GeneralABC is a revolutionary group, that works towards the abolition of the prison system as part of the class struggle. We recognise that prisons are an integral part of the class system and vital to the survival of capitalism and the preservation of wealth and privilege. Prisons can only be abolished as part of the social and political revolution that destroys capitalism the state. Although we welcome changes in the prison system which make it easier for our comrades on the inside, we know that prison system cannot be reformed out of existence.Prisons kill, rates of prison suicide are staggering and are directly related to neglect which translates into torture. The north’s prisons are no exception as the recent case of Rosanne Ervine has highlighted. Her case was the tip of the ice berg. Screws here as elsewhere are getting away with every imaginable crime including slavery, torture, sexual abuse and even murder. Belfast ABC intend to encourage the families of prisoners in Maghaberry, Magilligan and Hydebank to contact us in efforts to expose day to day abuses in the system which all to often go ignored, and provide practical support and solidarity. We don't believe we have all the solutions but we are working class people who have faith in our class to find those solutions. We have many ideas on how this can be done, and are willing to work, discuss and swap ideas with others. We work with prisoners, their families and supporters on the outside, to educate ourselves and other working class people as to the true reality of prisons. This exchange of infomation is a crucial part of our work. WE SUPPORT PRISONERS AS: >Anarchists, revolutionaries, political prisoners and other working class people jailed for resistance to the ruling class, e.g strikers. >People farmed up by the cops and the judicial system for things they have not done. >Working class people jailed as a result of having to break the law to get by. >People resisting the injustice of their case, e.g women jailed for resisting violent and abusive partners/rapists, people jailed for resisting racist or police attacks. WE WILL NOT SUPPORT: >Anyone involved in anti-social or oppressive crime, ie rape, child abuse, racist attacks, on that basis alone. >Crime which is anti-working class, e.g mugging/burgling other working class people, in short, robbing your own. However, we recognise the destructive effect that life under capitalism has on our behaviour and will consider each case individually. The ABC is a international network of groups and individuals who work autonomously, meaning that each group is free to carry out work demanded by their local situation. Howver, each group and individual is, as part of the collective responsible and accoutable to the other member groups. WHAT CAN YOU DO: >Support prisoners, people inside need loads of support, visits, money and pratical help. If you are unsure how to go about it, ABC can provide with some practical information. distribute new information and news about prisons. We have leaflets on prisoners cases/prison issues. >Send us info about prisons or prisoners especially in Ireland both north and south. The Anarchist Red Cross was started in Tsarist Russia to organize aid for political prisoners captured by the police, and to organize self-defense against political raids by the Cossack Army. During the Russian civil war, they changed the name to the Black Cross in order to avoid confusion with the Red Cross who were organizing relief in the country. After the Bolsheviks seized power the Anarchist movement moved the ABC offices to Berlin and continued to aid prisoners of the new regime, as well as victims of Italian fascism and others. The Black Cross fell apart during the 1930s depression due to the incredible demand for its services and a decline in financial aid. But in the late 1960s the organization resurfaced in Britain, where it first worked to aid prisoners of the Spanish resistance, which had not in fact died after the civil war and were fighting the dictator Franco's police. Now it has expanded and works in several areas, with contacts and other Black Cross groups in many countries around the world. The North American section started in the early 1980s. The ABC has sought to bring attention to the plight of all prisoners, with an emphasis on Anarchist and class war prisoners; and, through contact with and information about prisoners, inspire an Anarchist resistance and support movement on the outside. We fund-raise on behalf of prisoners or defense committees in need of funds for legal cases or otherwise, and organize demonstrations of solidarity with imprisoned Anarchists and other prisoners We believe, as most Anarchists do, that prisons serve no useful function (except for the benefit of the ruling classes) and should be abolished along with the State. We differ from liberal prison reformists and groups like Amnesty International in two main ways: firstly, we believe in the abolition of both the prison system and the society which creates it, and we initiate all our actions with that in mind; secondly, we believe in direct resistance to achieve a stateless and classless society. Groups like Amnesty International balk at supporting anyone accused of so-called violent acts, thus insinuating that anyone who resists oppression and takes up arms in self-defense, or during a revolutionary insurrection, is not worthy of support. The message is clear: do not resist. Our message is exactly the opposite, and this is what we work to support. We share a commitment to revolutionary Anarchism as opposed to liberalism and individualism or legalism. Outside of prison work, ABC groups are committed to the wider resistance in which many of these prisoners are engaged. We see a real need for Anarchists to be militantly organized if we are to effectively meet the organized repression of the State and avoid defeat. What is also needed is commitment to revolutionary politics. We see the setting up of Anarchist defense organizations, such as the ABC, as a necessary part of the growth and development of an Anarchist resistance movement, not divorcing ourselves from the revolutionary struggle and then just fighting for prison reform. As Anarchists we believe in the promotion of direct action and collective organization in the workplace, the schools, the community and the streets, as a means of regaining power over our own lives and creating a society based on mutual aid and cooperation. Working Towards Liberation We believe that prisons serve no function except to preserve the ruling classes. We also believe that free society must find alternative, effective ways of dealing with anti-social crime. But a decrease in anti-social crime is only likely to happen (and therefore prison abolition can only be a realistic option) accompanied by a dramatic change in our economic, social and political systems. These conditions lie at the root of both anti-social crime and the reasons for a prison system. Our primary goal is to make these fundamental changes. We work for a stateless, cooperative/classless society free from privilege or domination based on race or gender. But it's not enough to build the grassroots movements necessary to bring about these changes in society, we must also be able to defend them. The ABC defends those who are captured and persecuted for carrying out acts on behalf of our movements. Support for Imprisoned Activists The ABC aims to recognize, expose and support the struggles of prisoners in general, and of anarchist and class war prisoners in particular. The form our solidarity takes depends on each individual's situation. To some we send financial or material aid. With others, we keep in contact through mail, make visits, provide political literature, and discuss strategy and tactics. We do whatever we can to prevent prisoners becoming isolated from the rest of the movement. We fundraise on behalf of prisoners or their defense committees for legal cases or other needs, and organize demonstrations or public campaigns of solidarity with prisoners we support. We regard prisoners as an active part of our movement and seek to maintain their past and potential contributions by acting as a link back to the continuing struggle. Increased communication between activists both inside and outside prison inspires resistance on both sides of the prison walls. We hope that we can encourage other activists by providing assurance that even if you are persecuted for your activities, the movement will not abandon you: we will take care of our own. Through the ABC, we are building organizational support for resistance. Defending Resistance Outside of prisoner support work, the ABC is committed to the wider resistance in which many of these prisoners are engaged. We see a need to be highly organized if we are to effectively meet the organized repression of the State and avoid defeat. When power is challenged, be it in South Africa, occupied Palestine, Chile, Ireland or Canada, it inevitably turns to violent repression and political imprisonment to maintain itself. Remember: We're Still Here Various ABC groups decide what prisoners to support and what work we will do on a case-by-case basis. These groups put priority on the cases of political/politicized prisoners and POWs as this corresponds to our commitment to building resistance. Although imprisonment is in itself "political", Such prisoners are being held specifically for their beliefs or actions. Unlike Amnesty International, we don't place judgements on what are valid and invalid expressions of resistance: non-violence is not a criterion for support. Unlike other organizations supporting political prisoners, we include those who were "politicized" by the prison experience and have since become organizers inside prison. Many "politicized" prisoners face increased harassment. PO Box 505, Belfast, BT12 6BQ, N.Ireland
- May 12, 2009 4:03 PM Belfast ABC- Current inactive
- Nov 16, 2008 8:29 AM RIP Harold Thompson
- Sep 22, 2008 5:10 AM ’Death Behind Prison Bars’- audio recording from last years West Belfast feile meeting
- Sep 2, 2008 5:16 AM Emergency Belfast picket in support of anarchist prisoner Amadeu Casellas
- Aug 11, 2008 3:57 AM Hungerstrike in German prisons
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