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By Tom Gomez
Until 2004, Colorado State prisoners were paid $2 a day for our labor, roughly $40 a month. Since that time the Colorado State Legislature, in an attempt to reduce the cost of incarceration while it enacted more laws to lock up more people, for more time, reduced the amount paid to prisoners to $0.62 a day, roughly $13 a month. While the change has made prison conditions harsher, it has done nothing to reduce the spiraling cost of incarceration in Colorado. Despite the change the Department of Corrections budget has grown every year since. Colorado now spends more on prisons than it does on higher education, and there is no end in sight. Last year the DOC population grew by another 2% despite a falling crime rate. At a cost of $30,000 a year for each prisoner it houses DOC is not likely to be able to significantly reduce, or even offset, the high cost of incarceration by such methods as raising the cost of phone time or cutting back on food. Instead state university students and their parents will pay the bill, by absorbing another 9% increase in tuition next year. It will be paid by cuts in services to seniors, by public education, and by the improvised children of the men and women doing time here.
State legislatures across the country have built prisons while cutting funding for education and public health for 30 years now. In the name of cutting the cost of ‘big government’ and getting ‘tough on crime’ they have made prisons harsher, more crowded and dangerous, but not cheaper. Led by ‘tough prosecutors’ who view not only crime, but poverty itself as a moral failing they have given us a nation of tent cities that stretch from sea to shining sea bursting with the nation’s three-million homeless people, and interstates from coast to coast dotted with razor ribbon and guard towers. In many American cities more than half of all public school students will not graduate high school.
Springs to move on the homeless
The sky was blue and the grasses yellow ocher, the willows had started turning red. I had just finished remembering the pack of wolves,dogs and cats in my past at the Colorado Springs Humane Society pet graveyard. I was headed off at a tangent from the visible tents of the homeless camp along the banks of the flood control canal.
The fences were knocked down separating the highway from the waste ground.
Waste ground is what is left of the great commons that was the American West. Waste ground land too moist to develop too far from sewer and water hook ups. Too noisy from the near traffic unseen due to the engineering of large slabs of concrete.
The weather being cold meant there was minimal snake exposure and no insects in February. Also there were no birds. That might be because of the condos up the hill built on the the mining wastes of the gold mill Superfund site. This ground must be some of the most contaminated in the United States. Of course the homeless are there, where else would the politicians put homeless families? I proceed along the on ramp invisible to the traffic above. As I approach the intersection there is a whole bunch of fecal matter human or large dog or small bear.
I stopped near the camp to make notes when a young Black man starts screaming at me. There is ditch between us so I am able to withdraw not wanting to get the absolutely toxic water on myself or another human.
These people are homeless for a reason, anger issues must play a role in their young man's reaction to passers bye.
by Tom Gomez
The holiday season is an unhappy season for many prisoners who are far from home and family. For me, and no doubt many others here who have neither, it is a time for reflection, a time to take stock of ourselves and resolve to make changes in our lives. That is even more true for at least some of those here who have children of their own, children who are waiting on the outside for their parent to get out.
To be sure, that's not everyone here, some prisoners glorify lives of crime and violence, addiction and alcoholism, at least to me. I doubt they do the same on the phone with their 7-year old, or an aging parent they might not see again when they get out. No one dreams of being a convict when they grow up.
So if people don't like prison, why do so many convicts come back over and over again? In Colorado, 70% of paroled convicts return to prison, 27% with new criminal charges. Roughly 50% of those to be released from prison return on a new criminal case. Finishing parole, or 'killing your number' makes it no less likely that you'll be back. So why is it that while 1 in 136 people in our society is in prison, despite the US having the highest rate of incarceration per capita in the world, people here in prison just can't seem to get out and stay out?
Many legislators feel that the problem is that convicts are genetically inferior to the wider population. Backed up by an army of psychologists and social workers, they find the offender to be biologically different from themselves and talk about treating the offender's 'anti-social personality disorder', about the 'disease model of addiction'. They seldom, if ever, talk about poverty.
URGENT: Anarchist and former Black Liberation political prisoner, Ojore Lutalo arrested in La Junta Colorado!Submitted by Anonymous on January 28, 2010 - 7:24pm
Ojore had an arraignment this morning, Thursday January 28, at 11 am in the La Junta City Courthouse. Ojore was formally charged with “Interfering with Public Transportation,”a class 3 felony, based on allegations from train passengers that Ojore made “terroristic threats against the train” while on a personal phone call while he was a passenger the Amtrak train. Ojore has said that he was having a political conversation with a friend at the time.
The prosecution initially asked for a $50,000 bond citing Ojore’s previous ”criminal” background and imprisonment as well as him being an out of state resident.
The defense argued for a $1,000 bond citing Ojore’s links to the Denver community and housing available to him as well as his previous imprisonment being a “politically biased imprisonment”.
The judge ruled that Ojore’s bond would be set at $30,000, justifying this amount because Ojore is an out of state resident, and in 1982 Ojore was convicted of a failure to appear charge and presently posed a flight risk due to this history.
Denver Anarchist Black Cross Federation members were present for the hearing and are presently in La Junta working to bail him out. A bondsmen has been secured that will post bond for Ojore at the cost of $4,500. This cost has been fronted by various amazing folks from across the country, but much of this money is being loaned. Ojore is in major need of donations to help pay these loans back!
As a historian and member of the Colorado Indymedia Collective, it seems I should be the one to write our obituary for Howard Zinn. I'm finding that hard to do. Howard was one of my childhood role models, one of the reasons I became a historian. His loss is, for me, a personal one.
We lost Howard yesterday. He died of a heart attack, at age 87, in Santa Monica, California. Howard was on the road, still working. He was in Santa Monica for an appearance at The Santa Monica Museum of Art, scheduled for February 4.
I don't think I have to list a lot of facts about who Howard was or the things he did. People who read Indymedia know him well. For anyone who wants to know more, or who wants to read something truly inspiring, I will recommend the book I've been recommending ever since it came out, Howard's 1994 autobiography, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train.
The best words to describe Howard are his own. So I will let him finish this article himself, by reprinting his own words.
The Optimism of Uncertainty
by HOWARD ZINN
[posted online on September 2, 2004 at http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040920/zinn]
In this awful world where the efforts of caring people often pale in comparison to what is done by those who have power, how do I manage to stay involved and seemingly happy?
I am totally confident not that the world will get better, but that we should not give up the game before all the cards have been played. The metaphor is deliberate; life is a gamble. Not to play is to foreclose any chance of winning. To play, to act, is to create at least a possibility of changing the world.
by Tom Gomez
Jack was charged with cultivation of marijuana in 2000, and sentenced to 2 years of community corrections. That was 9 years ago, and it will be the year 2012 before he is released from prison (if he serves his full sentence), and 2017 before his parole ends. His story is not uncommon. It illustrates the failure of sentencing laws meant to keep Jack and others like him, mostly non-violent offenders whose crimes were drug and alcohol related, out of prison and promote rehabilitation over incarceration. Instead, as Jack illustrates, they have often done the opposite of what the legislature intended, and have left thousands of prisoners like Jack in the criminal justice system – sometimes for decades – for petty offenses. With the Colorado State Legislature expected to address the issue of sentencing reform later this year, many prisoners hope that stories like Jack's prompt the state legislators to rethink the 'escape' statutes.
No one here in the prison really expects the legislature to decriminalize escape. But the large and growing number of cases like Jack's point out what's wrong with the existing law. Sentenced in 2000 to serve in one of the state's 34 community correctional facilities (aka halfway houses), Jack escaped by simply walking away from the facility. Several months later, he was recaptured and given 4 years for the escape, plus his remainder on the original charge for a total of five years. He served 3 of those 5 years before being paroled into homelessness in 2004. Colorado is one of only a handful of states with mandatory parole, and while Jack's original charges carried one year of mandatory parole, his new charge of escape carried 3 years of mandatory parole.
Although there’s been a recent victory against the reopening of the Black Mesa Complex, the Kayenta mine is still operating and elders on the front lines fighting the continued impacts of coal mining and forced relocation efforts are still requesting support.
We are writing with a request for direct on-land support on behalf of families of traditional resistance communities of Black Mesa, AZ.. One of the Big Mountain elder matriarchs, Blanche Wilson, the mother of Mae Tso, who hosted the 2008 caravan, passed away yesterday. Please hold her and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Mae and Samuel, two of Blanche’s children, and elders themselves, are living alone at their homesite. They are in much need of support–they will need to take four days away from basic necessities and work for the traditional funeral. Additionally Mae injured her back on Christmas day and has been in pain for the last three weeks and at a limited work capacity; Samuel has been working double what he normally does. There are supporters there now until Wednesday the 20th. The funeral will be after that so, as mentioned, they really need the help at this time.
West Denver Copwatch's website is up and running along with our newest addition, a police database. We hope that this will be a great tool for the community to be able to commend good actions of the police, but also to be able to track and post about their abuses of power and people. Through this hopefully we can all come together and attempt to hold officers accountable for their actions. westdenvercopwatch.wordpress.com
A little about us:
We are a group of individuals who come together in order to attempt to make the police accountable for their actions by videotaping police encounters in the streets. We predominantly work in the West Denver area, but also are in cooperation with Aurora Copwatch along with other Copwatch organizations around the Metro Area.
Police are consistently traumatizing and occupying our communities. Something as simple as a video camera, a pen and a pad of paper can significantly help deter the police from violating our community members’ rights. We collect footage that both holds the police accountable and informs the people of their abuse of power.
Crucial in combatting police abuses is understanding and knowing your rights. However, in no way can this guarantee that violations will still not occur. We strive to educate the people on their own individual rights and apply them in dealing with close encounters of the po-lice-kind.
We as a nation my well be doomed. By the time I post this many of you here at COIMC and in IndyMedia's around the country will have heard the shocking news. Namely that the Supreme Court today not only reaffirmed that corporations are people, but that corporations may spend an unlimited amount of money to tilt election campaigns. This is an unprecedented turn of events that threatens to make real the crossover of our country into overt corporate fascism.
You and I and all who care about freedom need to fight this perversion of justice. One thing that you can do is go to this site (http://www.movetoamend.org )and sign a petition to get a constitutional amendment that would explicitly declare that corporations do not have the rights of citizens and are not people.
Our nation is being taken over by corporations and this court decision will make there takeover complete if left unchallenged. This decision by the Supreme Court will shred any hope of anything but the transition of the United States into a corporatocracy! If unchallenged there will be no hope of any compromise short of violence in defense of our rights as people.
The fact is corporationsare not people. Corporations do not die are not subject to the laws of nature, feel no emotion and worst of all live forever with no soul and a relentless desire to maximize profit. This ruling extends the very rights of a person to all corporations that operate within the United States and so this ruling means that foreign multinational corporations that operate in the United States will have more power over our election system than American citizens themselves.
IN THIS ISSUE:
Secret ICE Detention Centers
Criminalization of the Homeless in Grand Junction
Top Ten Movies to Watch this Winter
War is Peace: Obama Sends More Troops to Afghanistan
March For No More Deaths on The Streets of Grand Junction
Cointelpro: Black Panther Coloring Book
The Boogers: Music Review
Foreclosures Way Way Up in Mesa County
Read and/or Download This Issue at:
A rule change by the Colorado State Department of Corrections could mean offenders with already long sentences, mostly for drug offenses, will be incarcerated longer. Under the new rule, which went into effect on October 1st, 2009, prisoners required to participate in DOC's intensive 9 – 12 month therapeutic community program for drugs and alcohol will not be eligible to do so until they are within 8 years of their mandatory release date.
Under Colorado statute, prisoners are eligible for early release (discretionary parole) after serving 50% of their sentence, and receive 10 days a month earned time if they are charged with a non-violent offense. Violent offenders receive only 6 days a month 'earned time', and are required to serve 75% of their sentences before being paroled. For a non-violent offender serving a 30-year stretch, that means that he or she is parole eligible after 12 years, if they have complied with all conditions of confinement.
In practice, however, such discretionary paroles are seldom granted. Even the Governor's plan to rease prisoners 6 months before their mandatory release date has run into fierce, and very public, opposition from the parole board itself, which remands prisoners to their mandatory release dates more than 90% of the time. On a 30-year sentence that means spending 23 years behind bars.
The Red Pill has been active on the Colorado Indymedia site now for about five years. Never it that time have we ever seen any censorship or suppression of debate. But today we are very concerned that photos attached to the announcement that Bash Back's 2010 Convergance is going to be held in Denver have been removed, and comments disabled. We would like to see a full explanation of why the photos were removed, and comments reactivated on that post. That is not too much to ask for an open publishing site that is supposed to be non-hierarchical.
bash back denver is pleased to host the twenty-ten bash back! convergence from may twenty-seventh to thirtieth.
have pics 2 trade? > bashbackdenver |at| gmail |dot| com
see you in denver
<3 <3 <3
There's one last chance to start a full power community radio station in the Grand Junction area! The FCC has set aside specific frequencies across the country from the commercial bandwidth to be used for non-commercial community broadcasting. One of these very rare licenses will broadcast into Grand Junction, and will reach over 200,000 people in the area. Applications for this new station will be accepted February 19th-26th, 2010. Now is definitely the time to get an application together if you think your group/organization might be interested! We've worked a lot with different organizations in the past to build radio stations to use as a tool for organizing, from farmworkers unions to environmental groups to civil rights groups. What do most of these organizations have in common? Using radio as a tool to make change! This is a HUGE opportunity, and is a great way to get really involved in media activism! Please contact the Prometheus Radio Project ASAP if you think you might be interested or just want to find out more : megan (at) prometheusradio.org OR 215-727-9620 x0
The 2010 Wild Roots Feral Futures will take place for a seven-day duration, a quarter moon cycle, from June 19th-26th (from the First Quarter Moon on the 19th through the Summer Solstice on the the 21st to the Full Moon on the 26th) in the foothills of the mighty and wild San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado.
We are looking for folks of all sorts to join us and help facilitate workshops, conflict resolution and management, direct action and medic trainings, wild food walks, and much more! We will be focusing on many things, including but by no means limited to anarchist theory and praxis, rewilding, ancestral skills, indigenous solidarity, direct action, forest defense, security culture, civil disobedience, hand to hand combat, survival skills, evasion tactics, green anarchism, anti-civ, post-civ, star watching and navigation, maps and orienteering, shelter building, and whatever YOU care to bring and provide. But we need everyone's help to make this as safe, positive, and productive a space as it can be. Our own knowledge, skills, and capacities are limited. We need YOUR help!
Roles we REALLY need filled:
• Kitchen! (we've reached out to Everybody's Kitchen and Seeds of Peace)
• CRAM team (conflict resolution and management: we need people of diverse gender/sexual orientations who know how to give support to survivors of sexual assault and to people with PTSD)*
Yesterday evening a group of conscience-driven souls gathered in a glowing room inside a Unitarian Church on 14th and Lafayette in Denver, Colorado, to hear a dark and passionate reading and to send support, solidarity, and prayers to the people undergoing the ongoing blockade of Gaza, Palestine, by the Israeli government, and in continued protest of Israeli war crimes during the siege of Gaza nearly a year ago, which a United Nations commissioned report by Richard Goldstone, the South African jurist in recent headlines, documents in detail.
The indoor vigil and march to the capitol, under the title Peace and Justice for Gaza, December 31, 2009, was organized by the Social Action Counsel of First Unitarian Society of Denver in concert with the many marches, demonstrations and vigils held around the world this week on the one-year anniversary of the siege, and drawing pressure-building attention to the ongoing blockade, described by the Goldstone report as "collective punishment."
The pamphlet handed out at the indoor vigil, which included the program for the evening's activity, in recognition of the violence of denying medication and food to civilians as a form of 'collective punishment' condemned the blockade and siege as one in the same.
"The law is clear. The conscience of humankind is shocked. Yet, the siege of Gaza continues. It is time for us to take action!"
The words used are those of the global call to action for human rights and justice for Gaza, taken from the Gaza Freedom March pledge, circulated online by International Solidarity Movement (ISM): palsolidarity.org
In the newest edition of The Nation there's a story profiling the existence of 186 Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Sub-Stations were people are "Disappeared."
National List of Detention Centers
The Nation Article. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100104/stevens
From the Nation..."According to Aaron Tarin, an immigration attorney in Salt Lake City, "Whenever I have a client in a subfield office, it makes me nervous. Their procedures are lax. You've got these senior agents who have all the authority in the world because they're out in the middle of nowhere. You've got rogue agents doing whatever they want. Most of the buildings are unmarked; the vehicles they drive are unmarked." Like other attorneys, Tarin was extremely frustrated by ICE not releasing its phone numbers. He gave as an example a US citizen in Salt Lake City who hired him because her husband, in the process of applying for a green card, was being held at a subfield office in Colorado. By the time Tarin tracked down the location of the facility that was holding the husband when he had called his wife, the man had been moved to another subfield office. "I had to become a little sleuth," Tarin said, describing the hours he and a paralegal spent on the phone, the numerous false leads, unanswered phones and unreturned messages until the husband, who had been picked up for driving without a license or insurance, was found in Grand Junction, Colorado (emphasis ours), held on a $20,000 bond, $10,000 for each infraction. "I argued with the guy, 'This is absurd! Whose policy is this?'" Tarin said the agent's response was, "That's just our policy here.""
Here are known substations in our region.
Today in Denver, we have cause to celebrate as one warm body became secure in its relative freedom--the sort of freedom that reminds us of what we still must do in order to be free. Yesterday morning Ariel Attack plead to Class 2 Misdemeanor (Criminal Mischief) in return for the dropping of the original Felony charge, and the court set the sentence at 11 months (?!?) of unsupervised probation and full payment of $5,600 restitution, allowing Ariel to stay on the streets and in the arms of friends. This is much better than the possible 2-6 year bit they were facing. The restitution had to be paid in full and up front (by taking out a loan) for the deal to go through.
A year unsupervised is not a bad deal considering the circumstances of Ariel's arrest and their refusal to name the 'accomplice'. In case you're just tuning in, Ariel was involved in an attack against the Colorado Democratic Party Headquarters in August by means of hammers and the resulting media clusterfuck. We feel there has been a lot of luck mixed up in this situation, but we'll publish a narrative of the events so that anarchists out there can see if there's anything they can learn. Look out for that in the next couple of weeks.
Meanwhile, friends close by and far away are feeling the cold grip of state repression, and the struggle continues. There are two Denver-based anarchists facing felony charges and massive legal fees, and we extend our solidarity to Jeff and Noah, along with Carrie and Scott, David Japenga, the RNC8, all of our imprisoned comrades; the list is far too long to finish.
While Ariel's legal battle has wrapped up, we are making one last request for donations to help cut away at Ariel's debt--about $6,000--and we still have some of these fly Hammer Time t-shirts to move. Friendsofariel@riseup.net to get hooked up.
We smashed up a Wells Fargo bank last night in Fort Collins, Colorado. We don't really need to explain our reasons--you probably already know them. But we'll share a few things.
We are enemies of capitalism.
We are sick and tired of people being locked in cages.
Wells Fargo is the single largest investor in the Geo Group, which owns many I.C.E. detention facilities--private prisons--around the U.S. The Geo Group and Wells Fargo profit from imprisoning people in Colorado.
We want smashed prisons and the destruction of capitalism, not just windows--the question is how do we create moments in which insurrection is possible?
We are everywhere.
Strength to us all!
Oly Hackbloc to Lead Security, Communications Workshops Next Week
"This holiday season you have the chance to give a great gift to someone you love. That gift being security and peace of mind. This is a great chance for you to hone your skills and develop them if you feel overwhelmed by the topic. Two year ago I took Ringo's workshop and have taken one since then. Thats two and this one will be my third."
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, December 22nd and 23rd, the Olympia Hackbloc (on tour!) will be leading a workshop series on security culture, computer security, encryption, and anonymity. These workshop is targeted towards activists, journalists, and members of the general public. We will also be giving a workshop on using Twitter as a communications system for actions. This system was used during the most recent RNC and the last two rounds of Port Militarization Resistance.
All participants will receive digital copies of the presentation materials. To help cover costs, participants are asked to bring $5 with them or donate whatever they feel is fair. Nobody will be turned away because they don't have money. For more information about Hackbloc, please see the Oly Hackbloc website at http://www.olyhackbloc.org or the main Hackbloc site at https://www.hackbloc.org.
1. Security Workshop
Tuesday Dec. 22nd 5-8PM
Wed Dec. 23rd 1-2PM
700 Kalamath St
Unlike many other workshops put on by radicals, this one will start on time so don't be late.