Anarchist Black Cross Federation
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Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABCF) was created in 1995 when the North American Anarchist Black Cross collectives from Paterson (NJ), Bronx (NY), and Washington DC merged into a federation. Soon after, the Bronx and DC groups left to form a separate Anarchist Black Cross Confederation, but the New Jersey ABC and others continued to build the ABC Federation and attracted new ABC groups to carry it on.
ABCF believes that it is important to support PPs/POWs as a priority, because PPs/POWs have themselves helped to build the movement that supports them, "As people continuing to struggle for change, we are obligated and it is our duty to support those people who are in prison as a result of struggling to make change."
The ABCF defines a "political prisoner" and "prisoner of war" as an individual who is not in prison for committing social crimes, but rather for other activity deemed revolutionary. They describe them on their website as follows: "Different PP/POWs participated in progressive and revolutionary movements in varying levels. Some in educational and community organizing, others in clandestine armed and offensive people's armies. All are in prison as a result of conscious political action, for building resistance, building and leading movements and revolution... for making change."
Even at its early beginnings, the ABCF has been the target of government attention. In 1992, the Paterson Anarchist Collective, the precursor of the NJ ABCF chapter, had their bookstore shot up. Earlier in the day local police roughed up members of the group and threatened to shut the shop down. The next day members arrived at the shop only to discover the front door of the shop had been shot up (it is believed the local police department was responsible for the incident). On January 12, 1996, the Jacksonville chapter was raided by a 22-man swat team. Twelve days later all but one member of the organization were arrested. Since then several members have been investigated, harassed and detained by numerous government agencies, including the FBI.
In 2005, because of perceived threat of Tactical Defense Caucus (which advocates self-defense training for leftists and anarchists), the ABCF received additional government attention. In his testimony before the Senate Committee on Intelligence in February 2005, Robert Mueller, Director of the FBI, identified the ABCF as a potential threat to national security:
- "The potential for violence by anarchists and other emerging revolutionary groups, such as the Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABCF), will continue to be an issue for law enforcement. The stated goals of the ABCF are "the abolishment of prisons, the system of laws, and the Capitalist state." The ABCF believes in armed resistance to achieve a stateless and classless society. ABCF has continued to organize, recruit, and train anarchists in the tactical use of firearms."
- ABCF - What is the ABCF?
- ABCF - Who and What are Political Prisoners (PP) and Prisoners of War (POW)
- Congressional Testimony