We are two weeks into #OccupyICEPHL. We have ceased occupying the ICE offices since July 5 and the current encampment at City Hall has lost a lot of its original momentum. The Left in Philly united on July 2nd for the original occupation, but it has been fractured by burnout and internal conflicts. A lot of us are wondering, how did we get here and how do we move forward?
The beginning of OccupyICE Philly started out as a beautiful event which had so much potential. Before the end of the first night that was actively squandered by the “central committee” of the “occupation”. What began as a direct interruption of ICE’s ability to operate their office devolved into a purely symbolic self-victimizing spectacle, one that was unable to defend itself or escape enemy capture.
On July 2nd, a coalition of groups in Philadelphia occupied the local ICE office. In what follows I offer a few quick sketches of the occupation. I was there at the opening of the march at City Hall at 5PM until I had to leave at 9, and then again the next day (July 3rd) at 9:30, leaving just after noon. Today, July 4th, the occupation enters its third day. The account and ideas below are therefore cobbled together from my own experiences, from Unicorn Riot’s live feed, and from reports from comrades who were there when I couldn’t be.
Radical struggle is on the rise in Philadelphia. Since at least 2016, anarchist actions—by the Summer of Rage Anarchist Crew, Antifa, and many others—have been intensifying and broadening in a city that has a long history of antiauthoritarian struggles. Other groups have been energized too, like prison and police abolitionists, socialists, and Marxists. With anarchists, they are challenging gentrification, police brutality, mass incarceration, predatory landlords, and attacks on workers. These far left forces are starting to converge and overlap—seen in reaction to the killing of a local activist, in the abortive 2016 anti-DNC protests in the city, or in actions against local white supremacy. But the radical scene remains disconnected. It is still struggling to develop on the mass scale that would be needed to challenge capital in a revolutionary way.
An 8-year-old told me about Pablo Avendano’s death: “My dad’s friend was just killed riding his bike.” The 8-year-old was a friend of my son, Dai. I had taken the boys out for water ice in our neighborhood in Philadelphia. “He went out to work and he’s never coming back,” my son’s friend said, bobbing on his feet. “And he didn’t even like his job!” Avendano made deliveries through Caviar, the food-ordering app.“His boss is probably in trouble,” Dai said.
we are reporting live from Philadelphia. An attack has just been made, throwing a wrench in the cogs of the machinery of progress… well more literally some wires were cut and windows smashed on one of their bullshit bulldozers.
We have word that this attack was done in solidarity with the ZAD and Camp White Pine (hi!) both of which are facing their own local bullshit bulldozers. The attackers have also sent rebel greetings to area anarchists who’ve been keeping it live (and especially those who share the specifics of their attacks to allow others to reproduce them).
Taking inspiration from Olympia Stand, we disrupted freight train traffic using copper wire. We did this three times over the last 30 days. Since hearing of the blockade we felt the need to act in solidarity and we know it was a while ago but time is a scam!!!!!
Obviously we took this action because we hate the economy, money, and the things that keep capitalism moving! We want to fuck with its flow with whatever means we had.
On January 21st, we took the opportunity to take part in the temporary autonomous spaces created by the post victory fervor of thousands of football fans. Realizing that the soon to be victory of the Eagles was an ample time for us to strike back against the domination of civilization, the police, and the prison walls built by our own deteriorating mental, we met up with friends outside of Lincoln Financial field with the intention of freeing ourselves, albeit temporarily. We joined up with fellow members of the continuous class war in their celebration, singing, chanting, lighting fires, and using this opportunity to attack ATMs and throw a little bit of art on the dismal walls of south Philadelphia. We moved down broad street with a roving party that the Philly PD just couldn’t seem to shut down.