Prisons

Enigmatic Entity (dizzie@chaos.apana.org.au)
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 10:17:17 +1000


from rw08963.html

Prisons. When we hear or read that word we think of the stereotypical image
all too often portrayed by the establishment's movie production houses that
shows prisons as hulky Victorian era architectural monstrosities inhabited
by psychotic criminals who would wreck havoc on the community as soon as
they managed to break their bars and walls. However, as with most
television portrayals, this picture is largely distorted. As anyone
familiar with the Coburg (Victoria) area can testify, Pentridge prison is a
particularly ugly monstrosity of an institution. But within its bluestone
walls a large part of the three thousand people that are locked up by the
government at any given time of the year and with the few exceptions that
are repeatedly and grossly sensationalised by the establishment media, the
majority of these people consist of youth and long term unemployed who have
been made to feel like failures by the system that no longer requires their
labour. Thus with no prospect of a worthwhile future, a great many of us
either become self-destructive and resort to drug use, thereby becoming
criminalised by the capitalist media and their puppet parliament or through
economic desperation turn to property theft or Social Security fraud merely
to survive.

This situation has been allowed to occur due to the nature of capitalism
which regards the working class as nothing more than a commodity to be used
as either a maker of corporate profits or as scapegoats to be portrayed by
the establishment media as either "dole bludgers", "welfare cheating single
mothers" or as "out of control" criminals in order to divert peoples'
attention from the fact that the real parasites and criminals are companies
like CRA/RTZ who are accessories in the genocide that is being perpetrated
in Bougainville and West Papua by the PNG and Indonesian dictatorships or
Shell which has financed and armed the Nigerian Police and military with
weapons that are banned in most countries, in order for them to crush the
Ogoni people whose homelands Shell is destroying in their fervent quest for
the almighty dollar. When one brings up the subject of violent crimes you
need only refer them to the exemplary record of Victoria's police force,
which has a fondness for shooting distressed women in the streets of St.
Kilda and Wodonga and has the unique distinction of having officers within
their ranks that can shoot a man seven times with a six shot revolver
without reloading his firearm. And these are just some of the twenty-eight
or so executions that have occurred at the hands of the police in
approximately the last ten years, which have been white washed either by
the coroners or the supreme court since then.

Whilst many of us dismiss prisons as merely a tool for the preservation of
the ruling class (which without a doubt they are), it doesn't detract from
the fact that anti-social crimes do occur, although the root cause of these
crimes and the reason for having prisons at all lies in the vast injustices
that are endemic to this greed driven system. As such the only effective
means of reducing crime is the establishment of a free, Anarchist society
which can investigate the possibility of more effective alternative methods
of dealing with anti-social crime and abolish the social and economic
conditions that today lead many people into being sent to these prisons. In
the meantime, it is quite important that those of us that are political
prisoners or Anarchist or political activists that are serving a prison
sentence be recognised and supported by Anarchist groups and individuals in
order to keep our spirits up and let the reactionary prison administrators
know that if they try to silence political dissent within prison in their
typically harsh manner, as they tried to do to me earlier this year, then
their actions will be made known and protested against.

BEN.A.ALTERMAN

(Ben's currently in the slot at Loddon Prison, Castlemaine Victoria, Australia)