Following a series of uprisings that began last weekend in Puerto Rico, police in Guayama woke on Thursday morning to discover that their station had been raided. A total of thirty pistols, eighteen rifles, and approximately 4,000 rounds of ammunition had been successfully expropriated. A message threatening Governor Rosselló was found on a wall in the storage room from which these arms were taken.
Expropriation is an exceptionally risky, and yet vital, aspect of abolishing slavery in all of its forms, as well as righting the wrongs of colonialism and capitalism. Bold actions such as these help to better prepare people for State repression, the viciousness of which has escalated with each passing day of this conflict. The State has already assaulted the people with tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets; it is not unreasonable to presume that, eventually, the bullets will no longer be rubber.
Direct actions such as these also serve as a means through which to return valuable resources to the hands of those who, or those whose land, produced them– resources that will be invaluable not only in ultimately defying the State but also in building an abolitionist society. Puerto Ricans are working towards this goal on multiple fronts, including by having a sort of Agricultural Revolution, whereby there is a massive push to have as much food as possible grown on the island– rather than continuing to rely on roughly 80% of the island’s food supply being imported. Eco-friendly technologies, methods, and ideas– such as wind energy, solar energy, polyculture, and veganism– are being explored and becoming more prevalent across the island.
Surveys after hurricanes in Cuba, Chiapas, Nicaragua, and Honduras have shown that diversified, small-scale farms suffer less damage than bigger farms practicing conventional agriculture. These findings have informed not only how Puerto Rican farmers themselves go about growing food, but also the amount and types of resistance and pressure Puerto Ricans apply to large food corporations that own some of the island’s land and/or its debt, such as Monsanto.
Expropriation has the potential to facilitate the return of stolen land to indigenous populations, and of autonomy to the masses, from the clutches of imperialists; and, perhaps most importantly, the return of dignity to those scores of us who have been forced to go hungry, forced into cages, forced to sleep on the streets, or otherwise forced into painful and undignified circumstances by the twin demons of colonialism and capitalism.