New Members

ABC Policy and Recruitment Package

Welcome to the Anarchist Black Cross package for new members.
In this notepack you will find:
An overview of what ABC is.
Roles and responsibilities of ABC members.
The Melbourne ABC policy.

Introduction to ABC

ABC has sought to bring attention to the plight of all prisoners, with an emphasis on anarchists and class war prisoners. We raise funds on behalf of prisoners or defence committees in need of funds or legal cases or otherwise, and organise demonstrations in solidarity with imprisoned anarchists and other prisoners. We believe that prisons serve no useful function (except for the benefit of the ruling class) and should be abolished along with the state. We differ from liberal prison reformists and groups like Amnesty International in two main ways: Firstly we believe in abolition of both the prison system and the society which creates it and we initiate all our actions with that in mind. Secondly we believe in direct resistance to achieve a stateless and classless society. We share a commitment to revolutionary anarchism as opposed to Liberalism and individualism or legalism.

Who Does ABC Melbourne support?
We support political prisoners and prisoners of war under the guidelines of the Geneva Convention.
We support environmental and animal rights activists on a case by case basis. We support Indigenous people who are imprisoned for the protection of sacred sites, the rights of their land, culture and achieving justice for their own people.
The rights and protection of asylum seekers in Australia and neighbouring countries. We also support prisoners who are politicised behind bars on a case to case basis. Thorough research is conducted about each prisoner or arrestee before agreeing to offer support.

Who Does ABC Melbourne not support?
ABC Melbourne does not support sex offenders or racial and supremist prisoners.

Guiding Principles And Traditions
Because ABC Melbourne wishes to provide continuing support to prisoners from a stable and ongoing collective, it is expected that members will be aware of the need to practice security culture. It is imperative that ABC members try to stay unarrested. As direct members of ABCM we shall not use illegal substances or participate in illegal activities. This is because political prisoners heavily rely upon the existence of this organisation. If members of ABC choose to take illegal substances or participate in illegal activity, they will step away from the collective and become supporters of ABC Melbourne.

Traditions And Principles, Roles and Responsibilities of ABC Members
1 Unity is crucial to ABC Melbourne. We believe that people need to work together regardless of race, religion or political orientation. Unity reduces inconsistencies that can undermine each other’s efforts. Tactical unity reduces inconsistencies and internal conflicts in the organisation. Persistence of work has more to do with accountability. People will be held accountable for not performing the work that they have agreed upon. When new members join, a buddy system will be created so that the person has an opportunity to do orientation around ABC work and policies, and get a chance to be exposed to the prisoners we work with. Other roles and responsibilities can be as follows:
Court support for arrestees
Advocacy for prisoners.
Working on the ABC Bulletin.
Organising benefits and fundraisers.
Media work and more.

2 Ensure a safe environment free of all forms of discrimination and abuse.
Behaviours such as bullying others, and physical violence will not be tolerated.

3 Provide input to decisions and activities.

4 Maintain confidentiality of personal details of collective members such as phone numbers and addresses, unless otherwise stated. Confidentiality must also be maintained when discussing prisoners, material within meetings and other issues, unless otherwise stated.

5 Respect the dignity and confidentiality of Prisoners.
Instances include: Asking permission where necessary, ie before putting the writings of Prisoners in a newsletter or bulletin, it is important to consult with him or her.

6 To have an environment free of racism and dominancy. A definition follows. Racialism: A belief in the superiority of a particular race.
Nazis, racial or supremist literature nazi literature and or nazi Prisoners will not be supported by ABC.
Sexism An environment free of sexism and discrimination against women. A definition follows.
sexism: Discriminating in favour of members of one sex. ie Assuming that a person’s abilities and social function are pre-determined by his or her sex.

7 Wheelchair access, providing information in alternative formats such as Braille, audio tape and disk are extremely important issues, promoting diversity and preventing exclusion of people with disabilities. Further, a person’s abilities and social function need not be pre-determined by his or her disability.

8 Publications in community languages will be provided upon request.

9 Respect and promote Aboriginal issues in ABC, educating the community about genocide.

10 The inclusion of Refugees, asylum seekers and Prisoners of war in ABC bulletins, policies and underlying work.

11 Consultation and communication between collective members is important.

12 New ABC members are welcome. These can be recruited through prison conferences, rallies and other mediums. Individuals and groups who support police brutality and other abuse of human rights are not welcome in ABC. New ABC members can also be recommended by an existing collective member.

13 ABC does not support sex offenders.

14 For ABC to act as a watchdog in regards to the new anti terrorist laws, and how these laws may impact on minority groups such as Muslims, refugees and asylum seekers, and Aboriginal people.

ABC is managed on a collective basis through regular collective meetings where decisions are made on a consensus basis (that is we try to see if we can reach a decision we can all agree on).
If unable to reach consensus then a special collective meeting is held where all members can attend and be involved in discussions.
If an agreement is not reached or if there continues to be ongoing disputes about particular issues then any collective member can ask for mediation by a mutually approved person or organisation.

Dispute Resolution

If there is a dispute affecting ABC, then the following steps should be taken to resolve the dispute:
1. that the parties directly involved try to speak to each other and resolve the conflict
2. those affected indirectly by the conflict are informed and they attempt to resolve the dispute
3. voluntary mediation is arranged
4. if the conflict continues then a decision will be made by the collective to warn, suspend or expel parties according to the above decision making process. Personal differences need to be put aside for the good of the collective.
Finally, a harmony keeper is decided upon by the collective. The harmony keeper must be an existing member of ABC. The Role of the Harmony Keeper is simple. He or she ensures that these guiding traditions and Principles are maintained within ABC. This promotes a healthy group dynamics. Rostering of the Harmony Keeper can occur on a 2 monthly basis.
New Members need to read this package prior to joining ABC, and after 3 meetings it is anticipated that new members will need to make a decision as to whether or not they wish to make a commitment to ABC Melbourne. This ensures that prisoners have consistency in terms of us being accountable to them and the work that is done.

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