Information technology is ubiquitous in present day, it is now considered odd and suspicious to not have a smartphone or any social media accounts. Many people who were not using these technologies heavily in the past are now suckered in by them, partially because they are the new normal that everyone else is doing.
People worked their way out of the shadows to meet at People’s Park. Participants were handed complimentary gift bags which included a handout on safety in the streets, face and hand coverings, noisemakers, and other fun items for a night out on the town. It feels like a sign of the times that all of these tools were enthusiastically accepted and used by most people who received them. It doesn’t seem hard for people to understand that in order to fight this regime and its “Alt Right” foot soldiers, we need to begin to protect ourselves and each other.
For the annual Trans Prisoner Day of Action initiated by Marius Mason and his supporters last year, we are hosting a poetry reading event in which several local writers will read their own poems and creative writing as well as those of Marius and other trans prisoners. There will be refreshments, cards, and other materials for writing prisoners, and prisoners’ artwork. All money raised will be sent directly to Marius (and split with a couple other prisoners if we raise enough).
A documentary film on the anarchist revolution in Spain(1936-39), told through interviews with those who participated in the uprising, subsequent experimentations with freedom, and war against the forces of the State, Church, and Capital. The film explores the attempts at self-management leading up to the popular rebellion of 1936, the place of anti-authoritarian militias in defending against fascism, the betrayal of the revolution by Communists, and, ultimately, the vitality of the anarchist Idea.
Join us after the film for writing birthday cards to anarchist prisoner Marius Mason.
[All ages welcome. In Spanish with English subtitles.]
On September 9 2016, prisoners took action in 46 prisons for a nationally-coordinated prisoner strike. Of those facilities, 31 experienced a lock-down, suspension, or full strike for at least 24 hours, affecting around 57,000 people. By not showing up for work, prisoners shut down the regular operations of prisons like Kinross in Michigan and Holman in Alabama. By rioting and through other combative tactics, they disrupted normalized routines and operations for even longer. It was the largest action ever taken by prisoners in the United States, and anarchists took part both inside and outside the prison walls.
The strike has primarily been framed as a battle against prison slavery, an institution codified into law “as a punishment for crime” in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Prisoners are often employed for pennies an hour, performing not only the various tasks that keep the prison running, but sometimes producing commodities such as Starbucks cups or even putting out wildfires in California. No doubt, people participated in the strike for a variety of reasons, but the element of prison slavery was the narrative that stuck.
In Bloomington and elsewhere, anarchists helped lay down the infrastructure of the strike for a year prior to September’s actions, longer if you consider informal prisoner support and solidarity projects anarchists have been regularly engaging in. We’ve created free zine distros and started correspondences with prisoners directly, organized conferences to facilitate our activities, spread the call for the strike to prisons nation-wide, put up flyers and posters about the strike throughout the cities where we live, and come to the aid of prisoners facing retaliatory repression. Continue reading “Prison Strike Retrospective”
January 7, 2017
Monroe County Public Library
How did Trump come to power, and what does that tell us about the era we are entering? What strategies will be effective in countering repressive government policies and the rise of grassroots nationalism?
Framing Trump’s victory in a global context will explore various approaches to self-organization and self-defense, drawing on the principles of mutual aid and direct action. They will also present updates about organizing for resistance to the inauguration in DC on January 20.
Breaking away from the jail demo tradition, we kicked off the new year with something fresh and exciting. At the stroke of midnight we dropped four banners and let five thousand fliers rain down from two downtown parking garages. United with friends, we reveled in the togetherness we will carry with us into the new year. 2016 was shitty and we expect that 2017 will be as well; however, we recognize the need to continue fighting. With these modest acts, we sharpened coordination practices that we will need in the coming months and years. Each of the banners reflects an element of our revolt we intend to strengthen and spread over the next year – combative memory for our fallen fighters, solidarity with our imprisoned comrades, determination to continue fighting no matter what is thrown at us, and struggle against immediate manifestations of power.
As December ends, we also take time to remember the lives of our fallen warriors. William Avalon Rodgers was an Earth liberationist who took his own life on December 21, 2005 while in jail awaiting trial on arson charges. Kuwasi Balagoon was a former Black Panther, fighter in the Black Liberation Army, bisexual, and anarchist who died in prison from medical neglect due to AIDS-related illness on December 13, 1986.
December 2016 marks 11 years since Avalon’s death and 30 since Kuwasi’s. We will not allow those who sacrificed everything for freedom to be forgotten. As we continue our struggles against Power, we keep alive the memory of Kuwasi, Avalon, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, Sebastián Oversluij, Lambros Foundas, Mauricio Morales, Feral Pines, and all of our other comrades who have passed on. Memory, like fire, burns our enemies and keeps us warm.
We are consistently inspired by Marius Mason’s spirit and take strength from each of his paintings, poems, and letters. In an attempt to return the favor, we also chose to highlight his acts this New Year’s Eve. For many years, Marius lived and took action in Bloomington and we intend to maintain the passion and fighting spirit that he once embodied here.
As a quaint college town and liberal bastion in a red state, Bloomington’s iteration of state violence often takes the form of closing off public space to undesirable populations to maintain a sterile, commerce-friendly environment. One of the primary targets of this cleansing is the sizable homeless population. The city has deployed social worker cops, signs discouraging giving money to people on the street, and several new security cameras in popular hangouts like People’s Park. Despite their language of safety and compassion, we know that the city government has no interest in genuine solutions to the problems of poverty, unaffordable housing, and addiction; in reality, it exists to manage and police the conditions that create these problems. We have made a choice to not fall for the soft policing of the non-profits and charities that are in the pocket of the city.
Bloomington People’s History is an ongoing project by local individuals that highlights the legacy of repression and resistance in and around Bloomington, Indiana. All of the posters can be found on to our poster page.
We encourage anyone who is interested to create their own People’s History posters and email them to us. Let’s keep the history of revolt alive!
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