People were beaten, houses were burned, antique furniture burned, books were lost forever. Hurricane Gendarmerie went through the town of Cushamen last Monday causing devastation in the name of the Benetton fashion corporation, and one person is still missing — anarchist solidarity activist Santiago Maldonado.
Santiago, who lives in El Bolson, is more usually seen in Rio Library but has friends in Cushamen and had been visiting when he was caught up in a raid which saw over 100 police ride into town and savagely repress the local population.
Indigenous law specialist Elizabeth Gomez Alcorta reported in a statement that Santiago went missing shortly after shots rang out as the raid, ostensibly to protect a local railroad from being blocked, became more violent:
When the gendarmes fired shots they all ran, including Santiago.They ran to the same side to hide among the vegetation and there are those who saw where Santiago hid.But between the shots and the assaults, a second later they lost sight of him and heard an officer shout “We have one.” Then they approached a Gendarmerie van, opened the back doors and several personnel surrounded the doors to block the view.
From that moment nothing else is known of Santiago and the community, along with Santiago’s mother and brother, have put in a legal bid to force the Gendarmerie to offer up some answers on his whereabouts.
Santiago is just the latest in a long line of people beaten up and detained by local law enforcement in recent months. Cushamen has become a focus point for landless Mapuche workers who have set up the Pu Lof community on unused rural tracts around the town which Benetton holds the deeds for, and has seen an explosion of violence from authorities, which are intent on breaking the recuperation movement.
Last June reports circulated about a mass raid against homes on the Benetton-owned site, which Mapuche have lived on for more than 1,400 years, breaking up houses in some of the 100 mostly rural communities which dot the region. Another series of raids in January saw serious injuries to many local residents, including from point-blank use of rubber bullets which led to the shattering of one man’s jaw (CN: Serious wounding in pics).
According to community members, the repression on Monday was worse than last January. Local resident Vanessa said:
They burned an entire house, burned the things that a Mapuche family who came from the coast of Chubut had brought with them. They had just moved, there were things that were covered with nylon for safekeeping in the climate which were 500 years old, all burned along with tents and clothes and books — and a store of organic seeds.
Campaigners say the seeds are a key detail to understanding why there has been so much persecution — Mapuche still preserve their seeds without genetic modification which stops multinationals from selling their own tailored stock and creating a dependence on copyrighted versions.
On July 13, he was savagely assaulted by members of the Bolivarian
National Police (Policía Nacional Bolivariana [PNB]) and the Bolivarian
National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivariana [GNB]) in the parking lot
of the Grand Central Commercial Dairy Plaza (Centro Comercial Plaza
Mayor de Lecherías) in the state of Anzoátegui while he was on a
recycling run for the Turtle Foundation. A video of the attack is
available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5e5NDx7Ues
[Translator’s note: The Chávez regime and now its successor, the Maduro
regime, refer to themselves as “Bolivarian,” in an attempt to paint
themselves as the successors of Simon Bolivar, the leader of the
19th-century uprising against Spanish colonialism.]
After being brutally beaten by the PNB and GNB with nightsticks and
with shields used as battering rams, he was held for 36 hours at
Detachment 521 of the Command of Zone 521 of the GNB, before being
transferred to a medical facility for treatment. At present he’s
recovering in the Hospital of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Insurance.
Those responsible for the attack on Gianni are GNB first sergeants Osmel
Zambrano Márquez and Joel José Díaz Carreño, and second sergeants Julio
César Gómez Mata and José Gregorio Trébol Pinto, as well as the PNB
attaché Luis Ramón Cova León and PNB officials Xavier Alexander Díaz
Salazar, Elio Antonio Díaz Maigua and José Alejandro Villegas Olivero.
The violent assault suffered by Gianni is symptomatic of the constant
violence in Venezuela for the last 100 days, in which, since April 1,
more than 3,500 people have been detained, an incalculable number have
been injured, and there have been police raids on civil and residential
sites. Thus far 303 Venezuelan civilians have gone before military
tribunals. And more than 100 people have been killed.
We’re making an international call to our overseas anarchist comrades
for solidarity in the face of the attacks on the people of Venezuela
during this uprising of the people. Silence is complicity with a
dictatorship that oppresses, tortures, and jails anarchists.
Let indignation become rage against the oppressor!
With Gianni and all of the Venezuelans rising against the regime, we
remain the anarchists in the popular uprising.
*Some of the Youtube videos from Gianni Scovino:*
· ¿Quiénes son los anarquistas y qué es anarquismo?:
· #Venezuela Opinión: Ni con votos, ni con armas ni con nada:
An interview with Cole, a member of the Black Rose Anarchist Federation from Boston, giving his first hand account of the G20 Hamburg protests. He recently authored the piece “What Made Large Scale Resistance Possible at the G20 in Hamburg?” In this interview Cole gives a brief introduction to Black Rose, goes into detail on what made these protests possible, tactics used and the what these protests might mean for future organizing.
Also on the topic of the G20 Hamburg we recommend the interview with historian and Black Rose/Rosa Negra member Mark Bray appearing on the Final Straw podcast. #G20 #G20HAM17
Obviously, there have always been intersections between art and resistance, but we’d like to hear how you see those intersections for yourself, and how you see those intersections playing out in society today.
I believe art is an important part of resistance in that it contributes to an overall culture of resistance. Art inspires, educates, motivates, and helps to maintain a history of resistance as well. Today art is perhaps even more prolific in social movements due to greater access to communications technology with new forms such as memes and gifs emerging, although I find these to be more transient than traditional forms such as posters, banners, t-shirts, etc. My main focus is on graphic arts but it’s important to acknowledge the power of other media such as writing, music, etc., all of which contribute to building and maintaining a culture of resistance.
Are the aesthetic choices you make in your art political in and of themselves?
In some cases yes, because I consciously use images that I hope are empowering or inspiring. I also frequently use what I would consider iconic images from a particular action or event, images that people might already be familiar with and which help add authenticity to my artwork. Or slogans on banners that help convey a message, especially with comics in which I have very limited space for text. I will also consciously use images to “normalize” militant actions, like including masked persons in an image of a rally or protest, for example.
Can you talk about other artists and traditions that you draw political and aesthetic inspiration from?
Sure… some artists that have inspired me include Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall (the Mohawk artist that designed the warrior flag and wrote The Warrior’s Handbook), Art Wilson (a Gitxsan artist who used traditional Northwest Coast art to address contemporary struggles in his book of published prints entitled Heartbeat of the Earth: A First Nations Artist Records Injustice and Resistance), Joe Sacco (who did the Palestine comics), as well as more traditional Native artists including Tony Hunt (Kwakwaka’wakw) and Mark Henderson (Kwakwaka’wakw). Old school comic artists that inspired me include Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Berni Wrightson, Alex Nino, and Frank Frazetta.
Being an artist and historian, can you talk about the differences between written history and oral tradition, and how the use of imagery might interact with these methods?
Written history is useful for historians as it provides dates, names and locations, which help in understanding history chronologically. From this chronology we can see, for example, the process of colonization, or the expansion of an empire, etc. European states didn’t appear out of nowhere but were the result of a long history of colonization by the Romans and centuries of warfare between feudal kingdoms that emerged after the collapse of the Roman empire. This history, much of it recorded by observers at the time, helps us understand how the world we live in today was created. The oral history of Indigenous peoples has been portrayed as mythologies or fantasy, but we know today that events that are told as oral history are actually real events that occurred. For example, there are widespread oral histories of an earthquake and tsunami dating from the 1700s along the Northwest Coast that scientists now know actually occurred and which caused considerable destruction to many villages. The oral history of this event portrays it as resulting from the actions of spiritual forces; until scientists linked the stories to actual events, they were generally dismissed as mythology.
In regards to oral history, Indigenous people had many ways of portraying these histories through graphic arts, such as pictographs, paintings, beadwork, and carvings. Songs and dances were another way that these oral histories were remembered.
Today, there are examples of oral history that continue to be used, including poetry and hip hop. Even videos with interviews and testimonials are examples of oral history.
I find that comics are a good “middle ground” in that they combine written history with graphic images.
Where do you see the intersections between indigenous struggles and anarchist struggles?
I would say they meet in opposition to the state and capital, which for Indigenous peoples would be seen as anti-colonial and anti-capitalist resistance, although the concept of anti-capitalist is perhaps weaker than that of anti-colonial… I think that’s probably the strongest intersection, but there are also concepts such as anti-authoritarian or egalitarian forms of organizing. Although this differs in degrees from one Indigenous nation to another, it is, overall, a fairly strong part of our traditional culture (with some exceptions).
How do you think non-indigenous anarchists can be informed by and supportive of indigenous struggles?
By knowing the history of European colonialism and incorporating this into their analysis and actions.
Which past movements have you learned the most from?
I would say definitely the ‘68 generation: the American Indian Movement/Red Power movements, the Black Panthers, as well as the 1950s-60s black civil rights struggles, the Zapatistas. I’ve also been inspired by and learned from the autonomist movements in Europe, particularly in Italy and West Germany.
Have you ever felt torn between your role as an artist and your responsibility to other forms of political resistance? If so, how have you resolved those dilemmas?
No, I’ve never felt torn between being an artist and other forms of political resistance… It’s all part of a diversity of tactics and I believe that propaganda is a vital part of resistance movements and in building cultures of resistance. I do, however, believe it’s important for people that do art, or writing or any other form of propaganda to be involved in the movement because otherwise they can be out of touch with events and current trends.
You’ve talked a lot over the years about tactics in struggles. Do you find these conversations to be similar in indigenous contexts and non-indigenous struggles? Have you seen changes in these discussions over the years?
In some ways, the discussion of tactics is similar. For example, in some cases in the Indigenous movements, there is a discussion about the wearing of masks and the carrying out of illegal direct actions; there are debates around militancy, the logistics of blockades or occupations, security and counter-surveillance. I don’t think these discussions have changed over the years, since, say, the 1990 Oka Crisis, but instead they kind of emerge and then subside depending on the types of mobilizations that are occurring. One change has been discussions around internet security and the use of social media such as Facebook, which is being used quite a bit more recently by police for investigations and pressing charges.
The struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock is arguably the most prominent struggle for indigenous sovereignty we’ve seen in recent times. Do you think there are important philosophical or tactical lessons to be taken from how this struggle has played out?
Yes, I would say the NoDAPL campaign was very important for a variety of reasons. While there have been a number of anti-pipeline campaigns in Canada, and in particular in BC, it was the first real struggle against a proposed pipeline to occur as construction began. In Canada, the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline was eventually abandoned after several years of Indigenous resistance. At the Unis’tot’en camp, it doesn’t appear that the proposed natural gas pipeline has attempted to build on Unis’tot’en land. So the NoDAPL campaign was the first one to actively resist construction of a pipeline.
I think especially for Natives in the US, the NoDAPL campaign was very important, and I’m sure thousands of Native youth were radicalized in some way by participating in it.
Ultimately, however, the NoDAPL campaign failed. I would suggest this occurred for a number of reasons, the primary one being that the opposition, despite some militant actions that occurred, was primarily based on “non-violent civil disobedience” and pacifist methods. Any attempts at creating a diversity of tactics were largely squashed by the NGO-type organizers that dominated the debates on tactics, combined with the lack of experience among members of the Standing Rock reservation.
In contrast, I like to point out the resistance carried out by the Mi’kmaq in New Brunswick in 2013 against exploratory work for fracking operations. They didn’t have thousands of people gather, didn’t have big name celebrities join in, and didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars at their disposal. They mobilized their community and after a brief attempt at non-violent civil disobedience, they carried out more militant actions including sabotage and road blockades. Their main blockade was cleared out by police in October 2013, which resulted in six police cars being torched; afterwards, they used more mobile tire fire blockades to disrupt the exploratory work. Eventually, the company, SWN Resources, pulled out before completing all their work, and the next year a provincial election was held that saw the pro-fracking government thrown out of power in what was seen as a plebiscite on fracking. The new government enacted a moratorium on fracking. The Mi’kmaq, even though they were much smaller in numbers than what we saw at Standing Rock, and with far less resources, were victorious.
In looking at the two campaigns, there are many lessons to be learned, and I would caution against people hoping to replicate the Standing Rock model because, ultimately, it was defeated.
Majorie Flowers and Eldred Davis accept conditions; Jim Learning later accepts house arrest
CBC News, July 31, 2017
Three Indigenous protesters jailed over a week ago at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s appeared in court today before a judge.
Majorie Flowers, Jim Learning and Eldred Davis have been jailed ever since they refused to promise a judge on July 21 they would stay away from the Muskrat Falls site.
On Monday, each protester appeared before a judge to determine whether they’ll remain in jail until their next appearance.
Davis said his time in HMP has been very difficult, and signed an undertaking promising he would comply and was released.
He’ll still be able to protest at Muskrat Falls in a location across the main gate that’s known as the “protest pad.”
Flowers’ lawyer asked she be given house arrest and the judge accepted the offer.
Learning, the eldest of the three at 79, initially refused to sign a similar undertaking.
However, later in court, Learning he did eventually agree to house arrest.
Labrador MP wants injunction dropped
In an interview with Labrador Morning on Monday, Labrador MP Yvonne Jones said she wants Nalcor to drop the injunction preventing protesters from peacefully rallying outside of Muskrat Falls before more of them are jailed.
“My fear in all of this is that a lot of innocent people in Labrador who are firmly believing in standing up for their position on Muskrat Falls [are] going to be incarcerated and serve time as a result of it,” she said.
Jones believes there are other ways to discipline protesters who block access to the Muskrat Falls site or damage property than imprisoning them.
Peaceful protest should be a hallmark of our democracy, said Jones.
“It’s a sense of being free in a democratic country and being able to stand up for what you believe in and being able to have your message heard,” she said.
Supporters deliver petition demanding release
Prior to the court appearance today, over a dozen supporters of the imprisioned protestors marched to Confederation Building from Allandale Road to deliver a petition asking that Flowers, Learning and Davis be released.
Similar protests took place in Halifax and Happy Valley-Goose Bay as well.
This year, the International solidarity week for anarchist prisoners will be spent for the fifth time in 23rd to 30th August and we come stronger than ever!
Some political prisoners are already supported, but far from all of them. Also, the supported are usually involved in authoritarian politics and not grassroots activities. Anarchist prisoners are not often well-known people, even though they might be long term activists. Their ways to fight back oppressors and wrongdoings are not necessary following the current laws of their location, which is judged by some authoritarian organizations. The vast amount and diversity of cases of anarchist prisoners is surprising to many.
We wanted to choose a week, so that it would be easy as possible to organize different kinds of expressions of solidarity, which would be supported by one another. The beginning of the week was chosen to be the execution date of Sacco and Vanzetti, two Italian-American anarchists, in 1927. They were convicted with very little amount of evidence, and many still consider that they were punished from their anarchist views.
Welcome to join!
Solidarity can express itself in many forms.
Please report us your done actions to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also announce your event in advance in the same address, we list them on our page http://solidarity.international/. From the pages you can also find examples and tips of actions and support mail to anarchists, links to prisoner lists and more.
Gianni Scovino is a young man of 33 with Asperger’s syndrome and a member of the Turtle Foundation (Fundación La Tortuga), a participant in the punk scene, and an anarchist media activist using materials from El Libertario [Venezuela’s primary anarchist periodical] on his Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCt5E7TuSaxrHPyoXF07LlZg/videos), where he puts up videos in both Spanish and English.
On July 13, he was savagely assaulted by members of the Bolivarian National Police (Policía Nacional Bolivariana [PNB]) and the Bolivarian National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivariana [GNB]) in the parking lot of the Grand Central Commercial Dairy Plaza (Centro Comercial Plaza Mayor de Lecherías) in the state of Anzoátegui while he was on a recycling run for the Turtle Foundation. A video of the attack is available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5e5NDx7Ues
[Translator’s note: The Chávez regime and now its successor, the Maduro regime, refer to themselves as “Bolivarian,” in an attempt to paint themselves as the successors of Simon Bolivar, the leader of the 19th-century uprising against Spanish colonialism.]
After being brutally beaten by the PNB and GNB with nightsticks and with shields used as battering rams, he was held for 36 hours at Detachment 521 of the Command of Zone 521 of the GNB, before being transferred to a medical facility for treatment. At present he’s recovering in the Hospital of the Venezuelan Institute of Social Insurance.
Those responsible for the attack on Gianni are GNB first sergeants Osmel Zambrano Márquez and Joel José Díaz Carreño, and second sergeants Julio César Gómez Mata and José Gregorio Trébol Pinto, as well as the PNB attaché Luis Ramón Cova León and PNB officials Xavier Alexander Díaz Salazar, Elio Antonio Díaz Maigua and José Alejandro Villegas Olivero.
The violent assault suffered by Gianni is symptomatic of the constant violence in Venezuela for the last 100 days, in which, since April 1, more than 3,500 people have been detained, an incalculable number have been injured, and there have been police raids on civil and residential sites. Thus far 303 Venezuelan civilians have gone before military tribunals. And more than 100 people have been killed.
We’re making an international call to our overseas anarchist comrades for solidarity in the face of the attacks on the people of Venezuela during this uprising of the people. Silence is complicity with a dictatorship that oppresses, tortures, and jails anarchists.
Let indignation become rage against the oppressor!
With Gianni and all of the Venezuelans rising against the regime, we remain the anarchists in the popular uprising!