Category Archives: Art

Certain Days: Freedom For Political Prisoners Calendar 2021

Certain Days: Freedom For Political Prisoners Calendar 2021

2021 Certain Days: Freedom For Political Prisoners Calendar cover
Download This Podcast Bonus

For the release of the 2021 Certain Days: Freedom For Political Prisoners Calendars we caught up with Josh, Sara and Daniel, three outside collective members. There’s no point in me explaining about the project when they do such a good job in the next 40 minutes! Calendars are now available via BurningBooks.com in the so-called US, LeftWingBooks.Net in so-called Canada, and via Active Distribution (soon?) in Europe. Check out an interview we mention with Xanachtli and David Gilbert on Treyf Podcast.

We also talk about Jalil Muntaqim’s release from prison after almost 50 years. Well, he’s been re-arrested by a politically motivated warrant from Monroe County DA Sandra Doorley’s office for allegedly attempting to register to vote and is being accused of voter fraud! There is an article and a petition and more information available on the SFBayView National Black Newspaper’s website.

More information on the case and support for Eric King can be found at SupportEricKing.Org. To hear our chat with Eric from last year, take a listen to this interview. Also, the recent interview by the Solecast of Robcat of Fire Ant Journal (to which Eric contributes) was quite lovely.

We’ll close out now with a track entitled “Back To You” and performed by The Hills The Rivers. You can find it and more on the album Burning Down: The Songs of Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain.

Maxida Märak and Gabriel Khun on Liberating Sápmi

Liberating Sápmi with Maxida Märak and Gabriel Khun

Book cover of "Liberating Sapmi", PM Press
Download Episode Here

This week we are pleased to present an interview William conducted with Gabriel Khun and Maxida Märak on the 2019 PM Press release Liberating Sápmi: Indigenous Resistance in Europe’s Far North. This book, of which Khun is the author and editor and Märak is an contributor, details a political history of the Sámi people whose traditional lands extend along the north most regions of so called Sweden, Norway, Finland, and parts of Russia, as well as interviews conducted with over a dozen Sámi artists and activists.

Maxida Märak is a Sámi activist, actor, and hip hop artist who has done extensive work for Indigenous people’s justice. All of the music in this episode is by Märak and used with her permission, one of which comes off of her 2019 full length release Utopi.

In this episode we speak about the particular struggles of Sámi folks, ties between Indigenous people all around the world, and many more topics!

Links for further solidarity and support from our guests:

Pile o´Sápmi: http://www.pileosapmi.com/

WeWhoSupportJovssetAnte: https://wewhosupportjovssetante.org/

Gállok Iron Mine: http://www.whatlocalpeople.se/about/

Ellos Deatnu!: https://ellosdeatnu.wordpress.com/

Moratorium Office: https://moratoriadoaimmahat.org

Arctic Railway: https://www.ejatlas.org/conflict/the-arctic-railway-project-through-sami-territory-from-finland-to-norway

. … . ..

Music for this episode in order of appearance:

Maxida Märak – Järnrör

Maxida Märak – Kommer aldrig lämna dig – Utopi – 2019

Maxida Märak cov. Buffy Sainte-Marie – Soldier Blue

 

Io of ABO COMIX On Abolition, Comics, Queer Prisoner Support and Nerding

Prison Abolition, Queer Comicking, Nerding

Download This Episode

This week Cypress spoke with Io Ascarium. The conversation covered their work as a member of ABO Comix Collective and their work in comics and print.

Io is “a maurading pillar of salt just doing their best to make what
could, in a sense, be described as ‘art'” (I love them dearly but could not bring myself to write this into the actual script).

ABO Comix Collective is a group of buds and comrades working to help LGBTQ and HIV + prisoners publish their art and stay connected to the outside world. They also provide direct material aid to those inside and spread the good word of prison abolition. Their 3rd volume was released for presale earlier this month. All proceeds go back to the contributors.

You can visit their site at Abocomix.com.
You can visit Io’s online shop at thing.bigcartel.com

Io (they/them)
Cypress (he/him)

. … . ..

playlist pending…

Humor, Shaming and Yelling At Racist Dogs w Tom Tanuki

Humor, Shaming and Yelling At Racist Dogs w Tom Tanuki

Tom Tanuki foto (stolen from Subversion1312)
Download This Episode

On the show this week, Bursts spoke with Tom Tanuki, front man of the group Yelling At Racist Dogs (Y.A.R.D.), a performance anti-fascist group that directs insulting yells at far-right, xenophobic events and speakers. For the hour we talk some about Tom’s background, the landscape of far-right politics in Australia and the place of humor and public shaming in confronting racist public figures in the work that Tom and his comrades do. You can follow Tom on twitter at the handle @tom_tanuki, on instagram at the same handle minus the underscore (@tomtanuki), and on fedbook by finding Yelling At Racist Dogs. And you can find the shirts Tom talks about at their bigcartel page.

[Sean Swain at 2min 53sec, Tom Tanuki at 11min 23sec]

We stole this picture from Subversion1312’s interview with Tom. A couple of the resources that Tom references at the end of the interview are Blackfulla Revolution and Black Feminist Ranter by Celeste Liddle, both pages on fedbook, and the book on Australian history he suggests is called Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode where we share my interview with Andy Fleming, the maniac behind SlackBastard, an exhaustive commentary on the far right in Australia (as well as the tankie left and Andy’s thoughts about anarchism, antifa and more) up at slackbastard.anarchobase.com.

Announcements

May Day in Asheville

If you’re in Asheville this May 1st, Wednesday, there’re a few events we’re happy to share. At 10 am there’s a rad families meetup at Vermont Ave playground at the West Asheville Park. Buncombe County schools are closed due to call ins by teachers as a part of the organizing wave known as Red4Ed and there’ll be a large march and rally in Raleigh, the state capital. For those unable to make it, there’s an 11am rally by teachers at the Vance monument downtown. Festivities begin at 3pm at the park on Vermont Ave with a roving bike ride, with some bikes provided. This’ll be followed at 4:30pm by a game of kickball and at 6pm, a short parade will commence from 644 Haywood Rd complete with a marching band. At 7:30 there’ll be a potluck with free vegan and gluten-free options and, finally, a public showing of the working class-ic, “9-5”, featuring Dolly Parton. More info by visiting https://tfsr.wtf/avlmayday

. … . ..

playlist

Gord Hill on Art and Resistance

Gord Hill on Art and Resistance

Download This Episode

Gord Hill is an indigenous author, anarchist, antifascist and militant, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation living in so-called British Columbia, Canada. Gord is also graphic artist and comic book author who most recently published The Antifa Comic Book, out from Arsenal Pulp Press, and runs the website Warrior Publications and sometimes publishes under the nom-de-plume of ZigZag.

For the hour we speak about his writings documenting indigenous resistance history in the so-called Americas (mostly with a focus on Turtle Island), antifascist organizing, intersections of indigenous struggle and anarchism and critiques of Pacifism (see Gord’s “Smash Pacifism” zine). Some of the points of resistance that we cover include Elsipogtog (Elsipogtog in 5 Minutes video at sub.media), Idle No More, The Oka Crisis (“The Oka Crisis in 5 Minutes” video at sub.media), Stoney Point/Aazhoodena (another 5 minutes video by Gord), Gustafsen Lake (we didn’t talk about but another 5 minute video), the Zapatista Rebellion and the Unist’ot’en Camp resistance to pipelines in so-called B.C.

(Sean Swain at 3min 55sec, Gord Hill at 11min 27sec, announces at 57min 29sec)

Rayquan Borum Trial Update

In a brief and sad update to last week’s interview on the case of Rayquan Borum, we’d like to read a statement from the fedbook page for Charlotte Uprising:

We are deeply saddened to report that Rayquan Borum has been found guilty of possession of a firearm and second degree murder with him being sentenced to 25/26 years in a cage.

We knew it would be difficult to receive a fair trial in the same court that allowed Officer Randall Kerrick to walk free for the murder of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell. We know the police will continue to kill Black and brown folks and escape accountability.

We suffered extreme suppression from the judge from the start of the trial. Even though the medical examiner testified there was a 51% chance that ANYTHING else killed Justin Carr, Judge Hayes would not allow any testimony naming the police. Of course, it is far easier to scapegoat a random Black man than to launch an investigation into the same police force that killed ONLY Black people in 2015.

We also know that Justin Carr would be alive were it not for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department murder of Keith Lamont Scott (no trial for that officer, of course). We know that the Mecklenburg County Courts disproportionately sentence Black and brown bodies to time in cages. We know that CMPD disproportionately arrests Black and brown folks. Black people are 30% of Charlotte’s population and make up about 70% of the jail population.
Heinous.

We know that this is the American Way. In response, we will continue to rise up and resist this colonized nation and work toward building a more decolonized world, for all of us.

Forward, together

#CMPDKilledJustinCarr #CagesFixNothing #FreeThemAll #CMPD #RayquanBorum #MecklenburgCounty #NoMoreKIllerCopsOrJails

A few house keeping notes about the show. We’re happy to announce that The Final Straw is now available on the Pacifica Radio platform for affiliate stations to pick up more easily. If you, dear listener, live in an area where we aren’t on the radio but there’s a community station that airs programming from the Pacifica Network, you now have a WAY easier IN to bug the station’s programming director with. If you want us on your airwaves, check out our “broadcasting” tab on our website and reach out to a local radio station. If you have questions or want help, reach out to us and we’re happy to chat. We hope to have a some more terrestrial broadcast stations to announce soon.

Actually, yah, that was the only note. Tee hee. Otherwise, if you want to hear me, Barchive is linked up in our show notesursts, Dj’ing a 2 hour set of punk, goth and electronica on AshevilleFM, an archive is linked up in our show notes that’s available until March 12th.

Announcements

Asheville Events

If you’re in the Asheville area, there’re a few events coming up on March 16th of note. At 11am at Firestorm books, a participant in the Internationalist Commune, a self-organized collective in Northern Syria, will join us for a video chat about the revolutionary movement to transform Kurdish territory into a stateless society.

Later, across town, there’re a couple of Blue Ridge ABC events at Static Age on Saturday, March 16th. From 3-5pm there’ll be an N64 Super Smash Brothers tournament with vegan philly cheese steaks and fries available, and then from 9pm onward an antifascist black metal show featuring Arid from Chicago, plus local bands Rat Broth and Feminazgul.

Then, a reminder, that on March 22nd at the Block Off Biltmore is a benefit for info-sharing between Southern Appalachia and Rojava. The event will include a discussion, a short documentary showing, vegan desserts and nice merchandise. For more info, check out the flyer in our shownotes from March 3rd, 2019.

And now a couple of prisoner announcements

Chelsea Manning Imprisoned

U.S. Army whistleblower and former Political Prisoner, Chelsae Manning, has been jailed for criminal contempt for refusing a subpoena to participate in a Federal Grand Jury in Virginia concerning her 2010 disclosures to Wikileaks of U.S. drone killings of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. A support committee called “Chelsea Resists!” has been set up and updates will be coming from the website xychelsea.is and there’s a fundraiser up at actionnetwork.com for her as well. We hope to feature members of her support as well as former Grand Jury resisters who’ve been on this show before in an episode soon. You can write to Chelsea at the following address:

Chelsea Elizabeth Manning

AO181426

William G. Trusdale Adult Detention Center

2001 Mill Road

Alexandria, VA 22314

Some quick guidelines to keep her safer while writing are in the show notes

  • Address your letter exactly as shown above
  • send letters on white paper
  • use the mail service to send letters
  • include color drawings if you’d like
  • sparingly send 4×6 photos, as she may only keep 10 at a time
  • Do not send cards, packages, postcards, photocopies or cash
  • Do not decorate the outside of the envelope
  • do not send books or magazines

Exonerated Vaughn 17 prisoners transferred out of state

As the cases proceed against the Vaughn17, 17 prisoners on trial in Delaware for a prison uprising following the election of Trump as president, an uprising sometimes compared to the Lucasville Uprising, repression continues.

The uprising was as follows: prisoners took over Building C at the Vaughn prison in Smyrna, Delaware, and took three prison guards and one prison counselor hostage. Demands issued during the hostage standoff included that Delaware Governor John Carney investigate poor living conditions at the facility. One correctional officer who was taken hostage, Steven Floyd, would later be found dead after police re-entered the facility. The case can be followed at vaughn17support.org as it enters it’s third trial group. A few words from the support site note the continued repression of some of the court-exonerated prisoners:

The State of Delaware retaliated against defendants in the Vaughn uprising trial last week, by moving them out of state to Pennsylvania.

Kevin Berry, Abednego Baynes, Obadiah Miller, Johnny Bramble, Dwayne Staats, and Jarreau Ayers were all transferred to solitary confinement at SCI Camp Hill, a maximum security facility. They joined Deric Forney, who was transferred weeks earlier in January. Berry, Baynes, and Forney have all been fully acquitted on all charges.

“It’s unusual to move prisoners with short terms left in their sentence out of state,” said Fariha Huriya, an organizer working closely with Vaughn 17 prisoners. “They’re being held in solitary confinement, with no showers, no access to commissary, and limited phone calls. It’s the same inhumane conditions that they faced at James T. Vaughn.”

“The State’s vindictiveness will cost them,” said Betty Rothstein, who also organizes with the prisoners. “The Vaughn 17 have resisted these charges, and will continue to resist and expose the corruption of the DOC and abuse on prisoners.”

There are nine defendants who are still awaiting trial. New trial dates for groups 3 and 4 are scheduled for May 6th, 2019, and October 21st, 2019.

. … . ..

Playlist

Donald Rooum, pt1: Author, Cartoonist + Anarchist

Download This Episode

This week’s episode is part one of two (keep an eye out for part two in the future). Most of this show post is notes about repression updates, calls to take part in demonstrations and to support repressed prisoners. YAY!

Donald Rooum

This week, we invite you to listen in on the first part of a conversation we had with 90 year old anarchist, cartoonist and author, Donald Rooum. Donald was born 1928 in Bradford, UK. Donald is most known for his longtime illustration of the wiley, bomb-throwing, firebrand anarchist cartoon character, Wildcat. In this episode, Donald talks about his early political trajectory and development from childhood involvement during World War II in a Communist Party front group into anarchism via the speakers corner in Hyde Park. Donald talks about the Malatesta Anarchist Club, his artistic development and love of cartooning and engagement with activism to stop corporal punishment in schools in the U.K. and ideas about social change and anarchist intervention.

Donald’s work was recently the focus of an animated film  by film-maker Adam Luis-Jacob. Here’s a brief biography with some of Donald’s art (including some Wildcat comics).

Some notes from the conversation (followed by announcements):

Donald was published in:

Peace News website and wikipedia page
Freedom (newspaper) website + wikipedia + Donald’s
history of Freedom
Freedom Press website and wikipedia page
Donald’s Intro to Anarchism on anarchistlibrary
Donald’s “The Ethics of Egoism” on anarchistlibrary
Some low-quality images of Donald’s at Spunk.Org

People Donald mentions:

Philip Sansome (UK anarchist) wikipedia
Vernon Richards (UK anarchist) wikipedia
Article from 1945 reprinted on shutting of the War
Commentary / Freedom Paper
Abdulrahman Mohamed Babu (Zanzibari Revolutionary
Nationalist) wikipedia
Colin Ward (UK anarchist) wikipedia
works by Colin Ward at anarchistlibrary
David Hockney (artist) wikipedia
Nicholas Walter (anarchist + atheist) wikipedia
Benjamin Tucker (American anarchist) wikipedia
Works by Benjamin Tucker at anarchistlibrary
Ken Reid (British cartoonist) wikipedia

STOPP in wikipedia

Announcements:

Sean Swain

Sean Swain, a long-term anarchist prisoner in Ohio, has come under fire by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The ODRC has increased Sean’s security level from 3 to 5b, an increase that has sent him to solitary confinement, led to him being handcuffed during visits, and further removed him from any possibility for parole. Additionally, the ODRC is threatening to put Sean on interstate compact, a system that ships subversive prisoners around the country, places heavy restrictions on communication, and interns them in the black hole of the interstate compact system. We’re calling for any who feel compelled by Sean’s plight to call ODRC director Gary Mohr and demand that Sean’s appeal to the current disciplinary hearing be granted and that Sean’s security level be lowered. (A script for the call can be found below.)

Thank you all. Your solidarity means so much.

some friends of Sean Swain”

Call: Director Gary Mohr 614-387-0588 drc.publicinfo@odrc.state.oh.us melissa.adkins@odrc.state.oh.us (Administrative Assistant for Mohr)

CALL-IN SCRIPT:

“I am calling on behalf of Sean Swain, inmate #243-205. I am a friend of Sean. I am calling to request the ODRC grant Mr. Swain’s appeal regarding his most recent disciplinary record, drop the charges, and lower his security level from 5b to 2. Mr. Swain is not a physical security risk, and there is no reason to keep him at such a high security rating where he will be unable to get the programming he needs to be eligible for rehabilitation and parole. Thank you for your consideration.”

In prisoner news, we’d like to start off with a little bit of positivity:

Nicole Kissane, indicted in 2015 for conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act via releasing thousands of animals from fur farms and destroying breeding records in Idaho, Montana, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, was released after 21 months in federal prison. She still has 3 years of supervised release, but she’s out from behind the actual bars. Welcome home, Nicole!

In local concerns:

If you’re in the Asheville area next weekend, August 3-5, consider Pansy Fest II, a DIY queer/trans music and art festival. The fun starts at 2pm on Friday the 3rd at the Mothlight with a full-ticket of bands and ending out with a dance party til 2am. The weekend includes workshops at Firestorm Books & Coffee with more shows & after parties. Proceeds will go to support the Trans Kindred Fund & Tranzmission Prison Project. More info on their fedbook, or by emailing pansyfestavl@gmail.com

And now a few updates from the world of anti-fascist street presence:

First, coming up fast in early August, fascist and proto-fascist groups are trying to build up some steam for the one year anniversary of the Unite The Right rally on August 12th. The Islamophobic and Western Chauvinist groups Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys are calling for a demonstration and plan to amass a large and likely violent mob in Portland, OR, on August 4th. Antiracists are organizing under #AllOutPDX & #StopTheHate. So a coalition called PopMob, or popular mobilization, is organizing a broad event on August 4th at 10:30 at PDX city hall and then moving at 11:30 to join the larger event at Chapman Square. You can find more information by checking itsgoingdown.org, or finding the events on fedbook called “Stop The Hate” and “Resist Patriot Prayer”. The latter is being called by Eugene Antifa & other groups and will meet up at 11:30 at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Then a week later on the east coast of the so-called U.S. on August 12th there is a call for an Antifascist/Abolitionist Bloc to join the resistance to the far right’s call for the Unite The Right 2 at a time and place to be announced on the site ShutItDownDC.org and news can be found under the tag #DefendDC & #AllOutDC.

Mumia

On August 30th in Philadelphia, PA at 13th and Filbert there will be a rally during the hearing of imprisoned journalist, intellectual and former Black Panther, Mumia Abu-Jamal. From 8am til 11am people are asked to show up in support of this man who has spent nearly 40 years in prison, 30 of it in solitary on death row, for a political show trial for the killing of a cop many believe he didn’t commit. Whether he did or didn’t, Mumia was obviously railroaded for his political beliefs and his reporting critical of the Philly PD & the administration of Frank Rizzo. More on the event, including the nature of the current legal motion, can be found on fedbook.

#August21 Repression Starts

People are pushing back. For starters:

Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan

There is a phone zap in support of Lucasville Uprising prisoner and death row inmate, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, a voice you’ve heard on this show before. Hasan, a member of the Free Ohio Movement and outspoken activist behind bars for peoples dignity, is believed to be suffering similar repression as he did in the run up to the 2016 National Prison Strike. He has been transfered into the hole, likely as a way to shut him up. There is a phone zap called by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee on Monday, July 30th between 9am and 5pm central time. Details forthcoming on the fedbook event.

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, a leader of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) and member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), whose organizing was discussed in DHS/FBI fusion center “terrorism threat assessment” publications as far back as 2009 (page 50) is being kept in solitary confinement after being given an “inciting a riot” charge for writing an article about the Operation PUSH strikes in Florida, and has faced punitive transfer after transfer.;

Keith “Comrade Malik” Washington

Keith “Malik” Washington, a Texas inmate who is also involved with the NABPP and IWOC, has spent the past two years in ad-seg (solitary confinement) on a bogus riot charge connected to his involvement in the 2016 prison strike. He was due to be released from ad-seg, but then had his clearance abruptly revoked and was sent back to solitary on the grounds that the classifications committee had “received additional information” from the Fusion Center in Texas. He has also had issues with medical information about his health issues mysteriously disappearing, leading to the administration putting him in dangerous situations, and is currently being held in an extremely hot and humid punishment cell that he describes as being like “a living hell” and causing headaches, nosebleeds and dizziness.;

Jason Renard Walker

Meanwhile, Jason Renard Walker, another Texas inmate involved with the NABPP and the 2016 strikes, and a contributor to the Fire Inside zine, has managed to get released from solitary, but faces constant threats and harassment from staff, including threats to send him back to solitary on bogus charges for things as simple as asking for water and medical attention, and trying to get back into his own cell so he can use a fan to cool down.

Both Malik and Jason have reported having their mail tampered with, and the explicitly political nature of this censorship was made clear in a conversation with a prison official who told Jason that any writing containing the words “black panther” would be treated as gang material.

Supporting the prison strike means monitoring and opposing the repressive methods that the prison system uses to try and break it, and paying attention to the treatment of 2016 strike organizers like Rashid, Malik, Jason and others can indicate the tactics that are likely to be used more widely in the weeks to come.

Numbers and scripts to call in with for Malik’s situation:

Malik has specifically requested a call-in campaign urging Texas legislators to investigate the conditions at the McConnell Unit. Below are some details of Texas legislators and TDCJ officials, along with a suggested script you can use:

John Whitmire, chair of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee –

(512) 463-0115 or (713) 864-8701

john.whitmire@senate.texas.gov (713) 864-5287 (fax)

Sylvia Garcia, member of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee –

(512) 463-0106 or (713) 453-5100

sylvia.garcia@senate.texas.gov (512) 463-0346 (fax)

José Menéndez, member of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee –

(512) 463-0126 or (210) 733-6604

jose.menendez@senate.texas.gov or (512) 463-2424 (fax)

James White, chair of the House Committee on Corrections – (512) 463-0490 or (409) 283-3700 James.White@house.texas.gov or (512) 463-9059 (fax)

Alma Allen, vice-chair of the House Committee on Corrections – (512) 463-0744 or (713) 776-0505

Alma.Allen@house.state.tx.us or (512) 463-0761 (fax)

Abe Martinez, US Attorney – (713) 567-9349 or abe.martinez@usdoj.gov

Ryan K Patrick, US Attorney – (713)-567-9000

Bryan Collier, TDCJ Excecutive Director – (936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123 or exec.director@tdcj.texas.gov

Billy Hirsch, TDCJ Deputy Director – Billy.Hirsch@tdcj.texas.gov

Philip Sifuentes, McConnell Unit Warden – (361) 362-2300 or philip.sifuentes@tdcj.texas.gov

Miguel Martinez, Regional Director with responsibility for the McConnell

Unit – (361) 362-6328 or miguel.martinez@tdcj.texas.gov

Patricia Chapa, Assistant Regional Director – Patricia.Chapa@tdcj.texas.gov

Emil Garza, Assistant Regional Director – Emil.Garza@tdcj.texas.gov

Garth Parker, Telford Unit Warden – (903) 628-3171

garth.parker@tdcj.texas.gov

Billy Howard, Assistant Regional Director with responsibility for the Telford Unit – billy.howard@tdcj.texas.gov

Carl McKellar, Assistant Regional Director with responsibility for the Telford Unit – carl.mckellar@tdcj.texas.gov

“Hello, my name is —-, and I am contacting you about conditions in the prisons run by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

I demand that the dangerous conditions of extreme heat and humidity that are widespread in units such as the McConnell and Telford Units are fully investigated and rectified immediately. I further request that immediate heat relief measures are put in place, as this is especially urgent for prisoners with health issues.

The prison administration needs to stop the retaliation and harassment of whistleblowers such as Keith Washington (TDCJ 1487958) and Jason Walker (TDCJ 1532092). This retaliation includes, but is not limited to, unjustified use of solitary confinement as a punishment for constitutionally protected speech, denial of parole applications, and direct threats of harm. Please be aware that the State of Texas and the TDCJ may be held legally responsible for any harm suffered by these or any other inmates as a result of the administration’s negligence or punitive actions.

The practice of giving guards quotas of disciplinary reports to meet must also be stopped at once, as this leads to the generation of false or trivial reports as a way of meeting quotas.

In closing, I also wish to state my support for the demands of the ongoing prison strike movement.

Yours sincerely,”

Other ways to help Malik:

1. *Finding legal representation*

Malik has stated that he urgently needs professional legal help in challenging the various forms of harassment he has been subjected to, particularly the interference with his mail. If you know of any sympathetic lawyers or other legal-minded folk who might be able to help, please contact them and ask if they could take the case on.

2. *Write to the comrades!*

Every letter they receive lifts their spirit and protects them, because it lets prison officials know they have people around them, watching for what happens to them. It should also be possible to contact them via jpay.com if you prefer.

Keith H. Washington, #1487958
McConnell Unit
3100 South Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78103

Jason Renard Walker, #1532092
Telford Unit
3899 Hwy 98
New Boston, TX 75570

Kevin Johnson, #1007485
Sussex 1 State Prison
24414 Musselwhite Dr.
Waverly, VA 23891

Shameless Plug

If you’ve made it this far into the announcements, you are obviously a glutton for punishment. Congrats! Now, we’d like to invite you to help us out a bit. The Final Straw Radio has been bringing you interviews with anarchists, anti-capitalists, feminists, eco-defenders, anti-racists and anti-fascists, prison rebels and prison abolitionists, authors and iconoclasts every week since 2009. And we’ve only been getting better. If you appreciate the work that we do, here’re a few things you can do to show your appreciation:

If you live in an area with a community radio station, one of those that isn’t run by something like ClearChannel and just bumping the top 40’s hits nor one that’s preaching a gospel of pie in the sky when you die, consider helping us get onto your local airwaves. Community radio is often a shoestring venture with little locally produced content and is often happy for suggestions of what may bring listeners to their airwaves and get involved in local media and activism. If you are one of the lucky ones who lives near one of these stations, you can email the station or programming director and say that you are an avid listener and that you want to hear The Final Straw Radio on your local airwaves. Tell them that our show is free to air, that we produce an FCC-acceptable show that won’t get them tattled on and that we produce it consistently, each Sunday night at 59 minutes in length. You can find out more about our radio option at our website by clicking the “Radio Broadcasting” tab.

Another way you can help us out might be to share our podcast with people you care about in your community. You could rate us on iTunes so more people will see us, or share us on the obnoxious social medias that we are present on which you can find links to on the kontact page of our website. While you’re sharing us, why not share the monthly anarchist news show we participate in known as B(A)D News: Angry Voices From Around The World produced by the A-Radio Network or check out the shows that share the Channel Zero Network?

Or, you could drop us a line, tell us how we’re doing, comment on our shows or give us suggestions for future episodes. We are always welcome to dialogue and suggestions, though we don’t take ‘em all.

Finally, you could give us a donation, one time over paypal or recurring via Liberapay, an open source donation platform from France, or Patreon. Check out our Patreon for the thank you gifts that we offer to recurring donators. We have shirts, buttons, stickers and other swag up on there. See something you like but can’t afford a monthly donation? Send us an email and we’ll see what we can work out. The money goes to cover our production costs and save up for travels to conferences and events where we can get you more of that anarchist audio that you crave. Thanks so much!

. … . ..

Playlist

“If you stay up all night you owe it to yourself to watch sunrise, every time”; A Presentation with Margaret Killjoy about her new book The Barrow Will Send What it May, anarchist subculture, and representation.

Download Show Here

This week we are airing a presentation that Margaret Killjoy gave at Firestorm Books on the release day of her new release The Barrow Will Send What it May. This is the second in her Danielle Cain series which highlights magic, anarchism, queerness, punk squatter subculture and a bunch more.

The presentation consisted of a brief intro, a reading, and to end up a q&a session. As a warning to listeners, the reading describes the events of a car crash. This occurs between 11 and 12 minutes after the presentation starts, it is not graphic but if you aren’t in a good spot to hear that please feel free to turn the volume down.

Also, we have transcribed and re-recorded the questions in the final section, not because anything said was sketchy, but just to not air people’s voices that may not have wanted to be broadcast.

To find copies of Margaret’s book you can go to tor.com and search her name or the title of the book, and to see more of her work you can visit birdsbeforethestorm.net

To hear an interview that we did with her on the release of the first novella in this series alongside other interviews with her, check out our website.

This episode is scored with Nomadic War Machine’s new release, which is Margaret’s solo music project, called The Fields Lay Fallow off of her new album Always//Forever.

To round out the hour, we are presenting a much abridged version of the most recent Error 451, our sometimes weekly tech podcast that tackles tech as it pertains to anarchism, anarchists, and more generally, how to understand this strange, often terrible and sometimes alright world of tech!

Any aspiring techsters can find the full version of this podcast here, and if you wish you can keep up to date on these releases by either subscribing to our podcast feed by using “The Final Straw Radio” as your search or by keeping an eye on our website.

. … . ..

Juneteenth and BRABC Event

This year incarcerated human rights activist Comrade Malik Washington put out the call for an international day of actions in solidarity with the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery on Juneteenth.

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrated on the 19th of June to commemorate and celebrate the end of legalized slavery in the United States. However, as prison rebels from Alabama to Texas to Florida and beyond have pointed out, the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which supposedly ended slavery, actually carves out an exception for people who have been convicted of a crime, meaning slavery was never fully abolished for incarcerated folks–a condition of exploitation and dehumanization clearly visible within the brutality of every aspect of the US prison system, and in the fact that incarcerated workers receive no meaningful compensation for their labor while in prison.

In response to this call for events, Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross will host a Juneteenth event at 5:30pm on June 19, at Firestorm Books. We will screen Ava Duvernays award-winning documentary “13th,” discuss how people can get involved in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery, and send some cards to prison rebels who need a little love and light right now! Hope to see you there!

Malik Washington’s Statement in Support of Sean Swain

Revolutionary Greetings, comrades! It’s me, Comrade Malik in Texas.

This June 11th I’d like to ask all of y’all to send some Love, Light, and Commissary CA$H to my brother in struggle Sean Swain in Ohio.

Sean has dedicated a lot of time and effort to supporting and sustaining the work done by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Sean has edited our publications and provided much needed direction for our Abolition movement. Sean continues to make personal sacrifices for the good of all, and he never ceases to speak Truth to Power. In the following months I hope to work directly with Sean so we can tear this entire thing down!

Hopefully I will become an honorary 13th Monkey!!?

In Struggle 4 Life,

Malik

. … . ..

Playlist here.

Eleanor Goldfield on Paradigm Lost and Creative Activism

Download This Episode

Interview with Eleanor Goldfield

This week we spoke with Eleanor Goldfield, who is an activist on the far left and a proponent of creative activism, a stance that centers creative approaches to direct action with the aim of leading people to interrogate their own politics on an emotional and psychological level. From her website: “Creative Activism is outreach and change through the mediums that appeal to all people and all of people – their emotions, conscience and intellect, in that order. It places itself at the intersection of pop culture and politics, bringing the two together.”

We talk about different approaches to politics and direct action, as well as her new book Paradigm Lost; Radical Verse and Visuals for the Shift, which is a collection of her original spoken word poetry accompanied by mixed media artwork from around a dozen artists. We also talk about the book and her upcoming performance date in Asheville on December 9th at Firestorm Books and Coffee!

To see more of Eleanor Goldfield’s work, including links to the musical project Rooftop Revolutionaries, information about the media project Act Out! (available on occupy.com and Free Speech TV) and many more writings, you can visit artkillingapathy.com.

The radio version has some material cut due to length, though the podcast version has all those pieces included back in. To see that version, plus archives of this show, you can visit thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org.

 

Announces for Asheville

Next Sunday, December 3rd, Blue Ridge ABC does it’s monthly letter writing night at Firestorm Books & Coffee from 5:30 til 7:30pm. Paper, pens, stamps, envelopes and the addresses and info on political prisoners in the U.S., particularly those having upcoming birthdays, are all available for free! Come on by and send someone behind bars some kind words.

After that at 8pm you can join folks across town for a game of Radical Trivia. This event is 21 and up, happening at the Lazy Diamond bar at 98-A N. Lexington Ave, there’ll be some potluck food for sharing and a cash prize for the winning team or person. To form a team and get on the roster, you can drop an email to jtheophilos@gmail or sign up at the night of. This event will benefit the 2018 Asheville Anarchist Bookfair happing in the summer. Various levels of knowledge are welcome and topics will span a few categories.

Playlists here

Author interview: Margaret Killjoy on “The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion”

Download This Episode

For a 59 minute long, radio clean version for syndication purposes, please visit the archive.org collection. For a full version, click the link under the picture on the left.

Interview

This week I had the opportunity to speak with Margaret Killjoy about her new novella The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, which is coming out on August 15th from Tor.com. In this interview we will talk about how she got into writing genre fiction, how writing has shaped her politics, about the book itself, and about fighting a battle on a cultural front, among many other things.

If you are interested, you can come to a book release event that Killjoy will be doing at Firestorm Books and Coffee on August 15th at 7pm! You can pre-order a copy of this book from your local bookstore or from Red Emmas, an online anarchist source.

You can find more of her writings at her website, Birds Before The Storm, alongside some of music and artwork!

Announcements

NC Resists a Grand Jury, Solidarity with Katie Yow!

On Monday, July 31st, people will gather in Greensboro at 9am at the Federal Courthouse, 324 W. Market St in order to support Katie Yow, who is refusing to comply with a Federal Grand Jury convening there to which she’s been subpoena’d.

And here’s an update from Katie on what she’s learned about the fgj:
“We have now learned more from the Assistant US Attorney about the subject of the federal grand jury to which I have been subpoenaed. This grand jury is looking into what the government has described as a bombing at the GOP headquarters in Hillsborough, NC this past fall. The AUSA has also indicated that they are interested in “other people” and “other events.” I don’t know anything relevant to a criminal investigation of the alleged incident at the GOP headquarters. The broad nature of the government’s interest in other information makes clear the way that this and other grand juries are used as fishing expeditions to attempt to coerce testimony on 1st amendment protected information. This is one of the many ways grand juries are used to repress social movements, and one of many reasons why we resist them.

Whatever new information we may learn about this grand jury, I will continue to refuse to cooperate. We didn’t have to know what this grand jury was about to know what we are about. Our values are long held, they are nurtured through both triumph and incredible loss, and they cannot be compromised. My resistance to this grand jury is the easiest decision I have ever made, even if the consequences may be difficult. I will continue to refuse to comply with this subpoena, and I have every faith in my community’s ability to support me in doing so.”

If yr feeling it, show up in Greensboro on Monday to show support!

More information can be found at NC Resists the Grand Jury

Did you say “Grand Jury”? What the heck is that??

If you are in Asheville on Wednesday, you are invited to attend a workshop at Firestorm Books and Coffee (610 Haywood Rd) at 7pm entitled “What Is A Grand Jury?” The discussion will be presented by the Scuffletown Anti Repression Committee.

Smashing the Fash, Every Day

Keep your eyes on your favorite anarchist news source for updates on resisting AmRen in Tennessee, which is going on today and tomorrow (7/30 and 7/31). For context, you can hear an interview that Bursts did about this resistance by searching “AmRen” on our blog. Also, keep your eyes peeled for information on resisting the far right in Charlottesville on August 12th by following the #NoNewKKK

Playlist here

A conversation with Keep Hoods Yours and on the July 25th International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners

KHY and Intl Antifascist Prisoners Solidarity

nycantifa.wordpress.com
Download This Episode

The first segment is a short conversation with members of NYC Antifa, an antifascist group in New York City. In this conversation we talk a bit about the history of this day of solidarity plus the state of fascism in the US and abroad. This conversation was transcribed and re-recorded to protect the folks’ identities. To learn more about this, you can visit https://nycantifa.wordpress.com/, and to donate to the international defense fund you can visit https://intlantifadefence.wordpress.com/about-2/

A large portion of this episode is a conversation with a member of Keep Hoods Yours. Keep Hoods Yours, or KHY, is a radical graffiti crew based in the SF Bay Area that organizes against gentrification, against sexual predators in the scene, against racism and more. During the conversation, we’ll hear about the rebel cultural car events called Sideshows, the police killing of Richard
Perkins during one of these Sideshows, KHY participation in uprisings against the Ferguson verdict, resistance to Fast Agent and poning of Kenny Truong and the shutdown of racist, gentrifying business “Locals Corner” in the Mission District. You can find KHY on Instagram or in the
streets. This interview was formatted into a zine by 1312 Distro and is available for printing thanks to IGD.

Announcements

Luke O’Donovan Solidarity

On July 25th at 9 am Luke O’Donovan will walk out of Washington State Prison after serving two years there. We are thrilled to see our friend free from behind prison walls. He is in high spirits and very excited to be released. As many of you who have been in touch with him know, he has occupied his time with a rigorous workout routine, lots of reading, and correspondence with all those who took the time to communicate with him.

Unfortunately he will not be allowed to return to his home and life in Atlanta. Due to the judge adding a banishment condition to his probation, Luke will have to move all the way to the West Coast for the next eight years, or until the conditions of his probation are changed. Moving forward, here are some ways to continue to support Luke as he starts life on strict probation.

Money– Luke will need money in order to cover his living expenses while he gets on his feet and moves his belongings and life to the West Coast. He will also need money to cover the probation and drug testing fees that he will be subject too. You can donate or set up recurring donations by visiting their paypal site.

Care Packages– Luke will need lots of little things, like clothes to rebuild his wardrobe, delicious vegan food, and other items that you are not allowed to have in prison. If you would like to send a care package please email letlukego@gmail.com to work out details on where and what to send.

Solidarity and Support- Throughout Luke’s case and subsequent imprisonment the support and solidarity he has gotten has been overwhelming. From the solidarity marches and actions to the mountain of mail and the hundreds of postcards sent to the judge we have been thrilled by all those who have taken action for him. Once things are more clear we will begin trying to get his banishment condition appealed, check back for updates. For now any and all actions are appreciated. As Luke’s new living situation isn’t worked out yet we can’t provide contact info at this time, but email us at letlukego@gmail.com if you want to get in touch.

Luke is set to be free from prison, but there is still a lot to do. Thanks everyone for your past and future support.

. … . ..

Playlist

. … . ..

 

Transcription

What follows is the transcript from an interview with Keep Hoods Yours (KHY) that appeared on The Final Straw Radio (TFSR). KHY is an anti-authoritarian, anti-gentrification, anti-sexist, anti-racist and so forth, graffiti crew based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This interview talks about organizing in youth culture, radical potentials in graffiti, some of the struggles that KHY has been involved in and more. The Final Straw is a radical radio program out of Asheville, N.C. and their episodes can be found here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/. This interview was transcribed in an effort to broaden conversations around radical organizing and antagonism within vibrant subcultures that anarchists and other radicals find themselves involved in. Ultimately, it also serves as a proposal and a challenge to punks, graffiti writers, skateboarders, dancers, musicians and artists of many forms to never pass up on an opportunity to strategically target our enemies and fire at will, and to explore the creative cultures we find ourselves enmeshed with for spaces to attack from. Or, in the words of the KHY interviewee, to “develop an antagonistic, decentralized, popular culture of resistance that can hopefully develop our capacity to identify and attack the various forces which exploit poor and working class spaces, including gentrifi cation, police violence, rape culture and local white supremacist and fascist efforts.”

TFSR: Well first off let’s talk about, what is a graffiti crew? For those people listening who may know nothing about graffiti culture, what is it and how does it operate?

KHY: Well they vary from crew to crew, but for the most part a graffiti crew is a semi-formal grouping of graffiti writers that have similar styles, aesthetic choices and a philosophy towards the craft. They group up and collaborate in order to do graffiti, to exchange styles, knowledge, strategies, and supplies and generally have each other’s backs. Since it’s a culture that’s rooted in the streets, anything can happen. And it being illegal, we can’t really rely on mainstream institutions to solve conflicts. But it varies. For some crews, they’re just drinking buddies. For others, they are very serious, formal, tight-knit and organized. It definitely varies.

TFSR: I guess the first thing people would think of when they think graffiti-crew; they think it’s automatically connected with a gang.

KHY: It’s actually not, it’s often the other way around actually. Especially in working-class neighborhoods, some youth do graffiti instead of falling in the gang trap. In some cities, gangs and graffiti crews get along or just don’t beef, while in other cities it’s much different. In some crews there’s overlap in gang affiliations and graffiti crews. But for the most part they’re two very separate worlds that sometimes conflict.

TFSR: So sense of place seems pretty central to the idea of KHY. Could you tell some of our listeners about, generally speaking, the upbringing of many of the people involved? What do you think drew them to become involved in KHY? And, what kind of drives people to be engaged in this activity that could potentially be legally dangerous for them?

KHY: All of the people involved in this project at this time were born and raised in the Bay Area. Part of what’s driven folks to become involved in KHY is just been seeing the blatant gentrification, police violence and other problems in our neighborhoods. And also seeing how liberal non-profit efforts at changing things fail completely. These efforts usually end up alienating folks in the hoods that are probably attracted to things like KHY, because they see it as a way to engage with the oppressive things happening in their neighborhoods without committing themselves to reformist or legal means. It’s potentially dangerous, but the reality for folks is that the problems they’re dealing with are already dangerous. They face a larger danger from losing people in their community to police violence, to gentrification, to having families split apart, to the erasure of their culture and the loss of dignity that comes with it, that kind of thing. So really, the risk of catching a misdemeanor case for writing on a wall, it doesn’t feel all that dangerous compared to our daily reality.

TFSR: And let’s talk specifically now about KHY and how, when did it form, and overall what are it’s goals? And also, as both a radical project and a graffiti crew, how did it evolve over time since it first started?

KHY: KHY formed at about 2008-2009 with just a couple of us, and it’s grown over time. It’s grown at a much faster rate in the last three years or so. It’s really just a graffiti crew that’s rooted in radical ideas, including anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian and anti-colonial thought. KHY aims to highlight the anti-property values of graffiti culture by exploring how targeted graffiti application could be used as a form of direct action. Also using culture, like active youth culture and radical organizing, to help develop an antagonistic, decentralized, popular culture of resistance that can hopefully develop our capacity to identify and attack the various forces which exploit poor and working class spaces, including gentrification, police violence, rape culture and local white supremacist and fascist efforts.

TFSR: Great, thanks for sharing that. And let’s talk about what kind of campaigns you all have been involved in. To me, the first thing that pops up in my mind is Local’s Corner, which obviously wasn’t something that was started by you guys but is something you were involved in. If you could talk about that, and just what happened (Local’s Corner is closed now, it was a restaurant in the Mission District). Also, you’re involved in a campaign around Fast Agent, so if you could just talk to us about what both of those were, and why you chose those as targets.

KHY: The Local’s Corner campaign, it was a very obvious example of the blatant colonial white supremacist mentality behind some of the gentrifiers in the mission district. For folks who don’t really know the story behind it, it involves the owner refusing to seat people of color. There’s one specific incident where they denied a Latina mother and her kids a table, claiming that there weren’t enough seats, and then sat down a group of customers of the same size right after. There’s another incident where some local students carried out a test, where they had a group of white students come in, and they were given seating, and then they had a group of students of color come in, and they weren’t given seating. There was already a lot of local anger at that business, but the mainstream liberal attempts to hold them accountable were failing. Folks had a petition floating around, they had some protests, but none of that really put enough pressure alone on Local’s Corner to really do anything. KHY targeting Local’s Corner was the tipping point for their business. The bad publicity along with the mainstream legal pressure, then on top of that the repeated vandalism, which became popularized as other folks not involved with KHY in any way began replicating the strategy themselves, it was just the final straw. And they closed, they called it. We did that to show that direct action can be accessible to folks who don’t feel as familiar with it, ya know? It doesn’t necessarily need to involve a high-risk action, like burning something down. It can be creative, accessible, less of a risk than folks assume. And it can be effective, it can shut things down. You can make a gentrifying business get the fuck out of your town.

TFSR: I would assume for younger people that would be like a big tipping point, like “Oh we actually shut this thing down.”

KHY: Yeah, and I think that a lot of people saw that, even some of the liberal people gave us credit, they said that KHY had a lot to do with it, that they wouldn’t have closed without our efforts. And I think that legitimized direct action and more militant, illegal tactics n the eyes of the community, because it was effective. It was a small victory, but people were glad to see them leave. It also engaged a lot of folks who had never been involved in direct action before. Once other graffiti writers began vandalizing it, writing messages, their names, just scribbling over it, whatever, they became engaged in that process. They were able to build their confidence in attacking what essentially attacks them.

TFSR: Yeah, and I also think that’s interesting with the Fast Agent thing, which basically are a bunch of ads that are on bus stop benches, I see it as you are targeting things that are in the social landscape, like “Hey, get this!”

KHY: Definitely. It’s essentially what graffiti’s always been about. It’s been a battle for the public visual landscape. There’s something inherently very antagonistic, anti-property, and anti-capitalist about graffiti. So Fast Agent is an advertising campaign for the real estate agent who has the highest record for flipping properties in the neighborhoods being targeted by gentrification, the number one real estate agent in the East Bay. His name is Kenny Trong, and he, like Local’s Corner, already faced a lot of resentment from the locals. He wasn’t very strategic about it either. He did a lot of talking shit to people online and instigating and being condescending to folks. And part of that entitlement was blasting West Oakland and parts of East Oakland with these Fast Agent ads to take up space and show his presence, to assert his economic power.

So we started targeting him, and encouraging other folks to do so. At this point it’s been our campaign that’s had the widest participation than any other. I mean there’s been hundreds of other people from all walks of life who’ve tagged on them, vandalized them, ripped them out, far more than we ever did. It’s normalized, decentralized, has a life of it’s own, has little to do with us. And again, it goes to show that you don’t necessarily have to be a part of a group or organization. You don’t have to go through legal means or follow the law. You don’t have to ask for anything, you can just take resistance into your own hands, at your own pace, even if you’re isolated and even if you don’t want to be a part of anything formal. And at this point it’s been going on for over a year.

TFSR: Let’s talk a little bit about; if people are going to look at KHY stuff, primarily they do that through instagram. So how do you find, through engaging in social media, have you been able to build relationships with other projects through this? And also, what is it like using social media as a means to show people what the crew has been doing, but at the same time obviously the police use that as a means for surveillance?

KHY: So far, social media has been a means to highlight some of our ideas of resistance to folks who aren’t already involved in radical circles. Folks that are already radicalized, that are already involved in radical movements, don’t need social media to get informed. So the social media thing was really meant as a way to engage folks in the hood who were on social media anyways. So far, it has helped build some solidarity. We’ve reached out to folks in other cities across the west coast, the U.S., even in other countries. Just as far as exchanging some inspiration, news, strategy, ideas, just making those connections between similar struggles in different cities. There’s been a lot of sharing too, folks will send us photos of them doing politicized graffiti in their cities, things that are going on in other places. We’ve had folks use politically targeted graffiti in application and send us reports about it, stuff like that. Now that we’ve got a strong social media presence, we focus more on highlighting other struggles that might be isolated. It’s also helped to build some relationships that have materialized from real life, outside of social media. There’s definitely limitations to using a medium like social media that’s always surveilled. But, in reality, only very specific things are communicated through instagram. The photos that we post about Fast Agent for example, 90% of them come from folks that have absolutely nothing to do with KHY. At this point it’s more about documenting recent and ongoing struggles. At most, there’s just pictures of KHY graffiti, unfortunately social media became part of graffiti culture. There’s hella accounts documenting graffiti, and it’s just not as hot as other forms of direct action.

TFS: ‘Cause you hear all the time these horror stories of how someone goes and steals a bunch of paint, and then their next picture is of their job, and then police go to their job and arrest them.

KHY: Yeah but, in the Bay Area graffiti is just so widespread and so ingrained out here that it’s so easy to get away with it, that they’re not really prosecuting graffiti in the same way that they would in some small town. And if you’re not prepared to deal with the potential consequences, you shouldn’t even be doing it.

TFSR: Is that something you all think about too? ‘Cause it’s not just some instances, but it’s everywhere, it’s integrated into the landscape, like it’s murals, it’s advertisement, graffiti is part of not only working class communities but also capitalism itself. I guess, what does it mean to be a graffiti artist but also to make that radical connection?

KHY: Well most of the time, graffiti isn’t even that radical or political, but it is inherently, and that’s what we’re trying to highlight. We’re trying to highlight that this culture that a lot of youth from all walks of life participate in, is already inherently radical. It already has revolutionary potential, and folks that participate in this culture already have the tools necessary to carry out resistance. People do graffiti every day, and people do graffiti on everything, anything, all it takes is strategic placement, and if desired some messaging, and then it becomes a form of direct action.

TFSR: Well that kinda brings us to my next question, but has the politics of KHY affected other street organizations or graffiti crews that are in this general area? And has the stance that you all have taken pushed people that are in the graffiti scene in a more political direction? Or has it already just been going that way because of the gentrification and police violence in San Francisco and Bay Area?

KHY: As far as other street organizations and other crews, there’s been a lot of mutual respect. Our goals have kept us out of the usual and petty conflicts that exist in graffiti, and that’s given us a lot of room to focus on what we’re doing. We’re not engaged in the usual beef dynamics in graffiti politics, even though some of us might have been involved in before. We’re more interested in exploring potentials for unity, collaboration, and focusing on common enemies. And for the most part, other writers see this and respect it, or just leave it alone. We’re also not pushovers, and have our own histories out here that some people aren’t aware of. Graffiti was beginning to take a slightly more political direction in the Bay Area, but it was very minor. Graffiti is full of problematic people and oppressive behaviors, and so we’ve helped to push local graffiti in a more political direction as far as people becoming more involved, as far as people becoming strategic with what they do graffiti on, about what they paint, and also about bringing up dynamics in the culture, of how to carry themselves, solidarity, things like that. Calling out rape culture and misogyny, highlighting different issues that affect writers. There’s a drug addiction epidemic in graffiti that’s hard to talk about that has cost a lot of heavy hitters and good people. We’re definitely trying to radicalize graffiti writers, while using graffiti to radicalize folks that don’t do graffiti.

TFSR: When you are all engaged in that, do you feel like there’s some push-back? Because I would imagine that that kind of political stance almost seems like a cliché, to bring that stuff up in any sort of youth culture. I imagine people would just respond with “Oh I don’t care about that. For me it’s just about destroying shit and that’s what it is.”

KHY: The only push-back we’ve really felt is a few misogynistic individuals feel threatened by us highlighting a lot of predators in the Bay Area, calling out rape culture and being really explicit about that. It’s almost unheard of for a graffiti crew, for a project that mostly consists of males in a culture that’s male dominated, to explicitly call for fighting patriarchy and pushing rapists out of their scenes and spaces in a militant way.

TFSR: That it is pretty crazy, because historically graffiti has been so male dominated.

KHY: Yeah, so really that’s been most of the push-back. So far as our broader politics in this project, there hasn’t been much push-back because we’re actually graffiti writers in the first place. We’re not people who aren’t a part of graffiti and aren’t just using graffiti to try to reach out to youth or whatever. We’re already graffiti vandals, we have styles, we have history, we have legitimacy, we have these relationships already. And now we’re choosing to use our momentum to try to radicalize the culture and folks that have access to it. All of our campaigns have been about things that are blatantly a problem locally and that most people relate to regardless. People are already mad about them, we don’t really deal with abstract political concepts. We’re not out here putting out academic rants and things like that. We’re acknowledging what people are already well aware of; police murdering people, gentrification, and the recent rise in white supremacy organizing in the Bay Area. These are problems that people are already pissed about.

TFSR: We’re gonna talk a little bit about of the rebellion in the Bay Area against police violence in late 2014 in a second, but I just wanted to ask, you know we’re talking about social media, do you see any interest to create a KHY magazine, or something basically that’s off the internet? Obviously there’s this presence that’s online, I don’t know what you think about this, but how do you feel about graffi ti zines, magazines, publications, basically anything else that’s outside social media?

KHY: Even though social media has helped reach a broader audience, we understand that it’s pretty limited and temporary. We’re working on a zine project which should hopefully be coming out soon.

TFSR: Well that’s awesome to hear. I know there’s a lot of graffiti nerds out there that are rubbing their ears. So let’s talk a little bit about, in fall of 2014 and in the wake of Darren Wilson basically being let off for the killing of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, M.O. There were a series of riots that erupted in the Bay Area, and graffiti writers in my opinion played a huge role in that rebellion. Can you talk about the experience you thought of overall of the members of KHY in that revolt? How did it affect the crew in general? And how do you feel like the revolt changed people, especially those that were kind of like new to either “political action” or anything like that?

KHY: There were some folks involved in this project that were out in the streets. These demonstrations had a positive, energizing affect on most of the youth that came out. The revolt was very empowering for most people, for a lot of newly radicalized folks to feel that power, and to be able to hold space in the streets, to be able to push back cops, to be able to target things that they disagree with or don’t want in their neighborhoods, within the protection of a larger crowd. I think it also helped to establish radical politics within local youth cultures. You saw a lot of cultures being represented, you saw a lot of graffiti writers painting while there were riots in the background, you saw musicians, skateboarders, dancers, etc. A lot of the revolt was very youth-led, very youth involved. I think it was successful in bringing a lot of people out into the streets, being radical and having fun.

TFSR: I was telling people from out of town, I said that I felt that the graffiti writers were kind of like the Bay Area version of the soccer hooligans in Egypt, they kind of played a central role. It seems like a lot of the media, even radical media, overlooked that. It was really interesting to see people writing everywhere, a lot of different things.

KHY: Yeah, graffiti writers were definitely out during the revolt. And so many people do graffiti now; it’s just so widespread. A lot of graffiti crews were out during that. Your comparison of graffiti writers to soccer hooligans as an antagonistic cultural force is a good one, it’s interesting that that dynamic isn’t highlighted much.

TFSR: To our next question, could you talk about the recent sideshows that have taken part in East Oakland, and you might want to talk about “What is a sideshow?” for people listening who have no idea what that is. And KHY’s reaction to the police killing of Richard Perkins, who was killed outside of the sideshow in East Oakland, C.A., and more over what is your view of sideshows in general?

KHY: Well sideshows are a long-standing tradition in Oakland, and they’re essentially car-shows in the street where folks who space in the street and perform stunts with their cars. They do donuts, things like that. It’s like an outdoor, moving car-sport-party. They are a rebellious, self-organized activity of the working class and have a lot of valuable dynamics. In East Oakland, there’s not a lot for the youth to do, and we all know that there’s violence, all that, and these shows alleviate some of the anxiety, depression, and alienation that come with living through all that shit. Sideshows are empowering because they give the youth something to do in the streets collectively, and they give ownership over the streets that they live in while having fun and being rebellious. They’re unique because they’re decentralized, they’re organized without any permits or any formal hierarchy or leaders, and they easily and quickly gather a lot of people. They’re militant and very anti-police. When police come by, they don’t get taken seriously or they’re literally attacked. And often sideshows don’t end until the participants want them to; bottles get thrown at them (the cops). If they catch a lone cop; windows are getting smashed, hoods are getting stomped. Sideshows are usually so big that police can’t get to the center of the sideshow because of all the cars that are taking up the streets for a few blocks. I mean, some of them have hundreds and hundreds of participants, there’s a strong solidarity and a sense of unity when cops show up. Folks don’t snitch on each other and try to avoid internal violence. Sideshows have an insurrectionary potential. They’re often accompanied by graffiti, general public rebellion and sometimes riots. People are militant and often armed. These shows are very fluid and flexible at being able to move from hood to hood, from city to city, very efficiently. Some folks involved in this project are a part of sideshow and car culture in the Bay. Some of us were around, just keepin’ it lit, kickin’ it, when Richard Perkins was murdered. Everyone saw the murder of Richard Perkins as police retaliation for a nonstop weekend of huge sideshows that the police could not control, and for attacks on a couple of police cars also. Everyone saw that as a way for them to try to assert their dominance over Oakland and to scare folks into going back home. The police lied as always, they always do, they claim that he randomly drove up to them and pulled out a gun on them, a fake gun at that. Everyone knows that’s not true. He was at a sideshow having fun, he was not gonna randomly run up to cops and pull out a fake gun on them. This is not the first time this has happened in Oakland, where the pigs say that somebody pulled out a fake gun on them so they had to shoot them. Some are thinking that it may be easier for the State to frame people in Oakland with fake guns that you can’t trace. People were at the scene where the cops show him, they said that he wasn’t doing anything and that once he was shot down, they saw the cops kicking him, moving his body around carelessly. It’s just blatant white supremacist state violence. It was in response to the lawlessness of the sideshows and how they made the police look like they didn’t have any control. Especially with an increasingly gentrified Oakland, the police are really trying to kill that culture and oppress it. It’s really just repression.

TFSR: Let’s switch gears a little bit. Can you talk about the kind of support that KHY’s gotten? Specifically from the Mission District, but also the Bay Area in general. I’ve seen a lot of different articles and stuff being written, kids handing out KHY stickers and stuff like that. Cause it is kind of impressive that KHY has gotten sort of the notoriety within the Bay Area and the Mission District specifically for kind of a taboo activity so to speak. And can you talk about this positive feedback, but also the negative receptions as well?

KHY: I think the support really comes from the fact that again, our campaign and the issues that we’ve been addressing have been things that a lot of people in our hoods already care about. And this moment is kind of a downtime for radical struggles in the Bay Area, so a lot of responses to police murders, gentrification, etc. have mostly been dominated by liberal ideology and pacified nonsense, which folks are alienated from and can see that it usually brings no kind of results. It feels like a slap in the face when the only response to someone in your hood being executed by a racist pig is a so-called “peaceful protest” in which every detail is so micro-managed that the lame ass protest security in yellow vest is staring at you because the message on the sign you’re holding is “too-militant.” The fact that we’ve been engaged in struggles that people are feeling hopeless about in a refreshing, creative way while bringing a militant radical ideology to the forefront definitely has to do with the support we have, despite using a taboo activity. We haven’t really had any negative reactions aside from folks who obviously wouldn’t be down with our project, like yuppies and cop apologists and occasional whining, delusional liberals but who cares about them. At first we thought that we’d be accused of being a gang, but that hasn’t happened much. Most folks are just actually excited to see graffiti writers use creative application to inspire the community and educate folks by discussing revolutionary ideas. They usually are highlighted by the existing liberal left, while also creatively targeting things in the community that everyone hates, whether it be banks, gentrifier businesses, corporations, cop cars, crossing out white supremacist graffiti, the sort of things within the public landscape for all to see, showing that they aren’t untouchable.

TFSR: You mentioned that a couple times, could you just touch on that? White power graffiti in the Bay Area…

KHY: Historically there hasn’t been, aside from the obviously established white supremacy that it’s inherent in a settler state, an open-public-white-supremacist movement in the Bay Area for various reasons. Possibly in relation to gentrification and all these new-comers from new places , there’s been an obvious rise in white-supremacist graffiti. Whether it be swastikas, “white power,” anti-Black messages, anti-Mexican messages, etc. So we decided that was a very easy thing to gather support for targeting, and it’s something that can bring folks together around a common enemy. Despite differences in the community in conflict and divisions, everyone can agree that we don’t want Nazis, we don’t want white supremacists, and by us taking the initiative to start crossing out those messages, we’ve inspired other folks to do so. So now all kinds of people, even those that don’t do graffiti, are buying markers and crossing out these markers where they see ‘em. It’s empowering people to take matters into their own hands, instead of waiting on the liberals or police to do something. They’re engaging with that on their own, because they should, because these are their streets and their struggles.

TFSR: Well let’s talk a little bit about, you mentioned the Bay Area’s kind of been in a down-tide, you’ve all really continued to push since the revolt of late 2014, can you talk a little bit about the kind of different organizing things you guys have done, different community outreach events, and just talk a little more about as you were saying the need to build in these down moments?

KHY: That’s another main focus of this project, to use culture and community organizing to help those ideas actually materialize in our neighborhoods. We can’t just wait for the next uprising or the next series of riots, we can’t just wait for the next police murder and hope this will be the one that will trigger an uprising. In the meantime, between these peak points in struggle, we need to be doing a culture of resistance and building collective capacity. We need to be establishing and normalizing radical thinking within the cultures that make up our communities. We need to be educating and learning from each other. We need to be building relationships, meeting each other, strengthening those relationships, building trust so that when there are peak points in the struggle again, when folks are in the streets, they’ll already have stronger relationships, they’ll trust and recognize each other. And do this cultural work, this grassroots work; we’re also able to bring in new folks and branch out of these closed circles of radicals. We don’t need to wait for peak points in struggles; oppression is always there, exploitation is always there, alienation is always there. So even if there’s nothing going on, or if you’re isolated, or if the city you live in doesn’t have a very established radical movement of any kind, anyone can grab a marker or a spray can and go target and challenge things in their neighborhood that are problematic, spread ideas and creatively take back public space.

TFS: Well I’m really curious, what do you think the possibilities for bringing radical politics into, as you said cultural things. I’m thinking specifically youth culture, from hip-hop to graffiti, to punk, to motorcycle crews, to sports, to anything. What kind of advice would you give to anybody that’s looking to do this style of activity? It doesn’t even have to be graffi ti, but something culturally oriented that doesn’t really kind of have the auspices of political activity.

KHY: I think it’s very possible to bring radical politics into more traditional forms of youth culture. Most of these cultures already have inherently antagonistic aspects, but it needs to be done in a way that carries legitimacy. It needs to be done by folks that are already participants in these cultures. It’s hella see-through when folks who aren’t apart of the culture haven’t put in the work, time, risk, energy, etc. pop their heads up in said culture and try to use it to make politics cool or something. It comes off as corny, opportunistic and insincere. I think it’s really up to those who are already a part of these cultures to bring radical perspectives into them. We’re actually graffi ti writers in the fi rst place, and we’re able to maneuver in a way that allows us to reach a lot of people while remaining authentic and rooted in real graffiti.

TFSR: So for anybody that’s listening to this that is involved in graffiti specifically, and they are like ‘Wow this is great, I have these political ideas and am into graffi ti…’ Is there any advice you’d give them to form something like KHY in their own towns or cities?

KHY: Just do it. Do it. You already have the tools, skills and desires to do graffi ti, and you’re already pulling it off. Just think about placement, strategy, what’s important to you, and see if anyone else is down. That’s our point, that it’s really that easy.

TFSR: ‘Cause I think that’s a really key point that you hinted on, fi nding targets that people already know are like this huge bone of contention, that kind of thinking and strategy is something that’s often missing. Do you wanna just tell people how they can get a hold of KHY stuff, online? Or they can go on instagram and other places?

KHY: Yeah, folks can check us out at keephoodsyours on instagram, or just run into us in the streets. Shout out to all of our Bay Area people in the struggle and all the vandals putting paint where it ain’t, keepin’ it rooted in the streets.