Argentina: Incendiary attack against a police patrol car by Luddite Cell

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The silence is the negligence and the absence of a society that as a whole seems to ignore everything important about life on this planet.

The negligence of knowledge that terminates everything that we use.

And the absence of criticism and reaction to the current situation.

Providing better values of live with practical examples of direct action. In conflict with the imposed normality, of mechanized transport, on the developed roads of asphalt.

On September 21, 2016 at the hour of 1 we attacked a patrol car from the new police station located on Fray J. Sarmiento and Laprida in Vicente López, Buenos Aires with an incendiary device.

This destruction is the understandable message of denial of what is created by humans.

Fire and gunpowder to combat the sad lethargy of immobility and silence.

Luddite Cell

(via Contra Info, translated by Insurrection News)

Posted in ACAB, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Direct Action, FTP, Incendiary Attack, Luddite Cell | Leave a comment

Pine Gap: 50 years as Australia’s prime nuclear target

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ICAN Australia

26 September – 2 October 2016:

A week of activities will expose the role of Pine Gap in war, surveillance and nuclear targeting.

Beginning today, on the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, hundreds of people are gathering at the Pine Gap Joint Defence Facility, just 20km from Alice Springs, NT.

A protest camp and conference will discuss the role of the highly secretive facility in drone targeting, mass citizen surveillance and in preparations for nuclear war. The facility is the most likely Australian target in the event of a nuclear war involving the US, immediately jeopardizing the 25,000 residents of Alice Springs, and others in the path of radioactive fallout.

“Pine Gap makes critical contributions to planning for nuclear war. In the fragile world of nuclear deterrence, efforts should be directed at total nuclear disarmament,” said Professor Richard Tanter, University of Melbourne.

A UN working group on nuclear disarmament has issued a breakthrough recommendation for the General Assembly to convene a conference in 2017 to negotiate “a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination”. Austrian Foreign Minister Kurz announced last Wednesday that Austria, along with other UN members states, will table a resolution at the General Assembly First Committee in October, seeking a mandate for negotiations to begin next year.

“For 71 years the majority of countries have experienced the injustice and insecurity that nuclear weapons represent,” said Ray Acheson of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, a steering group member of ICAN. “With negotiations of a ban treaty on the horizon, we are as close as we have ever been to effectively challenging the continued possession of these weapons of mass destruction.”

“When a treaty banning nuclear weapons is negotiated, Australia will be expected to sign it, as it has signed treaties to outlaw other abhorrent weapons. To enable Australia to sign on, the functions of Pine Gap should exclude preparations for nuclear war. This facility has served to implicate Australia in nuclear aggression and as a prime nuclear target for 50 years too long,” said Gem Romuld, ICAN Australia.

ICAN Australia will be speaking at the IPAN Conference and participating in the protest camp this week.

 

More information:

Disarm protest camp, 26-30 September www.closepinegap.org

Independent and Peaceful Australia Network Conference, 1-2 October www.ipan.org.au

 

For further comment:

Professor Richard Tanter, Nautilus Institute and Melbourne University- 0407 824 336

Gem Romuld, ICAN Australia- 0421 955 066

Image credit: Kristian Laemmle-Ruff

(via Close Pine Gap)

Posted in Alice Springs, Anti-Nuclear Struggle, Australia, Close Pine Gap, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Greece: Repression against immigrant women in Elliniko detention center

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Since last week the imprisoned immigrant women in Elliniko Detention Centre initiated new struggles for their freedom. On Friday 16/9 all women (which are 56 presently) went to the yard with their mattresses. The following day, an official from the immigration centre on Petrou Ralli street announced that he will have examined their case files by Tuesday, the 20th of September. But the women never received an update on their case, so, on the same day, they again took their mattresses to the yard and spent the night outside.

We were informed that reasons behind these mobilizations are beyond the deplorable conditions of detention the women are facing:

*The three-month upper limit of detention is not enforced since many women have been in detention for longer than that, many reaching 6 months.

*The women do not receive any updates on their asylum application process. Instead, the only official document they hold is a paper on deportation which was not translated to them. Moreover, they were recently forced to sign documents in Greek which of course they have no knowledge of and could not understand the content.

Since Friday we were only able to contact the detained immigrant women through the phone, since the manager of the detention centre has urgently restricted visitation rights, a right fought for by people in solidarity two years ago. It was us in particular who were banned from visiting anyone (which is a right of prisoners and visitors) following a phone call between the detention centre  manager and the police. When the detained immigrants realized we could not visit with them, they reacted and climbed on the bars screaming ”Freedom” and encouraged us to demand our entry. Only when a member of our assembly reacted intensely and asked to see the prohibition in writing, was this member allowed to visit with one of the immigrant women.

It is now clear that the state officials are trying to isolate and repress the struggle of immigrants who actively fight for their rights. On our part, our support is very obvious in that we amplify their struggle and carry its message to the outside world and we are determined to fight for visitation rights anew.

From Moria to Elliniko, immigrant men and women fight back, resist and demand their freedom. We are determined to stand by them in this struggle.

FREE IMMIGRANT WOMEN

BURN DETENTION CENTRES

(via Athens Indymedia, translated by BlackCat)

Posted in Elliniko, Fuck Fortress Europe, Greece, Refugee Solidarity Movement, Refugee Struggle, Refugees, Women's Struggle | Leave a comment

Turkey / Kurdistan: Interview with the DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action)

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Libertarian perspectives for the Middle East

The interview that we share here was produced during August 2016, just two weeks after the coup attempt of the 16th of July. This also happened a month before the beginning of the big Turkish manoeuvre on the orographic right side of the Euphrates in the Syrian territory to counteract the presence of the SDF militia that had taken that region from ISIS, strategical for the supply lines of the Caliphate.

The following interview is the product of a meeting of several hours with a spokesperson of the Turko-Kurdish anarchist organization DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action) and it isn’t summarized. The precise interview has been added with fragments from the rest of the meeting.

It is a very urgent piece on our current events, hence why we also recommend reading the article translated by Meydan, the newspaper of the DAF, published on 26 edition year 96 of Umanità Nova (Fight for power, Fight against power). We consider the following interview a necessity to understand the Turko-Kurdish situation and the actions of our comrades in those areas.

D: How has the situation developed in Turkey during these last weeks? Is Erdogan’s power stronger after the coup attempt? How was the meeting between the AKP and Hizmet?

R: As you know, the organization of Gülen and Hizmet was active before the start of the governments of the AKP. When the AKP became a government group they formed a coalition, as Gülen’s movement was very noticeable from within the state apparatuses, police, military and legal courts. Hizmet has several schools, controls part of the education system, universities, the schools for preparation of university entrance tests, high schools, along with the media and healthcare. They all hold immense power. The AKP and Gülen have made a coalition and cooperated, especially in the justice system, thanks to the presence of Gülen’s members among all of the judges and lawyers.  They have proceeded with the arrests and impeachment of many members of the armed forces, members of Kemalist groups and senior officers and top advisers of the general staff.

After this they replaced the arrested members with their own men and have further strengthened themselves, both the AKP and Hizmet, not only in the ranks of the military but also in all the other state apparatuses that were purged, like the police, intelligence services and bureaucracy.

However, during this time disagreements started emerging from these two groups and Erdogan launched a campaign aimed towards expelling Hizmet from the state. However the Gülenists intervened: their members in the justice system started investigating members of the AKP and carried out trials against many government ministers, their families and even towards Erdogan’s own son, accusing him of corruption and embezzlement of public funds.

This has been a critical step, followed by popular protests that have marked a difficult period for the AKP. However Erdogan’s party managed to impose legislative changes that eventually reshaped the laws on corruption, rendering all of the Gülenists efforts through the justice system in vain.

Obviously, after this Erdogan proceeded to attack the Gülenists. He consequently closed all schools dedicated to the preparation of university entrance tests controlled by Gülenists. Eventually a real war situation between these power groups started developing, with both of them targeting each other through different methods.

These legal changes from Erdogan were aimed towards protecting the bureaucracy of the AKP and purging Gülenist groups from the state. This was a huge operation towards the Gülenists, who soon suffered the consequences. For a period they remained passive, however at a certain moment they understood that thanks to their presence in the state they still had at their disposal plenty of useful information, including the government’s plans for completely suppressing them from the scene. Consequently, they began planning the coup.  

Additionally, during the end of September 2016, an alternation was expected in regards to high ranking members of the armed forces and the Gülenists predicted that they would have been expelled from positions related to the military apparatus, so the time to quickly take action was critical. A corroborated hypothesis is that the coup failed due to an information leak that forced the leaders of the coup to rush the start of the operation, acting without their full force or because the factions of the armed forces that had sided with them withdrew their support and warned the government. The failed coup d’état provided the AKP with the perfect opportunity for attacking the Gülenists and proceed with an extreme purge against them. Having worked together for years and both being deeply rooted in state structures, it seems like they all had information on each other’s corresponding moves.

Around ten thousand people linked to Hizmet have been fired from the public service sector. A state of emergency was declared and the government was able to operate without having to answer to parliament.

At the moment they are only targeting Gülens group, however now they have declared that they want to punish all organizations referred to as terrorist, like the anarchist revolutionary forces, along with socialists and Kurdish forces.  

D: What consequences will the failed coup have on the Kurdish situation?

In Bakur [Turkish Kurdistan, ndt.] there have been severe confrontations during these last months between the government and guerrilla forces, even if these decreased during the period preceding the coup. However, the government has declared that it will continue to destroy Kurdish cities and villages. The reasons for this manner of action are complex: the strategy of destruction planned by urban spaces is bent on rebuilding a largely controllable space with longer roads that are more accessible for armoured vehicles, but there are also economic reasons: the goal is creating a war economy and favour the processes of land grabbing. After the devastation of the Kurdish villages and cities these will have to be rebuilt. The players that are buying the land are public figures, public building companies, along with private ones: builders linked to the AKP. In fact the main sectors that support the government party are those involved in building constructions, as there are many builders connected to this party. This is one of the main reasons for the destruction of the Kurdish cities and villages. It isn’t very clear what will happen exactly, but we speculate that they will resume arresting Kurdish politicians, journalists, lawyers and activists. The HPD has expressed their opposition to both the attempted coup and the state of emergency. For now the repressive entities are dealing with Gülen, but the next step will probably be to attack the Kurdish political organization.

D: What is the situation of the left-wing Kurds and what is the influence of Marxist-Leninist parties that dominated social movements during the previous decades?

Before the coup of 1980 there was a powerful Marxist-Leninist movement and there were intense struggles in the workplace. After the coup for years no one could do anything, there was a very intense repression. During the 90’s the parties reorganized theirselves, but many of their members had already been arrested or forced into exile, so they had to restructure theirselves again from the very beginning. However, obviously the situation had completely changed from the 70’s when the extreme-left were hegemonic.

For the entirety of the 90’s the same unions opposed any sort of change and weren’t very active. After 2000 we can see how they came back to change certain factors in the workplace. Workers began organizing theirselves again, like in the years preceding the coup of 1980 and mobilizations resumed. However, evidently in Turkey things change very quickly, from year to year. For instance, during the 90’s and 2000 on one year it was possible to strike and protest, whilst on the following year the laws would have changed and repression started to increase again and after that it died down, all of this happening very quickly. And now the m-l (Marxist-Leninist) parties have certain influence but have diminished compared to the past, they are active especially in the Alevi areas [heterodox trend of Shia Islam, ndt]. Some groups are radicalized in universities, however there aren’t any large organizations. The important issue in Turkey is that there is an ongoing war: the war between the state and the Kurdish people, both in Turkey and Syria, with Turkish interventions. Hence, m-l parties had to take action and deploy their forces. Most of them support the HDP (People’s Democratic Party) and Kurdish movements and lots of m-l groups have been fully involved through solidarity actions with the Kurdish people.

D: How is the anarchist movement in Turkey and Kurdistan?

In Turkey the anarchist ideology was only disseminated during the end of the 90’s. There were small groups that published magazines, distributed translations from foreign publications. There weren’t any organizations, just small uncoordinated groups. In the DAF we started organizing ourselves in 2007, with the goal of creating anarchist activities and traditions for the areas of Turkey, Kurdistan and generally across the Middle East. The idea was to set an example and an anarchist tradition. At the moment we are organized especially in Istanbul and Amed, but we are also active in villages and smaller cities. We are well-known politically and respected, even among m-l groups. For nine years we have been able to create a history of anarchist struggles.

Our role in the solidarity with the Kurdish struggle has been very important for us because in a country where there is a war you must, whether you like it or not, take a stance on this issue. As anarchists, we have been involved during the revolution of Rojava and the attacks of the Turkish state in Bakur.

We believe that our involvement with these Kurdish political groups is important because it allows a reinforcement of libertarian practices among the members of these organizations that before weren’t strictly libertarian.

D.: What will the consequences of the failed coup be on the anarchist movement and, generally, on social movements?

Clearly the failed coup and the state of emergency are a huge threat for the anarchist movement. The state can perform repressive operations against any social opposition, it can arrest activists more easily. Already in the last months there has been a lot repression, especially towards Kurdish groups, but in the future there will be ulterior repressive actions targeting everybody and all political opposition movements, facilitated by the state of emergency.

D.: How is the current state repression affecting the anarchist movement as a whole? Are there any anarchist prisoners? Is it possible to contact them? Has the situation changed after the attempted coup?

Currently there are anarchist prisoners but, generally speaking, they are not in prison for their anarchist militancy, aside from anarchist conscientious objectors. Most of them became anarchists when they were already incarcerated and many have previous political experience through socialist or Kurdish groups. They started contacting us, so we began publishing articles from these prisoners and they organize theirselves. There are also vegan or vegetarian anarchist prisoners that have carried out specific fights to obtain food suitable for their diets and have also started hunger strikes to get food from the outside.

Usually political prisoners are under a lot of strong pressure in prisons but at the same time they are also well organized. Both left-wing revolutionary and Kurdish prisoners are very organized, they manage to have meetings, self-education and sport sessions. Evidently, this has been obtained thanks to the big struggles during the last years. When a new political prisoner arrives in the prison these inmates manage to have him placed in a nearby cell to stay in touch and not leave him alone.

After the failed coup things are beginning to change. It is harder for political prisoners to meet their family and lawyers. Additionally, prisons have been overcrowded, thus entailing further problems. Therefore, there are issues but the organization of political prisoners is strong and I think that they will be able to overcome these problems if there is enough support from outside the prisons.

D.: What is the situation of right-wing groups like Lupi Grigi and other religious groups? Are there any links between these groups and the current government?

Nationalistic parties, like the MHP, are in the government. The MHP is the fourth strongest party, after the AKP, CHP [Kemalist party, ndt.] and HDP. In fact, they have 40 parliament members. However they are not as active as they were during the 70’s and 80’s when they conducted paramilitary actions in the streets. They have also changed their attitudes in regards to the past but they share many of the AKP’s traits, especially against revolutionary organizations and Kurdish groups. They even maintain that the positions of the AKP states aren’t nationalistic enough, yet they still support them.

After the failed coup both the MHP and CHP have furthered their relationship with the AKP. Erdogan and the AKP have explicitly invited them to help the government fight against Gülen. Furthermore, these parties have proved themselves to be very radical through their support of the Turkish government against Hizmet.

On the Kurdish issue the MHP demands even stronger attacks towards Kurdish groups. However, they are satisfied by the AKP’s actions against them.

They clearly state that the government is adopting their ideas on the Kurdish issue: attack the population, massacre them and destroy the city.

D.: In the last years we have seen mobilizations in the mining and industry sectors. From Italy we have been able to see the fights in the FIAT factories of Turkey, but we know that there have been more widespread struggles. What is the general situation in these fights? How have you been involved in these workplace struggles?

Most workers are organized through the main unions. One of the most important ones is the DSK, but it isn’t a radical union. The main struggles in the workplace during this latest period have been in the productive sectors. These have the worst working conditions and there is a high rate of work-related deaths, like in the mining, textile (especially in jean factories) and construction sectors. Therefore the fights are aimed towards directly saving lives rather than achieving the usual rights.

In the last year we have been active in the Construction Workers Union, a new union that isn’t federated to other unions like DISK. It is an independent union, like the DAF and we are very involved and active in this organization. This union is working towards conveying worker’s opinions. For being such a newly-formed union it has become well-known very quick because it adopts campaigns of direct action: closing down construction sites and also manifesting around construction companies. This strategy has often been successful: victory is achieved within a few days, on some occasions even after a couple of hours because it directly stops production and the economic damage it causes to the owners is immediate. On the whole, in Turkey there are worker organizations that are spreading the fight to obtain better economic conditions. We find it reaffirming to see this new style of industrial action emerging, which is much more radical than those of bigger unions like DISK.  Many small unions are embracing more radical and direct styles of fighting. I think that in the next years there will be good opportunities for anarcho-syndicalism and anarchist intervention amongst workers.

D.: First you mentioned that one of the main foundations of the AKP is the construction sector. Therefore, we imagine that the fights of the new unions through direct action campaigns in this sector directly damage the government? At the moment have there been any repressive processes towards these unions?

In the attempts of Ankara we lost 5 comrades who were very active through trade unions, but other than that there haven’t been any particular repressive attacks so far.

The system of fighting by blocking construction sites and protesting in front of building offices has one clear advantage: other than damaging the owner’s economic interests it also immediately ruins the public image and reputation of these companies, which is very important in our society. Furthermore, as there are many ongoing construction projects even a single day of fighting by striking loses their precious time and the bosses prefer making concessions to the workers rather than asking for police intervention, which could risk extending the strikes and losing money for the building company.

However, evidently in some cases the police have heavily intervened against workers. But at the moment we can’t say that there has been a particularly strong and special pressure from the government towards trade unions that organize direct action campaigns.

D.: Antimilitarism is an important point for the anarchist movement. How have you approached this argument and what activities do you carry out in this area?

In Turkey there is obligatory military service and this is one of the main issues that antimilitary organizations are fighting against. There is a strong movement of conscious objectors, we are among the most active groups in this area and we can say that all anarchists are objectors and we are conducting a fight against mandatory military service. Due to this anti-militarist perspective we are constantly accused by the public opinion of instigating hatred, mutiny and desertion. Many of us have been arrested for not showing up to the military service. We have a group, the Association for Conscience Objection, founded in Istanbul but active in all the country that gives legal assistance to those that don’t want to go to the army or those in the army that want to get out. A common action for the objectors is publicly stating their own opposition to the military service and militarism through press releases or declarations done in public spaces. Usually the objectors are arrested but we start providing support and legal assistance, along with organizing solidarity campaigns. We are part of War Resistance International and the European Bureau for Conscious Objection. We publish reports of our activities and of those associations with which we have international contacts, as every year we try to achieve the widest amount of diffusion possible.

D.: In the last years of the AKP government we have been able to see how oppression has increased against women. How does the anarchist movement deal with this topic? Are there an anarcho-feminist movements?

In Turkey there is a feminist movement and there are anarchist women. We have a very serious issue with the murder rate of women, so there are campaigns dealing with this issue. Obviously the AKP government, like many other governments, attacks women. The AKP wants women to stay home, be mothers and educate their sons to become soldiers. There are explicit declarations from the government encouraging this attitude. There are government campaigns against abortion, which at the moment has been banned beyond the tenth week, so many women are fighting for this liberty.

Anarchist women are part of the general movement of female struggles and they are trying to create their own organizations in order to take independent actions related back to anarchism.

Text taken from Umanita Novà: http://www.umanitanova.org/2016/09/14/prospettive-libertarie-per-il-medio-oriente/

Translated by Pietro Casati (pietrokuyath@gmail.com)

(via Theory Without Borders)

Posted in Bakur, DAF (Revolutionary Anarchist Action), Kurdish Struggle, Kurdistan, North Kurdistan, Turkey, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Chile: Two years since proceedings began against anarchist comrades Juan, Nataly and Enrique

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Two years since the kidnapping of the comrades for the Bombs Case 2 we recall the events that have occurred in this case.

At dawn on September 18, 9 police bastards of the carabineros brutally raided the residence of Nataly Casanova, a home she was sharing with Juan Flores and Guillermo Duran. Having seen police pointing rifles, Nataly fled along the roofs of neighboring homes however her flight was in vain as the police captured her in a nearby house.

The three comrades were arrested by the police, who demanded their names and addresses, since their names weren’t known, in order to raid the houses of the direct relatives of the comrades to search for and seize phones, computers, sim cards and any black clothing that could be used to incriminate them.

Nataly’s house was partially destroyed in the raid and her basic belongings were completely destroyed.

Despite the fact that the case was being investigated by the southern prosecution office, the comrades were taken to a police station in Ñuñoa, specialists in setting people up, and had their blood samples forcibly extracted from them.

The next morning the feeding frenzy was detonated by the bourgeois mass media who demonized the existence of the three comrades. The detention controls against the comrades were extended for 5 days until Tuesday, September 23rd to allow sufficient time to assemble the charges against them.

The comrades were accused of the following attacks:

– terrorist attack against police station number 39 in the commune of El Bosque. This attack occurred on August 11, 2014. This charge was later withdrawn.

– terrorist attack on a subway car at Los Dominicos metro station on July 14, 2014.

– the most significant charge is the explosion at the SubCentro shopping center at Escuela Militar metro station that occurred on September 8, 2014. (Months later 25 victims have come forward claiming a range of injuries including hearing damage, loss of a phalanx finger bone and exposed fractures. The prosecution has convinced them that they will all receive compensation at the end of the trial). In order to increase the criminal charges and years of jail for the comrade Juan Flores the prosecution sought out victims of the attack, there are also complaints from private lawyers against the comrades. The office of the prosecutor and the attorney general are betting on a strategy of shocking the public rather than showing incriminating evidence.

– possession of black gunpowder that was supposedly buried in the courtyard of the house.

On Tuesday September 23 following 4 hours of fantasies, preventative detention was ordered for Juan and Nataly. Night house arrest was ordered for Guillermo, this was later appealed by the prosecution, resulting in total house arrest.

And so they spent 7 months in the dungeons, isolated from supporters. Violent raids, destruction of diverse expressions of comradeship, surveillance and harassment of relatives and close friends then culminated with a new detention.

On April 6, 2015 a new raid ended with the arrest of Enrique Guzmán who was a close friend and active supporter of the comrades who visited them in jail and organized solidarity events etc. Just like the arrests of September 18, the prosecution extended the detention period until April 13, and then ordered preventative detention.

On April 14 the comrades Nataly, Juan and Guillermo reacted quickly and began a hunger strike to demand the immediate release of Enrique Guzmán, an end to the isolation regime Nataly was being held under and an independent investigation to determine the veracity of the DNA evidence. Several other imprisoned comrades joined this initiative. After 51 days the preventative detention order against Enrique was removed and he was released into full house arrest and Nataly was moved from isolation to a new module so the comrades ended their hunger strike.

The brief rest that Enrique had at home only lasted a little over a week until the prosecution together with the San Miguel court of appeals decided that the comrade must return to prison. This was not the first time Enrique was granted house arrest and then returned to prison.

After one of many reformalizations the prosecution decided to drop all charges against Guillermo Duran, much to the joy of the kidnapped comrades.

Nearing two years since proceedings began some bad news returned that shocked the comrades relatives and close friends. The court tried to take possession of the house that Juan, Nataly and her daughter shared, for the purpose of paying for the damages at Los Dominicos and Escuela Militar. The families are trying desperately to save the house but everything was already pre-planned, even though the investigation is still open.

At present the comrades are awaiting early commencement of the trial. The harassment is getting stronger against the comrades, with them being subjected to one punishment after another, including being beaten along with other comrades they are imprisoned with.

It was during one of these many clashes that Enrique was transferred to another module and accused by the guards of belonging to a gang that kidnapped children which resulted in him being bashed by other prisoners and having to be moved from the module. He was placed in isolation where he remained incommunicado for 4 days.

While being moved to another module this time it was Juan’s turn to be placed in the maximum security section due to the extensive imagination of the guards and the head prosecutor who used one of the comrade’s drawings as ‘proof’ that he was attempting to escape.

Juan was returned to his former module but not before being insulted and bashed by the guards while he was shackled. Despite having very few possibilities to defend himself the comrade still put up a fight.

In the maximum security section, the prosecutor shamelessly offered Enrique a shortened trial in exchange for agreeing to all of their delusions.

The cowardice demonstrated by the authorities offers a clear image of how the trial will end and the actions of the comrades is the most beautiful image that we can take from all this.

We will not rest until we see them back on the streets.

At each attempt by the authorities to defeat them we will be there to fight their bastard tricks.

(via Publicacion Refractario, translated by Insurrection News)

Posted in Anarchist Prisoners, Bombs Case 2, Chile, Enrique Guzmán, Guillermo Duran, Juan Flores, Nataly Casanova, Santiago | Leave a comment

France: Defend the ZAD – A call for International Solidarity

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October 8th & 9th 2016

For over 50 years, farmers and locals have resisted the building of a new airport for the French city of Nantes (which by the way already has one). Now in these rich fields, forests and wetlands, which multinational Vinci want to cover in concrete, an experiment in reinventing everyday life in struggle is blossoming. Radicals from around the world, local farmers and villagers, citizen groups, trade unionists and naturalists, refugees and runaways, squatters and climate justice activists and many others, are organising to protect the 4000 acres of land against the airport and its world. Government officials have coined this place “a territory lost to the republic”. Its occupants have named it: la zad (zone a défendre) zone to defend. In the winter of 2012, thousands of riot police attempted to evict the zone, but they faced a determined and diverse resistance. This culminated in a 40,000 people strong demonstration to rebuild some of what had been destroyed by the French State. Less than a week later, the police was forced to stop what they called “Operation Cesar”. For the last three years, the zad has been an extraordinary laboratory of new ways of living, rooted in collaborations between all those who make up the diversity of this movement. There is even a set of 6 points (see below) to radically rethink how to organise and work the land without an airport, based on the creation of commons, the notion of usage rather than property and the demand that those who fought for the land are those who decide its use.

Now, the entire zone is due for expulsions to start the construction of this absurd airport. Prime minister Valls has promised a “Rendez Vous” this October to evict everyone who is living, working, building and farming on the zone.

On October 8th, tens of thousands of people will gather on the zad to demonstrate that the determination of the movement is as strong as ever. Honouring farmers struggles from the past, we will come with wooden walking batons and leave them on the zone, as a sign of the commitment to come back and pick them up again if necessary. We will also raise a barn, built by dozens of carpenters during the summer, which will be used as a base, should evictions happen.

We are calling on all international groups and movements to either come to the zone on October 8th or show their solidarity with the zad through actions directed at the French government or multinational Vinci in their own towns and cities on that day. The airport will never be built. Life on the zad will keep on flourishing!

***

6 points for the future of the zad. Since there will be no airport… Once the project is abandoned, we want:

1. That the inhabitants, owners or tenants who are part of a compulsory purchase or eviction order can remain on the zone and regain their rights.

2. That the impacted farmers resisting and refusing to bend to the will of AGO-Vinci, can continue to freely cultivate the lands that they use and recover their rights and pursue their work in good conditions.

3. That the new inhabitants who came to the zad to take part in the struggle can remain on the zone. That everything which has been build since 2007 as part of the occupation movement in terms of experiments in alternative agriculture, self-built homes or temporary dwellings (huts, yurts, caravans etc.) and forms of life and resistance, can stay and continue.

4. That the lands that each year are redistributed by the chamber of agriculture for AGO-Vinci’s, in the form of precarious leases, are handled by a body that comes out of the resistance movement and brings together all its elements. So that it is the anti-airport movements rather than the normal institutions that decide on the uses of this land.

5. That these lands are for new agricultural or non agricultural projects, be they authorised or not, and not for the expansion of already existing farms.

6. That these agreements becomes a reality through our collective determination and that we carry together an attention to resolve all eventual conflicts linked to them being put in place.

We are already sowing and building a future without an airport in our unity and diversity. It is up to all of us, from today, to enable it to flourish and to defend it.

FOR MORE INFO:

zad.nadir.org

zad@riseup.net

Posted in Direct Action, France, International Solidarity, ZAD, Zone A Défendre | Leave a comment

ABC Solidarity Cell, Greece: Call for a concerted solidarity campaign for the struggle of US prisoners

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Prisons in the USA – The dark side of slavery in American society

In order to be in the position to understand the importance and necessity of the US prisoners’ struggle, we first need to analyze the role of slavery in the foundation and evolution of the American state and its historical and integral, until today, link with capital.

Slavery in its many forms was actually the foundation on which the omnipotence of american domination was gradually built. The root of this phenomenon can be traced back to the era when the Christian empires of Europe started a race to conquest unknown lands, founding colonial regimes, in the era of brutal genocides of the Indigenous populations and the slave trade of the non-white African population.

Since then and until today, the social and political circumstances have rapidly changed, mainly because of a heavy blood tax that has been paid from beneath, towards the direction of the total shaking off of slavery as an institution. However, it continues up until today, more or less covered.

Today’s prisoners’ class and racial composition, the spreading of private prisons, the institutionalization of enforced labor as a form of criminal sanction, the exploitation of prisoners by big companies highlight the fundamental connection between state-capitalism-slavery and prison.

Slavery in the first colonial systems

During the first years of the ‘new world’s colonization and until the early 18th century, most of the settlers were not free but were under a status of a type of slavery, known as ‘indentured servitude’, which aimed in equipping the colonies with cheap workforce. The ‘indentured servant’ signed a contract according to which she/he was mortgaging her/his freedom and provide her/his work to a master for a period between 5 to 7 years and, in exchange, the latter covered her/his transportation expenses to the colony. In practice, it was happening by the signature of the contract between the ‘indentured servant’ and the ship owner and the subsequent transferring of the contract to the new master, as soon as the ship arrived to the ‘new world’. The institution was initially introduced in 1619 through Virginia Company. It has been calculated that 80% of the refugees in the American colonies before the American revolution were under this status, while only 40% managed to survive.

‘Indentured servants’ consisted of three categories : 1) poor immigrants seeking for a better life in the colonies 2)immigrants forced to leave their country because of religious prosecutions or other reasons 3) convicts. It consisted of both white and non-white population. More specifically, in the plantations of the south, the institution favored the further expansion of the land ownership, since it got connected to the headright system. Headright was the right of every colonizer in about 4 acres of land. The big landowners managed to expand the landownership since they were both subsidized with the 4 acres for every worker they brought in through the ‘indentured servitude’ system and took profit on the workforce of the ‘indentured servant’ that they had in their ownership.

So, although slaves existed in the English colonies already since 1600, this constitution was preferred among plantation owners. But, when the ‘indentured servants’ started to gradually regain their freedom somewhere in the middle of the 17th century, the land they were given was of bad quality and under the danger of indigenous raids, soon resulting in the creation of a poor and unsatisfied social layer, whose existence annoyed the big landowners who later manned their plantations with permanent slaves.

Moreover, although European ‘indentured servants’ were already under a status of transient slavery compared to the permanent slaves, many of them acted together with non white, African and American Indigenous slaves in order to escape, resist against their masters or organize uprisings. The ruling class was displeased by this alliance and answered with a tactic of separation between the white and the non white population, like happened, for example, in Virginia with the enactment of the Virginia Slave Codes in 1705. In an case, already during the 18th century, Europeans willing to travel to the American continent under the status of ‘indentured servitude’ had considerably decreased, especially after the disclosure of the conditions in the plantations. The ruling class, on the other hand, within the tactic of separation had started to grant privileges and lighter work to the white ‘indentured servants’ compared with the non-white, African and American Indigenous slaves. In this way, the alliance between whites of all layers and racial discrimination gradually started to form a structure. The ‘indentured servitude’ system was abolished after the civil war through the 13th amendment of american constitution in 1865.

First prisons and enforced labor until the end of the Civil War

Imprisonment as a form of criminal sanction was established in America a little before the American revolution of 1765. The first period, during which imprisonment was massively used as a means to deal with offenders, the ‘mentally ill’ and the poor, can be found in the early 1800s, in the Jackson era. During this period, imprisonment and enforced labor constituted the main sanctions for most crimes until the Civil War. In the south, however, where slavery was widespread, imprisonment didn’t have much to offer to the maintenance of order, since slaves were at the mercy of their masters. Despite this fact, imprisonment of white people took place in some parts of the south.

The first occasion of enforced labor of prisoners in favor of private companies and of the state is found in 1820 in the prison Auborn in New York. The constitution quickly expanded to the north and, later, to the west. In 1825 in Kentucky, Joel Scott paid 1000 dollars in order to use the prisoners of the local prison as work labor in construction projects. After that, he proceeded in building his own private prison to house them. Deals like this can be found in 1844 in Louisiana and in 1852 in California. Despite the above, the main exploitation of prisoners as work labor and the evolution of the conception around the utilization of the excluded populations will take place after the end of the Civil War.

The inclusion of enforced labor in the criminal system (convict leasing)

After the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865), capitalism began to dominate in the USA and would gradually develop it into the superpower that it is today. Between 1865-1920, corporate interests were served in all government levels. Governments obeyed almost completely the big companies. On many occasions, industrial corporations were the ones to set the value of their own property for tax reasons, instead of tax inspectors. Private and public sectors were, to a great degree, inseparable, for example, in 1880 the owner of the biggest bank in Montana was at the same time its governor. Capitalistic development, however, did not follow a straight line. Since the middle of the 1870s until the middle of the 1890s (a period named the ‘Great Depression’), the economy suffers from massive bankruptcies, inflation and the merciless competition between the companies for the reduction of labor costs. Within this framework, the utilization of prisoners as a workforce constituted an ideal solution and the institution of ‘convict leasing’ was spread in both the south and the north and 2/3 of prisoners were assigned to private companies. Companies signed contracts with the state that the workers would be replaced in case a prisoner got ill or was considered as unsuitable.

The explosive development of the industry and economy was, in a big degree, connected with the specific configuration of the criminal system. The need for a cheap labor force leaded to a massive criminalizing of behaviors and massive arrests. People were sent to prison for insignificant excuses, like gambling and consuming alcohol. While capitalism was gradually evolving towards its monopolistic form (which it would reach after 1890) prisoners started to be assigned only to the most powerful corporations of every state.
The institutionalization of slavery as a criminal sanction through the 13th amendment of the US constitution served as the legal base for the institution. In the south, the convict-lease system was spread everywhere and constituted the new way to utilize and discipline of the recently liberated slaves who were now under a status of discrimination, imposed on them through Jim Crow laws, under the ideological construct of white supremacy. In the prisons of the south after 1885, 90% of the prisoners were non-white. Prisoners were assigned to the mines, to railway companies and to the iron and steel industry. All the extraction companies of the south, as well as the agricultural economy of cotton and sugar, were based on the prisoners’ labor. In the north, there was also a close cooperation between the industries, commercial and agricultural companies and all of the law enforcement authorities as well as the judicial system. Sheriffs, local magistrates, policemen, judges and governors were all working together for the systems’ conservation. Labor unions, syndicates and labor parties reacted to the institution, initially as far as the utilization of prisoners as a specialized workforce was concerned, because it was against their interests.

Prison labor was also utilized as a counterweight against the workers’ effort to organize. Companies, in cases of strikes and disputes, could replace their workforce with prisoners who worked under harsh and lethal conditions. This way, a lot of mine strikes were broken.

But, in 1890, during a mine strike, TC&I company tried to use prisoners in order to break the strike. Strikers and their allies, friendly towards the workers’ movement ‘The Knights of Labor’ waged guerrilla warfare with attacks against the prison’s fence and liberated prisoners. They refused to obey the governor’s order to return them and armed conflicts followed. Since 1890, uprisings and prisoners’ strikes started to happen more and more often, especially in the north, where an important percentage of prisoners were veterans of the American Civil War, but also, ex- workers.

The development of the prison-industrial complex

Since the 1970s and until today, prisons continued to constitute a privileged field of profit and repression in the USA, while, at the same time, through the the prison-industrial complex, we are passing into new forms of social control and surveillance. The interaction and cooperation in the prison system between industry and private prisons, construction companies, prison supply companies, companies exploiting the enforced labor of the prisoners and of the political establishment in general, is conceived by this term.
This way, the American state’s propaganda for the social legalization of the military-industrial complex, making huge profits during the cold war, was gradually replaced by the prison-industrial complex, this time, using the excuse of the ‘War On Drugs’.

During the 60s, 70s and 80s, the CIA, after secretly getting involved in the drug trade taking place in Vietnam and Nicaragua, channeled large quantities into the poor neighborhoods of people of color. During the 70s, a lot of companies got transferred out of the USA seeking a cheaper workforce resulting in a rise of unemployment in the poor neighborhoods and a big part of the non-specified unemployed turning to thefts and drug dealing. This phenomenon, offered the suitable political excuse in order for Reagan to start, in the middle of the 80s, the campaign of the ‘War on Drugs’. A big wave of arrests of non-white people followed this tightening of the legal armory, leading to the overpopulation of prisons. While the expenses for the maintenance and building of new prisons overcame the abilities of the state’s budget, private prisons constituted an advantageous solution, not only for the state but, for capital as well. In 1984, investors in Tennesee, having connections in the government, established Corrections Corporations of America (CCA). The idea was to build private prisons and contract them to the government. The utilization of private prisons reached its peak in the 90s during Clinton’s presidency, when private prison companies took on the imprisonment of refugees without residence permits and prisoners of “high risk”. In 2000, private prisons’ industry donated 1.2 million dollars to 830 candidates. Today, the largest of the private prisons companies are CCA and GEO Group (ex Wackenhut), while the percentage of inmates in them in 2013 was calculated to be 8% of the total population of prisoners in the USA.

Together with the institution of private prisons, prisoners’ enforced labor, based -as referred above- on the 13th amendment, is still a field of profit and management of the excluded populations.

Prisoners work without union rights, days off or allowances, under miserable conditions. Their refusal to work has as a consequence disciplinary punishments and privilege deprivations. Over the last 30 years more than 37 states allow private companies to use prisoners with the symbolic payment of between 0.93 and 4.73 US dollars a day. Companies exploiting the work of prisoners are, among others, IBM, Boeing, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Nothern Telecom, TWA, Nordstorms, Revlon, Macys, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, Starbucks and Honda.

Prisoners’ struggles – Resistance finds its ways and spaces to be manifested

As expected, the asphyxiating status of enforced labor as part of the penalty, this disguised form of modern slavery, compresses and crushes the prisoners so much that, little by little, the seed of resistance is being born, a seed growing on anger and desperation. For quite some time, a series of eruptions inside the American hellhole, which are actually slave galleys, has led to the planning of a concerted struggle inside prisons, targeting towards the definitive abolition of this brutality which euphemistically calls itself ‘social contribution’. Despite the great difficulties in the communication among prisoners, the thirst for fighting managed to overcome all obstacles so that finally the struggle plan can be communicated to such a degree, that we might be talking about one of the biggest concerted fighting campaigns from the prisoners themselves.

The starting point of such a struggle has been set by the commissions of prisoners themselves on 9/9/16, a symbolic date for the struggles of US prisoners since, 45 years ago, on September 9, 1971, the uprising in the Attica prison of New York took place which constituted the biggest and most dramatic prison uprising in US history. The instigating spark was the murder of the inmate George Jackson from the Black Panthers by the jailers.

As Anarchist Black Cross, we consider that the peak of this struggle has a special importance, since it constitutes a collective scream of dignity from the inside of the modern hellholes of a state that has made imprisonment into a science, being a model and example for every ambitious totalitarian state.

The status of slavery in prisons is the epitome of brutality inside imprisonment conditions since it abolishes the individual status of every person and targets towards her/his total submission between the gears of multinational leviathans.

As anarchists, we cannot whistle with indifference in front of a struggle orienting from the damned of the social margin, being under a status of slavery and still claiming, even under the adverse conditions of imprisonment, a breath of dignity and self-determination.

The inmates will conduct their struggle by actually denying the procedure of enforced labor, carrying out an abstention of their expected duties, actually a kind of strike from inside the prison, which is being punished with disciplinary punishments and isolation. A struggle at the root of which there is political disobedience and sabotage of corporate interests which have identified themselves with the most ruthless forms of exploitation.
The prisoners have outwardly addressed a call for the support of their fight from whoever feels that this struggle has anything to do with her/him and finds a piece of herself/himself inside it.

Within this framework, as Anarchist Black Cross-solidarity cell we have held an event and information session on 4/8 in the squat Themistocleous 58, together with comrades from the translating network of anti-report Contra Info, during which, a comrade from Anarchist Black Cross Portland spoke extensively on these issues aiming to notify the domestic anarchist movement of the struggle that would follow from 9/9.

We are willing to manifest our solidarity with the inmates of US prisons by any means and for the entire duration of their struggle. To move in this direction, we are calling on all the collectives, all the Anarchist Black Cross cells internationally and anyone wishing to support in her/his way, to combine our strength for an International Day of Solidarity which can be a point of reference for the international solidarity movement for that struggle and will constitute an occasion for further sharpening of future actions. We propose that day to be the 1st of October.

We consider that the perspectives, the issues at stake, and the legacy that this specific struggle can leave behind, constitute an open challenge for every fighter wanting to contribute to the campaign of an internationalized and concerted struggle inside and outside of prisons, against the modern slavery and the economic dictatorship of multinational companies.

SOLIDARITY AND STRENGTH TO THE STRUGGLE OF THE INMATES OF US  PRISONS!
STRUGGLE IS THE ONLY PERSPECTIVE IN ORDER TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY!
FIRE TO THE PRISONS!

Anarchist Black Cross – solidarity cell

(via Mpalothia, slightly edited for clarity by Insurrection News)

Posted in ABC Solidarity Cell, Against Prison Slavery: Nationwide Prisoner Strike Sept 9, 2016, Anarchist Black Cross, Fire To The Prisons, Greece, International Solidarity, Prison Strike, USA | Leave a comment