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BK/NY – Tuesday, October 5th – Letter-Writing For Jessica Reznicek

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, October 5th, 2021
WHERE: The Base1302 Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11221 (directions below)
NOTE: The Base is on the ground floor, is wheelchair accessible, and has a gender neutral toilet.
COST: Free

Aaaaaand…WE. ARE. BACK. After over 18 months of virtual events in support of political prisoners and prisoners of war, NYC ABC and Page One Collective are heading back to The Base, back to in-person events, and back to serving up some hot information on the folks we support. Speaking of hot, the world is on fire–figuratively and literally, largely the result of actions taken by greedy humans in pursuit of capital expansion and exploiting everything possible in the process. So it’s fitting that in our return to political prisoner letter-writing events, we focus on Jessica Reznicek, currently serving an eight year federal prison sentence for eco-defense.

Jessica Reznicek is a 40 year old land and water defender who has worked with and lived in the Des Moines Catholic Worker Community for the last 10 years. Jessica grew up in a small town in rural Iowa.

In 2016, Jessica took a stand against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline in Iowa. Jessica attended public comment hearings, gathered signatures for valid requests for Environmental Impact Statements, and participated in civil disobedience, hunger strikes, marches & rallies, boycotts & encampments.

When the process failed, she concluded the system was broken, and it was up to individuals to take action and protect the water. She and a fellow Catholic Worker then spent the next couple months disabling construction machinery along the pipeline route.

In early 2021, Jessica pleaded guilty to one count of Conspiracy to Damage an Energy Facility and on June 30 was designated a domestic terrorist by the court and sentenced to 8 years in prison, followed by 3 years supervised probation, and a restitution of $3,198,512.70 paid to Energy Transfer LLC. More information at supportjessicareznicek.com

If you can’t make it out, but still want to support Jessica, you can write to her at:
Jessica Reznicek #19293-030
FCI Waseca
Post Office Box 1731
Waseca, Minnesota 56093

Read more…

Tuesday, September 21st – Letter Writing To Kamau Sadiki

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, September 21st, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

kamau

Fresh off of a return to in-person events with an outstanding Running Down the Walls, NYC ABC is back to our bread and (vegan) butter, generating direct support for Political Prisoners by encouraging folks to write letters.

This week, as part of our every-other-week political prisoner letter-writing dinner, NYC ABC and Page One Collective will be writing to Kamau Sadiki, former Black Panther Party member and Black Liberation Army (BLA) soldier who is currently serving a life plus ten years sentence for the murder of an Atlanta cop in 1971. He was arrested and convicted over 30 years after the cop was killed based solely on the testimonies of former BLA comrades-turned-snitch that were not even present at the time of the action.

This should not come as a surprise as the State has never ended their war against Black people and continue to divisively target Black communities. An increased interest in what the State labels terrorism is what led to the increased interest of Kamau in 2002 when he was brought in for questioning on an unrelated matter. They were aware of his former relationship with the perennially Most Wanted Assata Shakur, with whom Kamau has a daughter. They attempted to extract information from him about Assata and tried to recruit him to lure her away from Cuba or else he “would die in prison.” When he refused to turn his back on his principles and his community, the state of Georgia vindictively moved forward with charges of the decades old crime.

Before Kamau’s time in the BLA, he was a New York City teenager who was deeply moved by the principles and organizing efforts of the Black Panther Party. At age 17 he joined up in Jamaica, Queens and volunteered in the Free Breakfast for Children program in the morning, hit the streets with BPP newsletters in the afternoon in an effort to organize his neighbors, and took part in political education classes at night. Once the FBI’s CoIntelPro was in full swing, decimating the Party and their ability to progress, Kamau and many others went underground to the more clandestine BLA for fear of being entrapped, framed, or murdered.

For more info on Kamau Sadiki, check out freekamau.com which gives an account of Kamau’s life from two former political prisoners, Safiya Bukhari and Claude Marks (freedomarchives.org).

Here is an excerpt of Kamau’s 2003 sentencing statement:
My joining the Black Panther Party and consequently the Black Liberation Army was a response to the oppressive climate that existed in America at the time. The struggle of people of color evolved out of the legacy of slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws of the reconstruction period. Following decades of oppression, people of color in this country recognized they had to negotiate their liberation through armed resistance and it was during this period of history that the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army were major players.

Please take the time to write a letter to Kamau (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):
Kamau Sadiki* #0001150688
Augusta State Medical Prison
3001 Gordon Highway
Grovetown, Georgia 30813
*Address envelope to Freddie Hilton

Running Down the Walls 2021: A Reportback

It’s no newsflash that the global pandemic, which has devastated so many, including imprisoned folks, is not over. So, for full transparency, we didn’t really know what to expect when we asked friends, allies, comrades, and others with whom we share affinity, to show up for a 5k run and barbecue. We were certainly heartened after tabling a couple of recent events at which we got great interest and met a lot of folks we’d never seen before, but that doesn’t always translate into a successfully attended event. Regardless, we put out the call and New York CAME THROUGH. Throughout the day, we had over 100 folks come through, participate, donate, and eat. We exceeded our fundraising goal of $4,000 and that means more loot for elder former NYS political prisoners and the ABCF warchest. There is still time to donate at venmo.com/nycabc or paypal.me/nycabc

Running Down the Walls in NYC is always a multi-generational event and we knew that meant having folks more vulnerable to Covid-19 there to show support (or have their parents show support for the young ‘uns). We implemented appropriate protocols for keeping everyone as safe as possible, and it turns out to be slightly annoying, but not difficult. Thanks to everyone who came out for understanding and being patient as we took longer to hand out food and drinks, kept everything wiped down, and all that other hoopla.

Setting up early, we were able to distribute a lot of free literature and talk with plenty of folks enjoying a day in the park and curious about the colorful flyers. By the time folks started showing up to register, everyone was hype. Recognizing not everyone participating has the same relationship to time (our nice way of saying there were plenty who were tardy for the party), we waited until after 2:30 to start the actual run. As always, some showed up eager to get the five kilometers behind them and a plate of food in front. And with so many folks, the event organizers left with nothing but empty containers (and a bunch of funds for our PPs and POWs) as the vegan cookout got entirely housed.

Running Down the Walls 2021 was familiar and unique at the same time. It was incredible to receive such great support from so many communities who showed up. We are grateful and deeply appreciate everyone who came through, donated online, promoted RDTW, or supported in myriad other ways. That’s what’s up and that’s how we get down (the walls).

Tuesday, September 7th- Letter Writing to Ed Poindexter

7 September 2021 Comments off

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, September 7th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

As the empire crumbles, floods and fires wreak havoc around the world, and plagues linger on and on, not one of us is immune from the threats and challenges of our times. But let’s not let ourselves get too apocalyptic in our thinking. The times are always a-changing, and our analysis and practice of intersectional struggle against the politics of oppression and the hierarchies they serve remain cogent.  Our challenge is to keep our heads above the proverbial and literal water and do what we can to enact radical solidarity with our comrades on both sides of the walls.

So while we gear up for Running Down the Walls this coming Sunday, we don’t forget about the individuals we support that are still behind bars. In this spirit, please join NYC ABC and Page One Collective this week to write to Ed Poindexter, a Black Panther political prisoner in Nebraska.

Ed Poindexter and Mondo we Langa are commonly known as the “Omaha Two.” They were leaders of the Black Panther Party in Omaha in the late 1960s and, like others, were targeted both by the Omaha police and the FBI under its notorious COINTELPRO spying and disruption program.

In August 1970, the Two were framed on charges of killing an Omaha police officer, who died after being lured into a home where a suitcase bomb exploded. They were subsequently imprisoned. After a long illness, we Langa died in 2016 after 45 years in prison, while Ed Poindexter remains locked up.

Please take the time to write a letter to Ed (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):

Ed Poindexter #27767
Nebraska State Penitentiary
Post Office Box 22500
Lincoln, Nebraska 68542

Tuesday, August 24th – Solidarity With International Anarchist Political Prisoners

22 August 2021 Comments off

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, August 24th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

The Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) originally began as a channel for mostly Jewish anarchist emigres from the Russian empire to support revolutionaries locked up for struggling against Tsarism in the early 20th century. Known at first as the Workers Red Cross, then the Anarchist Red Cross, and eventually as the Anarchist Black Cross, the early ABC would raise awareness and funds, keep up correspondences and send money and food packages to their imprisoned comrades. After the Bolsheviks seized power the work remained to support non-Communist Party approved revolutionaries, re-imprisoned by the new bosses for continuing the fight against the old ones, and Alexander Berkman continued the work from exile in Berlin.

As the decades passed the increasing urgency of countering fascism and the great depression shifted priorities, and the ABC fell away as  an organization (though many comrades continued the work of supporting political prisoners). It was revived by Albert Meltzer and Stuart Christie in the 1960’s, and while originally focusing on veterans of the ongoing struggle against Franco’s regime, it expanded rapidly to other include other struggles and international chapters. Former political prisoner Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin revived it in the belly of the ‘american’ beast, and today we see ABC chapters throughout the world.

Whatever the demands of time and place, the watchword of the ABC has always been solidarity. As Albert Meltzer said: “It is not intended to be a charity. It is to organize solidarity for victims of the class war.“ If by class war we mean the intersecting struggles against all forms of oppression—and we do—then we stand by Albert’s words. Regimes and pandemics come and go, but true solidarity is for ever.

As we have said before, it is matter of anarchist principle for us that we do not only support anarchist political prisoners, but all those engaged in struggles against oppression. But now, as has been the case for over a century, anarchist prisoners around the world are in need of solidarity.

So NYC ABC and Page One Collective answer the call for a Week of International Solidarity With Anarchist Political Prisoners. Learn their names and stories, write them letters, spread the word. Until All Are Free! 

Please note, the list provided above includes Joshua Stafford aka Skelly, who has been released to halfway house.

BK/NY – Sunday, September 12th, 2021 – Running Down the Walls

12 August 2021 Comments off

WHATRunning Down the Walls – 5k Run/Walk/Jog/Bike/Hang
WHEN: 2:00-7:00pm, Sunday, September 12th, 2021
WHERE: Prospect Park– Lincoln Road/East Lake Drive, east of the Terrace Bridge (see the below map for exact location)
COST: $10 registration (includes vegan BBQ afterwards served COVID precautions!)

Image

We’re excited to announce Running Down the Walls 2021, COVID permitting. After making the difficult decision to not hold last year’s event in person, we are very much looking forward to gathering as a community for the first time in a long time. Please stay tuned to our website, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on tweeter (@nycabc) for updates.

Every year, prisoners and supporters of political prisoners organize solidarity events with Running Down the Walls. In previous years, we’ve had runs in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Boston (MA), Buffalo (NY), Chico (CA), Denver (CO), Elmore (AL), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), Minneapolis (MN) New York (NY), USP Navosta (TX), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), Seattle (WA), and Toronto, Ontario. This year we hope to expand the amount of runs in prisons and other cities, as well as increase the amount of funds raised for community projects. NYC ABC‘s goal with this year’s run is $4,000. You can donate online by going to paypal.me/nycabc or venmo: @nycabc

This year’s run will take place on Sunday, September 12th, 2021 at 2:00 pm in solidarity and conjunction with runs that will take place in cities and prison yards across the country at the same time. Stay after to enjoy a vegan BBQ, served taking every COVID precaution!

REGISTER AS, OR SPONSOR, A PARTICIPANT

To raise our goal of $4,000, we need your support.

Promote – print and distribute flyers to friends and local businesses, your doctor’s office, laundromat, food co-op, wealthy benefactor, et cetera.

Run/walk/bike/roll in the 5k – We need participants who can run/walk/bike/roll the 5k and are able to collect financial pledges to offer as donations to the run. Download the brochure, complete with registration and sponsor form right here.

Volunteer for the run – We need folks who are willing to hand out water, bike the route as street medics, and help chalk the route beforehand.

Donate online at paypal.me; venmo @nycabc

Donate to the run/sponsor a participant – If you are not able to attend, but want to support this fundraising effort, please mail donations to:
NYC ABC
Post Office Box 110034
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Your donation of $10 or more entitles you to the celebratory picnic after the event.

Each year, we split proceeds between the Anarchist Black Cross Federation’s Warchest Program and a local organization. This year, local funds are going to recently released New York state political prisoners.

The Warchest Program:
The Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABCF) has initiated a program designed to send monthly checks to those Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have been receiving insufficient, little, or no financial support during their imprisonment. The Warchest program was initiated in November 1994. Its purpose is to collect monthly funds from groups and individual supporters, and send that money to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (PP/POW) via monthly checks. Over the last twenty five years, the ABCF warchest has dispensed over $100,000 to political prisoners in the United States. Currently, there are 18 imprisoned comrades who receive a monthly stipend as part of the program; they are Abdul Azeez, David Gilbert, Doug Wright, Ed Poindexter, Eric King, Hanif Bey, Jamil Al-Amin, Joseph Bowen, Kamau Sadiki, Leonard Peltier, Malik Smith, Mutulu Shakur, Oso Blanco, Ronald Reed, Ruchell Magee, Sundiata Acoli, Veronza Bowers, and Xinachtli (FKA Alvaro Luna Hernandez).

For more information, visit: abcf.net/warchest-program

We will be starting here:

rdtw-2018-starting_meetup-point.jpg

From the Q train, get off at the Prospect Park stop. Walk to Lincoln Road and turn right into the park. We’ll be about 700 feet away.

The event will be one lap around what is known as the Main Loop, and will total five kilometers. For the curious, here’s what it looks like:

Main Loop

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at nycabc at riseup dot net.

See you there!

Tuesday, August 10th – Black August Letter Writing

8 August 2021 Comments off

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, August 10th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

In an effort to maintain some semblance of normalcy we continue to encourage folks at home to write political prisoners every other week. As the pandemic surges yet again, we worry not only for our vulnerable communities on the outside but especially for those inside, forced to live at the mercy of their captors who have proven their disinterest in taking COVID seriously. Writing letters is a simple and effective way to connect our communities and remind those inside they are not forgotten.

In the spirit of Black August, NYC ABC and Page One Collective will be sending letters to Black revolutionary political prisoners, many of whom are elders and have survived COVID. There’s an easy way for you to help, just by writing from home. Black August honors fallen Black Freedom Fighters, calls for the release of all political prisoners, and condemns the oppressive and life-stealing prison system in this country. Black August was first observed in the 1970s to commemorate George and Jonathan Jackson’s assassinations and honor the centuries of Black resistance that preceded those events.

Please post a photo of your addressed envelope on social media and tag us (with your return address blurred out) and we will share it. Use Page One’s recent zine, “Current Political Prisoners of Black Liberation Movements,” for up-to-date addresses.

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021 – Letter-writing to Gage Halupowski

26 July 2021 Comments off

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, July 27th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

On July 19th, 1936, right-wing authoritarian generals and their fascist allies revolted against the timidly left-leaning government of the Spanish Republic. Though no friends of the liberals in power, Spanish anarchists saw the existential threat to the working classes—and humanity—that fascism posed, and fought heroically not to save the government, but to repel the coup. What followed has been called revolution (as people in liberated cities and villages dramatically re-organized their social and economic lives), civil war, triumph, defeat, and folly, depending on who you ask and where their ethics lie. Whatever you call it, it was the first major international battle against fascism, and included some of the largest experiments in real-world anarchism the world had seen. This confluence is no coincidence, since every form of centralized government contains the seeds of fascism. As Buenaventura Durruti put it: “No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges.” Y la Lucha continua…


July 25 is the International Day of Solidarity with Anti-Fascist Prisoners. In honor of this, NYC ABC and Page One are asking folks to write a letter to anti-fascist political prisoner Gage Halupowski.

Gage Halupowski was arrested along with two other protesters in the wake of clashes in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square, later indicted on four criminal charges, including second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, attempted assault of a public safety officer, and interfering with a peace officer. In November 2019, Gage was convicted and sentenced to six years in state prison.

Please take the time to write a letter to Gage (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):
Gage Halupowski #21894460
Snake River Correctional Institution
777 Stanton Boulevard
Ontario, Oregon 97914-8335

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 – Letter-writing to Xinachtli

11 July 2021 Comments off

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, July 13th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

Often when we write these updates we are conscious of trying to tie present conditions to the larger struggle, to contextualize (for ourselves at least) both the movement and the moment at hand. But sometimes stepping back a bit and looking through a more historical lens can be helpful for our sense of perspective.

For those of us concerned with supporting political prisoners in the belly of this particular beast, the month of July by the colonial calendar is instructive and offers several events to reflect on over the past century or so of struggle.  This is by no means a comprehensive list (as recent events have shown), and while the significance of random calendar dates can easily be overstated, the struggles and dedication of these comrades can not.

  • On July 18, 1918 Oaxacan-born revolutionary anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón was convicted of sending politically dangerous materials through the mail and sentenced to twenty-one years in prison.  He wrote that “a sentence of twenty-one years is a sentence of life for a man as old and worn out as I am.”  He died imprisoned in Leavenworth, Kansas November on 22, 1922, at fifty years old.
  • On July 14, 1921, a guilty verdict was announced in the murder trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Judge Thayer praised the jury for their “supreme American loyalty.” The two Italian-born anarchists were later sentenced to death, which was carried out in August 1927.
  • On July 11, 1983, New African anarchist Kuwasi Balagoon  delivered his opening statement in the infamous Brink’s Trial, in which he stated: “i am a prisoner of war and i reject the crap about me being a defendant, and i do not recognize the legitimacy of this court.”

On July 18, 1996 a Texas sheriff went to arrest Alvaro Hernandez—also known as Xinachtli—at his home on trumped-up charges without a warrant. When the sheriff drew his gun, Alvaro disarmed him and fled. After eventually being captured, he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Which brings us to this week’s letter writing in which NYC ABC, in collaboration with Page One Collective, are encouraging you to write to Chicano political prisoner Xinachtli.

Xinachtli (Nahuatl, meaning “seed”) is an anarchist communist community organizer and Chicano movement revolutionary, currently imprisoned in Texas. Formerly known as Alvaro Luna Hernandez, he worked diligently in the barrio on civil and human rights issues, known widely for his legal skills. Gaining international recognition as the national coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, Xinachtli was instrumental in helping to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas’ death row, where he had been framed for the murder of a police officer.

In July 1996 Xinachtli was arrested after disarming a County Sheriff who was attempting to shoot him. After defending himself at trial, Xinachtli was sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated assault, a charge he vehemently denies. While imprisoned, Xinachtli continues to write frequently, has helped to organize multiple prison strikes, and has been held in solitary confinement for the last 19 years and counting. Xinachtli is a prolific jailhouse lawyer, as referenced by Mumia Abu Jamal in his book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v the USA. Xinachtli assists many prisoners in seeking new trials, and filing suits against the repressive, inhumane Texas prison system. More information at https://freealvaro.net.

Please take the time to write a letter to Xinachtli (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):

Alvaro Luna Hernandez
#255735
W.G. McConnell Unit,
3001 Emily Drive,
Beeville, Texas 78102
*Address envelopes to Alvaro Luna Hernández, cards/letters to Xinachtli.

Tuesday, June 29th – Letter-writing to Russell Maroon Shoatz

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

One year and one month to the day of George Floyd’s murder the state sentenced his murderer to 22 1/2 years in prison. Are we supposed to be happy or feel relieved? Those of us engaged in prisoner support work know plenty of folks that spend much more time inside for much less, but also know prison is hell anyway you slice it (we don’t like to get caught up in the arguments of what constitutes a long sentence). Regardless, we trust he’ll be well cared for in there. And no, we’re not happy. And no, we’re not relieved. They sacrificed one of their own to take the fall for the rest still working their beats. Meanwhile, cops continue to murder, migrants are detained at an increasing rate, and Trump is still holding rallies. The uprisings of 2020 were a hopeful promise of what is to come, and now one year later we’re here wondering if anything has changed. All we can do is to continue our organizing projects, our mutual aid projects, and our solidarity work. For us at NYC ABC, that is supporting political prisoners through letter writing efforts.

This week, NYC ABC and Page One Collective ask you to write to a Black liberation political prisoner, the truly implacable Russell Maroon Shoatz, himself accused of taking action against the brutality meted out by cops on Black communities. Russell Maroon Shoatz is a dedicated community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party and soldier in the Black Liberation Army. In 1970, along with 5 others, Maroon was accused of attacking a police station, which resulted in a cop being killed. This attack was said to have been carried out in response to the rampant police brutality in the Black community. For 18 months Maroon functioned underground as a soldier in the Black Liberation Army. In 1972 he was captured. Twice he escaped—once in 1977 and again in 1980, but both times he was recaptured and today he is held in Pennsylvania where he is serving multiple life sentences. As with many of our imprisoned elders, Maroon faces health concerns and should immediately released. On June 17th 2021 there was an emergency action to get Russell his much needed chemo treatments which had been cancelled by DOC. Please stay tuned for more updates. 

Please take the time to write a letter to Maroon (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):
Smart Connections/PA DOC
Russell Shoats #AF-3855
SCI-Dallas
Post Office Box 33028
St. Petersburg, Florida 33733