Thursday, February 24, 2011

Update on the trial of the Border Patrol 6, two arrested at solidarity rally by Tucson PD

Below are two updates from the Border Patrol 6 (BP6) trial and the corresponding anti-borders solidarity march, both took place on Wednesday down in Tucson. From all accounts the BP6 lawyers were on their game and had the state on their heals through out the day, while at the march two people were arrested after allegedly hanging a banner. Check out the news article on the day's events, along with a new communique from the BP6. Thanks to Ray for the photos.

Border Patrol Headquarters Occupation Protesters Stand Trial to Fight Charges. Two Arrested During March to End Border Militarization and Racist Laws

Tucson, AZ – On February 23, 2011 More than 40 protestors took to the streets – two were arrested – while six people who locked-down and occupied the US Border Patrol (BP) – Tucson Headquarters on May 21, 2010 stood trial fighting charges of "criminal trespassing" and “disorderly conduct.”

Lawyers William G. Walker and Jeffrey J. Rogers represented the six as the city prosecutor called Border Patrol agents and Tucson Police to testify.

The defense argued the trespassing charge was not properly filed and were granted a request to file a memorandum addressing the technicality.

The trial is expected to continue on March 22, 2011. Corresponding rallies and actions are being planned.

At 1:30 pm people gathered in downtown Tucson at Library Park for a rally and then took the streets with banners reading, “Indigenous Resistance, Protect Sacred Places”, “Free Movement for People Not Commerce, Tear Down the Wall” and chanting “No Borders, No Border Patrol.”

Two people were arrested for allegedly hanging a banner that read “Las Paredes Vueltas de su Lado son Puentes (Torn Down Walls Become Bridges)” on a street traffic light. They were arraigned and released at 8pm at Pima County Corrections.

Additional banners were hung at various locations throughout Tucson stating “Egypt, Wisconsin, O’odham Solidarity”, “No raids, No deportations, No colonialism” and “Stop Militarization on Indigenous Lands”

O’odham Elders attended the court proceedings to demonstrate their support.

Donations can be made to support direct action efforts through Border Opposition Action Fund at


Communiqué from the occupiers of the Border Patrol Headquarters in Tucson, AZ

We demand that the Border Patrol (BP), Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE), their parent entity, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Obama administration end militarization of the border, end the criminalization of immigrant communities, and end their campaign of terror which rips families apart through increasing numbers of raids and deportations.

The state thrives off of the climate of terror and fear that racist laws like HB2281 and SB1070, and new proposed laws like SB1611, 1308, 1309, 1405, have caused. This terror also manifests with thousands of troops invading indigenous lands, such as the Tohono O’odham, Yaqui, Kickapoo, Lipan Apache, to name a few. Since the creation of the current U.S./Mexico border, 45 O’odham villages on or near the border have been completely depopulated. This terror manifests with the bones of thousands – making the southern Arizona desert a grave yard, where the hopes and dreams of migrant families are stomped into the ground by border patrol agents, National Guard, minute men, and profiteering coyotes.

Through the military strategy of terror and fear the state maintains power and control.

We take direct action because we have decided not to be afraid. We are more afraid of not standing up to the state and what other crimes against humanity will be committed if it remains unchallenged.

We are not guilty of criminal trespassing or disorderly conduct.

The state, and by extension the border patrol, is guilty of occupying and destroying indigenous communities and ripping families apart. The development of the border wall has led to desecration of ancestor’s graves, it has divided communities and prevents them from accessing sacred places. When will this end?

These buildings, the court house, are made of brick and mortar and are the same brick and mortar that are the operation streamline immigration court just down the street. It is a direct manifestation of this system’s criminalization, where in the 3 hours that we’re in court today, nearly 100 people will be detained, adjudicated and deported through the streamline process.

Who are these building for? Who do they benefit? These are the same brick and mortar prisons are made of. It’s the same steel and concrete that is ripped from Mother Earth that’s used to build the border wall.

Politicians aren’t going to negotiate away our oppression. They are sitting in the chairs in their offices that are built on it. Our oppressors can only maintain their oppression as long as we are afraid of them.

If they are not going to do it, then we are going to find creative and direct ways to ensure that our communities are safe. We recognize that this is not going to happen within the walls of these institutions, these walls, these borders. It’s only going to happen if we tear them down. What does that look like?

Let’s come together, strategize, and embrace diverse tactics to effectively become the answer.

Today we also shed the term immigrant that has been used to attack our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, and children, many of whom are also indigenous, and to acknowledge and help restore the full human dignity that has been stripped away. To be immigrant should not be considered a crime unless 99 % of the U.S. is going to be ashamed and guilty of their pasts.

Our relatives are attacked on both sides of the border by colonial governments. The migration that the U.S. government is attempting to stop is driven more than anything else by the economic policies of the U.S. Free trade agreements such as NAFTA have severely reduced the ability of Mexicans and others from the global south to sustain themselves by permitting corporations to extract huge amounts of wealth and resources from these countries into the U.S. This has led to millions of people risking the terror and death that so many face to cross into the U.S. looking for ways to better support their families.

If the U.S. really intends on reducing migration it must end its policies of exploitation and wealth extraction targeted at the global south and instead pursue policies of economic, environmental and social justice for all human beings on the planet, thus reducing the drive to immigrate. But are they really going to do that?

Direct Action is about Direct Democracy. Building community is about communication, having respect for each other and doing something.

This is a struggle for freedom of movement and self-determination for all!
No racist laws, No colonial borders, WE WILL NOT STOP!

For more info:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Border Patrol 6 prepare for trial and call for resistance, as the Arpaio 5 cases come to an end

The six people who locked down at the Tucson sector Border Patrol headquarters last May, demanding the end of border militarization amongst many other anti-border demands, are fighting their charges and calling for additional action. While their trial kicks off in Tucson tomorrow, there will be a concert benefiting the Border Patrol 6 (BP6) organized by the comrades from the Border Opposition Action Fund to be held at the Dry River Radical Resource Center tonight featuring bands and speakers.

The BP6 are also asking for people to join them this week at the opening of their trial at 2PM on Wednesday, February 23 at the Tucson City Court, located at 103 E. Alameda St. Tucson, AZ. Their will be a solidarity presence that will be meeting up at the Joel D. Valdez Pima County Public Library (101 North Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ) at 1:30 PM for a rally and march to the city court. The event organizers are requesting that people interested in attending the rally bring signs and banners, instruments and other noise-makers, and comfortable walking shoes.

In addition to the calls for solidarity at the trial, the BP6 issued a statement earlier this month in which they announced their decision to take their trespassing cases to trial. Along with this information they included a series of demands so vast that they aren't so much demands to be answered by the federal government, but rather giving direction to those struggling against border militarization, as if to say "these are the steps to take for the dissolution of the national territorial boundary along the southwestern United States." Thoroughly anti-colonial, it addresses the necessity of free movement for O'odham people, the original inhabitants of this occupied territory, but it doesn't end there.

Yes, the border wall suffocates the O'odham communities on the other side of the border line, but O'odham people also suffer through the manned checkpoints, the camera eyes of the aerial drones, and the disturbance of cultural practices and sacred sites caused by the Border Patrol and its agents. However, the O'odham do not suffer alone, nor do they resist alone. Hundreds of miles east of the southern Arizona borderlands, there are Lipan Apache grassroots efforts resisting the same imposition of the border wall and subsequent militarization in their own traditional lands.

The authors of the BP6 trial statement didn't have a narrow definition of solidarity in mind when they wrote this document. Instead of calling for a single solidarity rally to correspond with their trial, the BP6 are saying that the best way to show solidarity with them is to take action against the systems of control and domination behind the border apparatus. One of the things I really liked about the call for solidarity is that it links the state's attacks on migrants through legislation and criminalization, the federally granted police powers for cops to terrorize and racially profile communities of color, and the militarization of indigenous lands by the military and federal police agencies as equal parts of the ongoing colonial attack on non-white people in the southwest.

The occupation of the border patrol lobby placed the struggle against borders not as a component of the mainstream immigrant movement and the fight against SB 1070, but rather that the movement in defense of immigrants is situated within the centuries old resistance to colonialism from the indigenous peoples of Arizona. Similarly, as it was pointed out in the DOA statement last year:
We recognize what appears to be an unending historical condition of forced removal here in the Southwestern so-called US. From the murdering of O'odham Peoples and stealing of their lands for the development of what is now known as the metropolitan Phoenix area, to the ongoing forced relocation of more than 14,000 Diné who have been uprooted for the extraction of natural resources just hours north of here, we recognize that this is not a condition that we must accept, it is a system that will continue to attack us unless we act.

Whether we are migrants deported for seeking to organize our own lives (first forced to migrate to a hostile country for work) or working class families foreclosed from our houses, we see the same forces at work. Indeed, in many cases the agents of these injustices are one and the same.

We wish our friends and comrades luck this week as they travel to Tucson to face these charges. Drop all charges against the BP6, free movement for all!

A final update on the Arpaio 5

As another resistance trial begins, the final two cases of the five valley anti-authoritarians and anarchists who were arrested at last year's anti-Arpaio march have finally come to an end. Both Claire and Garyn chose to take their cases to trial, they were tried in a bench trial (no sitting jury, just the judge), and were correct to be confident in their ability to walk away with a "not guilty" decision from the judge. We at PCWC were very happy to hear that our comrades left the courtroom victorious, over a year after their arrests, the state's flimsy case against Claire and Garyn fell apart in under two days of testimony.

As any witness to the police attack at last year's January 16 demonstration can attest, the undercover cops and uniformed snatch squads made arbitrary arrests as they moved through the clouds of pepper spray grabbing who they could. Through the heavy doses of pepper spray it was just as clear that the police had a political motivation in attacking and isolating the militant section of the march, creating a lasting rift between sections of the mainstream movement and those critical of the movement's leadership and strategy.

Perhaps one of the biggest disappointments to come out of the events on January 16 was the manner with which Phoenix New Times columnist Stephen Lemons portrayed the police attack. As I recall, Lemons penned three separate blog entries on the attack, in the first two posts he attempts out the details from a few protesters interviewed and puts some video up, but in the third post he claimed to have seen video footage that conclusively showed an anarchist attack one of the mounted officer who rode into the march. In two of the screen shots posted he specifically noted a demonstrator with a green hoodie who Lemons claimed was attacking the horse. What's interesting is that the video in which Lemons grabbed the screen shot, and claimed to see a person wearing a green hoodie attack the police horse is the very same video that got the person in the green hoodie's case dismissed. It only looks like he's shoving the horse because he was being tackled by a Phoenix cop from behind, something that a single screen shot doesn't show. Where was the screen shot half a second later that showed the Phoenix cop behind him? Why did Lemons want to paint a picture that said anarchists are at fault, whether or not some were acting in self-defense to a coordinated police attack. In addition, where's the follow up article(s) on the not guilty/case dismissal of three of the five arrested?

There's no doubt that Lemons has contributed some valuable reporting on the immigrant movement, and the battles against the rightwing populists of the Phoenix metro area. When the mainstream movement hacks totally ignored the BP6 lockdown and occupation, Lemons wrote glowing praise for those involved, and wrote that he hoped their acts would inspire others. He's written of a number of anarchist actions in solidarity with migrants, or opposing anti-immigrant racists, even though anarchists weren't mentioned by name. We know he likes it when anarchists and anti-racists gave the nazi hell! Hell, he even gave a shoutout on his New Times blog to a fundraising effort we initiated for the BP6.

So rather than enter into a debate with Lemons on the merits of writing an entry on supporting the "good anarchists" whose cases were thrown out, or why the I'd say the "bad anarchists" were never bad, I'd like to draw from an inspiring slogan I was introduced to at the last Beer & Revolution, along with one of my favorite photos from the January 16 DOA contingent. After the years of repression, frame ups, and state attacks from police, our Chilean anarchist comrades have managed to capture in one concise sentence the tension that exists when the actions of a movement in resistance brings imprisonment, and how this resistance is justified to the rest of society. Quite simply:

"We're not innocent, we're not guilty, we're your enemies"

Friday, February 18, 2011

What a way to make a living? Or, 20 percent unemployment is a good start.

I know I don't usually get all personal on here when I write -- I try to keep it strictly business, as they say -- but it's been a fucking shitty last couple of weeks at work for me. Partly because of that, I haven't really been inspired to start on any of the new writing projects I've got bouncing around in my head right now (I think Jon Riley may have a couple things in the works if we're lucky, though). So when the classic 90's photo series below came across my phone this afternoon as the boss clock ticked down towards quitting time, it couldn't have come at a better time.

I suppose the montage goes without explanation. We recognize it immediately. Both it's form and it's content. No détournement required on this one, Situs, thank you. The series perhaps comes at a relevant time as well, or perhaps emerges as a meek but important counter-point, as we watch the tens of thousands gather in Wisconsin in a rearguard action in defense of their right to organize against capital and to keep the few paltry crumbs that warrant the absurd label "Cadillac" these days, that alone speaking volumes about how far we have fallen since the capitalist counter-attack began in the late 70's, early 80's.

So, three years into economic collapse and now well into the austerity measures that we all knew were coming from the get go, the best we get is a zombified union movement, rising from the crypt to sell us out again, paired with Democratic recuperators so chickenshit over a fight that they flee the state. One keeps hoping for a break in the terrible dance between capital and it's mild-mannered gentle critics on the American Left. We scan the skies for any sign of an emerging fightback that defies the acceptable boundaries.

Of course, lurking behind the scenes is the terrible step-child of the labor movement -- the refusal of work. The human desire to be done with the whole mess that lives in the space between working and unemployment. That terrain denied us in reality for the most part as well as in the popular dialog that delineates the borders of polite discussion. Have you heard any of those party hacks or union negotiators utter one word about it? All out in defense of work!

But we know, we remember, that fleeting feeling, before cold capitalist reality sets in, when you almost cheer for a second after you get that pink slip. The feeling of buying your buddies a round at the bar with your last paycheck. Maybe tossing a brick through the boss's Mercedes window on the way out. You know us, we're the ones who don't apologize for being on unemployment. The ones who love it. When I was on unemployment it was one of the most productive and enjoyable times in my life. This is not to repeat CrimethInc's naive mantra from the last decade about poverty and doing it right. It's just to remember a time of freedom that appeared unexpectedly and to lament it's eventual loss.

I mean, I get it: let's by all means defend ourselves from the capitalist coup de grace. Maybe push them back, snap victory from the jaws of defeat. I'd fight, too, if they tried to cut my pay or take away the benefits I fought hard for. But, still, I can't help but think that the most radical thing that could be asked in the middle of the conflict is, "Do you like your job?" It's certainly never come up that I've heard of. And it's of course precisely the misery of work that is captured so clearly in the Al Bundy series below (Bundy being, along with Homer Simpson, the classic working class hero/foil/numbskull all rolled into one), revealing at the same time, I think, the sheer poverty of the struggle taking place now in Wisconsin. Surely, somewhere, someone camping in that square tonight is thinking, I hope this thing at least goes through Tuesday so I can get an extra day off out of this.

In an age that is increasingly looking like it will be defined by permanent unemployment for so many who thought themselves previously immune (i.e., white, middle class), will the issue finally get forced on the agenda? Or will it further feed the already blazing anti-immigrant mania? I heard today a story on NPR alleging that what migrants remain in Arizona are having an easier time getting work than citizens. True or not, that's the kind of thought that creeps behind the eyeballs of white workers even in good times. One shivers, thinking of it's power now to rally the reactionaries. And how about the government workers? Will endemic unemployment continue to be turned on those few who still manage to hang onto to decent pay and benefits packages, a class eating itself before the lustily leering eyes of the capitalist pornographers. Enter the Tea Party again, stage right.

That said, will ten or twenty percent unemployment ever seem like a good start rather than a social ill to be remedied with stimulus and austerity? Some of us remember Paul LaFargue's "Right to Be Lazy" and Ivan Illich's "Right to Useful Unemployment". And of course that party pooper Bob Black. Or hell, even the Smith's singable "I was looking for a job and then I found a job and heaven knows I'm miserable now"! Or, I suppose, "Take This Job and Shove It" is reaching back just as far, expressing without fear that good ol' American desire not just to shirk work but to be done with the whole mess entirely. To wipe it off on your jeans and drive off in your F150, flippin' the bird. It seems like so much of this has been co-opted by the modern day concept of the entrepreneur, having polluted so much of what might otherwise pass for resistance in times of class struggle's low ebb. Even our musicians and sports heroes are not untouched. Not escapte artists -- entrepreneurs! Venture capitalists. Self-employed. Such a tragedy.

Perhaps I've said this before, but one of the things that Italian immigrants said about America when they came over in the 19th and 20th centuries (most to return home some years later) was that to them this was the land of bosses and clocks. That interminable clock on the factory wall, always ticking. Enforcing capital's narrative one unbearably painful second at a time. Coming from peasant villages and towns, they had no concept of the time card or the regimented work day.

Here's another thing I may have said before: when I worked at the post office the clock was divided into 100 segments per hour. Not sixty. Taking our fifteen minute breaks, we had to think in 36-second increments. We called them clicks. Naturally, you clocked in early, at 41 clicks, because if you hit 42 you were late. Like the laundromat near my house that offers washes at 99 cents but only lets you put money on your "laundry convenience card" in one dollar increments, there was no way to hit 15 minutes on the dot on those clocks. Always over or under. Those seconds were just plain stolen from you right before you eyes. Every day. Sure, you'd get a shop steward there with you when you got written up, defending your rights but doing nothing about the abominable 100 click clock. Looking at that damn timepiece every day, it often struck me how much I would have traded a million shop stewards for just one sturdy baseball bat almost any day. Of course, when the layoffs came, I was convinced. Naturally I had just rented a new apartment.

Of course now, thanks to the satellites hooked into our cell phones, the boss's clock stares at us all day, everywhere, working or not. All the clocks say the same thing now, for everyone. The discipline of capitalism consumes everything eventually, but most of all time, as I think perhaps Marx wrote a bit about once or twice.

So, as you can perhaps guess, after six years of letting us keep track of our own hours, with a decent amount of flexibility, my work started making us log in and out. Not on a time clock, yet, but in a book. Write down the exact time you show up but don't let it be before seven. No work before seven, we are told. Linger around, waiting, if you're early. Here's what actually happens: my co-workers sign in as if it's seven and begin their day at 6:57 or 6:58 anyhow, giving two or three minutes of their lives to the boss for free every day. And, although it seems illogical, ours is work that we'd just as soon have over, and sitting there staring at it, waiting for the clock doesn't help anyone, not even you. You just get done later.

Of course, not me. I'm coming in late. I don't give my time up for free. So, anyway, this little montage has been making its way across the tubes today and I figured since I didn't have anything else, I may as well write a little bit about it and post it up in the hopes that others out there may appreciate it the way that I did, and to maybe give a little context about why I did. It always strikes me that, along with the scratching record and the ticking clock, the sound of the end of day whistle at the factory still sticks with us in this society, even though they have been purged from most people's lives almost entirely. Maybe it harkens back to a certain analog universality, an experience we all shared and still do, even if now it has been digitized and internalized.

Anyhow, quittin' time!