This episode will include two segments, firstly Bursts speaks with a longtime supporter of vegan anarchist prisoner Eric King, who was accused in 2014 of attempting to firebomb a government officials office in Kansas City. They speak about his case, veganism in prison, and steps moving forward with his support. Also about the fast approaching June 11th day of solidarity with anarchist prisoners, as well as for the first international day of solidarity with Eric on June 28th 2017 and the ideas and visions surrounding that . You can keep up with Eric’s situation by going to supportericking.org.
Secondly William speaks with two members of the Liverpool based anarchist black metal project Dawn Ray’d, who have just kicked off a tour of the US with one date in Asheville on June 1st at the Odditorium. We talk about anarchism and black metal, what the two have to offer each other, and about the political situation in Liverpool as it relates to music culture, and many other topics.
Their tour dates are:
Fri May 26th in Cincinnati,
Sat May 27th in Pittsburgh,
Sun May28th in NYC,
Mon May 29th Philadelphia,
Tues May 30th in DC,
Wed May 31st in Richmond,
Thurs June 1st in Asheville,
Fri June 2nd in Atlanta,
Sat June 3rd in New Orleans,
Sun June 4th in Houston,
Mon June 5th in Dallas,
Tues June 6th in Tulsa,
Wed June 7th in Columbia,
Thur June 8 in the Quad Cities,
Fri June 9th in Milwaukee,
and finally Sat June 10th in Detroit
You can hear all their music on bandcamp for free.
This week we spoke with an autonomous participant in CrimethInc. about the work of that collective around elections, about their views on the recent election of Donald J. Trump as president of the U.S.A., voter turnout, anarchist perspectives on elections, democracy, and about building on-the-ground resistance to not only this new administration but the autonomous far right that’s attempting to emerge more and more these days. More from CrimethInc., including their recent audio-zines and the ex-worker podcast can be found at http://crimethinc.com
The callout for protests at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC can be found: http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2016/11/11/no-peaceful-transition/
Former Political Prisoner Panel 2016 pt1
The Final Straw recently released the first half of the Former Political Prisoners Panel discussion from the 2016 North American Anarchist Black Cross conference in Denver as a podcast. That included introductions by former Black Liberation Army and Black Panther member Sekou Kombui who served 47 years in prison, former United Freedom Front militant Kazi Toure, former Earth Liberation Front member Daniel McGowan and anti-fascist activist John Tucker who was imprisoned as one of the Tinley Park 5. Check it out by visiting: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2016/11/13/naabc-former-political-prisoners-panel-2016-pt-1/
The Presidential Election
As of today, Sunday November 13th, it seems like there has been one thing on our minds since Tuesday. People have been expressing their rage at this election in many different ways around the US, the first four days saw protests ranging from less militant rallies to night marches, burning effigies, and highway shutdowns. Here in Asheville there were four days worth of protests, one of which rallied 150 people who blocked a major intersection in downtown for a good while and held its ground by the Vance Monument, built for the slaveowning KKK member Zebulon Vance who was one of Asheville’s so called white founders.
Moving forward will look like a lot of different things, already we have seen at least three autonomously called for general strikes to occur around and on the inauguration on January 20th, and the amount of assemblies and strategy building infrastructure on the anarchist left is growing by leaps and bounds! If you are part of organizing and you do not see yourself represented elsewhere, please feel free to write to us at thefinalstrawradio( at)riseup.net or to William personally at stormwater( at)riseup.net with what you are doing, how it’s going, what you hope to see come out of it, all that jazz. We will be happy to broadcast it, or not if you would prefer. Also, stay tuned to this and other audio projects for more ideas on how to engage.
Crushing Intolerance music this episode
In the last portion of the episode, we’ll be hearing two tracks from the newest Crushing Intolerance compilation by The Black Metal Alliance, which is a collection of metal artists promoting equal rights for all life. This is comp #4. First off, here’s Arete with Beneath The Pond. Arête is Melancholic Mountain Black Metal from the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains, and the Black Hills. Finally, this is Seeds In Barren Fields with The Epitaph of the Vain and the Forgotten. SIBF is a Swedish metal band. Money from the compilation Crushing Intolerance IV goes to Canadian and Swedish chapters of No One Is Illegal a migrant justice movement rooted in anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, ecological justice, Indigenous self-determination, anti-occupation & anti-oppressive communities. More on the comp at https://blackmetalalliance.bandcamp.com/
This week on the show we decided to take a musical interlude, and I thought we would try something slightly different from what we normally do. Since it’s getting all autumnal and halloweeny, it seemed appropriate to settle in with some tunes that reflect that mood, and perhaps get spooky. What I’m trying to say is that I went through and found anarchistic, antifascist, antiracist goth, darkwave, and coldwave mostly, some of which may not be explicitly those things but are at the very least liked by anarchists, antifascists, and antiracists.
A HUGE SHOUTOUT to Margaret Killjoy, who generously collaborated with me on this playlist. Check out their publication Graceless: A Journal of the Radical Gothic for more information on matters anarcho-goth. Here is our show today, I hope you enjoy it.
Before the music, I’d like to announce that this week, October 15th thru 22nd, marks the week of renewed action for the Prison Strike. This is a struggle which is still very much alive and flourishing, and it is so so important for folks who are putting their lives, safeties, and sanities on the line to not feel abandoned or alone.
On that tip, there is an all day letter writing event happening today in downtown Asheville’s Prichard Park until 6pm. There will be food provided by Food Not Bombs, and it’s asked that folks bring any stamps they can get their hands on. This event will specifically include information on how to write to those most affected by the Prison Strike, let’s show folks that we have their backs!
Full playlist is here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/17848
This week we feature an interview with Freddy, who is a member of the autonomous youth collective in Belgrade, Serbia known as Koko Lepo. We speak about the origins of the collective as growing out of a self organized kindergarten primarily for Roma children, about solidarity between anarchists and Roma people in Belgrade, about some history of the region, and about the complex nature of solidarity itself.
It should be mentioned though, that due to a very unfortunate technical error, we lost the final 13 or so minutes of this interview, many apologies both to you – dear listeners – and to our guest. Just to give you a broad picture of what we talked about, we touched a bit more on the complex nature of actual solidarity, and made the point that sometimes so called “real” solidarity can look somewhat ordinary or boring. We also spoke more about the tour that Freddy just concluded with a stop in Asheville, and about challenges that the various audiences brought to the talks he did, in particular the question of race, racism, and ally complexes. Our guest brought up the point that there have been various conversations about this topic in the US that have not happened – or have not happened in the same way – as they have in Belgrade. He was particularly excited to engage with American audiences about this issue, and said a lot of really cool and poignant things which we are unfortunately unable to share with you. Though if you would like to write to this project you can email them at kokolepo(aat)riseup.net and get in touch with them on facebook by searching kokolepoav
However, all of this perhaps gives us the opportunity to share more in depth than we may originally have been able some of the musical projects that our guest recommended. It also bears mentioning that mutual aid in the form of money donations most often happen for this project in the form of music shows, punk, metal, hardcore, or other varieties. If you feel so moved to, please feel free to make a solidarity show in your town!
The first project we’ll share is a Roma language hip hop project called Lord Kastro with Djelem Djelem. The next is a track from a hardcore project called Katma, the singer of which is one of the co-founders of the original kindergarten. The third is another track from Gipsy Mafia (an antifa Roma hip hop group, a track from which opened up the show as well) with “Ava Kari”.
Here is an update from comrades in Czech Republic:
On Friday 5-27-2016 in Pankrác remand prison anarchist Martin Ignacák accused of terrorism went on hunger strike. He did this because on 4-29-2016 the City court in Prague ruled in favour of his release from remand and the state’s attorney appealed this decision to the High court in Prague. On friday 5-27-2016 the High court in Prague extended the remand. Therefore the anarchist has decided to protest by going on hunger strike and has stopped taking in nutrition and liquids. This type of hunger strike threatens the life of the hunger striker after a week.
During the year long investigation of the preparation of a supposed terrorist attack the imprisoned anarchist has exhausted all legal options, to achieve objective procedure of the respective organs active in the criminal proceedings. None of them were taken into account. This is why he now chose this radical form of expression, to draw attention to this manipulated police case. ” I consider the approach of the investigators and the police to be very problematic, it is a threat to the freedom of every human being, a threat to freedom of speech, a threat to activism that tries to lead to a better world , and this doesn’t just involve anarchists.”
Martin has been prosecuted in the so called Fénix case since April 2015, in which 5 people altogether were accused of the preparation and the failure to notify of a terrorist attack on a train. Martin is the only one who has been in remand prison this whole time and his detention has now been extended after the intervention of the state’s attorney. As a reason for the extension of remand the state’s attorney used the testimony of a police agent who infiltrated the anarchist movement in 2014. From his testimony the state’s attorney drew the conclusion that Martin might attempt to escape to Spain. Another reason, according to him, was that Martin ” is connected to the so called Sít revolucních bunek/ The Network of Revolutionary Cells (SRB) and therefore also to similar organizations abroad.” The police spoke about SRB when they began Fénix and provided information to the media. ” Any connections between the 5 attacks ascribed to SRB and all the detained and accused have been refuted. The investigators themselves have ruled it out” says Martin.
At the moment Martin is the second longest detained prisoner in the Pankrác remand prison. For 13 months he has been living there under conditions that negatively affect his psychological and physical state. For example he has been refused food free of animal products, which means he practically doesn’t have access to hot food. Friends, who have come to visit him have been mentioned by name in the indictment. Police from the Department for combating organized crime have started to collect information on Martin’s sister, only because she tries to support her brother in whichever way she can.
For Martin parole would mean that after 13 long months he would again see his friends, family, nature, that he wouldn’t be exposed to emotional deprivation and physical hardship.
Update Sunday, May 29th: Martin’s sister Pavla B. joined her brother in the protest and this morning she has started hunger strike herself as well.
For more information follow https://antifenix.noblogs.org/
Our past interviews on AntiFenix can be found here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/?s=antifenix
This week we thought we’d bring you some new releases from a few sources for anarchist metal and punk from around the world. All the projects featured here can be found on bandcamp.com, or you can go to the specific blogs http://r-a-b-m.blogspot.com, http://crustwithstrings.blogspot.com, or http://thedarkskiesaboveus.blogspot.com/ to see more projects like these.
But first, an announcement from Georgia:
As of around 20 hours ago, the cops have arrested at least 9 anti-racist protesters who went out to resist the KKK at Stone Mountain in Georgia. By all accounts, it seems like the protests were a definite win for anti-racists and anti-fascists, but as usual we still have to contend with police repression. Hopefully we will have more of a report for you about this event in coming weeks. Support folks for those who were arrested are working hard to get them free, but they desperately need funds for bail. If you can, please contribute by following this link:
The Asheville Zine Fest will take place Sunday May 1st, 2016 from 11-4pm at the Grey Eagle in the River Arts District, Asheville, NC. Makers of zines, minicomics and small press from around the region will be in attendance to sell, trade & show off their works. The festival is free and open to the public. Come shop independent works of literature, politics, strangeness, art, and all kinds of unique publications. The Grey Eagle is at 185 Clingman Avenue, in Asheville.
If you, dear listeners aren’t in Seattle or some other urban center planning a stellar May Day for this year, a suggestion is going around that people plug in to the site supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org where you can find ideas and materials for distribution where you live and work to support the prisoner hunger strikes ongoing throughout Texas and Alabama and try to build dialogue and solidarity towards the September nationwide prisoner strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prisoner uprising. Alongside prisoners in AL and TX, incarcerated folks in Michigan are planning to begin a food protest and hunger strikes are slated to begin in Louisiana. Check out supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org for more.
Playlist is here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/16045
This week we feature a conversation with Steve, a member of the Inside Outside Alliance, a group in Durham working to amplify the voices of prisoners, foster better connections with their family and loved ones on the outside and raise awareness (in the words of the prisoners and their families) of problems in the Durham County Jail with an eye towards holding the Sheriff’s Dept & local government accountable. More on this project at http://amplifyvoices.com. This week we speak about the un-reported deaths in jail of Matthew McCain (January 2016), Dennis McMurray (January 2015) and briefly about the death of Raphael Marquis Bennett (August 2015). There is also a conversation on medical neglect (in Matthew’s case, he claimed he was not getting proper treatment for his diabetes and epilepsy).
Also mentioned is the work going on around different parts of North Carolina to get communities aroused against the recent snatching up with intent to deport latino youth by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) during it’s recent spate of raids against folks accused of entering the U.S. from Central America in the past few years. These include: A student on his way to school in Durham, named Wildin David Guillén Acosta; Edwin Alvarez-Gálvez of Raleigh & Santos Padilla-Guzman of Cary are 3 of the so-called NC 6. Here’s an article students in Durham avoiding school for fear of ICE and words from teachers and admins at the schools expressing how dangerous they feel it is for the community. One organization on facebook working to keep folks informed on the raids can be found here.
This is an update from our frieds at No New Animal Lab:
From their website http://nonewanimallab.com
On January 29th, No New Animal Lab, with representation from the Civil Liberties Defense Center, filed an anti-SLAPP Special Motion to Strike against injunctions filed on behalf of two executives of Skanska USA. Skanska and its key decision makers have been the subject of a year-long protest campaign, organized under the banner of No New Animal Lab, for their $90 million contract to build a large, underground animal research lab for the University of Washington (UW).
Skanska executives at the corporation’s Portland office filed for injunctions against four activists and “No New Animal Lab” in an attempt to stifle the growing national protests. Such lawsuits are known as “SLAPPs” (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) and are often used by corporations against protest movements in an attempt to chill dissent and disrupt campaign organizing. Rather than outright criminalizing protest activity, corporations attempt to exploit the legal system, dragging grassroots activists through frivolous civil court proceedings and draining and redirecting both time and material resources. SLAPPs exist to shrewdly muzzle movements that seek to hold corporations and their executives accountable and are backdoor attempts to legislate unreasonable restrictions upon speech and assembly.
“The campaign against Skanska is about challenging power–the power to callously decide the fate of thousands; the power to construct lives of suffering, captivity, and pain; and the power to evade accountability through the impersonal structure of corporations,” said a spokesperson for No New Animal Lab. “When you challenge power, you get a response. These SLAPP injunctions are just that–a response from Skanska, one of the largest corporations of its kind. The No New Animal Lab campaign interprets these lawsuits as a measure of its effectiveness.”
The No New Animal Lab campaign has grown substantially in the last year, and the pressure against Skanska is at an all-time high. In mid-January, hundreds of people from all over the country converged in New York to protest the company’s U.S. headquarters and CEO and President Richard Cavallaro, and Skanska’s largest U.S. investor, the Vanguard Group.
One way you can help right now is to make a DONATION to the campaign. Every penny goes directly to grassroots organizing and helping with legal costs. Support means everything in moments like these. To donate to this cause, and to learn more about this campaign, you can go to the website http://nonewanimallab.com and click on the red Donate tab on their page.
To hear the interview that we conducted with members of this campaign, you can visit http://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org and search “no new animal lab”.
We finish up the show with three musical tracks from CrustWithSprings.blogspot.de and R-A-B-M.blogspot.com:
First we’ll hear a very new band called Baeden from Sydney Austrailia with track one off their 2015 demo entitled “iphone versus crusty slice”
Second is track one from Gudsforladt, which is a one person project from salem, mass. the track is off their 2016 self titled release.
Thirdly we’ll hear Wrang which is a black metal band from the Netherlands. This track is called eulogy to impermanence and is off their 2015 demo
This week’s episode features a panel discussion from the 8th annual Humboldt Anarchist Bookfaire, taking place in Arcata on January 23rd, 2016. In that panel we hear (mostly) from Doug, Rachel, Adam, Amanda & Jacob of Modesto Anarcho journal and collective as well as the Fireshouse 51 space and other related projects from the Central Valley of California. Their journal, Modesto Anarcho ran from the mid 2000’s through the mid 2010’s. For a quick introduction to their Fireshouse 51 space, check out this informative video: http://www.modestoanarcho.org/2009/08/firehouse-51-firehouse-fridays.html
Last up, let’s hear a track from Cuscutta, an atmospheric black metal band from Colorado in the U.S. The track is called Rented Room and can be found on the album Fodder for the Callous, released on December 30th, 2015. The album is based on 4 poems by Xu Lizhi, a poet and Chinese Foxconn employee who committed suicide on September 30th, 2014 and the content displays not only the alienation of depression in modern societies but that of the factory worker producing smartphones in a Chinese factory for Western consumers. More at http://cuscuta.bandcamp.com .
We’d love to extend a loving thank you to the folks who attended and put on the benefit for The Final Straw last night at the Odditorium including the staff of that place, Ashley for putting the show together, the bands (being Asherah, Autarch, Desperate Measures and Lacrymosa), AshevilleFM staff who tabled, Asheville Anti-Racism and the lovely faces who attended. The show was a smash-bang success!
Anti-Fenix, CZ Republic
For the majority of this show, we spoke with Sascha and Igor who live in Prague about Operation Fenix, which began in April 2015 when the police of the Czech Republic commenced an operation against the anarchist, anti-authoritarian and animal liberation movement. During the course of this wave of repression, there were a number of house raids during which equipment was confiscated, and it has since come to light that agent provocateurs were used heavily in the arrests which took place. In this interview, we talk about how anarchists in Prague are handling this scrutiny, as well as ways to combat divide and conquer tactics used by cops, how the media is weaponized against anarchists, and what someone might do about these things.
For more information on this and for sending support, visit http://antifenix.noblogs.org/
We also present an update on the land occupation near the town of Notre Dame des Landres in France called la ZAD, which is a long running resistance against the building of an airport which would devastate the ecology of the area, destroy farmland, and evict many long term residents. This is specifically an update on the State of Emergency which has been declared and the call to action being requested. Included in the show is a statement read for us by a comrade in Asheville.
You can find the text of the post here, at the end of this posting.
But first, here is an announcement from the North American ABC network:
In February 2017, political prisoner Zolo Azania will finally be
released from prison. He will have served 35 years, 27 were on death
row. During his final year inside, Zolo wants to participate in the
Indiana Dept. of Corrections (IDOC) Work Release Program.
As Zolo says: “I want to be moved into some type of viable program so
that I can gain additional life skills in preparation for my re-entry
into the community.”
The IDOC should grant Work Release to Zolo based on the person he is
today, his record of good behavior, his re-entry needs, and Indiana’s
commitment to rehabilitation. However, the IDOC has denied Work Release
for Zolo, apparently based on the fact that he was convicted of murder–
34 years ago.The IDOC’s denial of access to Work Release for Zolo is
unfair and unwarranted!
PLEASE CALL, EMAIL OR WRITE TO COMMISSIONER BRUCE LEMMON, INDIANA
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND SAY:
(1) Offer Zolo the kind of re-entry plan he deserves: Work Release (WR)
(2) After 34 years Zolo needs WR to gain skills and money necessary for
(3) Zolo is a model prisoner and has shown a commitment to better himself
(4) Evaluate Zolo based on who he is today, not on his 34-year old
COMMISSIONER BRUCE LEMMON
Address: 302 West Washington Street, Room E-334
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
To find more information about this issue, and for access to a sample letter to send to Commissioner Bruce Lemmon, you can visit http://www.zoloazania.org and if you like you can call the number 773.425.6716 to contact supporters.
Jared “Jay” Chase of NATO3
The following is an excerpt from an article entitled
*Last member of ‘Nato 3’ may die in prison from Huntington’s Disease*
by Kevin Gosztola
Jared Chase is the last member of the “NATO 3,” who remains in prison.
Chase suffers from Huntington’s disease and faces additional charges for an
alleged aggravated battery against a prison guard. He is set to go on trial
in April. If convicted, there is a significant chance Chase could die in
prison because of how his imprisonment has compounded the effects of this
In May 2012, Chicago hosted a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
meeting to discuss policies in the Afghanistan War. A number of activists
traveled to the city to protest NATO, including Chase, Brian Jacob Church
and Brent Betterly. They became known as the “NATO 3” after they were
targeted by undercover Chicago police and arrested on May 16. The state of
Illinois accused the “NATO 3” of making explosives.
The Illinois State’s Attorney Office quickly labeled the young men
“terrorists” in a criminal complaint and charged them with state terrorism
offenses. On February 7, 2014, after a lengthy trial in which the key role
of undercover cops became even more apparent, a jury acquitted the “NATO 3”
of all terrorism charges. But they were found guilty of arson-related
offenses and “mob action” charges.
In April 2014, a judge sentenced Church to five years in prison, Betterly
to six years, and Chase to eight years for arson offenses. The judge
allowed prosecutors to present evidence against Chase related to the
alleged aggravated battery incident involving the spraying of urine and
feces on a guard, even though the state intended to pursue a separate trial.
“He’s Dying Before My Eyes”
Betterly, who was released from prison in April 2015, was last with Chase
while they were beat up by guards during their arrival at the Stateville
prison’s receiving center. After sentencing, they were put on the same bus
and moved to the prison. Guards from the Illinois Department of Corrections
awaited their arrival, which resulted in a “pretty violent interaction,”
according to Betterly.
During a recent pretrial hearing on December 7, 2015, Chase showed up to
court with a black eye and a swollen face. Betterly said he’s lost a
considerable amount of weight, perhaps fifty pounds. Supporters are
terribly concerned about his health.
“He’s dying before my eyes. That’s not embellishment at all,” Betterly
declared. “The charge he carries now—it carries a minimum of three years.
He won’t survive it.”
Betterly noted the prisons are not capable of taking care of diseases “that
are generally serious but treatable.” A disease like Huntington’s is
“probably something they don’t encounter much. They completely have no idea
how to care for somebody with Huntington’s. They’re not equipped to do it.
He’ll die. If he’s found guilty and sentenced to even the minimum, he won’t
make it. That’s my opinion.”
Chase is in solitary confinement at the Pontiac Correctional Center, a
facility where a number of violent and/or mentally ill inmates are
State prosecutors allege that on October 4, 2013, Chase sprayed “human
waste” on a Cook County prison guard, Officer Trevor Hapanionek. He was
charged with four different charges for one alleged act.
Multiple Cook County guards testified during sentencing about the basic
details of what they claim happened on October 4, but Dr. Kathleen Shannon,
a neurologist who had assessed Chase, testified that his misconduct against
guards was likely a result of Huntington’s disease.
Shannon informed the court the disease makes it difficult for a person to
avoid outbursts. It makes one easily irritable and can lead to mania. On
average, a person who develops the disease can die in 17 years. A person
usually goes through multiple stages of disability until spending the final
8 years of their life in a nursing home or hospice care.
It is hereditary. Chase’s dad died from the disease, and according to
Shannon’s best estimate, the onset of Huntington’s disease began in 2008.
To read the rest of this article and find out ways to support Jared Chase and get him the medical attention he needs to save his life, check out the links at http://freethenato3.wordpress.com
Playlist is at http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/15168
“People continue to mobilize, and there is a big demonstration planned for February 27th and callouts for decentralized action everywhere to call for an end to the airport project for once and for all. There is also a call for donations for legal fees! It seems that whatever decision is made, will come from president Hollande. The new president of the region and the prime minister are vocal about their desire for a ZAD eviction, but have repeatedly implied that it’s not their decision. The eviction attempt with military force in October of 2012 backfired in that it brought awareness of the struggle to the general public and made the State look both cruel and weak- through images of robocops dragging people from their homes, but also images of police running away from things being thrown at them or while being charged, and ultimately withdrawing. It seems that the State doesn’t want to risk losing face again, especially as the “socialist” party is wildly unpopular and it’s a year away from a presidential election. So a legal eviction that makes it financially unsustainable for people to stay in their homes looks softer, but is just as violent. It would also not only separate and take some meaning from the movement, but leave the squatters more vulnerable to attack if the people living there are less diverse. That’s why this trial is being resisted as much as would be a military-style eviction attempt (which may follow anyway). *Note* the trial results were delivered January 25th, and the 4 farms are immediately evictable, while 8 of the 11 families have a delay until March 26th , at which point it’s illegal to cut trees and thus start work on the project. Also, there were no daily fines given, so the legal responsibility is now on the government to evict by force. The farmers and many of the residents have declared their refusal to leave willingly.
Here is what’s been going on these past weeks.
Two weeks ago, on Saturday, January 9th, 20,000 cyclists and pedestrians took over the ring road in Nantes, leaving from 6 points and converging on a bridge (that is a major axis of the region) for a banquet. The demo was organized in ten days to protest the eviction trial of families and farmers who live legally in the area since a long time, and supported by simultaneous actions in 40 other cities. If carried out, the legal eviction process would impose massive fines and seizure of land, homes and livestock. A group of farmers, called COPAIN, decided to occupy the bridge with a group of around 500 supporters until they received a confirmation from the president that he would keep his engagements (taken in 2012 during the presidential election following an anti-airport hunger strike). The government’s response was to send military police and ambulances (as a threat tactic), and it was decided to pack down the camp and make a “strategic retreat”, whilst being watered with cannons and tear gas.
Monday, Jan 11th there were surprise blockades in five points around Nantes to continue to demand that there be no evictions before the end of the legal appeals process against the airport. 80 tractors and several hundred people took part, and the blockades were mainly well received by the population. There is a communique saying, “imagine if there were actual evictions- nobody would be able to go to work anymore”. At the end of the day, as three farmers were going back to their farm for the 7pm milking, they met a police blockade, which they passed around on the sidewalk. Further on, they met another police blockade, and some military police were lightly injured by the tractors as they tried to pass. The three were arrested and have trials at the end of Febuary where they risk up to 2 years in prison and to lose their drivers liscences, and their tractors have been impounded.
Tuesday the 12th an “Operation Snail” was proposed, where people drive really slowly on important axes of circulation to make a moving blockade. There were many actions- 9 different convoys in the region. Plus communiques from 8 different cities, where there were blockades and occupations of ring roads, police headquarters, and courthouses. 19 people are arrested and 19 cars impounded. There is a callout for donations and expropriations for legal fees and getting their cars back. Vinci (the airport contractor) builds pay parking lots and toll roads, so there are some actions to physically open the barriers and ask for donations to support the struggle from people who come through.
Wednesday, January 13th was the trial of the landowners and renters, with 2-3 thousand people present, with some famous leftist politicians trying as always to recuperate the struggle. The decision will be delivered on Monday, January 25th. Well over 20 solidarity actions happen across france, from roadblocks to tags to marches to farmers union rallies in the basque country. People are doing legal support and prepping for the demo, 40 farmers go to the vehicle impoundment to try to reclaim the tractors.
Actions have continued almost every day all over the country. Last Saturday was a demonstration to block the nearby city of Rennes, and there have been blockades of other major cities. There has also been a major media push to both separate the ZAD occupation movement from the anti-airport movement, and label the entirety and diversity of ZAD occupants as scary foreign-born black clad monsters who are incapable of passing windows without breaking them. Some local right wing people have made up a petition calling for the eviction of the ZAD whether the airport project is cancelled or not. Tomorrow (Monday) is the results of the trial, where the families and farmers find out if they are immediately evictable, if there is a delay, or if the trial is sent to another court to see if the trial is legal.
The farms and families are now legally evictable, and a farmer group have demonstrated that they will encircle the farms and chain their tractors together if there is an eviction attempt. This weekend is a work weekend- in response to the call by the state for subcontractor offers to start work on the project, the ZAD has called for people to come continue work on our counter projects, by building a collective climbing wall, a place to dry and store medicinal plants and do consultations, and pour a new concrete floor, amoung the 30-some projects proposed for this weekend. This week the city halls in Nantes and Rennes saw simultaneous image makeovers during demonstrations the night of the verdict. The hacker group Anonymous shut down access to the ruling Socialist Party website to protest the state of emergency and eviction trial results at Notre dame des Landes, 7 construction trucks from Eurovia (a subsidiary of VINCI) were burned in solidarity with the ZAD and against the state of emergency, and there were many creative demonstrations across france. RDV the 27th of February to call for an end to politicians dodging a clear answer, and an end to the airport (and the world that goes with it!) for once and for all.”
This week we feature two segments concerning struggles in Europe:
Firstly, we speak with Linus. Linus is a member of an autonomous socialist group based in Malmö, Sweden, and is an organizer of the upcoming Connecting European Struggles conference in Malmö. The theme of the CES conference this year is “Gender and Crisis” and invites anti-state & anti-capitalist individuals and groups from around and beyond Europe to attend from September 18-25th to have discussions, watch films, attend presentations and engage towards a more integrated system of autonomous action and ideas. Bursts and Linus discuss the conference, the prior year’s, Crisis Politics, feminism, anti-capitalism, reaction and more. More on the conference can be found at http://connectingeuropeanstruggles.tumblr.com
Next, Bursts chats with Julnel, a member of Ü, an anarchist black metal band from Potenza, in Basilicata, southern Italy. Julnel is a founder of the The Black Metal Alliance anti-hate metal and punk collective, as well as a founder of Dark Skies Above Us Collective and Ü has contributed music to benefit compilations for both of those collectives as well as Crust or Die distro. Recipients of the benefit funds, earned by selling albums of donated songs by similarly anti-nationalist, anti-racist, feminist, pro-LGBT (and so on) metal and punk projects and include: http://caravana43.com; Emilio (anti-fa resistor beaten by a crowd of fascists) and Dordoni Social Center in Cremona which was attacked in January of 2015 by hooligans from CasaPound; Eric McDavid; http://www.womenonwaves.org providing info, contraceptives, safe and legal abortions and more by sailing ships into intl waters around coastal countries where abortion access is prohibited; and 350.org. These collectives (DSAU/BMA/CoD) include bands from Europe, North America, Australasia and South America. We spend about 20 minutes talking about uses of subcultures like punk and metal to engage politically by both revolutionary (for instance, RABM) and reactionary ideologies (in particular RAC & NSBM).
There is no Sean Swain segment for this week, but stay tuned for our next episode which will feature a conversation on the No New Animal Labs tour and initiative out of Washington State to stop the building of an animal testing lab at UW and fight against animal testing. We’ll also be speaking with a supporter of Jessica Burlew, an 18 year old girl diagnosed as schizoeffective and autistic, who has been held in isolation in Estrella Jail in Phoenix, Arizona, since January, 2014. She is being charged with 2nd degree murder for the accidental death of Jason Ash, a 43 year old man who was sexually exploiting her as a 16 year old. http://freejessieb.org/
But first these announcements:
The following is an update on the Resist 450 event in St. Augustine Florida, which was written on Tuesday September 8th and posted to the EarthFirst! Newswire at http://earthfirstjournal.org/newswire. It should be stated that all who were arrested are now free, but the bail fund website is still active and accepting donations.
From EarthFirst!: Six people were arrested today for demonstrating against the celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Spanish invasion of so-called Saint Augustine, Florida. Arrestees are being held at the St Johns County Jail with misdemeanor charges. So far, three have been released. The support team does not have enough support to bond out all arrestees. Donations to the legal/bail fund can be sent to https://www.everribbon.com/ribbon/donate/22383
Tribal elders and the Council of the Original Miccosukee Simanolee Nation Aboriginal Peoples called for resistance demonstrations months ago. The Council asked Saint Augustine city officials not to glorify the rape, torture, displacement, enslavement, and genocide that accompanied European colonization but they were repeatedly ignored.
“Acts of genocide and crimes against humanity conducted on our ancestors by Spain is nothing to honor, glorify, commemorate or celebrate,” said clan and spiritual leader Bobby C. Billie. Billie led tradition prayers in defiance of a reenactment of a colonial landing this morning.
Other protesters took to the water. To the chagrin of haughty actors dressed in shiny hats and other aristocratic regalia, protesters held signs and chanted from kayaks, canoes, and pool floaties in the water surrounding the rowboat and forcing the boat back several times and finally reaching land with reenactors only under heavy police boat escort. More picketers disrupted the opening countdown ceremonies. They delivered messages like “celebrating 450 is celebrating genocide,” “heal the past,” “no honor no pride” and “conquest is not discovery.”
Police officers singled out and arrested four canoers participating in the water protest. On land, officers arrested two other people who interrupted a procession of dignitaries and escorted away others who called attention to the grotesque nature of the festivities.
Protester Libelula commented: “Today’s demonstrations seek to unmask St Augustine’s romanticized version of conquest as a vile glorification of the horrific and heinous acts committed against the original people’s of this territory by the Spanish Conquistadors. I’m from an indigenous background and celebrations like this one are not only offensive but also attempt to erase indigenous people’s suffering. This makes our demands for emancipation and dignity invisible. This is a blatant celebration the murder, rape, and torture of the original peoples of Turtle Island. It’s important to not let this go unchallenged.”
Anarchists across the US have been taking part in events to raise funds for the Anarchist Black Cross in cities from Denver, New York, and LA. The events, called ‘Running Down the Walls’ raise funds for the ABC Warchest, which goes to help ABC Chapters send money and literature to political prisoners across the US. The runs are conducted in US cities and inside prison walls, building solidarity between incarcerated prisoners and those on the outside. Bill Dune, anti-authoritarian political prisoner imprisoned for an attempted 1979 prison break from the King County Jail in Seattle,Washington wrote on the occasion:
“Running Down The Walls has become a fine and honored tradition on our side of the barricade. I could run like the wind in past RDTWs even where I ran alone because the sense of solidarity took away the pain of physical exertion and of distance from my community – from you all. This year, unfortunately, I will be unable to physically run with you. I’ve been relegated to FCI Herlong’s dungeon because in the agency of repression’s mythology, an anonymous note purports that I’m planning to run from them. It was most likely written by a person of the porcine persuasion actually worried I might be planning more litigation. But so it goes in life with big brother! I will be with you this day nevertheless, if not in person, in mind, in heart, in solidarity as you – as we – run, walk, roll, move however we can down the road to revolution. See you closer to the finish line!”
To write to Bill Dunne, address letters to:
Bill Dunne #10916-086
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 800
Herlong, CA 96113
To donate to Running Down the Walls, go to http://www.youcaring.com/u-s-political-prisoners-406831
The Final Straw sees fit to mention a court decision – which we wouldn’t normally do, this being a somewhat anti-state anarchist radio show – but this little number highlights a few things which interest us and relates back to the interviews we conducted in 2011 & 2013 around the hunger strikes that spread up from California prisons to include prisoners in other states and even Canada in solidarity against solitary confinement. The case in question is called Ashker v. Governor of California, and it is a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners held in the Security Housing Unit, or SHU, at California’s Pelican Bay State Prison who have spent a decade or more in solitary confinement. The case was settled by the Governor’s office on September 1st, 2015.
From The Center For Constitutional Rights at https://ccrjustice.org: “The case charges that prolonged solitary confinement violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, and that the absence of meaningful review for SHU placement violates the prisoners’ rights to due process. The legal action is part of a larger movement to reform conditions in SHUs in Calfornia’s prisons that was sparked by hunger strikes by thousands of SHU prisoners in 2011 and 2013; the named plaintiffs in Ashker include several leaders and participants from the hunger strikes. The case is part of the Center for Constitutional Rights broader efforts to challenge mass incarceration, discrimination, and abusive prison policies.”
“This settlement represents a monumental victory for prisoners and an important step toward our goal of ending solitary confinement in California, and across the country. California’s agreement to abandon indeterminate SHU confinement based on gang affiliation demonstrates the power of unity and collective action. This victory was achieved by the efforts of people in prison, their families and loved ones, lawyers, and outside supporters.”
This case represents to us a huge and interesting step in our United States, which happens to be the country with the most percentage of incarcerated citizens in the world. Prison visibility in the media is at unprecedented levels, from the prison themed TV show “Orange is the New Black” to NPR coverage of prison strikes and the deleterious effects that incarceration and solitary confinement has on people. Since this particular case could not have occurred so successfully in a more apathetic social environment – support from families and on social media have been instrumental to any steam its gained – it yet again highlights to us the importance of sticking to your guns, to having strong solidarity with your comrades, friends, family, and neighbors, wherever and whenever it makes sense. So listeners, keep on talking to each other. It could lead in some great directions.
This week William speaks with Ruddy Turnstone of the Global Justice Ecology Project and BJ Mcmanama of the Indigenous Environmental Network about the issue of Genetically Engineered trees, their ecological and social impacts, and of the Action Camp to take place just outside of Asheville NC on September 24th-27th. The Action Camp has a registration deadline very soon so if you wish to participate in this amazing event, go to http://nogetrees.org to register! You can email our guest, Ruddy Turnstone, at ruddy(at)globaljusticeecologyproject(dot)org for particulars and for info on how to subscribe to GJEP’s newsletter. For more on the Indigenous Environmental Network, you can visit http://ienearth.org.
But first, a few announcements:
We have just learned from Eddien’s Public Defender that he in fact can be bailed out despite violating his probation. His bail is $50K so we need $5K to bond him out. Eddien is currently doing okay in jail, but strongly wants to be bailed out and desires that all money be used for that first and later for his legal defense.
Eddien was initially charged with 2nd degree felony assault and battery by a mob as well as 3rd misdemeanor assault and battery. He also has the additional charge of Breach of Peace of a High and Aggravated Nature for allegedly breaking the windows of a KKK member’s pick up truck.
You can donate to Eddien’s defense/bail fund at FreeEddien.wordpress.com. Benefits of any kind are welcome–if you want to get in touch with us about any details shoot us an email at free(d0t)eddien(at )gmail(dot)com.
Eddien was one of six arrested at an anti-KKK demonstration on July 18th in Columbia, SC. On that day around 2,000 people showed up to confront the Klan, whose rally was cut short out of concerns for “public safety.” In a historic show of opposition, a rowdy and diverse crowd of gangs, black nationalists, anarchists, and various anti-racists humiliated the Klan and their Nazi counterparts and literally chased them out of town. A short zine about the demonstration can be found on http://ruinsofcapital.noblogs.org/.
In other news, Robert “Skinny” Mahone is being tortured by staff at Southern Ohio
Correctional Facility (Home to the Lucasville Uprising). Skinny has been
abused by staff before, this is a continuation of that abuse. In the
past Skinny has had his genitals pepper sprayed without reason, now he
is being forced to wear the same dirty clothes for weeks while he is
attempting to heal from a broken jaw.
What we are asking everyone who reads this to do is very simple.
1. Buy a .50 cent stamp
2. Trace your hand onto a piece of paper
3. Mail it to Robert ‘Skinny’ Mahone at:
Robert Mahone 255-225
P.O. Box 45699
Lucasville, OH 45699
We are choosing this course of action to let Skinny know that he is not
alone, and even more importantly to let the staff at SOCF know that he
is not alone and that we will know if something happens to him. Prisons
are able to do what they want to prisoners largely based on the fact
that they are isolated and no one pays attention. But there are lots of
us, and we pay very close attention. ”
More information available at:
We also have some words of wisdom from anarchist prisoner Sean Swain on banks: what are they anyway, really? how many of them are there? are they edible, yes or no? Stay tuned, as always, for answers.
We close out the show with some anarchist and anarchist leaning metal from the last couple of years.
On next weeks episode of The Final Straw, Bursts’ll be speaking with organizers involved in the Connecting European Struggles Conference in Malmö, Sweden from September 18-20th, 2015. The theme for the conference is “Feminism In The Crisis” and will be bringing together autonomous, anti-capitalist struggles from around Europe to discuss austerity, gender, immigration, care work, health care and much more. More info in many languages can be found at connectingeuropeanstruggles.tumblr.com or on their facebook page.