Statement from our friends and comrades of the Twin Cities General Defense Committee
“The Twin Cities IWW General Defense Committee (GDC) wishes to make known a recent incident of state harassment directed at our organization and allied groups, and our work against police murder and brutality in Minnesota. We encourage our friends, families, co-workers, and all those struggling against injustice to be alert to the possibility of FBI harassment and intimidation. We want those that had hoped we would be scared or slowed down to know that we are just getting started…
…We should remind ourselves, our organizations and communities, of the importance of not cooperating with police or the Feds attempting to get information. They are not on our side, they are not trying to help, even if their questions at first seem innocuous – DON’T TALK TO THE FBI, DON’T TALK TO THE COPS. Do not let them in your home. If you are questioned by the police or the Feds, refuse to answer, ask if you are being held (and if not, leave), demand a lawyer – but whatever you say – SAY NOTHING. If you ARE visited by the police, make certain you tell others, so that everyone knows they’re creeping around.” Continue Reading…
The 4th Precinct: A Black Anarchist’s Perspective on Struggle in Minneapolis’ Northside Streets
by Ikemba Kuti
Pamphlet version here.
“As an anarchist, of African descent, I argue that we need revolutionary struggle controlled by the grassroots and not by top-down leaders. It was the domination of top-down leadership from BLM-Minneapolis, and their seemingly unconscious commitment to the system, that effectively steered Northside community militants away from 1) the encampment, 2) becoming further politicized, and 3) in playing any role in the organizing of their own communities self-determination. Their voices were effectively hushed; just as the system we function under has done for centuries to oppressed people of color.” Continue Reading…
PDF version here.
Resist the Attacks!
Flint & Detroit Fight Back
by First of May Anarchist Alliance – Detroit Collective
Feb 2, 2016
From Flint to Detroit residents, students and teachers are on the frontlines in defending themselves against attacks by the ruling classes, the politicians and their police. It is the people of Flint who have forced the politicians and media to listen and learn of the Flint water crisis. It has been Students, teachers and their allies who are resisting the breakup of public education and connecting the struggle of DPS to the ongoing crisis facing Detroit beyond the classroom.
Politicians make excuses while regular people offer solutions. As the struggle moves forward we say:
1) Free, clean and safe water for Flint. There is only one solution in Flint: a new water system. The state made this mess, now they need to clean it up. We want safe water to each home and school! Dig up the contaminated pipes and replace those pipes. Whatever it takes until water infrastructure is replaced. We support the creation of mass, collective resistance and the refusal to pay water and utility bills. This also means refunding peoples water payments. No payments for poison.
2) Money and resources for physical and mental health services must be made available to those poisoned by the state, especially children. Instead of paying PR firms, the state should be putting money towards clinics and health initiatives focused on minimizing the effects of poisoning your own people.
3) Down with the Emergency Manager (EM). We must work to undermine the authority and control of the racist and anti-working class EM and the system it serves. We argue for self-organization of the people at the local level, mass organizations for defense of our communities. These new and independent organizations of the people are the alternative to the government at all levels.
4) We oppose privatization and militarization of the distribution of water and resources. All distribution of water and resources must be under popular control at the local level by democratic institutions. The people of Flint must decide on the immediate response! We oppose corporations making profit off of this crisis and we oppose the National Guard, army or police being placed in charge of distribution of water and resources.
5) Hands off students and teachers of the Detroit Public Schools. Support the students who have organized walkouts in solidarity with their teachers. This means no suspensions or punitive actions! Defend all teachers facing harassment, intimidation and threat of firing or legal action! An injury to one is an injury to all!
We’ve gone forward with republishing our agitaional broadsheet. Now renamed, Anarchist Revolution/Revolución Anarquista. The broadsheet reflects the issues, organizing and struggles we and the movements we are a part of are engaged in. The Jan/Feb issue has short articles on struggles in Minneapolis, Detroit & Chicago.
PDF versions are available through this site:
For printed copies please contact us:
Detroit, MI 48215
Send donation or stamp.
By db, First of May Anarchist Alliance Minnesota Collective
What is at Stake in North Minneapolis and #Justice4Jamar
This article is written by member, db, a new school teacher and resident in North Minneapolis. The lessons and realities here come from conversations with hundreds of residents, students, neighbors, and protesters. As you’ll see the situation in N Mpls shares much in common with a city near you.
The horrific execution of an unarmed, handcuffed, on the ground black man in front of dozens of witnesses has led to an outburst of struggle whose fire is not spent and whose meaning is still being defined. In this article, I will argue that what is at stake in this struggle is the future of North Minneapolis, which, in miniature, is a question of the future of our cities and of working class people across the country.
Without going too deeply into one man’s life, we can see the overlapping forces of a city, state, and nation who choose to disinvest in his neighborhood, a school system that failed to provide him with sufficient opportunities or political consciousness, a prison system that would be happy to wastefully consume much of his life, and a status quo that wishes to see all people like him literally gone from the city, and perhaps the world. By the hand of a gun. By sentence to a prison cell, and the shift from freedom to actual existing slavery. By economic disinvestment and displacement, including fleeing the real and imagined school failures undermined by those seeking to make money off poor areas cleared of poor people. Continue Reading…
First of May Anarchist Alliance Detroit Collective
Ferguson, Roderick A. Aberrations in Black. Toward a Queer of Color Critique. (Minneapolis, London. University of Minnesota Press. 2004. Critical American Studies Series.)
I was drawn to this book because of the critical connections it makes between capitalism and left movements that claim to oppose capitalism: liberalism, marxism and revolutionary nationalism. It shows how the acceptance and defense of patriarchy and “normative” behavior serves the needs of capital. It starts from the point of view of people whose self definitions, behaviors and practices are seen as outside respectable, acceptable society: transpeople, people of color, queers, single women, juvenile delinquents, immigrants, prisoners – all of the “others” who have been repeatedly erased, their lives and experiences denied. The cultural site they/we occupy allows us to put forward strategies to demolish capitalism. If our needs are met, if we are a part of the liberatory force, with full respect and dignity, in coalition with others, we have a better chance to avoid cooptation by capitalist forces.
A part of the failure of the marxist and revolutionary nationalist left can be directly tied to their support of patriarchy, their erasure of the needs and experiences of queers and women, their valuing of the nation state as a positive good, able and necessary to achieve stability. Continue Reading…
Community mobilizations and occupation in front of 4th Precinct. Against police murder and fascist terror! Photo from Twin Cities IWW African People’s Caucus
Now is the Time – Community Self-Defense
Statement from First of May Anarchist Alliance, Nov 25, 2015
Last night’s shooting of several protesters by suspected white supremacists at the Justice for Jamar encampment outside the 4th precinct police station on the North side of Minneapolis was a major escalation of racist violence against the Black community here and reflective of a dangerous polarization taking place across the country.
We must understand the shooting last night where 5 protesters were wounded as an attempt to snuff out and repress the dynamic movement that has developed out of the campaign to win Justice for Jamar Clark (the unarmed young Black man shot in the head and killed by MPD while in hand-cuffs in mid-November). The Black-led, multi-racial movement has included an encampment outside and occupation inside the front of the northside 4th police precinct, mass blockade of a major interstate highway, and militant direct action against the station. The encampment has created an alternative community with donated and shared food, alternative media, political discussions, tactical arguments, and human bonding around the many bonfires deep into the night.
The sanctioning of the racist gunmen by the cops on duty at the station last night was apparent. Protesters who pleaded for help were ignored or mocked. These cops hate the north Minneapolis community and the movement for justice that has exposed police brutality. Both the liberal police chief, with her lies about “outside agitators” and the fascist police federation president, with his calls for a crackdown on the protesters, gave license to these racists who had made several appearances at the protests to carry out their attacks. Furthermore, the Presidential political campaign has given legitimacy to racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, and Islamophobic rhetoric and violence.
We believe that this movement must not be intimidated or allowed to be coaxed into a more “respectable” (read: controlled) political process in the aftermath of this attack. There is no safety in conciliation and retreat. Instead we need to draw the sober lesson that we cannot and should not depend on the same institution for protection that we accuse of murder, brutality, and injustice. We must immediately begin building the foundations of real Community Self-Defense – both for the safety of the movement today and to start creating permanent alternatives to racist policing.
While we are proud of our work building workplace, anti-fascist, and anti-eviction defense organizations and have great affinity with the IWW African Peoples Caucus and General Defense Committee, our organized forces remain relatively small. Community Self-Defense will require encouraging and embracing many, many more people from churches and mosques, unions and student groups, GLBT groups and street organizations in a common effort.
The project must be based on collective self-reliance, self-management and self-defense. There must be room for democratic debate and decision making and accountability to the communities and movements in which they are based – while also taking security very seriously. There must be a spirit of solidarity and a refusal to replicate the racist, sexist and homophobic permanent police officers. We need to be connected with the various other important struggles for education and living wages, against gentrification and evictions. And finally we need an understanding of what we are up against and what it will take to win.
For us, as anarchists, that means a revolutionary struggle, controlled by the grassroots (not by top-down leaders), against this system of exploitation and oppression and the government and police that protects it.
It’s a big task, and Community Self-Defense is where we begin.
by First of May Anarchist Alliance, Autumn 2015
for PDF version, here.
The following points represent a brief statement of priorities, an outline of some of the perspectives our organization has decided on to help guide our thinking and actions in the coming period. We do not want to overstate where our organization is at in our analysis and organizing, nor are these points a substitute for the hard discussions our organization still must have. These points developed out of reviews and discussions of the nature of the current period, the continuing wave of social protest domestically and abroad, and how we as a small and specific group of anarchist revolutionaries can participate in and help build those movements for dignity, justice and freedom.
1. Our starting point in both our perspective and in our current work is the importance of organizing for the social self-defense of the working-class and oppressed communities. Working class defense organizations are the best vehicle for combatting the system of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism and the state, and must be central to how we participate in social struggles in our communities. They may take many forms, from small, local collectives and projects to mass formations. What they share in common is the determination and the capacity to fight back.
People and the earth are under attack from multiple directions, and in both isolated and structural forms:
- Austerity – low wages, social cuts, restricting unions, the assault on urban public school systems;
- Displacement – foreclosures and gentrification, corporate encroachment on Native and farm land;
- Racist Repression and Criminalization – police brutality, mass imprisonment, a militarized border and record deportations;
- Backlash – attacks on reproductive freedom, rape culture, violence aimed at queer and transfolk, fascist, fundamentalist, and far-right movements;
- Empire – An unending “war on terror”, high-tech militarization & surveillance, economic blackmail and proxy occupations;
- Climate change and ecological devastation brought on by industrial capitalism that threatens life on earth;
- And on and on and on . . .
M1’s instinctual immersion in and building of working-class defense organizations ranging from eviction defense & tenants organizing to stewards councils & IWW organizing committees to antifa work, prison organizing and radical alternatives to 12-step programs have placed us shoulder to shoulder with those who have begun to question things and fight back.
These defense organizations are an essential foundation for developing the self-organization and strategy, rooted in the experience of the working-class and oppressed communities, both for immediate fights for survival and revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and the state.
(This was wrote over this past Summer. Miriam had decided to share it with M1 and to publish it In memoriam).
REMEMBERING MY FRIEND BUNNY
by Miriam, First of May Anarchist Alliance Detroit Collective
Yesterday I was browsing the Internet, looking for an old friend. In an article dated June 9, 2011, this is what I found: WAVE OF HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE IN PUERTO RICO – 18 DEAD IN 18 MONTHS – LGBTQ MURDERS ON THE RISE.
Ivan McDonald and Frank DiGiovanni were among the listed dead.
I first met my friend Bunny, born Ivan Courtney McDonald in Jamaica, W.I. on March 24, 1950, when he moved with his family to Compton, California. He had come to the United States at the age of 5, living in Massachusetts until the age of 12, when they moved to Compton. We met at Walton Junior High School, in a science class, and together with another classmate, Don Chan, became close, see-you-every-day friends. His family home was across the street from Compton High and, after school, I would go over to the McDonalds every day. We taught ourselves how to play guitar; we wrote and played songs and poems, with great intensity. Both Don and Bunny’s experiences helped form my own, and as I became more political, I brought them with me. Together we went to anti-war marches, including ones that turned violent from police attack, like occurred in Century City in 1966. Together we smoked dope and went to love-ins. We talked ourselves out of stops by the police, except the one time we got arrested, along with my brother, Martin, for having weed. They called him all kinds of n words, called Martin a girl (long hair) and separated me out for the ride to the women’s jail, Sybil Brand Institute, SBI. Ma got us out, with bail money she kept on hand.
When it came time to register for the draft, Bunny did not. When it came time to declare citizenship (he had a choice between the US, Jamaica and England), Bunny did not.
Bunny told me he was gay when we were about 14 or 15. There was no gay movement then (1964) that we knew about. He spoke and wrote about his struggles being Black and Queer. We hitchhiked to San Francisco the first time in 1966. Bunny went back, connecting with the gay community around Haight Street. There is an issue of San Francisco Sunshine newspaper featuring a front page photograph of a group of naked men holding rifles, proclaiming the Gay Revolution. Bunny is center, front.
I moved to New York in 1967 and the following year Bunny came and stayed with me. He was looking for work as an actor and found a few parts, very very off off Broadway. He also had experience as a carpenter, learned from his father, and an extremely original and creative artistic sense. He moved back to California, this time San Francisco.
Bunny first introduced me to Frank in 1966. Bunny was living in converted garage space in his family home. He brought Frank home – they were together from then on.
Frank DiGiovanni was an Italian guy from New York, a little bit older, very street smart, intelligent and caring. They moved to San Francisco, where they would buy a place, renovate and sell. They then moved to New York, doing pretty much the same thing. Bunny worked as a set designer also, notably on Spike Lee’s Crooklyn.
They moved to St. Lucia and later to Maunabo, Puerto Rico where they lived next to the Caribbean Sea. I visited them in 2004, where they welcomed me like a sister, with much attention and love.
You don’t always keep in touch with the people you love and so it was with Bunny. When I did try to re connect, I found murder. Anger, sadness, loss, goddamnit.
I can remember Frankie playing Hogan’s Alley on the piano, Bunny on the guitar, laughter, conversation, a wittiness and understanding of the world and its ways that one doesn’t often find. I remember my friends Bunny and Frankie. I remember Frankie telling me, “we courted for 35 minutes and now we’ve been together 35 years.” It’s a story to share.
The following is a discussion document first drafted in June 2015 and discussed, amended, edited over the course of a couple months, and approved by the First of May Anarchist Alliance in September 2015.
We welcome discussion and debate of this document in order to help build a stronger and more sophisticated revolutionary anti-fascist movement.
This statement is dedicated to the martyrs of the “Mother Emanuel” massacre and all victims of racist and fascist violence. We dedicate our lives to ending these attacks, and the system that perpetuates them.
-First of May Anarchist Alliance, September 2015
pamphlet version available HERE
I. On June 17, 2015 a young white fascist carried out a vicious and hateful mass murder against 9 parishioners and clergy of the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“Mother” Emanuel is the oldest Black congregation in the American South. It was the center of planning for a great slave rebellion in 1822 that was suppressed with the execution of Denmark Vesey and 34 others and the burning of the church building. The re-built “Mother” Emanuel has been at the center of Black Charleston ever since.
Dylann Storm Roof, the white supremacist that carried out the massacre must have known the symbolic power of his act of terror. It seems to have been designed to respond to the mass movements of the last year, that “No, Black lives do not matter.”
Roof is said to have drifted into fascist politics as part of the sizable right-wing and racist support for George Zimmerman, the vigilante killer of Trayvon Martin in Florida. Roof said that Zimmerman was right, and so did the courts and many others. Roof went on to make contact with neo-nazis, the KKK, and the racist Council of Conservative Citizens. He publicly identified with the old apartheid regimes in Southern Africa. It would be a mistake to see his radicalization and activation as an isolated incident – more likely Roof represents the tip of an iceberg.
II. South Carolina was the heart of the Confederacy, the state most dependent on slave labor and where the first shots of the US Civil War were fired. Since the defeat of post-Civil War Reconstruction, the racist white power structure has ruled the state, openly flying the Confederate flag as their symbol.