This Is America #45: Fires In the Street

From It’s Going Down

Welcome, to This is America, December 10th, 2018.

Today we are joined with some very special guests. The first are several comrades from Olympia, Washington, who are part of the group, the Olympia Solidarity Network. A solidarity network is a group of people that come together to organize and mobilize in a given community against bosses, landlords, and beyond. They often engage in fights over lost or stolen wages, unfair firings, stolen deposits, and lock out evictions. Unlike tenant and legal clinics however, solidarity networks use direct action to apply pressure. In Seattle, Washington, which has one of the oldest and best known solidarity networks, literally thousands of people have participated in actions under its banner, carried out delivery of demands to landlords and bosses, and have also benefited from these collective campaigns by getting stolen wages and deposits back, stopping evictions, and fighting back directly at their workplaces.

On today’s episode, we talk with members of Olympia Solidarity Network who discuss their recent campaign against various businesses in the downtown area of the city who were fighting to secure a contract with a private security company which aimed to clear out the houseless community from the downtown area. After a heated and lengthy campaign, the contact was finally defeated. Our interview talks about that struggle and how the group saw things through to the end, as well as the push back that they faced from the police and the downtown business class.

Next up, we speak with two comrades from so-called Halifax who talk about the recent Postal Strike and how members of the IWW and others have supported the pickets. Currently, the State has forced all postal workers to return to work or face massive fines, but members of the IWW and others have kept up pickets in the streets. Several IWW members in Halifax were also recently arrested for taking part in the pickets, and can be supported here.

But first, let’s get to the news.

Living and Fighting

  • After managing to keep police out of The Village houseless encampment in East Oakland, police moved on the space again the next day, evicting the homes inside and making multiple arrests. Stay up on the struggle by following The Village on Twitter.
  • The IWW has joined a larger confederation of anarchist and autonomous anti-capitalist labor unions across the world, such as the CNT. This will hopefully mean more coordination and support of world wide campaigns in the future.
  • An anarchist infoshop in Quebec City was vandalized by fascists. Go here to support them and their cleanup.
  • James Alex Fields was found guilty on all counts of murder in the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville. He remains to be sentenced, but currently faces 20 years to life. Many on the Alt-Right have responded with disbelief; some even implying their faith in the American justice system is over and are pushing for a new wave of violence. A march to the place that Heather Heyer was murdered followed the court decision and was led by survivors of the attack, who chanted and gave speeches.
  • Speaking of neo-Nazis, a group of fascist skinheads in the Pacific Northwest were arrested several hours after the James Fields verdict for attacking an African-American DJ. The neo-Nazis, part of various groups such as American Front and the Hammerskin Nation, seem to have been in the area to commemorate the death of Charles R Matthews, the leader of the neo-Nazi paramilitary group the Order, which in the mid-1980s carried out various bombings, murders, and armed robberies, and one of whose members penned the infamous “14 Words.”
  • People gathered in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina to remember the life and death of Marcus Smith who died at the hands of the police after being hogtied on September 8th.
  • IWOC reports that in Rush City, Minnesota, over 100 prisoners went on strike and are now in negotiations with the prison over abuse and conditions. More info here.
  • A new bill passed in California would make sharing food in public places without first applying for an application and a permit with a city government a crime. This bill in theory could be used to target groups like Food Not Bombs, which share food outside in public places.
  • On Sunday, people in New York according to Ash J demonstrated “outside the Whitney Museum…[and] were calling out the museum’s vice chairman Warren Kanders. Kanders owns Safariland, the company that makes the tear gas that was used on migrants at the border.”

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