Radio Free IWW!

Date sent: Sat, 23 Aug 1997
From: Chris

note -- the IWW is an anarcho-syndicalist union and the workplace referred to below is a JobCorps workfare "school" in Pennsylvania managed by a private prison corporation. --Chris


Just got back from broadcasting in to the Keystone Job Corps Center. It was terrific! The kind folks at Radio Mutiny, WPPR (West Philly Pirate Radio), came together with IWW to help us fan the flames of discontent inside of Keystone.

Our mobile transmitter was packed up into a van, and we headed out to Drums, PA from West Philly. Our broadcast started around 9:45 pm. We called in to the dorms at Keystone (had arranged this earlier) and several people on the inside had smuggled in fliers which they quickly distributed. Pretty soon, everybody on the Center had their ear to the radio listening to our broadcast which included us reading from the banned issues of the local paper "The Standard-Speaker", testimony from a friend of a young woman almost killed by the infirmary staff, a story from Solidarity Forever, the preamble to the constitution, a bit from the Dario Fo play Mistero Buffo, and an excerpt from Matt Wilson's termination hearing. Plus lots of music: Last Poets, Rage Against the Macine, Utah Phillips, Public Enemy, Meat Beat Manifesto, Cypress Hill, Rhythym Activism, Funkadelic, Nine Inch Nails.

So we get about halfway into our broadcast (had 100 minutes of tape - all our battery can handle) and in pull the cops. Job Corps had sent around their security (Keystone Cops?!?) to find us - we were in our usual spot at the only pay phone in Drums, PA and then called in a complaint, apparently posing as the pizza place in the strip mall we were outside of. The cops took a look at our rig and asked us if it was a bomb. They were worried becuase we were right outside of a post office (geez, if I wanted to take a post office - why the hell waste my time on Drums' which probably has all of 8 letters inside?). Anyway, after some dithering around, we told them what it was and they didn't really know what to do with us. They had no jurisdiciton and weren't really sure if it was illegal anyway. Sometime during all of this, a reporter from the Standard Speaker showed up and I did a quick interview. The cops talked to the pizza place, the proprietors of which had no problme with us being there (this is the regular IWW hangout while we wait for our people to be terminated, harrassed, or sometimes released into our care.) So, the cops asked us to leave once it closed. They recommended that after pizza place closed that we move to the parking lot of a nearby Dunkin' Donuts (yes, they really did.) When they found out it was the IWW, they said, "Oh! IWW - why didn't you just say so!" because we've gained a little reputation out there - I dealt with the one cop before when Matt & Joe first got terminated. So, IWW is notorious in Drums, PA.

We took it mobile when the pizza place closed and circled the Keystone Center a few times. The Keystone Coppers followed us around for most of that stint. Don't know what they hoped to accomplish by that.

The people on the inside were very happy to hear our broadcast. A few of the residential advisors called up my number to wish us well and tell us how energized it made everyone feel. We hope to go back up sometime after Labor Day. Tommorrow is Parent's Visitation Day and the Residential Advisors are pulling a job action about Keystone's unwillingness to negotiate a contract with them in good faith (they just voted to join SEIU a few months ago).

In solidarity, Alexis