Category Archives: Uncategorized

Solidarity With International Anarchist Political Prisoners

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing with NYC Anarchist Black Cross
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, August 24th, 2021
WHERE: Virtual (not in person)

The Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) originally began as a channel for mostly Jewish anarchist emigres from the Russian empire to support revolutionaries locked up for struggling against Tsarism in the early 20th century. Known at first as the Workers Red Cross, then the Anarchist Red Cross, and eventually as the Anarchist Black Cross, the early ABC would raise awareness and funds, keep up correspondences and send money and food packages to their imprisoned comrades. After the Bolsheviks seized power the work remained to support non-Communist Party approved revolutionaries, re-imprisoned by the new bosses for continuing the fight against the old ones, and Alexander Berkman continued the work from exile in Berlin.

As the decades passed the increasing urgency of countering fascism and the great depression shifted priorities, and the ABC fell away as  an organization (though many comrades continued the work of supporting political prisoners). It was revived by Albert Meltzer and Stuart Christie in the 1960’s, and while originally focusing on veterans of the ongoing struggle against Franco’s regime, it expanded rapidly to other include other struggles and international chapters. Former political prisoner Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin revived it in the belly of the ‘american’ beast, and today we see ABC chapters throughout the world.

Whatever the demands of time and place, the watchword of the ABC has always been solidarity. As Albert Meltzer said: “It is not intended to be a charity. It is to organize solidarity for victims of the class war.“ If by class war we mean the intersecting struggles against all forms of oppression—and we do—then we stand by Albert’s words. Regimes and pandemics come and go, but true solidarity is for ever.

As we have said before, it is matter of anarchist principle for us that we do not only support anarchist political prisoners, but all those engaged in struggles against oppression. But now, as has been the case for over a century, anarchist prisoners around the world are in need of solidarity.

So NYC ABC and Page One Collective answer the call for a Week of International Solidarity With Anarchist Political PrisonersLearn theirnames and stories, write them letters, spread the word. Until All Are Free! 

Please note, the list provided above includes Joshua Stafford aka Skelly, who has been released to halfway house.

Bundle of books available to purchase for incarcerated readers

NYC Books through Bars offers this wonderful program where you can buy a bundle of books and they get all the books at the end of the month. They then use these books to fulfill requests made by people in prison and jail. Check it out and order at http://www.freebirdbooks.com/shop.html

Following July’s drive featuring titles from AK Press–550 books collected!–we revisit our friends at Grove Press, who a year ago collaborated on what still stands as our most successful monthly campaign to date. Generating an astounding 1,600 books in just two weeks, it brought special attention to Albert Woodfox’s memoir of incarceration, Solitary, who we had the good fortune of interviewing about his experiences. This time we selected another three titles that also spotlight the diversity of Grove’s catalog, representative of a storied publisher long committed to fighting censorship and social injustice. Alif the Unseen is a debut work of fantasy that pulls upon Arabic folklore to spin a cyperpunk tale worthy of Neil Gaiman. Lakota Woman is a classic of indigenous literature, the story of Mary Brave Bird and her activism within the Native American movements of the 1970s and ’80s.  And Wilmington’s Lie is the recent Pulitzer Prize-winner that documents the long forgotten but brazen coup of white North Carolinians against an integrated city in the late 19th century.

Order the bundle for just $30 for the next week at freebirdbooks.com/shop.html

Phone zap for Eric King- Thursday/Friday 8.19- 8.20!

Let’s End Eric’s Mail Ban!

Eric King is a 35-year-old political prisoner who is being severely singled out by the federal Bureau of Prisons for abusive and illegal treatment. He has been in solitary confinement for 1,000 days+ and all contact with the outside has been cut off or severely restricted. He cannot receive/send mail, make phone calls, or get visits except for very limited contact with his attorney, mother, and wife. Eric NEEDS our help now.

On August 19 & 20th from 9am-5pm Mountain Time, call & email to demand that Eric King (#27090-045) be allowed phone, mail, and visit contact with the outside world, just like all other federal prisoners:

Barb von Blanckensee, Director
North Central Region,
Bureau of Prisons (BOP):
(913) 621-3939
[email protected]

Bullet points when calling/emailing:

  • It is known that Eric has been consistently targeted with physical and emotional torture because of his political views.
  • It is absolutely wrong that he cannot receive/send mail, make phone calls, or get visits except for very limited contact with his attorney, mother, and wife. These are basic rights–even in federal prison.
  • This retaliation against Eric must stop!!!

New Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners released

NYC Anarchist Black Cross has released their new Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (Version 14.6). Download it here.

“We’ve finished the latest version of the NYC ABC “Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War” and it’s available for viewing (and download). This update includes updated mini-bios, photos, and address changes for several prisoners. Unfortunately, we are adding a prisoner to the guide this month–Water Protector Jessica Reznicek. We are thankful to remove Kings Bay Plowshares 7 prisoner Clare Grady (halfway house)!”

Urge outgoing Governor Cuomo to commute David Gilbert’s prison sentence

Urge outgoing Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo and urge him to grant clemency to David Gilbert!

Call Albany Executive Chamber: 1 518-474-8390 x 3, then x 1 to leave a message

Call NYC Executive Chamber: 1 212-681-4580, leave a message

Go to governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form to email Governor
(Choose the category ‘Criminal Justice’)

Save the Date: September 18th Political Prisoner letter writing event (NYC)

Political Prisoner Letter Writing Event 

Sponsored by NYC Jericho Certain Days
Saturday September 18th2-4pm
The People’s Forum, 320 West 37th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues)
New York, NY. (Any train to Penn Station)
Free

Join NYC Jericho and the Certain Days collective in writing political prisoners at this free event. We will be giving short presentations and writing political prisoners: Leonard PeltierSundiata Acoli,Jessica Reznicek and Xinachtli. Materials will be provided.

Facebook event

Contact:
[email protected]
[email protected]

Emergency Rally for Russell Maroon Shoatz

LAST THURSDAY AUGUST 12, RUSSELL MAROON SHOATZ’S PETITION TO QUIETLY LIVE OUT HIS DAYS IN HOSPICE CARE WAS DENIED.

Judge Kai Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas denied Russell Maroon Shoatz’s petition for a medical transfer, despite his immobility and terminal cancer diagnosis, because she believes he is a danger to the community and a risk of escape.

Statement from the ‘Free Maroon Now!’ Coalition
 We are in total disagreement with the obviously politically influenced decision by Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to currently deny our Elder’s petition for transfer to hospice care, due to an unfounded believe that Maroon is still a “threat to escape & a threat to society.”

Too, we are vehemently opposed to the needless days of waiting that the family was forced to endure between the two court hearings and to then have to come to grips with this falsely hopeful “selling of a dream” decision that was both totally unreasonable and emotionally cruel. 

The armed domestic war during the late 60s, 70s and early 80s in the United States between the Police & Black Radicals has long since passed with extreme casualties on both sides and the call for peace & reconciliation is the only way for society to justly move forward from those turbulent years of struggle in America. 

Russell Maroon Shoatz can no more be considered “a threat to escape & a threat to society” than the elderly bedridden ICU patients on ventilators from COVID that he too, by the grace of God & community support, somehow survived from the medical neglect that so many other prisoners have died from. 

We call upon all clergy, community activists, educators, elected officials, and freedom loving people to join in our struggle to support and call on Judge Scott have the courage to reverse her decision at the next appeals hearing and grant Maroon’s petition to hospice care.    
linktr.ee/FreeMaroonNow

Facebook event

Statement from the Shoatz Family
 On behalf of the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles and the ancestors of Russell “Harun-Maroon” Shoatz, we would like to first thank all of those who have stood with us over the years in action & prayer to help bring our beloved Elder Patriarchal Father back home to us. 

That said, we are saddened but not disheartened about the recent decision by Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to deny our Elder’s petition for transfer to hospice care and pledge to continue our struggle to have Russell Harun-Maroon Shoatz peacefully spend his last days amongst both his loving family and the duly respected members of our community.

We unequivocally disagree with Judge Scott’s opinion that a 78-year-old deeply religious, COVID-surviving, partially blind, wheelchair bound, urinary catheter bag dependent, and waiting to die from stage 4 pancreatic cancer person could in any way possibly “still present a risk of escape and threat to public safety”.

We therefore would respectfully appeal to her stated belief in mercy to ultimately reverse her decision to grant the hospice care petition and insure that Russell Harun-Maroon Shoatz not die in prison. 

Statement from Russell Maroon Shoatz’s Legal Team
 Maroon’s petition for transfer to hospice care was denied by Judge Scott of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas after two hearings. That law that allows people in Maroon’s position to request transfer to hospice care is very limited, and requires people to meet a strict set of criteria to be eligible for transfer to hospice care. Even then, judges have the discretion to deny these petitions if they choose.

In Maroon’s case, Judge Scott acknowledged that he met every eligibility requirement except for one — that we must prove he does not present a risk of “escape” or a threat to public safety. Judge Scott acknowledged many factors weighing in favor of Maroon — his medical and physical condition, letters of support describing how he has mentored countless people over the years, decades without being charged with any crimes or misconducts in the DOC, and the extensive support he would have from the community around him. Judge Scott also expressed that she believes in mercy and that everyone should be able to transition to the next life with their loved ones around them.

Ultimately, however, Judge Scott said that she would not be doing her job as a judge if she granted Maroon that mercy. She decided that, based on his past criminal convictions from the 1970s and 80s, Maroon still presented a risk of escape and threat to public safety. We obviously disagree with this decision, and we’re committed to continuing to work with Maroon to carry out his wishes.


Join the Coalition to FREE MAROON NOW!
linktr.ee/FreeMaroonNow
#FreeMaroonNow

Interview with Jaan Laaman

Listen to interview with former Political Prisoner Jaan Laaman on WORT 89.9FM Madison‘s A Public Affair show at https://www.wortfm.org/jaan-laaman-on-life-as-a-political-prisoner/

“Back in May, political activist Jaan Laaman walked out of McCreary Federal Prison after serving thirty-seven years.

Today on the show, Jaan tells us about life on the inside—and what allies on the outside can do to help political prisoners.

You can read more about Jaan Laaman’s life and incarceration here.”

Registration open for NYCABC’s Running Down the Walls!

WHATRunning Down the Walls – 5k Run/Walk/Jog/Bike/Hang
WHEN: 2:00-7:00pm, Sunday, September 12th, 2021
WHERE: Prospect Park– Lincoln Road/East Lake Drive, east of the Terrace Bridge
COST: $10 registration (if COVID permits, will include food/drink afterwards. TBD)

Image

We’re excited to announce Running Down the Walls 2021, COVID permitting. After making the difficult decision to not hold last year’s event in person, we are very much looking forward to gathering as a community for the first time in a long time. Please stay tuned to our website, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on twitter (@nycabc) for updates.

Every year, prisoners and supporters of political prisoners organize solidarity events with Running Down the Walls. In previous years, we’ve had runs in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Boston (MA), Buffalo (NY), Chico (CA), Denver (CO), Elmore (AL), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), Minneapolis (MN) New York (NY), USP Navosta (TX), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), Seattle (WA), and Toronto, Ontario. This year we hope to expand the amount of runs in prisons and other cities, as well as increase the amount of funds raised for community projects. NYC ABC‘s goal with this year’s run is $4,000. You can donate online by going to paypal.me/nycabc

REGISTER AS, OR SPONSOR, A PARTICIPANT

To raise our goal of $4,000, we need your support.
Promote – print and distribute flyers to friends and local businesses, your doctor’s office, laundromat, food co-op, wealthy benefactor, et cetera.
Run/walk/bike/roll in the 5k – We need participants who can run/walk/bike/roll the 5k and are able to collect financial pledges to offer as donations to the run. Download the brochure, complete with registration and sponsor form right here.
Volunteer for the run – We need folks who are willing to hand out water, bike the route as street medics, and help chalk the route beforehand.
Donate online at paypal.me
Donate to the run/sponsor a participant – If you are not able to attend, but want to support this fundraising effort, please mail donations to:
NYC ABC
PO Box 110034
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Your donation of $10 or more entitles you to the celebratory picnic after the event.

Each year, we split proceeds between the Anarchist Black Cross Federation’s Warchest Program and a local organization. This year, local funds are going to New York state political prisoners released within the last year.

The Warchest Program:
The Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABCF) has initiated a program designed to send monthly checks to those Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have been receiving insufficient, little, or no financial support during their imprisonment. The Warchest program was initiated in November 1994. Its purpose is to collect monthly funds from groups and individual supporters, and send that money to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (PP/POW) via monthly checks. Over the last twenty five years, the ABCF warchest has dispensed over $100,000 to political prisoners in the United States. Currently, there are 18 imprisoned comrades who receive a monthly stipend as part of the program; they are Abdul AzeezDavid GilbertDoug WrightEd PoindexterEric KingHanif BeyJamil Al-AminJoseph BowenKamau Sadiki, Leonard PeltierMalik SmithMutulu ShakurOso BlancoRonald Reed, Ruchell MageeSundiata AcoliTom ManningVeronza Bowers, and Xinachtli (FKA Alvaro Luna Hernandez).

For more information, visit: abcf.net/warchest-program

We will be starting here:

rdtw-2018-starting_meetup-point.jpg

From the Q train, get off at the Prospect Park stop. Walk to Lincoln Road and turn right into the park. We’ll be about 700 feet away.

The event will be one lap around what is known as the Main Loop, and will total five kilometers. For the curious, here’s what it looks like:

Main Loop

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at [email protected]