Q: Is there a solidarity/support network in place to support someone who goes to prison for activism? Is there a support system in place to support someone’s family if an activist goes to prison and is the breadwinner?
Derrick Jensen: For the former, there is. For example, Anarchist Black Cross and other organizations support political prisoners. But the truth is we need to build a much broader base than that. Prisoner support is actually pretty lacking. And it’s pretty easy to do the basic stuff. My mother, every year, writes to many political prisoners on their birthdays and around winter solstice. Many of these people have been in prison for thirty and forty years, and her letters may be one of two or three that they receive throughout the year. So there are organizations in place, but those organizations have to be much more robust. As far as support for families, no, there isn’t. But there should be. These are things that can and should be done by those who are entirely aboveground. We have emphasized throughout this book that not everyone needs to take actions that directly expose them to overt state repression. But we need a culture of resistance, and part of a culture of resistance is a robust prisoner support network for those who are on the front lines. We need a system where we support the troops, those who are actually fighting for the planet. That needs to be in place and so far it’s not.