New updated “Current Political Prisoners of Black Liberation Movements zine” is now up. This edition is dedicated to the memory of former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army veteran Russell “Maroon” Shoatz (1943-2021). Rest in Power. Free Them All!
NYC ABC, along with several other individuals and prisoner support crews, now send hard copies to all political prisoners and prisoners of war we support.
If you consistently mail the latest updates to a specific prisoner, please let us know so we can insure there’s no overlap. The goal is to have copies sent to all of the prisoners we list.
We’ve also been told that some prisoners are not receiving the copies sent in, yet we aren’t getting rejection notices. If you are in steady contact with a prisoner, please ask them whether or not they are receiving the updates and let us know.
I’m writing today on Christmas because I was not able to call anyone. Here at FCI Memphis in each unit there are 4 phones for 100 people. In other prisons there were 6 to 8 phones for less people. In addition to this they have been practicing a policy in which they open all of the cells but refuse to let us leave the cells until the last cell is unlocked. They they say “GO!” and laugh while they watch everyone scramble for the phones and computers. It creates the circumstances for a fight to break out. They are intentionally pitting us against each other by providing limited resources, emotional tension and then creating a stampede. They do this to turn us against each other and to instigate violent incidents so they can justify locking us down. People who become cops are lazy bullies. They don’t want to do their fair share of labor for the community, they want to get paid to sit around, sleep through the night shift and get paid overtime to do nothing. They are parasites.
Today I sat in line for several hours for one phone call and then we were locked down right before I got to the phone. After lockdown I got back in line, and when I got to the phone it did not work. Several others around me were also unable to complete calls. The call went forward as usually but right when it was supposed to ring there was a sound like someone hung up the phone repeatedly. This institute does not have the resources to provide everyone they are keeping here with the required constitutional rights and conditions. They are understaffed and undertrained. They have become complacent due to long covid lockdowns and they want to return to the indefinite lockdown. In order to do less work and get paid even more to do less they are allowing people to get hurt by holding us hostage and extorting us for phone calls. Every day we have to remind each other that this is a conscious, malicious strategy forced on us by the enemy of the common people, the police class. We are organizing ourselves to avoid conflicts, to avoid playing into their lazy, sadistic hands.
On a less bitter note I watched “It’s A Wonderful Life’ today on TV and was reminded of all the amazing solidarity I have received for the last year, and the solidarity I have experienced in Tallahassee and worldwide since I hit the road to become a full time activist in 2012. I was once again moved by the scene of this movie where the main character confronts the richest man in town for treating the working people like cattle. He asks the decadent banker if he even knows how long it takes a worker to save up $5000, and reminds him that these people wouldn’t even be able to live in a home if his abusive business practices continued. He then goes to work to undermine this rich banker and he builds a strong community through mutual aid, infrastructure, building homes and putting others before his won personal interests. The paradox here is that through building community by helping others with daily direct actions we too are taken care of. Despite the blind patriotism and mythology indulged in by this classic film, I found my Grinch heart softening.
The final scene where the community comes together to raise funds for the main character’s freedom moved me deeply. It glosses over the fact that he was about to go to jail at the hands of corrupt police, politicians and bankers. It reminds me of how my international community has come together for me, sending books, assigning me ACLU lawyers, putting money on my account and writing heartfelt letters to me and those involved in my case. It is through seemingly mundane work, often boring and time consuming labor, paperwork, farming, construction, companionship, maintenance, healthcare and education that we build strong communities. Capitalist society wants us to romanticize and glamorize violence, authority, hierarchy and selfish ambition. But these kinds of activities do not build a healthy home, much less a community. They divide us and create the illusion of independent patriots fulfiling some mythological manifest destiny of colonization. In reality we are all INTERDEPENDENT. We rely on farmers, plumbers, construction workers, healthcare workers, educators, electricians and all the other ordinary people who are our neighbors. We rely on so called foreigners, friends and family. The health of so called strangers directly effect our health.
So please continue to take good care of yourselves and each other. I send you all my heartfelt love, gratitude, strength, courage, rage and motivation! Please help your homeless neighbors and think of me while you do this. Please make daily direct actions of solidarity and courage. Stop when you see police have pulled over or arrested minorities and other neighbors. Hold them accountable and you will see your neighbors released – who otherwise would have been jailed for no reason other than there were no witnesses. Live stream these interactions from your phone and declare your presence to these cops betraying the working class. I have done this. I would not ask you to do anything unless I had already done it. Anything I can do, you can do better – you can do anything better than me! I only wish I had done more community building before I went to prison. I pledge to spend the rest of my life making up for this lost time by supporting other prisoners and reaching out to neighbors, both the housed and the unhoused. Together we will make a better world, because we have to in order to survive. We are responsible for every person who dies in prison and on the streets from exposure and preventable violence and diseases. Murray Bookchin says we must be practical by doing the impossible. We will create a world where everyone has food, shelter, healthcare and community. One day we will look back on this era as the age of corrupt police, illegal imprisonment, neo-slavery, wage slavery and we will shame the oppressors. Help me by taking responsibility for each other and the social problems you see in your daily life. Thank you for being there for me.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Don’t let the bastards grind you down! Dan aka Alishare
Daniel Baker 25765-509 FCI Memphis PO Box 34550 Memphis, TN 38184
NYC Anarchist Black Cross mourns the loss of Russell “Maroon” Shoatz. Russell was a founding member of the Black Unity Council, as well as a veteran of both the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army. Captured in 1972, he attempted escape twice, but was ultimately kept locked inside for almost 50 years, only being let out in the last weeks of his life as he was already dying of cancer. While inside, he remained committed to the struggle, and was a dynamic thinker and prolific writer, authoring the collection Maroon the Implacable and several other insightful interviews and articles as well.
As a collective, Maroon guided NYC ABC’s work and shaped the direction of the now-gone 1-2-3 Community Space, of which NYC ABC was a co-founder.
NYC ABC had back-and-forths with Russell prior to opening the space asking for his insight and ideas about opening an explicitly anarchist space and he was brilliant, engaging, and very helpful. His suggestions resulted in a lot of on the street engagement, talking with many folks and handing out a LOT of surveys to see what would be useful/helpful in the neighborhood. It is the response to the surveys that are the reason the space had such a focus on outreach to youth (the bike workshop, after school program, silk-screening program, and the NYC ABC co-organized “Rites of Passage” series) were among the things that were either youth-centric or had special sessions especially for younger folks.
We are comforted that he transitioned while on this side of the razor wire, but outraged that he was held captive for so long. Let’s keep his memory alive.
Get the 2022 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar in time for the holidays and the New Year! Our calendar is not only a beautiful calendar with 12 original pieces of radical art and articles but it’s also chock-full of educational resources about prisons and political prisoners. The calendar is a labor of love and despite being in two different countries and 4 cities, we released our 21th this year.
If you want to buy 10 or more, the price is only $10. Use the discount code BULK when you check out from Burning Books (only).
This year’s theme is “Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old” and features art and writings by Alanna Kibbe, Comrade Z, David Gilbert, Daniel McGowan, Eric King, Hanif Bey, Jesus Barraza, Leila Abdelrazaq, Martha Hennessy, Montclair Mutual Aid, Oso Blanco, Peter Railand, Roger Peet, Shukri Abu-Baker, Tauno Biltsted, Wendy Elisheva Somerson, Windigo Army, Virginia Lee, Xinachtli and Yumigou.
WHAT: Noise Demo WHEN: 9:00pm, Friday, December 31st WHERE: Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC, the federal prison in Brooklyn); meeting at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 30th Street, Brooklyn, New York 11232 (D/N/R to 36th Street or R to 25th Street). NOTE: we are not encouraging folks to take public transit or other risks. Please recognize your comfort level with attending this event) BRING: Noisemakers, air horns, drums, anything that is loud!
On the noisiest night of the year in New York City, come help us remind folks locked up that they are not alone. NYC Anarchist Black Cross, in response to an international call for noise demonstrations outside of prisons, is asking folks to join us outside of the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Come, not to appeal to authority, speak truth to power, or any other contrivance, but rather to stand with comrades, at a safe distance, and show direct solidarity to those on the other side of the wall.
Resistance in Brooklyn (RnB) andNYC Anarchist Black Cross are excited to welcome you to our 2021 Annual Send Love Through the Walls Holiday Card-Writing Party to Political Prisoners and Prisoners ofConscience.
Jihad Abdulmumit – National Jericho Movement Chair; Spirit of Mandela (Tribunal) Coalition coordinating committee; Black Panther political prisoner for 23 years
We’ll have information on card-writing, updates on our still-imprisoned comrades, addresses for the mailings, and time to chat and catch up virtually. Please plan to Bring Your Own Beverage, as we sit together and send love to those whose freedom we continue to fight for. Register for our time together here.
Join NYC Anarchist Black Cross and Page One Collective for a holiday card signing party for U.S. held political prisoners! The holiday season can be tough and isolating, and we want to send our political prisoners some brightness and warmth.
Given the ever increasing restrictions on prison mail, we will have pre-made cards for folks to sign. Due to COVID there is limited space capacity, so please email us to reserve your spot! A first name will suffice so we can check you in at the door. RSVP: [email protected]