In late November of 2013, Kiev and other parts of Ukraine saw the building of spontaneous plaza occupations and street demonstrations against President Yanukovych apparent decision to stall steps towards integrating Ukraine into the European Union. The protests, known as Euromaidan or EuroPlaza in Ukrainian, called on the ruling government to move forward with the integration, fearing that the stalling was a sign that the Ukraine was giving in to pressure from the competing Customs Union (made up of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) which had been courting Ukrainian participation. The protests are ongoing, despite the signature of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych into a deal with Russia for promised purchases of billions of dollars of Ukrainian products and a 30% discount on Russian Natural Gas. Euromaidan have been compared in scale, and sadly in lack of critical debate about issues among the populace, to the 2004 Ukrainian Orange revolution which saw the rising to power of those who would become the status quo today.
This week on the Final Straw, we’ll be speaking with Denys. Denys is an organizer and activist with the Kiev Local of the Autonomous Worker’s Union, a Revolutionary Syndicalist turned Anarchosyndicalist organizing and propaganda group in the capital of the Ukraine. We’ll spend the hour discussing the political system in that country, the spectrum of parties, influence of media and oligarchs and radical groups on the far left and far right. Later on in the hour, Denys will address his philosophy, Anarchosyndicalism via Synthesist Anarchism, and what the AWU in Kiev and elsewhere has been able to achieve. More on the AWU can be found at avtonomia.net .
We’ll also speak briefly about a protest in Kiev in solidarity with struggling workers in Kazakhstan on the anniversary of the Zhanaozen Massacre of December 16, 2011.
A partial transcript is now available for this episode thanks to folks at Rev-News & Nihilist.li
The main portion of the episode features an interview with Alvaro Luna Hernandez, a Chicano political prisoner serving a 50 year sentence in Texas for disarming a Sheriff who pulled a gun on him, and then fleeing. Mr. Hernandez speaks about his case, his legal history, his political development, and his imprisonment. Special thanks to the Central Texas Anarchist Black Cross for this material. More info on Alvaro can be found at http://freealvaro.net
The final portion of the show features 3 new metal tracks: I by Dusk from their EP; Black Fast with Levitations from Starving Out The Light; and Voidcraeft from the album Scorn with the track As If Amongst Animals.
This week’s episode features three, that’s right, three whopping conversations.
Firstly, we hear from Luke O’Donovan about his case. Luke is an Anarchist in the Atlanta area who defended himself against a queer bashing last New Years at a party. Luke suffered multiple wounds inflicted by knives as well as beating which sent him to the hospital. He’s facing 5 charges of aggrivated assault with a deadly weapon for injuring the people attacking him, who’d earlier called him a faggot repeatedly. Each of those 5 charges could carry a twenty year sentence.
After that, we’ll hear from Rafi, an organizer in Durham North Carolina, about the spate of police murders of young men of color in that city. Particularly we’ll talk about the case of Jesus Chuy Huerta, a 17 year old latino man shot in the back of a patrol car while handcuffed that the police are claiming was self-inflicted.
Finally, we’ll hear from Jess who’s been organizing alongside youth in Santa Rosa, California since the shooting death by Sheriff’s there of 13 year old Andy Lopez for having a toy gun. The fatal shooting of Andy Lopez fell
on October 22nd of this year. For those who don’t know, October 22nd is a day when many people in the United States remember those killed and imprisoned by police and protest against police violence.
This week’s show features two parts. In the first we present a speech from the recent Carborro Anarchist bookfaire by a collective member at Untorelli Press on queer resistance inside and outside of prisons in the 20th century and what we might take from the experiences of our predecessors. More from Untorelli can be found at http://untorellipress.noblogs.org
For more on Men Against Sexism, check out this interview with Ed Mead on Earful of Queer
Secondly we’ll hear a presentation by Joe of the North American Anarchist Black Cross Medical Justice Committee. The conversation ranges over a number of topics, but focuses primarily on active and revolutionary solidarity with anarchist and other political prisoners.
The original post with contacts can be found here: http://325.nostate.net/?p=9112
A pretty good list of prisoners can be found at Denver ABC‘s page
This week Bursts spoke to Leslie James Pickering about a range of different subjects. Mr. Pickering worked for the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO), acting to spread the message and communiques of the ELF, from 1997 to 2002. Obviously, he experienced heavy state oppression during that period of time. And recently, it’s become apparent that the state hasn’t forgotten him.
Leslie James Pickering is no longer allowed to enter Canada (despite no relevant arrests in the last decade and a half) and has found that he’s got a “Mail Cover” via the Post Office where his mail is photocopied and tracked by an as yet unidentified Law Enforcement Agency. He’s also had friends on the West Coast contacted by the Buffalo (NY) FBI Office and asked if Leslie has enemies or do direct action and business contacts of Leslie’s have been subpoenaed to Grand Juries around Burning Books Radical Bookstore. Leslie is an owner of that radical bookstore in Buffalo, which carries books, zines and hosts political events and via which, according to the FBI, Leslie is “stirring up the youth.”
We spend most of the hour talking about government surveillance in his case in particular and in general in the U.S. and also about the prosecution of Jeremy Hammond. Leslie shares some thoughts on parts the forgotten history of radical resistance in the U.S. In particular, he talks about his recent book on the Evan Mecham Eco Terrorist International Conspiracy (EMETIC), a predecessor to the ELF, as well as his earlier book on a radical, white, working class radical named Sam Melville who bombed government and capital centers in New York and inspired the Weather Underground. Melville, who’s the focus of Pickering’s book “Mad Bomber Melville”, went on to organize at Attica before and die during the Attica Prison uprising in 1971. In Pickering’s view, the importance of recognizing and learning from radical history allows us to better strategize for current and future struggles.
Lastly, we briefly touch on the story of Martin Sostres, who’s ideological journey brought him from Nation of Islam through Black Nationalism to Anarchism. Sostre was framed up on drug charges in order to silence his organizing and shut down his bookstore in Buffalo, NY, in 1967 and served 10 years before having his case overturned. Martin Sostre now lives in New York City. There was a 1974 documentary about his case called “Frame-Up!: The Imprisonment of Martin Sostre” (Pacific Street Films). The film HAS been available for streaming at christiebooks.com, alongside MANY other films in many languages.
This week’s show is about the case of two prisoners in Ohio. In 2011, the staff at Mansfield Correctional Institution (MANCI) became aware of a nascent guerilla sabotage movement starting among prisoners called the Army of the 12 Monkeys (A12M). A12M sabotage and organizing manual and propaganda began circulating among prisoners. Cells were searched in detail and James “BlackJack” Dzelajlija was found to have angry hiphop against prison he’d written and also a book on Ericco Malatesta, the long-dead Italian anarchist. Sean Swain, an outspoken anarchist prisoner and jailhouse lawyer at the same institution, was found to have an article he was writing criticizing the privatization of the prison system. Neither were found with A12M materials. As time passed, 2 other prisoners were accused and assented to membership in A12M and that Swain and Blackjack were unaffiliated. Ohio’s prison court, however, disagreed. Now this movement has spread throughout multiple facilities in Ohio, such as Noble, Lake Eerie and Toledo.
This episode is a conversation with Blackjack and Sean Swain, both serving in high security at Youngstown (OSP), and also with Ben Turk of Redbird Prison Abolition and supporter of Sean Swain. We talk about Sean’s activism and writing, how the A12M case has effected Sean & Blackjack, the targeting of anarchists within prisons and more.
http://seanswain.org for Sean’s articles, posts, zines, comics and news on Blackjack, A12M as it relates to Sean and Blackjack and more!
This week’s episode is a conversation with Ben Turk. Ben’s a co-founder of Insurgent Theatre, the decade-old theater troop that has presented a number of original and refurbished theater workshops and performances around the country. Topics of IT’s works have ranged from discussions around Militancy framed through Homer’s Odyssey to Administrative Segregation to a Terrorists Fairytale.
Insurgent Theatre’s current play is called “Know Your Enemy.” The play is a one-person presentation based around a community liaison cop with a liberal heart of gold. As the play goes on, the cop begins to question whether he can actually do his job and help the community. A psychological study into the head of the “good cop” and community/cop relations, it also serves as a history of policing in the United States (ala “Our Enemies in Blue” by Kristian Williams) and a discussion of safer practices when interacting with cops (a sort of Know Your Rights presentation). http://insurgenttheatre.org/acab/acab.html
We also talk a bit during the hour about art and theater in the modern U.S. and how they can and/or do(n’t) intersect. He has a theatrical and theoretical project meant to play out his views on the role of art in revolution. http://artscab.net/
Finally, we speak about prison abolition. Ben has been involved in Redbird Prison Abolition, doing support work for and with prisoners (and those in revolt in particular) in Ohio where the project is based. These include the Lucasville Uprising prisoners, Sean Swain and others. http://www.redbirdprisonabolition.org/
This week, we spoke with Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan who is facing the death penalty for his role as a negotiator during the prisoner uprising at the SOCF facility in Lucasville in April of 1993. Hasan, as well as 4 other prisoners, have become known as the Lucasville 5. 4 of them are charged with the death of a prison guard by the name of Bobby Vallandingham as well as 9 inmates considered to be snitches.
The riot began as negotiations between Sunni prisoners, of which Hasan was one of the leaders, took guards hostage in hopes of bringing state attention to the problems at the prison. In particular among their concerns was the imposition of a TB test that was in contradiction to their religious beliefs and for which an alternative was readily available. Soon, other prisoners began to take space and control. Fearing a bloody outcome like was seen at Attica in New York, representatives of the Sunni community, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Black Gangster Disciples at Lucasville began negotiations with the state to bring a peaceful resolution to the uprising. Graffiti displayed within the prison began speaking of “Convict Race” and “Black and White Unity”.
After the end of the uprising, the state, under pressure from Vallandingham’s family, railroaded the five. The call for blood was great, but since the Lucasville Disturbance, so have been the calls for justice in the case of the Lucasville 5.
In this hour Peter discusses the arguments in “The Failure…”, surmises the efficacy of nonviolent civil disobedience mass movements since the end of the Cold War, looks at some of the main and most visible supporters of the NVCD and what a more verdant struggle might look like.
This week William talks with Ed Mead, editor of CA Prison Focus magazine to discuss the results of the hunger and work strikes that swept west coast prisons since July, resulting in one prisoner death and at one point including the participation of 30,000 hunger strikers. The strike, the third over two years, was meant to bring attention to and pressure against the state for it’s practices of indefinite detention in solitary confinement without recourse, the silencing of prisoner activists, lack of programs for prisoners to prepare for the outside world, the institutionalization of snitch-culture through “debriefing”, group punishments and not providing adequate and nutritive food. More info can be found at: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/
This Thursday in Oakland, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) will be holding a press conference following a legal hearing around posing a class action lawsuit around inhumane conditions in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay. Show up if ya can! Details at: http://ccrjustice.org/pelican-bay