Archive for October, 2010

19/10/2010

palabras desde dentro

by anekdotales

carta de un preso en el sistema penitenciario catalan.

hace pocos días pude leer una copia del real decreto con las reformas que se aplicarán a finales de año en el código penal. alrededor de treinta modificaciones destinadas, en su practica totalidad, a endurecer alguna de las penas que la moda actual ha considerado que flaqueaban. me llamó la atención la justificación de la revisión del código que se encuentra en la introducción del texto ¨la progresiva conquista de niveles de bienestar más elevado no es concebible en un marco jurídico de respeto a los derechos fundamentales, sin un paralelo avance en de libertad y seguridad¨. sobre el papel esta es la excusa de que, paradójicamente, cada vez más conductas sean criminalizadas y penalizadas. las prisiones sigan saturandose y vivamos un crecimiento gradual, menos sutil por momentos, de coacción y sumisión.

existe la tendencia de señalar a los que, se cree, son los culpables absolutos de la situación (estado, gobernante, capitalismo, sistema…) olvidando la importante base que es la actitud de todos los que conforman cualquier entorno social (y todo lo que le condiciona), ya sean dirigentes o dirigida, manipulantes o manipulados. no existe un solo factor causante, sino montones de factores que, en mayor o menor grado, comparten (compartimos) la responsabilidad. la gran mayoría tolera, acepta, se conforma o se resigna siempre y cuando existe un medio que, cual sicario, castigue a aquellos seres amenazantes que transgreden peligrosamente los límites marcados. si para ello hay que sacrificar libertad en favor de una falsa sensación de seguridad, no hay problema. este idea se ha enquistado de tal manera en el colectivo social que incluso los que me rodean aun viviendo de primera mano todas las consecuencias del sistema penitenciario, la comparten.

en esto no hay nada nuevo, ni nada extraño. prácticamente desde el nacimiento de la cultura sedentaria han existido medios de castigo para eliminar o controlar a los que atentaban contra el orden social (siempre cuidando especialmente los bienes y sus excedentes) y códigos establecidos para tal fin, impuestos por aquellos que ostentan el poder en supuesta representación del colectivo y con evidentes intereses alternativos.

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18/10/2010

strength in courage- grassroots abolitionism in barcelona, spain

by anekdotales

abolitionist |ˌabəˈli sh ənist| noun-a person who favors the abolition of a practice or institution, esp. capital punishment or (formerly) slavery, prisons.

la biblioteca de la evasion is a grassroots abolitionist response to the isolating effects of the prison industrial complex.  the group was created by individuals with loved ones currently incarcerated in various different catalan prisons.  after years of visiting those on the inside, the impotence had reached unbearable levels.  the weekends spent in prison visiting areas had become normalized, it had become part of their everyday life.  there was no space to resist, nor to reject this reality- and the only option they encountered was accept the unacceptable.  shut up, and watch the time pass, watch their loved ones age, and surrender to the daily injustices they would suffer.   sentenced to the same years as the prisoners, they suffered the arbitrary logic and violence of the prison and its guards.  they faced the prejudices of a society that would rather forget about its prisoners than ask the hard questions, and find the even harder answers.  why are these men and women in jail?  who benefits from their incarceration?  what does growing prison recidivism mean?  why are prisons dominated by just a few faces, when those faces represent a fraction of the population?  what is justice?  who gets to define it, and how do we change that definition? are prisons the best we can do? for this group, the prison industrial complex wasn’t working, and standing by and accepting that there was nothing to do was a death sentence.  and trying to do something seemed so overwhelming it was hard find the starting point.

first they found strength in each other, their individual stories reinforcing each other.  they found strength in their collective conviction that prisons are not only unnecessary but in-just.  and they found more strength in the histories of resistance to the prison industrial complex.  this strength led them to action. it was a proactive step closer to defining for themselves their interaction with the prisons they were sentenced to visiting.  the first attempt was the handing out of flyers regarding the exploitation of prison labor in CIRE (centres per l’inciatives per la reinsercio’)* on the bus that transports prison visitors from barcelona to cuatro caminos penitentiary in granollers.  the text of the flyer was written by amadeu casellas, an anarchist recently released after nearly two decades of imprisonment. amadeu detailed the exploitation he’d witnessed as a prisoner with a comprehensive analysis of the for profit enterprise and its affect on the prison environment.   on the bus the response was positive.  most of the passengers were interested. they read the text and nodded their heads.  but when they asked those passing out the flyer  “this is good, but i already knew this… what do we do now?”  there was no prepared answer.  the collective hadn’t thought much beyond doing something.  they had been looking for anything to interrupt the everyday normal-ness of going to see a loved one caged like an animal, that it had been hard to think much further.  but this question was important, and it deserved more attention.

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07/10/2010

biblioteca de la evasion- entrevista con participantes

by anekdotales

 entrevista en barcelona, con participantes de la biblioteca de la evasion.

La Biblioteka La Evasión.

Quiénes somos?

Somos un grupo de individuos con diferentes experiencias y esperanzas. Participan presos, ex-presos, familiares/amigos de presos, y simples solidarios.  Pero compartimos un grito: abolir las cárceles ya! Creemos que las cárceles crean impotencia y refuerzan situaciones de desesperación.  No solucionan nuestros problemas, al contrario, vemos que las cárceles sólo causan más miseria mientras que enriquecen a los que las controlan.  No confiamos en sus programas de reinserción y reeducación, ni menos en sus necesidades para el castigo.  Proponemos que la justicia que reclaman las cárceles para justificar su existencia es una justicia falsa, incoherente y manipuladora.  Nosotros buscamos la solidaridad.  Creemos que es con la solidaridad que podemos empezar a construir una realidad basada en el apoyo mutuo, una respuesta a la soledad de los barrotes y muros de las cárceles. Esto no es un proyecto de caridad.

Qué es la Biblioteka La Evasión?

Para nosotros un libro puede estimular la auto-educación, puede inspirar la creatividad, o ser la llave a la imaginación, o puede simplemente acompañarnos en nuestra cotidianidad; sus narrativas mezcladas con las nuestras, dando fuerza y apoyo.  Un libro puede funcionar como un pequeño puente pasando sobre los muros conectando a los de dentro con el mundo de afuera.  Así vemos que el acto de compartir este puente con alguien de dentro es un acto solidario.  La biblioteca tiene un fin a corto plazo y un fin a largo plazo.  El fin corto es ser un lugar para la recogida y distribución de libros a presos, un proceso gestionado por nosotros y no por los mismos que controlan el día a día del preso.  El fin a largo plazo es crear una oportunidad para el intercambio de experiencias, frustraciones, y ideas alrededor de las cárceles.  Así creemos que romperemos nuestro aislamiento y podremos empezar a afrontar la cárcel con solidaridad, sin aceptarla.

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05/10/2010

the narrative can’t hide the flames

by anekdotales

 

guillaume darribau

 

this past wednesday, during spain’s first general strike in 8 years, riots erupted in barcelona. the spectacle of the riots continues to fill spanish newspapers.  the images of a burning police vehicle, broken windows, and threatened journalists have been bought, sold, consumed and will soon be forgotten. yet for the time being politicians and the media have exploited the spectacle for their narrative of the current economic crisis, a narrative in which the affected are acted upon and not capable of acting themselves.  from the left to the right of the dominant political/social spectrum, the condemnations of barcelona’s riots have been varied, yet typical: diatribes about the permissiveness of the city government, demands for a heavy handed response, incoherent speculations about the motives and identities of the riot’s participants, and criticism of both union leaders and national politicians.   the gloomy future of growing unemployment, problems in bank solvency, and increased poverty has no place in the finger pointing and political maneuvering that guides the narrative. especially when it seems none of the ‘recovery initiatives’ are causing a recovery. the labor reforms, initiated earlier in the year by the spanish president rodriguez zapatero, were intended as austerity measures. something had to be done after the country’s s&p and fitch ratings were both lowered in january, causing alarmist comparisons with the deteriorating situation in greece.  so in the narrative the economy was streamlined; public workers saw their salaries cut by 5%, the process for firing employees was simplified, and retirement age was increased to 67.  yet the european union’s third largest deficit continued to grow. the unions were puffed up their chests, and the government tightened its belt.  but there was little real protest.   a state of denial took hold of the nation. no-one could really believe the construction boom was over. and it wasn’t until june, after the passage of the labor reforms in parliament, that the two largest unions called for a general strike- scheduled almost three and a half months later, for the 29th of september.

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