The most recent formation of the Denver Anarchist Black Cross has now been active in the Denver metro area for 2 1/2 years. During that time our collective has seen a lot of ebb and flow with our membership and our work. However, the last 6 months of 2011 saw our collective solidify to a consistent membership base. At the close of 2011, we had 11 dues paying members, with three more people expected to complete their membership process sometime in January 2012……..
LONG TERM POLITICAL PRISONER/POW SUPPORT:
One of the mainstays of Anarchist Black Cross work will always be support for long-term imprisoned comrades, classified as political prisoners and prisoners of war. Denver ABC has continued our dedication to supporting our kidnapped warriors through a variety of ways.
Since our inception, Denver ABC has worked to maintain a comprehensive listing of political prisoners and social movement prisoners held captive within the U.S. An electronic version of our listing is continuously updated and available at our blog at denverabc.wordpress.com. An 11th edition of a print version of that listing was made available in November, with a new edition to be made available sometime in January 2012…….
For the second year, Denver ABC maintained a $30 a month stipend for long held Black Liberation prisoner, Mutulu Shakur.support website: http://mutulushakur.com
Near the end of 2011, DABC expanded our monthly stipend program to include another prisoner, Siddique Hasan, a participant in the famed Lucasville Prison uprising that took place in Ohio in 1993.More information on Siddique can be found at: http://denverabc.wordpress.com/political-prisoners-database/siddique-abdullah-hasan/
In July, DABC held our 3rd annual Running Down the Walls 5k benefit for U.S. held political prisoners. The run was held in solidarity with the chapters of the Anarchist Black Cross Federation and other ABC chapters across North America. This year’s run was the most successful by far. 40 participants helped us raise over $1,100. $800 was sent to MOVE prisoner Michael Davis Africa. More information: http://denverabc.wordpress.com/political-prisoners-database/michael-davis-africa/ Our efforts at supporting individual political prisoners also included sending $300 each to the last two members of the United Freedom Front held captive within the United States, Tom Manning and Jaan Laaman. More information on Tom, Jaan, and the United Freedom Front can be found here: http://denverabc.wordpress.com/political-prisoners-database/jaan-karl-laaman/
Our work to support our long held comrades has included a myriad of other programs and initiatives, including participating in a night of action for long term anarchist prisoners which took place on June 11th. DABC members helped plant dozens of flowers throughout Northwest Denver, accompanied by vibrant full color posters explaining the cases of two comrades, Eric McDavid and Marie Mason………
FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER SUPPORT:
The struggle a political prisoner faces does not end once they are released from prison, no matter how long they have been outside of the prison gates. It is with this contention in mind that DABC also believes it is important to support our previously imprisoned comrades. They have lost years of their lives to our social movements, and they deserve our continued support……..
PRISON ABOLITION/MIGRANT DEFENSE:
Throughout 2011, Denver ABC continued our commitment to supporting local movements resisting mass imprisonment throughout Colorado. Our work focused on two fronts: the Colorado state prison system and the ICE detention system.
Our work within the Colorado state prison has been multi-pronged. We still maintain a free literature program for prisoners; sending radical, revolutionary, and anarchist titles into prisons across Colorado. 2011 finally saw the release of a new catalog of titles, as well as the solidification of the project, which had stalled last year for various reasons.
DABC held several solidarity rallies with women prisoners actively struggling against violence and sexual assault at the hands of guards at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility in northeast Denver.
Twice in the spring, a group of 20-30 people held banners proclaiming solidarity with the women struggling inside. The reactions from the women inside were supportive and excited, as women banged on the windows of prison cells and raised fists in solidarity. Our efforts to create a solid working relationship with these women has stalled out, after some correspondence with women who got our address off of a large banner held outside the prison, encouraging them to write us. We hope to work more on this in 2012 and correct our mistakes.
Our solidarity with prisoner struggles was not just limited to the geographic confines of Colorado. During both rounds of hunger strikes that spread across the California prison system, Denver ABC took a role in organizing local solidarity. In July, we helped organize local movement members to call and write the prison system, and to write and develop relationships with the prisoners active within the hunger strike. In October, we organized a march and rally, where we handed out hundreds of fliers with information about the strike. We continued our phone call and letter writing campaigns, and also held a teach-in and strategy session where we were able to get Bo Brown, a former member of the George Jackson Brigade and a member of the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Support Committee, to video chat with the participants about the strike and the efforts to offer support.
Our work supporting the efforts of local migrant and Chican@ liberation movements was not as active as it was last year, but still took up a considerable amount of our organizing efforts, particularly in early 2011….DABC maintained our presence at monthly vigils against the ICE Detention Center in nearby Aurora. …..For the second year, DABC has maintained our involvement with Colorado AID (Abolish Inhumane Detention)…..
DABC has been providing legal support to local social movements since our inception. 2011, however, pushed this work to a whole new level, as we worked to support participants in the local anti-police movement, including an attempted murder case.
the case of Amelia Nicol
The most serious case we have ever offered our support for was the case of Amelia Nicol, a woman arrested during the “March Against Police Terror” that took place in May. Amelia was accused of throwing a molotov cocktail (or a bomb, depending on which capitalist media source you choose to read) at police officers. She was charged with two counts of attempted murder of a police officer, arson, use of explosives, possessing explosives, and a host of other felonies and misdemeanors. In all, Amelia faced over 100 years in prison for these charges. Denver ABC took the initiative to offer the support necessary to win this court case. Our support took on a myriad of roles; starting with providing correspondence, speaking to Amelia on the phone everyday, and working to develop a pressure campaign against the District Attorney. DABC organized a letter and phone call campaign, where hundreds of postcards, letters, faxes, and emails were sent to the District Attorney from all over the world, demanding that the charges against Amelia be dropped. We organized a press conference outside the DA’s office, and a half dozen supporters went inside to drop off hundreds more postcards directly to the DA. This was the first time DABC had organized anything like this. Video of the press conference can be found here: http://denverabc.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/amelia-nicol-press-conference-rally-and-da-confrontation-6911/
On June 9, after being imprisoned for over a month, Amelia had her most serious charges dropped in court. She was bonded out by DABC members on June 13, facing one felony count for possession of explosives, and 3 misdemeanor charges for assault and resisting arrest. DABC provided Amelia with a place to live, a job, clothing, and other physical resources that she needed upon release. By September, the remainder of Amelia’s charges were dropped in court. Amelia went from facing over 100 years in jail to being completely free and clear in a matter of months. This was the first time DABC has ever performed a support role of this magnitude and with these dire of consequences. It was
definitely a learning experience, and one that will continue to inform our legal support work. It also was a major victory for our collective and for local revolutionary movements.
A lot can be said about our participation in Occupy Denver. The comments, history, analysis, and insights we have gained could fill an entire periodical at this point. However, we’ll just offer a brief overview of our involvement. Denver ABC was present from the first General Assembly ever held at Occupy Denver. In fact, members of our organization facilitated the first five general assemblies. We were also a part of helping to adopt guidelines that would ensure an acceptance of a diversity of tactics, embodied by the St. Paul’s Principles, four guiding points drafted and adopted by organizers of a diverse array of political and tactical persuasions during the 2008 protests against the Republican National Convention in Minnesota…..much more……
The Denver ABC Mutual Aid Fund provides emergency financial relief to social movement members in dire economic need. Since its inception, the fund has provided thousands of dollars to local movement members………The Denver Armed Resistance Committee is a working group of Denver ABC that works on providing tactical and self defense skills and resources to members of local social movements…
CHILD AND FAMILY SUPPORT:
DABC continued our work to build a multi-generational movement and support parents and families throughout 2011. In the early part of the year, DABC members helped construct a new room at the 27 Social Centre that would act as a childcare room and a base for our Nurturing Liberation program. . DABC also provided childcare at several events for outside organizations.
NORTH AMERICAN ANARCHIST BLACK CROSS CONFERENCE:
In August, Denver ABC hosted a conference for North American Anarchist Black Cross chapters and other anarchist based prisoner support formations. Around fifty participants representing at least 14 different organizations and defense committees active in the United States and Canada participated in the weekend long conference……….
P&L PRINTING/27 SOCIAL CENTRE:Members of Denver ABC have been running a collectively owned commercial print shop for nearly 3 years. P&L Printing is a union, worker owned shop, affiliated with the Industrial Workers of the World, and the Communications Workers of America Local 7777………..
OTHER SUPPORT/ANTI-REPRESSION WORK:In April, DABC organized to support one of our members and close comrades, Stefan Martinez, in response to mounting FBI pressure against him. Stefan had been contacted and harassed by the FBI for years, demanding information on Earth and Animal Liberation activities and groups, and other radicals. Stefan always refused to answer their questions or to talk to them, and after months of harassment, they stopped contacting him……..
SUPPORTING DENVER ABC:In 2011, the workload of Denver ABC increased exponentially from the previous year. We were able to support dozens of legal cases, provide thousands of dollars worth of financial support to movement members inside and outside of prison, and ensure that many people would no longer sit in jail cells, and would not spend their lives inside of them. We’ve only been able to accomplish what we have because of financial and physical support and solidarity from hundreds of supporters in Denver and across the world………….
-Donate to the DABC Mutual Aid Fund or our Prisoner Warchest! Just contact us to find out how to make a donation!
Support your local ABC or other anti-authoritarian projects!
To inquire about purchasing posters, t-shirts, or making a donation, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://plpress.bigcartel.com
In love and solidarity!
Your comrades at Denver Anarchist Black Cross