Filed under: Bloc Party, Editorials, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
This week when we received the update on Jay Chase and the call for supportive actions we were left with a troubling sadness that quickly turned to rage. Jay is just one of hundreds of thousands of prisoners who are being denied medical care or who are beaten brutally in their cells by their captors. We share some affinities with Jay and the word comrade comes to mind, but we likely share affinity with so many more of those on the inside. It has been inspiring to us to see how many anarchists and bad kids have branched beyond the traditional political prisoner support and started making broader connections to prisoners in rebellion. In the recent call out for June 11th this line particularly resonates:
The potential of subverting the state’s plans for restructuring prisons opens another front in the struggle, beyond supporting individual comrades and organizing to help prison rebellions.
When those in power are speaking about mass incarceration and the restructuring of prisons, it is time for us in struggle against prisons to shift our language and our tactics. Perhaps it is time to broaden our concepts of comrades and step forward in new directions. Anarchists and bad kids are always going to throw down hard for their friends and comrades, as we should, but there are so many more bad kids out there, inside and out, to collaborate and conspire with. Let’s conspire more, hone our weapons and see about burning this shit down. For Jay and so many more.
Now for all that news from the Bloc:
We just got wind of this new zine project out of North Carolina,“To Struggle Means We’re Alive: Prisoners Speak Out on Ferguson, Baltimore, and the Ongoing Revolt Against the Police” which compiles interviews with and essays by prisoners, discussing the events of the last two years. In the introduction to the zine the author hits on some of the threads we’ve been considering ourselves lately, what it means to align ourselves as anarchists with those in rebellion on the inside:
I hope to be a comrade to those behind bars whenever possible, but I am not an “ally” to them, or any other heterogeneous group for that matter. Rather, as an anarchist I’ve tried to represent myself as transparently as possible politically to those I correspond with, avoiding the dynamic that comes from passively following leadership and instead at times engaging in active debates with people. Sometimes this means actively choosing to work with some prisoners rather than others. Though there is absolutely a (constructive, I hope) variety of political viewpoints represented here, my own affinities are likely made clear.
They also hit on the uptick in reformist politicking that is taking hold as prison struggles move to the further forward in national media and political dialogues:
With recent prison riots and strikes in Texas, Nebraska, Michigan, and Alabama, and the widespread hunger strikes that spread through California several years prior, we’re living in a time when prison struggles are building intensely. These efforts are primarily being initiated and self-organized by diverse crews of prisoners outside of established activist organizations or networks. Support on the outside has also grown, however, and is currently playing a role in amplifying news of a national prison strike set for September 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising.
This surge in activity unfortunately coincides with the increased prevalence of reformist and even “abolitionist” rhetoric among politicians and their loyal opposition in the world of non-profits and esteemed activist organizations. Whatever their intentions may be, if historical precedent serves, these forces will act to preserve whiteness and capitalism by inaugurating new methods of discipline and social control to replace the old. (emphasis added)
Thank you for fucking saying it North Carolina. We must always consider reformist tactics and whether aligning ourselves with them is actually strategic. Sometimes pragmatism takes precedent for those on the inside and we respect that as those who are not bound in chains. But, there are a lot of voices coming from the inside that seem to echo the sentiment stated above and it feels important to do what we can to support their voices moving through the bars and being heard on the outside. You can download the zine to distribute both to folks on the inside and out over here.
Siddique Abdullah Hasan of the Lucasville Uprising was on The Final Straw this past week, which can be downloaded here. As the national prison strike slated for this September draws nearer, it is definitely important for all of us to keep up with the ways in which those on the inside are moving forward. Hasan specifically speaks about the Free Ohio Movement and the connection to the national struggle to end prison slavery.
Folks from Omaha Anarchist Black Cross put out a list of Nebraska prison rebels that could use some letters, financial support and general solidarity:
Write to these folks, send a Westie to their commissary, and give until it hurts: Inmate Name and #,Tecumseh SCI, P.O. Box 900, Tecumseh, NE 68450
Daryl Eskridge #72481
Yaking Dunn #76188
Clenton Sanders #68620
Deanthony Smith #79991
Justin Busch #76147
David Casillas #74035
Clyde Flemons #78260
Shaquille Renshaw #78812
Frederick Gooch #65759
Write to Andrew at: Lincoln CC, 3216 W. Van Doren St., Lincoln, NE 68522
Andrew Lyle #75554
Omaha ABC is also hilariously jumping on a liberal philanthropy drive and trying to funnel some money to folks on the inside. You clever little bad kids! The posters they’ve made are absolutely lovely, so be sure to print some off for around your town too:
@OmahaABC is appropriating the hashtag #OmahaGives to collect donations for direct support of the Tecumseh rebels and to link up to others before the national prison strike on September 9th 2016. We’ll be on the street with these posters (pdf) and other literature while begging liberals for cash. Prairie fire to the prisons
Also in midwestern anarchyland, Kansas City Anarchist Black Cross has released a new zine from anarchist prisoner Casey Brezik entitled “Conditions of Confinement”. Get it printed quick before June 11th, and maybe come up with a sick little design to release his solidarity statement on paper. We would suggest this to be rather bold:
I’m against prison reform because prisons are a despicable thing that should be destroyed, not designed to be more comfortable. Prisons are fucked up. Their very nature is a twist on reality.
And don’t forget to send him a letter this June 11th:
NorthEast Correctional Center
13698 Airport Rd
Bowling Green, Missouri 63334 (USA)
Continuing with our midwest theme, anarchist prisoner Eric King has a new URL for his support page. You can now get consistent updates at supportericking.org, as well as some spiffy new tshirts. Get you some, and write a letter this June 11th:
100 Highway Terrace
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Marius Mason, one of the original anarchist prisoners behind June 11th, has a new painting up on his support site.
Be sure to drop him a line:
Marie (Marius) Mason #04672-061
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
For more printing, this time intended for inside prison walls, this new pamphlet in preparation for June 11th and September 9th is pretty clever. The Prisoner’s Guide to Healthy and Powerful Living is highly recommended for your mailing lists.
In eco-defense news, Heather Doyle, arrested during an anti-Dominion Power action in Cove Point was found guilty of filing a false statement after she was assaulted by a Calvert County Sheriff and made a complaint. She was sentenced to three months in jail, all but 15 days suspended; 240 hours of community service; court costs; and two years of supervised probation.
There is a lot of rad shit happening between now and September 9th, and the collaboration and cross pollination between groups and tendencies is pretty fucking inspiring. Support Prisoner Resistance has a great rundown of all the events building over the summer towards September. Anything you and your crew can do to show your support is encouraged. Fan those flames, kids.
– your fellow flame-loving bad kids