Why I Can’t be Introduced in Texas (or Say My Name)

It is illegal for those who are incarcerated in Texas prisons to change their name. This law denies those imprisoned one of the most fundamental aspects of a person. Marius’ legal team will be fighting this in court. We’ll keep you posted on this struggle.

In response to the news, Marius composed this poem.

Why I Can’t be Introduced in Texas (or Say My Name)

Say my name, say my name,
Your laws they just confound me,
Like brick walls they surround me
Say my name, say my name,
I know that you can’t see me,
Make it so hard to be me
But what’s in a name?
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,
But I am not a rose, I am a man.
Yes, I’m a man, yes I am, and I can’t help but
Tell you so.
Though you’d say no.
How can I perform my gender,
An actor stripped of his lines,
How can this scene be “blocked”
When I am perpetually “clocked”
As what I am
The invisible man,
Without my name wrapped around me,
Giving me shape and substance
Like a bandage, holding this wound
Texas, you vigilante,
Riding rough-shod over the smallest liberty,
My name my only sovereignty
I am invaded by your assumptions
A nation under siege.
But my flag still waves,
And through the rockets’ red glare,
I’m still there.

Throwback Thursday – Marius Arrested at the 1988 Detroit Waste Incinerator Protest

The Great Detroit Incinerator Battle: Civil Disobedience – May 16, 1988 from Joel David Silvers on Vimeo.

A real gem of resistance history has surfaced. At 12:17 Marius is interviewed through the window of the city jail bus about to cart off members of the Evergreen Alliance who had been arrested for blocking the street in front of the world’s largest trash incinerator. Also gotta love at 12:53 when he calls out “We’ll be back!!”

The incinerator plant was built in 1986 and in response the Evergreen Alliance, a group of environmental activists and local residents formed. They carried civil disobedience, creative protests, and other forms of resistance in attempts to shut down the plant. While their efforts were unsuccessful, the criticisms launched against the plant were dead on.

The plant has been one of the worst polluters in Wayne County for years, and contrary to the city’s claims that the plant would bring economic prosperity to the community it instead left Detroit residents paying over $1.2 billion.

The plant continues to be fought to this day. More information on the Incinerator can be found at http://zerowastedetroit.com/our-work/detroit-incinerator/. To join the ongoing resistance to the Incinerator check out zerowastedetroit.org.

Marius and Fellow Inmates Complete Guitar Class

Marius Guitar Class

Marius, along with several inmates at FMC Carswell, completed a guitar class. As a group, they performed Candy by Paolo Nutini and Broken by Tracy Chapman. For his solo performance, Marius chose Gavotte by the Spanish classical guitarist Francisco Tárrega.

Free Marius Jacob Mason Fifth Estate Article

Moira Meltzer-Cohen, Marius’ lawyer recently wrote an article for the Fifth Estate on Marius’ gender transition and case. Check it out!

Free Marius Jacob Mason

New Painting from Marius – “Lionfish”

Lionfish MM

Marius Mason’s latest artwork. “Lionfish are not native to the Atlantic Ocean. The venomous, fast reproducing fish are aggressive eaters and will consume anything and everything, gorging so much they are actually getting liver disease. With no known predators they can wipe out 90% of a reef.”

Marius’ statement to the 2014 ABC Conference

imageABCHello Comrades, Family and Friends at ABC,

Thank you so much for the work you do in supporting prisoners and in educating the public about the reality of incarceration and its effects on the “free” community. Your words have an effect that reached far beyond even the broad radical circles that are part of the ABC network.

Just last week in the New York Times, a columnist who was attempting to answer the talk-show rhetoric that has been going around (that white folks don’t get the reason for the riots in Ferguson) – stated that it was in fact a natural outcome of the economic inequalities and police brutality that many folks encountered, not just in Ferguson but all over the country. As part of this discussion, the columnist also noted the disproportionate numbers of people of color in prison, as well as the growing economic disparity between races.

Clearly we have much work to do as a society on the issue of race, but at least the problem is being discussed publicly and honestly. ABC has contributed to this debate with integrity.

Prison seems to me to be a microcosm of the outside world and many of the social ills are magnified in this tense environment. Basic economic inequalities are exaggerated and systems of privilege are extended here in marked ways. Often what could be an opportunity for mutual aid and the achievement of basic human and labor rights becomes instead a confrontation along racial lines. But I find great inspiration and guidance in the words of bell hooks, Assata Shakur and Mumia abu Jamal and have been very grateful to ABC for making those words available to me and to others on the inside.

Your news letter is also often the only news source that I have to keep up with the stories of those environmental and animal defenders caught up in the legal system. I have been so encouraged by the creativity, integrity, strength, and intelligent confrontation to injustice that these defenders have shown. La Lucha Continua!

Finally, I have been so deeply touched by the solidarity and support that I have received from activists in the ABC network after my coming out publicly as trans. Thank you so much for this! This support has been an essential part of my transition, as I’d been very concerned that this aspect of my identity might overshadow my work as an environmentalist, or even diminish the credibility of the important campaigns that I have tried to contribute to in my life. I am so grateful that, with your support, this is not so.

All struggles are related, and we are all responsible to each other as allies.

Until All Are Free, with love and respect, Marius

New Painting by Marius Mason – Self Portrait

Marius Mason Self Portrait

Until We Are All Free Radio Documentary

Listen to the radio documentary on Marius Mason and Eric McDavid here.

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Write to Marius Mason

We encourage everyone to write to Marius Mason in prison:

Marie Mason #04672-061

FMC Carswell

Federal Medical Center

P.O. Box 27137

Fort Worth, TX 76127

Under no circumstances mention any illegal acts. Letters that mention other Green Scare prisoners may be rejected. Mason has a list of 100 pre-approved people he can write to; if you are not on that list, he will be able to receive your letter but not write back.

Everyone must use their first and last name when writing. All letters must be entirely in English. Be sure to include your return address on the envelope. You should also write his name and prisoner number on each piece of correspondence, as the prison tends to discard the envelope and then may "lose" track of who the letter is going to.

Last, do not send anything that is "affixed" to the letter or card - such as glitter and glue. Pen, pencil, crayon and paint are fine.

About Marius Mason

Marius Mason is a long-time activist in the environmental and labor movements. In March 2008, he was arrested by federal authorities for charges related to two acts of property destruction that occurred in 1999 and 2000; no one was injured in either of them. He accepted a plea bargain and was sentenced on February 5, 2009 to just under 22 years. He is now serving the longest sentence of any "Green Scare" prisoner.

The “Green Scare” is the name given to the recent arrests of animal rights and environmental activists who have been charged with acts of economic sabotage. Federal authorities have sought outrageous sentences (often Life in prison) and have publicly and legally labeled the activists as “terrorists” – despite the fact that no one has been killed or injured in any of the acts.

Supporting Marius Mason does not mean agreeing with the actions that he took -- but it does mean opposing the fear-mongering tactics of the federal government and the outrageous sentences they have imposed.

Background on the Green Scare

For more information on the Green Scare see here




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