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prisons & prisoners


How is this term defined?
This discussion came to me today. How do we define this term? What is the criteria? What/who is political and what is not?

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How about this definition 03.Jun.2007 22:19

theresa mitchell

A political prisoner is one who is held for essentially harmless views, or for actions that oppose the will of the powerful. We have plenty in the United States--for example, the Plowshares activists, who have never hurt anyone, but have performed symbolic actions against genocidal nuclear rockets. Likewise the Cuba Five, who are being held in vicious conditions for the crime of defending their country from US-funded terrorists based in Florida--they are political prisoners. They have harmed no one in the US and never intended to do so.

Or for a counterexample, for people who are not political prisoners, take the collaborators with hotel bombings who are being held in Cuban jails. They traitorously turned to a vastly superior armed force, that of the United States, and spread lies to cover the bombing of their own soil. They are held in prisons--which by the way are not nearly as degenerate as US prisons-- and that's entirely appropriate.

Political Prisoners 04.Jun.2007 03:40


1) I think political prisoners are all the people incarcrated (by a state / a gang in power) as a consequence of their political activity. It include wida range of political activities beginning in "spreading the word" (writings, having declarations, websites, lectures, songs etc.) through conciousness refusers (of war etc.) mass activites (demos, protests, rallies, civil dissobedience, clashes...) property destruction and finishes with different kinds of armed struggle & guerilla wariors.
I think POW's are special kind inside the class of "political prisoners".

2) There is a problem with the contradiction "terrorists" & "political prisoners". It's known that "One's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" - I personally support ONLY political prisoners that are struggeling against the Imperialism/Globalization (don't support people that are struggle for the right of the big companies to exploite in Cuba or Venezuella) But, anyway, I think that ALL of them are political prisoners (including the people I completely against their oppinions/activities). From here there are 2 interesting notes:

a) The vaster numbers of political prisoners (and POW's) are in Imperialistic countries (USA with their Guantanamo's, Israel with 11,000 Palestinian prisoners - which are more than half of all thecarcrated population) Colombia with more than 15,000 political prisoners & dissapeared people, turkey, Spain etc., And, althought we are not used to be aware to the fact, countries like Cuba, China etc. have lower numbers of political prisoners (in venezuella are 26 political prisoners or something like that).

b) What we are thinking about the incarcration system as a whole? I think that I, personally, against it, and it says that we must to work a way that a society (or even a state) will defend itself from it's conciouss enemies.... I'm sure that it can be done.

political prisoners 04.Jun.2007 09:04


Political prisoners are those people who continue to support the democracy
of the church-state........U.S., Canada, Germany, U.K., Australia, France,
and so on. The "common masses" have been political prisoners for 5,000 years,
particularly christians, (also includes judaism, islam, and other patriarchal

Depends on your definition of political, I guess. 04.Jun.2007 09:11


(Sorry for the dupe but I posted in the the wrong area)
A conscious revolutionary committed to a term of imprisonment, perhaps? What I'm not sure about is whether or not an individual who experiences a social/political awakening while incarcerated is a political prisoner. I would suppose not, considering someone who puts it all on the line for their belief is a far cry from someone who reads some Emma Goldman while locked up (like you can find some damn Emma locked up!).
Then again, it would be counter-productive to begrudge (with certain terminology) the efforts of any human being willing to fight the power while locked in a damn cage. Even more strange is the idea of locking up two-million plus humans (it's beyond reprehensible), so I guess most people locked up are political prisoners...