Category Archives: Summer 2006 (6/8/06)

the War: there is nothing new to say, and everthing new to say

Another issue of Slingshot means it’s time to write another article to try to end the horrendous slaughter in Iraq. It feels like the world has gotten used to living with war — the daily body count of Iraqi and American lives wasted. Just more business as usual that has to be accepted as the price of living in the modern world. The millions who protested in the streets right before and after the war have dwindled to just a few.

Only perhaps one hundred people showed up to a very well organized and well publicized protest outside the Oakland, Calif. military recruitment center on May 15. We shut down the recruitment center and wheatpasted posters over its windows. Local teens rapped and did spoken world. It was a great effort, but somehow, the intensity of the protest failed to match the scale of the ongoing war.

The Slingshot collective sat around at our article meeting not wanting to just rehash the contents of the articles we’ve been publishing every issue for the last three years, and yet not feeling it is appropriate to publish a radical paper in a country fighting a war of aggression without trying to publish something that might help stop the war.

There is nothing new to say, and everything new to say. The revelations of the Mai Lai-style killing of 24 civilians by US Marines in Haditha after one of their buddies got killed, the US-funded Iraqi police degenerating into death squads, the official lies, the billion dollars a day spent on nothing while kids go hungry here in the USA and in Iraq alike — what will it take to get people to rise to their feet to stop the US from operating until the occupation ends?

The media asks “is the US winning or losing the war in Iraq.” Clearly, the US has lost. All that is left is the pullout of troops, but a political paralysis grips the mainstream politicians. It is far easier politically to let the killing go on than to admit that mistakes were made.

As Slingshot has noted repeatedly over the last three years, one of the only hopes of stopping the war is for ordinary people to demand that it stop. In an ABC News/Washington Post Poll conducted May 11-15 of 1,103 adults nationwide, 66 percent said they “disapproved” when asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling the situation in Iraq?” 62 percent said the war was “not worth fighting.” This popular sentiment has not translated into change at the top, but it could at any time, and chances are, it will sooner or later.

It should be sooner. This summer what are we going to do to end this war? Virtually every part of America is contributing to the war effort in some way, and thus every community has targets for protest and disruption.

In a hopeful sign, folks in Olympia, WA blockaded a cargo ship at the Port of Olympia that was being loaded with hundreds of Stryker armored vehicles and other war materials bound for Iraq during the last week of May. The shipment was part of the deployment to Iraq of the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, a 4,000-soldier unit stationed at Fort Lewis, WA. Police repeatedly pepper sprayed the crowd and arrested more than 35 people over a week of protest. Demonstrators tried to pry open the port gates. Let a hundred Olympias bloom!

Fighting the fear machine: resistance to the first wave of mas arrests

In the last issue of Slingshot we published a number of articles about the green scare — the government’s attempt to label acts of property destruction in which no one is hurt as “terrorism” — and the rash of criminal cases against eco-activists accusing them of involvement in arsons claimed by the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. The term “eco-terrorist” was dreamed up by corporate/industrial think-tanks to try to silence anyone who would put life and the environment over earning a buck.

Since Slingshot issue #90, there have inevitably been numerous developments in the green scare criminal cases, plus additional criminal charges brought against other defendants. With fast changing criminal case information, it is hard for a quarterly newspaper to keep up — we suggest you keep up with the details of these cases on-line (see below.)

All those arrested are facing outrageously harsh potential prison sentences, sometimes for vague crimes in which no action actually occurred, and in other cases for instances of property destruction in which no one was injured. The harshness of the sentences are based on the politics of the defendants more than the seriousness of any crime — even assuming there was any crime. Some defendants face life terms for arsons which — if committed for non-political motives — would only earn them a few months behind bars. The point of these government actions is to scare us, but we won’t be scared.

The government and their corporate masters want us to watch what we say and who we associate with or to focus on reacting to their oppression instead of engaging with our world and creating new and beautiful visions for it. The only way these tactics can succeed is if we give in to fear and spend all our energy reacting to their repression. The logging companies, developers, and factory farmers win if we cease to live in defiance of their brutal machine. Efforts like prisoner support are important, but can’t take the place of staying militantly on the offensive with vibrant and creative actions that are motivated by mutual love and respect for ourselves and our world. Having said that, prisoner support is crucial — people need to know they’ll receive support if they are targeted by the state.

Updates

Here’s some brief updates about additional arrests / charges. We realize this is horribly incomplete — check our last issue and other resources. And if you have info you want us to publish, please send it to us:

• Jeff Hogg was jailed until further notice on contempt charges May 18 in Eugene, OR for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury after he was granted immunity. He can be held up to 18 months or until the grand jury expires. Just before entering the courtroom, Jeff spoke briefly to a small crowd gathered at the Federal Building. He expressed gratitude for all the support he and his partner have received during this difficult time. He spoke of the need for people of integrity to stand firm against the witchhunt. He implored us all to ask what we would do if we were in his situation. Would we choose to be strong?

• On May 11, federal prosecutors indicted Briana Waters, 30, of Berkeley, Justin Solondz, 26, and Bill Rodgers, who killed himself in an Arizona jail after his arrest in December, for the 2001 arson against Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington. Waters is free on bail. Solondz has not been captured and is believed to be living outside the USA. If convicted, they face 35 years in jail.

• Animal liberation prisoner Peter Young — currently serving two years in federal prison for a series of fur farm raids in the midwest — has been charged with additional state crimes in South Dakota for the same acts. If convicted, he could face dramatically more time than his current two year sentence. He is seeking help with legal costs. Send donations to Peter Young Support Fund 740A 14th St. #237, San Francisco, CA 94114 / www.supportpeter.com.

• As of press date (June 2), Zachary Jenson, and Eric McDavid are still in jail in Sacramento accused of conspiracy to destroy property by means of fire or explosives. No property was actually damaged and the case is largely based on an FBI paid informant who set them up — traveling with and providing housing for the defendants and sleeping with one of them. Zach has been recommended for release on bail by his pretrial services officer and will have a hearing before a judge where the judge will decide whether to grant Zach bail. No date has been set for the hearing.

In depressing news, it looks like a third defendant in the case, Lauren Weiner, has agreed to cooperate with the government. She plead guilt to a lesser charge in late May and according to assistant US Attorney Steve Lapham “the defendant agrees to cooperate with the continuing investigation and prosecution of this case”. Eric and Zachary are still in need of your support, letters and funds. Check www.supporteric.org and www.supportzach.org

• The feds indicted Darren Thurston, Rebecca Rubin, Joseph Dibee and Justin Solondz, April 6 on charges of a 2001 arson against a federal horse corral near Susanville, Calif., that housed wild horses and burros rounded up from public rangeland. Thurston is in jail in Oregon – the government hasn’t located the rest and they may be outside the USA. Although no one was injured, the FBI said that the charges were the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI and its Joint Terrorism Task Force. Prosecutor McGregor W. Scott repeatedly labeled the arson as an “act of terror” in statements to the media. If convicted, the charges carry up to 50 years in prison.

• The latest info is that all defendants charged in Eugene, OR with a variety of alleged arsons claimed by the Animal Liberation Front / Earth Liberation Front will be tried together on October 31, 2006. They all need massive support leading up to the trial. Here is contact info for some of them:

* Daniel McGowan – released on bail – support group www.supportdaniel.org/

* Chelsea Gerlach #1308678, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave; Eugene, OR 97401, www.supportchelsea.org

* Darren Thurston #701415, Multnomah County Detention Center, 1120 SW Third Ave., Portland, OR 97204, www.freedarren.org

* Suzanne Savoie – Released on Bail – friendsofsuzannesavoie@yahoo.com

* Joyanna Zacher #1662550, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401, supportersofnathanandjoyanna@gmail.com

* Nathan Fraser Block #1663667, Lane County Jail, 101 W 5th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401, supportersofnathanandjoyanna@gmail.com

* Briana Waters – released on bail – www.supportbriana.org

Green Scare Resources

• Civil Liberties Defense Center: www.cldc.org

• Portland Independent Media Center portland.indymedia.org/en/topic/greenscare/

• Green Scare info website: www.greenscare.org

• www.ecoprisoners.org/greenscare.

• www.frolympia.org/civlib

Political prisoner ‘Free’ reflects on green scare

By now everyone knows about the arrests and indictments handed down to 11 people charged with ELF actions. The SHAC 7 have been convicted on all counts for maintaining a website. Rod Coronado has been arrested for explaining how he committed his arsons. Activists have been arrested in Sacramento charged with thought crime. Not to mention the various Grand Jury investigations around the country.

Like it or not, the radical movement has found itself in the middle of a war. The ELF, ALF, anarchists and other radicals have been declared the number one threat to the state. The FBI devotes more time and energy to activists than it does Al-Qaeda.

For every article I write, I wonder if this will be the one that lands me back in the hole. The FBI, in connection with the Oregon Department of Corrections, reviews all my outgoing mail. Some of my mail has been censored and not allowed to go out at all. I am banned from meeting with the media. None of those who were arrested are allowed to contact me, or allowed to be contacted by me.

I’m beginning to feel a lot more like a P.O.W. than a political prisoner.

This crack down on radical activists, though it comes not unexpectedly, has begun to take its toll on me. Some of the charges stem from a solidarity action for Craig “Critter” Marshall and me. I also know people involved with these cases.

Daniel McGowan is one of my closest and dearest friends. I owe so much of the support I’ve received over the years to him. At his bail hearing they used his support and friendship for me against him. The prosecution used letters and pictures of us as if it were evidence of a crime.

I used to play in a band with Jacob Ferguson, a now known informant. I used to watch his kid. Alleged cooperating witness Sarah Harvey and I lived together for a time. She helped build the first treesit at Fall Creek.

Convicted activist Josh Harper and I go back many years. I still have the article “In honor of Jeff Luers” he wrote after my conviction. He and I have stood the line together many a time, and I do not know a more courageous and dedicated man.

It breaks my heart to see my friends falling subject to the state. I applaud Daniel, Josh and the others who have stood their ground with heads high. I am sick and disgusted with Jake. I hope that anyone cooperating with the state will again find their courage and honor, and refuse to testify.

In these harsh times the role of prisoner support takes on a whole new meaning. And it’s not enough just to support those who have been arrested and convicted. The struggle must go on the offensive. The movement can no longer sit back and let the actions of the accused stand for the hearts of the many.

These arrests are not intended to target individuals anymore than my sentence was meant to punish just me. The state has declared war on dissent. Our ideals, our dreams, our very existence as a movement has been targeted for eradication.

Detective Chuck Tilby, of the Eugene Police Department, created a report on anarchists for their journals. The content was focused on “Conflict and Terrorism in 2005″. The article detailed ways for law enforcement to create protest zones so far away from an event that it would be impractical or seem unattractive to protesters who wanted their message heard. The article suggests that police use infiltration, grand juries and informants against “above ground” activists in attempts to extinguish “under ground” activities.

Incidentally, Chuck is one of the detectives who had Critter and I under surveillance the night of our arrest. During my trial neither he nor any other officer could recall the order being put under investigation, but it did not come from within the Eugene Police Dept.

This is not the first time the state has used tactics like these. Counter insurgency tactics were employed against the American Indian Movement (AIM), and Black Panthers.

Two very powerful movements that were not stopped by government repression were the Civil Rights movement and the struggle for the eight-hour workday. There was success because no matter what the state threw at them they refused to back down. They continued their struggles with their commitment and determination.

True movements support their prisoners by replacing them on the front lines. Real struggles challenge repression with resistance.

This is a state of emergency. Not only our success, but also our existence depends on your actions. The police state is here. Everything we’ve long feared is coming to pass. This isn’t someone else’s fight anymore, it’s yours. What are you going to do about it?

-Jeff Free Luers

http://www.freefreenow.org

A call for defense – protester is scapegoat in police temper tantrum

Gabriel Meyers, 28, is facing an August 4 trial on felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with his arrest at a July 8, 2005 San Francisco protest against the G8 Summit. The G8 includes the richest industrialized countries whose leaders gather annually to organize continued global economic domination by the powerful over everyone else. Protests against the G8 were held world-wide last summer during the Scotland G8 Summit meeting. Gabe could face up to three years in prison if convicted, and he needs support.

Gabe was arrested along with two others last year and charged with felony attempted lynching — i.e. “unarresting” someone by trying to free them from police custody — and misdemeanor rioting during an incident in which a cop was hit in the head and suffered a fractured skull. Gabe is not charged with striking the officer. The police didn’t arrest anyone in connection with the beating. The government is accusing Gabe of attempting to lynch himself — essentially of trying to get away from the cops after they grabbed him. He was originally also charged with two misdemeanor resisting arrest charges, but they were dropped because of their weakness at a June 2 court hearing.

Gabe’s lawyers think the other charges are also very weak and that the government is pressing on with the case for political reasons. Gabe is being used as a scapegoat for the incident because the cops never found the person who hit the officer and they want to get someone for something. After the officer was injured, members of the police force were furious over the beating and circulated a petition voicing “no confidence” in the police chief and other police commanders.

Gabe is receiving support from the Midnight Special Law Collective and the National Lawyers Guild. He is asking people to contact SF district Attorney Kamala Harris and tell her to drop the charges against Gabriel Meyers – call her at 415 553-1752 or email at www.sfgov.org/.

when imagination is more important than knowledge – August 25 day of action vs. McDonalds has urgent purpose

Chris McIntosh was sentenced to eight years in federal prison December 16, 2005 for setting fire to a Seattle area McDonald’s restaurant on January 20, 2003. The restaurant was unoccupied at the time and no one was injured. The FBI originally claimed that the arson caused $5,000 in damage but were not allowed to introduce that figure in Court because they couldn’t prove even such minimal damage. The action was jointly claimed by the Earth Liberation Front and the Animal Liberation Front. Chris, who is 23 years old, took a plea deal to avoid facing a mandatory minimum 30 year sentence. There were two police informants willing to testify against Chris.

At his sentencing hearing, Chris refused to express remorse for his crime, telling U.S. District Judge Thomas Zilly, that “the Earth is being destroyed [and] animals are being led to mechanized slaughter. … I don’t consider myself a terrorist, but the Earth is being terrorized by corporate greed. … I felt I had to do something to protect it.” He is now serving his sentence in West Virginia.

By Chris McIntosh, US Penitentiary

When I reflect on McDonald’s, I always think about how it started off as a small hamburger shack and has grown to spread its evil tentacles to become a multinational franchise of death. By death I mean a literal murder of non humyn animals as well as the overall degradation of the health of millions of humyns, who either are too poor to receive a hot meal elsewhere, or have become so brainwashed by the inundation of McDonald’s propaganda that they truly believe they love the fast food chain. (Not to mention the destruction in South America taking place to raise cheaper beef.)

McDonald’s is a colonizer, a poster boy for this super size slob culture. A spreading disease — where can you go and not see a McDonald’s? McDonald’s is the prophet of uniformity, the slayer of local culture and native cuisines, and it’s food is a major contributor to the ever present rise in type 2 diabetes among kids. Their trans fat loaded, fat filled hormone steroid enhanced product assaults our children and us. There’s no way to look at it other than as a direct assault upon the people of the world and the animals sold and broiled daily for the almighty dollar.

When these freaks for profits attack our kids and the earth, we’ve gotta fight. And in essence, that’s what I chose to do, using arson as a medium for my rage at years of McDonald’s jingles. I attacked in the dead of night, in the center of Seattle. I struck while there were many people in the surrounding area, so the peons of this slob culture could see their idol burn. Snitches led to my arrest and subsequent incarceration. I’d do it all again.

Now ‘they’ say a good radical article includes a solution. I’m not saying this was a good radical article but I have a solution. An International Day of Solidarity with the victims of McDonald’s. A day to voice our dissent through legal activities protesting McDonald’s overwhelming propaganda throughout our culture. One day to start could lead to a week to a month to a year to a lifetime campaign.

So while I’m behind these walls, make August 25th an International Day of Solidarity with the victims of McDonald’s outside the walls — in your town.

Write letters of support to Chris: Christopher McIntosh 30512-013, US Penitentiary Hazelton, P.O. BOX 2000, Bruceton Mills, WV 26525

Chris depends almost exclusively on donations from the activist community to provide him with much needed vegan food and supplies in prison. Donations for Chris (however small) can be sent to his support group at: Chris McIntosh Support Fund, PO Box 8943, Collingswood, NJ 08108

Check www.supportchris.org for more info.

La Represion en mehico continua – la lucha en atenco

En la tarde del 3 de mayo del 2006, lo que hubiera sido un pequeño incidente se convirtió en un ataque militar contra una población civil. En Texcoco, Estado de Méjico, la policia intentó remover a un grupo de ocho vendedores quienes estaban vendiendo flores sin permiso formal frente un mercado público llamado Belisario Dominguez. De hecho, la acción policiaca tenía motivos políticos, los cuales extendieron muy lejos de estos detalles técnicos: que los floristas son aliados presumidos del Frente del Pueblo en Defensa de la Tierra (FPDT), que ha chocado con los gobiernos locales y federales durante años. Tambien, Texcoco es uno de los sitios propuestos para un nuevo megamall WalMart, lo cual los floristas tanto como el FPDT se oponen vehementamente.

En el curso de la confrontación, Javier Cortés, un joven de 14 años, señaló al público el escondite de un policía a quien le vió agazapado en las sombras. Con el próposito de silenciar al joven, el policía le disparó, matándole al instante. Se desembocó la rabia del público, que intentó quitar a fuerza a la policía del mercado, con palos, piedras, cócteles molotov y machetes. Ahí empezó una pelea sangrienta, y después de que el público alcanzó bloquear la carretera, las tropas federales y municipales aparecieron para dispersarles.

San Salvador Atenco, un pueblo campesino a una distancía de 25 millas del Distrito Federal, tiene una historía de defenderse del gobierno y corporaciones con el intento de depojarle de su tierra. En 2002, tras más de un año de resistencía amplia y una represión correspondiente, la población general de Atenco, junto con las tácticas militantes del FPDT, fue capaz de forzar al gobierno federal de cancelar sus planes de construir el nuevo aeropuerto internacional en su pueblo. Este fue un hecho impresionante, e hizo un precedente en Méjico para la resistencía al desarrollo basado en los intereses corporativos y desplazamiento forzado.

En la noche del 3 de mayo después del enfrentamiento y motín subsecuente en el mercado, los medios masivos mejicanos se inundaron al público con imagénes violentas de campesinos atacando a la policía, enfocando en “la brutal paliza a que fue sometido un policía inerme, tirado en el piso, por un pequeño grupo de ejidatarios.” (Carlos Fazio, 21 de mayo 2006, La Jornada) en vez de la muerte del joven. Esta propaganda alimentó la animosidad al pueblo de Atenco, y la simpatía a la policía, lo cual dió la oportunidad a los gobiernos estatal y federal para invadir y represar violentamente esta comunidad bien organizada con un ataque militar el próximo día.

La mañana del 4 de mayo, en la tradición de resistencía atenquense, la comunidad se mobilizó y salió a la calle. Sin ningún aviso, los campesinos y otros fueron sujetos a un ataque sorpresivo que nunca pudieran haber previsto.

A la hora del amanecer la policía ya había sitiado Atenco y bloqueado las vías de comunicación en preparación de detenciones masivas. La gente adentro fue atrapado en una zona de guerra, enfrentado con una fuerza militar, y sin ningún medio de escape, ni autodefensa adecuada. El gas lacrimógeno empezó casi inmediamente, luego las detenciones y la persecución por las calles. Personas inermes fueron acorralados y madreados brutalmente con toletes antes de estar aventados en camionetas y llevados fuera de los limites del municipio. Otro joven, Alexis Benhumea, recibió un balazo de una granada en la cabeza y permanece en un estado de coma aún hoy. Hasta 250 personas fueron detenidas, la mayoría campesinos y otros quienes tuvieron el coraje de irse a las calles y arriesgar la vida en muestra de oposición a la política neoliberal y la represión militar del gobierno.

Valentina Palma Novoa, una chilena con estancía de once años en el DF, fue una de la multidud acorralada ese día por el delito no mas de estar presente en las calles de Atenco. Valentina consta de la brutalidad de que fue testigo y experimentó ella misma despues de estar aventada en un camión por la policía, con muchos otros aun más heridos que ella, y de haber sido forzada en la cara en un charco de sangre de los otros. El traslado fue un infierno y ni Valentina ni nadie atrapado en ese vehículo sabiean si ivan a sobrevivir y mucho menos si su destino final terminaría inevitablemente en ejecución. Fueron golpeados continuosamente, manoseados, agredidos sexualmente y violados por la policía. Eso duró unos dos o tres horas mientras la policía circulaba la ciudad.

La crónica de Valentina es solo una de muchas. Mujeres y hombres fueron torturados brutalmente y colectivamente. Las mujeres reportaron haber sido violadas con dedos, penes, y otros objetos en la boca, la vagina, y el ano. Algunas fueron forzadas seguidamente a tener sexo oral con grupos de policías. Es imperativo entender el hecho horripilante que la tortura sexual, la brutalidad, y las violaciones fueron completamente premeditadas y ordenadas desde arriba. Los policías fueron entregados instrucciones de hacer a estas mujeres su blanco militar: fueron abastecidos con condones por sus mandos superiores quienes les dijeron que no se apuren en llegar a la verja de la cárcel.

En una manifestación en el DF que denunció la violencía contra mujeres en Atenco, el Subcomandante Marcos, la voz del Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN), subrayó que según los testimonios de las violadas, los policías disfrutaron y derivaron placer de su conducta atroz. Además, “la promesa de ese placer sobre esos cuerpos de mujer, fue la suma que la policia recibió junto al mandato de ‘imponer la paz y el orden’ en Atenco.” En otras palabras, la violación y humillación de hombres, mujeres y niñas es lo que la policía consideran su saldo de un trabajo bien hecho. Después de las detenciones inciales en Atenco en el 4 de mayo, empezaron incursiones en pueblo, con su objectivo cuya persona con cabello largo, aretes, tatuajes, o cualquier artículo vinculándose al EZLN.

Es lógicamente imposible creer que el ataque contra Atenco fue improvisto por un grupo de “malos” policías asesinos. La evidencia deja claro que el ataque fue cuidadosamente planeado como una maniobra militar estratégica de la parte del gobierno de Méjico, con la participación de las autoridades estatales y federales, junto con los servicios médicos y penales requeridas para cumplirlo.

Carlos Montemayor escribe: “Las detenciones violentas e ilegales en las primeras horas del amanecer. son una antigua y recurrente práctica de ejrcitos represivos y de cuerpos policiacos.” (13 de mayo del 2006, La Jornada). Además, el apoyo de los medios masivos y conservadores que estigmatiza a los campesinos en resistencia, que esconde y pone en duda los testimonios de las víctimas, es esencial para el éxito de estos operativos. Los funcionarios piden “pruebas”, pero hay periodistas que fuereon testigos de las detenciones pero niegan denunciarlas por miedo a lo el gobierno puede hacerles. En el caso de la masacre de los estudiantes en Tlatelolco, DF el 2 de octubre 1968 y la década subsecuente de represión conocida como “la guerra sucia”, la gente mejicana ni siquiera supo que centenares de estudiantes y radicales fueron asesinados y desaparecidos en su propia cuidad por los militares. La masacre tuvo plazo una noche y en la próxima mañana la sangre y los cadáveres habían sido limpiado de las calles, y jamás se vieron a los téstigos de nuevo.

La meta de represión gobermental es siempre el control social. Así como Tlatelolco, la atrocidades en Atenco vienen en una época de organización amplía en Méjico entre los más pobres y más afectuados por la globalización. Actualmente, está movilización ha centrado en La Otra Campaña, iniciativa del EZLN, que hace 8 meses ha estado viajando por todo Méjico para vincular las luchas en comunidades indígenas y pobres con díalogo y intercambio. “La Otra” ha ganado gran atención mediática sobre asuntos normalmente censurados e ignorados por completo. La Otra Campaña es un esfuerzo desde las raíces para crear un foro donde comunidades pueden participar en el movimiento contra el capitalismo neoliberal como un cuerpo unido a gran escala. La opresión que vivimos en Atenco obviamente tiene la meta contraria. La violación y humillación son intencionadas para tener el efecto de callar a la sociedad civil, a la vez dificultando el trabajo de los Zapatistas y muchísimos otros. Las familías reciben el mensaje que no pueden participar en la resistencía, que “no se atrevan a involucrarse” en la política en ninguna capacidad fuera de las elecciones presidenciales sancionadas para el próxima 2 de julio . El efecto talvez será que mas gente se serigne a apoyar a uno de los tres partidos políticos corruptos, como la única manera segura para evitar más represión violenta.

Es cierto, que eso es lo que quiere el gobierno, y el imponer políticas neoliberales que equivalen al fascismo es una manera de alcanzarlo, porque señala claramente que no van a tolerar ni resistencía ni la autodefensa en Méjico. Al contrario, que serán castigadas brutalmente e ilegalmente. No debemos soprendernos que cualquier estado sería de buena voluntad de irse hasta allá para detener y prevenir la resistencía. Se ve por toda la historía y en todas partes del mundo. Es importante reconocer que mientras la globalización por los Estados Unidos y las corporaciones transnacionales sigue imponiendo las políticas neoliberales de “libre comercio” sobre el mundo entero y sigue apoyando regimenes represivos, atrocidades como Atenco tambien seguirán.

A la hora de publicar este ejemplar de Slingshot a comienzos de junio, al menos de 31 de los 218 presos políticos de Atenco siguen encarcelados, con una veintena más no encontrado y considerado o “desaparecidos” o escondiéndose. Los cinco extranjeros expulsados inmediatamente despues de sus detenciones no se han dejado volver a Méjico. Mientras tanto, policías incontables, ahora conocidos en mundo como violadores y abusadores, gozan de la impunidad otorgada por su gobierno. 52 de los policías estatales y solo 3 policías federales están siendo investigados, pero ni uno de los más de 3500 agentes que participaron en la atrocidad ha sido despedido de su puesto. Basta decir que los jefes mismos, que sigen enriquiciéndose con su política económica neoliberal a costa de las vidas de muchos y los sustentos de millones.

Pero muchos siguen resistiendo sin miedo. Una marcha grandísima está planeada para el 28 de junio en el DF y La Otra Campaña zapatista continua mobilizandose para liberar a los presos restantes y para exigir que todos los niveles de culpabilidad y participación gobermental sean castigados. En los EEUU, debemos seguir manifestando nuestra solidaridad en cualquier manera posible, con cartas y protestas en los consulados mexicanos, tanto como oposición fuerte al “libre comercio” y la política extranjera de los Estados Unidos.

Para más información sobre Atenco, checa:

Chiapas Indymedia Mexico Indymedia Narco News Enlace Zapatista

La Jornada

Sarah Shourd es una residente de Oakland influida por el Zapatismo y movimientos de resistencía en todas partes.

The repression in Mexico continues

On the afternoon of May 3, 2006, what could have been a small incident turned into a military attack on a civilian population. In Texcoco, Mexico State, police attempted to remove a group of eight vendors selling flowers without permits in a public marketplace, the Mercado Belisario Dominguez. In truth, the action had political motives that reached far beyond these technicalities, namely that the flower vendors were assumed allies of the FPDT (People’s Front in Defense of the Land), who have clashed with the local and federal government for years. Texcoco is also one of the proposed sites for a new Walmart which both the flower vendors and the People’s Front vehemently oppose.

During the confrontation Javier Cortés, a 14 year-old boy, exposed the location of a policeman to the crowd, who he had seen crouching in the shadows. Allegedly to silence the boy, the policemen shot and killed him on the spot. This unleashed the fury of the crowd, which attempted to force the police out of the marketplace with sticks, stones, molotov cocktails and machetes. A bloody scuffle ensued and, after the crowd successfully blocked a highway, federal and municipal troops were brought in to disperse them.

Atenco is a campesino, or farming town, roughly 25 miles east of Mexico City with a history of defending itself from government and corporate land-grabbers. In 2002, after over a year of wide-spread resistance and repression, the general population of Atenco, in conjunction with the more militant tactics of the People’s Front, were able to force the Mexican government to cancel its plans to build an airport in their town. This was an amazing feat and set a precedent in Mexico for resistance to corporate development and forced displacement.

On the evening of May 3rd following the confrontation and subsequent riot in the marketplace, the Mexican mainstream press barraged the public with violent images of campesinos attacking police, focusing on “the brutal beating of a policeman lying on the ground” (Carlos Fazio, May 21st, La Jornada) instead of that of the murdered boy. This propaganda fueled animosity towards the people of Atenco, and sympathy towards police, which then gave state and federal government the opportunity to descend on and violently repress this well-organized community in an military attack the following day.

The morning of May 4th, in the tradition of Atenco resistance, the people mobilized and took to the streets. Without warning, campesinos and others were subject to an police attack that they never could have predicted. At dawn the police had already surrounded the city and blocked off the roads in preparation for mass-arrest. The people inside were trapped in a war zone, up against a military force with no means of escape or adequate self-defense. The tear gas began almost immediately, then round-ups and chasing through the streets. Unarmed people were cornered and brutally beaten with batons before being thrown in trucks and taken from the city limits. Another young man, Alexis Benhumea, was put into a coma by the beatings, in which he remains to this day. Up to 250 people were detained, mostly farmers and others willing to come out into the streets and risk their lives to show opposition to the government’s neoliberal policies and military crack-down.

A Chilean woman, Valentina Palma Novoa, 11 year resident of Mexico City, was one of the many to get swept up that day for the simple crime of being in the streets of Atenco. She writes of the brutality she witnessed and experienced after being thrown into the back of a truck by the police, along with many others even more injured than her, and having her face shoved by a policeman’s boot into a pool of someone else’s blood. The trip was hellish and neither Valentina nor anyone else trapped in the vehicle had any idea if they would survive, or if their final destination would inevitably end in execution. They were beaten continuously, groped, sexually assaulted and raped by the police. This went on for two or three hours and the police circled the city.

Valentina’s story is only one of many, many accounts. Women and men were brutally tortured en mass. Women have reported being raped with fingers, penises and other objects in the mouth, vagina and anus. Some were forced to repeatedly perform oral sex for groups of police. It is imperative to understand the horrifying fact that the sexual torture, brutality and rape were completely premeditated and mandated from above. The police were given instructions to target these women — they were supplied with condoms by their superiors and instructed to take their time before arriving at the prison gates.

In a speech given by Subcommandante Marcos, the public voice of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, at a protest in Mexico City exposing the violence against women at Atenco, Marcos pointed out that according to the testimonies of the women raped by police on May 4th, the police enjoyed and derived pleasure from their hideous misconduct. Further, it was “the promise of pleasure from these women’s bodies was a añadito (little reward) that the police received with the orders to ‘impose peace and order in Atenco.’” In other words, the rape and humiliation of men, women and girls is what police consider their due for a job well-done.

Following the initial arrests in Atenco on May 4th came neighborhood raids, targeting anyone with long hair, earrings, tattoos or any item associating them with the EZLN or Zapatista Liberation Army.

It is logically impossible that the attack in Atenco was improvised by a group of ‘bad’ murderous cops. The evidence is clear that the attack was a carefully planned and militarily strategic move on the part of Mexican government, with participation of both state and federal authorities, as well as local medical and prison services, required to pull it off. Carlos Montemayor writes “The violent and illegal detentions in the first hours of dawn….are an ancient and reoccurring practice of repressive armies and police forces” (La Jornada, May 13, 2006). In addition, the support of a complacent and conservative media that stigmatizes the campesinos in resistance, covers up and calls into question the testimonies of the victims is essential to the success of these actions. Officials are asking for “evidence,” but there were reporters who witnessed the arrests and refuse to come forward for fear of what the government will do to them. In the case of the massacre of students at Tlatelolco in Mexico City 1968, and the subsequent decade of repression referred to as the ‘dirty war,’ much of the public didn’t even know that hundreds of students and radicals had been killed and disappeared in their own city by the military. The massacre happened one evening and by the next morning the blood and bodies had already been cleared from the streets, the witnesses never seen again.

The purpose of government repression is always social control. Like Tlateloco, Atenco has come at a time of wide-spread organization in Mexico among the poorest and most effected by globalization, more recently centered around the Zapatista-initiated ‘Other Campaign’ which is has been traveling around Mexico for the last 8 months linking the struggles in indigenous and poor communities through dialogue and exchange. The Campaign has garnered huge media attention around issues usually completely censored and ignored. The Other Campaign is a grass-roots effort to create a forum in which communities can participate in the movement against neoliberal capitalism as a large-scale, unified body. The oppression we saw at Atenco obviously has the opposite goal in mind. The rape and humiliation is intended to have the effect of silencing civil society, making the work that the Zapatistas and many, many others are trying to do that much more difficult. Families get the message that they cannot participate in resistance, that they “must not get involved” in politics in any capacity other than the state-sponsored presidential elections this July. The effect may be that more people resign themselves to one of three corrupt political parties, seemingly the only ‘safe’ way to avoid more violent repression.

That is certainly what the government wants, and neoliberal policies that amount to fascism is certainly one way of attempting to achieve it, making it clear that resistance and self-defense in Mexico will not be tolerated, but will instead be brutally and criminally punished. We shouldn’t be surprised that any state would be willing to go this far to deter and prevent resistance. It has been seen too many times throughout history and across the globe. It is important to recognize that as long as the U.S. and corporate globalization continue to impose neoliberal policies of “free trade” all over the world and support repressive governments, atrocities like those seen in Atenco will continue.

As Slingshot goes to press in early June, at least 31 of the original 218 political prisoners remain incarcerated, with an additional 20 or more people missing or unaccounted for and feared ‘disappeared’ or in hiding. Five internationals expelled immediately after the arrests from Mexico have not been able to return. Meanwhile, countless police, now known to the world as rapists and abusers, bask in the impunity granted by their government. Though 52 are under state and a mere 3 under federal investigation, not one of the over 3,500 federal and local law enforcement agents known to have participated in this atrocity has been taken off his/her beat. Not to mention the masterminds themselves who continue to get rich off neoliberal economic policy at the expense of the lives of many and the livelihoods of millions.

But many continue to resist without fear, a huge march in Mexico City is planned for the 28th of June and the Zapatista Other Campaign continues to use its weight to mobilize a movement to free the remaining political prisoners and demand that all levels of government guilt and involvement be punished. In the U.S., we must continue to show our solidarity in any way possible, from letters to and protests in front of Mexican Consulates, as well as strong opposition to free trade and U.S. international policy.

For more info about Atenco check out:

Chiapas Indymedia chiapas.mediosindependientes.org, Mexico Indymedia mexico.indymedia.org/, Narco News narconews.com/, Enlace Zapatista enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/, La Jornada www.jornada.unam.mx/

Sarah Shourd is an Oakland resident influenced by Zapatismo and resistance movements everywhere.

MAIZ – call for submissions

M.A.I.Z. — a collective compromised of Mujeres, Artistas, acitivistas and zine-istas (women of color, artists, acitivsts and zinesters) — seeks to nurture our creativity, highlight social problems and put aside apathy and passiveness so we can fight for social change. Submissions are being accepted for the first issue of The MAIZ Chronicles. If you are a mujer (women of color) and would like to submit to the zine, please do. We would like to publish pieces from unique perspectives by mujeres on issues concerning mujeres and folks of colors — issues that are hardly covered in zines. MAIZ also seeks to organize platicas (talks), art & poetry performances and community outreach.

The MAIZ Chronicles is being edited by Noemi Martinez, who writes the zines Hermana, Resist, South Texas Experience and Homespun and runs C/S Distro. Noemi is a Chicana/Boriqua activist writer & poet, single mama living on the Texas/Mexico border. She works as a VAWA (violence against women act) caseworker, helping undocumented women who have been abused by their US citizen or legal permanent resident spouse attain their working permit and legal status. Contact noemi.mtz@gmail.com.

Brown Road autonomous collective – New Mexico seeks new crew

Brown Rd. is an autonomous collective in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Using the city’s discarded resources the way rural homesteaders use nature’s resources, Brown Rd. thrived for nearly a decade, contributing to local and global direct action, and providing a safehouse for activists, artists, and their ideas. Many got inspired by Brown Rd.’s gardens, poultry, solar heating and electricity, bicycle stuff, music, theatre, and art. Hundreds of visitors and guests contributed their labor and style over the years.

In June of 2004 a fire damaged Brown Rd., the neighbors’ property, and the adjoining bosque (riparian woods). The police and press accused Brown Rd. members of being bomb manufacturers, drug manufacturers, common criminals, and squatters. Many bomb squad, drug squad, and federal agents swarming over the property failed to accurately identify a “suspicious device” as a legal and safe biodiesel processor. With insinuations like that who needs evidence? All three co-owners of the property were charged with felony negligent arson.

One co-owner chose to testify at the grand jury hearing. In an ironic twist that activists will appreciate, the grand jury sided with the Collective and threw out the case in less than two hours. Felony charges against the remaining co-owners dissolved into the ether.

In the aftermath of the fire and subsequent legal and political fracas, the Brown Rd. Collective is dissolving. Still united and committed to seeing the work initiated there carried on, Brown Rd is looking for a new ownership group to purchase the collective. Interested ones may contact Lu at lusolarone@yahoo.com.

DIY has a posse! – Infoshops from here to eternity

Summer travel season is here — in fact, almost the whole Slingshot collective is already off on their travels or is about to leave, but that’s another story. Here’s some places you could ramble through and plug into. An updated version of the Radical Contact List we publish in our organizer with tons of spaces to visit all over the globe is at our website: slingshot.tao.ca. Happy trails.

Common Ground – Athens, GA

They are a resource center that has existed for about a year. They have a library, meeting room, office space for local groups, and free internet. They host Food Not Bombs and other events. Open 4-8 pm Monday – Thursday and 12-6 pm Saturday. 157 n Newton St Athens GA 30601, www.commongroundathens.org

Confluence Collective – Grand Junction, CO

A new community center dedicated to providing the tools, space and resources for grassroots organizing. They have free bike work/teaching/playing, a lending library with over 1500 books, a computer lab with internet access, a darkroom with workshops, free store and various weekly events: weekly vegan dinner and radical movies. About ten different groups meet there each month. 1450 Elm Ave Grand Junction, CO 81501 970.245.3720

Olympia Free School – Olympia, WA

They’ve been in existence for 5 years and offer free classes to the community as a local nonhierarchical organization. 610 Columbia St, Olympia, WA 98501, 360.352.4165 www.olympiafreeschool.org

Sisters’ Camelot – Minneapolis, MN

They are a collective with a bus that collects and distributes free organic food from different locations each day. They just got an office — collective meetings are Mondays at 3 pm. Check their website to see where the bus will be on any given day. 3649 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407. 612-746-3051 www.sisterscamelot.org

Clandestinos Collective – Denver, CO

A community space, with tables, chairs, and couches in the front for vegan breakfasts on Saturdays from 10-2, a screening room in the back for movies, a performance space, a kitchen, a lending library, a bike shop, several shelves of zines. They have writing workshops on Fridays and post-Critical Mass meetings on the last Friday of every month, etc. 719 W. 8th Ave. Denver, CO 80204

The Playing in Sand Collective – Santa Cruz, CA

Check out the Werkshop Museum & The Galley a do-it-yourself art space / infoshop / showspace. They host a variety of events and regular freeskool classes: figure drawing, music jam sessions, stencil making, block prints, and yoga. “On the second Sunday of every month we come together to host an event with workshops, food, and performances to represent these concepts and build creative momentum.” They also sell anarchist books and zines. Hours: 2:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. most days. 293 Squid Row, Santa Cruz, CA. playinginsand@gmail.com

Bike Church – Santa Cruz, CA

A community bike shop and tool cooperative. You need not be a mechanic to use the Bike Church’s do-it-yourself repair facility; people of all aptitudes make use of the shop. Church ministers (mechanics) are there to help and get as involved in the repair of your bicycle as necessary. They encourage people to learn by getting their hands dirty – familiarize them-selves with the machine that they rely on to get them from place to place. 703 S. Pacific, Santa Cruz, CA 831-425-2453. www.santacruzhub.org

Places that have closed or ???

The following places have closed since we published the 2006 organizer:

• Red ink books in Dublin, Ireland had to close due to expensive rent.

• We have heard that Sabos in Grand Rapids, MI has closed.

• Laughing Horse books in Portland, OR — a decades old radical bookstore and space — had to close its location on Division street due to rent increases. They are reportedly looking for a new location.

• We heard that the Asheville Community Resource Center in Asheville, NC has closed its location (again) due to heat from the city. Not sure if they’re looking for a new location or not.

• We got mail returned from U-C IMC in Urbana, IL, The Planet Infoshop in Ann Arbor, MI, the Burning River Collective in Cleveland, OH and Soap Box in Bellingham, WA. We suspect they may have closed but can’t be sure. Let us know if you have any info on the fate of any of these spaces.