Defend And Support Kensington Encampment

from InstagramPhoto by Philadelphia Eviction Defense on June 12, 2021. May be an image of text that says 'The city has threatened to evict several encampment sites in Kensington. Bring donations! (Safe use supplies, tents, blankets etc.) Food will be served. DEFEND AND SUPPORT KENSINGTON ENCAMPMENTS June 16th, 2021 Meet at 7am @1800 E Allegheny Avenue Support needed throughout morning/ afternoon No more sweeps! No more evictions! Housing for all!'.

Eviction Defense Requested: Kensington Encampments

When: Wednesday June 16th, 2021
Meet at 7am
Support needed throughout day

Where: Meet @ 1800 E Allegheny Ave

Why: The city threatened to evict several encampment sites in Kensington, posting up signs listing the “1800 block of Hilton Street, the 1800 block of Allegheny Avenue, and the (illegible) of East Allegheny or any other place in the neighborhood known as Kensington”. Rallying point is near the intersection of Allegheny & Kensington Ave, where we can see most sites listed.

The city publicly said they won’t evict once a lawsuit was pending, HOWEVER they told all businesses/service providers they’ll be evicting that day. This is a deliberate confusion tactic to keep eyes off of Kensington! We will not let them act unseen on our neighbors.

Residents have requested support early that morning even if the city doesn’t try to evict, as police harassment occurs DAILY here regardless of formal notice. Residents report belongings being trashed by cops each morning. This is just eviction without the notice!

Do you have information that could help with the lawsuit against the city to stop the sweeps? Email stephanie.sena@law.villanova.edu

[image description: a graphic with orange lettering overlaid on a street map that uses turquoise lines on a black background. There is an orange border. The text reads, “Defend and Support Kensington encampments. June 16, 2021 Meet at 7am @ 1800 Allegheny Avenue Support needed throughout the morning / afternoon No more sweeps! No more evictions! Housing for all!” In the center left is an orange square with black writing. The text reads, “the city has threatened to evict several encampment sites in Kensington. Bring donations! ( safe use supplies, tents, blankets, etc ) Food will be served. End image description.]

Photo by Philadelphia Eviction Defense on June 12, 2021.

Philly Commemorates 36th Anniversary of MOVE Bombing

from Unicorn Riot

Philadelphia, PA – Thirty-six years ago today, the Philadelphia Police dropped a bomb on a home in West Philadelphia that served as the headquarters of the Black liberation organization, MOVE. The bombing killed 6 adults and 5 children, burned down 61 homes, and displaced 250 residents.

Members of MOVE and the Philadelphia radical community are observing the anniversary of the tragedy, gathering at the former MOVE HQ site on Osage Avenue before marching to Malcolm X Park.

[Video Here]

In April, news emerged that the bones of two MOVE families’ childrenDelisha Africa and Tree Africahad been taken from the bombing site and ended up in the custody of the University of Pennsylvania. UPenn staff have been casually storing the murdered children’s remains in a cardboard box on a shelf, and using their remains as teaching props for classes.

[Video Here]

On April 28, MOVE bombing survivors and community members protested at the UPenn campus demanding the firing of university staff involved in disrespecting the children’s remains. MOVE and supporters have also called for the removal of a street sign honoring former Philly Mayor Wilson Goode, who oversaw the 1985 bombing.

Today, Philly Mayor Jim Kenney announced the resignation of Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. Kenney said he learned Farley had identified additional remains from the MOVE bombing and had them cremated and disposed of instead of providing them to family members.

[Video Here]

In the 1970s, MOVE advocated for the rights of animals and the environment, in accordance with the teachings of their founder and leader John Africa. After a series of extreme police brutality incidents against MOVE members by Philly Police, the group found itself increasingly drawn into confrontations with Philly’s notoriously racist law enforcement apparatus under then-Mayor Frank Rizzo.

On August 8, 1978, an earlier confrontation took place at MOVE’s then-headquarters in the Philly neighborhood of Powelton Village. 9 MOVE members were sentenced in a politically-charged trial for the death of an officer who died in the 1978 confrontation; evidence suggests the officer died due to friendly fire from other police.

After years of imprisonment and medical neglect, 7 of the MOVE 9 have been released (two of themMerle Africa and Phil Africadied in prison). Delbert Africa, one of the MOVE 9 who was freed in 2020, died just months after his release, likely due to being denied proper cancer treatment while incarcerated.

[Video Here]

Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted by a racist judge based on falsified evidence in the 1981 murder of Philly cop Daniel Faulkner, is also associated with MOVE. Abu-Jamal reported closely on police brutality against MOVE and was believed by many to be targeted for a death penalty prosecution in part due to his support for MOVE.

Abu-Jamal has been experiencing extreme medical issues due to neglect in Pennsylvania’s prison system. On April 24, a coalition of groups, including MOVE, demonstrated in Philly, demanding Mumia’s release from prison:

[Video Here]

May Day Noise Demo

Submission

In celebration of May Day this year a group of us had a noise demo behind the Juvenile Justice Center in West Philly. We wrote graffiti, shot fireworks, and made noise outside the dormitories and saw the silhouettes of kids behind the frosted windows. We left without any arrests or police attention.
-some anarchists

Monday April 26th: Letter-writing for Mumia Abu-Jamal

from Philly ABC

mumia-abu-jamal.jpgMumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther and internationally recognized award-winning journalist known as “the voice of the voiceless” for his many years spent writing about racism in Philadelphia, the murder of local MOVE members, people in prison, and more. It is now urgent that we raise our voices for the freedom of Mumia as he faces serious health complications from medical neglect inside prison.

After years of denial of treatment for various chronic health conditions, Mumia had heart pain over last weekend. He was rushed to the hospital, and is expected to undergo heart surgery Monday, April 19, 2021. According to Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, Mumia’s chosen doctor:

There is significant evidence, both legal and medical, that Mumia has suffered severe harm because medical, legal, law enforcement, and judicial professionals have not met proper standards. Mumia has been recently hospitalized for COVID and Congestive Heart Failure and he already suffers from hypertension as well as liver cirrhosis and diabetes, both induced by court documented medical neglect. Freedom is the only treatment.

Watch the full, emergency press conference here.

Due to public pressure, Mumia was able to call his wife last Thursday, but we need to continue the pressure to demand:

  1. Mumia be allowed to call his chosen doctor, Dr. Ricardo Alvarez.
  2. Mumia not be shackled to his hospital bed, as is the rule in Pennsylvania and across the United States.
  3. His immediate release from prison.

Your support with calling and emailing prison authorities today and in the coming weeks is absolutely critical to ensure that Mumia gets the best possible medical care before, during, and after the surgery on Monday.

The it’s ALL OUT FOR MUMIA on April 23-25 – a weekend of action for Mumia’s 67th birthday.

Finally, join us on Monday, April 26th at 6:30pm in Clark Park (stone platform near 45th and Chester) as we gather to write letters of solidarity to Mumia. Move members will provide an update on Mumia’s condition and next steps for the fight to bring him home. If you are unable to make the event, please send him your solidarity at:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

We will also send birthday cards to political prisoners with birthdays in May: Xinachtli (the 12th), Kojo Bomani Sababu (the 27th), and Doug Wright (the 30th).

#FreedomIsTheOnlyTreatment
#FreeMumia
#BringMumiaHome

Antifascist Mobilizations Shutdown Neo-Nazi Organized “White Lives Matter” Rallies Across the US

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.]

Antifascists and anti-racists across the so-called US organized mobilizations in the face of “White Lives Matter” rallies organized by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the Proud Boys. While many of the demonstrations were shut down before they even began by organizers afraid of antifascist online infiltration, online chats show that many potential rallies were also called off when fascists saw the size of the counter-demonstrations on the ground. In Huntington Beach, which has long been the site of far-Right, pro-Trump and in recent months, anti-mask/re-open demonstrations, the White Lives Matter protest was promoted by the Ku-Klux-Klan, who distributed flyers for it in various neighborhoods. While a Klan presence never materialized, various neo-Nazis and fascists did show themselves, along with Trump supporters who waved Trump and “All Lives Matter” flags. Clashes and fights in the streets quickly sent the racists packing, leading authorities to make multiple arrests and declare an unlawful assembly. Arrests also took place in Sacramento, as antifascists clashed with a small WLM group at the state capitol.

The failure of the “White Lives Matter” demonstrations shows that the racialist wing of the far-Right can still not mobilize on its own without massing its forces in one place like in Charlottesville and also networking with other adjacent movements, such as Trump supporters, the militias, or Qanon. It should also be noted that white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups like Patriot Front, the National Justice Party led by neo-Nazi podcasters and former Daily Stormer staffers, and the Groypers led by Nick Fuentes – all did not endorse the WLM actions, seeing them as poorly organized. In the end, the rallies where total disasters and optically were also complete failures in distancing white identity politics from Hitler saluting neo-Nazis. For groups like the Proud Boys who have spent years attempting to deny associations with racist groups, their involved will only help in tarnishing what’s left of their image.

Despite the success of the counter-mobilizations, both online and in the real world, it should be noted that the danger of the far-Right still hasn’t gone away. In Fresno, California for instance, several dozen Proud Boys rallied alongside Trump supporters and against progressive demonstrators attempting to stop the sale of a historical theater hall that is central to the LGBTQ and progressive community. The Proud Boys on the scene were made up of several chapters from different cities; showing that despite State repression, bad press, and continued opposition, the group is still able to mobilize its forces and intervene in wider currents alongside more mainstream Trump supporters. Also, members of the Nationalist Social Club (NSC) also rallied without opposition in Wakefield, Massachusetts, after according to local antifascists, “being chased out of Malden.”

It’s in these areas, often outside of larger cities where rallying several hundred can be done quite easily, that we need to work on building coalitions and relationships, not only between autonomous groups, crews, and organizations on a regional basis like our enemies are doing, but within broader communities in struggle and those who are targeted by the far-Right on a daily basis.

Check out our roundup below of all the action and support those facing repression in Sacramento, here and in Huntington Beach, here.

  • Philadelphia, PA: Antifascists held a public picnic and a pre-planned WLM demonstration failed to materialize.

[Twitter link]
[Twitter link]

Stand Up Against Hate

from Instagram

FLIER TIME! SHOW OUT! April 11th 12:00 Noon!

[City Hall Sunday]

Info on local fash

Submission

Heads ups for April 11

With a White Lives Matter march coming up April 11th (https://leftcoastrightwatch.org/2021/04/new-jersey-neonazis-plan-march-through-philly/) it might be useful for anti-fascists to familiarize themselves with local neo-Nazis and fascists who seem to be associated with the event. Much groundwork has already been laid for identifying members of the New Jersey European Heritage Association and their associates Keystone United/Keystone State Skinheads and Patriot Front. Although at the time of this writing NJEHA has attempted to distance themselves from the upcoming march (https://nitter.mastodont.cat/DLamontJenkins/status/1378399699967868930) there is no reason to believe that they are doing anything but trying to save face. The NJEHA has come to Philly before to harass anti-ICE protestors (http://idavox.com/index.php/2019/07/04/nj-boneheads-tried-to-cause-trouble-at-philly-i-c-e-protests/) and to put up fascists propaganda. KU/KSS have a much longer history of organizing fascist events, namely Leif Erikson Day, a celebration of colonization (https://phillyantifa.org/keystone-united-exposed-closing-thoughts/). Below are some links to information on known local fascists and far-right scum. The Proud Boys have not yet been associated with the White Lives Matter march but are included below in the event any that they attend unannounced.

Keystone United / Keystone State Skinheads / Be Active Front
https://keystoneunitedexposed.noblogs.org/

New Jersey European Heritage Association FKA Advanced White Society
https://nitter.mastodont.cat/zig161zag/status/1329560884713189379 (or twitter.com/zig161zag/status/1329560884713189379 to view the original post on twitter)

Philly Neo-Nazi Member of New Jersey European Heritage Association (NJEHA) Exposed


https://nitter.mastodont.cat/NYCAntifa/status/1349171255765848067 (or twitter.com/NYCAntifa/status/1349171255765848067 to view the original post on twitter)

Patriot Front FKA Vanguard America
Kieran P. Morris

Scott Baxtin—Erie, PA fascist.

Philly Proud Boys
https://phillyproudboys.noblogs.org/

General Local and National Fascists

Local Fascists and Nazis

One People’s Project Rogues’ Gallery

Verify your information when possible, people move, people get new cars, etc.

Jackson Bradley NJEHA Nazi Behind “White Lives Matter Philadelphia”

from Twitter

In early January, Nazis skulked around NYC taking pics of themselves sieg heiling with a fascist flag. The Nazi in the grey & black coat is Jackson Bradley, a Philly member of the New Jersey European Heritage Association who goes by “Jesse Herring” on Telegram.
Jackson Browning Bradley was identified by antifascists in 2020 as a Philly member of the Nazi group, the New Jersey European Heritage Association. The NJEHA is connected to fascist groups like Patriot Front & has heavily targeted areas in Staten Island.
Jackson Bradley, in the same grey & black coat, was also seen flyering for the NJEHA with local NYC Nazi, Jovi Val, and a third man in Philadelphia in early January– across from Independence Hall and the National Museum of American Jewish History.
Jackson Bradley (as “Jesse Herring”) openly bragged about targeting the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philly in the Operation Flag Drop Telegram channel–which is run by a well-connected NYC MAGA grifter, Dion Cini, who stormed the Capitol on Jan 6th.

Nazis GTFO!: Picnic Against Hate

from Facebook

No photo description available.

Come celebrate our community by joining our picnic with a purpose: telling Nazis to GTFO!

Violent white supremacists have announced plans for a racist “White Lives Matter” rally in Center City (exact location TBA). Promotional material for the day prominently features Nazi symbolism, like the swastika.

Bring signs but also music, picnic blankets, lunch, puppets, etc.

Their announced gather time is 1 pm, so we’re asking folks to do their best to come out by noon.

We’ll show fascists that there is no room or love for them in our streets or in our city.

[Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM EDT
Center City]

Report from march in solidarity against anti-AAPI racism

Submission

On the night of 3/27, about a dozen people responded to a call to march against anti-Asian racism and white supremacy. After a brief discussion about intentions, the bloc marched about 10 blocks, without a police tail, through pedestrian streets that have been overtaken by outdoor dining, chanting slogans against racism, the police, and white supremacy. This disrupted what would otherwise have been a lovely evening for Philly’s yuppies, before dispersing without incident. Some of these chants included “A-C-A-B, FUCK/END WHITE SUPREMACY!”, “COPS & KLAN GO HAND IN HAND!”,” WHEN ASIAN/IMMIGRANT/BLACK LIVES ARE UNDER ATTACK, WHAT DO WE DO, STAND UP FIGHT BACK!”, “A-ANTI-ANTICAPITALISTA!”, some feral screaming into the night, etc.

The march was a really fun night out! Spirits were high, the chanting was strong and heartfelt. The bloc was playful and even had an impromptu dance to some street musicians playing Vanessa Carlton’s “1000 Miles”. The route choice of pedestrian streets meant that the march could be loud and visible with a low risk of encountering the police. Communication between marchers felt easy and people were able to make decisions together.

Here are some things to think about for future actions. Considering nearby cameras and visibility from the street and sidewalk when choosing a meet up location can help increase anonymity and the chance of a smooth start. The messaging on the banner was confusing — it said that no one has to die for people to fight racism, which is true, but racism does kills everyday.

This action was successful in being highly visible, spreading a message against white supremacy, avoiding arrests and a police tail. The route was clever in that it went through streets already closed to car traffic. This kind of relatively low stress action builds confidence, as well as experience moving & deciding together in the street. It also felt like a good first outing of the spring, and a way to show that actions can be fun, playful, and confrontational all at the same time.

-DSA: Insurrectionary Nihilist Caucus

Justice for Christian Hall

from Instagram

Photo by Zine Distro in Philly on February 10, 2021. May be an image of 1 person, outdoors and text that says 'JUSTICE FOR CHRISTIAN HALL ABOLISH THE POLICE DEMONSTRATION 2/12 5PM DILWORTH PLAZA, CITY HALL'.

Justice for Christian Hall Abolish the Police Demonstration 2/12 5PM Dilworth Plaza, City Hall

from Instagram

Photo by The Wooden Shoe on February 10, 2021. May be an image of 1 person, car, outdoors and text.

Photo by The Wooden Shoe on February 10, 2021. May be an image of text that says 'RALLY against police brutality racism corruption abuse and all harm done by them city hall 5 pm fri 2/12 share everywhere'.

New Year’s Eve vandalism of federal buildings in Philly leads to multiple arrests

from mainstream media

New Year’s Eve vandalism of federal buildings in Philly leads to multiple arrests

[Philly Anticap note: Everyone arrested has been released. See Up Against The Law’s post here]

Several people were arrested Thursday night after police and city highway patrol officers responded to reports of large unruly crowds and vandalism at federal buildings in Philadelphia.

Police observed a crowd on the 900 block of Market Street at about 8:50 p.m. Thursday, on New Year’s Eve. A 25-year-old man threw a brick through a window of the Robert Nix Federal Building, according to police.

The man, along with another man, age 24, and two 23-year-old women, all dressed similarly in black clothing, tried to flee the scene, but were taken into police custody.

The damage to the Nix building was estimated at $3,000.

Shortly after at 9 p.m., Philadelphia Highway Patrol officers were also in the area of 900 Market Street responding to reports of a large group of people breaking windows and spray-painting the federal building.

Officers stopped three individuals who had spray paint on their clothes, markers in their possession, and other suspicious materials.

A 25-year-old man had a glass jar with a fuse going into a bottle with a strong flammable odor, police said. He also had a container with a powder labeled “Fire Starter.”

A 22-year-old woman had bottles of liquids with chemicals and spray paint on her hands and clothes, police said.

And a 26-year-old woman had spray paint on her clothing.

The three individuals were taken into custody and charged with attempted arson, risking catastrophe, having an incendiary device, conspiracy and related offenses.

The materials they had with them will be examined by bomb technicians, police said.

About to Explode: Notes on the #WalterWallaceJr Rebellion in Philadelphia

from It’s Going Down

The following analysis and reflection looks at the recent rebellion in Philadelphia following the police murder of Walter Wallace Jr.

by Gilets Jawns

Nearly every week over the course of this long, hot summer, a different city has occupied the center stage of this particularly American drama. Through this passing of the torch, the sequence of riots had has dragged on far longer than anyone could have expected. In the last days before the election, in perhaps the most significant swing state, in the Philadelphia’s turn to carry the torch.

Following the climatic violence of Kenosha, each subsequent riot has been less able to capture the public imaginary or mobilize wide layers of society. It is too soon to tell whether the spectacle of the election will tower over the spectacle of insurrection; if this summer of unrest has finally run its course, or if black proletarians will continue to carry forward the struggle on their own. The riots in Philadelphia none the less leave us with a set of questions about the composition and tactics of movement, and the role of pro-revolutionaries within it.

I.

On Monday, October 26th, Walter Wallace Jr., a father and aspiring rapper with a history of mental illness, was having a crisis and acting erratically. His family called 911, hoping to have him temporarily hospitalized. Soon the Philadelphia Police Department was on the scene, rather than ambulance they had expected. Officers on the scene were told by his family that Wallace was having a mental health crisis. Nonetheless, within minutes, Wallace had been shot at over a dozen times. He died soon afterwards in the hospital. Shakey footage of the incident, captured on a cellphone, ends with family members confronting and screaming at the police officers on the scene. Everybody knew it was about to explode.

As the video begins to circulate on social media, a demonstration is called for that evening at Malcolm X Park in West Philadelphia, not far from the site of the shooting. Several hundred people join a rowdy march from the park to the nearby 18th Precinct, then through the neighborhood, and eventually back to precinct. One section of the crowd breaks away to march on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus police station, breaking it’s windows.

On the blocks cleared from the police, fireworks are set off and the crowd begins looting. Most of the storefronts on that stretch of 52nd Street, occupied by small, black owned businesses, such as bookstores and beauty salons, remain untouched.

Clashes breakout at the 18th Precinct between between demonstrators and riot police and the crowd spills over onto 52nd street, the commercial strip in that part of the neighborhood, where a police car is set on fire and another one has its windows broken. Dumpsters are dragging into the street and also set on fire. On the blocks cleared from the police, fireworks are set off and the crowd begins looting. Most of the storefronts on that stretch of 52nd Street, occupied by small, black owned businesses, such as bookstores and beauty salons, remain untouched. When riot police eventually charged the crowd, people took off running down side streets, jumped into cars, and disappeared. Looting soon broke out all over the city, as groups drove around breaking into pharmacies, liquor stores, and chain stores.

In West Philadelphia meanwhile things began to take on the form of a classic community riot. A crowd fought back the police with bricks and bottles until they retreated. In the space opened up, a stretch of several blocks, much of the neighborhood was out in the streets or on their porches. Young people broke up bricks on the sidewalk, in anticipation of another battle with the police. Others drank, debated, enthusiastically greeted their neighbors, shared looted goods, and cheered on the youth as they fought with or ran from the police. Everyone shared in the revelry of the moment, even if they didn’t partake in, or even criticized, the pot-latch of destruction.

Older drunk men took on the roll of town crier, walking from block to block enthusiastically shouting the news from elsewhere in the neighborhood: what intersections were being looted; where groups were headed now.

The doors of pharmacies and bodegas were broken in. People calmly walked in and out, taking what they needed. “Is there any kid’s cereal left? If you don’t have kids, you might not know this, but that shit is expensive.” A whole range of people from the neighborhood walked the streets with trash bags with stolen goods slung over their shoulders. Older drunk men took on the roll of town crier, walking from block to block enthusiastically shouting the news from elsewhere in the neighborhood: what intersections were being looted, where groups were headed now.

When riot police inevitably tried to retake the block, most of the crowd, most either went back inside their homes, or ran down the street to their cars. A pattern emerged for the rest of the night: someone would yell out an intersection in the neighborhood, crews would drive there, regroup, and begin looting until enough police arrived that it was time to disperse and regroup at another intersection.

Tuesday, October 27th

The next morning it was announced that the National Guard would be arriving within the next 24 to 48 hours. The riot thus had a window of time to make the most of. A flier circulated for another demonstration at Malcolm X Park that evening. In an almost comically exaggerated form of what the movement has come to call swooping, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), a Stalinist sect, circulated a separate call for a march at exact same location, only an hour earlier. This confusion led to the crowd splitting, with some following the PSL towards Center City and others marching towards the 18th Precinct. The group gathered at the precinct steadily over the course of the evening to around 400 people, a significantly larger and more diverse crowd than the previous night.

In the meantime, a caravan of cars descended on a WalMart in Port Richmond, on the northern end of the city. Video footage from a news helicopter showed people running out of the store with flat-screen TVs and other home appliances into a parking lot densely packed with idling cars. PPD speculated that up to 200 people were inside the WalMart at once, and the caravan may have involved up to 1,000 people. For the next few hours, hundreds of people in dozens of cars marauded through Aramingo avenue, looting a Footlocker, furniture stores, kid’s clothing stores, and other box stores along the way. WalMart announced later that week that, due to the threat of continued social unrest, they would be taking guns and ammunition off of their shop floors.

When the crowd at the Precinct began to march, some people almost immediately began to build barricades and throw bottles at the police. Soon a group of riot police were being chased under volleys of bricks and bottles nearly back to the precinct. Most of the march though tried to steer clear of the street-fighting, but was nonetheless overwhelmed by the sheer size of the police presence. Along 52nd Street the march was cut off and then broken up, with much of the crowd either kettled, dispersed, or stuck in a stand off with riot police. Eventually two or three smaller marches criss-crossed the neighborhood. One of these groups marched away from the heavily-policed zone towards Center City, leaving a trail of burning barricades and a looted liquor store in it’s wake.

Around midnight, with the streets largely evacuated of activists, youth from the neighborhood began to gather around 52nd street. They hurled bricks at the line of riot police and set dumpsters on fire in the street until police eventually charged at them. They then led the police on a chase for the rest of the night, stopping occasionally to break up bricks and wait for their enemy to get within striking range, throwing as many as they could, and then running again.

At the head of the march, improvising the route, was a twenty-something-year-old in a wheelchair dressed in black bloc. Everyone behind him was carrying bricks. Improvised barricades were occasionally dragged into the street and burned. An ATM was set on fire, as well as several vehicles, including an Xfinity van. “That’s for cutting off my wifi, bitch!” The whole proceedings had a festive air to it. Almost everyone knew each other from the neighborhood and would crack jokes on each other as they went. A solidarity demonstration that night in downtown Brooklyn threw bricks at the police, broke the windows of a police car, a court building, and numerous businesses.

Wednesday, October 28th

The next morning, the FBI arrested four people, including a prominent community organizer, who are being charged with arson and accused of having a role in setting three police cars on fire during the uprising in May and June. The FBI made similar arrests and raids in Atlanta that week.

A curfew was declared for 9PM. No demonstration was called for that evening.

As soon as the sun set, looting started spreading all over the city.

That evening, a small crowd gathered outside of the 18th Precinct, composed of more journalists than protests. After being warned by community affairs officers that the gathering was illegal, most of the crowd went home. For the rest of the night, youth from the neighborhood sporadically clashed with the police and set off fireworks across West Philadelphia.

After being warned about the curfew by community affairs officers, most of the crowd dispersed. Throughout the night, small groups of people, mostly from the neighborhood, clashed with police and set off fireworks across West Philadelphia.

Along City Avenue in Merion Park, a caravan of looters ransacked strip malls and box stores. Groups of between three and a dozen cars swarmed the area, storming businesses, and then stopping at gas stations to regroup and discuss their next move. At times the swarm of looters was so dense that there traffic jams along the highway.

Dispersed looting continued for the next several days, as did the occasional daytime activists demonstration, but neither found a way to pick up momentum or relate to each other. Several days of bad weather didn’t help. This was perhaps the first time since rioting began this summer where a curfew was declared for a city and large crowds didn’t come out to challenge it. The national guard finally arrived on Friday, too late to prevent any of the rioting.

///

II.

Innovation

To stay dynamic and overcome the impasses they face, movements need to constantly innovate the tactics they use. In many cities, including Philadelphia as the large-scale riots and social looting of late May ran their course, the unrest was kept going through a turn to diffuse looting. Rather than struggling with police over a particular territory, groups spanned out by car throughout the entire city and surrounding suburbs. This often happened on such a large scale that it was nearly impossible for the police to contain it. Diffuse looting has reemerged sporadically in recent months, during the unrest in Louisville and Philadelphia, as a way to disrupt the city in the absence of large-scale protests.

Philadelphia’s unique tactical innovation has been the introduction of so-called “ATM bombings.” Groups will detonate small explosive devices at an ATM and, ostensibly, walk away with the cash. During the heady days of May and early June, the sound of explosions became part of the background ambiance of the city where American democracy was born. This tactic reemerged during late October’s unrest. There were likely a dozen ATM bombings each of the three major nights of unrest. This tactic has so far not spread elsewhere, likely due to the amount of technical knowledge required.

The fact that innovations, like the caravan, tend to leap from city to city indicates that proletarians are paying attention to how the struggle is unfolding elsewhere. It also shows that the choice of tactics isn’t arbitrary, but it is grounded in an intelligent read of the situation they find themselves struggling within.

The major innovation this summer has it’s origins in Chicago. After police shot Latrell Allen on Chicago’s Southside, a caravan of looters poured into the downtown Magnificent Mile, Chicago’s most famous shopping district,breaking windows and emptying out luxury stores. For the next few hours, this caravan marauded through the city, evading the police and looting luxury boutiques, pharmacies, and liquor stores. This tactical was repeated on a smaller scale in Louisville in September and on a perhaps larger scale in Philadelphia.

The looter caravans, in particular, highlight a much higher degree of coordination, organization, and boldness of action than is within reach of any activist, leftist, or revolutionary group. The fact that innovations, like the caravan, tend to leap from city to city indicates that proletarians are paying attention to how the struggle is unfolding elsewhere. It also shows that the choice of tactics isn’t arbitrary, but it is grounded in an intelligent read of the situation they find themselves struggling within.

These innovative tactics have so far allowed comparatively small groups to overwhelm police departments and disrupt the flows of the city. But there are clear limits to how much these high-risk actions might generalize. They, in fact, seem premised on the boldest layers of proletariat acting alone. This perhaps indicates that black proletarians no longer expect the large, multiracial crowds that joined them in the rebellion earlier this summer.

Composition

These recent nights in Philadelphia pose a challenge to the hypothesis that this is a multiracial uprising. Or rather, they seem to indicate that the “rigid lines of separation” that appeared to break down in May are quickly re-emerging. Throughout the country, the crowds that flooded the streets in May and June closely corresponded to the demographics of the city they were in. White people, in fact, were often over represented compared to their share of the total population of the given city. It was only during some of the most intense moments of looting that the participants were mostly black, but never exclusively so. The riots and demonstrations were also rarely confined to particular black or working class neighborhoods, but rather tended to envelope the entire city.

Instead, during the recent riots in Philadelphia, black proletarians stood largely alone. When multiracial crowds arrived in West Philadelphia in October, they were largely unable to overcome the separations that had been so easily dissolved earlier in the summer. If these activists had hoped to express their support for the rioting, they had the perhaps unintended inverse effect of stifling it, as black proletarians in the crowd hesitated to see how these newcomers might act. For moments on Monday and Tuesday night, a multiracial crowd worked together to build barricades and attack the police. But more often than not, even when different elements of the crowd took part in the rioting, they did so separately. Each night by midnight, almost no one was left on the streets that wasn’t black.

A certain amount of hesitation around whether or how to act in the streets likely result from anxiety around these “rigid lines of separation.” Debates abounded in the streets, on Telegram channels, and within activists circles about the proper way to relate to the black struggle. It is worth remembering though that this anxiety is often only one-sided. People from outside of the neighborhood who showed up for the riots were at times treated with suspicion until they made clear that they were there for the same reasons as everyone else. Then they were widely embraced. Those taking initiate in the streets were glad that others had joined them, especially if they had something to contribute.

It is not simply that separations reasserted themselves within and between the crowds. The riot did not spread from neighborhood to neighborhood, and only a minority of the immediate neighborhood ever participated in a significant way. No wider layers of the class ever came into the streets, and the activist crowd that mobilized never exceeded a few hundred people. Solidarity demonstrations, with the exception of the one in Brooklyn, were small and attended only by committed activists.

What Are We to Do?

If there is to be a collective leap from riot to insurrection, for this long, hot season stretch into an endless summer, people will need to find ways to contribute to this unfolding. Rather than being paralyzed by anxiety, pro-revolutionaries should consider what practical knowledge and capacities they have to offer.

This is often quite simple. One way in which pro-revolutionaries make themselves useful is by holding onto the memory of lessons learned in previous struggles and experiments. This can be as basic as reminding people to wear masks or showing them how to use Telegram to out smart the police. There are certain gestures, such as circulating a call for a demonstration, that can be necessary to keep things moving forward.

The balance sheet on this is fairly clear in hindsight. Despite their awkwardness, the two evening demonstrations spilled over into riots, while the other nights only saw more diffuse actions. This is because they provide a space for those who want to take initiative to find each other and for those who may not want to take initiative, but who nonetheless support the riots, to express that publicly in a way that provides cover for others. The evening demonstrations also provided cover for the looting happening elsewhere, by occupying much of the city’s police force along 52nd Street.

With the declaration of a curfew and the threat of the national guard, providing some basic container to act within, such as calling for another evening demonstration, could have created the conditions for the unrest to keep going for a few days longer. In this sense, a small intervention by pro-revolutionaries could have been significant.

Otherwise, pro-revolutionaries try to read what the dynamic of a given struggle is, and how to contribute to its unfolding. This can look like trying to take initiative in a way that may resonate and be taken up by other members of the crowd. Even if we may stand out from the crowd, when the gestures we take prove themselves to be sensible, people tend to recognize them as material contributions. Other times, simply having the foresight to bring tools, whether masks, fireworks, umbrellas, or a sound-system, can go a long way towards contributing to the dynamic of an event.

This point may seem banal, but it’s worth remembering. After the first days of the uprising in New York City, much bigger crowds began to come into the streets. In these moments, the rigid separations between different components of the crowd could be felt. Many of the new participants were inspired by the bolder acts of the uprising, but in person were as afraid of the specter of the riot as they were of the police. They desperately looked for people to appoint into leadership roles, who then tried their best to micromanage the demonstrations. Young black proletarians in the crowd began to sense their isolation, and, by the the end of the first week, stopped coming out. If others in the crowd had also tried to take initiative, it’s possible they could have contributed to a circumstance where the black avant-garde didn’t feel constrained, perhaps extending the uprising a bit longer.

In this sense, solidarity literally means attack. The more pro-revolutionaries have felt the confidence to act, they more they been able to meaningfully contribute to unfolding of this struggle set in motion by black proletarians.

These leaps forward in proletarian self-organization and tactics over this long summer present pro-revolutionaries with a particular dilemma. The role of pro-revolutionaries has been to contribute to the intensification and generalization of struggle, to push them towards their insurrectionary horizon. But when proletarian self-activity becomes much more daring and risky than many pro-revolutionaries are ready for, what then becomes our role? When these tactics already entail such a degree of coordination and intensity, then even if pro-revolutionaries are to participate, it is not clear what we have to contribute.

Some black proletarians seems committed to carrying the struggle forward and intensifying it, but unlike in May, they are almost totally isolated. To be able to struggle at all, they have thus had to be immensely creative in their choice of tactics. But these innovations seems to presuppose their isolation. This riddle may solve itself as struggles once again generalize and new tactics proliferate. The black avant-garde may continue to blaze ahead on its own, struggling with an intensity that many cannot participate in, and it will be important for revolutionaries to decide how to contribute.

The election is now in the rear view mirror. While the dust has not yet settled, it may turn out to the case that the left’s fascination with the possibility of a coup or civil-war only obscured from us the more difficult questions raised by this moment. The black avant-garde may continue to blaze ahead on its own, struggling with an intensity that many cannot participate in. We may be faced with the option of either joining them on this path, with neither a clear horizon or sense of how we can contribute, or of vacating the streets ourselves. This riddle may solve itself as struggles once again generalize and new tactics proliferate, but we cannot take that for granted.

Report from a march into University City

Submission

Here’s a report back on one march that took place Monday, October 26. This march didn’t get much attention so I want to share my experience of it because it pushed the envelope in terms of what a medium sized group of people can accomplish. This report back is a snapshot of one moment that night, so much more happened that night and the next one, and there are so many things worth discussing that I don’t touch on. Hopefully this is only one of many reports and conversations on the Walter Wallace Jr uprising.

A buzz of the phone let me know that the police had shot a man in West Philly. Then word spread that the man who had been shot had died at the hospital, and that unsurprisingly he was black. A call was circulating for a demonstration at Malcolm X Park.

A group of a couple hundred of us marched out of the park toward the 18th Precinct where the cops who killed the man were from. Multiple approaches to the building were foiled by barricades and cops with helmets and riot shields lined up behind them. After a few attempts at getting to the building we turned around and went east instead, back toward the park. Photographers’ and journalists’ cameras were blocked as we went toward 52nd St. Once we were one 52nd St a few people tried to throw rocks at an unmarked police car ahead of the march, were told off, and after a strikingly short conversation had convinced their critics, some of whom joined them and also proved to have better aim.

We stopped at the corner of the park and some people began to tell a camera person to stop filming. As they left a news van parked at the corner was vandalized, sides tagged, tires pierced, and the windshield smashed. The marching was buzzing and joyful as people chanted “what did you see? I didn’t see shit!” People discussed and quickly decided to head towards the police stations in University City where they would likely be less guarded. On the way people learned the man who had been killed was named Walter Wallace and we shouted it, and it was written upon available walls alongside anti-police graffiti.

With only a couple blocks between us and the police stations the march stopped and a heated argument ensued. The argument was between some people who felt the march should be going toward the unguarded University City precincts and some people who wanted the march to return to the 18th Precinct to support the family of Walter Wallace Jr. The argument was unnecessarily heated, the two approaches — support and attack — are both important, it’s a strength that we can find more than one way to confront the situation. The argument split the march; some headed back West towards the 18th Precinct while others continued to the University City ones. I was with the latter march.

University City is policed by the Philly Police Department, Drexel Police, the University of Pennsylvania Police, and University City District Safety Ambassadors. As we approached the back of the UPenn police station a line of maybe four cops blocked the street with bicycles. We took the sidewalk, went around them, and people smashed and tagged the back of the building. At the end of the block we turned north onto 40th where a UPenn police car sat idling, as we passed it someone smashed some of its windows before it drove away. Turning another corner east onto Chestnut St we found ourselves with almost no cops around in front of a PPD substation and the UCD office, both of which lost most of their windows. Having visited the police stations like we’d wanted, we decided to head back toward the 18th Precinct to see what was happening there. The march back was unusually calm considering what had just happened. We had police cars and a police bus following us that we kept at bay by repeatedly barricading the street with dumpsters and other materials. We made it to the 18th Precinct with no arrests and joined the larger crowd there.

It’s still unbelievable to me that a group of people that wasn’t that big was able to attack two police stations and the UCD office, while the police were there, and walk away! It sets a new precedent for what is possible.

RIP Walter Wallace Jr
Much love to everyone who took their rage and sorrow into the street
Freedom for everyone arrested during the uprising
Forever fuck the police

#FreeAnt

from Instagram

#FreeAnt !!! Tomorrow!! Community Gathers to Call for the Immediate Release of Beloved Organizer Anthony Smith WHAT: Philly for REAL Justice is holding a Press Conference to speak out about federal agents using Gestapo-like tactics to raid the home of Anthony Smith, his blatantly unconstitutional treatment in Federal custody, and to call for his immediate release. WHEN: Friday, October 30 at 9:30am WHERE: Malcolm X Park, 5150 Pine St, Philadelphia, PA 19143 WHO: Philly for REAL (Racial, Economic and Legal) Justice, Human Rights Coalition of PA, and the family, friends, co-workers, and supporters of long time organizer, educator and community advocate Anthony Smith. WHY: Anthony Smith was targeted, arrested and imprisoned for exercising his protected First Amendment rights to peacefully protest. The federal government is trying to assassinate Smith’s character and pin baseless charges on him because he is an outspoken community advocate. He is being held for weeks without the chance to post bail or have access to his lawyer. This is an attempt to paint him as a criminal, threatening his job and livelihood while taking away his fundamental right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.