I cannot remain silent in the face of corrupt authority and recent events. My friends would laugh and ask when I have ever remained silent. I tried to tone it down before my trial and sentencing, but I told my defense committee that I even if I “bent my knee”, as they say in Game of Thrones, and kissed the ring and licked the boot, even if I degraded myself this way, the judge would try to throw the book at me. I have been falsely charged with “Extortion – transmitting an interstate threat to kidnap or injure a person” because I posted flyers encouraging my community to defend itself from a fascist coup, that failed, on January 6th 2021, to overthrow a democratic election’s results. In the same year Kyle Rittenhhouse was acquitted after he traveled across state lines with an assault rifle and killed several protesters. This is why the United States is the laughing stock of the world. It makes me sick. For the past year I have been bounced around the country between 4 prisons, detained illegally pre-trial and been subjected to conditions and torture worse than a zoo, all because I am an anarchist. For my love of freedom, I am a political prisoner.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, by incompetence or complicate cooperation, failed to stop Rittenhouse from his mass shooting, yet managed to organize a SWAT raid against me for posting flyers online. While spending obscene amounts of resources tracking me, harassing me, calling my family, friends, employers and trying to tempt me into antisocial behavior, the FBI has failed to stop dozens of mass shootings. In doing so they have proved right all of our anarchist criticisms of the prison and military industrial complex.
Anarchism is an evolving, living idea based on mutual aid, freedom and direct democracy. Anarchists demand maximum human liberty because human nature is social and prone to working toward the mutual benefit of all. We reject government, hierarchy, domination, private property, coercion and authority. Freedom depends on equality, and that equality is the product of free individuals working together to make sure everyone has equal access to collectively produced resources. Rejecting the privatization of wealth by state-socialism and state-capitalism, we believe that all states are unnecessary and that social organization is best left to free-associating individuals to decide their fate through direct democracy. People should be free to associate in the creation of social organizations designed to structure social life. Anarchist movements pose challenges to liberal democratic states, which empower the criminalization of poverty, creating a dystopian police state. Criminal justice and law are just another form of coercion.
There is nothing I can learn in prison which I could not have learned in a healthy, functional, social community. The more I am oppressed by the US government, the more I am motivated and empowered to remove all the obstacles of oppression. I was raised by a Palm Beach County Sheriff Deputy who took me away from my mother because she was on drugs, which he supplied for her. I am the result of her affair with another man. I was taken from her, then put out on the street as a teenager. After a childhood of being forced to train, shoot and fight, I felt I had no choice but to join the Army. There I was assigned to a unit which bragged about the rape, pillage and murder they committed in Afghanistan. I went AWOL when they deployed to Iraq, absent without leave. I managed to avoid deploying with this unit, and while they were in Iraq they committed the Mahmudiyah Gang Rape Massacre – Google it. So, even though I was kicked out without an honorable discharge, I preserved my integrity. But “society” in the US is harsh to homeless veterans and I struggled to find work, housing and education. I used begging money to train in jiu jitsu and fight in tournaments. When I got strong again I used that begging money to fly to Iraq, where I crossed the border into Syria and then Rojava, where I joined the Kurdish YPG, the People’s Protection Unit. I did this because I believe in the Rojava Revolution, which is based on feminism, social ecology, direct democracy and the ideas put fourth by Murray Bookchin and Abdullah Öcalan. There I fought against ISIS and I saw the US Military slaughter a crowd of women who had escaped from the jihadis and were trying to surrender. They were disintegrated by an air strike and their body parts rained down on us for several long minutes. When I returned home, to help take care of the man who raised me while he died, I was hounded by FBI agents like Brian King and Nicolas Marti. My mother died right before I went to Rojava. I was targeted for criticizing Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Trump. Despite staying out of trouble, and refusing to engage in “
criminal” behavior that undercover agents tried to entrap me with, I was told that they “were coming for me hardknock style”. I even told them I’d surrender peacefully if they had a warrant, but on January 15th 2021 the FBI kicked my door down, right after I got off the street and into a home, fresh out of homelessness. I was dragged straight to prison and thrown into a shit covered cell for six months of isolation, pre-trial. Having been subjected to criminal abuse I have a few criticisms, which are included in my lawsuits against the prison guards.
Prisons enslave people and traffic their bodies for labor and to justify their bloated budgets. Jailers are indoctrinated in an ideology which convinces them that all prisoners are subhuman criminals, the worst of society. In truth most inmates are merely uneducated and struggling against poverty, a crushing poverty which exists by design to keep a mass of people enslaved as so called “unskilled labor”. Prisons also target the disabled. One of my neighbors in isolation was an autistic man who was clearly disabled and suffering from an ongoing mental health crisis. He would scream constantly whenever his light was on and punch and kick his door every 30 seconds. The guards would say, “Fuck you nigger, I’m leaving your light on!” After 3 days of screaming he had become inarticulate, no longer screaming, “Hit my light!”, but just shrieking. The guards would refuse to collect our styrofoam meal trays for days, then tell my autistic neighbor to flush his trays down the toilet. When his toilet clogged they’d accuse him of trying to flood his cell and they’d shut his water off for 3 days. This man would only say 20-30 phrases, over and over again. The captain of the unit sprayed him with mace, then shot him with pepper balls and finally threw a CS gas grenade in his cell until he passed out. The guards openly spoke about trying to get him to kill himself, telling him to hang himself with his sheets. He’d spread his feces all over his cell, himself and push it under the door into the hall. For several months I was not taken outside. I did not see the sun or breath fresh air, and all I heard was screaming day and night.
“Inscribed on the bodies of many prisoners and the walls of cells and cities you will find the circle-A symbol. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon argued that anarchy is the reality of the human condition out of which true freedom emerges, like a flower growing from the ground of existence. The circle-A is believed to be taken from Proudhon’s proposition that anarchy is order – the A in the O.”
from ‘Classic Writings in Anarchist Criminology’ (AK Press, 2020)
As international revolutionaries we must receive into our ranks any foreigner, isolated individuals, provinces, communes, associations and countries which have rebelled in the name of the same principles, even though they belong to different political systems. Take an example from the International Volunteers of the YPG International Battalion.
During my trial the prosecutor accused me of hating the American government. I denied this accusation and I deny it now, as I sit in prison. I don’t even hate ISIS, even when I fought against jihadis on the front lines. As on anarchist and a philosophical ascetic I am content to sit back and distribute food while the economy collapses under it’s own spoiled decadence. I teach yoga, meditation and first aid. The resilience of our health, healing and mutual aid is stronger than any temporary power structure, no matter how fascist and authoritarian they are. At the same time we engage in Tyler Durdan inspired support groups. Everything is temporary – your body, the planet, the sun, empires, everything. Eventually all petty tyrants fall. We don’t even need to push them over, If you are so restless that you need to take a direct action, remember the first two rules of Fight Club: we don’t talk about it. I love my city, my neighbors and all peoples. Nations and states are not the people, not society itself. These governments are mere ideas disguising a corrupt power structure. This is a war for your mind, a spiritual war of ideas. You must define yourself by reading, discussing and acting on the conclusions your community agrees on. I recommend making soap and community gardens.
Daniel Alan Baker 25765-509
PO Box 34550
Memphis, TN 38184