August 8, 2011 by prisonbookscollective
At 5:30 pm on Sunday August 7th, about 35 folks gathered in front of the
jail in downtown Durham to spread awareness of and show our solidarity
with hunger striking prisoners in California. We also wanted to draw
attention to recent attacks on anarchist comrades in the Northwest. This
demo followed up a similar protest two weeks ago in Greensboro.
Our presence was purposely timed with visitor’s hours at the jail, and for
the hour and half we were there there was a constant stream of family and
friends coming in and out of the large, modern, Orwellian structure.
Handbills in English and Spanish explaining the various anti-prison
struggles around the country (see text below) and business cards with
information on how prisoners can get material support from local
anarchists on the outside were given to folks visiting loved ones. Others
banged on pots and pans, played drums, blew on kazoos, held banners, and
chanted (“Cops, Pigs, Murderers!”, and “Abajo las Presiones, la Policia
son Cabrones” were two favorites). One person just waved a large stick in
the air with word “against” written on the end of it.
Soon after we arrived, prisoners on every floor of the building began
cramming up against the plexiglass windows of their cells to get a better
look, while some stood in stairwells or on balconies waving and throwing
fists in the air. Eventually many of these prisoners managed to make small
posters out of paper on hand, reading things like, “I love this,” “Fuck
Cops,” and “@.” Others started banging on the plexiglass. Most of the
family members expressed similar sentiments. Though a fleet of cop cars
showed up to watch, and a couple of us were eventually forced off the jail
property for “agitating the prisoners,” the demonstration otherwise
proceeded without incident.
This kind of breakdown of the isolation of prison, however brief, along
with the love and rage expressed back and forth through a thin vein of
plexiglass, however circumstantial, alone made the demonstration feel
worthwhile. Of course, we also hope that hearing about such things can
raise the spirits of prison rebels in California, not to mention inspire
similar rebellion to spread here. We also want comrades in the Northwest
to know that despite the repression they’ve faced, their struggle
continues to be an inspiration. And of course, though we only just learned
of it, we send our best to those engaged in fighting the police this very
moment in London.
Text from the handbill is printed below. Pictures should soon be available
at the beautiful, brand new www.trianarchy.wordpress.com
SOLIDARITY WITH ALL PRISON REBELS
On July 1st, dozens of prisoners in the long-term isolation unit of
Pelican Bay in California began an indefinite hunger strike. Their strike
quickly spread, and has now been joined by over 6,000 prisoners in at
least 11 prisons across the state. Though some prisoners have entered into
negotiations with officials, an estimated several thousand in southeastern
CA remain on hunger strike.
These prisoners are held in soundproof cells with no windows for 22½-24
hours per day, often for years at a time. The only way out of this slow
torture is to “debrief”, i.e. inform on other prisoners, a situation which
clearly encourages false accusations. They are served unsanitary and
unwholesome food, punished collectively for the actions of individuals,
and routinely denied access to basic services like phone calls or warm
clothing. In an attempt to change these conditions, these prisoners have
united to put their own lives on the line. Over 100,000 American prisoners
are held in these solitary conditions. Solitary confinement is not an
aberration from the norm but in fact the logical result of a country that
locks up more of its population per capita than any other nation in the
history of world.
We are here to support the efforts of these strikers, and the struggle of
all prisoners to free themselves from the brutality and isolation of
prison. We also want to draw attention to other acts of state repression
on the west coast. This past weekend 26 Seattle anarchists were arrested,
seven attacked and critically injured by police armed with shovels in
their own home. Only a matter of days earlier, police in the Bay Area
murdered an unarmed African-American teenager for not paying a $2 metro
fare. Both of these incidents have elicited acts of solidarity and
It goes without saying that the brutality of the police and the torture of
prisons are inextricably linked. In both cases, the function of these
institutions is not to reduce crime but to perpetuate a long history of
slavery and exploitation. If prisons are to be understood as warehouses
for the poor, then the police are the bosses of the unemployed. As such we
wish for nothing but their destruction.
-some anarchists against prisons, and the world that creates them.
www.trianarchy.wordpress.com | www.prisonbooks.info
AGAINST POLICE AND PRISONS!
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
August 8, 2011 by prisonbookscollective