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Posts Tagged ‘Irish Republican Prisoners’

Letter from John Bowden, long-term radical prisoner (UK)

Saturday, October 12th, 2019

There is a group of prisoners who although imprisoned for non-political offences subsequently become politicised or radicalised whilst in jail, and in both the USA and Britain this is a phenomenon that has become increasingly widespread.

In the USA during the 1960s and 70s the radicalisation of ordinary black prisoners, in particular, was fostered by the centrality of imprisonment in the experience of black activists and revolutionaries like Malcolm X (who described prisons as “universities of revolution”), Eldridge Cleaver, George Jackson, H Rap Brown, Angela Davis and others. George Jackson described his own politicisation succinctly: “I met Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Engels, and Mao when I entered prison and they redeemed me”.

Thus those whom W.E.B. Dubois described as an “army of the wronged” increasingly defined themselves as political prisoners who were the products of an oppressive political-economic order. This belief underpinned the praxis of radical groups such as the Black Panthers and Symbionese Liberation Army, and prisons were seen as the epicentre of a broader social and political revolution. The call for recognition of radicalised prisoners claim to political status underpinned prisoners’ demands in a series of protests that punctuated the 1970s in U.S. Prisons such as Folsom, Soledad, San Quentin and, later, Attica. (more…)

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Posted in Prison Struggle

Call for Support and Solidarity to the ‘Craigavon 2’ (Northern Ireland)

Monday, August 27th, 2018

ES – Irlanda del Norte – Llamado al apoyo y la solidaridad con los presos del caso ‘Craigavon 2″

From Sacco and Vanzetti to the Craigavon 2

A Call Out for Support and Solidarity

The 23rd of August marks the 91st anniversary of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. They were both executed in the US in 1927 for the robbery of a shoe factory and the killing of a guard and paymaster. During their trial the prosecution produced conflicting ballistic evidence and witness testimony. The defence had several witnesses testifying where the accused men were on the day of the robbery and killings. This should have proven Sacco and Vanzetti innocence but instead both were convicted and sentenced to death. They were killed for their beliefs, they were insurrectionary anarchists “that advocated relentless warfare against a violent and oppressive government.”

Like Sacco and Vanzetti, the state scapegoated Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton (their case is known as the Craigavon 2) , for revenge over killing of a cop and two British soldiers in 2009. The cops arrested and charged several republicans in connection with the killings. In all cases the only real evidence the state had was that all the accused were republicans. Two people, John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville were charged and convicted of the killing of the cop. Two others, Colin Duffy and Brian Shivers, were charged with the killing of the soldiers. The latter were subsequently found not guilty of the killings of the soldiers, the state had no evidence on them. (more…)

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Posted in Prison Struggle

Report from ABC Dublin about Republican Prisoner Solidarity Events (Ireland)

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

7th of August 2016

Dublin Anarchist Black Cross at the Annual Anti-Internment March of Ireland

Sunday.

The Dublin Anarchist Black Cross was in attendance of this year’s anti-internment march. Prior to the march taking place the state put a block on the march from going ahead not giving the march organisers permission to march. This block did not deter people from coming out in support of the march and come out in solidarity with political prisoners in prisons in Ireland….

Over 1,000 people marched from the Busy Bee in Andersonstown in west Belfast, down the Falls Road towards Belfast City Hall. When the march reached the end of the Falls Road the Police had the road blocked with a line/siege of armored Jeeps and armed police preventing the march from reaching its destination.

The march could not go any further, a makeshift platform made from a wooden box was used by speakers to say a few words about the different campaigns they were from. There were speakers from the Justice for The Craigavon Two campaign and the Free Tony Taylor campaign. After the speakers were finished the march ended.

It is the 45th anniversary of internment – administrative detention – imprisonment without trial, which was used to try break a movement that is struggling against British imperialism in Ireland. The decades on since then not a lot has changed in Ireland and through the world, many people still being unjustly locked up and incarcerated… (more…)

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Posted in Prison Struggle

'Prison As Political Battleground' by John Bowden, radical long-term prisoner (UK)

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

From a comrade of ABC Brighton:

Either as a political issue or personal experience prison repression isn’t something the radical left in Britain is particularly familiar with or much inclined to mobilise against. Prison remains largely a working class experience targeted against the poorest and most marginalised of that class. However in a society increasingly polarised and divided between rich and poor in a political climate of growing repression and authoritarianism prisons are being refashioned more and more into instruments of political as well as social control. This will eventually find reflection in the nature and composition of the prisoner population as political activists increasingly supplement the imprisoned poor.

What should characterise the behaviour and attitude of imprisoned political activists towards the prison system? How should those imprisoned for political offences against the system in the “free world” behave and respond once incarcerated in the Belly of the Beast, the steel and concrete innards of the state? (more…)

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'The Subcontraction Of Prison Violence' by John Bowden (UK)

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

From a comrade of ABC Brighton:

Ultimately prisons exist as instruments of state violence, and no matter how legitimized by statuary law their prime function and purpose is to inflict pain and suffering in the interests of social control. They are nothing more than blunt weapons of state power and ruling class authority and for those confined within them the experience of naked vulnerability and brutality is a constant every day reality.

Control within prisons themselves is maintained by a mixture and blend of officially sanctioned violence in the form of riot-squads, control units, segregation-units and “control and restraint teams” and the more unofficial forms of violence inherent in prison gangs and prisoner hierarchies, which ultimately are allowed to exist providing they serve the interests of the system in maintaining the overall prison status quo. Intrinsically prisons embody the iron law that ultimately power equals violence, especially in closed and total institutions like prisons where people, usually the most dispossessed and powerless, are held against their will.

In the UK prisons unofficial violence is an institutionalised and “normal” way whereby prisoners are controlled and terrorised into conforming and it is customary for those officially employed to maintain prison “good order and discipline” to recruit and manipulate prisoners into controlling their fellow captives by any means necessary, even occasionally murder. (more…)

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Posted in Prison Struggle