Here we present the first half of the Former Prisoner Panel of the 2016 North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference. During the hour, you'll hear words from Sekou Kombui, Daniel McGowan, John Tucker, Kazi Toure.
These speeches will be prefaced by some brief introductions, the texts of which can be found below. This audio will air soon as a radio episode. For more info on political prisoners in the U.S., check out denverabc.wordpress.com or nycabc.wordpress.com
Sekou is a former political prisoner who survived 47 years of incarceration. Throughout the 1960’s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement, organizing youth for participating in demonstrations and marches across Alabama, and providing security for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Sekou became affiliated with the Black Panther Party in 1967 in Chicago and New York. While in Detroit, he became a member of the Republic of New Afrika, before returning to Birmingham. Back in Alabama, Sekou coordinated community organization activity with the Alabama Black Liberation Front, the Inmates for Action (IFA) Defense Committee and the Afro-American People’s Party in the mid 1970’s. Sekou was also a soldier in the Black Liberation Army (BLA) during these years before his capture.
In 1975, Sekou was falsely arrested and charged with the murder of two white men: a KKK official from Tuscaloosa and a multimillionaire oil man from Birmingham. There was absolutely no evidence against him, only coerced testimony from individuals who subsequently recanted their statements. The judge refused to allow the recanted statements to be stricken from Sekou’s record. Sekou continued the fight throughout his time in Prison. On June 30th, 2014, Sekou was released on parole.
Daniel is an environmental and social justice activist from New York City. He was charged in Federal court on counts of arson, property destruction and conspiracy, all relating to two actions in Oregon in 2001, claimed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). McGowan was facing a minimum of life in prison if convicted when he accepted a non-cooperation plea agreement. His arrest is part of what the US government dubbed Operation Backfire; a coordinated, multi-state sweep of over 15 activists by the federal government who have charged the individuals with practically every earth and animal liberation action in the Pacific Northwest left unsolved. Many have considered this round up indicative of the government's 'Green Scare' focus which has activists being arrested and threatened with life in prison. Many of the charges, including Daniel's, were for crimes whose statute of limitations were about to expire. Daniel was released from prison on December 11, 2012.
John was one of five antifascists arrested in May 2012, after an altercation between white supremacists and antifascists in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park that left ten injured fascists, three of which needed hospitalization. The case of the Tinley Park 5 received an overwhelming amount of public support. Despite the fact that the meeting was organized by violent white supremacist organizations including the National Socialist Movement, Council of Conservative Citizens, and Ku Klux Klan, the state showed their cozy relationship with white supremacy by refusing the accused antifascist activist bail or a plea deal comparable to any other criminal defendant in Cook County. In January 2013 the Tinley Park Five accepted a non-cooperating plea deal. John Tucker was released in February 2014. As of September 2014, all of the TP5 are released.This audio will air soon as a radio episode.
As a member of the United Freedom Front (UFF), Kazi was imprisoned for his role in 20 bombings combating Apartheid in South Africa and United States Imperialism in Central America. The UFF has been called “undoubtedly the most successful of the leftist [guerrilla groups] of the 1970s and ’80s” and struck powerful blows to South African Airways, Mobil, IBM, Union Carbide, & various courthouses and US Military targets. Toure was convicted on federal charges of possession of firearms, and Seditious Conspiracy—conspiring to overthrow, put down, destroy by force and violence the US government. He is one of few, if any, New Afrikans to be charged of this act.
This week, we present a conversation with a member of CNA-DF, or Anarchist Black Cross of Mexico City. During the hour she speaks about the work of CNA-DF, prison in Mexican society, anti-prison organizing versus prison abolitionism, transformative justice, counter-repression and prisoners the CNA is working to support. More on CNA-DF at http://www.abajolosmuros.org/
Specific prisoners CNA-DF supports include: Alvaro Sebastian (Oaxacan teacher); Fernando Bárcenas (accused of burning the Mexico City Xmas Tree in 2013 during anti-fare increase demonstration in Mexico City. Publishes Cimarron newspaper, involved in punk rock, alternative health care, horizontal education and organizing in prison.); Luis Fernando Sotelo (accused of burning a bus during day of global action in solidarity with the Ayatzinopa 43, Normalista students disappeared by the Mexican State. Sotelo has received a 33 year sentence for damage to the bus. Recently on hunger strike, in prison 2 years now); Abraham Cortés (13 years for attempted murder of a cop, arrested during October 2nd memorial demonstration in Mexico City of the 1968 massacre of hundreds of demonstrating students. Recently on hunger strike w Fernando Bárcenas against: 1. Prisons, calling to revolt against the state; 2. in solidarity with the #PrisonStrike starting Sept 9 in the U.S.; 3. And against the Bárcenas & Cortés); & Miguel Ángel Peralta Betanzos (from Oaxaca, accused of attempted murder of politicians in opposition with communal indigenous council of his community).
Raids at Standing Rock
After a series of violent raids which saw over 100 people arrested, the most recent on October 27th at Standing Rock and other camps resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline, there has been a call for renewed and amped up solidarity for this resistance. This could include coming to North Dakota and fighting the pipeline and joining the struggle, organizing where you live and taking action against banks, the Army Corp. of Engineers, and politicians backing the project, and sending money and supplies to the encampment. Already solidarity actions are taking places, such as the occupation of buildings, solidarity demonstrations, and more.
To get more ideas of what solidarity could mean, and where to send supplies and funds if you are able, you can visit https://nodaplsolidarity.org and click the tab "Support the Camps".
Kinetic Justice of FAM transferred
Kinetic Justice of the Free Alabama Movement has been transferred out of Holman Prison in Alabama to Kilby Correctional Facility and from there to Limestone Corrections, known among Alabama prisoners to be a “bully unit,” where prisoners deemed disruptive are brutalized. This occurred one day before he was reportedly scheduled to meet with an advocate from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC). This is in clear retaliation on the part of the prison system, and is an attempt to silence a dissenting voice which has been very important both in FAM and in the Prison Strike. In response, Kinetic is ending the first week of a hunger strike, to protest his treatment and bacaause he doesn't trust Limestone to not tamper with the food they give him.
Keep your eyes on the free alabama movement's webpage at http://freealabamamovement.com/ for updates on Kinetic's situation and how to help. You can also follow them on twitter @freealamovement, you can also follow Freedom for Kinetic @for_kinetic
Anti-Nazi march in Harrisburg, PA
Lastly tho not leastly, DON'T FORGET that Saturday the 5th of Novemeber will see resistance to a National Socialist Movement rally (or more plainly, neo nazi) in Harrisburg PA. The NSM is teaming up with the Traditionalist Worker Party for this charade in the so called "heart of democracy", the TWP being the same boneheads who were responsible for drawing knives in Sacramento this past summer. Central PA Antifa and related anti racists are calling for as much support as possible at this event, to help run the nazis out of town.
You can get up with this situaiton by connecting with Central PA Antifa on facebook by searching their name, you can also donate to them by visiting:
you can also get super up to date information by following them on twitter @centralpaantifa
Asheville Prison Books Cover Band show
If you're going to be around Asheville tonight, Sunday October 30th, and want to get your ghoul on for a good cause, consider visiting the Prison Books Cover Band benefit. For over a decade now, punks have been showing up and rocking out to raise funds for Asheville Prison Books, a 501c3 non-profit that sends literature to prisoners. Cover bands include SubHumans, Green Day and many, many more. The show starts at Toy Boat on 101 Fairview Rd, just off Sweeten Creek Road.
This week on the show we decided to take a musical interlude, and I thought we would try something slightly different from what we normally do. Since it's getting all autumnal and halloweeny, it seemed appropriate to settle in with some tunes that reflect that mood, and perhaps get spooky. What I'm trying to say is that I went through and found anarchistic, antifascist, antiracist goth, darkwave, and coldwave mostly, some of which may not be explicitly those things but are at the very least liked by anarchists, antifascists, and antiracists.
A HUGE SHOUTOUT to Margaret Killjoy, who generously collaborated with me on this playlist. Check out their publication Graceless: A Journal of the Radical Gothic for more information on matters anarcho goth. Here is our show today, I hope you enjoy it.
Before the music, I'd like to announce that this week, October 15th thru 22nd, marks the week of renewed action for the Prison Strike. This is a struggle which is still very much alive and flourishing, and it is so so important for folks who are putting their lives, safeties, and sanities on the line to not feel abandoned or alone.
On that tip, there is an all day letter writing event happening today in downtown Asheville's Prichard Park until 6pm. There will be food provided by Food Not Bombs, and it's asked that folks bring any stamps they can get their hands on. This event will specifically include information on how to write to those most affected by the Prison Strike, let's show folks that we have their backs!
Full playlist is here: http://www.ashevillefm.org/node/17848
This week, we spoke with Bruno Y Hinojosa-Ruiz, a co-director of CIMA, Companeros Inmigrantes de las Montanas en Accion, about some immigration situations in Western NC, organizing here and the case of Elmer Reynoso-Reynoso, a Guatemalan-born resident of Weaverville who was recently released from detention after public outcry and pressure. http://www.cimawnc.org
First, we would like to briefly announce that long time revolutionary and former political prisoner Bo Brown has just been diagnosed with a condition which is very similar to Parkinson's Disease. She has always worked tirelessly against racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia, and has brought awareness and attention through all means to the plight of the prisoner. Since being in prison is an experience which is designed to follow everyone for their entire lives, let's help this comrade with her current situation. For more information and to donate, you can visit: https://www.youcaring.com/bo-brown-655777
On Wednesday, October 12th Alt-Right, anti-muslim, anti-semite, anti-feminist, white nationalist Milo Yiannopoulos is speaking at Western Carolina University. He's being sponsored by the College Republicans at WCU in Cullowhee, about an hour drive west of Asheville. To get there, one can travel West on i-40 for about 25 minutes then out US-74 South for 35 minutes. It would be a pity if this stop on the "Dangerous Faggot Tour" were to be disrupted by anti-racists. Just sayin. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/milo-yiannopoulos-western-carolina-universi...
His website is here: https://www.yiannopoulos.net/index.html
I wanted to do some announcements regarding the prison strike, but honestly so many amazing things have been going on it would be impossible to do them justice in the time we have for this segment. In brief, at Holman Prison in Atmore Alabama, where many rebels are part of the Free Alabama Movement, it was reported a few days ago that most if not all of the prison guards there had quit their jobs, either giving their notice or walking off entirely, in solidarity with the strikers. This is a huge piece of news, and I am not aware of it ever having happened before on such a large scale. It was also announced the other day that prisoners in the strike and refused to let guards lock them up and refused to go to their jobs. This is also a tremendous piece of news, it is clear that the prison strike is still going strong though it should come as no surprise that it is being quelled in mass media, which have even reported that it has fizzled out. The opposite is true. Keep your eyes on It's Going Down, Support Prisoner Resistance, Mask Magazine, and the Portland Anarchist Black Cross among other anarchist news sources for more real updates. You can also help by writing to those who have been targeted in this strike, you can find a list of prison rebels on the IWOC page.
In this episode we are presenting two segments, firstly is a conversation recorded with Keith from ATL Antifa about the fast approaching occurrence of Hammerfest, which is a far right music festival, which is suspected to be taking place in Drake Town, Georgia about an hour outside of Atlanta. In this interview, we speak about how ATL Antifa got started, whether or not Trump's presence on the political stage has emboldened far right / white supremacist activity, some vague tactical advice for dealing with suspected far right activity, police ties with the KKK, some history about and advice about dealing with Hammerskins, some other struggles that are going on in Atlanta and the surrounding towns and much more. To get in touch with them, visit https://afainatl.wordpress.com/
or you can get super current updates on their twitter @afainatl
The second segment is a short interview with a member of the organizing committee for the upcoming Anarchist Black Cross conference. In this conversation we talk about the history of the ABC, how the prison strike is informing this years conference and much more.