Bursts spoke with a comrade y’all might recognize, a Camille who lives on the ZAD, or Zone To Defend in Notre Dame De Landes, Britanny, France. Camille and Bursts spoke in January upon the announcement of the French government’s decision to cancel the building of an airport to replace the one in Nantes. After literally decades of struggle, and nearly a decade of squatting and on and off fighting of the cops who attempted to evict the community, the ZAD protests won. Sort of.
Camille and Bursts spoke on Friday the 13th, 2018, about the ultraviolence of the police in their destruction of 30 squats, profuse use of rubber bullets, tanks, tear gas, stun grenades and flash bangs, the resistance and injuries to ZADistes, farmers and elders who’ve come in to support, the recent article re-posted up on AnarchistNews.org accusing Appelistes of a beating, and other mostly depressing topics. Here’s the ZAD legal team response.
As of Saturday the 14th, there were 30 additional injuries in 3 hours reported officially by medics due to police violence (our guest calls this a conservative estimate).
Some other coverages we think are worth checking out to get some images and video of the proceedings and keep up on events as they unfold are:
First, we’ll feature some words that friends in central NC recorded of Elijah. Elijah was born and raised in Durham, NC, who was imprisoned in Alabama. Elijah was among many who showed up to resist a threatened march in Durham by the KKK after people began rising up and taking down white supremacist statues last falls. Elijah talks about incarceration, guilt, organizing and about getting out.
Secondly, William reads a statement about possible evictions by police beginning tomorrow on la ZAD (Zone A Defendre) in Notre Dame-de-Landes, Brittany, France. See the text below.
Finally, we are happy to be sharing a conversation that Bursts recently had with glo merriweather, ash williams & jamie marsicano. The three reside in occupied Waccamaw Siouan and Catawba territory, also known as Charlotte, North Carolina. glo, ash & Jamie speak about the events that led up to the Charlotte Uprising of 2016, the tumult after the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott, the police killings of black and brown bodies in the U.S., gender and state violence and resistance, the killing of Justin Carr, the police accusation of Rayquan Borum for that death and the repression being faced by glo merriweather and others at the hands of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. You can find out more about the work ash, Jamie & glo are doing by visiting the Charlotte Uprising FedBook, website or twitter. glo has a trial date coming up on May 7th. One way you can show support for them is to visit gofundme and donate to GetGloGoing!
On this episode, we’re gonna try a new thing with our announcements, by putting them at the end. Let us know what y’all think of this experiment. Keep listening after the final episode for some events we want to feature.
Evictions on la ZAD
Some months ago in January of this year, it was announced that the French government was abandoning the airport construction in Notre Dame Des Landes. As many listeners know, the defense project which is known world wide as the ZAD (Zone a Defendre or Defended Zone) has been the decades long collaboration between anarchists and anti authoritarians with farmers who have lived on the land for generations. In that time, the ZAD has become more than a defense project, it has evolved into a vibrant community with its own unique infrastructure, home to many people from many experiences and unregulated by the government.
This morning we got word that evictions are scheduled to be underway on the ZAD starting tomorrow. It may come as no surprise that the original decision to abandon the airport did not come without its own price tag, and conditions stipulating the boundaries and terms of continued occupation were leveled at residents. These conditions were a clear attempt on the part of the French government to regulate this community of resistance through manipulation and back channels, it was seen as such and people on the ZAD began preparing for eviction. There are currently 2500 riot police on the ZAD itself, with 1500 more standing by in nearby cities, and the much photographed barricade road has been taken by the police.
What is not currently clear is how the international community can help materially. This situation is still unfolding, and we are sure that there will be explicit calls for aid and for solidarity in days and weeks to come.
What is clear us is that the government feels the threat of intentional communities very sharply, feels threatened by communities and trends it cannot control. We have seen it time and time again from ZAD to Standing Rock to resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline: what does it say about government when a group of people defending the land provokes such an extreme response? We think there is something worth exploring here however it makes sense, with whatever tools you and your community may have.
Stay tuned to your favorite anarchist news sources for updates and further analysis on this situation!
Sean Swain Update
Sean’s off of hunger strike. We got news last week after the episode aired that he was on due to his communications being messed with. But, he’s back to eating and ranting and out of segregation. Get ready to hear more from here next week. If you miss the sound of his voice, check out his segments dating back to February of 2014 at archive.org
Punk Jeopardy in Asheville for J20 Defendants
This Tuesday, April 10thfrom 7-10pm at the Lazy Diamond bar in Asheville, there’ll be Punk Jeopardy to benefit J20 defendants. From the flyer: “Come out and show your support for the homies who went hard protesting trumps inauguration! Come out, drink, hang and test your knowledge of punk culture. Prizes for winners! Donations at the door.”
25th Anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising
The 25th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising is upon us, with folks still facing the death penalty for actively trying to bring a peaceful resolution. We hope to bring you more reflections on the events of April 1992 soon. More info and ways to get involved can be found here.
There’s a call out for art submissions for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar. The theme for 2019 is ‘Health/Care,’ reflecting on the overlapping topics of health, care/caring, and healthcare. They are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 3,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world. They encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. They’re also seek submissions from prisoners – please forward to any prison-based artists and writers. The deadline for art submissions is May 18th2018. Check our show-notes for this episode for the full submissions request.
Stockholm Anarchist Bookfair
The 2018 Stockholm Anarchist bookfair will take place on June 2nd and third. They are launching a new fundraising campaign for the bookfair. The campaign will run from the first of April to the 13th of May on the Firefund radical crowdfunding platform. It is a crowdfunding campaign so they need as many people and organizations as possible to spread the word. They would appreciate it greatly if your group could share the link to the campaign as well as to their website in your own social media. Thank you for the help and we look forward to seeing you at bookfair.
This week on the Final Straw, we air two interviews.
In the first segment, we hear from two organizers with the Centro de Apoyo Mutuo or Mutual Aid Center in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Emilu and Kique talk about Caguas, about the colonial relationship between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, the post-hurricane disaster relief they’ve been doing as a continuation of social organizing in the wake of that colonialism, and building a network of C-A-Ms around Puerto Rico. More on their project can be found on fedbook.
Then we hear from Camille, a resident of the ZAD in Notre Dame des Landes in Western France. Camille shares the news of the recent French government statement that they are cancelling the planned airport in NDDL, which has been a goal of social movements and the land occupation at the ZAD. More info on that project can be found at zad.nadir.org. To hear our past interviews on the ZAD, check out this initial interview, this response to major demonstrations in Nantes, this conversation with participants at ZAD du Testet, this response to the police killing of Remi Fraisse in relation to the ZAD du Testet and this interview from Dissident Island Radio about State of Emergency.
Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity, Event in Asheville
TOMORROW January 22nd is the 3rd annual Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity as initiated in 2016 by eco-anarchist prisoner Marius Mason. Last year’s call-out, plus a list of some events around the U.S. can be found at itsgoingdown. If you’re in Asheville, Tranzmission Prison Project will be hosting a card signing event and discussion at 7pm at Firestorm Books and Coffee. Cards will be supplied and it’s suggested to bring vegan snacks to share.
Breaking News from the VA NLG
Third Charlottesville Counter-Protestor Arrested
January 21, 2018:
Charlottesville, VA: Mr. Donald Blakney was arrested at his home on Friday by Charlottesville Police Department (CPD). He is charged with Malicious Wounding — a felony that carries a 5 year minimum and the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.
On August 12, he was physically attacked by a participant in the Unite the Right rally, who also yelled racist slurs at him. Later that fall, he was questioned by CPD and the FBI under the pretext of the ongoing criminal investigation into right-wing violence that day.
The charges against Mr. Blakney are apparently based in part on a video broadcast by the ABC News program 20/20 that depicts him at the scene.
Mr. Blakney is the third counter-protester to be arrested and charged arising out of the events in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017. Corey Long and DeAndre Harris are both also facing criminal charges. All three are Black men and local residents who were attacked that day.
Mr. Blakney was released on personal recognizance Friday. He has an arraignment tomorrow, Monday January 22 at 10AM in Charlottesville General District Court and is requesting that supporters come in solidarity. Mr. Blakney is represented by attorneys Sandra Freeman and David Baugh.
The Heat is On: Update from Blue Ridge ABC on Week 1 of #OperationPUSH!
One week ago prison rebels across Florida launched Operation PUSH. Their demands were simple: end prison slavery and price gouging, restore access to parole, and put an end to the brutal conditions they are subjected to daily.
Information has been slow to trickle out due to intense repression and communication blackouts, but we know there has been strike participation at 15+ prisons, and we know that support on the outside is growing, with 150+ organizations endorsing the action and major solidarity actions in Florida occurring at various locations, including a 5-hour long occupation of the DOC office in Tallahassee on Tuesday.
The repression is already starting to come down: people being thrown into solitary confinement; being threatened with violence; being bribed to end their action and inform on other strike organizers; being transferred to new facilities to disburse strike activity throughout the system and isolate people.
One disturbing feature of this repression is DOC’s focus on identifying specific groups coordinating support on the outside such as the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons and IWOC and disrupting prisoners’ communication with these groups.
Prison organizers who correspond with these groups are being targeted for having their “security threat level” increased–a practice that translates into greater isolation and harsher conditions of confinement. One prisoner was told point blank, “As long as you communicate with these people you’re always going to be labelled a security threat and you’re always going to be put under investigation.”
Communication has been curtailed so severely that it’s hard to know how much of an economic impact the strike has had so far; we do know that in some cases scab labor has been brought in to keep facilities running. This state of uncertainty is a strategy prison administrators use to sap organizing energy. As IWOC recently wrote, “a common theme among report backs is the attempt to sever communication in order to create the perception of inactivity and break the spirits of those participating in the strike.”
But strikers won’t be fooled so easily, and neither will we. We will keep showing up because those on the inside are putting it all on the line, and we are in absolute solidarity with their courageous acts of resistance.
NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP UP OUR SUPPORT!
– Letter writing to striking prisoners TODAY at Firestorm, 4pm
– Join the “phone zap” (calling campaign” TOMORROW, MONDAY 1/22! Go to incarceratedworkers.org to find the call script and make those calls!
Yesterday marked the year anniversary of January 20th, 2017. The by now all too familiar litany of charges, events, numbers, police tactics, and trials sometimes bears repetition at, but at other times can obscure the human element at play, lives that have been varying degrees of upended or lost in this process.
Three days ago on January 18th 2018, 129 of the original defendants were acquitted of all charges “without prejudice”, a phrase that sounds benign and even somewhat positive. In actuality, it is in place here to protect the plaintiff (in this case, the state) from the defendant (here, the 129) invoking a doctrine called Res Judicata (meaning “a thing decided” in Latin), which essentially states that someone cannot be brought up on charges for the same thing twice.
I think it is important to belabor this point, not in any way to nay-say the relief that anyone may be feeling right now or diminish some very very well deserved congratulations, but to say again and again that the state is not here to give anyone who opposes it relief, or joy, or a sense of justice. The daily realities of so many of us who resist the state by our actions, beliefs, or our very existence is proof enough of the state’s essential nature. This phrase “without prejudice”, when used in the case of a dismissal of charges, means legally that the original charges could be brought again at any time, as though those charges never existed in the first place.
This is a very smart move on the part of the courts. It seems very likely that this was a carefully timed mass acquittal, having little to do with meting out so called guilt or innocence, and everything to do with attempting to fracture support and stymie momentum. They can be seen to be throwing us a bone while actually going ahead with their original intention.
What is unfortunate for the courts is that support for the J20 defendants is not being taken in by this tactic. This is a time for us to focus all our resources on the remaining 59 defendants, keep an eye or two on the shenanigans of the court trying to pull legal fast ones over on our comrades, and take care of ourselves and each other cause this is far from over.
You can see a beautiful statement of solidarity with the remaining defendants at defendj20resistance.org, and as always, keep up with developments in this case by following the hashtags or handles related to “defendj20” on all your fav social media platforms.
To see a list of actions and endeavors in this anniversary week, you can go to itsgoingdown.org.
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 attempts 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.
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.
Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity & State of Emergency in France
This week we’re speaking wth Gary from Kansas City about the fast approaching day of solidarity with transgender prisoners which will occur this friday, January 22nd. In this interview we talk about Gary’s past experiences with the prison system, the original call out for this day by trans prisoner Marius Mason, and the conditions that trans people generally face in prison, and the importance of focusing on this issue. For more on this day, to get ideas and to give report backs, you can visit http://transprisoners.net/
If you’d like to send our guest an email to get ideas on how to proceed, you can write Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also feature a segment from Dissident Island Radio’s mid December show of 2015 about the changed security situation in France since the Paris attacks by Daesh-affiliated militants. The host of Dissident Island speaks with Camille, the name for anyone coming from the ZAD and speaking about experiences there. In this segment, Camille talks about the State of Emergency declared by the government of President Francoise Hollande, the suspensions of rights to publicly gather, the extension of the State of Emergency for 3 months, the challenges to folks with dual citizenship, the nighttime raids of immigrant communities and experiences of the folks at the ZAD as they enter a period of possible eviction. Camille also talks about how the ZAD at times acts as a refuge to immigrants and refugees seeking a break from state repression on a self-defended land project.
Statement from Marius Mason for the Trans Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity:
“January 22nd 2016
Happy New Year, Family and Friends!
Many, many thanks for so much support and care over this year from both long-standing friends and new pen pals. I feel very grateful and am always humbled by the encouragement and resources sent my way by folks who are doing so much already to increase our collective chances for survival. The news has been full of stories about someone winning the big money pool that has accumulated for the US Lotto – but the most important “win” has nothing to do with money. I am betting on the movement to win big this year: in getting more control over their communities and defending against police brutality and racial inequality, in winning more victories for animal and in the defense of wild spaces, in creating social relations based on respect, dignity and compassion for all people…. regardless of their race, orientation, creed or gender presentation.
Thank you for coming together today, to hold up those members of our community who struggle so hard behind walls to keep their sense of self intact. Sovereignty over our selves, our bodies is essential for any other kind of liberty to be possible. By reaching out to trans prisoners, you affirm their right to define themselves for themselves – and defend them against the overwhelming voices who claim that they do not exist, that they must allow others to define them. In the isolating environment of prison, this is toxic and intimidating, and amounts to the cruelest form of psychological torture. By offering your help and solidarity, you may just save a life. I know that for the last year and a half, as I have struggled to assert myself as a trans man, as I have advocated for the relief of appropriate medical care for my gender dysphoria – it has been the gentle and loving reminders of my extended family of supporters who have given me strength and courage to continue. Please join me in offering this help to so many others who need it to keep going. Never underestimate the healing power of a letter, those letters have kept me going…and I want to pass that gift on, if you will help me.
Thank you again for coming together on this day, for connecting to those on the inside who truly need you, who need you to see them as they really are and striving to be. Until the prisons are gone, we need to work hard to support those of us inside – especially those of us who are not always as visible to the rest of the world. We are always stronger together.
This week’s show features an interview with two residents of the ZAD about the demonstrations of February 22nd in Nantes, France. Also, Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain talks about Swivilization in his weekly segment. More on him can be found at seanswain.org
The demonstration, dubbed a “sacking” by the media and police, featured directed attacks by demonstrators on offices of the French construction company threatening the lands of Notre-dames-de-Landes, a police station, a travel office, and a private transit company. The day of action also featured speeches, picnics, play, marches, discussions and theater.
In this conversation, some folks from the ZAD describe what they saw, why violence occurred, how that violence as an idea is wielded to form a narrative by the media and state and how it was experienced by folks actually present with the movement and the land.
This’ll be followed by an interview with Deedee, a member of Saving Our Families, a network of those with loved-ones in the Prison Industrial Complex, based out of Indiana. Deedee is also a supporter of Control Unit Prisoners on hunger strike at Westville Correction Facility in Indiana about the strike and the atrocious food distribution, run by Aramark Corrections Services based out of Philly PA. More info can be found at http://dignityatwestville.wordpress.com
And, finally, we’ll present the last portion of the ZAD interview we started with last week. http://zad.nadir.org
Also, we announce that we’re now available at 106.5LPFM in Olympia Washington on KOWA. Tune in on Saturday nights at 9pm to hear us!