In the early hours of January 22nd, local anarchists dropped banners on ASU bridge in solidarity with #AntonioArce, a 14-year-old boy who was murdered by the pigs at Tempe PD exactly one week ago. pic.twitter.com/hXuJR6t3Iq— AntifascistActionPhx (@AFAPHX) January 22, 2019
Report from anarchists in Tucson on a recent march and blockade of an ICE building.
On Saturday, August 25th a group of over 100 people gathered in a park a few blocks away from the local jail in Tucson, Arizona, occupied Tohono O’odham land, in response to a call for a march to “evict ICE” from the Pima County Jail.
After a free meal from Food Not Bombs, the crowd took to the street, eventually marching onto busy Mission Road and blocking traffic. In front of the main entrance to the jail, the crowd split into two groups and moved to block both access roads to the jail employee parking lots. Thanks to some dedicated research and scouting, we knew the jail’s shift change occurs daily at 3 p.m., and the timing for the march was planned accordingly—by 2:45, all routes in and out of the corrections officer parking lot were blocked. The crowds held down these access roads for over an hour and half, thoroughly interfering with the normal operation of the jail.
Corrections officers trying to go home after the shift were trapped inside (except for a few who jumped a curb at high speed with their cars dangerously close to some demonstrators), and those arriving to start work had to be redirected a number of different times by Tucson Police, eventually parking in a neighborhood across a busy road from the jail and being forced to walk into work.
At around 4:30, the crowd gathered in the middle of the street in front of the jail to hear speakers explain the connections between settler-colonialism and ICE, share personal stories of how collaboration between local law enforcement and Border Patrol has ripped apart families here in Tucson, and decry the racialized violence of incarceration. The events of the day ended with a tired but triumphant return march to the park.
Things that went well:
The police showed up at the park before the march got underway and spent half an hour asking around to speak with an “event organizer.” In the past, this has been an effective tactic by the local cops to find a person they can put pressure on to control marches when they’ve gotten rowdy. On Saturday, everyone just ignored their questions, and eventually they left the park.
The timing was great and we definitely thoroughly disrupted the jail’s change of shift. The crowd was also very adaptive, so when folks noticed that Tucson Police were directing incoming guards into the visitation parking lot, people set up a soft blockade there as well: cars visiting their families could come in, jail employees could fuck off.
Things that could have gone better:
Midway through the march, some folks attempted a banner hang by throwing weighted ropes over a traffic light, but unfortunately the ropes got tangled together at the top, and it wasn’t possible to hoist the banner. It was really exciting to see this sort of clandestinely planned escalation mid-march, but it was a shame the banner didn’t end up on the traffic light.
While the messaging throughout the day was mostly really good—chants of “la policía, la migra, la misma porquería!” and “police, ICE, the same shit twice!”, jeers at the guards who eventually made it to the jail to “quit your jobs,” and a lot of connecting the short term goal of evicting ICE from the jail to broader visions of ICE, police, and prison abolition—there was an unfortunate lack of focus given to the prison strike. It was only mentioned once in passing by a speaker, but it seems like this would have been a great opportunity to talk about ongoing struggles inside of prisons throughout the country.
All said, it was a powerful march and blockade. Here’s hoping this marks the beginning of a trend towards escalation and interruption of the infrastructure of domination. The cops have been pretty hands off lately, let’s take this breathing room and run with it!
Report back from anarchists opposing the ‘Resist Marxism’ rally in Tucson, Arizona this past weekend.
On 8/18 an Alt-Lite group by the name of Patriot Movement AZ (PMAZ) held their second rally in Tucson in just two weeks. The first rally on 8/4 largely flew under the radar of anti-racist organizing in Tucson, but a few of us went to scout it and found a surprisingly large crowd of fascists, would-be militia members, Trump worshipers, and Alt-Right trolls who crawled out from their internet havens into the Arizona sun.
While it was alarming to see that they had organized a rally of forty or so people and we had failed to meaningfully mobilize against it, this scouting trip produced photos of their use of the proto-Nazi “Kekistani” flag, which would prove instrumental in our organizing against their rally set for the 18th.
On the morning of the 18th a lot of us were feeling rather nervous, as there had been a litany of threats from PMAZ in the intervening weeks, most of which boiled down to some variation of “if any of you antifa tries to get in the way of my free speech and I’ll shoot you with one of the many guns I’m going to be carrying.”
Thankfully, we quickly built up our confidence as the counter protest’s numbers swelled to maybe two-hundred to two-fifty, easily outnumbering the fascists by at least 4 to 1. A blow-by-blow of everything that happened over the course of the 3 hour event would probably be a bit long, but here are a few key reflections.
As the event got underway, the Tucson Police (TPD) attempted to create a barrier that would separate counter-protesters from the area where the fascists were gathering by about fifty feet away. After the crowd repeatedly went around metal barriers, tore down police tape, and approached the fascists from multiple angles, TPD was forced to tightly encircle the area with metal barriers and line them with cops. Not only did this make the relationship between the police and far-Right organizing clear, it also allowed the crowd to get close enough to disrupt any speeches the fascists tried to make.
It seems like the crowd was able to disobey police orders with ease in part because there were a number of distinct groups that were each able to bring a particular tone to the approach of ignoring police orders—the block bloc, the clown bloc the marching band, and the circus performers. A representative interaction went something like this: the black bloc is staunchly refusing to move as TPD approaches with metal barricades, then, just as some cop is giving a particularly stern order, the clown bloc arrives, tripping over police line they’ve managed to put up and meandering in between the angry police and the black bloc. Meanwhile, the marching band is playing a triumphant tune and walking around the barricades with people following in one direction, and people on stilts are ambling around them in another direction. Disobeying police orders came to be an acceptable approach regardless of the tone of any given participant.
Police were seen as institutional extensions of the white supremacist rhetoric espoused by PMAZ by much of the crowd, and this was made clear in a number of interactions. Throughout the day, many counter-protesters yelled at the police for protecting the fascists, but the exchanges got particularly heated as the police escorted PMAZ members to their cars at the end of the rally. Someone with a megaphone pointed out the way TPD collaborates with Border Patrol as evidence of their investment in the existing racial hierarchy, and the crowd chanted “fuck the police” as the cops held back angry counter-protesters from the last gaggle of fascists hastily packing their cars. After PMAZ left, TPD began debriefing in the area that had been home to the alt-right rally only minutes before. After some vicious mocking, they marched across the park to go debrief somewhere else.
Finally, we are happy to announce that de-arresting became somewhat normalized at the event! (Hooray! Wooo! Huzzah!) As the last fascists were trying to leave in their cars, there was a bit of a scuffle with some folks who had marched into the parking lot to block them. Seems like a PMAZ car bumped a protester and the people inside threw water on him, and the crowd responded by throwing water bottles—one of which might have hit a cop! In the following moments, a cop grabbed the person who got bumped by the car in a choke hold, but folks in bloc pushed the cop off, and masked and unmasked folks alike grabbed him back into the crowd and linked arms to protect him. Throughout the day counter-protesters were pulled back from the police on three separate occasions, each time with the participation of the wider crowd. Let’s keep this up!
One last beautiful moment: as the police were marching across the park to find a new place to debrief, some guy in another ramada a few hundred feet away started blasting NWA’s “Fuck the Police” over a P.A. at them. He had a microphone too, and yelled “what kind of donuts are you gonna eat later?!” Turns out he wasn’t even there for the counter-protest, he just happened to be in the park with a P.A. and when he saw sixty cops walk by that was his first impulse. Wow!
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