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Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

UPI: Georgia state troopers who shot, killed ‘Cop City’ protester won’t face charges

By Heather Lee - Global Justice Ecology Project, October 8, 2023

On October 6, 2023, Patrick Hilsman article Georgia state troopers who shot, killed ‘Cop City’ protester won’t face charges appeared on the UPI (United Press International) website.

The article reports that a Georgia court has ruled that state troopers who shot and killed Cop City protester Manuel Teran won’t face charges.

The article states that Manuel Teran, known as “Tortuguita”, was killed on January 18, 2023, when Georgia State Patrol troopers raided an activist campsite near the construction site for Cop City. Investigators had said Teran refused to leave the area and troopers fired “sublethal” rounds of ammunition at Teran’s tent. Teran had 57 bullet wounds, including entry and exit wounds.

The article also states how investigators say Teran had fired on officers, which does not align with an autopsy ordered by Teran’s relatives that showed Teran had their hands raised at the time of the shooting and did not have gunshot residue on their hands. There is also no body camera footage of the fatal shooting.

DA pro tempore for Stone Mountain’s Judicial Circuit Court, George R. Christian, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution “no criminal charges will be brought against the Georgia State Patrol Troopers involved in the shooting of Manuel Paez Teran” and that “The use of lethal (deadly) force by the Georgia State Patrol was objectively reasonable,”.

In April 2023, U.S. House members sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and FBI Director Chris Wray demanding answers on the police response to the protests.

The article can be read in full on the UPI (United Press International) website.

'Stop Cop City' Campaigners Decry State's Refusal to Charge Georgia Troopers Who Shot Activist 57 Times

By Brett Wilkins - Common Dreams, October 6, 2023

Human rights advocates on Friday condemned a Georgia prosecutor's decision to not charge the state troopers who fatally shot forest defender Manuel Esteban Paez Terán—better known as "Tortuguita"—during a militarized January raid at a Stop Cop City protest camp outside Atlanta.

"The system has, once again, declared its own innocence," Stop Cop City activist Micah Herskind wrote on social media in response to the decision by the Stone Mountain Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office.

The Cop City Vote Coalition (CCVC) campaign said that "Tortuguita's memory and the memories of all those stolen by police killings demand that we all continue the collective struggle for a future without state violence."

Chapter 25 : Sabo Tabby vs. Killa Godzilla

By Steve Ongerth - From the book, Redwood Uprising: Book 1

Download a free PDF version of this chapter.

Between 1914-18, when the IWW openly advocated ca’canny (better known as “sabotage”), it often used the symbol of an angry black cat, with claws borne, fur standing on end, and a bottlebrush tail, as visual code. Indeed, the “sabo-cat”, (which may have originally been a tabby to provide a visual play-on-words, i.e. “sabo-tabby” for “sabotage”) designed by none other than Solidarity Forever songsmith and IWW organizer Ralph Chaplin [1], is still used today by the IWW, Earth First!, and the admirers of both—sometimes to specifically encourage direct action, but generally as a totem. [2] And though the IWW and Earth First! may have openly advocated sabotage at different times during their existences, as Earth First!er George Draffan had pointed out, in actual fact, it was the timber workers themselves who actually practiced it more than anyone else. [3] While this was often welcomed by the members of Local #1, at the same time, it also potentially caused problems as well.

"As opposition to Corporate Timber grew, North Coast activists anticipated a backlash. Already Earth First!ers in Arizona had been set up and framed for “terrorist” acts they didn’t commit. It was only a matter of time before something locally would get sabotaged, blown up, or burned down and the North Coast activists would likely get the blame. Indeed, there were some hints that it had possibly already happened. Take the case of the mysterious burnings of the Okerstrom feller-buncher logging equipment.

Chapter 24 : El Pio

By Steve Ongerth - From the book, Redwood Uprising: Book 1

Download a free PDF version of this chapter.

“The anti-corporate sentiment voiced by the very people who labor in the woods and mills could be a powerful force in the struggle to save forests and local timber jobs. However, the workers lack a militant organization with a coherent strategy for achieving that goal. In that vacuum, a worker-environmentalist alliance has a chance to develop.”

—Don Lipmanson.[1]

“This is the Pearl Harbor to our North Coast, and we’re going to mobilize people. We look forward to mill workers joining us on the line when they realize our interests are theirs.”

—Judi Bari[2]

While the controversy over the spotted owl, The Lorax, and Forests Forever continued to escalate, at long last, LP’s actual reason for the closures of the Potter Valley and Red Bluff mills came to light. The mill had closed in April and there were hopes and rumors that the mill would be sold to another operator and reopened, but it was not to be.[3] No sooner had L-P been fined by the California State water quality agency to clean up contamination of the Russian River caused by its Ukiah mill[4], when the Los Angeles Times broke to story that the company was in the final stages of negotiating an agreement with the government of Mexico to open up a secondary lumber processing facility at El Sauzal, a small fishing village near Ensenada in Baja California.[5] This new 70-100 acre mill would serve as a drying and planing facility that would process raw logs shipped out of California and elsewhere. However, it was also evident that the Mexican Government had jumped the gun in revealing the details of the proposal before L-P had crafted their P.R. strategy.[6] Caught red handed, L-P reluctantly admitted what timber workers and environmental activists had suspected might be true for several months, that the company was engaged in cut-‘n-run logging.

According to the article, the company’s application was part of the growing move by multinational corporations to take advantage of the maquiladora program—a forerunner to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—which was designed to allow them to take advantage of favorable, liberalized investment laws there. Likewise, corporations would also benefit from much laxer environmental regulations and substantially cheaper wages, averaging approximately $0.50 per hour, for example for mill workers, as opposed to $7-$10 per hour in nonunion facilities in California. L-P had planned to export as much as 300 million board feet of unprocessed “green” lumber for processing in Mexico, where they would employ 1,000. Had those jobs stayed in California, they would have kept the laid off millworkers employed. [7]

Cop City RICO indictment casts protesters as organized criminals

By Jocelyn James - Prism, September 20, 2023

The First Amendment’s fundamental principle is ensuring everyone’s right to be heard. However, the recent application of RICO against the Atlanta Cop City protesters could spell disastrous consequences for any U.S. citizen looking to exercise this unalienable right.

On Aug. 29, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr filed a sweeping, 109-page indictment targeting 61 activists opposed to the construction of a multi-million dollar police training facility for the Atlanta Police Department (APD). The facility would come at the cost of approximately 85 acres of environmentally significant forestland, known as both the South River Forest and the Weelaunee Forest. It is also the historical location of the Old Atlanta City Prison Farm.

The filing went largely unannounced and inconspicuous until Sept. 5, when the Atlanta Community Press Collective broke the news of the indictment on X, formerly known as Twitter. Critics have since viewed the indictment as a massive escalation in an ongoing police retaliation campaign to criminalize public dissent and discourage protesters. 

In a public statement, Center for Popular Democracy Action Executive Directors Analilia Mejia and DaMareo Cooper said: “Make no mistake: these are political prosecutions in the name of getting more cops on the street to further persecute our communities. We see right through these attacks and refuse to be silenced or intimidated.”

Solidarity Can End Toxic Gold Mining in the Sperrins

By staff - IWW Union Ireland, September 10, 2023

The Industrial Workers of the World took part in an Environmental Delegation to the Greencastle People’s Office (GPO) in the Sperrin Mountains, Co. Tyrone, the epicentre of a mammoth ‘David and Goliath’ fight between a multinational gold mining company and the people of a small rural community in the North West of Ireland.

Members of the IWW representing the Ireland branch, the Environmental Committees and Earth Strike where welcomed into the heart of the community as part of a fact finding delegation. Representatives engaged in a lengthy questions and answers sessions before a tour of the area, noted for its outstanding natural beauty which is still under threat from Dalradians potential toxic gold mining industry.

A spokesperson for the IWW Environmental Committees spoke following the visit stating: “Firstly on behalf of everyone who traveled to Greencastle as part of this group visit, I would like to thank them for traveling to the Sperrins to try and learn more about the desperate situation directly affecting the people of Greencastle and the population of the wider North West. The multinational corporation, Dalradian, has plans to effectively decimate the landscape surrounding us with a toxic gold mining plant. The people of Greencastle has shown great resolve in facing down increasing attacks and intimidation over the last number of years. Their bravery is an example to us all and the people of this beautiful area for preventing anyone to pollute and destroy all for the sake of greed and profit.

The Struggle to Stop Cop City—By Any Means Necessary

By Micah Herskind and Kamau Franklin - The Forge, September 7, 2023

A history of Stop Cop City and the struggle to defend the Atlanta Forest. A must read for anyone interested in getting the whole story and understanding the strategic thinking informing some of the most important organizing in the country or understanding the stakes of the 61 indictments against protesters involved in the movement.

Cop cars on fire. Occupations of the Weelaunee Forest. Weeks of action. Volunteers with clipboards, collecting referendum petition signatures in the summer heat. Weekly canvassing. Town halls and open mic sessions. Direct action and civil disobedience. Record-breaking numbers of people showing up for public comment (on three separate occasions!). Regular food distributions and mutual aid. Surveillance cameras smashed. Music festivals in the forest. Comrade care clinics. Protests outside the homes of politicians and CEOs. Trivia night fundraisers at local restaurants. Shareholder divestment campaigns. Wheatpasting, movement art, and diss track competitions. Children marching in the streets. Political education and community journalism. Jail support crews sitting vigil for people whose freedom was purchased by bail fund organizers. Bank ATMs vandalized. Corporate pressure campaigns. Marches, demonstrations, and solidarity actions across the globe. Construction equipment burned.

These are all scenes—by no means the full story—from the movement to Stop Cop City: a decentralized, autonomous movement that has worked since the spring of 2021 to stop the destruction of the Weelaunee Forest and the creation of a more than $90 million urban warfare training center, backed by a coalition of public and private Atlanta elites, in a majority Black working class community. 

They are also all activities that the state is aggressively seeking to criminalize, most recently with a sprawling indictment filed days ago that charged 61 people with domestic terrorism and RICO (“racketeer influenced and corrupt organization”). The indictment is a blatant attempt to intimidate local organizers and movements across the country who are challenging the violence of policing, and to influence public opinion against the popular community-based struggle to stop construction of the facility.

The Stop Cop City movement has made Atlanta an epicenter of abolitionist organizing, weaving together movements for racial, economic, and environmental justice. The movement has no single unifying political framework; it includes abolitionists, anarchists, communists, liberals, libertarians, environmentalists, voting and civil rights activists, Indigenous and anti-settler colonialism organizers, and many more who may not identify with a particular political philosophy but who all choose trees over cops, transparency over backroom deals, and community resources over a burgeoning police state.

The movement’s decentralization and diversity of tactics has been one of its greatest strengths, building an astonishing breadth and depth of local, national, and international support. While comprising many different streams of action and thought, each has fed into the movement’s broader strategy: call it starving the beast, a war of attrition, or even just throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, the ethos of the movement is that community members must engage on all fronts to make Cop City as untenable, toxic, and challenging as possible for those working to build it. That we must stop Cop City by any means necessary.

Grassroots Organizing in Red States Is at the Heart of Abolitionist Struggle

By Meghan Krausch - Truthout, September 5, 2023

In Republican-controlled regions across the country, people are engaged in abolitionist organizing: Even though conditions vary, people are organizing for freedom virtually everywhere. This is nothing new. The South, for example, has been a site for abolitionist organizing for centuries, and it continues to be one, despite the attacks on long-settled civil rights being organized by Republican supermajorities in statehouses.

Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson is the first Black woman to codirect the Highlander Research and Education Center, a century-old nexus for abolitionist and labor organizing in Tennessee and beyond. She is also a cofounder of the Movement for Black Lives. Woodard Henderson says that if abolitionists really believe the most impacted and marginalized people are at the heart of the struggle, then red states and counties must be centered in organizing efforts instead of treated as lost causes. She notes that the South in particular is often ceded by national organizations — which, among other problems, makes it hard for organizations working in the region to secure funding from philanthropic foundations.

The sense of these places being lost causes is not only offensive, it’s deeply untrue. In fact, decarceral groups in red states and counties are seeing success even amid what many organizers see as the current fascist turn. For example, Florida Prisoner Solidarity, an abolitionist collective based in Gainesville that has members inside and outside of prison across the state, won a campaign earlier this year to make phone calls from the jail in Alachua County free and unlimited (down from a cost of $.21 per minute).

These efforts do not generally achieve the same visibility as those in blue states and so-called liberal areas — but this doesn’t make them less critical to abolitionist struggle. “Don’t give up on us,” asks aurelius francisco, co-executive director of The Foundation for Liberating Minds in Oklahoma City. “We’ve always resisted … and we’ll continue to do so.”

Organizers in red states and counties are bringing abolitionist struggle to the communities, in the process highlighting how their strategies seek to draw in people who might not normally see themselves as allied to “liberal” causes. This is a lesson that can be valuable to organizers throughout the country who are seeking new ways of growing solidarity.

Direct Unionism: A Different Approach to Union Activity

By Allan Hansen - Industrial Worker, August 31, 2023

It is no secret that the strength of labor unions in America has been waning in recent years. Union representation in the labor market has hit an all-time low, labor laws are more and more being drafted in favor of employers rather than workers, and employer-driven anti-union activity has all led to our unions growing weaker and unable to stand up for workers’ rights in the workplace. Despite these weaknesses, most people support unions in principle, and so we must discuss how to advance the labor movement in the face of these challenges. One such tool workers have at their disposal for such action is Direct Unionism. 

When most people discuss unionism they tend to think about it in a very contractual and bureaucratic way, and this is largely how unions operate today. Union activity is focused on the election of union officials and the passing of contracts. This idea of unionism faces several limitations. For starters, with a focus on collective bargaining, contract change can often be a lengthy process, and change can only be implemented when the time comes for a contract negotiation, which usually lasts for several years, and since the bosses are aware of when the contract ends and when negotiations are to happen they know when to expect an uptick in union organizing and activity, thus the workers’ bargaining power is diminished as a result of this predictability. If an issue of mistreatment arrives but no such policy is outlined in the contract, the union usually can’t do much to address the issue or seek restitution from the employer. The best the union can do in such cases is to fight for it during the next contract negotiation. The importance of the election of union officials also presents some potential problems in the advancement of union causes. While there are many honest and hard working people involved in labor unions, it must be addressed that our union leaders are not infallible. Many union leaders make a staggering amount of money more than the workers they represent. While this is not to say that union leaders do not do good work, the further that union officers get away from the workers they represent, the more they run the risk of being alienated from the realities that these workers face. It is also much easier for employers to put anti-union pressure on a handful of individuals, than an entire workforce. 

Chapter 23 : Forests Forever

By Steve Ongerth - From the book, Redwood Uprising: Book 1

Download a free PDF version of this chapter.

“We have to act now…Less than five percent of the original old growth forest remains, and a lot of wildlife and plant species are going to extinction in the next five years if they don’t get this protection. We can’t wait. The forest destruction here is just as bad as in the Amazon rain forest. But we don’t have as much forest left as they do. This is our last chance to save what’s left.” [1]

— The Man Who Walks in the Woods.

“While current law calls for protection of the environment and the sustained yield of high quality timber products, it frustrates any attempt to actually achieve these goals.

Under current law, actual forest practice rules are written by a state board of forestry completely dominated by timber industry representatives. And administration of the law is left exclusively to the California Department of Forestry, an agency that one local judge has called a ‘rubber stamp’ for logging companies The current rules that regulate logging practices would not protect the resource even if they were enforced. And they are not being enforced. CDF has systematically prevented other state agencies from playing a role in reviewing timber harvest plans submitted under the act.” [2]

—Richard Johnson, Mendocino Country Environmentalist.

At the same time the “Laytonville Lorax War” was taking place, the continuing legal battles against Maxxam raged on. Woody and Warren Murphy as well as Suzanne Murphy-Civian, represented by their friend Bill Bertain, sued Maxxam and Charles Hurwitz yet again, this time alleging that Drexel Burnham Lambert (DBL) working through Ivan Boesky had engaged in illegal stock parking. According to the suit, prior to Hurwitz’s tender offer to the P-L board of directors in October 1985, Boesky effectively owned as much as 10 percent of the company’s stock, thus violating the Hart-Scott-Rodino act of 1984. This information had not been revealed until findings by the SEC were made public in 1988. Had the shareholders known about this, they would have had a stronger case against the merger originally. The Murphys’ suit demanded $18 million in damages to all of the shareholders who owned stock prior to the sale, charging that had the directors known of Boesky’s and DBL’s activity, they would have valued the company’s stock at roughly $70 per share instead of the $40 finally offered by Hurwitz. [3]

Meanwhile, having been rebuffed by the NLRB, and having lost the support of a great many formerly enthusiastic employees, Patrick Shannon chose to take a different route to try and realize what many had concluded was a pipedream. The ESOP organizer now proposed that a initiative be placed on ballot for November 1990 that would seize ownership of Pacific Lumber from Maxxam and place it in the hands of the company’s workers. The measure, tentatively called the Timber Bond Act, would raise $940 in bonds and pay Maxxam for the purchase of the firm. It also called for the setting aside of 3,700 acres of old growth redwoods including Headwaters Forest. Under the plan, the employees would recompense the taxpayers of California by repaying the bonds at 9 percent interest. The measure allowed 40 years to complete that process, but Shannon estimated that this would require a total of 15 years at most. After that, should the purchase be paid in full, additional moneys raised would be deposited into a revolving account from which other potential ESOP campaigns could seek loans. [4]

As was expected, Corporate Timber did not respond favorably to Patrick Shannon’s effort. Pacific Lumber spokespeople framed the initiative as a backdoor attempt at “Communism”, knowing full well that such efforts would have little support in the dying days of the Soviet Union and the latter’s waning political influence over Eastern Europe.

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