On the necessity of harmony between prison and the streets.
A communiqué from Monica and Francisco, anarchists behind bars in Santiago, Chile.
If we understand that antiauthoritarian solidarity is a relationship that involves, as its main protagonists, both the prisoners themselves and their milieus active on the streets, then we understand that the struggle from behind prison walls is indispensable. This way of practicing solidarity stands in contrast to the idea of solidarity as a kind of charity or “assistance,” which sees the prisoner as merely a passive receptor of support from the outside rather than incorporating or supporting initiatives of confrontation. Thus, it is necessary that the slogan “prison isn’t the end” turn from simply words into action, utilizing all the means at our disposal. Though it may seem like those means are scarce, the cumulation of them can be effective. That is what the different struggles in the long and rich history of political imprisonment have shown us, which has been characterized by the willingness and decisiveness of prisoners themselves to face the ultimate consequences in order to achieve their goals.
Inside prison, every minute of yard time, every book that comes in, every article that one is able to hold onto in their cell, every inch of autonomy and individual development, whether smaller or bigger, has been won through struggle—none of it has been given away for free. Just a little bit of research or remembering the past is enough to show how, through struggle, more hours of yard time were won in the maximum security prison or how prisoners in the C.A.S. high security prison (Cárcel de Alta Seguridad) successfully fought against the replacement of live visits with video-visitation.
Active mobilization from inside prisons has also achieved important accomplishments with respect to the return of prisoners to the outside, hampering the “long arm of the law” and successfully applying pressure against it, often forcing the state to sit down and discuss a solution to the prisoners’ demands.
Without the support, solidarity, and (if only momentary) interruptions of normality that made these historic triumphs possible, the prisoners’ demands would have never gotten beyond prison walls. It is indispensable, therefore, that there exist a true harmony between the different collectives and individuals practicing solidarity, a harmony that is expressed through communication and the exchange of visions oriented around confrontation. Confrontation undeniably fortifies our struggle and the milieus committed to it. This is how solidarity turns into a combative practice on the offensive; a practice that takes seriously the words we believe and the time at our disposal; a practice that generates rupture and tales.
Now, it is well and clear that our understanding of “struggle” does not leave out acts of confrontation. Regardless of the fact that we often may not achieve that which we propose, we still insist on the necessity of confrontation and we will continue doing so because, simply, it has been and will be the way in which we have decided to live our lives. We persist through confrontation, and if there isn’t any around, we will go and seek it, we will agitate for it, because only by strikes, blows, and clashes can we generate fissures in society.
*AGAINST THE EXTENSION OF SENTENCES!*
*REPEAL DECREE-LAW 321!*
*AMNESTY FOR THE PRISONERS OF THE OCTOBER 18 REVOLT!*
*PRISONERS OF WAR TO THE STREETS!*
*Mónica Caballero Sepúlveda*
General population, San Miguel prison, Santiago
*Francisco Solar Domínguez*
Maximum security wing of the High Security Prison (C.A.S.; Cárcel de Alta Seguridad)