Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity & State of Emergency in France
This week we’re speaking wth Gary from Kansas City about the fast approaching day of solidarity with transgender prisoners which will occur this friday, January 22nd. In this interview we talk about Gary’s past experiences with the prison system, the original call out for this day by trans prisoner Marius Mason, and the conditions that trans people generally face in prison, and the importance of focusing on this issue. For more on this day, to get ideas and to give report backs, you can visit http://transprisoners.net/
If you’d like to send our guest an email to get ideas on how to proceed, you can write Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also feature a segment from Dissident Island Radio’s mid December show of 2015 about the changed security situation in France since the Paris attacks by Daesh-affiliated militants. The host of Dissident Island speaks with Camille, the name for anyone coming from the ZAD and speaking about experiences there. In this segment, Camille talks about the State of Emergency declared by the government of President Francoise Hollande, the suspensions of rights to publicly gather, the extension of the State of Emergency for 3 months, the challenges to folks with dual citizenship, the nighttime raids of immigrant communities and experiences of the folks at the ZAD as they enter a period of possible eviction. Camille also talks about how the ZAD at times acts as a refuge to immigrants and refugees seeking a break from state repression on a self-defended land project.
Statement from Marius Mason for the Trans Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity:
“January 22nd 2016
Happy New Year, Family and Friends!
Many, many thanks for so much support and care over this year from both long-standing friends and new pen pals. I feel very grateful and am always humbled by the encouragement and resources sent my way by folks who are doing so much already to increase our collective chances for survival. The news has been full of stories about someone winning the big money pool that has accumulated for the US Lotto – but the most important “win” has nothing to do with money. I am betting on the movement to win big this year: in getting more control over their communities and defending against police brutality and racial inequality, in winning more victories for animal and in the defense of wild spaces, in creating social relations based on respect, dignity and compassion for all people…. regardless of their race, orientation, creed or gender presentation.
Thank you for coming together today, to hold up those members of our community who struggle so hard behind walls to keep their sense of self intact. Sovereignty over our selves, our bodies is essential for any other kind of liberty to be possible. By reaching out to trans prisoners, you affirm their right to define themselves for themselves – and defend them against the overwhelming voices who claim that they do not exist, that they must allow others to define them. In the isolating environment of prison, this is toxic and intimidating, and amounts to the cruelest form of psychological torture. By offering your help and solidarity, you may just save a life. I know that for the last year and a half, as I have struggled to assert myself as a trans man, as I have advocated for the relief of appropriate medical care for my gender dysphoria – it has been the gentle and loving reminders of my extended family of supporters who have given me strength and courage to continue. Please join me in offering this help to so many others who need it to keep going. Never underestimate the healing power of a letter, those letters have kept me going…and I want to pass that gift on, if you will help me.
Thank you again for coming together on this day, for connecting to those on the inside who truly need you, who need you to see them as they really are and striving to be. Until the prisons are gone, we need to work hard to support those of us inside – especially those of us who are not always as visible to the rest of the world. We are always stronger together.
This week we start off with a dispatch from Sean Swain, read by William. Sean is an anarchist prisoner we’ve featured commentary from over the past 2 years. Sean Swain has been under media block for the past few months, so his commentary here has been sparse. In this segment he addresses his media silencing and his bid for presidency of the U.S. in 2016. More of Sean’s writings at seanswain.org
Paul Z. Simons on Rojava, pt3
For the meat of the episode, we feature part three of Bursts conversation with Paul Z. Simons about his experience of the Rojava Revolution going on in northern Syria. The Rojava Revolution began in 2012, as an outgrowth from the insurgency of the PKK and other Kurdish groups in Turkey that’s been locked in an off-and-on civil war for 30 years. Paul, a post-left anarchist from the U.S. talks about his experiences in Rojava in October of this year of their multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, feminism revolution.
The Rojava Revolution has been described as anti-state, anti-capitalist, feminist and ecological, however in the conversations Bursts has had on what’s gone on in Rojava with students of it, little has come out in terms of how the Rojava experiment has been ecological or anti-capitalist. So, in this conversation Paul and Bursts spoke about Paul’s understanding of economic models, property rights, modes of exchange in Rojava as well as discussions of it’s war-time and long-view approaches towards ecology in Rojava.
The first two parts of this interview can be found here.
This episode features part two of Bursts conversation Paul Z. Simons on his recent trip to the northern, autonomous regions of Syria known as Rojava. In this conversation Paul shares his experiences of gender, feminism, power distribution and infrastructure in Rojava and his thoughts as a post-left anarchist of experiencing what he’d consider a social revolution. Paul is an editor of the Modern Slavery Magazine, where his writings can be found here and William’s interview with him last year can be found HERE. You can find weblinks and more context on the page for our prior conversations on Rojava with Paul.
The audio from part one of the conversation can be found here. To hear part three before it airs, check it out here.
Sean Swain is having a very hard time right now and could really use to be reminded that he is not alone. If you haven’t written to Sean in a while or haven’t heard back from him due to the ODRC messing with his mail or cutting off his other methods of communication, now would be a great time to flood him with letters, cards, photos, drawings, books, zines, anything.
In particular, now would be a good moment to remind Sean that he matters to you, that you are glad he is alive, and that you see him as contributing to the world in a way that matters to you. Every once in a while we all need a loving kick to the head to get us back on track and feeling ready to continue fighting. Now is that moment for Sean. So send him a kick; he deserves it.
Write to Sean at:
Sean Swain #243-205
Warren Correctional Inst.
P.O. Box 120
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
In 2012, a power vacuum formed in parts of northern Syria as a result of the civil war. These areas, part of the lands inhabited by Kurdish peoples,soon became a testing ground for an implementation of an anti-state communalism influenced in part by an American former Anarchist turned Communalist named Murray Bookchin. Bookchin’s thought helped to shape the ideas of Abdullah Ocalan, ideological leader of the Kurdish Worker’s Party, PKK, in neighboring Turkey. The people participating in what’s been branded The Rojava Revolution are organizing administration and defense based from the neighborhood councils. Popular militias are attempting to fight external enemies like the Syrian military of Bashar Al-Asaad and ISIL/Daesh as well as the internal structures which hold in most societies such as patriarchy, class division and xenophobia. Anarchists, anti-capitalists of all stripes from around the world, feminists, ecologists… these peoples and more around the world are among those engaging with the 3-year-runnning experiment of Rojava.
This week’s episode features the first of three segments of conversation with Paul Z Simons,a post-left anarchist and co-editor of Modern Slavery Magazine. Paul, writing under the name El Errante, documented his recent tripto the Rojava region in Northern Syria. This first episode will not be followed up immediately by another episode on the subject, however we are making the second and third episodes content availablealongside of this one online. If you’re in a hurry to hear the complete conversation on his observations of institutions and organizing On The Ground in Rojava, follow this link for part II and this link for part III. These segments will make their way into radio versions in the near future.
Bursts and Paul talk about Democratic Confederalism, gender, ecology, international intervention, religion, ethnicity, anti-capitalism, competing tendencies, holding tensions, international fighters and much much more
To follow the links that our guest mentioned in this interview, just click these websites below!
To see more of Paul Z. Simon’s work, you can visit this website
Next week on The Final Straw, you’ll hear a conversation with an anarchist in Spain about recent and continued repressions of anarchists in that country. Updates on that situation can be found at https://efectopandora.wordpress.com/category/english/ and for past episodes of The Final Straw check here.
At Grand Valley Institute for Women (GVI), a federal prison in Kitchener, Ontario there has been a recent crackdown against LBTQ2+ prisoners and/or prisoners in relationships amongst themselves. Intimate relationships between prisoners are being attacked by a clique of guards acting without apparent direction or oversight from the Corrections Canada administration. We need your support with a call-in campaign to end these practices.
Harassment of prisoners includes throwing them in solitary as punishment for being in a relationship, threatening them with transfers to remote parts of the country, separating partners by placing them in different parts of the prison, and laying spurious institutional charges that can lead to being locked in the maximum security unit.
Most troublingly, guards have been using physical intimidation and invasions of personal space to harass prisoners who speak up against these practices.
The prisoners have been organizing in response to these attacks, but have faced increasing repression for their efforts.
Outside support right now can make a major difference in putting a check on the repression of prisoner relationships and dissent among prisoners.
To protest this treatment, it’s asked that people call Grand Valley Institute for Women at (519) 894-2011. For more guidance about how to conduct this phone call and for updates on this situation you can visit the website https://gviwatch.wordpress.com/
This week Bursts spoke with Beth, a member of Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross and a member of the Support Jessie B committee about the case of Jessica Burlew. Jessie is a now-18 year old woman on the autism spectrum and diagnosed with schitzo-effective disorder who’s been held in solitary confinement as a protective measure in a Maricopa County Jail. She’s being charged by the state in the death during a sexual encounter with her 42 year old man 2 years ago in what even coroners have deemed to be accidental. We talk about Beth’s case, about gender and courts, about child welfare, mental health and advocacy in the criminal system of Arizona.
More on the case can be found at http://freejessieb.org
But first, these announcements…
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Marius Mason is an anarchist, an environmental and animal rights prisoner serving nearly 22 years in federal prison for acts of sabotage carried out in defense of the planet. No one was injured in any of these actions. After being threatened with a life sentence in 2009, he pleaded guilty to charges of arson at a Michigan State University lab researching Genetically Modified Organisms for Monsanto, and admitted to 12 other acts of property damage. The sentencing judge applied a so-called “terrorism enhancement” to his term which added almost two more years than the maximum requested by the prosecution. This is the harshest punishment of anyone convicted of environmental sabotage to date.
Marius is incarcerated in the high security Administration Unit at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. According to the prison’s own literature, the unit is “designed for female inmates with histories of escapes, chronic behavior problems, repeated incidents of assaultive or predatory behavior, or other special management concerns.” Marius has never violated any prison rules. Clearly, he is being held in this unit because of his political beliefs and in an effort to silence him.
The unit is frequently and unpredictably locked down for hours on end due to violence and suicide attempts resulting from the claustrophobic and oppressive conditions. Prisoners leave the building for medical treatment, but only after a protracted wait and fierce advocacy on the part of the prisoner even though Carswell is ostensibly a medical facility. Access to mental health counseling, medical care, and educational opportunities are greatly diminished because of security issues.
Due to shifting policies Marius unit is only accepting mail addresssed to Marie (Marius) Mason. This change has felt like a big step back in his plea to begin his transition (Mason is a transgender man). Additionally he has recieved little to no mail in the past weeks, leaving him in almost complete isolation from the outside world.
It’s asked that people write to him, to let him and the prison administration know that folks are keeping an eye on his situation.
Address letters to:
Marie (Marius) Mason 04672-061
Federal Medical Center
PO Box 27137
Fort Worth, Texas 76127
We have just received word that Eric’s trial is likely to be continued yet again. Eric’s public defender has entered a motion to continue his trial date until March 8th, so that we can have more time to prepare for trial or otherwise resolve the case. We expect that the judge will grant the motion.
As you may know, it’s been over a year since Eric’s arrest and pre-trial incarceration at CCA Leavenworth (a private prison operated by the Corrections Corporation of America) in Leavenworth, Kansas. Although for Eric and the rest of us it feels like it’s been a very long time, for a trial of this caliber, it’s pretty standard to spend a couple years in prison awaiting trial.
Many warm thank you’s to all those who have been making preparations to come to Kansas City for the trial. We hope to be able to give plenty of notice so that people can make clear plans to attend trial and show their support. We hope that, should Eric’s case go trial, friends and comrades will fill the courtroom.
We are also happy to report that Eric’s mail situation seems to be improving! Thanks to all of the efforts of people across the country to pressure the CCA mailroom to abide by the laws it purport to uphold. Although we dream of a world without “laws” or “rights,” in the meantime we’ll do what we can to keep our friend’s mail out of the trash. Thanks to all those who were willing to join in the effort!
For now, you can help by writing a letter to Eric, hosting a letter-writing night for him, donating money to his legal fund or buying a t-shirt. The road before us is long and expensive and it’s going to take a lot of support to get through it. Again, many thanks to all of you who have continued to show your support throughout this arduous process.
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, KS 66048
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This from https://rally.org/f/5os4KR80OFc, a fundraising site being used by supporters of Janey Waller, arrested in an obvious case of racial profiling, in which the cops said he “fit the description” of a crime he did not commit. A witness to the “crime” immediately confirmed that Janye had nothing to do with it, but Janye was still taken into custody where he was questioned and then leveled with serious charges related to last year’s protests in Oakland against the non-indictments for the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
JANYE WALLER IS A YOUNG BLACK ACTIVIST, A LOCAL OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA. He lives and works in Oakland, providing financial support to his mother, his two younger brothers, and his cousin. He attended Berkeley Community College where he planned to major in Accounting, but had to take leave in order to help support his family, and he hopes to return to college soon. Janye also volunteers at a social center in West Oakland that works to empower black and indigenous people living in the Bay Area through education and mutual aid. Within this space Janye works tirelessly, helping coordinate and administer programs focusing on skills like urban farming, which foster both community and individual autonomy.
JANYE IS THE ONLY PERSON WHO IS CURRENTLY FACING SERIOUS CHARGES AFTER THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FLOODED THE STREETS DURING THE WAVE OF PROTESTS IN THE BAY AREA LAST WINTER. After several high profile police killings of young black men, the Bay Area, like much of the rest of the country, surged into a wave of protest and resistance. The state responded by using the legal system as a tool of repression, threatening incarceration and steep fines for some of those involved in these actions. It is sad but obvious that the one person getting targeted for that beautiful moment of protest is a strong and politicized young black man.
IT IS GOING TO TAKE TIME AND MONEY TO FIGHT THESE CHARGES. The legal process saps significant resources. Janye needs help with the costs of legal defense and the substantial bail amount that he borrowed.
Other ways you can help: COME OUT TO SUPPORT HIM IN COURT! This matters! Next court date: Monday Oct 19th, 9am, Wiley Manuel courthouse Dept 115. Also: HELP JANYE FIND A STABLE JOB! GET IN TOUCH!
Please give whatever you can and let others know.
email – email@example.com
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In anarchy radio news, check out this newly minted podcast The Brilliant, which is recorded out of Berkley CA and features co hosts Aragorn! of Little Black Cart (an anrchist publishing house) and Bellamy formerly of Free Radical Radio. The Brilliant self describes as “an attempt to tell different kinds of stories, ones with complex moral plays, ones that aren’t so clearly stories, and ones that are of human size. Their motivation to tell these tales is a desire to see a proliferation of different stories and not just the simple morality plays of popular culture or the inverted, but otherwise identical, stories of the radical milieu.” Check out their archives, and stay tuned for upcoming episodes, at http://thebrilliant.org
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Since Sean Swain is still on communications blackout, Rydra of Free Radical Radio was kind enough to provide voice over for this week’s segment.
This week we feature two segments concerning struggles in Europe:
Firstly, we speak with Linus. Linus is a member of an autonomous socialist group based in Malmö, Sweden, and is an organizer of the upcoming Connecting European Struggles conference in Malmö. The theme of the CES conference this year is “Gender and Crisis” and invites anti-state & anti-capitalist individuals and groups from around and beyond Europe to attend from September 18-25th to have discussions, watch films, attend presentations and engage towards a more integrated system of autonomous action and ideas. Bursts and Linus discuss the conference, the prior year’s, Crisis Politics, feminism, anti-capitalism, reaction and more. More on the conference can be found at http://connectingeuropeanstruggles.tumblr.com
Next, Bursts chats with Julnel, a member of Ü, an anarchist black metal band from Potenza, in Basilicata, southern Italy. Julnel is a founder of the The Black Metal Alliance anti-hate metal and punk collective, as well as a founder of Dark Skies Above Us Collective and Ü has contributed music to benefit compilations for both of those collectives as well as Crust or Die distro.
Recipients of the benefit funds, earned by selling albums of donated songs by similarly anti-nationalist, anti-racist, feminist, pro-LGBT (and so on) metal and punk projects and include: http://caravana43.com; Emilio (anti-fa resistor beaten by a crowd of fascists) and Dordoni Social Center in Cremona which was attacked in January of 2015 by hooligans from CasaPound; Eric McDavid; http://www.womenonwaves.org providing info, contraceptives, safe and legal abortions and more by sailing ships into intl waters around coastal countries where abortion access is prohibited; and 350.org.
These collectives (DSAU/BMA/CoD) include bands from Europe, North America, Australasia and South America. We spend about 20 minutes talking about uses of subcultures like punk and metal to engage politically by both revolutionary (for instance, RABM) and reactionary ideologies (in particular RAC & NSBM).
There is no Sean Swain segment for this week, but stay tuned for our next episode which will feature a conversation on the No New Animal Labs tour and initiative out of Washington State to stop the building of an animal testing lab at UW and fight against animal testing. We’ll also be speaking with a supporter of Jessica Burlew, an 18 year old girl diagnosed as schizoeffective and autistic, who has been held in isolation in Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Arizona, since January, 2014. She is being charged with 2nd degree murder for the accidental death of Jason Ash, a 43 year old man who was sexually exploiting her as a 16 year old. http://freejessieb.org/
The following is an update on the Resist 450 event in St. Augustine Florida, which was written on Tuesday September 8th and posted to the EarthFirst! Newswire at http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire. It should be stated that all who were arrested are now free, but the bail fund website is still active and accepting donations.
From EarthFirst!: Six people were arrested today for demonstrating against the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Spanish invasion of so-called Saint Augustine, Florida. Arrestees are being held at the St Johns County Jail with misdemeanor charges. So far, three have been released. The support team does not have enough support to bond out all arrestees. Donations to the legal/bail fund can be sent to https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/donate/22383
Tribal elders and the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples called for resistance demonstrations months ago. The Council asked Saint Augustine city officials not to glorify the rape, torture, displacement, enslavement, and genocide that accompanied European colonization but they were repeatedly ignored.
“Acts of genocide and crimes against humanity conducted on our ancestors by Spain is nothing to honor, glorify, commemorate or celebrate,” said clan and spiritual leader Bobby C. Billie. Billie led tradition prayers in defiance of a reenactment of a colonial landing this morning.
Other protesters took to the water. To the chagrin of haughty actors dressed in shiny hats and other aristocratic regalia, protesters held signs and chanted from kayaks, canoes, and pool floaties in the water surrounding the rowboat and forcing the boat back several times and finally reaching land with reenactors only under heavy police boat escort. More picketers disrupted the opening countdown ceremonies. They delivered messages like “celebrating 450 is celebrating genocide,” “heal the past,” “no honor no pride” and “conquest is not discovery.”
Police officers singled out and arrested four canoers participating in the water protest. On land, officers arrested two other people who interrupted a procession of dignitaries and escorted away others who called attention to the grotesque nature of the festivities.
Protester Libelula commented
“Today’s demonstrations seek to unmask St Augustine’s romanticized version of conquest as a vile glorification of the horrific and heinous acts committed against the original people’s of this territory by the Spanish Conquistadors. I’m from an indigenous background and celebrations like this one are not only offensive but also attempt to erase indigenous people’s suffering. This makes our demands for emancipation and dignity invisible. This is a blatant celebration the murder, rape, and torture of the original peoples of Turtle Island. It’s important to not let this go unchallenged.”
Anarchists across the US have been taking part in events to raise funds for the Anarchist Black Cross in cities from Denver, New York, and LA. The events, called ‘Running Down the Walls’ raise funds for the ABC Warchest, which goes to help ABC Chapters send money and literature to political prisoners across the US. The runs are conducted in US cities and inside prison walls, building solidarity between incarcerated prisoners and those on the outside. Bill Dune, anti-authoritarian political prisoner imprisoned for an attempted 1979 prison break from the King County Jail in Seattle,Washington wrote on the occasion:
“Running Down The Walls has become a fine and honored tradition on our side of the barricade. I could run like the wind in past RDTWs even where I ran alone because the sense of solidarity took away the pain of physical exertion and of distance from my community – from you all. This year, unfortunately, I will be unable to physically run with you. I’ve been relegated to FCI Herlong’s dungeon because in the agency of repression’s mythology, an anonymous note purports that I’m planning to run from them. It was most likely written by a person of the porcine persuasion actually worried I might be planning more litigation. But so it goes in life with big brother! I will be with you this day nevertheless, if not in person, in mind, in heart, in solidarity as you – as we – run, walk, roll, move however we can down the road to revolution. See you closer to the finish line!”
To write to Bill Dunne, address letters to:
Bill Dunne #10916-086
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 800
Herlong, CA 96113
The Final Straw sees fit to mention a court decision – which we wouldn’t normally do, this being a somewhat anti-state anarchist radio show – but this little number highlights a few things which interest us and relates back to the interviews we conducted in 2011 & 2013 around the hunger strikes that spread up from California prisons to include prisoners in other states and even Canada in solidarity against solitary confinement. The case in question is called Ashker v. Governor of California, and it is a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners held in the Security Housing Unit, or SHU, at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent a decade or more in solitary confinement. The case was settled by the Governor’s office on September 1st, 2015.
“The case charges that prolonged solitary confinement violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and that the absence of meaningful review for SHU placement violates the prisoners’ rights to due process. The legal action is part of a larger movement to reform conditions in SHUs in Calfornia’s prisons that was sparked by hunger strikes by thousands of SHU prisoners in 2011 and 2013; the named plaintiffs in Ashker include several leaders and participants from the hunger strikes. The case is part of the Center for Constitutional Rights broader efforts to challenge mass incarceration, discrimination, and abusive prison policies.”
“This settlement represents a monumental victory for prisoners and an important step toward our goal of ending solitary confinement in California, and across the country. California’s agreement to abandon indeterminate SHU confinement based on gang affiliation demonstrates the power of unity and collective action. This victory was achieved by the efforts of people in prison, their families and loved ones, lawyers, and outside supporters.”
This case represents to us a huge and interesting step in our United States, which happens to be the country with the most percentage of incarcerated citizens in the world. Prison visibility in the media is at unprecedented levels, from the prison themed TV show “Orange is the New Black” to NPR coverage of prison strikes and the deleterious effects that incarceration and solitary confinement has on people. Since this particular case could not have occurred so successfully in a more apathetic social environment – support from families and on social media have been instrumental to any steam its gained – it yet again highlights to us the importance of sticking to your guns, to having strong solidarity with your comrades, friends, family, and neighbors, wherever and whenever it makes sense. So listeners, keep on talking to each other. It could lead in some great directions.
As we reported last week, Chelsae Manning was facing indefinite solitary confinement on some pretty seriously trumped up charges. After over 100,000 people signed a petition on her behalf she is now no longer facing solitary, but has been found guilty of all the four things she was being investigated for, and these are: 1 having an expired tube of toothpaste, 2 asking to speak to her attourney, 3 having an issue of Vanity Fair magazine, and 4 maybe accidentally knocking a packet of mustard onto the floor.
From her support page:
“We won an important victory by keeping Chelsea out of “indefinite solitary confinement;” however, this ruling of guilty on all four absurd charges is not without significant ramifications.
“Now these convictions will follow me through to any parole and clemency hearings, forever. I was expecting to be in minimum custody in February, but now years have been added to that,” Chelsea explained (via phone) after her recent hearing.
“As Chelsea’s lawyer, I am horrified and angry about these convictions. This was a star chamber where Chelsea had to defend herself in secret. These convictions will not silence her. She will only be stronger and we will fight that much harder in her appeal to overturn her convictions and her sentence,” declared Chelsea’s lead attorney Nancy Hollander.”
At this time, it’s horrifyingly clear to us at The Final Straw that if it weren’t for all the petition signatures and media coverage of this issue that Chelsae would indeed be thrown into solitary confinement indefinitely. So, keep it up everyone! It’s extremely important for people to keep talking about this issue. Also, funds are needed to keep her legal defense going, they are only a few bux short! You can see info about this case and how to give support at http://www.chelseamanning.org
At least 9 people were arrested after St. Louis police shot and killed an African-American 18 year old man, Mansur “Man-Man” Ball Bey, who was fleeing police while they attempted to serve a search warrant in the northern party of the city. In the wake of the killing, crowds poured into the street, where they were met with military police tanks and tear-gas. People cursed the police, burned American flags, erected barricades, and chanted “Black Lives Matter”. This is just one of the protests that have occurred since the year anniversary of Michael Browns murder at police hands in Ferguson, Missouri.
More information and personal commentary on this event can be found at the excellent news website http://itsgoingdown.org
From anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble’s support page and blog at http://anarchylive.noblogs.org on the situation of the Holman 3:
“St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Alabama is the subject of a class action lawsuit filed by the Alabama Justice Initiative on behalf of prisoners housed at St. Clair. The focus of the lawsuit is the extremely violent atmosphere at the prison, the violent assaults inflicted upon prisoners by high-ranking and low-ranking guards. There has been a long train of assaults on prisoners by guards.
On June 17, 2015, prisoners at St. Clair called a halt to the unchecked assaults: by retaliating against two guards who were assaulting a prisoner. A crowd of prisoners beat the two guards, who have a long history of assaulting prisoners. Seventeen prisoners were swept up in the haste to quell the rebellion. Prison officials don’t know what prisoners took part in the rebellion. All seventeen prisoners were placed in segregation. Of the seventeen, three were transferred to Donaldson Max. in Bessemer, Alabama and three were transferred to Holman Max., and eleven are still at St. Clair.
The three prisoners – Brandon Lee, Johnathan Mallory, and Jamie Montgomery – transferred to Holman’s segregation unit, have not been charged and/or received any disciplinary write up for any institutional rule violation, but are continually being refused release to general population.
We need everyone that reads this to call the Warden at Holman prison and the Commissioner of the Alabama Dept. of Corrections, and demand that Brandon Lee, Johnathan Mallory, and Jamie Montgomery be immediately released into general population due to the fact that none of them have been charged with any rule infraction at St. Clair or Holman.
Call the below listed phone numbers. Continually call them until we get results.
Warden Walter Myers
Commissioner William G. Sharp, Jr
to reach him by phone, dial 334-353-3883
or to fax him stuff you can use 334-353-3967”
From the Denver ABC website https://denverabc.wordpress.com/:
In summer 2013 members of several Anarchist Black Cross (or ABC) groups discussed the necessity of introducing an International Day for Anarchist Prisoners. For listeners who are unaware, the ABC is a long standing anarchist model for political prisoner support and also serves as an educational engine on issues pertaining to the prison industrial complex. Given there are already established dates for Political Prisoners Rights Day or Prison Justice Day, we found it important to emphasise the stories of our comrades as well. Many imprisoned anarchists will never be acknowledged as ‘political prisoners’ by formal human-rights organisations, because their sense of social justice is strictly limited to the capitalist laws which are designed to defend the State and prevent any real social change. At the same time, even within our individual communities, we know so little about the repression that exists in other countries, to say nothing of the names and cases involving many of our incarcerated comrades.
This is why we have decided to introduce an annual Week for Anarchist Prisoners on August 23-30, starting on this very day! We chose August 23 as a starting point, because on that same day in 1927 the Italian-American anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in prison. They were convicted of murdering two men during an armed robbery at a shoe factory in South Braintree, Massachusetts, United States. Their arrest was a part of a bigger anti-radical campaign led by the American government known as the Palmer Raids. The State’s evidence against the two was almost totally non-existent and many people still today believe that they were punished for their strong anarchist beliefs.
Given the nature and diversity of anarchist groups around the globe, we have proposed a week of common action rather than a single campaign on a specific day making easier for groups to be able to organise an event within a longer target period.
Therefore, we call on everyone to spread the information about the Week for Anarchist Prisoners among other groups and communities and think about organising event(s) in your city or town. The events can vary from info-evenings, screenings and benefit concerts to solidarity and direct actions.
This month is also historically significant as a yearly marker of anti-prison, anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggle in the U.S., known as Black August. Black August began in commemoration of the murder of Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden in the California Penal system between 1970 and 1971. “Yogi Bear” aka Hugo Pinell was a prisoner convicted of participating in the attempted uprising on August 21st 1971 at San Quentin in which George Jackson died. After suffering decades in the Pelican Bay SHU, he was recently released into general population and was killed by white prisoners. He served 50 years behind bars and struggling against the racist prison system. He is gone but not forgotten.
Also pulled from DenverABC.wordpress.com:
PKK and PAJK political prisoners in Turkey are now on the sixth day of their indefinite hunger strike.
On August 15, prisoners accused of being members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdistan Women’s Liberation Party (PAJK) started an indefinite hunger strike with three demands. The day coincided with the anniversary of the first armed action of the PKK.
The prisoners are demanding that the Turkish state end its ongoing isolation of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been unable to meet with anyone from the outside since April. They are also calling for the bodies of YPG and YPJ fighters to be allowed entry to Turkey for burial by their families and for the “political genocide” operations against Kurds to come to an end.
The political prisoners have announced via their lawyers that they will continue their hunger strike until their demands are met. There will be a support action for the prisoners today outside the women’s prison in the Bakırköy neighborhood of Istanbul.
This episode of The Final Straw is served in three portions, all concerning prisons and prisoners.
Before the segments begin, a couple of announcements concerning upcoming events in Asheville, North Carolina for the days surrounding June 11th and the International Day of Solidarity with Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. These events include a Books to Prisoners open house at Downtown Books & News on Thursday the 11th at 3:30, a showing of a documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal at 7:30pm at Firestorm that night and a dance party and pie auction on the night of the 13th at the Odditorium. Facebook pages exist for these events, with details listed.
Also in there is mention of the call-out for Monday the 8th & every Friday to protest the Durham County Jail’s refusal to allow prisoners there the chance to get out of their cells for more than 2 hours a week. For more info on this struggle against the so-called Lockback, check out http://amplifyvoices.com
First among the segments, following commentary by Sean Swain, we’ll hear an up date on his situation from his friend and supporter, Ben Turk. Sean’s outgoing communication has been blocked, so his segment has had to go underground. This is in repsonse to Sean speaking up for another prisoner and using his outside support network to press the prisons after a racist attack by guards on a fellow prisoner at Lucasville. More at http://seanswain.org
Following that, we hear from Jenny of Sacramento Prisoner Support about the call-out for the upcoming June 11th International Day of Solidarity with Eric McDavid, Marius Mason & Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. Jenny tells us about the history of June 11th, talks about differences in the circumstance of June 11th for this year, and other aspects of prisoner support. More info on June 11th can be found at http://june11.org
Finally, we talk to Brianna Peril & Tommy Powell from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee & the Missouri Innocence Project (respectively) about prisons in Missouri and what appears to be the psychiatrization and forced drugging of inmates at the SouthEast Correctional Center (SECC) outside of Charleston, Missouri, and this week’s call-in-campaign to pressure the jailers to stop the process and bring more transparency to the situation. More about the call-in can be found on the fakebook page for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/405416019661232/
Linked from there is the fakebook page for IWOC.
The page for Midwest Innocence Project, affiliated with the MO Innocence Project can be found here: http://themip.org/
The episode is capped by a sludge metal track by General Grievous. More info in the playlist.
Over the hour, Hilary talks about her 7 years of living in Chiapas and recording the stories and experiences of women there, collecting stories on their behalf. The book covers the Zapatistas experiences before the EZLN uprising of 1994, during that period and after. Discussion address what gender, indigeneity and class looked like and how that’s changed in the Zapatista communities, the state of Chiapas and in Mexico. William and Hilary also explore the effects that the EZLN & La Otra Compaña have had on radicals and anarchists abroad, the origins of the EZLN, some parallels and distinctions between anarchism and Zapatismo and much more.
This week, we’re excited to present a conversation with Saralee Stafford and Neal Shirley, editors and authors of a new book out from AK Press entitled “Dixie Be Damned: 300 years of Insurrection in the American South”. The book is a study of Maroon, Indigenous, White, Black, worker, farmer, slave, indentured, women and men wrestling against institutions of power for autonomy and self-determination. All of this in a region stereotyped to be backwards, slow, lazy, victimized and brutal. The editors do a smash-bang job of re-framing narratives of revolt by drawing on complex and erased examples of cross-subjectivity struggles and what they can teach us today about current uprisings in which we participate.
Throughout the hour we explore some of the examples that became chapters in the book, critiques of narrative histories and academia and what new ways forward might be towards an anarchist historiography. Keep an ear out for Saralee and Neal’s book tour, coming to a bookspace near you.