Tag Archives: solidarity

Letter from Anarchist Prisoner, Emma Sheppard, in support of the International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners

week_banner

Letter from Anarchist Prisoner, Emma Sheppard, in support of the International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners.

For more info on Emma’s case see: https://bristolabc.wordpress.com/support-emma/

“The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings for freedom”
– Maya Angelou

Our fearful trill is the combination of frustration, despair, indignation and defiance. The “Incentives and Earned Privileges” scheme that dominates prisons today goes a long way to silencing our songs through its passive coercion and pastoralism, but they always erupt sporadically.

“We count ourselves among those rebels who count storms, who hold that the only truth lies in perpetual seeking”
– Madya Tulokonnivan (Pussy Riot)

Being in prison has made me feel humble. My fixed-term sentence is short, and unlike many, I have a release date. I am humbled by the fire and conviction which fuels long term anarchist prisoners, and the many rebels in prison who are “perpetually seeking” in their own ways, free from (and often unknown to) the anarchist subcultures. Quietly rejecting and challenging authority everyday in a way to keep sane inside. These rebels and actions give me hope.

“Tigers are more beautiful than sheep but we prefer them behind bars”
– Bertrand Russel

I do not consider myself a tiger! But as Michael Gove said in his first speech as ‘Justice Minister’: “Civilisation depends on clear sanctions being imposed by the state on those who challenge the rules”. So they put us behind bars and try to drown us in petty regulations. But being here has just made me stronger and given a depth of my understanding of concepts such as privilege and solidarity. They labelled us ‘criminals’ and try to shame us into compliance, or rely on other prisoners to do their work – policing, pandering and grasping of imagined rewards and “earned privileges”. But knowing I am not alone in my struggle gives me strength and vigilance.

Gove has begin to change the rhetoric surrounding prisoners: we are now potential assets, we are to quote him, “a literally captive population”. He is promising early release for those who ‘show their chained attitude that they wish to contribute to society’.

We are led through our time by those benign dictators, our ‘Offender Managers’, who calmly construct our sentence plans and ‘therapeutic’ programmes (also known as prisons-within-prisons). The Prison “Service” is like an abusive partner: offering calming reassurances whilst deliberately alienating, excluding, and physically and mentally controlling us. This can never be a therapeutic environment.

Martin Luther King said we are all “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. What affects one directly affects all indirectly”. These networks bear down on us in biased and relentless ways. Prison is often the final step for those who have been excluded and controlled by the wider mechanisms of the state their whole lives. The numbers of deaths (at the hands of the screws, filth and suicides) in custody and on the streets continue to rise, discussed and minimized. Self harm is rife within women’s prisons.

The Ministry of Justice plan to sell off many parts of the prison estate, its so called ‘dark corners’ (many of which happen to be in prime locations). Gove claims that it is this cleansing desire and economic, which is driving the developments. But whether its the Queen or rich landlords who will benefit, or the Ministry, is irrelevant… It’s all capitalist expansion.

“Whoever has passed by the front of a court house or prison and his look didn’t darken at the thought that he could be there as a culprit, then he did not live his life with integrity and dignity”

– Quote from Greece, unsure of author

I hope that I can serve the rest of my time and license with integrity. I mourn the loss of my anonymity every day. Writing can be terrifying, especially with limited resources, but I will finish with a quote from Audre Lorde:

“When we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
or welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it’s better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive”

Solidarity to all anarchist prisoners and everyone harmed by the prison system.

With love and rage,

Em

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.

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading