This week on The Final Straw, we’re airing three international segments covering anarchist perspectives from the Rojava Revolution in Northern Syria, voices from the pirate radio, Radio Klaxon on the ZAD, a land occupation in western France, and refugee solidarity and
struggle in on the border of Croatia and Bosnia in the Balkans.
Anarchism and Rojava
First, we’ll hear an interview with an anarchist recently returned from Rojava, the autonomous regions in North Western Syria where an anti-capitalist, ecological and feminist social revolution has been taking place while first fighting off Daesh or ISIS militants and now those fighters sent back in alongside troops from the fascist Turkish state under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The interview was conducted by comrades from Črna Luknja, comrades who first aired during the epic 8 hours of live radio from the 4th International Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarian Radio Gathering in May in Berlin, 2018. Črna Luknja, is based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and airs their content (sometimes in English) can be found athttp://radiostudent.si/druzba/crna-luknja.
If you like what you hear, check out the monthly, English-language anarchist news podcast we in the A-Radio Network collaborates on called “BAD News: Angry Voices From Around The World.” Our latest episode can be found on our website or athttps://a-radio-network.org
To hear more audios from anarchists engaged with Rojava, you might consider checking out the podcast Vendenga Rojava. And for more resources from this perspective, check outhttp://internationalistcommune.com and check out their Kurmanji (or Kurdish) learning resources, updates on the situation there, ways to donate and ways to get more involved in the struggle in Rojava.
Next, we’ll hear from Riot Turtle, an audio-comrade involved in the
anarchist media project, Enough Is Enough, based in Europe, recorded
on June 17th, 2018. In this segment, we hear audios from Vileka Kladusa, a village on the Bosnian and Croatian border. You’ll hear the construction
of refugee tents in the background while people from SOS Team Kladuša, a local initiative to support refugees as they attempt to traverse the Balkan Route from the south of Europe and towards the north, facing violence from police and border officials day to day. You’ll also hear refugees speak about their journeys and the violence they’ve faced, as well as audio from tension on the border with authorities. Earlier this month, there were about 1,000 people in this camp and only 4 international volunteers, no NGO attention besides a weekly visit by Doctors Without Borders and is supported by local initiatives of the Bosnian neighbors. To find out about how you can donate to these efforts, as well as more articles, video and
audio by comrades at Enough Is Enough, you can visit their website
(https://enoughisenough14.org) and search for “emergency call sos team bosnia”. There you will find donation options for the efforts of SOS Team Kladuša as well as for Cars of Hope, which coordinates needs and haves to alleviate the suffering imposed by borders and move people.
Finally, we’ll hear a conversation we recorded a week before the second
round of evictions at the ZAD in early May of 2018. The interview with Marcel and Camille (two names commonly used to anonymize folks speaking to the media on the ZAD), speak about the pirate radio station, Klaxon, that they have participated in for a long time. If you don’t know, the ZAD is a decades long struggle against the building of an airport in traditional swamplands and farm lands in Brittany in western France near the city of Nantes. In the last 10 years, anarchists & autonomists have occupied the land to stop the government and the corporation VINCI from building a new aerotropolis megaproject for Nantes. This occupation and surrounding social movement has been marked by violent clashes with police and the creation of a police-free zone, an inspiration to many around the world. This year the French state cancelled the airport and began the
process of legalizing some squats. With the end of the airport, less radical support in the movement drifted away and evictions began in earnest. Klaxon folks talk about the role their station plays in amplifying the voices of people on the ZAD who might intimidated in publishing their views on the website or in their newspaper or at public meetings because of intersections of class, race, gender, education, language access and such, as well as the role the station plays in resisting the evictions. You can hear Klaxon by visitinghttps://zad.nadir.org and clicking the listen link on the right side of the page. Ps, it’s in French.
This week, Bursts spoke with Şoreş Ronahi of the Youth Movement of Rojava (Yekîtiya Ciwanên Rojava), an autonomous movement within Tev-Dem, the movement for Democratic Confederalism in Rojava (located within Northern Syria). Mr Ronahi speaks about the Turkish assaults, aided by ISIS/DAESH forces now flying the so-called Free Syrian Army flag, to attack defense forces and civilians in the Efrînê Canton (also spelled Afrin or Efrin elsewhere). We talk about the political stance of the Turkish government as relates to Kurdish people within and without the borders of Turkey, with the Social Revolution in Rojava, the shifting U.S. relationship to the YPG & YPJ militias under the control of the PYD administration in Rojava, the Revolution’s approaches to engaging and fighting patriarchy and ethnic hatred in Syria and the region and more.
As a side note, although Rojava is not an explicitly anarchist project, it is an anti-nationalist, anti-state movement that holds as its pillars ecology, anti-capitalism & feminism and is in part inspired by American former Anarchist turned Communalist, Murray Bookchin. Beyond Bookchin’s impact, Bursts personally feels that Rojava adds an IRL experiment in combat and revolutionary organizing that many anarchists have engaged in in the form of the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces, The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army, within other elements of the International Freedom Batallions as well as in the PYD administered YPG & YPJ militias on the front lines fighting DAESH.
The fallen YPJ soldier that Şoreş mentions at the end of the interview is Avesta Xabûr.
For past episodes on #Rojava on this show, check out our conversations with Kurdish feminist Dilar Dirik (pt 1 & pt 2), our conversation with American anarchist Guy McGowan Steel Steward fighting with the YPG (pt 1 & pt 2) and our discussions with anarchist and writer, Paul Z. Simons after his study and visit to Rojava (pt 1, pt 2 & pt 3)
This week, we’ll be featuring a short roundup of some of the events inside and outside of the prison walls during the beginning of the Prisoner Work Strike that started on September 9th in the United Snakes with the goal of ending Prison Slavery in U.S. prisons. After that we’ll hear the last half hour of Gil O’Teen’s conversation with Guy McGowan Steel Steward, an American anarcho-communist about his joining the Rojava Revolution alongside Kurdish and other folks in Northern Syria. This portion, they discuss nationalism and national identity in Rojava, the draft, the decision to adopt Federalization within Rojava and more. This is within the context of recent Turkish incursions into the Kurdish regions of northern Syria which have led to deaths among civilians and YPG/YPJ forces of the Kurdish Resistance. These deaths include foreign fighters who’ve joined the Rojava struggle. Happily, Guy is not among those dead. There is an interesting discussion and an homage to american anarchist fighter Jordan MacTaggart, an interview with Rojava Solidarity NYC, plus much much more in the latest episode of The Ex-Worker podcast, available at http://crimethinc.com/podcast that I suggest folks check out and share with friends.
Background and Inside Resistance
As many of you are probably aware, Friday September 9th kicked off the largest and most coordinated prisoner work stoppage in the US in all history, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising. Organized in conjunction with incarcerated members of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), this work stoppage is turning a bright spotlight on the continuing condition of slavery in the United States, a slavery upon which this country’s economy is cripplingly dependant. Prisoners are also forced to be responsible for running the actual prisons themselves, working in the laundry, cafeteria, and so on, pretty much in any non-administrative capacity you can think of. I don’t think it should go without saying that much of this labor goes unwaged, though the on average 13 cents an hour that inmates get paid is nothing compared to the exorbitant costs of goods in prison stores.
Friday kicked off the actual strike, but resistance from within prison got started well before then with fires being set at Lincoln Correctional Center in Lincoln, Nebraska on September 6th, a 4 dormitory wide riot at Holmes prison in Bonifay, Florida on the 7th which hopped from dorm to dorm in the facility keeping just ahead of the CO’s attempts to quell the rebellion, creating a Whak-A-Mole type situation that I’m sure the prison officials just loved. Also on the 7th inmates at the infamous military detention center Guantanamo Bay remain on hunger strike to protest their indefinite detentions, many of whom were captured as part of the xenophobic and racist governmental response to September 11th, 2001, 15 years ago today.
September 9th at noon saw a complete work stoppage at Holman Correctional in Atmore, Alabama where our comrade Michael Kimble is held captive. There is no incidents yet from prison officials, and guards and COs were forced to perform all tasks. Sit down strikes and work stoppages were also held in Bonifay, FL in the aforementioned Holmes Prison, amid the ashes of the fires set only two days prior. In Troy VA, there was a work stoppage at a women’s facility, and all across this state of North Carolina prisoners refused to report to their jobs. At a women’s facility in California 10 or so brave souls refused to work and effectively shut the whole prison down because of fear of a riot. Disturbances were reported at Gulf and Mayo prisons in Florida, and three guards were injured in scuffles at Tecumseh Prison in Nebraska.
Yesterday saw a continuation of resistance in Nebraska at a women’s facility, from all over South Carolina, and continuing resistance in Atmore. Solidarity from overseas has been flying in fast and furious, with statements from prisoners in Greece, Australia, Lithuania, and Sweden among many others.
Repression of those who are striking has mostly consisted of prison lockdowns and targeting of people who have been designated the “ringleaders”. It will be very important for people to recieve solidarity from those on the outside in order for this resistance to continue. Keep your eyes on itsgoingdown.org and the live updates at http://maskmagazine.com for current info and calls for backup. You can visit the IWOC at iwoc.org for a list of concrete anti-repression tactics to share with those who are incarcerated and otherwise.
Local Events, Arrests, and Donations to the Legal Fund
Now, let’s take a gander at some of the events we were able to find that took place outside of the prison walls, per se, around the U.S. and around the world.
A full narrative of outside support events would take a very long time, which is a good thing, so we’re going to read through some highlights starting local to get the attention of the folks locally on this. We’ll be giving precedence to two local struggles in which arrests occurred. If folks from elsewhere have an experience they want to share, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or add it to the growing lists of solidarity by emailing email@example.com.
First off, let’s begin with Western North Carolina.
This text is from a fundraising site to cover legal costs :
“In the early afternoon of Septmeber 9th, comrades held a banner outside of the Avery Mitchell Correctional Facility in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. This was an attempt to offer support to any of the 816 prisoners at the facility involved in prison functions who may have chosen to withhold their labor as part of the wider strike against prison society. 5 arrests were made and trespassing charges were issued.
Later that afternoon in downtown Asheville, and following a #NoDAPL solidarity march and protest at TD Bank, there was a march through downtown in support of striking prisoners. 60-70 folks banged pots and pans, held banners and signs, passed out leaflets and chanted “Brick By Brick, Wall By Wall, We Will Make Your Prisons Fall” and other classics. Police followed the march blaring requests to get out of the street and eventually attempted to push the marchers onto the sidewalk with their vehicles. Attempts to engage the Friday night drum circle into hitting the pavement fell on deaf ears as folks made their way towards the Buncombe County Detention Facility. While passing by the local Goombay festival, flyers were distributed and a group of folks backstage answered our chants of “Our Passion for Freedom…” with their own melodious note of “Freedom”. A few minutes later and a few blocks away, 3 of ours were arrested, accused of blocking traffic and one with an additional charge of resisting arrest. By midnight the 3 were out.
Everyone is out and no more money for bail is required, but support for legal defense, court fees and lawyers is necessary, and we are asking for your help
At moments like these it is so crucial that we support people doing work to sustain the struggle for racial justice & prison abolition. This allows us to create stronger movements where we can all continue to be leaders in these fields and help a build stronger sense of community, especially in the south. We are all in this together and we need to continuously show up for each other, not just in the streets but in ways that allow us to continue to sustain our lives and our passions for the movement.
Folks in Atlanta took the streets on Friday, September 9th, in the face of serious police repression. From http://atlblackcross.org comes this information:
“Today marks the beginning of the national prison strike. Prisoners all over the country are going on strike and refusing to cooperate with the unjust prison system. They are demanding decent pay for work, decent food and living conditions, and an end to inhumane practices like solitary confinement.
In Atlanta, supporters marched through Midtown and disrupted several corporations which profit from prison slavery. Wendy’s, McDonalds, Aramark, and Starbucks all got a visit. When the march got to Starbucks, police made several violent arrests, using pepper spray and slamming people to the pavement. At one point, police even tried to run marchers over with a squad car.
We are working hard to make sure all the protesters get free as soon as possible, so everyone can continue doing the important work of supporting the ongoing prison strike.” As of this morning, Sunday, September 11th (make a wish!), all defendants are out but are facing some stupidly hefty charges. One demonstrator apparently was taken during their arrest to a police precinct women’s bathroom and choke slammed against the wall for being a part of copwatch in Atlanta. FTP!
More on the Atlanta cases and how to support them can be found at https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bail-out-prison-strike-supporters
International solidarity with the strike has been tremendous, with banner drops, graffitti and actions ranging far and wide. Here are a few instances of international solidarity, this is by no means a complete list. You can see more information about this, plus photos and full statements at It’s Going Down.
* Horgoš, Serbia: Banner drop in support of prison strike.
* Brisbane, Australia: Solidarity action with US prisoners.
*Melbourne, Australia: Info table with literature about US prisons and the prison strike, along with collected donations.
* Melbourne, Australia: Anarchist demonstration outside US Consulate.
* Malmö, Sweden: Solidarity demonstration.
* Athens, Greece: Demonstration outside Korydallos women’s prison.
* Leipzig, Germany: Rally outside US Consulate.
* Montreal, Canada: Dinner and film screening in solidarity with prisoner rebellion.
* Melbourne, Australia: Noise demo at youth jail.
* Barcelona, Spain: Graffiti messages of support written on McDonald’s.
This week’s show features a conversation with Guy McGowan Steel Steward, an American anarcho-communist about his joining the Rojava Revolution alongside Kurdish and other folks in Northern Syria. Guy was one of two American anarcho-communists featured in a recent Village Voice article entitled “A Hello To Arms” and his writings and images documenting his ongoing time in Rojava can be found at https://www.facebook.com/scenesfromrojava/ . In this episode he’ll speak about training, conscription, nationalism, other internationals and more. The second half of this conversation with Guy will show up in an upcoming radio show.
Podcasting The Show
Starting with this episode, we’ll be available through the iTunes store for easy podcasting under the name thefinalstrawradio, so find us there every week, rate us and tell your friends!
Milwaukee In Revolt
Protests erupted last yesterday in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hours after the fatal police shooting of a 23 year old man by MPD the police claim was fleeing a vehicle with a gun. Sherman Park has been witness to increased tension with police and the growth of a community watch program called #WeAllWeGot. The riots that grew from the protests ended up smashing a police vehicle, burning vehicles (including a patrol car), torching a BMO bank and 4 other businesses, including a BP gas station that has been the site of previous tension.
Organizers of the #WeAllWeGot group, a Black Power and police abolitionist group, is raising money for arrest support. You can donate at https://paypal.me/WeAllWeGot
September 9th Prison Strike
But first here is a call out pulled from the anarchist news source It’s Going Down :
“This is a challenge to anyone who is supportive of the September 9th prisoners’ strike but who has remained on the sidelines until now.
In order for this strike to not be snuffed out by a handful of prison censors and violent guards, it needs to spread uncontrollably beyond their reach. And because prisons strictly forbid communication between prisoners, it is our responsibility on the outside to facilitate this contagion.
The first obvious step is to begin sending in word of the strike, immediately. If people on the inside are to be able to meaningfully act, they are going to need some time to begin spreading the word to their friends and formulating a plan. To that end, we are suggesting that outside accomplices begin printing strike announcements and mailing them inside prison walls en masse.”
To access these prepared strike annoucements, in English and Spanish, and for more information on how to send literature into prison and to whom, you can visit the aforementioned news website itsgoingdown.org and scroll down to the article entitled “A Challenge: Spread the Strike to Every Jail, Juvie, and Prison!”
Here is an announcement concerning Siddique Abdullah Hasan, who has been targeted by prison officials and COs in direct relation to the September 9th prisoner work stoppage. He was recently visited by the FBI in prison and placed in solitary confinement. This is from itsgoingdown.org:
“Around noon eastern time on August 11th, Hasan got word out through lawyers that he was doing fine and that if anyone wanted to correspond with him they should include a stamp for the reply since he could not go to the [jpay] kiosk.
Hasan has access to postal mail, and presumably to JPay, but not the kiosk machine, so if you write him an email (and visit JPay.com to find out how if you don’t already) be sure to click the “include a stamp for reply” box before sending.
Please also continue to call the prison 330-743-0700. They are routing all the calls to a specific person, so lets keep her busy. Ask when he’s going to be let out of the hole and demand that this bogus investigation end immediately.
Also, write to Hasan, the more mail he gets the more support we’re demonstrating. You can include a total of 5 sheets of paper and 3 embossed envelopes, so if you have any handy, slip them in to make sure he’s got supplies to write people back.
Siddique Abdullah Hasan
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown OH 44505
Free Alabama Movement
On August 1, 2016, following rebellion in one of the dorms, the riot squad attacked individuals at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, placing multiple individuals in segregation. In violation of Department of Corrections policy, the prisoners have not received a 72-hour investigation notice of the reason for their being placed in segregation, and have not had their personal property returned. The comrades have had to go without shoes, clothing, deodorant, and toothbrushes, and have not had access to their addresses and phone numbers.
Call Warden Mitchell and demand that those put in segregation after the recent riot be released and have their property returned.
Phone number: 251-368-8173
You can visit https://anarchylive.noblogs.org and search “August 1st rebellion” to learn more and for suggestions on what to say to the warden when you reach him.
These are the words of Laron McKinley Bey, who is a prisoner in Waupun who is participating in the ongoing hunger strike there, to protest the conditions under which they are forced to live:
“In a nation that would not tolerate shutting in zoo animals 23-24 hours per day the State of Wisconsin has no compunction confining prisoners to indefinite isolative Administrative Confinement (AC) alone in a parking-space size cell for 164 of the 168 hour week. Such prolonged social, environmental, and occupational isolation and lack of stimulation is well known to pose a substantial risk of harm to mental and physical health.
Norman Uhuru Green and I, 2 of the longest standing Wisconsin prisoners held in this type of endless isolation at 18 years, and nearly 28 years respectively, together with Cesar DeLeon, form the 3 remaining original ‘Dying to Live’ movement hunger strikers who continue to refuse to eat or drink in hopes of forcing an end to the state’s practice of indeterminate seclusion.
On June 7, 2016, a group of 10 Wisconsin prisoners in solitary confinement at the Waupun and Columbia correctional institutions began refusing nourishment to expose the inhumane conditions of their confinement, and to facilitate dignified treatment of all humans. Within a few weeks the Department of Corrections had obtained court orders to force-feed Uhuru, DeLeon, and I 3 times daily which entails being placed in full restraints, and then strapped into a ‘restraint chair’ and having a nasal-gastro tube inserted in one nostril to the stomach where a liquid mixture of nutrition is funneled. Besides violating the sanctity of our bodies, this procedure is an invalid state response to a dignified struggle and it can cause significant internal injury.
Despite this, our strength and morale remains high, and we are determined until we see substantive change.
Among our reasonable demands are a 1 year cap on the length of AC, and a 15 day cap on punitive isolation. A coalition for support of prisoners on the outside has carried our reasonable demands to the DOC officials and state legislation, which may lead to proposed legislation on a negotiated settlement.”
To write to Bey, address letters to:
Laron McKinley Bey, #42642
Waupun Correctional Institution
PO box 351
Waupun, WI 53963
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. Download Pt 2
******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.******
Notes From Sean’s Segment
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 start off with a dispatch from Sean Swain, read by William. Sean is an anarchist prisoner we’ve featured commentary from over the past 2 years. Sean Swain has been under media block for the past few months, so his commentary here has been sparse. In this segment he addresses his media silencing and his bid for presidency of the U.S. in 2016. More of Sean’s writings at seanswain.org
Paul Z. Simons on Rojava, pt3
For the meat of the episode, we feature part three of Bursts conversation with Paul Z. Simons about his experience of the Rojava Revolution going on in northern Syria. The Rojava Revolution began in 2012, as an outgrowth from the insurgency of the PKK and other Kurdish groups in Turkey that’s been locked in an off-and-on civil war for 30 years. Paul, a post-left anarchist from the U.S. talks about his experiences in Rojava in October of this year of their multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, feminism revolution.
The Rojava Revolution has been described as anti-state, anti-capitalist, feminist and ecological, however in the conversations Bursts has had on what’s gone on in Rojava with students of it, little has come out in terms of how the Rojava experiment has been ecological or anti-capitalist. So, in this conversation Paul and Bursts spoke about Paul’s understanding of economic models, property rights, modes of exchange in Rojava as well as discussions of it’s war-time and long-view approaches towards ecology in Rojava.
The first two parts of this interview can be found here.
This episode features part two of Bursts conversation Paul Z. Simons on his recent trip to the northern, autonomous regions of Syria known as Rojava. In this conversation Paul shares his experiences of gender, feminism, power distribution and infrastructure in Rojava and his thoughts as a post-left anarchist of experiencing what he’d consider a social revolution. Paul is an editor of the Modern Slavery Magazine, where his writings can be found here and William’s interview with him last year can be found HERE. You can find weblinks and more context on the page for our prior conversations on Rojava with Paul.
The audio from part one of the conversation can be found here. To hear part three before it airs, check it out here.
Sean Swain is having a very hard time right now and could really use to be reminded that he is not alone. If you haven’t written to Sean in a while or haven’t heard back from him due to the ODRC messing with his mail or cutting off his other methods of communication, now would be a great time to flood him with letters, cards, photos, drawings, books, zines, anything.
In particular, now would be a good moment to remind Sean that he matters to you, that you are glad he is alive, and that you see him as contributing to the world in a way that matters to you. Every once in a while we all need a loving kick to the head to get us back on track and feeling ready to continue fighting. Now is that moment for Sean. So send him a kick; he deserves it.
Write to Sean at:
Sean Swain #243-205
Warren Correctional Inst.
P.O. Box 120
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
In 2012, a power vacuum formed in parts of northern Syria as a result of the civil war. These areas, part of the lands inhabited by Kurdish peoples,soon became a testing ground for an implementation of an anti-state communalism influenced in part by an American former Anarchist turned Communalist named Murray Bookchin. Bookchin’s thought helped to shape the ideas of Abdullah Ocalan, ideological leader of the Kurdish Worker’s Party, PKK, in neighboring Turkey. The people participating in what’s been branded The Rojava Revolution are organizing administration and defense based from the neighborhood councils. Popular militias are attempting to fight external enemies like the Syrian military of Bashar Al-Asaad and ISIL/Daesh as well as the internal structures which hold in most societies such as patriarchy, class division and xenophobia. Anarchists, anti-capitalists of all stripes from around the world, feminists, ecologists… these peoples and more around the world are among those engaging with the 3-year-runnning experiment of Rojava.
This week’s episode features the first of three segments of conversation with Paul Z Simons,a post-left anarchist and co-editor of Modern Slavery Magazine. Paul, writing under the name El Errante, documented his recent tripto the Rojava region in Northern Syria. This first episode will not be followed up immediately by another episode on the subject, however we are making the second and third episodes content availablealongside of this one online. If you’re in a hurry to hear the complete conversation on his observations of institutions and organizing On The Ground in Rojava, follow this link for part II and this link for part III. These segments will make their way into radio versions in the near future.
Bursts and Paul talk about Democratic Confederalism, gender, ecology, international intervention, religion, ethnicity, anti-capitalism, competing tendencies, holding tensions, international fighters and much much more
To follow the links that our guest mentioned in this interview, just click these websites below!
To see more of Paul Z. Simon’s work, you can visit this website
Next week on The Final Straw, you’ll hear a conversation with an anarchist in Spain about recent and continued repressions of anarchists in that country. Updates on that situation can be found at https://efectopandora.wordpress.com/category/english/ and for past episodes of The Final Straw check here.
At Grand Valley Institute for Women (GVI), a federal prison in Kitchener, Ontario there has been a recent crackdown against LBTQ2+ prisoners and/or prisoners in relationships amongst themselves. Intimate relationships between prisoners are being attacked by a clique of guards acting without apparent direction or oversight from the Corrections Canada administration. We need your support with a call-in campaign to end these practices.
Harassment of prisoners includes throwing them in solitary as punishment for being in a relationship, threatening them with transfers to remote parts of the country, separating partners by placing them in different parts of the prison, and laying spurious institutional charges that can lead to being locked in the maximum security unit.
Most troublingly, guards have been using physical intimidation and invasions of personal space to harass prisoners who speak up against these practices.
The prisoners have been organizing in response to these attacks, but have faced increasing repression for their efforts.
Outside support right now can make a major difference in putting a check on the repression of prisoner relationships and dissent among prisoners.
To protest this treatment, it’s asked that people call Grand Valley Institute for Women at (519) 894-2011. For more guidance about how to conduct this phone call and for updates on this situation you can visit the website https://gviwatch.wordpress.com/
This week’s we’re presenting the second half of my conversation with Dilar Dirik, Kurdish feminist and anti-capitalist, about the Rojava Revolution. The Rojava Revolution, as we spoke of in the last episode, is the name for the Kurdish-initiated project to organize stateless communities in Northern Syria into 3 autonomous cantons in the wake of Syrian State withdrawal during the progress of the civil war in that country. Rojava is West in Kurdish and refers to the communities of Kurds living in that area as distinguished from Kurds living and struggling inside of the borders of Iraq, Iran & Turkey. Folks aligned with the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, in Rojava have been among the people fighting against incursion by Islamic State militants.
After hearing from Dilar, we’ll be hearing a segment shared by the folks from Anarchistisches Radio Berlin, which they worked together from audio recorded by Furia de Radio, an anarchist programme on 97 Irratia FM in Bilbao, Euskadi. It can be heard every Friday at 7pm in the Basque Country, or on http://www.mixcloud.com/FuriaDeRadio. The folks at Furia de Radio conducted an interview with Nicky Danesh, an Iranian anarchist living in exile in Australia this September. More content from Anarchistisches Radio Berlin can be found at http://aradio.blogsport.de in German, English, Spanish, French and more.
This week we’ll hear Dilar continue to speak about the Rojava Social Revolution, the Kurdish Women’s movements media representation of women in Rojava and in the YPJ Star militias fighting against ISIL, if there’s an overlap between anarchism and Democratic Confederalism and more. The first half of this conversation can be found here.
A quick reminder to those in the Asheville area this week: Leslie will be speaking at Warren Wilson College in Black Mountain this Monday, the 3rd at 7pm in the Canon Lounge about his life and continued activism despite constant sureveilance!. Leslie James Pickering – former head of the North American Earth Liberation Front Press Office (NAELFPO), author, publisher, and co-founder of the Buffalo, NY bookstore, Burning Books – has endured heavy state repression for years. Leslie will discuss the current ongoing FBI investigation into his work and life as well as his extensive legal campaign to resist this surveillance. This is a free event. https://www.facebook.com/events/729763163770135/
On Wednesday, there’ll be a benefit vegetarian dinner with music offered at the Wine Hause at 86 Patton Avenue. All proceeds will go to the Kurdish Red Crescent, offering free emergency health aid to the people of Rojava, in particular in the beseiged canton of Kobane. This event runs from 6:30 to 8:30pm. http://bit.ly/aid4rojava
Finally, on Wednesday night at the Odditorium, on Haywood Rd in West Asheville, at 10pm there will be the opening salvo of a hopefully ongoing queer dance party series and safer space entitled Cake. This night’ll feature a performance by Bootz Durango from Charlotte and it’s suggested that queers and allies come dressed as their favorite confections. https://www.facebook.com/events/1500284163556631/
This week, Sean Swain rescinds his 5 minute segment for an election statement from Jwow “Kasich”.
For the main portion of this episode, Bursts spoke with Dilar Dirik. Dilar is a Kurdish refugee living in Germany who’s a phd candidate studying and working around issues connected with the Kurdish Women’s movement and the PYD, or Democratic Union Party, in the Rojava territories within the borders of Syria.
Dilar is a Kurdish refugee living in Germany who’s a phd candidate studying and working around issues connected with the Kurdish Women’s movement and the PYD, or Democratic Union Party, in the Rojava territories within the borders of Syria. With it’s foundation in 2004, the PYD has been attempting to create a dual power situation with the government and centering on an anti-state, anti-capitalist, feminist & ecological critique stemming from the influence of the PKK’s founder, Abdullah Öcalan, and his model of Democratic Confederalism. Democratic Confederalism is, in a large part, influenced strongly by the libertarian socialist philosophy of communalism, a term coined by the late Murray Bookchin. Bookchin, although not an anarchist upon his death, had been influential to certain strains of social anarchist thought since the 1960’s and included elements Communalism of Left Anarchism, Marxism, Syndicalism and Radical Ecology. Following the the 2012 pullout of Syrian government forces from the northern territories, the PYD, a group aligned with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, has held the territory as three independent cantons (Rojava, Cizre and Efrin) organized through a series of communes, councils and alternative representational structure.
Primarily during this episode and the following, Dilar speaks about the methodologies of the Kurdish Women’s movement in Rojava to autonomously push the PYD at large to create not just an inclusive but to attempt to center on gender balance in all functions, moving to shift things often called “women’s issues” to the fore and make them issues for the movement at large. Dilar also speaks about the shift from the former national liberation struggles of the Kurdish people for inclusion in the nationstates of the middle east to an embracing of a stateless status and an attempt to invite and include as many ethnic, religious and national communities and individuals of the region into the implementation of Democratic Confederalism (that implementation is also known as Democratic Autonomy) as could be done. Their hope, as people in the larger Rojava Revolution, is to expand the model into a self-sustaining, directly democratic society in tension with the state and capitalism.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), Rojava region, the YPG (Peoples Defense Units) militia and YPJ Star (Women’s Defense Units Star) have come into media headlines in the U.S. of recent because they’ve been some of the main actors in the defense of Kobane (the capital of Rojava) against the forces of the Islamic State In the Levant (ISIL). ISIL has been attacking the three cantons in recent months, in fact for the last 2 years prior to U.S. recognition of it’s existence, and the YPG and YPJ Star have been among the groups fighting ISIL back. The press of ISIL to take the lands, weapons, slaves and wealth and to destroy heretics, continues throughout the 3 cantons despite the retaking of most of the city of Kobane. Perhaps the U.S. public hasn’t learned about resistance and attempts at alternative self-organization until the Siege of Kobane because it challenges the stability of U.S. allies like Turkey, Syria and also of Iran and other countries with significant Kurdish populations in the region.
In the last 2 years, many anarchists in the west have been looking on with interest on the organizing and resistance in Rojava. Recently, David Graber wrote in an op-ed for the U.K. Guardian that the PYD in Rojava fighting the ISIL parallels the Spanish Revolution of 1936 with the Rojava as the anarchists of the FAI and ISIL as the Falangists, and thus that social libertarians worldwide need to pay attention and offer support to the struggles in Rojava. Other western anarchist sources have been critical of the shortfalls of the Rojava Revolution from their ideological perspectives. We here at the Final Straw are excited to present the words of Dilar Dirik about Rojava not because the revolution is by name an anarchist project, but because it teases some boundaries between philosophies and attempts to put them into practice in the midst of a warzone and fight for their lives. This case of Rojava is interesting, but more importantly it’s people, again fighting for their lives.
With that said, because the PKK, which is aligned with the PYD, is on the U.S. terrorist list, it’s difficult to solicit donations for them in the U.S. However, if you’re in the Asheville area, on Wednesday November 5th, 2014 at the Winehaus at 86 Patton Ave, in Asheville from 6:30pm – 8:30pm. There will be music, vegetarian food and the sliding scale tickets from $20-60 will go to the Kurdish Red Crescent to offer material support for those facing assault from the Islamic State. More info can be found at http://bit.ly/aid4rojava
You can find writings by Dilar at http://dilar91.blogspot.com
Also, we’d like to apologize for the quality of Dilar’s audio on the episode, we had a poor connection.
Next week’s show will be the second half of our conversation on the Rojava Revolution and Kurdish women’s movement, media representation of women in Rojava and in the YPJ Star militias fighting against ISIL, if there’s an overlap between anarchism and Democratic Confederalism and more.
For some articles on the Rojava, check out: http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/tag/kurds/
and remain aware that the KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) is a seperate movement operating in Iraq and that the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is a movement based in Turkey. Both groups operate inside of Syria and were involved in the fight against ISIL on Mount Shengal (Sinjar in Arabic), which crosses the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Rojava.