Posts tagged ‘anarchy’

Writing to Political Prisoners

This is a revamp of a guide I put together years ago. If anyone has any updates or changes please email me! 

Writing political prisoners is an important way of lending support to folks incarcerated due to their beliefs. There are many types of political prisoners on the left – animal liberation, earth liberation/environmental, black Panthers/liberation, indigenous movements, anarchists, marxists, etc. Incarceration is isolating and difficult. Letters are something that can help bolster spirits of those inside. 

Here are some tips:
A Few Do’s and Don’ts in Correspondence 

A few dos and don’ts on writing prisoners whose backgrounds/politics you may not know. 

Dos 

Do use common sense. Use a “neutral” address for yourself, such as a Post Office Box, for correspondence. 

Do not divulge sensitive personal information (i.e. your home address, phone number, credit card and bank details, people’s full names, etc. ) to a prisoner, particularly one you have never dealt with before. This is for your security and that of the prisoner. Be aware that authorities often read these letters and sensitive information can get into the wrong hands. Occasionally, prisoners have misused this information as well.
Do not send money or honor immediate requests for money.
Do think ahead. Research local prison regulations. Learn about the prisoner before writing. Make sure to put a return address on your envelope. When first writing to an incarcerated person make sure you ask them specifically what the rules are for writing letters, and make a careful note of them. No one under eighteen years of age should be writing a prisoner — again, this is for the prisoner’s security as well as the writer’s. 

Do be forward and clear in your letter as well as your intentions. Say who you are, and if it’s relevant that you’re with an organization. Be upfront about your politics and say where you heard about the prisoners and her/his case. If you are interested in starting a pen-pal relationship and that is all, say so. Ask if they would like to correspond and if they’d like to discuss any topics, as well as what topics they don’t wish to discuss. Keep your first letter reasonably short and to the point.
Do be patient. Prisoners may not write back or may take awhile. They may occasionally sound cynical, angry or disinterested in their words — keep in mind many “supporters” or people who’ve written before may have stopped writing them, made promises/lied to them, or they just had a rough day and they’re venting that on paper. Responding to an angry letter with more anger is not helpful.
Do deal with the right channels. If a prisoner wants you to send a book, ask what channels their institution requires for that, or refer them to a Book-to-Prisoners project near their unit. If a prisoner is getting out in the next few weeks, do not offer your place to stay (no matter how desperate they sound) unless you have corresponded for a significant amount of time and are in contact with both a parole officer and a prison intermediary (e.g. prison chaplain). Even in cases like this, it is far more helpful to a prisoner to help them secure employment and develop a support base (whether that is through her/his church/mosque, family, friends, etc. ) than to Chances are, there’s a legal process to be dealt with in cases like this and they need to be followed by both you and the prisoner. However, use your head and don’t land in a bad situation or one that will land the prisoner back in jail.
Don’ts
Do not make promises. Many well-meaning people write letters offering support to a prisoner, or make offers for help out of good will. Unfortunately, most never follow through and build false hope in a prisoner. This is not fair to them. If you’re writing, don’t make promises. Don’t offer to do a support campaign if you can’t make that time.
Don’t offer to send items when you can’t afford it. Be honest. It’s best to start writing and keep it that way, at least until a relationship is established. 

Do not romanticize prisons or prisoners. Many activists have ideas about who prisoners are, why they’re locked up, the system, etc. While it’s correct to have political clarity about incarceration and the nature of the criminal justice system, it is not correct to romanticize a prisoner, anything they might be locked up for (especially a “social crime”) and their lives. They’re people just like you, and have strengths and weaknesses. It is dangerous to assume that anyone (free or jailed) is able to overcome all their personal weaknesses, or be completely truthful, or are not dealing with the stressful situation they’re in in negative ways. Some are estranged from their families as a direct result of their own actions. Some may have learned manipulative behaviors over the years. Prisoners are people like you.
Do not discuss potentially illegal political action with a prisoner. Again, this is for your security and theirs. Prisoners have and can be implicated for outside action that violates the law and you should be mindful that, if authorities even find such information in the hands of prisoners, prisoners can face added time and harsh treatment.
Do not attempt to place political judgments on prisoners’ experiences. Some prisoners, out of desperation, write publications to get pen pals and may not agree completely with the views of the paper, but read it for information. Some prisoners have been converted to Christianity or are Muslims. Some have views that may be somewhat backward. Rather than attack a prisoner, it’s best to be polite, but firm, if there’s something you’d rather not discuss or find objectionable.
Do not attack or insult a prisoner because of their religions, preferences or experiences. If the prisoner declares her/himself a white supremacist, you are well within your rights to explain your disagreements, encourage them to reconsider their views and discontinue the relationship; please be aware that several white supremacist gangs have ties to the outside from prison and it is smart not to get into insults or threats against such prisoners.

 Don’t send literature unless requested and be aware you don’t have to go with every request. 

Good luck!

Here is a great resource from February of 2017 from the New York City Anarchist Black Cross that gives you background on various political prisoners and how to write them: https://animalliberationpressoffice.org/NAALPO/2017/03/13/u-s-political-prisoner-and-prisoner-of-war-listing/

Anarchist Housekeeping: Collective Living Under Capitalism Accepting Submissions

​Please repost/share this for us, we’d really like to get a diverse and well rounded amount of submissions! 

“But who will do the dishes after the revolution?” This tired question has been asked to countless anarchists, communists, and others pursuing systemic change. But, we don’t have to wait for the rev to give an answer. Anarchist Housekeeping: Collective Living Under Capitalism is an attempt to cobble together the stories of anarchist collective living within the United States. The goal of this anthology is to share what it takes to build a successful collective, what works and what doesn’t, what you wish you knew, why you think collectives matter, and what we can take away from collective projects.
Submission Deadline- November 1, 2017

Send to mokarnage@gmail.com

7/15/17

Air conditioners

Are antihuman machines

Deadaptation
It’s hot and humid

But if you drink water and 

Work it will be fine
Reenactors all

Wearing wool pants in this heat

Sweaty balls I guess
Chaffing thighs, chub rub

Surely not part of design

Blame factory foods

Anarchist Housekeeping: Collective Living Under Capitalism Anthology Submissions Now Being Accepted!

4 years ago I had an idea for an anthology I wanted to put together. I wanted to create a work that would serve as a how to, or how to not, for people intersted in creating or moving into an anarchist collective house or community. I was discouraged from the project by criticism regarding my own mistakes when it came to collective living. 4 years later and I am not living in a collective, but the project still interests me, and still seems to be something that could give voice to many people as well as help people avoid making mistakes like mine or other people’s. My own failures and mistakes in collective living are just part of why I think this project is important, and I do not think will hinder my ability as an editor. I have a strong background in writing and editing. I have one self published book, and have published probably a dozen zines over the years.

Over the years I have participated in many discussions with people who have lived in anarchist collectives and folks interested in the idea. It seems high time to put advice, history, and stories from a diverse group of people together. When I say diverse I am including race, class, gender, sexuality, age, geographic location, ability, etc. All of these types of issues can affect how well anarchist collective living works, or doesn’t.

 I want to put together an anthology of essays on collective living in anarchist spaces. I haven’t seen one that was a helpful/informative guide or something with advice, shared lessons learned, examples of how different spaces pull it off. I’ll edit and try to have published via PM Press or AK Press or some other radical/anarchist publisher.

In terms of submissions, a wide variety of forms will be considered. Lists, poems, essays, historical nonfiction, and photographs are the forms I can think of but others may have more. If you have or are currently living in an anarchist collective housing situation, please consider sharing your experience, ideas, lessons, history, etc.

Anyone who wants to submit a proposal should email me at mokarnage@gmail.com Deadline for submissions is Nov 1, 2017

please share this with folks you know who live in or have lived in anarchist collectives. I will be emailing all the anarchist collectives I can get info on, but I know that won’t reach everyone who might be interested in this project!

2017 Gaia Women’s Gathering Herbal Conference

This herbal conference is coming up very soon. May 5-7 please register asap to get a spot.click here for the registration and website: Gaia Gathering

I will be teaching two courses which I am very excited about. My bio and the course descriptions are below:

Mo Karnage is a new mom living on a farm, the Heathen Homestead, in Beaverdam, VA. Mo is a sober, vegan, queer, genderqueer, witchy zine loving anarchist. Mo is working on balancing construction, activism, writing and herbalism in their life.”

“Know Your Rights Workshop

MO KARNAGE

This workshop will teach attendees, through a series of interactive skits, what their rights are when dealing with the police, and how to best assert their rights to protect themselves. This workshop comes from the non hierarchical organization of Copwatch, and is a great starting point for anyone learning to drive or becoming politically active.”

“Prisons, PTSD/PICS, and Herbs: A Growing Need

MO KARNAGE

This workshop will address the situation within the U.S. Prison Industrial Complex, explore how and how much this results in instances of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Post Incarceration Syndrome, and where herbalism can fit in as a potential method to reduce rates of recidivism. Herbal medicine has a strong potential to intervene in the viscious cycles of trauma and incarceration, and help make the world a better place for everyone. Some of the descriptions in this workshop may be upsetting or triggering to folks, so please feel free to leave the room as needed, and to ask for support.”

 

Valentine’s Day

​Listening to NPR makes my hyper aware that all over the world people are being tortured/killed/raped/massacred/imprisoned/enslaved/robbed/etc. Pretty much all over the place all of the time. The fact that we are not currently dealing with that in a civil war/evil dictator type way right now is a goddamned miracle. But we can and should look around us and take lessons and get prepared. Regimes and warring groups all over invade areas, murder/rape/capture etc. There are rampant food shortages, droughts, etc. That is always possible here. Are you preparing your community and family to be more inter- and self sufficient? What are you going to do to protect your loved ones when that day comes? Happy Valentine’s Day yall!

Image

I made an art

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