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Thursday, February 14, 2002 

Against Prisons: An Open Letter to Larry Eaton

Due to the unorthodox nature of your recent contestation of the infestation of your Wilsonville neighborhood by the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility we applaud both your humor and your strategical defiance. This gulag, imposed on your neighborhood as well as those trapped inside, should be a scandal, and your response, the planting of five school buses like monstrous straws of steel wheat, is as much a detournment of the institution’s slave ships as it is an expression of poetic rage!

As we sympathize with your emotional response we also empathize with those who, largely due to reasons of race and class, are being caged by the state in ever-increasing numbers. What a depressing and absurd state of affairs it is that one person’s imprisonment is another’s profit. This is surely symptomatic of mass neurosis, suffered by a culture with its priorities completely confused, with its nucleus beyond repair, while millions are sedated and controlled by antidepressants. To oversimplify, it’s time we stopped looking at the decline of family values, and started recognizing the fall of human values.

Only a small number of people within this population are actually dangerous, and we can surely find a better way to deal with them than the current brand of paranoid imprisonment. We could start with a widespread revolt against the controlling institutions, followed by the founding of a new culture based on freedom, love, and imagination. Standing over the ruins of this modern capitalist dystopia, everyone would have the ability to build their desired home and habitat. Even someone such as yourself, financially able to bring your dreams into reality now, is not protected from the results of a money-dominated corporate culture. Everyone has the right to resist, but the only way to prevent further abuses is to remove the imposing forces of power, be it the mob, the gang, or the government.

We want life to be a pleasure for all, within the framework of cooperation, mutual respect, and creativity. Whether or not you agree with our ambitions the creative impulse of your protest is a step in that direction.

The Portland Surrealist Group

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