19th October 2012
From Leeds ABC:
“The only sure tactic when prisoners resist and fight back is solidarity.”
John Bowden in ‘Tear Down The Walls’
John Bowden has been in prison more than thirty years for the drunken
killing of someone who pulled a knife on him at a party. While John’s two
co-defendants were released more than twenty years ago, John remains in a
high security prison despite the Parole Board’s recommendations that he be
prepared for release. John has been at the forefront of the prison
struggle throughout most of his time inside, he quickly developed a
political consciousness and a deep understanding of the role of prison in
society, as well as a tactical understanding of the power relations
between the captured and their captors.
Also, throughout his time inside, John has been punished for his role as a
prison militant and organizer, and for exposing the barbarity and
inhumanity of prison through his writing. The system and the vengeful
screws that are its foot-soldiers have constantly tried to break John,
viciously brutalising him and subjecting him to the most inhumane
conditions. Even today, they are prepared to flagrantly ignore the
recommendations of the Parole Board that he be moved to open conditions
and prepared for release. John is constantly having to put up with
provocations and dirty tricks from his captors, while they do everything
they can to prolong his incarceration.
It has been clear for many years that John Bowden is not being held in
prison because of the killing he committed thirty years ago, but because
of the way he has developed as a human-being despite the worst excesses of
the prison system, because he continues to maintain his integrity and
humanity, because he has a political consciousness that sees prison for
the barbarity that it is, and because he remains unbroken. John Bowden is
an enemy of the System, and as long as he continues to hold his head high,
the vengeful evil bastards that hold him in their clutches; the spineless
dog-turd turn-keys and their sick pay-masters, will do everything they can
to see that he is never released.
For his part, John has sworn that if it is a choice between surrendering
that part of himself that has allowed him to resist throughout three
decades of incarceration, that has compelled him to challenge injustice in
spite of the personal cost to himself, he would sooner die in jail.
John Bowden is a comrade who deserves our fullest support, and it is time
to FIGHT to get him out. This is a call-out from Leeds ABC for an
International Day of Action in support of John Bowden on Friday October
19th. John has remained staunch all these years, he deserves to be shown
that he is not isolated and alone. Please organise solidarity actions for
Recent articles about John’s situation can be found
Some useful contacts:
Scottish Prison Service HQ, Communications Branch, Room 338, Calton House,
5 Redheughs Rigg, Edinburgh, EH12 9HW. (Telephone 01259 760 471 Fax 01259
762 003 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Whitehead (Governor), HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7
4LE. (Telephone 01501 824000 Fax 01501 824 001 ).
The Parole Board, Grenadier House, 99-105 Horsferry Road, SW1P 2MX.
Find a British Embassy/Consulate:
You can download John Bowden’s pamphlet ‘Tear Down The Walls!’ free of
Also check out a pamphlet recently produced by our comrades at Bristol ABC
to which John contributed
.Please send letters/cards of support to John at:
John Bowden, 6729, HMP Shotts, Cantrell Road, Shotts, Scotland, ML7 4LE.
You can also send e-mails to John (or any other prisoner) via:
A guide on writing to prisoners can be found here
‘Free John Bowden stickers’ – see
NO-ONE FORGOTTEN! NOTHING FORGIVEN!