Posts tagged ‘Politics’

On change

Any movement both

Politics and religion

Is based on changing
Why so often then

Do we refuse to believe

That people can change?
We tether people

To their past, good or bad, and

Fail to see present
Perhaps some do not

Change because they cant see that

narrative exists
If we hope for a

Better world, we hope for change

In the world’s people

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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/

Setting Sights Histories and Reflections on Community Armed Self Defense – Coming 3/18

Excited an essay I wrote will be published in this upcoming anthology! Stay tuned for its publishing and tour! Follow and like on Facebook – Setting Sights Book

From the PM Press website: Setting Sights Book PM Press

Decades ago, Malcolm X eloquently stated that communities have the legitimate right to defend themselves “by any means necessary” with any tool or tactic, including guns. This wide-ranging anthology uncovers the hidden histories and ideas of community armed self-defense, exploring how it has been used by marginalized and oppressed communities as well as anarchists and radicals within significant social movements of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Far from a call to arms, or a “how-to” manual for warfare, this volume offers histories, reflections, and questions about the role of firearms in small collective defense efforts and its place in larger efforts toward the creation of autonomy and liberation.

Featuring diverse perspectives from movements across the globe, Setting Sights includes vivid histories and personal reflections from both researchers and those who participated in community armed self-defense. Contributors include Dennis Banks, Kathleen Cleaver, Mable Williams, Subcomandante Marcos, Kristian Williams, George Ciccariello-Maher, Ashanti Alston, and many more.

Praise:

“This book is a must read. It looks like self-defense and resistance today, but it is more. It is about courage, lucidity, and tools to create new worlds under the storm, in the midst of disaster.”

—Gustavo Esteva, founder of the Universidad de la Tierra and author of The Future of Development: A Radical Manifesto

“In Setting Sights, scott crow pulls together an important collection of historic and contemporary essays and interviews on politically informed armed self-defense. Thoughtful, considered, compelling, and even provocative, this edited collection brings together many perspectives, raises important questions, and gives considerable attention to the ways race and gender inform these crucial issues.”

—Emilye Crosby, author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi

“This provocative book, well worth reading, confirms that there is intellectual heft in revolutionary ideas. A valuable contribution to the history of community self-defense.”

—Charlie E. Cobb Jr., author of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible

“An extensive volume that vividly illustrates the foundations and necessity of community armed defense in struggles for freedom against injustice and racism.”

—Robert Hillary King, author of From the Bottom of the Heap

“. . . crow is considered armed and dangerous. He is proactive in civil disobedience skills and goes to events to instigate trouble.”

—FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force

About the Contributors:

scott crow is an international speaker and author. His first book, Black Flags and Windmills: Hope, Anarchy, and the Common Ground Collective, was included on NPR’s Top Summer Reads of 2015. Black Flags and Windmills has been translated into Spanish, Russian, and Chinese. He is a contributor to the books Grabbing Back: Essays Against the Global Land Grab, Witness to Betrayal, The Black Bloc Papers, and What Lies Beneath: Katrina, Race, and the State of the Nation.

Ward Churchill was, until moving to Atlanta in 2012, a member of the leadership council of Colorado AIM. He is a life member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War and currently a member of the elders council of the original Rainbow Coalition, founded by Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in 1969. Now retired, Churchill was professor of American Indian Studies and chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies until 2005, when he became the focus of a major academic freedom case. Among his two dozen books are Wielding Words Like Weapons and Pacifism as Pathology.

Product Details:

Editor: scott crow • Foreword by Ward Churchill

Publisher: PM Press

ISBN: 978-1-62963-444-9

Published: 03/2018

Format: Paperback

Size: 9×6

Page count: 416

Subjects: Politics / Civil Rights

See and hear author interviews, book reviews, and other news on page HERE

Click here for one-page information sheet on this product

2 New Zines

I’ve got a new personal zine out as well as a new collaboration!! Check them out at the links on archive.org  below!Both zines debuted at the 8th annual Richmond Zine Fest!

Fragments of Karnage #365 – featuring poems, essays and articles, and more!

And Issue 1 of Calm Down, a call out for more effective tactics in radical/social justice/ anarchist movements.
Calm Down

Wingnut Kid Kits – cause saying all ages isn’t enough

Its always been important to me for radical and anarchist events to be all ages. I think multi-generational is key, and kids need to get to be included, and also their caretakers need to be available too!

Kids and their caretakers have a lot to contribute. But everyone else needs to do b our best to be welcoming.

Far too often radical and anarchist events are inaccessible in a multitude of ways. Often this includes being anti-kid. This will be deliberate sometimes, through rude comments, etc.

Other times the anti-kid attitude is subconscious or just from ignorance- meetings late, nothing for kids to do, etc.

Tied up in the anti-kid stuff is a multitude of oppressive intersectional stuff too.

Anyways, in an effort to up my contribution to kid friendly radical spaces, I want to put togethet Wingnut Kid Kits to distribute to all kinds of groups so they can give them out to kids when they show up to events.

If anyone has ideas for more stuff to be included please let me know. I’d also be interested in any donations of materials for the kits.

Stuff I need so far:

Manila envelopes that will fit 8.5 by 11 paper

Stickers

Crayons

Coloring book pages or activity pages

Generally speaking I would prefer content of semi-radical character, or at least that doesn’t perpetuate colonialist, gender binary, racist, sexist, heterosexist bullhockey. Would prefer content featuring a variety of types of people and radical themes.

If you have zines or drawings I could include please be in touch!

Mokarnage (@) gmail.com

Or

Mo Karnage

2005 Barton Ave

Richmond, va 23222

Ideas for more potential content appreciated. I’m thinking just stuff that isn’t too messy or bulky.

I also will include a letter to the caretaker. So if you have a zine or essay that might be something interesting or useful for caretakers who bring kids to radical events please let me know!

Anthology on Anarchist Collectives- now accepting submissions!

So I want to put together an anthology of essays on collective living in anarchist spaces. I haven’t seen one that was like a super 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.

Anyone who wants to submit a proposal should email me at mokarnage@gmail.com .

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

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