DIY Culture #11
Starting an Anarchist Black Cross group
7 How to write to prisoners - Carl Cattermole
9 Lucio Urtubia Jiménez
12 Punch Out, Not In - By MD, an inmate in HMP Nottingham
15 Gata Negra
19 Anarchists and the Russian State - By Vipera of the Moscow Anarchists
21 Uptight Rebel Collective
22 #Indonesia: Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners
23 COVID clampdown on the streets of the Philippines - Black Mosquito
24 Anarchists in the Lebanon
25 Careerists & Gate-Keepers - Defanging Our Movement - Anonymous Contribution
26 Extract from “Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors” - By D. Hunter - reproduced with the kind permission of the author
28 Louise Michel - Confinement & The State - By Jayacintha Danaswamy
32 Prison film recommendations from London cinema workers
33 Empty Cages Collective
34 Haven Distribution
43 Prison And The Stain Of Populism - By John Bowden
44 Bent Bars Project
47 Angry Brigade
49 Anarcho-Banditry versus Drawing-room Anarchism
50 Father Jack’s journey to escape incarceration | Yo yo yo, It’s Summer So Get Out On The Streets
This issue of D.i.Y.Culture is dedicated to the International Week of Solidarity With Anarchist Prisoners
(23 – 30 August).
Anyone who’s spent time in a cell for political activity, will know that imprisonment and detention, is designed to deny autonomy, degrade the dignity of the individual, impair or destroy self-reliance, and to inculcate authoritarian and extremely
hierarchical values – very often though, particularly with anarchist prisoners, incarceration has the opposite effect. It can put iron in the soul.
Vipera of the Moscow Anarchists gives us an update on the situation of anarchist and anti-fascist comrades within the grim Russian penal system;
we have an inside report from members of the anarcho-punk Uptight Rebel Collective in the massively overcrowded Cebu City Jail in the Philippines; a graphic and honest first-hand account of why he ended up there, from MD in HMP Nottingham, working class mutual-aid from D Hunter and a prison interview with Louise Michel.
Tips on how to write to prisoners from Carl Cattermole and inspiring stories of anarchist prisoners through the years, who, far from being broken, seemed to gain moral and political strength from their time inside; from Louise Michel, to
Simón Radowitsky, from Oscar Wilde to The ‘Dynamite Girl’, Gabriella Antoli. From the class and gender warrior, Kanno Sugako, to the revolutionary Attica Prison Uprising. Four blazing pages from our comrades at the Gata Negra collective in Valencia, artwork from Riot Karma, Sabotage The System, Linnea Blixt, Black Mosquito and our good friends at The Slow Burning Fuse. Music from Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer via the Jail Guitar Doors
initiative and the top 28 prison films as chosen by the London Cinema Workers Collective.
There is also a lot of practical information on how to get involved in support for anarchist and class war prisoners. How to start an Anarchist Black Cross group, about being vegan in the nick, info from the Bent Bars Project which provides support to LGBTQI prisoners and the Angry Brigade on kicking capitalism until it fucking-well breaks.
Have a read and try to get involved for that week in August – your input could mean a lot to someone.
<em>Nb. Please share D.i.Y.Culture if you like it and get involved if you fancy writing something for us or helping with our social media platforms - we are a bit swamped comrades!
Direct Action. Mutual Aid. Solidarity.
A new decade has started on this planet. With the rise of right-wing movements and the slow decline of social democracy, we are looking into coming years of intense struggle with the state and capitalism. There are already many anarchists si�ng in prisons for taking on this fight—forgo�en or ignored by liberals and human rights NGOs for “violent” ac�ons.
Quite o�en anarchists do get solidarity from parts of the society from which they are come. A�er all who can support one be�er than their own fellow humans trapped in the same misery of exploita�on. However, we believe that responsibility for those facing repression in different parts of the world should not be only on the shoulders of local communi�es, but of interna�onal anarchist movements. Through our collec�ve ac�ons we can not only more widely diffuse the resources that are available, but also keep the fires burning in the chests of those imprisoned through autonomous revolu�onary love and direct ac�ons!
This is a call for you to act in solidarity with imprisoned anarchists all around the world. From the 23rd of August 2020—the day of execu�on of Sacco and Vanze�, you can do everything, limited only by your imagina�on. Put some of that vast imagina�on into ac�on to make people feel your energy and show our collec�ve strength in revolu�onary struggle!
ABC Brighton ABC Warsaw ABC Dresden ABC Belarus
NYC Anarchist Black Cross Cempaka Collec�ve
Anarchist Union of Afghanistan and Iran anarchistnews.org
About the ABC
The Anarchist Black Cross was originated in Tsarist Russia to organise aid for poli�cal prisoners. In the late 1960s the organisa�on resurfaced in Britain, where it first worked to aid prisoners of the Spanish resistance figh�ng the dictator Franco's police. Now it has expanded and groups are found in many countries around the world. We support anarchist and other class struggle prisoners, fund-raise on behalf of prisoners in need of funds for legal cases or otherwise, and organise demonstra�ons of solidarity with imprisoned anarchists and other prisoners.
<strong>List of Prisoners from Brighton ABC: http://www.brightonabc.org.uk/prisoners.html
“Inhumanity is the keynote of stupidity in power”
Alexander Berkman, Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist
This handy guide covers tips and suggestions for organizing an Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) chapter, including suggestions on fundraising, days of solidarity, and beyond.
This zine is a resource for anyone wan�ng to start an Anarchist Black Cross group. It was a collec�ve effort of people from various ABC groups across Europe.
We hope you find it inspiring and useful.
The past several decades we have witnessed various forms of crisis emerging all over the globe and while resis�ng and figh�ng back, we as anarchists are paying close a�en�on to the changing pa�erns and tac�cs of state repression. To save the status quo and powers-that be they divide and rule. They co-opt struggles and pacify subversive movements.
Meanwhile, we are striving to break free.
We need to destroy all the prisons, and free all the prisoners. Our posi�on is an aboli�onist stance against the state and it’s prisons. Of course, the only easy solu�ons to such a complex problem like prisons are the false solu�ons. But aboli�on is not a simple answer nor an easy solu�on. It is a long way to go.
That is why exactly we are talking about the Anarchist Black Cross and not liberal, sta�st or reformist ways
of organising. Our tac�cs are based upon sharing and solidarity, not charity. More than ever, it is cri�cally important to share the knowledge and organisa�onal
�ps with people that want to take ac�on. That is why we wrote this zine: shared knowledge is an important tool in figh�ng against repression. The best defense against repression is prepara�on. We hope this zine can support you to organise where you are and build more resilience to repression in your movements and struggles for libera�on. If you would like support or have ques�ons about this zine please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If communication was water then the ‘free world’ is like an average British afternoon – the internet is pissing down on our minds. Notification! Email!
Ding ding bzz bzz! Prisons, on the other hand, have a micro-climate like Arizona. It’s dry as hell. So, when an officer slides a letter under your door it’s like the rumbling thunder in one of those euphoric movie sequences when the monsoons break.Once you’ve understood that the subtext of prison is to further exclude the excluded (dress people in grey trackies, refer to them as numbers and deny them contact with the people they love) then it should become patently obvious why putting pen to paper throws a real spanner in its works. But if you write in the wrong way you can do more harm than good. So, here are a few suggestions when it comes to prison letter writing.
You don’t have to write an epic
30-page odysseys are great, but they might mean that you never actually get round to writing. My biggest tip would be to make it easy for yourself cos then you’ll actually get the letter in the post box.
Have a book of stamps in your pocket to make the flow of info as effortless as possible: see it, stick a stamp on it, send it. A lot of people think about their friend in prison but never get round to writing. If you’re the organised one out of the bunch, then pounce while you’re at a party, pass round a card for your friend and get everyone to scribble them a message.
Don’t be silly
Avoid taboo questions such as “why are you in jail?”. Also remember that censors read all correspondence so do not discuss contraband or contravention (“so, do you have a mobile phone?” etc.) or anything associated (“do you need any credit?” etc). Avoid sensitive issues such as sexuality because the pen pushers and the baton brigade have lunch, cigarettes and possibly affairs together.
Keep the tone enjoyable
I’m not going to explain ‘how to have a conversation’ but it’s pretty much as simple as that: be talkative, funny and tell a story; do not be woeful, depressing or insensitive (prison has enough of these vibes already). English people are often scared to ask very basic questions – it’s comedic how much time gets wasted. Go ahead and ask what it is that they’re looking for and maybe state what it is you’d like in return.
Unless you’re writing to a politically-minded prisoner, I’d definitely steer away from long winded political analyses of the prison system. I think it’s great that politically-minded people so often involve themselves with prison solidarity but when people go straight in with terms like ‘oppression’, ‘solidarity’ and ‘state violence’ it can lead to an immediate disconnect. Prisoners often know more about ‘oppression’, ‘solidarity’ and ‘state violence’ than anyone you’ll ever meet so I’m not suggesting people water down their ideas; in fact, I’d suggest that you let them take the lead – it might be you who needs to add more radical Ribena to the mix.
Commit to supporting someone.
If you don’t receive a response, then it may be for a number of reasons: maybe the letter didn’t get
delivered (Her Majesties Prisons throw letters away rather than wasting staff time on processing them and prisoners often get moved or released at short notice). Or maybe the prisoner didn’t feel able to respond: being in prison isn’t particularly inspirational – there’s not much to report, the place can make your mindset turn similar hues to the walls (often grey, sometimes blue). I’d suggest persevering, maybe send them a second letter using an altered tact. If you do receive a
response, then you should endeavour to write back. A lot of people in prison have been let down by friends, family, teachers and authorities
so forging connection with a new person may well be hard and if you fail to respond you’ll likely be cementing this sentiment.
Avoid making people explain really basic stuff about jail life
I remember people would be like “hey! Did you watch this and that on iPlayer?” (jail has no cable, no official internet, just a TV if you’re lucky). Much more annoying was when people were like “oh my god! You’re locked up 23.5hrs a day! Surely that’s not legal? Complain to the staff!” Firstly, it is legal; secondly, the staff don’t give a shit; thirdly, I already wrote a book about these basics: go read it.
Prisons provide two free letters per week but anything beyond has to be paid for by the prisoner. One way round this limitation is to send a book of stamps with your letter.
Find a prisoner to write to
A prisoner’s address consists of
their surname, prison number and prison (for example Cattermole A7187AB, HMP
Wandsworth SW18 3HU). Prison numbers are not openly available. Ideally, there would be an
online directory of prisoners who have opted in for receiving post in order to help all those who receive zero exterior contact. It’d be relatively simple to institute (excuse the pun) but, if you know anything you know anything about the Ministry of Justice then you know this idea is far too common sense and humane. Some prisoner addresses will be
held by pen pal groups such as Bent
Bars (specifically for buddying LGBTQ+ supporters with LGBTQ+ prisoners), anarchist websites and various pen pal sits such as prisonerspenfriends.org.
Personally, I’ve never seen pen pal programs promoted within UK prisons. This results in the same old story: those who would most benefit from support (those with little social confidence and zero exterior contact) will be the least likely to receive it. To counteract this, you could suggest to a pen pal buddy that they spread word of the existence of pen pal programs to those other prisoners who’d benefit the most.
You can also email
Emailaprisoner.com is really cheap. They lack the personal touch of a letter but they’re quicker, cheaper and can’t be ‘lost’ by Royal Mail or the prison service. From some jails the prisoner can respond digitally but in others they still have to respond by post.
Send money if you can
Most prisoners and supporters aren’t looking for a baldly transactional interaction and it’s a
potentially toxic power dynamic, so don’t worry too much; however, if the question of financial support arises then contextualise their predicament.
Prisoners are paid an average of £7 per week. This miniscule amount must be used to buy credit for overpriced phone calls (now you understand why so many prisoners opt for contraband mobiles), overpriced food (DHL have state-awarded monopoly on prison supplies then charge prisoners above market prices) and overpriced catalogue items (again, monopolised by big corporations like Argos and Littlewoods).
Hence, doing basic things like staving off starvation (prisoners are fed on less than £2 a day), using the official telephone enough to properly communicate, and buying a pillowcase are exclusive to those who have exterior financial support. Many do not have this luxury so – within your means – give what you can.The link between debt and prison industries is far deeper than I’ll go into here. Carceral
Capitalism by Jackie Wang is a must-read. You’ll never feel guilty for giving a few quid to a con ever again.
You’ll get in the swing of it
Prison often feels like a dystopian period drama – you could call it Downton Scabby. Anyway, you’ll shortly get used to handwriting and stamp licking, and if you’re finding it hard then remind yourself that your imprisoned correspondent is most
likely acclimatising to taking a shit next to someone they met yesterday or eating rats to avoid starvation (true HMP story).
Carl Cattermole is an award- winning journalist, author of Prison: A Survival Guide (Penguin) and unrepentant former prisoner, currently on bail awaiting trial.
Article reproduced with the blessing of our comrades at Dog
Anarquista, Atracador, Falsificador, Fugitivo...Pero Ante Todo, Albañil. (Anarchist, Bank-Robber, Forger, Fugitive, But Most Importantly...Bricklayer).
“If I were born again, I'd be an anarchist”.
Lucio Urtubia Jiménez
Born 18 February 1931 - died 18 July 2020
Anarchist Takes U.S. Bank for Millions...and Walks! Lucio Urtubia has been both participant and witness to many of the historic events of the second half of the 20th century. His family was persecuted by Franco's regime, he was on the streets of Paris for the phenomenon of May of '68, he actively supported Castro's revolution, he helped thousands of exiled people by providing false documents to them... But without a doubt, his greatest triumph came in the second half of the seventies. The press called him “the good bandit”, or the “Basque Zorro”. He managed to swindle 25 million dollars from the First National Bank (now Citibank), to later invest the money in causes he believed in. Miraculously, he spent no more than a few months in jail throughout his “career”.
Full film at Christie Books - Best documentary ever!!
ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!
“The racial harmony that prevailed among the prisoners - it was absolutely astonishing...That prison yard was the first place I have ever seen where there was no racism.” One black
prisoner later said: “I never thought whites could really get it on… But I can’t tell you what the yard was like, I actually cried it was so close, everyone so together.” All the prisoners - black, Latino, white - who took part in the revolt were united. It was no “race riot” but a united class action.
In September 1971, the Attica prison uprising took place. Prisoners in appalling conditions united across racial lines and took control of the prison, demanding better treatment. The governor responded by sending in troops who stormed the prison and murdered 39 people, including eight guards whom they then claimed were killed by prisoners. But despite the repression, a wave of rebellion swept America’s prisons.
Anarchist Black Cross:
Haven Books For Prisoners:
This is a short history of the riot:
READY-MADE GULAGS FOR THE BOURGEOISIE?
With their fenced perimeters, advanced security systems and close proximity to bourgeois neighbourhoods, it will be a simple step to convert country clubs into gulags following the inevitable forthcoming global revolu�on. The rich always have been, and will con�nue to be, a strain on the rest of society and somehow seem to think that they have a greater en�tlement to housing, food, resources and healthcare. We must, at some point 'equalise' and to let them know that this is not the case.
Sacco & Vanzetti Day - Fuck Columbus.
Instead of Columbus Day, Italian- Americans (ALL Americans) Should Celebrate Sacco and Vanzetti Day
on August 23!
23rd August 1927. Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanze�, both anarchist workers and Italian immigrants, were executed by the state for a crime which neither commi�ed. A�er sentencing them to death by electric chair, the judge boasted to a colleague: "Did you see what I did with those anarchis�c bastards the other day.”
For all you anarcho-fashionistas who want to combine an edgy look with your radical poli�cs, our comrades at Teen Vogue are on the case yet again. This �me advoca�ng for a day dedicated to the decent, radical anarchist poli�cs and state-murder of Sacco & Vanze�, over celebra�ng the disgus�ng colonial monster, Christopher Columbus.
Please forward to surly/scruffy teens everywhere! Instead of Columbus Day, Italian-Americans Should Celebrate Sacco and Vanze� Day on August 23: h�ps://www.teenvogue.com/story/columbus-day-
I have been locked up for 12 years now, and at the age of 42 will not be eligible for release until I’m 58. Whilst inside I have missed my younger brother’s wedding, my little sister’s funeral, my mum has been diagnosed and recovered from cancer and my son’s first steps and my daughter leaving home for university. I neither know
nor care whether you think I deserve to be in here. I was “a criminal” or as my friend would say I was “criminalised” from primary school. I have sold drugs and guns, harmed others with my hands and fists, as I got older I had others sell drugs and guns and harm others on my behalf. I did it for money, because that money first meant food and shelter. Then it meant a comfortable life for myself, my siblings, my cousins, my girlfriend and my children. It meant I could pay for my Mum to stay in a private rehab facility after decades of heroin addiction. My family have better lives now because I did what I did, but at the same time there are those I harmed who have worse lives.
I came up poor, and so did everyone else around me. My parents were junkies, my older brother got murdered, my younger siblings relied on me. I do not excuse myself for harming others, but that was the situation. From the age of 10 until my 16th birthday I got fucked up with my boys, whiskey, beer, weed and cocaine, but at 16 I decided that I couldn’t provide and care for those that relied on me if I kept messing like that. I saw my friends and some of their foolishness, the direction it was taking them. From then I took my business serious, I tried to be professional about it. Clear headed decisions.
When I was young, a child, I thought my people were my family and the boys I ran with. I know now that my people are much more than that. My people are all those who lived in my hood, and other hoods like it, up and down the country, all around the world. The hoods where everyone is just squeezing it out, trying to make it through the day with some jokes, some food and get under a roof where they feel good. If I could change what I did, I might still sell drugs and guns, I might still hurt people with my hands and my fists, but I’d try and find
away to do it without hurting any of my people. Punch out, not in, is what my friend says. I’ve thought about it a lot, over the last 12 years, talked to friends inside and outside of this cage. Talked about guns as self-defence for the working class, talked about harm reduction programmes; safe places for addicts to get high, clean needle programmes, recovery centres run by and for our communities. Could I have made it just selling coke to rich folk? Should I have been like my dad and stuck to armed robberies? He robbed the rich and stuck the profit in his arm, I could have robbed the rich and been a part of lifting up my streets. I went another way.
I was born poor and black, and I’ll likely die that way to. I wanted to change that, instead I should have tried to change what it means to be poor and black, but I was young and I never listened to the people around me who show me a different way, not that there were many of them. The schools were made to keep me where I was, the police were on the streets to keep me where I was, the government made decisions to keep me where I was. I fought back against the system that hated me and my people, maybe I fought back the wrong way. I hope the youth and the elders are finding the right way.
MD is locked up in HMP Nottingham, he spends most of his time reading. His current three writers of choice are Daniel Woodrell, Colson Whitehead and Couritta Newland. This is only the 2nd piece of writing he’s ever done, his first was an essay he co-authored in D. Hunter’s “Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors”. He is currently working on an essay for “Lumpen: A Journal for Poor and Working Class Writers”.
“The prison had been quarantined and all visits had been suspended, except of course for the release of prisoners and the arrival of the new ones. Among the latter, there was Ella. She was arrested following a federal indictment and brought me what I missed so much: the possibility of intellectual communication with a friend. She shared my conception of life and my values. From a proletarian family, she knew what the misery and hardness of life was; she was strong and possessed social conscience. But she was also kind and affectionate, and like a ray of sunshine - she brought joy to the other prisoners and great joy to me. The other women besieged her as something of an enigma “What are you here for?” A prisoner asked. “For theft?”, “No.” “Priming?” “No.” . “Drug dealing?” “No, none of this,” Ella said, laughing. “Well, so what did you do to get eighteen months?” “I’m an anarchist,” replied Ella.
On October 21st 1918, Gabriella Antolini went before Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis and was sentenced to the maximum imprisonment of 18 months and a $2,000 fine. The 19 year old anarchist had been captured carrying 50 pounds of dynamite and a pistol.
The “Dynamite Girl” (as the newspaper’s dubbed her) was arrested at Union Station. When questioned, Antolini gave the false name of “Linda José,” a character in an anarchist propaganda play, and refused to cooperate with police.
Gabriella was the daughter of Sante and Maria Antolini and had emmigrated to the U.S. in 1907 from the anarchist stronghold of Ferrara, Italy. They worked as contract labourers in the cotton fields of Louisiana, before settling in New Britain, Connecticut where they did factory work. When her parents were notified of her arrest, they could not believe it was their daughter, (although they were also anarchists).
After her arrest, Gabriella was brought to Waukegan where she was held at the Lake County jail to await trial. While in jail, Antolini planned an escape. She had hidden a milk bottle which she intended to attach to the end of a broom handle and “knock out” the Lake County Sheriff. Before she could act, Antolini’s dirty grass of a cellmate informed the Sheriff of her plans.
After two weeks in jail, Antolini finally revealed her real name and began to tell her story. She admitted to being a sympathiser of the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) - advocating worker solidarity and the overthrow of the employing class. She was also an acquaintance and follower of anarchist Luigi Galleani, who advocated the use of violence to eliminate “oppressors.”
While serving her sentence in the Jefferson City Prison in Missouri, Antolini met and befriended Kate Richards O’Hare, a Socialist activist who was imprisoned for an anti- war speech and radical anarcha-feminist Emma Goldman. Together, the women were known as “the trinity” and organised to improve prison conditions.
“Rise up, women, wake up! As with the struggle that workers are engaged with against capitalists to break down the class-system, our demands for freedom and equality with men will not be won easily just because we will it to happen.
Born 7th June 1881, Kanno Sugako (管野 須賀子) was an anarcha-feminist, journalist and social activist. She was the author of a series of articles about gender oppression, and a defender of freedom and equal rights for men and women.
In 1910, she was accused of treason by the Japanese government for her alleged involvement in what became known as the Kotoku incident, aimed at the assassination of Emperor Meiji. She was the first woman with the status of political prisoner to be executed in the history of modern Japan.
Reflections on the Way to the Gallows, by Kanno Sugako is an amazingly raw piece of writing by a someone who knows the date and time of their own death. Kanno wrote from her cell: “This is written as a record of the period from the time the death sentence was pronounced to the time I mount the scaffold”.
She worked with clarity of thought on class and gender: “...just as a great building cannot be destroyed in a moment, the existing hierarchical class system, which has been consolidated over many years, cannot be overthrown in a day and a night ... So we [women] must first of all achieve the fundamental principle of ‘self-awareness’, and develop our
TRANS WOMEN DEPRIVED OF LIBERTY:
INVISIBLE STORIES BEHIND BARS
The prison system is in question. On the one hand it does not respond to the type of society we want to build. And in addition, in practice it is fraught with conflict. In many places in Latin America, prisons function as places for people to be left and forgotten, living in subhuman conditions. But the system is also a very violent one, in practical terms, especially with subjects whose exclusions are intersectional. This is the case of trans women in prisons in Latin America.
A pioneering report on its subject, carried out in collaboration between nine defense and human rights organizations from Latin America, based on a participatory research process led by trans women who have been in prison. The study, Trans women deprived of liberty: the invisibility behind the walls reveals the discrimination, stigmatization and criminalization in all stages of their interaction with the justice system, suffered by trans women in the prison system in Latin America.
Trans bodies in the prison system turn into bodies that must survive the system, the other people deprived
of liberty, and the authorities. For that reason, trans women find innumerable ways of conserving their gender identity and also
expressing it, which produces bodies of resistance"
The Report E
Prisonopoly is a work by artist, violinist trans woman from UK, Sarah Jane Baker, who spent nearly 30 years in prison.
In this cross-stiched fabric (the only materials she could have access to) she depicts the many perils of being incarcerated as a trans woman.
Globally, women’s incarceration
is growing at an alarming rate: between 2000 and 2017, the female prison population increased by 53.3 %, while that of men increased by 19.7 %. Repressive drug policies are the primary cause of women’s incarceration in Latin America, causing disproportionately negative consequences for these women, their families, and communities. Within the population of people deprived of liberty, there are groups that face greater
vulnerabilities or have special needs, such as women and LGBTI+ persons. Historically, trans women have been subjected to discrimination, criminalization, and institutional violence, in all regions of the world.The Inter- American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has stated that “violence and discrimination against trans children and trans youth begins early, because they are often expelled from their homes, schools, families and communities, because of their gender identity.” Trans women often face situations of poverty, social exclusion, and violations of their rights to education, employment, health, and housing; stigma, discrimination, and transphobia; violence, and sexual and physical abuse. These factors frequently lead to them working in highly criminalized informal economies, such as the drug trade, sex work, or sex for survival. As a result, they are profiled by the police as being “dangerous,” making them more vulnerable to police abuse and to being incarcerated.
The incarceration of trans women poses additional challenges related to where they are housed, their identification, invasive body searches, limited access to medical services (including hormone treatments, supervised body transformations, and services for people living with sexually transmitted diseases), privacy, and conjugal visits, among other issues. The evidence shows that trans women often suffer discrimination and abuse when they seek help from the legal system. In parallel, a significant number of trans women in correctional institutions have denounced abuses perpetrated by criminal justice personnel, including discrimination, sexual coercion, harassment, and aggression.
A rebel sculptor with a secret
by Alejandro Granero Ferrer
To begin this story, we need to start from at least two facts.
First During the Spanish Civil War,
numerous churches were razed and with them a multitude of images of virgins and saints were reduced to rubble and ashes.
Second After the war was lost, thousands
of people were imprisoned. Some of those who managed to save themselves from being shot in walls and mass graves were able to witness the plan that the Franco regime arranged for the prisoners to repair, with their work, the damage they had caused to the nation.
At this point in the story our protagonist appears, the sculptor Tonico Ballester, born in 1910 in the city of Valencia. Ballester was an
artist specialized in the production of religious sculpture, a trade that he had learned in his father’s workshop and from other artists in the city and that he would continue learning at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Carlos, where he would meet his future brother-in-law, the artist Josep Renau. After being imprisoned in the Model Prison due to his political ties with the Second Republic, he proposed, through the prison priest, to create an altar and various carved figures, as a pretext to form a collective workshop with other prisoners. The Catholicism denominationalism of Franco’s regime urgently needed a large number of images that had been destroyed during the war, so the workshop was quickly put into operation.
In 1940 he was released under surveillance and provisional release. Six years later, he and his family went into exile in Mexico. During his professional career he could not detach
himself from the imaginative trade, producing a multitude of commissions for different parishes and churches in front of which a multitude of parishioners, born under the moral precepts
of Franco’s national Catholicism, continued to profess their prayers with devotion.
However, at some point in his exile, Ballester confessed to his son one of his best kept secrets.
Under the sweet faces of certain virgins and saints was hidden, inscribed inside, the hammer and sickle, the symbol with which he had mocked the redemption imposed by the regime and
with which he managed to transfer a symbol of the anti-Franco struggle to the blind prayer of fervent crowds.
Salvador Puig Antich was murdered by the Spanish State on the morning of 2 March 1974. The Catalan anarchist, Iberian Liberation Movement (MIL) member, bank-robber/expropriator and folk-hero, was the last person to be executed by garrotte in Spain under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
To use this particularly medieval method of execution (it took him 20 minutes to die), was a symbolic gesture of warning by the state, signed-off personally by an ailing and fearful old man, who, despite all of his persecution, torture and attempts at political/social domination, could see power slipping away and a resurgence of anarchist ideals. In reality, any chance of clemency for Salvador, had evaporated when ETA assassinated Franco’s intended successor, Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, with a car bomb that launched his car over a 5 storey building in Madrid in December 1973.
The MIL was not aligned with any of the emerging political parties nor affiliated to any trade union. Perhaps its members were far-sighted enough to anticipate history, the institutionalised lies, the treachery of the “left” and the democratic reinvention of the right in the wake of Franco’s death. Right from the outset they were in contact with anarcho-syndicalists exiled in Toulouse, although their own modus operandi was quite different. They professed to be autonomous and their activities fell into two main areas - propaganda and direct action. They were also the heirs of Situationism and May 1968 and employed irony, humour and irreverence in their texts. Their publication would go under the name CIA (International Anarchist Conspiracy). Their basic direct action consisted of “expropriations” of banks. During the hold-ups they were always unmasked but in disguise, in suits and ties.
Salvador and other MIL members, were arrested
following an ambush. In an exchange of gunfire, a cop
was killed - the court declined to listen to a ballistics report and a farce, rather than a trial, ensued. He was found guilty and subsequently executed in Barcelona’s Model Prison, at the age of 24. Most of the MIL prisoners were freed under an amnesty in 1977. This deeply unpopular execution has made Salvador a cause célèbre for Catalan autonomists, pro-independence supporters, and anarchists across Spain and is still a source of great bitterness against the state.-
increased in 2017–2018, is politically motivated”
Anarchists and the Russian State
By Vipera of the Moscow Anarchists
Russian anarchists and antifascists still inside the Russian prison system after being given 'monstrous' jail terms – Human Rights activists criticised trial, saying members of the Network were tortured to elicit confessions.
On the back of those ‘confessions’ the comrades were sentenced to terms of six to 18 years in penal colonies for allegedly forming an organisation called Set, which translates as the Network, which prosecutors said planned to carry out future attacks inside Russia to overthrow the government.
Influential human rights groups have called the case fabricated and said the men may have been targeted for their political activism. Four of the men on trial said they had been tortured with beatings and electrocution during the investigation. The men had
played airsoft together, an activity which the prosecution said was training for attacks. In 2019, the Network was named an extremist organisation, alongside groups like Islamic State.
Four of the defendants said that they had been tortured during the investigation, accusing members of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of resorting to beatings and the use of electrocution to garner confessions. Dmitry Pchelintsev, 27, an antifascist activist from Penza, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for allegedly creating the Network. He and his co-defendants have denied the group ever existed.In testimony to his lawyer, Pchelintsev said that he admitted to planning terrorist attacks after being detained and tortured with electricity by security officers. He described clenching his teeth from the pain and his mouth being “full of blood”.
“They started to take off my underwear, I was lying facedown, they tried to connect the wires to my genitals,” he said in remarks published by MediaZona. “I started to scream and beg them to stop torturing me. They started saying: ‘You are the leader.’ To stop the torture, I said: ‘I am the leader.’
Russia - Anarchist Prisoners
Ilya Romanov is one of the more prominent old- timers of the Russian anarchist scene. He has been and witnessed the fall of the USSR, the tumult and uncertainty of the 90s, and the increasing repressions and lawlessness of the police in the late 2010s. He first attracted the attention of the KGB to himself as a 13 year old boy, when he started issuing little self-made booklets (“samizdat”), which he typed up without the knowledge of the authorities, in which he exposed the Communist Party of the USSR. His biography is a veritable guide to the protest movements of the 90s - he was part of many ecological anti-militarist initiatives. When the Yeltzin government ordered the army to shoot at the Parliament house in Moscow in 1993, Romanov carried out the wounded from the carnage. He has been in and out of prison for the last 20 years, most recently - for staging an explosion next to an army recruitment centre, during which he lost a hand. In the recent years, his health rapidly declined. His family had to send requests to the ECHR in order to get him the
heart medicine that he needed, because the prison authorities notoriously have very little regard for the health of the prisoners. He was recently deemed to no longer be fit to serve a prison sentence, and allowed to go home, but his health has been severely impacted.
Where the regional Russian cities are concerned, the history of antifascist and anarchist resistance has been significantly more fraught with danger for the participants than in either of the capitals. In prticular, the fash-adjacent part of the skinhead sublculture (“bony”) went to great lengths to harm russian antifa - they blew up the doors of antifa activists, beat them up, and even killed their opponents. The Centre against Extremism, as well as the officers of the police force - incompetent as it was back then - were thoroughly infiltrated with fascists. After the
murders of Ilya Dzhaparidze, Anastisiya Baburova and Stanislav Markelov, it became clear to russian comrades that they could only count on themselves for safety and protection. Russian antifa started teaching each other self-defence and organising shooting lessons alongside the normal networks of mutual aid.
In 2017, right before the Football championship was hosted in Moscow, Penza police officers caught a young man, Michail Zorin, with drugs on him. In exchange for letting him stay out of prison, they recruited him in order to extract information about “extremists”. Zorin pointed out seven members of the antifascist movement - [surnames] - to the cops. The antifascists were subjected to weeks of torture and beatings from the cops, as the ltter tried to extract false testaments from them in order to frame them as being part of a made-up terrorist network, “Set’”.
One of the young men was even kidnapped by the cops and driven to the woods in order to extract comfessions from him to things that he did not do, even as his family were frantically searching for him. Despite the obvious fraudulence of the charges and the very dubious “evidence”, the antifascists from Penza and St Petersburg got sentences ranging from 18 to 9 years.
Alexander is being hounded by cops for reposting posts from the Narodnaya Samooborona page
about the anarchist Mikhail Zhlobitskiy who tried to blow up the Arkhangelsk FSB office in 2017 and killed himself in the process.
Alexander’s case is another episode where the “justice system” subjects people to incarceration for the discussions of the work of the police organs and anarchist activities.
After a window was broken in one of the offices
of the United Russia party, the police set upon the anarchist student of the Moscow State University. The case is still going ahead, despite the flimsiness of the evidence tying Azat to the
broken window. Azat has also been tortured as the cops were trying to get him to convict himself.
2 years ago, after the tortures of the Network case figurants were made public, an anarchist couple - Dmitriy Czibukpvskiy and Anastasiya Safonova- performed a demo next to the FSB office in Chelyabinsk, which involved hanging up a banner with the words “fsb is the real terrorist”. Back then, the cops could not find enough evidence to convict anyone, and the case collapsed. However, 2 months ago the police cut down the door of the couple and detained them for 2 months, only recently changing the “form of punishment” to house arrest.
The Cebu City Jail – formerly known as the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center – is currently the most crowded jail facility in the country with about 5,805 inmates, according to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP). With a congestion rate of 1,000%, the facility has the most coronavirus infections out of any jail in the country.
The city has its own protocols as they are no jail facilities that would facilitate ‘anarchist and rebellion’ related cases so they are mixed with the hard-core drug offenders. If you have money inside you can buy your own food even though money is forbidden inside, prisoners still find ways to get money in via crooked guards. We have three collective friends in Cebu City Jail: aka Wawart”, Clint and Yakal – they have been there for several years still awaiting trial, ‘judicial process’ here is slow and of course, favours people with money.
Their main problem besides food, is water. Now they are drinking water from stale rainwater barrels and praying everyday that it would rain for a fresh drink - they also inform us of the inhumane way of treating Covid-19 inmates – they are ‘stored’ in the underground jail facility, all mixed in one cell and no medical attention and rumours of black body-bags being taken away at night. The cases are high and we still don’t know how many there are or if there are recoveries or deaths – if we could help them it
would be an amazing thing.
Inside Cebu City Jail, Philippines by aka Wawart of the URC
Things are getting really horrible inside the jail facility since the pandemic lockdown and it was disgusting before! Families are now forbidden to visit and there is no contact at all with people on the ‘outside’.
I’ve been Uptight Rebel Collective since I was 16, now I am 21 yrs and have spent a total of 4 years inside for attending/organising anarchist activity - but when they caught me they accused me of drug possession (sometimes the only way that people can make any money) for the easy filing of the case, until now my case is not yet finished and I was supposed to have hearings once a year and now I have none due to the pandemic.
The collective (URC) has given me support through any aid they have, like food and hygiene kits, but they could never visit me here as that might compromise them and me and they could be arrested on the spot. With this level of surveillance and intimidation, nobody is able to keep a watchful eye on the prison system. That’s just the way they want it. It is totally overcrowded conditions and there are many Covid infected people with no medical attention - if you’re lucky, your family can send food and vitamins to you but there is no medical attention. Food here is very “gamay” or sometimes limited to pamahaw or “breakfast” - we are in short of water we only drink rain water as mineral water is only for the rich.
I have Two friends here they are also comrades – the same drugs case, but anarchists too, they are also part of our collective aka. Clint and Yakal (we all use code-names) but they are in the hole right now because they’re infected by the Virus. The hole is an underground facility where infected inmates are detained - I haven’t seen them for 3 months now, as of now there is no court and no one gets out of the prison. Water here is still our main problem - we wish it would rain so we have drinking water or the city will supply us with water.
In our struggle we need homes not jail!
I am aka Wawart of the URC – Solidarity & Anarchy.
Aka Bunso From Manila
Solidarity to all I’m aka Bunso from Manila. I travelled to Cebu to meet Cebuano anarchists and the Anarcho punks Collective. I have been in contact with the URC and they provided me help and assistance on my case as my family is in Manila province and can’t travel here. They are also helping me get assistance on my transfer to a rehab facility to decrease my jail time – but everything, including the criminal justice system is closed down.
I was caught on the province of Cebu and I was planted with drugs by the police and ended up in jail. I also meet aka URC28, but a few days he was released and has been trying to help me ever since with food/medical packages. But unfortunately the outbreak hit and the roads are locked - our existence here was a struggle before, now it is unbearable. Getting fresh water each day is the biggest challenge and leads to unrest.
Without the URC, I don’t know where I would be right now. I cannot live here much longer as the Covid-19 cases increase and there is no help and no other steps for infected people to seek medical attention. We observed that deaths are high and we have friends we haven’t seen for many days that have been put in the hole we don’t know if they are still alive, but at night they are carrying dark bags inside an ambulance we have no way to determine as we are locked inside our cell, thank for letting our cries be heard let it echoes!
To all that we exist! In this darkness.
Maraming Salamat! Ipag Patuloy Ang Pakikibaka! Mabuhay Ang mga Anarchista! “Thank you, Continue the Struggles Long live Anarchism”
#Indonesia: Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners
Sebagai anarkis, tindakan langsung dan pemberontakan adalah jiwa dari anarkisme itu sendiri, sedangkan kurungan penjara dan penghinaan adalah konsekuensi dari setiap tindakan langsung yang kita ambil. Jika kurungan adalah jawaban dari setiap tindakan langsung, berarti pasifisme adalah jawabannya kan? Sayangnya tidak, menyerah pada pasifisme berarti membiarkan leher kita terus diinjak dan semakin diinjak lagi!
Para kamerad kita di Tangerang dan Makassar telah memutuskan untuk melawan balik penindasan negara dan kini harus terkurung dipenjara, dan inilah tugas kita untuk memastikan mereka tidak sendirian! Kami melakukan sedikit dekorasi disebuah gedung tak terpakai beberapa hari lalu sebagai bentuk solidaritas kami, mari bersolidaritas!
Hormat kami untuk para tahanan anarkis Makassar dan Tangerang. Nyala api untuk penjara! Tiada anarki tanpa penghapusan penjara dan polisi!
Jaringan Anarkis Individual Tulungagung
As anarchists we believe, direct action and insurrection is the soul of anarchism itself, while prison and humiliation are the consequences of every direct action we take.
If humiliation is the answer to every direct action, then pacifism is the answer right? Unfortunately not, giving up on pacifism means letting our necks stepped and getting stepped again! Our comrades
in Tangerang and Makassar have decided to fight back against state oppression and must now be locked up in prison, and this is our duty to ensure they are not alone! We did a little decoration in an unused building a few days ago as our solidarity, let’s make and spread solidarity! Our hugs and love for Makassar and Tangerang anarchist prisoners. Fire for prison! No anarchy without abolition of prisons and police!
Tulungagung Anarchist Individual Network
Grafitti in Bandung: Free All Anarchist Prisoners
COVID-CLAMPDOWN ON THE STREETS OF THE PHILIPPINES
We are campaigning against the existence of police authority and calling to build a much better community. In this pandemic era, we experienced the harsh condition, the neglect and the incapability of the government to handle the health crisis. They’ve given much support on deploying police in uniform to fight the spread of Covid 19 virus and
passed Anti-Terrorism Law which is imprisoning anarchists and is totally inappropriate and oppressive in this kind of situation.
We are calling to abolish police and to build a just and better community without authority.
The Covid 19 pandemic in the Philippine context shows how irrelevant and unreliable the government is in dealing with the health crisis. Instead of strengthening and supporting the medical and financial needs of the people, they’ve focus their effort on controlling the movement like we are living in a police state situation. Mutual aid sprouted in many communities in the Philippines, supporting each other and working together to lessen the suffering, as the government neglect the people with no clear plan on social services.
Anarchists in the Lebanon
For people wanting to keep up with the uprising that is happening in Lebanon, there is an anarchist group on the ground - Kafeh (Struggle) posting videos and updates. This is a recent statement from the group, that they released just before the shocking explosion, caused by decades of corruption, that has rocked the entire region and forced the government to resign.
“Whether Christians, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites or Druze, the working class Lebanese all face a new wave of taxes and a faltering economy. The daily reality of no food in the cupboards and no water in the taps left them with only one choice. They took to the streets to protest for a decent existence, only to find themselves dealing with horrific police brutality.
In the middle of this there is a relatively new group taking to the streets, organising and sharing the politics of Anarchism, they are named Kefah! or Struggle. They formed in December last year as a collective of Anarchist comrades (including Anarchist Communists, Mutualists, Anarcho Vegans and Syndicalists) and quickly became an active part of the alliance of opposition to the government and subsequently the current wave of demonstrations.
Our short term aim is to overthrow the current corrupted oligarchy taking over Lebanon and our long term goal is to achieve anarchism in Lebanon and the region, either by building independent communes, or by transforming all the society into an anarchist one” .
Here is their statement of intent in English.
KAFEH! or Struggle! is an Anarchist Movement whose goal is to achieve a decentralised society without authority, and who upholds the values of liberty, social justice, egalitarianism, and secularism.
The word “KAFEH!” is an Arabic briefing of the term: “Effective Free Anarchist Cadres “. The Premise of the movement is Anarchy or Libertarian Anti-Authoritarianism.
“KAFEH!” Movement rejects the authoritarian patriarchal dominant system in Lebanon which is a centralised establishment that incites sectarianism, and greedy capitalism in order to support allocating quotas , exploitation , and splitting power, resources and public wealth.
“KAFEH!” seeks to change the current status quo of the system into an extended decentralisation consisting of small local communities (communes), each choosing its own self ruling system, respecting liberty , social justice, egalitarianism, and secularism.
“KAFEH!” aims to minimise the state’s duties to the collection of taxes from each & every community in order to provide social services and infrastructure equally distributed amongst all communities.
“KAFEH!” supports the principle of absolute individual freedom in life choices, beliefs, opinion, expression , ideas , and other principles based on the declaration of human rights.
“KAFEH!” insists on the necessity to change the current system by all its forms.
“KAFEH!” considers that any form of change can’t be true if it doesn’t include the protection of fauna and flora expressed by a pact amongst all communities.
“KAFEH!” declares itself the protector of the weak and of the oppressed, as well as of victims of injustice practiced by the current authoritarian patriarchal dominant system.
You can contact Kafeh with messages of support etc via their Facebook page:
Careerists & Gate-Keepers - Defanging Our Movement
Alongside the familiar threats of state repression and snitches, the careerism of self-appointed ac�vist leaders represents another insidious form of counterinsurgency that must be opposed by revolu�onary anarchists. Ac�vists from the art world, academia, and non-profits o�en posi�on themselves to profit, both financially and in social capital, from their associa�on with radical movements. They turn protest into performance art, a substance-free “insurgent aesthe�c” and ensure that their names and faces are prominently displayed next to whatever spectacle they are promo�ng. In the pursuit of clout, these ac�vist gri�ers will sell out the movements they claim to represent.
Whether inten�onally or not, careerists perform a nefarious role in counterinsurgency, as their reformist tendencies allow radical movements to be easily co-opted un�l they become indis�nguishable from liberalism. Due to their career ambi�ons, these ac�vists’ poli�cs are, by defini�on, reformist, as any revolu�onary change would endanger the comfortable lifestyle they are striving to maintain. They defang words like “anarchism,” “revolu�on,” “aboli�on,” and “decoloniza�on,” removing them from any historical context and associa�on with militancy, par�cularly armed struggle. Instead of respec�ully learning from people who are facing
oppression, these careerists instruct people to protest in the “correct way” to fit the image they are carefully cra�ing. Inevitably, they channel energy that could be directed against the state and capitalism back into electoral poli�cs.
Extract from “Tracksuits, Traumas and Class Traitors” by D. Hunter - reproduced with the kind permission of the author
When I’m doing events to promote my books similar questions come up over and over again. one of those could be uncharitably titled “I work in the public sector, how can we help the children who are like you used to be?”. The answer has varied, because I am not entirely sure. I always say that I understand there are good, well-meaning people working in, overworked, underfunded and understaffed departments. Part of me wants to highlight the violence and abuse that has been consistently inflicted upon poor and working-class children by state-run services for centuries. And that, in the end, it’s not just shitty individuals, it’s not just institutional negligence, it’s social apathy as a result of an economic system in which poor and working-class children do not matter, as they will never be sufficiently economically productive to matter. I want to remind them that if they are from economically secure families and communities, and if they are professionals working for state institutions, then the problems they are trying to remedy are not theirs to be interfering with.
That they are poking around what is often intergenerational trauma caused by decades of violent, economic and social marginalisation, generated by a political system that they benefit from and reproduce.
That if they want to act in order support repairing the damage that has been done to the bodies and minds of poor and working-class children and adults, then it is not middle-class adults who need to be tinkering around playing Mother Theresa. What is needed is the handing over of resources to poor and working-class communities. There appears to be an idea that poor and working-class communities don’t have the emotional and psychological faculties to repair our most traumatised individuals. That is so staggeringly not the case.
What we don’t have is the resources, the money, the buildings, the time. We are often working minimum-wage jobs, zero-hour jobs, two jobs, three jobs, whilst taking care of our neighbours, sisters, fathers, co-workers, brothers, mothers, friends, other folks in our communities. Some are doing this whilst working through our own traumas. And, again, this is important, they are OUR traumas, ones which are wrapped around OUR communities. And our understanding of this is vast, and eclipses any professionals. I do not think we should be left alone to fend for ourselves, I think we should be given the resources currently wasted on text-book experts and careerists, who only understand our communities by examining them from the outside, who are there to prod, examine and file reports. We know our communities from the inside, the warmth, the wisdom, and yes, the hurt and the pain, from being attacked by policy after policy, from being attacked for so long that we have often turned on one another and ourselves. But we do have the knowledge that can heal our collective spirit, we just need the resources to do it.
“Simón Radowitsky was one of countless men and women, the salt of the earth, most of them anonymous, who chose to resist against an unjust, class-ridden society in the hope of building a better world for humanity.”
In November 1909, Ukrainian born mechanic and anarchist Simón Radowitzky assassinated Argentinian police chief Colonel Ramon Falcon. This was in reprisal for the brutal repression of a demonstration at which 12 workers were murdered and over 100 seriously wounded by a cavalry charge commanded by Falcon.
He then spent 21 years locked in a cage at the dreadful penal colony of Ushuaia, where he was tortured and abused on a regular basis. Radowitzky showed immense strength of character. He stood up to all the humiliations and indignities meted out, and moreover, became the spokesperson of all the prisoners, leading hunger strikes and “protest choirs”. When the prison officials realised his standing among the prisoners they increased their torments.
In 1936, following imprisonment and deportation, Simón headed for Spain and the anarchist revolution. By now he was in his mid-forties and in poor health, but still made his way to the Aragon front where he fought with the anarchist 28th Division.
Simón Radowitzky short biography: https:/ libcom.org/history/articles/1891-1956-simon-radowitzky
Review of Prisoner 155 – the graphic novel of Simón Radowitsky’s life by
Augustin Comotto: https:/ www.theguardian.com/books/2016/dec/28/forgotten-anarchist-simon-
Power is Cursed.
‘If whichsoever power was ever able to do something, it was indeed the Commune, composed of men and women of intelligence, of courage, of an incredible honesty, and who had performed incontestable feats of devotion and energy. The power annihilated them, leaving them no other implacable desire than that of sacrifice. For power is cursed, that is why I am an anarchist.’
Louise Michel, La Louve Rouge (Red She-Wolf) of the Paris Commune.
Louise Michel - Confinement & The State
By Jayacintha Danaswamy
Louise Michel was born on 29th May 1830. She was raised by her mother and paternal grandparents. Her love and understanding of everything downtrodden, human and animal alike, developed from her empathy with her childhood world. Her compassion and sensitivity to suffering grew, as she grew. This, along with her instinct to rebel against social inequalities, led her along the revolutionary path.
The Paris Commune was a social revolution, which tried to create freedom and equality for all the people of Paris. Louise Michel, like many others, gave her total self to the revolution. She fought on the barricades, devoting herself to the cause. She was eagerly willing to sacrifice her life for the “conquest of freedom”. In her memoirs, she describes the struggle: “In my mind I feel the soft darkness of a spring night. It is May 1871, and I see the red reflection of flames. It is Paris afire. That fire is a dawn”.
After the fall of the Commune, Louise Michel had to turn herself into the authorities, as they threatened to shoot her mother. She was marched, along with other prisoners who were active in the commune, from Versailles to Satory. Along the way some were woken in the middle of the night, made dig their own graves and then shot. In total, there were about thirty thousand men, women and children executed. It was the brutal suppression of the Commune that consolidated a climate of mutual hatred between the workers and the bourgeoisie - history tells us, that the state would rather leave society in ruins, than hand any political power to those that built that society.
On 16th December 1871, Louise Michel, at the age of thirty-six, was brought to trial by the Versailles Government. She was accused of:
1. Trying to overthrow the government.
2. Encouraging citizens to arm themselves.
3. Possession and use of weapons, and wearing a military uniform.
4. Forgery of a document.
5. Using a false document.
6. Planning to assassinate hostages.
7. Illegal arrests, torturing and killing.
When she was asked if she had anything to say in her defence, she replied:
“I do not wish to defend myself, I do not wish to be defended. I belong completely to the social responsibility for all my actions. I accept it completely and without reservations. I wished to oppose the invader from Versailles with a barrier of flames. I had no accomplices in this action. I acted on my own initiative. I am told that I am an
accomplice of the Commune. Certainly, yes, since the Commune wanted more than anything else the social revolution, and since the social revolution is the dearest of my desires . . . the Commune, which by the way had nothing to do with murders and arson. . . since it seems that any heart which beats for freedom has the right only to a lump of lead, I too claim my share. If you let me live, I shall never stop crying for revenge and l shall avenge my brothers. I have finished. If you are not cowards, kill me!”
Deported from France
Louise Michel was sentenced to lifetime deportation. On 8th August 1873 she began her voyage to New Caledonia. It was during this journey that she met Natalie Lemel, who was responsible for introducing her to anarchism. The conditions in New Caledonia were harsh. There was a serious food shortage and very little medical care. After spending five years in exile, she was allowed to teach the Kanaks, and the children of colonists. She got to know and respect the Kanaks, the indigenous people. Her support for their struggles against French invasion and racism is remembered today in the capital city, Noumea, where there is a museum dedicated to anarchism. The French Government finally consented to an amnesty for the prisoners of the Paris Commune. In 1880, after six and a half years in exile, Louise Michel began her long journey home. On 21st November, she spoke at her first public meeting in Paris. Her speeches were inspirational and effective. “It is the people who will deliver us from the men who have been corrupting us, and the people themselves will win their liberty.”
During this time, she wrote many articles on the effects of strikes. When the prisoners who were exiled returned, many of them were out of work and starving. Michel put a lot of work and energy into trying to set up a soup kitchen to feed these people.
In January 1882, Louise Michel was arrested again. She was charged with insulting policemen. Even though this was a lie, she was still sentenced to two weeks in prison. After her release, Michel gave lectures in countries throughout Europe. At all times her movements were being watched by policemen, while she
travelled from Belgium to Holland and to England. On her return home, she continued touring through France raising money for women
spinners in Lille, who were on strike. On 9th January 1883, in Lyon, sixty-eight anarchists were brought to trial. These included Peter Kropotkin, Emile Gautier, Bordat and Bernard. They wrote a document called “The manifesto of the Anarchists”. In it they describe what anarchy is, and what anarchists want. “We claim bread for all, knowledge for all, work for all, independence and justice for all.” Kropotkin and the others were sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.
On 9th March 1883, at the Esplanade of Les Invalides, there was a large demonstration. Afterwards, a large number of people marched across Paris. Leading this procession was Louise Michel. There were three incidents of loaves of bread being looted from bakers’ shops. After going into hiding for three weeks, she turned herself in. She was charged with having been one of “the leaders and instigators of looting committed by a band”.
Louise was condemned to six years of solitary confinement, and ten years of police supervision. During her time in prison, she continuously wrote to the authorities. She asked to be moved nearer her sick mother in Paris. Eventually, the authorities permitted her to be moved to Paris, and attend her dying mother’s bedside in her last few living days.
In the following January she was pardoned and freed from prison. Two years later, as Michel was giving a speech, she was shot behind her left ear. When her would-be assassin was on trial, Michel defended him. She said, “he was misled by an evil society”. In the last few years of her life, she toured extensively around France, promoting anarchism.
“I'm more free than many of those who walk about under the open skies. Their minds are imprisoned, they are enchained by their property, by their monetary interests, the sad necessities of their lives.”
Libertarian Socialist, Paul Lafargue recorded his visit to Louise Michel in St Lazare prison following her conviction for starting a riot in 1883.
– But what’s wrong with you? You look all upset, as if the sight of a prison troubles you, Louise Michel smilingly said to me as I entered
– Citizen, it’s painful for us to know you’re imprisoned. But I didn’t expect to see you behind a grill. I had hoped to talk with you in a room, to hold your hands.
– My dear Lafargue, she answered, there is no other parlor in this hotel where the bourgeois lodge me gratis. I’m not complaining. To tell you the truth, I’ve had to
put up with worse. I’ve found a happiness in prison that I never knew when I was free; I have time to study and I take advantage of it. When I was free I had my classes: 150 students or more. It wasn’t enough for me to live on, since two thirds of them didn’t pay me. I had to give lessons in music,
grammar, history, a little bit of everything, until ten or eleven o’clock in the evening, and when I went home I went to sleep exhausted, unable to do anything. At the time I would have given years of my life in order to have time to give over to study.
Here in St Lazare I have time for myself, a lot of time, and I’m happy about this: I read, I study. I’ve learned several languages. A friend, G..., gave me Russian lessons and I can already read it and even write it a little. You know that I have an excellent memory,
the main thing needed for the study of language. I learned English all on my own...In order to undertake what I want to do when I get out of prison I have to know several languages.
While waiting to re-conquer my freedom of action, my freedom to propagandize, I write. I wrote some children’s books. I teach them to think like citizens, like revolutionaries, while at the same time amusing them. In novels I realistically paint the miseries of life, and I try to breathe the love of the revolution into the hearts of men.
We spoke for an hour and a half, forgetting about the place we were in, talking about everything, touching on all possible topics of current affairs, elections, realist literature, new novels, voyages.
– Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m more free than many of those who walk about under the open skies. Their minds are imprisoned,
they are enchained by their property, by
their monetary interests, the sad necessities of their lives. They are so absorbed that they can’t live like living, thinking beings. As for me, I live the life of the world. I follow with enthusiasm the revolutionary movements of Russia, Germany, and France, everywhere.
Yes, I am a fanatic and, like all martyrs, my body doesn’t feel pain when my thoughts transport me to the world of the revolution.
Imprisoned behind these thick walls I see again my beautiful voyage to New Caledonia. My being was never so strongly moved by the spectacle of nature as when I sailed on the somber immensity of the ocean, than when on the South Pole I witnessed a snow storm and saw the air white with snow and the black sea devouring the flakes that fell on its surface; while in my heart lived the bloody days of the defeat and the sublime explosion of March 18.
I people my solitude with thousands of memories. And my beloved Canaques! How barbarian the civilized are! I learned their language, their music, their songs. I lived among them and they loved me as if I belonged to their tribe. I founded a school, and in no time I had taught these little
savages to read and to count, but I have to say that I invented a special method for their usage...
Louise Michel elaborated at length on the pedagogical question that so interests her.
– I received a letter from the mayor of Noumea. He asks that I go there to found schools, and I will.
It was moving to hear this heroic woman speak.
– Oh, citizen, how we miss you!
– Don’t talk to me about a pardon. I don’t want a pardon; never, at any price.
– It wouldn’t be a pardon that the government would give you in returning to you the freedom it deprives you of by force. A revolutionary, and this is my carefully thought out opinion, should not recognize the bourgeoisie’s right to condemn him. He cedes before the enormous force that crushes him, but doesn’t abandon any of his rights and if, after having locked him up, the bourgeois government opens the prison gates, it isn’t pardoning him, it is restoring the freedom it robbed him of. It even owes him reparations for the months of prison they made him suffer. I just finished eight months of prison and I count on receiving damages the day of the revolution. Think then, citizen, of the services you would render the revolutionary cause if you were free.
– No, I don’t want a pardon. I will only leave prison if I’m given an amnesty. Let those who love me never speak of a pardon: this would dishonor me.
– No pardon will ever dishonor Louise Michel, who, the day after she leaves, will begin again her campaign of revolutionary struggle.
– Stop, I don’t want to hear any talk about a pardon. Don’t forget to bring me your anthropology books and Darwin’s The Descent of Man; reading it will fortify my English. Tell my friends that I’m doing
well. Adieu et au revoir.
Le Socialiste, September 26, 1885
Prison Film Recommendations
(2006) Director: Ava DuVernay
Documentary about the prison Industrial Complex in USA.
2. American me
(1992) Director: Edward James Olmos
Olmos stars as street-gang leader Santana, who during his 18 years in Folsom Prison rules over all the drug-and-murder activities behind bars.
3. American History X
(1998) Director: Tony Kaye
Two brothers from Los Angeles who are involved in the white supremacist and neo-Nazi movements.
4. A prophet
(2009) Director: Jacques Audiard
A delinquent young Muslim man, who is struggling to get by in a French prison.
5. Brawl in Cell Block 99
(2017) Director: S. Craig Zahler
A former boxer named Bradley finds himself in a gunfight between a group of police officers and his own ruthless allies.
(1980) Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Fact-based drama, the new inmate at a run- down Southern prison that’s become notorious for corruption and violence. y undercover.
7. Chicken Run
(2000) Directors: Nick Park, Peter Lord
Two chickens are planning a daring “prisoner of war” style escape.
8. Cool hand Luke
Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Luke is sentenced to a stretch on a chain gang after he’s arrested for drunkenly decapitating parking meters.
9. Down By Law
(1986) Director: Jim Jarmusch
Jim Jarmusch follows his groundbreaking Stranger Than Paradise with another rambling, character-driven film with a twisted sense of humor.
10. Each Dawn I Die
(1939) Director: William Keighley
An innocent newspaperman is railroaded into prison by a corrupt district attorney.
(2003) Director: Andrew Davis
Perpetually in the wrong place at the wrong time, Stanley is unfairly sentenced to months of detention for a crime he didn’t commit.
(2008) Director: Steve McQueen
The final months of the Irish Republican Army activist who protested his treatment at the hands of British prison guards with a hunger strike.
13. I am a fugitive from a Chain Gang
(1932) Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Wrongfully convicted for a hold-up, a war vet sentenced to a chain gang escapes and builds a new, respectable existence
14. In the Name of the Father
(1993) Director: Jim Sheridan
True story of Irish youth wrongly convicted for
IRA bombing in 1974.
15. I want to live
(1958) Director: Robert Wise
The story of the life and execution of Barbara Graham.
16. Jailhouse Rock
(1957) Director: Richard Thorpe
Elvis Presley plays a young buck who accidentally kills a man while protecting the honor of a woman.
17. Kiss of the spider woman
(1985) Director: Héctor Babenco
It weaves an alluring exploration of sexual and society norms.
18. Lady Vengeance
(2005) Director: Park Chan-wook
A woman looks for both revenge and redemption after spending 13 years in prison.
19. Lonely Are the Brave
(1962) Director: David Miller
An anarchist Western often cited by Douglas as the favourite movie of his career.
20. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
(2000) Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Three escapees from a Mississippi prison chain gang pursue their freedom and return to their homes.
(2017) Director: Michael Noer
(1973) Director: Franklin J. Schaffner Convicted murderer known as “Papillon” for his butterfly chest tattoo, is determined to escape.
22. Photographer of Mauthausen
(2018) Director: Mar Targarona
Biopic about Francisco Boix, a photographer who ended up in the Nazi concentration camps. 23.Please murder me
(1956) Director: Peter Godfrey
In this thriller, an attorney is appalled to realize that the lovely client who he got acquitted is indeed guilty of killing her husband.
24. Riot in Cell Block 11
(1954) Director: Don Siegel
In this prison film, Neville Brand plays a “lifer”
who leads his fellow prisoners in revolt.
25. The Big House
(1930) Director: George Hill
Not the first of the prison pictures, but the one
that truly put the genre on the map.
26. The Great Escape
(1963) Director: John Sturges
American epic war film starring Steve McQueen. During IIWW a large group of imprisoned Allied soldiers, known for breaking out of prison.
27. The Hurricane
(1999) Director: Norman Jewison
In 1966, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was a boxer whom many fight fans expected to become world champion. When he were convicted of murder,
28. The Shawshank Redemption
(1994) Director: Frank Darabont
It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence.
Empty Cages Collective
“Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages.”
The Empty Cages Collec�ve is a group of people who have been imprisoned or engaged in prison-related struggle and prisoner support over a number of years. As individuals our lives have been dominated and harmed by the prison system for the last decade. We have diverse poli�cal opinions however we all iden�fy as anarchists, sharing a desire to eradicate all forms of domina�on.
As a collec�ve the aims are:
• To share informa�on, ideas and build literacy around the prison industrial complex and prison aboli�on in the UK;
• To inspire, skill share and support people to organise for prison aboli�on;
• To listen & work with directly affected communi�es & individuals harmed by the prison industrial complex in the UK.
Lots of informa�on and links for the aboli�on of prison, against prison expansion and the
dismantling of the prison industrial complex in the UK here:
“Thank you very much for the books you purchased on my behalf ... keep up the good work because books are the keys that open the gates of knowledge”
AM, HMP Mount
Illustra�on by Clifford Harper
Haven Distribution aims to provide prac�cal support to prisoners within the UK by:
• Purchasing educa�onal literature for inmates who are currently a�ending courses whilst in prison;
• Providing dic�onaries in English and other languages to inmates whose first language is not English;
• Providing large print dic�onaries and books on improving reading and wri�ng skills to inmates with dyslexia;
If you are a prisoner a�ending an educa�onal course such as NVQ, Open University, A Level, etc., and would like help in purchasing specific course literature, we may be able to help.
Haven Distribu�on will purchase books for prisoners’ courses to a maximum of £20 per person, per calendar year. We encourage prisoners to leave the books in the prison library once the course is finished so that other prisoners can use them.
Haven also provides prisoners a free catalogue of donated books from publishers, and books that are bought cheaply from remainder bookshops. These books range from Social Sciences such as Philosophy and Criminology, to Black Interest and poli�cal science, plus some fic�on and graphic novels.
An applica�on form can be downloaded or received by post.
Details here: h�ps://www.havendistribu�on.org.uk/applying
Haven now has an online shop selling Haven T Shirts, mugs, book bags and books - all money goes directly into purchasing books to prisoners as we have no paid staff.
Further informa�on about Haven Distribu�on: h�ps://www.havendistribu�on.org.uk/about
The Experience of Surviving as a Vegan in Prison
Nearly 10% (around 10,000) of the prison popula�on of the UK are vegan. The Vegan Prisoners Support Group VPSG provides help, support, and informa�on for vegans detained either in police custody or within the prison system in the United Kingdom. VPSG also try to ensure that the prison vegan diets are nutri�onally sound and that vegan clothing, hygiene and body-care products are made available or can be ordered or sent in to vegan prisoners.
<strong>The website is packed with informa�on about arrest advice, arriving at prison, cooking vegan food behind bars, nutri�onal informa�on, etc - also PDF booklets to download: http://vpsg.org/
Peter Young, animal rights ac�vist affiliated with the Animal Libera�on Front, was a fugi�ve between 1998 and 2005, on the run from the FBI. The crime? He released thousands of minks from fur farms.
He was arrested in 1998 and faced Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act charges with a poten�al sentence of a crazy 82 years.
Young described his vegan ‘moral code’ as the source of his lifestyle choices that led him to this point: “I have found myself at protests turned riots, donning cow costumes at meat processing conven�ons, and creeping into slaughterhouses in complete darkness to film the inhumane treatment of animals.”
His dedica�on to vegan living was not even jeopardised while on the run. But eventually he was ‘outrun’ and arrested, and Young spent two years behind the bars of seven different prisons, where the vegan lifestyle became a huge challenge.
Although in the UK, your right to prac�ce veganism is protected under the Human Rights Act, this is not the case everywhere in the world and rights do not always en�tle ease of access.
You can read the rest of this piece here: h�ps://www.livekindly.co/experience- surviving-vegan-in-prison/
“Although the Wobblies and Panthers both suffered sabotage by the US government, their ideologies have inspired insurrection among anarchists and environmentalists worldwide, and their legacies continue in the fights for labor reform and prison abolition.”
How Black Cats Went From Bringing Bad Luck To Being Symbols of Defiance
Icons like the Black Panther Party logo, the “Sabo-Tabby,” and innumerable pieces of protest art go against the tradi�onal Western taboo around the felines. The Industrial Workers of the World use a black cat (“Sab-Ki�y” or “Sabo-Tabby”) as their icon for sabotage. Similarly, the Black Panthers named their party a�er an animal that only a�acks when provoked. Perhaps it’s because the IWW and the Black Panthers are s�ll considered unsavory by those above a certain tax bracket, that in most poli�cal contexts, black cats are silent agitators advoca�ng for redistribu�on of wealth or even the overthrow of the government.
By Comrade Billy Anania
Full Ar�cle Here:
JAIL GUITAR DOORS
Clang clang, go the jail guitar doors Bang bang, go the boots on the floor Cry cry, for your lonely mother's son Clang clang, go the jail guitar doors
The Clash song, “Jail Guitar Doors” tells the story of the imprisonment of their fellow musician Wayne Kramer. In 2007, to honor the life of Clash founder, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg launches an ini�a�ve in England to provide musical equipment used to rehabilitate inmates serving �me in Her Majesty’s Prisons in the United Kingdom. His ini�a�ve is named for that very same song, “Jail Guitar Doors.” In 2009, Wayne Kramer partners with Billy Bragg to found Jail Guitar Doors USA. Together, their combined effort con�nues the mission for prisoners in America. The circle is unbroken.
Guitar Doors informa�on/ merchandise here:
San Quentin, you’ve been livin’ hell to me You’ve hosted me since nineteen sixty three I’ve seen ‘em come and go and I’ve seen them die And long ago I stopped asking why
San Quentin, I hate every inch of you You’ve cut me and have scarred me through and through
And I’ll walk out a wiser weaker man Mister Congressman, you can’t understand
San Quentin, what good do you think you do? Do you think I’ll be different when you’re through?
You bent my heart and mind and you warp my soul
And your stone walls turn my blood a little cold
San Quentin, may you rot and burn in hell May your walls fall and may I live to tell May all the world forget you ever stood
And may all the world regret you did no good
San Quentin, you’ve been living hell to me.
“I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion - against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.”
On New Years Day 1959, Johnny Cash played his first-ever prison show at San Quen�n and started a movement where music was u�lised, not only to entertain inmates, but to bring wider a�en�on to the plight of prisoners. This radical act inspired many bands and singers to do the same – Metallica, Bob Dylan
& the Rolling Thunder Revue, the Sex Pistols, Grateful Dead, Frank Sinatra, Bonnie Tyler and B.B. King have all played inside prisons.
On that frosty winter’s morning in San Francisco, Cash was not nervous about entering a maximum-security prison armed with just a guitar and his voice. The ‘Man In Black’ was always one to champion the oppressed - Cash faced censorship and a backlash for speaking out on behalf of na�ve people and for his involvement in the wider civil rights movement and of the rights of all poor communi�es. But he never made a bolder statement than At San Quen�n. He had been arrested several �mes over the course of his life but was never sentenced to prison - that being said he felt immense compassion for those who had made poor choices, as he had, on occasion, himself. As well as performing at prisons, always for free, Cash
�relessly campaigned for the rights of prisoners and pricked the conscience of a society that was largely ignorant of the plight of these forgo�en men and women who were languishing inside an industrial scale prison system.
On that day in 1959, Merle Haggard, who was serving 10 years for burglary, was in the crowd at San Quen�n and cites the experience as a forma�ve life-changing moment: “He had the right
a�tude,” Haggard later recalled. “He chewed gum, looked arrogant and flipped the bird to the guards — he did everything the prisoners wanted to do. He was a mean mother from the South who was there because he loved us. When he walked away, everyone in that place had become a Johnny Cash fan.”
Cash con�nued to tour prisons for the next ten years before recording At Folsom Prison in 1968. On February 24, 1969, he recorded an incredible performance back at San Quen�n. The inmates are on the edge of their seats, erup�ng into rapturous applause at every knee-slapping quip or poli�cal jab at the system: “it’s good to know who hates you and it is good to be hated by the right people”
Johnny Cash - San Quen�n (Live at San Quen�n):
“You are a devilish Conscience Rascal, damn ye, I am a free Prince, and I have as much Authority to make War on the whole World, as he who has a hundred Sail of Ships at Sea, and an Army of 100,000 Men in the Field; and this my Conscience tells me; but there is no arguing with such sniveling Puppies, who allow Superiors to kick them about
Deck at Pleasure.”
The Pirate Bellamy Pirate Utopias - Under the Banner of King Death.
From The Do Or Die Collective
During the ‘Golden Age’ of piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries, crews of early proletarian rebels, dropouts from civilization, plundered the lucrative shipping lanes between Europe and America. They operated from land enclaves, free ports; ‘pirate utopias’ located on islands and coastlines as yet beyond the reach of civilization. From these mini-anarchies - ‘temporary autonomous zones’ - they launched raiding parties so successful that they created an imperial crisis, attacking British trade with the colonies, and crippling the emerging system of global exploitation, slavery and colonialism.
Full article at the Anarchist Library: https: /theanarchistlibrary.org/library/do-or-die-pirate-utopias
“I’ve labored long & hard for bread, For honor & for riches,
But on my corns too long you’ve tred You fine-haired sons of bitches.”
Probably Norfolk's greatest rebel poet, Charles Earl Boles (AKA Black Bart), was born in 1829 in Great Yarmouth. He emigrated with his family to Jefferson County, New York and eventually in the 1870s and 80s, made a living by robbing the Wells Fargo stagecoach network (about 30 times) - sometimes distributing the proceeds to poor families along the way “the villain dressed in black and had long unruly black hair, a large black beard, and wild grey eyes.” He never fired a shot in the process and sometimes left a
short verse at the scene.
Bart finished his years hiding in plain sight in the boomtown of Marysville working as a pharmacist and going by the name of Charles Wells.
“Give a man a gun and he can rob a Bank. Give a man a Bank and he can rob the world.”
“Let a revolution come. I hope, if I’m not a coward, to be in it... and in my faith, if my face is broken for the ideas in which I truly believe, I will have joy...”
March 1858 anarchist, anti-fascist and Neo-Impressionist painter Maximilien Luce was born in Paris. Luce was arrested and imprisoned at Mazas prison with Felix Feneon, Jean Grave and Sebastien Faure, following the wave of repression against the anarchist movement - his drawings for various radical publications leading a judge to describe him as a ‘dangerous anarchist’ who was ‘inciting people to revolt’.
A short biography: https: /libcom.org/history/maximilien-
Image: Lithograph self-portrait of the inside of his prison cell at the Mazas Prison Fortress with its ‘American-style’ cells. The idea was to keep prisoners isolated at all times from one another.
“All modes of government are wrong. They are unscientific, because they seek to alter the natural environment of man; they are immoral because, by interfering with the individual, they produce the most aggressive forms of egotism; they are ignorant, because they try to spread education; they are self-destructive, because they engender anarchy...With the abolition of private property, then, we shall have true, beautiful, healthy Individualism. Nobody will waste his life in accumulating things, and the symbols for things. One will live. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
Oscar Wilde, Irish wit, playwright, gay rights advocate and self-described anarchist who was attacked and imprisoned by the state.
Inspired by the work of Pyotr Kropotkin, here is Wilde’s key text outlining his personal vision for a libertarian socialist society, and its implications for personal freedom and potential.
The Soul of Man Under Socialism:
https: /libcom.org/library/soul-of-man-under- socialism-oscar-wilde
“Leaf-blowers are an iconic symbol of a tool dads use to clean up messes.”
New Weapons in The Anarcho-Dads Arsenal -
A Wall of Insurrectionary Moms and the Mighty Leafblower/Teargas Dispersal Unit...
Across over two months of protests, demonstrators in Portland have experimented with a variety of tac�cs and strategies. The clashes in Portland drew interna�onal a�en�on star�ng in mid-June, when footage spread of federal agents in unmarked cars snatching demonstrators off the sidewalks and Donald Trump announced that federal agents would be using this model to intervene in other ci�es around the United States. A�er Trump’s announcement, the demonstra�ons in Portland grew exponen�ally, drawing thousands each night, un�l the governor of Oregon declared that federal agents would be withdrawn from the streets. In the following overview, par�cipants in the Portland demonstra�ons describe some of the tools and tac�cs they have seen employed there. Many of these tools work best in combina�on with each other. As usual, diversity of tac�cs is key—not just tolerance for different approaches, but thinking about how to combine all of them into a symbio�c whole. As demonstrators expand their no�ons of what tac�cs are appropriate in this swi�ly polarizing society, we hope they will also expand their visions of what is worth figh�ng for, adop�ng horizontal models of organiza�on and learning how to iden�fy and resist power plays and ‘gatekeeping’.
Tools and Tac�cs in the Portland Protests:
“The people in power will not disappear voluntarily, giving flowers to the cops just isn’t going to work. This thinking is fostered by the establishment; they like nothing better than love and nonviolence. The only way I like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot from a
Historically and globally, the police have colluded with and literally enforced fascism - it is in the DNA of everybody that wants to do that job. The word Officer, derives from the word Overseer and they are out of control on every con�nent. It was the police in France for example, that did the dirty-work of the Nazis and deported thousands of Jews. The same in Poland, Hungary, Norway and Holland – Hitler had plans drawn up to work with the police in the UK because he knew that would do what the fuck they were told to do. It is a lethal mindset of fear and power.
Cops have always defended oppressive regimes, stood in protec�on of the ruling classes and corpora�ons of every country and always stand with the bosses when workers strike. They are the unques�oning overseers of the state, who undertake the dirty work of military dictatorships and the powerful. Increasingly militarised, these ‘public servants’ will use chemical weapons, total surveillance techniques, tasers, guns and violence with li�le or no provoca�on. How much longer can we go up against their repression, armed only with placards and slogans?
At every demonstra�on and protest to protect our environment, our homes, our communi�es, our jobs, etc, they are there. A pack of inadequate, yet increasingly militarised bully-boys that will do exactly as their poli�cian masters tell them - never ever trust a cop and always ques�on their authority.
Prison And The Stain Of Populism
By John Bowden
The rise of far right popularist nationalism throughout Europe and the U.S. evidences a fundamental shift in the political centre of gravity to the extreme right and and the irrevocable demise of Social Democracy as the balance of social and political power tips massively in favour of the wealthy and privileged. Inevitably, as poverty and the material deprivation of the poor massively increases so too will the number of the imprisoned, especially as social unrest and the struggle for
basic survival intensifies, and already the Tories have pledged to increase police numbers and prison places as the carceral state increasingly replaces the welfare state, camouflaged by the rhetoric of “getting tough on crime” and
maintaining “Law and Order”. As microcosms of the wider society prisons reflect the hard-edged reality of the power relationship between the state and the most dis-empowered and marginalised group in
that society, and conditions within most British jails, which are now brutalising ghettos surrounded by high walls, are a physical prophesy of conditions for the increasing poor in a society now dominated by the jungle law of unrestrained neo-capitalism.
Malcolm X once described prisons as “universities of revolution” and the state itself has described them as “sites of radicalisation”, and within the enclosed totalitarian society of prison the seed of political consciousness in some prisoners is nourished daily by the direct experience of repression and powerlessness. And this is an experience that will increasingly characterise the lives of the poorest and most dis-advantaged groups in the wider society as the social and political climate in Britain becomes increasingly more repressive and control-orientated. The criminalisation of the poor, already apparent in the treatment of state benefit claimants as virtual offenders on probation or parole, and the racial targeting by the police of deprived ethnic-minority communities, will increasingly dissolve the walls between prisons and poor communities, and create
a relationship of power between the state and poor almost identical to that which exists between jailor and jailed. And it is amongst the most disadvantaged and marginalised that resistance to that state will originate and grow. The recent re- election of a hard right tory government who for the last decade has focused its austerity policy on the working class, many of whom actually voted for the continuation of that government, reveals that the class struggle in a traditional sense no longer exists and it is now amongst the “Lumpen Proletariat”
and criminalised that the class war will be fuelled.
From Victorian times and the birth of modern capitalism the factory and prison system were always the two basic life choices of the poor and dispossessed, and it was the former that the organised working class was born and developed, and shaped the contours of Social Democracy.
Meanwhile the undeserving and criminalised poor were disappeared into the prison system and de- humanised in the interest of “Law and Order”. And it was this most marginalised and scapegoated group of the poor who witnessed and experienced the true nature of the capitalist state and were
deeply alienated from “ordinary society” as a result. Meanwhile, the balance of class power established in Britain following the Second World War reached its definitive end during the 1980s when the trade union movement was effectively destroyed and the era of unrestrained neo-capitalism begun. The de- industrialisation of Britain and casualization of labour removed the backbone of organised labour and working class power, and established a total monopoly of ruling class authority and the re- shaping of its state from Welfare orientated to a naked instrument of social control and repression. The experience of the imprisoned poor is now being shared by an increasing number of the ghettoised poor, and it is amongst these that a new resistance will grow and transcend the boundaries of the traditional class struggle.
I know not whether Laws be right, Or whether Laws be wrong;
All that we know who be in jail Is that the wall is strong;
And that each day is like a year, A year whose days are long.
Bent Bars Project
About the Project
The Bent Bars Project is a le�er-wri�ng project for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, gender-variant, intersex, and queer prisoners in Britain. The project was founded in 2009, responding to a clear need to develop stronger connec�ons and build solidarity between LGBTQ communi�es inside and outside prison walls.
LGBTQ people have a long history of being policed and criminalised (and of resis�ng that criminalis�on) yet there are rela�vely few community resources to support LGBTQ prisoners. Although there are many LGBTQ community groups in Britain, most do not specifically address the issues of LGBTQ prisoners.
Likewise, many prisoner support groups do not address the specific issues faced by LGBTQ people behind bars.
Although most overtly homophobic and transphobic laws have been overturned in Britain, the criminal jus�ce system con�nues to target and criminalize queer, trans and gender non-conforming people. We don’t know exactly how many LGBTQ people are currently behind bars, but we do know queer, trans and gender non-conforming people, par�cularly those from poor backgrounds and communi�es of colour, are dispropor�onately funneled into the prison system as a result of systemic discrimina�on, inequality and social exclusion. We also know that queer, trans and gender non-conforming people are o�en subject to increased isola�on, harassment, violence and assault when in prison.
Bent Bars aims to work in solidarity with prisoners by sharing resources, providing mutual support and drawing public a�en�on to the struggles of queer and trans people behind bars.
The project also collects and distributes informa�on for LGBTQ prisoners on a range of issues, including harm reduc�on prac�ces (safer sex, safer drug-use), HIV and HepC preven�on, homophobia, transphobia, coming out in prison, etc.
‘Feminism involves so much more than gender equality and it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve consciousness of capitalism (I mean the feminism that I relate to, and there are multiple feminisms, right). So it has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post- colonialities, and ability and more genders than we
can even imagine and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.’
January 1944, Angela Davis was born in Birmingham, Alabama. A revolu�onary, civil rights organiser and the third woman to feature on the FBI’s most wanted list, Davis was also closely associated with the Black Panther Party. While o�en neglected by history, the BPP membership was two thirds female in 1970.
Ar�cle about the gender poli�cs of the Panthers:
“I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless, heartless, robots who protect them and their
Assata Shakur, former Black Panther Party & Black Libera�on Army member. Born July 1947 and s�ll on the FBIs ‘Most Wanted’ list.
“..I think that it is important to make one thing very clear, I have advocated and still advocate revolutionary changes in the structures and the principles that govern the United States. I advocate self-determination for my people and for all oppressed peoples in the United States. I advocate an end to capitalist exploitation, the abolition of racism, the eradication of sexist policies and the elimination of political repression - if that is a
crime, then I am totally guilty”
Assata Shakur in Her Own Words: Rare Recording of Ac�vist Named to FBI Most Wanted
“Among the beasts of prey man is certainly the worst.” This expression, very commonly made nowadays, is only relatively true. Not man as such, but man in connection with wealth is a beast of prey. The richer a man, the greater his greed for more. We may call such a monster the “beast of property.” It now rules the world, making mankind miserable. and gains in cruelty and voracity with the progress of our so called “civilization”.
Politically active in Germany (expelled), stirring it up in Austria (imprisoned), causing aggravation in Britain (imprisoned) and active in the USA where he wrote: The Science of Revolutionary Warfare: "In giving dynamite to the downtrodden millions of the globe, science has done its best work - a pound of this stuff beats a bushel of ballots all hollow."
“Dora Marsden refused to wear prison clothing and spent her time in prison naked, stripping off her clothes each time an attempt was made to dress her.” Eventually she was placed in a strait jacket but managed to wriggle out of it, because, according to the prison governor, “she was a very small woman”. After going on hunger-strike she was released.
5th March 1882, British individualist anarchist & militant suffragette Dora Marsden is born. She founded a number of libertarian feminist publications that argued that the Suffragette movement was far too narrowly focused on middle class women: The Freewoman (1912), The New Freewoman (1913), & The Egoist (1914-1919). Between 1912 & 1914 she was influenced by Max Stirner’s version of individualist anarchism. Dora also edited avant-garde literary journals (1911- 1919) where Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence, & James Joyce made their debuts.
July 1971, London, England: Despite police protec�on, the home of Secretary for Trade & Industry, John Davies, is fire-bombed by the Angry Brigade. Davies had declared his inten�on to close Upper Clyde Shipbuilders, poten�ally throwing thousands out of work.
The workers at the yard, led by Communist shop stewards, decided to hold a ‘work-in’ when they occupied the yard and con�nued produc�on. This industrial ac�on tended to refute claims that trade unions were work-shy and was therefore embarrassing to the government.
Persons Unknown. Two documentaries on anarchist ac�vism (and trials) in the seven�es and eigh�es. Both were made by Gordon Carr, the first was the basis of his book on the Angry Brigade. Contains archive footage of events varying from Miguel Garcia to snippets of a Crass gig in 1980. With introduc�ons by Stuart Chris�e.
“An anarchist society is and always will be an aspiration, an ideal — a ‘star’ to follow — one that provides us with an ethical code, a moral barometer and a libertarian political template for our everyday lives. If and when a social revolutionary situation recurs again (in this country or anywhere) the role of the anarchist will be to do what they can to ensure that the social institutions required to ensure that any human society (including health and welfare,and security/defence services), function justly, fairly and as conflict-free as is humanly possible, are - and remain - fundamentally democratic, libertarian and answerable to the community. It’s not about achieving Nirvana or a Utopia, only religious zealots and ideological fundamentalists believe in the ‘rapture’ that creates the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, or the ‘last fight’ mentioned in ‘The Internationale’. Anarchists appreciate only too well how ‘imperfect’ human beings are and, doubtless always will be, which is why they reject institutionalised power structures as the bedrock for the creation of oligarchies (well-meaning or otherwise) and the corrupting of the body politic.”
In the 1970s, Stuart and Alfred Meltzer re-formed the Anarchist Black Cross (an organisation to aid anarchist prisoners), edited Black Flag magazine and – by and by – was acquitted of being part of the Angry Brigade.
‘To monotonously live the mouldy hours of the ordinary people, the submissive, the accommodated, a life of convenience, is not living, it is only vegetating and carrying around an amorphous mass of flesh and bones. To life one should give the exquisite elevation of the rebellion of the arms and the mind.
In early-twentieth-century Argentina, anarchist expropriators employed direct, violent means to fund the movement. They used the proceeds to bankroll the production of books, newspapers, and other forms of propaganda; to assist plans to spring their comrades from prison; and to support the families of those who remained behind bars or in early graves. In his own, founded in August 1925 and titled Culmine (Climax), Severino advocated direct action and propaganda of the deed and summarised Culmine’s objectives as:
Having been forced to flee Mussolini’s Italy, Severino mounted a one-man terror campaign against symbols of fascism and capitalism in Argentina. In retaliation to the murder of Sacco and Vanzetti, he bombed the US embassy, a George Washington statue, the Ford motor company, as well as other US firms and banks implicated in the affair, and organised
He believed wholeheartedly in direct action - violent if necessary, in full response to the violence of the state. But also in union organisation and strikes - he wanted to ‘destroy this unjust society and to build a new one without bosses, without governments and without religions’.
On 1 February 1931, Italian anarchist Severino do Giovanni was executed in Buenos Aires. Having been forced to flee fascist Italy, he mounted a one-man terrorist campaign against symbols of fascism and capitalism in Argentina. Argentina was a popular destination for Italian emigrants, so Giovanni landed right in a yeasty community of emigre anarchists, and Argentine anarchists, for that matter: anarchism burgeoned in early 20th century Buenos Aires.
Last week I visited the lavender fields and enjoyed seeing all the different types of bees and bugs living there. There was even gold ladybirds and a bright orange bumble bee! I also went to a castle which was good fun and got really soaked in
We did visit the beach near us and had a fire that we toasted marshmallows on – they taste good. When I am not playing GTA V I am listening to the music from it, my favourite song is the set up which is played in GTA when Trevor is killed (poor Trevor :( :( :( )… We have a proper camping trip coming up soon so hoping to roast more marshmallows and find a
“In all times and in all places, whatever may be the name that the government takes, whatever has been its origin, or its organisation, its essential function is always that of oppressing and exploiting the masses, and of defending the oppressors and exploiters. Its principal characteristic and indispensable instruments are the bailiff and the tax collector, the soldier and the prison. And to these are necessarily added the time-serving priest or teacher, as the case may be, supported and protected by the government, to render the spirit of the people servile and make them docile under the yoke.
Exiled from Italy in July 1881, Anarcho-Communist theorist and editor and by all accounts, a decent mechanic, Malatesta arrived in Britain and spent the next 40 years (give or take the occasional insurrection/imprisonment abroad) organising and meeting other anarchists in his adopted home of London. Rudolf Rocker’s son, Fermin, retained a vivid memory of Malatesta in those years:
“Malatesta was one of the heroes of the movement, a veteran of many struggles on two continents, and his prestige, particularly among his countrymen, was equalled by very few. Oddly enough, there was little in his appearance and demeanour to suggest his exploits as a leader of strikes and insurrections, and to children in particular he seemed the very essence of benevolence… Despite his prominence in the movement, Malatesta lived a life of the utmost frugality, supporting himself as a machinist and metalworker, a calling he pursued in his own little workshop in Islington. Poor as he was, he invariably had a little gift for me whenever he would see me, either a little bag of sweets, a coin or a toy. In this regard he was not playing any favourites, for he had a way with children and was known and loved by all the youngsters in his neighbourhood.”
The initial source for this painting was a Granada Television episode of the World in Action programme, titled ‘The H-block Fuse’, transmitted on 24 November 1980. It contained footage shot inside the British government’s high-security prison at Long Kesh, near Belfast, known as the Maze and as the H Blocks.
The conflict in Northern Ireland began to intensify in terms of violence in 1969. After a number of years, IRA prisoners in the Maze demanded to be classified as political rather than criminal offenders, and thus to be accorded a number of rights and living conditions which were being denied them. The British government refused to grant such status, and the prisoners escalated their protests, refusing to obey any prison regulations. They would not wear prison clothes, wrapping themselves only in the blankets they were provided as bedding, and lived in their own squalor, surrounded by excrement-smeared walls.
“We must protect ourselves and others from increasingly militarised policing - where chemical weapons, firearms, tasers, etc are in common use against unarmed demonstrators and individuals. At the very least, every demonstrator should carry a baton. The police are the attack dogs of the state, the army of the rich.”