Fighting Oppression

By: thecollective

There seem to me to be two main ways that people come at fighting oppression. One way is to think about how all the things are similar/the same. I think antifa is that style in practice if not in theory. The other way is the style of (for example) Black Lives Matter, which takes a group of people with (what many consider to be) a primary identifying characteristic and organizes around that. To look at these at these models with a critical eye (there are positive aspects to them too, of course), one of these smooshes everyone together to fight a lowest common denominator enemy while the other is prone to competition between oppressed peoples (who has it worst?)… (and also smooshes together people who have little in common, but that’s for a different point).

Some anarchists are in line with one or both of those styles, Others reject the idea of fighting oppression at all, at least as its commonly understood–determining that as much evil has been done in the name of liberating people as in the name of capitalism (for example).

What is a way to fight against people being treated badly that doesn’t fall in to the trap of treating everyone like they’re the same as everyone else? Who has done a good job of recognizing individual autonomy while still addressing the categorical systemic problems of this society? Or is massing people together in groups necessary to make change? Insurrection-from-Italy seemed like it was starting to address some of this, but insurrection-in-the-u.s. seems (at least from the outside) like its taking on characteristics of the leftism of the 60s.

Good luck to us all.


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From 1967 Detroit To 2017, What Will It Take To Hold Police Officers Accountable?

By Areva Martin, Contributor

Dateline – USA. Cops Kill Black Men with Impunity.  It’s a headline that could appear any city newspaper in America, at almost any point in time. In this case, it’s Detroit 1967.

In what comes to be known as the Algiers Motel incident, police kill three young black men at the violent peak of the 1967 Detroit Riots, a cataclysmic event that left a total of 43 dead, and 342 injured.

With so much death and violence during the riot’s four-day span, the officers who committed the killings at the hotel hoped their acts of savagery would get buried among the chaos and carnage.

But when the smoke and ashes cleared, the awful truth was revealed. Three white police officers, part of a riot taskforce that was searching for a suspected sniper, had tried to wring information out of hotel guests by viciously beating nine of them. Two of the officers took things a step further and killed three African American males.

Charges of felonious assault, conspiracy, murder and conspiracy to commit civil rights abuse were filed against three officers, but the patrolmen— practitioners of the blue code of silence—refused to testify against each other. All three men were found not guilty.

The tragic story of the 1967 riots and the Algiers Motel Incident is now the subject of the big screen movie “Detroit,” which opens nationwide in theaters in August. Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow—the driving force behind movies such as “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark Thirty”—Detroit promises to be a powerful, provocative movie that sheds light on the distrustful, contentious relationship that’s existed between police and the black community for decades.

For many African Americans, police shootings have taken the form of tightly scripted horror films.

Many activists see the movie as a badly needed shot in the arm to a debate that in recent months has suffered from battle fatigue.  Whereas several years ago the shootings of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown caused national outrage and resulted in saturation news coverage, recent police shootings have barely registered a blip on the public outrage meter. As pundits and the news media have become desensitized by the sheer number of black men shot by police, many civil rights advocates are hoping Detroit restarts a conversation that finally addresses head on why things have changed so little in 50 years.

For many African Americans, police shootings have taken the form of tightly scripted horror films, where every scene has been heavily rehearsed.

According to the script, act one begins with police on patrol who encounter a black man who either moves “suspiciously” or “reaches” for a non-existent knife or gun, forcing officers who are in mortal fear of their lives to shoot the suspect into oblivion.  In act two, after video evidences emerges that contradicts the police version of events, a skilled defense attorney or police union representative steps before a pool of cameras to tell the public that what happened before the filming started, what we can’t see in the video, isreally what’s important.  In act three, during the trial, if there is one at all, an emotional cop assumes the role of victim and repeats the “fear for his life” narrative to a jury.  And finally, the jury—boxed in by narrow jury instructions—acquits the police officer while the devastated black family holds a press conference and cries for justice.  The end.

Last week, we saw this tired script played out again when police officer Jeronimo Yanez, charged with second degree manslaughter in the shooting death of motorist Philandro Castile, was acquitted of all charges. Yanez’s reason for pulling over Castile was supposedly a broken taillight, but on a police radio call recording that later surfaced, he is heard saying he’s stopping Castile because his “wide set nose” looks like that of a robbery suspect.

Dashcam video also appears to contradict Yanez’s claims that Castile’s erratic behavior caused him to fear for his life.  In the video, Castile is heard calmly responding to the officer’s questions, even volunteering that he has a firearm in his possession that he’s licensed to carry. Castile’s calm demeanor seems to put Yanez’s partner, Joseph Kauser, at ease, who is seen in the video striking a relaxed pose on the other side of vehicle. In fact, when called as a witness, Kauser testified that he never saw a gun in Castile’s car nor perceived the situation as potentially threatening—that is until gunshots started ringing out.

The acquittals in 1967 and 2017 highlight the significant barriers that African Americans face in holding police officers accountable.

And yet despite the incriminating testimony and video evidence, Yanez was able—like so many other trigger-happy police officers—walk out of court a free man. The jury’s not guilty verdict left Castile’s family, pundits and thousands of people shocked and dismayed, asking what will it take to hold police officers accountable?

In contrast, few people expected the police officers involved in the shooting at the Algiers Motel incident to be found guilty. The murders happened in 1967—a time of racial strife where Blacks still lived in segregated housing, black men were routinely referred to as “boys” and “niggers,” and justice in the courts was ambiguous at best. No one expected white police officer to confess the truth and expose the brutality that culminated in the cold- blooded murders of three black men. There were no body or dash cameras back then, and despite the eyewitness testimony of two white women and several black men who survived the savage violence perpetuated under the color of state sanctioned authority, the officers were acquitted after a state murder trial.  They were also later acquitted after a federal civil rights trial. Incredulous on-lookers called the ridiculous verdicts a whitewash of a police slaying.

Fast forward to 2017. Advances in technology—a myriad of civil rights laws, nationwide protests and federal civil rights investigations and lawsuits aimed at ending discriminatory law enforcement practices and wanton police brutality—have led to a different set of expectations. The compelling dash cam video evidence released following Yanez’s trial, the live Facebook video stream posted by Castile’s girlfriend in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, and the powerful implicating testimony from a police officer who was on the scene, led many people to believe a guilty verdict was all but assured. But despite the bevy of evidence, Castile’s shooter was acquitted.

The acquittals in both cases highlight the significant barriers that African Americans face in holding police officers accountable. Whether it’s a broken criminal justice system that boxes the jury in because of antiquated legal standards set by a Supreme Court in the 1980s; or the implicit bias that poisons the hearts and minds of decent men and women who deny that they are racist, justice continues to be elusive for the families of black men killed by police.

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Racism and Hate Fuel Right-Wing Terrorism in Venezuela. — Cuba Inside The World

Rhetoric aimed at vilifying all Chavistas, often mixed with racism and bigotry, has motivated a growing number of hate crimes and assaults. One May 20, the 21-year-old vendor from the shanty town of Petare, Orlando José Figueras, was beaten, stabbed, doused with gasoline and set on fire by opposition militants in the middle class neighborhood […]

via Racism and Hate Fuel Right-Wing Terrorism in Venezuela. — Cuba Inside The World

Man in Florida Told the Police He Killed Neo-Nazi Roommates for Disrespecting His Muslim Faith


A man in Florida who shot two of his roommates dead gave an unusual defense, the authorities say: they were neo-Nazis who had disrespected his recent conversion to Islam.

The arrest of the gunman, who said he had also been a neo-Nazi before becoming Muslim, led to the discovery that a fourth roommate had been stockpiling materials that could be used to create a bomb, according to a federal criminal complaint. That roommate, a member of the Florida National Guard, kept a picture of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, on his dresser, the authorities said.

Both men are now in custody. The accused gunman, Devon Arthurs, 18, has been charged with two counts of murder, and his surviving roommate, Brandon Russell, 21, has been charged with two counts related to the explosive material and devices.

Authorities first became involved on Friday evening when Mr. Arthurs took three people hostage at gunpoint at a head shop in Tampa, according to an affidavit from the Tampa Police. He was arrested soon after.

The police said Mr. Arthurs told his hostages that he had killed someone and that he was furious over American bombings of Muslim countries; he was convinced by police officers responding to the incident to let the hostages leave and to surrender.

He then told the officers that two of his roommates were dead, according to the affidavit, and guided the police to the apartment where they found the bodies of the two roommates, Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18. The fourth roommate, Mr. Russell, was standing outside the apartment crying and wearing “full U.S. Army camouflage.”

Later, Mr. Arthurs confessed to shooting Mr. Himmelman and Mr. Oneschuk, describing the weapon he had used and other key details. He said that all four roommates had been friends, “with a common neo-Nazi belief,” until Mr. Arthurs’s recent conversion to Islam, according to the affidavit.

“Since then, Arthurs stated, he has become angered by the world’s anti-Muslim sentiment,” the affidavit says, adding, “Arthurs also stated that, prior to the murder, he had been privy to neo-Nazi internet chat sites threatening to kill people and he had developed a thinking that he should take some of the neo-Nazis with him.”

Lyssa Himmelman, a sister of Jeremy Himmelman, told the Tampa Bay Times that neither her brother nor Mr. Oneschuk were neo-Nazis, as Mr. Arthurs claimed.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Mr. Arthurs also told the police that Mr. Russell, in whose room officers found Nazi and white supremacist propaganda, had, in chat rooms, “threatened to kill people and bomb infrastructure.”

A search of a garage below the apartment on Friday and early Saturday morning led to the discovery of “a white-cake-like substance” that federal and police technicians recognized as an explosive, as well as other substances and parts that could be used to detonate explosives, including ammonium nitrate contained in a package addressed to Mr. Russell.

Mr. Russell, who was arrested on Sunday in Key Largo, confirmed to law enforcement officials that he was member of Atomwaffen, a neo-Nazi group, and that he had manufactured the “white-cake-like substance,” the authorities said. He told the F.B.I. that he had been planning to use the substance to “boost homemade rockets and to send balloons into the atmosphere for testing.” The F.B.I. agent who wrote the affidavit on which the complaint was based, Timothy A. Swanson, expressed skepticism about Mr. Russell’s explanation, given the volatility of the substance.

An F.B.I. spokeswoman declined to explain why Mr. Russell had been allowed to go to Key Largo, which is about five hours away from Tampa, or what he had been doing there, citing the active nature of the investigation.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Atomwaffen Division as an active neo-Nazi hate group, and the Anti-Defamation League, in a blog post in December, said that the group was particularly active on college campuses.

Arrests on civil immigration charges are up 38% in 100 days since Trump’s executive order

By Nigel Duara

Federal immigration agents have arrested more than 40,000 people since President Trump signed executive orders expanding the scope of deportation priorities in January, a 38% increase over the same period last year.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan said Wednesday that Trump has “opened the aperture” of charges that immigration agents are permitted to prosecute, a departure fromObama administration priorities which targeted immigrants in the country illegally who have serious criminal convictions.

“There is no category of aliens off the table,” Homan said.

In late January, Trump stripped away most restrictions on who should be deported. A Los Angeles Times analysis revealed that more than 8 million people who crossed the border illegally could now be considered priorities for deportation.

Trump’s orders instruct federal agents to deport not only those convicted of crimes, but also those who aren’t charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.”

The new numbers, released in a press call with reporters, suggest that Trump’s pledge to step up deportations is bearing fruit, at least in some parts of the country.

Although the president’s plan to build an expanded new wall on the Mexican border has been stymied – Congress refused to include funding for it in a recent budget deal – his new border security priorities appear to be having a significant impact on immigration enforcement.

According to calculations by Los Angeles Times, as many as 8 million people living in the country illegally could be considered priorities for deportation under Trump’s new policy. Under the Obama administration, about 1.4 million people were considered priorities for removal.

The stepped-up immigration arrests have not been reflected in Southern California, where the detention rate has remained relatively flat, and agents say they have done little to change their enforcement strategy.

Homan said that, in his estimation, federal agents are happier with Trump’s directives than they were under Obama’s more cautious approach.

“When officers are allowed to do their jobs, morale increases,” said Homan, who also served under Obama. “I think morale is up.”

Homan said the paucity of people trying to enter the country illegally, a number which has reached a record low, means agents have more time to spend on removals from the nation’s interior.

According to the new ICE data, nearly 75 percent of those arrested in the 100 days since Trump signed his new executive orders on immigration are convicted criminals, with offenses ranging from homicide and assault to sexual abuse and drug-related charges.

But there has also been a significant increase in the number of non-criminals arrested. A total of 10,800 people were arrested whose only offense was entering the country illegally, more than twice the 4,200 such immigrants taken into custody in the first four months of 2016.

“While these data clearly reflect the fact that convicted criminals are an immigration enforcement priority, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has made it clear that ICE will no longer exempt any class of individuals from removal proceedings if they are found to be in the country illegally,” the agency said in its report.

Migrant advocates were quick to condemn the administration’s priorities.

Addressing claims by John F. Kelly, Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security, that the administration is only focusing on criminals, and Wednesday’s numbers, Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice Education Fund, said the majority of people targeted cannot be considered “serious criminals.”

“These guys spin, distort, exaggerate, and dissemble almost as much as the president they work for,” Sharry said. “The false claims are aimed at providing cover for an agenda that calls for the deportation of millions. Instead of targeting serious criminals, they are targeting every immigrant they can get their hands on and calling all of them criminals.”

While deportations of migrants caught near the border are generally a quick matter, Homan said, the removal processes for so-called “interior deportations” take longer. He expects the overall pace of removal proceedings to slow down as fewer border crossers are removed and interior deportations make up a larger share of all removals.

Without providing specific numbers, Homan said assaults on federal agents conducting arrests are up 150% over the same period last year. Homan attributes the increase to “noncompliance” — meaning actively resisting arrest.

Federal agents must also contend with jails that refuse to allow ICE agents inside. Such jails contend that immigration enforcement is outside the scope of their duties, and some also say the presence of immigration enforcement agents adversely affects relations with local migrant communities.

Homan said jails that do not allow ICE agents inside to make arrests force the agents to capture migrants on the street, a far more dangerous and expensive proposition.

“If the jail lets them go, we have to send a team of officers,” Homan said. “One officer can make a safe arrest inside a facility. If the jail doesn’t cooperate, we have to go get them.”

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Students protest racism at liberal arts college in Minnesota

Students protest racism at liberal arts college in Minnesota

By: Elizabeth Flores

NORTHFIELD, Minn. (AP) — Hundreds of students boycotted classes at St. Olaf College in southern Minnesota on Monday, instead packing an administration building to protest a rash of racist and threatening messages left around campus at the private, Lutheran liberal arts college.

One black student, Samantha Wells, found an anonymous note on her car windshield Saturday calling her a racial slur.

“I am so glad you are leaving soon,” the note read. “… You have spoken up too much. You will change nothing. Shut up or I will shut you up.”

President David R. Anderson said in an April 21 email to students that there had been several similar racist acts on campus since last fall and that the college administration is working with police to determine who is behind them. There have been no reports of physical attacks at the college in Northfield, which is about 45 miles (70 kilometers) south of Minneapolis.

St. Olaf has about 3,000 students, and its student body is 74 percent white, 6 percent Asian, 6 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black, the school’s website says.

Speakers at a rally in the atrium at Tomson Hall on Monday morning demanded that St. Olaf adopt a policy of zero tolerance for racism. Some protest leaders interrupted a meeting led by Anderson, reading aloud an 11-page list of demands.

“Our mission is to hold the administration and students of St. Olaf College accountable for the institutionalized racism that is embedded within the structures of this campus”, the document said. “We aim that St. Olaf College will recognize that these racially charged reported and unreported hate crimes are not driven by individual incidents or students, but an ideology that is continuously supported by the administration’s lack of action and the student body’s harmful attitudes.”

After the boycott of classes was announced, the St. Olaf administration said in a statement that classes were cancelled for the day so that students, faculty and staff could discuss racism and diversity on campus. The statement said other reported racist acts included written racial epithets and a message targeting another student, and that officials consider it “deeply troubling” that the messages are directed at specific individuals.

“Someone, somewhere knows who is perpetrating these acts of racism,” the statement said, urging anyone with information to come forward.