IWOC: The main challenge is getting people on the outside involved. This is a slow, quiet, and tedious process. Like I said earlier, we act a lot like administrative assistants. There is little glory in it, unless you’ve got the kind of imagination that can find glory in paperwork. It is also hard, emotionally. A lot of people read letters from prisoners who are being tortured and they shut down and never come back. Others get caught up writing elaborate personal letters to just a few individuals rather than working quickly to reach out to the largest possible number of contacts.If you’ve followed or done work with political prisoners through groups like The Anarchist Black Cross, you’ve surely heard stories of inhumane deprivations that can come about in prisons. Working with IWOC you get to see how ubiquitous these tragedies are. The American Bar Association put out numbers a few years ago and 98% of people in prison didn’t get trials. There is no justice in this system, and much hardship. Keeping an eye on collective action without being entirely robotic and auto-responding to every letter when 80% of them could break your heart or boil your brains if you let it is hard as hell.

Source: Organizing the Prisoner Class: An Interview with IWOC – IT’S GOING DOWN


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