I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Word on Political Prisoners

My abolitionist friends may wonder where I'm going on this - the answer is that I'm still finding my way. I received a comment on a recent post asking why I provide information on some political prisoners but not others - specifically those in the animal and environmental rights movements.

I honestly don't know. It's not for lack of information: I'm on all sorts of political prisoner mailing lists, and do have a particular concern about environmental and animal rights activists being prosecuted under terrorism laws. I was a pretty serious monkeywrencher myself, as a kid, engaging in acts of resistance against an encroaching subdivision near my home in North Carolina. Our wilderness was being destroyed; I was but one of her defenders. I was nine.

I have thought previously, while assembling this blog, that maybe I shouldn't have any information up about any political prisoners at all. After all, in a way just about every prisoner is political to me. I wondered if it might not distract people from the central content of the blog, or enrage people who think I support cop-killers and terrorists. I support Justice, and have tended just to post information about those cases I looked at where there appeared to be a grave injustice done.

And so, when I received this comment about the eco-prisoners, I wondered again if I should just take all my political prisoner links down. That would mean deleting links to Marilyn Buck's poetry, Leonard Peltier's art, Martin Luther King's "Letter From the Birmingham Jail", information about the Puerto Rican Independence Movement, the story of the Cuban Five, that incredible portrait of Dylcia Pagan, the Nelson Mandela center, and the call to free Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi. And that's just a small sampling.

After giving it some thought today, I decided not only to leave those links up, but to add more, which you'll find in the column to the left. Some of the political prisoners I've added are from elsewhere in the world, but many were convicted here in the states and Americans should know what use we are putting our courts and prisons to. Many are idealistic young people challenging corporate giants by committing acts of liberation, destroying vehicles of mankind's destruction, and publicizing the gruesome activities behind the manufacture of major consumer brands. Not all of them were sentenced for violent acts.

Some of those I included from the ELP List are peace activists, like Helen Woodson, one of the original Plowshare prisoners who was most famous for disarming a nuclear missle silo with a hammer. I believe she did twenty years for that, then came out and got in trouble all over again.

The list is not all-inclusive, and I would advise further investigation before deciding who, if any, to support and how. When I have more time I'll do a better job of remembering those who lack the celebrity status or threat of imminent execution to warrant Amnesty's intervention;or ELP's listing. The point right now is to know that politics and money - not justice - largely dictate who gets called a criminal or terrorist, your sociopathic killers notwithstanding. And that has something to do with how the Prison Industrial Complex stays in business.

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