Saturday, January 30, 2010

This Sunday: January's Beer & Revolution with John Zerzan!

(Click image for bigger version)

Sunday, January 31st, Phoenix Class War Council will be hosting its fifth (if we remember right) Beer and Revolution event. This is the first one for 2010 and we're stoked to have John Zerzan, anarcho-primitivist theorist and agitator. John will be speaking on "Anarchism and the Way Forward". Also, Dan Todd from Tucson, coming fresh from his book release the night before, will be giving some opening remarks under the provocative title “One Misapprehension, One Paradox, and Three Disparities”. The talk starts a little earlier than the last few (7 PM), so make sure you get there early. Plus, we'll have our book distro with us as well, so after the talk, please peruse our selection of anarchist and revolutionary books, magazines and pamphlets. Come by and enjoy an evening discussing revolutionary ideas with us at Boulders in Tempe (530 East Broadway). We look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Photo of the Day


Minutes before the final police attack on the D.O.A. contingent, this Phoenix cop takes a cheap shot at the march. No matter the Phoenix PD's P.R. spin after the fact, the cops continue to employ indiscriminate violence. Click on the image for a larger version.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Phoenix PD attack protesters at anti-Arpaio March

We couldn't agree with Sal Reza more when he says, "There was provocation by some groups who came here for their own purpose to disrupt a peaceful march." We know he isn't talking about those of us in the Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc. Not only have we patiently marched in the marches and held the signs for years now, but how in the world could O'odham peoples, native to this land, in any way be considered outsiders? Such an assertion is ridiculous on its face. Indeed, as one of our O'odham comrades from the Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc sang from the main stage before the march, flanked by two other members of the DO@ bloc, no one seemed eager to denounce them outsiders. Naturally, then, we reject this allegation.

So, who is the outside faction Sal's talking about? In our opinion it must be the Phoenix Police. Unprovoked, a female officer on horseback (who later covered her name on her uniform) charged her horse headlong into the march, colliding with several people and in the process almost running over at least one child in a stroller. After attacking families and protesters, she then whipped out her pepper spray and let loose on the whole crowd, who fled the noxious spew. In the process, children were blasted with pepper spray.

After that, other Phoenix PD officers stormed the crowd, violently attacking marchers, dragging several to the ground and further deploying their chemical weapons from all directions in an attempt to justify their their aggression by nabbing a few people. Dozens were so affected that they were soaked in chemicals, having to strip off clothes to stop the burning. Street medics (not Phoenix Fire Department) and other protesters came to each others' aid. At the end of the melee, out of the more than a hundred that marched together, four of our comrades were in chains and countless others stood bleeding, bruised and momentarily stunned.

Still, shaking it off, we rallied, facing down the cops, until eventually they withdrew. We celebrated and took turns speaking out about what it's like to be under attack by a system that values property and power over people.

Indeed, during the entire march the Phoenix police had been provoking marchers. Riding bikes and golf carts into people. Pushing and shoving. For what? To keep one northbound lane open? Rather than assaulting people expressing their legitimate desires to see an end to oppression, why not shut down the street? Cops do traffic control all the time. What's wrong with PPD? Why, for instance, is it somehow possible for Tempe PD to shut down Tempe streets tomorrow for the corporate schlock that is "PF Chang's Rock n' Roll Marathon" tomorrow but not for PPD to close off a few streets so that people can assemble without threat of attack? Truly a backwards system indeed!

The police have so far put forward several different explanations for what happened, all of which contradict each other. On one channel they say that they were breaking up a fight. On another they say that people were throwing bottles. And on and on. What'll it be in five minutes, we wonder? The contradictory stories ought to be your first clue that what they're claiming happened didn't in fact happen. No surprise that the media swallowed it. But if we know they're lying, we have to wonder why anyone else would defend their actions?

Did people fight back against the police assault. We don't know because our eyes were full of pepper spray, but we wouldn't begrudge them if they did. To be charged into by a twelve hundred pound horse, while attacked by thugs using chemical weapons necessarily evokes the instinct to fight back, especially when your enemy is so vile as to assault children. Police demand the impossible from people. They expect you to allow them to attack you while at the same time demanding that you suppress your gut, human tendency to defend yourself. There is nothing "peaceful" in that relationship.

That sort of power relation is one that condemns those who resist while exonerating the violence of those from above. It reflects the current distribution of power -- a distribution we want to change drastically. This is as unnatural as fighting power without taking action. Movements, like people, have a right to self-defense. For us, that has to be in the form of direct action and civil disobedience against the system. It must be made not to work unless our demands are met. No more mediation through shady politicians. No more appealing to power through moral arguments. We can take our futures into our own hands, directly.

Still, we're not surprised that the police attacked. While it seems the leaders of the movement are eager to make excuses for police who attack children, we know that what we saw today is but a glimpse of what the cops do everyday. We see it with our own eyes. They are the outside, alien force that first and foremost defends white supremacy and capitalism. How can someone say they are organizing a "peaceful march" when they work with such sadists? Anyone who was at the point in the march where the attack took place obviously recognizes that the only physical threat to the march was from the police. No one in the march was at any time under threat from anyone in the march. Understand that and you also understand that naturally the cops were going to attack the march eventually, especially considering the militaristic fashion in which they deployed. Phoenix PD deports more migrants than Sheriff Joe and yet we are told that we ought to give them a pass so that we can focus on that clown Arpaio? We saw today just how foolish that strategy is.

In our eyes, this is but a symptom of the failure of the strategy being pursued by the movement as it is. White supremacy in Arizona goes far beyond one ancient sheriff in one county. Ballot measures attacking people of color will almost certainly pass in Arizona yet again this year with 70 or 80 percent margins. Is this Sheriff Joe's fault? Obviously not. But marches against Joe won't stop that.

We need a broader movement with a critique beyond Joe so that we can challenge the whole problem -- one that stretches from Tohono O'odham land down south to the land of the Diné up north. And everywhere in between. And we need to break from this mode of organizing that can only deliver more oppression and more violence down on our heads. No more politicians. No more working with cops. Look what it brings.

This is why we supported the call for the Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc. For someone to say now when it is inconvenient that we are an outside force is to replicate the marginalization that for centuries has dominated the discourse around land and movement in this region. But PCWC's native comrades didn't come from outside. They were always here. And we stand with them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Call for the Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc at the anti-Arpaio rally

The following is a call for a united Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian bloc at this Saturday's (January 16th) anti-Arpaio march in Phoenix. The text of the article was developed and circulated initially by the Phoenix Class War Council and our comrade collective O'odham Solidarity Across Borders over the last month. Several meetings took place and comments were solicited and received by comrades in town and throughout the state in order to clarify and expand our critique.

While this article does not and could not represent a complete articulation of the problems we see, it is an attempt to move towards a broader dialog within the movement, to point out perceived errors and to suggest another way of looking at the issue that we think could prove useful. It is, in a way, a statement of some of our common principles but it is not by any means the end of the conversation.

The bloc will converge before the 10:00 march at Falcon Park (click link for map) and then head with everyone else to Tent city. It's possible to take public transit to the park. People should be advised that we have information that, as usual, reactionaries/fascists/Minuteklan, etc, will be marching from another location to confront the protesters.

After the march, join us for a night of music and politics at Conspire (see flyer). Below that is the text introducing the bloc. See you on the streets. All out against white supremacy!

Introducing the Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian Bloc!


The O'odham Solidarity Across Borders Collective and the Phoenix Class War Council send you greetings from occupied O'odham land. We also would like to invite you to participate with us in what we are loosely calling the Diné, O'odham, anarchist/anti-authoritarian Bloc. We hope to use this formation on the streets at the January 16th march against deportations in Phoenix to project a vision for a different mode of resistance that breaks with the stilted, uncreative status quo that dominates movement organizing in town. This document is our explanation of the type of force we would like to put out there and why we think its necessary.


We call on everyone tired of holding a sign and marching in endless circles while our lives come under increasing attack; everyone sick of a protest culture of self-sacrifice, defeat and witness; everyone who wants to stand up against the injustices that surround us; everyone interested in creative resistance rather than ritualized demonstrations; everyone tired of seeing our lands divided and destroyed and our movements tracked, tabulated and restricted.

What is the DO@ bloc?

We are an autonomous, anti-capitalist force that demands free movement and an end to forced dislocations for all people. We challenge with equal force both the systems of control that seek to occupy and split our lands in two as well as the organized commodification of every day life that reduces the definition of freedom to what can be produced and sold where and to whom, and compels our social relations to bend to the very same pathetic formula of production and consumption. Capital seeks to desecrate everything sacred. We hold lives over laws and human relations over commodity relations.

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.

The sheriff's deputy evicts and that same cop deports. It's no coincidence that Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio's office is in the Wells Fargo building. On Tohono O'odham land, the Border Patrol captures migrants and also harasses traditional elders seeking to exercise their rights to free movement. It turns sovereign land into an armed camp surrounded by checkpoints in the finest Nazi fashion and divided in the most unnatural way. Wackenhut profits from the transportation of migrants held captive by the prison system and at the same time it patrols the city's light rail stations. The same cameras that watch the border also watch our streets and populate our freeways, tracking our every move. These systems of control and dislocation overlap and affect all of us and, increasingly, they are everywhere. Wherever people organize in libertarian ways to resist the compulsory disarrangements of Capital, we are in solidarity with them.

Further, we categorically reject the government and those who organize with its agents. And we likewise oppose the tendency by some in the immigrant movement to police others within it, turning the young against movement militants and those whose vision of social change goes beyond the limited perspective of movement leaders. Their objectives are substantially less than total liberation, and we necessarily demand more.

Also, we strongly dispute the notion that a movement needs leaders in the form of politicians, whether they be movement personalities, self-appointed police or elected officials. We are accountable to ourselves and to each other, but not to them. Politicians will find no fertile ground for their machinations and manipulations. We have no use for them. We are anti-politics. We will not negotiate with Capital, the State or its agents.


In the last year we have seen signs that there might be openings for a new story to emerge. Almost a year ago we together led the march into the street, much to the chagrin of the leadership of the movement and the excitement of those who joined us, releasing themselves from the humiliation of marching on the sidewalk. Then, in October we challenged and shut down the National Socialist Movement, again leaving egg on the faces of those who in advance had denounced the action. A little more than a month ago what was to be just another boring leftist protest outside an Arpaio speaking engagement got out of control. Anarchists occupied the lobby where a large rally then followed, while other comrades, inside the forum, burst into song, driving the much-hated county cop from the stage. Movement leaders could only look at their hands. They have lost the initiative.

And well that they have, because the movement has failed and to continue on this course is suicide. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of migrants have been deported or self-deported themselves out of fear of attack by the State and vigilantes. The expansion of the attack on migrants, with its ubiquitous border cops and checkpoints, has spilled out onto indigenous communities and even those traveling the highways. Few are unaffected. Unable to conceptualize a framework for building resistance that can both protect those under attack and push forward to the offensive against the racist system as a whole, the movement now cries out for new ideas and creative action.

The movement has a dual problem of respect and identity. Internally, colonial relations often prevail. Age old, far off empires are evoked as justification for the marginalization, abuse and exploitation of peoples indigenous to the area. A general attitude of tokenism and disrespect dominates rather than genuine solidarity. And what was originally an honest desire to interrogate indigenous roots amongst many has morphed into something more like the colonialism of the Mexican and American states. This isn't a healthy relationship.

That said, we think now could be our time. If we take advantage of this opening we can continue to push the movement towards more interesting and, in the end, successful actions. We can remake the discussion from one of internal colonialism and self-sacrifice into one based on free movement, the resistance to dislocation and anti-colonialism. We can introduce ideas of self-organization, autonomy and direct action, as well as criticisms of Capital and the State. We can shatter the death grip of the movement zombies and make a move towards building a force that can challenge more than just one sheriff in one county in Arizona.

We think the argument for free movement and against dislocation offer opportunities that currently elude the movement because of the inherent limitations of the debate as it now is being presented. The demand for free movement represents a rejection of all controls on travel and necessarily subverts the ever-expanding reach of the State and Capital. Likewise, the opposition to dislocation offers a framework on which to build resistance, something sorely lacking. After all, a foreclosure is a dislocation just like a deportation is. Expanding the argument this way also challenges the prevailing internal colonialism and tokenism, treating the struggles of indigenous people in Arizona with the dignity and respect they deserve.

The argument as it is now framed in the movement is a moral one. And yet many, especially whites, are not persuaded by moralism. Whiteness is a political position, not a moral one. Whites oppose the immigration movement not because they are immoral but because they seek to defend their relatively privileged position. If we remake the argument in a way that brings them into the circle so that they see that they, too, are under attack, then we think all bets are off about what we can do.