We Need To Keep That Spirit Alive: anarchist prisoner Eric King and partner speak
***Update: Eric King started a 5 day trial on August 26th, 2019, in Denver, CO on the charges of assaulting Lieutenant Wilcox at FCI Florence. Here’s background on that here in Eric’s own words. Court and legal fund support is being requested and updates are up on his support site, as of now the latest update is here.***
This week on The Final Straw, we feature two main guests, anarchist prisoner Eric King and a member of his defense committee who is also Eric’s partner. This podcast is being released on the 3rd day of the International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners from August 23-30th. The dates relate to the execution date of Italian-American anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, August 23, 1927. More info on the week, including materials and ways to share your solidarity are up at Solidarity.International and you can donate to the International Anarchist Defense Fund at afund.antirep.net.
While the majority of the show will be filled by anarchist political prisoner, Eric King, we’ll be wrapping it in words from his partner, who also sits on his support committee. Eric was incarcerated in 2014 for an attempted night-time arson on the Kansas City office of Missouri U.S. Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver. Eric claimed this was in solidarity the community of Ferguson that was in revolt in response to the killing and desecration of young Mike Brown at the hands of the police, known as the Ferguson Uprising. Eric has been generally without phone access for 3 years.
Eric, who just had his 33rd birthday, recently suffered a stroke. He’s been at 9 facilities in the last year. He has visible anti-fascist tattoo’s and because of this and his anarchism and outspoken perspectives, he has been pitted against antagonistic correctional officers and nazi gang members and force to fight for survival. Eric frequently loses his commissary funds when he is moved. He hasn’t read a book in 6 months because he hasn’t been allowed any.
For the hour of our broadcast, Eric talks about his health, his political stance, dealing with nazi’s on the inside, his views on the anti-fascist struggle on the outside, the loss of Tom Manning and supporting political prisoners, counter-recruiting nazi’s and other topics. You can find his writings, art, and updates on his situation at SupportEricKing.org. The message that we are building off of can be found archived in video form here.
The other main voice you’ll hear is that of Eric’s partner, who’s a member of his support committee. What you’ll hear in the radio broadcast is only a tiny, iceberg tip, of this person’s words, what we could fit in an hour. If you’d like to hear more of what they have to say check out the podcast. We speak about changes in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system, specific things that BOP prisoners and their families and supporters have to deal with, the culture of shortcomings in how people engage family and loved ones of prisoners, increasing use of communication management units (also known as CMU’s) and in particular Administrative US Penitentiary Thomson, in Thomson, IL, which is used as a holding facility where prisoners awaiting CMU status decisions basically sit meanwhile in CMU status while they wait. This marks a continued growing in the logic of incarceration in our civilization towards more isolation, new sweetheart prison building contracts, more contol, more beds to fill, more punishment of what might be mental health distress and trauma responses among prisoners. The guest speaks about the potential impact on ICE detainees who are speculated to be put in this facility.
As Eric gets transferred from county facility to county facility of Federal overflow, his commissary doesn’t move with him. So, his support committee is handling purchases of communication access, medical funds, moneys for buying vegan foods and supplements and other needs on his behalf. A new fundraiser has gone up and can be found at: . Please consider donating.
Eric just got moved before this broadcast. As he moves around and things change, info on his case can be found at SupportEricKing.org. You can write him, for the time being, at:
The books that Eric mentions being excited to read are:
Blackjewel is the 6th largest coal operator in the United States, and on July 1st of this year, it declared bankruptcy. On July 29th, five miners set out to blockade a Blackjewel train carrying one million dollars of coal in protest of being denied their last three weeks of wages and retirement funds. The blockade has since bloomed into an active camp site made up of miners, their families, and supporters. The camp is committed to blocking the train until Blackjewel pays the miners.
To stay up to date with the camp, follow blackjewelminersblockade on Instagram, or @minerblockade on Twitter.. Listen next week to hear from folks on the ground in Harlan County.
Stay tuned for the latest member of TFSR, Cypress, bringing audio from the support efforts there.
The latest we’ve heard about one of the two remaining MOVE prisoners, Delbert Africa, who’s up for parole in September is that his health is on the mend. MOVE organization supporters are requesting solidarity in pushing the PA parole board and the governor to release this aging prisoner, the oldest of the MOVE 9 prisoners, to help him integrate and heal in the outside world. 41 years is far too much. More info at onamove.org or on the various social media sites.
Russell “Maroon” Shoatz
Former Black Panther and political prisoner Russell Shoatz, who goes by the name Maroon, has stage four colorectal cancer and his family and supporters are requesting funds be raised to help pay for his care. Maroons’ earthday was August 23rd, 2019. You can find out are at russellmaroonshoatz, with a ‘z’ dot wordpress dot com and searching for update 08 22 2019, of in our show notes. And you can donate to his care at by clicking the donate/ tab on his support site.
Here’s a link to the latest episode of BADNews, the monthly, English-language podcast from the A-Radio Network of which we’re also a member.
In this June 11th special, we’re releasing an interview with some anarchist prisoners in the so-called U.S. and some of the folks who support them. June 11th, for people who don’t know, is a day of solidarity with Marius Mason and other long term anarchist prisoners. You can find bits of the history of the importance of the date up at crimethinc.com and interviews with and about anarchist prisoners up at our website and at june11.org . The framing of this special is to focus on a publishing project currently being undertaken inside and outside of the prisons that many long-term anarchist prisoners in the so-called U.S. participate in called Fire Ant.
First up, Sean Swain shares his views on Fire Ant and prisoner support. [2min 20sec , followed by Surrounded by Matador from the album The Taking, Black Powder Records]
Then we hear Michael Kimble sharing his views on the publication and recent experiences in the Alabama prison in which he’s held, which was a part of the interview we aired with Michael a few weeks back. [10min 56sec, followed by The War On The Imagination by Sole from Let Them Eat Sand]
After Michael speaks, a supporter and partner of Eric King talks about their impressions of the impact of June 11 and Fire Ant on their partner’s life. We’ll be sharing more from Eric’s partner in coming weeks about his situation, changes coming in the BOP and about the types of support federal prisoners and their supporters need. [42min 52sec]
After the Eric section, we are happy to share a musical track by the project, Realicide, called “Decide Today = Free Marius Mason” about the long-standing Earth Liberation, anarchist, Animal Liberation prisoner. There’s a link to youtube for the audio in our show notes.
Finally Robcatt, one of the folks on the outside shares some of the history of Fire Ant zine, some of his past support experience and a provocation on how we as anarchists need to shift how we do support work. [52min 17sec]
You can find issues of Fire Ant, which are written and adorned by anarchist prisoners, at the website for Bloomington ABC and for a list of June 11 events around Turtle Island, check out https://itsgoingdown.org.
This episode will include two segments, firstly Bursts speaks with a longtime supporter of vegan anarchist prisoner Eric King, who was accused in 2014 of attempting to firebomb a government officials office in Kansas City. They speak about his case, veganism in prison, and steps moving forward with his support. Also about the fast approaching June 11th day of solidarity with anarchist prisoners, as well as for the first international day of solidarity with Eric on June 28th 2017 and the ideas and visions surrounding that . You can keep up with Eric’s situation by going to supportericking.org.
Secondly William speaks with two members of the Liverpool based anarchist black metal project Dawn Ray’d, who have just kicked off a tour of the US with one date in Asheville on June 1st at the Odditorium. We talk about anarchism and black metal, what the two have to offer each other, and about the political situation in Liverpool as it relates to music culture, and many other topics.
Their tour dates are:
Fri May 26th in Cincinnati,
Sat May 27th in Pittsburgh,
Sun May28th in NYC,
Mon May 29th Philadelphia,
Tues May 30th in DC,
Wed May 31st in Richmond,
Thurs June 1st in Asheville,
Fri June 2nd in Atlanta,
Sat June 3rd in New Orleans,
Sun June 4th in Houston,
Mon June 5th in Dallas,
Tues June 6th in Tulsa,
Wed June 7th in Columbia,
Thur June 8 in the Quad Cities,
Fri June 9th in Milwaukee,
and finally Sat June 10th in Detroit
You can hear all their music on bandcamp for free.
This week we spoke with Firehawk, who is an anarchist and anti prison/anti carceral state organizer based out of Colarado. In this interview we talk about her zine “Governing Bodies, Governing Souls: Female incarceration, ‘rehabilitation’, and promising radical strategies”, which came out of her experiences conducting research into increasing rates of incarceration in women’s prisons in the US. We talk about those experiences, about the zine in general, and about possible ways to be a support to incarcerated people and to anti-carceral struggles. We also talk about the various ways in which incarceration of transgender people are represented or thought about, a topic not necessarily included in the zine.
If you have any opinions about how we discussed this topic, we would love to hear them. Additionally, if you have a take on this issue that we did not touch on, or more information that we didn’t consider, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at email@example.com, or you can email William Goodenuff at stormwater(a t)riseup.net, *or* you can email Firehawk at firehawk666(aat)riseup.net.
There will be a volunteer interest meeting for the Asheville based group the Tranzmission Prison Project, Wed June 29th at 7pm sharp in the upstairs room of the west asheville Izzy’s at 373 Haywood Road. The Tranzmission Prison Project is a volunteer run group which sends books and zines to LGBTQI prisoners, all free of charge. To get in touch with them, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or search for them on facebook.
. … . ..
This was communicated to The Final Straw from our comrades in the so called Czech Republic, who have been facing government and police oppression in the form of an initiative called “Operation Fenix”, which specifically targets anarchists.
“As “Czech” Anarchist Black Cross and the AntiFenix Collective, we call for international solidarity actions against the repression of anarchists in the so-called Czech Republic. This repressive wave is labeled Operation Fenix – 8 people are accused or charged, some with possible life sentences, and with many more harassed by police, interrogated, raided, devices confiscated.
Our call for international solidarity is to support all of charged and affected, but also in particular to support Martin, an anarchist who was entrapped and accused of preparation of a terrorist attack, all planned by two state infiltrators. He has been locked away already almost 14 months in terrible conditions, and in response, he has just gone on hunger strike. Especially in places where you have Czech embassies or consulates, you can show that borders can’t stop anarchist solidarity.”
The sentencing date for vegan anarchist prisoner, Eric King has been set for Tuesday, June 28th at 11:30am at the US District Court House in Kansas City, Missouri. Eric accepted a non-cooperating plea to federal arson charges. He was convicted of attempting to set fire to a congress-member’s office. If you’d like to attend his sentencing, it’s suggested that you arrive by 11am to Courtroom 8A at 400 East 9th St in Kansas City with a valid, state-issued ID and plan to go through a metal detetctor. There is a request for fund-raising for his expected 8-year sentence, support t-shirts, his current mailing address, details on his case and more that can be found at http://supportericking.org
. … . ..
Call in to Waupun CI in Wisconsin
The Industrial Workers of the World Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee is requesting folks to email and call Waupun Correctional Institute in Wisconsin on today and Monday, June 20th. The hunger strike involving at least 5 prisoners is focused on an end to the practice of long term solitary confinement in the state of Wisconsin. As of Sunday, today, people have been on hunger strike in Waupun for 13 days. One of the hunger strikers, Cesar De Leon, announced 6/15/16 that he is now also refusing water because Waupun’s water supply is contaminated by lead, he vomits up their water and experiences stomach pain and heart-burn when he drinks it.
If you wish to write to participating prisoners to make message of support to hunger strikers, please write to: Cesar Deleon #322800, Lamar Larry #293906, Rayshun Woods #390831, LaRon McKinley #42642, at:
Waupon Correctional Institute
P.O. Box 351
Waupon, WI 53963
Norman Green #228971 has recently been transferred to Columbia, and can be written at
Columbia Correctional Institute
P.O. Box 900
Portage, WI 53901
This week, instead of priorly mentioned interview with organizers of No New Animal Lab and supporters of Jessica Burlew, Bursts spoke with Greta.
Greta is an anti-border activist who works in the U.K. & Calais, France, shares about her recent visit to Calais and what she’s learned about the recent influxes of refugees coming from North Africa and West Asia. Greta talks a bit about where and why the immigrants are coming, where they’re headed and why, how governments and populations have been dealing with the immigrants and the stability of the European Union as a structure.
Hopefully we’ll be hearing from No New Animal Labs folks in the near future. More on that project can be found at http://nonewanimallab.com
Here is an update on Sean Swain’s situation, pulled right from his support page at http://seanswain.org/:
We’re not sure what’s going on, but Sean Swain has been blocked from receiving (and presumably sending) JPay emails. He also has not called his primary supporters, or us at The Final Straw for a new radio segment. We’ll probably hear from him via snail mail sooner or later, but until then, we’ve got to assume he’s cut off.
When we called the prison, they told us he was not in the hole, and did not have any restrictions on his communication. We suspect they may have transferred him back to a 3B spot, undoing the success of our recent call-in effort. They refused to tell us what security level the block he is held in is on and they got surly and authoritarian when we asked. It seems that the officers at Sean’s newest prison, Warren CI need to learn that their jobs are a whole lot easier when they don’t provoke anarchists from across the country to call and check in on the welfare of our friend who they hold captive.
WARREN CI: 513-932-3388
You can call Warren CI and ask the same questions we asked- why does Sean not have access to communication, what security level is he currently housed in, and does the JPay kiosk in his (or any Warren Unit) actually work right now? You can also leave Sean’s Case Manager a voicemail by punching extension 2281, or try and talk to deputy warden Robert Welch, who maybe got Sean moved from 3B to 3A a few weeks ago, he’s at ext 2005. Whatever lucky anarchist happens to be on the call when one of these officers breaks and spills the beans, please drop a line to AnarchistSwain@gmail.com.
Sean doesn’t like when they fuck with his communication access. Being a writer, getting his voice out is one of the things that help Sean feel connected to the outside world. So he’s probably feeling alone and frustrated. Also, his birthday was Sept 12th, so if you haven’t written for a while, or missed sending him birthday wishes, please consider dropping a line and letting him (and the mailroom monkeys who have to read all his incoming communication) know that he is loved and missed.
Please take a moment to drop a line on Sean to let him know that you’re thinking about him.
P.O. Box 120
5787 State Route 63
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
“On September 16, 2014, Eric G. King, was arrested and charged with an attempted firebombing of a government official’s office in Kansas City, MO. Eric allegedly threw a hammer through a window of the building and then two lit bottles, though both failed to ignite. Eric faces a federal life sentence if found guilty at his trial on October 28 2015.
On the eve of Eric’s first year in pre-trial state captivity, his support group got word about the prison censoring and rejecting his mail.
To mark the year since Eric was stolen by the state, the Kansas City, MO Anarchist Black Cross and the Omaha, NE Anarchist Black Cross dropped banners in solidarity.
The EK Defense Committee writes, “Recently, a book about the Black Panthers was rejected because the prison evidently considers them a “hate group.” Around that same time, right-wing Christian literature with homophobic rhetoric made it through to another prisoner. Eric is clearly being targeted for his political beliefs and interests.
If you have been writing to Eric and have not heard back from him, it is very possible that he has not received your letters or you have not received his. The prison (and the state apparatus of which it is a part) is trying to isolate Eric from his supporters. We can’t let them do this.
Please help by:
Firstly, writing Eric letters! Please flood the prison with as much mail as you can. This can serve the dual purpose of overwhelming the prison mailroom and helping Eric remember that he has solidarity. Keep track of what you sent to Eric and when you sent it so you can check with him later or call the prison to inquire about why your mail was blocked.
You can write to him at:
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Second, by checking the support site often. If this harassment continues, we will be taking other measures to ensure this censorship stops immediately. CCA has been sued in the past for censoring mail and violating prisoners’ constitutional rights, so they know as well as we do that what they’re doing is wrong.
Please spread the word and help put the spotlight on CCA’s draconian mail room practices. Prisons greatly prefer to function outside the public eye where they can torture, abuse, neglect and isolate prisoners without consequences. Don’t let them get away with that this time. Send Eric a letter or card today. Eric King’s support site is https://supportericking.wordpress.com/
Mumia Abu-Jamal is contuing to be denied the medical care that he needs to survive his stay in prison at SCI-Mahone in Frackville, PA.
Hepatitis C is a dangerous liver disease which is growing among poor people and especially rampant in prisons. Mumia found himself diagnosed with Hep-C, as well as type-II diabetes and other medical circumstances, in August of this year. Drugs released within the last 18 months show remarkable cure-rates of 90-95%, but based on costs of $60-85K for a 12 week course, jail and prison authorities here (and in jails and prisons across the U.S.) are denied the incarcerated access to them.
Late in the day on Friday September 18th, United States Magistrate Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Karoline Mehalchick issued a proposed order denying Mumia Abu-Jamal’s motion for preliminary injunction and his 1st Amended complaint seeking immediate treatment for active Hepatitis C.
In a calculated attempt to deny lifesaving health care and effective arguments on Mumia’s behalf, Judge Mehalchick preemptively issued this “proposed order” before Mumia’s lawyers had the opportunity to respond (as allowed by court local rules) to the Pennsylvania Department of Correction’s (DOC) opposition.
Bret Grote (Abolitionist Law Center) and co-counsel Bob Boyle (NYC) are expected to quickly file in court with 3rd Circuit Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani to oppose this proposed order on procedural and substantive grounds. There is a fundraising campaign to get crowd-source treatment for Mumia Abu-Jamal as well as information to petition on his behalf available at http://bit.ly/fight4mumia and updates on his case can be found at http://freemumia.com
In a hopeful note, Eddie Africa of the MOVE9 will be up for parole in October of 2015 and is looking for support to hopefully get him out of this ridiculus and horrible stint of incarceration on bogus charges that have had him inside for 37 years of a 30-100 year sentence. From http://onamove.com:
” In October 2015 our Brother Eddie Africa is set to make another appearance before the Pennsylvania State Parole Board. Your letters of support is urgently needed. All of the information is below as follows:
We are asking for your support at this critical stage to secure the freedom Eddie deserves. Feel free to use parts of the sample letter at onamove.com. You can write in your own words and with your own experiences of/with Eddie.
NOTE: Please send all letters of support to Orie Ross, P.O. Box 575, Times Square Station, New York, NY 10108-0575 so they can be reviewed and sent to the Board. The deadline for letters will be Wednesday September 30, 2015.”
To learn more about the case of the MOVE9, check out our interviews with supporters by listening to this overview with Orie Lumumba on the last parole push and this one about the health of Phil Africa the week before he died. Phil had Hepatitis C, like Mumia Abu-Jamal does.
Animal Liberation in Florida
This report was sent anonymously to Bite Back Magazine, which is a semi regular periodical out of West Palm Beach, Florida. It details things of interest to radical animal liberation and a critique of the capitalist exploitation of animals.
In the words of the communique:
“In the late night hours of September 17th, after hiking miles through the forest, we descended upon a Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) pheasant holding pen located within the EE Wilson Game Management Area. Aviation snips were used to cut a hole in the netting surrounding the pen allowing the approximately 100 ring-necked pheasants held inside to escape into the wild. The immediate area in which these pheasants were released is located in the ‘safe zone’, a section of the park in which hunting is prohibited.
These pheasants were slated to be used as part of a ODFW sponsored pheasant hunt. It was the goal of this action to spare these animals from an almost certain death at the hands of hunters and to at the very least disrupt the normal functioning of the hunt. It is sick and disturbing that non-human animals are continued to be used as commodities by hunters to be tortured and killed for sport. These pheasants were born into a life of captivity and confinement and it was a beautiful sight to see them fly free for the first time.”
This next update is from Warrior Publications which is an excellent news source for Indigenous anti-colonial struggles and resistance, and also aims to provide radical analysis of these struggles. It is published in occupied Coast Salish territory , or so called Vancouver, Canada.
Some background on this update:
Pacific NorthWest LNG (or Liquid Natural Gas) is a proposed natural gas liquefaction and export facility on Lelu Island in northeast British Columbia. The facility would liquefy and export natural gas produced by the company Progress Energy. Lelu Island and Flora Banks have historically been home to the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation for over 10.000 years, and this group holds the title to this land. Lelu Island is also an essential habitat for migrating juvenile fish and other shellfish, the loss of which would irreperably devastate the local ecology.
Earlier this spring members of the Lax Kw’alamms First Nation rejected a 1.15 billion dollar package from the company for the rights to build on Lelu Island. However, corporations are not to be trusted, and since August 15th of this year Lax Kw’alaams members and accomplices have had an encampment on Lelu Island to make sure that no drilling or building has been taking place.
Here is an update from the camp:
“On September 12, at approximately 7am, the drilling vessel Quin Delta attempted to drill on the northwest edge of Flora Bank. Members of the Lax Eula (or Lelu Island) occupation camp approached the workers on the vessel to explain that no drilling has been permitted and that all drilling activities must cease.
The workers on the vessel then desisted from drilling. However, a barge pulled by the tugboat Cadal from Wainwright Marine Services dropped markers in the water to prepare for further unauthorized work. Throughout the day the Quin Delta then attempted to remove equipment that had been installed in the ocean floor, requiring the use of a bucket-loader on a barge and a crane barge. Both attempts were unsuccessful due to mechanical failure.
Prince Rupert Port Authority and other contractor and surveyor boats shuttled back and forth throughout the day as well. As of 9pm the vessel and equipment still appear to be immobilized on the bank due to mechanical failure.
While this was happening on the water, over 30 people came out from many different nations to show their support. We are building friendships and solidarity across the entire Skeena watershed.
We expect the drilling boat to attempt work on the bank again tomorrow. We continue to need additional boats on the water, and people on the island, as we have been told that helicopters may attempt to land for on-island drilling.”
This week we spoke with a supporter of Eric King. Eric is a 28 year old vegan anarchist in Kansas City, Missouri, who’s facing possibly life plus 20 years in federal prison for allegedly attempting to molotov a Senator’s office. No one was inside the building or in danger of direct injury. He has been held in Solitary confinement at CCA Leavenworth in Kansas for 6 months as a July 14th due to his potential life sentence. Eric’s trial has been pushed back to October 26th,
Click here for a firsthand account of anti-KKK actions that occurred Saturday, July 18th in Columbia, South Carolina that we received and wanted to share.
Interesting video and pictures from this event can be found at It’s Going Down, a new anarchist news site focusing mostly on North American struggles.
Now, an update from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee about the complaints of forced medicalization and medication of concerned prisoners at SECC outside of Charleston, Missouri. Sadly, time constraints made it so we couldn’t announce this in the episode, but here it is anyway:
“Update 7-15-15 ~ FINALLY!! A month and a half after receiving the first letter of complaint about psychological and medical torture, we received a letter from one of the people involved saying that things are getting better and they are working their way off the forced medication now. Many, many thanks to everyone who has participated in this calling campaign. This would not be getting better without all of your help. Please continue to stay in touch with us by liking the IWOC fakebook page here https://www.facebook.com/incarceratedworkers “
Also from IWOC:
“You may be familiar with Ricky Kidd’s case of innocence and his request to have DNA from the crime scene tested is being considered in Jackson County Courts. To find out about his case you can go to http://freerickykidd.com
In the meantime, Ricky is fighting another battle with the MO Department of Corrections that could lead to losing a leg or even his death. Ricky is a diabetic and has a soft tissue sore that has gotten into the bone of his leg and created a condition that is potentially life threatening. He was diagnosed with Osteomyelitis about four months ago, a condition that if it had been properly treated at the time would have healed by now. The proper treatment is a 6 week course of very strong antibiotics administered via an IV. The DOC has been giving Ricky an Oral antibiotic every other week and now the infection has moved from the tissue to the bone and is putting him at risk of losing his leg. The medical personnel have told him his situation is dire and must be properly addressed immediately as there is not only the risk of amputation but a risk of death if this infection migrated to his bloodstream.
Please call the Missouri Department of Corrections at 573-751-2389 and request to speak to Adrian Hardy in the Medical Division. You must reference Ricky Kidd # 528343, he is housed at Crossroads Correctional Center. They probably will not transfer you and will tell you that Harriett Clark is the contact person for this case. Register your concern and then call again the next day. We cannot allow this innocent man to be maimed or killed by the DOC by neglect or malfeasance.
Please forward this to your friends, associates and State Representatives, as well as post to FB where you can. We need a flood of calls to help get Ricky proper treatment.
Here is that account of the KKK getting trounced in South Carolina on July 18th:
“Yesterday in Columbia SC the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan assembled in order to protest the removal of the Confederate flag from the state house. I’m told that their permit was originally set to accomodate 100-200 people. However, this pathetic organization has dwindled in numbers since its heyday in the 1920s, and there were fewer than 75 klan present at any given time. This event happened on the same day as an anti-colonial and antiracist event was held in Tuscon to protest an islamophobic and white supremacist group, and is happening in the wake of a resurgence of white supremacist rhetoric and actions in this country. People came out in droves and showed the racists that they are not welcome in Columbia, or anywhere!
Despite the almost 100 degree weather and at least the 100 cops, paramilitary, and state troopers swarming the grounds, I’d say that there were at least 2,000 anti racists, anti-fascists, and community members present ranging from concerned clergy to the much maligned out of town anarchists of all races. I was in a group of caucasian folks and non black people of color, and it felt vibrantly good to show our faces in the midst of this crowd, which I’d say consisted primarily of black people of all ages and the remaining third were folks of other races. The solidarity in the crowd was palpable, with people starting conversations with strangers, helping others out with water, and looking out for each other in the face of police violence.
When I rolled up to the event, the anti conf flag counter rally on the other side of the state house was starting to wrap up. This seemed to be mostly made up of New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam members. The KKK harrassed these people with racial slurs when they themselves paraded up minutes later through a funnel of their cop protectors, brandishing confederate flags and Nazi swastikas and screaming “white power”.
They were instantly met with jeers and heckling from their numerous enemies, which reached such a pitch that it made one of the racists burst into tears. At one point, one racist got separated from his group and was surrounded by the crowd, which screamed at him to go the fuck home and things like that. One man got arrested at this point and carted off to the crowd yelling “let him go”.
The KKK then stood in the baking sun on the steps of the state house for about an hour. They roasted in the heat and waved their flags behind a phalanx of their pig handlers, all the while making pitiful attempts to engage the antiracist crowd, which had them outnumbered almost 27 to one. Some of their sympathizers who were dressed in confederate flag apparel were chased off the premesis during this time, including one homophobic preacher and one Nazi peace police who was attempting to verbally shame people into leaving the racists alone. Several of the klan passed out from heatstroke during this time, including one old racist who had to be carried away by the cops wrapped up in a confederate flag.
The police cut their flag waving rally short by an hour due to the numbers of antiracists, which were growing steadily. The real fun began when the klan began to move out to the parking garage where their vehicles were being guarded by even more police. The cops attempted to hoodwink the crowd into focusing on one exit of the garage, while the klan was exiting out of another around the back. When the crowd got wind of this, we took to the streets and ran around the building to confront the klan as they drove out of town. They mostly had their windows up, staring forward and looking beaten. One klansdude however became so enraged at the verbal attacks he was recieving that he drove his SUV into a pole, crushing the front end of the car which leaked radiator fluid all over the pavement. The cops were unprepared for this, and the car was surrounded by antiracists who pounded on the windows and hurled rocks at the damaged vehicle. The cops then forceably surrounded the car and drove the antiracists back. Several people got detained briefly by the police and then violently unarrested by their comrades at this point. After about half an hour of tussling between cops and antiracists, a perimeter was established around the car and it drove away amid more heckling.
After this time the crowd marched back up to the state house, where the few remaining klan supporters were confronted and driven out of Columbia. I’m not sure how many people got arrested, but I think it was at least 5 people, for disorderly conduct and assaulting an officer. I’d urge people to keep up with that news, and help with people’s bail however they can. Since this happened on a Saurday, I think people should be out by Monday.
Throughout all of this, it seemed very clear that the crowd had pinpointed their real enemies as being the police. While people were mad about the klan they were even angrier at the cops for protecting these Nazi racist scum. The weak attemts by cop sympathizers on the AR side to focus the crowd’s anger at solely the KKK were entirely unsuccessful. I think that this event will be one in a series of many active and vibrant displays of anti racist and anti white supremacist actions in this country. I hope that people are staying safe and keeping their friends close.
Toward a world without racism, without police, without jail cells, and without the klan.
Solidarity from a comrade in Columbia, South Carolina.”