Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Philadelphia: Dialogue with Member of the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities and Cop Watch LA - Sunday


A dialogue with Joaquin Cienfuegos from Copwatch LA and RAC.

Come and hear Joaquin Cienfuegos in a discussion about Copwatch LA and the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities.

Cop Watch LA is a program dedicated to the struggle that will end police terrorism through collecting information on and observing police activity, by offering support to those caught in the criminal injustice system, fighting for change without a reformist consciousness, and working side-by-side with oppressed communities to create revolutionary alternatives to policing, prisons, and all systems of domination, oppression and exploitation. (from their mission statement)

Here in Philadelphia with a new mayor elected largely on a stop and frisk platform and a new police comissioner with a long track record of infiltration/snitch programs and political repression. Even just this year, cops have killed at least 3 in Philly. That’s after killing 15 in
2007 and 20 in 2006. Stop and Frisk will no doubt only add legal institutional protection to the daily street level beatdowns, harrasment that many Philadelphians already know too well.

Please join us Sunday, February 3rd at LAVA for a discussion on some grassroots, autonomous checks on state violence!

Revolutionary Autonomous Communities

Who we are. What we believe. What we fight for.

We are a revolutionary federation of community councils and liberated
spaces based in occupied communities made up of oppressed people of
color. We are a horizontal organization building self-sustainability
and creating the structure, strategy, and program for change through
direct participatory forms of organizing and a decision-making process
based on consensus. We stand against all forms of oppression:
imperialism, capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, fascism,
heterosexism and the domination of human over
human & human over all living things including mother earth. We
believe and we fight for autonomy, self determination, self
organization and the self defense of our communities.

Our strategy for Decolonization, Land and Liberty includes outreach,
popular and political education, direct action, community programs,
empowerment, support, , physical training and mutual aid, so people
can build self reliance and gain the skills, resources and the
experience to liberate themselves. In striving for freedom, we work to
decolonize our minds by embracing our indigenous roots and practices.
We fight for land! "Peace without land and liberty is not Peace."

Revolution comes from the people not a vanguard party; it is an
individual and collective process where we destroy the system while we
create change within ourselves and the world. The best way to show our
solidarity to the people of the world is to bring the war home, and to
bring down amerikkkan imperialism while we struggle to build
internationalism and intercommunalism.

We fight for freedom and won't settle for less!


We're the Guerrila Chapter of Cop Watch Los Angeles.

We're made up of individuals from different hoods, looking to build a base in our own communities while we help create a mass movement to stop police terrorism against our peoples.

We are called the Guerrilla Chapter:
-We have full unity with the mission of Cop Watch LA
-We carry out the work of Cop Watch LA as a tactic
-We connect what we're doing to other social justice organizations we have unity with
-We build alliances
-We support families who are victims of the police
-We want to create a culture of direct action against he police state
-We hope that people can take up this movement and tactic on their own
-We want to inspire people to defend themselves
-We do Know Your Rights trainings
-We fundraise for our community programs and our communities
-We are grassroots
-We are all working class people of color from the hood
-We train and build the level of combativity in ourselves and our peoples
-We want self-determination and the self-organization of our neo-colonies
-We change ourselves in the process of changing the conditions in our communities
-We study, and we promote popular and political education
-We are members of the Revolutionary Autonomous Communities

The Guerrilla Chapter of Cop Watch LA feels it is important to not only discuss the problems that our communities are facing but to actively challenge them and change them. We exist for that purpose, while we build up our autonomous communities it is important to also connect these ideas to others and to build the fighting capacity of the people. The Guerrilla Chapter supports other communities who want to do the same type of work, we can provide whatever resources we have, the basic training and support for people to resist and build. We have believe in the principles of mutual aid and that one of our best defenses is our solidarity with others. We are not a vanguar party organization, we will not impose ourselves on communities, we have much more to learn from the people than we have to teach. Overall our purpose is to fight for land and liberty. We want freedom!

All power through the people!

LAVA 4134 Lancaster Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19104 phone: 215.387.6155 * info{at}

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Article in the LA Citybeat about the Southern California Anarchist Conference 2007

LA City Beat Article on the Southern California Anarchist Conference: Miracle on 61st Street

Miracle on 61st Street
Fear and Exhilaration at the Southern California Anarchist Conference


The Library for Social Sciences and Research sits just into the Sixties on South Vermont, an area few would cite in defense of President Bush's "Ownership Society." A speck of mural-rusty cheer in a uniformly bleak urban landscape, the library took on an additional layer of gaudiness last weekend, as more than 200 mostly young activists filed in for the Southern California Anarchist Conference. It was a rare taste of both unscripted politics and revolutionary affirmation.

Sponsored by several local groups, including Anarchist Black Cross, the AK Press, and the South Central branch of CopWatch L.A., the event was capped Sunday, December 16, with punk rock and polemics staged by Apex Union at Centro se Accion Popular across town in Taylor Junction. AU's Rafael Camacho, a non-anarchist who promotes movement-related music events, described the conference as having little central planning outside of asking fellow SoCal radicals what they wanted to talk about and constructing a program around that.

The result was not your father's left-wing protest gathering, not that ghosts from movements past didn't rattle a bone or two. Wan, middle-aged missionaries from oldtimey splinter parties like the Spartacists stood outside seeking to engage passersby with Cold War-era micro-Leninism. The kids swarming in and out gave even less attention to such three-card monte dialectics than I, an ex-sectarian who could've given these sadsacks pointers on technique. Such top-down midget totalitarianism is, to them, part of the problem.

Anarchy, in practice and theory, is the new mode and ideal among an increasingly radical chunk of young America. This impulse will likely grow stronger once the consequences of the most recent economic crash make themselves felt. Frank, a comrade from the Central Valley, spied my tape recorder just after I brought it out and insisted on being interviewed. He stood behind two tables of eccentric homemade leaflets skirted by a banner reading, "Cook cops not meth, rob banks not each other." Like most politicians jumping at microphones, Frank cared little for answering questions. "We're out here at the conference supporting working-class self-organization and direct action against various systems of domination that exist in society," he said forcefully. Why Modesto? I asked. "There's a great deal of poverty out there and poverty leads to crime." Frank's face tensed a bit, like a Fight Club hardcase. "Just like everywhere else."

Most others around me seemed intent on materializing an unsupervised society in miniature. Small multiracial groups of close-huddled youngsters sat outside verbally groping toward ways of talking, realizing their own part in a cooperative commonwealth. All was that special fun-with-a-purpose sense of good cheer that always surrounds youthful activism. Passengers on MTA buses hurtling past glared in hostile disbelief at the harmony and goodwill vibes flowing out of the building into a street little used to it.

Friday afternoon, many stopped to hear Comrade Lala of the Black Riders Liberation Party lead a floor debate on revolutionary violence. The BLRP, Black Panther-inspired militants active in South Central and Watts since the mid-1990s, is the target of a gang injunction, with three of its leadership being held downtown on undisclosed "weapons conspiracy" charges. One might expect agitprop defiance, but the lovely comrade instead outlined the traditional closely reasoned Panther case for neighborhood self-defense against the police in soft and honeyed tones. Finally, one brother from the floor asked, "Who's up there with King and Gandhi who ever used violence?" Others of his herbivorous kind spoke against violence in the home and streets as manifestations of a system itself based on violence and repression. Still more demanded to know what right was ever wrested by force and the matter was tabled without rancor.

Practical matters of organizing affinity groups (proven effective in staging street action during the '99 WTO protests in Seattle) and revolutionary self-defense were taken up in later sessions. The latter was well-handled by Sensei Santo, a squat, heavily inked fighter who demonstrated various self-defense methods for breaking chokeholds, pulling arms from sockets, and disabling larger attackers. Friday ended with two original Black Panthers joining an animal-rights activist and an Internet anarchist to regale the young 'uns with tales of their stints as political prisoners.

Late for the Saturday session, I was legging down South Vermont when an LAPD patrol car blocked the curb in front of me and two smiling officers emerged with news that I was, in fact, in South Central and could be very easily murdered. Since cops in my downtown 'hood regularly make the same helpful confession, I was little troubled, but thanked them for their trouble. In the main room, a brother was inaudibly droning some kind of historical lecture over a lunchroom din as conferees tucked into free vegetarian eats. Images of Bakhtin and Lucy Parsons Gonzales (widow of Haymarket anarchist Albert Parsons) flickered mysteriously on a nearby screen and I got the idea the latter was being posthumously heckled for insufficient feminism.

There followed talks on whites organizing resistance to white supremacist groups like the Minutemen and Know Your Rights training from CopWatch. In the main room, some old-school Panthers were staging a reunion, with gimlet-eyed badasses like Ronald Elder Freeman prophesying in bone-yard terms of a political near-future of post-capitalist disaster, imperial reaction, and the likely martyrdom of many there. The collegiates and street kids alike looked awed, delighted even.

Hours later at an underground party far away, I unexpectedly encountered a pretty conference attendee, looking quite out-of-context in panties and fox ears. "That guy I was with thought you was a narc!" she giggled. I suggested she tell her boyfriend to stop acting like he's in jail already and went back to packing some excellent sativa. I had to spark up where the security guard couldn't see.

Proposal for National/Inter-Regional Anarchist People of Color Conference and Gathering

A couple of individuals from New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles met informally and wanted to propose a national/inter- regional gathering for Anarchist People of Color.

This is just a draft proposal, it is not the final say in how this shit is going to happen or what's going to happen at it.

This is being put out to initiate some discussion around this idea.

This conference will be a serious gathering to strategize, dialogue, plan, follow through, and create the foundation for real solidarity and revolutionary movement throughout different regions.

Nothing has been set for the conference so that is why I'm putting this out there to people. There are some initial ideas that need to be built on.

The conference will be taking place in the summer or sometime in the fall, but needs to happen as soon as we can pull it together.

It is a crucial time in history and their is important organizing we are all doing and need to be doing. We need to support each other in our work and help each other strategize. Hopefully this can be the first step to building the foundation for a revolutionary movement.

Among the topics that are proposed:
-Building Black and Brown Unity!!! The work that we need to be doing, the responsibility that we have to do this. We must go beyond just talking about it. This is a key question in building unity amongst all colonized people.
-National Liberation -- Our position in supporting National Liberation in the process of creating autonomy and self-determination of colonized people
-Class Struggle within APOC -- who is APOC and why we have nothing in common with sell-outs
-Political Prisoners, our role as anarchist people of color in this movement.
-Follow through from the first APOC conference
-Popular Education and other strategies for organizing in our communities
-EZLN and Magonismo: other movements in Latin America and the third world
-Creating New models of organizing
-Indigenismo and anarcha-indigenism
-Our experiences as anarchist people of color and supporting each other, having solidarity and building
-The intersection of gender and sexuality to race and class
-Building APOC as a revolutionary movement

others... etc (these are all still proposals)

We want to get a good core group of committed people who want to help make this happen discuss this seriously to make it happen.

There were proposals for cities/states/ regions: Los Angeles, Minnesota, Colorado

The city/collective in the city will have to help coordinate space, housing, food, etc.

Each city will have to do some fundraising to send people and for general funds. Hopefully we can also raise money to help other cities with limited resources.

Lets discuss this seriously, and make this happen.