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(en) US, Longview, WA. Anarchist Call to Support The Longview Port Workers

Date Thu, 22 Sep 2011 13:12:08 +0300


After attempting to block a train heading into the EGT grain terminal a small army of police, military and the BNSF brutally arrested 13 port workers and their families (mostly women and one grandmother) and carted them off to jail. EGT did end up bringing their train in, but let's not let it leave! This is a clear and open call for anarchists to descend into Longview, mass down at the port with the strikers and give an open and clear show of solidarity. ---- Anarchists are here at the port with the support of the port workers, so come to Longview and take a stand! ---- Bring your banners, signs, flags, sound systems, instruments, paint, and use your brain, voice, feet, hands and "concrete" plans to stop EGT's train and show your courage and solidarity against this gnarly-hostile police repression. There are lots of watching surveillance cameras and special police agents so be safe out there: scarfs, hats and sunglasses will help you to remain anonymous.

The picket is at a gate near 150 East Mill Rd. off of Fibre Way (you'll go over a bridge). It might be loaded with cops so be smart about what you'll do if that's the case. See you there!

A list of companies on the shit list:

Maryland: Special Response is a creepy anti-proletarian good ol' boys club (no pun intended) whose objective is to quell striking workers around the country. Actions against them would resonate with hecka workers around the continent that had to deal with these Dudley Do Gooderists.

St. Louis: Bunge is a large multinational grain company that engages in rampant deforestation, plants giant monocropped GMO poison laced grains. They are the fucking people to get at. They own the most in EGT.

Japan: Itochu has a headquarters in New York, they're really into machinery, aerospace and electronics, poison food, forest death, chemicals (fucking chemicals), energy, etc.

South Korea: STX Pan Ocean is very happy about Development of the Continental Shelf cause they're going to make lots of money making workers do dangerous shit for a wage packet and fucking murder the oceans doing it.

Fort Worth, Texas: BNSF - The "police" from this company have been put into Longview to investigate the actions taken by the port workers so that they can break the strike and lock them up in cages.

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An anarchists' reflection on his time in on the port workers strike in Longview, WA
A few days ago, after reading about the recent direct action campaign in Longview, WA, a friend and myself decided to go down to talk with the striking port workers. We figured that talking to people, forming affinities, opening direct lines of communication and material support between west coast insurrectionists and port workers (coupled with doing whatever we can to increase the tension) was step one. So we piled into the car with my bike, his skateboard, and our sleeping bags and left Olympia.

--------

When we arrived in Longview we had no trouble finding the ILWU Union Hall, with people enthusiastically pointing us there from Downtown. It seemed like there were signs in the majority of businesses showing support for the strikers. At the Hall a womenâs meeting was taking place. Being chill enough not to walk inside and interrupt we sat outside waiting for someone to come out and talk with us. Some rando Port Worker drove up and asked if we needed help (we probably looked out of place smoking cigarettes and looking hard outside of the Union Hall) and when we excitedly explained we were here because their strike inspired us and that we wanted to help them win he looked at us ecstatically and told us exactly where to find the Port.


After getting some food at the Wal-Mart (I know, fuck that place, right?) we made our way through the barren, unwelcoming, toxic industrial atmosphere that is the Port of Longview where, after following the Union signs off Fibre Rd., we found the tented, warm and lively picket line at 150 East Mill Rd.

The first people to welcome us thought that we might be the cops disguised as undercovers or we could even be part of the CIA . . . donât ask me. They took photos of our IDâs to be sure, but we didnât really stress out about it, and these people werenât the police so it wasnât a thing for us. When we told them that we were just two anarchist rebels from Olympia who we were in awe and total support of what they were trying to accomplish here and that we also hated the police more than a great deal (seriously, they should stop being cops already), we all relaxed into a discussion of the recent events and they passionately painted their story for us, something like this:

Multiple times over the last few monthsâ large crowds of port workers brought the trains and their boxcars to a standstill. When the police attacked, sometimes they defended themselves with stones, bats, quick feet, brains and muscle. Sometimes with text messaging and resolve. When the riot police snatch squad made a move to arrest the ILWU president, members of the union de-arrested their Union leader with a wild charge at police lines.

One night a group of sneaky clandestine workers, most covered head-to-toe in black, stormed the gate of EGT and emptied the grain cars costing them an incredible loss of profit (later on a few people commented that the local wildlife loved what they had done; and looking at the raccoons and crows feasting on corn Iâd have to agree). That same night one anonymous prankster took a guards car for a joyride around the port and then ditched it (literally in a ditch). The cops might call it GTA, but since when can they take a joke?

They have vowed to block any and all transportation in or out of the EGT compound with increasing ferocity until they win, and theyâre serious about winning.

The capitalist press got a few things wrong (of course). The port workers never held the guards hostage. No, the guards actually freaked out and locked themselves in their little room after a brief, but epic, confrontation. To save face they made up this hostage story and the media just loves to over-blow little savvy ânews storiesâ like that. Only one window of their authoritarian clubhouse was busted out when the strikers stormed the EGT lot. They also never maced those riot police, however the Gestapo managed to spray into the crowd and in doing so hit their fellow officers. Well done.

We told them that we were stoked when we read that they took hostages and smashed security windows. Then I mentioned some of the striking workers in France who last year kidnapped their boss, lined their factory with explosives and threatening serious business if they didnât get what they were after. Nobody flinched. No boring pacifist rebuttals, just nodding heads and knowing eyes. They reiterated that the hostage lie was capitalist and police propaganda, but listened keenly when I brought up recent strikes around the globe that I had read about on SignalFire (dot) org. They definitely saw their struggle as part something larger and maybe even the start of a great rebellion in the USA.

We decided not to bring pamphlets or anything else seeing that we just came down to talk, listen, make friends, and brainstorm (weâre not foolish or ignorant enough to try to convert anyone to âthe Good Wordâ of insurrection, we are, after all, NOT christians).

For two days we talked in bits and pieces about a lot of thing with a lot people: the striking workers in Egypt, permaculture gardening, anarchy, ecocide, capitalism, class war, how to confront your kids about drug use, the problem of the police, new genres of music (I showed them on my iPod what post-rock was, âRed Sparrowsâ for the win!), motorcycles, traveling on freight trains (they had their own stories), the RNC demonstrations, the WTO in Seattle, the Black Bloc, Autonomia Operia, Radio Alice, Port Militarization Resistance (and itsâ implicit and inevitable failure), the Iraq war, legendary local bank robbers, anti-racism, the CNT and Spanish Civil War, the anarchist struggle for the eight-hour work day in the USA, good microbrews, gun laws (they do like their weapons), the history of Longview, how terrible meth is and how weed is pretty much the opposite of coffee so is okay, the commodity and the spectacle, the swindle thatâs called âpoliticsâ, the Olympia Free Herbal Clinic (with an in-depth conversation about holistic and preemptive healthcare), Bike and Bike, guerrilla gardening, the terrible atomization of modern life, workers/neighborhood councils, over-population (one person said we just have to stop having so many kids and start growing all our own food, either that or super-viruses), good spots for hunting and fishing (which I of course led into a frank discussion about the merits of anarcho-primitivism and genocide of native peoples and salmon), the loss of the American wing of the global fighting working class and probably the most important: occupation as a possible strategy if they lose.

Thatâs not to say that we talked with everyone about everything. There are rotating shifts every few hours so we got the pleasure of talking with a lot of different people. Some from Longview, some from other ports up and down the west coast coming to this port to fight alongside the local chapter and each person just wanting to let us know how awesome we were for coming down here and chilling with them. Sometimes I just got the space to freely speak about the way neighborhoods could be set up to along permaculture and tribal influenced design, philosophy and practices in a kind of necessary transition between less civilized people to truly free wild humans; kind of my version of a green anarchist âunitary urbanismâ (look it up), but how I really needed their help to cripple capitalism and the state to get there, intentions up front. You can grapple with some important concepts with total strangers if you got a few hours and you actively listen to each other.

We chatted with retirees about the history of their town, of their union. All over 50 and funny as hell, great at telling stories, loads of union pins and grey hair. We met them when it was their turn to hold down the line while the workers were having a huge meeting in the hall (we came to talk, listen and make friends, not to go to meetings, besides this is where the real party was). They told us brilliant stories about bank robbers who got away. One was about this man who came up onto the port to rob a ship. He boarded the ship, took the stairs up to the captainsâ quarters, shot him in the head, took the money he was holding then came billowing down the stairs to find the first mate who he promptly shot. Running out of the boat with a huge bag of cash, he sent money flying everywhere! So, not dumb enough to miss out on free money, the port workers went right to collecting some of that green. He then escaped onto a raft and was never heard from again. I told them the one about the craigslist bank robber who hired a ton of people on craigslist to meet in from of the bank; right before the Brinks truck delivered the unmarked money. He told them in the ad to wear orange vests, blue jeans, a white shirt, boots and a hard hat when they show up in the morning to make some good money. Then this guy shows up wearing the exact same thing as everyone else (of course). Whips out what looks like pesticides, but is actually pepper spray, and disables this armored truck guard and runs to freedom with a giant bag of money across the grass and down into the river (which was a hundred odd yards away) to escape on a dingy where his friend was waiting downstream. They had already heard and told me I got the town wrong. Iâve always had a soft spot in my heart for outlaws and bankrobbers, seeing that my grandpa was one of them, before he died in prison. So I yarned off a few more stories of intelligent madmen who pulled wild heists and got away clean. I remember I told them once that I knew that I didnât have a future. They told me that I did, but only if I take it back. I didnât tell him that I didnât believe him, but Iâm a born pessimist, what can you do?

âThe only way Iâll have a futureâ I said, âis if we destroy capitalism and the state. You guys have the ability to do that. You can stop their stupid, destructive, ecocidal little plans by stopping shipping them the things they need so they can continue to keep us all dead inside. All that retarded flashing plastic and metal shit that makes us dumb and then winds up in the ocean. Your sons and daughters at the hall tonight can stop that; youâll have to keep fighting the cops cause thatâs why the state exists, to keep you at work.â

My friend says âand youâve shown that youâre ready to defend yourselves from the police when they attack you.â

âBut you can shut them down.â I finish.

âWell us and the rail workers.â one of them said.

Some else chimes in, âAnd the truck drivers.â

âDo you know any of those people?â

âYeah we know âem,â he said looking at me, âthey give us the heads up before the trains come in.â

Long moments of silence before a tall, storminâ, clean-shaven old-fuck breathes a heavy sigh of acceptance and says, âYeah itâll probably come to revolution here sometime soon, itâs all coming to a head, looks like it might start here if weâre lucky. Hahaha.â

These retirees were the sweetest, yet angriest of them all; theyâve had years of this shit. The corporations, the police repression, local state corruption, the scabs, the picket lines, the baseball bats. They get it. There is wisdom there, more than we expected to find at the union meeting. These old-fucks (they called themselves such, I believe itâs their desired pronoun like âtheyâ or âZeââ Iâm partially joking) knew that the capitalist class banded together long ago and that theirs needs to do the same. They know that the government exists to keep us from walking around naked (they gave us some great nude beach locations on the Washington coast), teaches our children (and their grandchildren) lies and propaganda, doesnât give two shits about solving global warming, but that it also exists to protect and serve the real rulers, the capitalist class, from the angry exploited people. Theyâre seeing it right now with the violent arrests of 6 port workers at their homes by the police, the beating of Shelly on August 14th at her home; they see the riot police, the judges, the crooked ass politicians all bending over backwards to stamp out the will of the Longview port workers. Of course the capitalists band together as a class, they told me to look at the recent media lies, painting them off as domestic terrorists for blocking trains and emptying grain cars, cutting brakes of a company that had the gusto to come into their port and is pushing them around with chemical weapons, jail cells and police truncheons. Terrorism my ass, itâs corporations that have vested interests in maintaining an economy that hurts working people and those same working people standing up for themselves. The retirees flipped off every cop and foreign security guy that drove by (excluding the port security, cause theyâre tight with them) and called the cops âthe fuckinâ Gestapoâ. They all hopped trains in their youth to go swimming in the mountains. I got the impression that these guys went way, way back. They were friends working and hanging out with each other for years. They kept talking about so-and-so and how they were doing. This is their home, their port; if EGT doesnât budge or if they lose in court then they might just let everyone else know that itâs time to occupy their port. Cause it is theirs. They work it, know itsâ ins and outs. How to move around wherever they want, whenever they want, however they want, as unnoticeable as they want. But that was the retirees. Good people, but I never heard so much fucking swearing in my goddamn life. â

A lot of the time my friend and I were just asking people what their most inspiring and rewarding part of this whole experience was. A lot of these conversations were one on one and I thought they were the most special. After saying the reasons why they were striking, blockading: EGT refuses to let the port workers have their people in the site, etc. we really got into some great stuff. A common response was a wonderful feeling of coming together. But more than that, coming together and uniting as a force, it was the constitution of a force against exploitation and repression and all the power, beauty and fun that that entails.

âWe just did it together and it was powerful. You know?â

I know. Iâm 100% positive that blocking the trains and fighting the police with your friends is both inspiring and powerful; hell thatâs the reason I became an anarchist, because of those feelings that I shared with friends when directly confronting and attacking (but sadly not destroyingâ yet) the things that are ruining my life. These feelings and emotions of dodging police lines, throwing stones, barricading and then collectively sabotaging trains (whilst simultaneously feeding birds, deer and raccoons), joy riding a security cruiser into a ditch, hitting a cop with a bat and holding your ground as he idiotically comes up for seconds - all of that definitely moves you in a way that legal appeals and poverty-ridden compromises never will.

Our conversations werenât forced, they just manifested organically. I felt like we all were working to forge something meaningful from it, trying to really talk about some seriously terrible problems. Without pushing anything we found that we could build off each other ideas about the sorry state of the world and then we proceeded to make fun of it. There were a lot of jokes and Iâm telling you, some of these people should do stand-up.

These talks were periodically interrupted by news of police beatings, intimidation and bullshit arrests over made-up charges. The Gestapo actually rolled up to this womanâs house the day we came and told her she stole her own car. Then told her she had to give them her phone, then smashed her head down on the hood and carried her by her ankles into the squad car. This pissed off a lot of people and dramatically marked an intensification of state repression. No one seemed shocked by any of this, which was bittersweet, not being naÃve enough to think the police wouldnât do this, but being hardened to it. Like when youâre in the fight against empire and thatâs all youâve ever known for as long as you can remember, this doesnât shock you, even if it does still gets your blood boiling. I think Tiqqun or the Invisible Committee said something like that. A lot of people have said something like that.

So hereâs the deal, they told us this struggle isnât going away anytime soon. They are openly supportive of anarchist solidarity campaigns and want people to come on over and meet them. We have a chance to play a decisive role in their victory. To build informal solidarity networks with port workers from the entire west coast. If we show up, donât act a fool, leave your ego (not that ego, egoists) and drama at home, hang out and throw down like we know how to do. Then we have some pretty strong allies in the ports who know we have their backs. As insurrectionists we offer something extra, something EGT and Longview police hadnât bargained for. Letâs not blow it âcause Iâm pretty sure this is what Bonanno is talking about and I could be wrong but this seems like the most potentially revolutionary situations in the USA right now. The port workers said they welcome benefit shows to raise awareness and funds for non-union members (us) who might get arrested when they come to Longview to fight alongside them. Other actions could include but arenât limited to: banner drops, poster, paint and sticker campaigns (especially in Longview and other Washington cities), billboard subversion, electronic anti-sec/anonymous style support, pizzas, finding and confronting EGT (and the three other corporations that make it up, one is located in St. Louis) shipments in other places and pretty much any of their offices and other things, are of course, fair game. They really hate scabs, the cops, and the security team. Like a lot. And for good reasons. They probably wouldnât be sad if someone showed these scabs, their imported Maryland security team, the boss, and the fucking cops exactly what they thought of them and their unacceptable behavior. Theyâre also going to let us know when the trains and ships are coming in so we can organize to come there (thatâs the real stuff). They only get a few hours notice so itâs gonna have to work like a phone tree and email updates when itâs on. And it should be on this week and the week after that, until they win or something more interesting happens. Like an occupation or an eviction party.

Weâre working on a facebook support page: ilwusolidarity2011@gmail.com where we can put current updates and the addresses of known scabs and bosses and more information about the three major companies that make up EGT. But do your own research. Come down to the strike. Bring music, some decent speakers and food.

PS- Many thanks to âthe Oakland Anarchistsâ who ordered all of us at the line hella pizza, cola and cinnamon breadsticks, much appreciated!

*this was written without the permission of the ILWU and therefore doesnât represent the views held by all itâs members. I also made everyone anonymous, for obvious reasons, yeah?

Oh and go to the Indy Way Diner at the Chevron, that place has pretty dank Belgian waffles for cheap.
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