We told you that we had a lot to share this week! Now for all that news from the bloc.
Bloomington ABC is still trying to raise money for their amazing and inspiring Anarchist Prisoner of War fund that has been providing significant amounts of money to anarchist political prisoners for years. Help sustain this project for the long haul.
As always, check out the new edition of Kiteline Radio, an anti-prison podcast from Bloomington, Indiana. This week’s episode features an interview with Nasim Chatha of the Alliance for Global Justice discussing “prison imperialism”—the process by which the U.S. Government forcefully exports its disgusting model of incarceration to other countries. Bloomington, so on their shit!
In St. Louis, residents have sustained over 30 days of consistent protest and street presence in response to the acquittal of ex-cop Jason Stockley for murder. We are deeply inspired by these efforts and the mixture of unmediated destructive rebellion and committed activism that created them. It would appear that the seeds sown during the Ferguson rebellions are continuing to bear fruit, as the St. Louis area continues to offer the rest of the country an example of what sustained resistance to police violence looks like. May these currents continue to deepen.
For analysis and a detailed account of the events there, check out “Resisting Death: a report back and analysis of the current anti-police rebellion” on Anti-State STL.
St. Louis also continues to contribute in important ways to responding to the pervasive mythology around the white outside agitator by unapologetically claiming the legitimacy of white people to participate in anti-cop rebellions. (Check out the article “Another Word For White Ally is Coward” on Anti-State STL). A recent letter, entitled “Letter From A White Participant in the Stockley Verdict Demos,” makes an impassioned argument against the disempowering and even subtly racist underpinnings of the argument that “white people started the confrontation with the cops.”
From the letter:
“We offended your sensibilities, I know, because we didn’t just attack the police and shop fronts. We attacked the political process and your way of life. I mean, how can we lead successful lives if we run amuck in the streets acting like wild, poor… animals… right? We didn’t wait for the clergy or the politicians they negotiate with. We didn’t go home when the proverbial streetlights came on the way the activist mediators of our rage would have liked us to do. No, we acted on our own initiative to make our own contributions to settling the score.”
“The cops don’t hear us when we stand on the corner with signs, they hear us when cops get hospitalized, business districts get wrecked, and infrastructure gets shut down. They’ve left us with no choice, we’ve got to defend ourselves.”
“You’d be surprised, but underneath the rage and retribution is another motivation: Love. I’m tired of seeing the people I love get hurt.”
And of course, please donate to the bail and legal fund for the more than 300 people arrested in St. Louis in recent weeks.
The Human Rights Defense Center, the Florida-based non-profit that publishes Prison Legal News and has successfully litigated numerous lawsuits against U.S. prisons, recently announced that it has filed a law suit against the Kentucky Department of Corrections, “for violating its free speech, due process and equal protection rights.” This suit is just the most recent move in HRDC’s continued legal offensive against prison censorship. Anyone who has ever done a zine distro, volunteered for a books to prisoners program or tried to send reading materials to their friends or family in prison knows that prison censorship laws can be draconian to say the least. HRDC’s legal strategy has been very successfully whittling away at prison censorship for years, making it easier for all of us to communicate with prisoners.
This reminds us of the postcard we sent that was rejected by an Oregon prison that depicted a butterfly and had a Rupi Kaur poem written on it that was determined to be a threat to the safety and security of the prison. Appealing these kinds of denials can be exhausting and cumbersome. If you’d like to learn more about what work The HRDC and Prison Legal News is up to and how you can utilize their efforts for prisoners you support, check out their website.
The HRDC also recently announced that, in part due to the successful efforts of their Prison Ecology Project, the Environmental Protection Agency has added more than 6,000 prisons, jails and detention centers to its EJSCREEN mapping tool. According to the EJSCREEN website, “EJSCREEN is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators.”
This is a major victory; it means that anyone can now easily see where prisons are in proximity to sites of industrial pollution and other environmental concerns. The government agencies that rely on the EPA’s mapping tool to review environmental permits will have no excuse not to do the same.
Using this new feature, agencies and organizations can create reports, journalists can use the data for articles, and activists can organize around prisons and jails located near known environmental hazards.
Prison Legal News also warns that law enforcement agencies now have a new tool in their toolbox: technology that systematically identifies people by their tattoos.
Federal researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have launched a program to accelerate tattoo recognition technology. In 2014 and 2015, the Institute initiated its Tatt-C program, which stands for Tattoo Recognition Technology Challenge.
The project started with an FBI database containing 15,000 images of prisoner tattoos. The biometric database was shared by NIST with 19 participating organizations: five research institutions, six universities and eight private companies; the objective was to use their algorithms to create a database for law enforcement officials.
Five tests were involved in the Tatt-C project. The first was determining if an image contained a tattoo. With a reported 90% accuracy rate, it is evident that technology is already highly sophisticated. The highest result came from biometric technology company MorphoTrak.
Activists in Chicago are working to monitor court sentencing of felony cases following a judge’s decision that courts there cannot impose bonds that are too high for defendants to pay. According to a recent article here on IGD, “If Judge Evans’ order is implemented as written, it could potentially reduce Cook County’s jail population by more than fifty percent.”
Meanwhile, Prison Legal News just released a story about a man who was kept locked up in Cook County Jail for over four years awaiting trial for a crime he didn’t commit. Unfortunately, this story is just one example of an endemic problem within the jail, and the article also includes excellent research for those interested in learning more about how shitty things are up there. Keep an eye on this situation as it continues to develop.
Michael Kimble, a black anarchist imprisoned in Alabama’s riotous Holman Unit, recently released an inspiring reportback of his comrades’ celebration and commemoration of Black August within the Holman Unit.
Dane Powell, anarchist prisoner and the first of the J20 defendants to be sentenced to prison time, recently released a statement urging us to solidarity with his co-defendants:
Organize for our comrades, as they have organized for you. Speak for our comrades, as they have spoken for you.
Most importantly, rage for our comrades, as they have raged for you.
Marius Mason’s support crew recently announced that they are trying to raise money for Marius’ long term care while in prison. They have established a budget that $8,000/year to meet Marius’ basic needs and the veterinarian care for the cats that he cares for. Please sign up to be a monthly supporter.
RUF Rebel Radio just put out a new interview conducted by Will Hazlitt of the Animal Liberation Front Press Office with Animal Liberation prisoner Walter Bond. To quote the Bloomington Anarchist Black Cross, “Walter discusses intersectionality, direct action, veganism, moving away from Islam and toward atheism, and his identification with insurrectionary and black anarchy.” We appreciate Walter’s near constant efforts toward self-improvement and political development over the years. Send Walter a letter at:
PO Box 5000
Greenville IL 62246
It is also the sixth anniversary of Walter’s sentencing and we wanted to share a little of his sentencing statement with y’all because it was lit then and still lit all these years later:
My intuition tells me that this court is not going to show me mercy because I became ‘suddenly sorry.’ So instead of lying to the court in a feeble attempt to save myself, as I’m certain many do when they face their sentencing day, allow me to tell you what I am sorry for.
I am sorry that when I was 19 years old I built two slaughterhouses that are still killing Animals, even now as I speak.
I am sorry that Tandy Leather sells skin that has been ripped from the dead, and often live bodies of such Animals as cows, ostriches, rabbits, snakes and pigs.
I am sorry that the leather tanneries that supply Tandy Factory, poison the earth with dangerous chemicals.
I am sorry that the restaurant Tiburon profits from the force feeding of geese and ducks until their livers explode, so that rich people can then use that as a paté for crackers and bread. I am sorry that they make a living from the dead bodies of wild and exotic Animals.
I am sorry that we live in a day and age where you can rape a child or beat a woman unconscious and receive less prison time than an Animal Rights activist that attacked property instead of people.
I am sorry that my brother was so desperate to get out of debt that he flew from Iowa to Colorado just to get me in a taped and monitored conversation for reward money.
I am sorry that I am biologically related to such a worthless little snitch!
I am sorry that I waited so long to become an Animal Liberation Front operative.
For all of these things, I will always have some regret. But as far as the arsons at the Leather Factory and Tiburon go, I have no remorse.
The new episode of Rustbelt Abolition Radio focuses “the liberal discourse of police reform” and while you’re at it, check out their compilation of audio from prisoners involved in the uprising at the Kinross Correctional Institution on September 9th and 10th, 2016, produced in recognition of the one year anniversary of the uprising there. The audio from prisoners at Kinross is deeply moving and well worth the listen.
Political prisoner and former community organizer against police violence, Rev. Joy Powell, needs support right now as she is being held in solitary confinement and denied medical access:
After filing numerous grievances for sexual harassment / stalking by guards, religious discrimination (subjected to anti-Black / Islamophobic violence after converting to the NOI), deprivation of access to court and legal materials and tampering with her mail / property, Sis. Joy has been held in solitary confinement and denied medical treatment (for Asthma and Diabetes).
Sabina Kaplan, Superintendent
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
247 Harris Rd
Bedford Hills, NY 10507
Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci, NYS Department of Corrections at (518) 457-8134
Harriman State Campus
1220 Washington Avenue, Bldg. 2
Albany, New York 12226
Please bring to their attention that we are aware of the treatment Joy has been receiving, and that we demand it stop.Rev. Joy would appreciate copies of support letters also sent to her at the Bedford Hill Correctional Facility:
Reverend Joy Powell 07G0632
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1000
Bedford Hills, NY 10507-2499
Please be sure to send her some sweet letters and cards as well to let her know that she is never alone.
The always beautiful Political Prisoner Birthday Poster is out for October. These posters are put out for you to use in promoting letter writing nights and prisoner support in your area. Be sure to do that! Letter writing nights don’t have to be a big production. We’ve been to letter writing nights that included a fancy vegan meal and to letter writing nights that happened in a McDonald’s. Get your buds together, drink some coffee, write some letters and talk about the new Blade Runner or whatever. Not that we’d know anything about Blade Runner as super serious anarchists, but you get the point. It isn’t hard to start a letter writing event where you’re at. Promise.
The kkkops out in Charlottesville, VA are up to some racist bullshit charging multiple anti-fascists and anti-racists this past week, including DeAndre Harris who was brutally attacked by white supremacists on August 12th. We’ll be updating more in depth on the support needs of everyone facing charges related to Cville next week. For now, please hear the call of anti-fascists and the Anarchist People of Color Collective (APOC) from Cville to flood the Commonwealth Attorney’s phone lines with demands to drop the charges against DeAndre Harris, Corey Long and all other anti-racists from July 8th, August 12th and all other dates where they stood to defend against violent white supremacists.
That’s what we’ve got for you this week, friends. We’re excited to be back at this on a weekly basis. If there is anything specific you’d like included in our round-up or covered more in depth, send us a submission.
We also want to send extra loving solidarity to all the prisoners in California who are fighting the wildfires. Y’all are not forgotten and deeply appreciated.
Keep your heads up. As a friend reminded us, 2017 isn’t through with us yet.
– Your always friendly, but ever grumpy bad kids