Hilfe & Kontakt

Anarchist Runs Write-in Campaign from Prison Cell

Von: Dan Clore (clore@columbia-center.org) [Profil]
Datum: 07.06.2010 04:26
Message-ID: <4C0C58EE.9020901@columbia-center.org>
Newsgroup: soc.rights.human alt.politics.socialism alt.politics.radical-left alt.activism alt.society.anarchy alt.anarchism alt.fan.noam-chomsky alt.politics.libertariantalk.politics.libertarian
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

Oddball of the Week: Sean Swain
by Damon Eris
June 5, 2010

Sean Swain is probably the most extreme left-wing candidate for public
office you've never heard of.  And no, he's not a Democrat.  In fact, he
might have more in common with opponents of big government, insofar as
he advocates the destruction of all government, that is.  Swain is
running for governor of Ohio from his prison cell in Toledo as an
anarchist write-in candidate under the banner of the Zapatista Party.

This is not Swain's first campaign for elected office either.  In 2006,
the convicted murderer publicized his gubernatorial candidacy in a
number of letters to local media.  Over the course of the campaign
season and the following months, the Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics
Extra blog relayed at least three of the inmate's letters: one announced
his campaign ("I have no major party backing me; I will be excluded from
the televised debates; by statute, you will not find my name on the
ballot, and I am relegated to a write-in campaign. I am operating on a
$17 per month budget from my prison cell"); another reported his intent
to obtain the endorsements of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez; and a third
letter, sent in the summer following the election, Swain declared
himself "governor-in-exile" and stated that he had not yet conceded the
race to Democrat Ted Strickland ("I have not conceded the election. In
fact, I was sworn in as governor in a ceremony here in Toledo on the
same day Ted Strickland moved all of his crap into my office").  In
2009, Swain was interviewed by Eli Braun of Waging Nonviolence for an
article at Street Vibes detailing the horrors of solitary confinement.
From the article at Street Vibes:

"Since 1991, Swain, now 49, has been sent to solitary confinement “seven
or eight times,” including a 144-day stint from May to October 2003.
Most recently, he violated rules by “encourage(ing) prisoners to partake
in a 30-day work stoppage,” according to the official conduct report."

This year, Swain's candidacy is listed alongside those of incumbent
Democrat Ted Strickland, Republican John Kasich, Green Dennis Spisak and
Libertarian Ken Matesz at D.C.'s Political Report, the Green Pages and
Politics1.  Swain appears to have been maintaining a campaign site until
at least a few weeks ago, when the page went down.  But sections of it
can still be accessed via Google's web cache.  In the "Affidavit of Sean
Swain" he explains the circumstances of his arrest and the injustice of
his convictions for murder and aggravated murder in the early 1990's,
for acts which he claims were in self-defense.

On the site's main page, Swain outlines his political plaftorm under the
headline: "Treason We Can Believe In."  Here are a few choice excerpts:

•  "I’m not talking about rocking the boat—I’m talking about sinking the

•  "Democracy isn’t shit, I know. You choose your own slavemaster. Not
cool. But just imagine if you could turn your ballot into a bullet and
blow the government’s brains out, once and for all."

•  "I’m running for Governor of Ohio from prison in 2010 as a Zapatista
Party candidate. I don’t want to be Ohio’s NEXT governor; I want to be
Ohio’s LAST governor. "

Among other things, Swain calls for the pardon and release of all
prisoners, the recall of the national guard from "the Oil Wars," and
abolishing all government and state agencies to create an "Autonomous
Zone."  He concludes: "THE BAD NEWS: It will be the end of civilization
as we know it.  THE GOOD NEWS: It was never worth a shit anyway."

Given the many problems that plague the American prison and the criminal
justice system, it is unfortunate, though perhaps symptomatic, that an
individual like Swain has been driven to the advocacy of madness rather
than that of prison reform.  As is widely known, but rarely addressed,
"With more than 2.3 million people behind bars, the United States leads
the world in both the number and percentage of residents it
incarcerates, leaving far-more-populous China a distant second," as the
Washington Post reported in 2008.  Human Rights Watch adds: "Even more
troubling than the absolute number of persons in jail or prison is the
extent to which those men and women are African-American. Although
blacks account for only 12 percent of the U.S. population, 44 percent of
all prisoners in the United States are black."

Due to the inflexibility of sentencing guidelines and the country's
extremely high rates of incarceration for even the pettiest offenses,
among other things, many American prisons are also dangerously
overcrowded.  It is not difficult to comprehend that crowded prisons
make for insecure and violent prisons.  Numerous studies have found that
well over 100,000 incarcerated men, women and children have been the
victims of rape at the hands of other inmates as well as corrections
officers.  Characteristically, under the influence of the prison
industry lobby, including both public and private sector organizations,
our political leadership are more likely to respond with calls for more
prisons rather than reasonable reforms.

If we allow for the breakdown of civilization behind bars, it should be
no surprise that those behind bars will call for the end of civilization
on this side of them.

Dan Clore

New book: _Weird Words: A Lovecraftian Lexicon_:
My collected fiction: _The Unspeakable and Others_
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

Skipper: Professor, will you tell these people who is
in charge on this island?
Professor: Why, no one.
Skipper: No one?
Thurston Howell III: No one? Good heavens, this is anarchy!
-- _Gilligan's Island_, episode #6, "President Gilligan"

[ Auf dieses Posting antworten ]