At the end of October we published information about a prisoner Petr Mikolas, who was starting a protest hunger strike in solidarity with the striking prisoners in the US. Petr spent some time in the same cell with our imprisoned comrade Lukas Borl and they got along well together. Despite having little time or information, we decided to support Petr in his fight because we saw them as a struggling prisoner against one of the most clear institutions of oppression and we had a letter of support from Lukas. However, new information has come to light and we have decided to not support Petr Mikolas as an individual anymore. This statement aims to explain our decision.
On November 1st , Petr Mikolas was sentenced by the County Court in Usti nad Labem for 6 years for sexual abuse of five boys between 7 and 13 years old and rape of one of them.
We want to explain our decision from our prison abolitionist perspective. When talking about prison abolition, we do not have any belief in the criminal justice system, and we do not usually stress the judgement or decision by the State. Court proceedings are often
manipulated, have much authority over people facing them and the whole system of police, laws and punishment creates problems instead of solving them. We can’t simply ignore this fact in Petr’s case. We found an importance to talk about this particular case and the complexity involved.
We DO NOT want to enter the field of innocent vs guilty and we are not the one to judge Petr. We still only know very little. But also WE DO NOT want to doubt the children claiming that Petr abused and raped them. Yes, the whole prison society and especially prison is fucking oppressive and prisoners are the lowest class that is totally forgotten,
but class is not the only structure of oppression. We have to understand our action as a part of a struggle for total liberation. That means we must fight against patriarchy as stubbornly as against state oppression. And people who experienced sexual violence are very often silenced by non-supportive environments and find themselves very lonely and traumatized.
Whether Petr did sexually violate the childern or not we DO NOT think he shall be in prison. As no one should. We all know that prisons can’t solve harmful patterns of behaviour and we have to find different ways of how to responsibly and effectively fight against rape culture. To support one particular man is different from supporting broader struggle like, for example, the striking prisoners in the US. We are worried that by supporting Petr as individual we can just be used as a tool to serve his own interests, especially givin the fact that he started the hunger strike a day before his court and hadn’t even said a word about the coming trial to Lukas.
We definitely want to support incarcerated rebels who fight against oppression and make their voices louder. But we are not a charity who must support everyone who has the same enemies as we do. It is not about an exclusion nor drawing a dividing line between so-called political and social prisoners (that’s the reason why we supported Petr in the
beginning). But we must be the one who makes the choice who to support and ally with. We have limited energy and time and we can not afford to spend it on cases where don’t know what we are fighting for.
Living in the world where many people are dealing with the trauma of rape, abuse and molestation and facing everyday sexism, we feel it would be wiser to put this energy in conflict resolution and the prevention of sexist behavior. This work is also a important for potential violators, which directly answers the question what to do with such people in the society without prisons. This is essential work to empower ourselves and to distribute power more equally.
FUCK PATRIARCHY. DOWN WITH PRISONS.
Here are two links with some more resources and questions to the topic of prison free world and sexual violence.