Isolation Caused by Fascist Virginians – by David Annarelli

David J. Annarelli 1853637 A-137
PSCC
PO Box 518
Pocahontas VA 24635


December 9, 2022


If you follow the news, you are well aware of a Virginian name Officer Edwards, who recently used police training to attempt to groom a teenage girl for his pedophile needs.
When it didn’t pay off he drove to California, murdered her family, burned down their
house and kidnapped the girl. He eventually died in a fire fight with California police.
Around the same time, back at a Virginia president, a VA DOC guard named Owens at
Keen Mountain Correction Center beat a prison nurse to death in the prison. She was
pregnant with the guard’s child and was threatening to tell his wife about their affair…
These are Virginians, and they are the type of people who flock to jobs and corrections
in law-enforcement in Virginia. Virginia officials will tell you they don’t know how people
who are so dangerous slipped through background checks. Virginia officials are lying to
you because these are the people they look to recruit.


There are more subtle forms of this sociopathic behavior, and the guards and other staff
at the notorious Pocahontas State Corruption Center exercise these forms of open
torture daily. One of the most common is the deliberate tampering with mail. Two of the
most often seen names are Hagerty and McCall. Aside from delaying outgoing mail,
sometimes for weeks (if they send it at all), incoming mail is often denied outright for
any number of nonsensical and often false reasons. An example of this is the denial of a
book review/catalog. The reason cited was “no nude or semi nude images”. Upon
investigation it was determined that “nude/semi nude” was a tank top shirt. Absolutely
nothing “nude or semi nude“ by any known standards of decency. Of course the target
of this mail denial was a known political writer and the review catalog was from a
publisher – Fifth Estate – that focuses on political themes, many of them anti-prison.
What these two VA DOC employees did – mail tampering – is a federal crime.


This is just one example of a massive assault on the guarantees of the First
Amendment. It is a common event that is meant to not only prevent communications
from exposing the other criminal acts by PSCC staff, but it’s also is a means of isolating
the captives. It’s a vicious form of psychological torture and harm. They want the
captives to believe they are alone, that they are forgotten by their friends and family.
This is solely to make them – the captives – not only more susceptible to further and
more cruel abuses, but also to force a level of acceptance of the abuse.


To further this endeavor it is important to prevent grievances and complaints from being
seen by those at regional or Central (Richmond) administration. Though in all reality,
since the VA DOC only recruits and promote from within its own insular institutions, the
administrators at every meaningful level were hand-picked for their silence and loyalty
to the VA DOC. Without their allowance of endless cruelty and torture, it could be
stopped. Still, “grievance coordinators” such as C. Smalling at PSCC, whose unwritten
job description is “grievance disappear-er”. She answers the grievances herself –
instead of routing them to the proper areas for re-dress – and she makes sure they are
not properly logged so that they disappear as needed. This is especially important in
preventing lawsuits from being filed, some thing PSCC is prone to due to its white
nationalist majority staff and their daily human rights abuses. Without an exhausted
grievance process any lawsuit brought by a prisoner is immediately dismissed by the
courts. In Virginia, even the Federal court judges are Virginians.


Other more harmful – yet just a subtle – forms of torture and harm are the 24 hour
lights, a gift from 15 years of Assistant Wardens who should be in prison themselves.
Currently the PSCC Assistant Warden, Mr. Collins, is facing at least six sexualharassment suits at three different prisons including PSCC. They just move the guy
from one prison to the next and fire the people who lodged the complaints.


Yet another way the staff abuse the captives is through an especially vicious misuse of
the PA system. There are several ways to do this but the two most common are as
follows:
Three very dangerous guards, Barry, Sargent and Shelton are particularly fond of
turning the PA system up to full volume and screaming into the microphone. Since they
work on the night shift you might imagine the problems this might cause for the
captives. 9 PM, 10 PM, 12 AM, 3 AM, 5 AM, anytime they feel like scaring the living hell
out of the 250 people and also disturbing their sleep. This sort of abuse is completely
illegal yet all complaints are ignored or disappeared. These acts are a sign of
sociopathic behavior and given that 40% of Virginia’s captives are warehoused mental
health cases, it is so very devastating. The flipside to this is turning the PA system
volume down so low that no one can hear announcements. This causes not only missed
classes, programs or medical appointments, but it also allows guards to justify all
manner of false charges against captives, most often “disobeying a direct order” or
“unauthorized area”. Both are low level charges but they cause sanctions and fines.
They also make your record appear as if you are a problem all of the time, and if you
get too many you will be transferred to a higher security prison.


Another regular problem comes from guards such as Craig, Bogle, Kimble and others
like them – most of the guards. They are openly racist and antisemitic, go out of their
way to verbally – and sometimes physically – abuse anyone they are able to. On the
boulevard, in the education and library buildings, in the chow hall, any place they are
able to, and they get away with it repeatedly. This has gone on for years and years
without any change or even the least rubber bands. To give you a better idea of just how
far it can go on PSCC’s compound here is a scenario that happened recently:


A guard named Horton and his wife, also a guard, both work on the compound. This is a
violation of policy for a lot of good sense reasons, but PSCC itself is a major violation of
DOC policy and too many lost count. Mrs. Horton, while married to one guard, is
sleeping with several others on the compound during working hours. It is common
knowledge to everyone. As you might expect, Mr. Horton gets fed up with his wife’s
extramarital affairs and decides to solve the problem. This guy brings a loaded weapon
THROUGH the gates – apparently staff were not checking guards as they came in– with
the intent of making some examples. Those examples were going to be PRISONERS!
Not the other guards who were involved with the wife, but PRISONERS! Fortunately a
few guards stuck in and put a stop to this before anyone is hurt, but still, Mr. Horton is
only fired and walked off the compound. Not a single criminal charge was brought even
though he broke half a dozen laws… His wife was recently promoted to “counselor”, and
he was just rehired to work at the same prison and on the same shift as his wife.
Virginians and the VA DOC…


PSCC staff feed captives food that says “not for human consumption“ on the box. Its
medical staff is entirely unqualified in every way. It’s psychologist do not have the
experience to handle severe mental health issues and are even falsifying records to
avoid even dealing with mental health because the facility — and the VA DOC — are
simply not capable or design to handle such issues. Add to this all the well-known and
common place issues with corrupt prison staff – and put the prison in a well hidden
county at the end of some “wrong turn“ Road; in a state that seems to be growing it’s
right wing neo-Nazi extremist population, and you have a real time disaster unfolding
daily… The other 40 prisons in Virginia – a long time slave economy – are no better. On
top of all of that, add a 20% rate of innocence/wrongful conviction (approximately 5000
people as of this writing)… Harsh action must be taken to stop this madness.


Dave Annarelli
@davznothereyo


David Annarelli is a father, musician, activist and political prisoner. He is wrongfully
convicted and unlawfully incarcerated and occupied Virginia. He is a contributing writer
at Prison Journalism Project.
http://www.prisonjournalismproject.org/our-writers

Two Excerpts from the Upcoming Book ‘Growing Up in Prison’ by Texas State Prisoner Seth Yates

Seth Yates 1776898
Ferguson Unit
12120 Savage Dr.
Midway, TX 75852

Because Chicanos Just Don’t Care: First Court Date

Excerpt of Growing up in Prison, Chapter 2 by Seth Yates

I was awakened at breakfast and given clothes to wear. After brushing my teeth and fixing my hair, I was escorted off the pod by the officer. Even more solemn than usual, he lead me to a stretch of wall where a dozen other boys were already standing.

Ordered to face forward and remain silent, we were cuffed and shackled, hand and ankle. Then, one pair at a time we are separated from the group, uncuffed and unshackled, and then cuffed and shackled independently, only to be lead 20 feet down the hall and into a holding tank. Under the watchful eye of the Bailiff, we are ordered not to talk among ourselves, to respect the proceedings, and fed a matter-of-factly laundry list of do-nots. It all had the air of established ritual.

I watched the boys go into the courtroom one by one, until my turn came. The Bailiff escorted me into the courtroom, gripping his gun tightly all the while. My mom and the lawyer were standing next to a person I didn’t recognize. I was positioned next to them in front of the Judges stand, between my mom and the Lawyer, with the Bailiff right behind me. I could feel his breath on the back of my neck as the Judge opened the ceremonies with a tap from her gavel.

I was introduced to the Court. The Lawyer went next, laying a rather eloquent, well-rehearsed plea for the court to release me into the custody of my mother, pending trial. My heart swelled with hope, I just couldn’t see how anyone could refuse such a rational, well-reasoned argument. Glancing sideways at my mom, I could see she held the same conviction. I was coming home.

Then I looked at the Judge, who was staring at the Lawyer with an overly astonished look on her face, as he finished his piece. Lowering her voice to a whisper that enhanced the drama of our situation, she asked, “Do you not know what the charge is?” Pausing for a second, she answered what must surely have been a rhetorical question with a theatrical flourish. With her next word, it was as if a bomb went off in the courtroom I heard gasps and the sounds of shocked disbelief.

The Prosecutor went next, turning out to be the person I hadn’t recognized and mistakenly took for a social worker. Rattling off her reasons why I shouldn’t be released into my mothers custody, such as that I was almost 16, she argued that I should await from Juvenile Detention. The Judge bobbed her head up and down sycophantically with every other word. It was clear that she had already made her mind up on the matter and this was all for show.

“I am afraid I agree.” The Judge declared after the Prosecutor had stated her case. Seth Yates is a Threat to Public Safety and will be held in Juvenile Detention until his next court date. Court is adjourned,” punctuating the fact with a rap of her gavel. “Next case!”

My mom and I had been looking back and forth from the Prosecutor to the Judge in askance, until the Bailiff grunted “Face forward!” and our heads swiveled back to the Judge just in time to make eye contact as she finished what the Prosecutor started, crushing what little hope I had with a wave of her gavel. For emphasis, the Bailiff placed his hand on his gun, his sole claim to authority, it seemed. The threat meant nothing to me. Shock settled over me as I was ushered out of the courtroom.

That definitely hadn’t gone the way I had been promised. Back in the holding tank, the Bailiff began to berate me over my “disrespect” to the Prosecutor and the Judge in “his” courtroom. You would have thought that they were the ones conspired against and slandered. I zoned him out, which only made him rant harder, face turning darker and darker red as I continued to ignore him. What was I going to do now? I appeared to have no optioned left. Maybe… maybe…

I was rudely returned to the moment by more than a few flecks of spittle flying into my face and eyes. I recoiled in disgust and glanced up. The Bailiff was standing over me; screaming directly into my forehead. His face was purple now. I locked eyes with him and tried to follow the incoherent mess that was coming from his mouth. “Disrespect” and “Apology” seemed to be key words, coming up frequently.

I did not feel like debating the Bailiff. I was done with all this already, so I waited for a lull in his tirade. When he finally paused for a breath, I offered a quick “sorry” but that just wasn’t good enough at this point, obviously. Things were much too far along for that.

“Don’t fucking interrupt me!” he shrieked. I got the feeling that the other kids generally went along with things to keep the peace or were otherwise too intimidated to buck his authority. I was never one of those types of kid, and his authority was at stake here. The Bailiff continued to criticize and verbally abuse me until he was good and ready to wind down and lower his tone to a more reasonable level.

“Now. What do you have to say for yourself?” the Bailiff demanded. “Sorry for the disrespect. To your courtroom. Sir.” I said apologetically, getting specific and adding a sir only as an afterthought when the Bailiffs jaw clenched and a vein in his forehead bulged. Apparently unsatisfied, the Bailiff pressed harder. “And?” I considered his question for a couple seconds. If he had left a clue to what he expected me to say while yelling in my face, I hadn’t been paying enough attention. “No and, That’s all.” I told him a bit lamely. “You are a fucking smart-ass, hard-headed little punk!” he spat venomously. But the Bailiff put me back in the holding tank and retrieved the next person, a younger Hispanic boy, for court.

I sat down, noticing a paper bag occupying the spot I had previously been sitting. It contained a bologna sandwich, ice cold, two soggy duplex cookies, and a carton of warm milk. I realized that I was hungry actually, even for this. As I began to eat one of the others declared excitedly, “You know what BCJDC stands for? Because Chicanos Just Don’t Care!” I looked up reflexively and realized that everyone else was staring at me. “What’s up?” I asked nobody in particular. One of the boys tentatively offered an answer…

“You’re fucking crazy, wey!”

Happy Birthday in Juvenile Detention

Excerpt of Growing up in Prison, Chapter 3 by Seth Yates

“If you not gonna clean, you gonna get a case,” he threatened ominously. I blinked a few times. Was that really the best he had? I decided to mess with him. “I am going to catch a case?” I inquired in the most innocent, sweetest gasp possible. “Yes. You gonna clean all those cells or Big Eddy gonna write that case.” he informed me in all seriousness, missing the obvious sarcasm in my voice.

Oh, no

I drew the moment out a few seconds more, enjoying the look of satisfaction on Big Eddy’s face. It wouldn’t last. The bastard had been harassing me All. Damn. Day. And now it was my turn to have some fun. As if to comply, I stuck out my hand. Big Eddy grinned triumphantly and made to hand me the bucket of cleaning supplies. I snatched my hand back at the last second.

The bucket crashed to the floor, scattering supplies everywhere. I looked down at the mess and then back into his eyes, smiling wickedly. “No thanks, I won’t need any of that. Go write that case, Eddy. And then clean those cells yourself. I want those toilets clean enough to eat off of.”

Big Eddy was at a complete loss. Much like when he was hopelessly losing at chess, he froze up, stalling for time. Minutes went by. Silence. It was a simple staring match, now. Finally, he looked down at the mess and asked softly, “That’s how it’s gonna be?” I decided not to dignify that with an answer. A few more minutes went by. At long last, Big Eddy turned and walked away, towards the officers desk. He picked up the phone.

Concluding his call, he returned, pulling out his cuffs and clicking the mechanisms threateningly. Help was on the way. A whole team breathlessly burst into the pod, eager for whatever excitement there was to be had. Their leader was wearing a different color shirt. Red. He was the one that spoke to me.

“You’re refusing?” he intoned, pulling out his own cuffs. “Refusing?” I turned it into a question. Somehow the language sounded awfully formal. “Refusing!” he shouted inches from my face, spraying me with spit. His breath was horrible, and it was clear he wanted a yes or no. Also, his henchmen had me surrounded. But I had come this far already, and not to bow down and submit at the very end. Big Eddy was a part of this hit squad, too. “Yes, I’m refusing.” Whatever that meant.

I found out what it meant when Red Shirt hit me in the mouth with his cuffs, wielding them like brass knuckles. And then all hell broke loose, as the entire gang jumped me. One took me into a headlock, while others elbowed and kneed and repeatedly slammed their bodies into mine from different directions. Which was pretty painful, actually. Red Shirt punched me in the mouth again, this time chipping a tooth, in a feigned, over-exaggerated attempt to put the cuffs on me. Got to make things look good for the camera.

I had one officer pulling me to the left and another to the right, trying to dislocate my shoulders maybe, occasionally punching me in the ribs, and every so often two or three others would take a few steps back and then charge forward, ramming me with their shoulders. Red Shirt got me with his cuffs again, cutting my forehead open. As if in parody of everything you have ever heard of the police, they periodically changed, “quit refusing!” in unison, although I had my hands on my sides when this began and had not moved a muscle. In fact, were I not being choked out, help up by the officer behind me, I probably would have been a small puddle on the floor by now. I was done refusing.

Red Shirt must have sensed that things had gone too far, or at least, just far enough. He grabbed the front of my shirt, took a few steps, and slammed me into the wall, everyone backing off instinctively. They obviously were well practiced, performing this maneuver as a team. The others grabbed me after Red Shirt spun me around, lending a few hands as he executed the same move in reverse. Finally, after much unnecessary grasping that left me with indian burns and scratches and sore elbows, Red Shirt managed to get those cuffs onto my wrists, about five or six notches too tight.

I was spun around and now was nose to nose with Red Shirt. He looked triumphant. “Congratulations,” I wheezed, “You must be very proud,” I wish I could have said it with more confidence. None the less, Red Shirt’s smirk dissolved instantly, so I had hit my mark.

“You’re a little smart-ass,” Red Shirt said nastily. It was true, but I was too exhausted and out of breath to offer another comeback. Oh, but I wanted to. I had to settle for a smile instead. He didn’t like that much.

Disheveled, I was lead back to my original pod but into a new cell. First, in line with the institutional fetish, I was strip-searched immediately after the hand-cuffs were removed. My hands were an angry red-purple and weren’t responding to my commands. The officer assigned to this task caught an attitude with me at first before regaining his senses, and helped me pull the shirt off. I managed the pants myself. Then I was brought the green velcro dress. Stupid. Green. Velcro. Dress.

Some while later Red Shirt came to see me, accompanied by Big Eddy who at least had enough decency to look embarrassed. Maybe he felt guilty, as well he should, being that this situation was of his making, mostly. Then again, I didn’t remember him joining in on my beat down. I might have died if he had.

Red Shirt came to gloat, to rub his victory in my cold, clammy, cut up face. I was covered in sweat, feeling nauseous, and nursing an aching tooth, a dull head-ache, and bruised wrists. These two were the last ones I wanted to see. “Do you have anything you would like to say to this officer?” He was big on the formalities, that was sure. I had no desire to apologize for anything I had been put through today.

“I do have something I would like to say to this officer,” I told Red Shirt, matching his formal tone exactly. Then I locked eyes with my opponent. “Big Eddy?” I inquired innocently, as sweetly as possible. He hesitated, but I waited him out. Struggling to remember my name maybe, he asked finally, “Yes? Seth?” I waited for that admission, my name, before I spoke.

“Fuck you.”

New Year, Same Fight – by BIM

The fight is synonymous with life itself! Therefore, throwing in the towel is never an option. Every day I go toe-to-toe with a system built on discrimination. I face people who want to kill my spirit and strip me of my dignity. On top of all that, I’m wrestling with my own demons. There’s nowhere for me to hide. Running would be a disgrace to rebellious hearts who dedicated their lives to confronting, challenging & revolutionizing.

Yeah, sometimes I find my back against the wall. I don’t fall to my knees, because I continue swinging. I’m gon’ stand my ground! Not only does my life depend on it, but that’s my debt to everybody engaged in the struggle, and those who’ll pick up the torch behind us. Ultimately, this fight is our right of passage. Where each hardship we overcome brings us closer to truth, purpose and righteousness.

Take a second to imagine what equality looks like in its purest form. Have you ever visualized a world more beautiful than that? Well, that’s what victory looks like. Judging from where we’ve started to where we’ve come. I believe that world is well within our grasp! Keep fighting!

Power is the people!

#rebellioushearts

BIM on Instagram

Find the Rebellious Hearts book here

Contact:

Smart Communications/PADOC

Dwayne Staats #NT0000
SCI Campbell
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL, 33733

Falsified Documents – by David Annarelli

September 27, 2022, Tuesday


Falsified documents and records are a problem and any bureaucratic system, but especially so in those of colossal size, Departments of Corrections for example. This becomes an even larger problem when a DOC, the Virginia DOC for example, has prisons so far away from any possible oversight and staffed by a majority of people who are related to each other by blood or marriage that one can see the corruption occurring. This problem grows even larger still where accurate medical and psychological records force the prison, Pocahontas State corrections center for example, and the VADOC spend the money to provide proper care under the supervision of trained and skilled professionals. It is to this point I can speak from experience, and also provide evidence to support allegations of record tampering. In fact, those records I referred to her not only falsified, but were then put before a federal court to avoid any and all legal culpability.


To begin with, I have a mental health history which dates back to 32 years to a time in 1980 It is documented through several schools, two hospitals, two psychiatric facilities(?), and include some periods of medication. this history has also been entered in the record of several courts in two separate recent cases, both pending appeal. Further, that record also includes a full neurophysiological evaluation as recent as 2019 which followed all the standard protocols such as use of the DSM-5. It should be noted that at no time has a VADOC, or any of its staff, performed any sort of standardized evaluation regarding my mental health. Not once in seven years. Enter Mr. Murphy, “psychology associate II“ for PSCC. While his credentials are at least legitimate, they are mostly unimpressive. Most recent evaluation performed by an associate professor from the UVA school of Law, Psychiatry and Policy, Mr. Murphy has some history as a drug counselor and clinician. Clearly a difference in qualifications, rather a dramatic difference. Mr. Murphy has never diagnosed me with any mental health issues, as noted by my VADOC psych record, excepting some sort of “adaptive
disorder“ which seems to be a euphemism for “not doing well in prison“. Interestingly, my actual diagnosis is bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, ADHD, and PTSD. More interesting is this: when Mr. Murphy was presented with a copy of my most recent evaluation, containing not only a full history and work up of my mental health issues, including listed diagnoses, HE REFUSED TO ADD IT TO MY RECORD! What would compel ANY professional to ignore, and deliberately obfuscate such pertinent and relevant information?


Mr. Murphy – and the house physician – not only ignored a pre-existing history of mental health issues, but followed suit with a documented traumatic brain injury, also on record and documented. That TBI was a bilateral and subdermal hematoma, intracranial bleeding, axon retraction and possibly disruption (the literal tearing of brain tissue). I was reportedly in a coma for one month to regain my speech and mobility. I am not only lucky to be able to write this, but I am in fact lucky to be alive. 60% of those with similar injuries die according to a Dr. Ralph Brown, neuro-trauma specialist. The PSCC physician “reviewed the TBI record “but never ordered an evaluation by a doctor trained in such medicine. Instead he wanted to evaluate me himself, never mind that his training doesn’t allow the requisite knowledge to make ANY determinations, or the fact that PSCC has no facilities to perform MRIs, CAT scans, EEGs and the like. It took 15 months just to make PSCC request the medical records. All of it is documented.


Repeatedly, a doctor with no training in neuro-trauma or neuroscience attempted to “evaluate” me. I refused each time stating a lack of his training (which is mysteriously not noted). Mr. Murphy has repeatedly suggested assorted medications and assorted group therapies, even though he has never offered a legitimate diagnosis and did in fact refuse legitimate diagnoses when they are presented to him. This is of course a clear matter of both malpractice and also an example of “deliberate indifference“. So I stopped all pursuit from these two dangerous individuals and filed a lawsuit under OSC section 1983, illustrating 8th and 14th amendment violations.


I easily beat the motion to dismiss my case. The evidence is clear and more than convincing. Enter Judge Elizabeth Dillion at the Western District of Virginia. It is worth noting that Judge Dillion has a widely known reputation for opinions and judgments that
are often questionable that her integrity is equally questionable. It is to the point that I would note that EVERY TIME one of my cases (5 now) goes before her it is dismissed.
Further, every time my case begins before a favorable jury who is ruling in my favor, there is a “random lottery” and Judge Dillion is every time “randomly“ appointed to finish adjudicating my case, and every time she dismisses it. Coincidence? Not when it
happens EVERY TIME. In two of those cases, judge Dillion actually acknowledges my meeting the burden evidence laid out by the rules of the court and yet, every time she
just misses the case. Questions – and investigations – are required. Judge Dillion is a prime example of “illegitimate courts“. I filed an appeal and also several official complaints against all of the above named, but it seems increasingly clear that the corruption in the VADOC is endemic state wide and certainly reaches to the Governor’s office and Virginia General Assembly.


What is especially concerning is how obvious the falsifications are when compared to all previous -and recent- records. It is, on its face, not possible to miss it for its obviousness. Moreover, the VADOC is plagued by these problems, which are acknowledged by every watch group and show out of every FOIA request ever filed and presented. Still, this corruption, which is directly to blame for unless harm to and sometimes the death of, dozens and hundreds of Virginia captives. That is even more frightening when you consider that 20% of those captives – 5000+ people – are innocent or wrongly convicted (PEW survey). Worst yet is that this corruption is rampant through every office on the compound, as evident for example by the toothless population who were simply – and deliberately – ignored and denied proper dental care until yanking the teeth was the only option left. I myself have lost four teeth to this facility and have multiple cavities that they will not fill. This is a VADOC problem and as I pointed out previously: where is the VADOC spending $250 million each fiscal year on inmate care because it is not being spent on inmate care. The VADOC consumed $1.1 billion in funds and resources every fiscal year and provides nothing for it.


Your country is being destroyed and it has nothing to do with the left or the right wing governments. It is about hundreds of years of slavery continued under a gnu look, prisons. It is about falsified records that cover up corruption. It is about politicians and judges on the payroll of a slaver Cabal. It is about an America that is clearly no different than Russia or China when she pulled back the curtains. It is about profit and the trade and sale of human beings. There is no way to reform or correct this through illegitimate courts or a legislation
process that serves the nobility…..

Herstory, part 5 – by Dan Baker

A year before they declared war on the Mexican government Zapatista women banned alcohol in their communities. This was for security reasons, to combat addiction and colonialism and to reduce domestic abuse. This also improved family nutrition. When men stopped drinking women’s lives improved dramatically. Also, the Zapatistas would not be narco traffickers or accused of such things, because they were all sober.

The Zapatistas say that oppression and resistance are gendered. Any struggle against colonialism and its conditioning is a struggle for dignity against patriarchy and gender oppression. Marcos writes “Knowing that one is human implies knowing that one is woman and must struggle… If the transformation we seek does not include the radical transformation of gender relations between men and women, the generational relations between the old and the young, relations between homosexuals and the ‘to-each-his-own’, the culture relations between indigenous and non-indigenous people, the relations of life between humans and nature, then this transformation will be nothing more than one more caricature among those that abound in the great book of history.”

Many Zapatista women have paid a terrible price for their resistance. Counter revolutionary paramilitaries commit violent, symbolic acts of barbarism against Zapatista women. On 12/22/97, in Acteal, 32 out of 47 people killed in a gruesome massacre were women and girls. They were mutilated, their breasts cut off, fetuses cut out of their bellies and tossed from man to man, who were quoted by survivors as saying “Let’s do away with the seed.”

Shannon Speed, an anthropologist, said “The paramilitary violence waged against women in Acteal was not incidental- its motivation was the silencing of political opposition, and its logic and symbology was gendered in such a way that rendered women most vulnerable to attack.” Women have been on the front lines from the beginning, as can be seen in the Acteal massacre and the famous photo from ’98 of the small, unarmed women of Polho physically repelling a platoon of heavily armed soldiers.

Zapatista women fight against the false propaganda that “women are weak” and that “indigenous people are stupid”. It is a rebellion against patriarchy within the revolution and indigenous resistance movements. Native women with assault rifles are infinitely more dangerous to entrenched oppression than men with assault rifles. “Smash the patriarchy” means to abolish all the profit driven military and prison industrial complexes and the nation state governments based on these systems of slavery, domination and murder. This is why the Zapatistas are full of of strong women. Photos, t-shirts and graffiti of women fighting back highlight women’s leadership in this Rebellion.

12 years after 1/1/94 the Zapatistas celebrated the first encounter of the Zapatista women with the women of the world. This was the first Zapatista gathering devoted to women. A masked woman organizing the event asked a rhetorical question: “Why a Women’s Encounter? Because it is time.”

This event was inspiring, with transformative discussion and the realization that there is still a lot of work to be done. Hilary Klein, an international reporter who covered the event, said “Women recognized that creating their political participation is not something that can happen overnight… Rebecca, a member of the autonomous council, said “At first we didn’t participate much as women. Little by little we began to participate more.” Laura, a member of the Agrarian Commission, explained, “Before, they didn’t take us into consideration as women. Later they realized that we needed to have women authorities too, to strengthen our autonomy. Now, as women, we are conscious and we’re moving forward. We don’t know much, but as authorities we learn as we go, by doing the work.” And Daisy, a local authority said “A lot of times we’re still nervous and shy. There are still a lot of men who think we can’t do the work.” As they talked about the obstacles they have faced and how they have organized as women they were also telling the story of the Zapatista movement.”

This Women’s Encounter examined and evaluated the progress of feminism in a public space. Despite the influence of Zapatismo there has not been much progress. But progress is slow and it’s difficult to break old habits. Even the humorous, macho personality of Subcomandante Marcos has been an obstacle to women’s liberation in this movement, though he is learning, if slowly.

Women have been opening spaces of political participation just for women, in decision making, social change, and cultural perception. They have revealed oppression against women and worked to transform their conditions. Individuals now felt the collective support and resistance of organized women. Fundamentally patriarchal structures within the Zapatistas were criticized. Its not enough to put women in leadership positions in a structure that is a hierarchical patriarchy. The whole structure must be changed.

Having caught up to the Zapatista women I’ll move the focus to North America. First I’ll return to the late 1800’s and the early 1900’s and share insights from Ruth Kinna, Voltairine De Cleyre, Lucy Parsons and Emma Goldman, all found in “Classic Writings in Anarchist Criminology”. Then I’ll bring this work closer to the present, returning to “Abolition. Feminism. Now.” The purpose of these essays is to educate myself and other men, declare our support for women and women’s rage in the war against women and perhaps to encourage women who have been brainwashed by the patriarchy, such as the government agents forced to read these essays when they monitor my free speech. This work also seeks to answer the question “Why do Americans continue to allow the military and prison industrial complex to use, abuse, rape and kill women while other regions worldwide are actively fighting against this systematic violence?” This abuse is often carried out in the name of the church of a fictional white Jesus in the same way that the Iranian regime kills women who refuse to wear the head scarf. Amerikkkan cops target women who have little money, women who fight back against patriarchy, they take away all women’s bodily autonomy and lock them up where they are almost powerless to defend themselves against a culture of rape among prison guards. Women who do kill their rapists face deadly repercussions in prison and on the street, what cops call curbside justice.

Ruth Kinna invokes a self portrait of Kropotkin depicting a grim, poorly lit prison cell that highlights the isolation of prison. Kropotkin is one of many anarchists who used their prison time to think about the human condition under capitalist republics and that regime’s death squads, the police. As the lead singer of feminist band Pussy Riot said when she was recently released from Russian prison, often activists come out stronger than they went in, having had time to solidify their convictions, verify them by experience and study. I am proud to share this rich heritage, and I am determined to work towards abolishing police and prisons. Before going to prison this did not effect me personally so I was not concerned with these problems and doubted the stories of prisoners. But now I know they are all true. Anarchists are targeted because we make progress towards a better society where those who profit from other’s captivity are forced to get a real job that contributes to society. Anarchists like Alexander Berkman write about prison because we are deeply moved by our experiences in prisons. This gives us the tools to criticize punishment, discipline, obedience, power, domination, authority and the origins of crime, which are poverty and abuse.

There are volumes of anarchist critique of profit driven, competitive capitalism that creates crimes of desperation. We put our prosecutors on trial for their criminalization of poverty, free speech, race and creed. Each conviction of anarchists creates a chilling effect, sets a legal precedent that criminalizes all the poor working class, especially women and minorities. Just because a person is a judge, a prosecutor or a cop, does not mean that they are a good person. Amerikkkan courts are stacked against the majority, most judges are installed by corporations and monopolies. Many chief justices appointed to the supreme court were bought by railway magnates like J.P. Morgan and Standard Oil, robber barons. This is why justice is consistently denied to the poor and unemployed, it is an intentional strategy to keep people weak and hungry, to keep wages down and profits up. Cities are full of people intentionally kept unemployed as an example to the rest: “This will be you if you don’t obey and look the other way.” This is why employers discriminate against women, minorities and convicts, offering them lower wages than rich kids or no job at all.

Before I go on I’d like to note a few things. Today is the anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry, Ireland and the anniversary of the beginning of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnamese struggle of self defense. Recently my unarmed, pacifist friend Manny Teran was murdered in the Atlanta Welaunee Forest while protesting against the construction of a cop city facility where they are training to murder protestors and other civilians. On top of this last week the police were forced to release the body camera footage of the brutal murder of Tyre Nichols. Here in FCI Memphis we were locked down as a result of the cop’s fear of righteous retribution. Lucky for the cops the prisoners here have been tricked into caring more about football than the murder of our own by police. When I was in the army we trained in “crowd control” for inevitable riots and uprisings in the U$ based on anticipating self defense against police violence, lack of water, food, housing and healthcare due to climate change and class division. We were trained to kill unarmed American civilians in cold blood when ordered to do so. We who rightly questioned this were dismissed from the training. Those who raised their hands when asked if they would obey orders to kill unarmed civilians were taken to another unit for further “crowd control” training. This is the standard for Amerikkkan infantry units. I was in the 82nd Airborne Infantry, 2/504 Parachute Infantry Regiment at Ft. Bragg, NC in Fayetteville. This training included “MOUT city”, which stands for Military Operations in Urban Terrain. This is exactly what cop city in Atlanta Welaunee Forest is- a training facility for the wholesale slaughter of civilians. I refused to deploy with the 82nd and they went to Iraq and committed the Mahmoodia Gangrape Massacre, where they raped and murdered a teenage girl and killed her whole family and their neighbors. They usually aren’t caught and become cops at home. Things haven’t changed since the 1800’s, since I was in the army, or the George Floyd Uprisings. Apparently the cops still don’t respect us, our capabilities or our intelligence. This can be seen in the murders of Tyre Nichols and Manny Teran. Why are Tyre’s killer’s out on bail, but the activists who protest cop city are not? Why are environmental protestors being held on terrorism charges? Why isn’t Manny Teran’s killer being charged with murder? Where is that body cam footage? Why do multiple eyewitnesses at the scene of Manny Teran’s murder directly contradict the claims of the his killer? The reasons Tyre’s killers are being charged with murder right away is because they are black, they are not members of the corrupt police union, there was third party video footage exposing them and because the George Floyd Uprising showed what happens when cops are not held accountable for their crimes. But they are still out on bail and protestors are not. When I was arrested for pledging to defend the Florida capitol from a fascist coup I was not even given the option of bail. Tyre’s murderers and the “Oathkeepers” who fought to take over the government are out on bail. There is clear prejudice in the current government, which favors even murderers of civilians, and those who attempt to stage a coup to overthrow it, over those who defend the people from terrorists with ties to the police. If any 5 of us beat a cop to death would we be allowed to go home on bail? Would we even make it to the jail alive, much less trial? No, we would be killed by cops in another episode of their “curbside justice.” Injustice is their standard operating procedure. Drop weapons are their policy. Amerikkkan cops try to say other countries are worse but all cops are the same. There are only bad cops and cops who cover for bad cops, except when they throw each other under the bus. The cop who kidnapped me from my mother and tried to raise me in his image was one of these bad cops and he was the first to explain these things to me.

#remembermanny

#remembertyre

Dan Baker 25765-509
FCI Memphis
PO Box 34550
Memphis, TN 38184

On Shakedowns at PSCC – by David Annarelli

November 14, 2022, Monday


Shakedowns. The Virginia Department of Corrections, a bastion of fascism, has mandated that each person – 41 in Virginia Dash shot twice a year, lock down the institution and search the entire compound. Pocahontas State Corruption Center, a medium/low security facility hidden deep in the “wrong turn“ area of the Virginia mountains does it four times a year. We started our fourth one, this year, today. In fact for March of this year. We knew everyone of them was coming weeks before they arrived and were given notice two days before “the surprise”. Obviously, no one will be called with contraband. So what is the purpose of shakedown?

The Virginia DOC will likely rattle off a litany of euphemisms such as the old “security“ favorite. It’s like painting something gray, it covers everything while offering nothing. Clearly, when the captives know in advance there can be no real “security“ purpose. Moreover, when it is common knowledge that the staff are the biggest suppliers of the contraband, the idea that they would bring it into their prisoner cohorts just before a
shakedown is ludicrous. So the purpose of “security” is out of the window. In fact, after security” is shot down as a reason, as it readily is, any other reason that might be presented loses it’s validity.

To understand the purpose of such actions, it is important to recognize and acknowledge the larger, less spoken of purpose of prisons: oppression, not only of those being held captive, but of the general citizens as well, who are kept in their place by the simple fear of such oppression. Think about it. Prisons are no known to be harmful, not helpful. They are known to negatively affect both those who are held captive by them, and by extension society as a whole. Prisons cause, long-term, psychological issues, including post incarceration stress disorder, a PTSD directly caused by incarceration for only a few years (as little as three years has been suggested). And we know that prisons have no measurable effect on reducing or preventing crime. Many of the reports and statistics that prove these statements out as fact, are decades old now, yet prisons continue to persist, a sign of oppression, out of sight yet looming and foreboding.

There is also the larger picture of the economy and jobs. Oppression attracts a certain type of person who, not only seems willing, but eager to participate in an industry that profits from oppression of other people. Think of “the King’s Soldiers”, Roman Legionnaires, and those soldiers of both Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. Always, throughout all of history, the same kind of people. American prisons are no different, though Americans would rather not consider such things. It is well known, and widely accepted as fact (supported by numerous reports and statistics), that prison guards Dash and prison staff in general – tend to be amongst the dirtiest and most corrupt scum in our society. They also tend to show proclivities towards sociopathic behaviors, often at a rate of seven in 10 guards, or 70%. That is a frightening reality, and as we stated, spending any time in prison causes long-term, psychological issues, making someone who is already showing sociopathic behaviors more unstable. Every prison guard is a serial killer waiting to be unleashed, and kept only in check by the legalized torture and abuse permitted by the state, in every prison.

Which brings us back to “the shake down”. It is a cover-up and a not so subtle warning to the general public. These guards, who thrive on causing harm and revel in their state, sponsored power to commit atrocities, come into the cell of some poor captive and knowing full well that the captive has no contraband, proceeds to throw all of the captives belongings all over the 10 x 12’ cell. That guard destroys, trashes, or takes any and all items he chooses, even keeping some to take home. Justice has not been served, society is far worse for the trauma it has allowed to be inflicting upon its citizens, and the criminally inhumane actions have been rewarded by guffaws and pats on the backs by fellow guards, and a paycheck from the state.


This will last for a week, though it could easily be started and completed in just two days. Those captives that had their personal items stolen, will be forced to save up their slave wages, $.45 per hour for menial tasks, so they can buy new items like socks, sweatpants, or food. Oppression and economy. Jobs for the most dangerous members of our society. A revisiting of histories that should be long forgotten. A continuing of the same old control forms that have been used for thousands of years, by the same aristocracies as always. Locked into a 10 x 12 concrete box with another person.


The sociopathic behavior of the guards becomes even more pronounced during a shakedown. They deny you access to the ice machine and microwave, they come into the pod, singing loudly and badly, to use those very things so you can see. Food is delivered cold and late, thought that is not so uncommon. There is not a moment of outdoor fresh air. Mail disappears or suffers extensive delays. Lights are left on for 24 hours a day, and the PA system becomes even more of a weapon than it usually is.


What is the purpose of a shake down? The same purpose as everything else that prison stands for: oppression. Oppression and harm.


David Annarelli
@davznothereyo
David Annarelli is a father, musician, activist, and political prisoner. Among those who print his writing, he is a contributing writer at Prison Journalism Project.
prisonjournalismproject.org/our-writers/

Herstory, part 4 – by Dan Baker

Dan Baker 25765-509
FCI Memphis
PO Box 34550
Memphis, TN 38184

Who are these revolutionary women?

One is Ivana Hoffman. She was born in Germany in 1995. Her mother was German and her father was from the Afrikan nation of Togo. Ivana was successful in school, popular and played soccer. At 14 she joined protests against neo-nazis in Duisburg and was a friend of Turkish Kurds. She was known for being social and funny. At 16 she joined a revolutionary group called “Young Struggle” that was part of the Turkish community. She became a militant activist, organized events and rallies, was the media spokeswoman and edited the group’s magazine. She joined a huge hunger strike to force Turkey to free political prisoners. She travelled to Turkey and met other revolutionaries. A quote about her says this: “Of the many causes that excited Ivana, the liberation of women always came first. She was a co-founder of the Young Struggle’s women’s work and her lesbian sexuality played no small part in her love and appreciation of women.” During this time the Rojava Revolution was raging against the so called Islamic state. I have already describes the crimes against humanity committed by daesh (the so called Islamic state). The group Ivana belonged to was outlawed in Germany and Turkey because they gave material support to Kurds who fight for survival in Rojava. Ivan travelled to Kurdistan, joined the YPG and fought side by side with her sister revolutionaries for their lives and for freedom. She was Afro-German but considered the Kurdish women her true sisters. She said this in a letter: “I want to be part of the Revolution in Rojava, I want to develop myself. In these 6 months I want to get to know the fight, which unites all the oppressed people and of course the Rojava Revolution, which I will defend with my life. I know what I am going for and important this fight is. I will face adversity and come to realize what capitalist instincts I have in me, but I will fight these. I will experience what it feels like to have a weapon in my hand and to fight for the Rojava Revolution, against imperialism. I will experience life in a different way, more intense and more organized. Maybe I will reach my limits and fall behind, but I will never give up my fighting spirit. I will carry on. Rojava is the beginning. Rojava is hope.” Ivana was in constant battles in Rojava for 6 months. On March 7th she and other YPG fighters were defending the village of Tel Tamer when daesh attacked in the middle of the night, to the 8th, International Women’s day, Ivana fought heroically and killed dozens of daesh terrorists, but was killed when she ran out of ammunition, surrounded by the bodies of her dead enemies. She was 19 years old, the first international YPG volunteer to die in the Rojava Revolution. Ivana was committed to her revolutionary convictions and her lesbianism. She was an admirable internationalist and she did not hesitate when she heard about the crimes against humanity and women committed by daesh. She immediately joined the armed women’s resistance and put herself in danger for a cause she believed in. We all have a lot to learn from her example. When her body was returned to Germany the government tried to take it, claiming she was a “terrorist”. In Turkey women mourned her death in the streets and were arrested and abused by the Turkish military. But when her comrades finally got her body the funeral in Germany was attended by over 4 thousand people. She is still honored and remembered in Rojava, Germany and worldwide, and men and women hang up her picture. Long live revolutionary guerilla women!

Another lesbian guerilla I admire is Anna Campbell. A British woman who went to Rojava to support the Women’s Revolution and to defend Rojava from the so called Islamic state and their sponsor, Turkey, Anna was an activist for years in her home and protested against injustice. She was killed by a Turkish air strike while fighting against daesh, evacuating civilians out of Afrin. The Turkish air strike was conducted with U$ jets and missiles sold to Turkey by Trump in exchange for the building of Trump Towers in Istanbul and other favors, like the withdrawal of U$ troops who were supporting the Kurds in their fight against daesh, which resulted in a massacre by Turkish troops against Kurds, allowing daesh to escape and regroup. Anna Campbell took the war name Helin Qerecox, which is pronounced Kerechok. Helin said something I repeat often, that “We cannot wait and expect others to do what we are too lazy and too afraid to do,” and that “we share a rich heritage with the Paris Commune” and the feminists of times past, the descendants of witches the inquisition could not kill. While in Rojava Helin’s father came to look for her body, but there was no body to recover, because it was destroyed by the Turkish air strike. I was honored to speak to him at her funeral ceremony where the YPG and YPJ martyrs are buried and memorialized. Tens of thousands of locals came, along with massive formation of YPG and YPJ revolutionaries. I told Mr. Campbell that Anna’s words inspired me to go to Rojava to help build the community, not just to fight against daesh, which was my original motivation. Because of the messages Helin posted online I was inspired to plant seeds, and protect and water them, help build structures and participate and invest in the community there. If not for her influence I would have gone there as only an arrogant militant personality, without social intelligence, a mind for the community and the political and ideological motivation of the women there. Mr. Campbell was confused at first and kept asking why his daughter, a young woman, was allowed to go fight in combat. We explained to him that she was a strong person who demanded to be treated the same as every other revolutionary, that she would not be treated as a propaganda queen, protected from the reality that her sisters faced on the front lines. She dyed her blond hair to disguise her well known appearance and went to the front because she insisted on it. Lee Brickly wrote a song about her that moves me deeply, “Anna’s Song”. She knew what she was fighting for. Her father viewed her as the little girl he raised but she was a strong lesbian revolutionary guerilla. Her pictures are on the wall in my cell here in prison, as well as the walls of girls, women, men and transgender revolutionaries all around the world. Her birthday is celebrated and marches memorialize her bravery and sacrifice. It is worth noting that political enemies slander her because her death inspired so many to take action, and they fear the power of her contribution to the Women’s Resolution. Turkey has since attacked the Kerechok mountain again, killing dozens with their airstrikes. Long live revolutionary guerilla women!

Looking back in time in the U$ we find another example of lesbian revolutionary guerillas, Patricia Soltysik, Camilla Hall, also called Gabi, and Nancy Ling Perry of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Camilla lived, worked and died for the revolution heroically. She was born 3/24/45 in Minnesota. Her parents were professors and her dad was a Lutheran minister. The family suffered many tragedies, as all of Camilla’s 3 younger brothers and sisters died young. The family spent time in Tanzania where her parents worked for the church. Camilla was very mart and did great in school. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1967 with a degree in humanities. She decided to be a social worker and help poor people in a time when social services were very limited and ineffective. The system was racist, sexist and patriarchal. Camilla directly helped the poor but was frustrated by all the rules and regulations. Her friends at work described her as ingenious, kind, and compassionate. Camilla protested against the war in Vietnam, was horrified by the living conditions of the youth in the U$ and all over the world, and the violence in Chicago. She got into politics but witnessed the corruption and joined the protestors. Becoming disillusioned she moved to California and worked as an artist. In 1971 she moved to Berkeley. She participated in various revolutionary organizations and met Patricia Soltysik and they fell in love. There were many revolutionary groups in California but they joined what would become one of the most notorious revolutionary groups of the 1970’s, the Symbionese Liberation Army. In 1974 the SLA kidnapped Patricia Hearst, daughter of Randolph Hearst, a famous owner of news publications in California. The SLA demanded that Mr. Hearst establish a program for helping the poor in San Francisco. He complied and more than $4 million in aid was distributed to the poor for free, especially the women and children of color. Patty Hearst was so impressed by the SLA that she joined them. The FBI launched a manhunt for the members of the SLA for robbing a bank in the heart of San Francisco. The SLA was like Robin Hood, taking from the rich to help the poor. Gabi was one of the women who robbed the bank. Wanted posters with pictures of her, Soltysik and Nancy were posted everywhere. After robbing the bank the SLA moved to southern California, but their safe house was discovered and surrounded by more than 500 cops and FBI agents with orders from Washington DC to kill all of the guerillas. The cops used incendiary grenades on the house and started a huge fire. They knew they were going to die so they decided to die fighting. Gabi and others burst out of the inferno with pistols in hand, guns blazing. Others were trapped in the house like Patricia Soltysik. Gabi was radicalized by the violence of the white supremacist system, the war crimes in Vietnam (like the Mai Lai massacre), the Kent State massacre in 1970 when National Guard soldiers shot and killed unarmed student protestors, the assassination of Fred Hampton, Jonathan Jackson and his brother George, the Attica massacre of 1971 and violence against the poor in the ghettos. It’s important to remember Gabi, Patricia and Nancy and women like Helin and Ivana. We honor their memory, learn from their lives and share their stories.

Patricia Soltysik was called Mizmoon by her lover. A woman inspired by her life took the name Mizsun and wrote this for her: “Mizmoon, a Sister who loves you is speaking. You and I lived in Berkeley, lives so much alike that I often ask myself “what kept me here? What pulled you where you are?” I’m who you’ve been and where you came from, living in the neighborhood, taking care of kids, working for a living, 5 political meetings a week, some studying, some demonstrations and some good times with the women and men I love. Once you loaned me a book, you probably don’t remember, and since then your gifts to me have been many. I have a memory of you that sticks in my mind: a year ago at a meeting someone ask you “Why the name Mizmoon?” You said “my lover was speaking poetry to me and called me Mizmoon. It seemed perfect for my name.” I really like the way you said that, the way you chose your new self, the way we each will, a bold transformation, defying definition, letting yourself be named by a woman, a woman who loves you. Mizmoon listen! Don’t believe those who say you’re separate from the people because you came right out of our lives. Mizmoon listen! Don’t deny your past because it’s our present. There was good in everything we ever were. There had to be, for you created yourself out of our common past. Bring us along with you and remember everything you’ve ever learned. You are my future, show me what I can do, but remember what I’m doing now. And Mizmoon listen! Even though it seems like there are only a few of us who are armed remember that there are hardly any noncombatants left now; most of the people are fighting back in some small way every day. And Mizmoon, thank you! you’ve begun to claim what is ours. The robber barons have stolen from us, wealth, food, work, sex, land and life. You’ve taken back a little food for empty bellies and a little cash for the survival of our part of our Army. For this beginning, thanks Mizmoon. Mizmoon! A sister who loves you is speaking! What I want to give you is the unconditional love of one revolutionary for another. Its unconditional love that Amerika can never give its children and its unconditional love that we need and must give to each other. No matter what happens, I love you. If you survive and fight for years until victory, I love you. If you are captured, wounded, imprisoned, tortured, I love you. If you are duped and tricked, infiltrated and led to defeat, I love you. If you die a violent death under the guns of the enemy, I love you. If you make more bad mistakes, fail and do us all harm, I’ll know that you’ve tried and lost like many others, not yet wise enough, not yet loving enough. I’ll struggle with you, I’ll criticize you, but I’ll never deny you, for you are of me and I am of you: Women. In Struggle.”

Long live revolutionary guerilla women!

In my last essays I ranted about lesbian revolutionary women. This is obviously not the only option for women who feel strongly about the current state of the war against women. Women can obviously do whatever they want, choose partners from any gender, choose to be sexually active or not, reproduce or not, and men have no real say in these decisions. This essay is mostly to educate other men, and to help me internalize these ideas as I read about them. This work is now drawing on Seculo Nuovo by Fulvia Ferrari, Night Owl #3, Mind Training Like Rays of the Sun by Thubten Chodron, and Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. I bring up these last few because I have been corresponding with a Buddhist nun who studies under Venerable Thubten Chodron and she influences my thoughts, words and actions on a daily basis. Becoming a nun, Buddhist or otherwise, is another option for women women who choose to live a life of activism and renunciation as a form of protest against the patriarchy and these hierarchical power structures that cause suffering, especially against women in the traditional family structure. Nuns of many religions are often women who are dissatisfied with the prevailing culture that does not support their best interests. I have great respect and admiration for Buddhist nuns and monks who have renounced to work full time on helping others. That being said I also offer criticisms that Tibetan Buddhism has some outdated ideas and standards which do not agree with modern standards of compassion and accommodation for all people in need, specifically people in debt, trans and disabled people. But I believe that they are working to overcome that. One issue facing Buddhist nuns, especially in the Tibetan tradition, is that there is no process for them to become ordained in the Tibetan tradition and so they have to seek ordination from Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhist leaders. There is also very little support for Buddhist nuns in general, especially western Buddhist nuns. This is due to a traditional and patriarchal mindset and attitude of sexism prevalent in the Asian cultures which do the most fundraising for support of Buddhist monastics. Please consider reaching out to Sravasti Abbey to support the nuns there in the excellent work they are doing to bring peace to this world, and the happiness, guidance and hope they give to prisoners. The Buddha took great pains to make sure women had an equal place in the community and the monastery, a refuge to seek shelter from the cruelty of the patriarchy. This should be supported and continued. I am currently being guided through a 3 month meditation retreat from afar by the nun here who I correspond with. I find this meditation on the Buddha is an excellent exercise which agrees with my personal convictions and sense of ethics and freedom as an anarchist. I am engaging in this process sincerely and with great effort and consistency, keeping the vows and practicing the meditations in sitting sessions and in my daily life, which is not easy in prison. If not for this nun who guides me I would have made many mistakes by now. I’ll share a short quote by the Venerable Thubten Chodron before I continue. After that, aside from direct quotes, these words of mine do not reflect the views of the Buddhist nuns at Sravasti Abbey, the nun I correspond with, or Venerable Thubten Chodron. It’s possible that I am making offences. I’d also remind the reader that Abdulla Ocalan endorses Buddhism as one of the most revolutionary metaphysical traditions which can provide us with an ethical framework without reinforcing hierarchy or patriarchy.

“We visualize the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, we imagine them with bodies made of light and that they’re looking at us with much delight and complete acceptance. I think that’s important because some of us have a hard time imagining people looking at us with one hundred percent acceptance. Anybody have that problem? You think of the Buddha like, “Oh he’s an authority figure. He’s not going to look at me with compassion. He’s going to look at me ferociously- ‘ARE YOU BEING GOOD?’ ” No, Buddha’s not going to look at us that way. So, we shouldn’t look at ourselves that way either. We imagine the Buddha with his body of light, looking at us really delighted because we’re doing something virtuous and something meaningful.

We visualize not only the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in front of us, but we imagine that we’re surrounded by all sentient beings. This has great meaning, because lots of times when we think of doing our spiritual practice, we think that we’re going to go to a cave and be all alone, far away from those obnoxious sentient beings. But it’s not like that; they’re all with us, sitting in front of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.

Additionally, the people you don’t like, you imagine sitting in front of you. So, to see the Buddhas and bodhisattvas, you have to see the people that you don’t like- enemies. This means that we must find some way to make peace with those people in our own minds. Because what are you going to do? You’re going to say to the Buddha, “May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes” and then who is sitting in front of you? Your enemy. And you’re thinking, “May they all have happiness and its causes, but that one- never!” That’s not going to work.

So, we must include everybody in our spiritual practice. It’s not about escaping from anybody or anything. Because anyway, where will you go where you are not in a relationship to other living beings? Wherever we are in the universe, there are sentient beings around us in that universe, we cannot get away. So it’s really emphasizing to us that in our spiritual practice we’re trying to work to open up our hearts towards sentient beings and, at the same time, generate wisdom that will enable us to be of great benefit to them.

So, that’s why we always talk about wisdom and compassion- those two sides that we’re trying to cultivate. So, when we’re doing the recitation verses, we’re thinking that we’re leading all these people around us in generating those thoughts and in saying the recitations with us. I find this very helpful, especially to include the people I don’t like and imagine that they’re cultivating positive mental attitudes by reciting these prayers.

At the abbey, there’s one practice we do with lots of prostrations, and when we do that I often imagine the whole U.S. Congress and all the U.N. leaders around me. Because, often, I don’t know about you, but I don’t always like the politicians in my country and so it’s very helpful to me to imagine them also bowing to the Buddha and chanting. But I think if anybody told Donald Trump that I was imagining him bowing to the Buddha he would probably have a fit. But he really needs to bow to the Buddha.”

If you don’t like Trump, and you do side with women in the war against women, then you should support the nuns at Sravasti Abbey.

Siddhartha Gautama was a sheltered prince who rejected his privilege after seeing the suffering of animals, poverty, the sick, elderly, dying and dead. This helped motivate him to achieve liberation to become Shakyamuni Buddha in order to liberate all beings. Buddha gives us an example of embodied passive resistance to oppressive power structures whose greed causes poverty, crime and war. Buddhas and Buddhists reject the importance of material possessions and the practice of hoarding resources at other’s expense. Instead, we practice compassion in action, wisdom, joy, skillful means, love and equanimity for all beings. We dismantle evil, violent power structures by rejecting them and organizing to meet everyone’s needs. Buddhists meet to discus and vote on issues, giving all genders an equal voice, actively decentralizing power. The goal of Buddhism is the liberation of all beings and the individual in this life time through training the body, speech and mind, and direct action in the community. Buddha left home and became a homeless monk, renounced his wealth and royal position and devoted his life to helping others. This inspired me to be prepared to die as a beggar if necessary in order to help others, and I have always been taken care of and had my needs met. Buddhas work for the sake of all beings, nursing the sick, even bathing sick monks who are incontinent and those who are outcasts among beggars.

Shakyamuni Buddha is the source of this mind training. One exercise is to imagine that all beings achieve wholesome happiness, and plan and act out steps to make that a reality. This is encouraged by imagining ourselves as Shakyamuni Buddha, radiating rays of light that relieve all beings of suffering. Then we visualize all beings as Shakyamuni Buddha and meditate on joy. The lotus Shakyamuni Buddha sits on represents compassion, wisdom and renunciation from all the killing, stealing, lying and oppression of profit driven systems and power structures.

For every mass shooter and suicide bomber there are countless people who rush into danger in order to rescue others at great danger to themselves. It is not easy to run towards explosions, gunfire, smoke, shockwaves, bullets, shrapnel, screams and violent enemies. So all the thinking has to be done beforehand, and one must make a solemn commitment to put other’s lives before one’s own. It is even harder to do this outside of the imaginary “safety net” of government structures. Referring to the Paris Commune of 1871 one historian wrote “The government evaporated like a pond of stagnant water in a springtime breeze, and on March 19th the great city of Paris found herself free of the impurity which had defiled her, with the loss of scarcely a drop of her children’s blood.” The army of Napoleon III, funded by wealthy bankers, attacked the commune, slaughtering thousands. Elisee Recluse, an anarchist geographer and member of “The International”, said “Everything miserable and horrible that we have seen nonetheless contains the germ of something great.” 10,000 women demanded to join the fight against corrupt rulers, and their example inspired 250,000 people to join them. The women formed the Union Des Femmes on April 11, 1871, organizing the women of Paris into a militant force capable of fighting with rifles and kerosene. They said, “The Women of Paris will prove to France and the world that they too, at the moment of supreme danger- at the barricades and at the ramparts of Paris, if the reactionary powers should force her gates- they too know how, like their brothers, to give their blood and their life for the defense and triumph of the commune. Louise Michel formed all-Women ambulance companies with access to the front lines, where they shot at government troops while rescuing the wounded communards. They said they “don’t belong to any society whatsoever. They live only for the revolution; their duty is to tend, on the very field of battle, the wounds made by the poisonous bullets of Versailles, and when the hour demands to take up their rifles like everyone else.” They would move from one front line to another with belts of ammo strapped to their chests, dodging bullets, cheating death and spiriting right in front of enemy troops. The government threatened to execute Louise Michel’s mother, so she surrendered and was deported to New Caledonia where she educated indigenous girls. She died in 1905, 30 years later, and 50,000 people attended her funeral.

While building the commune the Women would ask men one question: was he on the side of Women, or on the side of men? Men who pledged loyalty to the leading Women were often inspired by Mikhail Bakunin and his revolutionary brotherhood. Bakunin was a feminist anarchist who challenged his bitter enemy, Karl Marx, who was an authoritarian communist hypocrite. Bakunin refuted the false mythology of Lucifer, saying “Satan, the eternal rebel, the first free thinker and emancipator of worlds, who fought to recover from heaven the goods which it has stolen and return them to the earth.” Modern Christianity has demonized all alternatives to metaphysical inspiration for goods deeds. Instead they seek to monopolize religion for the sake of brainwashing and enslaving people for nation states. Bakunin said that as we evolved from apes and escaped slavery and animalistic brutality we have gradually become humanized and enlightened only by socializing, only by “the collective effort of all the members, past and present, of society, which is the source, the natural beginning” of humanity. We realize freedom, in thought, speech and deeds only through interacting with individuals around us thanks to the collective labor of society, and we become conscious of our sentience. But church and state are not society, they make up lies to demand total, unquestioning obedience. Bakunin said “The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of god. As long as we have a master in heaven we will be slaves on earth.”

Bakunin called for the abolition of god because humanity’s moral conscience comes from varying and transient social practices, not mythology. He also said he had faith- in humanity and science. Religion is the propaganda of the patriarchy. Bakunin rescued bible stories from the kings who rewrote them for their own purposes. Eve ate the apple as an act of rebellion in order to escape slavery in “Eden”, and was punished by Adam for seeking knowledge that would liberate her. This is also where Lilith was erased from the bible- the real first woman who refused to submit to Adam and went on to give birth to all modern witches and powerful, rebellious women. These fictional mythologies represent the struggles of real Women and men and the fall of the matriarchy as the patriarchy began to ruin the earth for selfish dictator’s profits. Bakunin wrote that “Marxists claim that only a dictatorship (theirs of course) can create popular freedom. We reply that no dictatorship can have any other object than to perpetuate itself, an that it can engender and nurture only slavery in the people who endure it.” To Russian women he said “If you dare break the chains that bind you to your husband and love another man you will be punished by civil authorities, excommunicated by the church, spat upon and pilloried by society.”

There is an ancient tradition of free women, witches who became followers of Lilith and Mary Magdalene, the prostitute who became Jesus’ lover and gave birth to their children. These are the ancestors and leaders of the medicine women, midwives and original apothecaries. They fought against Rome and patriarchal rulers all through herstory. They are the mothers of all liberation struggles, geniuses, revolutionaries and gatherings to plot subversion. Women like Marisol De La Costa, who killed them man who tried to rape her when she was 9 years old, stabbing him and enlisting her mother Rosita to dump the body in the San Francisco bay. Dozens of pimps, rapists and racists shared his fate. At 14 years old Marisol wore a black veil and thick white makeup to make her face like a skull when she cut the throat of a notorious pimp in the middle of Montgomery street for all to see. She devoted all her time to protecting prostitutes from pimps and the police. Her mother Rosita hit the road, dynamiting railroads and robbing the rich to feed the poor. Their sisters and ancestors gave birth to generations of subversive artists all over Europe, and Paris was and still is a center of resistance. This subversive art inspired workers to strike for better conditions, to renounce, even temporarily, like the Buddha. Police and soldiers attacked them, forcing a struggle for survival and solidarity worldwide that continues today. They spread the message: “NONE ARE FREE UNTIL ALL ARE FREE.”

As cops killed workers, anarchists made bombs, and violence spiraled out of control. They said “They killed our friends so we kill their friends,” a vicious cycle that never ends. Until, eventually, workers gained slightly better wages and working conditions, after many politicians, cops, traitors and even U$ and French presidents were assassinated. Even today nurses worldwide are going on strike, and so are amazon workers, starkbucks workers and railroad workers.

In the time of the Paris Commune Errico Malatesta formed an anarchist bakers union in Bueno Aires. This was called Sociedad Cosmopolita de Resistencia y Colocacion de Obreros Panaderos, which shared profits equally and gave subversive names to each pastry, like “bolas de fraile” or balls of the priests, and “vigilante” a bread stick shaped like a police baton. Errico Malatesta then fought against fascists in Europe. He said that propaganda of the deed was more effective than propaganda of words. Suffragettes agrees, calling for “deeds, not words” in working for Women’s rights.

Around this time the bombings in Haymarket and Paris were going on. A bomb was left at the Hotel de Trevise and lit with a cigar by an anarchist dressed as a woman for the occasion, in his mother’s dress. In Clichy there was a pistol battle between cops and striking anarchist workers. A judge gave 2 of those arrested harsh sentances.In revenge a street musician who played the accordion, named Ravachol, set off 3 bombs in 1892, at the homes of the judge, the prosecutor, and at the army barracks. He was spotted by a waiter at Restaurant Very who called his boss who called the cops. The day before Ravachol’s trial a bomb was detonated under a table at Restaurant Very while a police spy was meeting with the restaurant owner. On July 11, 1892 Ravachol was beheaded at 33 years old. Emile Henry carried on his work. Emile was a thief who fed the poor, especially starving mothers and his activist comrades, even becoming a locksmith to rob the rich. He came from a family of coal miners and his mother struggled with poverty after his father died. After French troops beat up striking coal miners Emile made a bomb and left it outside the office of the owners of the mine. Police discovered it and took it back to their HQ where it exploded and killed 5 cops. On December 3, 1893 August Vaillant threw a bomb into French Parliament, He was beheaded 2 months later. His last words were “Death to bourgeois! Long live anarchy!” Emile Henry was also beheaded, and his last words were “Courage comrades! Long live anarchy!” Anarchist traitor Laurent Tailhade was targeted at Cafe Foyot, an upper class establishment where politicians dined. Tailhade had publicly criticized Emile and revealed the gender of Gisele D’Estoc, who lived as a man. Tailhade lost an eye to the bomb and refrained from criticizing the bombers.

Many of these anarchists hurt innocent bystanders and got caught, in revenge and by the state. As we grow as a movement we need to be more careful. There are always consequences and people who take direct actions have to accept that and take steps to protect innocent people. A knife usually can’t hurt innocent onlookers. In July 24, 1894 a young anarchist named Sante Geronimo Caserio rushed French president Sadi Carnot and stabbed him in the heart. Caserio’s last words at the guillotine were “Courage cousins! Long live anarchy!” In 1900 King Umberto I of Italy was shot and killed by Geatano Bresci. Soon after that U$ president McKinley was shot and killed by Polish Anarchist Leon Czoglosz.

All of this has departed from the Buddha’s ideal of embodying passive resistance, which was shared by followers of Mary Magdelene. In Buddha’s time the world powers forced Hinduism on all the people under their kingdom’s control. Vegetarianism was preached but priests began to “sacrifice” animals to they could eat them and the whole religion and political and social structure became corrupt. The poor were sincerely devout and the rich were hypocritical and cruel, which made the poor bitter and angry. Buddha’s rejection of hypocrisy inspired many people, inspired a religious revolution and undermined the corrupt power structure that was based on hierarchy and patriarchal lies. This relates to modern anarchists as we reclaim the philosophy of morality and social conscience by redefining religious myths in relation to current standards of ethics and compassion. Then and now people said that practical application of women’s emotional intelligence was crazy and impractical. But by making compassion the basis of society we create the practical conditions to liberate all beings.

On March 15, 1896 Pietro Gori said “Let others call anarchy folly and madness. Heed them not, but remember that in past ages the greatest scientists were called crazy. We are few, but we can band together for the happiness of the world and the well being of humanity.” Around this time newspapers were banned for featuring a poem by Walt Whitman called “A Woman Waits For Me” in which he described women who “know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle, shoot, run, strike, retreat, advance, resist, defend themselves. They are ultimate in their won right- they are calm, clear, well possess’d of themselves.” Publishers who printed these words were thrown in jail.

In 1892 Emma Goldman suddenly had an audience when her lover attempted to assassinate a steel magnate (a robber baron like Trump). She said “Truth is a dangerous weapon in the hands of working men and women. Your enemy is not in Spain, but in Washington; not in Madrid but here in San Francisco, in New York, in Chicago. I believe in holding up a looking glass before you, so that you can see and know yourselves. When you are educated, when you realize your power, you’ll need no bombs, and no dynamite or militia will hold you.” In Oakland she said “Let us try to become useful men and women and give what we have of ability and talent to educate and help others. It is only through this that we will realize the true aim of life.”

In the late 1800’s black soldiers were defecting to become highly skilled guerilla revolutionaries who harassed and evaded large conventional American military units. One of these men was David Fagen, and he was a modern incarnation of black conscripts who betrayed and fought against the Roman empire. These men joined forces with witches worldwide.

So on one side we have Women, Buddhists, indigenous people, Zoroastrians, feminists, anarchists, witches and rebels, and so on, and on the other the rich ruling class, priests and their armies and cops. In “The Theory of the Leisure Class” it says “There is reason to believe that the institution of ownership begins with the ownership of persons, primarily women. Being not their own masters, obvious expenditures and leisure on their part would redound to the credit of their master rather than to their own credit, and therefore the more expensive and the more obviously unproductive the women of the household are, the more creditable and more effective for the purpose of respectability of the household or its head their life will be. Women’s sphere is within the household, which she should ‘beautify’ and of which she should be the ‘chief ornament’ .” This is the sexist ideology of the wealthy.

This is an old struggle. The oldest recordings of this are the Egyptian hieroglyphics on the pyramids of Saqqarah, in which Nephthys and Isis, 2 women, work to undermine the evil ‘god-king’ Set. The 2nd oldest document are the Sumerian tablets that tell the story of the tyrant Gilgamesh. He was abusing the women of his city so the gods sent a wild man to wrestle with Gilgamesh. This was Enkidu who protected animals from hunters in the wilderness. A priestess went out to find Gilgamesh and slept with him, taught him about bread, cooked food and wine, and brought him to the city. The two strong men were a match and could not defeat each other so they became friends. Gilgamesh was in constant conflict with the priestesses and the goddess Ishtar. She sent a divine bull to kill him but the two men defeated the bull, enraging Ishtar. Gilgamesh wanted to continue to conquer and satisfy his pride so he took Enkidu to a sacred forest to kill the forest’s protector, a dragon-like monster. Enkidu tried to convince Gilgamesh not to do this, but he did anyway. Enkidu was fatally wounded and Gilgamesh was deeply shaken by the death of his strong friend, because this meant that he was alone, hated and also susceptible to inevitable death. He went on a journey to find a way to defeat death, but due to his pride he failed and returned back to his city humbled. Until 10,000 years ago a massive matriarchy sustainably managed the earth, and when that was overthrown by evil men the great flood nearly killed us all. We are now facing climate change as a result of the patriarchal abuse of nature once again.

I often struggle with the need to take direct action and the misconception that Buddhists don’t break unjust laws. This kind of confusion is the result of evil men spreading misinformation so they can profit from the suffering of others. In reality it is the people with sensitive consciences who defy corruption and bring about lasting change. Enlightenment will only be possible when all beings are free.

This has been a long rant lamenting the lengths to which activists have had to resort to in order to effectively resist oppression. I listed ancient myths that convey true stories of real people in political and militant struggles for the hearts and minds of the world, with women on one side championing compassion, wisdom and equality, and cruel men on the other, who ambitiously use hatred, racism and domination to profit from others suffering. I also gave examples of how that evil infects activists who take extreme measures, fighting fire with fire. I’ll share a quote from Ernesto Che Guevara, a young doctor who served the poor all over South America and joined the revolutionary struggle, treating guerilla fighters until he was killed by U$ mercenaries while he worked to overthrow yet another dictator.

“Almost everyone knows that I started my career as a doctor a number of years ago. When I started out as a doctor, when I began to study medicine, the majority of concepts I hold today as a revolutionary were absent from my storehouse of ideals… In the way I traveled, first as a student, and afterward as a doctor, I began to come into close contact with poverty, with hunger, with disease, with the inability to cure a child because of a lack of resources, with the numbness that hunger and continued punishment cause until a point is reached where a parent losing a child is an unimportant incident, as often happens among the hard hit classes of our Latin American homeland… We already have the right and even the obligation to be, before anything else, a revolutionary doctor, that is, a person who put the technical knowledge of their profession at the service of the revolution and of the people… How does one work for social welfare effectively? How does one reconcile individual effort with the needs of society? … All that has a lot to do with the topic of our talk today: the integration of the doctor and other medical workers into the revolutionary movement. Because the revolution’s task- the task of training and nourishing the children, the task of educating the army, the task of distributing the lands of the old absentee landlords among those who sweat every day on that same land without reaping its fruit- is the greatest work of social medicine that has been done…

The battle against disease should be based on the principle of creating a robust body- not through a doctor’s “artistic work” on a “weak organism”- but by creating a robust body through the work of the whole collectivity, especially the whole social collectivity.

One day medicine will have to become a science that serves to prevent diseases, to orient the entire public toward their medical obligations, and which only has to intervene in cases of extreme urgency to perform some surgical operation or to deal with something unusual in that new society we are creating… For that organizational task, as for all revolutionary tasks, what is required, fundamentally, is the individual. The revolution is not, as some claim, a standardizer of collective will, of collective initiative. To the contrary, it is a liberator of human being’s individual capacities.

What the revolution does do, however, is to direct that capacity. Our task today is to orient the creative talent of all the medical professionals towards the task of social medicine…

One way of learning about this revolution, of getting to know the forces that have been dormant for so long, is to visit the cooperatives and all the work places being created. And one way of getting to the heart of the medical question is not only knowing, not only visiting these places, but also getting to know the people who make up those cooperatives and work centers. Go there and find out what diseases they have, what their ailments are, what extreme poverty they have experienced over the years, inherited from centuries of repression and total submission. The doctor, the medical worker, should then go to the heart of their new work, which is as a person among the masses, a person within the community.

By always being close to the patient, by knowing his or her psychology so deeply, by being the representative of those who come near pain and relieve it, the doctor always has a very important job, a job of great responsibility in social life.

A group of students, recently qualified as doctor, did not want to go to the countryside and were demanding extra payment for going.

But what would happen if it were NOT those individuals- the majority of whose families COULD pay for their several years of study- who completed their courses and are now beginning to practice their profession? What if instead it was 200 or 300 PEASANTS who had emerged, lets say by magic, from the university lecture halls?

What would have happened, simply, is that those peasants would have RUN immediately, and with great enthusiasm, to attend to their brothers and sisters. They would have requested the posts with the most responsibility and the most work, in order to show that the years of study given them were not in vain. What would have happened is what will happen within 6 or 7 years, when the new students, children of the working class and the peasantry, receive their professional degrees of whatever type.

But we should not view the future with fatalism and divide human beings into children of the working class or the peasantry, and counterrevolutionaries. That is simplistic, it is not true, and there is nothing that educates and honorable person more than living within a revolution.

None of us had a past a worker or peasant. Naturally, there were those who had to work, who had known certain wants in their childhood. But hunger, true hunger, none of us had known, and we began to know it, temporarily, during the 2 long years in the Sierra Maestra, and then many things became very clear. WE LEARNED PERFECTLY THAT THE LIFE OF A SINGLE HUMAN BEING IS WORTH MILLIONS OF TIMES MORE THAN ALL THE PROPERTY OF THE RICHEST MAN ON EARTH. We learned it there, we who were not children of the working class or the peasantry. So why should we now shout to the 4 winds that we are the privileged ones and that the rest of the people cannot learn too? Yes, they can learn. In fact, the revolution today demands that they learn, demands that they understand well that the pride of serving our fellow man is much more important than a good income; that the people’s gratitude is much more permeant, much more lasting than all the gold one can accumulate. Each doctor, in the sphere of their activity, can and should accumulate that prized treasure, the people’s gratitude.

We must then begin to erase our old concepts and come ever closer and ever more critically to the people. Not in the way we got closer before, because all of you will say: “No, I AM a friend of the people. I enjoy talking with workers and peasants and on Sundays I go to such and such a place to see such and such a thing.” Everybody has done that. But they have done it practicing charity, and what we have to practice today is solidarity. We should NOT draw closer to the people to say: “Here we are. We come to give you the charity of our presence, to teach you with our science, to demonstrate your errors, your lack of refinement, your lack of elementary knowledge.” We SHOULD go with an investigative zeal and with a humble spirit, to learn from the great source of wisdom that is the people.”

We can see that Che Guevara was like the Buddha in a way. Both came from privilege and, after exploring the world they live in, beyond their sheltered upbringing, renounced material luxury and comforts in order to come close to the people to directly help them in their poverty to find happiness, health, freedom and peace. They also learned from the people they met, not assuming an attitude of superiority.

Recently I received news that brave and admirable activists have been liberating mink from fur farms all over the U$. The Animal Liberation Front has rescued 15,800 mink from certain death, destroyed fossil fuel vehicles and machinery and caused the closure of Lion Farms, the largest mink slaughterhouse in the U$. They ended their statement on the actions with “Free all prisoners and give the land back.” Non-human animals exploitation is directly related to human exploitation and the same practices are used in the slaughterhouse plantation as the prison and military industrial complexes.

Related to these meritorious deeds is the decentralized movement to defend the Atlanta Forest. These brave forest sages are individually taking direct action against cop city. The racist police in the south have long been transitioning from slave catching to hunting and killing people. Cop city is meant to be sprawling live fire shoot houses. This is a reinforced town of thick buildings in which cops would train to kill people with live ammunition. I trained in places like this at Ft. Bragg, NC. when I was a misguided U$ army airborne infantry paratrooper. This is training for soldiers to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. At Ft. Bragg it was called MOUT city, for “Military Operations in Urban Terrain”. There are programs for soldiers to become cops as soon as they are discharged from the military, especially focused on recruiting infantry, and they go on to treat their neighbors the same way they treated “foreign” civilians: imposing violence with extreme prejudice and subjecting them to rape culture, pillage and murder, which they practice on each other in the barracks and cities around their bases. Just google it. Women in the military are almost guaranteed to be raped by another soldier at some point in their career, especially at Ft. Bragg and other infantry and Marine bases. Fayetteville, NC, where Ft. Brag is located, is often called “Fayetnam”. The presence of military bases corrupts these cities.

Rather than oppose direct actions, like those I will share below, Buddhism encourages the cultivation of compassion that leaves one no choice but to act in defense of the people, plants and non-human animal peoples who face oppression, exploitation and the worst forms of abuses. It was the combination of the influences of the example of the Buddha, anarchists like John Zerzan, and friends from high school who spoke plainly to me about their disappointment in my choice to join the military, that influenced me to go AWOL, absent without leave, when my unit deployed. That unit, the 504th in the 82nd airborne, went to Iraq without me and committed the Mahmoodia gang rape massacre. If all U$ soldiers were to hear their friend’s honest criticism, and maybe take a strong dose of mushrooms or molly, they would realize that we are all one, our motivations all seem vindicated from our perspective, and most of the people killed by the U$ military are either civilians or just defending their homes. Perhaps the only exception in recent times is the so called Islamic state, because they are international terrorists that even the Taliban don’t like.

Karma is a fact of life. Do good things and good things happen, do bad and bad happens. At the time of death, and we all inevitably die, we all face the weight of our good and bad deeds. The greatest relief at this time is the merit of our good deeds that are motivated by compassion. This is a habit cultivated by practice. Whatever we practice most is what we will revert to win times of stress. Activists who train their minds, hearts, speech and bodies in compassion are more enlightened than those who eat meat and pray. In “Praise to the Praiseworthy” it says “You proclaimed ‘I am friend to you who are without protection.’ Your great compassion embraces all beings. Teacher, you have great compassion. You have love; you act by your love. You are diligent, you are not lazy. You are the protector of all sentient beings; you are a kind relative to all.” This is not a prayer for help but an example to follow.

Buddhists are skilled in the means to protect others from danger. While not all activists are Buddhists their actions reflect this ideal, as do the work of emergency medical rescue workers, doctors and nurses. These people PRACTICE altruism, which is love and compassion IN ACTION. They practice altruism with equanimity, towards all beings, be they loved ones, strangers, friends or enemies. Some medical workers don’t have equanimity and this is a shame.

This kind of love, which puts others before oneself, is greater than self love and the survival instinct. This love is not temporary like the emotional wave we feel when we see beings suffering, or attachment based on conducive circumstances, which disappear when we are comfortably out of sight of suffering. All beings suffer, so the highest compassion is constant. This requires practice and training, like anything else. Until all beings are free from cages and suffering we will work to free them with love in our hearts.

It’s not effective to sit around thinking and feeling lofty things if we don’t act on them. This is not easy and it takes effort and skill acquired by practicing techniques. You can easily feel for those who suffer in ways you have experienced- when you feel this inspiration consider it to be like a breath of oxygen and use that energy to run towards those in pain and help them. Practice looking into problems in your community and worldwide, and research effective ways to help, then act.

Decent people realize that even those who are unpleasant are that way due to suffering, that all beings want to be happy. I love a scene in “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” Nausicaa is bit by a small animal and instead of getting mad she says “Oh! It’s ok, you’re scared.” It lets go and they become friends.

When we meet difficult people we can practice imagining that they are our mothers from past lives. If reincarnation is real then all beings have been our mothers many times, so we can repay their kindness for protecting and raising us. If your family was not perfect you can imagine difficult people as someone else you admire from a past life. This way we can even work for the sake of people who have wronged us, within reason and with healthy boundaries. Following the example of women who have taught me I have treated the life threatening wounds of people who have shot at me and my friends. Shantideva said “Homage to those who have developed this holy, precious mind. No matter what ills befall them, our lot is always happiness. I take this source of happiness as my refuge.” We should not be passive in the face of abuse and attack, but once the attacker is subdued we can have compassion, with wisdom, to prevent further abuse. If you lack altruism in action and spent your life meditating in the wilderness it would be a waste of time.

Rich kids and the comfortably wealthy have a difficult time cultivating compassion in action. They can be selfish and obsessed with their own pleasure, fortune and ambition. They are like a bowl of spoiled fruit. The best thing for them to do is to give away everything they don’t need to the poor and spend their lives helping the poor. But instead they hire maids and pay them less than a living wage in order to keep them working for them a long time. If they pay them too much they would be able to afford an education to get a better job. Everyone should wash their own laundry and clean their own homes. There are a few wealthy people who realize the truth of what they’re doing to the poor and take action to make change in individual lives and society, rescuing people and themselves from the problems of privilege.

If you have love in your heart while feeding a non-human animal this will be a cause for you to gain full enlightenment. This can also happen during every day chores and activities, if done with love and compassion and mindfulness. Cultivating compassion in action should be a daily exercise that motivates all activity. There are many doctors who don’t care about anyone but themselves and just want to make money. This is shameful and they should not be doctors. I am not claiming to be enlightened or always work with the right motivation, I am just a beggar, a homeless veteran, still trying to train my body, speech and mind. I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to help a few people, and for all the help I’ve received, so I work to repay that kindness.

It takes decades to master cultivating altruism. To fully learn anything, to develop skill, takes at least 10,000 hours. If we meditate on compassion for 30 minutes a day this will take a very long time. So we should meditate daily, not too much so we get sick of it, but consistently, and then go out and make altruistic direct action part of our daily routine, both as specific activities and in the course of our daily work and chores.

“Engaging in the Deeds of the Bodhisattvas” says “Whoever takes this vow to completely liberate infinite hoards of sentient beings, with their infinite tendencies, will not relapse, because of their bodhicitta. They have purely adopted bodhicitta. Thereafter, even in their unguarded moments, their merit will have power. Much merit comes to them continually and will become as enormous as space itself.” This refers to when compassion becomes instinctive after 20,000 hours of practice. This takes 10-20 years of daily application. Its also important that we take this practice to the stars as we go beyond earth.

There is good merit even in helping others to relieve a headache. “Engaging in the Deeds of the Bodhisattvas” says “If the thought to free beings of only their headaches is such a beneficial thought that one will come to have boundless merit, then need I speak of the wish to free every being of all their boundless miseries and wanting each of them to develop every good quality? Give food to a few beings and that act of generosity with food lasts but a moment. Yet the person who perfunctorily fills bellies for half a day is praised as a person of virtue. What then could you say of someone who over a long time has forever tried to satisfy all wishes of infinite number of beings?” Even one moment of compassionate action will redeem us from all kinds of baggage. All you needs will be met if you live a life of compassion and helping others. People and animals will trust and protect us. This is how we make ourselves and others happy.

We develop compassion by seeing all beings as our children, so that we can’t bear to see them suffer. These are stages in a lifetime of training. Even if you don’t believe in reincarnation you can consider it a mental exercise like physical pushups- we don’t stay in the pushup position all day, just every few minutes for 30-90 minutes a day, 6 days a week when we exercise. So meditation on emptiness, or all beings as our mothers or children, are like this physical exercise. We come to realize that we are all one, so to help others is the same as helping yourself. Obviously there is a paradox here and we have to engage with harsh realities and self care. But everyone is inspired when they hear of a selfless person who gave their life for others. Luckily we don’t have to do that in order to make progress.

The next stage is equanimity, seeing all as equally needing liberation and happiness. This goes for friends, family, strangers, enemies, animals and even plants. Again, in the case of predatory people and carnivorous animals we should have healthy boundaries. Otherwise you will end up a martyred saint or a victim.

Next, we remember the kindness people have shown us, or at least what we would have liked for people to have done for us when in need, and how we can do that for others. If you had a good family think about how your mother changed your diapers, fed you and took care of you when you were sick. Many mothers do whatever it takes to provide for their children, even if it ruins their reputation. Mother animals protect their babies at the cost of their own lives, going without food to feed the babies. Buddhist texts tell of a bandit who stabbed a mare during a robbery. The mare was pregnant and gave birth in a hurry, licking the foal to show her love as a final act before she died. This sight reformed the robber. We can see all beings as our children caught in a rip current in the ocean, in need of rescue. In the case of homeless drug addicts we think “Is there some way to repay those who loved me, respected me or helped me in past lives, that would not later bring them suffering?” These people need housing, food, water, electricity and healthcare, in addition to money, in order to reform. They also need an ideological framework to define their struggle and give meaning to their pain. This way they will have the motivation to take good care of themselves and pay that kindness forward by helping others one day. A few people gave me lots of love, attention and resources when I was homeless, helping me to get off the street despite setbacks and exhaustion. This kind of help is difficult in prison because the guards flood the prisons with drugs so people can’t reform. The Buddhists say to imagine others as your mother- if she were having a mental health crisis, carrying a knife and trying to kill you, you would be alarmed but not necessarily angry at her, understanding her disability. You would try to help her. But first try not to get stabbed.

You can also meditate on a sheep being slaughtered by a butcher to quickly develop compassion. Consider the methods used to kill the sheep and its state of mind and emotions. It knows it’s in danger but is helpless, cannot escape, and no one is coming to rescue them. They look into the butcher’s face with tears in their own eyes. This can be imagined for any farm animal.

We should also cultivate compassion for our enemies and for strangers. One reason I admire the ALF is their devotion to action without killing. They make clever actions with skillful means to liberate animals facing certain death. Below are recent examples. The direct actions described below employ tactics that are anti-colonial, empowering to human and non-human peoples, self organized, non-hierarchical and “cultivate communities of collective resistance and joyful militancy.” This info comes from Night Owls #3- please share this as broadly as possible.

9/25/22 Mountain Brook, Alabama- Chairman and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor behind Atlanta’s cop city, was visited at night by “fey (un)painter’s union”. The cars in his driveway were splashed with lacquer thinner, the windows etched and the house painted pink.

9/28 Pittsburgh, PA- 3 police cruisers were burned outside of a police training facility.

10/5 Northern Michigan (occupied Anishinabewaki and Odawa territory)- Machinery torched in an Enbridge facility, signed “the first of many”.

10/6 Atlanta, GA- Stake Center and City of Atlanta workers were ambushed while doing survey work near the Atlanta forest, resulting in broken windows and slashed tires and the quote; “If you come to the woods to do something other than defend the forest expect to have car problems.”

10/12 Philadelphia, PA0- Colonizer statue vandalized on Columbus Day. “Fighting colonization is a way to nurture a less hierarchical relation with the land and those that live on it.”

10/12 Longmeadow, MA- An individual unleashed a hive full of bees on sheriff’s deputies as they tried to serve an eviction notice.

10/18 Atlanta, GA – Unknown assailants broke into the massive Shadowbox Studios movie complex, which is involved in the destruction of the Atlanta forest, and set it on fire. They left a statement: “We don’t like movies. We don’t like screens. We are in the real world: unseen to the hypno-dystopic civilization around us, somewhere among shadows and trees.”

10/18 Michigan- “Stop camp grayling” and “stop all cop cities” were graffitied on 3 police cars.

11/5 Atlanta, GA- Surveillance camera at the old prison farm cut down.

11/5 Thurston County, WA- Trees spikes in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en on a day of action to discourage logging.

11/5 Philadelphia, PA- on the Wet’suwet’en day of action “A small group of anti-colonial anarchist settlers in Lenahoping blockaded a chokepoint of a high frequency railway.”

11/8 Massillon, OH- ALF liberated 1,000 mink in memory of Barry Horne. This statement was made: “Check out finalnail.wordpress.com to find a list of animal torture and murder facilities.”

11/8 Atlanta, GA – Another tow truck burned near the Atlanta forest as it tried to clear the charred remains of a tow truck burned back in July.

11/9 Michigan – ALF freed 800 more mink from Pipkorn Farm.

11/11 Atlanta, GA – An excavator belonging to Norfolk Southern near Weelaunee Forest was “decommissioned by fire”. Norfolk Southern supports cop city.

11/15 Hoaglin Township, OH – 10,000 mink released from Lion Farms, Graffiti left saying “(A)LF” and “We’ll be back.”

11/19 Atlanta, Ga – Atlanta police department shooting range in the Weelaunee Forest attacked on several fronts: trees cut down to block the road, one of which destroyed power lines; cameras destroyed with fire and hammers. A statement left said: “We took this action for the dead- for Rayshard Brooks and every person killed by the Atlanta police, for every murdered revolutionary, for the Muskogee who were forced from this land, for every enslaved person who lived and died on the plantation here, for every prisoner killed by guards at the old prison farm and buried in unmarked graves in the forest. This forest is theirs and we will not allow the police to desecrate it with their presence.”

(While writing this Keenan Anderson was electrocuted to death by cops while he cried for help.)

11/20 Portland, OR – The Adidas North American HQ was smashed to protest the deaths of enslaved people who built Qatar’s world cup facilities. Activists said “We shattered windows, broke doors and covered walls with paint across the corporate campus, including office buildings, the gym and cafe. Adidas is one of FIFA’s primary long term partners and a main sponsor of the world cup in Qatar this year. The history of the world cup is one of death and displacement.”

11/21 Milwaukee, OR – A Kone service truck was burned in solidarity with Alfredo Cospito, an anarchist prisoner in Italy on indefinite hunger strike against his transfer to the 42 bis regime. A statement said “The multinational corporation Kone, a manufacturer of escalators, elevators and door systems, has contracts with prisons and military facilities worldwide, including the Aviano NATO Air Base in north eastern Italy, through their subsidiary Kone SPA.”

This list continues in the next installment of this essay.

11/22 Asheboro, NC – Confederate monument outside Randolph country courthouse was vandalized with “derogatory words about the United $tates”

11/24 Portland, OR – On “thanksgiving” anarchists vandalized a colonial statue, broke off chunks, doused it with red paint, and ripped off the plaque, which was thrown in the river. It was redecorated with “land back” and other slogans.

11/27 Plainwell, Michigan – Vandals caused over $75,000 in damage to Michigan Gold Golf course. The club’s head said “You’re better off putting out of a ditch on the side of the road than you are being able to putt on our greens right now.”

11/30 Atlanta, GA – Surveillance camera destroyed by “some forest creatures” near the Welaunee forest in solidarity with opposing the expansion of Camp Grayling, a national guard training facility. Flock security cameras is an investor in both Camp Grayling and cop city in Atlanta.

12/11 Wayland, Michigan – 4,000 mink liberated from Scholten Farms using four ramps built with the farm’s materials. The mink killing machine, PVC water pipes and all 10 vehicles on the property were sabotaged using bleach, water and sand in their gas tanks and oil reservoirs.

12/13 New York, NY – A massive fire broke out at an NYPD evidence warehouse in Brooklyn, likely destroying mountains of evidence stretching back decades.

12/13 Atlanta, GA – Noise demo held at Dekalb County jail in solidarity with 5 people arrested on the same day during a raid of the Atlanta forest. “15 minutes in, one rowdy prisoner was spotted lighting a fire outside their cell window, which appeared to have been smashed out for the occasion. Peering through binoculars one noise maker noticed an arm waving a sheet out of a 3rd story window that was also smashed.”

12/16 San Francisco, CA – 5 windows and an atm were smashed at a Wells Fargo in retaliation for the arrest of 5 Atlanta forest defenders on “domestic terrorism” charges. They made this statement: “Mitch Graul, a lead business execution consultant at Wells Fargo, sits on the board of trustees of the Atlanta police foundation.”

12/16 Oakland, CA – The offices of CEL, owned by Atlas Technical Consultants and involved in cop city in Atlanta, had their windows broken and locks glued “As part of a battle over what’s left of the living world… to those on our side of the barricade: beware of the politicians in our midst, not just those concerned with electoral victory, but also those who want to use you as pawns in THEIR revolution. Understand your values and why you choose to take action. Political strategy is not a substitute for genuine connection to yourself, each other and what’s left of the living world. Against the pig world and its dead future of machines, surveillance and alienation! Against Politics! In solidarity with all those arrested! For all the forests and our friends: Long live anarchy!”

12/17 Novi, Michigan- An Atlas office lost its windows in solidarity with forest defenders in Atlanta, and paint was poured at the doorstep.

12/18 Crawford county Michigan – Over 100 trees spikes around the proposed Camp Grayling expansion area.

12/21 Manhattan, NY – Apartment building where a vice president of Alta Vista, a part of Atlas technical consultants, was redecorated in solidarity with the 6 arrested Welaunee Forest Defenders. They left this statement: “We reject this world order of prisons and pigs and dead forests, we reject their false peace. we reject the state in its entirety!”

Its important to note that these actions are aimed at stopping those who kill people and animals and destroy plants and the land beyond their ability to heal and recover. These activists are not trying to negotiate with killers, they work to effectively stop them. A code of ethics is followed- no killing, no snitching and no boasting or taking individual credit. At the same time no individual answers to a higher authority. People just do what they feel is right.

We do what we feel is right in order to accumulate merit and to accomplish the goal: no one is free until all are free. One way to create motivation to accomplish this difficult task, and to accumulate merit to redeem any baggage holding us back, is to rejoice in meritorious deeds of others and ourselves. This includes meritorious deeds in the past, present and future. In this way we are creating the causes for success, ideologically, practically in everyday life and success in liberating all beings.

Rejoice over meritorious actions you have taken in the past- times you have helped others, rescued animals, taken good care of companions, protected others, helped protect conservation areas, been generous and practiced meditation or other positive metaphysical exercises, picked up trash to clean the environment, fed the hungry and helped the poor. Even education and exercise is meritorious when done with altruistic intention. Rejoice over your present merits, how you are striving today for the liberation of all beings. Readings works like this is part of the process. Even if you don’t agree with me and those who inspire me you are being influenced by these ideas, because they are true and good, and even just because you are reading them (including the government employees reading this- your supervisor should probably be regularly screening you for the shift in thinking and loyalty that are the inevitable result of reading this stuff, and will eventually lead to action- I used to be a patriotic soldier ‘just following orders’ too, before my conscience overcame my habit of obedience). Rejoice in the future meritorious actions you will take to help people, plants and animals and to create healthy environments. Rejoice that success in inevitable and you are involved in that victory because so many people are on this path, and we have all committed to working for the liberation of all beings for all of eternity, as long as it takes, and we will not stop until everyone is free. In this 10-15 minute session of rejoicing repeat this exercise over and over. Fill your capacity for joy!

Rejoice over the merits of all sentient beings. You can watch videos of dogs rescuing people from drowning all over the world, along with other animals who come to human’s aid, and people who rescue animals. Get specific and practice rejoicing in the merits of people to your immediate north, south, east and west- look up these areas and find good news and take great joy and motivation from their example. Feed your heart and mind with good news. Right around you, right now, look forward, backwards, left, right , up and down and think about the merits of all sentient beings surrounding you, even if its just beings caring for their young or watering a garden. Think about the merits of people in regions that inspire you for particular reasons. I like to look into the outstanding deeds of revolutionaries in liberated spaces, like Rojava, and read about the lives of spiritual leaders who championed human rights. We can look into India, Tibet, Nepal, Vietnam, and so on, where there are large populations of vegetarians and vegans and Buddhists, and other spiritual traditions whose practitioners practice good deeds, like the Sikhs. Think about the Zapatistas and the activists in Seattle, Portland, New York City and so on. Now think about and rejoice in the merits of past, present, and future of all sentient beings. That is so many good deeds! The every day good deeds of every day people far outweighs the evil deeds of selfish, ambitious men. It always will and this sustains the world. So focus on and encourage that.

Finally, rejoice in the merits of the great examples through herstory- the women, men and every other gendered person who you admire, love and respect. Maybe you have outstanding ancestors and neighbors, teachers and leaders. There is a saying “no more heroes” and it means that we can all become the heroes of our own life story. Anything anyone has done, we can do, and often better. We all have faults but by rejoicing in the merits of outstanding examples we can imitate and surpass them, which is what they want us to do. Then think about the past, present and future good deeds and actions of these people, and how they live on in our actions.

Here is another list of meritorious actions from the past that we can take joy in:

1/1/1804 – Haiti officially independent from slavery

1/1/1959 – Cuban revolution succeeds

1/1/1994 – Zapatista uprising

2/1/1960 – Greensboro, NC – Sit-in against racial segregation

3/8/1971 – “Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI” exposes COINTELPRO documents

3/13/1988 – 500 Palestinian police resign in protest of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians

3/16/1792 – Denmark becomes the 1st western country to ban slavery

4/1/2018 – #nodapl Sacred Stone Camp founded at Standing Rock

4/8/1999 – 3000 unarmed Zapatistas retake San Andres from Mexican army

4/17/1965 – SDS marched against Vietnam war

4/29/1899 – 1000 miners dynamite their mine protest deadly working conditions

4/30/1975 – Vietnam united

May 1st, forever – May Day, worker’s rights day worldwide

5/17/1954 – U$ Supreme Court declared school segregation illegal

5/8/2020 – George Floyd uprising worldwide

6/2/1863 – Harriet Tubman’s action at Combahee River

6/27/1905 – Stonewall resistance action

7/13/2019 – Willen Van Spronsen action to free prisoners

8/12/2017 – Charlottesville resistance against fascists

10/14/1979 – 1st gay rights march in DC

8/21/1831 – Nat Turner slave uprising

10/14/1968 – Military prisoners strike to protest Vietnam war

10/15/1966 – Black Panther Party founded

10/15/1968 – U$ federal court prohibits use of whips on prisoners

10/16/1859 – John Brown action against slavery

November 1994 – Anarchist Black Cross Federation starts warchest to support political prisoners

11/17/1983 – Zapatista National Liberation Army was born

11/18/1803 – Haitians liberated themselves from slavery

12/1/1955 – Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for racists

The fundamental attitude of Buddhism is very practical and anti-authoritarian. Siddhartha Gautama, who became Shakyamuni Buddha, was an extremely unorthodox person and a true anti-traditionalist. He did not offer his teachings as a set of dogmatic rules, but rather as recommendation for each individual to investigate for themselves. His invitation to all was “Come and see.” One thing he said to his followers was “Place no head above your own,” meaning to think for yourself, apply compassion in action and do what works to accomplish the goal: the liberation of all being everywhere.

As this essay continues I will next explore the Zapatista women who continue to fight for women’s liberation in South America. Then I will come to more current events, both in recent herstory and as they unfold in the present. I am grateful to everyone who takes the time to read this amature work. I give all credit to the original authors of the sources I draw from, which have been previously listed and will be referenced as I go forward. There is so much material on this subject and I am still just scratching the surface. This is largely due to this information being kept from the public and women being written out of men’s versions of history. On top of that we are all struggling to survive late stage capitalism while being forced into wage slavery in late stage republics. So there is very little time to read. I encourage those who do care about themselves, the people, plants and animals in their lives, and the world, to read the sources for this essay and apply what they learn. I am grateful to those who send me books on these subjects while I am a political prisoner. The irony is that before I went to prison I was not well read on these subjects and the very government that attempts to silence my voice, and yours, has inadvertently given me the time to read and refine my ideology, to strengthen my heart and mind and to encourage others to do the same. There are so many seconds in each day and the ruling elites want to own your body and your time so they can profit from your labor. Take that time back every day and use it to dismantle their system and build wholesome communities where we have bodily autonomy, our time belongs to us and our lives have meaning.

The following is drawn from “Our Word is our Weapon” by Subcomandante Marcos, and “A Poetics of Resistance”.

On 1/1/94 a woman wearing a ski mask looked around intently while she stalked forward with her M1 carbine rifle raised. There was a pistol holstered on her hip and the rank of infantry major over her heart. On this cold dawn she led a rebel column of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, the EZLN, to take the former capital of the south-eastern Mexican state of Chiapas, San Cristobal De Las Casas. Indigenous men and women in her column watched her take the national flag down and give it to the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee. At 2am the major announced over the radio “We have recovered the flag.”

While everyone else celebrated the new year this indigenous woman enjoyed the fruits of 10 years of training, labor and struggle. She arrived in the Lancandon jungle in December of 84, a brown indigenous teenage woman bearing the scars of abuse, whispering to herself, “Enough is enough!” Ten years later thousands of indigenous women and men yell “Enough is enough!” and the whole world hears their voices.

Outside San Cristobal another rebel column took the police HQ, freeing indigenous prisoners from the debtors prison. Capitan Insurgente Eugenio Asparuk, an indigenous Tzeltal, led the search and occupation of the police HQ. When the female indigenous infantry Major’s message came over the radio an indigenous Chol rebel named Capitan Insurgente Pedro had already taken the federal highway police HQ and secured the road that connected Tuxtla Gutierrez to San Cristobal. Another indigenous rebel Tzeltal, Capital Insurgente Ubilio, took the north entrances to the city and the National Indigenous Institute, where the government offered meager charity for the land and lives they took from the indigenous people when they were slaughtered and colonized. Another indigenous rebel Chol, Capitan Insurgente Guillermo, occupied the highest point in the city. Two more rebel Tzotzil and Tzeltal insurgents, Capitans Gilberto and Noe, took and burned the state judicial police HQ then marched across the city towards the barracks of the 31st military zone in Rancho Nuevo. This is all announced to the rebellious, indigenous women and men over the radio. They listen to the words of a rebellious, indigenous woman who leads them, an armed woman, the Major, who secured positions at the Municipal Palace. The city was under the control of indigenous rebels led by a woman.

Among them was Comandante Ramona, a tiny woman, smaller than the other small people. She had a few hairs sticking out from the forehead of her ski mask and she wore the traditional dress of San Andres women, with a sawed off 12 gauge shotgun in her hands. She stood with Susana and other indigenous people from the Indigenous Clandestine Revolutionary Committee which commands the Zapatista National Liberation Army. The international press that later gathered was shocked by her size and energy when she pulled the captured flag out of her backpack. She didn’t know this at the time but she was already dying from a disease. Before she knew about the illness she laughed at everything, and after she found out about the disease she continued to laugh at everything.

The major, an armed indigenous woman, watched the sun rise over the city full of indigenous people she now protected from the corrupt, racist government. Hundreds of armed indigenous rebels defended the city and she commanded them.

A few minutes later rebels took the city of Las Margaritas, Ocosingo, Altamirano and Chanal. The government troops surrendered. Another rebel column took Huixtan and Oxchuc. The rebels held 7 cities at this point.

Before this time these women were invisible to the world, being indigenous, being women and being poor. Now the whole world saw them and heard their words.

Capitan Insurgente Irma, a Chol woman, led a guerilla column and attacked the Municipal Palace until the garrison inside surrendered. Then she undid her braid, let her hair down and announced “Here I am, free and new!” Her hair shined even in the dark after the sun set on the city controlled by rebellious indigenous women.

Capitan Insurgente Laura, a Tzotzel woman, commanded a unit of novice men, showing them by example how to be fierce in battle and committed in peace. She patiently taught and led the men from the front- no once carried as much or walked as far as she did. She said little and carried a carbine she took from a policeman who stared at her like he was raping her with his eyes and thoughts. After he surrendered and ran away in his shorts he realized that women didn’t only exist to be pregnant or in the kitchen.

Capitan Insurgente Elisa still has shrapnel in her body from the mortars. She considers them medals and trophies. She took command of her column when the rebel line was broken and the Ocosingo Market was filled with blood. When Capitan Benito was injured and lost an eye he said “I’ve had it, Capitan Elisa is in command…” then passed out. Even though she was also wounded she rescued the rebels from the bloody marketplace. She is a Tzeltal woman, and women are used to working while losing blood. She speaks softly and everyone listens.

Capitan Insurgente Silvia was trapped in the city for 10 days when federal soldiers retaliated with tanks and cannons. She slipped through a checkpoint when the federal soldiers said “It isn’t possible such a young and fragile woman could be a rebel.” She rejoined her unit in the mountains, sad because she left behind her backpack full of music cassettes she had collected. In war we all lose what we most love.

Capitan Insurgente Maribel took over the radio station in Las Margaritas on 1/1/94. She trained for 9 years in the jungle so she could say over the radio “We are the product of 500 years of struggle; first we fought against slavery…” Days later she guarded a prisoner, general Absalon Castellanos Domingues. Maribel is Tzeltal and joined as a teen, climbing the “Hill From Hell” in training to get strong. When she released the general to commissioner Manuel Camacho Solis he asked her how old she was. She said “502, as old as the Rebellion.”

Capitan Isodora spent hours rescuing the 40 wounded men in Ocosingo and left with shrapnel in her arms and legs. When she got to the medics and handed over the wounded she drank some water and got up to leave. Her face and uniform were covered in blood, much of it hers. The medics treating her wounds asked “Where are you going?” She reloaded her weapon and said “To get the others.” They couldn’t stop her at first but they restrained her. She was later promoted for her bravery and given a medal, a star. She ask why, when she couldn’t get the rest of the wounded. That is the kind of person she is.

1st Lt. Amalia in the hospital unit was always full of joyful laughter. She found Capitan Benito unconscious in a pool of blood and dragged him to safety. She then carried him on her back past the bloody market. Amalia is an indigenous Chol, so when someone suggested surrendering she got mad and began to yell over the roar of the explosions and gunfire. Everyone listened to her and no one surrendered.

Lt. Elena worked in the hospital unit. She was illiterate when she joined to Zapatista so they taught her to read, write, give medicine, treat dysentery, give vaccines and care for the wounded. The small hospital was also a home, a warehouse and a pharmacy. She pulled shrapnel from Zapatista’s bodies and said “Some I can take out, some I can’t.” She is also an indigenous Chol.

It was a rebellious indigenous woman who commanded the operation to take San Cristobal. The same woman organized the return to the mountains the next day. 50 days later she guarded the delegates of the Zapatistas to the dialogues for peace. She is Major Insurgente Ana Maria. After this peace talk she disappeared for a year.

In December of ’95, 10 years after becoming a revolutionary, Ana Maria led the action to break out of the military blockade established by the government around the Lancandon jungle. Zapatistas mobilized in 38 municipalities. There were 12 women leaders with Ana Maria: Monica, Isabela, Yuri, Patricia, Juana, Ofelia, Celina, Maria, Gabriela, Alicia, Zenaida and Maria Luisa. The Zapatistas, led again by women, broke the blockade and took various municipalities.

In cities, at the blockades, in the wilderness, at the tree line of construction and deforestation, a column of women forms. They have no rank, no uniform, no weapons. They know that they are like Zapatistas, with no face and no name. They struggle for democracy, freedom, justice and equality just like Zapatistas. These women are the heart of our society, those who don’t like any political party, don’t agree with politicians and wealthy rulers. These are the women who say “Enough is enough!” They are the fluid masses of the people, always adapting.

The first time these women roar in protest the strength of their collective voice surprises them. But with the accumulated strength of repetition and by practicing what they preach they stop fearing their own power and trust themselves and each other to wield that power with emotional and social intelligence. Their battle cry brings down the walls like that of Jericho. They are like Zapatistas, some of them are Zapatistas, and they share a common heritage and destiny, a matriarchal lineage in the fight against the brutal powers of analytical intelligence and corrupt politics. They fight their husbands, lovers, boyfriends, children, friends, brothers, fathers, grandfathers. They all call her crazy. She leaves the past behind where regressive patriarchs tell her to forget the Zapatistas, tell her to be quiet, sit down in comfortable indifference to the suffering in the world, to only worry about herself. She leaves all the naysayers behind without an explanation and imitates the brave Zapatista women, every day, year after year. These women smile and wield their sharpened bliss with militant joy. They used to admire the Zapatistas, but now they are Zapatistas and YPJ. Thousands upon thousands join them, rising up from the silent fog, at the barricades in the cities, at the tree line in the wilderness, on the horizon all around the world. Together they raise one voice and walls tremble and fall. They dignity is contagious and billions of women are infected by this viral sound. Armed and unarmed they fight for what is left of the living world.

How do we destroy 10,000 years of regressive patriarchy and captivity? Many women at the bottom of the social ladder face illiteracy, poor living conditions, low salaries, marginalization, and many horrors that the patriarchy pretends to ignore. But in fact they weaponize gender exploitation to demand unpaid domestic labor. We are busy to the point of exhaustion earning a living wage, raising kids, getting clean drinking water, cooking and growing food, and, among revolutionary cadres and partisans, transforming society on top of all those daily chores. Every day we push ourselves for the sake of future generations and the slightest moment of letting up the pressure results in the loss of hard won progress.

The Zapatista prioritize women’s leadership, voices and social intelligence. They confront Mexico’s patriarchy, from indigenous communities to the cities. Instead of machismo they have Zapatismo to separate them from previous Latin American guerilla struggles. This is written into Zapatista law in the Zapatista Revolutionary Women’s Law:

  1. Women, regardless of their race, creed, color or political affiliation, have the right to participate in the revolutionary struggle in a way determined by desire and capacity.
  2. Women have the right to work and receive a just salary.
  3. Women have the right to decide the number of children they have and care for.
  4. Women have the right to participate in community affairs and to hold office if they are freely and democratically elected.
  5. Women and children have the right to primary consideration in their health and nutrition.
  6. Women have the right to education.
  7. Women the right to select their partner and not be forced to marry.
  8. No woman shall be beaten or physically mistreated by her family members or strangers. The crimes of rape and attempted rape will be severely punished.
  9. Women can occupy leadership positions and hold military ranks in the revolutionary armed forces.
  10. Women will have all the rights and obligations stated in the revolutionary laws and regulations.

The Zapatistas show us alternative ways to rebel. Their women’s law surprised capitalist patriarchies and inspires feminist allies like the YPJ. It empowers indigenous women of Chiapas and all over the planet. They practice this law, as seen by the examples of the legendary women previously mentioned. Even the U$ is no longer this progressive.

Justice for Manny – by Dan Baker

This is an update on the murder of my friend in the Atlanta Welaunee forest, Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran, known to me as Manny. This is a decentralized newsletter motivated by compassion, altruism, grief, solidarity, the need for justice and the dedication to intersectional class struggle and the goals we share, namely the liberation of all beings. Please take the time and resources to share this by hand and electronically to everyone you can. I’m updating my previous statement with the self criticism that my first statement referred to Manny as ‘he’ and Manny had preferred they/them pronouns. These things seem small to those outside of the movement, but they matter and do a great deal to undermine patriarchy and respect the fact that minds are not born gendered, they are trained to reflect societal constructs over time. I’ll open this update with a quote from a Buddhist nun who’s work I study to define my own ethical framework and metaphysical practice as I strive to become a better person and practically contribute to the work of freeing everyone everywhere. This quote refers to the purpose of Buddhism and ethical activism. Then I’ll give a timeline leading up to and after Manny’s murder, concluding with articles and statements covering this injustice. This newsletter highlights the link between the liberation of all people, human AND non-human peoples. This means recognizing the personhood of animals and plants, even the plants humans must eat to survive, with respect, gratitude and mindfulness. I don’t believe we should eat animals but I can’t project bourgeois morality onto indigenous people and those living in poverty. But eating animals seems to me like humans who eat each other in survival situations. These ideas are ahead of their time and Manny and people like them will be remembered as wise forest dwelling sages who blaze the trail by setting the highest example of personal sacrifice and spiritual ideals. Manny is a martyr, a human who achieved Buddhahood in this lifetime.

“The purpose of these teachings is not to make our actions passive. Like, “Oh, well, somebody is shooting somebody, there’s a hunter coming on the property, they want to shoot the deer, they’re under the influence of their afflictions, that’s too bad but don’t step on the plants when you’re out there shooting the deer.” No, we go and we say, “Sorry, you can’t go hunting here.” But the idea is that when you interfere, when you intercede in a situation like that, your own mind isn’t angry and upset. That’s the thing, that’s the important thing.” -Venerable Thubten Chodron, Retreat From Afar 2023 Mailing #7, p.7

From Night Owls #3:

“Earth and animal liberation focused struggles continued to take major risks to defend land and life over the course of the fall season. Decentralized supporters of the Defend the Atlanta Forest campaign carried out at least ten known direct actions altogether against cop city, all of them daring and impressive. Meanwhile, we saw a return of Animal Liberation Front fur farm raids, which according to reports released 15,800 mink in total, destroyed vehicles and machinery at one farm, and ultimately forced the closure of Lion Farms, the largest mink exploiter in the U.$. and the target of one of these actions.

As the recent commentary “On Mink Liberation” notes, “Whilst (mink liberation actions) behave like any other animal liberation action- freeing animals from their place of abuse- they are understood easier as a sabotage action.” It’s heartwarming enough to see these individual lives freed from captivity and given a second chance, yet these actors also took care to aim at the mechanisms of the fur industry itself- an industry that’s entirely intertwined with and made possible by the domination of this territory by capitalism and colonization. The most recent mink raid’s communique makes this connection as well, ending “free all prisoners and give the land back.”

Our last column centered on the significance of our settler colonial context, not only for forest defense and other ecological struggles, but also with regard to how we position ourselves in relation to the land, life and collective survival- with the ultimate objective of destroying the settler colony and returning its territory to the continents original inhabitants. This autumn saw a heartening expansion of anti-colonial solidarity actions, from Washington and Oregon to Michigan and Philadelphia. Some of these actions happened in response to solidarity calls, one took place on the colonial holiday columbus day, one on thanksgiving, and another responded in part to the brutal consequences of the climate collapse in the global south. In discussing the need to take apart elements of colonial industry and infrastructure, the communiques attest to the ways in which destructive acts, when paired with anti-colonial methods, can help empower people to move towards self organization and action, nurture non-hierarchical relationships, and cultivate “communities of collective resistance and joyful militancy.”

Distribution of Night Owls is decentralized- don’t forget to print the column, bring it to infoshops, drop it in newspaper boxes, or just pass it to your friends.

ACTION BRIEFS

9/25 Mountain Brook Alabama: The chairman and CEO of Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contractor behind Atlanta’s cop city, was visited at night by “fey (un)painter’s union”. The cars in his driveway were splashed with lacquer thinner, their windows etched, and the house was redecorated with pink paint.

9/28 Pittsburgh, PA: 3 police cruisers were burned outside of a police training facility.

10/05 Northern Michigan (occupied Anishinabewaki and Odawa territory) Machinery is torched inside of an Enbridge facility, signed by “the first of many” who’s statement read “i write this while the black snakes beneath my feet prepare once again to go under the mackinac straits, a sacred place where all of the great lakes converge, the great lakes which make up nearly 20% of the world’s fresh water. we must not let this happen.”

10/6 Atlanta, GA: Stake Center and City of Atlanta workers are ambushed while doing survey work near the Atlanta forest, leaving behind broken windows and slashed tires. A statement left read: “If you come to the woods to do something other than defend the forest, expect to have car problems.”

10/10 Atlanta, GA: In a statement left behind it was read that Georgia power work trucks and boom cranes “were descended upon with rocks & fire at the very edge of forest otherwise known as the old prison farm(…) May the Pines and Oaks and Fruit Trees you fell one day fall on & destroy your personal homes & vehicles!”

10/12 Philadelphia, PA: A colonizer statue was vandalized on columbus day. A statement left said “Fighting colonization is a way to nurture a less hierarchical relation with the land and whose that live on it.”

10/12 Longmeadow, MA: An individual unleashed a hive full of bees on sheriff’s deputies, some of them allergic to bee stings, as they tried to serve an eviction notice.

10/18 Atlanta, GA: Unknown assailants broke into the massive Shadowbox Studios movie complex involved in the destruction of the Atlanta forest and managed to partially burn down a structure used as a dressing room. A statement left read: “We don’t like movies. We don’t like screens. We are in the real world: Unseen to the hypno-dystopic civilization around us, somewhere among shadow and tree.”

10/18 Michigan: “Stop Camp Grayling” and “Stop All Cop Cities” are graffitied onto 3 police cars somewhere in Michigan.

11/5 Atlanta, GA: A surveillance camera at the old prison farm is cut down.

11/5 Thurston County, WA: Many trees are spiked in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en on a day of action, to discourage logging. “All of these industries are on the side of Coastal Gas Link and they are all our enemies. We feel the rage, creativity and determination of the people of Wet’suwet’en and Widzin Kwa, and must all act against every aspect of colonial industry which threatens the sovereignty and lifeblood of lands and waters. We hope this message serves as a warning to deter all upcoming timber sales in the Capitol Forest. If the trees are cut, we hope for maximum damage to the chainsaws and mills.”

11/5 Philadelphia, PA (Lenapehoking) On the Wet’suwet’en Day of Action a statement was left saying “a small group of Anti-colonial Anarchist settlers in Lenapehoking blocked a chokepoint of a high frequency railway.”

11/8 Massillon, OH: The ALF liberates 1,000 mink in memory of Berry Horne. Their statement said: “Check out finalnail.wordpress.com to find a list of animal torture and murder facilities.”

11/8 Atlanta, GA: Another tow truck is burned near the Atlanta Forest as it tries to clear the charred remains of a town truck burned back in July. “Meanwhile, those Americans that still believe in the ritual of voting were casting their ballots for the maintenance of one or the other version of the status quo. They think of this as freedom, as though the choice between 100 brands of cereal were the same as choosing how to live. We chose another route. We chose to defend a territory that has been claimed by the people, for the people- where the police do not dare to go because they have seen what happens to enemy vehicles. We elected a raging fire beneath a full moon!”

11/9 Michigan The ALF liberates 800 more mink from Pipkorn Farm.

11/11 Atlanta, GA: An excavator belonging to Norfolk Southern adjacent to the Weleaunee Forest is “decommissioned by fire” according to a statement they left. Norfolk Southern is a supporter of cop city.

11/15 Hoaglin Township, OH: 10,000 mink are released from Lion Farms; graffiti is left at the scene reading “(A)LF” and “We’ll be back.”

11/19 Atlanta, GA The Atlanta police department’s shooting range inside the Welaunee forest is attacked on several fronts: trees are felled with a a chainsaw to block access to the road, and one tree destroyed the power lines providing electricity to the range. The cameras are then destroyed with fire and hammers. A statement left read “We took this action for the dead- for Rayshard Brooks and every person killed by the Atlanta police. For every murdered revolutionary, for the Muskogee who were forced from this land, for every enslaved person who lived and died on the plantation here, for every prisoner killed by guards at the old prison farm and buried in unmarked graves in the forest. This forest is theirs and we will not allow the police to desecrate it with their presence.”

11/20 Portland, OR: Most buildings at the Adidas North American HQ were smashed up several hours before the opening of the 2022 World Cup. A statement left read “We shattered windows, broke doors and covered walls with paint across the corporate campus including office buildings, the gym and cafe. Adidas is one of FIFA’s primary long term partners, and a main sponsor of the World Cup in Qatar this year. The history of the world cup is one of death and displacement.”

11/21 Milwaukee, OR: A KONE service truck was set ablaze in solidarity with Alfredo Cospito, an anarchist prisoner in Italy on indefinite hunger strike against his transfer to the 41 Bis regime. A statement left read “The multinational corporation KONE, a manufacturer of elevators, escalators and door systems, has contracts with prisons and military facilities worldwide, including the Aviano NATO Air Base in Northeastern Italy through their subsidiary KONE SPA.”

11/22 Asheboro, NC: A confederate monument outside of Randolph County courthouse was vandalized with “derogatory words about the United $tates.”

11/24 Portland, OR: In the early morning hours of “thanksgiving” some anarchists vandalized a colonial statue. Chunks were broken off, it was doused in red paint, and the plaque was ripped off and dumped in the river. It was redecorated with “Land Back” and other slogans.

11/27 Plainwell, Michigan: Vandals cause over $75,000 in damage to Michigan Gold Course. The club’s head said “you’re better off putting out of a ditch on the side of the road than you are being able to putt on our greens right now.”

11/30 Atlanta, GA: A surveillance camera is destroyed by “some forest creatures” near the Welaunee forest in solidarity with opposing the expansion of Camp Grayling, a National Guard training facility. Flock Security cameras is an investor in both Camp Grayling and the cop city project.

12/11 Wayland, Michigan: 4,000 mink are liberated from Scholten Farms using four ramps built with the farm’s materials. The mink killing machine, pvc water pipes, and all 10 vehicles on the property were sabotaged using bleach, water, and sand in their gas tanks and oil reservoirs.

12/13 New York, NY: A massive fire broke out at an NYPD evidence warehouse in Brooklyn, likely destroying mountains of criminal evidence- including DNA records- stretching back decades.

12/13 Atlanta, GA: A noise demo was held at DeKalb county jail in solidarity with 5 people arrested on the same day during a raid of the Atlanta forest. A statement read: “15 minutes in, one rowdy prisoner was spotted lighting a fire outside their cell windows, which appeared to have been smashed out for the occasion. Peering through binoculars, one noise maker noticed an arm waving a sheet out of a 3rd story window that was also smashed.”

12/16 San Francisco, CA: 5 windows and an ATM were smashed at Wells Fargo in retribution for the arrest of 5 Atlanta forest defenders on “domestic terrorism” charges. A statement left read: “Mitch Graul, a Lead Business Execution Consultant at Wells Fargo, sits on the Board of Trustees of the Atlanta Police Foundation … The bones in the land demand a reckoning. Anyone who supports cop city is a target everywhere. Solidarity means attack!”

12/16 Oakland, CA: The offices of CEL, owned by Atlas Technical Consultants and involved in the cop city project in Atlanta, had their windows broken and locks glued in what a statement released described “as part of a battle over what’s left of the living world … to those on our side of the barricade: beware of the politicians in our midst, not just those concerned with electoral victory but also those who want to use you as pawns in THEIR revolution. Understand your values and why you choose to take action. Political strategy is not a substitute for genuine connection to yourself, each other, and what’s left of the living world. Against the pig world and its dead future of machines, surveillance and alienation! Against politics! In solidarity with all those arrested! For all the forests and our friends! Long live anarchy!”

12/17 Novi, Michigan: An Atlas office loses its windows in solidarity with forest defenders in Atlanta, and paint is poured at the doorstep.

12/18 Crawford County, Michigan: More than 100 trees are spiked around the proposed Camp Grayling expansion area.

12/21 Manhattan, NY: The apartment building of a vice president of AltaVista, a part of the Atlas Technical Consultants, is redecorated in solidarity with the 6 arrested Welaunee forest defenders. A statement read “We reject this world order of prisons and pigs and dead forests, we reject their false peace, we reject the state in its entirety!”

(This is a continuation of Night Owls #3)

“It’s not about bringing a mean company to better intentions, of forcing it to change its bad habits via punitive measures, not of pressuring an institution to change its mind… when we’re talking about, for example, companies that build prisons, high speed train lines, airports, let’s refuse all forms of communication (even the radical ones) with the enemy; let’s refuse all forms of reformism. Better still: we don’t want to spread the logic of reformism, we want to destroy it. The goal is, then, not to convince (by way of damage, material or monetary); the goal is to sabotage and attack the entirety of the project on all terrains. Attack- not to convince, but because we are convinced we don’t want this project. Attacking, not to punish, but to make life harder for the enemy. From the construction companies to the security coordinators and engineers; from the civilian participants to the banks who finance the project.

This column is especially interested in actions that inspire new conceptions of anarchist’s role and potential impact, in which tactics are innovated through creativity and experimentation. In a recent action against a police shooting range in Atlanta’s Welaunee forest, some “chainsaw wielding militants” knocked out the power line feeding the range before going on to destroy the cameras. This action showed creativity both in its choice of target and the tactics used, in an intelligent and effective blow to the facility’s ability to operate. It demonstrates a shift in focus from the mere symbolic facades of power and reminds us that we are not just against cop city, but the entire institution of policing.

Privileging tactical preferences over shared ethics, goals, and methods can be flimsy ground for collaboration. For example, people who use high risk tactics but are motivated by a desire to impact public opinion can make unreliable and even dangerous co-conspirators. Many of those who snitched in the Green Scare “revered public opinion about an environmental movement rather than aiming to destroy anti-environmental forces.” More recently, two individuals confessed to having attacked pipelines in a statement to the media, demonstrating a similar desire to impact public opinion- one later became a cooperating witness while the other, who stayed solid, regretted publishing her identity. People driven by such motivations are liable to change their minds as the tides of “public opinion” inevitably change. Understanding one’s goals and motivation for acting is indispensable, not only for deciding who to take risks with, but also for deciding what to target and how.

This does not mean that you have to be an anarchist to use direct action or to be trustworthy. We are less invested in more people calling themselves anarchists than in the spreading of practices of self organization and conflict with authority, which were around long before anarchists were named. Our understanding of anarchist methods can grow and deepen by learning from other self organized strategies and individuals who sabotage domination.

In compiling this column’s list of actions across the so-called United $tates, we include actions that were claimed by communique as well as those that were not, with the assumption that there are lessons to be learned from both. The advantages and disadvantages of writing communiques have often been the subject of heated debate among anarchists. Many actions speak for themselves and don’t have to be claimed to be understood or to significantly disrupt systems of domination. On the other hand actions that are not claimed may be harder to find on the internet and so feature less prominently in counter-information projects (including this one), though such websites are rarely engaged with by anyone who’s not themselves an anarchist. In putting together this column, we consider the challenge of communicating outside of anarchist space- which depends on our newspapers, magazines, social centers, and physical places of encounter in this struggle.

The torching of 3 police cars in Pittsburgh this fall was not accompanied by communique but the burning shell of the cruisers spoke for themselves and meaning could not be clearer: Fuck the police. We feel it’s important not to speculate about whether this of other actions were carried out by anarchists or not, since the potential to aid the police in their investigation exists. Whatever the motivations of the anonymous one(s) who burned the cars, this action can resonate with anyone who has their own reason to take action against the police.

On the other hand, communiques can also have their own very important place, and all the better when that place is not just on the internet! Although we chose this medium for our column in the interest of reaching a wider audience we also include a zine version and posters so as to take ideas and actions off the screen, with its inherent alien nature, and spread them through our real world encounters.

This season’s posters feature a communique from occupied Anishinabewaki and Odawa territory (northern Michigan) which claims the arson of heavy machinery at an Enfield facility. The fight against pipelines and the oil economy is not restricted to occupations against construction and is not defeated after the go into the ground. The communique reminds us that the oil economy, along with the devastation it causes, is all around us, and that it’s possible to fight back.”

The following is a statement from Atlanta Community Press Collective:

1/19/23- “Justice For Tort

A dedication for Tortuguita, an anarchist who was shot and killed by police while defending the Weelaunee forest in Atlanta, GA on January 18th.

We are devastated by the loss of our friend who was killed by the police. Tortuguita was a kind, passionate and loving person, cherished by their community.

They spent their time between Atlanta, defending the forest from destruction and coordinating mutual aid for the movement, and Florida, where they helped build housing in low-income communities hit hardest by the hurricane (Ian). They were a trained medic, a loving partner, a dear friend, a brave soul, and so much more. In Tort’s name, we continue to fight to protect the forest and stop cop city with love, rage, and a commitment to each other’s safety and well-being.

Many people have reached out with memories and accounts of Tortuguita. They are remembered and cherished by many friends, loved one, and people who they supported with mutual aid.

“They loved all life and people- especially their qtpoc community- deeply.”

“Tortuguita was a very kind person. They were always willing to help and take care of people in need around them, especially the qtbipoc community. They were always attentive to others needs and offer always the best of them. Truly a warrior for the forest and the people! I miss them so much.”

We don’t know what happened yesterday, but we know that the police killed them while they were defending the forest.

Please reach out with accounts of Tortuguita to honor their memory to RememberTort@protonmail.com”

I received this message from Daniel McGowan:

“So, I heard on The Final Straw that the guy who the Atlanta police killed (Manuel Teran aka Tortuguita) was in Florida and used to come to your court dates and knew Eric. Wow, that is some horrible small world news. I mean, fuck. I was so sorry to hear the news. It’s so tragic and enraging. I am going to include a very good story about this and the info from The Final Straw. Hang in there.”

“Voices in Struggle: Remembering Tortuguita

This week on The Final Straw, words from a friend of Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran, the forest defender killed by law enforcement on January 18th outside of Atlanta, Ga. First up, we caught up with Eric Champaign of Tallahassee, FL, about his friend Manny, aka Tortuguita, or Little Turtle. Manuel Teran was shot and killed by law enforcement during an early morning raid of the forest encampment to defend the Welaunee aka Atlanta Forest and to stop cop city on Wednesday January 18th, 2023. Law enforcement CLAIMED in the media that they responded to shots fired and the wounding of an officer by killing the shooter, but at the time of this release the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not yet produced a weapon or bodycam footage of the clash. (Update, Georgia Bureau of Investigation CLAIMS they found a gun and ballistics match the bullet in the pelvis of the cop). The killing of Tortuguita has sparked outrage, calls for independent investigation, vigils and calls for renewed and dispersed activity. Word is that another 6 people were arrested and charged with domestic terrorism during the raid. Check out our chat with a member of Atlanta Anti-Repression Committee for some context and links to groups fighting back in the courts. There’s a fundraiser for Tortuguita’s family at GoFundMe.”

I’ll remind the reader that drop weapons are used daily to justify murders by U.$. police and soldiers.

“Little Turtle’s War by David Peisner

The shooting death of a protestor at the hands of police feels like both an inevitable outcome of this long battle over Atlanta’s South River Forest and a completely preventable tragedy.

1/20/23

I didn’t know Manuel Teran as Manuel Teran. To me, Manuel was Tortuguita. Like pretty much all the forest defenders I met while reporting on the protest movement that has emerged in opposition to the city’s plan to build a police training facility in a forest in south Atlanta, Teran went by a forest name in order to maintain anonymity. At one point, Teran- who preferred they/them pronouns but was not particularly concerned when an early draft of my story, “The Forest For the Trees” failed to use them- wanted me to refer to them in the story as “(Redacted)”, mostly, it seemed, because they thought it was funny.

But “Tortuguita”, as Teran explained the first time we met, was not just a cute name chosen at random. Spanish for “Little Turtle”, it was a nod to the colonial era indigenous military commander of the same name who led native American forces to one of their most decisive victories against the then nascent U.$. Army in 1791. Teran was reluctant to publicize this backstory because, as they told me, “That does not make us look like peaceful protestors. We are very peaceful people, I promise.”

“Teran was shot and killed on the morning of January 18, in what law enforcement officials described as a firefight during which a Georgia state trooper also sustained a gunshot wound to the abdomen. As of January 19 the trooper is in stable condition. According to Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Michael Register, Teran, who was 26, opened fire “without warning” at law enforcement officers and was then shot in self defense.”

(I’d like to remind the reader that U.$. police and soldiers daily use drop weapons to cover up murder of civilians. The man who raised me, Glenn Baker, was a Palm Beach County sheriff deputy, a combat veteran of the Panama occupation as a mortarman, National Guard, Coast Guard, a lifelong cop, and he was the first person to explain to me the police policy of keeping and planting drop weapons on the still warm bodies of dead civilians. When I was in the U.$. army airborne infantry, in the 82nd Airborne, 2/504 Parachute Infantry Regiment, Lt. Bradley trained us to keep drop weapons in the humvees as “standard operating procedure for, not if, but when we kill civilians.” The common practice was to keep a camera handy and to take a picture of the dead civilians with the drop weapons, to write up the incident report to say that they had been an enemy combatant, a terrorist, and that the soldier acted in self defense. This would result in investiations into the murdered civilian’s family and friends and more murders. They even used the same weapon multiple times and made up fake serial numbers because no one would look into these details lest they be labeled as unpatriotic. Many Amerikkkan police are former soldiers pipelined directly into law enforcement from the military and they treat civilians exactly like they treat people overseas. A large percentage of police and soldier deaths, especially in the Rangers, are due to friendly fire, self inflicted wounds and accidental discharges. Anything to avoid prison. Just ask Pat Tillman. Oh wait, you can’t, because his Ranger buddies shot him and tried to cover it up. Now back to David Peisner’s article. -Dan)

“In the time since my story was posted last month, the situation in the South River Forest has deteriorated markedly. There were massive raids by law enforcement in mid-December that attempted to clear all of the forest defenders off the land in Intrenchment Creek Park and across the creek, on the site where the city intends to build the training facility for police and firefighters. The police reportedly used tear gas, pepper balls, and rubber bullets to help dislodge activists from tree sits. I visited the forest immediately after these raids, and the encampments had been trashed, structures built by forest defenders had been dismantled, and a community garden had been trampled. Most of the activists had fled the forest, though several were arrested on a host of charges, including, most controversially, domestic terrorism. When I was walking through the forest, I saw a few masked forest defenders who’d surreptitiously returned to the site, but the community they’d built over the previous year was largely in shambles.

In the weeks that followed, construction vehicles tore up the concrete bike and walking path that wove through Intrenchment Creek Park, bulldozed the parking lot, destroyed the gazebo, and pulled down a number of trees. Through all the tumult, there were continued efforts by activists to return to the forest, and a series of escalating confrontations with law enforcement, up to and including the one that took Teran’s life and injured the state trooper.

At the moment, I have no real information about the series of events that morning that led to Teran’s death. It is certainly possible that it happened exactly as law enforcement has described it, though it’s worth noting that in past killings by police officers- including that of George Floyd- the initial narratives provided by officials have proved to be erroneous. Some may point to the origin of Teran’s forest name as evidence of their violent intent, and I suppose that could be true, but it would not square with the person I got to know over the past 6 months.

Of the 40 or so forest defenders I met and spoke with during my reporting, I probably spent more time talking to Teran than anyone else. I did so not because they were a great source, but because they were great company: curious, engaging, earnest, educated, self-aware, well-read, and very funny. They loved to talk, to connect, to debate, and did so joyfully and passionately, without malice.

Teran had first come to the forest months before we met. “I fell in love with the woods and I also fell in love with the community.” The first time we spoke, they admitted that they mostly agreed to talk to me because it was raining and there wasn’t much else to do. “I was bored,” Teran said with a shrug. We talked about politics, about community building, about books, about music, about the environment, about education, about kids. Teran also spoke passionately and repeatedly about the moral and strategic virtues of nonviolent resistance.

“The right kind of resistance is peaceful, because that’s where we win,” they told me. “We’re not going to beat them at violence. They’re very, very good at violence. We’re not. We win through nonviolence. That’s really the only way we can win. We don’t want more people to die. We don’t want Atlanta to turn into a war zone.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about Teran’s commitment to nonviolence today. Law enforcement and other critics of the forest defenders have continually labeled the movement as “violent”, pointing to multiple acts of arson and property destruction as evidence. There were also incidences of throwing rocks, bottles, and- on one occasion- two largely ineffective Molotov cocktails in the direction of police. Forest defenders will point out that their movement is autonomous and decentralized, meaning that no one is giving orders or laying down rules, so there is no collective responsibility for any individual’s actions. That may be true on a theoretical basis, but in reality few people outside of the forest defenders and their ardent supporters are making that distinction. That said, until the incident that killed Teran and wounded the trooper, none of the so-called violent acts committed by the forest defenders led to any real injuries that I’m aware of. Some may consider property destruction in and of itself to be violent, but there’s been a real blurring of the lines between that looser definition of violence and the one that is aimed at actual people.

Is it possible that Teran was lying to me about their allegiance to peaceful protest? Could they just have been telling me what they thought I wanted to hear or what would look good in print? Of course, that could be true. Is it possible that in the time since we had those conversations- time during which Teran witnessed the increasing destruction of the forest- they’d been radicalized and changed their mind about violence? Sure, that’s also a possibility. But I personally saw no evidence of it.

“I’m not an adrenaline junkie,” they told me. “I don’t crave conflict. I’m out here because I love the forest. I love living in the woods. Being a forest hobo is pretty chill. Some folks probably have flashpoint moments where it’s like ‘Oh, yes, the truck is being lit on fire!’ But not me. I love it when everything is calm.”

Teran struck me as a strategic thinker, and everything they told me about the utility of violence in this scenario remains true to this day. The forest defenders are not going to be successful trying to match the state’s capacity for violence. They simply aren’t. So if, in fact, the law enforcement narrative is true and Teran shot at police first, I find it troubling on so many levels, but I can only understand it as either a nihilistic act of desperation, or some sort of misguided effort to sacrifice themselves on the altar of the cause. We’d spoken about how the optics of a protestor’s death could be fatally damaging for those who want the police training center built. As I wrote in the original story, “An activist protesting police violence being killed by police is pretty on the nose.”

In a lot of ways, the shooting feels like it was the inevitable climax of an escalating confrontation. But it wasn’t. This really did NOT need to happen. There were so many opportunities for de-escalation that weren’t taken, so many ways this could have been avoided. During my reporting of this story, I had multiple conversations with people on all sides of this debate about the danger of something like this happening. No one wanted it. Yet here we are. Two people have been shot. one of them is dead. And that’s a tragedy.

On some level, Teran knew the risks they were taking and was smart enough to be frightened. “Am I scared of the state?” they said. “Pretty silly not to be. I’m a brown person. I might be killed by the police for existing in certain spaces.” To cope with that fear, Teran leaned on a quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune: “Fear is the mind killer.” “That’s a quote I think about often. I am scared, but you can’t let the fear stop you from doing things, from living, from existing, from resisting.”

It’s hard not to read those words with a dark, fatalistic hue now, but when they were said, the weather was warmer, the mood was lighter, and these deadly serious question felt largely academic. Now they’re not.

So what happens next? There will hopefully be a thorough investigation. More information about what happened down in the forest will come out. But what does this mean for the police training center, for Intrenchment Creek Park, for the larger vision of the South River Forest? In one conversation we had while sitting in the gazebo several months ago, Teran gamed out hypothetical scenarios that feel downright prophetic in retrospect.

“They could come in and completely destroy the place, raze it, arrest everybody that they find, kill anybody who resists arrest- they could do that, and then days later there would be a shitload of people back here. For every head they cut off, there would be more who would come back to avenge the arrested, to avenge the…” Teran stopped before finishing that last thought and started again. “What I’m saying is, if they do a huge crackdown and completely try to crush the movement, they’ll succeed at hurting some people, they’ll succeed at destroying some infrastructure, but they’re not going to succeed at stopping the movement. That’s just going to strengthen the movement. It will draw a lot of attention to the movement. If enough people decide to do this with nonviolent action, you can overwhelm the infrastructure of the state. That’s something they fear more than violence in the streets. Because violence in the streets, they’ll win. They have the guns for it. We don’t.”

The Native American leader Little Turtle who inspired Teran’s pseudonym lived long enough to die of old age at his son-in-law’s house. Tortuguita didn’t get that chance, and even though I only knew them for a short time, even though I never even knew their real name, that makes me sad. It’s a fucking cliche to say that someone died fighting for something they believed in, but Teran certainly did that even if I’d rather it hadn’t happened. As an eco-anarchist and a hardcore abolitionist, they knew the scope of the fight they’d taken on.

“The abolitionist mission isn’t done until every prison is empty,” Teran told me. “When there are no more cops, when the land had been given back,that’s when it’s over.” I must’ve shaken my head a little at the grandiosity of this statement because Teran immediately broke into a sheepish smile. “I don’t expect to live to see that day, necessarily. I mean, hope so. But I smoke.”

“‘Assassinated in Cold Blood’: activist killed protesting Georgia’s cop city.

1/21/23 by Timothy Pratt (The Guardian)

Belkis Teran spoke with her child, Manuel, nearly every day by WhatsApp from her home in Panama City, Panama. She also had names and numbers for some of Manuel’s friends, in case she didn’t hear from the 26-year-old who was protesting cop city, a planned gigantic training facility being built in a wooded area near Atlanta, GA.

So by midweek, when she hadn’t received a message from Atlanta since Monday, she began to worry. Thursday around noon, a friend of Manuel’s- whose chosen name was Tortuguita, or Little Turtle- messaged her with condolences. “I’m so sorry,” they wrote. “For what?” she asked.

Teran wound up discovering that on Wednesday around 9:04 am, an as-yet unnamed officer or officers had shot and killed her son. The shooting occurred in an operation involving dozens of officers from Atlanta police, Dekalb county police, Georgia state patrol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the FBI.

(Again, I’d like to remind the reader that drop weapons and friendly fire are standard operating procedures in all U$ police and military units. Don’t take my word for it, Google it. There is a video on YouTube of a marine who breaks down and describes this policy in detail. If there are cops and soldiers in your family, just ask them casually and insist that they be honest with you. Behind closed doors cops and soldiers are more likely to tell the truth.)

The killing has stunned and shocked not only Tortuguita’s family and friends, but also the environmental and social justice movement in Georgia and across the United $tates. Circumstances surrounding the incident are still unclear and there are demands for a thorough investigation into the killing and how it could have happened.

The police apparently found Manuel in a tent in the South River forest south-east of Atlanta, taking part in a protest now in its second year, against plans to build a $90m police and fire department training facility on the land and, separately, a film studio.

Officials say Manuel shot first at a state trooper “without warning” and an officer or officers returned fire, but they have produced no evidence for the claim. The trooper was described as stable and in hospital Thursday.

The shooting is “unprecedented” in the history of U$ environmental activism, according to experts.

The GBI, which operate under Republican governor Brian Kemp’s orders, has released scant information and on Thursday night told The Guardian no body-cam footage of the shooting exists. At least a half-dozen other protestors who were in the forest at the time have communicated to other activists that one, single series of shots could be heard. They believe the state trooper could have been shot by another officer, or by his own firearm.

Meanwhile both Teran and local activists are looking into legal action, and Manuel’s mother told The Guardian: “I will go to the U$ to defend Manuel’s memory…. I’m convinced that he was assassinated in cold blood.”

The incident was the latest in a ramping up of law enforcement raids on the forest in recent months.

Protests had began in late 2021, after the then Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, announced plans for the training center. The forest had been named in city plans four years earlier as a key part of efforts to maintain Atlanta’s renowned tree canopy as a buffer against global warming, and to create what would have been the metro area’s largest park.

Most of the residents in neighborhoods around the forest are Black and municipal planning has neglected the area for decades. The plans to preserve the forest and make it a historic public amenity were adopted in 2017 as part of Atlanta’s city charter, or constitution. But the Atlanta city council wound up approving the training center anyway, and a movement to “Stop cop city” began in response.

A series of editorials and news stories lambasting the activists began in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the area’s largest daily paper. At least a dozen articles in the last year-plus failed to mention that Alex Taylor, CEO of the paper’s owner, Cox Enterprises, was also raising funds on behalf of the Atlanta police foundation, the main agency behind the training center.

At some point, Kemp and other civic leader began referring to the protestors as “terrorists”, in response to acts of vandalism such as burning construction vehicles or spray painting corporate offices linked to the project.

In an interview with this reporter last fall, Tortuguita was discussing how some Muscogee (Creek) people interested in protecting the forest as well felt that leaving a burnt vehicle at one of its entrances was not a good idea, and was an alienating presence in nature. The activist seemed understanding of both side and critical of violence.

“Some of us (forest defenders) are rowdy gringos,” Tortuguita said. “They’re just against the state. Still, I don’t know how you can connect to anything if that’s your entire political analysis.”

Police raids on the forest intensified until 12/14/22, when a half-dozen “forest defenders” were arrested and charged with “domestic terrorism” under state law- another unprecedented development in U$ environmental activism, said Lauren Regan, founder of the Civil Liberties Defense Center, who has a quarter century’s experience defending environmental protestors charged with federal terrorism sentencing enhancements and others.

Seven more activists were arrested and received the same charges the day Manuel was killed.

Regan and Keith Woodhouse, professor of history at Northwestern University and Author of The Ecocentrists: A History of Radical Environmentalism, both said there has never been a case where law enforcement shot and killed an environmental activists engaged in an attempt to protect a forest from being razed and developed.

“Killings of environmental activists by the state are depressingly common in other countries, like Brazil, Honduras, Nigeria,” said Woodhouse. “But this has never happened in the U$.”

Manuel’s older brother, Daniel Esteban Paez, found himself in the middle of this unfortunate historical moment Thursday. “They killed my sibling,” he said on answering the phone. “I’m in a whole new world now.”

Paez, 31, was the only family member to speak extensively with GBI officials, after calling them Thursday in an attempt to get answer about what had happened. No one representing Georgia law enforcement had reached out to Belkis by Thursday afternoon. “I quickly found out, they’re not investigating the death of Manuel- they’re investigating Manuel,” Paez said.

A navy veteran, Paez said the GBI official asked him such questions as “Does Manuel often carry weapons?” and “Has Manuel done protesting in the past?”

The family is Venezuelan in origin, but now lives in the U$ and Panama, Paez said. Less than 24 hours into discovering the death of his sibling, Paez also said he “had no idea Manuel was so well regarded and loved by so many.” He was referring to events and messages ranging from an Atlanta candlelight vigil Wednesday night to messages of solidarity being sent on social media from across the U$ and world.

Belkis Teran, meanwhile, is trying to get an emergency appointment at the U$ Embassy in Panama to renew her tourist visa, which expired in November. “I’m going to clear Manuel’s name. They killed him… like they tear down trees in the forest- a forest Manuel loved with passion.”

On 1/20/23 I released the following statement. This is an updated version with correct pronouns.

“I just learned today that my friend Manny was murdered by cops in Atlanta Forest.

I send my love, sympathetic rage and condolences to everyone who knew Manny and loves them. I send their parents all my love, outrage, admiration and respect for raising this person who became a hero who put into practice the values which make human life meaningful. We need to come together as a community to take care of their family from now on. In Rojava the families of the martyrs are shown special reverence and provided for, for the rest of their lives. As a community we need to uphold this revolutionary practice of gratitude and respect, which even this corrupt and murderous government fails to show the fallen of its own in any meaningful way. I have spent time with the parents of martyrs in Rojava and if Manny’s parents are willing I will spend time with them one day, and try, unsuccessfully, to materially repay them for their contribution to the betterment of the world in the way they raised Manny. But we owe them a debt that can never be repaid, because the life of a single martyr like Manny is worth more than all the wealth in the world combined.

I won’t pretend that I knew Manny well, but I will tell you what I do know. I know that Manny heard about me, my case and what the cops and feds did to me, and that Manny was moved to tears for my sake, and came to my trial. This means a lot to me. We live in a world where less than 2% of the world’s water is drinkable and Manny shed precious tears for my sake. Now it’s my turn to do the same. While I’ve been in prison Manny sent me money, wrote to me and we spoke on the phone. These simple gestures mean the world to political prisoners and to me personally. Manny completed higher education at Florida State University, which is more than I can claim to have accomplished. They studied a field which explored compassionate treatment for traumatized peoples. This speaks to the high quality of their character. I am told they were a very compassionate person who felt deeply moved to take altruistic action to defend people, plants and animals from fascist death squads. They put themselves between those killers and what remains of the living world, and they lived and died defending that worthy cause. This is a hero’s death. This is what it means to give your life for a cause and for those who are precious to you. Manny is a martyr of this revolutionary struggle for the liberation of all beings. 10,000 Manny’s will take their place, people will name their children after them, dedicate their activism to their memory and organizations bearing their name will liberate more beings than we can measure. I will personally make sure of this the rest of my life. Please send me everything you can about Manny’s life and about this tragic murder, including their picture.

We must remember Manny. We must say their name, hang up their picture in homes all over the world, and spread their memory far and wide on every platform available. In Rojava when a friend is martyred by the enemy tens of thousands of people line the roads from he hospital morgue to the burial ground and chant their names, carry their pictures and celebrate the life and memories of the martyred friend, with gratitude and determination to make sure their sacrifice is not forgotten, not in vain. They chant SHEHEED NEMARIN- MARTYRS NEVER DIE! Manny lives on in our works, in our hearts and in the fire in our eyes. The blood of the martyrs cries out from the soil of the Atlanta Forest.

Remember Manny. Say their name. Their name was Manny.

Remember Manny! Say their Name! Their name was Manny!

REMEMBER MANNY! SAY THEIR NAME! THEIR NAME WAS MANNY!”

The following is a statement released by The Atlanta Solidarity Fund.

“Statement on the repression of the Stop Cop City Movement

Over the last 2 years, Atlanta has spoken out against the proposed cop city training facility and the destruction of Atlanta’s forests. During this time we have seen a dangerous escalation of protest suppression and police aggression against protestors: from the first arrests of eleven peaceful protestors snatched off the sidewalk during the City Council vote approving cop city, to the continued raids against tree sitters camped out in public parks, to the mass arrest of twenty non-violent protestors ad journalists in Inman Park. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund has supported over 60 people arrested for protesting the proposed cop city development, and we are committed to supporting all protestors arrested for standing up for their beliefs and fighting for a more just world.

From the beginning, the Atlanta Police department has aggressively arrested and persecuted protestors in this movement. Repression has increased dramatically over the last few months, as local government moves to push the cop city development forward despite all public opposition. The divisive and violent rhetoric of labeling environmental and radical justice protestors as “domestic terrorists” is a dangerous precedent, designed to stifle public opposition and scare anyone concerned about police militarization and climate change away from protesting. This is the anti-democratic “chilling effect” in action: creating a political climate where citizens are too scared to exercise their right to speak up against injustice, to organize, and to take action.

This alarming escalation of violence and repression against political speech and activity has been bolstered at the state level by governor Brian Kemp, who is exerting tremendous pressure on city and county governments to clamp down on opposition to the cop city project. In practical terms, this means egregious bail amounts for protestors, trumped up charges, and now the death of an activist. The state is trying to set an alarming precedent. If they are successful, protestors across the country could be facing similar speech chilling “domestic terrorism” charges. We must strongly reject this extreme level of repression here and now, before it becomes the norm for activists in every movement.

On Saturday, January 21st, 6 people were arrested after protests in response to the death of Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran.

“We have reason to believe these (6) activists were arrested at random during the march. All 6 face the same blanket charges. They are being held responsible for committing the same crime by virtue of simply being present at a protest where property damage occurred. We expect these charges will not hold up in court, and we are committed to helping these individual fight their cases all the way through the legal process.

At a bail hearing on Monday, January 23rd, bail was denied for four of these arrestees in an effort to keep protestors off the streets. Two of the arrestees were granted bond at the unprecedented cost of $355,000 each, along with onerous bail condition including ankle monitors and curfews. These are punitive measure intended to isolate activists and drain their emotional and financial resources, and an attempt to use the legal process to punish activists with the full knowledge that these charges stand little change of conviction at trial.

The Atlanta Solidarity Fund remains committed to supporting all protestors arrested for standing up for social justice, and we need your help to continue doing what we do best: supporting activists with bail and legal counsel for as long as necessary. We are also supporting civil litigation against unjust arrests and police violence, including an independent investigation into the death of Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran.

The Atlanta Solidarity Fund, the arrested protestors, and all other future protestors targeted for political activity in Atlanta need your help. Please host fundraisers, reach out to your networks, and donate to the Atlanta Solidarity fund. We especially encourage you to consider becoming a recurring donor. Solidarity means all of us supporting each other for the long haul: Until we are all free!”

When I receive updates I’ll continue this newsletter. The final article I’ll add for now is Natasha Lennard’s column from The Intercept.

“The Crackdown on Cop City Protestors Is So Brutal Because of the Movement’s Success.

One protestor was killed by police, 20 were charged under a “domestic terrorism” law, and Georgia’s governor gave himself broad “emergency” powers.

1/27/23 11:00am

The movement to stop the construction of a $90 million police training center atop vast acres of Atlanta forest has been extraordinarily successful over the last year. With little national fanfare, Defend the Atlanta Forest/Stop Cop City activists nimbly deployed a range of tactics: encampments, tree-sits, peaceful protest marches, carefully targeted property damage, local community events, investigative research, and, at times, direct confrontation with police forces attempting to evict protestors from the forest. The proposed militarized training compound known as cop city has thus far been held at bay.

The Atlanta based movement should be seen as an example of rare staying power, thoughtful strategizing, and the crucial articulation of environmentalist politics situated in anti-racist, Indigenous, and abolitionist struggle. Unsurprisingly however, significant national attention has only been drawn to the forest defenders in the last week thanks to the extreme law enforcement repression they are now facing.

A forest defender was killed by police last Wednesday, and a total of 19 protestors now face capricious and ungrounded domestic terror charges for their involvement in the movement, a rare deployment of a state domestic terror statute, threatening to exhaust and crush a resilient and developing movement.

On Thursday, Georgia’s republican gov. Brian Kemp announced a “state of emergency” in response to the protests in downtown Atlanta in the week following the killing of the protestor. The executive order grants the governor’s office extensive and preemptive powers, including the ability to call on as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to quell protests at any moment.

“This is an unprecedented level of repression,” said Marlon Kautz, 38, an Atlanta based organizer with the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, which provides bail funds and legal support to protestors who are targeted for involvement in social movements, including against cop city.

“At this point the police seem to be charging every protestor they arrest with “domestic terrorism” regardless of the circumstances,” he said. “The other pattern we’ve noticed is they are charging everyone arrested on a given day with all crimes which happened that day.”

Kautz told me, by way of example, that during a protest in which a police car was burned, all arrestees from the day now face arson charges. “Needless to say, the law doesn’t work this way, so we interpret this as a strategy of blatant malicious prosecution.”

The Defend the Atlanta Forest movement endeavors to combine the tactics of, and to learn from, previous struggles, including the 2016 encampments at Standing Rock and the 2020 George Floyd Uprisings, while experimenting with novel resistance compositions. The escalatory response from the police and prosecutors, on the other hand, reveals a new and troubling combination of counterinsurgent strategies.

The forest defenders have already faced months of aggressive policing and intimidation, which escalated into deadly violence during a multiagency raid last Wednesday. Police shot and killed 26 year old Manuel “Tortuguita” Teran. The authorities claim that Tortuguita shot at them first, wounding an officer, a narrative fiercely challenged by fellow activists and family members. Protests and vigils sprung up nationwide demanding “justice for Tort,” while mainstream organizations, including Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, alongside left wing Reps. Cori Bush, D-MO., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., condemned the police’s violence and called for an independent investigation into the activist’s killing. Up until this point, they had said little about the year-plus long struggle against cop city.

As forest defenders mourn and seek justice for their fallen friend, the movement must also fight a barrage of excessive criminal charges, most notably state domestic terrorism charges carrying a possible 35 years in prison.

“Since December, the police have repeatedly stormed the forest with military grade weapons, pointed assault rifles at protestors, fired chemical weapons at tree sitters, and used chainsaws in an attempt to dismantle treehouses with tree sitters still in them,” said Elias, a 24 year old Atlanta based student in the movement, who asked to withhold his full name for fear of police harassment. “Their decision to create a dangerous, volatile, chaotic situation now has led to the murder of our friend Tortuguita.”

Elias told me “the police are trying to justify their negligence by charging people with domestic terrorism. However, nothing these protestors have done even remotely resembles domestic terrorism. The police are trying to redefine terrorism to mean ‘sitting in a treehouse’ or ‘breaking windows’.”

The terror charges, all handed down within the last two months, were not from nowhere. Political and business interests behind cop city have been pushing related rhetoric for well over a year. Communications records uncovered by activists between cop city supporters, local self identifying ‘stakeholders’, business owners, council members, and Atlanta law enforcement officials show that these parties have been calling the protestors “eco-terrorists” since at least April.

Though no one has yet been convicted on these bogus terror charges, Kemp, the governor, has readily used the term ‘domestic terrorists’ to describe the arrestees. Kemp has also invoked the tired trope of “outside agitators” to delegitimize an Atlanta based movement, which has made a point to invite activists to join from out of state. Notably, in recognition that the land on which Atlanta stands was stolen in the 1800s from the Muscogee (Creek) people, the forest protest encampment has been host to dozens of visitors from around the country who descended from the displaced Indigenous community.

The recent wave of arrests are part and parcel of a “green scare” which began in the 1990’s and has seen numerous environmental and animal rights activists labeled and charged as terrorists on a federal level consistently for no more than minor property destruction. Yet the Atlanta cases mark the first use of a state domestic terrorism statute against either an environmental or anti-racist movement.

The 19 protestors are being charged under a Georgia law passed in 2017, which, according to the republican state senator who introduced the bill, was intended to combat cases like the Boston Marathon bombing, Dylan Roof’s massacre of 9 Black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, and the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.

“During legislative debate over this law, the concern was raised that as written, the law was so broad that it could be used to prosecute Black Lives Matter activists blocking the highway as terrorists. The response was simply that prosecutors wouldn’t do that,” Kautz told me. “There are similar laws passed in many other states, and we believe that the existence of these laws on the books is a threat to democracy and the right to protest.”

The Georgia law is exceedingly broad. Domestic terrorism under the statute includes the destruction or disabling of ill-defined “critical infrastructure,” which can be publicly or privately owned, or “a state or government facility” with the intention to “alter, change, or coerce the policy of the government” or “affect the conduct of the government” by use of “destructive devices.” What counts as critical infrastructure here? A bank branch window? A police vehicle? Bulldozers deployed to raze the forest? What is a destructive device? A rock? A firework? And is not a huge swathe of activism the attempt to coerce a government to change policies?

Police affidavits on the arrest warrants of forest defenders facing domestic terrorism charges include the following as alleged examples of terrorist activity: “criminally trespassing on posted land,” sleeping in the forest,” “sleeping in a hammock with another defendant”, being “known members” of “a prison abolitionist movement”, and aligning themselves with Defend the Atlanta Forest by “occupying a tree house while wearing a gas mask and camouflage clothing”.

It is for good reason that Leftists, myself included, have challenged the expansion of anti-terror laws in the wake of the January 6 capitol riots or other white supremacist attacks. Terrorism laws operate to name the state and capital’s ideological enemies; they will be reliably used against anti-capitalists, leftists, and Black liberationists more readily than white supremacist extremists with deep ties to law enforcement and the republican right.

Since its passage in 2017, the Georgia domestic Terrorism law has not resulted in a single conviction. As such there had been no occasion to challenge the law’s questionable constitutionality. Chris Bruce, policy director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that “the statue establishes overly broad, far-reaching limitations that restrict public dissent of the government and criminalizes violators with severe and excessive penalties.” He said of the forest defender terror charges that they are “wholly inapposite at worst and flimsy at best.”

“The state is attempting to innovate new repressive prosecution, and I think ultimately that will fail for them,” Sara, a 32 year old service worker who lives by the imperiled forest and has been part of Stop Cop City since the movement began, told me.

What we are seeing bears some resemblance to the J20 cases, where prosecutors attempted to put blanket charges on people in the vicinity of a protest,” said Sara, who also asked to withhold her surname for fear of police harassment. She described the strategy as “an expensive a dangerous prosecutorial endeavor.”

The J20 prosecutions didn’t involve terror charges but rested on infirm claims of collective culpability, which flew in the face of the legal standard requiring individual probably cause for arrest. Those prosecutions fell apart, but not before traumatizing and exhausting the resources of the 200 plus people charged and their communities.

“The authorities legal strategy seems to be to load protestors up with extreme charges with no intention of actually making them stick, simply to discourage continued protest,” Kautz, of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund, told me.

At present, seven of the 19 forest defenders facing terror charges are being held either with bond denied or set unaffordably high. Supporters are working to raise funds to ensure their freedom and cover legal fees, while refusing to abandon the forest defense.

“It’s evident the Atlanta area law enforcement, including prosecutors, believe heavy charges will crush dissent. Instead, the movement seems to have only grown with every attack from the police,” said Sara.

She noted that the violent raid and Tortuguita’s killing has been “especially devastating an heart wrenching” but that “many people are newly moved to action.” In the last week, as many as 50 acts of solidarity, from vigils to banner drops to protests have taken place across the country to honor Tortuguita and to express support for those in Atlanta defending the forest against cop city and the violence it represents.”

This is all I know about regarding Manny’s murder at this time. When I receive more updates I’ll send them as a continuation of this newsletter. Please share this and every sympathetic article you can find.

It is my personal opinion that Manny’s murder played out like this:

The cops believed the hippies in the woods were armed, violent militants, which they are not. They went into the woods as if it were a battlefield, which it is not. They approach an encampment of unarmed protestors sleeping in tents and proceeded to make a lot of noise in an attempt to dominate the area, probably by deploying flashbang grenades and teargas. Being rudely awoken, surprised, probably fearing for their their lives, people exited their tents quickly. I Imagine people were holding up cell phones. A state trooper dressed up as a real soldier probably mistook this for a weapon and hastily drew their weapon, shooting themselves in the hip in the process, hopefully shooting off their cock and balls, verifying Darwin’s theory and removing themselves from the gene pool in the process. Another likely scenario is that another cop accidentally shot the state trooper as they all approached the camp with weapons drawn, and in the confusion they all fired on the closest person, Manny. Walking through the woods with fingers on triggers is a bad idea. But unfortunately the most likely scenario is that they just rolled up on Manny and shot them to make an example out of them because they had been in the news. Then they produced one of the drop weapons they keep in their cruisers and planted it on or near Manny’s body. If you think a cop wouldn’t shoot themselves, or each other, in the abdomen to avoid prison then you don’t know any cops. They probably even made a deal with each other to shoot the newest rookie in the body armor vest, and missed and shot them in an unprotected area. Imagine one of these cops going to prison full of people who hate the police. I’ve seen it and it isn’t pretty, I can tell you from experience. It’s their worst fear, and they do anything to avoid that fate. These cops are still trying to operate the way they used to while simultaneously being afraid of ending up like Derek Chauvin and the 5 Memphis cops who killed Tyre Nichols.

Why hasn’t president Biden called Manny’s family? Why isn’t there body camera footage from this murder? Why isn’t the state trooper being investigated or charged? I’ll bet the cop is white and that has something to do with it. Why are unarmed, pacifist environmental protestors being charged as terrorists and shot and killed? Why are Tyre Nichol’s killers out on bail but not the forest defenders? Why does the testimony of multiple eye witnesses contradict the reports of police on the scene? The fact is that the feds, state and local police all went into the forest believing they were waging some crusade against brown terrorists, continuing their daddy’s tradition of cowboys versus Indians, fueled by right wing conspiracy theories that consider Black Lives Matter and Antifa to be terrorists. But what they encountered was a college student, a forest sage, an unarmed, pacifist environmentalist. In order to justify their bloated budget and the amount of money they spent on their ill conceived operation they had to make an example and so they created a terrorist where there is none, just like they do in Iraq. But we know better now, the next generations know better, and we will not stand by and watch them kill innocent civilians.

This update has an article from The Guardian by Steven Donziger and some relevant resources and moving Bible verses, and a criticism of Christians that I found in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Before I begin I’d like to say something to and about the survivors of this police assassination of Manny Tortuguita Teran. I want them to know we all admire and love them, that they are not alone and that we will be with them through their oppression. No matter how the corrupt system tries to make them appear we know the quality of their character and will stand by them. They need to hear this from all of us, and the guards and cops interacting with them need to know that we are watching and will make sure that our friends are safe and all their needs are met. I feel it is vital that we throw all of our effort into supporting these people. They have experienced a terrifying life and death situation and are currently in danger. Anyone who knows anything about prison knows what I’m talking about. Prison is a violent place due to the toxic culture encouraged and enforced by the guards and their drug trade. Currently I don’t even know their names. Please share their names far and wide, and tell me everything we can find out about them- their specific charges, court dates, hearing dates, background and so on. When I was first arrested I had no previous experience with the prison industrial complex. I woke up one morning to the hard knock style invasion of my apartment, having recently gotten off the street a few weeks prior to my arrest after years of homelessness. I was ignored while attempting to surrender peacefully to a wound up FBI SWAT team who showed up in disguise, didn’t identify themselves, pretended to be delivering food I did not order, refused to show a warrant, broke my door down, threw a flash bang grenade at me while looking me in the eye even though I was already on my knees, then proceeded to dogpile onto me and drag me directly to prison, where I was thrown into 6 months of isolation next to an insane man who screamed day and night. I didn’t even know what I was charged with, how much time I was looking at or if anyone knew where I was or if they could even help me. The first messages, phone calls, mail, books and so on literally saved my life. Many environmental activists kidnapped from nature and trafficked into U$ dungeons have thrown their lives away in acts of desperation and despair. I know from experience that our comrades are having a very hard time right now. Even when I was arrested no one was killed, mainly because there were at least 2 witnesses in the immediate area. I was certain the feds were going to have me killed, murdered by guards or other prisoners and they actually did try to get me to kill myself several times, which I have seen result in deaths here at FCI Memphis. So you can imagine the levels of stress and fear experienced by the 7 forest defenders arrested the same day as Manny’s murder, and the 19 total comrades who face similar charges for being heroic Forest Defenders. On top of that they are struggling with the exploitation of vulnerability by police in prison, the paranoia, loneliness, confusion, change of routine and adaptation to the oppressive prison schedule. When I was first arrested guards would lie to me about the time of day, the date, my rights to phone calls, books, how to get access to these things, mail, hygiene products, religious diets and rights and so on, with even the chaplain pretending they couldn’t hear me, lying to me about the time and date and trying to convert me to Christianity while denying me access to meditation beads and resources. These things are huge for morale in prison and our friends need to know what their rights are and what to do when guards inevitably lie to them and violate their rights. So please reach out them and send them all my love, admiration, condolences, respect and courage.

The following is a recent article by The Guardian regarding Manny’s murder and the other friends still suffering persecution for their sacrifices.

“Environmentalist Manuel Teran’s death is part of a disturbing trend

Steven Donziger

2/2/23

Manuel Teran, a brave environmentalist known as Tortuguita, was shot and killed by the police on January 18 as they (Tortuguita was on-binary and used they/them pronouns) encamped in the forest Tortuguita and other activists had been trying to defend from being razed and turned into an enormous $90m “urban warfare” style police academy. This tragedy is an obscene scalation in the decades long war the United $tates has been waging on climate activists.

What’s even more troubling is the lack of contrition exhibited by the state that is responsible for Tortuguita’s death. Since their murder, the governor of Georgia, the police, and their allies, the pro-corporate courts, have doubled down. Seven of the surviving protestors from Atlanta have been arrested and charged with “domestic terrorism” following the fatal shooting of their comrade by police.

This terrifying escalation lays bare the opposition between the violent corporate-backed police and those who attempt to curb their takeover of our planet. The $90m facility on 85 acres is funded with the help of the Atlanta police foundation, a nonprofit that helps fund policing through partnerships with private corporations. Its board of trustees is made up of Home Depot, Delta and Wells Fargo executives.

The Georgia Police have claimed that they arrived in the forest to “clear” the protestors and “returned fire in self-defense” when someone “without warning shot a Georgia state patrol trooper.” Though the police who stormed the area were wearing body cams there is no footage to be shared. The Georgia bureau of investigation has said that “although we have bodycam footage from the day of the operation, we do not have bodycam footage of the shooting incident. The law enforcement officers wearing bodycam were not close enough to the shooting itself to capture it.” Local organizers who knew Tortuguita and others who were at the site of the shooting have called the police story of events into question, and reject the idea that there was a back-and-forth of shots, having heard all the shot at once coming from the same direction.

Tortuguita’s tragic death could easily have been avoided. Dozens of militarized police with armored vehicles akin to tanks invaded the forest searching for people they had been told were “terrorists”. In reality, the people in the forest were camping out in hammocks and tents as acts of civil disobedience. Civil disobedience is how our nation was founded. Even if one does believe the police’s version of events, at a minimum, the overwhelmingly armed, militarized, and menacing SWAT team that showed up to clear the area of protestors provoked the very reaction the police could then cite to justify this completely unnecessary escalatory operation.

What happened in Atlanta is clearly part of a dangerous trend of wholesale escalation and violence by U$ law enforcement, courts, and the fossil fuel industry to attack leaders of the climate movement. What starts with a private prosecution of climate lawyers, grows to “domestic terrorism” charges leveled against peaceful protestors like Water Protector Jessica Reznicek, who is serving a draconian 8-year sentence for “terrorism” after vandalizing a pipeline. The FBI terrorism task force turned its attention toward protestors protesting against the Standing Rock pipeline. Meanwhile the fossil fuel industry is lining the coffers of police departments, as in the payment of millions to police agencies in Minnesota by oil company Enbridge, which helped fund the arrest of protestors at the company’s line 3 pipeline.

In Atlanta we have seven people in the U$ charged with “terrorism” for peacefully engaging in the great American tradition of civil disobedience. The charges against them go to elaborate lengths to tie the group Defend The Atlanta Forest to minor acts of so-called violence )possessing a pellet gun) that harmed no person and are highly questionable. Police affidavits submitted in court in DeKalb County claim one activist committed “domestic terrorism” because he was “occupying a tree house” in the forest while posting videos on social media. This all feels like the House Un-American Activities Committee of Joe McCarthy as applied to the climate movement.

Global Witness recently reported that 1,700 climate activists around the world have been murdered in the last 10 years; nobody ever thought such a thing could happen in the U$. I hope that’s not what happened.

We must watch this closely, grieve for the fallen, support those facing over-hyped “terrorism” charges, and support the Atlanta campaign to save the forest and stop the police training complex.

This article was amended on 2/2/23 to reflect that Tortuguita was non-binary and used they/them pronouns.

Steven Donziger s a human rights and environmental lawyer. He is also a Guardian US columnist.”

I believe that most of the cops who murdered Manny, and the other feds and agents involved in the plot to kill Manny, are white Christian nationalists, as this is the culture of the U$ prison and military industrial complex. They believe they hold the moral high ground through various mental gymnastics made available to them through a corrupted interpretation of Jesus’s message. Thanks to Christians like this I am no longer a Christian and I question the legitimacy of most U$ Christian’s claims of faith and moral superiority. In the past slave catchers, as cops used to be called, used the bible to justify their enslavement of others, and today they continue this tradition of warping what could be a revolutionary message of goodwill and peace on earth to capture, enslave and kill their neighbors. While reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe I came across the following bible verses and quotes that I felt relate to Manny’s beliefs and subsequent sacrifice. I believe that Manny Tortuguita is a better Christian than the cops that killed them ever will be.

Ecclesiastes 4:1

“And behold the tears of such as are oppressed; and on the side of their oppressors there was power. Wherefore I praised the dead that are already dead more than the living that are yet alive.”

Habakkuk 1:13

“Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity: wherefore lookest though upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth them that is more righteous than they?”

St. Clare, in Uncle Tom’s Cabin:

“My view of Christianity is such that I think no man can consistently profess it without throwing the whole weight of his being against this monstrous system of injustice that lies at the foundation of all our society; and, if need be, sacrificing himself in the battle. That is, I mean that I could not be a Christian otherwise, though I certainly had intercourse with a great many enlightened and Christian people who did no such thing;and I confess that the apathy of religious people on this subject, their want of perception of wrongs that willed me with horror, have engendered in me more skepticism than any other thing.”

For those who do feel deeply moved by the injustice of Manny’s murder, please see the following resources and share them:

http://www.teenvogue.com/tag/abolition

India’s alternative to prisons: http://www.alternativejustice.in/about

Defining the prison industrial complex that Manny fought:

http://criticalresistance.org/about/not-so-common-language

https:// incite-national.org

https://www.afsc.org/sites/default/files/documents/whose safety.pdf

https://www.chicagotribune.com/politics/ct-met-rahm-emanuel-police-academy020181116-story.html

How #nocopacademy shook the machine:

The police killings no one is talking about: https://inthesetimes.com/features/native_american_police_killings_native_lives_matter.html

Abolition is the only answer: https://www.risemagazine.org/2020/10/conversation-with-dorothy-roberts

Kurdish revolutionaries resist the Amerikkkanization of prisons in Turkey:

LA County votes to stop construction of new jail like facility:

https://theintercept.com/2019/08/22/los-angeles-county-mental-health-facility-abolition/

https//criticalresistance.org/resources/abolitionist-tools

Finally please look up #8toAbolition for practical steps for abolition progress.