“Long Live the Rojava Revolution!”

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An Interview with Revolutionary Anarchist Action on Kobanê

AntiNote: This interview with members of Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (Revolutionary Anarchist Action, or DAF) first appeared in Turkish in Meydan, a “monthly anarchist gazette,” on 22 October 2014. The English translation appeared on the DAF’s own site five days later. The DAF is a relatively young political organization in Turkey whose name speaks for itself—they announced their active participation in the Kobanê Resistance several months ago.

In the coming weeks we hope to provide a fuller profile of this group, their work, and where they fit into the complex political landscape of Rojava—as well as the Kurdish struggle and the Syrian revolution more broadly. For the moment it is sufficient to emphasize that many of the DAF’s allegations about Turkey’s disposition towards ISIS were further confirmed last weekend with widespread reports of an ISIS incursion into Kobanê directly from the Turkish side.

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The Nadir of Race Relations in America

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Transcribed from the 23 August 2014 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:

 

“Kenilworth was founded in 1889 by Joseph Sears, and he had four great principles that he put in its founding documents: no alleys; no fences; large, architect-designed houses; and no Jews or Negroes. The first three expired after twenty years, but the fourth one never expired.”

Chuck Mertz: Sociologist James W. Loewen taught race relations for twenty years at the University of Vermont. He wrote the 2005 book Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism, and his second edition of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your History Textbook Got Wrong was just published.

Good morning, Jim.

James Loewen: Hi! Glad to be with you.

CM: It’s great to have you on the show.

Oddly enough, I just found out our correspondent in Rio de Janeiro used to visit Ferguson when he was a kid, because his grandmother lived there. I asked him if he was surprised that this happened in Ferguson, and he said he was, because when he was a kid, thirty years ago, it was an all-white town. But he found out from a relative that at one point they put a wall right through Ferguson, separating the black side from the white side, and saying that after sundown blacks weren’t safe.

You weren’t certain if Ferguson was actually a sundown town. Why don’t you tell people what a sundown town is, and why that’s important.

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Remember “Making the World Safe for Democracy”?

Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 15 November 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

 

“So I’m standing there on the bridge in Sarajevo where the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand happened. It’s June 28th, 2014—the exact 100th anniversary of the assassination—and ISIS is live-tweeting their invasion from Syria into Iraq. Under the hashtag #SykesPicotOver.”

Chuck Mertz: This week we honor the anniversary of World War I ending on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” Instead, the peace that ended hostilities wound up being the peace to end all peace. Especially in the Middle East.

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African Anarchism: An interview with the late Sam Mbah

AntiNote: This is a full transcript of an interview with Sam Mbah, recorded in March 2012 in Enugu Nigeria by Jeremy of the Jura Books Collective – an anarchist collective based in Sydney Australia. Sam Mbah, author of “African Anarchism”, a lawyer, activist and journalist passed away on November 6 2014, after complications arising from his heart condition. The world is worse without him. Many comrades and activists around the globe will be saddened to hear of this loss. Our thoughts are with Sam’s family and friends. We send our sympathy and condolences.

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Jeremy: It’s been about 15 years since the publication of your book on the prospects of anarchism in Africa. What is there, if anything, that comes to mind that you would add to or change about the book, and the ideas that you presented in it?

Sam: Yeah, I want to look at the ideas that I would add, not really change. Ever since the publication of the book I have been collecting additional materials that I stumble upon in the course of my writings and research. I think there is room for additions to the book, not really much to change, or subtract from the work. I think there is room for additions to the book, and this is something I have already started in the sense that in the Spanish edition that came out in 2000, I wrote an extensive foreword, wherein I tried to articulate some of the points we missed in the original book. I tried to look at more African societies that shared the same characteristics and features as the Igbo, the Tiv, the Efik, the Tallensi and the multiplicity of tribes and social groups that we have in Nigeria that I have already mentioned in the book. I also tried to explore other groups in other parts of the world especially Latin America, and I was able to draw some parallels between their social existence and systems of social organization, and the characteristics and features of anarchism, as I understand it.Continue Reading

Ferguson is Not Unique

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 5 September 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:

 

“It’s not so much a question of whether the media should be there or not. The media should just do a good job. We should be respectful of residents’ privacy and dignity and should practice basic research before writing something up.”

Chuck Mertz: One of the most recent additions to our team of irregular correspondents is Sarah Kendzior. We’re proud to have gotten her as a correspondent. Sarah, good morning!

Sarah Kendzior: Good morning, how are you?

CM: Good! Sarah Kendzior is a St. Louis-based columnist for Al Jazeera English and the Chronicle of Higher Education, but her writing is popping up everywhere, including her most recent work at Politico.com: After Ferguson, St. Louis’s Decaying Black Suburbs Are About to Be Forgotten. Again.

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You Are Not A Loan

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Transcribed from This is Hell! Radio’s 4 October 2014 episode and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the full interview:

“If the Department of Education is operating mostly like a debt collector it’s going to think mostly like a debt collector rather than somebody that supervises an education system.”

Chuck Mertz: The college school year has begun. What better time to tell incoming and returning students that university education can be a scam? And now the Too Big To Fail banks have done to colleges what they did to the subprime housing market. If you remember, that didn’t end up so great. Maybe it’s time to strike debt.

Third year NYU law student Luke Herrine is a member of Strike Debt, where he is part of the writing team. Good morning, Luke.

Luke Herrine: Hi, Chuck. Good to be here.

CM: Great to have you on the show. Luke co-wrote the piece The Public Option for Higher Education at Dissent magazine. His colleagues at Strike Debt, economic anthropologist and UCLA assistant professor Hannah Appel and past This is Hell! guest Astra Taylor posted the TomDispatch story this week Education With a Debt Sentence: For-Profit Colleges as American Dream-Crushers and Factories of Debt.Continue Reading

Zombie Prisons

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Transcribed from the 2 August 2014 episode of This is Hell! Radio and printed with permission. Edited for space and readability. Listen to the whole interview:

 

“We’re going to see the rise of a mass detention and deportation system [for immigrants] that will very much rival mass incarceration, and could actually grow as mass incarceration shrinks.”

Chuck Mertz: Live from Berkeley, Jonathan Simon is author of Mass Incarceration on Trial: A Remarkable Court Decision and the Future of Prisons in America. Good morning, Jonathan.

Jonathan Simon: Morning, Chuck.

CM: You write, “Like a biblical flood, the age of mass incarceration is finally ebbing. After forty years, not forty days, a once-unstoppable tide of harsh sentencing laws, aggressive prosecution policies, and diminished opportunities for parole seems to be subsiding.”

Forty years is two whole generations of human beings. What do you think the cultural legacy of that mass incarceration is, or will be?

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