The Final Straw Radio: Fire Ant Journal

From The Final Straw

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In this June 11th special, we’re releasing an interview with some anarchist prisoners in the so-called U.S. and some of the folks who support them. June 11th, for people who don’t know, is a day of solidarity with Marius Mason and other long term anarchist prisoners. You can find bits of the history of the importance of the date up at crimethinc.com and interviews with and about anarchist prisoners up at our website and at june11.org . The framing of this special is to focus on a publishing project currently being undertaken inside and outside of the prisons that many long-term anarchist prisoners in the so-called U.S. participate in called Fire Ant.

First up, Sean Swain shares his views on Fire Ant and prisoner support. [2min 20sec , followed by Surrounded by Matador from the album The Taking, Black Powder Records]

Then we hear Michael Kimble sharing his views on the publication and recent experiences in the Alabama prison in which he’s held, which was a part of the interview we aired with Michael a few weeks back. [10min 56sec, followed by The War On The Imagination by Sole from Let Them Eat Sand]

After Michael speaks, a supporter and partner of Eric King talks about their impressions of the impact of June 11 and Fire Ant on their partner’s life. We’ll be sharing more from Eric’s partner in coming weeks about his situation, changes coming in the BOP and about the types of support federal prisoners and their supporters need. [42min 52sec]

After the Eric section, we are happy to share a musical track by the project, Realicide, called “Decide Today = Free Marius Mason” about the long-standing Earth Liberation, anarchist, Animal Liberation prisoner. There’s a link to youtube for the audio in our show notes.

Finally Robcatt, one of the folks on the outside shares some of the history of Fire Ant zine, some of his past support experience and a provocation on how we as anarchists need to shift how we do support work. [52min 17sec]

You can find issues of Fire Ant, which are written and adorned by anarchist prisoners, at the website for Bloomington ABC and for a list of June 11 events around Turtle Island, check out https://itsgoingdown.org.

Other music in this episode:

Black Star Dub Collective, Dissident Dub

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The Final Straw: Michael Kimble, Akbar + Mustafa: Prisoners in Ohio and Alabama Speak

From The Final Straw

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In the first portion of this episode William and Bursts spoke with black, gay, anarchist prisoner, Michael Kimble, being held at Holman Prison in Alabama serving a life sentence for the murder of a white, homophobic, racist bigot. This audio is from a longer conversation we had in the context of an upcoming episode about Fire Ant zine featuring the voices of prisoners and outside folks involved in its production. Keep an ear out for that. Meanwhile, Michael talks about the gang breakdown of the prison he’s at, the queer & mostly white prisoners he’s around now, pushes to reform the prison system in Alabama. Here are a few links referencing what we talked about: William’s 2015 interview with Michael Kimble; Swift Justice on Kinetic Justice and AL prison expansion; Thurgood Marshall was an FBI informant on Robert F Williams during the Civil Rights struggle.

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300 agents descend upon Holman prison

On 4/18/19, 300 agents from numerous agencies (FBI, Sheriff’s Office, State Police, ADOC CERT, Commissioner’s Office) descended upon Holman prison supposedly to conduct a complete search of the prison for weapons, drugs, and other contraband in an effort to stem the violence at the prison.

In local news reports it’s been reported that over 300 weapons were found and confiscated. True, some weapons were found, but CERT members entered the Old Metal Fabrication building and added scrap metal and falsely elevated the number of weapons found.

Then on 4/26/19, CERT snatched up a number of prisoners and transferred them to other prisons. What’s evident is that the prisoners who were transferred were not a problem for prison officials. There is a gang war going on throughout the Alabama prison slave system and it has become obvious that prison officials are complicit in keeping this war going. No gang leaders have been transferred or locked up and the violence continues. Many of the guards are gang members and are facilitating the violence among prisoners by giving certain gang leaders favoritism and leeway to commit acts of violence against members of opposing gangs.

Last year the governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, asked the legislature for $800 million for the construction of three new prisons to house Alabama’s 16,000 prisoners. The legislature refused to allocate the $300 million the governor requested, so a plot has been devised, as we prisoners see it, to get the new prisons through creating an environment of extreme violence among prisoners. This is what it’s all about. As long as the CERT is deployed at Holman, those guards on it will continue to make excessive amounts of pay. And the descending of 300 agents is an attempt to appease the feds and instill fear.

DEMOLISH ALL PRISONS!
DEATH TO THE STATE!

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Holman Report

For the last couple of years the Department of Justice has been conducting an investigation into the Alabama Department of Corrections. The investigation has come to a close and a report of the Justice Dept.’s findings has been published.

The Justice Dept. report found that prisoners are routinely subjected to horrifying violence and sexual abuse within a “broken system” where prisoners are murdered “on a regular basis.”

Alabama locks up more folks per capita than almost any other state and federal agents found illegal drugs and weapons were rampant, overcrowded cellblocks and gross indifference on the part of prison officials.

The report states that prison officials overlooked obvious murders in three cases, ascribing the deaths to natural causes even when prisoners had been stabbed. The report further states that prison officials turned a blind eye to prisoners who were raped and that prison officials accepted violence and sexual assaults among prisoners as “a normal course of business.”

In one week in 2017, at least two prisoners died – one from a stabbing and the other from a drug overdone – and others were beaten and sexually assaulted in daily clashes across 13 prisons that house 16,000 prisoners.

The report concluded that prison officials fail to provide adequate conditions and that prisoners experience serious harm, including deadly harm, as a result.

Chronic overcrowding and staff shortages have exacerbated conditions, “creating an environment rife with violence, extortion, drugs and weapons,” the report stated.

Federal investigators said the number of guards in Alabama prisons dropped even as the state packed more prisoners into overcrowded prisons.

The number of guards dropped from just under 1,800 in 2013 to about 1,300 in 2017. That left prisoners to fend for themselves. “Prisoners have been tied up for days by other prisoners while unnoticed by staff.”

In one case, investigators said guards watched an inmate bleed on the other side of a locked fence as they struggled to find a key. In another, investigators stated an unnamed prisoner told them that a guard told him that he would need to arm himself with a knife to survive.

From 2015 to 2018, at least 27 men were murdered in Alabama prisons, a rate the government said was eight times the national average. Prison Captains and Lieutenants interviewed by federal investigators indicated that staffers were often resigned to the idea that prisoners “will be subjugated to sexual abuse as a way to pay debts accrued to other prisoners.”

Investigators also found that prison officials allowed drugs to flourish, the report says, and staff smuggles contraband inside. One employee reportedly earned $75,000 smuggling drugs and other contraband, and his accomplice – a prisoner – made $100,000. Even prisoners interviewed styled the drug problem as an “epidemic.”

At Holman, about 95% of the prison population uses drugs, according to one commander’s estimate. A synthetic marijuana known as K-2 resulted in at least three dozen deaths at several Alabama prisons from 2016 to 2018.

The contents of this report is something that prisoners and abolitionists have been reporting for years.

From reading the investigators’ report one can only draw from it that everything we, prisoners and anarchists, have been saying about prisons being corrupt, oppressive, violent, etc. is true.

But we can never forget that the federal investigators are agents of the state and even though they seemingly condemn the Alabama prison system, they themselves are upholders of the state and a vast prison system.

Before i end this, it should be noted that this drug epidemic didn’t really start here at Holman until stiff resistance against prison officials sprung up here in 2016.

See report for full findings.

F.T.P.!

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Black August Resistance 2018: Remembering the Inmates for Action

Originally written in early August, but delayed due to mail harassment

“Born on the battlefield next to soldiers killed in this war, some of them veterans, some of them victims, all of them poor. The IFA ripped ‘em and gripped ‘em with a coup de grace. Now blame the last days how my momma raised me, survivor, ghetto messiah, baptized under rapid fire. Wiretaps and traps are set to kill me. It’s going to take more than ghetto birds and jets do you feel me?”

During this Black August Resistance I’d like to give remembrance and honor to the Inmates for Action (IFA). The IFA was founded in the Alabama prison slave system at the Atmore State Prison (now Fountain Correctional Facility) in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The politics of the IFA were the politics of the times: a little socialism, black nationalism/revolutionary nationalism/cultural nationalism, and anti-capitalism and anti-racism. The IFA was mainly composed of black prisoners, but I know at least one white prisoner was a member of the IFA. The IFA was a formation of the times, a time when young black people had become disillusioned with the Civil Rights Movement. This was the generation that birthed Black Liberation and saw the politics of the Civil Rights Movement as bankrupt of any ideas to liberate black people from the white supremacist, racist, capitalist political power structure. Revolution was in the air and seemed possible. Continue reading

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Support the National Prison Strike

On April 15, 2018, seven prisoners lost their lives and twenty-two others were injured in a gladiator-style fight at the Lee Correctional Facility in South Carolina after correctional officers fled the scene, locking the fighting prisoners inside a dormitory. These pigs refused to provide security and medical care to the wounded and bleeding prisoners.

In the aftermath of this tragedy, prisoners in South Carolina has made the call for a National Prison Strike to begin on August 21st till September 9th, 2018. Since the initial call, prisoners in other states have joined in the call for a National Prison Strike and for solidarity from free-world folks. Any time there is a crack in power we must take the opportunity to widen that crack. Prisons are institutions of the state and couldn’t exist without the silent consent of society.

Most people are in some kind of mind neurosis of extreme memory loss to forget that it’s our/their brother, son, uncle, husband, father, sister, mother, etc. who fill these cages; subjected to some of the most brutal treatment by those who hold us captive.

Show and express your solidarity via demos, rallies at or near prisons and DOC offices, and other direct action.

SHUT ‘EM DOWN!
DESTRUCTION IS THE GOAL!

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Riot squad attacks prisoners at Holman, solidarity calls needed

On June 19, the CERT (riot squad) began attacking prisoners at Holman prison in Alabama. Under the pretext of searching for contraband, prisoners were beaten and eight individuals were thrown in lockup.

According to anarchist prisoner Michael Kimble (one of the eight thrown in lockup) the beatings were unprovoked, with some of the prisoners being beaten for looking up after being told not to. Michael was assaulted by six guards and sustained cracked ribs, cuts, and bruises. Some prisoners who avoided being thrown in lockup are walking around in general population with broken jaws, busted heads, and other injuries.

The prisoners placed in lockup were initially thrown in a holding cell with no mattress, blankets, or sheets and forced to sleep on the floor. None had any shoes and were not given water, toilet paper, or lunch. Though they have since been given a mattress, they still lack blankets and sheets.

Despite DOC regulations, the prisoners have received no paperwork stating why they are in lockup and have not been given access to their property.

Thank you to all who called. Michael has been released from lock-up.

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More religious counter-insurgency at Holman prison

The flyer above is spread by prison-sanctioned Christian missionaries at Holman prison. Browder Ministries continue to aid the pacification of prison rebellion at Holman via petty rewards for cooperative behavior. For more analysis of Browder Ministries and religious pacification, see Michael Kimble’s previous article “Religion Used as Recuperative and Pacification Program,” for more information on similar counter-insurgency efforts at Holman, see “The Holman Agenda.”

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June 11, 2018 statement [EN/ES]

Revolutionary salutations to Marius Mason and all long term anarchist prisoners being held captive by the state, and to all anarchists around the world.

My name is Michael Kimble and I am a long term anarchist prisoner in the state of Alabama. I’ve been imprisoned for thirty-one years and throughout my imprisonment I’ve been engaged in the fight against authority and domination, and the how-to end this miserable existence.

Throughout this fight I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no clear cut way to bring this nightmare to an end and to sustain our movements, and projects except through building relationships involving everyday life. Building relationships builds trust, loyalty, understanding and cohesion. Cohesion is what is going to sustain us, our movements, projects and comrades behind the walls.

We only have to project the principles of anarchism such as mutual aid, cooperation, a healthy dose of hatred for all forms of oppression, domination, authority and capital. Relationships based on a shared vision of struggle, but also accompanying all the above can be subversive. It’s simple, but difficult to practice due to our socialization into what we have now.

We, long term prisoners can do nothing other than fight back and survive. But to survive in a healthy way, we need our movements strong and healthy. And I think that we are on that road. The road to creation cohesion – community.

Shout out to all those around the world who have written to me, sent cards, commissary funds, shoes and most importantly making me part of your lives.

Smash The State!
Fire To The Prisons!
A Luta Continua!
Tuta Shinde Mbili Shaka
(together we can win without doubt)

Continue reading

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Holman Report

Back in 2006 a friend who practiced the Rastafarian religion was cut in the face while asleep by an unknown person. No one was ever charged and my friend sent word to me and another prisoner that he wanted us to hold down the slot he had in the chapel since he was going to be transferred because he had an unknown enemy in the population.

So, ever since 2006 i and the other prisoner have been holding talent shows, Kwanzaa events, Black August events, seminars and Black History Month events under the banner of the Rastafarian religion. Rastafarianism is just another bizarre liberation theology.

Anyway, this year i posted flyers and enlisted the participation of a few young prisoners to do a Black History Month event (speakers, poets, singers, rappers, and our first fashion show). During these events there is no pig (A.C.A.B.) participating or attending. It’s solely organized by prisoners for prisoners alone.

Continue reading

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