They are inside for us and we are outside for them

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Discussion meeting: An Introduction To Prisoner Support Work

On Sunday 6 November, 4.30pm sharp to 6pm, in the Events Room, at Kebele social Centre, 14 Robertson Road, Bristol BS5 6JY.
There will be two short introductions:
Firstly about the importance of prisoner support work.
Secondly we will look at what exactly ABC groups in the UK do these days, and what else they could be doing.

This will be an informal meeting, with plenty of time for questions and discussion, and we hope you will help us generate more ideas about what we can do, and how we can do it together.

After the meeting we hope you will stay on for the Kebele cafe, and join us from 6.30 to 8pm, upstairs in the art room, in sending cards and letters to prisoners in the UK and abroad who welcome support.

The support and solidarity work of the ABC network in the UK, and other similar groups, is sorely limited by the small numbers of people involved, and indeed by their other committments. We think this needs to improve, and we welcome the slowly growing interest and activity around the UK in this work – for example by the excellent Bristol Defendant Solidarity group and similar groups starting up over the last year; by the understanding that legal support on protests and defendant support afterwards needs to continue into prisoner support; and most recently by the surge of support for 6 imprisoned anti-fascists.

However much more needs to be done to ensure support and solidarity for our friends and comrades who are increasingly going to court, and prison, as a result of participation in political activities and protests. Prison is very much a tool used by the state to control and scare us, our people need to know that if they are sent to prison they will not be forgotten. The last year has seen an increase in social conflict in the workplace and on the streets. The rich and powerful are waging a social war against all of us to take back what our movements have won over the last 150 years, and to ensure our compliance in a system designed purely for their benefit. Our movements are a part of a growing resistance in this war. The recent struggles by youth and students, the growing anger of those in and out of work, and the certainty that these battles will intensify in the next few years, mean that greater numbers of us face arrest, courts, and prison. Prisons themselves represent this social war in its sharpest terms, and have always been a location of struggle. As they continue to fill up with prisoners of the social conflicts outside, those struggles will intensify.

As a movement, or movements, we need to be better prepared for those comrades who are sent to prison. We appreciate many of you are already quite busy, but we need your help and think this is something that deserves some more attention than is currently the case. If you are interested, want to know more, and can maybe dedicate a little time to this work, then we hope you can come along on the 6 November.