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!
****This show carries a heavy content warning for institutionalized violence against incarcerated people, suicide, and issues related to mental wellness//unwellness.******
This week I’m sharing a conversation with David Easley, an imprisoned member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, or IWOC, currently held at Toledo Correctional in Ohio. In response to his organizing around the Nationwide Prison Strike in 2018, he and a few other prisoners were thrown into segregation, have had their mail tampered with and stolen. David has also been transferred between numerous facilities around the state as punishment, losing personal items and his ability to communicate with the outside along the way. We were also joined by Jasper, a supporter of David’s and a participant in the Free Ohio Movement. For the hour, David and Jasper talk about the prison system, the challenges they’ve faced opposing it and ways that folks can get involved.
You can write to David at the following address:
Toledo Correctional Institution
2001 East Central Avenue
Toledo, OH 43608
David mentions a few other prisoners who have struggled and faced repression for facing down injustice in the Ohio prison system. Keith Lamar, aka Bomani Shakur, is a death row prisoner and author of Condemned. He needs public support to fight his wrongful conviction in relation to the 1993 Lucasville Prison Uprising and to hold the State of Ohio accountable. More on his case can be found at https://www.facebook.com/pg/keithlamarcondemned. Check out our interview with Bomani about his book Condemned at our website. Bomani is set to be executed by the state of Ohio on Nov. 16, 2023.
Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan is another Ohio prisoner facing the death penalty for helping resolve the 1993 Lucasville Uprising. You can hear our interviews with and about Hasan up at our website. Updates on Hasan can be found at LucasvilleAmnesty.org and more about the Free Ohio Movement is up at their website, FreeOhioMovement.org and also their fedbook under the username @FreeOhioMovement.
Matt Hinkston (A724969) is another prisoner that was on hunger strike with David Easley. Kristopher Chilton (A558673) is the an IWOC member that David mentions who’s working on challenging adult sentencing of minors in OH. Kristopher and Matt are both at Toledo CI, same as David, so can be written there.
Central Ohio IWOC has been very helpful in supporting David and other prisoners through this. IWOC is a union of Incarcerated Workers and outside supporters, and their fedbook can be found under the username @OfficialCentralOhioIWOC. Their main site for IWOC is incarceratedworkers.org, where you can find tons of resources and updates on calling campaigns and ways to get involved.
We found out a few days ago that Sean has been interstate transferred from Ohio to Virginia. While it’s nice that he’s closer to the radio show, it’s bound to be a very tumultuous move for Sean. VA has a different legal system in it’s prisons, Sean likely has none of the friends from his last 27 years inside the Ohio system present where he’s at, he’ll be facing a whole set of new challenges settling in. I don’t know anything about the specifics of his transfer but we hope to hear from him soon. Write him a letter at his new address (and new prisoner number) if you can:
Sean Swain #2015638
Nottoway Correctional Center
P.O. Box 488
Burkeville, VA 23922
This week on the Final Straw, we’re featuring two main events, both themed around the Prison Strike ongoing across Turtle Island until at least September 9th.
First, an interview we conducted with Kevin “Rashid” Johnson. Rashid is a co-founder of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party and is the Minister of Defense from within it’s Prison Chapter. He is the author of two books available from Kersplebedeb, Defying the Tomb & Panther Vision, both collections of Rashid’s art and essays on capitalism, racism, imperialism and his view of a road towards liberation. Rashid is a Maoist and presents some interesting arguments in his writings. In this interview, Rashid talks briefly about his own case, his politicization behind bars, organizing the NABPP-PC, it’s split from the New Black Panther Party, cross-racial class organizing, the #PrisonStrike and more. We hope to be able to bring more of Rashid’s voice in the future. To check out his writing and and his quite literally iconic art, check out rashidmod.com. And at the moment you can write to Rashid at the following address:
Kevin Johnson #1007485 Sussex 1 State Prison 24414 Musselwhite Dr. Waverly, VA 23891
A transcription of this first interview will be found at the bottom of the page and an imposed zine for printing imposed zine for printing can be found here soon.
Next, we’ll hear an audio post-card that some friends put together, interspersing words of encouragement and audio from a noise demonstration outside Hyde prison in Eastern North Carolina on August 20th. Prisoners at Hyde CI met the outside supporters in the yard and from across lines of razor wire they unfurled three banners with simple statements: “parole”; “better food”; & “In Solidarity”. To read an article about the noise demo, see some pictures and hear about NC specific demands, check out the article, “Community Shows Support as NC Prisoners Rally With Banners“ on ItsGoingDown. Make some noise!
To close out the hour, we will hear some words of encouragement to striking prisoners in #Amerikkka from comrades incarcerated in #Klanada!
If you’re in Asheville today (Sunday September 9th), consider dropping by Firestorm at 610 Haywood Rd at 5pm to join #BlueRidgeABC for the monthly political prisoner letter writing night. Supplies will be free as well as info on writing prisoners, names and addresses, and comradery.
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Show playlist here. . … . ..
Q: Could you please introduce yourself for the listening audience?
A: Alright, this is Kevin Rashid Johnson, I am a prisoner, incarcerated in Virginia at Sussex 1 State Prison.
Q: How has the prison tried to silence your organizing and writing over the years, and is this a consequence of the prison strike or other efforts?
A: I think I’ve gone through the entire range of reprisals. I’ve been subjected to physical attacks. I’ve been denied meals. I’ve been attempted to be subjected to dehydration, I’ve been subjected to destruction of property. Most recently I was transferred out of state, sent first to Oregon, then transferred from Oregon as a result of writing and exposing abuses in that prison system, to Texas. Same process resulted — I was transferred from Texas to Florida. Florida just got rid of me in June and sent me back to Virginia. I was then transferred — when I returned to Virginia, to Red Onion State Prison, and moved from Red Onion State prison and transferred on the 12th of July, and sent here to Sussex 1 State Prison, and I’m now being house on death row, although I have no death sentence, and that being with the obvious purpose of isolating me from other prisoners, as there are only three prisoners left on Virginia’s Death Row, and they’re spread out in a 44 cell pod, which I’m housed in separated and all the inmates have been instructed not to talk to me. So, the major effort has been to isolate me and to remove me from areas and places where they felt I would be able to talk to prisoners, to be able to gain info about abusive conditions and to, I guess, influence prisoners to challenge abuses and to stand up to conditions that are pretty inhumane and abusive. As far as responses to the prison work strike, I have not as of yet seen any reprisals or any response that I could call reprisals. And they expect that there would be exposure of anything they did, which may be the only deterrent at this point for any type of retaliation. But I’ve been involved in a commissary strike, not spending any money, as my contribution to the strike, because I’m confined in solitary and don’t have the ability to work. I have never participated in prison work. I’ve refused through my incarceration because I have recognized it is slave labor, and I refuse to allow them to exploit me in that fashion.
Q: For the listeners in the wider public, can you talk about the purpose of prisons under white supremacist capitalism in the US, and why it’s in all of our interest to not only struggle against these institutions, but to support prisoners’’ organizing efforts?
A: Well, from the outset, I think it’s rather obvious that there is a racial component to who is targeted with mass imprisonment within America, from the New Afrikan, that is Black, prisoners, Black social population being 12 to 13% in mainstream society but being some 50% of the prison pop nationwide. In Virginia, where I’m incarcerated, they have been something like 13% of the state population but 58% of the prison population. So, race clearly is a determinative factor in who is targeted within imprisonment and who receives their sentences and the extent of incarceration and where they are housed. In that context, within the prison system, it’s usually at the low security, the low level institutions where predominately white prisoners are housed, and the most extreme and harsh prisons, in each prison system I’ve been to and I know of, this is where the predominately Black and Brown prisoners are housed at. Within the prison structure, prisoners tend to polarize into racial groups, based on their shared cultural and social experiences, and guards and administration are typically inclined to try to manipulate prisoners against each other along racial grounds, racial lines, you know. The guards in my experience, especially where I just came from — Florida — are particularly orientated to acting out racist policies and politics. In fact, where I was confined, two of the institutions I was confined to, the Reception and Medical Center in Florida, in the Florida State Prison, those institutions have been exposed as employing card-carrying Ku Klux Klan members, in fact — three guards who were exposed as having plotted to kill an ex-prisoner who was Black, at the Reception and Medical Center, and revealed their plans to an FBI informant were recently prosecuted, and it came out during the prosecution that all three of them were card carrying Klansman, and that they work at the institution. And not long ago one of the legislatures on the Florida Congress had done a tour of the Reception and Medical Center, she being a Black woman, she pretty much expressed in the media that she feared for her life, the attitude of the white guards there were just openly racist. She acknowledged that she knew that the Klan played a prominent role in the staff and the administration of that institution and in that region, which is the same are the Florida State Prison is located. And she expressed her knowledge of a portion of the institution’s guards kicking Black prisoners’ teeth out who had gold teeth, and that in general, she knew that these institutions were run by the Ku Klux Klan. And this is from an elected member of the Congress of Florida, a Black woman who had done a tour and said that she literally was in fear of her life as she did this tour within the institution, because of the treatment and attitudes of white guards of the institution when she did her tour. So, the racial politics are pretty out in the open, and they’re able to exist in such at such a level because prisons not only hold people on the inside and keep us isolated from the general public, they also keep the general public locked out. So there is no scrutiny, there is no supervision, and there is generally no public accountability for and by those who work within the institution, so it’s just a closed culture, where all sorts of corruption and abuse is allowed to fester and just to be carried out with pretty much impunity. The support that is needed on the outside is tremendous. The support that the prisoners have been able to gain over the past several years in response to the work strikes and various attempts to publicize and challenge abusive conditions in the prisons have pretty much got word in to the institutions where prison officials had blocked prisoners from becoming aware of what was going on as far as protests going on and attempts to challenge and expose abuses. And it bolstered and motivated prisoners who otherwise were afraid to challenge abusive conditions and didn’t feel that there was anything that could be accomplished by trying to stand up and oppose conditions. It kind of motivated a lot of prisoners who weren’t otherwise involved to get involved. So the support that can be garnered on the outside and has been garnered is very important to this type of work and this type of struggle. It’s essential that those who are aware of these struggles and aware of these conditions give what support they can, not only as allies, but also as comrades.
Q: to anyone behind bars out there who might hear this interview, and is sitting on the fence about participation, what can you say about the nation-wide prison strike?
A: That they should not be deterred, they should not be discouraged, they should not just sit on their hands and refuse to get involved. The more of us who get involved, the stronger the outside support and awareness that we’re serious about the conditions that we’re challenging and the need for change — that they should not allow officials to continue to manipulate us against each other, whether along racial lines whether you’re talking about along the lines of street organizing. That’s what supporters… They should also not allow loved ones to discourage them from participating in the work strike. I know a lot of the loved ones who may hear about the strike, they may advise them to not get involved because of fear of them being transferred, a long way away from their loved ones, or they don’t want to see them subject to relation or being placed on lock down, but their loved ones should understand that this is a condition, that these are conditions that we live, that they’re not living them and that its important that we take a stand to change these abuses, and not play in to officials trying to isolate and play us one against the other, and cause people to refuse or fear coming involved, and keep us divided amongst ourselves. We need all possible participants; we need the greatest level of unity possible. And one of the things I always emphasize to my peers is, we outnumber the prison guards, the prison officers around us some 30 to one at very least. But they have total power and total control, because they always keep us divided, fearful, envious, and not trusting or believing in our own potential, where as they exercise complete and absolute unity in their actions. If they want to abuse you, the rest of them are gonna fall in line and support that abuse. If one them lies on us and mistreats us, the rest of them are going to conform to that lie and they’re gonna carry out that abuse. And that’s why they have the control and power that they have, because no matter what, no matter what the situation no matter the condition, they always work and stick together. And we need to take that same example and apply it to how we exercise our unity and our level of power amongst ourselves.
Q: Rashid, can you talk about your incarceration, political development, and a bit about the New Afrikan Black Panther Party that you helped to co-found? Also, how does it differ from the New Black Panther Party, formerly of the nation of Islam?
A: Ok, my imprisonment initially began in 1990. I was incarcerated for a murder that I had no involvement in, and large part, it was conspiratorial on the part of a police officer who I had a history of conflicts with. They subjected me to deliberate misidentification and a number of procedural violations during the prosecution of the case that was imputed against me, that went the actual jurisdiction, the actual power of the court to try to convict and sentence me for the charges that they were attempting to impute against me. Ok, throughout my imprisonment, particularly the first decade and a half, I spent a large part of my time struggling directly against guard abuses. Their physical abuses, I responded to with physical responses. They would abuse physically myself or others around me, and I would respond with physical reactions to their abuses. I went through the struggle pretty much back and forth, one to one head up conflicts with guards and their teams, riot guards and cell extraction teams, for about the first decade and a half. I became exposed to political thought put, particularly the writings of George Jackson, around 2002, when I was housed in an area with another prisoner, another political prisoner, Hanif Shabazz Bey, from the Virgin Islands. He turned me on to a lot of different political writings, and different political organizations that were involved in the system in America, the various revolutionary nationalist struggles that had taken place through the world through the 40s and 50s. I began to do extensive studies into various aspects and levels of progressive as well as revolutionary history and politics. Various theories, etc. And as I studied more, I came to understand the inherent dysfunctional nature of the capitalist, imperialist system that America is at the center of, and I understood or came to understand that the oppression that I was struggling against was much bigger than head to head clashes with individual guards, that it was largely an invalid system that pitted a small group of powerful wealthy people against the masses of working class people and poor people through out the world, and that they lived at the expense of these people. And to change conditions requires a struggle that mobilized the oppressed to bring about fundamental change at various levels of society. And I grew from a person inclined to react on a more individual level to one who recognized or saw the bigger picture and was more inclined to organize people and to contribute what I could with my resources, and the understanding that I was developed to build into something bigger, that was more, addressed more to the fundamental problems of the overall system. So in that, my clashes with individual guards lessened. I was also involved in mitigation and studying and understanding the political system and legal system. I became less inclined to, as I said, individualize my struggle against the system. Though, in doing that, I began to reach out more to people on the outside who were involved in political organizations, trying to pull people who were in positions of influence, politically people who were willing to mobilize groups of people in support of prisoners and conditions that we lived under, to challenge those conditions, to educate prisoners, and to try to consolidate a base of support on the outside to the inside. In doing this, I was able to understand some of the weaker points of the system. I understood where it was most effective to attack the power structure, and I understood, or came to understand that one of the most vulnerable places that you can direct your attack at the system is by exposing its corruption to the masses, because the masses are the sources of their power, that those people can’t be ruled over by an oppressor, or any power, unless they give their consent at some level to that ruling. And once they become aware of the illegitimacies and the corruption of the system, and they refuse to acknowledge or concede the legitimacy of the system, then they can typically overnight overthrow that system. And this is why the power structure expends such a massive amount of resources and propaganda to try to influence and keep the masses brainwashed and believing that they’re moralistic and they’re honest and they’re well-meaning and their intentions are oriented to the best interests of the masses, because they realize without some level of acknowledgment and consent, the masses of the people could not be ruled over and would not accept their authority, and as you observed during the Arab Spring in, what, 2011? — once the mass of the people refused to accept the power that rules over them, they can send that power into exile and flight over night, and the powers that be understand this. So I understood that by exposing the corruption and illegitimacy of those in power and the lies that the sustain themselves with, this is one means of undermining the false power and the false credibility and sense of legitimacy that these people try to portray themselves, as the basis of them exercising their authority over others. And it has proven most effective, particularly my writings about abuses going on inside of the prisons. My writings exposing the corruptions and illegitimacy of the power structure and the economic system to the extent that people have been receptive to my writings, I have seen a corresponding reaction by those in power, which, as I pointed out earlier, is a result of me facing a much higher level of reprisal and attempts to isolate me now, a very different response from when I was just in my head to head clashes with, you know, guards at a very low ranking lever. When I started to expose the system, they started tryna isolate me, to try and stop me from communicating with people on the outside, to shutting down my lines of communication, transferring me from state to state and deliberately sending me to states where conditions were known to be the most abusive in the country, particularly Texas and Florida, and trying to put me in positions where I would end up in violent clashes with other prisoners, and that sort of thing.
But anyway, as I became more politically I aware, I saw the need for political organizations to represent those who do not have political representations and to operate to educate and organizing the masses on a more revolutionary and fundamental level of understanding the political economic system on how to challenge and ultimately over throw that oppressive system in the interest of the working class and in support of the people. So, we co-founded the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter initially as an autonomous of the New Black Panther Party, being aware the New Black Panther Party started in 2000 was not practicing the politics and they were not living up to principles in the program of the original Black Panther Party, but had pretty much wrapped up these politics, the racial politics of the Nation of Islam, in an artificial garb of Black Pantherism. And our agenda was to try to take that organization in to the politics and the revolutionary ideology of the original Black Panther Party and to change their reverse racism, and to put them more on to the path of revolutionary politics of the original party. Ultimately, we realized that it was futile trying to do this, in that they were not interested in changing their political orientation, or to maintaining or carrying forward the agenda of the original Panther Party, so we ultimately split from the New Black Panther Party.
We changed our name to the National Black Panther Party Prison Chapter, and from there we have maintained the political line of the original Black Panther Party, but we have been very focused on not repeating the mistakes of the original party, but building on the correct contributions that the party made to the struggle of the 60s and 70s. And trying to carry forward what they were able to accomplish during their more revolutionary stages, which was from 1966 to 1971, and to, again, not repeat the errors that they made, and to learn from the mistakes that they made and from the what we understand now to be a very vicious campaign carried out against them by the US government, and the inclination of the government to attack any organization that seeks to open the eyes of the masses of the people. And we ourselves have been subjected to the same sort attacks and attempts to undermine. We’ve been stigmatized as Black Separatists and domestic terrorists, and all when we have done nothing and we have not been fighting for doing anything except publicizing the corruption of the law enforcement establishment and the abuses inside the US prisons, and they have identified this as being the behavior that they dislike, that they feel qualified us as threats to the security of the country. And I was personally profiled in a 2009 threat assessment report as a domestic terrorist because of my involvement in publicizing abuses in, you know, American prisons. And they’re saying that I prove to have exercised a good level of influence over people and society, in turning them against the law enforcement system because of my writings, which is pretty absurd. But this has been the thrust of what we are trying to organize, and some of the work that we’ve done, and the response has been, as I said, repression, isolation, attempts to attack us, subjecting the various members, leading members of our org to various levels of reprisal. Being placed in, thrown in solitary, subjected to all sorts of physical abuses, and you know, other attempts to try and dissuade and deter us from the work that we’re trying to do.
Q: The New Afrikan Black Panther Party has a focus of org with folks of African descent. In your view, how can folks in other groups, like white folks, act as comrades as you say in struggle against white supremacy?
A: Alright, within our party, we founded in 2006 in what’s called the White Panther Organization and subsequent to that, the Brown Panther Organizational Committee, as arms of our party. We are the first Panther organization that has actually brought white comrades and brown comrades in to our party. So we have brown and white Panthers in our party, and the function of them is to take the line of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party in to the white communities to struggle against the racism in the white communities, the Brown Panthers take the same line in to the brown communities, and the thing is to bring all these different sectors of society, both domestic and abroad, into a consolidated, united front that will unify us in the single struggle against the imperialist system, particularly focused on the marginalized people that are called criminalized or the Lumpen. Our work is specifically again to take the struggle to the power structure at the most fundamental level, and to build the sort of unity that has been probably the Achilles heel of revolutionary struggles, and undermining their effectiveness, and that has been polarizing factor of race. And as I see it, this is our approach in it has proven quite effective. Initially when they sent me out of state, they sent me to Oregon, which is one of the few prison systems in America where there is a predominately white prisoner population — it’s probably like 5 or 10% Black. And they sent me there after they had profiled me as a Black Separatist, and when I got to Oregon, they spread amongst the large number of Aryan gangs up there that I was Black Panther, which they portrayed as some sort of Black variation of the Ku Klux Klan, portraying us as anti-white and wanted to make race war against white people and this sort of thing, and they were trying to create a violent conflict between me and the white groups up there, which was obviously the point of them sending me to that state. But in effect, because of the politics of our party, and the orientation of the line of our white panther organization, I was able to politicize the white groups up there to various — they had like 13 different Aryan gangs up there in the prison system. I ended up politicking with them. They immediately released me into the population, which was another indication what they intended to try to see happen. But instead of me ending up in a war with them, I ended up politicking with them, exposing them to the history of racism, how racism was manipulated and created in the late 1600’s, and how it had been used and has been used as the most effective polarizing factor in society to manipulate oppressed people against each other. And I won a large sector of them over, and when I started to prove effective as not engaging them in violence, but winning them over to more revolutionary political and understanding of racial politics, they immediately threw me into solitary, got me out of population, and started to impose a different regiment of abuse and oppression against me, and ultimately kicked me out of the state and sent me to Texas, and when I was able to influence white Aryan gangs there to get involved in the national prison hunger strike that was taking place in 2013, where 30,00 prisoners got involved in Oregon joined them in hunger strike, so the line of our party, with respect to racial politics is specifically to organize white comrades to take the politics of our party, unifying politics in to the white community to struggle against the polarizing culture in, you know, white culture and white society in America, and to try to bring us all together in a common, united front.
Q: Can you talk about your views on feminism in the revolutionary struggle for a new society?
A: Alright, I should make a distinction between our line on the gender issue and the question of the struggle against paternalism and male domination. We are not feminist. We are, we are about revolutionary women’s liberation. Feminism seems to be the equal opposite of chauvinism, no– male chauvinism. The line in feminism largely has been represented by the bourgeois sector of the women’s movement, the upper middle class to upper class has always dominated the voice of the feminist movement, so we find it to be largely not a movement that really is about advancing the cause of women, at all levels of oppression, but at the interest of bourgeois and upwardly middle class women to gain an equal foothold with the bourgeois males in dominating society in general. So our struggle is for gender equality, not to raise the interest of upper class women at the exclusion of the lower class and oppressed women. Our struggle is to see working class women, poor women have all their rights respected and to be given an equal stage of power and an equal stage of respect throughout society at all stages, though I would make the distinction between what is known or generally represented as feminism with what we call revolutionary women’s liberation. But we are allied, of course, to the women’s movement, those women who identify as and those other people who may reject the concept of gender etc, who identify with the feminist struggle, but from the standpoint of working class women and working class non gender people or working class lgbtq people, and we stand on an equal footing with them and seek to have all forms of repression of women or all forms of repression of non gendered people, all forms of repression of LGBTQ people overthrown, and all people to have an equal share in power, and an equal interest in having their rights, and their desires, so long as they aren’t opposing and oppressing other people.
Q: Are there any other final statements you’d like to make, before we get cut off:
A: Well, I would like to state that I appreciate this opportunity to speak to the listen au of this program, and I really hope that much can be achieved through the struggles that are gaining ground and momentum now, and that there will be a growing link between those on the outside and the prison movement, and that this will help advance the cause of the oppressed against this oppressive system.
Q: Thank you so much for making this conversation happen, and solidarity
As of May 2019, Rashid has been transferred out of state yet again to
Virginia. He can be written at:
D.O.C. No. 264847
Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Road
Pendleton, IN 46064
You can read his essays and updates on his case, plus get ahold of his two books, learn about the NABPP-PC and see his revolutionary artwork up at:
The Final Straw is a weekly anarchist and anti-
authoritarian radio show bringing you voices
and ideas from struggle around the world.
Since 2010, we’ve been broadcasting from
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Appalachia (Asheville, NC). We also
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humorous) by anarchist prisoner, Sean Swain.
You can send us letters at:
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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 email@example.com or at his support email, firstname.lastname@example.org.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 email@example.com . 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.
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 attempts 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or add it to the growing lists of solidarity by emailing email@example.com.
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.
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.
This week’s episode features a conversation with Tyler Durden of Portland Anarchist Black Cross & the Portland Industrial Workers of the World 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 and 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 IGD 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!”
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.
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.”
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.