Filed under: Editorials, Incarceration, Mexico, Political Prisoners, Queer, Repression, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
A common criticism of our rowdy crews is that we are a tad bit clique-ish. Now, we certainly think there is some validity to this criticism. Developing stronger connections is something we will always encourage ourselves and others to strive towards. However, there are plenty of times when the phrase, “No, you can not fucking sit with us” is of the utmost importance. You could say this is our thesis statement for this week, so please keep it in mind as you read further.
We know that on paper this phrase comes off as a bit cold. Fuck it. Maybe it is. Warmth is for do-gooders who care more about making themselves feel good through narcissistic charity cases, not for people who want to see the things that are literally killing them and their friends turned to ashes. We aren’t here to posture and would not want to fall into that trap. If we are going to propose a “you can not sit with us,” mentality we are going to have to go it alone sometimes. We have to be willing to back that shit up. But this isn’t the piece about exactly how to back that shit up. There are already some great ones written. This is the column about why sometimes its important to say “fuck it.”
Besides cops and politicians, besides bosses, who else don’t we want at our lunch table? Every pompous kid who calls themselves anything that implies nobility or denotes their purity. Leader. Ally. Every kid that speaks with a tone in their voice as if god himself anointed them to do this “work.” Well, fuck god and fuck work. At best this approach is naive. For newcomers, potential bad kids, we will probably give a pass. Most of us have had to play out these docile roles of Activist, Organizer, or Concerned Citizen to become the jaded and nihilistic anarchists still bent on revolution. Though we know full well that we may have to forgo dreams of revolution and settle for old fashioned revenge.
OK liberals, here is the thing. We want to level with you. You don’t want us at your table anyway. We always mess up your utensil arrangements, we complain the food needs more salt, more spice, and we always bug you for your leftovers. We are the kids who said they didn’t want to order anything and lie in wait for the remains of your basket of fries.
The thing is, you don’t want the same things as us. We don’t want to fulfill the promise of democracy, because we think that promise was always empty and there was never an intention of it being fulfilled. There is no point in sitting at a table with people you have nothing in common with. To sit at our table, you have to earn that seat. You aren’t entitled to our trust, just as we aren’t entitled to yours. Don’t get us wrong, maybe we will be in the streets together at some point. We will likely nod and say hi. After the social pleasantries are exchanged we are pretty certain you’ll be pissed at us for something. Our only hope is you’re pissed at us for something we actually did. If only a march could turn into a riot with a couple “fuck the police” chants. If only we could easily dupe large crowds of people into negating their roles as “activists” and becoming an insurrectionary force. If only a boom box playing Lil’ Boosie was all the prodding needed for total destroy.
Nope. You can’t sit with us.
We recognize that we’re enlisting our sardonic wit and charm in writing about this complicated topic. We would never want to give the impression that we think this is easy. It isn’t easy. Instead it is a complicated matter in which many of us find ourselves lost at times. Consider this a proverbial pat on the back for every time you’ve declared “you can’t sit with us.” Think of it as a warm embrace amongst friends when the messy fallout ensued. Take this back to your front porches, your living rooms and fireside chats about what it means to call into question the complicated political relationships we all find ourselves in.
Now that we have all that out of the way, here’s some news from inside…
Happy 10 Year Anniversary to Black and Pink! The radical, LGBTQ prison abolition group has been supporting queer and trans prisoners for ten years. Here’s to ten more! Check out their video with testimonies here. You can also view letters from Black and Pink prisoners celebrating the anniversary on their website, but here is one we especially enjoyed:
Hello Black and Pink Fam…
My name is Lil Kool ya heard me…
Im from New Orleans but currently incarcerated in Texas (TDCJ). Well I’ve been referred to this family by a dude here and as I started getting this newspaper I never once found the courage to write or before I started getting the newspaper I couldn’t find myself to tell anyone how I felt and who I really am because of shame, scared and embarrassment of my sexuality. Well after the recent newspaper with dede from PA and Tammy from GA and also anonymous and Jada from NV. All that went out the window. I’ve never been Gay before or did sexual things with anyone as my gender (male). Maybe 2014 is when I actually found who I am and who Im really interested in (feminine man and transgenders).
So what that label me as world??? Yes I am ya heard Me…All these letters to the family I’ve read really had a tremendous impact on my life. Instead of being ashame, scared of what others might say or embarrass. I took the honor to be encouraged by my black and pink family through these letters that we read and write. Among each other. These letter inspired me. Not only cause I found myself but because I can now be proud to share my new identity and not be ashamed. Scared or embarrassed. Thank yall for the inspirement. Ya heard me…with the help of these people I call family at Black and Pink.
Staying on the subject of queer and trans prisoners, Marius Mason, a trans prisoner, anarchist, and eco-defender, has called for a Trans Prisoner Day of Solidarity on Friday, January 22nd. If you haven’t already planned anything yet, get moving and plan something with a few friends! A couple letters can do a lot of good for someone behind bars!
Folks just released a zine in conjunction with this day of solidarity and action. You can download it in both a printable PDF and one for online reading. Scrape up a few bucks and go print this shit out already.
Marius’ artwork is frequently featured in Fifth Estate Magazine. Recently, a few of his pieces were on display at the Fifth Estate 50th Anniversary Museum Exhibition.
More information about the exhibition can be found here:
Also, please don’t forget to write Marius on his birthday! Its coming up on Januray 26th!
Marie (Marius) Mason #04672-061
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Eric King, a vegan anarchist prisoner held in Kansas, has written a new poem. We encourage you to check out his art here, and as always, write him a letter of support. You can visit his support page for more info about his case. His trial date is currently set for March 8th. As trial approaches there is a lot of anxiety and fear for folks facing prison time, sending him a flood of letters between now and then would do a lot to lift his spirits!
I think I see it, clearer
they want us to live life in fear
not feeling that kind of life
broken into our minds
robbery mask on tight
to steal our sense of humanity
the guns are locked & loaded
and they’ve handed them over
made us into hunters
where do we go from here?
We pretend we’re still human
have brains we refuse to use them
is peace really a blade sharpened
or a face stomped in?
I remember how it used to feel
to smile and mean it
it still sitting in my mind
if I can keep it safe and sound
then through this maze I can be found
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, KS 66048
The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective is looking for a new space! Prison Books has been distributing books throughout the North Carolina and Alabama prison systems since 2006. They could really use some donations right now, so please throw them a couple bucks.
Please send polite, yet firm emails to:
[email protected] assistant to the Denver Sheriff
Correctional Care Coordinator Email: [email protected]
Or call & demand immediate access to antibiotics, pain meds, proper medical care, and to end the constant harassment and intimidation against Sharod Kindell.
Mayor Hancock office 720-220-8165, Amber Miller communications director.
***Update: They gave Sharod some tylenol***
Mexican authorities continue to crack down on community activists and political prisoners:
On January 7, Leonel Rivero Rodriguez, the attorney of Nestora Salgado, commander of the Regional Coordination of Community Authorities-Community Police (CRAC-PC), announced that the First Criminal Court of the High Court of Justice of Guerrero rejected the appeal presented by the defense, and ratified the detention order against her for the offense of aggravated kidnapping. The judges of the First Criminal Court of the High Court issued their decision on December 15 last, but this had not been made public due to the holiday season. Nestora Salgado García was detained in August 2013, and is currently a prisoner at Tepepen Penitentiary in Mexico City.
On January 5th, The Voice of Amate, “a voice that cried out and continues to cry out”, celebrated its eleventh year. The Voice of Amate was founded in 2005 as a result of the process of organization of indigenous prisoners “because of the injustices” in their cases.
One last thing, the deadline for participating in the first round of interviews for The Spaces Between project is coming up on January 30th. They will be accepting essay submissions until June 30th. Check out their call out for interview participation:
In addition to collecting essays, we are conducting interviews with folks across the country who are currently or have been involved in anarchist organizing in smaller cities and towns. We want to hear about your experiences in regards to what anarchist organizing looks like outside of major anarchist strongholds, in rural communities, in conservative regions and more.
What does it look like to build autonomy in these places?
What does it look like to succeed and to fail?
What does allyship look like in communities where there is no Left with which to have that love/hate relationship?
How do we connect with others in struggle when geographically isolated?
How do we organize openly as anarchists and build stronger community ties?
Interested in being interviewed? All those participating will be anonymous in the publication (zine, this website, other possible means of publishing) and identified by solely region, city or town.
Email us: [email protected]