Aug 29, 2013 0
Jul 19, 2013 0
Here’s what happened that night
A lot of things have happened since George Zimmerman was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. In Milwaukee, the movement for justice for Trayvon has found great resonance among those of us who have been taking the streets against MPD since the release of the video showing Derrick Williams dying in the back of a squad car. The struggle against white supremacy and the police continues in the streets of Milwaukee. I want to take a moment to focus on a particularly intense moment of that struggle. This moment began shortly after the verdict in the Zimmerman case was read.
The verdict became clear around 10:15pm. By 10:30 there were probably 50 people gathered in Garden Park on Locust and Bremen. There was generally a lot of confusion about what would come next. Some had seemingly settled on taking the streets though others wanted to hold a group discussion about what to do next. Both approaches had their own merits and drawbacks. Those who wanted to march realized that the energy and emotion surrounding the verdict was going to peak at some point and that there was no time to waste. However, without enough people, a plan, and with the cops close by, it seemed fair to question the efficacy of such a march. Those who wanted to talk realized that we were surrounded by police in a neighborhood which was generally apathetic. They also seemed far too eager to lay the groundwork for a leftist circus precisely at the moment when we could act most decisively.
About 25 people ended up taking the street and they headed towards North Avenue for reasons unknown. After about 30 minutes they returned with no arrests. By the time they got back, news had gotten out that there was a gathering on the North side of town in a predominantly black neighborhood. About half of the group that had gathered in Garden Park carpooled over to 38th and Hampton. When we arrived, we were greeted by two people from the community who explained their perspective on the situation. Following their lead we set up a roadblock on one side of the street. Each car driving in our direction was stopped, informed of the verdict, and then allowed to proceed. Most of the people stopped by this ad-hoc roadblock were happy to see us there. Chanting and banners brought people from the surrounding residential areas out onto the corner. Most of them were hesitant to enter the road, but cheered us on from the sidewalk. At around quarter till midnight, the first squad car showed up.
Two white, middle-aged officers got out of the lone squad car and calmly asked the crowd to disperse. No one moved so the police returned to their cruiser and called for back-up. The police looked visibly nervous as the crowd doubled in size to 60 people. As the police waited for back-up, more people joined us on the street. After about 20 minutes, a substantial number of police showed up. A dozen cops gathered opposite our growing — and increasingly rowdy — crowd. They ordered us to disperse. The organizers who had originally called for us to come to the area made it clear that there would be future actions and promptly left the intersection. One of the organizers, however, returned to the crosswalk for reasons unknown. It was then that the police made their move and put the organizer in handcuffs. The enraged crowd began to move forward to de-arrest the organizer.
About a half dozen police officers pulled out their pistols and pointed them into the crowd.
After that, the crowd slowly dissipated and the situation returned to normal.
Jun 18, 2013 0
reposted from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Madison — Republican lawmakers want to act quickly to limit public access to a proposed iron mine site in northern Wisconsin following the destruction of mining company property there by environmentalists at the site last week.
Rep. Mark Honadel (R-South Milwaukee) said he will try to convince fellow GOP lawmakers to slip the change into the state budget bill when it comes up for debate in the Assembly Tuesday, though he acknowledges that there’s little time.
“I don’t know if it’s too late for the budget but something’s got to change. We just can’t have these people running around on a worksite,” Honadel said in an interview. “We certainly don’t need this when we’re trying to get a good viable business going in the state.”
The protest and vandalism at the mine site, and a separate incident at a Department Natural Resources service center in Wausau last week, underscore the emotion surrounding the possible construction of an open pit mine. A spokesman for the mine described the vandalism the as “eco-terrorism.”
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) acknowledged the discussions on limiting public access to the mine site Monday, saying that they were in the early stages.
Currently the public has access to the land where exploratory drilling is being carried out by Gogebic Taconite as the first stage in the possible siting of a $1.5 billion mine in a heavily wooded area of Iron and Ashland counties.
“They want to do something to limit the areas they can go,” Fitzgerald said.
Gogebic has an option on the mineral rights of the land, which is regulated under the state’s managed forest law. In exchange for sharply lower property taxes for the landholder, the managed forest law gives the public access to wooded lands for activities such as hiking, hunting and fishing.
Honadel said he wants to rewrite that law to prohibit the public from being in areas where mining work is happening. He said the public is already prohibited from being in areas where logging is going on.
“It just makes common sense,” Honadel said.
Frank Koehn disagreed. Koehn is the president of the Penokee Hills Education Projection, a group opposed to the mine that organized a hike with about 50 people to the site of the mine on Saturday. There were no incidents, according to Koehn and Iron County authorities.
Koehn, who hadn’t heard about the GOP plans, said it’s crucial for people to see the mine site to be able to learn about the impact of the proposal.
“So far there hasn’t been much coming out of the Legislature on mining or much else that makes sense of late,” Koehn said.
When logging operations are under way under the existing program, signs can be posted to keep the general public 300 feet away from the logging site, according to Kathy Nelson, who oversees the managed forest program for the Department of Natural Resources. Within a year, at least half of the logging that was to be done must have occurred for the public to continue to be excluded, Nelson said.
The terms of the arrangement are set by administrative rule, rather than state statutes. Administrative rules are written by state agencies but must receive the approval of the governor and lawmakers.
Gogebic’s spokesman Bob Seitz said last week the company is worried that a separate act of vandalism earlier last week could foretell more trouble. Seitz called it “eco-terrorism.”
Seitz didn’t immediately return a message requesting comment.
Iron County Sheriff Tony Furyk on Friday estimated damage at $2,000 after protesters with covered faces slashed tires, damaged equipment, destroyed a worker’s camera and took away her cellphone.
In a posting on Earth First! Newswire on Friday, an unidentified person wrote:
“… Folks took the space over for about an hour. They jumped on trucks and the collection tank and threw pieces of equipment like pickaxes, fire extinguishers, and shovels down the hillside into the thick of the woods. Fences were knocked over and broken…
“We were able to inflict damages upon the company in the form of an entire day of labor costs through the disturbance and subsequent police reports that their workers had to spend their shift doing, as well as shatter their sense of security.”
Also, on June 10 [sic], a group of protesters briefly occupied the DNR service center in Wausau, yelled profanities and nailed a banner to the roof stating opposition to the mine.*
They tried to make their way into non-public areas of the building but were stopped. No arrests were made, according to the DNR. But one day later in a memo to the entire agency, Deputy DNR Secretary Matt Moroney said the department is working with law enforcement agencies to develop an “action plan for managing mining protest incidents.”
Journal Sentinel reporters Patrick Marley, reporting from Madison, and Lee Bergquist, reporting from Milwaukee, contributed to this article.
*This actually occurred on May 20th according to a system-wide email sent out to staff by DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney.
Jun 17, 2013 0
Sheriff Tony Furyk tells Wisconsin Public Radio that there has been damage to the drill, and that his department is taking statements and interviewing GTAC drill site workers. He says the company is alleging that a part of the drill has also been stolen.
A Tuesday morning raid by protesters on the drill site in a secluded area of the Iron County woods resulted in what law enforcement says was a verbal, non-physical, confrontation. Furyk expects charges to be brought as early as tomorrow.
GTAC spokesman Bob Seitz says the damage is criminal.
“They damaged some of the hydraulic levers, slashed some tires, discharged a fire extinguisher, pitched tools into the woods…That kind of damage is up there. It didn’t stop us from beginning drilling.”
The damage supposedly happened after about a dozen people came out of the woods 9:30 on Tuesday morning. Said Seitz:
“They ran in, dressed in black, their faces wrapped in a turban. The people up their said it looked like al Qaeda. They yelled profanities and threats.”
“Absolutely not,” says Bill Heart with the Penokee Hills Education Project — which opposes the mine – in reaction to Seitz’s description. He was on the drill rig site half an hour after the incident and knows people involved.
“The people I saw, I knew a couple of them. Some of them were wearing black jeans but they were clean-cut kids, most of them. And I call them kids because they’re probably in their early 20s. Calling them a terrorist is kind of laughable.”
Heart says this small group made mistakes by damaging equipment and scaring workers. He says none are part of the nearby LCO Harvest Camp or are tribal members.
On Saturday, protesters will walk to the rig. Seitz doesn’t expect a repeat of Tuesday’s trouble: “As long as we can keep separation between them, we have no problem with protesters coming out.”
Ros Nelson of Washburn is organizing the walk through the woods. She says it will be a family event but people should be prepared:
“Bug spray for sure. It will be about a three-mile walk. And it’s not a protest, it’s not a march, it’s not a show of antagonism. I think the better word would be witness.”
Drilling began yesterday and will take several days to complete.
Jun 13, 2013 1
On Tuesday, June 11th, some wild ones awoke to the sound of a drill rig and flatbed trucks driving up the ridge of the Penokee Hills in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Idea Drilling LLC were attempting to drill the first of eight core samples that would be used to determine the quality and quantity of iron ore in a 22-mile long stretch of the Penokee Hills, slated for open-pit mining destruction by Gogebic Taconite. Forty percent of Lake Superior’s wetlands lie downstream from the Penokee Hills, as does the Bad River Ojibwe Reservation, whose members depend on healthy waterways for their wild rice and fish. Surely, the amount of waste rock present in this type of mining would result in sulfides and heavy metal pollutants being exposed to these precious waterways downstream and would change the land that human and non-human lives depend on for survival forever. Making the preliminary stages of this mine as expensive as possible to send a clear message to financiers that this is an extremely risky investment is one strategy that was being pursued in the following action.
Wearing t-shirts and bandannas for masks, about fifteen wild ones sprang into action, added their own lock and chain to the gated entrance and built several barricades out of small boulders and downed trees. This was done on the access road in order to delay the anticipated police response for what was to happen. Once arriving to the site where the drill workers and managing geologist were, folks took the space over for about an hour. They jumped on trucks and the collection tank and threw pieces of equipment like pickaxes, fire extinguishers, and shovels down the hillside into the thick of the woods. Fences were knocked over and broken and personal cigarettes were raided out of one of the company vehicles as workers and the manager stood in awe. When it was discovered that the manager was taping all of this for evidence, their camera was snatched, broken, and thrown into the woods. Minutes later, a smart phone was snatched for the same reason and it met a similar fate.
At this point, some of the workers escaped the site in a company vehicle in order to find reception to call the police, because cell phones and CB radios do not work once you are on top of the ridge. We stayed about 10-15 minutes longer, but then decided to leave in order to avoid arrests. We disappeared into the woods and were able to outwit and outrun sheriff deputies on ATV’s because we know the terrain better than they do. We were able to inflict damages upon the company in the form of an entire day of labor costs through the disturbance and subsequent police reports that their workers had to spend their shift doing, as well as shatter their sense of security.
Another outcome of the protest is that Gogebic Taconite will be forced to hire private security for the company contracted to do exploratory drilling in the Penokee Range. Ashland and Iron County sheriff’s deputies were on the scene Tuesday, but Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan said they can’t afford to staff the drill site 24/7, so that kind of security is up to the mining company.
May the costs continue to be imposed and may the security guards and mining managers cower in fear.
-some wild coyotes
Gogebic Taconite (GTAC)– Hurley, WI
Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce (WMC)– Madison, WI
Idea Drilling LLC– Virginia, MN
Cline Resource and Development Company– Beckley, WV
Hillsboro Energy LLC– Hillsboro, IL
Foresight Energy– Palm Beach, Florida
Carlyle Group- Washington DC
Chris Cline, who owns a 33,413-square-foot mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, and a home in his native Beckley, West Virginia, where his 150-acre property contains a lake, and a go-kart track. Cline also owns the 164-foot (50 m) luxury yacht Mine Games, which has five staterooms and its own submarine. Chris Cline is the industrial mining magnate who owns the parent company of Gogebic Taconite, Cline Resource and Development Company, Foresight Energy and Hillsboro.
Mar 24, 2013 0
From Anarchist News:
We fucked up a Cash Advance Store in the Central Sand because we hate capitalism.
We smashed out every single window (six total, yo) and spray painted, “Because fuck loan sharks”.
We will do everything we can to block pipelines and mines in Wisconsin and we will fuck up windows when we get bored…..
Feb 20, 2013 1
“NEVER FORGET: POLICE MURDERED DEREK WILLIAMS AND COVERED IT UP. A*C*A*B*”
To disrupt the everyday banality of grey concrete and buzzing motors, to show a flash of solidarity to our friends and allies fighting the cops in Milwaukee and Madison, and most of all, to express our grief toward Derek Williams‘ death and sympathy to his loved ones left behind, we woke up extra early to drop this banner over the interstate before early morning rush-hour. We did so to coincide with the inquest of his killers this week. By chance, there was a minor semi truck accident prior to the banner drop, 200 feet ahead of the bridge, so cars drove past at extraordinarily slow speeds, which means they had plenty of time to read it.
While we know that banners alone could never bring about the fundamental social change needed in order to live in a world without murderous pigs, we hope that they could be used at this time to at least communicate messages to others, and to show our acknowledgement and solidarity to other struggles occuring in the occupied territory of “wisconsin”. And to let you know that we are watching…
Feb 18, 2013 0
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) is Wisconsin’s biggest lobbying firm, financed by business and industrial elites to craft the legal policies that govern us and permit the transformation of all existing life to the that of the commodity. They want more clear-cutting and tree farms instead of wild forest, more mines where pristine rivers carve through wetlands and ancient rock formations. They want more factories, more pipelines, and more sprawling concrete highways that connect dispossessed workers to the infrastructure and technology that is turning the planet into a smoldering pit of death. They wish to keep us imprisoned in this world of work, alienated from the land, each other, and the activity that makes up our daily lives.
They have also recently been pushing hard toward further industrial development in the Lake Superior region, specifically, opening the Bad River Watershed (where 40% of Lake Superior’s wetlands are located) and the Penokee Hills up to open-pit iron mining. We understand that this will significantly affect people’s subsistence strategies, particularly the Bad River Ojibwe who are directly downstream from the proposed mining site and rely on the walleye and wild rice that the pristine waters give to them in order to survive.
Jan 30, 2013 0
Tar Sands Blockade: A Presentation and Discussion of Resistance
Two Wisconsin activists who have spent time in the actions to blockade the Keystone XL Pipeline will be talking about their experiences and the issues that inspire them.
5:00PM, Friday, February 1st
Dreyfus University Center (Alumni Room)
1015 Reserve St., Stevens Point, 54481
Protecting the Water
Frank Koehn, a longtime activist from Herbster, Wisconsin, will be here to talk about the proposed taconite mine and protecting the Penokee Hills, the Bad River Watershed and Lake Superior from resource extraction projects that put profit into the hands of corporations while destroying the resources people depend on for survival.
7PM, Saturday, February 2nd
Dreyfus University Center (Laird Room)
1015 Reserve Street
Stevens Point, WI 54481
Jan 14, 2013 0
In Madison, Wisconsin, a crowd of over 200 people gathered outside the City-County Building on Saturday over the shooting death of local musician Paul Heenan by a Madison police officer. Paul Heenan, 30, was shot three times in the chest by Officer Stephen Heimsness after he stumbled into the wrong home (his neighbor’s) while drunk in the early morning hours of Nov. 9th.
Officer Heimsness was cleared of all wrong-doing, following an internal investigation and returned to patrol duty, policing the streets. The results of the investigation were released earlier in the week, finding that Heimsness did not violate department policies on the use of deadly force, sparking the protest outside of the City-County Building.
The main speaker of the rally made many good points about the “investigation” made by the police. For example, he cited the neighbors, who witnessed Paul’s death and have disputed the MPD account of the shooting.
Kevin O’Malley, has gone on record saying, “I remember yelling, ‘He’s a neighbor! He’s a neighbor!'” and his wife, Megan O’Malley (who was the person who initially called 911 thinking it was an attempted burglary) says that Kevin’s screams were loud enough to be heard from inside the house before the pig so ruthlessly unloaded three rounds into Paul.
People in attendance also learned that in 2001 the same pig, Stephen Heimsness, was suspended for 15 days for shooting out the tires of a fleeing car in a parking garage. In 2006, he was involved in an arrest of a bar patron that led to the city of Madison paying a $27,000 settlement because the man was almost beaten to death, leaving his face looking like a bloody, pulpy mess of pepperoni pizza. The Madison Police Department’s internal investigation found that the use of force in that case, including knee strikes and kicks to the face with steel toed boots while his partner held the face-down man’s head up, was “for the most part … reasonable and necessary”.
Now, the speaker at this rally made some excellent points about the various injustices regarding this specific pig, the specific case and the utterly disgusting internal investigation, and for that, I am extremely thankful. His heartfelt response to such horrors was greatly appreciated by everyone in attendance, I am sure.
But his analysis for police violence (policing is good, this is just one bad apple), and his recommendations for how we as a community proceed to work on policing in the future (talk to your local politicians and demand the establishment of an independent review mechanism) were seriously lacking for such a dire situation. In some cases it was just plain silly and missing any sort of historical perspective on what policing is, how and why it came to be an institution, and what greater socioeconomic purpose they serve, as evidenced by his statement, “the police are sworn to not only protect us from each other, but also from ourselves.”
Paul’s murder, and subsequent cover-up by police, shouldn’t really be a surprise. Cops are armed henchman of the state and capital, who enforce the laws and customs that regulate and produce the state’s desired behavior. The institution of policing exists on “our” rulers’ behalf; to order all of the population into this world of work, capitalism, and industrial civilization and whip into shape anyone who falls out of line.
One only has to look at Milwaukee (the most segregated city in the USA and the 4th poorest), where factories LEGALLY spew toxic, industrial waste into Lake Michigan and where multinational financial institutions have skyscrapers arrogantly eating up the skyline while people are literally starving in apartheid-like conditions, to see that the “order” these pigs maintain is really just misery under the despotism of state, capital and civilization.
It’s also not a surprise that brutal, power-hungry pieces of human shit like Officer Stephen Heimsness were attracted to such a position that grants so much power to dominate and coerce.
Being a person who has directly experienced police violence (being handcuffed so tight my hands lost feeling and being punched into the back of my head while cuffed) it was extremely aggravating to hear such whitewashing of pigs in the city I was born and raised in. It was equally as aggravating to see flyers for the event posted up in yuppie shopping areas (State Street and Williamson) but none were to be found in economically depressed neighborhoods like Badger or Allied, where police “misconduct” (can it be any other way?) is a regular occurance. It’s no wonder the crowd was mostly middle class white people who only have a problem with policing when a white man gets shot “by mistake” and it’s no wonder the anger felt by the people in Liberal Madison was being funneled into such dead-end, legislative measures that will never solve the social problems that produce desperate people committing “property crimes” and killer fucking cops to begin with.
If this struggle is to amount to anything meaningful, it will require connecting with communities that experience police tyranny on a regular basis in Madison, and it also might be worthwhile to connect the struggle to the loved ones of people murdered or abused by police in nearby Milwaukee recently, such as Derek Williams (who suffocated to death in the back of a cop car after having his neck broken), Darius Simmons (a 13 year old shot dead by a racist vigilante pig without a badge), James Perry (another man who died in custody from a seizure after the pigs refused to get him medical attention), the woman who was punched multiple times while handcuffed in the back seat of the cop car, etc. This list could go on for pages.
Anyways, the crowd began breaking up while a boring Alder-person from District 6 was giving a speech. A small contingent of rebels, radicals, anarchists, etc, who wanted to articulate a different narrative that didn’t hopelessly beg for change from leaders, or sugarcoat the inherently violent institution of policing, began to assemble near the road. The part black bloc, part scarf-bloc proceeded to march directly into one-way traffic towards the Dane County Jail and Courthouse behind a large black banner reading “Authority Misuse, Stop Police Violence (A) (E)”. Unfortunately, nobody that I know of made material preparations, otherwise some minor costs for killing one of us would have been inflicted upon the Jail and Courthouse. One presumably liberal/moderate attender of the rally said afterwards that “they did not go to be associated with the group of people with scarves over their faces holding the large black banner, looking like a bunch of Islamic extremists”. And that’s what solidarity is to a liberal… “You make us look bad”.
After we marched past the Courthouse, completely blocking traffic and temporarily stopping a city bus, us scarved terrorists marched up the road towards Madison’s yuppie pedestrian shopping district State Street, that also ironically serves as the stomping ground for much of Madison’s homeless population during the day. We screamed anti-police chants like “Madison Police…. Mur-der-ers!”, “Cops in our hood, ain’t no good”, “Who, who can you trust? Not the PO-LICE”, “While you’re shopping, Cops are Copping” and so many others.
The response we got from observers was a refreshing dose of encouragement as opposed to the boring liberal guilt trip of city officials to be found in front of the City-Council building. Cars honked and waved at our banner and gave a thumbs up as we clogged up the very intersection they were attempting to pass through. Other people walking with shopping bags said “Thank you so much for doing this” and a longtime member of the State Street Family (S.S.F. is the name given to our homeless comrades, see: http://www.inside-voices.com/) screamed “That’s Right! That’s Right! That’s Right!” over and over as we passed and shook our hands. We even managed to unintentionally recruit some people to march with us and scream anti-cop chants for a couple of blocks behind the banner.
After we marched across and then directly into traffic on University Avenue (probably the worse place you would want to be driving, let alone walking into traffic, during a Badger’s Basketball game at the Kohl Center 2 blocks away) people began to get tired and started to fade away from the march, so we called it a day.
Some graffiti we passed on foot read “Cops, Pigs, Murderers” and that made us smile to see others in town (presumably) taking back capitalist space to pass messages along. We only saw three police vehicles during the entirety of the march (all of whom kept their distance), and while we weren’t able to get greasy and break some shit or fight the pigs in the street, we managed to create many waves in an extremely public area (the busiest pedestrian area in the city), and once and for all we have at proved that militant marches in Madison ARE indeed possible, and surprisingly welcome. No arrests were made.
We are under no illusions that non-violent marches of 20-30 people in themselves could ever pose a serious challenge to those in power, however sharing a street with comrades (some new!) can hopefully push an alternative narrative and serve as a stepping stone to bigger and bolder actions, that could one day offer a formidable challenge to the reality that we want to transform.
Derek Williams: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSYbj6f1EfM
Darius Simmons: http://dariussimmons.org/