June 11th is quickly approaching. As a revitalization of the day of support for eco-prisoners, the International Day of Solidarity with Marie Mason, Eric McDavid and Long-Term Anarchist Prisoners has seen a huge outpouring of support and love for both Marie and Eric from all corners of the globe over the past 3 years.
Significantly, in addition to the wellspring of both material and immaterial support, we’ve seen the proliferation of solidarity actions in many diverse contexts spreading the spirit and contributions to our struggles of those the state has attempted to disappear. Coordinated international solidarity has begun to flourish, with information about long-term anarchist and environmental prisoners crossing many geographic and linguistic barriers.
These efforts have had very tangible effects in the lives of Marie and Eric (and many others). Fundraisers have helped them remain true to their vegan principles, loved ones have been able to visit regularly even across vast distances, new generations of radical folks all over the world have reached out to them in solidarity. In short, June 11th has been greatly successful in helping to keep Marie, Eric and many other long-term anarchist and environmental prisoners in our hearts and minds, and to keep them alive in our struggles.
But this process of remembering – of “keeping alive” – is a tricky thing.
Our struggles and movements are often mired by a lack of memory, and a lack of understanding and connecting with the past as a way to inform our actions in the present. This is both a product of the techno-alienation of our age as well as a consequence of tactical repression by state forces. The state, for the time being, has the ability to kidnap our comrades and bury them alive, to force them to languish in cold steel and concrete for decades on end. They’re ripped from our communities, from our lives. And in their place exists a painful void.
The state, for its part, is banking on the veracity of the old adage “time heals all wounds”; it is hoping that this void will shrink and that we will “forget”. If held in captivity long enough, so thinks the state, the actions of our courageous comrades will fade into the oblivion of history and we on the outside will be left without their constructive and loving presence in our struggles. We must fight against this repressive tendency; we must never forget.
Over the past few years we have seen a sharp increase in ecological defense and animal liberation actions all over the world. In this ever-increasing resistance it is paramount that we recognize the actions and struggles of the past, of the comrades who we must now unfortunately call “long-term anarchist prisoners.” The continuation of their fights – their active remembering – must be kept alive.
To this end, for June 11th this year we’re making a specific call. While in years past we may have emphasized certain aspects of long-term prisoner support (i.e. material support, building international ties, etc), this year we want to make it explicit.
As the June 11th organizing crew, we’ve often used the term “active remembering” to describe a process that feels crucial to us in doing long-term prisoner support. That is, we’ve come to see the necessity of not simply passively holding onto a set of names to “honor and remember,” but to work towards a mode of support that ties our relationships with long-term anarchist and environmental prisoners into action in our/their ongoing struggles.
Marie and Eric, being the focus of our June 11th organizing efforts, are both dedicated vegans imprisoned for acting in direct opposition to the destruction of the earth. In an effort to “actively remember” them and to engage with them in the present by connecting them to a continuance of their fight, we’re encouraging people to tie their June 11th events into actively ongoing eco and animal liberation struggles.
This call is not proscriptive in any way; read what you want in these words and put them into action as you and your crew see fit. But remember, what we’re calling for is not a ritualistic expression of solidarity, a once a year party in which we, for only an instant, call to mind those captured by the State. Rather, ours is a call to live the history of our imprisoned comrades, to take their names, their actions, and their struggles and to turn them back on the world that locks them up. Ours is a call to action.
In solidarity with Marie and Eric; with all long-term anarchist prisoners; in defence of the earth; until all cages are empty!