What is Hell Gate Anarchist Black Cross?

Hell Gate Anarchist Black Cross (HG-ABC) is a collective committed to prison abolition and political prisoner support in the tradition of the Anarchist Black Cross Network and the General Defense Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World. It is our aim to provide relief and support to members of the working class who are being persecuted for their actions in the class struggle as well as be a part of building a movement toward the abolition of prisons and the creation of a free world.

HG-ABC engages in work that can generally be categorized in two ways: defensive work and offensive work.
Defensive Work and Offensive Work of HG-ABC
Defensive work involves meeting the needs of the prisoners: whether those needs stem from the daily oppression of the prisons, police, courts or the intense repression by State/Class authorities of prison organizers. Prison support by ABCs meets these needs in two primary ways:
  1. by educating the community about the class/racist nature of the prisons and the legal system and how to fight against it;
  2. by forming outside support groups on a local and national basis in order to ensure prisoners’ defense and survival from enemy attack and from inhuman prison conditions.
Offensive work means directly challenging the existence of prisons and this work also involves actively campaigning against prison conditions, and propagandizing the actual cases of political/class war prisoners (i.e. prisoners jailed for specific political reasons and those who have become politically aware of the reasons for their oppression while in prison, as well as victims of frame-ups) to the largest possible audience. Some protest activities include elements of a 15 point program proposed by Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, and which many ABCs engage in today:
  1. Organizing defense committees on behalf of prisoners framed or railroaded through the Capitalist courts for their political and social beliefs or prison organizing.
  2. Organizing support for activists jailed for their outside work and/or repression by authorities.
  3. Holding protest rallies, marches and street demonstrations in support of prisoners’ rights and against the repressive actions of State/Class authorities.
  4. Writing press releases and holding news conferences for the Third World/people of color, alternative and radical news media (and sometimes the Capitalist news media) appearing on television and radio news and/or talk shows to discuss prisons.
  5. Securing Anarchist and other revolutionary materials for prisoners to read, and fight for their right to receive this literature if prison officials try to ban or prohibit such literature for any reason.
  6. Organizing emergency response calls, letters, faxes and email to continually contact “corrections” and other authorities about the treatment of prisoners.
  7. Organizing legal defense funds to raise funds for legal fees and to assist prisoners and outside activists and groups.
  8. Organizing and/or participating in coalitions with poor people’s movements, prison support, Third World/people of color, Women’s rights, Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender, Church, Left-wing, and other diverse groups, so as to win them over and to integrate the prison struggle into the general movement for social change.
  9. Assisting prisoners in getting parole, probation or a pardon by demanding their freedom when they become eligible for parole or are seeking executive clemency.
  10. Organizing correspondence for people to write to prisoners and find out about prison conditions and to show their solidarity and human concern, and observers to go into the prisons, visit the prisoners, investigate their complaints, question the officials and monitor the prison for violation of prisoners’ rights.
  11. Working against the death penalty and exposing it as an instrument of racial genocide and class and political repression.
  12. Exposing the fallacy of the Capitalist system of cops, laws and prisons being for the protection of society or as a social necessity.
  13. Demanding the freedom and amnesty of political/class war prisoners, and the abolition of prisons. Especially demand the immediate release of prisoners who have served unnecessarily lengthy sentences.
  14. Demanding the immediate closing of all control/isolation/supermax units in prisons.
  15. Linking up the struggles against criminalization and imprisonment with associated social ills: poverty, homelessness, hunger, gentrification, racism, racial/cultural profiling, anti-refugee/immigrant actions, privitization, globalization, the drug war and many other issues.