Support Keith LaMar’s Hunger Strike

From Lucasville Amnesty:

Keith LaMar is on hunger strike protesting conditions at OSP. Find full details of his demands here.

Things you can do to support the hunger strike.

1. Contact OSP Warden Christopher LaRose and his boss, The North East Regional Director Todd Ishee.

Script: “Hello, My name is _____. I am calling in support of Keith LaMar’s hunger strike. Please meet with Keith and meet his very reasonable demands. It is unjust and inhumane to take away Keith’s property like this, please do not do it.”

Contact info:
Christopher LaRose
Phone: (330) 743-0700 ext 2006 *note: the warden’s office is closed for the 11/11 holiday, and the extension doesn’t accept voicemails.
Fax: (330) 743-0841
Laura.Gardner@odrc.state.oh.us
Gina.Wylie@odrc.state.oh.us

Todd Ishee
Phone: 330-797-6398
Fax: 330-744-3512
Todd.Ishee@odrc.state.oh.us

2. Write to Keith. Letters of support not only lift Keith’s spirits at this time, they are also a tangible way to demonstrate to OSP staff how much support he has.

Keith LaMar
317-117
OSP
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505

3. Spread the word and raise funds. The twitter tag for Keith is #FREEKeithLaMar, his facebook page is here, there’s an online fundraiser here, a 1/4 sheet flyer to hand out to people here. You can also share his letter detailing the current situation, as well as some essays and recent statements about developments in his case for backstory and context.

Or you can also send a money order or a check to:
Campaign for Justice for Keith LaMar
PO Box 3656
Youngstown, OH 44513

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Sean Swain Incommunicado

From seanswain.org:

800px-Abandoned_Lonely_Phone_Booths1We’re not sure what’s going on, but Sean Swain has been blocked from receiving (and presumably sending) JPay emails. He also has not called his primary supporters, or The Final Straw for a new radio segment. We’ll probably hear from him via snail mail sooner or later, but until then, we’ve got to assume he’s cut off.

When we called the prison, they told us he was not in the hole, and did not have any restrictions on his communication. We suspect they may have transferred him back to a 3B spot, undoing the success of our recent call-in effort. They refused to tell us what security level the block he is held in is on and they got surly and authoritarian when we asked.  It seems that the officers at Sean’s newest prison, Warren CI need to learn that their jobs are a whole lot easier when they don’t provoke anarchists from across the country to call and check in on the welfare of our friend who they hold captive.

WARREN CI: 513-932-3388

You can call Warren CI and ask the same questions we asked- why does Sean not have access to communication, what security level is he currently housed in, and does the JPay kiosk in his (or any Warren Unit) actually work right now? You can also leave Sean’s Case Manager a voicemail by punching extension 2281, or try and talk to deputy warden Robert Welch, who maybe got Sean moved from 3B to 3A a few weeks ago, he’s at ext 2005. Whatever lucky anarchist happens to be on the call when when of these officers breaks and spills the beans, please drop a line to AnarchistSwain@gmail.com.

Sean doesn’t like when they fuck with his communication access. Being a writer, getting his voice out is one of the things that help Sean feel connected to the outside world. So he’s probably feeling alone and frustrated. Also, his birthday was Sept 12th, so if you haven’t written for a while, or missed sending him birthday wishes, please consider dropping a line and letting him (and the mailroom monkeys who have to read all his incoming communication) know that he is loved and missed.

ON (ROBBING) BANKS

Posted on SeanSwain.org:

From The Final Straw Radio

amd_dog-dayWe live in an inherently twisted society punishes those who rob banks rather than punishing those who them. This seems more than just a little bit unreasonable to me, given that the obscenely wealthy shouldn’t store all of their ill-gotten loot in concentrated places and then irrationally expect the rest of us not to have designs on divesting them of it.

Banks are the most prominent symbol of our culture’s blind adherence to the institution of property. The fact that thousands upon thousands of banks open up bright and early, six days a week, and close at the end of business with rarely ever a single robbery speaks to just how completely we are caught up in the delusion of capitalism’s legitimacy.

Some of the most famous figures in American history were bank robbers: Jesse James, Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger. Robin Hood is a kind of universal archetype, the model bank robber from an era before the existence of banks.

It’s both curious and appalling that we have these buildings all around us just filled with cash while many of us are barely scraping by and struggling for fundamental necessities. We routinely walk past these cash warehouses, with holes in our shoes and our stomachs grumbling.

A friend of mine, who was more often a successful bank robber than an unsuccessful one, shared with me his observation that, during bank robberies, police never want to catch bank robbers inside the bank. There’s an old movie called, “Dog Day Afternoon,” where two bank robbers are inside the bank when the police arrive, and the robbery turns into a prolonged hostage situation. Police want to avoid that, so, according to my bank robber friend, they never respond immediately. They’d rather let you get out of the bank where they can arrest you on the street, or chase you, or follow you with helicopters. So, that gives you some time to grab a substantial amount of cash.

Also, according to my friend, most bank tellers are trained to do as you instruct. So, if you hand them a note with instructions not to trigger the alarm in the drawer, not to include dye packs in the money bag, and not to put a GPS locator in with the cash, they’re supposed to comply. Banks don’t want tellers to defy bank robbers, get caught doing it, and end up getting somebody killed.

For a period of time in the late 1990s, bank robberies had one of the highest rates of unsolved crimes. Robbing banks was pretty fashionable. In fact, in the Cleveland area, there was one guy who successfully robbed several banks and in each robbery he left on foot. The guy didn’t even have a car. Authorities voiced a hunch that he was probably homeless.

Well, he was homeless when he started the crime spree, anyway.

I would suggest that in this modern era, BANK robbery is no longer bank ROBBERY. Consider: In 2008, when greedy banksters bottomed out the global economy, George W. Bush and his treasury guy, Larry Summers, who was himself an alumni of the Lehman Brothers/CitiBank locker room, decided the banks were “too big to fail,” and offered billions of dollars in bail-outs. They gave the banksters money that the government took from you in taxes. When Obama came into office, he got together with his treasury guy, Timothy Geitner, also an alumni from the same crowd of usual suspects, and they continued the billion-dollar bail-outs.

So, that means all of those banks that won’t willingly give you any loans have their vaults and registers filled up with YOUR money. So, I would suggest to you that it’s not robbery to take what’s already yours; it’s re-appropriation. That’s no crime. The real crime is letting a single bank get away with keeping it.

Think about it. To be successful, all you really need are pistols, ski masks, dufflebags, and an assertive sense of indignation. If we all did it, you know, like setting up an International Bank-Fund Re-Appropriation Day or something, the whole banking system would collapse. It would cease to exist. We would have a future without banks.

So, if you dream of such a future just as I do, I encourage you to act. After all, that dream is “too big to fail.”

This is anarchist prisoner Sean Swain from Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon, Ohio. If you’re listening, you ARE the resistance…

Reportback on Albert Woodfox’s Sept. 2 Oral Arguments at US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals

From Angola 3 News:

agola-woodfox-appeal

(PHOTO: A3 supporters outside of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this morning at Albert Woodfox’s oral arguments. Big Thanks to everyone that made it out!!)

This morning, Amnesty International USA released the following statement, reprinted in full.

Please check back here for more updates later in the day. See also our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Amnesty International USA Statement on Ongoing Incarceration of Albert Woodfox

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans heard oral argument in Albert Woodfox vs. Burl Cain. A three-judge panel will decide whether Louisiana prisoner Albert Woodfox should be granted unconditional release or face a third trial after spending more than four decades in solitary confinement.

U.S. District Judge James Brady ordered Woodfox’s unconditional release in June, overturning his conviction and barring the state from retrying him. The state of Louisiana appealed the ruling and moved to keep Woodfox behind. Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner for Amnesty International USA’s Individuals at Risk program, attended the oral argument and issued the following statement:

“Today, Albert Woodfox remains doubly trapped — both in solitary confinement and in a deeply flawed legal process that has spanned four decades. Judge Brady’s writ of unconditional release should have been the final chapter in Albert’s 43-year nightmare. Now we can only hope that the courts will finally provide Albert some measure of justice.

“The question remains – why has Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell relentlessly pursued Albert Woodfox? It is time for the Attorney General to act in the name of justice rather than vengeance and stop standing in the way of Albert’s release.”

Call in Successful! Sean is at 3A!

From seanswain.org:

cups-s-swainLast week, we sent out an urgent request that supporters call Warren Correctional and demand that Sean be moved to a 3A level cell block. He left SOCF in mid August, he was supposed to be sent to 3A, but was instead “accidentally placed in a 3B unit. 3B is a disciplinary unit, where prison gangs ran things and young guys who were only in for short stints and had nothing to lose would pick fights and cause trouble a lot. At SOCF and OSP Sean was on higher security levels, which means 23 hour a day lock-down and not many opportunities for open conflict. A 3B unit is the place Sean would be most likely to run into hassles with other prisoners. Admins could use any conflict to justify putting him back in long term solitary on level 4 or 5.

This weekend, Sean’s 3B unit was transitioned to housing 3A prisoners, the level Sean was supposed to be in. But they didn’t leave him there, they transferred him with the 3B prisoners to another 3B unit.

So, to avoid whatever provocations and nonsense that administrators are attempting to make happen, Sean decided: “I am remaining in my cell until transferred to 3A-level housing. I’m not going to chow or to the shower or the phone or kiosk or commissary or chapel or library or recreation. 24/7 in the cell to avoid shenanigans and traps that administrators intend to use for upping my security to 3B. I’m fueled on coffee and Raman noodles.” Sean also “sent kites to relevant fuckweasels: warden’s assistant, unit management administrator, unit manager, case manager, unit sergeant, etc., letting them know I have to stay holed up in my cell indefinitely since I’m moved onto a 3B level unit around 3B prisoners. When I run out of noodles, I can start by eating my own big toe. Without coffee, I can drink my own urine. Or, I suppose, I could just drink the water from the sink.”

Sean’s refusal, combined with all the outside calls we flooded in on Friday and Monday, finally got the goods and he is now finally in level 3A housing. Unfortunately, his old neighbor at SOCF, Robert Mahone is in dire need of help. Please read about that, and lend some support!

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For September 2015 Is Now Available

From Prison Books Collective:

cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

1) Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for September. As always, please post this poster publicly and/or use it to start a card writing night of your own.

2) We’ve put the text online of our new zine How To Start A Prison Books Collective. We hope that this humble contribution will help other prison books groups get started and expand the important work of sending political, legal, and self-educational resources to prisoners. You can find the text here.

3) The Prison Ecology Project has extended its online fundraiser. They are creating tools to dismantle toxic prisons. So far, they are the only group focused on the intersection of environment and mass incarceration. Currently they are 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. You can donate here.

4) Michael Kimble is up for parole in December and we are trying to get people to write letters to the parole board on his account.

Michael is a gay, black anarchist imprisoned in Alabama since 1986 for murdering a racist homophobe. He has been active for much of that time in prison organizing and rebellion. In recent years, he has been involved in hunger and work strikes in Alabama, working with the Free Alabama Movement. Michael has suffered severe consequences for his uncompromising attitude, including numerous stints in solitary (where he currently is held). Despite this, he remains committed to struggle against prison and the state.

Please, if you can, write the parole board and help get Michael free. Also, please spread this information using whatever media have available to you. Here’s a link to Michael‘s website, with a write-up on how to support his parole.

5) On Wednesday, August 12th, long term political prisoner, Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell was murdered. The context for his murder remains unclear, save for the fact that it happened in the midst of a prison riot.

In the early 1970s, while imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison, Hugo Pinell made contact with revolutionary prisoners such as George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers, and W.L. Nolen. On August 21, 1971, there was a prisoner uprising in Pinell’s housing unit at San Quentin, led by George Jackson. On that date, Jackson used a pistol to take over his tier in the Adjustment Center. At the end of the roughly 30 minute rebellion, guards had killed George Jackson, and two other prisoners and three guards were dead. Of the remaining prisoners in the unit, six of them, including Pinell, were put on trial for murder and conspiracy. Together, they were known as The San Quentin Six. Three of them were acquitted of all charges, and three were found guilty of various charges. Pinell was convicted of assault on a guard. For more on Hugo Pinell’s life and death see this excellent article from the San Francisco Bay View.

6) Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update by the  NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Jeremy Hammond, Barrett Brown, Memorials for Hugo Pinell, poetry and more.

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

Update on Sean and Urgent Call-In Action

From seanswain.org:

jpay_icons_cards_kiosk-875d27f1We haven’t heard much from Sean since his transfer to Warren Correctional, and it wasn’t until one of us visited him yesterday that we fully understood why. His access to communication has been frustrated by a whole new set of obstacles. Read on for the details, and the simple action you can take to remedy the situation.

I visited Sean yesterday at Warren Correctional, where he was unexpectedly transferred two weeks ago. Sean’s transfer to a medium security prison was accompanied by a drop in his security level, from 4A to 3A. (Ohio uses a security scale from 1 to 5, 1 being the lowest security. Within each security level, “A” status is a lower security level, whereas “B” status is a disciplinary level of security).

Despite the security level drop to 3A, Sean is being held in a 3B unit at Warren with no indication of when he will be moved. The 3B unit at Warren is heavily-controlled by gangs and membership is a requirement for phone access. Sean is generally a well-respected prisoner, both for his many years in prison and for his reputation as an anarchist shit-starter, but he is in uncharted territory at a new prison among young wild-asses who, unfortunately, tend to direct their anger and defiance at one another instead of at the prison itself.

Without phone access and with the JPay kiosk out of order after being destroyed so many times by prisoners who don’t use them anyway, Sean’s only method of communication is letters and he’s unable to record his radio segments or communicate with his lawyer in a timely manner. Sean has sent many “kites” (inner-prison mail communication) to the administration about his move to 3A and gotten no specific indication of when he will be moved.

Sean requests that we call the prison and talk to Deputy Warden Robert Welch, who Sean says is a reasonable guy and may be receptive to our requests. His number is 513-932-3388 ext. 2005.

It’s important, though, that when talking to the prison administration, we not say anything to turn negative attention toward other inmates. Let’s talk to the prison about their failure to transfer Sean to the unit he’s supposed to be on and not focus our complaints on the actions of other inmates—such as the gang control of the phones or the destruction of the Jpay kiosk. Let’s remember who the real enemy is.

Stuff to say to Deputy Warden Robert Welch:

-Sean is a level 3A prisoner and needs to be transferred to a 3A unit immediately.

-Sean is trying to keep is head down and not risk his new level 3A status. His placement in a level 3B unit puts him at risk of getting in trouble. He will be safer in a 3A unit.