There is no denying that we are in perilous times. The reality that is developing around us looks much more like a resistance than a social club. Potlucks and kickball games that taunt the cops feel like quaint memories from our youths. Now we’re thinking about friend’s healing from gunshot or stab wounds and how to keep them safe as their bodies recover. Now we’re thinking about how to talk to churches and places of worship about providing actual sanctuary for migrants and undocumented folks. But, we cut our teeth and sharpened our claws in kitchens making food for potlucks or fighting cops in the streets a few times a year. We know how to cook food for dozens and we’re going to need that skill. We know how to wash pepper spray from eyes and we’ll do it for strangers and comrades alike. We know how to run from point A to point B, evading cops and we’ll show you how we do it. We know how to help get people out of jail, fight charges and do prisoner support. We want to hand over the skills.
Welcome to Circle A Montessori School, where the kids who’ve been in class for awhile take you by the hand and teach you what we know. We all learn by doing here. In this school all bad kids are welcome and there is a role for everyone in class. We’re all the teachers as much as we’re the students. New kids to class have skills to share and knowledge to impart. There’s room for y’all and no shade for late enrollment. You’re here now and that is what matters.
While there are a lot of courses of study in this school, one that is near and dear to our hearts here on the Bloc is prisoner support and movement defense. Some of us have been doing this work for years, decades even. What we need to do is share the skills, spreading them far and wide. For a long time we’ve been willing to take on the support for revolutionaries and rebels that may not come from our own crews or communities in struggle. We aren’t suggesting that we stop, but we are anticipating that we will be stretched beyond thin if we don’t pass on our toolkits and knowledge to others quickly. Right now there is a fascist rise to power and all the old rules are out. We should be preparing for much larger numbers of comrades, new and old, in the clutches of the state. It isn’t paranoia to talk about this, it’s strategic to prepare for it. The few anarchists doing prisoner support, anti-repression work and movement defense aren’t enough to go around for our own folks if things get as bad as they seem to be getting. Hold workshops, find folks to shadow you doing jail support, build “jail support in a box” kits and hand deliver them to points of struggle, connect with the scared parent walking out of the jail with their kid after the riot, show up ready to share skills with the plan to make your presence obsolete because another crew has taken on the task of anti-repression.
The better we are all able to stand up against repression, the stronger our movements will be. Repression can backfire for the state, let’s not forget that.
Now for news from the Bloc…
As most of anarchyland is probably aware, the hammer came down hard on folks for #DisruptJ20, particularly in Washington, D.C. and New Orleans. There are many fundraiser pages set up for the arrestees, all charged with felonies. The central fundraising site for all of the D.C. arrestees can be found here. Some folks have started their own local fundraising efforts for their crews, and a special defense fund has been set up just in case the now infamous Richard Spencer Puncher is caught. Local efforts in both Richmond and Pittsburgh are already under way. We highly encourage people to rally and crew up locally for defense like this, but we also hope folks will connect nationally for a stronger strategy against the state.
Puget Sound ABC released a beautiful statement on the passing of political prisoner Chris Monfort a week and a half ago. We highly suggest you read the whole thing, because it is beautifully written and certainly brought tears to our eyes. We thought of Chris as we watched the footage roll in from rowdy anti-Trump resistance from across these so-called United States:
Though I set out supporting him because of what he did, I came love him like a brother for who he was as well… and he told me countless times how mutual the feeling was. I came to know so much about him, unfortunately, through invasive trial proceedings than his own desire to be candid about his past. Regardless, the man I came to know over the course of three years was so much more than a “cop killer,” though he took pride in this act even in his final days… and wanted only to see more citizens “speak to the bullies in the only language they understand.” He was able to express genuine remorse for taking a father away from his child, without regret for doing what needed to be done. Like I said, Chris was complicated.
The September Prison Strike was a huge paradigm shift that has changed the social terrain of prison struggle. This means a lot of follow up for folks facing repression, including outside supporters arrested in Atlanta during a solidarity demo. Please throw some cash on their fundraiser page!
Joseph Buddenberg, animal liberation prisoner, needs our support around access to vegan food. There is a call in tomorrow, January 31st, to demand Joseph has access to proper nutrition.
Please call the Warden at FCI Victorville and Joseph’s Unit Manager to demand that he receive the nutrition he requires. Make the calls this Tuesday to insist that Joseph gets vegan meals, and spread the word.
Call FCI Victorville Medium I and ask to speak to the Warden’s office: 760-246-2400 (press 0)
Call his Unit Manager Ms. Lyons: 760-246-2547
Sample Script: “Hi, I’m calling to ask that FCI Victorville inmate Joseph Buddenberg receive vegan meals so that his diet is nutritionally adequate. The BOP has publicly stated that vegan options are now available, and Victorville staff needs to make sure he’s receiving vegan meals, especially while he’s in the SHU.”
While you’re thinking of Joseph, be sure to send both him and Nicole a postcard or a letter!
Nicole Kissane #20651-111
MCC San Diego
808 Union Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Joseph Buddenberg #12746-111
FCI Victorville Medium I
P.O. BOX 3725
Adelanto, CA 92301
NYC ABC has finished their most recent version of the “Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War”. You can also download it here.
Boxcar Books in Bloomington, IN recently held a poetry reading for eco-defense prisoner, Marius Mason. Marius is a poet himself, and we only wish he could have been there to enjoy it. This event was also held to mark the annual Trans Prisoner Day of Action held every January 22nd.
Some great news this month when Obama announced that he would be commuting the sentences of both Chelsea Manning and Oscar Lopez Rivera in a somewhat surprising move. We are ecstatic to hear of early releases for both of them, and would like to highlight that it was the work of their support crews and larger political prisoner networks that are the real victorious ones here. Obama’s decision is not one of a benevolent leader but of grassroots pressure and organizing. Celebrate our victories y’all! Lets also not forget that among many others who were in the running for clemency, folks like Leonard Peltier were not deemed worthy of a shortened sentence. The folks left on the inside could use a lot of love right now, so please consider writing to our comrades so they know they aren’t forgotten, even as we celebrate the ones who are coming home! Full lists of long term political prisoners left inside can easily be found on the National Jericho website, as well as the Denver Anarchist Black Cross and NYC ABC pages.
As we move into the era of the Trump Regime and his sweeping executive orders that are opening up new fronts of unrest and intensifying others, lets not forget to hold our friends close, to prepare for an even more intense fight, and to make sure to continue to find joy in struggle. We can’t forget why we fight friends. See you at the barricades.
-some bad kids from the bloc