THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPPORTING PRISONERS
it is important to stress that none of us is immune from arrest and prosecution
for any number of alleged crimes. Especially once we have placed ourselves into
the eye of the storm of struggle against the masters of capital, who believe
their station in life gives them the legitimate power to enslave us in
whatsoever form they choose, to use us up, throw us away and profit by the blood
and sweat we shed in their wage slave shops, factories and mills of capitalism.
Once we step out in any form of protest then the power of the state may fall
upon us with unrelenting force. We are subject to arrest and imprisonment at any
time, most of us, simply because we choose to be who we are because we want to
live the lives we choose in spite of the plans others make for us, because we
dare to be different or because our eyes are open to the realities of our likely
future, wearing the yoke of capitalism around our necks like beasts of burden,
not equal human beings, unless we throw off the weight on our back to stand in
the sun in our rightful place. Look at the person beside you, across the way
from you and then fully realize that individual may one day be arrested and so
may you because you dare to be different, threatening to those who seek to
control us, especially if your life is governed by the principles of anarchism
or you believe in / have undertaken direct action against your oppressors.
Getting arrested is no joke so without getting too paranoid, find out what to do
in such a situation and also wise up about the police *. I am often blunt to the
point of pain so I do apologise if my words have made anybody uncomfortable but
I think one sobering thought really needs to bring a wake-up call, feeling of
discomfort with it. That thought is I am here today sitting in a steel .- and
concrete, tomblike cage writing these words to you but sometime in the future it
might actually be you behind prison walls, writing comparable thoughts to the
outside. If they come for you in the morning...
work to awaken people in here politically but have seen loo many give up trying
10 make contact with movement folks out there, or give up even attempting to
learn about the various movements because of the inability to get literature
from the various groups due to nothing more than apathy within these
The 'system' and mainstream media portrays those of us within the ever
increasing number of jails and prisons as being the equivalent of the proverbial
biblical 'unclean people', to be feared, less than humans, and not to be
bothered with or worth any degree of outside concern or support. It amazes me
how many intelligent people, including anarchists, active in political
struggles, have to varying degrees bought into the disinformation put out by the
system. The majority of the unfortunate residents of the gulags are for the most
part just like other working class people on the outside, only through a twist
of their -.., destiny they were arrested, stood trial and were imprisoned. The
system provides the sensationalist image of those behind gulag walls being a bad
lot, best steered clear of because the system fears association between those
inside and outside. Inside is a potential army waiting to happen, which needs
education, direction and support. The system desires nothing more than to
maintain a wall of silence around the gulags isolating prisoners to break their
minds and spirits. I have seen bodies broken and minds fragmented forever by the
brutal hands of the keepers and their clever use of weak, inmate lackeys. I have
seen many men reach out to the struggles outside with heartfelt letters, eager
for information about the various movements, education about them. Prisoners
seeking compassion and comradeship. I have seen only a few of those who make
contact, who are encouraged to learn, to grow, to realize who they are, their
potential value to themselves and to the communities outside gulag walls.
have seen far many more give up and sometimes even gravitate towards the ..-
hate groups which are now in abundance within the gulags as they are out there.
These eventual recruits to the ranks of the extreme right could have been
soldiers within our ranks but those who claim to be revolutionaries outside
chose to ignore their very existence.
myself tried in vain for over a decade 'inside' to make contact with like-minded
people embracing anarchist politics. I was determined to reach out and refused
to give up, unlike a lot of other prisoners around me. I reached out at every
opportunity and continued to reach out when there was no response, through many
letters requesting political literature and anarchist books but above all,
comradeship with other anarchists. My unanswered letters began in the late
seventies, continued throughout the eighties and into the early nineties.
Finally a first anarchist solidarity letter was handed to me by a faceless clone
of a guard at a Tennessee gulag in 1992 ! That letter and letters since has been
like a welcome breeze of fresh air blowing through a place where the air and
life stands dormant. The mere fact a fellow anarchist bothered to write brought
tears to my eyes, eyes I was long convinced would never feel tearful moisture
again. I've worked hard since that first communication to break down the walls
between us, you and I, to reach out, to show those who write I'm not different
except for my circumstances of being within the belly of the beast.
am not saying the gulags do not hold their fair share of social predators but
prisoners do become politicised within gulag walls often due to their own
learning efforts. Through direct experience of the system itself ,which
generally treats prisoners with such blatant injustice that many soon feel only
resentment, contempt and anger towards it. Repression breeds resistance. I am
merely trying to point out the obvious pitfall of not Supporting those
seeking the tools to become politicised.
still than these social prisoners ignored by the revolutionary movements are
those souls captured during direct or other political actions only to discover
once in captivity that they appear to have somehow not been deemed
of support and are hence soon forgotten by their so called 'comrades'. One
conceptual truth screams out in my heart to be voiced so I will state it now.
Any political movement or peoples struggle, which fails to provide support to
fallen comrades is doomed to failure as certain as day follows night. Prisoner
support should be considered as a top priority within all political movements
and with all activists, as we, you or " never know when gulag gates will
slam shut behind us or when those gates to the outside will open again to
allow our passage back out once the system has us in it's grasp.
I have endured many hard years, over a decade and a half, within the gulags of this state. As I've already said I spent the first decade banging my head and heart against a wall of silence, attempting to reach out to ears that appeared to be deaf and eyes which appeared to be blind to my existence in hell. I never gave up and have earned the right to point these issues out now. I have earned the right to speak out with the shedding of my blood, the pain of this, in past: beaten, tired body and my spirit of anarchism has never been broken by my keepers and never will be! It has only been in recent years that I have been acknowledged by my anarchist brothers and sisters out there. From my heart I state to you that I love you all! I will close now with these final words. Take care of each other, keep each other safe in the struggles which you face and never forget those in captivity because tomorrow's captive of the monsters of this earth may well be you. Our common enemies are the same from country to country being only different in name and face. They represent the same ideology, which sees this planet and it's populace as throwaway commodities. They threw away their humanity in exchange for Power and profits. Stay strong and know in your hearts I am with you in revolutionary spirit in every act you undertake against those who Oppress us. We only want the earth, they will never get us all!
18 APRIL 95