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Running Down The Walls

from Philly ABC

Download posters and flyers.

Sunday, September 6, 2020
11 am sharp (Yoga warm-up at 10am)
FDR Park

Philadelphia Anarchist Black Cross presents our third annual Running Down The Walls (RDTW)! Join us for another revolutionary 5K run/walk/bike/skate and day of solidarity. In light of COVID-19, please bring a face mask and follow social distancing recommendations. If you would like to participate in light yoga and warm-up stretches before, please arrive by 10am and bring a mat if you can.

Running is not required! You can also walk, bike, skate or roll. 5K is two loops around the park and at a walking pace will take about 45-60 minutes. Light refreshments and socializing will take place in the park afterward.

This year’s event is co-sponsored by the campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz — long-term Black liberation prisoner held in SCI Fayette. Join us as we celebrate the release of Chuck Africa earlier this year, commemorate the life of Delbert Africa, and raise some funds for the freedom struggle of another Philly comrade, Maroon.

After spending 48 years in prison, Maroon turns 77 on August 23rd while also battling cancer during a global pandemic. He needs our support now more than ever.

Fighting Stage 4 cancer, [I have] for 10 months been on various types of chemotherapy at SCI-Fayette, have watched 3 prisoners die of cancer, and my single cell was taken to make room for suspected COVID-19 prisoners, will be transferred to SCI-Dallas for another operation to remove a cancerous growth soon. The struggle continues!

– Political Prisoner, Russell Maroon Shoats/z

Philadelphia RDTW 2020 is dedicated to amplifying the voices of our comrades behind bars, lifting them up in their struggles, and maintaining material post-release support.

If you cannot make it to the event or would like to make an additional contribution, please sponsor a participant either outside prison or inside or one of each. Contact us for more information on sponsoring!


Proceeds will be split between the Warchest Program and the campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz. The ABCF Warchest program sends monthly stipends to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have insufficient, little, or no financial support.

Register for the 5K

Thanks for your support by running/walking/biking/skating the 5K! Everyone must fill out the following form to register NO LATER THAN AUGUST 24TH so that you receive your official shirt the day of the event.

The registration fee of $40 confirms your place at the event and it is preferred that this be paid by PayPal before the day of, although cash and money orders to Tim Fasnacht can also be accepted at the event. Additional funds over the $40 base fee raised through sponsorships are more than welcome (see our fundraising tips below).

After submitting the following registration form, please allow 24 – 48 hours for your confirmation email. Check your Spam folder if the message does not appear in your Inbox. If you did not receive a confirmation email, please get in touch with us at phillyabc[at]riseup[dot]net.

[Register Here]

Tips to Get Sponsors for your 5K Participation

Many runners will pay the $40 registration fee on their own but if you would like to get sponsored instead, here’s a few tips and ideas to get you started.

  • Make a list of potential donors. Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors…think creatively and include everyone you can think of (it doesn’t hurt to ask). Who might be supportive? Who cares about similar causes? Decide to ask for a specific amount that you think will be within your prospective sponsor’s budget (for instance $1 for each kilometer or an even $40 to represent the Move prisoners’ years on the inside).
  • Make hand-written letters. Deliver them personally if possible. Write your letter in a genuine tone and reference your relationship. Email is faster, but many will be less likely to forget a letter (than an email in a crowded inbox) and they’ll appreciate the personal touch. Include a self addressed envelope for people to mail checks. Use email to follow up with those who don’t respond.
  • Make it personal and face to face. Ask for support from the people you see regularly, and ask in person. People respond to eye contact, assertiveness and passion. Tell them why you’re inspired to support political prisoners and their stories. Practice the conversation beforehand if you think it might be difficult to find words in the moment.
  • Use all communication tools available- Phone calls, text, social media, websites, and email to reach broader networks. If you’re trying to appeal to an organization, make it clear that the event can be a source of positive press for them. Ask them to match the donations of other groups if possible. You could even start a crowdfunding page for your run. Add quality images and tell a story to engage people. Share it on social media and encourage your friends to do the same. Use letters and other communications to direct people to your crowdfunding page.
  • Follow up, provide updates and say ‘thank you.’ Remember to reconnect to your sponsors with photos and stories from the event and thank them for their support.

History

Since 1999, the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, political prisoners and support organizations across the country participate in Running Down The Walls (RDTW). This annual 5K run/jog/walk/roll/bike event is to show solidarity and raise funds for numerous political prisoners in North America. Funds raised are typically split between the ABCF Warchest and a community group chosen by the host group. Each year, incarcerated comrades participate by running inside prison. This event brings us closer together each year, strengthens our bond, and lets prisoners know they are not forgotten! Read RDTW statements from current and former PP/POWs.

The Warchest program receives funds from ABC chapters and individuals every month and then disperses the funds to the prisoners in the program. Since initiation in November 1994, the program has dispersed more than $75,000. The current Warchest recipients are:

In past years, Running Down the Walls was held in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Bloomington (IN), Boston (MA), Brooklyn (NY), Buffalo (NY), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Hamilton (Ontario), Elmore (AL), FCI Sandstone (MN), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), Middletown (CT), Minneapolis (MN), USP Navosta (TX), Oakland (CA), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Riverside (CA), Seattle (WA), Tucson (AZ), and Toronto (Ontario).

The Fight Against Criminalization and Repression under the Guise of COVID-19

from Dreaming Freedom Practicing Abolition

Due to COVID19, the prison has us coming out for phones, showers, kiosks, meals and recreation in cohorts of 21 or 22 cells (roughly 38 prisoners per cohort). Initially, we were in cohorts of 5 cells with 45 minutes per cohort. Now we are in phase two. The problem is that while the cohort size has more than quadrupled, the time out of cells hasn’t. We have eight phones on the block. Staying in touch with family and friends is of the utmost important to us. So phone time is priority.

We get two day room periods (phone, shower, kiosk time) per day for 1 hour each period. Do the math. Everyone cannot use the phones. This creates hostility between prisoners. Everyone wants to call home and check on their loved ones. We have had to negotiate phone time so there are no fights. Everyday, there is an incident. But we know we have to work together.

The incident last night was an attempt by an officer to stoke hostilities between us. Burning us for day room time and telling us to blame certain prisoners was a divide tactic. We don’t need this stuff, especially right now. We are stressed and worried we will be back on lockdown due to the uptick in infections. Some people have never developed a cooperative attitude until now. Because they have to. Our peace is fragile.

The administration is aware of the problems over the phones. It is prison wide. People have written to the Superintendent and the Deputies about the problem. They need to reign in these officers who create problems and difficulties for prisoners. The administration has asked us to be patient and work with them during this crisis. All we want is the same cooperation and patience. Some officers want us to fight each other to justify their creating a more oppressive environment than what we already have. Some officers wish we were locked down completely with no communication to the outside world. We cannot let that happen.

BreakOut: Dispatches on Resistance to the Pandemic Inside Prison Walls #4

from It’s Going Down

As prison abolitionists, many of us have been fighting in solidarity with and alongside imprisoned comrades for many years. But in the post-outbreak world, the COVID-19 pandemic has birthed new and increasingly complicated challenges, as the virus spreads like wildfire and the State locks prisoners down, moves them, and we become increasingly cut off from those we are in direct contact with.

Despite this, we have seen some of the most inspiring organizing on both sides of the prison walls in the past few months as thousands have taken to the streets across the so-called US to demand #FreeThemAll and prisoners have launched uprisings and hunger-strikes. Now, as COVID-19 cases again pick up steam and the rebellion enters into its second month, moving forward we want to take stock of existing strategies and tactics; discussing what has worked, and what needs work.

Towards that end, we reached out to folks involved in Oakland Abolition and Solidarity (formally Oakland IWOC) and the Philadelphia chapter of the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement to find out what’s been working in their regions and how we can build off of these lessons.

IGD: In some states, economies are beginning to re-open. How do you see this impacting what will happen inside prisons? Are prisoners a part of any of the phased re-opening plans in your state (if they have any), and what do you expect to happen to the small amount who have been furloughed from their sentences? 

Oakland Abolition and Solidarity: Transfers between prisons are restarting, they were suspended for approximately 2 months. Some facilities never really instituted plans that allowed for social distancing. One has had 3 confirmed CO cases, though we suspect more. Others have had larger outbreaks and a number of deaths. Very little else was done system wide other than cancel all visitation. Some measures like removing every other phone in order to create more distance are experimental and end up further limiting people’s access to resources and connections without alternatives. Other measures have been instituted like staggered meal times. Public Information Officers are also not answering their phones or returning calls.

CA released a smaller number of people relative to the size of its population, and there’s reason to believe that the Governor of California has exaggerated the amount of people released during the crisis.

Beyond that, people have widely expressed the really intense psychological effects of just knowing that the COs are going in and out everyday with little or no screening, and that they are the only vectors for exposure. So it’s up to the care and discretion of guards to what extent prisoners are exposed. This is cause for extreme concern, even maddening.

Philly RAM: As state economies re-open there will be a higher demand for goods produced via prison labor; the conditions in which that labor takes place further increases the likelihood the already-vulnerable will contract the virus. Even in Pennsylvania (which is slowly easing up in the southwest) prisoners are being made to manufacture masks, antibacterial soap, medical gowns, and disinfectant.

IGD: For those of us on the outside, we’ve been experimenting with different tactics while also trying to maintain social distancing. The car blocs and caravans were an ingenious work around to that dilemma for the current moment. But what comes next? How do we create opportunities for mass pressure campaigns that work beyond just a honk-in or call-in?

Philly RAM: COVID-19 makes organization and action even harder than before. We believe that we can make progress using small IRL demonstrations and things such as lock-ins in addition to call-in campaigns and caravans. But what’s even more important is getting as much info and resources as possible inside the prisons.

IGD: A critique we have heard from people inside, is that our struggles in their eyes have at times reinforced the idea of there being good/bad prisoners – this playing out through the process of demanding and petitioning for selective release. How do we as abolitionists move forward with a demand to “free them all” without ultimately relying on piecemeal concessions? 

Oakland Abolition and Solidarity: One of our points of unity reads, “We reject labels given by the State such as ‘guilty,”criminal,’ or ‘gang member.’ We do not choose who we work with based on these or other simple moralistic designations.” We would certainly add “violent/non-violent” “safe/dangerous,” and any other such designation to this list. It is built into our practices and language to ignore the myriad ways that the State pits prisoners and all people against each other. We reject all reforms or policies that reinforce these or further entrench these hierarchies. Free them all is and has always been our cry. Prioritizing older and more compromised/ vulnerable folks may be acceptable in this time, but never give an inch to the narrative that some prisoners are “safe” and others “dangerous” recognizing that these narratives ultimately redound to the benefit of the carceral system.

Philly RAM: A concept we’ve discussed in the effort to counter hierarchical tendencies is that the carceral state and its culture criminalizes so many aspects of our lives (whether we’re inside a physical cage or not). That the capitalist State designates who is within its bounds and worthy of moral consideration. This is a point of solidarity we share with those inside the prisons – to differing extents we all find ourselves against the US carceral system.

IGD: As the pandemic drags on, Black and Brown communities are shouldering the majority of the deaths and the heartache – this is most clear in rural communities where epicenters have been inside prisons, jails, detention centers, meat and produce packaging plants and warehouse style working conditions. These spaces all share the reality of being largely hidden from “the public.” How do we help keep these struggles connected to each other and in the forefront of the minds of people that are already overly inundated with media? 

Oakland Abolition and Solidarity: Collaborative, real time, and engaged content. Seeking and building active collaborations that are rooted in a recognition of the connection between struggles. Example, looking for and seeking to support mutual aid structures that are popping up in “prison towns.” Fusing a meaningful, material backbone for ongoing conversations and collaborations.

Philly RAM: Keep communication open with comrades on the front-lines, then plug in to fulfill the needs of the people. Some good examples we’ve seen are medical fund campaigns, supporting striking workers, and gathering clothes/tools necessary for folks exiting prisons right now (among others).

IGD: Based on what you have seen either in your own organizing or those of comrades, what have abolitionists done in the past few months that has had the most impact and generated the best results? Also, what walls or limits, either in terms of the State refusing to budge or our own capacity, have we run up against in our organizing that we must now figure out how to get over and move beyond?

Oakland Solidarity and Abolition: It feels like the State is winning right now and setting the tempo, but our job remains unchanged. However, success can’t only be measured in whether or not the State bends to the will of the people. People building frequent, reliable, and solid relationships and communication channels with people in our county jails over the last few months has been extremely impactful. People inside having access to a larger media platform to have their stories heard, taken seriously, and acted upon creates empowerment, and greater collaborations that can be built on.

One weakness that we’re observing though is the need to be more creative with taking care, providing support, thinking strategically, and supporting accountability in our collective organizing. There are fewer built in chances to see, check-in with, and support each other. There’s more isolation, both inside and out. We need to be more vigilant about filling those gaps, and it takes more intention. Moreover, the landscape is shifting really rapidly, and it can easily overwhelm people’s personal capacity.

We must continue fostering collaboration and collectivity. It’s time to be more vigilant and disciplined.

Philly RAM: From what we and our comrades have done and seen and seen from others, it’s been the commissary drives, online workshops, and education opportunities have really served to bring people together and uplift the spirits of those inside or outside.  Establishing skills in care work and teaching each other help us for any future situations that might arise.

IGD: In your own words, in the current COVID-19 period, what do you think comes next in the fight for abolition?

Oakland Solidarity and Abolition: Desperate times call for desperate measures. The current moment shows us who, what, where, and why of what ‘desperate’ is. It’s our job as abolitionists from wherever we are to fight the desperation, death, and indignity around us and our neighbors.

Everything about this world is becoming more naked. Violent mechanisms survive best in the dark and they’re finding fewer places to hide. I think our job is to be loud and quicker about everything that happens, and be creative about illustrating and interpreting the shifts. But ultimately this is just a piece.

Political Prisoner and Prison Rebel Birthdays for July

from It’s Going Down

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Inspired by the spirit of the Political Prisoners Birthday crew, here’s a short listing of some rebel prisoners who have upcoming birthdays in July.

For an introduction on how to write to prisoners and some things to do and not to do, go here. If you have the time, please also check IWOC’s listing of prisoners facing retaliation for prison strike-related organizing.

In recent years, July 25th has also been commemorated as an international day of solidarity with Jock Palfreeman and all antifascist prisoners, so you might want to do something for that, like raising funds for the International Antifascist Defence Fund or the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association, emailing Belarus ABC to ask them to translate your message and pass it on to one of the several Belarusian antifascist prisoners, or whatever else seems appropriate to you.

Happy birthday to our comrades Ilya Romanov and Oleg Sentsov from Russia, and to Nina Droz Franco from Puerto Rico, who’ll be celebrating their birthdays in freedom this year!

On a less positive note, everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. So far, I’m only aware of an organized defence campaign for Colin and Urooj in New York, but there must be many others out there facing serious charges with less organized support. At the time of writing, both Colin and Urooj have been bailed out.

SAMANTHA SHADER #83823-053
MDC BROOKLYN
P.O. BOX 329002
BROOKLYN, NY, 11232

Please do not write anything to pre-trial defendants that could in any way have a negative impact on their trial, and keep an eye out for changes in their status

Eric King has also been facing a particularly brutal time of it lately, and is currently under incredibly harsh restrictions. Please support any calls coming from his support crew, and donate to his legal fund ahead of his upcoming trial.

If you would like to buy a nicely-designed face mask while also raising money for a Lucasville Uprising prisoner’s legal costs, Greg Curry has you covered – check out his store here.

Much as I hate to see even more of our lives and communications being enclosed by tech companies, it seems inescapable at the moment, so for anyone who doesn’t want to leave their house to buy stamps/cards/envelopes or to send mail, a reminder that many prisoners can be contacted electronically, via Jpay or similar services.

Corey Smith

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Corey Smith in relation to the uprising, he is facing continued retaliation, as he has been moved to Pennsylvania, where he is being held on lockdown indefinitely (via placement on PA’s Restricted Release List) on vague and questionable grounds. More than two years later, these prisoners are still being abused for staying in solidarity with one another against the state.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NU0456”.

Birthday: July 14

Address:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Corey Smith
NU0456
SCI Camp Hill
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

Kevin Berry

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the court found Kevin Berry not guilty on all charges in relation to the uprising, he is facing continued retaliation, as he has been moved to Pennsylvania, where he is being held on lockdown indefinitely (via placement on PA’s Restricted Release List) on vague and questionable grounds. More than two years later, these prisoners are still being abused for staying in solidarity with one another against the state.

Kevin Berry is a contributor to the Vaughn 17 “Live From the Trenches” zine, and also wrote a June 11th statement for last year’s day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NT0583”.

Birthday: July 17th

Address:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Kevin Berry, NT0583
SCI Benner Township
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

 

Emergency Medical Work Necessary from Gravy Seal Attack

from Fundrazr

In South Philadelphia, there are white residents currently protecting a Columbus Statue in Marconi Plaza in the name of white supremacy.

Nicknamed the gravy seals, this group of white reactionaries have repeatedly threatened and assaulted innocent people, causing those assaulted to be sent to the hospital.

In mid-June, our friend was tasked to be present for a multi-cultural story time in the park, so the participants would be safe. As attendees left when the event ended, a group of people attacked our friend and others, causing multiple injuries. When our friend was taken to the hospital, they received X-rays and CT scans in addition to immediate care for a broken nose. Additionally, they have multiple cracked and broken teeth.

We’re raising money to help cover dental expenses for one of the assaulted people.

Here is a note from them: “On June 15th, while attempting to pull another person away from getting attacked by a mob of right-wing reactionaries, I was assaulted. I had 4 people gang up on me, hitting me in the face and kicking me in the legs. While I am lucky to have insurance, it will not cover the necessary dental work; I have at least three cracked teeth. I want to get fixed up and back to trying to help others as quick as I can, and would appreciate any help in handling this necessary medical expense.”

Our friend is an active member of the Industrial Workers of the World and larger local organizing community. In return for frequently showing up for others in need, we’d like to show up for them like they have historically shown up for all of us.

If you’re not able to financially contribute, please spread the world and share with your network! Thank you in advance for your support.

[Donate Here]

Actions Across the US Against White Supremacy

from AMW English

[This post only contains information relevant to Philadelphia and the surrounding area, to read the entire article follow the above link.]

Powerful actions this week in Madison, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Harlem, New York demonstrate the new tenor of resistance in the US.

On Saturday, June 27th, healthcare workers and community members in Philadelphia held a temproary occupation of the shuttered Hahnemann Hospital. Following a rally at the City Hall, a crowd of around 100 people marched north to the empty hospital tower, erected canopies, tables, and chairs, and began to attend to patients who had joined the march and were eager to receive care. Before it was closed in the summer of 2019 it predominantly treated Black poor and working class people of Philadelphia, with social service providers housed in the same tower as doctors and specialists. Its most recent owner, the banker turned heathcare investor Joel Freedman, had bought it only a year before, and when he determined it wasn’t profitable enough he filed for bankruptcy, laid off around 800 unionized nurses, and deprived the underserved population of Philadelphia of their primary source of care.

Across the US, people have had enough of the white supremacist actions of the police and capitalists. They are finding their power to fight back.

Coverage of Protest Camp on PHA Lot

from Twitter

Last night a new encampment for unhoused people was started outside Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) HQ in North Philly. Since early this AM, PHA has had work crews out erecting heavy duty fencing as private PHA police officers stand guard.

The only police presence we’ve seen here is maybe a dozen police officers.

While their uniforms seem deliberately crafted to mimic official Philly PD uniforms, PHA PD is in fact a private police department with significant differences in jurisdiction and authority.

This laminated eviction letter from PHA was recently delivered to unhoused residents of the new encampment. PHA has drawn criticism for leaving thousands of PHA-owned homes vacant, instead of using them to house the homeless.

A camp resident gave us a quick rundown on the current situation with the new encampment by PHA HQ and recent interactions with PHA private police:
[Video Here]
 

Situation semi calm as some contractor work crews take breaks while others continue to put in heavy fencing in one grass lot by PHA HQ parking lot.

This officer from housing authority’s private police force is currently having a smoke

Ongoing standoff here at empty grass lot outside PHA HQ in North Philadelphia. Residents of new unhoused tent encampment say they won’t comply with housing authority demands to vacate the empty property.
 
PHA police playing a dramatized game of footsie with some people who keep removing fencing poles
More housing authority police arriving and tension w camp residents growing as PHA cops and contractors seem eager to put fencing poles into spots occupied by camp residents and supporters. Still no actual Philly PD officers here that we’ve seen.
 
More PHA police and contractors still arriving. @PhilaHsgAuthPHA seems quite intent on fencing off the vacant lots by their HQ ASAP after some unhoused Philadelphians set up camp here yesterday. More supporters of the camp are arriving as well
 
PHA contractors were seen loading some of the fencing poles into this van before driving off – unclear if some work is being paused/delayed or just being done around the corner where camp residents/supporters aren’t currently gathered.
 
PHA workers continue to install new heavy-duty poles for new security fence as PHA police (and angry residents of the new tent camp) watch closely
 
Hard to estimate the considerable expense @PhilaHsgAuthPHA is going to in order to try to fence off the area of the new unhoused tent encampment. Dozens of vehicles and workers/contractors active here this morning.
 
PHA workers operating power tools quite close to encampment supporters who are sitting on the pre-existing wooden fence in this empty grass lot by PHA HQ
 
At least 6 PHA police cruisers just on this corner of the newly occupied lot. (2 more out of frame just to the right here)
 
This empty PHA-owned grass lot has also served as a dog park for residents of nearby homes. Prseumably, once PHA’s new anti-homeless security fence is up, nobody will be able to use this land at all.
 
More moment of near-confrontation between PHA and new camp residents and their supporters. Most backed off after this moment and agreed to let PHA workers work after they assured camp residents they could still access the grass area
 
Supporters of the new houseless encampment by @PhilaHsgAuthPHA HQ in North Philly brought a sound system, the situation here is now turning partially into a protest rally visible from passing traffic on Ridge Ave.
 
Things are still semi-calm yet agitated here by PHA HQ. People are now generally letting workers put up fencing poles after the work crew lead promised people they wouldn’t be locked out of the lot. Both camp residents/supporters and workers have accused each other of harassment.
 
PHA may be declining to take more action against people gathered on this empty lot today since there were no signs posted in the area. We haven’t heard anyone get verbally trespassed here either. CDC coronavirus guidelines would also seem to recommend against evicting this camp.
 
Still seems like some goodwill is being built between the worker crew’s lead/foreman and some of the unhoused camp residents – unclear if this is happening in good faith or an attempt to buy time and pacify resistance to PHA security efforts.
 
When we arrived a few hours ago, PHA cops and work crews seemed evenly matched with the number of camp residents present, w a few dozen people each. With more people continuing to arrive in support it seems like upwards of 50-60 people are here on behalf of the encampment now.
 
Jennifer Bennetch from Occupy PHA speaks about the history of PHA as a force of gentrification and blight in North Philly
[Video Here]
 
Other residents of the houseless encampment, as well as people from neighborhoods near PHA HQ, also speak about why this PHA-owned vacant lot is being occupied by people needing housing
 
Some of the security fencing poles have been removed, and various construction debris placed to obstruct fence post spots. Maybe over 100 houseless camp residents & supporters here at occupied empty lot by @PhilaHsgAuthPHA HQ
 
PHA workers putting poles back in place and remove debris only to have it placed back where they removed it from.
 
PHA fence poles getting taken out of ground as soon as they’re replaced.

PHA subcontractors told “They’re not paying you enough to keep putting this back in the ground.”

PHA (subcontractor?) work lead in gray complains “they’re pulling all the poles out of the ground now”
 
More PHA cops circled back to this part of the lot as the fence pole situation heats up. PHA workers and police being asked to leave by residents and supporters of the new tent camp
 
Tent poles got removed again, pole holes getting filled back up with soil and rocks
 
Residents and supporters of the new tent camp at empty lot by PHA HQ have now formed a line in front of the PHA subcontractors and PHA police:
 
Some (not all) people moved off of the barricade line by the fence pole contest zone after seeing a PHA contractor bulldozer was moving around behind them, on the grassier side of the lot near where people have set up tents to live in.
 
We saw one Philly Police (as opposed to PHA housing authority police) cruiser pass by a few hours ago. As of now (1:30 PM) seems like PHA’s Police dept is the only law enforcement active here at the scene by intersection Jefferson & Ridge.
 
Currently unclear if PHA contracted workers will try to keep expanding this fence to the left here (crowd is blocking them just to left of this frame).
 
Update: PHA contractor workers have either started taking a break or paused fence work in the area shown in last clip. They seem more frustrated now but things still generally calm and de-escalated on both sides here
 
The pole holes from one of the earlier back-and-forth with the fence posts have been filled in further w dirt and debris as time has gone on
 
Pizza is getting handed out now after someone ordered several large pies delivered to the encampment
 
PHA construction vehicle was digging post holes on other side of lot (closer to the tents) and eventually drove off after people started filling all the post holes back up. We saw PHA worker continue to operate this equipment when people were standing near/on/touching its bucket
[Video Here]
 
More confrontational moments as PHA tried to keep installing fencing as people kept taking fence poles out of the fresh concrete. Construction vehicles still operating dangerously close to protesters.

Again, this PHA work all started overnight after the homeless camp appeared.
[Video Here]

PHA contractors stopped working with the fence posts and concrete mixer in this back part of the lot after residents and supporters from the new homeless encampment were dismantling their work faster than they could keep up with.

We saw >6 fenceposts get pulled up & taken away.

Things are suddenly the quietest they’ve been here all day at the new tent camp by PHA HQ. Seems like PHA contractors may have been told to call it a day.
 
Most or all PHA police (1-2 dozen maybe) are still here but seems like most of all of the workers have left.
 
Update: Some Philly PD (as opposed to PHA police) have arrived on site. At least one PPD Civil Affairs officer now here speaking with PHA police and contractors
 
Philly PD civil affairs arrived to speak with people, all they really had to say was a reiteration of the eviction letter already delivered by PHA after the homeless camp went up.
 
Philadelphia Police Civil Affairs refused to answer our question about why they aren’t following @PhillyMayor’s new mandatory masking order to protect Philadelphians during the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Seems like most actual Philadelphia police just left the scene after arriving to try to deliver another copy of PHA’s eviction notice to the camp. Just PHA police remaining now as far as we can see
 
More barricades continue to go up around the new homeless encampment outside Philadelphia Housing Authority HQ in North Philly. A few cops in area still monitoring but unclear what’s going to happen. Seems like only a coordinated mass police operation could remove people…
 
Earlier today before PHA’s work crews left the area of the new camp, we saw several concerning safety incidents happen. In this clip from a few hours ago, a worker was continuing to operate dangerous construction equipment as protesters were in physical contact with his equipment
 
When we reported on #NoDAPL protests in North Dakota, pipeline workers, even when quite hostile to protesters, almost always immediately ceased work when anyone set foot on a work site. Philadelphia Housing Authority contractors did not apply this same level of caution today.
 
A PHA supervisor eventually had this worker stop using this machine too close to people, after observing several near-miss potential injury incidents. Similar incidents like this with a bulldozer near the concrete mixer would recurr after this incident as well.
 
Again, the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s vigorous push for all this new construction today only happened on short notice today/last night after a homeless encampment with tents went up on the vacant, unused PHA-owned lot across from PHA HQ in Ridge Ave.
 
A lot more barricades have gone up at the new encampment for unhoused ppl outside @PhilaHsgAuthPHA HQ in the last few hours

Demands listed on fence outside the camp by PHA HQ: turn vacant PHA-owned properties into low-income housing, stop PHA selling homes to private entities, require city employees and police to respect the homeless, repeal urban camping bans, sanction homeless camps and tiny homes
 

Barricade construction is very much an ongoing activity into the night here at new encampment by @PhilaHsgAuthPHA HQ
[Video Here]

Report on Attempted Occupation of Hahnemann Hospital in Philadelphia

from It’s Going Down

On Saturday, June 27th, health-care workers and community members in Philadelphia put up barricades and attempted to occupy the entrance to the shuttered Hahnemann hospital.

by an autonomous jawn

For a brief moment on Saturday, nurses, patients and community members seized a shuttered hospital in Philadelphia and turned it over to the people to use as a clinic. Following a rally at the City Hall, a crowd of around 100 people marched north to the empty hospital tower, erected canopies, tables, and chairs, and began to attend to patients who had joined the march and were eager to receive care. They were the first people to be treated at the hospital since the pandemic began, during which the absentee owner kept its doors shut to the city in the hopes of forcing the city to pay a ransom.

Hahnemann Hospital stands in the center of the city, two blocks north of City Hall. Before it was closed in the summer of 2019 it predominantly treated Black poor and working class people of Philadelphia, with social service providers housed in the same tower as doctors and specialists. Its most recent owner, the banker turned heathcare investor Joel Freedman, had bought it only a year before, and when he determined it wasn’t profitable enough he filed for bankruptcy, laid off around 800 unionized nurses, and deprived the underserved population of Philadelphia of their primary source of care.

The occupation began with a rally that took place on the north face of city hall, across from the spot where one of the PPD cruisers famously burned during the riots weeks before — famous because a Philadelphia resident, Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, was arrested by the FBI supposedly on the basis of a photo posted to Instagram depicting her delivering a Molotov cocktail to the windshield. The burnt structures and gutted cruisers were quickly removed but the asphalt below the car is still scorched.

The rally was called by the Care Not Cops coalition of health workers, patients and community members which had formed a few weeks prior, moved by the examples set by the occupied Hilton in Minneapolis after the burning of the 3rd Precinct and by the James Talib Dean houseless people’s encampment up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia established two weeks before as well. They also took inspiration from the Black Panther Party and Young Lords’s moves toward community self-defense through direct provision of health care coupled with militant street activity. These models showed it is possible for the people to seize the means of care for ourselves back from capital and the State. And the quickly shifting character of the uprising, moving from riots to contacting city council members within a month, meant that it was time to act.

The George Floyd rebellion of late May and early June arrived in Philadelphia in the form of burning cop cars, widespread looting, skirmishes with police, stolen weapons, and mass mobilization. Unorganized Black teens were the protagonists. Its repressive turn was marked by tear gas, white vigilantism, FBI investigations and the transformation of riots into demands. Left organizations, Black-led or not, were the main actors here. The descent of the rebellion from exhilarating, liberatory action into the familiar street choreography of different left groupings was a barrier to taking creative advantage of the strategic situation, and appeared to have sapped much of the initiative the first weekends of revolt had produced. This action was an attempt to demonstrate that acting outside of organizational patterns allowed more incisive and bold movement, to resist the pacification and demobilization effect these protests often have, and to help drive imaginations toward bigger and better possibilities.

Speeches by members of ACT-UP Philly and the Black and Brown Workers Collective as well as local hospital workers drew connections between the anti-Black violence of the Philadelphia Police Department and the pathogenic society it upholds. The hospital had closed before the uprising or even the pandemic, after all, because all social existence is subordinate to profit. But even if it had still been in operation, it would have been part of a system which dispossesses Black power, destroys Black families through the family court system, harms Black disabled people, refuses care to Black trans people, and sequesters industrial toxins in Black neighborhoods. Sterling Brown from the BBWC sharpened this systemic critique by naming the individual city actors who carry it out: city manager Brian Abernathy, Mayor Jim Kenney, head of the office of homeless services Liz Hersh.

The crowd, now energized, took the streets. “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Fuck 12!,” and “What do we want? Care not cops! When do we want it? Now!,” joined chants of George Floyd, Remmie Falls and Breonna Taylor’s names. Marching against traffic up a side street, the people advanced up the loading ramp to the rear of the hospital while an organizer announced the plan was now to occupy the base of the building and set up a clinic for the people. While nurses busied themselves unfolding tables and laying out equipment, a rear contingent quickly set up barricades with wood pallets across the narrow street for protection against the few cops which had trailed the march.

Heavier equipment rolled in on a van which had been waiting for word around the corner. But as the nurses began to take out their blood pressure monitors and PPE, occupiers noticed the Philly SWAT team assembling on the street opposite the building. The advantage of using the base of the hospital was that it was accessible to the crowd for quick occupation without having to breach any doors or walls, but this also made it vulnerable to police attack. A debate broke out regarding the desirability of mounting a defense if the barricades didn’t keep the cops out. Some patients were determined to stay, while some nurses felt they couldn’t risk their license by getting arrested. The split in sentiment itself determined the outcome. Lacking the numbers and will to defend against police violence, the occupation packed itself up and moved on together, but not before treating the first patients at the Hahnemann site for months. There were, crucially, no arrests and no injuries from police violence, despite the intense escalation of barricaded streets and captured property. When we act together, we can care for each other and keep one another safe.

Though the occupation itself was extremely short-lived, the response it drew was indelible. Observers online and in the city immediately recognized the significance of taking over a hospital, and of the cops’ role as enforcers of a hated regime of property and social death. “[N]urses took over a shuttered hospital and open a free clinic. the police proceeded to threaten them with violence until they left in order to make sure the building stayed empty and unused,” summarized a Twitter user. The cops moved to protect the villainous hospital owner’s squatted property, guarding it against any use for the health of the people. And organizers were disappointed but not deterred. The first bold attempt at liberating the means for self-organizing community care was a strong start. It will certainly not be the last.

Movie Screenings At James Talib Dean Camp

from Twitter

A whole week of black revolutionary cinema programming for the unhoused comrades at James Talib Dean encampment in Philly – come through and watch these great movies! And support the camp’s demands for housing and freedom from the police #blacklivesmatter

[@ the James Talib Dean Camp 
(22nd St + Ben Franklin Parkway)
[Von Colln Memorial Field]
Screenings will start around 9:15pm and will be followed by other films TBA
Sunday 6/28
Let The Fire Burn
Malcolm X (1972)
 
Monday 6/29
Coconut Revolution
Che (pt1)
 
Tuesday 6/30
Cuba Africa Revolution
Burn!
 
Wednesday 7/1
Squatters
Black and Blue
 
Thursday 7/2
At The River I Stand
Out The Way
 
Friday 7/3
Concerning Violence
The Spook Who Sat By The Door]

Coverage of Care Not Cops Demonstration

from Twitter

Philadelphia Police civil affairs cops have been monitoring this protest, other officers appear staged nearby. Fairly calm scene so far
‘Care not Cops’ demo has been chanting the names of #BreonnaTayor and #GeorgeFloyd
One Philadelphia Police bike officer stationed along the march route is sporting a design of ‘skull mask’ popular with far-right and white nationalist militants
‘Care not cops’ march reacts positively when a group of skateboarders(?) rides past and shows support

Protesters in Philly say they are now establishing an occupation at the site of the Hahnemann Hospital, which was bought and closed down by an investor named Joel Freedman.

Freedman recently tried to extract $1M rent from the city to use the empty hospital during the pandemic.

More barricades continue to go up at brand-new Hahnemann Hospital occupation in Philly as more police start to arrive and stage nearby.
As usual, the Philly PD “Audio Visual Unit” aka surveillance team is among the first officers to arrive, and have been taking pictures of protesters.
More barricades going up at Hahnemann as police command staff appears to be weighing options
PPD SWAT officer seen here in black arrived to consult with PPD civil affairs who were already on site
SWAT officers in riot gear began to load off this Philadelphia Sheriff white bus. Philly Police officials appear poised to quickly deploy mass force to confront people looking to reopen a closed hospital during a pandemic.
Protesters appear to be dismantling the Hahnemann occupation now, several were heard saying they did not want to experience the police brutality displayed by Philly officers during recent protests (and spotlit in national media this week)
SWAT team from Philly PD forming up outside Hahnemann now

Mass amounts of police at Hahnemann are now just doing cleanup after protesters left.

PPD SWAT was seen moving debris at direction of Hahnemann Hospital staff (hospital owner Joel Freedman has insisted on staying closed since serving public health does not make enough profit.)

A Philly PD commander in white shirt could be seen smiling as he rolled up a Black Lives Matter flag that had been placed in the barricades outside Hahnemann Hospital.

It’s possible some of the Philly protestors still marching, we would guess they’ve dispersed by now.

When people marched away from Hahnemann Hospital a large amount of police in the area followed them. This included the PPD “Audio Visual” surveillance guys, who were in this car: