This week we had the chance to interview Matt Meyer, who, among many other pursuits, is a retired professor and an editor of A Soldier’s Story: Revolutionary Writings by a New Afrikan Anarchist, out from PM Press, which highlights the life and writings of Kwasi Balagoon. Balagoon was a defendant in the Panther 21 case in the late 1960s, in which 21 people were arrested and accused of planned coordinated bombing and long-range rifle attacks on two police stations and an education office in New York City. He was ultimately acquitted of this, but was caught up on charges related to a robbery some time later and passed in prison in 1986.
Sean Swain on food in prison 2:48
Matt Meyer on Kuwasi Balagoon 11:44
Support Matt Hinkston announcement 1:06:08
In this interview, Bursts and Matt discuss Balagoon’s life and writings and why this book is especially relevant right now. They’ll talk about his abiding love for his comrades, a things which seems to have driven much of his politics, and his queerness, an aspect of his life which seemed very important and also complex. Stay tuned to the end of the conversation for questions submitted to The Final Straw by imprisoned anarchist Michael Kimble, who has been a guest on this show and is an admirer of Kuwasi. To see more of Michael’s work and to write to him, you can visit anarchylive.noblogs.org
. … . ..
Support Matt Hinkston!
Police violence in Lucasville-Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. Call Monday in support of Matt Hinkston (A724969). Matt is the brother of Mustafa, who Bursts interviewed a few weeks back.
Matt Hinkston (A724969) is being retaliated against for filing a PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) grievance against a correctional officer and for having gone on hunger strikes in protest of human rights violations against himself and others in the past. One of the main officers who has been mistreating him is named Officer Lawless. They’ve put him in solitary confinement without a disciplinary ticket and restricted his access to communication. Although correctional officers claim that Matt has been put in solitary confinement for his protection, they’re also denying him access to his property and to technology for communicating with the outside world.
Incarcerated people’s lives and human rights matter. Nobody should be sent to solitary for filing a PREA report against a guard. Let’s call Lucasville this weekend and Monday at 740-259-5544 to:
-ask for a wellness check on Matthew Hinkston, A#724969
-tell officials in the Warden’s area and on Matt’s block that we support Matt’s demands and oppose continued retaliation against him for filing a PREA grievance.
Support Matt in this continued struggle against police violence, racism, and rape culture!
. … . ..
Finally, thank you to everyone who replied in response to our 9th anniversary podcast special in which me and Bursts interviewed each other about why we do what we do, some personal backstory for each of us, and opinions on media in general. We also used the opportunity to solicit listeners for another co host, to share the work load and extend the option in case there was anyone out there who was interested.
We got way more responses than we ever thought we would, and are working through to answer them in as complete and responsible a way as possible. If your interest is piqued and you wanna hear this episode, it’s up on our website along with all our other archived material.
. … . ..
Music at the beginning of the show was an instrumental version of Hip Hop by Dead Prez off of Let’s Get Free.
ROAR Conference 2019 + Spencer Sunshine on Fascism
[Sean Swain at 2m40s]
This week on the show, we feature two segments.
First up, an organizer with the Revolutionary Organizing Against Racism, or ROAR Conference shares perspectives on the upcoming conference, May 18 & 19, 2019 on stolen Ohlone land in the so-called Bay Area. More info on ROAR Conference at roar-conference.com
[ROAR starts at 9m32s]
Then I spoke with journalist and anti-racist activist Spencer Sunshine about various far right and racist tendencies such as traditionalism and third-positionism, in relation to the current landscape of anti-fascist struggle in Turtle Island and in particular tendencies suspected in relation to the demolition of a building at the Highlander Education and Research Center in New Market, TN at the end of March, 2019. More writings by Spencer can be found at spencersunshine.com, at his fedbook author page or on twitter by searching the username @transform6789.
[Spencer Sunshine starts at 30m47s]
On Friday, April 12th at 8pm there was a ruckus noise demo outside the Dekalb County Jail where prisoners had been able to get out word of physical violence out of camera-view by guards, black mold conditions and more against the mostly indigent, mostly POC prisoner population in this Atlanta Jail. You can hear an interview with the mother of two prisoners mistreated in that jail who got the word out about conditions on IGD’s This Is America #68 from April 12, 2019. At the noise demo, at least two people were arrested and there’s a fundraiser up to help cover legal costs. You can find that fundraiser and kick in by visiting atlsolidarity.org
Immigrant Solidarity Rally, Asheville
Listeners in the Asheville area, on Monday April 15th there’ll be a demonstration in front of the Federal Building at 115 Patton Ave in downtown to mark the year anniversary of the 2018 ICE raids against our communities. The demo will be organized by CIMA, or Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion, and will focus on the continued danger faced by our undocumented loved ones, friends and families. This is also in opposition to HB370 currently in process at the state level that would force collaboration between sheriff departments and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. CIMA urges people to show up in force.
Asheville Black Mama Bail Out Benefit
Also, on Saturday, April 27th at show o’clock at The Bottle Shop next to Firestorm Books, Blue Ridge ABC will be hosting a benefit for Black Mama Bail Out efforts organized by Southerners On New Ground. The show will feature performances by XOR, Kangarot, Nomadic War Machine and more. Check out the flyer and more up at brabc.blackblogs.org
. … . ..
This week we had the chance to interview Lelia, who is a community activist and a part of the group Comunidad Colectiva, an immigrant rights group based in Charlotte NC. We got to talk about a lot of things in this interview, the work that they and other groups do with immigrant and undocumented communities, about the February ICE raids that got national attention, what effective rapid response can look like, and the challenging tension associated with both being anti state and being in the position of having to negotiate with police and sheriffs for safety reasons, plus many more topics.
We wanted to mention something called 287(g) and give a bit of information for listeners who may not have heard of this before. 287(g) was a contract between local officials and ICE which essentially made police forces extensions of ICE, and also instituted deportation proceedings as part of run of the mill arrests. More is explained about this contract later on in the interview, but it gets mentioned fairly heavily before that time.
You can keep updated on this group’s work by hitting them up on Facebook and if you have a few dollars you’d like to throw them to recoup the costs associated with their rapid response network, their Venmo is @comunidad-colectiva.
Next week on The Final Straw, stay tuned for an interview with a member of the Montreal based group Ni Frontiers Ni Prison (which is No Borders, No Prison) about fighting a proposed new migrant prison, decolonization, the rise of far right sentiment in so called Canada, and many associated topics, plus a possible other interview.
Update on Kinetic Justice
In a brief update to last week’s interview on the hunger strike by Kinetic Justice of the Free Alabama Movement, we’d like to share the following news. On March 20th, Kinetic Justice Amun (aka Robert Earl Council) resumed his hunger strike as he was transferred briefly to segregation housing at Limestone prison, but ended his hunger strike within a few days and was transferred to general population at that prison. He can be written at the following address:
Robert Earl Council #181418
28779 Nick Davis Rd
Harvest, AL 35749
Consequently, 8 of the prisoners transferred with Kinetic in the middle of the night, began engaging in a hunger strike in response to their own incarceration in solitary. In response to the hunger strike, administration cut off water to the cells they were held in, giving them bottled water.
The 8 prisoners ended their hunger strike on March 22nd, and administration claims they’ll be transferred to general population in the Alabama prison system as they’re not under investigation currently.
This week we air two interviews about the struggle of Alabama activist and prisoner Kinetic Justice. Kinetic, aka Robert Earl Council, conducted a 6 day hunger strike because he was transferred with no altercations, investigations or disciplinary actions and after just having ended an almost 54 month stint in solitary confinement as punishment for Kinetic’s activism. Check out our past interview here that we conducted years back with Kinetic and others of the FAM.
(Swift Justice: 10min 45sec)
First up, Swift Justice, a prisoner currently in the Alabama system and member of the Free Alabama Movement and founder of UnheardVoicesOTCJ. Swift talks about the Free Alabama Movement’s inside/outside work, the organizing work that prisoners, former prisoners and outside community members have done in raising awareness of the slavery system of American prisons. Swift also talks about the inspiration and struggle of Kinetic Justice and the attempt to expand the prison system in Alabama by Governor Kay Ivey with a $900 million project to build 3 super max facilities. Swift’s writings can be found at https://unheardvoicesotcj.wordpress.com/ and on his twitter @unheardvoices16 and fedbook page.
(Pastor Glasgow: 35min 14sec)
Then we Pastor Kenneth Sharpton Glasgow of The Ordinary Peoples Society out of Dothan, Alabama, talks about Kinetic, about the harm reduction and community empowerment projects that he’s involved in. You can learn more about the related projects at https://www.theordinarypeoplesociety.org/.
*** Update: 8 of the other prisoners transferred with Kinetic to solitary have just begun a hunger strike, March 18th. IWOC has begun spreading a phone zap that you can partake in to help amplify the 8 voices. ***
Gord Hill is an indigenous author, anarchist, antifascist and militant, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw nation living in so-called British Columbia, Canada. Gord is also graphic artist and comic book author who most recently published The Antifa Comic Book, out from Arsenal Pulp Press, and runs the website Warrior Publications and sometimes publishes under the nom-de-plume of ZigZag.
We are deeply saddened to report that Rayquan Borum has been found guilty of possession of a firearm and second degree murder with him being sentenced to 25/26 years in a cage.
We knew it would be difficult to receive a fair trial in the same court that allowed Officer Randall Kerrick to walk free for the murder of unarmed Jonathan Ferrell. We know the police will continue to kill Black and brown folks and escape accountability.
We suffered extreme suppression from the judge from the start of the trial. Even though the medical examiner testified there was a 51% chance that ANYTHING else killed Justin Carr, Judge Hayes would not allow any testimony naming the police. Of course, it is far easier to scapegoat a random Black man than to launch an investigation into the same police force that killed ONLY Black people in 2015.
We also know that Justin Carr would be alive were it not for the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department murder of Keith Lamont Scott (no trial for that officer, of course). We know that the Mecklenburg County Courts disproportionately sentence Black and brown bodies to time in cages. We know that CMPD disproportionately arrests Black and brown folks. Black people are 30% of Charlotte’s population and make up about 70% of the jail population.
We know that this is the American Way. In response, we will continue to rise up and resist this colonized nation and work toward building a more decolonized world, for all of us.
A few house keeping notes about the show. We’re happy to announce that The Final Straw is now available on the Pacifica Radio platform for affiliate stations to pick up more easily. If you, dear listener, live in an area where we aren’t on the radio but there’s a community station that airs programming from the Pacifica Network, you now have a WAY easier IN to bug the station’s programming director with. If you want us on your airwaves, check out our “broadcasting” tab on our website and reach out to a local radio station. If you have questions or want help, reach out to us and we’re happy to chat. We hope to have a some more terrestrial broadcast stations to announce soon.
Actually, yah, that was the only note. Tee hee. Otherwise, if you want to hear me, Barchive is linked up in our show notesursts, Dj’ing a 2 hour set of punk, goth and electronica on AshevilleFM, an archive is linked up in our show notes that’s available until March 12th.
If you’re in the Asheville area, there’re a few events coming up on March 16th of note. At 11am at Firestorm books, a participant in the Internationalist Commune, a self-organized collective in Northern Syria, will join us for a video chat about the revolutionary movement to transform Kurdish territory into a stateless society.
Later, across town, there’re a couple of Blue Ridge ABC events at Static Age on Saturday, March 16th. From 3-5pm there’ll be an N64 Super Smash Brothers tournament with vegan philly cheese steaks and fries available, and then from 9pm onward an antifascist black metal show featuring Arid from Chicago, plus local bands Rat Broth and Feminazgul.
Then, a reminder, that on March 22nd at the Block Off Biltmore is a benefit for info-sharing between Southern Appalachia and Rojava. The event will include a discussion, a short documentary showing, vegan desserts and nice merchandise. For more info, check out the flyer in our shownotes from March 3rd, 2019.
And now a couple of prisoner announcements
Chelsea Manning Imprisoned
U.S. Army whistleblower and former Political Prisoner, Chelsae Manning, has been jailed for criminal contempt for refusing a subpoena to participate in a Federal Grand Jury in Virginia concerning her 2010 disclosures to Wikileaks of U.S. drone killings of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. A support committee called “Chelsea Resists!” has been set up and updates will be coming from the website xychelsea.is and there’s a fundraiser up at actionnetwork.com for her as well. We hope to feature members of her support as well as former Grand Jury resisters who’ve been on this show before in an episode soon. You can write to Chelsea at the following address:
Chelsea Elizabeth Manning
William G. Trusdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314
Some quick guidelines to keep her safer while writing are in the show notes
Address your letter exactly as shown above
send letters on white paper
use the mail service to send letters
include color drawings if you’d like
sparingly send 4×6 photos, as she may only keep 10 at a time
Do not send cards, packages, postcards, photocopies or cash
Do not decorate the outside of the envelope
do not send books or magazines
Exonerated Vaughn 17 prisoners transferred out of state
As the cases proceed against the Vaughn17, 17 prisoners on trial in Delaware for a prison uprising following the election of Trump as president, an uprising sometimes compared to the Lucasville Uprising, repression continues.
The uprising was as follows: prisoners took over Building C at the Vaughn prison in Smyrna, Delaware, and took three prison guards and one prison counselor hostage. Demands issued during the hostage standoff included that Delaware Governor John Carney investigate poor living conditions at the facility. One correctional officer who was taken hostage, Steven Floyd, would later be found dead after police re-entered the facility. The case can be followed at vaughn17support.org as it enters it’s third trial group. A few words from the support site note the continued repression of some of the court-exonerated prisoners:
The State of Delaware retaliated against defendants in the Vaughn uprising trial last week, by moving them out of state to Pennsylvania.
Kevin Berry, Abednego Baynes, Obadiah Miller, Johnny Bramble, Dwayne Staats, and Jarreau Ayers were all transferred to solitary confinement at SCI Camp Hill, a maximum security facility. They joined Deric Forney, who was transferred weeks earlier in January. Berry, Baynes, and Forney have all been fully acquitted on all charges.
“It’s unusual to move prisoners with short terms left in their sentence out of state,” said Fariha Huriya, an organizer working closely with Vaughn 17 prisoners. “They’re being held in solitary confinement, with no showers, no access to commissary, and limited phone calls. It’s the same inhumane conditions that they faced at James T. Vaughn.”
“The State’s vindictiveness will cost them,” said Betty Rothstein, who also organizes with the prisoners. “The Vaughn 17 have resisted these charges, and will continue to resist and expose the corruption of the DOC and abuse on prisoners.”
There are nine defendants who are still awaiting trial. New trial dates for groups 3 and 4 are scheduled for May 6th, 2019, and October 21st, 2019.
Sex Worker Outreach Project Behind Bars w/ Dr. Jill McCracken
This week, William spoke with Jill McCracken, codirector of SWOP Behind Bars, or the Sex Worker Outreach Project, Behind Bars chapter. Jill is also a professor at University of South Florida at St. Petersburg teaching rhetoric and gender and sexuality studies, with a focus on sex work, prostitution, and trafficking in the sex industry. For the hour we’ll hear Jill speak about the work that SWOP and SWOP Behind Bars do, FOSTA/SESTA and some realities faced or worked through by sex workers in the U.S.
The mission statement for SWOP Behind Bars reads:
“SWOP Behind Bars is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of people who face discrimination from the criminal justice system due to the stigma associated with the sex trade. We advocate for full decriminalization of consensual sex work, ending cash bail, drawing attention to the effects
of generational poverty on sexualized violence against marginalized and vulnerable women while providing services and support with a focus on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.”
One person name dropped by Jill during the interview was Magali Lerman, a consultant at Reframe Health + Justice consulting, who said that a product of FOSTA was to destroy the middle class of sex workers.
If you’ve got the means to travel, on Saturday February
2nd in Stone Mountain Georgia there will is a call for people to oppose white nationalists at Stone Mountain, GA and their call for a rally there. The racists don’t have a permit and are pissed off that they keep losing their racist monuments around the South. For those opposing, we interviewed an organizer with Front Line Organization Working to End Racism (or FLOWER), about what it’s all about and what to expect. You can hear that on our January 13th episode.
Jason Reynard Walker still facing repression
Jason Reynard Walker is a prisoner who has been punished by prisoncrats in Texas again. He was transferred on
January 11th to the Allred Unit and his supporters are very concerned about the welfare and health of Mr. Walker. He reports being denied his prescribed medications; being forced to stand outside in the rain; being denied basic necessities of blankets, sheets, toilet paper, soap, etc.; being served food he is allergic to; being denied requested medical services. All these abuses must be corrected immediately. You can find info on how to support Jason up at the IGD article entitled “Abuse at the Allred Unit”.
Sean Swain is Back!
Sean Swain’s segment is back! Listen in and he’ll update us on how he’s been. Past segments, all available for listening, broadcasting and sharing, can be found here.
You can write to Sean Swain at his NEW / old address at:
Sean Swain #243-205
Ohio State Pennitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd,
Youngstown Ohio, 44505
To read more of Sean’s writings and keep up on his case, check out seanswain.org
A Jailhouse Lawyer Speaks About #PrisonStrike 2018
This week, we feature three segments. First, we’ll feature a statement about recent doxing of a number of anti-racists in the Asheville area by far-right keyboard warriors.
After that, we feature an interview with Dee, an anonymous incarcerated organizer affiliated with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak. In this conversation we ask about the effectiveness of the #August21 2018 Nationwide Prisoner Strike, the push to move prisoners under storm threat as these increase under climate change, repression and changes in response to the strike, mail limitations in PA prisons, standardization of increased security in Ohio, outside support and organizing, critiques of the methods of NPS2018, and more. Check our show notes for links to more info concerning the strike.
If prisoners want to communicate with and/or join JLS, Dee suggests in some words near the end of the show that they reach out to:
And you can find JLS on fedbook or twitter to keep up with their organizing
Hambach Forest Updates
In our final section of the show, you’ll hear a report by audio comrades in Germany about the recent resistance to the destruction of the Hambach Forest by authorities. The clearing of the ancient forest is to create the largest open-pit lignite coal mine in Europe on behalf of the corporation RWE, which sells to Netherlands, Germany & the UK. Lignite has a carbon content of around 60-70%, has a low energy yield, and is responsible for 1/3 of CO2 emissions in Germany. This segment shows up in the November 2018 episode of B(A)DNews, Angry Voices from Around The World from the A-Radio Network, of which we’re a proud member. Keep an eye on our podcast stream and website for a link to this episode coming out in the next couple of days.
Within the last week, over 15 people were doxxed by white supremacists in our community. Here is most of a collective statement released a day or two after the fact by some of those folks:
They’ve targeted more than twenty people they believe are involved in anti-racist organizing in North Carolina. They’ve posted information such as our home addresses, places of work, family members, license plates, social media profiles–whatever information they could find. They seem to be fixating on trans and nonbinary people in particular, and delight in trying to deadname and misgender us whenever possible. Some of us, and some of our family members, have received harassing messages.
They wrote about us like it’s some big secret that we oppose fascism, that we oppose racism, that we oppose all forms of bigotry and oppression. It’s not a secret. We weren’t hiding. We are not ashamed.
This isn’t a plea for sympathy. Our friends and immediate community have been amazing. Rather, this is a message to let you know that if you ever find yourself targeted by neo-Nazis and the far right, you are not alone. None of us need to face this rising tide of fascist scum alone. We have each other.
Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter, actively and publicly chatted with alt-right trolls who had doxxed anti-racist activists. He even discussed violence against anti-racists in our region. This is probably a good time to think seriously about your online security and that of your family members and friends. But staying safe isn’t just a matter of changing your Facebook settings or making your Instagram private. It’s a matter of us showing up for each other. Of us not letting them intimidate us, not letting them isolate us. Not letting them stop us from our work. Especially when the work is stopping fascism.
To read the full statement, you can visit https://ashevillesolidarity.tumblr.com/ , where you can also see a list of bands and businesses which have been included in the current harassment. And of course, there are ways to donate and send support!
For an article about this (released just as our radio show was airing), including a statement by Firestorm Books contextualizing the specific harassment they’ve received, you can visit The Asheville Blade, which you can donate to here! To support Firestorm Books, our local anarchist community space and bookstore, you can join their Community Sustainer’s Program or leave them a positive review on Facebook, Yelp, wherever you can.
Additionally, for a really excellent walk through of how to help prevent this kind of thing happening to you or your crew, you can visit the Smiling Face Collective guide to preventing doxxing. This site can be easily adapted into an interactive workshop, because let’s face it, wiping your presence off the internet is a tedious, upsetting, and grueling process which is designed to wear you down. It’s always better to do this in groups! You can write to us about your experiences with internet hygiene, good, bad, or whatever, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural Organizing Against Racism Benefit
For those in the Western NC area, there will be a Fall Fundraiser to benefit rural organizing and resilience on Friday November 30th at 6pm at the Marshall Container Co. which is located at 10 South Main Street, Marshall, NC. The event will center around a cornbread and chili dinner and will include several surprise musical guests!
Support Anti-Fascist Protestors in Philly
And finally, if you are in the position to donate to those injured yesterday fighting the Proud Boys in Philly and elsewhere, you can go to this rally.org page. Remember that if you donate to do so anonymously!
Going into it, she already had some misgivings but throughout the tour she became more and more aware of the trip as a means to erase Palestinian and Indigenous perspectives from visibility to the tourists, who are being groomed for populating the spaces seized by the Israel as a Jewish-only territory and state. We talk about Zionism as a nationalist movement, the manipulation of the tourists on this free trip including setting up romantic situations among the guests and IDF soldiers and sleep deprivation, funding sources for Taglit-Birthright, and comparisons between the erasure or commodification of non-hegemonic ethnic and religious identities in the history and culture of the United States of America and Israel. We also talk about the BDS (or Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement, a Palestinian-led protest movement to economically and culturally push Israel to end the occupation.
Next week we’ll be airing a conversation with activists working on political prisoner and human rights issues in Palestine, so stay tuned!
In an update to the International Days of Action against Fascism and Anti-Semitism that we read an announcement from last week, in the crimethInc HotWire weekly podcast #43 from last week you can hear an interview with members of the Outlive Them Network who are calling for the day as well as an anarchist from the Tree of Life synagogue where the terrible anti-semitic attack happened in Pittsburgh last week. Also, though this didn’t make the audio for this week, the ItsGoingDown podcast #38 from early November also includes an interview with an anarchist involved in If Not Now, an anti-Zionist organization of young, American Jews.
Birthright in the U.S.
But first, dear listeners, We would be remiss to leave the fact of birthright citizenship coming under fire recently here in the so called US without comment. Birthright citizenship, which was established by the 14th amendment to grant citizenship to freed slaves, and is characterized by the idea that all people born in the United States are U.S. citizens, regardless of race or where their parents came from. Despite this being a practice which had been reinforced by law – namely the constitution and the courts, more about that in a minute – white supremacists have often tried to tie the concept of “US citizenship” into an understanding of “whiteness” by restricting birthright along racial lines, citing non white people as “unassimilatable”. You can read more about this in a Raw Story article entitled “This isn’t the first time white supremacists have tried to cancel birthright citizenship.”
This is also not the first time that the current voices on top of this garbage pile that we call a government have utilized othering strategies to further attempt to divide and stratify the thinking regarding non white, non cis, and non papers having folks. We don’t have to think very far back for examples of this kind of behavior, and I don’t really think that they bear repeating here.
Back to the laws tho, citizenship as we know it is a very problematic structure. It is so closely wrapped up in colonialism and overwhelming biases toward the wealthy and white so as to be practically indistinguishable. If any of the components which make up citizenship were to be in any way compromised, the whole system might topple. It’s colonizer nature, which is at the same time very established with many supporting structures but also very fragile and riddled with internal contradictions, is also to point here: the US government in our view should not have the right to determine who is legitimate on stolen land.
If you or someone you know have a perspective on citizenship which is anti colonial and would like to talk about it with us for a future radio piece, please get in touch at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and make the subject heading “Anti Citizenship”. We’re seeking to trouble and nuance this conversation in any way and would love to hear from you!
Phone Zap Monday for Hunger Striking Toledo Prisoners
Seven people incarcerated in Toledo Correctional Institution went on strike Saturday, November 2nd). They refused to be moved into the yard for recreation time until a SWAT or SRT team moved them, and are going on hunger strike and refusing food. SWAT and SRT teams have used rubber bullets against protesters in Toledo before. They are protesting renovations to add more solitary confinement wings. In the past 2 months, the state has been trying to turn the entirety of Toledo into a lockdown institution. As a result, people have been sent to solitary because other units didn’t have room, and for minor infractions that wouldn’t have been reason to send someone to solitary confinement otherwise.
Call to protest the expansion of solitary confinement, racist harassment, and the denial of food at the whims of abusive officers. On Saturday, prisoners were maced and refused the ability to wash the chemical weapons off of their body overnight.
The details of this callup can be found, including numbers and more, at the IWOC website.
This week on The Final Straw Radio, we feature a conversation with Pearson, an anarchist resident of Tallahassee, Florida, and is involved in storm relief mutual aid work in the wake of Hurricane Michael. Pearson is also the co-host of the leftist podcast “Coffee With Comrades”.
For the hour we talk about Hurricane Michael, which just passed through the Florida Panhandle and up through the Carolinas, affecting Georgia and Alabama as well. Within a 36 hour period, the hurricane ramped up from a Tropical Storm to a category 4 or 5 hurricane (depending on who you talk to). Michael was the strongest hurricane to hit that part of Florida ever on record, making landfall on Wednesday, October 10th in the morning and may be the third largest to hit the U.S. mainland with winds surges of up to 175 miles per hour and sustaining at 150. Because of the quick increase, localities in the storms path found themselves under prepared for such a devastating catastrophe. The state of Florida Department of Corrections refused to evacuate about 12 prisons that were in the Mandatory Evacuation areas in the path of Hurricane Michael despite a call-in campaign by Fight Toxic Prisons.
For the hour, we talk about the immediate response efforts in Tallahassee, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, anthropogenic or human-caused Climate Change and it’s various impacts on the residents and environs of Florida, and a bunch of other related topics. Later, Pearson shares about his podcast, “Coffee with Comrades”, available at http://coffeewithcomrades.com/
Here are a few links for info if you’re in Florida as well as ways to donate from a distance:
Florida People’s Advocacy Center in Tally is a safe space for people to come for disaster relief (trans inclusive and very supportive of undocumented individuals)
On Saturday, October 13th in Greenville, SC, there was a racist “Build The Wall” anti-immigration rally organized in support of Trumps xenophobic policies. Naturally, there was a counter-demonstration. Two anti-racists were arrested for picketing ordinances and another for disorderly conduct. If you’d like to help them, there’s a paypal where donations are being collected for legal and any medical fees attached to this at paypal.me/upstatesc
Connor Stevens post-release fund
First, Connor Stevens, one of the convicted Cleveland 4, is up for potential parole as soon as November, 2018! From the fundraizr for Connor:
“Connor Stevens is one of the Cleveland4. He is being released soon so we’re raising funds to help get him basic necessities when he is released! It’s possible he’ll even be released by November!
Click here if you are out of the US and would like to donate via Paypal
The Cleveland 4 were four Occupy Cleveland activists who were were arrested on April 30th, 2012, accused of plotting to blow up a bridge. But it was the FBI, working with an informant, that crafted the plot, produced the “explosives,” and coerced these four into participating.
Connor took non-cooperating plea deals and pled guilty to all charges. The judge applied a “terrorism enhancement” to their sentences, elongating their sentences as well as subjecting them to harsher prison conditions. Connor served 8 years 1 month—all to be followed by lifetime supervised release.”
Zak Kostopoulos, an 33 year old lgbtq+ drag performer and activist who worked against prejudice faced by folks who are HIV positive was beaten to death in a homophobic attack near Omonia Square in Athens, Greece on September 21st. Zak lept into a jewelry store in order to avoid a nearby brawl when the emergency shutters descended, trapping him inside. He was then set upon by the owner of the shop and others who were heard uttering homophobic and hate statements against those with HIV. After escaping the store, by smashing through the window with a fire extinguisher, he was followed out by the owner and another thug. Zak was beaten to the ground while surrounded by mostly male onlookers. When police showed up, they handcuffed Zak. The murder was captured on camera. The shop owner was only arrested after the video went viral and he was only charged with manslaughter, not murder, as he claims to have been protecting his property, which is absurd. Following news of the murder, an emergency anarchist assembly was called and a march of 500 took the streets of Athens with smaller marches happening in nearby cities. Marches followed that week.
Apologies for the wait in announcing this sad news which a listener sent us after the murder took place. We are thankful for being informed.
There is a call for supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal to fill the court room and the streets on October 29th from 8am til 11am in Philadelphia at the Criminal Justice Center, 13th & Filbert. Mumia is a former Black Panther, is a journalist and Political Prisoner who was put on death row for decades for the killing of a cop he says he did not commit. Mumia’s trial has been recognized internationally, including by Amnesty International, as a political show trial. More info up at http://mobilization4mumia.com
Certain Days Calendar benefit show
On October 19th at the Pine Box Rock Shop, 12 Gratton Street in Brooklyn, NY, there’ll be a benefit for post-release funds by the organizers of the Certain Days: Freedom For Political Prisoners Calendar.
From Certain Days:
In the last year, we have been fortunate enough to welcome home a handful of political prisoners from US prisons. Our movements have not exactly been prepared for this good fortune, and so support committees, families and friends of these folks have been forced to scramble for funds for basic living expenses. In addition to that, many of these people have been targeted in the media and beyond by various law enforcement unions and organizations, making open fundraising online a difficult proposition.
We need to step up our game and aid not only the handful of political prisoners that have been released this year but also, the people who may be leaving prison soon.
The show will feature performances by Despairwolf, MAAFA_Hardcore, High Cost, and Trophy hunt, and we understand that the door fee will be VERY reasonable for a show in NYC.
Mutual Aid in Post-Hurricane-Florence Lumberton, NC
This week we had the opportunity to connect with Vanessa Bolin, who is an indigenous artist, community organizer, and activist who has been helping with flood rescue and rebuilding efforts after Hurricane Florence in Lumberton, NC, which is in Robeson County. In this interview we talk about what still needs to be done in this area, how to help out, some important parallels between post hurricane relief and anti pipeline organizing, and the importance of foregrounding marginalized voices in mutual aid efforts.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is also coordinating a bunch of efforts, you can learn more about this group at mutualaiddisasterrelief.org or look them up on any social media platform. If you have 4-14 days spare and want to get down to Robeson County to help out, especially if you have proficiency in Spanish and skills in logistical coordination, you can send them an email to get networked in at WeKeepUsSafeVC@protonmail.com.
To connect with EcoRobeson, the group which is doing anti pipeline work in Robeson County that is mainly affecting already disenfranchised people, you can follow this link.
Somethings we’d like to mention:
When Vanessa talks about the struggles of the Dine people (who are sometimes known as Navajo) where she mentions uranium mining, this is a huge issue that spans many generations. You can visit Black Mesa Rezistance, which is an organized effort in Black Mountain and Big Mesa (also known as Arizona) on the part of the Dine and Hopi people to defend themselves and their existences. You can learn more about this effort at https://blackmesa.rezist.org/ and follow the links for further material to learn about the history and present day projects and struggles.
And finally, for a look into some of the truly amazing legacy of the Lumbee Tribe in so called NC, we at The Final Straw recommend the book To Die Game by William McKee Evans. This book details a resistance movement at a time when Lumbee youth were being targeted for conscription into the Confederate army, and how they along with a diverse coalition of other resistors, eluded capture in the swamps of eastern NC for over 5 years. You can also read about this in the book Dixie Be Damned, along with many other lesser reported moments of resistance in the American Southeast.
Announcements for Prisoner Support
Jalil Muntaqim, former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army is facing the parole board in November as his August visit was postponed due to clerical issues. He’s going to be getting a lot of pushback from the Policeman’s Benevolent Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Corrections Guards associations and the rest of the gallery of reactionary so-called unions for cops. Those groups are on alert, as we’ve seen with the tug of war around the release of Herman Bell, any time an aging political prisoner, especially one accused of involvement in the killing of a cop, comes up for parole. The parole boards are often made up of former judges, D.A.’s, Prosecutors and law enforcement, forming an added blue wall for prisoners facing parole boards. So, Jalil needs us to write letters of support for his release. Although some of the links are dead from the earlier parole push, you can check this IGD link (see our shownotes at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org for the link) for a list of achievements Jalil has since his incarceration.
Also, Jalil’s birthday is October 18th, so feel free to send him a separate birthday greeting!
Also, also, check out our website to hear past episodes featuring interviews with Jalil conducted by buddies at Prison Radio on CKUT in Montreal.
To support Jalil, follow these instructions passed on from National Jericho NY:
Write a letter in you own words in support of parole for Jalil, address to:
Senior Offender Rehabilitation Coordinator
Sullivan Correctional Facility
325 Riverside Drive
Fallsburg, New York 12733
BUT SEND TO:
The Parole Preparation Project
168 Canal Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10013
The subject line should be “Anthony Bottom 77-A-4283”
We are making an effort to include letters of support for Jalil that are personalized and from people who are familiar with him and his work. If you want further instructions for how to write a strong, personalized letter of support, please email email@example.com.
Also, please send a copy of your letter to Jalil for his files:
Casey is an anarchist political prisoner who also has a parole hearing coming up, his one and only for his 12 year stint for the stabbing of the president of a university in Missouri. Casey recently got married to a woman being held in another Missouri prison. He’s studying calculus so he can go to school to be an aerospace engineer once he’s released. He goes before the parole board November 2018. He’s unsure of exactly when he gets out, but knows he isn’t eligible until November 2020. He’s currently saving his money (and asking for help) to afford a cheap vehicle when he gets out in order to transport himself to work and school. His intentions are to parole out to the St. Louis area and attending a community college until he gets his basic credits and can transfer to a university. His eyes are set on the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Casey suffers from depression and has a history of schizophrenia. he describes himself as socially awkward and says he often feels misunderstood. He has a kind heart and he looks forward to getting out relatively soon and getting to see all of those who have shown him support over the years. He thanks you all.
Casey was recently transferred to the Farmington Correctional Center in Farmington, Missouri. In November, he will go before the parole board for the first and ONLY TIME and he needs your help!
Thoughtful and professional letters to the parole board by people who care about Casey and are willing to offer support to him during his transition back to life outside of prison can make it more likely that Casey will be released.
*Even though the letter should be addressed to the parole board, all letters should be sent directly to Casey and he will deliver them to the parole board:
Casey Brezik #1154765
Farmington Correctional Center
1012 West Columbia Street
Farmington, MO 63640
Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain is still being silenced by the state of Ohio and could use your letters. He’s potentially in the process of being transferred in an inter-state deal which will make his life way harder. Sean has communicated that he was at one point on hunger strike and is extremely isolated. You can write to Sean at :
Sean Swain #243-205
P.O. Box 120
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
It’s suggested that concerned listeners call
ODRC Director Stuart Hudson (614) 387-0588
Governor’s Counsel Kevin O’Donell Stanek (614) 466-3555
Callers should voice concern over Sean’s health, access to communication and the blocking of counsel from his recent RIB hearing that threatens to transfer him out of Ohio.
On IGD you can read the list of demands specific to NC prisoners that Joseph Stewart wrote back in July. He was transferred after the outside published his statement in support of the strike and has intermittently been left off of prisoner support call-ups so he can surely use some supporting letters at Polk CI where he is currently housed. You can write Joseph at :
Joseph D. Stewart
Butner, NC 27509
Three other prisoners in NC, are held within the Hyde Correctional Institution, a facility in Fairfield, NC, are being threatened with retaliation for their active support and organizing in solidarity with the national #PrisonStrike. They’re facing threats of administrative repression, as are any other fellow prisoners connected to the national strike. More info in our show notes
From a statement by the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) and Vaughn17 Support in Philly:
On Feb. 1, 2017, after a series of peaceful protests yielded no results, incarcerated comrades took over a building at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware to demand slight improvements in their treatment. After a 20-hour stand-off, the prison’s response was to literally bulldoze their barricades and figuratively bulldoze their demands, retaliating with constant beatings, destruction of prisoner property, and denial of food and medical care.
Furthermore, the state has accused 17 of the incarcerated with egregious offenses even though these charges have no basis in reality. The state’s response shows once again that any prisoners standing up for themselves, to regain dignity and achieve decent treatment, is a threat. And the state will collectively punish everyone and anyone to hide its barbarism. The only role of prison guards, wardens and the Department of Corrections (DOC) is the perpetuation of slavery and subjugation.
There is a call for court support for the 17, who will be attending trail in small groups, at New Castle County Courthouse, 500 N. King St., Wilmington, DE 19801. The first trial starts on Monday, October 8th and the last is slated for February 11th, 2019. People in the area interested in helping volunteer for court support can learn more by reading this IGD article.
A pdf of a poster with addresses, pictures and info on the 17 prisoners pulled into this case can be found here