This week we had the chance to interview Lelia, who is a community activist and a part of the group Comunidad Colectiva, an immigrant rights group based in Charlotte NC. We got to talk about a lot of things in this interview, the work that they and other groups do with immigrant and undocumented communities, about the February ICE raids that got national attention, what effective rapid response can look like, and the challenging tension associated with both being anti state and being in the position of having to negotiate with police and sheriffs for safety reasons, plus many more topics.
We wanted to mention something called 287(g) and give a bit of information for listeners who may not have heard of this before. 287(g) was a contract between local officials and ICE which essentially made police forces extensions of ICE, and also instituted deportation proceedings as part of run of the mill arrests. More is explained about this contract later on in the interview, but it gets mentioned fairly heavily before that time.
You can keep updated on this group’s work by hitting them up on Facebook and if you have a few dollars you’d like to throw them to recoup the costs associated with their rapid response network, their Venmo is @comunidad-colectiva.
Next week on The Final Straw, stay tuned for an interview with a member of the Montreal based group Ni Frontiers Ni Prison (which is No Borders, No Prison) about fighting a proposed new migrant prison, decolonization, the rise of far right sentiment in so called Canada, and many associated topics, plus a possible other interview.
Update on Kinetic Justice
In a brief update to last week’s interview on the hunger strike by Kinetic Justice of the Free Alabama Movement, we’d like to share the following news. On March 20th, Kinetic Justice Amun (aka Robert Earl Council) resumed his hunger strike as he was transferred briefly to segregation housing at Limestone prison, but ended his hunger strike within a few days and was transferred to general population at that prison. He can be written at the following address:
Robert Earl Council #181418
28779 Nick Davis Rd
Harvest, AL 35749
Consequently, 8 of the prisoners transferred with Kinetic in the middle of the night, began engaging in a hunger strike in response to their own incarceration in solitary. In response to the hunger strike, administration cut off water to the cells they were held in, giving them bottled water.
The 8 prisoners ended their hunger strike on March 22nd, and administration claims they’ll be transferred to general population in the Alabama prison system as they’re not under investigation currently.
Gord Hill is an indigenous author, anarchist, antifascist and militant, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation living in so-called British Columbia, Canada. Gord is also graphic artist and comic book author who most recently published The Antifa Comic Book, out from Arsenal Pulp Press, and runs the website Warrior Publications and sometimes publishes under the nom-de-plume of ZigZag.
We are deeply saddened to report that Rayquan Borum has been found guilty of possession of a firearm and second degree murder with him being sentenced to 25/26 years in a cage.
We knew it would be difficult to receive a fair trial in the same court that allowed Officer Randall Kerrick to walk free for the murder of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell. We know the police will continue to kill Black and brown folks and escape accountability.
We suffered extreme suppression from the judge from the start of the trial. Even though the medical examiner testified there was a 51% chance that ANYTHING else killed Justin Carr, Judge Hayes would not allow any testimony naming the police. Of course, it is far easier to scapegoat a random Black man than to launch an investigation into the same police force that killed ONLY Black people in 2015.
We also know that Justin Carr would be alive were it not for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department murder of Keith Lamont Scott (no trial for that officer, of course). We know that the Mecklenburg County Courts disproportionately sentence Black and brown bodies to time in cages. We know that CMPD disproportionately arrests Black and brown folks. Black people are 30% of Charlotte’s population and make up about 70% of the jail population.
We know that this is the American Way. In response, we will continue to rise up and resist this colonized nation and work toward building a more decolonized world, for all of us.
A few house keeping notes about the show. We’re happy to announce that The Final Straw is now available on the Pacifica Radio platform for affiliate stations to pick up more easily. If you, dear listener, live in an area where we aren’t on the radio but there’s a community station that airs programming from the Pacifica Network, you now have a WAY easier IN to bug the station’s programming director with. If you want us on your airwaves, check out our “broadcasting” tab on our website and reach out to a local radio station. If you have questions or want help, reach out to us and we’re happy to chat. We hope to have a some more terrestrial broadcast stations to announce soon.
Actually, yah, that was the only note. Tee hee. Otherwise, if you want to hear me, Barchive is linked up in our show notesursts, Dj’ing a 2 hour set of punk, goth and electronica on AshevilleFM, an archive is linked up in our show notes that’s available until March 12th.
If you’re in the Asheville area, there’re a few events coming up on March 16th of note. At 11am at Firestorm books, a participant in the Internationalist Commune, a self-organized collective in Northern Syria, will join us for a video chat about the revolutionary movement to transform Kurdish territory into a stateless society.
Later, across town, there’re a couple of Blue Ridge ABC events at Static Age on Saturday, March 16th. From 3-5pm there’ll be an N64 Super Smash Brothers tournament with vegan philly cheese steaks and fries available, and then from 9pm onward an antifascist black metal show featuring Arid from Chicago, plus local bands Rat Broth and Feminazgul.
Then, a reminder, that on March 22nd at the Block Off Biltmore is a benefit for info-sharing between Southern Appalachia and Rojava. The event will include a discussion, a short documentary showing, vegan desserts and nice merchandise. For more info, check out the flyer in our shownotes from March 3rd, 2019.
And now a couple of prisoner announcements
Chelsea Manning Imprisoned
U.S. Army whistleblower and former Political Prisoner, Chelsae Manning, has been jailed for criminal contempt for refusing a subpoena to participate in a Federal Grand Jury in Virginia concerning her 2010 disclosures to Wikileaks of U.S. drone killings of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. A support committee called “Chelsea Resists!” has been set up and updates will be coming from the website xychelsea.is and there’s a fundraiser up at actionnetwork.com for her as well. We hope to feature members of her support as well as former Grand Jury resisters who’ve been on this show before in an episode soon. You can write to Chelsea at the following address:
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
William G. Trusdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314
Some quick guidelines to keep her safer while writing are in the show notes
Address your letter exactly as shown above
send letters on white paper
use the mail service to send letters
include color drawings if you’d like
sparingly send 4×6 photos, as she may only keep 10 at a time
Do not send cards, packages, postcards, photocopies or cash
Do not decorate the outside of the envelope
do not send books or magazines
Exonerated Vaughn 17 prisoners transferred out of state
As the cases proceed against the Vaughn17, 17 prisoners on trial in Delaware for a prison uprising following the election of Trump as president, an uprising sometimes compared to the Lucasville Uprising, repression continues.
The uprising was as follows: prisoners took over Building C at the Vaughn prison in Smyrna, Delaware, and took three prison guards and one prison counselor hostage. Demands issued during the hostage standoff included that Delaware Governor John Carney investigate poor living conditions at the facility. One correctional officer who was taken hostage, Steven Floyd, would later be found dead after police re-entered the facility. The case can be followed at vaughn17support.org as it enters it’s third trial group. A few words from the support site note the continued repression of some of the court-exonerated prisoners:
The State of Delaware retaliated against defendants in the Vaughn uprising trial last week, by moving them out of state to Pennsylvania.
Kevin Berry, Abednego Baynes, Obadiah Miller, Johnny Bramble, Dwayne Staats, and Jarreau Ayers were all transferred to solitary confinement at SCI Camp Hill, a maximum security facility. They joined Deric Forney, who was transferred weeks earlier in January. Berry, Baynes, and Forney have all been fully acquitted on all charges.
“It’s unusual to move prisoners with short terms left in their sentence out of state,” said Fariha Huriya, an organizer working closely with Vaughn 17 prisoners. “They’re being held in solitary confinement, with no showers, no access to commissary, and limited phone calls. It’s the same inhumane conditions that they faced at James T. Vaughn.”
“The State’s vindictiveness will cost them,” said Betty Rothstein, who also organizes with the prisoners. “The Vaughn 17 have resisted these charges, and will continue to resist and expose the corruption of the DOC and abuse on prisoners.”
There are nine defendants who are still awaiting trial. New trial dates for groups 3 and 4 are scheduled for May 6th, 2019, and October 21st, 2019.
Rayquan Borum Trial Begins + Scaling Up Climate Resistance
This week we’re sharing two interviews.
First up, Bursts spoke with glo merriweather and jamie marsicano, two supporters of Rayquan Borum, a young black man accused by Charlotte PD of killing Justin Carr, another protester out during the Charlotte Uprising after the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott in mid September of 2016. Rayquan spent 2 years and 5 months in pre-trial detention and his trial just began. Some witnesses to Carr’s death claim the Charlotte PD killed him, not Borum. Check out our April 2018 interview with glo, jamie and ash for background on the case. You can follow CharlotteUprising at their fedbook page. (starts at 11min 30sec)
Second we air an interview with Mia from Rising Tide North America, Selma from Ende Gelände and Johanna from the Climate Justice Action Camp in Germany about the tour the three are engaging around the so-called U.S. We talk about mass movements to stop the extractive industries in Germany and the U.S., the Yellow Vest movement, the Green New Deal and more. The tour dates and synopsis is up at risingtidenorthamerica.org under the title “Scaling Our Climate Resistance.” If you can’t make the tour dates, there’s also a free webinar on March 11 at 8pm EST. (starts at 40min 5sec)
(Sean Swain at 4min 30)
Eric King Moved
Vegan, anarchist political prisoner Eric King who we focused on in our January 20th episode, has been moved again. Now he’s at USP McCreary, about 20 hours drive from his wife and their kids in Colorado. You can write to Eric at:
Eric King 27090045
P.O. BOX 3000
PINE KNOT, KY42635
and find out about donating to his commissary, his booklist, find his writings and specifics about the tight mail restrictions at McCreary, visit supportericking.org.
Soledad Phone Zap
On March 3rd and 4th there is a phone zap, a request for as many people to call in to protest as possible, in order to disrupt scheduled “gladiator fights” being deliberately staged by corrections officials between conflicting sets of prisoners at Soledad prison in California. More on these “gladiator fights”, plus a script, numbers and who to call available at IWOC’s website.
From Blue Ridge to Zagros
In Asheville, there’s an event we’re happy to share coming up to support local solidarity and infosharing efforts between Rojava and Appalachia. From 6-8pm at The Block Off Biltmore on Thursday, March 21st. The event will have vegan deserts, a film screening and sweet, sweet merch to help the effort. More info coming soon, check our show notes for a flyer image.
First, we’ll feature some words that friends in central NC recorded of Elijah. Elijah was born and raised in Durham, NC, who was imprisoned in Alabama. Elijah was among many who showed up to resist a threatened march in Durham by the KKK after people began rising up and taking down white supremacist statues last falls. Elijah talks about incarceration, guilt, organizing and about getting out.
Secondly, William reads a statement about possible evictions by police beginning tomorrow on la ZAD (Zone A Defendre) in Notre Dame-de-Landes, Brittany, France. See the text below.
Finally, we are happy to be sharing a conversation that Bursts recently had with glo merriweather, ash williams & jamie marsicano. The three reside in occupied Waccamaw Siouan and Catawba territory, also known as Charlotte, North Carolina. glo, ash & Jamie speak about the events that led up to the Charlotte Uprising of 2016, the tumult after the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott, the police killings of black and brown bodies in the U.S., gender and state violence and resistance, the killing of Justin Carr, the police accusation of Rayquan Borum for that death and the repression being faced by glo merriweather and others at the hands of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. You can find out more about the work ash, Jamie & glo are doing by visiting the Charlotte Uprising FedBook, website or twitter. glo has a trial date coming up on May 7th. One way you can show support for them is to visit gofundme and donate to GetGloGoing!
On this episode, we’re gonna try a new thing with our announcements, by putting them at the end. Let us know what y’all think of this experiment. Keep listening after the final episode for some events we want to feature.
Evictions on la ZAD
Some months ago in January of this year, it was announced that the French government was abandoning the airport construction in Notre Dame Des Landes. As many listeners know, the defense project which is known world wide as the ZAD (Zone a Defendre or Defended Zone) has been the decades long collaboration between anarchists and anti authoritarians with farmers who have lived on the land for generations. In that time, the ZAD has become more than a defense project, it has evolved into a vibrant community with its own unique infrastructure, home to many people from many experiences and unregulated by the government.
This morning we got word that evictions are scheduled to be underway on the ZAD starting tomorrow. It may come as no surprise that the original decision to abandon the airport did not come without its own price tag, and conditions stipulating the boundaries and terms of continued occupation were leveled at residents. These conditions were a clear attempt on the part of the French government to regulate this community of resistance through manipulation and back channels, it was seen as such and people on the ZAD began preparing for eviction. There are currently 2500 riot police on the ZAD itself, with 1500 more standing by in nearby cities, and the much photographed barricade road has been taken by the police.
What is not currently clear is how the international community can help materially. This situation is still unfolding, and we are sure that there will be explicit calls for aid and for solidarity in days and weeks to come.
What is clear us is that the government feels the threat of intentional communities very sharply, feels threatened by communities and trends it cannot control. We have seen it time and time again from ZAD to Standing Rock to resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline: what does it say about government when a group of people defending the land provokes such an extreme response? We think there is something worth exploring here however it makes sense, with whatever tools you and your community may have.
Stay tuned to your favorite anarchist news sources for updates and further analysis on this situation!
Sean Swain Update
Sean’s off of hunger strike. We got news last week after the episode aired that he was on due to his communications being messed with. But, he’s back to eating and ranting and out of segregation. Get ready to hear more from here next week. If you miss the sound of his voice, check out his segments dating back to February of 2014 at archive.org
Punk Jeopardy in Asheville for J20 Defendants
This Tuesday, April 10thfrom 7-10pm at the Lazy Diamond bar in Asheville, there’ll be Punk Jeopardy to benefit J20 defendants. From the flyer: “Come out and show your support for the homies who went hard protesting trumps inauguration! Come out, drink, hang and test your knowledge of punk culture. Prizes for winners! Donations at the door.”
25th Anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising
The 25th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising is upon us, with folks still facing the death penalty for actively trying to bring a peaceful resolution. We hope to bring you more reflections on the events of April 1992 soon. More info and ways to get involved can be found here.
There’s a call out for art submissions for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar. The theme for 2019 is ‘Health/Care,’ reflecting on the overlapping topics of health, care/caring, and healthcare. They are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 3,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world. They encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. They’re also seek submissions from prisoners – please forward to any prison-based artists and writers. The deadline for art submissions is May 18th2018. Check our show-notes for this episode for the full submissions request.
Stockholm Anarchist Bookfair
The 2018 Stockholm Anarchist bookfair will take place on June 2nd and third. They are launching a new fundraising campaign for the bookfair. The campaign will run from the first of April to the 13th of May on the Firefund radical crowdfunding platform. It is a crowdfunding campaign so they need as many people and organizations as possible to spread the word. They would appreciate it greatly if your group could share the link to the campaign as well as to their website in your own social media. Thank you for the help and we look forward to seeing you at bookfair.
Anti-Fascist Organizing in Charlotte against AntiCom
The first is with an antifascist in Charlotte, NC, about the “March Against Communism” event that MIGHT be taking place in that city on Thursday, December 28th. Anticommunist Action, the nazi group that originally announced the event had hoped to hold it in Marshall Park but never applied for a permit, got told off by the city and MAYBE cancelled it. This anti-fascist, Soyboy, thinks it might still occur and wants folks to show up.
(A) Healthcare Workers respond to 7 Words Banned at CDC
Then, William talked with two anarchist healthcare workers in Asheville, NC about the Trump administration’s censorship of language regarding the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 budget proposal documents. In this short episode we talk about what this means, some recent context for similar censorship, how CDC budget documents affect people’s everyday lives, and recommendations for how to move forward. This appeared as a “minisode” in our podcast feed. They chat about possible implications of removal of the following terms from the CDC’s budgeting proposals: fetus; transgender; science-based; evidence-based; diversity; vulnerable; & entitlement.
Announcement: Asheville NYE Noise Demo
On Sunday, 12/31/17 at the downtown Buncombe County jail and courthouse complex in Asheville, a noise demonstration will happen at 7pm to bring outside attention to the jail and let the folks on the inside know that we’re thinking of them. Bring noisemakers, pots, pans, horns, whatever. Here’s a link to the jpg of the flyer. Not in Asheville? Organize your own damn thing. Or check itsgoingdown.org to join with an existing event!
This week we’ll be rebroadcasting a recent update from A-Radio Berlin on the repression called Operation Fenix in Czech Republic against anarchists there. Following that, we’ll hear some music from Wildspeaker, Cara Neir and Allochiria.
First, text from the intro to the A-Radio Portion:
“In the context of the International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners (23.-30th of August 2016), we had the opportunity of talking to a comrade from Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) in Czech Republic. The interview gives a short summary of the repression that started in 2015 and explains the singular cases and their current development, but deals also with the problems the movement had in the beginning to show solidarity. Last but not least, you get very good advice on the topic of solidarity and what to do yourselves.
Since the interview, another comrade is in prison. Lukáš Borl, who had been living underground, has been arrested by the police on September 4.”
This was a statement originally posted to itsgoingdown.org, which we have shortened for broadcasting. It pertains to updates on the September 9th prison strike, with some thoughts about how to move forward from here. For more such thoughts, you can check out the most recent IGD cast which includes interviews with IWOC organizers and resisting prisoners in Merced, CA.
One thing is not in question: September 9th is now officially the largest prison work strike ever to take place within the United States.
This strike against prison slavery that began on September 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising has now entered it’s third week. According to organizers with Support Prisoner Resistance:
“As of 9/21 we have tracked 46 prisons and jails that experienced some kind of disruption between September 8 and 21st. This total includes both lockdowns reported by officials (some of whom deny that the lockdown was protest related) and reports of protests from prisoners and supporters (some of which did not lead to lockdowns or full strikes).
Of these, 31 facilities experienced a lock-down, suspension or full strike for at least 24 hours. Those 31 facilities house approximately 57,000 people. That is a guess at the minimum number of prisoners affected by the nationally coordinated strike.
There is likely much more going on behind the prison gates that we do not yet know about. We receive new information on a daily basis. In some places the strike lasted a day or a weekend, but in some, it seems to be going strong 12 days in.”
The strike has also grown out of the original expectations of many organizers. For instance, the strike has spread into both men and women’s prisons, into county jails, and has lead to not only work strikes, but hunger strikes, organized marches and protests inside facilities, expanded communication of prisoners to the outside, and full fledged uprisings. Despite a media blackout that is fueled by the advertising of corporations that make billions from prison slavery while the mainstream press drones on about politicians which vow to only expand it – the strike is only continuing and bringing more people into our networks.
On the outside, thousands of people took to the streets. In Durham, NC and Brooklyn, NY, freeways were blocked. In Oakland, corporations profiting from prison labor were attacked. In Portland, streets and stores profiting from prison labor were occupied and shut down. In Austin, people shut down a facility showcasing products made by prisoners, and demonstrations, marches, and rallies were organized throughout the South. Across the US, noise demonstrations outside of prisons were organized, marches were held, and graffiti, banners, and posters were placed around the walls, freeways, and towns and cities of the US. Across the world, people also took action in solidarity with the prison strike. From Serbia to Sweden, Greece to Australia, Mexico to Spain, people released statements of solidarity, held demonstrations outside of prisons, and took action against corporations that profit from prison slavery.
In order to proceed, people need to develop a strategy around supporting the strike. This means figuring out if and how you can support a facility near you taking action, how you can link up and build connections with prisoners, how you could build up your organization or crew to carry out this activity, and also how you could carry out actions which push forward the strike.
1.) Support the Strikers:
Holding a demonstration outside of the facility.
Holding a demonstration outside of a corporation connected to prison labor in solidarity with the strike (especially if that is what the prisoners are working to create).
Hold a call-in campaign to the prison to demand that the prison meet the prisoners demands and end repressive measures against them.
Hold a letter writing night to make contact with the prisoners. Contact IWOC for more information if you have no established contacts.
Hold a fundraiser for established groups such as the Free Ohio Movement or the Free Alabama Movement. Remember prisoners are the front lines of this struggle. We must support them and their activity as well!
2.) Build your Squad:
Raising money so you can continue or begin to engage in prison support work.
Host a letter writing night to better connect with prisoners already engaged in action.
Host a call-in event with a prisoner who can discuss the conditions that exist where they are striking and how people on the outside can support them.
Contact IWOC for more details.
Host a speaker, Skype presenter, or open discussion on the strike to move people from passive support to active participation.
Plug people into the organizing and get them involved.
Organize a BBQ or social event where people discuss the strike, update people on what is happening, and read off actions and communiques.
3) Keep it Lit:
Organize a noise demonstration outside a facility taking action or one closest to you.
Organize and take action at a corporation profiting from prison slavery. Get creative!
Drop a banner in solidarity with the prison strike.
Organize a night of wheat-pasting flyers.
Get people together and go out on the town and put up posters and flyers supporting the strike.
Write graffiti and drop banners.
Already, our comrades across the world are standing with us in solidarity. In a statement released by the ABC Solidarity Cell in Greece, they have called for international supporters to also take action in support of the ongoing strike on October 1st.
The September 9th strike has been inspiring, but to stop now and simply step back and wait for the next eruption would be to loose out on bringing new people into our movement. To also stop taking action now when prisoners across the US are still on strike, still on hunger strike, and still risking their lives would be to betray everything that they have worked for.
Now is the time to build. Now is the time to grow. But it is definitely not the time to stop.
Repression at WCW Women’s prison in Gig Harbor, WA
To support prisoner resistance, from an anonymous prison staff in the state of Washington:
“I would like you and supporters to know that there was a symbolic protest at Washington Correctional Center for Women in Gig Harbor on September 9. Three women refused to go to work in the prison library. The emergency response team was dispatched and the women were taken to Segregation. At their hearing last week, they were given 20 days in seg, and are facing reclassification and probably the loss of their jobs. In my opinion, this was a peaceful, non-violent expression of their opinions meant to draw attention to the issue of prison labor, and the response was much more disruptive than the event itself. The library has been closed since September 9. According to DOC, this was the only action in the entire state of Washington.”
Support for Amir Davis, Kinetic’s Son
In March of this year, the son of Kinetik was accused of stabbing Warden Davenport at Holman prison in Alabama. He was then shipped to Donaldson. He has since been assaulted, harassed, and tortured in Solitary Confinement. If you support FAM and the work we do then let Kinetik’s Sun know his sacrifices for change were not in vain. Those willing, drop him a postcard and those able, put a small donation on his books via the ADOC website.
Amir “Jaja” Davis #268646
G-4 WE Donaldson CF
1000 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023
In Revolutionary Solidarity,
To see a list of more people who have been explicitely targeted by officials in response to the Prison Strike, you can visit itsgoingdown.org
Seeking #CharlotteUprising interviews
As most of you are probably aware, following the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte NC (who was killed while sitting in his car reading and waiting for his kid to get dropped off from school), there have been riots in that town which have lasted days. The mainstream media coverage of these events has been predictably terrible, following all the racist tropes we have come to expect from the likes of CNN and FOX. With an aim to combat these narratives, we at The Final Straw would like to put out a call for submissions or interviews that people would like to see broadcast on this show. Any interviews would be done from an explicitely anarchist perspective.
If this is at all interesting to you or anyone you know, give us a holler at: