Filed under: Action, Anarchist Movement, Incarceration, Northeast, Political Prisoners
A report back from Running Down the Walls in so-called New York City from NYC Anarchist Black Cross (ABC).
Running Down the Walls 2022 felt like a homecoming. Those of us in NYC ABC got to catch up with long-time comrades and meet new folks, many of whom have taken on amazing projects. We shared food, heard statements from some of the political prisoners taking part from behind the walls, and raised much-needed funds for the Anarchist Black Cross Federation Warchest Program and Roots Unbound. But that’s not why you’re reading this, right? You’re more interested in the tedium of logistics. How the day came together. What protocols we adhered to for safety under the reality of an ongoing global plague. Right? RIGHT?!? No? Well, we get it. Organizing is rarely glamorous, and the hard work of supporting political prisoners is not romantic–in more cases than not, we don’t “win.” We have aging comrades dying behind these walls and it’s not benign neglect by the state, but rather the continuation of a war against oppressed folks they picked centuries ago. We see folks targeted for resistance to capitalism and the logic of “resource extraction,” whether the resources they plunder are the earth and everything living on it, or the labor we’re forced to sell just to survive.
It would be easy to see the escalating repression, throw our hands up, and walk away. But where does that leave those with whom we share affinity and are either locked up, or facing it as a likely reality? Nowhere good, that’s for certain. So we keep it moving, figuratively and literally. Which brings us back to this report back.
The day started like many other RDTW days, with the juggling of finding parking, locking down the spot we use for gathering before and after the event, and getting set up. We scheduled the event this year to coordinate with others across the country, later i the year than typical, which left us concerned over potential bad weather (READ: hurricane season). But the nefarious cabal of weather controllers couldn’t hold down the popular will to enjoy a day in the park, so we enjoyed great weather. Once set up and ready, we waited for folks to arrive and arrive they did. Crews and individuals showed up early and we had a big crowd well before the 2:00pm event start time. “Wait, you started on time this year?” you might ask. Well, no. Anarchy time is a strange companion, after all. However, by shortly after 2, we took a group photo and made our way to the starting line. From there, we explained to those who showed up for a 5k with no context (surprisingly there were a few, thanks to promotion on a local runner’s forum), what Running Down the Walls is, who it benefits, and the route of the 5k. And then they were off!
Some took the 5k seriously and asked for their lap time, but most folks showed up for a good time and camaraderie regardless of how they took part in the event. In the end, everyone enjoyed themselves and after eventually cooling down and hydrating, we heard from Roots Unbound and from imprisoned comrades, the latter by way of pre-written statements they wrote for the event. All told, we had over 80 folks show up throughout the day and raised over what we set as this year’s goal. In the middle of all of it, we were able to talk with a lot of passersby, give away a lot of literature, and get the word out about political prisoners in the so-called USA.
That’s what’s up and that’s how we get down (the walls).