Friday, February 26, 2010
"Because of their manner of dress and their behavior, they did not resemble the students that we have become accustomed to dealing with over the past six months."
Rioters Clash with Police in Streets South of UC Berkeley
from Daily Californian
A crowd of more than 200 people swarmed the streets of Southside early Friday morning in a riot involving six law enforcement agencies, runaway dumpsters, flaming trash cans, shattered windows and violent clashes between rioters and police.
What began as a dance party on Upper Sproul Plaza led to an occupation of Durant Hall at around 11:15 p.m. Thursday to raise support for the March 4 statewide protest in support of public education.
UCPD Captain Margo Bennett said the occupiers "cut a lock to get into the construction area and then cut a lock to get into the building" before vandalizing the area.
"There were windows broken, there was spray painting and graffiti on the interior, there was construction equipment that was tossed around," she said.
The occupation evolved into a riot as it moved onto streets south of campus, where a protester broke several windows of the Subway at Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue at about 1:41 a.m.
Bennett said the occupiers were able to leave Durant Hall without police confrontation because UCPD did not have adequate staffing and the Berkeley Police Department had not responded to the scene per UCPD request before the occupiers left.
She added that UCPD believes many of the occupiers were not UC Berkeley students.
"Because of their manner of dress and their behavior, they did not resemble the students that we have become accustomed to dealing with over the past six months," she said.
After moving off campus, the group grew and settled at Durant and Telegraph avenues.
Officers from UCPD, Oakland, BART and the California Highway Patrol, in addition to all but four Berkeley Police Department officers on duty that night, responded to the scene, according to Berkeley police Dispatcher Rayna Johnson.
"It's a little hectic," Johnson said.
Berkeley and UCPD officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in a line on Telegraph Ave. facing the dancing crowd, which had formed around a stereo system blaring music from a shopping cart.
The tone of the gathering changed at about 1:55 a.m. when a dumpster was pushed into the center of the intersection and set on fire by members of the crowd. The Berkeley Fire Department responded as people danced on top of the dumpster and shouted, "Whose street? Our street!"
Employees of the Blakes on Telegraph bar and restaurant brought out buckets of water and fire extinguishers to douse the flames.
Officers physically pushed the crowd back so that Berkeley fire personnel could extinguish the flames. Sporadic fights broke out within the crowd, causing police to advance their line on the growing mob and use batons to push it back.
Members of the crowd hurled glass bottles, plastic buckets, pizza and other objects at the police line. The crowd's size and intensity fluctuated as the police and protesters clashed and multiple members of the crowd were detained by police.
Marika Goodrich, 28, a UC Berkeley senior, was arrested at the intersection of Durant and Telegraph avenues and booked for assault on a police officer, inciting a riot and resisting arrest, according to Berkeley police Officer Andrew Frankel. Zachary Miller, 26, a UC Berkeley alumnus and an organizer for the "Rolling University," was also arrested at the intersection and was booked for inciting a riot, resisting arrest and obstructing a police officer.
No arrests were made on campus, according to Bennett.
At about 2:43 a.m., the mob accompanied the shopping cart as it traveled east on Durant.
As the crowd moved, a white Dodge Charger turned onto the street and people ran alongside the car as it advanced, a practice commonly referred to as "ghost riding the whip."
Around 2:55 a.m., the crowd settled on College Ave. outside the Unit 1 residence halls, where some members propelled a dumpster down Durant Ave. toward police.
About 15 minutes later, after the crowd launched a second dumpster down Durant Avenue, a line of police vehicles charged through the streets, scattering the crowd in all directions.
Police ended the riot at approximately 3:15 a.m.
When the crowd had left Durant Hall earlier in the night, UCPD Chief Mitch Celaya said the main concern for police was to assess the damage thus far and monitor the crowd as it proceeded down Telegraph Avenue.
"We're going to hopefully secure the exterior," he said. "We're going to take a look to see what, if any, kind of damage has been caused. We're concerned about the group as they march around, that they don't commit any acts of vandalism, not just to our property but to the city."
Although the occupation had been planned, the decision to move off campus could not be attributed to any one person, according to Callie Maidhof, a representative for the occupiers.
"If you get all these people here, what they decide to do is what matters," Maidhof said. "It's not whoever may or may not have planned it, that's irrelevant at a certain point."
Shaunt Attarian, Chris Carrassi, Tomer Ovadia, Sarah Springfield, Zach E.J. Williams and Mihir Zaveri of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Looks like I'll be contributing to a new website called "The Anvil," which is an anarchist review site for music, film, movies, and games. I've submitted a review of Rick Ross's 2006 album The Port of Miami. I'll be posting up a link to the article when the site goes online in a few weeks. The other reviews look really interesting and there is talk about making a print publication with the various reviews every few months.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Crimethinc has called for a day of action - no, not save the bagels day, Steal Something From Work Day! When I first heard about this project, I was excited. I have some reservations now, but I still think it's a cool idea and we'll see where we can go with it. Regardless, cool conversations will be sure to come up with people as we try and 'get the word out' about this. But, it does bring up some interesting tensions that we can explore.
First - intentions. Many of us steal from our jobs. If you work, you probably take things in some regularity, when you come across them and it is in your interest to take them. So then, what is the reason behind having a "day" where you steal? Are you going for gold? Is this the day that you finally get that coffee maker you've been eyeing, or you finally shut off the cameras and have a friend "rob" you? Is the goal to get people who don't steal to steal? Can we assume that other people don't steal? Is the purpose of this day simply to start conversations with people about resistance to work - and thus how theft at work plays into that? We seem to be making a moral argument then don't we? Work sucks, bosses suck, so it okay to steal from them, they deserve it. I like this logic, it could be beefed up to an understanding that bosses and those who work are two different classes and will never have the same interests.
The video summs up my ultimate problem with this project. As it states something along the lines that since bosses extract surplus labor value from us, stealing from work offers us a chance to get a little bit of that back. While this is cool and conflictual, it holds the same logic of thinking that dumpster diving is somehow a moral act against capitalist waste. Something like Steal Something From Work Day might get people to talk about destroying capitalism, but ultimately it as a project will have to be superseded for capitalism to be destroyed. Why then have projects that only go half way? If capital can only be negated by the self-activity of proletarians negating their class roles and their labor and acting in their own interests collectively, then let us push for projects which push toward or create those associations - not attempt to make moral arguments in the face of exploitation.
Hmmm...what the project seems to be getting at is how to organize or network with people on the job, however, Steal Something From Work Day seems to resign itself to the individual doesn't it? It's great Timmy the anarcho-punk dish washer, or Susie the queer bike messenger racked a roll of toilet paper at Craig Rosebraugh's latest Vegan cafe in Portland or whatever the fuck, and they can run home and upload a photo of it for the site, but it seems to be what we are after is a qualitative way of relating to people at work that gives us power - not just a few material items.
Sure, stealing from work is part of that, and the act in doing so can create trust between people that can hopefully lead to other things, but what is important out of that is not so much the act in itself, but the association that is created between proletarians. Hopefully this leads to other forms of action: taking out and resistance to the implementation of surveillance at work, collectively getting raises, collectively refusing the implementation of new policies at work, preparing for strike actions, covering for each other, etc.
Within this tension, we come to a critical question: in the modern age, how do we resist at work? For those of us of a more insurrectionary or left communist mind, we largely are at a loss. If we accept the critique that unions are the left wing of capital and stamp out working class self-organization and militancy and also reject anarcho-syndicalism's call for the formation of industrial unions ala IWW, then what do we propose? We seem to be at a loss for how to resist at the one place where capital needs us to be - work.
While I am glad that Steal Something From Work Day at least attempts to grapple with this tension and move the debate forward, obviously I think that the end project falls short of what such an idea could do, simply because it seems to be more about the individual than the collective. However, this is an open project, and people should run with it. At your workplace, what kind of associations could you create around such propaganda, ideas, and conversations? Could this lead to other forms of action? Could this plug into something that you are already doing? Check out their site and get some of the stickers and posters made up and start talking to people. At the very least they are funny as shit and will help add to a confrontational tensions between labor and capital where ever you work. The video at the top is also amazing and already has up to a 1,000 hits.
Furthermore, as insurrectionary communists and anarchists, how do we resist and organize at work beyond just theft, avoidance, etc? How do we link up with other wage earners?
Here is a link to Seattle Solidarity Network that hopefully holds some clues. Long live the mob!
Also, a link to Modesto Anarcho #4, which includes the article, "Workplace Resistance at a Small Business." About a shoplifting worker's council (one of the last articles).
Monday, February 8, 2010
Another set of trips out to a variety of places of late, Santa Cruz, the bay area, Phoenix, LA, and Riverside has me thinking about the next issue of Vengeance and thoughts on anarchism and it's scene.
In Riverside last weekend, MAC was invited out to table at this event that featured me speaking, someone talking about feminism, and then Dana Ward from Anarchy Archives. At the end, there was going to be a round table discussion about strategy in Southern California.
The event space was at some middle class coffee place that allowed people to hold an event downstairs. About 40 - 50 people showed up, mostly young, but a fair mix of individuals. The kids in Riverside seem to be interested in setting up a infoshop (something that seems to happen to every group of anarchists in every town, every couple of years).
The first workshop was hosted by a woman with the Inland Empire Feminist Collective, which brought with them some zines about stuff such as DIY menstrual pads and anarcha-feminism. The workshop that they gave was like sitting through someone reading wikipedia out loud, no offense. They gave textbook definitions on what feminism was, what patriarchy was. Then they (this is all off of large pieces of paper) told us what liberal feminism was going through Marxist Feminism and into anarcha-feminism. While this might have been interesting in a setting like a college presentation, the presenter did nothing to critique liberal or Marxist feminism at all, and did nothing to talk about their own affinity towards feminism, what lead them towards such a position, etc. Then, they had us fill out this questionnaire about feminism, which resulted in a discussion that for me was really boring and liberal, with basically the group and the presenter coming to the conclusion that in order to "help women" (as the questionnaire asked) we should change the way that interact with each other and "call people on their shit." While of course, this is all important; we should hit people in the face for making rape jokes and write nasty things in stupid magazines, can't we also state that the struggle against patriarchy is a struggle against class society and the dictatorship of capital over all life and cannot be divorced from each other?
While I think it's great that someone presented something at an anarchist event that wasn't male and white, I think when politically such presentations are so muddled and unfocused, they really don't get us anywhere. I think if the presenter would have focused more on why she became a feminist, what that meant to her, and what she wanted to do with that critique against this world, then we would have had a much different conversation.
Then I spoke, doing basically the same talk that I had done in Phoenix and some other places, entitled, "Activism vs. Intervention." I introduced where Modesto was, what MAC was, then talked about the importance of finding tensions and expanding them, and what I saw the differences were in activism and intervention. Then I gave some examples of how MAC has either intervened in various struggles or aided them. I also raising the question for discussion, asking if we wanted a scene or a working class counter force in society? This got a lot of people talking about the limits of the scene and also about how they could do this in the tensions that already exist in their areas. I really enjoyed how the discussion popped off from that point and people really got into talking about stuff in the local areas and what they were doing. What was working, but also where they were having problems actually going on the offensive. All in all, a really good talk and some really good responses.
Then Dana Ward from Anarchy Archives talked about anarchist infrastructure. Basically, he talked about a lot of stuff, mostly historical, which was interesting, but then he basically presented a thesis that self-management of industry was a good was of showing people that anarchy is possible. He brought up the self-managed factories in Argentina, but also cooperative corporations in Spain which are very successful. He talked about how this was an example of dual power, and if these types of businesses could compete more, they could hopefully replace capital.
I should have shut the fuck up, but I brought up that self-management of capitalism was still capitalism. That while a self-managed factory might be "better" it was still part of a system where work was separate from life.
Dana responded by stating that he came from a working class family and that it was impossible for him to think of a life without work. He said that maybe there was something of a class difference between myself and him, and maybe I couldn't understand was he was getting at. Which I find interesting, considering all I remember my parents every talking about was complaining about their jobs, and the years that I spent working as a janitor, never once did I stop and think that if my bosses disappeared and I could organize cleaning shit up myself, I would enjoy it more. Yeah, you're going to labor to get food, shelter, etc in any society. But under communism, you have equal access to the means of existence and the land, not separated by mediation, nor divided into a specialized labor field. "Work," does not exist. But yeah, cooperative corporations running shit I'm not too stoked on. I also don't think they are going to bring down capitalism.
For more on this, read What is Communism? by GD, or anything by him on communization vs. self-management.
After his talk, Dana Ward was leaving and I shook his hand and stated that we probably agreed more than we disagreed. He kind of blew me off but we talked for a couple minutes. I find it interesting that I was part of one of the only groups at the event that was doing anything to put ideas that he considered relevant into practice and because I wasn't excited about Wal-Mart becoming a co-op he kind of shrugged me off. Anyway, can't win em all.
Next, there was a discussion on what people wanted to do in So Cal. People were able to discuss the tensions in their area: foreclosure, immigration, jobs, education, etc, but beyond stuff happening on March 4th, there seemed to be little idea of how to move forward. Modesto maybe be fucked up with drama, drugs, and legal problems, but at least we got plans and lots of them. I really tired of going anywhere, being in a room with a bunch of people, and having no one have any idea what they want to do. Where is people's fire? Where is their desire to get crazy and do something, even if it just something small? Why do people always have to look bored and defeated?
Been thinking more and more about the new Vengeance, and hopefully it will be crazier, meanier, funnier, and more classist than the first.