April 21, 2021
From It's Going Down
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photo: @danielvmedia

Welcome, to This Is America, April 22st, 2021.

On today’s episode we speak with Kiernan, President of CWA Local 7250 and long-time organizer in the Minneapolis area about how rank-n-file union members kicked the National Guard out of a union controlled Labor Center building. We talk about the National Guard on the streets of the city in the thousands, their long history of attacking strikers and putting down rebellions, and much more.

We then switch to our discussion, were we discuss and offer analysis on the latest string of mass shootings and the push for gun control by the Biden Administration.

All this and more, but first, let’s get to the news!

Living and Fighting

Struggle Against the Police & National Guard Continues as Derek Chauvin Trial Wraps Up

  • At the time of this recording, the Derek Chauvin trial has now ended, with Chauvin being found guilty on all counts. Immediately following the verdict, marches and gatherings took place in Minneapolis, New York, and in other cities. In Minneapolis, the scene was largely celebratory, with people gathering in George Floyd square. Looking back on the past year, we should all remember that it took a mass social eruption to force the State to bring Chauvin to trial, because it knew to not do so would have been even more costly. Already politicians and pundits are attempting to talk about “justice being served,” while the State moves to crush the social forces which made this moment possible in the first place. Don’t let them.
  • Although Chauvin has been found guilty, across the US, National Guard troops are still on standby, ready to put down another round of uprisings. In Minnesota, over three thousand National Guard troops have been placed, more than are stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan. This build-up is part of “Operation Safety Net,” a massive counter-insurgency operation that has been launched to put down a potential rebellion in Minneapolis following the verdict. In response, resistance against the guard and the over all repressive build up has been growing. On this episode, we talk with the president of CWA Local 7250 about how union members pushed out the National Guard who were attempting to use their union building as a staging area. Students have also been walking out of their classrooms against the presence of the guard and the police killing of Daunte Write. There have even been reports of people taking shots at the Guard and their vehicles. For more info, see our article here.
  • Against the backdrop of the Chauvin trial, thousands over the past week have continued to bravely standup to heavily militarized police and the National Guard in Brooklyn Center following the police killing of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. The officer who shot Wright, Kim Potter, has sense resigned, was arrested for second degree manslaughter, and now has posted bail. If convicted, Potter faces up to 10 years in prison. To stay up on protest coverage in Brooklyn Center, follow Unicorn Riot who is reporting live from the ground for daily updates.
  • In Columbus, OH, people rallied outside of the police station before “forc[ing] their way through a set of double doors that had been secured on the interior with handcuffs. An Ohio State University student from northwestern Ohio was arrested for hitting a police sergeant with a wooden club. Sadly, on the same day as the Derek Chauvin trial came to a close, police shot and killed a 15-year old girl also in Columbus, sparking a new round of demonstrations.
  • In Portland, Oregon, resistance remains fierce, as hundreds took to the streets over the last several nights in militant standoffs with police. On April 13th, a fire was set to the outside of the Police Association building. According to local news, police arrested one person the next day in connection to the fire, claiming that they were working with an informant within the crowd to identity the suspect. Days later, protests and clashes with the police broke out in the middle of the day, after police shot and killed Roberto Delgoado in a Portland park. Later that night, intense clashes broke out between protesters and the police, ending with a corporate store being set on fire.

Neighborhood in South Carolina Responds to Racist Assault

  • A white army drill sergeant, Sgt. Jonathan Pentland, has been charged with misdemeanor assault following an altercation in which he was video taped harassing and shouting at a young African-American man on a sidewalk within a set of suburban track homes. Pentland was seen telling the man to “walk away” multiple times before pushing him and threatening him with violence. In response, a large crowd gathered outside of Pentland homes and held a rally in which a window and a light fixture were broken.

Class War

  • “In a historic walk-off, Teamsters and ILWU Local 63 members just shut down 1 of the 7 major terminals at the Port of Los Angeles in solidarity with striking port truck drivers.”
  • In St. Paul, workers helped give the boot to the National Guard who were occupying a labor hall during the ongoing Daunte Wright protests. Workers “went to the hall and demanded that they leave.” Stay tuned later in the program for an interview with a union member about this story.
  • A bus driver in Brooklyn Center refused to transport protesters who had been arrested by police and turned the vehicle around rather than be an accessory to repression.
  • Tenants in Houston, TX that began a rent strike following the ‘deep freeze’ that we covered on a recent podcast are continuing their strike and are now demanding from management better conditions at their complex.
  • In Oakland, CA, Tenants and Neighborhood Councils (TANC) hosted a march “on an Oakland slumlord” who was attempted to evict a renter during the pandemic.

Stop the Line 3 Pipeline

  • The struggle against the Line 3 pipeline continues, with ongoing lockdowns, marches, blockades, and protests outside of banks that are involved in funding the project.

Abolish ICE Heats Up

  • As the Biden administration makes is clear that it is continuing many of Trump’s policies as migrant detention camps grow in size (and new ones are opened) and governments across the Americas beef up border militarization, resistance to ICE on the streets continues. In Portland a rally outside of the downtown ICE building started fires on the outside of the building. In Long Beach, a building which will be used to detain refugee children, was covered in anti-ICE graffiti slogans.

Anti-Curfew Riots Pop-off in Montreal

In so-called Montreal, riots against curfews imposed in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic popped off. The curfews have been an attempt by the State to put the boot heel to the working-class and poor who already are on the frontlines of the pandemic and having to work through it to survive. Instead of helping people meet their needs directly, it simply criminalizes movement and a person’s day to day activity; a move that will obviously be informed an impacted along lines of race, gender, and class.

As Jaggi Singh from No Borders Media reported:

The unnecessary curfew was defied again last night, mainly by Montreal youth, in smaller but still meaningful numbers than Sunday night’s large protest/riot in Old Montreal. The people defying the curfew are not mostly (or even a majority) conspiracy theorists or pandemic deniers. Many take the sensible pandemic mitigation measures (like masking and distancing) seriously, like the two youth here on Ste-Catherine Street last night, along with many others.

Unlike masking and distancing and other justifiable measures, the curfew is not grounded in facts or science; it’s authoritarian, and the recent move back to an 8pm curfew (from 9:30pm), especially on increasingly longer spring days, is a tipping point, and it’s Montreal youth leading the way with their justifiable anger, mischievousness and defiance. The curfew has been defied since it started, by necessity for some, but also brazenly by others (particularly folks part of the Montreal quasi semi-criminal subculture). Anecdotally, the cops are not out in force at night to enforce the curfew, so people can take their chances, like most poor and working class folks do all the time. Fortunately, curfew defiance is becoming generalized, with youth (mainly racialized youth) at the forefront.

Like with anything else, it’s in the streets that the curfew will be defeated. I’m inspired by many of Montreal’s youth who are taking to the streets all over the city and playing cat-and-mouse with the cops (and in some cases, being attacked, arrested, detained and/or ticketed doing so).

Forest Defense in so-called British Columbia

  • In so-called British Columbia an active “8 month direct action campaign with active blockades…that started in August, 2020…to prevent road-building into the headwaters of the unlogged Fairy creek watershed” is calling for solidarity actions as front-line defenders face possible mass arrests. So far, blockades have utilized tree-sits, tripods and other obstructions, and masses of people simply occupying the road to keep loggers out. To stay up on the action, go to Fairy Creek Blockade on Instagram.

Upcoming Events

  • May 1st: Rockford, IL. 12 – 5 PM, Churchill Park, May Day Gathering. Food, zine tables, local speakers.
  • May 1st: Cleveland, OH, Outdoor Gathering, 2 – 5 PM.
  • May 1st: Denton, TX, Quakertown Park, 3 – 5 PM, May Day Picnic.

It’s Going Down

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Source: Itsgoingdown.org