Listen to the Episode — 35 min
Rebel Girl: February 14, 2018: Labor struggles across Turtle Island and beyond, fascists pick on high school students in Ithaca, NY, an underground trash fire adjacent to nuclear waste in St Louis, MO, a rant against conventional love, and calls to confront the Traditionalist Worker Party in Knoxville, Tennessee on this episode of…
A weekly anarchist news show brought to you by The Ex-Worker.
With me, the Rebel Girl.
Welcome back to the Hotwire. This week we bring you a slew of reports from housing and labor struggles across so-called North America and beyond. The assault on Afrin continues and comrades in Rojava announce a new ecological initiative. We interview a comrade from St Louis, MO who is active in the fight against the Westlake Landfill where there is radioactive waste buried near an underground trash fire-and yes you heard that right, nuclear waste and underground trash fire. In honor of Valentine’s Day we rant against conventional love and for love with no bounds. There are continued calls of support for Tariq Khan and Ramsey Orta and we give you an update on the Black Pride 4. Listen until the end for calls to confront the Traditionalist Worker Party in Knoxville, Tennessee this weekend! Plus, we have all our regular features like announcements for upcoming anarchist bookfairs and the repression roundup.
A full transcript of this episode with shownotes and useful links can be found at our website, CrimethInc.com/podcast. You can subscribe to The Hotwire on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, just search for The Ex-Worker. You can listen to us through the anarchist podcast network Channel Zero, or on your radio’s dial in Eugene, Oregon every Sunday at 11 AM on KEPW 97.3 FM. Believe it or not, every Hotwire is radio ready, so feel free to put The Hotwire on your local airwaves. If there’s a story or upcoming event you’d like us to include in a future Hotwire, just hit us up at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com.
And now for the headlines…
Delivery drivers who work for Deliveroo and UberEats went on strike in several countries. Deliveroo and UberEats are both app-based companies profiteering off the gig–based techno dystopia that is threatening to undo decades of strides made by labor struggles. Workers in Hong Kong went on strike in late January, and by early last week, the strike spread to Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France, with workers in Belgium occupying the Deliveroo company headquarters for three days. As recently as Monday, drivers for yet another service in Bologna, Italy were inspired to also go on strike. Drivers are seeking consistent hours and wages and aid with transportation. We wish them luck in their struggles.
On February 12th, thousands of workers in two dozen cities across the country walked off the job. The walkout was organized as part of the Fight for 15 campaign and marks the 50th anniversary of the historic Memphis sanitation worker’s strike.
Over 120 people detained at the Northwest Immigrant Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, have launched a hunger strike and work stoppage. The facility has been the site of ongoing strikes, work stoppages, encampments, and protests. The strike is being supported by Northwest Detention Center Resistance and you can visit their facebook page, NWDC Resistance, for more information. Additionally, the [May 11, 2017 IGDcast]https://itsgoingdown.org/igdcast-maru-villalpando-on-hunger-strikes-northwest-detention-facility/) produced by Itsgoingdown.org features an interview with Maru Mora, an organizer active in supporting the strikes.
Monday marked the three year anniversary of People’s Monday , an action that happens every Monday evening in New York City, each week honoring a black or brown life lost to state violence. Protestors gathered in Grand Central Station and then blocked streets throughout the city.
In news that can be filed under ‘No Duh’, the Guardian reported that California police colluded with Neo-Nazis to pursue anti-racist and anti-fascist activists. They report that documents used in the trial of three people arrested in Sacramento in June 2016 showed that police expressed sympathy with white supremacists, tried to protect the identity of a Neo-Nazi organizer, and worked with white supremacists to identify counter-protestors. This is just one more shred of evidence against the hollow notion that cops are here to protect us in any way. Remember cops and Klan always go hand in hand.
For more insight into white supremacy, the police, and capitalism, check out Ex-Worker episode 32 and to hear more about struggles against white supremacy and the police check out episode 40.
Turkey is now into their third week of a military assault on Afrin, one of the autonomous cantons of the revolutionary democratic cofederalist region of Rojava. In response, revolutionaries in Rojava have launched a campaign called ‘Make Rojava Green Again’, an ecological campaign striving to heal the land they are so desperately fighting for. There is a link to a video for the campaign in our shownotes. For more on the Turkish military’s assault on Afrin, check out the recent episode of The Final Straw. And for more background on the revolutionary cantons of Rojava, check out episodes 36 and 39 of The Ex-Worker.
Housing struggles are ramping up across Turtle Island, with rent strikes in Cleveland, Toronto, San Francisco, and Minneapolis, home demos at a slumlords house in Washington, DC, active tenant unions in Chicago and Philadelphia, and a hunger strike by some of the 85 people evicted during the winter in the Bowery neighborhood of New York City. There’s a great feature on It’s Going Down about these recent battles, check it out!
Forest activists in Germany have been occupying land for the last month that is slated to be cleared for an expansion of the Frankfort Airport . The Treburer Wald is now occupied by three platforms and a treehouse to protest the climate, pollution, and noise impact of the airport.
Last Friday in Canada, two-spirited warriors shut down operations at a Kinder Morgan pipeline construction site by locking themselves to the equipment. There’s a link to a short submedia video about the action in our shownotes.
Protestors in Manatee, Florida held a second march in response to the death of Corey Mobley, who was shot by the police on January 23rd.
In Battleford, Saskatchewan a white farmer was acquitted in the shooting death of a young indigenous man, despite the fact that Colton Boushie was shot in the back of the head at pointblank range. Rest in Power, Colton Boushie.
In Olympia, on February 7th, Vaneesa Hopson died while in custody of the Olympia Police. Upon encountering Vaneesa Hopson, police decided Vaneesa was having a mental health crisis and needed to be chemically restrained and taken in for observation. Soon after, Vaneesa stopped breathing and was pronounced dead.
A march was organized later that evening, where people angrily stormed through the streets and threw up anti-police graffiti. The march ended in mayhem after a car sped through the crowd, hitting several people. Another motorist pulled a gun on the crowd and riot police showed up, pointing their ‘less lethal’ weapons at the march to disperse it. This is a prime example of why so many of us abhor the police-even when they attempt to quote help you, they end up hurting you, at times with grave consequences. Rest in power Vanessa Hopson. And stay safe out there y’all, sometimes it can feel like there are adversaries on all sides.
Also in Olympia, members of the ultra nationalist Patriot Prayer group showed up for a third week in a row to harass patients and abortion defenders at a Planned Parenthood. And for the third week in a row, antifa was there to greet them. From all appearances, however, Patriot Prayer wasn’t really there to protest the clinic, but instead to pick fights with people who don’t buy their patriarchal and white supremacist ideas. Scuffles broke out after an American flag was burned.
In other antifa news from the Northwest, Puget Sound Anarchists report that Greg Johnson, the editor-in-chief of Counter Currents, a white supremacist publishing house, is living in Seattle. They also report that his gym has kicked him out after discovering his politics. No gyms for Nazis!
In Athens in early February, anarchists pushed back against a nationalist rally that attracted upwards of 140,000 people. In the days leading up the rally antifascists leafleted neighborhoods with texts on antimilitarism and antinationalism. There were antifascist patrols the night before the rally and the Golden Dawn offices were attacked. On the day of the rally a counter protest took place in the Exarchia neighborhood, with the main focus on protecting squats and occupied spaces from attacks by fascists.
And in what can only be a tell tale sign of the devolvement of their pathetic movement, alt-right trolls have stooped to picking on high school students in Ithaca , NY. The students were protesting that the role of Esmeralda, a Roma character in the Hunchback of Notre Dame, was cast to a white student. After students publicly objected, both students and the school were then harassed by Neo-Nazi scum.
And speaking of trash fires…there is a real actual trash fire underground in St Louis, MO, only a mere 600 feet away from illegally dumped radioactive waste at the Westlake Landfill. The EPA recently released a tentative plan to deal with the radioactive waste after years of pressure by the local community. The site is being targeted for clean up by the EPA as one of 21 of the most toxic sites in the country. We caught up with an anarchist active in the resistance to the Westlake Landfill.
Rebel Girl: Can you tell us who you are and what’s going on at the Westlake Landfill?
STL Comrade: I’m from St Louis and I’ve been working on this since the Fall of 2015. I started working on it when there was a letter that went out to the nearby schools saying ‘here’s our emergency plan, because there’s a radioactive landfill that’s next to a landfill that’s been on fire for the last few years and they literally are incapable of putting out the fire, and they’ve said that, the fire is going to be burning for the next five years. And it’s slowly encroaching upon the nuclear waste. All of the waste, the waste that’s on fire and the waste next to it was dumped illegally, so nobody knows. For the last five or ten years there’s a group of moms that literally call themselves Just Moms STL, which is maybe the best name for a group ever, who have been organizing around this issue mostly to keep their children and their grandchildren safe.
So the waste is from the very first atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. It was uranium that was processed to make that bomb and it’s especially radioactive. It’s more radioactive than a lot of other uranium. For 20 or 30 years it was stored behind the St Louis Airport in drums that were just sitting in a field. And then it was moved to another site where they tried to take stuff out of it that was useful and then from that site it was dumped in the landfill where it is now, which is an unlined limestone quarry. So, radioactive waste sitting on top of water soluble rock in the Missouri River floodplain, a few miles upstream from where St Louis City gets their water.
Rebel Girl: And what’s been going on in response?
STL Comrade: On the surface, it looks like the things that people are doing are really boring, because what they ask for publicly is that people do a lot of ‘call your congressperson, write a letter to this person’. Which is not anything that I’ve ever wanted to do in the last twenty years. But, actually what is going on is these people that really are just moms, that were raised as women to not be powerful people, have taken it upon themselves to try and get nuclear waste out of their community, which is a very challenging fight that they’re engaged in. So people are taking it upon themselves to learn what this waste is, where it came from, really complex, like scientifically complex things-like nuclear physics and engineering and chemistry and epidemiology. So there’s a lot of learning that’s happening and there’s also a lot of people taking it upon themselves to watch what’s going on in their community and document what’s going on in their community. Because they understand, in their bones, they understand that the government has no desire to help them keep their community safe. They know the only way to try and have a healthier future for their children and grandchildren is to do it themselves.
So there are people that live really close by the landfill. They will go by and see what’s going on, and take pictures, and post it to the internet. A lot of it happens on Facebook. ‘You know, I just saw this truck doing this the other day’, things like that and it’s just constant vigilance. So, they’re kind of like they’re own security. The other cool thing is that the main group organizing has kind of limited tactics, but there’s lots of people who have come to the main group, saying ‘These are our skills, this is what we’re interested in. Would this be supportive to you?’ and they’re super open minded to other people’s tactics! So there was a group of younger people who wanted to do a lockdown, so they set up a bunch of concrete barrels and locked down to the entrance to the landfill and blocked the entrance. And the police where there are is kind of a weird suburban place where cops have never had to deal with a lockdown. I think it took them like, twelve hours, to figure out how to get people to unlock. There’s some strategic advantages to being in the suburbs.
Rebel Girl: What does this all say about the State’s priorities?
STL Comrade: What I’ve noticed about what the state’s priorities in this situation are, is that from the beginning of the development of nuclear weapons, that the state has wanted to do whatever they want, as far as their agenda, and they never want to deal with the consequences. That’s true of the Marshall Islands, that’s true of any situation, and it’s especially true in this situation. So they created this waste, they created this nightmare, that is now killing people everywhere from the age of fetuses to elders, and causing lots of birth defects and childhood cancers and autoimmune diseases and they want to come back and say “No, that’s no us, that’s not our fault, that’s not our waste that caused your cancer. I’m really sorry you’re dying, but it’s not our fault”. So, ironically, there a lot of liberals that want to hold up the EPA as like an amazing agency and it’s it a bummer that Trump is gutting the EPA, and there are some ways in which that’s true. But in this case, the EPA is the absolute villain and they literally, for the last twenty years, at least, have been coming to public meetings in this community, saying “You must be mistaken, I’m sorry you’re dying, this has nothing to do with nuclear waste” and in response, people have said back to them “NO, this is not normal, we’re not dying for no reason and we’re not sick for no reason. This stuff has been killing us all along, and more and more people are noticing every day, and we need you to stop”.
Thanks so much for speaking with us!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, dear listeners, we bring you these words against conventional love penned by our dear comrade Alanis from the Ex-Worker:
You know, I remember reading back in the day - I think it was Emma Goldman who said this, or maybe CrimethInc in the 1990s - “Join the Revolution: Fall in Love.” Well, sorry Emma, or whoever: you were wrong. Love’s been co-opted even worse than veganism or organic food or the million other things that were once good ideas before capitalism got a hold of them. Especially this time of year, you can’t walk ten feet without being bombarded by some asshole corporation trying to package your innermost feelings and make a killing selling them back to you. If we’re not in love in the way the movies and commercials tell us we should be - regardless of how rich and fulfilling our lives are - we’re supposedly “single,” and should feel deeply ashamed and lonely and incomplete. And if we are in love, we’ve got a thousand voices telling us how to tame it, control it, regulate it, manage it, freeze-dry it for the long haul and microwave it for date night. With, of course, a million products for sale to help us every step of the way. And love comes with tons of gendered baggage, notions of exclusivity and possession and ownership, and plenty of shame for any of our unconventional desires that push at the bars of the cage that supposedly mean true love. So back in the day, we thought that polyamory was going to be the solution. We can let go of jealousy and possessiveness, reject the rigid expectations and boring gender roles, and approach life as a constant adventure into the unknown with fabulous connections of all sorts possible with whomever wants to share them with us. Sounds great, right? But now even that’s been co-opted. On the one hand, you’ve got a whole industry of books, therapists, podcasts, retreats, high-end sex toys, and pseudo-gurus claiming to have the perfect formula for us to have our romantic cake and eat it too. And what’s worse, these days we see people approaching polyamory as if they’re just trying to reproduce the miseries of monogamy, multiplied by as many partners as you can fit into your online calendar. Rather than a sense of abundance and freedom, we’re filling our lives with dozens of rules and regulations and imposed boundaries governing exactly how we can and can’t touch who for how long and in what circumstances and around whom. At least with monogamy the rules of the game were simpler! Contemporary high-flying poly life is like an anarcho-capitalism of relationships: everything is a contract between isolated liberal individuals, with everyone competing against everyone else and nothing certain. You’d better keep on constantly fighting to improve your market share, because there are limitless others out there on the dating apps jockeying for your spot. Traditional marriage is doomed, but it’s no wonder people are feeling nostalgic for its more stable and familiar misery. So what do we do? Say “fuck love” and abandon ship altogether? Be “realistic” and shoehorn ourselves into monogamy, regardless of our pesky desires? Or sequester ourselves in our rooms with our cat and internet porn? Here’s another way to look at it: relationship anarchy. I don’t mean anything technical or jargony here. I just mean approaching love as anarchists, like we would approach any other question in our lives or our society. So rather than relying on rules and laws and authorities, trusting in ourselves and each other and doing what feels right, provided it doesn’t come at the expense of anyone else’s dignity or autonomy. Rejecting competition and the scarcity economy, and meeting our needs collaboratively: to each according to need and from each according to ability. I’m a prison abolitionist, and that goes for love jail, too. Let’s never abandon our friends and comrades to stick our head in the sand of our latest fling. Instead, let’s channel that consuming passion into the lives and projects we share, loving in ways that strengthen rather than weaken the bonds of community that hold us together. Privatization of resources depletes the commons that we share; privatization of love depletes the common intimacy that links all of us. So this Valentine’s Day, say it with me: fuck love! Or at least fuck everything that tells us who and how to love, that tries to capitalize on our love for profit, that tries to box us in according to norms set by religion or patriarchy or capitalism (or self-righteous anarchist podcasters, for that matter). Are we anarchists in the streets and hierarchs in the sheets? Do we see regulation and control as unacceptable for prisoners and children and workers and students, but necessary for the people we claim to love the most? Let’s celebrate V-Day this year by chucking a big Molotov cocktail through the broken window of monogamy, and then light the dumpster of polyamory on fire and drag it into the street. If we can’t be anarchists in the most basic and immediate and intimate realms of our lives, then what the hell are we here for? Like a wacky old queer wrote in a poem a century ago: I am an Anarchist! Wherefore I will Not rule, and also ruled I will not be! C’mon, y’all. Let’s live it.
Thanks Alanis! And we have a link in our shownotes for the Crimethinc piece, “Join the Resistance, Fall in Love”, that is referenced at the beginning of this diatribe.
Rebel Girl: In this week’s repression roundup…
Let’s start off with some good news! Joseph Buddenberg was just released from prison after serving a two year sentence for allegedly releasing thousands of animals from fur farms and destroying breeding records in Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Welcome home, Joseph! We’re glad you’re out!
Michael Foster, the valve turner who temporarily halted the flow of tar sands oil in TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline in October 2016, was sentenced to one year in prison last Wednesday. We’ll post an address for him, once there is one, in future shownotes.
Ramsey Orta, the CopWatcher who used his phone to film Eric Garner’s murder by the NYPD, is still in solitary confinement. Orta is in prison due to a campaign of retaliation and harassment by the NYPD. We have his address in our shownotes so you can send him letters, or you can find it yourself at RamseyOrta.com.
On Monday, a Franklin County jury [convicted 3 of the Black Pride 4]](http://prizmnews.com/2018/02/06/black-pride–4-protesters-on-trial-this-week-in-columbus/) on six misdemeanor counts of “disorderly conduct” and “failure to obey”. The Black Pride 4 are queer black and trans activists who were arrested at a 2017 Columbus Pride protest of police violence, violence against trans women and marginalization of people of color within the LGBTQ community. Wriply Bennet, Kendall Denton, and Ashley Braxton will all be sentenced in three to four weeks. A fourth defendant, Deandre Miles, is charged with a felony and will be tried separately. We’ll report on developments with sentencing and with Deandre’s case in the future.
We reported last week that Tariq Khan is in need of support after being threatened, doxxed, and harassed by the alt-lite group, Turning Point USA. Since November 2016, this anarchist organizer and PhD student has been targeted by TP USA, including death threats to him and his family. Here’s Tariq in his own words about some of the harassment he’s enduring:
There’s a link to the full interview, done by It’s Going Down, in our shownotes, where you’ll also find details of how you can lend your support. Good luck Tariq, may you keep the trolls off your back!
So far in the J20 Inauguration protest case, there have been six found not guilty on all charges and an additional 129 have had all their charges dropped without prejudice. However, there are still 59 folks facing six felonies and two misdemeanors each! Trials will stretch on throughout the rest of 2018, with the next trial set to begin on March 26. Supporters are calling for those who can to pack the courthouse throughout the trial. In our shownotes we have a link to an excellent open letter to former defendants, as well as other up-to-date information on how to support the 59 remaining J20 defendants. Additionally, you can stay tuned to @defendj20 on Twitter and check out the most recent Episode 63 of The Ex-Worker for an in depth analysis of the first J20 trial.
Lastly, we’d like to issue a correction to our report on No More Deaths in last week’s Hotwire. We incorrectly reported that nine humanitarian aid workers were charged with felonies. In fact, eight people were charged with federal misdemeanors for allegedly “abandoning property,” which essentially amounts to leaving out jugs of water near the border. The ninth person was charged with a felony for allegedly harboring undocumented immigrants. All nine were arrested within days after No More Deaths released a report detailing how border patrol agents routinely sabotage humanitarian efforts in Arizona’s desert. We’ll keep you updated as details come out.
And for an in-depth account of humanitarian solidarity along the US-Mexico border, check out Crimethinc’s book No Wall They Can Build, published last year. We have anti-border zines, posters, and stickers linked in our shownotes at Crimethinc.com/podcast.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
We’ll close out this Hotwire with next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
This weekend the Traditionalist Worker Party and other white supremacist groups are converging in Knoxville, TN for a lecture series and a weekend of what they’re calling ‘activism and fellowship’. The Holler Network and Knoxville Radical Alliance have organized a call in campaign to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to pressure them to cancel the event. They’re also calling for people to converge at Buehler Hall on campus at noon on the 17th. Follow @hollernetwork and @knoxradical on twitter for more information.
There is a week of action to stop the Bayou Bridge Pipeline from February 26 to March 4. The Bayou Bridge Pipeline is the final, southern leg of the Dakota Access Pipeline System. Organizers are hosting a conference call, tomorrow, February 15th where you can plug into the week of action. You can check out @nobayoubridge on twitter or nobbp.org for more information
On March 3rd and 4th there will be an anarchist bookfair in Hamilton, Ontario. There will be booksellers, zine distros, workshops and theme rooms, ongoing film screenings, an art show, as well as childcare and kids activities. Go to steelcitybookfair.ca for more information.
The Stop Spencer Coalition at Michigan State University has announced plans to oppose Richard Spencer’s visit on March 5. They’re encouraging all who oppose fascism to begin making plans to travel to East Lansing for March 5 and make Richard Spencer’s visit impossible.
In March, folks on the west coast can expect a J20 solidarity speaking tour. If you’re out west and it’s been hard for you to make sense of the J20 case, this is the perfect opportunity to be brought up to speed before the next batch of trials. If you want to help set up a speaking date, email email@example.com.
From April 6 to April 8, the fourteenth Zagreb Anarchist Bookfair will take place in Croatia. For more info in Croatian and English, go to ask-zagreb.org.
And on June 16 and 17, the Malmo anarchist bookfair will take place in Sweden. For more info, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anarchists in Seattle have already issued a call for a “decentralized, anti-capitalist May Day” there. In their call they state, “Whether it is a block party at the juvie, a march against gentrification in a neighborhood facing mass-displacement, or a less public form of direct action, we want to see it all. By spreading our actions across the city and region, we will circumvent the massive police mobilizations that accompany each May Day, giving each action-group a broader spectrum of tactics to choose what best suits the participants’ needs and goals. The trick to pulling this off is that we need to get organizations, affinity groups, and individuals on board as soon as possible to begin planning their own actions.”
The call ends by inviting those interested in coordinating May Day actions to contact T I O L E O at protonmail.com.
The second annual Institute for Advanced Troublemaking will take place from July 21 to the 29 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Institute for Advanced Troublemaking is a weeklong summer school in anarchist theory and action, open to adults of all ages. The IAT already has a pretty robust list of confirmed courses and facilitators available on their website: advancedtroublemaking.wordpress.com. And thank you, dear listeners, who reached out to us with the correct way to say Worcester, keeping our pronunciation on point.
And lastly, our first ever wishlist is up at Crimethinc.com. Entitled, “What We Need From You,” it lists, well, what we need from you! It includes how you can help with speaking events, translation, editing, signal boosting, web design, printing and art, video, and last but not least, technological and written contributions for The Ex-Worker and The Hotwire. One big ask we have this season is for listeners to reach out to local community radio stations to see if they will carry our show regularly. Go to CrimethInc.com to see the full wishlist, and to help The Hotwire get played on your local airwaves, send us an e-mail at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com.
And that’s it for this episode of The Hotwire. As always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music, thanks to Alanis for the rant on love, and thanks to our comrade in St Louis for the interview. Don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful notes we customized for this episode at CrimethInc.com. Every Hotwire is radio-ready, so if you want to replay part or all of this show, just go for it! We can also edit episodes down to specific time constraints if you e-mail us at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. You can also send us news or announcements to include in the future.
Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into The Hotwire.