Anti-Fascist Organizing in Charlotte against AntiCom
The first is with an antifascist in Charlotte, NC, about the “March Against Communism” event that MIGHT be taking place in that city on Thursday, December 28th. Anticommunist Action, the nazi group that originally announced the event had hoped to hold it in Marshall Park but never applied for a permit, got told off by the city and MAYBE cancelled it. This anti-fascist, Soyboy, thinks it might still occur and wants folks to show up.
(A) Healthcare Workers respond to 7 Words Banned at CDC
Then, William talked with two anarchist healthcare workers in Asheville, NC about the Trump administration’s censorship of language regarding the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 budget proposal documents. In this short episode we talk about what this means, some recent context for similar censorship, how CDC budget documents affect people’s everyday lives, and recommendations for how to move forward. This appeared as a “minisode” in our podcast feed. They chat about possible implications of removal of the following terms from the CDC’s budgeting proposals: fetus; transgender; science-based; evidence-based; diversity; vulnerable; & entitlement.
Announcement: Asheville NYE Noise Demo
On Sunday, 12/31/17 at the downtown Buncombe County jail and courthouse complex in Asheville, a noise demonstration will happen at 7pm to bring outside attention to the jail and let the folks on the inside know that we’re thinking of them. Bring noisemakers, pots, pans, horns, whatever. Here’s a link to the jpg of the flyer. Not in Asheville? Organize your own damn thing. Or check itsgoingdown.org to join with an existing event!
This week we are presenting two anarchist voices regarding DACA, among many other things. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and has been in the news recently because of a stay on this program by the current administration.
I should say that these two interviews were conducted separately, and I am trying something different regarding their presentation, namely weaving the two of them together in the way that seemed to make the most sense to me so as to present all the information in the most succinct way, all in the same place, while still trying to preserve the arcs of both interviews. I’m still not really sure how I feel about this radio tactic, and I’m seeking opinions from listeners if you feel moved to shoot me an email via email@example.com.
The two interviews were very different, and from slightly different
perspectives though the two interviewees were both anarchists and both living in North Carolina. We talk about DACA and its histories, some psychological and logistical impacts of this stay on affected communities, and the mental calisthenics involved in being an anarchist while living in a world so saturated by the state and all it entails.
If you enjoyed this presentation, both of the interviews in their entirety including my replies and questions are on The Final Straw
Radio’s archive.org collection for anyone to listen to. Just visit
archive.org and search The Final Straw Radio Collection and navigate to the post entitled “DACA interviews, full versions”.
The interviewers recommend getting in touch with regional
organizations for solidarity and resources where possible. CIMA operates out of Asheville, and stands for Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción, which is “a regional network connecting and strengthening organizations that empower Latino communities in Western North Carolina. At one point about 25 organizations actively participate in the coalition.” You can follow them on the web at http://cimawnc.org/ and email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week William interviewed Mark Bray, who is a professor, author, and anti authoritarian, about the G20 protests that took place in Hamburg Germany last week. We will talk about the event, how it unfolded, much in the way of cultural and historical context for resisting G20 summits, and much more! You can follow our guest on Twitter @Mark__Bray and search any search engine to find his books.
B(A)D News #2
The July 2017 edition of the monthly English language podcast, Bad News: Angry Voices from Around The World, is just out from the International Anarchist Radio Network. As of this moment, the network’s website has yet to debut at a-radio-network.org, so check out our post and our rss podcast feed for a link to this newest episode.
Fuck a Grand Jury; Grand Jury Resistance
We’d like to present a breaking announcement. Longtime North Carolinian, organizer and anarchist, Katie Yow has just released a statement that she’s been subpoena’d to a Federal Grand Jury in Greensboro and will be refusing to cooperate. We at the Final Straw Radio wish to express our care and support to Katie as she faces down this threat with our hearts full of the knowledge that she won’t be resisting this alone, but alongside all of us who know that backing down is not a choice. Many before have resisted and will. To the recalcitrant refusals of Team Grumbles!
In the Asheville area, here are a few upcoming events:
On Thursday, July 20th at 7:30pm at Firestorm there’ll be a showing of Trouble #4, about movement defense and resisting repression followed by episode 2 of Channel (A)!, a compilation of screen representation of anarchists from popular media. This event sits in the international week of solidarity from July 20-27th with J20 defendants from the inauguration protests in D.C. this year.
“We are calling for a Week of Solidarity with the J20 defendants from July 20 to 27, 2017. July 20 marks six months from the initial actions and arrests during Donald Trump’s inauguration, and on July 27, a motion to dismiss the charges will be argued in court. On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. for the DisruptJ20 protests to oppose the inauguration of yet another president. A combination of blockades, marches, and festive demonstrations shattered the spectacle of a peaceful transition of power. Unfortunately, with resistance comes repression. Approximately 214 arrestees now face a total of eight felony charges a piece, including conspiracy and destruction of property. All of the J20 defendants are now facing up to 75 years in prison. The majority of defendants are working together, collectively responding to the charges and using solidarity to push back against the state. How effectively we support the inauguration day defendants will determine how effectively anyone can keep resisting under the Trump administration. Turning protest into a felony offense is dangerous for anyone who believes in the right to resist. We call on supporters to organize events and actions in solidarity with the J20 defendants throughout the week. Be creative and strategic! Help cultivate a spirit of resistance and mutual aid! Visit Defend J20 Resistance for more information”
On July 21st at 8pm at Firestorm, a report-back from the protests in Hamburg, Germany, will take place at Firestorm. From the original announcement
“In July 2017, the rulers of the world’s 20 most powerful nations met in Hamburg, Germany to coordinate the preservation of capitalism and state power at the expense of humanity and the natural world. Over 20,000 police were brought into the city in order to brutally suppress dissent. Yet the more violently the police attacked demonstrators, the more the general population of Hamburg came together in rebellion against them. In the end, in response to escalating attempts at repression, massive riots paralyzed the city, with some areas becoming police-free zones. We will hear a full report from Hamburg, complete with photos and video.”
On July 22nd, don’t forget about the bbq, bake sale and benefit punk show for J20 defendants. Details should be up on It’s Going Down along with other scheduled events around North Carolina for the week.
This week we featured two conversations in the episode.
“Stop The Pipelines Action Camp”
Firstly, Bursts chatted with erin. erin is a resident of the Blacksburg VA area and an affiliate of Blue Ridge Rapid Response Project (or BRRRP) and is helping to organize the “Stop The Pipelines Action Camp” in that area from July 13-17th, 2017. The action camp is being organized in hopes to spread resistance to the Mountain Valley & Atlantic Coast Pipelines that are traversing Appalachian West Virginia, Virginia and, in the ACP’s case, North Carolina. We talk about what it is to live in a place and defend your home, to get to know your neighbors, to build the skills needed to resist ecocidal, capitalist infrastructure projects. More info at https://blueridgerapidresponse.wordpress.com. The event is being co-sponsored by Smokey Mountain Eco-Defense (SMED)
erin mentions pipeline security pursued by mercenary groups like TigerSwan as well as industry-sponsored astro-turf (or fake grassroots) group YourEnergy meant to muddy the water of community resistance to pipeline expansion and other infrastructural projects.
After that, Bursts chatted with 2 residents of the squatted neighborhood of Errekaleor Bizirik in the Basque territory within the borders of so-called Spain. The residents talk about the history of Errekaleor Bizirik, feminism, energy infrastructure, recent attacks by police on the project and pre-figuring a post-capitalist life-way in the rubble of the existent. For more info on the project, which translates to Dry River (Errekaleor) Lives (Bizirik)!, check out:
The draft wikipedia page;
An IGD post about the project with links and context;
Their Coopfunding page.
We wanted to also state that the folks at Errekaleor reached out to us for the interview, which was super awesome. If you have a project, a book, an article, a fight that seems like it’d be interesting to us and our listeners, send us an email at email@example.com and get the ball rolling.
If you want, find us on itunes and subscribe for free. You can rate us there as well, to help others find us more easily.
The Arizona based humanitarian aid group No More Deaths (No Mas Muertes in spanish) has been under semi constant surveillance by Border Patrol for the past week. This is unprecedented attention; since its foundation in 2004 this group has had a written agreement, essentially a non interference good faith contract, with Border Patrol that names the group as a health aid and humanitarian group that has every right to be doing the work it’s doing. NO More Deaths is a group based on certain faith principles (it is an official ministry of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Tuscon) and on critical engagement with policy reform, nevertheless it is a group that has a high degree of anarchist involvement and solidarity with what could be called anarchist principles. It is most famous for desert aid; volunteers hiking out and leaving supplies such as water – essential in the 100 plus degree heat – food, socks, blankets, other supplies, and directed first aid where needed along remote corridors in the Sonoran Desert. The group also engages with legal aid, abuse documentation, searching for missing or disappeared people, helping getting belongings back from Border Patrol, networking with other border solidarity groups in the area, and consciousness raising and education to subvert the extremely stale narrative that immigration has in the US.
A couple of days ago, after almost a week of constant surveillance, Border Patrol raided a camp “in an unprecedented show of force, [with] approximately 30 armed agents raided the camp with at least 15 trucks, two quads, and a helicopter to apprehend four patients receiving medical care.” We hope to talk with someone about this situation soon for the radio show; the fact that this raid is coming now is a clear sign of the administrations attitude toward this kind of work. For more information on this issue and to keep up with No More Deaths, you can go to their website https://nomoredeaths.org
In the first half of this week’s show we spoke with Rodney about the upcoming Heartwood Forest Council, one of two yearly meet and greet events by Heartwood. Heartwood “is a regional network that protects forests and supports community activism in the eastern United States through education, advocacy, and citizen empowerment. We are people helping people protect the places they love.
Heartwood was founded in 1991, when concerned citizens from several midwestern states each defending their national forest from logging, mining, roads and ruin, met and began to work together to protect the heartland hardwood forest.”
They’ll be holding their “Strong Roots”, the 27th Forest Council from May 26-29 at Camp Spring Creek, 774 Spring Creek Rd, Bakersville, North Carolina, the heart of the Katuah Bioregion. Info on the event, how to register yourself to attend, what’ll be offered and how to get involved in Heartwood can be found at https://heartwood.org
The second half is an interview conducted by Pinda and aired on episode 192 of Dissident Island Radio, an anarchist podcast out every 2 weeks from London and available at http://dissidentisland.org. In the chat, Pinda spoke with Crossbill, a bird of the Riseup! collective about the recent FBI gag order ordeal and what this means for users of riseup mail and other services.
Stay tuned to our website, social media & podcast feed for a special podcast release of an interview with the Liverpool based anarchist black metal project Dawn Ray’d. In this interview we speak about the inception of the band, the political situation in Liverpool, and the many ways in which anarchism and black metal can inform and augment each other.
This band is just about to embark on a tour of the U.S., organized by the Milwaukee based label Halo of Flies, with dates in Cincinnati, Detroit, Texas, and in Asheville on June 1st at the Odditorium! You can check out their music for free on bandcamp, and keep in touch with tour dates and new releases by visiting their fedbook page.
From the Durham Solidarity Center: “Dozens of southern anti-racist activists organized a counter protest today, May 20, 2017, at a so-called “Confederate Memorial Day” rally organized by the white supremacist organization, ACTBAC (Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County). Three were arrested and given serious charges and high bail – the highest was $15,000. The Alamance County Sheriff is a notorious racist. According to witnesses, Alamance police were seen shaking hands with known Klan members. We need your support to support these anti-racist fighters.”
This week, we spoke with Whitney about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline, two pipelines flowing through mid-Appalachian and the mid-Atlantic region on Turtle Island and both connect Transco pipeline in Pennsylvania County, VA. The pipelines are 48 inches in diameter and are made for transporting dangerous compressed and pressurized natural gas through many watersheds, towns and farmlands. In addition to fears of contamination of waterways and soil, through possible leaks and explosions, many people are concerned the pipeline will be carry gas for export , not even for domestic consumption.
Whitney is also involved in an upcoming podcast series to inform folks in Virginia about the history and aspects of the pipelines to be released in the run-up to the decisions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on whether or not these projects can move forward.
As of now, there is no website address for our guest’s podcast, but their podcast’s mission statement is as follows:
“‘End of the Line’ is a pre-recorded podcast created by local Richmonders, following the developing story of two proposed pipelines in Virginia – the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Over the past year, the subject of fossil fuel “pipelines” has reached a high point of saturation in the national consciousness. While the nation watched major milestones unfold around the rejection of Keystone XL by President Obama and Standing Rock’s struggle to protect water against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, resistance to pipelines in Virginia has been building as well. Residents and landowners in mostly rural parts of the state have taken on an uphill battle to try and stop two high pressure natural gas pipelines from going through their land as well as some of Virginia’s most treasured places.
Featuring the voices of those directly affected by the proposed infrastructure, this ongoing series will examine every aspect of the local pipeline struggle, episode by episode, starting at the very beginning and working our way to the present. Through voices of those on the frontlines, we will touch on issues such as eminent domain, energy policy, industry influence on local politics, environmental impacts, and the mental health aspect of how residents are coping with this tremendous burden. Our goals are to provide listeners with the stories of Virginians who have been and are currently resisting both proposed natural gas pipelines and build a wider audience of people throughout our region who may not be familiar with all that has occurred since the summer of 2014 when the pipelines were first introduced. The built-in question we will be posing to listeners is the same many landowners are facing, “Are these pipelines a ‘done deal’?” To that end, as our episodes begin to meet up in real time with the decision-making process at state and federal levels, “End of the Line” will continue to report on developments as the pipeline saga unfolds”.
We will announce a website for this project as soon as we know!
Other, regional upcoming events related to the ACP & MVP pipelines may consider attending include the following: Beyond Extreme Energy will be putting on a convergence in Washington DC from April 26-28th. BXE was a co-sponsor of the walk across NC areas that may be affected by the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline. More info on the conference and other stuff by BXE can be found at http://beyondextremeenergy.org Delaware River Keepers have compiled “People’s Dossiers” on shortcomings of studies in the economic and environmental harms of the ACP & MVP by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or FERC. http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/ongoing-issues/peoples-dossier-ferc-abuses-economic-harms
Another site of interest worth check out is http://www.apppl.org for the Alliance of People to Protect the Places we Live.
If you’re in the South East (or wherever), you are cordially invited to attend the 1st Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfaire, also known as ACAB2017 from May 5-May 7th in Asheville, North Carolina. The weekend of events kicks off with an a welcome table at firestorm books at 610 Haywood Rd from 3pm until 6pm with a schedule of events and ways to plug in. There are multiple musical events Friday and Saturday night. Featured speakers include Shon Meckfessel, Jude Ortiz of Tilted Scales Collective, members of the crimethInc collective as well as from the Water Protectors Anti-Repression Crew and a special appearance by author and activist Ward Churchill. Vendors over the weekend will include PM Press, AK Press, Little Black Cart, Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, Combustion Books and many more. Consider the daytime events to be all ages. Check out https://acab2017.noblogs.org/ for updates and info.
This week, we spoke with Bruno Y Hinojosa-Ruiz, a co-director of CIMA, Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion, about some immigration situations in Western NC, organizing here and the case of Elmer Reynoso-Reynoso, a Guatemalan-born resident of Weaverville who was recently released from detention after public outcry and pressure.
Bo Brown support
First, we would like to briefly announce that long time revolutionary and former political prisoner Bo Brown has just been diagnosed with a condition which is very similar to Parkinson’s Disease. She has always worked tirelessly against racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, and has brought awareness and attention through all means to the plight of the prisoner. Since being in prison is an experience which is designed to follow everyone for their entire lives, let’s help this comrade with her current situation.
For more information and to donate, you can visit:
Milo Yiannopoulos, hater to appear at WCU
On Wednesday, October 12th Alt-Right, anti-muslim, anti-semite, anti-feminist, white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos is speaking at Western Carolina University. He’s being sponsored by the College Republicans at WCU in Cullowhee, about an hour drive west of Asheville. To get there, one can travel West on i-40 for about 25 minutes then out US-74 South for 35 minutes. It would be a pity if this stop on the “Dangerous Faggot Tour” were to be disrupted by anti-racists. Just sayin.
His website is here
This week we’ll be rebroadcasting a recent update from A-Radio Berlin on the repression called Operation Fenix in Czech Republic against anarchists there. Following that, we’ll hear some music from Wildspeaker, Cara Neir and Allochiria.
First, text from the intro to the A-Radio Portion:
“In the context of the International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners (23.-30th of August 2016), we had the opportunity of talking to a comrade from Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) in Czech Republic. The interview gives a short summary of the repression that started in 2015 and explains the singular cases and their current development, but deals also with the problems the movement had in the beginning to show solidarity. Last but not least, you get very good advice on the topic of solidarity and what to do yourselves.
Since the interview, another comrade is in prison. Lukáš Borl, who had been living underground, has been arrested by the police on September 4.”
More info on the case at https://antifenix.noblogs.org/
This was a statement originally posted to itsgoingdown.org, which we have shortened for broadcasting. It pertains to updates on the September 9th prison strike, with some thoughts about how to move forward from here. For more such thoughts, you can check out the most recent IGD cast which includes interviews with IWOC organizers and resisting prisoners in Merced, CA.
One thing is not in question: September 9th is now officially the largest prison work strike ever to take place within the United States.
This strike against prison slavery that began on September 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising has now entered it’s third week. According to organizers with Support Prisoner Resistance:
“As of 9/21 we have tracked 46 prisons and jails that experienced some kind of disruption between September 8 and 21st. This total includes both lockdowns reported by officials (some of whom deny that the lockdown was protest related) and reports of protests from prisoners and supporters (some of which did not lead to lockdowns or full strikes).
Of these, 31 facilities experienced a lock-down, suspension or full strike for at least 24 hours. Those 31 facilities house approximately 57,000 people. That is a guess at the minimum number of prisoners affected by the nationally coordinated strike.
There is likely much more going on behind the prison gates that we do not yet know about. We receive new information on a daily basis. In some places the strike lasted a day or a weekend, but in some, it seems to be going strong 12 days in.”
The strike has also grown out of the original expectations of many organizers. For instance, the strike has spread into both men and women’s prisons, into county jails, and has lead to not only work strikes, but hunger strikes, organized marches and protests inside facilities, expanded communication of prisoners to the outside, and full fledged uprisings. Despite a media blackout that is fueled by the advertising of corporations that make billions from prison slavery while the mainstream press drones on about politicians which vow to only expand it – the strike is only continuing and bringing more people into our networks.
On the outside, thousands of people took to the streets. In Durham, NC and Brooklyn, NY, freeways were blocked. In Oakland, corporations profiting from prison labor were attacked. In Portland, streets and stores profiting from prison labor were occupied and shut down. In Austin, people shut down a facility showcasing products made by prisoners, and demonstrations, marches, and rallies were organized throughout the South. Across the US, noise demonstrations outside of prisons were organized, marches were held, and graffiti, banners, and posters were placed around the walls, freeways, and towns and cities of the US. Across the world, people also took action in solidarity with the prison strike. From Serbia to Sweden, Greece to Australia, Mexico to Spain, people released statements of solidarity, held demonstrations outside of prisons, and took action against corporations that profit from prison slavery.
In order to proceed, people need to develop a strategy around supporting the strike. This means figuring out if and how you can support a facility near you taking action, how you can link up and build connections with prisoners, how you could build up your organization or crew to carry out this activity, and also how you could carry out actions which push forward the strike.
1.) Support the Strikers:
Holding a demonstration outside of the facility.
Holding a demonstration outside of a corporation connected to prison labor in solidarity with the strike (especially if that is what the prisoners are working to create).
Hold a call-in campaign to the prison to demand that the prison meet the prisoners demands and end repressive measures against them.
Hold a letter writing night to make contact with the prisoners. Contact IWOC for more information if you have no established contacts.
Hold a fundraiser for established groups such as the Free Ohio Movement or the Free Alabama Movement. Remember prisoners are the front lines of this struggle. We must support them and their activity as well!
2.) Build your Squad:
Raising money so you can continue or begin to engage in prison support work.
Host a letter writing night to better connect with prisoners already engaged in action.
Host a call-in event with a prisoner who can discuss the conditions that exist where they are
striking and how people on the outside can support them. Contact IWOC for more details.
Host a speaker, Skype presenter, or open discussion on the strike to move people from passive
support to active participation. Plug people into the organizing and get them involved.
Organize a BBQ or social event where people discuss the strike, update people on what is
happening, and read off actions and communiques.
3) Keep it Lit:
Organize a noise demonstration outside a facility taking action or one closest to you.
Organize and take action at a corporation profiting from prison slavery. Get creative!
Drop a banner in solidarity with the prison strike.
Organize a night of wheat-pasting flyers. Get people together and go out on the town and put up
posters and flyers supporting the strike. Write graffiti and drop banners.
Already, our comrades across the world are standing with us in solidarity. In a statement released by the ABC Solidarity Cell in Greece, they have called for international supporters to also take action in support of the ongoing strike on October 1st.
The September 9th strike has been inspiring, but to stop now and simply step back and wait for the next eruption would be to loose out on bringing new people into our movement. To also stop taking action now when prisoners across the US are still on strike, still on hunger strike, and still risking their lives would be to betray everything that they have worked for.
Now is the time to build. Now is the time to grow. But it is definitely not the time to stop.
Repression at WCW Women’s prison in Gig Harbor, WA
To support prisoner resistance, from an anonymous prison staff in the state of Washington:
“I would like you and supporters to know that there was a symbolic protest at Washington Correctional Center for Women in Gig Harbor on September 9. Three women refused to go to work in the prison library. The emergency response team was dispatched and the women were taken to Segregation. At their hearing last week, they were given 20 days in seg, and are facing reclassification and probably the loss of their jobs. In my opinion, this was a peaceful, non-violent expression of their opinions meant to draw attention to the issue of prison labor, and the response was much more disruptive than the event itself. The library has been closed since September 9. According to DOC, this was the only action in the entire state of Washington.”
Support for Amir Davis, Kinetic’s Son
In March of this year, the son of Kinetik was accused of stabbing Warden Davenport at Holman prison in Alabama. He was then shipped to Donaldson. He has since been assaulted, harassed, and tortured in Solitary Confinement. If you support FAM and the work we do then let Kinetik’s Sun know his sacrifices for change were not in vain. Those willing, drop him a postcard and those able, put a small donation on his books via the ADOC website.
Amir “Jaja” Davis #268646
G-4 WE Donaldson CF
1000 Warrior Lane
Bessemer, AL 35023
In Revolutionary Solidarity,
To see a list of more people who have been explicitely targeted by officials in response to the Prison Strike, you can visit itsgoingdown.org
Seeking #CharlotteUprising interviews
As most of you are probably aware, following the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte NC (who was killed while sitting in his car reading and waiting for his kid to get dropped off from school), there have been riots in that town which have lasted days. The mainstream media coverage of these events has been predictably terrible, following all the racist tropes we have come to expect from the likes of CNN and FOX. With an aim to combat these narratives, we at The Final Straw would like to put out a call for submissions or interviews that people would like to see broadcast on this show. Any interviews would be done from an explicitely anarchist perspective.
If this is at all interesting to you or anyone you know, give us a holler at:
This week, we’ll be featuring a short roundup of some of the events inside and outside of the prison walls during the beginning of the Prisoner Work Strike that started on September 9th in the United Snakes with the goal of ending Prison Slavery in U.S. prisons. After that we’ll hear the last half hour of Gil O’Teen’s conversation with Guy McGowan Steel Steward, an American anarcho-communist about his joining the Rojava Revolution alongside Kurdish and other folks in Northern Syria. This portion, they discuss nationalism and national identity in Rojava, the draft, the decision to adopt Federalization within Rojava and more. This is within the context of recent Turkish incursions into the Kurdish regions of northern Syria which have led to deaths among civilians and YPG/YPJ forces of the Kurdish Resistance. These deaths include foreign fighters who’ve joined the Rojava struggle. Happily, Guy is not among those dead. There is an interesting discussion and an homage to american anarchist fighter Jordan MacTaggart, an interview with Rojava Solidarity NYC, plus much much more in the latest episode of The Ex-Worker podcast, available at http://crimethinc.com/podcast that I suggest folks check out and share with friends.
Background and Inside Resistance
As many of you are probably aware, Friday September 9th kicked off the largest and most coordinated prisoner work stoppage in the US in all history, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising. Organized in conjunction with incarcerated members of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), this work stoppage is turning a bright spotlight on the continuing condition of slavery in the United States, a slavery upon which this country’s economy is cripplingly dependant. Prisoners are also forced to be responsible for running the actual prisons themselves, working in the laundry, cafeteria, and so on, pretty much in any non-administrative capacity you can think of. I don’t think it should go without saying that much of this labor goes unwaged, though the on average 13 cents an hour that inmates get paid is nothing compared to the exorbitant costs of goods in prison stores.
Friday kicked off the actual strike, but resistance from within prison got started well before then with fires being set at Lincoln Correctional Center in Lincoln, Nebraska on September 6th, a 4 dormitory wide riot at Holmes prison in Bonifay, Florida on the 7th which hopped from dorm to dorm in the facility keeping just ahead of the CO’s attemts to quell the rebellion, creating a Whak-A-Mole type situation that I’m sure the prison officials just loved. Also on the 7th inmates at the infamous military detention center Guantanamo Bay remain on hunger strike to protest their indefinite detentions, many of whom were captured as part of the xenophobic and racist governmental response to September 11th, 2001, 15 years ago today.
September 9th at noon saw a complete work stoppage at Holman Correctional in Atmore, Alabama where our comrade Michael Kimble is held captive. There is no incidents yet from prison officials, and guards and COs were forced to perform all tasks. Sit down strikes and work stoppages were also held in Bonifay, FL in the aforementioned Holmes Prison, amid the ashes of the fires set only two days prior. In Troy VA, there was a work stoppage at a women’s facility, and all across this state of North Carolina prisoners refused to report to their jobs. At a women’s facility in California 10 or so brave souls refused to work and effectively shut the whole prison down because of fear of a riot. Disturbances were reported at Gulf and Mayo prisons in Florida, and three guards were injured in scuffles at Tecumseh Prison in Nebraska.
Yesterday saw a continuation of resistance in Nebraska at a women’s facility, from all over South Carolina, and continuing resistance in Atmore. Solidarity from overseas has been flying in fast and furious, with statements from prisoners in Greece, Australia, Lithuania, and Sweden among many others.
Repression of those who are striking has mostly consisted of prison lockdowns and targeting of people who have been designated the “ringleaders”. It will be very important for people to recieve solidarity from those on the outside in order for this resistance to continue. Keep your eyes on itsgoingdown.org and the live updates at http://maskmagazine.com for current info and calls for backup. You can visit the IWOC at iwoc.org for a list of concrete anti-repression tactics to share with those who are incarcerated and otherwise.
Local Events, Arrests, and Donations to the Legal Fund
Now, let’s take a gander at some of the events we were able to find that took place outside of the prison walls, per se, around the U.S. and around the world.
A full narrative of outside support events would take a very long time, which is a good thing, so we’re going to read through some highlights starting local to get the attention of the folks locally on this. We’ll be giving precedence to two local struggles in which arrests occurred. If folks from elsewhere have an experience they want to share, send us an email at 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.
We believe that no one should go through this alone, especially marginalized folks who are brave enough to put themselves in these front lines. We are so proud of the North Carolina communities right now.”
You can connect to that fundraiser at: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/legal-support-for-wnc-sept-9-solidarity-activists
Folks in Atlanta took the streets on Friday, September 9th, in the face of serious police repression. From http://atlblackcross.org comes this information:
“Today marks the beginning of the national prison strike. Prisoners all over the country are going on strike and refusing to cooperate with the unjust prison system. They are demanding decent pay for work, decent food and living conditions, and an end to inhumane practices like solitary confinement.
In Atlanta, supporters marched through Midtown and disrupted several corporations which profit from prison slavery. Wendy’s, McDonalds, Aramark, and Starbucks all got a visit. When the march got to Starbucks, police made several violent arrests, using pepper spray and slamming people to the pavement. At one point, police even tried to run marchers over with a squad car.
We are working hard to make sure all the protesters get free as soon as possible, so everyone can continue doing the important work of supporting the ongoing prison strike.” As of this morning, Sunday, September 11th (make a wish!), all defendants are out but are facing some stupidly hefty charges. One demonstrator apparently was taken during their arrest to a police precinct women’s bathroom and choke slammed against the wall for being a part of copwatch in Atlanta. FTP!
More on the Atlanta cases and how to support them can be found at https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bail-out-prison-strike-supporters
International solidarity with the strike has been tremendous, with banner drops, graffitti and actions ranging far and wide. Here are a few instances of international solidarity, this is by no means a complete list. You can see more information about this, plus photos and full statements at It’s Going Down.
* Horgoš, Serbia: Banner drop in support of prison strike.
* Brisbane, Australia: Solidarity action with US prisoners.
*Melbourne, Australia: Info table with literature about US prisons and the prison strike, along with collected donations.
* Melbourne, Australia: Anarchist demonstration outside US Consulate.
* Malmö, Sweden: Solidarity demonstration.
* Athens, Greece: Demonstration outside Korydallos women’s prison.
* Leipzig, Germany: Rally outside US Consulate.
* Montreal, Canada: Dinner and film screening in solidarity with prisoner rebellion.
* Melbourne, Australia: Noise demo at youth jail.
* Barcelona, Spain: Graffiti messages of support written on McDonald’s.
Playlist is here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/17496
We open with an announcement from Asheville Anti-Racism, which is a far-right-watch group here in Asheville. There is a benefit show tonight (4/17/2016) at the Odditorium in Asheville, NC to raise funds for an anti-fascist, anti-KKK march just outside of Atlanta, GA next Saturday the 23rd. Every year, fascists march on Stone Mountain in Georgia, and every year there is anti-fascist presence. Let’s make this a year to remember!
A few prison updates from the U.S.:
Since April 4th, prisoners in at least 4 Texas prisons have been on strike for better conditions and an end to slavery and human rights abuses. This strike is but the latest in a nationwide mass movement
inside prisons for dignity and freedom. Minimum wage in Texas prisons is 00/hr. Access to medical care requires a $100 medical copay.
Striking prisons have been put on lockdown in an attempt to “conceal the strike” and the battle of wills is being daily tested by the inhumanity of the administration. No lights, two peanut butter sandwiches a day, no phone, mail or visitation from the outside world. And likely far worse.
Since the strike’s inception, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice TDCJ) has been trying to contain the strike and paint the strikers as causing harm to inmates and families. Threatening additional lockdowns, forced transfers, violence. Even a statewide lockdown.
The Incarcerated Workers Organzing Committee, IWOC, believes TDCJ’s actions to be an intentional, routine tactic. “They are trying to change who the enemy is,” said Nick Onwukwe, Co-Chair of IWOC and a former prisoner. “Trying to get you believe the enemy isn’t the slave master, it’s the slave who sits down and says – enough.”
Increasingly lockdowns are becoming reality. Already there are additional lockdowns at Jester III, Dalhart, and Beto, partial lockdowns at Coffield and Allred, and a confirmed order for lockdown at Michael for this morning, April 16th. Is the strike spreading? Will TCDJ’s tactics backfire? We may be at a tipping point.
IWOC and prisoners, family & supporters are requesting shows of solidarity from the outside. If you hate slavery in the U.S. under the guise of the Prison Industrial Complex there are a few suggestions on getting involved: contact family and friends in prison and clue them in to the strikes; organize a local group to engage folks in jail and prison and hear their concerns; talk to your neighbors, churchmates, schoolmates, coworkers who may have folks on the inside and talk about what’s going on; join the call in campaigns or demonstrate outside a facility.
More info from the IWW Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee (IWOC) can be found at their webpage, iwoc.noblogs.org, and they can be reached at : 816-866-3808 or firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the site to find phone numbers and addresses to direct grievances about the treatment of Texas prisoners and continued conditions of enslavement in the U.S. prison complex
In related news, on April 9, 2016 3 prisoners at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer, Louisiana went on hunger strike. The three were also on what is called “extreme suicide,” which is where they place you in FULL RESTRAINTS (chains) – that is, shackles and handcuffs attached to a waist chain. This is done for days at a time. They are also on “strip” –dressed only in a paper gown.
The torturous punitive conditions here at David Wade Correctional Center have gone on long enough. The sadistic practices by security and the administration are a violation of human rights and decency.
The administration has admitted to the infliction of corporal punishment against prisoners on lockdown. Just now as I write, they sprayed a prisoner while he was on his knees and struck him several times. They also sprayed and beat another prisoner who is mentally ill and has been on . for over a year. He has also been on food loaf for a long time.
A letter from a prisoner at DWCC in Homer suggested “Please call if you can – just a phone call will spook them. Thank you!:
Department of Corrections Secretary James M. LeBlanc, 225-342-6740
Deputy Secretary Eugene Powers, 225-342-6744
Undersecretary Thomas Bickham, 225-342-6739″
Finally, notes from 2 prisoners in the North Carolina prison system requesting help:
Kevin Cox is a politically active prisoner struggling at the moment just to be able to receive mail and contact from the outside. He asked that this statement be shared with anyone who might care to help call in to the prison. Since he wrote this, he’s been transferring to Marion CI,
but is still facing the same issues.
Greetings, Shalom Aleyka, Salaam Alaykum, Amani,
My name is Kevin Cox #1217063. I’m a political prisoner who’s being housed in Bertie Correctional Institution, in Windsor, NC. Since my incarceration I’ve dedicated my life to the struggle by fighting for the rights of prisoners, human rights for all oppressed people and rights for LGBTQ. Also I’m a dedicated member of the Black liberation movement and a member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party [distinct from the New Black Panther Party], which is a legal aboveground political organization. At Bertie Corrections, I’m being treated like a ‘slave’ because of my political beliefs, my continuous activism in educating prisoners and my refusal to be submissive to Bertie Correction’s oppressive rules and regulations, which correlates to division, miseducation, provoking Black on Black violence, and racism.
As a result of my resistance, they [officers and staff] have stopped the flow of mail that comes from outside support such as family, friends, and comrades, have prevented me from recieving books, pamphlets, and newspapers, and have even denied me my “due process right” to be notified of the censorship of my property. The SRG [Security Risk Group] intelligence officers read my mail, that is stamped “legal,” without my being present, when my legal mail usually refers to my criminal case, law suits, etc. And the SRG officers are trying to “SRG” me, after I adamantly disavowed and denied any affiliation with any SRG group.
I’m telling you this because I need your help. I want to start a telephone/fax campaign to the administration demanding that they quit these egregious tactics that violate my constitutional rights.
Marion CI (Ask for Lt. Daniel Merrill and Cpt. Michael Long)
NC Director of Prisons
George Solomon, (919) 838-4000
Jimmy Milton is an active voice in prison struggle at Bertie Ci, and has faced repeated violation of religious rights as a Hebrew-Israelite. He has not been provided Kosher meals, was not allowed to participate in Passover, and has not been able to order relevant religious materials. According to Jimmy, “I’ve already filed my grievance here at the facility and my next step is my hunger strike. The people I need for you to call and speak to are as follows:
Bertie CI Superintendant Herring or Asst. Superintendant Clark (252) 794-8601
Also, for a first hand account by anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble who’s warehoused in the Alabama prison system, on the recent riots and ongoing struggles of prisoners there as well as organizing by the Free Alabama Movement, check out http://anarchylive.noblogs.org
This week we air an interview which was recorded at the latest international anarchist radio conference in Berlin this year. This interview is with an anarchist who is very active in LGBTQI struggle in that city, and we speak about the history of feminism and trans activism in Berlin as well as the problem of trans-misogyny in feminist and queer scenes, plus many more topics. You can see more about what our guest is talking about at http://www.transinterqueer.org/
This audio was made at a long standing leftist and anarchist space called Friedel 54, which is gearing up to fight an impending eviction. You can see more about this at https://friedel54.noblogs.org/, which is in German but gets run through a translator pretty well.