Thursday, January 03, 2008

A War Against All of Us

an artistic rendition of Machetero Filiberto Ojeda Rios' FBI file

UPDATE Jan 12 '08: NY Grand Jury postponed - protests around US & PR
Hundreds of supporters turned out yesterday at the Brooklyn court for a highly spirited rally - and there were similar strong rallies around the U.S. and in Puerto Rico either Thursday or Friday. The next court date for the young Puerto Ricans is Friday, Feb. 1. This will give the defense attorneys time to prepare motions to quash (dismiss) the subpoenas. For updates, keep checking resist grand jury and virtual boricua (the latter includes many media articles). If you want to be on an email list for
updates, write to

UPDATE Jan 7 '08: Watch and share the 1/11 Grand Jury PSA and come to Casa Atabex Aché's Grand Jury Educational entitled "FROM BUSHWICK to PUERTO RICO: The Impact of FBI Repression against our Movements (Political, Youth , Queer, Immigrant, Womyns, etc.)" this Wednesday, January 9th at 6:30p at their space in the Bronx (471 East 140th St, Basement Level).

Sometimes the way forward is found through self-defense.

Here in the USA, a bill called the 'Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act' is moving through Congress. The intent of this bill is to greatly amplify the government's capacity to repress its own citizens under the pretense of the "War on Terror."

An early test case to expand repression at home is unfolding right now as the FBI/NYPD Anti-Terrorism Task Force has just served, or attempted to serve, four pro-Independence Puerto Rican cultural and social workers with Grand Jury subpoenas. Organizers of what is being called the "Hostos Jan 11 Grand Jury Resisters Coalition" are asking everyone to come to the Brooklyn Federal Court (Cadman Plaza East) on Friday, January 11th at 9:30a to rally against this Grand Jury repression of Puerto Rican Independence Activists.

In Mexico, where economic conditions continue to worsen, the military, police and paramilitary forces directed by all three major political parties (including the supposedly 'center-left' PRD) are poised to launch now what could be the worst assault on the Zapatista communities in their entire history. The Zapatista Councils of Good Government have been releasing graver and graver denunciations over the past several months and, although we shouldn't have needed one, Gustavo Esteva has just issued a call to organize preventative solidarity actions as soon as possible and wherever we are.

Times of increasing repression are extremely difficult, but can also be times of great opportunity if we get organized. In spite of all their rhetoric about equal application of the law and civil rights, most everyone in this country can recognize on some level that the law is applied selectively. This means that wonderful artists and activists such as Hector Rivera of The Welfare Poets get targeted by "anti-terrorism" measures instead of any number of people who are causing harm in the name of money and with the cover of political power. The political class and their capitalist bosses leave themselves open to even further delegitimation when they do this - but only if we build and exercise our people power to reverse their propaganda and their attacks.

This shift towards the ever increasing use of brazen force to put down struggles for self-determination, freedom, democracy, and justice is also the result of the state and capital's increasing failures to sustain themselves without it. The new FBI attack against Puerto Rican activists mentioned above comes on the heels of the murder of "Machetero" Filiberto Ojeda Rios by the FBI on September 23rd, 2005 (also the date when El Grito de Lares is celebrated), which has instigated a now growing movement in Puerto Rico to kick the FBI off the island...just like they kicked the US Navy out of Vieques in 2003.

Organized resistance is breaking out nearly everywhere in Mexico and much of this resistance actually threatens the capitalist paradigm itself. It is the march of capitalism that people grow to fear now, not its alternative. And it is the alternatives that we build, promote and defend that will be our primary vehicles for creating a better world.

For a very clear analysis of where the Zapatistas are at in this moment and a vision of where we can all go together, I cannot recommend enough the just released essay called
Feliz Año Cabrones: On the Continued Centrality of the Zapatista Movement after 14 Years, by our friends El Kilombo Intergaláctico in Durham, North Carolina.

As I have been doing for some time now, in the coming weeks and months I will be returning again and again to analysis and strategy of how we can move forward in this time of increasing reaction and repression. Please send me anything that you think might be relevant to this topic...also please consider including some serious organizing to defend the Zapatistas this year, and soon!

Again, if you are in NYC, join the "Hostos Jan 11 Grand Jury Resisters Coalition" at the Brooklyn Federal Court (Cadman Plaza East) next Friday, January 11th at 9:30a to rally against this grand jury repression of Puerto Rican Independence Activists! You can contact the Coalition at for more information.

We can do more than just survive these storms of repression. We can seize them as moments to build our connections across struggles, delegitimize the oppressors and advance our alternatives. Now is the time for us to defend ourselves, that is, each Other.

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