Anarchist Black Cross - Utrecht

c/o Paria Collective

Postbus 1332 Wednesday 29th, March 2000

3500 BH Utrecht

email :

To :

Dear voluntary workers,

The reason why I'm writing to you might be similar to most of the mail you recieve as a fund but it is basically important for me to introduce the Anarchist Black Cross, its activities and its perspective as first so as to make more understandable the meaning of this request.

The Anarchist Black Cross is a federation of autonomous groups whose work aims eventually to abo- lish definitely the penitentiary system. Indeed, the penitentiary system has turned into an industry of sub-

jection and rather than considering it as a single-issue politics apart from the harms of this society, we do

consider it as the most extreme point of domination and control over the class society. We think it perfor-

ms a fundamental role in the maintaining of the social hierarchy between the various classes and therefo- re, we view it as an instrument of political balance for the capitalist neo-liberal order.

However, the isolation of prisoners from the rest of the society by their constant criminalisation ma- kes hard their politization and today, most inmates are not willing to unite and raise their voice against this ultra authoritian attitude from the State. Their silence is the silence of slow death behind the bars but unfortunately, the stupefying and destructive effect of incarceration makes that they just serve their sen- tence because they think they cannot fight the authority of the State.

Consequently, the way to abolish the prison industry is very long. As a result, the Anarchist Black Cross basically has to work on collaboration with prisoners fighting from inside and resisting -because they are conscious of it- the treatment the "class justice" give them, i.e. imprisonment. Most of this "cate- gory" of prisoner are considered -in spite of neglections from the State- as political prisoners. Indeed, they' ve been mainly incarcerated because of their involvings into struggles opposing various forms of oppression such as liberalism, fascism, the weapon industry or the destruction of environment (...). These involvings plainly descend from "class war" and it's also mostly why they are already conscious of the political and social stakes of the penitentiary system.

At this point of the situation in the anti-prison struggle, the work of the Anarchist Black Cross cannot be to go smashing the walls of penitentiaries. This implicates the collective participation of all convicts and THEIR will to put an end to the use of this means of mass destruction (1million 200 000 prisoners in the US at this moment). Therefore, the role the ABC can perform in this situation is sold to devote solidarity to prisoners fighting from inside and thus to become the link between the two sides of the walls. This work remains fundamental to basically make the anti-prison struggle known and to prev- ent the isolation of prisoners. Obiously, a work of politization towards "common prisoners" -to which contribute a couple of political prisoners- would be absolutely necessary but their disinterest for struggl- ing from inside by contacting and working together with the outside makes this difficult. As well, the ABC -tries- to offer support to those being imprisoned as victims of various forms of oppression by this society such as "illegal" people, women who killed a rapist or a violent partner, as well as people being victim of judicial or police frame- up. It also gets involved in local or international campaign and offers financial support help to prisoners for their defence or political activities in jail.

Regarding the ABC-Utrecht properly, it has existed now since January 2000, i.e for about 3 mon- ths. We spread infos weekly in the Springstof (paper of the Utrecht kraakers), casually in the Paria Coll- ective infoletter and monthly through a news bulletin. We also have a distribution of left-wing press, composed of anarchist newspapers, writings and brochures by political prisoners, campaign advertisment, etc, to com- plete our work of propaganda about the anti-prison struggle. This press is available for free for prisoners to help maintaining their connection with outside. The profits raised outside -though it is a "free price" distribution to make this press as available as possible for all- are invested to acquire more materials for this distribution and for the global fonctioning of our ABC group (printings, copying, publi- cations, stamps, contribution to our associative postbus, campaigns, etc.). We also propose a Eetcafe once in a two weeks to let people discover our activities and philosophy at the same time as we want to offer people the oppor-tunity to spend time together, exchange their ideas...shortly : to communicate. A press table is at their disposal and the -little- funds we manage to raise also contribute to our fonctioning. In addition of this outcome, we got involved in a protest campaign against the transfer of Mark Barnsley (see leaflet) and we're -still- trying to raise money to help financing the trial of a polish anti-fascist who will not get out from jail before 2012 if he doesn't manage to collect the necessary funds to appeal against the sentence he recieved.We're now working on another campaign of support to a french anti-imperialist prisoner who now has sp- ent 13 years in isolation and who definitely has to get out to integrate a psychiatric hospital and recieve the health care he needs.

Besides these activities, we're working on the translation of a pamphlet achieved by the ABC group from Dijon (FRA). This pamphlet is devoted to make known the practices of Israel in South Leba- non and focuses on reporting the policy it applies in the numerous penitentiaries it controls there. It con- sists in an interview with the Struggling Committee against Barbarism and Arbitrary which works closely with Israeli and Lebanese organizations. This committee even went to both countries last autumn and this pamphlet is a lot based on the experiences its members went through while trying to interfere in Israel's policy towards prisoners. Fundamental point : it includes witnesses from former Lebanese and Israeli prisoners detained in these real death camps. We wish we could achieve this -translated- publication of the pamphlet without barriers but unfortunately, our work to raise funds is not successful enough for it.

Therefore, we call for the support of various organizations, collectives and funds that we hope will be interested in this project. The french version of this pamphlet counts 20 pages A5 so we estimate that the english version we wanna bring out would not exceed 25 pages A5. Thanx to our contact with the alterna- tive non-commercial printer "K-Boem" in Amsterdam, we could achieve the printing of 1000 issues for about f 800. We will contribute according to our financial capacities to this publication but it is clear that we cannot manage it ourselves. We need your help for that. So please, discuss this request within your collective or fund and reply to us afterwards, even if it's to say sorry !!

My apologies for not using dutch language to express this request but it is not my mother language...Hope to hear about your decision soon. Up to then, keep on with the good work.

Anarchist Black Cross - Utrecht