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

 

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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.

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

Chicago LGBTQ Inmates Speak Out Against Solitary Confinement, Homophobia

From Shadowproof:

Pride-Flag-torbakhopper-CC-ND-Flickr

LGBTQ prison abolition group Black & Pink began publishing letters from inmates in solitary confinement last month in an effort to shed light on the abuse and harassment they suffer.

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One prisoner recounts, “It’s very easy to be thrown in segregation merely for walking in a way an officer finds too sissylike.” (Blackandpink.org)

In a post introducing the series on their website, Black & Pink explained that last summer, their Chicago chapter contacted to over 100 inmates in isolation to ask for their experiences. They received nearly 40 responses, mostly from the Illinois Department of Correction and Marion federal prison.

The group writes:

We live in a time of growing knowledge of, and outrage about, solitary confinement. We hope this blog series expands our collective understanding about the horrors of solitary confinement and its particular impact on queer and trans people. More importantly, we hope it becomes another tool to help us end solitary confinement for all people, to move us away from a culture built on punishment and isolation and towards a culture based on restoration and community.

The true number of queer and trans inmates in solitary confinement is basically unknown. In addition to being subject to administrative segregation, punitive segregation and ‘therapeutic housing,’ many LGBTQ prisoners are placed in protective custody, in which they are moved to isolation to supposedly protect them from harm and harassment by other inmates. Protective custody figures are not included in tallies for solitary confinement.

The first installment of Black & Pink’s provides the public with a glimpse into the experiences of LGBTQ prisoners in isolation, including those not just targeted by other inmates but singled out by guards for the way they act or look as well. One inmate wrote:

It’s very easy to be thrown in segregation for merely walking in a way an officer finds too sissylike. I’ve been thrown in segregation because an officer felt my fingernails were too longs and girlie. My friend was thrown in segregation cause her eyes were lined.

Another told Black & Pink:

Often LGBTQ inmates are placed there simply because they are not wanted in the general populations. Some correctional officers use the opportunity to harass the LGBTQ inmates. We are literally in a cage and cannot just walk away! And most of the time we don’t deserve to be in solitary confinement

Sixteen percent of respondents to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey Report [PDF] said they had been incarcerated “for any reason,” compared to less than three percent of the general population who said they had been incarcerated “at some point in life.” Seven percent of respondents to the survey said they had been arrested and incarcerated by law enforcement solely on a basis of their identity and sexual orientation.

This discrimination is life threatening and takes many forms behind bars, going well beyond the use of solitary. Last year, for example, a class-action lawsuit brought by inmates alleged sheriff’s deputies in San Bernadino County, California, skipped legally-mandated safety checks for LGBTQ inmates “due to unwarranted dislike by SBCSD employees and an unwarranted fear of AIDS.”

The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that between 2011 and 2012, “inmates who reported their sexual orientation as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or other were among those with the highest rates of sexual victimization.” That study [PDF] found roughly 12 percent of LGBTQ prisoners and over 8 percent of jail inmates reported being “sexually victimized” by another inmate, with an additional 5.4 percent of prisoners and 4.3 percent of jail inmates victimized by staff.

The abuses faced by queer and trans prisoners — particularly those who are black or brown — deserve far greater attention.  I look forward to the rest of this series and reading the first hand experiences of trans and queer inmates in isolation.