Solidarity Rally With Spanish Anarchists

From TC Radical Calendar

spainsoliAlmost a year ago, the Spanish State began a campaign of repression against anarchists, arresting dozens, including nine in late October, and five more in November of this year. Their imprisonment is justified with the invention of a fictional terrorist group, the GAC-FAI-IRF. No attack has ever been claimed with this set of acronyms, and the GAC (Coordinated Anarchist Groups) are only the authors of a recent book, Contra la Democracia (eerily similar to the Tarnac Affair and The Coming Insurrection in France, 2008.)

On Saturday we will rally in solidarity with those arrested, at 6:00pm at the corner of E Lake St & Minnehaha Ave in Minneapolis.

More info here: Efecto Pandora

 

Bædan Reading Group

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

baedanRGSundays

Minnehaha Free Space

3747 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis

7:00 PM

Reading Bædan 1: Journal of Queer Nihilism.

From the journal:

If we can determine anything from our project of queer negativity, it is that capitalism has an unlimited capacity to tolerate and recuperate any alternative politics or artistic expression we could imagine. It is not a political negativity that we must locate in our queerness, but rather a vicious anti-politics which opposes any utopian dreams of a better future residing on the far side of a lifetime of sacrifice. Our queer negativity has nothing to do with art, but it has a great deal to do with urban insurrection, piracy, slave revolt: all those bodily struggles that refuse the future and pursue the irrationality of jouissance, enjoyment, rage, chaos. Ours is not the struggle for an alternative, because there is no alternative which can escape the ever-expanding horizons of capital. Instead we fight, hopeless, to tear our lives away from that expanding horizon and to erupt with wild enjoyment now. Anything less is our continued domestication to the rule of civilization.

What It Means to ‘Hit Them Where it Hurts’

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

sp4Twice this summer, the Metro Transit Police Department has come under fire (figuratively) for so-called excessive force. The latest incident involves a black teenager with autism being given multiple seizures by cops. On the morning of Sunday the 20th, dozens gathered to protest this act of police brutality by shutting down the light rail. The shut down—timed to interrupt people traveling to the opening game of the Vikings—is the latest in a series of seemingly militant actions to emerge from the Twin Cities-area Black Lives Matter movement. Yet, like the rest, ended up being more media spectacle than substantive action.

Police preparing to escort the march.
sp2
SPPD vehicle with attached speaker (not an LRAD, see below.)

The march route, from Lexington Parkway to the St. Paul Police Western District building and back, had been pre-disclosed to the police in order to ensure, supposedly, people’s safety. This is quite similar to another action earlier this month aimed at disrupting the Minnesota State Fair:

City officials said at a news conference Friday that an “open line” of communication is in place between police and protest organizers and that they shared an expectation that the demonstration would unfold safely, leaving no reason for the public to stay away” (Corporate news)

It certainly begs the question why no one should stay away if the purpose is to disrupt the fair, but we know better than that. The purpose is to draw attention to their issues, and their organizations. Under the veil of militant disruption, often said to be “hitting them where it hurts,” these groups obtain their desired media coverage without any actual hindrance to the system’s functioning. As the corporate media summarizes:

Metro Transit replaced the shut down light rail lines with buses between [the affected] stations. Staff from Metro Transit were on hand to direct customers.
“It is very similar to what would take place during a mechanical failure that might cause a delay, a car stuck on our tracks or some other disruption,” said Metro Transit spokesperson Howie Padilla.

Close-up of the white supremacists. The one on the left is named BC Johnson, the organizer of the Confederate Flag rally at the capital earlier this month.
Close-up of the white supremacists. The one in the middle’s name in Jason Thomas. The one on the right’s name is BC Johnson, who organized a cancelled Confederate Flag rally at the capital earlier this month.

Organizers also attempted to prevent conflict between the crowd and a handful of white supremacists—politely called Three Percenters—that seemed very upset about missing the Vikings game. While one of their flags did end up disappearing, the tactics of the organizers succeeded in disempowering people from being able to concisely handle them. These tactics included the verbal berating of those who moved to confront them, and in some cases using their bodies to physically protect the white supremacists when people got too close. This is likely not because they cared for the well-being of racists, but because an escalating situation means that they lose control of it. The more peaceful and passive people are, the more the organizers maintain control, and by extension, so do the police.

SPPD in an unmarked car trailing the march, while the white supremacists run to catch up.
Metro Transit police in an unmarked car trailing the march, while the white supremacists run to catch up.

This model; a model of demands, media coverage, raising consciousness, and making them listen to us, is presented as our only option. It has practically monopolized the entire local terrain of struggle. The following text is from a flyer distributed along the march (adapted from It’s Going Down) that so succinctly clarifies the flaws in this model of protest:

IF I DIE IN POLICE CUSTODY BURN EVERYTHING DOWN

Since the uprising in Ferguson, everything has both changed and remained the same. While activists praise their efforts to change the conversation and perhaps achieve the implementation of certain reforms—body cameras come to mind—the functioning of white supremacy continues on, unrelenting. Over 1,100 people have been killed by police in the United States since Mike Brown.

After the rebellions that erupted in Ferguson, and then in Baltimore, the non-profits and their bureaucrats have been forced to adapt to the changing climate of militancy in the streets. For them, however, revolt becomes a means of winning the same useless reforms as before. Indict the killer cop, or else. Pass this civil rights law, or else. But we see a world beyond that. There is nothing those in power can offer us that will truly solve our problems, and every demand only reinforces their control.

When people revolt in the streets, they are directly attacking what brings misery to their lives: the police that harass, arrest, and in all likelihood will shoot them, the businesses that force them to work to survive under capitalism. They block highways, trains, and streets; the material systems that facilitate the domination of our lives.

We don’t do this to force the hand of our oppressors, we do this to find an escape from oppression entirely. But we must learn to sustain ourselves without relying on the very systems we attack. Across the world, people have liberated space, such as houses, gardens, squares or entire territories. In the squats of Athens and the fields of the ZAD, in Tahrir Square and the Mi’kmaq Blockade, rebels are finding ways to build a life worth living.

“Wherever the economy functions, it is impossible for us to determine our lives for ourselves.

The value of the blockade isn’t found in the message it sends, but rather in the direct ways it blocks the machinations of capital and makes space for our own activity.”

 

Update: A contributor submitted this photo confirming that the speaker attached to the SPPD vehicle was not an LRAD.

sppd

To Our Friends Reading Group: September

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

tofSEPTSeptember 10th – Chapter 6: “Our Only Homeland: Childhood”

September 17th – Chapter 7: “Omnia Sunt Communia”

September 24th – Chapter 6: “Today Libya, Tomorrow Wall St”

Minnehaha Free Space

3747 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis

7:00 PM

We will be reading each chapter aloud, although no one is obliged to speak. We would like to encourage pauses for discussion at any point.

Copies of the full text will be available, including plenty of extras to take with and distribute amongst friends and co-conspirators.

“[T]he collective lootings of Tottenham are a sufficient demonstration that one ceases to be poor as soon as one begins to get organized. There is a considerable difference between a mass of poor people and a mass of poor people determined to act together.

 

“Organizing has never meant affiliation with the same organization. Organizing is acting in accordance with a common perception, at whatever level that may be. Now, what is missing from the situation is not “people’s anger” or economic shortage, it’s not the good will of militants or the spread of critical consciousness, or even the proliferation of anarchist gestures. What we lack is a shared perception of the situation. Without this binding agent, gestures dissolve without a trace into nothingness, lives have the texture of dreams, and uprisings end up in schoolbooks.”

This reading group will be an attempt to develop this shared perception of the situation. We will be reading “To Our Friends” by the Invisible Committee, the infamous authors of “The Coming Insurrection” in 2007. More information on the book can be found here.

“Minneapolis Could Easily Burn Like Baltimore”

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota


“Minneapolis could easily burn like Baltimore.”

Or so says a community organizer within the Black Lives Matter movement. And a number of so-called community leaders would agree. But this acknowledgement is followed up by solutions to make sure that it doesn’t. The list of demands, whether body cameras or better jobs, the protest marshals placed between the cops and ourselves, all tools to prevent things from getting out of control. Quite often they don’t even attempt to hide the fact that they are de-escalators. And here is where the community leaders find themselves shoulder-to-shoulder with the police—both working just as adamantly as the other to eliminate unrest.

SPPD officer chats with protesters at Hamline Park.
SPPD officer chats with protesters at Hamline Park.

Indeed, many participants of the recent “Emergency Shutdown” action in St. Paul actually felt keen on shaking an officer’s hand as he walked freely through through the timid crowd. And despite the call to shut down the streets, a number of so-called allies actually took to picking back up construction equipment that had been knocked over to stop traffic. Minor stoppages occurred along the Green Line, but the event remained entirely contained by the organizers and their designated de-escalators. Instead of blockage used to physically interrupt the material functioning of white supremacy, it is used to draw attention to the cause. Not so different from last month’s solidarity march for Sandra Bland, invoking her mother’s call for “war”, but failing to go beyond an empty media spectacle.

Police escort along University Ave.
Police escort along University Ave.
Unmarked police car in front of Target, next to SPPD station.
Unmarked police car in front of Target, next to SPPD station.

The riot, on the other hand, becomes the last-resort threat in order to force concessions. But liberation from the systems that oppress us cannot be found within the realm of politics. There are no laws that can grant us liberation, no politicians that can promise it us, no amount of reforms that could possibly address the basic operation of the forces that control our lives. Instead, they are used to restore peace, by which they mean order. Therefore, every maneuver on the field of politics can be understood as an attempt to delay our liberation.

Minnesota State Patrol prepared at the on-ramp to I-94, which the demonstration never approached.
Minnesota State Patrol prepared at the on-ramp to I-94, which the demonstration never approached.

Instead of attempting to dissect why certain people try to manage dissent, we find it much more fruitful to sketch a way out. As mentioned earlier, blockage has emerged as an instinctual response to police violence. To block the flows of the city is to interrupt the physical processes through which forces of domination manifest. The riot allows for these blockades to multiply: blocking roads and trains with dumpsters and debris instead of leaving our bodies vulnerable, blocking police operations with projectiles, while also providing the opportunity to directly attack the structures of our enemies and temporarily claim territory as autonomous. We must also learn how to expand beyond the riot as well, pushing the limits until there is no going back.

Minneapolis can indeed burn just like Baltimore, and everywhere else too. It takes confidence, effort, and intention. We certainly aren’t devoid of reasons to revolt, two people have been shot by police in the Twin Cities in the past month. Police shootings are the culmination of so many other, more subtle forms of oppression, and it’s unfortunate that at the current moment we seem to be unable to act before tragedy strikes. Yet, it won’t matter when we act if we cannot escape the impotent symbolism that activism has accustomed us to.

National Night Out: Community Policing Coming To Your Local Block Party

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota


This week, citizens across the country will come together once again for National Night Out, an annual event held on the first Tuesday of August, which aims to bring people together with law enforcement in order to strengthen police relations, and boost crime-fighting efforts. According to CBS, Minnesota leads the nation in participation, and Minneapolis was ranked #1 out of the whole country last year. This year, there are over one thousand events in Minneapolis and several hundred in St. Paul.

While getting to know one’s neighbors and organizing together usually garners praise amongst anti-authoritarians as well as the left, this form is being used by law enforcement as a policing operation. Neighborhoods aren’t organizing here for a rent strike or to obstruct police activity, but to augment existing police departments to better preserve law and order. This strategy of “community policing” sounds pleasant, and is even called for by many activists in response to what they see as strained relations between people and the cops, which is where police brutality supposedly stems from. But “community policing” is actually a key component of counter-insurgency. For those of us who see not only police brutality, not only the police, but policing itself as fundamentally oppressive, it’s clear that National Night Out has got to go.

Not only do cops attend various National Night Out events in order to improve relations, but citizens are also encouraged—usually with the help of neighborhood associations—to form their own citizen crime-fighting initiatives. The most popular of these being neighborhood watch groups, like the one George Zimmerman was a part of when he murdered Trayvon Martin in Florida. It’s not so surprising then, that after Zimmerman’s acquittal, people took their rage to the cops. Regardless of whether he wore a badge, he was working on behalf of law and order.

As time passes, as the streets of the United States are lit ablaze again and again with rioting, those who prefer things as they are often find themselves taking an active role in maintaining this. Whether it was waiters in Oakland who stood guard outside their bosses’ businesses during the revolt against Zimmerman’s acquittal, or bar patrons in Baltimore who felt the need to confront marchers in the streets. Those who wish to preserve the social order as it is—white supremacist, patriarchal, capitalist—are organizing as a counter-insurgent force that supplements all the shortcomings of state-sponsored law-enforcement.

There is nothing inherent about neighborhood organizing being a project of policing. There is hardly more than a difference of intention between organizing to prevent anarchy as there is organizing to spread anarchy. Neighborhood assemblies have been a classic feature of uprisings all over the world, and this is certainly not a denunciation of the tactic.

Many National Night Out events will happen in every neighborhood. You can find the full lists above for Minneapolis and St. Paul, or search your own city or neighborhood for elsewhere. These events must be disrupted, and policing in general even more so. If anything, use the day, or any day for that matter, as a day to organize with your own neighbors against the police. National Night Out encourages citizens to take the initiative all year round, we must do so as well.

Power Lines: Police Brutality, Public Transit, and Development in the Twin Cities

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

cst Green LineThe Metro Transit police made the news this weekend in the Twin Cities for their significant size increase over the past few years, almost the same day as a video surfaced showing a police officer slam a handcuffed passenger onto the ground for not paying the light rail fare. The outcry has focused on the unnecessary brutality administered on the black man who they say was not resisting, but the police have the honesty to admit that this was all within protocol and completely legal. Like many conversations around police brutality, it is too easy to get stuck in the quagmire of legality and morality, instead of the fundamentally oppressive nature of policing itself. Those who suggest that the officer’s force was excessive because he was not resisting arrest only serve to legitimize violence against those who do resist arrest.

The report on the Metro Transit Police Department’s growth described the 67% increase of officers on the force. The chief, John Harrington, who was previously the St. Paul police chief as well, also expressed his new philosophy for the department: a shift towards so-called “community policing,” which is the pleasant face of counter-insurgency. With more officers spending more time on trains, police can better project their presence and deter people from not paying the fare, which supposedly costs Metro Transit tens of thousands of dollars a week. A recent audit shows that 9% of Green Line riders don’t pay the fare—likely less now that body slams are on the table. But what is a fare other than a barrier to those who can’t afford to move around the city?

But of course, policing takes many forms beyond those in uniform, it manifests itself through the basic organization of the metropolis. For instance, let’s examine the trains themselves. Public transit aims to organize the movement of the population through the city, whether funneling them to work or to the Mall of America for shopping. It also allows for capital to expand beyond the immediate downtown areas into the surrounding neighborhoods. On the Green Line, just over a year old, billions of dollars of development has already been brought to St. Paul along the light rail. While those with money welcome the long line of developers buying up the neighborhood, the rest of us know what this really means: being pushed out of our homes, away from the cities that are colonized (again) for those wealthier and whiter than us.

Police and gentrification are two expressions of the same logic, but it is not inevitable. Resistance against this logic has sparked uprisings across the globe. A few examples might be Istanbul or Burgos, Ferguson or The Hague. The struggle against development and policing resonates beyond borders, and hopefully these revolts can inspire our struggle locally.

Fuck the Fourth!

Anonymous submission to Conflict Minnesota

flagA number of American flags liberated from the neighborhood found themselves burnt to ashes on the 4th of July. This was a small gesture of solidarity to all those in struggle against domination. America, as any system of exploitation, cannot be reformed, only obliterated.

Nevertheless, this constitutes nothing but a symbolic gesture. Burning the flag does not burn white supremacy, it does not burn the myriad of oppressive systems that so many of us see clearly in the stars and stripes. Much of the country has their attention drawn to the outcry over the use of confederate logos and other symbols that represent this oppression. While it is worth noting how deeply embedded white supremacy is in the history of the United States, we must set our sights on the material, not the symbolic.

Minnesota Mink Release

From the Animal Liberation Front


On October 7th, an individual working alone emptied a mink shed at the Myhre Mink Farm on Highway 16 in Grand Meadow, Minnesota. At least 250 fur-bearers ran to the lake directly behind the property. These animals needed very little help to freedom. As the cages were being unlatched, many of the individuals pawed it open themselves to make a dash. They are not domesticated and their spirits are not broken. Many of these mink screeched loudly at the sight of human hands, having only known the murderous hands of Einar Myhre. The only thing keeping these animals imprisoned is our own fear and a simple latch on a cage. A wild existence for them is only feet away. Make animal liberation a reality.

This is the ninth U.S. fur farm raid of the year. This level of activity has not been seen for nearly twenty years.

To the fur farmers of the world, we have nothing to say to you. We offer only this prayer: The rest is secrets. Silence now. If night has fallen, sleep well.

Minneapolis Fur Store Windows Smashed

From the Animal Liberation Front


Two windows smashed, in addition to locks glued, at Ribnick Fur and Leather on the night of August 22.

William Ribnick, be warned: As long as you continue to profit off of the captivity, electrocution, and gassing of wild animals, we will be back time and time again.

We would like to dedicate this action to [Marius] Mason, serving a 22 year prison sentence for trying to stop the real criminals.

Animal Liberation Front

Report on Successful Minneapolis Antifa Action: Disruption of David Irving Speaking Event

From Three Way Fight

The following report comes from some comrades in Minneapolis:

On November 16, 2012, David Irving, renowned Holocaust denier and Hitlerite disciple (though he prefers the phrase ‘controversial historian’) attempted to hold an event on his speaking tour, “Hitler and I,” at the Graves 601 Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. The Twin Cities, which has decades of successful antifascist and anti-racist organizing behind it, was ready for him. In a display of mass, disciplined, and coordinated action, we stood in defense of our fellow human beings.

Irving’s events have long been focused on four goals: the talks provide Irving with a venue at which to profit heavily from his work, both the books and movies he sells as well as from ticket sales for the event. Additionally, and of greater concern, these events legitimize fascism in the public eye, provide networking opportunities for local white supremacists and fascists, and provide infusions of cash to local fascist groups. The antifascists of Minneapolis and St. Paul recognize the real and present danger such events pose to our communities and loved ones, and organized to disrupt Irving’s event.

Having gotten past the lobby and up five floors of hotel elevators, we entered the room approximately 60 strong. While some antifascists videotaped attendees to help us identify local fascists, others seized the opportunity to destroy his books and dvds, depriving both him and his fascist sympathizers of much-needed funds for their violence and hatred.

Irving and his cronies are attempting to research members of the antifa crowd, posting their photos on his page, comparing to Facebook and other social and local media, and offering rewards. Their attempt to intimidate the people on the basis of their hateful property points out the common collusion of the fascists with law enforcement and the principle of capitalist profit. But not to worry: for the most part, their ‘intelligence’ is at the quality you’d expect of people often referred to as ‘boneheads,’ and has amused the local community, which long ago overcame its fear of fascists.

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – A Solidarity Demonstration

From SayNothing.info

mn2pnwAnarchists and radicals from the Twin Cities will hold a simultaneous demonstration in solidarity with our friends and comrades who are refusing to cooperate with the grand jury.

Though the FBI has said that the raids are part of a violent crime investigation, the truth is that federal authorities are conducting a political witch-hunt against anarchists and others working toward a more just, free, and equal society.

Political repression is also happening here in the Twin Cities as local organizers from Occupy Homes MN are currently facing riot charges for defending our neighbors from foreclosure. From the Midwest to the Northwest, repression will be met with resistance and solidarity.

Minneapolis Reclaims Unoccupied Building

From Minneapolis Space Liberation

On January 28th over 50 people met at Stevens Square Park in Minneapolis and marched to an abandoned historic building for a dance party and foodshare. This event coincided with a similar event in Oakland, and other solidarity actions around the country.

People blocked 3 lanes of traffic en route to the downtown Minneapolis building where they dismantled the plywood from the front doors, before seizing the government repossessed church. Having stood vacant for a decade, the neglected building was cleaned and redecorated for the purpose of this day.

Although there was a police presence, no arrests were made. The group marched safely back to Stevens Square after the dance party.

This occupation was temporary as it was a capacity-building action to grow the possibility of a squatting movement in Minneapolis as well as to inform the public of neglected buildings that the government has left to rot. As their movement gains strength, occupiers plan to indefinitely hold a building in the future and turn it into a social center/community space.