With every package of books, we send a list of resources for prisoners around the country. By providing prisoners information about places they and their families can turn for support, advocacy, health care information, and outlets for their creativity, we offer a much-needed lifeline to the outside community.
We The People Legal Primer
Quincy’s Prison Book Program publishes a popular 40-page legal primer for prisoners called “We the People.” Originally authored by an ex-offender, this comprehensive legal resource has become one of their most frequently requested titles. Containing such useful and basic legal essentials such as what to wear to a court appearance, key legal terms, and Post-Conviction Remedies. We the People Legal Primer
How To Start A Prison Books Collective
This manual is designed to help the reader start and maintain a prison book program. It is not meant to be taken as an absolute, but as friendly advice when devising your own policies and procedures. We hope that this humble contribution will help other prison books groups get started and expand the important work of sending political, legal, and self-educational resources to prisoners. How To Start A Prison Books Collective
In addition to resource guides, we also publish a number of short texts revolving around the themes of prison resistance, anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggles, radical history, and also writings by political prisoners themselves. The following are some downloadable examples of these texts; for a more complete selection view our ‘zine catalog (updated May 2016).
A brief but thorough criticism of contemporary political prisoner support and prison abolitionist movements. Strongly taking to task several trends, including the separation of political from social prisoners in leftist practice and the gradualist reformism of the abolitionist movement, this text is a powerful statement on what it means to be an anarchist with regards to prison.
(Unfortunately the version of the zine on zinelibrary.info that we’d originally linked is no longer available. This link goes to a web page, rather than a formatted zine)
This publication, written by Black freedom fighter and political prisoner Sundiata Acoli, presents a broad but thorough overview of the various social movements, organizations, and historical trends that make up black prisoners’ struggles for liberation.
This is a short talk by Ashanti Alston, former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army combatant, on his introduction to anarchism while in prison. It offers some useful points of departure for folks just starting to think about the relevance of anti-authoritarian ideas to the black community, as well as new ways of thinking about international struggles.
(Unfortunately the version of the zine on zinelibrary.info that we’d originally linked is no longer available.)
Two articles by ex-Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz, on the various strategies of solitary confinement and control units used to discipline and manage prison rebels.
United States prisons and jails are currently housing more than 170,000 mothers. Approximately 2,000 babies are born to mothers in prison each year. In a world where millions are sent to death camps [prisons] and the only solutions that most people on the outside propose are modifications to these death camps, what are those of us who still possess our hearts and spines to do? Defiant Hearts advocates the utter annihilation of prisons, the destruction of capitalism, and the overthrow of civilization.
Supporting underground and independent midwives; making midwifery care accessible to all; redefining criminality; creating alliances in and outside prison walls; and identifying prison reformists/sympathizers as enemies who wish to recuperate us: all are decent places to start in our work to eradicate the prison industrial complex, as well as necessary steps to creating truly self-reliant communities, empowered women, and autonomous families.
By political prisoner Daniel McGowan, this is a very important expose and analysis of the ominous and unconstitutional new prison facilities, the Communication Management Units. It contains new information, straight out of the CMU, and it will be a real asset in our efforts to counter the US government’s war on dissent and free speech, in and outside of the prison system.
I Will Not Crawl: excerpts from Robert F. Williams on Black Struggle and Armed Self-Defense in Monroe, NC
This publication offers a brief biographical sketch of an incredible man named Robert F. Williams, along with several chapters excerpted from his famous 1962 book Negroes with Guns. Though less well known than more urban groups like the Black Panthers, the words and actions of Monroe, NC’s militant NAACP chapter were tremendously influential on later organizations that advocated self-determination, autonomy, equality, and self-defense.
This is a new text by Russell Maroon Shoatz, a prisoner targeted for his role in the Black Panther Party, the BLA, and the killing of a Phildaelphia police officer over thirty years ago. The text focuses primarily on the recuperative function of what Shoatz terms “gangsterism” within past and present-day social movements. If you work with a group that corresponds with prisoners interested in the politics and history of gangs and gang truces, this is a great resource.
This is a compilation of essays and a timeline about recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, with a focus on their relevance to struggles in North America.
One of the most popular zines we send, this was written by ex-Black Panther Lorenzo Ervin about his experiences behind bars. It is an excellent piece on the role of race as both a dividing and unifying factor in prison struggles.
This zine covers an obscure but phenomenal story of coal miners’ and convicts’ joint rebellion against the convict leasing system in post-Civil War Tennessee. Touching on the issues of prison growth, racial identities in the South, the limitations of demand-oriented movements, and the application of contemporary insurrectionary perspectives in understanding historical phenomena, it is “required reading” for anyone interested in appalachian social movements, anti-prison struggles, or the historical positioning of the Southern white worker.
A prisoner at Polk CI in Butner, NC recently published this account of life in solitary (specifically, HCON). It functions as an expose of the torturous conditions of solitary confinement in America.
This is a new piece of prisoner’s writing on unity, truce efforts, and political consciousness in US gangs. The zine presents a number of interesting topics like the forming of identity through historical consciousness and revolt, the co-optation of such identity through musical and artistic forms, and the role of street gangs in the rebellions of the future.
Of particular note is the connections the piece draws between the lived experience of the author, a self-identified gang member and “social” prisoner, on the one hand, and the analysis of well-known anti-authoritarian and/or anti-colonialist heads like Lorenzo Ervin, Russell Maroon Shoatz, and Frantz Fanon, on the other. Many writings of these kinds come from the pens of known “political” prisoners; we’ve been excited to correspond with and present a discussion on gang truce and prison organizing efforts from a prisoner with a slightly different background.
A short illustrated zine describing the prison-industrial complex and personalizing its devastating effects..
This is a fantastic introduction to the ways prisons work, how the prison-industrial complex is driven, along with some advice for folks trying to bring it all down. It is written by two anarchists who did time for anti-war related activity, after they began doing workshops on the subject and started putting together peoples’ responses as well as their own experiences. We’ve sent many hundreds of this publication behind bars.
This zine contains two essays on the subjects of feminism, gender, and self-defense. The first, “Justice is a Woman with a Sword,” is a classic critique of pacifism from the second wave. The other, “From Abolition to Action,” is a more recent piece by author Vikki Law drawing out recent trends in women’s and community self-defense efforts from a prison abolitionist perspective.
NC Prisoner Newsletters
The following two magazines are published by two North Carolina anti-prison organizations. These newsletters are an interesting insight into prisoner organizing.
Proposals: A North Carolina Prisoner Newsletters
This publication has the aim of exploring the connections between anarchists on the outside and prisoners on the inside and spreading news and analysis throughout prisons; it’s filled to the brim with prison-related news, reportbacks from prisoners, discussions of strategy, tactics, and theory. Issue 1. Issue 2. Issue 3. Issue 4.
The Black Rose
The Black Rose is a semi-monthly, regular newsletter sent out to prisoners all over NC, providing prison and social movement-related news and updates both from around the world and specific to NC. Content is largely driven by direct reports coming in from prisoners. Issue 1. Issue 2. Issue 3. Issue 4.