This last week the Attorney General Jeff Sessions, issued a one paragraph memo that undoes the previous recommendation by former Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates, to roll back federal contracts with private prisons. Jeff Sessions has a long and sordid history of his own with private prisons, both down in Alabama as well as through professional connections to Geo Group lobbyists. We could go on about the tangled web of assholes, but we’ll leave that to all those fake news outlets out there.
Not to be too grim nor smug, but no fucking surprise here. We wrote about the previous advice out of the DOJ back in August:
Is it any wonder the Department of Justice put on this cute dog and pony show at the same time that ICE signed a $1 billion dollar, 4-year contract with Corrections Corporation of America? Private prisons aren’t going anywhere. Their populations will continue to grow as the state scrambles to maintain their legitimacy as the true Protectors of Public Safety by tossing crumbs from the DOJ to quiet the Bernie Bros and others who may be more easily placated. But, they can’t placate prisoners. They can’t placate their way out of the growing rebellions inside the walls of county jails, state prisons, detention centers and beyond. Those fires are lit. Let’s all keep them going until the whole fucking thing burns down.
Private prisons are not going anywhere, whether for migrants or others. Keep a keen eye on all the tough talk on drugs coming out of the Trump administration. When they say “Make America Great Again,” you better believe that vision includes a renewed War on Drugs. We need to anticipate an ever increasing prison population. Abolition isn’t going to be enough. It hasn’t been enough and so many of us working around prisoners and prisons have felt this. We liked the recent article by Michael Kimble entitled “Abolitionist or Demolitionist?”
The point is that those “Abolitionists” of the 19th century didn’t attempt to destroy the state, only the institution of chattel slavery, but left the oppressive government intact, thereby allowing the state to continue slavery as enacted by the 13th Amendment, denying the right of individuals to hold Blacks in slavery, but allowing the state the right to enslave anyone.
Today, there are those who call themselves “Abolitionists,” even some anarchists. But there are other anarchists who have begun to use the term “Demolitionists” instead, and for good reason.
“Abolition” depends on the good will and supposed humanity of politicians to enact more laws to end prisons. So they say…but most of their actions only bring about reform (more humane prisons). The real deal is that as long as government (the state) exists, there will be prisons. It’s in the state’s interest to erect prisons. The state uses prisons as a tool for social control, business uses prisons to reap obscene profits, and politicians are funded by big business and administer the state through the making of laws.
So, logic instructs us that if we desire to end prisons and truly live free, we must totally destroy the state and turn this world and the social order upside down. And that is why some anarchists have begun to use the term “Demolitionists” as opposed to “Abolitionists.”
Our language matters in the wars we wage. Our language is a tactic and we need to thoughtfully employ it. Let’s not keep making the mistakes in both language and war, those who came before left their legacies as both a torch in dark times and a warning against their failings. Let’s use that torch to light the fires.
Now for all that news from the Bloc.
We would be remiss to talk about the pitfalls of abolition discourse and the continued resistance of prisoners despite whatever little crumbs the DOJ wants to hand out without mentioning the recent Vaughn Prisoner Uprising in Delaware. Prisoners there rose up in rebellion, taking correctional officers hostage and releasing sets of demands. They also signaled that while we often tend to talk about prisoners as being apart of society and its social movements, prisoners increasingly don’t see themselves as such. They specifically mentioned the election of Trump as a catalyst for the rebellion. You can find a comprehensive social media roundup of the rebellion elsewhere on IGD.
The Washington Post recently changed their byline to “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” which would be hilarious if it wasn’t for the fact that democracy took its last gasps ages ago. Thanks for catching up and welcome to the death rattles of humanity. This isn’t exactly prison related, but we’re still dying with laughter.
Red Fawn Fallis, indigenous water protector and political prisoner from Standing Rock, has been moved. Please write to her at her new address:
Red Fawn Fallis
Burleigh County Detention Center
PO Box 1416
Bismarck, ND 58502 – 1416
Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain is eating again after 50 days on hunger strike. His primary demand was conceded, but he is asking people to continue calling governor John Kasich to demand Muslim prisoners receive halal meals: 614-466-3555
Another anarchist prisoner, Eric King, had a disciplinary hearing on February 10th, over a month after being unexpectedly transferred to a different prison and thrown in the SHU. All of this is over him expressing his political beliefs through doodles and some writing. Please send cards and letters as he is no longer allowed phone calls or visitations, cutting him off from his ability to see his family.
Eric King # 27090045
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
PO BOX 6000
FLORENCE, CO 81226
Michael Kimble, an anarchist and Holman prison rebel writes for the New Year:
Right now as I write I’m sitting in a single person cell freezing. It’s in the low 30s tonight and there is no heat. I’ve been doing exercise to stay warm. Now I’m tired and decided to attempt to write something coherent and meaningful. I’ve been in this cell since January 4, 2017, allegedly for discussing actions planned for January 20, 2017 with a comrade on the east coast in a letter. They are calling it a conspiracy. Then, a cell phone was found in my property by the riot squad, who has been deployed here at Holman for the last couple of months in an attempt to regain control and restore order to a population that has proven to be tired of order. But since I’m an outlaw, I’m not tripping.
Michael continues to describe new repression in the aftermath of the September 9th prison strike, the multiple riots and takeovers that came before and after, and their attempts to plan for actions on January 20th and beyond. Much love and rage to you, Michael. Your resistance gives ours strength.
Write to Michael:
3700 Holman Unit
Atmore, AL 36503
Zolo Azania was released from prison at the beginning of the month, after 35 years in prison. He has a fundraising page for his post-release up, and they are less the 1,000 dollars from their goal! Please consider contributing to this freedom fighter’s well-being after 35 long years.
Michael Africa, Sr was denied parole once again, even after much scrutiny and appeals against members of the Pennsylvania Parole Board. There is a petition asking for a Justice Department civil rights investigation into the case of the MOVE 9 that you can sign here.
Michael Davis Africa #AM-4973
P.O. Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-0246
Maliki Shakur Latine has sent his many thanks to his supporters via his support site. There were considerable donations to his post release fund, and wants to encourage people to contribute to the release funds of Zolo, Chelsea Manning, and Oscar Lopez Rivera. A public celebration of his release will be happening in New York City on March 25th, details TBA! Welcome back Maliki!
NYC ABC, always on top of their shit, has released their end of the month update on prisoners they support. Speaking of monthly updates, check out Prison Books’ monthly political prisoner poster here.
There is an urgent medical call-in campaign announced for March 3rd on behalf of Robert Seth Hayes. From his support site:
We therefore urge you to call, write and fax to demand immediate provision of an Insulin Pump/Sugar Monitor to Robert Seth Hayes 74A2280. Seth needs this device immediately!
- Immediate provision of an Insulin Pump/Sugar Monitor to Robert Seth Hayes 74A2280. Seth needs this device immediately!
- A Diabetic Diet that consists of fresh fruits and vegetables and all the current recommendations for diabetics. Not the false diabetic diet that is currently being issued. A bologna sandwich on white bread at night is NOT A DIABETIC DIET!
We ask people to please remain calm and respectful but to be clear in these demands
Carl J. Koenigsmann M.D.
Deputy Commissioner/Chief Medical Officer
NYS DOCCS Division of Health Services
Harriman State Campus, Building #2
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci
NYS Department of Corrections
and Community Supervision
Harriman State Campus, Building 2
1220 Washington Ave
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Or Email: https://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form
Roberto Paciencia Cruz, a former political prisoner in Mexico, is at risk of being imprisoned again. After being acquitted of charges, the prosecutor in his case has filed an appeal of his acquittal. This despite not presenting adequate evidence during the trial and documented cases of abuse and torture during his incarceration.
The governor of New York state has proposed further restricting the visitation of over 21,000 prisoners housed in the state’s max security prisons, bottle-necking an already clogged visitation system. This also directly effects four political prisoners housed in New York, David Gilbert, Herman Bell, Seth Hayes, and Jalil Muntaqim. Family members and supporters have been beginning a call-in campaign that plans to increase in intensity, while last weekend saw a rally at City Hall in Manhattan. This is a good example of why we wish for a closer relationship between people doing the work of supporting political prisoners and people working to tear down prisons themselves. This is the same fight.
We will leave you with a little good news from Standing Rock, that rolled in just as we were putting the final touches on this writing.
Krow was released on bond! She penned a thank you letter and an account from her time in Morton County Sheriff’s custody. Please continue to watch her support site as things develop with her case.
The grand jury subpoena for water protector and grand jury resistor Steve Martinez has been withdrawn! No explanation yet as to why or how this happened, but we are happy nevertheless! Here is to hoping Steve stays free! Pay attention to the Water Protector Anti-Repression Crew on fedbook for updates as they come out.
Toward stronger bonds and weaker walls, your friends from the bloc.