Secondly, our comrade and sometimes contributor Disembodied Voice shares several short interviews with members of politicized prisoner Keith Malik Washington’s support team.
Comrade Malik, as he is known to his friends and supporters, is currently in solitary confinement in Texas at Eastham Unit, where he was placed as retaliation for coordinating a work stoppage during last year’s nationwide prison strike on September 9th. In addition to his work around the End Prison Slavery movement, Malik is a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW and the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party prison chapter, and is active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign.
Malik has an extensive network of support nationally and even internationally, both within and outside of the anarchist community. The interviews we will share today show the diversity of backgrounds, motivations, and stories that go into forming a support network for those engaged in revolutionary struggle while incarcerated, which is to say, from behind enemy lines. The conversations cover a wide range of topics, including a look at the range of issues prison activists like Malik work around; the kinds of relationships prison activists form with their supporters on the outside; the importance of being in solidarity across identities and political labels; and what a revolutionary abolitionist movements means to the people doing this work.
As Malik would say: DARE TO STRUGGLE. DARE TO WIN. ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE.
Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington
2665 Prison Road #1
Lovelady, TX 75851
The audio for these interviews is a bit rough because the interviews were done somewhat on the fly. Stay tuned (look for?) a transcript of these interviews in order to make comprehension a bit easier! It should come out sometime within the next two weeks.
Dear listeners, we would like to invite you to give a listen to the newest edition of the International Anarchist Radio Network’s monthly podcast, B(A)D News: Angry Voices From Around The World, fresh for September 2017. This 4th episode, available at our website, is about 45 minutes of updates from projects based in the UK, Chile, Greece, the Aegean Sea, Germany, El Salvador and from us!
Feel free to give a listen to ARadio Berlin’s Charlottesville reportback episode, done with none other than your host William Goodenuff. This was geared toward an international audience, so the news may not be new to a US based listening crowd, but if you want to hear why one of your hosts has been a lil absent for a sec, this is why. Everything’s fine tho, and I’ll be back to opine over the airwaves next week.
This week we feature an interview with Freddy, who is a member of the autonomous youth collective in Belgrade, Serbia known as Koko Lepo. We speak about the origins of the collective as growing out of a self organized kindergarten primarily for Roma children, about solidarity between anarchists and Roma people in Belgrade, about some history of the region, and about the complex nature of solidarity itself.
It should be mentioned though, that due to a very unfortunate technical error, we lost the final 13 or so minutes of this interview, many apologies both to you – dear listeners – and to our guest. Just to give you a broad picture of what we talked about, we touched a bit more on the complex nature of actual solidarity, and made the point that sometimes so called “real” solidarity can look somewhat ordinary or boring. We also spoke more about the tour that Freddy just concluded with a stop in Asheville, and about challenges that the various audiences brought to the talks he did, in particular the question of race, racism, and ally complexes. Our guest brought up the point that there have been various conversations about this topic in the US that have not happened – or have not happened in the same way – as they have in Belgrade. He was particularly excited to engage with American audiences about this issue, and said a lot of really cool and poignant things which we are unfortunately unable to share with you. Though if you would like to write to this project you can email them at kokolepo(aat)riseup.net and get in touch with them on facebook by searching kokolepoav
However, all of this perhaps gives us the opportunity to share more in depth than we may originally have been able some of the musical projects that our guest recommended. It also bears mentioning that mutual aid in the form of money donations most often happen for this project in the form of music shows, punk, metal, hardcore, or other varieties. If you feel so moved to, please feel free to make a solidarity show in your town!
The first project we’ll share is a Roma language hip hop project called Lord Kastro with Djelem Djelem. The next is a track from a hardcore project called Katma, the singer of which is one of the co-founders of the original kindergarten. The third is another track from Gipsy Mafia (an antifa Roma hip hop group, a track from which opened up the show as well) with “Ava Kari”.
Here is an update from comrades in Czech Republic:
On Friday 5-27-2016 in Pankrác remand prison anarchist Martin Ignacák accused of terrorism went on hunger strike. He did this because on 4-29-2016 the City court in Prague ruled in favour of his release from remand and the state’s attorney appealed this decision to the High court in Prague. On friday 5-27-2016 the High court in Prague extended the remand. Therefore the anarchist has decided to protest by going on hunger strike and has stopped taking in nutrition and liquids. This type of hunger strike threatens the life of the hunger striker after a week.
During the year long investigation of the preparation of a supposed terrorist attack the imprisoned anarchist has exhausted all legal options, to achieve objective procedure of the respective organs active in the criminal proceedings. None of them were taken into account. This is why he now chose this radical form of expression, to draw attention to this manipulated police case. ” I consider the approach of the investigators and the police to be very problematic, it is a threat to the freedom of every human being, a threat to freedom of speech, a threat to activism that tries to lead to a better world , and this doesn’t just involve anarchists.”
Martin has been prosecuted in the so called Fénix case since April 2015, in which 5 people altogether were accused of the preparation and the failure to notify of a terrorist attack on a train. Martin is the only one who has been in remand prison this whole time and his detention has now been extended after the intervention of the state’s attorney. As a reason for the extension of remand the state’s attorney used the testimony of a police agent who infiltrated the anarchist movement in 2014. From his testimony the state’s attorney drew the conclusion that Martin might attempt to escape to Spain. Another reason, according to him, was that Martin ” is connected to the so called Sít revolucních bunek/ The Network of Revolutionary Cells (SRB) and therefore also to similar organizations abroad.” The police spoke about SRB when they began Fénix and provided information to the media. ” Any connections between the 5 attacks ascribed to SRB and all the detained and accused have been refuted. The investigators themselves have ruled it out” says Martin.
At the moment Martin is the second longest detained prisoner in the Pankrác remand prison. For 13 months he has been living there under conditions that negatively affect his psychological and physical state. For example he has been refused food free of animal products, which means he practically doesn’t have access to hot food. Friends, who have come to visit him have been mentioned by name in the indictment. Police from the Department for combating organized crime have started to collect information on Martin’s sister, only because she tries to support her brother in whichever way she can.
For Martin parole would mean that after 13 long months he would again see his friends, family, nature, that he wouldn’t be exposed to emotional deprivation and physical hardship.
Update Sunday, May 29th: Martin’s sister Pavla B. joined her brother in the protest and this morning she has started hunger strike herself as well.
For more information follow https://antifenix.noblogs.org/
Our past interviews on AntiFenix can be found here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/?s=antifenix
This week, Bursts spoke with members of the University of Chapel Hill-based student group called The UNControllables. Created in 2012, the UNControllables regularly present anarchist, feminist, anti-racist and anti-authoritarian presenters from around the world to speak to the student body and members of the community, organize around student issues, incarceration, reproductive health, and much more. For the hour, members of the group talk about what they’ve done and upcoming events they’ll be hosting, in particular an upcoming event with CeCe McDonald, a Black Trans Woman & LGBTQ activist who went to prison for defending herself against a hate attack by a white man with a swastika tattoo on his chest and served about 19 months. She’ll be at UNC Chapel Hill at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture & History for free on Monday, March 21st at 7pm. Check the UNControllables’s fedbook page for details and updates.
A major focus of the discussion is the student and faculty opposition to the incoming president of the UNC systems, Margaret Spellings (#SpellCheck) this Tuesday at 11AM. The UNControllables knew of students at 7 of the 17 universities in the UNC system where student walkouts would lead to teach-ins and or protests around privatization of education and university services, threats to the continued cultures of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) and Native Universities in the UNC system. Spellings past as former Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush and was a prime mover in the No Student Left Behind project, a former Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a former Board member of the University of Phoenix (facing lawsuits by former students), advisor to Ceannate (a for-profit student loan collection agency)… wow. There’s also a discussion of current relations between UNC system and faculty, adjuncts and employees in these times of growing precarity. Aramark Industries, which provides “services” within the many prisons, detention centers and jails around the U.S. produces the food at UNC Chapel Hill, interestingly.
Some faculty and adjuncts in the UNC system have been organizing under the name of Faculty Forward – NC.
We also present a couple of announcements:
Anarchist prisoner Eric King has accepted a non-cooperating plea deal, which he;ll sign on March 3rd. If you’re in Kansas City, MO & want to attend his hearing on Thursday at 1:30pm (or for other updates on his case) check out http://supportericking.wordpress.com
A request for letters supporting parole for accused former Black Liberation Army militant and New Afrikan activist and accupuncturist, Dr. Mutulu Shakur (written by the doctor) is up on http://mutulushakur.com along with information of his recent denial of release after serving 30 years since his arrest on February 12th, 1986.
Thursday, March 3rd at 6pm at Firestorm , 610 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806, the Political Prisoners Letter Writing Night will be holding a do-over for the January 22nd Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity letter-writing night that was cancelled due to snow storms. Envelopes, paper, pens & postage will be provided. Check out the facebook event put on by Tranzmission Prison Project for more details.
Finally, there is a request for folks to seign a petition to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on behalf of Eddie Africa of the Move 9 following his 2 year hit during his recent parole hearing. The petition demands a federal investigation into the injustice and endangerment faced by the Move 9 To check it out, go to http://causes.com/campaigns/92454-free-the-move-9
This week’s episode features a conversation with Ron Sakolsky. Ron is a poet, an anarchist, a surrealist, a pirate radio broadcaster and author and more. Recently, Little Black Cart published a small book by Ron Sakolsky entitled Breaking Loose: Mutual Acquiescence or Mutual Aid? The essay is an anarcho-surrealist critique in which Ron levels a challenge to readers to move past (or break free) from the limitations we internalize from engaging with and within (as well as with others within) the systems of domination. In the conversation, Ron revisits the essay, breaks down some terminology and eggs the listener on to exercise their imagination and act from places of inspiration to apply direct action against the status quo. The essay it’s built off of can be found in Modern Slavery #1.
During the hour, we discuss that book, we chat about radio and Ron’s 30 years of radio experience starting in college radio in IL, later involved in the pirate station called Black Liberation Radio, publishing and promoting the building of micro-broadcast transmitters, and currently with Radio Tree Frog in the forests of Coast Salish Territories AKA British Colombia. He contributed to and edited the titles Seizing The Airwaves: A Free Radio Handbook (AK Press, 1998) and Islands of Resistance: Pirate Radio in Canada (New Star Books, 2010). A sample of featuring mostly content from the “Old Pal” show on Tree Frog radio is found here: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=tree+frog+radio&t=ffsb&ia=videos&iai=CACQMFIi9Pk
But first this announcement:
From <a href="http://angola3.orgThe International Coalition to Free The Angola 3 we have some breaking news on Albert Woodfox, aka Shaka Cinque:
From Friday, April 19, 2016
“Just moments ago, Albert Woodfox, the last remaining member of the Angola 3 still behind bars, was released from prison 43 years and 10 months after he was first put in a 6×9 foot solitary cell for a crime he did not commit. After decades of costly litigation, Louisiana State officials have at last acted in the interest of justice and reached an agreement that brings a long overdue end to this nightmare. Albert has maintained his innocence at every step, and today, on his 69th birthday, he will finally begin a new phase of his life as a free man.
In anticipation of his release this morning, Albert thanked his many supporters and added: “Although I was looking forward to proving my innocence at a new trial, concerns about my health and my age have caused me to resolve this case now and obtain my release with this no-contest plea to lesser charges. I hope the events of today will bring closure to many.”
Over the course of the past four decades, Albert’s conviction was overturned three separate times for a host of constitutional violations including prosecutorial misconduct, inadequate defense, racial discrimination in the selection of the grand jury foreperson, and suppression of exculpatory evidence. On June 8th, 2015, Federal Judge James Brady ordered Albert’s immediate release and barred the State from retrying Albert, an extraordinary ruling that he called “the only just remedy.” A divided panel of the 5th Circuit Court of appeals reversed that order in November with the dissenting Judge arguing that “If ever a case justifiably could be considered to present ‘exceptional circumstances’ barring re-prosecution, this is that case.” That ruling was on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court when news of his release broke.
On behalf of the Angola 3 – Albert Woodfox, Robert King, and in memory of Herman Wallace – we would like to sincerely thank all the organizations, activists, artists, legal experts, and other individuals who have so graciously given their time and talent to the Angola 3’s extraordinary struggle for justice. This victory belongs to all of us and should motivate us to stand up and demand even more fervently that long-term solitary confinement be abolished, and all the innocent and wrongfully incarcerated be freed.”
This week’s episode features a conversation with Francesca. Francesca is a student at the University of Bologna in Italy and is one of the people at the center of a wave of repression in response to ongoing autonomous organizing inside and outside of the University. The University of Bologna is the oldest, continuously operating public University in the world. Francesca is also a member of the Hobo collective, which runs an autonomous social space inside of the Poli-Sci department of the University.
In December of last year, after numerous marches and interventions around the city and university on a range of issues such as immigrant rights, precarity of employment, underpaying of university workers, increased cost and decreased quality of services at the university, affordable housing, the censure of political dialogue and more, the District Attorney of Bologna had Francesca and 5 comrades arrested as a preventative measure in order to stop their organizing and to terrorize the students and militants of the area. 4 students have been placed on house arrest in Bologna, making it quite difficult to make ends meet economically, and 2 were exiled from the city, thus cutting short their educational career. In response, a campaign called “#LibertaDiDimora”, which translates to freedom of home, was launched to respond to the repression of the 6 comrades and to continue struggles around freedom of movement and housing issues inside and outside of the university. More on student organizing around the world at http://commonware.org/
For the hour, we’ll be speaking with Francesca about her case, the campagn, the Autonomia movement which Hobo is alligned with, the monetization of education, precarity, internships, immigration in Italy, squatting and more. More at http://hobo-bologna.info
But, first a few announcements.
In the wake of the tragic murder of nine African American bible study members on June 17th, 2015 at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church by a white supremacist their was an outpouring of grief and solidarity expressed around the world. This was followed by a series of protests and direct-action removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the capital grounds in Colombia, South Carolina. The pressure built in other Southern States to remove the CSA Battle flag from their state flags resulting in blowback from some white folks to the removal of this “heritage” symbol that means oppression to so many others. Subsequent to the killings and flag debates, at least 6 black churches were torched between June 22nd and June 29th around the South East. Churches in: Knoxville, TN; Macon, GA; Charleston, SC; Elyria, OH; Tallahassee, FL. To top this, and never to lose an opportunity to display their pointy heads, the Klu Klux Klan has decided to call for a rally on the steps of the South Carolina State House on July 18th at 3pm and just as the racists will be coordinating to show up at the rally, so are anti-racists and regular-ass folks around the region. There are all sorts of calls for participation in all sorts of ways to counter a public display of hatred by the KKK. I hope to see y’all there. http://columbiascdemocallout.tumblr.com/
In a perfect segway, the next evening, July 19th 2015, folks are invited to come to the new location for Firestorm Books & Cafe at 610 Haywood Rd for a presentation by Saralee Stafford & Neal Shirley on their book, Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South. For our conversation with the Shirley & Stafford, check out this link.
A reminder to listeners with graphic talents, we’re soliciting designs for stickers, posters and more. The artists who’s designs are selected will receive a few prizes from our freeboxes (actually, some tee shirts and literature). We’re looking for the name of the show, our website and images that may reflect the project. We’re hoping it can be a tool for better advertising the project and getting more folks involved. You can email designs in pdf format to thefinalstrawradio(aat)riseup( dott)net or send them in physical form to, again:
The Final Straw
864 Haywood Rd
Asheville, NC 28806
Finally, I’d like to give a brief shout out to some other audio & video projects that have been kicking out the jams of late. If you’re familiar with The Final Straw, you may have heard some of their names on our 4th Anniversary show last year.
Check out the Free Radical Radio at http://freeradicalradicalradio.net for a mostly weekly mix of commentary, comedy, critique and always witty reparte.
For great action updates, audio documentaries, reviews and more, Crimethinc’s podcast called “The Ex-Worker” is not to be missed. You can find episodes at http://crimethinc.com/podcast, along with links and transcripts of the episodes.
WhichSide Podcast, which features hosts Jeremy Parkin & Jordan Halliday, did a great interview with Kevin Van Meter, contributor to the book “Life During Wartime”. Regular episodes feature chats on anarchism, activism, animal liberation, veganism and more. More can be found at http://whichsidepodcast.com.
Finally, I want to give a shoutout to The Stimulator & his f-ing show, It’s The End Of The World and We Know It (And I Feel Fine) for riot porn, interviews, commentaries, updates and stunning images and movie references. More from that project at http://submedia.tv
This week we have three segments for the audience.
First, we bring you segment from Sean Swain, an anarchist prisoner in the Ohio prison system. You won’t be hearing Sean’s voice on this recording despite Sean having his communication reinstated. The segment is about calls by members and supporters of the Free Alabama & Mississippi Movement of incarcerated workers for a boycott of McDonalds due to some of their exploitation of prison labor. More on FAMM can be found at https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/f-a-m-s-step-3-mcdonalds-initiative-s-to-p-the-school-to-prison-pipeline/
Next, William spoke with folks involved in the struggle to save the Che Café, a social space present on the University of California in San Diegos La Jolla campus. The Che Café is a 25 year running co-op space and venue that is now in danger of eviction by the University and is currently squatting their location. Check out the website for The Che Café http://thechecafe.blogspot.com. What you’ll hear is an anonymized version of the conversation for the safety of those in struggle with the campus. Thanks to the folks at the Ex-Worker for putting us in contact with the folks at the Café. You can find the text from William’s conversation later in this post
Finally, Bursts & William spoke with an anarchist resident of Olympia, Washington about the shooting of Bryson Chaplin & Andre Thompson, two unarmed young Black men by Officer Ryan Donald of the Olympia PD and some events that followed. Chaplin & Thompson, in two incidents on the night of the 20th of May, shot and seriously injured the men for allegedly trying to steal beer from a convenience store. The men were shot in the back, Bryson Chaplin being left paralyzed from the waist down. Over the next few days, rallies took place under the monicer of Black Lives Matter with hundreds entering the streets of Olympia. In response pro-cop rallies under the name of Blue Lives Matter (not a pro-smurf movement, sadly), in small numbers, countered the anti-murder demonstrations. As time went on, White Supremacists became more visible in attendance, which the police tried to distance themselves officially from. As more White Supremacists, some openly carrying guns, attended these events an Anti-Fascist march was called for. This escalated into the night of May 30th when police held back their presence and the anti-fascist march collided with the White Supremacists, including armed Citizens Patrols Militia members, Neo Nazis, and Third Positionists. As conflict ensued, the racists were chased from the streets of Olympia for the night and their manifestation has been resisted by Anti-Fa patrols. We spend a good portion of the hour talking about police power, institutional White Supremacy, anti-fascist organizing and some of the potential pitfalls of decentering struggle away from a critique of institutional power and towards the fringe reactionaries.
Relatedly, there has been a call-out for folks to engage in the July 25th 2015 International Day of Solidarity with Antifascist Prisoners. From the call-out:
“Antifascists fight against those who—in the government or in the streets—dream of imposing their fascist and other Far Right nationalist nightmares on the rest of us. Throughout the world, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant, and racist bigotries are on the rise. Antifas are on the frontline in confronting these reactionary politics, and we will not forget our comrades imprisoned in the course of this struggle.”
More can be found at nycantifa.wordpress.com
Also, to relate this to local issues to Asheville North Carolina, well-known character from the so-called National Youth Front, Daxter Reed has been attempting to recruit at our local community college, ABTech as well as around town and in the punk and metal scene. The goofball even tried to show up at the May Day rally holding a sign for NYF and was summarily run off. It should be made apparent that these nazis and their foolish antics are not welcome here.
First, though, The Final Straw is soliciting folks in the audience with design skills to submit sticker and poster designs to us. We’re hoping these stickers and posters can make their way out to bookfairs, conventions, manifestations and the walls and unsmashed windows of the world, widening our audience and spreading some audio-anarchy further. We’re looking for the designs to include the show name, our website at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org and either imagery or words pointing to the nature of the show. If you have a design, you can send a mockup or completed version to thefinalstrawradio(at)riseup(doot)net in pdf format. Designers of chosen images will receive some free swag from the Anarchyland.
Che Cafe : The Che café actually started as the Coffee Hut in the late 1960s. The project to build the café cost 15k and was funded by student fees alone. It was the first student center at UCSD that was both student funded and student run. It hosted and continues to host discussions that facilitate brainstorming of marginalized/non-main stream issues (race, social justice, climate change, non-hierarchical forms of student government, etc…)
CC : It had two main roles:
CC : 1) it was the campus social center where student group of all political persuasions and interests hung out and had discussions
CC : 2) the collective is an incubator for cutting edge, non-mainstream thought, and gave birth to innovative ideas and practices
CC : it’s also important because it’s a safe space where all students were and still are welcome to hang out
CC : especially at a time where oppressed peoples where facing violence. One example was where people in the lgbt+ community were facing violence. The Che held a series of lgbt sponsored non-sexist dances in the 80’s, providing a safe place where it didn’t exist elsewhere
WG : Gotcha, I wanna talk about safer space in a minute, but just to give some context will you describe the space for listeners who have never been there, is it more like a show space or do people live there too? Is it still a cafe?
CC : Do you want us to describe the space as it is currently or also as it has been historically?
WG : I was thinking more in terms of how it is today, just how it looks and feels to be there for the benefit of folx who haven’t seen it.
WG : But also if historical cues make sense I’d be into hearing that!
CC : Before the occupation, it was more of a hardcore punk venue for music. But with the occupation, it has expanded to become so much more
WG : What occupation do you mean?
CC : Well, the UCSD administration is trying to evict and destroy the Che Café. They served the eviction on march 23rd and we’ve been occupying the Che in resistance since then. 93 days and counting.
WG : Oh shit I didn’t know that there was an occupation!
WG : How has it changed since then?
CC : Regarding the events we’ve had since the occupation
CC : we’ve expanded our programming tremendously
CC : we’ve had political meetings. For example, hosting the IWW
CC : We’ve also had workshops, like zine making workshops, feminist workshops, vegan cooking workshops. And something called Fem Fest, which is a feminist centered festival. Speakers from all over have come to speak at the Che. We’ve hosted workshops with Synchronized Cycle, a feminist bike collective. We’ve had circle discussions talking about issues affecting the people. We had music events, such as Che Fest, which was an all day music festival. Bands played inside and outside, upwards of 20 bands played. Hardcore and Indie and Surf Punk.
We’ve also had movie nights, ranging from light hearted movies to serious documentaries, with discussions after documentaries, student film nights, documentaries made here, queer/feminist film nights
As far as music shows, for awhile, we stopped doing shows because we thought it would help our case with the university. The strategy killed momentum but it made us less of a threat. When we started doing shows again, the university started threatening us again. We had university security watching us.
We’ve painted the Che, touched up Mario Terero. He painted a lot of the murals. He’s a well known Chicano muralist and did some of the murals on the building. Students have also painted murals. One member of the collective wants to do a mural of a lot of Chicana feminist writers that have a lot of influence on the Chicano identities. The Che has always been a place for marginalized peoples, including Chicano people.
We’ve done record swaps, there aren’t many all-ages record swaps in the area. The Che has always been a space for all ages to be included.
There have also been open mic nights and poetry readings. This has been a recent thing that a lot of people have gotten more and more engaged with. We have prominent poets in San Diego and Los Angeles who will be featuring at the Che on July 24th
There’s also something that happens called the Co-op prom or Safe Space Prom: Co-op prom happens every year for all the members of all the co-ops on campus. Co-op members are super connected and this is yet another form of social bonding for us that can happen in a safe space with lots of political unity.
We also have Meatless Mondays: They’re nice because they get a lot of students to come to the Che. It’s really nice to have students out here. We used to sell vegan donuts and coffee. A lot of people who wouldn’t normally come would come and ask questions and talk to us about the space.
We’ve even had a play produced here called Sodom and Gomorrah
WG : Is the Che Cafe on UCSD campus itself? I’ve never been to San Diego.
CC : Yes, it is located in Revelle College. Revelle was the first college in this campus system, and currently there are 6 colleges in the UCSD system
WG : Gotcha, I think it’s really rad that it’s been a place for marginalized folks for so long. I’ve definitely known folks who held that space as really important for a long time.
WG : Is it ok if I go off script for one question?
CC : sure
WG : Without compromising your security/safety, has there been much solidarity with the Che from within the student population? Acts of support etc?
CC : The majority of occupiers have been students and there were also graduate students from UCSD that participated as well as outside help from UCSD alumni.
CC : as far as acts of support there have been minor acts like chalking and banner drops by students in support of the Che, as well as petitions etc
WG : Word.
WG : How often has UCSD issued eviction notices to the Che? And since the Che is not the only cooperative, does it similarly target other collective spaces on campus?
CC : I don’t have the exact number of times that the University has tried to get rid of the space but in its 49 years, it has been at least 10-15 times. We can give you a more accurate number if you like…?
WG : Gotcha. No worries on exact figures. I just wanted to get a sense of the extent that the University was trying to evict the space, and it seemed to me that they’d tried fairly often.
CC : Yeah, the Master space agreement for all of the other collectives on campus expire at the end of 2016, which is worrisome.
WG : Really quickly, what is the Master Space Agreement?
CC : the MSA is basically the agreement that (after much effort) allowed for these spaces to have the level of autonomy that they currently hold from the university, and it includes details on rent, etc. Kind of like a lease but a little more involved.
CC : To go back to the question of other evictions or threatened evictions, aside from collective spaces UCSD has in the last decade alone shut down CLICS ( a humanities library which was also occupied), Graffiti Hall, Porter’s pub, University Art Gallery, and the Ceramics Center
WG : That’s a crazy amount of resources shut down!
WG : What do you think the universities are trying to do? Is it a question of resources or control?
CC : Well, leading to why the university is trying to do, it might help to consider that the Che is physically located on the fringe of campus rather than prime real estate, it’s on the borders of a much more developed and built-up campus, but along with the cooperatives it is one of the few remaining establishments on UCSD run entirely by student and community members in the midst of a transformation of the university into a morass of private corporations and centrally-run “student” centers
CC : if you look at the corporate donor list for UCSD, it looks like you lined up a 100 NASCAR drivers
CC : There’s been a lot of construction on UCSD campus and two of the companies doing that are corporate donors not to mention that UCSD gets 2.5 billion dollars in funding from the Department of Defense, there’s an entire research center dedicated to drones and a bunch of other surveillance research is done here, and a lot of military research in general
WG : Holy shit! I had no idea about all of that.
WG : That definitely puts the eviction attempts in a totally new light, thanks for going into that.
WG : So as per the Master Space Agreement, the Che is a relatively autonomous space from UCSD?
CC : yes
CC : But the attack on collective and social spaces is not isolated to just UCSD. It has been happening elsewhere. We were talking to someone who went to UC Davis and the same stuff that has been happening here has also been happening there It’s systematic. And from what we heard, they’ve been trying to shut down the co-ops at UC Davis repeatedly
WG : That’s so brutal.
WG : What will it mean for the students if the Che gets shut down?
CC : If the Che gets shut down, that means the university will likely increase the pressure on all the other co-ops because the Che getting shut down would set a precedent.
CC : And like we said before, the Che has a long history of being an alternative community and social space for alternative and marginalized students and community members in general. It still very much is this for the community, despite pressure from the University. If we lose the Che, marginalized students and community members will lose a space that’s important to diversity of thought and expression. Keep in mind that the Che is a very long time part of the UCSD campus, even before it called the Che, back to the 60’s and 70’s.
CC : In addition, without this space, it will be harder for marginalized students and community members to resist against university policies.
WG : For sure. This is such a brutal example of how expression and politics are being increasingly curtailed by institutions.
CC : Yeah, it’s all about control. About shifting the university from a public to private model through any means necessary for the UC system in general.
WG : Agreed! It certainly looks that way to me.
CC : Additionally, an interesting note is that the current head of the UC system, Janet Napolitano, used to be the secretary of homeland security.
WG : Thaaaat just totally blows me away.
WG : You’ve already outlined the political and cultural place that the Che holds on campus, but could you talk about what it means for students to have a safe space within the context of the university?
CC : Could you clarify that question please?
WG : The question may actually be redundant, now that I come to think of it. I was wanting to get a sense of how large a part the Che played within the student body of holding safer space for folks, but I actually think we’ve touched on that sufficiently?
CC : Oh yeah, we can touch on that question
CC : The Che as it is today is unfortunately unknown to most of the students because the campus is so spread out.
CC : the Che, before it was even the Che, used to be the center of student life at UCSD during the 60’s and 70’s, being in the middle of the Revelle College.
CC : But there’s been purposeful expansion since then that has made it harder for students to gather in autonomous spaces, but the Che is still one of the main punk and anarchist spaces in San Diego.
WG : Wait, on of the main anarchist spaces in all of San Diego??
CC : Yeah! In my experience, I haven’t seen many other anarchist spaces in this town, the Che seems to be the main nexus for anarchists in the city
WG : Gotcha.
CC : Social spaces on campus have really shifted from autonomous student spaces to corporate spaces like the Price Center (*note: this is the largest so called “student” center in the country and hosts many capitalist ventures like fast food restaurants and a movie theater, it has over 30,000 visitors a day).
CC : And we have important safe spaces on campus like the Woman’s Center, the LGBT Center, the Black Resource Center, and other important spaces, but none of these spaces are as autonomous as the Che. They’re politically progressive where we’re more anarchist, and are unfortunately more beholden to the University
WG : Yeah, that makes total sense. It’s so important to have spaces for anarchist folk.
CC : yeah, basically
WG : Did you get a chance to read the statement from the Hobo space in Bologna? If so, do you have any words for those folx?
CC : Yeah, we read that statement
CC : And we definitely stand in solidarity with the students and community members resisting in Bologna
CC : We shouldn’t just defend and preserve the existing autonomous spaces but expand and open up more of these sort of spaces. The stronger the network of autonomous spaces for anarchists and radicals, the easier we’ll be able to resist against Power. We encourage the leftist, radical, and anarchist to defend existing spaces and open up more of these spaces by any means necessary.
WG : Totally agreed. I know they’ll take strength from that.
WG : Is there a way for people who aren’t in your area to help with the struggle concerning the Che?
CC : Yeah, definitely.
WG : And is there a way for folks to keep apprised of how y’all are doing? A website?
CC : Oh yeah, we have a facebook page, which is facebook.com/che.cafe.collective
CC : And the Che has a webpage which is thechecafe.blogspot.com
CC : and in regards to support
CC : People should get involved more with the struggle for the Che and the co-ops. Join the occupation if you can. Put pressure on the administration in whatever ways you can. Donations also help with legal funds, and we have a paypal account. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need more support from the media. If you’re in the media, contact us. Spread the word that we’re still alive and still fighting. Encourage people to come to meetings. Help us occupy. The more people who resist with us, the better. If you have an event you want to do, you’re welcome to do it in the space as long as you put it through the collective process. Send resources like vegan food and books and anything else. Volunteers to help clean up are also really appreciated.
CC : Also, Pressure the vice chancellor and the chancellor to stop evicting the Che.
CC : We have a meeting with the Chancellor on July 15th and the more support we have at that meeting, the better.
WG : Let me know how it goes and I can report in on the radio. Also are there contact details for the VC and the chancellor?
CC : Yeah, we definitely will keep you updated, and the web page with all that contact info is chancellor.ucsd.edu/cabinet
WG : Gotcha. That’s all the questions I have, do y’all have anything else you wanted to close on?
CC : In regards to that, it’s important that we fight for these spaces because it’s in these spaces where we’re more free: free of the majority of the power dynamics of our society.
CC : and fighting for these spaces ultimately will lead us into fighting against Power itself so we can ultimately abolish authority and power and live a free life where we decide what we want do, no one else deciding for us, no politician or boss, but us living lives of true joy.
WG : Totally agreed! Thanks so much for taking the time to have this interview! Keep us posted, stay safe. Solidarity to yall.
This week we spoke with Dawn Marie Paley. Dawn came onto the show last year to discuss her essay, Drug War Capitalism. Dawn is now about the publish a book by that same title with AK Press.
On September 26, teaching students from the leftist Normalista College in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico, protested in the city of Iguala against public policies and in remembrance of the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre in the run-up to the Olympics. In response to the protest, their buses were fired upon by about a dozen police vehicles later that day. Following that, 57 of the normalista students were detained, with 14 later returned. That leaves 43 unnaccounted for, rabble-rousing students in southern Mexico who’ve been disappeared. Soon the story that Narco’s had taken the students from the police emerged but was withdrawn. The police chief and the Mayor are on the run. The search for the students brought news of 11 recent mass graves discovered in Iguala which an Argentine group is investigating, despite interference by the government. Protests have spread across Mexico, from the burning of the State Congress building in Guerrero to the blocking of freeways in Michoacan to demonstrations in Mexico City and abroad.
Dawn tells us about the overlaps between Narcos and the Mexican State in such state crimes as this and the involvement of U.S. policy/training/weapons & money in the formation of the Mérida Initiative (Plan Mexico) and creation of Drug War Capitalism seen in so many countries in Latin America. Also, this new moment that appears to be flowering in Mexico where people, despite the fear of the impunity of their attackers and the spinning of their webs, are talking and acting against government as a solution and seeking answers in their own hands.
More of Dawn Marie Paley’s writings can be found here: http://dawnpaley.ca/
The action plan of the Ayotzinapa Rural School in the National Assembly: http://www.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/31942
Pretty impressive videos found on this page: http://revolution-news.com/mexico-government-palace-guerrero-burned-normalistas/
The playlist can be found here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/10506
This week’s show features the second part of my conversation with Maria
about anarchist perspectives on the student strikes in Montreal,
Quebec. Maria continues to draw the history of this last year of
student strikes that have developed into a nascent social strike and
talks about the call to help block the start of the next semester in
early August of this year
The second half of this episode features music from and about the
struggle of Miners against the bosses and the state and for survival and
self-determination. The playlist can be found here.
This week’s show features a conversation with Maria, an American-born anarchist and former University student living in Montreal, Quebec. Maria shares with us the context of the student and social strikes of earlier this year in this conversation.