In 2010, some people who care about Eric McDavid and Marius Mason met up to talk about what we could do to expand our solidarity with the two of them.

Our discussion grew to include the general state of anarchist prisoner solidarity in the United States, because we are all long-term anarchists and most of whom have relationships with many prisoners (including non-anarchists).

We found that Marius and Eric bore the brunt of ineffective prisoner solidarity. At our first gathering, we laid out typical prisoner support efforts. These centered on getting people out of jail and exchanging letters. These all fall short of meeting Marius Eric and other long-term prisoners’ needs and desires. We have known many prisoners who have no hope of getting out early and desire something more than what these efforts, however hard to define that something more is.

As our conversations grew, we also became concerned that many people around the world expressed solidarity for Marius and Eric readily and vigorously, but we in the US rarely returned support for international long-term anarchist prisoners. 1

Of course, we were not the first to come to these realizations. Many people have and continue to put hard work into tailoring their projects to better support prisoners and maintain relationships across barbed fences; we decided that June 11th would be our own collective try. That date had previously been a day of solidarity with Jeff Luers, a former anarchist eco-prisoner. He agreed that we should renew the tradition, and we set to work.

Strategic Decisions and Difficulties

We name Eric and Marius in specific, because we have relationships with them. At a basic level, we wanted to grow extensively their access to material support, and to make sure (intensively) that their names are not forgotten. Furthermore, we want to help them stay connected to the people and projects they care about, so as impede the State’s attempt to isolate them emotionally and politically, as well as physically. [2]

The distinction “long-term” is not an arbitrary one. The focus that lots of prisoner support strategies successfully address is support of people in jail for short periods of time: best of all if only for a few days, then support typically tampers off after a few months, and then concentrates among very few people over the course of several years. By the time the ten year mark hits, if no hope of getting out early stands, it seems possible for our friends in prison to be actually forgotten — not by their immediate loved ones, but by the larger milieus and movements among whom our prisoners count themselves.

We will not allow that to ever happen to Eric or Marius. While they are imprisoned, and afterwards as they adjust to outside life, we intend that they shall have every possible comfort and opportunity for conflict they could wish.

But our dreams are even larger than that: we intend to get them out of prison.

By which we mean that we intend to build such a swell of solidarity through attack against and contempt for prison that the State knows it must release them. This is our perspective, strategy and vision, one component of which cannot be cleaved from the others. We are uncompromising as we are anarchists.

June 11th is the day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners. This is not meant to exclude fighters for the earth and animals, because the ravagers of the earth, animals and humans are overlapping forces. While some may insist on creating a binary between these two currents of struggle, we do not. Marius and Eric are both of those things, so are many (most?) long-term anarchist prisoners, so are most people working on this project. Our antagonism includes, and is larger than, thwarting the despoilers of the earth and enslavers of animals. We are against all of society.

Communication, Reflection and the Future

Of course, there are practical considerations that make our project difficult. For the most part, organizers of June 11th feel that we should not communicate directly with Marius or Eric about the project, though some of us have maintained our personal relationships with them. More than anything, we don’t want to endanger them, to make their lives in prison harder or more restrictive than they already are. Just like we wish for their contributions in all projects, we wish for more of their guidance on this project’s direction. Unfortunately, due to state-controlled mediation, there are times when we can only regret the lack of intimacy in our communication.

That said we are no one in particular. While we feel responsible for the decisions that we make in framing and promoting this day, we do not desire any corresponding power and recognition that often comes from working on a well-known project. Our intention for June 11th solidarity is to encourage autonomous action, and we hope that the letters and money that prisoners receive from this day, and whatever word of other events that reaches them, are welcome.

On this basis, our project has succeeded in many ways. Each year, thousands of dollars are raised by June 11th events for Marius and Eric, as well as for other prisoners; as far as we know, June 11th is the largest source of material support for Eric and Marius. Even more importantly, their names remain fresh in the minds of anarchists and fellow travelers, where it might have otherwise been erased by the action of time and our quick-passing generations. We have distributed endless amounts of propaganda, toured the US, seen hundreds of events from all over the world, and heard of many brave and effective attacks.

Currently, energy and conviction upholding prisoner solidarity is spreading.

Obviously, this is not due to us, but we feel proud of the contributions towards its circulation that come from June 11. We are heartened by the international solidarity long-term prisoners in the US have received, and we are excited to reciprocate, to be a part of US anarchists’ engagement with worldwide anarchist project.

We also are excited to more closely pull together prisoner solidarity and eco- and animal-liberation activity, because Eric, Marius and many of us feel entwined with these struggles. Eric, of course, is accused of planning an attack on a dam; Marius did many actions against environmental destroyers. Both are committed vegans behind bars, no easy promise to uphold. As Eric and Marius’ sentences evince, these communities-in-struggle endure fierce repression. For all those fighters, and especially the future long-term prisoners among them, we feel solidarity and respect the prospect of working together.

June 11th is a long-term project with ample time and opportunity for its growth. This is a day that is open to participation by many, each according to their desires and means, their tactical preferences and personal affinities. This year, and for many years to come, we hope you’ll join us in fighting with our imprisoned comrades, and in refusing the State impositions designed to keep us alone. We offer. . .

No one should be able to walk down any street… without seeing the prisoners’ names written on the walls…and the songs that are sung about them must be heard by all.

[1]These are prisoners caged for opposing environmentally destructive, racist and tyrannical corporate-state measures. Many of them experienced torture, as well as callously lengthy sentences and corrupt manipulations of state processes like Marius and Eric. Further, we see international solidarity as one of the most important projects to be taken up, because our histories of colonialism, racism, language and cultural barriers are real, and our task to surpass them. We do not respect national boundaries, nor do we want them to limit us.

[2] Marius’ assignment to a “medical unit” located over a 1000 miles from loved ones, because it offers severe communications restrictions, is a clear example of such heinous state efforts.