Saturday, April 6, 2013

On Hiatus, A Personal Note from an Editor

We realize our last post was kind of along the lines of, damn, we got this. But...

Due to a variety of contributing factors, but mostly the boring kind: work, jobs, and even more work, we're going to have to throw up our hands and declare that this blog will be on a hiatus for the foreseeable future. While hits to this site stay strong, (and for some reasons every freako spam-bot with a crappy website keeps posting on here), at the same time we are not going to have the time and energy at this point to keep this project going. Also, we sadly, (who-boo-boo-boo), lost our organizing space, Firehouse 51. Well, we didn't lose it. Like we dropped it or something and now we can't find it, naw, that shit got 'lost' cause of a landlord. Goddamn.  Some people are only alive because the state exists to uphold class society by an huge monopoly on violence, military, and the cops in the first place, am I right?! Moving on.

In the future, and not like the in 'The Jettsons' future where we all have lasers coming out our butts or something, but like in the foreseeable future, but still long enough in the future so that if the person writing this doesn't do it, they can still go back and say, "In the future" as to justify it not happening, we will post up some analysis or highlights, perhaps montage, or even a power point presentation - nay, a sock puppet slide-show complete with full musical accompaniment, that details our glorious self-activity and points out our internal contradictions and low points so that future generations of proletarians can do it harder and better (and alright damn it, faster, stronger). Also, in the future, or perhaps I should say, starting right now, we will attempt to cut down on such run on sentences. Ahem.   

MA was something special. It impacted the broader anarchist movement, but at the same time it was at it's best when it was based around the practical day to day struggles of those that made up it's 'membership' and those that it sought to connect with and engage. As a project, it impacted and ended up bringing together and created connections between people that often don't talk and meet each other. It was an organized group that didn't seek to be an organization in the classical sense. It sought to diffuse tactics, modes of action, and ideas across the broader social terrain. It was made up of people from a variety of backgrounds, and went onto inspire a variety of projects.

Now to get all serious and stuff with a variety of things that happened a while ago.  

Once a factory worker emailed us and told us that the bosses had put out memos telling workers not to read "terrorist propaganda" because they had been distributing the magazine there.

A high school student told us that they struck up a conversation with their teacher and it turned out they had all the same issues of Modesto Anarcho that they did.

A former prisoner who received the magazine in prison started coming out to our meetings and brought his friend (and did even did an interview with us once we got out!)

Police in Turlock getting ready for protests at a fundraiser with Sarah Palin announced to a crowded meeting that they were monitoring this website for any "possible threats." Members of Modesto Anarcho announced that they were monitoring the Turlock PD's website for "complete douche-bags."

A friend messaged us to tell them that a union official once called them and asked who were these "Modesto anarchists" were after a riot broke out in Sacramento against Neo-Nazis.

Someone that went on to form the Revolutionary Hip-Hop Report famously picked up a copy of Modesto Anarcho at a local taco truck, spurring them to contact us - foraging a lifelong bond of comradeship and groovy times. Sadly, soon after eating the burrito a raging fit of diarrhea forced them to use the magazine as toilet paper in a nearby cornfield. 

The magazine was used as evidence against a volunteer for the local needle exchange group that they were an anarchist, and thus GUILTY!  (But they got some dollars and they fought the case, and screamed, "Not guilty, y'all got to feel me! Middle-finger to the law, grippin' my balls!" Alright, that didn't happen, but all the charges against the two needle exchange defendants were dropped).

A website popped up accusing Modesto Anarcho of stealing pets, declaring we were responsible for every crappy tag on the street, and also that we were paying homeless people to scare kids, all in the La Loma neighborhood. The evidence? An article that we wrote on the La Loma Association, a group of homeowners that worked with the police to pass a series of anti-homeless measures. Seriously, we can't make this crap up folks. Excuse me, I have to go feed my 37 dogs. 

Joe Muratore, Harvard grad turned Modesto City Council member, once came by the Firehouse looking for "Modesto Anarcho." He stated, "I've been seeing graffiti in the neighborhood with my name in it. I wanted to come by and tell you I'm not that bad of a guy." Due to the awkward timing of morning wood, the person had to kindly tell him to fuck off from behind the door.  

We once went to a BBQ put on by a local family organizing against the police after one of their family members was killed in by the cops in cold-blood. Upon arriving at the event, we saw that their bulletin board was full of re-prints from our website! To our dismay, children were given highlighters in a game involving finding all of our spelling errors.

We worked with an inmate to produce an article based on their experiences around racism in prison and help them distribute hundreds of copies of it throughout the jail that were locked up in. Another inmate we helped to copy their own small magazine and send it back into prison for them to give out. Another inmate who helped popularize our magazine in jails and prisons throughout California posted up our "Everyone hates a snitch" posters throughout the jail they were in. Being the head cook, he had his own office that he covered in our posters. He wrote that the guards once told him, "Every time we come back to work, we half expect to see that you've burned the place down."

DAMN. That, just, happened.

Modesto Anarcho as a magazine covered social struggles and events from a revolutionary working-class anarchist perspective from 2006 until 2013, both in print form and through this website. We have produced thousands of copies of our magazines, sending hundreds into prisons, receiving hundreds of letters from incarcerated folks, many from the Central Valley.

We have been on the front lines of riots, occupations, and labor struggles throughout our area and in the wider Northern California region. Locally, we helped occupy foreclosed homes and stopped illegal lockouts of tenants. We organized militant confrontations with Christian fascists, murderous police, and racist skinheads. We worked with others to put on community BBQ's, hip-hop events, a festival bringing together former members of Chicano gangs to call for an end barrio violence, and graffiti festivals that were attended by hundreds. We helped organize walkouts at schools and campuses against budget cuts and faculty lay-offs. We produced videos of local struggles that were used in various campaigns. Long before the Occupy or Student Occupation movement, we stood with Native warriors who were occupying DQ-University in Davis, California. We worked in solidarity with a variety of families who's family members had been killed by the police, shutting down streets and keeping the memory of those dead alive by fighting for the living.

We also run a social space, Firehouse 51. It was many things. A social center. A place to hold birthday parties. A temporary shelter for those in a precarious situation. An event center. A library. A workspace. A place to workout in. And much more. We held a variety of events. Speakers included former Black Panthers and Native elders. From the CrimethInc. collective to supporters of political prisoner Eric McDavid. We put on a variety of family friendly events, from a Halloween night for kids to workshops on bike repair and cheap herbal medicine. The space featured premier work from local and regional graffiti artists as well as a continuous collection of well stocked radical literature.

We also made mistakes. We lost struggles. We dropped the ball. We pissed people off and alienated many who we didn't mean to. We also at times cared more what the broader anarchist scene (which we set off to leave behind and destroy) thought of us at times than making real relationships with those around us. We lost ourselves in the image of the "crew" while forgetting that when we took the slogan, "all friendship is political" to heart, we meant it in the best way possible. We were not a gang, nor did we want to be. We were friends and comrades.  Our association was not based on fear and violence between ourselves, but instead a love for each other, the land, and the communities that we wanted to liberate from capitalism and the government that protects it.

If the end of this project brings you sadness, we ask that you not forget the times in which you felt most alive with us. Perhaps it was at DQ-University sitting around the fire at a huge occupied university. Perhaps it was at the Miwok foreclosed house from behind a welded gate waiting for the cops to evict us, and then winning. With hundreds of others marching out of MJC as the police tried to force us out of the streets. Maybe it was downtown at a cafe event or doing Copwatch. Maybe it was at the Firehouse during an event or just hanging out. Perhaps it was at a festival eating a hot dog and painting on a graffiti board.

If anything, we hope that we created a memory of revolt, of possibility of what this town could be. We are not simply the sum of our histories; our pasts. We are not only the sons of milk-truck drivers, the daughters of inmates, nor are we simply victims riding our bikes homes afraid to be attacked for being queer, or helplessly waiting to be beaten by the police. We are capable of organizing ourselves and with others; we have teeth, we can draw blood.

We helped create situations in which regular people demonstrated that they could stand up to power. We offered gestures of solidarity against enemies and systems of domination and control, showing that people were not alone in their struggles. If human beings can act differently, if we can refuse the roles of worker and citizen, to instead to take control over our lives and begin to attack this society which exploits and makes us miserable, then we have begun the process with will create a new world. In acting together, in taking space and sharing ideas and engaging in struggle, we help create the associations and begin to organize ourselves for the clashes, for the insurrection, that is ongoing and is coming.

Things are not getting better. The government continues to become more repressive. The environment more degraded. The rich continue to attack the poor and those that are able to still work more and more. We hope that we have helped to show that there is nothing to be gained by working within the system. Our way out lies in each other. Capital and the governments they serve must be destroyed. But they will not come down without a fight. We must return to the land; to freedom.

See you on the front lines.       

Friday, January 11, 2013

Looking Back on the Biggest Stories of 2012

Stockton streets exploded in 2012.
We are overjoyed to report that last month we received more hits than ever on this site, hitting almost up to 20,000! While we realize that this is still a small amount compared to more mainstream websites, as an all volunteer project we are happy that this site continues to be a resource for people in our area who are involved in ongoing struggles against repression and exploitation.

Below is a re-cap of some of the biggest stories of 2012, both in regards to expose pieces that we debuted on this site, coverage of social struggles, and some of our most popular pieces. We thank everyone that continues to read and use Modesto Anarcho and makes us desire to continue writing these words.

2012 wasn't the end of the old world, but let's make 2013 be the start of the a new one.

Demonstrator is taken away by police
during Sacramento anti-Nazi protest.
Have a Sticker? Go to Jail: The Story of PJ
A local man is framed by Delhi police for being a well known graffiti writer.

Fascists Confronted in Sacramento; Clashes with Police Break Out in the Street

Protesters battle Neo-Nazis and police as they attempt to shut down a racist demonstration. 

Anthony Nunez is thrown in juvenile hall after his family attempts to help the police...
A man being evicted in 'Whispering Woods,' on Prescott Ave., shoots and kills a sheriff and a locksmith, leading to one of the most dramatic and massive police standoffs in Modesto history.

Stockton streets explode in the wake of police murders. 

Woodland family occupies foreclosed home. 
As repression mounts in the Obama era, the author describes how these tactics have already been in use across the world by the US government. 

MPD takes a stand against sleeping bags. 

People in Stockton again take to the streets against police brutality and murder. 

The story the Modesto Bee refused to cover!

Struggle for Ernest Duenez, Jr. continues.
Life of militant Alex Mahan is remembered by friends and family in the streets of Stockton. 

Woodland home is occupied against eviction by Sheriffs.

Dash cam video of Manteca police officer John Moody killing Ernest Duenez, Jr., is finally released. 

Hacker group says it will take action against Manteca police over the killing of Ernest Duenez, Jr.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Anonymous Demands Manteca Police Fire John Moody for the Murder of Ernest Duenez

 "We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us."
Anonymous, the decentralized and autonomous network of hackers, has chosen it's next target: the Manteca Police Department.

In a video released several days ago, the group cites an increase in the rise of police brutality across the United States, in particularly in the Central Valley. Quoting a recent Modesto Bee opinion piece by Ralph Shaffer:
This year's California death toll is inexplicably high. Over 70 have died in Southern California alone, with probably a few less in the rest of the state. Even in an average year, slightly more than 100 people are killed by California law enforcement officers.

The graphic video posted last week on several Internet sites showing the death of Ernest Duenez of Manteca is a chilling argument for an end to the all-too- frequent use of deadly force by law enforcement in California. His death was only one in a staggering death toll racked up by police and sheriff's deputies. The body count in the past six years is approaching 700. If we executed every man on San Quentin's death row tomorrow, the toll would only be slightly more than the number cops have killed since 2007.

Read more here:
Since the release over a week ago of the of the dash cam footage of Ernest Duenez's death in 2011 by MPD officer, John Moody, the video has gone viral and has been posted on youtube, World Star Hip-Hop, and shown on countless Spanish and English speaking news programs and reported on in various newspapers. The video shows what the Duenez family and supporters have been stating for over a year now in the streets and through their constant organizing: that Ernest Duenez was shot and killed in cold blood and that the police officer that killed him continues to patrol our streets.

In response, Anonymous, which is made up of autonomous individuals who take on the name and title of Anonymous to carry out 'electronic direct action,' declared in their video communique:
...Manteca Police Department, we demand as a final resort that you [fire] your corrupted enforce John Moody and serve justice for his despicable act of violence. Otherwise, Anonymous users will act appropriately and inevitably a complete shutdown of the official website [of the Manteca Police Department]...
The video features regular staples of Anonymous communique videos: it shows a masked figure dressed as "V," from "V for Vendetta," the anarchist hero from the Alan Moore book (and later film devoid of Moore's politics) who fought against a fascist government. The figure in the video speaks in a computer dubbed voice. It finishes with the Anonymous credo: "We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us." While it is unclear from the video when or how Anonymous will decide to act on this threat, Anonymous hackers in the past have lent their talents to other struggles involving police brutality. In the bay area, after police shot and killed an armed homeless man on BART, and authorities then cut wi-fi access on the lines to thwart protesters, Anonymous responded by hacking the BART website and releasing the personal information of 100 police officers. Other groups such as Antisec, followed suit in Arizona in similar attacks.

Photos from last Sunday's protest at
MPD station. 
In the streets, the Duenez family and their supporters continue to keep the heat on the MPD, with continued demonstrations as messages of solidarity are pouring in throughout the US, as more and more people become aware of the case after watching the video. Last Sunday, people rallied outside of the Manteca Police station. As CBS reported on the demonstration:
Since Ernest’s death last summer, his family stood in front of the Manteca Police Department nearly every Sunday, calling for an investigation into the officer who killed him. “We’re going to keep fighting. They’re not going to get rid of us,” said Reyna.Many times only a few family members stood in protest, then a couple of days ago, the family’s attorney posted the dash cam video on YouTube after the district attorney ruled the shooting was justified. 
“I thought it was a horrible, brutal homicide,” supporter Jose Lopez said.On Sunday, some who watched the video joined the Duenez family in their weekly protest. “I want to see justice for the family of Ernest Duenez,” said Lopez. “You watch the video, it don’t look justified to me,” supporter Ray Barajas said. “It don’t look justified to anybody out here.”
In a recent message to supporters on the Justice for Ernest Duenez's facebook page:
It has been a long 18 months for us, we have waited for justice but justice was denied.  The District Attorney's office has refused to prosecute John Moody of the Manteca, PD, they have ruled Ernest's death "legally justified".  We do not accept that decision.  It is even further reason why the Justice Department needs to get involved.  We are not only dealing with a murdering cop, a corrupt police station, a non-responsive city council, an ex-police officer gone Expert who violated his profession by writing his report in order to clear Moody but now a District Attorney's office who is working for the Police Department not THE PEOPLE!  DA James Willett only has his job because he ran un-opposed...we didn't put him there but we need to take him out of there!  
Because of your support we are more determined than ever to make sure that we get justice for Ernest and all of your family that has been murdered or brutalized by the police. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Shocking Video of Ernest Duenez Jr.'s Police Killing Released

At a recent press conference, family
members released the footage.
During a press conference several days ago, family members of Ernest Duenez, Jr. released the dash cam video of the police shooting which claimed his life in the summer of 2011. The video was released to the public just after the local DA's office ruled the police shooting 'justified' and the family moved ahead with a wrongful death lawsuit. The police shooting has lead to ongoing protests against the department. These demonstrations have even led the Manteca Police to issue a restraining order against one of the protesters, Gabe Duenez, in an effort to hinder popular community outrage on behalf of Ernest.

In the short video that was just released, Manteca Police Office John Moody is seen responding to call and racing up to a residential street. He then comes up to the car with a gun drawn ordering the person inside to come out. A man emerges and places his hands up, only to trip on his car seat belt. As he falls the police officer opens fire on him, shooting Ernest a total of 13 times, in both the chest and the face. Duenez was then handcuffed as he bled to death, as Moody 'secured the scene,' mainly looking for anything that resembled a knife or other weapon that could be used to justify the shooting.

Riots after the police killing of Oscar
Grant lead to the first California
police officer in history being tried
with murder. 
This action by police of shooting an unarmed suspect, only to then handcuff them when they clearly need drastic and immediate medical treatment is perhaps the most disgusting aspects of the entire case. Like Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed on New Years Day, 2009, on a BART platform outside of Oakland, CA, Ernest was shot and killed by a police officer and then essentially left to die without any direct medical attention. While paramedics did eventual arrive on the scene, this was only after he was handcuffed and has suffered major injury. It is almost a full 7 minutes between the time that Ernest is shot until paramedics arrive on the scene and give aid to him. During that entire time, as the video shows, police instead busy themselves with handcuffing Duenez, removing his clothes, and checking the scene for items of interest. Police in San Francisco similarly shot and killed Kenneth Harding, Jr., after he ran away from transit police for evading a fare on a MUNI bus. After police shot him, they stood over his body as he bled to death, keeping an ever growing hostile crowd from rushing them and taking Harding to proper medical care.

MUNI buses were disrupted after
police shot and killed Kenneth
for the crime of not paying a bus fare.
But a day after the video of Ernest's death was put up, it was quickly taken down, with a message that read that due to the 'graphic nature of the footage,' youtube could not show it. While the video has once again been uploaded by others and has now since gone viral and has been seen for hundreds of thousands of people and been posted on a variety of blogs, forums, and news sites, it's important to keep in mind that the police are very afraid of this footage reaching a wide audience. It is also possible that police and other's within the government have pushed youtube to remove the footage. After the initial shooting death of Oscar Grant, police attempted to take camera phones away from those that filmed the murder. Police and BART officials also begged people to not post their footage online, although it was only after this footage was posted up that the media even began to cover the story or portray it in a light that was critical to the police. In the summer of 2011 after police shot and killed a homeless man, BART even attempted to shut down wireless internet along the train lines in an attempt to stop protests of the police killing.

It's clear that the police don't want us to see this footage, but it's also clear that they don't want us to get angry while viewing it. Watching Ernest being shot and left to bleed to death in a drive-way handcuffed, it's impossible to do that. And it is that anger that we feel that we must channel, direct, and get organized with.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Foreclosed Home in Woodland Again Occupied to Stop Eviction

People gather in solidarity to support
the occupation. 
As we reported this in May, a foreclosed home in Woodland was occupied in order to prevent foreclosure. The bank that owns the home, Wells Fargo, backed off from the eviction because of the publicity and the show of solidarity with the Ponce family who reside in the home. Recently, the home was again occupied on December 6th, as part of a nationwide campaign to occupy and defend foreclosed homes in order to stop evictions. Occupy Sacramento wrote:

Last May, Occupy foreclosure action teams successfully defended the Ponce Family home after the bank foreclosed, even though the had been approved for a loan modification. Wells Fargo backed off from the eviction because of the publicity.
Banner hung on garage.
Wells Fargo made a mistake on the final modification paperwork for the Ponces and before it could be corrected, the house was sold in foreclosure, even though the bank assured the family everything was all right because they had successfully completed the trial modification period and received the final HAMP modification. This is an example of “dual tracking”, which will be illegal in California on January 1, 2013, when the Homeowner Bill of Rights takes effect.
The video below is an interview with members of various Occupy groups and Alma Ponce, homeowner, about the occupation, how foreclosure resistance is spreading in the Central Valley, and how people can support their struggle.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Caravan of Resistance points to Continued Action and Anger over Police Terror

Footage from the 'Caravan of Resistance' in 2012

Caravan marches in Stockton.
In late October, demonstrators again took to the streets in Modesto, Manteca, and Stockton to remember those killed and imprisoned by police and to call for resistance to state repression. In Stockton where the crowd was the largest, protesters took over a large street and marched into a park where a BBQ and rally was later held. At a time when Stockton is rife with 'broke on broke crime,' it was great to see so many people united against a system that represses and impoverishes them. Much has happened since the first Caravan took place in October of 2011. The Modesto Sheriff who shot and killed Rita Elias in West Modesto was cleared of murder charges. The FBI wrapped up it's investigation into the murder of Luis Gutierrez, concluding that undercover Woodland cops were not at fault for shooting the unarmed man in the back as he ran from them. Police in Stockton continued to kill unarmed black people, including Luther "Champ" Brown and James Cooke. The Stockton DA also ruled at the Stockton Police and Sheriffs were justified in the horrific shooting death of James Rivera Jr., an unarmed young man that was killed by a large group of police with high powered weapons in a residential neighborhood.

Manteca Flyer
At the same time, the Central Valley over the course of the hot summer saw a rise in large scale demonstrations that grew more and more powerful - as well as potentially disruptive to the status quo. In Stockton during the Spring and Summer, large crowds took over the downtown, clashing with police over the murders of James Rivera Jr., and others. In Manteca, demonstrators took streets and marched on the police station. While solidarity has been given from comrades in the bay and beyond towards these efforts, the real power behind this grassroots mobilizations lies in the families and friends that have not given up these struggles.

Taking to the streets of Manteca.
The caravan also marked over a year since the Manteca police murder of Ernest Duenez Jr., killed by Officer John Moody. Legal proceedings for the case are still moving forward, and the family and friends of Ernest continue to organize and demonstrate outside of the Manteca Police Department, leading police to even issue a restraining order against one of their members. The size and scale and intensity of the protests, as well as the general level of support that the Duenez family has received in the relatively small town of Manteca, points to a growing anger over the repressive nature of the criminal justice system in the United States as well as an increasing desire within people to fight against it. In a recent online letter written by one of Ernest's relatives, she commented on over a year after his passing:
As we end another year and get ready to spend time with our loved ones I want each one of you to remember that my family is incomplete.  On June 8, 2011 my cousin Ernest Duenez Jr. was murdered at the hands of your officer John Moody.  This year will see another that we have been denied Justice and that this City Council has stood silent.  The District Attorney's office sits silent.  The decision made to hire John Moody, the decision to keep him on your force after the murder of Ernest and your decision to defend him and NOT be leaders and demand that this case see resolution makes you accomplices and accomplices after the fact.  In any other situation, if only he did not have a badge to hide behind,  he would be in prison and all of you would be indicted. 
Many of these local cases will be featured in an upcoming film by local hip-hop artist and filmmaker, Zar The Dip. Interviews will include families of both James Rivera Jr., Ernest Duenez Jr., as well as footage from demonstrations in Stockton and beyond.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Stockton Marchers Take to Streets to Remember the life of Alex Mahan

We apologize for the lateness of this report and a lack of activity on this site as of late. Expect more updates to come in the near future. We were also hoping for contributions and reports from this event from various comrades but have yet to receive them. If you were at the march and services for Alex, please contact us with your story of the event or post your reflections in the comments. 

In late July, Alex Mahan, a participant in both Occupy Stockton and Oakland, was killed in a drive by shooting. Close to 100 comrades from both the bay area and the central valley choose to mark his passing with a spirited march through Stockton in August, holding the streets and remembering his life as well as decrying the violence of the police and the inter-community violence in poor and communities of color. Please view the two videos on this post to see footage from the march. While Alex's passing is tragic, the fact that friends, family, and comrades choose to remember him by taking back their streets in both a joyful and confrontational way shows that there are still many who will continue the struggle that Alex was apart.

Alex was involved with not only the revolutionary group TAC, or Tactical Action Committee, but also militant actions in Stockton against the police murder of James Rivera Jr. in 2010. TAC is a current and group from within Occupy Oakland that includes young people, largely of color, from Oakland that was formed out of the strikes, riots, and occupation of Oscar Grant Plaza. The group would go on to organize various actions, including weekly 'Fuck the Police' marches as well as inspire a new generation of Oakland revolutionaries. Alex deserves to be remembered for his involvement in the struggle and his contribution to revolutionary activity in the Central Valley area. The coming together of comrades and community members in the Stockton area to support this comrade, his revolutionary project, as well as call for an end to crime in poor and working class areas, shows not only the level in which everyday people see the need for a massive social transformation of everyday life, but also a deep desire to better the conditions in which they are living in. It also shows a belief that only through their our own actions and relationships can such a change become possible. In this, Alex gives us a final gift, the joy of once again coming together and holding the streets against our enemies and for ourselves.