Archive for Prison

The Surprise is that People Still Ask Why. A Short Essay on Extreme Actions & 2014

I don’t expect and do not want people to be desensitized to murder. And of course with the police, it’s easy to point out the double standards. But, what gets me is the disbelief that throwing people in prison for decades, using solitary confinement as punishment, and the general promotion of this idea that “crime” in and of itself can and should result in death will somehow never have extreme consequences.

You see the people everywhere leaving comments about criminals. Editorializing petty crime as worth death. Property crime, “throw them away and lock the key for decades.” As a society, many of us are used to and tacitly accept this commentary. Just right wing conservative racists etc. This idea though, represents something that is far more serious.

The people making these comments are not disparate people in basements who find themselves only in dark corners of cyberspace. They are the people who vote for tyrants, who support torture and spying and what unites them in complete solidarity is a belief that “law” is pure, religious in nature. This pole is represented and accepted in American society, promoted through mass media.

There is no way to mistake the growing gulf in society, no matter your side. Consider that the growing opposition truly wants to dismantle prisons, borders, policing and at the very least change the entirety of the justice system. Middle ground between these two competing worldviews is not existent because it is impossible. This extreme divergence tearing at the fabric of society worldwide is where extreme acts are born.

Jeremy Hammond, USA Based Imprisoned Anarchist Hero Moved to Solitary

content link here: Support Jeremy

Note: Please, if you have some extra cash throw it his way

 

Jeremy in solitary: here is what we know

 

We received word last night that Jeremy had been placed in the Segregated Housing Unit (SHU), also known as solitary confinement. He had previously been placed in solitary confinement during pretrial detention. Details are spotty, but this is what we know so far:

  • He was placed in the SHU on 10 October.
  • The prison, FCI Manchester, claims that Jeremy stole clothing, but we don’t know whether they allege that he stole from a guard or another inmate. Jeremy denies this accusation unequivocally, and it goes against his character.
  • We have been in contact with Jeremy’s lawyers, who are in contact with the prison to see if anything can be done to appeal his placement in the SHU.

Make no mistake: We firmly believe Jeremy has been placed in solitary confinement as retaliatory punishmentfor filing complaints against the prison for withholding his mail. The prison had begun rejecting books and even legal material related to Jeremy’s own case. Jeremy had written that he was willing to take his grievances to the highest possible level in order to see them resolved.

Because we feel this is a retaliatory measure, calling the jail or jail officials may be seen as aggression and may provoke the prison to further retaliate against Jeremy. Please, we beseech you, do not call the jail or jail officials at this time.

Solitary confinement is often described as psychological and physical torture. It’s often used to break down a prisoner’s will and spirit. As the CCR writes,

The devastating psychological and physical effects of prolonged solitary confinement are well documented by social scientists: prolonged solitary confinement causes prisoners significant mental harm and places them at grave risk of even more devastating future psychological harm.

Right now, the best thing everyone can do is write a note of encouragement, buy Jeremy a book, or donate to his commissary. All relevant information is here. If a book is rejected, Jeremy is notified and the book is returned to the distributor. Please contact us if this happens to you.

We will post updates both here, on Twitter and on Facebook as soon as we know anything. Please keep checking back, and thank you for your support.

 

Thoughts on capital and an organic need for gun control

Overall, during the current crisis a few acceptable and somewhat distinct trends are emerging in relation to the management of violence.  While these trends play out, the need for comprehensive gun control is becoming much more necessary.  The acceptable positions are as follows:

  • More guns more freedom defend the second amendment
  • Restrict citizens rights to own guns
  • Provide a greater range of mental health options

For decades, second amendment crusaders have been victorious in defending and pushing guns for all.  Or at least for most, felons are excluded completely and if you are non white you don’t want to get caught with a gun, legal or not.  But for most, the ease of obtaining a weapon is widespread and a part of the American cultural landscape.

There are many parts to this cultural lexicon with the Second Amendment being just one.  American wealth and dominance is another part, a part that is currently in massive crisis.  And within this crisis certain cultural characteristics are beginning to fracture and blur.  They are doing so out of necessity in order to maintain economic and overall social normality.

Massive concentrations of wealth demand sacrifice by those without it

If any point is made here it’s that during times of mass crises, those in power will stay in power by sapping the life of those with none.  The upper classes will use violence and propaganda in order to suppress any threat.  Let’s be real here, last week unions were stripped of their power in Michigan! Michigan, the most recent historical home of fighting unionism. The originator of the sit down strike! What was the narrative that emerged?  Violent union workers rip down tent because they didn’t get what they want.

When markets and capital are in crisis they will dictate what is needed for survival.  And when necessary, the state will follow through on these needs.

Advocates for the second amendment state that if everyone had a gun there would be much less worry for mass violent homegrown tragedy.  The acceptable gun control argument is generally hysterical, such as “we have had enough of this, its time to ban guns.”  And even though the vast majority of gun control arguments are emotional, the core element is correct:

Banning guns will get rid of gun violence

For the past 20 years the proliferation of mood altering medication has skyrocketed.  So much so that different classes of mental disease have been created.  Much of this medication and diagnosis has been designed to help individuals navigate through the modern American cultural milieu.  The problems that crisis creates exacerbates the unique problems that are already present in the average American citizen.  For the past 20 years the sink or swim, work hard, bootstrap mentality has experienced increasing strain.  And with that strain comes:

Stress

Not just stress on the average individual but extreme stress on anybody that does not fit in.  The propaganda dictates that you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and if you can’t, society owes you nothing.  So the problem/solution is:

Capital dictates that if you do not fit within the markets, you have no use for society.  And it is capital that creates the solution, medication.

But now, this solution is failing, medication is no longer able to cope with the increasing stress imposed from the current crisis. More and more people are beginning to crack and with it there is an increasing strain on the social fabric that may be, at this moment in time, unacceptable.  You could make the argument that mass tragedies inject fear that is overall positive for the markets.  Although, with the quick 24 hour news cycle, tragedy is mostly just an impediment to spending.

The only solution to the question of random violence if you support the status quo, the current incarnation of American society and capital is gun control.

Medication has failed, second amendment arguments will not combat stress and you can’t monitor everyone at all times, yet.  There is no acceptable solution that does not appease the march of wealth.  There is no market for less work and more play as a means to combat stress.   Criticizing the isolation of mass technology and the extreme toll it enacts on your body is counterproductive to the American Dream.

We need to take away guns from people who can’t physically and mentally handle what we support any longer.

Voting for really bad things as a strategy

How can people justify voting for this system? It seems like the last thing you can do is trust anyone who is dismal enough to do so. If it comes down to it, the people who claim to be for revolutionary change who vote will be the first to seek moderation, reaction. We are really fucked, sad to see so many people who have no serious conception of the current situation. Troubling times.

It’s Not All That Bad Livin’ in the Gulag Archipelago 2012

Every so often I encounter people who want to discuss the state of affairs in the United States and in general.  Usually there is at least a cursory understanding that many indicators point towards a downward trajectory but of course, how bad can it possibly be?  Well, beyond the fact that we are falling behind key information age goalposts such as internet reach and poverty there is another…more pressing issue.  Many people, specifically Arizonans know that tent city is criminal, but I think they don’t understand how bad it actually is.  Anyhow, there is one issue I find myself talking a lot about with people.  I haven’t yet found anyone who is into defending it either:

The amount of prisoners in the United States is now equal per capita to that of the height of Stalins Gulag Archipelago.

That’s right, we now are on par with the most oppressive criminal police state the world has ever seen. And before you say wait wait, those prisoners were all political prisoners so we aren’t really that bad, USA USA USA!  I encourage you to read the Wiki page in regards to Stalins Gulags, or I can make it faster for you: The prisoners in the Soviet Union labor system were mostly petty criminals.  But, might as well take it further and just declare that anyone in prison currently for a drug war related crime IS a political prisoner.

Don’t expect to hear anything about this from the Democrats or Republicans, when you vote for them remember that you are strengthening and supporting what will be studied later as the worst part of American history.  The kind of moment where people look back and say, “how did we get there?”

We are here because of contributions from viewers that may or may not be like you.  If you are convinced that voting for the lesser of an evil is the right way to go.  That only protest in the confines of the status quo is the right idea and that compromise and the middle ground is the right path to take well, you are part of the problem.