Filed under: Bloc Party, Editorials, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, Repression
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
Well, as promised friends, we are here with another party on the Bloc. We have pulled together some serious tips, tricks, and even more questions about whats to come this summer. Things are heating up, thawing out, and getting moving. Spring time is here and soon the heat of summer will be upon us. So what does this mean for resistance across the continent? With this being the summer of Republican and Democratic National Conventions, we expect to see a surge in activity centered around electoral politics. While we don’t hold any hope for electoral anything, we expect the resistance to both conventions to be big events of the summer, particularly if the Trumpster is able to take his seat as the Republican nominee. Regardless, we expect the far-right to be emboldened more than we have probably seen in the US in a couple of decades. This mixed with continuing struggles against prisons, the police who fill them, and the intensifying of indigenous land struggles, makes for a busy season. As we make plans friends, we want to make sure we are all keeping some things in mind:
101 Security Culture: Trump is getting a lot of people pissed. This means we should expect for a whole lot of new folks on the field this summer, as we have personally already seen in recent anti-Trump and anti-fascist demos. What practices do we have in place that can be shared with new friends and co-conspirators, in a way that doesn’t make us insular? Sometimes exclusion is a good thing. But are we excluding the right people? For basic materials on 101 stuff, we recommend checking out what Durham Anti-Repression Committee and the Bay Area Anti-Repression Committee have to offer. For those looking to research and educate on the histories and strategies of counterinsurgency, Kristian Williams edited a pretty great book called Life During Wartime that we highly recommend.
Social Media: Is this shit even useful?? We love cat memes and arguments with strangers who may be acquaintances of our parents as much as the next person, but what are we really getting out of this? We have to admit, we use forms of social media for various projects, and even indulge in some personal venting once in a while, but we have largely moved away from organizing actions over social media. Trump supporters have called out for a formation of a Lion’s Guard, a group that would track social media profiles appearing to be planning actions at Trump events so they can snitch them out to security and police at rallies. However, if one of the primary platforms for communication is too compromised, what are left with in its place? Other forms of media are not consumed the same way they used to be, and mobilizing people through phone trees, fliers, and newspaper ads just isn’t possible the way it used to be. We encourage readers to think creatively, and share what methods have worked in your towns. While we don’t suggest just a regression to old ways, we do think there is something of value in building the types of relationships with other crews that a few phone calls could mobilize an extended network of folks in a matter of days.
Counter Narrative: The best way to stay safe, hold back isolation, and generalize our ideas is to speak about our actions with our own voice, beating the State to the punch. If we are doing something right, people will be drawn to our ideas. Like we said last week, don’t forget that we’re right. We’re anarchists because we see what is broken and have some long standing ideas on what could work better. If we have enough confidence in our ideas, it will show, and people will gain respect for that. All this brings us to the question, if not through social media, how are we getting our story out there? Sure, Twitter is useful for short bursts of info while shit is going down, but how do we show the full intent of our actions? How do we highlight the strains we find promising in moments of more broad-based resistance? Security concerns regarding clandestine acts of sabotage aside, is the internet the primary tool we should be using?
Hard Repression: If you are familiar with counterinsurgency strategy, you realize that what we normally think of as state repression (charges, raids, targeted harassment, brutality) is actually just one side of the State’s repressive strategy. Soft repression is a more everyday thing, what manifests itself as normal policing. This looks like targeted enforcement zones, community policing, promises of reform, stop and frisk, visible patrols through neighborhoods (kop kars on every korner, we’re all alone). These are designed not only to increase the chance of catching someone breaking a law, but to create general anxiety in people’s social life around stepping out of line. This creates the illusion of the State being everywhere all the time. The panopticon effect. We can guarantee all of those things this spring and summer, plus what we guess will be a whole new wave of hard repression. What forms will this take? How can we play to minimize the damage they cause, and hopefully maximize what we can get out of it? Sometimes, hard repression can actually backfire, and help to generalize revolt. This certainly happened in Ferguson, as well as in Minneapolis when the cops evicted the occupation of the 4th precinct. How do we tell the difference between macho posturing, and being bold in the face of state repression? Fearlessness and strength can earn respect from those who feel alienated by the self-righteous victimhood of activism. How do we do this without biting more than we can chew?
We asked more questions than we had firm answers. Think of this as an invitation to a conversation, a conversation that we sincerely hope y’all are having. With all of that being said, how about we get to all that news from the Bloc?
We saw some great photos being shared of recent visits to long-term anarchist and trans prisoner, Marius Mason. Did you know if you knew Marius prior to his arrest you may be eligible to visit? You can contact his support group and find out more at: [email protected]
Marius with his two children, Andre and Ari. Maybe you could drop Marius a line this week?
Marie (Marius) Mason #04672-061
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Marius also is a prolific painter and has been consistently sending out beautiful paintings and poetry. You can see more of his work, featured on his support site. But, for now we’d like to share this beauty with all of you:
As things heat up across the country with prison strikes and rebellions, this letter shared by Atlanta Anarchist Black Cross is an important one to read. The letter is lengthy and we strongly encourage you head over to the Atlanta ABC page to take it all in:
The following post is an excerpt taken from a letChter sent shortly after the recent rebellion at Holman. The author (name withheld) is a prison rebel currently housed at Donaldson Correctional facility in Bessemer, Alabama who has also spent some of his sentence at Holman.
March 21, 2016
…We were so excited about demonstrations at Holman, that we spent most of the time talking about that, and how the transfer of many of the brothers who were involved up here to Donaldson will help our cause. That brings me to the other reasons I am in high spirits! I don’t know if you have heard or not, but it’s been all over the news here in Alabama. I also read a small excerpt on the events in Wednesday’s 16thUSA Today news paper. In the ‘State by State’ section. I will get the Youtube link from a video, [that] ________ told me some guys posted when they had absolute control of the prison and they were running around setting things on fire and whatnot…
Few things get our hearts a melting like prisoners turning up against their captors. We said recently that solidarity doesn’t even begin to touch on the sentiment we want to convey to prison rebels across so-called North America and beyond. Friends out in Nebraska are certainly turning up in just the ways that get our hearts a melting and our fists a raising:
LINCOLN — For a second time this week, prison personnel have been assaulted by inmates, this time at the State Penitentiary in Lincoln, corrections officials report.
On Wednesday night, two corrections officers were assaulted as they were trying to secure inmates in their cells for the night.
When one officer directed an inmate to return to his cell, the officer was struck. A nearby officer was struck too as he responded to take control of the inmate, the officials said.
One of the two officers was treated at a local hospital and released.
On Monday, three corrections officers were assaulted at the state prison in Tecumseh, which also was the scene of a deadly riot last May. Just before that, the penitentiary was the site of a less-serious disturbance, in which four corrections workers were attacked and some $1 million in damage was done.
We appreciated the phrasing from this article that characterizes a previous uprising as a “less-serious disturbance,” while the prisoners had inflicted around $1 million in damages. Nebraska, we’d like to see what y’all can do when you get serious then! Fists up with you, Tecumseh rebels.
Oso Blanco is continuing to ask for support in dealing with horrible conditions and treatment at the prison where he is being held captive. Until April 1st Oso had not had access to rec time in over two months, after some pressure from this ongoing email campaign the prison threw him out into the snowy cold without even a coat for his “rec time.” These COs are fucking sick. Please send an email to Hazelton USP and let them know they need to stop this inhumane treatment of our comrade in struggle. Check out this sample letter and the contact information below:
On March 20th, Sunday, – a non recreation day – they took Mr. Chubbuck (#07909051) to recreation – for over four hours – in the snow without a coat. They refused to provide a coat. They then brought him in and put him in paper underwear for 4 and 3/4 days in a solitary, cold cell. Basically he was naked. I believe this is part of a pattern of abuse and retribution against Mr. Chubbuck and other people in SHU.
On March 29th they came in a group to take him to recreation. However, he was the only person in the whole SHU who was being taken to recreation. To him, this seemed suspicious. He was convinced they were going to take his art and put him back in paper underwear. So he refused to cuff up. They laughed and said, “Yeah, you don’t like paper,huh?” They wrote him a false shot last time he went to recreation. It was thrown out.
His bed is four foot long one inch thick. The shower is outside his cell and is very cold. When he receives meals through the high security box he is insulted by LT. Riffle. Mr. Chubbuck has no store access but has money for and has repeatedly requested STAMPS. His orders have been ignored. He does not have his radio and can’t buy one.
Please address the time spent in the cold room without proper clothes, the recreation in the cold without a coat, the false shots, the verbal abuse, and the access to store and books with CO. Pierce, CO. Smith, and LT. Riffle. Please speak to the warden, speak to Mr. Chubbuck, and find a way to get through to the unit and/or remove Mr. Chubbuck from this dangerous and abusive situation.
YOU, YEAH YOU READING THIS. SEND AN EMAIL PLEASE the address is below!Please email with these requests:~ We know Mr. Chubbuck is not suicidal, does not do drugs. We want this to be on the record – that if he is injured in any way then we know it is due to racist guards and a federal lawsuit will have to be filed.~ Please allow Mr. Chubbuck to have stamps that he has requested and has the money to rightfully buy.~ Please allow Mr. Chubbuck to have rec time and follow up that the staff is allowing this right.~ Get Mr. Chubbuck medical treatment for his knee. Can you tell me how he suffered the injury?Please take sixty seconds of your day and email Rachel Thompson (Hazelton USP) atHAX/[email protected] We have not had success calling this facility but we have had responses by email. In your email, state you are checking in on Byron Chubbuck #07909051. Also express concerns over his mail, legal and personal, being mishandled.Your tone can be professional or rude or sweet or whatever but please write to them. It really makes a difference. Also, you may want to email the regional office in charge of Hazelton. That email address is mxro/[email protected]
Phones numbers: Hazelton USP 304-379-5000 Mid-Atlantic Regional Office: 301-317-3100
As a reminder that email and call-in campaigns do have an impact, we’re happy to report that Eric King was removed from solitary confinement and sent back to his pod in general population. The food situation seems to still be tenuous, but Eric and his support crew have asked that it be temporarily paused. We spoke with some folks on the support crew about the call-in campaign and they shared how very aware and perhaps even overwhelmed the prison administration seemed to be by the campaign. Y’all this shit matters. It got Eric out of the hole and trays of food that were not a starvation diet. Let’s apply that same pressure for Oso, friends! In the words of Eric’s support crew “our solidarity is winning out over their fuckery.” Hell yeah it is.
We mentioned that land based struggles have been heating up as much as antifascist struggles in the year. Out in Pennsylvania folks are embattled against Sunoco’s pipeline, using tree sits and other tactics in defense of the land. A few weeks back two folks were arrested:
Sunoco Logistics is clear-cutting trees on the Gerhart family’s property in Huntingdon County to make way for the Mariner East 2 pipelines. Sunoco’s claims to eminent domain are under appeal by the family and are currently being challenged by Clean Air Council, yet Sunoco is seizing land across Pennsylvania for its for-profit pipeline that would ship the gas overseas.
Two people were arrested yesterday, one student from Juniata College, who is alleged to have crossed into the claimed Mariner East 2 pipeline right-of-way to warn crews that a tree they were about to cut held a safety line for one of three tree-sitting protesters, and another protester who had been telling crews to stay in the right-of-way.
For more info about the campaign go here: https://www.facebook.com/events/216614882034778/
For radio interview of Gerhart’s: https://soundcloud.com/ama-tierney/pennsylvania-landowners-resist-sunoco-pipeline-with-direct-action
It looks like everyone is now out of jail and there was a court-date for one of the arrestees just yesterday. Keep an eye on their Facebook page, as it appears to be quite active with a call going out just two hours prior to the writing of this asking for folks with cameras to come film more of Sunoco’s ecological terror. Fuck a bunch of pipeline, am I right?
Our friends at the Prison Books Collective have their April birthday poster out for you to redecorate your town with! They also had some great updates to share:
Hello Friends and Comrades,
Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for April.(11″x17″ PDF, 1.8MB) Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night.Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at [email protected].
Last year, our poster included the political prisoner Brent Betterly, and we are delighted to say that we no longer have to include him on our list of prisoners to support because he was released three days before his birthday last year, and our movements raised a fund after his release. That’s great solidarity after great news.
Check out this prison rebellion support blog for updates and calls to action to support prison rebels.
Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF, 270KB) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Mumia, Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, The Virgin Island 3, and more.
Texas prisoners are striking and again, our long since crusted over hearts have melted with solidarity. We’ve been thinking about how we can better support their struggle in Texas and across state borders.
The prison administration will do all they can to conceal and oppress the strike. According to a March 23rd letter from an IWOC organizer in a Texas prison, prisoners organizing there were given “reliable information” that authorities would use lockdowns “to create the public perception that we are locked down for administrative purposes and not because of the Texas Work Stoppage.”
In lockdown situations “authorities will try to starve, harass, and intimidate us to go back to work” even as prison administration is preparing for a prolonged struggle. The letter states that the prison may be attempting to use other workers to break the strike, “we [in prison] are being asked to write instructions on how to run the washing machines and [industry equipment] so that an alternative workforce can take over the functioning of the prison”.
But their is power in solidarity. Prison organizers believe they can advance with grassroots reporting and outside support. From the March 23rd letter: “If we know the free world is watching and supporting us this will go a long way to making our action worthwhile.”
We keep coming back to that line above “If we know the free world is watching and supporting us this will go a long way to making our action worthwhile.” Let’s find some ways of letting these folks know that we’re watching on the outside. Us bad kids know there is more we can do beyond the call-ins or community events. Put your uniforms on bad kids, and let’s show some damn solidarity.
Anarchist and NATO 3 Political Prisoner Jared Chase goes on trial on Monday in Chicago for assault of a prison guard. He faces 3 or more years in prison, on top of the 8 year sentence he got when he was entrapped as part of the NATO 3 in 2012.Jay has a terminal illness, Huntington’s Disease, that is making his life miserable and could result in him dying in prison. The least we owe our comrades who get imprisoned is solidarity. We need to pack the court. If you have any contacts in Chicago or in the area around it, please send them this info and invite people using the facebook event below. I am limited to 50 invites only.Thank you for your help with this. Anything you can do would be appreciated.April 11 – April 15Apr 11 at 9 AM to Apr 15 at 5 PM in CDTCook County Criminal Courthouse2600 S California Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60623
The day is here. Our friend and comrade Jared ‘Jay‘ Chase goes on trial starting Monday. Will you stand with him?
Jay is supposed to be coming home on May 6th but this trial is creating a situation where he may not. We need you to PACK THE COURT. The attendance at previous hearings has been small at best. Jay is in prison on entrapment charges from the NATO 3 case and these charges stem from his time in solitary confinement at Cook County Jail.
Anita Alvarez is prosecuting Jay. Yes, the same Anita whose events you disrupted and who you voted out of office. The same fascist who prosecuted the NATO 5 cases, the Tinley Park 5 and Jason Hammond, the same monster who is finally leaving office. This is her legacy though. It does not matter that she lost-her office is prosecuting Jayfor alleged assault charges. It is great that people disrupted her campaign events but will they show up for his trial?
Jay was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease while in captivity in Cook County Jail and the ongoing brutalization and isolation he has faced has contributed to a noticeable and alarming deterioration in his health.
This trial is not just about a few extra years being tacked on to his current sentence which is coming to an end in May. The State has made it very clear through this obviously vindictive prosecution that they want to ensure Jaylives out his days in their cage.
Jay needs your support and solidarity. Everyone needs to see that Chicago stands with him and we have his back.
Free Alabama Movement folks have issued a call for action/inaction beginning on May Day and running through the end of the month. The call is brief and the information sparse, but we’ll be keeping our eyes out for more information to share in the coming weeks:
Believe it or not, the entire country is looking at Alabama. Specifically, the Alabama Prison System and its Leadership. Right Now- We have a spotlight on the National stage to show & prove the Effects of: Alabama’s draconian Habitual Offenders Statute, Alabama’s Mandatory Life without Parole Capital Offense Statute, Alabama’s arbitrary Parole Board, Alabama’s parasitic policy of Warehousing & Economical Exploitation rather than Education, Rehabilitation and ReEntry Preparedness. Believe it or not, the entire country is listening– OUR COLLECTIVE ACTION/INACTION will speak louder than words. As in all Emergency Distress Calls… “MAY DAY , MAY DAY” May 1- May 31 ~ 30 DAYS OF NOTHING! No Work No Talk!