Listen to the Episode — 34 min
Rebel Girl: The people hit the streets after a killer cop is acquitted in St. Louis, Juggalos and anti-fascists march together in DC, Georgia Tech police kill queer student organizer Scout Schultz, and an important update on FBI visits in North Carolina on this episode of…
A weekly anarchist news capsule brought to you by The Ex-Worker.
With me, the Rebel Girl.
Welcome back to your weekly Hotwire. Our feature this episode revolves around the ongoing resistance to police in the streets of St. Louis after a white ex-cop was found not guilty for the vicious, pre-meditated, and entirely documented murder of 24-year-old black father Anthony Lamar Smith. We have an interview with people who have been out on the streets about the different ways people have demonstrated resistance. We also have a lengthy reportback from the Juggalo March in DC that focuses on anarchist and anti-fascist participation. Stay tuned until the end because we have an important update about FBI visits in North Carolina, calls to take action against the alt-right’s so called “free speech” week in Berkeley, and developments in the unprecedented J20 case in which nearly 200 people face 8 felonies each for protesting the presidential inauguration. If we missed something important, or to include something in a future episode, shoot us an e-mail at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com. A full transcript of this episode with plenty of 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. You can also listen to us through the new anarchist podcast network Channel Zero.
We want to begin this episode honoring the memory of Scout Schultz, a 21-year-old queer student organizer murdered by Georgia Tech police on September 16. Scout was non-binary and active in a variety of local struggles in Atlanta, from antifascism to fighting gentrification and of course the local queer community. They were the president of the campus Pride Alliance. Police claim that on Saturday, Scout was armed with a knife and that’s why they had to shoot and kill them, but it has been revealed that the so-called knife was really a multitool without any blades extended.
Following a vigil on Monday night, about 50 people set off, marching behind a banner that read “Protect LGBTQ.” As it was the campus police who killed Scout, a campus police vehicle was torched during the march. Several people were arrested in the course of the march, and we’ve included a link to their bail fund in our shownotes.
Rest in power Scout Schultz.
Speaking of killer cops, people have been hitting the streets of St. Louis since Friday, after a judge found white ex-cop Jason Stockley not guilty for the vicious and premeditated murder of black father Anthony Lamar Smith. We’ll go into detail about the resistance in the streets in this episode’s feature, but we wanted to highlight one disturbing incident, when an unmarked police car backed through a crowd of protesters, nearly running them over.
A similar attack took place on September 10, as the far-right group Patriot Prayer held a rally in Vancouver, WA, just across the river from Portland, OR. Thanks to a call from Rose City Antifa, antifascists and downright decent people were there to face the fascists who find safe haven in Patriot Prayer’s rallies. Despite calling it a QUOTE, “Peaceful Portland Freedom March,” one of the nationalists, Billy Wilson, tried to mow down the crowd of antifascist counter-protesters. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, but in the wake of Charlottesville, Billy Wilson’s attack should be taken as nothing less than attempted vehicular manslaughter. And sanctioned, at that! He was arrested, but released soon after without charges, which he brazenly celebrated in a video online.
On Friday, high school students in Minneapolis rallied and marched against racism and fascism. Protesters blasted Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright,” stood their own against drunk hecklers, and performed some spoken word. One student protester was quoted saying, “I’m black, I’m gay, I’m a femme, I’m a feminist, and fuck the government, I’m an anarchist too. I don’t care what none of y’all say.” Minneapolis! The kids are alright!
In Seattle, anti-fascists spotted a neo-nazi openly sporting a SWAZTIKA ARMBAND on the bus. They alerted locals via twitter so that folks could be informed and prepared for an openly fascist presence on their streets. Once off the bus and spewing racist vitriol, the nazi got knocked out and the whole bus stop cheered. Nobody helped him up. The whole thing, from the sighting to the KO, took less than an hour. No mess, no fuss. “Ain’t nothing to talk about.”
Leading up to September 16, antifascist organizers in DC were planning for a downtown double header. One, to keep an eye on the pro-Trump QUOTE “Mother Of All Rallies,” and secondly, planning to demonstrate in solidarity with the Juggalo march. Of course, the Juggalos’ fight against their FBI gang designation is a cause that antifascists should have no trouble sympathizing with, considering the recent leak of an internal report on antifa by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
At the Mother Of All Rallies, despite boasting an anticipated attendance of 2 million people, less than 200 showed up. That’s literally .0001% of their projection. Their rally was pitiful not only in quantity, but also in quality. The internal divisions that Charlottesville sowed within Trump’s far-right base were plain to see. Militia groups actually ejected a handful of fascist Proud Boys, and the rally included a fake Black Lives Matter activist on the stage to lend the rally legitimacy.
Meanwhile, over at the Juggalo march, genuine connections were made with anti-fascists and anarchists. Oh, not that Juggalos and anarchists are categorically separate. Members of the anti-capitalist, pro-queer Struggalo Circus group were present at the march. Several Juggalos even came adorned with black-and-red anarchist regalia; from classical CNT militia hats to black-and-red facepaint. A few Juggalos even carried red and black flags during the actual march. When alt-right press rolled up on the march to harass Great Lakes Antifa marchers, it was reportedly Juggalos who ran them off. One Black Juggalette spoke up for the Black Lives Matter movement, and why they don’t say “Clown Lives Matter.” Speaking of not co-opting others’ movements, antifascist organizers emphasized their focus on not trying to direct the Juggalos’ struggle, but instead showing up in solidarity to support their cause. Juggalos and antifascists chanted together, “No FBI, no KKK, no fascist USA,” but by far the most popular insult hurled at the FBI that day was on one juggalo’s sign, QUOTE “The FBI listens to Nickelback.” Ew, Nickelback.
September 18 was the 4-year anniversary of the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by members of the Greek neo-nazi party Golden Dawn. On the eve of the anniversary, thousands of anti-fascists marched to Golden Dawn’s headquarters in Athens, surrounded by dozens of riot police. Incensed by the hypocrisy of Pavlos’ murderers still walking free while the majority of revolutionary political prisoners remain in prison for years before their trial even begins, the march escalated into a riot. The march was also dedicated to Heather Heyer, Clement Meric, Carlos Palomino, Guillem Agulló, and to all the fallen antifascist comrades.
Three people arrested in April for distributing one of Turkey’s most-read anarchist newspapers, Meydan Gazetesi, were sentenced to 6 months imprisonment by the Criminal Court in Istanbul. The newspaper was one of 9 national papers banned after the July coup attempt in 2016. Meydan Gazetesi released a statement about the court’s decision in which they say, “We will never give up writing and distributing what we believe in as an anarchist newspaper – that freedom can only be achieved by social struggle.”
The Mutual Aid Disaster Relief convergence center in Tampa is growing by the hour. If you are in the Tampa Bay area and need medical assistance, food, water, debris cleanup, or want to act in solidarity with your neighbors, you can come to 5107 N. Central Ave, right next to St. Paul Lutheran Church. No Bureaucracy. No red tape. Tampa itself is back to “normal” for most of its residents – but they are using the Tampa convergence center as a base for relief efforts in harder-hit communities throughout Florida. This includes indigenous and migrant farmworker communities, like the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. They are encouraging people to QUOTE, “channel their inner Robin Hood, and reach across Florida with supplies, especially to historically marginalized communities.”
Water Protectors in so-called British Columbia, unceded Secwepemc land, are building tiny houses to block the path of the Kinder Morgan TransMountain tar sands pipeline. The houses will be strategically placed along the 500-kilometer-long pipeline route to assert Secwepemc autonomy and block access to the pipeline. If you’re near Vancouver, BC, there’s a building materials supply drive going on until October. Check out our shownotes for details on how to help.
In Hamilton, Ontario pipelines were sabotaged according to an anonymous communique posted to Anarchist News.
On Saturday, a floating protest camp surfaced in Louisiana against the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline. Water protectors are calling it the “tail end of the black snake,” as it is backed by Energy Transfer Partners, the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline.
In Wisconsin, direct action against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline has been ramping up over the last month. On Monday, a person locked down to a flipped over car to halt construction. You can find a Unicorn Riot livestream of the action in our shownotes. Monday’s action came just days after five people were arrested blocking entrances to an Enbridge pipeline contractor in Superior, Wisconsin.
Last week in Richmond, 19 people blocked the entrance to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality in protest against the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.
Anti-pipeline actions are popping off everywhere, and there’s a great new podcast called End of the Line that you can check out to keep up with all the disparate actions being taken. Go to PipelinePodcast.org to listen. When they propose, we oppose.
This week’s feature focuses on the anti-police resistance happening in St Louis, MO. Demonstrations have rocked the city since Friday, when a white cop was found not guilty of murdering a young black man.
Anthony Lamar Smith was murdered by killer cop Jason Stockley on December 20th, 2011. Stockley suspected Smith of dealing drugs in the parking lot of a Church’s Chicken in north St Louis City. Stockley approached Smith’s car, brandishing his personal AK–47 Draco with military grade rounds (a clear violation of policy). Smith, fled in his car, Stockley fired 6 rounds from his police issued Beretta, hitting Smith’s car as it drove away and then pursuing him in a chase. There is a dash cam recording from the chase capturing Jason Stockley yelling “Going to kill this mother don’t you know it!” Eventually the cruiser crashed into Smith’s car, immobilizing it. Immediately Stockley got out, approached the car and shot Smith six times at point blank range. A gun reckoned to be planted by Stockely was found in Smith’s car— Stockley’s DNA was found on the trigger, grip, and a screw. Smith’s DNA was nowhere to be found.
After the Smith family won a wrongful death lawsuit in May 2016, evidence revealed in the suit was leaked to media, forcing the hand of the St Louis City Circuit Attorney to reopen a case against Stockley. Stockley was charged with first degree murder and tried before a judge. The judge deliberated for weeks before a not guilty verdict was announced on Friday.
The verdict was highly anticipated, with both activists and the state making preparations. Starting the day before the verdict, Missouri’s governor activated the National Guard, just like 3 years before, ahead of the grand jury decision over the cop who killed Mike Brown in Ferguson. Activists and rebels in the streets should prepare for more and more militarization of police against these kinds of protests, especially now that the federal government is rolling back a prohibition on local police departments receiving surplus military weapons and equipment. For more on police militarization, check out the upcoming episode of Submedia’s excellent show Trouble, which will drop later this month and focuses on counter-insurgency.
Back to St. Louis, the city has been racked with demonstrations since the announcement of Stockley’s not-guilty verdict on Friday. 1000s of people gathered downtown the day of, later moving to the Central West End, a bastion of the wealthy. The mayor of St Louis, Lyda Krewson, lives in the Central West End and people marched to her house, surrounded it, broke windows, and threw paint bombs. As the night wore on, windows were broken and the police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse people. On Saturday, there was another huge march, this time through the Delmar Loop, another bar and restaurant district. The night ended with police confrontations and many a broken window as riot police pushed people down the street, insisting they disperse. On Sunday, yet another 1000 person march started in front of the police headquarters, winding its ways through St Louis University campus and making it’s way back into downtown St Louis, where, following form, more windows were broken. The police were particularly brutal as the night wore one, shooting bean bags, pepper spray and pepperballs, rubber bullets, and tear gas, in the end kettling 80 people and violently arresting them. On Monday, a huge noise demo was held outside the city jail in the rain, demanding that all remaining arrestees be released. Over 160 people have been arrested, and to add insult to injury, have been doxxed by the SLMPD, who have released home addresses for all of those arrested. And in the ultimate act of recuperation, police were witnessed beating their shields with batons while chanting, ‘Whose street’s? Our streets!’ while they closed in on all four sides of the kettle Sunday night. You can checkout our show notes for a link to the bail and legal fund for those arrested.
Much of the mainstream media coverage has gone to lengths to distinguish the so-called peaceful protesters from the ones they deem violent. Standards of what constitutes violence aside, nothing about the protests in St. Louis is peaceful. They’re agitating, they’re shutting the city down, they’re disruptive, and they shouldn’t be peaceful. Moments like this clearly show that the term “violence” is reserved for those whose actions resist or subvert the dominance of those further up the pyramid of wealth or power. Rather than letting our resistance be evaluated over how violent it is, let’s legitimize actions that distribute power rather than concentrate it. As people prattle on about broken windows and property destruction, remember instead the broken lives left in the wake of the state. This racist, white supremacist state can never give us justice, nor do we seek it from them. The State and its police do not serve to rid the world of racial and class conflict, they serve to merely manage it to the benefit of those who both exploit and exclude the majority of us from any power and wealth.
We were lucky enough to catch up with two anti-police rebels from the streets of St. Louis about what the last few days of resistance have been like there.
Rebel Girl: What was the influence of the Ferguson rebellion in 2014 on what’s going down in St. Louis? Were people from Ferguson in the streets in St. Louis this weekend?
Rebel 2: Obviously there’s a legacy that exists, it’s like a collective memory of what happened in Ferguson. So people all over the city remember it, of all backgrounds and races. That can come out in very, like for a lot of people who are scared, like white people in St. Louis this is terrifying that this is happening, for particularly black people this is the status quo and something needs to happen. Throughout the last few days I’ve run into people I remember in Ferguson, some of the more rowdy people I have run into I remember… they came back. You know? They have been waiting, and that’s kind of beautiful. People come out of the woodwork.
Rebel 1: Ferguson showed people that they had to resist, and that the opportunity to resist existed. That there was actually power in the people and when they came out in the streets and wanted to do whatever, that’s being shown again with this Stockley case. A lot of the tactics that I saw being used in Ferguson are being used again.
Rebel Girl: Sunday, which is the third day of action, does it look like momentum is petering out or still building?
Rebel 1: Unlike the Ferguson movement I feel like the protests that have been happening are a lot more targeted and people are noticing that and are being motivated by that. They want to come and participate and people are coming out to participate. Probably over a thousand people that are sill out there so I think this thing is still building.
Rebel 2: There is idea that what’s been happening has not been a respectable thing. People are engaging in combative tactics against the police: brick, rocks, breaking windows… its powerful and there are people who are inspired by it.
Rebel Girl: Can you speak to any particular moments of courage, cooperation, or compassion in the streets that wouldn’t be told otherwise?
Rebel 1: I think the fact that people are participating in protest period shows a lot of courage and it’s a big thing that people are resisting. Jason Stockely killed somebody and there is overwhelming evidence that shows that he should be guilty and the judge let him go. It’s a smack in our face, and means that our lives don’t matter and instead of cowering and going in the houses a lot of people are resisting that even though the National Guard is out there and busloads of cops. Even the people who are just willing to hold the sign I think is a lot of courage is the fact that they are coming out and showing their distaste, period. As far as a specific individual incident the youth I saw a lot of youth standing within feet of cops resisting in the ways that they saw fit. They could easily been snatched or tased and they don’t care at all, there was a lot of people that were hit with chemical agents from tear gas to pepper spray. I’m seeing a lot for people who are running towards these individuals to assist them even though the police are advancing.
Rebel 2: I think most inspired about is that people are resisting the things that seek to make them victims of the state as a black person, as a poor person that’s powerful. It’s like a way that people are resisting what they have been defined as capable of by society and learning how to fight together.
Rebel 1: I think the tide changed when we went to the mayor’s house, so when people decided to go to her house and her house was vandalized first off that’s big because it was the same day that the not guilty verdict came out. The fact that it became a target of the protest I think says a lot. People didn’t just stay in the sport where the not guilty verdict came. People moved locations and that was strategic, and I think that scares the state, I think that applies pressure to them and makes the system maneuver a certain way. It makes them think you know? “If [a cop is] found not guilty again are they going to show up to my house are they going to show up to my family’s house?”
Rebel 2: Right now like even though this new governor Greitens has more police and the National Guard is hiding in the cut somewhere people are still able to get around them and do whatever they want. It shows how weak they can be. Going to the mayor’s house was a very powerful moment because you don’t often get to go to. You get to their office and that’s a public thing… but to go to a private space where people sleep and eat… we should be dissolving that public private divide.
Rebel Girl: Thanks so much for speaking with us, stay safe out there.
In this week’s repression round up…
NCResistsTheGrandJury.com has released an update on Katie Yow’s refusal to testify in front of a grand jury. The grand jury is looking into what the government has described as a bombing at the GOP headquarters in Hillsborough, North Carolina this past fall. Katie is still waiting to find out if or when she will be ordered to appear again. In that district, the federal grand jury meets the last Monday and Tuesday of each month. Since there may not be much advanced notice, the NC Resists update recommends that grand jury resistance supporters be prepared on these days to show up for solidarity demos outside the Greensboro Federal Court House. Their site also has a way to donate to Katie’s legal support.
The FBI continues to harass anarchists and others across North Carolina. On September 8, the FBI attempted to visit a comrade in the western part of the state. The visit was not to speak to this comrade, but rather because the FBI wanted to speak to their child, a minor. Blue Ridge Anarchist Black Cross reports that all parties have lawyered up and are not speaking to the FBI. For a detailed FAQ on what to do if the FBI approaches you to talk, or even if the police knock on your door, check out this episode’s shownotes at crimethinc.com. We even have some handy .PDF posters you can print out and hang by your front door.
The Detention Watch Network has announced that multiple sources within and close to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have leaked plans to conduct a nationwide immigration enforcement operation from mid- to late-September. The raids are intended to be historic in size, targeting between 6,000 and 10,000 immigrants. For some ideas on how to support undocumented folks around these raids, check out our interview with an anarchist DREAMer in our last episode, #4.
We are exactly two months away from November 20, when the first trial in the J20 case will begin. 196 people are facing at least 8 felonies each after police indiscriminately kettled and assaulted them at protests against the presidential inauguration.
The government’s plan is to take people to trial in groups of 6 to 8, and there are trial blocks scheduled well into next year. The government’s case rests on a charge of conspiracy, alleging that because people wore black or chanted anti-capitalist slogans or didn’t leave a march they should all be held responsible for a handful of windows that were broken, and even property damage that occurred after their detainment. Imagine if everyone in the vicinity of an Occupy or Black Lives Matter demonstration at which a little property destruction took place had been charged with eight felonies. Thousands of people would have charges now. If the prosecution is able to set this precedent for blanket intimidation and collective punishment, it will mark a significant step in the rise of tyranny.
This case is unprecedented, and just this week the judge threw out a motion to dismiss the charges. Any possibility of reducing or beating the charges depends on how much solidarity we can muster. Keep up with the latest at defendj20resistance.org. Consider coming down to DC to pack the courtroom during part of the first trial. The government expects it to take about two weeks. You can also find action items at DropJ20.org. And don’t forget to write a letter to political prisoner Dane Powell, the first of the J20 defendants to serve time. We have his address listed in our shownotes.
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.
We’ll close out our episode with political prisoner birthdays and next week’s news.
On September 22 is Steven Martin, accused of looting a Foot Locker in 2014 during the Ferguson rebellion. Steven is in pre-trial, so please do not write about anything illegal and assume all charges are alleged and false.
On September 26 is Greg Curry, who has been in solitary confinement for nearly two decades after being unjustly convicted of murder during the Lucasville Prison Uprising. Hundreds of prisoners participated in the uprising, taking control of one of the facility’s wings for 11 days and issuing 21 demands centered around basic human rights. The rebellion made for a temporary alliance of prisoners across racial, religious, and gang divisions.
Please take 5 minutes out of your day and write a letter to Steven and Greg. Getting your letter can be the highlight of their week. Also, every month the Prison Books Collective has a new, beautifully designed poster with political prisoner birthdays and addresses for that month. You can go to PrisonBooks.info to find it, or check out the transcript for this episode. There’s also a link to a great guide to writing prisoners from New York City Anarchist Black Cross.
And now, next week’s news, our list of events that you can plug into in real life.
The alt-right’s so-called “free speech” week at UC Berkeley begins next week on September 24. All week long, the university will be providing a platform to the likes of Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Stephen Bannon, Breitbart media and their far-right audience. On Saturday, September 23, a march against white supremacy will take place to protest the week of far-right speakers. The march begins at noon at 63rd and Adeline in Berkeley. Then, on Monday, September 25, there will be a campus rally against white supremacy on the Crescent Lawn. We have the full details for the marches in our shownotes.
This whole weekend, within the Baltimore Book Festival you can check out the Radical Book Fair pavilion thanks to Red Emma’s. On Saturday, the 23, there will be a CrimethInc reading from the new books No Wall They Can Build and From Democracy To Freedom.
The Houston anarchist book fair is still taking place on September 24. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, please show up and support anarchist organizing down there. Check out the Houston Anarchist Black Cross website for details.
The weekend of September 28 to October 1 will be the fourth annual radical bookfair in Gothenburg, Sweden. The radical bookfair is held at the same time as the bourgeois, mainstream Gothenburg Book Fair, the largest such event in Scandinavia. Last year, this bourgeois book fair came under fire for giving a platform to a right-wing newspaper with neo-nazi ties. Their justification? You guessed it, freedom of expression. Liberals be like, it’s not as if one neo-nazi newspaper at an enormous bookfair could embolden thousands of fascists to march through the city, right? Wrong! On September 30 this year, the same weekend as the Radical Book Fair in Gothenburg, the neo-nazi Nordic Resistance Movement will try to march through the city. A call has been made for autonomous and anti-fascist protests against the nazi march. We have details about both the Radical Book Fair and the anti-fascist call to action in this episode’s shownotes.
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar for 2018 is now available for bulk pre-orders. Your group can buy 10 or more at the rate of $10 each and then sell them for $15, keeping the difference for your organization.
This year’s theme is “Awakening Resistance,” and features art and writings by Jesus Barraza, Andrea Ritchie, Herman Bell, Marius Mason, Crimethinc, and more. Ordering for a prisoner is only $8. Just be sure to specify their full legal name and prisoner number. Single copies of the calendar will be available for purchase in a few weeks. Any questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons is going international with a roadshow in the UK this fall. From September 28 to October 6, you can find them along with Community Action on Prison Expansion. Presentations will be chocked full of information on six new mega-prisons in England and Wales, which themselves are proposed for toxic sites, including radiological contamination and asbestos pollution. Check out our shownotes for full tour details and ways to get involved in the fight against prison expansion and pollution.
And finally, there’s a call to disrupt the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia from October 21st to the 24th. The call to action has a pretty handy list of different police chiefs’ unsavory deeds. It also has a great slogan we can get behind, “For a world without police.” Find out more at noiacp.blackblogs.org.
That’s it for your weekly Hotwire. Many thanks to the rebels in St. Louis who took time away from protesting the pigs to speak with us. Stay free y’all. As always thanks to Underground Reverie for the music. Don’t forget to check out all the links, mailing addresses, and useful notes we have posted alongside this episode at crimethinc.com. And you can get in touch at podcast[AT]crimethinc[DOT]com. Thanks for listening.
Stay informed. Stay rebel. Plug into the Hotwire.