The Break the Chains conference will be held Aug.8-10 at Univ. of Oregon in Eugene. It is dedicated to fighting repression, supporting prisoners, and eliminating prisons altogether. By providing anti-prison education, building on existing prisoner support efforts, learning from veteran prison activists, and initiating new campaigns against the prison industrial complex, this conference is intended to initiate a new era of heightened prisoner support and anti-prison activism.
Perhaps no other single issue so convincingly illustrates the struggle for total liberation, as does the prison industrial complex. Resisting prisons is resisting state repression and blatant social control; it is resisting the most terrifying examples of racism, sexism, and homophobia, the criminalization of the poor and capitalist exploitation of labor. For this reason, the Break the Chains conference hopes to exemplify the need for continued and heightened prisoner support with our ultimate goal being prison abolition. Prison abolition is a political vision that seeks to eliminate the need for prisons and acknowledges the devastating effect that prisons have on poor and marginalized communities.
Wide ranges of folks have agreed to attend and share their knowledge, including former prisoners. Organizations attending include Free Mumia Coalition, Prison Legal News, and Out of Control Lesbian Committee to Support Women in Prison. There will be people working with prisoners that are HIV/AIDS infected and Black Panther and American Indian Movement elders, as well as a participant in the Attica rebellion of the 70’s.
Any movement that does not support its political internees is a movement destined to fail. When power is challenged, it inevitably turns to violent repression and imprisonment to maintain itself. In order to avoid defeat, movements must become organized and capable of combating the repression of the state apparatus, and they must be able to support their comrades and allies in the event that they are arrested or imprisoned. Few would commit themselves to a movement that would leave them behind prison walls, or a movement that is incapable of sustaining itself in the face of state intimidation. Contact info at P.O. Box 11331, Eugene Oregon 97440 or www.breakthechain.net