to what they have to say about what is going on in America’s prisons–and by doing our part to make it impossible for the authorities to silence anyone.
Daniel’s original article from within the CMU, “Tales from Inside the US Gitmo”
Our overview of Operation Backfire, in which Daniel was arrested, “Green Scared?”
Daniel’s attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights just released this statement:
Daniel McGowan has been released from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn where he was taken into custody yesterday and is back at the halfway house where he has been residing since his release from prison in December. Yesterday, Daniel was given an “incident report” indicating that his Huffington Post blog post, “Court Documents Prove I Was Sent to Communication Management Units (CMU) for My Political Speech,” violated a BOP regulation prohibiting inmates from “publishing under a byline.” The BOP regulation in question was declared unconstitutional by a federal court in 2007, and eliminated by the BOP in 2010. After we brought this to the BOP’s attention, the incident report was expunged.
On July 19, Kelly Rose Pflug-Back was sentenced to eleven more months in prison for her participation in the 2010 G20 protests in Toronto. She remains unapologetic about her role in the black bloc that caused so much disruption during the summit, demonstrating that the forces that impose capitalism and patriarchy are not invulnerable.
To support Kelly and the millions like her who are imprisoned for the inconveniences they pose to the powerful, we are proud to present her eloquent and thought-provoking memoir of the time she spent incarcerated after her original arrest: “Every Prisoner is a Political Prisoner.” In this account, Kelly powerfully evokes the experience of captivity and the importance of understanding all captives of the state as political prisoners.
Our friends Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness are publishing a book of Kelly’s poetry as a fundraiser to benefit her during her incarceration. Walt Whitman argued that “to have great poets there must be great audiences,” but audiences is precisely the opposite of what there must be. To have great poetry, there must be people who are willing to act on their ideals rather than just watch from the sidelines. We are deeply grateful to Kelly for finding the courage to live her poetry as well as writing it.
We’re thrilled to present the four-song debut release from Underground Reverie, Seattle’s premier anarchist electronic ensemble:
“Out of Isolation and into the Fray”
Four-Song Debut [27MB]
The release is free, of course—but if you can, please show your appreciation by making a donation to the legal fund of those arrested in last month’s building occupation in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. To do so, go to the defendant support site and donate to the arrestees’ legal fund; further inquiries can be addressed to ‘email@example.com’.
One of these songs appeared in our video coverage of the aforementioned building occupation. Since this is the digital age, we can already offer a review of the release, courtesy of Seattle’s excellent Tides of Flame [PDF]:
“Underground Reverie’s debut album is throbbing, haunting, and completely amazing. Samples from helicopters, owlish flutes, various films (including Network), and eerie old songs flesh out a skeleton of delicate electronic beats. The music is as much about the horrors of civilization as it is about the raw beauty of struggle. In the liner notes, UR reflects on anarchist praxis and encourages us to keep fighting.”
Contact Underground Reverie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Three years ago today, police in Athens, Greece murdered Alexis Grigoropoulos, a fifteen-year-old student. This touched off the first wave of unrest to follow the economic crisis of 2008, setting the scene for the upheavals that have followed since in North Africa, Spain, and elsewhere.
To commemorate Alexis’s life and the efforts of all who set out to avenge his death, we’re offering selections from an interview we did with comrades in Greece the following year, when the riots were over but momentum was still fresh. The interview serves as a sort of historical snapshot, documenting the heady optimism of the time but also the realization of how vast the barriers to revolution still were. A great deal has changed since then; Greece has witnessed a series of new tragedies and clashes, while Greek anarchists have simultaneously seen their tactics embraced by broad sectors of the population and lost the initiative as the shortcomings of their strategies became apparent. Yet this interview is timelier than ever, as it grapples with the question of how to make the most of a high point of struggle. This may be relevant in North America sooner than anyone expects.
We’ve just received the above video, an anonymously-edited collection of footage from the general strike in Oakland on November 2, 2011. The 15-minute video includes scenes from the afternoon anti-capitalist march, the subsequent blockading of the Port of Oakland, and the occupation of the Traveler’s Aid Society building in downtown Oakland later that night.
This is a mere snapshot of the events unfolding around Occupy Oakland, which are still ongoing; much remains to be discussed and debated. We’ll present more material on the subject here soon.
In the meantime, suffice it to say—things are heating up.
Our friends in the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army, whose work we’ve shared here before, just embarked on a month-long tour to present their newest shows. The feature show, “What Are Prisons For?”, uses shadow puppets to outline the history of the Prison Industrial Complex from chattel slavery in the South to today’s exploding prison population.
Today is April 15: Steal Something from Work Day! Take those motherfuckers for all they’re worth. Goodness knows they’re doing the same to you! Perhaps, like countless other employees, you already do this every day; in that case, the thing that makes this day special is that today you know thousands of others are stealing in solidarity with you, imagining a better world.
In the US, April 15 is also Tax Day. The government is stealing your money and turning it into overseas occupations and death tolls; nowadays they’re cutting the few programs through which they used to give a little of it back to you. The way they’re slashing university budgets these days, next they’ll be going to schools and ripping out the copper pipes to sell on the black market. Much of the tax money they loot from you goes directly back into corporate pockets–the same corporations that are exploiting people like you! And despite the record profits the corporate sector is raking in once again, politicians claim they have no idea how to resolve their budget crises.
In this web of theft, your only hope is to redirect some of these resources to more sensible ends. Surely you and your coworkers, friends, and neighbors could come up with better uses for them! Be careful, though–unlike other days of action, Steal Something from Work Day should go by without the authorities noticing anything at all.
Since February 15, the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin has been at the center of a storm of popular protest against proposed austerity measures including anti-union legislation. Hundreds of people occupied the building until March 3, touching off other actions around the state, including an ongoing university occupation in Milwaukee that began March 2.
On March 9, while Senate Democrats were absent in protest, Wisconsin’s Republican Senators passed a bill stripping public-sector unions of collective bargaining rights. In response, thousands returned to the capitol building, forcing open windows and pushing past state patrolmen to reenter and occupy it. Police eventually gave up attempting to control the crowds, and the announcement went out that they would not remove demonstrators from the building despite the court order that had forced the end of the previous occupation. At the high point on Wednesday evening, several thousand people filled the first three floors of the building entirely; after midnight, a few hundred still remained, despite the usual pleas from authoritarian organizers for people to leave.
Unions are legally prohibited from calling for a general strike, but there has been much talk of striking. In any case, a series of protests are planned for the next several days. In addition to this list of demonstrations Thursday morning, Thursday evening a flash mob is planned for the university library in Madison at 10 pm, Saturday farmers will drive their tractors into Madison in protest, and it’s rumored that teaching assistants will go on strike on Monday when the state contract with the Teaching Assistants’ Association expires.
Events are still unfolding in Wisconsin, and may yet escalate further. But we can already draw some conclusions from them, which can guide us in the months ahead–for Wisconsin is surely only the first of many states that will see public outrage over austerity measures.