This week, we’ll be featuring two segments, one on state repression against anti-racist organizers in rural Upstate South Carolina [10min 21sec] and on an upcoming documentary series on access/non access to mental health infrastructure for transgender people living in Appalachia [41min 39sec]. Plus, words from Sean Swain [3min 22sec]!
Facing Down FBI & Nazi Pressure in SC
First, Bursts shares a conversation with activists from the Scuffletown Anti-Repression Committee and the Michigan Anti-Repression Committee, left legal defense groups from vastly geographically distant areas of the so-called U.S. They are talking about the case of repression in what’s called the Upstate, or northern part of the state of South Carolina in the south eastern U.S., where anti-racist and anti-fascist activists have been surveilled, intimidated, harassed, detained while naked at home and arrested by local and Federal Law Enforcement, including the FBI, apparently on behalf of the local white supremacists. The agent having made such disclosures is named FBI Special Agent Tanya Evanina. You can learn more, keep up on the situation and donate to their legal support at norepressionsc.home.blog. A longer version of this chat will appear in the podcast edition, alongside Sean’s segment for this week, cut due to time concerns from the broadcast, alongside a couple of announcements.
Resources pointed to by the guests include BARC and the EFF.
Just a heads up that when the activist from STARC references A12, it’s short hand for the fight against white supremacists in the streets of Charlottesville, VA, on August 12th, 2017.
Trans Resiliency and Mental Healthcare access in Appalachia
For the second segment, I (William) had the chance to talk with Basil Soper, who is a writer, filmmaker, and a man of trans experience from the Appalachian region. He is the founder of the education and advocacy group Transilient (@wearetransilient on Instagram), which seeks to uplift trans voices and trans experiences, and to also connect folks with resources from a place of relative safety and understanding. This group is seeking to undertake a documentary series focusing on mental health resource access for trans people in Appalachia. They are in their very last push of fundraising currently, and if you would like to see more about this project and get in touch with them, you can go to wearetransilient.com , and you can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also go right to their Kickstarter for the best way to donate! The deadline is June 23rd, so smoke em if you got em. Also stay tuned for less money oriented ways to support this project!
In this interview, we got to talk about many different things, about the social construct of Appalachia and where that might have originated, the people who actually live here, mental health concerns that trans people can face, plus many other topics. This interview was a really nice experience for me because I got to talk with another trans person from a working class, rural background about things we both personally understand.
So I had some technical difficulties which I was unaware of in the moment, the result of which some of my audio sounds a bit static-y. This is something I’m working on correcting for future episodes, thanks for your patience!
ICE Activity in WNC
If you’re in the Asheville area, be aware that Immigration officers were responsible for kidnapping four individuals in Henderson County to our south last week. They are changing their tactics to blend in better, sometimes using vehicles that look like work trucks with ladders on top or mimicking the appearance of anti-ice activists at times. If you’d like to get involved and join community resistance to ICE tearing apart our families and communities, consider checking our show notes for a link to get involved or reach out to CIMA via their website and click the “get involved” tab.
If you care to kick some dollars to our podcast, check out our donate/merch page which also features t-shirts and other items up for sale to support the show.
SC Prisoner Speaks + Resisting Nuclear Waste in Bure, France
This week, we feature two audios with y’all. The voice of a prisoner in SC as the 2018 #PrisonStrike ends and someone resisting Nuclear Waste in Bure, France.
South Carolina Prisoner, “J”
First, “J” is in segregation in a South Carolina prison. He does not give his full name or the prison he’s inside for reasons of personal safety. You’ll hear him share a bit about his experience of the prison strike from the inside, the repression of prisoners at his facilities, prisoner unity in the strike,the high costs of living in prison and poor quality of food and other goods available and the red herring of administration that cell phones are the cause of violence. He shares condolences for families of those who were killed at Lee Correctional, the guard-instigated violence in April that sparked the call for the Nationwide Prison Strike. J also shares his thanks of outside supporters who have demonstrated outside of his facility, IWOC in particular and those who’ve helped to carry prisoners words around the world.
After that, for the bulk of the episode shares words from Daniel, who is involved in resistance to the building of a nuclear waste storage facility in the Gran Est (formerly Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine or ACAL) region near the French border with Germany. This infrastructure mega project threatens to poison the ground-water that feeds Paris, poison the ground in Gran Est and for villages like Bure where Daniel is based, and the resistance to the CIGEO storage facility has been met by harsh government repression and a heavy response police response. Daniel talks about the energy infrastructure in France, the military and colonial connection with the fuel of Uranium, comparisons to the ZAD at Notre Dame de Landes in Western France, resistance to other damaging power sources like in the Hambach Forest against a huge lignite mine in Germany and a few words about anti-pipeline struggles in the U.S.
We experienced some technical difficulties during the Bure interview, so for about 15 minutes there is a buzz. We hope that you will power through and listen carefully through the audio because the information is very interesting. After that time, it clears up and Daniel is far more listenable.
Here are a few references Daniel makes, such as the Tarnac Case, the ZAD (our interviews on the ZAD) , Hambach Forest (including interviews by crimethInc and us). The deforestation may happen this autumn, so actions in Bure (which is bristling with police who detain and inspect people). You can find out info in French at https://vmc.camp (most updated) that can be put through a translator or a less-updated English-language version at https://en.vmc.camp or one in German at https://de.vmc.camp that’s slightly more updated. And Unicorn Riot did a piece last year contextualizing the ZAD NDDL, Hambach Forest resistance and struggle in Bure.
If you’d like to hear an update and call-out about resistance in the Hambach forest by audio comrades from Infolara in Switzerland, check out the link in our shownotes. This audio will be a part of the next edition of B(A)DNews: Angry Voices From Around The World, produced by the International A-Radio Network of Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarian radio and podcast projects, of which we and Infolara are members. B(A)DNews is a monthly, English-language podcast (sometimes with a Spanish-language edition) released in the middle of each month. Stay tuned for that and you can find past episodes at A-Radio-Network.Org
Resisting Neo-Confederates and Nazis in Eastern TN
TriPride will be held in Johnson City, TN and will march through downtown, starting at 101 Commerce Street. Tennessee LOS coordinator Tom Pierce has called for a protest to happen along the march route. Pierce helped organize a similar protest against a Pride march last June in Knoxville.”
“We’re calling for folx to organize autonomously for this event. The fascists could show up on any part of the march route so be prepared to visibly or physically block them from interfering with the pride march.”
Check out the IGD article to see the full, article.
Rashid In Danger of Punitive Transfer
The prominent voice featured in last week’s episode of The Final Straw, the political prisoner Kevin Rashid Johnson, is being threatened with another punitive transfer because of his organizing and speaking out. There is a hearing on Monday, September 10th in his prison in Virginia, the state in which he was captured before being transferred away. His past transfers have moved him further from his family, have resulted in beatings, medical neglect, threats, starvation other attacks by prison officials and other prisoners.
It would be awesome if you, dear listener, could take a moment to call and email tomorrow starting at 9am eastern time to the official in charge of interstate compact: Chief of Corrections Operations David Robinson. We can call the main office number at 804-674-3000 and ask to be transferred to his phone line. Robinson’s email address is email@example.com.
When leaving a message or talking to Mr Robinson, refer to Rashid by his legal name Kevin Johnson, and give his Virginia prison id # 1007485. Explain that he is better off in Virginia, that he has been subjected to serious human rights abuses during previous transfers. Over ten thousand people have already signed a petition demanding that he be released from solitary and that he not be transferred. More info at RashidMod.Com
Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar 2019
Pre-orders of the 2019 Certain Days Calendar have begun! For those who order now, calendars will ship around September 10th. You can order in the U.S., Canada and internationally at https://www.certaindays.org/order
The Ceratin Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal, Hamilton, New York and Balitmore, in partnership with a political prisoner being held in maximum-security prison in New York State, David Gilbert. Co-founders Robert Seth Hayes and Herman Bell were released from prison in 2018. The proceeds from Certain Days 2019 will be divided among these groups: Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Assoc. (Palestine), Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) and other groups in need.
Check out our interview with former Political Prisoner, Daniel McGowan, about the Certain Days calendar.
Update on Harm Reduction and Food Distribution in Asheville
The City of #Asheville just dropped their notice of violation against the 12 Baskets food distribution project out of the Kairos West community center, however is still retaining it’s attack on Steady Collective’s needle exchange, noloxin distribution and harm reduction program by an unprecedented challenge to Firestorm’s hosting of the project via claiming that Firestorm is operating a homeless shelter by hosting Steady Collective. This is idiotic. Distributing harm reduction tools to the public saves lives and providing a space for people to sit, read, access reading materials and the internet does not amount to a shelter. If you haven’t heard the issues, check out our August 12th interview with Hill Brown of Steady Collective and keep an eye on their social media presence as well as that of Firestorm. Also, consider a visit to their public event every Tuesday at Firestorm from 1:30 to 4pm.
On Thursday, September 20th at Firestorm Books & Coffee in West Asheville, NC, Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross will be packaging mail for prisoners. No experience needed, just show up ready to fold and address and stamp materials. Snacks and good company will be provided!
This week we continue our conversation with John, an anti-racist anarchist living in the U.S. South about thoughts and memories concerning the July 18th 2015 counter-demonstration to the KKK in Columbia, South Carolina. John also talks a bit about what he knows of the 1997 KKK march in Asheville, North Carolina and their subsequent patookis whoopin by the general population of Asheville.
But before we get there, we’ll hear some announcements, an important announcement by Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain. After those portions, we’ll hear an interview conducted by a member of the Durham Anti-Repression committee of anarchist prisoner Luke O’Donovan. Luke is in the middle of a 2 year sentence for defending himself against 5 homophobic attackers at a New Years Eve party in Atlanta at the opening of 2013. More on his case at http://letlukego.wordpress.com
For farther flung listeners, if you’d like to hear this show on a station in your area, you can simply email us for requests at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get a conversation started about making it happen.
On a separate note, for years the Iron Rail Book Collective has been one of the most socially transformative projects in New Orleans and has been part of a vibrant and growing anarchist culture in the city. Some of you may be familiar with it from the NASSN conference in New Orleans or the New Orleans Anarchist Bookfair. When the police closed the Iron Rail down through selective enforcement of code violations and forced it out of its long-time site several years ago this seriously set back liberatory politics in the city. There is a fundraising campaign going on to get a house in the Upper 9th Ward as a new home for the Iron Rail. A mere $4000 will secure the site and help start renovations. We would appreciate any help possible to get this important anarchist project reestablished. Please go to http://crowdrise.com/ironrail for information on the Iron Rail and the fundraising campaign.
A new insturrectional anarchist audio site has been launched called Resonance Audio Distro. On it you can find links to anarchist news sources in English, as well as a growing pool of recorded essays and zines. You’ll find such titles as “3 Positions against Prison” by August O’Clairre, “On The Continuing Appeal of Nationalism” by Fredy Perlman, “Revolutionary Solidarity: A Critical Reader for Accomplices” and more. Check it out at: https://resonanceaudiodistro.wordpress.com/
Also, the political prisoner birthday calendar for august 2015 is out! If you or someone you know would like to write political prisoners on their birthdays, you can view and download the pdf of this document at prisonbooks.info. These lovely rabble rousers would also like to announce that their comprehensive zine entitled How To Start a Prison Books Collective has been updated and is available for download and distro at that same address, http://prisonbooks.info.
If you’d like to learn more about the situation in Syria and the continuing repression by ISIS, you can give a listen to #’s 36 and 39 of the Ex Worker podcasts put out by CrimethInc. These give specific information on and interviews with participants of the Rojava Revolution. You can listen to all their podcasts at http://crimethinc.com/podcast and some more updates on the situation of PYD/PKK/International Brigade fighters can be found about repression in Turkey and Iraq.
Stay tuned next week on The Final Straw, same time same place, for an interview with organizers of the Resist 450 event to take place in St Augustine Florida in September of this year. The city of St Augustine – one of the oldest cities as we know them in the US – is slated to commemorate the 450th anniversary of colonization by Pedro Menendez and Juan Ponce de Leon. We’ll speak with Bobby C. Billie and Shannon Larsen of the Resist 450 Coalition about the history of this event and indigenous struggles in St. Augustine. More at http://resist450.wordpress.com
“I signed my transfer notice yesterday. I wrote everybody and gave them the Trumbull address. I got packed up today. Then the warden notified me that Central Office Anonymous Coward cancelled my transfer. Now I missed commissary and commissary won’t let me shop. I don’t even have soap.
Please let everyone know I’m not at Trumbull…”
We already sorted out the commissary issue, what we need now, is to get at the root of this, and so many other problems with SOCF. That means we need a concerted effort to address that Central Office Anonymous Coward: Trainwreck Trevor Clark.
Wanna help ruin Trevor Clark’s career? We hope so.
Here’s the deal: ODRC Counsel Trevor Matthew Clark is a sociopath who runs the ODRC torture program with his FBI buddies on speed dial, and he recently used his sock-puppet co-workers to harass Ben Turk and Ihsan purging them from Sean’s visiting list because Trevor Clark doesn’t like online postings. He also cancelled Sean’s transfer to lower security at the last minute. He wants to pull the plug on seanswain.org and turn Sean into his personal cat toy to swat around whenever feels like it. F this Ahole. It’s time for him to get disbarred, lose his job, and spend the rest of his miserable existence sleeping in his car. We can make that happen. It’s OUR world, and this creep is just mismanaging it.
We gotta swamp the right hierarchs with a million phone calls and letters. The more calls the better. Is that reformist? Well, yeah. But the direct action alternative doesn’t seem to be happening, so let’s do what’s do-able.
Trainwreck is an attorney, so if he loses his license, he loses his job and loses his power to mess with people. He ends up at a job asking you if you want fries with that.” So the right people to contact are:
Columbus Bar Association
175 South Third Street, Suite 1100
Columbus, Ohio 43215
For suggestions on talking points, more updates as they come and more of Sean’s writings, check out http://seanswain.org
This week we spoke with a supporter of Eric King. Eric is a 28 year old vegan anarchist in Kansas City, Missouri, who’s facing possibly life plus 20 years in federal prison for allegedly attempting to molotov a Senator’s office. No one was inside the building or in danger of direct injury. He has been held in Solitary confinement at CCA Leavenworth in Kansas for 6 months as a July 14th due to his potential life sentence. Eric’s trial has been pushed back to October 26th,
Click here for a firsthand account of anti-KKK actions that occurred Saturday, July 18th in Columbia, South Carolina that we received and wanted to share.
Interesting video and pictures from this event can be found at It’s Going Down, a new anarchist news site focusing mostly on North American struggles.
Now, an update from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee about the complaints of forced medicalization and medication of concerned prisoners at SECC outside of Charleston, Missouri. Sadly, time constraints made it so we couldn’t announce this in the episode, but here it is anyway:
“Update 7-15-15 ~ FINALLY!! A month and a half after receiving the first letter of complaint about psychological and medical torture, we received a letter from one of the people involved saying that things are getting better and they are working their way off the forced medication now. Many, many thanks to everyone who has participated in this calling campaign. This would not be getting better without all of your help. Please continue to stay in touch with us by liking the IWOC fakebook page here https://www.facebook.com/incarceratedworkers “
Also from IWOC:
“You may be familiar with Ricky Kidd’s case of innocence and his request to have DNA from the crime scene tested is being considered in Jackson County Courts. To find out about his case you can go to http://freerickykidd.com
In the meantime, Ricky is fighting another battle with the MO Department of Corrections that could lead to losing a leg or even his death. Ricky is a diabetic and has a soft tissue sore that has gotten into the bone of his leg and created a condition that is potentially life threatening. He was diagnosed with Osteomyelitis about four months ago, a condition that if it had been properly treated at the time would have healed by now. The proper treatment is a 6 week course of very strong antibiotics administered via an IV. The DOC has been giving Ricky an Oral antibiotic every other week and now the infection has moved from the tissue to the bone and is putting him at risk of losing his leg. The medical personnel have told him his situation is dire and must be properly addressed immediately as there is not only the risk of amputation but a risk of death if this infection migrated to his bloodstream.
Please call the Missouri Department of Corrections at 573-751-2389 and request to speak to Adrian Hardy in the Medical Division. You must reference Ricky Kidd # 528343, he is housed at Crossroads Correctional Center. They probably will not transfer you and will tell you that Harriett Clark is the contact person for this case. Register your concern and then call again the next day. We cannot allow this innocent man to be maimed or killed by the DOC by neglect or malfeasance.
Please forward this to your friends, associates and State Representatives, as well as post to FB where you can. We need a flood of calls to help get Ricky proper treatment.
Here is that account of the KKK getting trounced in South Carolina on July 18th:
“Yesterday in Columbia SC the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan assembled in order to protest the removal of the Confederate flag from the state house. I’m told that their permit was originally set to accomodate 100-200 people. However, this pathetic organization has dwindled in numbers since its heyday in the 1920s, and there were fewer than 75 klan present at any given time. This event happened on the same day as an anti-colonial and antiracist event was held in Tuscon to protest an islamophobic and white supremacist group, and is happening in the wake of a resurgence of white supremacist rhetoric and actions in this country. People came out in droves and showed the racists that they are not welcome in Columbia, or anywhere!
Despite the almost 100 degree weather and at least the 100 cops, paramilitary, and state troopers swarming the grounds, I’d say that there were at least 2,000 anti racists, anti-fascists, and community members present ranging from concerned clergy to the much maligned out of town anarchists of all races. I was in a group of caucasian folks and non black people of color, and it felt vibrantly good to show our faces in the midst of this crowd, which I’d say consisted primarily of black people of all ages and the remaining third were folks of other races. The solidarity in the crowd was palpable, with people starting conversations with strangers, helping others out with water, and looking out for each other in the face of police violence.
When I rolled up to the event, the anti conf flag counter rally on the other side of the state house was starting to wrap up. This seemed to be mostly made up of New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam members. The KKK harrassed these people with racial slurs when they themselves paraded up minutes later through a funnel of their cop protectors, brandishing confederate flags and Nazi swastikas and screaming “white power”.
They were instantly met with jeers and heckling from their numerous enemies, which reached such a pitch that it made one of the racists burst into tears. At one point, one racist got separated from his group and was surrounded by the crowd, which screamed at him to go the fuck home and things like that. One man got arrested at this point and carted off to the crowd yelling “let him go”.
The KKK then stood in the baking sun on the steps of the state house for about an hour. They roasted in the heat and waved their flags behind a phalanx of their pig handlers, all the while making pitiful attempts to engage the antiracist crowd, which had them outnumbered almost 27 to one. Some of their sympathizers who were dressed in confederate flag apparel were chased off the premesis during this time, including one homophobic preacher and one Nazi peace police who was attempting to verbally shame people into leaving the racists alone. Several of the klan passed out from heatstroke during this time, including one old racist who had to be carried away by the cops wrapped up in a confederate flag.
The police cut their flag waving rally short by an hour due to the numbers of antiracists, which were growing steadily. The real fun began when the klan began to move out to the parking garage where their vehicles were being guarded by even more police. The cops attempted to hoodwink the crowd into focusing on one exit of the garage, while the klan was exiting out of another around the back. When the crowd got wind of this, we took to the streets and ran around the building to confront the klan as they drove out of town. They mostly had their windows up, staring forward and looking beaten. One klansdude however became so enraged at the verbal attacks he was recieving that he drove his SUV into a pole, crushing the front end of the car which leaked radiator fluid all over the pavement. The cops were unprepared for this, and the car was surrounded by antiracists who pounded on the windows and hurled rocks at the damaged vehicle. The cops then forceably surrounded the car and drove the antiracists back. Several people got detained briefly by the police and then violently unarrested by their comrades at this point. After about half an hour of tussling between cops and antiracists, a perimeter was established around the car and it drove away amid more heckling.
After this time the crowd marched back up to the state house, where the few remaining klan supporters were confronted and driven out of Columbia. I’m not sure how many people got arrested, but I think it was at least 5 people, for disorderly conduct and assaulting an officer. I’d urge people to keep up with that news, and help with people’s bail however they can. Since this happened on a Saurday, I think people should be out by Monday.
Throughout all of this, it seemed very clear that the crowd had pinpointed their real enemies as being the police. While people were mad about the klan they were even angrier at the cops for protecting these Nazi racist scum. The weak attemts by cop sympathizers on the AR side to focus the crowd’s anger at solely the KKK were entirely unsuccessful. I think that this event will be one in a series of many active and vibrant displays of anti racist and anti white supremacist actions in this country. I hope that people are staying safe and keeping their friends close.
Toward a world without racism, without police, without jail cells, and without the klan.
Solidarity from a comrade in Columbia, South Carolina.”