November discussion: Can’t Get You Out of My Head

from Viscera

Join us on Sunday, November 6th from 1-3 as we discuss parts 1, 2 and 3 of Adam Curtis’s documentary, Can’t Get You Out of My Head. As usual, we’ll be meeting at Clark Park near the chess tables.

Love, power, money, ghosts of empire, conspiracies, artificial intelligence – and You. An emotional history of the modern world by Adam Curtis.

We’ll be discussing “Bloodshed on Wolf Mountain,” “Shooting an Fucking are the Same Thing,” and “Money Changes Everything,” though you’re encouraged to watch the whole thing!

Find it on archive.org here – episodes on YouTube have been abridged to avoid being taken down.

Philly Eviction Defense Community Meeting

from Instagram

Find your place in the fight for housing!
-Learn how to research local landlords
-Join and build eviction support networks
-Help create zines, pamphlets, and posters on tenants rights Where: Rittenhouse Square, southwest corner

Night Owls #2: Summer of Sabotage

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.]

Download pamphlet: Print – Tabloid [For a Risograph]
Download action poster:  Print – Tabloid [For a Risograph]

This summer also saw attacks proliferate in solidarity with the ongoing campaign to defend the Atlanta Forest. The defense of forests and other places that have so far evaded the reach of urban sprawl is starting to slowly spread elsewhere, with the “Save the Meadows” campaign in Philadelphia and the struggle to defend People’s Park in Berkeley, California. Will this strategy — of finding local ways to defend the forest, which those fighting in Atlanta remind us is everywhere — continue to spread? While it can definitely be simpler to take action in solidarity with a relatively high-profile campaign that has an easily defined objective, what could it look like to spread a combative defense of land, and the relationships we form through meeting there, across a multitude of different places?

Such campaigns often speak to a need to stop environmental destruction as we look ahead to a future of accelerating climate collapse, forgetting that we are already living in the aftermath of an ecological and social apocalypse. Over the past 450 years, colonization has decimated the ecological landscape of this entire continent, robbing and removing people across the globe from their land through a multitude of forced migrations, and the new wave of climate disasters is its logical consequence. This is not to suggest that we should give up the fight against the coming changes, but to put the current climate crisis in a historical context of survivance, specifically that of violently uprooted and colonized peoples as well as of non-human species. [4] Positioning our struggles as either part of or in solidarity with that tradition of survival, rather than thinking of it as a brand-new situation, might further shake the legitimacy of the State and its hold on us all. And maybe one day the struggle to defend the forest will once again be everywhere.

[4] The term “survivance” describes a type of resistance to the United States that is specific to indigenous and other colonized people, one that combines practices of survival and resurgence.

Action Briefs

6/12: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

All of the windows of the Hope pro-life center are smashed out by the Anti Hope Brigade.

6/17: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Anti-Gentrification Action/Another Gay Anarchists attack two construction sites. Paint and glass etch were used against the windows of a luxury apartment construction, and the windows of another were smashed out. “We did this to fight gentrification and to contribute to the new wave of anarchist attack in the US. We also did this to have fun!”

7/6: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Janes Revenge smashes the front windows of a pro-life union that runs two centers and an anti-abortion hotline. “Solidarity with all those attack the state, capital, civilization, and patriarchy.”

8/24: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

A stand of pine trees in the meadows of FDR park, which is in the process of getting developed, are marked with signs warning some of them have been “spiked.” The spiked stand of trees is discovered a week later amid a larger clearcut swath.

8/27: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Six pieces of construction equipment are ruined overnight in the meadows of South Philadelphia’s FDR Park, which is slated to be clearcut as part of a “revitalization project.”

9/6: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Four pieces of heavy machinery being used to cut down forest and develop the Cobbs Creek Golf Course are sabotaged. “There doesn’t need to be a bigger campaign going on for us to take matters into our own hands and try to stop some of the destruction that surrounds us.”

 

Toleration Statue Defaced on Columbus Day

Submission

On Columbus day, in the early morning we vandalized a colonizer statue on the Wissahickon trail. Phrases included: Decolonize, Land and Freedom, No Borders, No Nations, No More USA, (A)
We also covered the colonizer’s face, hands, and scroll in red paint.

Fighting colonization is a way to nurture a less hierarchical relation with the land and those that live on it.

Graffiti in Memory of Jennifer Laude in South NJ

from Jersey Counter-Info

Trans and queer anarchists in so-called southern New Jersey stand in solidarity with our siblings in the Philippines. We remember and lift up the memory of our international trans sister, Jennifer “Ganda” Laude, who was hate-crime murdered by U.S. Marine and transphobe Joseph Scott Pemberton on this day October 11, 2014. Pemberton poses a serious risk to communities everywhere as an “international pig” who got away with murder with the help of the U.S. military.

When the police murder with impunity domestically, marginalized people and those who stand in solidarity rise up, burn shit down, demand action, and force those in power to bow before the people. We remember and don’t give the state or its agents an inch. We must respond the same way when “soldiers”, international pigs, act the same way. We cannot make excuses for international pigs and their violence simply because it’s not directly in our faces every day.

With this in mind, we stand in solidarity and in power with Ganda, the larger trans and queer Filipino/a/x community, and trans and queer anarchists in the Philippines.

Death to Imperialism!

Death to Capitalism!

Death to the State!

For Trans and Queer anarchy!

– some anarchists

 

Monday October 10th: Reportback Mailing and Card-writing

from Philly ABC

rdtw-2022-reportback-zine.jpg

In lieu of our usual monthly letter-writing event, we will be mailing printed copies of our 2022 Running Down The Walls reportback to the political prisoners and prison rebels who participated from behind the walls, and to the 17 political prisoners supported by the ABCF Warchest.

Join us this Monday at 6:30pm, at Iffy Books (319 N. 11th St. #3E) as we package and mail the reportbacks. Snacks and supplies are provided. We encourage people who want to discuss ideas on how to support political prisoners and prisoners of war to come hang out, and sign cards for political prisoners with birthdays in October: Jamil Al-Amin (October 4th) and Malik El-Amin (October 8th).

October discussion: Deschooling Society

from Viscera

Join us on Sunday, October 16th from 1-3 for a discussion around Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich. As usual, we’ll be meeting near the chess tables at Clark Park. Perhaps there will be autumnal treats as well?

We’ll be discussing the chapter “Ritualization of Progress.”

We are all involved in schooling, from both the side of production and that of consumption. We are superstitiously convinced that good learning can and should be produced in us—and that we can produce it in others. Our attempt to withdraw from the concept of school will reveal the resistance we find in ourselves when we try to renounce limitless consumption and the pervasive presumption that others can be manipulated for their own good. No one is fully exempt from the exploitation of others in the schooling process.

Find the reading here

Running Down The Walls 2022 Reportback

from Philly ABC

We’re pleased to share the success and reportback from the fifth annual Philadelphia Running Down The Walls in support of political prisoners and prisoners of war.It was a consistent 70 degrees with intermittent rain showers on Sunday September 11th. Despite the soggy weather, around 150 participants began arriving around 10am. We kicked off the day with an inspiring Yoga warm-up led by Sheena Sood .

Did you say Yoga warm-up? In the rain?

That’s right! A crowd participated in a drizzly Yoga warm-up as the remainder were checking in and setting up tables. Sheena was on point as always bringing revolutionary intention to the day. She also shared inspiring quotes from Albert Woodfox who we were blessed to have join us last year, warming up our hearts and minds as well as our bodies.

Joining us again after emceeing the 2020 event, was hip-hop artist and organizer Blak Rapp Madusa of the Dignity Act Now Collective . Once the warm-up concluded, Madusa rallied the first group of mostly walkers, commencing the 5K at around 11:30am. A medium-paced group started shortly after, followed by a group of runners taking off 10 minutes later. Once all three groups completed the 5K, we gathered for a group photo on an adjacent hill, and then regrouped at the picnic area for refreshments and speeches.

The first speaker was author of Free the Land and MXGM Philly member – Brother Onaci . He provided an overview on the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and some of the current projects in motion both in Philly and within the broader movement. See Brother O’s speech from Unicorn Riot’s live stream here.

We are organized around defending the human rights of all Afrikan people. We are organized around freeing political prisoners, demanding reparations, ending genocide against Afrikan people, and ending sexist oppression. We have a number of programs nationally … including the New Afrikan Scouts, including community self defense, and including political education. And right now we’re trying to organize in Philly around these various principals, through these programs, alongside the Jericho Movement and our other comrades in the broader movement to free us all.

Next we read a condensed version of a longer statement from Toby Shone, an anarchist political prisoner out of the so-called UK. He was arrested by counter-terrorism cops in November 2020 as part of “Operation Adream” – an attempt by the UK government to silence dissent and criminalize anarchism. Toby and several other prisoners locked inside HM Prison Parc (a private G4S facility) ran down the walls with us, making it the first ever prisoner-organized RDTW event on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.

Madusa took the mic again to give a shout out to Toby and numerous other prisoners from several facilities that joined us in this solidarity 5K. The crowd repeated the names as the ones we had were read aloud . Some of the prisoners joining us this year were:

Jerome Coffey – SCI Pine Grove
Hector “Pica” Huertas – SCI Pine Grove
Paul Kali Hickman – Vaughn Correctional Center
Mumia Abu-Jamal – SCI Mahanoy
Toby Shone – HM Prison Parc (UK)
Hassan Tucker – SCI Phoenix
Alejandro Rodriguez-Ortiz – SCI Huntingdon
John Bramble – Vaughn Correctional Center
Lawrence Michaels – SCI Frackville
Jacob Busic – Halifax Correctional Center

The next speaker was former political prisoner and prisoner of war, Jihad Abdulmumit. Jihad became a member of the Black Panther Party at the age of 16 and eventually went underground in the ranks of the Black Liberation Army. He was later captured and incarcerated for 23 years for his involvement in the Black Liberation Movement. Jihad himself was recipient of the Warchest during his time, and we were thrilled to have him join us from Richmond, VA with his family this year. See Jihad’s speech here.

My name is Jihad Abdulmumit. I am a former political prisoner, member of the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panther Party, representing my comrades that are still in prison, captive, and all those that are not part of the party also. I am the Chairperson of the Jericho movement. I am on the Board of the Abolitionist Law Center. I see my comrade Saleem is here as well. I am part of the Spirit of Mandela coalition. If you haven’t heard of that, you need to google Spirit of Mandela. We had a tribunal last year charging the United States, again, for the genocide of Black, Brown and Indigenous people, which I will speak about just a little bit in a moment. And I am part of the Jama’at of Uthman dan Fodio, a Muslim community throughout the United States. … How long have we been running down the walls? Several decades. I came home in 2000. Right before that, because of the Warchest, I was able to get my paralegal degree. So I was able to get coffee– I am a coffee drinker, thank you. There’s something seemingly innocuous about that, and I was also able to pay for my books for my schooling. That’s the extent, breadth and scope of the Warchest.

The last speaker was former Black liberation soldier and anarchist prisoner of war, Ojore Lutalo. He was arrested in 1975 with Kojo Bomani Sababu after they attempted to rob a bank to fund revolutionary projects, which ended in a shoot out with police. During his 28 years of incarceration he was placed in Trenton State Prison’s Maximum Control Unit (MCU) – a special sensory deprivation unit reserved for political prisoners and prisoners of war. Ojore was also a co-founder of the ABCF , and is the person who initiated the Warchest program in 1994.

In isolation, in the Management Control Unit, we created the Anarchist Black Cross Federation [and] created the Warchest program. … Since then, the ABCF has been supporting political prisoners… Drugs are a major problem in our communities and in the prison system. … That’s one of the reasons they kept me in the control unit for 22 years [is] because I was teaching against that. I was teaching that we had a right to rebel. I was teaching that we were oppressed, and we don’t have to remain oppressed.

We were honored to have former political prisoners and prisoners of war, Ojore Lutalo, Jihad Abdulmumit, Daniel McGowan, Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal, Mike and Debbie Davis (Africa) join us in person this year. We’d like to thank Unicorn Riot for live streaming and Hate5six for filming the event.

We thank Food Not Bombs Solidarity for the snacks and refreshments, Here & Now Zines, IWW, Socialist Rifle Association, and Mobilization for Mumia for tabling, and to Latziyela and Come On Strong for printing the shirts. We thank Blak Rapp Madusa for emceeing, Sheena Sood for leading the Yoga warm-up, and Philly Muslim Freedom Fund for their contribution to the Warchest.

Many thanks to MXGM Philly for supporting and co-sponsoring the event, and the ~200 people who participated in person or remotely – inside or outside prison – from California, Bridgend (UK), Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Tokyo (JP).

Together we raised $11,607 to be split between MXGM Philly and the ABCF Warchest that sends monthly stipends to 17 political prisoners and prisoners of war with little or no financial support. A full breakdown of Warchest funds in and out since 1994 is available here (updated July 2022). Funds available beyond the reserved amount needed for the monthly stipends will be disbursed as one-time donations to other political prisoners who demonstrate financial need, or to the release funds of the next comrades to come home.

We look forward to more successes in the next year as we further the struggle to free all political prisoners and abolish the carceral system! As an extension of last year’s focus, a meeting was held after the event to organize support for Mumia’s upcoming court date. Mumia’s attorneys are litigating the six boxes of previously undisclosed evidence that were illegally withheld from Mumia’s prior trial and appeals, and could potentially reverse the conviction.

On October 19th, a judge said she will issue a ruling on the petition to remand the case back to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. It is critical that we pack the court on this day, which is the 3rd Wednesday in October. Save the date in your calendar!

We also want to take the opportunity to invite you to the Memorial for Maroon and 6th Annual Prisoners’ Families Brunch on Saturday, October 8, 2022. The event is taking place from noon to 4pm at One Art Community Center (1435 N. 52nd St.) and it’s completely free! That includes free food, drinks, entertainment, speakers, and information. Join us as we celebrate the legacy and memory of freedom fighter Russell Maroon Shoatz, and show support for family and friends of our community members who are or have been incarcerated.

prisoners-families-brunch-2022.jpg

We want to close this out by commemorating former Angola 3 political prisoner – Albert Woodfox. After serving 43 years in solitary confinement, longer than any prisoner in US history, he was released on his 69th birthday – February 19th, 2016. We were honored that Albert traveled all the way from New Orleans to join us in person at last year’s Running Down The Walls. The energy and perspective he brought was inspiring and resonating.

albert-woodfox-rip.jpg

Albert joined the ancestors on Thursday August 4th, 2022. Our hearts go out to all who were close to him, and we will keep fighting in his honor. #RestInPower comrade.

Until all are free,
Philly ABC

In Contempt #21: Running Down the Walls, Alabama Prison Strike Kicks Off, Political Prisoner Updates

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.]

In this column, we present our monthly roundup of political prisoner, prison rebel, and repression news, happenings, announcements, action and analysis. Packed in as always is updates, calls to action, fundraisers, and birthdays.

There’s a lot happening, so let’s dive right in!

Uprising Defendants

Unicorn Riot has published a major report on the case of Khalif Miller, a Philadelphia defendant being held in Federal prison awaiting trial on charges related to the 2020 George Floyd uprising.

Abolitionist Media

Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity have released a new issue of their newsletter, The Opening Statement, and the fifth issue of Philadelphia prisoner zine IB64 has also just been published.

Uprising Defendants

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. See Uprising Support for more info, and check out the Antirepression PDX site for updates from Portland cases. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

David Elmakayes 77782-066
FCI McKean
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 8000
Bradford, PA 16701

 

Hundreds Take Part in Running Down the Walls Events, Raising Thousands for Political Prisoners

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.]

Report from the Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABC-F) about Running Down the Walls events across the so-called US and Canada.

In early September, various Anarchist Black Cross chapters held the annual Running Down the Walls 5K events. Since 1999, prisoners and supporters throughout North America have participated in Running Down the Walls (RDTW) often running or walking simultaneously in many cities and prisons at once. This is a non-competitive 5K run/jog/walk/roll in order to raise awareness and funds for political prisoners. Over the years, we have raised thousands of dollars and lots of awareness around the struggle to free political prisoners. Below is the run down of Running Down the Walls 2022. Feel free to donate here.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (September 11th)

Running Down the Walls in Philadelphia, PA

A little drizzle didn’t stop the people from coming out for Running Down the Walls 2022 in Philadelphia on September 11th. A group of about 150 came together in FDR park, along with 50 or so participating remotely – inside and outside prisons – to raise funds and strengthen solidarity with political prisoners. This year, proceeds were split between the ABCF Warchest and the Philly chapter of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. Together we raised $11,607, with $5,803.50 going to each.

A full report is coming soon from Philly ABC. You can also view coverage from the event from Unicorn Riot here:

[Video Link]

The Feminist Subversion of the Economy: Contributions for Life Against Capital

from Making Worlds Books

Making Worlds Book Launch and Discussion: The Feminist Subversion of the Economy, with Liz Mason-Deese and Maximilian Alvarez

Please register in advance here.

In the face of unending economic crises and climate catastrophe, we must consider, what does a dignified life look like? Feminist intellectual and activist Amaia Pérez Orozco powerfully and provocatively outlines a vision for a web of life sustained collectively with care, mutualism, and in balance with our ecological world. That vision is a call to action to subvert the foundational order of racial capitalism, colonial violence, and a heteropatriarchal economy that threatens every form of life.

The Feminist Subversion of the Economy makes the connection between the systems that promise more devastation and destruction of life in the name of profit—and rallies women, LGBTQ+ communities, and movements worldwide to center gender and social reproduction in a vision for a balanced ecology, a just economy, and a free society.

Newly translated and updated in collaboration with Liz Mason-Deese, who has won a PEN translation award for her work on feminist economics, The Feminist Subversion of the Economy shows the urgent need to radically and democratically discuss what we mean by a dignified life and how we can organize to sustain life collectively.

In addition to a dialogue with Liz Mason-Deese, Maximilian Alvarez will share from his recent collection The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke

As COVID-19 swept across the globe with merciless force, it was working people who kept the world from falling apart. Deemed “essential” by a system that has shown just how much it needs our labor but has no concern for our lives, workers sacrificed—and many were sacrificed—to keep us fed, to keep our shelves stocked, to keep our hospitals and transit running, to care for our loved ones, and so much more. But when we look back at this particular moment, when we try to write these days into history for ourselves and for future generations, whose voices will go on the record? Whose stories will be remembered?

In late 2020 and early 2021, at what was then the height of the pandemic, Maximillian Alvarez conducted a series of intimate interviews with workers of all stripes, from all around the US—from Kyle, a sheet metal worker in Kentucky; to Mx. Pucks, a burlesque performer and producer in Seattle; to Nick, a gravedigger in New Jersey. As he does in his widely celebrated podcast, Working People, Alvarez spoke with them about their lives, their work, and their experiences living through a year when the world itself seemed to break apart. Those conversations, documented in these pages, are at times meandering, sometimes funny or philosophical, occasionally punctured by pain so deep that it hurts to read them. Filled with stories of struggle and strength, fear and loss, love and rage, The Work of Living is a deeply human history of one of the defining events of the 21st century told by the people who lived it.

  • Monday, October 3, 2022
  • 7:00 PM 8:30 PM
  • Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center 210 South 45th Street Philadelphia, PA, 19104 United States (map)

 

For Antifascist Futures: Against the Violence of Imperial Crisis

from Making World Books

Making Worlds Book Film Screening, Book Launch, and Discussion: For Antifascist Futures: Against the Violence of Imperial Crisis [Philadelphia launch]

We must take antifascism as a major imperative of movements for social change. For Antifascist Futures takes seriously what is new in this moment of politics, exploring what the analytic of fascism offers for understanding the twenty-first century authoritarian convergence by centering the material and speculative labor of antifascist and antiracist social movement coalitions. By focusing on the long history of Black and Brown antifascist resistance that has been overlooked in both recent conversations about racial justice as well as antifascist resistance, the essays, interviews, and documents included here make clear how racialized and colonized peoples have been at the forefront of theorizing and dismantling fascism, white supremacy, and other modes of authoritarian rule.

Linking a deep engagement, both scholarly and practical, of racial justice movements with an antifascist frame, and a global analysis of capitalism, the editors and contributors of For Antifascist Futures assemble a powerful toolbox for our struggles.

Registration required, click here.

The evening starts with a screening of Mangrove School (34 mins, 2022), directed by Filipa César and Sónia Vaz Borges.

5pm: Film screening

Mangrove School film (34 min, créole guinéen, coul, 2022) Dir. Filipa César and Sónia Vaz Borges

6pm: For Antifascist Futures book discussion & panel

  • Friday, September 30, 2022
  • 5:00 PM 7:30 PM
  • Making Worlds Bookstore & Social Center 210 South 45th Street Philadelphia, PA, 19104 United States (map)

 

Support Philadelphia’s People’s Townhomes and Show Up to Prevent Their Eviction

from It’s Going Down

Report on ongoing struggle to stop the eviction of the UC Townhomes, which would displace 68 families in so-called Philadelphia. Originally posted to PM Press. 

By Dan Hoylin and Charlie Allison

The sale of the land that would become the UC Townhomes in 1982 to the IBID/Altman Management Company was both a part of, and in response to, the longstanding tradition of the city of Philadelphia conspiring with local universities and property developers to evict low-income, predominantly black families and to transform a neighborhood once literally referred to as “Black Bottom” into the new paragon of gentrification, “University City.”

In July of 2021, Altman notified the residents of UC Townhomes that it would be selling the property, and not renewing its government contract, for a potential total of millions of dollars, displacing a community of 68 families from their long-term home.

This particular gentrification process was begun in the 1960s (the first gentrification in what-is-now-Philadelphia and the surrounding areas was the stealing of land from the Delaware and Lenape peoples centuries ago). The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority partnered with local universities and hospitals–such as the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, and University of the Sciences–to invoke eminent domain in the section of West Philadelphia known as “Black Bottom.” To quote from current townhomes residents and writers, Rasheda Alexander and Sterling Johnson:

Back in 1968…[the residents of Black Bottom]…were leading a fierce resistance to displacement through “urban renewal” by digging trenches and stretching barbed wire across the street. Frank Rizzo, then Philadelphia’s Police Chief and already positioning himself for his 1971 mayoral campaign, mobilized against that resistance both in the streets and the press.

In the end, the City of Philadelphia forced out countless impoverished, mostly black, families, to expand the university’s campuses and make way for commercial properties and residential properties for students and staff. In the early 1970s, this issue was spotlighted by HUD with help from volunteers and activists from the Black Bottom, who sued the city for these openly racist and predatory housing practices under Frank Rizzo’s mayorship. As a result, the city was made to invest more in subsidized and public housing, resulting in the Dollar-Baby deal of the 3900-3999 block of West Market Street, becoming the spot for Altman’s private, government-subsidizing housing property: UC Townhomes.

UC Townhomes would become subject to much of the same neglect that housing projects across the country deal with mounds of garbage bags left uncollected piling up in the trash enclosure, unshovelled snow leaving walkways hazardous in the winter broken ACs in the summer, busted lights, roach and rat infestations. When the residents of the town homes notified Altman, their landlord, about these problems, the most consistent response was apathy and inaction. Their landlord was happy to collect their rent, but not to keep their living spaces livable.

In July 2021, the families of 3900 Market Street received a notice that Altman would be selling the property. Altman planned to sell the property to National Real Estate Advisors, potentially flipping the block for $100 million. A wave of protest followed that announcement. The residents organized themselves into councils and committees and met to discuss their options. They met with local activists and volunteers. All through the winter and spring they organized to resist having their homes sold from under them.

Councilwoman Jamie Gauthier passed legislation that prevented the demolition of the townhomes. The legislation, did not, however, prevent any evictions. A well-organized and from-the-bottom-advocacy led by townhomes residents created significant delay for Altman’s scheduled date of eviction from July of 2022 to September, and now to October 8th. Also, despite what Altman seems to think, his tenants do in fact have protected people’s rights under the Fair Housing Act, which helped give them tools to resist this encroachment. Altman sued in lower court and doubtless believes that the eviction will go on as scheduled.

To emphasize the fate that likely awaited them if nothing was done, the residents, with the help of volunteers, set up a protest encampment on their common lawn, by the 40th and Market Street Station of the Market-Frankford Line in summer of 2022. They invited volunteers, activists and fellow organizers to help, but made one thing abundantly clear: the residents speak for the residents—none speaks for them to the press. Many times, the residents had to correct journalists who passed by the encampment (and the staffed tables up front, distributing literature, shirts, pins and stickers) that this was not a homeless encampment, but a representation of what was likely to be the fate of the residents if their landlord had his way.

When we visited the (newly renamed) People’s Townhomes this summer to donate gear, a friendly atmosphere reigned. The residents and volunteers made a brightly painted knee high fence out of pallets around the common grassy area, adorned with slogans. The rules—no weapons, no alcohol, respect the resident’s space and noise level etc.—were posted for all to see on a lamppost.

Children ran around the lawn, even in the summer heat, or sold water out of a cooler on the corner to commuters. In the evenings, I was told, there were more communal activities—movie nights for the children, storytelling. The residents had a couple of shade-makers up over tents, asking locals to sign petitions to prevent the eviction. It was a bit of the commons—well provisioned with bottled water, food, tents, paint, games—snatched from the jaws of the increasingly privatized world.

With each article written about the encampment, some enterprising soul made a copy of it, laminated it and zip-tied it to the iron grids around the 40th street subway stop for commuters to read. A sign out front read: “Honk if you want to save the People’s Townhomes!”

When the protest encampment first went up, Altman Realty’s reaction was a fit of pique: they ordered onsite laundry room locked and forbidden to the residents– a wildly illegal and telling act of petty thuggery (that little tantrum of Altman’s was swiftly undone—as the laundry room was opened less than 24 hours after being closed).

Altman’s legal team, however, wasted no time suing in lower courts to have the encampment at the townhomes—made up of volunteers and residents resting on their own property—broken up by the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department on Monday August 8th. This was done, and scores of people rallied on short notice in protest to this act, briefly shutting down Market Street. In an email the sheriff’s department was good enough to acknowledge that there was a need for affordable housing in Philadelphia.

But in a brave stance that completely avoided personal responsibility for their actions, legal or no, the Philadelphia Sheriff’s department nobly argued that they were simply following orders by removing tents that in no way interfered with the public good. The sheriff’s department took down the tents, forbade tables to be set up and took down the majority of the signage.

As French anarchist Proudhon once said: “Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of government.”

It is clear to anyone that Altman’s strategy is to let the weight of laws, extractive capitalist culture and inertia do his dirty work for him. Throughout this whole process, he and those who work for him have refused to deal in good faith or basic decency or even speak to the people they are dispossessing.

Sixty eight families—many of whom are older or disabled or both—will be effectively homeless and without recourse if Brett Altman gets his way. Of course, his company will be implicated in this moral crime writ-large, but who cares? They’ll be rich. That’s what matters to them, not the human cost of said riches.

The townhomes location is what has the realtors and landlords licking their chops, right in the core of the UPENN part of West Philadelphia. Close to everything—food, transportation, entertainment, and perhaps most importantly medical care. People’s Townhomes resident Ms. Lyles writes in a widely distributed pamphlet:

After we moved to the Townhomes, my daughter was diagnosed with kidney failure. Our living room became a clinic with her IV tubes and treatment equipment as she went through home dialysis for over a year. Then, my health failed causing me to have to use a walker. When we got the call that they had found a kidney for her, I did not have money for a taxi but thankfully we were able to walk over to the UPenn hospital nearby. She still needs access to healthcare as doctors closely monitor her health. Through these times, the close community of neighbors and lifelong friends that I have made at the Townhomes have relied upon each other. I would not have survived without friends like Wanda Goss, we depend on each other daily. I’m afraid that this stability may be ripped away from us.

Many of the townhomes residents are older folk and many have medical issues. Their abrupt eviction would not only remove access to essential medical care, but destroy the essential bonds of community and solidarity created by their neighborhood and put them in very real danger.

The residents of the UC Townhome’s demands are simple. They are as follows in a widely distributed pamphlet:

  1. Stop the Demolition: We demand an immediate halt to the sale and demolition of the UC Townhomes and that it be made 100% permanently and deeply affordable.
  2. Give Us More Time: Residents demand an extension of 2 years if we are indeed being forced to leave.
  3. Make Immediate Repairs: We demand that repairs and maintenance be addressed by immediately assigning a maintenance person to the UC Townhomes and meeting with a group of residents to discuss these outstanding issues.
  4. Provide Just Compensation: We are demanding 500,000 financial compensation per family, amounting to 35% of the total sale price.

As this article was being written, the stated eviction date of September 7th was moved to October 8th. This is of course still not nearly enough time to move, especially in a city that largely doesn’t accept housing vouchers—as the residents know all too well.

Kevin Feeley, Altman’s spokesperson, insists the opposite in defiance of plain facts. Partly because that is his job and because he is (presumably) at no risk of being forcibly evicted from anything, let alone his home or community at the present time.

The residents of the People’s Townhomes have embraced a diversity of tactics. Most recently, they have put together their own plan to help buy the Townhomes.

A spokesman for the City Of Philadelphia issued a statement in response to the residents of the People’s Townhomes and their supporters marching in significant numbers in Center City. It was a diplomatic statement, if we remember that old proverb of Bismarcks: (“I am learning to be a diplomat—speaking a great deal and saying nothing at all.”)

What you can do as the eviction deadline approaches:

Call Mayor Kenney’s office and make your support for the People’s Townhomes known—he has systematically refused to meet with them throughout this scandal.

Call Councilwoman Jamie Gauther’s office.

Call Altman. A script can be found here.

Show up in person to demonstrate solidarity with the UC Townhomes on October 8th, the date the eviction is due to be served.

I can think of no better closing quote than this. As residents Rasheda Alexander and Sterling Johnson write:

To sit silently by today, as the city allows these projects to expire and return to the market, is a betrayal of the long fight against desegregation and discrimination. Indeed, it is nothing more than a return to the racist housing policies of the past.

Security Culture for Activists Workshop at FDR Meadows

from Iffy Books

September 29 @ 6:00 am7:30 pm

Flyer image with a rainbow gradient background, a simplified illustration of an index finger covering lips in the "shh" position, and the following text: Security Culture for Activists / free workshop! / Thurs 9/29 6:00 p.m. / FDR Meadows Picnic Grove (behind the big red barn) / 1954 Pattison Ave. at FDR Park / Presented by Iffy Books

At this workshop we’ll discuss strategies for maintaining privacy when working on activist projects. We’ll focus on ways location data from your phone can be used against you, and how to keep you and your friends safe.

➡️ This workshop is part of Meadowfest, a series of events at the FDR Meadows from September 24th to October 2nd. Click here to learn more.

Report Back: New Jersey Gay Pride Pennsauken, NJ Free of Fascist Activity

from Jersey Counter-Info

Last week Sunday September 11, the fourteenth annual New Jersey Gay Pride was held in Pennsauken, NJ. With the surge in hate crimes and the far right terrorizing local queer communities in the region and all over the so-called united states, there was concern whether or not New Jersey Gay Pride would be targeted by fascists. To ensure attendees safety and in an effort to confront fascism in the streets, anarchists and antifascists in the region prepared for the event in advance. Event organizers were alerted of the possibility of a fascist presence, specifically NJEHA due to their recent activities, and were made aware prior to the event.

Anarchists and antifascists were on the ground throughout the duration of the event and spoke to a number of community members and groups who were tabling to give them a heads up about fascist activity and share information. Both the community members and anarchists and antifascists did not encounter any fascists or far right presence during the event. The community was able to come together and mourn lost ancestors, celebrate trans youth, and celebrate pride with one another with no interruptions or threats to safety.

To any fascists who may be reading this: If you show up at LGBTQ+ events or spaces the community, anarchists, and antifascists are prepared and are watching.

– some anarchists and antifascists