portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting oregon & cascadia

prisons & prisoners

Rob Los Ricos Greets Supporters After Seven Years Behind Bars

On Saturday, Rob "Los Ricos" Thaxton spoke face to face with his supporters for the first time since being released from Oregon State Penitentiary on Thursday, June 29.
Rob has just completed serving a seven-year sentence for his role in a clash between police and protesters during anti-globalization protests in Eugene, Oregon on June 18, 1999. A Chicano and longtime anarchist organizer, he was convicted of rioting and assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly chucking a rock at a cop.

Rob greeted those gathered at Portland's Laughing Horse Books with individual hellos and handshakes, stating repeatedly how overwhelmed and happy he felt to be released. He spent most of the evening taking questions from supporters, who mostly wanted to hear about his day-to-day life behind bars. Rob said he spent most of his time writing letters. "It helped me remember who I was," he said. "It saved my life."

In addition to that, he said, he took up running, learned to play the guitar, and participated in a "Toastmasters" speech training group. "I tried to do one on 'who I am,' -- that's the topic they gave everyone -- but that got really long!" So he turned his attention to Albert Parsons, one of four anarchists activist hanged in the aftermath of the Haymarket Riots of 1886, and for which the May Day is a remembrance.

In part by intention and in part by accident of history, the anarchist identity and tradition framed Rob's prison experience. He was jailed just as the movement he helped to build reached the tipping point in the streets of Seattle in November 1999. Authorities weren't sure what to make of this group of people and their ideas, and many feel that Rob bore the brunt of their hasty reaction.

Last night Rob explained how he and his cell mate realized that mail marked with a circle-A insignia was getting classified as "gang-related" and confiscated. They embarked on a campaign to challenge this practice, which culminated in a successful lawsuit. Through that process, he explained, they were able to change a few minds. "People began to see that anarchism doesn't just have to be about being confrontational, but that it can be more philosophical -- something in your heart."

Rob spoke also of some fear of how the world has changed since he has been in jail, a sentiment that others in the room seemed to share. Discussion also hovered around the recent organizing around immigrants rights, and the hope it holds for a world where people matter more than national borders. This year marked the largest May Day protests in US history, and coincided with a general strike by immigrant workers and their supporters. In Chicago alone, an estimated 700,000 people marched past the monument erected to the Haymarket Martyrs.

Albert Parsons has more than one reason to be proud.

Background On Rob's Case | Rob's Last Communique from Prison | Announcement for Laughing Horse Event

I'm so glad he's free 02.Jul.2006 12:59

Jody Paulson

I just looked up Albert Parsons on the web. Anyone out there believe in reincarnation? ;)

Oh, come on! 02.Jul.2006 23:40

Nona Bow

I think Rob (who I know) would be the last to put himself on the pedistal. He has just analyized the world from the perspective of where he's at.

He is no more or less a warrior than you or I.

He is not the reincarnation of Albert Parsons,

He is who he is, and you are who you are. With all our strengths and weaknesses.

Down with the cult of great leaders!

I agree. 03.Jul.2006 06:53

Rob los Ricos

The comparison is flattering, and I'm sure it wasn't meant to be taken too seriously, but I do see a real danger of people wanting to romanticize me as something I'm not. Believe me, I ain't got what it takes to maintain a personality cult, even if I wanted that - which I don't.

- 03.Jul.2006 17:58


I found his discussion of life in prison to be particularly interesting, as we have to face that, in all propability, more and more of us will be spending long periods of time in prison. It was unfortunate, though understandable, that he wasn't able to speak about the circumstances related to his arrest.
I wish that he had spoken longer, but I suppose no one audience or rob himself, was necesarily prepeared for this event, and there were only a few people asking most of the questions. But altogether it was a good, calm thing and I really appreciate Rob's honest humility. It speaks well of anarchism itself to watch someone intentionally turn away from the spotlight while still recognizing they have had unique experiences that we can all learn from.
I had never met Rob before (and didn't properly meet him last night) but it was beautiful to see how happiness radiated from him (owing, I assume, to his release).

Tebetan Nuns observe cop riot on 6/18/99 05.Jul.2006 01:25


On the evening of June 18th, 1999 in Eugene, Oregon, I was working a volunteer shift for the CCPA / WOW Hall; the Tibetan nuns were there to share with those present. During my shift (pre-house), there were Eugene pigz outside on Eighth Avenue (& Lincoln Street), and >they< were blocking the streets. At one point, these armed and dangerous individuals paid by our tax $$ to "serve & protect" ordered two women waiting outside the WOW Hall for the event to begin to "Get into the WOW Hall" which the intimiidated women did. I guessed they didn't want any witnesses to whatever fascist actions they might commit. Two of the nuns from Tibet were peering out one of the WOW windows looking west, and one asked, "Does this happen much here?" I replied, "Well, it's kind of on the increase." I didn't know what to say, for I was bewildered, too. Now (post-9-11) all is way too quiet. It can't last very much longer, I imagine...

Put me in touch? 05.Jul.2006 19:35

P. H. Madore editor@litdispatch.net


I'd like to be put in touch with Rob and possibly have him send something for my magazine, DISPATCH LITAREVIEW, or maybe an interview. I have a sticker that says free Rob Los Ricos, that I got from a CrimethInc. order back when I had money, but I didn't know much about the case until now.


P. H. Madore

Hello 09.Jul.2006 08:19

someone far away

hey I saw that Rob himself actually commented on this, I found this on infoshop I have never heard of you before this. But anyone that would do 7 years for the cause without even so much as being at fault for their own incarceration is worthy of more than a few words. I just want to say Mr. Ricos you are an inspiration to me. Thank you for doing what you do.

hey rob 24.Jul.2006 10:44

chris plummer

hope your well.... ask shell in eugene to give you my number...