This text was written by Mario on the 9th of August for an Anti-Prison Gathering in Mexico which took place the 17th and 18th of August 2012.
“With all means possible”
The silence and the distance so widely suggested by Power, do nothing more than increase the thickness of the walls of the prison where they are locked up. The path of complicity is very distinct, the path which opens way for those who want these walls to jump in the air.
“The resolution of a problem.” Italy, 1994.
Now, when I find myself behind these walls and still in the sick-bay of the southern prison of Mexico City, waiting for my partial recuperation, I see through the barred window and my vision is struck with two big barbed-wired walls, protected by a look-out tower, which only marks one long division between one prison and another, between the prison and its terror, and the city and its enclosure. Two parallel worlds, uniformed in only one color. Two societies with one unique end: control. Being here I give credit to Xose Tarrio and Marcelo Villaroel, I affirm that analysis as much as critique against prisons must come from the political axis and from ideas, but also -and very importantly- it must come from the personal experience of it, from the perspectives of those who live and walk within it.
Prisons are also centres of self-extermination, in occasions one of all against all, a place where one struggles to survive, where more than acquiring respect, it induces fear. But I have to and we have to be clear, that this self-extermination is brought about directly by the state and capital, which through terror, fear, corruption, overcrowding and overpopulation, drugs, medical negligence etc. put the individual in a situation of stress, confusion, euphoric depression and anger. In a whole, an environment of pressure that makes this place a true and permanent battlefield. Obviously I am speaking of the prison that I have ended up living in. Even despite all of this, I can make out the minimal solidarity and companionship between prisoners, even despite the principle rule: “In jail you walk alone and you look out for yourself and only yourself”.
Prison is a clear reflection of the exterior world, of a society that rots and decomposes, saturated in the same contradictions of the system.
The “module” is the penitentiary space inside the prison, meaning a prison within a prison. All of this is a structure of social control, but unlike some prisons or modules of maximum security, here perhaps the punishment is to survive the worst and vilest conditions of life.
The “module” is the worst punishment for the problematic prisoners as much as those who put up a protest. The beatings of the guards, the psychological terror are, together with the module, the principal methods of control. Proof of the cowards with badges and truncheons´s power.
The prison where I find myself is in some ways different to many others that compañer@s have lived through: the permanent isolation modules, the maximum security prisons, the FIES, were created in a strategic and coldly calculated manner to physically and psychologically rob an individual of their capacity to question, create, criticize, think and, finally, to make her or him a living ghost and dependent on the system- without autonomy, without capacity of free and conscious decision.
The white walls, without natural light, without recreational activities or sports, with surveillance 24 hours a day. They are looking to kill the warrior spirit of the “social rebels” at its root; those who do not accept and who rebel even without academic analysis or without political conscience. They are made to annihilate the conviction and the fight of our affinities and political prisoners. This prison is a clear reflection of the capitalist society, its failures, its social vices, its hypocrisy and its spectacle. The clear difference is the fact that here everything is more intense: the prisoners stabbed, burnt and beaten are an every day occurrence, and all caused by the reduction of vital space to a dear minimum.
Despite all of this, not all here is mere submission. Actually the opposite, I also find myself with buddies who maintain an open and critical mentality, with a clear and visible tension to break the apparent “existing order” and to fight, at least to “better their life conditions”. Being not so politicized and with the intention of radicalising their thinking, they value their fight and don´t leave it to one side, well those who live in these conditions know very well what their re-vindications are. However, we won´t lose our direction, I maintain another stance on the fight against prisons, one which, more than abolitionist, my perspectives and my acts are directed towards the total destruction of prisons as both physical and mental structures of social control.
The so boasted “rehabilitation” or “social reinsertion” is nowhere to be found here, it all becomes a farce, a circus in a power game of which psychologists, criminologists and sociologists all contribute to. This is something that all of the prisoner population knows: “prison is the best crime school”. To this point, as an anarchist, the proposal of rehabilitation doesn´t mean anything positive, it would simply be – or is – an attempt to reinsert all the dissidents into the capitalist community and that, by one form or another, contribute to the perfect functioning of the mega machine. This is the only positive rehabilitation for the State / Capital.
Before I conclude this brief explanation, I´d like to make a clarification that I consider necessary. In this text I have put attention only in the prison systems, but when I talk about prison, I also refer to whatever type of mental or physical enclosure: from the enclosure and torture of non-human animals, such as in circuses, zoos or vivisection laboratories, the conditions of overcrowding that humans imposes itself on nature in the search for well-being and progress. The punishment that is imposed in schools, the torture of the mental institutions, of the “husband” who locks up and deprives his children and compañera of their freedom, even kidnappings based on political or common motives etc. All of these are also situations of imprisonment- social relations which have to be destroyed.
This brief experience, and the rest of it I still have to live, has made it clear to me that we need to sharpen our knives and direct ourselves towards a more objective and direct fight against the prison system. We have to open up our proposals to other fields, to other fights and increment the anti-prison activities- like this one where we find ourselves. Because we have the absolute necessity of propagating the idea of the destruction of this and any prison society.
Without reforms nor abolition. Let´s sharpen our knives, our critiques and our analysis, leaving behind the luke-warm positions and the waiting, eliminating the false discourse of “guilty” and “innocent” from our struggle, a discourse of the juridical system of the state that only contributes to the multitude and criminalization of compañer@s who are prisoners for being consequent with their ideas of attacking the power. An anti-prison struggle that maintains in the social, a true and real social interruption and not a fictitious one, an anti-prisons struggle with projectuality from the grassroots, and not just a simple activity that limits itself to reaffirming our theory. A struggle within a struggle, against all and for total liberation.
Compañer@s, lastly I want to take advantage of this space to send my revolutionary solidarity- although only words- for the anarchist prisoners in Italy, Greece, Spain, Bolivia and Indonesia, with the Chilean compañero on the run Diego Rios and Mono. A strong embrace to Gabriel Pombo da Silva and Marco Camenisch. Solidarity with all the anarchist prisoners of the world whose names I don´t remember at this moment, but who are present in the struggle. Solidarity with my sister of affinity Felicity Ryder, who from the clandestinity maintains herself face to face with the enemy- her attitude of life.
Compañer@s, I have a long journey to take and, all of us together, a fight to continue.
For freedom. For anarchy.
Tear down the walls of the prisons!
By all means necessary- without symbols or leaders.
Social war on all fronts!
P.S. The fight against prisons is part of the fight against all, is only a battlefield against power without leaving all the rest to one side. Total Freedom.
Thanks for the space and for the solidarity.
Mario Antonio Lopez
Anarchist prisoner of Mexico City, Reclusorio Sur
Mexico City, 9 August 2012