Exile Nation: Drugs, Prisons, Politics, and Spirituality
May 13, 2011 2:57 PM   Subscribe

"I realized that I was one of those extremely rare individuals who was a former POW of the drug war, and who got out and had the opportunity to share his story with the world." "It kind of makes an activist out of you when 3 helicopters land in your backyard and guys jump out with guns and destroy your place before your very eyes." Exile Nation is a documentary [complete film] [trailer] and an ongoing memoir, a work of “spiritual journalism”, and eventually "a documentary archive of interviews and testimonies […] revealing the far-ranging consequences of the War on Drugs to the American Criminal Justice System."

"The project will unfold over a two year period, beginning with the online release of this first feature-length documentary and then continuing on throughout 2011 and 2012 with a nationwide series of screenings, and the online release of short films and complete interviews from each of the 100 participants in the project, meant to represent the 1 in 100 Americans that are currently sitting behind bars."

It's being headed by Charles Shaw, who is also releasing a book of the same name one chapter at a time..."It is a memoir of his life as a writer, addict, activist, prisoner, and spiritual seeker, a mosaic of his descent into shadow, his personal reckoning, and the long slow crawl back out to reclaim his life, heal the past, and start over."

You could start with How This Book Came to Be and Why You Are Reading It Online: "I realized that I could spend years fruitlessly trying to get a neutered version of this book published through the standard model, in an industry that was in its twilight, until the book itself was no longer relevant. Or I could get ahead of the trends, be part of vanguard publishing model, and put it on the internet for everyone to see."

However, the story really begins at 4:30am on tier 1A of Division 5 at the Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois
posted by nTeleKy (10 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Mod note: nixed the kickstarter link - posts are fine, "donate to this project" is not. carry on.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:54 PM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend these: the first-person accounts of incarceration and system-level analyses by charles shaw are great, even if you can't buy the associated psychedelic road-to-damascus conversion.
posted by lalochezia at 4:01 PM on May 13, 2011

My apologies, I didn't realize that links to projects on kickstarter and were banned.
posted by nTeleKy at 4:45 PM on May 13, 2011

"We should reserve our prison space for people we're afraid of, not people we're mad at." James P. Gray (Ret), Former Superior Court Judge.

Well said.
posted by nickyskye at 4:49 PM on May 13, 2011 [5 favorites]

My apologies, I didn't realize that links to projects on kickstarter and were banned.

Of all the posts that are tagged kickstarter, only one of them is to an in-process fundraiser that is not Mefite-related and it's from 18 months ago. Two others were in-process MeFite-related. The others are either completed projects or Kickstarter-like projects. The last Kickstarter post on the blue turned into a MeTa thread a few months ago. While we do evaluate things on a case-by-case basic, generally speaking links to in-process Kickstarter projects aren't okay. This post was a good post otherwise, so we opted to remove the link instead of deleting the post. Feel free to put the Kickstarter link in your profile or send the people doing it a link to sign up for MetaFilter and then they can be included on the MeFi Projects page on Kickstarter.
posted by jessamyn at 5:19 PM on May 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Thank you for the clarification, jessamyn.
posted by nTeleKy at 6:42 PM on May 13, 2011

The documentary is lengthy, but having watched it just now, I strongly feel it is one of the most relevant and most important documentary on how drug policies are destroying the US today.

It's also lead me to some inspirational figures like Sanho Tree at the Institute for Policy Studies, whose talk at Howard University is one of the more concrete presentations about solving the US' drug policy problem.

Julie Holland M.D. is another inspirational figure in the documentary who is one of the main advocates for the use of MDMA in psychiatry. She served as the editor for what seems to be the quintessential book on MDMA, as well as a similarly structured book on Cannabis which she talks about in depth here. She also is a nine-year veteran of Bellevue Hospital in New York, so she has considerable experience and exposure in the real world which she talks about here.
posted by lemuring at 1:11 AM on May 14, 2011

High : one nation under the influence.
posted by hortense at 9:52 AM on May 14, 2011

You mods should make it easier on yourselves and just have clear cut guidelines...and none of this "well in this case it was ok". You are gonna die an early death from all the "but what about..." you get from mefites.

Actually I think they call that "job security." ;-)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:14 AM on May 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sanho Tree is indeed great, and worth paying attention to, as is Julie Holland. There are a lot of really excellent people in this documentary.
posted by gingerbeer at 5:01 PM on May 14, 2011

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