PREPARING TO SUPPORT PP/POWs
It is necessary to have sufficient knowledge of the prisoners you will be supporting. Not only who they are, but specifically what they went to prison for, and how those actions were an extension of the political movements they are a part of. Or, if the prisoner was framed to remove them from their participation in the outside struggle, what political work they did, and evidence to indicate they were framed. If you contact, or are contacted by a prisoner who you believe is a PP or POW, or claims to be one, it is ABCF policy to request documentation from them. This documentation must indicate that the prisoner’s incarceration meets the definitions listed in the first section. Documentation is essential before a support relationship can begin. It will enable supporters to be familiar with those they support and to present their cases to others while trying to build further support. We need to be able to answer the questions, “Why do you support them?” or “Why should I?” It is also ABCF policy to never print the name of a prisoner as a PP/POW unless one of our offices has received such documentation from the prisoner, or another supporter. When requesting documentation, suggest the following 4 acceptable forms:
- Newspaper articles of the prisoner’s court case that reflect the political nature of the charges they were originally sent to prison on.
- Government documents the prisoner has obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that reflect the political nature of the case they were sent to prison on.
- Validation from an outside revolutionary organization that the prisoner was or is a part of, or who was aware of the prisoner’s activity. This validation must reflect that the charges the prisoner was sent to prison on had explicit and conscious political ends, or that the prisoner participated in political and revolutionary activity, and was framed as a result of that activity. If they were framed, we must also receive some kind of indication of prosecutorial misconduct.
- Referral from another PP/POW that can provide documentation of their own case. PP/POW’s referring other prisoners must be aware and able to provide sufficient facts about the political actions and nature of the referrals case.
These four are not the only acceptable forms of documentation. They are simply suggestions that can easily be provided by PP/POWs in most cases. In general, it is necessary that offered documentation must be something other than a prisoners word, it must be some kind of impartial factual report.
Further, the ABCF recognizes the subjectivity that may arise in evaluating prisoners. Our collective judgment will be based on the prisoners overall personal/political history and accountability in actions. (On the streets and once in prison.)