Solidarity Means “Attack”


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.

Confront Nickel & Dime War Profiteers in Your Neighborhood

Sometimes it’s hard to find a place to rent. There are any number of reason used by landlords and property managers to exclude you from shelter. They don’t need a reason.

Perhaps another worthwhile strategy that could be explored by counter-recruiters is to make the recruiters themselves homeless? Maybe the pickets and other activities could be directed at the individuals and corporate persons who are willing to rent to child predators? Landlords are quick to declare an individual a “bad tenant” and if terrorist recruiters who prey on children aren’t bad enough, I don’t know who is.

We have some tools at our disposal in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh is located. The obvious one is the Property Tax Assessment search page. Check to see if your community has one. Here, you can type in the address of a property and find out who owns it.

For this example, we will be using the Marine Corps Officer Programs Recruitment Station, located at 5837 Ellsworth Avenue. This was the site of the unprovoked attack against a POG picket by Pittsburgh Police Sgt. William Vollberg.

The property tax assessment lists the owner as one “Shadyside Plaza Associates” and that their tax bill is mailed to 241 Spahr Street, which is owned by Richard Brourman and Maria Barnette.

The local paper reveals that Mr. Brourman and his mother, Bernice were scamming people left and right, through bad home improvement schemes. When you enter Mr. Brourman’s name into a search engine the first search result is for “Mortgage Fraud News” which describes the settlement that the Brourman crime family and some other flim-flammers arrived at with the state attorney general.

Bernice and her baby, Richard, were ripping people off under the name Iron City Builders, which has received the “corporate death penalty”, prohibiting them from doing business, which did little more than to force them to commit their crimes under a new name. It’s no surprise that they’d be involved in other despicable activities such as renting to military recruiters.

Had Mama and Baby Brourman not been able to settle out of court for a six-figure sum, it would be a criminal offense, and recorded on PA’s online docket sheets , which allow you to view criminal complaints from the Commonwealth, but that’s not a concern for rich folks.

Perhaps Mr. Brourman’s other tenants should find out who they are renting from?

The Forbes Avenue recruiting station, that will be the site of POG’s next publicly announced action is owned by Oakland Real Estate located at 216 Oakland Avenue, right around the corner from the station. Might not be a bad place for a picket?

1877 Insurrection: Excerpt from THE AGE OF BETRAYAL: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900

The Post Gazette Editors were kind enough to publish this bit from Age of Betrayal: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900 by Jack Beatty.

It’s worth checking out for the pictures, alone.

I wished I’d have copied this rather than the version on the ‘about this picture‘ page.

Maybe this’ll get the Yinsurrectionary Times its first ‘cease and desist’ order? Maybe including a link to but the book offers some protection?

The Great Railroad Strike of 1877, “the largest strike anywhere in the world in the 19th century,” according to one historian, was the social earthquake of the Gilded Age, bursting post-Civil War illusions of American immunity to European-style class conflict. To keep afloat during the long depression of the 1870s, the railroads first engaged in wasting rate wars; then, to recoup their losses, colluded to cut wages to $1 a day, beginning July 1, 1877. The Ohio Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that $1 a day represented “absolute poverty.”

The strike reached Pittsburgh on the morning of Thursday, July 19, when an announcement from Pennsylvania Railroad Superintendent Robert Pitcairn was posted that said all eastbound trains would “henceforth” be doubleheaders. That is, the length of the trains would be doubled without increasing the size of the crew, costing jobs and endangering train crews.

Augustus Harris, a flagman, refused to go out on the first doubleheader. A brakeman joined him. Yardmen joined them. When a brakeman, following his supervisor’s orders, started to couple a car to an engine, the strikers threw coupling pins, injuring him and making him run for his life. Engineers were warned: Stay away from the trains.

“Hice, you have a perfect right to refuse to go out,” trainmaster David Garrett told Andrew Hice and a score of strikers, “but you have no right to interfere with others.”

“It is a question of blood or bread,” Mr. Hice came back, “and if I can go to the penitentiary I can get bread and water, and that is about all I can get now.”

After a crowd blocked the eastbound switch at the 28th Street crossing in what is now the Strip District, all traffic stopped. Superintendent Pitcairn departed for Philadelphia, leaving his chief clerk, David Watt, in charge. Mr. Watt applied to Mayor William McCarthy for help, but Mr. McCarthy had no will for that. Squeezing Pittsburgh for decades, the Pennsylvania Railroad had incurred the city’s enmity.

“From the first commencement of the strike,” the Report of the Committee Appointed to Investigate the Railroad Riots found, “the strikers had the active sympathy of a large portion of the people of Pittsburgh.”

The mayor could spare no men; budget cuts had winnowed his day police force to 11 men. Mr. Watt could ask for volunteers among the laid-off policemen milling in City Hall awaiting their last paychecks. Ten came forward. Mr. Watt led them up Liberty Street toward the switch at the crossing.

Wading into the crowd he declared, “I’ll turn that switch,” and strode toward it. A striker stepped in front of him. Mr. Watt took the man by the coat, at which a fist “shot out” and struck Mr. Watt in the eye. The police pursued the puncher, the crowd neither resisting nor cooperating. Boys threw stones. Dispatcher Joseph McCabe turned the switch. A freight train pulled out of the yard, the last for three weeks.

In charge at the Philadelphia headquarters of the Pennsylvania Railroad on July 19 was third vice president Alexander Cassatt, a well-born Philadelphian and older brother of the painter Mary Cassatt. Reports of the trainmen’s walkout reached Mr. Cassatt late in the afternoon. After telegraphing the Pittsburgh office to replace the strikers with “extra conductors and engineers,” he left for Cheswold, the neo-Gothic mansion on the Main Line in Haverford he had commissioned in 1872.

When most Americans used an outdoor privy during the day and a chamber pot at night and five out of six city dwellers still bathed with pail and sponge, Cheswold boasted seven bathrooms. Mr. Cassatt was having dinner with his wife and three children when the station master at Haverford arrived with news that a rough had blacked David Watt’s eye and strikers had stopped all traffic.

When the Trainmen’s Union representatives passed their list of demands to Superintendent Pitcairn in Philadelphia on Friday morning, he handed it to Mr. Cassatt, now in charge. Mr. Cassatt read it — the union mainly wanted the wage cut rescinded and the double-headers cancelled — and handed the list back. “Have no further talk with them,” he instructed Mr. Pitcairn. “They’ve asked for things we can’t grant them at all.” Knowing that Gov. John B. Hartranft, vacationing in Wyoming in a luxurious private car supplied by Mr. Cassatt’s railroad, had called out the National Guard, he felt no need to bargain.

By late afternoon, Gen. Alfred L. Pearson, the commander of the Pittsburgh-based 6th Division of the Pennsylvania National Guard, had mustered only 130 men, a force too small, he told Mr. Cassatt, to disperse the crowd. A cannonade would do it — he had two artillery pieces — but at an unacceptable cost in lives. Mr. Cassatt said he was prepared to pay the price.

Gen. Pearson, a Medal of Honor winner in the Civil War, doubted that his regiment would fire on “their fellow townsmen.” Mr. Cassatt suggested that Gov. Hartranft’s Adj. Gen. James W. Latta “had a good regiment under arms” in Philadelphia; a special train could bring them to Pittsburgh overnight. They would shoot, if they had to. Gen. Pearson wired Gen. Latta that “to avert bloodshed, we should have not less than two thousand troops.”

In a decision a Pittsburgh paper branded “insane,” Gen. Latta called out the 1st Division of the Pennsylvania National Guard under Maj. Gen. Robert M. Brinton. Bad blood between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia extended back decades, to the founding of the Pennsylvania Railroad by “Philadelphia capitalists” and their campaign to keep competitors out of Pittsburgh. How Pittsburghers would react to Philadelphia militia marching through their streets to break a broadly supported strike against the hated Pennsylvania Railroad was foreseeable but not foreseen.

That evening the Philadelphia depot thronged with soldiers and their families. Of 1,200 troops in the division, Brinton’s summons had reached a little over 600. In cars bearing the marks of stonings by strikers in Harrisburg, Johnstown and Altoona, the Philadelphia militia pulled past 28th Street in Pittsburgh early Saturday afternoon, their long polished Springfield rifles sticking out the broken windows.

The Philadelphians were “spoiling for a fight,” the Army Times later reported, boasting en route they would “clean up Pittsburgh.” They marched up the tracks toward the 28th Street crossing, two Gatling guns pulled bumpily along behind. From a parallel street “wild and famished looking women” hissed at them. Bobbing along the tops of the cars on the adjacent track, Alexander Cassatt’s tall white hat was visible.

As they gained the crossing, the Philadelphians saw they were marching into a tight spot. A steep hill ran up from the tracks on one side. Four coal cars wedged them in on the other, with “spectators” covering the coal. Spread out on the hill were lawyers and businessmen there out of curiosity, families with small children, trainmen, millmen, miners and the remnants of the Pittsburgh militia.

Ordered to occupy the crossing during the night, by midday some of the Pittsburgh militiamen had melted into the crowd; others stacked their arms and sat on the hill with their friends or families. The crowd blocking the tracks numbered “seven to eight thousand.” The Philadelphians, having split their force to guard facilities closer to the depot, were three hundred.

They deployed in a hollow square, facing the Gatlings at the thickest knot of people a few paces down the tracks. A detachment of the “Dark Blues” lowered their rifles and charged the crowd with their bayonets. Men grabbed at the bayonets and tried to pull the rifles away from the soldiers. One “retained his piece by using his bayonet, and my impression is he run the man through,” a militiaman recalled.

From the hill boys threw stones. From the coal cars came a barrage of coal. Mr. Pitcairn, in the center of the square, said coal “clouded the horizon.” A soldier “had the whole side of his face taken off by a brick.” Others collapsed from sunstroke. “Shoot, you sons of bitches, won’t you shoot!,” a voice taunted.

The crowd surged around the Dark Blues. At least three pistol shots, one from a boy on the hill, rang out. No one gave the order, but up and down the square the militiamen opened fire, at first in all directions, then at the hillside. A reporter for the Pittsburgh Post described the scene on the hill: “Women and children rushed frantically about, some seeking safety, others calling for friends and relatives. Strong men halted with fear, and trembling with excitement, rushed madly to and fro, tramping upon the killed and wounded as well as those who had dropped to Mother Earth to escape injury and death.”

Five minutes of shooting, two or three shots a second, had left 17 dead and 60 or 70 wounded. The casualties included at least one woman, a Pittsburgh militiaman, an old man and a four-year-old girl pulled from the line of fire by a lawyer who tourniqueted her shattered knee with his handkerchief. That night the doctors amputated her leg in vain.

“FIRST BLOOD: Seventeen Citizens Shot in Cold Blood by the Roughs of Philadelphia; The Lexington of the Labor Conflict at Hand” read the headline in the Sunday Pittsburgh Gazette.

Rather than stay in the crossing and be overrun by a crowd that swelled as the news of what they had done spread, the Philadelphians took refuge in the 26th Street roundhouse. They were fired on throughout the night by rifles and shotguns their attackers had stolen from a local gun shop. Toward morning rioters ran a burning coke car topped with petroleum into the buildings adjacent to the roundhouse. Its roof caught fire. At the thought of the Philadelphians burning alive the mob let out a “savage, prolonged yell of exultation.”

Soon men began gagging on the smoke. Before the roof fell in, Gen. Brinton ordered them to evacuate. These factory workers and clerks far from their Philadelphia homes then formed up, one Gatling gun in front, another in the rear, and at a little past 8 marched out of the yards.

The sight of the Gatlings panicked the crowd, which rushed for the alleys running off Liberty Street. As the troops passed, “pistols blazed at them out of doorways and windows, from behind corners, projecting signs, crates and boxes, from cellars and other places,” and even from a police station. Caring people took the wounded into their homes, and lied for them when gunmen, looking for soldiers to kill, rapped on the door. When their pursuers switched to rifles, the Philadelphians fired back, wounding a nonstriking railroad mechanic returning from work and a plasterer and killing a saloonkeeper standing in his own door.

Approaching the Allegheny Arsenal, a major arms depot for the U. S. Army, the Philadelphians were turned away. Afraid that if he harbored Gen. Brinton’s men the crowd would storm the arsenal and make off with its 36,000 rifles and muskets, its cannon and powder magazine, the commander accepted only the wounded. With his troops low on ammunition and without food or water for 24 hours, Gen. Brinton decided not to fight his way to the depot but to march the Philadelphians out of Pittsburgh via the high bridge over the Allegheny River to Sharpsburg, camping on the grounds of the local workhouse.

The crowd now ruled the city. “Vengeance means retaliation,” Barrington Moore, Jr. observed. “It also means a reassertion of human dignity or worth, after injury or damage.”

Saturday night and Sunday, a few outraged Pittsburghers reasserted their dignity against the Pennsylvania Railroad, burning 1,200 freight cars, 104 engines, 46 passenger cars and all 39 company buildings in Pittsburgh, including the Union Depot and hotel. According to Carroll Wright, the first U.S. commissioner of labor, “a great many old freight cars which must soon be replaced by new, were pushed into the fires by agents of the railroad company … and of course the loss was included in claims on the county of Allegheny.”

The tax-paying rioters would have to pay for the damage. The committee investigating the riot found that “the actual destruction was participated in by only 30 to 50 men.” Photographs of the train yards reveal a wilderness of twisted metal and fallen brick extending two miles, not so much resembling Lexington as Berlin circa 1945.

“No parallel in the history of the world upon the strength of what we saw,” Adj. Gen. Latta wired Gov. Hartranft. “A crowd setting fire to something feels irresistible; so long as the fire spreads, everyone will join in and everything hostile will be destroyed,” Elias Canetti wrote in “Crowds and Power.”

And so it was in Pittsburgh. “The strike is over,” a New York Times correspondent wrote on Sunday night, “for there is nothing here to strike against so far as the Pennsylvania Railroad is concerned.”

(Excerpted from “THE AGE OF BETRAYAL: The Triumph of Money in America, 1865-1900.” By Jack Beatty. Copyright (C) 2007 by Jack Beatty. Recently published by Alfred A. Knopf.)

Rob Baran or Robber Baron? (part 1.)


 Part 1.   Part 2.

Update: Reader, Withold Birquest, points out that:

P.S. The Rochdale folks may have not mentioned labor explicitly because they thought true co-ops would be formed by working class people in the face of the company store, not by Deadhead yuppie opportunists, looking to pull-in 60K/yr. as managers. Was told Rochdalers were blacklisted striking workers.

In a move sure to please the board and management of the East End Food “Co-op”, the anti-abortion wing of the US senate filibustered the Employee Free Choice Act. The anti-gun wing was unable to garner the required 60 votes to end debate on the bill, where it would have been vetoed by “The Decider”. Say what you will about Bush and the Republicans, but they do push the theocratic agenda, shakin’ it for the glassy eyed, snake-handling dollar. Nor do they ever forget the exalted shareholders, even when it pisses off the small money. They’re like bleu cheese: I wouldn’t eat it, because it’s mold, but I respect that it never pretends to be anything but. The self-described “co-op” is more like sweetbreads; named like a dessert, but its just veal brains.

One thing I like about the Democrats, though, is their insistence on symbolic investigations of Bush and the GOP. If they’re investigating, they aren’t making new laws, and that can’t be bad. If there’s one thing we have and abundance of, it’s engineered violence, for the benefit of a few laws The Democrats just take the union dues and run (campaigns and commercials way less entertaining than the Republican ones) but they never forget the exalted shareholders. It’s like giving cash to a junkie, to go pay your light bill for you, because “they weren’t always that way”. The shareholders are fine with the business unions, since they manage revolt by clearly pointing out to the worker that they are only entitled to a little bit, and they should be happy with that.

These are interesting times, indeed. The big, bad local corporation allows workers to organize, but the local, greenwashed, would-be corporation, resorts to every dirty trick short of busting heads with ax handles (a fact which the grad students who organize blue collar workers for the SEIU are obsessed with). In the self-described “co-op’s” defense, the 19th century English weavers, who drafted the Rochdale Principles, which remain the seven commandments of co-ops with some semantic changes, to this day.and made no mention of labor, only cash and prizes.

Is it me, or are these kinds of self-described “co-ops” just tiny scale models of corporations that go public right away? Given the liberal love of law and order and their esteemed practice of purchasing 21st century indulgences to absolve them of their guilt, in the form of marketing gimmicks with names such as: fair-trade, organic, and then there’s literal plenary plastic indulgence cards in the form of carbon offsets, it’s a short walk to convince the shareholders members that the employees are probably already over rewarded for their efforts. These folks are fine with shitting on the people who sell them their coffee, the ones who they can see, so long as they get an extra penny a pound or whatever for the romantic, exotic coffee farmer, who they will never meet.

The self-described “co-op’s” chicanery continues, only this time, Rob Baran, would-be CEO, makes one of his stupidest, most intelligence insulting statements to the press that I am aware of:

But, says Baran, the money it will take to replace the windows means less funds for profit-sharing with employees, so if the damage was meant as solidarity with workers, it backfired.

Maybe I’m an idiot, exactly the kind that Baran seems to think everyone else is, but isn’t that why businesses carry insurance policies? Isn’t there some kind of law regarding double-dipping of insurance monies?

Apparently, Baran realizes the stupidity of his statement, as he spins the penny ante corporate looting of the employee profit sharing, but still can’t justify further ripping off the self-described “co-op’s” employees, to pay for damages that will be covered by insurance. Rob, did you check with your union busting consultants from Braun? Has Braun Consulting convinced you that bathroom breaks are “time wasting activity” or have you taken any of their advice on feeling better about firings?

If you’re a member of the self-described “co-op”, or just the type who believes that you have powers as a consumer, contact the self-described “co-op” (412-242-3598) and ask them about Baran’s latest scheme to rip off workers. If you know any of the board members ask them why this is acceptable, especially the radicals/anarchists among them.

Or just steal something, for crying out loud.

Shadyside Solidarity Appreciated by G8 Protestors in Europe

This is an excerpt from a series of report backs from infoshop news written by an anarchist from the US who participated in the resistance against the G8 summit in Rostock, Germany:

“Every solidarity action I read about was related to those around me. Every solidarity action brought nothing but pleasure, comfort and happiness. Thank you Pittsburg, Portland, Tacoma, San Francisco and everyone else in the US who helped us. Everyone here thanks you and encourages you. There are Shadysides and Starbucks all over the world and every one of them that is attacked or gets a brick through its window is more than just that; it signifies, to those on the other side of the oceans, that we are in fact all in this together, that we are united in thought and tactics and goals, that we do not need centralized authority to have our movement be a worldwide one. A torn up Shadyside (place in Pittsburg) might seem small if it is compared to something. How about we don’t compare anything we do to anything else, huh? How about we just DO? Does that sound good?”

“Progressive” Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry (part 3.)

 Part 1.                  Part 2.                Part 3.

It’s still technically Spring, and it’s not an ozone action day, so that must be love in the air. Could Bill Peduto’s amateur counterinsurgency hobby lead him down the aisle? Apparently one Pittsburgh Craiglsist user is hoping so:

City Councilman at a press confrence – Don’t blame me for loving you

Reply to:
Date: 2007-06-12, 4:15PM EDTI was at a press conference last week called by a local “progressive” Democrat. He was tall, with dark hair (that I think was real even though it looked like a rug) and dark eyes deeper than the city’s money problems. He was taking about vandalism on Walnut Street against the G8 summit Germany. As he blamed the “Pittsburgh Organizing Committee”, his voice electrified me like a double-shot of campesiños’ blood from Starbucks. Please Bill, don’t blame me for loving you like you blamed POG for those windows! Don’t slander my heart, Billy, don’t slander my heart!!

Peduto’s accusations are right out of the Beltway democrat playbook. It would seem he was trying to position himself a “rule of law” kind of guy, who was willing to come down hard on the “uncontrollable” (and non-voting) rabble that pundits incorrectly identify as the fringes of the democratic party. I don’t blame him for trying, since it seemed to be working for the DLC, but like the US arming of of Sunni fundamentalists is Afghanistan in the 1980’s ( a mistake that they seem to be eager to repeat) there are sometimes unintended consequences.By focusing on the deep-pocketed, dried-up husks and the parents of fertility-drug triplets (I guess rich people sex doesn’t work in any way?) who frequent Walnut Street, and calling for a press conference only after their stuff was broke, but not the damages at the Food “Co-op” or the Quiet Storm, he alienated all but the most glassy-eyed of his young, liberal base. Calls to his office from POG members and supporters were ignored, and then the “progressive” cried that he “was being threatened”. This was also a mistake, since it would not be easy to pretend that in 2007, that it is possible to threaten a politician, your superior in the eyes of the law, repeatedly, over the telephone.Eventually, Peduto’s supporters in the so-called “creative class”, called him on his bullshit, and began calling his office, and sending email, the way you’re supposed to in a bourgeois democracy. They apparently had no luck either, but at some point Peduto had what an alcoholic would call “a moment of clarity” and contacted someone from POG and I would hope some of his supporters, but given the length and breadth of his freakout, it’s hard to say.

POG issued what they hope to be their last word on the matter yesterday.

And hopefully after a look at the media and its role in this debacle, I can issue my last word on this matter.