Microphone demo in Solidarity with Bolivian Comrades – Bloomington, IN
May 29th marked the one year anniversary of raids throughout parts of the anarchist, punk, feminist and animal rights scenes in La Paz, Bolivia. Out of 13 people arrested, only one person, Henry, has refused to make statements to the police. Today, Henry is out on house arrest, but still faces the charges of attempted murder and terrorism, connected to a series of attacks claimed in solidarity with a struggle against a highway, political prisoners, and animal liberation.
To commemorate this day in Bloomington, we held a microphone demo– we hung banners around a park, chalked slogans on walls and sidewalks, played music, read statements, and handed out hundreds of flyers. The atmosphere was generally festive.
Our struggles in Bloomington are connected – quite literally – to those of indigenous and anarchist comrades in Bolivia. Despite decades of sustained resistance, I-69, the NAFTA superhighway, is nearing completion in parts of southern Indiana. Running from Canada through the US and down to Mexico, I-69 will link up with another project, the Plan Puebla Panama. The PPP will then connect to IIRSA, a South American development plan that includes the bioceanic highway currently being built through TIPNIS, a former protected rainforest area and home to three indigenous groups.
Marie Mason, a former Bloomington resident who is serving 22 years in prison, was and remains a fierce opponent of these same massive infrastructure projects. In expressing solidarity with those facing repression in Bolivia, we also honor Marie and strive to retain the passion with which she fought against global capitalism and it’s environmentally devastating consequences. We do not forget our comrades who remain strong in the face of accusations of terrorism and increasing isolation.
By talking and remembering in the streets, we collectivize the conversation and the memory, inviting others to take them up and spread them beyond the enclosure that repression erects around us. Writing about such a trifling demo on the internet is one way to let others know that this conversation can happen anywhere. This is only one of many actions happening daily to keep our struggles alive and to make sure our comrades know they are not forgotten.
Text from the flyer distributed during the demo:
From Indiana to Bolivia, Solidarity to Those Who Resist Megamachine
All across the world, highways are being built or expanded to move an increasing flow of commodities from market to market. This flow has an increasingly high cost on our environment and our health, and the commodities being produced and consumed are increasingly antithetical to our happiness and well being. And it is not a coincidence that the expansion of infrastructure that goes along with this flow of commodities displaces people who provide for themselves or live in contact with the earth.
In Indiana, I-69 is one of several NAFTA superhighways being expanded in a process that destroys farmland and houses, pollutes our air, closes factories here and opens sweatshops in poorer areas, and drastically increases profits for the wealthy.
In South America, the “bioceanic highway” is being built from the Atlantic to the Pacific, also increasing pollution, profits, and displacement. In Bolivia, the socialist government is routing the highway through TIPNIS, a protected rainforest and indigenous territory, home to several native peoples. The highway is cutting the rainforest in half, and will also lead to increased logging and industrialization, eroding the ability of indigenous communities to provide for themselves.
On May 29, 2012, 13 people were arrested in La Paz, Bolivia, accused of carrying out over a dozen sabotage actions as part of the struggle against highway construction. A year later, several people are still facing the charges of terrorism, for actions of property damage which harmed no one, and attempted murder, for a smoke bomb set off in the lobby of a government building. They face 20 years in prison for actions they deny committing, despite a complete lack of physical evidence.
The construction of highways, the destruction of our environment, and the dangerous farce of “anti-terrorism” are an international reality. From Bolivia to Indiana, we need to amplify our struggle against capitalist development, against government repression, for the protection of our environment and our ability to live in contact with the earth, free from dependence on a harmful economic system.