The fine folks at The Final Straw have been recording audio essays with Sean for their show. These essays are now archived here:
November 19, 2013
Dear Mr. Torres,
You may recall my parole hearing in September of 2011 when you confronted me in a particularly hostile manner because I had claimed to be a political prisoner. But chances are you won’t recall that hearing. You won’t recall that hearing from hundreds or thousands of others, any more than the executioner on a corporate cattle farm would recall one or another cow that he brained in the course of his career. So, let me refresh your memory.
I was convicted of Aggravated Murder in the self-defense killing of the nephew of the Clerk of Courts, in my own home. My false conviction was reversed, but the trial court refused to abide by the court of appeals’ decision and did not provide me the fair trial ordered. I remain confined without a legal conviction or sentence.
I have consistently maintained my innocence.
I have consistently maintained that my case is politically motivated and that I was sacrificed for the proposition that the ruling elite and their loved ones are not governed by the same laws as the rest of us, that the courts are a tool and a weapon to serve the privileged and entitled.
I have contended that I am, de facto, a political prisoner, that I remain confined not for any crime (because no one truly believed me to be guilty except possibly the jury who was manipulated with selective information), but confined instead for the political benefit that sacrificing me would fain for the officials who orchestrated this deliberate injustice.
During my parole hearing, you read to me Amnesty International’s very narrow and reformist definition of political prisoner status. I admitted to you that their definition does not apply in my case. However, their definition really only can apply in States without elected governments, and does not contemplate a situation such as mine. In fact, by Amnesty’s narrow definition, the United States holds no political prisoners–not even Leonard Peltier or Mumia Abu-Jamal, none of the Black Panthers or Black Liberation Army prisoners from the 1960s and 1970s.
It seems to me very self-serving that in all the various definitions of political prisoner status, you selected the only one that effectively cancels out the political prisoner status of every prisoner in North America. Very self-serving.
You then asked me if any “reputable” organizations have recognized me as a political prisoner. As point of fact, I had never solicited recognition of any organization, reputable or otherwise. And when I told you I was not recognized as a political prisoner by any reputable organizations, you seemed quite proud of the points you scored.
Of course, Andrew Crouch is still dead, all of your high-fives notwithstanding. And I am still held captive for a provable non-crime, despite your touchdown dances.
So, after the Adult Parole Authority gave me yet five more years for a non-crime absent a legal conviction, I sought and gained recognition as a political prisoner. Several organizations recognized me. I made great headway preparing for 2016 and my next parole hearing.
Of course, Andrew Crouch was still dead. And I was still held captive. And you had long ago hung the memory of my hearing on a meathook and shoved it towards the processing plant.
Then a few things occurred to me:
First, I came to realize that I could never gain the recognition of any “reputable” organization. Given that you are the self-appointed, sole authority of what “reputable” means, if every human rights organization in the world, including Amnesty International, recognized me as a political prisoner, their association with me, in your book, would only make them disreputable.
Second, I came to realize you can fuck off. Your opinion doesn’t count. You don’t know me, and it appears to me that you have suffered some kind of loss and become convinced that you should dishonor the loved one you lost by becoming completely inhuman and incapable of human empathy, a walking hole that could swallow the world.
So third, I had to question: Has any “reputable” organization recognized the legitimacy of the State of Ohio? I don’t think any “reputable” organization has. The Treaty of Greeneville in 1795 recognizes this territory as “Unceded Indian Territory” and, absent any subsequent treaty, this area remains the legal possession of those name tribes.
Have the Shawnee recognized the legitimacy of the State of Ohio? How about the Ottawa? The Huron? I don’t think so.
So by all reasonable accounts, Mr. Torres, you are employed by an entity as real as Santa Claus or the Tooth Faerie. At least according to your laws, not that anyone ever follows those.
But fourth–and this is the big point–I came to realize the absurdity of so-called “political prisoner” status, the silliness of such a designation. And that’s really what I would like to explain.
For there to be political prisoners, there would have to be non-political prisoners. That is, there would have to be captives who are genuinely held for the common good by a legitimate State who acted under proper and pure motives.
Right. We’re back to Santa Claus and the Tooth Faerie again. Is there such a thing as a legitimate State? Is there such a thing as a legitimate state that acts under proper and pure motives? Is there such a thing as a legitimate state that acts under proper and pure motives, holding captives for the common good?
If you believe there is, then you can recognize that there are such things as non-political prisoners, and so you can then draw some distinction between prisoners validly locked up by the State you worship and the prisoners not validly locked up by the State you worship.
But, if you’re an anarchist, as I am, and you recognize that no legitimate “right to rule” exists (as I argue in “Ohio,” Part III), then there can be no such thing as captives locked up for the common good by a legitimate state–because there’s no such thing as a “legitimate state.”
Once you recognize the State as a false idol, a construct, a mythological creation with no legal or logical basis, no underlying “right to rule” which it falsely assumes, then all prisoners are kidnap victims held by hierarchs sharing a mass delusion of authority. No prisoner is any different from any other.
If we begin with the analysis that the State possesses no legitimate authority, then no one has the right to pass laws that others must follow. No cop has the authority to arrest anyone.
In the mind of an Anarchist is there a legitimate lawmaker and an illegitimate one? A legitimate cop and an illegitimate one?
If the State possesses no legitimate authority, then no prosecutor has the right to prosecute, no court has the authority to pass sentence, and no warden has the right to confine nor to execute captives.
In the mind of an Anarchist, can there be a legitimate prosecutor? Or judge? Or warden?
If we begin from the essentially-anarchist position that the State has no right to exist, then all legislatures, cops, prosecutors, judges, and wardens get thrown out with the proverbial bath water. And absent legislatures, cops, prosecutors, judges, and wardens, how can there be legitimate offenders held captive for the common good…and held by whom?
I am not a political prisoner. I possess no special quality, no special designation not shared by every prisoner held by every illegitimate hierarch pathology manifested across the globe. For me to recognize a special designation even for myself, that recognition would necessarily imply that somewhere a State has a legitimate right to exist, and that legitimate State has some valid reason for holding someone against his or her will.
I am ready to make no such concession.
There exists no legitimate State.
There exists no valid law.
There can be no distinction between political and non-political prisoners when no imprisonment can ever be justified.
So that’s my thinking, Mr. Torres. Hopefully, these ideas will inspire other people and I won’t have to be assaulted with your inane questions in 2016. Hopefully the fences will be gone, the mythology of authority will be long dead, and we will vaguely remember a time when debates over words continued while human beings languished in bondage.
Here’s to a future without prisons, without parole boards, and without States. Here’s to a future without control-freaks like you running it.
Freedom or Death,
Introduction to The Colonizer’s Corpse:
Open response to CIIC Director Joanna Saul’s invitation to present advice on maintaining mental health in 23-hour lockdown.
I received a letter from Joanna Saul, Director of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee (CIIC), which oversees the prison complex the the Ohio General Assembly. She wrote, in part, “…CIIC is currently working on a resource for inmates in segregation or maximum security. We would very much appreciate hearing from you and other inmates regarding your segregation experience and, in particular, how you stayed emotionally and mentally strong in segregation? [Bold type in original.] Our hope is to provide suggestions to inmates in segregation for how to cope with being locked down for 23 hours a day. What advice would you give an inmate who is going to segregation?”
Below is my response to this invitation:
The colonizer’s Corpse: A Liberatory Approach to Maintaining Mental Health While Subject to the Fascists’ Torture Machine.
“…For the colonized, liberation springs only from the corpse of the colonizer.” –Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth
Segregation is a traumatic experience. To stay sane, to stay mentally organized, you have to first be sane and mentally organized. That is, a “crazy” person can’t stay sane because a crazy person isn’t sane to begin with. So this is key: You have to think in a way that makes sense; you have to care about yourself and you have to be committed to acting in such a way that serves you best. That’s kind of a working definition of sanity–thinking, and then, as a result, acting, in a way that makes sense.
Thinking is key. You have to use your head for something other than a hat rack. Especially if you are spending a long time in segregation or isolation, since you’ll be spending a lot of time inside your own head. Any place you spend that much time you have to pay attention to the furniture, so to speak, the stuff that fills up your space, what you’re putting in it. What do you put in your head space? This is important because what goes on inside your head is more critical than what’s going on in the world around you.
People caring about themselves have to make sure they see the world clearly. You can’t react in a way that makes sense if you don’t understand what’s really happening to you. So sane people–people who think and act in ways that serve their interests best–have to first face the reality that confronts them. This means not running away from painful truths. This means being honest with yourself. If you want to stay sane you can’t run away from your experience or try to hide from it. You have to face it. But you face it with clear understanding. You use your mind and you look deeply at the experience so you can understand what it is that is happening and why it is happening, and then you can develop for yourself a plan or an approach for acting sane, for acting in your own best interests, and maybe even using this experience to gain some wisdom, an opportunity to grow.
The place to start is by understanding the situation you are facing, how you got there, and why it is happening to you.
“Rehabilitation never offered mental health, just the reverse. It involves communication only with staff who are not worth any contact at all. To listen to their philosophy, or accept their outlook will destroy you…” –Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide
Segregation and isolation are trauma. It hurts. This is the reality of it. What you are experiencing is designed to be painful. The State, the authorities, the ones who keep you locked up, have designed a system, and have perfected that system, for causing you trauma. In fact, the government has written books and manuals on it. These manuals were written in order to teach the people who keep you locked up so they can use, “the principle coercive techniques”* of “arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement…, threats and fear…” What this means is, the ones who keep you locked up will use a combination of these things in order to cause a response from you. The response they want to cause is “debility, dependence, and dread.” “Debility” means the opposite of “ability.” Debility is, in a sense, making someone worse, breaking them in some way. “Dependence” is the opposite of “independence.” Dependence is where you can’t do for yourself any more, and you must count on someone else to do for you. “Dread” is like fear, only it also means to lose hope.
So the reality of your situation is, the people in charge have figured out the method for turning you into someone less able, broken, and hopeless, all by putting you through conditions that are very painful. As the process continues, “day after day if necessary, the subject begins to try to make sense of the situation, which becomes mentally intolerable.” “Intolerable” means you can’t stand it. Your situation is designed to cause “the maximum amount of discomfort…” In this “mentally intolerable” situation you face, a situation designed to cause “the mximum amount of discomfort,” it deprives your mind of “contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in on itself…” The trauma you experience “after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell can be duplicated in hours or days” in isolation. As the CIA manual concludes, describing the conditions of confinement you will experience in segregation and maximum security, “…in the simple torture situation, the contest is one between the individual and his tormentor…”
This is not presented to shock you or to scare you. It is presented so that you can have a clear idea of what you face. Only by seeing reality as it is can you react to it in a way that makes the most sense for you. You have to see what you face and what it is designed to do to you, and when you know that, when you can see it for what it is, you are better equipped to respond to it.
Whatever you did to come to prison (or didn’t do), and whatever you did to go to segregation or level 4 (or didn’t do), you are in the custody of people who want to make your life “mentally intolerable,” and they are putting you through “the simple torture situation.”
They know that what they are doing to you will not make you a better person. They are not doing this to you to help” you or to “reform” you. This is designed to destroy you. This is very important to know, because it can guide your approach to this trauma, this “simple torture situation,” if you recognize that you are not being “corrected,” i.e., made better, but you are being debilitated, i.e., made worse.
It is a necessary and healthy thing to call something what it really is. The words we use have an influence on how we see things. When you use words, even in your head, like “corrections officer,” and “inmate,” you create a picture of “correcting,” a picture of an offender who has offended; but when you use the same words, even if just in your head, that are used by the very same people who wrote the manuals and designed this system, you see a “tormentor” and a “subject,” you see a “simple torture situation” that involves a torturer and a victim.
Why is this important? Because you can’t expect ice cream to come out of a toaster. A toaster is a machine that is designed to do one thing. So if you hold your cone under the toaster and expect ice cream to come out, you are going to be very disappointed. The same is true for the prison’s isolation unit. This is a machine that is designed to do one thing.
Don’t expect this machine to do anything else. You are in the “simple torture situation.” It is a simple fact that you cannot expect those who subject you to this simple torture situation” to offer you any real assistance. People who torture are not nice people.
If you expect them to be kind and caring and good, you are expecting ice cream to fall out of a toaster.
It may be that you have met staff who seem like they are shocked and saddened by the conditions they witness. They may talk about how things are unfair and how the situation needs to change. They may even try to address some conditions that they think are too much. They take no personal joy from the suffering they see and they make it clear that they are “only doing their jobs.”
And that is the point, isn’t it? They do their jobs. They work, they keep it going, and they receive their pay-checks for doing “their jobs.” Their jobs include keeping you in “debility, dependence, and dread.” So “their jobs” are to serve the “tormentor” and they do those jobs, despite the harm it will cause you.
We must also consider that everyone working for this machine knows what it does to you. Hundreds of studies have shown again and again how isolation causes mental illness in humans. But more than that, by the manuals that were written, we know that’s what it’s designed to do. This is no mistake. This is no accidental result that happens again and again and again, any more than a Toyota Camry “accidentally” comes off the end of the assembly line at the factory over and over and over again.
The factory makes cars. It’s designed to. The isolation unit makes broken minds. It’s designed to.
And beyond that, think about it: Why is this “resource” being written? It’s being written because staff at the CIIC recognize that the brutal, harsh conditions of isolation are causing prisoners to become mentally ill so, rather than end the practice of driving prisoners insane, they opt to give you advice from prisoners who have survived a process designed to drive them insane. That speaks loudly. Would “kind,” “caring,” “concerned,” “nice” people work with every ounce of their beings to shut down a torture machine, or would they hand its victims a well-produced brochure?
So, for our purposes of staying sane and seeing the situation as it is, recognizing reality so we can act in our own best interests, we have to set aside false ideas that really do not fit, that do not serve us honestly. We have to use words that paint an accurate picture.
You have an enemy. Your enemy is evil–evil personified, and it takes someone evil to engage in torture. Your evil enemy intends to torture you for a long, long time, until your mind is broken. The best you can hope for is for the most sympathetic people to hand you advice on how to survive their “simple torture situation.” You can only count on you at this point.
“The State has never any object but to limit the individual, to tame him, to subordinate him, to subject him to something general; it lasts only so long as the individual is not all in all, and is only the clearcut limitation of me, my limitedness, my slavery.” –Max Stirner
You may ask, “Why do I want to face this? It feels very hopeless.” What we’ve done so far is simply an inventory of your reality. You have some serious forces stacked against you. But you aren’t better off if you don’t see it or if you ignore it. You aren’t in a better place if you convince yourself of some fairie tale, some myth that your enemy feeds you to keep you asleep and “under control.” If you buy into those lies and let them guide you, the damage you will experience will be the same; the only difference will be that your actions will be more predictable and more of a benefit for the torture machine to keep going and going and going.
If you buy into the false idea that your “tormenters” (the government’s word, remember) are the “good guys,” and you “put yourself here,” and you “deserve” this (whatever “this” is), and this trauma is to “correct” you or make you “better” or “teach you a (pro-social) lesson,” you will experience the same trauma as everyone who has the courage to face the truth. The only differences will be that (1) you won’t know why this is happening, (2) you won’t be able to figure out how to prevent your enemy from succeeding because you won’t see what your enemy is really trying to do to you, and (3) you won’t be able to act in your own best interests because you misunderstand your reality.
So, by facing this reality, you will be establishing a principle that’s absolutely crucial for maintaining your sanity. It’s this: Always seek the truth, no matter how bad it is.
One way to think of this is a scene from the movie, “The Matrix.” The main character, Neo, meets Morpheus, who offers Neo the chance to know the truth. If Neo chooses the red pill, he wakes up to reality. If he chooses the blue pill, he remains asleep.
If you want to get through “the simple torture situation” and survive what your “tormentor” does to you, choose the red pill.
Always choose the red pill.
Once your eyes are open, it gives you things to think about. You can look at every experience, every single element of your situation, and you can ask yourself, “Why is the enemy doing this to me? How is this supposed to make me feel? How is this supposed to impact my mind and my health and my struggle? How can I respond to this in a way that serves my survival and my long-term success?
For instance: Have you ever noticed that most segregation units are freezing cold all year around? Why is that? Why does the enemy keep you intolerably cold? First, there’s the discomfort so, on the most basic level, your enemy simply wants you to suffer. But second, cold people will seek to get warm and the only feasible strategy for that in segregation is to get under your covers; you remain inactive in bed. This serves the enemy in several ways:
1. Inactive people burn fewer calories, so the enemy can cut your food portions and you won’t lose weight. Your enemy saves money on food.
2. If you’re laying in bed, you’re not doing something else. You’re not writing letters or building muscles or sharing ideas or building unity or writing an inspiring poem.
3. People laying in bed will sleep, and sleeping people’s behavior is predictable.
4. Constant cold has a psychological impact, as it wears on your morale and makes you feel hopeless. It contributes to the assault on your mind.
Once you recognize this and see the truth of it, what can you do? Well, for a start, simply knowing what is being done to you (and knowing why) makes the intolerable a bit more tolerable. The cold is a tactic being used on you. And when you know your enemy’s designs, you can use your head to prevent his success.
How? Two ways. There are actions you can take to “adjust to the conditions,” and actions you can take to “change the conditions.”
Actions you can take to adjust to the conditions would be to find alternatives for staying warm. If you have 3 pairs of socks, wear 2 of them and use the third pair as mittens so you can stay up, stay awake, read and write. You can wrap blankets around you while you pace the floor. You can write a poem or a rap and between verses you do push ups–this keeps you in shape and keeps you warm. You can pace and think and get a good understanding of the situation you face, and then share your insight with other prisoners so they too have the tools to effectively struggle and maintain. You can read literature from others who share your perspective and write to them, finding ways to cooperate and build relationships and start projects.
Which leads to actions that “change the conditions.” You may decide that adjusting to conditions isn’t good enough; you want the conditions to change. Rather than wrapping yourself in blankets, you want to make the enemy’s torture machine turn the heat up. This is a very different approach from “adjusting.”
What can you do to make the torture machine turn up the heat? And, at the same time, within that question is another question: What can you do to stand up for your dignity and affirm your human value and combat the forces that work toward your destruction? And still another question: What can you do to take a healthy and affirmative approach to exercise your own personal power in order to change the world for the better and give yourself something to seel a sense of accomplishment?
There exists a prison grievance process, but this is an open joke among prisoners and staff alike. The grievance process serves to misdirect prisoners from engaging in any effective response to wrongs and serves as a kind of gauntlet where prison officials can identify future possible lawsuits and employ a harassment campaign to coerce potential prisoner litigants to give up. At its best, the grievance process represents an effort to get a career prisoncrat to declare that other career prisoncrats wronged a convicted felon no one cares about.
Being able to see the grievance process as a tool of your enemy’s program liberates you to think of other ways to exercise your personal power to change conditions. What else can you do?
Individual actions are very limited. The enemy has a vast machine. So, it is a good idea to build a working group, a collective of prisoners who cooperate in struggle. The larger the number of prisoners willing to struggle, the more collective power you can bring against the enemy.
Mention must be made here that your enemy may appeal to “rules” that the enemy imposes in order to keep you powerless while trapped in the torture machine. In reality, these rules do not exist. The enemy appeals to “rules” as part of his false mythology that he is “the good guy” and you are “the bad guy,” that he is “correcting” you because you are “maladjusted,” that all of this is for “your own good” and you “did this to yourself” and these “rules are necessary.”
Reality is quite the opposite. Your enemy tortures human beings. Your enemy is evil personified. Anyone who tortures has no respect for laws or rules or morals or the basic foundations of human relations, so any appeal to “rules” is really a trick, a manipulation to get you to abandon any strategy that would be effective for forcing real, substantive change. In reality, it is not “moral” or “right” to abide by the enemy’s “rules” and abandon efforts to stop his evil agenda. In fact, it can easily be argued that you have a moral duty, an ethical responsibility to stop torturers by what Malcolm X referred to as “any means necessary.” Your inaction, your following the “rules,” guarantees that others will be tortured and destroyed, perhaps generation after generation, their minds mangled by a machine designed to tear apart human beings from the inside out.
It is both immoral and psychologically unhealthy not to resist evil.
So, from this view, it becomes necessary to engage the enemy in the most effective way to save the most lives. To do that, you must bring pressure, leverage upon your enemy. To borrow from his own playbook, you must make his situation “intolerable,” and creat the situation where torturing you (or continuing those conditions you most wish to change) becomes more costly, more painful, and more troublesome than meeting your demands.
From a lockdown isolation unit there is little that can be done. However, those tactics that can be engaged can be very effective.
For instance, prisoners can simultaneously flush toilets and break pipes. Plumbing is designed to hold only a certain amount of water flow. Repeatedly breaking the pipes becomes costly, time-consuming, and disruptive for the enemy.
Also, prisoners can block cell door windows and barricade cells, requiring the enemy to summon cell-extraction teams. This becomes costly, time-consuming and disruptive.
These kinds of tactics are most effective if sustained by large numbers of prisoners over a duration of time.
From a superficial analysis, this kind of approach could be seen as “self-defeating” or “maladjusted,” particularly if someone sees the torturer’s system as legitimate. Persons under this kind of delusion would be horrified by this advice and would instead urge prisoners to go along with the program, to be the proverbial “good Germans,” little Adolf Eichmanns following orders and keeping the program going. Their position is built upon the false belief that “good behavior,” i.e., conduct that does not disrupt the torture machine’s efficiency, is rewarded, while “bad behavior,” i.e., conduct that disrupts the torture machine’s efficiency is punished appropriately.
This myth is so provably absurd it does not even merit a response.
However it must be pointed out that there is what seems to be a contradiction–since resistance will provoke a state response, is it not fair to say that engaging in struggle is not acting in one’s own best interests? This is a valid question, and the answer depends upo whether you look at your short-term, immediate interests, or whether you look at your long-term, larger interests. Do you care more about your immediate situation, your immediate personal comfort? If so, then you serve those interests better by going along with the enemy’s torture program and helping his evil agenda continue. But if you care about your sanity–which is really the important prioty, the true topic of all of this–then you must act in a way that preserves your dignity, your principles, and your sense of justice by exercising personal power and contributing to a greater good, even at the expense of your immediate well-being.
To give an example of this conflict of interests, consider a hunger-striker who suffers hunger and diminished health in order to force the enemy to meet important demands related to human dignity. One may argue that it is “insane” for the hunger-striker to harm self, that long-term sanity cannot be served if the hunger-striker starves to death. But from another view, the hunger-striker sees the “harm” of hunger and health effects far outweighed by the greater “harm” caused by the conditions that the hunger-striker struggles to change.
This is a far more valid conception from a mental health perspective, though an uneasy and uncomfortable one for apologists of state power since, by this conception, “suicide bombers” can be understood as engaging in a perfectly healthy response, from a psychological perspective, if the so-called “suicide bombers” are acting under a firm belief that their actions will result in changes that will benefit their children or future generations. In that way, a suicide bomber, psychologically speaking, would be no different from a soldier jumping onto a grenade to save his platoon, except one is a bit more assertive and proactive.
Concusion: Psychological Necessity of Revolutionary Violence
As a final note, those who defend the torture machine may object that the approach advocated here “promotes violence.” Again, this analysis proceeds from the delusion that the torturers are “good” and “valid” and “right.”
A more accurate assessment is to say that the stat itself is violence. Its every component is violence, from its means for maintaining itself to every project the state undertakes.
The state maintains itself through taxation: Pay, or else. It compels obedience: Obey the laws, or else. It defends the economic status quo and its ruling elite: Work, or else. It has now intruded into our mental lives, dictating what we can think and believe (or else). So, in this context, even the state’s most “benevolent” “service,” at base, rests upon a billy-club, a shot-gun, or an Apache attack helicopter.
In light of this, there is never an absence of violence so long as the state exists. The state makes violence inevitable. The only question is whether the state will be unilaterally punching the subjects in the frace, as it has for centuries, or whether the subjects will be punching the state back.
If peace, the absence of violence, can only be achieved in the absence of the state, which is itself violence, then with any action undertaken to limit or diminish the state, no matter how “violent” the action, the cause of peace is better served. This is not really an opinion, but is an objective observation of fact that really isn’t disputable.
If someone wants peace and not violence, it’s necessary to tear down the state’s torture machine. This is not just a matter of social justice, morality, or political theory, but is an indispensible approach for the maintenance of individual mental health for those trapped in the “simple torture situation.”
*All quotes in text taken from the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Sean Swain is a prisoner in Ohio State penitentiary and a regular contributor to Fubar. He does not have computer access and cannot receive email. Sean’s website http://seanswain.org is maintained by his supporters.
Sean’s address is:
Sean Swain 243205
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd.
Youngstown OH 44505
How prisoners overwhelmed fascist forces in the July 4th rebellion at ManCI. A participant’s account from inside the special manglement unit. (Follow up to this post.)
Ghandi would not approve.
It’s 11 July 13, 8 days since my last dispatch when Blackjack was strapping the plastic lunch tray to his arm. Since then, its’ been a rough-and-tumble bucket-o-blood back here in the Special Manglement Unit of Mansfield Corruptional Institution. Backjack’s missing 3 teeth (that he really doesn’t use much back here anyway) and my stomach injuries had me puking for a time (no blood, a good sign), but as of today, neither of us are leaking fluids and the fascist fuckweasels have now moved us to the veritable suburbs of the SMU.
This is the whole story, and most of it is true.
July 4 began with emergency lockdown, the fascists all hopped up on adrenaline, coffee, and the news of the escape that happened the previous night. Turns out, a prisoner escaped the old-fashioned way. He leaned a steel ladder against the fence and left. No shit.
But as with any other situation where popular forces strike a successful blow against the fuckweasel control system, those of us still locked in the showbox take the full brunt of it. Breakfast was shit and there was no recreation. So even before Warden Terry Tibbals, a.k.a, BLACK LIGHTNING, arrived at his office with his bag of donuts and cup of decaf, all hell had already broke loose in the Special Manglement Unit.
Forty steel doors banging, busted sprinkler heads pounding thousands of gallons of rusty water down the stairs and cascading over the top range, the nazis jacking cans of pepper spray and running for the exit.
Fuck them. It’s not like they planned to have a barbecue anyway.
So, if you’ve been locked in the shoebox for any length of time, you know what’s coming. A captain or a major will soon be on-station to announce his own importance, only to find every fucking cell-door window blocked and barricaded, whereupon he will slosh with wet socks and shoes back to an office to call in the Extraction Team- a crew of genetic oddities on brain-entrancing drugs, clad in jackboots and helmets, shields and flak vests. Their whole reason to exist is to crush human skulls and reckless abandon, cell-to-cell, breaking bones and spirits, but from the rumbling of the steel doors, we knew they’d better get some chips and beer because they were gonna be there a while.
In SMU4B, Blackjack and I occupied the cell closest to the entrance so by dumb luck and a twist of fate, we were the front line of the very first battle, ground zero in the struggle between the rebellion and the goddamn stormtroopers goose-stepping in mechanical unison, hopped up on their innate hatred of humanity and the echoes of unhappy childhoods.
It would be seven on two, close quarters blind fighting, the hierarch machine coming to exterminate the anarchist tendency once and for all, and for our part, the possibility that we would fight and die, not for some inglorious cause, but driven by the simple sad reality that it’s better to fight and perhaps die than to live as slaves.
Blackjack and I took a quick inventory and came up with an impromptu battle plan. They might kill us, might pound us to death, but they were going to know we were here. The least we could do on the way out, with the snapping of bones and growls of rage, is scar these fascist fuckweasels for life so they wake up from sweaty nightmares decades from now and realize that yet against they’ve shit the bd, screaming my name, “SWAIN!”, since no one know who to pronounce Blackjack’s (Blackjack included).
WELCOME TO WACO
We know how it goes down. The Extraction Team opens the food slot and sprays an industrial sized can of outdoor-use-only pepper spray into the cell, a space the size of a bathroom, blasting some napalm-death that peels off skin and lights the lungs on fire. So we had to prepare for that. Then, they’d key the door and bullrush in, a phalanx behind riot shields and helmets, pounding ahead and crushing anything organic in their way. At least 7 of them, taming, breaking, punishing.
We had to stop that too.
The fascist fuckweasels had the latest technology for violence and brutality. We had a plastic bag, styrofoam cups, shampoo, toothpaste, sheets, blankets, a broom, socks, soap, 2 lunch trays, a razor blade and a stapler.
I don’t know where the fuck we got the stapler but it was brand new and had a full compliment of staples. We quickly concluded that the stapler, while convenient for all our segregation office needs, really proved quite irrelevant in a violent struggle for liberation against the forces of fuckweaselry. But all that other shit could kick a fucking dent in their machinery.
By the time those goose-stepping goons arrived, we were prepared- and the fascists would wish they could trade places with ATF agents crawling across the roof of some half-baked cult leader clinging to his bibles and guns in a podunk Texas town.
Welcome to Waco.
THE STANDOFF – NO SCRATCH THAT: THE EPIC MOTHERFUCKING STAND-OFF TO END ALL STAND-OFFS
If you’re reading this on your I-phone in study hall, don’t try this at home.
Well, unless you really, really hate your parents.
Unable to see into the cell because the window in the cell door was blocked, the fascists opened the food slot, only to find a bed sheet hanging in front of the door. They still couldn’t see. On top of that, a blanket was wedged in the 4 inch frame of the outside window with a roll of toilet paper to block the light from the sun, making the cell pitch dark. The lead fuckweasel reached his hand into the food slot to grab the sheet and yank it down, only to take a bar of soap in a sock across the knuckles, quickly withdrawing his hand in a stream of obscenities.
I was a pitcher in little league. I can swing the shit out of a sock.
Angered, they went straight to the pepper-spray, letting loose with about a gallon of it. What they didn’t know is that we used a whole tube of toothpaste, minty fresh and approved by the American Dental Association, to adhere a plastic bag over the food slot. That bag caught every bit of the pepper spray and when I hit that bag with the soap-in-a-sock, it coughed its contents right back at the fuckweasels who unleashed it.
That sent them running and sprawling into the cascading toilet water, coughing and cussing with gallons of snot pouring down the flesh of their inflamed faces.
Cancel the family outing with the fireworks. You’re not gonna be feeling very festive.
So as they splashed in the toilet water and rinsed their faces, the door rattling reached a savage pitch and I knew the maniacs and wildmen behind those steel doors were chewing on the inside of their own mouths just to get the taste of blood.
And here’s an abject lesson for all the forces of fascism from the colonizer troops in the oil wars to the pigs firing rubber bullets into occupy encampments to the fuckweasel prison guards imposing the program at the hot end of a can of pepper spray: It’s all fun and games until someone loses and eye. And then it’s just FUN.
They formed up, fueled on rage and pain, a seething hate machine, and keyed the door. It swung wide open and they came in behind the shield, into the dark unknown. They still could not see because the sheet wasn’t fastened to the door; it didn’t move when the door moved. It remained in the doorway because we hung the sheet from a curtain rod we created out of styrofoam cups- a lot of styrofoam cups, stacked, like 50 of them, and then wedged them into the door frame. So when they came marching into the battle dome, they came in blind with the sheet draped in front of their faces.
They didn’t see the shampoo on the floor or the plastic cup lids floating in the shampoo. The shield-man’s jackboots slid on the cup lids and we went hydro-planing forward, shoved from behind by the six-man phalanx that followed.
Keep in mind, there’s a steel bunkbed 3 feet in from the door and it’s bolted to the floor, creating a bottle-neck, a 3 foot square killing-floor where the goons must come in single-file across shampoo and cup lids sliding under their feet, as they follow a blinded shield-man into a dark room, a sheet hanging in his face.
The shield-man didn’t see me in the shower, pulling the trip line tight. It caught his foot and he fell forward, his fuckweasel friends piling up behind him. Blackjack and I both began yelling, “I got him! I got him!” and “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” giving the impression that the shield-man hadn’t fallen, but had instead tackled one of us.
I let go of the trip line and pulled the strip of sheet we had cut with the razor blade to hook into the sprinkler. I yanked it hard, unleashing thousands of gallons of black gunk fire suppressant pushed by tens of thousands of gallons of water. It was cold and disorienting and blinding, immediately blasting the pile of fuckweasels like a fire-hose from the ceiling.
That was Blackjack’s cue. They hadn’t seen him under the mattress on the top bunk. He sprang to his feet, all possible pepper-spray neutralized by the water filling the air, and with his half of the broomstick secured to his wrist with a strip of bedsheet (just in case he might drop it, he could recall it to his hand with a flick of the wrist) he leaped down from the top rack onto the fuckweasel heap, swinging like a madman. From the opposite side, out of the shower, I rushed into the maelstrom with my half of the broomstick tied to my wrist, and the soap-in-a-sock in my other hand screaming and snarling like a savage. In no time, we were behind the bewildered pile of drenched muscle and heavy equipment, and we bolted for the door.
Fuck everything else. If we got through the open cell door and out into the block, we faced one guard with a cell phone taking video and another guard with a handful of keys.
Yeah. Keys. The great equalizer. We had 2 primitive clubs in our fists, rags wrapped round our faces, and as many as 78 other comrades trapped behind steel doors – doors that could be opened with those keys. We only had to get out of the cell and lock the extraction team inside. But, as we reached the door, the fuckweasels outside the cell dropped everything and threw themselves against the closing door. Blackjack got his club wedged in to keep it from closing as he struggled against the door, I swung on the extraction team trying to regain their feet, and a helmet flew against the wall.
Unfortunately, there was no head inside it.
Maybe next time.
Blackjack thrust against the door and it gave, knocking down the guards on the outside, and we tumbled out of the cell and into the block, the rattling doors and cheers completely deafening. We crawled forward in the ice-cold water and gunk, clawing at the fallen guards, but before we gained purchase, the extraction team had us by the legs, dragging us back into the containment of the cell, our nails dragging on the concrete, one pig’s tasteful yet understated loafer still gripped in my left hand, pepper spray firing from every direction.
Strange, but they didn’t beat us to death. Sure, they got their random kicks and punches in as they held us down and confiscated our weapons, but then they bolted, leaving us sprawled, broken and bloody in a flood of toilet water on the concrete floor.
It was surprisingly comfortable, but I still had all my teeth. As amazing as this is, with all the damage the fascist fuckweasels have inflicted over the decades, the dentist tells me that my teeth are in fantastic shape. Blackjack’s missing 3 teeth. We couldn’t find them. And, even if we could, they had been floating in toilet water.
I pulled something in my abdomen that caused me to puke from the pain for a few days and we both have scorch marks from random pepper-spray blasts, but no broken bones. Our eyes are still firmly in their sockets, and neither of us appear to be leaking any vital fluids.
It took a long time for the fascists to regain control of SMU 4, as they faced inspired and courageous resistance in every fucking cell. The extraction team left the unit at the end of their shift dispirited and haunted by their experience.
Brave new world, shitbags. Brave new motherfuckin’ world.
We should be dead right now. I mean, several prisoners died here in Terry “Black Lightning” Tibbals’ mismanaged care for a hell of a lot less. Our survival seems a complete absurdity. But here we are.
The official story is that the video of events was lost when the pig dropped the cell phone in his effort to contain us in Cell 1019. I suspect that’s bullshit. I suspect that nobody wants to explain why we had a broomstick in the first place (general incompetence by the pigs on cell-cleaning day), or why the extraction team marched into a cell without visual capacity, or how to starved-out captives out-manoeuvred and out-fought their best fuckweasel fighting force. Whatever their motive, I’ve been told that these events didn’t happen… not the way they happened, anyway.
HELLA HELLA OCCUPY
Four days later, we remained in a burned out shell of a cell, paint peeled from the walls, chunks of concrete missing out of the ceiling. So on July 8, as Pelican Bay revolutionaries undertook a monumental, historic hunger-strike, Blackjack and I were cuffed and escorted out to the outdoor recreation cage. No shit.
Beginning at 6:30 in the morning, we announced to the fuckweasel establishment that we were occupying the recreation cage and not giving it back until our demands were met. Inside the block, the rest of the SMU4 prisoners were again off the chain, rattling doors and flooding the unit. By dinner, they sent in a negotiator to use his “interpersonal communication” training to talk us out of the cage. When that failed, they called the extraction team… who simply did not show up.
Officer Miller, a shitbag of the highest order and a regular feature on SMU4 (who can be reached by calling ManCI and then dialing 806 and extension 6101), took a cell phone video of our demands for coming out of the recreation cage. When told all demands would be met, we surrendered, only to be dragged, handcuffed, back to our burned-out cave to find our food in the toilet and most of our property destroyed. Miller and Bradshaw had taken all of our soap, toilet paper and pens. As if we needed them.
Amazingly, the stapler we hid under the steel sink and toilet combo remained there, and was in perfect working condition.
Officer Miller threatened to put his dick and balls in our food, so- as a natural consequence, Blackjack and I went without food the entire day, right along with the heroes of Pelican Bay and the thousands of hunger strikers across the country and around the world. Miller’s threats sparked a night of mayhem, leading the Gestapo High Command to conclude that Blackjack and I are a dangerous influence, and they moved us out of that stagnant cave in SMU 4 to the veritable zombie suburbs of SMU2- a comfortable peaceful corner of the special manglement unit where we are surrounded by prisoners incapable of action if you lit their asses on fire and chased them with a super-soaker filled with gasoline. The mentality of the entire unit revolves around a betting ticket put out by a prisoner called Vegas, and daily discussions of professional sports events. No revolution here.
Though we’ve been put out to pasture, the situation has greatly improved. Our food portions are back to standard; the laundry service has resumed; the cells are clean and dry, without toilet water pouring from the ceiling; and Blackjack and I are now in a cell where we can sleep without steel doors 3 feet away, banging us awake every ½ hour.
Some kind of disciplinary action was taken against us, but we don’t know what it was since we refuse to answer any more conduct reports. When the officer who came to shackle us heard we refused to go, he asked, “Are we gonna have to do this the hard way?” We responded, “you better go ask the extraction team.” He left, never returned.
So, there’s a lesson to derive from all this: the only effective answer to state terror in any form is equal and opposite revolutionary violence. Plain and simple. It’s the only thing the fascist fuckweasels understand.
I think of the last 9 and a half months that Blackjack and I foolishly tried to go along with the fascist program, to appeal to reason, to employ the non-violent processes made available to us – while our captors reduced us to conditions that where inhumane and intolerable, starving us out. If only we had undertaken this path nine months earlier, and maintained it, we might be drinking martinis by an olympic-sized swimming pool right now.
A point Derrick Jensen made in Endgame applies here: more prisoners of the Nazi concentration camps survived by resisting than by going along with the program.*
So I think about the events of these last 8 days and consider how the world would be different if this approach had been undertaken by the occupy encampments across the US and around the world, undertaken by everyone rejecting the global concentration camp imposed on us all. Imagine if the skull-bashing and finger snapping pigs of the State-terror machine, instead of being met with passive resistance to the dismantling of the encampments, had been met with molotov cocktails and bowling balls raining from roof tops; and resisters sporting helmets shoulder pads, and baseball bats appropriated from Dick’s sporting goods; or had faced man-hole covers blasting into the sky and streets collapsing under them from improvised explosive devices in the sewers – perhaps the trajectory of history would be quite different today.
All I’m saying is, if a former gas station attendant and a former sandwich station tech at Wendy’s can nearly defeat the hyper-fascist forces inside the State’s mind-fuck control unit by employing styrofoam cups, a tube of toothpaste, and a broken broomstick, what hope exists for the crapitalist pigs and their fuckweasel enforcers? If only a small fraction of so-called anarchists, revolutionaries, freedom-fighters, libertarians, tea-partiers or occupy supporters got serious for a moment, all the world’s officer Millers would have to remove their balls from our instant potatoes and run naked, screaming for their miserable and worthless lives, chased by angry hordes carrying pitchforks and torches, demanding a reckoning. I don’t want to impress you. I don’t even want to inspire you. I just want to wake you up. The state is a can of pepper-spray and there’s no reasoning with it. Freedom means destroying it.
We don’t need Gandhi’s approval. This is reality, however it is we feel about it. We need Gandhi to pass that tube of toothpaste and get that lunch tray strapped to his arm.
This is how you take back the future.
Brave new motherfucking world, Mohandas. Brave new motherfucking world.
Freedom or Death,
Anarchist Prisoner of War
Mansfield Corruptional Institution
Super Mind-fuck Unit 2
11 July 2013
*BTW Sean doesn’t have access to the internet, so he doesn’t know about DJ being a a transphobic salmon touching turd.
ARMCHAIR ANARCHISTS SUCK- A Response to Trolls on @news.
Irony of ironies- some mush-brained, liberal, state-worshipping hack wrote an online article slamming me as an “oddball” because, like all real anarchists, I want to abolish the state… and who is it that agrees with that state-worshipping hack? Other so-called anarchists.
I ran for governor in Ohio – from prison – on the promise that, if elected, I would employ a number of radical steps that, foresee-ably, would cause the cataclysmic collapse of the state government. It doesn’t surprise me that the state-worshipping hack, his mind mismanaged and pickled in corporate slime, couldn’t comprehend why my campaign was funny. It also doesn’t surprise me that he couldn’t understand why my campaign was also potentially dangerous. So, he dogged me.
Still, I never thought I’d have to explain myself to anarchists. But, it appears that I do. So-called anarchists are now taking shots at me and continuing the smear work of a reformist, state-worshipping hack, making it necessary for me to explain myself and justify my actions to armchair anarchists whose only “action” involves a jar of peanut butter and the family dog. Here goes:
Reasons my campaign was funny:
- I ran for governor from prison. From prison.
- I ran for governor in Ohio, a conservative, republican, backwater shithole, a veritable zombie apocalypse that elected and re-elected George Dubya, arguably the most dangerous sociopath to be president, and Bob Taft, arguably the most dangerous fuckweasel to serve as a governor in the history of fuckweaselry.
- I was proposing to utterly destroy the oppressive state that this lemming population utterly idolizes, and I was promising to burn down their beloved capitalist system with a can of gasoline and a book of matches.
In short, I was saying everything I could possibly say to not get elected. But the campaign was also potentially dangerous because:
- It was funny and it was a mockery of the electoral and political system – and nothing is more dangerous to “authority” and “prestige” than laughter.
- This stunt got regional and even national media coverage, which created the chance for people to read my writings and perhaps begin to actually question the legitimacy of the state.
- It drove the prison fascists absolutely ape-shit.
Other prisoners knew why it was funny. It made me a minor celebrity. Whereas, before my campaign, I was “that anarchist guy” and nobody quite understood what anarchy was, my campaign made prisoners curious and before long, young black prisoners from the inner-city and from conflicting gang backgrounds were reading Berkman, Kropotkin, Proudhon, Sterner, Goldman, Bakunin, Parsons, and DeCleyre. They had a prison-wide revolution library. Some of them began a writing collective called The Conditions Factory (from a quote by George Jackson, “where the conditions for revolution are not present, they must be manufactured”).None of these prisoners have gone back to sleep. None of them have resumed their assigned seats.
So here I am, years later, still in direct conflict with the fascist fuckweasels. I’ve got the scars to prove it. I’m kicking and punching and drawing blood – fighting for your liberation and mine, fighting so fucking long now that I’m fighting because I don’t remember how to do anything else; I’ve been pegged as the creator of the Army of the 12 Monkeys because, out of 50,000 Ohio prisoners, the fascist fuckweasels concluded that I am the only one who could have done this to them.
I’m not telling you that I’m the most dangerous revolutionary locked up in the State of Ohio…
The State of Ohio is.
So do I get a unified anarchist army coming to my defense, organizing in solidarity, rising up to defy the mind-fuck machine? No. I get sniped by so-called anarchists who want to help a hierarch propagandist throw me under the bus… and they’re doing it now, when I’m more in need of solidarity from real anarchists than ever before.
I have to cut this short because here on the former death row, toilet water is pouring down the walls from the cells above us; Blackjack is strapping a plastic food tray to his arm with a sheet for use as a shield. It’s hard to see through the fog of tear gas. We still have to barricade the door because the fascists with their helmets and shields and weapons are about to march into the special management unit, and all we’ve got are bars of soap in socks and our bare hands to fight back. I can hear 30 raging fists pounding on steel doors, awaiting the clash, toilet water ankle deep on the storm troopers’ jackboots.
Happy Fourth of July.
Not trying to offend anyone here, but to all the armchair anarchists out there who aren’t surviving on a steady diet of teargas and blood: why don’t you stop typing that witty punchline, wipe the peanut butter off your balls, shove the dog to the side, and do something… just an idea. If I live through this, I’ll write more later. The state will get tired of killing us before we get tired of dying.
Freedom or Death,
Anarchist Prisoner of War
Special Management Unit
Mansfield Corruptional Institution
July 4, 2013
We are all Mohammed Bouazizi
On December 17, 2010, a Tunisian merchant denied the opportunity to make a living, to simply sell his wares to fee himself and his mother; lit himself on fire. He immolated himself as an act of frustration, helplessness, and protest against the government corruption that created a barrier between him and a dignified life he struggled to achieve.
His name was Mohammed Bouazizi.
In a just, fair, sane world, no one would identify with a man who lit himself on fire. In a just, fair, sane world, such an action would be seen as an act of someone emotionally disturbed.
But we don’t live in a just, fair, sane world. We live in a world defined by injustice, defined by unfairness, and defined by insanity. We live in a world so utterly broken that, when Mohammed Bouazizi became visible for the first and only time in his life by how he chose to die, millions of people the world over understood exactly how he felt. Millions understood immediately what drove him to burn himself alive as one final symbolic statement no one could misinterpret.
We are all made invisible inside a complex machine of global crapitalism. We are all disposable to the select few opportunists who assume the right to rule us. Our so-called “rights” don’t matter; and where rights don’t matter, they don’t really exist.
We are not free; we are constantly under control and under surveillance. We have no power over even the basic necessities of our lives: our homes are constructed by someone else’s designs; our clothing is fashioned by someone else’s tastes; our food is prepared by strangers and filled with materials we can’t identify or pronounce, our jobs are more internationally mobile than we can afford to be.
We have the right to be invisible.
We have the right to be unheard.
We have the right to drag stones up the side of someone else’s pyramid.
That is the unjust, unfair, insane world in which we live – The very circumstance that drove Mohammed Bouazizi to make his final statement with fire. When we are denied the right to live with dignity and meaning and purpose but we are instead reduced to objects, to labor-machines, to slaves who toil and shop in service of markets (and those who run them).
We are denied lives. We are delegated instead an existence that feels intolerable. It takes all we have and more just to maintain, to keep from screaming out loud, from running away from the slow-roasting trauma of day-to-day death.
Mohammed Bouazizi lit himself on fire because he felt that way. But he believed he was invisible. He believed he was alone. He had no way to know that millions felt the same way he did.
Mohammed Bouazizi lit himself on fire because the millions of us didn’t know he felt that way. We couldn’t see him. We had no way to let him know he wasn’t alone, that millions of us feel the same way he did.
But by the fire that Mohammed Bouazizi lit, we can see each other now. And we can see ourselves. We know we are not alone. We are millions. Our world is unjust, unfair, and insane.
So the only question that remains is:
What are we going to do about it?
May 1, 2013.
*I wanted to write this in part to correct errors in past articles where I inaccurately described Mohammed Bouazizi as Egyptian, when he is not. I felt it important to honor Mohammed Bouazizi, and to honor all of us.
Dear Mr. Basquin:
I write this letter to you further to my disciplinary appeal that is pending before you so that you will know, before the eyes of the world, the full implications of what you are about to do to me. Before sending to you this copy, I have sent a copy for posting to the worldwide web. I have no doubt that you or your boss, Warden Terry A Tibbals, will concoct a rationale for blocking my outgoing mail in order to silence me, but this letter will already be out, and the world will already know the truth, the story of what you participated in doing to me.
This is the story the world will know:
I am a Neolithic Indigenist. That is my religion. I converted to Neolithic Indigenism here at Manci and your chaplains, both formally trained in religion, provided state recognition of my faith system. As my multi-page affidavit reveals- on file in the chaplain’s office- a Neolithic Indigenist rejects, on religious principle, the hierarchical ordering of society as unnatural and against the will of our Creator. Neolithic Indigenists, as consciously tribal people, reject hierarchy. In that way, every indigenist is “against hierarchy,” and is therefore, de facto, an “an-” “-arch” (stratified organization).
I have a right to this religious belief. To Warden Tibbal’s credit, his administration has not only recognized the validity of my religion but has personally approved a religious accommodation for me as a Neolithic Indigenist, allowing me to refrain from cutting my hair. All these documents are on file with the chaplain. If they mysteriously disappear, I have copies soon to be posted online that have the chaplain’s and warden’s signatures.
Unfortunately, Manci investigator Angela M. Hunsinger has not been so accommodating. Her office has persecuted me for my deeply-held spiritual beliefs despite my several efforts to persuade her to stop. She has had me profiled on the “gang list,” despite the absence of any disciplinary action for gang activity, contrary to stated DRC policy. Her reason for violating policy and statute to keep me on the gang list? My thoughtful, spiritual, principled rejection of the hierarch system.
To my knowledge, I am the only Ohio prisoner to be persecuted this way, to be labeled as a gang member, absent gang activity, on the basis of a recognized religious belief recognized by the state.
Recently, Angela M Hunsinger took this religious intolerance and persecution to a new level by declaring the spiritual rejection of hierarchy to be a crime. That means being an “an-arch,” and thereby, being a Neolithic Indegenist, is criminal activity.
“An-archs” are the new Jews.
I refer you to Manci-12-007219, the disciplinary case against me for gang activity, inciting a riot, and using mail to further criminal activity. These charges were brought against me by Investigator Angela M Hunsinger, ostensibly for my alleged participation in the Army of the 12 Monkeys.
For those reading online who are unfamiliar, The Army of the 12 Monkeys emerged here at Manci about the beginning of September. Flyers, pamphlets, and manuals circulated on the compound by the thousands, promoting sabotage and destruction. Locks were jammed and other disruptions occurred.
On September 19, only seven days after my security status was lowered as a reward for my model conduct and I was recommended to go to Marion Correctional, I was placed under investigation by Angela M Hunsinger, suspected of being the creator of the Army of the 12 Mondays. I was later issued the nine-page conduct report that charged me with gang activity. Inciting a riot, and using mail to further criminal activity.
At my hearing before the Rules Infraction Board on October 24, I questioned Angela M Hunsinger. In her testimony she admitted that there is no evidence to indicate that I engaged in any of the nine listed gang “activities.” That means that I was not accused of “gang activity” based upon my activity. According to Angela M Hunsginer, I was accused of “gang activity” because my “ideology” matched the ideology of the Army of the 12 Monkeys.
My “gang activity” was my thinking. My beliefs. I reject hierarchy on spiritual grounds approved by the State of Ohio in a religion given accommodation by Warden Tibbals, but my beliefs are now outlawed, so my “gang activity” was that my beliefs resemble what Angela M Hunsinger supposes that the Army of the 12 Monkeys holds for an ideology.
Angela M Hunsinger appointed herself as an “ideology expert,” then assigned the Army of the 12 Monkeys a comic book villain definition of “anarchy” as an ideology, and has assigned to me the same ideology simple because I reject hierarchy.
Both R.I.B, panel members agreed with Angela M Hunsinger, affirming that being an “An-arch,” one who rejects hierarchy (like a Neolithic Indigenist), is someone who wants “chaos” and “destruction.” Again, “ideology” from a comic book.
On the charge of “inciting a riot,” Angela M Hunsinger admitted under questioning that there was no evidence of any connection between the thousands of pages of 12 Monkey literature and me; that she had discovered the origin of that material and it was not me. To her knowledge, I never had possession of a single page of literature inciting a riot. So what is it that constituted the charge of “inciting a riot”? My “ideology.”
My rejection of hierarchy on spiritual grounds.
The word “anarchist” appears five times in the nine-page conduct report; it appears zero times in the thousands of pages of 12 Monkey literature.
An “ideological” match, according to your self-appointed “ideology expert” and her comic books.
An “ideology” is a framework of thought… like Neolithic Indigenism and its rejection of hierarchy.
Again, anarchists- as defined by Angela M Hunsinger’s comic book- are the new Jews.
On the charge of “using the mail in furtherance of criminal activity,” the supporting facts are that I sent an open letter for publication out to a friend of mine who, like myself, rejects hierarchy in favor of another way of life preferable to him. That open letter criticizes the DRC’s new JPay policy.
The nine-page conduct report refers to JPay four times; the thousands of pages of 12 Monkey literature referred to JPay zero times.
Is it a crime to oppose a policy of the DRC in a published article online? Angela M Hunsinger testified that there was no underlying crime. Both RIB members agreed. Then they found me guilty of all 3 charges, including “using the mail in furtherance of criminal activity.”
What is the implicit crime? Rejecting hierarchy. Anarchists are the new Jews.
It is my hope that counsel will acquire a copy of my hearing for posting online so the world can hear what was done to me. RIB chair, Lt. Dalby, said his mother died 2 weeks previously and he didn’t care about this case; he said he was instructed to find me guilty and it was out of his hands.
Any order to find me guilty, Mr. Basquin, would necessarily come from his supervisor. That supervisor is you, the official currently reviewing my appeal. So now we must ask, why would you order that I be found guilty of gang activity (in the admitted absence of gang activity), and inciting a riot (in the admitted absence of any connection between me and the inciteful materials), and using the mail in furtherance of criminal activity (in the absence of criminal activity)? And that brings us back to JPay.
For everyone reading online who is not familiar with JPay, we should give some background. In August, without warning, the ODRC changed policies related to funds sent to prisoners by those on prisoners’ approved visiting lists. Previously, funds were sent to the prison and processed without charge by the prison cashier. Under the new policy, all prisoner funds must be sent to a private company in Florida called JPay, owned by ODRC Director Gary Mohr’s rich golf buddies. Gary Mohr was previously in the private prison business with Corrections Corporation of America, so he once shared laughs in the locker room with corporate lobbyists for JPay and others.
The problem with the JPay policy is, my elderly parents and my other visitors, and approximately 750,000 Ohio prisoner visitors, entrusted their personal information to the State of Ohio for purposes of being added to prisoners’ approved lists; not so that Gary Mohr could bundle all that private information without the consent of those 750,000 people- including my elderly parents – and give it to JPay for forming a database to check approved visitors.
My parents trusted you with private information. You gave it away to identity pirates in Hollywood, Florida- the pill-popping capital of the world.
So after I wrote a published critique of this illegal get-rich scam and free-world people began to organize a legal challenge, threatening to ruin Gary Mohr’s backroom deal, the Army of the 12 Monkeys mysteriously popped up on the compound, complete with computer-generated flyers and scanned images. And suddenly, the model prisoner slated to go to the most-privileged medium security prison, without any evidence, is found to be the villainous mastermind of this new gang, and he is to be sent to Lucasville, a maximum security prison.
Did Angela M Hunsinger ever check your computer, Mr. Basquin? Did she check your scanner or printer? What about Warden Tibbals’? The reason I ask is, I find it very strange that thousands of pages of inciteful literature could pass through stringent mail monitoring, or that prisoners could get thousands of pages around to every single block. That is unprecedented in all of penal history. So that means your boss is the most inept warden in all of penal history and Angela M Hunsinger, unable to detect and prevent this plot, is the most incompetent prison investigator in all of penal history, or else you were all just taking marching orders to fabricate a rationale for an “ideological” cleansing.
Anarchists are the new Jews.
When you sign off on my disciplinary appeal and send me off to Lucasville at the request of Gary Mohr, to silence me and protect his golf buddies’ ill-gotten profits, you will be participating in an “ideological” cleansing. You will be sending a man to his prearranged death because he was designated by Angela M Hunsinger as an “ideological undesirable” due to his deeply-held spiritual belief that a better world is possible.
You will be participating in my murder, Mr. Basquin.
I say that because Lucasville is long the place of exile where prison administrators send critics and whistle-blowers. I refer you to the case of Timothy “Little Rock” Reed, an Ohio prisoner granted asylum in New Mexico by that state’s Supreme Court when he proved that prison officials conspired to send him back to prison without cause, and send him to Lucasville, where a prearranged plan to murder him was in place. The reason? Reed’s outspoken criticism of Ohio’s prison system.
So, we both know my fate. You are going to deny my disciplinary appeal and affirm the RIB decision, despite no evidence of any rule violations. You are going to play your assigned role in my eventual murder, which we both know is coming. You will participate in my murder because Director Gary Mohr has ordered you to do it, and just like Adolph Eichmann and every Nazi official before you, you will send innocent human beings to their deaths for a moderate salary and mediocre benefits.
So, I have written this, Mr. Basquin, long before any “accident” where I fall over the range, or any “suicide” where I’m found hanging from my bedsheet in a block with no cameras, or any “unsolved” stabbing where I’m found in a pool of my own blood. I have written this, though I possess no psychic abilities, because I know that you, Angela M Hunsinger, Lt. Dalby, and Warden Terry A Tibbals are accomplices to Gary C Mohr’s murder of me, a murder to protect corporate profits.
I have also written this so there is a testimony to who I am, that I am your victim, that I am a man who spoke the truth and believed in his soul that a better world was possible; and for that, you and your co-conspirators plotted my extermination. And that speaks to who you are too.
All of you.
But the world will know.
No one can deny this truth, Mr. Basquin.
Gary Mohr and all of you will murder me, but the eyes of the world will be watching. The world will know who I was… the world will know who all of you are…
No one is going to believe the official lies.
I am reminded of an insignificant merchant in Egypt denied the chance to support himself and his aging mother, who lit himself on fire as a statement of his frustration. Although few knew him, millions identified with this insignificant merchant, and they felt his rage, and they took to the streets; so far, 3 governments have been toppled.
I too am insignificant, but I am a man with 2 elderly parents he loves dearly, and extended family, and loyal, compassionate friends who care deeply and live passionately. I believe in them, and in the people of the world. I believe that when Gary Mohr’s “ideological cleansing” succeeds and I die, that the people of the world will avenge me as they did that merchant in Tahrir Square.
And when they do, there will be nowhere you can go. There will be nowhere any of you can hide. You will all face the world you have systematically robbed and ruined.
You thought the 12 Monkeys were a problem?
Wait until the world avenges your murder of me. Then all of you will confront a problem.
The eyes of the world are watching.
On May 8, 2012, Mansfield Correctional Mailroom Supervisor Lieutenant Reese and the moral, upstanding mailroom staff under his confident command saved the world from certain and devastating cataclysm. They prevented the comic book, V for Vendetta, from entering the prison.
You may say, “but Swain (if you really wrote this, and no is saying you did), a comic book is no danger,” and you may roll your eyes in disbelief. But that’s exactly what I would want you to think.
The U.S. defeated Japan with nuclear bombs and the Viet Cong used guerrilla warfare to defeat their colonizers. The Trojans employed a wooden horse to conquer their foes. Al Queda attacked the U.S., using planes as deadly projectiles.
I intended to bring down the entire Ohio Prison system with a comic book. Yes, a comic book. But I didn’t count on Lt. Reese recognizing the clear and present danger that this cartoon fiction represented. As former Fraudulent Bush would put it, I clearly misunderestimated him.
According to the Notice of Witholding, signed by Warden’s Assistant Scott Basquin, who also did his part to save the world from my nefarious plot, the comic book violated criteria ©(2): “Depicts, encourages, incites, or describes activities which may lead to, the use of physical violence against others.” Mr. Basquin cites an example from page 271 of the comic: “VIOLENCE AGAINST ANOTHER: ‘If you don’t tell us you won’t leave here alive.’”
From what I gather, Mr. Basquin is asserting that this quote (“If you don’t tell us you won’t leave here alive”) would provoke other prisoners and me to engage in physical violence against others.” By his reasoning, that quote is so provocative, I cannot read it.
His judgment is uncanny. It was my intention to pass around this comic book and share that quote from page 271 with 50,000 Ohio prisoners and provoke them all to go absolutely ape-shit crazy. The whole system would collapse, the fences would fall, and our unmitigated chaos would spill into the street. Global capital would collapse, civilization would burn, and dogs and cats would hump each other. Now, with the comic book withheld, I only have this quote written in Mr. Basquin’s handwriting to pass around and use as a potential weapon of mass destruction.
Foiled. Foiled again.
I never suspected the mailroom would catch on. After all, the movie V for Vendetta, which contains the exact same quote as appears on page 271 of the comic, has not only been played here on the MANCI movie channel again and again, but MANCI used prisoners’ own recreation money—my money—to purchase the movie. It is now in the video library and played on a regular rotation to the entire population. Moreover, the movie was shown on network television and potentially every Ohio prisoner saw it, along with the dangerous and provocative quote that Basquin cited (“If you don’t tell us you won’t leave here alive”).
You’re probably thinking, “But Swain (if you really wrote this, and no is saying you did), why not use the movie to provoke the system crash, rather than the comic—especially since the prison plays the movie over and over again? And I would, except you know how reading dialogue from a comic and looking at the cartoon images is far more emotionally stirring than seeing actors speaking the lines in flesh and blood. Comics are so much more realistic than portrayals on film.
So, I will have to go back to the drawing board. My archnemesis Lieutenant Reese has saved the Ohio prison system from impending doom, and has possibly saved the world. I think perhaps he should have a street named after him somewhere. Not all mailroom supervisors would have the wherewithal to seize a comic book.
But the Lieutenant Reeses and Scott Basquins of the world cannot rest on their laurels. There are millions of comic books out there, and if just one of them slips past the vigilant and courageous gate-keepers of the MANCI mailroom, it could be curtains for the entire Ohio prison system, and possibly civilization as we know it.2
* * *
2 I appealed this withholding to the Central Office Screening Committee, a group of fascist fuckweasels who used to keep the population of the Eastern Bloc from reading comic books until after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the appeal I argued, “If a comic book can bring down the entire prison system, pack it up and call it quits.” It appears that if they will not give me this copy of the comic, I will just have to read the copy I already have.
By ____ _____1The letter that follows was written to the investigator at Mansfield Corruptional Institution, the prison official with the responsibility of maintaining what is called the “Security Threat Group” list. I wrote this letter to her because I have been included on this list, which is essentially a “gang” list, even though I have been been involved in any gang or any organization that warrants placement on such a list.
So, if I have never been in a group or organization that has been designated a security threat group, why am I on the list?
There appears to be a pattern of Ohio’s government going out of its way to bend or break its own rules, and to even ignore its own laws, in order to do weird things to me that the government doesn’t do to anyone else. That’s really my principle concern with being placed upon a Security Threat Group list; the government says the list is for one thing, but uses the list for something else entirely.
This may come as a huge shocker, but I have to be the one to say it: The government lies. It lies constantly. And it lies about lying.
So, I wrote the accompanying letter for purposes of trying to persuade the investigator with reason and logic, and sent copies of the letter to the director of the Ohio Department of Retribution and Corruption, and to Governor John Kasich. Given the governor’s recent statements about the government needing to reform its practices and conduct itself in good faith, one might think the governor would have a problem with the prison system using the gang list in order to profile people for their deeply=held beliefs. As a man espousing his own deeply -held beliefs, one might think he would feel some real trepidation about government agencies creating lists of believers.
We will see if he shares my bewilderment.
I’m fairly certain that he won’t.
To put his in a larger context, just in case you don’t care, every police state begins by creating lists of people the government doesn’t like. It usually begins with Anarchists, Jews, and maybe Communists. And as some famous dead guy who was taken to a Nazi concentration camp once said, “When they came to take the others, he didn’t care; when they came to take him, there was no one left to care.
It all starts with a list.
I’m on it.
***1The U.S. courts have stripped Sean Swain of all constitutional protections on the stated basis that Swain “promotes anarchy.” Sean Paul Swain vs. William Fullenkamp, et. al., U.S. District Court Case No. 3:09-CV-02659-JZ; Circuit Court Case No. 10-3755, cert. Denied, Supreme Court Case No. 11-5704. As a consequence, Swain is the only U.S. citizen without free speech rights and cannot have his name associated with published work for fear of reprisals from the fascist police state. So if he wrote this, and no one is saying he did, his name cannot appear in the by-line.
In a free country, this footnote would not be necessary.
Once upon returning home
I found a trailer park where forests had stood,
Cans of humans, shiny and regimented,
Built over corpses of fallen birch and oak,
Dark and vital earth landscaped into lawns
with chain-link fences and plastic sunflowers,
The stench of greasy fast-food bags in car trunks
and lawn-mower gasoline,
Re-runs with laugh tracks seeping out windows
where frogs and crickets once prophesied.
Up ahead in the street, under the glow of halogens,
Crooked fingers of wild grass wiggled
through a crack in the pavement,
Mounting a slow, relentless counter-attack,
And in one gentle caress
filled with a childhood of memory
I whispered to these struggling survivors:
“They can’t get us all.”