Report from Anti-Police and Anti-Surveillance Actions

Submission

In the lead up to the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference last month, we visited a big glossy office building at Commerce Square/2001 Market Street where two of the conference’s corporate sponsors, Accenture and PricewaterhouseCoopers, operate. We left behind a message in glass etch across the entirety of two building entrances, reading: “FUCK THE POLICE,” “NO IACP,” and a circle-a or two. It took them several days to buff it out of the six doors and four windows.

In response, they installed security cameras, so we came back and removed two of them.

Fuck police, fuck surveillance culture.

The Revolutionary University: Remembering “Communiqué from an Absent Future”

from Radical Education Department

Recently, Antifa’s presence on campus–militantly battling fascistic speakers and influences–has given rise to key questions.  How can we continue to radicalize the university?  How can we turn it into an engine for revolutionary experimentation and coordination on a mass scale?

To answer these questions, one of the most important things we can do is to retrieve from the past the revolutionary ideas and practices that can help show us the radical possibilities housed within the present moment.

The university has long been the site of radical dreams and experiments.  Well before Antifa’s front-and-center organizing against the fascism of the Trump regime and its lackeys, France’s universities erupted in May ’68; the German student group SDS (Sozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund) aimed to transform West German universities into “laboratories” for a revolutionary council democracy[1], and universities played a key role in the downfall of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

“Communiqué from an Absent Future” belongs to this radical tradition.  Written by Research and Destroy in 2009, it offers a devastating critique of the neoliberalized university that is the hallmark of American higher education today.  The university is being gutted; but if the university was always a factory to produce disciplined managers and workers, R&D notes that that role has only become more blatant and more intolerable in the midst of a financial meltdown in which the compensatory promise of upward mobility is evaporating.

But the “Communiqué” also offers a powerful vision of the possibilities contained in the university system’s crisis.  It argues not for that system’s reform–it is not part of a struggle to make the university “great again”–but its transformation.

“Though we denounce the privatization of the university and its authoritarian system of governance, we do not seek structural reforms. We demand not a free university but a free society. A free university in the midst of a capitalist society is like a reading room in a prison; it serves only as a distraction from the misery of daily life. Instead we seek to channel the anger of the dispossessed students and workers into a declaration of war.

We must begin by preventing the university from functioning. We must interrupt the normal flow of bodies and things and bring work and class to a halt. We will blockade, occupy, and take what’s ours. Rather than viewing such disruptions as obstacles to dialogue and mutual understanding, we see them as what we have to say, as how we are to be understood. This is the only meaningful position to take when crises lay bare the opposing interests at the foundation of society.  […]

The university struggle is one among many, one sector where a new cycle of refusal and insurrection has begun – in workplaces, neighborhoods, and slums. All of our futures are linked, and so our movement will have to join with these others, bre[a]ching the walls of the university compounds and spilling into the streets. […]

[W]e call on students and workers to organize themselves across trade lines. We urge undergraduates, teaching assistants, lecturers, faculty, service workers, and staff to begin meeting together to discuss their situation. The more we begin talking to one another and finding our common interests, the more difficult it becomes for the administration to pit us against each other in a hopeless competition for dwindling resources. The recent struggles at NYU and the New School suffered from the absence of these deep bonds, and if there is a lesson to be learned from them it is that we must build dense networks of solidarity based upon the recognition of a shared enemy. These networks not only make us resistant to recuperation and neutralization, but also allow us to establish new kinds of collective bonds. These bonds are the real basis of our struggle.

We’ll see you at the barricades.

Under the right conditions, disillusioned students, exploited contingent as well as sympathetic tenured faculty, and campus workers can combine with radical results.  These forces can, and must, connect with others’ struggles as well if they are to become revolutionary.

Read the full “Communiqué” here.

J20 Rally for Solidarity Reportback

from Facebook

Thanks to so many who came through to show support. Despite unseasonably cold weather we danced our asses off, called to drop the charges and raised awareness about our upcoming trials. Moreover we triumphed over the unnecessary antagonism of the Philadelphia Police Department who pushed us off of the plaza in front of the Rocky Steps and on to the sidewalk stating ridiculously ‘the grey squares are private property. You must stay on the brown squares’. In fact the ‘grey squares’ of the Plaza are part of Fairmount Park which is as public Philly property as it gets. We stood our ground and used their ridiculous aggression to illustrate how law enforcement stifles, harasses and silences those who dissent. A very helpful member of Up Against The Law googled videos of past demonstrations on the Rocky Steps and kept engaging the cops and pointing out how they were out of line and eventually they conceded. We took the grey squares with a cry off ‘we’ve won the grey area.’ And after all that’s what we’re fighting for right? Some grey area in a world marked by straight line thinking and black and white authoritarianism. Long live the grey area! Let’s get our communities what they need and deserve. Let’s stand up for those who stand up for all of us. Let’s defend J20! If you want to get involved in ongoing efforts to support J20 defendants please message us.

Defend J20 Resistance

from Instagram

#defendj20resistance graffiti spotted over 76. Hang with us tonight, go to the rally on Saturday.

Frackville Prison’s Systemic Water Crisis

from The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons

Bryant-In-Prison.jpg
Bryant Arroyo, prisoner and “jailhouse environmentalist” at Pennsylvania’s SCI-Frackville.

by Bryant Arroyo / FightToxicPrisons.org

On September 19, 21, 24 and 27, 2017, we prisoners at Pennsylvania’s SCI-Frackville facility experienced four incidences with respect to the crisis of drinking toxic water. While this was not the first indication of chronic water problems at the prison, it seemed an indication that things were going from bad to worse. This round of tainted water was coupled with bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, sore throats, and dizziness by an overwhelming majority of the prisoner population exposed to this contamination. This cannot be construed as an isolated incident.

Frackville water notice
This notice appeared at the prison in August 2017, notifying prisoners of a water problem at SCI-Frackville

The SCI-Frackville staff passed out bottled spring water after the inmate population had been subjected to drinking the toxic contaminated water for hours without ever being notified via intercom or by memo to refrain from consuming the tap water. This is as insidious, as it gets!

SCI-Frackville’s administration, is acutely aware of the toxic water contamination crisis and have adopted an in-house patterned practice of intentionally failing to notify the inmate population via announcements and or by posting memos to refrain from tap water, until prisoners discover it for themselves through the above-mentioned health effects.

In general, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) knows it has a water crisis on it hands. The top agencies like the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and EPA know about this open-secret and have conspired to deliberately ignore most, if not all, of the prisoners’ official complaints. DEP has received four drinking water violations from the EPA. But the underlying problem is money, money, and more money.

Earlier this year, federal officials warned DEP that it lacked the staffing and resources to enforce safe drinking water standards. That could be grounds for taking away their role as the primary regulator of water standards, and would cost the state millions of dollars in federal funding.

In a letter dated December 30, 2016, EPA Water Protection Division Director Jon Capacasa stated, “Pennsylvania’s drinking water program failed to meet the federal requirement for onsite review of of water system operations and maintenance capability, also known as a sanitary survey.” He added, “Not completing sanitary survey inspections in a timely manner can have serious public health implications.”

One example in the City of Pittsburgh led to the closure of nearly two dozen schools and a boil-water order for 100,000 people. State environmental regulators had discovered low chlorine levels, after testing the city’s water as part of an ongoing investigation into its water treatment system. The city has also been having issues with elevated lead levels. The EPA also told DEP that the department’s lack of staff has caused the number of unaddressed Safe Drinking Water Act violations to go from 4,298 to 7,922, almost doubling in the past five years.

This leaves us with 43 inspectors employed, but, to meet the EPA mandates, we need at the least 85 full-time inspectors. That means Pennsylvania inspectors have double the workload, and this has resulted in some systems not being inspected. Logically, the larger systems get routine inspections, and systems that have chronic problems get inspected, but smaller and rural system like ours may not be because we are the minority that society doesn’t care about. Persona non grata!

To top it off, Frackville is in Schuylkill County, near a cancer cluster of the rare disease known as Polycythemia Vera (PV). While there is not definitive research on PV, it is believed to be environmental in origin and could be water borne. There’s no telling how many of us may have contracted the mysterious disease caused by drinking this toxic-contaminated water for years without being medically diagnosed and treated for this disease.

The DOC refuses to test the inmate population, in spite of the on-going water crisis. What would happen, if the inmate population would discover that they have contracted the disease PV?! Obviously, this wouldn’t be economically feasible for the DOC medical department to pay the cost to treat all inmates who have been discovered to have ill-gotten the water borne disease.

Many Pennsylvania tax-payers would be surprised to know that our infrastructure is older than Flint, Michigan’s toxic water crisis. Something is very wrong in our own backyard and the legislative body wants to keep a tight lid on it. But how long can this secret be contained before we experience an outbreak of the worst kind.

Silence, no more, it is time to speak. I could not stress the sense of urgency enough. We need to take action by notifying our Pennsylvania State Legislatures and make them accountable to the tax-paying citizens and highlight the necessary attention about Pennsylvania’s water crisis to assist those of us who are cornered and forced to drink toxic, contaminated water across the State Prisons.

If you want to obtain a goal you’ve never obtained, you have to transcend by doing something you’ve never done before. Let’s not procrastinate, unify in solidarity, take action before further contamination becomes inevitable. There’s no logic to action afterwards, if we could have avoided the unnecessary catastrophe, in the first place.

Let’s govern ourselves in the right direction by contacting and filing complaints to our legislative body, DEP, EPA, and their higher-ups, etc. In the mountains of rejection we have faced from these agencies as prisoners, your action could be our yes; our affirmation that, though we may be buried in these walls, we are still alive.

—————–

After initially receiving this article from Bryant, this update came in: On Oct 26, 2017, at or about 8 p.m., Frackville shut down the Schuylkill County Water Municipality’s water source and switched over to this facilities water preserve tank. Staff here, indicated the Schuylkill Municipality was conducting a purge to the repaired pipelines, etc.

Then on Oct. 27, a or about 11 a.m., Frackville’s staff passed out individual gallons of spring water due to the dirty, toxic, contaminated water flowing from our preserve tank water supply. Here we go again!

More about the author, Bryant Arroyo, can be found on PrisonRadio.org. Additional sources for this article came from State Impact (A reporting project of  NPR member stations) and the Washington Post.

Philly J20 Rally for Solidarity!

from Facebook

Saturday November 11th from 1pm to 2:30pm come join the Philly J20 Solidarity team on the Rocky Steps at the Art Museum to help raise public awareness about the mass arrest of over 200 anti-Trump protesters on January 20th and to bolster support for defendants with upcoming trials (November. 15th and December 11th). These outlandish charges mark a new level of political repression and could set a disturbing precendent of how dissent will be handled in the future by our government.

We urge you to join us in expressing and protecting our 1st Amendment rights by participating in a J20 Dance Party and Rally, complete with a live DJ, puppets, signs and a fun environment. Come prepared to make noise, dance like nobody’s watching and have a good time. Come learn about the importance of these cases, how to support defendants and how to raise awareness about J20.

Invite your friends, family and neighbors to join us in having fun, banding together in an era of state repression and raising awareness about J20.

We thank you for the support and are excited to see you there!

To learn more about J20: http://defendj20resistance.org/

Can’t make it? Donate to the Philly J20 Solidarity Fund here: https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/view/62860

“We won’t stop til the charges are dropped”

Philadelphia, PA: The Only Good Cop?

from It’s Going Down

Stories run the world. Most of the time, when you approach a person on the street and suggest that the police be abolished, they respond, “what would replace them?” People believe the police are necessary to preserve the order of the day. Deaths caused by police among inordinately Black and brown populations occur under the watch of an institution with roots in slave patrols when slavery was the order of the day.

Were there good aspects to the order of the day back then? A few people were doing quite well, some were doing okay, and many were barely surviving. And many more were deemed necessary casualties for the economic system to funnel money to the rich.

Sound familiar? The racial and economic order of today is intolerable, too. We want to overthrow it, too. We are not interested in reforming the police. We want to abolish the present-day policing model entirely.

What would replace the police, you ask? What replaced slavery? What replaced sharecropping? What replaced Jim Crow? Author and civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander doesn’t call the prison-industrial complex the New Jim Crow for nothing. How do we look out for one another – care for one another – without being susceptible to the state offering us repression wrapped in the guise of public safety? We are fighting to abolish oppressive forces such as racism, capitalism, patriarchy and imperialism from the social order entirely.

At the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia the weekend of October 21-24, 2017, there were many events with titles like, “Managing the Narrative of Your Critical Incident as Captured by Body-Worn Cameras,” “Public Trust After a Police Use of Deadly Force Incident,” and “Managing Critical Incidents, Officer-Involved Shootings, and Viral Social Media Posts.” But none titled, “Stop Killing Black People.” This is very telling about the intentions held by chiefs of police around the world. They are not good intentions. They are not moral intentions. They are focused exclusively on PR, covering their own ass, and silencing political dissent through media management strategy.

There were reports of vandalism of memorial plaques to dead cops during the weekend the IACP was in Philly. There was attempted media spin. But that spin doesn’t capture the essence of the message they sent: “The Only Good Cop” written over these memorial plaques celebrates the people’s power to rewrite the stories about who has the right to be in charge or have power over life and death. The police have lost that right, if they ever had it in the first place. They have no moral authority. The people must take it back. The message for the International Association of Chiefs of Police is: The people are waking up to your lies and the lies of those who pay you. Your story’s days are numbered. We call for police abolition. The only good cop is a dead story.

Remember Brandon Tate-Brown. Remember Sandra Bland. Remember Freddie Gray. Remember Philando Castile. Remember Laquan McDonald. Remember Michael Brown. Remember Eric Garner. Remember Amadou Diallo. Remember Oscar Grant. Remember David Jones. Remember all victims of racist state violence.

Cops think revolution is a flower to be crushed. Year after year, they think they can surround us with monuments celebrating state oppression. They understand neither seasons nor seeds. We are growing, we are spreading, and we will be victorious. We can, and we must, overwrite the intolerable stories set in public stone. All power to the people. Abolish the police. Tell a better story. Build a better world.

The only good cop is a defaced memorial plaque. They’re all over Philly. We’ve all seen them. Even though the police state seems insurmountable, a million angry fires can burn it down, one tag at a time. What are we waiting for?

Mariner East II Pipeline Construction Crews Approaching Pennsylvania’s Camp White Pine; Help Needed

from It’s Going Down

Construction crews are closing in on both sides of Camp White Pine. For nearly two years, Elise and Ellen Gerhart, along with many allies, have been holding tree sits on their property to defend their land from Energy Transfer Partners’ Mariner East II Pipeline. The project would destroy their family’s land in order to export highly volatile fracking waste to Europe for plastics manufacturing.

Already during construction, Mariner East II has caused dozens of spills, contaminating water supplies and in some cases permanently damaging residential wells.

As the Gerharts prepare to take a bold stand to protect their land, they need our support.

Donate to the Camp White Pine legal defense fund here: fundrazr.com/campwhitepine

November Letter Writing – Anti-Colonialism

from Philly ABC

On the forth Thursday of November every year, Americans gather to feast on turkey in honor of colonialism. While most Americans are busy stuffing their mouths and excusing themselves, since the early 70’s, indigenous activists have countered this holiday with the National Day of Mourning and Unthanksgiving Day to address genocide and continuing native struggles. See Leonard Peltier’s 2015 Day of Mourning statement discussing his case, his plea for support from Obama (who did not grant him clemency despite overwhelming support), and his health around that time which unfortunately continues to suffer due to inadequate medical care in prison. Also in 2015, Jason Hammond released his Don’t Eat the Fucking Turkey statement, where he announced his protest of Thanksgiving from inside prison by means of fasting and telling the stories of anti-colonial resistance movements. He encouraged all of us to do the same. If a prisoner can do it, so can we!

Philly ABC is hosting an anti-colonialist letter writing in solidarity with indigenous freedom fighters held captive in the Unites States. Join us Monday November 6th, 6:30pm at Lava! Brings your friends and send some love to Oso BlancoLeonard Peltier, and Red Fawn Fallis. We’ll also be sending birthday cards to Ed Poindexter (Nov. 1st) and Josh Williams (Nov. 25th).

From all of Philly ABC,
Fuck Thanksgiving!

100 Year Anniversary: Origins & Legacy of the Russian Revolution

from Facebook

A Libertarian Socialist Perspective

Activist historian John Kalwaic will discuss the Russian Revolution on its 100th anniversary. The discussion will begin with some historical context of the origins of Tsarism and serfdom. This talk will cover origins of Russian revolutionary ferment in the empire, the pogroms, industrialization, labor strife and peasant revolts.

The main focus will be on anti-war sentiments, and how they fueled the 1917 February Revolution and the October Bolshevik Coup. This part of the talk will talk about how horizontal movements emerged and later dissipated or repressed. It will go through the Russian Civil War discussing Red, White and Anarchist Partisans and how Russian was both a victim and perpetrator of imperialism. This part will also present the echo of the revolution around the world.

Then we will turn to the legacy of the Revolution such as Stalin Modernization, World War II, Cold War, anti-colonial movements and the break up of the CCCP and eventually the rise of modern Russia.

[November 4 from 7pm to 9pm at Wooden Shoe Books 704 South St]