For this episode, we are featuring a conversation that William had with some members of The Base, a social and political space in Brooklyn, about a book they co authored called Burn Down the American Plantation, which outlines a potential revolutionary praxis that coincides with the history and present of black liberation, radical self defense, building a revolutionary society, the formation of the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement, and many other topics. This book is just out from Combustion Books, and a free pdf can be found at Revolutionary Abolition
Announcements Oppose Islamophobia
The Islamophobic right in the U.S. has called for a “National March Against Sharia” for June 10th with knuckledraggers in about 20 cities signed up to participate according to Proud Boy Magazine. Needless to say, there will be opportunities for those of us with enough brain power to realize that the U.S. is in no danger of EVER becoming a state run by Sharia law and that this is nothing but a poorly masked call to increase violence against our friends, neighbors and families of African and Asian descent and who also who may be Muslims. If you plan to oppose the ACT! for America events in your area, check out the article on Antifascist News to find where the nearest to you will be. It’s suggested that if you are planning to attend, keep your identity safe, travel with friends, park away from the event and share emergency information with your buddies. For those in Western North Carolina, Raleigh may be the nearest place of engagement.
In the wake of continued violence by Islamophobic elements of the right, including the recent stabbing deaths of two and injury of a third anti-racist who stepped up to try to stop the harassment of two women of color wearing head scarfs on Portland public transit, it’s imperative for those who oppose bigotry in all of its forms and want to do something about it take care of ourselves and know how to fight back.
Haymaker Popular Fitness and Self-Defense: podcast special release
In this vein, stay tuned for our online release alongside this episode of our interview with organizers with the Haymaker Popular Fitness and Self-Defense gym project in Chicago. Their indiegogo campaign is nearing it’s end, so we wanted to help give it a little push and get them some more donations. In the interview we spoke about building the muscles and self-confidence to fight off stranger attacks, as well as this project as an attempt to empower those struggling against intimate violence, we talk about queering workout spaces and concepts of violence. To check out more about their fundraising and watch their demo video by finding their page on indiegogo. This segment will become an episode in the near future. https://haymakergym.org
JUNE 11th: Day of solidarity with eco and anarchist prisoners
June 11th is next Sunday, y’all. Check out https://June11.org for a list of events in your area. We had announced a concert here in Asheville but due to circumstances beyond our control we’ll be holding instead a vegan cookout at Firestorm Books and Coffee at 610 Haywood Rd from 3:30-6pm including presentations on prison realities for queer and trans folks, long term eco and anarchist prisoners cases and the history of the greenscare. Alongside of this we’ll be showing the documentary, “Better This World,” about the frame up on terrorism charges of Bradley Crowder and David McKay, two young activists by the megalomaniacal former leftist turned right-wing crackpot Brandon Darby during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN.
Also, check out this awesome benefit tape of country and folk music.
Aaaaand, this awesome series of podcasts have been coming out from June 11th organizers about prisoners and prisoner support in the run up to J11 this year: Grace chats on Jeremy Hammond; Supporters on Eric King; Josh Harper on incarceration and prisoner support; CLE4 and Nicole & Joseph interview; Leslie James Pickering on J11
Queer Cafeteria: Know Your Host!
Queer Cafeteria is a companion podcast to Fed Up Fest, which is a queer music festival in chicago this year. You can hear your host – among many other folks – talk about class and queerness / transness, hear me swear A LOT, and hear some really fantastic music from queer and trans artists from all over singing about all sorts of things the kids are talking about. You can hear this episode at their soundcloud and hit up queer cafeteria on facebook by searching the name. You can keep in touch with fed up fest at the Fed Up Fest website
Airs on WSFM-LP 103.3 in Asheville / streaming at AshevilleFM from 3am EST on October 30th, 2016, through November, 6th podcasting at radio4all.net. Also airing this week on KOWA-LPFM in Olympia, WA, KWTF in Bodega Bay, CA, and WCRS-LP Columbus Community Radio 98.3 and 102.1 FM. Past episodes can be found at TheFinalStrawRadio.NoBlogs.Org and you can now subscribe to us via iTunes! You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can send us mail at:
The Final Straw
864 Haywood rd
Asheville, NC 28806
You can also note that we are now podcasting on ITunes! To reap the enormous benefits of this fact, you can visit the ITunes store or the podcast thing on any available smartphone and search for The Final Straw Radio. Please take a minute to leave us a comment and rate us, too!
This week, we present a conversation with a member of CNA-DF, or Anarchist Black Cross of Mexico City. During the hour she speaks about the work of CNA-DF, prison in Mexican society, anti-prison organizing versus prison abolitionism, transformative justice, counter-repression and prisoners the CNA is working to support.
Specific prisoners CNA-DF supports include: Alvaro Sebastian (Oaxacan teacher); Fernando Bárcenas (accused of burning the Mexico City Xmas Tree in 2013 during anti-fare increase demonstration in Mexico City. Publishes Cimarron newspaper, involved in punk rock, alternative health care, horizontal education and organizing in prison.); Luis Fernando Sotelo (accused of burning a bus during day of global action in solidarity with the Ayatzinopa 43, Normalista students disappeared by the Mexican State. Sotelo has received a 33 year sentence for damage to the bus. Recently on hunger strike, in prison 2 years now); Abraham Cortés (13 years for attempted murder of a cop, arrested during October 2nd memorial demonstration in Mexico City of the 1968 massacre of hundreds of demonstrating students. Recently on hunger strike w Fernando Bárcenas against: 1. Prisons, calling to revolt against the state; 2. in solidarity with the #PrisonStrike starting Sept 9 in the U.S.; 3. And against the Bárcenas & Cortés); & Miguel Ángel Peralta Betanzos (from Oaxaca, accused of attempted murder of politicians in opposition with communal indigenous council of his community).
Raids at Standing Rock
After a series of violent raids which saw over 100 people arrested, the most recent on October 27th at Standing Rock and other camps resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline, there has been a call for renewed and amped up solidarity for this resistance. This could include coming to North Dakota and fighting the pipeline and joining the struggle, organizing where you live and taking action against banks, the Army Corp. of Engineers, and politicians backing the project, and sending money and supplies to the encampment. Already solidarity actions are taking places, such as the occupation of buildings, solidarity demonstrations, and more.
To get more ideas of what solidarity could mean, and where to send supplies and funds if you are able, you can visit https://nodaplsolidarity.org and click the tab “Support the Camps”.
Kinetic Justice of FAM transferred
Kinetic Justice of the Free Alabama Movement has been transferred out of Holman Prison in Alabama to Kilby Correctional Facility and from there to Limestone Corrections, known among Alabama prisoners to be a “bully unit,” where prisoners deemed disruptive are brutalized. This occurred one day before he was reportedly scheduled to meet with an advocate from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC). This is in clear retaliation on the part of the prison system, and is an attempt to silence a dissenting voice which has been very important both in FAM and in the Prison Strike. In response, Kinetic is ending the first week of a hunger strike, to protest his treatment and bacaause he doesn’t trust Limestone to not tamper with the food they give him.
Keep your eyes on the free alabama movement’s webpage at http://freealabamamovement.com/ for updates on Kinetic’s situation and how to help. You can also follow them on twitter @freealamovement, you can also follow Freedom for Kinetic @for_kinetic
Anti-Nazi march in Harrisburg, PA
Lastly tho not leastly, DON’T FORGET that Saturday the 5th of Novemeber will see resistance to a National Socialist Movement rally (or more plainly, neo nazi) in Harrisburg PA. The NSM is teaming up with the Traditionalist Worker Party for this charade in the so called “heart of democracy”, the TWP being the same boneheads who were responsible for drawing knives in Sacramento this past summer. Central PA Antifa and related anti racists are calling for as much support as possible at this event, to help run the nazis out of town.
You can get up with this situaiton by connecting with Central PA Antifa on facebook by searching their name, you can also donate to them by visiting:
you can also get super up to date information by following them on twitter @centralpaantifa
Asheville Prison Books Cover Band show
If you’re going to be around Asheville tonight, Sunday October 30th, and want to get your ghoul on for a good cause, consider visiting the Prison Books Cover Band benefit. For over a decade now, punks have been showing up and rocking out to raise funds for Asheville Prison Books, a 501c3 non-profit that sends literature to prisoners. Cover bands include SubHumans, Green Day and many, many more. The show starts at Toy Boat on 101 Fairview Rd, just off Sweeten Creek Road.
This week we had an interview with Dezeray about her participation in the recent Cleveland Republican National Convention protests. We talk about how it was to be there and what kinds of things this event could say about anarchist organizing in the US. If you would like to see more accounts from anarchist perspectives on this event, you can visit https://itsgoingdown.org/ and follow the links to the RNC. If you would like to support the arrestees, you can visit the Ohio National Lawyer’s Guild page at https://ohionlg.com/
If you have anything to add about this event from your perspective and wish to share it with us (either for or not for broadcast on the radio), feel free to email us at the shows email address, or you can email William directly at email@example.com
**There will be a vigil commemorating the death of Tamir Rice TODAY in Asheville, 3pm at Carrier Park, on the 1 year anniversary of his death. This 14 year old African American boy was gunned down without consequences to the cops who killed him. People will be meeting at 3pm, at the end of this show at Carrier Park off of Amboy road.. Come and support Black Lives Matter and demand justice. Please spread the word and bring flowers and signs against the death of Black people by Law Enforcement in the U.S.
This week on the show you’ll hear an interview that Bursts conducted with a comrade living in Spain regarding Operation Pandora and Operation Pinata, two government initiatives specifically designed to target and incriminate anarchists. In this interview, they get into how these initiatives operate, the real life implications of targeted governmental oppression, security culture and much more! To learn a little more about this topic you can visit http://en.contrainfo.espiv.net and search “Pandora, Pinata, and Beyond”.
First though, you’ll hear some words from Nyki Kish, incarcerated at Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. This is a segment of a reading of Nyki’s 4th recent blog entry concerning persecution of non-cis-heteronormative prisoners at GVI. We announced about this last episode. There’s a call-in-campaign ongoing to get the GVI to stop the repression. More information and updates on the Grand Valley Institution for Women and struggles there, check out https://gviwatch.wordpress.com/ and join the call-in campaign by dialing 519-894-2011, requesting to speak to the acting warden at GVI and inquiring why they are criminalizing LBTQ2+ prisoners. Or you could fax 519-894-5434 with similar requests. The warden has announced the allowance of a LBTQ2+ group to be formed among prisoners there, but the campaigners suggest continuing to call and fax to see if they follow through and what comes next.
More of Nyki Kish’s writing can be found at http://changeandprison.wordpress.com/
Playlist for this show is here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/14422
This week we will feature punk and metal projects from all over the place, mostly pulled from the site http://r-a-b-m.blogspot.com and http://thedarkskiesaboveus.blogspot.com which are longstanding blog featuring Red and Anarchist black metal.
But first in some recent news:
As we reported last week, Chelsae Manning was facing indefinite solitary confinement on some pretty seriously trumped up charges. After over 100,000 people signed a petition on her behalf she is now no longer facing solitary, but has been found guilty of all the four things she was being investigated for, and these are: 1 having an expired tube of toothpaste, 2 asking to speak to her attourney, 3 having an issue of Vanity Fair magazine, and 4 maybe accidentally knocking a packet of mustard onto the floor.
From her support page:
“We won an important victory by keeping Chelsea out of “indefinite solitary confinement;” however, this ruling of guilty on all four absurd charges is not without significant ramifications.
“Now these convictions will follow me through to any parole and clemency hearings, forever. I was expecting to be in minimum custody in February, but now years have been added to that,” Chelsea explained (via phone) after her recent hearing.
“As Chelsea’s lawyer, I am horrified and angry about these convictions. This was a star chamber where Chelsea had to defend herself in secret. These convictions will not silence her. She will only be stronger and we will fight that much harder in her appeal to overturn her convictions and her sentence,” declared Chelsea’s lead attorney Nancy Hollander.”
At this time, it’s horrifyingly clear to us at The Final Straw that if it weren’t for all the petition signatures and media coverage of this issue that Chelsae would indeed be thrown into solitary confinement indefinitely. So, keep it up everyone! It’s extremely important for people to keep talking about this issue. Also, funds are needed to keep her legal defense going, they are only a few bux short! You can see info about this case and how to give support at http://www.chelseamanning.org
At least 9 people were arrested after St. Louis police shot and killed an African-American 18 year old man, Mansur “Man-Man” Ball Bey, who was fleeing police while they attempted to serve a search warrant in the northern party of the city. In the wake of the killing, crowds poured into the street, where they were met with military police tanks and tear-gas. People cursed the police, burned American flags, erected barricades, and chanted “Black Lives Matter”. This is just one of the protests that have occurred since the year anniversary of Michael Browns murder at police hands in Ferguson, Missouri.
More information and personal commentary on this event can be found at the excellent news website http://itsgoingdown.org
From anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble’s support page and blog at http://anarchylive.noblogs.org on the situation of the Holman 3:
“St. Clair Correctional Facility in Springville, Alabama is the subject of a class action lawsuit filed by the Alabama Justice Initiative on behalf of prisoners housed at St. Clair. The focus of the lawsuit is the extremely violent atmosphere at the prison, the violent assaults inflicted upon prisoners by high-ranking and low-ranking guards. There has been a long train of assaults on prisoners by guards.
On June 17, 2015, prisoners at St. Clair called a halt to the unchecked assaults: by retaliating against two guards who were assaulting a prisoner. A crowd of prisoners beat the two guards, who have a long history of assaulting prisoners. Seventeen prisoners were swept up in the haste to quell the rebellion. Prison officials don’t know what prisoners took part in the rebellion. All seventeen prisoners were placed in segregation. Of the seventeen, three were transferred to Donaldson Max. in Bessemer, Alabama and three were transferred to Holman Max., and eleven are still at St. Clair.
The three prisoners – Brandon Lee, Johnathan Mallory, and Jamie Montgomery – transferred to Holman’s segregation unit, have not been charged and/or received any disciplinary write up for any institutional rule violation, but are continually being refused release to general population.
We need everyone that reads this to call the Warden at Holman prison and the Commissioner of the Alabama Dept. of Corrections, and demand that Brandon Lee, Johnathan Mallory, and Jamie Montgomery be immediately released into general population due to the fact that none of them have been charged with any rule infraction at St. Clair or Holman.
Call the below listed phone numbers. Continually call them until we get results.
Warden Walter Myers
Commissioner William G. Sharp, Jr
to reach him by phone, dial 334-353-3883
or to fax him stuff you can use 334-353-3967”
From the Denver ABC website https://denverabc.wordpress.com/:
In summer 2013 members of several Anarchist Black Cross (or ABC) groups discussed the necessity of introducing an International Day for Anarchist Prisoners. For listeners who are unaware, the ABC is a long standing anarchist model for political prisoner support and also serves as an educational engine on issues pertaining to the prison industrial complex. Given there are already established dates for Political Prisoners Rights Day or Prison Justice Day, we found it important to emphasise the stories of our comrades as well. Many imprisoned anarchists will never be acknowledged as ‘political prisoners’ by formal human-rights organisations, because their sense of social justice is strictly limited to the capitalist laws which are designed to defend the State and prevent any real social change. At the same time, even within our individual communities, we know so little about the repression that exists in other countries, to say nothing of the names and cases involving many of our incarcerated comrades.
This is why we have decided to introduce an annual Week for Anarchist Prisoners on August 23-30, starting on this very day! We chose August 23 as a starting point, because on that same day in 1927 the Italian-American anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in prison. They were convicted of murdering two men during an armed robbery at a shoe factory in South Braintree, Massachusetts, United States. Their arrest was a part of a bigger anti-radical campaign led by the American government known as the Palmer Raids. The State’s evidence against the two was almost totally non-existent and many people still today believe that they were punished for their strong anarchist beliefs.
Given the nature and diversity of anarchist groups around the globe, we have proposed a week of common action rather than a single campaign on a specific day making easier for groups to be able to organise an event within a longer target period.
Therefore, we call on everyone to spread the information about the Week for Anarchist Prisoners among other groups and communities and think about organising event(s) in your city or town. The events can vary from info-evenings, screenings and benefit concerts to solidarity and direct actions.
Check out the flyers in different languages. Please send reports of your activities to firstname.lastname@example.org
This month is also historically significant as a yearly marker of anti-prison, anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggle in the U.S., known as Black August. Black August began in commemoration of the murder of Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden in the California Penal system between 1970 and 1971. “Yogi Bear” aka Hugo Pinell was a prisoner convicted of participating in the attempted uprising on August 21st 1971 at San Quentin in which George Jackson died. After suffering decades in the Pelican Bay SHU, he was recently released into general population and was killed by white prisoners. He served 50 years behind bars and struggling against the racist prison system. He is gone but not forgotten.
Also pulled from DenverABC.wordpress.com:
PKK and PAJK political prisoners in Turkey are now on the sixth day of their indefinite hunger strike.
On August 15, prisoners accused of being members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Kurdistan Women’s Liberation Party (PAJK) started an indefinite hunger strike with three demands. The day coincided with the anniversary of the first armed action of the PKK.
The prisoners are demanding that the Turkish state end its ongoing isolation of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been unable to meet with anyone from the outside since April. They are also calling for the bodies of YPG and YPJ fighters to be allowed entry to Turkey for burial by their families and for the “political genocide” operations against Kurds to come to an end.
The political prisoners have announced via their lawyers that they will continue their hunger strike until their demands are met. There will be a support action for the prisoners today outside the women’s prison in the Bakırköy neighborhood of Istanbul.
This week we continue our conversation with John, an anti-racist anarchist living in the U.S. South about thoughts and memories concerning the July 18th 2015 counter-demonstration to the KKK in Columbia, South Carolina. John also talks a bit about what he knows of the 1997 KKK march in Asheville, North Carolina and their subsequent patookis whoopin by the general population of Asheville.
But before we get there, we’ll hear some announcements, an important announcement by Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain. After those portions, we’ll hear an interview conducted by a member of the Durham Anti-Repression committee of anarchist prisoner Luke O’Donovan. Luke is in the middle of a 2 year sentence for defending himself against 5 homophobic attackers at a New Years Eve party in Atlanta at the opening of 2013. More on his case at http://letlukego.wordpress.com
For farther flung listeners, if you’d like to hear this show on a station in your area, you can simply email us for requests at email@example.com and we can get a conversation started about making it happen.
On a separate note, for years the Iron Rail Book Collective has been one of the most socially transformative projects in New Orleans and has been part of a vibrant and growing anarchist culture in the city. Some of you may be familiar with it from the NASSN conference in New Orleans or the New Orleans Anarchist Bookfair. When the police closed the Iron Rail down through selective enforcement of code violations and forced it out of its long-time site several years ago this seriously set back liberatory politics in the city. There is a fundraising campaign going on to get a house in the Upper 9th Ward as a new home for the Iron Rail. A mere $4000 will secure the site and help start renovations. We would appreciate any help possible to get this important anarchist project reestablished. Please go to http://crowdrise.com/ironrail for information on the Iron Rail and the fundraising campaign.
A new insturrectional anarchist audio site has been launched called Resonance Audio Distro. On it you can find links to anarchist news sources in English, as well as a growing pool of recorded essays and zines. You’ll find such titles as “3 Positions against Prison” by August O’Clairre, “On The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism” by Fredy Perlman, “Revolutionary Solidarity: A Critical Reader for Accomplices” and more. Check it out at:
Also, the political prisoner birthday calendar for august 2015 is out! If you or someone you know would like to write political prisoners on their birthdays, you can view and download the pdf of this document at prisonbooks.info. These lovely rabble rousers would also like to announce that their comprehensive zine entitled How To Start a Prison Books Collective has been updated and is available for download and distro at that same address, http://prisonbooks.info.
If you’d like to learn more about the situation in Syria and the continuing repression by ISIS, you can give a listen to #’s 36 and 39 of the Ex Worker podcasts put out by CrimethInc. These give specific information on and interviews with participants of the Rojava Revolution. You can listen to all their podcasts at http://crimethinc.com/podcast and some more updates on the situation of PYD/PKK/International Brigade fighters can be found about repression in Turkey and Iraq.
Stay tuned next week on The Final Straw, same time same place, for an interview with organizers of the Resist 450 event to take place in St Augustine Florida in September of this year. The city of St Augustine – one of the oldest cities as we know them in the US – is slated to commemorate the 450th anniversary of colonization by Pedro Menendez and Juan Ponce de Leon. We’ll speak with Bobby C. Billie and Shannon Larsen of the Resist 450 Coalition about the history of this event and indigenous struggles in St. Augustine. More at http://resist450.wordpress.com
In Sean’s words…
“I signed my transfer notice yesterday. I wrote everybody and gave them the Trumbull address. I got packed up today. Then the warden notified me that Central Office Anonymous Coward cancelled my transfer. Now I missed commissary and commissary won’t let me shop. I don’t even have soap.
Please let everyone know I’m not at Trumbull…”
We already sorted out the commissary issue, what we need now, is to get at the root of this, and so many other problems with SOCF. That means we need a concerted effort to address that Central Office Anonymous Coward: Trainwreck Trevor Clark.
Wanna help ruin Trevor Clark’s career? We hope so.
Here’s the deal: ODRC Counsel Trevor Matthew Clark is a sociopath who runs the ODRC torture program with his FBI buddies on speed dial, and he recently used his sock-puppet co-workers to harass Ben Turk and Ihsan purging them from Sean’s visiting list because Trevor Clark doesn’t like online postings. He also cancelled Sean’s transfer to lower security at the last minute. He wants to pull the plug on seanswain.org and turn Sean into his personal cat toy to swat around whenever feels like it. F this Ahole. It’s time for him to get disbarred, lose his job, and spend the rest of his miserable existence sleeping in his car. We can make that happen. It’s OUR world, and this creep is just mismanaging it.
We gotta swamp the right hierarchs with a million phone calls and letters. The more calls the better. Is that reformist? Well, yeah. But the direct action alternative doesn’t seem to be happening, so let’s do what’s do-able.
Trainwreck is an attorney, so if he loses his license, he loses his job and loses his power to mess with people. He ends up at a job asking you if you want fries with that.” So the right people to contact are:
Columbus Bar Association
175 South Third Street, Suite 1100
Columbus, Ohio 43215
For suggestions on talking points, more updates as they come and more of Sean’s writings, check out http://seanswain.org
This week’s episode features a conversation with Francesca. Francesca is a student at the University of Bologna in Italy and is one of the people at the center of a wave of repression in response to ongoing autonomous organizing inside and outside of the University. The University of Bologna is the oldest, continuously operating public University in the world. Francesca is also a member of the Hobo collective, which runs an autonomous social space inside of the Poli-Sci department of the University.
In December of last year, after numerous marches and interventions around the city and university on a range of issues such as immigrant rights, precarity of employment, underpaying of university workers, increased cost and decreased quality of services at the university, affordable housing, the censure of political dialogue and more, the District Attorney of Bologna had Francesca and 5 comrades arrested as a preventative measure in order to stop their organizing and to terrorize the students and militants of the area. 4 students have been placed on house arrest in Bologna, making it quite difficult to make ends meet economically, and 2 were exiled from the city, thus cutting short their educational career. In response, a campaign called “#LibertaDiDimora”, which translates to freedom of home, was launched to respond to the repression of the 6 comrades and to continue struggles around freedom of movement and housing issues inside and outside of the university. More on student organizing around the world at http://commonware.org/
For the hour, we’ll be speaking with Francesca about her case, the campagn, the Autonomia movement which Hobo is alligned with, the monetization of education, precarity, internships, immigration in Italy, squatting and more. More at http://hobo-bologna.info
But, first a few announcements.
In the wake of the tragic murder of nine African American bible study members on June 17th, 2015 at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a white supremacist their was an outpouring of grief and solidarity expressed around the world. This was followed by a series of protests and direct-action removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the capital grounds in Colombia, South Carolina. The pressure built in other Southern States to remove the CSA Battle flag from their state flags resulting in blowback from some white folks to the removal of this “heritage” symbol that means oppression to so many others. Subsequent to the killings and flag debates, at least 6 black churches were torched between June 22nd and June 29th around the South East. Churches in: Knoxville, TN; Macon, GA; Charleston, SC; Elyria, OH; Tallahassee, FL. To top this, and never to lose an opportunity to display their pointy heads, the Klu Klux Klan has decided to call for a rally on the steps of the South Carolina State House on July 18th at 3pm and just as the racists will be coordinating to show up at the rally, so are anti-racists and regular-ass folks around the region. There are all sorts of calls for participation in all sorts of ways to counter a public display of hatred by the KKK. I hope to see y’all there. http://columbiascdemocallout.tumblr.com/
In a perfect segway, the next evening, July 19th 2015, folks are invited to come to the new location for Firestorm Books & Cafe at 610 Haywood Rd for a presentation by Saralee Stafford & Neal Shirley on their book, Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South. For our conversation with the Shirley & Stafford, check out this link.
A reminder to listeners with graphic talents, we’re soliciting designs for stickers, posters and more. The artists who’s designs are selected will receive a few prizes from our freeboxes (actually, some tee shirts and literature). We’re looking for the name of the show, our website and images that may reflect the project. We’re hoping it can be a tool for better advertising the project and getting more folks involved. You can email designs in pdf format to thefinalstrawradio(aat)riseup( dott)net or send them in physical form to, again:
The Final Straw
864 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
Finally, I’d like to give a brief shout out to some other audio & video projects that have been kicking out the jams of late. If you’re familiar with The Final Straw, you may have heard some of their names on our 4th Anniversary show last year.
Check out the Free Radical Radio at http://freeradicalradicalradio.net for a mostly weekly mix of commentary, comedy, critique and always witty reparte.
For great action updates, audio documentaries, reviews and more, Crimethinc’s podcast called “The Ex-Worker” is not to be missed. You can find episodes at http://crimethinc.com/podcast, along with links and transcripts of the episodes.
WhichSide Podcast, which features hosts Jeremy Parkin & Jordan Halliday, did a great interview with Kevin Van Meter, contributor to the book “Life During Wartime”. Regular episodes feature chats on anarchism, activism, animal liberation, veganism and more. More can be found at http://whichsidepodcast.com.
Finally, I want to give a shoutout to The Stimulator & his f-ing show, It’s The End Of The World and We Know It (And I Feel Fine) for riot porn, interviews, commentaries, updates and stunning images and movie references. More from that project at http://submedia.tv
This week we have three segments for the audience.
First, we bring you segment from Sean Swain, an anarchist prisoner in the Ohio prison system. You won’t be hearing Sean’s voice on this recording despite Sean having his communication reinstated. The segment is about calls by members and supporters of the Free Alabama & Mississippi Movement of incarcerated workers for a boycott of McDonalds due to some of their exploitation of prison labor. More on FAMM can be found at https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/f-a-m-s-step-3-mcdonalds-initiative-s-to-p-the-school-to-prison-pipeline/
Next, William spoke with folks involved in the struggle to save the Che Café, a social space present on the University of California in San Diegos La Jolla campus. The Che Café is a 25 year running co-op space and venue that is now in danger of eviction by the University and is currently squatting their location. Check out the website for The Che Café http://thechecafe.blogspot.com. What you’ll hear is an anonymized version of the conversation for the safety of those in struggle with the campus. Thanks to the folks at the Ex-Worker for putting us in contact with the folks at the Café. You can find the text from William’s conversation later in this post
Finally, Bursts & William spoke with an anarchist resident of Olympia, Washington about the shooting of Bryson Chaplin & Andre Thompson, two unarmed young Black men by Officer Ryan Donald of the Olympia PD and some events that followed. Chaplin & Thompson, in two incidents on the night of the 20th of May, shot and seriously injured the men for allegedly trying to steal beer from a convenience store. The men were shot in the back, Bryson Chaplin being left paralyzed from the waist down. Over the next few days, rallies took place under the monicer of Black Lives Matter with hundreds entering the streets of Olympia. In response pro-cop rallies under the name of Blue Lives Matter (not a pro-smurf movement, sadly), in small numbers, countered the anti-murder demonstrations. As time went on, White Supremacists became more visible in attendance, which the police tried to distance themselves officially from. As more White Supremacists, some openly carrying guns, attended these events an Anti-Fascist march was called for. This escalated into the night of May 30th when police held back their presence and the anti-fascist march collided with the White Supremacists, including armed Citizens Patrols Militia members, Neo Nazis, and Third Positionists. As conflict ensued, the racists were chased from the streets of Olympia for the night and their manifestation has been resisted by Anti-Fa patrols. We spend a good portion of the hour talking about police power, institutional White Supremacy, anti-fascist organizing and some of the potential pitfalls of decentering struggle away from a critique of institutional power and towards the fringe reactionaries.
Relatedly, there has been a call-out for folks to engage in the July 25th 2015 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners. From the call-out:
“Antifascists fight against those who—in the government or in the streets—dream of imposing their fascist and other Far Right nationalist nightmares on the rest of us. Throughout the world, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and racist bigotries are on the rise. Antifas are on the frontline in confronting these reactionary politics, and we will not forget our comrades imprisoned in the course of this struggle.”
More can be found at nycantifa.wordpress.com
Also, to relate this to local issues to Asheville North Carolina, well-known character from the so-called National Youth Front, Daxter Reed has been attempting to recruit at our local community college, ABTech as well as around town and in the punk and metal scene. The goofball even tried to show up at the May Day rally holding a sign for NYF and was summarily run off. It should be made apparent that these nazis and their foolish antics are not welcome here.
First, though, The Final Straw is soliciting folks in the audience with design skills to submit sticker and poster designs to us. We’re hoping these stickers and posters can make their way out to bookfairs, conventions, manifestations and the walls and unsmashed windows of the world, widening our audience and spreading some audio-anarchy further. We’re looking for the designs to include the show name, our website at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org and either imagery or words pointing to the nature of the show. If you have a design, you can send a mockup or completed version to thefinalstrawradio(at)riseup(doot)net in pdf format. Designers of chosen images will receive some free swag from the Anarchyland.
Che Cafe : The Che café actually started as the Coffee Hut in the late 1960s. The project to build the café cost 15k and was funded by student fees alone. It was the first student center at UCSD that was both student funded and student run. It hosted and continues to host discussions that facilitate brainstorming of marginalized/non-main stream issues (race, social justice, climate change, non-hierarchical forms of student government, etc…)
CC : It had two main roles:
CC : 1) it was the campus social center where student group of all political persuasions and interests hung out and had discussions
CC : 2) the collective is an incubator for cutting edge, non-mainstream thought, and gave birth to innovative ideas and practices
CC : it’s also important because it’s a safe space where all students were and still are welcome to hang out
CC : especially at a time where oppressed peoples where facing violence. One example was where people in the lgbt+ community were facing violence. The Che held a series of lgbt sponsored non-sexist dances in the 80’s, providing a safe place where it didn’t exist elsewhere
WG : Gotcha, I wanna talk about safer space in a minute, but just to give some context will you describe the space for listeners who have never been there, is it more like a show space or do people live there too? Is it still a cafe?
CC : Do you want us to describe the space as it is currently or also as it has been historically?
WG : I was thinking more in terms of how it is today, just how it looks and feels to be there for the benefit of folx who haven’t seen it.
WG : But also if historical cues make sense I’d be into hearing that!
CC : Before the occupation, it was more of a hardcore punk venue for music. But with the occupation, it has expanded to become so much more
WG : What occupation do you mean?
CC : Well, the UCSD administration is trying to evict and destroy the Che Café. They served the eviction on march 23rd and we’ve been occupying the Che in resistance since then. 93 days and counting.
WG : Oh shit I didn’t know that there was an occupation!
WG : How has it changed since then?
CC : Regarding the events we’ve had since the occupation
CC : we’ve expanded our programming tremendously
CC : we’ve had political meetings. For example, hosting the IWW
CC : We’ve also had workshops, like zine making workshops, feminist workshops, vegan cooking workshops. And something called Fem Fest, which is a feminist centered festival. Speakers from all over have come to speak at the Che. We’ve hosted workshops with Synchronized Cycle, a feminist bike collective. We’ve had circle discussions talking about issues affecting the people. We had music events, such as Che Fest, which was an all day music festival. Bands played inside and outside, upwards of 20 bands played. Hardcore and Indie and Surf Punk.
We’ve also had movie nights, ranging from light hearted movies to serious documentaries, with discussions after documentaries, student film nights, documentaries made here, queer/feminist film nights
As far as music shows, for awhile, we stopped doing shows because we thought it would help our case with the university. The strategy killed momentum but it made us less of a threat. When we started doing shows again, the university started threatening us again. We had university security watching us.
We’ve painted the Che, touched up Mario Terero. He painted a lot of the murals. He’s a well known Chicano muralist and did some of the murals on the building. Students have also painted murals. One member of the collective wants to do a mural of a lot of Chicana feminist writers that have a lot of influence on the Chicano identities. The Che has always been a place for marginalized peoples, including Chicano people.
We’ve done record swaps, there aren’t many all-ages record swaps in the area. The Che has always been a space for all ages to be included.
There have also been open mic nights and poetry readings. This has been a recent thing that a lot of people have gotten more and more engaged with. We have prominent poets in San Diego and Los Angeles who will be featuring at the Che on July 24th
There’s also something that happens called the Co-op prom or Safe Space Prom: Co-op prom happens every year for all the members of all the co-ops on campus. Co-op members are super connected and this is yet another form of social bonding for us that can happen in a safe space with lots of political unity.
We also have Meatless Mondays: They’re nice because they get a lot of students to come to the Che. It’s really nice to have students out here. We used to sell vegan donuts and coffee. A lot of people who wouldn’t normally come would come and ask questions and talk to us about the space.
We’ve even had a play produced here called Sodom and Gomorrah
WG : Is the Che Cafe on UCSD campus itself? I’ve never been to San Diego.
CC : Yes, it is located in Revelle College. Revelle was the first college in this campus system, and currently there are 6 colleges in the UCSD system
WG : Gotcha, I think it’s really rad that it’s been a place for marginalized folks for so long. I’ve definitely known folks who held that space as really important for a long time.
WG : Is it ok if I go off script for one question?
CC : sure
WG : Without compromising your security/safety, has there been much solidarity with the Che from within the student population? Acts of support etc?
CC : The majority of occupiers have been students and there were also graduate students from UCSD that participated as well as outside help from UCSD alumni.
CC : as far as acts of support there have been minor acts like chalking and banner drops by students in support of the Che, as well as petitions etc
WG : Word.
WG : How often has UCSD issued eviction notices to the Che? And since the Che is not the only cooperative, does it similarly target other collective spaces on campus?
CC : I don’t have the exact number of times that the University has tried to get rid of the space but in its 49 years, it has been at least 10-15 times. We can give you a more accurate number if you like…?
WG : Gotcha. No worries on exact figures. I just wanted to get a sense of the extent that the University was trying to evict the space, and it seemed to me that they’d tried fairly often.
CC : Yeah, the Master space agreement for all of the other collectives on campus expire at the end of 2016, which is worrisome.
WG : Really quickly, what is the Master Space Agreement?
CC : the MSA is basically the agreement that (after much effort) allowed for these spaces to have the level of autonomy that they currently hold from the university, and it includes details on rent, etc. Kind of like a lease but a little more involved.
CC : To go back to the question of other evictions or threatened evictions, aside from collective spaces UCSD has in the last decade alone shut down CLICS ( a humanities library which was also occupied), Graffiti Hall, Porter’s pub, University Art Gallery, and the Ceramics Center
WG : That’s a crazy amount of resources shut down!
WG : What do you think the universities are trying to do? Is it a question of resources or control?
CC : Well, leading to why the university is trying to do, it might help to consider that the Che is physically located on the fringe of campus rather than prime real estate, it’s on the borders of a much more developed and built-up campus, but along with the cooperatives it is one of the few remaining establishments on UCSD run entirely by student and community members in the midst of a transformation of the university into a morass of private corporations and centrally-run “student” centers
CC : if you look at the corporate donor list for UCSD, it looks like you lined up a 100 NASCAR drivers
CC : There’s been a lot of construction on UCSD campus and two of the companies doing that are corporate donors not to mention that UCSD gets 2.5 billion dollars in funding from the Department of Defense, there’s an entire research center dedicated to drones and a bunch of other surveillance research is done here, and a lot of military research in general
WG : Holy shit! I had no idea about all of that.
WG : That definitely puts the eviction attempts in a totally new light, thanks for going into that.
WG : So as per the Master Space Agreement, the Che is a relatively autonomous space from UCSD?
CC : yes
CC : But the attack on collective and social spaces is not isolated to just UCSD. It has been happening elsewhere. We were talking to someone who went to UC Davis and the same stuff that has been happening here has also been happening there It’s systematic. And from what we heard, they’ve been trying to shut down the co-ops at UC Davis repeatedly
WG : That’s so brutal.
WG : What will it mean for the students if the Che gets shut down?
CC : If the Che gets shut down, that means the university will likely increase the pressure on all the other co-ops because the Che getting shut down would set a precedent.
CC : And like we said before, the Che has a long history of being an alternative community and social space for alternative and marginalized students and community members in general. It still very much is this for the community, despite pressure from the University. If we lose the Che, marginalized students and community members will lose a space that’s important to diversity of thought and expression. Keep in mind that the Che is a very long time part of the UCSD campus, even before it called the Che, back to the 60’s and 70’s.
CC : In addition, without this space, it will be harder for marginalized students and community members to resist against university policies.
WG : For sure. This is such a brutal example of how expression and politics are being increasingly curtailed by institutions.
CC : Yeah, it’s all about control. About shifting the university from a public to private model through any means necessary for the UC system in general.
WG : Agreed! It certainly looks that way to me.
CC : Additionally, an interesting note is that the current head of the UC system, Janet Napolitano, used to be the secretary of homeland security.
WG : Thaaaat just totally blows me away.
WG : You’ve already outlined the political and cultural place that the Che holds on campus, but could you talk about what it means for students to have a safe space within the context of the university?
CC : Could you clarify that question please?
WG : The question may actually be redundant, now that I come to think of it. I was wanting to get a sense of how large a part the Che played within the student body of holding safer space for folks, but I actually think we’ve touched on that sufficiently?
CC : Oh yeah, we can touch on that question
CC : The Che as it is today is unfortunately unknown to most of the students because the campus is so spread out.
CC : the Che, before it was even the Che, used to be the center of student life at UCSD during the 60’s and 70’s, being in the middle of the Revelle College.
CC : But there’s been purposeful expansion since then that has made it harder for students to gather in autonomous spaces, but the Che is still one of the main punk and anarchist spaces in San Diego.
WG : Wait, on of the main anarchist spaces in all of San Diego??
CC : Yeah! In my experience, I haven’t seen many other anarchist spaces in this town, the Che seems to be the main nexus for anarchists in the city
WG : Gotcha.
CC : Social spaces on campus have really shifted from autonomous student spaces to corporate spaces like the Price Center (*note: this is the largest so called “student” center in the country and hosts many capitalist ventures like fast food restaurants and a movie theater, it has over 30,000 visitors a day).
CC : And we have important safe spaces on campus like the Woman’s Center, the LGBT Center, the Black Resource Center, and other important spaces, but none of these spaces are as autonomous as the Che. They’re politically progressive where we’re more anarchist, and are unfortunately more beholden to the University
WG : Yeah, that makes total sense. It’s so important to have spaces for anarchist folk.
CC : yeah, basically
WG : Did you get a chance to read the statement from the Hobo space in Bologna? If so, do you have any words for those folx?
CC : Yeah, we read that statement
CC : And we definitely stand in solidarity with the students and community members resisting in Bologna
CC : We shouldn’t just defend and preserve the existing autonomous spaces but expand and open up more of these sort of spaces. The stronger the network of autonomous spaces for anarchists and radicals, the easier we’ll be able to resist against Power. We encourage the leftist, radical, and anarchist to defend existing spaces and open up more of these spaces by any means necessary.
WG : Totally agreed. I know they’ll take strength from that.
WG : Is there a way for people who aren’t in your area to help with the struggle concerning the Che?
CC : Yeah, definitely.
WG : And is there a way for folks to keep apprised of how y’all are doing? A website?
CC : Oh yeah, we have a facebook page, which is facebook.com/che.cafe.collective
CC : And the Che has a webpage which is thechecafe.blogspot.com
CC : and in regards to support
CC : People should get involved more with the struggle for the Che and the co-ops. Join the occupation if you can. Put pressure on the administration in whatever ways you can. Donations also help with legal funds, and we have a paypal account. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need more support from the media. If you’re in the media, contact us. Spread the word that we’re still alive and still fighting. Encourage people to come to meetings. Help us occupy. The more people who resist with us, the better. If you have an event you want to do, you’re welcome to do it in the space as long as you put it through the collective process. Send resources like vegan food and books and anything else. Volunteers to help clean up are also really appreciated.
CC : Also, Pressure the vice chancellor and the chancellor to stop evicting the Che.
CC : We have a meeting with the Chancellor on July 15th and the more support we have at that meeting, the better.
WG : Let me know how it goes and I can report in on the radio. Also are there contact details for the VC and the chancellor?
CC : Yeah, we definitely will keep you updated, and the web page with all that contact info is chancellor.ucsd.edu/cabinet
WG : Gotcha. That’s all the questions I have, do y’all have anything else you wanted to close on?
CC : In regards to that, it’s important that we fight for these spaces because it’s in these spaces where we’re more free: free of the majority of the power dynamics of our society.
CC : and fighting for these spaces ultimately will lead us into fighting against Power itself so we can ultimately abolish authority and power and live a free life where we decide what we want do, no one else deciding for us, no politician or boss, but us living lives of true joy.
WG : Totally agreed! Thanks so much for taking the time to have this interview! Keep us posted, stay safe. Solidarity to yall.
This week, we’re excited to present a conversation with Saralee Stafford and Neal Shirley, editors and authors of a new book out from AK Press entitled “Dixie Be Damned: 300 years of Insurrection in the American South”. The book is a study of Maroon, Indigenous, White, Black, worker, farmer, slave, indentured, women and men wrestling against institutions of power for autonomy and self-determination. All of this in a region stereotyped to be backwards, slow, lazy, victimized and brutal. The editors do a smash-bang job of re-framing narratives of revolt by drawing on complex and erased examples of cross-subjectivity struggles and what they can teach us today about current uprisings in which we participate.
Throughout the hour we explore some of the examples that became chapters in the book, critiques of narrative histories and academia and what new ways forward might be towards an anarchist historiography. More on the book can be found at http://www.revolutionbythebook.akpress.org/dixie-be-damned-read-an-excerpt/ and keep an ear out for Saralee and Neal’s book tour, coming to a bookspace near you.
This week: Sean Swain announces that he’s escalating his hunger strike and will begin denying his hypertension medication this evening. This could put him in dire danger, he could die within a few days. This protest is in response to the administration at OSP & ODRC selectively denying his access to communicate with his supporters, in particular with Ben Turk via the jpay video chat. From his support page:
“Sean needs support right now. Rick Kerger, his lawyer is filing a restraining order preventing the ODRC from cancelling future video visits. There are three things you can do.
1. Call OSP Warden Forshay and demand that he meet with Sean in good faith and negotiate a reversal of the ODRC policy of f**king with Sean on flimsy pretexts. 330-743-0700. Ext. 2006.
2. Write Sean a letter, or even better, request a video visit yourself. The first step is getting approved as a visitor, using this form. The more communication we send Sean’s way, the more of their time they’ll have to waste f**king with him. Sean often says “they’ll get tired of killing me before I get tired of dying.” Let’s make sure he’s right.
3. Call ODRC Investigator Paul Schumacher, who cancelled Sean’s video visits, and say whatever you want to his voicemail. 614-728-1152”
Script suggestions for the conversation can be found at http://seanswain.org
Then, we hear from Andrew Hoyt about the upcoming North American Anarchist Studies Conference in San Francisco during the 20th through the 22nd of March, 2015. He talks about the network, which was created to link researchers with activists and assist dialogue to spread anarchism in society. If you’re interested in putting on a workshop, the deadline is coming up on February 14th, so hurry up! Info on the network, the upcoming (free) conference, past conferences, how to join the email list and more can be found at http://naasn.org
Finally, we get an update from a comrade in Barcelona about Operacion Pandora, the Spanish government’s series of raids and arrests on December 16th, 2014, of anarchists around the country. The Spanish government, according to the guest, is trying to link those 7 remaining with charges of connection to the GAC (Coordinated Anarchist Groups) which published a rather dry book criticizing Democracy and it’s uses by existing governments to justify VERY undemocratic actions. The Spanish government is then proposing that GAC is aligned with the Informal Anarchist Federation Tendency (FAI/IAF). The text, which will be distributed for free on February 14th in protest around Spain, can be found here in Spanish and portions have been translated into English. The guest speaks about La Ley Mordaza (Gag Law) recently passed in Spain and how this operation appears to be a first step of illegalizing effective protest tactics (such as protesting at religious institutions or setting up barricades) and branding them as terroristic in order to choke off resistance within Spain.
More on the case and shows of resistance against it can be found at http://efectivopandora.wordpress.com
Playlist for the episode is here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/11470