ChicagoABC's Mission Statement

 

YES! We're for Abolition and Support


Really, a Rant on Abolition vs. Support, It Makes a Good Mission Statement, Too

Revolutionary Greetings to all Comrades on the Inside and Outside,

It's past time to clear the air regarding our work: prison abolition and prisoner support work. So, here's this rant, it also happens to be the mission statement of ChicagoABC.org:

The only crime is the idea of criminalization and its reification. The only true criminals are the criminalizers. I donít care what you did, why you did it or whom you did it to. People act and they have a right to act. Harm to property can never be a crime, because no object no matter how priceless itís supposed to be according to the market fetishers, is more important than a human being.  Any society that needs dungeons or any other form of punishment is not a worthy society but a sorely corrupted one and the sooner such a society falls, the better. One person physically harming another person cannot be tolerated and certainly communities (and I mean communities) will have to find ways to deal with such irresponsible people. Locking human beings in cages and treating them worse than we treat animals is not an option.  We can of course just put them in the army, where they can assault, rape, maim and murder for free in the name of God and Country.

I hear so many of the stories of the needs for prisoner support Ö they are never ending and will be never ending as long as prisons exist. I cannot see my way clear to give much in the way of that support right now and I give you all, my dear criminalized and locked up comrades, a big hey in this brief rant.  My time now is very limited as I struggle to make it on the outside in minimum security with no security blanket of a job, which is wage slavery. Since my latest wage slave fiasco a few years ago, I have vowed to myself to never go back into the wage slave system again, and I plan to keep that vow come hell or a prison cell, our manmade hell. This means I work much longer hours and make barely enough to survive while Iím at it. So in the limited time that I have, do I lend support to this one and that one including those I feel closest to or do I support the movement to abolish prisons? To me, the answer is clear. I support the movement to abolish prisons, itís a grand movement and the moment we do it, the world will be transformed. The government sadists and corporate rapists will no longer get by with their crimes against humanity, animals, the environment Ö.. and at that moment support wonít be needed.

But we radicals, we have failed to make a dent in the abolition movement to date. Why is that? Clarence Darrow said prisons should be abolished 100 years ago.  Yet, theyíve only grown exponentially since his day. Thereís a Chinese saying that if you want something to die let it grow Ö maybe the growth industry of prisons indicates itís soon to die.  It will die, thereís no question of it. Itís a medieval system that has no business being in business and anyone who supports prisons, who would condemn his fellow man or woman to the dungeons deserves to be there him or herself. Maybe enough of us donít believe that we can make it happen and thatís why abolition gets such a short shrift. Well, I find that belief cynical and I do believe that we can make it happen and the sooner we get busy at it, letting the ďauthoritiesĒ and the yuppies (what we call todayís bourgeois sheep) know that WE DO NOT ACCEPT jails and prisons, period, the sooner they will fall. Lately, Westwood College, a school that runs endless criminologist ads on Chicago area television has recently begun running ads that one can actually consider soft on crime! They say that criminals need their help. Westwood College Ö graduating an army of future sadists to run the gulag system. Now, am I going to agitate against Westwood and all the Westwoods, Wackenhuts, Corrections News, slimy DAís, the mindless media, the 9 annoying ones and a zillion others or am I going to throw myself into the daily needs of the locked down? Well, you can guess where Iíll be and hope to see YOU there. When Joe Hill was sentenced to death, to DEATH, he said, ďDonít Mourn, Organize.Ē

Whereís our organization when it comes to abolition?  Iím only finding it over support. When do we stop this monster? As Pam Africa said, if we donít stop it, it wonít stop. I havenít found any organization for prison abolition NOW though Critical Resistance is for Prison Abolition once we replace it with something else, according to Angel Davis. How about freedom, Angela? At our ABC conference awhile back we spent more time on support than developing ideas for abolition or planning direct actions against prisons. Seems it was a first for many to even hear the concept of abolition. In Belgium, resisters threw tennis balls over a prison wall to confound the guards. In Germany resisters shut down a new prison at point of production. Here, when Tams opened up in Illinois, no one and I mean no one was there to protest its ribbon cutting ceremonial opening by the ďauthoritiesĒ where they celebrated and partied over this grotesque societal cancer. Maybe prison abolition seems too conceptual, too removed. Maybe itís not fulfilling our needs to help, to do something against this leviathan. Prisoner support is too often a quagmire to our revolutionary energies, while we spend our time gathering funds for bail, gathering up and shipping off books, publishing, writing Comrades, whatís left for abolition? Apparently, little. And I canít help but wonder whereíd we be in the abolition struggle if we had the same kind of energy focused on abolition as we do on support. Support addresses symptoms, abolition cures causes. Iím not saying there should be no support. Obviously itís important. Everyone knows Mumia would be dead now if not for support. Certainly it feels good to know youíre giving intellectual, emotional and physical relief to any locked down victim of societyís cruelty. But I go to the social plannersí seminars, hear their speeches, sometimes video tape them, infiltrate them to find out what theyíre up to, and Iím mostly alone in these efforts. One of the most important things I found from the criminalizers is that they believe, they truly believe, that the huge prison population is acceptable to the general population. Itís acceptable! How can they believe this and how can we sit here letting them continue to believe this? They donít hear from us because weíre so busy talking to each other, soothing our Comradesí on the inside from their wounds instead of afflicting their tormentors out of existence. The burgeoning prison population didnít just happen, it was planned in advance at least 15 years ago, the Hitler like ďsolutionĒ to the baby boom among blacks and Hispanics. Where were we during all this planning? Maybe if we had been there then, you wouldnít be in there now, needing support. We have to, absolutely have to attack the consciences of the tormentors -- but little to none of that is happening. Donít think they donít feel it as they pretend not to, there are ways to get to them. We let prosecutors and judges get by with their judicial brutality while we at least take to the streets and town halls over the issue of police brutality, which even gets on the yuppie media. You wonít even find a yuppie saying that they support police brutality, but say some ďmonsterĒ (criminialized person) is going to jail, and youíll get a standing ovation.

Iím writing this because there have been some misunderstandings brought to my attention about ChicagoABC not doing enough, and Anthony expressing his shame about that. As I told Anthony, I can equally say that about the SouthsideABC and all the ABCís in their progress and contribution towards abolition. How many prisons have seen our direct action? How many prisons have we stopped from being built? You donít think our enemies love having us do support? It keeps us busy while they build more prisons and feed on our support dollars. How many more prisons are in the works for the criminalization efforts against immigrants? How many prison profiteers have had their consciences shocked? ChicagoABC is doing all that it can do in its own way and it will always exist, even if itís just me, going alone to the lawyer seminars on criminology where I hear their plans for us which from their own mouths are mostly focused on people of color, infiltrating their private judge parties, agitating in the courtrooms and courthouses against corrupt judges and lawyers, keeping the website up and even at times updating it! I recently got dissed about not updating the site enough. I have to say that I find these ďshame meĒ into doing more statements to stem from a very shallow, bourgeois, puritanical attitude, like weíre supposed to be caught up in a frenzied, yuppie rat race over the idea of support ďmy wayĒ or else. What happened to solidarity? While I agree itís nice to get new stuff up, the meat of the ChicagoABC website will always be important, and thatís eternal. The site shouts out against judicial brutality, a shout that is yet to be heard around the world but desperately needs to be. It includes a series of pro se motions that any anarchist can take as blueprints to create motions of his or her own to represent him or herself as any self respecting anarchist should do if caught up in the Cystem, instead of crying for bail money and lawyers and support, all that in the end feed a system that needs a starvation diet. These will be updated when anyone comes to me with other pro se motions. Then, there's a petition to the Hague to declare the entire USA Judicial system a systemic violation of basic human rights standards for the judiciary. That needs updating? It needs broadcasting even more. Not out of belief in petitions or the Hague, but in the symbolism of the idea. Who else has incorporated humor amidst all this miserabilism? It may be there, but Iíve yet to see it. While our site has turned April 15th (Big Brother tax day) into a turn yourself in day, a bit of ironic humor that is also eternal.

The history of ABCís has been prisoner support. So I understand weíre going beyond ABCís primary mission at ChicagoABC with such a heavy devotion to abolition. But this is ChicagoABCís unique character. ChicagoABCís not just me and not just abolition. It has two pillars, two columns. One is abolition and one is support. Iím in the Abolition Column and this is where Iím staying and this is where frankly I work mostly alone, not because I want to but because everyone else wants to focus on support. Thatís fine, Iíll be there when more serious minded abolitionists happen along and we can actually plan some direct actions. The support column had gone lacking, but recently Julia from Boston joined ChicagoABC and sheís been organizing and growing ChicagoABC with traditional ABC type of prisoner support and sheís having at it.  Thatís fine by me, and I applaud it and her dynamic energy and spirit just as I do Anthonyís. But our lines are clearly drawn. There is prisoner support work which while having many revolutionary aspects to it, still falls in the reform part of the spectrum where we make an unspeakable system a bit more comfortable and tolerable and revolutionize some minds along the way. Then there is prison/punishment abolition work which falls in the revolutionary part of the spectrum and thereís nothing reformist about it. And no, prison abolition is not a form of prisoner support. It has nothing to do with prisoner support except foreseeing and working towards the ending of the need for it. I respect what everyone in prisoner support work does and agree itís needed. Sorely needed. I wish I had the time to contribute to it, as well. But I just wish we had as much energy and commitment devoted to abolition. Iím not asking for the same sort of respect. Iím demanding it. Iím demanding solidarity. ChicagoABC stands on one leg for prison abolition and its other for prisoner support. The folk to be shaming are not each other because of which leg weíve chosen to focus upon, about how we choose to work or focus our energy, about who does zines, who funds bail money, how many times you update a website. The folk to be shaming are those who are making a living off the torturing of their fellows. Weíre not doing enough of that and my next prisoner support effort will be when we organize together to do just that. Iíve been in the Superpredatorsí claws more than once, and their lust for sadistic punishment is insatiable and terrifying.

Donít you find it ironic that the gatekeepers to the gulags, the Superpredator sadistic judges and DAís, call themselves civilized? And they call us uncivil whenever we unmask them. We need to unmask them more all the time until their ugliness and true incivility is fully exposed to everyone, especially themselves. Thanks to the bought, mindless media which glorifies these horriblists as heroes and honorables, itís a huge job. But somebodyís gotta do it! And yes I am saying that societyís true victims of ďcrimeĒ are convicts.

- Jane Doe with ChicagoABC and webmaster of ChicagoABC.org

 

 

 

 

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