The June 11th International Day of Solidarity with Marius Mason and all long-term anarchist prisoners is quickly approaching.
This year in our call, we focused on questions of sustainability and burnout, asking how we can nurture relationships and projects that can nourish us as we fight for our comrades’ freedom. These are not easy questions and we think that developing any “one solution” is bound to lead to further burn out and disillusionment. We want more than anything for June 11th to be a counter-point to deleterious forms of activism that erode the joy of living and leave us exhausted and hopeless.
It’s easy, when faced with the overwhelming odds of destroying prisons and freeing all prisoners, to lose heart and give up. The beauty of June 11th is that it attempts to take a large problem (that our friends in struggle are locked in the state’s dungeons) and convert it to real, material, and immediate acts of solidarity. Anyone can act for June 11th and contribute to a living coordination of solidarity that has persisted for over a decade. Whether one is alone or in a city with a vibrant anarchist presence, it is possible to look at your local context and formulate plans. (For example, one member of our organizing collective has organized humble actions as a lone anarchist youth, small events in a town with few radicals, and larger celebrations in an anarchist hub.) Contrary to the defeatism that surrounds us, we echo the cries of half a century ago as France burned in revolt, “Anything can happen!”
In hopes of stirring up some ideas, let’s explore some possible ways to show solidarity with the longest held anarchist prisoners.
If you have an event planned, or if you want to share news of some act of solidarity, send us an email at june11th [at] riseup [dot] net.
One of the primary concerns that we come up against as anarchists is how to generate the funds necessary to offset the deprivation our comrades in prison are forced into. Obtaining healthy (or vegan) food, buying basic necessities like toothpaste, affording phone calls that help break isolation, purchasing stamps and stationery, and buying books all cost money. With so few people doing consistent support for anarchist prisoners in the US, this requires constant work on top of what is already necessary to create real solidarity with imprisoned comrades.
June 11th offers a focused day in which all those who feel compelled to can organize events to help with these constant material needs. Those who can’t commit to regular correspondence or consistent organizing around a prisoner’s case can host an event to raise funds for them. Each year, June 11th proves essential to maintaining a few of our comrades’ well-being for the rest of the year.
Ideas: music shows, dance parties, dinners, poetry readings, bake sales, movie screenings, performances, karaoke, college speaking gigs, asking for money from someone that has it.
The reality of many anarchist prisoners’ cases is that they are unlikely to garner support from liberals due to the actions they undertook or their uncompromising stance while in prison. This leaves it up to us to generate support among those who see no problem with actively confronting the state, economy, and prison society. With the full weight of state and capitalist media disinformation against us, we must offset this by keeping our comrades’ situations constantly present in our lives, explaining their actions, and offering news of their current conditions.
Informational events allow us to spread news and strike a hammer blow against the isolation fostered by prison and its world.
Ideas: tabling at events, presentations on one (or many) comrades’ situations, flyering on the streets, talking to friends and family about prisoners, pirate radio, microphone demonstrations
One of prison society’s primary functions is to isolate those held within its walls. Establishing contact with imprisoned comrades is a vital first step in undoing that isolation. Whether this means writing consistently to one person, writing one-off letters, or hosting public letter writing events – every letter, postcard, news article, and photograph sent to an imprisoned comrade is a step toward creating the sort of solidarity we need to tear down the walls once and for all.
Ideas: Writing a letter, printing photos of the world to send to imprisoned comrades, hosting letter writing nights, setting up letter writing tables at events, sending books
Prisoner letter writing tips by NYC ABC
Taking it to the streets
It has been said that no one should ever be able to walk down the street without seeing the faces and names of our comrades on every wall. There are many ways of keeping our comrades present in our daily lives and in the world around us. Experiment, stay safe, and have fun!
The most essential element of revolutionary solidarity is keeping our comrades’ struggles alive and vibrant; to confront, directly, the control imposed upon us by the state and all institutions of control and exploitation. Every June 11th, the outpouring of solidarity-in-action from anarchists internationally shows the many diverse forms that solidarity can take.
Ideas: Work within your context and capacity, in line with your desires, by yourself or with people you trust.
Keep it up,
the June 11th crew