PRINCIPLED SUPPORT IS A TWO WAY STREET
This piece could not be finished (and maybe it isn’t anyway) without stressing the fact that any principled support relationship is a two way street. PP/POW’s deserve the support their activities on the street and continued political activism once behind bars has earned them. Supporters deserve the same type of support that any principled support work they do has earned them. PP/POW supporters should feel free to ask the prisoners they support to help them in projects or events they are organizing. Statements from PP/POW’s in support of the event, or project- requesting the prisoner solicit further support from any of their other supporters that you have no contact with etc. are things the prisoner can do to help you. Your support relationship may also develop into a friendship in which you will not only be able to discuss politics and learn politically from each other, but also provide each other with a degree of personal support.
Obviously there are many more things than are printed here that you can do to help the prisoner and the prisoner may be able to do to help you. As your relationship develops, the subjective conditions that exist between you will better be able to determine exactly what form the support will take. But be careful, we often hear that the only time “supporters” contact PP/POW’s is when they want some kind of statement from them. This type of “support” is not a two way street. By the same token, it has not been unheard of for PP/POW’s to “use” their supporters who too willingly offer “no-strings attached” support.
Support should not be unconditional, but the conditions that your support work proceeds under should be based on principles that usually transcend the various political ideologies that exist between the prisoners and their supporters. Should mutual respect, honesty and a solid straightforwardness be attained between you and the prisoner, you should find that a principled, two way support relationship will develop.
This is a simple guide to suggest practical and principled ways to support Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. The need for this work is great, and the importance of developing a new revolutionary strategy while tapping into the living history PP/POW’s represent can not be overlooked. Supporting PP/POW’s not only fulfills a sorely neglected responsibility of our movements, but if done in the principled manner most prisoners will rightfully insist upon, it also teaches us the reliability, discipline and accountability necessary in our own characters to build a new revolutionary movement. If you are an outside individual or group, and you feel like you agree and and can offer this type of support to PP/POW’s, we encourage you to contact us. If you would like to place a particular focus on supporting PP/POW’s and would like to begin supporting them, consider joining the ABCF. By doing so we will all benefit from the collective sharing of each others ideas and experiences, and the expression of those experiences in each of our local collectives work. This local work can then fit into the entire ABCF’s struggle to build a federation and new social movement to not only free PP/POW’s, but to effect the changes needed to create a new society. We hope you find this information useful, and please feel free to contact us with your comments or suggestions to improve it.