[Ppnews] Dispatch from Jeff Free Luers - 5/17
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri May 23 10:39:01 EDT 2008
May 17, 2008 Prison Dispatch from Jeff Free Luers
Its been over a month since Ive written a
dispatch. Much has happened in that time.
Yesterday, May 16, I became officially 19 months
to the gate. The months I have left in prison
have fallen to the teens. It still doesnt seem real to me.
Since Ive been here at CRCI I have received two
letters from friends back at OSP. Both are doing
life. One will never go home. The most difficult
part about my resentencing and subsequent move to
minimum has been missing my friends at OSP.
I am leaving them behind. There is no other way
to put it than Im going home and they arent.
Its not political. It isnt relevant to anyone
other than me. And more than a few readers would
probably think they deserve their fate. But they
are my brothers. They have stood by me for the
last seven years. Together we have war stories, ones I cant write about.
It seems silly to say; I can hear the echo of
ridiculousness. Yet, I cannot justify my going home and their staying behind.
Prison is a horrible place. I have seen and done
horrible things. But despite all that, the beauty
of the human spirit can be found within this
place. When solidarity exists it is not easily
broken. When convicts unite they can accomplish many things.
Inside the walls of OSP I built a family. My
family went beyond race and politics. Amongst
those imprisoned for years a unique and powerful
bond builds. When faced with the reality of doing
decades behind bars you find strength knowing you
have friends doing the same. You do not have to
experience it alone. You have support.
My brothers at OSP have become an extended part
of my real family and community. I have
introduced them to my parents and friends. I have
included them in all I have and shared all that I can with them.
I have no doubt years from now I will again sit
in the visiting room at OSP, returning to see and
talk to one friend in particular who above all
will hold my love, respect and loyalty for life.
I look upon the relationships I have built in
prison and I find myself wishing that our
activist communities could emulate them.
In the face of the ultimate oppression, politics
come to mean less and honor to mean so much more.
In prison, I have found common cause with an
anarchists most hated enemy. Indeed that even
has extended into a friendship. The irony of which is not lost on me.
When looking beyond these walls I still see a
movement factionalized and divided: green and
red; black and white; progressive and radical.
And I still see a capitalist monstrosity towering over all.
I ask myself, if I can walk the yard of a maximum
security prison with a black gang member on my
left and a Nazi skinhead on my right, why the
hell cant activists, radicals, and progressives
find level amongst themselves when they have so much more in common?
OK. Its not that simplistic. I know. Still,
there are alliances we could and should be
building. There are bridges that should not be
burning. If we put as much energy into building
community and making allies as we have talking
shit and leveling criticism we might have already
taken that first inch. And in the words of
Conflict, For once we take an inch, you just watch us take the mile.
Could it be that we actually have a deeply
ingrained fear of success? After all, our
ideologies are proven. Weve made little if any
progress toward creating alternatives to this
society. We remain stuck in the tearing down,
laying blame and pointing fingers stage.
Fair enough. There is a lot to be dismantled and
done away with. There is even more to build and learn.
I think it is high time to shrug off the chains
of isolation and self-exclusion. The rhetoric of
pure idealism has been tried and left as wanting.
Of course, its nothing I havent said before.
A brief review of my dispatches will reveal
different versions of the same recycled messages,
which in itself says somethingIve been saying the same things for years!
To succeed we need unity. Judi Bari taught us
that. The Battle of Seattle taught us that. Even
more state repression has taught us that.
For those who still choose to stand on their own;
marginalized by their self-righteous politics and
inability to open their own mind (while they
demand it of others), I say good luck.
Personally, Im going to try to build a community
and movement that realize we must rely on each
other to create a healthy, stable, sustainable
and safe society. Its not about politics it is
about life. Life needs diversity.
The real question is how do we build it? How do
we create a broad coalition to challenge things
like global warming and other social injustices?
While I can already here the groans from my green
anarchist brethren, I believe a good place to
start is by building bonds with the unions and
working people. I know it may be a dream years in
the making, but imagine a general strike
demanding action on climate change. Picture a
union action bolstered by direct action and civil
disobedience. What if the docks closed as a
gesture of solidarity with eco-defense prisoners?
Visualize the worlds most powerful corporations
capitulating to us, the people.
It is not beyond us to build alliances. Its part
of our own radical history. Our history also
teaches us that we are more effective together than alone.
- Jeff Free Luers
9111 NE Sunderland Ave
Portland, OR 97211-1708
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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