This week we got the chance to speak with Yousef Natsha, who is a Palestinian filmmaker and activist about his new documentary called Hebron. In this interview we talk about how he got into making this documentary, some historical and present day context for this series of struggles in Hebron City, and some suggestions for action.
You can learn more about Yousef, see more of his work, and donate to the documentary by going to his website http://yousefnatsha.wixsite.com/yousef-natsha
I had to cut a bunch of material out of the broadcast version of the interview, if you’d like to hear the full thing (which includes much more history and contemporary analysis), plus some announcements that didn’t fit, you can always subscribe to our podcast on any platform by searching The Final Straw Radio!
We’ve been skipping out on announcements, so here’s a few to play catchup:
First, in local news: Next Sunday, April 1st at 5pm is the monthly political prisoner letter writing event by Blue Ridge ABC at Firestorm Books & Coffee, 610 Haywood Rd in West Asheville. All the necessary materials will be provided as well as a curated list of political prisoners in the U.S. with upcoming birthdays.
Following letter writing, at 7pm EST, we’ll be showing the latest episode of TROUBLE by sub.media. This 30 minute-long documentary about struggles against patriarchy around the world will be followed by a discussion on the film. More details up at brabc.blackblogs.org
ACAB2018 Bookfair Signups
ANNOUNCING, the second annual Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair aka ACAB 2018. Hosted in Asheville, NC over the weekend of June 22-24. Last year, hundreds of people from the southeast and beyond participated in workshops, talks, panels, community building, skill sharing, and celebrating resistance. Dozens of presses, publishers, radical and anarchist groups displayed their books, zines, artwork, and promoted their projects. This year will be even better, as we continue to build sites of resistance, structures of counter-power, and networks of solidarity across the region and the world.
Do you have skills to help build the future we want to see? We want to offer a diverse and comprehensive range of activities that could include analysis and theory, models of organizing, anti-repression, environmental resistance, physical and community self-defense, technological offensive & defensive practices, abolition & transformative justice, and more. Sign up for vending and workshops is now open! The form for workshops can be found at acab2018.noblogs.org/workshops-speakers/
Do you have a radical grassroot project, an independent press, anarchist publishing group/distro, cool anarchist and anti-racist merch, or just someone who would like a table to promote your project?! The form for those interested in tabling or vending at Another Carolina Anarchist Bookfair can be found at acab2018.noblogs.org/vendors-publishers
The vendor/tabling portion will take place both Saturday 23 & Sunday 24. You can table one or both days.
The deadline for signing up is April 15 for workshops and vendors.
Stephon Clark protests
We’re a little late to the game in announcing this, but in Sacramento and around California, demonstrations continue in response to the March 18th police killing of Stephon Clark in his own backyard for being a black man holding a cellphone. Officers were called to the neighborhood on the claim someone in a hoodie was smashing car windows and while patrolling shot the 22 year old Mr. Clark with 20 gunshots. Stephon Clark was a father of two. To find out about the ongoing protests against the violence against black bodies in Sacramento as around the U.S., check out #StephonClark or IGD’s coverage.
March 24th was an International Day of Solidarity with Afrin, the canton and epinomious city in Rojava that’s been beseiged and now over-run by Turkish and Islamist Free Syrian Army forces. People in cities around the world shared space, took to the streets, chanted, waved banners, held discussions and more to raise awareness that the world was watching the atrocities in Rojava at the hands of the FSA & the Turkish state. Info on events can be found at ItsGoingDown.Org
Rojava is the democratically administered region in what would be the West of Kurdistan, or northern Syria, where there has been a social revolution undertaken by multi-ethnic and religious councils, foregrounding struggles against patriarchy, with a vision of direct democracy, feminism, autonomy, ecology and anti-capitalism. The U.S. has been fighting alongside of the mostly Kurdish forces in the YPG & all-women YPJ militia to destroy strongholds of Daesh (aka ISIS). The YPG & YPJ have proven some of the most effective units to fight Daesh as they’re fighting for their own communities and values as opposed to professional soldiers brought in from elsewhere.
The recent incursions by Turkey and the FSA over the Syrian border are in a way the fault of the U.S. for claiming it was going to use the YPG & YPJ as a border security force, giving the Turkish government of egomaniac fundamentalist Erdogan the symbolic signal that the Rojavan forces could be attacked. Turkey has aided, armed and abetted Daesh by allowing them to cross the border between Turkey and Syria and shares the common enemy of Rojava as Rojava views the Kurdish political prisoner in Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan aka Apo, as their ideological founder. For Daesh, Rojava is an enemy because it’s hetero-cultural, empowers women and struggles against centralized state authority, as opposed to the Daesh and Turkish fascist forces.
So, in recent weeks, Afrin has been beseiged and invaded. The city has finally been taken by forces of what is the second largest army in NATO, Turkey being just behind the U.S. Hundreds if not thousands have died or fled the surrounding areas away from the bombs and mercenaries of the Turkish military and the FSA. Videos have floated around the internet of Turkish soldiers in Afrin giving the salute of the Turkish fascist “Grey Wolves” grouping and FSA and Turkish soldiers looting & pillaging the city.
The struggle in Rojava has inspired people in The West to join International Brigades, a reflection of the international struggle against Fascism during the Spanish Civil War. With the following announcements we don’t mean to undermine the self-defense struggles of people from Rojava who have been hurt or killed defending their homes and spreading their revolution, only to fulfill these listener requests and also tip our hats to brave Westerners whose solidaristic hearts brought them to fight in Rojava against the forces of reaction and for the new world in their hearts.
First is Anna Campbell. Anna was a dedicated feminist, social justice and environmental campaigner known to many for her activism around the student occupation movement, ecological and community outreach projects in Bristol and Sheffield. She was a key organiser in the IWW’s IWOC group, also being involved with the Empty Cages Collective, Smash IPP and Bristol ABC. Here is some audio sent by a friend of hers of Anna reading a statement from the Rojava Commune: https://iww.org.uk/news/anna-campbell-rest-in-power-fellow-worker/
Here is another statement, this time about an Anarchist from Turkey who died defending Afrin:
Our anarchist comrade and friend Şevger Ara Makhno arrived in Rojava on 20th January 2018 to take part in the revolution. Only the day before the army of the Turkish state and its jihadist proxies had begun the invasion of the autonomous region of Afrin, an area which had remained at peace throughout seven years of war and had become both a cradle for the Rojava revolution and a safe haven for hundred thousands of refugees from all over Syria. While the AKP and its allies ever more violently pushed Turkey towards fascism and the military brutally smashed the insurrection in North Kurdistan, Rojava and especially Afrin became a beacon of hope and resistance for all those who defied Erdogan’s regime.
Comrade Şevger was from Turkey himself, he passionately wanted to join this resistance at the frontlines. He received basic military training in the canton of Cizîre and on 19th February arrived in Afrin, where he immediately took part in the ongoing defence. As part of the Anti-Fascist Forces in Afrin (AFFA), a unit of internationalist revolutionaries within the YPG, he faced the invaders in the vicinity of Raco in the northwest of Afrin.
On the 4th March comrade Şevger had taken position on a hill outside the village of Berbêne ready to defend it against the advancing fascists. It was there that around 8AM he and two other YPG comrades were hit by an air-strike. All three of them lost their lives. In accordance with the wishes of his family his picture and legal identity will not be published, in order to protect the people close to him from repression.
We mourn the loss of our comrade and extend our condolences to all his friends, family and everyone who had the fortune to share their lives with this great and inspiring person. The people of Rojava and northern Syria and all those who are fighting for freedom and an end to oppression in the Middle East and beyond will never forget him. We know that he will live on that as long as his love and passion continue to thrive in our hearts.
Şehîd namirin! Bi hev re heta hetayî – anarşîst û apocî!
If your heart is free the ground you stand on is liberated territory. Defend it!
The Final Straw is a ALSO a part of the International A-Radio Network, which produces a monthly podcast called “B(A)DNews: Angry Voices From Around The World”. The newest episode is out and free to download and we have a link on our website pointing to it. Check out anarchist perspectives from the U.S., Greece, Russia, the U.K. If you know of anti-authoritarian and anti-capitalist radios or podcasts that’d be a good fit for our international and anti-nationalist network, point them to a-radio-network.org and have them contact us. We’re always looking for more angry voices from around the world.