June 11th, 2017: Communication Is A Weapon

anarchistprisoners

By now it is a platitude to speak of the isolation and silence that prisons strive to impose. Every week another one of our imprisoned friends tells us that their mail is getting fucked with, the phones on their unit are “broken,” or that our publications are being rejected with no recourse.

For us, one of the most exciting elements of June 11, 2016 was the proliferation of words and ideas shared between and from anarchist prisoners.  Along with spreading material solidarity internationally and keeping the names of our comrades on our lips, our contribution to facilitating that communication is one of our most important tasks. While the starting point of our project was support for Marius Mason and Eric McDavid (the first of whom remains imprisoned in an extremely restrictive unit, while the latter has been freed!), it has been through a spreading web of communications that we have expanded the scope of our project to solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners around the world.  This year, we are seeking to emphasize this communication.

Maintaining communication is a lifeline for those caught in the snares of state repression or locked in its dungeons. Prisons function to isolate those held within these dungeons, to remove them from human community, and to break their will. Receiving letters and publications, being able to connect with individuals outside of the walls, and being able to call upon the solidarity of comrades on the outside are all vitally important to retaining dignity in dehumanizing conditions. When Chelsea Manning attempted suicide, communication enabled her and those close to her to mobilize and act. For prisoners who seem to live under a microscope due to their rebellious activities, a constant stream of letters shows their tormentors that they have friends on the outside and that there will be consequences for any action taken against them. Throughout the September 9th US prison strike, the relationships built over years made it possible to know of work strikes and rebellions happening in prisons all over the country, allowing supporters to organize counter-repressive action.

We must not, however, confuse actual communication with the absentminded chatter of liberal democracy. In totalitarian societies, speaking out can be subversive to systems of power; in liberal democracies it strengthens them. History textbooks teach us to speak truth to power, allowing power to better understand our frustrations so it can then maneuver to undermine us – either by regurgitating and disfiguring our criticisms as popular appeals or otherwise attempting to sell them back to us through edgy marketing campaigns. The more we tell power what we’re mad about, the better the chance they can manipulate us. Ranting on the internet is a microcosm of the pressure valve function of free speech in neutralizing social unrest. We are encouraged to say whatever we want, as long as we don’t actually do anything about it. Free speech becomes a fetish. For people who have never experienced a moment of freedom in their entire lives, freedom of speech is taken for freedom itself.

When direct action actually does take place, it either is castigated as coming from “outsiders,” or framed to fit into democratic rhetoric around speech. After the uprising against police in Ferguson, Missouri, Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote that “riots are the language of the unheard” went viral because it was a way to frame the uprising as revolving around freedom of speech, as if the silencing of Ferguson residents’ voices is what caused the riots, or that their rioting was intended only to amplify their voices.

When we speak of communication, we are not talking about “freedom of information” – media attention and generalized knowledge of the horrific practices and conditions inside prisons will never result in public outrage, nor will they cause a wave of shame that will wash over the authorities and affect them to the point where they’ll change what they’re doing. While trying to bring attention to issues sometimes has it place, we don’t expect anything from the authorities (or the “public”) and we know all too well that, especially in democracies, public opinion usually does very little to affect the policies or practices of the state. We’re talking about something different: that finding and speaking with our comrades is vital to attacking power and living full lives.

Within liberal democracies, prison functions to isolate those who do not take the bait of the democratic illusion.  We amplify the stories of those anarchists serving time in prison who have chosen active revolt against any regime of power rather than played into democracy’s games.  In February 2017, Eric King received sanctions – including loss of phone, visits, and commissary; increase in security level; and loss of “good time” – for writing poems and drawing cartoons depicting violence towards the Bureau of Prisons and the government in general. In early 2017, Sean Swain went on a successful 50-day hunger strike demanding the restoration of his email and phone communications, which had been cut off years ago due to his alleged threats of outside direct action against prison officials. In 2014, Bill Dunne received a 15-year “hit” to his parole, with the parole commission citing his “continued association and affiliation with anarchist organizations” as evidence he “still harbor[ed] anti-authoritarian views that are not compatible with the welfare of society.” Marius Mason is currently being held in the intensely-restrictive federal prison in Carswell, Texas, which surveils and controls his communication with the outside world and imposes harsh limits to his ability to connect with struggles on the outside. The comrades arrested in Italy under Operation Scripta Manent have seen their mail restricted, including a permanent seizure of all material from Croce Nera Anarchica [Anarchist Black Cross].

Despite the state’s best attempts to fetter our comrades’ tongues, imprisoned anarchists continue to contribute to struggles inside and outside of prison. Sean Swain’s Final Straw segments, Marius’ art and poetry, Jeremy Hammond’s incendiary tweets, and prison writings crossing borders and oceans show the innumerable and diverse forms communication can take in the belly of the beast.

That said, we want to share specific news of Marius’ struggles on the inside.  This year was filled with new heartbreak as the Bureau of Prisons developed means of isolating him further.  Beginning last summer, Marius began to see huge gaps in the mail he received, sometime going weeks without personal mail, with movement newsletters even more scarce. It was finally revealed via a phone call with a friend that FMC Carswell had been cutting off all communication about the National Prison Strike and thus any personal mail mentioning the strike was destroyed.

Even with these more obvious events Marius is going into his 10th year of incarceration, friendships and supports on the outside have been pushed to their limit, consistently thwarted in their attempts to get mail past Carswell’s complex and unexplained regulations.  Aside from the few close friends and immediate family he has left, Marius receives very little mail. Mail is his lifeline to the outside world. He needs supporters to recommit to correspondence, and to visits, for those of us who knew him before his arrest (a requirement of the BOP).  Know that letters which mention political actions will not make it through the tight censorship.

On the outside, new projects which seek to break down the barriers imposed by prison have flourished. Comrades all over the US and elsewhere have started publishing prison newsletters, giving wings to the ideas of our imprisoned comrades, enabling them to spread seeds in the “free world” and in the prison cells. Individual support websites, counter-information websites, zines collecting prisoners’ writings, the Certain Days calendar, the new Black Bridge website, and other efforts keep our comrades behind bars connected with us, and us connected with them – through creative expression, mutual contribution to theory, and strategizing for continuation of struggle.

This extends also to the realm of action, with solidarity rooting itself in the spirit of combative, internationalist struggle against prison and its world. Following the arrest of Pola Roupa and Konstantina Athanasopoulou and the detainment of Pola’s six-year-old child Lambros-Viktoras, diverse and combative actions took place, resulting in Lambros-Viktoras’ grand-mother gaining custody of her grandchild. The actions taken all over the world in solidarity with the US prison strike in September 2016 offer a clear vision of how words and deeds can mix in the cauldron of revolt. We also want to mention the upcoming Fight Toxic Prisons convergence in Texas, drawing the important connections between ecological devastation and prison society and rooting both in active solidarity with imprisoned comrades.

This year we challenge ourselves to weaponize our words and gestures to one another, to give them teeth. Let’s find ways to fight the censorship of those sending messages from the inside, and those sending strength and support from the outside. Let us not be satisfied with merely expressing our desires and ideas to whoever is listening, but really live them, and develop them together. The state wishes to crush our comrades by separating them from communities of struggle. We will not let it succeed!

[PDF for reading]

[PDF for printing]

(via June11th)

Posted in Anarchist Prisoners, Bill Dunne, Chelsea Manning, Eric King, International Solidarity, June 11 International Day of Solidarity with Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners, Konstantina Athanasopoulou, Lambros-Viktoras Maziotis Roupas, Marius Mason, Operation Scripta Manent, Pola Roupa

Brazil: Rafael Braga sentenced to eleven years in prison

Rafael

The judgment was published on the the Rio de Janeiro’s Court of Justice web site, on Thursday (20/04). The collector of recyclable material was held convicted for trafficking and association for drug trafficking.

In a sentence published on the website of the TJRJ (Rio de Janeiro State Court of Justice) yesterday (20/4), Judge Ricardo Coronha Pinheiro, who judges the current lawsuit against Rafael Braga Vieira, sentenced the former collector a punishment of 11 years and three months of imprisonment and payment of R$ 1,687 (one thousand six hundred and eighty-seven reais). In February, the magistrate denied a defense request that, if approved, could have changed the course of the case. The Human Rights Defenders Institute (DDH), which has defended Rafael Braga since December 2013, has not yet been formally notified of the judge’s decision and says he will appeal.

In 2007, a young man of 18 years who was arrested in Nova Friburgo (RJ) carrying 25g of marijuana declared himself a user, was detained for traffic, but “was released a day later with the help of his father who knew a judge, “according to a report published by the G1 in 2015. In Rafael’s case, the 0.6g of marijuana, 9.3g of cocaine and a firework, which was attributed to him by the police officers who arrested him, was enough so that he would be convicted of drug trafficking and trafficking association, although Rafael claimed from his first testimony at the 22nd Police Station (Penha) that this material did not belong to him and that the police had told him that, If he did not disclose the traffickers in the region where he was approached, they “would throw a gun and drugs on his account.”

Black, poor and born in a favela, Rafael Braga’s life has been a real saga since exactly three years and ten months from now. The only convict arrested in the context of the June 2013 days, accused of carrying explosive material when he was just carrying two plastic bottles sealed with cleaning products, Rafael was in an open regime with an electronic anklet just over a month ago when he was arrested again, on January 12 of this year. The arrest occurred when he walked from his mother’s house to a bakery in Vila Cruzeiro, a favela in Penha neighborhood, north zone of Rio, where his family lives.

Rafael2

Freedom to Rafael Braga Vieira!!

Original Text: Rafael Braga é condenado a onze anos de prisão
Translation: Rede de Informações Anarquistas – R.I.A

“Debaixo para cima, R.I.A você também!”

Posted in Brazil, Fire To The Judiciary, Fuck The Police, Political Prisoners, Rafael Braga Vieira, Repression

UK: Informer’s house vandalised along with Police Horse Transporters by Eco-anarchist vandals – FAI/IRF

FAI

18th April – we thought it long overdue that ‘Julie’, a police informer in Yatton, near Bristol, received a home visit to remind her that we do not forget nor forgive. Badger stayed at Julie’s house after being invited there by her when he was first on the run. Badger is wanted for the smashing of the Bristol Post newspaper offices in 2011 and the burning of a transmitter. As a minimum gesture of solidarity to wanted anarchist Badger, we painted “snitch” there and sabotaged her vehicle. We hope she crashes and is paralysed. Julie lives at 3 Barberry Farm Road where she resides with her partner and children. An older washed-out queer peace activist type of person, but actually just a disgusting betrayer and one who abused the trust put in her. Julie thought she could save herself from police attention by informing, but found that the pigs wanted more. So she even gave information on other people who came to visit Badger at her place and police were sure to send a forensic team to collect DNA. Snitch, you will be remembered as one more reactionary who deserves to live in misery. We hope the cancer that it is in your body kills you and we hope to make your last days as unhappy as possible. Die knowing you are hated. More activists (who we haven’t forgotten about either) protected this snitch at the time of her informing, preventing those hunted from knowing that Julie had betrayed Badger and his friends. Millions of your pathetic activist lives add up to the sum total of fuck-all compared to the indomitable spirit of Badger.

Not very far away from Julie’s house is Davis Lane, Clevedon, where mounted police are located with a stadium and next to this is a police specialist operations centre. We punctured the tyres on four horse transport vehicles and sprayed “Flat, Ha Ha!” on the sides. So much for security.

Stay free Badger – Fuck the Police

Solidarity to anarchist prisoners and those on the run.

Eco-anarchist vandals – FAI/IRF

(via 325)

Posted in Badger, Death To Informers, Direct Action, Eco-anarchist Vandals FAI-IRF, Fuck The Police, Sabotage, UK

Pure Black: An Emerging Consensus Among Some Comrades?

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The term “black” anarchist has been thrown around recently in a number of international milieux and journals. Indeed during the last few years of my travels throughout North and South America and Europe I have noted repeated attempts to define, through action and theory, the ideas associated with black anarchy. Following is a brief, incomplete outline of some of the more common aspects of what black anarchists think and do. These tendencies are numbered for convenience, and not to show priority or importance.

Red Excursus: I will not discuss “red” anarchy as it seems well defined by the collectivist, syndicalist, communist variants of anarchist ideas that were developed more than a hundred years ago and still enjoy a great deal of popularity and adherents. I emphasize that I don’t see the two various strains as being mutually exclusive, opposed, or even necessarily very different at the macro level. The old sectarianism and exclusion, a gnawing symptom of Marxism and the Social Democracy, plays no role in this essay. I am attempting to describe and provide some topography to a growing, relatively new agreement among a particular group of my comrades, in doing so I support and encourage those who follow different anarchist ideas and paths. No one is wrong, no one is right. The best we can hope for is clarity, not hegemony.

1) Violence
In this context violence is defined as a tactic, whether applied to insurrection, riot, attentat, or simple refusal. There is an almost overwhelming consensus among the black anarchists that the use of violence is necessary, indeed desirable, perhaps essential. The international growth of the various FA(I)-IRF cells, the example of the Greek CCF and Revolutionary Struggle, the concomitant growth of the non-anarchist but equally engaging actions of the eco-extremists in Mexico, Chile and Brazil, and the myriad anonymous burnings, ATM destruction, and attacks that populate the current global anarchist media echo this resonance. Whether it is the Molotov arching gracefully through the night air, the flaming barricade, or the flagpole–turned truncheon–crashing into fascist bone, the black anarchist greets all with approval.

2) Individualist
There is a strong individualist strain in black anarchism, mostly as a function of activity and less due to long nights breathlessly reading Stirner. In essence when engages in actions it’s easier to work in small groups, and sometimes alone rather than attempt to build large or even medium sized organizations. These small groups which I’ll call teams, a word taken from our Athenian comrades, bring into clear relief the importance of individual initiative, they decentralize decision and action, they emphasize clearly that while there is no I in team, there is an “m” and an “e.”

3) Nihilist
In this instance nihilism I’ll interpret as the realpolitik of anarchism in 2017–all the various ideas, concepts and conceits of an anarchist victory via revolution or insurrection in the current context are nothing more than political heroin. Once this simple, obvious fact is accepted there are two courses, resignation and lassitude or savage attack without any real hope of success. The black anarchist chooses the latter, always.

4) Illegalist
A part of the black anarchist consensus is the desire to completely reject any compromise or cooperation with nation-state, Capital, and markets. Leading many in the milieu to undertake consciously political illegal activity. This varies from place to place but includes the positive activities of squatting, occupations, shoplifting, out-right store robbery, burglary and more. In terms of negative activities this new variant of illegalism includes refusal of all taxes, tolls, welfare, NGO handouts, and state-run free clinics.

5) Informal Organization
There is a real and healthy fear among the black anarchists of formal organization. The anti-organizational tendency is not new in the historical anarchist milieu, nor in the various anarchisms that saw first light since the 1970’s in the USA, Canada, and parts of Western Europe. The open espousal of informal, temporary, limited adherence to organizational tenets is very new. This loosening of the organizational form, the inclusionary laissez-faire stance adopted by black anarchists and their organizations may be one of the tendencies most lasting contributions. In most historical cases anarchists have constructed organizations that virtually ooze the ideas and characteristics of the dominant society. In a few short years the black anarchists have done a great deal of theoretical violence to such organizational nonsense, in the future I hope they do more.

This outline of black anarchism is brief, incomplete, and a piece of journalism, not conjecture. This is what I saw, what I experienced in the past several years visiting and working with anarchists on three continents. It is both memoriam and prospectus.

Paul Z. Simons

Posted in Analysis, Black Anarchism, Black International of Anarchists of Praxis, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire (CCF), Illegalist Anarchism, Individualist Anarchism, Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), International Revolutionary Front (IRF), Nihilist Anarchism, Revolutionary Struggle, Theory

Mexico: Bomb attack against a bank in solidarity with imprisoned comrades in Germany

Responding to the international call for actions in solidarity with the compañerxs accused of robbery in Aachen, Germany, we placed an explosive device with a little more than one kilo of black powder at a Citibanamex branch located on Eje 10 [in Mexico City] at 2:30am on April 20.

We repeated the action carried out a couple months ago by compañerxs from the Night Cats and Evil Sorcerers Incendiary Cell. Upon seeing they’d rebuilt the branch after the compas’ attack, we decided to help them redecorate it.

Is it necessary to explain why we attacked a bank? These shits leave people homeless, they finance military companies, companies that destroy the environment, exploiters, who chain millions with debts and false promises…

They are the terrorists, they use fear with payment warnings, debt, they threaten you with eviction or to leave you with nothing. And still they will dare to say that we are the criminals, the soulless, the murderers…

To the police: good work defending the interests of your masters, keep it up…

To the bankers: Now they are your banks, soon they will be your homes.

To the insurrectionary compañerxs, especially the accused of Aachen: we send you greetings and a hug, we keep resisting, we keep disturbing.

 No shameful retreat!

 Fire and gunpowder to the murderous exploiter!

 Few But Crazy Insurrectionary Cell FAI-FRI 

(via Contra Info, translated by It’s Going Down)

 

Posted in Aachen Bank Robbery Case, Direct Action, Explosive Attack, Few But Crazy Insurrectionary Cell, Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), International Revolutionary Front (FRI), International Solidarity, Mexico, Mexico City, Night Cats & Evil Sorcerers Incendiary Cell

USA: Train Tracks Sabotaged in Olympia, WA to Stop Fracking Equipment

sabotage2

Early in the morning of April 20th we poured concrete on the train tracks that lead out of the Port of Olympia to block any trains from using the tracks. We took precautions to notify BNSF (the train company) – we called them and we used wires to send a signal that the tracks were blocked. We did this not to avoid damaging a train, nothing would bring bigger grins to our faces, but to avoid the risk of injuring railway workers.

This action was done to disrupt the movement of trains carrying proppants used in natural gas fracturing. These train tracks are part of a system of pipelines, fracking wells, mines, clearcuts, control centers, fiberoptics, dams, highways and factories that cover the planet and are physical manifestations of a process that is destroying the ecosystems, cultures, and inhabitants everywhere. Behind this network of infrastructure there are politicians, CEOs and bureaucrats who have private security, cops, prison guards, non-profit directors, PR consultants and the legacy of 500 years of colonization to back them up. We oppose all of these manifestations, infrastructural, personal and ideological. We blocked the train tracks because we want to blockade the entire web of domination that is slowly killing us.

We were inspired to take this action by acts of resistance taking place across turtle island and the world, particularly the fierce indigenous resistance of water protectors against the Dakota Access Pipe Line, the encampment blocking a train full of fracking material on these same tracks in Olympia this past November, and the clandestine attacks against pipelines in Florida, South Dakota and Iowa.

We also were emboldened by the spirit of all those who have risen against the white supremacist police in Furguson, Baltimore, Oakland and elsewhere, as well as by the riotous opposition that has characterized the first few months of Donald Trump’s reign.

Resistance to this many-tendriled death machine has and must take many forms. Some have set their goals narrow and try just to stop the port from shipping proppants. We are aiming beyond, for a liberation that destroys all vestiges of oppression and colonization leaving us free to experiment with ways of living in cooperation on our own terms. We want to unlearn the legacies of domination that we have inherited. We need a diverse and vibrant resistance composed of more forms of destruction, mutual aid and solidarity than we can yet imagine.

This action and actions like it are quite easy to do yourself. This only took a few hours and a little bit of planning. The hardest part was calming our nerves. Particularly easy was placing wire on the tracks to send a signal to the train company that the tracks were blocked. This action can and has been easily repeated wherever train tracks are. For more info on how to do this check out this explanatory video.

Concrete on the tracks is just a start
Rest in Power James Marker!
Free Red Fawn!

-some anarchists

(via It’s Going Down)

Posted in Direct Action, Eco-Resistance, Environmental Struggle, James Marker, Olympia, Red Fawn, Sabotage, Turtle Island, USA

Liège, Belgium: The Beauty of a Burning Police Station

Belgium_Burning_

We are not soldiers.
We are criminals.
We have no fatherland, no higher cause, we do not follow any directions other than those of ourselves.

On the other hand, we are fighting.
To find our lives, explore our freedoms.

We fight the misery of our lives, the oppression of morals, and the grids that imprison us.

On the night of April 18, we set fire to a police station in Liège (Belgium). It was completely destroyed, devastated by the flames.

We dedicate this action to the imprisoned comrades who are accused of bank robbery in Aachen.

Determination and courage!

Our thoughts are also with the Montreuil compa and Damien, still imprisoned in Fleury.
Never give up!

A greeting to all those who conspire.

With violence, love and joy.
Always at war.

“Don’t you have a light?” and friend.

(via Linksunten Indymedia, translated by Insurrection News)

Posted in Aachen Bank Robbery Case, ACAB, Anarchist Prisoners, Arson Attack, Belgium, Damien Camelio, Direct Action, Fuck The Police, International Solidarity, Liège