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]
In the past three plus years I’ve been in the SHU (segregated housing unit), I’ve been directly aware of nine hangings. That is, occurred either on my range, in my cell, or near enough that I could hear the body hit the ground. Some of these were “cries for help”, some were serious, all were scarring and devastating. Almost always BOP staff hides behind either indifference towards our lives, or bureaucratic policy to avoid actually helping… at USP Atlanta they rushed in and yanked the prisoner down (by the legs), slapping them, yelling to “be a man, not a bitch!” at other institutions they laugh, yelling to quit faking.
Two years ago here at Englewood Levi hung up, and it took minutes before his door was opened… The guards who cared (there were a few), hamstrung by the policies they were too worried to violate. While some officers were distraught, others laughed calling Levi a “Turkish piñata”… rage swelling in my chest seeing how a desperate death could be mocked and belittled… at that time in the SHU we were not allowed radios, newspapers, magazines or personal books. We were told to deal with it “don’t come to SHU if you can’t handle it”. Neverminded the fact that for some.. the SHU came to us, we could not avoid it, escape it, work our way out. You handle it or become a “piñata”.
A few nights ago, Englewood’s evening staff displayed its humanity and treated a human life like a human life. My next door neighbor hung from his sprinkler, his awoken cellt lifting up his legs to relieve the pressure, screaming for help… and it came…the C.O’s Rushing in to get him down, the Lieutenant wasting no time, there would be no Levi repeat. Bravo really.
Despite this redeeming display, there will be more acts of desperation because being in the SHU pretrial is an exhausting, deeply desperate situation. We are allowed radios (if you have $70 to spend), you can have reading material mailed in (if you have people to do it) but those things mean little in the late of the night, these tiny 6×8 noise boxes allow little comfort, yet plenty of despair. People who suffer withdrawal while the pharmacist refuses to institute the MAT program ). People suffer anxiety, anger, migraines after losing access to coffee cold turkey, we suffer the loss of loving contact, going months or years being denied physical contact with our families during the most stressful periods of our lives. We still only see one hour outside a day, pacing around in a degrading dog kennel, most still only get one 15 minute phone call a week. My visiting situation is better than most (after a year plus during the pandemic with no visits or calls I have For the last couple months been allowed 1 hour visit a week) while the phone situation is worse… but for me right now visits>calls.
The first time in my bid I can say that it isn’t even the staff that are the issue, back here right now we are being treated more decent, often guards will go out of their way to be respectful. The major issue is they are also constrained by policies. Personnel isn’t the problem, policy is the problem, the SHU is the problem. The bureau leadership and policies they author. The problems are limitless… the lack of information, the once a week chance to get any news only to be told “nothing”, the stress of trying to fight your case with drastically limited access to your legal team (and family and friends), the constant noise that refutes any hopes of thinking clearly for a minute, the being stuck and knowing all the kindness or good behavior in the world won’t open that door. That combination would break the strongest back and it often does.
This (FCI Englewood) is the “easiest” SHU possible, and people still hang here, because even the softest SHU is a soul crippling death trap… we still have to beg and plead for medical attention, we still sleep directly next to our toilets… we still can’t hug or kiss our families. We are stuck.. long-term segregation must be abolished, the people who are chosen to write policies should not exist unchecked and have limitless ways to torture at their disposal, non-contact visits must be reverted back to contact, basic comforts like real hygiene and coffee must be allowed for purchase, access to information and those who have it must be increased. We need out of these cages.
On January 15th, 2021, two men received a knock on the door of their Tallahassee apartment from someone claiming to be delivering a Postmate parcel. The two hadn’t ordered anything and raised suspicion that someone was trying to break in and rob their home so they said they didn’t order anything and refused to open the door. Moments later, their door crashed open and a percussive grenade ignited as FBI swarmed in with guns drawn, yelling.
Listen to the interview with two supporters of Daniel Baker at https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/2021/12/05/the-case-of-daniel-baker-online-speech-and-community-defense/
Write Dan Baker: Daniel Alan Baker #25765-509 FCI Memphis P.O, Box 34550 Memphis, TN 38184
Ruby Montoya is doing whatever she can to lighten her punishment after publicly admitting to a string of arson and sabotage attacks against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in 2017.
According to a recent article in The Economist, “Montoya agreed to cooperate with the FBI” in fall 2020. During such FBI debriefs, agents typically attempt to solicit information on other activists and pressure co-defendants to testify against each other. (The Economist declined to reveal its source for this information, and in an email to Unicorn Riot, Montoya denied cooperating with the FBI).
Since summer 2021, Montoya’s lawyer has repeatedly filed motions on her behalf asking the court to allow her to file documents under seal—a practice typically avoided by those facing political charges in an effort to be transparent about engagement with law enforcement and the courts. In a motion in federal court in August, Montoya claimed she was coerced into taking action by her co-defendant Jessica Reznicek, members of the Des Moines Catholic Worker Community and others, and that she felt forced into pleading guilty to the charges against her by her former attorney.
On June 30, Reznicek was sentenced to 8 years in prison after accepting a non-cooperating plea deal.