september 2020

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“September is the month of maturity… the month of climax and completion. September! I never tire of turning it over and over in my mind. It has warmth, depth and colour”

– Patience Strong

20/9/20:

South Africa, Knysna: cops and Red Ants (heavy privatised security) forced to retreat during  riots against destruction of shacks

19/9/20:

Belarus, Minsk: 2000 women demonstrate against the government, 100s arrested

“Men in green uniforms and black balaclavas encircled female protesters who shouted, “Only cowards beat women!”…Police detained so many protesters that they ran out of room in vans and had to free some of the women, according to AFP news agency. ..In total, more than 300 women were detained”

RS writes:

Suppression and extinction of the strike movement

We’ve  received fragmentary information about strikes in Belarus and interviews with some representatives of strike committees.

After the elections in August, dictator Lukashenko falsified the results. After that, the entire country was covered by the protest movement. And this protest has not only political, but also economic reasons.

The Belarusian economy is closely linked to the Russian one and has been stagnating for about 10 years. This was added to the economic decline caused by the global and Russian crisis and the Coronavirus.

About a quarter of Belarusians work in large factories left over from the Soviet era, most of which are state-owned. Independent trade unions are prohibited and non-Union wildcat strikes are also prohibited. The labor code of Belarus is extremely anti-worker. Contracts are for a year, and a worker has no right to leave the factory before the contract expires.

Simultaneously with street protests, mass rallies at factories and work stoppages began. At several factories in Minsk, as well as at a large factory in Grodno, attempts to form strike committees. Thus, there is a non-trade Union movement. The members of the strike committees had no relation to the opposition liberal or nationalist parties and they have no experience of fighting.

The protests at the factories were the most striking manifestation of mass indignation in Belarus. MZKT (Minsk wheel tractor plant) workers booed Lukashenka, who tried to make a speech to them. From conversations with workers, it has become clear that today real strikes are far away.

“Everyone expects the plant to go on strike. And here people can’t even stand up for their salary. They are afraid. The day before yesterday, one welder was underpaid 300 rubles – about $ 100. I came to the Smoking room sad: and what’s the point of working? And his entire salary is 1500, about 500 dollars  . So he didn’t get a fifth. He smoked and went to the machine,” – says Mikhail Gromov, a worker at the Minsk tractor plant. He is part of a group of protesting MTZ (Minsk tractor plant) workers who call themselves the “Strike Committee”. This status is informal, as is all protest activity at the plant.

From here

Workers point out that there has been a gradual modernization of equipment, which is becoming more complex. According to Mikhail Gromov, most workers are outraged by what is happening in the country and want a change of government. He believes that the working class in Belarus has changed over the past ten years: “Technology is moving forward, it is impossible to remain an idiot on a machine with software control. I studied at the University – I didn’t finish my studies, I realized that I didn’t need it. But I earn no less than half of people with higher education. Let me work not so much with my head as with my hands, I like it. The “rednecks” (“bydlo”) that we are exposed to are practically non-existent.”

The fact of preserving  large-scale industry is extremely important. Neighboring Ukraine where de-industrialization turned out to be more extensive, did not generate any strike movement during the mass protests in 2013-2014.

Almost all the strikes are political, and their main demand was the departure of the dictator. Why are there no economic demands or ideas of self-government at factory? There may be several reasons for this.

 

First, despite the economic difficulties, the situation of the working class in Belarus, according to the strikers is “not so bad”. Skilled workers receive a wage of around 500 dollars and various types of social support, some cheap loans, and social assistance. Belarus still retains the remnants of a social state from the times of the USSR. Many workers have their own apartments.

The second reason is that the workers are extremely intimidated by the arrests. Many activists have been arrested or temporarily detained, which is especially frightening after the torture during the suppression of street protests. Worker activists try to hide behind legal opportunities to fight as they want to prevent arrests. This is completely absurd and useless, since Lukashenko himself recently said that he would not comply with the laws under the current conditions.

At the same time, some are under the impression of a higher standard of living in the EU countries and hope that regime change will make the country part of the EU.

Finally, the workers have no experience of fighting, and their resistance began almost from zero. The leader of the strike committee at MTZ Sergey Dylevsky says the last strike at his factory was in 1991. He joined the General Coordination Council with the opposition liberals. This Council became famous for demanding a peaceful dialogue with the dictator, when Lukashenka refused to talk to the opposition and said bluntly that if the workers wanted him to leave, “they would have to kill him first”. Then Lukashenko arrested most of the members of this Council, including Sergey Dylevsky.  – from here

These workers are intimidated but they are trying to do something. Some go on work-to rule slowdowns. In Grodno, about half of the huge labor collective of the GrodnoAzot is currently on strike.

Speaking in general about the protests in Belarus, it should be noted that they were somewhat weakened. One of the reasons is state repression. Another reason is the bourgeois cultural hegemony that ensured the triumph of liberal-democratic ideas.

 

The working class of Belarus has become a hostage of modern radical dystopianism and the lack of independent experience of struggle. There will be years of self-organizing efforts to change this state of affairs, and years of active efforts for a new world beyond capitalism.

***
SF:
The  false choice between a kind of Stalinism and neoliberalism is a sign of the massive weakness of the working class – both in Belarus and elsewhere. The women who tried to unmask  the cops seem to have their hearts in the right place, but if their heads are colonised by external models, such as neoliberalism, only the upper middle classes will gain from such a potential development. The rest will sink into greater alienation, impoverishment and isolation. As Red Marriott recently said in relation to the UK working class (here):

“The period of defeat of w/c struggle over the past 30+ years is unprecedented and there is much to worry about over where it’s leading. It seems that, as the working class has lost its powers and fragmented, its self-awareness of its collective potential has been largely lost. ‘Working class identity’ is a problematic double-edged sword – but a minimum requirement for understanding the function of this society is recognition of its class nature and that this determines one’s conditions of existence in this society. If you don’t see class division as crucial you won’t see the importance of acting as a class for class interests.

But, for many, other identities have replaced class as ones that deliver a primary collective sense of belonging; particularly race and nation. Older organisational models emerged from different historical situations, from different cultures. Those cultures were based largely on groups of workers that shared locations and workplaces – often for a working lifetime over several generations. The self-identity with one’s trade, workplace and related local communities was the primary defining collective identity in those lives and their strongholds.

Now that’s all gone, we’re deep in the shite and desperate solutions that seem to promise at least some improvement unsurprisingly sometimes gain traction. But we live in an age of incredible self-delusion and ‘post-truth’, examples of which can be found in political behaviour and beliefs expressed on and offline constantly; where people seek a comforting narrative and facts that refute it become irrelevant.

When Thatcher was asked what she regarded as her greatest achievement she replied, “Tony Blair”. The general ever-rightward shift in politics has shifted what is considered radical and realistic rightwards with it.””In a time where the left’s influence is so marginal the faults of its policies and programmes can’t explain a lack of struggle. It’s not as if the working class is having its native revolutionary energy straining at the leash repeatedly dispersed by reformist leftism; if the working class is seen as capable of self-determination it has to be seen to have some responsibility for where it is at present; it is never solely determined by external forces. If it has no responsibility for its present condition where is the possibility of an agency that can self-determine? The abstract constituency we call ‘the working class’ is concretely composed of individuals and collectives with a margin of choices. It’s never the case that working class weakness is due to it’s not having had the right ideological offer from the left.”

 

UK, London: clashes with cops on anti-mask anti-vaccination demo

The demo was a mix of right-wingers, left-wingers, anarchists and unalligned, symptomatic of this crazy confused epoch. Pertinent critiques mixed with excessively simplistic stuff by terribly muddle-headed weirdos. Some of these people believe that in the absurdity of vaccines being the state’s or private interests’ method of injecting microchips into people’s bodies. Which distracts and distorts the very good reasons to be against vaccinations (though not dogmatically – there are some situations where they may have some uses). However, even if some of these ideologies fall into  fantasy conspiracy theories , there’s still a great deal of validity to a critique of vaccinations being developed by the powers-that-be: see this.

18/9/20:

US, Portland: clashes resume after “truce” forced by forest fires; ICE offices targetedIs ICE removing migrant women’s uteruses? and other tales of growing fascism

“A privately run Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) detention center in Georgia has been accused of coercing migrant women to have hysterectomies without their informed consent. The Department of Homeland Security is now investigating the allegations, some of which were submitted as a whistle-blower complaint by a nurse at the facility. It’s hard to wrap your head around how something this horrific could be happening but, as Moira Donegan explains, “the allegations of forced sterilizations would make the Irwin county detention center only the latest in America’s long history of eugenics, which has disproportionately targeted women of color”.

Malta: riot at migrant detention centre

16/9/20:

Colombia, Itagüi (Antioquia): clashes between cops and protesters as state admits cops killed lawyer whose death sparked movement

US: “Extremist watch” group says “Anarcho-Socialists” are  responsible for riots, partly by preaching hate crimes against whole groups (ie cops etc.)

Original report here

X writes:

This, linked through a Voice of America “extremist watch” segment, notes that the people who put this together, “affiliated with Rutgers University” ultimately are to be considered part of the “Contagion Network research Institute, an independent non-profit that tracks hate on social media. The group lists the United Nations, the Anti-Defamation League and the liberal billionaire George Soros’ Open Society foundation as its affiliated patrons.

Effectively then, this amounts to liberal counter-insurgency’s attempt to understand (their characterization, “anarcho-socialist” suggests they have a rather long way to go) the anti-authoritarian anti-capitalist movement and its allies, something it clearly sees as a threat. One notable feature evident from a superficial glance: the report considers that it is dehumanizing “hate” if one sees individual members of a group of people who are part of an organization whose actions are structually determined to undertake repression of spontaneous social movements (against captalism, the state and the reactionary constellation of beliefs – racism, sexism, patriarchy, authoritarianism, etc. – that reinforce them) and act uniformly as per their organizational discipline, such as the police, FBI, etc., as enemies to be uniformly detested and opposed. Would George Soros think it were “hate” to uniformly detest those in the SS? And if not what are the unspoken and underlying values that would account for this apparent inconsistency?

SF write: Surely this, by its own logic,  is a hate crime against “Anarcho-Socialists” (whatever that is) – dehumanising them by bunching them up all together.

T writes:

These type of articles or police reports reminded me of a part in W. Reich’s account of treating a schizophrenic patient, where he wrote:

“It was soon after the FBI had mistaken orgone research for German (or
Russian?) spy activity and had taken me into custody (as an ‘enemy
alien’) at the entry of the United States into World War II. The fact
that I was soon released unconditionally after a hearing did not matter
much to the patient. What mattered was the fact that I had been
suspected of subversive activity, and this, of course, was in harmony
with the general attitude of neurotics as well as psychotics to distrust
everything, especially their own inner feelings. Our patient wanted to
be able to trust me because, as she said plainly, she needed my help in
her fight against the ‘forces’. I assured her that I was not a German
or, for that matter, any other type of spy and never had been. Thereupon
she said that everybody thinks only in terms of his own nature or
character structure and that hence the FBI could not think of anything
but spy activity when they could not understand what I was doing. I had
to agree with this statement, and I found my liking of the schizoid mind
again justified. Schizophrenics are able in their lucid periods to see
through individual and social matters intelligently, as no other
character type can. Later we shall see that this lucidity of
intelligence in the schizophrenic is one of the major dangers which
threaten his existence in present-day society.”

15/9/20:

US, New York: teachers go on wildcat strike against unsafe schools

Argentina, Cordoba: riot andf hunger strike in prison; prisoners demand early release, resolution of delayed cases and house arrest amidst deterioration of Coronavirus health conditions

Honduras, Tegucigulpa: cops fire tear gas and water cannon as workers demonstrate against non-payment of wages and other social issues

14/9/20:

 

 

 

“The top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus made outlandish and false accusations on Sunday that career government scientists were engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election. Michael R. Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, accused the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of harboring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Trump, even if that opposition bolsters the Covid-19 death toll. Mr. Caputo, who has faced intense criticism for leading efforts to warp C.D.C. weekly bulletins to fit Mr. Trump’s pandemic narrative, suggested that he personally could be in danger from opponents of the administration. “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,” he urged his followers. He went further, saying his physical health was in question, and his “mental health has definitely failed.”

as local states intensify surveillance technology budgets, but reduce budgets for other stuff (surprise surprise!)

“Awash in these federal funds, cities have doubled down on their surveillance investments, even as they face general budget shortfalls in the tens of millions. On August 4, two days before Operation Legend was formally announced in the city, Memphis signed a new contract with Cellebrite, an Israeli forensics manufacturer popular with law enforcement, whose products can hack and extract data from smartphones…Chicago, meanwhile, announced on August 14 that it would employ “enhanced” technology for “around-the-clock” monitoring of social media to identify looters. One hundred federal agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were sent to Chicago through Operation Legend in late July. Though Mayor Lori Lightfoot at first assumed a hostile attitude toward the initiative, in August she also announced a new task force on looting in partnership with the FBI…In Memphis, a unique consent decree from 1978 prohibits law enforcement from engaging in “political intelligence” — collecting information on individuals for political purposes. This decree was the backbone of the 2018 American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, which held that Memphis had violated the law. City law enforcement has lobbied to amend and strike the decree, but so far, it has held. Yet the Memphis law does not apply to federal law enforcement. “That’s the harsh truth. The decree only covers the city,” explained Tom Castelli, legal director for the ACLU of Tennessee, though per the decree, the city cannot collaborate on unlawful surveillance with outside agencies. Still, Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings has alluded to partnering with the FBI to get around some of the decree’s restrictions, later confirming through a city spokesperson that he “told [federal officials] that we are restricted by the consent decree and depend on them to catch threats articulated on social media.”…”

13/9/20:

Lebanon, Roumieh: riots in prison as 13 prisoners and 9 guards are tested positive for Coronavirus

“Unrest stirs as positive coronavirus cases were detected in Lebanon’s biggest and most overcrowded Roumieh Prison. As all of Lebanon experiences a surge in cases, local media reported that 13 Roumieh inmates and 9 guards tested positive for the Coronavirus disease. On Sunday evening, prisoners staged a riot to protest the neglect of inmates whose lives are threatened by the poor conditions at the prison. The head of the Beirut Bar Association, Melhem Khalaf, described the situation at Roumieh as a “time bomb.” Inmates and their families previously protested the lack of measures being taken to prevent the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus, before any cases were confirmed. Now that the disease is inside the prison, the situation is critical as it can lead to a complete health disaster”

US, Pennsylvania: after apparently mentally unstable man with knife is killed by the filth,  cop station windows smashed, cop car attacked, etcDemocrats take up Trump’s ideology

X writes;

The analysis offered here is a joint project of IGD and Crimethinc. The critical points it makes about the Democrats adopting Trump’s talking points and making the demand that “anarchists are prosecuted” echoes the prescient comment of the comrade who said more than a fortnight ago that the election was going to be “the party of law and order vs. the party of law and order.”

The additional point that the Democrats, in their increasing anxiety that Trump may actually thumb his nose at them and stay in office if the outcome of the election doesn’t suit him, will  have to depend on the very forces of BLM and antifa they are presently using as their scapegoats, the only entity with the chance of effectively counteracting what will amount to a right-wing coup d’ etat, is well taken. What is missing from this, or insufficiently pursued it seems, is what the anti-authoritarians and and anti-racists are going to do right now to make themselves strong enough that the natural evolution after a coup is thwarted – namely the suppression of the ‘unruly elements’ that will have allowed the parliamentary pseudo-opposition to Trump to crawl back out of the ashcan of history – is thwarted as well. That is where the real discussion now must begin.

Trump endorses summary execution

““That’s the way it has to be,” Trump said after U.S. marshals killed a man suspected in a deadly shooting in Portland, Oregon, last month….Trump also appeared to suggest that law enforcement officers take similar action against demonstrators suspected of committing violent acts. He made his comments as protesters across the country demonstrate against racism and police brutality amid the police killings of Black Americans. “You can’t throw bricks at guys with shields on them,” he said. Reinoehl’s shooting death came the same day that Trump took to Twitter to call for Reinoehl’s arrest, calling him a “cold blooded killer.”…One witness told The Washington Post that he never saw Reinoehl pull out a gun. Nate Dinguss said he saw officers pull up to Reinoehl in two unmarked police vehicles, get out without identifying themselves and immediately start firing their weapons at him. But two other witnesses told The Olympian that they saw Reinoehl fire what they thought was an assault rifle at the unmarked SUVs after the vehicles pulled up to him…If Reinoehl threatened officers or posed a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to them, they would not need a reason to warn him before opening fire. The American criminal justice system presumes that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Taking punitive action against a suspect before then would run counter to that system.”

X writes:

Keeping in mind the statement of Trump ally Stone that Trump impose martial law if he is not elected, we can see an increasingly clear profile of one section of the US ruling class that has left bourgeois legality completely behind, is not effectively challenged by the proponents of legality (principally because they must support a law enforcement that is already heavily disposed toward extra-judicial measures and composed largely of fascist sympathizers) in government or civil society, and is increasingly committed to an eventually unsustainable rule by means of state and vigilante/Freikorps terror. Trump’s speech here amounts to open advocacy of political murder of anyone who manifests a public physical opposition to the regime and who advocates self-defense against the state-sponsored domestic terrorism presently taking shape.

WWII 2.0 is looking like it’s going to be a planet-wide civil war, with the anti-fascists starting in a considerably more dire situation than they did in 1918-1937, when they were effectively defeated before the war moved on to become a conflict between imperialist powers. Those expecting the Democratic Party or the US military to provide a bulwark against this accelerating movement towards fascism are to be sorely disappointed.

Trump does not always endorse summary execution

Cops sadly not executed

“A handful of protesters gathered outside the hospital where the injured deputies were being treated. The protesters tried to provoke deputies stationed outside and at one point were prevented from entering the emergency room…Videos from the scene recorded at least one person in the crowd yelling, “I hope they … die.” A radio reporter who was near the protest scene was taken into custody. The sheriff’s department later tweeted that the reporter interfered with the arrest of a male protester.”

More here

“…ambush on two deputies ‘was a revenge attack against officers for recent police shootings against black men in LA’…the neighborhood had been ‘plagued by deputy gangs that inflict fear and violence in the community’. ‘These deputies murdered, framed and stole from the community just because they could…Good deputies never turned on bad deputies for fear of retaliation and when caught most of these bad deputies kept their jobs and continued on their criminal career.’ “

A study in contrasts:

Heavily armed federally-deputized gunmen murder an antifascist whose only crime was to defend a friend of color against a fascist with a knife, and “that’s the way it has to be,” says Trump. “There has to be retribution” so that fascist trash can invade and terrorize communities with impunity and not have to worry that someone will get the idea to finally finish off all fascists, in and out of uniform. Meanwhile, the notion that we have a right to defend our communities against neo-nazi filth who invade them and inflict violence upon us is a topic on which Joe Biden, and the rest of the Democratic Party pseudo-opposition, remain silent. Now there’s a surprise!…But a single person (with perhaps a lookout) and a single pistol shoots two members of the notoriously brutal LA County Sheriff’s Department, and it’s a “cold-blooded shooting” which is “unconscionable,” and whose perpetrator must be brought to “justice.” (see this) Now there’s another surprise! Even at the scene of the shooting, LA law enforcement found themselves incapable of restraining their proclivity for unprovoked violence as they beat up and arrested a member of the press. About that attack Biden was silent again. A night of surprises! The Democratic Party’s attitude toward the struggle against the ultra-right in the US is at “best” one of passive obstruction. This is the “practical alternative” neo-liberalism presents as its tepid alternative to Trump’s aggressive and increasingly overt neo-fascism. On such a frail and rotting reed depends bourgeois democracy (the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie) in our time. But then the bourgeoisie and its allies have always played with  fascism &/or let it develop if they feel threatened – from the Freikorps of 1918 to the present day via Churchill’s admiration for Mussolini. The uprising  in the US following George Floyd’s murder threatened the multi-millionaire Biden as much as it did the more obvious advocates of dictatorship. The election poses a clear choice: the party of law and order versus the party of order and law. “Order” here  being a synonym for the chaos and constant disorder imposed on the majority of people’s lives by the constant  “anarchy of the market” system, which just as you think you’ve got some sense of stability pulls the rug from right under you.

Colombia, Bogota: 5th day of clashes over cop barbarism. See also this

“During protests last Wednesday, seven young people, including teenagers, died after being shot in Bogota. Three other people died in connection with the protests last Thursday night, including a woman who was hit by a stolen public bus.Three people were also killed in Soacha during the protests….In the past week, hundreds of civilians have been injured in clashes between protesters and police in Soacha and Bogota, with dozens wounded by gunshots in the capital. Close to 200 police officers were also injured, while at least 60 police stations were vandalized, as well as dozens of public transport vehicles”

More details in various languages (with videos):

12/9/20:

France, Paris: after yellow vest demo a cop gives a spot €135 fine to a woman who has a leaflet in her back pocket – no clear reason given (video)

US, New York: further clashes with cops after protesters shut down bridge for about an hour

Lebanon, Beirut: army clashes with protesters

“Riot police fought running battles with opposing groups of protesters near Beirut’s Presidential Palace on Saturday after rights activists clashed with rival demonstrators chanting their support for President Michel Aoun. Clashes erupted after activists marking the 40th day since the deadly Beirut port explosion on Aug. 4 were confronted by Free Patriotic Movement supporters who tried to break through a security blockade. Troops…formed a human barricade to keep the rival groups apart, but were pelted with stones and forced to fire into the air to keep protesters at bay. Chanting “Revolution” and “Aoun Out,” black-clad demonstrators set up mock gallows and called for Lebanon’s leadership to face justice over the blast.”

Greece, Lesbos: cops get heavy with  already super-immiserated  refugees

Colombia, Cartagena: further clashes over cop savagery

Protesters again protested this Thursday in different areas of Bogotá and other cities in Colombia against police violence, although so far with less intensity than the day before, when the disorders left ten people dead. As yesterday, the target of the protests were the Commands for Immediate Action (CAI) [police substations] of the Police, which were attacked with stones and other objects and in some cases forced the intervention of anti-riot units.Again, the main point of concentration was the CAI of Villa Luz, in the west of Bogotá, where the two uniformed men involved in the death of lawyer Javier Ordóñez worked, whose death fueled street protests. Dozens of protesters arrived at that place who again threw objects at the police facility and in response to this situation, members of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad) fired tear gas to force them to retreat. One of the most tense situations was experienced in the Zona Franca neighborhood, in the neighbourhood of Fontibón, also in the west of Bogotá, where at first some neighbors formed a human chain to prevent a CAI from attacking. However, that did not prevent stones and sticks from falling against the infrastructure and a confrontation between the protesters and Esmad from breaking out…. people reported on social networks that there were soldiers who fired shots in the air. In the Verbenal neighborhood, in the north of Bogotá, where two of the young people killed in Wednesday’s riots lived, the protesters filled the CAI with sticks and flammable objects and set it on fire as on the previous night. In Bogotá, seven people lost their lives yesterday and three more died in excesses in the neighboring town of Soacha….There were also excesses in other areas such as the Portal del Norte and the traditional neighborhood 20 de Julio, in the south of the city, where the Esmad and the mob clashed. Due to “the security and mobility conditions due to the demonstrations unrelated to the operation that occur at this time in various sectors of the city”, the Mayor’s Office, with the “objective of safeguarding the life” of the inhabitants of Bogotá, decided to advance 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time the closing of the operation of the Transmilenio bus system. Another difficult situation was experienced in the San Fernando neighborhood of Cali, the main city in the south-west of the country, where vandals looted branches of BBVA and Banco de Bogotá, and broke glass in a station of the MIO bus system during clashes with the police. In Medellín, the protesters gathered in the Parque de los Deseos with the purpose of walking through several streets until they reached the Metropolitan Police Command of Valle de Aburrá. However, midway along the way, the police intervened and dispersed the crowd, which reached their destination in small groups to continue with a protest in which bank headquarters were attacked. In Barranquilla, a group staged disorders in the Plaza de la Paz shouting “Why are they killing us?” The scenes were repeated in other intermediate cities such as Cúcuta, which has the main border crossing with Venezuela; Manizales and Pereira, located in the central Coffee Axis, and Ibagué, capital of the Tolima department.”

Anarchist report here

11/9/20:

US, Indiana: auto parts workers on wildcat strike

Mexico, Ecatepec: women burn Human (sic) Rights (sic) Building after cops evict their occupation of it and beat them upMichoacan: heavy clashes betweeen cops and “normalista” students; 8 cops hospitalised, cop bus deliberately runs over protesters

Chile, Santiago: annual clashes again on anniversary of Pinochet’s coup

See also this

France, Nantes:clashes between cops and partygoers, as killjoys enforce social separation

10/9/20:

Greece: report on burning of camp in Moria

8/9/20:

LA: 4th night of protests against cop killing of black cyclist at end of August

LA – city of angels

Further details on Michael Reinoehl murder by cops

And then there’s this: “In his interview with Fox News, Trump discussed an incident in the city in which US Marshals shot dead a suspect in the killing of a member of a rightwing group. “There has to be retribution when you have crime like this,” Trump said.”

Nazis have not disappeared – they have simply said they are not Nazis: On Kenosha and the difficulty of recognising Nazism in the US

This says a lot of  dubious stuff, such as this: “As many have laboured to remind this society, Hitler’s genocidal project was inspired by (if not a tribute to) the American colony. Contrary to the racist claim that racism is un-American, it is more accurate to say that the Third Reich was a type of Americanism. European innovation and efficiency were added to the blood quantum laws, Black codes, eugenics,  forced relocation, work camps, and killing fields of rugged America. Slave ships to cattle cars, Tuskegee experiments to Josef Mengele, the Nazi project was less an otherworldly “radical evil”that came out of nowhere than it was a facsimile of the white supremacist order of the colonies.Devotees of a death-cult to pink pigmentation, responsible for murders from Goa to Gambia, are given more benefit of the doubt than a Black boy in a convenience store.”

X’s critique of this:

This article by Yannick Giovanni Marshall  is irritatingly simplistic and typical of identity politicians  (who as a group are mainly to be credited with having elevated narcissism to the level of a political principle) who reduce a phenomenon to the level of their own single narrow concern, oblivious of whether the phenomenon they attack historically preceded the object of their monomania or not. The idea that “the charge of fascism conveniently leaves out or makes subordinate that race hatred that fuels, enables and is the primary reason for the support of this burgeoning authoritarianism [in the US today, not to mention the world]” is the idea of someone who does not know what fascism is, and cannot distinguish the part from the whole. Racism was baked into fascism from the beginning and is not the only thing that comprises it, nor the only thing that makes it what it is. One could say with equal reason that hatred of women and the notion they have equal rights, hatred of anti-militarism and hatred of anti-capitalism were the sole components of fascism and, unsurprisingly, be equally wrong.

One can detect these components of “hatred” to one degree or another in the different varieties of fascism to be found historically, around the world, whether the Marxism-Leninism of the Bolsheviks, Maoists or Ho Chi Minh (despite their spurious support of “national liberation” – tell it to the Tatars, or the Tibetans, or the ethnic Chinese Vietnamese – or their equally fake support of “women’s liberation,” or equality as a principle itself – in the light of “one-man management” for instance, or the number of pockets on cadres’ uniforms, or if one likes, the corpses of Lev Chernyi or Wang Shiwei), or Peronism, Putinism or Trumpism, Obanism or Bolsonarism, but they are always there, because these regimes always need to mobilize their populations against someone demonstrably else, lest they mobilize themselves against them, the ones who are truly responsible for their misery. Depending on conditions, the modus operandi, the road to power, was either the usurpation of the workers’ and peasants’ movements (Bolshevism, Maoism), or their suppression (Italian, German and Spanish fascism), but its fundamental object was the same. The centrality of fascism as first and foremost a reaction to the movements against class society is totally outside Marshall’s comprehension. He sees colonialism everywhere and class-struggle nowhere.

The uniqueness of fascism and the ultimate determinant of its character lies in its ontology. It is the cutting edge, the most toxic, product of the reaction against the workers’ movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was the joint project of the petty-nobility (von der Goltz, Lenin), bourgeoisie, and, above all, the bureaucratic stratum (this includes the army, the police and the civil service) of the European states most threatened by these movements and at the same time threatened by the most developed capitalist states around them. It is, most of all, authoritarian and developmentalist. Workers, peasants, women and minorities were, first of all, impediments to modernization and/or entities ripe for suppression, by way of super-exploitation, and those who resisted or stood out as poles of opposition, were the perfect scapegoats. These states, established in part through the mobilization of hatred for “what was in the way” of “modernization,” were “poor man’s empires” and they had to make up for lost time through a more ferocious exploitation of labor and resources than their more developed competitors (who also had empires abroad that they had already super-exploited as part of their process of capital accumulation). No wonder that the unrestrained looting and colonisation that attended the “birth of a nation” in the United States, along with the modernity of its mass-production techniques (this to both Stalin and Hitler) were so attractive.

Marshall also writes “A leftist that comes away from reading a history of Nazi Germany denouncing first, the Third Reich’s subversion of political norms should be suspected of anti-Semitism.” The leftist who does that should be more than just suspected of not understanding what happened at all. The Third Reich did not subvert political norms, it restored them with a vengeance, and for that job, anti-semitism was an extremely useful instrument, one that any perceptive opportunist would have likely neglected at the price of success. Turning the entire working class into an “other” was beyond reach; it was vital therefore to make the leading and most outspoken members of the German Revolution deviant foreigners. The relatively high proportion of Jewish (Luxemburg, Landauer, Leviné, etc.) and female members of the radical intelligentsia and radical working class made the misogyny and racism already embedded by Christian patriarchy and anti-Jewish bigotry easy to mobilize in the service of the fatherland, as did the fact that the apparent “success” of the revolutionary movement then underway had started in “oriental” and “barbaric” Russia. Finding a population grouped as “other” was an enormous advantage to the reaction, and a tool that was largely unavailable to the other side (this did not prevent certain social-democrats before the first World War, and the “National Bolsheviks” afterward, from trying). This was equally true in the US suppression of the workers movement, especially the IWW, during the same period.

To continue with the main point here: The Third Reich was a radical restoration of Wilhelmine capitalism that the social democrats had undertaken, but at which they had failed, despite, and because of, their oversight of the destruction of the workers’ movement on whose back they rose to power. The destruction of that movement was the basis for this restoration, but the social democrats, having destroyed at the same time their own base of power in a now demoralized working class, were afterwards no longer capable of holding on to authority – particularly in the face of the right-wing militias, the Freikorps, they had created, and the strength of the political base of the Freikorps in the old military hierarchy and industrial capitalist class which had always disdained and distrusted the social democrats anyway. Under the social democrats, all the old institutions and norms were back, above all, the special status of the military outside the jurisdiction and control of the institutions of civil society, but they were only able to come out into the sun again after the Nazis had been put at their head. Marshall is dazzled into incoherence by superficial appearances.

He says that “…Hitler’s genocidal project was inspired (if not a tribute to) the American colony. Contrary to the racist claim that that racism is un-American, it is more accurate to say that the Third Reich was a type of Americanism.” Yannick Giovanni Marshall, despite his cosmopolitan-sounding name (which could just as easily be an American-sounding name), is as fervent a believer in American exceptionalism as any right-wing American politician, and seems to think in his presentation of social reality that the nature of the American Experience positions it in the center of the world and at the center of history. All he seems to want is to do is paint it black. Marshall’s obsession with the Black experience in America leads him to minimize the experience and crimes committed against Native America, the real “original sin” of the American colonial project (but not even the real “original sin” that got the imperial expansion started in the first place). Never mind the work farms, they were preceded by a rolling genocide which remains, even today, more proportionally murderous than the current, egregious oppression against Black people. The dispossession of Hispanic occupants of the immense territory of Mexico, seized in a deliberately provoked imperialist war, is also completely unmentioned, as is their continued marginalization. Yet these are all essential parts of the fabric of the American imperial project, as is the story of its overseas adventures, whose fruits were not only in all the material and cultural things looted and accumulated for the Empire, but the techniques of surveillance and repression that were brought back home to destroy the workers’ movement in the early 20th century here, a movement that included all the ethnic groups and the genders that make up this country. Not only these things, but most importantly of all, it is the class struggle that is invisible to Marshall and debilitates his critical vision.

Women and their subjection don’t even turn up on his radar, and yet their post-bubonic subordination and that of the peasantry (1381) laid the behavioral and institutional foundations for the merchantile/imperial expansion of what would become capitalism abroad, along with the later suppression of the Levellers’ movement of resistance to the dictatorship of Parliament and its Lord Protector, and the subsequent Restoration, which evolved into the continuously expanding expropriationist domestic policy of the Crown. This seizure of the commons from the ordinary people of England and the war of subjugation waged aganst the Irish and the Scottish highlanders was the dress rehearsal for so many of the instrumentalities that would be more masssively and genocidally employed in the theft of Native America and the kidnapping, murder and super-exploitation of the slave trade, but it just doesn’t rate in Marshall’s narrow vision. It all begins with America for him. But it doesn’t, and it never did.

7/9/20:

Belgium, Brussels: 3rd day of skirmishes between immigrant youths and racist filth supported by draconian policy of inflicting terror by Socialist mayor

Shows how even young immigrants playing football in their neighbourhood is a pretext for heavy cop violence. And this after the cop murders of 3 young immigrants over the last 28 months (one 17, another 19 and one just 2 years old!) that have still not  resulted in any prosecutions of cops and with a media totally complicit with them and the mayor.

T writes:There’s an interesting documentary about this neighborhood and its battle against the city’s urban planning during the 60’s:
https://www.sonuma.be/archive/faits-divers1968-du-12111969

US: Report from Kenosha

6/9/20:

Portland, Oregon: cops let fascists beat up antifas and later intervene for the sake of appearances

X writes:

The new ultra-right tactical model is larger numbers of fighters and high mobility for rapid insertion of large columns into cities where the anti-fascists are smaller in number or unprepared. It is clear that the defenders of Salem were overwhelmed and outnumbered 5 to 1, according to the article. The pigs just watched until the anti-fascists were getting pulverized in an unseemly way and then gingerly intervened so as to avoid bad optics.

The neo-fascists are counting on the anti-fascists to have been cowed by the message that the assassination of Michael Reinoehl sent: Hurt their Nazi auxiliaries, and the FBI and local law enforcement will murder you…without photographic witness. Equally obvious is the fact that the state-sponsored murder of an antifa fighter has given new hope and impetus to the fascist organizations, increased their numbers and compelled them by circumstance to acquire a modicum of skill coordinating their activities. This is exceedingly ominous, as well as revealing of the actual relationship between the professional forces of repression and the barbarian auxiliaries they are increasingly open in mentoring and protecting. The state itself is becoming more overtly fascist itself in the process. We are moving toward a civil war in which only one side is allowed to do the fighting.

It is obvious innovative tactics must be developed that avoid casualties as much as possible while inflicting maximum harm against neo-nazi resources and resource bases, while mobilizing large segments of the urban population for a diversity of tactical approaches. The little militias of the John Brown Gun Clubs must be supplemented by a large proletarian citizens militia with an expanded range of capabilities while this is still legal. We need to learn from the experience of the Red Army of the Ruhr.

5/9/20:

US, Kentucky: clashes as both armed white racists and armed, mainly black, anti-racists have separate demos

“Armed police supporters and anti-racism demonstrators clashed in Louisville before the Kentucky Derby horse race, while Rochester police used tear gas to disperse protesters, as discord in cities across the US continues to simmer. Protesters in Portland, Oregon, threw fire bombs at police last Saturday night and at least one person was injured, police said, on the 100th day of demonstrations in the West Coast city over racial injustice and police brutality. In the afternoon, hundreds of protesters marched towards the Churchill Downs track in Louisville chanting, “No Justice, No Derby” – a nod to activists’ calls to cancel the annual race, which was being held without spectators because of the coronavirus. Separately, roughly 250 members of a black militia group named NFAC that has protested against the police killings of black people assembled outside Churchill Downs, all armed with long guns. NFAC leader John “Grandmaster Jay” Johnson taunted the officers standing guard in front of the race track, but the group later retreated without incident.”

Portland, Oregon: links & videos of 2 days of demos and riots

New York: 3rd night of riots and protests in reaction to cop murder of black guy back in March

Florida: clashes after Grand Jury finds cops who murdered 3 blacks don’t have to stand trial

Belgium, Brussels: firefighters fought with fire

“Four Molotov cocktails were thrown at two of the fire engines…If the aim is to destabilise the State, their classification as terrorist acts could also be envisaged”

4/9/20:

Chile, Santiago: largest post-Covid demo as, for 3rd Friday in a row, protesters attack cops and cops water cannon protesters

Germany, Leipzig: riot in response to eviction of squat

“…law enforcement officials had been thrown from a gaggle of round 100 masked individuals with cobblestones and firecrackers. In some instances, rubbish cans had been additionally set on hearth, and a number of other trams had been compelled to cease by barricades on the tracks. The police used tear fuel.” This must be one of the worst modern machine-translated articles officially published  I’ve seen. See this in German  – some of which I’ve  Google translated, without correction,  here:  the first barricades were set alight and a construction site was destroyed at around 9.15 p.m. The police were attacked with pyrotechnics and stones. Thereupon the officials had massively used irritant gas as an aid. In addition, the demo participants should have tried to set a tram on fire. The left activists also attacked with smoke bombs. Barricades were destroyed and set on fire, and a tram was prevented from continuing.

SF: It should be pointed out that not all revolutionary libertarian anti-racists in the US who are for the anger expressed against the cops agree with this – some think it’s just the cops doing what they’re trained to do as usual.

3/9/20:

US, Washington: cops assassinate man who killed fascistVice interview with antifa guy before he was murdered

X writes:

This was very clearly a police assassination done in solidarity with the fascist Patriot Prayer organization; the antifa activist was subjected to a 40-50 round fussilade in the assassination. The filth – headed by federal filth – say they do not have any film and that there were no body cameras. In plain English this means THAT IT WAS AN OUTRIGHT ASSASSINATION, planned ahead,” with malice of forethought.” And nothing else could say how strongly connected the ultra-right scum of Patriot Prayer, with their on-the-bus slashers and attempt at building a multi-racial right-wing goon squad, are at the core of the plans of the official law enforcement apparatus for this country, as this. The message is: hands off American fascists. They have impunity. They are the allies of the state and the federal government will treat attacks on fascist murderers as attacks on official law enforcement. Which of course has the reciprocal effect of making federal law enforcement complicit, if not actors in conjunction, with the acts of fascist murderers. It means, in short, that we must regard the feds as fascist murderers as well, since they have made it so plain that they intend to cover for whatever the fascists do.

Nepal, Kathmandu: 1000s clash with cops after state forbids religious festival , giving Covid as pretext

1/9/20:

Lebanon, Beirut: riots resume

This happened during Macron’s visit (or re-visit). When he visited earlier – in August – he expressed solidarity with the anger on the streets. 2 days later demonstrators were badly wounded by weaponry…supplied to Lebanon by Macron’s government.

Australia, Queensland: 2nd night of fires etc. in anger at Covid restrictions at remand prison

 

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