Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Country Is On Fire. La Mesa Is On Fire.

SDPD Tactical Vehicle (Taken 9.2.2017)
I was copying posts onto my blogger earlier today because I thought it was important to save writings in case Facebook starts deleting posts, but I never would've predicted that the violence and damage would hit the City of La Mesa. It feels very different when this sort of thing hits the areas in which you live. By several accounts including on the ground reporters from NBC, the protest in La Mesa was peaceful for over three hours until the police responded to vandalism by spraying tear gas at the crowd and shooting a woman in the face with a rubber bullet. There are also numerous accounts that suggest that people who peacefully protested in the daytime are not the same people who are wreaking havoc tonight.

I've been watching streams for five hours and it is just heartbreaking. La Mesa brought out the "bearcat" in La Mesa Village and were pushing all people out around 1. Vons at La Mesa Blvd and University was completely looted, as were most businesses in the same strip mall, Walmart in La Mesa, BevMo in Grossmont Center. La Mesa Lumber, Randall Lamb Architecture and Union Bank and Chase Bank in La Mesa were all completely engulfed in flames. Sprouts, Game Stop, Target, San Diego Reef and dozens of other businesses have had windows broken and/or were looted. It's heartbreaking to watch, but it feels impossible to turn it off. If you want the links and other posts, click after the jump.

Bryant Tuck
619 News Media/Periscope
San Diego News Video
Punk Rock & Politics

  • (Minneapolis)
    Lidia Yuknavitch: this is from a dear friend on the scene :: please read if you want to understand another danger emerging ::
    So for those of you who are interested - I have no idea how national media is covering this - here is what is happening on the ground from my perspective. It is a long post.
    All day yesterday people were out on the street helping businesses - EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS IN UPTOWN has boarded up windows and locked down their stores. The 3rd Precinct, which burned on down Thursday night, is on the east end of Lake Street. Uptown, where we live and the 5th Precinct police station is located, is three miles west on lake street. All of Lake Street was looted on Thursday night. On Friday EVERY BUSINESS on Lake Street and adjoining commercial districts, was boarded up.
    Many spray painted murals on the plywood - let folks know they were a local or minority owned business. Essential businesses.
    Last night was by far the worst night. Protests during the day were peaceful. There was an 8:00pm curfew. Everything changed when the sun went down. There are roving and highly organized bands of anti-government neo-nazi white men cruising the city, breaking off plywood, looting stores, and then setting them fire to the buildings.
    On the Northside, which is predominately African American, the situation was much the same. Local civic groups were trying to protect local businesses and homes. there were many fires.
    The violence and destruction is NOT being driven by local people. The cars on the streets have either removed their license plates, or have out of state plates.
    Here is a post from a neighbor, "Everybody! We need to get our heads around what’s happening, Mpls and St Paul are being attacked by fascist “accelerationist” white crazies. Trying to divide & destroy us.
    Accelerationism: the idea inspiring white supremacist killers around the world -Vox"
    Expect these same types to infiltrate all of the legitimate protests happening in other cities in America. We are fighting an enemy within.
    These "accelerationists" burned down the 5th Police Precinct, our post office, every pharmacy. The Wallgreens and CVS within a few blocks of our house are still burning this morning. The grocery stores were all hit. Every bank has been hit. Every liquor store, every gas station. They have guns and accelerants.
    When National Guard show up, they disappear into the neighborhoods and have been setting fires. It is a violent game of arsonist wake-a-mole. There is no longer any fire fighting service available - overwhelmed. So neighbors are using garden hoses to put out the fires and save homes. Pictures neighbors are sharing - these are young white men, heavily armed.
    According to authorities there are over 10,000 of these "accelerationists" in the city. St. Paul arrested over 50 people last night. ALL OF THEM were from out of state. The authorities are checking phones of the people they have arrested, doing contact tracing of sorts on these people. These people are connected to right wing militia style groups with a civil/race war fantasy. They are opportunistically using the legitimate, peaceful George Floyd protests as a cover to actualize their neo-nazi fever dream.
    Gov. Walz just said, "If you know where these people are sleeping today, let us know and we will execute warrants. Allie and I were helping the owner of a commercial building up the street - a friend, and two of these guys came up to us. Wanted to know where the free food was being distributed. He gave them an address that was three blocks away. Had no idea what we were talking about - not from here.
    Allie, the girls and I are fine and safe. Exhausted. Angry. We have not really slept in three days. Everyone in Minneapolis/St. Paul is the same.
    So, what to do? Our neighborhood group is meeting at the park this afternoon. I think that they will organize our neighborhood watch to patrol, try to spot fires and get them out ASAP.
    Major protests are planned for today. They want the other three police officers involved in George Floyd's murder arrested, they want the MN Attorney General, not the Hennepin County Attorney to manage the case. They want the MPD disbanded and reformed with many alternative public safety and law enforcement strategies used. But the legitimate protests will end at 8:00 pm.
    The Gov. and the mayor are calling in thousands more National Guard Troops. We already had more National Guard troops in the city than ever before. They are doing a good job but were overwhelmed last night by sheer numbers. Gov. Walz is the highest ranking soldier to have ever served in Congress and led the National Guard - he clearly sees this for what it is and will fight it. This is now a military operation by the State of Minnesota against alt-right, white nationalists and anarchists that have come into Minneapolis to use the protests against police brutality as cover for their death fantasy.
    They are trying to force authorities to use deadly force and "accelerate" the violence.
    It is dark friends.
    The other side - this morning the neighborhood is out in force helping with the clean up, re-securing businesses. Massive food distribution at community centers. People taking in neighbors whose homes were destroyed or whose neighborhood was so impacted that it is no longer habitable. Allie was ion contact with students, many of whom are refugees from war torn countries, that were hearing explosions and fire and sirens - they were calling her to make sure she was okay.
    Today I will garden. My flowers are starting to really come into bloom. Vegetables coming in strong. New raised bed being built. Eat some good food. Feel grateful. Train our new puppy Ruth, who is just a pip. Take her to the lake and give her a swimming lesson. Then I'll take a nap. I think tonight will be a long one.
  • By Rebecca Solnit:
    So just to clarify. There is an uprising in response to the police public murder of George Lloyd as yet another police murder of a black person, and that uprising appears to include some property destruction, and includes people of all races standing up for justice/against racism. There are also leftwing black-bloc types, often white, long enthused about and talented at property destruction and sometimes about baiting the police and heating up the situation, and they seem to have shown up in some places. They share some of the goals of the first group, but don't necessarily benefit it.*
    There is also a lot indicating that far right white supremacists and other MAGA-troll types may be using the uprising as cover to carry out their own agenda. This might include violence against protestors and others, attempts to discredit protestors, activists, and the cause with violence and property destruction, supplying justifications for a crackdown, or whatever loopy fantasy of launching the revolution with a dumpster fire and a smashed dry-cleaner window too many white guys across the political spectrum seem to be smitten with. At times, deluded young men are easy to confuse with agents provocateurs or serve the same purpose anyway.
    The exciting thing is that none of this is easy to sort out, but ascribing all the property destruction across the country to one group or the other is probably wrong. So right now I think we're in the position of knowing we don't know, which is far more clear and informed a position than pretending we do. What's important is not to let the possibility of right-wing saboteurs discredit a whole uprising.
    Or to forget that this began with police violence and right now police violence is the worst violence going on. Reckless, ruthless, brutal. Again.
    *Jason Grote just wrote a similar post about his time in BIllionaires for Bush, a parody protest group in 2000: "We were obviously harmless, but everywhere we went, we were attacked by police with tear gas, billy clubs, horses. At a certain point in the chaos, I wound up with the Black Bloc. They were doing stuff like setting dumpsters on fire and there wasn't a cop in sight. It was obvious to me that this was about optics: the cops let the Black Bloc run free in order to justify the violence against the rest of us. The person watching from a distance had no way of knowing that the smashed windows and smashed heads were in completely different times and places; they were on the same day, in the same city, protesting the same event."
    This was very similar to my experience at the Seattle WTO at the end of 1999, which was forever after represented by the mainstream media as "the activist violence at Seattle," though activists, black bloc and otherwise, harmed no sentient beings, while the police clobbered and stomped their way into many hospitalizations and injuries and trauma and millions of dollars of police brutality settlements. In 2004 I got into a long fight with the New York Times about promulgating the myth of activist violence in 1999 to justify police violence against us at the Republican Convention in 2004. There is a very good argument to be made that property destruction is not violence, not in the sense that harming living beings is.
    But it's complicated too: I wrote in 2011, " Here I want to be clear that property damage is not necessarily violence. The firefighter breaks the door to get the people out of the building. But the husband breaks the dishes to demonstrate to his wife that he can and may also break her. It’s violence displaced onto the inanimate as a threat to the animate." And there's a way that raising the alarm with what we call a riot for justice by the most oppressed is like breaking down the door because people are trapped inside. Because they are.
    #justiceforgeorgefloyd #blacklivesmatter
    • VICE: But perhaps the most troubling of all are the hardcore “accelerationists” who are encouraging their neo-Nazi followers to go to the protests and carry out acts of violence against black people — all with the goal of “exacerbating the ethnic tensions” and sparking a “race war.”
      Accelerationists promote violence to speed up the collapse of society. An eco-fascist Telegram channel wrote to its nearly 2,500 subscribers on Thursday that “a riot would be the perfect place to commit a murder.” Accelerationists often seek to exploit moments of political or civil unrest, and the widespread protests that have unfolded across the country fit the bill. Similarly, 4chan is full of racists cheering the violence and saying that they hope it’s the beginning of a “race war.”
    • JOY REID @JoyAnnReid 1h
      Remarkable info coming out of this presser: Gov. Tim Walls, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and now MN attorney general Keith Ellison ALL alleging outside forces, domestic and possibly foreign, have post-Tuesday infiltrated the state, and are in organized fashion setting fire to historic businesses in communities of color, and causing mayhem. Ellison cited the widely circulating video of a white man in a gas mask holding an umbrella who was caught by protestors on video breaking windows.
      And the governor says he has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, and fully mobilized the MN National Guard for the first time in 164 years. This is a continuing story and presumably we will begin hearing it echoed in other cities.
      Mayor Carter said EVERY person arrested last night during the protests was from out of state. The governor said it is at least 80 percent, and that they will begin releasing the names. Dept of Safety Commissioner John Harrington says they are contract-tracing arrestees: [UPDATE; THIS WAS MISINFORMATION/DISINFORMATION FROM THE POLICE]
      He adds that white nationalist groups are posting messages promoting going to Minneapolis to “get our loot on” and cause mayhem. He says they will investigate those using the outrage over the murder of George Floyd as a “cover” for illegal activity
      Gov. Walls acknowledged the legitimate “rage and anger” over the police-involved killing but “last night was a mockery of pretending it’s about George Floyd’s death or about disparities.”
      This pressure just gets more remarkable. Mayor Frey says on Tuesday the protests were very different. He says the masks worn by the protests after they morphed were about disguise, not covid safety.
      Mayor Carter says they saw mayhem starters throw incendiary devices and then run behind legit protesters and “use them as a human shield.” He says being out after curfew allows yourself to be used.
      This is now a story not just about grief, anger, protest, George Floyd and Black Lives Matter, it’s about infiltration and deliberate mayhem inflicted on the very communities that are hurting — both because of police brutality, and due to cove—per the mayor 1,000 deaths to date.
      #justiceforgeorgefloyd #blacklivesmatter

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