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.
Last Tuesday morning, March 20th, 5 people with ski masks, armed with baseball bats and pepper spray entered a squat on the ZAD. They beat the people present, and took one of them, hogtied, with duct tape over his eyes and mouth. They put him in the trunk of a car and left. Further on, they beat him again, breaking an arm and a leg, before abandoning him on the sidewalk in front of the psychiatric hospital.
His "error" was to have acted concretely against a State sponsored project, in a way which wasn't aligned with the dominant strategy of the movement. That strategy being to invite the regional head of police, cops, and politicians onto the ZAD to negotiate with them.
We are long past the phase of trying to say nicely to certain groups that they are going too far, that they should put themselves into question, etc. We also find it just as problematic that there has been hardly anyone taking public position after this disgusting operation by some wannabe cops. In comparison, when some journalists invited by the ACIPA (local liberal group against the airport) got hit with a bit of compost, a bakery went on strike, the general assemblies had to change meeting place, people had their internet cut off, etc.
One part of the movement wants to win points with the State by doing the work of the police. They are giving offerings that they think the will motivate the State to give them presents in return. This repressive operation shows that no matter where repression comes from, it comes down to the same thing:
Punishing those who get in the way, threatening those who could. Taking advantage of police impunity by being part of dominant groups, better organized, and with more resources. Defending the interests of the State and privileged citizens with violence and rapports de force.
A lot of different individuals can be threatening to power, but repression is adapted to social class. People who are well connected, well liked, won't end up in the hospital- just have pressure put on them, insults, humiliation... But for someone who's more vulnerable. They are reproducing repression, even in its classist aspect. And even worse, the victim is put on trial that very evening in the general assembly of the movement.
By leaving the person in front of the mental hospital, the able-ist component is added. The psychiatric hospital is the place for the people who are bothersome. Either the people who did it didn't care about the risk he would be forcibly hospitalized, for example if he had had prior time spent in mental health facilities, or it would have made it easier to get him out of the way.
Reactionary forces in all their splendor. The crazy part is that there are still people who pretend that on the ZAD we try to organize without police or the justice system. That here is a "Commune", that here we're revolutionary.
For the legal team, this act represents what we've always fought against. We would like to make a reminder that a movement of struggle is not sheltered from relationships of inequality or oppression, even in their most violent expressions. We invite you to reflect and act, to avoid that in other struggles certain people take control to re-establish the power of dominant classes, and of the State.
-the legal team
-copains des bois
Bursts spoke with a comrade y’all might recognize, a Camille who lives on the ZAD, or Zone To Defend in Notre Dame De Landes, Britanny, France. Camille and Bursts spoke in January upon the announcement of the French government’s decision to cancel the building of an airport to replace the one in Nantes. After literally decades of struggle, and nearly a decade of squatting and on and off fighting of the cops who attempted to evict the community, the ZAD protests won. Sort of.
Camille and Bursts spoke on Friday the 13th, 2018, about the ultraviolence of the police in their destruction of 30 squats, profuse use of rubber bullets, tanks, tear gas, stun grenades and flash bangs, the resistance and injuries to ZADistes, farmers and elders who’ve come in to support, the recent article re-posted up on AnarchistNews.org accusing Appelistes of a beating, and other mostly depressing topics. Here’s the ZAD legal team response.
As of Saturday the 14th, there were 30 additional injuries in 3 hours reported officially by medics due to police violence (our guest calls this a conservative estimate).
Some other coverages we think are worth checking out to get some images and video of the proceedings and keep up on events as they unfold are:
First, we’ll feature some words that friends in central NC recorded of Elijah. Elijah was born and raised in Durham, NC, who was imprisoned in Alabama. Elijah was among many who showed up to resist a threatened march in Durham by the KKK after people began rising up and taking down white supremacist statues last falls. Elijah talks about incarceration, guilt, organizing and about getting out.
Secondly, William reads a statement about possible evictions by police beginning tomorrow on la ZAD (Zone A Defendre) in Notre Dame-de-Landes, Brittany, France. See the text below.
Finally, we are happy to be sharing a conversation that Bursts recently had with glo merriweather, ash williams & jamie marsicano. The three reside in occupied Waccamaw Siouan and Catawba territory, also known as Charlotte, North Carolina. glo, ash & Jamie speak about the events that led up to the Charlotte Uprising of 2016, the tumult after the police murder of Keith Lamont Scott, the police killings of black and brown bodies in the U.S., gender and state violence and resistance, the killing of Justin Carr, the police accusation of Rayquan Borum for that death and the repression being faced by glo merriweather and others at the hands of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. You can find out more about the work ash, Jamie & glo are doing by visiting the Charlotte Uprising FedBook, website or twitter. glo has a trial date coming up on May 7th. One way you can show support for them is to visit gofundme and donate to GetGloGoing!
On this episode, we’re gonna try a new thing with our announcements, by putting them at the end. Let us know what y’all think of this experiment. Keep listening after the final episode for some events we want to feature.
Evictions on la ZAD
Some months ago in January of this year, it was announced that the French government was abandoning the airport construction in Notre Dame Des Landes. As many listeners know, the defense project which is known world wide as the ZAD (Zone a Defendre or Defended Zone) has been the decades long collaboration between anarchists and anti authoritarians with farmers who have lived on the land for generations. In that time, the ZAD has become more than a defense project, it has evolved into a vibrant community with its own unique infrastructure, home to many people from many experiences and unregulated by the government.
This morning we got word that evictions are scheduled to be underway on the ZAD starting tomorrow. It may come as no surprise that the original decision to abandon the airport did not come without its own price tag, and conditions stipulating the boundaries and terms of continued occupation were leveled at residents. These conditions were a clear attempt on the part of the French government to regulate this community of resistance through manipulation and back channels, it was seen as such and people on the ZAD began preparing for eviction. There are currently 2500 riot police on the ZAD itself, with 1500 more standing by in nearby cities, and the much photographed barricade road has been taken by the police.
What is not currently clear is how the international community can help materially. This situation is still unfolding, and we are sure that there will be explicit calls for aid and for solidarity in days and weeks to come.
What is clear us is that the government feels the threat of intentional communities very sharply, feels threatened by communities and trends it cannot control. We have seen it time and time again from ZAD to Standing Rock to resistance to the Mountain Valley Pipeline: what does it say about government when a group of people defending the land provokes such an extreme response? We think there is something worth exploring here however it makes sense, with whatever tools you and your community may have.
Stay tuned to your favorite anarchist news sources for updates and further analysis on this situation!
Sean Swain Update
Sean’s off of hunger strike. We got news last week after the episode aired that he was on due to his communications being messed with. But, he’s back to eating and ranting and out of segregation. Get ready to hear more from here next week. If you miss the sound of his voice, check out his segments dating back to February of 2014 at archive.org
Punk Jeopardy in Asheville for J20 Defendants
This Tuesday, April 10thfrom 7-10pm at the Lazy Diamond bar in Asheville, there’ll be Punk Jeopardy to benefit J20 defendants. From the flyer: “Come out and show your support for the homies who went hard protesting trumps inauguration! Come out, drink, hang and test your knowledge of punk culture. Prizes for winners! Donations at the door.”
25th Anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising
The 25th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising is upon us, with folks still facing the death penalty for actively trying to bring a peaceful resolution. We hope to bring you more reflections on the events of April 1992 soon. More info and ways to get involved can be found here.
There’s a call out for art submissions for the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar. The theme for 2019 is ‘Health/Care,’ reflecting on the overlapping topics of health, care/caring, and healthcare. They are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 3,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world. They encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. They’re also seek submissions from prisoners – please forward to any prison-based artists and writers. The deadline for art submissions is May 18th2018. Check our show-notes for this episode for the full submissions request.
Stockholm Anarchist Bookfair
The 2018 Stockholm Anarchist bookfair will take place on June 2nd and third. They are launching a new fundraising campaign for the bookfair. The campaign will run from the first of April to the 13th of May on the Firefund radical crowdfunding platform. It is a crowdfunding campaign so they need as many people and organizations as possible to spread the word. They would appreciate it greatly if your group could share the link to the campaign as well as to their website in your own social media. Thank you for the help and we look forward to seeing you at bookfair.
This week on the Final Straw, we air two interviews.
In the first segment, we hear from two organizers with the Centro de Apoyo Mutuo or Mutual Aid Center in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Emilu and Kique talk about Caguas, about the colonial relationship between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico, the post-hurricane disaster relief they’ve been doing as a continuation of social organizing in the wake of that colonialism, and building a network of C-A-Ms around Puerto Rico. More on their project can be found on fedbook.
Then we hear from Camille, a resident of the ZAD in Notre Dame des Landes in Western France. Camille shares the news of the recent French government statement that they are cancelling the planned airport in NDDL, which has been a goal of social movements and the land occupation at the ZAD. More info on that project can be found at zad.nadir.org. To hear our past interviews on the ZAD, check out this initial interview, this response to major demonstrations in Nantes, this conversation with participants at ZAD du Testet, this response to the police killing of Remi Fraisse in relation to the ZAD du Testet and this interview from Dissident Island Radio about State of Emergency.
Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity, Event in Asheville
TOMORROW January 22nd is the 3rd annual Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity as initiated in 2016 by eco-anarchist prisoner Marius Mason. Last year’s call-out, plus a list of some events around the U.S. can be found at itsgoingdown. If you’re in Asheville, Tranzmission Prison Project will be hosting a card signing event and discussion at 7pm at Firestorm Books and Coffee. Cards will be supplied and it’s suggested to bring vegan snacks to share.
Breaking News from the VA NLG
Third Charlottesville Counter-Protestor Arrested
January 21, 2018:
Charlottesville, VA: Mr. Donald Blakney was arrested at his home on Friday by Charlottesville Police Department (CPD). He is charged with Malicious Wounding — a felony that carries a 5 year minimum and the possibility of up to 20 years in prison.
On August 12, he was physically attacked by a participant in the Unite the Right rally, who also yelled racist slurs at him. Later that fall, he was questioned by CPD and the FBI under the pretext of the ongoing criminal investigation into right-wing violence that day.
The charges against Mr. Blakney are apparently based in part on a video broadcast by the ABC News program 20/20 that depicts him at the scene.
Mr. Blakney is the third counter-protester to be arrested and charged arising out of the events in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017. Corey Long and DeAndre Harris are both also facing criminal charges. All three are Black men and local residents who were attacked that day.
Mr. Blakney was released on personal recognizance Friday. He has an arraignment tomorrow, Monday January 22 at 10AM in Charlottesville General District Court and is requesting that supporters come in solidarity. Mr. Blakney is represented by attorneys Sandra Freeman and David Baugh.
The Heat is On: Update from Blue Ridge ABC on Week 1 of #OperationPUSH!
One week ago prison rebels across Florida launched Operation PUSH. Their demands were simple: end prison slavery and price gouging, restore access to parole, and put an end to the brutal conditions they are subjected to daily.
Information has been slow to trickle out due to intense repression and communication blackouts, but we know there has been strike participation at 15+ prisons, and we know that support on the outside is growing, with 150+ organizations endorsing the action and major solidarity actions in Florida occurring at various locations, including a 5-hour long occupation of the DOC office in Tallahassee on Tuesday.
The repression is already starting to come down: people being thrown into solitary confinement; being threatened with violence; being bribed to end their action and inform on other strike organizers; being transferred to new facilities to disburse strike activity throughout the system and isolate people.
One disturbing feature of this repression is DOC’s focus on identifying specific groups coordinating support on the outside such as the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons and IWOC and disrupting prisoners’ communication with these groups.
Prison organizers who correspond with these groups are being targeted for having their “security threat level” increased–a practice that translates into greater isolation and harsher conditions of confinement. One prisoner was told point blank, “As long as you communicate with these people you’re always going to be labelled a security threat and you’re always going to be put under investigation.”
Communication has been curtailed so severely that it’s hard to know how much of an economic impact the strike has had so far; we do know that in some cases scab labor has been brought in to keep facilities running. This state of uncertainty is a strategy prison administrators use to sap organizing energy. As IWOC recently wrote, “a common theme among report backs is the attempt to sever communication in order to create the perception of inactivity and break the spirits of those participating in the strike.”
But strikers won’t be fooled so easily, and neither will we. We will keep showing up because those on the inside are putting it all on the line, and we are in absolute solidarity with their courageous acts of resistance.
NOW IS THE TIME TO STEP UP OUR SUPPORT!
– Letter writing to striking prisoners TODAY at Firestorm, 4pm
– Join the “phone zap” (calling campaign” TOMORROW, MONDAY 1/22! Go to incarceratedworkers.org to find the call script and make those calls!
Yesterday marked the year anniversary of January 20th, 2017. The by now all too familiar litany of charges, events, numbers, police tactics, and trials sometimes bears repetition at, but at other times can obscure the human element at play, lives that have been varying degrees of upended or lost in this process.
Three days ago on January 18th 2018, 129 of the original defendants were acquitted of all charges “without prejudice”, a phrase that sounds benign and even somewhat positive. In actuality, it is in place here to protect the plaintiff (in this case, the state) from the defendant (here, the 129) invoking a doctrine called Res Judicata (meaning “a thing decided” in Latin), which essentially states that someone cannot be brought up on charges for the same thing twice.
I think it is important to belabor this point, not in any way to nay-say the relief that anyone may be feeling right now or diminish some very very well deserved congratulations, but to say again and again that the state is not here to give anyone who opposes it relief, or joy, or a sense of justice. The daily realities of so many of us who resist the state by our actions, beliefs, or our very existence is proof enough of the state’s essential nature. This phrase “without prejudice”, when used in the case of a dismissal of charges, means legally that the original charges could be brought again at any time, as though those charges never existed in the first place.
This is a very smart move on the part of the courts. It seems very likely that this was a carefully timed mass acquittal, having little to do with meting out so called guilt or innocence, and everything to do with attempting to fracture support and stymie momentum. They can be seen to be throwing us a bone while actually going ahead with their original intention.
What is unfortunate for the courts is that support for the J20 defendants is not being taken in by this tactic. This is a time for us to focus all our resources on the remaining 59 defendants, keep an eye or two on the shenanigans of the court trying to pull legal fast ones over on our comrades, and take care of ourselves and each other cause this is far from over.
You can see a beautiful statement of solidarity with the remaining defendants at defendj20resistance.org, and as always, keep up with developments in this case by following the hashtags or handles related to “defendj20” on all your fav social media platforms.
To see a list of actions and endeavors in this anniversary week, you can go to itsgoingdown.org.
This week we’re speaking with Josie and Nathan of the project “The Spaces Between; A project about the rest of us”. This is a zine which is a compilation of interviews with anarchists who live in smaller towns, away from so called anarchist hot spots. In this zine, the interviewees illustrate what it is like to live outside of the spotlight in the anarchist culture and politic, further away from its attending benefits and downsides. These folks just yesterday finished touring with this zine, keep your eyes peeled for their next one though, which is tentatively scheduled for sometime later this year. You can read or download the full pdf of this zine and keep abreast of further doings at https://spacesbetweentour.wordpress.com/
New Book on La ZAD NDDL
We’d like to make an announcement for folks interested in learning more about La ZAD, the many year land occupation against the Airport in Notre Dame de Landes, France, the expansion of the nearby seaport, and the world that it would bring by a diverse mixture of peoples in the Brittany region of France. We’ve conducted interviews with activists from NDDL a few times on the show. Well, now the writer’s collective called Mauvaise Troupe has created a book on the subject that is available for free online and soon to be available in print. We at The Final Straw Radio would like to inform listeners that while this is by no means a definitive or objective view of La ZAD NDDL, it is an interesting and informative take on the land struggle and worth a perusal as food for thought. The text is recently translated by The Laboratory of Insurrectional Imagination and the text can be found online here
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.
We’d love to extend a loving thank you to the folks who attended and put on the benefit for The Final Straw last night at the Odditorium including the staff of that place, Ashley for putting the show together, the bands (being Asherah, Autarch, Desperate Measures and Lacrymosa), AshevilleFM staff who tabled, Asheville Anti-Racism and the lovely faces who attended. The show was a smash-bang success!
Anti-Fenix, CZ Republic
For the majority of this show, we spoke with Sascha and Igor who live in Prague about Operation Fenix, which began in April 2015 when the police of the Czech Republic commenced an operation against the anarchist, anti-authoritarian and animal liberation movement. During the course of this wave of repression, there were a number of house raids during which equipment was confiscated, and it has since come to light that agent provocateurs were used heavily in the arrests which took place. In this interview, we talk about how anarchists in Prague are handling this scrutiny, as well as ways to combat divide and conquer tactics used by cops, how the media is weaponized against anarchists, and what someone might do about these things.
We also present an update on the land occupation near the town of Notre Dame des Landres in France called la ZAD, which is a long running resistance against the building of an airport which would devastate the ecology of the area, destroy farmland, and evict many long term residents. This is specifically an update on the State of Emergency which has been declared and the call to action being requested. Included in the show is a statement read for us by a comrade in Asheville.
You can find the text of the post here, at the end of this posting.
But first, here is an announcement from the North American ABC network:
In February 2017, political prisoner Zolo Azania will finally be released from prison. He will have served 35 years, 27 were on death row. During his final year inside, Zolo wants to participate in the Indiana Dept. of Corrections (IDOC) Work Release Program.
As Zolo says: “I want to be moved into some type of viable program so that I can gain additional life skills in preparation for my re-entry into the community.”
The IDOC should grant Work Release to Zolo based on the person he is today, his record of good behavior, his re-entry needs, and Indiana’s commitment to rehabilitation. However, the IDOC has denied Work Release for Zolo, apparently based on the fact that he was convicted of murder– 34 years ago.The IDOC’s denial of access to Work Release for Zolo is unfair and unwarranted!
PLEASE CALL, EMAIL OR WRITE TO COMMISSIONER BRUCE LEMMON, INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND SAY:
(1) Offer Zolo the kind of re-entry plan he deserves: Work Release (WR)
(2) After 34 years Zolo needs WR to gain skills and money necessary for re-entry
(3) Zolo is a model prisoner and has shown a commitment to better himself
(4) Evaluate Zolo based on who he is today, not on his 34-year old conviction
COMMISSIONER BRUCE LEMMON
Address: 302 West Washington Street, Room E-334
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
To find more information about this issue, and for access to a sample letter to send to Commissioner Bruce Lemmon, you can visit http://www.zoloazania.org and if you like you can call the number 773.425.6716 to contact supporters.
Jared “Jay” Chase of NATO3
The following is an excerpt from an article entitled
*Last member of ‘Nato 3’ may die in prison from Huntington’s Disease*
by Kevin Gosztola
Jared Chase is the last member of the “NATO 3,” who remains in prison. Chase suffers from Huntington’s disease and faces additional charges for an alleged aggravated battery against a prison guard. He is set to go on trial
in April. If convicted, there is a significant chance Chase could die in prison because of how his imprisonment has compounded the effects of this neurodegenerative disease.
In May 2012, Chicago hosted a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting to discuss policies in the Afghanistan War. A number of activists traveled to the city to protest NATO, including Chase, Brian Jacob Church
and Brent Betterly. They became known as the “NATO 3” after they were targeted by undercover Chicago police and arrested on May 16. The state of Illinois accused the “NATO 3” of making explosives.
The Illinois State’s Attorney Office quickly labeled the young men “terrorists” in a criminal complaint and charged them with state terrorism offenses. On February 7, 2014, after a lengthy trial in which the key role of undercover cops became even more apparent, a jury acquitted the “NATO 3” of all terrorism charges. But they were found guilty of arson-related offenses and “mob action” charges.
In April 2014, a judge sentenced Church to five years in prison, Betterly to six years, and Chase to eight years for arson offenses. The judge allowed prosecutors to present evidence against Chase related to the alleged aggravated battery incident involving the spraying of urine and feces on a guard, even though the state intended to pursue a separate trial.
“He’s Dying Before My Eyes”
Betterly, who was released from prison in April 2015, was last with Chase while they were beat up by guards during their arrival at the Stateville prison’s receiving center. After sentencing, they were put on the same bus and moved to the prison. Guards from the Illinois Department of Corrections awaited their arrival, which resulted in a “pretty violent interaction,” according to Betterly.
During a recent pretrial hearing on December 7, 2015, Chase showed up to court with a black eye and a swollen face. Betterly said he’s lost a considerable amount of weight, perhaps fifty pounds. Supporters are terribly concerned about his health.
“He’s dying before my eyes. That’s not embellishment at all,” Betterly declared. “The charge he carries now—it carries a minimum of three years. He won’t survive it.”
Betterly noted the prisons are not capable of taking care of diseases “that are generally serious but treatable.” A disease like Huntington’s is “probably something they don’t encounter much. They completely have no idea how to care for somebody with Huntington’s. They’re not equipped to do it. He’ll die. If he’s found guilty and sentenced to even the minimum, he won’t make it. That’s my opinion.”
Chase is in solitary confinement at the Pontiac Correctional Center, a facility where a number of violent and/or mentally ill inmates are incarcerated.
State prosecutors allege that on October 4, 2013, Chase sprayed “human aste” on a Cook County prison guard, Officer Trevor Hapanionek. He was charged with four different charges for one alleged act.
Multiple Cook County guards testified during sentencing about the basic details of what they claim happened on October 4, but Dr. Kathleen Shannon, a neurologist who had assessed Chase, testified that his misconduct against
guards was likely a result of Huntington’s disease.
Shannon informed the court the disease makes it difficult for a person to avoid outbursts. It makes one easily irritable and can lead to mania. On average, a person who develops the disease can die in 17 years. A person
usually goes through multiple stages of disability until spending the final 8 years of their life in a nursing home or hospice care.
It is hereditary. Chase’s dad died from the disease, and according to Shannon’s best estimate, the onset of Huntington’s disease began in 2008.
To read the rest of this article and find out ways to support Jared Chase and get him the medical attention he needs to save his life, check out the links at http://freethenato3.wordpress.com
“People continue to mobilize, and there is a big demonstration planned for February 27th and callouts for decentralized action everywhere to call for an end to the airport project for once and for all. There is also a call for donations for legal fees! It seems that whatever decision is made, will come from president Hollande. The new president of the region and the prime minister are vocal about their desire for a ZAD eviction, but have repeatedly implied that it’s not their decision. The eviction attempt with military force in October of 2012 backfired in that it brought awareness of the struggle to the general public and made the State look both cruel and weak- through images of robocops dragging people from their homes, but also images of police running away from things being thrown at them or while being charged, and ultimately withdrawing. It seems that the State doesn’t want to risk losing face again, especially as the “socialist” party is wildly unpopular and it’s a year away from a presidential election. So a legal eviction that makes it financially unsustainable for people to stay in their homes looks softer, but is just as violent. It would also not only separate and take some meaning from the movement, but leave the squatters more vulnerable to attack if the people living there are less diverse. That’s why this trial is being resisted as much as would be a military-style eviction attempt (which may follow anyway). *Note* the trial results were delivered January 25th, and the 4 farms are immediately evictable, while 8 of the 11 families have a delay until March 26th , at which point it’s illegal to cut trees and thus start work on the project. Also, there were no daily fines given, so the legal responsibility is now on the government to evict by force. The farmers and many of the residents have declared their refusal to leave willingly.
Here is what’s been going on these past weeks.
Two weeks ago, on Saturday, January 9th, 20,000 cyclists and pedestrians took over the ring road in Nantes, leaving from 6 points and converging on a bridge (that is a major axis of the region) for a banquet. The demo was organized in ten days to protest the eviction trial of families and farmers who live legally in the area since a long time, and supported by simultaneous actions in 40 other cities. If carried out, the legal eviction process would impose massive fines and seizure of land, homes and livestock. A group of farmers, called COPAIN, decided to occupy the bridge with a group of around 500 supporters until they received a confirmation from the president that he would keep his engagements (taken in 2012 during the presidential election following an anti-airport hunger strike). The government’s response was to send military police and ambulances (as a threat tactic), and it was decided to pack down the camp and make a “strategic retreat”, whilst being watered with cannons and tear gas.
Monday, Jan 11th there were surprise blockades in five points around Nantes to continue to demand that there be no evictions before the end of the legal appeals process against the airport. 80 tractors and several hundred people took part, and the blockades were mainly well received by the population. There is a communique saying, “imagine if there were actual evictions- nobody would be able to go to work anymore”. At the end of the day, as three farmers were going back to their farm for the 7pm milking, they met a police blockade, which they passed around on the sidewalk. Further on, they met another police blockade, and some military police were lightly injured by the tractors as they tried to pass. The three were arrested and have trials at the end of Febuary where they risk up to 2 years in prison and to lose their drivers liscences, and their tractors have been impounded.
Tuesday the 12th an “Operation Snail” was proposed, where people drive really slowly on important axes of circulation to make a moving blockade. There were many actions- 9 different convoys in the region. Plus communiques from 8 different cities, where there were blockades and occupations of ring roads, police headquarters, and courthouses. 19 people are arrested and 19 cars impounded. There is a callout for donations and expropriations for legal fees and getting their cars back. Vinci (the airport contractor) builds pay parking lots and toll roads, so there are some actions to physically open the barriers and ask for donations to support the struggle from people who come through.
Wednesday, January 13th was the trial of the landowners and renters, with 2-3 thousand people present, with some famous leftist politicians trying as always to recuperate the struggle. The decision will be delivered on Monday, January 25th. Well over 20 solidarity actions happen across france, from roadblocks to tags to marches to farmers union rallies in the basque country. People are doing legal support and prepping for the demo, 40 farmers go to the vehicle impoundment to try to reclaim the tractors.
Actions have continued almost every day all over the country. Last Saturday was a demonstration to block the nearby city of Rennes, and there have been blockades of other major cities. There has also been a major media push to both separate the ZAD occupation movement from the anti-airport movement, and label the entirety and diversity of ZAD occupants as scary foreign-born black clad monsters who are incapable of passing windows without breaking them. Some local right wing people have made up a petition calling for the eviction of the ZAD whether the airport project is cancelled or not. Tomorrow (Monday) is the results of the trial, where the families and farmers find out if they are immediately evictable, if there is a delay, or if the trial is sent to another court to see if the trial is legal.
The farms and families are now legally evictable, and a farmer group have demonstrated that they will encircle the farms and chain their tractors together if there is an eviction attempt. This weekend is a work weekend- in response to the call by the state for subcontractor offers to start work on the project, the ZAD has called for people to come continue work on our counter projects, by building a collective climbing wall, a place to dry and store medicinal plants and do consultations, and pour a new concrete floor, amoung the 30-some projects proposed for this weekend. This week the city halls in Nantes and Rennes saw simultaneous image makeovers during demonstrations the night of the verdict. The hacker group Anonymous shut down access to the ruling Socialist Party website to protest the state of emergency and eviction trial results at Notre dame des Landes, 7 construction trucks from Eurovia (a subsidiary of VINCI) were burned in solidarity with the ZAD and against the state of emergency, and there were many creative demonstrations across france. RDV the 27th of February to call for an end to politicians dodging a clear answer, and an end to the airport (and the world that goes with it!) for once and for all.”
Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity & State of Emergency in France
This week we’re speaking wth Gary from Kansas City about the fast approaching day of solidarity with transgender prisoners which will occur this friday, January 22nd. In this interview we talk about Gary’s past experiences with the prison system, the original call out for this day by trans prisoner Marius Mason, and the conditions that trans people generally face in prison, and the importance of focusing on this issue. For more on this day, to get ideas and to give report backs, you can visit http://transprisoners.net/
If you’d like to send our guest an email to get ideas on how to proceed, you can write Gary at firstname.lastname@example.org
We also feature a segment from Dissident Island Radio’s mid December show of 2015 about the changed security situation in France since the Paris attacks by Daesh-affiliated militants. The host of Dissident Island speaks with Camille, the name for anyone coming from the ZAD and speaking about experiences there. In this segment, Camille talks about the State of Emergency declared by the government of President Francoise Hollande, the suspensions of rights to publicly gather, the extension of the State of Emergency for 3 months, the challenges to folks with dual citizenship, the nighttime raids of immigrant communities and experiences of the folks at the ZAD as they enter a period of possible eviction. Camille also talks about how the ZAD at times acts as a refuge to immigrants and refugees seeking a break from state repression on a self-defended land project.
Statement from Marius Mason for the Trans Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity:
“January 22nd 2016
Happy New Year, Family and Friends!
Many, many thanks for so much support and care over this year from both long-standing friends and new pen pals. I feel very grateful and am always humbled by the encouragement and resources sent my way by folks who are doing so much already to increase our collective chances for survival. The news has been full of stories about someone winning the big money pool that has accumulated for the US Lotto – but the most important “win” has nothing to do with money. I am betting on the movement to win big this year: in getting more control over their communities and defending against police brutality and racial inequality, in winning more victories for animal and in the defense of wild spaces, in creating social relations based on respect, dignity and compassion for all people…. regardless of their race, orientation, creed or gender presentation.
Thank you for coming together today, to hold up those members of our community who struggle so hard behind walls to keep their sense of self intact. Sovereignty over our selves, our bodies is essential for any other kind of liberty to be possible. By reaching out to trans prisoners, you affirm their right to define themselves for themselves – and defend them against the overwhelming voices who claim that they do not exist, that they must allow others to define them. In the isolating environment of prison, this is toxic and intimidating, and amounts to the cruelest form of psychological torture. By offering your help and solidarity, you may just save a life. I know that for the last year and a half, as I have struggled to assert myself as a trans man, as I have advocated for the relief of appropriate medical care for my gender dysphoria – it has been the gentle and loving reminders of my extended family of supporters who have given me strength and courage to continue. Please join me in offering this help to so many others who need it to keep going. Never underestimate the healing power of a letter, those letters have kept me going…and I want to pass that gift on, if you will help me.
Thank you again for coming together on this day, for connecting to those on the inside who truly need you, who need you to see them as they really are and striving to be. Until the prisons are gone, we need to work hard to support those of us inside – especially those of us who are not always as visible to the rest of the world. We are always stronger together.
This week, The Final Straw features content recorded by comrades in France of some reactions and reminiscences on the moments leading up to the death of Remi Fraisse and what followed. Context, Remi was a 21 year old resister who participated in the ZAD du Testet who was killed by a concussion grenade shot by police that exploded at the base of his neck on October the 25th. The ZAD du Testet is a land defence project in southern France against the construction of the Sivens Dam. The death of Remi has been marked by protests around France and around the world and has contributed to public discussions about militarization of police in France. A part of the ZAD movement’s reaction has been a public call for demonstrations on the 22nd of November around the world for Remi and against the police state.