Posts Tagged ‘John Bowden’
Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
via a comrade of Brighton ABC:
On November 6th the Parole Board for England and Wales carried out it’s statutory obligation to review my continued detention after more than three decades in prison and many years beyond what the judiciary originally recommended I should serve in jail. Following an earlier parole hearing in May 2011 the board had recommended my transfer to an open prison in preparation for my release 12 months hence. Almost three years later I remain in a maximum-security prison because of what the prison system and a criminal justice system social worker claim is my politicised anti-authoritarian attitude and “rigid belief system” that is antipathetic to my being properly supervised outside a custodial setting. No one who gave evidence at the parole hearing, even representatives of the prison system, claimed that I represented any sort of threat or risk to the community, the usual reason or criterion for the continued detention of a life sentence prisoner beyond what the judiciary had originally recommended as the appropriate length of time they should serve in jail. (more…)
Sunday, October 27th, 2013
via a comrade of Brighton ABC:
Neo-liberalism, an ideology and concept usually associated with a particularly ruthless brand of free-market economics, has now reached into the very core services of the state and institutions that were once considered strictly off limits to financial speculators and entrepreneurs: the NHS, the prison system and the criminal justice system. Neo-liberalism doesn’t just involve a massive shift of economic power and wealth to an already extremely powerful and wealthy social group, but also a fundamental shift in the philosophy and policy of organisations like the welfare and criminal justice systems, both of whose ‘clients’ are now increasingly lumped together as an undifferentiated mass of the ‘undeserving poor’ or an always potentially criminal ‘underclass’ requiring an equal degree of punitive supervision, surveillance and ‘management’. For the poor the welfare state is becoming increasingly like a carceral state. (more…)
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
As modern monuments to naked and undisguised state power prisons, it would be reasonable to assume, are institutions where those confined are so completely disempowered and stripped of social distinctions that a kind of elemental human
solidarity must surely prevail amongst them. Surely power in such places would be concentrated solely in the hands of the guards or those who employ them, while the prisoners exist as a powerless uniform mass, voiceless and compliant and denied even bodily integrity and self-autonomy? “Ghosts of the civil dead” is probably the most apt description of the imprisoned.
In fact, as in any society or human group, power within prisons is a very dynamic phenomenon that shifts and changes and sometimes alters the balance and nature of control. It also manifests itself in crude hierarchies of power amongst
prisoners themselves, class systems almost that create another layer of oppression in prison. (more…)
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013
After publishing Close Supervision Centres – Torture Units in the UK in April 2012, we received correspondence from people that had been held in CSCs or who had known family or friends who are or have been. A year on and conditions in the CSCs are no better. This is a brief follow up to serve as an accompanying publication to the original, keeping information coming out about what is going on…
With letters from inside the CSC system and articles and responses from people that have been struggling against this ugly regime, this follow up publication updates news of the continuing struggle and provides up to date addresses to contact the contributors.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
The governments Legal Aid and Punishment Act 2012 which came into effect in April 2013 represents one of the Tories [Conservative Party - ruling right-wing political party in UK] most serious and vicious attacks on the poorest and most disadvantaged groups in terms of their relationship with an increasingly more repressive state, removing as it does the right to publicly funded legal redress for the already most powerless in society.
The Act also targets prison litigation, which right-wing Justice Minister Chris Grayling claims is “unnecessary and frivolous”. In fact, the Act attacks what were previously legally enforceable basic rights for people in prison and now creates a total legal vacuum as far as those rights are concerned whilst encouraging the prison authorities to do exactly as it pleases with those in it’s custody. Andrew Neilson of the Howard League for Penal Reform has warned that “without prisoners being able to access legal aid we may see a collapse in justice in the very place where it should be paramount – within prison walls”. (more…)
Sunday, May 12th, 2013
Right-wing Tory Justice Minister Chris Grayling’s declaration in late April that prisoners would now be made to “earn” basic privileges by “working harder” probably wasn’t just the usual “popularist” promise to stick the boot into one of the most powerless and demoralised social groups. During times of economic austerity and potential social unrest scapegoating marginalised and outcast groups like prisoners, is always useful as a means of deflecting and re-focusing public anger away from the true culprits of the country’s economic ruination, in this case Grayling’s pals in the city of London. Behind the rhetoric and the guise of “getting tough” on prisoners is the actual purpose of the prison industrial complex: to turn prisons into privatised forced-labour factories. (more…)
Monday, April 22nd, 2013
John is now back at Shotts prison recovering from an operation to have a disc removed from his back, after being laid up in bed for two weeks with severe back pain. He’s still feeling quite weak and unsteady on his feet but hopefully he’s now on the mend. His recent hospitalisation meant he had a pile of mail waiting for him when he returned on Saturday 20th April. He thanks people for their letters and says he will answer them in due course.
You can send your wishes for a quick recovery to:
Monday, March 4th, 2013
Fyoder Dostoevsky, the Russian novelist and sometimes political dissident, once wisely observed that a good barometer of the level and quality of a society’s civilisation is the way it treats it’s prisoners, the most dis-empowered of all social groups.
There has of course always existed a sort of socially organic and dynamic relationship between prison society and the wider ordinary society beyond it’s walls, and the treatment of prisoners is usually an accurate reflection of the relationship of power that prevails between the state and ordinary working class people in the broader society. It is how political power is shaped and negotiated between the state and the poorer social groups on the outside that essentially determines the treatment of prisoners on the inside. (more…)
Friday, February 15th, 2013
The role of teachers and educational tutors employed by local colleges and contracted to work within the prison system can be a conflicting and potentially very hazardous one. Empowering prisoners with knowledge in an environment intrinsically organised to disempower them can sometimes be a dangerous activity.
Unlike the function and role of most other types of staff working within prisons (guards, probation officers, social workers and psychologists etc.) that revolve around the containment, control and disempowerment of prisoners, teaching within jails usually involves a relationship with prisoners that is often inimical to that custody and control dimension of prisons. The uniformed guards who basically control and maintain ‘discipline’ in prisons instinctively understand the empowering influence of education on prisoners, which is essentially why they view civilian teachers working within prisons with suspicion and as an always potentially weak link in the chain of security and ‘discipline’ (control), whose loyalty is always in question. There is a very strong and all-pervading occupational culture amongst prison guards that views any attempt to empower and humanise those over whom they exact an absolute degree of power as just another step to a liberalism that undermines and weakens the basic function of the prison – punishment and absolute control. It’s an attitude and culture that teachers working within prisons are confronted by every day, as well as a balance of institutional power firmly tipped in favour of the guards, who charged with maintaining the physical security of the prison will always inevitably label teachers who question their authority and power as a ‘security risk’, which is a sure way of getting them removed from the prison and recalled to a local college usually desperate to protect and continue it’s contract with the prison system. (more…)
Friday, January 11th, 2013
325 receives and transmits:
Last night [10/1/13], we did it once again. Direct action based on our revolutionary values, as nihilists, as individualists and as an expression of the hatred of this society. Covered by the night, we burned a private car in Tomohon (small city in North Sulawesi), owned by an unknown person. It was a car located near the local TV station in that town. A car as a symbol of slavery, eco-disaster and the meaninglessness of life.
We believe, through direct action each revolutionary can speak, even separated by continents and nation-state borders. We believe that revolutionary actions speak loud and reach our sisters and brothers in the Informal Anarchist Federation – International Revolutionary Front.
We dedicate our action to our brother in arms, Panagiotis Argirou, –revolutionary and proud member of Conspiracy of Cells of Fire– who fell down and has to face surgery. When we heard this news, it hurt our heart. We burned a car to send our warmest revolutionary greetings to you, comrade. To let our enemies know that no revolutionary will be left alone. Strength brother! Fire of health for you.
To other members of Conspiracy of Cells of Fire and revolutionary anarchist, T. Mavropoulos: all of you are never alone. Our actions are also your revenge.
Not to forget to mention our brothers in Italy who are kidnapped by the state and are seized behind bars. To Alfredo Cospito and Nicola Gai. Our hearts always with both of you.
We also want to send our revolutionary greetings to Villa Amalias and all the free spaces that are invaded by our enemies. To all squatters who are kidnapped by pigs of the state. Your bravery inspires us to keep our heads up. ‘Fire’ is how we spell solidarity.
And to all anarchist prisoners: to Ivan and Carla, Freddy, Marcelo and Juan, in Chile, to Henry in Bolivia, to John Bowden, to Gabriel Pombo da Silva, to Marco Camenisch, and others around the world. This fire is a metaphor of hugs from us full of respect, solidarity and anger against Power.
International Conspiracy for Revenge
International Revolutionary Front
Informal Anarchist Federation
Tags: Alfredo Cospito, Argirou Cell / ICR - FRI - FAI, Arson, Car Burning, Carla Verdugo, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire, Conspiracy of Cells of Fire : Imprisoned Members Cell, Freddy Fuentevilla Saa, Gabriel Pombo da Silva, Henry Zegarrundo, Indonesia, Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI), International Conspiracy for Revenge, International Revolutionary Front, Ivan Silva, John Bowden, Juan Aliste Vega, Marcelo Villarroel Sepúlveda, Marco Camenisch, Nicola Gai, Panagiotis Argirou, RO-FAI (Indonesia Section), Theofilos Mavropoulos, Tomohon
Posted in Direct Action
Thursday, January 10th, 2013
State Using ‘Secret Evidence’ To Try And Keep John Bowden Behind Bars
For the past 30 years John Bowden has been at the forefront of the British prison struggle, and is by far our most prolific prisoner writer. Time and again, John’s articles have shone a searchlight into the State’s murky dungeons, exposing brutality and repression, and challenging the very nature of prison. For many years now, John has been held in jail because of his political views and his willingness to challenge injustice. That has never been clearer than now, as the State attempts to use ‘secret evidence’ to keep him behind bars. Leeds ABC
It is relatively rare that prisoners, originally sentenced for non-political offences, become so politicised whilst in jail, that their release is opposed by the prison authorities for exactly that reason.
In the case of life sentence prisoners who have served the “tariff” part of their sentence (or the length of time the judiciary stipulates they should remain in jail), the legal criteria determining their release, or not, are clear and straightforward: Has the prisoner served a sufficient period of time to satisfy the interests of punishment and retribution? Does the prisoner remain a risk to the community? Can the prisoner be safely and effectively supervised in the community post-release? (more…)
Thursday, November 8th, 2012
Act for freedom now/ receives and transmits:
At midnight November 5th around fifteen masked-up anti-authoritarians rolled up outside the grim walls of Cardiff Prison to fire and throw fireworks over the wall, released a smoke bomb at the traffic intersection there. shouting against prisons, screws and the police and with a mobile sound system blasting and spotlights and alarms going off in the prison, the response was righteous from inside!! Prisoners shouted back from their cell windows and there was a big feeling of rage outside and inside meeting in shouts of ACAB and cheers as fireworks banged and whizzed. The fireworks got let off, there was some shouts back and forth then the motley crew disappeared before any cops showed up. (more…)
Friday, October 5th, 2012
“The only sure tactic when prisoners resist and fight back is solidarity.”
John Bowden in ‘Tear Down The Walls’
John Bowden has been in prison more than thirty years for the drunken killing of someone who pulled a knife on him at a party. While John’s two co-defendants were released more than twenty years ago, John remains in a high security prison despite the Parole Board’s recommendations that he be prepared for release. John has been at the forefront of the prison struggle throughout most of his time inside, he quickly developed a political consciousness and a deep understanding of the role of prison in society, as well as a tactical understanding of the power relations between the captured and their captors. (more…)
Monday, September 24th, 2012
Militant prisoner John Bowden has been locked behind bars for more than three decades, and the prison authorities continue to do everything they can to keep him there. In the past, he was punished with beatings and brutality to try and break his spirit, and to stop him participating in organised resistance to prison repression. In more recent years the State have used prison-hired quacks like Matthew Stillman, and now Marc Kozlowski, and scumbag Probation workers like Brendan Barnett to do their dirty work. Despite the recommendations of the Parole Board more than a year ago that John Bowden be moved to an open nick and be prepared for release, the screws are determined to keep John inside.
Leeds ABC are launching a new campaign to get John out of jail, details of a Day of Action, the first salvo in this renewed campaign in support of John, will be posted shortly. We hope that comrades everywhere will join us in supporting John Bowden and in demanding that he be freed from jail.
Below is a link to the Leeds ABC website containing an update of John’s situation:
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
From ABC Leeds:
John Bowden writes about his treatment at the hands of a megalomaniac social worker and an all too acquiescent Parole Board. Further articles by John, and others about his current situation and what you can do to help, can be found on the Leeds ABC website.
In June of 2011, the Parole Board for England and Wales finally carried out its statutory obligation to review my continued imprisonment after 32 years of captivity. Its official terms of reference were clear and straightforward; to be reassured that I represented no risk or danger to the public, (the main legal criteria determining whether a life sentence prisoner is safe to be released or not), and that I could be safely managed or supervised in the community beyond prison. (more…)
Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
FREEDOM FOR JOHN BOWDEN AFTER 32 YEARS OF PRISON – SOLIDARITY IS OUR WEAPON AGAINST THE LIES OF SOCIAL WORKER BRENDAN BARNETT – London ABC Demo report
From LEEDS ABC:
Thanks to everyone who took part in the Day of Action in support of John Bowden yesterday. It has undoubtedly had an impact on those who are used to being able to get away with anything completely challenged. The situation with the lying social worker Brendan Barnett is still unresolved however, and the Parole Board seem apathetic at best. John is still in a high security prison 32 years after he went to jail, he needs our continuing support. Please do whatever you can. (more…)
Saturday, June 9th, 2012
Criminalising the behaviour of working class children and feeding them into the Criminal Justice System is a practice that has existed for generations and is now responsible for Britain having the unenviable reputation of Europe’s worst jailer of children in terms of the numbers imprisoned.
“State raised convicts” form a substantial part of the adult prison population and all share a common genealogy of Children’s Homes, Approved Schools, Borstals and Young Offenders Institutions, and finally the long-term prison system. Many children who through no fault of their own enter the so-called Care System are percentage-wise seriously at risk of graduating into the Criminal Justice System and a life disfigured by institutionalisation and social exclusion. (more…)
Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
From ABC LEEDS:
Day of Action in Support of John Bowden
Monday 11th June
John Bowden is a militant prisoner who has been inside since 1980 (and in fact for most of his life before then). He is serving time for a murder which happened 32 years ago, but John’s two co-defendants have been free for 20 years. John has been writing about, and fighting against, injustice throughout his time behind bars, building up a huge and impressive portfolio of articles about every aspect of the prison struggle. He has paid a heavy price for speaking out though, spending years in the most brutal segregation units, and being targeted for repression time and time again. We do not define John, a good comrade, by the crime he committed 32 years ago, and neither do the State. He is not in jail for what he did then, but for what he has done since. If he did not have anti-authoritarian politics, if he was not a man of integrity who always comes to the defence of his fellow cons, John Bowden would have been out years ago. (more…)
Friday, May 18th, 2012
Important Update: Day of Action in Support of John Bowden – 11th June 2012 (Same day as the International call-out for long-term anarchist & radical prisoners!)
Letter from John Bowden – via ABC Leeds:
Long-term prison militant John Bowden, imprisoned since 1980, is once more facing harassment at the hands of the prison authorities – and all because of another idiot social worker.
Edinburgh Criminal Justice Services, or what used to be known as the plain Social Work Department, have seriously compromised their professional integrity by defending a member of staff who deliberately told lies in a report to the Parole Boards in an attempt to sabotage my chances of release from prison. Behaving like corrupt policemen instead of traditional social workers seems now to be acceptable practice at Edinburgh Social Services. (more…)
Tags: ABC Leeds, Brendan Barnett, Edinburgh Criminal Justice Services, Edinburgh Social Services, Jackie Peters, John Bowden, June 11th Solidarity, Letter, Peter Gabbitas, Repression, Scotland, Sharron Di Ciacca, Sheila Ritchie, Stephen Laird, UK
Posted in Prison Struggle
Thursday, April 26th, 2012
325 receives and transmits:
Here to download – a collaboratively produced pamphlet from inside and outside the prison walls, for printing and distribution about Close Supervision Centres in the UK prison network.
With an introduction by Mark Barnsley of ABC Leeds; many articles and texts from John Bowden, our comrade currently residing in HMP Shotts, Scotland; first hand accounts from inside these maximum security segregation units from prisoners such as Kevan Thakrar and Kyle Major; and many articles, testimonies and denunciations from families, supporters, and other people fighting against these degrading and despicable institutions; this text is a call-out for renewed pressure on the prison system and the web of screws, bureaucrats, health care professionals, managers etc. that enact overt and covert abuses on inmates of the CSC system every day.
The text will be available in paper format soon from Kebele Infoshop, 56a Infoshop, and further afield we hope. Please right click and click save as below to download in electronic format:
CSCs Torture Units in the UK SCREEN (for reading on computer)
CSCs Torture Units in the UK IMPOSED (large file – for printing as booklet)
CSCs Torture Units in the UK A4 (single A4 pages)