Introducing ‘Distroism Now!,’ a New Monthly Podcast on It’s Going Down

Originally published by It’s Going Down on October 30, 2021


Distroism Now! is a new monthly podcast on It’s Going Down. Each episode is hosted by a different distro, and the style, length and content of each episode is whatever the hosts want it to be. At the end of each episode, the host nominates a new distro to do the next episode.

In this episode, Filler Distro tells a ghost story that Pittsburgh’s tried to bury beneath its bullshit progressive image, talks distroism with the Portland Litter Bloc, and bumps some of our favorite punk, hardcore, crust, and hip-hop tracks…among other things.


Smokey Island is on the left.

Original stream available on It’s Going Down

Stream on archive.org:


TRACKLIST

– Ghost Town – The Specials (1981)

The Specials – Ghost Town [Official HD Remastered Video] – YouTube

– Blinded by Power – Cop Problem, “S-T” (2012)

Self-Titled E.P. | cop problem (bandcamp.com)

– Wolf Dancin’ – Savage Fam (2020)

SAVAGE FAM: WOLF DANCIN ((Official Video)) – YouTube

– Eternal War – Storm of Sedition, “Howl of Dynamite” (2019)

Music | Storm of Sedition (bandcamp.com)

– Four Teeth – True Widow, “Circumambulation” (2013)

Circumambulation | True Widow (bandcamp.com)

– 5.45 – Gang of Four, “Entertainment!” ​​​​​(1979)

– Extinction – Existence, “Out of Time” (2018)

Existence – Out of Time | Existence | Blown Out Media (bandcamp.com)

– Insurrection – Conspiracy of Denial, “S-T” (2013)

Self Titled LP | Conspiracy Of Denial (bandcamp.com)

– Violencia en las Calles – Muro, “La Masacre Continua” (2021)

An anarcho-punk benefit compilation album that Chaos-T Records released a few months back. not only does this shit rip but all the proceeds from the album directly support anarchists on the ground in Colombia, so support our troops and go pick up the album. you can find a link to the bandcamp in the shownotes for this episode

The massacre continues V/A | CHAOSTRECORDS (bandcamp.com)

– First In, First Out – The Suburbanists, “Eat From The Tree” (2021)

Eat From The Tree | The Suburbanists

– Run it Up – Atlas Telamon (2020)

https://www.instagram.com/iamtelamon/

– alienate – fluoride, “disentanglement” (2019)

disentanglement | fluoride (bandcamp.com)

– Exempt – no right (2021)

Exempt | no right (bandcamp.com)

Fight or Die – Arid, “S-T” (2021)

ARID | ARID (bandcamp.com)


Further Reading / Sources in No Particular Order


Just a Few Zine Distros/Archives we Print From, in No Order Whatsoever.

(Tor and vpn recommended, if your sketched by the content of an interesting PDF, you can try bypassing downloading the file straight from the site by preparing it for printing and then saving the print preview pdf.)

Format normal PDF for zine printing:
https://wieke.gitlab.io/bookletify/


*EDIT 11.11.21*

PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT:

intro:

  • That track was, of course, Ghost Town by The Specials. And yes, you guessed it, tonight’s show is gonna be all about getting you and your crew in the ungovernable halloween spirit.
  • Over the next hour we’ll be sharing some of the ghost stories that Pittsburgh’s tried to bury beneath its bullshit progressive image, talking distroism with the Portland Litter Bloc, and listening to some of our favorite punk, hardcore, crust, and hip-hop tracks…
    • because music is more important than reading theory ever will be
    • etsy banter idk
  • coming up next, we’ve got our all time favorite ghost story, but first, here’s a song by a philly crust band called Cop Problem
  • If anyone listening happens to knows someone who played in Cop Problem, could you do me a favor and tell them that the crimethinc zine they gave me at a show over a decade ago ruined my fucking life and that you heard it first on It’s Going Down.

Smoky Island (after the Cop Problem track, around the 8:20 mark)

In Pittsburgh there’s an area called the point where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge into the Ohio.

It’s a pretty famous scenic view, and even if you’re not a tourist it can be nice to hang out and look up and around at the three converging river valleys surrounding you.

Sometimes when I’m at the point looking out at the Ohio River, I notice my gaze drifting to the right, over to the North Side. I catch it and wonder Why am I staring at the Science Center — it really isn’t that hot of a building, and so I try looking back out at the water. I blink and next thing you know I’m staring over at the north side again, this time at the casino.

I never really thought much about staring out that way until I started hearing stories about the island and what used to be there.

The island was a couple hundred yards out to the northeast side of the point. It was a little wooded patch of land that rested about 70 yards from the north side, leaning a quarter mile into the Allegheny and maybe a football field wide. The island’s most striking feature was its great hill, a small space on the upper end that was oddly clear of most foliage except overgrown grass.

When british forces came to the point to attempt capture of Fort Duquesne in 1755, the Delaware and Shawnee people held their war council on the island. After the battle of Monongahela, the native warriors returned to the island with prisoners. While we can assume most surviving accounts have been embellished to dehumanize the indigenous people and advance a colonial agenda, we can also acknowledge the validity of all forms of native resistance to colonization and genocide. 

The Delaware and Shawnee warriors are said to have tortured and burned the captured colonizers alive in great bonfires atop the island’s hill, in full view of Fort Duquesne. At night, the fires reflected brigthly across the surface of the Allegheny, and some records claim the tortured screams kept soldiers awake until morning. When day finally broke, the soldiers did their best to keep their eyes from wandering over to the plumes of smoke rising above the island. Settler legends claim that the island was known to native tribes as the Dark Place, because they only gathered on the island to channel spirits of war against the encroaching civilization. To the settlers themselves, the little strip of land was known simply as Smokey Island.

After the Seven Years’ War, Fort Duquesne fell to the English and became Fort Pitt, and the city of Pittsburgh began to take form. But even before the war between colonizers came to a close, many native peoples recognized that the moment offered an opportunity to strike back in the war for their land.The region remained a hotbed for indigenous insurgency for years to come, and Smokey Island became an essential part of the insurgent’s strategy –  especially during Pontiac’s Rebellion. From the perspective of Fort Pitt on the point, the island’s hilltop functioned as a natural blind spot. For Native warriors advancing from the North Side, Smokey Island served as a critical staging ground for hit and run raids against Fort Pitt.

As word spread and new native uprisings gained steam, what settler’s initially dismissed as Pontiac’s conspiracy grew into a full-blown insurrection, an insurrection that many historians believe could have pushed the English all the way back to Philadelphia, if it weren’t for the tragedy at Fort Pitt.

Under the command of Colonel Henry Bouqet, the besieged English forces at Fort Pitt called parlay rather than admit defeat (pirates of the carribean sample), They requested the Delewares send two representatives into the fort so that they could begin negotiations. On June 24, 1763, colonial forces provided the native delegates with two blankets and a handkerchief. The ensuing smallpox outbreak was, in a word, genocidal.

After the revolutionary war, colonizers tried to solve the problem of this eerie, still undomesticated island by giving it as a gift to Chief Killbuck of the Delaware. Naturally, they did so without transferring any legal titles of ownership in his name. Chief Killbuck was quickly chased off his land by his settler neighbors, but, for a time, local authorities referred to the strip of land as Killbuck’s Island, perhaps hoping its nickname would soon be forgotten. This would not be the case.

The island remained relatively untouched by settlers until the year 1818, when David Morgan and his family built a small cabin on the land. Morgan had considered settling there for some time, but his family was hard to convince. The first few nights they camped out on the island in 1817, his family was frightened by, as he put it, “the melancholy cry of the loon sporting in the waters of the Allegheny, by owl hoots, and by other weird sounds.”

Eventually, Morgan convinced his wife and four kids there was nothing to fear, and the family lived happily on Killbuck Island for some time. That is until one autumn evening in 1820. After putting their children to bed, Morgan and his wife rowed their little boat to the mainland to enjoy a night out with some neighbors on the mainland. At some point in the night Mrs. Morgan heard faint screams coming from the direction of the Allegheny. She shot up and ran outside, her husband and friends not far behind. In the distance, a great bonfire once again lit the sky around Smokey Island. By the time they made it back, flames had already devoured the Morgan family home. All four children were burned alive, the fire’s cause unknown.

Ownership of Smokey Island continued changing hands until 1874, when leading citizens of Allegheny County announced plans to build [quote]  “a permanent exposition of the arts, sciences and industries of Western Pennsylvania.” [end quote] Construction for the Tradesmen’s Industrial Institute began shortly after. The project was massive, representing the first major cultural site of its kind in the region. In 1877 the hall came under the auspices of the newly-formed Pittsburgh Exposition Society, and was expanded to one thousand feet long and one hundred fifty feet wide. If the Tradesmen’s Industrial Institute were still standing today, the building’s size and glamor would rival the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

In October, 1883, the Pittsburgh Exposition Society planned to host one of the largest industrial expositions in history. The exposition society modeled their event after the World’s Fair, and invited companies from all over the world to showcase the latest in labor-saving technology. Wealthy socialites and industrialists from far and wide travelled to Pittsburgh to attend. But sometime in the night of October 2nd, 1883, the Tradesmen’s Industrial Institute mysteriously burned to the ground. Damage estimates were in excess of $1,000,000… in 1883 money. The inflation calculator only goes back to 1903, so today that’s in the ballpark of $30,000,000. The exact cause of the fire was never determined.

Oh hey, funny coincidence – did you know the International Workingmen’s Association, better known as the anarchist black international, held one of their first conferences in Pittsburgh’s Northside… in October 1883? >=]

There used to be an island where the waters of the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio meet. And for over a hundred years, this island haunted the colonizers and capitalists who tried to claim it. 

The mysterious destruction of the Industrial Institute dominated newspaper headlines in October, 1883. Meanwhile, a few hundred yards from Smokey Island, the black international debated the first manifesto of the global anarchist movement, or The Pittsburgh Proclamation, as the document came to be known. quote:

What we would achieve is, therefore, plainly and simply:

First: Destruction of the existing class rule, by all means, i.e., by energetic, relentless, revolutionary, and international action.

Second: Establishment of a free society based on co-operative means of production.

That last great bonfire in October 1883 would prove to be Smokey Island’s final performance. Throughout gilded age, the 70-yard channel seperating this defiant little island from the North Side became a dumping ground for industrial waste, and in 1883 it was already rapidly accumulating enough junk and soil to fill the entire gap. By the turn of the twentieth century, Smokey Island was completely landlocked.

Today, few remember the story of Pittsburgh’s lost island. That’s because they tried to bury it in concrete.

The Frick Fine Arts Center, Phipps Conservatory, all that shit Carnegie slapped his name on—these monuments define Pittsburgh’s historical memory and cultural identity. They function like religious sites, attaching explanations of modern life to the skyline itself. The downtown courthouse, the symbolic center of law and order, is built upon the flattened earth of a sacred Adena burial mound. Bouquet Street in Oakland is named for Henry Bouquet, the man who gave smallpox-infected blankets to the Delaware during the siege of Fort Pitt.

But Smokey Island is still there, beneath the Carnegie Science Center, beneath the casino parking lot.

(section after The Suburbanists album review banter, at about 1:00:00)

For many of us, there’s always been something different about the month of October. But as we get older, it can get harder and harder to discern anything tangible to justify that feeling. And so it fades with each passing year.

The historical fact that mischief, bonfires, and the blurring of identities have remained central to Halloween’s character for over two millennia speaks to something deeply desirable about gathering communally and burning away the old world together.

If you feel like your losing some connection with this time of year, it’s not just you. We are living in the 3rd wave of an anti-halloween counterinsurgency.

Nah but for real though. If you want to read more on the ungovernable spirit of Halloween, check out a zine called The Devil’s Night – a link to the pdf is included in the shownotes.

https://www.sproutdistro.com/2017/11/06/zines-october-2017

The Devil’s Night traces halloween’s insurgent legacy, from its origins in the dark ages to the recurring arson sprees that rocked Detroit for decades after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

after the Atlas Telamon track, around 1:07:00

It’s rare to really get a chance to slow down and think about the place you live, how it’s changing, how it’s navigated, how the past is always present.
And when you do, some things are just pretty fucking obvious.
Oakland isn’t just Pittsburgh’s college town anymore.
The jags are spelling it out for us…

https://innovatepgh.com/ sample from this progressive propaganda

Around the turn of the twentieth century, over 500 perished in the factories each year.
Their families rarely received compensation, and their coworkers were pretty unfazed.
Historian Roy Lubove noted that, quote “Few communities were so often compared to hell.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUUpWo04u9k
[first few sentences sampled… maybe bit about universities towards end]

If you’ve ever seen old photos of Pittsburgh, you’ll notice that even the streetlights worked overtime,
pulling a double shift to cut through the smog.
They shone day and night like they were fucking lighthouses, but for cars and pedestrians.
On days when the pollution completely blacked out the sun, only the din of the steel furnaces lit up the sky as the soot and ash pluming from the smokestacks crackled with molten metal. Kind of like a thunderstorm, but forever.

The progressive narrative is the lynchpin of their strategy. This narrative functions to reimagine all social conflict as two differing visions of progress that will gradually compromise to build the city we live in today, together. It’s the narrative built into the foundations of all their museums, monuments, statues, libraries, factories and schools. It’s how their version of local history can explain away unforgettable moments from the first industrial revolution, like the Battle of Homestead, and somehow avoid mentioning the key fucking issue, which is that entire era of history’s contradictions were never resolved. The ruling class wants us to forget that they transformed Pittsburgh into a literal hell on earth so that they could hoard previously unimaginable amounts of wealth, and these disparities in wealth and power continue to grow to this day.

And guess what. Take a look around.

The smart city they are building may look all fancy and new and shit, but their sleek new economy promises the same old hell.

Today, the historically Black and working class community of East Liberty is rapidly being gentrified. Walnut Capital’s Bakery Square in East Liberty is where tech giants like Google are now rolling out the new company town.

But this time it’s green. This time it’s diverse. Pittsburgh is a progressive town.

We’re in the 4th industrial revolution, we’re in the climate collapse, we’re in the combination 4th industrial revolution climate collapse. The jags are doing it all over again. 


You can send your report-backs, zine submissions, critiques, graffiti/action photos, demo tapes, hate mail, & memes to…

Filler_PGH@protonmail.com

We’ll try to get back to you in a reasonable amount of punk time.

Send reports in email form, as an attachment, or better yet, on an easy to use (and free) Riseup Pad or CryptPad.




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