No matter what label they stick on it, prison is torture, call it reforming, rehabilitation, restraining, it matters not, it is still torture of the human spirit. In such unnatural conditions, the human spirit becomes deformed, relationships often descend to a lower level, a more brutal level, and survival takes on a different shape under the ever present shadow of violence.
Tasos Theofilou is an anarchist, imprisoned by the Greek state in 2013 and who subsequently went on hunger strike.Extract from the recent publication of Tasos Theofilou book:
32 Steps or reports from the house of the dead:
Visit ann arky's home at www.radicalglasgow.me.uk
Prison is not only incarceration, pan optic surveillance, sensory
deprivation and the always present violence from above or from bellow.
Prison is not only the constant addiction to the sound of a heavy door
locking and unlocking. It is not only the endless rock of the yard. It
not only the use of smack to oppress any intention of revolting against
the brutality. It is not only the extreme poverty of the lumpen
proletariat, as well as the ostentatious wealth of illegal capitalism,
which exist to remind that class stratification is not absent even from
the basements of society.
Prison is also an entire civilization which emerges from the depths of
the soul of the damned. It is the dark matter of crime that is
transmuted into life: “And among the dead walls life develops and wild
weeds grow drenched in sorrow and intensity and injustice and waiting.
But they emerge, they grow out of cement. People try to remain alive,
and some succeed. An entire civilization is developed, a brutal
reflection and condensation of society, brutal without pretexts.
However, an entire civilization in the fringes of society and under the
most sharp corner of the heel of authority”.
Tasos Theofilou describes sides of this small universe, the underground
culture of the prisoners, which might begin from the improvised
practical art and reaches the humorous, self-sarcasm and imaginative
word moulding. He himself experiences not only the brutality of
incarceration, but also the arbitrariness of an entire
journalist-police-judicial complex which used even his pulp short
stories as “unshakeable” proof of guilt for bank expropriation. He found
himself in the surreal position of being an anarchist-communist and
being accused as a member of a nihilist organization, the conspiracy
cells of fire. His own political identity was considered an unshakeable
presumption of guilt…
The literary and political stylus of Tasos Theofilou does not only
observe the life in prison, it does not only describe the Kafkaesque
universe of oppression, but dissects the contemporary dystopia of the
state of emergency. The literary and political stylus of Tasos Theofilou
fulfills a higher political duty, beyond the analysis and interpretation
of modern brutality. The resistance of human dignity until the
definitive end of this brutality.
Tasos Theofilou texts can also found on the blog Postscripts of a
Fabrication (astop.espivblogs.net). The books Paranoir and Goodbye
Batman are also published (in greek), by Asymmetric Threat publications.
Translated by BoubourAs /Act for freedom now!