We’re happy to share Scott’s interview with Rhiannon Firth about her recent book, Disaster Anarchy: Mutual Aid and Radical Action. You can get the book at a discount using the code “firth30”, on the Pluto Books website or you can get a digital read for free, linked in the shownotes.
Next week, we’ll likely share our recent chat with Tom Wetzel on his anarcho-syndicalist / libertarian socialist tome Overcoming Capitailsm (AK Press, 2022). Patreon followers will get early access to this chat as they very occasionally do to author interviews, alongside other gifts and the satisfaction of supporting our transcription efforts. Want in but don’t want to have a Patreon? Check out tfsr.wtf/Support for merch and other methods to donate and help keep our transcription and operating costs afloat. Thanks!
A Statement from the Aston Park Defendants in Response to APD’s January 11th Press Release -January 14th, 2023:
“On Wednesday, January 11th, 2023, Asheville Police Department (APD) issued a widely circulated press release stating that 120,000 lbs of “trash” were removed from two “vacant” homeless encampments in West Asheville.
We believe that this press release is part of an ongoing misinformation campaign by the City of Asheville to justify evicting encampments, fracturing communities of care, and broadly criminalizing unsheltered homelessness without creating real solutions.
APD claims that the two camps were vacant, but admits that over the course of two weeks, they forced the people living there to leave. “Services” were offered to the people displaced, but were limited to rides, sharing information about local shelters, and helping people register for a housing list with a months-to-years long wait for placement. We question the utility of these services to people who are chronically homeless and unsheltered.
According to the city of Asheville’s 2022 Point in Time count, 232 (36%) of people without housing were unsheltered, defined as “sleeping outside or in other locations not suitable for human habitation.” These people are criminalized with trespassing laws and ordinances restricting camping. Yet, limited capacity and other barriers to shelter access often leave people with no other choices.
When people camp together in larger groups, they are able to share resources and build community. Providing these camps with basic waste disposal and sanitation services would eliminate the health risks used to justify their removal. Instead, people camping are blamed for these conditions, then forced to relocate with only what they can carry. Tents, shelters, and other necessities must be left behind, and are relabeled “trash.”
APD, city government and anti–homeless businesses use this, coupled with overblown and misleading claims about violent crime in camps, as justification for displacing unsheltered people again and again.
Since the 11th, APD evicted two more camps in East Asheville, just ahead of a cold front bringing ice and snow. Camp evictions in February and December of 2021 under similar conditions sparked widespread public outrage. Despite this, conditions for people living unsheltered have mostly remained unchanged. Misinformation about “litter” and crime, alongside unfulfilled promises of long-term solutions, have redirected public attention from ongoing violence.
Not only are camp sweeps violent, they are an ineffective and expensive strategy for managing unsheltered homelessness. There are more humane, longer-term and lower-cost alternatives. More on this, along with other updates, coming soon. In the meantime, check out our website, avlsolidarity.noblogs.org, for more information including links to sources cited for this statement. Please share and spread the word! Solidarity & Love, The Aston Park Defendants“
If you’re in the Asheville area, on Saturday, January 28th there’ll be a Mutual Aid Market at the Odd bar on Haywood Ave in west Asheville from 12-4pm including free brake light clinic by the Asheville Socialist Rifle Association chapter. Bring gently used clothing, kitchenware, fitness gear, tools, books and other stuff to share and take what you’d like. Oye Collective is hosting BIPOC artists and musicians who’ll have stuff on offer for donation, and donations will be collected for Asheville For Justice. Check the AFJ instagram for more info, the announcement in English and Spanish and info on accessibility.
Phone Zap, Tuesday for SeaTac detainees
There’s going to be a prisoner organized phone zap around conditions at SeaTac federal detention center on Tuesday. Inmates at SeaTac Detention Center are facing cruel and illegal conditions, without adequate access to medical care, food, and communication. You’re invited to join a phone zap on Tuesday Jan 17, from 8am-2pm, calling once or as many times as you can, asking that the Associate Warden’s Office take immediate steps to correct the situation. Script and details in our show notes
Here is a script you can use:
“I’m calling on behalf of inmates at SeaTac Federal Detention Center, asking for the leadership to address the cruel and illegal conditions at the facility.
Without a long-term warden and the presence of leadership at the lunch line, it’s been difficult for inmates to directly address concerns themselves. Because you’ve silenced them, I’m calling on their behalf to let you know that many people across the nation are watching SeaTac right now. Please take immediate steps to improve conditions for every inmate at SeaTec by providing:
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