The release of Brendan Lillis from prison is without doubt a victory for people power against an unjust system that continues to flout international human rights legislation despite of its facade to promoting democracy and peace as the basis of its structures.
With the release of Brendan Lillis, the issues of human rights abuse within Maghaberry prison are far from over. Today we still have the continuing criminalization of republican prisoners and internment of Martin Corey and Marian Price following the revoking of their licenses.
For Marian Price who remains the only female prisoner held in total isolation within an all-male prison, bear the hallmarks of an irreformable status-quo which rests on repression and callous disregard for working people.
Prison deaths and rates of prison suicide are staggering, growing, and are directly related to overcrowding and neglect, which equates into torture.
The North’s prisons are no exception, both here and globally we are witnessing a gradual erosion of prisoners’ rights and conditions which were often achieved by militant demonstrations and riots. The gradual privatisation of prisons, repressive legislation using the pretext of ‘war on terror’ or ‘war on crime’ are about creating a prison industrial complex driven by profit and fear, where prisoners are no better than slaves.
As anarchists we recognise that the criminal justice system’s first priority is to defend the status-quo and the bosses. Prisons are an integral part of the class system and vital to the survival of capitalism and the preservation of wealth and privilege.
While the Workers Solidarity Movement is opposed to state repression we are also opposed to the cul-de-sac of armed republicanism which only serves to further divide the working class in the service of a narrow, militaristic and all too often sectarian nationalism.
We support the prisoners’ demands on a humanitarian basis and call for an end to prison censorship and repression.
We support the call for one campaign one voice, linking with wider prisoner struggles at home and abroad based on the ‘relatives action committee’ model free of party political control. Solidarity and direct action, rather than lobbying politicians are our greatest weapons.