This week, we are excited to share with y’all an interview with TL, the main artist and designer of Bloc by Bloc: The Game of Insurrection. From the website of Out Of Order games, which publishes the game, “Bloc by Bloc is a semi-cooperative strategy board game inspired by 21st century riots and revolutions. The game features hidden agendas, deep strategy, area control, asymmetrical player abilities, and a special method for randomly generating billions of unique city layouts.”
Well, now the second edition of the game has launched a kickstarter to pay for the new edition. This new edition includes streamlined game play, new pieces and new scenarios in order to improve the initial game. For the hour, TL & I talk about how the board game was developed, what study of real-world did to influence the game’s development, TL’s thoughts on how play can strengthen strategic thought, cultural means of spreading liberatory imagination with story-telling, and cooperation and more.
To jump in and get a physical, printed copy of the 2nd edition of Bloc by Bloc, search kickstarter and the title of the game. If you have the 1st edition and want the streamlined update, also check out the kickstarter for ways to update. If you want a free version of the game for you to print out by yourself and play for the cost of printing with your friends, you can download all of the elements.
TL mentions that Out Of Order games is looking for translation of the game into other, non-English languages, seeking a degree of fluency in game terminology and the languages in question. They are also always seeking review and design inputs. You can email the Out of Order crew here.
This week, we are airing a conversation that William had a few weeks ago with Wriply Bennet and Ashley Braxton, two members of the Black Pride 4. The Black Pride 4 are four black queer and trans people with accomplices who were arrested during a Pride parade on June 17, 2017.
The four were arrested after leading a silent protest that obstructed the Stonewall Columbus Pride parade in downtown Columbus Ohio. With tape over their mouths and with linked hands, the BP4 were hoping for seven minutes of silence, one for each of the times a Minnesota cop shot Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in 2016. The cop was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter on June 16, 2017, a day before the Columbus parade in question. This action was furthermore calling attention to the then count of 14 murders that year of black trans women.
Their arrest made national headlines and was heavily spectacularized in the media. Subsequent to their arrest they were forced to face trial and were each charged with various things, all on very shaky legal grounds. At this time are not being made to be incarcerated, though the lengthy probations and other legal hoops are severely disrupting their lives.
In this conversation, we got to talk about the problems with Pride as being apace which heavily favors white elites and police officers to thedetriment of the community it claims to support, the impossible situation of protesting while Black, the racial and socio-economic situation of Columbus’ LGBTQIA scene, and much much more!
To support Wriply in her work and to see her art, you can hit her up on Facebook bysearching her name, Wriply Marie Bennet, or by searching her artist’ spage on FB by its name, Art and Short Stories by Wriply Marie Bennet.
You can donate to Community Pride here, the same one which our guests spoke about. There you can read a bunch about its mission and background, as well as keep up on updates about this event.
You can also follow @blackqueercolumbus on Instagram to learn more and for further updates, and many thanks to them and to our guests for helping make this interview possible!
For another really great interview by our guests, you can listen to the episode by the radio show On Resistance entitled “In Their Own Words”, which you can find on SoundCloud.
. … . ..
To close out the hour, we will hear two tracks, the first by Angel Haze entitled A Tribe Called Red and the last by Mhysa entitled Spectrum. Thanks to all the people who gave me music recommendations for this episode!
Welcome to the 8th anniversary podcast mini-sode special
Heya listeners. The Final Straw has an irregular tradition of using our anniversary to air conversations with other projects that produce anarchist media. In past episodes, linked in the notes for this special, you can find chats from past anniversaries. This time around, we are featuring two interviews.
First, you’ll hear audio from the regular host of the ItsGoingDown podcast. The IGDcast is a weekly podcast produced by It’s Going Down which features interviews with participants in social movements, struggles, rebellions, projects, thinkers, and organizers, mostly focused on anti-capitalist, anarchist, antifascist, autonomous and anti-colonial activities in North American. For the interview, we talk about the past of the IGDcast, what it covers, the state of radical media and mainstream interventions and some of their plans for the future.
Then we bring you a chat with Linda Rose, the main host of Subversion1312. Subversion1312, inheritor of The Anarchy Show, airs in Brisbane, Australia on 4zzz radio. Linda Rose and I speak about the history of the show, which has run in various forms for over two decades, anarchist approaches in Australia to anti-colonial struggle, spaces and scenes in Australia, feminism interventions against so-called “Men’s Rights Activists“, with a special appearance by Mark, the international pop sensation and occasional co-host.
This week I had the chance to speak to Ricchi, who is a Puerto Rican anarchist, about an autonomous squatted community center in Borique called Valle Garita. In this episode, we talk about the squatted space and the intentions of the organizers, plus the cultural context of squatting, reactions of the police, landlord, and bank, and some concrete asks for solidarity and support from non locals. We end the show with a brief report back and analysis of what went down on May Day in San Juan and all over Puerto Rico, so stay tuned for that!
On the social media, you can follow the Valle Garita squat by following @vallegarita or following that same hashtag, you can also search for them on Facebook. You can also follow Urbe Apie on Instagram @urbeapie.
For sending cards and letters of support you can address envelopes to:
Paseo Gautier Bénitez #16
Caguas Puerto Rico 00725
Letters can be written in Spanish, English, or any other language!
A brief correction from our last show where I interviewed Nutty about the monopod blockade at the Hellbender Autonomous Zone, I stated that the MVP was overseen by Dominion Resources and Duke Energy, and that is not the case, I was thinking of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The MVP is in fact owned by EQT Midstream Partners and NextEra Energy, Inc. EQT has a history of fracking and is now trying to get into transport. Thanks to all the people who set me right on that! If you have any questions or corrections, don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com
Shoutout to Nutty, Red, and Minor, and all those who are protecting and defending the land and water from predatory corporate pipelines!
For regular listeners of The Final Straw, the sound quality might not be what you are used to from us. We are continuing to experiment with our audio set ups, please bear with us through these experiments!
. … . ..
Josh Gerdts Memorial Fund
In some very sad news, Josh Gerdts, an anti-racist skinhead, was murdered two days ago in Chesterfield County just south of Richmond VA. He leaves behind a family, including a very young child. The family has set up a gofundme to help pay for the funeral and to help raise the child, which you can find at http://www.gofundme.com/joshgerdts
Rest in power, Josh. You will be missed.
Vendenga Rojava: a New Radio Show out of Rojava, Mesopotamia
VEDENGA ROJAVA – ECHOES OF THE RESISTANCE An internationalists radio project bringing an inside look into Afrin resistance. Revolutionaries from different parts of the world organized in different collectives and organizations in Rojava found and importance to come together and launch an audio project focused on the peoples resistance against an invasion of Afrin canton carried by the fascist state of Turkey and its jihadist proxies. Our aim is to spread an awareness of this historical event and inspire English speaking folks all over the globe by ongoing struggle and revolutionary organizing in Afrin, Rojava and beyond. Listen and share our reports, updates, analysis, interviews, stories about life of fallen comrades, music and more. This radio show is a limited project and will have only three issues. For more tune us up on May 16th on soundcloud.com/vedengarojava.”
No More Deaths
From nomoredeaths.org: “On January 17, Scott Warren – a humanitarian aid provider from the group No More Deaths – and two individuals receiving humanitarian aid were arrested by US Border Patrol. Scott was preliminarily charged with felony harboring and could face five years in prison.
We are well into our preparation for the next Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair, happening June 22nd-24th, and we want to invite you to participate in shaping the themes and helping gear up for this exciting weekend!
We are holding an interest meeting to ask for volunteers and discuss possible contributions folks can make:
Monday May 7 at 7pm Firestorm Books 610 Haywood Road
Our main items where we need help are:
Street Team Promotion, Online/Social Media Promotion, Arranging Housing for Out of Towners, Fundraising, Cook Food, DAY OF (biggest Need)
If you have other ideas, we welcome your input!
This week’s installment of #error451 podcast, Bursts and William Budington speak about facial recognition technology. We chat about how different methods are employed, scanning of social media by police and security forces, different methods used to avoid it such as camouflage, lights, makeup and masks, the Google Arts & Culture app comparing people’s selfies to the contents of art museums and more.
For this May Day episode William had the chance to speak with Nutty, who has been holding down a monopod blockade which is blocking the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the renamed Hellbender Autonomous Zone. She has been without the ability to reup her food and water supplies for over 21 days due to cop and forest ranger interference. We get to speak about the monopod and her experiences participating in this struggle, as well as her views on resisting the MVP, some ideas on the future of this struggle, some actionable items, and direct asks for support.
On the very first day of this blockade as some listeners will remember, Nutty’s direct support was arrested while trying to explain the rigging of the blockade to the police. Monopods rely on a series of rigs to support a platform where resisters typically sit. The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is a massive 303 mile proposal by the company Dominion Resources in partnership with Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas, is proposed to span land from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia and would disrupt and destroy countless habitats and complex interconnected water supplies, as well as the human communities it would likewise destroy. To hear an in depth podcast about this issue, I recommend End of the Line broadcasting out of Richmond, which you can find at http://pipelinepodcast.org/ and on https://soundcloud.com/pipelinepodcast/
Our guest will mention in the interview that the MVP’s proposal just got amended to go through a 70 mile stretch of North Carolina. For those who are concerned by this, we’d recommend looking into the Atlantic Coast Pipeline which would span a 600 mile track of land over WV VA and NC. Opposition to this pipeline is already gaining steam, so keep an eye on your favorite news sources for updates on that.
Next up is a conversation Bursts had with two community organizers in Sonoma County, California, named Sebastían and Mara. These two folks do organizing around immigrant communities and are helping to organize May Day festivities in Santa Rosa this year. Sebastían and Mara share about past years organizing around May Day, immigrant struggles against ICE and community efforts in the follow up to the devestating fires that raged through Northern California last year. Mara also shares about last year’s workplace organizing initiatives of Sonoma County waste workers that won them a contract, agricultural workers who won a contract from Gallo Sonoma Vinyard, and current struggles of employees at the Hyatt Vinyard Creek Santa Rosa. Sebastían also talks about the student walkouts he helped to organize on March 5th and plans for similar walkouts on May Day alongside the “Day Without An Immigrant.”
. … . ..
Finally, we’ll hear from Jack and Quinn, two local Wobblies helping to plan a May Day rally and march in Asheville meeting at 4pm at Pritchard Park in downtown. Later that evening Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross will be hosting a benefit concert at Fleetwoods on Haywood rd in West Asheville. The show starts at 8pm and will feature the music of Poor Excuse, WRHCKD, Earth Collider & Nomadic War Machine and the moneys will go to the local efforts to release black mothers from the Buncombe County Jail via the Black Mama Bail Fund effort on May 10th. More info on Black Mama Bail Out at https://nomoremoneybail.org/
For a longer version of the chat with the Asheville Wobblies, check out the podcast version. There you’ll also find announcements about Herman Bell and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
If you care to, you can send us a letter at our new address:
The Final Straw
P.O. Box 6004
Asheville, NC 28816
There is no Sean Swain segment this week due to scheduling errors on our part, but don’t worry we promise to have him back on next week’s episode. If you miss the sound of his voice, you can his website, SeanSwain.org and easily find his segments going back to 2014.
Herman Bell leaves prison!!!:
We’re happy to announce that former Black Panther, BLA soldier and elder Herman Bell walked free from prison this week. From his support crew:
On Friday, April 27th, Herman Bell, a 70-year old respected elder, was released after serving nearly 45 years in prison. Herman was one of thousands of incarcerated older people who was repeatedly denied parole for over a decade after completing his minimum sentence.
“His release is a result of important and urgent changes in the criminal legal system and parole regulations that are part of nationwide efforts to end mass incarceration. Let us hope that Herman’s release brings inspiration for more change.
“Herman is deeply humbled and grateful for the broad expressions of trust and support, but out of respect for the feelings of the victims’ families, he will not be making any public statements. We welcome him home.
And so do we at The Final Straw.
Pack The Courtroom for Mumia:
In other political prisoner news, Mumia Abu-Jamal has a court appearance tomorrow, April 30th in Philadelphia and his support crew is asking folks in the area to show up and pack the courthouse. Show up in courtroom attire to support Mumia at 8am at room 1108, Criminal Justice Center at 13th and Filbert St in Philadelphia. In this hearing the Judge will consider the argument that former PA Supreme Court Judge Castille should have recused himself from considering Mumia’s appeal because Castille had been working with the Philly DA’s office at the time of Mumia’s prosecution and during later appeals. A similar situation was deemed unconstitutional in the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2016 Williams v. Pennsylvania.
There is also a call for supporters of Mumia to call current Philly DA Larry Krasner and request that he release the files on Mumia from the Philadelphia District Attorney office and Philadelphia Police Department. You can call Larry Krasner at 215-686-8000. More ideas of how to help out Mumia can be found at mobilization4mumia.com.
Correction from the scott crow interview from Bursts:
On last week’s episode of our show, in which I interviewed scott crow about his new book “Setting Sites”, I asked a question about toxic masculinity and gun culture by using the term “male socialized” to describe men. I misspoke. What I meant to communicate in the question was masculine expectation and performativity and not to lump people who’ve been coercively assigned male by society based on a doctor’s childhood assessment. I should have said “men”. Sorry for the misspeak and thanks to the folks who gave us feedback.
This week on Error451, William Budington and Bursts chat about eavesdropping by digital devices. This conversation happened before the Cambridge Analytica & Facebook scandal, but covers some of the same material.
Do Facebook, Amazon, Google and other big data companies listen through your device to your conversations and target marketing at you based on your choices? What tools do platforms like those mentioned above have and what are their interests in your real-life movements, the sites you visit, how long you stay on a page and where you go next?
In a past episode, we had spoken about Apps tracking us and communicating via mic and speaker in subsonic levels with advertising devices. More on specifically Cambridge Analytica and Facebook is coming to Error451 soon!
This weekend there were large counter presences to a national socialist movement rally in the small town of Newnan Georgia, about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta. This group, which was formerly known as the American nazi party, has been called one of the most active white supremacist groups in the US, and was gathering to celebrate the birthday of one dead white power a-hole. Despite the protesters outnumbering the wp group by as much as 10 or 20 to 1, militarized police heavily repressed the diverse coalition of anti racist activists by using extreme physical force resulting in over 10 arrests.
From the support page:
As feared, cops attacked and arrested people with absolutely no justification – particularly people of color and other marginalized individuals. So far, we’re aware of up to 13 arrests, some of whom are dealing with serious medical conditions while in jail.
We need to get them out as soon as possible, and we need a lot of money to do it. Together we have the power to free them!
From an update posted this morning:
We have several protesters free already thanks to bail contributions! We have contacted everyone still in jail, and have learned some concerning things: Some protesters are being given trumped up felony charges, despite video evidence showing they did nothing. We believe the charges are intended to make it longer/more expensive to get them out.
We have also learned that some protesters have been put in the same cell block as NSM members (a Nazi group). This makes it even more urgent that we get folks out as soon as possible.
From the Neighborhood Anarchist Collective in Eugene, Oregon
“For this May Day, the Neighborhood Anarchist Collective will be hosting an International Workers’ Day Solidarity Share Fair on Tuesday, May 1st! The event will be at First Christian Church* from 2-6PM. This free market is a project organized by NAC to provide free goods and services from local organizations and community groups to the unhoused and working class communities in need of these basic necessities, along with food, live music, and a chance to know other folks in the community – and it’s all free!
The collective is also still accepting donations and volunteers! If you or your group, business, or organization would like to provide goods or services at this event or lend a helping hand, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected. Your contributions are greatly appreciated!
For info on May Day events in Santa Rosa, CA & in Asheville, NC, stay tuned for the April 29th , 2018, episode of The Final Straw for interviews with organizers of events in both of those places.
Certain Days Calendar
For any artists or folks in touch with artists out there, heads up reminder on this:
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective is releasing its 18th calendar this coming fall. The theme for 2019 is ‘Health/Care,’ reflecting on the overlapping topics of health, care/caring, and healthcare. We are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 3,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world.
For anyone interested in giving a presentation or looking to table at the 2018 ACAB, or Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair in Asheville from Thursday, June 21- Sunday, June 24, 2018, there’s been an extension of deadline. Sign up for either or both of those things or find more information at https://acab2018.noblogs.org
And now a couple of repression announcements:
Herman Bell back on track to parole!
In some good news, the lawsuit to block the release of political prisoner Herman Bell, former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army POW in New York State, has been thrown out by a judge, so he should be released on his scheduled parole after nearly 45 years inside. Thanks to everyone who sent letters & emails, made phone calls and spread the word about Herman Bell’s case. We wish him a welcome back to the outside. Free Them All!
In some not as good news from Hamilton, Ontario, so-called Canada:
As some of you may have heard, our beloved friend, Cedar (Peter) Hopperton has been arrested and charged in relation to the property damage that occurred on Locke Street in Hamilton.
In the very early morning hours of Friday, April 6th, the Hamilton SWAT team broke down the door of Cedar’s house, threw in a flash grenade, and entered with assault riffles drawn. Cedar was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offense (unlawful assembly while masked). While a publication ban is in effect that prohibits us from sharing the details of the crown’s flimsy case, we can say that this is clearly a political prosecution: Cedar is being targeted because they are a visible face to anarchist organizing in Hamilton, and because of their self-affirmed and proud anarchist politics. As we learned from the G20 in Toronto, and again more recently with the J20 defendants in the US, conspiracy charges are ambiguous and deeply political. This is no different.
On Tuesday, April 10th, having already been in custody for 5 days due to stall tactics used by the crown, Cedar was, devastatingly, denied bail. Despite the fact that they have no history of violence and have never been charged with a violent crime, Cedar will remain indefinitely in jail, a place that is profoundly violen t and leaves lasting trauma. In addition to the routine violence of jail life, Cedar, as a gender nonconforming person, faces additional harm from the institution, the guards, as well as the other prisoners.
Please visit https://hamiltonanarchistsupport.noblogs.org/ for more information or to make a donation to Cedar’s legal defense fund. Also consider writing Cedar. Keep in mind all correspondence will be screened by guards. Use ink only – no glue, fragrances, glitter, stickers, etc. Sending books is prohibited. Staples are also not allowed.
Peter (Cedar) Hopperton
c/o Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre
165 Barton St E
Hamilton, ON L8L 2W6
This is episode number 11 of “B(A)D NEWS – Angry voices from around the world”, a news program from the international network of anarchist and anti-authoritarian radios, consisting of short news segments from different parts of the world.
(Overall duration 39:33)
– The Hotwire from Crimethinc: school shootings in the united states & youth liberation;
– 105fm, on the island of Lesvos, come with news from around the North Aegean including the persecution of migrants at Moria and in court
– Dissident Island Radio in London tell us strike organizing among staff & lecturers at the University & College Union in the UK plus words from Anna Campbell, a UK-born antifascist, animal liberationist and anarchist organizer awho was killed during the Turkish assault on Efrin in Rojava
– From Athens Radiozones of Subversive Expression have words about the acquittal of Golden Dawn racists of hate speech, levels charges at anarchist Tasos Theofilou of terrorism by identity
– A-Radio Berlin shares thoughts on fake news, a website called getbadnewscom (nothing to do with us) about media literacy
– and AGAIN a segment from The Hot Wire, pulling from sub.Media‘s 2014 interview with anarchist panther, Ashanti Alston, about the continuance of the murders of Black people in the so-called U.S. by police despite decades passing since the life (and death) of Martin Luther King Jr. (assassinated 50 years ago this year) and an announcement by members of the former Black Lives Matter chapter in Cincinnati, OH, USA, critiquing and splitting from the BLM organization.
Last Tuesday morning, March 20th, 5 people with ski masks, armed with baseball bats and pepper spray entered a squat on the ZAD. They beat the people present, and took one of them, hogtied, with duct tape over his eyes and mouth. They put him in the trunk of a car and left. Further on, they beat him again, breaking an arm and a leg, before abandoning him on the sidewalk in front of the psychiatric hospital.
His "error" was to have acted concretely against a State sponsored project, in a way which wasn't aligned with the dominant strategy of the movement. That strategy being to invite the regional head of police, cops, and politicians onto the ZAD to negotiate with them.
We are long past the phase of trying to say nicely to certain groups that they are going too far, that they should put themselves into question, etc. We also find it just as problematic that there has been hardly anyone taking public position after this disgusting operation by some wannabe cops. In comparison, when some journalists invited by the ACIPA (local liberal group against the airport) got hit with a bit of compost, a bakery went on strike, the general assemblies had to change meeting place, people had their internet cut off, etc.
One part of the movement wants to win points with the State by doing the work of the police. They are giving offerings that they think the will motivate the State to give them presents in return. This repressive operation shows that no matter where repression comes from, it comes down to the same thing:
Punishing those who get in the way, threatening those who could. Taking advantage of police impunity by being part of dominant groups, better organized, and with more resources. Defending the interests of the State and privileged citizens with violence and rapports de force.
A lot of different individuals can be threatening to power, but repression is adapted to social class. People who are well connected, well liked, won't end up in the hospital- just have pressure put on them, insults, humiliation... But for someone who's more vulnerable. They are reproducing repression, even in its classist aspect. And even worse, the victim is put on trial that very evening in the general assembly of the movement.
By leaving the person in front of the mental hospital, the able-ist component is added. The psychiatric hospital is the place for the people who are bothersome. Either the people who did it didn't care about the risk he would be forcibly hospitalized, for example if he had had prior time spent in mental health facilities, or it would have made it easier to get him out of the way.
Reactionary forces in all their splendor. The crazy part is that there are still people who pretend that on the ZAD we try to organize without police or the justice system. That here is a "Commune", that here we're revolutionary.
For the legal team, this act represents what we've always fought against. We would like to make a reminder that a movement of struggle is not sheltered from relationships of inequality or oppression, even in their most violent expressions. We invite you to reflect and act, to avoid that in other struggles certain people take control to re-establish the power of dominant classes, and of the State.
-the legal team
-copains des bois