Beyond the Barricades stands in solidarity with indigenous communities fighting the theft and destruction of their lands and culture. The following account, originally posted by the ACAC19 Support Committee, describes a recent event organized by the committee. The event highlighted the stories, experiences, and songs of local and regional indigenous organizers engaged in struggle against land development and displacement as well as surveillance and policing along the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Tuesday February 19, the support committee of the Anti-Capitalist Anti Colonial 19 hosted “Decolonizing the New World Means Listening to Indigenous Voices” at the Holdout Social Center in Oakland. Local and regional indigenous leaders shared stories and information about their struggles to maintain control over their historical lands, which continue to be threatened by capitalist and colonial endeavors.
After an opening prayer by Corrina Gould, Desirae Harp from SNAG Magazine made it clear that in the struggle to protect sacred sites we must remember that everything is sacred, and that all land is indigenous land. This paradigm recurred throughout the evening, as all speakers emphasized the colonial project is antithetical to an ecologically sustainable society.
Michelle Steinberg’s recent film titled “Buried Voices” highlighted how the East Bay Regional Park District is ignoring the efforts of Ohlone, Miwok and Yokut peoples to protect Brushy Peak, a sacred place that is a part of their origin stories. Despite ongoing demands by native people and allies, the park district continues to allow people to hike, bike and walk dogs throughout this sacred space. By labeling the native community a “special interest group,” the district has imposed a racist construct of native communities, which has led to the destruction of mortars and has relegated their story to phony interpretative signage. Such a designation and unwillingness to place native needs at the forefront of land-use decisions reinforces the white supremacist narrative and shows the level of obfuscation and lies used to maintain state hegemony.
Wounded Knee DeOcampo and Corrina Gould also shared information about the struggle to protect other sacred spaces such as, Sogorea Te and Rattlesnake Island in the Greater Bay Area. They urged people to get involved and to support those struggles over native access to sacred ceremonial spaces.
The event then shifted to make space for voices from Diné and O’odham lands in Arizona. Norman Benally shared the stories of his elders on Black Mesa who have been fighting coal mining and its subsequent ecocide on the Diné community. Lastly, O’odham youth from their reservation along the Mexico-US border and the Phoenix area shared their ongoing organizing against the border patrol and Loop 202 freeway development. They highlighted the traitors within their nation who have created capitalist enterprises, which support the freeway development through the O’odham community. The use of bribes and other capitalist gimmicks to eliminate community autonomy over the land illustrates the immense challenges that come with struggles over land and resources.
But these tactics aren’t new: For centuries, settler-colonists have used divide and conquer to assimilate native peoples into the mainstream capitalist consumption culture. Nonetheless, there are still those who resist and see through the hollow masquerade of capitalist glitz. At the end of the night, this was made clear as the native hip hop group Shining Soul demonstrated that the culture we create at the grassroots and nurture in resistance is much more compelling than the culture of capital.
The voices from the event show that solidarity with indigenous resistance is tantamount to anti-capitalist organizing in the Bay Area and beyond. Native lands are continually being swallowed by the state to make profit for the ruling class. The indigenous relationship to the land is in direct opposition to private property, and as such should be an example for those struggling to pre-figure a society without borders and profits.
The ACAC 19 support committee hopes that this event leads to a more organized solidarity network for indigenous resistance. Please come out for a follow-up discussion and meeting on Thursday, February 28 7:30pm, at the Holdout.
On Friday afternoon, an array of approximately 100 supporters attended a pretrial motions hearing for the ACAC19. The ACAC19 is a group of nineteen political dissidents arrested in San Francisco on Columbus Day while demonstrating in solidarity with indigenous, global and local struggles against imperialism.
The crowd trickled in from around the Bay, gathering on the steps of the San Francisco Superior Courthouse, sharing pizza, conversation and a supporter’s impromptu puppet show. “All Cops Are Columbus,” read a sign taped near the steps until a cop tore it down. A big banner stretched across the face of the building declared “No Justice Here! Against All Repression.” Ali Winston, who often whistle-blows on corruption in Bay Area police departments, was the only journalist present.
A long line of supporters and defendants slowly filed through the metal detectors. The officers turned off the second metal detector, making the line move so slowly that the hearing was over before many people, and even some defendants, were through the line. Later, in the courtroom, the supporters, defendants and nineteen defense lawyers sat across from Judge Harold Kahn. The Judge extended the motion-filing deadline, which is now March 14. The final pretrial motions hearing will be scheduled for a full day on March 29. The defense will be filing a pitchess motion, a motion to expose involved officers’ records of abuse. There will also be a motion to quash search warrants placed on defendants’ phones. “Wait,” Judge Kahn implored during the hearing: “Why would you need a search warrant for a case like this?”
“Good question,” everyone in the courtroom shrugged.
In addition to sustaining comrades as individuals and defending the community as a whole, acts of solidarity–such as showing up at comrades’ court dates– force the repressive apparatus to rethink how and why it attacks us in the streets. Our solidarity is not just a form of defense, but a weapon against state repression.
Come support the ACAC 19 on March 29 and regularly check the ACAC19 Support Commitee website for updates. If you can’t physically attend, call the SF District Attorney and demand all charges be dropped against the comrades.
On October 6th SFPD attacked and provoked an anti-Columbus day march that gathered to give remembrance to the genocide and colonialism wrought upon the native peoples of the Americas. SFPD targeted marchers because of their political message, and attacked and arrested twenty anti-colonial activists after a hasty and confusing dispersal order. These police tactics clearly illustrate that the state does what it wants, when it wants, in order to protect its hegemony and stolen property. The SF District Attorney then charged these activists and organizers with outrageous and erroneous accusations that reflect the state’s goal to eliminate and neutralize dissent from those who challenge its own legitimacy. To further punish these courageous people, the state beat the arrestees and tortured them with sleep deprivation, taunted them and withheld food and water at the SF county jail, and set a very high bail. The state clearly does not care to observe its own specious claims of freedom of speech, which supposedly sets it apart from a fascist regime. Instead it is using every means it can to sew fear to discourage further resistance.
In addition, the SFPD worked with the mainstream media to paint these activists as violent and incorrigible. The media effectively convicted these activists of fabricated charges before they were tried in the farcical justice system, easily tainting the jury pool. All of this is to be expected, since the SF Chronicle has always done the work of the SFPD and the DA, even when time and again revolutionaries have fought hard in the courts and proven that the police were the true malfeasants.
It is in this vein that the radical communities of the Bay Area should continue to organize. We must use this opportunity to show that the courts and police are full of lies and that this is about politics, not “violent” acts. The police and DA will try to associate these activists with other past actions because they know that lying and instilling fear in the jury and the public is the only way they can win. These charges are overblown even by their standards, and they have nothing to stand on unless we remain quiet and disorganized. We should build a campaign, not only to drop the charges, but to challenge the ongoing state persecution and incarceration of political dissidents, as well as continue the struggle against the prevailing colonial order of power that brought our comrades to the street on October 6th.
In the spirit of indigenous resistance and struggles for autonomy everywhere…
Beyond the Barricades
Please contribute to general bail funds for all those arrested here, Seattle folks who were arrested here, and our close comrades here. Please note that the Occupy Oakland WePay shows the total raised overall since the page began and does not reflect what is left in the account after months of state repression.