I got out of prison about a week ago after nearly four months. As you may know, I was imprisoned for making a 20 minute speech on zoom. That was it. I was on remand. I have yet to be convicted of any crime. I have not committed any crime. I am applying to the court to have the charge of “conspiracy to cause a public nuisance” dismissed. I did not conspire – I engaged in an act of speech. And what happened – the blocking of motorways by getting onto bridges, was not a public nuisance by any stretch of the imagination. Given what we face. Given what this society has done. What is now locked in.
If the case is dismissed, I will look into suing for wrongful imprisonment. If they don’t dismiss it, I will be on the (nonviolent) war path. I know who I am and I know my rights. I will not stand by and have them violated. Not because of the harm it does to me personally. That is the last of my concerns. They can put me in prison whenever they want and for as long as they want.
No, I am doing it because people died so that our generation and future generations could enjoy the freedoms and liberties of this country, and the last thing I am going to do is standby and betray those who made the ultimate sacrifice so I can live. That’s about as basic as it gets.
I’m mad as hell and that’s a joyful place to be. Because only when you are as mad as hell – facing what we face, can you ever feel free in the real sense of the word. Only when you are mad as hell – facing what we face, can you have any respect for yourself. Only by being mad as hell then, can you be who you truly are. If you don’t get this in 2023, with respect, you simply don’t get what it means to live a life. My mother said to me “Life is for Living” – meaning, it is what is it and you stand up and face it.
My last cellmate in prison was supposed to be there for two weeks. They messed up his paperwork and he didn’t get out for six weeks. What did he do? He got on with it. He wrote applications each day to various prison departments – all that stuff. When his girlfriend told him on the phone for the first time that she loved him, he was over the moon. He jumped off the top bunk in glee. He had been in a terrible car accident and should have died. Two months in a coma. He had a big dent on his head. He could only see out of one eye. He didn’t look that good. Had a drink problem and all the rest of it. But he was living his life. He’s my hero.
Remember this is not a drill, as has been said. You’re reading this post. Fine then go and live your life – meaning doing whatever it takes to stop the apocalypse we face. Even if it kills you. Really – that’s what living a life means at this present moment. Just as it did in previous times of total crisis.
I don’t know how I will end up and don’t much care anymore. I’ve seen over the mountain top, though no doubt often I will forget that I have. I’ve had a glimpse of what it is to be truly human. I will stride onwards. And it’s in this striding I will serve myself, humanity, and this world. Because at the end of the day it’s all one thing.
There’s not much more that can be said than that.
Thanks so much for all the supportive letters and postcards. See you on the streets x
Image: Untitled (Fallen Angel), acrylic and oilstick on canvas. Jean-Michel Basquiat (1981)