The inaugural issue of Penn Magazine
titles. It’s like having a professional secretary, really. They run a topnotch zine library, make it available online and for on-site study. Why I run a distro of zines is because such concentrated education is highly sought and necessary. I think it was George Orwell who said: “The most dangerous thing in the world is the fifty paged pamphlet.” Think about the impact “The Communist Manifesto” had or Thomas Paine’s “Common Sense. I can just focus on the arguments and not have to worry about whether someone will publish it or not for whatever reason, for I have become the publisher. Zines are quick to create and can affect a situation in a timely fashion and as well, some are timeless and people can learn a great deal from them whenever they read them. They are tangible, thus highly accessible and readily duplicated. They’re perfect! I pay for them by doing all the work myself, being very frugal and thrifty. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been frugal. I buy my clothes at the thrift store and have no expensive hobbies or buying interests other than printing and mailing costs. I work a full-time living wage-slave job as does my wife. We stay home a lot. We don’t even have cable T.V. I don’t own a cell phone, etc. We live in a small house (2 bedroom 1 bath) with our two teen-aged sons. I drove beaters all my life to keep costs down. I do side jobs (painting, etc.) and work overtime at work to help defray costs. What it has been able to accomplish 28/Penn Magazine/November 2017 is to begin to help thousands of people, mostly prisoners, learn how to think for themselves about a wide range of issues. It has been the reason I’ve been able to collaborate with many brilliant writers and artists, developed my writing and the recognition of my thinking by many people. It’s accomplished what I had intended it to – serious outreach, networking, etc. I believe we have just begun to push this snowball of ideas down the mountain and it will only gather speed and intensity as more people become enthused by this awesome medium. NAD: Please tell us more about yourself, the things you have done, what you would like to do, what you did today. In other words, what is your current passion? What did you absolutely have to get done by noon today? How about Christmas 2010? Anthony: Well, I’m “Joe Normal” I keep trying to tell people. I see a tremendous amount of problems in society so naturally I’m trying to do something about them as a concerned parent would do concerning problems with his or her children. I try to live responsibly in accordance with the consciousness I possess. As I have made a lifetime to develop said consciousness, I happen to be “fluent” in many areas. I’ve focused on developing my ability to write (“argument crafting” I call it.) So, that’s what I love to do. Unfortunately for me, because I am still working so heavily to pay for all this, I don’t get anywhere near the opportunities to just, plain write like I would like to. Much of my time is spent editing the work of others. So, I’m becoming a very good editor, too. Also, a ton of time is spent printing, collating, stapling, mailing and reading and writing letters. Plus, I do local and regional organizing for various groups & causes. And, of course, my wife and I have our hands full with our family life. What I have “done” is really not all that remarkable to others, although it is spectacular to those who understand what I am trying to do, if that makes any sense. I just lived my life very aware of what is happening and responding to it and making my observations available in intensely written ways. I was a valedictorian at a junior college. I co-founded several grassroots groups and helped organize many actions, seminars, conferences, etc. I’m a legitimately recognized “activist” in the Chicagoland area, and well known among anarchist circles throughout the world. I’ve helped a lot of individuals and groups develop study circles and distros of their own. I help light the desire to think and do in many people, which is a very gratifying feeling. I happen to agree with George Orwell that the “fifty paged pamphlet” is “the most dangerous thing in the world” – to the authorities of a sick system! To regular people it can be a treasure trove of revelatory insights that can begin the process of self-actualization. So, that’s what I try to do.
“We need to learn how to think for ourselves and stand up to these bastards Yes, I know, it’s dorky, but I happen to believe in humanism, love, truth, freedom, equality, genuine justice and a future for our children. So, I encourage people to seek the real truth and react accordingly. Trust your natural humanist instincts, just as a parent relies on their innate desire to care for their children. We don’t need evil bullies like Cheney to tell us how to think or what to do or who we should demonize. We need to learn how to think for ourselves and become men and women and stand up to these bastards, once and for all – time! “If my enemies, your enemies prove stronger [than us] at least I want them to know that they made one rightious African man extremely angry.” — George Jackson [From the Anthony Rayson collection at Depaul University Special Collections and Archives.] Courtesy of: Anthony Rayson (collection at DePaul University Special Collections and Archives). Believing that prisons served as the nexus of political struggle wherein black Americans lived “in the legacy that was slavery,” self-described anarchist and prison abolitionist Anthony Rayson aimed to reveal the greater truths of this flawed system through Thought Bombs, first published in 1997. Early editions featured artwork from Rayson’s ten-year old son. Image from Anthony Rayson Zine Collection. Front cover of Thought Bombs Issue #1. (Quote from Thought Bombs #4, self-published zine. Rayson, Anthony. Thought Bombs, no. 4 (). Anthony Rayson Zine Collection, box 2, folder titled “Zines by Title: Thought Bombs #3 and #4; 1997. DePaul University Special Collections and Archives.) Courtesy of: Anthony Rayson (collection at DePaul University Special Collections and Archives). Rayson worked to get his zine into the hands of incarcerated people, and he often received and published correspondence with them. For example, Rayson published a letter from Glenn Wright, who was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois: “Don’t give up on us in here, we are depending on the help of those who can see the devastating effects of the prison system, not only on those in it, but to our families, to our children, to our friends, and to society as a whole.” Image from Anthony Rayson Zine Collection. Front cover of Thought Bombs Issue #6. (Quote in letter from Glenn Wright, published in Thought Bombs #13.5, self-published zine. Rayson, Anthony. Thought Bombs, no. 13.5 (). Anthony Rayson Zine Collection) November 2017/Penn Magazine/29