Wrexham, Wales: Reclaim the Fields – Towards a world without prisons

From Contra Info:

fire-to-the-prisons1

From the 28th August to the 2nd September 2015, the Reclaim the Fields International Action Camp drew over 130 people to Wrexham, North Wales, to resist the ‘North Wales Prison Project,’ the construction of Europe’s second largest prison. Held at Borras Community Protection Camp, a site camp established to oppose fracking in the area, the gathering sought to link land struggles with resistance to the prison industrial complex (1) and ongoing mechanisms of state violence and dispossession.

Connecting the dots

From Saturday to Monday, a comprehensive programme of workshops, discussions and practical activities took place. People connected the dots between struggles around the prison system, food sovereignty, borders, and other aspects of the world post-enclosures. Several workshops explored the brutality of the prison system, introducing the P.I.C., ongoing struggles around IPP prisoners, nonhuman prisons and how prisons relate to gender and queer struggles, and over the course of the weekend a permaculture design was developed for the camp and people began work on a herb garden, biochar system and solar panels for the site.

Never alone, Never forgotten

Throughout the camp several actions took place. In the evenings, folk took sound systems, megaphones, and other noise making instruments to local prisons determined to show prisoners they are not forgotten and not alone. HMP Stoke Heath, HMP Drake Hall and HMP Altcourse were all visited, with many prisoners shouting back and banging their doors. Chants like “If you hate the screws, clap your hands” rang out under a full moon.
As part of the International Week of Solidarity for Anarchist Prisoners, children at the camp made a banner for UK anarchist prisoner, Emma Sheppard. Letters were written and prisoner stories shared. Banners were also made for comrades on tag and repressive bail conditions who couldn’t make the physical gathering.

In the Streets

There were also highstreet actions, with folk leafleting Wrexham about the prison and how they can get involved in fighting it. On Monday a protest was staged at P&A Landscaping. They are the prison’s landscapers and have supplied several fences and materials to the jail. In response their public garden centre was visited and customers were informed about their role in prison expansion.

Day-long Blockade of the Prison

On Tuesday 1st September, around 20 people blockaded the three access gates to the Wrexham Mega-Prison’s construction site. This simple action was easy to co-ordinate, and with confused and unprepared police and site staff, had a big effect with very little effort. A queue of trucks were prevented from entering and exiting the site, including a huge cement delivery which had to be turned away before it spoiled. Simon Caron, Project Director for Lend Lease, begged protesters to let it in saying, “We’ve been reasonable letting you protest, please just allow this one to get through”. No one budged and vehicles delivering materials failed to enter. […]

Suppliers targeted regionally

As camp participants networked and bonded, regional groups formed to take actions against local targets in their own areas. One group visited the Gloucestershire offices of Precast Erections Ltd, the company supplying concrete blocks used to build the prison. More actions are planned. Contact your local group to find out how you can get involved in Community Action on Prison Expansion.

Solidarity Protest at the Court

On Wednesday 2nd, people from Reclaim the Fields supported a local woman, Vanda Gillett who had been charged with assault during the Barton Moss Community Blockade. Following a guilty verdict, anger erupted in her defence. The court was occupied and ‘scuffles’ with the police took place outside. Four people were arrested and people moved to demonstrate at the police stations where they were being held. […]

Due to the arrests and priority of station support, further actions in Manchester were postponed, however local people motivated by the anti-prison struggle are keen to continue to target local companies and delay the construction of this super prison.

Reclaiming the Fields, Reclaiming our Lives

Reclaim the Fields is a constellation of people and collective projects willing to go back to the land and reassume the control over food production. We are determined to create alternatives to capitalism through cooperative, collective, autonomous, real needs oriented small scale production and initiatives, putting theory into practice and linking local practical action with global political struggles.

This camp is one part of our story (read the UK history here). We are not a ‘campaign’ or ‘coalition’ or a ‘mass movement’. We are diverse people, projects and struggles converging and diverging all over Europe. The manifold of ways in which capitalist economics comes to dominate the land (whether that be through the construction of prisons, drilling for gas or the exploitation of industrial agriculture) implicates and connects us all. While gatherings and action camps can be politically limited, they are not the be-all or end-all of our work. They are points of encounter, a chance for comrades to meet and critically reflect on how these struggles shape our lives. […]

The gathering came alive through the work of an incredible group of people working collectively and horizontally. Numerous ex-prisoners and people who have supported loved ones through jail were present and moved by the experience. The passion and the hate for the prison system was very present and very visible. As was the desire for something more, for growing food, reclaiming land and living differently.

We will continue our work to reclaim our lives from the state, from our capitalist economic system and oppressive prison society. Until All Are Free!

Reclaim the Fields, September 2015

(1)  Defined here as the overlapping interests of government and industry that use surveillance, policing and imprisonment as solutions to economic, social and political problems.

love-em-hate-prisons

México: ATM Sabotage in Torreón

Posted on IT’S GOING DOWN:

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From Contra-Info

(rough English translation by It’s Going Down, see full Spanish version below). 

On August 30th, we sabotaged with paint an ATM bank, “Bancomer,” in response to the “International Week in solidarity with anarchist prisoners,” and also to commemorate the black memory of our comrade Sebastian. This act was performed also to the surprised looks of passers-by; before the futility of “the bodies of order.” This street is the most guarded by dogs of the state, not only by the steady pace of patrols from both police and military, but also from the presence of security guards from ITESM.

Ever so rabidly do we act; an act that demonstrates our hatred for their money, their economy, their social order … to their civilization. This act was not to protest any “improvement” for the “people.” This action was carried out by anarchic individuals in anti-social solidarity and complicity with our comrades in affinity who are kidnapped by the state; to bring the anarchic idea to it’s ultimate conclusion. Forward comrades, destroy all prisons! We will burn your civilization!

A strong embrace of solidarity to the companion Tamara Farias, vengeance arrived!

Comrade Sebastian Oversluij presente …!

Freedom for all anarchist prisoners

The ongoing war …

For anarchy!

Incinderary Cell for Earth Liberation-FAI / FRI

 

***

El día 30 de agosto, saboteamos con pintura un cajero automático del banco “Bancomer” en respuesta a la “Semana internacional en solidaridad con lxs presxs anarquistas”, además conmemoramos la memoria negra de nuestro compañero Sebastián Oversluij (Pelao angry). Este acto lo realizamos ante la mirada sorprendida de transeúntes que pasaban por ese lugar, ante la inutilidad de “Los cuerpos del orden” ya que esa calle es de las más vigiladas por los perros del estado. No solamente por el constante paso de patrullas tanto de policías y militares, sino la presencia de guardias de seguridad del Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Aun así nosotrxs realizamos rabiosamente nuestro acto, un acto que demuestra nuestro odio hacia su dinero, su economía, a su orden social… hacia su civilización. Este acto no fue para protestar por alguna “mejora” para  el “pueblo”. Para nosotrxs el “pueblo” nos importa nada, esta acción fue realizada por individualidades anti sociales anárquicas en solidaridad y complicidad con nuestros compañeros en afinidad que se encuentran secuestrados  por el estado, por llevar la idea anárquica hasta las últimas consecuencias. ¡Fuerza compañeros destruiremos todas las prisiones! ¡Quemaremos su civilización!

Un fuerte abrazo solidario a la compañera Tamara Farías , la venganza llegara, fuerza compañera.

Compañero Sebastian Oversluij presente…!

Libertad a lxs presxs anarquistas

La guerra continua…

¡Por la anarquía!

Célula incendiaria por la liberación de la Tierra-FAI/FRI

Chile: Words from anarchist prisoner Sergio Álvarez in memory of Sebastián ‘Angry’ Oversluij

From Insurrection News:

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Insurrection News received and translated:

Greetings comrades, I write these words and give them all my love in response to the call for a week of action in memory of our fallen brother in combat Sebastián Oversluij that was carried out this week.

In my current position as a prisoner it has been hard to find out many details about this but in the context of the individual and collective actions undertaken by comrades outside there arises in me the need to contribute, although it is a minimum gesture of solidarity, it is important to use whatever weapons are available to continue in a combative manner to remember a comrade who gave his life and his death in the struggle against Power, Authority and all of it’s Domination.

This is why on Thursday along with comrade Ignacio Muñoz who is imprisoned in module 34, we fasted in solidarity, understanding that our bodies can and should be positioned as one more front from where we can attack. And although fasting or hunger strikes did not correlate with the character of this particular call for action which was  more focused on street graffiti, banners, posters, leaflets etc; I believe that each individual with every one of their circumstances, possibilities and contexts should contribute instances that arise from their memories and seek to generate a projectuality of the conflict.

This is how I have understood this gesture for Angry, as an exercise of combative memory, for although we have only known each other in a tangential manner, we were able to connect via the tensions that mobilize our bodies, via the principles that guide us, each on their own path towards total liberation.

I value these instances but I feel that to be limited to only one type of action, as in this case the visual propaganda, is to mute the potentiality of actions that can be born of impulses and feelings of complicity with Angry that range from how to breathe this dirty air up to the exercise of the nihilistic / anti-authoritarian / anarchic minority violence.

I believe that it is necessary to multiply each of the methods that we have to confront Power, therefore it must be remembered in a practical way how the comrade died – expropriating a bank in rejection of wage-earning work, and how he aspired to live life free and autonomously in direct combat with the values and conventions imposed by the society of domination. That’s why I believe that these moments are opportunities for meeting accomplices and creating informal affinity networks to enrich and nourish us. Well, this is all that I have to say for the time being. A huge hug to those who continue to fight both in the prisons and on the street.

Sebastián Oversluij “Angry” present!

NOTHING HAS ENDED, EVERYTHING CONTINUES
Long Live Anarchy

Missing and waiting for a new meeting with you my brothers and sisters.

Sergio H. Álvarez
Anarchist Anti-Authoritarian & Nihilistic Prisoner
Module 33, Santiago Prison Number 1

******
(Original Spanish version of this text can be read HERE)

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

From Bristol ABC:

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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