(TW: Rape, violence, homophobia.)
THIS IS WHAT THE FUCK IS UP.
Writing on the back of picture reads, “MAS [Men Against Sexism] member Ed Mead + Danny Atteberry (misidentified as “lovers” in CM [“Concrete Mama”, a nickname for the prison]) walk the tier of Big Red, the isolation unit at Walla Walla State Pen. 77 or 78
Ed Mead was arrested relatively early in the Brigade’s trajectory, so he spent much of his organizing time behind bars. In his close to twenty-year sentence, Mead led work strikes, filed petitions, and generally did his best to fan the flames of discontent wherever he went. This made him something of a scourge to prison administrators, who bounced him through state and federal penal systems, moving him along whenever his organizing efforts began to bear fruit.
One of his more notable efforts was Men Against Sexism (MAS), a group of “tough faggots” who forcibly stopped the buying and selling of prisoners by prisoners for the purpose of sexual exploitation [violent pimping of weaker prisoners by stronger ones] in Walla Walla. During the group’s zenith in 1978, MAS proved so effective that a feminine male prisoner could wear a dress around without threat of violence. MAS backed up their work with homemade grenades, single-shot rifles, and a willingness to die to stop prisoner-on-prisoner rape. ”Of all the political work that I’ve done,” says Mead, Men Against Sexism is what I’m most proud of. (The group effectively disbanded after a foiled escape attempt in 1978 involving Mead, several other prisoners and an array of homemade weapons.)
Yes, Mead and others actually had smuggled weapons into the prison, including a gun Mead was ready to use on at least one occasion. According to Burton-Rose, the two men you see below holding hands debated killing members of a prison gang who defied their ban on “owning”, selling, and raping other prisoners. Only under threat of death did the gang release an effeminate gay prisoner over whom they had claimed “ownership”.
Wow. These men have done phenomenal work. I am very sad that that group was disbanded. They are desperately needed. Hell, I would love to see advocacy groups like these around the US.