Tag Archive: blockade

Durham: Two days of protest are marked by arrests, prayers

pigscumFrom News and Observer

— On a day when members of African-American churches across the country wore black to protest fatal police shootings of unarmed black men, they were joined by members of four Triangle congregations who gathered in one of East Durham’s most troubled neighborhoods.

The group of about 75 people prayed, marched and blocked two intersections Sunday afternoon in a renewal of public protests against the killings. The event came less than a day after police arrested 11 people during a protest-related attempt to block the Durham Freeway in which police in riot gear confronted marchers. (more…)

One Four Seven: some notes on tactics and strategy from Durham’s recent anti-police marches


some notes on tactics and strategy from Durham’s recent anti-police marches

On Friday, December 5th, ten days after hundreds of protesters took over the Durham Freeway in response to the ongoing murder of Black and Brown people, Durham took to the streets again. This protest was most immediately a reaction to the decision of a New York Grand Jury to not press charges against the cop who murdered Eric Garner, but it was clearly part of the same trajectory initiated by the August uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. A movement against the police has begun. This thing we are experiencing contradicts itself constantly, expressing itself simultaneously with molotov cocktails, flipped police cruisers, and outright hostility to police on the one hand and platitudes about peaceful protest and demands like body cameras and racial sensitivity training on the other. Nonetheless, a movement it has clearly become. At this point demonstrators have blocked highways and bridges in over 170 cities around the country, sometimes violently confronting police and burning or smashing entire city blocks. The East Bay has not stopped rioting for three weeks. Smaller or less spectacular actions—rallies, die-ins, teach-ins, etc—have occurred probably in the thousands. For many of us, this has become the most important social struggle of our (young) lives. Skills we learned in earlier movements apply now with urgency, and new skills and new ideas take hold at a rapid rate.

This movement was catalyzed and has been led by the uncompromising revolt of Black people, initially from those in a small, poor midwestern suburb few of us had ever heard of. Its central expression is an antagonism towards the white supremacy that defines modern American policing, echoed in the common chant “Black Lives Matter,” but its roots also reach deeply into other realms of class, economy, and gender. These deep roots, and the fact that continued demonstrations are no longer responding to any one single killing but rather a deep-set pattern, make cooptation or recuperation by authorities difficult. What could a single police chief or politician possibly do to assuage enough people’s concerns? What responsible Black leader could possibly lead the country into an era of “humane” policing? Realistically, there are no demands to be made, no leader or party who could “fix” the police, because the police are not broken. They’re doing exactly what they have been historically designed to do.

In line with such a perspective, we’ve focused this account of Durham’s most recent march not on questions of “the political” like making demands or pressuring city officials, but rather on how we can continue building our own power as a diffuse but growing crowd-in-motion. When we blockade or occupy the streets or buildings of our city, what makes us powerful? What are the strategies used by the police to contain our rage during protests, and how can we defeat them? These are questions of social relations, the trust and communication we have or have not built between us, and they are also questions of infrastructure, tactics, tools, movement, and space. Even for those still committed to reforming the police as an institution, with whom we firmly disagree, these questions are crucial, as the only way even modest reforms will take hold will be if we can succeed in becoming an actual threat to those in power. (more…)

MI CATS 3 Found Guilty by Jury, taken into custody

heroesAddresses and letter writing information at the bottom of the article.

from Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands

The trial of peaceful activists from Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI CATS) ended today with the jury finding Vicci Hamlin, Lisa Leggio, and Barb Carter guilty of both charges brought against them:  trespassing and resisting and obstructing an officer. Supporters are deeply saddened that after deliberation for over 10 hours the verdict returned as guilty of all counts. The jury was split most of this time, returning to the courtroom several times for clarification. Sentencing was scheduled for March 5th and the defendants’ bail was revoked and immediately taken into custody.

On January 15th when a denied motion to quash was heard by Judge Collette, he told the MI CATS that they would not be allowed to argue that their actions were “environmentally necessary”. Collette said, “If there is somebody leaking oil on a piece of property and you race out in the yard, and you go in and you stop it, and they charge you with trespassing, I’d throw that case out in a heartbeat. That’s what I think of as ‘Environmental Necessity.” The judge obviously does not understand the severity of the looming climate crisis and that unjust laws allow for the destruction of communities and public health so corporations like Enbridge can maximize their profit. Moreover, the outcome of the case was especially discerning since Judge Collette previously stated that he wanted to make an example out of the three protesters.

This action in which Lisa, Barb, and Vicci were a part of, was not only aimed at stopping the expansion of a Enbridge tar sands pipeline before the next disaster, it was also to stand in solidarity with First Nations land being turned into a sacrifice zones to mine tar sands. They used their positions of relative privilege to support communities currently being poisoned in Detroit and others because of extraction industries that put profit before people. Their actions were nothing less than necessary. (more…)