Listen to the Episode — 59 min
Clara: The Ex-Worker;
Alanis: An audio strike against a monotone world;
Clara: A twice-monthly podcast of anarchist ideas and action;
Alanis: For everyone who dreams of a life off the clock.
Clara: Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Ex-Worker. In our last episode, we shared a variety of interviews and updates from anarchists around the world - and in this episode, we’ll be doing the same thing, with several short features reporting on anti-authoritarian activity across the globe. We’ll share an interview with a Finnish anarchist, who tells us about an anti-nuclear struggle, a university occupation in Helsinki, and the response to refugees in Finland, and how anarchists have taken part in all of these. We’ll also hear statements from two Turkish anarchist collectives about the recent massacre of peace demonstrators in Ankara, Turkey.
Alanis: There’s also an update on repression from the Hambacher Forest occupation, a text from the streets of Santiago analyzing last month’s demonstrations against the anniversary of the coup by dictator Augusto Pinochet, and a report on the hunger strike of anarchist prisoner Evi Statiri in Greece - along with plenty of news, upcoming events, and more. My name is Alanis,
Clara: And I’m Clara, and we’ll be your hosts. As per usual, you can find a full transcript of this episode along with plenty of links and references to learn more at crimethinc.com/podcast.
Alanis: And we’re always eager to hear from you! Drop us a line by email to podcast at crimethinc dot com to share your thoughts about this episode.
Clara: All right, off we go!
THE HOT WIRE
Alanis: First up, it’s the Hot Wire, our look at resistance and revolt happening around the globe. Clara, what’s the story?
Clara: In our last episode, we interviewed Sascha from the Czech republic, who discussed the anti-anarchist entrapment cases of Operation Fenix. We’re excited to report that Igor, one of the arrestees who was framed for an imaginary attack against the home of the Minister of Defense, has finally been released from custody on bail. We’ll keep you updated on the case as his trial approaches; you can also read updates at antifenix.noblogs.org.
Alanis: Angry demonstrators took to the streets in both Bloomington, Indiana and Madison, Wisconsin in fiery marches against rape culture, both responding to specific instances of assault in those communities. The march in Bloomington had a strong anti-police component, expressing rage against the cops’ complicity in rape and assault. Some participants vandalized fraternity houses and threw smoke bombs into bars, while others blocked police’s attempts to film the demonstrators with strategically placed signage.
Clara: In Chicago, anti-police marchers protesting the murder of Rekia Boyd by a police officer connected with hunger strikers who have refused food for over a month to demand that the city reverse plans to close a neighborhood high school. The evening showed some of the powerful linkages being forged between the recent wave of anti-racist and anti-police action and other long-term community struggles.
Alanis: Some nighttime vandals swiftly and thoroughly wrecked the West Olympia, Washington police sub-station, breaking every window, gluing all the locks, and spraying anti-cop graffiti. According to the mainstream news article, police were quoted as saying: “Vandals struck the station… sometime between 3:15 and 3:30 a.m., just after one officer left the station, and right before another officer returned. We believe that they were either listening to our radio traffic or watching the station, waiting for the patrol cars to leave.” Nice one!
Clara: A police station was also vandalized in Athens, Greece, but this time with molotovs, fireworks, and rocks. The attack occurred during a demonstration called by anarchists to mark the two-year anniversary of the murder of antifascist Pavlos Fyssas by neo-nazis - which we reported on in Episode 11 - as well as in response to the upcoming Greek parliamentary elections. After being pushed toward the city center by riot police, the demonstrators made their way through the smaller streets of Exarchia toward the police station and unleashed hell. Following the riot police’s response– attacks with asphyxiating gas and flash-bang grenades – the protest broke into smaller groups and erected small burning barricades in several streets mainly around Exarcheia square and continued the molotov attacks against the riot police.
During the riot, 9 people suffered torture tactics by riot police and were subsequently arrested. Before they were moved to court, they had to be sent to the hospital with broken arms, hands, teeth, toes, black eyes and bruises all over their bodies.
Alanis: On September 23rd, prisoners in the administrative detention unit at Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois declared a hunger strike in response to the administration’s continued unwillingness to respond to their demands for relief from their conditions of long-term solitary confinement. This strike is a continuation of a series of hunger strikes by the prisoners there, which began in January 2014. From the write-up about the action:
Clara: “On the first day of the hunger strike, about 25 of us converged on Menard Correctional Center in Chester, Illinois from multiple cities with music and drums, yelling and banging pots and pans to make noise for those inside to hear us standing with them. In response, prisoners banged on the walls of their cages and screamed back through shuttered windows “Freedom,” “We hear you,” “No More A-D” [that’s Administrative Detention] and “Hunger Strike.” With our voices hoarse, we returned home with our networks on the outside stronger and, we hope, our connection to those inside stronger as well.”
Alanis: On ‘Christopher Columbus Day,’ several statues across the US were vandalized as some state governments bowed to pressure to remove the holiday that celebrates genocide, murder, and the opening chapter to over 500 years of indigenous resistance. Unfortunately, as with this summer’s trend of writing graffiti on confederate statues, vandalizing symbols doesn’t doesn’t halt the operation of colonialism or white supremacy. Nor will the superficial renaming of holidays succeed in dampening the flames of anti-colonial revolt. Other anti-Columbus Day actions included hundreds of protestors against an Italian-American organized pro-Columbus parade in New York City and a rally in Reno, Nevada in solidarity with the indigenous people resisting mining operations in Guatemala.
Clara: Quite a lot of civil disobedience and direct action against environmental destruction has been taking place across North America in recent weeks. Rising Tide Vermont locked down to stop construction on a fracked gas pipeline, the latest of several recent work stoppages due to resistance along the pipeline route. Activists blockades a coal train in Missoula, Montana, while members of the Rhode Island group Fighting Against Natural Gas, or FANG - great acronym, by the way! - locked down to construction equipment being used to expand gas pipelines. Rebels in Montreal sabotaged railways tracks to impede oil trains, while warriors from the Ahousaht First Nation blockaded efforts to establish a salmon farm near Torino, British Columbia.
Alanis: Indigenous Lax Kw’alaams folks and supporters courageously blocked the boats of a Malaysian-owned energy company Petronas, who were attempting to establish a liquid natural gas terminal on Lelu Island, unceded indigenous territory off the coast of British Columbia and an important habitat for shellfish and other aquatic life. They’ve called for support; we’ve got a linked posted with more info and a really cool video courtesy of Submedia.
Clara: Great news: Unist’ot’en Camp has successfully stopped police and pipeline surveyors from entering their indigenous territory in Northern BC for another year. Now we learn that executives with Coastal Gaslink are (quietly) seeking to change the fracked gas pipeline route. This new proposal won’t get Coastal Gaslink out of trouble with Unist’ot’en, though, because it would still cross their territory, 5 kilometers north of the current occupation site.
Alanis: On October 10 in Phuket, Thailand’s most tourist-friendly province, two young men allegedly refused to be searched at a police checkpoint and sped away on their motorbike. Cops began to chase the men and soon crashed one of their cars into the motorbike, killing both young men. Later that night, around 300 locals who found out what happened gathered in front of the Thalang police station and began to riot. At least nine police cars were set on fire, 11 other vehicles were damaged, and the cops report that the rioters “threw things to break the windows first, then they threw firebombs at the police station.” They also blocked a main road from 8pm on Saturday to 4am on Sunday causing scores of people to miss their flights at the airport. The army soon had to be called in, and 15 cops were injured by the end of the rioting. Phuket police have now released warrants for 33 people involved in the rioting.
Clara: In Chile, thousands of people took to Santiago’s streets to show solidarity with Chile’s long-oppressed, indigenous Mapuche people. Chilean police soon attacked the marchers with tear gas and water cannons. Protesters responded by throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at cops. A few days later, on October 15, a huge protest by students in favor of free education was violently repressed by the police. Students then defended themselves with their banners and fought back with rocks.
Alanis: Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian teen who was being chased by a right-wing mob of Israelis on his way to work, sparking protests and a brutal police response in a Jersualem neighborhood. Anti-arab protesters have been gathering nightly in Jersualem in response to a series of stabbings and popular violence against Israeli settlers that some are referring to as a third intifada. However, unlike the previous two highly-organized intifadas of the late 80’s and early 2000’s, the current wave of struggle is being touted as “leaderless,” and “uncompromising.” One young participant in Palestinian demonstrations in Bethlehem had this to say about what’s new about this wave of resistance: “This struggle isn’t like the past where everyone would go out together to protest, it is no longer like that. It’s organized on Facebook now.”
Clara: In Peru, police killed at least two protestors when a crowd of hundreds attempted to storm the Las Bambas copper mine. Peru’s Interior Minister and the China-based corporation that owns the mine both, unsurprisingly, blamed outside agitators for the violence.
Alanis: In Niamey, Niger, students demanding better conditions attacked cop cars, burned tires and chucked stones at police, who arrested 79.
Clara: Meanwhile, students all over South Africa are protesting, occupying buildings and shutting down their campuses; demands include reversing fee increases and challenging the racist legacies of apartheid in the education system, including statues of colonizer scumbags like Cecil Rhodes on campuses and the disproportionate number of classes taught in Afrikaans, the language of the colonial apartheid regime. Students in Cape Town attempted to storm the parliament building but were beaten back by riot police.
Alanis: We have a correction to make from last episode: the nation of Costa Rica is not in fact closing its zoos. Apparently this mis-reported story we read via the Earth First Journal Newswire was in fact two years old and incomplete; although the Costa Rican Environment Ministry did make an effort to do so, they were successfully sued by the nonprofit that manages the zoos and forced to allow them to continue managing the zoos for another ten years.
Clara: Sorry for the misinformation, and thanks to listener Mark for correcting us on that.
Alanis: We also received an update from friends at the Hambacher Forest occupation, which we profiled in Episode 37. Here’s what they wrote:
Clara: "Only days after our comrade Jus was released from prison after spending nearly three months locked up, another comrade has been kidnapped by the police. On Wednesday 7th October, a person blockaded one of the conveyor belts in the Hambach mine. When this belt stops, the diggers stop moving and the trains cannot be filled with coal. This mine is the second biggest open cast mine of Europe, and the Rhineland area is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in Europe.
It has been reported that he was beaten by both security and police, and was left with a broken wrist, bruises and an injured eye. Photos were allegedly taken of this person at 5 different actions, in which he was allegedly involved. He is being accused of assault – after allegedly biting a security guard – trespassing, ‘disturbing of public enterprises’, and of resisting and insulting police officers. This person is currently refusing to give his identity for fears that they will not let him go if he complies. He is being kept locked up until the court case, which as seen before with Jus can take two or three months.
We are fucking sick and tired of being harassed, hurt, beaten by cops and securities, and when we are taken we are charged with harrassing them, just so that they can put us in a fucking cage in an attempt to discourage and scare us. It seems to be their tactic of fear, trying to scare us out of continuing the fight against the radical, criminal, terrorist enterprise called RWE, and of course, the Mean Monster of Greed called Capitalism.
We are not discouraged. We are not intimidated. Every time you beat us we will help each other crawl back up. And we know who the people and structures are to be held accountable. With every beat of the club you will beat our ideas deeper into our hearts and minds.
Burn all prisons, burn cops not coal! Freedom to all prisoners!
Alanis: As soon as we get word about how to support or write to the imprisoned Hambacher Forest rebel, we’ll share it. In the mean time, you can get updates at http://hambachforest.blogsport.de/repression/.
And speaking of freedom to all prisoners, finally some good news: upwards of 5,500 US prisoners serving time for drug crimes in federal prisons will be released before this November. In total, tens of thousands may be eventually eligible for release after new substantially lower recommended sentencing guidelines are retroactively applied. Most of those eligible have already served 10 or more years.
While the change in guidelines is a tiny corrective against racist drug policies put in place by the Reagan Administration in the 1980’s, it’s also a win-win for the federal government, who in one fell swoop will save millions of dollars per year and also might hope to placate those who’ve been taking to the streets to protest state-sanctioned racist violence.
That being said, we’re thrilled that so many people will be able to rejoin their families and friends in the coming months.
Clara: And now we’re going to turn our attention to Turkey, Chile, Greece, and Finland, for some more in-depth reports from recent events in those places.
TURKEY: MASSACRE IN ANKARA
Alanis: On October 10, two explosions rocked a pro-peace, leftist rally in Ankara, Turkey, killing at least 100 and injuring more than 400. Right after the bombs went off, Turkish police began beating and tear gassing protesters and blocked ambulances from getting to the injured. The next day, police violently blocked mourners and politicians from laying flowers at the site of the bombings, claiming they were still conducting investigations at the site. Meanwhile, in Diyarbakır (known as “Amed” in Kurdish), thousands of people marched in solidarity with those killed in Ankara before cops attacked marchers with water cannons.
Clara: President Erdogan has, with characteristic poor logic and even poorer taste, attempted to blame the bombing on a “terror collective” including the PKK and PYD, forces of the Kurdish liberation struggle, and the Islamic State, as well as the Syrian intelligence service to boot. He doesn’t seem troubled by the fact that these radical Kurdish groups are sworn enemies of the Islamic State, and in fact were almost single-handedly responsible for driving them out of Kobane while the Turkish military stood by and did nothing, other than allow IS arms and fighters slip across the border. This makes about as much sense as blaming the September 11th attacks on a collective including Al Qaeda, Goldman Sachs, the US Marines, and the Earth Liberation Front. Unsurprisingly, many involved in social struggles across Turkey see the attack as having been carried out at least with the complicity of the Turkish state, if not directly by its agents. The anarchist group Red and Black Istanbul, in joining a call for a general strike in response to the massacre, released a statement titled “The Murderer State Will Be Held to Account For This!” Here’s an excerpt:
Alanis: One of the biggest political massacres of the Republic of Turkey took place at the Peace Rally, which had the participation of workers who came from all parts of Turkey… Our sisters and brothers, friends and comrades demanding peace have been murdered; hundreds of them are injured. Although it has been orchestrated by the hands of the ISIS gang, we know that, just like the Suruç Massacre, the state and the AKP [the conservative political party of President Erdogan] that is holding state power in their hands are those who are in fact responsible for this massacre. We have seen once again that the AKP is capable of doing everything to hold onto power, and the weaker it gets, the more brutal it will get.
The Suruç massacre, dirty war tactics in operations in Kurdish cities, political raids, fascist attacks and lastly this massacre in Ankara show us that those in power are capable of doing everything to protect their power and to drag us to a national and sectarian civil war…We have no other solution but to accelerate the class based struggle and establish a revolutionary alternative against this system of violence and murder.
Clara: Meanwhile, the Tacanka Anarchist Communist Collective based in Ankara released a fiery statement of there own. Here’s an excerpt from that:
Alanis: We have witnessed the heaviest attack in Turkish history. We had attended the rally on the 10th of October, which was called by the unions and participated in by the revolutionary and democratic organisations, to say “No War Between Nations, No Peace Between Classes”. We lost hundreds of our people…in the attack of those in power. They painted our red and black flags and banners with the blood and flesh of our comrades. Those who steal our lives every day have taken our lives away.
Those responsible for the massacre are out there. We know them from Haymarket, Bloody Sunday, the 1977 Istanbul May Day Massacre, Reyhanli, the Gezi Park Uprising, the Roboski Massacre, the Diyarbakir Dungeons, and the Suruç Massacre. We know them from the daily exploitation of thousands each year. They stand before us merciless, smirking. Those who are responsible are the ones who sent the fire engines to the scene [before ambulances and medical aid], they are the ones who attacked us with tear gas and batons five minutes after the explosion, and the ones who have been looking at us with that smirk on their faces. We know them very well. The 10th of October Ankara massacre is an attack targeting revolutionaries and was organized by the state…
Our word is direct and our attitude is clear against those in power. The state is the murderer; we will not compromise. We will never forget, we will never forgive, we will never give up our struggle. Every bomb they drop on us will be retorted. We will never, ever make peace with those who blow us to pieces, those who took the lives of our comrades… We will have the palaces of those who turned our streets to hell destroyed. Those in power who took up microphones in their mansions with a smirk on their faces will regret all their laughter when they come to our streets. They watched our pain while laughing yesterday… Every pain we have, every bullet we are hit with, every life they take away is the fuel for our rage, revolt and fire of struggle. We are burning with pain, we are buried in pain but we are not, ever, mourning. We won’t be silenced and we will not hide and we will not give up. Let them be afraid of our resistance, rage, pain, revolt and the new world in our hearts.
Their day of reckoning will be terrible.
THE STATE IS THE MURDERER, NO PEACE WITH THE STATE! Taçanka, Ankara
Clara: In an upcoming episode, we’ll continue our coverage of struggles in Turkey by expanding our coverage of the Kurdish struggle for freedom and autonomy beyond Rojava, the autonomous cantons in former Syria we’ve discussed at length in Episodes 36 and 39, into the region of Bakur, northern Kurdistan, which falls within the borders of the Turkish state. Stay tuned for more updates.
Alanis: Next, we’ll turn to Chile, where last month large protests marked the 42nd anniversary of the coup that led to the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. We discussed the traditions of remembrance and resistance in Chilean anarchism in Episodes 29 and 30, if you’d like some more background. In this statement, coming to us via the Insurrection News Worldwide blog, some anti-authoritarians in Santiago discuss the political context for this year’s actions, leftist efforts to recuperate anarchist energy, and updates on state repression. It’s titled:
Clara: Anarchic presence at demonstrations 42 years since since the start of the dictatorship in Chile. In solidarity with the two comrades arrested for possession of incendiary devices.
A little about the current situation in Chile
The year 2015 was marked, among other things with the following:
the revelation of ‘corruption’ cases regarding the illegal financing of election campaigns involving businessmen and politicians from all sectors. This confirmed for some what was already known about the complicity between political and economic power. These scandals have increased the discrediting of the political elite and triggered widespread social discontent.
the mobilization of right-wing sectors, similar to what occured in the run-up to the dictatorship in Chile: the visibility of neo-Nazi goup Party for the Defense of Chile (PADECHI), ‘citizens against crime’ in affluent neighborhoods and the manifestation of landowners, truck owners and some workers against what they label ‘Mapuche Terrorism’, the latter under the format of a caravan that travelled from the south to the center of the country which was received in Santiago with applause from some citizens and violent rejection from various sectors (Mapuche, leftists of various origins, antifascists etc).
the arrests of comrades for street fighting and increased penalties for the possession and use of incendiary devices, resulting in the detention of several comrades.
Sharing the street with others, but marking a distance of fire with left-wing reformism: anarchic presence in the march for victims of the dictatorship.
On the night of September 11, the day that began 42 years ago with a bloody dictatorship, the suburbs of the city are filled with barricades and clashes with police. A policeman was shot.
Later in the march commemorating the victims of the dictatorship, held in Santiago on Sunday September 13, anarchists and anti-authoritarians, as in other manifestations, usually occupy the street in a march that is convened mainly to a variety of authoritarian and reformist leftist movements.
The manifestation this year was composed of a motley mass of demonstrators, citizens, relatives of missing detainees and those executed by the dictatorship, members of the governing parties (Communist Party and Socialist Party), antifascist hooligans and police. The demonstrators stood in droves with green and red, red and red and black flags posing for the cameras and promoting their organizations.
Amid all this, a very painful sight was the leftist groups that had modified slogans that were originally anti-fascist and insurrectionary anarchist to disseminate propaganda for their vanguardist organizations to suction power and attempt to create new partnerships with themselves at the head. Thus, the cry “Social War against the State and Capital’ was appropriated by the ‘Libertarian Left’ (neo-communist) as ”Create popular power against the State and Capital.“ The historic slogan ”Anti-fascist alert! The whole territory becomes anarchists!’ was transformed by the Guevarist Youth into the pathetic “Anti-fascist alert! The whole country becomes Guevara.” Lacking confrontational discourse and praxis these organizations flirt with radical slogans but strip them of all their original anti-authoritarian and insurrectionary meaning.
Therefore it is important that our discourse and praxis of radical struggle against power becomes evident and palpable and does not become confused with victimhood or tainted with the ideas of others who differ from us with their reformism, verticality and aspirations of power.
In the case of the event in question, the anarchic presence that has always been a minority but this time was even more minoritised , materialized in insurgent propaganda and action - spreading flyers against dictatorship and democracy, in memory and solidarity with our comrades who were murdered and imprisoned by democracy, shouting slogans of war, destroying capitalist infrastructure in the city and setting fire to banks and municipal security booths.
We believe that along with this significant presence it is also important to use our capacity to act autonomously, acting on our ideas by creating attacks to disrupt the imposed normality without waiting for directions from others, deciding ourselves where and when to attack.
Solidarity with Claudio and Fabián, arrested and remanded in custody after the riots.
Twenty comrades were charged and released that day for various disorders. However Claudio Valenzuela and fellow university student Fabián Duran were charged with possession of incendiary devices and were remanded in custody following changes to the Arms Control act made by the Social Democratic government of Michelle Bachelet. Such amendments that raise the penalties against those who are arrested carrying Molotov cocktails or other incediary / explosive devices seek to punish the rebels and inhibit insurrectionary action by spreading fear.
The powers of justice have decreed a 45 day period of preventative detention during the investigation.
Insurrectionary solidarity is part of the intensification of the struggle against power through multifaceted action. We must support our comrades in prison but we must not concentrate our endeavours solely on anti-prison struggle but also continue to spread anarchic agitation, because prison is just one part of an authoritarian social order that we must attack in a comprehensive manner.
Solidarity with Claudio, Fabian and all prisoners by continuing the fight in the streets and taking action in the struggle against domination!
Neither bourgeois power or people power! Neither managers nor acronyms or leaders! Self-organize autonomously and horizontally attack all forms of authority!
Some anti-authoritarian encapuchadxs, September 2015.
GREECE: THE HUNGER STRIKE OF EVI STATIRI
Alanis: Next, we want to share an update and statement from anarchist prisoner resistance in Greece. In September, half a year after her arrest, Evi Statiri was still being held in pretrial detention in a Greek women’s prison, solely on the basis of being the life companion of Gerasimos Tsakalos, an accused member of the Conspiracy Cells of Fire. Her incarceration marks a new low point in the Greek state’s strategy to repress the militant guerrilla struggle by targeting the families and loved ones of accused or imprisoned guerrillas. Statiri went on hunger strike on September 14th to demand her release, and Greek anarchists have mobilized support in the streets. To get some more context for these developments, we’ll share excerpts from two statements by other Greek militant prisoners about Statiri’s situation. First, Kostas Gournas, a prisoner from the armed group Revolutionary Struggle, puts her incarceration in an historical and political context. Gournas writes:
Clara: It is a longstanding and infamous tactic of the State — particularly of the police-judicial mechanism — to use fabricated charges against relatives so as to hold them hostage and put pressure on fighters and political prisoners. It was done in 2002 [against Angeliki Sotiropoulou, wife of 17N prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas], it was done in 2010 [against Marie Beraha, wife of Revolutionary Struggle prisoner Kostas Gournas], and it was done again in March 2015 [against Evi Statiri, wife of CCF prisoner Gerasimos Tsakalos, but also against Athena Tsakalou, mother of the Tsakalos brothers]. This is because the repressive policy applied against imprisoned members of armed organisations is an ongoing process of political extermination by any means.
After its capitulation on February 20th, the SYRIZA-led government was faced with the first class confrontation — that is, the hunger strike of political prisoners during Spring — and was compelled to vote favorably on an amendment that theoretically opened the way for the relatives of CCF members to be released. Today, after being refused her liberation six times by judicial councils, Evi Statiri is still in prison. Her case is the clearest proof, not only of the acceptance of a state of emergency surrounding the memorandum of austerity by the government of the Left, but also of the strict application of a state of exception for political prisoners.
For those in society who had the clarity and determination to approach the ‘no’ vote in the referendum in a class manner and to oppose every austerity memorandum, but have not been able to take the next step forward, the question of an alternative way other than the one of delegation or relinquishment, which all the bourgeois parliamentary forces are charting, is more pressing than ever. And this is no other way than struggle and solidarity.
Alanis: Next, we’ll share an excerpt from a letter titled “From the Country of The Forgotten; Against Oblivion” written by Olga Ekonomidou, another imprisoned member of the Conspiracy Cells of Fire / Informal Anarchist Federation. Here’s what Olga writes:
Clara: The extension of Evi’s detention is of double significance. On the one hand, the endurance of the urban guerrillas and the tolerance of those offering them solidarity are being put to the test, and on the other hand the broader tactic of criminalizing family relations is thus being legitimized. It is the psychological game of Power that, among other things, invades our consciences like a battering ram. It aims at the minds of relatives so as to wear them down, dismay them, make them feel frustrated and eventually turn them against us, corrupting the relationship of trust we have with them because they find themselves paying the price for our choices. And if in the course of every personal history we find that some comrades, friends or close ones stayed by our side while others gave up on us, this is because it’s easy to stand next to people when they succeed in doing something, but much harder during their difficult times. However, Power has not won this game. They placed a bet on the weakening of emotional ties and converting comrades away from solidarity - a bet they’ve lost already. Because, even six months later, the persons who are close to us, either from inside the prison or from the restrictive, delimited areas where they find themselves due to judicial orders, continue to give us smiles of patience and trust while maintaining their own dignity.
So, the wager is ours to make, of every anarchist cell and individuality that promotes the continuous attack and insurgency, to prove that there will be no truce with the enemy, neither now nor ever. Especially amid repressive operations, one does not back down, but instead reignites the outbreaks of attack so as to become truly dangerous; to remain a threat as an internal enemy in the heart of the system. Because everything that rolls downhill can only be stopped when a barrier is erected in front of it, otherwise it will continue to do so indefinitely with continuously increasing speed, sweeping away anything inferior to its proportions. It is a ongoing wager, without end and having only one direction… liberation, anarchy.
Alanis: Acts of solidarity have taken place all over Greece as well as in Bolivia, France, Portugal, Chile, Germany and Spain. As of September 30th, Evi Statiri had been hospitalized due to complications from her hunger strike, having already lost 11% of her body weight. On October 2nd she was granted a provisional release from custody, though with restrictions on her movement, and she suspended her hunger strike and is now recovering at home. Here’s an excerpt from a statement she released earlier this month:
Clara: Once you are released from prison, the first thing you realise is that your glance doesn’t stumble into walls, bars or dividers. It can wander and face the sky, without staring through barbed wire. Then, your footsteps are no longer numbered—twenty walking towards the wall of the prison yard, and twenty going back to your cell. Certainly, in my case, the prison yard walls have expanded by one kilometer distance from my home, without even being able to have contact with my companion…
But be that as it may, for me my release from prison feels like a first victory against fear and injustice they want to impose on us as a restrictive condition of living…
Nothing of this would have happened if it weren’t for a dynamic polymorphous movement of solidarity, who conveyed to me from every corner of Greece the strength and optimism that history is not only written by the authoritarians but also the insurgents…
A big thank you goes out to all of the known and unknown comrades who broke the terror of the Power’s omnipotence.
INTERVIEW: ANARCHISM IN FINLAND
Clara: And finally, we’re going to turn our gaze north to Finland, where social and environmental struggles have been intensifying unexpectedly in recent months. If you remember back to Episode 33, our 2014 year in review, we consulted anarchists around the world about what they thought would be significant in 2015. Antii, the Finnish anarchist we consulted, told us the most important developments of 2015 “were catastrophic economic shifts which during a one year period turned Finland from one of the few Eurozone successes to its worst performing economy (besides Cyprus). And also the decision of Finnish political elite to ally itself with Russian state nuclear monopoly in the construction of a Russian nuclear power plant in the Pyhäjoki municipality in the Gulf of Bothnia. Both of these developments mean that some tension is ahead.” However, he predicted that ”It will take at least a year or two until the current heavy economic crisis and nuclear reactor construction will significantly change the political landscape." In fact, it seems that resistance to the nuclear project and to austerity measures prompted by the economic crisis have already started to heat up. To get some updates on what’s going on with resistance in Finland, we interviewed Sopuri, an anarchist in Helsinki, who described the encampment resisting the nuclear power plant, how the European refugee crisis has impacted Finland, anti-austerity protests and student occupations, and ideas for solidarity.
Alanis: Today we’re speaking with Sopuri, an anarchist from Finland who’s going to share some updates about several developing struggles there. Thanks so much for being with us!
Sopuli: Thank you.
Alanis: One of the major struggles going on in Finland right now is taking place against the construction of a nuclear power plant. What is the proposed nuclear project in Hanhikivi, and why are people protesting it?
Sopuli: This spring in April, the company called Fennovoima started to build a new nuclear power plant in Finland. Or actually, they’re not building the reactor yet - there is not any kind of permission for the reactor yet - but they’re just actually destroying the cape where they want to build it. The place is a really, really beautiful coastal area, which had really rich forests and a lot of bird species and other animals and plants; and at the moment the area is almost destroyed. And of course there has been a lot of people protesting against it, the locals and environmentalists and also people who are just thinking about the economic issues, in the sense that it doesn’t look like nuclear power will ever be economically a good thing for Finnish people. It maybe will benefit some little groups, bring profits for some few. But most of the problems, the ecological problems and social problems and economic risks, will be for [ordinary] people. It’s quite a crazy project in that sense that there’s a lot of municipal energy companies which are taking the economic risks, even if everybody knows that if the plan will be ready, nuclear electricity will be much more expensive than electricity produced by renewables, so the whole project looks really crazy.
Alanis: What resistance to the project has happened so far?
Sopuli: It’s been quite an interesting year! Of course, there’s been some kind of movement against this plant since 2008 when it was first started at the federal level. But then this year has been really different. I cannot count any more how many sabotage acts there have been some kind of vehicles of the companies which are related. There have been some arsons in Helsinki, and at the location also some machines have been destroyed. It’s something quire unique that there’s such strong resistance against this kind of project in Finland. And of course there’s been the protest camp since April, now for months, and the local cops are complaining that they have to come to the gate every day, that at least something happens every day there and they’ve been quite busy!
The location where the camp is is a place where the company wants to build a harbor for the future nuclear power plant, and they were supposed to start it earlier this summer but they haven’t been able to do it, because there are still people there.
Alanis: I read recently about the attempt by the police to evict the protest camp. Can you tell us what the latest news is from the protest camp?
Sopuli: Yes. Actually. the company wanted to evict the camp since the beginning of June, because of their plans of what they wanted to do there, but now finally on the 5th of September they managed to do it. There was just a few people; they climbed up the tripods and tree huts, and in a few hours managed to take most of them down, but two people were left. One of them came down the same evening and the other one just wanted to stay there. And, yeah, he stayed there for nine days. And during that period, he ran out of food, and we tried to get some support or supplies for him, but it was completely impossible. But the idea of the company and the cops seemed to be that they just make the person starve in the tree, to be in such bad shape that they can just easily take him down, or maybe he comes voluntarily before that, but he didn’t want to get out then. So it ended up in a situation where he was actually on hunger strike in the tree. People tried to get him some supplies but it was impossible. So three more people in Pyhajoki and one person in Helsinki then joined the support, to support the hunger strike, but then actually in three days the company and the cops managed to get the person down from the tree. And so it kind of ended the hunger strikes.
At the moment, the camp continues in the next place. There’s also a cottage nearby, just next to the fence of the construction site, where the camp is at the moment; but now we have to think about the future. It’s possible that it will move from there, but there are serious plans still to continue to camp.
Alanis: Why is this struggle important? How does the anti-nuclear resistance connect to other ecological or social struggles in Finland and in the region?
Sopuli: Of course, when we are talking about nuclear power, it means one really centralized form of energy production and power. So if we are aiming to decentralize power, I think it’s quite natural that we have to decentralize energy production, which is quite a strong form of power, actually. So as anarchists, I think this is just natural to get involved in these kind of struggles.
I think that at the moment there are not so many other ecological struggles going on [in Finland]. There’s some kind of anti-mining thing and maybe there’s some connection between some people doing anti-nuclear and anti-mining stuff. But mostly this has been quite nicely connected to other struggles in Europe. There are a lot of people from Sweden in the camp and we have quite nice relations to these people there, who have some struggles against forest cuts and anti-mining things. And then there’s been a lot of people from Europe, from Italy and Germany, and they’ve been talking about what’s been happening in Hambach, ZAD, and this NO TAV project in Italy. And in that sense we have felt that this is strongly connected to these protests and struggles against these other megaprojects in Europe, quite political and anti-capitalist struggle.
Alanis: What can we do to support the struggle and show solidarity?
Sopuli: First I have to say thank you for this interview; this is already a very important thing for us, and makes this struggle much more visible. I don’t know, there’s Finnish embassies somewhere, and if people want to visit those, I think we are really happy. In Poland, there was solidarity action during the hunger strikes where people climbed up in trees next to the Finnish embassy. I think it’s good generally to somehow make the idiots in this country understand that people are following and knowing what is happening here! But also if you do some protests related to this, it’s also good to remember that this is also a quite racist country, and when it comes to immigration, there has been some quite nasty and violent attacks against refugees lately. So I would also maybe leave some antifascist stickers at Finnish embassies. We have several problems here.
Alanis: As you mentioned, the European refugee crisis has also touched Finland, with reports in the news recently of a right-wing attack on a bus carrying asylum-seekers. What has been happening with migrants in Finland, both in terms of repression and solidarity?
Sopuli: Of course, there have been a lot of asylum seekers in Finland during the last weeks, and there’s been a lot of nice people doing really good work supporting them, collecting clothes and helping in many ways. But also there are the racist groups, and racist attacks against them, and generally it is felt that the atmosphere has also been really racist. Finland has been quite an isolated country, and maybe some people are kind of shocked, understanding that we are not the only people on the planet! One problem is that there’s a new right wing government and the second biggest party is the right wing populist party that has been almost openly racist, and actually they had some Nazi members in parliament. It seems like there’s a lot of racist groups that kind of know that there’s a big party kind of supporting them, and the government is completely dependent on this party. So the situation is that they know that they can do what they want to. But of course it has been a shock for many people to understand how violent Nazi groups there are in Finland.
Alanis: At the same time that all of this is going on, there is also a major student occupation with anarchist influences going on at the University of Helsinki. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Sopuli: Yes, that is also quite interesting. Actually the occupation ended already this Saturday but then the other university building at another university were occupied for the week. At the moment there’s not any occupations going on, but people are planning some kind of student strikes. Yeah, there’s quite heavy austerity politics going on in Finland, and there was a big, big mass demonstration against austerity politics. And there was a student’s bloc in the demonstration, and after the demonstration that bloc went to a university building and occupied it for nine days. And yeah, there were a lot of anarchists involved, and it was clear that we didn’t want to have any political party slogans there. And they had general meetings using consensus decision-making, and it was easy to see that there was a lot of anarchist influence in the process. And it was really nice that it was also an open occupation, not just for university students or other students, but for all people. It was really nice.
Alanis: Is there anything more you’d like to tell us about anarchism and resistance in Finland?
Sopuli: Yeah, I have to say that even if the new right wing government is quite shocking at times, at least it’s kind of waking up people quite effectively. So there’s been a lot of marches and a lot of different kind of protests in Finland which haven’t been seen before, and also much more anarchist activities. And it’s easy to see that this movement is growing at the moment.
Alanis: Great! Thank you so much for speaking with us.
NEXT WEEK’S NEWS
Clara: And now it’s time for next week’s news. Tell us what’s in the works, Alanis.
Alanis: The CrimethInc. “To Change Everything” tour is in full swing, and having criss-crossed the country for nearly two months, has just a few events left. Check out the blog at crimethinc.com for a full listing. The tour itself now has a blog documenting their stops in various cities around the U.S. From the announcement for the blog:
Clara: Dear friends, we started to write some words and post some pictures of our trip around USA, where we’ve been talking about our different experiences on the topics of direct democracy, assemblies, consensus, decision-making processes, autonomy, cooptation of “anarchist” tactics, militarization, the nationalism growing in Europe (and all over the world), police repression, and the institutionalization of movements and self-organized activities. Please check it out and share it.
Alanis: The diary can be found at http://tcetour.noblogs.org/ ; we’ve got a link to it as well as the official page for the tour on our website.
Clara: Ooh, speaking of other awesome anarchist outreach projects: we wanna take a moment to make a special plug for our friends over at SubMedia. They’ve got a wild-eyed plan to pull together the resources to expand their already dumbfoundingly awesome range of radical media stuff they’re doing, and they need our help. Here’s the deal:
Alanis: We live in crazy, fucked up times. Amidst the riots, repression, austerity and ecological collapse, independent media plays a crucial role in helping us to make sense of the chaos, and in crafting accessible analysis that can translate into informed action. This is why we do what we do. This is why we put out our regular anarchist news show, It’s the End of the World as we Know it and I Feel Fine, and why we have produced dispatches from the front-lines of Athens to Tokyo, to the Unist’ot’en camp located on the unceded Wet’suet’en territories of Turtle Island. With everything we do, our goal is to provide a megaphone to the comrades, warriors and militants who are struggling to build a better world in the ashes of the old.
We at subMedia have been fortunate to be able to count on the active support of the tens of thousands of people who watch our videos every month. So to everyone who has collaborated with us, offered help with translations, or sent us ideas for news stories, dope musical tracks and video clips of flaming cops, thank you. We are extremely humbled and grateful for your continued support.
We are launching this fundraiser because we have ambitious plans to expand the scope of our coverage. Lately we have been producing more frequent videos, and we hope to start producing even more. We also want to increase the number of in-depth on-the-ground pieces we do, looking at different anarchist and Indigenous struggles around the world, and begin to put out more easily digestible videos on anarchist theory and principles. Entry-level shit that you can show your friends, family, neighbours and co-workers to help spread our politics and build our movement.
Our broke-ass crew of video ninjas are excited to get started on our plans to ramp shit up in the coming year. But in order to do so, we need funds. If you have managed to weather the ravages of our current economic clusterfuck, and have some cash you don’t mind parting with, that’s great. If you don’t, we would encourage peeps to get together with a small crew and consider throwing a benefit show, or screening one of our films to raise some cash. Every dollar you donate will go towards hastening the end of this miserable capitalist system, one Internet anarchist propaganda clip at a time.
Clara: They’re conducting a “Taco-Sourcing” campaign this fall to make this happen - visit submedia.tv/tacos for all the deets. Look, I know we’ve mentioned this before, but SubMedia is a really inspiring project, one that has influenced thousands of people, inspires us and makes us laugh and cry and lights a fire under our asses. They deserve our full support, so please head over to submedia.tv and show them some love, ’k?
Alanis: So what else is coming up, Clara?
Clara: The Helsinki Anarchist Book Fair will take place on October 24–25, and the London Anarchist Book Fair is also on the 24th. And there will be an anarchist book fair in Tallinn, Estonia on November 15th, as well.
Alanis: November 1st has been declared “World Kobane Day”, as Kurdish movement organizations have called for people around the world to rally for the freedom and reconstruction of Kobane.
Clara: On November 9th, animal rights activist Tyler Lang will face sentencing in Chicago after taking a non-cooperating plea deal to plea guilty to a single count of conspiring to travel in interstate commerce with the purpose of damaging an animal enterprise.
Alanis: In other words, he vandalized a fur farm, freed about 2,000 mink, and caused between $120,000 and $200,000 in damage.
Clara: Tyler, along with his co-defendant Kevin Oliff, faces a maximum of 5 years in prison and 3 years of supervised release, as well as the possibility of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and restitution. He’s asked supporters to come to the sentencing hearing to send him off; if you’re in the Chicago area, please consider coming out.
Alanis: On November 2nd through 8th, there’s a week of action in North Wales against the construction of a new prison and the prison industrial complex.
Clara: And, from November 28th through December 12th, mobilizations against the COP21 summit will be taking place in Paris, France. Organizers report that “during the Summit, 195 governments and business leaders will gather to decide useless measures in order to ‘reduce greenhouse gas emissions,’ but we know better: these quotas and policies as just another way for rich countries to grant themselves the right to pollute with impunity. Multiple days of demonstrations and discussions will be held during the conference; come with your initiatives and your will to create other ways of living, far away from the dictates of the economy.”
Alanis: In anti-fascist news, One People’s Project was kind enough to create a list of upcoming white nationalist and far-Right conferences in the United States coming up in the near future. With the rise in Confederate flag-themed events since this summer’s controversy in South Carolina - discussed in Episode 40 - it’s especially important for visible anti-racist and anti-fascist presences wherever these scumbags lift their heads. In October, there are racist, fascist, or extreme right gatherings in Los Angeles, Cleveland, Houston, and Washington, DC, with more coming up this winter. We’ll post the list on our website, and, if an event is near you, please start organizing and shut that shit down.
Clara: Oh, and speaking of anti-fascism, the Torch Anti-Fascist Network Conference is taking place November 7th and 8th in Philadelphia.
Alanis: And last but never least, some prisoner birthdays coming up soon: On October 31st, Edward Goodman Africa from the MOVE 9;
Clara: And on November 1st, Ed Poindexter, one of the Nebraska 2, black radicals framed for a bombing under the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program.
Alanis: We’ve got their mailing addresses posted on our website; please take a moment to drop them a line to let them know they’re not forgotten.
Clara: And that’s that for this episode of the Ex-Worker! Many thanks to Sopuli for speaking with us, to Underground Reverie for the music, and to everyone out there keeping their struggles alive in a dark time.
Alanis: In upcoming episodes we’ll take a look at the European refugee crisis from an anarchist perspective, and expand our coverage of the Kurdish liberation struggle in Rojava and beyond. Till then, keep loving and keep fighting.
Links and references from this episode of The Ex-Worker:
We’re excited to report that Igor, one of the Operation Fenix arrestees who was framed for an imaginary attack, has finally been released from custody on bail. You can read updates at antifenix.noblogs.org
Here is a video of the attack against the police station in Athens, Greece that we mentioned in the Hotwire, during a demonstration in remembrance of murdered antifascist Pavlos Fyssas.
Indigenous Lax Kw’alaams folks and supporters are blocking the boats of a Malaysian-owned energy company Petronas, who are attempting to establish a liquid natural gas terminal on Lelu Island, unceded indigenous territory off the coast of British Columbia and an important habitat for shellfish and other aquatic life. They’re calling for material support; visit their website to find out more information.
Here’s a link to the website of the Taçanka anarchist collective in Ankara Turkey, who wrote the statement we read in the coverage of the protests in Turkey following the murder of peace demonstrators.
As soon as we get word about how to support or write to the imprisoned Hambacher Forest rebel, we’ll share it. In the mean time, you can get updates on their website.
Animal rights activist Tyler Lang’s sentencing was moved to December 18th at 10:30 am. Tyler recently accepted a non-cooperating guilty plea to a single count of “conspiring to travel in interstate commerce with the purpose of damaging an animal enterprise”… aka vandalizing a fur farm, freeing about 2,000 mink, and causing between $120,000 and $200,000 in damage. Please come out and support him in court if you’re in the Chicago area!
The To Change Everything tour is still chugging along; check out their blog here, as well as the official tour site to check if the tour will be coming through your town in it’s last few days.
If you have two seconds and/or few extra bucks lying around, please consider bopping over to Submedia.tv and helping our comrades out during their taco-sourcing campaign. For even a small donation you’ll get some sick prizes, and might even experience some of those warm fuzzy feelings that we in the business like to refer to as “mutual aid” and “solidarity.” Let’s help them continue to expand their already extensive, unapologetic and irreverant front-lines coverage of global anti-capitalist and anti-colonial struggles– and help keep our favorite floating face… you know, afloat.
From November 28th through December 12th, mobilizations against the COP21 summit will be taking place in Paris, France. Organizers report that “during the Summit, 195 governments and business leaders will gather to decide useless measures in order to ‘reduce greenhouse gas emissions,’ but we know better: these quotas and policies as just another way for rich countries to grant themselves the right to pollute with impunity. Multiple days of demonstrations and discussions will be held during the conference; come with your initiatives and your will to create other ways of living, far away from the dictates of the economy.”
Some upcoming bookfairs: The Helsinki Anarchist Book Fair will take place on October 24–25, and the London Anarchist Book Fair is also on the 24th. And there will be an anarchist book fair in Tallinn, Estonia on November 15th, as well.
This news came in post-recording but we wanted to mention that Bomani Shakur (aka Keith laMar) began a hunger strike to protest his and 3 others conditions on Ohio’s Death Row. Shakur is one of five inmates who have been handed a death sentence by the State of Ohio for their participation in the infamous lucasville prison uprising in 1993. In October Bomani lost his final appeal and could have his execution date set soon.
Here are the addresses of the two prisoners with birthdays that we mentioned at the end of this episode. They’re a little bit past now, but please still consider sending them a card!
Edward Goodman Africa #AM–4974
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932
Ed Poindexter #27767
Nebraska State Penitentiary
Post Office Box 2500
Lincoln, Nebraska 68542