Tag Archives: solidarity

Call For International Solidarity With Anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman

A few days ago Australian anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman was assaulted in Sofia Central Prison in Bulgaria (he says it was not “too badly”) but yesterday July 6 the same guard assaulted another prisoner, an elderly man, and some of that man’s compatriots came to his assistance. These seven were then set upon by 40 guards, who brutally beat them.

Jock, in his role of secretary of the Bulgarian Prisoners Association, phoned a number of lawyers to help defend those assaulted. Now Jock has been threatened by the same prison guard has threatened him with another beating.

It is no surprise that not only Jock’s role within the prison with the Bulgarian
Prisoners Association but also because of the various days of action for Jock being organised around the globe to highlight his case. You can contact the Bulgarian prison authorities details below or organise a protest at your nearest Bulgarian embassy or consulate.

Addresses to post, fax and email your letters of protest to:
Krassimira Vocheva
Head Prosecutor-Sofia
No.2 Vitosha blvd
Sofia
BULGARIA
Tel: +359 28051500
Email via: prb.bg/main/bg/pages/infcenter
NB: the fields on the form translate as:
To:
Name & Surname:
Full address:
Phone:
Your email:
Complaint or question (10000 characters):
Code:

Borish Velchev
Head Prosecutor-Sofia
No.2 Vitosha blvd
Sofia
BULGARIA
Tel: +359 28051500
Email via: prb.bg/main/bg/pages/infcenter

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria
Address: 2 Aleksander Zhendov Str
Sofia 1040
BULGARIA
Tel: +359 2 948 2999
www.mfa.bg/en/contact (ready form for sending messages from their website, very
helpful)

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria LONDON
186-188 Queen’s Gate
London SW7 5HL
Tel.: (0044) (0) 207 584 9400, (0) 207 584 9433
Fax: (0044) (0) 207 584 4948
Email: information@bulgarianembassy.org.uk

Information, Public Relations and European Communication Directorate
Director: Sofia Vladimirova
Tel: +359 2 971 1408. OR +359 2 971 3778. OR +359 2 948 2218.
Fax: +359 2 870 3041
Email: iprd@mfa.government.bg

Ministry’s Reception Desk
Tel: +359 2 948 2018 or +359 2 971 1054
(opening hrs 09.30 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00)

Ministry of Justice
No 1 Slavanska st
Sofia 1040
BULGARIA
Email: pr@justice.government.bg

Finally, please write to Jock, even if it’s only a ‘good luck’ postcard. Any letters
and postcards will help to keep Jock’s spirit up and feeling positive. All will be
gratefully received. You can write to Jock at the following address:

Jock Palfreeman
Sofia Central Prison,
21 General Stoletov Boulevard,
Sofia 1309,
h2. BULGARIA

United $tates: Solidarity with the Incarcerated Workers of the Free Alabama Movement!

via Industrial Workers of the World

iww-logo-new7.previewWe in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) have been approached by a group of hundreds of people currently incarcerated in Alabama who are launching a nonviolent prison strike beginning this Sunday April 20th to demand an end to slave labor, the massive overcrowding and horrifying health and human rights violations found in Alabama Prisons, and the passage of legislation they have drafted.

This is the second peaceful and nonviolent protest initiated by the brave men and women of the Free Alabama Movement (F.A.M.) this year building on the recent Hunger Strikes in Pelican Bay and the Georgia Prison Strike in 2010. They aim to build a mass movement inside and outside of prisons to earn their freedom, and end the racist, capitalist system of mass incarceration called The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and others. The Free Alabama Movement is waging a non-violent and peaceful protest for their civil, economic, and human rights.

The conditions in Alabama prisons are horrendous, packing twice as many people as the 16,000 that can be housed “humanely”, with everything from black mold, brown water, cancer causing foods, insect infestations, and general disrepair. They are also run by free, slave labor, with 10,000 incarcerated people working to maintain the prisons daily, adding up to $600,000 dollars a day, or $219,000,000 a year of slave labor if inmates were paid federal minimum wage, with tens of thousands more receiving pennies a day making products for the state or private corporations.

In response, the Free Alabama Movement is pushing a comprehensive “Freedom Bill” (Alabama’s Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-entry Preparedness Bill) designed to end these horrors and create a much reduced correctional system actually intended to achieve rehabilitation and a secure, just, anti-racist society.

While unique in some ways, the struggle of these brave human beings is the same as the millions of black, brown, and working class men, women, and youth struggling to survive a system they are not meant to succeed within. We advance their struggle by building our own, and working together for an end to this “system that crushes people and penalizes them for not being able to stand the weight”.

The Free Alabama Movement is partnering with the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee to ask you to:

  • Create a Incarcerated Workers Solidarity Committee in your area to raise money, take action, and spread the word of this struggle, including to local prisons.
  • Amplify the voices of incarcerated workers by posting this and future updates to your website, facebook, email lists, and so on
  • Join our email list so as to be kept up to date and amplify future updates. Contact us at iwoc@riseup.net and like us on facebook: www.facebook.com/incarceratedworkers
  • Donate money to the Free Alabama Movement & Incarcerated Workers Organizing Cmt: https://fundly.com/iww-incarcerated-workers-organizing-committee-support-the-free-alabama-movement
  • Join the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

Contact us at iwoc@riseup.net. Solidarity and be in touch!

The IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in partnership with the Free Alabama Movement

The IWW is an grassroots, revolutionary union open to all working people, including the incarcerated and the unemployed. Founded in 1905, we’ve come back strong in recent years with struggles at Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, and the General Strike call during the Wisconsin Uprising. We are committed to amplifying the voices of prisoners, ending an economic system based on exploitation and racial caste systems like mass incarceration, and adding our contribution to the global movements for a just, free, and sustainable world. Our guiding motto is “An injury to one is an injury to all!”.

United States: Anarchist Jerry Koch Imprisoned for Refusing to Testify to Federal Grand Jury

via Jerry Resists

jerrysketch-webJerry was taken into custody of US marshals today at 4:18 PM. Throughout his hearing, he did not answer any questions; he remained silent the entire time.

Over a hundred people showed in support of Jerry. The court room was packed, and he knew as he was taken by the marshals that we support and love him. The crowd yelled out their support for him as he was escorted out of the room.

Jerry asked that we release this statement to his supporters after his incarceration:

By the time you read this, I will be in the custody of the United States government for continuing my refusal to cooperate with a federal grand jury. This is the right thing to do.

I continue to believe that the government is using this federal grand jury in an abusive manner to force me to divulge information about my political associations and social networks.

If we mean what we say when we talk about radical politics, then we do not participate in witch hunts, inquisitions, or the assembly of black lists. As an individual, I will not lend legitimacy to government brutality and intimidation; I will not be used. As an anarchist, I will summon the courage to be stronger than the forces of the State’s all-too-real repression; I will not break.

Your show of truly powerful support has done nothing but strengthen my resolve in refusing to cooperate. We must not let ourselves be isolated by the government’s heavy-handed tactics. We must not give the state that last inch it tries to break in every one of us.

With Love, with Dignity, in Solidarity

Jerry Koch

If you haven’t already, please sign up for a recurring donation so that we can ensure that Jerry has immediate access to his commissary and will be able to be in touch with his loved ones.

Catalonia: Five ‘Black Flag’ Anarchists Arrested in Raids in Catalonia

via Darker Net

spainFrom comrades in Barcelona we have been informed that five members of ‘Black Flag’ have been detained in dawn raids on the anarchist-syndicalist CNT centre in Sabadell near Barcelona, Spain. They are accused of belonging to a terrorist group. The Police broke into and searched the Anarchist Workers Centre (Ateneo Libertari) in Sabadell. The operations included another raid and search in Sabadell and two more in other municipalities in Catalonia, one of them in Avignon (Bages County). On the same day police evicted the Can Piella ‘Land and Liberty’ squat. International solidarity is requested.

UPDATE: a statement from the FIJL (Federation of Iberian Libertarian Youth) has been released and is published below at end of article.

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Russia: Well-known Russian anti-fascist, Alexey Gaskarov, arrested

via Autonomous Action

On sunday, the 28th of April 2013, a well-known Russian anti-fascist, Alexey Gaskarov, was arrested in Moscow. He is a member of the Coordination Council of Russian opposition. The investigation committee of the Russian Federation has accused him of having pacticipated in riots and violence against representative of authorities on the 6th of May 2012, when OMON (Russian riot police) attacked a peaceful demonstration.

The 6th of May was one day prior to Putin’s inauguration, and a mass demonstration had been called by the opposition. The winter and spring of 2011-2012 saw the biggest wave of political demonstrations in Russia in almost 20 years, as tens of thousands of people went out on the streets to protest election fraud. The 6th of May was also the first time authorities moved to crush these protests. According to the opposition more than 600 people were arrested, and as of now 28 people have been charged, who have been remanded, been put under house arrest or have been forced to emigrate.

On that day, Alexey Gaskarov was beaten up by OMON with batons and boots. He filed a complaint against the officers who beat him up, but nobody was charged. Now, a year after, and just a few days before the anniversary of the 6th of May demonstration, as Alexey was about to be at the head of the column of the left-wing and anti-fascist bloc, he has had a set of absurd charges brought against him and has been arrested.

Alexey Gaskarov was born on the 18th of June 1985, and has been politically active since his school years.

Gaskarov gained fame in the summer and autumn of 2010, when during the protest campaign against the destruction of the Khimki forest, he was  arrested along with Maxim Solopov and was accused of orchestrating an attack by 300-400 young anti-fascists, who supported the environmental struggle, against the administration of the city of Khimki.  In autumn 2010, Alexey Gaskarov and Maxim Solopov were released from prison, thanks to a massive international campaign for the “Khimki Hostages”. In the summer of 2011, Gaskarov was cleared of all charges.

Since the beginning of the mass demonstrations against the falsification of the elections in Russia in December of 2011, Alexey Gaskarov has been an active participant. He was one of the speakers in the biggest of the demonstrations, on the 24th of December 2011 in Sakharov street in Moscow, and was in charge of the security for that meeting, who fought back against the Neo-Nazi provocations.

He is being held in the police jail of Petrovka 38, awaiting his appointment in court at 11am on the 29th of April 2013 at the Basmanniy courthouse in Moscow. Pending court decision, Gaskarov will be remanded or released.

Additional information:

International Week of Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Prisoner Jock Palfreeman

via Indymedia UK

507950.jpg.indyscaledA call out for solidarity with Anti-fascist prison resister Jock Palfreeman

We are urgently calling all anarchist, anti-fascist and other anti-authoritarian left wing groups to act in solidarity with Jock Palfreeman (full story of his case is in the attached appeal below). Jock has already served several years of his 20 year sentence in Bulgaria. He actively works towards organising his fellow prisoners and highlights cases of repression by the prison authorities. He is one of the founders of the Bulgarian Prisoners Association. In the last few years, the response to his imprisonment and calls for solidarity with him from the anarchist and anti-fascist movement have been underwhelming. He needs more groups and individuals to join the campaign for his freedom. His family and some liberals have been organising support for him and trying to raise money for his fine; but Jock was always asking for a more direct kind of solidarity other than just politely asking the authorities to be nice. He needs people to not only constantly put pressure on the Bulgarian authorities in the form of letters and emails, but also organise demos and pickets outside embassies and/or any other Bulgarian institutions, generally spreading awareness about his case.

Please keep publishing information about Jock on your blogs, websites and social media. We hope you will all join the upcoming International Week of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman on 22nd-28th April, and use your creativity and imagination to express solidarity.

Brighton Anarchist Black Cross
http://www.brightonabc.org.uk

International Week of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman – 22nd-28th April

Jock Palfreeman is an Australian who, on the 27th December 2007, on a night out in Sofia, Bulgaria; had the courage to stand up against a group of fascist hooligans. Witnessing the fascists chasing and attacking two young Roma boys, Jock ran to the boys’ aid. He did his best to keep the fascists at bay but they ended up turning on and attacking him. Left with nowhere to run, Jock had no choice but to defend himself. Andrey Monov, one of the racist gang, was stabbed and later died. Another, Anton Zahariev was injured. The Roma boys ran away. Jock has since been tried and sentenced for murder and attempted murder. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and has been given a fine running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Andrey Monovs father is well known in Bulgaria and at his funeral there were a mixture of judges, police and politicians. Jock’s trial was (not surprisingly) a complete sham – yet another example of corruption, secret handshakes in the judicial system and media bias. The prosecutions case was built on the witness statements made by the other racists that were part of the attacking group, all claiming that Jock randomly attacked and chased them, with the intent of killing somebody. Key people and possible witnesses for Jocks defence were never interviewed by police and CCTV footage from the scene miraculously went missing. Many of the statements made at the time were different to the statements submitted to the court by the prosecution., while Jocks statement has remained consistent from the night in question.
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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