Category Archives: Autonomia

An interview with a member of Koko Lepo – an autonomous youth collective in Belgrade -, an update on AntiFenix, and words from Sean Swain

Koko Lepo – Belgrade, Serbia

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This week we feature an interview with Freddy, who is a member of the autonomous youth collective in Belgrade, Serbia known as Koko Lepo. We speak about the origins of the collective as growing out of a self organized kindergarten primarily for Roma children, about solidarity between anarchists and Roma people in Belgrade, about some history of the region, and about the complex nature of solidarity itself.

 

It should be mentioned though, that due to a very unfortunate technical error, we lost the final 13 or so minutes of this interview, many apologies both to you – dear listeners – and to our guest. Just to give you a broad picture of what we talked about, we touched a bit more on the complex nature of actual solidarity, and made the point that sometimes so called “real” solidarity can look somewhat ordinary or boring. We also spoke more about the tour that Freddy just concluded with a stop in Asheville, and about challenges that the various audiences brought to the talks he did, in particular the question of race, racism, and ally complexes. Our guest brought up the point that there have been various conversations about this topic in the US that have not happened – or have not happened in the same way – as they have in Belgrade. He was particularly excited to engage with American audiences about this issue, and said a lot of really cool and poignant things which we are unfortunately unable to share with you. Though if you would like to write to this project you can email them at kokolepo(aat)riseup.net and get in touch with them on facebook by searching kokolepoav

However, all of this perhaps gives us the opportunity to share more in depth than we may originally have been able some of the musical projects that our guest recommended. It also bears mentioning that mutual aid in the form of money donations most often happen for this project in the form of music shows, punk, metal, hardcore, or other varieties. If you feel so moved to, please feel free to make a solidarity show in your town!

The first project we’ll share is a Roma language hip hop project called Lord Kastro with Djelem Djelem. The next is a track from a hardcore project called Katma, the singer of which is one of the co-founders of the original kindergarten. The third is another track from Gipsy Mafia (an antifa Roma hip hop group, a track from which opened up the show as well) with “Ava Kari”.

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Announcements

Operation Fénix

Here is an update from comrades in Czech Republic:

On Friday 5-27-2016 in Pankrác remand prison anarchist Martin Ignacák accused of terrorism went on hunger strike. He did this because on 4-29-2016 the City court in Prague ruled in favour of his release from remand and the state’s attorney appealed this decision to the High court in Prague. On friday 5-27-2016 the High court in Prague extended the remand. Therefore the anarchist has decided to protest by going on hunger strike and has stopped taking in nutrition and liquids. This type of hunger strike threatens the life of the hunger striker after a week.

During the year long investigation of the preparation of a supposed terrorist attack the imprisoned anarchist has exhausted all legal options, to achieve objective procedure of the respective organs active in the criminal proceedings. None of them were taken into account. This is why he now chose this radical form of expression, to draw attention to this manipulated police case. “I consider the approach of the investigators and the police to be very problematic, it is a threat to the freedom of every human being, a threat to freedom of speech, a threat to activism that tries to lead to a better world , and this doesn’t just involve anarchists.”

Martin has been prosecuted in the so called Fénix case since April 2015, in which 5 people altogether were accused of the preparation and the failure to notify of a terrorist attack on a train. Martin is the only one who has been in remand prison this whole time and his detention has now been extended after the intervention of the state’s attorney. As a reason for the extension of remand the state’s attorney used the testimony of a police agent who infiltrated the anarchist movement in 2014. From his testimony the state’s attorney drew the conclusion that Martin might attempt to escape to Spain. Another reason, according to him, was that Martin “is connected to the so called Sít revolucních bunek/ The Network of Revolutionary Cells (SRB) and therefore also to similar organizations abroad.” The police spoke about SRB when they began Fénix and provided information to the media.” Any connections between the 5 attacks ascribed to SRB and all the detained and accused have been refuted. The investigators themselves have ruled it out” says Martin.

At the moment Martin is the second longest detained prisoner in the Pankrác remand prison. For 13 months he has been living there under conditions that negatively affect his psychological and physical state. For example he has been refused food free of animal products, which means he practically doesn’t have access to hot food. Friends, who have come to visit him have been mentioned by name in the indictment. Police from the Department for combating organized crime have started to collect information on Martin’s sister, only because she tries to support her brother in whichever way she can.

For Martin parole would mean that after 13 long months he would again see his friends, family, nature, that he wouldn’t be exposed to emotional deprivation and physical hardship.

Update Sunday, May 29th: Martin’s sister Pavla B. joined her brother in the protest and this morning she has started hunger strike herself as well.

For more information follow https://antifenix.noblogs.org/

Our past interviews on AntiFenix can be found here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/?s=antifenix

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2 views on migrant struggle in Germany + the E.U.

Migrant Movements in E.U.

http://oplatz.net/
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In this hour we’ll be hearing two perspectives on migrant struggles in the EU, Germany in particular, dating back to roughly 2012. The first we’ll hear is Adam Bahar. Adam is an immigrant from Sudan who currently works on emergency phone networks connecting Coast Guards with migrants cross the sea in distress. In the second, we hear from Adams interviewer, a Berlin-based German-born no-border activist about their experiences. We tried to cut overlapping information to decrease redundancy but there will be a little overlap in order to make space for both differing experiences expressed.

In this first interview Adam Bahar talks about his participation in migrant struggles, including taking part in the public migrant march in 2012 from Wurzburg to Berlin, the tent occupation of Oranienplatz in Berlin by 150 migrants for a year and a half followed by the squatting of an empty school building. In German, the word Lager is used as a storage place, also used for the camps or shelters where asylum seeking refugees are kept isolated from the rest of the German population. Another word that may be difficult for listeners to understand is Adams phrasing of Guardsea, comparable to Coast Guard. Adam also talks about the cooperation between corrupt African governments and the German government either in their business of dictatorship or the deportation of Africans back to their continent of origin.

For the rest of the hour we’ll be hearing part of an interview conducted by myself and William with the activist who held the conversation with Adam in the first half hour. Here, our German friend talks a little more about the occupation of Oranienplatz from 2012-2014 in Kreutzberg, Berlin and more generally we discuss the Shengen Zone for the understanding of non-regional audience members. Later, they speak about their understanding of border situations in the Balkans as they’ve been closing down and thoughts about relationships between richer countries and the intolerable situations in the poorer nations from whence come many of the refugees.

Thanks to our buddies affiliated with Anarchistisches Radio Berlin for helping us out with setting up these recordings. More content from them at http://aradio.blogsport.de

Announcements

Prison Resistance Updates

First, a couple of announcements. Here’s a wrap up of prisoner resistance activities this week around the U.S., followed by a few specific prisoner updates.

Momentum is growing behind the bars. After two intense rebellions in four days at Holman prison in Atmore, Alabama last month things have really heated up. Prisoners in Texas called for and initiated a state wide series of work strikes on April 4th, the Free Alabama Movement announced a shutdown of ADOC for the month of May and prisoners across the country announced and called for a nationally coordinated strike and protest this September.

Reports from Texas prisoners are still coming in, but at least 7 facilities participated enough to get locked down by prison authorities. There have been a lot of threats and harassment by staff reported, but no specific reprisals or people targeted as leaders, yet.

On Saturday, April 9th outside supporters gathered for solidarity events across the country, including, Austin, Houston, Phoenix, the Bronx, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Providence, Denver, Tucson, Minneapolis and Fayetteville Arkansas, as well as a protest at Holman prison in Alabama by the Mothers and Families of the Free Alabama Movement.

These events were either protests at corporations that profit from prison slavery, or workshops and planning sessions about prison slavery and supporting the growing wave of prisoner resistance. Supporters hope to see this tide continue to rise leading up to the September 9th work-stoppage, since attention from the outside is essential to protect striking or otherwise rebellious prisoners from violent reprisals.

The Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee of the IWW is heavily involved in support efforts. You can keep up to date by following their website at http://IWOC.noblogs.org or by monitoring and signing up for the email list at http://SupportPrisonerResistance.net.

on twitter:
#SupportPrisonerResistance
#EyesOnTexas

Alvaro Luna Hernandez (Xinachtli)

Supporters of Alvaro Luna Hernandez sent this message:

“Alvaro is in dire need of immediate, practical solidarity from all who support his emancipation from unjust incarceration and cruel punishment.

Alvaro’s Recent Hardship
In these past few weeks it has come to our attention that Alvaro is enduring multiple forms of inadequate and cruel treatment by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

He is in need of dire medical attention; the TDCJ has placed him in more inhospitable holding conditions; the TDCJ has confiscated and stolen from him; the TDCJ has limited his mail correspondence; and when in transport to Lubbock, TX, the TDCJ transported him with—what you will certainly agree is—little to no regard for his health or comfort.”

Therefore, Alvaro’s supporters are urging you to email or call relevant TDCJ authorities by Thursday, April 14th, 2016 (at midnight) to protest these conditions and demand immediate improvements. More information at http://FreeAlvaro.net

Playlist

“Feminism in the Crisis” at Connecting European Struggles Conference; Julnel of Ü on anti-fascist Black Metal and social organizing

Feminism In The Crisis + Antifa Black Metal

http://connectingeuropeanstruggles.tumblr.com/
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This week we feature two segments concerning struggles in Europe:

Firstly, we speak with Linus. Linus is a member of an autonomous socialist group based in Malmö, Sweden, and is an organizer of the upcoming Connecting European Struggles conference in Malmö. The theme of the CES conference this year is “Gender and Crisis” and invites anti-state & anti-capitalist individuals and groups from around and beyond Europe to attend from September 18-25th to have discussions, watch films, attend presentations and engage towards a more integrated system of autonomous action and ideas. Bursts and Linus discuss the conference, the prior year’s, Crisis Politics, feminism, anti-capitalism, reaction and more. More on the conference can be found at http://connectingeuropeanstruggles.tumblr.com

Next, Bursts chats with Julnel, a member of Ü, an anarchist black metal band from Potenza, in Basilicata, southern Italy. Julnel is a founder of the The Black Metal Alliance anti-hate metal and punk collective, as well as a founder of Dark Skies Above Us Collective and Ü has contributed music to benefit compilations for both of those collectives as well as Crust or Die distro.

Recipients of the benefit funds, earned by selling albums of donated songs by similarly anti-nationalist, anti-racist, feminist, pro-LGBT (and so on) metal and punk projects and include: http://caravana43.com; Emilio (anti-fa resistor beaten by a crowd of fascists) and Dordoni Social Center in Cremona which was attacked in January of 2015 by hooligans from CasaPound; Eric McDavid; http://www.womenonwaves.org providing info, contraceptives, safe and legal abortions and more by sailing ships into intl waters around coastal countries where abortion access is prohibited; and 350.org.

These collectives (DSAU/BMA/CoD) include bands from Europe, North America, Australasia and South America. We spend about 20 minutes talking about uses of subcultures like punk and metal to engage politically by both revolutionary (for instance, RABM) and reactionary ideologies (in particular RAC & NSBM).

There is no Sean Swain segment for this week, but stay tuned for our next episode which will feature a conversation on the No New Animal Labs tour and initiative out of Washington State to stop the building of an animal testing lab at UW and fight against animal testing. We’ll also be speaking with a supporter of Jessica Burlew, an 18 year old girl diagnosed as schizoeffective and autistic, who has been held in isolation in Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Arizona, since January, 2014. She is being charged with 2nd degree murder for the accidental death of Jason Ash, a 43 year old man who was sexually exploiting her as a 16 year old. http://freejessieb.org/

Announcements

The following is an update on the Resist 450 event in St. Augustine Florida, which was written on Tuesday September 8th and posted to the EarthFirst! Newswire at http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire. It should be stated that all who were arrested are now free, but the bail fund website is still active and accepting donations.

From EarthFirst!: Six people were arrested today for demonstrating against the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Spanish invasion of so-called Saint Augustine, Florida. Arrestees are being held at the St Johns County Jail with misdemeanor charges. So far, three have been released. The support team does not have enough support to bond out all arrestees. Donations to the legal/bail fund can be sent to https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/donate/22383

Tribal elders and the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples called for resistance demonstrations months ago. The Council asked Saint Augustine city officials not to glorify the rape, torture, displacement, enslavement, and genocide that accompanied European colonization but they were repeatedly ignored.

“Acts of genocide and crimes against humanity conducted on our ancestors by Spain is nothing to honor, glorify, commemorate or celebrate,” said clan and spiritual leader Bobby C. Billie. Billie led tradition prayers in defiance of a reenactment of a colonial landing this morning.

Other protesters took to the water. To the chagrin of haughty actors dressed in shiny hats and other aristocratic regalia, protesters held signs and chanted from kayaks, canoes, and pool floaties in the water surrounding the rowboat and forcing the boat back several times and finally reaching land with reenactors only under heavy police boat escort. More picketers disrupted the opening countdown ceremonies. They delivered messages like “celebrating 450 is celebrating genocide,” “heal the past,” “no honor no pride” and “conquest is not discovery.”

Police officers singled out and arrested four canoers participating in the water protest. On land, officers arrested two other people who interrupted a procession of dignitaries and escorted away others who called attention to the grotesque nature of the festivities.

Protester Libelula commented

“Today’s demonstrations seek to unmask St Augustine’s romanticized version of conquest as a vile glorification of the horrific and heinous acts committed against the original people’s of this territory by the Spanish Conquistadors. I’m from an indigenous background and celebrations like this one are not only offensive but also attempt to erase indigenous people’s suffering. This makes our demands for emancipation and dignity invisible. This is a blatant celebration the murder, rape, and torture of the original peoples of Turtle Island. It’s important to not let this go unchallenged.”

From Denver Anarchist Black Cross

Anarchists across the US have been taking part in events to raise funds for the Anarchist Black Cross in cities from Denver, New York, and LA. The events, called ‘Running Down the Walls’ raise funds for the ABC Warchest, which goes to help ABC Chapters send money and literature to political prisoners across the US. The runs are conducted in US cities and inside prison walls, building solidarity between incarcerated prisoners and those on the outside. Bill Dune, anti-authoritarian political prisoner imprisoned for an attempted 1979 prison break from the King County Jail in Seattle,Washington wrote on the occasion:

“Running Down The Walls has become a fine and honored tradition on our side of the barricade. I could run like the wind in past RDTWs even where I ran alone because the sense of solidarity took away the pain of physical exertion and of distance from my community – from you all. This year, unfortunately, I will be unable to physically run with you. I’ve been relegated to FCI Herlong’s dungeon because in the agency of repression’s mythology, an anonymous note purports that I’m planning to run from them. It was most likely written by a person of the porcine persuasion actually worried I might be planning more litigation. But so it goes in life with big brother! I will be with you this day nevertheless, if not in person, in mind, in heart, in solidarity as you – as we – run, walk, roll, move however we can down the road to revolution. See you closer to the finish line!”

To write to Bill Dunne, address letters to:

Bill Dunne #10916-086
FCI Herlong
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 800
Herlong, CA 96113

To donate to Running Down the Walls, go to http://www.youcaring.com/u-s-political-prisoners-406831

Ashker v. Governor of California

The Final Straw sees fit to mention a court decision – which we wouldn’t normally do, this being a somewhat anti-state anarchist radio show – but this little number highlights a few things which interest us and relates back to the interviews we conducted in 2011 & 2013 around the hunger strikes that spread up from California prisons to include prisoners in other states and even Canada in solidarity against solitary confinement. The case in question is called Ashker v. Governor of California, and it is a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners held in the Security Housing Unit, or SHU, at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent a decade or more in solitary confinement. The case was settled by the Governor’s office on September 1st, 2015.

From The Center For Constitutional Rights at https://ccrjustice.org:

“The case charges that prolonged solitary confinement violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and that the absence of meaningful review for SHU placement violates the prisoners’ rights to due process. The legal action is part of a larger movement to reform conditions in SHUs in Calfornia’s prisons that was sparked by hunger strikes by thousands of SHU prisoners in 2011 and 2013; the named plaintiffs in Ashker include several leaders and participants from the hunger strikes. The case is part of the Center for Constitutional Rights broader efforts to challenge mass incarceration, discrimination, and abusive prison policies.”

From https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com

“This settlement represents a monumental victory for prisoners and an important step toward our goal of ending solitary confinement in California, and across the country. California’s agreement to abandon indeterminate SHU confinement based on gang affiliation demonstrates the power of unity and collective action. This victory was achieved by the efforts of people in prison, their families and loved ones, lawyers, and outside supporters.”

This case represents to us a huge and interesting step in our United States, which happens to be the country with the most percentage of incarcerated citizens in the world. Prison visibility in the media is at unprecedented levels, from the prison themed TV show “Orange is the New Black” to NPR coverage of prison strikes and the deleterious effects that incarceration and solitary confinement has on people. Since this particular case could not have occurred so successfully in a more apathetic social environment – support from families and on social media have been instrumental to any steam its gained – it yet again highlights to us the importance of sticking to your guns, to having strong solidarity with your comrades, friends, family, and neighbors, wherever and whenever it makes sense. So listeners, keep on talking to each other. It could lead in some great directions.

#LibertaDiDimora: Hobo, Repression and Autonomia around the University of Bologna, Italy

hobo-bologna.info
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This week’s episode features a conversation with Francesca. Francesca is a student at the University of Bologna in Italy and is one of the people at the center of a wave of repression in response to ongoing autonomous organizing inside and outside of the University. The University of Bologna is the oldest, continuously operating public University in the world. Francesca is also a member of the Hobo collective, which runs an autonomous social space inside of the Poli-Sci department of the University.

In December of last year, after numerous marches and interventions around the city and university on a range of issues such as immigrant rights, precarity of employment, underpaying of university workers, increased cost and decreased quality of services at the university, affordable housing, the censure of political dialogue and more, the District Attorney of Bologna had Francesca and 5 comrades arrested as a preventative measure in order to stop their organizing and to terrorize the students and militants of the area. 4 students have been placed on house arrest in Bologna, making it quite difficult to make ends meet economically, and 2 were exiled from the city, thus cutting short their educational career. In response, a campaign called “#LibertaDiDimora”, which translates to freedom of home, was launched to respond to the repression of the 6 comrades and to continue struggles around freedom of movement and housing issues inside and outside of the university. More on student organizing around the world at http://commonware.org/

For the hour, we’ll be speaking with Francesca about her case, the campagn, the Autonomia movement which Hobo is alligned with, the monetization of education, precarity, internships, immigration in Italy, squatting and more. More at http://hobo-bologna.info

But, first a few announcements.

In the wake of the tragic murder of nine African American bible study members on June 17th, 2015 at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a white supremacist their was an outpouring of grief and solidarity expressed around the world. This was followed by a series of protests and direct-action removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the capital grounds in Colombia, South Carolina. The pressure built in other Southern States to remove the CSA Battle flag from their state flags resulting in blowback from some white folks to the removal of this “heritage” symbol that means oppression to so many others. Subsequent to the killings and flag debates, at least 6 black churches were torched between June 22nd and June 29th around the South East. Churches in: Knoxville, TN; Macon, GA; Charleston, SC; Elyria, OH; Tallahassee, FL. To top this, and never to lose an opportunity to display their pointy heads, the Klu Klux Klan has decided to call for a rally on the steps of the South Carolina State House on July 18th at 3pm and just as the racists will be coordinating to show up at the rally, so are anti-racists and regular-ass folks around the region. There are all sorts of calls for participation in all sorts of ways to counter a public display of hatred by the KKK. I hope to see y’all there. http://columbiascdemocallout.tumblr.com/

In a perfect segway, the next evening, July 19th 2015, folks are invited to come to the new location for Firestorm Books & Cafe at 610 Haywood Rd for a presentation by Saralee Stafford & Neal Shirley on their book, Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South. For our conversation with the Shirley & Stafford, check out this link.

A reminder to listeners with graphic talents, we’re soliciting designs for stickers, posters and more. The artists who’s designs are selected will receive a few prizes from our freeboxes (actually, some tee shirts and literature). We’re looking for the name of the show, our website and images that may reflect the project. We’re hoping it can be a tool for better advertising the project and getting more folks involved. You can email designs in pdf format to thefinalstrawradio(aat)riseup( dott)net or send them in physical form to, again:
The Final Straw
C/o Ashevillefm
864 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806

Finally, I’d like to give a brief shout out to some other audio & video projects that have been kicking out the jams of late. If you’re familiar with The Final Straw, you may have heard some of their names on our 4th Anniversary show last year.

Check out the Free Radical Radio at http://freeradicalradicalradio.net for a mostly weekly mix of commentary, comedy, critique and always witty reparte.

For great action updates, audio documentaries, reviews and more, Crimethinc’s podcast called “The Ex-Worker” is not to be missed. You can find episodes at http://crimethinc.com/podcast, along with links and transcripts of the episodes.

WhichSide Podcast, which features hosts Jeremy Parkin & Jordan Halliday, did a great interview with Kevin Van Meter, contributor to the book “Life During Wartime”. Regular episodes feature chats on anarchism, activism, animal liberation, veganism and more. More can be found at http://whichsidepodcast.com.

Finally, I want to give a shoutout to The Stimulator & his f-ing show, It’s The End Of The World and We Know It (And I Feel Fine) for riot porn, interviews, commentaries, updates and stunning images and movie references. More from that project at http://submedia.tv

Playlist