On the evening of Friday, February 12, Talia Jane, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union, was arrested by officers of the New York Police Department while documenting a demonstration against policing. In the course of Jane’s arrest, officers confiscated her union-issued press pass, which they refused to return even after she was released.
The IWW FJU is committed to the motto of the Industrial Workers of the World: An injury to one is an injury to all. As such, the IWW FJU condemns the arrest of Jane and the harassment of all other journalists by the NYPD in the strongest possible terms — as acts of police intimidation and de facto censorship of the press. Journalists from across the United States are brutalized, detained, and arrested for shining a light on the violence that police and policing do to communities.
While Jane has obtained legal representation and is not currently in need of any other public support at this time, the IWW FJU would like to reiterate its solidarity with her and all other journalists who risk their freedom and well-being to continue documenting the actions of police. As journalists, we will not be intimidated. We will continue to record and report on the corrupt systems of power that brutalize our communities every day.
Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union members in the United States have collectively agreed to strike on Inauguration Day, January 20, should Donald Trump and his supporters attempt to overturn his electoral defeat in the race for US President. Our hope is that by anticipating the worst, we are better prepared to get directly involved in and/or provide support to anti-coup efforts in Washington DC and our own local areas.
In the event of a coup, we will refrain from engaging in any sort of commissioned labor that is unrelated to the event and, instead, participate in local anti-coup actions or provide support remotely. We will also be continuing other unpaid journalistic work amplifying actions, such as social media coverage. We recognize and want to amplify the symbolism of journalists, who have been targeted by Trump and his supporters. We are striking to bring greater attention to any attempted overturn of the election by focusing our energies on it. We are not encouraging journalists to refrain from publishing altogether, but to focus their coverage, paid or unpaid, on the potential coup.
Should there be an attempt to overturn the election, we ask Fellow Workers in other sections of the IWW, and workers more generally, to consider advocating for strikes, sick-outs, or similar labor-withholding actions on Inauguration Day. We also ask other, non-labor-related organizations to consider calling for a “Day of Action” or similar event on January 20 to encourage their members to get involved, however possible, in local anti-coup actions.
An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
In light of Donald Trump’s failed re-election campaign, the assortment of fascists that he has drawn support from — such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, American Guard, and Patriot Prayer — continue terrorizing their opponents with new desperation. While some critics believe that Trump’s electoral defeat signals the end of the fascist threat, the violence perpetrated against residents and visitors in Washington D.C. this past weekend illustrates the danger of conceding the streets to forces of nationalist violence and virulent bigotry.
As our slogan is “An Injury to One is an Injury to All,” the Industrial Workers of the World is committed to mass anti-fascism and community self-defense, and the IWW Freelance Journalists Union supports the struggle against all proponents of oppression and discrimination.
In particular, fascists have targeted journalists for attack, harassment, and other abuse for simply doing their jobs documenting, analyzing, and sharing information from the frontlines. We stand in solidarity with the many journalists who put their lives and well-being on the line to continue to provide important coverage of these events as they occur. If you are in need of any support — be it professional, legal, or even emotional — please contact us at [email protected].
If you are interested in getting involved in anti-fascist actions, supporting community self-defense resources such as bail funds, etc., we encourage you to contact your local IWW branch to learn more about how to do so in your area. A full directory of IWW branches in the United States can be found here: iww.org/directory
To echo the call to action against fascists of an earlier generation, we say: ¡No pasarán!
- If a comrade asks you to stop filming them, stop filming them. Generally speaking, our cameras should be trained on law enforcement and reactionaries, not to unintentionally incriminate comrades.
- Be cognizant of where and when is an appropriate time to livestream. Law enforcement can watch livestreams for real-time information, and you may be unwittingly helping them repress comrades.
- Ask for permission to film comrades and get their consent before publishing. If possible, get permission from organizers prior to the action.
- If you accidentally capture comrades on film, obscure their faces, tattoos, and all other identifying characteristics before publishing. Minimize the need for this by focusing on comrades’ legs and backs, if they are in the frame at all.
- Lock your devices with alpha-numeric passcodes. Law enforcement may be able to force you to unlock devices with your face or fingerprint.
- While it may be valuable to film police violence, that footage does not necessarily need to be published immediately. Make the safety of comrades your priority.
- Do not voluntarily give up footage to law enforcement. Ask them for a subpoena, then contact us at [email protected].
Around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 25, the Omaha Police Department kettled a group of over 100 demonstrators, medics, and journalists on the I-480 overpass at the intersection of 29th and Farnam streets. After a nearly hour-long march through downtown, where demonstrators proceeded unmolested, they were two blocks away from their planned dispersal point when the police moved in to arrest them en masse.
Volleys of pepper-balls were shot into the chests and backs of peaceful demonstrators as others were tackled by scores of police armed with SWAT weapons, ballistic vests, and helmets. Pepper-balls were also fired into crowds of sitting demonstrators, some of whom were children and young teens, and multiple others were dragged away, some of them bleeding.
Fellow Workers Mel Buer, Ashley Darrow, and Kristofer Nivens, along with independent journalists Jazari Kual and Peyton Zyla, were detained with the rest of the group despite repeatedly declaring themselves to be members of the media and producing credentials or other evidence. FW Buer was also violently thrown to the concrete by an officer for continuing to film the chaotic scene.
At least two of the detained journalists recorded the police loudly declaring that their press credentials were invalid and that officers were acting on “intel that they have fake press cards.” It wasn’t until a lieutenant with the Omaha Police Department arrived on scene that four of the detained journalists were allowed to leave. A fifth journalist was arrested and charged with failure to disperse and obstructing traffic.
This egregious display of violence and aggression against members of the independent press is a clear violation of their First Amendment rights. Journalists from across the United States are being brutalized, detained, and arrested for shining a light on the violence that police perpetrate in their communities.
The Industrial Workers of the World Freelance Journalists Union stands in solidarity with the many journalists who risk their lives and freedom to continue covering these historic events. We will not be intimidated. We will continue to record and report on the corrupt systems of power that brutalize our communities every day.