Baltimore Bloc, allies shut down Pro-Rape “Men’s Rights” meetup

On the 6th of February, a “men’s rights” meetup organized by Daryush “Roosh” Valizdeh was planned for the Cross Street Market in Baltimore, MD as one of 165 similar meetups on an “International Meetup Day.” Roosh is infamous for calling for the legalization of rape as well as for preaching hatred against women in general and GLBT people in particular. The Baltimore Bloc organized a counterprotest against these pro-rape men, and not a single one of them could be found at their Baltimore meetup location.

Participants in the Baltimore meetup were supposed to show up at Cross Street Market and ask for directions to the nearest pet shop as a signal to oneanother. The only reference to that found at the Cross Street Market was a sign in the hands of protesters. Meanwhile, some of the women speaking in front of the Cross Street Market recounted their own experiences as rape survivors. They had the courage to show up, Roosh’s “Return of Kings” crew did not.

Three days before the event, Roush’s “Return of Kings” website and Twitter posts claimed the event was cancelled but activists suspected a ruse. Another protest in New York City against another of these meetups surrounded a hotel where one of these “men’s rights” meetups was suspected of having shown up. In Baltimore protesters took no chances. At one point a black SUV with a bunch of men inside was spotted leaving the area, but they turned out to be cops, not Roosh’s thugs.

Roosh’s website did list “protocols” for attending “private meetups” along with a statement that he would try to salvage as many of the meetups as possible. The requirements for being emailed to location of one of the private meetups were either a disqus account from which a friendly comment had been left on his site prior to Jan 15, a screenshot of one or Roosh’s books purchased before Jan 15, or an active account on his website dating to before Jan 15. In addition, Rooosh said men were welcome to conduct “unoffical” meetups. This being so, it is apparent that the cancellation Tweets and postings were indeed a ruse and protesters made the right decision to deploy to the sites where Roosh meetups had been announced. Still, there was no sign of Roosh’s event in Baltimore, and what must of been one of these “private” meetups was found and placed under siege by activists in New York.

In New York City, protesters beseiged the Dream Hotel, where a Roosh event was suspected of taking place in spite of the claimed cancellation. One of the signs there said blunty that “you can’t rape a .38,” a slogan also referenced in some of the chants. At least one person was reportedly arrested at the NYC protest. The events of NY lend further credence to suspicions that the Twitter and web postings claiming the meetups were cancelled were hoaxes aimed at deceiving anti-rape activists.

In Toronto, The Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club posted a photo of themselves in boxing gloves, warning they would show up at the meetup planned in their town. The Return of Kings website could not be reached without allowing Cloudflare to run javascript as this was written, Anonymous has launched an all-out attack on anything and everything connected to Roosh and Return of Kings. Roosh is also known for publishing personal information on journalists who report critically on his activities, Anonymous returned that favor as well, publishing his Silver Spring home address over Twitter. Maybe now he won’t be such a big fan of doxing people? Roosh reportedly told people it would be unsafe to hold the meetups for physical safety reasons, perhaps fearing all the unwanted attention his planned meetups had attracted.

Return of Kings (ROK) is known not only for sexist but also racist commentary such as “Should men start to forget about their skin color for too long, feminists in the media will make sure to report more racial conflicts,” which sounds like something the KKK would say. In fact, the blunt call for legalizing rape that Roosh has issued means his group is to women what the KKK is to African-Americans, especially when the long history of rape is put alongside the long history of lynchings. Roosh’s “Return of Kings” wants to legalize rape while the KKK wants to legalize lynchings, in both cases to make the worst fears of their intended victims official social policy. Many at the Baltimore protest brought this up, explicitly comparing not only Return of Kings but also the MRA (Men’s Rights Association) to the Klan. One more way this was like a Klan march is the fact that they tapped out, not showing up for their own event in the face of counterprotesters.

Interestingly, it appears from some of the Return of Kings Twitter posts that Roosh has endorsed Donald Trump for President, though the link to his website with that post cannot be followed due to the DDOS attack by Anonymous.

Strangely, with all the misogyny and hate, Roosh also claims to be a pick-up artist! Not said is WHAT he is picking up, surely lots of places could use a “pick up artist” who specializes in say, cleaning up pet waste. Nearest pet shop? Yes, Roosh and his boys will need a lot of scoops for that!

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Labor activsts and Vegans protest TPP at Baltimore World Trade Center

On the 4th of February, a mix of labor activists and area vegans showed up at the Baltimore World Trade Center to protest the signing of the TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership. The TPP is a yet to be ratified trade deal that a former steelworker described as “Nafta on steroids” before singing a song of dissent at this protest. All the worst provisions of the trade deal that ate som many jobs (including his) are present in the TPP and as bad or worse than in NAFTA and so many more countries are affected.

Baltimore was once home to steel mills and industry, now it is home to grinding poverty. NAFTA and other trade deals bear a lot of responsability for the replacement of almost all industry in so many cities like Baltimore with non-union sweatshop jobs in whatever countries were the lowest bidders in the Race to the Bottom.

Laid-off/outsourced steel worker leads the protest in song

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Protest at White House against TPP signing-hours before signing and NZ street blockades

On the 3ed of February Washington Time or Feb 4 New Zealand time, Obama was in Sky City Casino in New Zealand to sign the TPP or Trans-Pacific Partnership at 5:30PM EST. This is an ugly NAFTA style trade deal the likes of which have not been seen since the FTAA, CAFTA, and the failed Seattle/Doha trade talks. As protesters and heads of state gathered in New Zealand, a broad coalition of groups sent representatives to a protest in front of the White House calling the trade deal “betrayal.”

Hours after this protest, protesters blockaded the streets of Newe Zealand around the Sky City Casino (site of the ceremony) in an attempt to isolate the casino and physically block the heads of state from signing this dirty deal. Bridges and roadways were blocked, but the presidents and dictators managed to get around the blockades and sign the TPP anyway. Ratification might be another matter. The kind of unity and widespread opposition to this deal hasn’t been seen at least in the US since the “Grand Convergence” of so many different groups that killed the Seattle/Doha WTO talks.

The coalition represented at the DC protest included labor activists, small town activists, climate activists, opponents of fracking and of Dominion’s Cove Point gas export project, and a group of Vegan activists. This unusually broad coalition called to mind the “Teamsters and Turtles” alliance that broke the back of the World Trade Organization’s attempt to negotiate a similar global deal at Seattle in November 1999. For several years after Nov 30,1999, no trade summit could be held without being beseiged by tens of thousands and in some cases hundreds of thousands of determined activists.

With the 16 year old victory at Seattle hanging in the balance, activists the world over are once again coming together for al all-out fight to prevent ratification of the TPP no matter what it takes. It was reported at the White House protest that activists in New Zealand were preparing direct action for later in the day to shut down the Sky City Casino where heads of state were preparing to sign the treaty. Announced plans are to blockade all entrances, which if sucessful will amount to “another Seattle.” Assuming Obama and the other heads of state manage to get in to sign the TPP, this begins a two year period in which the treaty must must be ratified or else it dies. There are good odds for blocking ratification in the US, as few politicians and almost no Democrats will want to vote on it during this election year, almost half of that two year period. It is believed Obama no longer has the votes to ratify it between the election and the dirty details that came out when the treaty was finally published after years of secrecy. There remains the danger of a “lame duck” vote after the election, but protesters would challenge that globally as they did GW Bush’s stolen election in 2000. That kind of controversy could block ratification in other countries and kill the TPP anyway.

In addition, all of the front-runners for both major political parties’ nominations for President claim to oppose the TPP. Sanders is vocally opposed, Clinton claims to oppose it but is not to be trusted, even Trump and Cruz are opposed. The US Chamber of Commerce will have to corrupt the winner into going back on their stated word on the TPP, as it is a near-certainty that the next President of the United States will be a publicly stated opponent of the TPP. If this thing dies, there is a very good chance it will stay dead for good.

Video of the DC protest with NZ blockade footage 0:33 to 0:55, 2 min 38 sec total

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Migrant advocates deliver petitions against Obama’s ICE raids to White House

On the 2nd of February, a number of immigrant rights groups held a “Stop the Raids” press conference outside the White House before delivering over 130,000 signed petitions. The petitions were actually accepted by two White House staffers and sniffewd by the dog before being taken inside. Usually White House petition deliveries are refused, and often that leads to civil disobedience blockades. Before the delivery, speaker after speaker denounced the frankly terroristic raids on immigrants at their homes by ICE. Although not mentioned at this rally, many suspect Obama is doing this in response to Trump’s hatemongering demands.

Video-clips from the speakers and the sucessful petition delivery

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White House Peace Vigil lives on after Concepcion’s passing

While the passing of Concepcion Piccolo was widely reported in the mainstream press, there has been not one word there about the continuing of the White House Peace Vigil, which lives on. Just when the National Park Service and the White House thought kings and dictators would be able to visit the White House without seeing a reminder of what their policies can do, just when they thought it was “safe to go back in the water,” the vigil continues.

For decades the police and Park Service tried again and again to shut down the vigil. Bad arrests, even the beatings of drummers keeping George HW Bush awake during the first Iraq War could not shut it down. Even the passing of Concepcion, who had bottomlined the vigil for so long now cannot stop it. Only the removal or nuclear weapons from US arsenals can do that.

On Monday, Jan 25, Piccolo Concepcion died, reported at an assisted living facility, known for her 35 year long vigil against nuclear weapons at the White House. This vigil began all the way back in 1981, during the darkest days of Ronald Reagan and two years before the “Able Archer” nuclear forces wargame nearly led to nuclear war by accident. Many confrontations took place in the early years, and most of the arcane regulations unique to what was known as Peace Park were the government’s response. The vigil began with signs leaned on the White House fence, leading to the “no protest zone” used so often for civil disobedience to this day. It then crossed the street and huge antinuclear signs that doubled as small cabins were erected. They were cut down with chainsaws, leading to the current “structures” regulations concerning signs, etc. For all the brutality and crazy laws that went into effect, for all the bad arrests later overturned in court, the government never did manage to shut down the vigil.

Even though Concepcion is gone, the vigil lives on.

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Native Americans rally at EPA demanding toxic uranium mines be cleaned up

On the 28th of January, members of several Native American nations showed up outside the headquarters of the EPA to demand that thousands of abandoned uranium mines be cleaned up.The mines are leaking uranium into water depended on by the tribes, causing cancer and many early deaths. One government offical was reported to have the nerve to blame the illnesses on “drinking” leaving out the fact that that drinking the WATER is what is causing cancer.

Just in case the EPA refuses to do anything about the poisoned water, tribal members are demanding that Congress amend the Clean Water Act to include radionuclides (radioactive materials) so as to force the EPA to act. The EPA is known for ignoring water poisoned by mining or other extractive activity. A few years ago, someone from Dimmick, PA showed up outside the EPA with yellow-green water from his well, challenging the EPA to drink it. While government officials were claiming back home this water was safe to drink, Metro police set up a bag search checkpoint at the Metro station to ensure none of this uranium-contaminated water got into the Metro system!

Mining has caused confrontations and even all-out warfare between Native Americans and the US government before. Red Cloud led the Lakota to an initial victory over the US military to stop gold mining in the Black Hills. The later harassment that led to the defeat of the 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Greasy Grass (Little Bighorn) came about because gold miners had again set their sights on the Black Hills. Now its uranium mines, which like modern gold mines are toxic but even more so.

The EPA did not pay for the water tests that found uranium contaimination in water near so many reservations, tribal members did. Now some have the nerve to demand that tribal members pay to clean up the mess they did not make, a mess that the US government made so they could have nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors.

With Indigneous people seeing first hand how mining and milling uranium are killing people, many of them are now demanding the whole nuclear “fuel cycle” be abolished. From the mines that poison Indigenous children, to the mills that add more radioactive pollution, to the nuclear bombs of Hiroshima and power plants of Chernobyl and Fukashima, to the nuclear waste dumps, all of it has to go.

One of the last speakers (also last on the video) suggested dumping all the nuclear, oil, and gas crap that is poisoning Native Americans “right on Congress’s doorstep” to roars from the crowd.

Video highlights of the speakers

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Pro-choice activists block antiabortion march

On the 22nd of January, pro-choice activsts gathered at noon at the US Supreme Court. They got there ahead of the incoming anti-choice march that harasses the Supreme Court every year on the anniversary of Roe Vs Wade. With the incoming snow one online posting advised people “2′ to 3′ of snow-wear the tall boots.” Perhaps the antichoice marchers could take that one step farther and wear jackboots? When they arrived at the Supreme Court, militant pro-choice activists got into the street and blocked the march

These blockades have happened before, notably last year and they were common in 1990’s when pitched confrontations and swirling fights at the Supreme Court were the order of the day. They don’t hold long but the message is loud and clear every time-anti women bigotry is not welcome in this town.

After facing a blizzard of opposition in the streets, the antichoice marchers also had to contend with a blizzard of snow. Their videos show snow falling on them as they march past the court. By the time it ended, three feet of snow had fallen in many places. A week’s worth of hotel bills could well be the price for daring to march against the right of women to decide their own fate free of church and state interference.

Earlier in the day, anti-choice extremists showed up in front of Planned Parenthood’s under construction new facility in DC. Their website claimed hundreds were present but their posted photographs showed only dozens. Perhaps they feared being there for a week instead of an hour with the blizzard coming in? With antichoice terrorists having killed nearly a dozen people in recent years, Planned Parenthood will surely invest in state of the art security to defend themselves when their new dedicated location opens to the public. Meanwhile, the command and control infrastructure for these terrorists is finding they cannot march in DC without encountering oppostion.

Video-blockading anti-choice march

Blockading the anti-choice march

Photo by NYC Revolution Club

A small number of anti-choicers harass Planned Parenthood’s new, under construction DC location

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