from 480 Anti-Racist Action:
Tempe today. No Pasarán, Defend J20, Bash The Fash. ARA
from 480 Anti-Racist Action:
Tempe today. No Pasarán, Defend J20, Bash The Fash. ARA
To all our family, friends, and comrades, everyone else suffering at the hands of a corrupt system, you are not forgotten. Prisons are modern day slave plantations, ppl are locked up for free labor, for having a drug addiction, for trying to survive, for being black or brown. pic.twitter.com/5Ic2ElYtm1
— AntifascistActionPhx (@AFAPHX) January 15, 2018
— AntifascistActionPhx (@AFAPHX) January 18, 2018
from It’s Going Down
Tempe anarchists quickly removed a banner from the “alt right” white nationalist group Identity Evropa, after the group dropped the banner from the Mill Ave bridge during rush hour, presumably hoping lots of drivers would be moved by their message of “traditionalism.” Some Tempe anarchists were also in traffic that rush hour and witnessed these white nationalist bozos in Santa hats taking a photo of the banner. Minutes later the banner was town down, the Identity Evropa activists had fled.
We had a laugh as we destroyed it; it was a 30 foot banner that clearly took some time to make and was seen for just a few minutes. In addition, Identity Evropa propaganda appears periodically around the Tempe campus of ASU and is repeatedly pulled down and destroyed, sometimes by anarchists or anti-fascists, other times just normal people
We stay warm burning Identity Evropa’s bullshit, it’s a Tempe Tradition!
For more materials for countering Identity Evropa, go here.
In response to a white nationalist flyering campaign on the ASU campus, some people took it upon themselves to round up and destroy the fascist materials and beautify the campus with antifascist posters of their own, along with a mosaic for Santiago Maldonado. #SantiagoPresente pic.twitter.com/MiLMgkf25A
— Occupied SW Distro (@OccupiedSW) November 10, 2017
Flagstaff, AZ/Occupied Lands — On Tuesday, September 5th, an act of islamaphobic white supremacist terrorism was carried out against Maktoob Hookah Lounge, which is located on Heritage Square just steps away from a federal building. “I got a death threat a few days ago from a white supremacist individual,” the owner, who is Iraqi, stated to the Lumberjack. “I took it seriously and I reported it to the police but then nothing happened for a good four or five days.”
The arson attack, accompanied with several swastikas, occurred at approximately 7:20am on the same day that Trump furthered his assaults on undocumented people by ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Early this evening, a few stealthy members of a new anti-colonial anti-fascist formation in Flagstaff deployed a large banner over Heritage Square reading, “We Will Defend Our Community” with a large crossed out swastika and the words, “ICE, Trump, Fascists, Nazis, Racism, & Snowbowl” all slashed with red paint.
Fascism is nothing new in Arizona, but the escalation we face in our community demands a response beyond holding signs on the lawn of city hall. While liberals wave flags, white supremacists attack. We’re coalescing into a force to ensure that racism, sexism, trans/homophobia, and colonialism are uprooted from these lands.
We will not rely on the cops. Their institution is rooted in white supremacy and ultimately serves the rich and powerful. The same police that are investigating the hate crime committed against Maktoob, target our Indigenous relatives at a staggering rate (Indigenous Peoples comprise 50% of arrests in Flag yet only 12% of the population). They represent the same forces that terrorize migrant communities and endanger DACA recipients.
While dropping banners, taking the streets, and posting flyers alone will not end fascism, we want to make it clear we are watching, we are organizing, and we will defend our communities.
Anti-fascist and Charlottesville solidarity banners were dropped today at the ASU pedestrian bridge
This lively crew, comprised mainly of Indigenous folks, first gathered at Charlottesville solidarity vigil outside Flagstaff City Hall (the uzhe) but were immediately confronted by white liberals whose feelings were hurt by messages on the banners. One simply stated the famous Durruti quote, “fascism is not to be debated, it is to be smashed” and the other read “Death to fascists, anti-colonial & anti-fascist solidarity. One particularly excited person said, “don’t stand on the sidewalk, someone got arrested last time!” to which someone responded, “we will not be policed.”
Standing on a lawn holding signs amidst a hundred white argumentative liberals who were ready to throw us under the first bus to pass by was of of no particular interest so the crew departed into the streets proclaiming, “set aside your privilege and join us,” perhaps two did, but that was a clear enough message of how limited their “solidarity” extended. Though Flagstaff street medics became welcome company.
As far as marches in Flagstaff this certainly wasn’t the largest, but the streets (and sidewalks for a bit) were most definitely “our streets” for nearly an hour. Chants of “Charlottesville to Flagstaff, always anti-fascist,” and “organize, fight back,” and the standard, “no cops no kkk no fascist USA,” echoed off the buildings. Speaking of those fascists in blue, they did catch up with the crew after about 30 minutes and stalked them for the rest of the time. The impromptu march then wound its way to “Heritage” square where the recent Crime Think pamphlet (which copies of were also disseminated) was delivered to curious tourists via megaphone.
Then the skies opened up and everything was muted by thunder and heavy rain it, was the perfect punctuation (and cover). As it is in the high desert, beneath the sacred mountain, Mother Earth always gets the last word.
from It’s Going Down
From occupied Akimel O’odham territory (Phoenix, AZ)
Seven people were arrested in Phoenix by police after blocking a van with detainees in an attempt to halt the deportation of Guadalupe Garcia. Garcia, an undocumented immigrant arrested nearly a decade ago in one of then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s workplace sweeps targeting immigrant workers, who was attempting to check in with the local ICE office as a condition as a condition of the workplace raid, however her felony conviction for the arrest in 2008 meant she was a target for new enforcement aimed at the forced removal of undocumented people from the United States.
Puente, a local non-profit pro-migrant activist group, quickly organized protests calling for her removal from custody and a return to her family, as protests dragged into the night hundreds came to the ICE office in downtown Phoenix to join Garcia’s family in solidarity.
Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos in the van. Reflection is her son Angel, 16. pic.twitter.com/cZMjdUi67C
— Daniel Gonzalez (@azdangonzalez) February 9, 2017
After the activists blocking the van were arrested the vehicle returned to the ICE property, allowing the Phoenix police to pull dozens of officers into the ICE building to assist federal agents in enforcing the deportation order. A few hours after the initial attempt to halt the van, a small convoy of police vehicles left the gates of the federal building with Guadalupe Garcia. There was no organized effort to halt the second attempt, and the few people who ran into the street were grabbed by plainclothes police while officers in riot gear with less lethal weapons moved towards the crowd across the street.
— Ben Moffat (@bmoffatphotos) February 9, 2017
A few small groups of local anarchists were present, offering up chants against the police, ICE, and the usual racist state of affairs. As the crowd remained in a stand off with police, the chants became increasingly hostile towards the cops, and the non-profit approved comments decrying the practices and policies of one institution became calls for the abolition of all borders and nations, and calls to burn down ICE.
The standoff between the crowd and the officers lasted for another hour after the deportation vehicles left with Guadalupe Garcia, and finally the police withdrew. Anarchists and other militants defied the calls from Puente organizers to regroup and talk “next steps” and instead took to the streets in defiance of police orders.
Close to one hundred people then spilled out onto Central Ave., halting traffic and blocking the light rail train as a Puente organizer again tried to call the crowd out of the streets and back to the sidewalks. It seemed as though people wanted even more, but police were able to succeed where the respectable activist group had failed in pushing people back from the streets and onto the sidewalk.
Workplace raids, the snatching of relatives from vehicles, homes, workplaces, and the regular deaths of migrants crossing the border in southern Arizona are not unusual events. We’ve become used to them over the years even as the federal government has continued to carry out this attack on immigrants in a stealthier fashion than our local right-wing sheriff. This new attack coming from the feds should cause great concern that the “bad old days” of open local, state, and federal hostility towards migrants may be surpassed under the new administration.
Certainly we see that it’s going to take a lot more than blockading vans to stop the deportation machine, and we may soon have a better idea of what that looks like as events unfold in Arizona and across the US in the coming weeks.
“When we stand up to these authorities, they come down on us, and the only protection we have is solidarity from the outside.” – Free Alabama Movement and The International Workers of the World (IWW) Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)
Today may be the largest national prisoner strike in years, and anarchists, prison abolitionists, and prison reform advocates are watching to see how events will play out behind the walls of prisons and detention centers in Arizona and across the country. Whereas prison abolitionists and prison reform advocates may be more interested in supporting reforms and legislation to affect what goes on behind the walls, anarchists are taking their relationships and solidarity with those behind bars and putting them into action in the streets and outside of the prison walls.
Given that for many years, Arizona has accumulated a reputation for the harsh and inhumane conditions behind the barred doors and razor fences (including well known incidents in Maricopa County’s “Tent City” and other county lock ups, state run prisons, privately operated state prisons, privately run immigration detention centers, and Border Patrol holding stations) it’s worth excavating the history of resistance and revolt behind the detention center walls and prison fences. Inmates have fought, bled, and died to reclaim their humanity in the face of neglect, brutality, and the paternalistic claims behind prison reform.
In 1958, inmates rioted at the Arizona State Prison, then located solely in Florence, Arizona, and built by the inmates it was intended to hold. These weren’t the first riots at the Arizona State Prison, the facility was overcrowded within its first two decades, and inmates were held in rundown buildings with ongoing health hazards from sewage and sanitation. Riots and strikes by inmates were common, which was why Pima County Sheriff Frank Eyman was called in to suppress a 1955 prison riot. Eyman was known for his part in the capture of notorious bank robber John Dillinger in Tucson in 1934, he also founded the Tucson Fraternal Order of Police, the first FOP in the state of Arizona. After putting down the riot he was hired on as warden of the Arizona State Prison, an over capacity facility, housing over 1,000 inmates.
The Arizona state legislature was unwilling to invest funds into the infrastructure for the ballooning prison system, and many improvements to the prison infrastructure were designed and constructed by inmate labor although Eyman feared that sabotage and vandalism by these same inmates would increase as a form of resistance to major expansions to the prison.
In an era when many prison systems were attempting “scientific” therapeutic programs aimed at inmates, Eyman instituted a classical authoritarian structure in which he ruled the prison, the guards were his enforcers, and inmates were subject to all forms of punishment for violating his “Inmate Rule Book” which was given to every inmate at the prison upon arrival. Inmates were expected to be “well groomed, upright in posture, respectful when speaking to staff, and engaged in wholesome activities, rather than ‘lounging against a wall or lying around in the grass’.”
The situation was even worse for the incarcerated mentally ill, or who as Eyman referred to as “moral perverts.” Until the late 1960s, the facility had no employed or contracted mental health professionals such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. Eyman viewed inmates with mental health problems as an “aberrational subgroup,” placing them under constant surveillance and housed in segregated lock down.
In 1958, inmates attempted a mass breakout and subsequent uprising, resulting in four guards being taken hostage by inmates. Eyman arrived on scene, fired his gun and announced to the inmates that he would kill all of them “if you SOBs even so much as scratch my men.” The inmates held their resolve and prison guards launched an attack on the prison, leading to a gun battle with inmates, and ending the uprising. No guards were injured, though one inmate was seriously injured.
All inmates were returned to their cells, Eyman saw that the doors to the cells be welded shut (many inmates destroyed the locks to their cell doors), and that inmates be stripped naked, leaving them nothing but a blanket. This went on for several days , Eyman justified his actions to the press stating that inmates have no rights in his institutions, and they “had to learn to behave.”
In 1973, Arizona governor Jack Williams pointed to the uprisings in Attica and San Quentin as examples of what can happen when prison administrators treat the incarcerated with a shread of humanity. Williams wrote to Allen Cook, the head of Arizona’s Department of Corrections, “I hope you have assured Frank Eyman that in Arizona the prisoners do not run the prison! Furthermore, that just as they gave no chance for negotiation with their victims they have no right to negotiation as long as they are in prison. They earned their way to prison now let them earn their way out!”
For Cook’s part, he had previously worked in the California Department of Corrections for 27 years before retiring to Sun City and getting hired to head Arizona’s DOC. Cook was heavy handed from the beginning, he enforced a strict search policy of all visitors, which he suspected a court order could overturn, and bragged that inmate mail was regularly censored by prison authorities.He shared Williams’ contempt for inmates in his statements to the press after the 1971 San Quentin mass escape attempt which resulted in the death of black revolutionary George Jackson along with five other inmates.
Anti-inmate attitudes of prison bureaucrats and lack of funding from state politicians sent inmates at the state prison in Florence on strike in May 1972. Nearly 1,000 inmates out of the prison’s population of 1,277 went on strike, refusing work assignments until the inmates’ 13 grievances and demands were met by the prison administration. At the time of the strike, Arizona State Prison population was 56% white, 21% black, 20% Mexican and Latino, and 3% Indigenous people, making the strike an overwhelmingly cross-racial stance against exploitation in Florence.
The inmates’ action on the inside was met with support from outside of the prison walls, a Tucson based group called the Arizona Citizens’ Commission on Prisons was holding hearings in which former inmates could share their experiences inside of the prison, in addition to the group’s political organizing for reforms at Florence.
In an article on the hearings published on July 17, 1972 in the Tucson Daily Citizen, testimony from former prisoners covered a range of exploitative practices enforced by prison authorities. One former inmate who worked in the medical unit testified that Florence’s hospital was “deplorable,” as some prisoners waited up to 10 days before receiving medical care. The inmate testified that the prison’s chief physician Dr. Robert I. Carlson only came to work for three to four hours per day, and “even when he is there he prefers to let the inmates do the medical work while he sticks to the administrative paper work.” A former female inmate from Florence described the racial hierarchy at the prison codified into the jobs available to women of color. White women inmates were offered office work, while Black and Mexican-American women were only offered “dirty jobs” within the prison.
One week into the 1972 strike at Florence and Warden Eyman insisted that efforts at prison reform were misguided, what was needed was inmate reform to stop the flow of what he called “anti-social, militant, drug-oriented problem prisoners.” And this was Eyman’s generous take on inmate self-organization. Eyman took a harder line towards the strike when speaking to the press in the second week of the strike, threatening to “make Attica look like a picnic.”
By 1973, Eyman was no longer the warden of Florence, but many of the problems persisted, including overcrowding. In May 1973, a group of inmates took guards hostage to get various demands met, including for one inmate to speak to his children, and two weeks later a second group of inmates took guards hostage, one of the guards died. The new warden of Florence, A.E. “Bud” Gomes met with a delegation of inmates to discuss general prisoner demands.
The inmates of Florence again called for a strike at the prison in January 1976, presenting the prison administration with a 35 point list of demands, including a federal investigation of abuse by guards who see themselves as “above the touch of law,” and a primary demand that Arizona State Corrections Director John Moran, Arizona State Prison Warden Harold Cardwell, and many other upper tier bureaucrats resign immediately.
Medical conditions had only worsened at the prison since the strike in 1972, as confirmed by State Senator Lucy Davidson in an interview with the New Times, she called the conditions “horrendous, deplorable neglect.” Some cell blocks go as long as two weeks with no access to showers, and broken toilets and showers take as long as a month for repair. Mail confiscation, misuse of prison funds for inmate programs, harsh punishment, a code of conduct for guards to match the one inmates meet, repairs for the sewage system, and fair medical treatment were also included in the demands.
Prison administrators dismissed the inmates concerns, but New Times sources in the prison reported that the brutality from guards extended to tear gassing inmates in locked cells and using high powered hoses to attack to reprimand inmates. Prison authorities used repression and isolation to break the strike, causing two previous attempts to be disrupted after inmate strike organizers were thrown into isolation and guards confiscated grievance lists, other strike leaders were scheduled for transfer out of state to New Jersey, Colorado, and New Mexico prisons.
Like the rest of the United States, the Arizona prison population exploded since the prison strike of 1976, as the state’s number of prisons has grown from two to sixteen in 40 years, with six of the facilities run by private corporations. Riots and disturbances continue in the Arizona State Prison system, in both those run by the state and by private companies. On July 2nd and 4th, 2015, inmates at Arizona State Prison – Kingman, privately run at the time by Management and Training Corporation, caused $1.9 million in damage to the prison. The damage so extensive that the unit was closed for six months for repairs and security upgrades, in addition four inmates and nine guards were injured.
The rebellion ended after the state sent in 96 members of the Department of Corrections’ Tactical Support Unit, but only a small number of inmates were charged for their participation because of the quick destruction of surveillance cameras. In the aftermath of the uprising inmates cited abuse from guards, lack of access to adequate medical care, old or inedible food, and a lack of meaningful social and educational programs for inmates, demands nearly identical to those of the inmate strikes of 1972 and 1976.
This short and incomplete history of inmate strikes in Arizona is a reminder of the force of collective revolt and individual action. Certainly the same conditions prevail in lockups around the state, as they did in the 1970s, inmates continue to face the harshest of oppression as both captives of the state and as workers under capitalist exploitation, making pennies a day.
As anarchists, we stand against systems of control, and with the prison rebels opting out of work, engaged in sabotage, or any other of the myriad forms of resistance for freedom that may never be known beyond prison walls or cell doors.<
Solidarity to the prison rebels! Fire to the prisons!
-A dispatch from a valley anarchist.