Category Archives: Ben Turk

Waupun CI prisoners on Hunger Strikes

Waupun CI Hunger Strike

https://solitarytorture.blogspot.com/
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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.

 

https://solitarytorture.blogspot.com/
http://supportprisonerresistance.net
https://iwoc.noblogs.org/

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

More events available in the photo area of
https://www.facebook.com/Justice4JerryWilliams
http://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/files/2016/07

A statement from supporters of Justice4Jerry: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/files/2016/07/13592775_10154411662867958_8878929642182786346_n.jpg

Manuel Salas To Be Released

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.

Manuel is requesting support as his release date approaches. Please take a moment to send Manuel a card of encouragement and include your contact information so he can stay in touch after his release. Or donate some money to his release fund. You can find the link up on our blog post.
(https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=PWXYSNRZ7KDYN)

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

Playlist

The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons (or FTP) and Ben Turk on the recent prisoner strikes

Panagioti on Fight Toxic Prisons + Ben Turk on September 9th Prison Strike

https://fighttoxicprisons.org
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This week on the show we feature an interview with Panagioti, who is an organizer with the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons. From their website:

 

“The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) is a collaboration with the Abolitionist Law Center. FTP’s mission is to conduct grassroots organizing, advocacy and direct action to challenge the prison system which is putting prisoners at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, as well as impacting surrounding communities and ecosystems by their construction and operation. At this time, FTP is focused on opposing the construction of a new federal prison in Letcher County, Kentucky.

FTP is inspired by the abolitionist movement against mass incarceration and the environmental justice movement, which have both been led by the communities of color who are hardest hit by prisons and pollution.Both these movements also have long histories of multi-racial alliances among those on the front lines of the struggle and those who can offer support and solidarity, which we aim to build on.

FTP has been informed by the ongoing research and analysis of the Human Rights Defense Center’s Prison Ecology Project, as well as the work of the Earth First! Prisoner Support Project and June11.org”

You can see much more about this project, learn about the convergence, and donate or register for the event at https://fighttoxicprisons.org

. … . ..

Ben Turk on Sept 9th Nationwide Prison Strike

The second segment in today’s show is an interview with Ben Turk conducted by members of The Prison Radio Show collective at CKUT, on the campus of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada about the prison strikes across the U.S. and the buildup towards calls for a general prisoner strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising on September 9th.

For a link to this show, follow: https://ckut.ca/en/content/prison-radio-april-14-5-6pm-ben-turk-ending-prison-slavery-0

Announcements

Bloc Party Updates

From the website, It’s Going Down dot org, the regular segment called Bloc Party is a great source for recent uprisings in the streets and in prisons around North America. We’d like to highlight a few of these items. First off, the article summarizes a number of the May Day
disturbances that took place last Sunday, including brief report-backs from May Day noise demos and street parties in NYC, Hamilton (Ontario) & Chicago, riots in Seattle and prison work strikes in Alabama at Holman, Elmore, and St Clair facilities. More details and photos from those prison strikes and solidarity protests, including ones in Minneapolis & Milwaukee plus arrestee support links can be found at http://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org

Also from that post are announcements of the June 12th birthday of Jay Chase of the NATO3 who’s been struggling with some health and legal hurdles of recently as well as information on the upcoming June parole dates for longstanding Black Liberation political prisoners Robert Seth Hayes and jalil Muntaqim with links to their support campaigns and also a new mailing address for Joseph Buddenburg, recently sentenced to 2 years for a non-cooperating plea for releasing thousands of minks from
fur farms. We spoke about his case alongside that of Nicole Kissane.

Check out http://itsgoingdown.org to check it out in detail.

Fire To The Prisons magazine

Finally, we’d like to share a part of the crowd sourcing request for the U.S.-based, English-language insurrectional anarchist journal, Fire To The Prisons which is asking for help in the publication of it’s 16th issue. In the request, FTTP describes the sorts of content it’s covered
and plans to cover, including wanting:

“to expand our coverage, scope, and the reach of the publication while remaining true to the spirit of Fire to the Prisons. We will continue with our long term commitment to counter-information, original writing and content, and the amplification of the anti-authoritarian/anti-prison/anti-repression struggle that you have come to expect from us.

We will have both a domestic and international voice this issue. While remaining true to reporting on repression and anti-prison resistance across the states, Canada, and Mexico, we have committed articles from abroad promising insight on struggles and happenings that will help to bridge and unify an array of social tensions through a mutual awareness and solidarity.

We truly want FTTP to become a global publication and one that links anarchists and other autonomous combatants together in a dialog about the commonalities that we all face, as well as a discussion on the actions and struggles that we can all engage in.

We will be covering the resurgence of fascism in mainstream American politics, as well as updates on communities resisting further eco-devastation across the states. We have committed articles from prisoners domestic and international. We have commitments from NYC Anarchist Black Cross to use the project as a resource for raising awareness on repression and prisoner status in North America. We will also focus on the pacification of favelas in Brazil, the current reality and history of anarchist struggle in Chile, and the refugee situation in Greece. We will have further reports on anti-police struggle across the
United States, and will be continuing a tradition of news on broader prisoner strikes across America since our last issue. We are also intent on original articles on indigenous resistance in western Canada. Plus accounts and updates of the struggle in Rojava and general Kurdistan. Also all our featured articles will be available in Spanish for free on our website.

We are a committed collective. We are prepared to invest a lot of time and energy into producing this project, but we ask any and all sympathetic readers to help us with printing and distribution. by donating to our funding page. To print 10,000 copies of this it will cost us $2,000 dollars. While in the past we have had to ask people to pay the postage to our distributor, we would like to be able to send out more copies for free, to encourage broader distribution. We are asking for another $2,000 dollars for this. With maximizing our distribution efforts through contacts and friends across the world, we can distribute and mail out almost all of the new issues to anyone interested in distributing it. This leads us to asking for $4,000 dollars. We know this is an ambitious amount, and most likely those supporting us aren’t very wealthy, but it will absolutely secure this project, and help with the expansion of our readership. We hope that reaching out this way will put a dent into that fiscal goal, as our collective members are all working people.”

The collective is soliciting submissions and comments via email at firetotheprisons@riseup.net and invites folks to read and download old issues in pdf form from the website at: http://firetotheprisons.org

Donations can be made at https://www.generosity.com/fundraising/help-print-and-distribute-fire-to-the-prisons-13

. … . ..

Playlist

June 11th, inmate drugging at SECC Missouri & Sean Swain updates

june11.org
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This episode of The Final Straw is served in three portions, all concerning prisons and prisoners.

Before the segments begin, a couple of announcements concerning upcoming events in Asheville, North Carolina for the days surrounding June 11th and the International Day of Solidarity with Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. These events include a Books to Prisoners open house at Downtown Books & News on Thursday the 11th at 3:30, a showing of a documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal at 7:30pm at Firestorm that night and a dance party and pie auction on the night of the 13th at the Odditorium. Facebook pages exist for these events, with details listed.

Also in there is mention of the call-out for Monday the 8th & every Friday to protest the Durham County Jail’s refusal to allow prisoners there the chance to get out of their cells for more than 2 hours a week. For more info on this struggle against the so-called Lockback, check out http://amplifyvoices.com

First among the segments, following commentary by Sean Swain, we’ll hear an up date on his situation from his friend and supporter, Ben Turk. Sean’s outgoing communication has been blocked, so his segment has had to go underground. This is in repsonse to Sean speaking up for another prisoner and using his outside support network to press the prisons after a racist attack by guards on a fellow prisoner at Lucasville. More at http://seanswain.org

Following that, we hear from Jenny of Sacramento Prisoner Support about the call-out for the upcoming June 11th International Day of Solidarity with Eric McDavid, Marius Mason & Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. Jenny tells us about the history of June 11th, talks about differences in the circumstance of June 11th for this year, and other aspects of prisoner support. More info on June 11th can be found at http://june11.org

Finally, we talk to Brianna Peril & Tommy Powell from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee & the Missouri Innocence Project (respectively) about prisons in Missouri and what appears to be the psychiatrization and forced drugging of inmates at the SouthEast Correctional Center (SECC) outside of Charleston, Missouri, and this week’s call-in-campaign to pressure the jailers to stop the process and bring more transparency to the situation. More about the call-in can be found on the fakebook page for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/405416019661232/
Linked from there is the fakebook page for IWOC.
The page for Midwest Innocence Project, affiliated with the MO Innocence Project can be found here: http://themip.org/

The episode is capped by a sludge metal track by General Grievous. More info in the playlist.

North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference; Alexander Abbasi on Ferguson & Decolonization of Palestine

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/ek5vc/ab/f3E260
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This episode features two conversations. The first is with Ben Turk, anarchist, playwrite and prison abolitionist. We chat briefly about the upcoming North American Anarchist Black Cross conference in Colorado, about what folks can expect if they go and how to support the event.

After that, a conversation with Alexander Abbasi. Alex is a Palestinian-American from Los Angeles, an activist in the BDS (that’s boycott, divest and sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine) and a student at Harvard’s divinity school. We talk about decolonization, the uprisings in Ferguson, the struggle to liberate Palestine from the occupation by Israel and what solidarity and liberation might look like.

Initially, when I (Bursts) contacted Alex for this conversation I was attempting to suss out what anarchists in Palestine had to say about the siege of Gaza by Israel, the national question, what Anarchism looked like to them and what how that might differ from the U.S. context. That’s a conversation I’m still looking to have. Alex was kind enough to have a conversation but it went in a different, albeit worthwhile direction as is clear when one listens to the questions that I ask. We hope that you enjoy it. The second half of it will be featured in an upcoming episode and will be linked here soon.

Playlist

Ben Turk on the silencing of Sean Swain, anarchist prisoner in Ohio

seanswain.org
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On April 6th of 2014, anarchist prisoner Sean Swain, who’s been kind enough to allow us to present his audio commentaries (available at http://www.seanswain.org) had his access to phone calls and email shut down by JPay corporation (which facilitates financial transactions between prisoners and their families and other corporations while skimming profit and also saving and mining the private user data) alongside of Global Tel* Link. This comes just after Sean was able to engage a new lawyer, Richard Kerger, who’s done work on the Lucasville Uprising death row prisoners.

This episode, we speak to Ben Turk, a supporter of Sean’s about new updates in Sean’s case, his silencing and how folks can help pressure the state to give Sean back his access to phones and email.

Prior to that interview, however, a special guest reads a script from Sean for this week’s “You Are The Resistance”. Take a listen, or find it later at archive.org as youaretheresistance04132014 alongside the past segments for download or streaming.

Ben then tells us about his efforts, via Insurgent Theatre, to print a compendium of the plays he’s written and his upcoming tour of the play BADGE (formerly known Know Your Enemies and prior to that as ACAB), where Ben play’s the part of Officer Friendly, a community liaison officer who slowly realizes that, in fact, all cops are bastards. This play will be touring with D. Jones’ film “The Shadow of Lucasville” around numerous parts of the U.S. and Canada. Check out the play intro and the preview of the film at http://www.insurgenttheatre.org

Ben also suggests taking a moment to call the current Prison Director, Gary Mohr at 614-752-1677 and requesting that Sean Swain be given back access to his email and phone communications so that he can resume more direct contact with lawyer, Rick Kerger.

If you care to apply pressure to Global Tel Link, which controls the private-side of the ability of prisoners and outsiders to communicate via email and phone, Sean says they are headquartered in Reston, VA and has offices in: Houston, TX, Sacramento, CA; Altoon, PA; & Mobile, AL. http://www.gtl.net

More on JPay can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JPay

The last half of this episode features the first track from new album by the Baton Rouge anarchist metal project, Thou. The album’s called Heathen and the track is called Free Will. Next up, we hear the track IV from the album Descent of Man by Vestiges.

Playlist available here

Ben Turk on Insurgent Theatre + Prison Abolition (October 27, 2013)

Ben Turk in "Know Your Enemy"
Ben Turk in “Know Your Enemy”
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This week’s episode is a conversation with Ben Turk. Ben’s a co-founder of Insurgent Theatre, the decade-old theater troop that has presented a number of original and refurbished theater workshops and performances around the country. Topics of IT’s works have ranged from discussions around Militancy framed through Homer’s Odyssey to Administrative Segregation to a Terrorists Fairytale.

Insurgent Theatre’s current play is called “Know Your Enemy.” The play is a one-person presentation based around a community liaison cop with a liberal heart of gold. As the play goes on, the cop begins to question whether he can actually do his job and help the community. A psychological study into the head of the “good cop” and community/cop relations, it also serves as a history of policing in the United States (ala “Our Enemies in Blue” by Kristian Williams) and a discussion of safer practices when interacting with cops (a sort of Know Your Rights presentation).
http://insurgenttheatre.org/acab/acab.html

“Know Your Enemy” is touring with the second film by D Jones in the “The Great Incarcerator” series. That film, “The Shadow of Lucasville” includes some eye opening just came out and a preview can be found online at:
http://darklittlesecretmovie.com/the-great-incarcerator-part-2-the-shadow-of-lucasville/

We also talk a bit during the hour about art and theater in the modern U.S. and how they can and/or do(n’t) intersect. He has a theatrical and theoretical project meant to play out his views on the role of art in revolution. http://artscab.net/

Finally, we speak about prison abolition. Ben has been involved in Redbird Prison Abolition, doing support work for and with prisoners (and those in revolt in particular) in Ohio where the project is based. These include the Lucasville Uprising prisoners, Sean Swain and others. http://www.redbirdprisonabolition.org/

Playlist