This week, we air 2 interviews, one about the case of the Cleveland 4 and one with members of Unicorn Riot.
pt 1: The Cleveland 4
Firstly, we speak with Amanda Shemkes. Amanda does legal support for members of the Cleveland 4. The Cleveland 4, or CLE4, are 4 anarchists who're serving around a decade in Federal prisons in the U.S. on charges of terrorism. Back story is that Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, Doug Wright, Joshua "Skelly" Stafford and Anthony Hayne (Anthony took a cooperating plea deal) were arrested on April 30th in 2012 for attempting to blow up a bridge with the provocation of an FBI informant named Shaquille Azir. The young anarchists had coalesced during Occupy Cleveland as a group after encamping together, being involved in food distribution and activism and were targeted and entrapped by Azir who escalated their talk of direct action to the bombing plot and provided them with work, housing, drugs, alcohol, access to (fake) explosives and more. Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, Doug Wright and Skelly all received sentences of around a decade each with terrorism enhancements promising lifetime probation. Amanda talks about their case, their time inside, government attacks on social movements and how to support Brandon, Connor, Doug & Skelly, the Cleveland 4. More on their case can be found at http://cleveland4solidarity.org
Also of note, Connor Steven's birthday is coming up on December 17th, so send him a bday card! Same day is Chelsae Manning's bday, actually… on that note, why not visit PrisonBooks.Info to see political prisoner birthdays for this month and sign up to receive the monthly calendar that the Prison Books Collective puts out? No good reason, I reckon.
pt 2: Unicorn Riot
Following that, we speak with volunteers with the non-profit, radical media outlet Unicorn Riot. Founded in 2014, UR has expanded from it’s Minneapolis base to be present on the ground at struggles around the U.S. covering events as they unfold with the words of the people involved, documenting the brutality of the state’s reactions and bravery in the streets and the fields of those resisting. As a platform, UR distributes regular tv episodes, podcasts and features small news briefs as well as a presence on social media. UR’s coverage of the uprisings in Minneapolis around the killings and lack of justice in the killings of Jamar Clark & Philando Castille and more recently of the struggles of Water Defenders at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota have gone viral, increasing solidarity and pressed mainstream media outlets to expand their coverage of these violent government interventions. In this second half of the episode, the plucky media rebels share their views on activism and journalism, on media paradigms, their project and some of the resistance it’s participated in. http://www.unicornriot.ninja
A quick postscript
Patrick misspoke a couple of times during the interview that we didn’t catch. Corrections are: 1.) When describing the drone rules on Standing Rock, he meant to refer to no-fly rules from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and not the FCC (which oversees broadcast restrictions and allowances in the U.S.); 2.) When Patrick talks about Niko being flagged down by police to broadcast a police statement over Unicorn Riot, it was actually during the Justice for Jamar Clark struggle, not in the aftermath of the killing of Philando Castille.
Also, a real cool journalistic tool that the UR folks shared was this site, called MuckRock. Check it out!
This week Sean Swain shares his thoughts on Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution in light of Fidel’s death last week. More from Sean at http://seanswain.org
Lots got trimmed from this episode due to time constraints, so check out that podcast version at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org
Tomorrow, Monday December 5th in Asheville there’s a prayer and vigil in Soldarity with Standing Rock as regards the struggle to stop the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline we’ll be talking about later in the episode. Folks are meeting at 6pm at Pack Square. Bring an offering.
Also, big ups to the folks who went out to face off the kkk motorcade on Saturday the 3rd in Danville, VA & Pelham, NC. This time the KKK got their own stabby after the fact.
Of note, our hearts here at the final straw go out to those suffering the devastating effects of the fire at the ghostship warehouse on Friday December 2nd during a 100% Silk party. According to the most recent KGO-7 news out of San Francisco at 2pm EST on Sunday the 4th of December, 24 victims have been found inside the warehouse. A list of missing people has been compiled in an article on heavy.com. Not all of those pictured are known to be among the victims of Friday’s fire. To donate to relief funds, visit youcaring.com.