Solidarity, Education and Anarchy in Pittsburgh This Spring

By Marie Skoczylas

After a long summer participating in the various working groups of the Pittsburgh G-20 Resistance Project – and providing our own group support through trainings, workshops, communiqués and more – to help make the resistance to the G-20 summit a smashing success, Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) took some time to reflect and regroup.

Our first action of 2010 was a solidarity demo with the Free Workers' Union Berlin (FAU-B). On Dec. 11, 2009, the Berlin courts decreed that the anarchist-syndicalist labor union, 300 members strong, could no longer call itself a union or organize. The Babylon Cinema had been seeking to legally undermine the union, which has emerged within the company as the strongest and most active workers' organization. FAU-B member Hansi Oostinga stated, "Our month-long struggle at the Babylon Cinema has shown that self-organized, grassroots resistance is possible and can be successful, but also that all attempts will be made to stamp it out. A good union is one that the boss doesn't like." The FAU-B called for international solidarity, asking supporters to protest outside German institutions, companies and diplomatic missions. Germany is the largest foreign investor in the Southwest Pennsylvania region, with 70 German-owned companies employing over 15,000 workers. POG stands in solidarity with grassroots labor initiatives facing government repression, seeing the struggles of workers here as inseparable from the struggles of workers in Germany and elsewhere.

The action was postponed due to the snowpocalypse – the paralyzing storm that hit our region in February. Check the POG Web site for the rescheduled date.

On April 8, POG will host two speakers from Greece. Sissy Doutsiou and Tasos Sagris are editors of a new book on the Greek insurrection, We Are an Image from the Future: The Greek Revolts of December 2008, and members of the Void Network ( – a group promoting art, theory, action and the creation of autonomous spaces. After the police killing of a 15-year-old in 2008, Greece erupted in an insurrection that shocked the globe and brought hope to people struggling against authority. For weeks, hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, took to the streets, fought with police and attacked symbols of government and capitalism. Greek society has been altered and anarchists have been playing a prominent role. Where did this social explosion come from? Where has it gone? The time and location of this presentation is still being decided. Check the POG Web site for details.

In May, as part of the Month of Anarchy events, POG will host a talk by Peter Gelderloos, as well as our annual Anarchist Ball. We will also hold a meet-and-greet orientation for folks interested in becoming new POG members on May 22. The details for all these events will be on the POG Web site as soon as they are solidified.

Finally, POG is in the midst of production for the next issue of the Steel City Revolt! Highlights include articles on Kurdish anarchism, anarchism in Jordan, the case of the Belgrade 6, the state of local surveillance and the structure of the Pittsburgh Police, an analysis of the Citizens Police Review Board, an interview with a local group against animal vivisection and updates on radical Pittsburgh projects. Subscribers to the SCR! will receive a copy of CrimethInc.’s next issue of Rolling Thunder, which includes a comprehensive report and keen analysis of the G-20 organizing and demonstrations. The issue also features a report on the anarchist scene in Pittsburgh, written from the perspective of long-time POG members.

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