Originally posted to It’s Going Down
The last two weeks we’ve focused somewhat more intensely on the things that have been most weighing on our minds, the topics most often brought up over that third cup of coffee. It’s hard out there. We all know this. We’re constantly reminded of it every time we turn on our phones, opening the Facebook or Twitter feeds. We are all struggling to survive this and honestly it is wonder any of us have because, in the recent words of a friend, it is unbearable what we’ve all been through. It can start to feel like we are all just pushing, pulling and tearing at something that we may never see crumble to the ground. Except that we keep going. We keep pushing, pulling, tearing and burning it all down because that is where the possibility for actual joy lies.
Over the last year we’ve been pleased to see how calls for solidarity actions or events have taken off so successfully on an international level. There is a connectedness of struggles that we can see blooming right now across anarchy land, near and far. This is worth cultivating. We saw how the Greek call for Black December ignited, pun intended. Building solidarity, truly tangible solidarity, is another way of sharpening our claws. Let’s keep that going, friends. With that in mind, we want to turn our attention to the inaugural Trans Prisoner Day of Action that happened on January 22nd. There are just too many actions and events to cover from across the globe, so we highly recommend you check out the TransPrisoners website for a complete list of events. Spanning 9 countries, we think its pretty fucking impressive. We decided to just focus on North America for the purposes of this column:
— WESPAC Foundation (@WESPAC_NY) January 27, 2016
Toronto Anarchist Black Cross held a film and discussion event, co-hosted by Prisoner Correspondence-Toronto, and OPIRG Toronto. Cards were also sent out by attendees to show love and support to trans prisoners.
— Jan22nd (@4TransPrisoners) January 24, 2016
Vancouver IWW held a documentary screening about trans women who fought street harassment in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco in 1966. Funds were also raised for a local trans organization.
— Jan22nd (@4TransPrisoners) January 24, 2016
— Jan22nd (@4TransPrisoners) January 23, 2016
In Denver, CO, the local Anarchist Black Cross chapter held a special letter writing on the 19th for trans prisoners. Also in Colorado, the folks in Dirty Hands Collective and the Durango Prisoner Letter Writing Night met up at Fort Lewis College in Durango for a letter writing lunch. Bloomington, Evansville, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Louisville, Albuquerque, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Asheville, Carrboro, Durham, Athens, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Houston, Milwaukee, and DC all held letter writings, usually in conjunction with film screenings, discussions, music, or other artistic presentations about trans prisoners and the struggle for trans liberation and prison abolition.
Seattle showed the rad film, Criminal Queers, with a discussion afterward on anti-police, anti-prison, and prisoner solidarity work. Philly’s A-Space hosted a letter-writing and discussion event in conjunction with a know your rights training by Up Against the Law Legal Collective.
Philly also held a pretty rowdy noise demo outside of the Federal Detention Center downtown. What ended up being a ruckus queer dance party was made complete with vandalized police cars, snow balls thrown at the prison walls getting a “snowball makeover”, plenty of cop and CO heckling, and plenty of sassy banners. Kudos to you Philly for really giving a well rounded series of events on the 22nd!
Minneapolis also held a short noise demo with plenty of fireworks and banners reading “Fire to the Prisons” and “Not Gay as in Happy, Queer as in Fuck 12”.
San Francisco saw a benefit show for the TGI Justice Project. This punk and queercore lineup was great, with SBSM, Butanna, and Sorry, Not Sorry.
The corresponding zine to the day of action also had its release party in Austin, TX. Wow y’all. Keep it fucking coming. While this day wasn’t as “glamorous” as something like Black December, we think its a testament to the real leg work people want to put into making connections beyond prison walls. We hope there were stronger affinities built, for a rowdier January 22nd next year!
In other Prisoner related news:
The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition is calling for a rally against prisoner torture on Feb. 1st in Sacramento. The media release can be found here.
Beginning August 2, 2015 people in Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit (SHU)have been awakened by guards every 30 minutes around the clock. CDCR claims these“checks”—which have been described as extremely loud and alarming—are necessary toprevent suicides. However, according to advocates and loved ones of people inside, prisonersare experiencing the checks as nothing less than a form of sleep deprivation, causing seriouspsychological and physical harm including headaches, nausea, weight loss, and thedepression that these checks are supposedly meant to prevent.
In Oakland, CA, a historic settlement was reached regarding indefinite isolation in solitary confinement.
On Tuesday, Federal Judge Claudia Wilken approved the final agreement to end indefinite solitary confinement in California calling it humane, innovative and fair. Prisoners celebrated the settlement agreement, whose terms were agreed on last September, claiming it as a victory that bolstered their struggle for human rights.
Many of the MOVE folks are up for parole again. Their support campaign is sending around a petition, and the MOVE organization released a statement regarding their parole hearings. While a bunch reactionaries come up against the Feds in Oregon, with one dead, we remember the bombing of the MOVE house in Philly that killed 11 people, including 5 children, and resulted in the destruction of 65 homes.
We want to close out this week with a serious note. Jay Chase of the NATO 3 may very well die in prison. Let’s say this again. Jay Chase may very well fucking die in prison. Y’all this is a grave situation. Huntington’s Disease is a neuro-degenerative condition that is horrific to live with when you have access to proper medical care, but imagine this while incarcerated. The grave truth that struck us is that we have seen the battle one of the most well known and respected political prisoners, Mumia, has had to fight to receive medical care over this last year. A serious battle that has required tireless effort on the part of his partner, support team, lawyers and international community of supporters. Jay Chase does not have the same network of support available to Mumia. This battle is going to require each and every one of us to fucking step it up. We cannot let the state steal our friends and then slowly kill them.
What does this stepping up look like? Well, we imagine some calls for action will come from Jay’s support folks. In the meantime let’s get creative and start stirring shit up. Consider this a call to action. Flood Jay with letters, cards and messages of loving solidarity. Drop banners. Paint the town with Jay’s name. Have an event or fundraiser for Jay. Make stickers with Jay’s picture and address and put them everywhere. Y’all are oh so creative and we trust that you’ve got this.
You can write Jay here:
P.O. Box 99
Pontiac, IL 61764
Until next week, friends. It’s cold out there so keep the fires burning in your hearts, dumpsters, streets, police cruisers or whatever.
– Your friendly career bad kids