New publication: Against the Machine – Selected Writings from Plain Words

Against the Machine: Selected Writings From Plain Words

[For reading] [For printing]

Much of the theoretical writing submitted to Plain Words has been about information technology. This zine is a collection of those writings.

Rather than shame people for using their smartphones in public, these pieces are meant to demonstrate what we have to gain by fighting against the techno-nightmare. Specifically, they describe how these technologies impoverish our relationships, and dull our capacity for combative social struggle.

Anarchism & Christianity: Fruits for the Spirit

Submission by Ross Martinie Eiler

I am a Christian Anarchist.  I have been for fifteen years.  As a founding member of the Bloomington Christian Radical Catholic Worker Community, my faith has been instrumental in arriving at a revolutionary criticism of modern capitalism, and my politics have been instrumental in developing my religious beliefs.  I want to share some particular gifts that Christianity can bring to anarchist thought and practice.

These gifts are gifts of emphasis; these elements can be found both in people of different religious traditions and in people with no religious traditions at all.  But they have a distinctiveness within the Christians tradition, and they can enrich secular political radicals. I share these reflections not to convert anyone to Christianity or to get folks to join the Catholic Worker, but rather to encourage reflection and dialogue on these ideas and also to build awareness and comradeship between my Catholic Worker community and Plain Words readers. Continue reading “Anarchism & Christianity: Fruits for the Spirit”

Plain Words #5

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

The fifth issue of Plain Words is out, with reflections on anarchist publishing, a debate on art, an overview of local gentrification, analysis of struggles against police militarization, critical thoughts on coping, and more.

CONTENTS
– One Year of Plain Words
– Dialogue on Art & Anarchy
– “Cops, Cameras & Condos: Bloomington is Getting Worse”
– “Coping with the End of the World”
– Responding to the Police Murder of Ricky Ard
– The Lenco BearCat & the Liberal Trap
– “Blast from the Past: The Underground Railroad in Madison”
– Updates on J20
– News from around the world
– A chronology of local happenings

Interview: The Police Murder of Ricky Ard

In August of 2017 Evansville, Indiana resident Ricky Ard was gunned down by an EPD officer and a federal security guard outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Evansville. We spoke with three people involved in the response to Ricky’s death.

Can you start by walking us through what happened at the Denton Federal Building on August 29th?

Respondent 3: Ricky Ard is reported to have gone to the Federal Building the day before he was killed to “complain about the government.” He was removed from the building without incident. He returned the next day with a bat, shouting at the building and broke some of its windows. Ricky retreated away from the building and sat down for several minutes before walking toward the building a second time. EPD officer Kenny Dutschke approached him from behind, shouted orders and deployed his taser, which was “ineffective” according to a police statement. Ricky responded to the officer’s aggression by swinging his bat and moving toward the officer. Dutschke and a federal security guard whose name has not been released shot Ricky Ard 6 times, bringing him to the ground and killing him.

What was the response?

Respondent 3: Ricky was murdered around 11 a.m. The mainstream media covered the story pretty immediately. A friend heard about it and sent out a text. People in our neighborhood were talking about the police shooting and killing someone at the Federal Building. People were saying that his body was still laying there and asking, “what are we going to do about it?!” We began checking all the coverage and our facts, and several people went to the location to get more insight. I mentioned we have to be there tonight, to not let this go without challenge or notice if nothing else for his family. We met up in the early evening, piled up supplies for posters and a vigil, shared our plan with other neighbors and decided to act after sundown. Almost twenty of us met and occupied in front of the Federal Building where they had washed away all evidence anything had happened. Throughout the night, about sixty people trickled through. We lit candles and spread our signs along edge of the property and scratched messages in chalk along the sidewalks; we talked and sat and waited. Continue reading “Interview: The Police Murder of Ricky Ard”

Banner Drop in Solidarity with West Virginia Teachers on Strike

Reposted from Rififi Bloomington

This past week, we’ve felt stronger, inspired that teachers in West Virginia are struggling collectively, with dignity and without bowing to the union bureaucrats or cops, for their future and the future of the children they teach. The teachers are fighting for all of us, demonstrating the power of solidarity to push back against the relentless cuts to living standards threatening us all. Now it’s up to the rest of us to make sure they don’t fight alone by spreading the struggle. We hung this banner during rush hour as a small contribution to that process.

Coping with the End of the World

Submitted anonymously

The day after Trump was elected President, news reports circulated images of young people at college campuses gathering to cry and mourn together. At these “cry-ins” or “self-care events,” students reportedly colored in coloring books, played with play-doh, met with therapy dogs, drank hot chocolate, and of course, cried together. These stories were met with ridicule, supposedly showcasing the oversensitive millennial generation as a bunch of snowflakes who can’t handle the world. But just like how, to Baudrillard, the existence of the uber-commercialized and artificial Disneyland gives cover to the rest of society pretending not to be both already, these spectacular stories of human coping hide the fact that society is already coping all the time. Continue reading “Coping with the End of the World”

Cops, Cameras, and Condos: Bloomington Is Getting Worse

by Barney Szyalak

Bloomington is increasingly becoming a place meant for rich and middle class people. In order for that to happen, the city government is cracking down on the presence of poor people in downtown, while real estate developers are building luxury and market-rate housing developments that drive up rent across the city. Cops, cameras, and condominiums complement each other in guiding the city towards becoming a place inhospitable to poor or uncontrollable people. Continue reading “Cops, Cameras, and Condos: Bloomington Is Getting Worse”

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