On the 12th of March, Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan had to face a griling by the U.S. House Financial Services Committee. Outside the Rayburn Building, protesters displayed a banner demanding Wells Fargo “Stop funding Climate Change” with their investments in oil, pipelines and fracking.
While Wells Fargo has long been known as perhaps the dirtiest of dirty banks, even they have been forced to concede on another issue: private prisons. The Washington Post reports that many banks have stopped funding private prison operators GEO Group and CoreCivic in the wake of ICE/CPB family separation mess and close association of ICE detention with Trump. Another bank dumped the private prisons after one too many home demos at an executive’s house, and according to the Post even Wells Fargo is no longer renewing contracts with CoreCivic and GEO Group. Public presure and outrage have made investments in private prisons so toxic, so hard to stomach that even Wells Fargo is puking them up, one expired contract at a time. Protest WORKS!
Pipelines, fracking, dirty gas and oil are next, and coal is already on its way out the door because it can’t compete even with fracked gas. As the hurricanes howl, the seas rise, and farms either dry up and blow away or flood, fossil fuel investments may soon become just as toxic and “unbankable” as privately-owned ICE detention centers have become. Already banking experts warn of “stranded assets” such as fossil fuel deposits that have to be left in the ground for climate reasons, and brand new pipelines that find no customers after just a few years of use. Now is not the time for banks such as Wells Fargo to throw good money after bad in such questionable investments.
On the 9th of March, Code Pink tried to visit Chelsea Manning at the Alexandria, VA “Adult Detention Center” at 2001 Mill Road near the Eisenhower Ave Metro station. Guards claimed she could not have ANY visitors until she was “fully processed in” up to 72 hours later. There is a good chance this is a lie, as it was not the policy at the nearby Arlington County Jail in Feb 2017.
This could well be a deliberate attempt by the thugs holding Chelsea to break her morale by holding her incommunicado as long as they can. Protesters were told Chelsea is in “a cell on her own” potentially implying solitary confinement. When asked where she is going next the guards said “that’s classified.” When asked is she being treated well, they said “we treat everyone here well” which of course is a total lie in any jail or prison.
Video: Jail refuses to allow Code Pink to visit 3 min 4 sec
News2Share photo of Code Pink outside the jail where Chelsea Manning is being in effect held hostage for testimony she is refusing to give.
John Zangas photo of same scene
On the 8th of March, Chelsea Manning was held and taken into custody after appearing in Federal court for a contempt hearing after refusing to speak to a grand jury the previous day. She stated that she does not believe in or accept this secret process that “tends to favor the government” while speaking before the hearing. Several supporters were able to get inside the courthouse to support her prior to entering the closed hearing.
Chelsea Manning notes these secretive hearings “favor the government” before entering the courthouse 1 min 6 sec
On the 5th of March, a Federal court in Alexandria, VA denied Chelsea Manning’s motion to quash a grand jury subpoena for which almost all details have been kept under seal. Chelsea reported a very large number of government attorneys were present at the hearing. Outside, protesters including several previous grand jury resistors stood in solidarity with her.
Video-Chelsea speaks outside the courthouse 5 min 58 sec
On the 25th of February, hundreds of activists from the Sunrise Movement occupied Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. They were protesting his efforts to scuttle the Green New Deal with a quick (presumably NO) vote before it can even be fully written. Protesters called him out for “lining your pockets while we die in floods.” Over 40 of them were arrested after refusing orders to roll up their signs and leave.
Video from raw clips originally posted to Twitter by Aida Chavez
Photo by Mark Ruffalo
On the evening of the 23ed of February, several punk bands with Anti-Flag headlining played a Rojava(Kurdish) benefit show at St Stephens. The show was entirely sold out. At several times, anti-Fascist and pro-YPG/YPJ chants alternated with the music. A film from the war front against Daesh and Turkey was shown, and several speakers were invited to the stage as well as the bands.
The consensus in the room was that the international Left in general, and anarchists and anti-fascists in particular must defend the decentralized locally organized Kurdish communities in Rojava against both ISIS(almost defeated) and Turkish aggression. This is the one place in the world anarchist theories about local, mutual-aid based community organization have been put into practice in a state-sized area. Both the Turkish government and their ex-Nusra front (al Qaeda) allies in the so-called Free Syrian Army seek to stomp it out, and there is also a threat from Assads’ regime in Syria. No doubt Trump will also shares the desires of his friend Erdogen to destroy the community model of Rojava, as it is a repudiation of almost everything Trump and and his friend Erdogen(who is much like VP Michael Pence) stand for. Thus, the moment ISIS appears to be all the way gone, Trump intends to throw the Kurdish people under the bus while continuing to provide military aid to Turkey.
An old Kurdish saying as that Kurdish people have “no friends but the mountains” so it is up to the rest of the world to prove this wrong!
Smash the Nazis banner behind Anti-Flag
Whole room filled for the show
A promo flier for the show
On Friday, the 22nd of February, DC’s Extinction Rebellion chapter held their second “Freaky Fridays” protest about extreme climate chaos and resulting extinctions in a row. This time around, the chosen site was Suntrust Plaza at the intersection of 18th st and Columbia Road. This was picked both to call out Suntrust for their role in funding fossil fuels and because the area is very busy on a Friday night.
While DC’s Extinction Rebellion chapter is relatively small, Extinction Rebellion has become a major force in Europe, carrying out such actions as a simultanious blockade of five bridges in London at the same time on Nov 17, 2018. That protest in London was reported to involve over 6,000 participants and to have let to 85 arrests. At least 35 countries now have an Extinction Rebellion presence.
Here in the US much energy is spent on the overwhelming strategic battle against Trump and outright fascism. Trump and his corporate cronies in multiple Federal agencies are entirely blocking any governmental action on fossil fuels except at the state and local level. Worse, they are continuing to promote eminent domain for everything from pipelines to Trump’s fascist and racist border wall. DC’s Extinction Rebellion chapter has explicitly contrasted the real climate emergency to Trump’s “fake emergency” on the US-Mexico border.