Chelsea found guilty of prison infractions, but no solitary confinement

August 18, 2015

By the Chelsea Manning Support Network

We just heard from Chelsea following her hearing today before the Fort Leavenworth disciplinary board:

“I was found guilty of all 4 charges @ today’s board; I am receiving 21 days of restrictions on recreation–no gym, library or outdoors.”

So while she was convicted of all four charges (yes, even the expired toothpaste!), she did not receive any time in solitary confinement. We believe that had everything to do with the outpouring of support, and the attention focused on Fort Leavenworth… including the 100,000 folks who signed the petition organized by Fight for the Future.

Chelsea added, “Now these convictions will follow me thru to any parole/clemency hearing forever. Was expecting to be in min custody in Feb, now years added.”

So, this is good news, but not without significant ramifications.

chelsea-manning-081815

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

From Bristol ABC:

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

New Zine: How To Start A Prison Books Collective

From Prison Books Collective:

prison-books

We’re happy to announce that an updated manual on how to start a prison books group is now available for download and printing. Our collective has been talking about putting out this zine for years and we are thrilled to finally be releasing it. This manual is designed to help the reader start and maintain a prison book program. It is not meant to be taken as an absolute, but as friendly advice when devising your own policies and procedures. 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 download it on our Resources page, or by clicking here.

July Newsletter of Free Maroon Global Network

From Russell Maroon Shoatz:

Greetings Maroon supporters,

We’re back with our monthly newsletter/e-mail blast on the status of U.S.-held political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. Many thanks for your continued support and solidarity as we push on in the struggle to free our beloved father, grandfather, husband, and mentor.

This month, we bring you an update on Maroon’s recovery from radiation treatment of his prostate cancer, the second installment of our interview series with human rights champion and longtime Maroon supporter Selma James, a letter Maroon recently wrote to the Pope in hopes of having him visit prisoners in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and a brief reportback on the Spring Maroon Tour’s final event in Oakland, California.

As always, please feel free to contact us directly with your own ideas and connections to support our efforts.

Please also consider contributing to our ongoing fundraising for Maroon. No amount is too little, and all contributions are greatly appreciated.

Connect with Maroon directly by writing to Russell Shoats #AF-3855, SCI-Graterford, P.O. Box 246 Route 29, Graterford, PA 19426 – 0246

Straight Ahead!
The Shoatz Family and Friends

Health Update:
Rebounding From Radiation Treatments

Maroon Writes:

Good News! The radiation therapy that I have been receiving has been successful!

After completing my radiation treatment on June 3, 2015, my oncologist (“Dr. K”), had me seated in a separate “examination room” where, weekly, both he and his physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner (“C.”) would review with me the week’s treatments and my overall condition. He told me that my treatments were completed, asked about my overall feelings, and said something like “From my mouth to God’s ear” what we had accomplished “should do the trick”; which I took to mean rid my body of the cancer. Still I asked him, “Is there any cancer in my body?” And he said, “Any cancer cells in your body are dying,” and that the radiation would continue to attack any cancer cells, that I would begin to feel much better within six to eight weeks, and “get better and better.”

On behalf of my family and myself, I again want to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has helped in any way. Cancer is simply an exceptionally trying condition to deal with, and when a political prisoner like myself suffers that condition, without strong support from the streets there are many elements within the criminal UNJUSTICE establishment who may very well take that opportunity to interfere with the medical professionals who are willing to help heal you. A tragic history that continues to unfold.

Straight Ahead!
Maroon

To read Maroon’s full detailed health journal follow this link.

Selma James Interview

Selma James, writer, activist, co-founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, and coordinator of Global Women’s Strike, is interviewed by Raphael Cohen, for the campaign to free Maroon, in Oakland, California, April 25, 2015. In part 2 of this 4-segment series, James discusses her impressions of Maroon’s recent writings regarding sexism and patriarchy in the racial justice movements of the 1960s and ’70s. She applauds Maroon’s critical self-reflection, supportively questions some of his conclusions, and shares her thoughts on the potentially transformative implications of his and other male prisoners’ commitment to naming, condemning, and ending violence against women.

As the #SayHerName movement to seek justice in often overlooked police killings of black women intensifies following Sandra Bland’s tragic death last week, James’s thoughts on the importance of men’s solidarity in the struggle for women’s liberation couldn’t be timelier. Watch the interview segment here, and stay tuned for parts 3 and 4 in the coming months.

Maroon’s Letter to the Pope 

popeIn the lead-up to Pope Francis’s trip to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in late September, Maroon has written the Pope an open letter, inviting him to visit with prisoners in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections during his stay, and to hear directly from prisoners about their vision for true rehabilitation and an end to mass incarceration, a topic that now seems to be on the U.S. public’s consciousness more than at any point in the previous few decades.

As Maroon states in his letter: “… while I seek forgiveness and work towards reconciliation with those I have wronged and hurt, the bigger picture urges me to also strive towards laying a foundation to help younger people extract themselves from a generations-old racial, economic, and historical set of contradictions that not only led to my imprisonment, but has since metastasized into the criminalization of millions based on their racial and/or economic standing – an unjust, unethical, and ultimate poisoning of society that is at odds with the compassion and broadness of vision that Your Holiness is held in such high esteem for championing.

Society has everything it needs to rescue itself from the MASS INCARCERATION fallout that has resulted from these failures. And by overcoming this part of our problems, we place ourselves in a position to challenge others to fashion solutions to other social issues that have been eating away at us for so long.

A way forward in uprooting MASS INCARCERATION rests with offering every prisoner – as well as every prison employee – an opportunity to obtain the type of education and skill-sets needed by society in the 21st century, all of which can be accomplished by joining the global online revolution in higher education.”

To read Maroon’s full letter to the Pope follow this link.

We’ve received indication that the Pope will, in fact, visit Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFC) while in town, and we invite you to reiterate the importance of such a visit, and express your support for it, by tweeting the official Papal Twitter account, @Pontifex, with a message echoing Maroon’s sentiments. We ask that you not specify Maroon by name, but rather, use the slogan he’s put forth in his letter. One such tweet tweet might read: “@Pontifex Please take time to meet Pennsylvania prisoners. MASS EDUCATION–YES! MASS INCARCERATION–NO!” If you do choose to tweet, please also include the hashtags #PopeVisitPAprisoners and #PopeInPhilly.

Spring Maroon Tour Concludes

Lastly, the Spring Maroon 2015 Book and Culinary tour concluded this month in Oakland, California, with an event entitled “The 4th of the Lie,” a panel discussion “about the importance of independence and self-determination for colonized peoples,” hosted by the Qilombo Cultural Center. Maroon’s son, Russell the III, joined Shaka At-thinnin, founder of the Black August Organizing Committee, on the evening of July 4th, to expound on some of his father’s ideas from the essay collection Maroon The Implacable.

russelll3

While fireworks and car alarms were going off every couple minutes right outside of Qilombo’s doors, Russell shared his thoughts with a multi-generational audience on the importance of coalition-building across movement sectors, even and especially when said sectors may be unfamiliar with one another’s mores and norms; the importance of men challenging sexism and supporting the aspirations and self-determination of women; and the crucial role of localized food production in the midst of large agri-business expansion, coupled with lack of access to healthy food and chronic health problems in working class communities of color.

This last point proved especially timely, as Qilombo community members have recently been involved in a struggle to preserve the Afrika Town Garden they established for the purpose of providing healthy, locally-grown produce to their neighborhood. After years of neglecting the lot on which Afrika Town was recently born, its owner has threatened to evict volunteers and raze the garden, in a clear attempt to make his property more appealing to potential well-off buyers in a rapidly gentrifying part of town. Read more about the struggle to defend the Afrika Town Garden.afrika-town

As always, we offer you our profound gratitude for your support, and our hope to celebrate greater victories with you in the days to come…

The Shoatz Family and Friends

 

Denver: Running Down The Walls 2015!


Please share the promo video: https://youtu.be/mPwWnPRuVSM

It’s time again for Denver’s annual Running Down the Walls 5k benefit. This will be our seventh run/walk in solidarity with U.S. held political prisoners and prisoners of war. Last year was the best year, and we need your help to make this year’s even bigger!

Join us Sunday September 6th at Hungarian Freedom Park (901 E 1st Ave). Meet by the Hungarian uprising memorial at 11am with the run starting at 12pm sharp, taking place at the same time as runs in other cities and in prisons across the country! Please be sure to get there early to sign in and get your t-shirt. Food will be provided afterwards. Vegan options included. Bring everyone!

Every year prisoners and ABC chapters organize Running Down the Walls events to raise awareness and funds for political prisoners in further need of support. Additionally, extra funds raised will go to support the 5th annual North American Anarchist Black Cross conference.

This year’s radical 5k is dedicated in loving memory of the revolutionary Phil Africa (died in prison 1/10/2015) and every slain, maimed, and brutalized victim of police terror.

Sign up to run, roll, walk, bike, or volunteer by emailing us at denverabc@riseup.net ♥

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/714840768659289/

To donate please visit our youcaring fundraiser here: http://www.youcaring.com/u-s-political-prisoners-406831

rdtw-2014

Click image to view report from last year.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
From NYC ABC:

The Warchest Program:
The Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABCF) has initiated a program designed to send monthly checks to those Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have been receiving insufficient, little, or no financial support during their imprisonment. The Warchest program was initiated in November 1994. Its purpose is to collect monthly funds from groups and individual supporters, and send that money to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (PP/POW) via monthly checks. Over the last two decades, the ABCF warchest has dispensed over $75,000 to political prisoners in the United States. Currently, there are ten imprisoned comrades who receive a monthly stipend as part of the program; they are:
Joseph Bowen
Russell Maroon Shoatz
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Herman Bell
Robert Seth Hayes
Maliki Shakur Latine
Ruchell Magee
Sundiata Acoli
Hanif Bey
Oso Blanco

For more information, visit: abcf.net/warchest-program

Family and Friends of Maliki Shakur Latine:
Maliki Shakur Latine is a political prisoner, held in New York state. A former Black Panther, Maliki directly faced state repression and, after a 1979 incident with NYPD cops, was sentenced to 25 to life. We are raising funds to aid in the campaign to secure parole for this elder. For more information, visit justiceformaliki.org

Demand The Justice Dept Do The Right Thing Be In Philly August 1st

move9parole.blogspot.com:

This August 8th 2015 will mark 37 years now that our innocent family members have been unjustly imprisoned by Philadelphia and Pennsylvania officials for a crime that not only these officials but the world knows they did not commit. In 1998 and 2015 two of our family members Merle Africa and Phil Africa both died under very mysterious circumstances in Pennsylvania prisons after being unjustly jailed for so long. Merle spent 20 years of her life unjustly jailed and left to die in prison. Phil spent 36 years unjustly jailed and left to die by Pennsylvania officials in prison Enough Is Enough.

For 37 years now the Philadelphia District Attorney past Lynne Abraham and present Seth Williams have worked in conjunction with the Fraternal Order of Police and now the Pennsylvania Parole Board to ensure that our family remain in prison for the rest of their lives. Innocent people remain in prison who in the words of the Pennsylvania Parole Board are a risk to the safety of the community yet the biggest threat to the safety of our community, the Police, are walking the streets murdering our children with immunity. You can look no further than the example of Sandra Bland in the south.

The Move Family and our supporters are calling for people to be in Philadelphia Saturday August 1st for our community town hall meeting to demand the Justice Dept take action and investigate the case and wrongful imprisonment of the Move 9. There will be several topics discussed at the town hall meeting, topics such as:

The destruction of the house

The beating of Delbert Africa

The trial of the Move 9

The illegal practices of the Pa Parole Board

All of this and more discussing why the Justice Dept needs to take action.

We will also be joined by Temple Journalism Professor Linn Washington and activist attorney Michael Coard. Join us Saturday August 1st from 12:00pm to 4:00pm at the African American Museum located on 701 Arch Street Downtown Philadelphia.

For more info people can go to:
www.onamove.com

Justice for the move 9/Facebook

Move9parole.blogspot.com

Onamovellja@gmail.com

Robert Seth Hayes Medical Justice Campaign

As previously noted, Seth Hayes finally began to receive medical intervention for both his Hepatitis C and poorly-managed diabetes roughly a month ago. This development is no doubt thanks to many people who made calls on his behalf. Unfortunately, Seth is still suffering from undiagnosed and untreated chronic bleeding and abdominal growths. Many calls have been made to Health Services in regards to these conditions that warrant urgent assessment, and there has been no response. Please join in calling and faxing Health Services this week, stating that you are calling about Robert Seth Hayes, #74-A-2280, at Sullivan Correctional Facility, and requesting:

For coughing up blood, that he be given the results of the chest Xray he was given in May, as well as a PPD (TB skin test), and (if chest Xray was unrevealing) a chest Cat scan. Additionally, if there is any concern about heart failure from the chest Xray, that he be given an ECHO.

For the lump on his abdomen, an abdominal ultrasound or Cat scan. For the ones on his chest wall, a Dermatology consult where they do a biopsy if it is appropriate next step or advise Seth as to what the lesions are.

We must be persistent, insistent and consistent in order for Seth to get his needed medical care, so please continue to call and fax:

On Monday 7/20, Tuesday 7/21 and Wednesday 7/22 please call:

Dr. Carl J. Koenigsmann, Chief Medical Officer, DOCCS Division of Health
Services at (518) 457-7073

Holly, Health Services Supervisor, at (518) 445-6176

On Thursday 7/23 and Friday 7/24, please fax (you can use a free online
fax service like faxzero.com if needed):

Dr. Carl J. Koenigsmann M.D. at Fax: (518) 445-7553

Holly at Fax: (518) 445-6157

To contribute to ongoing efforts supporting Robert Seth Hayes, please donate online at: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/810a58

Write to Seth and let him know he is in our hearts and on our minds.

Robert Seth Hayes #74A2280
Sullivan Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 116
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116