Anarchist Prisoners’ Legal Action Network Formed

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Fifth Estate # 355, Fall-Winter, 2000

The Anarchist Prisoners’ Legal Action Network (APLAN) is a prisoner-guided initiative formed to provide legal aid and outside support for imprisoned anarchists and their allies. Anarchists in prison experience the prison-industrial complex first-hand and are thus subject to a variety of unusual punishments and restrictions.

For example, Oregon prisons have labeled anarchists as a “gang” and use this to justify tampering with their mail, denying them books and literature as a “security threat,” and even placing anarchists in isolation units. Helping these prisoners and others like them involves substantial difficulties, but it is a challenge the anti-authoritarian movement needs to embrace.

Along with helping prisoners maintain their human dignity and providing a means for their contribution to outside struggles, APLAN wants to strengthen anarchist practice as a whole. We hope to provide sound legal aid and support for anarchist prisoners, not out of respect for the repressive legal apparatus, but in the spirit of revolutionary solidarity and for the abolition of prisons. The sharing of research material and resources is an important part of this and is underway. There is one lawyer potentially willing to take on anarchist oriented cases, but we will need more funds and knowledge to launch this effectively. We welcome further contact with those who have specific knowledge of legal matters.

Recent APLAN activities include distribution of pamphlets by prisoners Rob Thaxton and Harold Thompson, a hip-hop/DJ/spoken word benefit show, selective financial support to prisoners, and contact with inmates and support groups worldwide. Two APLAN bulletins have been issued, the latest of which includes excerpts from several prisoners about APLAN’s role and priorities. A benefit CD project is in the works largely due to the efforts of Texas prisoner Christopher Plummer. Future benefits are a financial necessity! We also made a public intervention with flyers, speeches and a banner at a 4th of July event in Portland. A video night is forthcoming, as well as a website.

We hope for broad involvement in various ways from throughout the anarchist movement. Please spread the word and help us make important contacts so we can better fight this symptom of authoritarianism, global capital, and power in all of its forms. We can be contacted at APLAN, 818 SW 3rd Ave., PMB #354, Portland, OR 97204

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