Starting a Prison Riot: Hambi Prison Story from Texas

Before dropping out completely out of capitalist work and profit driven world and fully realizing how corrupt and full of lies it was I would engage in temporary work during my travels. It was at a gig like that helping at upholstery shop in a small west Texas town located right on the border with Mexico, that I discovered how fucked small town “justice” can be. The shop was a car-lot full of dead and old cars, some with bullet hole riddled windows with a small shack in a middle, for two weeks I lived and worked in that shack and had access to one of the old cars to get around. And as I drove in that old clunker to get a shower, pick up my wages for one a half weeks from my employer in the middle of town I was cut off by a police car the cop ran out of his car with a gun in his hand which he pointed in my face and arrested me for stealing the car I was driving.
No problem, I thought, the guy I was working for will show up and straighten it out. So he shows up tells the cops to keep me, never returns any of my private shit and keeps my wages. I still thought this was some psycho freak out accident till something familiar this time after working for someone for two weeks happen to me in Arizona and talking to other backpackers, hobos and tramps it became apparent that in the south, especially close to the border there is numerous individuals who intentionally exploit and work people, especially immigrants and then threaten to call or do call cops on them not to have to pay them, and then turn around and do this to someone else who comes along. Those small towns are very distrustful towards outsiders and cops always sight with the locals. A bit like the fear used in propaganda against Hambis and others that frames a fear based narrative in which the protesters are portrayed as outside agitators and cops always sight with Fossil Fools like RWE, regardless of the fucked up shit they engage in. What I happen to experience in that case was only a tip of an iceberg of exploiting those that have no legal recourse as in many worse case scenarios immigrants and outsiders can be sexually and physically victimized and often imprisoned and trafficked with locals maintaining a wovel of silence.
So there I was in jail for at least a month with no charges and no case against me. This got me really depressed so I decided to talk to a prison therapist as it was a chance to get out of a cell once a week and talk to someone who was not a cop. This was after 9/11 Terrorist attack and the whole legal system was modified by the draconian and martial-law-like Patriot Act which among many of its provisions extended a time during which one can be detained for psychological observation in jail from aready harsh one month to six months. Requirements for this detention being a mere contact or request of contact with in-prison psychologist or taking anti-depressants. So after one of these visits I was informed that I would be detained for 5 months without trial now, what dickheads and psycho-butchers I remember thinking and what a fuck up to even bother with them.
After trying an 18 day hunger strike, and yelling and screaming at immigration and border patrol agents dropping off “illegal” aliens at the jail every day I felt I was banging my head against a wall. Then one day I simply grew tired of following the daily routine and instead of putting a big mop bucket on wheels with a heavy mop inside by the door when I was done I decided to hide it in the shower alcove to see if it being missing would be noticed. There were about 3 to 4 of those heavy wheeled buckets on the floor of the jail and about 3 more broken ones where they were stored, so there was a great chance that it would not be noticed. The door opened: the volunteer prison workers, “the trustees” looked in and seeing nothing to pick up closed the door back again.
I felt a certain thrill I was breaking out of the routine and had something in my possession that I was not supposed to have. Things started moving fast. Newspapers were cut into long rectangular strips and coated with Vaseline and then placed sealing the bottom crack under the door, then two more strips like that sealing the crack on both sides of the door going up to about waist hight. Then two circles were cut out of paper and also coated with Vaseline, one for a drain in the shower, and one for the drain in the sink, followed by a shirt made into a ball and stuck into the toiled. Now I needed to maintain the element of surprise and not let them on about what was going on inside for awhile. In the metal door leading into my solitary cell there was a narrow thick Plexiglas window which got quickly covered with tooth paste. Then the sink and the shower were turned on and I started flashing the toilet non-stop. Flash wait 5 seconds and the toiled overflowed and flash again. All my efforts would off course go to waste if at any point at the beginning the door was opened so there I went into a screaming rage banging the heavy now broken mop stick into the heavy metal door. The sound was deafening and it was not long till a small slot for food opened and they actually stuck a hand in waving a CS tear gas grenade waving it around and telling me that if I do not be quiet they will throw that in. Bang! the broom stick hit the door with a loud bang and the chow slot closed quickly. Now I was expecting an intervention, I kept on flooding the cell as the water level rose nicely and continued to hold. I started to barricede in the shower alcove with whatever I had, took all of my clothes off and smeared the remaining Vaseline all over my body, raped an elastic wet bandage around my glasses covering my mouth, nose and fase getting ready for pepper spray or tear gas. Like an angry bird I started shredding newspapers, crappy books and and all the trash and food I had and throwing it into rising water so it was not just water but a muck full of stuff. Then as continued to flash the toilet and the water continue to rise to about 30-40 centimeters for over two hours nothing happened. The standard method of suppressing problems in a jail is for the jailers to put on riot gear grab on Plexiglas shields and at least four, five of them rush in and crush the problem inmate with the shield into the corner of his or her cell and then have them handcuffed and tied up and carried to the “hole”: the bare punishment and observation cell. What I did not know is that with this being a small jail with only 2-3 prison guards on duty they could not take this course of action so the wait was caused by them waiting for city cops to show up. The town was also small with a relatively small cop force and a territory that stretched for over 140 kilometers, hence the 2 hour wail. When the door finally opened outside out went a little tsunami first hitting a circle of 4-5 city cops with their bottles of pepper spray out and spraying as they readjusted their footing in ancle high water floating out into the jail corridor. They did not have riot gear and were not too interested in going in and I thought I could hold out peering out at them from behind a partition enclosing the shower. I was wrong: not even 2 minutes of them spraying out of several bottles of mace into the cell, I was not feeling any of it but all of the sudden I inhaled and my lungs became paralyzed and could not exhale it was a weird feeling of suffocation and paralysis at the same time. I ran out of the door with the waiting cops immediately jumping on top of me and planting their knees on my back, with all of us sliding and slipping around. “Water World!” I kept yelling to give the event even at this point a celebratory flair of a happening. With my hands aready handcuffed behind my back my legs were pulled back and connected through hand cuffs with a pair of longer leg shackes, just like handcuffs but with a longer chain to make walking and running difficult. In law enforcement connecting ankle and handcuffs behind ones back with the body curved back is called hog-tying. If the backward arch of the body was not enough they grabbed me by the interconnected chains and carried me to the hole. When I was dropped down one of them started looking at me closely and inquisitevely as if trying to figure out what this was about: “Can I please have a bill for damages?” I said, with the cop breaking out in laughter saying something to the effect of “You fucker!” I was still naked now even more so with my glasses and bandage around the head gone. I proceeded to tell the cop about naturism, the hot desert springs in the area and that he should try it, no answer he left and closed the door. Laying hog tied get old real quick with handcuffs digging into both ankles and wrist and the back arched uncomfortably backwards, sleep is impossible. Impossible unless one lays with face and chest on the floor and the knees and feet propped against the wall to remove the pressure from the cuffs and preventing the body from fighting and injuring itself. I woke up in that position with a face mashed into concrete with half of my weight propped against the wall as in some weir yoga position to the sound of a bowl of food being slid right next to my face, it was porridge, oatmeal in us, liquidly enough where I could tip the bowl with my lips and slurp and suck in the content. The oatmeal hit me with an incredible sugar blast, the trustees put at least a quarter of a cup of sugar into it, that blast of quick energy was the only expression of solidarity they could engage in and still keep their privileged position in the jail hierarchy. I remained hog tied through out the morning with the prison guards beginning to come around and asking me if I am going to behave. Finally the cuffs and ankle cuffs were taken off with my body still feeling weir and contorted and weir for awhile. Outside of the cell after awhile the trustees were setting up a chair and haircutting equipment, the door opened and I was invited for a hair cut, a strange way of rejoining the normalcy of a prison life. After sitting down with the Mexican trustees begining to give me a hair cut I could not resist asking, with a single prison guard at their side “Can you imagine what it would be like if everybody did this at the same time?” “Yeah” they answered “it would be a prison riot.”

Things never really went back to normal, the jailers dug out of storage some of their riot gear and would show up playfully and jokingly wearing what looked like a 60’s military round helmet with a thick mylar visor as they served food with the trustees sometime they would show up with their Plexiglas shield banging on it with a large serving spoon. For next couple months I also could not take a dump or be constipated and flush the toiled more than 2 and especially more than 3 times in the row without the prison guards opening a door leading to a tight passage full of pipes behind the jail cell walls running in there and shutting down water to my cell. They have also discover that there was a small hole next to the sink through which they could watch me and see what I was up to. It felt like being watched by trolls leaving in a pipe infested labyrinth trying to control it from behind the scenes turning knobs on and off…

Small town West Texas jail in which this took place had something in common with the jails in North Rhine Westphalia. It is a very high percentage of immigrants. In NRW it is the case because if you are not an activist or an anarchist or a refugee and you are accused of comitting a small or medium infraction, in most cases you are registered at a permanent address and are released to remain at that address till your trial. Most refugees are homeless and do not have that address. Hambach Forest activists are detained regardless of whether they have a permanent address, to make a point how bias the system is and to take them out of action and to fuck with them.

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