Greece:”anarchists hijack the state television station!”

More news from the Pittsburgh anarchists in Greece:

Fri 12/19/08 9:08 AM

Today is a beautiful day here in athens. It is sunny and warm and already the day kicked off with a solidarity action: The french cultural center was burned down. In solidarity with their struggle for education. I finally got around to uploading my pictures… enjoy

they can be viewed here

Editors note: After some facial redacting, the pictures will be posted. There’s been a pox on our house for the past few days and I’m preoccupied with being loving and nurturing and unable to get into character.

Thu 12/18/08 4:35 PM

was the most intense day of my life. I was at the law school.
It was kinda traumatic honestly.

(We)… are alive though, back in relative safety at the occupied economic university

Wed 12/17/08 11:42 AM

Tomorrow huge solidarity actions planned.

so those who haven’t been reading: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/ should read it. best english news site for the events…

There was banners hung from the acropolis, that read solidarity in a variety of languages….
and declaration from workers who occupied union building:

We will either determine our history ourselves
or let it be determined without us..

http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=948395

Things are going awesome once again, I am safe, having fun, and extremely tired! So much exercise!

Wed 12/17/08 9:20 AM

Today we travelled into the suburbs for a demo against the prisons, people here are trying to abolish them, but there wasn’t many people, about 40 kids 12-17 years old. so we disbanded and headed for a demo near the occupied universities against the courts and the police. again, there was only 150-200 people. mostly kids 12-17 years old, they had fun throwing eggs, flour, and silly objects at the police. the police got somewhat agressive, and so we reacted. which turned into a small riot, dumpsters burned, bank smashed, advertisements smashed. mind you these are high school kids… everybody hates the police here! they chase us back almost all the way to the universities ~2 miles. we stay here until we hear that down the street a bit an occupied trade union building (by anarchists/squatters) is under threat of eviction by the union bosses. we hurry over with pipes, poles, rocks, and you know, all the usual prolitariet street fighting gear. The bosses leave, the occupation remains. in a few more hours there will be another demo against the police… I am safe, a bit tired, but the rebellion continues

Tue 12/16/08 4:17 PM

we also made transit free in the city for today, but wrecking the ticket machines and spray painting the cameras, mad graf everywhere today.

no riots though

Tue 12/16/08 10:00 AM

So much is happening today!
The prime minister makes a speech on tv, but anarchists hijack the state television station!

The banner reads “free all political prisioners” the signs read “stop watching, turn off your tv, everyone to the streets!”

(Greek news story in Greek)

Tue 12/16/08 9:38 AM

The situation has turned for the better, yet again. Around 1pm Today (Athens Time)  Anarchists firebombed the Police Barracks and burned them to the ground. Also the Soldiers in the Greek Military formed a union and made a pact that states “they will not take up arms, or fight against civilians”.

More actions are planed for today that will unify the country against capitalism and the state.

Can It Happen Here?

No, I don’t mean that kind of open mutiny, as is occurring in Greece, but the State running out of tear gas. Road salt, or anything else, yes, but never weapons, lethal or otherwise. Occasionally, they will cry like spoiled debutantes and pretend their gear is falling apart, but funding is first priority, survival for bureaucracies, even the ones entrusted with dispensing legal violence. The physical militarization of US police forces, (as opposed to the granting of law enforcement powers and duties to other government agencies, businesses and citizens)  the kind that’s easy to see, with carbines in every radio car, mechanized infantry patrols, and this little drug war machine, helped keep defense contractors in the red, between the end of the Cold War and the 9/11 attacks.

The US Congress passed the Military Cooperation with Law Enforcement Officials Act, in 1981 which allowed for the sharing of information, facilities and equipment and training by active-duty military personnel in 1981. The policies of the “liberal”  Clinton administration facilitated a massive increase in paramilitary raids and the issue of absurd amounts of military hardware to civilian police departments:

Between 1995 and 1997 the Department of Defense gave police departments 1.2 million pieces of military hardware, including 73 grenade launchers and 112 armored personnel carriers. TheLos Angeles Police Department has acquired 600 Army surplus M-16s. Even small-town police departments are getting into the act. The seven-officer department in Jasper, Florida, is now equipped with fully automatic M-16s

Greece

Greece

The Greek police look almost naked and empty-handed compared to the toys that police in the US are issued. I literally own more riot gear than the average, individual, paid terrorist in Greece, from what I’ve seen. Contrast that with the kinds of equipment deployed for even the smallest demo in the US. A stark contrast to the Ninja turtle suits, APCs, grenade launchers and tons of other shit that this jealous little boy wishes he had. Even a minor traffic stop quickly turns into an unpermitted FOP convention with traffic jams for the rest of us.

USA

USA

It’s also been the better part of 40 years since shit has actually gotten out of hand, in any kind of big way, so it’s not easy to predict how contemporary, widespread civil unrest would be dealt with.  Would you see the National Guard machine-gunning apartment buildings ala Newark, ’67 or state bombings not unlike they did to MOVE?  We know that the less lethals are reserved for white folks, as it stands, but there’s no way of knowing if they’d go to live ordinance for anyone who can’t pass for white, as they have clearly done in the past. The violence directed towards Katrina victims by State and mercenary forces in New Orleans, not to mention the media , may be a preview of the kinds of treatment that will accompany the acceleration of the crumbling empire.

Race is obviously a factor in the US equation and the Alexis’ assassin was a member of an organized neo-fascist group called the Golden Dawn. There is obviously no kind of reasonable evidence to begin to quantify how many US police are members of neo-fascist groups, but given the level of institutional racism in the US, from the 3/5 compromise to racial profiling, there is really no reason to bother with such wannabees or their little clubs, except to protect them from the rest of us. The heavy reliance on informants and illegal combatants plainclothes infiltrators further blurs the line between official and unoffical hate groups. The situation with the Love Park 4 is a good example of this kind of symbiotic relationship. This is to say nothing of the role of liberals who confuse “free speech” with hate speech.

There have been some grumblings regarding the deployment of regular US troops for domestic purposes, but this is nothing new. Despite the alleged protections of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, the rarest of birds, a one sentence law enacted by southern democrats after the US civil war, Federal troops have been used to break dozens of strikes, before Big Labor was successfully recuperated. The State must not trust the local cops at the end of the day, and maybe their loyalties will lie with the people in the end. In more recent years, super-secret Delta Force commandos were on the ground at the 1984 summer olympics in California, the 1993 State murders of religious kooks and their children at Waco and  the 1999 WTO demonstrations in Seattle.

Whoever, except in cases and under such circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or by Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined no more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.

Aside from the cop-toy shortage in Greece it also seems bizarre that the terrorist who murdered Alexis would be charged with any miscounduct, a rare occurrence in the US. Of my two cop relatives who have murdered civilians, neither of them did any time for killing, but one of them was briefly detained and released without charges for allegedly stealing from the victim. The police didn’t make this system and they are a relatively new development. If the US ran out tear gas, I imagine law enforcement types might begin to protect and serve the people. The local medical examiner, who by all accounts is something of a megalomaniac, has spent a good deal of time in federal court over machine politics as usual, and the only thing that makes him any different than the rest of the region’s bottom-feeders, was his suggestion that State violence was unjustified in several incidents.

It was also strange to read that this was the first teenager murdered by the state in Greece since 1985, but apparently there are consequences for such behaviors. Here, it happens so often that no one seems to notice and the media loves to blame a victim,  and brandishing a firearm (or old-timey cell phone) at members of a specialized warrior class with a license to kill is a high risk behaviors, and the outcome of these incidents is not very surprising.

This another example of the multi-tiered US justice system, where the privileged classes (the wealthy, the famous, politicians, informants, security forces) are exempt from the both the spirit and letter of the law. A clear, simple example of this is the removal of civilians and media to make room for off-duty police to intimidate witnesses and jurors in cases where civilians defend themselves from State violence.

Another tier is for those who appear repentant (and/or attractive) enough to be willing to retain an attorney, with punishments well below the level stated by the law. At the bottom is everyone else, (the poor, the mentally ill, the illiterate) who are subject to the brunt of the law. The “impeach Bush” wingnuts refuse to acknowledge this as sure as the right-wing constitution worshippers who too act surprised, when ‘the rule of law’ is ignored by privileged groups and indviduals.

I must admit to being ignorant to the nature of the Greek legal system, as well as other objective realities (I have personal comrades on the ground there, as of 12/14) but the notion of a constitutionally mandated “no-go” zone such as is the case with Greek universities seems like a parallel universe to someone as ignorant and provincial as me, who has never left North America. The only “no-go” zones that have existed in the US, that I can recall firsthand in my lifetime were created with firearms, during the upsurge in entry-level capitalism in the early 90’s.

Maybe the sheer numbers of personal firearms in the US, as opposed to Olde Europe, provides the justification for the supression of dissenters? Obviously media complicity is a factor, as is institutional racism, and the US epidemic of Stockholm syndrome, which results in a lack of sympathy for freedom lovers and fighter, but I’m sure I must be missing something. I guess that’s why the urban guerilla-type groups in Europe fared so much better than their US counterparts. Who knows, maybe the police will get tired and quit? Part of the job is creating the appearance of being superhuman and that’s not easy to keep up. We don’t often get to see these types of things out, normally the unions sell it out pretty quick, and I’ve read something to that effect. This appears to be more youth than labor oriented so maybe ther is no central command to accept concessions.

Protest to Express Solidarity with Greek Uprising (from Pittsburgh IMC)

A reportback from this event, with photos, can be seen at infoshop.org

alexkiller

Protest to Express Solidarity with Greek Uprising
by Anarchists in Pittsburgh Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2008 at 10:58 PM
yinzersolidarity@gmail.com

This Saturday, December 13 11:30am In front of the Pittsburgh Police Zone 2 Headquarters: Because the role of the police as agents of state control and repression is universal, and our resistance must be just as global. Bring: Signs, banners, flags, noisemakers, and other symbols and expressions of resistance and support for our Greek comrades.

add your comments

On December 6, Greek police shot and killed 15-year-old anarchist Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Exarchia, an anarchist area in Athens. This act came days after police killed a Pakistani immigrant and attacked textile workers protesting for unpaid wages. These specific acts of state violence are within the context of the right-wing government’s program of privatization, deregulation, repression against social movements, and escalating attacks on pensions, labor rights, education, immigrants, and anarchists.

The murder has sparked a general uprising by tens of thousands of anarchists, students, immigrants, and workers who, for almost a week, have been occupying schools and universities, confronting police, and attacking government symbols of authority and corporate power. While diverse tendencies are engaging in these decentralized actions, they point towards a number of reformist and revolutionary views worthy of support: a desire to remove the current right-wing government from power; dissatisfaction with capitalism and corporate globalization; the desire for autonomy and freedom from coercive hierarchies; and rejection of the state repression being directed against immigrants, anarchists, and other groups.

The cost of holding the streets has been heavy, with dozens of protesters injured and hundreds arrested. It is the largest outbreak of social discontent since the fall of Greece’s military dictatorship and may yet topple the current government.

In these decisive days of heroic resistance within Greece it is the responsibility of anarchists, students, and workers around the world to show our support. This is critical in light of the media coverage that seems only to show WHAT people are doing while distorting or ignoring the reasons WHY.

Greece is an inspiration to all of us who believe in human solidarity, who desire to live free and to shake off government and corporate control of our lives, workplaces, and communities.

Hundreds of solidarity actions are occurring around the world. Protesters blockaded the Greek Embassy in London, and the Berlin and Paris embassies have been occupied. Within the United States solidarity protests are happening in San Francisco, New York City, Olympia, and elsewhere. In Pittsburgh we are organizing a public, visible gathering at the Zone 2 Police Headquarters. The role of the police as an agent of state control and repression is universal, and it is a fitting location to connect our resistance locally to that occurring globally.

We encourage people not just to attend, but to continue manifesting their solidarity in other direct, creative, and relevant ways throughout the city.

This solidarity gathering is organized by individuals affiliated with various radical projects and initiatives in Pittsburgh. Due to the time sensitive nature of the event, we are unable to seek endorsement by specific groups. Instead, we are simply calling for the local radical community to put aside any personal or organizational gripes to come together in a unified gathering in support of the uprising in Greece.

Organizers can be contacted at: yinzersolidarity@gmail.com

**Resources on the Greek Struggle**

Rioting Explodes Across Greece: http://libcom.org/news/rioting-explodes-across-greece-08122008

Communiqué from those occupying the Athens Polytechnic University: http://athens.indymedia.org/front.php3?lang=el&article_id=936215

Police Shooting at protesters as clashes rage: http://libcom.org/news/shots-ring-out-athens-riots-continue-09122008

Blog about Greece Riots: http://www.occupiedlondon.org/blog/

Raising the Price


Updates on infoshop news (1)and the Occupied London blog

On the night of December 6, 2008, our comrade, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was murdered by terrorists employed by the Greek State. Such violence, a byproduct of the State’s defense of class society, is nothing new, but a defining aspect of governments, escalated by the recent flickering of the capitalist picture show. What makes Alexandros different than the thousands who lose their lives every day to fuel the global corpse/cash machine is not his age, as market forces (their words, not ours) do not respect identity, but his clarity of vision which allowed him to see the beast for what it is, and his decision to act on his own behalf, with his comrades, and directly engage the same forces which beat, shoot, starve, kill, maim, and poison all of us to increase profits and control. This system and its ancestors have been fueled with our blood long before oil, but it still needs more. Now, his loved ones are raising the price. They are raising the price for the same reason that the bosses do. Because they can.

As his family and comrades prepare for his funeral, sparks from fires in the streets of Greece are spreading and igniting in the area of western Asia called “Europe”. Anarchists in Germany (1) and England (1) (2) are rising, and the rest of Europe will likely follow suit. Words of solidarity often precede acts of resistance. The spark has crossed the Atlantic and landed in NYC and others are taking notice.

A general strike has been called for tomorrow, so give yourself the day off and put your money away. If you have to go to work or school, I’m sure you’ll think of something. We don’t need any martyrs or prisoners, so be intelligent. Think of where you live and what you can get likely get away with.

The terrorists who murdered our comrade are the same the world over. They will defend the illusions of  the markets and democracy with the same fervor that they would defend their families or homes. Capitalism routinely involves the shooting of young people, whether by the State or other young people engaged in competeive markets.  May the bosses of Greece, the land of the agora and what is often referred to as democracy, fear for the failure of their projects, with the bosses across the globe, at a time when popular faith in market fundamentalism has been weakened. Let resistance follow the example set by comrades in Greece, the birthplace of the alleged western civilization and the example of comrades in Chicago. Self-managed revolt and re-appropriation are more likely to be the path to freedom, and not messianic politicans or recuperated institutions. We can’t afford to buy back our lives, so start stealing.

An Open Letter to the “Anarchists” Who Voted for Obama

In a future revolutionary period, the most subtle and most dangerous defenders of capitalism will not be the people shouting pro-capitalist and pro-statist slogans, but those who have understood the possible point of a total rupture. Far from eulogizing TV commercials and social submission, they will propose to change life… but, to that end, call for building a true democratic power first. If they succeed in dominating the situation, the creation of this new political form will use up people’s energy, fritter away radical aspirations and, with the means becoming the end, will once again turn revolution into an ideology. Against them, and of course against overtly capitalist reaction, the proletarians’ only path to success will be the multiplication of concrete communist initiatives, which will naturally often be denounced as anti-democratic or even as.. “fascist”. The struggle to establish places and moments for deliberation and decision, making possible the autonomy of the movement, will prove inseparable from practical measures aimed at changing life.
-Gilles Dauvé: When Insurrections Die (Part 2)

Beloved and respected friends and comrades,

I’ve been putting this off for a little while, because it pertains to those who I “know” only digitally, and those of you whom I know and care for, which is little different than my normal motives for procrastinating. I’m also having difficulty coming to any kind of conclusive conclusion. Sometimes I feel like that straight-edge teen I used to be. The one who had to ignore my friend’s personal habits, if I wanted the friends I had. I’ve since exchanged abstinence for abstention, but the moral highlands get lonely. We all have moments, every day, when our words and actions are not explicitly anarchist ones. That’s no real contradiction. Theory’s theory,  and reality is reality. I lack the formal education to decide at what point (or which actions) we rack up enough ‘un-anarchist’ points to get the discount on gas or free coffee or purged from the Movement.

The recent US national election saw many of you anarchists (outside of the title, I’ll refrain from using quotation marks or “self-described” out of respect) publicly endorse and proudly vote for Barack Obama. I was unaware of the existence of modern anarchists in the US in August of 1999, but when I look back, I can find no evidence of any radical fanfare when Franklin Raines became CEO of Fannie Mae.

Looking back, It seems that anarchist involvement in US political conventions seems to be a baby-boomer contribution. I’m unaware of any anarchist actions at the political party conventions before 1968. Other than the tactical lack of Republican mobs in the street, we seem to harbor a soft spot for the Democrats. Maybe later we can figure that one out and we can also discuss why we even protest the political conventions?

This election, many people who identify as anarchists, saw no contradiction in voting. Some of you weren’t even the “hold your nose and vote” types. Some anarchists seem  proud of themselves, their country, and their candidate, for the moment, but that’s a moment too long. The reasons you gave us were pretty much the same reasons that people who vote democratic tend to give, plus some debatable notions that democratic administrations allow room for social movements to flourish (like they’re mountain lions) and murky stuff about solidarity. Which you may remember is the flipside of my past endorsements of “the worse of two evils”, because “an increase in open repression, privation, and alienation would push our beloved homogeneous masses to open mutiny” and that “republican policies can hasten the end of US empire quicker than the democrats can”. But I was less than half-serious and never actually went through with it. I didn’t have much internet access before the election, so I was unaware of this backslide into electoral superstition.

The  memory escapes me, but I am unaware of democrats nurturing radical social movements, I remember many armed right wing, “partiot”  groups, who are in favor of Jesus, if they don’t consider themselves Jesus. This time around, they can protect us from the UN and the Federal Reserve and al Qaeda in Idaho.  Dubya just didn’t deploy the black helicopters like Clinton did. Conspiracy kingpin, Alex Jones, should be able to afford an island soon. This is good news for the State security apparatus, because the similarities in views, structure, goals, and appearance between the FBI and the theocratic militias is much easier than these years of tormenting Muslims.

Anarchist voters also had to be pretty certain that Obama would govern from the center-right, in the manner expected of a modern US president, because if he was the “marxist” that right-wing radio still maintain he his, the repression against anarchists would likely be swift and brutal, if the 20th century is any indicator. The 21st century hasn’t proven to be much better.

Some of us knew that the campus radicals were easy prey for the democrats. The rise in anarchist votes in the last two elections seems to be reflective of the recent increase in youth turnout, overall, but many comrades who should have known better, “signed their social contract” last week. It’s not hard to see where material conditions become more of a concern as the acceptable age for youthful rebellion in the US is left behind. Add a few kids to that mix, and anything that has an outside chance to make material conditions even slightly less miserable must seem like a real good idea. Besides, who doesn’t crave some legitimacy every now and again and the pressure exerted by the people around you can be great? I also have the luxury of not being canvassed all day by co-workers.

I think that many of the anarchists who are concerned with building a mass movement of some sort, may have been more susceptible to voting. It’s likely some anti-authoritarians wanted to be on the winning team for a change, because there was that kind of group energy and momentum swirling around the Obama campaign, if you were willing to ignore the structure and aims. The business unions may have made voters out of some the anarchists who are there to radicalize the union. Which is telling, as far as the notion of changing the system from within is concerned, as if that one needed another debunking.

We tend to run with a pretty iconoclastic bunch, so it’s easy to forget, but hard to discount the effect that endorsements by some of the leading lights of mainstream anti-authoritarian academia must had. Bill Ayers probably gave Obama some radical credibility. Or was it radical chic? The republicans simply couldn’t grasp the political reality that people like Ayers are big-money liberal fund-raising props, like their wounded troops and police widows. Liberals love proxy violence and armed-struggle; so long as it is from another time or place, as sure as conservatives love US military and police violence. Zapatistas and Sandinistas and aging bombers are venerated money magnets, but break a window at a present day demo or hit a nazi with a stick and their American Exceptionalism is triggered. They’re incensed.

Like christmas, it’s not easy to avoid being sucked into the campaign reality grid, considering the resources expended on sucking us in. Avoiding Obama’s gravitational pull wasn’t easy, either. I guess even I’d seem pretty attractive if I spent $650 million of someone elses money to do so. I love politics as a spectator sport, though and this cycle was particularly entertaining, but I still don’t have a favorite team. Having lived through seven presidents, it wasn’t hard to figure out that the pendulum would favor a democrat this time around. McCain’s dementia-influenced health care plan which I sill can’t comprehend, was a far cry from the Wall Street sanctioned Obama proposal. When the reality that capitalism is just a game we all agree to play wounded the markets, there was no way Obama could lose. It was almost shocking to be reminded that the democrats were ever skilled at the game of elections.

US elections have also proven to be of extra dubious legitimacy lately, and electronic touchscreens have done little to make the results seem more valid. The participation of people I care about does nothing validate that process for me either. The fraud, intimidation, disenfranchisement, and other irregularities make the powerball seem like a better idea.

Does anyone really believe that the aircraft carrier of State can make a quick 180 degree turn, no matter how cool the captain seems? That’s why there are so many bizarre laws still left on the books, it’s not easy to put these things back into the box, Pandora. The State ensures its existence by passing laws, not repealing them. The issues that separate the US parties are meant to stay unresolved, or all they have to differ on is semantics and the parties would go out of business. Abortion & firearms seem to be the defining ones, and both are here to stay. The need to be armed and voluntary eugenics will never go out of style, as long as this system exists. The firearms manufacturers love democratic presidents, who become amazing gun salesmen through hysteria generated by lobbyists and pundits. Dubya was quite the Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Issues that unite the parties include; staying in Iraq, also known as supporting the troops, and as much surveillance as is technologically and near-economically feasible, which is pretty much just not mentioned by politicians or the media, at all. Obama, as you may recall is a-ok with domestic suveillance, and the “War on Terror®” is the replacement for the cold war. I don’t know which of the “changes” you “believed in” but they apparently weren’t in white house staffers, since 37 of the 41 appointed so far were ex-Clinton lackies. Can we look forward to more “workfare”, humanitarian airstrikes, and extra cops, fresh back from Iraq? Elected democrats are often called upon to prove how ‘tough’ they are on certain issues, typically these are mostly things like “Crime”, “Communism/Terrorism,most-isms”, “Drugs” and ocassionally “Poverty” or “Illiteracy”. The last two aren’t as much a priority, because they seldom involve explosions.

I can’t pretend to begin to have anything even resembling a clue, as far as how many of us the US consider themselves to be anarchists. I’d prefer to be wrong, but it can’t be too many. There’s probably a bigger Fiero owners club. In fact, I doubt that if every anti-authoritarian moved to a sparsely populated US state; all of us put together would not be enough to change the outcome of a US election. The math is what makes any argument for voting moot. I thought we knew our votes didn’t count? Had former 1960’s bomber John McCain won the election would that have jogged your collective memories? Would so many have admitted to voting? The folks who took a sabbatical from practicing anarchist theory and voted were not even a factor. Had you all remained proper abstentionists, like a big chunk of the population who don’t consider themselves anarchists, I wouldn’t be wasting a week on this one post.

Once again, it made little difference to the election whether anarchists participated or not, so I guess it shouldn’t matter to me?  I don’t know why I feel a little betrayed, though. Maybe it’s just knowledge of the loss of a shared affinity? After the passage of a little time, I have to question the election as a great historical event. Whites in the US have accepted Tiger Woods as the greatest at an activity that brown-skinned people have traditionally had sense enough to avoid, like skydiving. For 35 years I’ve listened to the blue-collar bigots in my family and neighborhood profess their admiration for Muhammad Ali, a physically dangerous black man with legitimately radical views, who practiced Islam.  As long as our celebreties are attractive enough, race can be easily overlooked.

I guess I didn’t campaign too vigorously against this election, out of guilt, which I imagine is what led you to endorse, campaign, and vote for Obama, and why you are still proud of your vote.

Parts of this will be addressed later, but something had to be said.

Love,

yinsurgent

Landslide Farmhouse Eviction Account and Support Information‏

The City has unboarded the house, but informed the residents that they may not sleep there. Legal status is being worked out. A benefit is planned, and donations are being accepted.

UPDATE!!!!

Thanks to the hundreds of phones calls of support to Council Woman Payne’s office, public works, the mayors office, and to 311; the Support of Council Woman Payne, and legal aid from the ACLU, our lawyer and one long, hard day of work from many other helpful folks, the boards will be removed from the farmhouse. We are thankful for all your support. This victory, though temporary, has shown us just how many people in our community and the larger community care about Landslide.

Personal Account of November 7th 2008 Landslide Community Farm’s Farmhouse Eviction

On the morning of November 7th 2008 the Landslide Community Farm volunteers were assembling to plan the 3rd day of their yearly farm closing work week, when Pittsburgh Public Works arrived escorted by several PGHPD vehicles, including a police wagon. The police asked for identification from all people on the sidewalk when they arrived. They then asked to see a written lease agreement or deed for the farmhouse.

No written agreement was able to be presented; police officers then notified all present that we had fifteen minutes to remove our important belongings before the house would be barred. When asked why we were being evicted, we were told that an anonymous complaint call had been made to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s 311 hotline. The caller claimed that we were violating building code.

Neighbors, visitors, and volunteers helped us retrieve as much of our property as we all could before we were denied re-entry. The Public Works employees then measured and tried to board the doors, but their van was a bit too far down the hill. They pulled the van up and backed over their own saw. They had to leave the premises to purchase a new one. Police officers remained outside watching the community farm members as we watched over the farmhouse.

Public Works returned and boarded two of the entrances. The police asked if anyone was still present in the house. A full time volunteer re-entered and checked the premises and reported that no one remained inside. Then, two police officers entered the house admittedly without permission from the owner and without a search warrant. Public Works then boarded the last door and the police informed us we would be immediately arrested if we entered the farmhouse. The PW workers left with the police shortly afterward.

Councilwoman Tonya Payne, a major supporter of the farm, came a bit later with the same PW employees that had sealed the farmhouse. She and the other city employees said they wished they could help us in this situation. The councilwoman didn’t know how to go about that, and the PW employees said that they could only follow orders. We are now trying to figure out our next steps and what our options are. We are currently working with a lawyer but if you have ideas or advice please email Landslide@riseup.net.

If you would like to help us out, we need you! Please come to Landslide in the next few days to help us finish our closing work. You can also attend our emergency fundraiser tomorrow, November 8th, 2008 5452 Wilkins Ave. at 8 pm. We will be having our weekly Sunday Brunch benefit (a spilt benefit between Landslide and Book ‘Em) as usual on Sunday, November 9th Noon-3ish pm. Anything that you have (especially love and support) will help get us through this tough period and build our collective strength. Monies collected will first go toward legal fees and we will also be raising money in case the farmhouse goes up for city auction soon. If you cannot physically come to Landslide but want to donate money, you can send donations via Pay Pal on http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org by selecting “Donate” then “Projects” then choosing the Sustainable Living Project. Checks should be made out to “The Thomas Merton Center” memo “Sustainable Living Project”. Checks and money orders can be sent to: The Thomas Merton Center 5125 Penn Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15206. We will have a list of tools and materials that we could use and projects that are being completed posted on our website shortly. Please check http://www.landslidecommunityfarm.org for updates.

Thanks so much to everyone that has been a part of all the kindness, generosity, and overwhelming support that the project has received. We couldn’t be here with out it.


members
of The Landslide Community Farm

Ravenstahl “Greens” the Hill: Landslide Farmhouse Evicted

boarded1For some strange reason, that probably has nothing to do with admitted liar and extortionist Mario Lemieux’s, gambling-funded $290 million Taj Mahal in the Hill, or overtime pay, Landslide Community Farm was Redd-Up. Instead of “cleaning up neglected and overgrown lots, towing cars, boarding up abandoned buildings, getting rid of graffiti” a group of individuals who are participating in a community farming project had their person and property put out on the curb and their home boarded up while licensed terrorists were there for some reason, maybe to provide cover fire? That is after the politicians nephews from Public Works found a
replacement for the saw that they ran over with one of their own trucks. Given the popularity of irony in recent years, it’s worth pointing out that at the time of this writing, on beloved and respected comrade mayor Ravenstahl’s web page, the first item is this Green Up Pittsburgh Application (posted here for your convenience, should you need to start a community farm of your own)

signThis was my first visit, and I was quite impressed.This incident was kind of shocking to me, as far as I knew, this was a pretty well respected and established project, with both community and a degree of political support. Hell, even the Trib, was impressed.

watering-can

The following are messages from the Landslide folks:

**Update**

Councilwoman Tonya Payne’s office has contacted us to say that she’s working on the issue and that we should stop contacting her so she can get to work helping us. Please stop calls to Councilwoman Payne’s office but continue calling Mayor Ravensthal’s hotline 311 and the Department of Public Works (412) 255-2790 (ext 3).
City officials are now telling us that we are being evicted because the house had no doors or windows. You can clearly see doors AND windows in the photograph below (which was taken at the time of the eviction). Our attorneys are advising us that regardless of any alleged building code violations, the eviction was without proper notice or opportunity to remedy any problems and completely illegal.
Thank you all for all of your support. Keep checking back to www.landslidecommunityfarm.org for updates. Let’s keep the pressure on!
In Solidarity,

Landslide Community Farm

harbs

At a little before 9:00 am this morning, four police officers and two representatives from Pittsburgh Public Works arrived at the Landslide Community Farm farmhouse (#3 Allequippa St.) and told everyone inside to leave—the house was being boarded up. Police and Public Works officials could produce no documentation other than a work order instructing them to board up the house.  Apparently someone had phoned in a complaint stating that 20 or so ‘vagrants’ had been living in the house. There had been no advance notice, no opportunity to fix any purported problems, just an abrupt eviction. Police demanded to see a written lease. When none could be presented (our lease agreement is verbal, as are around 40% of all leases agreements) they told us that they had ‘no choice’ but to comply with the order and board up the house. Police made it clear that the owner of the house had not requested the eviction and that they had not contacted her before We are working hard to settle the situation but we need your help to pressure the authorities to let us back into our homes. Please call: Councilwoman Tonya Payne- 412-255-2134 Mayor Luke Ravensthal’s Hotline- 311 Tell Councilwoman Payne and the Mayor that Landslide community farm is an established and respected community project. Take all appropriate action to let these farmers back into their homes! In Solidarity,
Landslide Community Farm http://www.landslidecommunityfarm.org

amar

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