This week on the Final Straw, we’re featuring two main events, both themed around the Prison Strike ongoing across Turtle Island until at least September 9th.
First, an interview we conducted with Kevin “Rashid” Johnson. Rashid is a co-founder of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party and is the Minister of Defense from within it’s Prison Chapter. He is the author of two books available from Kersplebedeb, Defying the Tomb & Panther Vision, both collections of Rashid’s art and essays on capitalism, racism, imperialism and his view of a road towards liberation. Rashid is a Maoist and presents some interesting arguments in his writings. In this interview, Rashid talks briefly about his own case, his politicization behind bars, organizing the NABPP-PC, it’s split from the New Black Panther Party, cross-racial class organizing, the #PrisonStrike and more. We hope to be able to bring more of Rashid’s voice in the future. To check out his writing and and his quite literally iconic art, check out rashidmod.com. And at the moment you can write to Rashid at the following address:
Kevin Johnson #1007485 Sussex 1 State Prison 24414 Musselwhite Dr. Waverly, VA 23891
Next, we’ll hear an audio post-card that some friends put together, interspersing words of encouragement and audio from a noise demonstration outside Hyde prison in Eastern North Carolina on August 20th. Prisoners at Hyde CI met the outside supporters in the yard and from across lines of razor wire they unfurled three banners with simple statements: “parole”; “better food”; & “In Solidarity”. To read an article about the noise demo, see some pictures and hear about NC specific demands, check out the article, “Community Shows Support as NC Prisoners Rally With Banners“ on ItsGoingDown. Make some noise!
To close out the hour, we will hear some words of encouragement to striking prisoners in #Amerikkka from comrades incarcerated in #Klanada!
If you’re in Asheville today (Sunday September 9th), consider dropping by Firestorm at 610 Haywood Rd at 5pm to join #BlueRidgeABC for the monthly political prisoner letter writing night. Supplies will be free as well as info on writing prisoners, names and addresses, and comradery.
This week we got the chance to speak with Yousef Natsha, who is a Palestinian filmmaker and activist about his new documentary called Hebron. In this interview we talk about how he got into making this documentary, some historical and present day context for this series of struggles in Hebron City, and some suggestions for action.
We’ve been skipping out on announcements, so here’s a few to play catchup:
First, in local news: Next Sunday, April 1st at 5pm is the monthly political prisoner letter writing event by Blue Ridge ABC at Firestorm Books & Coffee, 610 Haywood Rd in West Asheville. All the necessary materials will be provided as well as a curated list of political prisoners in the U.S. with upcoming birthdays.
Following letter writing, at 7pm EST, we’ll be showing the latest episode of TROUBLE by sub.media. This 30 minute-long documentary about struggles against patriarchy around the world will be followed by a discussion on the film. More details up at brabc.blackblogs.org
ACAB2018 Bookfair Signups
ANNOUNCING, the second annual Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair aka ACAB 2018. Hosted in Asheville, NC over the weekend of June 22-24. Last year, hundreds of people from the southeast and beyond participated in workshops, talks, panels, community building, skill sharing, and celebrating resistance. Dozens of presses, publishers, radical and anarchist groups displayed their books, zines, artwork, and promoted their projects. This year will be even better, as we continue to build sites of resistance, structures of counter-power, and networks of solidarity across the region and the world.
Do you have skills to help build the future we want to see? We want to offer a diverse and comprehensive range of activities that could include analysis and theory, models of organizing, anti-repression, environmental resistance, physical and community self-defense, technological offensive & defensive practices, abolition & transformative justice, and more. Sign up for vending and workshops is now open! The form for workshops can be found at acab2018.noblogs.org/workshops-speakers/
Do you have a radical grassroot project, an independent press, anarchist publishing group/distro, cool anarchist and anti-racist merch, or just someone who would like a table to promote your project?! The form for those interested in tabling or vending at Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair can be found at acab2018.noblogs.org/vendors-publishers
The vendor/tabling portion will take place both Saturday 23 & Sunday 24. You can table one or both days.
The deadline for signing up is April 15 for workshops and vendors.
March 24th was an International Day of Solidarity with Afrin, the canton and epinomious city in Rojava that’s been beseiged and now over-run by Turkish and Islamist Free Syrian Army forces. People in cities around the world shared space, took to the streets, chanted, waved banners, held discussions and more to raise awareness that the world was watching the atrocities in Rojava at the hands of the FSA & the Turkish state. Info on events can be found at ItsGoingDown.Org
Rojava is the democratically administered region in what would be the West of Kurdistan, or northern Syria, where there has been a social revolution undertaken by multi-ethnic and religious councils, foregrounding struggles against patriarchy, with a vision of direct democracy, feminism, autonomy, ecology and anti-capitalism. The U.S. has been fighting alongside of the mostly Kurdish forces in the YPG & all-women YPJ militia to destroy strongholds of Daesh (aka ISIS). The YPG & YPJ have proven some of the most effective units to fight Daesh as they’re fighting for their own communities and values as opposed to professional soldiers brought in from elsewhere.
The recent incursions by Turkey and the FSA over the Syrian border are in a way the fault of the U.S. for claiming it was going to use the YPG & YPJ as a border security force, giving the Turkish government of egomaniac fundamentalist Erdogan the symbolic signal that the Rojavan forces could be attacked. Turkey has aided, armed and abetted Daesh by allowing them to cross the border between Turkey and Syria and shares the common enemy of Rojava as Rojava views the Kurdish political prisoner in Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan aka Apo, as their ideological founder. For Daesh, Rojava is an enemy because it’s hetero-cultural, empowers women and struggles against centralized state authority, as opposed to the Daesh and Turkish fascist forces.
So, in recent weeks, Afrin has been beseiged and invaded. The city has finally been taken by forces of what is the second largest army in NATO, Turkey being just behind the U.S. Hundreds if not thousands have died or fled the surrounding areas away from the bombs and mercenaries of the Turkish military and the FSA. Videos have floated around the internet of Turkish soldiers in Afrin giving the salute of the Turkish fascist “Grey Wolves” grouping and FSA and Turkish soldiers looting & pillaging the city.
The struggle in Rojava has inspired people in The West to join International Brigades, a reflection of the international struggle against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War. With the following announcements we don’t mean to undermine the self-defense struggles of people from Rojava who have been hurt or killed defending their homes and spreading their revolution, only to fulfill these listener requests and also tip our hats to brave Westerners whose solidaristic hearts brought them to fight in Rojava against the forces of reaction and for the new world in their hearts.
First is Anna Campbell. Anna was a dedicated feminist, social justice and environmental campaigner known to many for her activism around the student occupation movement, ecological and community outreach projects in Bristol and Sheffield. She was a key organiser in the IWW’s IWOC group, also being involved with the Empty Cages Collective, Smash IPP and Bristol ABC. Here is some audio sent by a friend of hers of Anna reading a statement from the Rojava Commune: https://iww.org.uk/news/anna-campbell-rest-in-power-fellow-worker/
Here is another statement, this time about an Anarchist from Turkey who died defending Afrin:
Our anarchist comrade and friend Şevger Ara Makhno arrived in Rojava on 20th January 2018 to take part in the revolution. Only the day before the army of the Turkish state and its jihadist proxies had begun the invasion of the autonomous region of Afrin, an area which had remained at peace throughout seven years of war and had become both a cradle for the Rojava revolution and a safe haven for hundred thousands of refugees from all over Syria. While the AKP and its allies ever more violently pushed Turkey towards fascism and the military brutally smashed the insurrection in North Kurdistan, Rojava and especially Afrin became a beacon of hope and resistance for all those who defied Erdogan’s regime.
Comrade Şevger was from Turkey himself, he passionately wanted to join this resistance at the frontlines. He received basic military training in the canton of Cizîre and on 19th February arrived in Afrin, where he immediately took part in the ongoing defence. As part of the Anti-Fascist Forces in Afrin (AFFA), a unit of internationalist revolutionaries within the YPG, he faced the invaders in the vicinity of Raco in the northwest of Afrin.
On the 4th March comrade Şevger had taken position on a hill outside the village of Berbêne ready to defend it against the advancing fascists. It was there that around 8AM he and two other YPG comrades were hit by an air-strike. All three of them lost their lives. In accordance with the wishes of his family his picture and legal identity will not be published, in order to protect the people close to him from repression.
We mourn the loss of our comrade and extend our condolences to all his friends, family and everyone who had the fortune to share their lives with this great and inspiring person. The people of Rojava and northern Syria and all those who are fighting for freedom and an end to oppression in the Middle East and beyond will never forget him. We know that he will live on that as long as his love and passion continue to thrive in our hearts.
Şehîd namirin! Bi hev re heta hetayî – anarşîst û apocî!
If your heart is free the ground you stand on is liberated territory. Defend it!
The Final Straw is a ALSO a part of the International A-Radio Network, which produces a monthly podcast called “B(A)DNews: Angry Voices From Around The World”. The newest episode is out and free to download and we have a link on our website pointing to it. Check out anarchist perspectives from the U.S., Greece, Russia, the U.K. If you know of anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist radios or podcasts that’d be a good fit for our international and anti-nationalist network, point them to a-radio-network.org and have them contact us. We’re always looking for more angry voices from around the world.
This month we started a patreon subscription and donation page for the Final Straw podcast so that listeners could throw us some money for equipment, merchandise, travel and operational costs. In past years we’ve paid out of pocket (and with kind donations from other members of the A-Radio Network) to travel to the A-Radio conference and conduct interviews along the way with interesting projects. We’ve paid out of pocket to attend the North American Anarchist Black Cross conference and recorded the public proceedings there and connected with former political prisoners and organizers in IWOC and ABC chapters. We’ve recorded proceedings from the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair and other public, out of town events traveling on our own funds. Well, we want to bring y’all more audio you can’t easily hear and hope that you’ll help. Visit patreon.com/tfsr for ways to donate and thank yous we’re offering. We now have more than enough coming in to cover our web syndication for our podcast, which is a great start and a great alleviation off our pocketbooks. Want to donate but can’t make a regular donation? Visit thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/donate/ for a few other ways to send us money. Want some of the swag up at patreon.com but can’t make a regular donation? We can work something out, just get ahold of us. Thanks so much to Zuki, Olivia, scott, Jackie, Tiger & Chris for signing up!
This week, Bursts had a change to speak with two participants in the L’eu Est La Vie camp (Water is Life in French) organizing against the Bayou Bridge pipeline that Energy Transfer Partners is trying to push through the swamps of Louisiana at the tail end of the Dakota Access Pipeline. For the hour, they speak about the pipeline, the lifeways of people living in the bayou, potential impacts on the environment and the impact on our guests of increased indigenous forefronting to struggles to defend the environment in recent years around Turtle Island. More on their work can be found at http://nobbp.org/
Resist the TWP in Knoxville! January 21st at 12 Noon
The Traditionalist Worker Party is a neo-Nazi, white nationalist group which is headquartered right here in North Carolina. This group promotes white separatism and a white supremacists view of Christianity. Begun in 2013 by the now infamous Matthew Heimbach as the official face of the similarly neo-Nazi group the Traditionalist Youth Network, the TWP’s main focus seems to be promoting their agenda by making attempts on public office in local elections while maintaining something that could be called a street presence.
There is much more to be said about this group, from its formal designation by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group to its yearning to establish Turtle Island as something called a “white ethnostate”, seemingly a mythological and highly revisionist creation of the alt right and its philosophical forebears.
What is more relevant right now is that this group is seeking to descend on Knoxville, TN on January 21st at 12 noon to protest the second annual Women’s March and support the anti-choice group Right to Life. The exact TWP rallying point is still unknown but may coincide with the Women’s March rallying point in Market Square at 12pm and then join the Right to Life rallying point at World’s Fair Park at 2pm. Details will be shared as they get received, so keep eyes on your favorite news sources for updates.
From the Holler Network and Nashville ARA:
“The TWP and other white supremacist groups view Southeast Appalachia as an ideal region for a white separatist movement, and they prey upon rural and semi-rural areas to build their base. But their claims to Appalachia fly in the face of centuries of resistance to white supremacy and settler colonialism that are woven into these hills and rivers. From indigenous resistance to militant maroon communities, to multiracial labor strikes and prisoner uprisings, to the very existence of tight-knit black and brown communities across these hills, we know Appalachia has never been and will never be their all-white vision- as long as we continue to resist.”
This week we are featuring a recording from an Anti-Repression panel that took place in Denver in October of this year. The sound quality is affected by a fan system that the venue had running, but the words are well worth hearing.
For the hour, we’ll hear words from a few perspectives of resistance in the U.S. currently. First, we hear from Danica from occupied territory of Portland about work around anti-colonial antifa resistance and self-defense in the North West. Next up, Firehawk talks about work in un-ceded Pueblo, Colorado, about working with femme, queer & trans prison rebels, Unstoppable zine and The Fire Inside project. Montana talks about autonomous relief work in Houston after Hurricane Harvey and the slow-disaster that is white supremacist capitalism in Texas. We hear from Jude talking about the J20 conspiracy cases coming out of the Inauguration, the court case moving forward and up til a few weeks ago. Finally, we hear from Jess who has been working with Water Protectors doing legal collective work up in so-called North Dakota mostly around #StandingRock with a very in-dept report-back on wider repression and specific case details.
A few updates are worth mentioning in the J20 case since Jude spoke on this panel: the first defendant convicted, Dane Powell, has been released and there is a linked support site for his post-release; two of the riot charges have been dropped down from Felony to Misdemeanor; & the first court dates have been moved forward to November 15th and info about how to help with court support can be found at Its Going Down.
As stated above, 2 of the initial 8 felony charges (‘engaging in riot’ and ‘conspiracy to riot’) have been dropped to misdemeanors, thus shaving decades from the potential sentences of the defendants. We here at The Final Straw suggest that Judge Leibovitz use a secure tor browser and visit https://dropj20.org to learn more about ending this expensive, insulting and dangerous act of political persecution that is the J20 case.
This week Bursts spoke with Rhyd Wildermuth. Rhyd is a co-editor and founder or the website Gods & Radicals, which also publishes periodical journal entitled “A Beautiful Resistance”. For the hour, we speak about paganism, anti-capitalism, race and whiteness in the context of ethical approaches towards earth-based religions as white people in a Settler Colonial society, May Day and more. You can find his projects at https://godsandradicals.org
We also repeat our announcement of the upcoming anarchist bookfaire in Asheville:
If you’re in the South East (or wherever), you are cordially invited to attend the 1st Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfaire, also known as ACAB2017 from May 5-May 7th in Asheville, North Carolina. The weekend of events kicks off with an a welcome table at firestorm books at 610 Haywood Rd from 3pm until 6pm with a schedule of events and ways to plug in. There are multiple musical events Friday and Saturday night. Featured speakers include Shon Meckfessel, Jude Ortiz of Tilted Scales Collective, members of the crimethInc collective as well as from the Water Protectors Anti-Repression Crew and a special appearance by author and activist Ward Churchill. Vendors over the weekend will include PM Press, AK Press, Little Black Cart, Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, Combustion Books and many more. Consider the daytime events to be all ages. Check out http://acab2017.noblogs.org for updates and info.
More up-to-date announcements and episodes will pick up along with audio from our participation in the International Anarchist Gathering in Athens, Greece, starting up mid-May, 2017. Check out our social media feeds to see and hear elements of it, including the live broadcast on April 30th from Athens.
This week we’re sharing a conversation we had with Karrie and Niko, two folks involved in the initiative called Sabal Trail Resistance. The immediate goal of Sabal Trail Resistance is to block the Sabal Trail Pipeline, actually a series of 3 pipelines meant to run through Georgia, Alabama and Florida, carrying pressurized natural gas. We spend about a half an hour of this episode chatting about the route, who’ll be effected, the companies behind the pipeline, environmental racism, decolonization and other related topics.
Coming up, they plan a weekend of action February 23-27, including an action against prisons and in solidarity with longterm Indigenous political prisoner, Leonard Peltier.
After that, we’re spreading a 10 minute interview between comrades at FrequenzA out of Hamburg, Germany, published in English at the end of January. From https://frequenza.noblogs.org:
“The interview is about the first issue of ‘antipolitika’, released in summer 2016 with the topic antimilitarism. The anarchist newspaper consists of statements and articles from ex-yugoslavia and greece and is dedicated towards a broader public.”
Updates on Sean Swain
Before these words from anarchist prisoner Sean Swain, we have a quick update on his dietary situation. We’ve just gotten word that Sean resumed eating on his 50th day of hunger strike. He is still not being given a halal diet in line with his practice of Islam, and neither are other Muslim prisoners in Ohio, but he’s said that the administration is considering the move. He’s achieved the other demands that he was hunger-striking for. If you’d like to see Sean and other adherents to Islam in Ohio prisons during this age of increasing Islamophobia be able to at least eat according to their faith’s dietary practices, give a call to Ohio Governor, John “JWow” Kasich. You can call JWow at 614 466 3555, that’s The Honorable Governor of Ohio, John Kasich at 614 466 3555. You can also write to him via
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117
And request that Sean Swain, prisoner #243-205 who’s being held at Warren Correctional, be allowed to eat according to his faith.
Reporting ICE Raids on Social Media
As many of yall are aware, there has been a lot of concern and fear regarding Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ICE) checkpoints recently. Given the rising tide of overt xenophobia and racism in this country, these concerns are valid, and there has been a lot in the way of confirmed raids and detentions by ICE. However, the use of social media in these situations is something that can both help and hurt the situation, both being an effective way to broadly communicate an issue and a platform for a whole lot of unsubstantiated claims and rumors.
In an effort to battle this aspect of social media use, I’d like to plug a resource that DRUM put out some time ago. DRUM stands for Desis Rising Up and Moving, and they are a NYC based group which “is a multigenerational, membership led organization of low-wage South Asian immigrant workers and youth in New York City.
Founded in 2000, DRUM has mobilized and built the leadership of thousands of low-income, South Asian immigrants to lead social and policy change that impacts their own lives- from immigrant rights to education reform, civil rights, and worker’s justice. Our membership of over 2,400 adults, youth, and families is multigenerational and represents the diaspora of the South Asian community – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Guyana, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Trinidad.”
They have put out a very useful resource entitiled “A Brief Guide for Reporting Raids on Social Media”, which we will link to directly in our blog. Basically it cautions against the spreading of unsubstantiated information and provides a step by step guide for what to do if you witness something:
On February 4, while supporting the No DAPL struggle, Krow (Katie Kloth) was assaulted and arrested by a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer (there is video of the incident below). She was walking on a public road, away from the Sacred Stone camp, when she was chased down by the officer. It is believed that she was specifically targeted because of her ongoing involvement and visibility within the No DAPL resistance, which had resulted in two arrests on misdemeanor charges previous to this incident. Krow was also known at Standing Rock for being an advocate for creating a unified front in fighting the pipeline.
Krow has been charged with violation of felony probation and is being held at Morton County Correctional Center. The probation is from previous charges in Wisconsin stemming from an environmental protest against mining in the Penokee Hills in 2013, for which she served nine months in jail. After a recent bail reduction hearing, Krow was assigned a cash-only bail of $100,000. The stipulations of the judge require that the bail be paid in full. Even if the full bail is paid, it is likely that Morton County would refuse to release Krow. We are currently working with lawyers and legal teams in North Dakota and Wisconsin to figure this out. Donations to support Krow will go towards paying lawyers, commissary, postage, travel for supporters visiting Krow, and/or bail. Krow has stated that she wants the bail paid.
We fear for Krow’s safety and well-being, especially in light of her assault and the severe mistreatment other water protectors have received in this particular facility.
Krow is an activist, artist, forager, sustainable farmer, biologist, and amazing person loved by many within the environmental movement. We need to show her as much solidarity and support as we can at this vital time. In Krow’s own words, “We must negate state repression by protecting ourselves and land-bases therein; we must not give our people up, and recognize that to be in solidarity with one another is more akin to the idea of ‘harmony’ than ‘unity.’ Harmony implies that we can all do different things within the same song, and still find conclusion together.”
Whether you are a direct action environmental activist or simply support the No DAPL struggle and protection of the land and all of its people, join us in supporting Krow, in solidarity with all things wild and free.
Contact Krow’s support team at supportkrow[at] riseup.net
You can also donate to Krow’s legal fund at http://supportkrow.org/
Resisting Snitching in Berkeley
From the Anti Repression Committee in Oakland:
ARC is aware that UC Berkeley PD is circulating images of individuals who they claim are associated with the Berkeley anti-Milo protest on February 1. They are actively seeking information about these individuals, and are asking anyone with information to contact them.
We want to remind everyone NOT to assist UC Berkeley PD in their investigation, EVEN IF it seems like the information you give is harmless. Remember that even minor information, like identifying a “witness,” can be used to increase surveillance of activist communities. Police use this kind of information to map activist networks and harass them. In the current political climate, the state is looking for ways to clamp down on dissent and resistance. Let’s not help them do that.
Remember that you have NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to talk to police or FBI if contacted about the protest. They may try to make you feel intimidated, but you ALWAYS have the right to remain silent. If you are contacted by phone, email, letter, or in person, either ignore the correspondence, or tell the officer that you decline to speak with them.
If you are contacted, immediately call the National Lawyers Guild at 415-285-1041 so that they can give you legal advice, and also so that they can be aware of police/FBI activities.
Finally: DO NOT post or circulate the UC Berkeley PD webpage with pictures of individuals. We do not want to signal boost anything that will increase surveillance and targeting of our communities.
This week we get to speak with Amélie Trudeau and Fallon Rouiller. Amelie and Fallon, alongside Carlos Lopez Marin, make up the 5E3, who are being charged by the mexican state for an arson of a Nissan dealership and the neighboring ministry of communication and transportation in January of this year. We talk about prison, freedom, dignity, solidarity and more. For more info on the case of the 5E3, check out our episode of August 10th, 2014, where you can find links to sources of their writings and updates.