Listen to the Episode — 36 min
Rebel Girl: Conflict with the Spanish State in Catalonia, the far-right exploits the Las Vegas massacre, Australian anarchist queers disrupt Christian fundamentalists, and we specify why it’s not just “extremism,” but fascism that we oppose on this episode of…
A weekly anarchist news podcast brought to you by The Ex-Worker.
With me, the Rebel Girl.
Welcome back to the Hotwire. This week, we get ranty! Grr. Trump insults community relief efforts in Puerto Rico, while the far-right makes gains in Germany, celebrates police violence in Spain, and hijacks the narrative of the horrible mass-shooting in Las Vegas. We insist on the destruction of the state, rather than creating new ones, in response to the national independence fervor throughout Catalonia. We also reflect on the ebbs and flows of struggle as the #StockleyVerdict protests in St Louis die down, and we discuss the grim prospects of leaving it to the state to protect us from dangerous Nazis. In the repression round-up, we include anarchist political prisoner Dane Powell’s rousing call to support the J20 defendants, whose trials begin November 20.
If we missed something important, or to include something in a future episode, shoot us an e-mail at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com. A full transcript of this episode with plenty of 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. You can also listen to us through the new anarchist podcast network Channel Zero.
Now… for the headlines.
Clashes broke out between police and protesters in Santiago, Chile last week during a march for the freedom of indigenous Mapuche political prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 113 days.
In Turin, Italy, hooded protesters threw firecrackers and smoke bombs at the police after failing to get through their cordon to reach the venue of a G7 meeting on labor and employment.
Ukrainian anarchists held a small but lively picket outside Kiev’s Belarusian embassy in solidarity with anarchists Dimitry Polienko and Kirill Alekseev, currently held prisoner in Belarus. Activists unfurled a banner that said “DEATH TO THE DICTATOR!” and on the embassy’s fence they hung an effigy of Lukashenko, the president of Belarus since 1994.
On the other side of Europe, in the Netherlands, a spontaneous demonstration of about 100 was held in solidarity with G20 prisoners in Germany. They marched behind a banner that read, “Against Prisons, Banks, The State, And The World That Needs Them.”
Anti-nuclear activists in France took an incendiary approach to solidarity, torching one French nuclear power company’s car on September 22 and leaving the message, “Solidarity with the struggle in Bure, and the comrades who are undergoing repression. HANDS OFF BURE!” Last week, about 80 French gendarmes raided the houses of comrades near Bure who are resisting the construction of a planned radiation storage facility. There is a call for anti-nuclear activists to go to Bure for the weekend of October 21 to build an activist welcome center in the forest! We have details for the call in our shownotes.
The fight against extraction continues all over North America, and to help the struggle spread FossilFuelResistance.org has released a new map detailing all the different protest camps and proposed pipelines across the continent. It’s really neat! Check it out at FossilFuelResistance.org.
According to The Guardian, the world’s tropical forests are so damaged that instead of absorbing greenhouse gases, they have begun contributing carbon emissions themselves. Of course, trees are not bad for the environment; the fact that they are now contributing to climate change is a testament to how much harm has been done to them. If the forests were left alone so they could heal and stabilize, they would be able to resume their role cleaning the atmosphere and preserving life on earth. Similarly, human beings may seem like a destructive force in the world, but there is nothing inherently selfish or destructive about us. If we could wrest ourselves free of the imperatives imposed by cutthroat capitalism, we could once more put down roots and take our place as a part of the boundless web of symbiotic relationships that make up the biosphere.
In Mexico City on September 26, friends and family of the 43 disappeared normalista students from Ayotzinapa held a commemorative march. In 2014, the students headed to neighboring Iguala to commandeer buses to take to Mexico City for the anniversary of the October 2, 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre of leftist students. The mayor of Iguala, and his wife, collaborated with local cartels to have the students tortured and disappeared. A communiqué from last week’s commemorative march is posted on It’s Going Down. To the Ayotzinapa 43, know that what happened to you will not be forgotten. The people will fight to tell the whole of your story, so you can rest in power.
On Monday, along the US-Canadian border between New York and Quebec, 300 self-described “ultranationalists” set out on foot toward a temporary refugee camp, but were confronted by about 100 anti-fascists.
Last week, ICE arrested nearly 500 undocumented folks in an operation that specifically targeted sanctuary cities. Check out Hotwire #3 for an interview with an anarchist DREAMer about how to organize support for undocumented folks.
A couple weeks ago queer anarchists disrupted the launch of a campaign by the fundamentalist Australian Christian Lobby. The disrupters included survivors of abuse perpetrated by fundamentalist Christians and churches. The report sounds like total anarchy! One banner read “Burn Churches, Not Queers,” folks shouted “Mary didn’t consent and should have aborted!” and to the horror of 1,000 Christian fundamentalists, the queer activists took over the podium and enthusiastically engaged in some charming tongue-kissing. The reportback, linked in our shownotes, highlights the importance of anti-fascist action against religious fundamentalism, but also the, “joy, laughter, camaraderie and strengthened friendships” found through taking action together.
In Madison, Wisconsin, the General Defense Committee of the IWW held a cookout speakout after fascists defaced a monument to the international brigades of the Spanish Civil War, which rests next to a historic synagogue. 200 people showed up for impassioned, angry speeches about the dangers of pacifism in the face of fascism and some delicious food.
The UK badger hunt has resumed for another year, as have efforts by hunt saboteurs. In our shownotes, we have links to videos of these precious furry friends being released into the wild.
Speaking of animal resistance, a raccoon family shut down a bank in midtown Toronto by making a home in its ceiling. Bank spokesman, Mark Hamill, was quoted saying “It’s not an easy fix.” Search your feelings Mark, is a bank really more important than a raccoon nest?
Back in Australia, the wedge-tailed eagle has been using its sharp talons and crack aerial combat skills to destroy pricey drones. Casualties include one $80,000 drone that resembles a stealth bomber. Fly high wedge-tailed eagle!
On Sunday, October 1, the Catalan government held a referendum for independence from Spain in flagrant defiance of the Spanish government. Massive clashes unfolded between Catalan voters and Spanish police sent to occupy the region. Back in Catalonia, footage of police brutally attacking voters and seizing ballot boxes spread around the world. Backing the police, Spanish nationalists have rallied in other parts of Spain singing fascist anthems and raising their arms in the Nazi salute. On Tuesday, October 3, a general strike took place in Catalonia in protest against the repression of the Spanish state.
The government of Spain is currently under the nationalist Popular Party, which was founded in 1975 after the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco died in and absorbed his supporters. From Turkey and Argentina to Russia and the US, a variety of left tendencies are cropping up, each with its own purported solutions to right-wing authoritarianism. In Catalonia, it’s national independence, while in the US, authoritarian communists are gaining legitimacy in the eyes of would-be anarchists by participating in anti-fascist activity in the streets. We should pay attention to Catalonia to see whether anarchists there are able to carve out a space to propose their ideas to others in struggle.
The conflict in Catalonia reveals the violence that holds all states together, from the most totalitarian dictatorship to the most liberal democracy. When police attack people attempting to utilize voting booths, anarchists should intervene—not to defend the voting booths, but to protect people from the police. At the same time, we have to make it clear that the solution is not to create additional states. Democracy and nationalism are not the solution; they are two of the most powerful factors legitimizing state government, which is the source of police violence. To create a world without police violence and state oppression, we have to abolish the state itself.
You can read about how Catalan anarchists are responding to the situation in the article "Anarchists on the Catalan Referendum: Three Perspectives from the Streets” at crimethinc.com.
Last week’s elections in Germany brought the ultra-nationalist and neo-fascist party Alternative für Deutschland into the central German parliament for the first time with approximately 13% of the vote, making them the third most popular party in Germany. AfD benefits from a wave of reactionary politics that hit Germany in 2014 with the rise of PEGIDA, a grassroots organization promoting Islamophobia; not surprisingly, fascist attacks have skyrocketed since then. Immediately after the elections, protests against the AfD took place in Berlin and many other cities. In some German cities, such as Flensburg, the AfD have been unable to find locations to host their events, and when they have organized public activities there has been so much resistance that these could only take place behind a wall of police. Where the AfD has met this kind of resistance, they have not been able to increase their percentage of the vote as significantly. This may simply be correlation, rather than causation, but no one joins a fascist party to be a victim.
A Neo-Nazi march in Sweden was successfully stopped by anti-fascists this weekend, and we are thrilled to share this guest report:
Bilda Kedjor: Nazis stopped by massive popular resistance.
The Nordic Resistance Movement is Scandinavia’s most outspoken Nazi organization. On Saturday, September 30 they rallied in an attempt to gather “the biggest Nazi demonstration in Sweden since World War 2.” The place: Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast.
The demonstration was given a lot of attention in the press. Especially when the Nazis showed up two weeks before the demo and marched through Gothenburg with shields and uniforms, flanked by police. Despite the fact that they lacked permission, that they disobeyed directions from the cops and that they acted violently towards police and bystanders, they were permitted to march.
When Saturday the 30 arrived stakes were high for everyone. Estimates of the Nazi numbers stretch from 300 to 600, while the counter demonstrators ranged in tens of thousands, flooding the city streets. The nazi demonstration gathered in the parking lot of grocery store in the outskirts of the city, planning to make their way by foot to the formal starting point of their demonstration. They were escorted by police but when they tried to change course and pass by the Gothenburg Bookfair clashes broke out between cops and Nazis. Just blocks away ten of thousands of counter protesters gathered, chanting slogans and making it impossible for the police to allow the Nazis any other route than the one planned.
The Nazis were pushed back by police and kettled by another grocery store parking lot. By now around 30 Nazis had been taken into custody by the police. Among them Simon Lindberg, leader of the Nordic Resistance Movement. Counter protesters gathered at the site, surrounding the trapped Nazi demonstration, chanting slogans and throwing fireworks. When police pushed back the antifascists some clashes broke out. Antifascists fought back, forcing the Nazis to stay put until their demonstration permit expired.
They still hadn’t even reached the starting point of their demonstration.
On their own website, Nazi commentators complained about the total failures while the counter demonstrators celebrated a huge victory.
This day Gothenburg showed the Nazis of the Nordic Resistance Movement that we don’t want them here, and if they return we will be ready.
Rebel Girl: Many thanks to the brave anti-fascists who shut that nonsense down, and thanks to the Swedish anarchist podcast Bilda Kedjor for sending us that report!
Last week, eleven men associated with the neo-Nazi group National Action were arrested in Britain on terrorism charges. Five were charged with planning unspecified terrorist acts, while others were arrested on suspicion of “membership of a proscribed organisation and possession of terrorism material.”
National Action was officially outlawed in December after it praised the assassination of a liberal politician by an extreme right-wingnut. A liberal coalition called Unite Against Fascism released a statement insisting that politicians and the media give “much greater prominence… to far-right terrorism.”
The police agreed; with a counter-terrorism chief saying ”the neo-Nazi group was being treated as seriously as those committed to jihadist acts of terrorism."
It might be tempting to think this is an encouraging development; finally, the state is taking right-wing violence seriously, and any attack on their capacity to organize is a positive development, right? Well, as anarchists, let’s think this through. At best, this strategy legitimizes the police as the only force who can supposedly keep us safe; and at worst it maintains Islam at the standard bearer for extreme hatred and violence, a paradigm that drives fascist recruiting in the first place! And let’s not forget who else the police label terrorists… yep, that’s us: anarchists, anti-fascists, earth or animal liberationists, and anyone else whose zeal for freedom and will to fight oppression exceeds the law. The discourse of terrorism doesn’t help those of us who believe that freedom can only come beyond the state. All of a sudden it’s not actual acts of violence or hate, nor organizing to make them possible, that are the problem, but extremism—that is, threat defined in terms of one’s distance, in any direction, from the norm set by the state and consumer capitalism.
Free speech and civil liberties discourse would have us believe that either we have to accept the state’s right to bust into anyone’s home and drag them off to prison for their political beliefs, or else fascist speech should be protected. Fortunately, as anarchists, we don’t have to get stuck in that dead end. We think that community-based grassroots resistance to fascism works more effectively. Likewise, collective self-defense against repression can allow us to protect our own movements without insisting that the state do it for us—and thus for Nazis as well.
To be clear, we are not saying we should see ourselves as having common cause with fascists against state repression. Just notice how the UK police didn’t start banning and repressing National Action until a politician was killed—all those murdered migrants certainly didn’t matter enough; notice how their language of recognizing “all” forms of terrorism (excluding their own, of course) simply turns Trump’s language about there being “very fine people on both sides" inside out. Don’t legitimize the police and confuse the issue by calling it terrorism; call it fascism, and legitimize fighting against it by any means necessary.
On this side of the Atlantic, the far-right has already attempted to hijack the horrifying mass shooting in Las Vegas to fit its own agenda. You’ve got Alex Jones and the false flag industry trying to tie this into the #TakeAKnee protests and threatening civil war. Fake antifa accounts with right-wing owners are spreading lies that anti-fascists applauded the attack. And there are unfounded conspiracy theories that the shooter, a white man, converted to Islam months ago. Of course, the deadliest group in the US, in fact across all of history, continues to be white men. With 59 dead and over 500 hurt, this was the deadliest shooting massacre in the US since the Eighteen-ninety slaughter at Wounded Knee, where the US Calvary murdered upwards of 300 Native people. But you won’t find this shooter getting called a terrorist any time soon. No no, that word is reserved for people whose use of force is directed up the hierarchy of power, even if it’s non-lethal, as in the case of contemporary anti-fascists. So far, there doesn’t seem to be much of a political motivation behind the massacre, but the double standard of who gets called a terrorist just goes to show the degree to which white, male violence is woven into the fabric of America.
Autonomous, grassroots relief continues on all coasts of the Gulf of Mexico. A constellation of groups including Redneck Revolt, Houston Anarchist Black Cross, and Common Ground Austin are organizing aid in Texas. The organization Mutual Aid Disaster Relief continues their efforts in Florida. While the most the president can think to do for Puerto Rico is dedicate a golf trophy to the island, that is, between insulting them on Twitter of course, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief are about to send some of their aid workers to the hard hit island for medic and clean-up missions. You can keep up with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief through their Twitter, @MutualAidRelief.
We want to focus in on one of Trump’s tweets, where he accuses Puerto Ricans of wanting everything done for them when it should be, according to him, a community effort. As anarchists, obviously we agree that disaster recovery should be a community effort—actually, some of us want community efforts to be the basis of how the whole world works—but that doesn’t mean we’re content to allow those with wealth and power to continue to accumulate it while we simply fend for ourselves. If you believe in government, now, in Puerto Rico, is exactly the time where it’s supposed to sweep in and save people. But it’s not. It’s so plainly obvious that those in power have vastly different interests than those on the losing side of capitalism and climate change. Yes, rebuilding should be a people powered project, but it should be accompanied by a radical redistribution of the wealth and power held by out of touch, irrelevant, useless leaders. Mr. Trump, and the wealthy who made his presidency possible, we’re coming for much more than your golf trophies.
In Oaxaca, Mexico, autonomous brigades have begun rebuilding after two major earthquakes in September killed over 100, left whole communities without drinking water, and destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands. Many are familiar with the widespread, horizontal self-organization during the 2006 rebellion there, but throughout the barrios and indigenous communities of Oaxaca, solidarity and communal organization are not only a necessity, they are also an ancestral collective practice, marked by five centuries of resistance to colonialism, old and new. In response to militarized government aid, anti-capitalist high school students from the Ixhuatán Community write: “They use the uncertainty of the population, which is why we reiterate the warning against depending on external aid, so that we do not permit the entrance of any transnational companies… It is urgent that the communities meet and organize so as to face this adversity from within. It would be unfortunate if the communities lost their organizational force and with it, their defense of the territory.”
After several weeks of resistance in St Louis, MO, protests in reaction to the acquittal of ex-cop Jason Stockley for the murder of a young black man, Anthony Lamar Smith, appear to be winding down. The past few weeks saw demos where people surrounded and vandalized the mayor’s house, broke many windows in wealthy shopping districts, smashed cop cars, got into confrontations with police, occupied busy intersections and shut down malls and shopping districts. There were walk-outs at high schools and large noise demos outside the jails demanding the release of arrestees. Police showed restraint the first two nights, but by the third night the gloves came off and the St Louis MPD showed their true colors when they violently kettled and arrested over 100 people. Police continued their brutality over the last few weeks and are currently facing several lawsuits as a result. Over 200 hundred people have been arrested and you’ll find a link to the bail and legal fund in our shownotes.
We spoke to a few comrades in St Louis who shared these thoughts about why the demos didn’t generalize across the region, “Protests have been roving across the metro area, so you have to have both the motivation and the means to find out where people are gathered, as opposed to Ferguson, where we were mostly gathered in one place. And these have been planned protests led by area clergy and community politicians, not spontaneous rebellion. If Ferguson was pure burning rage, these demos are a bit more like diluted anger.”
Take heart, dear listeners—we’ve been around long enough to know that social uprisings ebb and flow. While we’d love if one single epic strike would bring this whole rotten system crumbling down, we’re acutely aware of how much lilliputian effort it’s going to take to tumble this behemoth. We can use the lulls to invest ourselves in the long haul, review our wins, take care of ourselves and dream for the future. Check out the Crimethinc series, After the Crest, for more reflection on what we can do in the quiet moments of social struggle.
In this week’s repression round up…
We are six weeks out from the first trial in the J20 case, in which nearly 200 folks face 8 felonies each after being kettled, brutalized, and eventually mass-arrested for protesting the presidential inauguration. DropJ20.org has announced a brand new call-in campaign to pressure the US Attorney’s office to drop the cases.
Anarchist political prisoner Dane Powell, the first of the J20 inauguration arrestees to do time, has put out a call to mobilize support for the remaining J20 defendants. In it, he states, “200 of our comrades face being robbed of their freedom of movement, freedom of association, and freedom of controlling their own destiny by becoming political prisoners. They need to feel the solidarity that they rightfully deserve. Organize for our comrades, as they have organized for you. Speak for our comrades, as they have spoken for you. Most importantly, rage for our comrades, as they have raged for you.”
Links for both the call-in campaign and Dane’s full letter can be found in our shownotes at Crimethinc.com/podcast. Also, consider coming to DC in November to pack the courthouse and show some love for the first batch of J20 trial defendants.
Similarly, 414 cases are still pending from the No Dakota Access Pipeline camp at Standing Rock Indian Reservation last year, which at its height drew over 15,000 participants from all over the world. 6 of those cases are nearly unprecedented federal charges faced by native activists. It came out this week that North Dakota has, to date, sank $39 million into repressing anti-pipeline protests. $39 million. This just shows that the Dakota Access Pipeline’s route wasn’t just about making a buck, it was a way to remind indigenous folks just how little their communities, sacred sites, and very lives matter to capitalism and the state. You can support those still facing charges from Standing Rock by going to freshetcollective.org/.
This week we have a few calls to support political prisoners and prison organizers.
Friends and family of political prisoner Herman Bell are asking for people to email the New York Department of Corrections after Herman was viciously beaten by guards, which we reported in Hotwire #5.
Comrade Malik, a tireless writer and organizer who’s been very active in exposing unsafe conditions at the Eastham Unit in Texas, is facing retaliation from prison staff, and is asking supporters to email the Texas Ombudsman to prevent any further action being taken against him.
Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have for news. If you want us to include something in a future Hotwire, just send us an email at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com.
We’ll close out our episode with political prisoner birthdays and next week’s news.
October 4 is the birthday of Jamil Al-Amin, also known as H. Rap Brown, who came to prominence in the 1960s as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and as Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party.
On October 6 we wish a very happy birthday to David Gilbert, an incarcerated revolutionary from the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army. In addition to being David’s birthday, it’s the 5-year anniversary of his book “Love and Struggle” available on PM Press.
Also on October 6 we send birthday wishes to Mike Africa, one of the MOVE 9, members of a Philly-based eco-revolutionary group each serving 100 years after being framed for the murder of a cop in 1979.
Finally, October 8 is the birthday of Malik Smith, who is serving 8 consecutive life sentences for his participation in a 1970s rebellion in the Virgin Islands against U.S. colonial rule.
Please write some letters to Jamil, David, Mike Africa, and Malik Smith this week. It only takes a few minutes for you, but getting your letter could be the highlight of their week. We have their addresses and a guide to writing prisoners in our shownotes.
And now, next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
Submedia just released the sixth episode of their wonderful documentary show Trouble. This month’s episode, Adapt and Destroy, focuses on counter-insurgency and social war. Troublemakers are hosting screenings all across North America and even in some parts of Europe. The best way to find out about a screening in your area is via @submedia on Twitter.
You can watch the show yourself at Submedia.tv, where you can also see their hilarious new fundraiser video to #BringBackStim, referring to the foul mouthed, floating eyed anarcho-comedian-news anchor, The Stimulator. We miss you Stim.
The Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement has made a call for people to deface Columbus Day on October 9 by painting murals, wheatpasting posters, dropping banners, or by any other creative approach against celebrations of colonialism, or in support of indigenous struggles. The call was published along with a pretty dope video, which you can check out in our shownotes.
Alerta! Alerta! Anti-fascists in Florida are calling for anti-racists throughout the south to oppose white power leader Richard Spencer, who will speak at the University of Florida in Gainesville on October 19. The anti-fascist Torch Network, a name to be trusted when it comes to anti-fascism, says the event has been officially confirmed and that details of the anti-racist counter-mobilization will be announced soon.
The call to action is signed by groups ranging from Food Not Bombs to Mutual Aid Disaster Relief to Gainesville Dream Defenders to Black Lives Matter Tampa. This Rebel Girl finds it very encouraging that such a wide array of radical and activist groups are coming together to oppose explicit white supremacy. As was reported in Ex-Worker episode #56 about Charlottesville, a diversity of capacities and affinities in the streets, and solidarity between them, gives us a kind of strength that the fascists simply can’t muster. Keep up with ItsGoingDown.org for updates.
The sixth annual anarchist book and propaganda gathering in Chile will take place on October 14 and 15 in the city of Santiago. This bookfair includes presentations on physics and anarchism, digital security, abortion with medicinal plants, political prisoners, FOUR theatrical performances, and a lot more. You can find details at EncuentroAnarquista.org, which we also have linked at Crimethinc.com/podcast.
There’s a call to disrupt the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia starting on October 21. They’re calling for a march to gather at Thomas Paine Plaza that Saturday at 10 AM under the slogan, “For a world without police.” The next day, folks will gather outside the conference’s convention center to discuss police abolition. Find out more details at noiacp.blackblogs.org.
The 2018 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar is now available for bulk pre-orders. Your group can buy 10 or more at the rate of $10 each and sell them for 15, keeping the difference for your organization. It’s Going Down has a great interview with ex-political prisoner Daniel McGowan about the Certain Days calendar project.
This year’s theme is “Awakening Resistance,” and features art and writings by Jesus Barraza, Andrea Ritchie, Herman Bell, Marius Mason, Crimethinc, and more. People can sponsor copies for prisoners for only $8, postage included! Just be sure to specify their full legal name and prisoner number. Single copies of the calendar will be available for purchase in a few weeks. Any questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s it for your weekly Hotwire. Thanks to Bilda Kedjor for that guest report, and as always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music. Don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful notes we have posted alongside this episode at crimethinc.com. If you want to replay part or all of this show, go for it. Every Hotwire episode is radio-friendly, in case you want to put it on the airwaves. Just let us know about it by dropping us a line at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com. You can also send us news or announcements to include in future episodes.
Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into the Hotwire.