Listen to the Episode — 39 min
REBEL GIRL: May 9, 2018: A new anarchist social center in Cuba, calls to support anarchists facing repression in Indonesia, J20 updates, and a whole lot of announcements for anarchist events all summer long on this season’s final episode of…
The Hotwire. A weekly anarchist news show brought to you by The Ex-Worker. With me, the Rebel Girl. A full transcript of this episode with shownotes and useful links can be found at our website, CrimethInc.com/podcast. You can subscribe to The Hotwire on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts, just search for The Ex-Worker. You can listen to us through the anarchist podcast network Channel Zero, or on your radio’s dial in… Eugene, Oregon every Sunday at noon on KEPW 97.3, Fairbanks, Alaska Saturday mornings at 9 on KWRK 90.9 and in Tacoma, Washington every Friday at 9 AM on KUPS 90.1. Every Hotwire is radio ready, and in our shownotes you can download a twenty-nine and a half minute version of this episode for standard radio timeslots. If there’s a story or upcoming event you’d like us to include in a future Hotwire, just hit us up at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com. And now for the headlines…
The rent strike launched on May Day in Hamilton, Ontario is going strong. Tenants across four buildings are withholding rent until the landlords 1) withdraw a proposed %10 rent increase and 2) address the long list of repairs needed in their homes. You can support the strike by giving to the tenants’ strike fund at gofundme.com/easthamiltonrentstrike.
After a weeklong strike that shut down the state’s schools, Arizona teachers just won a pay increase of 9% in the fall with a 5% raise in each of the next two years. In addition to the pay increase, teachers won hundreds of millions of dollars of increased spending on education. Like West Virginia, these policy decisions happened in a red state with a republican governor. Regardless of our thoughts about public education as an authoritarian and nationalist institution, these strikes do show that self-organization and direct, disruptive action get the goods, not electing representatives.
On May 16, teachers in North Carolina will be walking out and demonstrating in the state capitol of Raleigh. Many of the state’s school districts have already voted to close for the day, which could be an effort by politicians to separate teachers from the sense of agency that disruptive actions like strikes lend to their protagonists. At the end of April, Colorado teachers also joined the wave of walkouts that have happened in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
Also at the end of April, the Burgerville Workers Union, a part of the IWW, made history and became the first fast food chain in the US to be unionized. Their report reads,
“The fight isn’t over, of course… And we need to remember what got us to this point: workers taking action for themselves, standing up against poverty wages and horrible conditions. We got here because of the strike, union benefits, pickets, and marches on the boss. We got here through direct action, and that won’t change now that we’ve won an election. If anything it’s even more important.
“In this moment of victory we want to celebrate, yes, but we also want to turn our attention to the 4.5 million other fast food workers in the United States. We want to speak to everyone else who works for poverty wages, who are constantly disrespected on the job, who are told they aren’t educated enough, aren’t experienced enough, aren’t good enough for a decent life. To all of those workers, to everyone like us who works rough jobs for terrible pay, we say this: Don’t listen to that BS. Burgerville workers didn’t, and look at us now.”
We caught up with people active in the occupation of the cafeteria at The New School
Eli: Hey Ex-Worker, gretings from the Occupied New School cafeteria in so-called New Yrok City.
Louis: I’m Louis
Eli: And I’m Eli.
Louis: We’re here to lay out some of the history and current context for the occupation of the cafeteria.
Eli: So on May 1, students surged into the cafeteria in support of the workers, about 45 of whom were under contract, many of them have worked here for a number of years, some of them up to 16 years. Many of them are people of color, they have dependants, they were intending to retire on this job, so the New School’s declaration hat they were going to fire all of them and “invite” them to re-apply for their jobs, well, we know what kind of bullshit that is.
So, super exclusive university says its progressive, but acting totally not progressively. Students said no way, we occupied the cafeteria on the call of the Communist Student Group who did a lot of organizing to make it possible. And we’re still here and we’re not going to leave until the demands of the workers are all met
Louis: Yes. In the context of the history of occupations at the New School, more or less every other occupation in recent history from 2008, 2009, 2011 were all run democratically and had a consensus building model and they were initiated by anarchists. The struggles and the power dynamics were extremely different, from what I understand from some of the legacy here at the New School. The Communist Student Group, they were the first ones on the line so they definitely deserve credit for organizing the space, but they’re vanguardist Leninists or self-styled Maoists, and they claim the kind of role of the student leadership in the entire movement, and it’s an issue when, for example, the two or three people that are part of this group, when they call general assemblies, it’s more or less one person shouting from a megaphone.
Eli: There are a bunch of other things going on of course—the labor struggle at the New School. The student employees at the New School are currently on strike indefinitely until the contract there is met, the workers are waiting for their contract. We are not leaving the cafeteria, this is a beautiful space in spite of the way it was initiated and there are lots of groups who have come in since then and have claimed the space as their own, so y’all are welcome to come and join us. We hope you do!
REBEL GIRL: And in Okayama, Japan, bus drivers in a labor dispute have decided to undercut their management’s ability to appeal to the public by continuing to clock in, but without charging anyone for fare. Free bus rides for all!
Last weekend, despite police pens and the recent militarized police freak-out against anti-fascists in Newnan, Georgia, up to 100 anti-fascists turned out in Burns, Tennessee to oppose the white supremacist American Renaissance conference. The last American Renaissance took place two weeks before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, and this year’s conference included some of its key organizers.
Meanwhile, on Saturday in Richmond, Virginia, anti-fascists outnumbered about a dozen neo-confederates who rallied to defend their stupid precious monuments.
On April 30 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, just 15 minutes down the road from where anti-racists tore down the confederate monument in Durham last year, graduate student Maya Little poured red paint over the confederate monument on the campus of the University of North Carolina. Little was arrested, and when she was arraigned on Monday supporters circled the block to show that they had her back.
In Montreal, as It’s Going Down reports, “Since… last week, a storm has erupted in response to the publication of the personal information of one of the leaders of the most popular neo-Nazi websites in the world, The Daily Stormer. On Thursday, student journalists with the Montreal Gazette published a story which outed Gabriel Sohier Chaput as the prolific neo-Nazi writer and podcaster, “Zeiger,” after receiving information from local antifa organizers. Along with Andrew Anglin, Weev, and Azzmador, Zeiger is seen as one of the leaders of the Alt-Right website which openly embraces swastikas, calls for genocide, and the rape of women. Like Stormfront before it, it as been a key source of influence for a variety of killers, from Dylann Roof to James Harris Jackson.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of local antifascists who were able to track down Zeiger, as well as slog through thousands of messages on the Daily Stormer’s Montreal Discord chat logs, Zeiger’s full name and home address was exposed, as was the wider network he operated within which included everyone from Alt-Right ‘Identitarians,’ to hardcore national socialists.
“While journalists at the Montreal Gazetter have been quick to receive accolades for their work, they have remained clear that all that did was simply fact check the information given to them by local antifascists and then publicize it.”
Posts on the Daily Stormer have suggested that Zeiger is in the process of packing his bags and moving out of Montreal.
“The case of Zeiger shows that antifascism works. Exposing and outing neo-Nazis to the communities that they live in disrupts and often stops their organizing, and more often than not, forces them to drop out of the movement. As action continues against the Alt-Right in Canada, hopefully this reality will only continue to play out.”
In Ellwangen, Germany, a crowd of about 200 African migrants forced police to un-handcuff and release a man who was about to be deported to Congo. Reportedly, the release man has gone into hiding. Stay safe friend.
On May 4 in France, a crowd of about 50 migrants attacked two police patrols and their car less than a kilometer away from where the notorious refugee camp known as The Jungle used to exist in Calais. Nearly 10,000 refugees lived at the camp before it was razed by riot police just over one and a half years ago. But of course, without anywhere to go, the refugees have fought for their humanity and their right to exist, recently refusing the French government’s so-called “assistance” and instead recently organizing their own food-sharing in the day.
It’s Going Down reports that, “On Monday, April 23rd, following the not-guilty verdict of a Border Patrol agent who shot and killed 16 year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez, people in so-called Tucson took to the streets for over six hours and blocked freeway onramps.”
We here at the Hotwire are thrilled to announce the opening of ABRA, a new anarchist library and social center in Havana, Cuba! The social center just opened on May 5, and we hope to see it spread some anarchist magic. Abracadabra!
In the anarchist tradition of antipathy to standardized calendars and time, a march of 30 odd people in Olympia, Washington took to the streets the evening of May 2—continuing the revelry and rebel-ry of May Day. Downtown was covered in graffiti that read, “Happy May Day,” “Stolen Land,” “Kill Cops,” “ACAB,” and “FTP,” as well as “F this” and “F you” on some yuppie condos. Windows were broken at a property that used to be a gathering place for houseless people, but had since been fenced up by the owners. Clueless riot cops showed up 45 minutes after the march had dispersed, scratching their heads and checking their iPhone calendars. “May…second?” Hey, why not make every day May Day?
REBEL GIRL: In this week’s repression round-up…
Last week we reported on the black blocs all around Indonesia for May Day. Unfortunately, the vibrant anarchist presence in Yogyakarta ended in severe repression, and we share an international call for solidarity from comrades there.
“44 of our comrades were arrested—accused of property destruction, provocation, and fighting with the police… One of the Legal Aid was arrested and beaten. Until now… 12 comrades are still imprisoned and the police [are] continuing the witch hunt.
“Believe us when we say that we already knew, even since before we carried out our demonstration, that there would be an antipathy from the public towards our demonstration. It is very understandable. Feudalism creates this belief that kings and the royals are like half-divine beings; their authority is sacred and self-justified….
“Our demonstration was meant to disturb the circulation of capital in Yogyakarta. We intentionally want to create a non-conducive situation for capital investment, be it national or foreign, that will intensify the development and gentrification that disenfranchise the middle and lower class people in Yogyakarta. We had guessed that the public would be infuriated by our vandalism and provocative calls. The destruction of one police post and the call to ‘murder the Sultan!’ have massively angered the people of Yogyakarta. The anger is absent when the police repeatedly, with violence, [are] at the front line of conflicts between people’s interests and the rulers’, on the side of the rulers’ of course.
“We are what you call… anarchists. We dream of a world where people cooperate with each other, work together, rule over themselves, in a horizontal way, without rulers, the royals, political contract, social contract, or the capitalists. We want a life in its truest form, where human’s natural desires are in tune with nature; a life without class, racial, ethnic, religious, and other false [divisions]. We are what you call utopists. We want a free society without oppressors. We want a society where people can have any beliefs, sexual orientations, or anything without fearing being persecuted. Total freedom!
“– The Anarchists”
To donate to the much needed legal defense of anarchists in Indonesia, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
May Day also marked the first 100 days that Three Sisters Camp has been resisting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Virginia. But on Friday a judge found Red, a 61 year-old tree-sitter, as well as her daughter, in contempt for their treesit against the Mountain Valley Pipeline closer to West Virginia. The judge even found Red’s husband in contempt for just supporting them. What this translates to is that they would have been fined $1,000 a day if they did not come down. Red and her daughter decided, then, to pack it up, but treesits remain blocking pipeline construction paths in the Virginias.
Puget Sound Anarchists reports that the FBI visited a few different houses just before May Day, posing as delivery people in order to confirm the identities of the residents, but once it was clear they were agents they had the door slammed in their faces. The report states, “These visits have become a yearly ritual. In the week before May Day, the feds do the rounds to make sure that everyone knows they are watching. We should see this for what it is – an intimidation tactic and part of a strategy of repression designed to scare people out of organizing. It is important to take visits like this seriously, but their predictability also makes it fairly clear that they are mostly intended to make people feel afraid.”
In an update on the ongoing cases from the Standing Rock No Dakota Access Pipeline struggle, the Water Protector Legal Collective reports, “Of the 831 state arrests from Standing Rock, 578 have concluded so far. A large majority of those, 337, were won through dismissal or acquittal at trial. 122 Water Protectors have accepted Deferred Imposition of Sentence agreements instead of going to trial and 106 Water Protectors have accepted Pretrial Diversions.”
Water Protector Legal Collective has worked on many of these plea bargains, and the pleas they have worked out for defendants have exclusively been non-cooperating deals, aka, no snitching.
If you are or know a Water Protector from Standing Rock in need of a free, effective lawyer, you can get in touch with the Water Protector Legal Collective through their hotline at (701) 566–9108 or email WPCriminalDefense@protonmail.com.
Pre-trial hearings began on Monday for the May 14 trial in the J20 inauguration resisters case. One defendant was continued for a later date, but now we can be 99% certain that the second J20 trial will begin on May 14 in Washington DC. The first trial took place at the end of last year and resulted in full acquittals, leading to the prosecution to drop over 100 cases, but nearly 60 defendants still face charges. The government argues that the remaining defendants have the clearest evidence that they are guilty of the multiple felony counts they face, yet just last week they agreed to a misdemeanor plea bargain with one of the defendants—just further evidence that the government is casting a wide net and trying to see what can stick, which is why we need to support ALL the defendants.
The government also motioned to include a quote-unquote “black bloc expert” witness from the FBI, whose expertise, according to their CV, is based on, uh, reading some books about the black bloc.
To gear up for a new round of trials and support, Defend J20 Resistance has announced a rally in DC on May 11—that’s Friday—with Chelsea Manning and former defendants to demand that the remaining J20 cases be dropped. The rally is at 12:30 PM at Franklin Square.
The day before, on May 10, ex-green scare political prisoner Daniel McGowan will be speaking in DC about countering state repression, especially in the context of the J20 case. The event is at 7 PM at St. Stephen Episcopal Church on 16th street Northwest.
And if you can’t make it to DC for either of those days, you can support the remaining defendants by calling the prosecutor at (202) 252–7380, or you can call the prosecutor’s boss at (202) 252–7566, and tell them to drop the charges.
Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain has called for a campaign to get his communication turned back on. Please call State Representative Doug Green at (614) 644–6034 or Representative Hearcel Craig (614) 466–8010 and politely demand for them to get prison officials to stop cutting off Sean’s phone access, e-mail, and even regular mail.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
REBEL GIRL: Before we end with Next Week’s News, some of you might remember that at the end of last season we implored our listeners to not get caught up in only oppositional politics, like anti-fascism, but to engage in conflicts that can also demonstrate an anarchist vision. May Day in North America may not have been as confrontational as years past or other countries this year, but between the really really free markets in Durango, Colorado, Oxnard, California, and New London, Connecticut; a tenants’ strike in Hamilton, Ontario; the anti-juvie block party in Seattle; the Redneck Revolt and John Brown Gun Club picnics in Denver and Michigan; reportedly the first-ever anarchist May Day gathering in Long Island; nocturnal attacks in solidarity with La ZAD; not to mention the continued blockades of pipeline construction in Louisiana and West Virginia; and the courageous black blocs and confrontations with militarized police in Montreal and Puerto Rico; between all that, we’d say that this year’s May Day in North America demonstrated the wide scope of what anarchists oppose and propose.
With the midterm elections coming up in November, we have to keep up this visibility and engagement, lest Democrats position themselves as the most viable resistance to Trump. Regular listeners might also remember that in Hotwires 19, 20, and 23, we went on long rants about how laws and law enforcement aren’t the solution to mass shootings, but putting youth in direct control of their lives and schools is. We collected some of the more exciting and uncontrollable news reports of high school walkouts. But by and large, the #NeverAgain movement has presented an opportunity for the Democrats to direct the opposition to Trump and his world back into electoralism and the machine that keeps them in power. Let’s take this momentum from May Day and keep it going so that when the lazy left encourages us to vote for the lesser evil in November, we can respond by pointing out our own solidarity-based disaster relief efforts, our own ways of taking charge of our neighborhoods and workplaces, and our own autonomous resistance that doesn’t rely on their representatives. Let’s make sure that autonomous action in the streets and collective projects in our neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces overshadow the Democrats as the real resistance to Trumpism. In that spirit, here’s our list of events and gatherings that you can plug into this summer:
This weekend, Sub.Media will be touring the Pacific Northwest with their Spring 2018 Media Mash-up Tour. They’ll be screening films and leading workshops in video making. You can catch them at…
Portland State University on Friday, May 11;
The University of Oregon on Saturday, May 12;
Seattle University on Sunday, May 13;
And in Olympia, Washington on May 14 at The Evergreen State College in the afternoon and at Traditions Fair Trade in the evening.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief continue their speaking tour on Communities in Resistance to Disaster Capitalism and Community Organizing as Disaster Preparedness. You can find their tour… In Odanah, Wisconsin on May 11 and 12, in Wausau, Wisconsin on May 14, in Appleton, Wisconsin on May 16 and 17, in Chicago at Breakaway Social Center on May 18 and 19, and in Madison, Wisconsin on May 20.
On May 12, 19, and 26 in Mexico City there will be do-it-yourself workshops and discussions at the squats and anarchist social centers Casa Naranja and Okupa Che Guevara. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or search “okupa o muere” on facebook for more info.
Tomorrow, May 10 there will be an anti-fascist demonstration against Trump during a campaign stop in Elkhart, Indiana. The call on It’s Going Down reports that, “Originally, Trump was set to speak at a local airport in South Bend, but after calls for anti-Trump protests grew, Trump’s airport speech was cancelled and was then moved to a nearby school.” So let’s keep the momentum rolling.
From May 10 to the 13, the Chaos Days are coming back to Germany! The Chaos Days were wild gatherings that used to happen in Hannover where thousands of punks took over the city with generator shows, demonstrations, and plenty of, well, chaos. This year’s Chaos and Discussion Days will take place Berlin, and they aim to, “fill the streets and their hearts with life, organize resistance, [and] cause decentralized chaos on those days and nights.” This will immediately precede the May 14 court proceeding for the Rigaer Strasse 94 squatted social center, from which the judge could order an eviction of the squat. When Rigaerstrasse 94 was raided by pigs back in 2016, the protests that followed were dubbed by the cops and the media as “the most aggressive and most violent protest in the past five years.” So, it could be an exciting time to be in Berlin!
There’s an international call for a week of action against fossil fuel infrastructure from May 12–19.
On May 14, the Diné elders of Black Mesa and Big Mountain are calling resisters from near and far to converge at Black Mesa for a camp in defense of Diné sovereignty. The call reads, “Black Mesa is an area of ancestral Diné territory within so-called Arizona where families have been resisting forced relocation for over forty years. The elders here have steadfastly refused to cede their land to Peabody Coal and wish only to continue their traditional life and allow the land to heal. Having a continuous presence at the site will also provide a strong measure of protection against livestock impoundments, a threat the elders face on a daily basis.”
And May 19 in Portland, OR, there will be a game of Radical Capture The Flag in Colonel Summers Park at 12 PM. Bring your affinity group, bring your companion animal, bring zines, and/or bring food for the vegan potluck to follow the games.
For the rest of May and going into June, there will be a solid month of anarchy in Quebec. It starts with the Montreal anarchist film festival May 17–20, then there’s the Montreal anarchist theatre festival May 22–23, the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair May 26–27, the North American Anarchist Studies Network Conference is June 1–3 also in Montreal, and the grand finale will be the mobilization against the G7 summit, which will feature fierce anti-capitalist protests in Quebec City on June 8 and 9.
The European Animal Liberation Gathering is happening June 1–3 in Bilbao, Basque Country. Workshops will be translated into Spanish, English and French. You can find out more at animalliberationgathering.wordpress.com.
The 2018 Stockholm Anarchist bookfair takes place on June 2 and 3 in Sweden. They have a fundraising link at firefund.net/bookfair.
June 11, of course, is the international day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners. It’s a day for letter-writing, solidarity actions, fundraising, and raising awareness about our comrades on the inside—it’s a day to remember that imprisoned comrades are still a part of our movement, and we should do what we can, across the walls that separate us, to include them in our struggle.
And June 8–11 is the Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which will be a good place to plug into supporting the [#Juneteenth2018](https://itsgoingdown.org/call-for-a-juneteenth2018-mobilization-against-prison-slavery/) mobilization against prison slavery. For those who don’t know, Juneteenth is an abolitionist holiday originating from the end of the Civil War. This year, the supporters behind the #OperationPush prison strike and Fight Toxic Prisons are calling, “on all opponents of mass incarceration and modern-day slavery internationally to honor the Juneteenth holiday (Tuesday, June 19, 2018) with community organizing and direct action.” We also have a recording of a letter sent by revolutionary politicized prisoner Malik Washington about why he is calling for the Juneteenth mobilization:
Malik Washington: Why I Am Calling For An International Day Of Action On Juneteenth
Keith Malik Washington
Peace and blessings, sister and brothers…
[A]s we organize for our Juneteenth rallies, protests, celebrations and direct actions, I want to make all of you understand why I have made this call to action.
In Texas, at the very end of the Maafa Black Holocaust, slave owners didn’t want to release their slaves. It was too profitable. In fact, many slaveholders had erected elaborate obstacles, which kept the news of emancipation from reaching the ears of slaves in Texas.
Texas government created a shell company known as “TCI,” also known as Texas Correctional Industries. The business model grosses approximately 89 million a year. Its labor force is made up of prisoners who work in numerous factories throughout the state, in prisons that are operated and supervised by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice…
I am calling for Juneteenth protests in order to address the absolute failure of the US government to address the plight of the DREAMers. And what of the environment, our planet, clean air, clean water? If free citizens fight for clean and safe drinking water supplies and still don’t receive it, how do you think prisoners fare when fighting a system that refuses to even acknowledge them?
…I am calling for Juneteenth protests to recognize the struggles of my sisters and brothers at Standing Rock, and to highlight the inadequacy of a government which has still not fixed the problem in Flint, Michigan, and to protest the impotent and lackluster response to the human beings in Texas who lost everything during Hurricane Harvey. The Juneteenth protests are a beginning of our organizing and actions to finally confront this filthy, rotting system you call capitalism. This is a call to action to all socialists, communists, anarchists, freedom fighters, to include antifa, black bloc, and all progressive and revolutionary New Africans. United we stand. Divided we fall. Fascists must be defeated. Dare to struggle. Dare to win. All power to the people.
REBEL GIRL: The ACAB, Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair, is happening June 22 through the 24, and they’re still looking for workshop submissions. Find out more at ACAB2018.noblogs.org.
The second annual Institute for Advanced Troublemaking will take place from July 21 to the 29 in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Institute for Advanced Troublemaking is a weeklong anarchist summer school offering classes on Anarcha-Feminism, Prefigurative Politics, and Communities of Care; Decolonizing Anarchism; Direct Action Praxis; Reframing Animal Liberation as an Exercise in Antiracism; Social Anarchism and Radical Ecology; Trying Anarchism for Life; and Understanding Repression and Building Resilience. You can sign up and find out more at advancedtroublemaking.wordpress.com.
And lastly, the group Jailhouse Lawyers Speak has issued a press release announcing a National Prison Strike from August 21-September 9, 2018. Their demands include immediate improvements to prison conditions and policies that recognize imprisoned peoples’ humanity, an immediate end to prison slavery, universal availability of rehabilitation programs, pell grants for prisoners, an immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws, and a few more. The press release goes on to state that prisoners will use work strikes, sit-ins, boycotts, and hunger strikes in the course of the national prison strike. We have a link in our shownotes with details about how you can support the strike.
REBEL GIRL: And that’s it for this episode of The Hotwire. Thanks to all of our listeners, and whether you’re tuning in for the first time or the fiftieth, please help us by filling out our listener survey at crimethinc.com/podcast. As always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music, and thanks to Malik Washington for the letter. You can get in touch with us by e-mailing podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com.
Stay informed. Stay rebel. And have a hot summer of resistance!