This week on the show we feature two interviews. The first is with a volunteer at the Steady Collective, a group that self-describes as “ dedicated to promoting the wellness of people who use drugs through empowerment and respectful collaboration. Our goal is to improve overall community health by reducing the rate of drug overdose and the spread of infectious disease with education, advocacy, and direct services. “ Their ability to operate a harm reduction program around needle exchange and narcan distribution to stop overdoses in the midst of the #opiodCrisis in Appalachia is being threatened by the city of Asheville. Here’s the website for 12 Baskets, the food distribution program out of Kairos West.
Then I spoke with Mary Ratcliff, the editor of 27 years of the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, with a print distribution of 20,000 copies around the U.S., including thousands behind bars. For the hour, Mary talks about the history of the paper, it’s relationship with prisoners and prison struggles and the difficulties faced by the poor and populations of color in white supremacist capitalism in the so-called U.S.
A12 in D.C., Cville & Boston
Last weekend witnessed far right, nazi-affiliated, sexist, homophobe rallies in Portland and Berkeley, which I’m sure folks are aware of. Patriot Prayer and Proud Boy goons schlepped their way out from under rocks in their goofy-ass larping costumes to spit their deranged and hateful screeds and threaten and attack counter-demonstrators where they could. And the police helped by holding back and assaulting the anti-racists at both events with pepper spray, batons, tear gas and rubber bullets, as well as legal charges. Big ups to the brave folks who came out to stem the tide of hate on the West coast, and also a big a thanks to the comrades who came out in Providence, R.I. where they were able to shut that crap down real fast.
This weekend the year anniversary of the August 11th Torch Rally and August 12th Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville approaches. On Sunday, August 12th in Cville there’s a day of events of remembrance and mourning starting at 9am in Washington Park. The police presence has been shown to be huge in the runup to this weekend with Martial Law and States of Emergency declared by local and state officials, leave for police being suspended, and swaths of the city shut down and blockaded. Follow #AllOutCville for updates. In Washington, D.C., haters are trying to put on a second UTR to draw their morons in swastika and Pinochet shirts and confederate bafoons into the streets. Information about what’s happening and how to congregate against it can be found at https://shutitdowndc.org/ . And check out the ItsGoingDown’s “This Is America #24” for voices from the ground in DC & Cville.
On August 15th in Boston there is planned a Town Hall Meeting at the Arlington St Church in preparation for the counter-demonstration on August 18th at the MA State House to shut down the far-right hate front group, “Resist Marxism”. More info at http://bit.ly/fight-right-boston
Be safe out there, cops and klan go hand in hand. Bring water, watch out for your friends, don’t leave alone.
Worker’s Assembly Asheville
On Monday, August 20th at 6pm and every 3rd Monday of the month, the Asheville IWW is hosting a service industry workers assembly at Kairos West. If you work in food serice, retail, hospitality, breweries, or other service industries and don’t have the right to hire or fire, come by and join the discussion on issues facing your ilk including wages and hours, but also issues such as racism and gendered violence that workers face in and outside of their workplaces. The discussions are aimed at creating direct action solutions and creating class solidarity. To hear about their first Assembly, check out our interview on the topic.
Reminder on upcoming #August21
A few CZN member projects have been producing content specific to supporting and understanding the Nationwide Prison Strike. You can find great, related content to enjoy and share by ItsGoingDown podcast, Kiteline Radio & Rustbelt Abolition Radio. Links are in our notes to those recent episodes. Also, visit incarceratedworkers.org for the new and very shareable video breaking down IWOC’s role in the strike and reasons to support #August21.
If you appreciate this podcast and the voices that we bring to you each and every week (at least once), please consider a one-time or recurring donation via paypal or liberapay. You can also subscribe to recurring donations to us at patreon.com/tfsr and get some pretty sweet swag. If you want one of the shirts or mixtapes or sticker and button packs we offer to patreon supporters but can’t afford a monthly donation, drop us an email and we’ll work something out.
This week on The Final Straw, we’ll be airing two interviews. In the first, Bursts spoke with author and activist Shane Burley about the state of street level fascism and anti-fascism in the U.S. Then about 45 minutes into the episode, you’ll hear Bursts speaking with two members of the Asheville branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW.
Shane also talks about essentialism in fascism and the creeping relationship between “identitarian” patriarchs and the trans-misogyny of TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) in Deep Green Resistance, such as Lierre Kieth and Derrick Jensen. The book mentioned by Bursts about essentialism, fascism and anarchism can be found in audio format on R.A.D., another member of the CZN. The original text can also be found on their tumblr.
The wobblies talk about the upcoming Service Workers Assembly they have planned for Tuesday, June 26th from 6-9pm at Kairos West, under Firestorm in West Asheville. Here’s a link to their fedbook.
If you are a service worker in the Asheville area and want to chat with other folks from the industries about how your conditions could improve, come on by. No bosses, snitches or scabs, please.
There’s no Sean Swain again this week, hopefully we’ll get the crossed wires fixed soon.
Debbie Africa of MOVE9 released!
Debbie Sims Africa was paroled this week from prison after about 40 years inside for crossing the Philly PD and the Frank Rizzo administration! We hope that a push can happen to get the remaining 6 members inside. Welcome to the outside, Debbie! #FreeEmAll
In this run-up week to the Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair (ACAB2018), there’ll be a game of punk jeopardy on Thursday the 21st at the Lazy Diamond starting at 9pm. The venue is a bar, so it’s 21 and up only. Proceeds from the benefit will go to the costs associated with the Charlotte Uprising in 2016, in particular to Glo Merriweather’s and Rayquan Borum‘s legal defense funds. On Friday, feel free to stop by the welcome table at Firestorm for an intro to the range of events over the weekend. Check out the calendar of events, including the schedule for the workshops and more!
In the first Bursts spoke with two organizers of the Asheville Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair (ACAB2018) taking place the 22-24th of June. To link up with this project and for aaall the information, you can visit the website here! To follow on social media, you find @acab.2018 on Instagram, and for email it’s firstname.lastname@example.org. This segment begins at [11:46]
Then Bursts spoke with Tristan, an anarchist living in Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia, about the riot that took the streets for 3 hours there on May Day. They talk about anarchist in Java, the feudal Sultanate they suffer under, the New Yogyakarta International Airport threatening to displace a village and more. This segment begins at [40:02]
As Tristan says in the interview, much of the resistance of the Committee Against Feudalism that raged against the police on May Day in Yogyakarta was in order to damage government facility as well as to undermine trust of local and international investors in the building of a New Yogyakarta International Airport, or NYIA. The airport has already lead to the displacement of people in the farming village of Kulon Progo, destroying trees & livelihoods, and authorities cut power supplies to intimidate residents into selling their ancestral lands in this southern coastal village. In place of the farmlands where 11.5 thousand people live, cultivating peppers, eggplants and watermelons, the state would destroy the erosion and flood-defending dunes around this area with a 2,000 hectare “airport city” containing hotels, industrial zones, shopping centers & other tourist ventures. Here is a chronology of resistance up to late 2017.
The airport would be operated by Angkasa Pura (state-owned Airport Operator), and constructed by the U.S. company Landrum & Brown, with offices in NYC, Orlando, SF, Tampa, Cincinnati, Bogota, Boston, Chicago Alongside L&B is the India-based megaproject conglomerate, GVK. GVK is named for it’s founder, Gunupati Venkata Krishna Reddy, and is also active in the Australian coal mining sphere. A Czech corporation involved in designing the NYIA is AGA-Letiště, s.r.o. (based in Prague). Mott McDonald, an employee-owned consultancy firm, also plays a role in this mess. Finally, the Rajawali Corpora (a heavy hand in five star hotels and media ownership) is involved and is owned by https://www.forbes.com/profile/peter-sondakh/.
The Sultan, Hamengkubuwono X, the second in his lineage to be given official governorship of Yogyakarta, is grabbing public and communal lands for sale and gifts to investors, selling it off for megaprojects like the NYIA and personally profiting, claiming a Feudal ownership. The real losers in this situation are the people of Yogyakarta, the real winners are the Sultan, the global rich and these megaproject proliferators who choose short-term profits over community autonomy and ecological health.
Since we didn’t get to it, I’d like to touch on what I understand of some of the racism that Tristan references. Among other things, the Sultan’s continued use of a 1975 law that is now in conflict with Indonesian national law against discrimination, is another tool at grabbing land and fueling ethnic populism. The law excludes ethnic-Chinese Indonesians (despite many having been in Indonesia for generations) and other non “pribumi” (or ethnically Indonesian) people from owning land and has been used to repress ethnic minorities in the archipelago in the past. This law also serves the Sultan, by denying property rights it allows his government (therefore him as feudal lord) to retain the rights to the land.
A few articles on resistance in Indonesia can be found at Agitasi, a site for Indonesian Counter Information and Analysis. If you can’t read it, learn Indonesian (or babelfish or googletranslate it). Some photos of solidarity can be found on InsurrectionNews. An article on resisting the airport from EF!Newswire, with more links inside. Indonesian embassies in the Americas can be found listed here.
Here is an update from the Appalachians Against Piplelines social media, which was posted two days ago:
Earlier this morning, on day 12 of the skypod on Pochahontas Road in the Hellbender Autonomous Zone (aka the Jefferson National Forest), fern was extracted and arrested.
Law enforcement began arriving to join the skypod’s existing 24 hour watch before 6am. For a couple hours, they discussed extraction, suited up in climbing gear, and attempted to coax fern down – but she refused to give in to their intimidation. Shortly after 8 am, a cherry picker drove up the road, by 8:30 fern was on the ground, handcuffed, and arrested.
Although the blockade of this pipeline access road has been removed, the fight is far from over. The Mountain Valley Pipeline remains a dangerous project, installed by force, and part of a network of dead end disasters for water, climate, communities, and ecosystems.
So before MVP and law enforcement even begin to breathe a sigh of relief, thinking they are one step closer to their goal of padding the pockets of executives at the expense of this forest and the lives of all along the route, let’s show them that they have not won.
Let’s remind them that this pipeline is not yet built, that it is not a foregone conclusion. Let’s prove that they have not extinguished the flame of resistance.
If you’ve been watching the efforts and sacrifices of the people confronting the MVP, if you’ve been grateful to know that this pipeline isn’t getting through without a fight, now is the time to move forward with actions of your own! None of us can do this alone.
And you can follow them on social media by searching Appalachians Against Pipelines on any platform you can think of.
. … . ..
Following the recent murder of Roxsana Hernandez at the hands of ICE agents, the organization Familia TQLM (Trans and Queer Liberation Movement) is organizing a national day of action against ICE, to end trans detention, and to call attention to the dangers forced upon trans, gay, and queer people in detention on Wednesday June 6th. Roxsana Hernandez was a 33 year old trans woman from Honduras, and her passing is one of the most recent examples of the specific threats that Immigration and Customs Enforcement pose to LGBTQ people. A recent study found that LGBTQ people are 97 times more likely to face sexual assault and sexualized violence at the hand of ICE agents while imprisoned, as well as facing conditions akin to torture: being held in freezing cells, or ones that are dangerously hot, and being denied life saving medication, as in the case of Roxsana Hernandez.
If you would like to connect with this action on June 6th, you can follow the hashtag JusticeForRoxsana, or email email@example.com
For this May Day episode William had the chance to speak with Nutty, who has been holding down a monopod blockade which is blocking the construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in the renamed Hellbender Autonomous Zone. She has been without the ability to reup her food and water supplies for over 21 days due to cop and forest ranger interference. We get to speak about the monopod and her experiences participating in this struggle, as well as her views on resisting the MVP, some ideas on the future of this struggle, some actionable items, and direct asks for support.
On the very first day of this blockade as some listeners will remember, Nutty’s direct support was arrested while trying to explain the rigging of the blockade to the police. Monopods rely on a series of rigs to support a platform where resisters typically sit. The Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is a massive 303 mile proposal by the company Dominion Resources in partnership with Duke Energy and Piedmont Natural Gas, is proposed to span land from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia and would disrupt and destroy countless habitats and complex interconnected water supplies, as well as the human communities it would likewise destroy. To hear an in depth podcast about this issue, I recommend End of the Line broadcasting out of Richmond, which you can find at http://pipelinepodcast.org/ and on https://soundcloud.com/pipelinepodcast/
Our guest will mention in the interview that the MVP’s proposal just got amended to go through a 70 mile stretch of North Carolina. For those who are concerned by this, we’d recommend looking into the Atlantic Coast Pipeline which would span a 600 mile track of land over WV VA and NC. Opposition to this pipeline is already gaining steam, so keep an eye on your favorite news sources for updates on that.
Next up is a conversation Bursts had with two community organizers in Sonoma County, California, named Sebastían and Mara. These two folks do organizing around immigrant communities and are helping to organize May Day festivities in Santa Rosa this year. Sebastían and Mara share about past years organizing around May Day, immigrant struggles against ICE and community efforts in the follow up to the devestating fires that raged through Northern California last year. Mara also shares about last year’s workplace organizing initiatives of Sonoma County waste workers that won them a contract, agricultural workers who won a contract from Gallo Sonoma Vinyard, and current struggles of employees at the Hyatt Vinyard Creek Santa Rosa. Sebastían also talks about the student walkouts he helped to organize on March 5th and plans for similar walkouts on May Day alongside the “Day Without An Immigrant.”
. … . ..
Finally, we’ll hear from Jack and Quinn, two local Wobblies helping to plan a May Day rally and march in Asheville meeting at 4pm at Pritchard Park in downtown. Later that evening Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross will be hosting a benefit concert at Fleetwoods on Haywood rd in West Asheville. The show starts at 8pm and will feature the music of Poor Excuse, WRHCKD, Earth Collider & Nomadic War Machine and the moneys will go to the local efforts to release black mothers from the Buncombe County Jail via the Black Mama Bail Fund effort on May 10th. More info on Black Mama Bail Out at https://nomoremoneybail.org/
For a longer version of the chat with the Asheville Wobblies, check out the podcast version. There you’ll also find announcements about Herman Bell and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
If you care to, you can send us a letter at our new address:
The Final Straw
P.O. Box 6004
Asheville, NC 28816
There is no Sean Swain segment this week due to scheduling errors on our part, but don’t worry we promise to have him back on next week’s episode. If you miss the sound of his voice, you can his website, SeanSwain.org and easily find his segments going back to 2014.
Herman Bell leaves prison!!!:
We’re happy to announce that former Black Panther, BLA soldier and elder Herman Bell walked free from prison this week. From his support crew:
On Friday, April 27th, Herman Bell, a 70-year old respected elder, was released after serving nearly 45 years in prison. Herman was one of thousands of incarcerated older people who was repeatedly denied parole for over a decade after completing his minimum sentence.
“His release is a result of important and urgent changes in the criminal legal system and parole regulations that are part of nationwide efforts to end mass incarceration. Let us hope that Herman’s release brings inspiration for more change.
“Herman is deeply humbled and grateful for the broad expressions of trust and support, but out of respect for the feelings of the victims’ families, he will not be making any public statements. We welcome him home.
And so do we at The Final Straw.
Pack The Courtroom for Mumia:
In other political prisoner news, Mumia Abu-Jamal has a court appearance tomorrow, April 30th in Philadelphia and his support crew is asking folks in the area to show up and pack the courthouse. Show up in courtroom attire to support Mumia at 8am at room 1108, Criminal Justice Center at 13th and Filbert St in Philadelphia. In this hearing the Judge will consider the argument that former PA Supreme Court Judge Castille should have recused himself from considering Mumia’s appeal because Castille had been working with the Philly DA’s office at the time of Mumia’s prosecution and during later appeals. A similar situation was deemed unconstitutional in the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2016 Williams v. Pennsylvania.
There is also a call for supporters of Mumia to call current Philly DA Larry Krasner and request that he release the files on Mumia from the Philadelphia District Attorney office and Philadelphia Police Department. You can call Larry Krasner at 215-686-8000. More ideas of how to help out Mumia can be found at mobilization4mumia.com.
Correction from the scott crow interview from Bursts:
On last week’s episode of our show, in which I interviewed scott crow about his new book “Setting Sites”, I asked a question about toxic masculinity and gun culture by using the term “male socialized” to describe men. I misspoke. What I meant to communicate in the question was masculine expectation and performativity and not to lump people who’ve been coercively assigned male by society based on a doctor’s childhood assessment. I should have said “men”. Sorry for the misspeak and thanks to the folks who gave us feedback.
Secondly, our comrade and sometimes contributor Disembodied Voice shares several short interviews with members of politicized prisoner Keith Malik Washington’s support team.
Comrade Malik, as he is known to his friends and supporters, is currently in solitary confinement in Texas at Eastham Unit, where he was placed as retaliation for coordinating a work stoppage during last year’s nationwide prison strike on September 9th. In addition to his work around the End Prison Slavery movement, Malik is a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW and the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party prison chapter, and is active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign.
Malik has an extensive network of support nationally and even internationally, both within and outside of the anarchist community. The interviews we will share today show the diversity of backgrounds, motivations, and stories that go into forming a support network for those engaged in revolutionary struggle while incarcerated, which is to say, from behind enemy lines. The conversations cover a wide range of topics, including a look at the range of issues prison activists like Malik work around; the kinds of relationships prison activists form with their supporters on the outside; the importance of being in solidarity across identities and political labels; and what a revolutionary abolitionist movements means to the people doing this work.
As Malik would say: DARE TO STRUGGLE. DARE TO WIN. ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE.
Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington
2665 Prison Road #1
Lovelady, TX 75851
The audio for these interviews is a bit rough because the interviews were done somewhat on the fly. Stay tuned (look for?) a transcript of these interviews in order to make comprehension a bit easier! It should come out sometime within the next two weeks.
Dear listeners, we would like to invite you to give a listen to the newest edition of the International Anarchist Radio Network’s monthly podcast, B(A)D News: Angry Voices From Around The World, fresh for September 2017. This 4th episode, available at our website, is about 45 minutes of updates from projects based in the UK, Chile, Greece, the Aegean Sea, Germany, El Salvador and from us!
Feel free to give a listen to ARadio Berlin’s Charlottesville reportback episode, done with none other than your host William Goodenuff. This was geared toward an international audience, so the news may not be new to a US based listening crowd, but if you want to hear why one of your hosts has been a lil absent for a sec, this is why. Everything’s fine tho, and I’ll be back to opine over the airwaves next week.
This week, we spoke with Bruno Y Hinojosa-Ruiz, a co-director of CIMA, Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion, about some immigration situations in Western NC, organizing here and the case of Elmer Reynoso-Reynoso, a Guatemalan-born resident of Weaverville who was recently released from detention after public outcry and pressure. http://www.cimawnc.org
Bo Brown support
First, we would like to briefly announce that long time revolutionary and former political prisoner Bo Brown has just been diagnosed with a condition which is very similar to Parkinson’s Disease. She has always worked tirelessly against racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, and has brought awareness and attention through all means to the plight of the prisoner. Since being in prison is an experience which is designed to follow everyone for their entire lives, let’s help this comrade with her current situation.
On Wednesday, October 12th Alt-Right, anti-muslim, anti-semite, anti-feminist, white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos is speaking at Western Carolina University. He’s being sponsored by the College Republicans at WCU in Cullowhee, about an hour drive west of Asheville. To get there, one can travel West on i-40 for about 25 minutes then out US-74 South for 35 minutes. It would be a pity if this stop on the “Dangerous Faggot Tour” were to be disrupted by anti-racists. Just sayin. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/milo-yiannopoulos-western-carolina-university-tickets-27340792045
His website is here
This week Bursts speaks with Greg Curry, a prisoner serving time for alleged participation in the Lucasville Prison uprising of 1993 where prisoners took over the Ohio prison, leading to the death of 10 inmates and one guard. For the hour, they speak about incarceration in the U.S., intersections of race and class, the prison strikes, capitalism and resistance. More on Greg’s case can be found at https://gregcurry.wordpress.com/
Prison Strike, Week 2
Here is another roundup of week two of of the National Prison Strike. This information was pulled from Mask Magazine, It’s Going Down, Support Prisoner Resistance, and the Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee.
Hunger strike begins at Lucasville and Ohio State Penitentiary, called by the Free Ohio Movement.
South Carolina prisoners release video of insects in their food.
Columbia, SC: Confirmed strike at Broad River Correctional Institution:
Florida: More prisoner uprising broke out on Monday night. According to the Miami Herald:
Florida’s state prisons have resumed “normal” operations despite a disturbance Monday night at Columbia Correctional, the fifth inmate uprising in less than a week, officials said. About 40 inmates engaged in civil disobedience by refusing officers’ orders and taking control of at least one dorm Monday evening. Columbia — one of the state’s most violent prisons — remained on lockdown Tuesday. Since Thursday, inmates have caused trouble at four other prisons, all in the state’s Panhandle, including Gulf Annex Correctional, Mayo Correctional and Jackson Correctional. The most serious melee was at Holmes Correctional, where 400 inmates destroyed several dorms on Thursday. Inmates involved in any incident have been moved to other prisons.
Chelsea Manning ends hunger strike that she began on September 9th. The army has agreed to grant her demands of gender affirming surgery.
Support Prisoner Resistance reports prison lockdowns in Arizona. Perryville, Yuma, Tuscon, Douglas, and Phoenix. It is unclear whether these are related to the strike, more information is forthcoming.
Merced, CA: Supporters report another block joins hunger strike. You can hear full coverage of this situation on the most recent IGD Cast here.
Holman Prison, AL: Free Alabama Movement issues press release calling for an end to the humanitarian crisis at the prison. They state through social media that many guards are not reporting to work and that much of the prison remains unguarded. This is from a press release which came out yesterday:
A serious humanitarian crisis is developing at Holman prison as correctional officers continue to walk off of the job amid concerns about safety and apathy from Warden Terry Raybon and the office of ADOC Commissioner Jefferson S Dunn, as violence, including deadly stabbings and assaults continue to mount.
Several officers expressed dismay and fear after learning that two of their fellow officers, Officer Brian Ezell and another officer, reported to Warden Raybon that they had knives drawn on them and their lives threatened, and that neither Warden Raybon, nor Commissioners Jeff Dunn and Grantt Culliver would take any action to ensure their safety. Both of these officers then quit.
Several other officers have also quit in the past three weeks after witnessing a stabbing of a fellow officer in the temple and who had remained hospitalized with life threatening injuries until he was pronounced dead earlier today. This after a former warden, Carter Davenport, was stabbed in March amidst back to back riots and other violence at Holman.
Now, after seeing Warden Raybon release approximately 20 people from segregation on September 13, 2016, most of whom were all in segregation for violent incidents (only to see several stabbing take place, including one critically injured and another losing an eye), a total of eight more officers have e ither quit or turned in their two week notices. Officers are expressing concern that the Commissioners of the ADOC are intentionally exacerbating violence at the expense of human life in efforts to push forward their plan to extort the public for 1.5 billion to build new prisons in next years Legislative Session.
Officers have began to express support for the Non-Violent stance of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and their efforts to expose corruption, violence and other issues plaguing Holman and other Alabama prisons, and have went so far as to make repeated requests to Warden Raybon for the release of F.A.M. co-founder and organizer Kinetik Justice from solitary confinement, because officers now feel that he is being wrongfully detained and because he has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to conduct peaceful demonstrations at Holman prison to bring attention to issues within the ADOC and Holman prison.
We are asking that everyone call Commissioner Dunn and Warden Raybon and demand that they post daily reports of the staffing levels and incidents of violence taking place at Holman as a matter of public safety.
Warden Terry Raybon
Holman Correctional Facility
Commissioner Jefferson Dunn
Commissioner Grantt Culliver
334-353-3883 (switchboard operator)
We close with this update from inside prison walls in SC:
“Comrades up here having an inside meeting to critically analyze the Prison strike strong and weak positions. For many it didn’t go far enough. Crucial points of resolution are not addressed. Certain regions didn’t feel the love, so the fire didn’t burn where they were at. Strong points, it was time. Unity was found on the outside. More people are talking about prison issues. Inside prisoners found unity in certain units or prisons. We too are talking more. These are just samples of what we need to start discussions around, particularly the prisoners. Because this will tell us how to add this moment in the movement, to the collective of prison rebellions to strengthen it, and toss the weak points.
Big UPS to the Prisoners thats always refused to comply. I’m one. For over a decade I’ve been punish with little privileges do to my insistent stance not to work. So the prisons close us off from the working prisoners. Its good to see others joining. But its not enough. They’ll let the few of us lay. So to be truly effective, time to plan and prepare for the next phase.”
Call for solidarity from IWOC
Meanwhile, the IWOC is making every effort to track the strike in the hopes of continuing this resistance and locating forms of solidarity and calls for assistance. If you would like to help in this effort, there is a comprehensive phone zaps list that includes a rundown of phone numbers, some context for the specific struggles, and suggested scripts to read if and when you get the pigs on the line. You can see this Google Doc here.
Also, if you hear anything, or are able to call prisons and ask about lockdown status, please let IWOC know via email at: iwoc(at)riseup(dott)net If you make calls for a given state and hear no lockdowns, please report that too.
Stay tuned all around for updates on the strike. Love and solidarity!
Legal fund donations to AVL and ATL
And finally (tho not lastly) just to plug, and to yet again express our love for our jailed NC and GA comrades, people here in Asheville and in Atlanta still need donations for legal funds. All of these folks were arrested while expressing solidarity with the Prison Strike, and the folks from Atlanta are facing some insane felony charges. All of them are out of jail now, but are beginning the long, slow battle with the criminal injustice system and they need your support.
I’d like to share a few notes on recent anarchist audio and video media in english that I’ve been appreciating in hopes of enticing you, dear audience, into checking them out.
Crimethinc’s The Exworker has begun rebroadcasting. This most recent episodes of the podcast focuses on the September 9th strike with a conversation with Azzurra of the ABC in Houston, TX, and Ben Turk of IWOC based in Wisconsin. Episode 49 also includes a review of Captive Nation: Black Organizing In The Civil Rights Era, an interview with an anarchist in the UK about Brexit and other tidbits. #50 also includes a segment mourning the death of Jordan MacTaggart, an American anarchist who died on the front lines in Rojava recently, a segment celebrating the death of former police chief and all-around king-bastard John Timoney and a rebroadcast of a Crna Luknja interview with members of DAF about Turkey after the attempted Coup. These ExWorkers are well worth a listen and available at http://crimethinc.com/podcast/
Also, submedia’s most recent episode on strikes, the DAPL pipeline and more entitled Burn Down The Plantation features a great interview with Melvin Ray of the Free Alabama Movement. This sits alongside a second video installment explaining anarchist fundamentals, this time featuring the concept of Mutual Aid, short videos on continued struggles in France against the #LoiTravail, direct action against fascists in Athens. These and more can be found at https://submedia.tv/stimulator/
It’s Going Down is now producing the IDGcast which can be found at http://itsgoingdown.org/ and include thus far timely interviews on the uprising in Milawukee, words from the Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline, the state of the alt-right or new white nationalist movements in North America and a discussion on communes and struggle with Morgan and El Errante. The most recent episode features an interview with a woman on hunger strike in Merced, California, in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners against the deplorable situation in this poor and rural county’s jails. The jails have witnessed abuses, deaths and injuries among those imprisoned in adult and juvenile detention at the hands of sadistic CO’s. Find the IDGcast at http://itsgoingdown.org/podcast
Resonance Audio Distro, or RAD, is a source for radical and anarchist audio of zines, books and essays and, among other things, produced an awesome and lengthy interview with Sylvie Kashdan and Robby Barnes to give context to two plays by these rapscallions that Resonance put online. Robbie and Sylvie are longtime anarchists living in the Seattle area who have been involved in The 5th Estate magazine for decades and have tons of stories and experiences to share. Check out Resonance at https://resonanceaudiodistro.org/
Season two of The Brilliant Podcast has begun and is apparently headed towards a new format. The most recent episode features a conversation with Isaac Cronin, curator of the Cruel Hospice imprint at Little Black Cart, talks about his experiences of Situationism, pro and post-Situ ideas and play in the U.S. since the 1960’s. Check this and more out at http://thebrilliant.org/
Finally, hip hop artist Sole is continuing to put out interesting discussions on his podcast SOLEcast. Most recently, Sole talked to Franco “Bifo” Berardi on Capitalism, Mass Killings, Suicide & Alienation. Episodes can be found at http://www.soleone.org/solecast
This week, we’ll be featuring a short roundup of some of the events inside and outside of the prison walls during the beginning of the Prisoner Work Strike that started on September 9th in the United Snakes with the goal of ending Prison Slavery in U.S. prisons. After that we’ll hear the last half hour of Gil O’Teen’s conversation with Guy McGowan Steel Steward, an American anarcho-communist about his joining the Rojava Revolution alongside Kurdish and other folks in Northern Syria. This portion, they discuss nationalism and national identity in Rojava, the draft, the decision to adopt Federalization within Rojava and more. This is within the context of recent Turkish incursions into the Kurdish regions of northern Syria which have led to deaths among civilians and YPG/YPJ forces of the Kurdish Resistance. These deaths include foreign fighters who’ve joined the Rojava struggle. Happily, Guy is not among those dead. There is an interesting discussion and an homage to american anarchist fighter Jordan MacTaggart, an interview with Rojava Solidarity NYC, plus much much more in the latest episode of The Ex-Worker podcast, available at http://crimethinc.com/podcast that I suggest folks check out and share with friends.
Background and Inside Resistance
As many of you are probably aware, Friday September 9th kicked off the largest and most coordinated prisoner work stoppage in the US in all history, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising. Organized in conjunction with incarcerated members of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), this work stoppage is turning a bright spotlight on the continuing condition of slavery in the United States, a slavery upon which this country’s economy is cripplingly dependant. Prisoners are also forced to be responsible for running the actual prisons themselves, working in the laundry, cafeteria, and so on, pretty much in any non-administrative capacity you can think of. I don’t think it should go without saying that much of this labor goes unwaged, though the on average 13 cents an hour that inmates get paid is nothing compared to the exorbitant costs of goods in prison stores.
Friday kicked off the actual strike, but resistance from within prison got started well before then with fires being set at Lincoln Correctional Center in Lincoln, Nebraska on September 6th, a 4 dormitory wide riot at Holmes prison in Bonifay, Florida on the 7th which hopped from dorm to dorm in the facility keeping just ahead of the CO’s attempts to quell the rebellion, creating a Whak-A-Mole type situation that I’m sure the prison officials just loved. Also on the 7th inmates at the infamous military detention center Guantanamo Bay remain on hunger strike to protest their indefinite detentions, many of whom were captured as part of the xenophobic and racist governmental response to September 11th, 2001, 15 years ago today.
September 9th at noon saw a complete work stoppage at Holman Correctional in Atmore, Alabama where our comrade Michael Kimble is held captive. There is no incidents yet from prison officials, and guards and COs were forced to perform all tasks. Sit down strikes and work stoppages were also held in Bonifay, FL in the aforementioned Holmes Prison, amid the ashes of the fires set only two days prior. In Troy VA, there was a work stoppage at a women’s facility, and all across this state of North Carolina prisoners refused to report to their jobs. At a women’s facility in California 10 or so brave souls refused to work and effectively shut the whole prison down because of fear of a riot. Disturbances were reported at Gulf and Mayo prisons in Florida, and three guards were injured in scuffles at Tecumseh Prison in Nebraska.
Yesterday saw a continuation of resistance in Nebraska at a women’s facility, from all over South Carolina, and continuing resistance in Atmore. Solidarity from overseas has been flying in fast and furious, with statements from prisoners in Greece, Australia, Lithuania, and Sweden among many others.
Repression of those who are striking has mostly consisted of prison lockdowns and targeting of people who have been designated the “ringleaders”. It will be very important for people to recieve solidarity from those on the outside in order for this resistance to continue. Keep your eyes on itsgoingdown.org and the live updates at http://maskmagazine.com for current info and calls for backup. You can visit the IWOC at iwoc.org for a list of concrete anti-repression tactics to share with those who are incarcerated and otherwise.
Local Events, Arrests, and Donations to the Legal Fund
Now, let’s take a gander at some of the events we were able to find that took place outside of the prison walls, per se, around the U.S. and around the world.
A full narrative of outside support events would take a very long time, which is a good thing, so we’re going to read through some highlights starting local to get the attention of the folks locally on this. We’ll be giving precedence to two local struggles in which arrests occurred. If folks from elsewhere have an experience they want to share, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or add it to the growing lists of solidarity by emailing email@example.com.
First off, let’s begin with Western North Carolina.
This text is from a fundraising site to cover legal costs :
“In the early afternoon of Septmeber 9th, comrades held a banner outside of the Avery Mitchell Correctional Facility in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. This was an attempt to offer support to any of the 816 prisoners at the facility involved in prison functions who may have chosen to withhold their labor as part of the wider strike against prison society. 5 arrests were made and trespassing charges were issued.
Later that afternoon in downtown Asheville, and following a #NoDAPL solidarity march and protest at TD Bank, there was a march through downtown in support of striking prisoners. 60-70 folks banged pots and pans, held banners and signs, passed out leaflets and chanted “Brick By Brick, Wall By Wall, We Will Make Your Prisons Fall” and other classics. Police followed the march blaring requests to get out of the street and eventually attempted to push the marchers onto the sidewalk with their vehicles. Attempts to engage the Friday night drum circle into hitting the pavement fell on deaf ears as folks made their way towards the Buncombe County Detention Facility. While passing by the local Goombay festival, flyers were distributed and a group of folks backstage answered our chants of “Our Passion for Freedom…” with their own melodious note of “Freedom”. A few minutes later and a few blocks away, 3 of ours were arrested, accused of blocking traffic and one with an additional charge of resisting arrest. By midnight the 3 were out.
Everyone is out and no more money for bail is required, but support for legal defense, court fees and lawyers is necessary, and we are asking for your help
At moments like these it is so crucial that we support people doing work to sustain the struggle for racial justice & prison abolition. This allows us to create stronger movements where we can all continue to be leaders in these fields and help a build stronger sense of community, especially in the south. We are all in this together and we need to continuously show up for each other, not just in the streets but in ways that allow us to continue to sustain our lives and our passions for the movement.
Folks in Atlanta took the streets on Friday, September 9th, in the face of serious police repression. From http://atlblackcross.org comes this information:
“Today marks the beginning of the national prison strike. Prisoners all over the country are going on strike and refusing to cooperate with the unjust prison system. They are demanding decent pay for work, decent food and living conditions, and an end to inhumane practices like solitary confinement.
In Atlanta, supporters marched through Midtown and disrupted several corporations which profit from prison slavery. Wendy’s, McDonalds, Aramark, and Starbucks all got a visit. When the march got to Starbucks, police made several violent arrests, using pepper spray and slamming people to the pavement. At one point, police even tried to run marchers over with a squad car.
We are working hard to make sure all the protesters get free as soon as possible, so everyone can continue doing the important work of supporting the ongoing prison strike.” As of this morning, Sunday, September 11th (make a wish!), all defendants are out but are facing some stupidly hefty charges. One demonstrator apparently was taken during their arrest to a police precinct women’s bathroom and choke slammed against the wall for being a part of copwatch in Atlanta. FTP!
More on the Atlanta cases and how to support them can be found at https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bail-out-prison-strike-supporters
International solidarity with the strike has been tremendous, with banner drops, graffitti and actions ranging far and wide. Here are a few instances of international solidarity, this is by no means a complete list. You can see more information about this, plus photos and full statements at It’s Going Down.
* Horgoš, Serbia: Banner drop in support of prison strike.
* Brisbane, Australia: Solidarity action with US prisoners.
*Melbourne, Australia: Info table with literature about US prisons and the prison strike, along with collected donations.
* Melbourne, Australia: Anarchist demonstration outside US Consulate.
* Malmö, Sweden: Solidarity demonstration.
* Athens, Greece: Demonstration outside Korydallos women’s prison.
* Leipzig, Germany: Rally outside US Consulate.
* Montreal, Canada: Dinner and film screening in solidarity with prisoner rebellion.
* Melbourne, Australia: Noise demo at youth jail.
* Barcelona, Spain: Graffiti messages of support written on McDonald’s.
This week, you’ll hear an interview with Ben Turk about ongoing prisoner hunger strikes at Waupun Correctional Institution in Wisconsin. The hunger strikes have been running since early June and have involved almost a dozen prisoners, who have faced repression including force feeding, further isolation, transfers and beatings for participation. The hunger strikes were initiated to protest the use of long term solitary confinement at the institution. For the majority of the show, IWOC activist Ben Turk talks about the cases of the men involved and the circumstances they’re facing. We also speak about the upcoming National Prisoner strike on September 9th, 2016 and how to get involved in that.
We’ll be hearing, near the end of the show, 2 musical tracks. Firstly, “Anguish Symmetry by With The End in Mind off of their 2016 release, “Unravelling, Arising”
But first a few announcements…:
Jerry Jai Williams killed by Asheville police
On July 2nd, Asheville Police officer Tyler Radford shot and killed a 35 year old, African American man named Jerry Williams at the Deaverview Apartments in Asheville. The following week has seen daily demonstrations and vigils in support of Jerry’s family, and the black communities of Asheville and in solidarity with protests against the killings of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling by police in Minneapolis and Baton Rouge, respectively. Today there will be three more events capping off the week of resistance that listeners are urged to attend if their hearts are in it.
at 2 PM – Community Healing and Release Ritual at the River (Carrier Park)
5 PM – Car Ride Through – Riding in Solidarity from Pisgah View Apartments to Deaverview apartments.
6 PM – Vigil at the Police Department in Pack Square in downtown Asheville.
Tuesday July 12, there are these:
A 2pm rally at the Asheville Mall (Wear all white or all black)
6pm vigil at Asheville Police Department
8pm Jerry Williams Birthday Bash / fundraiser for funeral and other support costs
Manuel Salas, a vegan animal rights activist who was arrested for arson (unrelated to his animal rights activism) a few months before his 19th birthday, is scheduled to be released from prison on August 20th, 2016 after more than a decade in prison. In addition to his initial 12-year sentence, Manuel was sentenced to an additional 4.5 years after being charged with felony criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct stemming from an escalation of a protest against the facility for denying him vegan food.
Manuel has been active in struggling for vegan rights within prisons during his incarceration and is the founder of the National Animal Rights and Anarchist Network. Manuel’s writing was featured in Issue #2 of Wildfire.
We have set up an email account for Manuel to use after he’s released. Starting in late August, you can send a quick email to Manuel to see how he’s doing and stay in touch at manuelsalas(a)riseup.net
A word from Manuel:
“Hello to all. My name is Manuel Salas. I have been an Animal Rights activist and vegan for a long time. I have helped to make positive changes to the prison vegan diet. I’m going to be getting out of prison in August and I’m looking to get in touch with some new people. In a way I’m looking for some friendly support.
I’m into the understanding that life is a gift and that we must get all we can out of it. I’m looking for friends who understand that everyone in life sometimes makes mistakes but can grow from them. There are also those, like me, who have made sacrifices for their friends’ in my case those friends are not humans, but the animals I fight so hard to save from their oppressors.
I want to move on and grow as I have over the year. I want to be able to share life with people who understand life as a gift, who can take the bad and work to make it good. To take the negative and make it a positive. To just have fun and enjoy life. I would appreciate a letter or a card. Thank you and I hope you all have a good day.”
Write to Manuel:
Manuel Salas #504212
Columbia Correctional Institution
PO Box 900
Portage, WI 53901-0900
But first, an announcement from Georgia:
As of around 20 hours ago, the cops have arrested at least 9 anti-racist protesters who went out to resist the KKK at Stone Mountain in Georgia. By all accounts, it seems like the protests were a definite win for anti-racists and anti-fascists, but as usual we still have to contend with police repression. Hopefully we will have more of a report for you about this event in coming weeks. Support folks for those who were arrested are working hard to get them free, but they desperately need funds for bail. If you can, please contribute by following this link: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/legal-support-for-anti-kkk-protesters
The Asheville Zine Fest will take place Sunday May 1st, 2016 from 11-4pm at the Grey Eagle in the River Arts District, Asheville, NC. Makers of zines, minicomics and small press from around the region will be in attendance to sell, trade & show off their works. The festival is free and open to the public. Come shop independent works of literature, politics, strangeness, art, and all kinds of unique publications. The Grey Eagle is at 185 Clingman Avenue, in Asheville.
Nationwide Prison Strike
If you, dear listeners aren’t in Seattle or some other urban center planning a stellar May Day for this year, a suggestion is going around that people plug in to the site supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org where you can find ideas and materials for distribution where you live and work to support the prisoner hunger strikes ongoing throughout Texas and Alabama and try to build dialogue and solidarity towards the September nationwide prisoner strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prisoner uprising. Alongside prisoners in AL and TX, incarcerated folks in Michigan are planning to begin a food protest and hunger strikes are slated to begin in Louisiana.