Trisha Shetty

Anarchist Black Cross Network

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Anarchist Black Cross Network

The Anarchist Black Cross Network is a worldwide decentralized and egalitarian network of organizations committed to the original ideals of the Anarchist Black Cross movement -- of seeing prisons and the poverty, racism and genocide that accompanies them to be symptoms of a social order whose last days are near.

Anarchist Black Cross Network differs significantly with Anarchist Black Cross Federation, since it has no official joining procedure or strict requirements. So even a group that does not name oneself as Anarchist Black Cross may join as long as it does work in bettering prison conditions or working to abolish prisons altogether. Anarchist Black Cross Network refers to that as defensive work (bettering prison conditions) and offensive work (abolishing prison system).


Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, former member of the Black Panther Party and anarchist political prisoner, wrote "A Draft Proposal for an Anarchist Black Cross Network" in 1979. Here is an excerpt from that proposal:

"The stated purpose of the Anarchist Black Cross Network is to actively assist prisoners in their fight to obtain their civil and human rights, and to aid them in their struggle against the state/Class penal and judicial system. The prison system is the armed fist of the State, and is a system for State slavery. It is not really for "criminals" or other "social deviants," and it does not exist for the "protection of society." It is for State social control and political repression. Thus it must be opposed at every turn and ultimately destroyed altogether. The abolition of prisons, the system of Laws, and the Capitalist State is the ultimate objective of every true Anarchist, yet there seems to be no clear agreement by the Anarchist movement to put active effort to that anti-authoritarian desire. We must organize our resources to support all political/class war prisoners if we truly wish to be their allies, and we must give something more than lip service. Organizing against the enemy legal and penal system is both offensive and defensive. It is carried on with individuals, groups and among the masses in the community. We must inform the people on a large scale of the atrocities and inhumanity of the prisons, the righteousness of our struggle, and the necessity of their full participation and support. We must organize our communities to attack the prison system as a moral and social abomination, and we must fight to free all political/class war prisoners."

Later, it became obvious that this is not single issue campaign, but rather a part of a larger fight against racism, nationalism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance etc. After much dialogue Anarchist Black Cross Network was formed in 2001. Many prison abolition groups who didn't want to or couldn't join Anarchist Black Cross Federation have joined in. In addition to that many new groups have started up or changed their inner politics to support this struggle.


Anarchist Black Cross Network Wikipedia

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