My son Ekim Can Polat’s heart could stop at any moment.

By e-mail:

I’m Songül Ilker. I’m a mother and I’m waiting every moment for the news of my child’s death. I can’t sleep at night. I can’t open the phones. Tears fill my eyes when my doorbell rings. My son, Ekim Can Polat, has been imprisoned since 2016.

I want to tell to you about how he was arrested, his court process, his exiles, the systematic physical and psychological tortures against him and his current situation. My son, Ekim Can, was a child who saw people’s troubles as his own troubles and was always worried about their troubles. He was never indifferent to what happened in his country. He was detained during the Gezi Park protests at the age of 15. He was held in the detention room for 3 days. In the same period, he was provoked and exposed by some media organizations as “Baby-Faced Terrorist”. Those who shot Berkin at the age of 14 made my son look like a terrorist when he was 15. In 2016, when my son was only 19 years old, he was arrested and he has been in prison ever since.

He was exiled continuously and is now in Denizli T Type Prison, which is his fourth place of exile. He had been exiled to Silivri, Bandırma and Akhisar prisons before that. During his trials, false witnesses were heard. As a result of the trials, the person who committed the crime was sentenced to 9 years, but was released on the same day. As a result of the trials, a predetermined court decision was read and my son was sentenced to 24 years.

So why is my son a prisoner?

The truck belonging to a private company burned down. Eyewitnesses describe the person who burned the truck as follows; He is 1.60-1.70cm tall and weighs around 65-70 kg. Fingerprints belonging to one person were detected in the crime scene investigation. Fingerprints described by eyewitnesses and detected in the crime scene investigation showed a person named M. Sezen.

On the day of the trial, Sezen’s father held a dialogue with the driver of the burning truck at the courthouse. This dialogue took place in the field of view of the security cameras, with a specific date and time, in no way hidden. Likewise, I witnessed this dialogue. The content of this dialogue is as follows. The driver of the burning truck said, “I had a hard time coming here, I spent a lot of money.”  Sezen’s father said, “I will cover all your expenses, I will give you money, but you should say in court that it was the tall man who burned the truck.”

In addition, on the day of the trial M. Sezen’s uncle came to me at the the courthouse and he threatened me the following. “Mustafa is engaged and will get married. He can’t stay in prison. Ekim has no one to support him. You are his only supporter. ”

The court’s decision was as follows; my son, Ekim Can Polat, was sentenced to 24 years in prison, despite the fact that Mustafa Sezen’s fingerprints were found on the gas can and eyewitnesses described him. He was released that evening.

Ekim was with his father, who was a construction worker, the night he was taken into custody. The police officers who searched the house took his father’s work materials (hammer, nails and gloves) as evidence. As a result of the investigations, only his father and the fingerprints of the police who took the materials were found on these tools. The court thought that this “evidence” could be used in a terrorist act.

My son has been in prison for 5 years for these ridiculous reasons. As if that wasn’t enough, he is systematically tortured physically and psychologically. In every prison his “right to treatment” and “use of medicine” was denied.

He was subjected to forced nude searches in every prison. They exiled him, saying he would be taken to the hospital. From the first day in Silivri Prison No. 5, his treatment was prevented and he was not transferred to the hospital. He was left alone in a cell in Bandırma T-type prison. They moved him to Akhisar Prison, where he was threatened  with death  and tortured. For these reasons, he started a hunger strike and during this action suffered a heart attack. Head guard Kazım Demirtaş threatened him saying, “If you don’t cooperate with us, we will kill you”.

Ekim Can is currently in prison for an incident that he has nothing to do with. This time, pressures began to form because he did not fulfill their wishes.

He was forcibly removed from the place where he was left, saying that it would be renovated. Then he was placed opposite a convict who had attacked him earlier. When they look, they can see each other. Judicial detainees, seeing what was done to Ekim, reacted by writing a petition to the administration, saying that this will not happen. The guard says, “Are we going to feed him, not put him to death?” They are doing what Yazid did. When he asks for water from the canteen, they say no, but they give it to other detainees.

Hear my voice, be my voice, don’t let my son die. Everyone is acting like three monkeys. There are dozens of sick prisoners like Ekim. You are our voice. They do everything to kill sick prisoners.

What I wrote offended them. I said ‘naked searching is torture’. The director of the prison said, ‘Your mother says so, but it’s not a crime, it’s in our rules’. Upon Ekim’s objections to these words, a guard threatened “we will bury you here, we will kill you”, and the prison director did not interfere.

At the time Ekim had a heart attack while on hunger strike, he was also diagnosed with a heart rhythm disorder, COPD, osteoporosis, and pituitary hormone imbalance. He is seriously ill and needs hospital treatment as soon as possible, but is not even given his medication. The last time we spoke, he said to me, “Your would be ashamed of your humanity if your saw the tortures here.”

They have been dealing with hospital referrals for months. He is subjected to physical violence when he is taken to the hospital. In February, at Denizli State Hospital the gendarmerie came to the doctor and gave information about Ekim’s case. After that, the doctor did not examine him. Treatment for Ekim never started. He was taken to hospital, subjected to violence there, and brought back to prison.

He wants to be treated, he wants the torture and violations of prison rights to end. They broke his belongings. Somehow, his money is running out even though his canteen needs are not given to him. The money I sent to him is not delivered to him on time and it is said that this money I sent is over.

They say to him, “if you don’t do what we say you will have trouble here”, “if you don’t want to have problems here, do what we say”

As of today (27.06.2021), my son is on the 19th day of his hunger strike and his heart can stop at any moment.

International Solidarity for the political prisoner Ekim Can Polat – Turkey

Songul Ilker : 0534 978 1315

Twitter : @ekim_songul

Mail : ekimcanpolataozgurluk@gmail.com

World Report 2021 Turkey: Human Rights Watch

U.S. State Department Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey

Amnesty International Report Turkey 2020

Marcelino Ruíz, fighting for freedom for 19 years in Chiapas, Mexico

Voices in Movement
Marcelino Ruíz, fighting for freedom for 19 years in Chiapas, Mexico. Orginally published by Pozol.org on April 7, 2021, translated by Shantal Montserrat Lopez Victoria.

Transferring prisoners is another way of repressing the struggle for those wrongfully imprisoned.

Marcelino Ruiz Gómez is wrongfully imprisoned in CERSS No. 10 in the city of Comitán de Domínguez, Chiapas, Mexico and has been fighting for his freedom for 19 years against his arbitrary detention, torture and serious violations of due process of law. The Tsotsil indigenous man is founder of the Vineketik Organization in Resistance and adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle of the EZLN.

Marcelino is originally from the municipality of San Juan Chamula; he and his family cultivated vegetables on their land and sold them in the San Cristóbal de Las Casas market. On February 5, 2002, he was arbitrarily arrested and tortured.

After several years in prison, Marcelino became aware of the discrimination and violence suffered by indigenous people inside the prisons: “by police, guards, administrative staff and all court personnel, from the judge to those who make copies of criminal files based on illicit evidence,” said the Sexta adherent.

For this reason, Marcelino decided in 2015 to assert his human rights and speak out; he demanded the director of the CERSS of San Cristobal de Las Casas to improve the deteriorating conditions under which the inmates were kept: poor food, unsanitary cells, lack of adequate medical, psychological and dental health services. Not only did the director not listen to his request but retaliated by transferring him to CERSS No. 12 in the municipality of Yajalón, Chiapas. It was there where he staged two hunger strikes to demand his immediate transfer and to be closer to his family. The first strike lasted three days and two months passed without response. The second strike lasted eight days: “with the support of Frayba (Fray Bartolome de las Casas Center for Human Rights) and other collectives, I achieved my transfer closer to home. I was transferred to CERSS No. 10, here in Comitán in April 7, 2015,” recalls the indigenous Chiapaneco.

Marcelino has been taken away from his family and children as a means of repression for protesting. His mother has found it difficult to make long trips to visit him, in addition she is a widow and lacks resources. “The effects on prison aren’t only on me but also on my family. Due to the lack of access to justice, they suffer with me every moment of repression. They feel scared and terrified. It is clear to us that the real criminals are in power and they make laws the way they want and the jails are full of indigenous people,” Ruíz Gómez denounces.

“Inside the prison I have learned many skills: I weave hammocks, bags and wooden crafts so i can support my family. Now I’m drawing, which is something that allows me to feel free and gives me strength to keep fighting,” says Marcelino, who on April 1 launched a virtual graphic exhibition called “For Life and Freedom”.

On March 15, 2019, the indigenous Tsotsil founded the Vineketik Organization in Resistance to fight for his freedom and to highlight the serious human rights violations within the criminal proceedings carried out with the use of torture. “We are innocent, we are paying for a crime we did not commit and we demand our freedom from the government,” he reported.

“They serve us very little and rotten food, which are strategies to intimidate me to stop resisting and fighting. You need everyone’s support to fight, otherwise the repression increases. Thanks to the support of collectives, Frayba and the media, my voice has been heard all over,” Marcelino said.

Indigenous Man In Arizona Imprisoned For Social Media satire.

Enough 14

Page, Arizona – Loren Reed, a 26-year-old Diné (Navajo) man, is set for trial on May 4, 2021 for a trumped-up federal charge of “Threats to Damage and Destroy a Building by Means of Fire” after he engaged in a heated debate over Black Lives Matter protest tactics[1] in a private Facebook chat group created to organize a local police brutality protest. Reed has been held in federal pretrial detention without bail for ten months after a prior high school acquaintance reported him to the police for a different satirical social media post about planning a protest or ‘riot’ at the courthouse that never actually happened. An undercover FBI agent then infiltrated the private chat group, and monitored numerous messages exchanged by Reed and his friends. After this intrusive monitoring of speech, and lacking any real evidence, Reed was quickly and violently arrested in his neighborhood on June, 2, 2020. Nothing incriminating was found during or after the arrest, despite officers thoroughly searching Reed’s home and even his housemates.

“This federal charge is unconstitutional because there was never a legally-justified ‘true threat’ contained in the posts that would remove the broad protections of the First Amendment that apply even to vitriolic or offensive speech,[2]” said CLDC Executive Director Lauren Regan, one of the attorneys assisting Loren Reed on the case. “The supposed “threat” was never communicated to any target or victim, there was no intent to act or any evidence of an intent to act, and there is no lawful basis to federally prosecute someone for speech only – much less an Indigenous organizer confronting racism in a very conservative region of Arizona.”

“Prosecuting someone in these circumstances takes us down the slippery slope of what is protected speech versus what is a ‘true threat’ justifying criminal prosecution. We must hold strong to the outer limits of the First Amendment or we all lose the right to freely speak our minds. Today the criminalized speech may pertain to Black Lives Matter protests, but tomorrow it could be religion, science, or other political beliefs.” Regan said.

Over the course of the next ten months, Reed was held without formal charge for a month in the Coconino County Jail, where he contracted COVID-19 and where his close friend had died the year before after being denied medical care.[3] He was later transferred to a private for-profit  federal detention center in Florence, Arizona, a polluted copper mining town turned prison industrial complex hub. Reed was not indicted with a crime until late September. His trial has now been delayed three times and is currently set for May 4, 2021.

The U.S. Attorney’s office blames the pandemic for the following nine months of additional detention in which Reed was denied a speedy trial –  or even bail –  and in which it filed three separate motions to ‘extend’ his case. However, that has not stopped the government from attempting to bury this miscarriage of justice by informally suggesting an oppressive plea agreement that would result in a felony conviction, and likely probationary sentence.

“For an Indigenous person who faces the reality of institutional racism in his daily life, being threatened with a conviction for a crime he did not commit is a precarious, life-devastating burden,” stated Klee Benally, a longtime Diné (Navajo) sacred lands advocate and organizer from Flagstaff, Arizona. “It is courageous of Loren to refuse to accept this atrocious deal. While it could free him from custody immediately, it would endanger organizers and activists in the future by further criminalizing speech. Loren is taking a powerful stand, and we need to stand right there with him.”

Reed, a rapper who is known as a sensitive yet enthusiastic jokester, adamantly denies that there was any threat implied in his posts. Anyone reading them[4] with an open mind would agree. And yet, the State wants to saddle a young Indigenous man with a felony conviction that will haunt him for the rest of his life.

“This is yet another attempt to control the speech and tone of a person of color amidst a year of heartbreaking – and increasingly fatal – racially-motivated police violence. Appallingly, in this situation the State has chosen to exploit a snitch’s biased complaint to police[5] in order to further perpetuate this cycle of violence,” said Regan.

“We are calling on the federal prosecutor to immediately dismiss the charge in the interests of justice. Mr. Reed has already served over 10 months in pretrial detention for speech that did not actually threaten anyone,” she added.

“As Indigenous justice advocates, we stand with Loren Reed. The criminalization of Loren — and his right to free speech — is an ongoing violation of Indigenous rights and overall justice,” said Morning Star Gali of the Pit River Tribe, a lifelong Indigenous rights advocate with Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples who is currently based out of Sacramento, California.

“We also need to talk about the racism at play here,” said CLDC Attorney Sarah Alvarez. “Already, the feds are declining to prosecute, electing to charge petty misdemeanors, and/or negotiating lenient plea deals[6] for the white supremacists that assaulted the U.S. Capitol on January 6. They have also entirely turned a blind eye toward the hundreds of far-right individuals who threatened politicians and police via social media. Meanwhile, an Indigenous man has been sitting in jail without due process for 10 months – all over a tongue-in-cheek social media post where no violence or property damage ever occurred nor was ever intended to occur. It’s difficult to prove this in court, but Mr. Reed’s case is a textbook example of race-based disparate treatment, and it needs to end with an immediate dismissal of the charge against him.”

Reed is scheduled for a jury trial starting May 4 but there’s still time for the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice to do the right thing and immediately drop the charge to let him return to his life.

Notes

[1] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss Due to Likely Presentation of Inaccurate, Incomplete or Misleading Information to Grand Jury at 4, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021).

[2] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss for Inadequate Indictment at 6, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021)

[3] “Jail footage shows Kyle Martinson yell for help before death,” Arizona Daily Sun, June 17, 2019. https://azdailysun.com/news/jail-footage-shows-kyle-martinson-yell-for-help-before-death/article_ea48524d-8991-50cd-91a9-8f67ae8ec3c8.html

[4] “Indigenous man faces 10 years for Facebook comments,” Al Jazeera, January 19, 2021. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/19/holdindigenous-man-faces-10-years-for-facebook-comments-during-b

[5] Defendant Mot. to Dismiss for Selective Enforcement & Selective Prosecution; Mot. for Discovery at 5, US v. Reed, No. CR-20-09098-PCT-SPL (ESW) (Dist. Ct. 9d Cir. Ct. Phoenix Div., Arizona. April 2, 2021)

[6] “Many Capitol rioters unlikely to serve jail time,” Politico. March 30, 2021. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/30/jan-6-capitol-riot-jail-time-478440

Free Siyanda demo in Cardiff 10th April.

freesiyanda.com

Second Uprising in Two Months at St. Louis Jail

Abolition Media Worldwide

Prison rebels broke windows, set a fire and threw chairs and other items out of a third-floor window during the second significant uprising in two months at a downtown St. Louis jail.

Third-floor windows were destroyed; black charring from the fires lined the areas around the building.

During the uprising, up to 75 comrades on the ground shouted support for the prison rebels. The same jail was the site of a similar uprising on Feb. 6. Two smaller skirmishes also have occurred since December.

The latest uprising began just before 9 p.m. Sunday, and soon, prison rebels were breaking windows and tossing items to the ground below.

Then around 11 p.m., prison rebels broke windows on the other side of the jail and began throwing objects again.

Some imprisoned people were heard yelling demands for court dates. Proceedings have been delayed, supposedly due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, prison pigs regularly break COVID-19 protocols inside the jail, spreading the virus to imprisoned people, who already deal with poor conditions inside the jail. The same concerns were at the heart of the February uprising, which involved more than 100 prison rebels and sent a prison pig to the hospital.

In the face of the barbarity of the white supremacist prison enslavement system, these imprisoned comrades are courageously fighting back against oppression in St. Louis.

[Chilean State] Communiqué from relatives and friends of subversive and anarchist prisoners

Contra info Translated by Riot Turtle.

Our friends and family members, together with other comrades, began a new mobilization last Monday, March 22, 2021, maintaining their main demand; the repeal of the latest amendments to Decree Law 321, which extends the serving of sentences, particularly in the case of comrade Marcelo Villarroel. The call is always to multiply solidarity, both with existing initiatives and those that can be created autonomously from different spaces, individuals, groups and collectives. All of them are needed at this moment. Today the potential impact of this struggle is found in the power in the streets, both in the ability to overcome the repressive quarantines, and to increase the support in an unstoppable way..

We highlight the participation of those who, even without being convicted, show solidarity with the action inside the prison to sweep away all the obstacles that the powers that be have put in the way of “parole”, in this sense we highlight the prisoners of the revolt in Santiago 1, and their struggle for the abolition of pretrial detention as punishment.

We want to take this opportunity to point out the absolute isolation that our comrades are facing in prison. Once the total quarantine of the communes where the prisons are located was declared again, our comrades have been completely denied any type of visit.

In the same spirit, gendarmerie has taken a nationwide decision on the use of institutional cell phones or calls through prison computers used as a substitute for the absence of regular visits. This time and evidently after the interview of the political prisoner Mauricio Hernandez Norambuena, the dreadful institution decided to cancel any use of internet and video calls to communicate with the prisoners, even though such contact is still stipulated in the same protocol that governs the development of the dreadful system of temporary visits that has been installed since the regime of isolation-terror that developed during the pandemic.

The impoverishment of communication and connection with imprisoned people counts from now on only with the limited possibility of a couple of phone calls per week. In practice this means the impossibility to see our friends and relatives, to see their faces, laugh and share expressions. We categorically reject these new bans and new lack of communication, deepening the isolation in prison even more.

We are absolutely opposed to these measures of punishment and disciplining of our comrades, which affect us as families and social environments so directly and which demonstrate the conditions of captivity under which they are being held.

We take on the challenge with constant anti-prison struggle as an inevitable extension of a path of resistance in prison and in the streets. We call to break distances and differences as a necessary step in this struggle that we seek to extend, so that our comrades and family members return to the streets.

With all our will to break the punishment and isolation in which today our prisoners live, fight and resist.

Let’s multiply the solidarity networks with the hunger strike!

For the repeal of the latest amendments to Law 321!

For the end of pre-trial detention as a punishment!

Isolation is torture!

As long as there is misery, there will be rebellion!!

Death to the state and long live Anarchy!!

Relatives and friends of Subversive and Anarchist Prisoners; CAS, Máxima and San Miguel Prison. Thursday, March 25, 2021.

Barricades for Anarchist and Subversive Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Chile

Abolition Media Worldwide

Aware of the hunger strike that started today, Monday, March 22 by different subversive and anarchist comrades in the C.A.S, Máxima, San Miguel and Santiago 1, for the repeal of the amendment to the Decree Law 321, we set up coordinated barricades in the Maipú commune and Lo Prado, making us part of the calls to action.

DAY 1 OF HUNGER STRIKE!!

THAT THE ACTIONS MULTIPLY!!

SOLIDARITY WITH PRISONERS OF LONG SENTENCES!!

post.

Defend Rhodri! Retaliation at Berwyn

Prisoner Solidarity Network

The Prisoner Solidarity Network have just received news that Rhodri ab Eilian was assaulted by prison staff at HMP Berwyn yesterday (10th February 2021). This attack comes less than two weeks after Rhodri stepped forward to speak publicly about discrimination, racism, and the denial of language rights at the prison. Both Rhodri and the PSN see this assault as a clear example of retaliatory violence and call on everyone to mobilise urgently in Rhodri’s defence.

Following yesterday’s attack, one of the staff involved threatened further violence, telling another prisoner he was going to “punch his little head in.” Rhodri knew the risks and still did what’s right. It’s our responsibility now to defend him. We’re calling on people to: Contact relevant authorities to demand Rhodri’s safety and ensure disciplinary action is taken against the responsible staff. We’ve compiled a list of contacts below and a template email you can use.

To whom it may concern, I’m contacting you to request an urgent intervention in response to staff violence at HMP Berwyn. You will be aware of ongoing concerns about discrimination, racism, and the denial of language rights at the prison.

Yesterday (10th February 2021), less than two weeks after speaking publicly about conditions at Berwyn, Rhodri ab Eillian was assaulted by staff. Despite being fully compliant with instructions, ab Eillian was mobbed by a group of prison officers and subject to unprovoked and excessive restraint, leaving him with shooting pains through one arm and shoulder and bruising. His injuries have been logged by prison healthcare staff. This has been followed today by further threats from officer 777 – one of the group involved in the assault.

There is the clear implication this attack was retaliatory, following immediately on from ab Eillian’s public statements about staff misconduct at the prison. The use of intimidation and violence to suppress such allegations is completely unacceptable. This incident only exacerbates existing concerns regarding the management of the prison.

I’m contacting you to request you support calls to ensure ab Eillian’s safety and that appropriate measures are taken to address the prison officers responsible.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Christie Memorial Archive

https://www.gofundme.com/f/stuart-christie-memorial-archive

Stuart’s life may have been plastered with headlines, Britain’s most famous anarchist was the usual description, but the small print of it was what was important. His courage, imagination, his loyalty, not just to what he believed in, but to his friends and family, his remarkable intelligence, his self-deprecating, droll and spiky humour. He was a man of parts, each one of them remarkable.

To reveal the richness of Stuart’s life and the many histories he was a part of, we intend to establish a memorial archive in his name. The Stuart Christie Memorial Archive will be housed at the MayDay Rooms in Fleet Street in London.

This project has been brought together by his family, close friends and comrades and is supported by the MayDay Rooms collective. The memorial will include photographs, letters, personal mementoes, art works, his writings, as well as the output of his publishing arms, Cienfuegos Press, Christie Books and his Anarchist Film Archive.

The archive will also be available online. With the money raised from you, we will be employing a part-time archivist and researcher. Jessica Thorne, a doctoral researcher, whose work focuses on anarchist prisoners in Franco’s Spain, has already started work on the archive. Stuart’s daughter Branwen is contributing personal photographs and letters.

Much of the material will be new, including letters from Carabanchel prison in Spain where he was incarcerated after his failed attempt to assassinate the dictator Francisco Franco, as well as early childhood photographs. It will cover his involvement in the Angry Brigade trial, his period on Orkney – and his newspaper, the Free-Winged Eagle – with previously unseen photographs.

Stuart’s writing was prolific, including his ‘autobiography’ Granny Made Me An Anarchist, which was published by Scribner. That was the expurgated version, there were three previous volumes he published himself. Part of the memorial’s work will be to re-publish the three-part autobiography, as well as Pistoleros!, his trilogy, novel/memoir, the Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg.

An important part of the project will be to make the archive available online so that people throughout the world will be able to access it, to gain an insight into a life lived to the full, but also for study and research. Alongside the archive, the money raised from donations will help fund a series of educational events, addressing Stuart’s history and the histories of the movements he was involved in.

Depending on the amount of money raised, we are also hoping to commission an artist to create a physical memorial to Stuart. We are currently drafting designs for a secular, stained-glass window, which will be placed in the renamed Stuart Christie Library.

If we exceed our funding target, the collective will meet to discuss how we can expand the project further – or alternatively, re-allocate these funds to prisoner support groups/educational projects.

Finally, thanks are due to MayDay Rooms for readily making the space available and for their suggestions and insights and to the many, many friends and comrades throughout the world who have offered their help and suggestions.

There will be regular updates about the developments in the project as they occur.

Corona comment number six, from the South of England: Gulag archipelago, by Mal Content.

Since my last comment the bourgeois state has ratchet-tightened its grip on all aspects of life, with the apparent acquiescence of a large section of the British population – Leaving out the six counties, who seem most preoccupied with not being able to buy vegetables. The demagogues of the devolved administrations* crazed with a little power, vie with each other to boss their subjects about.

* Scots nationalists have blown their best chance of independence in a century with all guns pointed at their own feet, I wonder if MI5 had a hand in that.

As I have observed elsewhere, ‘Lockdown’ is a measure taken by prison governors to facilitate searching of inmates for contraband, apprehending a fugitive or putting down disorder. Doors are all locked forcing each prisoner to remain wherever they find themself. It is predicated on the idea that prisoners have no agency, they do not ‘own’ their flesh, their time or their productive and creative abilities. Incarceration in the United States is an extension of chattel slavery as permitted by the thirteenth amendment; in Britain it originates from the custom of holding a person hostage pending payment of a debt. Other cultures find their own justifications. The first use of this term in respect of the corona virus epidemic was in the People’s Republic of China, which is of course nothing but a giant gulag. It will be deeply offensive to many of our Class who have suffered such abuse.

The latest regulations blatantly reserve overseas travel for the rich, and whilst it will amuse us to watch entitled posh people treated like common prisoners there is a serious point. Jewish workers, whose recent ancestors fled Nazi Germany and other European pogroms find it disturbing to need “permission” to leave the country. We have refugees from the former Soviet bloc and other totalitarian regimes. They know what it means to have papers out of order.

The middle class, the stodgy, flabby rump of totalitarianism, continues to twitch its curtains on full pay, brags about attending ‘zoom meetings’ from the bath or not getting out of bed at all. They quibble about how many times they are “allowed” to walk the dog or whether to have their mum over for lunch. Whilst they sit around their computers knocking themselves off like safari-park chimps, the Working Class must run the gauntlet of crowded workplaces, dodgy PPE and weirdoes who thing it’s clever to gob in their faces.

Gulag:
Acronym of Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-Trudovykh Lagerey.
Russian: “Chief Administration of Corrective Labour Camps”

People are afraid, for sure, not just of the virus but of starvation and homelessness, of their kids condemned to the scrapheap, their parents dying alone. Rumours abound, of the cops using number plate recognition to clock how far a vehicle has travelled from its registered address. There are despicable class traitors who will grass on their neighbours. Although there is no stop and search power that requires anyone to answer questions*, we hear of people being threatened with arrest for refusing to identify themselves. Call their bluff I say, you waste my time I’ll waste yours.

* Unless you’re driving, then it’s name and address only.

Bosses are taking advantage of the ‘furlough’* to shed workers with protected characteristics, and the super-rich, as always, are making money hand over fist. The sums may seem abstract, but the only value of wealth is the expectation that someone, somewhere will labour to acquire it. This is achieved by limiting access to the product of our own labour. As Heywood put it: “if a man has a dollar he didn’t work for, someone else worked for a dollar he didn’t get”.

* Another prison term. ‘Furlough’ is temporary release. As most prisoners in the U.S. are no threat to anybody but themselves, should they become logistically inconvenient, or if there is no work for them to do, they can be put out to save the state the expense of feeding and housing them.

For years we were offered a false dichotomy between state control and free market – either way is unregulated aggregation of economic power. Somehow the state has been rehabilitated without ever lifting a finger on our behalf, and to contradict its nonsense is to be aligned with cranks with their own set of authoritarian delusions.

Now having had the ‘rona twice I don’t consider it a hoax, it was like sleeping sickness with a loss of mental focus and bodily appetites. The cough only set in after a week but it never quite went away. It tends to magnify symptoms you live with normally, in my case headache, joint pain and irregular digestion. But everybody’s different, some test positive with no symptoms at all, some clearly have it but test negative or inconclusive.

We hear a lot these days about “imagining new futures” but no-one has any answers beyond more of the same, with a bit of technological wizardry thrown in. You cannot “unite” a society built on domination and abuse that refines its exploitative mechanics with every crisis it visits on our Class. The idea that there is an alternative to the status quo that is still military-industrial capitalism is irredeemably stupid. It wasn’t too much of a surprise that fucking idiot Hancock is influenced by Hollywood films, he could have just read his government’s own report on preparing for a pandemic, published in 2016, if he were serious about becoming health secretary. Are we really going to let wankers like that get the better of us?

You cannot compromise with the ruling class because they won’t compromise with you. They will maintain their privilege at all costs – and it costs them nothing. Black people, and other disadvantaged groups will need to take matters into their own hands because the liberals and the reformists can do nothing for them. They will need to fight their oppressors with the same ferocity with which oppression was imposed on them. Compliance will eventually cost more of our lives than any pandemic. The proper response to the Colston situation was for a hundred thousand Bristolians to turn out on the streets and tell the ruling class we will not allow it to try these comrades, precipitate a real insurrection, there’s never been a better time.

There are no broad sunlit uplands on offer, only a brutal, vicious war with the prospect of the means of production finally under control of the producing Class – it’s got to be worth a fight, stuff your prison logic, let’s put our heads together and have a serious discussion about how to fuck shit up.