After spending 22 years in solitary confinement, political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz has now been moved to general population. What a huge victory! Thank you to all of Marie’s supporters who joined in solidarity with this struggle by making phone calls, signing petitions, mailing in letters, and attending events. This is a huge victory for prisoner support and prison abolition movements.
MAROON UNCHAINED: A People’s Victory!
For immediate release:
February 21, 2014
The international movement to free political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz from solitary confinement has achieved an historic victory: on Thursday, February 20, 2014, Maroon stepped into general population for the first time in 22 years. There is no doubt; this is a PEOPLE’S VICTORY!
The coordinated efforts of Scientific Soul Sessions (SSS) and the Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz – particularly those organized groups in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia – showed the true power of the people. When SSS (a multigenerational collective of revolutionaries prefiguring a new society and working directly with the lessons laid out by Maroon) sparked this international movement three years ago, Maroon’s name was hardly known beyond a small circle of dedicated prisoner rights activists. Over the past years – on the political, artistic, and cultural fronts – we have seen the founding of the Campaign, the funding and initial coordination of Maroon’s Legal Team, the publication of Maroon’s collected essays, and the organization of countless events and soul sessions across the US.
These achievements are only the beginning. By answering the calls to action, we created a tidal wave of momentum that must be maintained until it is unstoppable. The power of the people proved to be a far greater force than the system, which would have been happy to see Maroon die without ever again feeling the embrace of his loved ones.
In a matter of weeks, Maroon went from a feces infested dungeon inside the criminally insane Restricted Housing Unit at SCI Graterford with nothing – not even a blanket – to General Population because of the people’s vigilance, voice, and committed support to fight this injustice and stop the torture of Russell Maroon Shoatz.
This proves our strength to make the seemingly impossible possible. It proves that the pressure to free Maroon from solitary was greater than the state ever anticipated. The next step must be to demand Freedom Now for Russell Maroon Shoatz. We won’t allow less than complete freedom from incarceration for this freedom fighter and inspiring leader.
Let us celebrate this victory by demanding FULL freedom for Russell Maroon Shoatz! We must stand firm and be prepared for our next steps and calls to action. Thank you to all for your committed and generous support; our future work together must be stronger still!
Scientific Soul Sessions | www.scientificsoulsessions.com
NYC Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz
International Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz
Lynne Stewart is a radical human rights lawyer held imprisoned at FMC Carswell, the same prison as Marie Mason. She is battling cancer at this moment and has been given 12 months to live. This poem is dedicated to her and the current fight to grant her compassionate release. More information is available at lynnestewart.org
I’ve been on the wrong side of too many fences
Their lamentations creaking sour
Protests of possession.
Dissonant in any ear
And in mine, so much…
The coyote’s song is sweeter so,
A harmony with air
And he owns nothing but the world itself
So let me be
Where the wind blows free
Through rocky arches, twisting trees
To fill the breathless sky
So wide and full of light
This vaulted blue cathedral,
Where we disappear alone,
Where we are made whole again
There are no fences here