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