Filed under: Bloc Party, Editorials, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, US
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
This week we’re going to do a little bit of piggy backing off the follow up to “Do Riots Work,” that was released this week “Do Riots Work Part II: Blockading Politics.” As things intensify across the country, with regular old Bernie Bros ready to take the punches of Trump supporters and liberals lining up to blockade highways, the time has indeed come to question the tactics that many of us have come to rely on in struggle. Tactics are not politics. To confuse the two is a risky business that is likely to leave us with something worse than strange bedfellows, but rather aligned with those with whom we hold no common goals. Tactics are not a position and in fact can be used to push forward any number of positions.
We’ve sat on our own porch a number of times and had these same conversations. There are tools and tactics that we once held as our own as anarchists. We held them up almost on a pedestal. To emerge as a masked force, to blockade, to rumble in the streets or hear the sounds of breaking glass all around was the dream a lot of us talked about. Perhaps some of us got caught up in the romanticism of the tactics and perhaps we held too tightly to them. It isn’t enough to emerge with the tactics, because others are wielding the same or similar tools, or are not too far from doing so at least. Let’s start thinking about what it looks like to actually formulate the dreams that the tactics are serving to advance. We said a few weeks back that we shouldn’t forget that we’re right and we stand by that. But, it isn’t the tools in hand that make us right.
From “Do Riots Work Part II“:
When we find ourselves in these situations—in riots, in blockades, in uprisings—we don’t simply get to choose the character that it takes. For this reason, we must find ways to intervene in these political movements to push the tensions at anti-political fault lines within these events. Politicians of all sorts must be resisted and their programs sabotaged, laying bare their attempts to preserve life as we know it—while sowing the seeds of destitution.
We also need to operate outside of them to maximize our potential. There is no denying the material consequences of attacks or blockades regardless of their political nature. A shut down highway is a shut down highway, a burnt police station is a burnt police station. When activists carry out their theatrical actions, it could be an opportune moment to paralyze another node of the metropolis. Not because our struggle is the same, but to spread the fires of revolt.
As this year rolls on those words above might do us all some good to keep in mind. Sometimes the struggle isn’t going to be the same. Sometimes it is an opportunity to spread the fires of revolt. Here’s to spreading the fires from sea to damn shining sea this Summer!
Now let’s get to all that news from the Bloc:
First and foremost, if ya ain’t heard, there are rebels throwing down in prisons in Texas, Alabama, and Michigan. There is a new first person interview with the mother of a prisoner in Texas, detailing the retaliation prisoners are experiencing for even considering to join a state-wide prison strike happening as we write. There are a number of ways you can show your solidarity with folks inside, and we recommend you check both Support Prisoner Resistance and the IWOC site for regular updates on call-ins, solidarity actions, and other efforts. If you hold an event or action for folks, inside make sure to let those folks know!
April 16th was the birthday of Abdul “Lone Wolf,” and some militants in Finland decided to mark it by paint bombing both a dairy plant and a meat company.
After 16 months of imprisonment for raising hell against some white supremacists, I’ve been released on parole, and am back home in the Chi. I would like to share my deepest thanks to all those who have supported me, y’all have made a shitty experience only barely sucky. Seriously though, major shoutouts to Anarchist Black Cross, the anarchists from st. louis, the DOPE collective, Crimethinc Ex-worker, the peeps at WILDFIRE, the DIRT, IT’S GOING DOWN, all my friends and comrades in Chicago, and everyone who has sent me letters, books, cash, and kept me up to date with wtf is going on in the world – y’all are the best. My experiences have taught me how dire the situation is; 2.5 MILLION people are locked up in these stupid prisons at any given time in this country, the greatest number and among the greatest rate in the world. With the waters rising and the fires raging and fascism becoming more ubiquitous in the voting booth and the streets, its more important than EVER to be asking hard questions and also to make total destroy!
Your friend for the rev,
The campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons released a comprehensive article highlighting the treatment of environmental activists and defenders who have been incarcerated, and the intersection of ecology and prisons. Some long overdue convos here, even if we do cringe at using the word “activism” to describe the actions of folks like Daniel McGowan and Rebecca Rubin…
Siddique Abdullah Hasan recently called into an event in Brooklyn, and gave this awesome talk that can be heard here:
In a landmark decision, the Dallas 6 case was declared a mistrial, in a huge victory for the struggle against solitary confinement. From a report:
Jury refuses to convict prisoners charged with riot and aggravated harassment in landmark “Dallas 6” prisoner whistleblower trial.
Defendants, family members and supporters declare victory and call for an end to prison abuse and corruption brought to light in testimony
Some rad new art from anarchist prisoner and eco-defender, Marius Mason:
The person depicted in the painting is the same prisoner, Ky Peterson, who is featured in a new article from The Advocate. Ky Peterson is a black trans man who has been imprisoned for 3 years for defending himself against a person that attacked and raped them. Read more here.
In Mexico, indigenous communities released a statement demanding the release of political prisoners:
Today we denounce the three levels of government, demanding that they release to us the political prisoners of San Sebastián Bachajón, Emilio Jiménez Gómez and Santiago Moreno Pérez, imprisoned in CERSS 17 at Playas de Catazajá. Emilio is falsely accused of assault on an Italian tourist in the community of Xanil and Santiago is unjustly accused of aggravated homicide, following acts which took place in the community of La Pimienta, Chilon municipality where members of the PRI attacked him for being part of the supervisory board of the Sixth Declaration of the Ejido San Sebastián Bachajón. They took out his arrest warrant, and confiscated his plot of land and house site, and displaced his family so they have no place to live. Compa Santiago is becoming more unwell because there is no medicine in prison and he is of an advanced age.
Compañero Esteban Gómez Jiménez continues to be a prisoner in Cintalapa De Figueroa, Chiapas (Amate #14), where he has been freed from the unjust charge of qualified homicide but he is still accused of assault on a truck of French tourists. We demand his freedom and that of the others who are imprisoned unjustly because the living conditions inside the penal centre are getting increasingly worse, violating their basic rights and they are living in permanent risk; they are denied access to health services and food, most prisoners are fed by their relatives.
The personal integrity of the prisoners is no longer guaranteed, on several occasions they have denounced violations of their rights, but the government bodies do nothing about it. Apart from being treated inhumanely, they are not being given access to justice as they should be, because the authorities are becoming more corrupt all the time, from the top to the bottom of the system.
Back in the US, organizers are calling on people to call-in to demand an end to sleep deprivation techniques. From the report and with more info on how to call-in:
California prisoners in solitary confinement continue to be sleep-deprived due tojarringly noisy “security/welfare checks” 40-48 times a day.
The ‘checks’ are particularly loud and distressing for people in Central CA Women’s Facility (CCWF) Administrative Segregation death row, due to guard aggressiveness, and in Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (PB SHU) where cramped, concrete architecture also amplifies the noise.
More details about the court proceedings for Jay Chase were released, after Jay pleaded guilty for an altercation with guards which is most likely a direct result of his rapidly deteriorating health related to his Huntington’s Disease. From the report:
All supporters were removed from the courtroom citing a “potential security risk” and searched again in the hallway right as Jay’s name was called. We got back into the courtroom right as it was ending. This is what Chicago state repression looks like. Six sheriffs searched a long line of people that had been searched already at the entrance and obviously found nothing. This is how they undermine support.
Please drop Jay a line and let him know you care:
Jared Chase M44710
Pontiac Correctional Center
PO Box 99
Pontiac, Illinois 61764
NYC ABC recently updated their Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. Be sure to download for distribution far and wide!
We’d like to put on people’s radar that Leonard Peltier is currently having medical and health problems. Learn more here. Let’s make sure we stand behind him.
I had never heard of him
had never heard of anything he’d done
before the news of his death came
whoever he might have become
whatever he might have achieved
had he lived longer
not been riddled lifeless by
bullets from Darren Wilson’s gun
and crumpled on the pavement of a ferguson street
for more than four hours in
the heat of that august day
I’d never known of Trayvon Martin
had known nothing of who he was
until I learned of his demise
and cause of death
a bullet to the chest
George Zimmerman, the shooter
a badge-less, pretend police
with a pistol
and fear of the darkness
and after a while
the pictures, the names,
like so much colored laundry in the wash
that bleeds on whites
was it Eric Garner or Tamir Rice
who was twelve but seen as twenty
Hulk Hogan or The Hulk
with demonic eyes it was said
who shrank the cop in ferguson
into a five-year-old who
had to shoot
and John Crawford the third
in a walmart store aisle
an air rifle in his hands he’d picked up
from the shelf
and held in the open
in an open-carry state
was it John or someone else
killed supposedly by mistake
in a dark stairwell
I know Akai Gurley fell
I hadn’t heard of him before
nor of Amadou Diallo or Sean Bell
prior to their killings
which of these two took slugs in the greater number
I don’t recall
my memory is too encumbered
with the names
of so many before and since
the frequent news reports of
and duplicitous presentations by “experts in the field”
the consultants put out front
to explain away
that which is so often plain as day
to coax and convince us that we’re the ones
who can’s see straight and
can’t hear clearly
who are the ones replacing facts with spin
to mislead and mystify
as the beatings and the chokings and shootings
of our boys and men
by these wrong arms of the law
proceed in orderly fashion
before the sometimes sad
sometimes angry faces of
Lastly this week, we will leave you all with some sad news, marking the passing of two rebels inside prison walls. From Sacramento Prisoner Support:
“You cannot harm me, you cannot harm one who has dreamed a dream like
mine” (Indian Warrior Song).”
Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez left this mortal world on Thursday April 14, 2016, at 7:28 p.m. surrounded by his family and friends. He was sixty years old. Songs and prayers were offered to honor him from the four directions.
Abdullah Majid passed away on April 3rd, 2016. A statement was released on his support page, shortly followed up by an audio statement from Mumia Abu-Jamal via PrisonRadio. Our sincere condolences to his loved ones who are left behind. We rarely feel like we have the words when a rebel dies behind bars. Then again, actions speak louder than words anyway, right? Lets keep fighting. For them, and everyone who came before.