This week is the first part of our interview with Mark Cook. Mark served 24 years in prison for his participation in a bank robbery and jail break associated with the George Jackson Brigade in Seattle. He co-founded the Walla Walla chapter of the Black Panther Party, and Mark continued his activism throughout his captivity.

In this segment, Mark talks about organizing in prison, and shares inspiring stories of struggle and ingenuity from behind the prison walls. His account also describes a time when prisoners were much stronger and enjoyed better conditions. If conditions have gotten worse since the 1970s, it’s not because the prison administrators have become more brutal or profit-hungry (these are constants), it’s because the prisoners’ movement was temporarily defeated. Mark reminds of us of what’s possible when prisoners organize and fight back strategically.