This week on The Final Straw radio we are sharing a chat that Bursts had with Zolo Agona Azania. Zolo is from Gary, Indiana where he lives now, working a job and also doing re-entry work with the formerly incarcerated and community service to break cycles of trauma. After 7 and a half years in prison from ages 18-25 where Zolo engaged in political education with members of the Black Panther Party from Indianapolis, he was released. In 1981 he was re-arrested, picked up by the Gary police while walking around the city after a bank robbery took place, resulting in the death of a Gary police lieutenant. Because of his political views and circumstantially being on the street at that time, Zolo was convicted by an all white jury and sentenced to death.
Zolo beat that death penalty from within prison twice and blocked a third attempt by the state to impose it. For the hour, Zolo talks about his life, his parents, his art, his education, his time behind bars, his political development, the Republic of New Africa, and his legal struggle.
This week we are presenting audio from the Callisto Collective, which is a local collective “addressing conflict, abuse, assault and everything in between” by utilizing autonomous models of resolution, especially in closer knit communities of affinity. This workshop is called Conflict Resolution for folks who do Anti State Organizing.
In this workshop, they talk about many things, including anarchist critiques of Non-Violent Communication, which is a developed process in use mostly by leftist organizers, possible tools for dealing with conflict, and also some discussions on yogurt (stay tuned…). This workshop was originally presented at the 2018 Asheville Anarchist Bookfair at Firestorm Books.
This was an extremely interactive workshop, and to protect the anonymity of participants I had to cut a bunch of material out. This sometimes makes the audio a bit disjointed to listen to, but I hope you’ll enjoy it all the same.
Before the workshop tho, we want to plug certain hurricane relief efforts going on in town. As you are probably aware, the coasts of North/South Carolina and Georgia as well as many regions off the coasts are being hit right now with a quite sizeable hurricane. Appalachian Medical Solidarity is helping coordinate disaster relief efforts, running supplies inland to the coast and supporting those who are doing on the ground relief efforts. Donations of supplies can be sent to Firestorm Books at 610 Haywood Road in West Asheville.
Things which are needed include:
Pop top canned foods which are high in calories that people can eat cold and without utensils
First aid supplies
Any and all baby supplies
Flashlights and batteries
Travel size personal toiletries
Charged battery packs for cell phones and cell phone chargers
If you would like to help but cannot send supplies, you can donate to relief efforts in Asheville by going to:
If you are going into affected areas as a relief worker, it’s very important to be networked with local efforts and to foreground the work of locals and directly affected populations. If people are interested in reading further about cultural competency in disaster work, we would suggest further reading by the Mutual Aid Disaster Network, which is available on any social media platform. You can contact Appalachian Medical Solidarity through their Facebook page, and they are coordinating efforts on behalf of those affected by hurricane flooding both on the coast and in Asheville.
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Finally, we would also like to plug a phone zap on behalf of Jason Renard Walker, a Texas inmate associated with the 2016 prison strike and who contributed to the Fire Inside zine. He has been subject to an increasingly intense campaign of harassment from staff at the Telford Unit, who first issued him with a fake case for threatening a member of staff, and then sent him to lockup, preventing him from even being able to attend his own hearing for the so called case. The prison strike timeline has officially ended, but repression related to the strike is only just ramping up. For a full article on this case you can visit the full article here.
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The music which we used in the intro is the instrumental version of the track “7” by Frank Waln, who is a Sicagnu Lakota rapper and hip hop artist. His work is very searchable on any streaming media platform.
This week on the show we feature two interviews. The first is with a volunteer at the Steady Collective, a group that self-describes as “ dedicated to promoting the wellness of people who use drugs through empowerment and respectful collaboration. Our goal is to improve overall community health by reducing the rate of drug overdose and the spread of infectious disease with education, advocacy, and direct services. “ Their ability to operate a harm reduction program around needle exchange and narcan distribution to stop overdoses in the midst of the #opiodCrisis in Appalachia is being threatened by the city of Asheville. Here’s the website for 12 Baskets, the food distribution program out of Kairos West.
Then I spoke with Mary Ratcliff, the editor of 27 years of the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, with a print distribution of 20,000 copies around the U.S., including thousands behind bars. For the hour, Mary talks about the history of the paper, it’s relationship with prisoners and prison struggles and the difficulties faced by the poor and populations of color in white supremacist capitalism in the so-called U.S.
A12 in D.C., Cville & Boston
Last weekend witnessed far right, nazi-affiliated, sexist, homophobe rallies in Portland and Berkeley, which I’m sure folks are aware of. Patriot Prayer and Proud Boy goons schlepped their way out from under rocks in their goofy-ass larping costumes to spit their deranged and hateful screeds and threaten and attack counter-demonstrators where they could. And the police helped by holding back and assaulting the anti-racists at both events with pepper spray, batons, tear gas and rubber bullets, as well as legal charges. Big ups to the brave folks who came out to stem the tide of hate on the West coast, and also a big a thanks to the comrades who came out in Providence, R.I. where they were able to shut that crap down real fast.
This weekend the year anniversary of the August 11th Torch Rally and August 12th Unite The Right Rally in Charlottesville approaches. On Sunday, August 12th in Cville there’s a day of events of remembrance and mourning starting at 9am in Washington Park. The police presence has been shown to be huge in the runup to this weekend with Martial Law and States of Emergency declared by local and state officials, leave for police being suspended, and swaths of the city shut down and blockaded. Follow #AllOutCville for updates. In Washington, D.C., haters are trying to put on a second UTR to draw their morons in swastika and Pinochet shirts and confederate bafoons into the streets. Information about what’s happening and how to congregate against it can be found at https://shutitdowndc.org/ . And check out the ItsGoingDown’s “This Is America #24” for voices from the ground in DC & Cville.
On August 15th in Boston there is planned a Town Hall Meeting at the Arlington St Church in preparation for the counter-demonstration on August 18th at the MA State House to shut down the far-right hate front group, “Resist Marxism”. More info at http://bit.ly/fight-right-boston
Be safe out there, cops and klan go hand in hand. Bring water, watch out for your friends, don’t leave alone.
Worker’s Assembly Asheville
On Monday, August 20th at 6pm and every 3rd Monday of the month, the Asheville IWW is hosting a service industry workers assembly at Kairos West. If you work in food serice, retail, hospitality, breweries, or other service industries and don’t have the right to hire or fire, come by and join the discussion on issues facing your ilk including wages and hours, but also issues such as racism and gendered violence that workers face in and outside of their workplaces. The discussions are aimed at creating direct action solutions and creating class solidarity. To hear about their first Assembly, check out our interview on the topic.
Reminder on upcoming #August21
A few CZN member projects have been producing content specific to supporting and understanding the Nationwide Prison Strike. You can find great, related content to enjoy and share by ItsGoingDown podcast, Kiteline Radio & Rustbelt Abolition Radio. Links are in our notes to those recent episodes. Also, visit incarceratedworkers.org for the new and very shareable video breaking down IWOC’s role in the strike and reasons to support #August21.
If you appreciate this podcast and the voices that we bring to you each and every week (at least once), please consider a one-time or recurring donation via paypal or liberapay. You can also subscribe to recurring donations to us at patreon.com/tfsr and get some pretty sweet swag. If you want one of the shirts or mixtapes or sticker and button packs we offer to patreon supporters but can’t afford a monthly donation, drop us an email and we’ll work something out.
This week on The Final Straw, we’ll be airing two interviews. In the first, Bursts spoke with author and activist Shane Burley about the state of street level fascism and anti-fascism in the U.S. Then about 45 minutes into the episode, you’ll hear Bursts speaking with two members of the Asheville branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW.
Shane also talks about essentialism in fascism and the creeping relationship between “identitarian” patriarchs and the trans-misogyny of TERFs (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists) in Deep Green Resistance, such as Lierre Kieth and Derrick Jensen. The book mentioned by Bursts about essentialism, fascism and anarchism can be found in audio format on R.A.D., another member of the CZN. The original text can also be found on their tumblr.
The wobblies talk about the upcoming Service Workers Assembly they have planned for Tuesday, June 26th from 6-9pm at Kairos West, under Firestorm in West Asheville. Here’s a link to their fedbook.
If you are a service worker in the Asheville area and want to chat with other folks from the industries about how your conditions could improve, come on by. No bosses, snitches or scabs, please.
There’s no Sean Swain again this week, hopefully we’ll get the crossed wires fixed soon.
Debbie Africa of MOVE9 released!
Debbie Sims Africa was paroled this week from prison after about 40 years inside for crossing the Philly PD and the Frank Rizzo administration! We hope that a push can happen to get the remaining 6 members inside. Welcome to the outside, Debbie! #FreeEmAll
In this run-up week to the Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair (ACAB2018), there’ll be a game of punk jeopardy on Thursday the 21st at the Lazy Diamond starting at 9pm. The venue is a bar, so it’s 21 and up only. Proceeds from the benefit will go to the costs associated with the Charlotte Uprising in 2016, in particular to Glo Merriweather’s and Rayquan Borum‘s legal defense funds. On Friday, feel free to stop by the welcome table at Firestorm for an intro to the range of events over the weekend. Check out the calendar of events, including the schedule for the workshops and more!
a computer security engineer and an open source software developer. He writes about technical topics like digital and operational security, encryption tools, whistleblowing, and hacking using language that everyone can understand, but without dumbing it down. An avid user of Qubes and Linux, he develops security tools such as OnionShare.”
Micah is kind enough in this conversation to break down the Efail scandal that rocked security-minded folks in mid-May. A weakness in the way that many email clients handled PGP & S/MIME came to light months after it was discovered by a team of security investigators. Micah explains how this encryption works, what was found out, safer approaches to encrypted messaging. We also talk a little about threat modeling and quantum computing.
Send encrypted text messages to Micah using Signal Messenger at (415) 964-1601. Here’s a link to a cool article Micah published at The Intercept about a method of cheaply creating a second signal account, so you can give out a signal # without giving away your personal phone number.
This week, we present an interview that Bursts conducted with the sci-fi and picture book author, technologist and social critic Cory Doctorow. Cory is an editor of the blog BoingBoing, a fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and his most recent book is entitled Walkaway, out from Head of Zeus and TOR books. The novel plays with themes of open source technologies, class society, post-scarcity economics, ecological remediation, drop-out culture and liberatory social models. It was released a few days ago in paperback, along with matching re-issues of his other adult sci-fi novels.
For the hour, they chat about themes from the book, sharing, trans-humanism, imagination and monsters. To find more work by Cory, check out his blog craphound.com. You can also find him on twitter, free writings on Project Gutenberg, his content on archive.org, or his podcast.
Due to technical difficulties, we have no Sean Swain segment this week. We hope this will be remedied next episode.
For a slightly longer version of this episode, make sure to check out the podcast version.
Stay tuned mid-week for a podcast special interview with an anarchist from Indonesia about May Day in Yogyakarta and the repression that has followed. Also, if you haven’t been checking our podcast feed, you’re missing out. We have been regularly releasing extra content mid-week including our 8th Anniversary episode with interviews of hosts of two Channel Zero Network podcasts. You’ll also find two episodes of #Error451, our sometimes-weekly tech security podcast from an anarchist perspective.
If you’re in Asheville this week, consider attending the Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair benefit show at the Odditorium on Haywood Road on the West Side. The show starts at 9pm, it features the music of Kortriba, Mother Marrow, Lynathrope and a special battle set of the project Fatal Comfort versus the stylings of FUNK JAMz. If you visit the ACAB table, you could be one of the first one of your friends to grab an ACAB2018 poster hot off the presses or ACAB2018 tshirt, both designed by super awesome local artists. Proceeds from the entry, shirts and posters go to pay for the local anarchist bookfair taking place between June 21st and 24th. More info on the bookfair at acab2018.noblogs.org
Also, this Friday Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross will be hosting it’s monthly presentation of the short documentary series, TROUBLE, by sub.Media. This month we’ll watch the second episode of two on the topic of gentrification and resistance to it. The film will be 30 minutes and then followed by a discussion with prompt questions suited to the Asheville’s specific brand of problems. The show starts at 6:30 and will last roughly an hour. Invite your friends!
This week, we are excited to share with y’all an interview with TL, the main artist and designer of Bloc by Bloc: The Game of Insurrection. From the website of Out Of Order games, which publishes the game, “Bloc by Bloc is a semi-cooperative strategy board game inspired by 21st century riots and revolutions. The game features hidden agendas, deep strategy, area control, asymmetrical player abilities, and a special method for randomly generating billions of unique city layouts.”
Well, now the second edition of the game has launched a kickstarter to pay for the new edition. This new edition includes streamlined game play, new pieces and new scenarios in order to improve the initial game. For the hour, TL & I talk about how the board game was developed, what study of real-world did to influence the game’s development, TL’s thoughts on how play can strengthen strategic thought, cultural means of spreading liberatory imagination with story-telling, and cooperation and more.
To jump in and get a physical, printed copy of the 2nd edition of Bloc by Bloc, search kickstarter and the title of the game. If you have the 1st edition and want the streamlined update, also check out the kickstarter for ways to update. If you want a free version of the game for you to print out by yourself and play for the cost of printing with your friends, you can download all of the elements.
TL mentions that Out Of Order games is looking for translation of the game into other, non-English languages, seeking a degree of fluency in game terminology and the languages in question. They are also always seeking review and design inputs. You can email the Out of Order crew here.
This week I had the chance to speak to Ricchi, who is a Puerto Rican anarchist, about an autonomous squatted community center in Borique called Valle Garita. In this episode, we talk about the squatted space and the intentions of the organizers, plus the cultural context of squatting, reactions of the police, landlord, and bank, and some concrete asks for solidarity and support from non locals. We end the show with a brief report back and analysis of what went down on May Day in San Juan and all over Puerto Rico, so stay tuned for that!
On the social media, you can follow the Valle Garita squat by following @vallegarita or following that same hashtag, you can also search for them on Facebook. You can also follow Urbe Apie on Instagram @urbeapie.
For sending cards and letters of support you can address envelopes to:
Paseo Gautier Bénitez #16
Caguas Puerto Rico 00725
Letters can be written in Spanish, English, or any other language!
A brief correction from our last show where I interviewed Nutty about the monopod blockade at the Hellbender Autonomous Zone, I stated that the MVP was overseen by Dominion Resources and Duke Energy, and that is not the case, I was thinking of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The MVP is in fact owned by EQT Midstream Partners and NextEra Energy, Inc. EQT has a history of fracking and is now trying to get into transport. Thanks to all the people who set me right on that! If you have any questions or corrections, don’t hesitate to email us at email@example.com
Shoutout to Nutty, Red, and Minor, and all those who are protecting and defending the land and water from predatory corporate pipelines!
For regular listeners of The Final Straw, the sound quality might not be what you are used to from us. We are continuing to experiment with our audio set ups, please bear with us through these experiments!
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Josh Gerdts Memorial Fund
In some very sad news, Josh Gerdts, an anti-racist skinhead, was murdered two days ago in Chesterfield County just south of Richmond VA. He leaves behind a family, including a very young child. The family has set up a gofundme to help pay for the funeral and to help raise the child, which you can find at http://www.gofundme.com/joshgerdts
Rest in power, Josh. You will be missed.
Vendenga Rojava: a New Radio Show out of Rojava, Mesopotamia
VEDENGA ROJAVA – ECHOES OF THE RESISTANCE An internationalists radio project bringing an inside look into Afrin resistance. Revolutionaries from different parts of the world organized in different collectives and organizations in Rojava found and importance to come together and launch an audio project focused on the peoples resistance against an invasion of Afrin canton carried by the fascist state of Turkey and its jihadist proxies. Our aim is to spread an awareness of this historical event and inspire English speaking folks all over the globe by ongoing struggle and revolutionary organizing in Afrin, Rojava and beyond. Listen and share our reports, updates, analysis, interviews, stories about life of fallen comrades, music and more. This radio show is a limited project and will have only three issues. For more tune us up on May 16th on soundcloud.com/vedengarojava.”
No More Deaths
From nomoredeaths.org: “On January 17, Scott Warren – a humanitarian aid provider from the group No More Deaths – and two individuals receiving humanitarian aid were arrested by US Border Patrol. Scott was preliminarily charged with felony harboring and could face five years in prison.
We are well into our preparation for the next Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair, happening June 22nd-24th, and we want to invite you to participate in shaping the themes and helping gear up for this exciting weekend!
We are holding an interest meeting to ask for volunteers and discuss possible contributions folks can make:
Monday May 7 at 7pm Firestorm Books 610 Haywood Road
Our main items where we need help are:
Street Team Promotion, Online/Social Media Promotion, Arranging Housing for Out of Towners, Fundraising, Cook Food, DAY OF (biggest Need)
If you have other ideas, we welcome your input!
This week’s installment of #error451 podcast, Bursts and William Budington speak about facial recognition technology. We chat about how different methods are employed, scanning of social media by police and security forces, different methods used to avoid it such as camouflage, lights, makeup and masks, the Google Arts & Culture app comparing people’s selfies to the contents of art museums and more.
This is episode number 11 of “B(A)D NEWS – Angry voices from around the world”, a news program from the international network of anarchist and anti-authoritarian radios, consisting of short news segments from different parts of the world.
(Overall duration 39:33)
– The Hotwire from Crimethinc: school shootings in the united states & youth liberation;
– 105fm, on the island of Lesvos, come with news from around the North Aegean including the persecution of migrants at Moria and in court
– Dissident Island Radio in London tell us strike organizing among staff & lecturers at the University & College Union in the UK plus words from Anna Campbell, a UK-born antifascist, animal liberationist and anarchist organizer awho was killed during the Turkish assault on Efrin in Rojava
– From Athens Radiozones of Subversive Expression have words about the acquittal of Golden Dawn racists of hate speech, levels charges at anarchist Tasos Theofilou of terrorism by identity
– A-Radio Berlin shares thoughts on fake news, a website called getbadnewscom (nothing to do with us) about media literacy
– and AGAIN a segment from The Hot Wire, pulling from sub.Media‘s 2014 interview with anarchist panther, Ashanti Alston, about the continuance of the murders of Black people in the so-called U.S. by police despite decades passing since the life (and death) of Martin Luther King Jr. (assassinated 50 years ago this year) and an announcement by members of the former Black Lives Matter chapter in Cincinnati, OH, USA, critiquing and splitting from the BLM organization.