#76: Anarchist Nurses Speak Out on Survival and Resistance


Interviews with anarchist nurses on health, mutual aid, survival, resistance

Listen to the Episode — 116 min


Here at the Ex-Worker, we continue to navigate the COVID–19 crisis by seeking guidance and insight from three anarchist nurses who are working on the frontlines of the pandemic. First, we hear from an anarchist ER nurse from the southwest US who offers reflections on individual and community health, mutual aid projects, and how to stay safe through the epidemic. You’ll hear a brief discussion of the promise and peril of antibody testing and the concept of an immunity passport. After that, we share a long conversation with two anarchist nurses from New Orleans, Louisiana on a wide range of topics, including harm reduction, how to support healthcare workers, the legacy of AIDS activism, delineating between authority and expertise, and lots more. We close out the show with urgent appeals of support for families at Black Mesa as well as incarcerated radicals , Kijana Tashiri Askari, Leonard Peltier, David Campbell, and all prisoners trapped on the inside through the pandemic. {April 8, 2020}

Notes and Links

  • Table of Contents:
    • Introduction {0:01}
    • Survival is Resistance {4:44}
    • Antibody Tests and Immunity Passports {17:28}
    • Interview with Two Anarchist Nurses in New Orleans {20:08}
    • Urgent Appeals for Solidarity {1:47:32}
    • Prisoner Birthdays {1:54:04}
    • Conclusion {1:54:58}
  • Mutual aid projects as a general concept are mentioned in both interviews. To learn more about mutual projects in your area, check out this list put together by our friends at itsgoingdown.org and this guide to Radical Solidarity Through Covid–19 from Mutual Aid Disaster Relief.

  • Antibody tests may be a new tool to fight the spread of the virus, but proposals for an Immunity Passport could lead us farther down totalitarian and dystopian paths.

  • Learn about the long term efforts to defend Black Mesa and the homes, ancestral lands, and future generations of the Dine’(Navajo) and Hopi peoples. And donate to the Navajo and Hopi Families COVID–19 Relief Fund here.

  • Please support efforts to get Leonard Peltier released from federal prison into home confinement by writing to his captors using the info below. (We know, we know-home confinement, ugh! But JUST DO IT, seriously!!)

    In light of the provisions of the CARES Act meant to decrease the risk to prisoner heath, in response to the COVID–19 pandemic, the U.S. Attorney General has delegated to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons the authority to release certain vulnerable prisoners to home confinement. Currently, the process for identifying appropriate candidates for home confinement have not been solidified but we believe it may help to write to the BOP Director and Southeast Regional Director and ask that Leonard be immediately considered and transitioned to his home on the Turtle Mountain Reservation.

    Your letters should be addressed to:

    Michael Carvajal
    Director, Fed. Bureau of Prisons
    320 First Street NW
    Washington, DC 20534

    J.A. Keller
    Southeast Regional Director
    Federal Bureau of Prisons
    3800 Camp Crk Prk SW, Building 2000
    Atlanta, GA 30331

    We have not drafted a form letter or correspondence. Your pleas should come from your heart as an individual who has supported Leonard for so many years. Say what you would like but we have put together some talking points that will assist you in your letter writing. Below are some helpful guidelines so your letter touches on the requirements of the Attorney General’s criteria for releasing inmates like Leonard to home confinement.

    OPENING: Point out that Leonard is an elder and is at risk; for example, “Mr. Peltier is 75 years old and in very poor health; his only desire is to go home to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and live out the remainder of his years surrounded by his family.”

    MEDICAL: The AG and CDC guidelines for releasing inmates requires the health concerns cause greater risk of getting the virus. Leonard has the following conditions you can list in your letter: Diabetes, Spots on lung, Heart Condition (has had triple by-pass surgery), Kidney Disease.

    RISK TO COMMUNITY: To qualify for release to home confinement we must show that Leonard poses no risk to the community.

    COMMUNITY SUPPORT/RENTRY PLAN: To qualify for release to home confinement we must show that Leonard has a reentry plan. Leonard has support from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band and has family land on the reservation where he can live.

    RISK OF COVID–19: To qualify for the release to home confinement must show that Leonard is at reduced risk to exposure of COVID 19 by release than he is at Coleman 1. As of recently Rolette County, ND has no cases of COVID 19, Sumter County has at least 33 cases.

  • Antifascist David Campbell is serving time in Riker’s Island where a COVID–19 outbreak is raging, and supporters are trying to get him released during the pandemic! Write to advocate for his release! Contact politicians via the info at this link, and call Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance with the info here. Script and other info are here.

  • Check out The Final Straw’s stellar and important interview with New Afrikan Black Revolutionary prisoner Kijana Tashiri Askari, who is in urgent need of medical assistance due to a heart condition. UPDATE from supporters: After the first day of calls they changed his medicines to something more appropriate for his heart condition—not just Tylenol, which they had him on (only). That’s the only thing so far. Please help keep up the pressure!

  • Check out these other anarchist media projects that have produced episodes covering organizing efforts both by and for prisoners: The Final Straw, Rustbelt Radio, and This is America by It’s Going Down.

  • You can help bail out vulnerable detainees from immigration detention and jail by donating to the LGBTQ Freedom Fund; with pandemic-related bail reductions, they’ve expanded their focus past LGBTQ detainees to bail out as many people as they possibly can.

  • Upcoming prisoner birthdays:
    • Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald #B–27527
      California State Prison
      LAC Post Office Box 4490 B–4–150
      Lancaster, California 93539
      Address envelope to Romaine Fitzgerald, address card to Chip