Zine Catalog (from The Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective)
Here are a number of short texts revolving around the themes of prison resistance, anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggles, radical history, and also writings by political prisoners themselves. The following are some downloadable examples of these texts; for a more complete selection view the Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective’s ‘zine catalog.
A brief but thorough criticism of contemporary political prisoner support and prison abolitionist movements. Strongly taking to task several trends, including the separation of political from social prisoners in leftist practice and the gradualist reformism of the abolitionist movement, this text is a powerful statement on what it means to be an anarchist with regards to prison.
This publication, written by Black freedom fighter and political prisoner Sundiata Acoli, presents a broad but thorough overview of the various social movements, organizations, and historical trends that make up black prisoners’ struggles for liberation.
This is a short talk by Ashanti Alston, former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army combatant, on his introduction to anarchism while in prison. It offers some useful points of departure for folks just starting to think about the relevance of anti-authoritarian ideas to the black community, as well as new ways of thinking about international struggles.
Two articles by ex-Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz, on the various strategies of solitary confinement and control units used to discipline and manage prison rebels.
By political prisoner Daniel McGowan, this is a very important expose and analysis of the ominous and unconstitutional new prison facilities, the Communication Management Units. It contains new information, straight out of the CMU, and it will be a real asset in our efforts to counter the US government’s war on dissent and free speech, in and outside of the prison system.
This publication offers a brief biographical sketch of an incredible man named Robert F. Williams, along with several chapters excerpted from his famous 1962 book Negroes with Guns. Though less well known than more urban groups like the Black Panthers, the words and actions of Monroe, NC’s militant NAACP chapter were tremendously influential on later organizations that advocated self-determination, autonomy, equality, and self-defense.
This is a new text by Russell Maroon Shoatz, a prisoner targeted for his role in the Black Panther Party, the BLA, and the killing of a Phildaelphia police officer over thirty years ago. The text focuses primarily on the recuperative function of what Shoatz terms “gangsterism” within past and present-day social movements. If you work with a group that corresponds with prisoners interested in the politics and history of gangs and gang truces, this is a great resource.
Notes on the Arab Spring
This is a compilation of essays and a timeline about recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, with a focus on their relevance to struggles in North America.
One of the most popular zines we send, this was written by ex-Black Panther Lorenzo Ervin about his experiences behind bars. It is an excellent piece on the role of race as both a dividing and unifying factor in prison struggles.
This zine covers an obscure but phenomenal story of coal miners’ and convicts’ joint rebellion against the convict leasing system in post-Civil War Tennessee. Touching on the issues of prison growth, racial identities in the South, the limitations of demand-oriented movements, and the application of contemporary insurrectionary perspectives in understanding historical phenomena, it is “required reading” for anyone interested in appalachian social movements, anti-prison struggles, or the historical positioning of the Southern white worker.
This is a new piece of prisoner’s writing on unity, truce efforts, and political consciousness in US gangs. The zine presents a number of interesting topics like the forming of identity through historical consciousness and revolt, the co-optation of such identity through musical and artistic forms, and the role of street gangs in the rebellions of the future.
Of particular note is the connections the piece draws between the lived experience of the author, a self-identified gang member and “social” prisoner, on the one hand, and the analysis of well-known anti-authoritarian and/or anti-colonialist heads like Lorenzo Ervin, Russell Maroon Shoatz, and Frantz Fanon, on the other. Many writings of these kinds come from the pens of known “political” prisoners; we’ve been excited to correspond with and present a discussion on gang truce and prison organizing efforts from a prisoner with a slightly different background.
A short article describing the prison-industrial complex.
This is a fantastic introduction to the ways prisons work, how the prison-industrial complex is driven, along with some advice for folks trying to bring it all down. It is written by two anarchists who did time for anti-war related activity, after they began doing workshops on the subject and started putting together peoples’ responses as well as their own experiences. We’ve sent many hundreds of this publication behind bars.
On Women and Prison
This zine contains two essays on the subjects of feminism, gender, and self-defense. The first, “Justice is a Woman with a Sword,” is a classic critique of pacifism from the second wave. The other, “From Abolition to Action,” is a more recent piece by author Vikki Law drawing out recent trends in women’s and community self-defense efforts from a prison abolitionist perspective.