This episode features two conversations. The first is with Ben Turk, anarchist, playwrite and prison abolitionist. We chat briefly about the upcoming North American Anarchist Black Cross conference in Colorado, about what folks can expect if they go and how to support the event.
After that, a conversation with Alexander Abbasi. Alex is a Palestinian-American from Los Angeles, an activist in the BDS (that’s boycott, divest and sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine) and a student at Harvard’s divinity school. We talk about decolonization, the uprisings in Ferguson, the struggle to liberate Palestine from the occupation by Israel and what solidarity and liberation might look like.
Initially, when I (Bursts) contacted Alex for this conversation I was attempting to suss out what anarchists in Palestine had to say about the siege of Gaza by Israel, the national question, what Anarchism looked like to them and what how that might differ from the U.S. context. That’s a conversation I’m still looking to have. Alex was kind enough to have a conversation but it went in a different, albeit worthwhile direction as is clear when one listens to the questions that I ask. We hope that you enjoy it. The second half of it will be featured in an upcoming episode and will be linked here soon.
It’s been a week since the police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The images and sounds of the struggle in the streets have ripped open the mainstream media to dialogue around police use of force, discrepancies between how different races and classes in the U.S. experience that force and the lack of transparency and legitimacy on behalf of law enforcement. Solidarity has been expressed from communities around the world, even by folks in Gaza, with the people of Ferguson and the family of Mr. Brown who’ve suffered this loss and continually live under the gun of the state in Missouri.
This week we talk to Luka, a white anarchist from St. Louis who’s been going to Ferguson and meeting folks and being in the streets with them, building relationships. Ferguson is a majority black city whose police force is 94% white. Luka talks about their experience of conversation with and struggle alongside of folks from a personal more than political standpoint, across racial lines. Luka gives a narrative of the days between the shooting of Mike Mike through Friday evening (08/15/14), when we spoke. There’s discussion of police and protest tactics and how they’ve changed in the face of a week of gassing and rubber bullets met with molotovs and rocks.