Welcome to a podcast special release of The Final Straw’s interview of two members of The Haymaker, a gym project underway in Chicago, IL. The Haymaker’s principles of unity are as follows:
As organizers, we believe in Autonomy, Strength, and Solidarity. Because we believe in autonomy, we know that we must learn to fight our enemies without relying on institutions that disempower us and macho gym cultures that weaken us. We must learn to fight for ourselves. Because we believe in strength, we know that we must be stronger than those who want us to suffer or wipe us out completely. We must learn to be unafraid as we become a force capable not only of self-defense, but of social transformation. Because we believe in solidarity, we know that our personal transformation is at once collective transformation and that an injury to one is indeed an injury to all. We will learn how to keep each other safe as we become dangerous together.
If you want to toss them some duckets, find their indiegogo. If you’re inspired to work on something like this in your town, hit them up at email@example.com or on the fedbook or twitter by their handle @haymakerchi. This audio will make it into a full episode coming up soon.
So, if you feel like passing the hat or holding a fundraiser or hitting up Daddy Warbucks himself, George Soros, for them please do.
If you enjoyed this episode and you get our show from the itunes library, drop us a review, rate us 5 stars and help spread this show. Also, if you like hearing our podcast and want our interviews to make it to the cars, trucks, jail cells, basement apartments and everywhere else in your area, consider hittin us up and help us figure out how to get on your local community radio. Our shows are an hour weekly, are free for stations and people to download and are radio clean. Right now we’re airing in Columbus (OH), Asheville (NC), Olympia (WA), Santa Rosa (CA) & Fairbanks (AK). Why not YOUR home town?
******A quick announcement: There will be a vigil tonight at 9pm at Firestorm Books and Coffee at 601 Haywood Rd in West Asheville for the victims and community affected by the shooting that occurred last night in Orlando, Florida. The shooting occurred at the Gay dance club called The Pulse and media outlets are announcing that there were 50 people killed in what appears to have been a targeted attack by someone from outside of the area wielding an assault rifle and a handgun. The hostage situation that developed was ended by a SWAT invasion at 5AM this morning (6-12-1016). Come out tonight and support this community.******
Here, we present both parts one and two of an interview with Merve Arkun, Hüseyin & Özgür, members of Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet, or DAF. DAF translates to Revolutionist Anarchist Action and is a network of overlapping collectives in Turkey. They are based out of Istanbul and run an office and two cafe’s, both called 26A, which is a meeting space and employer for collective members. This conversation was conducted on March 19, 2016, a few short hours after a DAESH (ISIS) bombing occurred in the Beyoğlu neighborhood of Istanbul, on the touristy street called İstiklal Avenue, just a few blocks from one of the collective’s cafe’s and their newspaper office.
The bomb killed 5 people (4 tourists plus the bomber), and injured some 36 more. The tension in the city in the days before the bombing was palpable as trucks of riot police roved around the neighborhood, and embassies and foreign schools closed for security reasons. The approaching Newroz celebrations, or Kurdish New Years, were slated to take place a mere 2 days after this attack in the contentious Taksim Gezi Park so recently after the resumption of military and legal hostilities between Kurdish groups and aligned leftists and the Turkish government headed by the AK Party of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This decision most certainly would promise demonstrations and conflict
between security forces and civil society around the right to the contentious park, and against the war on the Kurds both in Syria and Turkey by Erdoğan’s government.
Besides the 26A cafes, DAF includes an Anarchist Women’s collective, a publishing project in the form of the Meydan Gazette (published monthly in paper form), and a youth collective, the Lycee (or High School) Anarchist Federation called LAF. In addition it organizes arts events and projects, and participates in labor organizing and solidarity with Kurdish resistance and the Rojava Revolution. DAF also organizes in tandem though autonomously with anti-militarist and anti-conscription
activists in Turkey.
Merve is an active member of the Meydan Gazette publishing crew, the Anarchist Women’s collective and also in a seperate but related anti-militarist group. Hüseyin is a main editor of the Meydan Gazette
and involved in the 26A cafes. Özgür is involved in Meydan & the self-defense program and the PATIKA ecological collective.
Throughout this first hour: Merve, Hüseyin & Özgür talk about the collectivized economic and living structures of DAF and how that pans out to support collective members and build collectivized models for survival within and against capitalism.
In the second podcast episode, the interviewees discuss: PATIKA Ecological Collective and their publication, organizing with communities in the Black Sea region against a hydro-electric dam, and more; Merve’s work with the Conscientious Objector Association against militarism and conscription; Meydan Gazette and their other publication projects; the modern anarchist movement in Turkey since 1989; solidarity with Kurdish populations in Turkey; organizing material support for the Rojava Revolution and aiding in helping anarchists join the struggle there; and more.
To see an article (in Turkish) about Esra Ankan, you can visit the Meydan Gazette’s article here:
Sean Swain speaks about a comrade of his in his facility, a trans woman who was put away for defending herself against an assaulter. Her government name is Adam Bockerstette, and while she can receive mail
under her chosen name (which is Kara), we were unsure about how to spell that. So if you do choose to write to her, your letters can be addressed to Kara Bockerstette, but note that your envelopes should be addressed to:
PO Box 120
Lebanon, OH 45036
Also keep an eye peeled at http://seanswain.org/ for more updates about Kara and her situation.
Good news for our comrade on the inside, Oso Blanco, who was sentenced to 80 years in maximum security prison for a series of bank robberies and a firearms violation. Oso Blanco is someone of Cherokee descent, and has been politicized during his time in prison and before. Recently there has been a massive fundraising effort on the part of his support team to get him transferred out of his former facility, and for legal fees to get his sentenced reduced. Both of these efforts have been
Thanks to fundraising efforts and donations, they have reached their fundraising goal at this time. Of course, money will always be needed until Oso Blanco is completely free – donations are always welcome. The support in donations and spreading the word was fast and amazing! Oso Blanco has been assigned a lawyer who he feels comfortable with and he is moving quickly to make sure the motion is filed by June 25th, 2016. Communication with Oso Blanco has been iffy at best. Please write him to
show support. If you donated, write and let him know as it will help immensely to raise his spirits. If you would like to donate further, and for guidelines on what mail will and won’t get into his facility, you can visit his support website at: http://freeosoblanco.blogspot.com/
To write Oso Blanco at his new location, you can address letters to:
PO BOX 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837
This week we spoke with Firehawk, who is an anarchist and anti prison/anti carceral state organizer based out of Colarado. In this interview we talk about her zine “Governing Bodies, Governing Souls: Female incarceration, ‘rehabilitation’, and promising radical strategies”, which came out of her experiences conducting research into increasing rates of incarceration in women’s prisons in the US. We talk about those experiences, about the zine in general, and about possible ways to be a support to incarcerated people and to anti-carceral struggles. We also talk about the various ways in which incarceration of transgender people are represented or thought about, a topic not necessarily included in the zine.
If you have any opinions about how we discussed this topic, we would love to hear them. Additionally, if you have a take on this issue that we did not touch on, or more information that we didn’t consider, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can email William Goodenuff at stormwater(a t)riseup.net, *or* you can email Firehawk at firehawk666(aat)riseup.net.
You can go check out and download a printable version of the zine, “Governing Bodies // Governing Souls” at http://insurgenttheatre.org/hackett.pdf.
If you are interested in interfacing with the WEBS class, visit the facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/websofsupport/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. And for the Unstoppable Publication, again you can visit http://unstoppable.noblogs.org to order a copy and to learn more about this project.
But first here are some announcements:
There will be a volunteer interest meeting for the Asheville based group the Tranzmission Prison Project, Wed June 29th at 7pm sharp in the upstairs room of the west asheville Izzy’s at 373 Haywood Road. The Tranzmission Prison Project is a volunteer run group which sends books and zines to LGBTQI prisoners, all free of charge. To get in touch with them, you can email them at email@example.com or search for them on facebook.
This was communicated to The Final Straw from our comrades in the so called Czech Republic, who have been facing government and police oppression in the form of an initiative called “Operation Fenix”, which specifically targets anarchists.
“As “Czech” Anarchist Black Cross and the AntiFenix Collective, we call for international solidarity actions against the repression of anarchists in the so-called Czech Republic. This repressive wave is labeled Operation Fenix – 8 people are accused or charged, some with possible life sentences, and with many more harassed by police, interrogated, raided, devices confiscated.
Our call for international solidarity is to support all of charged and affected, but also in particular to support Martin, an anarchist who was entrapped and accused of preparation of a terrorist attack, all planned by two state infiltrators. He has been locked away already almost 14 months in terrible conditions, and in response, he has just gone on hunger strike. Especially in places where you have Czech embassies or consulates, you can show that borders can’t stop anarchist solidarity.”
To learn more about this you can visit antifenix.noblogs.org
The sentencing date for vegan anarchist prisoner, Eric King has been set for Tuesday, June 28th at 11:30am at the US District Court House in Kansas City, Missouri. Eric accepted a non-cooperating plea to federal arson charges. He was convicted of attempting to set fire to a congress-member’s office. If you’d like to attend his sentencing, it’s suggested that you arrive by 11am to Courtroom 8A at 400 East 9th St in Kansas City with a valid, state-issued ID and plan to go through a metal detetctor. There is a request for fund-raising for his expected 8-year sentence, support t-shirts, his current mailing address, details on his case and more that can be found at http://supportericking.org
The Industrial Workers of the World Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee is requesting folks to email and call Waupun Correctional Institute in Wisconsin on today and Monday, June 20th. The hunger strike involving at least 5 prisoners is focused on an end to the practice of long term solitary confinement in the state of Wisconsin. As of Sunday, today, people have been on hunger strike in Waupun for 13 days. One of the hunger strikers, Cesar De Leon, announced 6/15/16 that he is now also refusing water because Waupun’s water supply is contaminated by lead, he vomits up their water and experiences stomach pain and heart-burn when he drinks it.
If you wish to write to participating prisoners to make message of support to hunger strikers, please write to: Cesar Deleon #322800, Lamar Larry #293906, Rayshun Woods #390831, LaRon McKinley #42642, at:
Waupon Correctional Institute
P.O. Box 351
Waupon, WI 53963
Norman Green #228971 has recently been transferred to Columbia, and can be written at
Columbia Correctional Institute
P.O. Box 900
Portage, WI 53901
More details can be found on the facebook page entitled phone and email zap: support wisconsin prisoners’ hunger strike day 13 & 14: https://www.facebook.com/events/1900430210184456/
This week’s show features a conversation with Arianna Staiger, daughter of long term eco anarchist prisoner in the U.S., Marius Mason. Marius Mason is serving 22 years for destruction of a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) research facility at the University of Michigan as well as pieces of logging equipment. Marius was a part of the so-called Green Scare, the FBI and U.S. government’s hunt and repression of eco-activists. In Marius’ case his ex-husband, Frank Ambrose, was coerced into snitching on Marius about their eco-defense activities in exchanged for a partially deferred sentence. Marius is also a trans man, who transitioned while incarcerated, and is being held in women’s facility. Marius is frequently put into isolation for his continued organizing around issues of trans prisoners and access to vegan food.
This conversation is taking place on the weekend before the annual June 11th day of Solidarity with long term Marius Mason and other long term eco and anarchist prisoners. June 11th, formerly the day of solidarity with Jeff “Free” Leurs, has for years now been an opportunity for discussion, organizing, fundraising and active solidarity with those on the other side of the bars, in hopes of continuing their struggles towards a world without bars and without cages. More on June 11th, the prisoners involved and the like can be found at http://june11.org/
In this hour, Arianna, who was 16 at the time of Marius’ arrest, talks about her relationship with him, about activism, music, incarceration, family and time. We’ll hear some of Arianna’s music in this hour, but if you want to hear a more complete interview, including more of Arianna’s music, check out our podcast version of the show . If you’d like to check out Arianna’s music, you can visit
This week in Asheville, there will be 2 June 11th events. On Friday, June 10th at French Broad River Park at 6:30pm there’ll be a potluck bbq with some free and benefit materials available, plus food and conversation on prisons, longterm prisoners and solidarity. And probably tempeh.
On Saturday, June 11th at 6:30pm at Firestorm Books and Coffee there will be a showing of the Critical Resistance documentary, “Visions of Abolition: From Critical Resistance to a New Way of Life” followed by a discussion of the prison industrial complex and prison abolitionism. This event is free, bring some friends.
If you can make it to Washington D.C., this week there will be actions against the Bureau of Prisons and other targets, as well as community gatherings in parallel with June 11th against the ecological and health damages caused by prisons, in particularly focusing on actions against the construction of a prison on a Kentucky former mountain top removal site. For more info, check out our interview with folks from Fight Toxic Prisons or check out http://fighttoxicprisons.wordpress.com
Before we get going with our Sean Swain segment and the interview, a few quick announcements:
On June 2nd, we released a podcast episode with folks from Detroit Eviction Defense about the situation of Jennette Shannon, a single mom from Detroit who was facing eviction and which DED hoped to stave off through active solidarity. Sadly, on June 4th the house was overwhelmed by Sheriffs, movers & Bailiff and the ground was lost. To check out the podcast, follow this link: http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/86844
More updates to come on how to support Jennette and those injured during the defense as well as plans for the future at http://detroitevictiondefense.org
Fundraising for Jennette & her son can be found here: https://www.youcaring.com/jennette-shannon-and-her-16-year-old-son-580529
Several inmates being held at Alexander Correctional Institution in
Taylorsville, NC have recently gone on hunger strike in protest of their
conditions of confinement. They are on strike due “the denial of medical
treatment, the denial of food and officers spitting in food trays, the
denial of adequate materials to clean their cells, the denial of
recreation, sexual and racial discrimination against African-Americans in
restrictive housing (seg), and the constant denial of incoming mail.”
The prisoners on strike are Stanley Corbett, Jr., Jermaine Spellers, and
The inmates are also protesting the recent beatings of prisoners in
facility “blind spots,” areas where no cameras are present. This includes
the beating of Brian K McKoy on 2/3/2016, Johnathan Toolin on 3/22/2016,
Karl Covington on 1/5/2016, Devin Hyman on 2/4/2016, and Robert McFadden on
This protest comes at a time of increase prisoner organizing, which
includes recent riots at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama,
mass hunger strikes in Michigan facilities, work stoppages at multiple
facilities in Texas, and the announcement of a national, coordinated
prisoners’ strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising on
Media is encouraged to contact the administration at Alexander to make
inquiries. Those links can be found at http://www.ncdps.gov/Adult-Corrections/Prisons/Prison-Facilities/Alexand…
A National Mobilization is being planned in Sacramento in several weeks and we need your help to make it possible.
In the past year, the anarchist movement has seen the rise of the far-Right and the growth of white nationalism and fascism, not only in the US but throughout the world. From Neo-Nazis marching to support the police in Olympia, mass shootings carried out by white nationalists, to people almost getting shot in Minneapolis outside of a protest encampment, to everyone from the KKK and the militia movement coming back in a real way.
On Sunday, June 26th, the Traditionalist Worker Party, headed by white power rising star Matthew Heimbach will be leading the Neo-Nazi gangs that make up the Golden State Skinheads (GSS) in an “Anti-Antifa” rally at the State Capitol. They will be joined by members of the KKK, the National Socialist Movement, and skinhead groups such as Blood and Honor. We believe that this will be the largest west coast white power mobilization in many years. As Heimbach stated on a recent podcast, “If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.”
In response, there is a call for people to shut down the rally starting at 9 AM sharp on the west steps of the state capitol in Sacramento. The permit for the fascist rally starts at 11 am and they are planning on arriving at the West steps of the capital at 12 Noon.
If you are not able to attend, we ask that we please help us by:
1.) Share this with trusted comrades and tell those that might want to be a part of such a mobilization.
2.) Helping spread the word on social media and on any media project you have, by sharing online flyers and images about the upcoming showdown and also inviting people on the facebook event, for which the guest list is private. The event will be linked in our blog post at ashevillefm.org.
[[For blog: Event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1727446437527487/
3.) Look out for opportunities to donate to the bail support fund and convergence space, to help those that may be arrested.
This summer is looking like it is going to be a hot one. From Native blockades against fracking, bloody battles outside of Trump and Hilary rallies, the upcoming RNC and DNC, and the ongoing local struggles happening all around us. We hope that the mobilization on the 26th is another part of a wider push towards becoming more of a force against capital, the State, white supremacy and patriarchy, and industrial destruction.
More background information with links can be found at https://itsgoingdown.org/national-mobilization-blockade-shut-white-supre…
playlist pending: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/16488
We open with an announcement from Asheville Anti-Racism, which is a far-right-watch group here in Asheville. There is a benefit show tonight (4/17/2016) at the Odditorium in Asheville, NC to raise funds for an anti-fascist, anti-KKK march just outside of Atlanta, GA next Saturday the 23rd. Every year, fascists march on Stone Mountain in Georgia, and every year there is anti-fascist presence. Let’s make this a year to remember!
A few prison updates from the U.S.:
Since April 4th, prisoners in at least 4 Texas prisons have been on strike for better conditions and an end to slavery and human rights abuses. This strike is but the latest in a nationwide mass movement
inside prisons for dignity and freedom. Minimum wage in Texas prisons is 00/hr. Access to medical care requires a $100 medical copay.
Striking prisons have been put on lockdown in an attempt to “conceal the strike” and the battle of wills is being daily tested by the inhumanity of the administration. No lights, two peanut butter sandwiches a day, no phone, mail or visitation from the outside world. And likely far worse.
Since the strike’s inception, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice TDCJ) has been trying to contain the strike and paint the strikers as causing harm to inmates and families. Threatening additional lockdowns, forced transfers, violence. Even a statewide lockdown.
The Incarcerated Workers Organzing Committee, IWOC, believes TDCJ’s actions to be an intentional, routine tactic. “They are trying to change who the enemy is,” said Nick Onwukwe, Co-Chair of IWOC and a former prisoner. “Trying to get you believe the enemy isn’t the slave master, it’s the slave who sits down and says – enough.”
Increasingly lockdowns are becoming reality. Already there are additional lockdowns at Jester III, Dalhart, and Beto, partial lockdowns at Coffield and Allred, and a confirmed order for lockdown at Michael for this morning, April 16th. Is the strike spreading? Will TCDJ’s tactics backfire? We may be at a tipping point.
IWOC and prisoners, family & supporters are requesting shows of solidarity from the outside. If you hate slavery in the U.S. under the guise of the Prison Industrial Complex there are a few suggestions on getting involved: contact family and friends in prison and clue them in to the strikes; organize a local group to engage folks in jail and prison and hear their concerns; talk to your neighbors, churchmates, schoolmates, coworkers who may have folks on the inside and talk about what’s going on; join the call in campaigns or demonstrate outside a facility.
More info from the IWW Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee (IWOC) can be found at their webpage, iwoc.noblogs.org, and they can be reached at : 816-866-3808 or firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the site to find phone numbers and addresses to direct grievances about the treatment of Texas prisoners and continued conditions of enslavement in the U.S. prison complex
In related news, on April 9, 2016 3 prisoners at David Wade Correctional Center in Homer, Louisiana went on hunger strike. The three were also on what is called “extreme suicide,” which is where they place you in FULL RESTRAINTS (chains) – that is, shackles and handcuffs attached to a waist chain. This is done for days at a time. They are also on “strip” –dressed only in a paper gown.
The torturous punitive conditions here at David Wade Correctional Center have gone on long enough. The sadistic practices by security and the administration are a violation of human rights and decency.
The administration has admitted to the infliction of corporal punishment against prisoners on lockdown. Just now as I write, they sprayed a prisoner while he was on his knees and struck him several times. They also sprayed and beat another prisoner who is mentally ill and has been on . for over a year. He has also been on food loaf for a long time.
A letter from a prisoner at DWCC in Homer suggested “Please call if you can – just a phone call will spook them. Thank you!:
Department of Corrections Secretary James M. LeBlanc, 225-342-6740
Deputy Secretary Eugene Powers, 225-342-6744
Undersecretary Thomas Bickham, 225-342-6739″
Finally, notes from 2 prisoners in the North Carolina prison system requesting help:
Kevin Cox is a politically active prisoner struggling at the moment just to be able to receive mail and contact from the outside. He asked that this statement be shared with anyone who might care to help call in to the prison. Since he wrote this, he’s been transferring to Marion CI,
but is still facing the same issues.
Greetings, Shalom Aleyka, Salaam Alaykum, Amani,
My name is Kevin Cox #1217063. I’m a political prisoner who’s being housed in Bertie Correctional Institution, in Windsor, NC. Since my incarceration I’ve dedicated my life to the struggle by fighting for the rights of prisoners, human rights for all oppressed people and rights for LGBTQ. Also I’m a dedicated member of the Black liberation movement and a member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party [distinct from the New Black Panther Party], which is a legal aboveground political organization. At Bertie Corrections, I’m being treated like a ‘slave’ because of my political beliefs, my continuous activism in educating prisoners and my refusal to be submissive to Bertie Correction’s oppressive rules and regulations, which correlates to division, miseducation, provoking Black on Black violence, and racism.
As a result of my resistance, they [officers and staff] have stopped the flow of mail that comes from outside support such as family, friends, and comrades, have prevented me from recieving books, pamphlets, and newspapers, and have even denied me my “due process right” to be notified of the censorship of my property. The SRG [Security Risk Group] intelligence officers read my mail, that is stamped “legal,” without my being present, when my legal mail usually refers to my criminal case, law suits, etc. And the SRG officers are trying to “SRG” me, after I adamantly disavowed and denied any affiliation with any SRG group.
I’m telling you this because I need your help. I want to start a telephone/fax campaign to the administration demanding that they quit these egregious tactics that violate my constitutional rights.
Marion CI (Ask for Lt. Daniel Merrill and Cpt. Michael Long)
NC Director of Prisons
George Solomon, (919) 838-4000
Jimmy Milton is an active voice in prison struggle at Bertie Ci, and has faced repeated violation of religious rights as a Hebrew-Israelite. He has not been provided Kosher meals, was not allowed to participate in Passover, and has not been able to order relevant religious materials. According to Jimmy, “I’ve already filed my grievance here at the facility and my next step is my hunger strike. The people I need for you to call and speak to are as follows:
Bertie CI Superintendant Herring or Asst. Superintendant Clark (252) 794-8601
Also, for a first hand account by anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble who’s warehoused in the Alabama prison system, on the recent riots and ongoing struggles of prisoners there as well as organizing by the Free Alabama Movement, check out http://anarchylive.noblogs.org
This week we air an interview which was recorded at the latest international anarchist radio conference in Berlin this year. This interview is with an anarchist who is very active in LGBTQI struggle in that city, and we speak about the history of feminism and trans activism in Berlin as well as the problem of trans-misogyny in feminist and queer scenes, plus many more topics. You can see more about what our guest is talking about at http://www.transinterqueer.org/
This audio was made at a long standing leftist and anarchist space called Friedel 54, which is gearing up to fight an impending eviction. You can see more about this at https://friedel54.noblogs.org/, which is in German but gets run through a translator pretty well.
This week 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/
For more on Marius Mason’s case you can visit http://supportmariusmason.org/
If you’d like to send our guest an email to get ideas on how to proceed, you can write Gary at email@example.com
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.
Check out the twice a month DIY radio show out of the London Action Resource Centre by visiting http://dissidentisland.org/
Statement from Marius Mason for the Trans Prisoner Day of Action and
“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 episode of The Final Straw is served in three portions, all concerning prisons and prisoners.
Before the segments begin, a couple of announcements concerning upcoming events in Asheville, North Carolina for the days surrounding June 11th and the International Day of Solidarity with Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. These events include a Books to Prisoners open house at Downtown Books & News on Thursday the 11th at 3:30, a showing of a documentary about Mumia Abu-Jamal at 7:30pm at Firestorm that night and a dance party and pie auction on the night of the 13th at the Odditorium. Facebook pages exist for these events, with details listed.
Also in there is mention of the call-out for Monday the 8th & every Friday to protest the Durham County Jail’s refusal to allow prisoners there the chance to get out of their cells for more than 2 hours a week. For more info on this struggle against the so-called Lockback, check out http://amplifyvoices.com
First among the segments, following commentary by Sean Swain, we’ll hear an up date on his situation from his friend and supporter, Ben Turk. Sean’s outgoing communication has been blocked, so his segment has had to go underground. This is in repsonse to Sean speaking up for another prisoner and using his outside support network to press the prisons after a racist attack by guards on a fellow prisoner at Lucasville. More at http://seanswain.org
Following that, we hear from Jenny of Sacramento Prisoner Support about the call-out for the upcoming June 11th International Day of Solidarity with Eric McDavid, Marius Mason & Long Term Anarchist and Eco Prisoners. Jenny tells us about the history of June 11th, talks about differences in the circumstance of June 11th for this year, and other aspects of prisoner support. More info on June 11th can be found at http://june11.org
Finally, we talk to Brianna Peril & Tommy Powell from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee & the Missouri Innocence Project (respectively) about prisons in Missouri and what appears to be the psychiatrization and forced drugging of inmates at the SouthEast Correctional Center (SECC) outside of Charleston, Missouri, and this week’s call-in-campaign to pressure the jailers to stop the process and bring more transparency to the situation. More about the call-in can be found on the fakebook page for the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/405416019661232/
Linked from there is the fakebook page for IWOC.
The page for Midwest Innocence Project, affiliated with the MO Innocence Project can be found here: http://themip.org/
The episode is capped by a sludge metal track by General Grievous. More info in the playlist below.
“This week features a conversation with attorney, educator and trans activist, Dean Spade about his new book, “Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the limits of law”, just out from South End Press. Normal Life is a finalist for the 2012 Lambda Literary Awards. Follow Mr. Spade’s writing at http://www.deanspade.net/”
In the conversation, we discuss “mainstreaming” efforts by liberal LGBTQI organizations towards pressing for same-sex marriage, removal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, hate crimes legislation and other reformist measures in the U.S. Dean contrasts these efforts and visions with abolitionism. We also discuss calls for justice in the wake of the killing of Trayvon Martin, attempts to reform aspects of the Prison Industrial Complex and discuss Foucaultian models of power in society.
Following the interview, we featured tracks from Skaphe, Youth Avoiders, Oblivionation and more for the last half of an hour.
This week we spoke with Jerry Koch, an anarchist who was coercively imprisoned for refusing to cooperate with a federal grand jury in New York City, about Luke O’Donovan’s legal case.
From Luke’s support website:
“On New Year’s Eve of 2013, Luke O’Donovan attended a house party in Reynoldstown, a neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia. Luke was seen dancing with and kissing other men at the party. Later in the night he was insulted with homophobic slurs, and attacked by several people at once. Luke unsuccessfully attempted to escape, at which point several witnesses reported watching between 5 and 12 men ganging-up on Luke and stomping on his head and body, evidently with the intent to kill him. Luke was called a faggot before and during the attack. Throughout the course of the attack, Luke and five others were stabbed. Luke was subsequently imprisoned and charged with five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as well
as one count of attempted murder. He spent two and a half weeks in jail without bond before being released under bond conditions that drastically affected his life. None of the other individuals involved in the altercation were charged.”
On August 12th of this year, Luke O’Donovan took a plea deal, which reduced his sentence of up to 110 years in prison to 2 years in prison with 8 years of probation alongside criminal banishment. Luke’s supporters – as well as The Final
Straw participants – believe that the choice to plead guilty was coercively enacted by the court systems and the state and Luke is thoroughly supported in having to have made that choice.
We speak with Jerry Koch about the particulars of this case, what anarchist interaction with the court system can look like, as well as of his own case and his thoughts thereupon. We also speak about supporting folks who are incarcerated and the various forms that support could take, as well as things that folks doing support might consider.
For more information about the status of Luke O’Donovan’s case, and for information on how to send him mail, you can visit: http://letlukego.wordpress.com
And to write to his support crew, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to a listener who send us some of their hip hop remixes! You can see more of their stuff at https://soundcloud.com/geothermalblowout/
This week, we have two conversations to share with y’all.
First, an update on the case of Luke O’Donovan and a quick conversation with a support person of his. Adam talks about the last-minute announcement of a change of the beginning of Luke’s trial to Tuesday, August 12th and gives a brief synopsis of the case. More info and updates can be found at http://letlukego.wordpress.com, including how to help to pack the courtroom in support of him.
Following that, you’ll hear a conversation with a supporter of the 5E3 and friend of Amélie Trudeau and Fallon Rouiller, the two Quebecois anarchists who, along with Carlos López Marin, make up the 5E3. The 5E3 are 3 anarchists arrested on the 5th of January and accused of taking part in a molotov cocktail attack on the Ministry of Communication and Transportation and a neighboring Nissan Dealership in Mexico City. We’ll talk about the mexican prison system, the political context within which insurrectional anarchism in mexico is traversing, about Prisoners’ Justice Day in Canada and abroad and much more. We’ll also touch briefly on the case of Nyki Kish, an anarchist convicted of stabbing and killing a college student while among a group of college students who were attacking homeless folks in Toronto. More on Nyki’s case can be found at http://www.freenyki.org
More on the 5E3 can be found at http://www.abajolosmuros.org
Donations to the 5E3 can be found here: http://www.clac-montreal.net/mx#_1 (make sure to include a note that it’s for the 5E3)
Many of their letters can be found at: http://www.sabotagemedia.anarkhia.org/tag/5e/
Also, more updates to come here: http://waronsociety.noblogs.org/?tag=5e-case
More on Prisoners’ Justice Day: