Essay received via postal mail from Walter Bond
(dated December 14, 2017, postmarked January 23, 2018, received on January 29, 2018)
A month ago I got locked up in solitary confinement for going on hunger strike. I didn’t eat for a week until I could get some resolution on my Vegan diet and my mail in a timely manner. I was appeased enough for me to come off hunger strike but by no means did I achieve anything like an unequivocal meeting of my demands. Not at all surprising in the federal prison system the ultimate bureaucracy. And not at all surprising is the fact that I have been referred back to the highly repressive and suppressive CMU unit. A so-called counterterrorism prison unit of which I have already done over 3 years. And it would not even surprise me if they sent me somewhere worse than I’ve ever been. I mean, I had the audacity to demand food and mail, the horror!
So here I sit in the hole. The last time I was here was Father’s Day after seeing a friend, a Puerto Rican, just like me, stabbed in the stomach. And the ensuing fight that broke out. The time before that it was the hole inside the CMU after I broke my hand on someone’s very deserving face. I was refused medical treatment for the telescopic fracture in my hand, although the doctor did tell me to aim with my top two knuckles next time.
In the last 7 odd years I have seen stabbings, beatings with locks, razor blade attacks, etc. Prison’s not a pretty place. So here I reside in my concrete box. I have no idea for how long maybe another month, maybe a year. It’s not my call it’s the systems and they have hated me ever since I showed defiance in the courtroom on sentencing day in Denver, Colorado.
I remember in my statement I said “prison is no great hardship to me.” And you know what’s changed since then….. not a fucking thing! Not one fucking thing!
The Animal Nations still die by the billions, the earth is still raped by the multi-nationals and the bulk of us still play games and posture as the resistance, the concerned, and the self-righteous. I know a lot of people care or claim to. I know a lot of people hold signs, sign petitions, gather, speak, intersect, write poems, flyer, talk, type, visit websites, wear t-shirts with messages, listen to music with a message, or create “safe spaces.” A whole lot of others preach, proselytize, spit hairs that have already been split a thousand different ways, theorize and then have theoretical arguments about their theories.
Pobrechos, they just don’t see the problems are real and acute for those in the cages, for them, for us, it’s not a hobby, a game, a fever that will break in a few years. It’s real. It’s blood in your face. Behind so much of the efforts at educating and radicalizing is the cowards hope that someone else will do something, someone else will put their ass on the line and we can remain the educational catalyst for change, or the artistic one, or the spokesperson, so that somehow our words will become more important than our lack of action. So that the hard sacrifices are left to another.
You know why we have the trump nation we have today in the U.S.? It’s because on the other side, the capitalists, republicans, racists, rednecks, big pharma, big agriculture, nationalists, religious fanatics (of every religion), slaughterhouse industrialists, etc. they don’t care about symbolics. They care about tactics that work for their bottom line and against anyone or anything perceived as a threat. Ruthlessness. Ruthlessness that trumps (no pun intended) all the good wishes, positive energy, candle lightings, poetry slams, concerts, workshops or theoretical postulations of mentally overheated philosophy professors (and their wannabes).
Pacifism is born of privilege, often shields cowardice and always crumble in the face of the force of violence (unless itself lives under the shadow of violence).
And Animals that suffer and die (and for that matter live) in conditions, with tortures and deprivations far worse than anything you or I have experienced or even could imagine, deserve more than anything we, that’s you and I, have done for them! I’m not the one to tell movements for Animal Liberation or for anarchy how wonderful we’re all doing or linger too long on how far we’ve come because despite it all, the ALF, the ELF, Las Zapatistas, Black Panthers, Spanish Revolution, the 60’s and all the liberation struggles of all human history it’s not enough, it hasn’t worked yet.
There is a tendency, a stream of consciousness that goes in our direction but unfortunately that runs in a channel that gets co-opted and perverted every time. And even more unfortunate is we live on a finite planet that can only be bled so dry before ecological collapse. I don’t think it’s hopeless, yet. But I do think we need to fight harder and quit making a mockery and a fashion out of the struggles for liberation.
And this will always be my gripe: “Demasiado generals y no hay soldados.” “Too many generals and no soldiers.” So here I am in my cage resisting as best I can, not so that you can write to me about how heroic I am, chances are a few years after my release I will be shunned and despised by the same people that now ogle me. That’s definitely the trend in the american Animal Rights movement.
I stand defiant against my own and others injustice because it sickens me not to physically resist it. It sickens me to hold out a piece of paper to murderers and slavers and beg for recognition in corrupt and bureaucratic processes for a sliver of decency and when it’s all said and done I wish you couldn’t stand for it either. Animal Liberation, whatever it may take!