More Frequent Updates

We've been using this blog less and our facebook group more often, for random updates and events. So, if you wanna know what we're doing right now, go here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ever get nostalgic about the days of pen pals?

TIPS for writing someone in prison!

Where to begin?!
  • contact RedBird (redbirdprisonabolition@gmail.com) and let us know you’re interested in a pen pal!
  • We will send you a list of people in prison who have contacted us and are interested in writing someone.  Our list is varied, and it includes political prisoners, politicized prisoners, people not interested in politics at all, religious people, pagans, men, women, queer, and everything in between!
  • start your first letter!  And always, contact us with questions or concerns.

What should I write about!?

It’s true that writing the first letter can be intimidating, but it’s just a matter of getting started!
  • Begin with talking about who you are, why you were interested in participating in the project, what your interests are, and maybe where you’d like to see this correspondence go.  Ask them a couple questions too, like where they’re from and what they like to do for fun.  You know, all that first date small talk chit chat!  After one or two letters it will become obvious what your pen pal likes to talk about and how, so don’t be too nervous about the first correspondence.  Just keep it simple.
  • Include some basic questions in your initial letter about what kind of boundaries or restrictions your penpal might have to abide by in their prison. Sometimes you can only send a certain amount of pages, write in certain color pens, etc., and these specifications vary from prison to prison.
  • Finally, maybe let them know how often you think you’ll be able to write.  If it’s only once a month or every few months, that’s totally fine, just try set up those expectations from the very beginning!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cleveland Four Sentencing trials.

I went to court for the Cleveland 4 sentencing trial earlier this week. It was very dramatic. We need to pack the court room again on Nov 20th, 9am [note date change] when the judge will be giving his decision. Anyone who wants to participate in a car pool from Columbus, please contact me, 614 704 4699.

In lieu of a reportback, I'd like to share some letters I wrote, the first is to the judge, and the 2nd was written to Anthony Hayne, the guy who rolled, and sent back, because they're controlling his mail now. I hope someone who is allowed to mail things to Tony gets these and sends them his way. Please. 

Anyway, read them after the jump.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Update on NW Grand Jury Resisters

Hey everyone-

One of the resisters we wrote to at our last letter writers has put out a letter to her supporters, so here's what she wrote:

"I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the incredible and constant support that I have been receiving since being locked up at the FDC over a month ago.
I want to thank my family for their unwavering support, pride, and love—throughout this situation and throughout my life.

I want to thank my closest friends for supporting me out of love, regardless of political beliefs; for your constant letters, for keeping my life on the outs in order, for spreading the word of my incarceration, and for reminding me daily that I am never alone.

I want to thank all the incredible support team for getting the word out there; through the internet, through word of mouth, radical media, anarchist media, lefty media, and mainstream media. I want to thank you all for all the fundraising you have been doing; and for your constant reminder of solidarity and friendship.

I want to thank my wonderful attorney; you are such a badass!

I want to thank all of my old friends from across the States and the world who are spreading the word to their friends and networks both through the use of technology and face to face communication (which I have to say is pretty rad).

To all of the rad people organizing on our behalf, I thank you for dedicating your precious time, energy, and love to our release and well-being.

I want to thank all of my new friends who have heard about our case from mutual friends, the internet, political groups; any number of forms of media; ya’ll have been consistently writing letters and spreading the word since day one. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

To a whole lot of anarchists who have written me every day, thank you!

To a whole lot of people who are not anarchists, who have written to me every day, thank you!

To those who have made it their life’s work to write prisoners, thank you!

To those who are writing me because they have experienced the red scare, and said never again, thank you!

To all of you who have inquired about donating (I hope I gave you the info), those who donated, and those who are planning benefits, thank you!

To my community of downtowners, thank you for having my back. Thank you for not forgetting me, thank you for loving me, thank you for proving that communities can be strong regardless of political beliefs, and for proving that all of this is about so much more than political affiliations.

So, to all of you; I know I did not do anyone any favors by staying out of the public eye until my incarceration, but every single one of you has done so much to bring light to what is going on.

Every single one of you has done so much to bring light to what is going on. Every single one of you helps me to grow stronger every day.

To all of those who have written me; I have received about 100 letters every week since I have been in here (over 400 letters so far), and I am so sorry to all of those I have not written back yet. All of your words, artwork, and photos have inspired me and I can not thank you enough. Again, I’m really very sorry if I have not written you back yet; postage is a bit of an issue. Also to all of you who have sent me books, most of them have not contained return addresses, but I still want to let ya’ll know that they are loved by myself and my new friends on the inside. To the friend that sent me Soledad Brother and the beautiful letter within days of being here, I do not have an address for you, but I love you and your words have helped to strengthen my resolve.

Anywho…to all of you again, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!

Keep smiling, keep struggling; in solidarity, gratitude, and love,

Kteeo

PS: ….to another old friend, I got your postcard. Live to eat."

Katherine Olejnik #42592-086
FDC SeaTac,
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 9819

Also,  another person has been called- here is more about that:

"On October 25, 2012 a fifth subpoena was served to Matthew “Maddy” Pfeiffer to appear before the federal grand jury on November 7, 2012. Early this week, they declared their intent to resist the grand jury. You can read their statement at our website: http://nopoliticalrepression.wordpress.com/2012/10/30/matthew-maddy-pfeiffer-subpoenaed-for-grand-jury/. We are preparing to support Maddy as they go in front of the grand jury next week. Check our website for updates on what you can do.

Matt Duran and Kteeo Olejink are still being held in contempt of court at Seatac Federal Prison and continue to need your support. Please consider writing or sending them books, donating money so we can fill up their commissary or having a solidarity action in your community. ... Thank you for your continued support."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Support Sean Swain


From SeanSwain.org

Anarchist prisoner Sean Swain is still under investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) and the FBI for alleged involvement in “The Army of the 12 Monkeys” a group that allegedly committed acts of sabotage and vandalism inside ManCI. On September 19th, Swain was put in a suicide cell for 5 days, denied heat, bedding, and normal clothes. They knew he was not suicidal, they were trying to break him. He refused food for the first two days, and after 5 was transferred to administrative segregation. Two other prisoners have been transferred to Seg as well. No charges have been made against any of the three. According to the prison rules, when someone is transferred to seg for the purpose of investigation, they must be charged within 21 days, or returned to general population. It’s been more than 21 days.

Super-Max Prisoner on Hunger Strike



  


 [UPDATE 11/7: According to the Lynds, Rayshan is getting medical attention and has resumed eating, but still wants to raise awareness and organize around the lack of proper medical care at OSP]

Rayshan Watley, #347-921, is a prisoner at the Ohio State Penitentiary.  On July 2, 2010, he went on a hunger strike because he was denied treatment recommended by medical specialists.

   As of October 26, 2012, Mr Watley is once again going on hunger strike for being denied medical care. See the complaint he filed in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas (attached).

   Please call Warden David Bobby at OSP (330) 743-0700 and tell him you support Rayshan and all other prisoners at OSP getting better medical care.

 
    The handwritten complaint is difficult to read. However, based on the allegations of the complaint, it would appear that Mr. Watley is being denied adequate medical care at OSP and that some of his complaints are of a kind that would affect other prisoners as well as himself. Alice Lynd has summarized the following issues alleged in Mr. Watley's complaint:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gender Anarky Prisoners End Hunger Strike After Retaliatory Transfers

This update, posted October 25th is from the Gender Anarky blog:


A press release we received from Amazon and Cat today announced the end of the Gender Anarky hunger strike at R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility:

Prison’s latest move changes battleground
the transsexual hunger strike at the r.j. donovan prison in california that was the initiative of gender anarky has ended.  the two girls on strike, amazon and cat, are now eating.
the change in the battlefield came as the prison moved to transfer both girls.  at this, a tactical decision was made to end the strike and shift tactics.  it would have been futile to oppose the transfers, as prison rules and courts give great discretion to prisoncrats in matters of transfers.  it also gives them leeway to act tyrannically with transfer to disrupt and retaliation against in-prison activism. the girls are known to be radicals who struggle for transsexual medicine and human rights. they are also aware that cat and amazon are partners, lovers, and resent it.  so by transferring the girls out they got rid of radicalism and lesbianism in a single stroke. the transfer hearings were a sham and a farce, typical kangaroo court, as prisons everywhere are notorious for. but it will not deter the girls in their insurrection against prisons, government, and civilization. the girls have accepted that they will be separated soon, for how long they are not sure. it could be one or two or more years that they end up on the same yard together again.  amazon is a lifer with some years to go, cat will be getting out in about eight years. but they also keep uppermost that the insurrection is not about individuals but about masses of people.  they will mourn when they are separated, while continuing to sharpen their weapons of resistance to the tyranny of government and prisons, they the civilization that spawned them, utterly degenerate and putrid to the core and deserving not an iota less of merciless destruction. wherever they are sent, the girls will continue on the path of anarkist insurrection, spreading the word, and always recruiting.

amazon and cat send their affectionate love and admiration to all who resist civilization, and a special embrace to all those who sent letters and cards and zeens during the hunger strike and so much love and support, letting them know that they were not alone.  your concern for them is matched with theirs for you.

to be sure, the girls continue to conspire and hopefully can maneuver themselves back together.  the details of this cannot be revealed publicly lest the enemy know.  but for the purpose of this communique the hunger strike is hereby terminated.

messages about the developing situation with amazon and cat will be posted in future press releases.

**the prison has begun to harrass our mail from supporters. a letter from [a comrade] in oakland was marked ‘return to sender’ by the pig in the housing block and sent back to the mailroom for no noted reason. but the mailroom sent it back to the block again and it was only after a comment to cat by another pig that cat was able to track it down and get it. if anyone gets mail you sent us marked ‘rts’ simply resend it.  these kinds of things are a typical fuck-with-them ploy on the part of the prison department’s counter-insurgency.  it will fail.

love and hugs to all,
amazon and cat"

JPay Petition

The ODRC is privatizing the administration of prisoner commissary accounts. This is a terrible new policy that has upset many prisoners we're in contact with, and shared thousands of prisoner-visitors personal information to an unreliable private company. PLEASE sign the petition, circulate it, and scan a copy to redbirdprisonabolition at gmail dot com. Here is where you can find the ODRC policy on this: http://www.drc.ohio.gov/web/inmate_funds.htm

Here are the concerns as stated by prisoners:

"Starting September 17, 2012, JPay, a private corporation took over processing all prisoners’ money orders. We object to this new policy for the following reasons:
1. JPay will charge a processing fee of $1.50. This fee amounts to an illegal tax on prisoners’ family and supporters. The legislature must approve all taxes. There is no guarantee that JPay won’t increase this tax in the future.
2. Prior to September 17th, interest from prisoner’s accounts goes into the “I&E” fund, that helps pay for prisoners’ entertainment, recreation equipment, and going home funds. The new scheme allows JPay, a private company, to invest the prisoner’s money and take interest as profits. What will happen with the “I&E” funded programs? Who is insuring that the prisoners’ money will be safe if JPay’s investments fail and they go bankrupt?
3. How can prisoners resolve complaints with JPay? Would it cost a prisoner to mail a complaint to JPay?
4. JPay's system is only accessible to prisoner visitors and with the use of internet connection. This reduces access for friends and family, particularly elderly, low income and non-visitors from being able to send funds or maintain connection with prisoners.
5. Most importantly, why has the ODCR handed over personal information of prisoners’ friends and families to this private company? That is illegal. ODRC claims JPay will not have access to the information, but it is impossible for JPay to process and verify the authenticity of the funds without this information." To sign this petition, (yes, there are two) go here.

And for Sean Swain's article on this issue, read his blog here.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Prisoner Art Show!

WHEN: Friday, October 16 from 6pm to 10pm
WHERE: ILLIO! (It Looks Like It's Open) 13 E Tulane Road, Columbus, OH

Yep, we're doin it again with MORE art from prisoners all over Ohio! Bring your family and friends! There will be tons of new work that was sent to us over the past year PLUS all this cool stuff:

SILENT AUCTION

FOODS AND DRINKS including goodies from Nina Baked!! (http://www.facebook.com/ninahasbaked) 

MUSIC from: Ryan Harvey (http://ryanharveymusic.wordpress.com/) political riot folk, holla Lycka Till (http://lyckatill.bandcamp.com/releases) swedish political folk punk with kickass trumpet 

GROUP ART

READINGS of prisoner writing and some other surprises . . . Hang out, look at some nice things, groove to some tunes and help support people working against the criminal injustice system!

Hosted by Red Bird Prison Abolition




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Say NO to JPay!

Sign this petition to stop the illegal privatization of prisoner accounts.

The Ohio Department of Retribution and Corruption recently illegally handed over the personal information of 700,000 Ohioans to a private corporation called JPay. They also decided that this corporation can charge fees on anyone sending money to friends on the inside (functionally a tax, which is also illegal). They also decided that JPay can invest prisoner's money and receive profits on the investment. Those returns used to go to programming for prisoners.


Our friend Sean Swain was organizing and speaking against these changes when Mansfield Correctional put him in a suicide cell with no heat, clothes, or writing materials for 5 days. He's still in the hole.



Monday, October 1, 2012

URGENT: Support Gender Anarky collective member Amazon and inmate Catarina on DAY 8 of hunger strike

Reposted from: http://genderanarky.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/urgent-support-gender-anarky-collective-member-amazon-and-inmate-catarina-on-day-8-of-hunger-strike/
 

Amazon, an anti-civilization trans insurgent associated with the Gender Anarky collective within the CA prison system, and her comrade Catarina LaPre are on the 8th day of hunger strike against the unfair treatment of trans women within R.J Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego County.  Prison officials refuse to take Amazon and Cat off of single-cell status because of their gender identity.  A letter from Amazon states:

“this is an emergency letter about the situation with trans girls here… I’m trying to get off single-cell status here and cell up with cat.  my case worker was supposed to start the process two months ago but she’s a feminist and hating on us and don’t wanna do it.  so we went on hunger strike to force the issue.  we have been on a hunger strike since 9-21, didn’t eat dinner that day and have not eaten since.  this is day [eight at this point*]… they have been trying to get us to eat but we won’t.  today cat started started feeling fucked up and vomiting water…

so we need some direct action support in this, for the prison to double-cell me, and get on the phone to the warden here, warden paramo… regarding why they are discriminating against transwomen here…  Gender Anarky and militia goes to the oppressor in confrontation and leaves a hard mark.  so show these motherfuckers who are the bitches with the most.

Support Amazon and Cat!
Call Warden Paramo the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility: (619) 661-6500
Demand that Eva Contreraz (C-45857)and Catarina LaPre (K-67313) be take off single-cell status and be allowed to share a cell.  Demand that an end to the discriminatory housing policy against trans women in the correctional facility.

Attack!:
Gender Anarky has uncompromisingly attacked transphobic violence within the prison system, and have consistently called for directly attacking the systems of domination that the make living conditions of trans women, both inside and outside prison, a living hell.  Attack the institutions that maintain the miserable system of gender in solidarity with Gender Anarky and the continuing hunger strike.

Write to Amazon and Cat:
Let them know you support their struggle against the the prison administration.  They can be reached at:

Eva Contreraz C-45857
PO Box 799003 (C15-223)
San Diego, CA 92179-9003

Catarina LePre K-67313
PO Box 799003
San Diego, CA 92179-9003

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Preliminary Reports of a Riot at Mansfield Correctional. Sean Swain in the Hole.

From seanswain.org

We have received preliminary reports that on Wednesday, September 19th, a riot occurred at Mansfield Correctional Institution where Sean Swain is being held.  According to the prison, fire hoses were used against those involved in the uprising. As of now, we have no details as to what conditions instigated the riot or what Sean is being charged with.

Sean is being held in segregation in the medical wing of the prison. According to prison administrators, he is being held there because the normal segregation cells are all full as a result of the riot. But we also know that the administration likes to use the suicide cells in the medical wing for disciplinary purposes (as have done with Sean in the past).
The prison claims that Sean is unhurt and that he is not in the infirmary for medical reasons. We have little reason to believe anything they say, but we hope that this is true.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Florida Golf Buddies and Identity Pirates to Profit from ODRC Out-Sourcing Plot


by ____ _____1


The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has out-sourced fund-transfer services to a private Florida firm called JPay. As a result, persons on prisoner visiting lists can send money to prisoners only by sending the money to JPay for processing. This processing involves a "fee" which is withdrawn from the funds sent to prisoners.

This new procedure is virtually identical to the old procedure, except that now a private Florida company makes a huge profit conducting services that used to be performed by downsized Ohio employees.
Also, the procedure is completely unconstitutional and will result in many legal challenges-- challenges that will cost Ohio tax-payers... although the Florida firm making huge profits will not suffer the loss of a single dime.

The first problem with the new procedure is that JPay's "fee" for processing funds into prisoner accounts constitutes a tax. Because citizens are charged a fee to put funds on a prisoner's account, it matters not whether that money is collected by an out-sourced company or the State directly-- it is a fee collected for a public service.

That's a tax.

And that's illegal.

The Ohio Constitution delegates the power to tax only to the Ohio General Assembly, not to the ODRC or to Director Gary Mohr's rich Florida golf-buddies looking to make a profit off of human bondage. Since the Ohio House and Senate never approved this tax, JPay's service tax is illegal.

Not that legality matters. Why would you want someone charged with the duty of reforming Ohio's offenders to abide by something called "law"? Clearly, Gary Mohr is not a role-model. And clearly, crime pays.

But an even more troubling aspect of this new procedure is that the ODRC has given Gary Mohr's rich golf buddies access to the State's information databases. That means approximately 750,000 citizens on Ohio prison population's visiting lists will have their private information-- addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, to convicted felons -- accessed by complete strangers working for a Florida company, something these 750,000 citizens never approved, never consented to, and never signed up for.

As one prisoner's visitor said, "I only sent required information to the Ohio prison so I could visit my husband. I didn't know that my private information was going to be bundled iwth thousands of other people's information and then handed over to some company where employees can steal my identity or profit off of selling that information. I feel betrayed. I don't even know if this is legal."

ODRC administrators have denied that JPay will have access to prisoner visitors' private information, but this denial is directly conflicted by their own description of the process. According to the ODRC's own postings, visitors sending funds to prisoners must send them to JPay along with a photocopy of their identification (which itself contains sensitive information that could be used for identity theft), and then JPay will compare that photocopy to the prisoner's visiting list to confirm the visitor's status before posting the funds.

That means JPay must have access to the visiting lists in order to make the comparison. So that means JPay does have access to 750,000 citizens' private information without their consent. It also means the ODRC's denials are a lie.

Again, these people are not role models.

But even if JPay didn't have access to the database, they still require citizens to send photocopies of their state identification with every fund transfer, which means each person could have dozens or even hundreds of copies of their sensitive information floating around in the hands of data processors who were fired from Burger King for sniffing glue.

"Who else will they sell my address and social security number to?" a visitor asked. "And what will those people do with it? What stops a JPay worker from selling three quarters of a million names to identity pirates? And what kind of a clown slow is this prison director running, anyway?"

A profitable one, it seems-- if you're Gary Mohr's Florida golf buddies.

***



DISTRIBUTION:
Corrections Institution Inspection Committee
seanswain.org
CURE-Ohio
Cincinnati Enquirer
Columbus Dispatch
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Toledo Blade
Akron Beacon Journal

  If YOU are wondering "what kind of clown show" Gary Mohr is running, feel free to contact him at (614) 752-1164 during normal clown-show hours.

1 This may or may not have been written by Sean Swain, but the federal courts have given Ohio prison administrators free license to punish Swain for his published views beyond prison walls. Swain is exceptionally stripped of all constitutional protections, so whether he wrote this or not, and no one is saying he did, this will likely be posted at seanswain.org when it launches in the next 30 days. If Sean Swain wrote this, he meant every word.
















Monday, August 27, 2012

On Katy (by Sean Swain)



“Keep the Faith, Brother/Kin-- the system is sinking fast, though not fast enough. Soon things will be very, very different. You'll see and so will I. XO Katy.” That's how Katy closed her last letter to me, only days before she died of an aortic aneurysm at the age of 62.

Katy had worked as a nurse and had taken other jobs, but identified specifically as a midwife, one who assists bringing life into the world. Katy served as a midwife in many ways, some more obvious than others. She certainly brought life into the world.

Katy and I corresponded for many years but we had never met face to face. We had the depth of friendship that occurs between people when they slowly and deliberately reveal themselves through words on paper. Katy had planned to visit though. She had filled out the paperwork to be added to my visiting list. In her next to last letter she wrote, “I plan on coming there real soon. I'll spend the whole day-- we can talk-- I don't know about what or how it's going to look-- I HATE PRISONS!!!!!!! but I'm coming anyway-- I'm so excited about meeting you in person-- we will have a face to face visit-- Coyotes was behind glass-- please tell me a little bit about it to prepare me...”

But as things went, Katy couldn't visit. In her last letter to me, she explained, “I had misunderstood the visiting thing and thought you could tell them I was coming on 5/25 so I didn't call myself... So I called the visiting office to begin with to check on the reservation status, and the guy there said everything was booked up til the 29th...” The problem was, Katy planned to leave Michigan for California before the 29th.

I felt bad that we had missed an opportunity, but I knew she could always come to visit whenever she was back int his area again. There was no rush. We always have next week and next month and even next year.

Katy was a midwife.
She brought life into the world.
I will miss her.

***

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sean Swain on Occupy


An Open Letter to Occupy
Regarding the Controversy Over “Demands”
And the Movement's Way Forward

By ____ _____1

A recent article in Rolling Stone presented a picture of Occupy divided over the issue of “demands.” According to the article, one faction opposes demands while another views demands as a practical and inevitable strategy. The article leaves the distinct impression that either Occupy is divided or else the mainstream media, who hasn't been able to wrap its mind around the reality of what Occupy is, has itself become obsessed with the issue of demands and lacks the imagination to conceive of any other way for Occupy to proceed.

I would like to add my voice to the dialogue. I would suggest that making demands would be very difficult, if not impossible. Before making any demands, at least 3 questions must be definitively answered: (1) Who is making the demands?, (2) To whom are the demands made?, and (3) What will be done in exchange for the meeting of demands? If you do not have the answers to those questions, then you cannot effectively enter into any demanding or negotiating. You may as well make your demands to a wall.

As to the question of who is making the demands, Occupy presents itself as a movement of the 99%. That means anyone making demands must be making them for the entirety of the 99%. As I am part of that 99%, for the purposes of informing anyone seeking to make demands, the two non-negotiable demands that should be made on my behalf are: (1) The immediate and complete abolition of the global system of capital, and (2) the immediate and complete abolition of the United States as an incorporated entity, including its state subsidiaries. All other points are negotiable for me. Good luck.

But I think this presents my point succinctly that it is impossible for anyone to present demands on behalf of the 99%.

The second question, to whom the demands are made, is just as complicated. Some in Occupy want banks restructured, some what recognition of Occupy's right to exist in public spaces, and some may want the release of secret documents linking space aliens to the JFK assassination. All of these demands require negotiation with a variety of different institutions and governments on many levels. This requires the juggling of millions of demands issued to thousands of agencies and organizations, and juggling the various responses. Again, good luck.

And this brings up another issue to consider, related to power relationships. When issuing a demand, you're recognizing the authority of the person or entity to grant or deny the demands. You are, in essence, accepting that they have the right to exist, and you are seeking resolution with their legitimate exercise of power. I do not think this can be done on behalf of the 99%, as some of us do not recognize the right of governments, banks, or corporations to exist. They have no authority; they have the power to compel.

That brings us to the third question, what will be done in exchange for the meeting of demands? Before a representative of Occupy (however that would work) could present demands (whatever they would be), the representative would have to be able to guarantee that, when demands are met, Occupy would relinquish something or give up something, or refrain from something. That is how demands work.

It must be understood by everyone at the table that, related to Occupy, if all demands are met, then everyone involved in Occupy will pack up the tents and apply for work at WalMart and Starbucks, resuming their shopping at the mall. If Occupy's representative cannot guarantee the authorities that the 99% will return to dragging stones up the side of the pyramid when demands are met, then this is no way to issue demands; the demands are meaningless because even if they are met, nothing will be resolved.

For my part, I only hope there are others as unreasonable as I am, and that they will not resume their roles as slaves under any conditions, that the system can meet their demands when it ceases to exist.

So, having presented what I hope is a brief and effective argument for why demands are an impossible way forward, I would like to provide an alterative to the heirarchical, corporate, global-colonizer system (we can just call it “the enemy system”). It may seem strange to think of Occupy as a system because it is consciously unsystematic, but it is a system in the same way that the biosphere is a system, containing a diversity of life. In many ways, Occupy is the un-system.

All the same, Occupy, as a system, is facing down an enemy system that does not tolerate alternatives to itself. How many people do you see foraging, hunting the buffalo and living in a wigwam? Exactly. The enemy system eliminates alternatives. It does not play well with others.

Your system, Occupy, cannot co-exist with the enemy system because the enemy system will attempt to eliminate you through whatever means are available. It will send its cops and military to crack your skulls. It will send snitches to infiltrate you and divide you. It will unleash propaganda to isolate you and brand you as terrorists. It will then confine you and neutralize you and maybe kill you.

The reality is this: We have two systems, opposing cultures, and one will eliminate the other (or, in the instance of Occupy prevailing, weaken the other system so it no longer has the power to eliminate you). This is a culture war. That may not be the term you like, but whatever euphemism you choose, the reality is what it is. A hostile system is at war against you, and you can either win or lose.

The longer the enemy system exists, the more it will harm you. As Ward Churchill, Derrick Jensen, John Zerzan, and a host of others have pointed out, your interests are best served by taking down the enemy system as quickly and effectively as possible. Then we'll all be free to live as we choose, without interference.

If Occupy is to move forward according to this model, then I would like to propose 7 principles to guide Occupy:
  1. Occupy must be led by no one.
    Because the enemy system is centralized, hierarchical, and rigidly structured, Occupy can only defeat it by being what it is not. Being leaderless, everyone must lead themselves and thus have the transformative experience that will never again let them become sheeple. A leaderless Occupy is more difficult to defeat.
  2. Occupy must proceed according to no plan.
    With no leader, no architect, there is no one to herd Occupy into conformity to a singular plan. Variety and diversity of tactics forces the enemy system to herd cats. If anyone comes up with the perfect plan, burn it immediately.
  3. Occupy must have no targeted end-point.
    For reformists seeking to make demands, this point will be difficult. To proceed with no end-point is to view yourself as developing a way to live into the future, for yourself and your children. It implies no compromise, no return to the enemy system. It says you will live as you live until the enemy defeats you or goes away.
  4. Occupy must develop a new currency of support.
    The enemy system rewards its supporters with pay that translates into material goods. You end up with unhappy slaves with large piles of material stuff.
    Occupy must have a different “currency.” Rather than paying supporters with money that translates into material goods, Occupy must re-pay supporters with support. In other words, those who give support will get support. You are rewarded not with material junk, but with community and belonging and care and support. Social support must be Occupy's currency.
  5. Occupy must proceed incrementally.
    Occupy's advantages are its diversity and decentralization. Each autonomous group can develop its own strategies and approaches to living, and those efforts will become part of Occupy's collective knowledge as each group builds upon the ideas of others and perfects others' failures. This provides a start-stop-start progress, unlike the enemy system which attempts to impose one uniform program for success.
  6. Occupy cannot prevail all at once.
    There is no magic button to push to make 8,000 years of control programming go away. There are, however, a million very practical buttons to push repeatedly and in no particular order that will make the control program collapse fairly quickly. It will not collapse at once but will unravel, faster in some places than in others. At some point in the future, we will realize the enemy system has gone away completely.
  7. Occupy must recognize no authority but its own.
    The 99% have no presidents, no representatives, no congress, no courts. The 99% have no bosses, no bankers, no managers. The 99% have no joint chiefs, no police, no military. All of these things are the property of the 1%. They are all components of the enemy system that we must reject.
    By this view, we should have no illusion of any authority but our own authoriy. We have no one to negotiate with. There is no one who has authority to “grant” us the future we strive to construct directly.
I suggest these 7 points as a general guide. I hope they provide a kind of framework for moving forward without the reformist model of making demands and negotiating with the enemy system. It is my hope that these principles can guide Occupy not only to defeat the enemy system, but also guide Occupy into the future beyond the enemy system's collapse.
I think these principles shape localized communities we all deserve.

1 Sean Swain is singularly stripped of all constitutional protections o n the federal courts' stated basis that his writings “promote anarch and rebellion against authoriy.” So if he wrote this, and no one is saying he did, he cannot have his name associated with his own work for fear of repression from the fascist police state holding him captive.
In a free country, this footnote would not be necessary.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Call for Art from Local Artists:

Participate in an Exhibition Against the U.S. Prison System
Painting by B. German

This Exhibition: The show will include art by prisoners as well as by people on the outside. Your submission should address the prison system, incarceration or the US police state. “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.” -Bertolt Brecht

Requirements: Include a brief artist’s statement, dimensions/space needs, and how you’d like the work to be displayed/priced.
All media will be considered. Please send JPEG image submissions to: redbirdprisonabolition@gmail.com.

About RedBird Prison Abolition: We are a group of people in Columbus Ohio who want to see the prison system come to an end. RedBird supports prisoners through publishing their writing, setting up pen pals, hosting events and raising awareness. 

Application deadline is Tues. Sept. 25th. Decisions will be made by Sept. 28th.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Exercise Your Rights Dance Party Fundraiser!


Last November, during the heady days of Occupy Wall Street, some overly aggressive cops arrested seven people at the US Bank building in downtown Columbus. Some of us decided to exercise our rights and saw the charges through to trial. Apparently a "jury of our peers" don't care as much about free speech or assembly or financial fraud as we do, cuz they found us guilty. Booo!

Fortunately, those sad defeated people on that jury aren't actually our peers! Our peers are the people in Columbus who DON'T want to live in a police state. Some of these folks are helping us put together a couple fundraisers to cover the exorbitant court costs and fines. We're estimating over $2,000 total. Maybe that's what they mean by "freedom isn't free". 

What rights?!?
The first event will be an Exercise Your Rights Dance Party on Sat. July 28th at 9PM at SkyLab Gallery, 57 E Gay Street. There will be lots of fun and games, raffle prizes, a "kiss a criminal" booth, videos and stories about our experiences fighting the law, and other good stuff. The costume theme is "Exercise Your Rights". By that we of course mean leotards, spandex, leg warmers, and headbands. 

We don't want these fundraisers to exist only in reaction to a single situation. We feel like we learned a lot and came out of this experience stronger, better equipped to defend against the next attack by the police and the injustice system. We want the same for our community, so we're earmarking some of the money raised to the establish a legal defense fund for future situations like this. 


Can't make it to the fundraiser, but wanna give money? No problem!


Write us a check and mail it to:

Occupy Bank Tour
PO BOX 1291
Columbus OH 43216


Make the check out to any of the defendants' names. Don't know us? Write checks to Kate Pleuss.


Or, if you prefer the convenience of playing 2% fees to a nasty corporation, use this:


Below see videos and more information about the action, the arrests and court.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Update on the Cleveland 5


Members of RedBird Prison Abolition have been in touch with the Cleveland 5. We sent them our friend Sean Swain's letters of support

We will likely be visiting them and participating in support efforts. If anyone in Columbus would like to join this efforts, please contact us. They are also desperately in need of funds, please donate via Cleveland5Justice.org

Detailed updates after the break...

Solitary Confinement Hearings.

On June 19th, the US Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on solitary confinement in the US. Ohio houses hundreds of prisoners in solitary confinement at any time. There are over 400 solitary cells at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP), 100 solitary cells at death row, each prison has it's own solitary cells, the "hole".


The hearing is called “Reassessing Solitary Confinement: The Human Rights, Fiscal and Public Safety Consequences” some of our friends at OSP have written briefs and testimonies for the hearings.  They'll be posted as soon as we get copies.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Press Release Regarding New Prisoner Re-Entry Laws


OHIO PRISON PROJECT

Contact: Chryztof Knecht [fsn: R142749]
Cell: 513.969.5327
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Email: ohioprisonproject@yahoo.com
Website: http://tjel.weebly.com
Resume: http://cjknecht.weebly.com
Location: Statehouse, Columbus, Ohio [June 18-22, 2012]

OHIO VIOLENT SLAVE REVOLT
Protesting Second Class Citizenship

Over 2 million Ohioans (17% of Ohio) have been convicted of either felony or misdemeanor offenses
against the peace and dignity of the State of Ohio. Slave masters of the Ohio General Assembly
continue to punish those with criminal convictions by sponsoring multiple forms of punishment which
pose as barriers to re-entry efforts and often result in recidivism. Those who do not find themselves
at the revolving penitentiary doors succumb to poverty and second class citizenship due to restrictions
in areas such as employment, civic and political participation, housing, parental rights, social service
assistance, driving privileges, etc., which are no different than Jim Crow laws.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ohio Super Max Hunger Strike Update

 June 14th, 2012, Youngstown OH- Two weeks after the hunger strike that began on May Day at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) one man named Cornelius Harris resumed hunger striking on his own because of slow progress on the realization of striker's demands. Mr Harris refused more than 50 meals over at least 17 days. In a letter dated June 6th, he was still refusing food and vowed to stay on until "a clear picture is painted as to what changes will be made". A trusted prisoner source has since confirmed that Mr. Harris resumed eating after a meeting with Warden David Bobby. 

Seeking Immediate Transfer to a Safer Prison By Cornelius Harris


Cornelius Harris is incarcerated at Ohio State Penitentiary. He participated in the May Day hunger strike, and then resumed the strike solo when it took too long for the warden to make good on their demands.

WARNING: This post contains graphic descriptions of violence.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Ongoing Injustices, by Cornelius Harris.



Cornelius Harris is incarcerated at Ohio State Penitentiary. He participated in the May Day hunger strike, and then resumed the strike solo when it took too long for the warden to make good on their demands.

Ongoing Injustices, Prisonersolidarity.org
By Cornelius Harris
March 20, 2009

Injustice is a cancer in the U.S. criminal justice system that seriously needs to be addressed and abolished with the same enthusiasm and commitment that was assembled to abolish slavery. These injustices start from the time of arrest and expand to conviction and imprisonment.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Jason Robb on Hunger Strike



Jason Robb is on a hunger strike beginning with the evening meal on June 6. He is demanding that he be transferred to Chillicothe Correctional Institution and treated like any other death row prisoner. Chillicothe CI currently houses all but six of Ohio's death row prisoners.
Robb started the hunger strike after his appeal of his level 5 security review was denied. In a letter to Warden David Bobby announcing the hunger strike, Robb says: "I have decided not to play this sick twisted game of revenge by the administration any longer, I am not a puppet." Jason Robb has been held on 23 hour a day lockdown for 19 years. He has been at Ohio's super max prison, Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) since the facility opened 13 years ago. In that time he has only had two non-violent rules violations, and has participated in many of the programs offered to level 5 prisoners.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ohio Super Max Prisoner Resumes Hunger Strike

Sunday June 3rd, 2012, Youngstown- Last week Cornelius Harris, a level 5 prisoner at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) resumed the May Day hunger strike, in protest of the warden's slow response to the prisoner's demands. It is unknown when Mr. Harris began refusing food, how many consecutive meals he has refused, and whether or not other prisoners have joined Mr. Harris's hunger strike. OSP's warden, David Bobby refused to comment or make any statement about Mr. Harris's situation or condition, including how many meals he has refused. 


UPDATE: Cornelius Harris is off hunger strike after at least 17 days and 49 meals. 

Statement from OSP Hunger Striker



On May 1st, 2012 over 50 prisoners went on hunger strike to peacefully protest the conditions of our confinement. We demanded that the administration start treating us like human beings and give us the tools we need to be rehabilitated. However, all OSP officials seem to do is exploit us for their own personal means and dehumanize us by treating us like little kids.

This May 1st hunger strike was suppose to have been a peaceful protest to tell the OSP administration that we wanted a change in the way we was being treated. However, Warden Bobby found a way to twist this hunger strike around to his favor by asking for more funding for programs and material that a level 5 prisoner will never see. 

To get prisoners to come off of the May 1st strike, Warden Bobby made a lot of promises that he never made good on, such as dropping high and outrageous commissary prices, giving us exercise equipment, showing better quality movies, adding more TV channels, taking handcuffs off of prisoners while we are visiting our loved ones, and giving us extra phone calls other than the one (1) per month we are currently receiving. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sean Swain on the Anarchy Bridge!


Dear Occupy Cleveland Spokesperson
            (If you Really are a Spokesperson),

            I saw a segment on Fox 8 News out of Cleveland where, in a statement, you denounced the action of five Anarchists who allegedly intended to blow up a bridge. You denounced political violence, saying that it provokes the government to “take away our rights.”
            Before I address your denunciation of political violence, I would like to correct an error in your statement. Governments do not take away rights. They cannot take them away because governments cannot bestow rights in the first place. Rights are rights. They are ours. Governments can recognize the right or not recognize the right, whatever the case may be, but you possess the right in any regard. If a government does not recognize your rights, then you have a duty to yourself and to your rights (and everyone else subjected to tyranny) to compel the government to recognize your rights.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Prisoner Support Art

Greg Curry is currently incarcerated at Ohio State Penitentiary on false charges relating to the 1993 Lucasville Uprising. More from him can be found here.

Story of Healing and Forgiveness.

Last week I got a call from a woman who wanted to talk about creating a victim reconciliation program for people incarcerated in Ohio. Her name is Lynette Grace and she's a survivor of a violent crime. She has, completely on her own, reconciled with Johnny Bell, the man who stabbed her 20 years ago.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

About Sean Swain

Sean Swain is a hostage held by a lawless rogue-state calling itself  “The State of Ohio”(1) He has been held without a legal conviction or sentence since 1991 for the self-defense killing of a court official’s relative who broke into Sean’s home and threatened his life. In 2011, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority gave Sean a continuance of 5 years without notifying his counsel of a full-board hearing as required by statute. None of the State’s laws apply in Sean Swain’s case. His next parole eligibility date is in 2016 but there is no reason to believe the State will have any greater regard for justice or truth than it does now, so Sean has stated that he will not attend that hearing.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Letter Writing Night for Cece McDonald May 29th

Come enjoy some company while lending support to someone going to prison for defending herself.

Tuesday, May 29, 7PM Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N High.

On June 5, 2011, Chrishaun 'CeCe' McDonald, a 23-year-old transgender woman of color, was walking to the grocery store with friends after midnight when a group of white bar patrons began screaming racist and transphobic slurs at them. CeCe was assaulted with a broken glass, puncturing her cheek and during the fight that followed, Dean Schmitz, a white man with a swastika tattoo was fatally stabbed. CeCe was charged with second degree murder, despite the fact that she and her friends acted in self-defense. On May 2nd, Cece pleaded guilty to second degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 41 months in prison.

Join us in calling for an end to racist, transphobic violence in our communities as we send letters of love and support to CeCe!


http://www.facebook.com/events/473203496029641/

COINTELPRO Workshop and Discussion.



What: We grew up believing we had the legally protected right to petition our government for redress of grievances. However in the 1960's-70's COINTELPRO disagreed. This government-run program targeted and harmed many individuals and organizations who are now recognized as visionary & heroic (Dr Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Albert Einstein, NAACP, CORE, Southern Christian Leadership Council, etc.) Since then both the Bush & Obama administrations have passed legislation further erroding our rights to dissent and eliminating many vital "due process" protections for both American Citizens & Foreign Nationals. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

An Open Letter to Five Anarchists Accursed of the Intended Bombing of a Bridge in Cleveland.


18MAY12
Dear Friend,

            I don’t know your names. All I know is what corporate news media has reported. They say you are Anarchists, that you intended to blow up a bridge, and that you purchased what you believed to be explosives from a federal informant. I don’t know how much of that is true.
            I am going to assume for purposes of this letter that you are Anarchists. I hope that you are. In a world filled with mindless worshipers of hierarchy, freedom-loving Anarchists are too few and far between. I hope you to be Anarchists, just as I hope everyone to become Anarchists, to swear off slavery to bosses and tyrants and profiteers.
            I will also assume that you intended to blow up a bridge. I hope that this is true also. We are enslaved by a sprawling system that forces us to live poor, butchered half-lives, that reduces us to drones; it can only continue with our participation, and when we work to directly obstruct and sabotage that system, we create free space for greater resistance.
            By my way of thinking, you would not be destroying a bridge. You would be creating a future where there would be the absence of a bridge, and therefore the absence of a tool used by the larger machinery of enslavement.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

OSP Hunger Strike Ends.


Wednesday, May 9th, 2012, Youngstown OH- OSP Hunger Strike Ends. After long negotiations with Warden David Bobby on Monday, May 7th, the hunger-striking prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) began eating again. Two of the men held out through Tuesday, unsatisfied with the agreement. The warden met with them separately, and they agreed to come off the strike. Warden Bobby reported that "by lunch time today, everyone was eating." This was confirmed by two prisoner sources. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Senate Bill 70 creates an Arsonist Registry




The state of Ohio has decided to "fight" arson by creating a registry for people with arson records, similar to the sex crime registries. The above video introduces the topic, but (like all mainstream news) fails to explain why the state is addressing a problem caused by poverty, financial speculation, and poor urban management by stigmatizing and extending punishment for formerly incarcerated people.

OSP Hunger Strike Enters Second Week.


OSP Hunger Strike Enters Second Week.

Monday May 7th, 2012, Youngstown OH- Prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) continue the hunger strike they started on Monday April 30th, in solidarity with May Day. 

The number of prisoners refusing food has fluctuated from 24 to 48 over the last week, as some prisoners joined late. Communication with the super max prisoners has been limited since the beginning of the strike, but a clear list of grievances and demands has emerged from at least two sources. 

The two primary demands are:
1. Improved commissary practices and increased state pay. The prison commissary can set prices at up to 35% mark-up on basic necessities like shampoo, food, and soap. These prices fluctuate unexpectedly, and are often prohibitive to prisoners without outside support, as state pay is only $9 a month.

2. A transparent and accountable security level classification process. OSP houses level 4 and 5 prisoners, the highest security level in Ohio. Once prisoners are classified at these levels and transferred to OSP, there is no clear process for how they can reduce their level and get transferred out of the facility. Prisoners can spend years in OSP without any negative conduct reports and still have no hope of their level being reduced. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ohio Super Max Prisoners on Hunger Strike


Thursday, May 3: Ohio Super Max Hunger Strike Continues and Expands

 According to a level 5 prisoner participating in the hunger strike at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP) there are forty-eight (48) prisoners who have refused nine meals and should be officially recognized as on hunger strike. Warden Bobby has not returned calls requesting information about the hunger strike.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Ohio Death Penalty Update...

After months of successful delays, court battles and saved lives, the state of Ohio has resumed murdering it's prisoners.

From Ohio Prison Watch...

http://ohioprisonwatch.blogspot.com/2012/04/state-of-ohio-murders-prisoner.html

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Open Letter to the Occupy Movement

Ohio prisoners are talking about Occupy4Prisoners a lot recently. They, and some of us on the outside really want to see more coordinated protests and actions in the future. Not just a token day, but a part to play in solidarity with whatever social movements are erupting and challenging power anywhere in the country. May day? The anniversary of OWS? Why shouldn't these also be Occupy for Prisoners day?
If you think prisons are a side-issue and the real problem is the banks or the housing bubble or inequality or something like that, then I urge you to please read the following as well as the OSP hunger strike press releases and these other things we've put out recently. All come from the pens and typewriters of Ohio prisoners. All show us what we all have in common. All contain valuable wisdom for the movement. These prisoners all show a commitment to struggle that anyone seeking any kind of change in america would be a fool to ignore.
For more information about the footnote on the bottom of the first page, see this post.

Monday, February 27, 2012

ART SHOW!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Wormzone for art show - it was a huge success!  The night was full of music, good conversation, and even a cooking demonstration.  PLUS, we made more than $700 that will be distributed among the artists.  Wow.

We plan to do it again this spring or summer, so if you know anyone inside, let em' know!  

Pictures will come soon.


RedBird goes to CANADA!

Yes, we went to Canada in February, and yes, it was totally worth the harrowing drive through a snowstorm, the bad motel room, and the hour-long stop at the border . . .

The reason for our adventure?  A conference called 'Breaking Bars, Building Bridges

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sean Swain: In Defense of Cece McDonald

http://supportcece.wordpress.com/


I have read about the case of Cece McDonald, who was attacked because she is a transgendered woman of color. She is now charged with two counts of murder because she survived and her attackers didn't. I don't know, but I suspect no police were present to protect Cece when she was attacked. No prosecutors. No judges. 
Cece was left to protect herself, so she did. She protected herself in the absence of police, prosecutors, and judges.

Occupy 4 Prisoners Demonstration


On Monday February 20th, the Occupy Movement called for a National Day of Occupation for Prisoners. There were actions all across the country. In Columbus, we had a workshop, delivered some letters, and supported friends inside who went on a hunger strike.

These are videos of the letter delivery action, so the fascists can never say we didn't ask them nicely.

Monday, February 20, 2012

OSP Occupy4Prisoners hunger strike

Siddique Abdullah Hasan


On Thursday Feb 23rd, Hasan recorded a statement about the hunger strike for PrisonRadio.org. Audio of that statement is available here.

Feb 23 Press Release
On Wednesday evening, twenty-five prisoners at Ohio's super-max prison ate their first meal since Sunday night. The hunger strike was inspired by the Occupy4Prisoners National Day of Action called by Occupy Oakland. According to Siddique Abdullah Hasan, one of the hunger strikers, they initially intended a one day fast as a "symbolic gesture, a way of locking arms with the people on the outside."