For those of our readers who recall our reporting on the anarchist attack on Gob. Bobby Jindal’s head fundraiser Allee Bautsch and her boyfriend outside of Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans last April, it seems the New Orleans Police Department has moved to shut down the commune which organized the “protest” from which the attack came.
This is a preliminary statement from the Iron Rail Book Collective. A more in depth statement on recent events will be forthcoming.
At about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday March 9th, 2011 The Iron Rail Infoshop and the building that houses it, “The Ark,” were shut down by the New Orleans Police Department. Alleged code and permit violations were the reasons offered by NOPD for the shut down. The Iron Rail has existed in this space for the past 8 years.
The Iron Rail Book Collective has been told at this point that the Ark will not re-open and all projects and art studios located in the building can no longer exist there. This includes the Plan-B New Orleans Community Bike Project and Hasbin Wilby’s Recycled Art Supplies.
We stand in solidarity with these projects as important elements in the greater New Orleans radical community.
We will soon be taking donations through PayPal to help us plan our future.
A more complete statement with additional information is forthcoming.
With love and solidarity,
The Iron Rail Book Collective
No arrests were ever made in the Bautsch beating, and members of the Iron Rail Gang have continued to disturb the peace in New Orleans – including having a hand in riots at the University of New Orleans last year over proposed budget cuts. Strangely enough, Hayride sources report that anarchists were out in the French Quarter over the Mardi Gras weekend and actually returned to harrass patrons at Brennan’s.
The raid of the Iron Rail comes, perhaps ironically, after a post at “AnarchistNews.org” by an individual syling himself/herself “worker” which contained this gem…
New Orleans Police Department:
New Orleans sometimes has problems with street gangs. The biggest gang in town is the
New Orleans Police Department. There are many things done in public here in front of police officers that would be unheard of some places. These range from drinking and doing drugs to pointing a gun at someone or otherwise attacking them.
This isn’t because NOPD appreciates freedom. This is because NOPD are lazy and very bad at their jobs. When NOPD strikes it is typically because they are lazy and bad at their jobs. Their motivation for action is usually based on a power trip, cowardice, boredom, fun, malice or personal gain. When they act in concert it is usually because a spectacle of action has been demanded around some hot button issue. These spectacles are usually very short lived and unsuccessful.
To be clear, La. has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. The state penal system disproportionately incarcerates people of color. The state, the police, and the prison industrial complex are alive and well. While you are here you can get harassed, arrested, beat, and even raped or murdered by the police. The twist lies in how ultimately perplexing their behavior will be.
In a moment of danger, we do not fault you if you decide to call the police, or depending on the situation, are forced to interact with the police. Simply calling Emergency Medical Services guarantees an interaction with the police.
NOPD often write up rapes as simple assaults or “miscellaneous incidents” so as not to do follow up work. They have been known to arrest mourners at murder scenes. They have been known to harass and threaten survivors of crimes who do not want to press charges against a perpetrator. They are known for receiving information about serious violent acts and not acting on them.
If you have any interaction with the police, for whatever reason, try to connect with a social support network or legal representative to advocate with you and help you be empowered throughout the interaction. If you have an interaction with NOPD, don’t have it alone.
A solution does not lie in NOPD being better at their job. Some of us have seen the police in the rest of the United States and want none of that. We want people to have a realistic assessment of the power dynamics they are living in, and empower themselves as individuals and as a community, to engage in mutual aid and solidarity for immediate safety in a hostile world.
Orleans Parish Prison:
If you are arrested in New Orleans you will likely end up in the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). The staff is not-friendly, sometimes openly sadistic. Sheriff Marlon Gusman has intentionally overcrowded it for sometime. You will likely be held in a “tank” that may reach standing room only. If you are there for a while, you may, if you keep your fingers crossed, receive an orange jumpsuit and move into a cell with about a dozen people in it. Getting arrested on the weekend can be particularly bad.
Making phone calls can be tough. Your possessions, including ID may be “lost”.
Try to have a support network that will try to find out if you’ve been arrested if you disappear. It may be difficult for you to communicate outside the jail. It can help keep you safe and expedite your release if the cops know someone else knows you are in there.
Whether the police got wind of that piece, responded to complaints by French Quarter merchants or had generally had enough of the Iron Rail Gang’s shenanigans isn’t yet known. What is known is they’ll be looking for another roost in New Orleans, and the normal human beings populating the Marigny neighborhood will breathe easier with them gone.