Eugene Chapter of the Black Panther Party

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well.

The Black Panther Party was one of the leading movements in the U.S. for the struggle of Black liberation, with armed community self-defense and community social programs at the core of its activities, and at its peak had offices in 68 cities, both in the U.S. and internationally. One of these cities is Eugene, Oregon.

In a primarily-white city, the Eugene chapter of the Black Panther Party grew out of the Black Student Union at the U of O, where black students dealt with the institutional racism of the university’s community and academia. Elmer and Aaron Dixon were two brothers who headed the Seattle chapter of the BPP that came down to help organize the Eugene chapter and left three Seattle members to help support its development.

At its height, the Eugene chapter had 18-20 members and 10-15 underground members, with its core members all coming from Compton, Los Angeles and brought to or influenced to move to Eugene by the chapter’s leadership, Howard and Tommy Anderson.

From the Eugene chapter, a few community survival projects emerged:

a) the Free Breakfast Program that served 20-30 children everyday

b) a Liberation School that focused on African and African American history while also unraveling some untrue accounts of Eurocentric history widely taught in Eurocentric academics/curriculum

c) and a Public Speaker Program that participated in demonstrations and rallies in Eugene, such as on racism, Vietnam, and other issues at the time. The speaker program also tried to educate the wider Eugene community about the goals and philosophy of the Black Panther Party.

The Eugene chapter also developed supportive relationships with other revolutionary organizations, including:

a) Patriot Party – a Euro-American organization that focused on poor whites

b) Brown Berets – headed by a small group of Chicanos from Los Angeles who organized resistance to the exploitation of the Chicano community in Eugene and other migrant farming communities in the surrounding areas. The Eugene Chapter was led by Ray Verdugo.

c) and Asian student organizers, such as Ellen Bepp and Sandra Muraoka, that focused on racism, stereotyping and other issues related to students of Asian descent.

It comes as no surprise that the Eugene chapter ran into confrontations with the Eugene Police Department in 1969. The Eugene Police attempted to enter the house of a party member, Oliver Patterson, but were met with armed resistance. When Howard and Tommy Anderson met with the police and Howard asked them to produce a warrant, the police were unable to do so and were forced to leave without making arrests. That same day, a warrant was issued for Howard and Tommy Anderson for “assault on police with deadly weapons and interfering with the Eugene Police.” All members of the BPP Eugene chapter showed up at the BPP Headquarters and decided not to give up the Anderson brothers without a fight to the death. With the Headquarters fortified and enough weapons to engage the Eugene Police in a short firefight, the BPP Eugene chapter was ready for an armed struggle, with armed white supporters outside in strategic positions and the support of many UO students protesting police outside.

However, before such a fight could happen, a respected attorney in Eugene named Ken Morrow approached the BPP Headquarters and offered his help as an attorney. With the judge agreeing to set bail at $10,000 per Panther, the money was raised within ten minutes, and Ken Morrow and the Anderson brothers went to City Hall, were arraigned, posted bail, and were back at Headquarters within one hour. He maintained a good relationship with the Panthers despite pressure from anti-Panther people in Eugene.

The Eugene Police continued to harass the BPP Eugene chapter for various reasons, but by 1970, the Eugene chapter had relatively dissolved, with some members moving to other cities to organize with other chapters and others remaining as students at the U of O.

***The article was written with the intent of recording the legacy of the Eugene Chapter of the Black Panther Party and its impact on the UO campus and the wider Eugene community: http://www.itsabouttimebpp.com/chapter_history/eugene_oregon_chapter.html

Prison Strike and Solitary Confinement

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well.

With the nationwide prison strike swiftly approaching on August 21st, thoughts turn to our incarcerated comrades and the conditions of torment they endure in institutions across the world.

During a work stoppage or slowdown, prisoners face increased risk of persecution by prison officials. Participation in these important protests is considered a high-severity level prohibited act. The federal punishment for these acts is solitary confinement, also called restrictive housing. For participation in a strike, prisoners can be sentenced to up to a year of solitary for each offense. These punishments can be exacerbated by attaching gang status to prisoners participating in organized acts with multiple individuals.

Initially seen as an opportunity to reflect on one’s deeds and deepen a prisoner’s relationship with god, this inhumane and barbarous practice has been increasingly under scrutiny due to evidence of the incredibly harmful psychological impacts on inmates, and it’s seeming lack of long-term efficacy.

This torturous treatment is by no means a punishment reserved for striking prisoners. In the united states, the country that leads the world in numbers of imprisoned individuals, there are as many as 80,000 people in solitary confinement, according to the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker humanitarian organization. This includes children. There is some irony in these statistics being tracked by the AFSC, since it’s believed that Quakers were strong supporters of solitary confinement during it’s early usage in american penitentiaries.

The american psychiatrist Stuart Grassian, in the paper entitled Psychopathological Effects of Solitary Confinement, was able to identify many psychiatric symptoms that were common among inmates subject to this form of isolation torture. The list of symptoms includes perceptual changes (including hallucinations, perceptual distortions, difficulty with thinking, memory and concentration)  disturbances of thought content (such as paranoia, or the emergence of aggressive fantasies) problems with impulse control, and self mutilation. These symptoms also were found to quickly subside on termination of the prisoner’s isolation.

This form of torturing prisoners is only one of many techniques used to abuse and degrade people deemed to be a risk to the overall function of the prison machine.

The american prison system exists to strike fear into the population, to manipulate and control individuals, but also largely to make profit through the use of slave labor.

Striking prisoners are taking a huge risk, attacking the very heart of the prison industrial complex. As the strike continues to draw nearer, there is an increased need for actions of solidarity, and to support prisoners directly. No compromise in the abolition of slavery, no compromise in the abolition of prisons.

Some useful links:

a brief list of companies that use prison labor: https://www.cagedbirdmagazine.com/single-post/2017/03/28/50-Companies-Supporting-Modern-American-Slavery

a link to the article Psychopathological Effects of Solitary Confinement:

https://www.nmlegis.gov/handouts/CCJ%20102716%20Item%203%20Dr%20Grassian%20Psychopathological%20Effects%20of%20Solitary%20Confinement.pdf

Indian Residential Schools

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well.

The american colonial machine seeks the eradication or co-option of any resistance to it’s goals of homogeneity and control. Nowhere has this practice been more apparent or abhorrent than in the late 19th century with the advent of Indian Residential Schools.

These schools, more accurately described as factories of cultural destruction, found their predecessors, in the early missionary schools of the 17th century. Later, education and reform programs for freedmen in the post civil war era, such as those of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute also known as Hampton University, were another source of inspiration. The residential schools went on to become a network of dozens of government funded assimilation schools, and hundreds of private schools.

Their goal was to disenfranchise, assimilate, and eradicate indigenous cultures and peoples through immersion in european-american culture and the separation of children from their families, language, beliefs and traditions. These schools did their best to erase identities, often forcing people to abandon even their own names. Natives were forced to cut their hair, speak English, dress in western clothing, and were provided with western education and theological instruction to prepare them for the eventual total domination of their land by white settlement. Any sign of their traditional culture and behaviors was forbidden, with often harsh punishments for any infraction.

The practice of re-programming these individuals, though barbaric, was believed by many, including Richard Pratt, an early proponent of Residential Schools, and founder of the flagship Carlisle Indian Industrial School, to be a humanistic and civilized alternative to the popular practices of dealing with indigenous peoples, namely genocide and confinement to reservations. The Carlisle Indian Industrial School was the first off-reservation assimilation model boarding school and therefore the first of a particularly damaging practice, that of separating of children and young people from their communities and heritage. This school was active for almost 40 years, being founded in 1879 and closing in 1918. Many schools based on this model were active until the middle of the 20th century.

During the middle and late 19th century, at odds with white colonial society and nearing the end of an era of centuries long militant conflict with white invaders, tribal peoples were experiencing rapid population decline. They were increasingly systematically disenfranchised and moved to reservations through acts like Jefferson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830, or the Dawes Act of 1887.

The move to provide basic literacy and western education was, during this period, often marketed as a means to protect this increasingly marginalized people. In reality, it was a push to assert the dominance of the white western culture over the supposedly inferior Native societies. This false pretense was used as justification for an attempt at fundamentally destroying a way of life. This can be summed up by the quote from Pratt “Kill the Indian, save the man.” Peoples with strong traditions of militant resistance to colonialism were specifically selected for recruitment to the boarding schools.

These schools were the site of horrible abuse and torment directed at students. Children were subjected to corporal punishment, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, and were susceptible to a host of deadly infections. Thousands of Native children died far away from their homes and loved ones, and were buried in often nameless graves on the the sites of these institutions. The number of deaths were often inaccurately recorded, probably due to their high numbers.

It is difficult to overstate the effect of these schools on Native societies. Coupled with government programs offering land grants in exchange for the renunciation of tribal treaty rights, the move was to subjugate a people whose traditional way of life did not allow for the same level of control and domination that western society could wield against the individual. Women’s place in Native society, a culture that allowed for women to hold positions of high regard and substantial power, warriors, chiefs and keepers of sacred traditions was to be replaced, by these programs of brainwashing, with the slavery and subordination that colonial american culture reserved for women. The powerful understanding of the land as an un-ownable and communal resource was to be replaced by the enforced selfishness of the private land ownership structure. This served not just to fracture treaty and land rights agreements, but to separate and destroy the bonds of native communities.

Only through the separation and isolation of the individual from their community could western society hope to mold the individual into a unit of production, a cog in the industrial machine. Many of the programs taught at these Native boarding schools were vocational in nature and hoped to prepare Natives to renounce their former freedom in order that they may become productive and dominatable members of western society.

“The whole education process must be recognized as fundamentally different when one passes from white society to Indian society. Education in white society appears to be a creator of communities. It is oriented toward the production of income-producing skills, and the housing, business, entertainment, and recreation sections of white communities reflect this fact. But in the tribal setting, communities are the producers of education. At least they were in the past, and we can make them so today. When communities produce education, the groupings of the community reflect the charisma, wisdom, and activities of the various parts of the community. The respective activities can be viewed in relation to their importance to the community. In that way, the sacredness of the community can be protected and developed.”

-Vine Deloria, Jr.

Though Native peoples suffered through innumerable injustices, and continue to suffer under colonialism, it should be noted that their spirit of insurrection could not and cannot be crushed by even the most vicious of strategies.

“Perhaps the most fundamental conclusion that emerges from boarding school histories is the profound complexity of their historical legacy for Indian people’s lives. The diversity among boarding school students in terms of age, personality, family situation, and cultural background created a range of experiences, attitudes, and responses. Boarding schools embodied both victimization and agency for Native people and they served as sites of both cultural loss and cultural persistence. These institutions, intended to assimilate Native people into mainstream society and eradicate Native cultures, became integral components of American Indian identities and eventually fueled the drive for political and cultural self-determination in the late 20th century.”

-Dr. Julie Davis

Across the globe, from the contemporary revolutionary struggles of tribal people, to armed resistance against early european colonialism, aboriginal struggle stands as a testament to the power of the human spirit. The advancement and domination of the planet and its people by western civilization continues to threaten the foundation of our individual identities, and our individual liberty. This process will not end until the systems of civilization and colonialism are understood, confronted, and destroyed.

Louisiana Colonization

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well.

The Louisiana Indians are the inheritors of ancient traditions. They consist of Alabama, Koasati (Coushatta), Choctaw (four groups: Jena, Bayou LaCombe, Clifton, and an urban group in East Baton Rouge Parish), Chitimacha, Houma, and Tunica-Biloxi. A mixed Choctaw and Apache group in northwest Louisiana rounds out a complicated cultural picture.

Their native languages have largely been replaced with French, Spanish, and English. The
Creole language is partly native, but was a compromised language for trade with colonizers. However, their cultural practices have mostly survived and are practiced regularly among the native peoples.

In 1519, the first contact with Europeans occurred. It was an expedition led by Alvarez de Pindea. After that event, began the very negative aspects of colonization experienced by all native people of Turtle Island. Some tribes of Louisiana were persuaded to join forces with colonizers and actively raided neighboring tribes to capture and enslave people. The Natchez Wars, the Chickasaw Wars, and the French and Indian Wars all fragmented and destroyed many native lives. The state of Louisiana was actively bought and sold amongst European countries throughout the years without any sort of consent of the native people who had been living there for thousands of years.

The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 was a major turning point for the quality of life of native people in Louisiana. Article VI of the treaty actively dissolved any type of treaties that the French and Spanish had made with the native people. These treaties were not to the benefit of the native people, but at the very least let them have some sort of dignity. The U.S. actively removed these tribes from their homes and forced them into Oklahoma. The native people who declined to be removed, moved into the margins of the state where there was little interest for development/homesteading.

The band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw, a Native American tribe living in the Louisiana coastal wetlands (the main marginal community that natives moved to), has lost some 98 percent of its land since the 1950s. The loss of land is the result of soil erosion and rising sea levels. This has resulted in the loss of over 15, 000 acres. The relocation would be subsidized by around $48 million in government funds, said Forbes, and would take a few years to complete.

The current colonization and degradation of the native people’s land is the construction of the final ‘leg’ of the oil pipeline from North Dakota, which was fiercely protested in South Dakota in 2016. There is an active resistance to the pipeline construction that has been using direct action, other forms of protest, and legal means. This fight is still currently developing.

Louisiana law already prohibits trespassing at sites known as “critical infrastructure,” including power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, water treatment facilities, and natural gas terminals. House Bill 727 adds pipelines and their construction areas to the list of critical infrastructure sites, a move in reaction to growing pipeline protests nationwide.

The company (Energy Transfer Partners) directing this construction has the worst track record for oil spills. Considering the poisonous nature of oil and the fact that over 53% of wetlands have been removed in the U.S., this pipeline is a serious threat to one of the last and largest wetland ecosystems in the so-called U.S. The crawfish is a point of emphasis in the protests and has been a important to the native tribes’ cultural identities. 43% of species on the endangered species list depend on wetland ecosystems which are also important to the cultural identities of the tribes, as these parts of ecosystems always are.

Colonization is continuing to destroy lives and leaving little left of the wild world that is the entirety of any indigenous culture.

 

Works Cited

https://www.warpaths2peacepipes.com/history-of-native-americans/history-of-louisiana-indians.htm

www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/creole_art_native_overview.html

Marasco, Sue A. “Indian (Native American) Removal” knowlouisiana.org Encyclopedia of Louisiana. Ed. David Johnson. Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, 20 Dec 2012. Web. 11 May 2018.

https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/90000004.TXT?ZyActionD=ZyDocument&Client=EPA&Index=1991+Thru+1994&Docs=&Query=&Time=&EndTime=&SearchMethod=1&TocRestrict=n&Toc=&TocEntry=&QField=&QFieldYear=&QFieldMonth=&QFieldDay=&IntQFieldOp=0&ExtQFieldOp=0&XmlQuery=&File=D%3A%5Czyfiles%5CIndex%20Data%5C91thru94%5CTxt%5C00000019%5C90000004.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h%7C-&MaximumDocuments=1&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=hpfr&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=1&SeekPage=x&ZyPURL

https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/04/06/bayou-bridge-protesters-arrested-louisiana-advances-bill-toughening-penalties-pipeline-protests

https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/04/17/energy-transfer-partners-pipelines-leaked-once-every-11-days-greenpeace-report

 

HAY!!!  Come to our Market

There are many things one may want to do to celebrate International Workers’ Day this year. Perhaps, you could creatively resist local manifestations of multi-national corporations, join a black bloc, or just let spontaneity decide how you’ll impact the world around you. Who knows? The day awaits.  Whatever you do, hopefully you stay nourished, stay safe, and have some fun. We hope the same for all in the working class, especially on this day of solidarity.

This is why, your friendly Neighborhood Anarchist Collective (NAC) in Eugene, OR, along with Carry It Forward and the Communist Labor Party, is throwing it’s monthly, Solidarity Share Fair (A *Really* Free-Market) on May Day in lovely Downtown Eugene at 1166 Oak St.  There we shall have free space to stand and work in solidarity with all of the working poor and working homeless, and push an inclusive May Day, one that builds cohesion with all the slaves of capitalism, working, unemployed, and imprisoned.

Since we primarily serve people who are unhoused, the resources we distribute are related to living a life outside. There are never enough good clothes, tents, backpacks, and camping gear. We provide whatever skills and services people are able to share each month! Do you want to contribute your skills? We would love to have gear menders, medical services, general helpers, empathetic people who have emotional connection/support to offer, and/or whatever else you think would be helpful to share! Find more information and sign up to volunteer at: https://neighborhoodanarchists.org/sharefair/.

As always, the monthly Solidarity Share Fair will provide food, music, and other services to alleviate the stresses and strains of capitalism for those most impacted. So, if you find yourself headed down to the market for some fresh veggies, looking for some solidarity after a hard day of work, wanting to help create the space in solidarity, or you have unused resources you know someone else could use, come join us May 1, 2018 from 2:00-6:00pm in Eugene, OR.  

A Successful March Share Fair!

A Successful March Share Fair!

With burritos on the grill, soft cello in the background, hanging string lights, and a warm atmosphere, the Neighborhood Anarchist Collective kicked off its second Share Fair in a successful attempt to make this a new monthly recurring event in Eugene. Along with an increase in helping hands from volunteers (25 in total!) and donations from the community, the event was able to provide a variety of resources and services for an estimated 160 attendees!

Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without the effort of our volunteers and the contributions from people and organizations around Eugene, including:

Food:
-Food Not Bombs
-Burrito Brigade
-100-mile bakery
-Bread Stop

Organizations:
-White Bird
-Planned Parenthood

Services:
-childcare
-letter-writing
-chair massages
-sewing
-meditation

Live Music:
-Ben Hamilton – cellist

The fair was was also able to provide resources that were donated for this event, such as clothes and shoes, tarps, backpacks, camping gear, hygiene products, and a variety of other goods. Thank you to First Christian Church* for allowing us to use their space and thank you to all the folks who made this event possible, and continue to dedicate their time and energy to make this a regular and accessible source of services and resources in Eugene. 

Besides helping to make some of these basic necessities more accessible, we also hope to create a safe space for all members of the community, especially those who are generally overlooked, to feel comfortable, warm, and safe with food in their bellies and a chance to get to know each other as neighbors. As we continue to plan for future Share Fairs, we will work to continue cultivating a society where neighbors help each other meet basic needs and all members of the community are valued.

If you were able to attend this last Share Fair and would like to share your experience or give us some feedback, please feel free to fill out our survey here. All feedback is welcome!

For our next Share Fair, we will be collaborating with different groups around the Eugene/Springfield area to create a special event on May 1st for May Day, or International Worker’s Day! We will updating folks with more details about this event soon on our website and Facebook page, so stay tuned!

If you are interested in partnering with the Neighborhood Anarchist Collective for this or future Share Fairs and would like to make a contribution or volunteer, please email is at resources@neighborhoodanarchists.org to get connected. All help and donations are welcome and greatly appreciated!
*First Christian Church neither endorses nor sponsors the activities of this group.

Pictured: Some of the donations made to the fair, including clothes and camping gear!

Pictured: Awesome volunteers working with Food Not Bombs to prepare tasty food and Burrito Brigade’s delicious vegan burritos!

Pictured: Child care and beautiful cello music by Ben Hamilton was also provided!

US Prison/Slave Labor

US Prison/Slave Labor

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well.

Prison labor is legalized slavery. While technically american slavery was technically abolished in 1865, a loophole in the 13th Amendment has allowed it to continue “as a punishment for crimes”. Not surprisingly, corporations have lobbied for a broader and broader definition of “crime” in the last 150 years.

After the Civil War, a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their commitments or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of “hired-out” convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of “hired-out” miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.

With 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s prison population, the United States has the largest incarcerated population in the world. No other society in history has imprisoned more of its own citizens. There are half a million more prisoners in the U.S. than in China, which has five times our population. Approximately 1 in 100 adults in America were incarcerated in 2014. Out of an adult population of 245 million that year, there were 2.4 million people in prison, jail or some form of detention center. The vast majority – 86 percent – of prisoners have been locked up for non-violent, victimless crimes, many of them drug-related. The prison population is disproportionately African American and Latino resulting from the criminal justice policies ransacking minority communities across the United States. African Americans are incarcerated at a rate five times higher than that of whites. In states like Virginia and Oklahoma, one in every 14 or 15 African American men are put in prison.

For people doing time in federal prisons, work isn’t optional. The Crime Control Act of 1990 established that all federal prisoners who are physically capable of work must have a job while serving their sentences. People who choose not to work are locked away in solitary confinement — deprived of human contact.

At the federal level, the Bureau of Prisons operates a program known as Federal Prison Industries, under the more palatable name of UNICOR. UNICOR earned $500m in sales in 2016 and paid prisoners roughly $0.90 an hour to produce everything from mattresses, spectacles, and road signs to  shooting targets and body armor, which is especially cruel work for the people who come from communities terrorized by the police.

Similar schemes exist at the state level as well. In Idaho, prisoners roast potatoes. In Kentucky, they sell $1m worth of cattle. California’s program was expected to generate $232m in sales in 2017. Around 30-40% of the firefighters responding to the wildfires that ravages the state in 2017 were incarcerated, saving $124m a year for the state. Prisoners are paid an average of $2 a day for this dangerous work and receive very little training. California had a year long litigation to reduce the population of prisons deemed unconstitutionally over-crowded by the Supreme Court in 2010. One of the reasons the state gave in court for not releasing more [prisoners] in California was because “It would be bad for the economy.” The same argument given by plantation owners in the confederacy.

In Louisiana, criminal justice reform caused the release of some non-violent offenders early, because of over-crowding and because these sentences were largely understood to be draconian and cruel. The sheriff of Caddo Parish objected publicly, describing state prisoners as a “necessary evil to keep the doors open” at the jail his office runs. “In addition to the bad ones… they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchens, to do all that where we save money,”

Influenced by enormous corporate lobbying, the United States Congress enacted the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program in 1979 which permitted US companies to use prison labor. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

These are some of the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:, according to reports by human rights organizations.

  • Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years’ imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years’ imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. In New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.
  • The passage in 13 states of the “three strikes” laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.
  • Longer sentences.
  • The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.
  • A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.
  • More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.

How can you help?

Boycott the Corporations Profiting from Prison Slavery

Being aware of where your products are being made and where your money is going is a first step toward real change. People criticize clothing companies for using overseas sweatshops, and we must put that same awareness on prison labor happening in this country. Educate yourself and work to raise awareness of the plight of those of us locked in cages and “forced to do grueling, back-breaking, and dangerous work for nickles and dimes, while corporations rack up billions of dollars in profit off the cheap labour.” 

Complicating a straight-forward boycott, prison labor helps produce goods and services for almost every big business in America. The problem isn’t limited to brands with bad reputations. Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, Whole Foods, Walmart, Dell, Intel, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, American Airlines, Nintendo, and so many more have all used prison workers to increase corporate profits.

Read more about the companies that profit off of prison/slave labor today:

Support resistance happening inside the walls!

Stay informed about resistance happening inside the walls and seek ways to support our exploited comrades locked in cages. There is resistance happening all the time, and it is often rare the news reaches many of us outside. One great example of recent resistance began on January 15th, coinciding with MLK Day, in nonviolent protest of conditions in Florida prisons including a work stoppage, or ‘laydown’, and commissary boycott. Operation PUSH reportedly included thousands of prisoners in at least eight facilities. I was unable to find any information about an end to Operation PUSH and, since they stated they were prepared to “stay down indefinitely” until someone addressed their concerns, I am hopeful the resistance continues. (I will update this post when I find out more information.)

The following text is an excerpt from the original announce message regarding Operation PUSH:

“FL Prisoners Call for Operation PUSH to Improve the Lives of Incarcerated People and the Communities We Come From

Sending out an S.O.S. to all parties concerned!

We are currently forming a network agency within D.O.C. We are asking all prisoners within the Department of Corrections to take a stand by laying down starting January 15, 2018, until the injustice we see facing prisoners within the Florida system is resolved.

We are calling on all organized groups as well as religious systems to come together on the same page. We will be taking a stand for:

1. Payment for our labor, rather than the current slave arrangement
2. Ending outrageous canteen prices
3. Reintroducing parole incentives to lifers and those with Buck Rogers dates”

Their primary demands are clear and concise: end prison slavery, stop price gouging, and fully return parole. They believe these issues have directly created the overcrowding that is responsible for the deplorable conditions in Florida prisons.

For more information and to help keep you informed:

Organize locally to support prison abolition!

Follow your inspiration and passion when considering how to organize in your community. Think about how to connect with people and projects that raise awareness, build community, reduce harm, and affect real, positive change.

There is a call-out for local solidarity events on June 19th, 2018. Juneteenth is an abolitionist holiday in which we celebrate and reflect about the moment in history when Slaves in Texas finally got word that the Civil War had ended. The following is an excerpt from an article published on the Fight Toxic Prisons website:

“Peace & Blessings Sisters and Brothers in the struggle!

My name is Keith ‘Malik’ Washington and I am a human rights and civil rights activist who is currently incarcerated in the state of Texas... This year during your regular Juneeenth celebrations and fellowship with loved ones and members of your Communityour communityI am requesting you consider doing something that will help raise the public’s awareness in regards to the struggle… For starters, I encourage all of you to arrange viewings of Director Ava Duvernay’s trailblazing film “13th” on Juneteenth. Let’s create positive conversations and dialogues about this topic. I and hundreds of like minded activists across the Nation would certainly appreciate your help.”

A Call to End Prison Slavery: https://fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/juneteenth-2018-a-call-to-end-prison-slavery/

We are looking into events currently being planned in the Eugene/Springfield area. If you are aware of an event, or would like to get involved, send us an email! contact@neighborhoodanaarchists.org

Resources:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-prison-industry-in-the-united-states-big-business-or-a-new-form-of-slavery/8289
https://www.theroot.com/slavery-by-the-numbers-1790874492
https://www.cagedbirdmagazine.com/single-post/2017/03/28/50-Companies-Supporting-Modern-American-Slavery
https://www.ranker.com/list/companies-in-the-united-states-that-use-prison-labor/genevieve-carlton?var=8&utm_expid=16418821-388.8yjUEguUSkGHvlaagyulMg.2
https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/09/slavery-prison-system-170901082522072.html
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/boycott-divest-and-sanction-corporations-that-feed-on-prisons/
https://www.careeraddict.com/prison-labour-companies
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/10/12/louisiana-sheriff-argues-against-releasing-prisoners-you-can-work-drawing-slavery-comparisons/?utm_term=.69e507245b5d

 

U.S. Imperialism in Central America

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well:

The majority of relations between the United States and Central America has been a history of imperialism imposed at varying levels to ensure the political and economic interests of the U.S. Although the early 20th century saw more overt imperialism through U.S. military occupations such as in Nicaragua, financially backing right-wing groups and dictators in overthrowing democratically-elected governments became a more common tactic as the century progressed to ensure that Central America remained within its sphere of influence.

One example of this sort of tactic is the funding of counter-revolutionaries against the successful revolution of the Sandinista National Liberation Front, also known as FSLN, in 1979. After the FSLN overthrew the Somoza regime, a regime which came into power after U.S. occupation in Nicaragua and largely contributed to rising inequality and political corruption, the Reagan administration began to secretly fund the Contrarrevolucion, or the “Contras”, who targeted peasant collectives, schools, and clinics in an attempt to spread fear, disrupt the already-unstable Nicaraguan economy, and undermine Sandinista social programs. Although the Sandinistas were officially elected to office in 1984, the continual war with the Contras funded and armed by the U.S, despite the International Court of Justice condemning these actions and ordering the U.S. to stop, only to be ignored, resulted in the Sandinistas losing office in 1990.

There are a number of examples of the U.S. contributing to the conflicts and destabilization of nations in Central America, such as overthrowing the democratically-elected government of Guatemala in 1954, financially backing the Salvadoran government military during the Salvadoran Civil War in the ‘80s which proceeded to commit a number of atrocities, and pushing free trade policies such as NAFTA on Latin America and furthering economic instability and unemployment.

However, these problems remain relevant as conditions continue to worsen for people in Central America. It is no wonder that after decades of meddling in Latin American affairs in pursuit of personal interests, and then making minimal to no effort in reparations for the damages, that some of these nations are incredibly unstable. For a myriad of reasons, including politically corrupt governments, ruined economies, drug cartels partially created by the U.S. itself, and more, people are fleeing their countries to seek asylum in the United States in pursuit of a better and safer life. In 2016, the U.S. Border Patrol captured a record 17, 512 unaccompanied minors coming from El Salvador alone. The narrative that the current administration spins would have you believe that many of the refugees coming in are here only to take advantage of benefits available to U.S. citizens or are gang-affiliated, such as the gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, that originally (and ironically) began in Los Angeles by refugees from the Salvadoran Civil War and only spread to Central America through deportation from the U.S. Rather, the reality is that these refugees are a direct result of U.S. intervention and imperialism.

Despite the fact that many of these issues are a result of the decisions of the very few elite in power, it is important to stand in solidarity with our neighbors to the south and do what we can to support the immigrants who come to find sanctuary and a better quality of life.

Resources:
https://www.redpepper.org.uk/us-imperialism-in-central-america/
https://everydayfeminism.com/2015/09/us-policy-latinx-immigration/
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/el-salvador-women-gangs-ms-13-trump-violence/554804/

How can you help?
https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/7-ways-to-help-undocumented-immigrants/
https://jezebel.com/a-list-of-organizations-dedicated-to-helping-immigrants-1791772883
https://cldc.org/organizing-resources/know-your-rights-for-immigrant-communities/

First Successful Share Fair!

This past Tuesday (Feb 27th, 2018), the Neighborhood Anarchist Collective hosted its first Share Fair at the First Christian Church and with the help of all those who contributed, the event was a success! With an estimate of about 150 attendees, the fair was able to provide a variety of goods and services, from clothes, food, and hygiene products to letter-writing, access to health services, and live entertainment – free for all who came!

We would like to give a very enthusiastic thank you to all the local organizations, businesses, and individual folks who offered their time, effort, and anything they had to give to make this event possible:

  • Food:
    • Food Not Bombs
    • Burrito Brigade
  • Services:
    • Planned Parenthood
    • Womenspace
  • Donations:
    • 100 mile bakery
    • Bread Stop
    • Ophelia’s Place
  • Live entertainment:
    • Ben Hamilton – Cellist

Thank you to First Christian Church for letting us use their space and a warm thank you to the volunteers who helped out with the fair along with individual donations we received from the community!

With the success of this event, members of NAC are working towards making this a reoccurring event in the hopes of providing continuous basic and necessary goods and services and to cultivate different forms of mutual aid within the community. We will continue to plan for future Share Fair events and keep folks updated with relevant news!

If you attended this last Share Fair and didn’t get the opportunity to fill out the survey about your experience there, please click here to fill out the survey. We welcome all feedback and look forward to your input!

If you would like to contribute or partner with NAC for the next or future Share Fair events, please reach out to us at resources@neighborhoodanarchists.org. All help and donations are welcome and greatly appreciated!

Efrîn Defense

At every full collective gathering we acknowledge that we live in a society founded on stolen land and stolen lives. Someone researches and presents a relevant topic and then we take a moment of silence to reflect. We share the research here for others as well:

Efrîn is the western province of Rojava which is now a part of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria and is isolated from the other provinces. It is currently being invaded by Turkey, the second largest military in NATO, backed by Syrian rebel groups. Turkey views the PYD, one of the main parties in the DFNS administration, as a terrorist organization due to its links to the PKK, which has been fighting a guerilla war in Turkey for the last 40 years. The United States has been working with the rest of the DFNS through their military wing, the Syrian Democratic Forces, as part of the coalition against ISIS. However, due to Efrîn’s isolation from the other cantons and lack of proximity to either ISIS or the Syrian regime, the coalition has not deemed Efrîn as a useful proxy in either conflict. This had led Efrîn to have stronger diplomatic relations with Russia, who until shortly before the start of the Turkish invasion was guaranteeing the safety of Efrîn with a small military police force operating inside the province. However, a deal was struck between Turkey and Russia, the latter recalling its forces from Efrîn in exchange for Turkish cooperation on a proposed division of rebel-controlled Idlib. Despite the United States current protection of the eastern DFNS, they have made it clear they care nothing for the actual project or its forces/governance by repeatedly stating they have no issue with the Efrîn invasion. This is imperialism on a global scale, super powers negotiating for spheres of influence and territory in foreign lands at the expense of the groups they supposedly support on the ground.

Efrîn has been resisting for 45 days against a vastly superior military force. So far the land lost has been mostly confined to the border regions but estimates of lives lost vary from around 200 according to the SDF to over 2500 according to the Turkish military, with a more accurate count being estimated around 700. This with an additional roughly 200 civilian lives lost. Turkish/Rebel losses are estimated between 150 and 1200. Recently militias aligned with the regime have joined the defense of Efrîn to resist the Turkish invasion. This is due in large part to the SDF in Efrîn helping neighboring Shia towns when they were besieged in the past by rebel Sunni Islamist forces, but also due to the necessity of warming relations with the Syrian regime to ensure the survival of their democratic project. Negotiations are ongoing between the regime and the DFNS in Efrîn for the handover of the province to the regime in exchange for protection from Turkey and some degree of autonomy.

Currently there is not much that can be done to support the resistance in Efrîn. There aren’t any ways to get money or supplies in. The limited and dangerous volunteering that used to be possible is now largely impossible do to the political changes in Iraq. The only thing that we can do now is largely symbolic solidarity actions, and the dubious route of trying to persuade the government to take action to defend Efrîn, which it has already ruled out doing. Other than that, we must stay informed and keep on our own path of resistance in solidarity with those also trying to make a better world. Hopefully their defense will be successful and we can support their recovery from its toll in the future.