Resources and Fundraisers: August 2020

By: Anime Feminist August 10, 20200 Comments
Myne looks dead into the camera and says "Also, life here absolutely sucks."

While protests are no longer front page news, that does not mean they’ve stopped happening. Please read on for news updates and causes in need of support.

Study, fast, train, fight: The roots of Black August (Liberation School, Joe Tache)

History on the beginnings of Black August, which remembers those killed while fighting for the Black Liberation Movement.

Observers of Black August call for the immediate release of all political prisoners in the United States. That the US government even holds political prisoners is a fact they attempt to obscure and deny. In reality, dozens of radicals from organizations such as the Black Panther Party, the Black Liberation Army, the American Indian Movement, and MOVE have been imprisoned for decades as a result of their political activity. As Angela Davis, who was at one time the most high profile political prisoner in the US, explains:

“There is a distinct and qualitative difference between one breaking a law for one’s own individual self-interest and violating it in the interests of a class of people whose oppression is expressed either directly or indirectly through that particular law. The former might be called criminal (though in many instances he is a victim), but the latter, as a reformist or revolutionary, is interested in universal social change. Captured, he or she is a political prisoner… In this country, however, where the special category of political prisoners is not officially acknowledged, the political prisoner inevitably stands trial for a specific criminal offense, not for a political act… In all instances, however, the political prisoner has violated the unwritten law which prohibits disturbances and upheavals in the status quo of exploitation and racism.”

‘It was like a kidnapping’: Viral video shows NYPD officers forcing protester into unmarked van (The Washington Post, Allyson Chiu and Shayna Jacobs)

Protestors in Portland and New York City have captured footage of people being pulled into unmarked vans and forcibly taken from protest zones. The perpetrators are believed to be federal agents.

In Twitter posts by the NYPD on Tuesday and Wednesday, officials presented the arrest as having been carried out by the book. Video posted by Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison shows a female protester spray painting over and dumping paint on security cameras. Another clip shows a woman apparently using a broom to vandalize another space. It was not clear if the clips all depict the same individual, and an NYPD official could not confirm whether the clips depicted Stone, who was charged with criminal mischief and making graffiti stemming from five incidents in June and July.

The actions of the federal agents in Portland, who were deployed as part of a show of federal power championed by President Trump, have heightened anxieties in cities such as New York and Chicago, which are still experiencing frequent protests and spates of violence. Trump administration officials have defended the Portland operation against critics who have decried the agents’ aggressive tactics and has continued to threaten to send federal forces to other cities led by Democratic mayors.

Homeland Security Is Quietly Tying Antifa to Foreign Powers (The Nation, Ken Klippenstein)

Alleged federal documents have been leaked showing documents that imply connections between leftist activists and ISIS. This comes following confirmed cases of the Department of Homeland Security compiling dossiers about journalists.

“There appears to be a clear connection…between ANTIFA ideology and Kurdish democratic federalism teachings and ideology,” the intelligence report states. At least one of the activists listed is described as ethnically Kurdish.

On May 31, Trump vowed to designate antifa a terrorist organization. While antifa groups have engaged in acts of property destruction, antifa has not been linked to a single killing in the United States, according to data compiled in the past 25 years by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. By contrast, the same data found that far-right extremist groups killed 329 people.

The intelligence report appears to conclude that the individuals described were not acting on behalf of a foreign group—save for one unnamed person.

“Aside from a single instance derived from open-source reporting, there does not appear to be evidence of a centralized effort to give marching orders to returning ANTIFA-affiliated USPER [US person] foreign fighters once they return to the United States.”

Resources for Resisting Federal Repression (National Lawyers Guild)

Additional resources in light of the concentrated increase of violence from federal sources.

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page.

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

NLG Pittsburgh Protest Felony Defense Fund (Kickstarter)

Fundraising effort by the National Lawyers Guild.

While there is some legal support being provided to protestors in Pittsburgh, those facing the most serious charges and have the greatest needs are unfortunately the least likely to receive pro-bono legal defense. There are upwards of 30 (and counting) protestors and organizers who have been targeted, sought out, and charged by local and in some cases federal authorities — sometimes days or weeks after the protest in question has occurred, and usually without any tangible evidence. We hope to raise as much as we possibly can to offset the insurmountable financial burden they are facing, and appreciate your support through donating and/or sharing this link far and wide. Unfortunately, it will require a great deal of money to ensure the protestors being charged with felonies receive the legal defense they truly need to fight back.

THREAD: Announcement of the launch of the Young Black Lawyers’ Organizing Coalition.

TWEET: Raising awareness for Ashley Moore, another young Black trans woman who has been murdered.

TWEET: A short video explaining the basic concept of white privilege.

TWEET: The Okra Project partners with Uber Eats.

UPDATE 3/12/21: Former staffers have raised concerns that The Okra Project is no longer run by and in the interest of Black trans people.

TWEET: Call for fundraising for the BlackOUT Collective.

TWEET: Link to request legal resources or help documenting police abuses.

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