yes it is....
At 12:54 PM 08/03/2000 -0700, you wrote:
>hey ron, is this you?
>From: Independent Media Center - Philadelphia
>Thursday August 03, @02:53PM
>Only as Free as the Padlocked Prison Door
>By ron jacobs
>Only as Free as the Padlocked Prison Door
>The folks arrested in the past few days in the streets of Philadelphia
>are political prisoners. They are in the Roundhouse and Holmesburg
>jails because they were expressing their political beliefs. There is a
>very real likelihood that some of them will face serious felony charges
>and there is the further likelihood that a few will face some kind of
>federal charges concerning intent to riot when it is all over.
>Although I still believe that a federal prosecution on these types of
>charges are more likely under a Bush regime, they could also occur
>should Gore win the election in November. If one recalls what happened
>in 1968, although it was the Democratic convention that was disrupted by
>the infamous Chicago police riots, the Nixon justice department
>conducted the prosecution of the Chicago 8 conspiracy.
>Prisoners who either have been released or been able to reach the
>independent media from jail tell of beatings in the jails, denial of
>food, water, and medicine, and the denial of legal counsel to those
>arrested. This is but a prelude to what lies ahead. The police are but
>the most obvious participants in the system of oppression in this
>country. Beatings of prisoners happen all the time in our nation's
>jails. Indeed, in the communities of color in our nation, men and women
>are beaten by police even before they are in jail and often without even
>going there. And, as we all know, more than a few are killed without
>any type of due process even considered. None of these comments are
>meant to diminish the brutality of the police in Philadelphia this week
>nor should they be construed to diminish the experiences of those
>sisters in brothers currently being held under less than humane
>conditions in the jail of that city.
>If we are to learn from the experiences of the past--recent and
>historically--we must ensure that the movement does not become a
>movement that spends all its energy getting people out of prison. Nor
>must it become one that forgets those who are in prison. The work
>around Mumia Abu Jamal and other political prisoners has been
>instructive in this matter in that Mumia, Black Panther Geronimo ji Jaga
>Pratt, and others are insistent in relating their situation to the
>greater struggle for social justice. If (or perhaps when) the trials of
>those arrested in Philadelphia begin and especially if serious charges
>are brought against those the government deems the movement's leaders
>(as they did in 1969 after Chicago), it is up to us to link any struggle
>for their freedom to the greater struggle in the world against global
>capitalism, racism and militarism. In short, we must turn the tables on
>the prosecution and put the system they represent on trial.
>After the protests against the WTO in Seattle there were those in the
>movement who attempted to separate themselves from that action's more
>militant protestors--the so-called anarchists. This was, plain and
>simply, doing the work of the state. We should not allow this dynamic
>to occur, even if we have sincere problems with the tactics of certain
>groups within our amorphous coalition. When this dynamic exists, the
>state and its law enforcement apparatus has no qualms about exacerbating
>those differences, which often leads to our more militant sisters and
>brothers going it alone if they are arrested. One very recent example
>is that of Rob Thaxton (or Rico) who is spending seven years in the
>Oregon prison system for his involvement in J18 activities in Eugene in
>1998. His trial drew little support outside of northwestern U.S.
>anarchist circles and, perhaps because of that (and the obvious
>prejudice of the judge), he received close to the maximum sentence.
>If more of our comrades end up in prisons this can be a beneficial
>organizing opportunity. As historical events like Attica and the
>struggles for justice in California prisons in the Sixties and seventies
>showed, prisoners of capitalism are open to political education and
>organization. However, it is important to remember that organization of
>those on the outside is equally important and that the emotional and
>political perspectives of the two groups (outside and inside prisons)
>are not always the same. While life is undeniably brutish in many
>working class communities in the world, prison is even more so.
>Consequently, the sense of desperation is often magnified when one is
>inside. This means that one is often prepared to take very desperate
>measures that, while making perfect tactical sense to a prisoner, do not
>make a similar sense when considered objectively from the outside. In
>addition, the controlled environment of the prison allows for even more
>police interference and manipulation of people and projects than occurs
>in the "free" world.
>All this said, let us take inspiration and instruction from those in
>jail in Philadelphia and those political prisoners throughout the United
>States. The struggle to free these prisoners and the struggle to free
>us all from the economic prison of global capitalism and its evils are
>one and the same.
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