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May 24 2017

16:48
Was The Disney Movie ‘Hacking Ransom’ a Giant Hoax?
08:57
No, ExtraTorrent Has Not Been Resurrected

May 23 2017

22:09

Letters to Our Family (May 2016)

Dear Black and Pink Family,

I’m in a federal prison in New Jersey via a joint military base. Compared to the responses of letters you receive, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of federal inmates that correspond to Black and Pink. Federal prisons restrict a lot of things that state prisons easily receive, and this needs to change.

My name is Leon, I am 44 years old, black male bisexual; mostly gay. From Virginia, incarcerated on a sex-offense of receipt of C.P. on a computer through interstate transit. Since February 15, 2012 I have been down. I receive your newspaper, and most don’t know what it’s about, even the inmates I would consider to be gay. I’ve mostly kept to myself and haven’t had any serious problems, but I can see others that do. I try to help as best I can. It’s hard. It’s hard to write and write, and write and get no response from other groups or organizations of sexual orientations, or to know if the Feds are not allowing it to be received. They don’t tell us anything.

I would like to see responses from other Fed inmates– as to, are we restricted more than the state from receiving things? Are there other sources we could write to or receive from?

Jesse (NJ)

 

Dear Black and Pink Family,

For those of you this does not apply to, I’m deeply grateful and pray it never will. I’ll call myself Jane Doe. I am an older transgender woman in a man’s prison. Like a lot of trans girls, and many others, I was forced into having sex against my desire.

For a long time, I lived in fear, doubt, and shame. I was depressed. I felt like I was going crazy. I felt responsible. I didn’t fight off my abuser. For that, I only hated myself that much more. What’s worse, I never told anyone. I just lived in my pain while repeatedly being abused. It felt so bad, I nearly took my own life.

Many people have gone through this. You are not alone. You have Dear Black and Pink Family, help, there is hope, and gradually we begin to heal. There will be times when something triggers those emotions, those fears, but we learn how to cope with them. Don’t be afraid to go to a friend, a family member, a doctor, and especially mental health. When you request, you don’t have to list a reason. Simply say, “I need to see someone.” They have to keep stuff confidential and will tell you what they can’t keep. I have had two really wonderful psychiatrists and two amazing psychologists. They have helped me so much. And you can even reach out to Just Detention International (J.D.I.). A very big support system.

I’m not 100%. Never really was. But, with help, I have returned mostly to my original self. Even better in some ways. You can find this too. You only have to take that first baby step and talk to someone. Even if it is just to say, “I need help.” And this last thing I’ve got to say, “Forget the hype!” If you’re in this kind of trouble, tell someone and tell them right now. This is not snitching. It’s protecting yourself from harm you do not deserve to be suffering. You were not sent to prison to be raped.

Step up, seek help. Our community is too small as it is. I don’t want to lose none of ya! And if you see this happening to someone, be their hero and speak up. Support your community.

With love, support, & solidarity,
Miss Jane Doe

 

Dear Black and Pink Family,

My name is Casey or better known a “Butterfly Boy” to my small group of very close friends, due to the fact that I love butterflies and have numerous tattooed on me. But butterflies are also the symbol of “self transformation” because they start out as a fuzzy little caterpillar and turn into what they are truly meant to be and that is something very beautiful. And the butterfly was also part of my inspiration to come out when I was 14 because “if they can change so much and be so beautiful, why can’t I?”

But I’ve received Black and Pink for 3 1/2 years now and I read a lot about the lack of unity and support. I am a gay male in the judicial system of Texas. One of the worst ones for (LGBTQ) people that I know of, because of the PREA Act because they use it to target the family in so many ways. And where I just came from there was a small amount of unity, because we had some of the officers that would single us out wherever we went. And for situations like that we had a group that would help with grievances and other help when that wouldn’t work. Like for instance I had a female officer that kicked me out of a church service as soon as I walked in and told me that “I couldn’t be there because God don’t like or love you faggots” and the grievances that she got for that gave her a vacation, so they do work if you write them.

But where I’m at now there is no unity at all in any aspect at all unless it’s within the small group of friends that you have. But believe it or not some of the best support that I get comes from the Black and Pink newsletter every month. So keep writing because the words that you write are helping someone somewhere with something. So please keep supporting each other, because we need each other more than ever as long as we’re locked up in the state’s judicial system. Because as most of us have found out the hard way, this is not a world that is for us, and is against us in so many ways to keep us unhappy.

LGBTQ love,
Casey (TX)

 

From Eylexa (ID)

I don’t have a supportive family, and someone told me that your friends are the family you choose. I chose a family that recognizes me for who I am and loves me for me. And thanks to them I’ve come to realize that I want to be a family to those who don’t have one, I want to be the friend that some people never had. I want to be the loving caring sister that supports you in your time of need.

I have had my struggles and I’m working on being a better person. I have found the love of my life while locked up, and she showed me that I truly was deserving of love and support. Terra, I love you. She showed me that I could love someone when I thought my hope was all lost. It’s a tough relationship because we are both locked up and in different facilities, but she’s strong and I try to be. I will never claim to perfect, in fact I’m far from it. However I make my mistakes, I learn from them and I move forward with a new mind and a new direction every time. Just remember we’re here for you, I’m here for you, LGBTQ pride. I’m proud to be who I am, and nothing will ever change that. You should be too, there is nothing wrong with you and who you are. The hardest thing is to let yourself be you and who you are. The hardest thing is to let yourself be you, forget what others say, I know it isn’t easy, trust me, but the only acceptance that matters is your own. If others don’t accept you, leave them to their own devices.

Love you all!!

21:37

Message from Jason (May 2016)

Dear Friends,

I hope this note finds you as well as possible. I am sitting here in my apartment trying to keep my cat from jumping up on the table, but I am failing. He is all grey, very soft, and I let him get away with anything, it’s a problem. His name is Vanzetti, he’s a great cat, and like most cats he does exactly what he wants to, living up to his anarchist namesake.

This past week there has been a lot of attention paid to the recent reported suicide of Aaron Hernandez here in Massachusetts. This may not have made as big headlines where you are, but Hernandez was a football player with the New England Patriots and he was incarcerated for allegedly killing three people. It is likely that his actions were motivated by a desire to hide his sexuality. The exact facts of the case are complicated, something many of you are familiar with I am sure. The truth is, regardless of what happened, Hernandez’s life still had value. Those who loved Aaron Hernandez are grieving his death. According to news reports he left three different suicide note addressed to his fiancée on the outside, his daughter, and his boyfriend on the inside. To be honest, I feel some sadness that we at Black & Pink never reached out to him, not knowing about his queerness, and that we were unable to be there for him to provide support and remind him that he was not alone.

When one prisoner commits suicide, prison administrators often gets nervous that this is going to spark others to do similarly. There is some truth to this anxiety. Those of us who know someone who has taken their own life are more likely to die by suicide. However, what prison officials fail to do is change the conditions that create the desperation so many feel. Suicide is the leading cause of death in county jails and the leading non-physical illness cause of death in state and federal prisons. Prisons and jails create the environment for suicide. The inhumane treatment of prisoners, the incredibly long sentences, and the absence of actual care for prisoners makes suicide often feel like the only option.

I recently received an email from a prisoner who was struggling with feeling suicidal. I want to share with all of you some of what I shared with this person:

Feeling suicidal is a very common feeling behind the wall. You are not alone in that. Sometimes that can feel like the only way to have power over anything. There is no shame in having those feelings. Life can feel like too much some times. What I want to encourage you to do, though, is try to take some deep breaths when you’re having those moments. Try to pay attention to your breathing. Feel your feet on the floor. Try to feel your heart beat in your chest. Try to be aware of every feeling in your body. Even when everything around you feels terrible, your body is a miracle. Try to pay attention to the moments of life that feel good. Try to clear your mind…

When that doesn’t work, it’s ok to just cry in your bunk. Push your face into your mattress. Cover yourself with your blanket. Imagine being anywhere else. Imagine a different life, one where you are free. Cry and feel angry. Try to feel all the rage in your body. Feel yourself get hot from the anger. Feel your face get wet from the tears. Know that it is ok to feel weak and broken some times. You are not the first one to feel this way. Life can be horrible; life is completely unfair. Each day you make a choice, a choice about living, and my hope is that even as things are so bad, that you will keep choosing life. As part of Black & Pink you have a family that does care what happens to you. Even if we can’t always write, even if we can’t get you free, even if we can’t make everything better or right, we care about you. We care about your life. You are valuable to us.

I wish words could be more comforting. I wish I could give you a hug or hold your hand when things feel so horrible. Please know that we are fighting for a better world and that we want to end the suffering you are experiencing. We will not win soon enough. We will not make things better fast enough. We will keep fighting though. I hope you are able to keep fighting alongside us.

Aaron Hernandez’s boyfriend has been put on suicide watch, an often inhumane response to a person’s devastation. It is unacceptable that prisons treat people in these ways. As our open family, we keep resisting, knowing that once there were no prisons, that day will come again.

In loving solidarity,
Jason

21:28

Authoritarians and the Ideology of Love

Why do so many authoritarians on Twitter have anime girl avatars?

The rapid emergence of authoritarian ideologies online — both right wing and left-wing — is perhaps the biggest story of the last five years and one that has caught existing activist communities off foot. For decades radical politics was almost exclusively the domain of anarchists and other explicit anti-authoritarians. Sure there were neonazi gangs on the streets of many cities and the occasional Trotskyist or Maoist on the edges of the activist scene, but anti-authoritarianism was for all intents and purposes hegemonic.

The internet eventually helped shatter this hegemony, it gave authoritarians the spaces to recruit that they weren’t capable of holding in meatspace. Movements recruit through social reinforcement, when we enter rooms where everyone is on the same page those norms are reinforced in our cheap monkey brains. The perception of having a tribe or community is a powerful one, merely knowing twelve disparate individuals with the same politics as you is far less pernicious than having all twelve of those individuals in the same space. Suddenly your ideology is not merely an idea up for discussion but rather a law, a flag, a compact, a binding sense of identity.

Authoritarian ideologies have always appealed to the most vulgar of our psychological needs. The twists and turns of their arguments are often ludicrous on the face because they’re not actually about intellectual persuasion, but emotional promises. The subtext is the point: We offer you community. We offer you power.

Less examined is how these authoritarian cults often promise love. Or, to be more specific, the way they tap into an existing ideology of love.

Lots of hetero boys grow up to idealize and long for an ideal of human empathy, kindness, softness and connection denied us under patriarchy — wrapping it up into a distant prize or fantasy to be longed for or strived for.

Patriarchy shoves young boys into a kind of brutal competition and the reward it promises at the end of the tunnel is the thing it takes away: empathy, connection, and kindness. We are told that if we can harden ourselves, learn to wall ourselves off further, we might one day stand on the top of a pile of corpses in some gladiatorial arena and be presented with love. Another human being who has been sealed off from the viciousness of the world in cryogenic storage, a crystallized remnant of everything that was snatched from us in childhood. We are then to use our great hulking bulk of scar tissue to enclose around them, to protect their small flower as though a replacement heart. In the most ideal fantasy we are thus made whole, returned to our youth to uncertainly re-start our lives as complete human beings. The picture tends to terminate here in a kind of “Happily Ever After” event horizon, because to even visualize ourselves beyond patriarchy, beyond the broken, twisted pain, isolation, and silent frantic need that has become as integral to our lives as breathing air taxes our imaginations beyond their capacity. We may daydream about particulars — white picket fence, names of children, etc — but it functions akin to dressing up a D&D character. There’s a whole absurd, magical, fantastical leap we’re distracting ourselves from with such particulars.

Eventually many of us stop being able to sustain the dream. The goal — the promise — such as it still enters our life does so as a source of mitigation. A stalling tactic in a long doomed retreat. The furthest our imaginations can stretch is clinging to the faint hope of such a prize until one finally drains it and dies alone. A true return to childhood wholeness is finally conceded as impossible, we simply want to sip some nostalgia of what life was like before we became boys, before we became men, one last time before dying.

Love — for many, but particularly for heterosexual boys — functions as a utopia. The last conceivable one.

It’s no longer possible for most to imagine a world not riven with callous competition. And so one’s aspirations shrink to just prying away one single relationship not characterized by cruelty and fear. This concept of love is the widest spread and most powerful radical ideology in the world today. It is also one of the most silent, since its adherents have given up on trusting anyone beyond this eschaton-like figure of the lover. Men do not speak about love to other men. What would be the point? As in so many other instances the most important parts of our lives are by necessity never shared.

And with the girls and women we date we are circumspect. The reward we are promised is one of innocence of what the world has done to us. By such assumption it cannot be aware of its own role. And we cannot speak what drives us.

There exists, in every eschatology of this promised utopia, every ideology or narrative that wraps around it, a breaking moment. A “???” step where the chains of context that have wrapped around us disappear and we are suddenly pushed by an outside force, by the hand of god, by narrative power, by The Way It Works!, into utopia.

Such a revolutionary or millenarian ideology of love has widely flourished in the last few hundred years in the west. Modern romantic love, “true love” and similar narratives  are so clearly pressure valves for revolutionary instincts. A comfortingly human-scale place to channel the hunger and frustrated aspirations of simultaneously seeing the world as it is and might instead be. Lots of people subscribe to it to varying degrees. I subscribe to it. Or at least some variant. Some days fighting for a better world is too much to ask. Some days the most you can bring yourself to imagine is a single relationship that isn’t shit. You think “If I could have a single tiny burning ember of utopia I’d be fine, I could live once again from its warmth.” Idealistic aspirations in romance and love are not the problem, and they are obviously not in any sense exclusive to geeky hetero boys. We all need warmth in our lives. We all need some kind of relief from the war of all against all. We all need to start somewhere.

But what is relatively unique about hetero boys is the way their socialization and the narratives of patriarchy often frame and channel this.

Many of the most virulent reactionaries online were clearly once sensitive children. The 4chan nazi who spews hate on women and calls for the establishment of an absurd Reich where women are forced into abject slavery, or indoctrinated into service as Good Aryan Women peppers his internet presence with compulsive anime waifus. Childlike enormous eyes plaintively look out from soft and comforting frills. This representation is abstracted away from any resemblance to a real breathing human, turned into a totem, a constantly invested in and revisited symbol. The internet nazi with a love for anime and other infantilized representations of girls is more than a cliche, it’s a near-constant.

If we can just get through these armies of our enemies then magic will happen and everyone will get a waifu. The state will force someone to love me. Without the monsters of feminism to delude and mislead women they will return to their natural state of waifus ready to love me. If only women would be enlightened to how their shortsighted approaches are leaving them unrewarded like they would be if they gave me a chance. If only women would see that fairness means everyone should get a waifu.

And finally, fuck it, maybe none of those things will work, maybe none of those arguments ring true. But then where’s any redeeming value in life? Where’s any hope? Goddamn it, maybe if you just blindly rage, if you just seize enough power, maybe somewhere in there you’ll find a path to utopia that would actually work. It’s better than just giving into hopelessness.

Conservative and authoritarian ideological structures make a lot more sense when you recognize them as mechanisms to validate one’s own hardening — this wasn’t a mistake! This is the only way! I can have my cake and eat it too! …Either lying about the terms of the relationships they actually have, or actual the paths ahead to other possible relationships.

The racism of young white men in the west often takes the form of projecting all the uncontrollable fearful rage and pain you feel, all the brutality and nihilism, onto an animalized other. Self-recognition deferred. The middle class white boys in basements howling for the heads of feminists, posting guides for getting away with rape, and shooting up churches? This tornado of raw scar tissue is not not primal. It’s not some kind of genetic destiny that rules us like puppets. It’s ideological. A worldview beaten into us. Sure there’s sexual frustration, but mostly it’s emotional-mutilation alongside a model of How Things Work that carries such stakes we can never risk breaking from it. The more society hurts young boys and the more we hurt ourselves the more we desperately hunger for what it promises, following its instructions and hurting ourselves all the more. Success, power, toughness, the softest boys become the hungriest for the currencies we are told might buy back what the world has stolen from us.

If we deviate even the slightest from the path, we will fall behind in the contest, fail forever.

The lunkheads, the privileged brutes who can barely remember what was stolen from them, rarely rise as high as the true ideologues of love. The fratboy is not a true believer, the nerdy girly boy is. The fratboy will pillage, but the nerdy girly boy will kill millions in service to his religion. Every moment carrying the raw tension that this might be the last chance to win.

The fratboy chortles with delight at anything that gets things back to the simplistic formula he knows, that removes the obstacles of those feminists and weird kids. He wears his MAGA cap like a party hat. But the nerdy girly boy wears it like a talisman, a crucifix, a holy pact.

And just as this ideology of love closes us off from real relationships it epistemically closes us off from alternative paths.

Notice what it does not allow for: It does not include the harder path of trying to build positive non-romantic relationships that can satiate some of our ever growing needs. It does not include the harder path of working on yourself to repair some of the damage. It is hard for many to even to speak of much less think of such paths. And with such shrunken aspirations it’s almost impossible to rise to the challenge of meeting another human being honestly, sincerely exploring the fullness of their being and collaboratively creating together. Deep connection — the empathy and solidarity of actual love — is, of course, an immeasurable fountain of strength. But it requires audacity and work.

Atrophied and raised on a diet of utopian ambrosia, albeit a limited one, the hungrier we get the less appealing these bitter vegetables look. And as we die of starvation our vision narrows to focus on the golden promise alone.

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May 22 2017

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May 21 2017

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May 20 2017

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May 19 2017

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