Posts Tagged ‘political prisoner support’

The Richmond Anarchist Black Cross will be taking a field trip to Chapel Hill, North Carolina on Saturday September 17th!

We are primarily going to talk to people involved with the Internationalist Prison Books project, so we can learn from them as we think about starting a Books To Prisoners program as part of Richmond’s Anarchist Black Cross. We will also be checking out Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill. This will be a great chance to network regionally between groups fighting the prison industrial complex and doing work to support political prisoners.

If you came out to the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army show at the Wingnut and enjoyed it and want to get involved in work around prison issues this could be a great way to learn more and meet Richmonders as well as North Carolinians interested in the same things.

More about these organizations here:

http://prisonbooks.info/

and here:

http://www.internationalistbooks.org/

Depending on what else Chapel Hill has going on that weekend and the schedules of Richmonder’s who want to come we might go down for Friday night and stay through Saturday day, or maybe go down Saturday morning and come back Sunday morning. If people are interested in going please get in touch so we can figure out a schedule that works for the most people possible! (more…)

This Friday, July 1st, marks the start of a hunger strike by prisoners at the Pelican Bay Prison in California.

“Therefore we have decided to put our fate in our own hands. Some of us have already suffered a slow, agonizing death in which the state has shown no compassion toward these dying prisoners. Rather than compassion they turn up their ruthlessness. No one wants to die. Yet under this current system of what amounts to intense torture, what choice do we have? If one is to die, it will be on our own terms.
Power concedes nothing without demand.” -  James Crowford, Mutop DuGuya (a/k/a Bow Low)

Specifically, the prisoners of the Security Housing Unit (SHU) are the ones calling for this strike.  An estimated 50-100 prisoners on Corridor D, are going on an indefinite hunger strike.  The D corridor (also known as the “short” corridor) has the highest level of restricted incarceration in the state of California and among the most severe conditions in the united states.  The rules of their confinement are extremely harsh in order to force them to “debrief” or offer up information about criminal or prison gang activity of other prisoners.  Most inmates in the SHU are not members or associates of prison gangs, as the PBSP staff claims, and even those who are put their lives and the lives of their families and other prisoners at risk if they debrief.

Back in California, the prisoners going on Hunger Strike need support from the outside. They are fighting for very, very basic rights. They are struggling against conditions that should NEVER have been allowed in the first place. If you are interested in supporting this hunger strike, or learning more about similar issues in Virginia, please get in touch with the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross – a local prisoner support and prison abolition organization. rvaabc@gmail.com or 804 303 5449

These are the five core demands of the hunger-striking prisoners:

  1. Eliminate group punishments. Instead, practice individual accountability. When an individual prisoner breaks a rule, the prison often punishes a whole group of prisoners of the same race. This policy has been applied to keep prisoners in the SHU indefinitely and to make conditions increasingly harsh.
  2. Abolish the debriefing policy and modify active/inactive gang status criteria. Prisoners are accused of being active or inactive participants of prison gangs using false or highly dubious evidence, and are then sent to longterm isolation (SHU). They can escape these tortuous conditions only if they “debrief,” that is, provide information on gang activity. Debriefing produces false information (wrongly landing other prisoners in SHU, in an endless cycle) and can endanger the lives of debriefing prisoners and their families.
  3. Comply with the recommendations of the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in Prisons (2006) regarding an end to longterm solitary confinement. This bipartisan commission specifically recommended to “make segregation a last resort” and “end conditions of isolation.” Yet as of May 18, 2011, California kept 3,259 prisoners in SHUs and hundreds more in Administrative Segregation waiting for a SHU cell to open up. Some prisoners have been kept in isolation for more than thirty years.
  4. Provide adequate food. Prisoners report unsanitary conditions and small quantities of food that do not conform to prison regulations. There is no accountability or independent quality control of meals.
  5. Expand and provide constructive programs and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates. The hunger strikers are pressing for opportunities “to engage in self-help treatment, education, religious and other productive activities…” Currently these opportunities are routinely denied, even if the prisoners want to pay for correspondence courses themselves. Examples of privileges the prisoners want are: one phone call per week, and permission to have sweatsuits and watch caps. (Often warm clothing is denied, though the cells and exercise cage can be bitterly cold.) All of the privileges mentioned in the demands are already allowed at other SuperMax prisons (in the federal prison system and other states).

There is a petition online supporting these demands, which you can sign here: http://www.change.org/petitions/support-prisoners-on-hunger-strike-at-pelican-bay-state-prison

Signing a petition is the least that one can do, and we would encourage people to take other actions in solidarity with these striking prisoners. Solitary confinement already makes humans very invisible, and the interests of the state in this case will be to make these prisoners and their struggle even less visible. These prisoners are offering up their lives in opposition the conditions they face on a daily basis, they deserve our attention.

More about this Hunger Strike is online here: https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/

And a good explanation of the reasons for this Hunger Strike from one of the inmates is here: https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/voices-from-inside/why-prisoners-are-protesting/

If you don’t know about Security Housing Units, you can look a lot closer than California for examples. Virginia had 2 Super Max prisons, Wallen’s Ridge is now down graded to Maximum Security Prison. The remaining Super Max prison, Red Onion, has many practices similar to those of the SHU in California. (more…)

The Richmond Anarchist Black Cross will be having an interest meeting and presentation at 1pm on  Saturday June 25th at the Really Really Free Market in Monroe Park at the corner of Main and Laurel. Generally speaking the Anarchist Black Cross is a prison abolition and political prisoner support group. To find out more about what we mean when we say that, come to this meeting/presentation!

For anyone who wants to find out about what the Anarchist Black Cross is about, this will be a good introduction to the concepts and background of the organization. We will be presenting on the history of the Anarchist Black Cross, other existing Anarchist Black Cross groups, and some information about the prison system in Virginia and our stance on the Richmond City Jail.

This will be an opportunity for discussion about these ideas- so if you’ve ever been curious or interested but too nervous to come to a meeting, this is your chance! If you like the presentation and want to bring it to a different venue we would be excited about that as well.

Walter Bond is a political prisoner that we have been meaning to write about for a while now. When we read his statement to the Court upon his sentencing we were awed, inspired, and proud. We failed to re-post that statement in a timely fashion. However, because he is now being held in solitary confinement, it seems a good opportunity to revisit his statement and introduce or update people on Walter Bond and his case.

Walter Bond is an animal liberationist and an anti-capitalist. Basically, Walter Bond set fire to a sheepskin factory in Colorado in the name of the Animal Liberation Front. His brother then snitched on him. He was later sentenced to 5 years in prison. He is now being kept in solitary confinement because of the classification of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front as domestic terrorist groups- despite their policies of not harming humans or other animals physically.

If anyone is interested in writing Walter letters with the Richmond Anarchist Black Cross please come out on Tuesday April 12th at 7pm at the Wingnut. Walter’s birthday is April 16th.

For more frequent updates or details, please visit his official support website:
http://www.supportwalter.org

Walter Bond still has Federal and other charges pending, some of which he has plead not guilty to. The charges over his head make his final statement in court even more amazing. Here is his statement from Court, which was given on February 11th, 2011:

“I’m here today because I burnt down the Sheepskin Factory in Glendale, CO, a business that sells pelts, furs and other dead animal skins. I know many people think I should feel remorse… for what I’ve done. I guess this is the customary time where I’m suppose to grovel and beg for mercy. I assure you, if that’s how I felt, I would. But I am not sorry for anything I have done. Nor am I frightened by this court’s authority because any system of law that values the rights of the oppressor over the down trodden is an unjust system. And though this court has real and actual power, I question its morality. I doubt the court is interested in the precautions that I took to not harm any person or by-stander and even less concerned with the miserable lives that sheep, cows and mink had to endure, unto death, so that a Colorado business could profit from their confinement, enslavement, and murder.
(more…)

Do you like pie, and wish that you had someone to eat a pie with?

Well here’s your chance! Come out to Sprout at 10pm on April Fools Day (April 1st) to participate in a pie/blind date auction to benefit Anarchist Black Cross. We’ll be auctioning off homemade pies to the highest bidder, and the winner of each bid gets a date with whoever made the pie! Also, for a small donation, anyone will be able to throw a pie at a member of ABC. There will also be a dj providing dance music between pies.

Sprout is located at 1 North Morris Street in the Fan. The event will begin at 10pm. No cover charge. Sprout will have drinks (alcoholic and non) as well as a late night food menu available.

All funds will be going towards an anarchist bail fund, to be used in case any of you crazy folks get into a bind.

For more information, or if you’d like to be one of the pie makers for the event, give us a call at 804-303-5449.

Or shoot us an email at rvaabc@gmail.com

The Anarchist Black Cross will be presenting a screening of the new film  Justice On Trail: The Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal on Friday November 5th at 7pm. If the weather is nice we will be projecting the movie outside, so bring a blanket to snuggle under. If the weather is not so nice we will show the movie inside near our new woodstove! After the movie there will be the opportunity for discussion as well as resources for anyone interested in writing Mumia a letter. The regular monthly Richmond Anarchist Black Cross meeting will be happening on November 9th at 7pm.

The Wingnut is located at 2005 Barton Avenue, and can be contacted at 804 303 5449. All Wingnut events are sober and all ages.

This is a new movie that is coming out just in time for the very important November 9th court date of Mumia.Much thanks to the Defenders for making this movie available for screening. Anyone who can’t make this event should see if they can make the November 1st screening at the Flying Brick.

Oral argument scheduled, United States Court of Appeals

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has just granted oral argument in Mumia’s case. (Abu-Jamal v. Beard, No. 01-9014.) The arguments will be before a three-judge panel on November 9, 2010, 2:00 pm. This will be in the Ceremonial Courtroom, U.S. Courthouse, 6th & Market Streets, Philadelphia. (more…)

The Richmond Anarchist Black Cross is a prison abolition and political prisoner support group. Anyone interested in either aspect is welcome to come to our regular monthly meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 7pm at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective. Meetings feature discussion, planning, and frequently writing letters to prisoners.

The next 2 meetings will be on November 9th and December 14th at 7pm. Hope to see you there!