Once Upon A Time, The Activists Formerly Known As The Urewera 20(?) were, according to police, intent on blowing shit up: even conspiring to Kill The President (of the United States).
Or some shit.
Sadly, in March, the Crown case fell to pieces. Rather than convict 20 or 18 or 17 or 16 or even 4 individuals with engaging in a terrorist conspiracy, They had to be content with guilty verdicts on various firearms charges. This week, the Crown declared that the remaining four defendants (‘The Urewera Four’) will not be re-tried on a charge of belonging to an ‘organised criminal group’; on the other hand, neither will The Fantastic Four be getting an apology for the 2007 raids.
No surprises there really.
That said, John Minto of Global Peace & Justice Auckland is only one of many who reckon:
Urewera Four convictions ‘should be quashed’
GPJA supports the decision of one of the Urewera Four lawyers to apply to have the Arms Act convictions against his client, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara, quashed following the Crown decision to abandon plans for a retrial of the four remaining Urewera defendants on a charge of “belonging to a criminal gang”.
The defendants are to face sentencing on 24 May after convictions on some breaches of the Arms Act.
However the convictions under the Arms Act were only possible using illegally obtained police evidence. This evidence was inadmissible on the Arms Act charges and was only allowed by the Supreme Court because of the more serious “criminal gang” charge laid by police.
With this charge now gone the convictions based on illegally obtained evidence should be quashed.
It appeared early on that the police laid the “criminal gang” charge principally to allow them to admit evidence even if they knew that evidence wasn’t strong enough to get a conviction on the only serious charge. It wasn’t.
The police were “gaming the system” to get even these minor convictions.
The other 13 defendants had all Arms Act charges against them dropped and the same should now apply to the last four defendants.
Otherwise, check out the xclnt film Operation 8 for The Real Story…
[Initial footage shows police breaking and entering 128 in Wellington]
…and for totally choice infos and analysis on ‘Revolutionary Anti Colonialism & Anti Capitalism in the Pacific’ check out Whenua Fenua Enua Vanua. For more on teh anarchys, this grp is AWSM while this one goes Beyond Resistance: both got links to other useful stuffs.
Students in Quebec have been on strike for over twelve weeks now, “sparked by the announcement of a new, 75 per cent increase in university tuition fees”. Yesterday (May 9) students rejected a piss-weak offer by the government to piss-off back to skool in exchange for… well, nothing much, really. Unsurprisingly, this unappealing carrot is being supplemented by a rather large stick, “[a]s the historic student strike stretches on… the police repression is intensifying.” Linchpin has some English-language coverage as well as links to other sources; French speakers can read lotsa stuff elsewhere, including on Cause Commune. For what it’s worth, a key factor in the success of the Quebec organising model has been its commitment to direct democracy. A local history of direct confrontations with authorities also seems to have made a significant contribution to the development of a lively anti-authoritarian culture; the following video documenting the May Day rally in Montreal is illustrative:
The struggles of students in Chile against the neoliberal restructuring of the higher education system has been one of many sources of inspiration for that of students in Canuckistan. War on Society on Chile provides some useful infos on social struggles in that part of the world; LASNET and Chile Solidarity provide further insights and links to other organisational resources. Finally, La Rabia Reading Group (Rebeldia contra los duenos del poder y la riqueza) is a Melbourne-based group which examines a variety of texts examining these and a variety of other matters related to This World We Must Leave.
The elevation of the neo-Nazi group Golden Dawn to the Greek parliament has triggered a good deal of anguish and speculation on the part of commentators, especially as their success means access to public funding to further their aim of cleansing Greece of undesireables. Last election GD got 20,000 votes; this time around 438,000. On the other hand, LAOS (the other extreme-right party) saw their vote decline to beneath the 3% threshold, thus meaning it lost all 17 of its comfy seats. “We should also take note that New Democracy campaigned under the slogan “re-occupy our neighborhoods from the immigrant ghettos”—and Pasok supported the building of detention centres for immigrants.” Further, the election saw a large increase in the vote for SYRIZA, the ‘coalition of the radical left’ (Yiorgos Vassalos, Greek election: The austerity parties have collapsed. This is the moment of truth for the left, Red Pepper, May 10, 2012). The coalition supposedly includes anarchists; a statement on Occupied London is probably more reflective of the general mood: “The crucial task ahead is… for us to understand that the times (not so far) ahead will involve a fight to shift society as a whole in an emancipatory direction. A struggle to keep our cities, our streets, our spaces clean from misanthropic nazi scum. But also, and most importantly, a struggle and a race to occupy the space left behind by a crumbling, retreating system of order; we’d better get going.”
“Investigators say the shooting of the CEO of a nuclear engineering company bears similarities to attacks by the radical leftist Red Brigades terrorist group against executives of the same company in the 1970s. Roberto Adinolfi was shot in the leg on Monday morning near his Genoa home by an unknown assailant. He was recovering in the hospital Tuesday.” Oddly enough, the headline given the AP article in The Washington Post identifies the Red Brigades as “anarchist”, a fact which even someone with a passing knowledge of Italian politics would understand is incorrect, BR being unashamedly Marxist in orientation. See : ‘Italy investigators link attack on nuke executive with anarchist Red Brigades attacks of 1970s’, May 8, 2012. Further, attacks such as these emerge from a far more diverse radical milieu, just as they did in The Years of Lead. In this previous era, the most murderous attacks were conducted by Italian neo-fascists acting at the behest of state authorities. Thus a bombing at the Piazza Fontana on December 12, 1969, which killed 16 people and injured 84 (or possibly 90), was conducted by members of the Ordine Nuovo (New Order), acting under the instructions of the Italian secret service. It was one of a number of fascist ‘outrages’ committed during this period in Italian history, the most bloody of which was the Bologna train station bombing on August 2, 1980, in which 85 people were killed and over 200 injured.
[Update (May 12, 2012) : The Informal Anarchist Federation — to be precise, “the Olga Nucleus of the Informal Anarchist Federation-International Revolutionary Front, said two of its members had shot Roberto Adinolfi, the CEO of Ansaldo Nucleare, in Genoa on Monday”. The Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI) tag first appeared back in December 2003. Numerous other actions have been claimed by the FAI since then, both in Italy and elsewhere. Italian authorities in 2003 wrote:
The members of this Federation claim to be “against any Marxist cancer” and advocate a type of armed struggle based on direct actions by individuals or groups. They are inspired by “three key points”:
1. Revolutionary solidarity, which entails armed struggle against facilities and persons responsible for the detention of comrades;
2. Revolutionary campaigns, which can be freely promoted and shared “through one or more actions claimed by single action groups, which make a reference to the Federation in their acronym”;
3. “Communication among groups or single members” that should take place “through the actions and the information channels of the movement with no need to know one another”.]
See also : Italy Calling: Italian Tales Of Oppression & Resistance | More Work! Less Pay! Rebellion and Repression in Italy, 1972–1977.
The five d00ds what got arrest last week for planning to ‘splode a bridge are obviously in heap ’em big trouble. Rob los Ricos reckons “it is imperative not to let these brave, foolish comrades become isolated. more than anything else we must remember: ATTACKS ON THE FASCIST/CORPORATE INFRASTRUCTURE ARE LEGITIMATE AND NECESSARY!”
The Famous Five were apparently recruited by the FBI via their participation in Occupy Cleveland. In Occupied New York, the antics of some radikal fu*king yoof on May Day has come to the attn of a fu*cking gossip columnist on Gothamist. Christopher Robbins writes (Anarchists Think Photographers And Reporters Are The “Fu*king Enemy”, May 8, 2012):
The issue of some protesters targeting photographers covering the Occupy Wall Street movement came to the fore after videographer Tim Pool shot footage of protesters letting the air out of an NYPD squad car’s tires the night of the eviction. Since then, protesters engaged in black bloc tactics—illegal actions that some in the Occupy movement embrace as part of a “diversity” of tactics—have attempted to damage or confiscate cameras documenting them.
The article is pretty daft, as is the commentary which accompanies it. On a more serious note, NYPD have apparently begun to incorporate sexual assault into their arsenal. See : David Graeber, New Police Strategy in New York – Sexual Assault Against Peaceful Protestors, nakedcapitalism.com, May 3, 2012. His account naturally brings to mind Andrea Dworkin‘s account of being sexually assaulted by prison authorities back in 1965 after being arrested for participating in a march against the Vietnam War.
Dworkin’s response to this incident was her first act of purposeful bravery: she wrote scores of letters to newspapers detailing what had happened, and the story was reported in the New York Times, among other papers, which led to a government investigation of the prison [Women’s House of Detention in Greenwich Village]. It was eventually torn down, and in its place today is the idyllic flower garden at the foot of the Jefferson Market clock tower on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan.
Otherwise, Chris Hedges’ February black bloc stoopid is the gift that keeps on giving, and has prompted Mark Taylor-Canfield (Occupy Without Isms: Hedges vs. the Black Bloc, Round Two, Counterpunch, May 7, 2012) to add some of his own to the pile, prompted by black bloc shenanigans in Seattle and Oakland. A much more useful disco on Occupy and attendant issues is provided by Ken Knabb in The Situationists and the Occupation Movements (1968/2011); Kevin Carson describes attempts to repress the movement here, concluding that “The state’s functionaries are beginning to realize how high the stakes really are. In response, its shock troops are dropping the Officer Friendly masks. So get ready: The state, before it’s over, will be as nasty as it has to be.”
On a final note, police have arrested ten, Florida-based members of the fascist groupuscule ‘American Front’. You may remember AF from such murders as the shooting to death of AF leader David Lynch in March 2011. Reuters writes: “Ten alleged members of a white supremacist group training near Orlando and Disney World for a ”race war” have been rounded up in a series of arrests in central Florida, authorities said on Tuesday. The arrests were based on evidence from a confidential informant who infiltrated the neo-Nazi organization known as the American Front 17 months ago, according to an arrest affidavit.” According to the affidavit, the RAcial HOly WArriors were supposedly planning on doing all kindsa crazy in Melbourne, including infiltrating the local SHARP milieu, luring members to an undisclosed location, ambushing them and then (presumably) attempting to re-enact the murders in July 1998 of SHARP skinheads Lin “Spit” Newborn and Dan Shersty (for which crime federal authorities laid further charges in February 2012). The boneheads were also allegedly planning on attacking the anarchist May Day rally in Melbourne.
Oddly, the AF site (disabled at some point after Lynch’s death) links to what is described as the AF blog, ‘Open Revolt!’. Rather than extolling the many virtues of being a bonehead, the OR! blog is now dedicated, inter alia, to the worship of the Hindi Goddess Kali, contains glowing refs to Kim Jong Il and numerous other fascist/ultra-nationalist crackpots, and promotes a rather kinky form of White nationalism. Further, as I noted in December 2011, the openly revolting bizarro(s) belonging to the semi-fictitious ‘Rural People’s Party’ actually jumped Jim Jones’ ship to join up with this mob. Check the superbly batshit blog belonging to the North American Juche-Songun Ideas Study Group, “the place to learn about the philosophy of our time”, for more infos on Juche Thought as well as on the sad demise of the RPP:
Over the past several years, the Juche movement in North America has been hampered in its’ development because of the study group’s former chairman John Paul Cupp’s deviationism from Kim Il Sungist Thought and his flirtations with anti-communist philosophies such as white nationalism which led him to bring many dangerous and suspect people into the group; two of these individuals were Joshua Caleb Sutter and James Porrazzo [Parazzo?]. This very same James Porrazzo has been slandering us and our current chairman Jason Adam Tonis heavily over the Internet recently, telling people that he is a “globalist agent” and “pig”…
Curiously, the affidavit which brung the ten boneheads in Florida to justice also makes reference to James Parazzo [Porrazzo?]. Parazzo/Porrazzo apparently uploaded a video on to YouTube poking fun at Faella and his mates in AF, causing Faella to “conspire” with the local chapter of ‘Combat 18’ to seek revenge against Parazzo for his butthurt.
Speaking of murder, in Arizona, neo-Nazi JT Ready — described by a rather, er, stoopid Vice journalist as “a complex and complicated guy” — shot and killed four people, including a 15-month-old girl, before shooting himself last week. Ready was a former member of the ‘National Socialist Movement’; in October 2011, Ready and some of his NSM/Border Guard mates rocked up armed to the first general assembly of #OccupyPhoenix. They made friends with the police and the liberals but were told to go away by others. Now Ready is permanently gone, and so too four of his friends and family.
I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere…