In this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we caught up with one of the people involved in the Occupied Southwest Distro, which is an insurrectionary and anti-colonial anarchist literature distribution project in the so-called Phoenix, Arizona area (Akimel O’odham Territory). While our previous audio report brought us voices of two teachers who were involved in the strikes, this episode discusses the view from the street, and that of radicals on the outside attempting to support it and intervene in small and tangible ways.
We start our discussion by talking about the evolution of events on the ground, from the situation facing workers in the education industry and the conditions lived by students in local schools, to the building up of anger that led to the massive strike. We then discuss the strikes, demonstrations, and rallies themselves. We touch on far-Right attempts to intimidate teachers, the drive for recuperation by the union leaders, and attempts by anarchists to make connections within the massive struggle either by way of conversations, distributing literature, to showing solidarity at demonstrations.
We feel that this conversation is a timely one, as across the US, mass wildcat strikes are no longer an abstract idea, but a tangible weapon being used by tens of thousands of workers. But in each and every teacher strike and protest that has taken place moreover, the question remains if teachers will be able to keep the strike and struggle within their own hands, or will they bow to union bureaucrats in bed with the Democratic Party who push for people to clam down and return to work.
While the strikes have spread, so too has a new normal of union bureaucrats attempting to recuperate, strangle, and direct them. Anarchists and autonomists must work to find forces within these struggles to work with and support. Pushing to provide them with both material aid but also the confidence to build up autonomous bases of power and solidarity which can then take control – not only of strikes, but ultimately our very lives.