Political Prison (essay by Walter Bond and originally posted March 2013)

Political Prison

To be in prison is to be a whipping post for those in political power. I will always find it a little odd and slightly offensive when people of an intellectual background or mindframe try to explain the mechanics of oppression to me. As if life was a classroom or thesis where real experience is trumped by word-ideas and an ability to apply precision to philosophy. Those of us in the prison system know oppression. We live it everyday, every hour. Authority, slavery and domination are our lot. Any employee, guard, visitor or invisible faceless bureaucrat need only snap their fingers and we are whisked away to confinement cells smaller than your bathroom. For days, months, or years.

In a capitalist system of immense social stratification ‘prisoner’ is the lowest rung in a classist and racist society. When you face federal prison charges your indictment reads ‘The United States of America Vs. (insert your name)’. That is usually the first and last truth you will be awarded. From that point forward you face the largest maniacal bully on the face of Mother Earth, the United States government.

Currently there are more than 2 and a half million people imprisoned in America. With more than 6 million on parole, probation or supervised release. That is approximately 1 out of every 33 adults in the U.S. which are in some stage of ‘corrections’. Nearly everyone in this system falls into one or more of four categories, those being: 1. Black, 2. Latino, 3. Poor, and 4. Uneducated.

Women in prison are routinely incarcerated hundreds of miles away from their families and children. Much further distances than men. Due to their minority status amongst the prison population (most prisoners are men) women endure imprisonment by a system that makes little concession for sex and gender differences, and often heaps extra derision and scorn upon the female prison population. Women that come into the prison system pregnant are often chained and shackled to tables while giving birth. They also have immensely greater chances of never seeing their children again after the hour or two that they are allowed to spend with their newborn babies. Upon return to their prison cells, robbed and stripped of their progeny, women in prison face a grief and hollowness worse than anything I can imagine. There are currently over 150,000 African American women imprisoned in America or on probation, parole or supervised release. That’s 1 out of every 9 African American women in the United States.

Under the guise of the war on drugs, the war on gangs, the war on guns, and of course the war on terrorism the prison system incarcerates the indigenous, people of color, and the poor at unprecedented rates. In the process criminalizing many addicts and small time ‘middlemen’ drug dealers that would benefit far more from help with their addictions, instead of criminalization and imprisonment around more serious or violent offenders.

As much as I identify with being vegan, straightedge or anarchist I also Identify with being a prisoner. I have been incarcerated in county jails such as Cerro Gordo county and Black Hawk county in Iowa. Or Davis County in Utah and Jefferson County in Colorado. I have been in state prisons in Iowa, such as Oakdale Classification Center, Mount Pleasant Correctional Facility, Anamosa State Penitentiary, and North Iowa Correctional Facility at Rockwell City. I have been in a corporate run prison at the Nevada Southern Detention Center and I have been in Federal Prison in Oklahoma at the Federal Transfer Center and now the United States Penitentiary of Marion on the Infamous Communications Management Unit for ‘domestic terrorists’, where I currently reside.

Contrary to how the media or politicians portray prisoners we are just people. Among the millions of people that are incarcerated are mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, children, parents, friends, fathers, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers and family. As a prisoner you experience first hand far more diversity than you do in the open air prison (society). Instead of being divided by class, politics, religion, gender, sexual orientation, color, culture and all the other dividers we use to tribalize and separate ourselves from each other. We are all right here in close quarters. People that you once thought were repulsive in manner, attitude or appearance become more familiar to you than your best friends from free world.

Of course Prison can also be a violent world just like in the open air prison you live in. The difference is that there is no running away from violence in here. Which means that as a prisoner you relearn instincts that  you may have lost or never thought you had. Like a child you learn how to read people, you learn how to not be fooled by nice clothes, slick talk or kind words. You learn that not everyone that postures violently is dangerous and some that seem completely non-threatening are very dangerous indeed. You learn how to deal with lots of truly different people under adverse circumstances as a matter of everyday life. You learn how to not be sensitive over other peoples views or beliefs.

Unfortunately, you also learn that the outside world, much like the media define you by your crimes. If you stole some money when you were a kid, wouldn’t you find it unfair and discriminatory if 20 years later when you were trying to get a job, or an apartment, or admission to college you were told “sorry, we can’t allow thieves here”? This is exactly the case with nearly all that come out of prison. there is years of time between you and your offense but you still must be defined by it.

The first time I was released from prison I had many a good job denied me, solely because of my criminal record. I started to lie about it on my job applications and then was finally able to get a job as a fry cook at Applebee’s, a shitty corporate restaurant. An old acquaintance recognized me and told the boss about my past. I was brought into the office and thoroughly berated and threatened with being fired for being a liar. And then finally allowed to continue my ‘privilege’ of working in a place completely against my ethics as a vegan so that I could avoid going back to prison on a parole violation for not holding ‘adequate employment’.

This is to say nothing of the difficulties that gay lesbian and transgendered people face in prison or the slave wages prisoners must endure while working in the prison if they want to keep their ‘general population’  status and have the ‘privilege’ of looking at the sky or of making a 15 minute call to family.

In a hierarchical society where all life is viewed in ranks or the rungs of a ladder. In a consumer driven society where all life is a commodity or only as important as it’s output for consumer gain the prison is quickly becoming the model used in  society. Schools, workplaces, post offices, airports and the shopping malls. Along side the nastier businesses such as slaughterhouses, military and police training which all go off of the same model as the penitentiary design and mentality. Which is, by the way, why so many ex-military people work in prisons. It’s because they themselves were institutionalized by the government.

It is only a matter of time before the open air prison drops it’s facade and the walls go up, and the razor wire glistens in the afternoon sky and the rights you thinks you have all become privileges. Because if you want to see the future of a class society, of imperialism and corporate fascism you need look no further than the lowest class within that society, it’s prisoners. But just like slaughterhouses, prisons are tucked away in small-town USA, in rural areas where you don’t see. The mainstream media ignores prison and it’s millions of inmates unless it happens to make a good story to interview one of the ‘human monsters’ that languish within. Just like it ignores the murder and death of Animals behind walls to feed filthy and destructive industries.

So it’s up to you to care where other don’t. It’s up to you to raise awareness where others won’t. And it’s up to you to use your freedom and privilege in the cause of liberation . If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

For Liberation,

Walter

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xGOD-FREEx

From: WALTER EDMUND BOND (37096013)
Date: 11/9/2018 8:07:16 AM
Subject: xGOD-FREEx
Message:

The first time I was ever caught for arson was in 1997 when I broke into and burnt a huge pentagram into the altar at the united methodist church, across the street from the police station, in Mason City, Iowa. I remember when I lit the pentagram how the butane flickered blue for a solid three seconds before the bright yellow flames rose and leapt from the carpet. It really was a beautiful sight to behold.

In the monotheistic religions we find the origin of the filth and saturation of human supremacy. A cursory look at genesis in the ‘holy’ bible gives us the impression that god created the whole universe, all of creation, the Earth, Animals and everything that could ever be extracted from the air, soil and water all for the use and abuse of man.

How spectacularly egotistical! How phenomenally megalomaniacal! What insane vanity! To think that all things are put here for our utility and are at there best only when becoming useful to us. Why, the whole point of life is to simply rise to the level of being crushed under our feet! convenience in the extreme. Continue reading

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Compassion Vs. Consumption

From: WALTER EDMUND BOND (37096013)
Date: 10/12/2018 9:19:23 AM
Subject: Compassion Vs. Consumption

Human greed and avarice has been killing the planet and this has been the case for a long time running. And now it has been ramped up to a fever pitch with the advent of the industrial revolution. Ever driven by a filthy, environmentally catastrophic smoke stack society with both capitalist and communist countries locked into a death spiral of consuming the Earth; stripping Her of all ‘raw material’ and spewing forth chemicals, pollution and disease into an environment where once there was vitality and growth.

All this ‘development’ (really destruction when looked at with open eyes) has put our species at loggerheads with all species. all for the pettiness of consumption for consumptions sake. Our way of life, eating the dead, lapping their milk and stealing their eggs has not only poisoned the environment through the mechanized slaughterhouse industry (to give only one of several examples) but has poisoned our ideals as well.

This deadening of empathy to apathy has created a wholly selfish human-centric perspective that within a few short generations has made it nearly impossible for 9/10ths of adults living within the most economically viable countries to show any serious consideration for any being outside of humanity. So prevalent is this myopic worldview that to simply have genuine concern for the less fortunate amongst ourselves is considered heroically altruistic. This overconsumption, this excess fosters a ‘warped value system’ where the silliest and most trivial wants and desires are viewed as rights. This stems from heavy conditioning by advertising that starts in the cradle and ends in an early grave. Continue reading

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Seventh anniversary of Walter Bond’s statement to the federal court in Utah before being sentenced on October 13, 2011

On October 13, 2011

Federal District Court, Salt Lake City, Utah

Walter Bond’s Statement at his Sentencing

I’m here today because of the arsons I committed at The Tandy Leather Factory in Salt Lake City, and the Tiburon Restaurant in Sandy, Utah which sells the incredibly cruel product foie gras. The US Attorney wants to give me the maximum sentence and beyond, not because of my ‘crimes,’ but because I am unrepentant and outspoken.

My intuition tells me that this court is not going to show me mercy because I became ‘suddenly sorry.’  So instead of lying to the court in a feeble attempt to save myself, as I’m certain many do when they face their sentencing day, allow me to tell you what I am sorry for. Continue reading

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Interview

From: WALTER EDMUND BOND (37096013)
Date: 8/29/2018 9:52:55 AM
Subject: Interview

Joe Jordan- So your bi-sexual, do you identify as Queer as well?

Walter Bond- I don’t have any problem with the title ‘Queer’, but I guess I use the antiquated term ‘Bi’ mainly for two reasons. First, just to be specific and second because it took me decades to really come to terms with my bisexuality, so it feels as though I’ve earned it. There were many years I struggled and tried to be straight and there were just as many years where I struggled and tried to stay gay. Always on either side of the fence were people, both straight and gay, that well meaning or not tried to influence me to pick a side. And that just did not work for me.

For example, I worked for years in Denver for a gay-owned and operated company that specializes in adult products. I was even in a couple gay adult videos myself. But if my employers (a bunch of misogynistic old queens) would have found out that I dated women. I would have been stuck at the lowest levels of the job if not politicked out of the company all together. And of course to many straight men any type of homosexuality just marks you as “gay”, for good and always.

J.”g”J.- When did you realize you were Bi?

WB- Before I hit puberty. Somewhere around 10 years old.

J.”g”J.- What circumstances lead to you coming out?

WB- I came out in 7th grade and it was basically because I wanted to be honest with my friends and the world around me and quite honestly, to try and find a boy that I could have a relationship with, which I did 🙂 At the time I felt a lot of turmoil about my sexuality and I thought that maybe being out about it would alleviate that. I wish I could say it did but it took me many years of wrestling with the closet before I made peace with myself. Continue reading

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Why I Am Straight Edge

WALTER EDMUND BOND (37096013)
5/13/2018 7:37:27 AM
Why I Am Straight Edge

I am Straight Edge because I hate drugs and alcohol. I don’t want to use them, I don’t want to be around other people who use them and I want nothing to do with drug culture, the bar scene, etc. What separates me from being simply drug free is that I actively stand against drug culture and I have taken a life time oath to abstain from the filth of inebriation.

I suppose every person that claims Straight Edge has their own set of reasons and values that they ascribe to it. for most it is a phase that they go through, a music scene with associated fashions they identify with, or a peer group to belong to that is obscure enough to satisfy a tribal desire. I went through all that decades ago and while it was fun and I still enjoy the music it ceased to be about crews, and bands, and dance moves for me along time ago. Being honest that was never my main stay in Straight Edge to begin with. so I guess………. Well, I guess I’ll start at my beginning. Continue reading

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Veganism At The Intersection

WALTER EDMUND BOND (37096013)
5/3/2018 11:08:46 AM
Veganism At The Intersection

Intersectionality. The places where all the various struggles for social justice movements intersect, and the places many feel we should all come together linking our struggles, becoming stronger together and fortifying a united front against racism, sexism, ableism and all other forms of human oppression.

But what about specieism? It seems that when intersectionality gets applied to Animal liberation that it is largely a one way road. We are to sacrifice the integrity of our movement to once again focus on human issues as the core, as the primary concern. We are called upon to stop with all this Vegan nonsense which, don’t you know, is just so elitist and privileged! we are asked to only see the suffering, torture, exploitation and death of hundreds of species, billions of lives lost and brutalized as equal to one segment of our own species not enjoying full social equality?

I don’t buy it….. Pluralistic movements often fail from lack of a definitive goal. When your dealing with large groups of people with various beliefs, ideas and points of view the more complicated you make the goal the more you alienate your own cause from the mainstream and in the case of Animal Liberation we want Veganism, concern for Animals and the Earth to be accessible to all, to be practicable by all, not just by those who we feel have right ideas or politics or views, right?

Veganism and Animal right is not a punk rock movement where we don’t want the ‘conformists’ or ‘posers’ to take ‘our thing’. It’s very good that Veganism along with concern for those outside of our species is becoming more mainstream, this is what makes it relevant and turns that stream of consciousness into eventual and long term change for Animals. Continue reading

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Back In The CMU

From: WALTER EDMUND BOND (37096013)

Date: 2/22/2018 9:08:48 AM

Subject: Back In The CMU

Message:

I was transferred from solitary confinement in FCI Greenville Tuesday, the 13th of February, 2018. According to my notice of transfer I am here because “On December 4th, 2017, the SIS office at FCI Greenville completed an investigation and determined that on November 15, 2017, you enlisted the help of the North American Animal Liberation Press Office, (NAALPO relays anonymous communiques, photos and videos to the media about direct action undertaken by radical animal rights activists) to encourage members of the public to e-mail and call FCI Greenville, in order to disrupt normal operations in an effort to pressure the executive staff to agree to several demands to address perceived grievances you have with the institution and the Bureau Of Prisons. Utilizing the inmate telephone system, you provided a recorded message which was released as a podcast, announcing your intention to engage in a hunger strike, outlining your grievances and encouraging supporters to contact the institution in support of your demands. To deter your continued attempts of using inmate communications to convey threats to injure and/or kill civilians; it is recommended that you be placed in a Communications Management Unit (CMU) for increased monitoring of your communications to protect the safety, security and good order of BOP institutions, government officials and the public.” Continue reading

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Walter Bond has been transferred to the Terre Haute CMU

Walter Bond has been transferred to the Terre Haute CMU.

Here is his new mailing address:

Walter Bond
37096-013
FCI Terre Haute CMU
PO Box 33
Terre Haute IN 47808

If you recently wrote to Walter at the Greenville Illinois prison address, your letter will probably be forwarded to the new address. If your letter is returned in the mail, just re-send it to the new address.

Thank you to all the supporters who have sent funds for Walter over the last few months while he was on hunger strike and later while he was in the SHU. Now that he is no longer in the SHU and transferred to a new location, your donations will be put to good use.

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