Several people I care about are facing serious charges resulting from May Day.
In Santa Cruz, the illustrator of Times Square, my friend Wes Modes has been labeled as the “leader” of the local anarchist movement it seems. He was already being harrassed and facing charges for a bunch of bullshit, but now the police are harassing SubRosa Infoshop and, near as I can tell from being quite far away, accusing Wes of basically orchestrating everything. This is, of course, absurd. It’s always absurd when they accuse us of having authoritarian leaders, but it’s always even more absurd the people they pick to harrass. I personally think they’re picking people who are the oldest and most public men.
In Asheville, 11 anarchists are facing serious charges of vandalism, etc. for being present at a May Day protest that targeted some property. They faced ridiculously high bail, disproportionate, of course, to the amount of damage that they’re accused of inflicting. Fortunately, the Boulvedier has fashion advice for them.
Oh, and a US IWW member, Alexandra Svoboda, was found guilty of having her leg broken by a cop a march in 2007. As we all know, getting the shit beat out of you by cops is a crime in this country: it’s called assaulting an officer. Basically, any time the police injure you, they need to manufacture a case that you attacked them. In this case, they claim that she hit the police with a pair of drumsticks. Drumsticks? You’d be better off hitting someone with your fists! Yeah fucking right she attacked the police with a pair of drumsticks. Look at her leg and tell me the police haven’t committed a crime. Anyhow, now she’s facing four years in jail, cause she got found guilty.
And finally, the 5th of May in Greece was the day of a general strike. Over 200,000 people poured into the streets. When a bank was set on fire with a molotov, three employees died of smoke inhalation. To say that this is tragic is an understatement. To say that it is embarassing is, well, sort of vain. But it’s tragic and it’s embarassing, regardless. Already, everyone is pointing the finger at everyone else about who’s fault this is. But as much as I’m mournful that it was probably anarchists throwing a molotov that caused this death directly, the most damning thing I’ve seen is this letter from an employee of the bank that places the blame on the employers, who actually locked the employees in the building, threatened everyone with firing if they joined the strike, and denied them internet access for the day to keep them communicating with the outside world. Wage slavery, indeed:
“I feel an obligation toward my co-workers who have so unjustly died today to speak out and to say some objective truths. I am sending this message to all media outlets. Anyone who still bares some consciousness should publish it. The rest can continue to play the government’s game.
The fire brigade had never issued an operating license to the building in question. The agreement for it to operate was under the table, as it practically happens with all businesses and companies in Greece.
The building in question has no fire safety mechanisms in place, neither planned nor installed ones – that is, it has no ceiling sprinklers, fire exits or fire hoses. There are only some portable fire extinguishers which, of course, cannot help in dealing with extensive fire in a building that is built with long-outdated security standards.
No branch of Marfin bank has had any member of staff trained in dealing with fire, not even in the use of the few fire extinguishers. The management also uses the high costs of such training as a pretext and will not take even the most basic measures to protect its staff.
There has never been a single evacuation exercise in any building by staff members, nor have there been any training sessions by the fire-brigade, to give instructions for situations like this. The only training sessions that have taken place at Marfin Bank concern terrorist action scenarios and specifically planning the escape of the banks’ “big heads” from their offices in such a situation.
The building in question had no special accommodation for the case of fire, even though its construction is very sensitive under such circumstances and even though it was filled with materials from floor to ceiling. Materials which are very inflammable, such as paper, plastics, wires, furniture. The building is objectively unsuitable for use as a bank due to its construction.
No member of security has any knowledge of first aid or fire extinguishing, even though they are every time practically charged with securing the building. The bank employees have to turn into firemen or security staff according to the appetite of Mr Vgenopoulos [owner of Marfin Bank].
The management of the bank strictly bared the employees from leaving today, even though they had persistently asked so themselves from very early this morning – while they also forced the employees to lock up the doors and repeatedly confirmed that the building remained locked up throughout the day, over the phone. They even blocked off their internet access so as to prevent the employees from communicating with the outside world.
For many days now there has been some complete terrorisation of the bank’s employees in regard to the mobilisations of these days, with the verbal “offer”: you either work, or you get fired.
The two undercover police who are dispatched at the branch in question for robbery prevention did not show up today, even though the bank’s management had verbally promised to the employees that they would be there.
At last, gentlemen, make your self-criticism and stop wandering around pretending to be shocked. You are responsible for what happened today and in any rightful state (like the ones you like to use from time to time as leading examples on your TV shows) you would have already been arrested for the above actions. My co-workers lost their lives today by malice: the malice of Marfin Bank and Mr. Vgenopoulos personally who explicitly stated that whoever didin’t come to work today [May 5th, a day of a general strike!] should not bother showing up for work tomorrow [as they would get fired].”
– An employee of Marfin Ban