Listen to the Episode — 34 min
Rebel Girl: October 18, 2017: Mutual Aid Disaster Relief in Puerto Rico, anarchists rally against rapist cops in New York City, Kurdish forces liberate Raqqa, anti-fascists call for opposition to white nationalists tomorrow in Florida, and Ебет полиции 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 compare the capitalist, statist, and anarchist solutions for the disaster in Puerto Rico. In the Repression Roundup, we argue against the extreme-centrist positions that bolster the state rather than popular struggles against fascism. Anti-fascists across Florida are calling for opposition TOMORROW, Thursday, October 19 against white nationalist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida in Gainesville. We also discuss the liberation of Raqqa, upcoming anarchist book fairs, and the first J20 trial happening in November.
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 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. You can also listen to us through the new anarchist podcast network Channel Zero. Listeners in Tacoma, Washington can catch us every Wednesday at 9 AM on KUPS 90.1 FM. Believe it or not, every Hotwire is radio friendly, so just get in touch if you’d like to put The Hotwire on your local airwaves.
Now… for the headlines.
A German military vehicle was burned near Munich on October 10. The communiqué for the action signs off with, “Against every war, against every deportation!”
Squatters in Toulouse, France opened up an abandoned hotel to house 75 unaccompanied refugee minors.
Thousands marched in Chiapas, Mexico against extractive mining and repression. Chiapas is the home of the Zapatistas, a horizontal network of rural communities against neo-liberal development and for indigenous autonomy.
Anarchists in Ukraine smashed the windows of a fascist headquarters and left a big circle-a painted on the building’s facade. In their communiqué, the anti-fascists state, “The anarchists will continue to ensure Nazis and their supporters do not live in peace.”
Anarchists also redecorated the façade of a fascist-owned storefront in Quebec, while the owner was off harassing migrants with the racist, anti-immigrant group La Meute. The store’s owner Robert Proule blamed the vandalism on high-profile anti-capitalist Jaggi Singh, but in an online communiqué, the anti-fascists made it clear that , “we don’t know Jaggi Singh. We self-organize, autonomously and informally. Everybody hates racists and Robert Proule.”
Neo-Nazis trying to celebrate “Leif Erikson Day” in Philadelphia were chased away from a statue to Icelandic explorers. They re-gathered in another park, but after another brief altercation when anti-fascists showed up again, the neo-Nazis just decided to go home.
On Monday, the No Nazis coalition at the University of Florida marched to the University President’s house in Gainesville. Anti-fascists are angry at the University for not only providing a platform for white nationalist Richard Spencer, but also for spending half a million dollars on security for his October 19 event. That’s tomorrow!!!
Anti-fascists in Florida are calling for anti-racists throughout the south to oppose the white power leader in Gainesville. On Monday, Florida’s governor declared a State of Emergency in order to bring in outside police to protect the fascist event. This is the quintessence of statist priorities: spend money that could otherwise benefit hurricane-battered communities on putting down any sort of popular mobilization against neo-Nazis. Disgusting.
Anti-fascist Drexel professor George Ciccariello-Maher was placed on administrative leave last week after the university caved to right-wing threats of violence against him. The threats were sparked by, well, let’s just say Ciccariello-Maher has a way with tweets. Basically he chalked up the Las Vegas mass shooting as a natural product of white masculinity and Trumpism. In a heartwarming gesture of solidarity, Ciccariello-Maher’s students have been posting photos of themselves with supportive signs. So much for all that disingenuous whining about academic freedom peddled by right-wingers who just want to be able to spout racism free of consequences. Woof.
Hundreds of students walked out in protest after police threw two teenage sisters to the ground at a restaurant near their New Jersey high school. The student protesters shouted “We want justice!”
The Unist’ot’en Camp in so-called British Columbia have begun their October work season. In addition to finishing up a Healing Lodge, the indigenous water protectors are building houses along pipeline routes throughout their unceded, ancestral land. To get involved, visit their website at unistoten.camp. We have the link in our shownotes.
Thirteen unlucky animal agriculture websites in France got hacked on October 4, the day of a French animal industry conference. In their communiqué, the hackers declare, “Most of the websites on this server are participants and exhibitors of this grotesque production of violent and obscene cruelties towards non-human animals all the while killing the land and exploiting those that work it. We had the capacity and the means to shut these websites down, so we did.” They go on to invite those who sympathize with the hack to, “Join the anarchists, ALF, ELF, Anonymous or your local antispeciesist or antifa movements.”
Normalista student-teachers in Michoacan, Mexico were brutally repressed on Saturday while preparing to commemorate the fifth anniversary of police repression that took place at their school in 2012. One student was struck in the head by a police projectile. 74 students were detained in total. Just last month was the three-year anniversary of the 43 disappeared normalistas from Ayotzinapa.
Last week, prisoners at Pasquotank Prison in North Carolina set fire to their sewing factory and made a break for it. Two guards died and ten more were injured. The escape wasn’t successful, but this Rebel Girl is all about any action taken against the modern day slave plantations of prisons. And that modern day slavery stuff, it’s not just hyperbole. In case you missed it, listen to this clip from Friday of a Louisiana Sherriff.
Roughly 4,000 of the firefighters battling the blazes in northern California are inmates. They get paid one dollar an hour for their life-threatening work, but most counties won’t hire them as firefighters when they get out due to having a record.
The struggle to save the Bialowieza Forest in Poland continues. For the first time in the campaign’s history three blockades of heavy equipment took place simultaneously at different points of the forest. Unfortunately, one anarchist comrade was brutally assaulted by police. The Bialowieza Forest is one of the last and largest remaining primeval forests that once stretched across Europe.
Piotr Riabov, the most well-known anarchist historian in Russia, was jailed for six days for swearing at police in Belarus after they broke up a lecture of his on anarchist history. He is spending those six days on hunger strike. In solidarity with Piotr, we’d like to say Ебет полиции! We can’t tell you what that means in English since our show gets played on FCC airwaves, but let’s just say it rhymes with “ducks of the east.”
Anarchist bio-hacker Michael Laufer made headlines this week when he announced plans to subvert the pharmaceutical industry by building a DIY movement to teach patients how to make their own medications. Laufer, who wears an antifa pin on his three-piece suit, was quoted saying, “To deny someone access to a lifesaving medication is murder. An act of theft [of intellectual property] to prevent an act of murder is morally acceptable.” In 1977 anarchists were making DIY punk. In 2017, now they’re making DIY prescription meds. What a world.
On Tuesday in Brooklyn, New York dozens marched in response to two NYPD detectives who handcuffed and raped an 18 year-old woman in September. The rapist cops are now on “modified duty,” still getting paid. Angry protesters marched behind a banner that read “Anna Chambers, We Believe You” and chanted “No more rape! No more police state!” They tried to enter a co-called “public community meeting,” but were denied entry. So they had their own community meeting outside, where survivors of sexual assault spoke.
The Metropolitan Anarchist Coordinating Council’s call for the march reads:
“We know police officers have the power to arrest people with minimal cause and throw them into jails where they are raped by correctional officers. We know that cops target and rape sex workers on the streets. We know that police departments “lose” rape kits and claim their assaults are consensual. We know that cops do “cavity searches” both publicly and privately on their chosen victims. We know that cops rape underage women. We know they commit racially motivated acts of rape and murder under the guise of law and order. We know they are well protected by their superiors, their unions, their lawyers, and the media outlets that blame victims while the vulnerable are silenced and beaten to submission.
Cops don’t stop rapists because cops are rapists. It is up to us to defend our communities.”
While Catalonia’s president remains unclear about declaring independence for the region, an independence referendum voted on by the Kurds in Northern Iraq seems to be leading towards civil war. The Iraqi military has begun to occupy towns like Kirkuk and Sinjar in retaliation for the vote. The Peshmerga withdrew without a fight, leaving PKK and other revolutionary forces there to defend several towns. Meanwhile, the once-capitol of the Islamic State, Raqqa, Syria has finally been taken back by the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are composed of Kurdish fighters influenced by the late anarchist Murray Bookchin. They even count an internationalist anarchist militia in their ranks, the International Revolutionary People’s Guerrilla Forces. Improbably, the SDF receives support from the Pentagon, but it should be no surprise that an anarchist-influenced movement would have the most dedicated fighters against the fascism and fundamentalism of the Islamic State. We have a link in our shownotes to fund the return of an internationalist anti-fascist from Rojava. Hopefully their return will lead to more information about the egalitarian social revolution taking place there. For more background, check out Ex-Worker episodes 36 and 39 on the revolution in Rojava.
85% of Puerto Rico still remains without electricity a month after Hurricane Maria hit the island. Some anti-Trump liberals like Elon Musk’s proposal, for Tesla to rebuild the electrical grid off solar power. They see it as a way to popularize so-called sustainable solar energy over fossil fuels and coal. However, the thought of privatizing Puerto Rico’s energy grid and handing it over to one of the world’s leading capitalists gives us pause. With privatization, any service becomes even more about profit than about human needs—just look at the wave of neoliberal reforms in Latin America in the 80s and 90s, and the crises and class divisions those sparked. The same arguments that have been going on about net neutrality apply here—privately owned services lead to high class and low class options, further entrenching the class divisions that persist as the man-made disaster that underlies any natural one.
It’s not only capitalists who are trying to consolidate their power in Puerto Rico. Early Monday morning, law enforcement including SWAT team personnel raided the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief base of operations in Guaynabo. After forcing all volunteers out of the building at gunpoint, the cops proceeded to ask questions about whether the volunteers were antifa, if they had ever used the raised fist, or if they were planning on overthrowing the government. Come on.
In their report on It’s Going Down, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief write, “We know that repression from the state intensifies when our organizing is perceived by those in power as effective. Rather than be intimidated into silence and passivity, this just furthers our resolve to continue organizing from below to support people’s survival and self-determination.” Mutual Aid Disaster Relief have been writing excellent reports from their work in Puerto Rico, detailing local groups worth supporting. We have links to some of their reports in our shownotes, at CrimethInc.com/podcast.
Frank Lopez, of the excellent anarchist video collective Submedia, is from Puerto Rico and recently caught up with It’s Going Down about his recent trip to the island.
Frank Lopez: Maybe I will just jump into what the folks from Mutual Aid Disaster Relief were doing. It was the equivalent to someone raising their hand and saying “we need help,” and they would just go there. They would listen to them, to what they needed, and they would go and do it. We went to a really poor community, a resistance community as well. A community that fought off being expropriated to build a hotel. This really poor community in the town of Guaynabo had been there for three weeks and had not received any aid from anybody. When we arrived there the folks from Mutual Aid Disaster Relief who were working with this church were the first people to bring anything. If there’s anything needed in Puerto Rico, more than anything it’s that sort of decentralized mutual aid. Folks just basically looking to where needs are and just trying to fill those needs
I think what really blows people’s minds about Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is that they just do it, and I just think that anybody can do this. The idea that we have to go through official channels is bullshit. If you wait for bureaucracies like the Red Cross sometimes you’d be dead.
IGD: Do people feel like this is the breaking point with the state? That things will go in a more autonomous direction? Or, instead, do you think people are more and more looking to the state for help? I mean obviously, the mayor of San Juan is definitely taking a leadership role in this and a lot of people are looking to her.
Frank Lopez: The mayor of San Juan is a politician, so I wouldn’t trust her. I don’t trust the governor of Puerto Rico. I think that some people are going to make a break with the state, especially as they experience folks who just decided to help them without going through that hurdle of state bureaucracy to get them aid. But, the undoing of the colonial mentality of the island is a really long-term project. We have 500 years of being colonized so I think there’s a lot of work to be done in changing that mindset. I think particularly young people are the ones that I see as the most promising of the populations who are going to be able to recognize this.
I don’t want to sound like I’m being politically opportunistic, like within this disaster I’m using it to push other things, but I think in this particular moment it seems extremely necessary that people recognize their collective power, recognize that the government has failed them at the moment when they’re most needed, and start doing the shit to stop the dependency on the local and the federal government. I don’t think we really need a referendum to let Puerto Ricans understand that they’re independent already. The United States doesn’t do anything for us; they have never done anything for us. All they’ve ever done is take, take, take. It’s really, really clear right now. People should seize this opportunity to help each other out and start to build the shit that is going to make them independent for years to come.
Rebel Girl: In our shownotes, we have links to the full interview as well as fundraising sites from both Submedia and Mutual Aid Disaster Relief.
In this week’s repression roundup…
Last Hotwire, we reported on the 10-minute demonstration of white nationalists who returned to Charlottesville, Virginia. Cops, courts and Klan all go hand in hand, so in the week since, two black counterprotesters who were on the streets during the Unite the Right rally have been arrested.
DeAndre Harris, a 20-year-old local who was beat by a gang of white nationalists on August 12, is somehow now facing charges himself for injuries that one of his attackers sustained later that day.
Unfortunately, Harris’ lawyer has been tweeting out images of other anti-fascists from August 12, holding them responsible for the injuries that Harris is being charged with. We want the charges against Harris dropped, and later on we have details about flooding the Commonwealth Attorney’s phone lines to that end, but if we turn over other anti-fascists whenever neo-Nazis or the state come hunting for us, it will dissuade people from taking the kind of action that was crucial to stopping the Unite the Right rally in the first place. We should get these charges dropped by popular pressure, not by sacrificing other comrades to the state or fascists.
Police also arrested Corey Long, who now faces charges of assault and battery for allegedly warding fascists away from counterprotesters by wielding an improvised blowtorch. You’ve probably seen the image, it looks like it was basically an aerosol can lit up with a lighter. Of course, this was less than 24 hours after hundreds of white supremacists marched with open-flame tiki torches and used them to beat anti-racists.
Some of the fascist Unite the Right attendees have also received warrants, which may seem like a positive development to some, but as anarchists we don’t trust the state to resolve our conflicts with fascists for us, let alone accept its legitimacy as the sole arbiter of justice. We’re supposed to trust that the same system that provided police escorts for fascists, that responded to Heather Heyer’s murder with riot police before ambulances, and that is now arresting black counterprotesters for legitimate self-defense is going to protect us from fascist violence? Yeah right.
Unfortunately, there are still those who are pushing an extreme-centrist agenda. Unicorn Riot reports that last week a criminal complaint was filed in Virginia court against the “illegal paramilitary activity” during the Unite the Right rally. The suit names white nationalist groups like the Traditionalist Workers Party and League of the South, but also two of the armed leftist groups present: Redneck Revolt and the Socialist Rifle Club. Let’s not forget that the history of modern gun control in America began against the Black Panther Party in the sixties. Since then, gun control has given a platform to right-wing groups like the NRA while continuing to further criminalize communities of color. From history, we can already tell where a lawsuit like this will lead.
Remember that whole “no moral equivalency” line that was so popular with liberals in the wake of Charlottesville? Well, this suit would codify precisely the “both-sides” discourse that Trump used to excuse white nationalists and demonize anti-fascists. We’ve heard liberals say that they’re worried about the rise of unchecked political violence, but an anarchist understanding of power tells us is that politics is violence, the state being the monopoly of the legitimate use of it. With a million black men in prisons and the roots of the police being in southern slave patrols, it’s not like the state is neutral in wielding that force either—the neo-Nazis who sought out the magistrate that issued DeAndre Harris’ warrant know that well.
That is what distinguishes anarchists from liberals—our search for a defeat of fascism that lifts up the communities it threatens, rather than re-asserting the state over all of us. You might wonder what this actually looks like. Thankfully, last week in Charlottesville local anti-fascists demonstrated one way of putting these principles into action. Three Unite the Right attendees faced court on Friday. Instead of trusting that the measly fines they received would sufficiently dissuade the fascists from coming back to Charlottesville, anti-fascists reportedly chased them out of the courthouse and all the way to their cars, until a group of police officers ordered the anti-fascists to disperse.
Cheers to the brave folks in Charlottesville. The Anarchist People of Color collective there is calling on folks to flood the Commonwealth Attorney’s phone lines with demands to drop the charges against DeAndre Harris, Corey Long and all others facing charges from taking anti-racist action. That number is 434–970–3176.
With anti-fascist self-defense under attack, it’s only a matter of time before they start criminalizing even administering first aid to other comrades. Oh wait, no it’s not. In just one month the first trial in the J20 case begins, and some of the defendants are on trial precisely for being street medics. During the presidential inauguration, police illegally kettled, mass arrested, and brutalized over 200 people who now face at least 8 felonies each. The government’s case consists of the fact that a handful of windows were broken. So how are they holding over 200 people responsible? By chalking up the J20 protests as a conspiracy. In characterizing the protests as a conspiracy, they get to identify activity like chanting slogans or dressing in black or even providing first aid as evidence of conspiring, arguing that therefore, all of the nearly 200 codefendants are equally responsible for the small amount of property destruction that occurred. If this precedent had existed during the Black Lives Matter or Occupy waves of action, there would be thousands of people awaiting felony trials as a result.
Just last week, J20 defendants went to court after the prosecutors moved to suppress videos and other evidence of police misconduct.
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.
The trial for the burning cop car case in Paris came to a close last week, with eight comrades receiving sentences ranging from fines and probation to seven years imprisonment. At the height of last year’s Occupy-style Nuit Debout movement against the Loi Travail labor law, a spontaneous march took the streets of Paris and trashed a police car, eventually lighting it up with a flare. Nine people were charged in relation to the act, including Kara Wild, an anarchist from Chicago. Kara received a four-year sentence with two years suspended. Over the last year and a half, solidarity actions have taken place across Europe and North America, ranging from rallies to smashing windows at correctional facilities to torching French gendarme vehicles. You can lock up a few anarchists, but you can’t cage the spirit!
Our hearts go out to all the burning cop car defendants. For a full report on the case, check out “The Poetry of Flames: French Tales of Arson,” which you can find on our website, CrimethInc.com.
Supporters of the anti-police brutality activist Reverend Joy Powell have organized a phone blast to support her this week. Powell was railroaded by the Rochester police for her community activism and is currently in a dilapidated facility full of health risks. We have more details on the phone blast, and an address where you can write the Reverend Powell herself, linked in our shownotes.
Political Prisoner Seth Hayes is on the verge of a diabetic coma and is in urgent need of medical attention. His supporters are asking people to call the supervisor at Sullivan Correctional to demand that he be taken to Albany Medical Center as soon as possible. You can call Superintendent Keyser at 845–434–2080. Just let them know you’re calling about Robert Seth Hayes, number 74-A–2280.
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 next week’s news, but first…
Black Panther political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim celebrates his birthday today, October 18. Jalil was captured in 1971 after a shootout with San Francisco police and then charged with attempting to assassinate police in retaliation for the murder of political prisoner George Jackson. He has maintained his political convictions through organizing in prison for over 30 years.
And that’s the only political prisoner birthday we have for you this week. So come on, just sit down and write a letter to Jalil. It only takes a few minutes for you, but getting your letter could be the highlight of his week, seriously! We have his address 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! Tomorrow, October 19 is the protest against Richard Spencer at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Stay tuned to @IGD_news on twitter for details.
Some of the major neo-Nazi groups behind the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally are planning to descend on central Tennessee on October 28. Organizers are calling for anti-fascists to gather at 9am on the corner of North Cannon Blvd and Lane Parkway in Northwest Shelbyville on the 28. We have a link with more details in our shownotes at CrimethInc.com/podcast.
There’s a call to disrupt the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia this weekend. They’re calling for a march to gather at Thomas Paine Plaza on Saturday, October 21 at 10 AM under the slogan, “For a world without police.” You can find out more details at noiacp.blackblogs.org, and you can donate to their action bail fund through a link posted in our shownotes.
Two Catholic Workers who sabotaged Dakota Access Pipeline infrastructure are touring around the pacific northwest this week, speaking on climate change, direct action, and the indigenous-led No DAPL struggle. They’re in Phoenix, Oregon on October 18 Portland, Oregon on the 20 Seattle, Washington on the 25 and Olympia, Washington at a date and location to be determined. We have the event details linked in our shownotes.
The London Anarchist Book Fair takes place on Saturday, October 28 at Park View School.
The Los Angeles Anarchist Book Fair also takes place the weekend of October 28 and 29 at Leimert Park Plaza. You can find out more, in both English and Spanish, on their website: la.anarchistbookfair.com.
Forest defenders in Oregon are in need of support to stop the logging of approximately 2,500 acres of the Willamette National Forest. Endangered salmon and trout, cougars, and even the spotted owl call the forest home. In May, Cascadia Forest Defenders attached two platforms to Douglas fir trees, 110 feet up in the air! And they’ve been there since, utilizing a diversity of legal and direct action tactics in the course of their campaign. The forest defenders are seeking more people who are willing to stay out in the forest as the weather turns and as tactics escalate. They’re also in need of gear like tarps and sleeping bags, or just plain old cash. We have a link in our shownotes for the Cascadia Forest Defenders website, where you can contact them or make a donation in support.
In Santiago, Chile on November 4 is the 7th tattoo and body art convention to benefit political prisoners. Damn, that just sounds so cool—see some punk and hip-hop acts, get some ink, peruse some insurrectionary anarchist distros and just feel part of a badass rebel culture, all to benefit political prisoners. Go Santiago!
The 2018 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar is now available! 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 animal liberation 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 gives us a heads up at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. You can also send us news or announcements to include in future episodes.
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