A.M. Gittlitz

Freelance writer and bike messenger living in Brooklyn. His work focuses on counterculture and radical politics. More of his work at gittlitz.wordpress.com.

While the two-year reality TV horror show that is “election season” puts the other political endeavors of many on hold, groups like the dogged NYC Anarchist Black Cross have continued their work of writing letters to political prisoners, raising awareness about state repression, and fighting against the manifold injustices of the prison system.

Next week, on Saturday, August 13, the organization will host a major event in Bushwick: a discussion with long-time political prisoner Eric McDavid, one of 20 activists who were prosecuted during the FBI’s “Green Scare” crackdown on animal liberation and ecodefense activists.

In 2005, McDavid was convinced by an agent to purchase materials to make an incendiary device, allegedly for a plan to target cell phone towers. After serving approximately 9 years of a 20-year sentence, it was discovered the government withheld thousands of pages of evidence on the case, and McDavid, who maintains he was entrapped, was released.

Counterterrorism tactics are an issue on everyone’s mind these days, as recent episodes of American gun violence and other tragedies in the United States and abroad propel heated debates about the extent of the American government’s responsibilities to its citizens in terms of both freedom and security. The ongoing use of entrapment techniques to manufacture threats, in the case of McDavid and many others, achieves neither.

Additionally, countless New Yorkers grapple with the failings of the country’s troubled prison system annually: hundreds of thousands of people are imprisoned in the State of New York alone. McDavid’s experience in solitary confinement–commonplace in the U.S. carceral system but considered a form of torture internationally–has galvanized support for the movement to close Rikers in the wake of the suicide of Kalief Browder.

“Supporting prisoners is a practical way to keep folks who are locked up connected to the activist communities from which they were taken,” Andrew, a ABC collective member says, “and also offers the opportunity to learn from those who have risked their freedom for their political beliefs.

The talk is free and will take place at 7 p.m. on August 13 at Bushwick political center The Base, which is located at 1302 Myrtle Avenue between Stockholm Street and DeKalb Avenue near the Knickerbocker Avenue or Central Avenue stops on the M train.