Listen to the Episode — 35 min
Rebel Girl: October 25, 2017: Fascists suffer defeat and shoot at anti-racists in Gainesville, anarchists throughout Kurdistan repudiate the state, prisoners in California begin a hunger strike, the appearance of Santiago Maldonado’s body sparks clashes in Argentina, and important updates on the upcoming J20 trials 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 episode’s feature focuses in on the alt-right’s defeat in Gainesville, Florida. We have three interviews, as well as some takeaways for the struggle ahead. The J20 trials are coming up sooner than expected, and the first J20 political prisoner is soon to be released from prison. Argentina’s fiercest demonstrations in years have been reignited as the body of disappeared Mapuche rights activist Santiago Maldonado was found in an icy river. While anarchists in the International Freedom Battalion battle alongside YPG and YPJ forces against the Islamic State in Syria, Kurdish anarchists are calling for opposition against state-driven wars as civil war brews between the Iraqi military and the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.
If we missed something important, or to include something in a future Hotwire, 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, just search for The Ex-Worker. You can also listen to us through the 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.
This weekend Philadelphia saw multiple actions against the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference. A panel discussion on the eve of the conference brought together diverse groups from across the city to speak on how their projects connect to abolishing the police. On the opening day of the summit, two marches took place downtown, both explicitly in favor of abolition rather than reform. The turnout was less than anticipated, but the relatively broad acceptance of an absolute anti-police position was a significant change from even just a few years ago. As the second march neared a statue of racist ex-cop and ex-mayor Frank Rizzo, the police attacked the march and arrested five. We have links for legal support fundraisers in our shownotes at CrimethInc.com/podcast. On the last day of the conference, 3 stupid police were injured while performing stupid stunts on their stupid motorcycles. Their epic fail was caught on video—check our shownotes for the link. Philadelphia PD, you suck.
Prisoners in California’s Alameda and Santa Clara county jails launched a hunger strike last week, demanding an end to solitary confinement, subjective grievance practices, and insufficient and unsanitary conditions. You can keep up with the strike at prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/, which includes numbers to call to support the prisoners.
In a groundbreaking, earth-shattering report of unmatched journalistic achievement, The New York Times reports that , “Body Cameras Have Little Effect on Police Behavior.” In related news, pigs still can’t fly and poop still stinks.
12,000 anti-fascists rallied against the ultranationalist AFD party in Berlin, while in Kiev, Ukraine 20,000 far-rightists and neo-Nazis marched in memory of Nazi-collaborating Ukrainian nationalists.
Last Tuesday, the body of Santiago Maldonado was found in an Argentinean river. Santiago, who participated in anarchist circles, was disappeared back in August during a demonstration for Mapuche land rights. The discovery reignited clashes with the state. Thousands marched in Buenos Aires, making their mark with broken windows, barricades, and graffiti that read, “not forgiven nor forgotten,” “Santiago is the spark,” and multiple anarchist symbols. In Patagonia’s El Bolsón, rebels occupied the town hall and angry encapuchados attacked a police barracks with Molotovs.
Indigenous activists occupied a third fish farm in so-called British Columbia, Canada in response to the Marine Harvest corporation conducting itself disrespectfully and unaccountably to the indigenous nations whose territory they are on.
In Yorkshire, England, environmental activists climbed to the top of a fracking rig to disrupt Third Energy’s plans to begin fracking later this week. The activists brought tarps and blankets and remained 60 feet up in the air, until they were forcibly removed the following day. In a statement, the activists said, “Staying on this rig isn’t just about highlighting fracking as a serious threat. It’s about proving that we, the public, have the means to shut down and sustain the closure of a dangerous industry.” Here here.
Last Wednesday in Duluth, Minnesota, members of the water protector Makwa Initiative and other rebels shutdown a public hearing on Enbridge’s crude oil Line 3 project, which threatens land on which native people have treaty rights, not to mention threatening the watershed that all Minnesotans share.
The Makwa Initiative is also soliciting support for their Frontline Camp. They’re in need of towtrucks, carpenters, firewood, and those experienced in direct action training. Check out our shownotes at CrimethInc.com/podcast for details.
Dozens of high schoolers in New Jersey walked out last week in protest of a teacher’s racist comments about how students should speak “American,” not Spanish. 37 of the students received detention. We salute the Cliffside Park High School student rebels. Y’all are officially too cool for school.
We are happy to report that Lucy, a black lab in the CIA’s K9 unit, is refusing to fulfill her surveillance state duties. You could say she has gone on a permanent siiiit, dooown strike. In response, the CIA has announced they’re going to let Lucy go. Good girl!
ANARCHISTS IN KURDISTAN
Al-Naim Square in Raqqa, Syria, once the sight of mass executions by the Islamic State, is now covered in the flags of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the People’s Defense Forces of the YPG, and most significantly the all-women defense units of the YPJ. At a rally in al-Naim Square last week, YPJ commander Nesrin Abdullah dedicated , “the liberation of Raqqa to all the women of the world.” She also dedicated the victory to Abdullah Öcalan, the ideological founder of the anti-statist democratic confederalist system practiced in northern Syria, aka Rojava. Öcalan’s ideas are, in large part, influenced by the late anarchist Murray Bookchin. Anarchist fighters from the International Freedom Battalion were on the frontlines of the battle too, and graffiti was left from the Greek anarchist group Rubicon.
Meanwhile, in the slice of Kurdistan behind Iraq’s border, Kurdish Regional Government forces and the Iraqi military are threatening civil war. The Kurdish KRG forces are more traditionally nationalist and capitalist than the democratic confederalist region of Rojava. In response to the impending nationalist war in Iraq, the Kurdish-Speaking Anarchist Forum has declared their opposition to the state and war. They specify their opposition to September’s independence referendum held by the KRG, affirming the anarchist values of self-administration but opposing all forms of the state.
Here’s an excerpt from their statement: “We ask all our anarchist comrades to support and have solidarity with us to prevent this war. It is true that your opposition to the military and nationalist war in Iraq, if it happens, may not be as effective as our opposition, however, your solidarity will be crucial and greatly appreciated…
“No to war No to [the] State No to nationalism and patriotism No to [the capitalist] system
Yes to solidarity and [uniting] against war Yes to [self-organization] Yes to the social struggle Yes to social revolution Yes to social uprising Yes to self-administration.”
For an introduction to the social revolution in Rojava, check out episodes 36 and 39 of The Ex-Worker. If you can read Kurdish, there’s plenty more at anarkistan.com. And if you can read Kurdish, want to help us translate our introductory anarchist text “To Change Everything”? We would really appreciate it. Just e-mail us at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com.
Speaking of independence referenda, after the overwhelmingly pro-independence referendum in Catalonia, the Spanish government has declared that they will invoke Article 155 of the constitution, which will give Spain direct rule over Catalan institutions to “restore the rule of law.” Of course, the oppressive institution of law itself rules over every state, and an independent Catalan state would be no different. On Saturday in Barcelona, nearly half a million people marched against Article 155. While anarchists are participating alongside independentistas in marches and assemblies against Spanish rule, they are beginning to articulate their own positions against the state, capitalism, prisons, and democracy in conversation with pro-independence discourse. The CNT in Barcelona released a statement on Sunday, describing how, while independence leaders are now being arrested, state repression has been part and parcel of the anarcho-syndicalist struggle. They sign off with, “Now, more than ever, seeing how fascism is occupying the neighborhoods and institutions, we reaffirm ourselves as anarcho-syndicalists… Neither clergy nor monarchy nor state nor bourgeoisie. The streets will always be ours.”
For our analysis of the conflict, check out the essay “Catalunya: Facing Two Bad Options, Choose the Third. On the Showdown between Spain and Catalunya” featured on our website, CrimethInc.com. Also, check out the latest IGD Cast from ItsGoingDown.org for an interview with members of the CNT on the question of Catalan independence.
Last Thursday in Gainesville, Florida, 3 white supremacists were arrested for shooting into a crowd of anti-racist protesters after a speech given by Richard Spencer.
Even though no university-related group invited Spencer to speak, the University of Florida spent $600,000 on security after a court ruled that they must allow Spencer a platform. 2,500 anti-racists protested outside, while hundreds more filled the auditorium with loud chanting and heckling the entire time. He also got trolled pretty hard when he attempted to have a Q&A. Just listen:
Student One: So is this the point where I ask a question?
Richard Spencer: Yep.
Student One: Why do you think that you’re welcome here, when it literally took a court order to get you here? The only people who support you are the state. So why are you on that stage?
Richard Spencer: We have a tremendous amount of support…
Student Two: Just a quick question—given how ugly all of you guys are, why do you think white people are supreme?
Student Three: Hi mister Dick Spencer. Thanks for coming. I’d like to introduce myself as Eman Elshahawy, and my ethnicity is Egyptian and Puerto Rican and I am a beautiful brown woman here today. I guess my question for you is, how did it feel to get punched in the face on camera?
Rebel Girl: We interviewed an anti-fascist who was there.
Rebel Girl: And what was it like inside the auditorium?
Rowan: Basically when we got inside, everyone seemed almost a little confused at first. Like, “Oh, we got to this point? They actually let us in?” It was a little tens because you had the two front rows full of his supporters, and then the rest were curious people and students. Really, there were only about maybe 20 to 30 people that were there clearly there for him. He had his little polo army in the front row. Then as more and more students start filing in, it must have been up to, I thought it was 100 but now I’m looking online and it’s saying 400 people altogether came into the theater. As soon as the first speaker came on stage it was just non-stop, people were relentless, it was great. It just continued on from there. Every single chant was like “We don’t care! We don’t care! Go home!” We were not going to give them an inch, they were not going to be able to say anything. It continued up until Richard Spencer himself left the venue early.
Rebel Girl: We also interviewed an anti-fascist who was in the protests outside.
Dexeray: I’m Dezeray Lyn. I’m an organizer with Mutual Aid Disaster Relief out of Tampa.
Rebel Girl: Can you tell us what happened in the protest outside the auditorium?
Dexeray: Yeah for sure. A few hours before the speech was supposed to take place we gathered on 34th street. We noticed right away that there were snipers on top of the buildings. There was National Guard. There was a mass, militarized police presence. Folks started gathering until there was a couple thousands folks there to oppose the speech. They had announced that there was going to be ticket distribution around 1:30 so before than people marched from the Winn Dixie, took an intersection near where the ticket distribution aas going to happen. There was white nationalist, Nazi youth doing security and deciding person-by-person who was allowed in. So, I was denied twice to get in to the event, as was a comrade of mine, but a lot of folks got in that were able to disrupt literally every minute of the event.
On the outside, everybody just waited during the talk and followed along on livestream. Then immediately after the event was over we staged for when people would be exiting the event. Immediately we saw this Nazi punk guy walking with swastikas stenciled on his shirt. So immediately he was surrounded by hundreds of people and he was saying racial slurs and calling people animals, doing the sieg heil thing, and he got punched in the face for it. He continued walking until police grabbed him and pulled him over a barricade. That scene was repeated over and over as two or three more Nazis exited from the event.
That was the general feel for how the event went from the outside. It was a feeling of empowerment that we had deplatformed their racist message.
Rebel Girl: Sounds like a success. Would you recommend packing fascist speaking events with anti-fascists as a useful strategy for the future?
Dexeray: I think what would have been ideal, what is always ideal, is to ensure that the speaking event doesn’t happen. That there’s no space, no platform for white nationalist, for racists,, for fascists. But I think that when that didn’t happen, organizers on the ground were able to effectively get folks inside the event and keep up a mass disruption. So, I wouldn’t say there’s one specific strategy that will work for every event, but I think that being mobile, being fluid, and being able to react on the ground and organize on the ground as events are happening is what was really beautiful and really effective in this mobilization, and having a broad-based strategy was super effective. It ended up, in my opinion, as a huge success, a huge humiliation for Spencer, and a huge blow for whatever they were hoping to come out of this.
Rebel Girl: Spencer relied on calling the protesters babies to insult them, but we know that it takes courage to raise one’s voice against fascism, especially in light of what happened afterward.
Throughout his talk, Richard Spencer repeated the lie that his movement isn’t violent, but after the humiliation he and his supporters suffered from protesters, three white-supremacists lashed back by firing into a group of anti-racists at a bus stop. The shooter, Tyler Tenbrink was encouraged by brothers William and Colton Fears to shoot at the anti-racists and , “kill them.” All three have been active with the fascist group Patriot Front or its predecessor Vanguard America, whom Heather Heyer’s murderer marched with in Charlottesville. What’s more, their presence and aggression in Gainesville was not incidental—it was planned.
A secret operational document, drawn up by Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute and leaked by Atlanta Antifascists, lists Patriot Front as one of the main groups comprising what they refer to as the alt-right “task force” for the day. Leading up to Spencer’s talk, the alt-right was planning attacks on Jewish and black community centers if the event got cancelled. It’s worth mentioning that another alt-rightist was arrested that day for brandishing a weapon. Another interesting, although unsurprising, detail of the secret planning document is how it identifies police and the university as , “cooperating.” Overall, the document indicates a kind of professionalization of the alt-right, and gives some insight into how they organize. We have it linked in our shownotes for anyone who wants to give it a look.
On the one hand—some Nazis got punched, three white supremacists suffered a high profile arrest, and Richard Spencer was constantly jeered at and sometimes even drowned out during his speech.
On the other hand, fascist news outlets like AltRight.com and The Daily Stormer are declaring victory—Spencer got to speak after all.
To clear things up, we spoke with anti-fascist researcher Spencer Sunshine about the overall outcome of Gainesville.
Sunshine: My name is Spencer Sunshine. I’m a researcher of far-right movements and a radical activist.
Rebel Girl: Thanks for speaking with us Spencer! In your analysis, do you think Gainesville was a defeat for the alt-right?
Sunshine: I think it really was. They were looking for a good, clear victory after Charlottesville, because while there had been other alt-right events, they hadn’t been led by the white-nationalist wing of the alt-right. Instead, it was Joey Gibson or militia people or people like that who had done these other events. So they were looking for a real win and I think it just further sullied their reputation. I think it makes them look terrible. Espeially after Charlottesville they look bad because they look like murderers, and this isn’t helping them disabuse anybody of that. To me, that’s the main thing: where Richard Spencer goes, violence will follow. People are going to start to get that message. Clearly, his talk in Ohio has been cancelled. He can force his way into some universities to speak but other universities are finding ways to stop him from speaking. I don’t think they’ve been aggressive enough about doing that. He’s been unable to portray himself as a free speech martyr in the way that happened in Berkeley. There’s no free speech nonsense even though people did get beaten up. It got disrupted and people got beaten up in the crowd, but you don’t hear this weird anti-antifa stream of free speech. It’s sort of funny when the media decide they’re going to be the champions of Nazi free speech and at what points they decide that they’re not going to. They didn’t in this case, so I think it’s been a real defeat for them and a real victory for us.
Rebel Girl: We want to build on what Dezeray said about the importance of tactical flexibility. No tactic’s execution—even nazi punching—should be the criteria for success itself. While any engagement with fascists necessitates some degree of strategic consideration—like how to keep ourselves safe and how to keep the fash off the streets—we should also aim for our actions to bring us into contact with wider social bodies and to delegitimize larger structures of power. Imagine if all the underpaid workers at the University of Florida made common cause with anti-fascists angry at the university for their scurrilous waste of half a million dollars to protect a few vile Nazis. Imagine if everyone who harbors hatred for Gainesville police had also hit the streets, identifying the law’s protection of Nazis as yet another attack on their safety.
During Richard Spencer’s Q&A, there was one moment that really stood out for us.
Student Four: Listen, my question was what are you still doing here?
Richard Spencer: I guess I could perhaps—
Student Four: I don’t “perhaps” nothing. What are you still doing here?
Richard Spencer: What am I still doing here? I am speaking, I am engaged in a dialogue. We have a scheduled event that you and your friends are attempting to violently disrupt, and I won’t let you.
Student Four: I’m going to say this: these aren’t my friends, this is my community. These are my people.
Richard Spencer: Your community? This is an academic institution. It is not your community. I’m sorry, this is not your community. This is an academic institution or free thought and inquiry…
Student Four: Are you and me community? Am I a part of you? Are you a part of us?
Rebel Girl: Every other person who got the microphone, whether they were alt-right or anti-fascist, directed what they had to say to Richard Spencer. But when this kid turned around and asked the audience “Are you and me community? Am I a part of you? Are you a part of us?” for just a moment, the center of attention was not Richard Spencer’s beliefs, it was what brought the audience members together and what they could do together. That was the right move. We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking we are in dialogue with the police or fascists, but rather, we should aim to connect with each other.
In this week’s repression roundup…
Mary Redway and Alexander Simon have become the first two Water Protectors to be sentenced to jail time for protest-related misdemeanors from last year’s No DAPL actions at Standing Rock. The sentence is likely an attempt to put pressure on other Water Protectors with pending charges to take pleas and forgo trial. To find out more and to support the hundreds of people still facing charges from Standing Rock, go to FreshetCollective.org.
We’re happy to announce that Dane Powell, the first J20 defendant to do time, will be released from prison soon. DC Legal Posse has organized a fund to help Dane get back on his feet while he transitions out of prison. We have the fundraiser linked in our shownotes. Welcome home Dane.
It’s great news that Dane is about to get out, but almost two hundred other J20 defendants are still facing years in prison. The first trial in the J20 case was bumped up to November 15—that’s in three weeks! J20 refers to January 20, the date of massive resistance to the presidential inauguration, during which 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 argue that simply chanting slogans or dressing in black makes all of the nearly 200 codefendants 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.
Supporters have announced a 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 in November to pack the courthouse and show support for the first batch of J20 trial defendants.
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 this Hotwire with next week’s news, but first…
Political prisoner Eddie Africa celebrates his birthday on October 31. Eddie is one of the MOVE 9, a family of revolutionaries who have been in prison since August 8, 1978, following a massive police attack on their home in Philadelphia. This was seven years before the government dropped a bomb on the MOVE house, killing 11 people, including 5 children.
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 Eddie Africa. It only takes a few minutes for you, but getting your letter could be the highlight of his week. 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! Anti-fascists are calling for opposition to a “white lives matter” rally in Murfreesboro, Tennessee this Saturday, October 28. The neo-Nazi Traditionalist Workers Party and National Socialist Movement are behind the rally. They’re gathering in nearby Shelbyville, and will then migrate to their permitted march in Murfreesboro. Anti-fascists are gathering in Murfreesboro Town Square at 11 AM on Saturday to confront the fascists. Earlier in the morning, there’s another anti-fascist rally in Shelbyville at 9 AM, meeting on the corner of North Cannon Blvd and Lane Parkway in Northwest Shelbyville. We have more details linked in our shownotes at CrimethInc.com/podcast.
The London Anarchist Book Fair takes place on Saturday, October 28 at Park View School.
If you’re in Richmond, Virginia or Philadelphia this week, come check out presentations on CrimethInc.’s newest book, From Democracy to Freedom. Philadelphia’s event is at Wooden Shoe Books at 7 PM on Friday, October 27. Richmond’s takes place at Lamplighter Coffee Roasters at 7 PM on October 30. For an introduction to the anarchist critique of democracy, check out episodes 47 and 48 of The Ex-Worker podcast. To bring a CrimethInc. speaking event to your town, just email email@example.com.
Forest defenders in Oregon are in need of support to stop the Goose Timber Sale of approximately 2,500 acres of the Willamette National Forest. Cascadia Forest Defenders have built two platforms 100 feet up in the trees! The forest defenders are seeking others 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. Go to forestdefensenow.wordpress.com, to contact them or make a donation.
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.
October 30 to November 5 is the international 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.
In Santiago, Chile on November 4 is the 7th tattoo and body art convention to benefit political prisoners. The event includes punk and hip-hop acts, vegan catering, tattoo and piercing booths, and anarchist literature distributors, all to benefit political prisoners. God damn yall does Chile have one badass culture of resistance or what?
The Animal Rights Gathering 2018 will take place on January 20 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Animal Rights Gathering seeks to carve out a space for intersectional, feminist, and anti-capitalist politics in the animal rights movement as a whole. You can find out more at argathering2018.wordpress.com.
That’s it for your weekly Hotwire. Thanks to Rowan, Dezeray, and Spencer Sunshine for speaking with us, 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 meticulously curated for this episode at CrimethInc.com. Every Hotwire episode is radio-ready, so if you want to replay part or all of this show, just go for it! Just give us a heads up at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com. You can also send us news or announcements to include in the future.
Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into The Hotwire.