Dear Sir or Madam:
To preface this, I would like to turn your attention to 3 United States Supreme Court cases. If you need copies of these, we can print them off in the law library:
Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners Labor Union, Inc.,433 U.S. 119, 97 S.Ct. 2532 (1977)
Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, 107 S.Ct. 2245 (1987)
Thornburg v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401, 109 S.Ct. 1874 (1989)
These 3 cases establish the First Amendment rights that prisoners retain. One principle theme that runs through all of those cases is that the prison officials—you–have a valid concern about what prisoners do in prison; you have a right and even a duty to address our conduct in prison; but you have no business at all digging into what we believe or think or feel.
What I do in prison can effect safety and security and prison functions. What I think or believe or even express to people outside of prison is, with all due respect, none of your business at all. According to the third case listed above, Thornburgh v. Abbott, I even have the right to expres to free-world people “inflammatory” racial, political, and religious views. And the cases make clear that, in affirming my right to hold and express even inflammatory views, you, as prison officials, cannot subject me to punishment or any other disincentive; in other words, you cannot treat me differently.
To be clear, this is not my concept of what my rights ought to be. This isn’t my idea of what the law should say. I’m only relating to you what your highest court has said your law is.
I would like you to abide by your law. I am, after all, in your custody because your government has said that I do not respect your law, and it is your job to engender in me a respect for it; I cannot foresee how that could feasibly happen if you have no regard for your own government nor your own laws.
Now, having said that, the problem I would like to address to you i smy placement on the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list simply because of my beliefs. My situation is this:
I believe the hierarchical organization of society is wrong. I think it doesn’t work. I think plenty of anthropologists and archaeologist and all kinds of other “-ologists” who are smarter than you and me have effectively demonstrated that people lived without hierarchy for nearly 4 million years; and I believe the evidence is clear that their way of living made sense and they willingly maintained that way of living for a long, long time. I also believe that people will return to living without hierarchy because this way of living is UNSUSTAINABLE, which means it cannot keep going.
Hierarchy is unsustainable.
The absence of hierarchy is sustainable.
Because I believe this, that makes me and “Anarchist.” The etymology of the word “Anarchy” is “Ana-,” which means “against” or “opposed,” and “-archy,” which means structure.” So, an An-archist is someone who opposes hierarchical structure. Because I believe we are better off without imposed, top-down structures in society—structures that have proven not to work, have proven UNSUSTAINABLE—I am called an Anarchist.
For me, Anarchy is not so much a belief as it is a simple statement of fact: Your hierarchical system has never worked and it is not the way humans were designed to live; life is much better in non-hierarchic social structures.
Not only do I think that Anarchy (that is, social organization without hierarchy) is better than hierarchy, but I can prove it: By all available data, your hierarchy is cranking out idiots at a record pace and destroying the world, thereby bringing about its own inevitable doom. We would all be better off if we stopped dragging stones up the side of this pyramid.
Hunter-gatherers worked for about 3 hours a day to meet all of their human needs. That means they had 21 hours of free time every day. You work 8 hours a day, maybe 16, plus time driving through tangled traffic, plus time shopping and cooking and taking care of family members and paying bills and putting gas in the car, and on and on and on. That’s why all the kids are on Ritalin and all the adults are on Prozac. We all need drugs just to maintain because this way of living is killing us. It drives us insane. Hierarchy turns society into one big booby-hatch. A nut farm. A loony-bin.
I’m saying that if you and me and others had better imaginations, we would find a way to scrap all this and go back to working 3 hours a day. I’m saying you would be better off without this system.
Your life would be much more rewarding if you could turn your back on this pyramid scheme.
So, having demonstrated the rationality of my position, that hierarchy does not work and that it is in the midst of its own inevitable collapse, I have to ask: Why does my reasonable acceptance of irrefutable and objective facts about our unsustainable social system warrant placing me on the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list? I ask this because there are hundreds of Hierarchs here at the prison whose beliefs do not apparently warrant placing them on the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list.
There are democrats here who have an irrational belief that hierarchy works even though it never has, and they think if the maniacs at the top of the pyramid scheme simply geared the program to better help the little guy at the bottom, everything would be okay. No matter how many efforts prove to be an abysmal failure, they just keep recycling the same ideas.
There are also republicans. They think hierarchy works just fine, despite all available evidence to the contrary. They think if they just trim down the number of chairs on the deck of the Titanic, this thing can keep on floating. They seem not to notice that, no matter what they tinker with, the thing just keeps on sinking.
Then you have communists and socialists who think if you just exchange the maniac at the top with a maniac who has a better program, the donkey will plow the field for the good of the people, or some such nonsense that history has disproven time and time again.
All of these people are Hierarchs. All of their beliefs fly in the face of historical experience. Their 6,000 year-old program of hierarchy has driven all life on the planet to the brink of extinction. No matter how badly their ideas keep failing, they keep implementing them again and again, toxifying our world and leading to eventual disaster for everyone.
These idiots are dangerous. Perhaps they need to be placed upon a SECURITY THREAT GROUP list.
Hierarchs have started every war in the last 6,000 years.
Hierarchs have imposed domestication and mass-production, causing human over-population by a margin of about 6.8 billion people, eroding topsoil,, fresh water, and oceanic plant life; leading to the spread of disease, drought, resource depletion, famine, political instability, terrorism, stratification, and wide-spread human suffering.
Hierarchs are a real problem. Their ideas drive us to the brink of extinction.
And while we’re in the realm of strange ideas that warrant your attention, there are a number of religions that promote this hierarchical madness. Chief among them is Christianity. I used to be a Christian myself. They think that two millenia ago, a special superman walked on water and magically pulled fish out of his hat and put lepers’ fingers back on, then he was killed by the local Hierarch and came back to life, bodily flying up into space but promising to return someday to punish everyone who doesn’t believe this wild story of incomprehensible mish-mash. He told his followers to sell whatever goods they possess and to buy a sword (Luke 22:36). Clearly a militant. Followers of this militant Jesus of Nazereth here at MANCI all possess the same book of instructions, that they should sell their Little Debbie snack-cakes and buy a shank. You should probably identify these militants and put them on the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list and take away their books.
My point is, every organized religion out there has a set of irrational, goofy ideas, and they all fit very nicely into supporting this hierarchical madness driving us to extinction. If anyone should be on a SECURITY THREAT GROUP list on the basis of their ideas, it should be goofballs with irrational ideas leading to death and destruction. But if you’re going to put people on the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list because of crazy ideas, you’re going to need some chips and beer—this undertaking is going to require a lot of time.
My ideas, in contrast, make far more reasonable, rational sense than the ideas of democrats, republicans, socialists, communists, or Christians. My ideas, by any objective measure, are far less dangerous than any of theirs.
Yet, you have me on what is essentially a “gang” list for my reasonable ideas, where I am grouped with nineteen year-old gang-bangers who form gaggles because they are cowards who cannot stand by themselves.
They are the opposite of me.
They rob and extort and drink and do drugs because they do not respect themselves or others.
They are the opposite of me.
They have no sense of principles, no philosophical foundation, no thoughtful approach to the way they live, no purpose.
They are the opposite of me.
They form groups to let others think for them rather than thinking for themselves.
They are the opposite of me.
They have no desire to have a positive impact on the world, to help others, to form healthy, functional, honest relationships for their own betterment and the betterment of others, resolved instead to form relationships based upon manipulation and force.
They are the opposite of me.
I would go so far as to propose that if you objectively look at my conduct over the course of the last 20 years, you will not find another prisoner who is more reasonable, more well-behaved, more conformed to the rules—even the really stupid rules—than me. In fact, by objective measures, I might be the best-behaved Ohio prisoner in penal history.
Why am I on a list with gang-bangers? Because I have a principled, thoughtful, reasoned, irrefutable critique of our fundamentally-disorganized social disorder?
I should think that if you are not a stark-mad, raving lunatic, you should want more prisoners who think and act the way I do. But you won’t get more prisoners to think and act the way I do if I get targeted and placed on a SECURITY THREAT GROUP list for it.
I should think you would want more people in the outside community who think and act the way I do. I should think that someone who thinks about how the community can be improved to benefit all of us is certainly better than the vast number of chuckleheads who would rather watch internet porn and eat potato chips.
I’m suggesting to you that you probably shouldn’t target me for wanting to be a good person and share ideas about how we can halt the death and destruction we see in the world, about how we can make the world better. I can’t think of a single good reason why you are doing this to me. I can only suspect that if you are not a stark-raving lunatic, you simply took issue with the word “Anarchy,” and you imagined the thousands of slanders that have been hoisted upon the word so that you thought Anarchists to be angry, thoughtless bomb-throwers. But if that is your idea of Anarchists, I’m not one.
Neolithic tribal people were Anarchists. They were organized without hierarchy. Almost the entirety of Native American cultures were Anarchist. Henry David Thoreau, the great American essayist whose renown is possibly second only to Thomas Jefferson, was an Anarchist. So were Jean-Pierre Proudhon, Mikhail Bakunin, Leo tolstoy, and Max Sterner. Intellectual luminaries, none other than Emma Goldman, Voltairine DeCleyre, and Alexander Berkman were Anarchists. Errico Maletesta and Luigi Fabbri were internationally-revered Italian Anarchists. Buenaventura Durruti of Spain led the opposition to Fascism in the Spanish Civil War and died for the cause of human freedom, his funeral attended by literally millions. He was an Anarchist, and was the single figure in Spain who contributed more than any other to the defeat of Fascism and , by extension, the defeat of Hitler. The first Red Cross was established by Anarchists in Russia to provide support to political prisoners who were persecuted for their beliefs. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor Noam Chomsky, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, is a well-published Anarchist writer and philospher. The Wachowski Brothers, whose movie productions include “V for Vendetta,” and “The Matrix,” both movies that have been screened here at MANCI and shown repeatedly, are partners and founders of Anarcho Producitons; they are both Anarchists who films depict and promote their Anarchist ideals. The members of Green Day are Anarchists and their album, “Twenty-First Century Breakdown,” one of the best selling albums of 2011, is an Anarchist critique of modern society.
I imagine that, by extension, since my reasoned disbelief in the wonders of hierarchy places me on the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list, all of these other Anarchists are my fellow “gang” members. I suspect I will have to contact M.I.T. Professor Noam Chomsky in order to come up with some secret handshakes, or whatever it is that real gangs do.
If Anarchists are “gang” members, then so are Democrats and Republicans. Barack Obama is the leader of a “gang.” so is Speaker of the House John Boehner. You need to put them on your SECURITY THREAT GROUP list.
If you don’t feel absolutely ridiculous yet, you should check to see if you have a pulse.
The principle tenets of Anarchism are voluntary cooperation, direct action, and mutual aid. The idea is that working together is better than having a boss crack the whip. Solidarity rather than fear is the glue that holds the community together. Quite frankly, if given a fair choice between Anarchy and Hierarchy, I think only a psychological train-wreck could conceivable choose the kick-in-the-pants that hierarchy represents.
Why am I on the “gang” list again? Oh, yeah: Because I dream of a better way to live that would benefit you and me.
I saw the parole board in September. They gave me 5 years, in part, because of my “institutional conduct.” I didn’t know what they could possibly be referring to, given my stellar conduct record. I have something like 3 conduct reports in the last decade, none of them for violence of any kind.
Now I know: I am such a dangerous “bomb thrower” that my crazy conduct got me placed on a list with extortionists, robbers, and serial jackers. Because the parole board obviously assumed you were perfectly rational when designating me a member of a SECURITY THREAT GROUP, they simply deferred to your sound judgment of how dangerous I must be.
Thank you for the 5 years, but I would prefer to go home.
Since I have never done anything that could conceivably concern you, and your only problem with me is the ideas that I espouse which are, objectively, probably much better than the ideas that you espouse—no offense), can we take me off of the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list now so that I won’t die in prison for believing a better world is possible?
If not, and you require me to change my beliefs—like some strange “Inquisition” scenario—then I will attempt to write a renunciation of Anarchism that will satisfy you. And I’ll try to keep a straight face. Here is my renunciation of Anarchism so you can take me off of the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list now:
ON second thought, I think Hierarchy is phantasmorific. All those tribal people who rejected it for 4 million years just didn’t know what they were missing. The Native American tribes who would rather fight and die than have to live this way clearly never tried the cheese puffs.
I whole-heartedly support the complete toxification of the world and can’t wait to do my part to chew up the planet in order to produce useless junk for fellow zombies to buy. Yes! I want to drag stones up the side of a pyramid to support a ruling class of frat bankers and corporate greed barons who can drive by me at the bus stop in their limousines and splash me with mud, who can laugh and drink champagne and eat caviar while taking turns kicking me in the testicles just for sport.
All I aspire to do is live, work, shop, and die.
I want my kids forced to take heavy pharmaceuticals so the pressure of educational concentration camps don’t drive them to suicide. I want to teach them to play Monopoly so they learn that the sacred purpose of life is to swindle everyone else out of their money.
I want to work all week, get hammered on the weekends, and occasionally punch my wife in the face. If there’s time, maybe I’ll kick my dog…Surf the net for footage of a woman performing oral sex on a donkey…watch “Celebrity Apprentice” and admire Donald Trump’s hair…
I don’t know what I was thinking when I had those silly notions that Anarchy was objectively better than hierarchy. There could be nothing better in the world than being a mindless worshiper of hierarchy and getting my pizza in 30 minutes or less.
Please take me off of the SECURITY THREAT GROUP list now. I have foresworn being an Anarchist. I am a completely-thoughtless, drooling, masturbating, hierarchy-worshipping ass-clown of the highest order.
Long live the bankers and executives who have their fists crammed deep into our rectums, and praise Jesus, our Lord and CEO. Amen.
I think that renunciation should do it. Please advise.
Except When It Isn’t,
Rehabilitated SECURITY THREAT
c: Andrea Reino, Legal Counsel
Director Gary Mohr, O.D.R.C.