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

Kill The Bill: Solidarity with Bristol Protesters!

Derry Anarchists

The Derry Anarchist Collective stands in solidarity with our comrades in Bristol and other cities in their continued resistance to the Police Bill.

The Government says that this Bill “will allow the police to take a more proactive approach in managing highly disruptive protests causing serious disruption to the public.

The bill will “widen the range of conditions that the police can impose on static protests, to match existing police powers to impose conditions on marches”. And “Broaden the range of circumstances in which police may impose conditions on a protest.

What this means is that the police will have increased powers to oppress the freedom of assembly and our right to protest introducing lengthy prison sentences.

The Tories have brought this Bill in under the cover of COVID, but in reality, it is a reach to protect the status quo against legitimate protests ranging from organising for workers’ rights, Black Lives Matter protests, to the successful tactics used by Existence Rebellion in protesting climate destruction.

This is an appalling piece of legislation but an unsurprising one coming from the cowardly Tories, as the Bill went through a second reading after the brutal suppression of a peaceful vigil commemorating the life of Sarah Everard and the raising awareness of women’s safety and rights.

The media, as per usual have sided with the ruling class, by demonising the protesters in Bristol and other cities. Also there is no real opposition to this bill in parliament. So, it is up to us to stand up in solidarity with our comrades to resist this Bill, and protect the rights of women, minorities and other disenfranchised voices to organise and protest without the threat of lengthy prison sentences.

The Derry Anarchist Collective stands in solidarity with our comrades in Bristol and other cities in their continued resistance to the Police Bill.

*Fundraising to support Bristol defendants*

Fundraiser to support people who have been arrested in connection with the protests in Bristol recently. Money to be used for court fees, travel fees to court, legal cases against the police, and personal support if necessary. By Bristol Defendant Solidarity – they have supported IWW members before, financially and by showing up to things in person, so any donations would be greatly appreciated. Link here

Interview on the Situation of Anarchist Comrades Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar

From es-contrainfo.espiv.net translated by Abolition Media Worldwide.

Continuing with the publications in permanent solidarity with Mónica and Francisco, [Brazilian anarchist website] Facção Fictícia conducted an interview with Relatives and Friends of Subversive Prisoners and Anarchists from the Chilean region. In addition to updating on the status of the trial, the interview addresses the importance of active solidarity with prisoners and recent struggles in the territory dominated by the Chilean State.

In recent years, Mónica and Francisco were subjected to accusations and imprisonment both in the territory dominated by the Chilean State in 2010 (in what became known as the “Bombas Case”) and in Spanish some years later. We would like you to comment a bit about this history of persecution and what was the impact on the spaces and the struggle in general.

To put it in context and make a brief account of the repressive cases where both comrades have been involved, it is necessary to start in 2010. The State sought to put an end to the different attacks with explosives by anarchist and anti-capitalist groups, and launched an attack against different anarchist comrades, accusing them of being part of an “Illicit Terrorist Association,” hitting different anti-authoritarian expressions. After spending long months in prison, an extensive hunger strike and mobilizations, the comrades managed to take to the streets to face a lengthy trial where they were later acquitted.

Shortly afterwards, Mónica and Francisco left for Spain, where in 2013, they were arrested for the explosive attack on the basilica of El Pilar. The collaboration between the States was evident from the beginning, transcending that during the investigation into the attack and before the arrests, different police reports and intelligence personnel traveled from one side to the other, giving recommendations on where to carry out the investigation and confirming suspicions around comrades.

After a speedy trial, both are sentenced to 12 years in prison, and after reducing their sentence to 4 and a half years, they managed to be expelled to Chile in 2017, with the corresponding media circus and police harassment for months.

On July 24, 2020, the day they were kidnapped by the Chilean State, Mónica and Francisco had their preventive imprisonment decreed for 6 months for investigation. Recently, after this time expired, a new term was stipulated and the imprisonment was prolonged without having had a sentence. What is the status of the trial? Is there a date forecast for the trial to take place?

The procedural situation is as follows: Francisco is accused of sending two explosive packages to the 54th police station and the former interior minister Rodrigo Hinzpetter (an accessory to a brutal repression during his mandate); the device to the police managed to explode while the one sent to the former Minister by chance was not opened and was discovered after the first outbreak; Monica and Francisco are accused of the double explosive attack on a real estate office in a rich neighborhood during the revolt.

Both are formalized under the gun control law, in addition to various counts of attempted homicides. At the time of their arrest, the court gave them a period of 6 months for investigation, a date that was renewed in February 2021. This investigative period may be extended for up to 2 years before going to trial.

We believe that if the prosecution wanted, it could already take them to trial, but it also seems that this delay would have to do with the participation of this team of prosecutors in other trials or perhaps the careful review of the judicial file so as not to make any mistakes as in the “Bomb case.”

Under the health argument to combat Covid-19, both Mónica and Francisco and other incarcerated people were prevented from receiving visits, which left them in a kind of even more severe isolation inside the jail. How is the situation now? Have the visits already happened again? How are Monica and Francisco at the moment?

The situation is still restricted, basically to one visit, a single person 2 hours every three weeks. Each prison and regime has its particularities; in the case of Mónica, she has to choose that week if she wishes to have a visit or if she wishes to have an assignment (Food that enters the prison by solidarity), while in the case of Francisco, the Limitations force that only his blood family can visit. With “Relatives and friends of Subversive Prisoners and anarchists,” we have participated by informing and struggling to return to visits with different expressions of agitation.

Specifically, both are well, living different realities of the prison. Francisco, for his part, is under strict isolation, much of the day locked up, with little or no sunlight, while Mónica, for her part, is in the public connotation section, isolated from the rest of the prison population, having to live with prisoners who are separated from the others because they will be accused of crimes considered intolerable and that can be avenged by the other prisoners.

Despite the different realities, both are in good spirits; they have access to gendarmerie telephones to be able to communicate with their friends and comrades, always asking about conditions outside and about other comrades in prison.

The territory dominated by the Chilean State is very convulsive and has an intense history of insurrections and anarchic struggles. Of which we have the most news are the intensification of the Mapuche uprising in recent years, especially with the territorial recoveries, and the revolt of October 18, 2019. We receive information about several Mapuche prisoners and murders (as was the most recent case of the comrade Emília BAU, killed by hitmen from a private condominium in Panguipulli), as well as more than 2,000 people arrested, many wounded and others killed by police. It seems very evident to us that the imprisonment of the people involved in the struggles is a coup by the State to try to extinguish the insurrectionary flame that burns in the streets. We would like you to comment a bit about the current situation of the struggles out there and how you analyze this reaction of the repressive forces.

The repressive panorama is broad, like the struggle. Undoubtedly, since October 18, when the revolt in Chile began, it marked a before and after on the one hand, and also a continuity and exacerbation on the other. It is undeniable that many people are in prison linked to the struggle; in December 2019, there were 2,500 prisoners of the revolt, a figure that then gradually decreased. It is a broad and diverse reality, rather than a homogeneous group with clear positions.

Regarding the prisoners of the revolt, as well as the dead and mutilated as a result of the repression in that process, it is necessary to point out that not all of them are revolutionary comrades, but rather individuals who rose up against the prevailing order, for the most diverse reasons.

It is a wide and diverse reality, with many political positions, from the most irreconcilable anarchic to citizen positions and people eager to integrate in the system, passing through many people who were simply tired and spontaneously protested with great anger. It is important to assume that diversity so as not to fall into romanticism, idealize situations or force dynamics that are not such. It is precisely considering this reality that various initiatives are raised in solidarity with the prisoners of the revolt, as well as in remembrance and revenge for the dead and maimed, as well as against the State.

Even with the constant persecution by the State, Monica and Francisco stayed in combat and with their heads held high, especially in jail. They even wrote a statement that addresses the need for harmony between the struggles inside and outside the prisons. Do they manage to have contact with the other subversive people who are also in prison? And with those who are outside? Is access to books and letters allowed, for example?

Monica and Francisco have been part of the environment with comrades in prison for years; both were frequently visiting incarcerated subversive comrades. So that relationship remains unbreakable but has simply changed its form and modality. Despite being in the same penal unit, Francisco has little direct contact with those in maximum security and almost no direct contact (face to face) with those in High Security, but in the same way, existing networks and links are strengthened with fluid communication between all comrades.

Only as a sample can be seen the joint writing between different comrades, drawn from within “Before the revolt, the plebiscite and the judicial situation: Communiqué of prisoners of the social war for the destruction of prison society.”

How do you analyze the importance of solidarity transcending both the prison walls and the border between States?

That is a necessary and interesting dilemma, a challenge for the anarchic struggle. In the case of the comrades, we were already faced with the issue of internationalist solidarity in 2010 with the “bomb case” where beautiful networks were informally forged with the detainees, and on the other hand, when they were arrested in Spain, this question was addressed to us, about our ability to articulate and cross borders. Today, while the comrades are imprisoned here, there are a lot of daily issues that urgently need to be resolved here, as legal and financial help is always required.

But that is only one aspect of solidarity; there is, on the other hand, the dissemination and agitation of the case and perhaps more important and sustaining are the public debates around the positions of the comrades. Bring them to the streets, let them speak only and exclusively from their condition of imprisonment and contribute to the fight.

In another dimension, there is a fear that the solidarity with both is plagued with resignation, that it is not worth fighting and that it would only be necessary to resign oneself to a possible conviction and then have to take care of the expenses of the life of the comrades in prison. That scenario is really the worst.

Finally, how can people in solidarity support the campaign for the freedom of Monica and Francisco? Is there a channel through which information and communications can be accompanied?

We upload the texts and information to the counter-information pages, we try to be very clear and regularly upload updates and relevant information. We move away from those positions that seek to go unnoticed or lower the profile of cases. The comrades are imprisoned for the actions of the struggle, the comrades have been part of the struggle for years and it corresponds to maintain a dialogue and information with all of us who are on this side of the barricade.

On the ways in which it can be supported, this response lies in the creative capacity of each person, from dissemination, agitation, to the collection of economic funds, as well as direct communication with them through letters, contemplating them in projects or simply raising your own solidarity initiative.

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,

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.

Red and Black Telly roundup.










Covid-19 under Apartheid: How Israel Manipulates Suffering of Palestinians

toward freedom

By Ramzy Baroud

Israel’s decision to exclude Palestinians from its COVID-19 vaccination campaign may have surprised many. Even by Israel’s poor humanitarian standards, denying Palestinians access to life-saving medication seems extremely callous.

Amnesty International, among many organizations, condemned the Israeli government’s decision to bar Palestinians from receiving the vaccine. The rights group described the Israeli action as evidence of the “institutionalized discrimination that defines the Israeli government’s policy towards Palestinians.”

Covid-19 awareness in Palestine is allowed, but Israel is withholding vaccines. Source: Arab News

The Palestinian Authority was not expecting Israel to supply Palestinian hospitals with millions of vaccines as it hopes to receive two million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in February. Instead, the request made by PA official, Hussein al-Sheikh, Coordinator of Palestinian affairs with Israel, was a meager 10,000 doses to help protect Palestinian frontline workers. Still, the Israeli Health Ministry rejected the request.

According to the Palestinian news agency WAFA, 1,629 Palestinians died and a total of 160,043 were infected with the deadly COVID-19 disease as of January 4. While such dismal numbers can also be found in many parts of the world, the Palestinian coronavirus crisis is compounded by the fact that Palestinians live under an Israeli military occupation, a state of apartheid and, as in the case of Gaza, an unrelenting siege.

Worse still,

more

Informal organisation: Alfredo M. Bonanno 1985

the anarchist library in various formats

From Anarchismo, n. 47, 1985

Informal organisation

Alfredo M. Bonanno

First let us distinguish the informal anarchist organisation from the anarchist organisation of synthesis. Considerable clarification will emerge from this distinction.

What is an anarchist organisation of synthesis? It is an organisation based on groups or individuals that are more or less in constant relation with each other, that culminates in periodical congresses. During these open meetings basic theoretical analyses are discussed, a program is prepared and tasks are shared out covering a whole range of interventions in the social field. The organisation thus sets itself up as a point of reference, like an entity that is capable of synthesizing the struggles that are going on in reality of the class clash. The various commissions of this organisational model intervene in different struggles (as single comrades or groups) and, by intervening, give their contribution in first person without however losing site of the theoretical and practical orientation of the organisation as a whole, as decided at the most recent congress.

When this kind of organisation develops itself fully (as happened in Spain in ’36) it begins to dangerously resemble a party. Synthesis becomes control. Of course, in moments of slack, this involution is less visible and might even seem an insult, but at other times it turns out to be more evident.

In substance, in the organisation of synthesis (always specific and anarchist), a nucleus of specialists works out proposals at both the theoretical and ideological level, adapting them as far as possible to the program that is roughly decided upon at the periodic congresses. The shift away from this program can also be considerable (after all, anarchists would never admit to too slavish an adherence to anything), but when this occurs care is taken to return within the shortest possible time to the line previously decided upon.

This organisation’s project is therefore that of being present in various situations: antimilitarism, nuclear power, unions, prisons, ecology, interventions in living areas, unemployment, schools, etc. This presence is either by direct intervention or through participaton in interventions managed by other comrades or organisations (anarchist or not).

It becomes clear that participation aimed at bringing the struggle to within the project of synthesis cannot be autonomous. It cannot really adapt to the conditions of the struggle or collaborate effectively in a clear plan with the other revolutionary forces. Everything must either go through the ideological filter of synthesis or comply with the conditions approved earlier during the congress.This situation, which is not always as rigid as it might seem here, carries the ineliminable tendency of organisations of synthesis to drag struggles to the level of the base, proposing caution and using contrivances aimed at redimensioning any flight forward, any objective that is too open or means that might be dangerous.

For example, if a group belonging to this kind of organisation (of synthesis, but always anarchist and specific) were to adhere to a structure that is struggling, let us say, against repression, it would be forced to consider the actions proposed by this structure in the light of the analyses that had roughly been approved at the congress. The structure would either have to accept these analyses, or the group belonging to the organisation of synthesis would stop its collaboration (if it is in a minority) or impose the expulsion (in fact, even if not with a precise motion) of those proposing different methods of struggle. Some people might not like it, but that is exactly how things work. One might ask oneself why on earth the proposal of the group belonging to the organisation of synthesis must by definition always be more backward, i.e. in the rearguard, or more cautious than others concerning possible actions of attack against the structures of repression and social consensus. Why is that? The answer is simple. The specific anarchist organisation of synthesis, which, as we have seen, culminates in periodic congresses has growth in numbers as its basic aim. It needs an operative force that must grow. Not to infinity exactly, but almost. In the case of the contrary it would not have the capacity to intervene in the various struggles, nor even be able to carry out its own principle task: proceding to synthesis in one single point of reference. Now, an organisation that has growth in members as its main aim must use instruments that guarantee proselytism and pluralism. It cannot take a clear position concerning any specific problem, but must always find a middle way, a political road that upsets the smallest number and turns out to be acceptable to most.

The correct position concerning some problems, particularly repression and prisons, is often the most dangerous, and no group can put the organisation they belong to at risk without first agreeing with the other member groups. But that can only happen in congress, or at least at an extraordinary meeting, and we all know that on such occasions it is always the most moderate opinion that prevails, certainly not the most advanced.

So, ineluctably, the presence of the organisation of synthesis in actual struggles, struggles that reach the essence of the class struggle, turns into a brake and control (often involuntarily, but it is still a question of control).

The informal organisation does not present such problems. Affinity groups and comrades that see themselves in an informal kind of projectuality come together in action, certainly not by adhering to a program that has been fixed at a congress. They realise the project themselves, in their analyses and actions. It can occasionally have a point of reference in a paper or a series of meetings, but only in order to facilitate things, whereas it has nothing to do with congresses and such like.The comrades who recognise themselves in an informal organisation are automatically a part of it. They keep in contact with the other comrades through a paper or by other means, but, more important, they do so by participating in the various actions, demonstrations, encounters, etc., that take place from time to time. The main verification and analysis therefore comes about during moments of struggle. To begin with these might simply be moments of theoretical verification, turning into something more later on.

In an informal organisation there is no question of synthesis. There is no desire to be present in all the different situations and even less to formulate a project that takes the struggles into the depths of a programme that has been approved in advance.

The only constant points of reference are insurrectional methods: in other words self-organisation of struggles, permanent conflictuality and attack.