This week, we are airing a conversation that William had a few weeks ago with Wriply Bennet and Ashley Braxton, two members of the Black Pride 4. The Black Pride 4 are four black queer and trans people with accomplices who were arrested during a Pride parade on June 17, 2017.
The four were arrested after leading a silent protest that obstructed the Stonewall Columbus Pride parade in downtown Columbus Ohio. With tape over their mouths and with linked hands, the BP4 were hoping for seven minutes of silence, one for each of the times a Minnesota cop shot Philando Castile during a routine traffic stop in 2016. The cop was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter on June 16, 2017, a day before the Columbus parade in question. This action was furthermore calling attention to the then count of 14 murders that year of black trans women.
Their arrest made national headlines and was heavily spectacularized in the media. Subsequent to their arrest they were forced to face trial and were each charged with various things, all on very shaky legal grounds. At this time are not being made to be incarcerated, though the lengthy probations and other legal hoops are severely disrupting their lives.
In this conversation, we got to talk about the problems with Pride as being apace which heavily favors white elites and police officers to thedetriment of the community it claims to support, the impossible situation of protesting while Black, the racial and socio-economic situation of Columbus’ LGBTQIA scene, and much much more!
To support Wriply in her work and to see her art, you can hit her up on Facebook bysearching her name, Wriply Marie Bennet, or by searching her artist’ spage on FB by its name, Art and Short Stories by Wriply Marie Bennet.
You can donate to Community Pride here, the same one which our guests spoke about. There you can read a bunch about its mission and background, as well as keep up on updates about this event.
You can also follow @blackqueercolumbus on Instagram to learn more and for further updates, and many thanks to them and to our guests for helping make this interview possible!
For another really great interview by our guests, you can listen to the episode by the radio show On Resistance entitled “In Their Own Words”, which you can find on SoundCloud.
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To close out the hour, we will hear two tracks, the first by Angel Haze entitled A Tribe Called Red and the last by Mhysa entitled Spectrum. Thanks to all the people who gave me music recommendations for this episode!
25 Years After Lucasville; Two Perspectives on the Uprising
This week is the 25th anniversary of the longest prison uprising in US history in which lives were lost. The rebellion, which lasted 11 days, took place at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, more commonly know as “Lucasville,” in April 1993. The disturbance broke out on L Block, which housed over 400 people. Over the course of the uprising one correction officer being held hostage and nine prisoners were killed.
The most immediate cause for the riot was a group of Muslim prisoners’ refusal to take a tuberculosis test which was going to be administered in a form that would have violated their religious beliefs. But serious grievances had simmered under the surface at Lucasville for many years, and ultimately the prisoners’ demands far exceeded Muslims’ opposition to TB shots, addressing concerns about conditions of confinement held by the entire inmate population.
After 11 days a negotiated surrender ended the siege. Prisoners gave up control of L Block in return for the state’s concession to a “21 point plan” responding to their demands. Afterwards, authorities engaged in widespread retaliation, including the targeting of five individuals who were perceived as leaders for capital offenses. To this day, the Lucasville 5, as they are called, sit on death row for murders that numerous investigations have proven they did not commit. Prisoners still facing repercussions for the Lucasville Uprising include: Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Jason Robb, George Skatzes, Bomani Shakur & Greg Curry.
To reflect on the Lucasville uprising 25 years later, Disembodied Voice spoke with two individuals who were involved in the event in very different ways. First, we hear from Mosi Paki, who was present on L Block during the rebellion and served 19 years, most of it in isolation, after the siege ended. We will then hear from attorney Niki Schwartz, who represented prisoners during their negotiation of the 21 point plan that ended the siege of Lucasville.
To hear past episodes we’ve aired with interviews of former Lucasville Uprising prisoners or other topics, check out our site.
An Update on ICE Raids Near Asheville
This is from an official press release which came out this morning regarding continuing activity concerning ICE raids in Asheville NC:
News began to arrive early this morning that ICE was continuing their activity throughout Buncombe County. Local organizers have been monitoring unmarked vehicles that have been driving through West Asheville neighborhoods and the surrounding areas. Due to these mobilization efforts, no one has been detained.
CIMA and the WNC Sanctuary Movement encourage community members who fear for their safety to remember your rights. You may refuse to open your door or let ICE agents in unless the agent has a warrant signed by a Judge. If they have a warrant, you may ask for them to slide it under your door, and it must have both your correct legal name on it as well as your correct address in order for it to be valid. Only a court and /or Judge warrant is enough to enter your premises. Do not lie or show false documents and do not sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer. You may also ask for an interpreter.
Consider coming out and supporting members of affected communities this evening at the Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte’s immigration forum, “For You Were Once a Stranger in the Land of Egypt – Immigration: Why We Care and What We Can Do.” The forum is being held this afternoon, April the 15th at 5:00 pm at St. Eugene Catholic Church. Mayor Esther Manheimer and Sheriff Van Duncan are invited to attend. Come voice your concern about ICE ripping families apart in our community. We appreciate your support and for more information please follow the CIMA (Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción) and Nuestro Centro Facebook pages online.
If you have any information which would contribute to helping keep affected communities safer in the Asheville Area, the hotline to call is 1-888-839-2839. Please make sure that the information you have is both verified and up to date if you call this number! You can also check out CIMA or Nuestro Centro NOT on fedbook.
Update for Herman Bell’s Parole
The hearing began around 3pm. The Judge relayed at the outset that he did not plan to issue a decision today, and that the temporary restraining order would remain and not be lifted until a decision was rendered. The Judge also asked that the hearing be focused primarily on standing. The question is whether a member of the victim’s family (Diane Piagentini) has “standing” in court and in this case. Without standing, the case cannot go forward. Each side then had around 10 minutes to give their arguments on that issue, which they did.
Again, no decision was rendered, and there wasn’t much indication of how the Judge would rule. The Judge did say that he understood the urgency of the case and that Herman‘s liberty was at issue, and that he would begin making a determination on Monday.
June 11th is Every Day
The folks who are organizing the worldwide day of action and solidarity with Marius Mason and all long term anarchist prisoners have released their announcement for the scope and prisoners (including ones in Germany, Chile, Greece, and the U.S.) alongside a message for this year. We’re just going to excerpt the very end of the call-up here, but here’s the end of it and you can find the whole thing at june11.noblogs.org
June 11th is an idea, not just a day. June 11th is every day. And ideas are bulletproof. Let’s breathe life into the rest of the year and renew the celebration of anarchist prisoners’ lives by carrying on their struggles alongside them.
In short: It’s a call-out, so we’re calling on you! June 11th is what you make of it. Follow your heart and fill the world with beautiful gestures. There is no action that is too small or too grand.
Bursts spoke with a comrade y’all might recognize, a Camille who lives on the ZAD, or Zone To Defend in Notre Dame De Landes, Britanny, France. Camille and Bursts spoke in January upon the announcement of the French government’s decision to cancel the building of an airport to replace the one in Nantes. After literally decades of struggle, and nearly a decade of squatting and on and off fighting of the cops who attempted to evict the community, the ZAD protests won. Sort of.
Camille and Bursts spoke on Friday the 13th, 2018, about the ultraviolence of the police in their destruction of 30 squats, profuse use of rubber bullets, tanks, tear gas, stun grenades and flash bangs, the resistance and injuries to ZADistes, farmers and elders who’ve come in to support, the recent article re-posted up on AnarchistNews.org accusing Appelistes of a beating, and other mostly depressing topics. Here’s the ZAD legal team response.
As of Saturday the 14th, there were 30 additional injuries in 3 hours reported officially by medics due to police violence (our guest calls this a conservative estimate).
Some other coverages we think are worth checking out to get some images and video of the proceedings and keep up on events as they unfold are:
For this week’s episode, Bursts spoke with Ray Luc Levasseur, longtime activist, Vietnam War vet, revolutionary and former political prisoner in the U.S. Ray was a reputed founder of the Sam Melville / Jonathan Jackson Unit, later known as the United Freedom Front which conducted sabotage, expropriations and attacks against profiteers and symbols of American Imperialism and oppression abroad. After 9 years of activity in the group and living underground, members of the group were apprehended and became known as the Ohio 7. Ray was paroled in 2004, about 20 years after his arrest.
Here we present half of our interview with Ray, which covers some of his political development. The other portion of this interview will air soon.
Now, though, we’ll hear about Ray’s organizing with prisoners after his own political incarceration for organizing and possession of small portions of marijuana for sale, the organizing of SCAR (Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform), meeting Tom Manning, the process of going underground and why they chose this route and the formation of the underground movement later known as the SM/JJU. Then, Ray speaks about the case of his still incarcerated co-defendants, Jaan Laaman, and in more detail about co-defendant Tom Manning. Tom has been kept off and on in solitary confinement for very long periods of time, has been summarily transferred, has received inadequate medical care for the injuries of incarceration and aging inside of prisons. He was producing artwork until 2010 when he almost lost his leg due to an injury while being held in Florida. He was recently transferred from the Medical Facility at Butner, NC, to USP Hazelton in West Virginia. Tom Manning has only recently been able to start drawing again because he finally relieved some medical care relieving some of his pain & there’ s an art room at Hazelton with some supplies.
If you’d like to correspond with Tom, you can write him at:
Thomas Manning #10373-016
Post Office Box 2000
Bruceton Mills, West Virginia 26525
If you want to check out Tom’s art while monetarily supporting him, consider getting “For Love And Liberty”
We’ll have more info on the case of Jaan Laaman, the other mem
ber of the UFF still in prison soon. Jaan’s birthday is coming up on March 21st, so send him a birthday greeting if you want.
Jaan Laaman #10372-016
Post Office Box 3000
Pine Knot, Kentucky 42635
To keep up on support for Tom, Jaan and other political prisoners in the U.S., check out the for The National Jericho Movement Fedbook page, or signing up for the Freedom Archives Political Prisoner News list. Also, you can check out 4StruggleMag, which Jaan helped to found.
If you’re in NYC, the National Jericho Movement (website & fedbook) is having it’s 20th anniversary gathering on March 24th (as Ray mentions in the chat). Here’s a link to the JerichoNYC page for more details.
This week, we air a conversation recorded on Friday, after the final arguments in the case of the first trial group of the J20 arrestees, the 194 people facing as many as 60 years in Federal prison for the property damage that occurred on January 20th, 2017, in Washington D.C. during the inauguration of Donald Trump. The march was advertised as an Anti-Fascist and Anti-Capitalist protest against the incoming administration. The march started with as many as 500 participants and ranged 16 city blocks, often chased by police spraying super soaker-style guns filled with OC pepper spray, stingball grenades, concussion grenades and swinging batons. At the intersection of 12th & L, people were pushed into a kettle where many were forced to sit in the January cold and mist for over 6 hours without water, without medication or professional medical aid, in clothing soaked in OC spray, having to relieve themselves outside and among other people. The property damage at the center of this case amounted to 5 chain businesses windows. And now the trial is moving forward, drawing 6-8 defendants to D.C. at a time, this first group’s trial lasting 4 weeks thus far (plus however long jury deliberation will take). The trials have led to pressures on individuals, relationships, loss of employment and income, legal and other huge costs and threaten to pave a path in this administration and beyond of the criminalization of participation in street demonstrations in the U.S. The attempts at criminalizing street medics and journalists, as well, for being present also poses a dangerous precedent.
For the hour, we spoke with Betty Rothstein of DefendJ20Resistance and Jude Ortiz of DefendJ20Resistance and the Titled Scales Collective, about how the case is going as this first trial group finishes up it’s defense and the prosecution fires it’s last shots.
This week we are featuring a recording from an Anti-Repression panel that took place in Denver in October of this year. The sound quality is affected by a fan system that the venue had running, but the words are well worth hearing.
For the hour, we’ll hear words from a few perspectives of resistance in the U.S. currently. First, we hear from Danica from occupied territory of Portland about work around anti-colonial antifa resistance and self-defense in the North West. Next up, Firehawk talks about work in un-ceded Pueblo, Colorado, about working with femme, queer & trans prison rebels, Unstoppable zine and The Fire Inside project. Montana talks about autonomous relief work in Houston after Hurricane Harvey and the slow-disaster that is white supremacist capitalism in Texas. We hear from Jude talking about the J20 conspiracy cases coming out of the Inauguration, the court case moving forward and up til a few weeks ago. Finally, we hear from Jess who has been working with Water Protectors doing legal collective work up in so-called North Dakota mostly around #StandingRock with a very in-dept report-back on wider repression and specific case details.
A few updates are worth mentioning in the J20 case since Jude spoke on this panel: the first defendant convicted, Dane Powell, has been released and there is a linked support site for his post-release; two of the riot charges have been dropped down from Felony to Misdemeanor; & the first court dates have been moved forward to November 15th and info about how to help with court support can be found at Its Going Down.
As stated above, 2 of the initial 8 felony charges (‘engaging in riot’ and ‘conspiracy to riot’) have been dropped to misdemeanors, thus shaving decades from the potential sentences of the defendants. We here at The Final Straw suggest that Judge Leibovitz use a secure tor browser and visit https://dropj20.org to learn more about ending this expensive, insulting and dangerous act of political persecution that is the J20 case.
This week we are presenting two anarchist voices regarding DACA, among many other things. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and has been in the news recently because of a stay on this program by the current administration.
I should say that these two interviews were conducted separately, and I am trying something different regarding their presentation, namely weaving the two of them together in the way that seemed to make the most sense to me so as to present all the information in the most succinct way, all in the same place, while still trying to preserve the arcs of both interviews. I’m still not really sure how I feel about this radio tactic, and I’m seeking opinions from listeners if you feel moved to shoot me an email via email@example.com.
The two interviews were very different, and from slightly different
perspectives though the two interviewees were both anarchists and both living in North Carolina. We talk about DACA and its histories, some psychological and logistical impacts of this stay on affected communities, and the mental calisthenics involved in being an anarchist while living in a world so saturated by the state and all it entails.
If you enjoyed this presentation, both of the interviews in their entirety including my replies and questions are on The Final Straw
Radio’s archive.org collection for anyone to listen to. Just visit
archive.org and search The Final Straw Radio Collection and navigate to the post entitled “DACA interviews, full versions”.
The interviewers recommend getting in touch with regional
organizations for solidarity and resources where possible. CIMA operates out of Asheville, and stands for Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción, which is “a regional network connecting and strengthening organizations that empower Latino communities in Western North Carolina. At one point about 25 organizations actively participate in the coalition.” You can follow them on the web at http://cimawnc.org/ and email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The first conversation is with a supporter of Kara Wild. Kara is an anarchist, a trans woman, an artist and is currently incarcerated and awaiting trial in France for participation in the Nuit Debout protests that swept across France in 2016 against changes to labor laws in that country. Kara was arrested on May 16, 2017 and will finally be going to trial Sept 19-22nd and so could use some immediate support. More information on Kara’s case can be found at freekarawild.org.
* Here’s a little background on the Aachen robbery case referenced in the interview.
* And here’s a guide to writing to Lisa of the Aachen Case
* Solidarity to Aachen from International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces
* Info about the Kalimero Solidarity Group
* An article about Damien’s release
* An article about Damien being beaten
* Kara retracts her apology that she was weaseled into giving to the judge by her previous lawyer. She really regretted it and after Krem was arrested, she decided to retract her apology.
To write to Kara:
BRAULT, David (Kara) #428682,
MAH de Fleury, 7 Ave des Peupliers,
91705, Fleury Merogis, Cedex, FRANCE
Conflict in Movement
Next, we do something a little experimental. We present a conversation with a member of an anti-authoritarian movement in Europe. We don’t say what movement. We talk about conflict internal to their movement, but we don’t name the parties involved. The conversation was conducted from an anti-authoritarian perspective, in the interest of creating heterogeneous communities of struggle. The purpose of this recording is to promote a mental exercise on the part of the listener to plug in their own experiences in movements with many different trajectories inside of it. The anonymous nature of the conversation was in part to not contribute to internal conflict to the movement, conflict is better addressed between parties involved than with an outside party (our radio show) who’s interest may not be the same as the movement. I hope that this conversation is helpful, for all of it’s purposeful vagueness.
If you are in Asheville, there will be a benefit for North Carolina grand jury resister Katie Yow on Tuesday the 29th of August at the Double Crown on Haywood Road in West Asheville. There will be bbq of the vegan and non vegan sorts, plus a great lineup of bands including Margaret Killjoy’s Nomadic War Machine, Snake Musk and Wyatt Yurth and the Gold Standard.
Yow, who is a social worker with a professional past in education, has been an anarchist for over half her life. Her commitment to resist this grand jury shows a bravery in the face of the kinds of trauma and isolation that only the state can instill, yet she has named this resistance as “the easiest decision I have ever made”.
Stay tuned for an interview with Katie Yow and a supporter on next week’s Final Straw!
For more information on Yow, updates on her resistance, and many resources on grand juries and grand jury resistance, you can visit https://ncresiststhegrandjury.com/
Cvill, AVL, and Calls for Solidarity
It’s been a week and a day since the events in Charlottesville, and for me it is a bit difficult to know what to say. There have been many excellent report backs – from Solecast, It’s Going Down, CrimethInc Ex Worker, and Radical Underground podcast – definitely check those out for in depth analysis and on the ground perspectives from anarchists and antifascists. Since Cville there have been very well publicised resistances to fascism and ongoing white supremacy in Durham, Boston, and right here in Asheville where four brave community members attempted the removal of a plaque commemorating Robert E. Lee at downtown’s Vance Monument. These four folks put themselves and their safety on the line to fight white supremacy and racist, revisionist history by engaging in this act. If you want to read a statement from these folks or donate to their legal fund, you can visit youcaring.com and search for “Asheville Monument Removal Legal Fund”.
Activity seems relentless right now, with elements on both sides galvanized by recent events, marches and calls to action are coming fast and furious. It is important to mobilize, but mobilize wisely, in the spirit of complete honesty about your capacities and energy. We cannot fight longterm unless we fight alongside all our comrades, support those who put themselves or are on the frontlines, and help prioritize all levels of antifascist engagement and accompliceship.
With that in mind, I want to say that if you are interested in keeping up with these calls or solidarity keep your eyes on itsgoingdown.org for announcements and updates.
One that’d like to mention right now are a call for solidarity in Phoenix AZ. This is a “call for an anti-fascist & anti-colonial contingent against Trump’s rally on Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm at the Phoenix Convention Center.
We will converge, in the spirit of solidarity and hostility to the current order, and as a physical body ready to act in self-defense and mutual protection of each other from cops, fascists, and liberal/radical ‘peace police.'”
This rally is a reaction to Trump’s suspected decision to pardon former AZ sheriff Joe Arpaio who was recently found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a state judge’s order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected undocumented immigrants. Those patrols were kept in place by Arpaio for 17 months after the order was issued. This same sherrif rose to infamy for his intentionally cruel and sadistic treatment of incarcerated people.
This rally will be held on Tuesday, August 22 at 6pm at the Phoenix Convention Center at 100 N. 3rd St. in downtown Phoenix. It’s recommended that people arrive and look for the black flags.
On August 12th in Charlottesville, many IWW and GDC members from across the country were present. Members of Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Committee, or MACC, from New York City also had members present at the vehicular manslaughter that occurred that day. The NYC GDC and MACC stand in solidarity with all those who oppose the growing wave of fascism around the world. Cowardly attacks will only strengthen our resolve to fight back and defend ourselves. An injury to one is an injury to all!
To support all those injured by fascist violence in Charlottesville, NYC GDC of the IWW as well as MACC are holding a fundraiser and screening of the latest episode of “Trouble” by SubMedia at Rebecca’s, at 610 Bushwick Avenue in Brooklyn on Sunday, August 27th from 8pm to 10pm. “Trouble” is a new monthly documentary series that broadcasts first-hand accounts of struggles for community self-defense. Previous episodes have explored topics like water protectors fighting the construction of the DAPL pipeline at Standing Rock, anti-fascist organizing, solidarity efforts for refugees and resistance to state repression. SubMedia has encouraged groups to host screenings of the show to bring communities together and provoke discussion of tactics, struggles and movement dynamics.
The best defense against fascism is a strong and supportive community, based on principles of mutual aid, solidarity and self-defense. Heather Heyer will live in our hearts forever!
In this podcast special, Bursts spoke with L.A. & Hawaii, collective members at the Radiozones Of Subversive Expression, Radio98fm, a squatted pirate radio station on the campus of Athens University & the Polytechnic School in the Zografou suburb in the capitol of Greece. During the chat, L.A. & Hawaii talk about the radio station, about recent threats of repression at the hands of the university, telecommunications ministry & the police, and about collusion between those agencies and a commercial pirate radio station. You can find the station’s website at https://radio98fm.org
To hear the statement by Radio98FM about the repression, check out the July 2017 episode of B(A)D News: Angry Voices from Around The World. That podcast and more episodes of The Final Straw can be found at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org
This week William interviewed Mark Bray, who is a professor, author, and anti authoritarian, about the G20 protests that took place in Hamburg Germany last week. We will talk about the event, how it unfolded, much in the way of cultural and historical context for resisting G20 summits, and much more! You can follow our guest on Twitter @Mark__Bray and search any search engine to find his books.
B(A)D News #2
The July 2017 edition of the monthly English language podcast, Bad News: Angry Voices from Around The World, is just out from the International Anarchist Radio Network. As of this moment, the network’s website has yet to debut at a-radio-network.org, so check out our post and our rss podcast feed for a link to this newest episode.
Fuck a Grand Jury; Grand Jury Resistance
We’d like to present a breaking announcement. Longtime North Carolinian, organizer and anarchist, Katie Yow has just released a statement that she’s been subpoena’d to a Federal Grand Jury in Greensboro and will be refusing to cooperate. We at the Final Straw Radio wish to express our care and support to Katie as she faces down this threat with our hearts full of the knowledge that she won’t be resisting this alone, but alongside all of us who know that backing down is not a choice. Many before have resisted and will. To the recalcitrant refusals of Team Grumbles!
In the Asheville area, here are a few upcoming events:
On Thursday, July 20th at 7:30pm at Firestorm there’ll be a showing of Trouble #4, about movement defense and resisting repression followed by episode 2 of Channel (A)!, a compilation of screen representation of anarchists from popular media. This event sits in the international week of solidarity from July 20-27th with J20 defendants from the inauguration protests in D.C. this year.
“We are calling for a Week of Solidarity with the J20 defendants from July 20 to 27, 2017. July 20 marks six months from the initial actions and arrests during Donald Trump’s inauguration, and on July 27, a motion to dismiss the charges will be argued in court. On January 20, 2017, tens of thousands of people converged in Washington, D.C. for the DisruptJ20 protests to oppose the inauguration of yet another president. A combination of blockades, marches, and festive demonstrations shattered the spectacle of a peaceful transition of power. Unfortunately, with resistance comes repression. Approximately 214 arrestees now face a total of eight felony charges a piece, including conspiracy and destruction of property. All of the J20 defendants are now facing up to 75 years in prison. The majority of defendants are working together, collectively responding to the charges and using solidarity to push back against the state. How effectively we support the inauguration day defendants will determine how effectively anyone can keep resisting under the Trump administration. Turning protest into a felony offense is dangerous for anyone who believes in the right to resist. We call on supporters to organize events and actions in solidarity with the J20 defendants throughout the week. Be creative and strategic! Help cultivate a spirit of resistance and mutual aid! Visit Defend J20 Resistance for more information”
On July 21st at 8pm at Firestorm, a report-back from the protests in Hamburg, Germany, will take place at Firestorm. From the original announcement
“In July 2017, the rulers of the world’s 20 most powerful nations met in Hamburg, Germany to coordinate the preservation of capitalism and state power at the expense of humanity and the natural world. Over 20,000 police were brought into the city in order to brutally suppress dissent. Yet the more violently the police attacked demonstrators, the more the general population of Hamburg came together in rebellion against them. In the end, in response to escalating attempts at repression, massive riots paralyzed the city, with some areas becoming police-free zones. We will hear a full report from Hamburg, complete with photos and video.”
On July 22nd, don’t forget about the bbq, bake sale and benefit punk show for J20 defendants. Details should be up on It’s Going Down along with other scheduled events around North Carolina for the week.