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what is the best response to being arrested, for an anarchist?

+4 votes
should anarchists start a policy of staying in prison? of not participating in the game (thereis precedent for this among political prisoners).
asked Jun 23, 2010 by anonymous

1 Answer

+5 votes
this is a question that is overdue for more reflection.
no one wants to be in prison, and the mind-warping things that they sometimes do to people are intense, not to mention the problem of violent inmates.
but the idea of doing things with a plan for being in prison, instead of only a plan for avoiding prison, is smart.
partly because the state will arrest whoever they want anyway, and partly because the more anarchists consider the option of staying in prison, the more realistic our whole plan/scene will become.

so my answer is "we should stop having a knee jerk reaction to being put on trial, and consider what it would take to make being in prison work for us".
i look forward to other people's input on this.
answered Jun 27, 2010 by dot (50,140 points)
edited Jun 28, 2010 by dot
Dot, I really appreciate your answer for its stoicism if for nothing else.  Decrying the nature of institutional structures will not make them go away.  If you have made up your mind to put yourself at considerable risk of arrest, then you should mentally prepare for the possibility of doing time.

How would you feel about living in a prison complex that was filled with self-styled anarchists and communists of varying degree?  Have you ever heard of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Dispossed?
I don't remember The Dispossessed having any prisons in it...
The foundations of Odonian lay in the writings of Laia Odo, who spent a great deal of time in prison on Urras.
Anarres, however, had no prisons by name.  Instead, LeGuin uses the society to illustrate how a supposedly egalitarian and horizontal structure can oppress its own constituents.
have i ever heard of it the dispossessed, perhaps the most celebrated novel about anarchists (by an anarchist) in the u.s. ever?
yes, i think i might have heard of it, once or twice. ;)

re: stoicism, sure. but something i was trying to get at (i'm sure too tersely) is that it isn't just the idea of individuals changing their (our) perspectives on prison time, but a change in perspective of anarchist scenes and group strategies. prison time isn't just something that happens to individuals, and avoiding prison time (as a strategy) is a group focus as well as an individual one.
lots of room for more thought here.
it's always funny when i come back to an old comment of mine and have no idea what i was referring to.
blark, your question about anarchists in prison reminds me of reading about the russian nihilists, many of whom were imprisoned in the same buildings, and who created ways of communicating with each other. these stories are always both inspiring (they stayed strong - at least the ones who were still telling stories), and depressing, because prisons seem to be so much better at isolating people now.
but perhaps this is a positive about the obscene overcrowding of prisons? the isolation is not exactly the problem in some populations, anyway.

ie fuck. shit sucks.