Prisons & Prisoners

Lindy Blake, Presidio 27 Mutineer, RIP Dear Friends, Below is a beautiful tribute to Lindy Blake, one of the Presidio 27 mutineers, written by his friend and comrade Randy Rowland (who, along with Keith Mather, told the story of the Presidio 27 in "Sir! No Sir!"). Lindy died recently at his home in Canada, where he has lived since escaping the Presidio stockade in 1968. Lindy's Great Escape It was 40 years ago. We were all young. Facing a potential death sentence for singing "We Shall Overcome," the 27 "mutineers" held a meeting in the cell block of the Presidio Stockade. Everyone who could escape should, we decided. We were not cooperating with the Brass, not even to participate in their kangaroo court-marital. Not long after, some of the Presido 27 did escape. Walter Pawlowski, the guy who stood up during our sit-down, to read our demands to the commandant, was one of the escapees. Keith Mather, one of the "9-For- Peace," and the contact I was supposed to meet up with when I arrived in the stockade, was another. They were recognizable ringleaders in the stockade protest which became known as the Presidio Mutiny. They had good reason to leave. Even before the sit- down strike, both were already facing many years in prison for GI resistance to the US invasion and occupation of Viet Nam. Now they faced additional charges of mutiny, the most serious of military offenses. Military regulations simply say "there is no maximum sentence" for mutiny.
Human Strike After Human Strike Johann Kaspar From Voices from Occupied London Silently, and without much notice until recently, a series of collective, anonymous French texts appeared between 1999 and 2007 that effectively slashed open a gap into the seamless fabric of banal political critique. Packed within the two issues of the journal Tiqqun—subtitled, at one point, Conscious Organ of the Imaginary Party—is a minefield of ideas barely tapped and hardly translated, including: Theory of Bloom, Theses on the Imaginary Party, Man-Machine: Directions for Use, First Materials for a Theory of the Young Girl, Introduction to Civil War, The Cybernetic Hypothesis, Theses on the Terrible Community, This is Not a Program, and How is it to be Done? Subsequently, an anonymous Call surfaced which responded to Tiqqun’s provocations, laying out more clearly just how it is to be done. Finally, in 2007 the Insurrection to Come emerged, that searing text by the “Invisible Committee” which the French government has recently described as a “manual for insurrection.” Using it as their only evidence, the Minister of Interior has accused the alleged writers of “conspiracy to terrorism” in relation to the recent rail sabotages. Perhaps, at the risk of becoming accomplices in a thoughtcrime, it is time to seriously look at this family of texts. For as we will see, although the government is wrong to accuse them of terrorism, they are right to be afraid of the ideas housed within. For if they are to be thought through, then what they are describing is nothing less than the dissolution of the modern world as such. But this goal is nothing to fear for all those who desire worlds other than this one, worlds in which our ability to collectively exist outstrips any governmental, capitalist, or societal attempt to capture our desires. What follows is a skeleton that emerges from a reading of four of those texts—Introduction to Civil War, How is it to be done?, Call, and Insurrection to Come—which can hopefully guide one through the shifting fields of meaning that are produced therein.
The War Against Preterrorism: The ‘Tarnac Nine’ and The Coming Insurrection Alberto Toscano Support the Tarnac 9 I. The Case* On 11 November 2008, twenty French youths are arrested simultaneously in Paris, Rouen, and in the small village of Tarnac (located in the district of Corrèze, in France’s relatively impoverished Massif Central region). The Tarnac operation involves helicopters, one hundred and fifty balaclava-clad anti-terrorist policemen and studiously prearranged media coverage. The youths are accused of having participated in a number of sabotage attacks against the high-speed TGV train routes, involving the obstruction of the train’s power cables with horseshoe-shaped iron bars, causing material damage and a series of delays affecting some 160 trains. Eleven of the suspects are promptly freed. Those who remain in custody are soon termed the ‘Tarnac Nine’, after the village where a number of them had purchased a small farmhouse, reorganised the local grocery store as a cooperative, and taken up a number of civic activities from the running of a film club to the delivery of food to the elderly. In their parents’ words, ‘they planted carrots without bosses or leaders. They think that life, intelligence and decisions are more joyous when they are collective’.[1] Almost immediately, the Minister of the Interior, Michèle Alliot-Marie, brushing aside Republican legal niceties, intervenes to strongly underline the presumption of guilt and to classify the whole affair under the rubric of terrorism, linking it to the supposed rise of an insurrectionist ‘ultra-left’ (ultra-gauche), or ‘anarcho-autonomist tendency’ (mouvance anarcho-autonome), filling in the vacuum left by the collapse of the institutional Left (the PCF). Invoking anti-terrorist legislation, the nine are interrogated and detained for 96 hours; four are subsequently released. The official accusation is that of ‘association of wrongdoers in relation to a terrorist undertaking’, a charge that can carry up to 20 years in jail; what’s more, the accused might be detained for as long as two years before their case goes to trial. On December 2, three more of the Tarnac Nine are released under judiciary control, leaving two in jail, at the time of writing (early January 2009): Julien Coupat and Yldune Lévy.
New Marie Mason Support Site Announcing a new website and listserve for Green Scare prisoner Marie Mason. Mason is facing 20+ years in prison for two acts of environmentally-motivated property destruction in which no one was injured or killed. Mason is a long-time writer for 'Fifth Estate' magazine and a former editor at the 'Industrial Worker'.
BENEFIT CD RE-RELEASE: MARIE MASON’S ‘NOT FOR PROFIT’ This music CD is a 2008 benefit re-release of Marie Mason's ‘Not For Profit’, which was originally released in 1999. A classic anarchist neo-folk record, these eight songs feature Marie (accompanied by guitarist and Earth First! activist Darryl Cherney) singing against the destruction of the earth and the oppression of humanity. Mason is a recent Green Scare arrestee who is facing Life in prison for two acts of property destruction in which no one was hurt.. She is a long-time IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) and Earth First! activist, as well as a writer for ‘Fifth’ Estate magazine. All proceeds from this re-release go to the Marie Mason General Support Fund. For more information visit: Yesterday all charges against the Kennedy 6 were dropped just over a year after the men were first arrested. The basic chronology of events is as follows: The Kennedy 6 were arrested on a clearly trumped up murder charge on 21 March 2007 after a well known criminal died in police custody. While in custody they were assaulted and an attempt was made, by Senior Superintendent Glen Nayager, to force them to chant anti-Abahlali slogans. They refused.
Court: Mumia Deserves New Hearing But Not New Trial Kathy Matheson PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A federal appeals court on Thursday said former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal cannot be executed for murdering a Philadelphia police officer without a new penalty hearing. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Abu-Jamal's conviction should stand, but that he should get a new sentencing hearing because of flawed jury instructions. If prosecutors don't want to give him a new death penalty hearing, Abu-Jamal would be sentenced automatically to life in prison.
Dear Friends: This is an update on the case of my client, Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has been on Pennsylvania’s death row for over a quarter of a century. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Philadelphia We continue to await the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. I am in contact with the court, and will alert everyone immediately upon the issuance of a ruling. Oral argument was on May 17, 2007, thus people ask why the court is taking so long. This is a highly complex case involving issues of great constitutional significance and a voluminous amount of material. In three decades of successfully defending people in numerous murder cases involving the death penalty, I have not seen one more complicated.
Jeffrey “Free” Luers Sentence Reduced to 10 Years This morning at 9:00am in Lane County Circuit Court the re-sentencing hearing for Jeffrey Luers took place in front of Judge Billings. This followed an Oregon court of appeals ruling in February 2007 that Luers original sentence of 22 years 8 months by Judge Lyle Velure was illegal, and the appeals court remanded the case back to Lane County Circuit Court for re-sentencing. Following the appeals court decision, negotiations have resulted in the decision today to reduce Luers sentence to 10 years, bringing his release date to late December 2009.
PA Supreme Court Rejects Mumia Abu-Jamal's PCRA Appeal By Hans Bennett On Tuesday, February 19, in a ruling unrelated to the pending US Third Circuit Court decision, The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected death row journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeal of a 2005 ruling by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe, which denied Abu-Jamal’s Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition, on grounds that it was not “timely.” (See reports by The Associated Press and Philadelphia Inquirer)
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