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Mar 25, 21

In Contempt #3: Calls to Action from Behind the Prison Walls, ‘Blockade Defense’ Campaign Launched

Welcome, to the third installation of In Contempt, a collection of updates and information in relation to state repression and counter-insurgency, especially in the wake of the George Floyd uprising last summer.

In this month’s column we present a roundup of repression and counter-insurgency news, a listing of those facing charges from the rebellion with information on how to support them, and also a collection of birthdays of prison rebels.

With so much to cover, let’s dive in!

California

The folks at Oakland Abolition and Solidarity have a year end report on their activity across 2020 that is well worth a read, and the Sacramento Solidarity Network has a report up on conditions inside the Sacramento County Jail. From their report:

Someone wrote to us and let us know about the cancellation of rehabilitation programs, widespread neglect of potentially serious medical issues and more in Sacramento County Jail. Here is an edited version of their comments, with some changes made for clarity and to protect the source’s identity.

Sacramento Jail has already been in the news for medical neglect, but the neglect is not just medical, it is comprehensive and malicious. Sheriff Scott Jones, who’s department oversees the jail, has appeared at events put on by a “suit-and-tie” white supremacist hate group known as FAIR (Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform). Here is what the Southern Poverty Law Center says about FAIR. Given this context, how can we act surprised when Black and Brown people suffer and die in his custody?

Arizona

In Kinłani/Flagstaff, Arizona, police made an arrest following a march against police attacks on unsheltered indigenous people at the end of February. Bonn, a local trans indigenous activist involved in mutual aid organizing, is now facing charges of “aggravated assault,” and is fundraising for legal costs.

Georgia

Atlanta Anti-Repression Committee have shared a number of updates. They have a short statement from pre-trial defendant Ellie Brett, a report from the bond hearings of defendants Richard and Lyfe along with an analysis of repression in Atlanta, and an update on Drew, who has just been arrested on charges allegedly connected to the events of July 4th last summer.

Meanwhile, Atlanta Solidarity Fund are committed to making sure that everyone facing felony charges from last summer is provided with a copy of the Tilted Scales guide to being a defendant, so if you know anyone who fits that description who doesn’t have a copy yet, encourage them to get in touch!

Canada

A new website, Blockade Defense, has been set up to provide support to the sixty or so people still facing charges as a result of the Shut Down Canada struggle against pipelines. Meanwhile, several inmates at the Laval Detention Center in Quebec have launched a hunger strike demanding to be released before COVID can spread through the facility.

Texas

Mongoose Distro continues to publish regular articles from prisoners within the Texas prison system, including Julio “Comrade Z” Zuniga on how the prison administration retaliates against his anarchist organizing, a call for accountability in response to a preventable suicide at the Allred Unit, Jason Renard Walker on the causes of prison violence, Steve McCain on abuse in prison, and more.

International

Spain and Greece have both seen significant unrest connected to repression and prisoner struggles recently. In Greece, the hunger strike of revolutionary prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas sparked a number of actions and demonstrations, although Koufontinas has now called off his hunger strike after 65 days.

 

In Spain, the arrest of rapper Pablo Hasel, who’s facing nine months in prison for the content of his raps, has led to rioting across the country, but particularly in Barcelona. In response, police have raided an anarchist squat and arrested 8 people for allegedly burning a police van.

A call for solidarity with the anarchist Ruyman Rodriguez, who is also facing serious charges for “assault against authority” after being attacked by the police, has just been translated into English.

Meanwhile in Russia, two fifteen-year-old anarchists are being held awaiting trial on bogus “terrorism” charges. In Bulgaria, former long-term antifascist prisoner Jock Palfreeman is raising money for his legal funds, as the Bulgarian state is trying to get him banned from the entire EU.

General Updates

In Indiana, IDOC Watch are fundraising for Balagoon, a prisoner sentenced to 84 years for his role in a 1985 uprising, who needs a lawyer to help with his bid for a sentence modification. Puget Sound Prisoner Support report that they’re aware of at least one person having received a phone call from the FBI, and have advice for anyone else who’s contacted by them.

Esquire have a report on the case of Steven Donziger, a lawyer who’s spent 580 days in pre-trial house arrest after representing indigenous people and rural farmers in Ecuador in a lawsuit against Texaco/Chevron.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, one person has just been sentenced to two and a half years for his part in last summer’s uprising.

At the notorious Angola prison in Louisiana, a number of prisoners launched a hunger strike in mid-February after being held in solitary confinement for longer than the prison’s own rules allow.

In Denver, Colorado, Pinky is fundraising for housing and medical costs after being arrested and hospitalized by police after a BLM protest. You can donate to her gofundme here, or send money to: Venmo: pinkyrochelle Cashapp: $tinydomme.

Another ongoing case in Colorado is that of Trey Quinn, who’s facing several charges related to alleged participation in last summer’s uprising and doesn’t have support from any large organization. You can donate to his legal costs via his gofundme, or via Venmo: FreeTrey, Cashapp: $AidTrey.

In abolitionist media news, The Final Straw just put out a new interview on Steve Martinez’s case and grand jury resistance. Kite Line Radio have also covered the case, as well as sharing a new interview with a pre-trial prisoner at FDC SeaTac.

Upcoming Dates

The Free Alabama Movement and National Freedom Movement have called for April 3rd to be a day of action focused on parole. So far, events are confirmed for Montgomery, AL, Atlanta, GA, and Austin, TX.

From their call:

On April 3, 2021, the National Freedom Movement will be mobilizing people around the nation to demand changes to America’s broken parole system. Organizers, activists and advocates are starting to compare notes and are coming to the realization that parole boards across the nation are functioning in the same arbitrary manner and using the same excuses to deny paroles to millions of families.

If you are interested in hosting an event in your state at the parole board or some other location to highlight the abuses of your state’s parole board and the need for change, please contact the NFM and start organizing and planning with us today.

Parole board members and governmental officials must be made to understand that, with Covid-19 and deteriorating conditions on the inside, parole decisions are life and death decisions more than ever before. The inhumane nature in which parole decisions are costing lives must be elevated on a national scale as our loved ones inside US jails, prisons, immigration detention facilities and juvenile facilities are dying directly at the hands of parole board decisions.

Join the National Freedom Movement as we demand more paroles and fundamental changes to parole systems, including the federal BOP. Millions of lives are at stakes, so support the call for Millions of Families For Parole.

April 17th is observed internationally as Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, so you or your crew may want to organize something to mark that date.

Further ahead, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak are calling for national days of action on August 21st and September 9th. More details will be published on the I Am We site closer to the time.

Uprising Defendants

Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. The status of pre-trial defendants changes frequently, but to the best of our knowledge they currently include:

Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal #70002-066
FDC Philadelphia
P.O. Box 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105

David Elmakayes #77782-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Shawn Collins #69989-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Steven Pennycooke #69988-066
FDC Philadelphia,
PO Box 562,
Philadelphia, PA 19105

Matthew White
Washington County Jail
15015 62nd St. N
P.O. Box 3801
Stillwater, MN 55082

Montez Lee
Washington County Jail
15015 62nd St. N
P.O. Box 3801
Stillwater, MN 55082

Matthew Rupert
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Dr. NW
Suite 200
Elk River, MN 55330-1692

Loren Reed #36045508
CAFCC
P.O. Box 6300
Florence, AZ 85132

John Wade
#14762509
PO Box 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

Andrew Carlisle #1902379
Gwinnett Co Jail
2900 University Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Ellie Brett #14822509
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO Box 730
Lovejoy GA 30250

Alvin Joseph 99529156
Gwinnett Co Jail
2900 University Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Bruce Thompson 73220019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO Box 730
Lovejoy GA 30250

Delveccho Waller 73223019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO Box 730
Lovejoy GA 30250

Dashun Martin 73222019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO Box 730
Lovejoy GA 30250

Judah Coleman Bailey 73219019
Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility
PO Box 730
Lovejoy GA 30250

When writing to pre-trial prisoners, do not write about their cases or say anything that you wouldn’t want to hear read out in court. If you have any updates, either about status changes meaning that people should be removed from this list, or about names that are missing and should be included, please reach out.

Upcoming Birthdays

Georges Ibrahim Abdallah

Lebanese revolutionary political prisoner held in French prisons since 1984 for actions targeting U.S. and Israeli officials. Georges recently held a hunger strike in solidarity with the hunger strike of Greek political prisoner Dimitris Koufontinas.

Birthday: April 2

Address:

Mr. Georges Ibrahim ABDALLAH
2388/A221
CP de Lannemezan
204 rue des Saligues
BP 70166
65307 LANNEMEZAN
France

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald

Black Panther political prisoner, held in prison since 1969. As California uses Jpay, you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: California, Inmate ID: B27527”.

Birthday: April 10

Address:

Romaine Fitzgerald B-27527
CSP-LAC
P.O. Box 4490
B-4-150
Lancaster, CA 93539
United States

Roy Brown

Ferguson rebel convicted of looting during the Ferguson uprising, along with other unrelated robbery charges. Missouri uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Missouri, Inmate ID: 1310047”.

Birthday: April 20

Address:

Roy Brown #1310047
Potosi Correctional Center
11593 State Highway O
Mineral Point, MO 63660

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia is an award winning journalist and was one of the founders of the Black Panther Party chapter in Philadelphia, PA. He has struggled for justice and human rights for people of color since he was at least 14 years old; the age when he joined the Party. In December of 1982, Mumia, who moonlighted by driving a taxi, happened upon police who were beating his brother. During the melee, a police officer was shot and killed. Despite the fact that many people saw someone else shoot and then run away from the scene, Mumia, in what could only be called a kangaroo court, was convicted and sentenced to death. During the summer of 1995, a death warrant was signed by Governor Tom Ridge, which sparked one of the most effective organizing efforts in defense of a political prisoner ever. Since that time, Mumia has had his death sentence overturned, but still has a life sentence with no opportunity for parole.

Mumia has a number of health issues as a result of medical neglect while in prison, and was recently diagnosed with COVID, lending a new urgency to the ongoing campaign for his freedom.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding Mumia as a contact by searching his name or “AM8335”.

Birthday: April 24

Address:

Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM8335
SCI Mahanoy
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733

Janiis Mathis

A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now given up on its attempts to charge Mathis in relation to the Vaughn uprising, he is facing continued retaliation, as he has been moved out of state to Pennsylvania, where many Vaughn defendants are being held on lockdown indefinitely (via placement on PA’s Restricted Release List) on vague and questionable grounds. Years after the uprising, these prisoners are still being abused for staying in solidarity with one another against the state.

Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NU0423”.

Birthday: April 24

Address:

Smart Communications / PA DOC
Janiis Mathis – NU0423
SCI Greene
PO Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL, 33733

photo: Nsey Benajah via Unsplash

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In Contempt

A monthly report on prison rebels, State repression, and news from an abolitionist perspective.

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