Deep In The Heart of Texas: The Car Demo Form as Attack on Economic Circulation

An anonymous transmission from a participant in the Rent Strike ATX car demo on May Day

On May 1st, a caravan of around 30 cars proceeded down I-35 as part of a May Day car demonstration hosted by Rent Strike ATX. Some cars bore banners and signs reading “Rent Strike,” and “Justice for Mike Ramos,” while others amplified various parts of the 5 demands which have been popularized nationwide (including free healthcare, freedom for prisoners, no debt, and homes for all).

This communique offers a participant’s perspective on the events of this May Day demonstration—both evaluating its local significance and the contribution it makes to evolving national experimentation with the car demo form. It is a response and extension of the strategic conversation initiated by friends in Atlanta around the car demo form, with analysis that still speaks deeply to a local context. This piece aims to cultivate, deepen, and inspire forms of autonomous action that can strike directly at the settler-colonial economic system which, with each passing day, reveals itself more and more to be a death cult for many of us. May the experience of this demonstration offer strategic clarity to others seeking ways to intervene in our exceptional moment, whether in so-called Austin or anywhere else across this world.

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Panhellenic Pandemic: Dirt on the Cabo Crew

This article will be dedicated to screenshots and info gathered from submissions regarding the UT students (members of campus Greek Life) who took a chartered trip to Cabo amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The structure of this article is intentionally freeform, to highlight specific bits of information while allowing new info to fill in the greater narrative about who/which institutions are responsible. If you have any information or updates, please send it to us at austinautonomedia@autistici.org

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WorkQuest’s Cruel “Solution” Sweeps Poorest Under The Rug

Austin Autonomedia: Keeping Austin Criminal

Over the past 6 months, the long standing war on the homeless in Austin has seen some massive escalations. After a coalition of progressive groups got Austin City Council to decriminalize acts like sitting, lying, and camping, a counter-coalition of business interests–associated with groups like Take Back Austin, the Republican Party, and the Downtown Austin Alliance–whipped up a fervor and fought back. This set the stage for our present moment, in which regular sweeps carried out by TXDoT alongside daily harassment from APD further marginalize those who have already been dispossessed and displaced by a city . While we could open this piece with a deeper explanation of the events that led us here, that work has already been done by organizations like Homes Not Handcuffs and Stop the Sweeps Austin. Our interest is not in just recounting this history, but in offering an intervention to inform and motivate action to impede these forces. There are a whole litany of forces at play here, all of which have different vested interests and weak points. While we hope to dive into some of these forces in the future, right now we offer this investigation on one of the primary forces enabling the sweeps of homeless camps: a company named WorkQuest.

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Steve Adler’s Land Empire: Property Interests of Mayor Adler & Wife Diane Land

Originally published by IndyAustin. While somewhat liberal in content, we republish this for the utility of the information and maps of properties connected to Adler and his wife. We hope it will inspire strategizing and research beyond IndyAustin’s political goals. 

Click image to see full, interactive map

Austin’s First Family made its fortune from Mayor Adler’s real-estate law firm (to which he retains major financial ties) and his wife’s commercial property-management firm: DT Land Group, Inc. Mayor Adler’s personal financial disclosures covering 2017 and early 2018 reveal that he and his wife, Diane Land, had financial interests in at least 71 properties in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties. Those properties are currently assessed at $319 million. These extensive property interests pose ethical challenges to conducting such city business as deciding where to increase zoning densities or where to spend transportation bonds, to name just a few issues.
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Lakeway Police Chief Is ICE Guest Lecturer

Autonomous Student Media: Gestures Towards the Ungovernable

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year on contracted services, which include everything from IT and technical support to chartered flights and ground transportation. Dozens of companies grow rich from giving ICE the tools they need to surveil, incarcerate, and deport an ever-increasing number of migrants.

ICE also pays individuals for services, and among them is Todd A. Radford. A career cop, Radford is currently the police chief of Lakeway, Texas, an 82% white suburb of Austin with a 3.3% poverty rate. Radford has a combination of criminal justice and business degrees, and makes money on top of his police chief salary from giving lectures. The average salary of a police chief for a town the size of Lakeway is about $90,000/year.

ICE has paid Radford an average of more than $11,000 a year for these lectures. One lecture is billed as “a unique training geared to law enforcement management”, and the other is simply described as “law enforcement training”. One can imagine the pearls of wisdom Radford has gained after 30 years of doing capitalism and nationalism’s dirty work. As the police are given more and more money, discretion, and military equipment, ICE is eager to cozy up behind the thin blue line with them.

People who live near the US/Mexico border and people suffering from poverty alike know how militarized cops of all stripes have become. Collaborations like the one between ICE and this police chief can only further harm migrants, racialized people, and poor people as cops of different stripes become more and more comfortable with sharing knowledge and information. This collaboration between Radford and ICE is above and beyond what the infamous SB4 requires of law enforcement. Radford denounced the law in 2015 while he was running for Travis County Sheriff. Unsurprisingly, he does not actually give a shit about the people he criminalizes.

Close the lines of communication between the pigs and open the borders!


Got a story you need to tell? Publish it with us! Send us your opinion pieces, art, zines, reviews, news, statements, report-backs, or anything else you wanna see put out in the world. We take all kinds of content, with an eye towards marginalized perspectives and news about movements & revolutionary organizations. Submit content to austinautonomedia [@] autistici [dot] org.

Open the Windows!

A rant by Saoirse Ní Mhaille

UT Austin hates me and doesn’t want me to breathe in that good stormy air. $25 to open a window. Yes, I could just run outside, but what if I want to enjoy the storm from the safety of my room? What if I’m doing homework and can’t get my laptop wet? What if I want to go to sleep to the sound of the rain? What if I just farted and it really stinks? Hmmm??? What then???

Caught Between Borders: An Interview With Mapache

Interview originally posted on It’s Going Down. Check out this original poem written by Mapache during his incarceration
 

Mapache has lived through a nightmare many people can’t even imagine. In late July, Mapache spoke with It’s Going Down on This Is America, reporting on an ongoing encampment protesting ICE deportations, forced child separations, an mass roundups. About a week after our interview, Mapache was picked up by ICE officials, as they knew his DACA was up. Upon being arrested, he was visited by the FBI, who gave him a choice of either informing on his comrades who were simply involved in protesting ICE, or staying locked inside a detention facility – he chose the later.

As The Intercept wrote:

After Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a longtime U.S. resident protesting against ICE in San Antonio, Texas, the FBI stepped in for an interrogation, telling the resident, 18-year-old Sergio Salazar, that his immigration status had been revoked because he was a “bad person.” The FBI agents asked him to inform on fellow protesters and said if he did so it could help his immigration case.

“It seems evident that he was targeted here because of his involvement in the anti-ICE protests,” said Jonathan Ryan, Salazar’s lawyer from RAICES Texas, an immigrant advocacy group. “We’re very concerned about how directed and targeted and aggressive and quick this was.”

Despite having no record, authorities used Mapache’s involvement in the protest as a pretext for his repression. After refusing to talk to the FBI, Mapache was then moved to another detention center run by a private corporation several hours away. Here, with hundreds of others, he remained for about a month. During our conversation, we talk about the conditions within the facility, the people within it and their stories, and the impact of the Abolish ICE movement.

Finally, after about 40 days, Mapache decided to opt to be deported to Mexico. While this means that he left the prison behind him, it also meant that for 10 years he is banned from returning to the United States, where he has lived almost his entire life.

In this emotional and heartfelt discussion, we talk about the arbitrary and violent nature of the deportation machine, the irony of a system that represses migrants yet depends on their labor, the struggles and humanity of those locked inside detention centers, and the brutality and psychosis of those that don badges to uphold the racial order.

More Info: Get at Mapache on Twitter and donate here.

 


Got a story you need to tell? Publish it with us! Send us your opinion pieces, art, zines, reviews, news, statements, report-backs, or anything else you wanna see put out in the world. We take all kinds of content, with an eye towards marginalized perspectives and news about movements & revolutionary organizations. Submit content to austinautonomedia [@] autistici [dot] org.

Crash The Party: Shitty Moments from Roundup

Vandalism on the gates of Fiji from April 2017

Autonomous Student Media: Gestures Towards the Ungovernable

CW: sexual assault, harassment, homophobia, racism

We’ve just made it through another series of hellish weeks, with SXSW and Roundup hitting us back to back. As we come out on the other side of Roundup, we wanted to highlight some of the moments from this weekend that made even clearer why Greek Life is, at its core, a racist, cisheteropatriarchal institution. We’ve captured some of the student discussions and other events of this weekend, including catcalls, insider secrets, and assaults. Remember that this is only a small sampling of the events and experiences of this weekend, and there are likely many more stories that remain untold due to fear, shame, stigma, or the normalization of the horrors of Roundup & Greek Life.

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Words from Texas Prisoners: Excerpt from “Prisons are Plantations”

Austin Anarchist Black Cross demo in solidarity with striking prisoners in 2016

Anonymously published document. Full document here. Originally spotted on Revolutionary Horizon‘s facebook page.

 We are republishing a collection of excerpts from a larger piece composed of interviews with incarcerated and formerly incarcerated folks from Texas, Illinois, and Florida. The original document uses interviews and case studies with prisoners, guards, and historical analysis to demonstrate how prisons are extensions of the plantation system and mirror pre-1865 slave codes. We’ve highlighted passages that reflect the experiences and conditions of inmates in Texas prisons. We hope this will give students and other non-incarcerated folks a better idea of the conditions and struggles of prisoners, and expose students to some of the worlds that we are isolated from. In particular, students should recognize the complicity of their own schools in this system. UT’s Investment Management Corporation indirectly invests in two of the largest private prison companies, Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO group [1]. The prison has long been the hidden underside of the University. While the University produces new citizens & professionals, the prison strips away citizenship and produces captivity. We hope the following excerpts will inspire greater awareness and energy for anti-prison organizing.

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Barbarians at the Gates: A Statement From the Vandals (2017)

In April 2017, a wave of vandalism struck frats across West Campus over the course of three nights. Frats were tagged with “racist” and “rapist,” among other slogans. Fiji, which was targeted the first two nights, held a racist “border patrol” party in 2015. A study published in March of 2017 found that 15% of undergraduate women on UT campus reported being raped. Actual statistics are believed to be much higher. 

The anonymous statement republished here was originally sent to It’s Going Down, which made the acts even more notorious across the country. The graffiti came near the end of a year marked by student struggles against fascist activity on campus, the University’s failure to address racism, and other issues. The University, ironically, tried to make use of its (at the time) new hate & bias incident policy to investigate the vandalism. Shortly afterwards, the piece was again thrust into the spotlight as fraternities and the alt-right tried to connect the May 1st, 2017 stabbings at UT with the vandalisms (and by association all “antifa” and leftists). 

Three years later, almost to the day, the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority was tagged with “Eat the Rich.” We host this article to keep alive the memory and intergenerational spirit of insurgency against Greek Life. You can find online readable and printable zine versions of this statement HERE.

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