Category Archives: Colonialism

Kevin Rashid Johnson on the #PrisonStrike + Two Audio Zines

Kevin Rashid Johnson on the Prison Strike

Download This Episode

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

A transcription of this first interview will be found at the bottom of the page and an imposed zine for printing imposed zine for printing can be found here soon.

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.

. … . ..

Show playlist here.
. … . ..
Q: Could you please introduce yourself for the listening audience?
A: Alright, this is Kevin Rashid Johnson, I am a prisoner, incarcerated in Virginia at Sussex 1 State Prison.
Q: How has the prison tried to silence your organizing and writing over the years, and is this a consequence of the prison strike or other efforts?
A: I think I’ve gone through the entire range of reprisals. I’ve been subjected to physical attacks. I’ve been denied meals. I’ve been attempted to be subjected to dehydration, I’ve been subjected to destruction of property. Most recently I was transferred out of state, sent first to Oregon, then transferred from Oregon as a result of writing and exposing abuses in that prison system, to Texas. Same process resulted — I was transferred from Texas to Florida. Florida just got rid of me in June and sent me back to Virginia. I was then transferred — when I returned to Virginia, to Red Onion State Prison, and moved from Red Onion State prison and transferred on the 12th of July, and sent here to Sussex 1 State Prison, and I’m now being house on death row, although I have no death sentence, and that being with the obvious purpose of isolating me from other prisoners, as there are only three prisoners left on Virginia’s Death Row, and they’re spread out in a 44 cell pod, which I’m housed in separated and all the inmates have been instructed not to talk to me. So, the major effort has been to isolate me and to remove me from areas and places where they felt I would be able to talk to prisoners, to be able to gain info about abusive conditions and to, I guess, influence prisoners to challenge abuses and to stand up to conditions that are pretty inhumane and abusive. As far as responses to the prison work strike, I have not as of yet seen any reprisals or any response that I could call reprisals. And they expect that there would be exposure of anything they did, which may be the only deterrent at this point for any type of retaliation. But I’ve been involved in a commissary strike, not spending any money, as my contribution to the strike, because I’m confined in solitary and don’t have the ability to work. I have never participated in prison work. I’ve refused through my incarceration because I have recognized it is slave labor, and I refuse to allow them to exploit me in that fashion.
Q: For the listeners in the wider public, can you talk about the purpose of prisons under white supremacist capitalism in the US, and why it’s in all of our interest to not only struggle against these institutions, but to support prisoners’’ organizing efforts?
A: Well, from the outset, I think it’s rather obvious that there is a racial component to who is targeted with mass imprisonment within America, from the New Afrikan, that is Black, prisoners, Black social population being 12 to 13% in mainstream society but being some 50% of the prison pop nationwide. In Virginia, where I’m incarcerated, they have been something like 13% of the state population but 58% of the prison population. So, race clearly is a determinative factor in who is targeted within imprisonment and who receives their sentences and the extent of incarceration and where they are housed. In that context, within the prison system, it’s usually at the low security, the low level institutions where predominately white prisoners are housed, and the most extreme and harsh prisons, in each prison system I’ve been to and I know of, this is where the predominately Black and Brown prisoners are housed at. Within the prison structure, prisoners tend to polarize into racial groups, based on their shared cultural and social experiences, and guards and administration are typically inclined to try to manipulate prisoners against each other along racial grounds, racial lines, you know. The guards in my experience, especially where I just came from — Florida — are particularly orientated to acting out racist policies and politics. In fact, where I was confined, two of the institutions I was confined to, the Reception and Medical Center in Florida, in the Florida State Prison, those institutions have been exposed as employing card-carrying Ku Klux Klan members, in fact — three guards who were exposed as having plotted to kill an ex-prisoner who was Black, at the Reception and Medical Center, and revealed their plans to an FBI informant were recently prosecuted, and it came out during the prosecution that all three of them were card carrying Klansman, and that they work at the institution. And not long ago one of the legislatures on the Florida Congress had done a tour of the Reception and Medical Center, she being a Black woman, she pretty much expressed in the media that she feared for her life, the attitude of the white guards there were just openly racist. She acknowledged that she knew that the Klan played a prominent role in the staff and the administration of that institution and in that region, which is the same are the Florida State Prison is located. And she expressed her knowledge of a portion of the institution’s guards kicking Black prisoners’ teeth out who had gold teeth, and that in general, she knew that these institutions were run by the Ku Klux Klan. And this is from an elected member of the Congress of Florida, a Black woman who had done a tour and said that she literally was in fear of her life as she did this tour within the institution, because of the treatment and attitudes of white guards of the institution when she did her tour. So, the racial politics are pretty out in the open, and they’re able to exist in such at such a level because prisons not only hold people on the inside and keep us isolated from the general public, they also keep the general public locked out. So there is no scrutiny, there is no supervision, and there is generally no public accountability for and by those who work within the institution, so it’s just a closed culture, where all sorts of corruption and abuse is allowed to fester and just to be carried out with pretty much impunity. The support that is needed on the outside is tremendous. The support that the prisoners have been able to gain over the past several years in response to the work strikes and various attempts to publicize and challenge abusive conditions in the prisons have pretty much got word in to the institutions where prison officials had blocked prisoners from becoming aware of what was going on as far as protests going on and attempts to challenge and expose abuses. And it bolstered and motivated prisoners who otherwise were afraid to challenge abusive conditions and didn’t feel that there was anything that could be accomplished by trying to stand up and oppose conditions. It kind of motivated a lot of prisoners who weren’t otherwise involved to get involved. So the support that can be garnered on the outside and has been garnered is very important to this type of work and this type of struggle. It’s essential that those who are aware of these struggles and aware of these conditions give what support they can, not only as allies, but also as comrades.

Q: to anyone behind bars out there who might hear this interview, and is sitting on the fence about participation, what can you say about the nation-wide prison strike?
A: That they should not be deterred, they should not be discouraged, they should not just sit on their hands and refuse to get involved. The more of us who get involved, the stronger the outside support and awareness that we’re serious about the conditions that we’re challenging and the need for change — that they should not allow officials to continue to manipulate us against each other, whether along racial lines whether you’re talking about along the lines of street organizing. That’s what supporters… They should also not allow loved ones to discourage them from participating in the work strike. I know a lot of the loved ones who may hear about the strike, they may advise them to not get involved because of fear of them being transferred, a long way away from their loved ones, or they don’t want to see them subject to relation or being placed on lock down, but their loved ones should understand that  this is a condition, that these are conditions that we live, that they’re not living them and that its important that we take a stand to change these abuses, and not play in to officials trying to isolate and play us one against the other, and cause people to refuse or fear coming involved, and keep us divided amongst ourselves. We need all possible participants; we need the greatest level of unity possible. And one of the things I always emphasize to my peers is, we outnumber the prison guards, the prison officers around us some 30 to one at very least. But they have total power and total control, because they always keep us divided, fearful, envious, and not trusting or believing in our own potential, where as they exercise complete and absolute unity in their actions. If they want to abuse you, the rest of them are gonna fall in line and support that abuse. If one them lies on us and mistreats us, the rest of them are going to conform to that lie and they’re gonna carry out that abuse. And that’s why they have the control and power that they have, because no matter what, no matter what the situation no matter the condition, they always work and stick together. And we need to take that same example and apply it to how we exercise our unity and our level of power amongst ourselves.

Q: Rashid, can you talk about your incarceration, political development, and a bit about the New Afrikan Black Panther Party that you helped to co-found? Also, how does it differ from the New Black Panther Party, formerly of the nation of Islam?
A: Ok, my imprisonment initially began in 1990. I was incarcerated for a murder that I had no involvement in, and large part, it was conspiratorial on the part of a police officer who I had a history of conflicts with. They subjected me to deliberate misidentification and a number of procedural violations during the prosecution of the case that was imputed against me, that went the actual jurisdiction, the actual power of the court to try to convict and sentence me for the charges that they were attempting to impute against me. Ok, throughout my imprisonment, particularly the first decade and a half, I spent a large part of my time struggling directly against guard abuses. Their physical abuses, I responded to with physical responses. They would abuse physically myself or others around me, and I would respond with physical reactions to their abuses. I went through the struggle pretty much back and forth, one to one head up conflicts with guards and their teams, riot guards and cell extraction teams, for about the first decade and a half. I became exposed to political thought put, particularly the writings of George Jackson, around 2002, when I was housed in an area with another prisoner, another political prisoner, Hanif Shabazz Bey, from the Virgin Islands. He turned me on to a lot of different political writings, and different political organizations that were involved in the system in America, the various revolutionary nationalist struggles that had taken place through the world through the 40s and 50s. I began to do extensive studies into various aspects and levels of progressive as well as revolutionary history and politics. Various theories, etc. And as I studied more, I came to understand the inherent dysfunctional nature of the capitalist, imperialist system that America is at the center of, and I understood or came to understand that the oppression that I was struggling against was much bigger than head to head clashes with individual guards, that it was largely an invalid system that pitted a small group of powerful wealthy people against the masses of working class people and poor people through out the world, and that they lived at the expense of these people. And to change conditions requires a struggle that mobilized the oppressed to bring about fundamental change at various levels of society. And I grew from a person inclined to react on a more individual level to one who recognized or saw the bigger picture and was more inclined to organize people and to contribute what I could with my resources, and the understanding that I was developed to build into something bigger, that was more, addressed more to the fundamental problems of the overall system. So in that, my clashes with individual guards lessened. I was also involved in mitigation and studying and understanding the political system and legal system. I became less inclined to, as I said, individualize my struggle against the system. Though, in doing that, I began to reach out more to people on the outside who were involved in political organizations, trying to pull people who were in positions of influence, politically people who were willing to mobilize groups of people in support of prisoners and conditions that we lived under, to challenge those conditions, to educate prisoners, and to try to consolidate a base of support on the outside to the inside. In doing this, I was able to understand some of the weaker points of the system. I understood where it was most effective to attack the power structure, and I understood, or came to understand that one of the most vulnerable places that you can direct your attack at the system is by exposing its corruption to the masses, because the masses are the sources of their power, that those people can’t be ruled over by an oppressor, or any power, unless they give their consent at some level to that ruling. And once they become aware of the illegitimacies and the corruption of the system, and they refuse to acknowledge or concede the legitimacy of the system, then they can typically overnight overthrow that system. And this is why the power structure expends such a massive amount of resources and propaganda to try to influence and keep the masses brainwashed and believing that they’re moralistic and they’re honest and they’re well-meaning and their intentions are oriented to the best interests of the masses, because they realize without some level of acknowledgment and consent, the masses of the people could not be ruled over and would not accept their authority, and as you observed during the Arab Spring in, what, 2011? — once the mass of the people refused to accept the power that rules over them, they can send that power into exile and flight over night, and the powers that be understand this. So I understood that by exposing the corruption and illegitimacy of those in power and the lies that the sustain themselves with, this is one means of undermining the false power and the false credibility and sense of legitimacy that these people try to portray themselves, as the basis of them exercising their authority over others. And it has proven most effective, particularly my writings about abuses going on inside of the prisons. My writings exposing the corruptions and illegitimacy of the power structure and the economic system to the extent that people have been receptive to my writings, I have seen a corresponding reaction by those in power, which, as I pointed out earlier, is a result of me facing a much higher level of reprisal and attempts to isolate me now, a very different response from when I was just in my head to head clashes with, you know, guards at a very low ranking lever. When I started to expose the system, they started tryna isolate me, to try and stop me from communicating with people on the outside, to shutting down my lines of communication, transferring me from state to state and deliberately sending me to states where conditions were known to be the most abusive in the country, particularly Texas and Florida, and trying to put me in positions where I would end up in violent clashes with other prisoners, and that sort of thing.
But anyway, as I became more politically I aware, I saw the need for political organizations to represent those who do not have political representations and to operate to educate and organizing the masses on a more revolutionary and fundamental level of understanding the political economic system on how to challenge and ultimately over throw that oppressive system in the interest of the working class and in support of the people. So, we co-founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter initially as an autonomous of the New Black Panther Party, being aware the New Black Panther Party started in 2000 was not practicing the politics and they were not living up to principles in the program of the original Black Panther Party, but had pretty much wrapped up these politics, the racial politics of the Nation of Islam, in an artificial garb of Black Pantherism. And our agenda was to try to take that organization in to the politics and the revolutionary ideology of the original Black Panther Party and to change their reverse racism, and to put them more on to the path of revolutionary politics of the original party. Ultimately, we realized that it was futile trying to do this, in that they were not interested in changing their political orientation, or to maintaining or carrying forward the agenda of the original Panther Party, so we ultimately split from the New Black Panther Party.
We changed our name to the National Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, and from there we have maintained the political line of the original Black Panther Party, but we have been very focused on not repeating the mistakes of the original party, but building on the correct contributions that the party made to the struggle of the 60s and 70s. And trying to carry forward what they were able to accomplish during their more revolutionary stages, which was from 1966 to 1971, and to, again, not repeat the errors that they made, and to learn from the mistakes that they made and from the what we understand now to be a very vicious campaign carried out against them by the US government, and the inclination of the government to attack any organization that seeks to open the eyes of the masses of the people. And we ourselves have been subjected to the same sort attacks and attempts to undermine. We’ve been stigmatized as Black Separatists and domestic terrorists, and all when we have done nothing and we have not been fighting for doing anything except publicizing the corruption of the law enforcement establishment and the abuses inside the US prisons, and they have identified this as being the behavior that they dislike, that they feel qualified us as threats to the security of the country. And I was personally profiled in a 2009 threat assessment report as a domestic terrorist because of my involvement in publicizing abuses in, you know, American prisons. And they’re saying that I prove to have exercised a good level of influence over people and society, in turning them against the law enforcement system because of my writings, which is pretty absurd. But this has been the thrust of what we are trying to organize, and some of the work that we’ve done, and the response has been, as I said, repression, isolation, attempts to attack us, subjecting the various members, leading members of our org to various levels of reprisal. Being placed in, thrown in solitary, subjected to all sorts of physical abuses, and you know, other attempts to try and dissuade and deter us from the work that we’re trying to do.

Q: The New Afrikan Black Panther Party has a focus of org with folks of African descent. In your view, how can folks in other groups, like white folks, act as comrades as you say in struggle against white supremacy?
A: Alright, within our party, we founded in 2006 in what’s called the White Panther Organization and subsequent to that, the Brown Panther Organizational Committee, as arms of our party. We are the first Panther organization that has actually brought white comrades and brown comrades in to our party. So we have brown and white Panthers in our party, and the function of them is to take the line of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party in to the white communities to struggle against the racism in the white communities, the Brown Panthers take the same line in to the brown communities, and the thing is to bring all these different sectors of society, both domestic and abroad, into a consolidated, united front that will unify us in the single struggle against the imperialist system, particularly focused on the marginalized people that are called criminalized or the Lumpen. Our work is specifically again to take the struggle to the power structure at the most fundamental level, and to build the sort of unity that has been probably the Achilles heel of revolutionary struggles, and undermining their effectiveness, and that has been polarizing factor of race. And as I see it, this is our approach in it has proven quite effective. Initially when they sent me out of state, they sent me to Oregon, which is one of the few prison systems in America where there is a predominately white prisoner population — it’s probably like 5 or 10% Black. And they sent me there after they had profiled me as a Black Separatist, and when I got to Oregon, they spread amongst the large number of Aryan gangs up there that I was Black Panther, which they portrayed as some sort of Black variation of the Ku Klux Klan, portraying us as anti-white and wanted to make race war against white people and this sort of thing, and they were trying to create a violent conflict between me and the white groups up there, which was obviously the point of them sending me to that state. But in effect, because of the politics of our party, and the orientation of the line of our white panther organization, I was able to politicize the white groups up there to various — they had like 13 different Aryan gangs up there in the prison system. I ended up politicking with them. They immediately released me into the population, which was another indication what they intended to try to see happen. But instead of me ending up in a war with them, I ended up politicking with them, exposing them to the history of racism, how racism was manipulated and created in the late 1600’s, and how it had been used and has been used as the most effective polarizing factor in society to manipulate oppressed people against each other. And I won a large sector of them over, and when I started to prove effective as not engaging them in violence, but winning them over to more revolutionary political and understanding of racial politics, they immediately threw me into solitary, got me out of population, and started to impose a different regiment of abuse and oppression against me, and ultimately kicked me out of the state and sent me to Texas, and when I was able to influence white Aryan gangs there to get involved in the national prison hunger strike that was taking place in 2013, where 30,00 prisoners got involved in Oregon joined them in hunger strike, so the line of our party, with respect to racial politics is specifically to organize white comrades to take the politics of our party, unifying politics in to the white community to struggle against the polarizing culture in, you know, white culture and white society in America, and to try to bring us all together in a common, united front.
Q: Can you talk about your views on feminism in the revolutionary struggle for a new society?
A: Alright, I should make a distinction between our line on the gender issue and the question of the struggle against paternalism and male domination. We are not feminist. We are, we are about revolutionary women’s liberation. Feminism seems to be the equal opposite of chauvinism, no– male chauvinism. The line in feminism largely has been represented by the bourgeois sector of the women’s movement, the upper middle class to upper class has always dominated the voice of the feminist movement, so we find it to be largely not a movement that really is about advancing the cause of women, at all levels of oppression, but at the interest of bourgeois and upwardly middle class women to gain an equal foothold with the bourgeois males in dominating society in general. So our struggle is for gender equality, not to raise the interest of upper class women at the exclusion of the lower class and oppressed women. Our struggle is to see working class women, poor women have all their rights respected and to be given an equal stage of power and an equal stage of respect throughout society at all stages, though I would make the distinction between what is known or generally represented as feminism with what we call revolutionary women’s liberation. But we are allied, of course, to the women’s movement, those women who identify as and those other people who may reject the concept of gender etc, who identify with the feminist struggle, but from the standpoint of working class women and working class non gender people or working class lgbtq people, and we stand on an equal footing with them and seek to have all forms of repression of women or all forms of repression of non gendered people, all forms of repression of LGBTQ people overthrown, and all people to have an equal share in power, and an equal interest in having their rights, and their desires, so long as they aren’t opposing and oppressing other people.
Q: Are there any other final statements you’d like to make, before we get cut off:
A: Well, I would like to state that I appreciate this opportunity to speak to the listen au of this program, and I really hope that much can be achieved through the struggles that are gaining ground and momentum now, and that there will be a growing link between those on the outside and the prison movement, and that this will help advance the cause of the oppressed against this oppressive system.
Q: Thank you so much for making this conversation happen, and solidarity

As of May 2019, Rashid has been transferred out of state yet again to
Virginia. He can be written at:
Kevin Johnson
D.O.C. No. 264847
G-20-2C
Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Road
Pendleton, IN 46064

You can read his essays and updates on his case, plus get ahold of his two books, learn about the NABPP-PC and see his revolutionary artwork up at:
http://rashid.mod

The Final Straw is a weekly anarchist and anti-
authoritarian radio show bringing you voices
and ideas from struggle around the world.
Since 2010, we’ve been broadcasting from
occupied Cherokee land in Southern
Appalachia (Asheville, NC). We also
frequently feature commentary (serious and
humorous) by anarchist prisoner, Sean Swain.
You can send us letters at:
The Final Straw Radio
P.O. Box 6004
Asheville, NC 28816, USA

Email us at:
thefinalstrawradio@riseup.net
or
thefinalstrawradio@protonmail.com

To hear past shows free at:
https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org

or find our social media and easy subscription
links at: http://tfsr.wtf

“This Armed Occupation Needs to Stop Before It’s Too Late”: Yousef Natsha on his new documentary “Hebron”

Download This Episode

Hebron Documentary

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.

You can learn more about Yousef, see more of his work, and donate to the documentary by going to his website http://yousefnatsha.wixsite.com/yousef-natsha

Announcements

Local

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.

For more information and ways to get involved, check our website at, ACAB2018.noblogs.org or Follow us on Instagram @ACAB.2018 for instant updates!

Afrin

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!

Show Stuff

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.

Fundraising

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!

Playlist

No Bayou Bridge Pipeline! An interview from L’eu Est La Vie camp

Download This EpisodeAnti-Pipeline Organizing in Louisiana

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.”

For questions and additional info you can contact the email address  ETresist@protonmail.com , and you can see the full call with some more contextual information by going to the It’s Going Down article here.

Show playlist here.

Anti-Repression Panel from the NAABC Conference 2017

Download This Episode

Anti-Repression Panel from Denver

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.

– — – —

Show playlist here.

Paganism, Anarchism May Day with Rhyd Wildermuth

Download This Episode
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.

Sabal Trail Pipeline Resistance in Florida and Antipolitika newspaper in ex-Yugoslavia

Sabal Trail + Antipolitika

Sabal Trail Resistance

https://sabaltrailresistance.wordpress.com
Download This Episode

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.

More on their project can be found at https://sabaltrailresistance.wordpress.com and http://stopsabaltrail.com

antipolitika

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.”

Announcements

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
Governor Kasich
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:

http://www.drumnyc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/ABriefGuideforReportingRaidsonSocialMedia.docx.pdf

To see more about DRUM you can visit http://www.drumnyc.org/

Support Krow

From our comrades at supportkrow.org:

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.

NC J20 Defense

As always, you can help support our comrades who got kettled in DC by donating to http://ncj20defense.com/

Playlist

A convo with Amélie and Fallon of the 5E3; Alex Abbasi on Decolonization, pt2

http://waronsociety.noblogs.org/?tag=5e-case
Download This Episode

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.

Next is the final half of the interview with Alexander Abbasi, a Palestinian-American living and studying in the U.S. We discuss a wide range of topics, starting off with our own personal views on political development, the decolonization of people and land-bases and the resiliancy of people in the face of widespread murder and oppression by governments.
http://www.thecrimson.com/writer/1210865/Alexander__Abbasi/
http://youngist.org/alexander-abbasi/
http://smpalestine.com/2014/08/11/why-stones-matter-on-palestine-solidarity-and-sumud/

Playlist