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Posted: September 17th, 2012 By BWM

Taken from Bay View

by Isaac Ontiveros, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Oakland – Prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) have announced a push to end all hostilities between racial groups within California’s prisons and jails. The handwritten announcement was sent to prison advocacy organizations. It is signed by several prisoners, identifying themselves as the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective. [Their statement follows this one.]
The Attica rebellion in upstate New York Sept. 9-13, 1971, saw thousands of prisoners take over the prison, protesting intolerable conditions and infuriated by the assassination of George Jackson at San Quentin on Aug. 21, 1971. The secret of their unprecedented strength was their multi-racial solidarity. Here, Black and white prisoners sit on a wall during a meeting called by the organizers.

The Short Corridor refers to a section of Pelican Bay Prison’s notorious Security Housing Unit (SHU). Pelican Bay’s SHU was the point of origin for last year’s hunger strikes which rocked California’s prison system, at one point including the participation of nearly 12,000 prisoners in over 11 prisons throughout the state.

The statement calls for the cessation of all hostilities between groups to commence Oct. 10, 2012, in all California prisons and county jails. “This means that from this date on, all racial group hostilities need to be at an end,” the statement says.

It also calls on prisoners throughout the state to set aside their differences and use diplomatic means to settle their disputes. The Short Corridor Collective states, “If personal issues arise between individuals, people need to do all they can to exhaust all diplomatic means to settle such disputes; do not allow personal, individual issues to escalate into racial group issues.”

“The statement calls for the cessation of all hostilities between groups to commence Oct. 10, 2012, in all California prisons and county jails. “This means that from this date on, all racial group hostilities need to be at an end,” the statement says.” 

In the past, California prisoners have attempted to collaborate with the Department of Corrections to bring an end to the hostilities, but CDCR has been largely unresponsive to prisoners’ requests. The statement warns prisoners that they expect prison officials to attempt to undermine this agreement.

Occupy San Quentin on Feb. 20, 2012, a major demonstration in support of prisoners, united people across race, class, age and gender dividing lines. – Photo: Alex Darocy, Indybay“My long-time experience in urban peace issues, gang truces, prevention and intervention is that when gang leaders and prisoners take full stock of the violence and how they can contribute to the peace, such peace will be strong, lasting and deep. I honor this effort as expressed in this statement,” says Luis J. Rodriguez, renowned violence intervention worker and award-winning author of “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.”  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: August 14th, 2012 By BWM

Here is another great discussion that we were able to film at the Law & Disorder conference in Portland this past April. In this video, Decolonize PDX discusses why they felt forming was so necessary, what Decolonize  PDX means to the collective, occupy and people of color, and prison abolition. If this video interest you, we urge you to pass it around to friends and family!

Posted: July 31st, 2012 By BWM

From Green Is The New Red

When FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force agents raided multiple activist homes in the Northwest last week, they were in search of “anti-government or anarchist literature.”

The raids were part of a multi-state operation that targeted activists in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. At least three people were served subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury on August 2nd in Seattle.

In addition to anarchist literature, the warrants also authorize agents to seize flags, flag-making material, cell phones, hard drives, address books, and black clothing.

The listing of black clothing and flags, along with comments made by police, indicates that the FBI may ostensibly be investigating “black bloc” tactics used during May Day protests in Seattle, which destroyed corporate property.

If that is true, how are books and literature evidence of criminal activity?

To answer that, we need to look at the increasing harassment, surveillance, and prosecution of anarchists and political activists associated with the Occupy Movement.

In some cases, such as the May Day arrests in Cleveland, the FBI has been so desperate to arrests “anarchist terrorists” that it supplied them with bomb-making materials and used an informant to entrap them. The same thing happened in Chicago.

The motivation for these operations, and the instruction that “anarchist” means “terrorist,” is coming straight from the top levels of the federal government. As I recently wrote, new documents show that the FBI is conducting “domestic terrorism” training presentations about anarchists. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: July 27th, 2012 By BWM

Back in April, the Law & Disorder conference brought awesome speakers, organizers, and ex political prisoners from all around the world to Portland, OR. This is always an extremely exciting time for us, because we get to meet wonderful and inspirational folks, many of whom we have only heard stories of. The speaker in this video, scott crow, is one of those people.

Scott is an anarchist, worker, and community organizer from Austin, TX and has a lifetime of activism under his belt including work with the SHAC campaign, katrina support and community organizing, and much more. I would tell you about his successes and victories, but instead, you should get together with some friends, and have scott tell you himself by watching this video.

Posted: April 1st, 2012 By BWM
Still relevant as the day he wrote it (October 2011), this is one of our favorite writings by the recently passed Joel Olson. As long as the occupy movement stays a white democracy, it will remain a problem that needs to be dealt with.
Whiteness and the 99%
By Joel Olson

Occupy Wall Street and the hundreds of occupations it has sparked nationwide are among the most inspiring events in the U.S. in the 21st century. The occupations have brought together people to talk, occupy, and organize in new and exciting ways. The convergence of so many people with so many concerns has naturally created tensions within the occupation movement. One of the most significant tensions has been over race. This is not unusual, given the racial history of the United States. But this tension is particularly dangerous, for unless it is confronted, we cannot build the 99%. The key obstacle to building the 99% is left colorblindness, and the key to overcoming it is to put the struggles of communities of color at the center of this movement. It is the difference between a free world and the continued dominance of the 1%.

Left colorblindess is the enemy

Left colorblindness is the belief that race is a “divisive” issue among the 99%, so we should instead focus on problems that “everyone” shares. According to this argument, the movement is for everyone, and people of color should join it rather than attack it.

Left colorblindness claims to be inclusive, but it is actually just another way to keep whites’ interests at the forefront. It tells people of color to join “our” struggle (who makes up this “our,” anyway?) but warns them not to bring their “special” concerns into it. It enables white people to decide which issues are for the 99% and which ones are “too narrow.” It’s another way for whites to expect and insist on favored treatment, even in a democratic movement.

As long as left colorblindness dominates our movement, there will be no 99%. There will instead be a handful of whites claiming to speak for everyone. When people of color have to enter a movement on white people’s terms rather than their own, that’s not the 99%. That’s white democracy.

The white democracy

Biologically speaking, there’s no such thing as race. As hard as they’ve tried, scientists have never been able to define it. That’s because race is a human creation, not a fact of nature. Like money, it only exists because people accept it as “real.” Races exist because humans invented them.

Read the rest of this entry »

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