Friday, April 28, 2006

New Website URL: deathbybungabunga.com/pac

Comrades,

Found out or peninsulaanarchist.org site is way out of date? Check out our (indefinitely) temporary website:

deathbybungabunga.com/pac

Downloadable pamphlets and audio of our events should be up in the near future. To receive updates about upcoming events and actions, email us at: penanarchist@riseup.net .

Solidarity,
Peninsula Anarchist Collective.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Ward Churchill Speaks on Developing a Strategy to Win

Ward Churchill Anti-Imperialist, American Indian & Author on:

Developing a Strategy to Win

Sunday March 19 6:30pm
San Jose Unitarian Universalist Church
160 N. 3rd St. San Jose, CA

"The nature of the criminality in which the U.S. engages... translates into piles and piles and piles of rotting, stinking corpses all over the planet... and perpetually."

Labeled "controversial" by politicians and pundits alike, Ward Churchill's scholarship endures the test of time. Rational, angry, yet ultimately hopeful, his is a leading voice against the ongoing genocide perpetrated on Native American peoples and the international crimes of the US government. Intellectually cogent while remaining accessible to the general reader, Churchill will challenge you to think, and the act, in the fight for justice waged since Predator came in 1492.

Sponsored by: Peninsula Anarchist Collective, MEChA, Muslim Student Movement, Justice for Palestinians and AK Press

Contact: penanarchist@riseup.net

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ward Churchill: Indigenism, Anarchism, and the State

Indigenism, Anarchism, and the State:

An Interview with Ward Churchill

Ward Churchill is one of the most outspoken activists and scholars in North America and a leading commentator on indigenous issues. Churchill's many books include Marxism and Native Americans, Fantasies of the Master Race, Struggle for the Land, The COINTELPRO Papers, Genocide, Ecocide, and Colonization, Pacifism as Pathology, and A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas. In his lectures and published works, Churchill explores the themes of genocide in the Americas, racism, historical and legal (re)interpretation of conquest and colonization, environmental destruction of Indian lands, government repression of political movements, literary and cinematic criticism, and indigenist alternatives to the status quo.

Churchill has recently come under attack for views expressed in the article Some People Push Back: On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, written in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. An important part of the future of US academic freedom in the coming years will likely be determined by the outcome of the ongoing attempts to strip Ward Churchill of his academic position at Colorado University in Boulder. Two members of Autonomy & Solidarity sat down with Ward Churchill in Toronto in November of 2003 to do this interview. It was transcribed by Clarissa Lassaline and edited by Tom Keefer, Dave Mitchell, and Valerie Zink.



Upping The Anti: We want to start off by asking you about your thoughts on the anti-globalization movement which, in terms of anti-capitalist struggles, has been one of the most significant developments in the past decade. This movement has also been criticized in the US context, as being largely made up of white middle class kids running around "summit hopping". What's your take?

Ward Churchill: I think the anti-globalization movement, for lack of a better term, is a very positive development in the sense that it re-infuses the opposition with a sense of purpose, enthusiasm, and vibrancy. The downside is that it’s a counter-analytical movement in that it thinks it’s something new. We used to call it “anti-imperialism,” just straight up. The idea that “globalization” is something new, rather than a continuation of dynamics that are at least 500 years deep, is misleading. That needs to be understood.

UTA: In your book Struggle For The Land, there’s an essay called “I Am Indigenous.” Can you elaborate a bit on the politics and genealogy of indigenism?

WC: Perhaps I can by way of your introduction of yourselves. You know, you say you're post-Leninists. Fine. But why are you something that goes beyond Leninism, rather than something that isn’t?

UTA: It’s a reflection of the roots of where our political grouping came from.

WC: But you top that off by describing yourselves as revolutionaries, and I’m saying “why?” Do you aspire to overthrow the presiding order in the Canadian state so that you can reorganize the state in a more constructive fashion? Then you’re a revolutionary. Do you want to see the Canadian state here when you’re done in some form or another? If not, then you’re a devolutionary and you might want to call it by its right name.

UTA: So would you say that no anarchists could call themselves revolutionaries?

WC: If they do, they’re deluding themselves. They’re not understanding themselves or the tradition that they’re espousing in proper terms because, for starters, anarchists are explicitly anti-statist. And the object of a revolution is to change the regime of power in a given state structure. So I think “revolutionary” is a misnomer.

UTA: One of the issues with devolution is that, at least potentially, it represents an attempt to go back to some kind of ideal way the world once was. But we can’t just roll back the clock of history.

WC: No, of course not. But again we’re into this implicitly Marxist progression, and anarchists aren’t especially progressive. In fact, you get a physical fight from some of them for using that term, because they consider it an insult. And I think properly so. There’s no immutable law of history. The structures, however, aren’t immutable either, and they can be devolved.

One conflation of terms that really bothers me a lot, which seems to be plaguing the discourse still, is the conflation of the term “nation” and the term “state.” You have this entity out there called “the United Nations.” It really should have been called “the United States,” because to be eligible even for admission to the Assembly you have to be organized in that centralized, arbitrary structure. No “nations” as such are even eligible for admission to the United Nations. “The United States” was a name already taken, however, and this was very useful in obfuscating the reality.

But the upshot of that is that you’ve got a whole lot of anarchists running around thinking they’re anti-nationalist, that nationality, nationalism in all forms, is necessarily some sort of an evil to be combated, when that’s exactly what they’re trying to create. You’ve got four or five thousand nations on the planet; you’ve got two hundred states. They’re using “anti-nationalist” as a code word for being anti-statist. With indigenous peoples, nationality is an affirmative ideal, and it hasn’t got any similarity at all to state structures.

You may have nations that are also states, but you’ve got most nations rejecting statism. So you can make an argument, as I have, that the assertion of sovereignty on the part of indigenous nations is an explicitly anti-statist ideal, and the basis of commonality with people who define themselves as anarchists. We’ve got to deal with our own bases of confusion in order to be able to interact with one another in a respectful and constructive way.

UTA: Are there correlations between your indigenous perspective and anarchism? Many people might make the argument that, in fact, indigenism is an ancestor to anarchism, and not vice versa.

WC: Well, that is precisely my argument. The two are not interchangeable, point for point, but they have far more in common than they have dividing them, if each is properly understood. And part of the task here is to make them properly understood. If you look at green anarchy, for better or worse, you’re going to find all kinds of references to commonalities with indigenous peoples on every basis, from social organisation to environmental perspective. It will take some time, but you can make that conceptual bridge between indigenism and anarchism, and it’s understood.

I would see the main distinction, on this continent, as being a detachment from base. Indigenous peoples are grounded, quite literally. There’s a relationship to the land that has evolved over thousands of years, and that’s completely denied to the people from the settler culture who self-describe as anarchists. With that distinction made, however, we’ve got all kinds of principles in common, aspirations in common, perspectives in common, and we need to build upon those in order to develop a respectful set of relations that allow us to act in unity against that common oppressor that we share.

UTA: After the Seattle actions, you were part of the debate around the whole question of “diversity of tactics.” Do you see the Black Bloc as being an interesting or relevant political phenomenon?

WC: It’s not that I think that breaking the windows of Starbucks is somehow going to bring the system crashing to its knees, or that they even had a conception of what they were actually up against. Clinton deployed Delta Force for that one in case things really did start to get serious. I mean that’s as serious as it gets in terms of repressive capacity in the United States. These are the surgical assassination units, and they were deployed in Seattle.

But if you’re going to go up against that, or if you’re actually going to do serious damage to the structure of things, it isn’t going to happen in some sort of a frontal confrontation with whatever deployment of force the state makes. So it is symbolic, in the sense that it’s educational and kind of empowering. But if you’re going to engage with that force, you’re not going to simply wake up one morning, take a pill along with your glass of water and go out prepared to do it. You have to build the consciousness, you have to build the psychology, you have to build the experiential base, and you have to build the theoretical base, and that happens step by step by step. Maybe the thing that happened in Seattle was a sort of, “let’s get out of the chat rooms and see if we can’t actually make a physical confrontation.” There hasn’t been anything significant along those lines for 25, 30 years in the US.

Now, on the level of street confrontation, what can we deduce from that experience? Well, maybe a first lesson would be: if you actually want to engage in street confrontations as part of a further building trajectory, you might want to ditch the uniforms and stop self-identifying as somebody the police want to neutralize immediately. Unmask yourself, put on a phony beard, or a clean shave. Mask yourself in another way. Just this level of tactical evolution, they’ve refused. And this is part of what leads some people to purport that the Black Bloc is more of a fashion statement than it is a serious political tendency. I’m not convinced of that, but people are clinging to their signs and symbols at a very basic level, in a way that precludes taking the action further. You get these cataclysmic statements of what is necessary, and yet they won’t even ditch the funny little signifier of their identity as a Black Bloccer.

UTA: Is there a correlation between the militant tactics and direct confrontation against the state proposed by the Black Bloc, and the ways in which the Weather Underground evolved from the Days of Rage in Chicago? Do you see a similar kind of progression? What are the lessons to be learned from how those movements failed in the 60s?

WC: The Weather Underground is another thing that I will completely defend. Of the spectrum of responses mounted by the white left at the time, Weather was the most valid response of all, which does not mean that it actually had a viable strategy. But the response pattern was entirely legitimate. But ultimately, they got boxed into symbolic actions, and that is explicitly the case now as well.

Brian Flanagan and Mark Rudd, who are in this new film about the Weathermen, are saying “you know, we made a conscious decision to do only property actions,” which was not the original impulse and not the original understanding. It was a sort of wounded response to having three people killed in the Greenwich townhouse explosion. Well, in human terms I understand that these were their friends and all that, but if you are actually serious about engaging in an armed struggle and plan on testing the capacity of the United States, you have to anticipate that you’re going to incur casualties. And three is hardly an insurmountable toll that’s been taken. So again, you had middle class kids who were posturing as something else, and legitimately wanted to be something else and tried to transcend their origins. But they couldn’t do it in and of themselves, and they didn’t really have an interactive relationship with other movements, organisations, or people coming from a different experiential background and temper. They were a sort of bourgeois response. So you’re saying you’re going to do one thing, but actually you’re unprepared to do it. I can understand that, but I don’t accept that as being a model.

I’m more encouraged by the fact that people are looking seriously at the Black Liberation Army (BLA) and such, despite the valid critique that there was a certain Stalinist content to the organization. And that raises the question of how exactly, without getting into a centralized, arbitrarily disciplined organization, you mount a clandestine struggle. That’s a serious question. How do you go about it? It’s not laissez-faire, it’s not everybody do your own thing. It can’t be, or you’re dead. But the BLA and other such organizations were willing to sustain casualties in a serious way over a protracted period. And they were ultimately burnt out because they had no basis for recruiting additional members from some broader context or mass movement to replace the casualties, and that’s a lesson to be learned and addressed as well.

Weather presented a certain example, but not a model. From that example you can extrapolate the next model, say, the BLA or the Puerto Rican Independence movement. You can analyze and understand where it was that they went wrong, address those issues, and build a more viable model now. But you can’t do that based on knee-jerk reactions and notions of personal purity, which is my critique of pacifism. You’re probably familiar with that critique, and the people who will be reading this are probably reasonably familiar with it as well.

But pacifism is not the only dimension that this would apply to, anarchists in general have this zealous notion of the purity of the political. They are dismissive of anybody who defines themselves as being part of a national liberation movement, without examining that movement in any coherent way. When someone sits down and talks with them about it, well then their objections evaporate. But they won’t abandon the purity of whatever the particular posture is that they’re occupying long enough to become effective.

That’s the problem with the refusal to abandon the mask and the black T-shirts in a certain context too. The Black Bloc is more interested in the affirmation of identity than they are in actually accomplishing their goals and objectives. These are transient things, I would hope. I don’t see them as being a basis to dismiss or discard the impulse at all. I see the impulse as being primarily a positive impulse, and you need to take to its logical set of conclusions. The Black Bloc is the preoccupation of anarchism. Their willingness to physically engage the state at a certain level, as well as to engage in discussions that interrogate their own sets of precepts, are both encouraging signs.

UTA: It’s clear that the Canadian and US governments have expressed serious concerns about the anti-globalization movement and the radical wing within it. You’ve written extensively on the repression of radical movements in the 60s and 70s, and specifically about COINTELPRO. Can you talk about some of the key lessons that radicals today should keep in mind?

WC: You have to be a thinking movement. We can outthink these guys in certain respects. Part of that is never underestimating what it is that they’re capable of, and never underestimating our capacity to come up with a situational response to them. In what used to be called counter-intelligence, now it’s called counter-terrorism, you have guys who devote their entire careers to this. They have an aptitude, a flare for it. And by the time they retire they get really goddamn good at it. In a certain sense, their work is based on perceiving what in the immediacy of a situation might be best, based on their experience, to accomplish a desired result. You could say that it’s more intuitive than codified, and our response has to be the same. We have to develop bodies of expertise based on experience in dealing with these things, not just reading the books, and understand that we can’t come up with a formula or a recipe of what it is that will work. We have to use common sense and critical understandings of how counter-intelligence processes have worked in the past, and to the best of our ability, obtain information on what they have in place now.

I mentioned the Delta Force earlier. There’s actually a protocol that allows the President the discretion to suspend the Posse Comitas act and to utilize particular forces within the US military for the maintenance of civil order. They go to the very highest shelf, the “special” of the Special Forces. All the Delta Force does is train for and execute missions to take out strategic targets among oppositional groups, wherever they happen to be. They were in Seattle in case they were necessary to eliminate the leadership, as defined by the intelligence sources of the US, of the people who shut down the World Trade Conference. They’ve also been introduced to control prison riots. They were deployed at Waco, which ought to tell you something, and they were deployed at Ruby Ridge. This needs to be absorbed into our collective understanding of what we’re up against and to shape the nature of our response patterns accordingly.

I think that this takes care of the idea that we’re going to do this by candlelight vigils, moral arguments, petition drives and electoral politics: all of these can be useful in terms of organizing our own communities, but it’s going to have absolutely no effect on the structure of power. We’re going to have to go to bare knuckles and understand the mechanics of power, and how it ultimately maintains itself – obfuscation, mystification, and by keeping people confused and divided. If people don’t stay divided they’re going to ratchet it up to the next increment, which includes false incarcerations and all the rest of that. And ultimately you’re going to be dealing with the US military’s Delta Force. Those are the terms of engagement.

I run through all of that because by and large, even among the self-described most militant sectors, there’s not really a recognition of what it means. They consider themselves to be imbued with certain sets of options based upon varying degrees of social privilege, as if those are going to continue to apply if they actually become a serious threat to the status quo.

Now based on that consciousness, you can begin to develop techniques that apply to the given situations, and there is no recipe for that either. Maybe it’s affinity groups in some places but it’s really contingent on the situation. For example, in some cases Black Bloccers say that they’re going to organize based on long term friendships and interaction with people who they know are not infiltrators because they hooked up together when, in all probability, they were too young to have been recruited by the FBI. And they’ve evolved as an insular, self-contained little group ever since. It’s certainly hard for intelligence agencies to penetrate groups like that.

The national structure of the American Indian Movement was penetrated pretty successfully, because you had people drawn together in an organization from a whole variety of locations to function as a sort of a governing council. That was a really bad model. Where we were impenetrable was actually on the ground with the action end of the organization, because these were all family units. The Means family, the Robidoux-Peltier family and their cousins were all related and had grown up together. Well, how exactly do you plant somebody in the middle of that? You don’t.

So I would say that affinity groups, however they are to be defined, might be the situational response in a given context. There are others. The thing that is most critically important is to thoroughly understand the techniques that are used by counter-intelligence, usually at the lower levels, and not do the job for them. That means not gratuitously calling people ‘cops’ in order to resolve political disagreements, which has been an endemic practice on the left. Often intelligence agencies don’t even need to insert provocateurs because they can rely on the activists to do it to themselves. Maybe they stimulate it a few times; they plant a few documents, they do whatever they do. The rule of thumb should be: if it acts like a cop and talks like a cop, maybe you treat it like a cop. But you don’t call it one. You don’t feed into that. If somebody is destabilizing and threatening and they’re compromising the integrity or the security of the group, you simply eliminate that person by putting them outside the group. You don’t make a public show of it, and you don’t put out wanted posters unless you actually have concrete evidence that this is a police operative or infiltrator.

See, we put ourselves in such a compromised position from internal dynamics and bad practices that all they have to do is take this tottering structure, push it, and give it some momentum. At the level that we’re organizing now, bad practice is our worst enemy, not the police state. There isn’t anybody that I know of who is actually mounting a clandestine operation to try to challenge the authority of the state at this point. We’re in a building period, and how we build is contingent, in a large part, on the internalization of these lessons.

UTA: In the US in the 60s, some people on the radical left saw that the elements that were moving first into struggle, the actual radical forces that could overthrow the system, were the movements that had the least to loose and the most to gain from such struggles: the Black Panthers, the American Indian Movement, etc. But how can we achieve the destruction of state power without the conscious, active support of the majority of the people, including significant sections of the white settler population?

WC: You can’t win so long as the bulk of the population is actively in some fashion or another deployed against you. But that doesn’t mean that the bulk of the population ultimately has to actively join you either.

I think this is where the Weathermen misunderstood what the dynamic was at the time. They thought people were much more actively committed to physical engagement with the state than ultimately proved to be the case. In retrospect, it’s clear that they weren’t. The Weathermen thought they saw a parade and tried to position themselves to lead it. They were going to be the vanguard. What’s new? We’ve got three hundred white guys who decided they had their finger on the pulse of history, so they were going to jump in front. They said they were acting in solidarity, but they were defining themselves as a vanguard. The white guy is going to lead the Revolution. They just misdiagnosed the conditions that might precipitate revolution, and ended up isolating themselves.

This would also apply to the BLA, although they had far stronger base in the community than the Weatherman ultimately turned out to have. The significance of the role of the armed struggle was profoundly misunderstood at that particular juncture by virtually all of the actors. They believed that the armed struggle was going to be the catalyst in bringing about a comprehensive transformation of society. And that wasn’t the case at all. What led them to this false conclusion was a withdrawal of consent on the part of increasingly massive numbers of people. You really had a significant proportion of the population that was rejecting, in substantial part, the thrust of US policy. They weren’t going to go to war with it, they were just not going to contribute to it. That’s the key.

You don’t have to have the preponderance of the population engaged in some sort of a final campaign to bring down the government. What you do need is the ability to cause an increasing number of people to withdraw consent from some key sectors that keep the system functioning. And if an appreciable number of those people are going into more active forms of resistance and are supportive, at least to the extent that they won’t give you up to the cops and that maybe they will make a contribution, be it monetarily, or by providing you sanctuary, I think that’s attainable over the long haul. You have to have a much greater weight in order to take the structure intact and then rearrange its organization, than you need to have it begin to unravel and collapse, and that’s actually the aspiration that I hold.

You also have to create counter-models that people can look at, that they can be attracted to: ‘Oh yeah, there is another way of doing this and maybe I’d be more comfortable in that context. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t lived in it, but it looks like something I might like to explore.’ That leads to withdrawal, and creates doubt as to the inevitability of state structures and that’s what you’re trying to create.

Not that you’re going to supplant the structure of the state with co-ops, or little land occupations, collectives and so forth. In the 70s in particular, there was this whole notion that you could simply create a society that you want within the shell of the old one, and eventually the old one will wither away. Well that ain’t going to happen either. You’re going to reach a certain threshold and then the state will begin to actively repress you and try to crush you.

The Black Panthers’ breakfast for children program, their community clinics, alternative educational institutions, job placement programs, housing initiatives, and all the rest, when viewed as a package in and of themselves may seem like a very liberal agenda. But it was framed in terms of a very coherent program of self-determination, of self-sufficiency, that sought to remove those service delivery sectors of responsibility from the state, and to place them in the hands of the community.

You don’t see a lot of that happening these days. For most people in the anarchist community who organize in their little collectives and get together and eat their bean sprouts and shit… it’s only for themselves, at the present time. If you want to talk to factory workers, you need to connect with them where they are, not where you think they should be. You need to get over your prohibition on ashtrays. You keep asking me why nobody shows up, except you, when you organize an event – there’s the answer. I’ve answered the question about 15 times. You may have ideas, you may have counter models and they might be constructive, but if people – coming from the bowling alley or something – have to spend 15 minutes reading your fucking signs about what they can or can’t do in exchange for the privilege of entering your sacred premises, they’re going to go bowling instead. Get over your bicycles and go down and bend a wrench with a gear-head for a while. Do what he’s fucking doing. Maybe he’ll learn how to talk to you and vice versa.

But that’s like shedding the black uniforms. It’s a real psychological barrier to some anarchists, because they’ve got the solution to the world’s problems somehow in code form in their minds. They posit an implicit demand that people are supposed to acknowledge the superiority of their vision as the price of admission. So get the fuck off the university campus and down into a union hall. Put ashtrays on the goddamn tables. Make some babysitting services available. And try to package it in a set of terms that can appeal to the people you’re trying to reach. Call it spin if you will, call it packaging, call it Madison Avenue – but how you pedal it, how you try to reach people, is really important. They’re probably not about to put safety pins in their eyelids and all the rest of that shit. I understand why you’re doing it, and I’m not objecting: it’s just that you’ve got to realize that there are some other people out there you need to reach if you’re going to be successful, who don’t feel that way. And you need to respect that. Because you’re ultimately demanding that they respect you. That’s a reciprocal proposition.

Police Beat College Students in Violent Protests Against Powell

By Aman Mehrzai, November 13, 2005.

Eight people were arrested, mostly college students in a violent protest against former Secretary of State Colin Powell in the San Francisco Bay Area, Friday night.

Protesters gathered at De Anza College in the South Bay starting Wednesday, to kick off a three-day rally with visitors such as Cindy Sheehan and Yuri Kochiyama present.

Chants such as; "Whose College? - Our College. You get out," and "This is what democracy looks like, this is what a police state looks like," were heard while police attacked and beat certain protesters.

Friday nights protest gained most attention when certain groups and individuals joined the rally that left destruction to police vehicles and school property. Police car windows were smashed and Anarchy symbols were spray painted on the back of some local media outlet vans. A message that said "Paris Rising" was tagged on the back of one police buss.

In order to disperse the crowd, fully armed riot police in multiple groups of 15 to 20 spread out and chased anyone who was present including reporters and legal observers. One group of riot police moved the remaining crowd down the campus pushing them through bushes and assaulting them with their gear. Another group of troops crossed the street into commercial property forcing a corridor around the block, in order to peruse and arrest certain protesters they had spotted earlier in the crowd, who were on their way to their cars.

Some of the protesters went inside a local coffee shop across campus out of fear of the riot police who were quickly approaching them. "At one point, the riot police surrounded the coffee shop and one undercover officer with an earpiece came inside and waited outside the bathroom door and was staring at me when I was going in," said protester Susan Barrientos. Barrientos is a Muslim convert who was dressed in Islamic attire.

Some protesters who were arrested were previously refused access to their cars when they wanted to leave, and were later beaten and captured in plain view of many eyewitnesses and legal observers.

Out of seven of the protesters who were arrested outside of the Flint Center, six were Muslims of Arabic and African descent, some members of the Student Muslim Association. "They [police] saw that we had the most energy and were not afraid of them and were riling up the crowd," said De Anza student Hanni Zaki, 22, who was hospitalized for receiving injury to the head from police who stepped on his face and beat him with their batons. "They couldn't stand that we were dressed in Palestinian and Arabic clothes and weren't afraid of them. They wanted revenge so they chased down, every one of us who were Muslim, until they could beat and arrest us, that's what they were waiting for, that's why they wouldn't let me go to my car." De Anza's Students for Justice Member, Mark Anthony Medeiras, asked police to go to his car and was allowed to leave, minutes before Zaki was beaten and arrested. Zaki, who parked in the same garage as Medeiras, was refused access to his vehicle and when he asked how he was supposed to leave, was told, "You should of thought of that earlier," by one of the riot police who leaned over with his baton to start the attack by multiple officers. De Anza student Abdul Kareem Al-Hayiek, 19, was chased by two officers on their dirt bikes until they knocked him down and pepper sprayed him in the face. Al-Heyiek began choking while officers jumped on top of him; he soon after lost consciousness. Another De Anza student Aiman Eltilib, 17, who just got out of class that night pleaded for the officer to get off of Al-Hayiek and was also pepper sprayed in the face and told by an officer, "Do you want to end up like him?" Eltilib responded by asking the officers to let Al-Hayiek go and that "he didn't do anything." The officer then put his left arm around the minor's neck and choked his Adams apple with the fingertips of his right hand until he collapsed to the ground. Shakir Eljurf, 19, who attended the same night class with Eltilib walked towards his classmate in concern, with books still under his right arm, when a third officer from behind twisted his left arm behind his back without warning, but was alarmed to find an angry mob pursuing them from behind. All three were then quickly released as the officers retreated to take cover from the approaching mob.

Two other Muslim students, Mohammad Abdo, 23, and Adonnis Graves, 22, ran towards the local media vans for safe haven after riot police hit Graves in the face with a baton and forced him through a high bush, only to be rescued by Abdo who pulled him to safety. The two nearly made it to the news reporters, but were blocked off by officers on motorcycles who told them to get off campus. They crossed the street and walked through a public park to get to their cars where officers apprehended and arrested them both.

Elgrie Hurd, 24, an African American student from San Jose State University was asked by officers to back off the edge of a street. Although Hurd was complying, officers dragged him forward by his shirt and arrested in plain view. Many photographers took footage of the incident. He was charged with Battery on a Peace Officer and False report of a bomb.

Protester, Brian Helmle, was the first to be arrested inside the Flint Center earlier that night, during Powell's speech and was charged for Disturbing the Peace and Resisting Arrest. Helmle, who is 27, stood up while Powell was speaking about the virtues of American kindness and yelled out "Liar - liar, murderer – murderer," and blew his whistle until officers carried him across the stands to arrest him.

Helmle, who later met with other arrestees, was shocked to find that they were treated with such harshness and brutality and that he was the only Caucasian to be arrested that night. "I think that this is all about white privilege," said Helmle. "I wasn't treated in any harshness whatsoever by the police. The fact is that the eyes of the white crowd were on a white male doing strange things inside. What happened to those outside in the protest is ridiculous and racist. All they were trying to do was leave and get to their cars. I was intentionally trying to get arrested."

Police released Helmle by 1 a.m. that same night without taking him into custody. The seven others who were arrested outside the Flint Center were taken into custody, including the minor Eltilib, and detained overnight in harsh conditions. Al-Hayiek is the only one to still be in custody awaiting an arraignment for bond.

In 1984 the Santa Clara County was sued by the law offices of Carpenter and Mayfield when police sweeped a large number of protesters on De Anza College and illegally detained them on a parking lot during a demonstration against Ronald Reagan.

One officer, who was at the protests on Friday night said, "Although profiling shouldn't happen, when certain people dress the way they do they become a target. It shouldn't happen, but the reality is that when most officers see someone dressed in that kind of clothes [Middle Eastern], they associate that with terrorism." The officer said that they regularly attend terrorism-training classes, and that many officers associate such garb to terrorists because of the training videos they see in which "terrorists prepare themselves for Jihad and martyrdom." Multiple legal organizations are investigating the allegations that police singled out the Middle Eastern and African American protesters, although the majority of the violence was conducted by others. Excessive force allegations will also be a focus of the investigations.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Community Riots Against Nazis, Police

From Columbus, Ohio indy media:

Sunday, October 16, 2005

On October 15th, 2005 the National Socialist Movement (NSM) held a picket and march in northern Toledo, Ohio. The neighborhood the NSM planned to march in is an economically depressed predominately black area policed by a mainly white police force. The event was protested by members of various Anti-Racist Action chapters, the International Socialist Organization, and large numbers of people from the community itself. The ISO was dedicated to a non-violent approach while ARA was dedicated to disrupting the nazi march as much as possible. The nazis were forced to cancel their march after widespead rioting by members of the community.

Tensions were high that day, as large members of the community had stated they intended to disrupt the nazi march. Racial tensions were already high in the neighborhood as one white resident reportedly invited the NSM to have a rally there against "black violence" against him and other white members of the community. The community was angered by an already tense situation between the police and black members of the neighborhood and the city allowing a group of racists to insult them and march through their streets.

The day started at around 10am as approximately 100 people including members of the community, the ISO, and ARA protested a group of about 7 nazis standing on the lawn of a local high school. They were protected by an all-white force of police officers, some armed with semi-automatic rifles. Many of the officers were smiling and eventually forced the protestors across the street and brought in officers on bikes and horses to block the crowd on the sidewalk. Protestors used their phones to call their friends and family to come down and join them, and their numbers swelled.

As the nazis started their march people started throwing baseball-sized rocks at them and the police protecting them. The police were overwhelmed as the crowd surged forward and forced the nazis to retreat to their cars and leave the city. What followed was large-scale rioting against the police, with participants targeting police cars, media vehicles, and a military recruiter's vehicle.

Participants of the riot against the police numbered at least a thousand, and the severely outnumbered police force was forced to retreat as they were charged and pelted with stones and bottles. Many community members armed themselves with shovels and makeshift shields. Police cars were destroyed and officers on bicycles were attacked as they tried to make arrests. Large numbers of riot police in a shoulder-to-shoulder formation were driven back by the surging crowd. Community members shouted "Power to the people!" as they forced the police to retreat from their neighborhood. The police retreated and left their vehicles behind to have their windows shattered by advancing rioters.

The crowd was very diverse. Young and old, black and white fought together despite mainstream media claims that the participants were "mostly young black males" and "gang members". Whites and blacks fought side by side against the fascists and the police protecting them that day. Many anti-fascists who had come to counter the NSM joined with the community in their fight. It should be noted that the out of towners did not play an escalating role, and only played a supporting role in activities the community members were engaged in.

Over 100 people were arrested, and mainstream media reports 12 police officers were injured, although the number is probably much higher. One officer was in the hospital with a concussion after a brick came through her window and hit her in the head. Several of the anti-racist participants were also injured. One person was struck by a police SUV with shattered windows as it tried to escape the barrage of stones. The protestor got away with minor injuries.

The crowds dispersed later that day and the city declared a state of emergency and an 8pm curfew enforced on selected neighborhoods in the "problem" area. 20 people were arrested on curfew violations that night as over 100 officers patrolled the small neighborhood in North Toledo.

The NSM planned on marching against "black violence" and said they would "stand up to the gangs" in the neighborhood. They showed that they are disorganized and weak. When large numbers of people come out to oppose them they put their tail between their legs and run home to Virginia. The fractured white supremecist movement must be opposed every day like they were in Toledo. They are weak, divided, and we must oppose them every time their show their faces in public.


Johnny Ignit Antifa

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fighting the Fascists: A Small Victory Against the Minutemen and FOBP

This weekend from September 16-18 there were
protests and direct actions along the US-Mexico border
to stop vigilante groups such as the Minutemen and the
Friends of the Border Patrol (FOBP). There was a
borderless protest (people met on both sides of the
border and played a game of volleyball over the fence)
and various actions to stop the vigilantes, such as
confronting them at an FOBP traning session, storming
the building and refusing people access. Members of
Peninsula Anarchist Collective and other revolutionaries
from the Bay Area went down to San Diego and
Calexico. It appears that, at least temporarily, we
have forced the groups underground and they had to
cancel training sessions. In addition, our actions
were confrontational enough to turn off people from
joining the Minutemen and FOBP!

For more info, check out these websites:

http://deletetheborder.org/

http://organiccollective.org/

http://indybay.org/immigrant/

Below is an article about it.. report back still to
come.

Solidarity,
Peninsula Anarchist Collective.

Protesters, turnout shake up organizer
By Leslie Berestein
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

September 19, 2005

The organizer of an anti-illegal immigration group
that tried to kick off a large border-watch event over
the weekend, but met with lackluster turnout and
resistance from protesters, said yesterday that he may
take what there is of his operation underground.

"We're not scared," said Andy Ramirez, organizer of
Friends of the Border Patrol, but he added that he was
worried about his and participants' safety after a
run-in with protesters Saturday. "If it means that we
put our people out there quietly, then that's how we
do it."

Ramirez, 37, of Chino insisted that his plans to stage
civilian border patrols have not been canceled,
despite a low turnout of 25 participants for a
training session Saturday morning at the Mission
Valley Resort Hotel.

Some participants said others were scared away after a
confrontation with a small crowd of protesters at the
Scottish Rite center, where sign-ups were held
Saturday morning. Both sides accused the other of
shoving and one protester was cited. No one was
injured.

Ramirez, who for several months has promoted his plans
to stand up to immigrant smugglers and drug runners by
monitoring the border in San Diego and Imperial
counties, sounded rattled as he talked about his fear
of winding up "with a toe tag."

"We have to plan our security better," said Ramirez,
who accused the protesters of being violent. "We're
going to assess for the next few days, and we'll be
out there later this week."

Ramirez, who ran two unsuccessful campaigns for state
Assembly in the mid-1990s and has said he eventually
would like to run for office again, at one time said
that he had interest from 2,000 potential volunteers.

Last week he said he had trained 125 people, and that
30 to 40 of them had conducted secret patrols this
summer. Yesterday, he said there was just a skeleton
crew guarding private property where they had planned
to stage patrols, for fear of protesters.

Ramirez's waffling on plans for his operation, which
he organized after the relative success of the
Minuteman Project in Arizona last April, was welcomed
by opponents, who criticize the presence of civilian
patrols in Southern California.

"All he wanted was the media attention," said Enrique
Morones of Border Angels, a group that sets up desert
water stations for migrants, and one of the organizers
of an anti-border watch rally Saturday in Calexico
that drew about 300 people.

"California is not Arizona," Morones said. "One-third
of the population is Latino. We have been through
Proposition 187, and this is the Proposition 187 of
our time. Californians are against this type of
racism."

A recent Field Poll showed that a majority of
California voters, while concerned about illegal
immigration, do not approve of civilian border-watch
groups.

Robert Burns, an Orange County resident who was among
the few participants at the Saturday training session,
said yesterday that as far as he knew, plans were
still on for a second training session in a rural area
next weekend.

"I don't think what happened (Saturday) changed
anything," Burns, 44, said of the scuffle at the
Scottish Rite center. "But I do think it gave them a
little pause."

Leslie Berestein: (619) 542-4579;
leslie.berestein@uniontrib.com

Monday, August 22, 2005

Supporting Troops... Towards Mutiny

Counterpunch has a great review of the reprint of the
book
Soldiers In Revolt about the Vietnam War. I
think the peace movement has underestimated to what
degree rebellion in the armed forces caused the end of
the war in Vietnam. Personally, I think when people
talk about supporting our troops, I think we should be
more clear about what we support. For example, "I
support the troops when they rebel against their
officers." You can support them as human beings but
you don't support them as troops, since as troops they
slaughter people; that's their job. It's pretty
simple. These remarks are food for thought, hopefully
to raise discussion. Feel free to comment.

Check this out (from article):

"In an official report, Gen. William Westmoreland,
commander of U.S. armed forces during the war,
confessed that rebellion within the military during
the Vietnam period--including "underground activities,
racial antagonism, resistance to authority, drug
abuse, absenteeism, desertion, crime and battlefield
misconduct"--WAS A GREATER THREAT TO ORDER AND
DISCIPLINE THAN THE CIVILIAN ANTIWAR MOVEMENT(emphasis
added)."

The article's URL is:

http://www.counterpunch.com/smith08202005.html

Also, check out this wonderful pamhplet called
"Mutinies: Vietnam":

http://prole.info/pamphlets/mutiniesnam.pdf

This is about working class resistance to war. This
is about poverty stricken people tricked into being
sent off to war and causing a serious threat to the
interests of the elite. We shouldn't forget this
history AND WE SHOULD MAKE IT PART OF THE DEBATE in
progressive circles. Thanks for listening.

Solidarity,
Rob.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

A Response and Rebuttal to Our Points of Unity Statement

Dancing Dragon, in response to our Points of Unity Statement, wrote:

What about workers who are also landowners, or such? It's nearly impossible to separate people into black and white, one or the other. There are a lot of real people who work as cleaners, retail workers, in the working class, who also own land which they make money off of other people from, as one small example.

What is effective? Is violence effective? How effective have the War in Iraq and violence in Israel/Palestine, etc. been in achieving anything. Choosing effective tactics is good. But who can say what is effective...

To Dancing Dragon:

Thank you for your comment. I'll just clarify a little bit. When we say landowners, we of course stress people who own land that is used to take money away from people that the landowner does not rightly deserve. That money is a product of the labor of an individual and should, therefore, belong to the individual who worked for it, not the landowner. Anarchists during the Spanish Revolution burned land deeds and declared, "The people who live in the house own the house." I’m sure most anarchists understand that the landlord, not necessarily personally but as a job description, is part of the problem.

Personally, I don't know many retail clerks or house cleaners, as you suggest, that are also in roles of illegitimate authority, such as a landlord or a large business owner. The main problem, of course, are corporations who own large tracts of land, the airwaves, control wage-slaves, etc. We have to understand though that the problem lies very deep in the structure of the institutions of society. If we truly believe in democracy, in democratic institutions, we have to understand that capitalism inherently breeds top-down structures, which are not democratic at all. Therefore, we must oppose capitalism in all its parasitic forms, including the landlord. Again, the landlord or CEO might be a good person in his personal life. So were many Good Germans though. And I don't think many working class people, as you suggest, have that kind of authority.

As far as violence goes, I think you've missed the point. We don't say we're for violence. We simply state that the movement should be pragmatic rather than dogmatic when it comes to tactics. On top of that, I think you're confusing the violence of the oppressed with the violence of the oppressor, something we warn against in our Points of Unity Statement. You ask has violence been effective in Iraq and Israel? To answer your question: yes, it has been. Violence has been very effective in those cases for the ruling elites of the U.S. to push their economic and military goals through. However, these tactics are very different than tactics that could bring social change. The tactics you describe only as violent are part of a strategy to maintain and strengthen the status quo.

You then at the end imply that violence is never effective and, rather contradictory, write, “But who can say what is effective…” We certainly can't say for certain.But, for those who do care about creating fundamental social change, we should think about what is effective rather than sticking to the same old pacifist and militant arguments. That’s all our Points of Unity Statement suggests.
I would further suggest you look at the role of violence in social change a little closer. For a recent and quick example, in Bolivia, protests have forced their president out of office and, dare I say, there was violence at times. They also, thorough militant struggle, forced Bechtel to stop being in control of privatized water, making water publicly owned once again. Another example: in decolonization struggles, there was heavy violence in social change. However, I would say most social change movements are at least 90% nonviolent in their tactics. If you’re interested in reading more, I suggest you read Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth or Ward Churchill’s Pacifism as Pathology.

The question of tactics is something that must be learned about through both theory AND action. Unfortunately, I see less people learning about tactics through action, which is depressing considering the fact that it’s action that will create social change. Action, that is, that has realistic goals and tactics. Hopefully we can learn to think more critically about these important subjects.

We have to understand, as well, how we in the Left play into the hands of what the ruling classes want us to do. Yes, they want violence from the oppressed that they can use to justify further repressing the population. But they would also prefer passivity. Not just apathy, but passive tactics as well. Chomsky writes:

“From the doubly privileged position of the American scholar, the transcendent importance of order, stability, and nonviolence (by the oppressed) seems entirely obvious; to others, the matter is not so simple. If we listen, we hear such voices as this, from an economist in India:

“’It is disingenuous to invoke ‘democracy,’ due process of law,’ ‘nonviolence,’ to rationalize the absence of action. For meaningful concepts under such conditions become meaningless since, in reality, they justify the relentless pervasive exploitation of the masses; at once a denial of democracy and a more sinister form of violence perpetrated on the overwhelming majority through contractual forms’ (From Chomsky on Anarchism, p. 19).”

Chomsky goes onto say “Moderate American scholarship does not seem capable of comprehending these simple truths.”

To those seriously committed to doing away with injustice and the organizations that perpetuate it, the question of nonviolence vs. violence is not so clean cut. There must be more debate and, more importantly, more action, before we become too dogmatic on the question.

Solidarity,

Rob of the Peninsula Anarchist Collective.