August 21st – September 9th, 2018 National Prison Strike
This week Bursts had two conversations, both focusing on the upcoming Prisoner Strike from August 21st to September 9th, 2018, one with a member of IWOC and one with a Amani Sawari, a media liaison for some of the prisoners who called for the strike.
The viewpoints expressed by the two guests are at time contradictory and at others redundant but it felt better to keep their voices mostly intact rather than weave them to create a streamlined narrative.
In part one, Amani Sawari will speak about the prison strike, the need to increase opportunities for release and civic engagement by prisoners and former prisoners in the face of historical disenfranchisement and she’ll also read some statements and demands from the prisoner-organizers. Her info on the upcoming strike and resources can be found at sawarimi.org.
Brooke, Oakland IWOC
Then we’ll hear from Brooke, an organizer with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW. Brooke is based in Oakland, CA. He’ll talk about IWOC and their role and views of prison organizing, labor organizing, and the upcoming strike. More from IWOC can be found at inarceratedworkers.org.
As many listeners have no doubt heard, the remaining 38 j20 defendants got their charges dropped the other day without prejudice! This means that the cases could theoretically be opened again at any time, thought this is thought to be pretty unlikely. This is a historical moment, not only for the courts who were staggeringly unable to rise to this occasion – humiliating themselves at pretty much every possible turn – but also for anarchists everywhere. This whole long, difficult year and a half forged bonds that are all the more strong for having gone through the fire together, which can and no doubt will experience similar oppressions, difficulties, and tough breaks with the same finesse and resilience which was demonstrated here. To anyone listening who was personally affected by this, you are an inspiration. Now we get to celebrate, and now we get to feel the extent of our power.
If you’re missing the voice of Sean Swain like we are, Here’s a little plug with his voice to get those juices flowing.
Now, please consider giving a call to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr at 614-387-0588 or calling Warren Correctional Warden Chae Harris at 513-932-3388 (Fax: 513-933-0150) and asking about Sean’s whereabouts and restrictions to his communication. If you find out anything interesting, maybe that we haven’t learned yet about his silence, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at his support email, email@example.com.Thanks a lot!
This week, Disembodied Voice spoke with Karen, a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in Gainesville, Florida. People imprisoned across the state of Florida are gearing up for a work strike and boycott of prison profit centers such as commissary beginning on January 15, and the Gainesville IWOC chapter has been a crucial node of support on the outside.
DV spoke with Karen to get the scoop on what to expect from the upcoming strike, the demands of folks who are participating, the broader context of the movement to end prison slavery, and how folks inside and outside are organizing to counter brutal conditions in Florida prisons and beyond.
YouCaring Donations to send 1000+ zines publicizing the strike into prisons statewide
But first, here is an announcement regarding the very first anniversary of January 20th, 2017, upon which day over 200 people were kettled an arrested on L and 12th streets by DC police for allegedly protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump. This case has become a rallying example of the United State’s eagerness to punish even a glimmer of dissent against the established regime. The first 6 of the initial defendants have just been acquitted of all charges, charges which would have amounted to many decades behind bars had they gone through, but there are still over 180 defendants awaiting trial, and there is a long road ahead in terms of support and resistance.
“We propose to use the week of J20 2018 to reconnect with our networks, revitalize our spaces, organize new projects, hold special events, and bring people together to build our movements.
Autonomous spaces include infoshops, community centers, and bookstores. But an autonomous space can also be a public place you make a habit of gathering in or a territory you share and defend. Open spaces offer a way for people who are freshly curious about our movements to plug in, pick up literature, and begin fostering relationships.
Towards this end, we are encouraging people to organize on the week of J20:
Community events involving putting in work at autonomous spaces. This could mean fixing the bathroom or repainting the walls, or it could mean soliciting people to bring supplies, books, and other materials to add to the space. Let this be an opportunity for the community surrounding the space to strengthen and expand the physical infrastructure.
Block parties and celebrations around the space, reconnecting the wider community that uses and interacts with it and bringing in new people.
Fundraising events to support the space—this could include speaking events, film showings, and more.”
To that end, right here in Asheville, we’re kicking off a week of rebellious activities with a Haywood Road block party to share food, fun, and knowledge. This is a free event open to everyone so bring your friends and let’s talk about where we want to go from here!
A list of local participating groups is as follows:
Asheville Industrial Worders of the World (fedbook)
Asheville Prison Books (fedbook)
Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross (website or fedbook)
Firestorm Books and Coffee
Holler Network (fedbook)
J20 Defendants (DefendJ20Resistance)
This week, Bursts spoke with Ben Turk about the August 19th call out for solidarity with prisoners. The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a project of the Industrial Workers of the World (or IWW) syndicalist labor union is one body organizing the inside and outside actions, and Ben is a member. Ben’s also affiliated with Lucasville Amnesty
Last year was a huge time for radical organizing around the U.S. Prisoners from around the country participated in the September 9th national prisoner strike, the first of it’s size and scope that we’ve seen. This event mobilized individual prisoners and also sprang from groups like the Free Alabama Movement and it’s sister pushes in other carceral states, Anarchist Black Cross chapters, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, or IWOC, of the Industrial Workers of the World labor union and also by just lots of unaffiliated prisoners. Now, we have what could be called a hard Law and Disorder administration in the White House talking about increasing funding and support for cops, further militarizing the border and terrorizing residents, reviving the 1980’s style war on drugs and other repressive actions. In this context, it feels necessary for those who have a different vision of the world to push back and keep pushing as we were under Obama, under Bush & before.
This August 19th there is a call for another prisoner-led show of resistance supported by folks on the outside as well.
But first, we have a bunch of announcements we wanted to share with you. If you have things you want announced on the show, send us an email and we may include it!
Firstly, if you follow the show on twitter, we’re shifting the show’s account over to @StrawFinal. If you’re on that or other, despicable forms of social media, consider checking us out for announcements about the show, about related projects and for the occasional anti-social, cat memes.
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson in transit
An update on the case of Kevin “Rashid” Johnson from http://rashidmod.com :
“Supporters have received word that Kevin “Rashid” Johnson was picked up by Virginia officials and removed from Clements Unit on Thursday, June 23rd. He is no longer being held by Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Thanks to so many people phoning Virginia Interstate Compact Supervisor Terry Glenn, we have found out that Rashid is now in Florida at a “reception facility”. However, we do not know where that is, if he can receive mail there, or where he will end up. We will keep you informed as we find out more, and in the meantime will be asking people to phone Glenn back on Monday.
Rashid is Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter); he is a Virginia prisoner organizer and revolutionary communist. As a result of his organizing he has been repeatedly transferred out of state, under a setup called the “Interstate Compact” which is used to remove rebellious prisoners and exile them to locations where they have no friends, support, etc. For the past four years Rashid has been held in Texas, where he has been beaten, threatened, had his property confiscated, been set up on bogus infractions, and more — nonetheless, he used his time there to forge connections with other prisoners and to write a series of powerful exposés about violence, medical neglect, abuse, and murder in the Texas prison system.
Transfers can be opportunities for prison officials to arrange for violence and abuse. Rashid was beaten when he was first brought to Texas, and lost much of his property at the time. Outside supporters and people concerned about prisoners’ rights and basic human dignity need to make sure this does not happen again!”
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s support site suggests people call the following prison employee to support Rashid, and there’s a simple script for calls available at http://rashidmod.com:
Mr. Terry Glenn, Interstate Compact Supervisor
Virginia Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 26963
Richmond, VA 23261-6963
Phone: (804) 887-7866
Fax: (804) 674-3595
QTLUG & VPNs
When this show is over, consider bringing your linux or soon-to-be linux laptop, tablet, phone or whatever device over to Firestorm for the QTLUG. A linux and open source software enthusiasts’ meetup. Asheville Queer & Trans Linux User Group (QTLUG, pronounced “Cutie Lug”) aims to provide a welcoming environment for queers, trans folks, women and others who want to explore technology and receive support from peers. QTLUG meets monthly and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org . Today, June 25th at 3:30pm EST there’ll be a VPN clinic, where attendees will be helped to set up Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, on their devices. Little to no experience necessary!
Today at 4 to 6pm, and every Sunday, in Haw Creek Park at 40 Avon Rd in Asheville there will be a self-protection class taught by folks at Mountain Forge. This class is informed by Combat Systema and other tendencies.
J20 benefit with Thou
Tonight, on June 25th at 7pm at the Pinhook in Durham, NC, there’ll be a benefit concert to raise funds for J20 defendants, those swept up in the kettle on January 20th in D.C. during the protests against the inauguration. Bands playing include the New Orleans, anarcho-doom band THOU as well as Bad Friends, and Slime.
Info Session on Stonewall
On Tuesday June 27th, the other Tranzmission in Asheville will be hosting An Information Session, Stonewall Commemoration Week downstairs at the Pack Library in Downtown AVL from 6-8pm. “Learn about the Miss Major, Marsha P Johnson and Sylvia Rivera. Myka Johnson from TQPOC, Charlotte (Queer Trans People of Color, Charlotte) will teach us about the leaders who kicked off the modern day LGBTQ movement, trans people of color!”
DIY Screen Printing workshop
On Wednesday, June 28th, you can attend a DIY Screenprinting workshop// Taller de serigrafía from 7-8:30pm at the Kairos West community center, behind Firestorm at 610 Haywood Rd in West Asheville. Bring a blank, light colored tshirt to print on!
Trouble #4: There Is No Justice… Just Us
On Friday, June 30th at 7:30pm, there’ll be a showing of the 30 minute, 4th installment of TROUBLE, the new serial documentary series from sub.Media. This episode has a focus on Repression and Movement Defense with examples around support for Fernando Barcenas in Mexico, defense of water defenders from the #NoDAPL struggle, support for #J20 defendants, La Fuga anti-carceral organizing across Chile, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee about U.S. prison strikes and more. This’ll be followed by a conversation based on prompts from the film makers.
Prison Books packaging
On Saturday July 1st and every following Saturday, Asheville Prison Books Project will be hosting a weekly book packaging and letter writing event in the back of Downtown Books & News, 67 N Lexington Ave, Asheville. APBP sends free books and letters to prisoners around the South Eastern U.S.
Stonewall Folk Punk concert
Also on July 1st in Asheville, the other Tranzmission will be hosting Folk Punk Transtravaganza, Stonewall Commemoration Week at the members-only bar, Broadways from 7-10pm. Performances by Gullible Boys, Bless Your Heart, Brynn Estelle and ATL’s wWaylon.
NVDA training against Coal Ash & Pipelines
On Sunday July 2nd, there’ll be a Non Violent Direct Action training camp from 9am to 5pm hosted by Claire and Coleman in preparation for a protest on July 4th against the Duke Energy coal-ash pit and Atlantic Coast Pipeline that Duke is investing in. The action is entitled “Lake Julian Action: Independence From Fossil Fuels”. The action camp will take place at 406 Overlook Rd Extension in Arden. There’s also a request on that fedbook page for fundraising for the direct action.
Blue Ridge ABC letter wriitng
Letters save lives! Join Blue Ridge ABC each month for an evening of solidarity with incarcerated comrades. Celebrate their birthdays by sending words of encouragement and support. From 5-7:30pm at Firestorm Books & Coffee, more info on the group at BRABC.Blackblogs.Org
July 4th falls on a Tuesday and every Tuesday at 1:30pm, the Steady Collective, a harm reduction project in Asheville, does it’s Needle Exchange at Firestorm, 610 Haywood Rd. Show up if you need clean needles, information on Narcan, or wanna start helping out! They’ll also be at the Haywood Street Congregation, 297 Haywood St in downtown from 10am to 3pm every Wednesday.
July 4th Critical Mass Bike Parade
Also on July 4th, from 5:30pm to 9pm, there will be an Anti-Nationalist Critical Mass Bike Ride and bike parade in Asheville. Leaving from Montford Park Place, near between Panola and Cumberland, the ride will be a reasonable distance at a reasonable pace to allow more participation and will return to the park for cool-down, vegan popsicles, or vice lollies as they may be called in the U.K., plus speakers, info and maybe music. From the announcement:
“Gather with us on July 4th to demonstrate resistance to nationalism and the american empire’s history of genocide, slavery and ecological devastation. Especially in the present climate of rising white nationalism, attacks on indigenous sovereignty, and disregard for impending climate disaster, we reject this holiday and its gratuitous flag-waving propaganda. Instead, we’ll celebrate collective resistance by taking the streets in a critical mass bike ride through downtown. Show your opposition to war and eco-devastation in this pedal-powered parade!”
Anarchist Summer Camp, Register by July 5th!
The Institute for Advanced Troublemaking, which is “a small collective
of long time anarchist organizers seeking to create a lasting movement
education hub in the Northeast of the so-called US”, is hosting an
anarchist summer camp which will be held August 11th – 18th in
Worcester, MA this year.
Some information about the group from their website “The I.A.T. aims to
raise collective capacity to target our enemies at the systemic level
with effective direct action and campaign work. As Trump’s presidency
spurs a swell of anarchist organizing and renewed interest in anti-state
anti capitalist perspectives, we want to escalate by building skills in
direct action, creating movement infrastructure, and community
organizing for new anarchists. We also want to bring experienced
organizers together to innovate strategies and tactics for our
contemporary context. Rather than an activism 101, our intention is to
cultivate deeper understanding and praxis of anarchist organizing among
people who are already doing some of that work.”
The main idea is to build on the social and political potential of
events like conferences and bookfairs to expand what is possible in this
upcoming era in which it feels increasingly vital to have a vibrant and
adaptive anarchist praxis.
You can see more information about this event at https://advancedtroublemaking.wordpress.com/ which will include a three
part presentation by some past interviewees about Burn Down The American
Plantation! Registration ends on July 5th, and will prioritize “people
of marginalized identities including POC, working class, trans or gender
nonconforming, those with dis/abilities, LGBTQI, and women, but
recognize that many of these may not be visibly apparent”.
When There Is No 911
On Thursday, July 6th to 9th from 9am to 5pm each day in Knoxville, TN, there will be a workshop entitled “When There Is No 911: Emergency Care”. This will be hosted by Mountain Forge
Learn the skills for the Right Now emergencies. There is no time to google for the answer, you can’t consult your mentors, the stars, or your power animal, you need to act NOW ! Now what?
Skills that will help us to take care of ourselves and each other.
This class will start you off in the fundamental skill of emergency care in urban, suburban, rural, wilderness, and disaster (short, long, and very long ) emergency situations.
More info, including the location and the requisite pre-registration, can be found at their fedbook page.
BK Punk Rock Karaoke
If you’re in Brooklyn on July 14, consider the Punk Rock Karaoke benefit for Certain Days political prisoner calendar. The karaoke will take place from 9:30pm til 12:30am at the Pine Box Rock Shop at 12 Gratton st in Brooklyn.
Meet Your Local Redneck
Back in Asheville, Carolina Mountain Redneck Revolt will be having a public event in Carrier Park (220 Amboy Rd) on July 16th from 12 noon to 4pm. This’ll be a meet and greet with the local chapter in the hopes of networking, discussion of community engagements, Redneck Revolt praxis and more. This is a potluck with veg options, and it’s suggested you bring sides to share.
This week Bursts speaks with Greg Curry, a prisoner serving time for alleged participation in the Lucasville Prison uprising of 1993 where prisoners took over the Ohio prison, leading to the death of 10 inmates and one guard. For the hour, they speak about incarceration in the U.S., intersections of race and class, the prison strikes, capitalism and resistance. More on Greg’s case can be found at https://gregcurry.wordpress.com/
Prison Strike, Week 2
Here is another roundup of week two of of the National Prison Strike. This information was pulled from Mask Magazine, It’s Going Down, Support Prisoner Resistance, and the Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee.
Hunger strike begins at Lucasville and Ohio State Penitentiary, called by the Free Ohio Movement.
South Carolina prisoners release video of insects in their food.
Columbia, SC: Confirmed strike at Broad River Correctional Institution:
Florida: More prisoner uprising broke out on Monday night. According to the Miami Herald:
Florida’s state prisons have resumed “normal” operations despite a disturbance Monday night at Columbia Correctional, the fifth inmate uprising in less than a week, officials said. About 40 inmates engaged in civil disobedience by refusing officers’ orders and taking control of at least one dorm Monday evening. Columbia — one of the state’s most violent prisons — remained on lockdown Tuesday.
Since Thursday, inmates have caused trouble at four other prisons, all in the state’s Panhandle, including Gulf Annex Correctional, Mayo Correctional and Jackson Correctional. The most serious melee was at Holmes Correctional, where 400 inmates destroyed several dorms on Thursday.
Inmates involved in any incident have been moved to other prisons.
Chelsea Manning ends hunger strike that she began on September 9th. The army has agreed to grant her demands of gender affirming surgery.
Support Prisoner Resistance reports prison lockdowns in Arizona. Perryville, Yuma, Tuscon, Douglas, and Phoenix. It is unclear whether these are related to the strike, more information is forthcoming.
Merced, CA: Supporters report another block joins hunger strike. You can hear full coverage of this situation on the most recent IGD Cast here.
Holman Prison, AL: Free Alabama Movement issues press release calling for an end to the humanitarian crisis at the prison. They state through social media that many guards are not reporting to work and that much of the prison remains unguarded. This is from a press release which came out yesterday:
A serious humanitarian crisis is developing at Holman prison as correctional officers continue to walk off of the job amid concerns about safety and apathy from Warden Terry Raybon and the office of ADOC Commissioner Jefferson S Dunn, as violence, including deadly stabbings and assaults continue to mount.
Several officers expressed dismay and fear after learning that two of their fellow officers, Officer Brian Ezell and another officer, reported to Warden Raybon that they had knives drawn on them and their lives threatened, and that neither Warden Raybon, nor Commissioners Jeff Dunn and Grantt Culliver would take any action to ensure their safety. Both of these officers then quit.
Several other officers have also quit in the past three weeks after witnessing a stabbing of a fellow officer in the temple and who had remained hospitalized with life threatening injuries until he was pronounced dead earlier today. This after a former warden, Carter Davenport, was stabbed in March amidst back to back riots and other violence at Holman.
Now, after seeing Warden Raybon release approximately 20 people from segregation on September 13, 2016, most of whom were all in segregation for violent incidents (only to see several stabbing take place, including one critically injured and another losing an eye), a total of eight more officers have e ither quit or turned in their two week notices. Officers are expressing concern that the Commissioners of the ADOC are intentionally exacerbating violence at the expense of human life in efforts to push forward their plan to extort the public for 1.5 billion to build new prisons in next years Legislative Session.
Officers have began to express support for the Non-Violent stance of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and their efforts to expose corruption, violence and other issues plaguing Holman and other Alabama prisons, and have went so far as to make repeated requests to Warden Raybon for the release of F.A.M. co-founder and organizer Kinetik Justice from solitary confinement, because officers now feel that he is being wrongfully detained and because he has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to conduct peaceful demonstrations at Holman prison to bring attention to issues within the ADOC and Holman prison.
We are asking that everyone call Commissioner Dunn and Warden Raybon and demand that they post daily reports of the staffing levels and incidents of violence taking place at Holman as a matter of public safety.
Warden Terry Raybon
Holman Correctional Facility
Commissioner Jefferson Dunn
Commissioner Grantt Culliver
334-353-3883 (switchboard operator)
We close with this update from inside prison walls in SC:
“Comrades up here having an inside meeting to critically analyze the Prison strike strong and weak positions. For many it didn’t go far enough. Crucial points of resolution are not addressed. Certain regions didn’t feel the love, so the fire didn’t burn where they were at. Strong points, it was time. Unity was found on the outside. More people are talking about prison issues. Inside prisoners found unity in certain units or prisons. We too are talking more. These are just samples of what we need to start discussions around, particularly the prisoners. Because this will tell us how to add this moment in the movement, to the collective of prison rebellions to strengthen it, and toss the weak points.
Big UPS to the Prisoners thats always refused to comply. I’m one. For over a decade I’ve been punish with little privileges do to my insistent stance not to work. So the prisons close us off from the working prisoners. Its good to see others joining. But its not enough. They’ll let the few of us lay. So to be truly effective, time to plan and prepare for the next phase.”
Call for solidarity from IWOC
Meanwhile, the IWOC is making every effort to track the strike in the hopes of continuing this resistance and locating forms of solidarity and calls for assistance. If you would like to help in this effort, there is a comprehensive phone zaps list that includes a rundown of phone numbers, some context for the specific struggles, and suggested scripts to read if and when you get the pigs on the line. You can see this Google Doc here.
Also, if you hear anything, or are able to call prisons and ask about lockdown status, please let IWOC know via email at: iwoc(at)riseup(dott)net If you make calls for a given state and hear no lockdowns, please report that too.
Stay tuned all around for updates on the strike. Love and solidarity!
Legal fund donations to AVL and ATL
And finally (tho not lastly) just to plug, and to yet again express our love for our jailed NC and GA comrades, people here in Asheville and in Atlanta still need donations for legal funds. All of these folks were arrested while expressing solidarity with the Prison Strike, and the folks from Atlanta are facing some insane felony charges. All of them are out of jail now, but are beginning the long, slow battle with the criminal injustice system and they need your support.
To donate to comrades in Asheville, and to see a pretty sweet write up of the events of the day in our town, you can visit:
And to express solidarity to Atlanta, you can visit: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bail-out-prison-strike-supporters
Some anarchist media not to be missed
I’d like to share a few notes on recent anarchist audio and video media in english that I’ve been appreciating in hopes of enticing you, dear audience, into checking them out.
Crimethinc’s The Exworker has begun rebroadcasting. This most recent episodes of the podcast focuses on the September 9th strike with a conversation with Azzurra of the ABC in Houston, TX, and Ben Turk of IWOC based in Wisconsin. Episode 49 also includes a review of Captive Nation: Black Organizing In The Civil Rights Era, an interview with an anarchist in the UK about Brexit and other tidbits. #50 also includes a segment mourning the death of Jordan MacTaggart, an American anarchist who died on the front lines in Rojava recently, a segment celebrating the death of former police chief and all-around king-bastard John Timoney and a rebroadcast of a Crna Luknja interview with members of DAF about Turkey after the attempted Coup. These ExWorkers are well worth a listen and available at http://crimethinc.com/podcast/
Also, submedia’s most recent episode on strikes, the DAPL pipeline and more entitled Burn Down The Plantation features a great interview with Melvin Ray of the Free Alabama Movement. This sits alongside a second video installment explaining anarchist fundamentals, this time featuring the concept of Mutual Aid, short videos on continued struggles in France against the #LoiTravail, direct action against fascists in Athens. These and more can be found at https://submedia.tv/stimulator/
It’s Going Down is now producing the IDGcast which can be found at http://itsgoingdown.org/ and include thus far timely interviews on the uprising in Milawukee, words from the Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline, the state of the alt-right or new white nationalist movements in North America and a discussion on communes and struggle with Morgan and El Errante. The most recent episode features an interview with a woman on hunger strike in Merced, California, in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners against the deplorable situation in this poor and rural county’s jails. The jails have witnessed abuses, deaths and injuries among those imprisoned in adult and juvenile detention at the hands of sadistic CO’s. Find the IDGcast at http://itsgoingdown.org/podcast
Resonance Audio Distro, or RAD, is a source for radical and anarchist audio of zines, books and essays and, among other things, produced an awesome and lengthy interview with Sylvie Kashdan and Robby Barnes to give context to two plays by these rapscallions that Resonance put online. Robbie and Sylvie are longtime anarchists living in the Seattle area who have been involved in The 5th Estate magazine for decades and have tons of stories and experiences to share. Check out Resonance at https://resonanceaudiodistro.org/
Season two of The Brilliant Podcast has begun and is apparently headed towards a new format. The most recent episode features a conversation with Isaac Cronin, curator of the Cruel Hospice imprint at Little Black Cart, talks about his experiences of Situationism, pro and post-Situ ideas and play in the U.S. since the 1960’s. Check this and more out at http://thebrilliant.org/
Finally, hip hop artist Sole is continuing to put out interesting discussions on his podcast SOLEcast. Most recently, Sole talked to Franco “Bifo” Berardi on Capitalism, Mass Killings, Suicide & Alienation. Episodes can be found at http://www.soleone.org/solecast
This week, we’ll be featuring a short roundup of some of the events inside and outside of the prison walls during the beginning of the Prisoner Work Strike that started on September 9th in the United Snakes with the goal of ending Prison Slavery in U.S. prisons. After that we’ll hear the last half hour of Gil O’Teen’s conversation with Guy McGowan Steel Steward, an American anarcho-communist about his joining the Rojava Revolution alongside Kurdish and other folks in Northern Syria. This portion, they discuss nationalism and national identity in Rojava, the draft, the decision to adopt Federalization within Rojava and more. This is within the context of recent Turkish incursions into the Kurdish regions of northern Syria which have led to deaths among civilians and YPG/YPJ forces of the Kurdish Resistance. These deaths include foreign fighters who’ve joined the Rojava struggle. Happily, Guy is not among those dead. There is an interesting discussion and an homage to american anarchist fighter Jordan MacTaggart, an interview with Rojava Solidarity NYC, plus much much more in the latest episode of The Ex-Worker podcast, available at http://crimethinc.com/podcast that I suggest folks check out and share with friends.
Background and Inside Resistance
As many of you are probably aware, Friday September 9th kicked off the largest and most coordinated prisoner work stoppage in the US in all history, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising. Organized in conjunction with incarcerated members of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), this work stoppage is turning a bright spotlight on the continuing condition of slavery in the United States, a slavery upon which this country’s economy is cripplingly dependant. Prisoners are also forced to be responsible for running the actual prisons themselves, working in the laundry, cafeteria, and so on, pretty much in any non-administrative capacity you can think of. I don’t think it should go without saying that much of this labor goes unwaged, though the on average 13 cents an hour that inmates get paid is nothing compared to the exorbitant costs of goods in prison stores.
Friday kicked off the actual strike, but resistance from within prison got started well before then with fires being set at Lincoln Correctional Center in Lincoln, Nebraska on September 6th, a 4 dormitory wide riot at Holmes prison in Bonifay, Florida on the 7th which hopped from dorm to dorm in the facility keeping just ahead of the CO’s attemts to quell the rebellion, creating a Whak-A-Mole type situation that I’m sure the prison officials just loved. Also on the 7th inmates at the infamous military detention center Guantanamo Bay remain on hunger strike to protest their indefinite detentions, many of whom were captured as part of the xenophobic and racist governmental response to September 11th, 2001, 15 years ago today.
September 9th at noon saw a complete work stoppage at Holman Correctional in Atmore, Alabama where our comrade Michael Kimble is held captive. There is no incidents yet from prison officials, and guards and COs were forced to perform all tasks. Sit down strikes and work stoppages were also held in Bonifay, FL in the aforementioned Holmes Prison, amid the ashes of the fires set only two days prior. In Troy VA, there was a work stoppage at a women’s facility, and all across this state of North Carolina prisoners refused to report to their jobs. At a women’s facility in California 10 or so brave souls refused to work and effectively shut the whole prison down because of fear of a riot. Disturbances were reported at Gulf and Mayo prisons in Florida, and three guards were injured in scuffles at Tecumseh Prison in Nebraska.
Yesterday saw a continuation of resistance in Nebraska at a women’s facility, from all over South Carolina, and continuing resistance in Atmore. Solidarity from overseas has been flying in fast and furious, with statements from prisoners in Greece, Australia, Lithuania, and Sweden among many others.
Repression of those who are striking has mostly consisted of prison lockdowns and targeting of people who have been designated the “ringleaders”. It will be very important for people to recieve solidarity from those on the outside in order for this resistance to continue. Keep your eyes on itsgoingdown.org and the live updates at http://maskmagazine.com for current info and calls for backup. You can visit the IWOC at iwoc.org for a list of concrete anti-repression tactics to share with those who are incarcerated and otherwise.
Local Events, Arrests, and Donations to the Legal Fund
Now, let’s take a gander at some of the events we were able to find that took place outside of the prison walls, per se, around the U.S. and around the world.
A full narrative of outside support events would take a very long time, which is a good thing, so we’re going to read through some highlights starting local to get the attention of the folks locally on this. We’ll be giving precedence to two local struggles in which arrests occurred. If folks from elsewhere have an experience they want to share, send us an email at email@example.com or add it to the growing lists of solidarity by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
First off, let’s begin with Western North Carolina.
This text is from a fundraising site to cover legal costs :
“In the early afternoon of Septmeber 9th, comrades held a banner outside of the Avery Mitchell Correctional Facility in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. This was an attempt to offer support to any of the 816 prisoners at the facility involved in prison functions who may have chosen to withhold their labor as part of the wider strike against prison society. 5 arrests were made and trespassing charges were issued.
Later that afternoon in downtown Asheville, and following a #NoDAPL solidarity march and protest at TD Bank, there was a march through downtown in support of striking prisoners. 60-70 folks banged pots and pans, held banners and signs, passed out leaflets and chanted “Brick By Brick, Wall By Wall, We Will Make Your Prisons Fall” and other classics. Police followed the march blaring requests to get out of the street and eventually attempted to push the marchers onto the sidewalk with their vehicles. Attempts to engage the Friday night drum circle into hitting the pavement fell on deaf ears as folks made their way towards the Buncombe County Detention Facility. While passing by the local Goombay festival, flyers were distributed and a group of folks backstage answered our chants of “Our Passion for Freedom…” with their own melodious note of “Freedom”. A few minutes later and a few blocks away, 3 of ours were arrested, accused of blocking traffic and one with an additional charge of resisting arrest. By midnight the 3 were out.
Everyone is out and no more money for bail is required, but support for legal defense, court fees and lawyers is necessary, and we are asking for your help
At moments like these it is so crucial that we support people doing work to sustain the struggle for racial justice & prison abolition. This allows us to create stronger movements where we can all continue to be leaders in these fields and help a build stronger sense of community, especially in the south. We are all in this together and we need to continuously show up for each other, not just in the streets but in ways that allow us to continue to sustain our lives and our passions for the movement.
We believe that no one should go through this alone, especially marginalized folks who are brave enough to put themselves in these front lines. We are so proud of the North Carolina communities right now.”
You can connect to that fundraiser at: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/legal-support-for-wnc-sept-9-solidarity-activists
Folks in Atlanta took the streets on Friday, September 9th, in the face of serious police repression. From http://atlblackcross.org comes this information:
“Today marks the beginning of the national prison strike. Prisoners all over the country are going on strike and refusing to cooperate with the unjust prison system. They are demanding decent pay for work, decent food and living conditions, and an end to inhumane practices like solitary confinement.
In Atlanta, supporters marched through Midtown and disrupted several corporations which profit from prison slavery. Wendy’s, McDonalds, Aramark, and Starbucks all got a visit. When the march got to Starbucks, police made several violent arrests, using pepper spray and slamming people to the pavement. At one point, police even tried to run marchers over with a squad car.
We are working hard to make sure all the protesters get free as soon as possible, so everyone can continue doing the important work of supporting the ongoing prison strike.” As of this morning, Sunday, September 11th (make a wish!), all defendants are out but are facing some stupidly hefty charges. One demonstrator apparently was taken during their arrest to a police precinct women’s bathroom and choke slammed against the wall for being a part of copwatch in Atlanta. FTP!
More on the Atlanta cases and how to support them can be found at https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bail-out-prison-strike-supporters
International solidarity with the strike has been tremendous, with banner drops, graffitti and actions ranging far and wide. Here are a few instances of international solidarity, this is by no means a complete list. You can see more information about this, plus photos and full statements at It’s Going Down.
* Horgoš, Serbia: Banner drop in support of prison strike.
* Brisbane, Australia: Solidarity action with US prisoners.
*Melbourne, Australia: Info table with literature about US prisons and the prison strike, along with collected donations.
* Melbourne, Australia: Anarchist demonstration outside US Consulate.
* Malmö, Sweden: Solidarity demonstration.
* Athens, Greece: Demonstration outside Korydallos women’s prison.
* Leipzig, Germany: Rally outside US Consulate.
* Montreal, Canada: Dinner and film screening in solidarity with prisoner rebellion.
* Melbourne, Australia: Noise demo at youth jail.
* Barcelona, Spain: Graffiti messages of support written on McDonald’s.
Playlist is here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/17496
This week’s episode features a conversation with Tyler Durden of Portland Anarchist Black Cross (http://pdxabc.org) & the Portland Industrial Workers of the World (http://portlandiww.org/) about the upcoming September 9th National Prisoner Work Stoppage across the United States. September 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprsing in 1971 and is an effort by prisoners in local, state, federal & immigration facilities around the country to address issues around the nature of their confinement, racial and class disparities in incarceration, under-and-un-payed (in some states, forced) labor often described as legalized slavery. Over the hour, we talk about organizing efforts and how to clue in to the strikes as they start this week.
A few quick announcements for this episode…
Call for Anti-DAPL Solidarity Actions
There is a call-out for acts of solidarity with the folks resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline. As we spoke about a couple of episodes ago in Gil’s interview with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard who owns the land where the Sacred Stone Camp is held, resistance to the pipeline designed to carry crude oil from source through 3 states to Illinois and cross the Missouri River a number of times continues to grow. Indigenous peoples and their supporters are gathering for nonviolent, direct action protests to block the pipeline’s construction and the threat it poses to the soil, animals, plants and that longest river in North America, the Missouri. From https://nodaplsolidarity.org comes the calll for #NoDAPL Global Weeks of Solidarity Action from September 3-17th. That site offers suggestions of places to target for protest. nodaplsolidarity.org also offers suggestions of banks and businesses maybe in your area that are funding the pipeline and that could be a nice place to visit to express one’s distaste for the pipeline.
Plug into Sept 9 actions nationwide
If you’re in the U.S. and looking to plug into a supporting prisoner struggle in your area, check out https://itsgoingdown.org/spreading-strike-solidarity-actions-across-north-america-september-9th/ for a partial and growing list of events nationwide. If you’re planning a public event not up there, email it into info(at) itsgoingdown(dot)org for other to see.
Asheville Sept 9 action
Here in Asheville, folks will meet at Aston Park, at the corner of South French Broad and Hilliard in Downtown, at 5:30 to discuss a solidarity march. Bring banners, noisemakers, signs and so forth.
Coyote Acabo , an anti-racist activist from Olympia, WA has a rough road ahead of him and could really use some support. He is currently serving 13 days on an anti-police graffiti case, and has another 22 days to serve in the very near future on a case where he was convicted of throwing a rock at a truck belonging to a neo-nazi. That’s a neo-nazi that showed up with many others to counter an anti-police brutality protest that Coyote was a part of.
Last year, Olympia saw a lot of spirited marches and demonstrations in protest of an Olympia police officer shooting two young black men, Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin. In response to the very understandable anti-police brutality demonstrations that were going on at that time, neo -nazis were showing up to disrupt the protesting which at times even meant neo-nazis attacking the protesters.
Well, Coyote has a third case that he is currently dealing with, and for that case his trial starts on September 19th where he is being charged with felony assault. In this case he is being accused of pepper spraying a counter protester who grabbed someone who was a part of an anti- police brutality protest that Coyote was a part of.
Coyote is now in the city jail in Olympia, WA and money is being raised that will go towards phone calls , commissary, and to help his family out while he is locked up.
Visit the crowd funding site, here: https://rally.org/supportcoyoteacabo to learn more about how you can donate to the support fund. Also, please pass it around as well. Solidarity from near and far is so important in times like these.
Call for International Solidarity Oct 8-9, 2016, with the ZAD at NDdL in France
“the entire zone is due for evictions to start the construction of this absurd airport. Prime minister Valls has promised a “Rendez-Vous” this October to evict everyone who is living, working, building and farming on the zone.
On October 8th, tens of thousands of people will gather on the zad to demonstrate that the determination of the movement is as strong as ever. Honouring farmers struggles from the past, we will come with wooden walking batons and leave them on the zone, as a sign of the commitment to come back and pick them up again if necessary. We will also raise a barn, built by dozens of carpenters during the summer, which will be used as a base, should evictions happen.
We are calling on all international groups and movements to either come to the zone on October 8th or show their solidarity with the zad through actions directed at the French government or multinational Vinci in their own towns and cities on that day.
The airport will never be built. Life on the zad will keep on flourishing!”
Future updates can be found at http://zad.nadir.org
This week we spoke with Alex about Bend the Bars conference which is taking place in Columbus OH on the weekend of August 26th-29th. This is a gathering which was called for in direct support for the September 9th national prisoner work strike, and is one of the only gatherings that we know of which explicitly centers the work of people doing direct support with incarcerated folks as opposed to NGOs and non profits. In this conversation we speak about the intentions for the conference as well touching on the prison condition in the US, the National Work Strike, and many other things.
You can learn more about this event by visiting https://bendthebars.noblogs.org/, and you can RSVP to this event or correspond with the organizers by emailing email@example.com
And, to visit the news sources that our guest mentioned, and to learn more about the upcoming national prisoner work strike to be called on September 9th, you can visit the following websites:
Additionally there is https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/, which is a resource for folks who want more
information about the day to day litigation that affects convicts and their families.
But first here is an announcement regarding AntiFenix by our comrades in the so called Czech Republic:
“Last week the appeal court hearing took place in the High Court in Prague. Russian, vegan, straight-edge anarchist Igor Ševcov, who was appealing his sentence – a 2 year expulsion from the Czech Republic for video recording someone else graffitiing prison walls during a support demonstration (complicity to criminal damage) – was given a new sentence.
The judgement remained the same – the high court still finds him complicit in criminal damage, but the judge changed the penalty. The new sentence: Igor is banned from attending any sporting or cultural event or any event like a manifestation, demonstration, benefit, mobilization, protest or any other action within the anarchist movement.
We do not know yet what it means exactly, but it’s likely that Igor will have to visit a probation office any time there is a big action, and he will be surveilled during any other event by under cover state agents and spies. If he violates his sentence he can be put behind bars for up to 3 years.
We do not know if Igor will follow this sentence, try to oppose it legally or just follow his own agenda and feelings and see what happens in the future. In any case, he has our full support.
If you want to support Igor, rather than congratulating him on his “better” sentence, ask him what kind of support he needs, for he is in a very uncomfortable situation. And mostly, keep changing your
environment into a world where repression, exclusion and borders are exchanged for mutual solidarity and freedom.”
To learn more about this situation, you can visit their support website at https://antifenix.noblogs.org
While national coverage continues surround reactions to police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in Minneapolis, and so many other people of color, and significantly black men killed by police, protests continue here in Asheville around the police killing of Jai “Jerry” Williams on July 2nd of this year. Jai was shot 7 times and killed by Sgt. Tyler Radford at the Deaverview Apartments in West Asheville on July 2nd. Since then family, community members and activists have continued acting in public to make sure the police account of what happened July 2nd does not go unchallenged. This activity includes presenting a different version of the story, working to support family and make space for their needs, marches downtown, flyering, interceding at public meetings, vigils outside of the Asheville Police HQ and also a sit-in that ran for about 36 hours in the HQ lobby and leading to the arrest of 7 on July 22nd. The demands of the sit-in included the firing, arrest and indictment of Sgt. Radford for the murder of Jai Williams.
Support and resistance events continue. If you’re in the Asheville area and want to help out and draw attention to the case and bring home the message that this touristic mountain town suffers the same plague as the rest of the U.S. in terms of police unaccountability and systemic racism, you can join folks in the streets in vigil outside of the downtown police headquarters at the daily vigils at 6pm and plug in.
Much respect to those resisting, solidarity with the family. Shut it down.
This week we spoke with Firehawk, who is an anarchist and anti prison/anti carceral state organizer based out of Colarado. In this interview we talk about her zine “Governing Bodies, Governing Souls: Female incarceration, ‘rehabilitation’, and promising radical strategies”, which came out of her experiences conducting research into increasing rates of incarceration in women’s prisons in the US. We talk about those experiences, about the zine in general, and about possible ways to be a support to incarcerated people and to anti-carceral struggles. We also talk about the various ways in which incarceration of transgender people are represented or thought about, a topic not necessarily included in the zine.
If you have any opinions about how we discussed this topic, we would love to hear them. Additionally, if you have a take on this issue that we did not touch on, or more information that we didn’t consider, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can email William Goodenuff at stormwater(a t)riseup.net, *or* you can email Firehawk at firehawk666(aat)riseup.net.
You can go check out and download a printable version of the zine, “Governing Bodies // Governing Souls” at http://insurgenttheatre.org/hackett.pdf.
If you are interested in interfacing with the WEBS class, visit the facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/websofsupport/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. And for the Unstoppable Publication, again you can visit http://unstoppable.noblogs.org to order a copy and to learn more about this project.
But first here are some announcements:
There will be a volunteer interest meeting for the Asheville based group the Tranzmission Prison Project, Wed June 29th at 7pm sharp in the upstairs room of the west asheville Izzy’s at 373 Haywood Road. The Tranzmission Prison Project is a volunteer run group which sends books and zines to LGBTQI prisoners, all free of charge. To get in touch with them, you can email them at email@example.com or search for them on facebook.
This was communicated to The Final Straw from our comrades in the so called Czech Republic, who have been facing government and police oppression in the form of an initiative called “Operation Fenix”, which specifically targets anarchists.
“As “Czech” Anarchist Black Cross and the AntiFenix Collective, we call for international solidarity actions against the repression of anarchists in the so-called Czech Republic. This repressive wave is labeled Operation Fenix – 8 people are accused or charged, some with possible life sentences, and with many more harassed by police, interrogated, raided, devices confiscated.
Our call for international solidarity is to support all of charged and affected, but also in particular to support Martin, an anarchist who was entrapped and accused of preparation of a terrorist attack, all planned by two state infiltrators. He has been locked away already almost 14 months in terrible conditions, and in response, he has just gone on hunger strike. Especially in places where you have Czech embassies or consulates, you can show that borders can’t stop anarchist solidarity.”
To learn more about this you can visit antifenix.noblogs.org
The sentencing date for vegan anarchist prisoner, Eric King has been set for Tuesday, June 28th at 11:30am at the US District Court House in Kansas City, Missouri. Eric accepted a non-cooperating plea to federal arson charges. He was convicted of attempting to set fire to a congress-member’s office. If you’d like to attend his sentencing, it’s suggested that you arrive by 11am to Courtroom 8A at 400 East 9th St in Kansas City with a valid, state-issued ID and plan to go through a metal detetctor. There is a request for fund-raising for his expected 8-year sentence, support t-shirts, his current mailing address, details on his case and more that can be found at http://supportericking.org
The Industrial Workers of the World Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee is requesting folks to email and call Waupun Correctional Institute in Wisconsin on today and Monday, June 20th. The hunger strike involving at least 5 prisoners is focused on an end to the practice of long term solitary confinement in the state of Wisconsin. As of Sunday, today, people have been on hunger strike in Waupun for 13 days. One of the hunger strikers, Cesar De Leon, announced 6/15/16 that he is now also refusing water because Waupun’s water supply is contaminated by lead, he vomits up their water and experiences stomach pain and heart-burn when he drinks it.
If you wish to write to participating prisoners to make message of support to hunger strikers, please write to: Cesar Deleon #322800, Lamar Larry #293906, Rayshun Woods #390831, LaRon McKinley #42642, at:
Waupon Correctional Institute
P.O. Box 351
Waupon, WI 53963
Norman Green #228971 has recently been transferred to Columbia, and can be written at
Columbia Correctional Institute
P.O. Box 900
Portage, WI 53901
More details can be found on the facebook page entitled phone and email zap: support wisconsin prisoners’ hunger strike day 13 & 14: https://www.facebook.com/events/1900430210184456/