A Jailhouse Lawyer Speaks About #PrisonStrike 2018
This week, we feature three segments. First, we’ll feature a statement about recent doxing of a number of anti-racists in the Asheville area by far-right keyboard warriors.
After that, we feature an interview with Dee, an anonymous incarcerated organizer affiliated with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak. In this conversation we ask about the effectiveness of the #August21 2018 Nationwide Prisoner Strike, the push to move prisoners under storm threat as these increase under climate change, repression and changes in response to the strike, mail limitations in PA prisons, standardization of increased security in Ohio, outside support and organizing, critiques of the methods of NPS2018, and more. Check our show notes for links to more info concerning the strike.
If prisoners want to communicate with and/or join JLS, Dee suggests in some words near the end of the show that they reach out to:
And you can find JLS on fedbook or twitter to keep up with their organizing
Hambach Forest Updates
In our final section of the show, you’ll hear a report by audio comrades in Germany about the recent resistance to the destruction of the Hambach Forest by authorities. The clearing of the ancient forest is to create the largest open-pit lignite coal mine in Europe on behalf of the corporation RWE, which sells to Netherlands, Germany & the UK. Lignite has a carbon content of around 60-70%, has a low energy yield, and is responsible for 1/3 of CO2 emissions in Germany. This segment shows up in the November 2018 episode of B(A)DNews, Angry Voices from Around The World from the A-Radio Network, of which we’re a proud member. Keep an eye on our podcast stream and website for a link to this episode coming out in the next couple of days.
Within the last week, over 15 people were doxxed by white supremacists in our community. Here is most of a collective statement released a day or two after the fact by some of those folks:
They’ve targeted more than twenty people they believe are involved in anti-racist organizing in North Carolina. They’ve posted information such as our home addresses, places of work, family members, license plates, social media profiles–whatever information they could find. They seem to be fixating on trans and nonbinary people in particular, and delight in trying to deadname and misgender us whenever possible. Some of us, and some of our family members, have received harassing messages.
They wrote about us like it’s some big secret that we oppose fascism, that we oppose racism, that we oppose all forms of bigotry and oppression. It’s not a secret. We weren’t hiding. We are not ashamed.
This isn’t a plea for sympathy. Our friends and immediate community have been amazing. Rather, this is a message to let you know that if you ever find yourself targeted by neo-Nazis and the far right, you are not alone. None of us need to face this rising tide of fascist scum alone. We have each other.
Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter, actively and publicly chatted with alt-right trolls who had doxxed anti-racist activists. He even discussed violence against anti-racists in our region. This is probably a good time to think seriously about your online security and that of your family members and friends. But staying safe isn’t just a matter of changing your Facebook settings or making your Instagram private. It’s a matter of us showing up for each other. Of us not letting them intimidate us, not letting them isolate us. Not letting them stop us from our work. Especially when the work is stopping fascism.
To read the full statement, you can visit https://ashevillesolidarity.tumblr.com/ , where you can also see a list of bands and businesses which have been included in the current harassment. And of course, there are ways to donate and send support!
For an article about this (released just as our radio show was airing), including a statement by Firestorm Books contextualizing the specific harassment they’ve received, you can visit The Asheville Blade, which you can donate to here! To support Firestorm Books, our local anarchist community space and bookstore, you can join their Community Sustainer’s Program or leave them a positive review on Facebook, Yelp, wherever you can.
Additionally, for a really excellent walk through of how to help prevent this kind of thing happening to you or your crew, you can visit the Smiling Face Collective guide to preventing doxxing. This site can be easily adapted into an interactive workshop, because let’s face it, wiping your presence off the internet is a tedious, upsetting, and grueling process which is designed to wear you down. It’s always better to do this in groups! You can write to us about your experiences with internet hygiene, good, bad, or whatever, at email@example.com
Rural Organizing Against Racism Benefit
For those in the Western NC area, there will be a Fall Fundraiser to benefit rural organizing and resilience on Friday November 30th at 6pm at the Marshall Container Co. which is located at 10 South Main Street, Marshall, NC. The event will center around a cornbread and chili dinner and will include several surprise musical guests!
Support Anti-Fascist Protestors in Philly
And finally, if you are in the position to donate to those injured yesterday fighting the Proud Boys in Philly and elsewhere, you can go to this rally.org page. Remember that if you donate to do so anonymously!
This week on The Final Straw Radio, we feature a conversation with Pearson, an anarchist resident of Tallahassee, Florida, and is involved in storm relief mutual aid work in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Pearson is also the co-host of the leftist podcast “Coffee With Comrades”.
For the hour we talk about Hurricane Michael, which just passed through the Florida Panhandle and up through the Carolinas, affecting Georgia and Alabama as well. Within a 36 hour period, the hurricane ramped up from a Tropical Storm to a category 4 or 5 hurricane (depending on who you talk to). Michael was the strongest hurricane to hit that part of Florida ever on record, making landfall on Wednesday, October 10th in the morning and may be the third largest to hit the U.S. mainland with winds surges of up to 175 miles per hour and sustaining at 150. Because of the quick increase, localities in the storms path found themselves under prepared for such a devastating catastrophe. The state of Florida Department of Corrections refused to evacuate about 12 prisons that were in the Mandatory Evacuation areas in the path of Hurricane Michael despite a call-in campaign by Fight Toxic Prisons.
For the hour, we talk about the immediate response efforts in Tallahassee, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, anthropogenic or human-caused Climate Change and it’s various impacts on the residents and environs of Florida, and a bunch of other related topics. Later, Pearson shares about his podcast, “Coffee with Comrades”, available at http://coffeewithcomrades.com/
Here are a few links for info if you’re in Florida as well as ways to donate from a distance:
Florida People’s Advocacy Center in Tally is a safe space for people to come for disaster relief (trans inclusive and very supportive of undocumented individuals)
On Saturday, October 13th in Greenville, SC, there was a racist “Build The Wall” anti-immigration rally organized in support of Trumps xenophobic policies. Naturally, there was a counter-demonstration. Two anti-racists were arrested for picketing ordinances and another for disorderly conduct. If you’d like to help them, there’s a paypal where donations are being collected for legal and any medical fees attached to this at paypal.me/upstatesc
Connor Stevens post-release fund
First, Connor Stevens, one of the convicted Cleveland 4, is up for potential parole as soon as November, 2018! From the fundraizr for Connor:
“Connor Stevens is one of the Cleveland4. He is being released soon so we’re raising funds to help get him basic necessities when he is released! It’s possible he’ll even be released by November!
Click here if you are out of the US and would like to donate via Paypal
The Cleveland 4 were four Occupy Cleveland activists who were were arrested on April 30th, 2012, accused of plotting to blow up a bridge. But it was the FBI, working with an informant, that crafted the plot, produced the “explosives,” and coerced these four into participating.
Connor took non-cooperating plea deals and pled guilty to all charges. The judge applied a “terrorism enhancement” to their sentences, elongating their sentences as well as subjecting them to harsher prison conditions. Connor served 8 years 1 month—all to be followed by lifetime supervised release.”
Zak Kostopoulos, an 33 year old lgbtq+ drag performer and activist who worked against prejudice faced by folks who are HIV positive was beaten to death in a homophobic attack near Omonia Square in Athens, Greece on September 21st. Zak lept into a jewelry store in order to avoid a nearby brawl when the emergency shutters descended, trapping him inside. He was then set upon by the owner of the shop and others who were heard uttering homophobic and hate statements against those with HIV. After escaping the store, by smashing through the window with a fire extinguisher, he was followed out by the owner and another thug. Zak was beaten to the ground while surrounded by mostly male onlookers. When police showed up, they handcuffed Zak. The murder was captured on camera. The shop owner was only arrested after the video went viral and he was only charged with manslaughter, not murder, as he claims to have been protecting his property, which is absurd. Following news of the murder, an emergency anarchist assembly was called and a march of 500 took the streets of Athens with smaller marches happening in nearby cities. Marches followed that week.
Apologies for the wait in announcing this sad news which a listener sent us after the murder took place. We are thankful for being informed.
There is a call for supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal to fill the court room and the streets on October 29th from 8am til 11am in Philadelphia at the Criminal Justice Center, 13th & Filbert. Mumia is a former Black Panther, is a journalist and Political Prisoner who was put on death row for decades for the killing of a cop he says he did not commit. Mumia’s trial has been recognized internationally, including by Amnesty International, as a political show trial. More info up at http://mobilization4mumia.com
Certain Days Calendar benefit show
On October 19th at the Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Gratton Street in Brooklyn, NY, there’ll be a benefit for post-release funds by the organizers of the Certain Days: Freedom For Political Prisoners Calendar.
From Certain Days:
In the last year, we have been fortunate enough to welcome home a handful of political prisoners from US prisons. Our movements have not exactly been prepared for this good fortune, and so support committees, families and friends of these folks have been forced to scramble for funds for basic living expenses. In addition to that, many of these people have been targeted in the media and beyond by various law enforcement unions and organizations, making open fundraising online a difficult proposition.
We need to step up our game and aid not only the handful of political prisoners that have been released this year but also, the people who may be leaving prison soon.
The show will feature performances by Despairwolf, MAAFA_Hardcore, High Cost, and Trophy hunt, and we understand that the door fee will be VERY reasonable for a show in NYC.
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.
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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:
D.O.C. No. 264847
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:
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
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links at: http://tfsr.wtf
This week I had the chance to speak to Ricchi, who is a Puerto Rican anarchist, about an autonomous squatted community center in Borique called Valle Garita. In this episode, we talk about the squatted space and the intentions of the organizers, plus the cultural context of squatting, reactions of the police, landlord, and bank, and some concrete asks for solidarity and support from non locals. We end the show with a brief report back and analysis of what went down on May Day in San Juan and all over Puerto Rico, so stay tuned for that!
On the social media, you can follow the Valle Garita squat by following @vallegarita or following that same hashtag, you can also search for them on Facebook. You can also follow Urbe Apie on Instagram @urbeapie.
For sending cards and letters of support you can address envelopes to:
Paseo Gautier Bénitez #16
Caguas Puerto Rico 00725
Letters can be written in Spanish, English, or any other language!
A brief correction from our last show where I interviewed Nutty about the monopod blockade at the Hellbender Autonomous Zone, I stated that the MVP was overseen by Dominion Resources and Duke Energy, and that is not the case, I was thinking of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The MVP is in fact owned by EQT Midstream Partners and NextEra Energy, Inc. EQT has a history of fracking and is now trying to get into transport. Thanks to all the people who set me right on that! If you have any questions or corrections, don’t hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Shoutout to Nutty, Red, and Minor, and all those who are protecting and defending the land and water from predatory corporate pipelines!
For regular listeners of The Final Straw, the sound quality might not be what you are used to from us. We are continuing to experiment with our audio set ups, please bear with us through these experiments!
. … . ..
Josh Gerdts Memorial Fund
In some very sad news, Josh Gerdts, an anti-racist skinhead, was murdered two days ago in Chesterfield County just south of Richmond VA. He leaves behind a family, including a very young child. The family has set up a gofundme to help pay for the funeral and to help raise the child, which you can find at http://www.gofundme.com/joshgerdts
Rest in power, Josh. You will be missed.
Vendenga Rojava: a New Radio Show out of Rojava, Mesopotamia
VEDENGA ROJAVA – ECHOES OF THE RESISTANCE An internationalists radio project bringing an inside look into Afrin resistance. Revolutionaries from different parts of the world organized in different collectives and organizations in Rojava found and importance to come together and launch an audio project focused on the peoples resistance against an invasion of Afrin canton carried by the fascist state of Turkey and its jihadist proxies. Our aim is to spread an awareness of this historical event and inspire English speaking folks all over the globe by ongoing struggle and revolutionary organizing in Afrin, Rojava and beyond. Listen and share our reports, updates, analysis, interviews, stories about life of fallen comrades, music and more. This radio show is a limited project and will have only three issues. For more tune us up on May 16th on soundcloud.com/vedengarojava.”
No More Deaths
From nomoredeaths.org: “On January 17, Scott Warren – a humanitarian aid provider from the group No More Deaths – and two individuals receiving humanitarian aid were arrested by US Border Patrol. Scott was preliminarily charged with felony harboring and could face five years in prison.
We are well into our preparation for the next Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair, happening June 22nd-24th, and we want to invite you to participate in shaping the themes and helping gear up for this exciting weekend!
We are holding an interest meeting to ask for volunteers and discuss possible contributions folks can make:
Monday May 7 at 7pm Firestorm Books 610 Haywood Road
Our main items where we need help are:
Street Team Promotion, Online/Social Media Promotion, Arranging Housing for Out of Towners, Fundraising, Cook Food, DAY OF (biggest Need)
If you have other ideas, we welcome your input!
The first conversation is with a supporter of Kara Wild. Kara is an anarchist, a trans woman, an artist and is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial in France for participation in the Nuit Debout protests that swept across France in 2016 against changes to labor laws in that country. Kara was arrested on May 16, 2017 and will finally be going to trial Sept 19-22nd and so could use some immediate support. More information on Kara’s case can be found at freekarawild.org.
* Here’s a little background on the Aachen robbery case referenced in the interview.
* And here’s a guide to writing to Lisa of the Aachen Case
* Solidarity to Aachen from International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces
* Info about the Kalimero Solidarity Group
* An article about Damien’s release
* An article about Damien being beaten
* Kara retracts her apology that she was weaseled into giving to the judge by her previous lawyer. She really regretted it and after Krem was arrested, she decided to retract her apology.
To write to Kara:
BRAULT, David (Kara) #428682,
MAH de Fleury, 7 Ave des Peupliers,
91705, Fleury Merogis, Cedex, FRANCE
Conflict in Movement
Next, we do something a little experimental. We present a conversation with a member of an anti-authoritarian movement in Europe. We don’t say what movement. We talk about conflict internal to their movement, but we don’t name the parties involved. The conversation was conducted from an anti-authoritarian perspective, in the interest of creating heterogeneous communities of struggle. The purpose of this recording is to promote a mental exercise on the part of the listener to plug in their own experiences in movements with many different trajectories inside of it. The anonymous nature of the conversation was in part to not contribute to internal conflict to the movement, conflict is better addressed between parties involved than with an outside party (our radio show) who’s interest may not be the same as the movement. I hope that this conversation is helpful, for all of it’s purposeful vagueness.
If you are in Asheville, there will be a benefit for North Carolina grand jury resister Katie Yow on Tuesday the 29th of August at the Double Crown on Haywood Road in West Asheville. There will be bbq of the vegan and non vegan sorts, plus a great lineup of bands including Margaret Killjoy’s Nomadic War Machine, Snake Musk and Wyatt Yurth and the Gold Standard.
Yow, who is a social worker with a professional past in education, has been an anarchist for over half her life. Her commitment to resist this grand jury shows a bravery in the face of the kinds of trauma and isolation that only the state can instill, yet she has named this resistance as “the easiest decision I have ever made”.
Stay tuned for an interview with Katie Yow and a supporter on next week’s Final Straw!
For more information on Yow, updates on her resistance, and many resources on grand juries and grand jury resistance, you can visit https://ncresiststhegrandjury.com/
Cvill, AVL, and Calls for Solidarity
It’s been a week and a day since the events in Charlottesville, and for me it is a bit difficult to know what to say. There have been many excellent report backs – from Solecast, It’s Going Down, CrimethInc Ex Worker, and Radical Underground podcast – definitely check those out for in depth analysis and on the ground perspectives from anarchists and antifascists. Since Cville there have been very well publicised resistances to fascism and ongoing white supremacy in Durham, Boston, and right here in Asheville where four brave community members attempted the removal of a plaque commemorating Robert E. Lee at downtown’s Vance Monument. These four folks put themselves and their safety on the line to fight white supremacy and racist, revisionist history by engaging in this act. If you want to read a statement from these folks or donate to their legal fund, you can visit youcaring.com and search for “Asheville Monument Removal Legal Fund”.
Activity seems relentless right now, with elements on both sides galvanized by recent events, marches and calls to action are coming fast and furious. It is important to mobilize, but mobilize wisely, in the spirit of complete honesty about your capacities and energy. We cannot fight longterm unless we fight alongside all our comrades, support those who put themselves or are on the frontlines, and help prioritize all levels of antifascist engagement and accompliceship.
With that in mind, I want to say that if you are interested in keeping up with these calls or solidarity keep your eyes on itsgoingdown.org for announcements and updates.
One that’d like to mention right now are a call for solidarity in Phoenix AZ. This is a “call for an anti-fascist & anti-colonial contingent against Trump’s rally on Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm at the Phoenix Convention Center.
We will converge, in the spirit of solidarity and hostility to the current order, and as a physical body ready to act in self-defense and mutual protection of each other from cops, fascists, and liberal/radical ‘peace police.'”
This rally is a reaction to Trump’s suspected decision to pardon former AZ sheriff Joe Arpaio who was recently found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a state judge’s order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants. Those patrols were kept in place by Arpaio for 17 months after the order was issued. This same sherrif rose to infamy for his intentionally cruel and sadistic treatment of incarcerated people.
This rally will be held on Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm at the Phoenix Convention Center at 100 N. 3rd St. in downtown Phoenix. It’s recommended that people arrive and look for the black flags.
On August 12th in Charlottesville, many IWW and GDC members from across the country were present. Members of Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Committee, or MACC, from New York City also had members present at the vehicular manslaughter that occurred that day. The NYC GDC and MACC stand in solidarity with all those who oppose the growing wave of fascism around the world. Cowardly attacks will only strengthen our resolve to fight back and defend ourselves. An injury to one is an injury to all!
To support all those injured by fascist violence in Charlottesville, NYC GDC of the IWW as well as MACC are holding a fundraiser and screening of the latest episode of “Trouble” by SubMedia at Rebecca’s, at 610 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn on Sunday, August 27th from 8pm to 10pm. “Trouble” is a new monthly documentary series that broadcasts first-hand accounts of struggles for community self-defense. Previous episodes have explored topics like water protectors fighting the construction of the DAPL pipeline at Standing Rock, anti-fascist organizing, solidarity efforts for refugees and resistance to state repression. SubMedia has encouraged groups to host screenings of the show to bring communities together and provoke discussion of tactics, struggles and movement dynamics.
The best defense against fascism is a strong and supportive community, based on principles of mutual aid, solidarity and self-defense. Heather Heyer will live in our hearts forever!
This week we featured two conversations in the episode.
“Stop The Pipelines Action Camp”
Firstly, Bursts chatted with erin. erin is a resident of the Blacksburg VA area and an affiliate of Blue Ridge Rapid Response Project (or BRRRP) and is helping to organize the “Stop The Pipelines Action Camp” in that area from July 13-17th, 2017. The action camp is being organized in hopes to spread resistance to the Mountain Valley & Atlantic Coast Pipelines that are traversing Appalachian West Virginia, Virginia and, in the ACP’s case, North Carolina. We talk about what it is to live in a place and defend your home, to get to know your neighbors, to build the skills needed to resist ecocidal, capitalist infrastructure projects. More info at https://blueridgerapidresponse.wordpress.com. The event is being co-sponsored by Smokey Mountain Eco-Defense (SMED)
erin mentions pipeline security pursued by mercenary groups like TigerSwan as well as industry-sponsored astro-turf (or fake grassroots) group YourEnergy meant to muddy the water of community resistance to pipeline expansion and other infrastructural projects.
After that, Bursts chatted with 2 residents of the squatted neighborhood of Errekaleor Bizirik in the Basque territory within the borders of so-called Spain. The residents talk about the history of Errekaleor Bizirik, feminism, energy infrastructure, recent attacks by police on the project and pre-figuring a post-capitalist life-way in the rubble of the existent. For more info on the project, which translates to Dry River (Errekaleor) Lives (Bizirik)!, check out:
The draft wikipedia page;
An IGD post about the project with links and context;
Their Coopfunding page.
We wanted to also state that the folks at Errekaleor reached out to us for the interview, which was super awesome. If you have a project, a book, an article, a fight that seems like it’d be interesting to us and our listeners, send us an email at email@example.com and get the ball rolling.
If you want, find us on itunes and subscribe for free. You can rate us there as well, to help others find us more easily.
The Arizona based humanitarian aid group No More Deaths (No Mas Muertes in spanish) has been under semi constant surveillance by Border Patrol for the past week. This is unprecedented attention; since its foundation in 2004 this group has had a written agreement, essentially a non interference good faith contract, with Border Patrol that names the group as a health aid and humanitarian group that has every right to be doing the work it’s doing. NO More Deaths is a group based on certain faith principles (it is an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Tuscon) and on critical engagement with policy reform, nevertheless it is a group that has a high degree of anarchist involvement and solidarity with what could be called anarchist principles. It is most famous for desert aid; volunteers hiking out and leaving supplies such as water – essential in the 100 plus degree heat – food, socks, blankets, other supplies, and directed first aid where needed along remote corridors in the Sonoran Desert. The group also engages with legal aid, abuse documentation, searching for missing or disappeared people, helping getting belongings back from Border Patrol, networking with other border solidarity groups in the area, and consciousness raising and education to subvert the extremely stale narrative that immigration has in the US.
A couple of days ago, after almost a week of constant surveillance, Border Patrol raided a camp “in an unprecedented show of force, [with] approximately 30 armed agents raided the camp with at least 15 trucks, two quads, and a helicopter to apprehend four patients receiving medical care.” We hope to talk with someone about this situation soon for the radio show; the fact that this raid is coming now is a clear sign of the administrations attitude toward this kind of work. For more information on this issue and to keep up with No More Deaths, you can go to their website https://nomoredeaths.org
This week we spoke with James. James is involved in anti-fascist and anti-repression work. Over the hour we spoke about the election of Donald Trump, the need for resistance in the face of a rising autonomous ethno-nationalism in the form of the alt-right and other formations, liberal ideas of the CIA and deep-state saving us from “ourselves,” autonomous community building and self-defense and more.
First, we spoke with Kamau Franklin, who is a radical activist, the political editor for the online publication Atlanta Blackstar, and former attourney based out of Atlanta, GA. We are speaking today about Ungovernable, which is a radical organizing platform rooted in anti state Black and POC autonomy, how it began, its directives and ideals, and how to best move forward in this political moment among many other things.
From their website:
“We pledge to create a resistance movement that makes Trump unable to govern our oppression; unable to deceive the people, to make the people accept his reign of hatred. We refuse to give hatred a chance to govern, a chance to roll back civil and human rights, a chance to deport millions of people, a chance to create camps and registries for Muslims, a chance to expand the prison industrial complex, a chance to expand its drone wars, or a chance to turn back the gains won by our struggles.”
To learn more about Ungovernable, you can visit their website at https://www.ungovernable2017.com/, also you can hit them up on fedbook by searching “Ungovernable 2017 and Beyond”, our guest has also invited people to message him on the FB too, you can do that by searching his name spelled Kamau Franklin.
Repression in Turkey
The second segment is an interview conducted by audio comrades from the Slovenian anarchist radio project called Crna Luknja with a member of the Turkish anarchist group DAF & an editor of their newspaper, Meydan.
As we announced recently on the show, the main editor of Meydan, Hüseyin Civan, has just been sentenced to 15 months in prison in relation to 3 articles in their December 2015 issue dealing with the struggles of Kurdish minorities and the resistance they offer to the Turkish state’s slow genocide.
The conversation was published on January 5th of 2017. Though most of Crna Luknja’s interviews are conducted in Slovenian, they do produce interviews in English when it’s the common language shared with their guests. More content from Crna Luknja can be found here
First, though a few quick, mostly prisoner announcements:
Sean Swain, an anarchist prisoner who’s generally got a featured segment on this show and has for 3 years as of this week, has been on hunger strike at Warren Correctional Institution in Ohio since December 26th and has been placed in a suicide cell.
Although details are still murky, we know that Sean has been without food since December 26th. He was charged with extortion of a deputy warden and had begun a disciplinary process when he began his hunger strike and was placed in a suicide cell.
We know that the prison is recognizing his hunger strike and following the associated procedures, which include taking him to the medical unit every day and weighing him and taking his vital signs. It is unclear whether they are attempting to negotiate with him in any way.
Please take a moment to write a letter of encouragement to Sean and to call the following prison administrators and encourage them to negotiate with Sean and help him end this hunger strike as quickly as possible.
Deputy Director of Operations Casey Barr (513) 932-3388 ext. 2005
Warden’s Assistant Greg Kraft (513) 932-3388 ext. 2010
Updates on Sean can be found at http://seanswain.org
There are pushes by the support crews in these last days of the Obama presidency to request clemency or commutations for the sentences of long standing political prisoners here in the U.S. The few that we’ve caught wind of specifically are the following:
Leonard Peltier, an indigenous activist and prisoner in his 70’s is continuing to serve in federal prison as his health declines despite his denial of guilt in the shooting death of 2 fbi agents during the raid on the American Indian Movement’s encampment on the Pine Ridge Reservation in North Dakota in 1975. The case has been hotly debated since it was held, with many contesting the possibility of Peltier’s guilt. Recently, one of his prosecutors from that case said that it was time to let him go due to his age and health. More on his case can be found at http://whoisleonardpeltier.info
Reach out to US AG:
The Honorable Loretta Lynch
U.S. Department of Justice
Comment Line: +1 202 353 1555
Contact form: https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice
Chelsea Manning is a former intel analyst for the U.S. Military who was convicted of sharing documentation of military abuses with Wikileaks and is serving a 35 year sentence. She is also a Trans Woman who transitioned inside of military prison and because of her poor treatment on the inside has been very depressed and attempted suicide. There is hope that in his last days, Obama may commute her sentence for trying to do the right thing and to protect against the increased cruelty of the upcoming regime. Visit chelseamanning.org for details on how to support her
This week on The Final Straw Radio, I spoke with Mars Goetia. Mars is, among other things, a musician, parent and anarchist who’s been doing a lot of thinking and working around conflict engagement in and around anarchist communities. In this episode, Mars and I speak about about the difficulty of language when engaging in interpersonal conflict, about state repression, expectations and more.
Hüseyin Civan of Mayden Magazine, Istanbul
In June we aired 2 conversations with members of the Turkish group DAF, Revolutionary Anarchist Action. Among the three voices featured was that of Hüseyin Civan, the managing editor of Mayden Magazine. Hüseyin has been sentenced to 15 months in prison by the Turkish government for Mayden articles in support of Kurdish struggles for autonomy and against state repression in Turkey.
This sentencing comes amid a very troubling time in Turkey. Following the Turkish government’s reversal of seeking peace with Kurdish groups in the country’s eastern regions, a failed coup earlier this year, the grab at increasing presidential control and prerogative, non-secular regime of Tayip Erdogan has resumed military incursions into Kurdish communities and purged educational institutions and media of critical voices. They even went so far as to allow Daesh fighters across their border to fight Kurds and anti-capitalists and have launched attacks across the Syrian border into Rojava.
On Jan 5th, 2017, The Odditorium in Asheville will be hosting a benefit concert for the newly-formed Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross starting at 9pm. Come early for a Security Culture 101/201 training where folks’ll talk about things you need to keep your community safe.
The lineup includes: Secret Shame, Nomadic War Machine, Kangarot & Cloudgayzer