This week, various ABC groups around the world are showing solidarity with anarchists in prisons. “We can keep the fires burning in the chests of those imprisoned through autonomous revolutionary love and direct actions “, says the International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners. In an interview with Alerta, the initiators explain what they are concerned about and what each individual can do.
Why is there an International Week of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners?
The idea was born from the discussion between different ABC groups in Eastern Europe. One of the problems was that there was a lot of regular repression and there were repeated calls for occasional days of solidarity for different anarchists in certain regions. Many of the anarchists are not even included in the lists of political prisoners of liberal and left-wing organisations, because they only support non-violent activists. So, together with various ABC groups around the world, we have declared the International Week of Solidarity to focus on the issue of solidarity and support for anarchist prisoners. We have been doing this regularly since 2013.
How do you specifically draw attention to this topic?
We do not organise events ourselves. Instead, we mobilise groups who then take over the organisation on site. To this end, we distribute appeals, compile lists of prisoners, produce postcards and videos. We make this available online for everyone, so that really everyone can take part. This makes it easier to organise. But we also have direct contact with many ABC groups that are active in their countries this week.
Can you roughly say how many organisations are taking part and in which countries?
That is actually very difficult to answer. For one thing, the dynamics are relatively different. In 2018, for example, we had groups from at least 16 countries. A year later, there were only nine. But these figures are based on the reports of the individual groups that are sent to us. If no reports are sent, we unfortunately do not know whether the actions took place. Last year, we also tried to hold events online. However, this is difficult because of language barriers. In the organising team we have no one who speaks Spanish, Greek or French. And finally, the level of repression varies from country to country. If there is less repression against prisoners, then of course the issue is less present.
What can individuals do to support anarchist prisoners?
You can do a lot: If you live near a prison, you can visit the prisoners on the spot. You can also write letters or postcards in which you give your comrade a few wishes and hugs. Don’t forget the relatives of the prisoners! For many families, the activists were the only source of income and therefore are dependent on them. So it is always a great thing to be able to support the relatives. Furthermore, if you are active in an anarchist group, you can “adopt” a prisoner and give him or her regular support. Or you can help a newly released activist. All in all: the forms of solidarity are only limited by your own imagination! So the Solidarity Week is the perfect time to put solidarity into action.