Monterey Anarchist Black Cross

The Direct Action Monterey Network runs a prisoner letter writing group as part of the Anarchist Black Cross.

WHAT: Anarchist Black Cross Prisoner Support Letter Writing Group

WHERE: Old Capitol Books, 559 Tyler Street, Monterey, CA 93940

WHEN: Third Sunday of each month, 7pm

The next ABC letter writing sessions will be:
21 October, 5pm
18 November, 7pm
16 December, 7pm

To get involved: Just stop by during our letter writing!

Or, if you’d liked to write at home, find someone to write to on these lists and write a short letter of support.

Anarchist Black Cross Federation:

Anarchist Birthday Brigade:

International Anarchist Prisoners:

Black and Pink: Queer abolition pen-pal list:

Denver Anarchist Black Cross multiple lists:

New York Anarchist Black Cross:

Book Wish List:

Each month, we try to find a book on one of these prisoners’ wish lists and send it to them. If you have a book on this list, or can help purchase one, let us know!


The destruction of the Bastille in 1789 is commemorated annually on the 14th of July. A fortress on the walls of Paris, it had become a political prison of the Ancien Regime, holding figures such Voltaire and De Sade, held by a lettre de cachet, an extrajudicial license of imprisonment purchased or issued from the crown. Twelve days earlier, De Sade shouted from his cell there ‘they are killing the prisoners here!,’ beginning the foment. On the 13th the royal guard withdrew and the revolutionaries seized the opportunity. Fighting broke out after the guards opened fire, and seven prisoners were released (Sade had been taken to an asylum), while the governor was stabbed to death by the crowd. Accounts by the participants describe its devices of torture, cave-like cells, and general filth. Each year DAMN hosts a bonfire party to celebrate Bastille Day, and also the anniversary of the Monterey Anarchist Black Cross.

About the ABC: Since the beginning of the Twentieth Century, the Anarchist Black Cross (ABC), has been on the front line in supporting those imprisoned for struggling for freedom and liberty.

In the 80’s, the ABC began to grow and new ABC groups began to emerge in North America. In the United States, the ABC name had been kept alive by a number of completely autonomous groups scattered throughout the country and had grown to support a wide variety of prison issues.

The 1990’s and 2000’s brought several ABC formations in North America (ABCC, ABCN, ABCF). The relationship between these formations has always been considered strenuous. The Break the Chains conference in August 2003, along with side bar discussions between collectives, brought about a better working relationship between the ABCF and ABCN formations.

Monthly letter writing session at Old Capitol Books.
Monthly letter writing session at Old Capitol Books.

How does the ABCF (Anarchist Black Cross Federation) support Political Prisoners? Making sure PP/POWs (Political Prisoners & Prisoners of War) are a part of their own support is crucial and one of the greatest strengths of the Federation. We directly communicate with as many PP/POWs as we can. A large part of this communication is working together with them to find out what they need and how then we can practically provide this support.

The ABCF also works to build alliances with the communities and the movements the prisoners participated in prior to their incarceration. Through these alliances, we work toward increasing the awareness about various liberation movements and the political prisoners associated with the movements. It is through these coalitions that we continue to ensure that imprisoned comrades are not forgotten by their movements or our own.

We also produce information about PP/POWs, the struggles they came from, and the movements they represent. Booklets, fliers, video/audio tapes, T/sweat shirts and calendars are produced featuring these prisoners. This not only informs people about their existence and daily struggles behind bars (where the struggle continues), it heightens their visibility in our communities and funds from this merchandise are sent to them.

That’s another important responsibility of supporting PP/POWs. Raising material support is crucial. It is not uncommon to find that PP/POWs are left with no financial support to pay for phone calls or postage stamps to communicate with their families, friends and supporters; not enough money to pay for a news subscription or buy books; no funds to get proper footwear or summer/winter clothing. If we call these prisoners our comrades, we can not allow this to continue. And we don’t.

How will Monterey be involved? The Direct Action Monterey Network organizes a monthly letter writing session for political prisoners, with an emphasis on political prisoners in California’s jails and prisons. We are not a member of the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, but we use their principles and model of organizing as a general guide.

Contact the Direct Action Monterey Network: centralcoastdirectaction [at] Or visit us on facebook: