The Anti-Prison Writings of Fernando Bárcenas


By: Luis de la Peña Martínez

Like Ricardo Flores Magón and José Revueltas did in their time, Fernando Bárcenas writes from inside prison. His writings are anti-prison, written from Reclusorio Norte of Mexico City (“El Reno”).

Fernando Bárcenas is a special prisoner, or better put, is not a prisoner because he is a young anarchist. As such, he is free even though he is in prison.

He writes to denounce the pressure, repression and oppression that is lived in the prison, but also to remind us that many prisoners live outside the prison.

We are all prisoners. We thus must learn to free ourselves of that which limits and impedes us from being true, not normalized and conformed, human beings.

Perhaps it’s not about being martyrs or victims (a subspecies of non-being) but of struggling against the obstacles imposed on us (or that we impose on ourselves) to be happy and just on this planet.

He writes by hand and draws his perspectives of the world in prison, as a metaphor of this world outside the prison.

He was detained in December of 2013 when he was 18, in a protest against the rise in the price of metro tickets. He was accused of having burned a gigantic Christmas tree of a soda company. For that he was sentenced to more than five years in prison. Thus, the crime which has been attributed to him is having attacked the sacred symbols of this system.

He has suffered aggravations, abuse and aggressions on part of the authorities and other prisoners for his labor of denunciation and for writing and editing a journal called “El Canero”.

Fernando Bárcenas was a student of CCH at the moment of his detention (just like Mario González, another young anarchist who has already been released). Along with Luis Fernando Sotelo, a student of the high school 6 who remains in the Reclusorio Sur, they have been accused of having altered the “social order”—Luis Fernando Sotelo in a protest action for the 43 disappeared of the Normal Teacher’s School of Ayotzinapa. They are an example of how the state is enraged with the youth that protest their discomfort with a society that prefers to incarcerate them (or disappear them) than solve the demands that caused their protests in the first place.

Translated from the original here: