This week, we’ll be featuring two segments, one on state repression against anti-racist organizers in rural Upstate South Carolina [10min 21sec] and on an upcoming documentary series on access/non access to mental health infrastructure for transgender people living in Appalachia [41min 39sec]. Plus, words from Sean Swain [3min 22sec]!
Facing Down FBI & Nazi Pressure in SC
First, Bursts shares a conversation with activists from the Scuffletown Anti-Repression Committee and the Michigan Anti-Repression Committee, left legal defense groups from vastly geographically distant areas of the so-called U.S. They are talking about the case of repression in what’s called the Upstate, or northern part of the state of South Carolina in the south eastern U.S., where anti-racist and anti-fascist activists have been surveilled, intimidated, harassed, detained while naked at home and arrested by local and Federal Law Enforcement, including the FBI, apparently on behalf of the local white supremacists. The agent having made such disclosures is named FBI Special Agent Tanya Evanina. You can learn more, keep up on the situation and donate to their legal support at norepressionsc.home.blog. A longer version of this chat will appear in the podcast edition, alongside Sean’s segment for this week, cut due to time concerns from the broadcast, alongside a couple of announcements.
Resources pointed to by the guests include BARC and the EFF.
Just a heads up that when the activist from STARC references A12, it’s short hand for the fight against white supremacists in the streets of Charlottesville, VA, on August 12th, 2017.
Trans Resiliency and Mental Healthcare access in Appalachia
For the second segment, I (William) had the chance to talk with Basil Soper, who is a writer, filmmaker, and a man of trans experience from the Appalachian region. He is the founder of the education and advocacy group Transilient (@wearetransilient on Instagram), which seeks to uplift trans voices and trans experiences, and to also connect folks with resources from a place of relative safety and understanding. This group is seeking to undertake a documentary series focusing on mental health resource access for trans people in Appalachia. They are in their very last push of fundraising currently, and if you would like to see more about this project and get in touch with them, you can go to wearetransilient.com , and you can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go right to their Kickstarter for the best way to donate! The deadline is June 23rd, so smoke em if you got em. Also stay tuned for less money oriented ways to support this project!
In this interview, we got to talk about many different things, about the social construct of Appalachia and where that might have originated, the people who actually live here, mental health concerns that trans people can face, plus many other topics. This interview was a really nice experience for me because I got to talk with another trans person from a working class, rural background about things we both personally understand.
So I had some technical difficulties which I was unaware of in the moment, the result of which some of my audio sounds a bit static-y. This is something I’m working on correcting for future episodes, thanks for your patience!
ICE Activity in WNC
If you’re in the Asheville area, be aware that Immigration officers were responsible for kidnapping four individuals in Henderson County to our south last week. They are changing their tactics to blend in better, sometimes using vehicles that look like work trucks with ladders on top or mimicking the appearance of anti-ice activists at times. If you’d like to get involved and join community resistance to ICE tearing apart our families and communities, consider checking our show notes for a link to get involved or reach out to CIMA via their website and click the “get involved” tab.
If you care to kick some dollars to our podcast, check out our donate/merch page which also features t-shirts and other items up for sale to support the show.
This week we had the chance to interview Matt Meyer, who, among many other pursuits, is a retired professor and an editor of A Soldier’s Story: Revolutionary Writings by a New Afrikan Anarchist, out from PM Press, which highlights the life and writings of Kwasi Balagoon. Balagoon was a defendant in the Panther 21 case in the late 1960s, in which 21 people were arrested and accused of planned coordinated bombing and long-range rifle attacks on two police stations and an education office in New York City. He was ultimately acquitted of this, but was caught up on charges related to a robbery some time later and passed in prison in 1986.
Sean Swain on food in prison 2:48
Matt Meyer on Kuwasi Balagoon 11:44
Support Matt Hinkston announcement 1:06:08
In this interview, Bursts and Matt discuss Balagoon’s life and writings and why this book is especially relevant right now. They’ll talk about his abiding love for his comrades, a things which seems to have driven much of his politics, and his queerness, an aspect of his life which seemed very important and also complex. Stay tuned to the end of the conversation for questions submitted to The Final Straw by imprisoned anarchist Michael Kimble, who has been a guest on this show and is an admirer of Kuwasi. To see more of Michael’s work and to write to him, you can visit anarchylive.noblogs.org
. … . ..
Support Matt Hinkston!
Police violence in Lucasville-Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Call Monday in support of Matt Hinkston (A724969). Matt is the brother of Mustafa, who Bursts interviewed a few weeks back.
Matt Hinkston (A724969) is being retaliated against for filing a PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) grievance against a correctional officer and for having gone on hunger strikes in protest of human rights violations against himself and others in the past. One of the main officers who has been mistreating him is named Officer Lawless. They’ve put him in solitary confinement without a disciplinary ticket and restricted his access to communication. Although correctional officers claim that Matt has been put in solitary confinement for his protection, they’re also denying him access to his property and to technology for communicating with the outside world.
Incarcerated people’s lives and human rights matter. Nobody should be sent to solitary for filing a PREA report against a guard. Let’s call Lucasville this weekend and Monday at 740-259-5544 to:
-ask for a wellness check on Matthew Hinkston, A#724969
-tell officials in the Warden’s area and on Matt’s block that we support Matt’s demands and oppose continued retaliation against him for filing a PREA grievance.
Support Matt in this continued struggle against police violence, racism, and rape culture!
. … . ..
Finally, thank you to everyone who replied in response to our 9th anniversary podcast special in which me and Bursts interviewed each other about why we do what we do, some personal backstory for each of us, and opinions on media in general. We also used the opportunity to solicit listeners for another co host, to share the work load and extend the option in case there was anyone out there who was interested.
We got way more responses than we ever thought we would, and are working through to answer them in as complete and responsible a way as possible. If your interest is piqued and you wanna hear this episode, it’s up on our website along with all our other archived material.
. … . ..
Music at the beginning of the show was an instrumental version of Hip Hop by Dead Prez off of Let’s Get Free.
So for this episode, we tried something new. This show is in its 9th year of production, and we realized that we as hosts very rarely have interacted on the show. While this is a project that is one we do for reasons other than boosting our own personalities, we talked about it and felt it was time for us to interview each other and give some personal context for why we do what we do.
To that end, we are actively searching for another co-host! This would obvi be an unpaid position until we all get our $oros$ checks, but the responsibilities would be gently scaled up to. If you like what you hear here, and have always wanted to do something like this, or have done something like this in the past a wanna jump back in, holler at us!
This week, we hear the voices of three prisoners: anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble and jailhouse lawyer Arthur “Akbar” Griggs at Holman CI in Atmore, Alabama, and Mark “Mustafa” Hinkston at Toledo CI in Ohio.
In the first portion of this episode William and Bursts spoke with black, gay, anarchist prisoner, Michael Kimble, being held at Holman Prison in Alabama serving a life sentence for the murder of a white, homophobic, racist bigot. This audio is from a longer conversation we had in the context of an upcoming episode about Fire Ant zine featuring the voices of prisoners and outside folks involved in its production. Keep an ear out for that. Meanwhile, Michael talks about the gang breakdown of the prison he’s at, the queer & mostly white prisoners he’s around now, pushes to reform the prison system in Alabama. Here are a few links referencing what we talked about: William’s 2015interview with Michael Kimble; Swift Justice on Kinetic Justice and AL prison expansion; Thurgood Marshall was an FBI informant on Robert F Williams during the Civil Rights struggle. Michael can be contacted by writing:
3700 Holman Unit
Atmore, AL 36503
Arthur “Akbar” Griggs
Michael then passed the phone to Arthur Griggs, known by folks inside as Akbar. Akbar is a jailhouse lawyer who talks a bit about his work, pushing back against administration, his involvement in the Free Alabama Movement and a request of listeners outside of the prison walls. Akbar can be written at:
3700 Holman Unit
Atmore, AL 36503
Mark “Mustafa” Hinkston
Finally, we hear from Mark “Mustafa” Hinkston. Mark is a member of Central Ohio IWOC (fedbook & twitter) who was just transferred to Toledo CI in Toledo, OH. He had just come off of a hunger strike to challenge his mistreatment by guards and administration of mentally ill prisoners at Youngstown (SOCF) in long term isolation. He himself came out of almost 3 years of isolation at Youngstown, despite having no violent incidents in almost 3 years. In the latter half of the show, Mustafa talks about his experience in the hole and the advocacy he does for other prisoners and his ideas about prison abolition. Mustafa can be reached via his JPay at by looking him up by his name and number (#A707808) at jpay.com to those people who have JPay accounts. He can also be written letters at:
Toledo Correctional Institution
2001 East Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43608
Sean Swain Transferred (again!)
Guess who just got transferred again!!! You can write to Sean Swain at his latest address as of mid-May 2019 at:
Sean Swain #2015638
1349 Correctional Center Road
Dillwyn, VA 23936
Keep an ear out for an upcoming podcast episode of TFSR with the co-hosts, William and I, talk about the project, about our politicization and get personal. This’ll be dropping quite soon.
If you are in the southeast of the so-called-U.S. for the weekend of May 31-June 2nd, consider dropping by the North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference at 1083 Austin Ave NE, Atlanta, GA in the Little Five Points neighborhood. The theme for this year is Emergent Horizons and more info, including abstracts of presenters and the schedule is updated at https://wiki.naasn.org/NAASN_2019_(en) Stop by and visit the Final Straw table if you are around!
Sean Swain on Jpay and New Documentary About Band Negro Terror
This week, we feature an interview with Sean Swain about the JPay system being incorporated into the North Carolina prison system based on his experiences in Ohio, increased tension leading to a riot in mid-April at Piedmont facility and the employment of former Ohio Prison Director Gary Mohr as a consultant to the NC system. Then, documentarian John Rash shares about his latest documentary about an all-black, anti-racist oi punk band from Memphis, TN. This band is called “Negro Terror” and the movie is touring the southeastern U.S. More on that in a moment.
Sean Swain on JPay
starts at 6:54
In the first portion of this episode, you’ll be hearing from anarchist prisoner Sean Swain, but in a slightly different manner, where Bursts gets to ask a few clarifying question in the time we had available. First off, sorry about the call quality, we’re still working out our recording ability for VA. When we first started talking to Sean all those years back (November 2013 if you want to hear it) it was because of his resistance to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s privatization of services through the company Jpay, about which this cantankerous jailhouse lawyer wrote an article about the f’d up relationship between private service providers and prison-crats. Now, North Carolina DPS is employing Gary C. Mohr, former ODRC head, as a consultant and since the move the NCDPS has instituted a more intense privatization and limitation of prisoners ability to receive money on their commissary via the 3rd party corporation Jpay. In response to the restrictions of materials people need in their day to day and the support they can receive from the outside (such as limitations to who can donate to a prisoner and what info they have to give up to Jpay to send material support) has created a powder keg of austerity and tension in the NC system leading to a riot at Piedmont Correctional in mid April. Sean sees reflection of the impacts that Mohr and JPay had in Ohio and what appears to be happening with the same techno-logic in NC. A recent protest took place in the neighborhood of NC Prison Director Kenneth Lassiter and keep an eye out for more, deepening protest and organizing around this issue in NC.
Of note, the latest episode of Trouble from sub.Media, features Sean talking about mass incarceration and capitalism in the U.S., echoing some of what he says in this week’s episode of our show. Jackie Wang, author of Carceral Capitalism (a really great Materialist approach to looking at racialized mass incarceration in the U.S.), along with Sean, “C” from Hamilton, Sylvie and El Jones talk about the prison industrial complexes in the so-called U.S. & Canada. Really worth a watch.
Documentarian John Rash
starts at 22:04
In the interests of a headsup, the next segment includes a couple of white folks using an out of date term that could be considered racist. The word is in the title of a documentary film about a band by the same name, and the name is said in the spirit of helping folks more easily access the material. The band has an all Black lineup and is called Negro Terror. John Rash is a documentarian with the Southern DocumentaryProject who for most of the hour shares about his recent film, entitled “Negro Terror”. The film follows the punk oi band from Memphis by the same name and it’s three members, Ricardo Fields, Omar Higgins and Ra’id Kursheed as they play around Memphis, supporting various music scenes, speaking about their project and communities. Omar, the lead singer and bassist, came up as a SHARP (Skinhead Against Racial Prejudice) between Brooklyn, NY, and Memphis, TN, and brings the skinhead approach to the music. Omar Higgins died, tragically, at the age of 38 a few weeks ago and his funeral makes it into the film. John Rash, along with Ricardo (or Rico) and Ra’id Kursheed, the remaining bandmates, are now touring with this innovative film and engaging audiences in q&a sessions. After this broadcast, you can still catch the presentation in Durham at North Star Church of the Arts on Sunday, May 12th and at Fleetwoods in Asheville on Monday, May 13th (which is tomorrow as of the first broadcast of this show) for two showings, 6:30 and 8:00pm followed by that aforementioned q&a with Rico, Ra’id and John.
Proceeds from the merch sales on this short tour and from the entrance to showings is contributing to covering Omar’s medical and funeral funds that currently are hanging over the family. Donations can be made at supportomar.com.
While this tour is short running, John hopes to show it at various film festivals, so if you’re putting on such a thing or have such influence, consider contacting John and Southern Documentary Project to make that happen. If you can’t see it on this tour, at some point it’ll be available in full for free at southdocs.org. Once they release their final album, Paranoia, there’s a chance the film will be available for free on the CD alongside the audio, so keep an eye out.
. … . ..
Music in order of appearance:
Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus with Jazzboe Abubaka
ROAR Conference 2019 + Spencer Sunshine on Fascism
[Sean Swain at 2m40s]
This week on the show, we feature two segments.
First up, an organizer with the Revolutionary Organizing Against Racism, or ROAR Conference shares perspectives on the upcoming conference, May 18 & 19, 2019 on stolen Ohlone land in the so-called Bay Area. More info on ROAR Conference at roar-conference.com
[ROAR starts at 9m32s]
Then I spoke with journalist and anti-racist activist Spencer Sunshine about various far right and racist tendencies such as traditionalism and third-positionism, in relation to the current landscape of anti-fascist struggle in Turtle Island and in particular tendencies suspected in relation to the demolition of a building at the Highlander Education and Research Center in New Market, TN at the end of March, 2019. More writings by Spencer can be found at spencersunshine.com, at his fedbook author page or on twitter by searching the username @transform6789.
[Spencer Sunshine starts at 30m47s]
On Friday, April 12th at 8pm there was a ruckus noise demo outside the Dekalb County Jail where prisoners had been able to get out word of physical violence out of camera-view by guards, black mold conditions and more against the mostly indigent, mostly POC prisoner population in this Atlanta Jail. You can hear an interview with the mother of two prisoners mistreated in that jail who got the word out about conditions on IGD’s This Is America #68 from April 12, 2019. At the noise demo, at least two people were arrested and there’s a fundraiser up to help cover legal costs. You can find that fundraiser and kick in by visiting atlsolidarity.org
Immigrant Solidarity Rally, Asheville
Listeners in the Asheville area, on Monday April 15th there’ll be a demonstration in front of the Federal Building at 115 Patton Ave in downtown to mark the year anniversary of the 2018 ICE raids against our communities. The demo will be organized by CIMA, or Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion, and will focus on the continued danger faced by our undocumented loved ones, friends and families. This is also in opposition to HB370 currently in process at the state level that would force collaboration between sheriff departments and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CIMA urges people to show up in force.
Asheville Black Mama Bail Out Benefit
Also, on Saturday, April 27th at show o’clock at The Bottle Shop next to Firestorm Books, Blue Ridge ABC will be hosting a benefit for Black Mama Bail Out efforts organized by Southerners On New Ground. The show will feature performances by XOR, Kangarot, Nomadic War Machine and more. Check out the flyer and more up at brabc.blackblogs.org
. … . ..
This week on The Final Straw, we’re excited to bring you perspectives on resisting Federal Grand Juries in the U.S. In particular, we focus on the situation of imprisoned, former army whistle-blower, Chelsea Manning. Ms. Manning, who was in military prison for releasing information about U.S. war crimes in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters in 2010, had her sentence commuted by former U.S. President, Barack Obama in 2017. Having refused in 2019 to testify on principal before a grand jury in Virginia, spent 4 weeks in solitary confinement and has just been released to general population under the charge of civil contempt.
In the first part of this hour, we’ll hear from El & Eli, two supporters of Chelsea, about the grand jury, Chelsea’s resistance to it, and her incarceration. After that, we hear from two anarchist Grand Jury resistors of the last decade who support Chelsea about their personal experiences standing up to this unjust legal practice. First formerly incarcerated Grand Jury resistor, Jerry Koch, speaks about his experiences of resisting a grand jury for which he was imprisoned and mustered a defense that won his release. Then, Katie Yow speaks of her experience resisting a grand jury beginning in 2016 and her admiration and support for Chelsea. You can hear prior interviews with and about the resistance of Jerry Koch and Katie Yow at https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org.
From june11.org about the international day of solidarity with Marius Mason and long-term anarchist prisoners.:
In the 15 years this tradition has been observed, June 11th has facilitated support and action inspired by imprisoned anarchists — from noise demonstrations outside of jails to letter-writing nights, from fundraisers to arson. Setting aside this day is one way of remembering anarchists who are serving long prison sentences, generating support for them, and inspiring solidarity actions.
Because social struggles phase in and out, this day is a way to make sure that our imprisoned comrades are not forgotten. Our lack of memory is partially a result of the techno-alienation of the larger culture we’re fighting against. But it’s also a product of the dynamics of the anarchist space. People become burnt out and the cycle of forgetting continues.
June 11th is a way of combating that amnesia, of trying to sustain a long-term memory in the anarchist space. Not only does this generate support for anarchists locked in the state’s prisons, it forces us to look back at what came before. Considering what previous generations did can both inspire us with ideas we’ve forgotten, and help us understand how our current practices came to be.
So, this is a call to organize ourselves actions for June 11th, 2019. Get some friends together, remember folks inside, remember our common struggles and engage in making ourselves the resistance we need to reverse this course of ecocide and tyranny.
The North American Anarchist Studies Network (NAASN) is a network for the engagement of intellectual work, both within and without institutional walls.
The goal of the network is to serve as a means of mutual support for North American anarchists engaged in intellectual work, both theoretical and empirical; to facilitate and promote anarchist studies by bringing together students,academics, independent scholars, and activists from across the United States, Canada, and Mexico; and to provide a space for critical dialogue and reflection on anarchism.
This year’s NAASN conference, “Emergent Horizons” will be hosted in Atlanta, GA. In keeping with the spirit of mutual aid and accessibility for all, we are asking for donations to help make this conference happen.
Over the past years, NAASN has brought together hundreds of activists, academics, intellectuals, and artists across North America , including: Mexico City, Montreal, San Francisco, New Orleans, Portland, San Juan, and Toronto. Previous presentations have included grassroots struggles, social and peasant movements, decolonization and Indigenous resurgence, border/imperialism, racism, police violence, torture, surveillance, technology, as well as biography, oral histories, historiography, and anarchist subcultures.
Indigenous Space and Decolonizing Prison Abolition
(Sean Swain starts at 05min, 12 sec)
Ni Frontiers Ni Prison
(starts 12min, 08sec)
Today we have a two part show! In the first part we are presenting a conversation with someone from Ni Frontiers Ni Prison, which is a group in so called Canada that is resisting the proposed construction of a new migrant prison in Laval, a town just outside of Montreal. This is a transcript of the original audio, read for the show by Grier, shout out to him! In this interview we talk about the prison and what it would mean for people who’d be most affected by it, the general rise of far right sentiment in so called Canada, and many more topics.
The interviewee names the place they are based as occupied Tio’tia:ke (jo-jahg’-eh), which is the original indigenous name for so called Montreal, the colonizer name. The naming of indigenous land will continue throughout the interview with various locations in the name of decolonization, though Tio’tia:ke is the one which will be the most prominent.
As an audio note to all those paying attention, a fridge turns on midway through the interview then turns back off nearing the end, we’ve tried to minimize the background noise but it’s still somewhat noticeable.
Music for the intro and outro by A Tribe Called Red with Stadium Pow Wow.
Some links to historical events mentioned by our guest relating to Canada’s’ treatment of immigrants and refugees:
“Chinese Head Tax“, a policy which “meant to discourage Chinese people from entering Canada after the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway”, a government project which I conjecture used a bunch of precarious and immigrant labor in order to complete.
Komagata Maru Incident, the historic entry denial of a group of Indian refugees seeking entry into Canada on the Japanese steamship Komagata Maru in 1914, resulting in the death of 20 Sikh people at the hands of the then occupying British government.
“None Is Too Many” policy for Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust, an anti Semitic stance that put people who were fleeing Nazi terror in further danger and possible death.
Robert Free on the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center
(starts at 38min, 04sec)
Next we’ll hear an interview with Robert Free, a long-term Seattle, WA resident and Tewa (pronounced tay-oh-wa) Native American. We discuss the history of the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center, a cultural and resource center for urban Native Americans in Seattle and the surrounding communities. The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center was established after a series of protests and occupations in 1970 of Fort Lawton, an army base that had previously occupied the park. Robert Free discusses the influencing factors of that time, some of the finer points of the occupations, as well as the implications of protesting and occupation on stolen native land.
Some of the names and events mentioned in this chat you may recognize from our February 17th, 2019, episode of The Final Straw when we had the pleasure to speak with Paulette D’auteuil, about the case of long-term American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier. More info on Peltier’s case can be found at whoisleonardpeltier.info
. … . ..
Next week we hope to bring you a conversation with support crew for incarcerated former military whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who is now imprisoned for refusing to testify before a Grand Jury. More on her case can be found at https://xychelsea.is including links for donating towards her fundraising goal for legal costs aiming at 150 thousand smackeroos.
On December 7, 2018, Columbus police murdered 16 year old Julius Ervin Tate Jr.. On December 13, they arrested his 16 year old girlfriend, Masonique Saunders, charging her with the murder they committed.
Masonique is being charged with aggravated robbery and felony murder, and is currently being held in juvenile detention. The police have alleged that Julius attempted to rob, and pulled a gun on a police officer, and that Masonique was involved in said robbery. Felony murder means that if you commit a felony and someone dies as a result of that crime you can be charged with their murder.
We believe that these charges are unjust, and demand the freedom of this 16 year old Black girl and justice for the family of Julius Tate!
To help Masonique and her family, donate to her GoFundMe.
A quick reminder, if you’re in the Asheville area this coming week, Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross is hosting two events. On Friday, April 4th from 6:30 to 8pm at Firestorm, (as we do every first Friday of the month) BRABC will show the latest episode of Trouble, by sub.Media. Episode 19 focuses on Technology and Social Control. After the ½ hour video we’ll turn chairs around and have a discussion of the film for those who’d like. Then, on Sunday, April 6th from 5-7pm as BRABC does every first Sunday of the month, we’ll be hosting a monthly letter writing event. We’ll provide names, addresses, backstories, postage and stationary.
Prisoners we’ll focus on are longterm political prisoners from Black liberation, to Earth and Animal Liberation, to anti-police violence activists caught up in prison whose birthdays are coming up or who are facing severe repression. Or, just come and write a letter you’ve been meaning to write to someone else. It’s a nice environ for that sort of thing.
Extinction Rebellion week of action
The movement to halt and roll back human driven climate change called Extinction Rebellion is planning some upcoming events in the so-called U.S. in line with a worldwide call for action over the week of April 15-22nd. Check out https://extinctionrebellion.us/rebellion-week for info and ways to plug in. If you’re in the L.A. area, see our shownotes for a fedbook link to some of their upcoming events. And remember, practice good security culture by not giving up as little info as possible. Keeping your info more secure today ensures your ability to fight with less hindrance tomorrow!
Marius Mason moved
Anarchist political prisoner Marius Mason has been moved to a prison in Connecticut, a change viewed as a success by his supporters as he’s closer to family by hundreds of miles. If you’d like to write him a letter to welcome him to his new place, consider writing him at the following site, but make sure to address it as follows:
Now, here’s a statement by the Highlander Research and Education Center outside of New Market, TN, about the fire early on March 29, 2019:
“Early this morning, officials responded to a serious fire on the grounds of the Highlander Research and Education Center, one of the nation’s oldest social justice institutions that provides training and education for emerging and existing movements throughout the South, Appalachia, and the world.
As of 6am, the main office building was completely engulfed and destroyed. One of ten structures on approximately 200 acres, the building housed the offices of the organization’s leadership and staff. Highlander’s staff released the following statement:
“Highlander has been a movement home for nearly 87 years and has weathered many storms. This is no different. Several people were on the grounds at the time of the fire, but thankfully no one was inside the structure and no one was injured.
“While we are physically unhurt, we are saddened about the loss of our main office. The fire destroyed decades of historic documents, speeches, artifacts and memorabilia from movements of all kinds, including the Civil Rights Movement. A fuller assessment of the damage will be forthcoming once we are cleared to enter the remains of the building.
“We are grateful for the support of the many movements who are now showing up for us in this critical time. This has been a space for training, strategy and respite for decades and it will continue to be for decades to come.
Fire officials are working to determine the cause as quickly as possible and we are monitoring the investigation closely.” –Ash-Lee Woodward Henderson and Rev. Allyn Maxfield-Steele, Co-Executive Directors, Highlander Research and Education Center.
Highlander has played a critical role in the Civil Rights Movement, training and supporting the work of a number of movement activists: Rosa Parks prior to her historic role in the Montgomery Bus Boycot, members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Septima Clark, Anne Braden, Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, Hollis Watkins, Bernard Lafayette, Ralph Abernathy and John Lewis.”
On March 25, 2019, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Wende Kerl shot and killed Danquirs Franklin in the parking lot of the Burger King on Beatties Ford Rd in Charlotte. Police narratives posit that Mr Franklin was armed and posing a threat, while eye witnesses say that Danquirs Franklin interceded against an armed man bothering an employee and that the armed man ran away before the police arrived, who then shot the first black man they encountered. Friends at Charlotte Uprising have been holding vigil and fundraising for Danquirs Franklin’s family as the police’s actions leave his child fatherless. More can be found at the Charlotte Uprising twitter and fedbook pages. Rise In Power, Danquirs.
Rayquan Borum Trial Begins + Scaling Up Climate Resistance
This week we’re sharing two interviews.
First up, Bursts spoke with glo merriweather and jamie marsicano, two supporters of Rayquan Borum, a young black man accused by Charlotte PD of killing Justin Carr, another protester out during the Charlotte Uprising after the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott in mid September of 2016. Rayquan spent 2 years and 5 months in pre-trial detention and his trial just began. Some witnesses to Carr’s death claim the Charlotte PD killed him, not Borum. Check out our April 2018 interview with glo, jamie and ash for background on the case. You can follow CharlotteUprising at their fedbook page. (starts at 11min 30sec)
Second we air an interview with Mia from Rising Tide North America, Selma from Ende Gelände and Johanna from the Climate Justice Action Camp in Germany about the tour the three are engaging around the so-called U.S. We talk about mass movements to stop the extractive industries in Germany and the U.S., the Yellow Vest movement, the Green New Deal and more. The tour dates and synopsis is up at risingtidenorthamerica.org under the title “Scaling Our Climate Resistance.” If you can’t make the tour dates, there’s also a free webinar on March 11 at 8pm EST. (starts at 40min 5sec)
(Sean Swain at 4min 30)
Eric King Moved
Vegan, anarchist political prisoner Eric King who we focused on in our January 20th episode, has been moved again. Now he’s at USP McCreary, about 20 hours drive from his wife and their kids in Colorado. You can write to Eric at:
Eric King 27090045
P.O. BOX 3000
PINE KNOT, KY42635
and find out about donating to his commissary, his booklist, find his writings and specifics about the tight mail restrictions at McCreary, visit supportericking.org.
Soledad Phone Zap
On March 3rd and 4th there is a phone zap, a request for as many people to call in to protest as possible, in order to disrupt scheduled “gladiator fights” being deliberately staged by corrections officials between conflicting sets of prisoners at Soledad prison in California. More on these “gladiator fights”, plus a script, numbers and who to call available at IWOC’s website.
From Blue Ridge to Zagros
In Asheville, there’s an event we’re happy to share coming up to support local solidarity and infosharing efforts between Rojava and Appalachia. From 6-8pm at The Block Off Biltmore on Thursday, March 21st. The event will have vegan deserts, a film screening and sweet, sweet merch to help the effort. More info coming soon, check our show notes for a flyer image.
Anarchists In Conflict: Rojava + Yellow Vest Movement
(Sean Swain at 6:28, interviews begin at 14:05)
This week on The Final Straw, the episode’s theme is anarchist interventions in struggles around the world. We’ll be sharing audios from comrades in the A-Radio Network, which just had it’s 5th Annual Gathering in Zurich, Switzerland. The A-Radio Network is made up of stations around Europe, plus a smattering in South + North America. We have been a member of the ARN for 4 years now, which over the last year and a half produces the monthly B(A)DNews: Angry Voices From Around The World news podcast in English, made up of contributions by A-Radio member-projects. You can find past episodes at our website.
In lieu of this month’s BADNews, the gathering produced an 8 hour radio show last week and elements of this broadcast. We’ll present here two interviews from that broadcast concerning the struggle for autonomy in the social revolutionary region of Rojava, in northern Syria. The first is with a fighter with the Tekosina Anarsist (Anarchist Struggle, starts at 42:49) and the second with Zaher Baher, a member of the Kurdish Anarchist Forum in London (starts at 57:04). well as one from another an interview conducted a week ago with an anarchist in Paris, France, involved with the Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) social movement in France for some updates and perspectives.
But first, we’ll be airing audio from another member of the A-Radio as well as Channel Zero Network projects, Dissident Island Radio from London in the U.K., with an interview about the geopolitics of Rojava and leadership within the Kurdish struggle with a comrade participating in the annual ‘Long March‘ in solidarity with Abdullah Öcalan (starts at 14:05). We apologize for the audio quality. We invite you to note the differences of opinion between the anarchists who’ve witnessed, lived in, or fought for the Rojava Revolution, as somewhere within and between their perspectives I believe lies some of the truth of the complex situation there.
Happy Birthday Yona Unega (Oso Blanco)
From occupied Cherokee territory in so-called western North Carolina, we’d like to wish a happy birthday on February 26th to wolf clan Cherokee/Choctaw political prisoner, Oso Blanco or, in Cherokee, Yona Unega. Oso is in for armed robberies, where he expropriated from U.S. banks and sent funds to Zapatistas communities in the Yucatan in Mexico. You can write to Oso to write him a happy birthday by addressing letters to his state name:
Byron Chubbuck #07909051 USP Victorville PO BOX 3900 Adelanto, CA 92301
If you’re listening to the radio version, please check out our online/podcast version up at our website for another 20 minutes of interviews plus the Sean Swain segment for this week.
Blue Ridge ABC events
Friday, March 1st is the first Friday of the month and therefore the Trouble Showing at Firestorm Books and Coffee in Asheville, NC. Episode 18, entitled ACAB (for All Cops Are Bastards) airs at 6:30pm and will be followed by a little over an hour of discussion.
Then, on Sunday March 3rd, as the 1st Sunday of the month, BRABC will hold it’s Political Prisoner letter writing event, again at Firestorm. The event begins at 5pm, letter writing materials including stamps, prisoners names and stories, addresses and help in writing. If you’ve never written someone a letter or someone in prison in particular, no worries. It’s a nice social time. The event runs from 5pm to 7:30pm.
Finally, on Saturday, March 16th, Blue Ridge ABC is holding a double-header at Static Age Records in downtown Asheville. First up, from 3-5pm, a Super Smash Brothers benefit tournament, with vegan cheese-steaks and fries available. Double elimination, best 2 out of 3 rounds. For more info, check out https://www.smashprisonssmashbros.eventbrite.com. Then, from 9pm til late at Static Age, get ready for a lineup of anti-fascist metal including Rat Broth, Arid, and Margaret Killjoy’s project Feminazgul, plus more to be announced.