40 years in solitary confinement

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I hope that your families and soldiers are ok and in good health at that end. As for me, I’m ok at this end.

This message is to let you soldiers know that after doing 40 years straight in the hole (solitary confinement) in these jails over here the state let me out and back into general population at this joint, Coal Township. The state said that the reason why they kept me in the hole for so long was because I had killed too many state employees and policemen in the streets and that I had to be punished.

I am writing to let you soldiers know that we black outlaws at this end love you soldiers on that end and that we in these holes could not have survived if it was not for your help and support, and if it were not for the help and support of the soldiers on the streets at this end, we black outlaws that are still operating inside of the people’s struggle against state oppression would have been destroyed.

We love you for that support.

Joe-Joe

Joseph ‘Joe-Joe’ Bowen #AM-4272

SCI Coal Township,

1 Kelley Drive

Coal Township, PA 17866-1021

United States

Joe-Joe Bowen is a Black Liberation Army Prisoner of War, who is serving two life sentences for the 1973 assassination of a prison warden and deputy warden, as well as an attempted prison break in 1981 which resulted in a five-day standoff. More information about his situation can be found at http://prisonersolidarity.net/prisoner/joseph-joe-joe-bowen

The RCG is proud to support Joe-Joe and others at the sharpest end of the punishment machinery. Please help us with this work by funding a subscription to Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! for a prisoner.

Letters - FRFI 262 February/March 2018

Housing associations failing disabled people

Dear FRFI,

I am a resident of Goodrich Court Estate, very close to Grenfell Tower. I have lived here since 2005. When my family and I moved in, the estate was managed by Threshold Association. But in 2007 London and Quadrant Housing Association (L&Q Group) took over.

Since then, the vulnerable disabled and older residents have been neglected. L&Q Group can claim grants from the RBKC Council and charity organisations to improve accessibility for tenants, and that’s the only time that we get to see a staff member from L&Q Group in person, knocking on our doors to ask us, the disabled people who live on the ground floor, to sign the grant application form. L&Q Group states that it wants to secure our homes. However, after our landlord received the grant money we have only seen a small part of it spent on us. I feel that we disabled residents are used by L&Q Group for their profit-making.

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Letters - FRFI 261 Dec 2017/Jan 2018

Labour hypocrisy over social housing

The Labour MP for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), Emma Dent Coad, has produced a 19-page report on the Grenfell Tower inferno. Amazingly it makes no mention of the estate regeneration programme that actually caused the fire.

I sat through a number of residents’ meetings on estate regeneration on the Silchester Estate that lies alongside the Lancaster West Estate – on which Grenfell Tower stands – from early 2016 through to 1 April 2017.

In these meetings residents from both Silchester and Lancaster West estates expressed their misgivings and alarm about the RBKC’s proposals for more of their planned ‘regeneration’ programme. I saw that vast sums of money were sometimes poured into various fake ‘consultations’ about this so-called regeneration, organised by RBKC complete with expensive plans, maps, glossy brochures and glossy ‘presenters’ to help residents through the ‘options’. These were a maze of carefully-drawn squashed-up blocks arranged in varying degrees of unsightliness, fooling nobody since this kind of hanky-panky had been going on since the ‘regeneration’ cladding of the neighbouring Grenfell tower – while nothing had been done to rectify the abysmal state of fire safety in the Tower. In fact, to make things a thousand times worse, its emergency access had been blocked by the new private school and swimming pool/sports centre they had built alongside it. Fittingly the last of these ‘CONsultation’ events about ‘regeneration’ took place on April Fool’s Day 2017 – and fooled nobody!

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Letters FRFI 260: Grow Heathrow squatters show the way

Grow Heathrow squatters show the way

The Bolsheviks robbed banks to fund their activity. At Grow Heathrow we squat land and source waste food from skips.

Grow Heathrow is five acres of gardens, protest camp and community centre in Sipson – a village where people’s homes would be demolished by the proposed Third Runway at Heathrow. We celebrated our seventh birthday in March.

We aim to be a hub for organising, a base from which action against the Third Runway can be launched and a model for other organising. Key to the successful growth of many modern movements has been a consistent space, held by that movement and open to the public, such as Zuccotti Park in New York or Tahrir Square in Cairo. We aim to be that space for the movement against the Third Runway. Last year we provided a base and logistical support for over 700 protesters taking action against the runway, including mass theatre in the terminals and a bike blockade of the roads.

We have a close relationship with local residents’ associations and campaign groups. Our original members lived in the area for six months before squatting the space, forging these relationships. We were asked to take the site by the local community. The land we occupy had been an illegal dumping site.

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Letters - FRFI 259 Aug/Sep 2017

Corbyn and communist tactics

The election issue of FRFI (No 257) made the important points that Corbyn is backtracking on his radical promises, and that Labour councils are carrying out the Tory’s austerity policies. But the slogan ‘Don’t vote – fight for socialism!’ appears ultra-left in present circumstances.

Corbyn is something new – he is not Michael Foot or Attlee, Wilson, Kinnock or Blair – and his rhetoric and appeal is new. So the RCG needed to respond in a slightly different way to previous elections, not least because he was not chosen by the bourgeoisie or the worst kind of social traitors of the Labour Party, but elected by those previously outside the Labour Party, and in the teeth of opposition from the reactionaries. The response also needs to take into account the possibility that, like Labour leader George Lansbury, he might choose to resign on a matter of conscience.

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