gregory_a_k

“What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.”—Karl Marx

In Motion

I’ve got a number of things in motion that are coming together. Our nonprofit project – the Prison Liberation Collective – has received fiscal sponsorship from the Urbana Champaign Independent Media Center, and we’re working to get several of the main components in operation within the next few months. We met with and will be receiving a small grant from the Crossroads Fund to concretize some of our operations. More details on all of this soon, but here’s an overview of some of our initial projects.

We anticipate starting our solitary confinement group program within the next few months, with Dr. Antonio Martinez, one of the founders of the Kovler Center for the Treatment for Survivors of Torture, and Dr. Mario Gonzalez, who also works with the  Kovler Center. This program will begin an unprecedented investigation into the effects of solitary confinement, led by survivors of solitary in conjunction with world-renowned psychologists who have treated torture survivors worldwide, with the hope and expectation that we will be able to learn and share important insights into collectively overcoming the effects of the torture we faced at the hands of the United States government. 

And as the torture practice of solitary confinement continues to be imposed upon an estimated 80,000 – 100,000 men, women and children in the United States, the Prison Liberation Collective will be focused politically and organizationally on fighting to stop solitary confinement and mass incarceration in the US. One major component of this will be the implementation of the nationwide prison journal that I’ve been planning, to connect up those behind the walls with each other and family members, loved ones, supporters and the movements for liberation and justice on this side of the walls, as well as to showcase prison writers. This will entail an online media component as well, building upon some of the work we started with the Torture Survivors Against Solitary website, and anticipating including podcasts and video interviews & discussions regarding solitary confinement and mass incarceration.

We’ll continue to have speaking events, including one coming up on February 10th in Champaign, IL. The bill we fought last year to drastically limit solitary in Illinois (which was not passed because of the backroom machinations of a phoney prison “watchdog” group whose long-term agenda is to collaborate with the Illinois Department of “Corrections”) is being reintroduced, though because of the pitiful organizational experience of the previous attempt – and the lack of consideration for the effects that reliving solitary has on us as survivors –  the bill will likely not be something that I intend to spend much time on. There’s a public art exposure campaign featuring photos of solitary survivors and those currently locked in solitary that will be coming soon. And a major article on solitary confinement featuring survivors in Illinois in a major magazine will be coming soon. 

With the Prison Liberation Collective receiving fiscal sponsorship, we will be able to do a lot of work collectively on many issues related to ending solitary confinement and mass incarceration, with a directly built-in psychological support system. I will be able to let you know more soon about how you can contribute to our work.

-Gregory

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Touch of Solitude

Icy

Fingers

 

 

Pierce

 

 

My 

Skull

 

 

As

l

Hear

 

 

A

Water

Droplet

 

 

Explode

Upon

Concrete

 

 

Reverberating

Solitude

Across 

 

 

My

Solipsistic

Universe

 

 

My

Cell

 

One

Of

Many

Cells

 

Cannibalistic

Crypts

Which

 

 

Feed

 

 

Upon

Youth’s

Life

Essence

 

 

Animating

The

Monstrosity

 

 

Fed

 

 

Upon

The

Flesh

 

 

My

Flesh

Impervious

 

 

Necrotic

Burning

Charred

From

 

 

The

Touch

Of

Solitude

 

 

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Acid Bath

Chemicals

Corrode

Countless

Circuits

 

My

Brain

Emerging

Anew

 

Each

Moment

Dissolved

Resolved

 

Alchemically

Transmuted

Time

Unending

 

Days

On 

End

Alone

 

Rewired

As

Time

Rewinds

 

Neurons

Embrace

Entangled

Intertwined

 

Betwixt 

Your

Thighs

Arms

 

Erasing

Every

Empty

Lifetime

 

 

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Dead End

Dead

End

Unfit

For

Society

Posterity

 

Me?

I’ve

Been

Judged

Unworthy

Of

Humanity

 

Usually

Solitary

Entombed

Among

The

Convicted

 

Boys

Clashing

Representing

Counterfeit

Constellations

 

Where

Does

One

Find

Love

 

Among

The

Convicted

 

Nowhere

But

I

Wander

The

Globe

 

Searching

For

My

Future

 

My

Salvation

From

Confinement

Solitary

 

Discarded

After

My

First

Breath

 

Gasp

For

Breath

Icy

Fingers

Constricting

 

Asphyxiated

Isolated

Stone

Concrete

Razor

Wire

My

Tomb

Evermore

 

Body

Decomposing

Gnawed

By

Solitude

 

Skeleton

Animated

Only

By

Drugs

 

Obliterating

Neurons

Decades

Cells

Moment

By

Moment

 

Clouds

Inhaled

Numbing

The

Rot

 

As 

I

Stumble

Through

Another

Year

Continent

Country

City

 

Funeral

Pyres

Lighting

My

Path

Dimly

 

As

I

Reach

Out

For

Your

Embrace

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Treating US Solitary Confinement Torture Survivors & Nationwide Prison Journal

Next to zero research has been done on the effects of – and how to treat survivors of – long-term solitary confinement. As a survivor of over six years straight in solitary in the US, nearly ten years after my release the effects of solitary confinement still dominate my life.

In addition to all of the other organizing work against solitary confinement and mass incarceration I’m working on, one major project that I am beginning to work on is a center for the treatment of survivors of torture in the form of solitary confinement in the United States. My doctor and dear friend Dr. Antonio Martinez, one of the founders of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture, along with Dr. Mario Gonzalez, are working very closely with me and Brian Nelson, another dear friend of mine who spent 23 years in solitary confinement, to form a non-profit organization dedicated to treating survivors of solitary confinement in the US.

In addition to treating torture survivors, we intend to be able to do more of our work against solitary confinement and mass incarceration within this organization. For example, one other major project that I have conceptualized but not implemented yet because of the need to deal with more of my own issues as a survivor first is a nationwide prison journal that connects prisoners across the nation, showcases writing of prisoners, connects up the family members of those incarcerated and brings some connections between the prison movement and the movements for Black liberation and against police murder on this side of the walls. This is long overdue in my opinion.

But I wanted to fill people in on some of the longer-term projects that I have been working on and will in the near future be putting significantly more energy into. We will have more concrete ways that people can contribute to these projects soon.

 

Gregory A.K.

Co-Founder of Torture Survivors Against Solitary

 

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Stop Solitary Confinement! A Teach-in and Call to Action – November 1, 2016

Brian Nelson & Gregory Koger, founders of Torture Survivors Against Solitary, will be speaking at University of Chicago on November 1, 2016:

Stop Solitary Confinement! A Teach-in and Call to Action 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 – 6pm – 8pm

University of Chicago
The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality
5733 S University Ave.
Chicago, IL

Why is solitary confinement torture? What makes it a racial justice and queer issue? What is the history of solitary confinement in IL? What are the ramifications of recent IL solitary confinement policy changes? The Stop Solitary Coalition of Illinois will lead this teach-in answering these questions and more. Then they will talk about how students can join the current fight to end solitary confinement. We will also write letters in support of prisoners who are currently hunger striking against solitary confinement in CA and WI.

Dinner will be served.

Our teachers will include:
Alan Mills, Executive Director of Uptown People’s Law Center, an attorney that has litigated against solitary confinement since 1982
Gregory Koger, a solitary confinement survivor
Brian Nelson, Prisoners’ Rights Coordinator at Uptown People’s Law Center
Afrika, a member of Black and Pink: Chicago

Also be on the look out for our installation of a box the size of a solitary confinement cell, starting Thursday October 27th.

All are welcome!

Funded in part by Student Government

University of Chicago Students Working Against Prisons

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Solitary Confinement Torture Survivors Bring Truth To IDOC Hearing

Stop Solitary Coalition at Springfield IDOC Hearing - October 19, 2016

Brian Nelson and Gregory Koger of Torture Survivors Against Solitary attended an IDOC Hearing in Springfield, IL on October 19, 2016, along with other solitary survivors, formerly incarcerated and comrades with the Stop Solitary Coalition.

Our purpose in attending this hearing was to oppose changes to the IDOC rules that could make retaliation against jailhouse lawyers easier, and to continue to oppose the IDOC & State of Illinois’ use of torture in the form of solitary confinement.

Brian spoke at the hearing, video below.

Solitary confinement in excess of 15 days is torture under international law. Brian spent 23 years in solitary. I spent about seven and a half years out of the 11 years I was locked up in solitary and various forms of segregation, including being placed into administrative detention solitary confinement in the county jail before I had even been convicted. I went to trial at 17 years old from solitary confinement in an adult county jail. In prison, as conditions became more repressive, I became more politically conscious. After getting in a fight with some C/O’s in Stateville I was given indeterminate segregation and spent over 6 years straight in solitary confinement in Pontiac.

Even though the IDOC hearing dealt mainly with rewrites to the IDOC “disciplinary” and grievance rules and procedures, the IDOC went out of their way to claim they are “so concerned” (to look like they are doing something about) solitary confinement.

One simple step they must take: stop torturing people in solitary confinement. Period.


Above: Africa of Black & Pink and the Stop Solitary Coalition speaks at IDOC Hearing.

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The Attica Rebellion: Its Legacy & the Prison Struggle Today

My friend Brian Nelson of Torture Survivors Against Solitary was part of a great panel last night at Loyola put together by Loyola NLG, the Uptown People’s Law Center, and the People’s Law Office –
The Attica Rebellion: Its Legacy & the Prison Struggle Today

The Attica Rebellion: Its Legacy & the Prison Struggle Today

Moderated by Michael Deutsch, Attica Brothers Lawyer

Heather Ann Thompson – author of “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971 and its Legacy”

Albert Jackson – Pontiac Brother

Alan Mills – Uptown People’s Law Center

Brian Nelson – Solitary Survivor and community organizer with Torture Survivors Against Solitary

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September 9th National Prison Strike Chicago & Solitary Film Screening at the Capitol

September 9th National Prison Strike Chicago

On September 9th we stood with the National Prison Strike called on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Uprising (which itself was in part a response to the assassination of Comrade George Jackson by the State). This action was organized by formerly incarcerated convicts in conjunction with comrades in Black & Pink Chicago and the Anarchist Black Cross Chicago.

Word continues to come in about ongoing actions that are part of and in support of the Sept 9th National Prison Strike. Our comrade James Kilgore has an important piece on September 9th that you should check out:

“We’re Freedom Fighters”:
The Story of the Nationwide Prison Labor Strike

September 9th National Prison Strike Chicago

Photos from Chicago’s march from the State of Illinois Building to the MCC federal prison. Thanks to Alan, Alex and Monica for the pics.

-Gregory

September 9th National Prison Strike Chicago MCC


On September 12 we attended a Congressional viewing of the documentary film Solitary directed by Kristi Jacobson. The film was shown in the Orientation Theater in the Capitol.

Numerous people that viewed the movie have been directly involved in the fighting to abolish this barbaric torture in the United States. Family members that presently have loved ones being tortured were also present and they suffered heart-breaking reality as they watched the horrific conditions their loved ones have suffered in every day for years.

gregory_a_k, Five Mualimm-ak, Silvia Mendez, Juan Mendez - UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Brian Nelson

gregory_a_k, Five Mualimm-ak, Silvia Mendez, Juan Mendez – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Brian Nelson

Several men that endured this barbaric torture were also present but could not watch the film, doing so would have devastated them mentally because everyone one of them suffers Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as survivor’s guilt. Just being present took a lot out of the men that endure this torture and their loved ones.

Jon Dambacher, Brian Nelson, Five Mualimm-ak, gregory_a_k

Jon Dambacher, Brian Nelson, Five Mualimm-ak, gregory_a_k

I do not call myself a survivor because I haven’t survived it. Each day is a struggle, each day the gray box attacks me and there is no way to stop it even after six (6) years.

-Brian Nelson

NB – The following photo can only be appropriately viewed while listening to 2Pac’s Picture Me Rollin’ Roll Call – gregory_a_k

 

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More Meaningless Words?

More meaningless words?

I’ve survived minutes and hours and days and months and years on end where words were my only salvation

Words foreign and bewitching, frustrating and incomplete

Where

nothing

exists

but

concrete

steel

razor wire

and rifles

pointed at

my

head

as I walked

in boxers

and shackles

and chains

Past cell upon cell of men reduced to corpses

One fifteen minute shower per week

many times that’s just an excuse

for them to come in

and throw your shit in the trash

books especially

Wouldn’t want these dangerous elements to get some book ideas and word learnin’ would we?

Might think of rebellion.

Or worse.

They might Think.

Collude and conspire instead of collide and bicker

Words wielded in vengeance Words bled in life-blood on pages scrawled in agony

Words and symbols inscribed upon the dying flesh of Warriors caged

Children

sentenced

to

become

corpses

in

cages

Too many names to recount gunned down by modern-day slave patrols

I met him

in a prison cell

and he’s still there

losing

his

mind

in

solitary

confinement

A few hours from the third largest city in this country.

But you’d never drive past there unless you parasitically lived life upon his flesh

The dying flesh & decomposing minds of superpredators too dangerous to walk the streets of Clinton-Bush-Obama-Clinton Capitalism-Imperialism

Not gangsta enough to out-gangsta the OGs in the game. Genocide, slavery, massacres of civilians – bro you ain’t as gangsta as Uncle Sam

That Predator drone ordered from the White House will shit on your whole family.

That torture cell in Guantanamo Abu Rikers Florence Cook County Stateville Pontiac Tamms Pelican Bay will be your grave

But yeah just keep telling yourself that it’s all good. Disregard the daily murders being committed by the United States government

The torture that “keeps you safe”

The

Lies

that

allow

you

to

Netflix

and

chill

Don’t worry about the family wedding in Peshawar obliterated by a drone.

The concentration camps and death camps are not for you or your family.

Don’t stop believing.

That piece of shit flag really does represent freedom and democracy and valor and courage.

They Told Me.

I Was Given Orders.

I’ve looked into the eyes of those who will pull the trigger on us

Who

will

bury

women

and

children

in

mass

graves

Who will drive SWAT APCs over the skulls of children

To Protect And Serve.

Shit there’s motherfuckers who probably want me locked up or bumped off for just writing this shit.

And I ain’t nobody.

Logged. Recorded. Time-stamped. GPS positioned.

See me in the streets motherfuckers. I be there.

More times than I even want to be there.

If no one else is gonna stand up I will with whoever else will.

I’m tired man.

I’m running myself to death doing this shit.

And I have fallen way back already.

I’m tired of talking. I don’t want to organize a march or demo or panel or any other goddamn thing. They still killing 3 people every day

Locking mofos up like they hunting runaway slaves…. for standing on our own blocks and porches and shit

Anyhow fuck all these meaningless words.

But I’m gonna say what I gotta say wherever the fuck I am. If shit is bogus it’s bogus whoever doing it.

Not like it fucking matters what I say anyway.

I’m just electrons in the wind…

But I’ll be in the streets.

I’ll support the resistance.

If I have to I’ll organize what needs to be organized.

But I don’t want to.

I’m tired.

Ain’t no glory in this shit.

Not looking for none.

 

I

still

sit

as

alone

as

I

was

every

day

in

those

prison

cells.

 

Shit I had more comrades then.

In other cells.

Still do.

You’ll hear from them soon enough.

If you listen.

Because

they

are

studying

those

texts.

Biding their time.

Feeding their rage on the blows of solitude and pepper spray.

But with love.

Because at one important particular point in my life, in those cells, I decided I would never be like the people who run this system. Ever.

But yeah whatever. More meaningless words.

Tokyo I like. Even though I don’t speak the language I had a great time there.

I don’t even go to fucking clubs but had a great time up in the club on Sunday – technically Monday…

Halfway around the globe from those cells…

With women who probably weren’t even born when they locked me up.

No disrespect to them at all. By any means.

But they don’t know where Stateville is

or who is locked up in ADX

Or who George Jackson is.

And they had no clue that I was in solitary confinement

when September 11 happened

or Abu Ghraib.

And had been in prison

for years

before.

That I grew up in the shadow of prison walls and gun towers.

In “America”

That I turned 18

in a maximum security prison

built during the time of the Civil War.

 

And it didn’t matter.

In that moment.

In that club.

Halfway around the world.

In

a

city

that

was

terror-bombed

by

the

same

government

that

imprisoned

me.

 

“But let’s not talk about that”

has never been

my strong suit

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