June 11th 2020: Marius Mason support and words from Jeremy Hammond
In this June 11th podcast special, we’re happy to feature two interviews. The first is with Letha, a supporter of anarchist prisoner Marius Mason who is 7 years from release for animal and earth liberation front actions in the late 1990’s. Marius, who tested positive for covid-19 recently at FCI Danbury, continues his activism including on behalf of other trans folks behind bars as well as to write and create. More on his case and how to support him is up at SupportMariusMason.org. Then I spoke with Jeremy Hammond who is an anarchist prisoner supported by June11th for hactivist activities in the early 2010’s as a member of Anonymous and other crews that released information to WikiLeaks to expose corporate and police spying and abuse and war crimes, as well as supporting whistleblowers in the Global War on Terror like Chelsea Manning. Jeremy also recently resisted a Federal Grand Jury around WikiLeaks with Chelsea Manning, he contracted covid-19 recently, and currently produces a podcast with his brother, Jason, called Twin Trouble which is in the Channel Zero Network. More on Jeremy’s case at FreeJeremy.Net.
By way of introduction, June 11th is an important day for Anarchists. It began as a day of solidarity with Jeff “Free” Luers, an eco-anarchist who received a sentence of 22 years and 8 months in 2004 for burning 3 SUIVs on a car lot in Eugene, Oregon. Leurs was eventually released in 2009. In 2010, after the waves of the Green Scare subsided, the day was shifted to support Marius Mason and Eric McDavid. There is a history of June 11th written up at june11.org by Crimethinc from a few years back that is very thorough if you want more details. Suffice to say, Eric was released, Marius continues to sit behind bars. Since then, the list of long term anarchist prisoners has expanded as our numbers keep growing on the outside. The efforts to support those inside and to expand the struggles of those comrades behind bars also builds.
As we recognize and are inspired by those who have stood up to inhuman power structures and suffered huge consequences, remember that not everyone has been caught, that being caught isn’t always the end, and that we still have fight in us. I’d like to invite people to check out June11.org to check out the call for this year’s June11th by the committee, listen the 2020 mixtape of songs curated by current anarchist prisoners J11 supports, find out more about the prisoners and check out where you can donate to them and read or hear statements by the prisoners as to what they want to see around this year’s celebration and rememberance. If you visit the resources page, you can see posters, reportbacks, zines, hear voices of formerly incarcerated anarchists and their supporters from an interview series, read past years prisoner statements and a whole lot more. We also hear that our comrades at the Crimethinc Ex-Worker podcast will be releasing an episode on J11 in coming days which is bound to be worth a listen. Finally, if you’d like to hear past interviews about June 11 and with anarchist prisoners that we’ve done since 2013, including with anarchist prisoners like Michael Kimble, Sean Swain and Eric King, their supporters, folks from the J11 crew, authors like Will Potter and formerly incarcerated anarchist, Eric McDavid, check out our June11 shows. Just an FYI, it is possible that Marius is dead-named and mis-gendered in some of the past shows as he came out as a man in 2015.
In this June 11th special, we’re releasing an interview with some anarchist prisoners in the so-called U.S. and some of the folks who support them. June 11th, for people who don’t know, is a day of solidarity with Marius Mason and other long term anarchist prisoners. You can find bits of the history of the importance of the date up at crimethinc.com and interviews with and about anarchist prisoners up at our website and at june11.org . The framing of this special is to focus on a publishing project currently being undertaken inside and outside of the prisons that many long-term anarchist prisoners in the so-called U.S. participate in called Fire Ant.
First up, Sean Swain shares his views on Fire Ant and prisoner support. [2min 20sec , followed by Surrounded by Matador from the album The Taking, Black Powder Records]
Then we hear Michael Kimble sharing his views on the publication and recent experiences in the Alabama prison in which he’s held, which was a part of the interview we aired with Michael a few weeks back. [10min 56sec, followed by The War On The Imagination by Sole from Let Them Eat Sand]
After Michael speaks, a supporter and partner of Eric King talks about their impressions of the impact of June 11 and Fire Ant on their partner’s life. We’ll be sharing more from Eric’s partner in coming weeks about his situation, changes coming in the BOP and about the types of support federal prisoners and their supporters need. [42min 52sec]
After the Eric section, we are happy to share a musical track by the project, Realicide, called “Decide Today = Free Marius Mason” about the long-standing Earth Liberation, anarchist, Animal Liberation prisoner. There’s a link to youtube for the audio in our show notes.
Finally Robcatt, one of the folks on the outside shares some of the history of Fire Ant zine, some of his past support experience and a provocation on how we as anarchists need to shift how we do support work. [52min 17sec]
You can find issues of Fire Ant, which are written and adorned by anarchist prisoners, at the website for Bloomington ABC and for a list of June 11 events around Turtle Island, check out https://itsgoingdown.org.
This week we feature two segments. The first is a roundtable discussion with producers from various audio projects around North America that focus on prisoner struggles and amplifying incarcerated voices. In the chat you’ll hear from me, two producers of The Prison Radio show on CFRC radio in Kingston, Ontario, a producer of the Prison Radio Show on CKUT from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, and a producer of the June11 audio series released this last year and revving to mark the day in solidarity with Marius Mason and other long term anarchist and ecological prisoners.
Follow-Up with Walid Zazai on Manus Island
The second conversation is an update from Walid Zazai, the 24 year old Afghani man being held on Manus Island off of the coast of Papua New Guinea. Walid has been in detention for 4 years now awaiting resettlement at the pleasure of the government of Australia. We spoke with Walid two weeks ago after the Manus Regional Processing Centre in which he was living had been closed and he and roughly 450 other refugees stayed in protest of their longtime lack of freedom of movement and the violence they feared from PNG security forces and locals on the island. More coverage of the struggle immigrants against the Australian border authorities and other updates from the Oceania can be found on the long running Anarchist radio show based there, Subversion1312. Subversion1312 is also a recently added member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchist podcasts.
Now For Some Fun Events
If you’re in the Asheville area today (December 3rd 2017), at 5pm at Firestorm Books and Coffee, Blue Ridge ABC will be hosting it’s monthly letter writing session, where you can swing by, find out about political prisoners in the U.S., write to some with upcoming birthdays and meet other local radicals. After that, tonight at 8pm at the Lazy Diamond, 98-A, North Lexington Ave in downtown Asheville, comrades will be hosting a Radical Trivia night to benefit the 2nd Asheville Carolina Anarchist Bookfair, or ACAB2018, planned for this summer. Alone or in teams, you are invited to test your wits on subjects of Black Liberation, Anarchist History, Queer Resistance and more. A cash prize will go to the winning team or individual.
This week’s show features a conversation with Arianna Staiger, daughter of long term eco-anarchist prisoner in the U.S., Marius Mason. Marius Mason is serving 22 years for destruction of a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) research facility at the University of Michigan as well as pieces of logging equipment. Marius was a part of the so-called Green Scare, the FBI and U.S. government’s hunt and repression of eco-activists. In Marius’ case his ex-husband, Frank Ambrose, was coerced into snitching on Marius about their eco-defense activities in exchanged for a partially deferred sentence. Marius is also a trans man, who transitioned while incarcerated, and is being held in women’s facility. Marius is frequently put into isolation for his continued organizing around issues of trans prisoners and access to vegan food.
This conversation is taking place on the weekend before the annual June 11th day of Solidarity with long term Marius Mason and other long term eco and anarchist prisoners. June 11th, formerly the day of solidarity with Jeff “Free” Leurs, has for years now been an opportunity for discussion, organizing, fundraising and active solidarity with those on the other side of the bars, in hopes of continuing their struggles towards a world without bars and without cages. More on June 11th, the prisoners involved and the like can be found at http://june11.org/
In this hour, Arianna, who was 16 at the time of Marius’ arrest, talks about her relationship with him, about activism, music, incarceration, family and time. We’ll hear some of Arianna’s music in this hour, but if you want to hear a more complete interview, including more of Arianna’s music, check out our podcast version of the show . If you’d like to check out Arianna’s music, you can visit http://soundcloud.com/ariannastyger
This week in Asheville, there will be 2 June 11th events. On Friday, June 10th at French Broad River Park at 6:30pm there’ll be a potluck bbq with some free and benefit materials available, plus food and conversation on prisons, longterm prisoners and solidarity. And probably tempeh.
On Saturday, June 11th at 6:30pm at Firestorm Books and Coffee there will be a showing of the Critical Resistance documentary, “Visions of Abolition: From Critical Resistance to a New Way of Life” followed by a discussion of the prison industrial complex and prison abolitionism. This event is free, bring some friends.
If you can make it to Washington D.C., this week there will be actions against the Bureau of Prisons and other targets, as well as community gatherings in parallel with June 11th against the ecological and health damages caused by prisons, in particularly focusing on actions against the construction of a prison on a Kentucky former mountain top removal site. For more info, check out our interview with folks from Fight Toxic Prisons or check out http://fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com
Before we get going with our Sean Swain segment and the interview, a few quick announcements:
Update on Detroit Eviction Defense
On June 2nd, we released a podcast episode with folks from Detroit Eviction Defense about the situation of Jennette Shannon, a single mom from Detroit who was facing eviction and which DED hoped to stave off through active solidarity. Sadly, on June 4th the house was overwhelmed by Sheriffs, movers & Bailiff and the ground was lost. To check out the podcast, follow this link.
More updates to come on how to support Jennette and those injured during the defense as well as plans for the future at http://detroitevictiondefense.org
Fundraising for Jennette & her son can be found here: https://www.youcaring.com/jennette-shannon-and-her-16-year-old-son-580529
. … . ..
Alexander CI in Taylorsville, NC
Several inmates being held at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, NC have recently gone on hunger strike in protest of their conditions of confinement. They are on strike due “the denial of medical treatment, the denial of food and officers spitting in food trays, the denial of adequate materials to clean their cells, the denial of recreation, sexual and racial discrimination against African-Americans in restrictive housing (seg), and the constant denial of incoming mail.”
The prisoners on strike are Stanley Corbett, Jr., Jermaine Spellers, and Andrew S.
The inmates are also protesting the recent beatings of prisoners in facility “blind spots,” areas where no cameras are present. This includes the beating of Brian K McKoy on 2/3/2016, Johnathan Toolin on 3/22/2016, Karl Covington on 1/5/2016, Devin Hyman on 2/4/2016, and Robert McFadden on 4/1/2016.
This protest comes at a time of increase prisoner organizing, which includes recent riots at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, mass hunger strikes in Michigan facilities, work stoppages at multiple
facilities in Texas, and the announcement of a national, coordinated prisoners’ strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising on September 9th.
A National Mobilization is being planned in Sacramento in several weeks and we need your help to make it possible.
In the past year, the anarchist movement has seen the rise of the far-Right and the growth of white nationalism and fascism, not only in the US but throughout the world. From Neo-Nazis marching to support the police in Olympia, mass shootings carried out by white nationalists, to people almost getting shot in Minneapolis outside of a protest encampment, to everyone from the KKK and the militia movement coming back in a real way.
On Sunday, June 26th, the Traditionalist Worker Party, headed by white power rising star Matthew Heimbach will be leading the Neo-Nazi gangs that make up the Golden State Skinheads (GSS) in an “Anti-Antifa” rally at the State Capitol. They will be joined by members of the KKK, the National Socialist Movement, and skinhead groups such as Blood and Honor. We believe that this will be the largest west coast white power mobilization in many years. As Heimbach stated on a recent podcast, “If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.”
In response, there is a call for people to shut down the rally starting at 9 AM sharp on the west steps of the state capitol in Sacramento. The permit for the fascist rally starts at 11 am and they are planning on arriving at the West steps of the capital at 12 Noon.
If you are not able to attend, we ask that we please help us by:
1.) Share this with trusted comrades and tell those that might want to be a part of such a mobilization.
2.) Helping spread the word on social media and on any media project you have, by sharing online flyers and images about the upcoming showdown and also inviting people on the facebook event, for which the guest list is private. The event will be linked in our blog post at ashevillefm.org.
3.) Look out for opportunities to donate to the bail support fund and convergence space, to help those that may be arrested.
This summer is looking like it is going to be a hot one. From Native blockades against fracking, bloody battles outside of Trump and Hilary rallies, the upcoming RNC and DNC, and the ongoing local struggles happening all around us. We hope that the mobilization on the 26th is another part of a wider push towards becoming more of a force against capital, the State, white supremacy and patriarchy, and industrial destruction.
This episode of The Final Straw is served in three portions, all concerning prisons and prisoners.
Before the segments begin, a couple of announcements concerning upcoming events in Asheville, North Carolina for the days surrounding June 11th and the International Day of Solidarity with Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. These events include a Books to Prisoners open house at Downtown Books & News on Thursday the 11th at 3:30, a showing of a documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal at 7:30pm at Firestorm that night and a dance party and pie auction on the night of the 13th at the Odditorium. Facebook pages exist for these events, with details listed.
Also in there is mention of the call-out for Monday the 8th & every Friday to protest the Durham County Jail’s refusal to allow prisoners there the chance to get out of their cells for more than 2 hours a week. For more info on this struggle against the so-called Lockback, check out http://amplifyvoices.com
First among the segments, following commentary by Sean Swain, we’ll hear an up date on his situation from his friend and supporter, Ben Turk. Sean’s outgoing communication has been blocked, so his segment has had to go underground. This is in repsonse to Sean speaking up for another prisoner and using his outside support network to press the prisons after a racist attack by guards on a fellow prisoner at Lucasville. More at http://seanswain.org
Following that, we hear from Jenny of Sacramento Prisoner Support about the call-out for the upcoming June 11th International Day of Solidarity with Eric McDavid, Marius Mason & Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. Jenny tells us about the history of June 11th, talks about differences in the circumstance of June 11th for this year, and other aspects of prisoner support. More info on June 11th can be found at http://june11.org
Finally, we talk to Brianna Peril & Tommy Powell from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee & the Missouri Innocence Project (respectively) about prisons in Missouri and what appears to be the psychiatrization and forced drugging of inmates at the SouthEast Correctional Center (SECC) outside of Charleston, Missouri, and this week’s call-in-campaign to pressure the jailers to stop the process and bring more transparency to the situation. More about the call-in can be found on the fakebook page for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/405416019661232/
Linked from there is the fakebook page for IWOC.
The page for Midwest Innocence Project, affiliated with the MO Innocence Project can be found here: http://themip.org/
The episode is capped by a sludge metal track by General Grievous. More info in the playlist.
This week we’re speaking with Eric McDavid, a recently released eco-anarchist and vegan. Eric and his two co-defendants (Lauren Weiner and Zachary Jenson) were entrapped by an FBI agent provocateur who went by the name of “Anna” and arrested for allegedly planning to blow up cell-phone towers, small dams & a lab researeching genetically modifying trees. Eric was arrested in January of 2006 during an FBI raid on the cabin that “Anna” was providing for the four.
During the court case, the government prosecutors were able to turn Zachary and Lauren against their slightly older co-defendant, Eric, with threats of spending decades of their life behind bars. So, Zachary and Lauren posed Eric as their “leader” and threw him under the bus. As a result, Eric was given a 20 year sentence for what was effectively the charge of being guilty of Thought Crime.
After years of the appeal process, Eric’s support team finally recieved documents within a FOIA that pointed to evidence they should have had during trial; evidence that could have led to a not guilty verdict at trial. Finally on January 8th 2015, Eric was released into the arms of supporters, family and loved ones in Sacramento, CA.
More on his case can be found at http://supporteric.org
We spend the hour chatting about his incarceration, experiences of support as one of the two names central to the June 11th Day of Solidarity with longterm Anarchist Prisoners alongside Marius Mason, decarceration, hope, ice cream and more.
More about this year’s June 11th at http://june11.org, including their recent call-up
A quick note. Brent Betterly of the NATO3 is slated for release from prison on April 16th of 2015, just 3 days before his birthday on the 19th. You can send him a birthday present to support his post-release life while he gets on his feet by visiting youcaring.com and searching his name.
This week’s episode features a couple of announcements about the upcoming June 11th Day of Solidarity with Marius Mason, Eric McDavid and Longterm Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. For info on the cases of Eric & Marius and other folks needing support, along with ideas of what solidarity might look like, check out http://june11.org
Here in Asheville, there will be a 4pm picnic at Carrier Park where folks will talk about June 11th, Eric & Marius’s cases, solidarity and prison realities. Food will be present, but bring your own sides to share, especially if you have dietary restrictions.
At 9pm on June 11th, there’ll be a show at the Odditorium. The benefit requests a $5-20 donation. Bands include Aneides and Uninhabitable from Asheville, Burnt Books from South Carolina and Harsh Words from Georgia. Items’ll be raffled off and there’ll be plenty of info available and folks to chat with. On Fakebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1452424341665913/
For more events in your town, check out june11.org. Also announced was the online art exhibition curated by the Earth First! Prisoner Support Project and featuring the work of 23 different artists, many of whom are eco-prisoners. Check out http://neveraloneart.org for flyers and more info. It’ll be up and online from June 11th to June 30th.
Bursts read a statement by Sean on this episode concerning the U.S. economy and the role that counterfeiting money plays in it. Very informative, as always.
Following the announcements, we heard Cervidae, Ancient Oak, Deafest and more! Check out the playlist here
This week’s show features a conversation with Jenny, who works with Sacramento Prisoner Support. Jenny and Bursts discuss the case of Eric McDavid, a Green Anarchist prisoner in the U.S., in terms of the green scare and the upcoming June 11 Day of Solidarity with Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners.
Briefly, Eric and two other activists were entrapped by a government informant who went by the name, Anna. Anna, over a series of months, attempted to pressure the 3 to plan and execute radical actions to save the earth, paid for all of the means, even plied Eric with romance. Despite the fact that the 3 kept walking away from actions proposed by Anna, the FBI raided them and convicted Eric of conspiracy (the younger Lauren Weiner and Zach Jensen took a plea and turned on Eric).
We discuss Eric’s health, how to support Eric and other prisoners, increased use of conspiracy and terrorism charges by the State, how to support each other when repression happens and how to resist bullies pushing bad ideas!
Also, Bursts speaks to Bella about Marius Mason, long term ecological, animal rights, labor and anarchist activist. Marius is also serving a 22 year sentence. Bella also talks about the upcoming day of Solidarity with Marius Mason, Eric McDavid and Other Longterm Anarchist Prisoners on June 11th. We also talk about the despicable snitch, Frank Ambrose (more info on the below sites).
In recognition of June 11th as a Day of Solidarity with Long Term Anarchist Prisoners, this week’s The Final Straw (now 1-2pm EST on Fridays) will present the second of two shows on the Green Scare. I’ve interviewed supporters of Marius Mason and Eric McDavid, both victims of the Green Scare serving 20 year sentences and, also, Anarchists.
The first was an interview with Will Potter, author of Green is the New Red and is archived on archive.org
This week we’re speaking with Jesse, a Midwest organizer of June 11th Solidarity about the history of June 11th and the importance of being out here for the folks in there. We’ll also be speaking with Sarah on Marius Mason’s struggle as well as with Jennie from Sacramento Prisoner Support, which handles the case of Eric McDavid. Both Marius and David are anarchists facing around 20 years each for crimes that either: a.) didn’t harm anyone; b.) didn’t ever happen (Eric was convicted of conspiracy despite lacking intent). Both cases involve snitches cooperating with the law enforcement. Both cases concern people taking action (or thinking about it) to defend the earth.