Saturday, November 20, 2010

Resistance Rising Tour w/ Holy! Holy! Holy!, Young O'odham United Through Health, & O'odham Solidarity Across Borders this Tuesday in Tempe!

We're excited for a couple of events coming up next week as Holy! Holy! Holy!'s Resistance Rising tour arrives for a couple of different gatherings in the valley, including one that we're hosting at ASU's main campus on Tuesday. If you read my buddy P.I.'s piece on the tour last week (check it out if you haven't yet), you have a good idea of what the HHH! folks plan to bring to the table, however we're pleased to announce some additions to this Tuesday's line-up. We're excited to have two groups of indigenous people join the line up to speak on the ongoing efforts to resist the colonialism of the occupied O'odham lands we are on.

The first addition comes from some younger people from the Tohono O'odham nation in southern Arizona who are hard at work on restoring strength to the people through food sovereignty. Since 2008 Young O'odham United Through Health (YOUTH) has been active in sharing traditional food and farming practices to empower Tohono O'odham youth, as well as organizing music and cultural events showcasing the talents of O'odham youth. Two of the youth mentors involved in the program will be making the trip up to Tempe to speak on the struggles and success they've experienced in building youth social, mental, and physical well being.

We're pleased to announce that our second addition to the bill comes is our comrades from the O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective (OSABC), a grouping of Phoenix-area based Akimel O'odham and Tohono O'odham youth who are pushing the struggle against the colonialism of their traditional lands. OSABC will be sharing their experiences with the struggle against colonialism and settler privilege in our movements, and what this means for the broader fight against the systems of exploitation, dispossession, and control.

The YOUTH project and OSABC are truly complementary examples illustrating that the struggle against colonialism is not simply an offensive- but also a mission to nurture, uplift, and prepare the future generations for the tasks ahead.

So once again, we have the night kicking off with a presentation from H!H!H! (along with selections of Franklin Lopez's new film end:civ), is followed by YOUTH's talk on food sovereignty and O'odham youth empowerment, and we'll close out with OSABC speaking on resisting the colonialism in our political movements and from those in power.

The Resistance Rising tour featuring Holy! Holy! Holy!, YOUTH, and OSABC will be held this coming Tuesday, November 23, in room 105 of Armstrong Hall (Sandra Day O'Conner College of Law) , at the ASU main campus in Tempe. Armstrong Hall is located on the southwest corner of McAllister Ave. & Terrace Rd. on the eastside of campus.

For those driving to the presentation there is a visitor parking garage just north of Armstrong hall on McAllister Ave. & Tyler St., all parking is free at this garage if you leave after 7 PM (payment is on exit), so you won't have to pay if you decide to park there for our event. The presentation will begin at 7PM, we have the room open for seating at 6:30, so it's a good idea to stop by with a little time to spare because we will be starting promptly at 7.

This event is free, but we are requesting that people donate money if they can to help cover the travel costs of our speakers.

Finally: Don't forget that Holy! Holy! Holy! is a real live band too, and some friends of ours have organized a live show the next night (8 PM Wednesday, the 24th) at Conspire (5th st. and Garfield) in downtown Phoenix featuring H!H!H! along with Di Nigumim, Travis James, Daryl Sherrer , and DxBx. I'm sure there will be a few other surprises as well, so please support both wonderful events this week in the valley!

No thanks, No giving! No border patrol on O'odham land!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photo of the Day: Undercover Blues at November 13th Anti-NSM action!

When myself and JR were in Barcelona a few years ago we happened to find ourselves in a really fun squatter anti-eviction riot in which a bunch of banks were fucked up, buildings were occupied, graffiti was thrown up everywhere, billboards were wheatpasted and a freeway was occupied. It was a blast. There was a really cool rally beforehand with all kinds of theater, fireworks and music. Quite impressive. They really had their shit together.

For the most part, until the freeway was taken over, the cops stayed at the back, kind of lurking back there or lingering on the margins. But once we all hopped the wall and got on the freeway, they finally let loose on us with everything they had, rubber bullets, batons and the usual. Quite exciting. Afterward, I remember being on the train, breathless from running, telling some Spanish guy, himself bleeding from a vicious welt inflicted by the cops, that we'd never seen anything like that in the US, and wasn't that too bad.

One tactic that the squatters used against the police in particular caught our attention. In order to keep plain clothes cops out of their march, they had constructed several stylized, giant fingers that pointed down towards the ground, saying "police" on them. The fingers were attached to poles so that they rose clearly above the crowd, in plain view of everyone. People carrying those signs would follow cops through the crowd, calling them out and driving them out. It seemed to work like a charm.

So, we've kicked around doing something similar here for quite a while but never did it, mostly because it seemed like we never needed to. However, the recent rise of the police tactic of using plain clothes snatch squads to infiltrate and grab people from within our marches and rallies reminded us of what we'd seen in Barcelona. So, before the anti-NSM action a couple of them were constructed and taken to the courthouse on the appointed day. They worked like a charm. In fact, one set of plain clothes cops fled never to be seen again that day. It says a lot that the only people arrested were grabbed after the action, I think. Of course, that means we need to think of ways to stop that from happening next.

So, our photo of the day shows one happy militant putting the tactic into practice. Look at the smile on his face! And the frustration on the officer's! Priceless!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More video and music from Saturday's confrontation with the NSM

Many folks from Az have probably seen this video but I thought I'd repost it here for our many readers from out of state. It was shot by local videographer Dennis Gilman who was right in the thick of the action. He got some good footage. I still haven't seen any footage of the Nazis choking when that smoke bomb exploded right in the middle of them. I'd sure like to see some responsibly edited footage of that.

Below Gilman's video you'll find the latest local anti-Nazi jam burning up the charts like a cop on fire. I love the increasing creation of music around anarchist actions in town. Keep it coming, the more ways we build our oppositional culture and celebrate and spread the stories of our resistance, the stronger and more broadly understood our resistance will become.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

N-S-M and P-P-D, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

Remember that photo from January 16th? Some may recall some months back, around January, when anarchists and others called out local immigrant organizations for collaborating with the police. The movement's leadership had decided that they would play with the Phoenix PD as part of their PR game with Sheriff Joe (they are each other's willing foil). They invited the cops into their planning meetings for what was then the most recent in a seemingly unending series of funeral procession-like marches to Arpaio's jails that stretched, like the domesticated anti-war marches of years before, into infinity towards both horizons with no end in sight. It was political pragmatism at its worst, since the PPD actually deports more people than the Sheriff Department does. Still, at the January 16th mobilization, the movement leaders worked closely with the Phoenix PD as it marched against Sheriff Arpaio.

This dance with the devil ended that day for most anarchists and anti-authoritarians with the police attack on the DO@ Bloc, a truly historic convergence of anarchists and revolutionary anti-authoritarian indigenous folks from around the state, which was an expedient conclusion for a movement leadership that was increasingly having to deal with anarchist and anti-authoritarian criticisms about the tameness, boringness and ineffectiveness of the struggle against the increasingly worrisome rise of the racist Right here in Arizona. Likewise the marginalization of many indigenous people within the movement and the hostility of the leadership to arguments that brought white people into situations that opposed white supremacy and controls on movement stood out to many of us as more than just problematic given the reactionary political circumstances.

We later found out as a result of the investigation following the Arpaio Five arrests that the police/movement collaboration had resulted in the compilation of a snatch/watch list which cops used to pick out particular people for arrest that day. Our understanding is that this list was in police possession ahead of time, placing more than a little doubt on the mainstream dialog about the police attack that says that cops were forced to attack by anarchist provocations. I myself was shadowed by cops while in the park and a comrade reported overhearing the officers talking about me. This was before the march.

At the time, the soft activist middle, eventually including almost every out of state radical who parachuted into town for the summer's glorious and oh-so-activist-hip fight over SB1070, refused to listen to anarchist criticisms of the cozy relationship between cops and the movement leaders, defending them without listening to local criticisms from people who had interacted with them for years. When we pointed out the obvious problems with working with cops tasked with deporting the base of the movement, not to mention the PPD's increasingly obvious corrupt and violent nature, we were treated like we had broken some taboo.

Denouncing us as sectarian, out of town activists and movement heavies combined to attempt to impose the most watered-down bourgeois popular front framework on a movement that by then was justifiably itching for radical action, regardless of whether it alienated the political middle (or forced them to choose a side). The time for moral appeals to the white center was clearly and at long last over for many people who itched for a fight back.

Well, here we are almost a year since January 16th and the latest clash with the National Socialist Movement offers us a perfect lesson that will be hard to ignore. Below you will find photos and video showing without a doubt the level of police collaboration with the NSM. For movement leaders to maintain their relationships with this racist organization in the face of this kind of evidence will be difficult indeed, although we've seen the kinds of political gymnastics they're capable of, so don't rule it out!

In this first picture you can see the NSM getting ready for a fight, surrounded by cops. Note how they are turning their flags upside down and wrapping them up to make clubs. You don't see any cops stopping them, do you? How many is that? I count at least five, maybe six, flags turned into weapons in this picture. This is not to say that we anti-fascists didn't come planning on disrupting their march -- we did. It's just worth noting the police complicity with their supposed "free speech" march. Notice also JT Ready on the far left in the glasses with the goatee marching with them. I'll come back to the significance of this a little later.

In this second photo, below, you can see an officer of the PPD (note his badge on his belt) giving an order for the NSM to stop marching. Indeed, at one point a cop was seen directing the NSM formation to tighten up.

Need more proof? Check out this video that clearly shows the cooperation between the Phoenix cops and the NSM throughout the entire march. Note how the police clear the sidewalk, moved the NSM into the street and then direct them forward.

Speaking of that, now consider this next photo! Clearly visible here are Phoenix cops with riot gear and shields standing side by side on the skirmish line with NSM shield-bearers while they blast pepper spray in the face of a protester (who is just out of the picture).

Finally, review this footage from the news. Local videographer Dennis Gilman is interviewed about his experience on Saturday. He shows the reporter some footage of everybody's favorite huggy bear Nazi, JT Ready, being allowed to pass through the police line to antagonize protesters. Later he did it again but was attacked with spit, bottles and firecrackers. Again, the cops did nothing to stop him. It seems like Nazis can come and go through the police line at will.

As Dennis points out in this interview, the cops actually extended the Nazi's permit so they could still hold their rally. This after we had held the NSM and the cops at bay in the street for well over an hour, past its expiration time. Escorting Nazis, giving them orders, letting them pass through their lines, sharing the front line with them, extending their permit -- at what point can we finally say out loud what so many of the victims of the police already know: the police are the violent arm of the state, determined to defend the existing order, whether through their own routine violence (rarely remarked upon in the dominant discourse) or, if need be, through collaboration with fascists. Either way, it's a war machine on the working class, intent on attacking and disrupting our attempts at wresting from them control of our own lives.

So what is a movement to do in the face of this obvious collusion between the white fascist street and the white fascist state? Will movement leaders just ignore it like they did on January 16th and continue to work with the murderous bastards of the PPD? Or can the movement finally understand that the cops are as much the enemy as the NSM is? It's not like this is a different Phoenix Police Department. It's the same force as in January. And it's not like they're acting differently. If you need a refresher, scroll back up to the photo introducing this article.

In fact there's actually more reason to worry about the cops, really, because as of now the Nazis don't have detention camps or deportation powers. But the police do. If someone is deported or delivered into state custody, they pass first directly through the hands of the police. Arguments that cops are just doing their jobs hold little water in terms of a defense -- after all, don't these ridiculous assertions just reinforce all the arguments anarchists make for the elimination of police entirely? But seeing the willing and natural alliance between police and Nazis has got to raise doubts in even their most stalwart defenders, I would think. No, the police are part of the problem.

If the mainstream movement leaders continue their relationships with these Nazi-lovers, then one can only presume that they find some utility in keeping them around. It can't be because it advances the struggle against the State, however, because here we are many years into this failed strategy and thousands upon thousands have been deported or, out of fear from the police more than Nazis, have self-deported themselves.

So, did we see that usefulness to the movement leadership on January 16th? Are the police convenient not because they advance the movement's larger goals of stopping deportations, but instead because they push forward the movement leadership's desire to police the radical, militant wing of the movement? As Grace, arrested that day and then blackmailed into taking a plea agreement, heads to jail next week, I know I'll be pondering that question with great interest.

Joke of the Day: Phoenix Cops banner drop removal FAIL!

Yesterday's wildly successful confrontation with the National Socialist Movement had many highlights and it's hard to pick out just one. Everyone really brought their 'A-game', for sure. The barricades, the rocks raining down on fascists' heads, the smoke bombs, the fact that we held the NSM at a standstill in the street for well over an hour (past the expiration of their original permit) -- there was a lot to celebrate. In the second in our occasional "joke of the day" series, I thought I would share what I thought was one of the day's funnier moments.

I should say, however, that there was some tough competition for today's prize. The RCP showed up at the rally, sporting matching Bob Avakian shirts (or is it John Goodman?) and hawking their pathetic little rag to unsuspecting victims. An audible laugh went out from the crowd when, just as things were really heating up in the street, someone noticed that the RCP was sitting idly by on the sidewalk holding a banner. "Where's 'the leadership we need' when we need it?" the call went out. The RCP, useless and backward, had no answers. Typical. I can't wait to read their imaginative little write up about the action. I'm sure the anarchist bloc will be transformed into steady Maoist cadre and the anarchist and anti-fascist banners and flags will become the RCP's "flag on a flag" and Avakian stencils. Hi-larious, to be sure! So, RCP gets an honorable mention.

But on to the winner. Before the NSM showed up, some enterprising anarchos dropped a fantastic anti-fascist banner off the parking structure across the street from where the boneheads were going to rally. It took a while for the dimwitted cops to notice it up there but when they did, a troop of riot cops was dispatched to remove it. Stomping up the stairwell, they split up into a couple groups and attempted to pull it down.

Hilarity ensued. Congratulations PPD on your well-deserved award! Enjoy:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Things to think about regarding Saturday's anti-NSM action.

As Saturday's creative and diverse response to the National Socialist Movement's pathetic racist rally draws closer, I thought I'd do a short "inside baseball" post for anarchists and anti-authoritarians covering some of my thoughts on what is to come as well as to suggest some video for review from past anti-fascist formations in England.

Above I have posted above the first part of a five part documentary about the group Anti-Fascist Action, which in England in the 80's and 90's fought back Nazi attempts to take over the punk scene and stood up in defense of themselves, foreigners and people of color. The video does a really good job showing the various ways they challenged the boneheads, talking about what worked and what didn't, as well as showing how the fascists tried to exert their influence and build their power.

There are some problems with anti-fascism as a political orientation, however, that deserve pointing out. This is not to say that fascists should not be opposed! They should be. The important thing to look out for is to prevent the formation of common or popular fronts. Authoritarian leftists often try to use the cover of anti-fascism to try to neutralize libertarian organizing and to impose their own sad Stalinoid politics on movements, seeking to consolidate and centralize them and, in the end, to destroy their revolutionary or insurrectionary potential.

In a sense, even though it's a bit of a sequel, it's might be helpful to look at Saturday's event as a one off. That is, relations between people and groups that go beyond already existing affinity at the action should be thought of as autonomous relations that are not permanent or binding but exist temporarily at the event. These relations can be informative and supportive, and they can build trust. But while people may have similar short-term goals, this should not be mistaken for long-term unity. True, we want unity against the NSM in that everyone there on Saturday stands against them, but we must watch those who would seek to coalesce the forces of resistance under their banner or to seek to thrust their face in front of the media's cameras.

Generally those kinds of demands come from authoritarians who want unity on their own narrow terms, and under their firm control. Think of the RCP, always there with the "leadership we need" when we don't need it! We have faith in the creativity and self-activity of people, not in self-appointed leaders. So, we must maintain our autonomy. Liberals and leftists and anarchists (and even right libertarians and constitutionalists if last year is any indicator) may come together for this action, and there is every reason to believe that we will complement each others' tactics like we did before, but this does not mean we give up our own politics or longer term goals. We make progress when we understand and respect each others' differences as well as our similarities, not when we form permanent alliances, become superficially more like each other or sublimate our politics to those of others.

And, as for tactics, I think we should be prepared to defend the idea of a diversity of tactics. This is not to say that we advocate or demand any particular response to the NSM, just that we should reject the tendency of some people, activists and leftists in particular but not limited to them, to generalize and impose onto others their own personal choices in terms of how best to oppose the fascists. Let's face it, the liberal activist generally has a very limited experience with the tools in the resistance toolbox, so there's no reason why they ought to be telling anyone what to do. Tactics are by nature situational, so there is no sense permitting ideology to ossify resistance into certain pre-determined ideological forms.

So be vigilant for the activist! Also, be prepared for the fact that no matter what anarchists do or do not do, or what individual anarchists do or do not do, we will likely be denounced by everyone with authority or seeking authority. That's just par for the course. And didn't many of them embarrassingly denounce us before the Inglourious Basterds Bloc last year? I sure haven't forgotten. Look for them this time. As those who refuse to be governed, we anarchists and anti-authoritarians are always frowned upon by those who seek to govern, whether they be activists, media, police or government. These people are not our audience, so don't worry about them.

See ya on Saturday! Fuck the NSM!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Coming soon: Resistance Rising Tour!

November is a busy month for us. The 13th, of course, marks the triumphant return of the Inglourious Basterds Bloc, as we go for round two against the National Socialist Movement at the Sandra Day O'Conner Federal Courthouse. As comrade Jon Riley pointed out in his recent preview of the action, the dare is on: can we do better than last time? Although it will be tough to exceed last year's clear victory, it looks promising indeed! Handing those fascists a second defeat will feel good and being in the street with friends from last year will feel great! For those interested in some of our thoughts on the NSM, you might want to check out our essay, "The NSM offers nothing for the white working class but more exploitation and misery".

After the 13th, PCWC is happy to be bringing the rawkus Holy! Holy! Holy! to town to present their Resistance Rising tour to Valley anarchos. H!H!H! is performing at various spots on their tour, including a house show here in town, but in addition to the jams they're also hoping to set up discussions and presentations, including extended excerpts from Franklin Lopez's (subMedia, End of the World As We Know It...) soon to be completed End:Civ film. Initially we had planned to book the whole event, including a show the night of, but as things worked themselves out it seemed like it would be better to host the discussions and film. We have the date (Tuesday, November 23rd) but not the venue quite figured out yet, so this post is just a teaser for now. Check back for the details in a few days.

This week on John Zerzan's Anarchy Radio broadcast, H!H!H! joined him and discussed their tour and what they hope to accomplish. They were kind enough to give a shout out to PCWC and the DO@ Bloc from last January, and expressed what seemed like quite a bit of interest in the goings on here in Arizona. I recommend listening to the show to get an idea of what they're going to bring to town. Given that, I thought it would be a good time to take the opportunity to explore some of the potential commonalities we may have with these soon-to-be new comrades from the Northwest.

It's perhaps quite appropriate that the DO@ bloc was mentioned, as our community, though undeterred, is still suffering the repercussions from the police/liberal attack that day. Some face jail terms in the near future and others still face trial. The combination we projected that day, calling out both the cops and the liberal organizers that collaborate with them while forging the beginnings of new alliances not seen in this region, was too much for the state to bear, and as we all remember the cops brought out the horses, pepper spray and truncheons at the end. The irony of that attack, from my perspective, is that the only conflict we expected that day was with the Nazis and other racists, who had announced that they were going to intercept the march. Is it any surprise, then, in hindsight that the same leftists who denounced us as "crazies" for taking on the NSM in November of last year, would join forces with the cops to attack us that day in January?

So, one thing that appeals to me about the Resistance Rising tour is the rejection of the left. Regular readers of this blog will know that we find a lot of value in the post-leftist analysis, as well as fanatical politics. Which is to say that we reject the notion of the common front, or that we necessarily have anything beyond perhaps short term and incidental goals from time to time in common with the left. This doesn't mean we have moved to the right, however it does mean that joint projects with the left, when they must happen, should be engaged in from a critical and autonomous perspective, and they must be temporary. When we look at anarchy and compare it to the various leftist tendencies, we don't see a lot in common in terms of the world we want or how we want to get there (or when we want to get there). In other words, just because we may both be critical or even opposed to capitalism doesn't negate our other differences.

PCWC sometimes gets some shit for this, and we are occasionally denounced as sectarian and other such things by refusing to support authoritarians on the left. Somehow we're supposed to go after the Nazis, but leave the RCP alone. We're allowed to call out the libertarians but not the liberals. But, as the reaction from the left in Phoenix to the police attack on the DO@ bloc goes to show, they have little, if any loyalty to us. Why we should defend what is at best an abusive relationship and a political compromise, and at worst a suicide pact, is quite beyond us. What fanaticism then brings to the table is the advocacy of attack on the middle. In some ways it even goes beyond post-leftism, pointing a way for its implementation, perhaps. The goal of the revolutionary, in our eyes and informed by fanaticism is simple in the end: polarize and mobilize!

Beyond the rejection of the left as a defacto point of alliance, another thing that I like about the Resistance Rising tour is its situating of primitivist ideas within the context of resistance. For us at PCWC, while primitivism has been influential, as with most political tendencies, we take what we think is interesting and do not necessarily feel wedded to the rest. For instance, we see connections to primitivism in our hatred of work and our fears for the planet's survival, among other things. We don't see it in contradiction to our desire to bring class war to the capitalists and bureaucrats.

For PCWC, primitivism has always been most useful as a critique of the existing order rather than an identity or an ideology. It points to a time when humans didn't suffer the hierarchical domination that, once introduced with copious fire and blood, but the boiling reduced to a simmer for now, has become the lukewarm bath in which we all soak, hardly even noticing at times. In this day and age of high tech controls, extreme alienation, genocide, global unending war and environmental collapse, I think anarchists ignore primitivism at their own peril. I suppose it'd be fair to say that for us those old Red/Green arguments of the last decade really didn't make much sense. As usual, we say take what's worth taking and leave the rest.

In fact, what primitivism says most of all is that humans evolved to be anarchists. That is, they evolved to be egalitarian in egalitarian conditions. It also points anarchists in directions where we can begin to appreciate indigenous ways of living, which in turn intersects with imperialism, colonialism, white supremacy and the collapsing environment. In my opinion, I think it would have been unlikely that the DO@ would have emerged, considering our part in it at least, had we not already been primed for it through our race traitor politics, but also because of our appreciation for the ideas we got from primitivism.

Anarchism is not alone amongst political ideologies in terms of having taken far too long to look and consider the lives and struggles of Native peoples, but I think that primitivism has helped open many, especially white, anarchist's eyes to it, whereas more industrial-oriented politics have ignored, condescended or sometimes worse. This is also not to say that primitivism as an ideology does not have its own issues, as it sometimes romanticizes indigenous peoples and their societies in ways that are worthy of criticism.

And, indeed, the fact that the strongholds of primitivism -- while inspiring with night time actions in the early 2000's -- have seemed to suffer until recently at least from a lack of moving the politics from a generalized radical environmentalism to a genuine solidarity with indigenous peoples of the area (i.e., one that does not invisibilize them or romanticize them) highlights some of the weaknesses of a anti-totality politics that seems too often to turn inwards to re-wilding skillshares than towards action. But overall the rise of primitivism did, at least for us, help create a point of departure that had often been lacking within the anarchist milieu, and that's good.

When we consider it, this connection to a real history of egalitarian living, stretching from hundreds of thousands of years back until the present day in many, many parts of the world, help us explain why every new level of domestication imposed on us, whether the imposition of patriarchy, or white supremacy, colonialism or capitalism, has been violent to the extreme. The witch trials, the forming of the slavocracy, the imposition of capitalist relations and the destruction of the commons, the continuing invasions of the lands and lives of indigenous peoples, the rise of the imperialist system -- all of these have come against the will of vast numbers of people, often the majority.

But these systems weren't imposed violently merely because they are violent systems, although clearly they are. They were imposed through violence because we resist them, often with violence of our own, but also with shirking, stealing, sabotaging, escaping. Seeing the enemy, we join the fight. Our determination to remain free, or as free as possible, in the face of the many assaults of capital, the state, colonialism, patriarchy and white supremacy make the violence necessary to force us back in line, or to reorganize our ways in accordance with the desires of the new boss.

And this is what I take from primtivism: a memory thousands of years old of resistance and struggle against the imposition of domestication of all kinds. Of man over woman, human over nature, boss over worker, colonizer over colonized, and on and on. One need not be a primitivist to recognize this, I think. The message transcends ideology. At the end, it's a lesson in possibilities.