Posts Tagged ‘Letter’

Italy: Anarchist comrade Nico Aurigemma’s letter from prison – ‘Operation Bialystock’

Thursday, November 5th, 2020

IT | Sull’ Operazione Bialystock – Una lettera di Nico dal carcere

FR | Un texte de Nico, depuis la prison de Terni, sur l’opération Bialystok

EL | Κείμενο του Nico, συλληφθέντα της επιχείρησης Bialystok

(28th September 2020)


These short notes from a brief reading of the papers at my disposal concerning so-called Operation Bialystok were written to enlighten, albeit superficially given my subjective point of view, some of the salient contents of this new anti-anarchist investigation and the consequent repressive developments. The cyclical movements of the social conflict have always been followed by repressive waves, to the point that we often end up stating there is “nothing new under the sun”. However, analysing the changes in paradigm and the instruments being used along with those occurring in society as a whole means we can put them in context, identify their causes and specific goals and develop appropriate strategies of resistance and counter-attack. In fact repression changes and understanding it in its transformations should be of interest to those who are determined “always to do better” in the anarchist struggle against all power.

In the specific case that concerns me the most interesting part is the report that the prosecutor presented to the investigating judge with the request for custodial measures. The “wide overview” that the investigation aspires to is evident right from the first pages, an investigation whose declared goal is that of understanding the recent development of the anarchist movement in the Italian territory and, in the case in point, what some are referring to as the “New Anarchy”. (more…)

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Italia: Comunicato dell’anarchico sardo Davide Delogu

Friday, October 30th, 2020


È un peccato non riuscire a leggere i vostri comunicati. Purtroppo, non potendo scrivere un contributo per la lotta, a causa del muro della censura che blocca, faccio uscire in questi pochi minuti le mie gioiose parole di complicità e tenacia tra noi prigionieri in lotta. Ritengo, infatti, importante la coesione come fattore di crescita della componente rivoluzionaria contro l’attacco del sistema penitenziario nella sua logica di seppellire, controllare e vessare. Una logica che porta avanti con metodi vessatori totalitari e attraverso una politica infame di aggressione con diverse forze autoritarie che agiscono come corpo unico per colpire più forte e per cercare di distruggerci. Contro l’annullamento dell’umano e dei miei principi con la tipologia dell’isolamento nell’isolamento con il 14bis in cui mi trovo, la mia risposta è «guerra».

Io considero che se toccano a uno di noi toccano tutti e ritengo che il mutuo appoggio e la solidarietà combattiva, come sta avvenendo in questa battaglia, possa rafforzare anche noi come corpo che si unisce quando bisogna mettere a compimento l’attacco e contro-attacco al nemico che vorrebbe annientarci. Da parte mia, nonostante tutto, è la conflittualità quotidiana che faccio esplodere contro le continue vessazioni e tutto ciò che esiste. Quindi nessuna pace. Oltre questo, continuo con il rifiuto di recarmi nel merdoso passeggio, lotta che dura già da mesi contro l’isolamento. Inizio lo sciopero del vitto dal 26 ottobre, sciopero che lego allo sciopero del vitto dei compagni dell’AS2 di Terni che hanno dato vita a questo percorso solidale di cui ne vado fiero, insieme a tutti gli altri compagni che partecipano nelle altre galere. Il mio sciopero dell’aria è illimitato mentre quello del vitto proseguirà oltre il 1 novembre, che in 14bis è come se fosse un mezzo sciopero della fame, per esprimere il mio appoggio solidale allo sciopero della fame di Natascia contro la censura. Unisco i miei scontri contro l’isolamento in questo contesto di scioperi per esprimere quindi anche il mio appoggio solidale a Natascia. Il mio sciopero del vitto proseguirà oltre il 1 novembre fino a quando Natascia non terminerà il suo sciopero della fame contro la censura.

Un abbraccio carico di forza di combattere a tutti i compagni e le compagne che dentro stanno andando contro la brutalizzazione del sistema sbarrocratico fino ai suoi accanimenti prepotenti e con l’auspicio che anche fuori si pratichi la rabbia che esplode nella solidarietà diretta più libera di agire.

Presoneri anarchicu, Davide Delogu

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Posted in Prison Struggle

Text from Francesca from the prison of Latina

Friday, October 30th, 2020

In solidarity with anarchist prisoners

Detention conditions in Italian prisons continue to worsen; in the face of the COVID emergency, the demands of the prisoners have remained mostly unheeded, triggering riots in tens of prisons, followed by strong State repression, with punitive transfers and criminal proceedings. In those riots, many prisoners died. The responsibility for those deaths belongs to the State. The changes made by the prison systems since last spring have in many cases meant a reduction in contacts with the outside world, reductions in activities, isolation, making prison conditions increasingly unlivable. To date, there are no signs of improvement, although there would have been plenty of time to act on the situation. The new provisions do not bode well, with even more restrictive measures for the high security sections and an extension of the use of the 41bis regime1 of slow torture that aims to bend the basic structures of individual identities.

In the face of this, those who dare to be against prisons, against the state that manages them and the society that needs them, those who carry out practices of solidarity inside and outside the walls, are increasingly locked up on this side of these walls. The latest anti anarchist investigations are clearly a way to oppose solidarity brought to anarchist prisoners. (more…)

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Letter from imprisoned anarchist comrade Eric King – ‘Flipping the Script’ (U$A)

Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Eric King describes himself as a 33-year-old vegan anarchist political prisoner and poet who was arrested and charged with an attempted firebombing of a Congressperson’s office in Kansas City, Missouri, in September 2014. King was charged with throwing a hammer through a window of the building, followed by two lit Molotov cocktails. The criminal complaint states that both incendiary devices failed to ignite. King was identified as a suspect by local police because he had previously come under suspicion for anti-government and anti-police graffiti. After accepting a non-cooperating plea agreement, King was sentenced to ten years in June 2016. His release date is October 2023. He has served his time in various facilities of the federal Bureau of Prisons, or BOP.

King is currently facing one count of assaulting a government official for an incident that occurred in August 2018 at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Florence. According to King’s account, he was taken into a mop closet, out of sight of prison cameras, and beaten up by a corrections officer. The officer then said that King had assaulted him. King has been housed in a segregation cell at FCI Englewood since August 2019, fighting this charge. Overall, King has spent about three years in solitary confinement. He now faces a maximum of 20 additional years in prison. Read more about Eric King here: supportericking.org.

My toilet is right next to my cellmate’s face, not hyperbolically, it is literally three inches from where he lays his head. I am in the FCI Englewood Secure Housing Unit (SHU)—the oddest SHU in the Bureau surely. In this segregation unit, you will get inmates from the Low [security prison], pre-trial people and folks like myself and my cellie who are on writ [having a court case] from other penitentiaries. This oddball combo makes no sense and causes a localized class system, all a part of the psych-ops of this odd rust bucket of a prison.

On August 17, 2017, I was taken into a mop closet by Super Patriot Lieutenant. I have been in solitary ever since, 19 months and counting. I learned how bad it can get, discovering new ways they can torture you; mentally and physically. Whether being choked while being held in four-point restraints for seven hours, being held in a cell for four days without a functional toilet filled with someone else’s feces, I have seen their brutality and am stronger for it. I hope. (more…)

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Statement from Subversive Comrade Pablo Bahamondes Ortiz in Chile

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

ES | Comunicado del compañero subversivo Pablo Bahamondes Ortiz

Historically, the prison has been designed for those who for various reasons do not fit in or do not submit to the logic of domination and exploitation that the powerful on duty offer as the life we ​​should live.

Prison is one more consequence of our unwavering conviction to declare ourselves eternal enemies of capital, the state and its lackeys. Political prisoners are the ones who assume with our own lives the propagation and expansion of the permanent insurrection against misery and the destruction of humanity as a whole.

Subversion is the essence of every process of struggle, be it popular or revolutionary, which reaches a point where they tend to stagnate as a result of countless events… but mainly where a large part of the organization have agreed to spaces of power, turning to a fight of an institutional nature and framed under the rules of the powerful, thus maintaining the governability of the bourgeois state and seizing the dreams of the poor. (more…)

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Letter from imprisoned anarchist comrade Eric King – ‘Black August 2020 Reflections’ (U$A)

Friday, September 11th, 2020

From AMW:

Hiya pals,

We are midway through Black August and I’ve been doing lots of thinking, fasting, and trying to grow as a person and as a radical anarchist. Lots of fitness, reading, mentally taking stock.

This is my third Black August in SHU. I was thrown into segregation two years ago on August 17th and was kept within for a year pending prosecution; then, after they brought these new charges, we’ve done another year pretrial. It’s been a rough two years filled with restrictions, violence, abuse, but also love strength and friendship. Resistance is strong.

Last year’s Black August was spent partially at USP Lee, where I met Thomas Smith (aka Mad Dog) a blood leader and revolutionary who was also participating. He had been in SHU at that point for 18 months pending an ADX transfer. We fasted together, had long conversations on resistant strength and what it means to be a revolutionary today. I still think of Mad Dog often and encourage everyone to write and send reading material into him. (more…)

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ES/EN – Palabras de la compañera Monica Caballero desde la cárcel de San Miguel ($hile)

Friday, September 4th, 2020

Para lxs antagonistas a este sistema de terror el ingreso a la cárcel siempre es un trago amargo y siempre duele.

La prisión y yo somos viejas conocidas, en mas de una ocasión me han sentado en su mesa, con los años hemos cambiado y ambas hemos aprendido la una de la otra… pero por mas tiempo que pase escencialmente la cárcel y yo seguimos siendo las mismas. La cárcel aun es el monstruo fagocitador de poderes que crece con la sumisión y el arrepentimiento, yo continuo con los mismos deseos sediciosos de antaño.

Lxs poderosxs lograron encerrar mi cuerpo inquieto, trataron de custodiarlo por muchos años, pero aunque esté enjaulada, mi corazón sigue afuera lejos de alambrados, altos muros y ojos vigilantes… el gris de este lugar solo me toca superficialmente.

El presidio es otro escenario mas de lucha en el camino de la confrontación, el enfrentamiento antiautoritario para mi no ha terminado, solamente ha cambiado de forma.
Queridos Juan Aliste, Joaquín García, Marcelo Villarroel y Dinos Giagtzoglou sus palabras son una bocanada de aire fresco en esta celda.

¡Queda mucho por construir y destruir!
Solidaridad activa con los presos politicos mapuche en huelga de hambre.

Viva la Anarquía!

Monica Caballero S.

Presa anarquista.
Santiago Chile
Septiembre 2020.

Letter from imprisoned comrade Monica Caballero in San Miguel prison

For those opposed to this system of terror, prison is always a bitter pill and it always hurts.

Prison and I are old acquaintances, on more than one occasion I have sat at his table, over the years we have changed and we have both learned from one another… but no matter how much time I spend in prison, I remain the same. Prison is still the monstrous phagocyte of power that grows with submission and repentance, and I continue with the same seditious desires of yester-year.

The powerful succeeded in locking up my restless body, they tried to guard it for many years, but even though it is caged, my heart is still out there far from fences, high walls and watchful eyes… the grey of this place only touches me superficially.

The prison is another place of struggle on the road to confrontation, the anti-authoritarian confrontation for me has not finished, it has only changed shape.
Dear Juan Aliste, Joaquín García, Marcelo Villarroel and Dinos Giagtzoglou‘s words are a breath of fresh air in this cell.

There is still much to build and to destroy!
Active solidarity with the Mapuche political prisoners on hunger strike

Long live Anarchy!

Monica Caballero S.
Anarchist prisoner.
Santiago Chile
September 2020.

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Chile: Words from Comrade Joaquín García Chanks on the Arrest of Mónica and Francisco

Monday, August 17th, 2020

ES | Comunicado de Joaquín García Chancks/ Santiago Chile

It seems that Denial does not give rise to any unshakable Truth, Reason or Logic, that from the fight against the falsehood of the existent, only a path sown with doubts results, in which the present and the future are blurred, with a diffuse tinge, a dense fog in which it will always be difficult to navigate, but there is something that brings clarity back to this path; It is the compass of confrontation that appears as the reason behind the inseparable notion of a symbiosis of theory and practice, the point of view of an existence, sometimes errant.

The dynamic of the combat shakes existence to bring it back to life, endowing it with the Fieriness that boredom and monotony often extinguish; the construction of an antagonistic existence then brings with it the capacity to live far from the virtuality imposed by a normality dictated life, the blow by blow of the joyful attack, impeller of the mythical creative destruction and the suffering of when we are not the ones who attack, of prison, death, which flirts with subversion, are the flavors of life, real life, bitter drinks and ambrosia.

Today we are drinking from that bitter drink; two dear brothers and sisters are arrested and charged with placing multiple explosive devices, including the one sent to former Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter and one sent to the fifty-fourth police station in Huechuraba. It is undeniable that both beautiful attacks speak of historical continuity, of the blow of memory that does not forget. The Power disrupted and fearful with the arrest of the alleged perpetrators, who remember, that the revolt was not the culmination of a rebel ecstasy, it is the creation, the turning point of hundreds of lives in combat.

A big hug from afar, full of love, affection and strength for you, Monica Caballero and Francisco Solar.

Long live Anarchy.

Joaquín García Chanks.
Cas. Santiago Chile
14 August 2020

Translated by AWW.

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Text by anarchist comrade Dinos Giagtzoglou: For the day of agitation and propaganda in solidarity with Monica Caballero and Francisco Solar

Sunday, August 16th, 2020

Just like today, 10 years ago, the Chilean State carried out an extensive repressive operation against comrades and anarchist operations in response to the dozens of bombings against symbols and institutions of the State and Capital. This operation, which led to the arrest of ten anarchists and became known as the “Bombs Case”, ended in a fiasco, as the five who were eventually prosecuted were completely acquitted, and were described by the press as the biggest defeat of law enforcement authorities in court history. Today, two of our comrades, Monica and Francisco, who were among those arrested at the time, are again imprisoned in a State that a few months ago slaughtered a massive social uprising that shocked us all.

Arrest and imprisonment are nothing new for our siblings, since in 2013 they were found in the cells of the Spanish State accused of an attack on a cathedral in Zaragoza by the Insurrectional Commando Mateo Morral. The comrades are once again accused of a series of bombings against representatives of the rich, powerful and their defenders in Chilean territory. The attacks included the shipment of two booby-trapped parcels, one of which exploded, leaving eight cops injured (3 of them seriously) at a Santiago police station and the other being located before hitting its target at the subsidiary offices of one of the largest business consortia in Chile (owned by the fourth richest family in Latin America) having as a recipient the head of the legal department, who had served as Minister of Defense and Interior during the crackdown on anarchists known as the “Bombs Case”.

After so many years of persecution and imprisonment, relentless struggles inside and outside prisons, they remain steadfast and convinced of the right of the liberation struggle. It is such examples of combatants that have motivated me too to take subversive initiatives and make choices of resistance to domination and exploitation. In such paths of struggle we want to and must walk constantly with love for life and freedom and without fear for death or prison.

With the undimmed memory of Mauricio Morales,
With passion and determination,
With stubbornness and commitment,
With my heads high,

From the bottom of my heart I send a rebellious signal and a big hug to Monica Caballero and Francisco Solar.


Special underground section of Koridallos prison


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Words from anarchist prisoner Gabriel Pombo Da Silva, Oporto (Portugal)/Badajoz (Spain) – April/May 2020

Monday, August 10th, 2020

Also read : Porto, Portugal – Words from Gabriel Pombo Da Silva (March-April 2020)

Here at Gabriel giugno in Italian you can download Gabriel’s writings, below is the introductive note via: roundrobin.info

Translated to English by Act for freedom now!

Gabriel Pombo Da Silva communique

Gabriel has asked us to select some of his words from his more recent letters and compile a communique addressed to all those who would like to read it, as it is impossible for him to write one now that would get out of the prison where they are holding him kidnapped. The letters in question, which arrived after much delay, are dated from 11th April to 20th May when he wrote the only letter in the prison of Badajoz in Portogal, [he has since been transferred to the prison of Mansilla de las Mulas in León].

Gabriel sends strong hugs to all the comrades who are supporting him sincerely and to all the dignified individuals who continue to struggle for freedom in whatever part of the world they find themselves.

Freedom for Gabriel!
Freedom for all!
Long live Anarchy!

Words from Gabriel Pombo Da Silva, April – May 2020

“… what is happening has no logic or rules… it’s like playing a game of chess where every now and again someone buts in and moves a piece on the board… how can you play or win a game like that? What are the ‘rules’ or the ‘limits’? I can’t even talk about ‘Law’ (regardless of what I think about it) or appeal to ‘Rights’ after all I have gone through… that’s why I am wondering: given that I don’t have any ‘Rights’, what are the ‘rules’ of this struggle? In the end the State’s war against resilient individuals is always dirty, without any ‘rules’…” (more…)

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Italy: Letter of Beppe from Pavia prison

Sunday, July 19th, 2020

The following text is a letter from the anarchist Giuseppe Bruna, imprisoned since May 21st, 2019, for the «Prometeo» repressive operation, currently imprisoned in Pavia prison. To write to him: Giuseppe Bruna, C. C. di Pavia, via Vigentina 85, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

Dearly beloved,

I hope this one of mine finds you well!

I am writing to report a serious situation (yet another!) that I found myself facing between the afternoon of July 3rd and midnight of July 4th! As you will be aware, I have been locked up since about a year in a cell alone in the «protected» section [a section where are held ex-cops, infamous, pedophiles, rapists, ecc.] of Pavia’s jail!, I have always refused such placement by putting in place various forms of struggle (hunger strike, air strike, etc.).

The [incomprehensible word, probably could be «direction»] health care of the Pavia jail, even though I was never underwent any medical examination (even if there was a specific request of the judge for the preliminary investigations, Basilone), stated that I am under treatment (with what?) for my thyroid lymph node (which has never been checked here) and that I had a serious form of bronchopneumonia and in case of need they would have provided to help me!

On Friday (July 3rd), in the afternoon, a big storm arrived on Pavia with gusts of wind, not making time to close the window, the wind closed the blindo [armored door] of my cell, here it often happens when there is a lot of wind… I must point out that the bells to call the guards do not work, you just have to scream! In this case the working prisoner warned the guard on duty, telling him that I was «closed», I heard it from my cell… I haven’t called a guard since I’ve been locked in this sewer, their presence irritates me… Waiting that they would have deigned to reopen the armored door as for everyone in the section, I take care of something else in the cell, knowing that around 9:00 p.m. they would have passed by anyway with the nurse who distributes psycho-pharmaceuticals… at about 8:30 p.m. the zealous guard opens the spyhole of the armored door and I immediately tell him to open the door like all the others, that I am very agitated and I can’t breathe! He answers with a «Yes» and then disappears! Around midnight, when the guards make the count and changed shifts… I don’t know what happened, I don’t remember anything, I found myself on the floor full of slime with 4-5 guards who kept calling me, someone said that maybe I was dead! They never called the doctor, nor the nurse, I have never been examined even under these circumstances… I have long ago understood why I was placed in this section of this prison! At about 10:30 a.m. (July 4th, 2020) I was called to the infirmary, after having informed the nurse of my illness and about losing consciousness during the night. In front of the doctor on duty I say what happened during the night: there is the nurse and a «graduated» guard who attends the conversation; while he take the parameters I manifest to the doctor a strong pain in my forehead for the blow taken with the fall, the nurse tells me that there’s nothing visible, and in explaining that the guards would come at midnight, when I was lying on the floor, that is how I was when they found me the guards on duty, maybe now they could have made sure of my health! At this point the guard present intervenes and with a threatening tone he tells me that «I talk too much» and that I have to talk only about medicines!, the doctor on duty and the nurse (who seems to be the wife of a guard) are present, they remain impassive! I asked for the medical records, let’s see if they bring them to me! I hope this letter gets to you and doesn’t disappear!

I ask you to be involved with me against the placement in this section and in this jail!
Send this letter as many people and websites as possible!
Prison kills!
I rise with my head up high, vomiting all my hatred against the placement in this section!
Freedom for the comrades of Rome!


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Debriefing and propositional statement of comrade Dimitris Chatzivasileiadis to the comrades (Greece)

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

EL | Απολογιστική-προτασιακή τοποθέτηση του συντρόφου Δημήτρη Χατζηβασιλειάδη προς τους συντρόφους

PDF: Debriefing and propositional statement

Historical background

On the 21st of October, around 11pm, together with one more person, I made an appropriation of a state casino shop in Cholargos (suburb of Athens). Before our departure from the shop the rifle that was used for our self defense passed from the other person’s hand to mine. An automatic rifle, if available, is a convincing deterrent during any act that may come into confrontation with the murderous mercenaries of capitalism. Bastards like those who tortured to death George Floyd, the same bastards who gang killed Zak Kostopoulos, who was already wounded by the fascist shop-owners in a pedestrian road, in the middle of the day, in the city center, bastards who, shortly after, killed Embouka Mamasoubek inside a police station, and whose names are still kept secret, having enjoyed the full cover of the then leftist government and bourgeois justice, these bastards don’t understand any other language than the one they have learned to implement.

The moment I took the weapon, it fired, due to my negligence. The bullet hit my leg. After leaving the place, I sought refuge at the nearby home of an old friend. Estimating that very soon the repression mechanisms and their minions, the regime’s journalists, would publish my photo, I decided to evacuate a flat in which I was storing a number of tools for the resistance, with the aim to rescue them. So these tools ended up in the house where I had gone wounded, and from there into the warehouses of the militarist-statist rulers, about two weeks after my injury. (more…)

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‘Censorship & Blocking Access to Courts by Federal Bureau of Prisons’ By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington (USA)

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

‘Censorship & Blocking Access to Courts by Federal Bureau of Prisons’ By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)

Revolutionary greetings fellow workers! Today is June 2nd, 2020. The US Department of Justice has ordered the Federal Bureau of Prisons to place their facilities on a nationwide lockdown.
The Inmate Bulletin issued to the prison population said that the nationwide lockdown was a precautionary measure in light of the recent rioting and civil unrest throughout AmeriKa.
My experience as a federal prisoner has taught me that the oppressors who run these prisons subscribe to and embrace a Reactionary Ideology. This Reactionary behavior has been on full display here at USP Pollock.
One reactionary policy which has gone unreported is the recent censorship of prisoner communications as well as the blocking of our access to courts.
Since March 13th, 2020, prisoners here at USP Pollock in Pollock, Louisiana have had no access to Law Library Materials which includes the Education Legal Law Library Computer.
It is virtually impossible for prisoners to litigate pending civil or criminal actions without access to the Law Library Computer. What is remarkable is that mostly all federal facilities within the BOP allow prisoners access to the Law Library database on our housing unit. (more…)

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Desde la prisión: Comunicado de Marcelo Villarroel en memoria del compañero Daniel Vielma [$hile]

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

Letras desde la kárcel por Daniel Viedma.

“Nos preparamos siempre para la muerte y siempre nos sorprende.
No falla, en su sabiduría nos da una vida de ventajas y nos golpea.
Nos empuja en el hastío a vivirla con pesar.
Nos convoca en guerra a vivirla con pasión.
Unxs desaparecen sin legado.
Otrxs se multiplican por todos lados”.

-Anónimx insurrectx!!

En un nuevo día de encierro karcelario la rutina especial de este nueva normalidad en tiempos de pandemia me trajo la dolorosa noticia de tu partida. Una bofetada en el mediodía de ayer viernes 29; un inevitable nuevo momento de dolor ke me asalta directo en lo más íntimo del sentir.

Se ha ido un amigo, un kompañero, un hermano; kon 39 años de edad a partido el Anarkista Daniel Vielma, cerka de la medianoche del jueves 28 de mayo en su kasa junto a su manada en La Balza Las Perlas, provincia de Río Negro, producto de un káncer linfátiko fulminante ke se manifestó kon virulencia hace meses y ke hoy lo tiene desde algún lugar akompañándonos junto a todxs lxs kombatientes por la liberación total ke han dejado su fecundo legado de lucha, Resistencia, Memoria y Subversión. (more…)

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Northern Ireland: ‘Prison life under Coronavirus Lock down’ by Vegan Anarchist John Paul Wootton

Sunday, May 31st, 2020

Everyone, everywhere, will be feeling the pinch of lockdown. Nobody has been left untouched and it’s not just the direct effects making their mark.
We are seeing the indirect result too.

You will have noticed that many of the already existing problems in our society are being exacerbated. There have been plenty of reports of increased domestic abuse, mental health crises and financial instability to cite but a few examples.

But what has it all meant for the prisoners?

Well, in some senses it’s business as usual. Much of the freedom you have temporarily lost, never exists here in the first palace. And many of the freedoms you are relying on to cope, are completely beyond our reach. There are no Zoom parties, Netflix binges or streamed concerts here.

There has been an impact though.

All temporary release has stopped. This is generally used to help re-integrate people back to normal life prior to their full release. This is particularly important for those who have spent a long time in prison.
They now face being dumped at the front gate with no time to adjust and no real support.

All education and other activities have stopped. Some have been working towards qualifications (for many for the first time in their life) and are left wondering was it all for nothing. Potentially, people will be put off further self-development as a result.

All in all, probably the best way to describe prison during Covid in mindless agony made more mindless and agonizing. These days, often monotonous and lacking in purpose, are now intolerably so. As a result, there is a real danger of a spike in terms of mental illness and drug addiction. And the situation was already far from okay.

Unless, or until, we can access reliable data on things like suicide and self-harm, we won’t be able to assess the damage. But be under no illusion, there will be damage. Unfortunately, by the time the information becomes available, it may be too late.

Although you still have your modern luxuries to help you cope, some insight into our experiences is possible. Next time you use the internet, your smart phone or relax in your garden with your family, reflect that we don’t have that privilege. For just a second, put yourselves in our shoes.

John Paul Wootton

To write to the comrade:

John Paul Wootton
HM Prison Maghaberry
17 Old Road,
Lisburn BT28 2PT, UK

For more information on John Paul Wootton see

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