Listen to the Episode — 34 min
Rebel Girl: November 1, 2017: Fascist rallies fail in middle Tennessee, Halloween actions against mainstream capitalist Gay complicity, and sweeping repression against anarchists in Brazil 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, we bring you two interviews. One with a southern anarchist about the failures of this weekend’s fascist rallies in central Tennessee, and another with an anarchist in Catalonia about the independence conflict there and where anarchists fit in. We have reports about liberatory queer and anti-transphobic actions from Washington DC to Athens, Greece; and updates on revolt and struggle from Colombia to Chile to Haiti to Brazil. Zombie anarchists throughout history have a tricky little treat for you this Halloween; and we are happy to welcome Dane Powell, the first J20 defendant to do time, back from prison.
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 ready, so just get in touch if you’d like to put The Hotwire on your local airwaves.
Now… for the headlines.
In Clermont-Ferrand, France, rebels torched 3 police vehicles and left an insurrectionary communiqué in solidarity with the burnt cop car case, which we reported on last episode.
Peasant and workers organizations in the north of Colombia have launched an indefinite strike against paramilitary murders of social movement activists. More than 150 such activists have been assassinated in 2017 alone. The far right in Colombia has been emboldened since the demobilization of FARC guerrilla forces since last year’s peace accords—yet a constellation of indigenous and peasant resistance struggles on. We have an overview of Colombia’s land-based resistance linked in our shownotes at CrimethInc.com/podcast.
As Turkey’s military operations in Idlib, Syria come to an end, they continue to threaten the democratic-confederalist region of Rojava in Northern Syria. Outside the Turkish Consulate in New York City, anarchists demonstrated against the Turkish military with a banner that read “Long live Rojava.”
Anarchists and other demonstrators in Santiago, Chile attacked the Argentine Embassy last week over the death of indigenous land rights activist Santiago Maldonado. We have a link with a pretty impressive video, check it out.
Also in Santiago, Chile, students demonstrated against patriarchy and sexist harassment with a torchlit rally that ended with police repression. Student demonstrators set fire to an effigy, meant to represent chauvinism. By the way, if you want to create your own effigies, make your way to Crimethinc.com for a brand new guide on rendering dissent and incendiary rage visible.
Climate activists in North Yorkshire, England, occupied a fracking site with tall, wooden sitting things last week. The company Third Energy has announced they are ready to frack the site any day now, but the nearby Kirby Misperton Protection Camp continues to put up resistance.
October 25 was the centennial of the Russian Revolution—really the third revolution, but whatever, the October one sealed the deal. While mainstream news outlets freak out over Russian meddling on social media, Russia Today is meddling in anarchist history by operating Twitter accounts for Nestor Makhno and Peter Kropotkin, who, along with Trotsky, Lenin, and a host of other characters, are live-tweeting the Russian Revolution under the hashtag 1917LIVE. To keep the record straight and preserve the memory of some of the brave anarchists murdered once the Bolsheviks took state power, a host of zombie anarchist Twitter accounts have intervened, under the hashtag 1917UNDEAD. Our revolutionary ancestors rose from the grave, on none other than Halloween, to tweet cries like, “Braaains! The Cheka arrested and executed me for using my BRAINS to realize state power is anything but revolutionary.” Inspired by our zombie comrades, CrimethInc. published a truly haunting essay titled “Restless Specters of the Anarchist Dead: A Few Words from the Undead of 1917.” You can find it on our website, CrimethInc.com.
In other rebellious Halloween news, the queer and trans liberation group No Justice No Pride held a “Complicity is Horrifying” action at the Human Rights Campaign’s National Dinner in Washington DC. Powerful trans women of color, some dressed as zombies, blocked the convention center’s doors, with banners reading, “No pride in police violence,” and “Wells Fargo equals native genocide,” targeting the bank whom the HRC has recently teamed up with.
Emmelia Talarico of No Justice No Pride was quoted saying, “For decades, the LGBT movement has cast aside the most marginalized in pursuit of ‘equality’ for the most privileged members of our communities. Our hope is that No Justice No Pride’s actions begin to wake the LGBT establishment up to the fact that there is a new generation of trans and queer folks with bigger, broader and more radical dreams of liberation. Dreams inspired by the lives of our ancestors — like Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and Audre Lorde — which are fundamentally incompatible with entities like Wells Fargo.”
No Justice No Pride, your little trick on the HRC was a treat to our ears. Bravo!
Some comrades from Greece sent us the following report: “Greek parliament recently approved a law setting the age at which one can legally change their assigned gender to fifteen years old. The law was highly debated in public discourse, and conservatives, neo-Nazis, and the church didn’t miss out on the chance to spread their transphobic hatred. Various right-wing and fascist organizations called for a demonstration against the law on October 22 in Syntagma Square in Athens. Despite a pen of riot cops, various groups from the antiauthoritarian milieu as well as queer and feminist groups held the square for hours before the scheduled rally, effectively cancelling it. Apparently the transphobic, fascist organizations was more afraid of the antifascist and anti-transphobic crowd than the supposed ‘corruption of Greek youth by perversion.’ They barely even showed up.”
The report concludes: “The streets are ours! Always anti-sexist, Always anti-transphobic, Always anti-fascist!”
Riots and demonstrations have been rocking Haiti since the beginning of October against corruption in the government and the 2017–2018 budget, which has been dubbed the “Budget of Death,” for including tax increases aimed at the poor along with the decreasing of aid. It also includes a 74 percent boost in salaries for members of parliament while levying a new tax on Haitian citizens before they can access government services. As recent as last week, tens of thousands of people filled the street of Port-au-Prince in revolt. Repression to the protests has been fierce, with pro-government paramilitary thugs firing into crowds and reports of tear gas even being used in grade schools. Haitians have fought back by attacking police stations, building barricades, and burning cars. Haiti has a long history of resistance to those who oppress them, including the largest and most successful slave rebellion in the western hemisphere, and we wish them luck and solidarity in their most recent struggles.
An Indianapolis deer, disoriented and incensed by the prevailing techno-industrial-authoritarian order, broke through the glass doors of a computer store, destroyed the machines, and used its antlers to throw a police officer over its back. No human beings were injured, and the deer was eventually tranquilized. Buck the police.
On Saturday, fascists and anti-fascists converged for a showdown in central Tennessee. The neo-Nazi Traditionalist Workers Party, National Socialist Movement, and League of the South gathered in Shelbyville, after which they were supposed to caravan to nearby Murfreesboro to march. Anti-fascists showed up in force in both towns, with a 100 person strong black bloc in Murfreesboro and anti-racist protesters literally lining the road between the two towns. Between being outnumbered by anti-racists and being slowed down by police checkpoints, the fascist groups were dissuaded and cancelled their march. But make no mistake—the cops are no allies to anti-fascists. While preventing medics from bringing in first aid materials, the police allowed the Nazis to carry shields, which they used to attack a journalist. They also attacked a local man out on his lunch break. Later in the day, frustrated at the failure of their rallies, a crowd of fascists attacked an interracial couple at a bar. Matt Heimbach, the leader of the Traditionalist Workers Party, was on the scene.
We were able to interview a southern anarchist who showed up to protest the fash.
So, what happened in Tennessee?
Southern Anarchist: So, the white supremacist groups tried to have two rallies in the middle of Tennessee. They mobilized in Shelbyville in the morning and about 150 or 200 of them showed up. I’d say about 600 counter-protesters came out. This is in a pretty small town, like 20,000 people. A pretty heavy police presence: armored police vehicles, drones, snipers on the rooftops, most of the cops had assault rifles. Basically, the racists went into one protest pen and the counter-protesters went into another. The racist side, the white supremacists, they were held up for quite a while going through these checkpoints into their pen. Meanwhile, on the counter protester side folks were just chanting and singing and having a good time.
Folks had mobilized in Murfreesboro as well, and I’d say there was even more counter protesters there. Like at least 1,000. About an hour into when the white supremacists were supposed to have arrived, it came out over social media that they cancelled their rally. There were maybe 30 or so unaffiliated racists that did show up, but the bulk of them never showed. It’s kind of a weird victory in that it came—basically what I think happened is that it took so long for them to get through the security that they were going to be way too late getting to Murfreesboro so they decided to call the whole thing off. Just looking at them, they clearly were not having a good time. They were very low energy. It definitely did no service to their movement.
Rebel Girl: Are there any lessons you think anti-fascists can take from this weekend in Tennessee?
Southern Anarchist: I just think it was cool that the Nazis chose this area because they thought it was fertile grounds for their hateful ideas and still they were vastly outnumbered in this area that they thought would be conducive to their organizing. Just the entire community came out against them and made it clear that they weren’t welcome there. I think it’s just important to show up regardless of whether you think you’re going to be able to engage in direct confrontation because you never know what the ground is going to look like until you get there. There may have been some opportunities lost in Shelbyville, and it looked like a lot more energy got put into going to Murfreesboro. We need to keep our eyes on the prize. While its important to be coming out and protesting these fascist groups, the real instruments of white supremacy are still the police, the prisons, ICE, and all that.
Rebel Girl: Thanks so much for speaking with us.
For fuller coverage about the anti-fascist demonstrations in Tennessee, we have links posted in out shownotes at CrimethInc.com/podcast. We salute the brave anti-fascists who showed up. Just like Charlottesville and Gainesville demonstrated, when fascists fail, they lash out with violence. Just recently in California, a man drove his car through a pro-migrant protest, hospitalizing several. It can be dangerous out there, but emboldening the fascists by letting them have the streets makes things much, much more dangerous for all of us.
In Catalonia, historic political maneuvering has led to the Catalan parliament to declare independence, and Spain has responded by partially suspending Catalan autonomy while a Spanish nationalist rally with hundreds of thousands in attendance took place this past weekend in Barcelona. Meanwhile, when it comes to the left and grassroots independentistas, the streets have been relatively quiet—especially compared to last month when Catalan anarchist unions galvanized a general strike. We were able to catch up with an anarchist living in Catalonia to hear more.
Thanks so much for speaking with us. Can you catch us up on what’s been happening with the independence process on the state level?
Anarchist in Catalonia: The Catalan government, the Generalitat, has actually made the declaration of independence in bits and pieces. They finally made the declaration on the tenth, then immediately suspended it, then a few days ago made the declaration again, but they haven’t actually taken concrete steps of rupture with the Spanish government. For a while, it really seemed like the Catalan government was trying to stick to some kind of Gene Sharpe-ian nonviolence strategy—creating a crisis, playing a role of victims with the moral high ground, imposing very strict nonviolence, currying favor in the media, pushing for negotiations. On the one hand, the rest of the world hasn’t really cared that much. The European Union has no interest in an independent Catalonia—very much the contrary, because of all the other potential independence movements throughout Europe. So they haven’t really gotten any international pressure for negotiations even though the Spanish state has destroyed its credibility. On the other hand, they have revealed that they’re not all that brave. They’re quite afraid of the consequence. They’ve declared independence but they haven’t taken any concrete steps.
The Spanish government, for their part, has applied Article 155 of the constitution, intervening and partially suspending Catalan autonomy. They’ve fired the Catalan government and the president and the head of the Catalan police. The Catalan government hasn’t actually been disobeying that order. They’ve sort of been going along with it. So this has been kind of a large defeat, which has probably been very frustrating for those who aspired to independence. It seems at this point that the Spanish government has pretty good control of the situation.
Rebel Girl: And, what has anarchist participation, or non-participation, been like?
Anarchist in Catalonia: I would say that anarchists, although there’s a lot of diversity in forms of participation, I would say that anarchists in the last week or two have been much less active than at the beginning. I think it’s been a conscious decision of the Catalan Generalitat to discourage or at the very least limit their reliance on popular mobilizations. Really, that was the only tool that they had absent pressure from the international community to force independence (some kind of actual popular uprising) and they’ve been so afraid of not being able to control that that the Catalan government has really stopped relying on popular mobilizations. There haven’t been so many mobilizations, they’ve been very violently non-violent you could say, and the politicians have really preferred turning this into a much more passive, spectator process.
In line with that, anarchists have stopped finding reasons to participate, and even large parts of the pro-independence Catalan left have been getting much more disillusioned and less active. At the beginning, most anarchists agreed on the question of standing up against repression. Standing up against Spanish police sent to beat people, even if it meant defending polling stations. Some anarchists were in favor of voting under, what is to me a rather superficial idea on the level of slogans. You know, we usually say “if voting could change anything it would be illegal,” and this time it was illegal. Of course, this time a vote, a referendum in this case, could change something, but anarchists are not in favor of just any kind of change, especially one that increases nationalism and democratic participation. So in general not many anarchists are taking the very simplistic view that Catalan nationalism is the same as Spanish nationalism, because in this context they’re very very different. Spanish nationalism is very connected to a strong increase in the far-right. It’s very clear that this is a very spectacular process that’s controlled from above and as it has become clear that it hasn’t been possible to wrest control away from the political parties that are controlling this, anarchists on a whole have stopped expending their energies.
Rebel Girl: Thanks so much for speaking with us. Before we let you go, are there any lessons anarchists can take from this process? Before we let you go, are there any lessons anarchists can take from this process about how to engage with national independence or national liberation movements?
Anarchist in Catalonia: I would say, maybe not in reference to the anarchists who voted, but in general those of us who were in the streets out of some idea of resisting repression and encouraging the aspects of self-organization in what was going on—I don’t think we lost anything for our efforts. I think anarchist interventions really underscored what I would call a general truth of anarchist intervention, which is always maintaining autonomy of action. Anarchists in much smaller numbers who developed their own lines of action and forms of intervention were much much more effective at changing the content of what was happening than anarchists who just went along with the crowd, or those who just stayed at home and just criticized on Facebook or whatever. I would say that conflicts like this always have potential to reveal directions of self-organization, of class struggle, of internationalism rather than nationalism, and that this time simply the television, the media, and the major political parties were stronger and they were more able to control this process. This is no surprise since it was a process they created. By being in the streets in solidarity, other people who will continue to be in the streets next year and the year after that, they saw us, they saw our solidarity, and by effectively playing the role of black sheep we annoyed people, we bothered people, but we also showed that this construction of the people is not homogenous and we made visible critiques of this process which at the time in the early days maybe nobody wanted to see, but now pretty much everyone sees that there was some legitimacy to our criticisms.
The main thing I would say would be learning to do a better job of playing the role of the black sheep, which it’s curious how quickly we forget and how little intergenerational continuity there is, but say around 2005 anarchists were by nature perpetual black sheep. We didn’t always do it well back then of course, but now after years of more massive struggles, it’s uncomfortable again to play this role of the black sheep that everyone looks like as weird and dangerous. There’s ways to do it that are sort of self-verifying, that reproduce this role and our own isolation and alienation, but there are also very subversive ways to play the role of the black sheep. That’s more difficult, but I think we need to re-learn those methods.
Rebel Girl: In this week’s repression roundup…
In October 11’s Hotwire, we reported on the prison uprising in McCormick, South Carolina after prisoners were rationed down to one cup of water per day. After the uprising, the prison was put on lockdown. In response to the cruel treatment the prison rebels are receiving, the groups Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee have organized a call-in to let prison officials know that the rebels have support on the outside. Check out our shownotes for the call-in’s targets and an easy-to-use script.
Police in Charlottesville, Virginia are ramping up their investigations against anti-fascists who opposed the white supremacist Unite the Right rally in August, ItsGoingDown.org has published a very useful introduction to why police, even when seeking the public’s help to presumably prosecute dangerous fascists, are likely to be fishing for evidence to use against anti-fascists. It includes recommendations about how to conduct oneself in regards to police investigations, whether you are an activist or ally. We have a link in our shownotes.
WELCOME HOME DANE POWELL
We are very happy to announce that Dane Powell, the first J20 defendant to do time, is out of prison! DC Legal Posse has organized a fund to help Dane get back on his feet as he transitions out of prison. We have the fundraiser linked in our shownotes. Welcome home Dane.
Dane was the first J20 defendant to do time, but the first defendants to go to trial will do so in exactly two 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 contends that all the defendants are guilty for a couple of broken windows by means of 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, thousands of people would face 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. There is also a new national fundraising push ahead of the trials. Check our shownotes for the link. Also, consider coming to DC later this month to pa, ck the courthouse and show the defendants some support.
OPERATION ÉREBO IN BRAZIL
Last week, on the eve of the anarchist book fair in Porto Alegre, Brazil, police executed 10 different search warrants against anarchist homes and social centers. They seized political literature, computers, spray cans, and even plastic bottles, which they claimed were for making Molotov cocktails—the bounciest Molotov cocktails in history! In reality they were eco-bricks to be used for construction. The state is trying to connect those raided to charges organized crime and even attempted homicide. In a communiqué denouncing the repression, some Brazilian anarchists declared, “It doesn’t matter if they are “guilty” or “innocent”, much less if they were “right” or “wrong”. Morality is the language of trials. We fight against law, because its oppressive nature exists only for maintaining “order and progress”, both responsible for human misery.” The communiqué concludes, “We strongly support the 10 anarchists prosecuted by the state’s genocidal machine.”
Stay tuned to the Hotwire for future developments in Operation Érebo and anarchist resistance to it.
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 Ed Poindexter celebrates his birthday today, November 1! Along with once political prisoner Mondo we Langa, Ed Poindexter is one half of the Nebraska 2, Black Panthers targeted by CoIntelPro and framed for the murder of an Omaha cop by means of exploding suitcase.
And that’s the only political prisoner birthday we have for you this week. Writing to Ed may only take you a few minutes, but getting your letter could be the highlight of his week. We have his address and a guide to writing prisoners in our shownotes.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
And now, next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
November 4 is this Saturday, which is the Revolutionary Communist Party’s Refuse Fascism day of action. Why in Bakunin’s belligerence is this anarchist podcast even mentioning those RCP Maoist muppets? Well, the far-right are aggressively peddling a conspiracy theory that reptilian antifa guerrillas, disguised in MAGA hats and donning rifles, will descend from the mountains that day and abort all the white babies until the United States is cucked out of existence. Except…that’s a total horror fantasy dreamt up by far-right internet trolls. However, in the real world, [fascists are actually mobilizing] to confront this imaginary anti-fascist revolution. Basically, what would have been fairly bland rallies with identical placards are now facing credible threats of nationalist violence. In Seattle, the anarchist group Insurrectionary Youth Action have called for anti-fascists to gather at Seattle City Hall at noon on Saturday to stand up to the fascist threat, regardless of their distaste for the RCP.
Going on now until 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 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. Check it out to get some new ink, a piercing, yummy vegan food, and/or anarchist literature—all to benefit political prisoners.
November 11 & 12 is the Boston Anarchist Book Fair. Go to BostonAnarchistBookfair.org for more details.
Cascadia Forest Defenders in Oregon have erected a road blockade inside the Goose Timber Sale, with some busted up cars and a beautiful banner that reads, “Cutting for health is a scam for wealth.” The forest defenders are seeking others who are willing to stay out in the forest as the temperature drops 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. Also, check out our shownotes for a link to updates about the occupation of the ancient Mattole forest in northern California, where logging trucks have been blocked since June!
The CNI Revolutionary Cooperative for social libertarian revolution has issued an open call for anarchist tech guerrillas. Over the next three years, they want to build the capacity to help rebuild technical and political resilience in Puerto Rico, establish grassroots telecommunication infrastructure in Rojava, and study Greenland for its social tensions and changes under climate change. You can find out more by e-mailing them at CNI dash CO-OP at protonmail dot CH
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 email@example.com.
The Popular Organizing for Defense, Education and Revolution, or PODER Conference, is coming up on December 30. It’s a free, one-day opportunity for revolutionaries in California’s San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire to meet, discuss and build relationships. The conference is multi-tendency, though all participating organizations are loosely bound by a commitment to the abolition of class society. For more info, visit poderconference.org.
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. Many thanks to the comrades down south and in Catalonia for speaking with us, as always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music, and we’d like to extend a sincere, heartfelt thanks to you, our listeners. We hope you can make the most out of our show, so don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful notes we have lovingly 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.