Jeff Free Luers Dispatch for December
Below is the latest Dispatch from Jeff Free Luers. Jeff is a political prisoner currently serving 22 1/2 years in Oregon State Penitentiary. For background on his case, see http://www.freefreenow.org
Dispatch Dec 1, 2005
I write more of these things than the world will ever see. The ones I do send out get edited and rewritten until I'm satisfied it isn't too much. I know I am intense in all my emotions and honestly that's where my courage comes from.
My friends know me well, but each of them knows a side or a trait of me and few see the whole picture. I think that many would say I can be very open, but unreadable and closed when I choose. I carry my pain on the inside. I keep it there because it is mine. I know that trait can be analyzed and defined many ways, especially in men. But it is not a macho thing for me. Pain is like love, it is intimate and personal. It's not something to be shared with everyone. On occasion, through these Dispatches, I open a window to my soul. Sometimes, you can only make people understand by showing them...
Yes, I'm depressed and it hits me in waves. At times I feel like I'm drowning. I'm not depressed by my life. I can take care of myself quite well and, all things considered, my life is pretty good. What has me heartbroken is the state of this struggle. Frankly, I feel disappointed (not personally; in that regard I feel amazingly loved and supported). I feel like the force I've believed in for the last 13 years has failed. I feel defeated. I know it is incredibly na´ve and utopian, but I truly believed that we were gonna change the world. For the first time ever it hit me that I'm not sure we will.
"Struggle" here in the U.S. seems far more centered around feel-good activism than it does creating change; more about symbolic dissent than actual resistance. It is almost like for most people being aware of the problem and being upset by it is enough. It isn't and it never will be.
Five years ago I said we were running out of time to act. In those 5 years, this movement has grown weaker and more withdrawn. There is less cell activity and more people in jail. There are fewer protests and more factionalized in-fighting. It has become easier to isolate ourselves in self-marginalized cliques pointing fingers at each other instead of raising a united fist.
This summer, I wrote a few controversial pieces about this movement. I flat-out said we had grown timid and weak. I tried to pick a fight. I wanted people to get angry. I wanted to see the lifeblood of this movement stir. I got one letter in response. One. He said he felt the same and was glad someone had the courage to voice it. The only other response was from the nice man who types these Dispatches and sends them to you. He argued with me (thanks, bro).
Today, I received 5 letters about my last Dispatch. I'm sure I'll get more. These folks were trying to cheer me up and make me smile. I appreciate the gesture and concern sincerely, make no mistake. Still, I point this out because to me it is demonstrative of our movement at large. Few people want to address the tough questions: Where are we going? Why aren't we more successful? How do we evolve our tactics? How do we create real and meaningful change? Most activists are willing to point out the good. Many are quick to get positive energy going. Even if at the end of the day nothing changes. It is easier than facing the often difficult truth.
Before I fell (came to prison) I saw a very common expression spray painted around town, in zines and movement rags. It was simple, defiant and full of hope. "We will win." It's been a long time since I've seen it in anything. It's been even longer since I've heard it said with any conviction. What happened to that fiery determination? What happened to riots in the streets? What happened to regular ELF activity? When did we lose our fighting spirit and how the hell do we get it back?
I've given my liberty for this struggle. I would have given my life if I thought it would have brought change. Because I believe our birthright was stolen from us. Because I believe in freedom; I believe our Earth and the web of life are sacred. Because I believe in you and your ability to bring change.
I think you are scared and I think change frightens you. I also think you are stronger than you know. There is a warrior inside of you waiting to be found; waiting for you to believe. Your fear is misplaced. No one should fear what will happen if they fight back. Everyone should fear what will happen to us if we don't.
I've given up on trying to inspire. I won't fight for anyone who won't fight for themselves. But I'll fight - alone or side by side with those willing to stand. However, I won't dare place hope in this movement. While it has demonstrated its ability to be a force for change, it has not shown a willingness to create it. Our accomplishments are few and far between. It is a harsh thing to say. I know of many positive examples that can be used to counter it. But, at the end of the day you still aren't free. Wealth is still controlled by governments and corporations. The ice caps are still melting.
With activist networks spanning the globe with the intelligence and knowledge I know we possess, there is only one reason things have not changed. We have yet to dedicate ourselves to the task. I'll believe "we will win" when you show it to me. I'll have hope for our future when you give it to me. If we aren't in this together then we are in this alone. One is an awfully lonely number. But I wrote about that already.
-Jeffrey Free Luers
You can contribute funds to Jeff's appeal or to his commissary account a few different ways:
1. Online: donations can be made online on a secure server through Paypal. To make an online donation, go to http://www.freefreenow.org
All names/addresses are kept confidential. These donations go to fund Jeff's appeals.
2. Snail Mail: You can send checks/money orders made out to "Free's Defense Fund" to POB 3, Eugene, OR 97440. Specify legal fund or commissary.
3. Directly to Jeff's commissary account: These funds are used by Jeff to buy necessities like pens, stamps, envelopes etc. Money orders or cashier's check only [absolutely no checks or cash] can be made out to: "DOC Central Trust for (For Jeffrey Luers, #13797671)" and send to Central Trust, PO Box 14400, Salem OR 97309-5077. On the money order/cashier┤s check, write the name and mailing address of purchaser, including city, state, and zip code.The money will be put in Free's account upon receipt through the mail. Please do not include any letters or other personal items in the envelope that you use to mail the money order/cashier┤s check. Any letters, cards, etc. cannot be accepted and will be returned to the sender.
To write directly to Jeff:
Oregon State Penitentiary
2605 State Street
Salem, OR 97310
address: Free's Defense Fund; PO Box 3; Eugene, OR 97440
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