|- from Ft. Worth|
by Helen Woodson
The officials in D.C. have taken a new tack. In a "Notice of Action," they ordered that an evaluation be made to determine the "suitability" of my release at the eventual end of my sentence. What they're proposing is some form of permanent detention under either executive or court order. An attorney told me that the country is now being ruled by "King George" and that no one in the legislative or judicial branches is willing to stop him. It is even possible to have dissidents labeled "dangerous and insane" and confined in psychiatric hospitals as was done in the former Soviet Union.
The evaluation began on July 29. When the final report and recommendations have been written, I will be allowed to see them, and then they will be sent to Washington. I have been given no timetable on this.
During my now 18 1/2 years incarceration, I have never sought publicity, and in my occasional writings, I have tried to keep the focus on the issues. But at this point, I must get a little personal. When I left my beloved children, friends and home to do the Silo Pruning Hooks action with Frs. Carl and Paul Kabat and Larry Cloud Morgan, I knew I would never return. Many old friends have dropped out of contact, I have a daughter-in-law and grandchildren whom I've never met, and I have no assets besides my prison commissary account.
Serious resistance is serious business. It is not easy, and yet the rationale is as simple today as when I first went to jail in 1982. Jesus said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's." Thus the question for each of us: What does rightfully belong to Caesar? My answer then and now: Not the lives of my family and all families, not the lives of all other species, not the mountains, waters, and air, not the earth itself.
Because I act from a religious perspective, I see my resistance as a way of rendering the creation back to God from whom it came. People whose action is framed in secular political or moral terms will express it differently, but the meaning is clear. Nuclear weapons, war, the destruction of the natural world, and government and corporate greed must be resisted.
Whatever the outcome here, I will remain faithful to this witness, either with another action if I am released or as a permanent detainee if I am not. Obviously, though, my situation has implications for others. I am the first prisoner to be subjected to this particular process, but I will not be the last. In the permanent state of war as declared by the government, and especially if the U.S. invades Iraq, many serious opponents of official policy may become targets. Be forewarned, be serious, be conscientious, be joyful, and be alive!
[Helen Woodson is imprisoned at the federal administrative maximum security unit for women in Fort Worth, Texas. Last November, Woodson completed her sentence for 1993 direct actions against corporate polluters and the lust for money. Those actions were taken three days after her parole from an 18 year sentence for the 1984 Silo Pruning Hooks disarmament action at a nuclear missile silo in Missouri. She is completing the 1984 sentence now. The Notice of Action was issued instead of a probation revocation hearing.]