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.

Labor Rising?

I tend to be pretty skeptical of the business unions leadership, although some of them are nice folks. But as organizations they are top-heavy, top-down, conveyor-belt for the ruling class, safety-valve against revolt, jingoist war profiteers, democratic patsies, historically racist and sexist, textbook example of recuperation, those “Don’t Bite The War That Feeds You Buttons,etc. blah blah blah. I had to get that out of my system, since the unraveling of capitalism may be forcing them to change their ways.

Big Labor tends to unconditionally support the democrats both morally and financially, and has gotten little in return, since Reagan was president. The recent corporate reparations and the success of the Republic Window occupation in Chicago may have reminded organized labor how they were originally able to force the capitalists into giving union members lower-middle class lifestyles, in the first place. I want to believe the that anarchists who work as organizers and bureaucrats played a role, and that their brutally hard work has not been in vain. I mean that sincerely.

The diffuse nature of consumer capitalism means that more workers than just those in Michigan will be affected by the collapse of the US auto industry and more unions than just the UAW will be losing members. The US senate voting against granting reparations to the US automakers has backed the unions, already weakened by years of ‘right to work’, so called “free-trade”, and the transition from an industrial to a consumer economy, into a corner. They appear to be ready to fight for their very existence when United Steelworkers International president, Leo Gerard, on a conference call for labor PAC, Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) says,

If we have Republicans who oppose us, we are going to take to the streets, we are going to occupy places. We are not going to allow any more of our members’ lives to be destroyed.

Then he shouts down a market-fundamentalist pundit who questions the USW solidarity with Colombian workers, saying

We should not do deals with countries that allow the shooting of people who represent the workers!

Not only do Leo Gerard and the Kaiser Chiefs predict a riot.  Gerald Celente, relatively accurate trend predictor, sees food riots, revolutions, and squatter uprisings in the US by 2012.  He also addressed our capacity for denial.

America’s going to go through a transition the likes of which no one is prepared for,” said Celente, noting that people’s refusal to acknowledge that America was even in a recession highlights how big a problem denial is in being ready for the true scale of the crisis.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, said, while referring to the auto bailout,

We’re going to have riots. There are already people rioting because they’re losing their jobs when everybody else is being bailed out. The fairness of it becomes more and more evident as we go along. The auto companies may be hurting,” he said, but “there are very few companies that aren’t hurting and they’re going to hurt. We don’t have enough money to bail everyone out.

Too bad that wasn’t a campaign promise.

Glad to see the unions are trying to tap into the old fighting spirit. Hopefully we’ll see them on the barricades. Gerard’s a big dude.

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.

Solidarity Means “Attack”

solidattack

In the days surrounding the 2008 US elections, it was distressful enough to hear about the attempts to redefine anarchists as “the left wing of the democratic party”, a charge made by right-wing pundits for years, which really used to raise my blood pressure. They knew something I didn’t, I suppose?

What made things worse was another watering down of the word “solidarity”, which, like most of the language used to express resistance, was taken to mean “campaign/vote for the democrat”. Fortunately, US presidential elections only occur every four years and a definition that is much more acceptable to me is being expressed by anarchists here in the belly of the beast and throughout the world.

Although it’s not easy to keep up with these faith-restoring actions that have already occurred, are happening as I type, and have been called for, in the next few days.  Here’s my best attempt:

Regular updates in English, courtesy of Occupied London infoshop news (photos & videoBalkan Decentralized Network libcom (photos) anarkismo 325 collective bombs & shields center for strategic anarchy

Resources from Greece: diy music, Athens IMC, Patras IMC, Direct Action News From Greece RSS Portal From Greece Thessaloniki Free Radio (in Greek)

I apologize if I’ve overlooked your action.  Please send links to yinsurrectionarytimes at hotmail dot com

More to follow…

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.

New US “Less-Lethal” Field Manual Available for Download

The Federation of American Scientists have managed to obtain and upload a copy of the new US Military “Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the Tactical Employment of Nonlethal Weapons” field manual, as part of their government secrecy project.

130th Anniversary of the 1877 Shamokin Uprising and the Great Railroad Strike

Thanks to YT reader Hal Smith, who wrote this article for the News Item of Shamokin, and was kind enough to point it out.

This July 25th marks the 130th anniversary of the Shamokin Uprising, when desperation and starvation drove railroad workers and miners to join the Great Railroad Strike of 1877, America’s first nationwide strike.

Railroad workers and miners had perilous jobs in the late 1800’s. More than 200 railroad workers and 1000 miners died in accidents every year. The companies often forced both to buy from company stores at inflated prices and work from sunup to sundown. Companies made engineers pay for all train damages, regardless of fault. Children tore their hands picking rocks from coal in collieries.

The first recorded strike in the anthracite coal region occurred in 1842. More followed in 1849, 1869, and 1872. During the Civil War, the mine owners even used cavalry platoons to arrest 8 miners and evict them from company homes for striking in Locust Gap. At that time, the workers in Locust Gap formed the Miner’s Benevolent Society, to provide accident insurance and demand better pay. It was one of the first unions in America .

By 1872 the Reading Railroad was the biggest mine company in the Anthracite region. It used its monopoly on the railroads to take over 70,000 acres of the best coal lands. Places like Gowen City and Gowen Street in Shamokin were named after the company’s president, Frank Gowen. Gowen even bought a police force from the government called the “Reading Coal and Iron Police.” Between 1871 and 1875 Gowen borrowed $69 million to pay for his empire. But he and the other railroad barons had overestimated the demand for train service and over-invested. Debts forced them to fire many workers, resulting in a nationwide depression in 1873.

In 1874 a third of Pennsylvania’s workforce was unemployed. The Reading Railroad cut train workers’ wages by 10%, resulting in an unsuccessful strike. In 1875 only 1/5 of American workers had full-time jobs. Some people vented their frustration by damaging tracks, trains, and mines. On May 11, 1875 the trestle at Locust Gap Junction was exploded by drilling holes and filling them with gunpowder. The telegraph office at Locust Summit was burned. From 1860 to 1909 arson destroyed 25 collieries between Mount Carmel and Trevorton. Knoebel’s Amusement Park has a Mining Museum with a beautiful mural of the twice burned Locust Gap colliery.

When Gowen lowered mining wages to 54% of their 1869 level, miners began the “Long Strike” of 1875, lasting 170 days. But Gowen stored enough coal to outlast the strike and crushed the miner’s union by firing its members.

Gowen further accused leaders of the Irish community of running an alleged secret society called the “Molly Maguires” that killed mine officials. He used private police to investigate and company lawyers to prosecute. Catholics and Irish were excluded from juries. Beginning in June 1877, 20 “Molly Maguires” were executed- often despite strong evidence of innocence.

The Reading Railroad lowered miners’ wages 10-15% twice between 1876 and 1877. Many workers’ meals became bread and water. Some families ate pets.

As for the railroad workers, Gowen decreed they must leave their union and join the company’s insurance plan, which they would lose if they stopped working. In response, the trainmen went on strike in April 1877. Gowen replaced them with scabs whose inexperience caused many accidents. Nevertheless, Gowen didn’t rehire the fired workers, and destroyed the Brotherhood of Railroad Engineers.

In July 1877 America was deep in the depression. The previous year the total revenues of America’s railroads fell by $5.8 million. But they raised profits to $186 million (up $0.9 million) by cutting wages. Most owners received 10% dividends. In July 1877 railroads across America conspired and lowered wages another 10%. Train brakemen and firemen’s wages came to $30 per month.

When they found out on July 16, trainmen in Baltimore left work, sparking the Great Strike. More than 80,000 trainmen and 500,000 other workers from Boston to Kansas City joined them, despite the absence of unions. In Pittsburgh when the National Guard, invited by the railroad, shot 26 unarmed strikers and bystanders, crowds burned freight cars for 3 miles. In Pittsburgh and Saint Louis , Missouri the railroad workers were strong enough to take over management, run trains, and collect tickets. In Hornellsville, New York when scabs started a train up a mountain, strikers soaped the tracks. The train went up, slowed, stopped; the passenger cars were unhooked and slid back down the mountain.

In Reading on July 22, with the Reading Railroad 2 months in arrears of paying wages, crowds of women and children watched as strikers blocked tracks. The railroad called in the National Guard. A few people threw bricks and the soldiers opened fire in all directions, killing 10 and wounding 40, including 5 local police.

That evening in Sunbury, rumors circulated that the National Guard would pass through to crush Pittsburgh’s strike. An agitated crowd gathered at the railroad junction at 3rd and Chestnut streets. The soldiers took another route, but when a freight train tried to leave, the railroad workers took it over and sent it back.

On July 23rd the trainmen met at Red Men’s Hall. They decided to join the national strike and continue blocking freight trains until the railroads took back the 10% reduction. The next morning they ordered the shop mechanics to leave work too.

In Danville on the morning of July 23, the workers appointed a group to ask the Commissioner of the Poor for bread or work. The Commissioner “passed the buck” to the mayor. At 3 PM a large crowd gathered at the weigh scales on Mill Street in the middle of Danville . One speaker said “We will give the borough authorities until tomorrow at 10:00 to devise some action to give us work or bread. If at that time nothing is done for us, we will take [explicative] wherever we can find it.” John Styer discussed their poverty and demanded government aid. The town newspaper reported unless the borough council banished starvation, “disorder would ensue. Men would take the law into their own hands.”

The next day there was almost a bread riot. Citizens were on the verge of starvation. Grocers brought their flour inside for safety, and farmers left markets with half their goods sold. At noon crowds led by Ben Bennet and former constable Frank Treas took a few old muskets from an abandoned storehouse. Next they rushed for the weapons stored in the Baldy building on Mill and Northumberland Streets. Police met them. One policeman tried to arrest Treas, for using incendiary language. But he could not get to Treas in the crowd. A sign on Bloom Street proposed a meeting of workingmen in Sechler’s Woods on July 26. Following these events, the authorities gave food to those in need.

In Shenandoah on July 25, 800-1000 workers paraded down the streets with flags and a drum corps. When they got to the baseball field at 10 PM, they could see that arsonists had set fire to the mining stables in nearby Lost Creek. On July 27, Shenandoah’s miners brought business of all kinds to a standstill.

In Shamokin on the morning of July 24, miners struck at the Big Mountain Colliery. 10 families in a row of houses had no food for 3 weeks, except a few scraps from their gardens. At 2 PM a large meeting of workers on Slope Hill demanded work or food.

The next day they repeated their demands at Union Hall on Rock Street . William Oram, the attorney for both the borough and the Mineral Railroad & Mining Company told the crowd the borough and wealthy citizens would give them street work for 80 cents a day.

The crowd appointed a Workingmen’s Committee to negotiate with the borough council that night for a higher rate. The committee demanded $1.00 a day, and the borough agreed. But when the committee returned to Union Hall, the crowd rejected the $1.00 offer.

Then 1000 men and young people marched down Rock Street and Shamokin Street . When someone threw a stone through Shuman & Co.’s Store, the crowd could restrain itself no longer. They surged into the Reading Railroad station and depot on Shamokin and Independence Streets, where the parking lot now stands. They broke the windows and doors, took the freight from the cars and everything in the building, and gutted it. Next they crossed Liberty Street toward the Northern Central Depot on Commerce Street.

Meanwhile Mayor William Douty gathered vigilantes outside City Hall in response to a prearranged signal – a bell ringing at the Presbyterian church where he belonged. Douty managed his family’s coal mines and collieries at Big Mountain, Doutyville, and Shamokin. He also participated in persecuting the Molly Maguires. Douty’s vigilantes marched down Lincoln and Liberty Streets armed with muskets and revolvers. They told the crowd to leave, and when that failed, shot into it. 12 people were wounded and 2 killed, neither one involved in the uprising. Mr. Weist was shot dead while closing his candy store on Liberty and Independence Streets; Levi Shoop was the second victim. The crowd escaped to the town’s outskirts. The vigilantes captured the train stations and patrolled the town. According to rumors, after retreating, people tore up the tracks a few miles east of town.

In November, a wounded victim named Phillip Weist was tried for leading the riot. Despite receiving serious injuries, he was imprisoned for 8 months in the Northumberland County jail. In addition, James Richards, Peter Campbell, Christin Neely, and James Ebright were imprisoned 7, 6, 4, and 3 months respectively for rioting and burglary.

Elsewhere railroads crushed the strike using coal and iron police, vigilantes, and the National Guard. Across America, these “forces of order” killed more than 100 people. It was not a complete defeat for the strikers, however. The strike showed the conflict of interests between working people and management. If corporations pushed people too far, they would react out of desperation. And it showed that if workers acted together, they could challenge the corporate system. The future growth of unions would make workers stronger than an unorganized mass.