Left Coast Media

North Bae 010 - An Introductory Course on Prison Liberation

January 31, 2018 Left Coast Media
Left Coast Media
North Bae 010 - An Introductory Course on Prison Liberation
Show Notes Transcript
Comrade Tiberius rides solo to catch up with James and fellow worker Ruth from the Kansas City IWW to discuss anti-prison activism and their current campaign to get adequate feminine hygiene supplies for those caged by the state. (Tiberius' recording was corrupted by state agents, but they're confident the quality of the content makes up for the resulting poor audio quality)To find out more and get involved:Facebook: https://facebook.com/kansascity.iww/Twitter: https://twitter.com/gkciwwWeb: https://kciww.org/IWOC: incarceratedworkers.orgEmail: greaterkciww@gmail.com

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Speaker 1:

Thank you for listening to North Bay, a podcast from the left coast media collective to connect with the show. Follow us on Twitter at left-pad or the hosts at checker informant commune or source and our our our, our n. You can email us@leftcoastpodcastatgmaildotcomandourpatrionisatpatrion.com slash left coast media. We love you.

Speaker 2:

You've heard of heartaches. Now try tired take,

Speaker 3:

sorry.

Speaker 4:

All right, so I can go around the web and try to one more again,

Speaker 2:

Northbay podcast. We are

Speaker 5:

back on with myself. I was saying Solo again today. Siberius Grok is find me on Twitter at[inaudible] and we're joined with the James and

Speaker 2:

Oh my God, Ruth Ruth. That's it. Hey,

Speaker 5:

see, I remembered.

Speaker 2:

Hello.

Speaker 5:

Uh, it's been a day, but uh, why don't you go ahead. For those comrades who haven't listened to the previous episode with James, uh, I believe the gentrification episode, go ahead and introduce yourself and then new comrade roof. Go ahead and tell our audience what y'all got going on. Who you are.

Speaker 6:

Hi. Hello. Norstay audience again. I am James. And with the Greater Kansas City area. IWW has focused primarily with prison abolition work. Do I walk in, community engagement, work through GDC. And right now we're working on, uh, a Lotta longterm campaigns that are in their infancy, like I assume everyone else. And uh, how do you hello?

Speaker 2:

Hello. Hey, how's it gone? Comrades abroad. My name is Ruth. I'm also a part of the Greater Kansas City IWW. And, uh, let's see, what do I, what do I, what do I talk about? I do a lot. You do a lot here. All over the place. I scramble around, but um, or here today to talk to you about one such committee in, uh, in our efforts for the, um, for the liberation of the inmates at Franklin County Correctional Facility in Ottawa, Kansas.

Speaker 5:

But yeah, that's, uh, that's kind of a fucked up situation, not whole, the hoops that they're forcing these prisoners to jump through just to get basic hygiene products. Why don't you go ahead and tell us, you know, what kind of bullshit the guy going down.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So, um, so yeah, the, uh, the female inmates at Franklin County or apparently being, uh, there are a lot of, like a very insufficient amount of like feminine hygiene products at the, I guess it's like at the beginning of each month or something like that. But, um, people like, like most of the inmates agree that it's not a sufficient amount and when they run out of these products, they're forced to either spend exorbitant amounts at the commissary to, uh, to get like a refill of these things or they're, uh, they're forced to like free bleed on their uniforms. And there've been some inmates who've gotten pretty crafty where they'll like, you know, wrap around a jumpsuit or a tee shirt and reuse it so that they can so they can free bleed into it so you don't have the commissary money necessary. Um, but then in response to that, guards are punishing them, humiliating them over the intercoms, um, putting them into solitary, uh, yeah, all kinds of really, really messy shit.

Speaker 5:

So two questions about that. How did that happen? Um, you know, capitalism obviously, but you know, there must be some other, something else that that happened that would have changed this. And then how did you guys hear about it?

Speaker 2:

Do you want to tackle the second question first? Sure. Yeah, I think that makes a little more sense. So I guess back in, did we agree with November, November, I was out with the comrade over in Kansas and she had met up with a friend over at a lot of it while she was grocery shopping and some local grocery. And uh, this woman she came across, she hadn't seen in months. She was like, Hey, you know, what's going on? And so they were catching up and the girl said, you know, um, you haven't seen me in so long because I spent like, I spent a hot minute in Franklin county. And so she was sort of retelling her experiences there and among the different horrors that she was retelling to her friend, my comrade, she mentioned that pads and tampons were very, very difficult items to acquire and that she had bore witness to many different instances of these inmates being harassed. These inmates

Speaker 7:

being verbally abused and humiliated as, as publicly as you can within a prison. But yeah, so she was talking about these different things and I'm, my comrade naturally was like, okay, that's horrifying. That's, that's really messed up. It's like a fellow person with a uterus. She really resonated with it and she was telling it to me and so, so yeah, that sort of began the saga. We were like, okay, there's definitely a problem here that we need to see who can do what, if we can effect any sort of change from the outside. But then you, you're, our first question was what happened sort of to make it this way. And I think that my response to that would be things of things have been this way probably for a very long time at Franklin County detention center. But you know, only now in this like sort of like very late stage dystopian capitalist society that we're living in are people like, I don't necessarily know if it's courage, if that's the word, but we're, you know, so many of us are at our wit's end and so many of us are like becoming radicalized. That when we retell our stories of like state repression and abuses that come from the state, you know, it falls on, it falls on a okay

Speaker 2:

ears who are, who are listening to things through a different filter.

Speaker 6:

I feel like this is one of those things honestly, that if the exact same story was told 10 years ago and it probably was, it probably would have fallen on subway to, he'd have been like, man, that's rough. Did you see the game? Yeah. Like, uh, I think it's just like attitudes have changed a lot and they're like, I'm more developing networks, especially regards to, uh, prison abolition work and, um, and police abolition work. You know, that the, the carceral state as a whole and that have made it to where when something like this is happening or made known that people tend to activate around it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's really exciting to see that upsurge to'em. I can't speak to the whole nation, but I know in Kansas City, um, there's definitely a growing number of people who are interested in prison abolition work.

Speaker 7:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Heartening. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. And um, you know, there's, there's just a lot of people who have stopped sort of hiding under the, well I guess it's just a bad CEO or you know, some bad apples and more just a reflection. Like people are recognizing that it's a reflection of the system as such and not bad actors within the system.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. And, and I feel like there's a less of a,

Speaker 7:

okay,

Speaker 6:

well it could be worse, man. I feel like that's, I feel like that's less of, less of something or less of a, of a response than you're getting now. Maybe not much. But in a lot of cases, I feel like, uh, people are just sort of a, not shrugging things off as easily.

Speaker 2:

Right. The narrative is

Speaker 5:

shifting because it's like under good old George W. Bush. I feel like, like back in the early two thousands, people were like, oh, we have absolutely no sense of efficacy. There's like, no way we can change anything. And now that we're like under a different fascist regime, it's now, it's not so much like, okay, well let's just like look away, let's look the other way and like focus on our favorite crafting project instead. Now it's like, okay, well we literally, we either organize or like more people will die. Yeah. It's that, it's that sign that I got held up at the women's March. If Hillary had won, we'd be at brunch right now.

Speaker 2:

That's the problem. Yeah. Oh Man. Yeah. I mean, who would be a branch right now, right?

Speaker 5:

Oh yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, so it's a bad, and y'all have actually, so we were talking about this beforehand, but you guys had started out really, uh, the peacefully, like kind of surprisingly contrite to the system and I think it's served you well to start with and you guys have been sort of like slowly ratcheting it up. So go ahead and describe what you guys have been doing in terms of, you know, the actual actions to do what you can rectify the situation.

Speaker 2:

Right. So that first, um, that first evening that my comrade told me about her friend's experience, I was there with, with my comrade in her husband and we were there, they're both from the actual county, they're actually from Franklin county. And so, um, what happened was, uh, I said, well, okay, can we, do we call them about this? Can we, can we talk to someone there about this situation? And her husband said, yeah, uh, yeah, I can pull up their phone number real quick. And so, uh, you know, we were just, uh, over dinner, we just decided to change our plans from like dinner talk to like, Oh, okay, this can be a direct action, uh, many impromptu phones that happen. So that's just what we did is he called him a few times in the first couple of times we said, you know, hey, um, so we hear that your inmates are not receiving the pads and tampons that they need. You know, we've heard that, uh, that you're harassing and mates and that and you know, essentially like that's, that's a violation of human rights. You've got blood on your hands essentially if you're, if you're not providing these necessary hygiene products to your inmates with uteruses. And, uh, and the first few times we, uh, we were talking to male guards and so they were, uh, you know, they were, they were kind of trying to shrug us off. They said, well, well how did you, how did you find this out? Which was obviously an intimidation tactic, and we weren't about to say, oh yeah, someone who you know, was, it was in your, was in your correction facility and this is their name. Like what? But, um, but yeah, so we tried to ask them more about what was going on and they said, oh, we don't, we don't know anything about what you're talking about. And then, uh, and then finally, uh, I, I remember one of us asking if there was any guards there who happened to have uteruses because maybe they'd be a little more receptive to the situation at hand. And, uh, and yeah, so they, uh, they ended up, it was like, it was like they found their one coworker with a uterus and she, uh, she started answering the phones and was saying, you know, we were all just talking about who's calling, who's calling it went from, it went from, we don't know what, what you're talking about too, who's calling? And, um, my, my comrades husband actually gave his name. He happens to have a lot of, I guess, social clout in the, uh, in the county. Um, and so he gave his name and in response, a couple of days later, the sheriff, the sheriff stopped by his place and, you know, he wasn't there at the time. He and his family were gone. But, um, but I guess the sheriff had talked to the little neighbor boy and had told him to relay a message back to my comrade saying, you know, all the sheriffs stopped by and he wanted you to know,

Speaker 5:

showing up to intimidate the guy or,

Speaker 2:

yeah, straight up. I mean, that's, that's the only thing that he could figure. And that makes, that makes sense to me, especially because when we started asking the guards these questions, they were, well, they were super defensive beyond just, um, beyond just, Oh, well, you know, what can we do or anything like that. Or, um, is there anything we can do to satiate your concerns or anything? It was, it was just a, we don't know what you're talking about. And also who is this? Well, it went from that to a few phone calls in after they started hanging up on us. Uh, they started calling back on personal cell phones, which is a huge known now. So yeah, they were, they were definitely trying to intimidate us.

Speaker 5:

Personal cell phone is not recorded for posterity.

Speaker 6:

That and also, I mean, I, I, there's, there's just certain privacy issues for government employees using their private phones and, uh, contacting people for essentially government business, you know,

Speaker 2:

uh, you know, uh, her emails.

Speaker 5:

Okay.

Speaker 6:

Maybe that was a little too dry. I apologize. I've been in meetings all day and I, I forgot how to tell jokes, get back in the swing of it. But, um, after that, the sort of, you know, uh, responses from grades and private, it was taken to the Greater Kansas City branch for, for assistance, you know, from a little bit from afar. We have a pretty sort of like, well, well developed like phone's APP and infrastructure and like, uh, correspondence infrastructure. So these are things that we were able to put together pretty quickly. And we reached out to some, um, we scheduled a phone's APP, uh, organized people locally to sort of like meet up physically in a real space, which I always feel it's kind of important for a lot of those things if you can. Uh, and then, uh, coordinated with a, with a sort of national comrades and uh, I walk as a whole, the kind of like a fill up their phone lines as much as possible with, with a prepared scratch. Uh, and then we sort of continued to slowly ratchet up tensions from there. We'll see where it goes honestly. Right. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible] though, is that we, like you said, we started out very civil and I think we're maintaining a era of civility and of nonviolence for sure. But yeah, just sort of like having an escalation plan is really important in any form of organizing. So, you know, making sure that this is like something that's centered around people who have been subjected to the state violence, that Franklin County is serving up hot and fresh. You know, like this wouldn't even be a movement if not for the fact that this woman had come to my comrade and, and told her about the experience does that she was having at or that she had had at Franklin County detention center. They also making sure that, uh, that there is a purpose for that. There's a reason for it. And then also making sure that, you know, that we're not being stupid about anything essentially. You know, cause we're, we're basically, we're talking to people who, while they may not, these guards may not have, may not have a ton of power over us on the outside. They, they're definitely dangerous individuals and it, uh, you know, we've, we've got to make sure to be careful and cautious, cognizant and um, yeah, just like aware of, of what sort of repercussions or actions could have.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. So this was an outside in a push, right? This wasn't, this wasn't initially kicked off by prisoners on the inside, which I know is it a way that I walk tends to organize what's, what's the reason for this, the difference here? I know that, you know, county, they, the prisoners tend to have a high turnover rate. They're not there for quite so long. But talk about the difference a little bit between how I walk. We typically the organizing and it's a, an action and how you guys are currently organizing.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. Uh, I walk

Speaker 2:

itself, uh, generally generally speaking or as a point, sorry, as a point is a prisoner led. And due to that, uh, a lot of its main focus is in a long term, uh, penitentiaries and facilities like that because I mean at, uh, truthfully said it's sort of a facet of this sort of unionist view. The one on one contact did you have with people, uh, through your various forms of, uh, I guess correspondence or contact, I forget which word I used first. Uh, but, um, yeah, generally that takes a long time to build and you have to build a lot of trust with different groups and hopefully with the substantiation of a branch on the inside to do that organizing and a county facility, as you said, to, to the high turnover. These things are generally a lot more difficult. This is true. A lot of people languishing county facilities for a long time, but, um, due to the nature of their crimes or possibly not even be processed to a crime, um, uh, just due to a pretrial detention, uh, the people, uh, tend to just sort of rotate in and out pretty quick. So it's Kinda hard to create that la a long lasting, uh, continued struggle, right? It's, I mean, you know, and it's, it's difficult to build any structure off of a foundation of Jello. And that's sort of like what we're talking about here. When you've got, you've got a, a span of time, anywhere from like 24 hours to five or more months in a, in a correction facility. Um, it's, it's difficult to sort of, it's difficult to organize if there's this, um, disbursement of potential power or like this, um, this decentering or decentralization of potential power with each inmate. But we found that we definitely thought that this was, uh, this was a cause important enough. And like, rather we thought that this was a pressing enough issue being that it's not just that, um, that they're discriminating against other inmates with uteruses who are menstruating. It's not just, um, it's not just guards being the general extent of violence that they are sort of not expected to be, but that we've come to be familiar with. It's, um, this is a human rights violation. Quite literally. You're denying a, you're dying sanitation and basic health items and things to people and you're also keeping them like you're, you're maintaining that you are responsible holy for these people's wellbeing. But at the same time you're not providing them with enough hygiene products to avoid getting like, I dunno, dare I say toxic shock syndrome or something like that. And all of the different, you know, blood born illnesses that, uh, that inmates could contract or contract from other people.

Speaker 5:

You guys, you know, organizing an action from the outside in. Uh, and you know, you've also already mentioned that a cop had actually physically gone to someone's house and, and what was likely an attempt, that intimidation. These guys have a lot more power. And a lot less restraint inside the prison. So what have you guys seen in terms of, yeah. In terms of, you know, uh, a retribution and repression within the system and, and are there steps that you can take to mitigate,

Speaker 6:

um, we, after, uh, after the first I guess had a wider Zap, did he, did we receive some word that there was, uh, um, a sort of a ratcheting up of, of repression within the prison? I believe, uh, you know, more, you know, someone was, you know, asking questions. He said this, you said that, where'd you get this? Um, which honestly, uh, I'm, I, you know, the full disclosure when we did the original zap, it was sort of like planned it to be like that Zap, you know, like that's actually the kind of thing that turned it into a campaign was, was sort of like seeing the, seeing the consequences of it to, it made us, it made us realize that this is something that we had to pursue long term and maintain that pressure and with much caution and with, and with aim was more handled and was much caution. It's really, um, I think that was the response to the repression is to be like, well, you know, if you're, if you're a response with this is to be somehow worse and more monsters than you were in the first place, then we then we cannot leave it alone. We have to, we have to keep pouring it on as much as we can.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Because you know, you don't want to put, you don't want to put people in harm's way who don't have to be, but at the same time you can't let that kind of repression successful and quashing any, any sort of even modest reforms. Because let's face it,

Speaker 2:

it doesn't eliminate the original problem. I definitely get what you're saying. It doesn't eliminate the original problem, which is, um, that, well, for, first of all, they don't see these people as um,

Speaker 6:

as worthy or, or, or

Speaker 2:

no fight enough to have, um, you know, basic. They're basic needs met, but they do see them as a medicine up to society that they have to meet attained in this place with insufficient, insufficient supplies. And a, one of the things that really got to us was that a w well one of the things that we were asking in the phone's APP was, um, you know, hey, is there anywhere that we can like donate pads and tampons is any way we can donate to you. And they responded with, well now you can't do that. It's um, it's a, you know, some, some bullshit government a deal where you can't, you can't help people out because the government has a firewall between you and them. Yeah. That was a, that was a really interesting turn when it, and that was probably, that was an earlier step. I'd say they're probably, that probably was like asked before the initial widers app and then continued with it was, it was, can we just give you the supplies you apparently need? You know, the facetiously, obviously they have the supplies, but um, and uh, you know, just, uh, you know, we, as you said earlier, we were trying to be his accommodating as possible because he wants, again, this is sort of like outside, inside thing. We were trying to be pretty careful about it, but, uh, you know, it was, it was very clear from the jump that, uh, that, uh, we had to be as a interviewed as possible mean being down. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

You know, obviously at a, at a really minimal level, you have to protect the, the names of the people who actually talk to you guys. Um, you're trying to avoid saying that it's somebody inside who is, who is your contact. Um, you know, but what are the other things, cause I'm sure a lot of, a lot of the people who are listening to this would probably not be familiar with the security protocols that you would need in order to keep people safe in such a dangerous environment.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's right. Um, yeah, I think I want to expound just a little bit on why it's important for us to not say that it's anyone on the inside or even like clarify that, um, you know, if I believe that one of the many times that they were asking us who it was, they asked if it was someone who was, uh, who was there and their facility, and we had to adamantly say, no, it's nobody there in the facility right now. Or something like that. Because, you know, if, uh, if we said, oh yeah, it's, it's somewhat in there, well then it's just a matter of time before they start trying to, um, before guards start, you know, searching out someone who just looks even the, even the most, I'm suspicious or even the most like someone who might tell the truth or blow the whistle on this inhumane operation they've got going there. Um, and so we wanted to make sure that whatever we did and said did not result in any displaced aggression on the inmates. We wanted to make sure that if ed, if they were pissed off at anyone, it was us. And I think we did an all right job of that. Um, but there's a parallel that I like to draw to it is, um, sort of like the other antifascist like insurgents or rather the upsurge that we've seen is, uh, a lot of times it's, it's led primarily by like cisgender white men who like ultimately when they come out to protests and things like that, they're not the ones who are the most likely be, um, to be brutalized by the police. The bet that people of color, black people specifically, um, and poor folks and, uh, transient folks are the ones who are going to be subjected to that violence. And so I think that it's really important in any sort of outside in movement to really listen to the people who are most affected by this form of violence that you're trying to fight against. Because otherwise it's just performative and you're just going out there to, you know, wave around flats and scream at people who don't even may not even have a problem with someone who looks like you in the first place.

Speaker 5:

Right. So, um, you know, keeping all that in mind, I guess one of the more specific steps that you guys are actually using to keep people safe, if that's, if that's something that you're willing to discuss and maybe a little bit more detailed for folks.

Speaker 6:

Uh, you know, I can give a couple of methods and a lot of them really are just very like sensible personal security culture. Um, if you have access to like let's say alternative phone numbers that you can use, things like that, it makes it a lot easier. It's the less, uh, they know you like if you're someone who's routinely calling, the less they know who you are, the less they're going to be able to dig out possibly who you know on the inside. Like the less connections you leave, uh, the, the, the sort of easier it's going to be to keep people safe. Anonymity is, is very safe on both ends. So people calling being somewhat anonymous is a, helps people inside who may be feeding information or speaking to you through a longterm correspondence. It will help keep them safe as well.

Speaker 2:

And I think it's important to note too, that oftentimes in fact in every single experience I've had with funds, apps, um, the people that you're calling the officials or the guards or whoever they may be that you're trying to talk to, to enact some sort of change, they almost always try to turn the conversation into. I mean, they're like, they're like very skilled in your viewers. Anyone, anyone who's going in for an interview knows to, um, or rather if they're, if they're a skilled interviewer, they will go into an interview thinking of different sentence frames and things that they can use to transfer the power over from the interviewer. The interviewee, like a, for example, if, if a potential employer asks a question, you basically act like you're the one who asks the question and it's your own question and you are answering it in your own way, essentially, like making it your own. And so I see a, I see a sort of parallel there with, uh, with the way that, um, like the guards tried to turn around and turn it into an interrogation session of us. Um, and I think that it's really important to when faced with situations like that, make sure to go into, uh, a phone's APP with huge consideration for the goals here and make sure you stick to those goals. Even if you have to like write it out on a piece of paper in front of you. Remember you're the one asking questions, you're the one asking questions, you are not giving answers.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, that's it. And that's, yeah. And keeping it on that frame. You know, like one of the things I tell people to kind of like help with that sort of anonymity level is uh, you know, if it's someone I'm handing the phone script too, I tell them, just say this and then hang up. Don't say anything else. Removing elements of like, you know, personal touches or personality from it. Right.

Speaker 2:

Well and individualism isn't necessarily revolutionary either. So it's really important that you've got a script that a group of people have agreed on.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. It helps to just sort of a, just sort of like remain as anonymous as possible. And that way when you just, you know, read the thing and then hang up and it makes, it actually makes it easier for people to get involved because they feel less intimidated and less responsible.

Speaker 2:

Right? You can stay emotionally, not necessarily removed, but keep yourself emotionally safe during the process because otherwise, I mean, these are guards, they're in the business of dehumanizing humans. So, you know, naturally they're going to try to employ some of those tactics on anyone who stands in the way of that agenda.

Speaker 5:

Right. And it's obviously not just phones apps that I have that you guys are employing as a direct action method. What else have you seen that's been effective and what are the ways in which those have been organized and protected? Essentially,

Speaker 2:

I can speak to about three phases of this, of this, um, escalation plan. Um, the first being, you know, once we became aware of the conditions that the inmates were being forced to live in, we called but casually and, um, just tried to see what information we could get from the guards about the nature of these, uh, of these, uh, circumstances. And, um, you know, when that wasn't necessarily, well I would say that that was a success because it at least, um, got the guards thinking, you know, Oh shit, there's people watching, there's people listening. Um, so then we moved on to the, um, like official quote unquote phone's APP, um, with a, with a larger base of people and an agreed upon script, um, in which we called that only the guards. But I'm state representative Blaine synch and a couple of other officials who are responsible for Franklin county. And again, I'd say that was a success left voicemails. Um, we again got the guards thinking more about, okay, so there's, there's a lot of people who are paying attention to this. It's not just three or four people who happened to be in or around Franklin county. This is, this is, uh, this is an issue people are getting behind. Um, so then from there, from that second phase, we, well, I was asked with my comrades husband to be involved in a radio show here in Kansas City. It's a local radio show called jaws of justice. And, um, it's a really cool platform for a lot of, uh, a lot of different, uh, politicized folks to, uh, just sort of speak about the different things that they've got going on or just talk about the different things happening in Kansas City, which, um, had a lot of state repression and a lot of violence coursing through his veins at any given time of day or day of the week. And on this, uh, on this radio show we spoke to, well first of all our experiences, my comrade spoke to his experience of, um, of being, you know, basically hunted by the sheriff. And then we talked about how, uh, how other people can get involved. You know, we, we like plugged the Kansas City Greater Kansas City IWW Facebook page, told them to ask about how they could get involved with if people were interested. And that was a great success as well because we got even more people who are interested, um, who, you know, people who maybe weren't even politicized before, but who, um, through listening to the radio show or through being told to listen to the radio show by different people, they sort of thought, you know, oh, I guess I could, I could help an act, some, some sort of change. So they hit us up.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. And Dad and a after that is when we started sort of like moving to sort of like a sustained public engagement model, building up to a, I guess a next, the next phases, which is where essentially we continued the same script from the phone's APP. It's sort of like utilized it as a, uh, as a finger pointing method to the issue itself. So, uh, we spent like several days out, you know, uh, talking to people doing like one on one conversations and things like that. It's, it's, it's all very sort of like activism, what, Oh, one type of stuff. But that stuff is all very helpful and like, really, it really does work. And so, you know, it's

Speaker 2:

strong foundation again. Yeah. If you're not establishing from the very get go as safe of practices as you possibly can, then you're gonna run into

Speaker 6:

issues later. Yeah. So we, so we started this sort of a public information campaign and a, we're sort of, um, to be honest with you, waiting for a little bit better weather to start building up to an actual day, a within Ottawa building with the partners down there.

Speaker 2:

That's right. You were speaking last time about how there's definitely like an on season for activism and, and uh, yeah, I mean they're, there, there frankly

Speaker 6:

is when you're ready, you're in a place where it's like any day you could get like two feet of snow telling people to be like, hey, come stand in front of a jail for four and a half hours in like zero degree weather. Uh, it's just sort of like, is this really going to work or it should we just sort of keep up a public information campaign until, you know, it's tactically relevant to move to a more physical, a situation.

Speaker 5:

I mean, I live in the North Bay and it's basically temporary beautiful weather all year round, especially this year where I guess we just don't have winter out here.

Speaker 2:

Well first of all, fuck you for that. I don't necessarily know if I'd call it winter, um, because we'll go through like a week where it's just like sub zero temperatures and then there's days like yesterday and today were it got about 60 degrees. It's just um, you know, I think the weather gods are very disappointed in us.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. And our ancestors in frankly, that actually plays into sort of longterm tactics because of the way the weather is here. And this is like, I don't know, this sounds so, it sounds so shallow and silly, but because of these sort of like erratic nature of our winter weather, it's not like in places that are further north, like, you know, twin cities or up in Milwaukee where it's just sort of like, well, if December is here, like it's going to be no degrees and everyone's fine with it and tough with it here because it's so erratic. If it's, when it gets cold, no one can deal with it. The entire city practically shuts down. So like the entire area practically shuts down. So in the, so it's like you're kind of stuck in this sort of middle phase from like January to February. And uh, as I said, you know, this became a campaign because of us, you know, because of, uh, responses to the, the first initials APP. So it's like now we have to build a public base in order to actually move to the next phase of the campaign when, uh, all of us will stop being terrified of like clouds.

Speaker 5:

It, you know,

Speaker 6:

it's just the, it's just the reality of, of, of Weber organizing. And like I said, it just, I hate saying it out loud and I, that when we had, we're having prayer conversations about this, it was rolling to the back of my head and I was just like, you're just going to have to say it out loud and be embarrassed about what it's like to actually live here in the winter.

Speaker 5:

I made, you know, it's, it's a, it's an actual material condition that you've got to sort of work around. Um, that actually I think that really needs me procedures. My next question, which is like, obviously you can't really affect any kind of real change if is, if it is just a, if it stops at a small group of people who however dedicated they might be, there's a limit to what they can do. So what's been your community outreach? And you guys have already started talking about this a little bit and then as a followup to that, like what's been the response because especially dealing with prison issues because there has been such a campaign over the last century at least, uh, basically returning prisoners into like subhumans that a lot of people just go, I mean, they're in prison. They're supposed to be, they're supposed to live in orange conditions, right? So

Speaker 2:

that's really important.

Speaker 6:

You know, it, it's Kinda like what we kind of touched on earlier about people just sort of being at their limit or maybe being more emotionally open to these things. Because I would say a lot of our communication tactics as people have either been through like the radio show, which was sort of like speaking to people who were already kind of in tune, but the sort of like public engagement was sort of one by one basis. Like hanging out in front of libraries and bus stops and talking to people there and sort of giving them information and you know that all the information, we had actually had a a script and phone numbers for the sustained phone campaign on the backs. Or it's, you know, here's why we're doing this, here's what we're doing, here's who we are, and then you know, here's what you can do directly on the back. It's just sort of like you can point to then like you're, you know, not only are you setting someone up with a sort of framework, you're like literally handymen the next action and you're supposed to point them towards, and that's actually been, that was, that went surprisingly well. I expected it to be, to go a lot worse than it did. It turns out a lot of people have a lot of family in jail. A lot of people have a lot of friends in jail. And even if they don't, I will say this, there's just a surprising amount of solidarity between people with uteruses typically when, when the are, uh, uh, someone who's being mistreated in such a way that, you know, pertains to them or they can immediately imagine themselves in a situation like that. They respond. Yeah. It's, it's, it's like I said, I was shocked. I, maybe it's because I was a child of the, of the Bush years sort of politically, and I just was sort of expecting, I just always say, expect people to hate me when they're ready these days or like throw stuff at me and be mad. But a, I don't know, I guess, I guess it's just kind of different now.

Speaker 2:

Well now. Okay. As I'm, as a comrade Siberia, as you were speaking to a, uh, an air of like, I, I'd say that honestly, yeah. This is a much more, um, not public friendly, but like the easy level of like radicalizing people. I, I think that that has a little bit to do with, um, not that I agree with this notion, but I think it has a little bit to do with the fact that this is a, this is a short term correction facility and it's not, we're not dealing with prisoners because for whatever reason, when we say the word prisoner, a lot of times people immediately think like, oh, you mean you're the wretched of the earth. Okay, cool. Are you talking about,

Speaker 6:

you're talking about, uh, like they, whenever you say prisoners, people assume you're talking about like the joker trying to break out of our gum or something.

Speaker 2:

Like quite literally. Yeah. They might vilify the f out of here

Speaker 6:

no matter what the circumstances are. It's always, you know, they, they assume it's some sort of like a madman with like gas bombs or whatever. Like, you know, people go to the worst possible place with it. So, but yeah, as, as Ruth was saying with these, with this short term facility, it's like, you know, like there's too many traffic tickets, you know,

Speaker 2:

there's so many people who relate to that sort of threat of violence. Like there's, so that spans across, um, some, I mean that spans across almost every socioeconomic class. The not the, not the, uh, upper class folks, but I'd say it spans across a great deal of middle and lower class folks,

Speaker 5:

right. Because you know, state repression and violence as a way capitalism grinds people into dust and they based off, you know, claims so nice if the system, the levels of repression and violence just start ratcheting up and up and up and eventually it gets so pervasive that you can't just ignore it.

Speaker 2:

Right. And the gears are resting over.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Yeah. It's not just the people for whom it is easy to point to them and say they are just bad people and they deserve whatever they get because now it is happening to people who quite obviously a, unless you are so liberal that you can't even see past your own liberalism. But it's, it's just so obvious how, how little these people deserve violence happening to them.

Speaker 2:

And I think a point of interest too with that is for me specifically is, uh, the fact that like we were talking earlier about how, you know, people are more and more people are coming to realize, oh, it's not just a couple of bad apples in law enforcement. It's that the whole system is a rancid orchard, you know? But people make these sweeping generalizations. When you say the word prisoner, it's interesting to me that it's not the concept of, Oh, um, you know, people, it's like, it's like even even if you talk to someone who, um, well, I'll be at liberal, they may think to themselves that people all have inherit good. The very moment that you mentioned prisoners to them, like their tune changes. It's really strange.

Speaker 6:

And you know, like as I said, you know, this being, this is, this is a county facility with like day release programs in some regards. So when, whenever you say like, uh, whenever you explain the issue to people made, they tend to, they tend to understand it in very real terms. I guess it really hits home to people just use sort of like, you know, it's pretty easy to, it's really easy to end up in county. Like it just really is like, you know, you could just, you could not have enough money for a traffic ticket and forget to pay it for getting to pay a traffic ticket and then getting pulled over and arrested could land you in county if you don't have enough money for bail. Like it's not a long, it's not a long leap for people to imagine themselves there.

Speaker 5:

So, yeah. So those are, uh, those are some of the, the issues that you have been facing beyond the we quitting, I guess you guys have been doing one on ones and the community as well.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, and we've been kind of like using the, the uh, like call to action. Leafleting has a sort of pretense for those one on ones. And to start sort of like building expectations as to like where we will be and sort of getting familiarity and you know, places, uh, in sort of public places. Uh, so that's, that's actually been the sort of like main tool that we're employee,

Speaker 5:

I think actually I was going to ask pertinent questions would be for, you know, comrades and activists who are sort of like new to these kinds of things. What did I need to know specifically about prison actions? Uh, what do I need to know about doing that kind of outreach beyond just like the basic, don't be like overly aggressive and berate people for not being as radical as you are off yet.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, definitely

Speaker 5:

a couple of times and it's not good.

Speaker 6:

It's definitely not in, I would say, you know, you got to give people room, you know, I mean, especially if you're essentially doing what amounts to like a face to face cold call. You know, whenever you're doing that, the people's first reaction is, it's like, I don't have any money. Leave me alone. Uh, so you gotta give you gotta be patient with people. This is, this might be in my mind, I feel like organizing around a prison, abolition in prison issues. It really confronts some of our, our most difficult programming as a sort of citizens here. You know, uh, uh, programming towards, you know, racial and economic hierarchies, uh, gender hierarchies. These things are all very present and upfront in prison organizing. So, uh, if you're building sort of longterm relationships with comrades around these issues, a lot of patients is necessary because, you know, I mean, it's really easy for us to, to, to, you know, a yell fuck the police every day. But like you had to get there and you got there either through your own experience or because someone was really patient with you in the first place, you know, and even if it was a lot of experiences leading you to those places, you might not still arrive there. Well, you

Speaker 2:

know, decolonization is sort of like a life long process. Um, it's, I'm, I'm, I'm really excited to see that as like a, not necessarily a trend, but a thing that more people in radical communities are turning toward because I mean, it is a lifelong project. Did you call an eyes your mind? And I, I think that, you know, when we're talking about being on stolen land, like we are in the United States and then we're talking about these people who are, uh, who are detained on this, uh, stolen land. I mean, it's, it's really, uh, it's really important to recognize just how like, like we are and the dystopian future. This is it, you know. Um, and I think it's really important to, uh, you know, to consider the ways in which like in personal life, like the personal is the political if you're doing it right. So I think it's really important to acknowledge, yeah, your own, not necessarily shortcomings but your own, uh, harmful programming like you were talking about. Uh, and, um, it's also really important to make sure that any causes that you're behind is something that again, is like lead and heavily suggested by an influenced by the people at most directly affect.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. And, and we, we, um, I would say a good place to start would be if you're getting involved with, uh, prison abolition work is to be around ex prisoners were current prisoners. A that gives you a lot of insight. Many memories of our branch, our ex prisoners, some longterm, some short term. Uh, so the, the insights and concerns there from those individuals, uh, have been, uh, not only invaluable tactically speaking, but also I, if, if you're like me and you've, and you've never spent any real time in a facility like this, the emotional impact of knowing someone in the struggles that they've been through in these places, uh, it's, it definitely gives you that, that personal, uh, uh, I guess touch for lack of a better word, hates you in a personal place.

Speaker 2:

Well, there's, nobody likes the white savior, right? Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 5:

But being the white savior who swoops in and it's like, oh, you're going through all these things, I have the perfect solution. Right

Speaker 2:

for you. Well, I'm sure you do.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. Yeah. I know you didn't ask me for this,

Speaker 2:

but here does anyone, but I have, I've developed a packet. I have a program for you. Yeah. You were talking about, uh, people who are a little bit, um, really overzealous sometimes and they're in their efforts to, uh, to inform a group is another group of people and to politicize them. And I think that's really important to recognize that that sort of organizing comes from a place of ego to Simon. So before any sort of organizing, you know, acknowledged the demons within yourself and make sure that you're in this for wholesome purposes. Right. And you know, one of the things that I talked to people about a lot is, um, like one of the only things that humbles you, like working with children is working with prisoners. No, working with ex prisoners. It's really, um, it's like eyeopening if you've never done it before. And so it's important to really observe and listen.

Speaker 6:

Yeah, there's a, I was in I guess to speak more, uh, I guess to like speak pragmatically rather than sort of like, uh, like a framer requires as we have been, I would say three things to remember. And this is, you know, uh, is, uh, with this work because of the sort of far reaching of it is to be visible and be consistent and be public. Those are things that help a lot because you never really know who you're engaging on any given day. And you know, sometimes that means someone's going to treat you real bad or dismissively or whatever. But by being in a consistent places at consistent times, delivering the message is really helpful. It's, it makes it to where people sort of associate spaces with you and your cause. I feel like to me that's always been a very, uh, strong tactic and one that works in the past. Uh, when, when I was a, uh, a much younger James,

Speaker 5:

I think that is an extremely important point and he kind of went through it a little bit quickly. So, uh, I want to make sure that, that people catch it. And so if you could sort of unpack those three key points that you mentioned.

Speaker 6:

Oh yeah. Um, I mean by being public, I mean very, very, it's very simple. It's being in a public place, delivering your message or talking about your campaign and hopefully to people that don't expect to get it. When I, when I mean public, I mean to, uh, not to an already sort of a politicized populous, but I mean, putting yourselves in situations where you're going to be talking to people that you don't know who they are and you don't know what their politics are. And I'd say to that,

Speaker 2:

that really holds activists to, to a new degree of excellence. When you are faced with challenges, you know, that's, that's an opportunity for you as an individual to grow. And so I think that it's really important that I think that a lot of the very important work that is being done right now in an activism abroad even I'd say would be, um, people, you know, checking their own humility and recognizing humanity and people who, and people regardless of what their bookshelf looks like, regardless of how many dead white guy books they've got in their possession. Yeah.

Speaker 6:

In, in, by being consistent. I mean, uh, uh, that's also a very, a simple thing. You know, uh, scheduling, like if you're going to be in this, in this, be there at the same time, you're going to use a, like a, you know, you're, if you're organizing around, you know, let's say, uh, police accountability or something like that, being in the same place at the same time every month or twice a month is good. You know, you're trying to create associations of people that have no real incentive to have associations with anything you're doing. You know, like there's this Joyce Carol Oates quote about, uh, uh, about, uh, writing where she says, uh, you know, uh, you know, writing is, uh, is do, is uh, bringing something to everyone that no one asked you to do or something like that. You know, like no one, no one asks you to confront them about prison abolition. Herb, you know, police have Alicia, no one, no one asks you to. So you have to create associations, uh, with the, with the wider public. And if you're lucky, then maybe members of that public decide that they want to be a part of that cause as well. Which, you know, it's, it's voluntary. You can't force anybody to do anything. It's not my style either. Even if I could.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. We don't, we don't truck with no authoritarian bullshit here. I think, like I said, it's a really important point because if you don't get, if you don't get a lot of people on your side, you don't have a lot of power to actually do anything.

Speaker 6:

Yeah. If you can't get your own people to care about it, there's no way you can get anyone else to care about it. And that's sort of like the scheduling and consistency, just like, you know, it's, it seems like a no brainer, but it really is just a huge part of it is just being available. And, and also, you know, it's in kind of an unfair way it ends up making you sort of accountable to the wider public as well because of that public transparency. So, you know, you might run into some, I remember really specifically at a, um, a million at the millions per for prisoners march earlier this, uh, you know, uh, it was it last year. Oh my goodness. Um, we were, uh, doing a noise demo in front of Jackson County Correctional Facility and a, uh, an announced person was like, where were you when I was in jail? You know, where, where were you? This, I mean, you know, say we had organized the event yet. Obviously it was like the real, you know, like the, I guess the practical answer, but you know, it was, it was a, it was an important point, you know, like there's thousands if not millions of lives that, uh, just sort of happen while you're pursuing your work and, uh, and it forces you to sort of like look at your shortcomings that way. Even if those shortcomings are impossible expectations, it's you, you, it forces you to look at them. It's humbling, I would say. Yeah.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. And I think it's like you said that there is a level of accountability that you have as an to the community that can sometimes feel unfair, but I don't think it's, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing and I think it was just something that, that we as people who are going to be stepping into that very public, you're very public place to sort of accept that we are going to be dealing with that kind of stuff.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think, um, you know, I really liked the, that you made the point, you know, sometimes it seems like, um, activists, uh, like as an activist from the firsthand, it can sometimes feel like you're being held to an unfair level of accountability to community. But, um, and especially I'd like to speak on that as someone who regularly gets coded as a woman and a woman of color at that. So I'm regularly, I'm expected to do a larger amounts of, of emotional labor then, um, then, uh, my, like let's say cis male white counterparts. But one thing that I think about is, um, you know, when I think about what's unfair, I think to myself, these power dynamics that have been established long before I was ever even sought of long before I was ever wound. Um, I, I think that, I think that those, those are the real unfairnesses. I think that, um, people responding to that unfairness with just like the most accessible to a, to a movement or to a concept is, um, is honestly natural. But I think too, it's very, very important not to pour from an empty cup. You simply cannot pour from an empty cup. And so there's um, there's a huge importance placed on using activists methods that are not opportunistic but are definitely sustainable. Things that aren't going to, you know, run you so ragged that here in a month you're not going to be worth anything. You know, you're going to be like sitting there, uh, at one point just like completely done with the whole movement because he pushed yourself way too hard. Um, I think it's really important to balance a level of self care and not just, you know, taking the occasional bubble bath each week or anything like that, but really doing some internal searching to consider, you know, what are my boundaries, what are my capabilities, you know, what can I contribute to this cause without losing my own footing? Like how can I best use myself in this cause I think, I think those are really important questions to ask and really important things to consider. It's, it's important to be kind to yourself cause if you don't know how to be kind to yourself, chances are you might muck up being kind to other people too. And I think to the point, I think it's important for other folks, uh, people, you know, when you're setting your own limits to make room for other people's limits as well and to create at accessible sort of avenues for them to organize

Speaker 6:

in as well. Uh, uh, that way. So you're not alienating people who are disabled or possibly elderly or with children by giving people sort of multiple avenues to move in or, or allowing them to have a level of discomfort or boundaries, if any of that made sense. I'm just thinking about that right now.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, no, absolutely. Um, for those who aren't following the show on Twitter, the first, like we, we started to get a couple of patrons supporters over on patriotic.

Speaker 6:

Yeah.

Speaker 5:

A little bit of money coming into the show and we, all of us who are working on the show, I've decided that the first thing we want to do specifically, you know, talking about making sure that you're accessible is to funnel our initial patrion money into transcripts for this show. So that even if you can't listen to the show and still make use of it in some way. And I think that I have a lot of other questions like this. I feel like we can probably do an entire other show like just sitting here and talking, but we've actually, we're sitting at about an hour right now and we want to bring that, we've actually gotten to all of the main points that, that you guys want to talk about. Like whether you want to talk about, for example, uh, you know, how you need to get involved in I law or any other points that you guys are as you're moving into the next phase. Is anything else you want to bring up about that?

Speaker 6:

If you are in the Kansas City area and we'd like to get involved with any of the various struggles that we are involved in, uh, the are, I would say probably, uh, the Facebook page, the Greater Kansas City area IWW Facebook page is probably the best way to get in contact with anybody there. No, it's us because it's got a cute black cat on it. It's really cute. It's super cute for I walk itself. If you're thinking about getting involved at large, you can actually go to the Iww, his website and become a, you don't, you don't have to become a web card or red card holder or you could get in contact on the incarcerated workers.org, which is the, uh, national initiatives website alone. Uh, those are great resources and you'll learn every current campaign from Florida to California going on right now. Yeah. I think those are the best ways to get ahold of us. So if Facebook or the websites, uh, we're, we're all Facebook moms, so we just talk about how handsome Jeremy has gotten. Yeah. He's fine. Fine young person as a fine young person.

Speaker 2:

So proud, you know, and they grow up so fast. Okay.

Speaker 5:

All right. Cool. Anything else you guys want to, uh, let us know.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for having us on talk about this campaign and I'd like to, I'd like for us to be able to keep you in the loop about updates in this. Um, like you said, there's, there's probably we could, we could go on probably for days about, um, you know, lamenting about state violence and then also talking about our own personal efforts to counter that sort of thing. But, um, but yeah, I, uh, I, I certainly hope that we can keep in touch.

Speaker 5:

Oh yeah, absolutely. You know, as, as time marches on and we continue in our respect and struggle to, I'm sure they'll be plenty of opportunities for you guys to come back and let us know herself, the one,

Speaker 2:

ah, that would be a wonderful, so he's a pleasure to talk to you.

Speaker 5:

Awesome. So, uh, with that, I will thank our audience for joining us today. You know, if there's anything else that you guys specifically want to ask us or, you know, pass along, you know, we have our contact information at the top of the episodes that you can always contact us, criticism, feedback, request for more information and to the extent possible, we will always try and respond to you guys. So, you know, with that said, and be in solidarity, comrades,

Speaker 2:

solidarity.

Speaker 3:

Okay.