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 on The Final Straw, we’re featuring an interview produced by comrades from Anarchistisches Radio Berlin with Elisa. Elisa has been involved in the anarchist movement for a long time and is one of the co-founders of the Brazilian Indymedia. Which in turn is one of the earliest counter information projects using the name and mode of Indymedia. In the conversation they talk about the political developments in Brazil of the last years as well as how the autonomous movements have been reacting to them. More audio from A-Radio Berlin can be found at aradio.blogsport.de. A-Radio Berlin is a member of the International Anarchist Radio Network that produces B(A)D News: Angry Voices from Around The World, a monthly English-language bulletin from many radio projects around the world.
This conversation we’re airing was recorded in July of 2017. We air this audio in the wake of the German government raiding and shutting down the website, linksunten.indymedia.org, allegedly for being infrastructure used in the organizing of the G20 Hamburg protests and other mass mobilizations and direct actions. Autonomous media is super important, and we suggest you check out the crimethinc article on the subject.
On the subject of autonomous and anarchist media initiatives, A-Radio Berlin is also a member of the Channel Zero Network of English-language anarchist radio and podcast projects. Along these lines, we also want to share the following jingle for Rustbelt Abolition Radio, another member of CZN. Check out our 24/7 audio stream at channelzeronetwork.com
Stay Safe Berkley!
Firstly, much love and solidarity to those fighting nazis in Berkley today. We are thinking of you here. Stay safe out there!
Benefit for grand jury resistor Katie Yow
On Tuesday August 29th at the Double Crown there will be a benefit show, bbq, and cake auction for grand jury resistor Katie Yow! BBQ sandwiches start at 6pm, with vegan and non vegan options for all you cats, with a cake auction to follow! Then music will commence with Bob Boob, Nomadic War Machine, Wyatt Yurth and the Gold Standard, Snake Musk, and Darien! All proceeds will benefit our brave comrade fighting state oppression and putting her safety and freedom on the line by doing so.
Comedy Show to benefit J20 Arrestees
And also, because Asheville loves a benefit show, there will be a night of laughs and comedy at the Mothlight on Monday September 4th at 9pm!
This event is described as:
“An evening of comedy by some of #Asheville’s leading comedians: Minori Hinds, Kelly Morgan, Moira Goree & Dana Williams!
9pm, Labor Day 2017 at The Mothlight in West Asheville
The proceeds will go to help cover legal and travel costs for defendants from the mass arrest at the protests against Donald Trumps inauguration in Washington D.C. on January 20, 2017. More info on the case at http://defendj20resistance.org/”
Here is an announcement on behalf of Joshua Zero Cartrette, who is an incarcerated member of IWOC and an anarchist. From his support page:
“After years of struggling behind bars for prison abolition and against white supremacy Joshua Zero Cartrette will be returning to the community sometime in the next few weeks! But the struggle continues! Let’s make sure our comrade who has been so important in the fight against white supremacy and the prison industrial complex in Oregon has the chance they deserve to build a life beyond prison walls!
While incarcerated, Josh was an active member of the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and the founding member of the Anarchist Black Cross Oregon Prison Chapter.
Over the years Josh encouraged dozens of Prisoners around the state of Oregon to contribute to the Oregon Prisoner Forum – a monthly newsletter that circulates articles and information from incarcerated peoples – which he also founded. (Read about that here). Josh also became an outspoken anti-racist and spent years mentoring incarcerated youth to escape the trappings of the white supremacist movement. For his organizing, he was repeatedly targeted by organized white supremacist gangs with death threats, forcing him to spend much of his time in protected custody.
Across the state Josh was able to form several study groups that provided both basic civil rights education as well as more in-depth political analysis for prisoners. Josh’s educational work has empowered prisoners from across the state to take steps towards self advocacy and to take a stand to improve the deplorable conditions they are subjected to – the 2016 prisoner work strike at Deer Ridge Correctional Institution being just one example (read more here).
On September 9th 2016 prisoners across the country self-organized to take a historic stand against prison slavery and its continuation of institutionalized white supremacy and genocide. Oregon joined other states across the country in the wave of resistance that worked its way into institution after institution.
As a result of the subsequent wave of repression across the country, Josh was subjected to over 6 months of solitary confinement (a punitive practice considered across the world to be a form of torture) when prison officials found him to be working to “orchestrate Oregon prison inmates to become involved in a massive prison work stoppage in all institutions” where the “purpose of these prison work stoppage was to shut down the daily operations of the institutions based on the inmate’s perception that institutions utilize inmate labor for capitalist needs”. (See Joshes Report back and the ODOC official Misconduct Report here)
White supremacists openly organize, fascist violence creeps back into the commonplace and the reactionaries are all abuzz – in this age, we have an obligation to support those who contest the fascist creep in the belly of the beast, where it festers and finds its most fertile recruiting grounds. Not only does the prison industrial complex act not only as a coercive and disciplinary institution created to enact and “legitimize” violence against marginalized communities, it serves as an incubation chamber for supremacist ideology and street violence by routinely allowing open white supremacist gangs to promote their toxic ideas, thus recruit more henchman and build lucrative criminal syndicate networks – within and outside its walls.
The severity of racism in Oregon prisons was expressed by the all afrikan revolutionary Rashid Johnson while incarcerated in Oregon in 2011,
“while the mainstream postures to project racism as a thing of the past, its rabid forms persist. Which I found upon my imprisonment in Oregon, where in contrast to most everywhere else in Amerika, the prison population is overwhelmingly white and thus feels no compulsion to conceal its bigotry. Security in numbers.
…despite the delusions of many, is the level of civilization in Amerika, which one sees reflected in Oregon prisons, where a rabid racist culture parades openly stripped of pretense and lying in wait for the moment it can be given free violent expression.”
To bring down the walls of racism and fascism we must begin by bringing down the prison walls.
Anti-racists and anti-fascists have an obligation to support those on the inside –the ones engaged in a life or death battle against these forces – and to welcome back our comrades when they re-enter our communities.
Support your fellow worker, fellow anti-racist, anti-capitalist and anarchist Joshua Ames Cartrette! We are asking folks across the country to consider throwing a benefit show or a letter writing night to incarcerated anti-racists and to donate some funds to Josh’s re-entry. Help him get his life off the ground once again and continue the work that he once began in prison.
The funds will be used to help josh find a new place to live and with all of the associated move in costs and to provide him time to look for work and to recover from the traumatic experience of incarceration.”
This week we are airing two short interviews, the first is with an anarchist legal worker who has been participating in resistance at Standing Rock in so called North Dakota. This interview is specifically about the grand jury summons which was recently served to someone who was struggling at Standing Rock, we speak about what a grand jury is and how people might resist them, also a bit about what it means for this movement to have a grand jury subpoena occur at this moment. Due to time restrictions, we had to cut out some political analysis out of this broadcast version, but you can listen to the extended interview in the podcast version which will be up on https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/, or you can download it using iTunes or any other podcasting mechanizm.
If you have been contacted by federal agents in relation to Standing Rock, please call the Water Protector Legal Collective IMMEDIATELY at area code (605) 519-8180. To donate to this collective and to learn more about the work they do, you can visit their website at http://waterprotectorlegal.org/. To look again at our guest’s suggestions for further research, you can visit the noblogs site or on http://www.ashevillefm.org/, or go to https://itsgoingdown.org/ and scroll through to the article “Grand Jury Resistance at Standing Rock”.
Scott Campbell on upcoming tour of Mexico with It’s Going Down
The next interview we will present is a conversation with Scott Campbell who writes the Insumisión column for http://itsgoingdown.org. Insumisión is a semi regular publication which aims to highlight anarchistic and anarchist struggles and news all around Mexico. Scott and members of IGD are in the process of launching an information gathering and affinity building tour around Mexico in early next year. In this interview we talk about Insumisión and what inspired it, as well as some of the strategies and influences both North American and Mexican struggle can take from one another, among other topics. To read Insumisión and for a write up about the upcoming tour, you can visit https://itsgoingdown.org/insumision/. To donate to the tour and to see a write up about it, you can visit the rally dot org website https://rally.org/igd-mexico
You can also check out El Enemigo Común (or The Common Enemy) at https://elenemigocomun.net/
From their website “[This project] is an international watchdog against state sponsored repression. It is the project of a small collective of volunteers in the U.S. and Mexico. We publish and translate communiqués, articles, and other media by, about, and for social movements. Our primary focus is on indigenous peoples, women, and youth, in both urban and rural communities in Oaxaca, but we also publish about other struggles against neoliberalism throughout Mexico”.
A quick shoutout of thanks to KFED for the lovely new image for the series podcast. Much appreciated!
This week, we air 2 interviews, one about the case of the Cleveland 4 and one with members of Unicorn Riot.
pt 1: The Cleveland 4
Firstly, we speak with Amanda Shemkes. Amanda does legal support for members of the Cleveland 4. The Cleveland 4, or CLE4, are 4 anarchists who're serving around a decade in Federal prisons in the U.S. on charges of terrorism. Back story is that Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, Doug Wright, Joshua "Skelly" Stafford and Anthony Hayne (Anthony took a cooperating plea deal) were arrested on April 30th in 2012 for attempting to blow up a bridge with the provocation of an FBI informant named Shaquille Azir. The young anarchists had coalesced during Occupy Cleveland as a group after encamping together, being involved in food distribution and activism and were targeted and entrapped by Azir who escalated their talk of direct action to the bombing plot and provided them with work, housing, drugs, alcohol, access to (fake) explosives and more. Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, Doug Wright and Skelly all received sentences of around a decade each with terrorism enhancements promising lifetime probation. Amanda talks about their case, their time inside, government attacks on social movements and how to support Brandon, Connor, Doug & Skelly, the Cleveland 4. More on their case can be found at http://cleveland4solidarity.org
Also of note, Connor Steven's birthday is coming up on December 17th, so send him a bday card! Same day is Chelsae Manning's bday, actually… on that note, why not visit PrisonBooks.Info to see political prisoner birthdays for this month and sign up to receive the monthly calendar that the Prison Books Collective puts out? No good reason, I reckon.
pt 2: Unicorn Riot
Following that, we speak with volunteers with the non-profit, radical media outlet Unicorn Riot. Founded in 2014, UR has expanded from it’s Minneapolis base to be present on the ground at struggles around the U.S. covering events as they unfold with the words of the people involved, documenting the brutality of the state’s reactions and bravery in the streets and the fields of those resisting. As a platform, UR distributes regular tv episodes, podcasts and features small news briefs as well as a presence on social media. UR’s coverage of the uprisings in Minneapolis around the killings and lack of justice in the killings of Jamar Clark & Philando Castille and more recently of the struggles of Water Defenders at the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota have gone viral, increasing solidarity and pressed mainstream media outlets to expand their coverage of these violent government interventions. In this second half of the episode, the plucky media rebels share their views on activism and journalism, on media paradigms, their project and some of the resistance it’s participated in. http://www.unicornriot.ninja
A quick postscript
Patrick misspoke a couple of times during the interview that we didn’t catch. Corrections are: 1.) When describing the drone rules on Standing Rock, he meant to refer to no-fly rules from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and not the FCC (which oversees broadcast restrictions and allowances in the U.S.); 2.) When Patrick talks about Niko being flagged down by police to broadcast a police statement over Unicorn Riot, it was actually during the Justice for Jamar Clark struggle, not in the aftermath of the killing of Philando Castille.
Also, a real cool journalistic tool that the UR folks shared was this site, called MuckRock. Check it out!
This week Sean Swain shares his thoughts on Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution in light of Fidel’s death last week. More from Sean at http://seanswain.org
Lots got trimmed from this episode due to time constraints, so check out that podcast version at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org
Tomorrow, Monday December 5th in Asheville there’s a prayer and vigil in Soldarity with Standing Rock as regards the struggle to stop the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline we’ll be talking about later in the episode. Folks are meeting at 6pm at Pack Square. Bring an offering.
Also, big ups to the folks who went out to face off the kkk motorcade on Saturday the 3rd in Danville, VA & Pelham, NC. This time the KKK got their own stabby after the fact.
Of note, our hearts here at the final straw go out to those suffering the devastating effects of the fire at the ghostship warehouse on Friday December 2nd during a 100% Silk party. According to the most recent KGO-7 news out of San Francisco at 2pm EST on Sunday the 4th of December, 24 victims have been found inside the warehouse. A list of missing people has been compiled in an article on heavy.com. Not all of those pictured are known to be among the victims of Friday’s fire. To donate to relief funds, visit youcaring.com.