Empty the Cages: Former Political Prisoners Speak Out

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https://www.facebook.com/events/754237618050159/

Join ABC and political prisoner support chapters across the continent in our annual panel discussion featuring former U.S. political prisoners:

Thursday October 13th
Doors open at 6:30pm
Speakers 7-9pm
Location: Whittier Community Center, 2900 Downing St.

Spanning generations of political struggle for liberation in the U.S., we are proud to help host this panel that will prove to be informative, inspirational and will help us build a stronger movement of support around resistance to repression by the State.

Speakers:
Sekou Kambui
Daniel McGowan
John Tucker
More TBA
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Sekou Kambui:
Sekou is a New Afrikan/Cherokee former political prisoner who survived 47 years of incarceration. Throughout the 1960’s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement, organizing youth for participating in demonstrations and marches across Alabama, and providing security for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Sekou became affiliated with the Black Panther Party in 1967 in Chicago and New York. While in Detroit, he became a member of the Republic of New Afrika, before returning to Birmingham. Back in Alabama, Sekou coordinated community organization activity with the Alabama Black Liberation Front, the Inmates for Action (IFA) Defense Committee and the Afro-American People’s Party in the mid 1970’s. Sekou was also a soldier in the Black Liberation Army (BLA) during these years before his capture.

In 1975, Sekou was falsely arrested and charged with the murder of two white men: a KKK official from Tuscaloosa and a multimillionaire oil man from Birmingham. There was absolutely no evidence against him, only coerced testimony from individuals who subsequently recanted their statements. The judge refused to allow the recanted statements to be stricken from Sekou’s record. He continued the fight throughout his time in Prison. On June 30th, 2014, Sekou was released on parole.
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Daniel McGowan:
Daniel is an environmental and social justice activist from New York City. He was charged in Federal court on counts of arson, property destruction and conspiracy, all relating to two actions in Oregon in 2001, claimed by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). McGowan was facing a minimum of life in prison if convicted when he accepted a non-cooperation plea agreement. His arrest is part of what the US government dubbed Operation Backfire; a coordinated, multi-state sweep of over 15 activists by the federal government who have charged the individuals with practically every earth and animal liberation action in the Pacific Northwest left unsolved. Many have considered this round up indicative of the government’s ‘Green Scare’ focus which has activists being arrested and threatened with life in prison. Many of the charges, including Daniel’s, were for crimes whose statute of limitations were about to expire. Daniel was released from prison on December 11, 2012.
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John Tucker:
John was one of five antifascists arrested in May 2012, after an altercation between white supremacists and antifascists in the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park that left ten injured fascists, three of which needed hospitalization. The case of the Tinley Park 5 received an overwhelming amount of public support. Despite the fact that the meeting was organized by violent white supremacist organizations including the National Socialist Movement, Council of Conservative Citizens, and Ku Klux Klan, the state showed their cozy relationship with white supremacy by refusing the accused antifascist activist bail or a plea deal comparable to any other criminal defendant in Cook County. In January 2013 the Tinley Park Five accepted a non-cooperating plea deal. John Tucker was released in February 2014. As of September 2014, all of the TP5 are released.
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Donations are encouraged, and will go towards the 6th Annual North American Anarchist Black Cross Conference.

If you can’t make it and would like to help cover travel costs for the panel and the conference, please donate here!
https://fundly.com/na-abc-conference?showsteps=1

We’ll see you there!

Resisting FBI Repression – A speaking tour with Leslie James Pickering

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Join us Wednesday, September 14th at 6:30PM!
Tivoli Room 442 (1363 E. 9th Avenue)
https://www.facebook.com/events/114894128966233/

Over the last two decades, Leslie James Pickering has been a target of the FBI, accumulating a file over 30,000 pages long.

Beginning with his work as Spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front Press Office in the ’90s, Leslie has sustained two Joint Terrorism Task Force raids, several federal grand jury subpoenas, threats, infiltration and extensive surveillance.

This repression has continued through Leslie’s political prisoner support work and the founding of Buffalo’s radical bookstore, Burning Books. Between 2012 and 2014, the FBI used two informants in an attempt to paint Burning Books as a front to form a 9-person eco-terrorist cell and Leslie as its “mastermind sociopath.” See secret FBI files detailing this investigation for yourself and hear Leslie’s struggle to continue to be a voice for revolution in the face of decades of state repression.

 

December 7th: Ten years later

From Daniel McGowan 12/7/15:

Ten years ago today, I was finishing up stuffing holiday cards for my employer when 2 beefy men asked me if i was indeed, Daniel McGowan. Once I was handcuffed and being frog-marched through the office, I knew what it was about.

At the same time, 6 of my codefendants were getting arrested at the same time. Others were receiving grand jury subpoenas as well. Sadly, all the people arrested that day became cooperating witnesses save for William Rodgers, who I knew as’Avalon’, who took his life in a county jail on the Winter Solstice, two weeks after we were arrested.

Of course, other arrests followed in the months after that, with a handful of codefendants refusing to play the game. We came together in solidarity to fight the charges and reduce the potential sentence as much as possible. For that, I will always have gratitude to Jonathan Paul, Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher (though it would be disingenuous for me to not point out the latter two peoples’ identification with esoteric fascist movements currently).

I was bonded out of jail, fought my case on house arrest for a year and months after that, worked out a plea that did not involve naming names or becoming a witness against anyone. It had repercussions for me including more time and no protection from grand juries (and surely, two years later, i was called before one as a witness and put on civil contempt of court). That said, I cannot have seen it going any other way. My regrets with the case is that more of my co-defendants did not stick with us and move forward together-something that had been the idea when worst case scenarios had been discussed years prior.

10 years later, its obvious to me every time i go to any activist event that many younger activists do not know this history. I suppose it is the struggle we all face-how to remember and memorialize, but not live in the past and nostalgia. I can tell people to watch If a Tree Falls or read Green is the New Red (thanks, Marshall Curry, Sam Cullman & Will Potter) but that is an incomplete picture. How then, do we, move forward in our fight for justice and pass on to others what we learned? Its a longer question.

I use the word “I” often in this post and perhaps others as I am talking about the past but at no point have I ever felt alone and not connected to others. Without these stalwart, loyal and amazing people in my life, I know with certainty that things would have gone a totally different way:

Jenny Malone- my former partner and best friend. The rock. The Wizard of Oz behind every aspect of the support campaign and the ‘trying to keep me sane’ campaign. G.O.A.T.  EXES 4EVAH!

My family especially my sister Lisa who funded my legal defense, let me live with her while on house arrest and did not waver or flinch one time. These people taught me loyalty.

Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan better known as FAF.
This small group worked their asses off, put on so many shows, sold a zillon t-shirts, made my court dates, wrote articles, supported me mentally, emotionally and financially, put their lives on hold for some time to make sure I would have a life to come home too. So much gratitude to all of them. I am not even in touch with all of them, which to be honest, saddens me but I have nothing but lifelong gratitude for all of them. Shoutouts to Andrew, Ainsley, Eliza, Kitty, Corey, Sideshow, Cindy, Marianne and Ryan.

This article may be the best article I have seen on the topic though its quite dated. Check it out.

Write my codees:

Rebecca Rubin #98290-011
FCI Dublin
5701 8th Street – Camp Parks
Dublin, California 94568
Birthday: April 18

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Rebecca Rubin is serving a 5 year sentence for her role in a series of Earth Liberation Front (ELF) actions including the arson of the Vail Ski Resort Expansion and US Forest Industries. She also participated in the liberation of horses and the arson of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wild Horse Facilities in Litchfield, California and Burns, Oregon. Rebecca is expected to be released in September, 2017.

 

You can buy Rebecca a book (or 5!) at http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/2EEY8SICPOC9D

Justin Solondz #98291-011
FCI Oakdale I
Post Office Box 5000
Oakdale, Louisiana 71463
Birthday: October 3

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Justin Solondz pleaded guilty to conspiracy and arson for his involvement in the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) arson of the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001 and the Romania Chevrolet dealership in Eugene, Oregon. Justin was imprisoned in China for three years prior to extradition. His anticipated release date is 9/23/2017.

Marius Mason: New Poetry

Support Marius Mason:

Give Me One Of Them

A dentist and his luggage arrive in Zimbabwe
Cash and carry-on, pushing the buttons of privilege and pardon
That his class feels heir to, a legacy
Of helmeted conquistadors in search of gold or something shiny
Those Roman envoys come for tribute from the territories
Legions come to kill, conquer or consume..like tourists
Greasing the palms of hired-hands – the Future’s traitors
Handing off their nation’s treasures to the clamoring idiots
“Give me one of them”, he roars, gesticulating wildly
The ugly American who can buy anything
It’s practically online shopping and no safari
When the trophy’s guaranteed (or your money back)
Swindled and stolen by subterfuge
An empty stomach so often a trap full of entanglements
And so another African will make a Middle Passage
As a corpse
The deed is done, and life converts to property
The ebony-tipped lion dubbed ‘Cecil’
Like an immigrant at Ellis Island changing names and nations all at once,
By bureaucrats who needed a familiar name in their own tongue
Unbecomes, falls into history
Ends his story and his line in blood
The collaborator, Honore`, will pay the price before the law,
But surely honor suffers even more
As the greedy foreign butcher slinks
Behind a sturdy Minnesota door
And we, the wild tribal Diaspora dispersed by birth
From Mother Africa, generations gone and
Scattered loose across the globe, like seeds
Will know ourselves one less


Marius just completed Honeybee Democracy by Thomas D. Seeley.  Check back regularly for what Marius is reading and writing about!

“What’s more political than the question of expendability?” Barry Schwabsky
With clouds on the horizon spotted,
Have we decided yet?
Who will ride the ark with us,
Protected from our floods and pestilences
In valuable concubinage-
And who will sail instead into Eternity? These honeybees, so small
Among the lilies of the field,
That we might miss them altogether,k9267
Especially the rushing bipeds travelling through
A plastic, frantic world
Lives lived indoors, cramped and strangers to the sun.
But the bees make music working
through their quiet summer days, even if there is no one to hear
In fields and orchards, lawns and meadows
Tending their life’s work
And our own as well.
The tiny fuzzy fairies falling
Prey to a darker pall
That spreads a shadow everywhere
The approaching silent spring soon
Minus singing bees
Who, as it turns out,
Are much less expendable than we

 

If You Love the Planet but Hate the Prisons…

From Earth First! Newswire:

Support Organizing at the Intersection of Mass Incarceration and Ecological Destruction

by Panagioti / Prison Ecology Project

The Prison Ecology Project is currently raising funds to create activist tools for dismantling toxic prisons.  Your contributions will provide needed start-up funds for on-the-ground work to bridge the gap between criminal justice reform, prison abolition and the environmental movement. 

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The prison industry has a long history of ecological violence. Rikers Island prison in New York City was literally built on a trash heap, and evidence suggests a high incidence of cancer among guards and prisoners. In California and Texas prisoners have little recourse but to drink arsenic-laced water. In Alabama, an overpopulated prison habitually dumps sewage into a river where people fish and swim. In Kentucky, construction of a new prison is poised to clear 700 acres of endangered species habitat. Stories like these are too common. The issues impact millions of people in and around prisons across the US but are largely ignored.

The Prison Ecology Project is uncovering these abuses and building a clearinghouse of data you can use to fight toxic prisons in your community.

We are a project of the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC), a national non-profit that advocates for protecting the human rights of people held in U.S. detention facilities, including their access to communications from outside sources. For 25 years, HRDC has published Prison Legal News, a monthly publication with subscribers in all 50 states and internationally. HRDC engages in litigation, conducts media and educational campaigns, provides testimony before legislative and regulatory bodies, and also does significant work around government transparency and accountability issues. Read more about HRDC’s history, staff, and extensive work on its website.

What We Need & What You Get

We are raising $15,000 to boost our research and data analysis work in this chronically understudied area, and to keep pressure on an industry notorious for its lack of transparency.

If we meet our stretch goal of $25,000, your donations will also fund our organizing work to halt the construction of new prisons. Our first target? A federal prison planned for Letcher County, Kentucky whose construction would demolish 700 acres of endangered species habitat in Appalachia while imprisoning people hundreds of miles from their families. If we raise these funds, we will plan an organizing tour across the southeast to mobilize against the permitting of this prison.

We are offering special gifts to our backers! Check out our list of perks available as thanks for contributions. You can find out more about the perks in our gallery.

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The Impact

Prison Ecology Project is building a database of the five thousand prisons and jails around the country, finding the weak points in the environmental realm, and providing tools to organize locally.

Incarcerated people are one of the most vulnerable and uniquely over-burdened demographics in our nation. Prisons have become a big business. One fourth of the world’s prisoners are locked up in the US, where the the number of prisons has shot up by 500% in the last thirty years. Almost all of the prison population is low-income, and people of color are disproportionately represented by wide margins in every state.

Most people whose lives have been impacted by the criminal justice system have not engaged with the environmental movement up to the present time. The Prison Ecology Project creates an entryway for them, as we are able to illustrate that the environmental toll of building and operating prisons indicates yet another reason to massively reduce the nation’s prison populations and send people back to their families. Thus, an additional result of the project: the growth of the environmental movement.

Risks & Challenges

The prison industry is entrenched in US government and society, but is not untouchable. The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) already succeeded in wielding large scale influence in the regulatory arena through the Prison Phone Justice Campaign, which zeroed in on price gouging by telecom companies in collusion with prisons and jails. Its data collection and analysis were central to getting the FCC to reduce inflated prison phone rates and safeguard the lifeline between the incarcerated and their loved ones. HRDC is also the publisher of Prison Legal News, which has exposed environmental problems and covered stories of whistleblower litigation in prisons for well over two decades. The Prison Ecology Project aims to build on this kind of success.

Other Ways You Can Help

Please spread the word! A crowdfunding campaign is as good as the crowd behind it. Use the Indiegogo social media tools. Tell your friends. Talk to your family. Share our campaign with your networks! Your efforts are key to our success.

Check out some news coverage of our efforts thus far:

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Please donate to help reach our funding goal. Become a part of this growing movement to end mass incarceration and defend the earth. Your money will go towards:

1.  Exposing

the prison system for poisoning incarcerated people and destroying the environment

2.  Organizing

to engage local communities and create new tools, including a national database of toxic prisons and prison pollution

3.  Fighting

The construction of new prisons that tear apart human communities and damage ecosystems

4.  Protecting

Wildlife, waterways and the habitat of endangered species, such as the Indiana bat threatened by a new federal prison in southern Appalachia

$15,000 will give us resources to move forward on these four fronts. Check here for more details.

Action Needed!

From Support Marius Mason:

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February 22nd Call-Out

From Support Marius Mason:

helloxfamily1Never too early for a call-out!  Marius and friends are organizing events to take place January 22nd to support queer and trans prisoners.  Support Marius by supporting others!  Let us know if you want to do an event and we’ll send you materials.