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.
This week Bursts spoke with the No New OC Jail coalition, which is opposing the building of a new jail in Orange County, NC. In this interview, we speak about the social conditions surrounding this opposition, as well as generalized opposition to the prison industrial complex.
More about this and to see this coalition’s petition, you can visit here.
Also included is a segment from our friend the Stimulator at www.submedia.tv about student uprisings in South Africa.
But first this announcement from Certain Days:
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective (www.certaindays.org) is releasing its 16th calendar in the Fall of 2016. Over the years, we’ve turned our attention to various themes: grassroots organizing, resisting repression, and visions of justice. The theme for 2017 is focused on what it takes to sustain our movements.
We are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 2,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world.
We encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work.
The deadline for submission is March 15th, 2016.
For further information, such as submission guidelines, format, and so on you can visit this project’s website here
AN UPDATE ON THE PRISONER UPRISINGS IN ATMORE, AL:
“Things here are tense but festive. The C.O. and warden was stabbed…It
has nothing to do with overcrowding, but with the practice of locking
folks up for profit, control and subjugation. Fires were set, we got
control of two cubicles, bust windows. The riot team came, shot gas,
locked down, searched the dorms. Five have been shipped and two put in
lockup.” ~A Prisoner at Holman Correctional
This week, prison rebels at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore,
Alabama staged two riots in three days—battling guards, building
barricades, stabbing the warden, taking over sections of the prison and
setting a guard station on fire. These actions come as no surprise to
those who have been paying attention to the crumbling prison system in
Alabama and the increasing level of radicalization of the prison
The uprising at Holman, and the conditions of Alabama prisons in
general, provide a unique situation in which anarchist solidarity may
prove strategic. Historically speaking, successful prison uprisings have
often been the result of a degrading prison system (incompetence,
understaffing, weak administration) in combination with a high level of
prisoner-unity and the development of a strong political subculture
within the prison that supports and encourages acts of resistance. These
conditions shift the balance of power between prisoners and their
captors and allow prisoners more latitude to take bold action. Prison
rebels in Alabama report that guards often refuse to enter the cell
blocks for months at a time out of fear of attacks. The conditions for
rebellion are ripe in the Alabama prison system.
The connections that Alabama prison rebels and anarchists outside of
prisons have cultivated over years have created a situation in which
expressions of solidarity from anarchists may have an impact. There is a
great possibility that news of solidarity actions will reach prisoners
there and that those actions will make sense to these rebels.
Another way in which anarchist solidarity may prove uniquely valuable in
this and other situations of prison rebellion is in our capacity to
relate to these uprisings outside the framework of reform that the
media, the state and the left will inevitably push them toward. We are
already hearing the rhetoric of those outside Holman turning immediately
toward reform, appeals to legitimacy in hopes of reaching journalists
and liberals, and framing the riots as a ‘last resort’ after non-violent
What we propose instead is direct affirmation, through action, of
prisoners’ own revolt. In this, our solidarity is equally with those
demanding better living conditions and those who say, quite simply,
“they need to let us free up out this bitch” and “there’s only one way
to deal with it: tear the prison down.”
In the spirit of diversity of tactics we’ve compiled a list of some ways
to act in solidarity with prison rebels in Alabama. The intention of
this list is to find ways to act in solidarity with the many, often
contradictory, desires of the many different rebels involved in the
1. Publish and spread the list of demands, provided by journalists who
were able to get in touch with some of the rioting inmates:
We inmates, at Holman Prison, ask for immediate federal assistance.
We ask that the Alabama government release all inmates who have
spent excessive time in Holman Prison — due to the conditions of the
prison and the overcrowding of these prisons in Alabama.
We ask that the 446 laws [Habitual Felony Offender laws] that
Alabama holds as of 1975 be abolished.
We ask that parole board release all inmates who fit the criteria to
be back in society with their families.
We ask that these prisons in Alabama implement proper classes that
will prepare inmates to be released back into society with 21st century
information that will prepare inmates to open and own their own
businesses instead of making them having to beg for a job.
We also ask for monetary damages for mental pain and physical abuse
that inmates have already suffered.
2. Call and write Alabama Department of Corrections officials:
Holman: (251) 368-8173
3. Contact inmates at various Albama prisons in order to form bonds and
connections on which to build struggle.
Currently you can type a letter into the first or last name section and
get a whole giant list of inmates to choose from. It’s up to you to
discern who you’d like to write to. We avoid inmates who are listed as
having racist tattoos or sex crimes. However there are also several pen
pal sites where you can find Alabama inmates who are already looking to
maintain correspondence with someone.
This week, Bursts spoke with members of the University of Chapel Hill-based student group called The UNControllables. Created in 2012, the UNControllables regularly present anarchist, feminist, anti-racist and anti-authoritarian presenters from around the world to speak to the student body and members of the community, organize around student issues, incarceration, reproductive health, and much more. For the hour, members of the group talk about what they’ve done and upcoming events they’ll be hosting, in particular an upcoming event with CeCe McDonald, a Black Trans Woman & LGBTQ activist who went to prison for defending herself against a hate attack by a white man with a swastika tattoo on his chest and served about 19 months. She’ll be at UNC Chapel Hill at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture & History for free on Monday, March 21st at 7pm. Check the UNControllables’s fedbook page for details and updates.
A major focus of the discussion is the student and faculty opposition to the incoming president of the UNC systems, Margaret Spellings (#SpellCheck) this Tuesday at 11AM. The UNControllables knew of students at 7 of the 17 universities in the UNC system where student walkouts would lead to teach-ins and or protests around privatization of education and university services, threats to the continued cultures of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) and Native Universities in the UNC system. Spellings past as former Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush and was a prime mover in the No Student Left Behind project, a former Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a former Board member of the University of Phoenix (facing lawsuits by former students), advisor to Ceannate (a for-profit student loan collection agency)… wow. There’s also a discussion of current relations between UNC system and faculty, adjuncts and employees in these times of growing precarity. Aramark Industries, which provides “services” within the many prisons, detention centers and jails around the U.S. produces the food at UNC Chapel Hill, interestingly.
Some faculty and adjuncts in the UNC system have been organizing under the name of Faculty Forward – NC.
We also present a couple of announcements:
Anarchist prisoner Eric King has accepted a non-cooperating plea deal, which he;ll sign on March 3rd. If you’re in Kansas City, MO & want to attend his hearing on Thursday at 1:30pm (or for other updates on his case) check out http://supportericking.wordpress.com
A request for letters supporting parole for accused former Black Liberation Army militant and New Afrikan activist and accupuncturist, Dr. Mutulu Shakur (written by the doctor) is up on http://mutulushakur.com along with information of his recent denial of release after serving 30 years since his arrest on February 12th, 1986.
Thursday, March 3rd at 6pm at Firestorm , 610 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806, the Political Prisoners Letter Writing Night will be holding a do-over for the January 22nd Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity letter-writing night that was cancelled due to snow storms. Envelopes, paper, pens & postage will be provided. Check out the facebook event put on by Tranzmission Prison Project for more details.
Finally, there is a request for folks to seign a petition to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on behalf of Eddie Africa of the Move 9 following his 2 year hit during his recent parole hearing. The petition demands a federal investigation into the injustice and endangerment faced by the Move 9 To check it out, go to http://causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9
This week’s episode features a conversation with Ron Sakolsky. Ron is a poet, an anarchist, a surrealist, a pirate radio broadcaster and author and more. Recently, Little Black Cart published a small book by Ron Sakolsky entitled Breaking Loose: Mutual Acquiescence or Mutual Aid? The essay is an anarcho-surrealist critique in which Ron levels a challenge to readers to move past (or break free) from the limitations we internalize from engaging with and within (as well as with others within) the systems of domination. In the conversation, Ron revisits the essay, breaks down some terminology and eggs the listener on to exercise their imagination and act from places of inspiration to apply direct action against the status quo. The essay it’s built off of can be found in Modern Slavery #1.
During the hour, we discuss that book, we chat about radio and Ron’s 30 years of radio experience starting in college radio in IL, later involved in the pirate station called Black Liberation Radio, publishing and promoting the building of micro-broadcast transmitters, and currently with Radio Tree Frog in the forests of Coast Salish Territories AKA British Colombia. He contributed to and edited the titles Seizing The Airwaves: A Free Radio Handbook (AK Press, 1998) and Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada (New Star Books, 2010). A sample of featuring mostly content from the “Old Pal” show on Tree Frog radio is found here: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=tree+frog+radio&t=ffsb&ia=videos&iai=CACQMFIi9Pk
But first this announcement:
From <a href="http://angola3.orgThe International Coalition to Free The Angola 3 we have some breaking news on Albert Woodfox, aka Shaka Cinque:
From Friday, April 19, 2016
“Just moments ago, Albert Woodfox, the last remaining member of the Angola 3 still behind bars, was released from prison 43 years and 10 months after he was first put in a 6×9 foot solitary cell for a crime he did not commit. After decades of costly litigation, Louisiana State officials have at last acted in the interest of justice and reached an agreement that brings a long overdue end to this nightmare. Albert has maintained his innocence at every step, and today, on his 69th birthday, he will finally begin a new phase of his life as a free man.
In anticipation of his release this morning, Albert thanked his many supporters and added: “Although I was looking forward to proving my innocence at a new trial, concerns about my health and my age have caused me to resolve this case now and obtain my release with this no-contest plea to lesser charges. I hope the events of today will bring closure to many.”
Over the course of the past four decades, Albert’s conviction was overturned three separate times for a host of constitutional violations including prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate defense, racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson, and suppression of exculpatory evidence. On June 8th, 2015, Federal Judge James Brady ordered Albert’s immediate release and barred the State from retrying Albert, an extraordinary ruling that he called “the only just remedy.” A divided panel of the 5th Circuit Court of appeals reversed that order in November with the dissenting Judge arguing that “If ever a case justifiably could be considered to present ‘exceptional circumstances’ barring re-prosecution, this is that case.” That ruling was on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court when news of his release broke.
On behalf of the Angola 3 – Albert Woodfox, Robert King, and in memory of Herman Wallace – we would like to sincerely thank all the organizations, activists, artists, legal experts, and other individuals who have so graciously given their time and talent to the Angola 3’s extraordinary struggle for justice. This victory belongs to all of us and should motivate us to stand up and demand even more fervently that long-term solitary confinement be abolished, and all the innocent and wrongfully incarcerated be freed.”
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 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.
This week Bursts spoke with Steve from the Inside/Outside Alliance in Durham, NC. IOA is made up of folks with incarcerated family in the Durham County Jail, friends and concerned community members and they work to amplify and organize inside and outside (hence the name) of the jail walls to challenge the punishment those on the inside are facing.
In April of this year, Lt. Col. Natalie Perkins (who serves as Detention Director for the Durham Sheriff Michael D. Andrew’s Dept) decided to cut people’s access to out-of-cell time from up to 6 hours a day to 2 hours a week and limit their time out at the same time. This means that prisoners could maybe expect to take a shower and make a 2AM call to their family/lawyer once a week. The reasons for this change have shifted over the months from costs to potential danger to prisoners and Detention Officer’s safety. The end result is an increased pressure on the mental health of the inmates, leading a greatly increased number of suicide attempts (so much so that the Sheriff’s dept just requested funds to make the cells more suicide-proof rather than decrease the pressure on those they imprison).
Alongside of this is the increased cost and decreased quality of services available to those incarcerated at DCJ due to privatization of aspects. Aramark‘s medical services have doubled the rate for medical visits from $10-$20 each. Food under another service by Aramark has down-shifted from 3 hot meals to 2 sandwiches daily. The facility is contractually obliged to provide a certain number of inmates for Aramark to feed and to extract labor from in serving and cleaning up after their food services. And if an inmate’s too hunger after their 4pm dinner of a sandwich, they are certainly free to buy junk food from the Aramark canteen if they have money in their commissary (via I-Care & FreshFavorites, both brands of Aramark). TouchPay services for putting money on an inmate’s commissary account charges a $5 and some cent fee each time you use it and the DCJ has drastically cut back the hours of the fee-free window with a teller to help you make the transaction.
On top of all of this, the jail doesn’t allow inmates to have pencils (ostensibly in case they become improvised weapons), so the only time that they can write to family, friends or their lawyers is during that 2 hour window a week. Their only way of making complaints is a receipt-free service using their TPay console, the same as they use to check their commissary.
The extractive and frighteningly Kafka-esque circumstances at this facility, one which like most in the United States disproportionately incarcerates poor people and people of color is certainly not one of a kind. To check out the work that folks at Inside/Outside and the inmates at Durham County Jail are doing, check out their website and listening page at http://amplifyvoices.com
In the last ten minutes we hear 2 aggressive musical tracks. Firstly, Ast from their recent split with Ancst (both German anarchist Black Metal projects) we hear the track Von Einem Ende.
Finally, we close out hearing Human Wreck with Liquid Savior from their album, Catch 22. Human Wreck is from Athens, Greece.