In 8 days (9/9/16), the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion, there will be a coordinated work stoppage by prisoners across the US.
Prisoners are among the most acutely oppressed and exploited workers. Mass incarceration, historically speaking, has direct continuity with Southern chattel slavery (and under the 13th Amendment, slavery remains legal so long as the slave is convicted of something first. The criminal “justice” system, of course, has always been complicit in maintaining racialized enslavement.) Whether it’s private prisons, large-scale deportation (thanks Obama!), or prisoners being hired out to work for pennies at gunpoint, prisons exist to serve the ruling class. They enforce and reproduce white supremacy, and show brutally directly that the state does not stand outside capitalism, systemic racism, and the power of the ruling class – it administers and enforces them. Nothing short of prison abolition must be revolutionaries’ goal.
RATPAC – Puget Sound has voted unanimously to endorse and promote the national prisoners’ strike coordinated by the Free Alabama Movement, the Free Ohio Movement, the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and other revolutionary prisoners’ groups. Prisoner solidarity, expressed through monthly letter-writing to queer and trans prisoners, is a core priority of RATPAC-PS. We further endorse ongoing prisoner support and abolitionist projects, such as those of the Anarchist Black Cross and Critical Resistance.
We encourage all members of the working class to join in solidarity actions and demonstrations on September 9. If we don’t stand up for and with each other, then none of us – in prison or out of it – will ever get free.