Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’
‘Woolf Report: 25 Years On & Nothing Has Changed’ – An article by John Bowden about the prison system’s latest attempt to obstruct his move to an open prison (UK)
Friday, May 1st, 2015
In April this year, the 25th anniversary of the Strangeways prison uprising, Lord Justice Woolf, who led the inquiry into the uprising, claimed that conditions in most British jails were now even worse than they had been before Strangeways erupted in 1990.
The treatment of those prisoners confined to usually overcrowded local remand and post-sentence jails (of which Strangeways was and is one), where the great bulk of the prison population are held, has always been significantly worse than the treatment of prisoners in more long-term establishments where the potential for collective unrest has always been traditionally greater.
Prison staff employed in over crowded local jails argue that the transient and difficult to control and manage population of such institutions, coupled with severe cut-backs in staffing levels, make all but the most basic functions of control and containment extremely difficult if not impossible. The operational reality of such an argument finds expression in virtual lock-down regimes and a wholesale warehousing of prisoners, as well as an overtly repressive response to any perceived potential loss or compromise of total control, all ingredients of what caused the Strangeways prison uprising in 1990.
Greenock prison near Glasgow is an archetypal local jail; antiquated Victorian architecture and conditions, and an attitude and behaviour amongst some staff that is often openly contemptuous of prisoners, underpinned by a relationship of power that renders prisoners always vulnerable to abuse. (more…)
Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
From a comrade of ABC Brighton:
The growth of what some have described as the “prison industrial complex” and the unleashing of economic free market forces upon the prison system by a government ideologically-driven to sell off or “out source” virtually every state function has created the spectre of a prison population utilised as essentially a source of cheap, forced labour for an increasingly avaricious neo-liberal capitalism. There is no starker example of organised modern slavery.
In the US, the epicentre of the prison industrial complex, the exploitation of cheap convict labour takes place on an industrial scale and in poor urban areas, especially districts with a majority poor Afro-American population, prisons are increasingly replacing factories as places where the criminalised poor are confined and exploited by multi-national security corporations.
In Britain, whose criminal justice system is becoming almost a mirror-image of it’s American counterpart, the exploitation of cheap convict labour by private companies is increasingly as is the ownership of entire chunks of the prison system. More and more prisoners are dealt with and treated not as offenders to be rehabilitated but as a source of considerable profit for an economic elite not hamstrung by wishy-washy concepts such as public service or moral conscience in the treatment of prisoners. (more…)
Friday, January 9th, 2015
325 receives and transmits:
Nihilist-anarchist solidarity freesheet 1st issue with articles highlighting an animal testing congress in Scotland in March 2015; against fracking; against anthropocentric values; about Glasgow Anarchist Black Cross.
This periodical bulletin exists to widen the current of a nihilist-anarchist critique in Scotland and whatever that may bring. It is your sole responsibility to steal back your life. However, if you are content with shitty food, mundane shopping, police surveillance, civility, boredom and a slow death from cancer and pollution, then perhaps this publication is not for you… We do not care for “recruits”
nor do we seek to seem reasonable in the eyes of anyone. – Until next time (A)
Sunday, October 19th, 2014
Congress 2015 – 17-20th March, Scotland.
“The main purpose of Congress is to introduce Animal Technologists to the latest developments in all aspects of animal based research and technology.”
In the same year that SHAC ceases to exist as a campaign, the Institute of Animal Technology have organised this 3 day event [last year it was held in Blackpool, the year before in the south of England], where people who experiment on animals, in those horrific ways we have all seen from undercover footage, will be able to walk, talk, eat and give lectures freely without any thought to opposition.
The breakdown of the most effective anti-vivisection campaign on the planet appears to have given these people a “free-for-all” mentality, this conference is quite possibly party time for the oppressor. A celebration of animal research, a way to say they have won the war against animal rights campaigners. What else could this openness of a 3 day conference be exactly? (more…)
Letter appeal on behalf of John Bowden, long-term radical social prisoner, about the criminalisation of the Anarchist Black Cross (UK)
Friday, July 11th, 2014
via a comrade of Anarchist Black Cross Brighton:
In 2007 my association with the Anarchist Black Cross was considered a compelling enough reason by the prison authorities to prevent my release, despite the subsequent exposure of the lies manufactured by a prison administration regarding the nature and activities of ABC.
In the summer of 2007 following my transfer to an open jail, Castle Huntley near Dundee, after almost three decades of imprisonment, a prison-hired social worker at the jail, Matthew Stillman, submitted a report to the Parole Board in which he claimed I was linked to what he described as a “terrorist group”, specifically naming ABC, and had received visits from “terrorists” also linked to ABC. As a consequence of Stillman’s allegation I was transferred back to a maximum-security prison. (more…)
Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Please sign the petition to the Parole Board for England and Wales and the Scottish Prison Service to release John Bowden
Imprisonment as a human experience probably has it’s closest parallel in slavery. People in prison are systematically stripped of basic human dignity and bodily integrity and reduced to the condition of caged animals. In terms of their relationship with the state and those who directly oversee and enforce their captivity prisoners are disempowered to the extent where even their most elemental of human rights are frequently treated with contempt and are in reality non-existent. By it’s very nature and intrinsic purpose imprisonment denies the imprisoned their very humanity. As a system and institution prison is incapable of being reformed and it most definitely doesn’t “rehabilitate” those held within it, and neither is it intended to; how can degrading and humiliating a human being improve the condition of their minds and characters. How can imprisoning and de-socialising someone make them more able and inclined to integrate back into “normal” society when they’ve emerged from such a brutalising and alienating experience? Prisons prime purpose is to punish and suppress and enforce social and political control – it is nothing more than a weapon of the state. (more…)
‘Americanisation of the British criminal justice system’ by long-term social prisoner John Bowden (UK)
Monday, February 17th, 2014
From a comrade of ABC Brighton:
A recent Government announcement that it was considering introducing U.S. style prison sentences like a hundred years custody for the most serious offences is on one level a straightforward attempt to undermine a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling that life sentence prisoners should be given some hope that their sentences will be reviewed before they die, and on another level evidence that the Americanisation of the British criminal justice system continues to increase and deepen.
Apart from the probable introduction of prison sentences that are in effect a slow form of capital punishment, an American penology has characterised the treatment of British prisoners for quite some time in the form of the treatment model with its psychology-based programmes and courses designed and inspired by Canadian and U.S. ideologies regarding “offending behaviour”, which is attributed not so much to social and environmental causes but more the individual pathology of the “offender”. So the fact that the prison population is drawn disproportionately from the poorest and most disadvantaged group in society is of absolutely no significance and instead a crude behaviourist notion prevails that providing prisoners can be re-socialised into behaving in a “normal” way then “offending behaviour” can be exorcised from their thinking before they’re released back into the same desperate economic and social circumstances. (more…)
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
RESIST-SELF ORGANIZE-FIGHT BACK
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, 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
Monday, March 12th, 2012
It seems that the state and its loyal agents in HMP Shotts, Scotland, are currently manufacturing reasons to present to the parole board as to why John Bowden should be kept in jail. One of the entries in the ‘Parole Intelligence Summary’ says: “Intelligence provides that Bowden either posts blogs or has them posted on his behalf on the following website: http://breakallchains.blogspot.com/. Further intelligence provides that this website is pro-prisoner and anti-establishment. So it seems that even writing anything supporting prisoners’ rights is sufficient reason to keep John in jail – he’s not being kept in because they consider him a risk to the public. (more…)
Friday, March 2nd, 2012
325 receives and transmits:
“Towards the end of last year the super quarry at Bardon Hill in Leictershire was sabotaged. This is the flagship quarry of Bardon Aggrigates, subsiduary of Aggrigate Industries, the company removing mountain tops for roadstone in Glensanda Scotland. Bardon Hill Quarry is a mile across and over quarter of a mile deep, and is removing a hillside that is designated as a SSSI. They are planning to extend this quarry to new areas using over three miles of conveyers to transport the stone. During the week bore holes were dug for the new expansion visitors climbed down into the quarry over night destroying engines and hydraulics, gluing locks, and drilling tires. You could stand in the buckets of the excavators and the wheels of the trucks were over eight feet tall. 3 excavators, 1 bulldozer, and 4 dumper trucks were sabotaged.”
Saturday, March 26th, 2011
The use by the prison system of in-house psychologists to medicalise the personality of “difficult” prisoners and prolong their imprisonment has become wide-spread and institutionalised. Historically the involvement and collusion of prison-hired doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists in the ill-treatment and repression of prisoners has a long and infamous tradition. In the 1960s and 1970s compliant prison psychiatrists frequently and unlawfully assisted prison staff to control and subdue “unmanageable” prisoners by forcefully administering psychotropic drugs in a practice known as the “liquid cosh”. (more…)
Thursday, March 24th, 2011
20 March 2011
“On Equinox night last Sunday two huge graders at Broken Cross Open Cast Coal Site in South Lanarkshire were trashed. One of them was as big as a three story building and used to load coal on to lorries, headed for railheads and power stations. Hydraulics, electrics and steel cables were cut, and anything breakable was broken. They won’t be used for a while.
This action was taken by autonomous activists in solidarity with all those opposing corporate rule and ecological suicide, and despite ever increasing security at Scottish Coal’s mines in the area. Scottish Coal will soon be applying for three new open cast mines in the Douglas Valley, including a whole new 1 million tonne extension to Broken Cross, extending the life of the mine and its impacts on the people around it for years to come.
Fuck Scottish Coal.”
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
20 March 2011
“Extensive damage done to four dumper trucks, two large excavators, two heavy duty bulldozers, a generator and a pump.
On Equinox night we entered the gravel and coal opencast extraction site at Castlebridge near Rosewell, Mid Lothian. The absence of security and the conveniently unlocked cabs made our night very productive. Tyres were drilled, hydraulics and electronics cut. Inside the cabs we found all sorts of expensive goodies like GPS, radios and various dials and screens to rip out and smash. The excavators had a bewildering array of electronic panels and engines the size of cars, we did what we could to immobilise these machines that destroy our health and that of the earth.
Scottish Coal will repair what was done, but hopefully at great cost.
We took this action in solidarity with the communities of the Douglas Valley who are currently resisting plans to roll out three new mines over the next couple of years. We aim to undermine the use of coal as a fuel in this country as we will always be reliant on extraction elsewhere in the world, where the damage done to environment and communities is potentially much worse.
Love, Rage and Bolt Croppers.”
Monday, November 1st, 2010
29 October 2010
“Extensive damage has been caused to a mobile vertical borehole drilling machine at the proposed Glentaggart East open cast coal mine in South Lanarkshire. This action, taken during the night of the 29th of October, was carried out anonymously by those acting in solidarity with The Happendon Wood Action Camp (THWAC), and in support of the residents of the Douglas Valley.
The sabotage was carried out as an act of resistance to Scottish Coal’s recently submitted proposals to begin open cast coal mining on a new site between the current Glentaggart and Mainshill mines and to begin work at two new sites in the area, including yet another extension to Broken Cross as well as in Auldton Hights, nearby Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire.
No longer shall Scottish Coal and South Lanarkshire Council be allowed to continue their rape and pillage of the land. We refuse to stand by as they rip open the ground and gouge out its flesh for their profit and at the local communities detriment. We take this action as a statement of the fact that we will not see human greed create a world where the food is too posionous to eat, the water is too defiled to drink and the air is too polluted to breathe, whilst all around us the climate is thrown into chaos as the sky falls on our heads whilst the seas come up to our necks.
End Civ Now!”