There are many struggles in today’s society, and many of us are overwhelmed and worn down by having to constantly stand up to fascism, homophobia, capitalism, the destruction of the environment, among other things. In this situation, it is easy to forget who your friends are, or more correctly; who is not your friend. Every once in a while, the state does something that may appear to help our cause, and for a tired mind, this may be favorably interpreted as being on our side. A current example of this is the recent sentencing of UK-based racist activist Tommy Robinson, who on July 11 was sentenced to 9 months in prison for “contempt of court”. This news was, understandably, met with lots of glee from antifascists worldwide, along with a predictable amount of Tommy-bashing memes.
However, no matter how much we (myself included) loathe Tommy Robinson and his ilk, we need to keep in mind that the state did not do us a favor, and is still not “on our side”. If our fight is truly for a society where the prison system does not have a place, we cannot cheer when the current system locks up our adversaries. This does not mean that we cannot take pleasure from our enemies’ bad fortune, but we must not forget the bigger picture. After all, people like Tommy Robinson is merely a symptom of a larger problem, and it is there our long-term focus must be.
As North London Anti-Fascists put it in a very well written Facebook post:
“We do not support the prison system and can not validate any incarceration however much we might enjoy the sense of justice.”
Prisons are still for burning. No one is free until all are free.