Plain Words #4

[For reading and printing 8.5×11]
[For printing 11×17]

The Winter 2017/2018 issue of Plain Words is here! This time around, we present articles on anarchist prisoners and grand jury resistance, social media and television as obstacles to revolt, local eco-action, animal resistance to techno-society, and memory as a weapon.

CONTENTS
– “Mirror, Kaleidoscope, Dagger: What is Anarchism?”
– Solidarity with Michael Kimble
– “Fuck Your Selfie: On the Spectacle of Resistance from Bloomington to Hamburg”
– “Destitution & Trolling”
– Solidarity with Grand Jury Resisters
– “Good TV as a Roadblock to Becoming Ungovernable”
– To a Trodden Pansy: Remembering Louis Lingg
– Night Owls Disrupt Yellowwood State Forest Timber Sale
– Deer: 1, Computers: 0
– Black December

Night Owls Disrupt Yellowwood State Forest Timber Sale

From the Earth First! Newswire

On the morning of Thursday Nov. 9th, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR)’s Division of Forestry sold the timber rights to 299 acres of the Yellowwood State Forest Back Country Areas that are some of the oldest and most diverse in the state. Nearly 2000 trees were sold to Hamilton Logging, who have a long history of shady business practices and timber theft.

Despite over 200 people showing up to protest the sale, months of organizing against the planned logging, and a recent protest encampment being established on private property adjacent to the public land to be logged, the DNR insisted on selling another piece of some of the most wild and beautiful land in the state – for a mere $108,000.

So during the weekend following the sale, we painted hundreds of additional trees to match those the DNR had marked for removal in two of three tracts on the chopping block. We did this to obscure the trees Hamilton Logging bought, and to force the DNR Division of Forestry to redo the work of marking these tracts, thus delaying when logging can start.

We understand there is a risk that these additional trees could be cut down, but only if the DNR Division of Forestry and Hamilton Logging show unprecedented, intentional negligence, by letting a group of pranksters mark the trees for them. Logging all currently-marked trees would be a violation of the contract between the two parties, which only includes the trees the DNR chose to mark, not the hundreds more we marked with identical paint and markings. We hope that by painting these additional trees we can stop them from taking any of them – or at least slow them down.

To other defenders of Yellowwood: there are many more trees left untouched. All it takes it red or blue marking paint, and some careful navigation. We wish you luck and look forward to all the other creative and inspiring ways you’ll think of to protect the land.

<3 N.O.P.E.
Night Owl Paint and Exteriors

Deer Smashes Up Computer Store, Flings Cop with Antlers

Reposted from Earth First! Newswire

A disoriented 250-pound deer broke through two glass doors at an east-side computer store, thrashed — bleeding — through the business and flung a police officer over its back with its antlers before being tranquilized.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department described the buck as “going berserk” and “terrorizing employees” before Animal Care and Control officers could subdue it. Continue reading “Deer Smashes Up Computer Store, Flings Cop with Antlers”

To a Trodden Pansy: Remembering Louis Lingg

Louis Lingg was born on September 9, 1864 in Mannheim, Germany. Early in his life, he began working as a carpenter, eventually involving himself in revolutionary struggles. His politicization compelled him to evade military service, so he fled Germany for Switzerland, only to be expelled in 1885. That summer, Lingg immigrated to the United States, settling in Chicago, one of the epicenters of the vibrant German-American anarchist movement.

On May 3, 1886, police attacked a strike at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company plant, killing two workers. The following day, during a rally against this brutal repression, police attacked demonstrators. In the melee that followed, an unidentified person threw a bomb into the crowd of police, killing seven of them and injuring many others. At least four other people were killed in the ensuing firefight between police and demonstrators.

In response, police, with little evidence, began rounding up anarchists who they claimed played a part in the bombing. Eight prominent anarchists – among them organizers, orators, and editors of popular anarchist newspapers – were sought by police: August Spies, Samuel Fielden, Adolph Fischer, Albert Parsons, Michael Schwab, George Engel, Oscar Neebe, and Louis Lingg. Initially evading capture, Lingg was discovered in hiding on May 14. Not one for willing submission to the state, Lingg fought the two police who tried to arrest him – first with a gun, then with fists.

While Lingg was not present at the Haymarket the day of the bombing, the state’s dogs claimed he was involved in making the bomb. Though no evidence links him to the bomb thrower – whose identity remains a mystery to this day – Lingg was a prolific producer of bombs and an intransigent enemy of authority. In a search of Lingg’s apartment, investigators discovered two spherical and four pipe bombs.

After a notoriously prejudiced trial, the judge sentenced seven of the Haymarket defendants to death by hanging and Oscar Neebe to 15 years in prison. At his sentencing, Lingg remained defiant, proclaiming “I die happy on the gallows, so confident am I that the hundreds and thousands to whom I have spoken will remember my words. When you shall have hanged us, then they will do the bombthrowing! In this hope do I say to you, I despise you, I despise your order, your laws, your force propped authority. Hang me for it.”

On November 10, 1887, the day before their execution date, the Governor of Illinois commuted Samuel Fielden’s and Michael Schwab’s sentences to life in prison (Fielden, Schwab, and Neebe would all be released six years later after being pardoned by Governor John Altgeld). Albert Parsons, August Spies, George Engel, and Adolph Fischer were murdered by the state on November 11, 1887.

Louis Lingg chose a different response to his impending execution. Days after four bombs were discovered in his cell, Lingg placed a lit blasting cap in his mouth, blowing off his lower jaw. Before the guards could enter his cell, he scrawled “Hoch die anarchie!” (“Hurrah for anarchy!”) on the prison cell stones in his own blood. Lingg died six hours later, refusing with his own suicide state authority’s control over his life.

For more information on Louis Lingg and the Haymarket, read Paul Avrich’s exhaustive and engaging book The Haymarket Tragedy.

***

To honor Louis Lingg’s rebellious life, we present an unpublished poem he wrote in 1886, discovered in the Labadie Collection.

TO A TRODDEN PANSY
A broken stem, a pansy blossom crushed
In dirt, yet naught in all of Nature’s store
Revels in scorn at what we all deplore
In it. Wert thou where careless footsteps rushed?
‘Neath wanton lust wert thy fair petals brushed
E’en when thou smiled thy loveliest, before
Dark destiny had rolled its shadow o’er,
Ere yet thy innocence for cause had blushed?
Canst we read naught not writ in Custom’s scroll?
Living and human, cast in a finer mold,
E’en while we mouthing boast a ‘deathless soul,’
Yet still more wise than Nature, far more bold—
Regarding what in Nature is no loss
E’en while Hope’s brightest mintage we call dross!

A Theory of Destitution and Trolling

In the grip of modern capitalism we face destitutions both material and social. Precarious employment, debt, exorbitant rent, and a diminishing welfare safety net are complimented by ubiquitous information technology that hinders the development of real life social skills, perpetuating neurotic anxiety and self-loathing which follows perceived failures to meet expected social roles. Both destitutions can be seen as “falling through the cracks,” where people fail to meet society’s norms in achieving a middle-class income, and/or fostering relations of affection, friendship, and love. One can imagine that these destitute people see themselves as losers, and hence gravitate towards opportunities to be in power relations where they are the ones on top, or at least higher than they are now.

In revolutionary times, the collective power inherent in massive and combative struggles may be seductive enough to draw these people in to the anti-politics of liberation. But with no horizon of revolution in sight and the limits of current collective struggles, the destitute will take what they can get. The easiest and most accessible opportunity for power, especially seductive for men with lighter color skin, are the sectors of the internet where far-right trolls specialize in tormenting marginalized people through social media. As the popular adage about bullying goes, the weak become the strong by preying on others that are weak. At the moment, and conceivably in the future, the formula is:

Privilege – Power + Humiliation + the Internet = Far-Right Trolling

In the past, those who capitalist society shaped to be losers and nerds would rectify their powerlessness by becoming an authority on a commodity or spectacle of their choice. Developing encyclopedic knowledge of video games, music genres, and Star Trek episodes while being condescending to those not in the know replicates a feeling of authority, and instills a fleeting sense of confidence about something, regardless how pathetic. This way of asserting power over others is passive and somewhat harmless, adopted only because it’s within reach.

Contrast this with the typical images of racial hatred in the post-war period: southern brutes drunkenly assaulting civil rights demonstrators, or a horde of working-class whites in the urban north converging on a house newly moved into by a black family to harass and attack them. The aforementioned losers, having too little confidence in themselves and their strength, would likely not be participants in such blatantly confrontational acts.

But different opportunities arise with the internet’s anonymity and everyone being “within reach” due to social networks. Every powerless person who occupies a position of even marginal privilege now has the easy ability to go to 4chan, participate in a coordinated harassment, perhaps of a black celebrity or any visible Trans people, and feel the deranged psychological benefit of asserting power over another. Similarly, men who have been trained to see women as objects, intimidating ones they are incapable of talking to without being creepy, can use social media to lash out in their impotence by tormenting, doxing, and threatening them.

The internet has created an easy pathway for the powerless-yet-privileged to become monsters in a vain reach for power. Who would have thought that hell would be participatory and decentralized?

Good TV as a Roadblock to Becoming Ungovernable, or Anything Else Really

“Become ungovernable” is a slogan anarchists like to use these days. It sounds cool and fits the anarchist aesthetic of revolt and spectacular conflict. It doesn’t immediately mean much, but that’s the beauty of it, the meaning shifts with each person and the specificities of their lives. With no revolution and lots of environmental catastrophe, state violence, and “active shooter situations” on the horizon, rather than despairing at our no-future future, it instead contains a path forward: to refuse submission to law, duty, and passivity in daily life. Continue reading “Good TV as a Roadblock to Becoming Ungovernable, or Anything Else Really”

Support the Bloomington ABC Anarchist Prisoner War Fund

DONATE HERE

Since October 2015, Bloomington Anarchist Black Cross has been providing consistent  monthly funds to anarchist prisoners throughout the United States via our Anarchist Prisoner War Fund. We are now asking for help keeping this project going strong into the future.

We have specifically chosen comrades who were receiving very little money or support from the outside, who have no familial support, or who were otherwise in need of monetary aid. These funds have been essential when some comrades did stints in solitary due to activities surrounding the September 9th prison strike, aiding their survival in the most oppressive conditions. We also emphasize support for rebellious prisoners who have maintained the struggle behind the walls. We want to make it clear to our comrades in prison and those taking action on the outside that they can continue to struggle without fear of abandonment if they are caught.

Currently, we provide $40 each month to five anarchist prisoners:

  • Michael Kimble, a gay, Black anarchist and long-time prison rebel imprisoned for the self-defense killing of a racist homophobe.
  • Sean Swain, an anarchist prison rebel in Ohio.
  • Eric King, an anarchist doing 10 years for attempting to firebomb a Congressman’s office in solidarity with the Ferguson rebellion.
  • Jennifer Gann, an anarchist trans woman and long-time prison rebel in California.
  • Andy H., a local anarchist comrade in prison for assaulting a cop.
  • In addition, we have sent substantial amounts of money to other comrades and projects on a temporary basis: Casey Brezik, the Cleveland 4, Marius Mason, prison rebels facing repression for organizing and revolt, an anarchist social space in Malaysia in need of repairs after a fire, and imprisoned fighters of other social struggles.

Thus far, we have raised this ourselves through fundraising, exclusively through the support of local friends and comrades. This constant need for funds means our other efforts (two prison zine distros, a monthly anti-prison info night, letter writing events, a widely-distributed prison newsletter, correspondence and visits with our imprisoned comrades, sending monthly packages of zines and books to anarchist prisoners, maintaining anarchist infrastructure in Bloomington, etc) sometimes have to take a backseat. We live in a small town, and the pool of people willing to give money to anarchist prisoners isn’t large. In an effort to alleviate this, we’re asking people elsewhere to help us keep the War Fund going.

All money sent to us will go directly to imprisoned comrades:  consistently to those on our list, and periodically to others who need it.

If we can meet our goal, we will begin sending consistent funds to additional imprisoned comrades.

We thank anyone who donates, and we carry forth the promise of expanding and deepening our efforts to set our comrades free and destroy the  prison society that keeps us all confined.

Solidarity,
Bloomington ABC

Plain Words #3

[For reading and printing 8.5×11]
[For printing 11×17]

Plain Words is back with issue three, featuring news of resistance in Bloomington; reportbacks from efforts of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners, imprisoned anarchist comrade Eric King, and those arrested on the January 20th demonstrations against the inauguration of Donald Trump; a look back at the 2013 strike at Indiana University; and an introductory essay on self-organization via affinity groups.

CONTENTS
“Introduction to the Affinity Group”
June 11th International Day of Solidarity with Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners
Noise Demonstration Against Social Cleansing
Interview on the 2013 Indiana University Strike
Banner Drop in Solidarity with Eric King
Solidarity with the J20 Anti-Inauguration Demonstrators
A chronology of action and solidarity

Solidarity from Bloomington, IN with Grand Jury Resisters Jayden and Katie!

Grand Juries are an investigative tool often used by the state against people engaged in liberatory struggles. Towards the ultimate goal of securing indictments, they compel testimony (ie snitching), under threat of imprisonment. It is illegal to refuse to cooperate with a Grand Jury, and penalties range from empty threats to months or years in prison. In this way grand juries can be massively disruptive to organizing efforts and ongoing struggles even before a single indictment has come down. There is a long history of refusing to testify to grand juries (and an equally long history of those who don’t refuse to testify getting, at minimum, expelled from radical communities, projects, and spaces). Continue reading “Solidarity from Bloomington, IN with Grand Jury Resisters Jayden and Katie!”

Reportback: June 29 Noise Demo Against Social Cleansing

We receive and transmit:

In the last week of June, dozens of houseless people were removed from Peoples Park and numerous other public spaces by the Bloomington Police Department. After evicting people who stayed at the park, the cops began to do roll-call for their officers there, and usually had at least one of their ilk stationed there to make sure houseless people didn’t use the park. This is part of the City of Bloomington’s social cleansing campaign, the appropriately named “Safe and Civil Cities Campaign.”

Eventually multiple houseless people were thrown in jail after police removed people from a public encampment on Kirkwood near the library. In response, around thirty people gathered outside the jail on the corner of 7th and College at 11:00 p.m. on June 29th for an impromptu noise demo. The crowd consisted of many faces beyond the usual suspects at noise demos in recent years. Very few were masked, making it easy for everyone to see who was who, including the State, those watching one of multiple livestreams, and followers of participants on social media.

What set this noise demo apart from others, aside from the large crowd, was the quality of noise-making devices present. The mobile sound system hardly got use, as people banged incessantly on pots and pans, large hippie drums, and even an oil drum. About 30 minutes into the racket, people trapped inside the jail began waving from their cages and signaling by opening and closing window blinds. At this point, a small handful of older fancy types approached us to ask what the commotion was about. Turns out, they were staying in the Hilton across the street from the jail and couldn’t sleep due to all the drum beating and carrying on. (We noted this unexpected positive side effect for possible anti-gentrification efforts in the future.)

At midnight, the crowd moved into the street, blocking all three lanes of College Avenue. It was a Tuesday night in summer, when most students are away, which meant there wasn’t much traffic to block. Only one driver made a futile attempt at passing through and arguing with the demonstrators, but quickly retreated to his car and drove away through a side alley. At this point three BPD turds, including one shiny headed cop-scum with an impressively cocky strut, approached the group and told people to move out of the street. Nobody listened or engaged with these foot soldiers of indignity and ineptitude, and they used their scum mobiles to block traffic for us. Around 12:30 a.m., a few more badge bedazzled pond slime began to convene with zip-ties in tow. The demo turned south and marched towards the square, dispersing soon after that.

This demo was impressive for its size and volume, especially having been called for just a few hours before. We could have done better with messaging, as the few signs present were mostly vague and small. With just a few faces covered, it reiterated the usefulness of handouts about how and why to mask up, even during relatively chill demos. Those whose faces were exposed were also likely documented by the ample livestreamers and other photo and video documentation that was happening. What may seem obvious to many anarchists —that posting photos and videos of demonstrators online only serves to provide the State with more information that can later be used to repress movements —isn’t so for many liberals and progressives. It would be useful for anarchists and everyone else if there was a more concerted continuation of efforts in recent years to disseminate information about safety and security at the demos themselves. Overall, even if it was only symbolic, this noise demo was a surprisingly rowdy response to the city’s efforts to accelerate gentrification by targeting people experiencing homelessness.