• The Dropout Issue

    Surge in LRAD Sales, Suspected Cop Killer Acquitted, and the Latest from Chelsea Manning

    The Dropout Issue

    With a decade of organizing experience corresponding with and providing support for incarcerated folks, Neal Shirley gives us the scoop on struggles on both sides of the wall with Prisons are for Burning.

    Nealshirley web

    Neal Shirley has been involved in a range of (anti) prison related groups for about eight years. Most recently he’s been involved with a project that corresponds with prisoners and solicits and disseminates their news and analysis across North Carolina's prison system. He co-authored the book Dixie Be Damned: 300 Years of Insurrection in the American South. He makes a living doing food service work and teaching mixed martial arts to kids of all ages, and spends his free time fighting in cages and scheming new ways to deep-fry southern delicacies.


    Prisons are for Burning

    Surge in LRAD Sales, Suspected Cop Killer Acquitted, and the Latest from Chelsea Manning

    Hey y’all! This month, in the tumultuous, hot days of (Black) August, Prisons Are for Burning again takes a minute to sum up some of the prison and anti-prison-related happenings around North America. From the death of a legendary political prisoner to folks arrested for seriously fucking up the Ku Klux Klan, thing have been busy. As always, please spread the news far and wide via the spacebook and passenger pigeon, and by all means throw some love and letters in the direction of the prisoners mentioned here.

    In depressing but not-as-bad-as-it-could-be-I-guess news, whistleblower and anti-war activist Chelsea Manning was found guilty of prison infractions, but not given solitary confinement. Supporters delivered over 100,000 petitions to the army in protest of the indefinite solitary confinement she could have received for such brutal infractions as “disrespecting a guard,” receiving “unauthorized reading material” (an LGBT publication), and possessing – gasp! – “expired toothpaste.”

    In jaw-dropping-much-better-but-still-shitty-’cus-fuck-the-courts-anyway news, a jury in Durham, NC unanimously agreed to acquit a young black man, named Carlos Riley, Jr., charged with shooting a cop. Unfortunately, Riley is still doing a ten-year sentence on federal firearms possession charges, which he plead guilty to prior to the acquittal. You can learn more about his case and ways to support him here. His uncle, known MC Boots Riley, has reached out to his audiences to ask them to support his nephew too. 

    In response to the swell of rioting, looting, and overall disobedience in the streets of America lately, sales of acoustic cannons to police departments have surged. Known as Long Range Acoustic Devices, or LRADs, these things are a hilarious joke to anyone who has adequately dedicated themselves to acoustic self-defense training in the gritty martial arts of noise, crust, grindcore, black metal, or Chicago house. I guess it’s nice to see the Man finally breaking away from the 4/4 time signature, but my advice is that he may have more luck dispersing crowds of black youth if he used a Long Range Barry Manilow Cannon (LRBMC).

    Politicians – from Rand Paul and Jeb Bush to Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton – have been all about some anti-mass incarceration rhetoric lately. This latest car being added to the bullshit train of electoral nonsense links up just in time for arrival at the election oration station. It also reflects broader changes in political economy and social control that signal larger transitions in how state and economy will seek to manage, exploit, and punish us. For a concise critique of this rhetoric, check out this recent piece by Kristina Khan. Relatedly, Glen Ford of Black Agenda Report also wrote an insightful piece criticizing certain parts of the Black Lives Matter movement for their attempt to challenge the Democratic Party.

    To my own pleasure and the chagrin of right-wing scumbags all over the South, the Ku Klux Klan, National Socialist Movement, and Columbia Police Department were seriously humiliated last month. A July 18, a demonstration against those assholes drew nearly 2,000 people according to the media. In the midst of fistfights, projectile-throwing, and celebratory-confederate-flag-theft, the Klan and their cop-protectors were literally chased from the scene by an ad hoc grouping of gang members, black nationalists, anarchists and white anti-racists. One of the few folks arrested, Eddien Patterson is being held for ten months on a probation violation, while also facing property destruction charges.

    In repression and political prisoner news, anti-authoritarian and former Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz recently released a positive report on his health – Maroon has been struggling with prostate cancer and has undergone radiation treatment. He is a brilliant thinker, a deeply kind person, and wonderful to correspond with. You can read his own words about his medical situation and find his address here. Also in need of support is Coyote Acabo, an anti-racist organizer and parent facing a felony charge after anti-racist actions in Olympia, WA. I’m happy to write that eco-prisoner and all around badass Marius Mason has been released from solitary confinement in the Special Housing Unit (SHU). And Sean Swain has been unexpectedly transferred, in what supporters hope is a reduction in his security level. In weirder news, anonymous postings have detailed the home addresses and contact information of prison officials who have sought to punish Swain for his resistance in prison. Pretty crazy ...

    On Wednesday, August 12, Hugo “Yogi” Pinell died in a tragic stabbing incident under suspicious circumstances during a prison riot. Yogi was one of the “San Quentin Six,” part of the prisoner uprising on August 21st, 1971 at San Quentin Prison connected to the political tradition of Black August. Rest in power, Yogi.

    Denver folks have been keeping the heat on the police for a series of shootings of people of color, and it seems like the cops have gotten all sensitive about it, fucking with people at demos, stealing people’s shit, being even more racist shitbags, and conducting raids on anarchist houses.

    Last but not least, there’s a new collection of prisoner Michael Kimble’s writings on his life, prison struggle in Alabama, being gay, prison solidarity, recent anti-police struggles, civilization, and anarchy. This shit is awesome.

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