Listen to the Episode — 40 min
Rebel Girl: October 10, 2018: Anarchists in Brazil on Bolsonaro and the election, twelve years until climate apocalypse, anti-colonial actions on Columbus Day, Banksy, Gritty, Kavanaugh, and a temporary victory for the Hambach Forest on this episode of…
Riot Dogg: The Hotwire.
A weekly anarchist news show brought to you by The Ex-Worker
Rebel Girl: With me, the Rebel Girl.
Riot Dogg: And with me, the Riot Dogg.
Rebel Girl: A full transcript of this episode with shownotes and useful links can be found at our website, CrimethInc.com/podcast, where you can also find a radio-ready twenty-nine-and-a-half minute version of this episode for standard radio broadcasts, and no cussing!
Riot Dogg: And now, the news…
Rebel Girl: Monday was the annual Fall holiday honoring colonialism and genocide in the Americas.
Riot Dogg: Wait really? Damn, Thanksgiving came early this year.
Rebel Girl: No no, the other Fall holiday celebrating genocide—Columbus Day.
Riot Dogg: Oh yeah, that fuck.
Rebel Girl: In Columbus’ namesake city in Ohio, anti-racist activists rallied against a statue of the mass murderer and wrapped it with a banner reading, “Topple White Supremacy.”
There was also an anti-Columbus banner drop in South Bend, Indiana, while indigenous women in Seattle led the 5th annual Indigenous People’s Day march through the city.
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For Indigenous People’s Day in so-called Minnesota, indigenous water protectors erected a prayer house in the Line 3 pipeline’s path. Access roads around the pipeline were also blockaded.
Riot Dogg: You know, the whole Columbus Day as a celebration-of-Italian-heritage thing only started in the 1860s, and in the following decades lots of Italian immigrants, the anarchist ones, vocally opposed it. It was held in September back then, and all month long anarchist publications would put out “antipatriotic” special editions against the celebration. The Italian radical hub of Paterson, New Jersey even had a “Committee against the Celebration of XX Settembre.” According to historian Kenyon Zimmer, anarchists even occasionally disrupted Columbus Day parades in Italian-American communities.
Rebel Girl: Now that’s a tradition I can get into, and apparently so can some anonymous vandals in Philadelphia who spraypainted a Columbus statue with the words, “Fascist,” and “End Columbus Day.” The police are investigating the vandalism as QUOTE “racial/defamation” incidents.
Riot Dogg: Ugh, one more reminder about why we should never trust the state to fight racism—any tools we give them can just as easily be used to defend white supremacy.
Rebel Girl: And speaking of the state’s dubious efforts against racism, last week the FBI announced the arrests of four neo-Nazis from the Rise Above Movement for their involvement in the torch march before Unite the Right in Charlottesville last year.
Riot Dogg: You know, if these guys go to prison they’re just going to land back in the middle of white power crews on the inside. In fact, that recent ProPublica Frontline special made a point that one of the Rise Above Movement’s key participants got into white nationalism through being incarcerated. One more reason to understand prison abolition as anti-fascist work.
Rebel Girl: Funny you should mention ProPublica, because the FBI also did, numerous times in relation to these arrests. We’re going to quote the Stop the Next Unite the Right’s twitter about this, “It is no coincidence that while investigative journalism ala @ProPublica is doing a better job than the state at uncovering fascist violence, fascists continue to call for the outright murder of journalists and non-journalists who report on them.”
And the logical conclusion of that is playing out in Germany, where neo-Nazi mobilizations of thousands have been seen in the last month in Chemnitz and Kothen, leading chants and attacks against the press. The same day as the FBI arrests, an independent journalist in Germany was stabbed by neo-Nazis as they gave the Hitler salute.
Riot Dogg: On Saturday, in Providence, Rhode Island, about 60 neo-fascists and nationalists joined the group Resist Marxism for a so-called “Free Speech” rally, although as we mentioned earlier, fascists’ commitment to free speech ends where views they don’t approve of begin.
Rebel Girl: Not to mention actual facts they don’t approve of.
Riot Dogg: True. The fash were joined by Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer members who flew in from out of town. Over 150 anti-fascists turned out, and when Resist Marxism ralliers began to assault them, the anti-fascists fought back. The police simply stood to the side, until one anti-fascist unleashed a fire extinguisher and covered the fascists with a blast of white paint, then the cops formed a line with their backs to the fascists. No arrests were reported.
Rebel Girl: Way to hold it down Providence.
Riot Dogg: Last Tuesday as we were going to press, anti-fascists and anti-racists hit the streets of Philadelphia to demonstrate against a visit and speech by President Trump. We’d love to tell you what happened, but instead of reporting on the events of the protest, every single news story we came across only focused on a single banner. The banner featured the Philadelphia hockey team’s new mascot, an orange muppet-like character named Gritty, who was donning a circle-A jersey, an anti-fascist flag, and appeared alongside the words “GRITTY SAYS GTFO OF PHILLY.”
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Since this was pretty much all we could dig up about the protest, we reached out to one of the demonstrators present that day for more details…
So, who are we speaking with and what happened at the anti-Trump protest in Philly last week?
Gritty: Ah yes. So, my name is Gritty, and it wasn’t the biggest march ever but there was a very lively spirit nonetheless.
Riot Dogg: Wait, Gritty?
Riot Dogg: As in, the Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot?
Gritty: That’s me…
Riot Dogg: But your voice…uh…you’re British?
Gritty: The struggle against fascism knows no borders, comrade.
Riot Dogg: Right…um, ok, so was this anti-Trump march your first time getting involved in anti-fascist action?
Gritty: Well, my first time without a mask, although let me make it clear that Gritty extends full solidarity to those who mask up at actions. You can never be too careful these days, and with the far-right doxxing and harassing anti-racist activists, a mask is like encryption for your face.
Riot Dogg: Wait so Gritty, you’re down with the black bloc?
Gritty: I don’t know if you saw that famous umbrella charge from J20, Trump’s inauguration, but… let’s just say that whoever that was, having the experience of withstanding cross checks on the ice probably helped them break through the police line. I mean, those batons are so tiny compared to the hockey sticks I’m used t—I mean, that someone maybe would have possibly been used to… or something.
Riot Dogg: DUDE! Gritty! Security culture!
Gritty: Good point Riot Dogg. Alright, Gritty’s gotta fly!
Riot Dogg: Ok um well thanks for speaking with us.
Gritty: Of course! The Hotwire is Gritty’s favorite podcast!
Rebel Girl: On Sunday, an anti-racist demonstration of more than 5,000 people took place in Montreal as a response to the recent right-wing electoral victory in Quebec. In the lead up, some anti-colonial anti-racists covered a statue of Canada’s first Prime Minister, the racist colonizer John A. MacDonald, in red paint.
Riot Dogg: Reactionary parties are making electoral victories all over the world. The clearest current example of this is in Brazil, where the outright homophobic presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro is leading the race after the first round of elections. Bolsonaro has commented favorably on Brazil’s period of military dictatorship, and has promised further repression with his presidency. We have the following audio report from an anarchist comrade in Brazil about the significance of this reactionary turn:
Anarchist in Brazil: Jair Bolsonaro is a deputy who has been in Congress for the last 27 years consecutively. He became more famous in 2011 after an interview in a TV show where he said that his sons will never marry or relate to black or gay people because they were educated. After that we have many people who were supporting his ideas saying he was defending family values.
The first demonstration in favor of Jair Bolsonaro and his agenda and his ideas were in 2011 when neo-Nazis invited a demonstration in the downtown of Sao Paolo and many anti-fascists appeared also in counter-demontrations. Hundreds of anti-fascists and dozens of neo-Nazis with swastikas and fascist logos and flags marching for Jair Bolsonaro.
Well, what happened after the social movement and the mobilizations in 2013 showed that political parties and the democracy were not representing people’s desires anymore. We failed as autonomous and grassroots movements to give people an alternative and we saw a wave of people being disappointed with government and especially disappointed with the 13 years the Workers Party have been in power and so the media and the elites were attacking the Workers Party, the PT, as much as they can and corruption scandals have been touching the right wing and the left wing parties the same way but the media was focusing a lot on the Workers party as if the corruption is a left-wing thing and not something intrinsic to the system and to the state, to the government, and to capitalism.
So what we saw was people trying to be outsiders and anti-system. And they bought the discourse and the agenda of the far-right. We can see Bolsonaro, when his party, PSL, were one of those who could talk to people and find the discontent and use these emotions and these affections to build a movement in support to his agenda. Bolsonaro is one of the politicians that says that torture was an efficient political tool and that dictatorship was not so strong because he could kill more people.
As anarchists and as anti-capitalists and anti-fascists we are joining the demonstrations and the political mobilizations against him. We have an internet mobilization called “Ele Não”. It means “Not Him”. It was organized by women on social media and inviting for a protest on the last day of September where about 114 cities were full of people and almost all the states of Brazil against Bolsonaro. Not for one or for another political party specifically but against Bolsonaro, against the right wing, against fascism. It was a big, important moment to see that literally hundreds of thousands of people could gather together on the streets and take the streets against fascism and for women’s, LGBTQ rights, and indigenous rights, and workers’ rights. We’re being part of this, we have to keep organizing ourselves in a way to protect our lives, protect our space, protect our social centers, protect our movements, and everyone that could be targeted by these politics and by his supporters. As we can see it’s already happening. The violence is already on the streets. We can see that people are getting afraid of being on the streets and this movement, this demonstration was kind of a way to tell ourselves that we are not alone and that we could be together and beat fascism in the street and beat fascism in politics.
Even if Bolsonaro doesn’t win the election this year we are in trouble because we have one third or maybe one half of the population supporting his ideas, supporting his agenda and we can already see and feel that after the first round of elections last week we already saw many news of Bolsonaro’s supporters beating, stabbing, and killing people all over the country. We can say that we are facing now a right-wing momentum as we never saw before. The majority of the population is up to support an extreme right-wing candidate and his fascist politics only to be away of the Workers Party politics and history.
Riot Dogg: In Portland, Oregon, a motorist drove his car through a crowd of anti-racist and Black Lives Matter demonstrators protesting last week’s police murder of Patrick Kimmons. Comrades in Portland have been dealing with aggressive motorists at their marches ever since Trump’s election, when a driver SHOT an anti-Trump demonstrator blocking his car. Almost a year ago in neighboring Vancouver, Washington, a fascist was arrested for speeding his truck towards anti-racist demonstrators during a Patriot Prayer rally. Just last week, truck-drivers ran through the memorial to Patrick Kimmons at the occupied intersection where police killed him. Portland, it is brave of y’all to keep hitting the streets despite all the threats you’re facing. Thank you.
Rebel Girl: Also in Portland, tenants at Holgate Manor have been on rent strike for three months! Over the summer, inspectors found almost one hundred code violations including mold and fire hazards, and just three weeks ago an electrical fire left three tenants without electricity. Instead of fixing their property, and despite there being zero reports of crime at the complex, the management has hired private security, who unsurprisingly like to lurk menacingly outside of apartments where tenant union discussions take place. You can support the rent strike at Holgate Manor by contacting Princeton Property Management at 1–800–275–4313 and telling them to stop trying to bust the tenant union, to stop retaliatory evictions, to make the badly needed repairs, and to rescind their unaffordable rent increases.
Riot Dogg: On Friday, in Nanaimo, British Columbia, people from the homeless camp Discontent City opened an abandoned elementary school that had been sitting empty for months. From the roofs of the school, banners were hung that read, “Homes Not Jails,” and “Unite! Rise Up! Squat Now!”
In the evening, a mob of anti-homeless bigots, backed by white supremacists from the Soldiers of Odin, gathered around the school, yelling and harassing the occupiers. The police raided the following day and arrested 26 of the squatters. Stay tuned to the Alliance Against Displacement on Twitter for how to support the arrestees and further organizing to open up safe housing for the homeless in Nanaimo.
Rebel Girl: Last Tuesday marked 50 years since the Tlatelolco Massacre in Mexico City. On October 2, 1968, 10 days before the opening of the Olympic games in Mexico, over 10,000 protesting workers and students were fired upon by soldiers. The government claims the dead numbered in the dozens, but witnesses state that hundreds died, whose names we may never know. By the government’s own admission, we do know that they arrested more than 1,000 demonstrators. On the anniversary this year, anarchists and anti-fascists brought banners and fireworks and were a visible, festive presence in the memorial march in Mexico City.
Riot Dogg: The massacre was a preview to the decades of reactionary authoritarianism that were about to sweep across Latin America. In Chile, Argentina, Guatemala, and many countries more, governments massacred and disappeared dissidents, that is they murdered them without marking any official record of their death. Just as Mexico was trying to clear the streets to preserve its image for the Olympic spectacle, Latin American dictatorships, often backed and trained by the US in the name of anti-communism, repressed workers and kept conditions and wages low enough to invite hyper exploitative investment from the global north. This is part of what set in motion the migration to the United States that we’ve seen over the past few decades. So the next time some Proud Boy complains about immigrants “taking our jobs,” remind him that more likely than not, the next immigrant worker you come across is getting back some of the wealth pillaged from his or her country.
Rebel Girl: In the 80s, there was a widespread sanctuary movement of US churches harboring immigrants who were fleeing the dictatorships you mentioned. And on October 8 this year, the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Charlottesville has announced it is providing sanctuary to María Chavalan Sut, a 44-year-old woman from a persecuted indigenous community in Guatemala, who has been living in Virginia. ICE provided Maria a removal date last month, but she has disobeyed, stayed, and is going to fight.
Riot Dogg: To support Maria, check out facebook.com/handsoffmaria
Rebel Girl: The world-famous, anonymous guerrilla artist Banksy tied his auction sale record this weekend, with his stencil piece “Girl with Red Balloon” selling for $1.4 million. As soon as the gavel slammed and the sale was official, the painting began to mechanically pass through a paper-shredder disguised within the frame, as bourgeois gasps filled the auction floor.
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Riot Dogg: Wait, this is genius… so is Banksy slowly convincing the rich of how thrilling it might be if we destroy all their luxury goods?!
Rebel Girl: Mm… fat chance dogg. But as a consolation, Banksy did caption his video of the stunt with the Bakunin quote, “The urge to destroy is also a creative urge,” nodding to the anarchist revolution you’re waiting for. However, he attributed the quote to Pablo Picasso.
Riot Dogg: That’s cool, Picasso was basically an anarchist too. France actually cited his anarchist tendencies and cohorts as grounds to deny him nationality there.
Rebel Girl: Speaking of anarchy in the art world, the Spanish artist and anarchist Santiago Sierra opened a new installation last month, which documents his trips to plant the black flag at the South Pole. When asked about his reason behind the project, Sierra replied, “To occupy the world, I suppose,” and, “Entering a country is like going to jail. Borders disgust me – as an idea and as a personal experience. This work denies all of that.”
Riot Dogg: Hate to say it Sierra, but CrimethInc. actually brought anarchy to the south pole first. Just over a decade ago CrimethInc. Far East shipped their first order of books to a researcher living down there, including Recipes for Disaster, Days of War Nights of Love, and Expect Resistance.
Rebel Girl: Ok but… who cares who was first? It’s not like we’re trying to lay claim to the place before another anarchist does.
Riot Dogg: I know I know. I just think it’s cool that CrimethInc books have been shipped to all seven continents. Hey Rebel Girl?
Rebel Girl: Yes Riot Dogg?
Riot Dogg: Do you think anyone in Antarctica listens to our show?
Rebel Girl: Well, I’m sure if we keep it up, more and more of our listeners will at least be migrating towards the poles, because the UN recently warned that we have 12 years—count ‘em, twelve—to stave off climate catastrophe.
QUOTE “We have presented governments with pretty hard choices. We have pointed out the enormous benefits of keeping to a rise of only 1.5 degrees, and also the unprecedented shift in energy systems and transport that would be needed to achieve that,” said Jim Skea, a co-chair of the working group on mitigation. “We show it can be done within laws of physics and chemistry. Then the final tick box is political will. We cannot answer that. Only our audience can.”
Riot Dogg: Except climate catastrophe is already here—Katrina, Sandy, Irma, Harvey, Maria, Florence, and now there’s ANOTHER hurricane set to tear through the southeast this week, once again dumping rain on already flood-hit parts of North Carolina. Until we’re back next week, listeners can stay tuned to Mutual Aid Disaster Relief for updates on what’s needed in storm-affected areas. But also, let’s not forget about the fires that have been burning annually in California, mass fish die offs in the oceans, crop failures—the end of the world is already here. And don’t expect governments to sacrifice profits or power for the good of the earth—both Trump and Brazilian president-to-be Bolsonaro have threatened to pull out of the Paris climate accord. It’s up to us to decide what kind of an end of the world it’s going to be—one where we get through together, looking out for each other, or one where the competition and greed nurtured by capitalism begets even fiercer competition between us.
Rebel Girl: I dunno dogg, it seems a little early to me to say we’re at the end of the world. For centuries millenarians have declared how some present scenario is surely and shortly going to lead to the end of the world—the anarchist version of this is how a revolutionary transformation is just around the corner, but what if capitalism just goes on like this for centuries more? Have you ever read that essay Desert? It talks about all the opportunities climate change affords to capitalism—like the previously uninhabitable areas that are opening up, and also the opportunities it affords states, and especially militaries.
Riot Dogg: I can’t tell what’s worse… the world perishing in flames and floods or a world where capitalism normalizes the latest natural limits to the market—no more fish on the menu, sorry everybody, now we’re serving genetically enhanced superpig. Miss when you could actually swim in the ocean? Come experience our latest life-like wave pool, now with adorable animatronic fish! Sorry kids, the military has imposed paper and wood rations after the latest fire, but they’ve given us iPads we can use for our math class today. Power them up and fill out the first few personality surveys on what kind of soldier you are so we can get to work!
Rebel Girl: Thankfully, eco-struggles all over North America and the world show us another way forward: the halting of industrial capitalism and nurturing a society where our shared earth is valued over profit.
Riot Dogg: On October 2, there was coordinated disruption of construction of the Enbridge 3 Pipeline on the Fon Du Lac Ojibwe reservation in Wisconsin with Anti Colonial Land Defense and others interfering with construction. A ceremony was led by local Indigenous women elders in the center of the road by the worksite, in conjunction with a soft-blockade to keep Enbridge out of the worksite for the day. On October 4th, Water Protectors & Land Defenders from the Ginew collective shut down the intersection by Wells Fargo in Minneapolis with a tripod and blockade. And in Manitoba, land defenders and warriors from the Great Plains Resistance also successfully disrupted & shut down Line 3 for a day.
Rebel Girl: Construction of the controversial Bayou Bridge Pipeline came to a halt for the day on October 3rd when water protectors converged in the Atchafalaya Basin and climbed onto several pieces of equipment. One bold water protector climbed to the top of a crane, 50 feet in the air, and chained herself in place, while two others attached themselves to heavy equipment on the ground.
Riot Dogg: Also, on October 3rd, a blockade outside the shale fracking site in Blackpool, England reached its third day, with two out of the original nine activists still engaged in a lockdown.
Rebel Girl: As of October 4th, in the Hellbender Autonomous Zone in Appalachia, the tree-sit that is blocking Mountain Valley pipeline construction, is officially 30 days old.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a major permit for the Mountain Valley Pipeline last week, which could significantly slow down construction through much of West Virginia and is expected to affect about 160 miles of the pipeline’s route in the state. With winter on the way, hopefully this can give tree-sitters some time to dig in for the cold and keep that pipe from getting in the ground.
Riot Dogg: In the last few Next Weeks News, we’ve been announcing an October 6 day of action to defend Germany’s Hambach Forest. One day before, on the 5th, a court in Münster ordered the coal energy corporation that is clearing the forest to desist from cutting more trees! The court ordered the suspension while it is considering a lawsuit brought against the energy giant, and activists anticipate that the lawsuit and the pause in tree-clearing will last until 2020.
However, forest defenders have continued to strike while the iron is hot, wisely not trusting the state to take care of greedy forest destroyers for them, and instead continuing to mobilize resistance. So on October 6, despite the previous day’s court order, over 8,000 people gathered in the forest to install hammocks, build barricades, and occupy new parts of the forest. Not far away in Buir, over 50,000 more gathered for a mass demonstration against the cutting.
Just outside the forest, in the part that has already been converted into a mine, activists blocked an excavator for 27 hours, and no arrests!
Meanwhile, Anarchist Black Cross Rhineland reports that Jazzy and Winter, the Hambi prisoner whose letter we read last Hotwire, have both been released from jail and their identities are still unknown to the authorities. There are still three Hambach Forest defenders in jail though, so e-mail abc-rhineland AT riseup DOT net to send them messages of support.
Rebel Girl: In this week’s repression roundup…
Aged frat-bro sexual assaulter Brett Kavanaugh was finally confirmed as one of the elite nine judges who hold the final say on the interpretation of US law. Over 300 anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators were arrested for occupying the steps in front of the Supreme Court on Friday. Even though we’re against anyone holding the power that the Supreme Court does, it was refreshing to see people try to do something about this creep gaining power instead of just watching the spectacle of the confirmation hearing and rooting for one side. But now, only widespread disregard for the law can make irrelevant whatever Kavanaugh, or any other judge for that matter, decides on issues like healthcare, abortion, workplace conditions, or anything else that impacts our lives. This is what it means to become ungovernable.
Riot Dogg: Mexican anti-airport activist Jesus Javier Ramos Arreola, age 59, was reportedly shot dead while standing outside his home in San Rafael, Tlalmanalco, in late September. The activist was dedicated to the defense of a strip of stony ground called Cerro del Tenayo, the location destined for the new international airport. Residents say the hill was home to several archaeological remains as well as diminishing species of flora and fauna. It’s also possible tampering with the hillside will increase the risk of landslides. Arreola received dozens of death threats over the past months, but continued to struggle against the airport nonetheless.
Rebel Girl: Three people arrested in August for blocking construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project were sentenced to jail on October 2 in British Columbia’s Supreme Court. Over a dozen Protectors are expected to be handed jail sentences this month, despite a recent Federal Court of Appeal ruling that quashed approval for the project and brought construction to a halt. Two Protectors were sentenced to seven days in jail, Noaa Edwards and Avery Shannon, while Jim Fidler, 68, was sentenced to 14 days in jail. All three were immediately taken into custody following the ruling. A dozen more people, including 85-year-old Joanne Manley, will appear in court October 19 and could be handed a 14 day sentence.
More than 220 people have been arrested since March for demonstrating against the tar sands pipeline. 15 people including this week’s defendants have served jail time, and around a dozen are facing up to 2 weeks in jail for their opposition to the pipeline and tanker project.
Riot Dogg: Prisoners in Spanish jails have launched a new hunger strike after the last strike they held, which started on May Day. They highlight the inhumane conditions they endure daily, and have issued 12 demands including acknowledgement of those killed in prison under democracy, an end to the criminalization of solidarity between prisoners, and the abolition of FIES solitary confinement. We wish the prisoners of Spain luck and victory.
Rebel Girl: Michael “Rattler” Markus was sentenced last week to a 36-month federal prison term pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement. Rattler is now the third Water Protector sentenced to a substantial prison term in relation to the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance at Standing Rock.
He was arrested in connection with the turmoil on October 27, 2016, a day in which law enforcement officials used sounds cannons, tanks, tasers, bean bags, rubber bullets and pepper spray against unarmed Water Protectors, and broke sacred objects, tore down tipis, confiscated prayer staffs and demolished a sweat lodge, arresting the people inside in the middle of ceremony.
Rattler has issued the following statement: “I am praying that they have the strength to keep up the fight and to get more people out there. Standing Rock was a training ground. It was started by children, by the youth. Those are the generations that we’re thinking about. What are we going to leave them—birds animals, rivers? What kind of legacy do you want to leave your children? For rich people, it’s a big bank account. For me it’s Mni Wiconi—water is life.”
On our site, you can find links to his support campaign and his fundraiser .
Riot Dogg: Monday was the beginning of jury selection for the first trial of the Vaughn 17, prison rebels who are being collectively charged with the death of a corrections officer who died during an uprising at Vaughn Correctional Facility in 2017. Jury selection was closed to the public, but just outside the Wilmington, Delaware courthouse supporters served a Food Not Bombs meal and dropped a banner reading “Philly Supports the Smyrna/Vaughn 17.”
There’s a call out by the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement and Vaughn 17 Support Philly for court support in the coming months. Two of the rebels are defending themselves pro se and they could use all the support they can get! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to plug in.
Rebel Girl: On October 5th, Mexican anarchists held a rally in support of anarchist prisoner Luis Fernando Sotelo, during a hearing on his case. Luis is suffering ongoing detention in a Mexican prison after initially being denied amnesty that is granted under the appropriately named Amnesty Law, which forgives the sentences of those arrested at protests between December 1, 2012 and December 1, 2015. We’ll report back on his case in the future when we have updates.
Riot Dogg: On Friday in Chicago, a jury found Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who, in 2015, shot and killed black teen Laquan McDonald, guilty of second-degree murder. The verdict came three years after the release of a dashboard-camera video that shows Officer Van Dyke firing 16 shots at Laquan. Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in half a century to be found guilty of murder for an on-duty shooting. He faces a minimum of 6 years in prison.
The jury found Van Dyke guilty of second degree murder, not first, signaling that they believed that Van Dyke thought his life was threatened. Would Laquan McDonald only have gotten six years in prison if the tables were turned? Would he have gotten second-degree murder, instead of first, if he thought his life was in danger, which it so clearly was?
Perhaps this verdict offered a smidge of relief or a small sense of righteous retribution to people who suffer at the hands of the police, but it didn’t change any of the conditions that produced the 16 bullets shot at Laquan McDonald. It’s not as simple as Van Dyke being written off as a bad cop—the police are still an essential part of state and capital, built on a legacy of white supremacy. Like the CrimethInc essay, “What They Mean When They Say Peace,” states,
“Left to itself, a state of imbalance tends to return to equilibrium. To maintain imbalances, you have to introduce force into the situation. The greater the disparities, the more force it takes to preserve them. This is as true in society as it is in physics. That means you can’t have rich people and poor people without police to impose that unequal relation to resources. You can’t have whiteness, which inflects and stabilizes that class divide, without a vast infrastructure of racist courts and prisons. You can’t keep two and a half million people—nearly a million of them black men—behind bars without the constant exertion of potentially lethal violence.”
And that’s why there will be more Laquan McDonalds, no matter the number of police found guilty of murder or the length of their prison sentences, until we reduce the police and the institutions they protect to nothing but a pile of dust.
Rebel Girl: On August 22 last year, Kris Thompson was arrested during an altercation with the St Louis Metropolitan Police that led to the death of their trans partner, Kiwi Herring. The department is trying to discredit and deter Kris from testifying to the truth - that the police murdered Kiwi in cold blood with no provocation. Subsequently, they have charged Kris with Assault in the First Degree and Armed Criminal Action. If convicted, Kris faces a minimum of 3 years in prison with no probation or parole, up to the maximum of 2 consecutive life sentences. Complicating Kris’s defense is that the police department’s own corrupt Force Investigative Unit, which is staffed by detectives with history of police violence against innocent people, are responsible for the investigation into Kiwi Herring’s murder. Kris goes to trial on October 29th, and they have a GREAT defense lawyer, but need your donations to help fund their case. You can find link to their fund, in our shownotes.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
Rebel Girl: And now for political prisoner birthdays and next week’s news.
On October 15, Jermaine Parker celebrates his birthday. Jermaine is one of the prisoners from the 2014 uprising in Ferguson, Missouri after white cop Darren Wilson killed black teenager Michael Brown in cold blood.
We have an address for writing to Jermaine in our shownotes, where you can also find a useful guide for writing prisoners from New York City Anarchist Black Cross.
Riot Dogg: And now, for next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
A coalition of anti-fascist groups is calling for a unity demonstration against a far-right football hooligan event in London on October 13. E-mail LDNANTIFASCISTS at RISEUP dot NET for more info.
Rebel Girl: Anti-colonial Land Defense has an action camp coming up in the NW Lake Superior bioregion Oct.15th–18th that is a two-spirit, trans & womxn friendly action camp that prioritizes POC/indigenous comrades! You can find out more by emailing allcoloniesareburning, all one word, AT riseup DOT net.
Riot Dogg: In Brooklyn, New York on October 19 there’s a benefit punk show to raise some funds for recently released long-term political prisoners. It’s at 8:30 PM at Pine Box Rock Shop and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Rebel Girl: Montreal Contre les Prisons is calling for mobilization against the International Corrections and Prisons Association conference from October 21–26. Specifically, on Sunday October 21st at 3pm—the two-month anniversary of the 2018 Prison Strike—there will be a rally against all prisons, outside the ICPA Conference at the Montréal Marriott Chateau Champlain, near metro Bonaventure.
Riot Dogg: The anarchist book and propaganda gathering in Santiago, Chile is taking place October 13 and 14 in the historically rebellious neighborhood La Victoria. Find out more at encuentroanarquista.org
Also this weekend, there’s an anarchist tattoo and piercing gathering in Pelotas, Brazil.
Rebel Girl: On October 20 and 21 in London, England, instead of an anarchist bookfair comrades there are organizing a decentralized anarchist festival! If you want to be part of it e-mail anarchistfestival(at)riseup.net.
From October 26–28, there’s also an anarchist bookfair in Lisbon, Portugal.
And the weekend of November 17 and 18 has anarchist book fairs in both Seattle, Washington and Boston, Massachusetts. More at SeattleAnarchistBookFair.net and BostonAnarchistBookFair.org.
Riot Dogg: And lastly, the 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar is now out. The calendar is themed around is Health/Care, and it features art and writing from current and former political prisoners like David Gilbert and Mike Africa. Find out more at Certaindays.org
Rebel Girl: And that’s it for this Hotwire. As always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music, and thanks to our comrade from Brazil and Gritty for speaking with us. You can contact us at podcast[AT]CrimethInc[DOT]com or @HotwireWeekly on twitter. Don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful notes we customized for this episode at CrimethInc.com.
Riot Dogg: 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, and believe it or not, every Hotwire is radio-ready, with a twenty-nine and a half minute version found in each episode’s shownotes, so feel free to put The Hotwire on your local airwaves. If you do, let us know so we can plug your station.
Rebel Girl: Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into the Hotwire.