While writing, Jock Palfreeman is already more then 5 years imprisoned in Sofia, Bulgaria for aiding two young Romani-boys when they were under attack from a group of right-wing hooligans. Palfreeman came into a fight with the group of fascists and two of his attackers got injured of whom one died later from his injuries.
We start this campaign because, next to the just move of Palfreeman to act, his court case was a total fraud in which he got convicted to 20 years of imprisonment. While in prison his treatment is worsening. One of the reasons for this is his support for other prisoners through the by him co-founded Bulgarian Prisoners Association. In the beginning of 2013 this was reason for depriving him from his right to finish his study in prison by the prison authorities.
In reaction to this Palfreeman started a hunger strike. A few months later (October 2013) there was another incident in which he and fellow prisoners were subjected to severe beatings by prison guards.
Meanwhile the Bulgarian state upholds a pretty picture about human rights, tolerance and its fight against xenophobia1. Through this the Bulgarian government is trying to present itself as a fitting partner of the o-so-tolerant bourgeois European Union. This same state is keeping Jock Palfreeman imprisoned while he stood up against a form of injustice that everyone should act against.
Everywhere in Europe we see an increase of right-wing and xenophobic ideas. On the wind of the social crisis and in the name of ‘freedom’ and as false saviors of ‘the people’, they are surfing as vultures around the rotting corpse of the capitalist bourgeois democracy. From Poland to Spain, from the Ukraine to Greece they try to win the inhabitants – terrorized by budget cuts and driven into disparity by social demolition by the IMF, the ECB and the EU – for their ideas. They try to put the crisis on scapegoats. Scapegoats like homosexuals, Jews and in many Eastern-European countries the Romani-communities2 . This while this specific group is often already living in harsh economic circumstances. It is in this light Jock acted.
There are, when analyzing such mechanics, many complex matters at work. A large part of the Eastern-European countries feels itself – understandably – for years discriminated and neglected. This region is dealing with a torn history of communist dictatorship and after that the trampling by capitalist elites, both ‘pro-Russian’ and ‘pro-European’. Meanwhile there has been a certain racism from West to East. The origins of the social and economic problems these fascist movements point out are disturbing and make clear all the more where the neglecting of an unprocessed history and a tormented past can lead to.
The antifascist struggle and the struggle for a social revolution together are the only path out towards true freedom for all peoples. In the struggle for social justice for everyone it is for its utmost importance to take a firm stance against all forms of discrimination. This way we can prevent, from West to East and also internally, that innocent minorities get the blame on base of their ethnicity, sexuality, social-economic position while we unmask and fight against the true origins of the problem: the international system of nationalism and capitalism; divide and conquer. The people in the front-lines of these struggle need our support.
We designed a poster (in English) to get international attention for the case of Jock Palfreeman and his current situation. This poster is currently being spread widely in Europe (Germany, Austria, Czech, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, Croatia). The poster is not only meant to inform the public but also to pressure the Bulgarian state. The Bulgarian state is currently vulnerable because of the attention it receives for the expiration of the need to have a visa in the EU for people with a Bulgarian passport. The Bulgarian state hopes when this works out well it can enter the EU-schengen-zone3.
Next to spreading information through the internet and via posters in the public space, we therefore also call for actions to put up the pressure against the Bulgarian government. They are thus far ignoring and frustrating the release of Palfreeman. Next to the pressure on the government for Palfreeman’s release this can also give him some new hope.
We ask to write the Bulgarian embassies with the demand for the release of Jock Palfreeman, send along posters to make clear the story is on the streets. This is not because we are seeing the Bulgarian state as a legit entity but they are the ones who keep Palfreeman hostage.
When you or as an individual or as group want to support this initiative, you can email the AGN. We can send you posters, get your a PDF or web-version or might be able to help you out in an other way. Also we want to ask you to use your own network to spread this initiative to have an as wide reach as possible.
Freedom for Jock Palfreeman and his fellow prisoners!