Tag Archive | John Bowden

State Using ‘Secret Evidence’ To Try And Keep John Bowden Behind Bars

State Using ‘Secret Evidence’ To Try And Keep John Bowden Behind Bars

For the past 30 years John Bowden has been at the forefront of the British prison struggle, and is by far our most prolific prisoner writer. Time and again, John’s articles have shone a searchlight into the State’s murky dungeons, exposing brutality and repression, and challenging the very nature of prison. For many years now, John has been held in jail because of his political views and his willingness to challenge injustice. That has never been clearer than now, as the State attempts to use ‘secret evidence’ to keep him behind bars.

It is relatively rare that prisoners, originally sentenced for non-political offences, become so politicised whilst in jail, that their release is opposed by the prison authorities for exactly that reason.

In the case of life sentence prisoners who have served the “tariff” part of their sentence (or the length of time the judiciary stipulates they should remain in jail), the legal criteria determining their release, or not, are clear and straightforward: Has the prisoner served a sufficient period of time to satisfy the interests of punishment and retribution? Does the prisoner remain a risk to the community? Can the prisoner be safely and effectively supervised in the community post-release?

Of course the prison authorities would never openly admit that apart from the above criteria, there is another “risk factor” that would prevent a life sentence prisoner’s release: Their identification with a progressive or radical political cause. Opposing a life sentence prisoner’s release, purely on the basis of their having exposed and organised against human rights abuse in the prison system, would of course make a complete mockery of the claim that, apart from its punishment function, prison also exists as a place of reform and rehabilitation, a place where supposedly brutal and anti-social criminals are made better people by a system administered by humane and just-minded individuals. The entire legitimacy of the prison system is based on the premise that, essentially it exists to protect the public from individuals who represent a threat , so denying that some life sentence prisoners are kept locked-up solely because they embrace an ideology that actually believes in a society and world free from violence, exploitation, and inequality, is imperative if the myths and fallacy used to justify the existence of prisons is to remain intact.

[read the full article on indymedia]

[read more on John Bowden on Bristol ABC’s wordpress]

[you can contact John and other prisoners through emailaprisoner.com]

or write to him:

John Bowden, 6729,
HMP Shotts,
Cantrell Road,
Shotts,
Scotland,
ML7 4LE.

Anti-prison demo on Guy Fawkes night

Act for freedom now/ receives and transmits:

At midnight November 5th around fifteen masked-up anti-authoritarians rolled up outside the grim walls of Cardiff Prison to fire and throw fireworks over the wall, released a smoke bomb at the traffic intersection there. shouting against prisons, screws and the police and with a mobile sound system blasting and spotlights and alarms going off in the prison, the response was righteous from inside!! Prisoners shouted back from their cell windows and there was a big feeling of rage outside and inside meeting in shouts of ACAB and cheers as fireworks banged and whizzed. The fireworks got let off, there was some shouts back and forth then the motley crew dissapeared before any cops showed up.

Prisoners in Cardiff have recently protested about poor food (undernourishment) and generally shitty conditions at the old 19th century constructed hellhole. We stand against prison and the society that is based on mass imprisonment for self-organised struggle, defiance and contempt for the authorities and the snitch citizens.

Its time to come out loud and come out proud for Freedom and Revolt

Spread rebellion and the values of freedom through every way – by breaking the silence, talking, writing, flyposting, graffiti, marches, direct action.

Its time to attack and struggle against the system that is crushing us!

November 5 – gunpowder, treason & plot!!

SOLIDARITY WITH THE RESISTORS IN THE BRITISH PRISON SYSTEM

FREEDOM FOR JOHN BOWDEN

FREEDOM FOR KEV THAKRAR

FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE

ABC Prisoner Art UK Tour

TOUR DATES

SEPTEMBER 2012: London – Colorama #2
OCTOBER 2012: London – Freedom Bookshop (London ABC)
NOVEMBER 2012: Cardiff – Red & Black Umbrella (Cardiff ABC)
DECEMBER 2012: Nottingham – Sumac Centre (Autonomous Nottingham)
JANUARY 2013: Bradford – 1 in 12
FEBRUARY 2013: Liverpool – Next to Nowhere
MARCH 2013: Brighton – Cowley Club (Brighton ABC)
APRIL 2013: Plymouth – Venue TBC
MAY 2013: Bristol – Emporium (Bristol ABC)
JUNE 2013: Belfast – Warzone Collective
JULY 2013: Dublin – Seomra Spraoi

PRESS RELEASE

After a debut viewing at Kebele Social Centre in Bristol, the Anarchist Black Cross Prisoner Art Exhibition in September 2012 began it’s UK tour; visiting 13 venues in 10 cities across England, Wales and Ireland over 11 months. The exhibition features over 30 pieces, as well as poetry, from current and past radical prisoners including – Phil Africa, Peter Collins, Lucy Edkins, David Gilbert, Alvaro Luna Hernandez Hier and Thomas Meyer-Falk. The tour aims to show the artistic and poetic talent of those behind bars, as well as highlighting the political cases of the prisoners themselves. Additionally the exhibition features a wealth of sketches and writings from a Close Supervision Centre (CSC) prisoner, yet to be revealed.

Commenting on the art exhibition in July 2012, Ben Gunn a recently released lifer who spent 33 years inside said; “In attempting to see into the darkest corners of the states activities, we are privileged to have the spotlight provided by prison artists… Struggling to obtain their bare tools for creativity they tower above their captivity to reveal their unique perspective – I hope that their art invites you to think – and be moved to ACT.”

Since the beginning of the 20th Century the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) has been on the frontline supporting and showing solidarity for those imprisoned for struggling for freedom and liberty. The organisation has by many states been deemed illegal, “terrorist” and many members have been tortured, killed, arrested, imprisoned, and fled persecution. ABC in the early years took part in the 1905 Russian Revolution (where six members were imprisoned), organised defensive units under the anarchist Black Army in Ukraine, fought against the Bolsheviks regime a decade later, and aided anarchists fleeing fascism during the Spanish Civil War and Second World War in the 1930’s.

After it’s revival in 1967 in England to aid prisoners of the Spanish resistance, ABC eventually grew into a global network of anarchist prisoner support groups; organising international days of solidarity, letter writing nights, prison demos, financial aid for prisoners, art shows, supporting struggles inside (and on top) of the prisons, and much more.

With this tour we therefore distance ourselves from mainstream, state-funded prisoner art shows, such as the exhibition launched in London by Koestler Trust this month, campaigning instead for abolition of the prison industry and all states. Or as social prisoner John Bowden puts it: “There are frontlines of class struggle thoughout the whole of society, violent interfaces where the poor and their oppressors confront each other, and prison represents one of the most overt and undisguised frontlines of class struggle that exists.” – Solidarity without prejudice article, 2009. Read More…