Category Archives: SESTA

Norman Shamas updates on FOSTA and Digital Harm Reduction

Norman Shamas updates on FOSTA and digital harm reduction

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This week, we continue our look at sex, work and the state with guest, Norman Shamas. Norman Shamas is an activist and educator whose work focuses on human-centered information and digital security and privacy. Now, Norman is not a lawyer but shares their insights about the legal situation around FOSTA, or Fighting Online Sex Trafficking Act that passed into law in the U.S. last year and it’s implications for sex workers, for those trying to fight sex trafficking and for people communicating desire without coercion or monetary exchange, folks looking for a hookup. This interview was conducted for our Error451 podcast, an occasional project focusing on digital security and tech from an anarchist perspective, but because of the prescience of Norman’s words, we wanted to share it as an episode for the airwaves. Later in the interview we talk about Norman’s writing a bit, including issues around queer dating apps and how they’ve been used to persecute folks for their sexualities and genders in various parts of the world and how we can pressure app developers and platforms to take the security of their users more seriously.

For the full conversation including links to articles and subjects we talk about, as well as this week’s Sean Swain segment, check out our podcast version available at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org. Subcribing to our show is free and easy if you have a computer or a smart phone. There are some instructions up at our website under the “podcasting” tab at the top of the page.

Red Umbrella Tech Collective: https://redumbrellatech.com/

Safer Nudes from Coding Rights: https://www.codingrights.org/4/

Hacking // Hustling (incl. a recording of the panel): http://melissagiragrant.com/hackinghustling/

Open Privacy: https://openprivacy.ca/

CWTCH platform and protocol: https://cwtch.im/

Guide on Harm Reduction and WhatsApp: https://blog.witness.org/2018/11/harm-reduction-whatsapp

Denver Prisoner Letter Writing Event

On February 13th, 7PM at Hooked on Colfax in Denver, CO, folks’ll be sharing love and solidarity with political prisoners with letter writing.

There’ll be a presentation from the Anarchist Black Cross with tips for writing a letter and the February birthdays.

The event will be excitedly co-hosted by many local groups including the Denver Anarchist Black Cross, Denver Black and Pink, Denver IWW, Femme Left, and the Denver CryptoParty.

Prisoners Left Cold at Brooklyn MDC

If you’re in New York, there are rolling demo’s at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center where it was discovered that prisoners have been held with limited heat and electricity for days now during this time of record-breaking cold, as reported in the New York Times on February 1st. To keep up on actions around this, one can check out IWOCNYC, the New York City Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee where demo’s are being announced. If you’re concerned for the health and safety of the over 1,000 prisoners at the MDC Federal jail but can’t make it to a demo, the group Sunset Park for a Liberated Future has called for a phone zap. Those wanting to participate can call Warden Herman Quay & Associate Warden David Ortiz at 718-840-4200. You can also call
Nicole McFarland, US Marshall Assistant Chief at 718-840-4200 ext. 41740.

A sample script from Black and Pink NYC reads:

“I’m a resident of NYC and am very concerned about the situation at MDC. People are living in intolerable conditions without heat or hot meals. This is unacceptable and a violation of human rights. I believe this poses serious harm to the health and safety of people at MDC and fails to meet Eighth Amendment standards prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. What is your action plan to stop this immediately? What do you commit to in ending this suffering of people in your custody?”

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Playlist

SWOP Behind Bars with Jill McCracken: Sex Work, Incarceration, and Intersections

Sex Worker Outreach Project Behind Bars w/ Dr. Jill McCracken

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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.”

More about SWOP Behind Bars can be found at https://swopbehindbars.org and more about SWOP in the U.S. in general can be found at https://swopusa.org with other groupings findable online. You can email Jill’s group at swopbehindbars@gmail.com, find them on twitter or fedbook!

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.

Announcements

Blue Ridge ABC events

First, a reminder that Blue Ridge ABC has a plethora of events this coming weekend here in Asheville starting 6pm sharp on Friday, Feb 1st at Firestorm with a showing of Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey with Mumia Abu-Jamal about the prisoner, his writing and struggle for freedom. Then at 8pm, VVITCHGANGCoven will present a showcase of local talent from their crew and beyond at The Mothlight. Local Hip Hop and Beats, ya know? It’s a benefit for Blue Ridge ABC, so come visit the table. And on Sunday from 5-7pm at Firestorm, BRABC will host it’s monthly political prisoner letter writing event.

Resist the KKK in GA, Feb 2nd

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

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Playlist

J20 Court Updates + Perspectives on the SESTA-FOSTA

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In this week’s episode of The Final Straw Radio, we have three segments on two subjects. This week there’ll be no Sean Swain segment due to technical difficulties, but we hope to be hearing his clarion call towards dancing around the ashes of swivelization next week.

In part one, I spoke with Friday, a former J20 defendant and a supporter of the remaining 59 facing charges. We talk about the arrests, the case so far, what we saw come out of the first trial group in November of last year and the upcoming trail date set for April 17th, 2018. On Monday and Tuesday, April 2nd and 3rd there will be a call-in campaign for the for U.S. Attorney Liu to #DropJ20 and on Tuesday, April 10th there is a call for a day of solidarity with the J20 defendants. More info on that can be found in this episodes show notes or up at defendj20resistance.org alongside printable pdf’s plus ideas for solidarity actions alongside the #’s and scripts for the call-in campaign.

In part two of this episode, we’ll be airing a statement from episode 24 of the Hotwire. Here, you’ll hear LX, an anarchist and sex worker in the Midwest, where they’ll talk about their perspectives about the impacts of the laws, as well as views of recent struggles among strippers in NYC, NOLA & RVA, tools sex workers have made for themselves to share information, as well as words of encouragement for sex workers and ways that non-sex-workers can offer solidarity . You can find a full transcript of what LX has to say, alongside the rest of the Hotwire episode which we recommend giving a gander and listen, at their website.

Following LX’s breakdown of the law and some of the views around it, you’ll hear William Budington in the inaugural episode of season 2 of the occasionally weekly tech podcast from an anarchist perspective, #error451. William (a tech expert and trainer who is employed at the Electronic Frontier Foundation) breaks down the development of SESTA (which has been folded into the now-passed FOSTA (or Fight Online Sex Trafficking)) ACT, which awaits Trumps signature. The bills posed as anti-sex or human trafficking laws, however William argues, as do many groups who fight against sex trafficking in the U.S. plus consensual sex workers and their advocates, that FOSTA will hurt adults engaging in erotic services and drive them into the shadows where they in fact face more dangers, that FOSTA will take tools from their hands in keeping safer, and that even the US Department of Justice has warned that the Act will making finding and prosecuting actual human traffickers much, much harder.

Though there’ll be some overlap in what is said between William and LX, we wanted to keep the two presentations intact.

A few links that both folks mentioned to pay attention to include: Tits And Sass ; SWOP ; Tech Dirt #157 ; Strippers organizing in NOLA ; Desiree Alliance ; Survive The Club ; An informative IGD article we pulled some links from with MORE INFO.

A quick announcement about former black panther and political prisoner, Herman Bell. Herman has been in prison for 45 years for the killing of two police officers during his time with the Black Liberation Army. He has expressed remorse for the killings and family members of one dead cops has expressed that they want Herman released. He has been granted parole to be released on April 17th but there has been a pushback by the Policeman’s Benevolent Association in NY state and they’ve been backed by Mayor deBlasio and Governor Cuomo in attempting to block Herman’s release. If you want to help press back, you can:

Here are THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW to keep the pressure on in support of Herman Bell::

  • CALL New York State Governor Cuomo’s Office NOW
    518-474-8390

  • EMAIL New York State Governor Cuomo’s Office
    https://www.governor.ny.gov/

    • Script for phone calls and emails:
      “Governor Cuomo, my name is __________and I am a resident of [New York State/other state/other country]. I support the Parole Board’s decision to release Herman Bell and urge you and the Board to stand by the decision. I also support the recent appointment of new Parole Board Commissioners, and the direction of the new parole regulations, which base release decisions more on who a person is today than on the nature of their crime committed years ago. Returning Herman to his friends and family will help the heal the many harms caused by crime and decades of incarceration. The Board’s decision was just, merciful and lawful, and it will benefit our communities and New York State as a whole.”

  • TWEET at Governor Cuomo: use the following sample tweet:
    “.@NYGovCuomo: stand by the Parole Board’s lawful & just decision to release Herman Bell. At 70 years old and after more than 40 years of incarceration, his release is overdue. #BringHermanHome.” 

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