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Josh Harper Update (11/20/08)

As of today the state has stolen the last two years of my life. On November 16th of 2006, I walked into the nearby Federal Detention Center, was stripped naked, given a jumpsuit, and thrown in a cell for advocating controversial tactics to shut down an animal lab.
Dear friends,

As of today the state has stolen the last two years of my life. On November 16th of 2006, I walked into the nearby Federal Detention Center, was stripped naked, given a jumpsuit, and thrown in a cell for advocating controversial tactics to shut down an animal lab.

The first inmates I met gave me some advice— try to forget you are here. Don't think about the time. Do your best not to remember the outside world. What awful advice! Although it might make my life harder, I'm relieved that I still bristle at incarceration. I never want to be one of the fully domesticated folks who slowly stop seeing the bars and razor wire and start to consider this place home. I hate prison with a passion. That let's me know I'm still sane.

Back when we were first convicted, a lobbyist for the animal abusers (whose resumé includes representing liquor companies in their efforts to shut down Mothers Against Drunk Driving) predicted that the SHAC 7 case was just the opening shot in a broader war and that soon many activists would be labeled terrorists. He was right, of course, and from the Green Scare, to the RNC arrestees, to the animal rights roundups in Austria, our movements are under attack. Many of us are already behind bars, and more are on their way. I'm hardly an old pro at this imprisonment thing, but please accept the best advice my two years of experience can produce— never forget why you are locked up. Remember the injustices you fought, and ache to fight them once more. To the degree that it's possible, try to shape your new environment instead of letting it shape you. Finally, while it is important to rage at your chains, it's also important not to let anger and bitterness consume you. I've had the honor of meeting animals at sanctuaries who endured the worst of abuses but maintained beautiful, loving personalities. The prison system will try to erase the traits that make you special, the virtues that led you to struggle against oppression. Resist that attack on your spirit with all your might. Sustain yourself; the world NEEDS you.

In closing, I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me and my co-defendants these last few years. I don't know how I could have withstood this experience alone. I also want to send my love to Jake, Andy, Lauren, Kevin, and Darius. I'm proud to have stood alongside each of you. Finally, solidarity to the Move 9, the RNC protesters, military refusers, Panther grand jury resisters, Green Scare victims, Marie Mason, all imprisoned earth and animal liberationists, and all the world's political prisoners— from Marilyn Buck to David Gilbert to Sundiata Acoli— you are all an inspiration to me. "Strong hearts forward!"

For revolution,
Josh

Joshua Harper
29429-086
FCI Sheridan
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5000
Sheridan, OR 97378

homepage: homepage: http://www.joshharper.org