Communique from Rob los Ricos from the hole
Watch Your Back. Information about Rob Thaxton and Brian McCarvill in the hole at Oregon State Penitentiary January 2003 due to continued repression.
Watch your BACK!
On January 9th, anarchists Rob Thaxton and Brian McCarvill were sanctioned with 120 days in the Disciplinary Segregation Unit at Oregon State Penitentiary. The offense listed on their Misconduct Reports is "Unauthorized Organization I", but the hearings
officer told me that she found me "guilty of continuing to be involved with the anarchist movement." The Oregon Department of Corrections and OSP in particular, have taken it upon themselves to act as thought police and punish people for their political views. The act which inspired this punishment is so petty as to be laughable: we had asked people to send us mail. When people responded by the dozens, the prisoncrats took offense and sent us to the hole. One day, I'll look back at this time and laugh. Right now, though, this isn't very funny - sitting here without my guitar, books, magazines, income from my job in the prison infirmary, almost no chance for visits, listening to idiotic conversations between people shouting, anarchists Rob Thaxton and Brian McCarvill were sanctioned with 120 days in the m one cell emblazoned with swastikas to another. This whole episode revolves around symbols and their power, though apparently OSP staff have fewer worries about swastikas than they do about circle-a's, the "anarchy" symbol.
It's the little things.
Since I was first incarcerated here at OSP, the prison authorities have been overly concerned with my politics. I am routinely denied materials they think cross some vague boundary of unacceptability. UK literature professor, the late John Moore's book examining anarchist tendencies in "primitive" societies was forbidden. Canadian art professor Allan Antliff's book on anarchist influence in modern art was allowed.
It was evident to me from the beginning that this was a bit arbitrary, and I tried to challenge their designation of anarchists as a Security Threat Group, and the circle-a symbol as an STG symbol. What this has come down to over the ensuing years is that I can receive anything, even if it has the word "Anarchy" splashed across the pages in 4-inch letters, but I can't have anything that contains a circle-a symbol. This has been used to deny me publications which featured photos of demonstrations, where a circle-a symbol on a patch on the pants of one of the participants was clearly visible. Other, similar violations were give because circle-a symbols could be seen among the graffiti in the background of some photographs. And, since most anarchist publications usually exhibit a circle-a in some manner or another, this gives the prisoncrats an excuse to prohibit them. In short, I am being cut off from contact with other anarchists and to a large extent, any mention of anarchist activities, or even activities in which anarchists participate - such as mass demonstrations
against economic summit meetings and the war in Iraq. The prisoncrats even made it forbidden for people to mark or cut out such offensive circle-a's in order to make their publication palatable for the prisoncrats.
I could challenge this in court, and have contemplated doing so, but - for one thing - the case would likely drag of for years and still not be resolved before I'm released in October '06. Also, with my experience with courtrooms in the past, I know there is little hope for much sympathy, much less a fair hearing. Courts tend to back up prisoncrats' dictatorships.
Lately, though, I've become more and more angry as fewer people write or send literature to me, due to prisoncratic interference. With less mail making it in, each Mail Violation Notice I receive angers and frustrates me all the more. The Oregon Department of Corrections does not have the right to limit my communications with people who hold similar political views. I am being isolated, at a time when the actions of the Bush Junta, and his family's dreams of a New World Order, demand that everyone who cherishes life and cares about their fellow humans' well-being speak out and take action against him and the NWO.
I'm in prison for being involved in a street battle with the Eugene Police Department, as part of one of the many "anti-globalization" days-of-action that rocked the world from '99-'01. Of all the people arrested around the world during these actions, as far as I know, I'm the only one still in prison. Like I mentioned above, the prisoncrats have been concerned about having someone with more that 20 years of activist experience, much of it as an organizer. Those two words together, added to the fact that I'm an anarchist, spells out "Riot" to the prisoncrats - one of the charges I was convicted of, by the way. While incarcerated, I've tried to remain active, writing letters, sending contributions to anarchist publications and encouraging anarchists to be more involved in supporting prisoners.
The prisoncrats and I have been going back and forth over the mail issue for years now. What it comes down to is their arbitrary use of authority. There is no rational reason for them to deny anything entering their facilities just because there is a circle-a somewhere in its pages. Their entire argument is "Because we say so."
So, rather than go to the courts, rather that waste my time arguing with them, I did what I tend to do - I organized an anarchist protest. I asked people outside to send postcards with a circle-a and the caption: "This is not a gang symbol." Then, I forgot about it.
A little while later, since the holiday season was upon us, the prisoners here were allowed - as we are every year- to make 15 minute videos to send to our families and
friends. From what I've heard since then, there are a number of people upset over my video. Not the message - it was just me reading poetry and playing my guitar. No, the
Authorities were angry because they didn't review the tape before it went out. Who knows what diabolical instructions were sent on that tape - and to whom? The OSP activites crew don't keep such records, to ensure the privacy and safety of the recipients. Someone is very angry about that.
On, January 2 ('03) Benny Ward, the STG manager for ODOC, came to visit me. He wanted me to move out of my cell, which I share with Brian McCarvill. Brian is involved in a lawsuit against ODOC/OSP over using the circle-a symbol as a reason to deny mail into their institutions. He implied that there would be consequences if I didn't move. Brian and I discussed this and decided it wasn't necessary for us to move.
Five days later, we were given Misconduct Reports, concerning 52 items of mail sent to us, and charged with being part of an unauthorized organization. Suddenly, Mr.
Wards' visit began to make a little more sense. ODOC is being pressured from above to do something about us bad ol' anarchists. Our lawsuits are costing them money, and the feds (rightly) think ODOC are fools who can't keep track of persons of interest within their institutions. To illustrate what great fools they are it is illegal for prisons to retaliate, or even threaten to retaliate, against prisoners for bringing lawsuits against them. They peeled that banana, threw the skin on the floor and slipped on it themselves.
Two days later, Brian and I were sanctioned to spend 4 months in the hole, apiece. We are being singled out for repression because of our political views and because we
stand up for our rights as human beings.
(For more info about Rob Thaxton, check out http://www.defenestrator.org/roblosricos/index.html and
or write directly to Rob at:
Robert Thaxton # 12112716
OSP 2605 State Street
Salem, OR 97310)
Mail must have a complete return address on the envelope.
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