Friday, March 30, 2012

ABC Nevada Prison Chapter: Still No Victories

First and foremost, my most sincere greetings of solidarity and respects are extended to the poor, imprisoned and oppressed. My name is Coyote, I’m a serious Anarchist radical, confined and isolated in the infirmary of Nevada’s most notorious maximum security lock-up: Ely State Prison.

In 2007, I started up my own prison chapter of Anarchist Black Cross. Because of my efforts – and another comrade’s efforts – and due to the exposure of the blatant medical neglect here at ESP through the Rikers vs. Gibbons / ACLU lawsuits, a solid support structure for NV prisoners has begun to be erected. This includes the Nevada Prison Watch website that provides oversight of the NDOC;, which does the same; the Nevada Prison Newsletter, which I am now the co-editor of; and now the NV-CURE has been re-activated. Whereas before, NV prisoners had no outside resources to connect to, now we have these, so this is just the beginning of many things to come.

I have published zine after zine, all available from the S. Chicago ABC Zine Distro and also the Chicago ABC Zine Distro. Through my zines I have been able to reach many, many prisoners across the country, helping them to make the transformation from gangster to guerrilla, or from criminal to radical, and also showing them how to be active and organized while behind enemy lines. My zine “Starting Your Own ABC Prison Chapter” has been very influential to many prisoner activists who are trying to get themselves started. I have also been in collaboration (on the sly) with many prisoners in different states, helping them get organized where they’re at, showing them how to start up their own prison chapters, how to reach out to activists on the outs, how to reach out to prisoners where they’re at, etc.

Due to my efforts, and my resistance, here at ESP I have been able to flood this prison out with thousands of copies of all kinds of zines, radical literature and empowering reading materials. I have supplied hundreds of prisoners here with their own libraries and their own collections of literature, and they use these materials to not only raise their own consciousness, but also to raise the overall level of consciousness throughout this gulag. It has gotten to the point that there isn’t a tier/unit you can go to in this prison, where there aren’t at least 6 or 7 prisoners on each wing who have a good supply of zines and literature, most of which has come from me.

In January 2010, I started up a book drive for the ESP Library that lasted until May 2011, where people from all over the world had donated thousands of books to our library. When administration caught wind that an Anarchist radical was behind the whole thing, they hurried up and shut it down!!!

I have participated in mostly all of the riots, protests and demonstrations of resistance here at ESP, and have been accused by the pigs of being the main organizer of several of them. I have been placed on High Risk Potential status and labeled a ‘threat to the safety and security of the institution’, moved around from one hole to another every 30 days, which I have indeed used to my advantage to pass out literature, form alliances with other radicals, raise awareness, plant seeds and to organize.
Through my efforts I have been able to bring small numbers of enemy faction together, and unite prisoners across racial lines, to fight the true enemy. I have been a leader, a teacher, a comrade and a mentor to many of these youngsters here, regardless of their race, ethnicity, etc. Now there are many prisoners here at ESP who have become radicalized, and we now even have a handful of serious Anarchists here, all who have been taught and trained to be effective writers, propagandists, activists, leaders, teachers, and organizers, and some who are now in the process of starting their own collectives.

Because of my resistance to the stagnation and oppression of this everyday profane existence in this gulag, waking others up in the process, the warden has removed me from the rest of the prisoners, saying that I have “too much influence” over them, and placed me here in the infirmary to be isolated, until I am released. But even this has not stopped me.

Yes, I can proudly say that I’ve accomplished many things, have resisted all the way through, becoming a thorn in their side, but I claim no victories, because this prison still exists, we’re still locked down and treated like shit, still in the deathly hands of the enemy, and there are still many prisoners here who are unaware, asleep, afraid, or walking around ignorant and blind. There’s still much work to do, many battles still to be fought…

Still Striving for Real Victories

To send letters of encouragement and support, please write me at this address:
Coyote Sheff #55671
P.O. Box 1989
Ely, Nevada 89301-1989

Coyote’s beautiful, inspiring writings can be viewed on either of these sites:
1) Coyote Calling

Coyote’s zines can be obtained at either of these addresses (free to prisoners):

Chicago ABC
1321 N. Milwaukee Ave.
P.M.B. 460
Chicago, Illinois 60622

S. Chicago ABC Zine Distro
P.O. Box 721
Homewood, Illinois 60430

Thursday, March 22, 2012

“I don’t know what love is”

Love, love, love. Some want it, some don’t, but I think it’s safe to say it’s something we all need. Some people think it’s a “cheesy” subject to talk about, and then, some people, like myself, really don’t know what it is at all…

Before I venture any further and really delve into all of this, I just want to point something out right quick… Maybe, out there in the Free World, there are many people who have ways to "escape,” or they have things and ways to take away the pain that they feel deep inside their hearts – things like drugs, alcohol, medication, etc. But for me, I’ve been living in this hard, hostile world of misery and despair for nearly 15 years with no drugs to take to escape and with nothing to do but face myself and deal with every difficulty that arrives, just being strong while doing hard time and dealing with the agony inside, the best way I can. Needless to say, this pen and paper has significantly been one of the best ways for me to cope and deal with the anger, the aches, the pains, and the soul-destroying torment that comes from the loneliness that has lived the edges of my cemented heart. So even though some might think that the words I’m about to put down are “cheesy,” I’m still confident, nevertheless, that most will understand that these words that I’m about to propitiate to my readers come from somewhere deep, deep down inside, where they were discovered only after really taking the time to explore those depths and to feel what I feel, rather than try to escape, reject or conceal the real.

We all know that there’s no love here in this cold, heartless world of concrete walls, steel doors and plexiglass windows, and while we take so many pains to keep our emotions contained under a steeled surface, unrevealed, the more dehumanized we become. I’m not just talking out the side of my neck, but know this for a fact, as I have been living in this volatile world for so long; a world where the ways of violence, revenge and honor have predominated my environment, shaped my thoughts and has corrupted my heart.

This way of life, this world, is such a place where one feels it necessary to always keep their guard up, never truly being able to trust others, always watching your back, and if you have a sensitive side, it’s to stay way down inside, never to be exposed to the light of day, because in this cold world of darkness, it will be taken as a weakness and most likely exploited by the heartless, the manipulative and the corrupted. We all know the scandalous types that I’m talking about, some of us have once been like that ourselves at one time or another, assuming the ways of a predator as a so-called survival tactic; to keep from becoming the prey. So instead of opening up and trusting others, we stay suspicious and we learn to keep our defenses up, building walls around us, becoming hard, mean and cold inside. Emptiness is all you’ll find in a mad man’s heart. This is what happens when you live so long in a world without love.

From reflecting on my many years in prison – and from my many years of reflecting while in prison – I’ve come to realize that many men in here have a misogynist nature; whether consciously or subconsciously, they hate women. At one time in their lives they’ve been hurt by women and many have never taken the steps to try to let those wounds heal. They’ve come to look at love as “weakness”and to those who seek it as “suckers.” Females are derogated and characterized by the infamous “B-word”, or worse. There’s a lot of hurt inside and that hurt is directed towards women in a negative way. I know this because I myself have been through
some very painful moments in my life at a young age where I felt hurt, abandoned, neglected and betrayed by the person I loved and trusted the most in my life: my mother. And because of this pain I felt inside, I grew up to be a mean, mad, violent man, never opening myself up to love, not caring much about it others and having a deep resentment towards authority as well.

It has taken me years to heal from these wounds and truth be told, I’m still trying to fully recover and let the scar tissue subside, but even this can be a struggle. Sometimes I feel so alone like no one really cares, and I become so hostile inside towards those who come into my life pretending that they care, when really all they have is ulterior motives, and sometimes I feel like this
illusory thing called “love” just wasn’t meant for me, like it’s my destiny to live a lonely, loveless life as a revolutionary, dedicated only to struggle and anarchy.

My story is kind of sad, I’ve only been with three females, sexually, and that was about 15 years ago. I’ve never been in a relationship, never been in love and don’t even know what love is. I really do want to get out and find a good woman, one that would compel me to want to be a good man to her, but after living in a miserable world of hate and mistrust for so long, I don’t even have the foggiest idea how to go about doing this.

I don’t know how to trust a woman, to let her get close to me, letting her into my heart without having to worry about her playing with it like it’s a toy. I don’t want to be a possessive, controlling type of man, and yet, I’ve never really been in an experience where I’ve been tested in these regards to see how I deal with such things like commitment, jealousy, trust and just being able to really care about someone other than myself.

I’m afraid that my heart will break a thousand times in my search for love, or for a good woman. And after coming out of a despicable world of prison madness, I don’t even know how I’ll be able to deal with heartbreak. Will I end up killing myself? Will I kill her? Or will I find the strength inside me to heal and move on, and if so, will I dust myself off and try for love again, or will I be jaded and ruined by the whole experience.

You don’t learn these things in prison. This is a place where it becomes hard for you to even maintain a truthful, significant relationship with a woman, let alone your own family, no conjugal visits with your spouse, cut off from those important social ties that we need so much in our lives. Visits are rare due to the distance and the outrageous prices, phone calls are too expensive, and letters are more of a third-rate form of communication that it doesn’t give us a chance to really experience and feel what it’s like to actually be in a relationship.

We get locked up in this gloomy world of anger and hopelessness, sitting in these cells for years, deteriorating, not knowing how to love a woman or treat her right, and then get released back into a world that has become foreign and strange for us, not even knowing what to do. It’s no wonder people get out of prison and turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. I don’t want to turn out like that. My problems in life haven’t been drugs, nor have I been much of a criminal, my problems have been with anger and violence, which all stem from the pain I feel inside from not being loved.

One of my closest comrades always teases me, calling me a “hopeless romantic.” This is someone I consider to be a real friend, someone I’ve always been able to count on and who will have my back when I’m right and who isn’t scared to let me know when I’m not, and I feel bad, because there were times when I felt I couldn’t even trust him, and it’s not his fault, but mine, because I have serious trust issues, after all the times I’ve been betrayed, and from living a meaningless, destructive life for so long. But he calls me a “Hopeless Romantic,” and now it makes me wonder if there’s actually some merit to that. Is it really hopeless for me? Or will I be able to get out and actually learn how to be good to a woman and treat her right? I don’t want to go back out into the world not knowing these things; not knowing how to trust a woman, not knowing how to make love to a woman, not knowing how to care about a woman, not knowing how not to be demanding, controlling and possessive towards someone that I’ve ended up becoming so close to that I don’t want to let go or lose. If only we could learn these things in prison, if only they’d send us back into the world knowing not only how to be a man but a good man at that, then how much more hopeful our future would be.

This is something I felt I had to get off my chest, just to say that love is all we need. To have people in our lives who actually care about us, so that we can start caring too! Not only about ourselves, but about others as well. I write this from somewhere deep inside of me, a new place that I didn’t even know existed, with the hope that the minds of society will start to see that you can’t just throw a broken man into prison for some time, thinking he’s going to come out a better, fixed man. It doesn’t work that way. Society has to start taking new approaches to this, or we’re going to have to start tearing these walls down! I also write these words with the hope that prisoners will start taking a deeper, more serious look at themselves, and at love, trust and just at the way we’re living.

With these words written, I just want to let it be known that until I can really get some real love, I’m still going to be … Coyote who howls in darkness, just an anarchist trying to open up the hearts and minds of the poor, imprisoned and oppressed, with my full extension of respect to the people in this world who actually do care about us in here. Maybe someday someone will come along and really teach me, and show me or help me find out what love really is. My heart has been hardened to this world I’ve lived in for so long, and now I know that the only thing that can save me is love.

Solidarity and Respects,
“The Hopeless Romantic”
Ely State prison