Category Archives: Uncategorized

[Spanish State]: Communiqué from anarchists Mónica Cabellero and Francisco Solar

https://en-contrainfo.espiv.net/files/2017/03/1-2-544x306.jpg(These words arrived with a delay due to the restrictive communications of the Spanish extermination centers. On March 7th, 2017 Mónica and Francisco were finally released to Chile, where they were greeted with a great deal of media and repressive threats. Finally today, they have returned to the street with their dignity intact.)

Affinity and Solidarity against victimization and authority

In the struggle to break with the establishment we look for and create relationship forms that are contrary to imposition and authority. Forms that help us feel comfortable in order to develop autonomously in our proposals and acts of daily confrontation. With this feeling we understand affinity represents the most suitable way for anarchist relations and that it’s not the fruit of empty slogans repeated until satiation, but the result of practices and shared visions that have helped generate long lasting bonds of passionate friendship and intimacy, that go beyond the simple bonds of just friends.

The trust and care that comes from feeling and knowing that the ideas of permanent rebellion are the sustenance and strength of affinity helps build and develop anti-authoritarian practices. In turn, these ideas, are inseparable from our choice of life, the option that reinforces what we plan and how it is to be done. It is through these relationships that we grow individually and have the undeniable possibility of acts with no strings attached, which impedes the creation of bureaucratic and authoritarian behavior, cutting off the concentration of power.

Critics of this position have signaled that this form makes it impossible to influence “social reality” and that it turns anarchism into a ghetto. Our response is that we don’t understand anarchism as a political party that uses all of its strategies to increase numbers for the purposes of achieving hegemony. We think that the means must be coherent with the ends as it would be contradictory to claim total liberation otherwise. For us, anarchism is, above all, a tension where individual initiative plays a central role, not a production.

As this experience of imprisonment comes to an end we have lived through the birth, the strengthening and reinforcement of relationships of affinity. Our friends have given meaning to the word solidarity filling us with strength and pride. Overcoming many difficulties, we have been able to collaboratively build positions and initiatives of what we’ve learned. The will and determination of our friends, even if this sounds repetitive, has destroyed walls, bars, the space of time, and eliminated obstacles of isolation and communication. We have attempted and believe to be successful in establishing a relationship that breaks away from and is in opposition to the welfare practices where prisoners are viewed as “a poor victim of the system who is the subject of atrocious injustices.” The assumption that, as anarchists we find ourselves in a permanent confrontation with power and that it has its consequences has given possibility to put into practice an active and combative solidarity with a clear and unambiguous line of discourse. The idea – strength of “neither guilty, no innocent, simply anarchist” is reflected in our position against prison and repression both in and outside of their walls. It represents a way of living and being in prison that is linked with intransigence that opens innumerable paths of action for friends in the street, ways which attempt to destroy power by not falling into their categories and contrary to their predatory logic.

When repression represents an opportunity

The repressive wave that materialized in the operations of Pandora and Piñata represented the hardest strike against anarchism in Spain since the 1980s. Their clear attempt was to eliminate a sector of the anarchist movement by quickly moving forward with harassment, persecution, and imprisonment of friends. Evidently, the magnitude of state repression has had its consequences, as could not be otherwise. Many initiatives were put on hold, spaces were literally looted by the repressive fury and the worry of being enveloped into the paranoid fantasies of power created a certain immobility that has little by little began to be overcome.

However, in our opinion, due to the clumsy and inconsistent theory of the police, this strike represents an opportunity to highlight the weaknesses of the State that utilizes classic strategies of imprisonment and intimidation in order to reduce and eliminate those who will not be domesticated. Along with this, we believe that these operations are closely related to the rise of social movements and their incorporation within the institutions; those who refuse to play the game of democracy can await prison. Because of this, it’s important to address what the significance of these strikes and resulting solidarity in terms of understanding the social movements that have transformed into political parties don’t represent, in any way, an ally, rather they are an apparatus of power with whom we have nothing in common.

Throughout the operations of Pandora and Piñata the State has, as previously mentioned on several occasions, attempted to attack ideas and practices that are radically different than it, as evidenced by the fact that none of the imprisoned friends are accused of concrete actions. What they’ve tried to do is punish a way of living, the option of struggle against the established order and permanent anti-authoritarian activity that, that more-or-less, has influenced many spaces and aspects of the milieu. Therefore, the continuing transition on the path of rupture represents, a small victory that demonstrates that the State can show us its worst face, but it can’t bend us. In this regard, we believe that solidarity with the friends imprisoned must necessarily be the transgressor and on the offensive, breaking away from the discourses of pessimism and victimization. The utilization of all of our creativity, limited only by our anarchic principals, is fundamental in strengthening our solidarity. In the war against domination all actions are necessary.

Finally, we would like to send all our love and strength to our German friends held in prison, accused of robbing a bank there, who are currently facing a difficult trail. We are reminded in each instant of the pride and joy they have shown,  are also ours and the possibility to be your friend.

Today and always an open hand to friends and a clenched fist to the enemy.

Death to the State and long live Anarchy!

Mónica Caballero  S.
Francisco Solar D.
Prisión Villabona – Asturias
2nd of February 2017

‘Down with patriarchy: On the social, racist & patriarchal problems faced by women in prison’ – Letter from imprisoned anarchist comrade (Germany)

Here we publish a letter from our anarchist comrade who is locked up in a German prison, in Köln, since several months. She is accused of carrying out a bank robbery in Aachen and is already facing the trial. She wrote this letter in the context of the 8th of March, International Day of Women’s Struggle.

Down with patriarchy: On the social, racist & patriarchal problems faced by women in prison

It is generally well known that German society is rife with inequality. The upper classes are secure and cared for, they have no existential concerns and, despite all the wider problems of the world, they are able to offer their children a promising future which is not available to the under classes. Whilst a small minority of people are able to get richer, the majority are left to exist on the bare minimum, working for a shitty low wage and constantly being pushed towards pointless consumption so that the profit driven system that we live in can continue to function.

While some sun themselves on their extravagantly expensive yachts in the Mediterranean, or get flown around the globe in their private jets, many cannot afford to go on holiday once in their lives, or to pay their rent or electricity bill or to buy a couple of new teeth. While the super-rich save their abundant wealth from taxes by securing it in off-shore tax havens or mailbox companies, for which they never face any serious judicial proceedings, the poor are doing months or years in prison for fines or petty crimes- for sums of money that the rich spend in minutes on a daily basis.

The state and the media promote the idea that every child is born into a world of equal opportunity, but every child knows that those who are rich and powerful don’t end up in prison because they are able to afford an expensive, good lawyer. Those who have a bad lawyer or, due to social or racist reasons, are perceived as one of the ‘usual suspects’ are simply dealt a bad hand. Those who aren’t able to use the German language or who aren’t able to read or write have practically no chances of being defended and are constantly dependent on the help of others which is often not available. Society doesn’t care about any of this. As per usual an image of the enemy is created around the idea of the criminal foreigner, the Arabic and north African terrorist and the dangerous refugee who should all be either locked up or deported as quickly as possible. Germany likes to promote itself as a country that is open to the world and that takes in refugees but this is only the case when they either successfully integrate into the work system so that they can be profited from, or when they allow themselves to be labelled as victims. When, however, they come to Germany as families or in their so called ‘gangs’ logically hoping to find a better way to survive in a richer country where people have more than they do, then they are not only locked up or deported but are also made an example of and used to justify xenophobic politics. For the state this is all about the protection of the rich and their property. Those who reject this notion of ownership will be punished hardest. Prisons are filled with so called burglars, fraudsters, robbers and thieves, not with murderers and rapists as is so often presented. And of course the quota of foreigners is very high but not because foreigners are more criminal than Germans are but because in general they belong to the under-classes. In a land of immigrants like Germany this was always the case and this is how it will stay.

There is another point that must be mentioned here that perhaps even surpasses the already stated inequalities and structural oppressions: patriarchal violence. And that affects the women in prison even more. Women make up a tiny percentage of the prison population. As a whole and for this reason their needs are hardly considered. The health, medical and hygiene related options available to women in prisons or women’s facilities are shockingly bad. There are fundamentally more activities, sports options and educational or training options for men than for women. Most women come directly from situations of domestic or sexual violence, often they will have been forced into stealing or shop lifting by their husbands or fathers or are imprisoned because they have defended themselves against their tormentor. If women take part in criminal activity the state and society scandalises them on a sexual level especially if the women take on roles that normally men fulfill. Aside from this the state even now maintains its hold on and decisive power over women’s bodies and, when necessary, holds them criminally responsible if they refuse to give their bodies up to authority. Nothing has really changed since the middle ages, it is simply the case that instead of women being burnt at the state they now end up in prison.
While men are often visited by their wives in prison, the reverse is much more rare. Often the husbands of women in prison are also incarcerated themselves, on the run, or do not take care of them. In addition almost all women in prison have children on the outside and therefore the problem of who is able to look after them. So women are forced to look after their families and to keep them together from inside prison despite it being enormously difficult to organise. In the best case the women still have contact to their own mother. Finally, in almost all cultures women in prison are frowned upon and scorned at, and even more so if they are suspected of having been violent as any act of self-empowerment rejects the classical role of women. In this way it can been seen how patriarchal state structures and the law work together with family power dynamics towards the complete domination and oppression of women.
And despite this crushing reality small initiatives of self-determination and self-organisation between women in prison continue to exist. It is perhaps the case that empathy is stronger than between men, in certain situations people will sometimes help each other and show solidarity with those who are weaker or less privileged or rebellious. Each example of such behaviour and gestures, although so small, is vital to each individual in prison but also as a sign against oppression and the structures of repression.

The struggle continues- until all prisons are destroyed!
For total liberation from all social, racist and patriarchal power structures.

Strength, rage and rebellion for all those in struggle!
Freedom for everyone!

January 2017

(reposted from 325)

Police operation against Pombo da Silva et Elisa Di Bernardo

On Tuesday, 24 January, about 60 armed policemen (members of the Civil Guard and the secret services) invaded the house where Gabriel Pombo da Silva and his companion Elisa Bernardo lived. They were violently awakened, handcuffed and separated. The police said they were looking for weapons and explosives but after eight hours of searching (with dogs and high-tech equipment), they found nothing. Gabriel was detained for 24 hours for “illegal possession and trafficking of arms and explosives and participation in an armed group”. He was released on bail but remains charged.

Gabriel Pombo da Silva

About three months ago, the couple met a self-proclaimed anarchist who told them about her substance problems and conviction for a molotov attack against a building in Vigo. Gabriel and Elisa agreed to help her by housing her for a week (at the beginning of the year), to help her in the worst phase of getting clean. After this brief period, the girl returned home … reappearing as informant in the present case. It’s true that this person had already been convicted: the police had found explosives in her house in 2013. She was sentenced to an 11-year prison sentence for terrorism, but her sentence was dramatically reduced to 2 years and then converted to parole. She had only been in prison for a few months.

Political prisoners of the FARC-EP go on indefinite hunger strike

This communiqué is to inform that all the political prisoners of the FARC-EP who are in the high and medium security prison of San Isidro, Popayán, have begun a hunger strike for an indefinite period of time until solutions are provided for the following requests:

1. We demand the improvement of health service in this prison, since it is currently very precarious, it does not have medicines or qualified specialists; added to this is the negligence of the prison guards (INPEC) when inmates are to be attended and taken to health area, as is the case of Marino Fernandez Puyo when on February 9 at 3:45 pm he was stabbed with a rod by another intern with psychiatric problems; Marino spent a whole week demanding medical attention; the systematic medical malpractice on part of the penitentiary establishment to control the infection produced by the attack lead to his death on February 17 as if it were a sentence against him.

This is a continuous and sad reality that lives among us; these types of cases have repeated themselves in the past, which is why we demand the improvement of the health system on part of the government in order to guarantee decent living conditions for human beings.

2. We request from the National Government its compliance with what has been agreed in the Peace Agreement and to speed up the completion of the camps in the Transitional Local Zones for Normalization, since to this point not even 20% of the works have been completed. Please don’t delay any longer the release of political prisoners and make the Amnesty Law a reality, let’s not play the game of the enemies of peace.

On behalf of the FARC-EP we have shown the greatest efforts to carry out the Agreement.

The comrades who participate in the hunger strike are 97 political prisoners of war.

(reblogged from farc.epeace.org)

Call for Emergency Solidarity with Sean Swain

Those of us who are friends or comrades of Sean Swain – anarchist and prison rebel in the Ohio dungeon of Warren CI – are facing a terrible riddle.  As described in a January 12th message, Sean has been on hunger strike since the end of December, against severe restrictions that the ODRC and its director, Greg C. Mohr, have imposed on him.  Precisely for the reason of these restrictions, we have no clear picture of his current situation.  But we do know that he has continued his hunger strike well past the release of the January 12th statement, and it’s very likely he remains on hunger strike.  He lost nearly 30 pounds as of two weeks ago.

It’s vital that we break down the walls that isolate him as he slowly starves.   He is likely approaching day 35 on strike, the stage when his life – which he is wagering not only on his own behalf but as a contribution to the global anarchist combat against domination – is in direct jeopardy.  Minimally, continue calling the numbers listed below, and demand that the administrators restore his access to communication.  Beyond that, consider more ambitious and thoughtful contributions to solidarity.

Deputy Director of Operations Casey Barr (513) 932-3388 ext. 2005

Warden’s Assistant Greg Kraft (513) 932-3388 ext. 2010

January 12th call

We received word recently from a friend of Sean’s that Sean is currently on hunger strike and has been placed in a suicide cell.

Although details are still murky, we know that Sean has been without food since December 26th. He was charged with extortion of a deputy warden and had begun a disciplinary process when he began his hunger strike and was placed in a suicide cell.

We know that the prison is recognizing his hunger strike and following the associated procedures, which include taking him to the medical unit every day and weighing him and taking his vital signs. It is unclear whether they are attempting to negotiate with him in any way.

Please take a moment to write a letter of encouragement to Sean and to call the  following prison administrators and encourage them to negotiate with Sean and help him end this hunger strike as quickly as possible.

(reposted from It’s Going Down)

UW-Seattle Shooting Victim Was Anti-Racist Organiser

SEATTLE, USA — The victim of the shooting at University of Washington’s Seattle Campus (UW-Seattle) on Friday, January 20, 2017, is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the IWW’s General Defense Committee (GDC), an anti-racist and anti-fascist organization. He was present at the protests against Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos on Friday night to oppose Milo’s hateful speech, which encourages violence towards minority groups, and has resulted in actual violence in the past. The victim spent the period prior to being shot de-escalating conflicts between protesters and counter-protesters.

The shooter is unknown to the public at this point. Despite using a firearm against another unarmed citizen in a place where firearms are prohibited, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) released the shooter shortly after he turned himself in. It is unclear to us that this is standard SPD practice. We do not yet know the real motivations behind the actions of the shooter at Friday’s protest. We do know that he brought a loaded weapon on the UW’s campus, into a protest situation. We understand that this is already a violation of law. We do know that he claimed self-defense against a person who was explicitly there to de-escalate violence, and that the shooter appears to have a considerable amount of confusion as to whom he shot, since he claims to have thought the victim was himself a white supremacist. The shooter displayed a serious lack of responsibility when he brought a loaded firearm onto UW’s campus in a protest situation, and even more when he used it. We do not understand the rationale for releasing this man.

The victim is a 34-year-old man from Seattle who has been a long-time anti-racist and anti-fascist activist. The shooter has apparently claimed that he shot the victim in ‘self-defense.’ The victim was unarmed and attempting to de-escalate conflict at the protest. We request that the press not identify the victim by name. The so-called ‘alt-right’ is notorious for creating virtual mobs to harass those with whom they disagree. The press should resist unintentional collaboration with these tactics. We recognize the pressure for the media to get stories out early and first. We request that the media engage with the victim directly, when he is recovered sufficiently to do so. In the meantime, please refrain from repeating the shooter’s claim that the victim was a white supremacist, without qualifying it with our statement.

The greatest needs for our member are of course personal, physical, and emotional. But the financial needs will be great. Supportive members of the public can donate to the shooting victim’s recovery fund at the internet address below.

We are deeply saddened by the attack on our friend. We are saddened but not surprised that the police released the attacker so swiftly.

To donate to the victim’s medical funds, please visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/medical-fundraiser-for-iww-and-gdc-member-shot-in-seattle

Take Action to Stop the New Mega Prison in Wellingborough

(reposted from CAPE campaign)

The situation: Wellingborough is set for a new Mega Prison which could have serious repercussions for local people, as well as those harmed by the prison system.

On this page you will find information about how to object to the planning application for Wellingborough Prison.

How to submit a planning objection

  1. Visit: http://pawebsrv.wellingborough.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OI7VLERBJ7D00
  2. You will find the application summary. Click “Make a comment.
  3. Fill in your details and submit your comment. You have a maximum of 1000 characters.

How to Find Background Information about the Prison

You can find all the planning documentation for HMP Wellingborough here: https://www.wellingborough.gov.uk/viewplanningapplications

Use the search function and enter the reference.

The Planning Application Reference is: WP/16/00786/OUT

You can also send questions to the Planning Department:

Email: planning@wellingborough.gov.uk
Telephone: 01933 231902

Potential Points to Make

Everyone will have different reasons for why they are concerned about having a new prison in their local area. For people that do not live locally, they may feel concerned about the harm the prison system causes and not want any more to be built anywhere.

This page aims to summarise some of the key points about the prison.

Click here to read about the ethical arguments against building a new prison.

Issues concerning the disregard for the Planning Process

  • The Public Exhibition held on the 24th and 25th November at the Hind Hotel was not sufficiently advertised and was a tokenistic endeavor. There has been no adequate community consultation for a project of this scale. Only 53 people attended within a local population of approximately 49,087. The prison will also have a significant impact on the region and should involve adequate consultation with communities across the region. The planning application was validated on Fri 23 Dec 2016, over the Christmas period when people are less able to respond and object.
  • In letters sent to local residents, the prison is categorized as A-C, however, in the planning documentation it states the prison will be category C. What commitment is there from the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) about the prisons purpose when there is such clear inconsistency? How can residents be assured of its use and scale?
  • There has been no commentary on why the prison is not being re-opened in its current state, and why it is necessary to knock down and replace an existing building.
  • No alternative uses for the site have been explored by the Local Authority, nor has the community been consulted on alternative uses.
  • With the development of the prison being necessarily dependent on access to Local Authority Land for its construction and operation, it is a matter of public interest to have an adequate consultation about the use of the site.
  • It is impossible for the local Planning Authority to approve this planning application, even at outline stage, when the number of buildings, their use and layout of the prison are not fixed.
  • Nearly tripling HMP Wellingborough’s capacity to 1617 prisoners is generative of a huge uptake of local resources and impact on local services. This has not been adequately assessed in any of the planning application documentation.
  • There is inadequate information about the workshops within the prison and their relationship to local companies and the local labour force. The size, scale and purpose of the workshops have not been disclosed and are essential to the decision making on the prison.
  • The Landscape and Visual Impacts Assessment is inadequate while the placement of buildings has yet to be finalised.

Traffic and Environmental Impact

  • The local community have already been subjected to large developments, such as the Crematorium, which has significantly increased the amount of traffic. A new large prison will push highway infrastructure to capacity and endanger lives with its inadequate junction and subsequent roundabout design.
  • The public transport interventions (a new bus stop) are completely inadequate for the volume of visitors expected to the prison.
  • A project of this scale demands a full and comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment. It is not sufficient that the local planning authority deemed it unnecessary more than three years ago, when the project is significantly larger and will have a higher environmental impact.
  • Letters to residents stating the prison may include A-C category prisoners, means that the fence may need to be externally illuminated and this will impact local residents in close proximity to the prison. The prison will generate significant light pollution that is not adequately addressed in the planning documentation.
  • The demolition of the existing buildings and construction work will have a significant noise impact on local residents.
  • The development will lead to a loss of existing wildlife habitat including bats and barn owls. The planning application states that the development will lead to the loss of all existing habitats on the site. This contradicts the aims of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031 in ‘encouraging and promoting environmental protection’.
  • No reptile surveys have been undertaken.
  • There is a risk during construction of pollution entering off-site ponds and construction dust impacting wildlife habitats.
  • There is no adequate commentary on the how the existing foul drainage system will handle triple the load of input. Or how the the current system serving the Millers Park Estate will be upgraded and separated from the prison system.

Impact on Local Services

  • The planning documentation does not adequately assess the impact of the prison on the local ambulance service. HMP Oakwood, which is a similar size to the proposed new prison had more than 358 calls to the ambulance service in 2014 alone. (1)
  • The planning documentation does not adequately assess the impact of the prison on the local police force. Data produced by North Wales Police estimates that “Based on the available data, incident and crime prediction work has been undertaken and current estimates put the police staffing costs at £147,000 per annum with £52,500 capital costs in year one and £21,000 per annum associated revenue costs thereafter.”(2)
  • The socio-economic impact assessment is completely inadequate. It does not adequately assess or analyse the impact of the prison on local services. Data must be provided on the new prison’s impact on mental health services, the NHS, local housing, social care and other welfare services.

Jobs & Economics

  • The planning documentation states there will be “workshop buildings where prisoners will carry out a variety of activities”. More information is required about these activities and their impact on local people, especially if they involve the use of prison labour.
  • There is no detail in the application on how prison labour will impact on the availability of jobs to local people in Wellingborough and how jobs undertaken by prisons may take jobs away from people in the region. This creates a net-loss of jobs and contradicts ‘Policy 22: Delivering Economic Prosperity’ of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031.
  • Prisons do not feature once in the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031 – this is a project imposed by the Ministry of Justice that is not in the best interests of people in Wellingborough.

North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy 2011-2031

The prison contradicts a number of the aims of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy:

  • A prison will exacerbate health inequalities, decrease life expectancy, perpetuate social exclusion and divert spending from access to healthy lifestyle options to improve health and wellbeing.
  • A prison will be a high-impact project demanding large amounts of resources and materials, will strain on existing infrastructure, destroy habitat and harm local areas of important habitat, such as the Nene Valley. It will greatly increase car use and carbon emissions and impact on public transport usage locally.
  • Prisons are ineffective ways of reducing and preventing crime. Prisons divert spending from welfare provision and social support that addresses the root causes of crime. Prisons perpetuate anti-social behaviour and violence. The prison will enable local courts to sentence more people to custodial sentences and prisons do not show to reduce cycles of re-offending. The prison will decrease access to services and facilities which will be overwhelmed with demand following an increase of 1600 people into the local criminal justice system.

1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25809660

2. http://www.cape-campaign.org/wrexham-prison-will-cost-north-wales-police-extra-147000-a-year/