Tag Archives: resistance

United States: FBI Subpoena NYC Anarchist For Second Time To A Federal Grand Jury

via Jerry Resists

Statement by Jerry:

My name is Gerald Koch and I have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury based in the Southern District of New York regarding the 2008 Times Square Military Recruitment Center bombing. This is my second subpoena concerning this matter; I was also subpoenaed in June of 2009. I refused to testify at that time based on the assertion of my First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment rights, as I will be doing again for the duration of this grand jury. During the first grand jury, the government informed my lawyers that it was believed that I was at a bar in 2008 or 2009 where a patron indicated knowledge of who had committed the bombing. When I was first subpoenaed to the grand jury in 2009 I had no recollection of any such incident— a fact that I expressed publically. Now, almost 4 years later, I still do not recall the alleged situation.

Given that I publically made clear that I had no knowledge of this alleged event in 2009, the fact that I am being subpoenaed once again suggests that the FBI does not actually believe that I possess any information about the 2008 bombing, but rather that they are engaged in a ‘fishing expedition’ to gain information concerning my personal beliefs and political associations.

Continue reading

In The Belly of The Beast (John Bowden)

Fyoder Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist and sometimes political dissident, once wisely observed that a good barometer of the level and quality of a society’s civilisation is the way it treats it’s prisoners, the
most dis-empowered of all social groups.

There has of course always existed a sort of socially organic and dynamic
relationship between prison society and the wider ordinary society beyond it’s walls, and the treatment of prisoners is usually an accurate reflection of the relationship of power that prevails between the state and ordinary working class people in the broader society. It is how political power is shaped and negotiated between the state and the poorer social groups on the outside that essentially determines the treatment of prisoners on the inside.

Prisons are concentrated microcosms of the wider society, reflecting it’s
social and political climate and the balance of social forces that characterise it’s political culture. The more authoritarian and politically oppressive the society, the more brutal it’s treatment of prisoners is. The treatment and sometimes the very lives of prisoners is therefore critically dependent on the balance and alignment of power in society generally. For example, changes in state penal policy always tends to reflect shifts and changes in that relationship of power between the poor and powerless and the elites who constitute a ruling class, and it is always the more marginalised and demonised groups such as prisoners who feel and experience the repression more nakedly when society begins to shift even further to the right.

During the 1960s, 1970s and part of the early 1980s structures of
established power in society were seriously challenged and the atmosphere and movement of radical social change became manifested
within the prison system itself in prisoner protests, strikes and uprisings, and an organised movement of prisoner resistance that was recognised and supported on the outside by political activists, radical criminologists and prison abolitionists. The struggle of long-term prisoners was recognised by such groups as a legitimate political struggle against an institution originally and purposely created to punish the rebellious poor and as an integral part of an entire state apparatus of repressive social control, along with the police and judiciary. Just as the heightened social struggle of groups like the organised working class in the broader society caused a shift and change in the balance of power, within the long-term
prison system itself prisoners used the weapon of solidarity and self-organised to collectively empower themselves as a group. This climate of increased struggle and freedom that permeated society generally at that time found expression within long-term prisons and even found limited reflection in the thinking of those administering them with the adoption on policy of the one relatively liberal recommendation of the 1968 Mountbatten report concerning prison security: whilst Maximum-Security jails should make physical security as impregnable as possible the regimes operating in such institutions should also be made as relaxed as possible.

But just as changes in the balance of power can be to the advantage of
progressive forces in society so it can shift the other way, and that is what happened in Britain during the 1980s and 1990s with the defeat of the organised working class movement and the apparently finale triumph of Neo-Liberal Capitalism (deregulation, free trade, unfettered profits and minimal state benefits – in short, capitalism at it’s most savage) and a Thatcherite ideology of greed is good and “there is no such thing as society”. This found expression in the treatment of prisoners with the seizing back of the long-term prison regimes and their re-moulding into instruments of “Dynamic Security” and naked repression. The control and absolute disempowerment of long-term prisoners was conflated with the
necessity of physical security now. And of course the economic principles of Neo-Liberal Capitalism also found expression in the prison system with “Market Reforms” and the flogging off of increasingly greater parts of it to multi-national private prison entrepreneurs. Prisoners would now be bought and sold as commodities and also as a source of forced cheap labour. They would also be taught and conditioned to know their true place in a massively unequal society, and prisons would revert to their original purpose of re-moulding working class “offenders” into obedient slaves of capital and those who own it. Towards this end the huge proliferation and empowerment of behavioural psychologists in the prison system over the last decade is a symptom; the breaking and re-creating of
prisoners psychologically in the image of a defeated and compliant working class on the outside has become once again the purpose and
function of prisons. Rebellion and defiance in prisoners is now labelled “psychopathic” and “social risk-factors”, which depending on how they are “addressed” will determine the length of time one spends behind bars, especially for the growing number of “recidivist offenders” serving indeterminate sentences for “public protection”.

As what were once tight-knit working class communities on the outside
fractured and were destroyed following the last high point of organised working class struggle during the 1984 miners strike, so the solidarity and unity of long-term prisoners was broken and withered away. The flooding of heroin and crack cocaine into now marginalised and poor communities created an almost alternative economy and was reflected in the changing nature of the prison population. What had been a generation of prisoners from strong working class communities imbued with a culture of solidarity, mutual support and a readiness to confront and challenge official authority, was increasingly replaced by prisoners with no memory of a time before the victory of Thatcherism and the dog eat dog culture it bred and encouraged. The increasing prevalence of drug-orientated crime
found expression in the “Millennium convict”, lacking in principle and with an acquiescent, submissive attitude towards their captors and a focused determination to do whatever it takes to achieve an early release from prison.

The uprising at Strangeways prison in 1990 was the last significant expression of collective defiance and protest in a British jail and is unlikely ever to be repeated in such a form.

The current Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, with his Tory “Attack Dog” reputation and contempt for the human rights of prisoners, blended of course with his determination to sell-off virtually the whole of the criminal justice system to multi-national capitalism, is a perfect representation of the social and political climate outside prison. Deep economic crisis generates social fear and insecurity, and the scapegoating of marginalised and demonised groups who are used as a focus for public anger. Folk devils and moral panics are stock in trade for the tabloids, Tory politicians and far right groups when social climate is at its most receptive for easy, powerless targets. Grayling is pandering to what he imagines is the masses appetite for revenge, as long as its not focused on those actually responsible for the economic and social destruction of
people’s lives.

If, as Dostoevsky believed, the treatment of prisoners is an indicator of
a society’s level of civilisation then we seem to be entering another Dark Age, and of course history provides us with some chilling examples of what can happen when an apparently modern and developed society enters such a phase.

John
Bowden, March 2013
HMP
Shots

Resistrance. A benefit for defendant solidarity in Bristol

Here’s the full details of the massive political party planned for Saturday 3 December in Bristol, with all proceeds going to maintain the work of Bristol Defendant Solidarity in supporting those arrested and/or imprisoned following the disturbances earlier this year in Stokes Croft and elsewhere. Organised and hosted by Resistrance, Kebele Sound, Next2Nothing and friends…

BDS info

Film Night at Kebele. Sunday 4th Dec from 5.30pm: Prison? “A Film by Charlie Ryder”

Bristol Anarchist Black Cross and Bristol Defendant Solidarity are proud to present Charlie Ryder’s new film Prison? Following the 80 minute film there will be a Q&A with discussion. Continue reading

Freedom for political prisoners fundraising calendar 2012

The USA remains not just one of the most unequal countries in terms of wealth distribution, but also one of the most oppressive.

Artwork - May 2012

Recent figures (end of 2010) indicate that it locks up some 2.4million people in its various prisons, an adult incarceration rate of about 0.8%, or just under 1 adult in every 100. In addition, over seven million more are under ‘correctional supervision’, and over 13 million pass through U.S. prisons and jails annually. America’s prison population has risen by some 1000% in 30 years. Unsurprisingly, two thirds are either unemployed or were surviving on an income of less than $5000 a year. At least 40% of women prisoners have young children. The USA imprisons more people than any other country in the world, and accounts for over 25% of the worlds prison population. Welcome to the land of the free. Not. With the US clamping down on its growing ‘Occupy’ movement with brutal robocops and chemical weapons (see Oakland – general strike 2 Nov & police repression;  Denver; Wall St), we can be sure the number of prisoners will increase.

Artwork - December 2012

Bristol ABC is pleased once again this year to be distributing the Certain Days ‘Freedom for political prisoners calendar 2012′. This is a long term fundraising, info & campaign project by Canadian activists & 3 long-term US political prisoners, who have collectively spent over 100 years inside prison. The 3 are all being held in maximum-security prisons in New York State, they are Robert Seth Hayes, Herman Bell & David Gilbert. Continue reading

Letter From Uk Comrade Huw ‘badger’ Norfolk From Clandestinity

Expressions of support for Bristol anarchist Huw ‘Badger’ Norfolk have been growing since he published an open letter online last month. The letter first appeared on an international solidarity website and has since been linked to numerous other sites, before being front paged on the Bristol Indymedia site on 22 October (and also therefore showing on the UK Indymedia newswire).

Here’s the text from his communiqué:
1st communication October 2011. An open letter to whoever wants to be concerned.

Two months have passed since the police execution of Mark Duggan tipped the already-fragile balance of power in the UK, unlocking an orgy of defiance across this island. A well of frustrations finally boiled over and the system was left reeling by a determined insurrection from a wide range of people. Following these days and nights of brazen attacks in Bristol (as in other places) a house is raided in a police and media orchestrated scene as part of their revenge operation for the blows they have both received in the uprising – they leave without the hostage they sought there, but I am made aware by their blunder that I am on their wanted list.

Two months have now passed of successful evasion, and meanwhile the winds of insurgency still blow in many towns and moments – indeed, for many they started long before this summer. There have also been at least two more deaths at the hands of the Law in August alone… Continue reading

Resistrance prezentza Riotous Assembly

RESISTRANCE returns on 3 December bringing ya an all-nighter to remember!

Band lineup so far includes: A0S3; Autonomads; Cop on Fire; Spanner; No Choice; Primeval Soup.
Plus at least 2 rooms of DJ’s and crews, and much much more TBC.

All monies raised go directly to support Bristol Defendant Solidarity.
Hosted by Resistrance, Kebele Sound, Next2Nothing & Friends: “Big shout out to the Bristol Old School. This is a Resistrance rallying cry to all radical ravers, partying punkers n serious skankers out there – lets have a political party!!! Recent events in Stokes Croft have persuaded us here at Resistrance HQ to drag our sorry arses out of retirement for a one-off riotous rave-up in aid of the Stresscos Rebels. We ain’t had it – we’re avin’ it!!”

So keep the night free – full details to follow shortly…

Barry Horne 10 year anniversary memorial event

Barry Horne was an animal liberationist who quite literally died for his beliefs whilst serving an 18 year prison sentence. Whilst in prison he engaged in 3 hungerstrikes in less than 3 years, the first two whilst he was still on remand.

Barry Horne was arrested in Bristol in July 1996, spent a lot of time on remand at Bristol prison (in Horfield), and was tried at Bristol crown court. His hungerstrikes were a political action aimed at forcing first the Tory government, and then NewLabour, into taking action to end vivisection and then general abuse of animals for profit. During his hungerstrikes and throughout his prison sentence until his death there was a masive upsurge in animal rights related actions, and some of the most well known such campaigns began, including at Hill Grove (cat) Farm and Huntingdon Life Sciences. Continue reading

UK prisoner updates

First up, some good news!
Frank Fernie, a 20 year old student from York, serving 12 months for violent disorder during the March 26 anti-cuts demo, has been released early on a 7pm to 7am home curfew.

Secondly, we have another prisoner to add to our list, that we have been in touch with for some time:
Michael Newton (A6611CE) – HMP Preston, Wing C4–17, 2 Ribbleton Lane, Preston, Lancs, PR1 5AB
Serving 12 months for a J30 action and multiple other minor charges. This anarchist from Cumbria is due out on early release on 30 December (we hope).
Shortly before being arrested, Michael had compiled a fundraising dvd for prisoner support groups. If you asked about a copy you’ll know now why you never heard back. Michael welcomes letters, posters and pictures.

We have updated our prisoner lists with this info.

Prisoner List October 2011

The latest list of ‘political prisoners’, compiled by Bristol ABC from a large number of sources, is now available.

As ever the updating of this list is a labour of love in these times of ever growing numbers of comrades sent down, as resistance mounts around the world against the horrors unleashed by the forces of capital and states everywhere. Whilst we endeavour to make sure the information is correct, we could fill a hundred pages and still not include all those who need solidarity & support – and thats without even having the confirmed info from many parts of the world. As it is, in many instances we are now putting in links to sources in other countries for you to follow yourself. Here is the list (updated 25 oct 2011):
As an open office doc – Prisoner list_Oct2011
As a pdf – Prisoner list_Oct2011

For an explanation of the need to support prisoners, and tips on writing to prisoners, see our resources page.
In solidarity with all those locked up and still struggling!