IGDCAST: Anarchist Organizing and Solidarity Inside and Outside of Mexican Prisons

mexico-city-anarchist-march

Originally published to It’s Going Down
Translated by Scott Campbell
Download and Listen Here


This is a special IGDCAST with Sofi, an anarchist compañera from Mexico City who is deeply involved in a variety of solidarity and organizing efforts with anarchist prisoners in Mexico. The audio interview is in Spanish, while below is an English transcription, along with two song MP3s you can download separately. If you want to see more in depth reporting on what is happening in Mexico, be sure to support our Mexico trip fundraiser.

We start off this episode with a recorded greeting from the Cimarrón Collective in North Prison in Mexico City. Then Sofi discusses the persecution and repression facing the anarchist movement in Mexico City as well as a review of the situation of four anarchist prisoners currently being held by the Mexican state. We look at the corruption, exploitation and neglect that occurs in Mexican prisons and what compañeros on the inside are doing to fight back. In particular, there is a focus on the Cimarrón Collective, a formation started by anarchist prisoner Fernando Bárcenas that has autonomously reclaimed space inside the North Prison and self-manages a variety of initiatives. For listeners, perhaps the most intriguing one will be their punk band, Commando Cimarrón. A couple of their songs are included in the podcast.

The interview then wraps up with discussion of a proposed amnesty for prisoners being put forward by “leftist” political parties in the Mexico City government and the response of our anarchist compañeros. Lastly, there are suggestions for how the struggle for their freedom can be supported from outside of Mexico. Throughout this post, we include links for more information, primarily in English, and photos of some of the art produced during workshops organized by the Cimarrón Collective.

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Insumisión: Refusing Fear, Choosing Resistance

Originally published to It’s Going Down
By Scott Campbell

It’s been several weeks since the last Insumisión. Apologies for the break, but now we’re back at it and as always there’s a lot of ground to cover. Before diving in, I’d like to share that in the next couple of months, an It’s Going Down contributor will be spending a chunk of time in Mexico with the goal of producing lots of original content. If you value the work we do here at IGD and would like to see it continue to grow, please consider contributing to the trip fundraiser or making a donation in general. We also recently published a call for translators to help put out even more content from Mexico. If you’re interested, get in touch! And now let’s take a look at the latest from Mexico…

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Update and Letters from Anarchist Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Mexico

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Mexico: Anarchist Prisoners End Hunger Strike but Remain Fasting
From Anarchist Black Cross – Mexico
Translated by Scott Campbell

Day 15 of the anarchist prisoners’ hunger strike.

After two weeks on hunger strike, due to the health of some and in order to avoid serious complications, anarchist prisoners Fernando Bárcenas, Luis Fernando Sotelo and Abraham Cortés, as well as activist Jesse Montaño, have decided to continue their collective struggle inside the prison with indefinite fasts and have ended the hunger strike.

We are reposting the text signed by Fernando Bárcenas.

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Mexico: Anarchist Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Solidarity with US Prison Strike

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From Noticias de Abajo and Anarchist Black Cross – Mexico
Translated by Scott Campbell

During a press conference on September 28, anarchist prisoners announced the beginning of an indefinite hunger strike. They are compañeros Fernando Bárcenas and Abraham Cortés, prisoners in North Prison, Luis Fernando Sotelo, prisoner in South Prison in Mexico City, and Miguel Peralta, prisoner in Cuicatlán Prison in Oaxaca. The strike is in rejection of the 33 year and five month sentence given to Luis Fernando Sotelo, to mark three years since the arrest of compañero Abraham Cortés on October 2, 2013, and in solidarity with the prison strike underway in the United States against the exploitation of prisoners’ labor and in support of the revolts against the killings of African-Americans by police in the U.S.

The three compas in Mexico City have gone on hunger strike, while Miguel will go on fasts.

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Fernando Bárcenas, Anarchist Political Prisoner in Mexico, Calls for Solidarity with September 9 Prison Strike in US

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From Anarchist Black Cross – Mexico
Translated by Scott Campbell

Open letter to compañerxs.

Note: The use of the word prison in this text refers to all artificial environments that domesticate us so as to insert us by force into the capitalist system of production; this is a contribution to deepen the reflection of all living beings in the hands of economic powers and the technological project…

Compas, I greet you with insurrectionary love, that these words of war may reach you; greeting as well the coming days of insurrection, as ideas bloom in the fields like flowers we should not stop tending.

We do not know if there will be a victory, but what we do know is that they will not occupy our dreams and our lives…

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“I was born to be free” – Nestora Salgado

Originally posted on El Enemigo Común.

nestora-salgado-rifle-prison-releaseTranslator’s note: After seventeen months in prison and following a national and international campaign for her release, political prisoner Nestora Salgado was released from Tepepan prison in Mexico City on March 18, just days after the below essay was published. The commander of the Community Police in Olinalá, Guerrero, Salgado was charged with three counts of kidnapping. When those charges were dismissed, the state filed three more charges for kidnapping, theft and murder. Again, those charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.

Upon exiting the prison, she was received by dozens of community police officers from Olinalá and other towns in Guerrero. Handed a rifle and addressed as commander, she said, “We are going to keep struggling so they don’t keep repressing us. If this is needed [raising the rifle], then this is where we will go, but we won’t allow them to keep trampling on us.” At a press conference later in the day, she committed herself to fighting for the freedom of Mexico’s 500 political prisoners, in particular those jailed for carrying out their duties as community police. Joined by members from the Peoples Front in Defense of the Land from Atenco, those resisting the construction of the La Parota dam in Guerrero, and family members of the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, she led the count from 1 to 43. “I don’t represent any political party,” she said. “I only fight for my people. Sometimes they ask me if I’m afraid. And yes, I’m afraid, but I’ll die fighting for our people’s dignity. It doesn’t matter what I have to do, I am going to win freedom for our prisoners. I will be present in all of the struggles, as long as they need me.”

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This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex (August 18)

Hugo-Pinell-poemA short-lived experiment, this will be the final “This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex” entry. When it began, I suspected I may have assumed too intensive of a task. At present, it has turned out to be too difficult to maintain this weekly chronicle. I hope that it was helpful while it lasted. I will continue to examine the prison industrial complex (PIC) and related issues in other posts, as well as sharing more timely PIC news on Twitter.

  • A recent report by Canada’s prison ombudsman’s office found “admission to administrative segregation increased by 9 per cent between 2005 and 2015 [and that] the number of Black individuals in solitary has doubled over the past decade, rising by an alarming 100.4 per cent while Aboriginal individuals sent to solitary also disproportionately increased by 31.1 per cent. In contrast, admission to segregation for White individuals declined by 12.3 per cent.” Howard Saper, the Correctional Investigator, stated the report showed Canada’s use of solitary confinement was “out of control.”

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This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex (August 11)

A weekly roundup of news and action alerts about political prisoners, prison struggles, and organizing against the prison industrial complex (PIC), both nationally and internationally. If you’ve got something you’d like to see included, leave a comment or send me an email.

  • U.S. political prisoner Abdullah Majid is requesting support in the form of donations to his legal defense fund.
  • The Industrial Workers of the World has published the second edition of The Incarcerated Worker, “featuring news on prisoner revolt, organizing on the inside, letters, and articles.”
  • Meanwhile, the second issue of Wildfire, an anarchist prison newsletter, has been published, with news and texts from anarchist prisoners around the world.

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This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex (August 4)

Freedom for Political Prisoners

Freedom for Political Prisoners

A weekly roundup of news and action alerts about political prisoners, prison struggles, and organizing against the prison industrial complex (PIC), both nationally and internationally. If you’ve got something you’d like to see included, leave a comment or send me an email.

  • From July 15 to 29, Israeli occupation forces arrested 95 Palestinians, including 25 children and two women, in the occupied West Bank.
  • On August 7 and 8, organizations in Mexico will be holding the country’s first National Gathering for the Freedom of Political Prisoners, in the city of Puebla.
  • New York Times article featured a twenty-year-long study on the effects of solitary confinement at Pelican Bay State Penitentiary in California, finding that those isolated for such a long period undergo “social death.”

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This Week in the Prison Industrial Complex (July 28)

end-aetaA weekly roundup of news and action alerts about political prisoners, prison struggles, and organizing against the prison industrial complex (PIC), both nationally and internationally. If you’ve got something you’d like to see included, leave a comment or send me an email.

  • A Los Angeles police officer was sentenced to 16 months in prison for kicking and striking a handcuffed woman who later died in the hospital.
  • The Move organization is holding a community town hall on August 1 in Philadelphia and all are invited to attend. The occasion marks 37 years of imprisonment for the Move 9 and discussion will revolve around working to win parole for the Move 9.

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