As corona virus spreads, the failures of capitalist states becomes even clearer and many people are forced to take some breaks from participating in the economy in the way they did before, we’d like to offer some audio we’ve been sitting on. The good folks at the radical bookstore and community space, Burning Books in Buffalo, New York, has given us a small trove of audios from presentations by authors, activists, visionaries and revolutionaries they’ve hosted over the last 7 years or so. We hope that you’ll take away some good perspectives from these luminaries, on struggle, on change, on shifting terrain and on the revolutionary solidarity impulse that they communicate. These are scary times we are living in, but we want to remind you that sometimes in scary times people bring out their best to the fore because we are stronger together.
Get involved in local efforts to organize in your area by visiting this IGD post and searching down the page for the regional mutual aid groups you can plug into.
In this podcast special series, we’re sharing a presentation by the author, historian and activist, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz on September 17th, 2015, speaking about her book ‘An Indigenous Peoples History of the United States’. From the website, reddirtsite.com:
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She has been active in the international indigenous movement for more than four decades, and she is known for her lifelong commitment to national and international social justice issues. After receiving her Ph.D. in history at the University of California at Los Angeles, she taught in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, and helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies.
The audio cuts off rather suddenly after just about an hour due to recording device, sadly, so we lose Dr. Dunbar-Ortiz part way through a sentence. We’ll have more information at the end of this about where you can find more of her writings.
If you are thinking of purchasing any of her titles, we suggest that you check out getting them from a local bookstore rather than Amazon. And while quarantine is ongoing, if you prefer to order online from Burning Books, they are offering free shipping in the US on orders more than $25 (as of this recording on March 18th, 2020) from their website, burningbooks.com. Feel free, also, to support our local venue and regular supporter of our site, as well, Firestorm.Coop, which sells titles online as well.
This was a great interview to have for me, because this is a topic we haven’t yet presented on this show and we cover a wide range of topics; our guest’s personal history with witchcraft, what is meant by magic, witchcraft, and animism, how anti-racists and anti-imperialists could approach having a magical practice that doesn’t fall into appropriation, and many many more topics! We also discuss her new book at length, what led her to write this book, and what she hopes readers might get from it.
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You can go to sarahlyons.org to see more information by and about our guest, plus upcoming projects. You can also follow her on Instagram @citymystic and on Twitter @_sarah_lyons_.
Support the Maroon Movement and the Baltimore Free Store!
@MaroonMovement and a coalition of anticapitalist organizers are looking for individuals and organizations that want to assist with a regular Baltimore Free Store that will offer no cost food, gently used clothing, toiletries, books, housing items, & services such as sewing, haircuts, classes, etc.
The are actively fundraising to purchase food, toiletries, rental space, transportation, serving items, storage and other fees needed to launch and make Baltimore Free Store happen. They would appreciate the solidarity. Any amount – $1, $5, $10 etc. – helps to alleviate the real life effects of anti working class budget cuts and poverty that impacts our community! Together the village will win. All Power To The People!
This week we are happy to feature a couple of audios we did NOT record ourselves.
Resisting Militarism and Occupation in Israel
First, German comrades attending the Balkan Anarchist Bookfair last year interviewed two Israeli anarchists about resistance against the settler-colonial nation they live under. Dana is from Tel Aviv (a member of the Coalition of Women for Peace) and Aaron is from, among other groups, an anti-militarist, de-enlistment group called New Profile. Info about the Coalition of Women for Peace can be found at CoalitionOfWomen.org and you can learn more about New Profile at NewProfile.org/english/ . My voice will show up in the main segment instead of one of the interviewers who preferred not to have their voice aired here. This is followed by a brief statement by one of the interviewers who conducted the interview about their views on the reasons it was difficult to publish the critique of Israel from within Germany.
The Last Act Of The Circus Animals
After this, we’ll hear Sean Swain talk about the book he co-wrote with Travis Washington, The Last Act of the Circus Animals with his friend, Adam Bomb. Last Act is available for free in 3 parts in zine format at seanswain.org, alongside Sean’s many other writings. You can also purchase a book version of Last Act from Sprout Distro. We won’t be airing the whole interview with Sean in the radio version of this, we simply don’t have the time. But if you want to hear the last 10 minutes or so of it, check out our podcast version available for free at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org, up on our youtube channel, spotify, etc etc. Keep an ear out in the next month for a conversation with Anthony Rayson and Mike of South Chicago ABC, the group that among many other things, first published The Last Act of the Circus Animals.
TFSR is a member of the A-Radio Network. Check our show notes for a link to the latest edition of our monthly podcast, BAD News: Angry Voices from Around The World, featuring anarchist perspectives from Greece, Germany, France and Chile.
Michael Kimble phone-zap
From Monday, December 23rd onward, there will be a phone zap for supporters of anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble to call and press his captors in the Alabama Department of Corrections to demand a transfer for Michael from Holman Correctional. Michael was recently placed in segregation for coming to the defense of a fellow prisoner being beaten by a guard. He is urgently asking for support in attaining that transfer to a new facility so as to not face retaliation in the shadows from guards for his solidarity. Supporters suggest calling the following officials:
Alabama DOC Commissioner’s Office (Ask for Commissioner Jeff Dunn) 334.353.3883
Holman Correctional (Ask for Warden Cynthia Stewart) 251.368.8173
After various attempts to break with the endogamy of our collectives, of trying and failing to move beyond merely interpreting the works of the classical anarchists, we have decided to launch this call. Our objective is to meet others and exchange experiences, skills, ideas and dreams; to return anarchism to the streets and incorporate it into everyday life.
Now, more than ever, we want to see this society go up in flames. We need to get together, to advance from the lessons we have learned, to listen to each other without arrogance or submission. In this vein, this call for a week of “Anarchist Days” seeks to turn our focus and energy to the practices and resistances of everyday life; the spaces where subversive ideas and practices germinate.
We hope that wherever this call reaches, there will be a response because the fury and fire know no borders. We also want to be clear that homophobes, sexists, machos, racists, fascists, government affiliates, etc. are not welcome.
December 20, 2019 to January 31, 2020 (Proposals for topics and themes)
December 20, 2019 to April 30, 2020 (Proposals for workshops, activities, discussions, presentations, actions, etc.)
We talk about harm, entitlement as relates to positions of power like masculinity or whiteness in our cultures, the need for connection engrained into our biology and sociality, accountability and healing among other topics.
Next weekend is the Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair (or ACAB) happening in Asheville, NC. Events start on Friday with a welcome table at Firestorm from 1-7pm. Simultaneously, there’ll be presentations on Veganism and non-violent direct action, trans-national and indigenous poetry, anti-racism in Appalacha, Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement and anarchism in Puerto Rico. That night, Pansy Fest begins with a show at Sly Grog Lounge at 7pm. This sparks a weekend of activities from 11am til 2am around the city. If you want to learn more about either event, check out acab2019.noblogs.org and pansycollective.org or give a re-listen to our August 4th episode of The Final Straw. And please come visit our table if you’re in town on Saturday or Sunday and say hi.
Sean Swain’s 50th Bday
We’re lucky enough to include Sean Swain in this week’s broadcast. If you’ve been missing him on your radio emissions, you can find a link to his audio essays up at our website, he produces one every week, find updates on him at Sean Swain.org or now follow him on twitter at @SwainRocks. Please be aware that his 50th birthday is coming up on September 12th, so send him some loving kindness. Also, if you’re in town for ACAB, swing by The Final Straw table on Saturday, August 24th before noon to participate in a birthday surprise for Sean. Shhh, don’t tell him.
There are some updates on the case of anarchist prisoner, Eric King up at his support site, supportericking.org. And stay tuned to our website and podcast stream for some special audios about him. Also, keep an ear out for the August 2019 episode of BADNews in the same places.
This week we had the chance to interview Matt Meyer, who, among many other pursuits, is a retired professor and an editor of A Soldier’s Story: Revolutionary Writings by a New Afrikan Anarchist, out from PM Press, which highlights the life and writings of Kwasi Balagoon. Balagoon was a defendant in the Panther 21 case in the late 1960s, in which 21 people were arrested and accused of planned coordinated bombing and long-range rifle attacks on two police stations and an education office in New York City. He was ultimately acquitted of this, but was caught up on charges related to a robbery some time later and passed in prison in 1986.
Sean Swain on food in prison 2:48
Matt Meyer on Kuwasi Balagoon 11:44
Support Matt Hinkston announcement 1:06:08
In this interview, Bursts and Matt discuss Balagoon’s life and writings and why this book is especially relevant right now. They’ll talk about his abiding love for his comrades, a things which seems to have driven much of his politics, and his queerness, an aspect of his life which seemed very important and also complex. Stay tuned to the end of the conversation for questions submitted to The Final Straw by imprisoned anarchist Michael Kimble, who has been a guest on this show and is an admirer of Kuwasi. To see more of Michael’s work and to write to him, you can visit anarchylive.noblogs.org
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Support Matt Hinkston!
Police violence in Lucasville-Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Call Monday in support of Matt Hinkston (A724969). Matt is the brother of Mustafa, who Bursts interviewed a few weeks back.
Matt Hinkston (A724969) is being retaliated against for filing a PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) grievance against a correctional officer and for having gone on hunger strikes in protest of human rights violations against himself and others in the past. One of the main officers who has been mistreating him is named Officer Lawless. They’ve put him in solitary confinement without a disciplinary ticket and restricted his access to communication. Although correctional officers claim that Matt has been put in solitary confinement for his protection, they’re also denying him access to his property and to technology for communicating with the outside world.
Incarcerated people’s lives and human rights matter. Nobody should be sent to solitary for filing a PREA report against a guard. Let’s call Lucasville this weekend and Monday at 740-259-5544 to:
-ask for a wellness check on Matthew Hinkston, A#724969
-tell officials in the Warden’s area and on Matt’s block that we support Matt’s demands and oppose continued retaliation against him for filing a PREA grievance.
Support Matt in this continued struggle against police violence, racism, and rape culture!
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Finally, thank you to everyone who replied in response to our 9th anniversary podcast special in which me and Bursts interviewed each other about why we do what we do, some personal backstory for each of us, and opinions on media in general. We also used the opportunity to solicit listeners for another co host, to share the work load and extend the option in case there was anyone out there who was interested.
We got way more responses than we ever thought we would, and are working through to answer them in as complete and responsible a way as possible. If your interest is piqued and you wanna hear this episode, it’s up on our website along with all our other archived material.
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Music at the beginning of the show was an instrumental version of Hip Hop by Dead Prez off of Let’s Get Free.
ROAR Conference 2019 + Spencer Sunshine on Fascism
[Sean Swain at 2m40s]
This week on the show, we feature two segments.
First up, an organizer with the Revolutionary Organizing Against Racism, or ROAR Conference shares perspectives on the upcoming conference, May 18 & 19, 2019 on stolen Ohlone land in the so-called Bay Area. More info on ROAR Conference at roar-conference.com
[ROAR starts at 9m32s]
Then I spoke with journalist and anti-racist activist Spencer Sunshine about various far right and racist tendencies such as traditionalism and third-positionism, in relation to the current landscape of anti-fascist struggle in Turtle Island and in particular tendencies suspected in relation to the demolition of a building at the Highlander Education and Research Center in New Market, TN at the end of March, 2019. More writings by Spencer can be found at spencersunshine.com, at his fedbook author page or on twitter by searching the username @transform6789.
[Spencer Sunshine starts at 30m47s]
On Friday, April 12th at 8pm there was a ruckus noise demo outside the Dekalb County Jail where prisoners had been able to get out word of physical violence out of camera-view by guards, black mold conditions and more against the mostly indigent, mostly POC prisoner population in this Atlanta Jail. You can hear an interview with the mother of two prisoners mistreated in that jail who got the word out about conditions on IGD’s This Is America #68 from April 12, 2019. At the noise demo, at least two people were arrested and there’s a fundraiser up to help cover legal costs. You can find that fundraiser and kick in by visiting atlsolidarity.org
Immigrant Solidarity Rally, Asheville
Listeners in the Asheville area, on Monday April 15th there’ll be a demonstration in front of the Federal Building at 115 Patton Ave in downtown to mark the year anniversary of the 2018 ICE raids against our communities. The demo will be organized by CIMA, or Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion, and will focus on the continued danger faced by our undocumented loved ones, friends and families. This is also in opposition to HB370 currently in process at the state level that would force collaboration between sheriff departments and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CIMA urges people to show up in force.
Asheville Black Mama Bail Out Benefit
Also, on Saturday, April 27th at show o’clock at The Bottle Shop next to Firestorm Books, Blue Ridge ABC will be hosting a benefit for Black Mama Bail Out efforts organized by Southerners On New Ground. The show will feature performances by XOR, Kangarot, Nomadic War Machine and more. Check out the flyer and more up at brabc.blackblogs.org
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This week, we feature two segments on the show: an interview with a Russian anarchist about the recent ramping up of torture and repression by the FSB in Russia against anarchists and anti-fascists (00:14:13); and a chat with Patrick Strickland, author of “Alerta! Alerta!: Snapshots of Europe’s Anti-Fascist Struggle” (00:34:17); plus anarchist prisoner Sean Swain on his bid to “Build The Wall” (00:08:27)
FSB Torture of Radicals
First up, Bursts spoke with Tania, a Russian anarchist, a member of the crew who runs the RUpression website documenting Russian state agencies like the FSB’s use of torture to extract stories to build conspiracies to legitimize their tightening of restrictions on public gatherings, chill the political and media landscape, and sustain a state of sense of fear among the populace. We discuss the death of Mikhail Zhlobitsky in a bombing of an FSB office in October, the current state of anarchist organizing in Russia, and the past political repression since 2012 and the cases in Pensa and the 2017 “The Network” conspiracy case (which we’ve spoken of in this show in the past here and here). In February 2019, a situation unfolded where Azat Miftakhov disappeared, came back tortured, and accused of taking part in an anarchist terrorist plot. Azat was released by court order only to be re-arrested by another police agency (well documented in this crimethInc article, alongside some downloadable posters for pasting around your town).
You can learn more about the case by reading and following rupression.com
Patrick Strickland on European Anti-Fascism
Secondly, William had the chance to interview Patrick Strickland, who is a journalist and author, about his recently released book “Alerta! Alerta! Snapshots of Europe’s Anti-Fascist Struggle”. This book follows the stories and lives of 5 European people who do broadly defined antifascist work or struggle. For this interview we talk about Strickland’s journalism, the experiences of compiling this book, and about understanding elements on the far right that might enhance anti-fascism, in the so called US, Europe, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @P_Strickland_ for news and upcoming projects!
Show Up For Rayquan Borum!
If you are in Charlotte NC tomorrow, Monday the 11th, consider showing up to support Rayquan Borum, who is a Black activist arrested during the Charlotte Uprising, a days long protest to mourn and rage against the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott in 2016. From charlotteuprising.com/statement : “The uprising in Charlotte is a direct response to sustained police and vigilante violence against Black people in this city and across the country: Keith Lamont Scott, Jonathan Ferrell, Aiyana Stanley, Jones, Tyre King, Korryn Gaines, Janisha Fonville, Terence Crutcher and so many more. These are names of victims we know and deeply mourn, understanding there are so many other people who have been unnecessarily taken from us.”
The arrest of Rayquan Borum was a direct attempt by police to frame Mr. Borum, and he is finally going to trial after 2 years being held in and out of solitary confinement. The trial will be held starts February 11th, and will start at 9:30am in room 5370 at the address 832 East Fourth Street Charlotte, NC, which is the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.You can follow the Charlotte Uprising on twitter, facebook, and tumblr for more ways to get involved and support the folks facing ongoing repression from the Uprising. And here is a link to a useful court support quicksheet made specifically for this trial! Court solidarity needs for Rayquan are ongoing, so plug in when you can.
Federal Prison Postal Changes Survey
Lawyers & activists doing prisoner support have been concerned with new Federal Bureau of Prisons’ rules limiting the type of mail people in prison can receive — for example, rules that people in federal prison can only get white paper / envelopes, and no cards or drawings. There is work being done to look into what is going on across the country on this issue. If you have heard anything, they’d love to hear about it.
They are also trying to collect evidence of what is happening at all the different federal facilities. If you have any of the following (or if you feel comfortable asking for any of these types of things from people in prison you are in contact with), that would be super helpful, including:
Any memos from federal prisons detailing new mail restrictions
Any program statements from BoP detailing new mail restrictions
Any Institutional Supplements from BoP detailing new mail restrictions
Scans of federal mail rejections based on new restrictions (color of letter, color of envelope, use of mailing label, greeting card etc)
Scans of envelopes with rejected stickers detailing reason for rejection
Scans of grievances from prisoners regarding the mail restrictions
If you are interested in potentially working with us around this issue, let the folks at Certain Days Calendar know, and they can reach out with info about their next meeting. Get in touch at: email@example.com
Free Tibet celebration in Scotland and around the world
If you’re listening in Edinburgh, Scotland, there’ll be a March on Sunday March 10 from The Mound in support of 60th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising to the invasion and occupation by the Chinese communist regime forces. On the subject of resistance and the Tibetan Diaspora, there’ll be guest speakers making speeches and then a march to Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. TBA there may be a film screening afterwards. The event is scheduled from 12-2pm UTC More can be found on fedbook by searching “Tibetan Community in Scotland”.
You’re listening to the second half of my inteview with anarchist, activist and author Cindy Milstein as they toured with the book Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief, published last year by AK Press. In this portion of the conversation, Cindy will share about community support infrastructures in sickness and in health, the importance of play, the Montreal Student Strikes, insights from Silvia Federici, care circles and religious institutions, anarchism and more. The first half of this chat can be found at our website really should be listened to first.
Cindy Milstein is an anarchist, activist and author who was a touring few months back with Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief, published last year by AK Press. The book is compilation of essays by various authors about loss in it’s myriad forms experienced under cis-hetero-patriarchy, in a capitalist settler colonialism, anti-Black and otherwise racist, able-ist society. After Cindy came to speak at Firestorm Books in October 2018, we sat down for a LONG chat. In this FIRST hour, Cindy shares thoughts on the following topics and more: a prior book they put together, Taking Sides (AK Press, 2015); the process of making Rebellious Mourning and creating “brave spaces” for engaging with hard topics; prefiguration during the anarchist summer camp they help organize called the “Institute for Advanced Troublemaking”; and multi-generational care and care-taking in anarchist communities.
When I say the conversation was long, I mean that we recorded for about two and a half hours. We present the first hour here for radio audiences. We’re also going to do an out of the ordinary for us thing, which is that we’re going to release the second half along side it. You’ll find part two linked in this blog post soon, so you can listen to the both back to back if you choose. Next week, this second half will air for radio audiences but our podcast listeners will get a special treat because in place of a new Final Straw episode,, we’ll be sharing a new episode of our occasional tech security from an anarchist perspective podcast, Error451. So, stay tuned for the voice of someone engaged in spreading tools of encryption for free to help you to protect your right to whisper.
First, we happy to announce that we’ll should be airing this Sunday at 12pm Pacific time for the first of many broadcasts on the airwaves of KFUG-LP, Crescent City in Del Norte County in California. KFUG broadcasts at 101.1fm and streams on the website kfugradio.org!
Unist’ot’en Camp Needs Help
The Canadian State has declared an injunction against the First Nations Unist’ot’en camp blocking Transcanada from building a pipeline through their unceded territory from the Alberta Tar Sands to the east. They need folks to come and join the blockade, they have an updated asks list for donations and you can keep up by find them on social media or checking their website Unistoten.Camp
Jeremy Ricard, Prisoner Check In
Jeremy Ricard, a prisoner at David Wade Correctional in Homer, LA, has been facing repression from guards in the forms of getting maced, kept in solitary, beaten, had his personal and legal property taken and given only a paper smock for the 30 days at a time. A friend has asked folks to contact the prison and express concern about his situation and care. Jeremy Ricard’s prison number is #511078 and the Warden at David Wade is Jerry Goodwin. Warden Goodwin can be reached at (318) 927-0400
Donations & Support
If you care to support The Final Straw Radio, please consider a one-time donation via our paypal or a recurring donation via our Patreon or librepay. We have items on the Patreon and our BigCartel webstore to thank supporters including stickers, buttons, t-shirts and zines, great for the socially required gift-giving holiday season. We never charge for our audio work, so if you feel like you can kick back some cash our way, we really appreciate it! Find more info at our website by clicking the Donate/Support Button.
Walidah Imarisha on Angels With Dirty Faces (rebroadcast)
This week we are rebroadcasting an interview that William and Disembodied Voice conducted with Walidah Imarisha, who is an Oregon based writer, educator, public scholar and spoken word artist about her book Angels With Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption, her 2016 book out from AK Press and IAS, which highlights three distinct experiences that are all in different degrees tangential to the realities inherent to the prison industrial complex. This book won the Creative Non-Fiction Award in the state of Oregon earlier on in 2017.
In this interview we got to touch on a wide array of topics, mostly centered on Angels With Dirty Faces but also on accountability processes and what might have to change in order for them to feel more effective, her relationship to anarchism, and some upcoming projects and appearances.
We also get to touch on the book Octavia’s Brood, a compilation of speculative fiction that Imarisha co-edited with Adrienne Maree Brown, who also wrote the book Emergent Strategy.
First tho, for all of you who enjoyed our interview with Mango and Marin about anarchist approaches to psychiatry and mental health, there is going to be an Anarchist Mental Health Conference in New York City on Saturday February 23rd 2019 at Judson Memorial Church at 55 Washington Square South, New York NY 10012
The call for proposals reads as follows:
“1. Are you an anarchist (or other leftist anti-capitalist anti-authoritarian)?
2. Are you a mental health provider (psychotherapist, counselor, peer specialist, or psychopharm prescriber)?
3. Do you have something to share with anarchist mental health workers? (a critique of the field, a skill you have, or a resource we need to know about)?
If the answer to these questions is yes, please email an accessible language abstract of 100 or so words to firstname.lastname@example.org describing what you want to share, why it’s important, and what conference participants will take away from the presentation. Separate from the abstract, please also specify how much time you need (45 minutes max) and what format you’ll be using (lecture, workshop, roundtable, longtable, etc)
Thanks to everyone who reached out to us about the interview about anarchist mental health, your comments and feedback were truly wonderful to hear! Keep an eye out for further interviews with Mango and Marin, on this and other anarchist and anti authoritarian media platforms.
Support the Vaughn Prisoners!
We also would like to report on a very concerning and terrible event which took place recently. For the second time this month, someone connected with the James T. Vaughn prison uprising trials has died.
For a bit of context, from a support flyer at It’s Going Down, “On February 1st, 2017, inmates at the Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware took control of their unit and held staff hostage in an uprising that lasted 18 hours. They called the media, released a list of demands, and explained their actions as motivated by their conditions of confinement as well as the election of Donald Trump as President. One prison guard, Steven Floyd, was killed by inmates during the uprising.”
The remaining prisoners are still facing charges associated with the riot.
Kelly Gibbs, the man who passed, was not a defendant in the first trial, but his name was mentioned during that time in connection with the uprising. The implications of these two deaths are all too apparent; prison workers and wardens often take matters into their own hands in retaliation for acts of prison rebellion. Now it’s important to support the Vaughn uprising! We will link to an updated flyer that includes all the names and addresses of the remaining people, as well as to articles for further reading.
From the Philly ABC, calling for court support of the Vaughn 17 back in October:
In many ways the demands of the Vaughn 17 anticipated the 2018 National Prison Strike, calling for increased wages for their mandatory labor, and the introduction of rehabilitation and education programs. These comrades positioned their struggle inside against the threat posed by Trump’s election, which has now been realized in the increasing detention of immigrants and the rise of fascism on the outside. Since the occupation’s end, they have been subjected to extreme repression and violence, including beatings and the denial of basic necessities, including having their water shut off. Yet in the face of these hardships and the betrayal, 17 of the defendants are standing together, unwavering in their solidarity.