FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT :
THE REPRESSION OF MELVIN (Bennu Hannibal Ra(y)-Sun) RAY & R.EARL(Kinetik Justice) COUNCIL
CRIME: Teaching the Truth and Demanding to be treated as Human Beings
PUNISHMENT: Life in Solitary Confinement
From the stealing of this land and founding the United States of America, the ruling class has suppressed all voices of dissension and violently repressed any form of resistance, by those deemed the”other”(Africans, Hispanic and poor Whites). History is replete with many instances that substantiate such an assertion, but a clear example of their oppressive tactics is COINTELPRO during the height of the CIVIL RIGHTS AND BLACK POWER MOVEMENTS. Think of STOKLEY, HUEY, GEORGE, H.RAP, K’OMBOA, MAFUNDI, BRO GAMBLE and the entire I.F.A. Many of these Brothas stories are well known, but few know the struggle of Mr. Mafundi, Bro. Gamble, Johnny Harris, George Dobbins, Frank Moore and the INMATES FOR ACTION(I.F.A.) inside the Alabama prison system.
This story begins with the founding of the Alabama State Prison System and it all came to a head on January 18, 1974, at ATMORE STATE PRISON. (Google Oscar Lee Johnson v. State of Alabama, 335 So. 2d 663)As a result, the Alabama Prison System became the 1st in history to be taken over by the Federal Government, due to inhumane treatment, unsanitary living conditions and running a modified slave system. (See: Worley JAMES, et al. v. George Wallace, 4O6 F. Supp. 318)
After almost a decade and a half, the State of Alabama regained control of its economical cash cow- its Prison System. Over the next 25 years, it would return to the gulag it was before the I.F.A. Demonstration and Federal Intervention.
In the 7O’s Alabama’s oppressive and exploitative policies and practices produced the I.F.A. Some 4O yrs later, in 2O14, Alabama’s oppressive and exploitative policies and practices gave birth to the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.
On December 31, 2O13, at 11:45 p.m. the decision was confirmed and a press release was issued-
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT DECLARES THAT ALABAMA PRISONS ARE INHUMANE AND CONSTITUTE CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT, AND THE MEN INCARCERATED AT HOLMAN WOULD LEAD OFF THE NON-VIOLENT AND PEACEFUL PROTEST FOR CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS.
At 12:O1, a chorus of conversations erupted amongst the men in C Block, as the 1st shift kitchen workers had started off the non-violent and peaceful demonstration against mass incarceration and prison slavery by refusing to return to their jobs, where they were being forced to provide FREE LABOR in the name of corrections. This was it, the MOVEMENT had begun and HOLMAN was placed on Institutional Lockdown. Over the next couple of hours, it became clear that this was not an Ordinary Shutdown.
The ADOC had heard that we were planning a shutdown, but they didn’t know much about the details, so they didn’t pay it much attention. After all, we had shutdown before, in fact numerous of time. But what they didn’t know was that this time, we weren’t shutting down just for cookies and cakes, or weights, etc., this time, we were shutting down for our freedom. And as they would soon learn, the resistance was organized, coordinated and had a name– FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.
By January 3, 2014, the ADOC found out that other prisons were planning to shut down, but they were hoping that those rumors were not true. That Friday evening, Melvin Ray was apprehended by St. Clair staff and placed in solitary that night, as an attempt to dissuade the men at St Clair. Then, Saturday, January 4, 2014, arrived, and all 1,300 men at St. Clair prison joined the Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests. The ADOC went into panic mode, as by then the news media had got involved; when the secretly recorded videos that had been filmed from the inside of ADOC and uploaded to YouTube and other damning eveidnece, were released. And most important to the struggle, the multi-billion dollar free-labor force had stopped working for FREE.
Never in the History of the Alabama prison/slave system has there been such a show of Cooperation, Unity, Solidarity and Organized Protest. As some 2500 men incarcerated in Alabama’s prisons were engaging in non-violent and peaceful protests for our civil and human rights, and word of the Movement was spreading to other prisons.
On January 6th, all the prisoners at Elmore Correctional Facility joined Holman and St Clair in the Non Violent & Peaceful Protest for Human &Civil Rights. The next day-January 7th- FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT supporters and The Ordinary People s Society held a press conference on the Alabama State house steps to make the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT declarations clear.
Over the next two weeks, Rev. Kenneth Glasgow would meet and negotiate with the ADOC Commissioner’s office, in regards to FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENTS Demands for Humane Treatment. While on the inside, the Holman Administration was plotting to stymie the progress of the Non Violent & Peaceful Protest.
On January 21st, the ADOC admitted that the system was in shambles and they would look into the prisoners claims. As a result, all prisoners agreed to end the work stoppage in a sign of cooperation.
With Melvin Ray, already in Segregation under investigation due to the Shutdown, on January 22nd, the ADOC mounted an attack on Robert Earl Council, who they had labeled the head of the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and the leading factor in the State wide shutdown. On February 6, 2014 the Holman Administration declared Robert Earl Council a threat to the security of the Institution and reclassified to solitary confinement, indefinitely.
April 1, 2014 the Holman Administration placed James Pleasant in Solitary Confinement for being associated with FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.
Over 23 months later, Melvin Ray, James Pleasant and Robert Earl Council remain in Maximum Security Lock up for being affiliated with the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, a Non Violent and Peaceful Protest for Civil and Human Rights. A Protest that involved NO acts of Violence, NO threats of Violence and every grievance validated by outside sources.
So why are the ADOC really unjustly holding Melvin Ray, James Pleasant and Robert Earl Council in Solitary Confinement???
When determining the best strategy to challenge Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, its essential that we step back and take a look at the entire system. We must identify the fundamentals of what makes this system work and why this system exist. Once we thoroughly understand the underpinnings of the system of Mass Incarceration we can begin to see why the old strategies and tactics have not and will not bring about any meaningful change. Then we can begin developing a New Strategy that attacks Mass Incarceration at its core.
THE NEW STRATEGY
Just like the Institution of Chattel Slavery, Mass Incarceration is in essence an Economic System which uses human beings as its nuts and bolts. Therefore, our new approach must be Economical and must be focused on the factors of production- the people being forced into this slave labor.
From this viewpoint we organize work stoppages at prisons with economic industries which are operated by slave labor. The impact of a work stoppage is immediate and significant, as production is shutdown and profit margins plummet. Experience has shown us that this approach is more effective than Hunger Strikes , Marching and Writing letters combined. As those strategies only bring publicity and lip service, while work stoppages shut the economic system down and bring the shakers and movers to the prison for negotiations.
That’s where the EDUCATION, REHABILITATION AND RE ENTRY PREPAREDNESS FREEDOM BILL comes in.