Here in the UK, last month saw eight people who took action against the DSEi arms fair beat the charges after the court sided with their argument that they were trying to stop illegal weapons sales, as their “belief that weapons were being sold unlawfully at DSEI was supported by … detailed expert evidence.” The Crown Prosecution Service refused to accept this result, and are now trying to appeal, so the eight could yet find themselves dragged back to court. A joint statement from the eight defendants said: “We absolutely stand by our actions at the DSEI arms fair in seeking to prevent corporate and state support for torture and the mass indiscriminate killing of civilians.
“Our actions have continued to show where the interests of money and power truly lie. The state has invested a prolific amount of time and public money seeking to prosecute us.”
A more immediate court date is coming up for Aiden Aslin, the alleged YPG volunteer who’s facing charges for allegedly helping fight with the Kurdish resistance against ISIS. After the incompetents at the CPS delayed his first court date, he’s now due back for a court hearing on the 17th of May, and Nottingham Kurdish solidarity campaigners will be standing in solidarity with him outside the court from 1pm on the day. While discussion between different perspectives continues about how we should understand and analyse the situation in Rojava and beyond – there’s a recent article by the Hamilton Institute that’s very useful for anyone trying to keep up with the situation – we should all hopefully be able to agree to oppose state repression against anyone who’s allegedly fighting against ISIS, so please get yourself to Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on the 17th if you can, or help spread the word if you can’t make it there yourself.
Over in Sweden, repression against the antifascist movement has been continuing: AFA Stockholm have made a public appeal for people to help them cover the €35,000 they need to pay in fines, damages and trial costs, and Brighton Anarchist Black Cross have run an interview with the first of 13 antifascists to be released from prison.
Meanwhile, there’s been some big things going down in US prisons. Inmates in Alabama’s Holman prison staged a ten-day work stoppage starting on May Day that was only ended after scabs were brought in, and which may have influenced Alabama’s legislature to vote down a huge prison expansion proposal. Meanwhile, the Texas prison strikes have been winding down, but the IWW prisoners’ union continues to grow, and prisoners report that “Since this strike action started the prison administration has been much more responsive, and we have had a much easier time getting our grievances addressed.” For more information about what’s been going down in US prisons, see this indepth interview with a member of the IWW’s Incarcerated Worker Organizing Committee, Unity & Struggle have produced an overview of prisoner struggles in the US from 2008-2016, and a number of Nebraska prison rebels have agreed to have their contact details made public to try and build contact with those on the outside.
In individual news, it’s great that anti-fascist comrade (and brother of the hacker Jeremy), Jason Hammond has now been freed. It’s less great that Janye Waller has been jailed for involvement in the Bay Area uprising that followed the Ferguson verdict – you can support him by donating here, and keep an eye on his support tumblr or facebook to find out how to write to him once he’s got a permanent address.
The prison revolt in the US is only going to continue to grow, so we should all be thinking about ways to support and spread this struggle. Prison sentences are one of the ultimate threats the state uses against any movement that seems to be becoming too effective, so we should all be thinking about what we can do to undermine that threat.