Friday, May 28, 2010

Chicago Resistance Against SB1070

In the past month Chicagoans have shown strong resistance to racist immigration policies through civil disobedience and other tactics:

On May 29th we will be marching in solidarity with the National Day of Action Against SB1070:
When: Saturday, May 29 2010 at noon & 2pm
Where: 18th St & Blue Island Ave & 1101 S. Canal
What: Political speeches, cultural dances & protest
Why: Petsmart is a Phoenix based corporation, we seek the company to officially denounce SB1070 or face boycott. And stand in support of pro-immigrant Arizonans.

In the last month, local, national, and international pressure has grown with vigils, fasts, protests, high school walkouts, boycotts, and civil disobedience-all in repudiation of SB1070, a law that creates 21st century apartheid in the United States. From Phoenix to Mexico to South Africa-the eyes of the world are watching an atrocious human rights crisis while President Obama and his administration fail to act.

On May 29, 2010, people of conscience from throughout the United States and Phoenix will march in the tens of thousands to the State Capitol to demand justice in the face of legalized discrimination and hate. They will demand that President Obama stand on the right side of history and take immediate and concrete action to stop SB1070.

Our Demands:
There are examples in the history of our country when the federal government has intervened to protect communities living under State sanctioned terror and unjust laws. This is why we urge President Obama to:

1. Reassert the federal government’s exclusive control over immigration law by making clear that state and local police do not have the inherent authority to enforce immigration law.
2. Immediately suspend and terminate all police-ICE partnerships, including 287(g) agreements and the so-called ‘Secure Communities Initiative.”
3. Direct the Department of Homeland Security to refuse to take custody of anyone charged with violating provisions of SB 1070.

What can you do?
Join us in making history in Phoenix, Arizona on May 29th! March with tens of thousands of people from throughout the country as we collectively raise our voices to say: “We are All Arizona.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jon Burge Faces Protests During Torture Trial

As notoriously racist and corrupt former CPD Detective Jon Burge goes to trial, community groups and the recently exonerated are organizing protests to give Burge a Chicago welcome:
Jail Cops Who Torture! Retrials for Their Victims! Cut Their Pensions!

Over 20 years of terror, Police Cdr. Jon Burge and his “Midnight Crew” tortured 200+ Latino and African American men and their children to obtain confessions. 20 of these victims are still incarcerated, hoping to be re-tried. Burge has been evading justice since ‘93 and the City of Chicago has spent over $10 MILLION in taxpayer dollars paying for his defense even after the Police Department Review Board ruled that he was guilty of using torture!

Take A Stand Against Torture on May 24th, 2010*

@ Daley Plaza (55 W Randolph St) 8:30-10AM

*Trial date may change. Visit for more info.

* Spread the word: Facebook event and Flyer: JPG or PDF

Jail Jon Burge Committee Calls for Justice on May 24

Taking a stand against torture, the Jail Jon Burge Committee urges the residents of Illinois to join in a cry for justice from 8:30 to 10:00am on May 24, 2010.  The event will signal the commencement of the trial of former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Burge, accused of perjury and obstruction of justice during a civil suit related to torture.

The event will feature appearances by victims who were tortured during Jon Burge’s tenure as commander, as well as their families.  Speakers will include Mark Clements, Marvin Reaves and Nick Escamilla, who are all victims of Burge’s torture regime.  Attorney Flint Taylor, renowned advocate for police torture victims, and 21st Ward Alderman Howard Brookins, fierce public advocate, will also appear.

The group has three demands, which include new trials by all who have alleged they have experienced police torture; cessation of pensions of all those who engaged in torture, as identified by the Special Prosecutor’s review; and indictment, trial, and imprisonment for all those found guilty of perjury related to their role in torture.   United with organizations across Chicago, the Committee will advocate on behalf of these victims, their families, and Chicago taxpayers, who continue to bear the financial burden of Burge’s defense costs.

In 1993, the Police Department Review Board determined that Jon Burge had used torture to obtain confessions between the years of 1972 and 1991, torturing an alleged 200 African American and Latino suspects.  Following an investigation by a special prosecutor that concluded in 2006, Burge was found to have committed torture in multiple instances. Due to the statute of limitations on torture crimes, however, Jon Burge and his “Midnight Crew” were never indicted for their offenses.  The trial of Burge for perjury and obstruction of justice related to the special prosecutor’s investigation marks the first time that Burge will be held accountable for even a fraction of the crimes that he has committed.

The Committee urges all interested and concerned parties to join them in their cry for justice at the May 24 Event.  Groups wishing to endorse the event should contact the Committee by calling 312-939-2750 or by emailing contact (at)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chicago ARA Materials Available for Download

Also available are several old-school Anti-Racist Action zines published many years ago by Chicago ARA:
  • ARA Research Bulletin #1 May 2001 (No Tears for the Nazis, No Support for the State, The Enemy of Our Enemy: the Southern Poverty Law Center "Badjackets" Anarchists, The Third Position, The New Face of Resistance: White Music for White Sheep, Hale and Brimstone, and News from the Front Lines)
  • ARA Research Bulletin #2 Fall 2001 (Fifth Column Fascism: fascism within the anti-war movement, Reports from the "Homeland" Front, Know Your Enemy? Q and A about Osama Bin Laden, the Taliban, and the CIA, RAWA: Anti-fascists in Afghanistan, Repression after 911)
  • ARA Research Bulletin #3 Winter-Spring 2002 (Feedback and Discussion, Editorial: Notes on the Battle of York, National Alliance Mid-Atlantic Organizing Drive, Trends and Intentions of the National Alliance, Bill White: the Third Position in North America, Homeland Security: from Torture to Co-optation, Fascist Dirty Laundry, JDL Exposed: the Racist, Pro-imperialist Nature of the Jewish Defense League, Neo-nazis Return to Portland, Review of Nordic Front, Revolutionary Anti-Fascism: Some Strategic Questions, Interrogation of an Anti-Capitalist, The Anti-War Movement that Wasn't, and News from the Front Lines)

Another zine with various essays analyzing anti-fascist movements in Italy, Germany, the UK, Toronto, and Chicago: Beating Fascism: Anarchist Anti-Fascism in Theory and Practice (PDF) (edited by Anna Key)

Finally, several ARA zines published by South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross in the late 90s:

The Fight Against Fascism: Necessity and Misconception

To those with open eyes it seems that this is the building period for the fascists and hopefully the antifascists as well. Since Obamas’ election the Nazi movement has doubled in size and with that comes the necessity to examine the reality of the fascist potential. It is often said by many groups of the political spectrum that Nazis are a group that are to be laughed at and to some, only pose danger to the extent that they offend or that one may slip into a position of political power and have some influence. The latter being a scary thought, but only minimally in comparison to its pure and “revolutionary” form. Revolutionary fascism as a term, as well as in its physical presence, is not something to be laughed at and more importantly is not something to be ignored.

A genuine Fascism is revolutionary in the sense that it seeks to gain its power not unilaterally or by reformism but from the ground up. A grass roots anti-capitalist movement that preys on the frustrations of the “potentially insurgent workers” (Don Hammerquist, Fascism and Anti-Fascism, Discussion Documents for a militant movement, p.16). One "minor branch" of fascism that poses serious threat is  the third position. In what is called the third position white nationalists abandon their traditional right wing tendencies and appropriate stances typically voiced by the left. Stances such as anti-war, anti-globalization, and environmentalism. To some this may sound like a good thing, a progression or a platform to change minds, however, these positions have a very different interest and very methodical intention unique to those on the left. Their intention is to seek outside the reformist right in hopes to attract a new and larger crowd, specifically of the working class, the youth, and those aligning or sympathizing with ideals traditionally valued by the left. Their incentive however, is preservation of the white race, white rights and supremacy. With that being said there are two important realities that must be understood in order to debunk this political appropriation. The first is, that these stances are only temporary and would change the second the interests of whites were at stake. Lets take Anti-globalization For example, if Nike’s outsourcing to china didn’t take jobs away from any white people than the fact that Chinese families are working 60 hour weeks in a hot factory for next to nothing wouldn’t be a problem. The second is, if these efforts to skew the lines that differentiate freedom from oppression are successful, then the threat of fascism maximizes greatly as does the need for anti fascism.

Once we realize that the threat of Fascism is real, we must then learn to critique some typical left notions on what to do and what not to do. The first being ignoring them; the argument has been made that the fascists pose no real threat and only seek attention, thus ignoring them will make them go away. The reality is that ignoring them will only allow them to organize more effectively and more rapidly and may minimize the radical left’s revolutionary potential by failing to visibly create physical and theoretical opposition, because not only will the un-politicized masses then be easier led to believe the lies but antifascist work in it’s self can be applied to the larger social and political dissent. The second is to respect their “freedom of speech”. This is the idea that “Everyone has the right to say what they believe” no matter what their rhetoric may be. This concept has been voiced time and time again by liberals as well as the fascists themselves, however, Freedom of speech is only to be taken serious in relation to the fascists and the state. Every day people must recognize the importance of eliminating a movement that seeks the genocide of people of color, Queer folk, Jewish people and the physically and mentally disabled. It should go without saying that the repression of that ideology is far more important than the liberal notions of free speech. The last, yet no less destructive notion, on what to do, is to outlaw the fascists, making being involved in their organizations punishable. This tactic has two very important reasons to be dismissed; One is, that outlawing them will actually increase their revolutionary potential, even simply by advancing their urgency or making their cause more sympathized with. The other is that it will only be so long before that government repression is further applied to us. We have already felt the blow of this in recent times, where the so called need to prevent terrorism on U.S. soil by foreign "enemies" has in the end been used against radical left movements and organizations as harmless as food not bombs.

Militant anti-fascism has proved many times over to be concrete in its strategy. Some of its tactics may be debated under the concept of morality but never in terms of success. When we say militant anti fascism we speak of the ones who are not only willing, but understanding the need, to employ direct action against the fascists. Not only physically but mentally and technologically. From street battles to group infiltration radical antifascists seek to intimidate, confuse, misinform, expose and create paranoia within the ranks of the Fascists. We are also smart enough to keep as far from the state as possible since a great deal of this work is done not within the confines of the law. Although these tactics get the job done, and in both theory and practice they are sound, militant anti-fascisms’ more often than not physical and reactive state causes some important obstacles to be overcome. First, it can be easy to attract and create a chauvinistic presence that is polarizing and may also allow itself to overlook less risky yet more, situationally, successful strategies. Second, in regards to often being reactionary, it sometimes creates a lack of pro-activity and depending on both how active the fascists are, and how broad our scope of oppression is, our momentum can be slowed down. We must create a more broad range of action than purely following the fascists and battling on the turf they decide. Lastly, the fact that we put so much weight in confronting the fascists carries the ability to make one more easily overlook deeper and less obvious facets of racism such as gentrification, white supremacy and privilege that occur and exist in not only mainstream society but in the Radical/Activist community as well. For the latter it is important to realize that although fighting the bone heads is a beautiful example of race traitorism (assuming antifascists are largely white)this work is more anti fascist rather than anti-racist. Although racism remains a predominant factor in why we resist our enemy, realizing this can allow us to better understand that the spectrum of anti-racist work is far broader and often less visible.

Fascism is a realistic threat and must be challenged on all levels. We who understand this and struggle against fascism must critique its theory, its action, ourselves and, unlike the Nazis, be honest in our mistakes if we actually intend to win. Fascism plans to grow and so should we.