[Hpn] Fwd: letter from Phila. jail

Coalition on Homelessness, SF coh@sfo.com
Sun, 06 Aug 2000 13:14:10 -0700

>Date: Sun, 6 Aug 2000 10:30:45 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Andrew Rose <affirmingandy@yahoo.com>
>Subject: letter from Phila. jail
>To: josh@phillyimc.org, dispatch@phillyimc.og
>X-Original-Envelope-From: affirmingandy@yahoo.com
>we got a note from a group of men held in county jail and it's
>worth sharing (phillyimc please post, fnb etc forward)...
>solidarity stands at 341 holding tight.
>We are 24 male prisoners currently held at Curran-Fromhold
>Correctional Facility for our participation or
>attempted participation in the August 1st non-violent direct
>actions against the Republican convention in Philadelphia. The
>carefully choreographed conventions of both major parties have
>nothing to do with democracy. They are corporate sponsored
>pageants designed to legitimize a system of corporate class rule
>that crushes the human spirit and that is destroying the planet.
>The criminal justice system of cops, courts and prisons that
>targets poor and  working class people in general and people of
>color in particular is a cornerstone of a system that serves the
>rich and maintains their rule. Our actions in the streets of
>Philadelphia were intended to shine a light on the incarceration
>of 2 million people in the U.S., on the systematic use of police
>brutality to terrorise whole communities, on the racism and
>cruelty of the death penalty,  on the many political prisoners,
>including Mumia Abu-Jamal, who are caged for their commitment to
>social justice. Our actions were aimed at disrupting the
>Republican convention to the best  of our ability. While weŪre
>sorry any inconvenience we may have caused the people of
>Philadelphia, we are proud of what we did to expose this rotten
>>From the moment of our arrest we have experienced and witnessed
>the workings of a system designed to dehumanize people. Many of
>us were brutalized in the course of arrests. Some of us were
>beaten or peppersprayed after we were handcuffed. In jail as
>many as nine people were packed into cells designed for two
>people. People with dietary restrictions went without food for
>up to 48 hours. In some cases our hands and feet were cuffed
>together and some of us had our cuffs so tight that we lost
>feelings in our hands or bled as a result.
>We were denied the opportunity to meet with our lawyers prior to
>arraignment and were arraigned in a court room closed to the
>general public with the exception of select members of the
>capitalist media. We were arraigned with a court appointed
>public defender serving as counsel despite our explicitly and
>repeatedly stated desire to be represented by our own counsel
>who were denied access to the proceedings. We were charged with
>a variety of misdemeanors and in a few cases with felonies. Our
>individual bails have been set at between $10,000 and
>$1,000,000. Many if not all of the charges against us are either
>greatly exaggerated or completely falsified.
>At Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility [County Jail] we have
>been placed in a special pod where we have little contact with
>other prisoners. While we regard our conditions here as
>dehumanizing we recognise that we are receiving special
>treatment such as extra food. So far we have not been beaten or
>physically hurt by personnel here.
>Throughout this process we have sought to resist and stand in
>solidarity with each other to the best of our abilities. Almost
>all of us have refused to give our names. Many of us have had to
>be physically dragged through the various stages of this
>process. We have kept our spirits high through singing and
>chanting and pounding on our cell walls. We developed systems
>for communicating with each other and for reaching decisions by
>consensus. Many of us ripped the bracelets intended to identify
>us off our wrists. We resisted fingerprinting and attempts to
>photograph us. Some of us have refused food. In jail we stripped
>naked to make our processing more difficult. In the course of
>all this we have discovered strengths we never knew we had and
>have built a wall of solidarity based on profound love and
>respect for each other. We have drawn particular strength from
>the proud defiance of  the sisters whose loud voices we have
>heard and whose acts of resistance we have occasionally been
>able to witness. While our access to information is restricted
>we are aware of the efforts of those on the outside to assist
>us. We love you all. We are in here for you and know that you
>are out there for us.
>We believe that our experiences so far strongly vindicate us in
>our decision to take powerful action to expose the brutality and
>injustice of the so-called criminal justice system. As we go
>through this process we are learning personally of the
>mistreatment people experience every day in this country. As a
>group of mainly white and mainly middle class men we know full
>well that the treatment routinely received by poor people,
>people of color, and other marginalized people is much worse
>than what we have received.
>While we have had little contact with other prisoners, that
>contact has been overwhelmingly positive, they know why we are
>here and they let us know in many ways that they support our
>actions and respect our commitment and solidarity. In turn we
>are learning from them about the workings of the prison and
>their own traditions of resistance. They have our respect,
>admiration and solidarity. So far the efforts of some personnel
>to cultivate distrust and antagonism between us and the other
>prisoners have failed.
>We are political prisoners:
>We are being held on outrageous charges, in many cases with no
>foundation whatsoever in our actual actions; Our bail figures
>are far out of proportion even for the crimes we are falsely
>accused of; We are here because of our political commitment and
>because we dared to defy the corporate powers that be as they
>were attempting to give a veneer of popular support to the rule
>of the few.
>We call on those who support us to continue to put pressure on
>the Philadelphia authorities to win our quick release. We urge
>you all to continue to organize protests on our behalf and to
>write and call the mayorŪs office, the prosecutors and the
>prison authorities to demand:
>1.Our immediate and unconditional release on our own
>2. That all charges be dropped and
>3. That prisoners with dietary restrictions (vegans and
>vegetarians) be provided with adequate food that they can eat.
>Call these officials and let them know that you support our
>District Attorney Lynne Abraham 215-686-8701
>Mayor John Street 215-686-2181
>City Solicitor Ken Trujillo 215-683-5003
>30 of us have gone on hunger strike to win these demands. We
>want everyone to know that we are in good spirits and remain
>strong in our solidarity. We come from a variety of backgrounds
>and perspectives, but we are united in our commitment to genuine
>democracy and an end to corporate rule in general and to the
>criminal injustice system in particular.
>    Write to us:
>John Doe žJDÓ Professor
>John Doe ODB
>John Doe Wolfman
>John Doe 6010 žDingerÓ
>John Doe žThatŪs not good for businessÓ
>John Doe Slick
>Camilo Viveiros Jr.
>John Doe 6013
>Christopher Hartley
>John Doe Mac
>John Doe Mango
>John Doe žB.A.Ó
>John Doe Sparky
>John Doe Flea
>John Doe žHank H. PartsÓ
>John Doe žWispÓ
>John Doe Tennessee/Jimnikov
>John Doe Buckshot
>John Doe GOD
>John Doe Switchblade
>John Doe Ms. Pac Man
>John Doe Zeke
>JD Lovebug
>J.D. Kowbone
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Coalition on Homelessness, San Francisco
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