May Day

basketPagan May Day stems from the ancient, pre-Christian holiday of Beltane, (pronounced Bell-tinna,) a Celtic celebration of Spring and fertility. Villagers would get together around the Maypole and uh….merge units. Orgy-day, as it were. The origins of the Maypole have been hotly disputed for centuries (disputed we suspect by those people who prefer filling baskets up with flowers to having sex,) but the phallic significance of an enormous, ERECT POLE should be fairly obvious to the average person. Baskets and poles aside, most people living in the United States know little about the International Workers’ Day of May Day.  Many make the assumption it is a holiday celebrated only by RED MENACE COMMIE BASTARDS in countries like Cuba or the former Soviet Union. Most Americans don’t realize that Worker’s May Day has its origins here in this country, and for some excellent reasons. The industrial barons of the time were tantamount to slave owners, and workers, who had no rights at all at the time, worked and died in horrid conditions and were treated abominably by cruel employers. So Worker’s May Day is as American as the hubcap. The IWW reports that in 1886, a socialist publisher appealed to the working people with this plea:

  • Workingmen to Arms!
  • War to the Palace, Peace to the Cottage, and Death to LUXURIOUS IDLENESS.
  • The wage system is the only cause of the World’s misery. It is supported by the rich classes, and to destroy it, they must be either made to work or DIE.
  • One pound of DYNAMITE is better than a bushel of BALLOTS!
  • MAKE YOUR DEMAND FOR EIGHT HOURS with weapons in your hands to meet the capitalistic bloodhounds, police, and militia in proper manner.

 

The Haymarket Massacre, which  took place in Chicago’s Haymarket Square in 1886, is widely accepted to be the foundation of May Day observances for workers.  Haymarket  began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking for an eight-hour day. As pro-labor speakers spoke to the crowd, cops swooped in to disperse the public meeting. (Unfortunately, cops are still prone to doing that.)  A blast was set off by unknown person(s) and between the explosion and ensuing gunfire, seven police officers and at least four civilians were killed and scores of others wounded.

In the legal proceedings that followed, eight anarchists were convicted of conspiracy. Evidence generated by a police search implicated one defendant, Louis Lingg, who could have constructed an explosive devise with dynamite but it also showed that none of the defendants on trial had thrown one.  Seven anarchists were sentenced to death and one to a term of 15 years in prison. Out of those seven, two of the defendants death sentences were later commuted to terms of life in prison, four were hanged, and one committed suicide in jail. In 1893, Illinois’ new governor, John Peter Altgeld,  criticized the trial and pardoned the remaining defendants. A  public sculpture was dedicated at the spot in 2004.

ABC LargeMay Day 2014

Portland Anarchist Black Cross, Portland Books to Prisoners and Oregon Jericho are all going to be tabling (asshole to elbow) downtown at May Day/International Workers Day! Tabling will be in the South Park Blocks (behind PSU) on SW Park Ave, roughly in the area between SW Main and SW Market. Tabling usually involves sitting there for a couple of hours, handing out info about the prison industrial complex, and answering the nagging question: “What does books to prisoners do?” (ANSWER: They send BOOKS TO PRISONERS!)  We will set up around 2pm. There is a rally that starts at 3pm and a march that starts at 4pm. May Day falls on a Thursday this year. Come by and see us! March in the street! Tie a ribbon around your pole and have an orgy! We hope to see everybody at May Day!

 

POW Gavin Coyle

Gavin Coyle is an Irish Republican prisoner incarcerated at Maghaberry (pronounced Maw-bry) prison, in the British occupied North of Ireland. Gavin is currently on a hunger strike to protest being held in the segregated

Maghaberry Prison

punishment unit for 3 years.  Irish Republicans – those who believe Ireland has the right to be a whole, sovereign, and undivided nation, are imprisoned only for believing Ireland’s freedom is worth fighting for. It is a fight that goes on daily and even though Ireland is not that far away from us, because of US/English joint tactics and the media blackout serving to protect the interests of the British elite, many people in the US are never aware of this struggle.  Maghaberry is one of the most notoriously inhumane prison facilities in the world. Once those cage doors slam shut behind an Irish Republican person, they will meet with the worst treatment the Brits can devise. The prison staff at Maghaberry is entirely British and of a mindset that to this day, stubbornly holds itself to be entitled to any lands occupied in the name of Empire. Irish prisoners are regularly subjected to beatings and brutal strip searches. These are known to occur as often as 6 times a day when the prisoner is considered political, or is being leaned on to inform on others. Such is the case with Gavin Coyle; they think he knows something. The battle to bring human rights observers and international awareness to the cruel practices taking place at this prison, is one we have been fighting for over a decade.  Clearly, this prison is in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which states that no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Prolonged, enforced isolation is unjustifiable in any circumstances. It is unjustifiable whether it is imposed as a punishment, or for any other purpose.”  Letters to political offices and human rights organizations in the US, Ireland, England, and to ECHR committee members, when they have been answered at all, have held scant promise of any resolution to the cruelty being inflicted upon the Irish by Maghaberry’s sadistic staff and administration.  So what, as human beings opposed to the torture of other human beings, can we do about it?  The best approach, whether the prisoner is located in the US, Ireland, or anywhere else, seems to be to just to write to the prisoner directly. By that action alone, a prison’s staff and administration are made aware there are people on the outside who are watching how the prison treats people and that we know precisely what is happening there, and who is responsible for it. Portland Anarchist Black Cross holds regular community writing nights for people to join us in caring. These are on the first Thursday of the month at 7pm and are located at Red and Black Cafe, on SE 12th and Oak, in Portland. We provide everything you need to pick up a pen and demonstrate your support for somebody in prison.

 

SEE ALSO:

graphic courtesy of Ansionnachfionn.com

IRPW, the Irish Republican Prisons Welfare Association

HARK: Political Prisoners in the North of Ireland

Irish Freedom Committee

Phoblachtáigh do Aontiú / Republican Network for Unity

Workers Solidarity Movement

Indymedia, North of Ireland

Irish Political Status Committee Forum

 

Strife Sues Olympia PD

Strife is suing the Olympia Police Department. He was in a crowd at a protest in Olympia in April of 2010, when police swooped in to take them down. The cops surrounded the group and began swinging batons at them and firing pepper balls in their faces.  During the protest, ironically called “West Coast Days of Action Against Police Violence,” one cop claimed Strife punched him in the face. There were no witnesses to the alleged offence and no other officers will corroborate the story.  Olympia Police swiped everyone’s cameras and recording equipment and refused to give the stuff back until three years later, when Strife’s lawyer forced the issue by winning a settlement against the city of Olympia. In a video clip used as evidence of Strife’s doubtful crime, he on his knees with a banner in his lap, roughly in the center of a group of twenty-nine people. It should be pointed out Strife is several feet away from the cop’s head he is alleged to have remotely smote. In the police report, the cop incorrectly described Strife’s attire and general appearance and in photos of his “injuries” after the protest, the officer’s head and face show no injuries (other than an unfortunate accident of birth rendering him a damned ugly lout to begin with.) According to court documents, the cop Strife allegedly socked, has racked up a total of eight citizen complaints and two disciplinary actions in the past five years for engaging in threatening or intimidating behavior. He also has some excessive force complaints, including one for brandishing a gun at a citizen during a traffic stop and another for slamming a woman’s face into the ground. A few more and they’ll promote him to Captain. 

Despite glaring inconsistencies, Strife was charged with assault and after being successfully railroaded by his public defender served a two-month sentence in Thurston County Jail.  Please join Strife on March 11, 2014 at the Federal Courthouse in Tacoma at 9 am for the first day of this civil trial that aims to expose the criminalization of dissent. For news and updates on his case, please visit Strife’s support blog, “We Are All Suspects Now” at http://strife-101-life.tumblr.com/.

Jeremy Hammond moved

(News from the Internationalist Prison Book Collective, in Chapel Hill NC.)  Jeremy Hammond is a computer programmer sentenced to 10 years in prison. He leaked information from the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting revealing Stratfor had been spying on human rights activists at the behest of corporations and the U.S. government. In March 2012 Jeremy was arrested in his Chicago home and charged with violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; an outdated law written before the Internet was created that gives absurdly broad powers to corporations and enables prosecutors to criminalize an array of online activity in order to pursue extreme and disproportionate sentences.

 

Jeremy Hammond #18729-424
FCI Manchester
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 4000
Manchester, KY 40962

Hugo Pinell moved

re-posted here from: Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community,  and Freedom Archives

We received the good news that Hugo Pinell, a prisoner in solitary confinement for 44 consecutive years,was moved to CSP-Sac in Represa, CA (also known as New Folsom) in ‘step 4′ of CDCR’s “step-down-program,” January 8. His new address for supportive mail is:

Hugo Pinell, # A-88401
California State Prison-Sacramento P.O. Box 290066
Represa, CA 95671

Known to friends as Yogi, Hugo will still be in SHU but the cells have windows and he may have better yard facilities, according to Ernest Shephard who’s been there; i.e., he could get to play basketball and handball (which I’m told he’s great at), and have some company.. He’ll be much closer to home and able to receive more visits. In fact, I’ll be able to visit him again since it’s only a few hours’ drive from San Francisco. It will be much easier on his Mom and family, and there’s a real possibility he could get contact visits. Meanwhile, Hugo and his team <http://uncommonlaw.org/> are preparing for the March 11th Parole Hearing. Hugo’s, attorney, Keith Wattley, noted: “We should shift our hearing preparation a little bit by providing some specific types of support for his release. That means that we want letters from individuals or groups offering residence, employment and counseling (from psychologists, psychiatrists, religious and spiritual leaders, etc.) to help his transition out of prison after all these years. None of these letters need to discuss the politics or injustice of his situation. Just the facts, please. All letters should be addressed to the Board of Parole Hearings, P.O. Box 4036, Sacramento, CA 95814, BUT THEY SHOULD ACTUALLY BE MAILED, EMAILED OR FAXED DIRECTLY TO ME AT UNCOMMON LAW, 220 4TH STREET, SUITE 103, OAKLAND, CA 94607, FAX: (510) 271-0101. I’ll need to review these letters before we submit them to the Board, and I may send some of them back for editing. Please feel free to spread this information to other supporters you know. Do not send any petitions or form letters. We cannot use them. Thanks for all your continuing support.” Please write to Yogi and check out his website: http://www.hugopinell.com. Forward forever; backwards never!

Support Oregon Tar Sands Resisters!

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In case you haven’t heard there have been some pretty bad ass local developments in the fight against the worlds most destructive industrial project in the world, and poster child for everything wrong with the capitalist economic system, the Tar Sands.  A megaload shipment carrying weapons of mass industrial destruction destined for the Tar Sands in Alberta Canada  has made little progress since it left the Port of Umatilla earlier this  month. Due to an extensive campaign of direct action it is still stuck in Oregon!!!Thanks to the enduring resistance of folks from the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla and Rising Tide Chapters across the region.

However, as we know resistance breads repression and these brave warriors need our help in dollars and cents as the State has set a $150,00.00 bail. So please if you can’t make it to the barricades follow the link and donate to their legal defense fund so folks can keep up the fight!

https://www.wepay.com/donations/portland-rising-tide

“Sixteen people were arrested Monday as two disabled vehicles were used to blockade and stop the controversial tar sands megaload near John Day, Oregon! We need to raise $ 15,000 to get them out of jail as their total bail was set at $ 150,000. Please donate legal funds to support these folks and to continue our work to stop these shipments from reaching the tar sands!

This was the sixth regional action against the Oregon megaloads in two weeks, and follows blockades on December 1st and 2nd (pictured above). Office occupations and disruptions have taken place at Omega Morgan’s offices in Fife, WA and Hillsboro, OR, as well as the General Electric subsidiary that manufactured the machinery moving towards the Athabasca oil fields in Alberta.

We are an all-volunteer group driven by a passion to stop climate chaos and support indigenous resistance to tar sands development. Please support our brave people on the front lines!”

http://portlandrisingtide.org/

Supporting Jeremy Hammond

By Comrade Ashley

On the morning of November 15th in New York, 28 year old hackivist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in Jeremy Hammondfederal prison for violation of Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He used his computer skills to hack into and release over 5 million files of the private security firm Strategic Forecasting, Inc., or “Stratfor” exposing the corporate and government spying on activists domestically and abroad amongst other discoveries.

Existing prisoner support groups Portland Anarchist Black Cross, Oregon Jericho, Radical Prisoner Support Portland, and newly formed Portland IWW General Defense Committee (GDC) Local 1 had already had a benefit planned for him the next evening at The Red & Black Cafe. There was music by Irie Idea, Intentional Overtones, and Years of Lead, as well as a raffle, and readings of Jeremy’s own words in his plea and sentencing statements. “The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?” (quoted from his sentencing statement on 11.16.13.)  What happened to Jeremy comes as no shock to those organizing in their communities; it’s a risk that is always there. Government repression comes in many forms including surveillance/monitoring and incarceration. He uncovered the truth, revealing the relationship between the government and private intelligence. Inspired by the actions of Chelsea Manning, he felt that he had the skills and obligation to do something. This is not just inspiring but courageous. Like the old saying “They’re in there for us, we’re out here for them.” Let’s also find inspiration in the actions of those who are locked away and hope that one day we can free them from their cages into a better world.

Thanks to all the amazing people in our community who donated, we raised $350 which went directly into his commissary account! It was a night we wish we didn’t have to have. But a night we know Jeremy would have liked. 10 years is a long time and he’s going to need our support, so here’s what YOU can do: write him a letter, share his story, and donate to his defense fund.

Most importantly: DON’T FORGET ABOUT JEREMY HAMMOND! For where to send your letter, please visit: http://www.freejeremy.net Donations can be made at www.wepay.com/donations/jeremy-hammond-defense….   OR make checks payable to: National Lawyers Guild Foundation Memo: JHDC and sent them to:

JHDC C/O NLG
132 Nassau St RM 922 New York, NY 10038
 
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