I went to the Standing Rock event at the Four Freedoms monument last Sunday. I have been inspired by the North Dakota protest because it was initiated by the local people (Dakota Indians) and because of the protest's diversity of tactics--from imaginative non-violent blockades, law suits, and public speaking tours to land occupation, property destruction, and the public declaration that this fight is to the death. I am further compelled by how this fight, to stop an oil pipeline from being constructed through a river, being fought on Native land intersects with all of the different grounds on which the genocide of native people has been waged--state bureaucracy, environmental destruction, incarceration, economics, gender, and race to name a few. The Standing Rock encampment has swollen to over ten thousand people because the Dakota have not only waged this fight in the largest indigenous cross-national alliance in history, but welcomed everyone from anywhere in recognition that we all suffer from these same indignities.
You can also listen to Kite Line on WFHB Radio.
This week on Kite Line, we follow up on what’s happening nationally and internationally in regards to actions for the National Prison strike, both on the inside and outside. We talk to a supporter of Kara Wild, a US trans woman who is currently being held indefinitely in a French jail. We report on call-in requests from various prisoners who are asking for outside support, as well as hear about a “riot” in the jail near Evansville, Indiana. We read solidarity statements from Greece and Canada, and hear a bit about Henry Green, a 23 year old man in Columbus, Ohio, who was killed by the local police.
Kite Line is a radio program devoted to prison issues around the Midwest and beyond. Behind the prison walls, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to the guards for medical care. Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will bear it farther along till it reaches its destination. On the show, we hope to pass along words across the prison walls.
I went to the first Critical Mass that I know of in Evansville, in 2008. I think three people showed. It was organized by a friend who I knew through our working together to prevent the construction of I-69. We both lived in collective houses that shared food and other resources. I remember that time as being a lot of fun: the way we got food, the way we made income, the ways we passed time together. That’s why I was glad to see people starting up Critical Mass here again. I wanted to be around people who were thinking about how to use the city as something more than a site of routine and drudgery. I was ready for more fun. I’m glad I’ve been going on the ride because I’ve found some of those folks.
Below is an interview with three people who ride at Critical Mass regularly. After the interview are a few of my thoughts on ways people who enjoy Critical Mass might be able spill that joy from into the streets to the homes and workplaces and all the places they lead to in each of our lives.
MARION, IL—Individuals and LGBTQA+* groups in the tri-state area have expressed concern and outrage after Little Egypt Veterinary Clinic in Marion, IL, posted a sign in early September reading “Kennedy put a man on the moon. Obama put a man in the ladies’ room.”
This is a list highlighting actions taken regionally in association with the September 9th nationwide prison strike. For a comprehensive, world-wide list of actions check out it It's Going Down's strike coverage.
On Friday, September 1st, the Evansville Police Departmentreleased footage of the execution of Daniel Wooters by police in March.
The release of this footage comes in the midst of a nation-wide wave of protest focused on police murders of black and brown people, which began with the riots that followed the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. These protests and riots have overwhelmingly focused on the murder of black men by police, and rightly so. According to the Washington Post, which has been collecting data on fatal police shootings since 2015, black people in the U.S. are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people.
But that doesn’t mean that police murder is not a reality for white people in this country as well. The police kill poor, homeless, mentally ill and other vulnerable white people shockingly often—Daniel Wooters being only the most recent example. According to the website The Counted, The Guardian’s project devoted to keeping track of fatal police shootings, 368 white people have been killed by police in 2016 at the time of this writing. That’s more than one person per day.
Despite this glaring reality and the obvious points of connection between the experience of working-class white people and working-class people of color, white people continue to swell the ranks of the cop-loving, white-supremacist “Alternative Right.” Inspired by the Trump campaign’s attacks on racial minorities and reacting to the upsurge of black rebellion, many working-class white people are turning to Nazi-style fascism rather than finding a common cause with those fighting against power.
In Madisonville, Kentucky, just an hour south of Evansville, the openly racist and homophobic Traditionalist Worker Party has an active branch. In a recent article, their leader Matthew Heimbach reports going door to door in a trailer park in Madisonville, promoting their fascist ideas among its white working-class residents. The group also recently held a tabling event at Murray State University, in Murray, Kentucky. These efforts must be aggressively countered by white-folks in the Tri-state who do not share their visions of a totalitarian government and the persecution of ethnic and racial minorities. It’s only by hitting the streets, countering their demos and doing our own outreach that we’ll stop them from laying the groundwork for the nightmare world they dream of.
The Evansville Police Department released body camera footage on Friday, September 1st of Evansville cops shooting and killing Daniel Wooters, 38.
The footage is from March 15, 2016, when Wooters stole a police cruiser, was chased by police and eventually shot to death after stopping and getting out of the vehicle.
In 1948 at the Bucyrus-Erie plant on the west side of Evansville the workers went on strike with the demands of higher wages, a closed shop, and increased agency in the functioning of the shop floor. The workers were going door to door in neighborhoods and discouraging scabs from working their jobs. With violence at the picket lines and support from other unions, B-E couldn’t get more than 30% of its shop running. Out of desperation, B-E tried to use prison labor to get the factory up and running, but workers with community support put a stop to it.