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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
Jeff Free Luers
Jeff Free Luers
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 In those 5 years, this movement has grown weaker and more withdrawn.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
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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:

Jeffrey Luers
#13797671
Oregon State Penitentiary
2605 State Street
Salem, OR 97310

homepage: homepage: http://www.freefreenow.org
address: address: Free's Defense Fund; PO Box 3; Eugene, OR 97440


Im here 28.Dec.2005 17:42

Mo

I know Jeff can't heard this- but I'll say it anyway. I was a friend of Jeff's, and still am. I am one of those dedicated people, and I feel his frustration. I often find myself wondering why people aren't USING EVERY OUNCE OF STRENGTH AND DEDICATION THEY HAVE BEFORE ITS TOO LATE. I am often alone, I feel isolated and jaded(?) because I feel that just maybe my convictions are too 'hardcore' for many activists. But they aren't. I re-evaluate my thoughts and beliefs: I want to see a world not dominated by greed and its power structures. I want to see humans living in synch with our environment, and most of all want to see happiness....real happiness. Is this all too hardcore? No. Are my beliefs on the tactics/methods that could/should be used to attain them? NO. If there is to be any kind of movement, we need real dedication. Instead of a 3 hour anti-bush protest outside the courthouse where we all home home and eat dinner afterwards, lets PERMANENTLY take over the streets UNTIL WE ARE LISTENED TO AND FREE. Thats just an example. Instead of saying we care about the homeless EPIDEMIC, lets open our hearts/houses and solve the problem instead of trying to reform, etc because you can't work within this system thats so corrupt to the very core, you need to ASSERT YOURSELF.

Make yourself uncomfortable...get outta your activist ghetto, get on the streets, quit your goddamn job, put all that bullshit on the back burner and really spark something, because like jeff said, its not about fearing what will happen if you resist, its about fearing what will happen to your or your kids if you dont. We are the seventh generation, our ancestors and future generations are COUNTING ON US. Please.

about me a bit-

I've been 'homeless radical' for 12 years, and I've seen/done many things and have built my resources across the country. But the most important one, I've realized, is my determination to never quit, and never be beaten down by this system that suggests that you have a house/job to accomplish things in your life. You don't. You just need your two hands and our visions for a sustainable future. I am living proof that it can, and should be done. No more excuses.

i felt this dispatch too 28.Dec.2005 19:09

kirsten

I was moved to send Jeff an intense letter on these hard topics after reading this. It is so hard watching people go through these periods of questioning in jail...cut off...jails are so unhealthy and sick...

a way to do something 29.Dec.2005 23:28

anybody foolchild0@hotmail.com

hey, if any folks out there are interested in finding a way to actively help jumpstart the movement, the 2006 A World Beyond Capitalism Conference is set to happen in Portland in August 2006, and we need all the help we can get with fundraising, logisitcs, and any little tiny bit someone wants to give. the conference is all about finding common ground, and ending the finger-pointing that jeff was talking about. let's all get together again! check out our website at www.aworldbeyondcapitalism.org. come to a meeting. come to an event. do anything you want.


Love you Peter Pan! 30.Dec.2005 06:27

Ysab absolutlyworthless@hotmail.com

Lovin' you brother. Even if you dont.


Mo 30.Dec.2005 11:57

ftp

I hear you, loud and clear. I haven't been an activist as long as you, but in recent years I've gone to many protests, including all the big ones in NYC and DC (RNC, Iraq, etc). And I've always had the same thought; that time when there were hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of Manhattan, if we all chose to just SIT DOWN and not move until our demands were respected, that seems like the only way we can obtain timely change. Because the government is not listening, all those crooks on Capitol Hill. Look at what the recent NYC transit strike was able to accomplish. When thousands decide to take direct, peaceful action and it disrupts the machinery, only then do the capitalist dictators in power start to sweat. We need NUMBERS. We need everyone who reads/writes indymedia from across the globe to mobilize, unify, and take action, all together, at the same time, in the same place. Until then, we will only be what Jeff alludes to, just a voice lost in the bustle of global destruction.

Answer is simple enough 31.Dec.2005 00:06

Treeboy

Jeff has definitely hit the nail on the head, but not squarely and not enough times. However, I don't fault him for he is actually doing the time for "doing the crime," as opposed to most "activists" who are truly anything but "active." It's quite simple: hippy peaceniks killed Earth First! and they are killing (or have killed) earth defense/eco-activism/green anarchy, whatever you want to brand-name it. There is no "peace." There never will be any "peace." Peace is an illusion, oh dreadlocked anglos. Smoke as much pot as you want, become a "traveller," sleep all day in your auntie's basement and emerge at night to watch FAMILY GUY, then drag your lazy butt down to the war protest once a month. You waste yours and everyone's time. Evolution is violent. Humans are products of evolution which is of course an ongoing process. Biology is violent. There will be no rest and no peace for us as long as life exists. To pretend "we can all just get along" is a joke - a dangerous joke. The trees will fall, racism will spread, religious fanatics will blow themselves up, Republicrats will rule, and NOTHING will change as long as we march and chant and dance around in tree costumes. WE HAVE TO GET BUSY. I am talking MONKEYWRENCH GANG busy. I'm talking FIGHT CLUB busy. It all has to come down. You just can't eat vegan, wear hemp clothes and shake your fist as pigs who drive SUV's. We all know what has to be done so that Free's sacrifice actually means something. So the next time you get the urge to scribble with toxic markers useless slogans on a sign and plod on down to the town square to join the other fake progressives who drove their gas guzzler to the "peace protest," think again, grit your teeth, pack your bag with useful tools and head for the hills - or visit Wall Street late at night. Do what is necessary, even if you end up in the cell next to Jeff. It's a better life than what you are (not) doing now. Remember the exchange between Thoreau and Emerson? Emerson visited Thoreau in jail and asked the man behind the bars "what are you doing in there?" Thoreau replied: "what are you doing OUT there?"

redwoods

what ever happened to the "We are Everywhere" movement???? 31.Dec.2005 03:04

anti-imperialist

Treeboy, your negativity only causes more heartache, and honestly, we don't need it so please keep that kind of hopeless drivel to yourself.

I feel Free's pain...I share it. Ever since 9/11/01 the radical upsurge in our movement took a nosedive, and well, never quite recovered. Sad that an event that is highly misinterpreted (9/11) could have dampened our movement the way it did. The infighting is PATHETIC, and I have a feeling that our movement has been highly infiltrated by mercenaries of the global empire builders.
Radicals today seem to have gotten extremely timid...where is the direct action movement? Of course there are plenty of exceptions to the rule, but one by one they are being picked off by the emerging dictatorship.

Unless the global justice ("anti-globalization") movement picks up where it left off prior to 9/11, there won't be much hope.

Radicals better re-radicalize, more militant forms of resistance must be employed if we are to get anywhere.

I can't even watch "This is What Democracy Looks Like" anymore because it makes me depressed that we aren't at that level anymore. That better change, tomorrow. Time is running out fools.

Not hopeless but realist 31.Dec.2005 22:46

Treeboy

You gotta' be a kid to think that realism is "hopeless." Why? Because you haven't seen enough life, only what you read in your college textbooks or fashionable peacenik zines. LOL
Grownup anarchists like myself have been battling all our lives and KNOW the enemy and what he/she/it is capable of doing.
Peacenik kiddies live in a fantasy world where somehow, some way, some time in the distant future, everything will work out just swell! Rich folk won't want to get richer, the poor will hum happily as they march off to a double shift at McDonalds, and Starbucks will pack up and go home!
Hey, kiddo, JOIN THE BLACK BLOC and fight for your life or polar bears will only live as stuffed dolls, redwood you will only find in your parent's deck and giant shantytowns won't only be a hellish vision from Mexico City or Rio.
But cheer up, stout soldier, you can always make a puppet and parade!

redwoods (what's left of them)

walking the razor's edge 15.Jan.2006 01:32

dhyananda

Thoughtful action leads to thoughtful results. We can't know the exact results of our actions in protesting, or resisting, but we can understand from what has happened to others the potential for abuse by those in power (on either "side" of the fence so to speak). "Free" in jail has in some ways limited his power, but has also been offered another sort of power, because his incarceration speaks loudly about "injustice". Since our country has seen fit to build more jails rather than to address the issues which are creating "more criminals", it would be wise to step back, and learn the art of negotiation and communication. To awaken the hearts and minds of humanity is an accomplishment which takes time, patience, and finesse. If I have an "enemy", I must learn his "language" and use it to create more understanding. Peaceful action breeds peaceful results. War breeds war. Misunderstanding breeds more misunderstanding, etc. Hearing, I am heard. Seeing, I am seen. Loving, I am loved. We teach each other by our example. We learn compassion by understanding concepts deeper than those which appear on the surface of the troubled waters of our lands, cultures, governments, leaders, protestors. We teach compassion for our earth and each other by sharing what we've learned. Nature prevails in the end, and will teach the lesson that will save us all. Be reflective (inwardly and outwardly), and we can shine together!

Incarcerated 20.Jan.2006 12:03

Joe Wilson

"More militant forms of resistance must be employed if we are to get anywhere."

Yep, that kind of thinking will get you somewhere...a cold cell next to Free.