This week we spoke with Alex about Bend the Bars conference which is taking place in Columbus OH on the weekend of August 26th-29th. This is a gathering which was called for in direct support for the September 9th national prisoner work strike, and is one of the only gatherings that we know of which explicitly centers the work of people doing direct support with incarcerated folks as opposed to NGOs and non profits. In this conversation we speak about the intentions for the conference as well touching on the prison condition in the US, the National Work Strike, and many other things.
You can learn more about this event by visiting https://bendthebars.noblogs.org/, and you can RSVP to this event or correspond with the organizers by emailing email@example.com
Additionally there is https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/, which is a resource for folks who want more
information about the day to day litigation that affects convicts and their families.
But first here is an announcement regarding AntiFenix by our comrades in the so called Czech Republic:
“Last week the appeal court hearing took place in the High Court in Prague. Russian, vegan, straight-edge anarchist Igor Ševcov, who was appealing his sentence – a 2 year expulsion from the Czech Republic for video recording someone else graffitiing prison walls during a support demonstration (complicity to criminal damage) – was given a new sentence.
The judgement remained the same – the high court still finds him complicit in criminal damage, but the judge changed the penalty. The new sentence: Igor is banned from attending any sporting or cultural event or any event like a manifestation, demonstration, benefit, mobilization, protest or any other action within the anarchist movement.
We do not know yet what it means exactly, but it’s likely that Igor will have to visit a probation office any time there is a big action, and he will be surveilled during any other event by under cover state agents and spies. If he violates his sentence he can be put behind bars for up to 3 years.
We do not know if Igor will follow this sentence, try to oppose it legally or just follow his own agenda and feelings and see what happens in the future. In any case, he has our full support.
If you want to support Igor, rather than congratulating him on his “better” sentence, ask him what kind of support he needs, for he is in a very uncomfortable situation. And mostly, keep changing your environment into a world where repression, exclusion and borders are exchanged for mutual solidarity and freedom.”
While national coverage continues surround reactions to police killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Philando Castile in Minneapolis, and so many other people of color, and significantly black men killed by police, protests continue here in Asheville around the police killing of Jai “Jerry” Williams on July 2nd of this year. Jai was shot 7 times and killed by Sgt. Tyler Radford at the Deaverview Apartments in West Asheville on July 2nd. Since then family, community members and activists have continued acting in public to make sure the police account of what happened July 2nd does not go unchallenged. This activity includes presenting a different version of the story, working to support family and make space for their needs, marches downtown, flyering, interceding at public meetings, vigils outside of the Asheville Police HQ and also a sit-in that ran for about 36 hours in the HQ lobby and leading to the arrest of 7 on July 22nd. The demands of the sit-in included the firing, arrest and indictment of Sgt. Radford for the murder of Jai Williams.
Support and resistance events continue. If you’re in the Asheville area and want to help out and draw attention to the case and bring home the message that this touristic mountain town suffers the same plague as the rest of the U.S. in terms of police unaccountability and systemic racism, you can join folks in the streets in vigil outside of the downtown police headquarters at the daily vigils at 6pm and plug in.
Much respect to those resisting, solidarity with the family. Shut it down.
Hasan on Free Ohio Movement + Istanbul ABC on Osman Evcan
This week Bursts spoke with Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, one of five defendants in the Lucasville Uprising case from 1993 facing the death penalty known collectively as the Lucasville 5. Hasan, calling from Ohio State Prison supermax in Youngstown, Ohio, took the time to talk about the newly formed Free Ohio Movement, a prison organizing movement based on the Free Alabama Movement which centers on the claim that prisons in the U.S. are the current site of a continuation of slavery supposedly abolished but really upheld by the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Hasan talks about prisoner labor & recidivism, claims of rehabilitation by the state and the organizing towards the September 9th nationwide prisoner strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971. More on Hasan’s case can be found at http://lucasvilleamnesty.org and you can hear our previous interviews with Hasan here.
After that you’ll hear a conversation with a member of Istanbul Anarchist Black Cross, in Turkey, that Bursts conducted. The conversation talks about the political prisoner situation in Turkey, the work of IABC, and the case of vegan anarchist prisoner Osman Evcan, who
recently succeeded to win rights from the state after a 45 day hunger strike. More on IABC, in Turkish, at http://abcistanbul.blogspot.fr/
Stanley Corbett at Alexander CI, NC
At the request of prison organizers in North Carolina, we’d like to share the following information:
Politically active prisoner Stanley Corbett (0716025) has been repeatedly harassed by COs at Alexander CI, in Taylorsville, NC, and is being denied full food portions. Upon Corbett complaining, one CO said, “Y’all n-words always complaining about something.” Then later, after filing a grievance, a different CO yelled, “Suck my (BLEEP) n-word, write that up!” Please call in to the prison at (828) 632-1331 and request the administration to feed Corbett and stop this harassment.
Again, that number is 828 632 1331 and Stanley Corbett’s number is 0716025, held at Alexander CI in Taylorsville, NC.
Save Our Roots
Here is a brief announcement from Save Our Roots: An Indigenous People’s Campaign to Protect the Sacred Biodiversity of our Natural Forests:
“[Genetically Engineered] trees pose a very real and significant threat to our natural forests and all Life on … Earth. It violates Indigenous peoples’ fundamental rights to live in harmony with nature and to practice our cultural and spiritual beliefs … The propagation and use of GE trees as a natural resource and commodity for increased pulp and energy production will compromise and destroy the delicate regenerative biodiversity and life-cycles of [the] Earth . The growing of GE trees is a risk towards: the Rights of the Earth; land tenure and subsistence rights of Indigenous Peoples; depletion of precious ground water reserves; increases the use of deadly herbicides and pesticides; continues the release of greenhouse gas emissions and microscopic pollutants; and are a false solution towards mitigating climate change.”
To learn much more about this topic, for updates on current situations and campaigns, and for interview opportunities for your media project, you can visit http://saveourroots.org/
Koko Lepo Solidarity Tour
On Thursday, May 26, 7-9pm Firestorm Books & Coffee (610 Haywood Road) will host the Anarchy & Anti-Fascism in the Balkans: Koko Lepo Solidarity Tour!
Suggested Donation (no one turned away) to help presenter with travel costs. During this time, a member of Koko Lepo autonomous youth solidarity program in Belgrade, Serbia, attendees can hear from a Koko Lepo member who is visiting the U.S. on a tour to spread awareness of autonomous, anarchist and anti-fascist/anti-racist projects and organizing going on in Belgrade and beyond!
The presenter will narrate the evolution of Koko Lepo from a free kindergarten in the defunct InexFilm squat to a broader youth program. The discussion will focus on issues of anti-ziganism (a term for prejudice against Roma/gypsies), autonomous solidarity efforts in Belgrade, the difference between charity and mutual aid, and the struggle against hierarchy; the presenter welcomes challenges and suggestions for continued solidarity and new connections.
Koko Lepo youth solidarity collective is a mutual aid program working with the residents of “the Dump”, a ‘favela-type slum’ in Belgrade inhabited by people usually referred to as “Roma” or “Gypsies”. The collective is founded on the principles of equality and mutual aid. It is closely tied to the anarchist and antifascist scene in the Balkans and beyond.
Koko Lepo began in 2013 as a free kindergarten program in the InexFilm squat in the Karaburma neighborhood of Belgrade. Its students were picked up three to five days a week from their homes in the settlement and walked to the kindergarten where we had a three to four hour program with them before walking them back home. The program was focused on autonomy, respect for others, and making a safe space for the young children to explore their identities. We placed a strong emphasis on undermining ‘traditional’ gender dynamics and breaking down other divisions in the settlement. Over time, we developed very strong ties with our families in the settlement which allowed us to start a broader program for older children. This was called Školica and began as a weekend study program. This quickly expanded however and started to host film nights, excursions, and other activities.
When the squat was taken from us in October last year, we lost our ability to do the kindergarten so we redoubled our efforts with Školica. Now Koko Lepo occurs at least once a week all over the city with either our younger group (aged 7-10) or our older group (11-14) totaling around 50 kids (the kindergarten had another 20 or so). All of our funding comes from anarchist and antifascist groups in Europe as well as some odd individual donations here and there.
We are very happy to announce that, for the 8th year running, the Wild Roots Feral Futures (WRFF) eco-defense, direct action, and rewilding encampment will take place in the forests of Southwest Colorado this coming June 18-26, 2016 (exact location to be announced). WRFF is an informal, completely free and non-commercial, and loosely organized camp-out operating on (less than a) shoe-string budget, formed entirely off of donated, scavenged, or liberated supplies and sustained through 100% volunteer effort. Though we foster a collective communality and pool resources, we also encourage general self-sufficiency, which lightens the burden on communal supplies, and which we find to be the very source and foundation of true mutual sharing and abundance.
We would like to begin by acknowledging that Wild Roots Feral Futures takes place on occupied/stolen indigenous territory, primarily of the Nuutsiu (occasionally spelled Nuciu or Nuchu, aka “Ute”) people, as well as Diné [“Navajo”], Apache, and others. In recognition of this reality and as a first step in confronting it, we seek to establish proactive working relationships with those whose stolen land we gather upon, and open the space we temporarily gather in to the centering and amplification of indigenous voices and struggles. Our understanding is that any community of resistance that doesn’t center the voices of indigenous people and put their leadership in the forefront is a movement that is part of the problem. [Read more here…]
We would like to invite groups and individuals engaged in struggles against the destruction of the Earth (and indeed all interconnected forms of oppression) to join us and share your stories, lessons, skills, and whatever else you may have to offer. In this spirit we would like to reach out to frontline community members, local environmental groups, coalitions, and alliances everywhere, as well as more readily recognizable groups like Earth First!, Rising Tide North America, and others to come collaborate on the future of radical environmentalism and eco-defense in our bio-regions and beyond.
We would also like to reach out to groups like EF!, RTNA, and the Ruckus Society (as well as other groups and individuals) in search of trainers and workshop facilitators who are willing to dedicate themselves to attending Wild Roots Feral Futures and sharing their skills and knowledge (in a setting that lacks the financial infrastructure to compensate them as they may have come to expect from other, more well-funded groups and events). We are specifically seeking direct action, blockade, tri-pod, and tree climbing/sitting trainers (as well as gear/supplies).
Regarding the rewilding and ancestral earth skills component of WRFF, we would like to extend a similar invitation to folks with skills, knowledge, talent, or specialization in these areas to join us in the facilitation of workshops and skill shares such as fire making, shelter building, edible and medicinal plants, stalking awareness, tool & implement making, etc. We are also seeking folks with less “ancestral” outdoor survival skills such as orienteering and navigation, etc.
Daily camp life, along with workshops, skill shares, great food, friends, and music, will also include the volunteer labor necessary to camp maintenance. Please come prepared to pitch in and contribute to the workload, according to your abilities. We encourage folks who would like to plug in further to show up a few days before the official start of the event to begin set-up and stay a few days after the official end to help clean up.
Site scouting will continue until early June, at which point scouts and other organizers will rendezvous, report-back their scouting recon, and come to a consensus regarding a site location. We are also planning on choosing a secondary, back-up site location as a contingency plan for various potential scenarios. Email us for more info on getting involved with scouting and site selection processes.
WRFF is timed to take place before the Earth First! Round River Rendezvous, allowing eco-defenders to travel from one to the other. Thus we encourage the formation of a caravan from WRFF to the EF! RRR (caravans and ride shares can be coordinated through our message board at feralfutures.proboards.com.
We are currently accepting donations in the form of supplies and/or monetary contributions. Please email us for details.
Please forward this call widely, spread the word, and stay tuned for more updates!
And now the call-out for this year’s June 11th: International Day of Solidarity with Marius Mason and All Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners
The podcast version of this episode includes a reading of the June 11th Statement for 2016, a rather lengthy one at about 20 minutes, prior to us playing the interview with Hasan. The text from that announcement can be found here.
This week we’re joined by Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, one of 6 prisoners who are almost a month into a solidarity hunger strike at Ohio State Prison in Youngstown to press the Warden about current conditions at the prison. Among the issues the hunger strike is protesting include the inability of all new/incoming prisoners to OSP and those currently on the highest level of security (5B) to attend congregational religious activities, also poor quality of food presented by Aramark (the company contracted to provide meals at OSP, and who’s food services sparked the hunger strike in January of 2014 at Westville Correctional Facility in Indiana) a lack of access to outside recreation for the prisoners and more. You may recall Hasan from a prior interview we did with him on the anniversary of the 1993 Lucasville Prisoner uprising which began because of some of the same issues and for which Hasan is facing the death penalty as an organizer of the beginning of the protest sparking the uprising as well as helping to organize the end of that uprising. The 1993 uprising resulted in the deaths of 9 prisoners (accused of being snitches) and one prison guard. To hear our interview with Hasan from October of 2013, click here.
Also, Sean Swain speaks about the hunger strike at OSP, where he was formerly incarcerated, and the harsh realities of lack of access to human interaction, direct sunlight and the out doors.
There is a rally in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday the 14th of April at 3pm at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corruption, 770 West Broad St. The point of the rally is to deliver a list of demands to the officials of the ODRC and pressure them to change the conditions at OSP Youngstown, ending the hunger strike. The rally coincides with the 22nd anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising which started because of a denial of religious rights of muslim prisoners including Abdulla Siddique Hasan. More info at LucasvilleAmnesty.org
From that site:
“If you can’t make it to Columbus, please be creative and find a way to support the hunger strike on Tuesday. Organize a solidarity fast like students at the University of Toledo did on Friday, with an evening “break the fast” get together. Or a call-in lunch, gather with friends mid-day and call the prison, Central Office, and The CIIC (numbers and scripts below). Or a letter writing party, write letters to officials, your local newspapers, and/or to the hunger striking prisoners.
Whatever you do, let us know by emailing Ben at Insurgent.Ben@gmail.com so he can share the stories with the hunger strikers and the world. Tuesday will be the 30th day of this hunger strike, if everyone can find a way to express solidarity on that day it will make a huge difference for these men’s morale and resolve, as well as sending a strong message to the prison authorities that the hunger strikers are not alone in their protest.
There is also a rally in the works for at or near OSP on Saturday. Details will be posted at lucasvilleamnesty.org as they are confirmed.”
If you’d like to write to Hasan, he can be reached at:
Siddique Abdullah Hasan
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505
To get ahold of ODRC director Gary Mohr you can call 614-752-1150.
Or direct your mail to
Gary Mohr, ODRC Director, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43222
or Email him via firstname.lastname@example.org
and you can express your concern for the safety of the prisoners hunger striking at OSP.
This week, we spoke with Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan who is facing the death penalty for his role as a negotiator during the prisoner uprising at the SOCF facility in Lucasville in April of 1993. Hasan, as well as 4 other prisoners, have become known as the Lucasville 5. 4 of them are charged with the death of a prison guard by the name of Bobby Vallandingham as well as 9 inmates considered to be snitches.
The riot began as negotiations between Sunni prisoners, of which Hasan was one of the leaders, took guards hostage in hopes of bringing state attention to the problems at the prison. In particular among their concerns was the imposition of a TB test that was in contradiction to their religious beliefs and for which an alternative was readily available. Soon, other prisoners began to take space and control. Fearing a bloody outcome like was seen at Attica in New York, representatives of the Sunni community, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Black Gangster Disciples at Lucasville began negotiations with the state to bring a peaceful resolution to the uprising. Graffiti displayed within the prison began speaking of “Convict Race” and “Black and White Unity”.
After the end of the uprising, the state, under pressure from Vallandingham’s family, railroaded the five. The call for blood was great, but since the Lucasville Disturbance, so have been the calls for justice in the case of the Lucasville 5.