This week, I spoke with Dónal O’Driscoll, an animal rights activist and anarchist from the UK talking about the work of the Undercover Research Group to investigate possible SpyCops in the UK, share resources by those harmed by the lies of long term undercovers in activist communities and the current Inquiry that activists are using to unearth the legacy of police infiltration since the 1960’s.
Anarchy and Indigenous Resistance to AMLO in Mexico
This week on The Final Straw, an anarchist living in Mexico talks about the reign of the MORENA gimpparty of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (aka AMLO), the new face of capitalism it presents, it’s relation to social movements and indigenous sovereignty and the anarchist and indigenous resistance to the regime. We cover mega-projects being pushed through around the country, the repression of activists and more in this whopper of an episode.
Here’s a great English-language blog based mostly out of Oaxaca that covers struggle in Mexico and across the northern border: https://elenemigocomun.net/
If you want to understand the politics of Mexico, listen to the voices of Indigenous peoples and communities, women in struggle, campesinos
Indigenous populations and megaprojects:
Airport Lake Texcoco
New International Airport of Mexico City proposed in 2001 by Vicente Fox, but cancelled shortly after due to organized resistance
AMLO cancelled project after carrying out a “popular consultation”
Cancel one mega-project to impose three more
Expansion of Santa Lucia and Toluca airports
Naucalpan- Toluca highway
– Tren Maya (Mayan Train)
950-mile train connecting principal tourist destinations in the states of Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco, Yucatan and Quintana Roo
17 stations including Playa del carmen, Tulum, Palenque, Merida, Cancun
Infrastructure projects to be built around train stations
For tourists and cargo
– “Corredor Transistmico” Interoceanic corridor
Industrial corridor connecting the ports of Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, on the pacific coast, and Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, in the gulf of Mexico.
The project is meant to compete with the Panama Canal, as a route of land transportation connecting the Pacific with the gulf of Mexico.
United States has been trying to get this project going since the 19th century
Train routes and a super highway, modernization of ports, and various older train routes
– Proyeto integral de morelos (PIM) (Integral Project of Morelos)
Project that began in 2012 and has faced stiff resistance from the Frente de pueblos en defensa de tierra y agua Morelos-puebla-tlaxcala (People’s Front in Defense of Land and Water Morelos-Puebla-Tlaxcala)
The PIM roject includes:
Thermoelectric plant in Huexca, Morelos
A natural gas pipeline to supply gas to the plant which passes through 60 Indigenous and campesino communities in Tlaxcala, Puebla and Morelos
An aqueduct that seeks to move 50 million liters of water daily to the thermoelectric plant from the Rio Cuautla
Italian and Spanish transnationals
Armed Indigenous rebellion in Chiapas in 1994. After failed talks with the government, they took the path of autonomy
2003-formation of five caracoles (zones of autonomous self-government) The caracoles are regional administrative units where autonomous authorities come together and from which clinics, cooperatives, schools, transportation and other services are administered.
The Zapatista communities are managed by the Juntos de buen gobierno (Good Government Councils), which are made up of representatives of the autonomous councils of the rebel municipalities.
Expansion of autonomous territory:In august of 2019 the Zapatistas announced 7 new New Centers of Autonomous Zapatista Rebellion and Resistance (CRAREZ) and 4 new rebel Zapatista autonomous municipalities. Added to the 5 original Caracoles for a total of 16. In addition to the 27 original autonomous municipalities, giving us a total of 43 (CRAREZ). Made up of different assemblies, autonomous municipalities, etc.
Zapatista communities made up of Insignous tzotziles, tzeltales, mames, choles, tojolabales y zoques
Zapatista activities in December of 2019: Celebration of Life: A December of Resistance and Rebellion
Film Festival 7-14 of December 2019
Dance Festival December 15-20
Forum in Defense of Territory and Mother Earth December 21-22
On February 12, 2018- Ignacio Ventura, Luis Angel Martínez and Alejandro Diaz Cruz.
On July 17, 2018- Abraham Hernandez Gonzales
On October 25, 2018- Noel Castillo Aguilar
Concejo Indígena y Popular de Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata CIPOG-EZ (Indigenous and popular council of Guerrero-Emiliano Zapata)
May 2019- José Lucio Bartolo Faustino, Modesto Verales Sebastián, Bartolo Hilario Morales, and Isaías Xanteco Ahuejote of the Nahua people organized as the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero – Emiliano Zapata (CIPOG – EZ).
Samir Flores Soberanes of the Nahua people of Amilcingo, Morelos.
Julián Cortés Flores, of the Mephaa people of the Casa de Justicia in San Luis Acatlán, Guerrero.
Ignacio Pérez Girón, of the Tzotzil people of the municipality of Aldama, Chiapas.
Juan Monroy and José Luis Rosales, of the Nahua people Ayotitlán, Jalisco.
Feliciano Corona Cirino, of the Nahua people of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán.
Josué Bernardo Marcial Campo, also known as TíoBad, of the Populuca people of Veracruz.
This week we had an interview with Dezeray about her participation in the recent Cleveland Republican National Convention protests. We talk about how it was to be there and what kinds of things this event could say about anarchist organizing in the US. If you would like to see more accounts from anarchist perspectives on this event, you can visit https://itsgoingdown.org/ and follow the links to the RNC. If you would like to support the arrestees, you can visit the Ohio National Lawyer’s Guild page at https://ohionlg.com/
If you have anything to add about this event from your perspective and wish to share it with us (either for or not for broadcast on the radio), feel free to email us at the shows email address.
In the first segment of the episode, William spoke with Anne Peterman of the Global Justice Ecology Project, following up on the GE Trees Action Camp which took place in late September outside of Asheville. To hear the previous interview you can go to http://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org and search GE Trees, and to learn more about GJEP and to donate to Anne and Ruddy’s legal defense, you can go to http://nogetrees.org
The bulk of the hour we’ll hear the second half of the Former Prisoner Panel proceeding the North American Anarchist Black Cross conference in Denver, 2015.
On the panel you’ll hear from:
Jerry Koch, an anarchist who was incarcerated over 9 months for refusing to testify before a grand jury (for a second time) in New York, as he talks about his incarceration and his release.
Eric McDavid is a green anarchist who served 10 years of a 20 year sentence before release in January of 2015.
Lynne Stewart is a movement who served 2.5 years of a 10 year sentence, released due on compassionate grounds due to terminal cancer.
Kazi Toure is a formerly incarcerated member of the marxist guerrilla group United Freedom Fighters/Ohio 7.
Jihad Abdulmumit is national chairperson for the Jericho Movement and spent 23 years in prison for involvement in the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army.
Mark Cook was a social prisoner who founded a Panther Chapter in prison and became involved in the George Jackson Brigade.
In this presentation, the panelists speak about experiences of re-entry, trauma of incarceration, support they’ve received, experiences behind the bars and critiques of how prisoners are supported. This event was hosted by Denver Anarchist Black Cross (http://denverabc.wordpress.com)
We lacked time to announce this benefit for Stephanie Wilson, a dear friend who was struck by a car while attempting to render care to a dog who’d been previously hit by another vehicle. The benefit is to raise medical funds for Stephanie. More info here: https://www.youcaring.com/stephanie-wilson-454345
This week’s episode features a conversation with Francesca. Francesca is a student at the University of Bologna in Italy and is one of the people at the center of a wave of repression in response to ongoing autonomous organizing inside and outside of the University. The University of Bologna is the oldest, continuously operating public University in the world. Francesca is also a member of the Hobo collective, which runs an autonomous social space inside of the Poli-Sci department of the University.
In December of last year, after numerous marches and interventions around the city and university on a range of issues such as immigrant rights, precarity of employment, underpaying of university workers, increased cost and decreased quality of services at the university, affordable housing, the censure of political dialogue and more, the District Attorney of Bologna had Francesca and 5 comrades arrested as a preventative measure in order to stop their organizing and to terrorize the students and militants of the area. 4 students have been placed on house arrest in Bologna, making it quite difficult to make ends meet economically, and 2 were exiled from the city, thus cutting short their educational career. In response, a campaign called “#LibertaDiDimora”, which translates to freedom of home, was launched to respond to the repression of the 6 comrades and to continue struggles around freedom of movement and housing issues inside and outside of the university. More on student organizing around the world at http://commonware.org/
For the hour, we’ll be speaking with Francesca about her case, the campagn, the Autonomia movement which Hobo is alligned with, the monetization of education, precarity, internships, immigration in Italy, squatting and more. More at http://hobo-bologna.info
But, first a few announcements.
In the wake of the tragic murder of nine African American bible study members on June 17th, 2015 at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a white supremacist their was an outpouring of grief and solidarity expressed around the world. This was followed by a series of protests and direct-action removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the capital grounds in Colombia, South Carolina. The pressure built in other Southern States to remove the CSA Battle flag from their state flags resulting in blowback from some white folks to the removal of this “heritage” symbol that means oppression to so many others. Subsequent to the killings and flag debates, at least 6 black churches were torched between June 22nd and June 29th around the South East. Churches in: Knoxville, TN; Macon, GA; Charleston, SC; Elyria, OH; Tallahassee, FL. To top this, and never to lose an opportunity to display their pointy heads, the Klu Klux Klan has decided to call for a rally on the steps of the South Carolina State House on July 18th at 3pm and just as the racists will be coordinating to show up at the rally, so are anti-racists and regular-ass folks around the region. There are all sorts of calls for participation in all sorts of ways to counter a public display of hatred by the KKK. I hope to see y’all there. http://columbiascdemocallout.tumblr.com/
In a perfect segway, the next evening, July 19th 2015, folks are invited to come to the new location for Firestorm Books & Cafe at 610 Haywood Rd for a presentation by Saralee Stafford & Neal Shirley on their book, Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South. For our conversation with the Shirley & Stafford, check out this link.
A reminder to listeners with graphic talents, we’re soliciting designs for stickers, posters and more. The artists who’s designs are selected will receive a few prizes from our freeboxes (actually, some tee shirts and literature). We’re looking for the name of the show, our website and images that may reflect the project. We’re hoping it can be a tool for better advertising the project and getting more folks involved. You can email designs in pdf format to thefinalstrawradio(aat)riseup( dott)net or send them in physical form to, again:
The Final Straw
864 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
Finally, I’d like to give a brief shout out to some other audio & video projects that have been kicking out the jams of late. If you’re familiar with The Final Straw, you may have heard some of their names on our 4th Anniversary show last year.
For great action updates, audio documentaries, reviews and more, Crimethinc’s podcast called “The Ex-Worker” is not to be missed. You can find episodes at http://crimethinc.com/podcast, along with links and transcripts of the episodes.
WhichSide Podcast, which features hosts Jeremy Parkin & Jordan Halliday, did a great interview with Kevin Van Meter, contributor to the book “Life During Wartime”. Regular episodes feature chats on anarchism, activism, animal liberation, veganism and more. More can be found at http://whichsidepodcast.com.
Finally, I want to give a shoutout to The Stimulator & his f-ing show, It’s The End Of The World and We Know It (And I Feel Fine) for riot porn, interviews, commentaries, updates and stunning images and movie references. More from that project at http://submedia.tv
Today’s show features an interview with the Portland-based author and activist, Kristian Williams. Williams speaks on his first book, Our Enemies in Blue (a history of policing in America), on recent articles about community policing and the counterinsurgency training shared between the U.S. military and domestic law enforcement agencies and the growing movement calling for the abolition of police in the United States, and the Pacific Northwest in particular).
This week’s episode features a short interview with a member of the No-TAV struggle in the Italian Alps. For decades the residents of Val di Susa in northern Italy (near Turin) have been struggling to stop the development of a 30 mile long tunnel through the mountains, across the border to Lyon, France. The project is a European Union one that is one wing of a larger international commercial venture web of restricted transit for goods that EU is attempting to push through. The actual tunneling threatens, among other things, to release enough uranium and asbestos into the air and shallow water-table of Val di Susa and surrounding areas that even the EU estimates that the damage will be measurable and irreparable.
We speak about what shapes the resistance has taken, how anarchists and others have engaged at varying times, and the repression faced from the government. Currently, there are arrests and incarcerations and investigations concerning, among other activities, a night-time raid in 2012 of the militarized construction site of the TAV which was arsoned and effectively shut down for a period of time afterwards. Some of the vocal anarchist and activist arrestees are facing terrorism charges based on Italy’s EU-adopted laws concerning resistance to government projects. The new definition basically posits that those who effectively make it so the government can’t do something (good or bad) and the EU wants it to happen, the national government is pressed to prosecute. More on the case can be found at http://actforfree.nostate.net/?s=tav
This week Bursts spoke to Leslie James Pickering about a range of different subjects. Mr. Pickering worked for the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO), acting to spread the message and communiques of the ELF, from 1997 to 2002. Obviously, he experienced heavy state oppression during that period of time. And recently, it’s become apparent that the state hasn’t forgotten him.
Leslie James Pickering is no longer allowed to enter Canada (despite no relevant arrests in the last decade and a half) and has found that he’s got a “Mail Cover” via the Post Office where his mail is photocopied and tracked by an as yet unidentified Law Enforcement Agency. He’s also had friends on the West Coast contacted by the Buffalo (NY) FBI Office and asked if Leslie has enemies or do direct action and business contacts of Leslie’s have been subpoenaed to Grand Juries around Burning Books Radical Bookstore. Leslie is an owner of that radical bookstore in Buffalo, which carries books, zines and hosts political events and via which, according to the FBI, Leslie is “stirring up the youth.”
We spend most of the hour talking about government surveillance in his case in particular and in general in the U.S. and also about the prosecution of Jeremy Hammond. Leslie shares some thoughts on parts the forgotten history of radical resistance in the U.S. In particular, he talks about his recent book on the Evan Mecham Eco Terrorist International Conspiracy (EMETIC), a predecessor to the ELF, as well as his earlier book on a radical, white, working class radical named Sam Melville who bombed government and capital centers in New York and inspired the Weather Underground. Melville, who’s the focus of Pickering’s book “Mad Bomber Melville”, went on to organize at Attica before and die during the Attica Prison uprising in 1971. In Pickering’s view, the importance of recognizing and learning from radical history allows us to better strategize for current and future struggles.
Lastly, we briefly touch on the story of Martin Sostres, who’s ideological journey brought him from Nation of Islam through Black Nationalism to Anarchism. Sostre was framed up on drug charges in order to silence his organizing and shut down his bookstore in Buffalo, NY, in 1967 and served 10 years before having his case overturned. Martin Sostre now lives in New York City. There was a 1974 documentary about his case called “Frame-Up!: The Imprisonment of Martin Sostre” (Pacific Street Films). The film HAS been available for streaming at christiebooks.com, alongside MANY other films in many languages.
This weeks show features 2 interviews. The first is with Savannah, an anarchist working on solidarity with members of the North Carolina tribe of the Almighty Latin Kings & Queens Nation. ALKQN members are facing RICO charges in Federal Court. The trial begins October 22nd, 2012. More info can be found at alkqnsolidarity.com
The second part of the show, we speak with Jeremy, an Anarchist who was invovled in copwatch in the South Barton Heights neighborhood in the north of Richmond, Virginia. Jeremy asserts that he faced increasing harassment and eventually imprisonment for being a vocal and visible proponent of holding cops accountable and spreading the practice of copwatching. For more about Richmond CopWatch, check out wingnutrva.org
The third part of the conversation will concern efforts by law enforcement at many levels to label political organizers as gang members, including those recently arrested in the San Francisco protest against Christopher Columbus Day, Jeremy and those doing support work with ALKQN.