Letters

Still for Revolution

Dear Slingshot,

Thank you for the Slingshot Organizer, which delights me. Someday I\’d like to talk to you about \”Your Vision\” in the informative appendix. I well remember the days when, during the McCarthy period, the FBI spent a good deal of time questioning people in Roosevelt [New Jersey] about their radical neighbors. Our neighbors managed to get our auto insurance company to cross us off their list. Luckily we had an insurance agency friend help get us a new policy whether we were dangerous politically or not.

I spent the afternoon boxing up the notes my husband kept when he was doing a column of dates for a magazine called New Masses in the 1930s. You may find a lot of events too concerned with the interests of communists, which we were at the time. But there are also a lot of significant labor and progressive events that he noted, too. The slips of paper reflect our finances – too poor to buy many 3×5 cards. At any rate, I hope you find the stuff of some use [in the 2002 Organizer], and – if not – of interest as reflecting the radicalism of people in your grandparents\’ day.

Thanks also for the copy of Slingshot. I expect you don\’t approve of The People\’s Weekly World, which I also get, but your paper complements it for me with its different take on some of the news. Since I\’m 94 years old, I guess you\’ll have to forgive me for such a liberal attitude. Secretly, though, I\’m still for revolution.

And also Peace! Mary

Glad You didn\’t send Slingshot

Slingshot,

I\’m writing to let you guys know that my last issue received was the Spring 2000 issue and I\’d be very happy if you renewed my subscription. I\’ve missed almost a year of your zine but wouldn\’t have gotten it anyway because I\’ve been in \”segregation\” most of the time for refusing to slave in the state sweatshop for 30 cents a day and have refused to submit to urinalysis tests or take part in any disciplinary hearings (kangaroo court). So I guess it\’s kind of goodyou didn\’t send me any more issues since I wouldn\’t have gotten them anyway. I have since been released from segregation and moved to another facility of a higher custody level.

I also have a favor to ask. Would it be possible for you to send me a list of addresses so I can become more familiar with some of the movements out there? I\’ve been entrenched in the EF! Journal and Green Anarchy but have been interested in contacting the Ruckus Society and Black Bloc and other anarchist organizations. I was wondering if you\’d maybe help. Thanks for the time and free subscription, it really means a lot to me.

Down By Law, Your Friend,

Joshua Vail, #96918, LCF 4-B, Box 10000

Limon, CO 80826

America\’s Largest Public Housing Project

Dear Friends:

I am a hostage of the federal government, held in what has become amerika\’s largest public housing project, prison. We are crowded into cells barely big enough for one, some holding three men, and now they are taking away our TV rooms to make them into ten man cells. In the past nine months, the population in the federal prison system has grown by more than 7,500 people. That\’s an increase of more than 5%, while the U.S. Justice Dept. says that the national average in all of 1999 for prison population growth was only 3.4%. But, I guess, the federal government wants to be the biggest, outdoing all the states.

With such a large population, and so little to do, a person could really go crazy in this place, losing touch with all reality. Our library, if you could call it that, is a major joke! With books missing pages, so old that my grandfather read it years ago, or written on subjects that even the most bored person wouldn\’t find interesting, it is hard to find a decent book to read. Non-fiction books are virtually non-existent, and books on political subjects(other than– and I joke not– Truman and Eisenhower) are not even considered by the powers that be to be placed in our non-library.

Hence my plea to you, please consider sending me any materials that you have available, especially a copy of your newspaper. I am very interested in getting on your mailing list, however, with the slave wages we are paid here, I am unable to pay for a subscription. Please help me to stay in touch with reality, and maintain my sanity, by sending me the materials you have available.

Thank you for considering my request, and please know that whatever is sent will be appreciated, read, and shared with others in here. And, perhaps once we finish with it, I might even be able to slip it into our library!

In Struggle and Solidarity!

Glenn Wright #40494-004

FCI PO Box 5000, Greenville, IL 62246

Wiccans in Prisons

Dear Slingshot:

I read Slingshot with great interest when it arrives. What continues to dismay me is how the Wiccan prison population continues to have their prison issues ignored by you editorial collective.

Just in case you are (or claim) to be ignorant of our plight in prison, here is a brief recap of the issues we currently face:

  1. A Wiccan in prison has no right to practice their religion.
  2. A Wiccan in prison has no right to have, own, or craft any ritual item connected to the practice of Wicca.
  3. A Wiccan in prison has no right to celebrate Esbat or Sabbat in peace and safety.
  4. Books on Wicca, obtained in a legitimate manner, are often confiscated improperly.

Many prisoners draw their strength and ability to survive prison through the practice of Wicca, which is a most positive and life affirming religion, one opposed to abuses of both persons or the earth itself. This helps to explain why the opposition to us is so implacable; we are the very opposite view and belief of those that control and profit from prisons.

If there are any who wish to know more about the plight of Wiccans, please contact me.

Vernon Maulsby

Box 224 #AY-4429

Graterford, PA 19426

Horny for Slingshot

Dear Slingshot,

Your paper make me inspired and passionate. Whenever Iget my hands on it I devour it and then carry it everywhere with me for days. Yeah SLingshot. – Jessamyn, Portland

Don\’t Break With the Left

Dear Editor:

A collective member in your Fall 200 issue wrote that she believed that anarchists were not part of the left, and should stop working with \”leftists\” on actions and other projects. Ironically, another member wrote forcefully in the same issue on the need to broaden coalitions. Obviously, there is a diametric tension between these perspectives.

The first writer\’s position is, at best, ahistorical. Anarchism as a set of principles or ideas came out of the Enlightenment, during the time of the old aristocracy\’s decline, and emergent capitalism. All ideologies of that time (I would suggest now as well) took positions vis a vis the new class relationships. Ideologies which favored the poor were (are ) called \”left.\” Those which favored privilege were \”right.\”

Since the hallmark of anarchism is advocacy of the state, we can say that the opposite of anarchism is statism. The stae has always functioned, in various times, both to protect privilege, and to protect the poor against the worst excesses of privilege. Thus, just as there have always been left and right statists, there have always been left and right anarchists. The question is, which are you?

This question, on the individual level, is easily answered. If you believe in basic human rights (what the Enlightenment chauvinistically called the Rights of Man) and especially if you believe that the earth is a common treasury to which we all have equal entitlement, limited only by the ability f the earth to reproduce its bounty and beauty for future generations, then you are a left anarchist. If, on the other hand, you believe that the law of the jungle in which the strong eat the weak is the highest form f justice, then you are a right anarchist.

Presumably, most anarchist readers and writers for Slingshot belong, more or less, to the former group. Do not abandon the left. The law of the jungle has been gaining ground now for a quarter century, and threatens to engulf us all.

-Dave Linn, Berkeley