5E: Letter from Amélie (Mexico)
Translated from french by sabotagemedia
February 23, Santa Martha prison, Mexico DF
On the evening of January 5, I was arrested with my comrades Fallon and Carlos for allegedly attacking the office of the Federal Secretary of Communications and Transportation of Mexico, and also a Nissan dealership. Windows were broken and molotov cocktails were thrown inside the ministry, (according to what the evidence says) and inside the new cars of the dealership. Damages are evaluated to more than 70 000 pesos at the ministry and 100 000 pesos at Nissan.
Indeed, I’m an anarchist and live in Montreal, Canada. I was traveling in Mexico, and now my trip is being prolonged some time.
After being arrested, they locked us up for 96 hours, and then transfered us at the Federal Centre of Arraigo – without prior having seen a judge. We were held captive for 40 days. In a cell, 23 hours per day, a cigarette a day, smoked in 10 minutes; 3 meals per day, but with only 10 minutes to eat each time, without talking; not allowed to have a pencil; 9 minutes of phone per day… In short, it was a long wait, and there was nothing more than Mexican “telenovelas” playing on tv all day. Luckily our friends sent us some books! Thanks, I don’t know how I could have survived without.
On day 40, the General Prosecutor of the Republic (PGR – federal) transfered our files to the PGJ (state police) because they have no evidence to charge us of a federal crime. Thus, since February 17, Fallon and I are at “Santa Martha” State penitentiary for women in Mexico City, where we were transfered, and Carlos is at “Oriente” State penitentiary for men 20 minutes from us. Here, it’s a micro-society surrounded by cement and barbed-wire, but where you can do as you wish inside.
At the moment of writing this text, its 7:30 am. I’m in the yard and I’m looking at the sun rising behind the watchtower occupying the scenery. Actually, I almost feel like I’m in the yard of an apartment block when i look at the building with clothes hanging from windows without bars. There’s plenty of pigeons, garbagecans, yellowed grass, and barbed-wire. There’s also plenty of people with their own stories.
Prisons are necessary for maintaining social peace, as are cops. It is the domination and control that permits this sickening world to persist. Prison means fear, the unknown, shame, solitude, isolation. Society is the domestication of individuals into “good citizens”. Thus, my strength as individual takes root in the refusal of fear being a limit in my life. For sure I’m afraid, like everyone, of many things, but my desires of freedom are stronger. Fear is often constructed, and is deconstructed when we face it. What’s important is to see further, beyond the boundaries and borders, beyond the walls, mountains, rivers and oceans.
I don’t know how long I’m here for, but i don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m confident that outside the struggle goes on, and people meet, love each other, hate each other, live, dammit. In fact I’m not comfortable with people focusing on our case without engaging their own struggles in their own contexts. I believe that the best solidarity is built in the sharing of individual and collective strengths. The worst thing for me would be that nothing goes on outside while were held captive, but I know my friends continue despite the difficulties we must face. My reality as an anarchist in prison is a fact among others with which we have to adapt. The most difficult is often to maintain and protect bonds of trust with comrades whom we have affinity with, for long term thinking. When it is possible, unimaginable possibilities emerge.
In that sense, my ideas and analyses remain the same as outside. That’s why I don’t feel like changing my discourse to get peoples support. I greatly appreciate the efforts of solidarity that have been done till now, although, I distance myself from certain initiatives that have been taken in solidarity with us. In Montreal: during a demo that took place in front of the Mexican consulate, the speech denounced torture and human rights violations by the Mexican State. The UN was mentioned in a reformist and progressive tone. Honestly, I appreciate that many people feel concerned with our case, but I refuse to use that illusory reformist discourse. As I see it, injustice, torture and human rights violations are integral parts of the world as it is. Rights are regulated by the State and are suspended at any moment as needed. Furthermore, it promotes democratic ideology (rights for citizens), the biggest of illusions. And most of all, to support our ideas with references to instances of power like the UN cannot build a strong anti-authoritarian struggle. It’s not by trying to influence public opinion with reformist discourse that we will build strong foundations for an struggle impossible to recuperate.
I must say I honestly have nothing to do with student and worker unions, and that even in the “syndicalisme de combat” [transl. combat unionism] very fashionable back home, in Montreal. Those organizations are formal and bureaucratic. They reproduce “direct democracy”. Those are the same structures I want to destroy, which impose distance between individuals, and the way they relate to the world and to the living. Formality, bureaucracy, law, and institutionalization transform the relationship between people. They immobilize the constant possibilities of transformation, exactly as political parties do. They try to organize and lead the “formless masses”
Therefore, there is an obvious contradiction: we’ve received support from student associations in Quebec. For my part, I have no problems with accepting money which will without doubt help us out of prison. But I must say that these organizations have nothing revolutionary about them. They’re rotten to the core. They’re based on Maoist organizational structures and are totally formal, with their politicians procedural code. This language is incomprehensible. Charismatic speakers manipulate the votes of the masses by expressing what the majority wants to hear rather than speaking from the heart. Crowds of 100 000 people march like zombies, sing and repeat the same reformist slogans and then return home, to their daily routine.
In the situation in which I find myself, waiting for my sentence or my release, to express openly that I am an anarchist can put me in a precarious situation. I chose to do so anyway. Many times, I felt the need to communicate with other anarchists who have experienced similar situations. When confronting State repression, there are several ways to react. I think that using a moderate discourse provides privileges, such as getting out of jail faster, obtaining financing or social acceptance. But I think as long as the words and deeds will be moderate, it will be difficult to spread insurrectional and anti-authoritarian practices. That is why it is important to communicate my ideas openly and knowingly.
I do not know how long I will be locked up here, but one thing is certain: it will not be for a lifetime. I am fortunate to have great friends and comrades in struggles, and I do not feel alone. The strength and courage are found first in oneself. There is a universe of possibilities, here as elsewhere. All forms of domination are to be fought, those that create the structures and institutions as much as those who interfere in our relationships. There is no heaven or perfect world. Freedom is the permanent movement and conflict, in confrontation with the world of images, symbols and appearances. Freedom is the destruction of the structures of domination over our lives. In Mexico, Montreal, France, Vancouver, United States, Spain, Greece, Chile, Egypt, Belgium, Italy, Germany, England, Holland, I greet my friends and comrades of struggle. For total freedom, I wish for links to be forged in the struggle.
With love, down with all the prison walls
To write to Amélie and Fallon:
Centro Feminil de Reinsercion social Santa Martha Acatilla
Amélie Trudeau / Fallon Rouiller
Iztapalapa No 4037
Colonia Santa Martha Acatitla
This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 at 8:16 pm and is filed under Prison Struggle.