Originally posted to It’s Going Down
We here at Bloc Party have busy lives. Between the kids, bills, and our escapades as outside agitators, sometimes priorities must shift temporarily to accommodate busy work weeks. Being oh so career-oriented, our lives had to be taken up by our work over the last couple weeks. So we decided to just focus on a humble reportback from this year’s North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference this time around. Don’t worry, we will be back in full capacity in two weeks!
Happening annually for five years, the North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference started off as it traditionally has, with a public panel and discussion from former political prisoners. There was a sizable crowd in attendance to hear the stories and share in discussion with five formerly imprisoned comrades from different struggles in the US. Immediately following the panel around 50 organizers and former political prisoners from across North America headed out to spend three solid days discussing their work, building existing networks of solidarity and creating new connections to further that work.
This year there was a notable and increased presence of collectives and groups working on broader issues of community defense and prison abolition, with many debates and conversations on how to further connections and working relationships between more general anti-prison struggles and political prisoner work. Shout outs to folks from the Free Alabama Movement, the Lucasville Uprising, Support Prisoner Resistance, WEBS of Support, and IWOC for the solid work and perspectives they bring to the table. While there have been victories in the fight to free political prisoners this year in the US, there have also been loses, as moments of silence and acknowledgement of the loss of Yogi Bear and Phil Africa, among others, were consistently on people’s minds throughout the conference.
General legal and movement strategies were discussed around how to get political prisoners free, what legal methodshave worked recently, and what ones haven’t. There were also several positive workshops and discussions on the way internal dynamics can play out and effect the work that people do. Whether that is political disagreements and oppressive behaviors between prisoners and their supporters, or more internal to folks on the outside attempting to work together to support people on the inside. The discussions generally maintained a respectful and humble tone, with acknowledgement that for many, there are no easy answers to these questions. There seemed to be deepening analysis of State strategies to divide and weaken communities in resistance. Our enemies exploiting contradictions and conflicts internally to groups in struggle is something that more and more folks seem to have direct experience with, and this is a sign to your humble authors that these discussions need to be had more often, with more thoughtfulness and care for our comrades. Behind bars or not.
The work of prisoner support and prison abolition is a massive undertaking. All hands on deck are truly needed. Starting up some prisoner support in your town with your crew can be as simple as getting together a few times a month to write letters over coffee or food. But, if you’re interested in connecting with ongoing organizing, check out some of the above mentioned projects, organizations or collectives.
Also, it is certainly worth mentioning that the Crimethinc To Change Everything tour is headed out West as we write this. Check out the upcoming dates and be sure to wrangle some comrades to roll with. The tour includes anarchists from across Europe, the US and South America speaking about their own contexts at home. Having been around the anarchy bloc a few times, we can say we’re a little jaded. But, this tour even has us inspired as fuck.
Now for what has been going down on the inside over the last two weeks:
NYC ABC just published their newest version of the “Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War” and it’s available for viewing and download! This update includes updated mini-bios, photos, and address changes for several prisoners. This list is a fantastic resource to get your own letter writing going on your own or with your friends.
Sean Swain forwarded this letter from his former neighbor at SOCF in hopes of rounding up some support for his friend:
Swain- Thanks man- I received lots of love and support- I can’t even respond to all of these letters- so I wrote 12 people back and ask them to send my appreciation to everyone else that wrote.
Listen- these people are out of control up here. Sunday the 13th they actually put the dude that broke my jaw like 5 cells down from me on the same medical range! Man this was not supposed to happen for sure- he was talking all kinds of crazy shit over the range- he was on suicide watch- then some CO was working- said “Hey! That guy can’t be up here- he assaulted Mahone!” so they quickly moved him Monday morning…
They know we got a separation man- but somebody wanted to let him rub it in and fuck with me.
I want somebody in trouble for that shit! Plus- I just had a blood test and it came back that I have some kind of staph infection from either here or OSU but- as I complained about the pain over two weeks ago- the DOC kept saying it’s on the Tylenol 3. Now I’m fucked up more- having trouble pissing and I’m always sweating hard and headaches. They put me on anti-biotics today 9-14-2015.
I need for you to push for me a website we talked about before- I did it once and only raised a few bucks, like $34.00. I need for you to help me raise enough $ for a lawyer- I need to really sue these people man. So I need a go fund me page and see if I can get something done about this.
PS tell people to send envelopes- I don’t have anymore to respond.
If you would like to write to Mahone, his address is:
P. O. Box 45699
1724 St. Rt. 728
Lucasville, Ohio 45699
You can include up to three embossed envelopes so he can reply.
While there have been some major wins coming out of Pelican Bay in the last month, there has also been retaliation coming from the prison and State. Fuck that. The prison is using supposed “suicide checks,” as a form of torture. Let this bullshit ass warden know to cut the shit and end this practice immediately:
Demand that the noisy, aggressive checks stop.
Contact Warden Clark E. Ducart, Pelican Bay State Prison,
P.O. Box 7000, Crescent City, CA 95531-7000
CDucart@cdcr.ca.gov (707) 465–1000 ext. 9040
Please bcc your message to firstname.lastname@example.org or email us stating, “I called Ducart.”
If you are on Facebook, “like” the page, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity and check out the event page, Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement
After a year of false imprisonment, Yaqui water rights defender Mario Luna was released from prison. Earlier a judge ordered the release of Mario, tribal secretary of Vicam Yaqui, and Mexico refused.During the Vicam Yaqui highway barricade in the community, Mario was spokesman for Vicam Yaqui Pueblo. Yaqui Spokesmen Mario Luna and Fernando Jimenez Guiterrez were abducted and imprisoned. Jimenez was released in August.
The separation between prison and the outside must blur more and more, especially if there are some of us who might someday find ourselves inside such cages. The noise demonstration—a tactic that is employed by anarchists and radicals all across the world—is a direct form of communication that helps to slightly break the physical barriers of prison down in the way that allows us to actually hear and sometimes see each other. For anyone who has ever been locked up in prison or jail and all the confusion it entails, just to see a face or a hear a friendly voice to break through the isolation is enough to boost spirits.