Listen to the Episode — 32 min
Rebel Girl: October 11, 2017: Defacing Columbus Day, prisoners rebel in South Carolina, calls for anti-fascist action, and singing wobbly waiters 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 bring you a slew of reports from anti-Columbus Day actions across so-called North America. We also fill you in on an inspiring prison uprising that took over McCormick prison in South Carolina. Prisoners even got on the roof! The political crisis in Catalonia continues, this week with fascist and pro-Spanish reaction. White supremacists descended on Charlottesville again this weekend, and there are some upcoming calls to anti-fascist action in the south, so listen until the end. Plus, we got all of our regular features like political prisoner birthdays, announcements for upcoming anarchist book fairs, and the repression roundup.
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, just search for The Ex-Worker. You can also listen to us through the new anarchist podcast network Channel Zero. We’re happy to announce that listeners in Tacoma, Washington can catch us every Wednesday at 9 AM on KUPS 90.1 FM, followed by an hour of the choicest psychedelic country music. Believe it or not, every episode we produce is radio friendly, so just get in touch if you’d like to put The Hotwire on your local airwaves.
Now… for the headlines.
Climate change hit once again this week. A tropical storm killed 22 in Central America and flooded Mississippi while wildfires spread in Northern California, killing 11 so far. 85 percent of Puerto Rico and 90 percent of the US Virgin Islands are still without electricity. Mutual Aid Disaster Relief are sending small-scale solar power and water purification equipment to Puerto Rico. You can find a link to donate to their efforts in our shownotes.
On Saturday, in the anarchist Exharcheia neighborhood of Athens, Greece, anti-fascists and cop haters threw molotovs and stones at police. The demonstration was called against the police torture of a comrade arrested on the anniversary of the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas.
Anti-fascists in France beat up a deputy of the ultranationalist National Front in Pas-de-Calais.
Anti-militarists in New Zealand blockaded the entrance to a defense industry expo in Wellington, shouting “army of the rich, enemy of the poor.”
In Pittsburgh, a crowd gathered and chanted outside the home of a local cop who was caught on camera cursing and beating a man as four other cops looked on. In a report posted on ItsGoingDown.org, some participants comment that, “Cops aren’t afraid of their fellow cops, of their bosses, of courts or prosecutors or legislatures. But they’re afraid of us. A little research and some word of mouth is all it takes for us to bring the fight from our neighborhoods to theirs.” We have a guide to organizing your own copwatch group posted in this episode’s shownotes.
This week, in a labor struggle that reminded this Rebel Girl to revisit the musical Newsies, the Wobbly singing servers at Ellen’s Stardust Diner in New York struck a victory over their bosses. All 31 employees terminated over the last year in retaliation for union activity have been offered immediate and full reinstatement, and will receive back pay from the time they were fired. Seize the day Stardust Family Union!
The whole first week of October, prisoners rebelled in McCormick, South Carolina after being limited to one cup of water a day. During the rebellion, prison captives refused to go back to their cells, took over their dorms, reached the roof of the maximum security facility, and paid at least one prison guard back for years of abuse and violence. Reportedly, one guard refused orders to shoot a prisoner, and later walked off the job and quit. We call on all cops and prison guards to follow suit, take off your badges and side with humanity.
The FBI continues its hunt for two missing pigs—actual pigs, like with the curly tails, in case you thought we were talking about cops. This past summer, two ailing piglets were liberated while the group Direct Action Everywhere filmed the conditions inside a Smithfield Foods factory farm in Utah. At the end of August, the FBI raided a couple of farm animal sanctuaries out west in clear retaliation against the successful animal liberation. Why would the FBI dedicate such resources to what amount to basically a small-scale theft? Well, the piglets are a visceral, personalized example of the monstrous scale of cruelty necessitated by capitalism; and where a wing of capitalism is threatened, the state will swoop in to pluck out the threat. You can watch a video the adorable piglets in question by checking out our shownotes at CrimethInc.com, where you can also find the article Green Scared? about the Bush-era wave of repression against earth and animal liberation activists.
Anti-police demonstrations are headed into their fourth week in St. Louis, MO in response to the acquittal of white ex-cop, Jason Stockley, for the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, a young black father. Actions and protests continue to happen almost daily, including a 500-person march on Sunday through a wealthy neighborhood to honor the three year anniversary of Vonderrit Meyers, who was shot dead by an off-duty cop in 2014. What the demonstrations are lacking in confrontation, they’re certainly making up for in consistency. There’s an excellent firsthand account and analysis of the first three days of action on antistatestl.noblogs.org. A bail fund for those arrested is posted in our shownotes.
Monday, of course, was Columbus Day—or, Indigenous People’s Day, although we have some mixed feelings about that name. On a day that honors a mass-murdering rapist slave-catcher, the anarchist thing to do is indeed center his victims, the horror he inflicted, and raise up the centuries of indigenous resistance that continue to this day. However, as 55 cities and 4 states have begun to officially recognize Indigenous People’s Day, it seems that, for many, the re-branding isn’t much more than lip-service. It’s hard to imagine the same governing structures that changed the name of Columbus Day actually stopping the impoverishment, dispossession, and psychic and physical terror of colonialism that continue to be committed against indigenous communities and ways of life.
As Mutual Aid Disaster Relief writes in Resistance Is Disaster Relief, “We are taught to envision colonization as a past period of conquistadors, an age of brutality and callousness which is far behind us. But the Era of Colonization continues today. Now it is perpetrated by corporations instead of conquistadors, and methods have become more subtle and convoluted, but no less vicious.
In the United States, oil and natural gas pipelines are being constructed in spite of ample evidence of their danger…
Indigenous communities have always been on the frontlines of resistance to pipeline expansions. From Standing Rock Lakota at the center of Turtle Island, to Unist’ot’en and Mik’maq on the far western and eastern edges, native peoples and their allies are doing everything in their power to stop the rapid and extremely dangerous expansion of fracking and tar sands, and unprecedented development of pipelines that carry this gas and oil, as well as other forms of mining like those resisted by the Apache at Oak Flat, Arizona and the Ojibwe at Bad River, Wisconsin.
Colonization, by its very nature, attacks and pillages the land, water, and ecosystems. As a result, it must attack, rob, enslave, or undermine all those peoples who are of the land, water, and ecosystems, those who live in ways that protect and nurture natural cycles.”
All of that said, one way of observing the holiday that we have no reservations about is supporting attacks against symbols that glorify colonialism and Columbus. Last month the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement issued a call to deface Columbus Day, and rebels across the so-called United States took heed.
Banners, wheatpasted posters, and graffiti proclaiming resistance to genocide, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and America itself showed up in over a dozen cities. Columbus statues in Long Island; Minneapolis; Providence, Rhode Island; and in three Connecticut cities all got some kind of graffiti or red paint makeover. The Columbus statue in Chicago was hit twice—two separate occasions on the same day. Cheers to the second wave of rebels who, upon seeing their target was already hit, were not too dismayed to still have their say!
We have a report from anti-Columbus Day actions, complete with photos and video, linked in our shownotes at CrimethInc.com. We also linked a critical article by Indigenous Action Media about the limitations of Indigenous People’s Day. For a podcast about the trajectory of colonialism to today’s structural white supremacy, check out episode 32 of The Ex-Worker, titled “White Supremacy and Capitalism, From 1492 to Ferguson.”
On Monday in Santiago, Chile, thousands demonstrated against colonialism by participating in an indigenous-led March for Mapuche Resistance. Demonstrators called for an end to the militarization and capitalist exploitation of ancestral Mapuche lands, as well as an end to the repression faced by indigenous communities. In nearby Valparaíso, masked encapuchados erected barricades and clashed with police in solidarity with, “the Mapuche warriors in clandestinity… and to keep alive the tension for the reappearance with life of the anarchist compa Santiago Maldonado.”
Just days before, the Chilean state arrested and indicted seven Mapuche and anti-authoritarian comrades in its latest repressive conspiracy case. We send lots of newen and solidarity to all the comrades facing state repression down there.
Over the weekend, the president once again requested border wall funding; this time using protections for undocumented youth as a negotiating chip with democrats. Meanwhile, dozens of young immigrants in Los Angeles put their bodies on the line to shutdown a busy intersection on October 5, the deadline for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, to renew their work permits. Organizers declared that the fight to defend immigrants must go well beyond DACA, and that democrats are just as complicit as republicans in deportations, border militarization, and for-profit immigrant detention centers. We have an interview with an anarchist DACA recipient in Hotwire #4.
The vice president also did his part to solidify racist attitudes this weekend. In a stunt as expensive as it was transparently staged, the vice president flew half-way across the country to simply stand up and walk out on the game after players for Colin Kaepernick’s old team, the 49ers, knelt during the national anthem. He then flew back across the country to the tune of a quarter million dollars spent on the whole operation.
Saturday night, white-shirted khaki-pantsed white nationalists returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, the site of Heather Heyer’s murder by an attendee of August’s Unite the Right rally. As quickly as they got word of the alt-right presence, an anti-fascist march hit the streets, to the applause of locals out for some weekend nightlife. The It’s Going Down podcast was able to catch up with a Charlottesville Anarchist People of Color participant about what happened.
IGD: Can we just talk now about what all happened?
CVILLE APOC: Sure. In central Virginia we just have this network of anti-fascist alerts. I just started getting alerts like, “Hey, Richard Spencer is here.” Got a link to the livestream and within our networks we just started alerting each other and saying, “okay. Who’s in town? Who can show up?” I would say that within 10 minutes of getting that alert, we had people on the ground. I wasn’t on the ground until about 20 minutes after the alert, but people were there, including students and community members. But at that point the police had very kindly told them that they would be escorted out of town and they were loading up on the vans and heading out.
IGD: And to be clear there was about 30 of them, we’ve read. They were there for literally 10 minutes. You can go back and look at the reporters’ tweets and it’s like 10 minutes after they say they’re there, they’re being loaded up into their cars. It’s clear, and the media have said this, that they were informed ahead of time. So basically they were doing a press conference for Richard Spencer, and then the police gave them an escort. What are your feelings about this and what does this say?
CVILLE APOC: For the media, my immediate reaction is that it’s a heavy hypocrisy because the mainstream media has put anti-fascists on blast, saying that by paying attention to the Nazis and going to confront them you’re giving them the attention they want. Then we see this, and they are basically giving them the exact press conference they’re looking for, and calling them “white activists,” and putting their message verbatim out there, when they have the absolute choice to refuse to cover them, and instead expose their violence.
For the police, in last night’s march people were chanting “cops and Klan go hand in hand,” and there’s a very metaphorical meaning to that, of systemic violence and the way that white supremacy works, but it also is very literal. They help each other out. The cops help white supremacists recruit and have their spaces safely, and then the Klan helps put fear in people of color communities so that they don’t “step out of line.” So it is no surprise that they were escorted. A couple of us actually followed them in cars and they were escorted roughly twenty miles out of town. The town is not that big, but they were escorted pretty far and then dropped off, and we continued following them through country roads until we confirmed that they were actually heading back to Alexandria, which is where Richard Spencer lives.
Rebel Girl: In our shownotes at CrimethInc.com we have links for supporting anti-racist organizing in Charlottesville. Check out episode 56 of The Ex-Worker podcast for on-the-ground interviews and analysis from anti-fascists who took action against the Unite the Right rally in August.
Both the vice president and the alt-right held stunts to stoke white rage this weekend, but neither propose solutions that would actually help poor white folks. The opioid crisis grows in America, with the drug Fentanyl recently taking over as the leading cause of US overdose deaths. In the 90s, the same black communities that the crack epidemic hit were then targeted for mass incarceration. In 2017, the largely white opioid crisis is being exploited by those who stand to gain from white rage, who are trotting out the same old tired racist narratives: that these drugs are coming from south of the border, or how migrants are taking our jobs, and so on.
While fascists seek to blame people of color or some sort of Jewish conspiracy for the suffering of poor white people, the fundamental problem is obviously capitalism. Market imperatives make dealers and cartels seek profit at any cost, just as they reward corporations that shift their factories offshore or replace human employees with machines. It is capitalism that has broken up our communities, compelling us to chase jobs from one place to another across the continent while extractive corporations decimate the natural world we depend on for survival. To defend ourselves against this onslaught, we have to come together across all lines of identity, identifying with each other even across gulfs of privilege and fighting to abolish privilege and capitalism entirely. One of the chief reasons race was invented in the first place was to split the interests of those on the receiving end of all the disparities and misfortunes imposed by capitalism.
We took that last paragraph directly from a new, incisive analysis of the opioid crisis available on our website, CrimethInc.com.
On Sunday in Oregon, anti-fascists turned out to oppose yet another Nazi-harboring Patriot Prayer protest in Portland. While at one point Patriot Prayer rallies were happening weekly, Sunday’s was the first to take place in about a month, and it was only announced with a day’s notice. Rose City Antifa reports that, “the far right group was blocked, stymied, drowned out with artisanal… cowbells, and frustrated nearly to the point of tears.” One man from the Patriot Prayer crowd was arrested for carrying a firearm in a federal park, and it turns out that he is a vocal supporter of Jeremy Christian, the white nationalist who, in May, killed two people and maimed a third after they stepped in to defend two young women from his Islamophobic harassment.
Fascists were also on the attack in Catalonia and Spain this weekend. Anti-Catalan independence rallies were held in various cities, in reaction to Catalonia’s recent overwhelming vote in favor of independence. Hundreds of thousands were in attendance, with the biggest turnouts in Madrid and Barcelona, where pro-Spain demonstrators were seen openly and festively flying fascist salutes and singing Franco-era dictatorship anthems. In Valencia, dozens of Spanish nationalists attacked leftist pro-independence marchers, including parties like the CUP, who directed energy from 2011’s 15M plaza occupations into electoral politics. The march even changed their route because hundreds of Spanish nationalists had occupied the plaza where it was supposed to end. As anarchists, we stand with those defending themselves against fascist attacks, and we also assert that the surest defeat of authoritarian nationalism is the no state solution, rather than a new Catalan democracy. For a full analysis of the independence referendum, as well as some background on how social movements in Spain went from being ungovernable to demanding to be governed independently, check out our shownotes at CrimethInc.com.
In this week’s repression roundup…
Police at Georgia Tech University have begun arresting and interrogating people they suspect of participating in an angry march that left one Georgia Tech Police vehicle in flames. The protest erupted after the police shooting of Scout Schultz, a queer anarchist Georgia Tech student whose murder we covered in Hotwire #5. In response, Copwatch of East Atlanta has published a useful guide on how to keep yourself and others safe if the police come a ‘knocking. We have it, along with a bail fund for arrestees, linked in our shownotes. A full report, titled Scout Schultz: Remembering Means Fighting, is available at CrimethInc.com.
In Hotwire #4 we reported that 69-year-old Black Panther political prisoner Herman Bell had been assaulted by prison guards, brought up on phony charges, and put in solitary. This week, we’re happy to report that Herman’s charges have been dropped and he is back in general population! Bell wrote a moving letter to his supporters, thanking them for the outpouring of support. , “The social injustice, jackboot repression, racist attacks, discrimination, wealth disparities, unemployment, lack of affordable housing (the list doesn’t just end there), creates waves of fierce discontent which is gaining steady momentum, becoming a full-blown cleansing tsunami, the force of which is irresistible. And that force is you, the People, coming together and taking a stand.” Heal up Herman, all power to the people.
DeAndre Harris, a 20-year-old black man beat by a crowd of Nazis during the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, is now being charged with unlawful wounding for allegedly fighting back to defend himself. Men who beat DeAndre with sticks continue to walk free. Supporters have organized a call-in to the attorney on the case, to demand that they drop the charges against Harris. The number for that call is 434–970–3176.
We are just five 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. Supporters have announced a brand new call-in campaign to pressure the US Attorney’s office to drop the cases. Check out DropJ20.org for details.
Also, consider coming to DC at the end of November to pack the courthouse and show some love for the first batch of J20 trial defendants.
All charges, including a bunch of bogus riot charges, were dropped against indigenous activist Kanahus Manuel and two other water defenders from Standing Rock. You can support the nearly 400 people still facing charges from Standing Rock by going to freshetcollective.org/.
25-foot-tall graffiti was thrown up in Chicago in solidarity with Kara Wild and her codefendant Krem. Kara is an anarchist from Chicago currently on trial in Paris facing three years in prison for allegedly burning a cop car during a protest with the cop still inside. The protests took place in 2016 against a new labor law that would make it easier to fire young employees. So far the trial has been as one would expect; shoddy evidence and laughable statements from the state, including the argument that the police are a discriminated minority in society, a clear attempt at setting legal precedent to equate anti-police protests to Islamophobic or homophobic attacks.
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.
POLITICAL PRISONER BIRTHDAYS
We’ll close out our episode with political prisoner birthdays and next week’s news.
October 15 is the birthday of Robert Seth Hayes, one of the longest-held political prisoners in the U.S. Seth was active in the Black Panther Party and, later on, formed the Black Liberation Army.
Jermaine Parker also celebrates his birthday on October 15. Jermaine is serving 14 years for firing a revolver while being pursued by police during the Ferguson, Missouri in November of 2014.
Please write birthday greetings to Seth and Jermaine. 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. We also have a link to this month’s Political Prisoner Birthday Calendar from PrisonBooks.info, which you can use to organize monthly letter writing nights.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
And now, next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
Alerta! Anti-fascists in Florida are calling for anti-racists throughout the south to oppose white power leader Richard Spencer, who will speak on October 19 at the University of Florida in Gainesville. 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.
Unicorn Riot reports that up to half a million dollars may be spent on security for Spencer’s event, including closing a major outpatient medical facility. No student group has invited Richard Spencer to speak, he is simply renting space for his own private event. As we saw this weekend in Charlottesville, antifascists should also keep their eyes and ears open for any surprise flash actions just before or after Spencer’s announced event. Keep up with ItsGoingDown.org for updates.
Some of the major neo-Nazi groups behind the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally are planning to descend on Shelbyville, Tennessee and possibly other towns in the state for October 28. Stay tuned for updates and calls to action.
In New York City, alt-right personality Mike Cernovich, who peddles the conspiracy theory of “white genocide,” is speaking at Columbia University on October 30. NYC Anti-Fascist Action invites anti-fascists and anti-racists to call the university president and tell him that racists and fascists are not welcome in New York, and that as long as he allows Cernovich to speak on campus, he is complicit in the spread of fascism and the bloodshed that entails. The number for that call-in is (212) 854–9970.
The sixth annual anarchist book and propaganda gathering in Chile will take place this weekend on October 14 and 15 in the city of Santiago. The book fair includes presentations on physics and anarchism, digital security, abortion with medicinal plants, political prisoners, and FOUR theatrical performances. You can find details at EncuentroAnarquista.org, which we also have linked at CrimethInc.com/podcast. Also in Santiago on November 4 is the 7th tattoo and body art convention to benefit political prisoners.
The London Anarchist Bookfair takes place on Saturday, October 28 at Park View School.
The Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair also takes place the weekend of October 28 at Leimert Park Plaza. You can find out more, both in English and Spanish, on their website: la.anarchistbookfair.com.
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.
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 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. Single issues are available from LeftWingBooks.net and AK Press.
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. Any questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, for October 30 to November 5, the Earth First! newswire republished an international call for a week of action against speciesism and in memory of vegan political prisoner Barry Horne. It encourages folks to carry out all kinds of actions, from street propaganda to workshops and debates in your social centers, to organizing actions against animal exploiting businesses.
That’s it for your weekly Hotwire. Thanks to the IGDcast for letting us borrow some of their interview, 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.