Prisoner support – cafe and film night in Easton

Bristol ABC cafe & film night – A legacy of torture & an introduction to insurrection

This Sunday, 10 May, sees the Bristol ABC prisoner support group take its turn at hosting the weekly vegan Sunday cafe at Kebele . We’ll be serving food on Sunday from about 6pm, and after at around 7.30 to 8pm we’ll be showing 2 films that are both shocking and inspiring:

legacy torture_image1. Legacy of torture – the war against the black liberation movement in the USA (2006, USA, 28 minutes)
“The same people who tried to kill me in 1973 are the same people who are here today, trying to destroy me. I mean it literally. I mean there were people from the forces of the San Francisco Police Department who participated in harassment, torture and my interrogation in 1973 … none of these people have ever been brought to trial. None of these people have ever been charged with anything. None of these people have ever been questioned about that.”- John Bowman, former Black Panther.

In 2005 several former members of the Black Panther Party were held in contempt and jailed for refusing to testify before a San Francisco Grand Jury investigating a police shooting that took place in 1971. The government alleged that Black radical groups were involved in the 34-year old case in which two men armed with shotguns attacked the Ingleside Police Station resulting in the death of a police sergeant and the injuring of a civilian clerk.

In 1973, thirteen alleged “Black militants” were arrested in New Orleans, purportedly in connection with the San Francisco events. Some of them were tortured for several days by law enforcement authorities, in striking similarity to the horrors visited upon detainees in Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. In 1975, a Federal Court in San Francisco threw out all of the evidence obtained in New Orleans. The two lead San Francisco Police Department investigators from over 30 years ago, along with FBI agents, have re-opened the case. Rather than submit to proceedings they felt were abusive of the law and the Constitution, five men chose to stand in contempt of court and were sent to jail. They were released when the Grand Jury term expired, but have been told by prosecutors that “it isn’t over yet.” This is the story to date: of history, repression, and resistance.

NB: since the film was made, in 2007 eight now-elderly black radicals have indeed been arrested in connection with the events in 1971, including the 5 featured in this film, as the US state continues to echo the activities of the discredited Cointelpro operation against the Black Panthers. Those eight are known as The San Francisco 8. Barak Obama, are you watching?

Background info: Free the SF8 campaign and this US blog has some good info & comment.

potentiality1_image2. The potentiality of storming heaven (2009, Greece, 31 minutes)
When a fascist Greek cop murdered a teenage boy in Athens on 6 December 2008, Greek towns & cities exploded with anger and rioting continued for 17 days. This films intercuts footage of the insurrection with interviews with participants young and old, Greek and immigrant. Set to a music soundtrack, with inspiring text quotes on screen too, the film goes behind the headlines to explain why the Greeks are so angry. Compare and contrast their response to, for example, the response in the UK to the killing of Ian Tomlinson by British riot cops at the G20 in April.

NB: 5 months on from the insurrection, Greece remains at boiling point, as the social movements remain on the streets and on strike in opposition to draconian new laws clamping down on protest, whilst the Greek economy goes into meltdown.

Background info: from Libcom’s ‘Greece unrest’ page and also check their news page. Fuckcopyright has some film info and on-line viewing.

The Bristol ABC group has been reactivated over the last year or so. There is a the need to provide support for political prisoners, and radicalised social prisoners, in the UK and abroad; and there is a need to begin campaigning against the prison-industrial complex – the sector of capitalism that makes a profit out of building and running prisons, and is slowly turning the whole of society into one big open prison. As more and more campaigners & protesters (anti-war & anti-militarist, anti-capitalist, animal rights, anti-fascist and more) are being locked away for years on end, our movement needs to increase its work in supporting and campaigning for our comrades & friends imprisoned by the state. Check our links for more detailed info.

Bristol ABC meets monthly on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at Kebele, from 7.30pm, next on 13 May. Come along to find out more about our work, chat about prisoner support campaigns and prison issues, and write a letter to prisoners in need of support. All welcome.

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One response to “Prisoner support – cafe and film night in Easton

  1. A “SINGLE VOICE PROJECT” is the official name of the petition sponsored by: The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP)

    THIS PETITION SEEKS TO ABOLISH ALL PRIVATE PRISONS IN THE UNITED STATES, (or any place subject to its jurisdiction)

    The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) is a grass roots organization driven by a single objective. We want the United States government to reclaim sole authority for state and federal prisons on US soil.
    We want the United States Congress to immediately rescind all state and federal contracts that permit private prisons “for profit” to exist in the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction. We understand that the problems that currently plague our government, its criminal justice system and in particular, the state & federal bureau of prisons (and most correctional and rehabilitation facilities) are massive. However, it is our solemn belief that the solutions for prison reform will remain unattainable and virtually impossible as long as private prisons for profit are permitted to operate in America.

    Prior to the past month, and the fiasco of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and now the “Big Three” American Automobile manufacturers, the NPSCTAPP has always felt compelled to highlight the “moral Bottom line” when it comes to corrections and privatization. Although, we remain confounded by the reality that our government has allowed our justice system to be operated by private interests. The NPSCTAPP philosophy has always been “justice” should not be for sale at any price. It is our belief that the inherent and most fundamental responsibility of the criminal justice system should not be shirked, or “jobbed-out.” This is not the same as privatizing the post office or some trash pick up service in the community. There has to be a loss of meaning and purpose when an inmate looks at a guard’s uniform and instead of seeing an emblem that reads State Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons, he sees one that says: “Atlas Prison Corporation.”

    Let’s assume that the real danger of privatization is not some innate inhumanity on the part of its practitioners but rather the added financial incentives that reward inhumanity. The same logic that motivates companies to operate prisons more efficiently also encourages them to cut corners at the expense of workers, prisoners and the public. Every penny they do not spend on food, medical care or training for guards is a dime they can pocket. What happens when the pennies pocketed are not enough for the shareholders? Who will bailout the private prison industry when they hold the government and the American people hostage with the threat of financial failure…“bankruptcy?” What was unimaginable a month ago merits serious consideration today. State and Federal prison programs originate from government design, and therefore, need to be maintained by the government. It’s time to restore the principles and the vacated promise of our judicial system.

    John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is while the sun is shinning”. Well the sun may not be shinning but, it’s not a bad time to begin repair on a dangerous roof that is certain to fall…. because, “Incarcerating people for profit is, in a word WRONG”

    There is an urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of cynicism, indifference, apathy and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
    It is our hope that you will support the NPSCTAPP with a show of solidarity by signing our petition. We intend to assemble a collection of one million signatures, which will subsequently be attached to a proposition for consideration. This proposition will be presented to both, the Speaker Of The House Of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) and the United States Congress.

    Please Help Us. We Need Your Support. Help Us Spread The Word About This Monumental And Courageous Challenge To Create Positive Change. Place The Link To The Petition On Your Website! Pass It On!

    The SINGLE VOICE PETITION and the effort to abolish private “for profit” prisons is the sole intent of NPSCTAPP. Our project does not contain any additional agendas. We have no solutions or suggestions regarding prison reform. However, we are unyielding in our belief that the answers to the many problems which currently plague this nation’s criminal justice system and its penal system in particular, cannot and will not be found within or assisted by the private “for profit” prison business. The private “for profit” prison business has a stranglehold on our criminal justice system. Its vice-like grip continues to choke the possibility of justice, fairness, and responsibility from both state and federal systems.
    These new slave plantations are not the answer!

    For more information please visit: http://www.npsctapp.blogsppot.com or email: williamthomas@exconciliation.com
    To sign the petition please visit: http://www.petitiononline.com/gufree2/petition.html

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

    William Thomas
    National Community Outreach Facilitator
    The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons
    P.O. Box 156423
    San Francisco, California 94115

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