Letting Go and Moving On: POG Concludes

Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) formed in 2002 as part of the global justice movement. Our purpose was to participate in that movement while popularizing, within Pittsburgh, forms of organizing and resistance that were characteristic of the summit protests of those years. In practice this meant favoring consensus decision-making, spokes-councils, trying to win even if at the expense of some false notion of “legitimacy,” a support for diversity of tactics, a confrontational orientation towards the state and corporations, combining direct action with education, disruptive marches, wheatpasting, banner drops, etc.


Soon we became active in the anti-war movement. Ideologically we became an explicitly anarchist group.


Over the years we organized a large number of rallies, marches, pickets, forums, picnics, and propaganda campaigns. Some of our activities have been singular events, some were part of larger campaigns (most notably our anti-military recruitment campaign). The issues we have dealt with have varied greatly, as have our approaches. More than a hundred people have cycled through the group as members over a 9-year period and thus our group took on different flavors at different times. We got some things right and also made many mistakes. Many of our efforts have been analyzed, evaluated and documented in our semi-annual magazine, the Steel City Revolt, and in reports and communiqués through the years.


In 2009 our group began tentative discussions on disbanding. And then the White House announced that the G-20 summit was going to be held in Pittsburgh later that fall. Given our particular activities over the years, communication resources, and familiarity with dealing with the police and state repression, it made sense to us to aid that mobilization.


After the G-20 a large number of new people began, and continue to, express interest in getting involved in the group. It is difficult to adequately address the many issues that initially led to sentiments of disbanding – issues that persist —when there are continually new folks getting involved who are excited to jump into organizing.


In 2011 it is clear to the ten of us who currently comprise POG that the local and global terrain has changed while we have not been able to develop new approaches that justify our existence as an organization.


Social movements have shifted, as has the context in which we organize. We do not need to serve as an initial entry point for people becoming interested in anarchism because there are now a variety of other anarchist projects, initiatives, and scenes within Pittsburgh that can fill this role. Recent turnover suggests to us that people are joining our group because of our past rather than our current activities. We are not breaking new ground or initiating interesting efforts. The fact that we have not been a means through which to effectively respond to the priorities individual members have often articulated is indicative of the fact we lack the common ground required to collectively organize.


We feel it is time to give the group proper closure.


We do not want to fall into the trap of perpetuating our organization simply for the sake of its own existence, a path that is quite seductive when you still have ample members and supporters, and an easy comfort with organizing semi-regular events. Rather than continuing to tweak our structure, as we have over the years, we want to let POG go in order to make the space for ourselves to continue experiments with other projects and, for some, other structures. Members of our group are involved in a variety of projects outside of POG, as we’ve always been. The lessons we have learned over the past decade of organizing will inform the challenges we will continue to face in our work.


Projects such as the Steel City Revolt that fill a specific and worthwhile niche locally may or may not continue as a separate collective, dependent on discussions among the members who were bottom-lining the publication. The cultural events we organized, such as the annual anarchist ball and annual anarchist picnic, may or may not continue without POG.


We send our goodbye salutations to all those we have worked with over the years, all those in prison, all those continuing or beginning to fight. We maintain, as we always have, hope in the future and belief in the necessity of continual action and reflection.


Love and Anarchy Always,


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ARM THE SPIRIT: A Woman’s Journey Underground and Back

Friday, May 6, 2011, 7-9 pm
The Union Project
801 North Negley Ave.

Sponsored the Pittsburgh Organizing Group and Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up.

In June 1985, Diana and her two-week old son and five companions – all of them active in the struggle for Puerto Rican independence – fled L.A. after finding a surveillance device in their car. Her recent memoir explores this history, linking her personal experiences of escaping from the FBI and raising two children while underground with the politics of solidarity and feminism which framed her political choices. Arm the Spirit brings a feminist perspective to a subject typically dominated by heroic, male discourse and offers unique insights into the radical politics and culture of the 1970’s.  Since returning to public life in 1995, Diana has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area where she has worked extensively with women and transgender prisoners.
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April 4th—No Business As Usual—Join the Rally at EQT Plaza

Monday, April 4th

High Noon!

EQT Plaza, (6th St. and Liberty Ave)

Over the past few months the rich have escalated their war on working people, poor people, students and the unemployed.  They started in Wisconsin with a devastating budget law that cut public services and aimed at crushing public workers union rights.  Then they moved to Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, and now they’re coming after us here in Pennsylvania.

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You are invited to POG’s Annual Anarchist Ball!

In honor of the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Libya, Greece, Wisconsin, and other places around the world, this year’s theme is “International Revolt!”

…This annual all-ages dance is open to all friends of Pittsburgh Organizing Group. Everyone welcome!

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Onorato and Bland Screwed Up Our Transit System….We’re Going to Lose Our Buses

On March 27, Port Authority of Allegheny County will be cutting 15% of its routes.  The cuts will completely cut of almost 9,000 riders from bus service and eliminate other routes for the rest of us while eliminating 200 good, family supporting jobs.

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Solidarity with Locked Out Steelworkers in Canada–Benefit show for USW Local 1005, Locked out by US Steel in Hamilton

Saturday, February 19

Shadow Lounge
5972 Baum Blvd.
Pittsburgh, PA

Featuring: Mike Stout, Jake and Clara (of Jake and the Infernal Machine), more TBA

The 900 members of United Steelworkers Local 1005 are fighting back against US Steel’s attack on workers’ pensions and retirement security. US Steel has demanded that current workers sell the next generation short by submitting to a two-tiered pension scheme under which new workers would be permanently locked into a less secure pension program. On November 8th, when workers refused to agree to the cuts, US Steel lock the 900 Steelworkers out of their jobs. Continue reading

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Steel City Revolt! Issue #5 is Hot Off the Press!

Issue #5 is out! It includes: reports on the Big Ben “Consent is Not a Game” counter-tailgate, East End Mutual Aid’s Share Faires, Landslide Community Farm, Marcellus Shale organizing for climate justice, the Free Skool, and the Jordan Miles police brutality mobilization; a detailed story on David Japenga’s conviction following the Pittsburgh G-20, as well as an examination of strategies in the Pittsburgh Pro-Choice Movement; a feature on the rebirth and fall of the Thomas Merton Center; a zine review of “Letters to the Man,” a zine about patriarchy, and book review of “We, the Anarchists! A study of the Iberian Anarchist Organization”; opinion pieces on reformism, chants and weekends; a report on labor struggles from the Steel City and beyond; and poetry, recipes, Nietzsche interpretations and more…

Sounds exciting, right? Order a single issue or become a subscriber and have them mailed to your doorstep! (http://www.steelcityrevolt.org/?page_id=18) Issues come out roughly twice a year. Or, pick one up the next time POG tables an event.

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Radical Caroling!

“Oh the weather outside is frightful! But the fire in our hearts is delightful! And since we’ve nowhere to goooooooo! Let’s CAROL! Let’s CAROL! Let’s CAROL!”

Winter is here and the Holidays are nearly upon us! Join members and friends of Pittsburgh Organizing Group in spreading the word of anti-capitalism, working class cheer, and the joy of No Gods & No Masters through RADICAL HOLIDAY CAROLING up and down the streets of Shadyside’s business district. Continue reading

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Solidarity With Farmworkers—POG Hosts the Coalition of Immokalee Workers!

Thursday, December 2
7:30 pm
East Liberty Presbyterian Church
116 South Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA

The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida.  Over the past two decades, through grass roots on-the-ground organizing, combined with dynamic alliance building and sophisticated corporate campaigning, the CIW has systematically campaigned to increase wages and stop slave labor practices in South Florida’s tomato industry.

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Resistance Lives On–March and Rally

Tuesday, November 30
Meet at the Corner of Fifth and Bigelow (in Oakland)

Resistance Lives On!

The current financial crisis has again exposed the true face of a system bent on total destruction. Everyday, capitalism exploits, demeans and murders people in this city and around the world. It ravages the environment and all life. When the G20 came to town last September, our opportunity came to fight back. The G20 is an organization of capitalist world leaders, dedicated to saving the system that causes these crises. Fixing problems within capitalism can never bring about meaningful change because capitalism itself is the problem.

When this system is attacked in an effective way, the state must find a scapegoat to avoid acknowledging actual challenges to its monopoly on power. In Seattle eleven years ago, when the city rose up to shut down the WTO, a small group of anarchists were blamed for actions that were the work of tens of thousands. Today, in Pittsburgh, David Japenga has been in jail or under house arrest for over 14 months for a series of actions that no one thinks he could have done, convicted on lies and weak circumstantial evidence. In Toronto, Chile, Greece, Russia and elsewhere, anarchists are being viciously targeted by the state for daring to resist.

On November 30th, POG will come to the streets of Oakland once more with supporters of David Japenga and all those who are dedicated to resisting the state and capital. Meet at the corner of Fifth and Bigelow at 7:30 for a gathering near the local manifestations of corporate globalization, which were attacked last fall. Pittsburgh has been under siege by the forces of neoliberalism since the Second World War; we must fight back. Resistance lives on!

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