gregory_a_k

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

Winter Solstice 2017 – Solve et Coagula

Winter Solstice 2017 – Transitions

New Website – gregory-a-k.com

Asura

This website has served me well for the last 10 years or since being released directly out of a cell in a prison which I had spent the previous 6+ years in solitary confinement. Could never have possibly guessed the firestorm I was about walk into, but I’ve made it through thus far – and reveled in the flames…

Gregory Koger in Ferguson, MO - August 13, 2014. Photo by Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Gregory Koger in Ferguson, MO – August 13, 2014. Photo by Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

Pontiac prison protest in solidarity with the brothers on hunger strike inside - Brian Nelson, Mark Clements, Gregory Koger

September 2014 – Pontiac, IL prison protest in solidarity with the brothers on hunger strike inside – Brian Nelson, Mark Clements, Gregory Koger

All things in life ebb and flow, grow and die to make room for something new to begin. I’ve killed my old self to be reborn anew at least several distinct times I recall.

Baphomet

Anyhow, some really weird shit has been going on, some long-time alleged “friends” and “comrades” have just come out of nowhere on straight bitch shit & gossiping stool pigeon weirdo shit… 

But that’s cool, that’s great, in fact. I just try to keep it real. I’m not perfect, I deal with often-incapacitating PTSD every day – if not days on end. Sometimes I do a tremendous amount of shit in one day, or week, or month. Sometimes I barely survive for days or weeks or months at a time.

One thing I’ll never do is talk shit about my friends – or frankly anyone – “behind their back.” Anything I say to anyone I will say to the face of anyone involved who may not be present at the time. I will never voluntarily say shit at all to the police for any reason. Not talking about that. But if I have something to say, its usually something very openly known.

"Free 'em all!" - Occupy4prisoners Chicago formerly incarcerated: (from left) Gregory Koger, Fred Hampton, Jr., Dickey Gaines, and Darby Tillis. Photo courtesy FJJ.

“Free ’em all!” – Occupy4Prisoners February 2012 Chicago formerly incarcerated: (from left) Gregory Koger, Fred Hampton, Jr., Dickey Gaines, and Darby Tillis. Photo courtesy FJJ.

Gregory West Side October 2015Also, as much as I’d like to have a “romantic” relationship, I can’t force any person to like me and never would if I could. I have had and will have enough difficulties in such a relationship because I grew up in prison, I grew up in solitary confinement. Before I went to prison I grew up in a “family” environment where I was extremely isolated and beaten on pretty much a daily basis by people who called themselves my “parents.” I was almost nonverbal with people I didn’t know. I hated having to talk to people I didn’t know. I failed a speech class in high school because I just categorically refused to speak in front of the class…


 

Bottom line: this website has reached the end of its life. It will remain online as is, unless some security matter or something requires me to eliminate it partially or entirely.

There are a few people who have somewhat unjustly been caught in the middle of larger contradictions who don’t quite understand what is going on, and I apologize for not being able to explain things in more detail. Frankly, in a few areas, I don’t completely understand myself, or only vaguely have some glimpse at understanding. Perhaps someday I will be able to let you know more. But for the most part, people know where they are at with me and why. People know who has been with me and who has not. People know who was standing up and who wasn’t.

And I was happy to do every other thing possible than deal with my own shit. Sure, I tried to work on it here and there. Made no secret of it. But whenever you have a wounded creature, you have predators and parasites who thrive off of those tragic souls. And just to make it clear, there are no “treatments” for the PTSD which arises from the long-term torture in solitary confinement I’ve lived through – and not just “survived” through 7.5 years in different forms of solitary confinement and/or administrative or disciplinary segregation, and grew up under those conditions. 

Art - 14th Major Trump Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot

 

Once more of the chess pieces are moved into place, I’ll catch you on the other side…

Head Memorial BBQ Brian GregoryHead Memorial Brian Gregory

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

Washington, D.C. September 2016: gregory_a_k, Five Mualimm-ak, Silvia Mendez, Juan Mendez – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Brian Nelson

 

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

Washington, D.C. September 2016: Jon Dambacher, Brian Nelson, Five Mualimm-ak, gregory_a_k

 

Cook County Jail Protest October 2014: Hannibal Salim Ali, gregory_a_k, Bill Ayers Photo: FJJ

Cook County Jail Protest October 2014: Hannibal Salim Ali, gregory_a_k, Bill Ayers Photo: FJJ

 

October 2014 protest Chicago Photo: FJJ

October 2014 protest Chicago Photo: FJJ

 

National Lawyers Guild September 2014 National Conference Panel on Stopping Mass Incarceration: Hannibal Gregory

National Lawyers Guild September 2014 National Conference Panel on Stopping Mass Incarceration: Hannibal Gregory

 

"Battlefield USA: Riots in Ferguson Hit Fever Pitch" Inside Edition August 2014

“Battlefield USA: Riots in Ferguson Hit Fever Pitch” Inside Edition August 2014

Saint Louis Post Dispatch 8-14-14

GK Ferguson newspaper cover

 

New Website – gregory-a-k.com

 

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Friends?

Anthony - Jazz for JusticeSix years ago this month, my friend Anthony marched on Wall Street with Iraq Veterans Against the War, who came out to support Occupy Wall Street; later that night, Anthony died of an overdose. He’d been open with me about his use of allegedly illicit substances to deal with the PTSD that haunted him after the horrors he witnessed and was ordered to participate in while in Iraq.

The first time he showed me how fucked he had to get, and told me that he was going for treatment on and off, I was deeply worried for him. I stayed the night, watching movies and talking, and in the morning I rode with him over to the VA hospital when he went to get his treatment. I was definitely worried about him, and I spoke privately with a few of our mutual friend to see if there was some way we could help him, as he said he wanted to stop using.

I don’t condone, accept, and I certainly don’t want to participate in promoting the “Reefer Madness” level propaganda that any drug use is automatically “drug abuse.” Many cultures throughout history have used mind-altering substances, which are now promoted as being “illicit” and “criminal” by most current Western countries and imposed internationally to ensure continual “aid” from the US, further deepening its imperialist hegemony, domestically and abroad. What substances people decide to ingest, smoke, sniff, huff, inject, and/or eat should be a personal matter over which each individual has autonomy to decide.

If it becomes problematic for the individual, they should be offered compassionate assistance to stop, if that is what they want – temporarily or permanently, without propaganda-induced misconceptions, judgements, or haughty moralism. Furthermore, each person should be able to decide for themselves if the pain and suffering they are living with is more than they can bear, and if they choose to end their life it can and should be their right to make that decision.

We never really came to any great ideas on what we might be able to do to help Anthony, so I continued to just be there as a friend for him whenever he needed and I could be, because I also isolate myself a lot, dealing with the PTSD and after-effects of solitary confinement & prison generally, and childhood abuse. Whether Anthony’s overdose was intentional or accidental, I don’t know with any level of certainty. He no longer had to deal with the pain he suffered, that was one main point his partner conveyed to me, intimating that it was probably intentional – or at least that was what I understood her to be saying. He lived and died on his own terms.

That’s not to say it wasn’t difficult to deal with after I got the message that he was dead. And as weird as it might sound, his memorial and funeral were beautiful. There were a whole lot of tears, but his family just kept it real, about him and his life, his struggles with PTSD, all of it.

I never mistrusted him or looked down on him or condemned him for doing what he felt he had to do to survive. I didn’t jump up and run away, I didn’t go gossiping about his struggles to other people at art exhibits or cocktail parties. I didn’t tell anyone they shouldn’t trust him or talk shit about him behind his back.

Who would possibly do some shit like that to someone who is a friend?

Real friends are hard to find. Treasure them when you can. Much love to you, Anthony…


 

I’ve written a fair amount about the struggles I have, coming out of solitary confinement and prison period. Never been a secret. Just a couple weeks ago I spoke, along with several of my friends and fellow survivors, to prison doctors from across the nation. We all made it clear that we felt they were on the wrong side of history and were very reluctant to even be there, but we felt we should make the attempt to talk about how solitary affects us every day, especially since almost no one is doing any research on solitary’s effects and how to treat survivors.

That is why Brian Nelson and myself, survivors of many years in solitary  (we both grew up in prison…), along with Dr. Antonio Martinez, who has treated torture survivors around the world, are attempting to get funding for a 3 year pilot program group treatment for solitary confinement survivors. We don’t have the answers, but we are surviving and trying to find a way out, and struggling for those still being tortured behind those walls.

We’re killing ourselves doing this, reliving this shit every time, with next to zero help or concern from so-called “friends.” Time and time again, too many fake motherfuckers have used us, completely indifferent to the fact that the work we are doing is retraumatizing, don’t even check on us after talks, smiled in our faces when its cool but when shit gets hard to deal with disappear in the wind, refuse to tell us what they really think but then go gossiping to other mofos about shit behind our backs. Seriously, I’ve encountered more straight-up opportunists, unprincipled liars, “comrades” and so-called “friends” who are snaking us behind our backs among “the Left” than in prison.

Anyhow, just a word of advice for phoney “friends” who talk shit behind people’s back: The Streets have ears and eyes, and convicts move in all kinds of circles. And even if we have our differences, they won’t let people slander other people’s names and reputations when they know the real deal.

Just gotta keep tightening that circle up. I have had to cut a lot of phoney’s out over the last few years… And I’ve survived this far, definitely not a given. Shit, before I was even 18 years old the State wanted me out of the picture. Still here. Still fighting. 

-G

Posted in Thoughts

Illinois’ 2017 Bill to Drastically Reduce Solitary Confinement Killed by Illinois Sheriffs Association Demanding to Continue Using the Torture Practice on the Mentally Ill

I was forwarded an email earlier this afternoon which purports to examine the “highlights” of 2017 legislation nationwide aimed at solitary confinement “reform.” Illinois was curiously missing from the list. Interesting story that I’ll lay out for your perusal to see how close to a lowlight the Illinois example is.

Condensing a lot of prefatory and background matters for brevity, for the last couple legislative sessions a bill to drastically limit solitary confinement in Illinois has been brought forward by Rep. LaShawn Ford, in consultation with a number of groups opposing solitary and mass incarceration more broadly.

One of the initial versions of said bill was primarily conceived and set in motion by a group in Illinois with next to zero connection to those currently in solitary in Illinois nor solitary survivors in Illinois. When a group of survivors became aware of this, including further details regarding said group bringing forth the bill preparing to cut a deal with Illinois sheriff’s to exclude them from the bill, among other unprincipled and opportunistic machinations, the solitary survivors had to step in and take over in order to stop unprincipled collusion with the State’s armed enforcers and to push the bill into a direction that those still behind the walls in solitary, their loved ones and other survivors could support. This bill, which was supported by many on the inside as well as survivors and other groups on the outside, was killed after one of the main collaborators with the Illinois Department of Corrections, a supposed “watchdog” group, entered into a backroom campaign to kill the bill on the absurd and ridiculous basis that “Illinois prisons are already too overcrowded; how could they possible let people out of solitary when the have no room?” Patently absurd and morally reprehensible – to condone and collude with state representatives to stop a bill that would have drastically limited solitary in Illinois and ensuring the bill would not pass and therefore thousands of brothers and sisters would continue to be tortured by the state of Illinois in solitary confinement. This groups annual fundraiser was subsequently protested by a group of solitary survivors and others.

The bill was then re-entered in 2017. As the bill moved toward having the support to have it passed, an associate of the Stop Solitary Coalition of Illinois spoke to a lobbyist for the Illinois Sheriffs Association, informing the sheriff’s of the bills’ advance and possible passing. After being informed about the bill, the Illinois Sheriff Association then colluded with various Illinois political representatives to have the bill killed – and killed explicitly on the barbaric basis that the sheriff’s had a statewide policy and practice of using solitary confinement to torture the mentally ill under their “care.” This policy was openly laid out in an article from the Illinois Times, a piece of s̶h̶i̶t̶ “journalism” which failed entirely to mention the fact that solitary confinement in excess of 15 days is considered torture under international law, nor the fact that the mentally ill are the one specific class of people that the United States Supreme Court has stated cannot be placed in solitary – see Madrid v. Gomez, which held:

The Court did find that it would violate the Eighth Amendment to subject prisoners who already had serious mental illnesses to prolonged solitary confinement, because such prolonged social isolation was very likely to inflict serious psychological pain on that subclass of prisoners. (PROLONGED SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION, by Jules Lobel, 2008, in Journal of Constitutional Law Vol. 11 Issue 1, online at http://scholarship.law.upenn.edu/jcl/vol11/iss1/6/

Apparently such trivial matters are beyond the scope of a piece of “journalism” on the topic of solitary confinement; all you need to do is parrot the false and criminal claims of the Illinois Sheriffs Association.

But, in brief, that is a short history of Illinois’ failed bill to drastically reduce solitary confinement. Sold out from its inception by a group with no ties to those in solitary confinement, their families and survivors, who wanted to cut a deal with sheriffs to allow them to continue torturing people in solitary confinement; then, after there bill was entered the first time, sold out by a phoney prison “watchdog” group, then by someone formerly incarcerated tipping off the Illinois Sheriffs Association.

 


So, apologies for the delay in getting this written, and other things, but we’ve been dealing with a number of things… Recently, we somewhat reluctantly spoke at the American College of Correctional Physicians conference regarding solitary confinement. Brian Nelson, Monica Cosby, Afrika Lockett and myself as survivors made it clear we were there to let them know the real deal about the torture practice of solitary confinement.

Solitary Confinement Survivors ACCP 11-4-2017

Unfortunately I missed recording the beginning of Monica’s piece, but got most of the rest of the talk. Hard to do everything at once, without assistance… But we’ll keep doing it, cause no one else is. We’re currently raising funding to start our solitary confinement survivors group with Dr. Antonio Martinez.

Gregory Koger

Brian Nelson

Prison Liberation Collective

11-16-2017

 

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A Few Thoughts

We also need to be much more in tune with what’s going on nationwide behind the walls & connecting up with families & formerly incarcerated out here to really cohere a mass movement for prison liberation. We are working on getting some solid components to facilitate that in place…

I’ll have a lot more to say regarding all of this soon, hopefully. Trying to get the chessboard set up piece by piece… But we live with the effects of prison (& some of us solitary confinement) moment to moment, & we are tying to get some real preliminary treatment going as well.

Some of us who came straight out of solitary after years or decades, we grew up in prison & solitary. And we jumped right in to the struggle as soon as possible when we got out. That lead to political prosecutions & retraumatization of being sent back for our political work, too.

And it’s really sad for me to have to say this, but the overwhelming majority of peeps we’ve worked with out here do not have the faintest clue as to how all of this affects us – even after numerous attempts to explain it. So the only conclusion is that they consciously don’t care.

They’ve made conscious decisions to use us for their own agendas, taking advantage of our heartfelt sincerity about doing whatever we can to fight this system. And then when we live with & try to deal with the after-effects, they’re nowhere to be found.

Then they make excuses & fabricate pretexts to abdicate their responsibilities & utter failures to live up to treating & communicating with us as actual human beings, much less “brothers” or “sisters” or “comrades” – projecting their own unprincipled decisions & acts onto us.

Or invite police organizations to national organizing events re stopping police terrorism & mass incarceration, refuse to respond to detailed critique of it ahead of time, then try to sweep it under the rug & refuse to allow a principled discussion of it at the event, or ever.

 
Anyhow, I’ve made it through some ups and downs, had to recognize that opportunists who are not the least concerned about my own well being are much better off out of my life (and no longer distracting me and sucking my energy into played out, non-serious and frankly dangerously irresponsible theatrics), and some significant pieces of the strategic chessboard are moving into place. I’ll have more to say soon…
 
-G
 
Gregory & Brian motorcycles
 
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prototype ritual

Words

That 

Cannot 

Explain

Stand

 

Amassed

Behind

Ephemeral

Answers

Crying

 

Out

To

The

World

Beyond

 

Cells

Bars

Razor-wire

Pathways

Bleed

 

Ink

Upon

A

Page

Drying

Dying

 

Each

Moment

Breath

Hesitates

 

Still

Blood

Keeps

Pumping

 

Scrawled

In

Blood

I

Keep

Writing

 

Summoning

Forth

Torture

Induced

Pestilence

Posted in Thoughts

Overdue

Been overdue for some writing. I’ve been in another holding pattern, waiting for a couple things of major importance to my ongoing life that are dragging on for years – and there is next to nothing I can do to control or influence that situation (that I’m aware of…).

Feels like having a criminal case or being on paper (parole, probation, pretrial release) where I cannot make major decisions until these things are resolved. 

So I’ve kept on fighting, especially around solitary confinement. Though I have definitely stepped back from the level of being in the middle of and organizing so much shit like I used to.

I’m 39. I’ve done a fairly significant amount of shit in my life, particularly post-prison. Lots of ups and downs living with the aftermath of growing up in prison and solitary confinement particularly. Spent most of the last 10 years disregarding my own personal issues and situation to throw myself into the struggle against mass incarceration etc, went back to jail as a political prisoner, spent two weeks on hunger strike in Cook County Jail in solidarity with the California prison hunger strike in 2013 (as well as Guantanamo brothers on hunger strike. Organized demos and talks and panels and videos, faced down SWAT teams with assault rifles and tear gas in the streets of Ferguson, spoken in universities and high schools. Still so much to be done.

But I barely survive from day to day. I have no clue how to meet someone for a “romantic relationship” – though I seem to have better luck in that department in Tokyo, since I had 2 dates in the 2 weeks I was there last time… I don’t know how to go though a day without multiple triggers putting me back into prison, almost all of my references are from growing up in prison.

But I’m still standing. Still fighting. Still breathing.

Trying to figure out how to live and enjoy life in this despicable apartheid police state. How to go one day without remembering the days on end I spent in solitary. I find little that frightens me, but the prospect of trying to be vulnerable to love and touch, though I can never seem to make those connections anyway.

By yeah. I’ll go on finding my way to fight. Finding my way to live. Finding my way to shed a tear for the unlived life I’ll never experience. 

It gets tiring. I’m not interested in being 40. Been dreading this confrontation for a while.

Posted in Thoughts

Another Day

Every
Minute
I
Struggle
Against
Oblivion

 

Decaying
Slowly
Every
Moment

 

Time
Given
Taken
Served
Cold

 

Cells
Undying
Reproducing
Mirror
Torment

 

A
Boy
Unloved
Unfit
For
Society

 

Devoted
To
Death
And
Oppression

 

Built
Upon
Bones
And
Blood
Of
Millions

 

Others
Unfit
For
Society
Of
Cannibals

 

Of
Charlatans
And
Corpulent
Creatures
Crawling

 

Towards
Emptiness
Capital
A
Razor Wire
Net

 

Entangling
Us
All

 

Bled
To
Death
By
Dozens

 

Of
Lacerations
From
The
Belts
And
Cords

 

Beaten
Upon
A
Child’s
Flesh

 

By
Supposed
“Parents”

 

Who
Paid
Top
Dollar
To
Purchase
A
Bastard
Boy

 

Who
Refused
To
Submit

 

Now
A
Man

 

Raised
Among
The
Tombs

 

Of
Other
Dying
Criminals

 

I
Fear
The
Touch
I
Long
So
Much
For

 

Only
Bitten
By
Shackles
And
Manacles

 

Ensconced
In
Wafts
Of
Pepper Spray
And
Tear Gas

 

But
Never
The
Arms
Of
A
Lover

 

Yet
I
Trudge
On

 

Another
Day

Posted in Thoughts

For the Record

We’ve had two different groups of pigs stop us on two occasions today, both times searching through the car & tearing shit up with no probabale cause whatsoever.

The first dude, after saying he was going to give us a “warning” for going 85 in a 70 mph zone, goes back to his car, runs our records (both of us had multiple felonies – none drug related), talks to some mofos on the radio & then comes back and tells us he has to have K9 search the car, and searched me personally by pat down and then went into my pocket. I had, and we had, nothing illegal on our persons or in the car. We go sit in the other pigs car while he searches ours for quite a while, then he comes back, asks my homie if he can give him his Miranda warning & ask him some questions – which he agrees to. Asks about an axe in the back of the car the we use for camping. And then he lets us go, with a written “warning.”

We make it to Springfield for the IDOC hearing about 15 mins late due to this bullshit stop and search, find out they played games on that hearing again and canceled it for the second time in a row with no prior notice – and both times we had several carloads of peeps who traveled from Chicago to Springfield to make sure they didn’t pull some slick shit and to make sure they know and see that significant and growing groups of people are opposed to the state of Illinois’ use of the torture practice of long-term solitary confinement in the IDOC, along with some other more minor issues with the rule changes. 

Later on, as we are leaving Springfield, right after we get on the road some undercover pigs pull us over in an unmarked Toyota truck. We have an almost identical repeat of the prior stop, except we had done no traffic violations at all when they stopped us. They tear up the car again, with no probable cause search us both and the car, find nothing again and let us go – after asking several questions that had no relevance to the stop whatsoever. Not even a pretense of giving us a traffic “warning” on paper. 

Something very weird about both of those stops – the second one in particular. In the 10 years I’ve been out of prison, these are the first times I’ve been stopped & harassed by the police while driving in Illinois.  Just need to document this shit – for the record. 

We’ve got a lot of shit we’ve been working on coming together now, and these political predators want to snake our ass… Who could possibly spend a whole career based on lying and fucking with people – and with the intention of sending people to prison for years & decades for bullshit, many times completely fabricated?  Sick fucking people. And the fucking “war on drugs” is such an unprecedented human rights disaster – how many lives ruined, lost? How many billions of dollars that could have been used to actually do something of social value? 

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Confronting Torture in the United States: An Analysis of Solitary Confinement

Confronting Torture in the United States:
An Analysis of Solitary Confinement

Thursday, February 23, 2017
6:00 – 7:30 PM

Spanish Community Center
Joliet, IL

Panelists:

 

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Donate to the Prison Liberation Collective

We’re in motion – you can donate to the Prison Liberation Collective here

Prison Liberation Collective

www.ucimc.org/plc

PLC flyer

 

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six months ago in Tokyo

Six

Months

Ago

 

In

Tokyo

 

The 

Last

Time

 

That

I

Kicked

It

 

Kabukicho

Karaoke

Cocaine

Hostess

Bar

 

A

Hero

In

Hospice

 

With

Her

I’m

In

 

A

Wonder

Land

 

Where

You

Regurgitate

 

The

Bile-Covered

Eternities

 

Of

Solitude

 

In

Technicolor

Japanese

 

Neon

Shinjuku

Streets

Aglow

 

Allnight

I

Wander

 

Through

Alleys

Of

Pimps

 

Schoolgirls

Couples

Prostitutes

 

Colliding

Across

Asphalt

 

Across

The

Globe

 

From

Those

Cells

 

Within

Which

I

Was

Raised

 

City

Ancient

Yet

Most

Modern

 

The

Only

Home

I

Know

 

Every

Chemical

Combined

 

Erases

Each

Moment

 

Each

Breath

Reliving

 

Every

Eternity

Alone

 

 

Posted in Thoughts

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. 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 for 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

 

 

Posted in Thoughts

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

 

 

Posted in Thoughts

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

Posted in Thoughts

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, is 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

Posted in Thoughts

untitled

I’m writing in solitary confinement.

Alone.

With constant noise.

And walls.

Just walls.

Remembering.

Being beaten.

With leather belts.

As a child.

By people who were supposed to be your “parents.”

Whatever the fuck those are.

Whoever the fuck those are.

But nothing matters.

In those moments.

Strung out across seconds and minutes and days and weeks and years on end.

In the Cell.

Alone.

Again.

Forever.

 

And here I sit again.

Trying to write.

Trying to Remember.

Or Forget.

Those Cells.

Those Days.

In flashing Technicolor glow across the Grey.

White walls.

Glass one-way mirrors on prison gun towers.

With a bullet with your number and hour and minute inscribed upon each particle

Careening at light speed towards oblivion.

Remembering and Forgetting Countless Lives

Each

Time

You

Breathe

And your heart beats.

A name.

Forgotten.

Because none of it mattered.

And nothing does or ever will in your eyes

Aflame for each other but always apart.

No one ever is.

And the world ends every time you leave and reconfigures itself anew again in this fucked up position every time

 

Aloft on wings of Flame and Fire

Burns All of the Memories out of your Mind.

Because

In Remembering

you are forgetting

what you wanted to be

And does that life exist?

Somewhere?

Unbeknownst to you is another life

full of laughter

and longing

and joy

that erases

the years

With every touch of your fingertip upon my cheek.

But who would touch me?

Without shackles

and chains

and cuffs

constraining

my dying body

So certain you could lock the door and throw away the key…

But what becomes of boys and girls unwanted and unloved?

Ashamed of imaginary sins.

Of retribution

from figments

of your own

twisted imagination?

 

Sold.

By peddlers

of lies

and trash.

Rubbish.

Strewn across a dirty Chicago alley

full of piss

and vomit

from the regurgitated filth

That forms

In “Those Places”

That you created.

From your own

petty fears

and vainglorious

necessity

for everything

to be

“perfect”

In Whose Eyes?

Motherfuckers.

At whose benefit?

For whose posterity?

From what other

lofty sounding

pile of shit

politician

who lives

cannibalistically

upon

Those People

 

I was telling people about the day I was released from prison. Directly from having spent over six years straight in solitary confinement.

I was shackled and chained & handcuffed pushing a cart with the remnants of 11 years spent in the “custody” of the Department of Corrections

Went to trial from solitary confinement when I was seventeen. Spent about seven and a half years in various forms of solitary confinement

But here I am.

Among the so-called living.

Doing something resembling trying to live a life.

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Chicago Supports the September 9th National Prison Strike

September 9th National Prison Strike

From within the tombs and dungeons of the United States’ historically unprecedented system of mass incarceration comes a Call from prisoners to rise up together on September 9th 2016 – the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion. As their Call states:

On September 9th of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State’s most notorious prison. On September 9th of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.

At a time when US police are killing three people every day, and a national movement for Black Liberation is being forged in the streets, men and women being held in horrendous conditions of imprisonment will be putting their lives on the line to stand against the state-sanctioned slavery of the New Jim Crow police state that farcically calls itself “the greatest country in the world.”

As someone who personally knows the living death of the US prison system – and who spent many years in solitary confinement in that system – I find it incumbent upon me to stand in solidarity with those brothers and sisters still locked down in those hellholes.

We will be marching in support of the September 9th National Prison Strike. On September 9th we will meet at the State of Illinois Thompson Center at 1pm and march to the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC). The Illinois Department of Corrections has administrative offices in the Thompson Center, and the MCC is a United States federal prison in the heart of downtown Chicago.

Other actions will be planned as well. If you or your organization is planning anything, please let us know so we can support it. I will post any further details here, as well as on the Torture Survivors Against Solitary website.

September  9th National Prison Strike flyer

Please join and spread the FaceBook event for the demo

 

 

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Remembering Melvin “Head” Haywood

We received word this morning that Head – Melvin Haywood – had passed away. Brian Nelson of Uptown People’s Law Center discussed the impact that Melvin Haywood had on him and other young guys coming into prison as well as the time they spent together in solitary confinement in Tamms, and I spoke to the political targeting of Growth and Development for political organizing (specifically with it’s 21st Century Vote organization) and its interconnection with the COINTELPRO attacks on the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation movement which laid the basis for the whole system of mass incarceration and New Jim Crow:

Miss Geraldine Smith Radio Show – Remembering Melvin “Head” Haywood – 8-14-2016

We also received word on memorials for Head:

Memorial for Melvin Haywood aka Head – Wednesday August 17th 4pm-8pm at V75 lounge 125 W. 75th St. Chicago

The Haywood Family Heartfelt and Lovingly Announce the Celebration of Life of Melvin Jack Haywood A.K.A FATTY B.K.A HEAD  #HUESOFBLUE  Saturday August 20, 2016  Visitation: New Beginnings Church of Chicago  6620 S King Drive.. Chicago,Il 60637 From 12PM-5PM  Farewell Celebration to follow  Dorchester Banquet Hall 1515 E. 154th St Dolton,Il 60419  From 6pm -11pm  All Family and Friends are Welcome

Head Memorial Brian & Gregory

Head Memorial BBQ Brian Gregory


FYI – To peeps that need to know: I’m off FaceBook, you can hit me up on Twitter @gregory_a_k or Instagram @gregory_a_k

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Wandering

The last few months have been rough, putting in a lot of work against solitary confinement, and specifically in support of a very non-seriously planned bill (the Isolated Confinement Restriction Act) to limit solitary in Illinois. Frankly, I’ve never been involved in organizing with people who were less serious and less organized… It really is detrimental to do some half-assed bullshit like what happened with that bill.

My friend Brian Nelson and myself threw in as much as we could, given that we both have lived for many years in those cells and still have friends there, and took this as seriously as possible. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the vast majority of other people and groups working on this bill. There was no seriousness to the time-frame for organizing support for it. There was no plan – or time – for support to be built. There was no concern whatsoever for the cost that it would take on us – or others –  as survivors of torture.  This isn’t meant to be an in-depth critique or analysis, but it was terribad.

Certainly I think it was the right thing to do to support the bill and put in the work that we did, but I don’t think I can in good conscience do something similar again. You cannot ask people to put themselves on the line for something that isn’t serious. I’ve spent far too much time and energy killing myself slowly on the front lines of struggles that far too few people involved with are really taking seriously.

And just in terms of the personal cost, speaking in the Capitol of the government that tortured me and continues to use the torture practice of solitary confinement was probably the hardest part. I mean there was no question I’d go and do it, and even though I spoke entirely extemporaneously I feel that what I said was true and true to my convictions. But I don’t know that it was “worth it” – I don’t feel that one word that any of us said was taken seriously. I don’t have any expectation that what we said had any real impact on whether this bill passed or not (or might in the future). It certainly did not stop the practice of torture in the form of solitary confinement in Illinois. And we are worse off emotionally and psychologically from the process…


So here I am, back in Tokyo for a couple weeks. I was here for a few days in April, which was cool, but wanted to get more of a feel for the city. I wish I knew Japanese so that I could talk to more people. But I’ve definitely had some interesting experiences. Even been on a few “dates” – which I guess it takes coming hallway around the globe for me to experience, since I have no such luck in the US…

Speaking of shitholes, I’ve watched a bit of the election crap on tv here. I cannot believe anyone takes choosing between Dumb and Dumber every four years to be something reflective of serious political engagement. Despite the very real shortcomings and limitations, I’m happy that there is finally a real incipient movement for liberation developing in the streets (and prisons) in the US. Much more needs to develop, of course, but for the first time in decades something has ruptured – especially since Ferguson.

Anyhow, so I guess I’ve been on a couple “dates” – I’m not very impressed by the process thus far. Other than that I’ve just been wandering around Tokyo, trying to figure out my next steps, trying to figure out where I’m going… None of that is particularly clear to me. In a lot of ways I’m more isolated than I have been perhaps ever. That is not the best place for me to be, but despite my best efforts, I always remain alone.

I’ve got a few more stories to tell, but writing has been much more difficult than I’ve anticipated. A large part of it I’m sure is related to the fact that my brain does not want to really re-confront traumatic shit, even though I live with that every moment of every day. I’m not really unhappy with the last piece I wrote, but it wasn’t what I expected it to be. It is what it is, I needed to let it go. But it’s not the whole story, it’s not the book I intend – and sometimes feel that I need – to write.

Right now, the only thing I know I have to try to do is survive. I’ll figure out the rest on the way. But I have to be in a place that I can survive. I don’t know where that place is. But I’ll wander around until I find it…

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