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May 25, 21

In Contempt #5: The Ongoing Fight to Support the Rebels One Year After the Rebellion

photo: @ucftp

Welcome to the fifth installment of In Contempt, your monthly roundup of counter-insurgency, repression news, and revolutionary abolitionism. In this month’s column, we look at some new initiatives as the one year anniversary of the George Floyd rebellion lays just around the corner. If you’ve never organized a prisoner letter-writing event, check out this guide from IGD here. We also have updates on anti-repression campaigns from across the US, prison rebel birthdays, and our expanding list of rebels caught up in the rebellion that are in need of support.

There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get into it!

New Campaigns to Drop the Charges

In Portland, a new group has formed and announced a campaign to drop charges from the George Floyd Uprising. The group of activists, known as the Portland Anti-Repression Defense League, issued the following statement:

We, the Portland Anti-Repression Defense League (PADL), are a group of activists resisting criminal charges stemming from protests in response to the murder of George Floyd. These protests are part of an ongoing response to the historic and current racist violence against our communities committed by brutal police forces.

We oppose the corrupt and white supremacist institution of policing, and resist systemic oppression and repression in all forms. 

We reject the politicized nature of these prosecutions as a blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of anti-racist activists, intended to drain both individual and community resources and well-being. 

We demand that prosecutors immediately dismiss all federal and state charges against Portland protesters, without consequence.

We stand together in ongoing support of Black liberation and Indigenous sovereignty.

The group, consisting of defendants and their supporters alike, are united behind the following points, which were collectively drafted and endorsed by all members:

In order to stand together and support one another in the movement for racial justice, PADL members agree on the following Points Of Unity:

  • We will not cooperate against any of our codefendants, nor accept any plea deals that cooperate with city, state, or federal government agencies – especially any law enforcement agencies.
  • We will refuse to accept that any of the charges, actions of state agencies, or actions of law enforcement were necessary or justified. 
  • We will share information, resources, and strategy when possible and beneficial, with respect to individuals’ personal security.  
  • We will not share anything publicly or privately that has the possibility of harming either individual defendants or defendants as a group.
  • We will support the decisions that individual defendants make, even if we do not agree with them, as long as they do not directly go against the other principles.
  • We know that Black Lives Matter. 

PADL asserts that the arrests and charges are intimidation tactics pursued in tandem by Portland Police Bureau, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon State Police, and Federal Bureau of Investigation as part of a coordinated nationwide attempt to silence popular calls for racial justice and police accountability. PADL’s public campaign calls for all charges to be dropped immediately.

In addition, the National Lawyers Guild has also launched a call for the Biden administration to drop all charges from the uprising.

Cases Resolved

There’s good news to report from Arizona, where Loren Reed’s case has ended with him taking a favorable plea deal, and from Colorado, where all remaining charges have been dropped against five people who were facing charges from the Aurora protests against the police killing of Elijah McClain. It seems like the dropping of the Aurora charges may have been the last straw for one local police officer, who wrote an email shortly after the announcement, declaring that he was leaving Colorado for somewhere with “less communism.”

Ohio

David Easley is raising funds to sue the Ohio prison system for subjecting him to torture and assault, and to defend himself against bogus charges. For more background on David Easley’s situation, see this recent report from Sean Swain.

Indiana

IDOC Watch have an update from Shaka Shakur, whose case was featured in the last edition of In Contempt, in response to his defense campaign. Shakur writes “The primary issue and concern or narrative that needs to be hit upon is that our program and collective is being targeted and profiled as a ‘Cop Watch Program’, both inside and outside of the prisons. With this profiling has came the tactic of ‘Snitch Jacketing’.”

You can also listen to an interview between Shakur and Prison Riot Radio here.

California

JW, a Black anti-racist activist from Los Angeles, is being held on a million dollar bail on charges related to allegedly defending San Diego from a white supremacist rally on January 9th. You can donate to their legal/bail funds here.

Also, according to the International Antifascist Defense Fund:

While MAGA chuds in DC attempted to overthrow the government, their LA counterparts came downtown to attack people there. Well-known LA musician, veteran, and Black Lives Matter supporter Scottie Tripn came down to make sure people weren’t hurt by the fascist losers. Not long after he arrived there was an alleged interaction between him and one of the Piss Boys.

Witnesses report that after defending himself ably from the cosplaying shitsack that bear maced him, Scottie was then jumped by more fascists, then dragged off and beaten with nightsticks by the LAPD. Now Scottie faces serious charges and has mounting legal and medical bills from this attack.

The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund was able to make a significant contribution to Scottie’s crowdfunder and we encourage y’all to follow suit, just as we encourage you to kick in to the Defence Fund itself so we can continue to stand with the anti-fascists that stand up in the streets for their communities.

Colorado

Echo, an organizer with the Afro Liberation Front in Denver, is facing charges connected to a protest that they allegedly organized last August. They’ve been experiencing financial trouble as a result of the charges, and so are requesting donations to keep them afloat as they prepare for upcoming court dates.

FBI and Apple vs Sci-Hub and Redditors

Alexandra Elbakyan, the creator of the website Sci-Hub, which makes scientific research available for free, recently received a notification from Apple saying that they’d handed over information from her account to the FBI in 2019.

As TechDirt wrote:

This is part of a continuing attempt to stop the widespread sharing of academic papers, mostly paid for by the public, and currently trapped behind expensive paywalls. You might think somebody helping scholars spread their work to a wider audience would be rewarded with prizes and grants, not pursued by the FBI and DOJ. But of course not, because, well, copyright.

Although there’s not much that can be done to defend Elbakyan directly from the FBI’s investigation, or Apple’s complicity in it, TechDirt reports that redditors have started a project to create a decentralized back-up of Sci-Hub, which would make it much harder to remove the archive from the internet altogether.

Missouri

Two men have now been charged in relation to February’s St Louis jail riot. Both inmates had been held since 2019 without being convicted of anything, and the original charges against one of them, Devion Chester, have now been dropped.

Meanwhile, Ferguson prisoner Josh Williams is reported to have been moved to solitary confinement. Supporters are encouraged to call Warden Paul Blair on 573-438-6000 to ask that he be released.

Oregon

A number of new arrests have been made in Eugene recently, targeting people who allegedly took part in last summer’s protests. See this thread for more details and ways to donate to their legal funds.

Texas

Mongoose Distro continues to publish new writing from prisoners regularly, including Comrade Z reporting on the organizing work of Texas IWOC chapters.

From their recent report:

I’m here to give you facts. Darrington Unit is drinking contaminated water. Inmates are being denied vital medical procedures and life saving treatments. Heating was broken during the arctic blast. Air conditioning is on the unit, but not mfor prisoners. The prison staff has industrial York air conditining and heating units that can heat or cool the Empire State Building, and the slaves making $100,000,000 a year of profits for the Corruption Agency prison slavery company TDCJ get nothing. We get thrown in solitary confinement for speaking out about it. I’m a living witness who just survived an all-out attack on my life by TDCJ-Huntsville for exposing corrupt officers who were entrapping inmates with contraband during a pandemic lockdown where “no visitors” were present. Brazoria County district attorney, judges, and local authorities all knew about it. When I told them I was being attacked and retaliated on, they ran to TDCJ-Huntsville to inform them of a whistleblower. The attempt on my life was psychologically difficult to cope with. It still is, because I can’t see why a man without behavioral problems is being treated like Hannibal the Cannibal.

I am able to cope with the stress, anguish and mental pain now because of my amazing supporters forcing the TDCJ-HQ to answer for my repression. There are two Texas Local Charter IWOCs in TDCJ in full operation and more will be coming. This shows that Texas loves slaving Mexicans and blacks to death. They are still dehumanizing, isolating, discriminating and breaking minds, just to make a buck.

Merch

Check out the new fundraising gear for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, designed by Emma Bergman, and for Tucson Anti-Repression Crew.

International

In Eastern Europe, ABC Moscow recently published an update on the situation of anarchist prisoners in Russia, and ABC Belarus have a new interview with Fifth Estate. New writings have recently been translated from the Chilean political prisoner Juan Pirce and Mexican indigenous/Zapatista prisoner Marcelino Ruiz Gomez.

With the renewed international attention on Palestine, now is a great time to check out the Palestinian prisoner solidarity network Samidoun, which covers stories such as the ongoing campaign to free Georges Abdallah and repression against Palestine demonstrations in Europe.

Abolitionist Media Projects

Dwayne Staats of the Vaughn 17 recommends that people check out his son’s new podcast, I Hear You. Abolitionist Media Worldwide has a report from a recent uprising at the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh.

The San Francisco Bay View has a number of recent articles from important imprisoned organizers, such as Arturo Castellanos, Sitawa Jamaa, Todd Ashker and George Franco from the California hunger strike movement, a new interview with Jalil Muntaqim, long-term political prisoner Ed Mead, and Kwame Shakur from Indiana. Recent episodes of Kite Line Radio include an episode on study and repression, and a twopart interview with Parole Illinois.

June 11th

As a quick reminder, the June 11 day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners is coming up soon, and this year’s call has now been released:

Against another year of state encroachment, against the restriction of free movement under the auspices of “safety,” against the continued brutalization of our friends in prison, we call for a renewal of solidarity on June 11, 2021: International Day of Solidarity with Marius Mason & All Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners. For 17 years, June 11th has been an occasion for celebration, mourning, and revolt. It has been a moment to breathe, to remember those fallen and those in cages, to remind ourselves of why we remain committed to the Beautiful Idea of anarchism. Through our letters, demonstrations, fundraising, and solidarity attacks we keep the beacon lit for those who have given years of their lives for their conviction that the State is a horror against which we must wager our lives…

Our work of solidarity with imprisoned anarchists is a hammer blow against forgetting: against the prison walls and the narcotizing technological society that shatters all meaning.

As such, we remember not only our friends behind bars, but those who have died. Marilù Maschietto in Italy. Former political prisoner Alexei “Socrates” Sutuga in Russia. Robert D’Attilio, who kept alive the memory of Sacco & Vanzetti. Doris Ensinger, partner of lifelong anarchist and former prisoner Luis Edo. Tireless anarchist abolitionist Karen Smith. Lucio Urtubia, whose life of expropriation in service of struggle remains an inspiration.

Finally: Stuart Christie. Stuart’s life and example cast a massive shadow in our efforts. From his time as a young prisoner in Franco’s Spain and his reanimation of the Anarchist Black Cross in the 1970s, to his persecution in the Angry Brigade trials and work in archiving anarchist history through Cienfuegos Press and Christie Books, Stuart’s tireless work will not be forgotten. He and all of our fallen companions, whether we knew them personally or not, are alive in spirit in our work this year.

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:

Andrew Augustyniak-Duncan 176417
Allegheny County Jail
950 2nd Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Christopher West
161218 Allegheny County Jail
950 Second Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

You can also buy fundraiser clothing for Christopher “Brother Hush” West here.

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

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

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

John Wade
#14762509
PO Box 730
Lovejoy, GA 30250

Andrew Carlisle #19023279
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

Wishing a very happy birthday to Jay Chase of the NATO 3, a former political prisoner who will be celebrating his birthday in freedom this month! In addition, Stephen Kelly of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 has a birthday this month – he is not currently incarcerated, but it’s reported that there’s a warrant out on him for a parole violation, so keep an eye out in case his status changes.

Sergey Romanov

Sergey Romanov is an anarchist prisoner currently being held in Minsk accused of several actions against state buildings. Letters written in languages other than Russian or Belarusian may not reach prisoners in Belarus, but if you email your greetings to belarus_abc(AT)riseup.net, or enter them into this online form, they should be able to translate them and pass them on to Sergey for you.

Birthday: June 7th

Address:

(for letters in Russian or Belarusian only)

Glavpochtamt, a/ya 8, Minsk, 220050, Belarus
Romanov Sergey Alexandrovich

Jarreau Ayers

Vaughn Uprising prisoner, one of the only two prisoners from the Vaughn 17 to be convicted. As one write-up put it, “Jarreau Ayers and Dwayne Staats, already incarcerated under the hopeless sentence of life without parole, took it upon themselves to admit to involvement to prevent the rest of their comrades being found unjustifiably guilty, which led to success – not guilty verdicts or their charges being dropped.” You can learn more about Jarreau in his own words here and here.

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 “NS9994”.

Birthday: June 15

Address:

Smart Communications / PA DOC
Jarreau Ayers – NS9994
SCI Huntington
PO Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL, 33733

Jason Robb

Jason Robb is among the Lucasville defendants who was sentenced to death after the uprising. Disclaimer: Jason Robb acted as a representative of the Aryan Brotherhood during the Lucasville Uprising, and does not seem to have ever formally renounced his membership in that organization; however, he has maintained close bonds of solidarity with the other Lucasville defendants such as Bomani Shakur and Siddique Abdullah Hasan ever since the uprising, going so far as to take part in joint hunger strikes with them. You can read more about Jason Robb here.

Ohio uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Ohio, Inmate ID: 308919”.

Birthday: June 15

Address:

Jason Robb #308-919
OSP
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

Jason Renard Walker

Texas prison writer and organizer associated with the 2016 prison strike, contributor to the Fire Inside zine, facing down heavy repression for his ongoing attempts to expose the brutality of the prison system. You can find his writings at his website, Jason’s Prison Journal, and his work has been collected as an ebook, Reports from Within the Belly of the Beast. To find out more about Jason, you can also listen to this interview he recently conducted with the Final Straw.

Birthday: June 17th

Address:

Jason Renard Walker
#1532092
Allred Unit
2101 FM 369 North
Iowa Park, TX 76367

Note: Texas prisons have now banned all greeting cards and postcards. As Texas uses Jpay, you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Texas, Inmate ID: 1532092”. Or to send him a letter on standard white paper that complies with Texas restrictions.

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

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