Tag Archives: incarcerated workers organizing committee

September 9 was HUGE and is continuing.

Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn’t know it, but the US prison system is shaking up right now.

No one knows how big the initial strike was yet, but the information is slowly leaking out between the cracks in the prisons’ machinery of obscurity and isolation. Here are some speculative numbers we can share with confidence at this time:

At least 29 prisons were affected. These are places where either prisoners reported to outside supporters, or where the authorities locked the institutions down probably because of protests. We expect this number to rise dramatically as we gather reports from prisoners and keep calling prisons in the coming days and weeks.

More than 24,000 prisoners missed work. The facilities experiencing full shutdowns that we know about hold approximately 24,000 prisoners. There are probably thousands more who didn’t work that we don’t know about, yet. Many are still are not working today and intend to continue the strike until their demands are satisfied or the prisons break under the economic strain of operating without their slaves.

Continue reading

IWOC Sep 9 News Release

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)

Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)


Contact Information:
Phillip A. Ruiz
Incarcerated Worker Organizing Committee
TEL:(816) 866-3808 or (323) 691-0557

International Prison Strike Slated to Begin September 9th

IWW General Headquarters, Chicago, IL. Sept.9th, 2016

The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) announces that the first internationally coordinated prison strike in history is scheduled to begin today, with the support of the IWW and the participation of over eight hundred incarcerated IWW members. The prisoners who began organizing the strike had originally sent out this request: “To every prisoner…we call on you to stop being a slave, to let the crops rot in the plantation fields, to go on strike and cease reproducing the institutions of your confinement.” September 9th was chosen as the date to begin the strike because it is the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising in New York state, the most notorious prison rebellion in US history. Continue reading

Support the Resistance: Subscribe to the Incarcerated Worker or Sponsor a Union Membership!


Prisoners are going on strike against prison slavery on September 9, 2016. Help support their organizing, and hear their story. Subscribe to the Incarcerated Worker, a mini-magazine written and edited by prisoners. Subscriptions  are $20/year, and all proceeds go to supporting prisoner organizing.



Can you swing a bit more for prisoner resistance?

Sponsor union membership for a prisoner for $5/month or $60/year.


We encourage union locals and community groups to sponsor membership for incarcerated workers in prisons in your area. If you’re interested in finding ways to support the resistance against prison slavery, get in touch!

September 9 Approaches

Here are some specific and important things you can do to support the largest prisoner strike in the history of the country with the highest incarceration rate in the world:

1. IWOC hotline: prisoners facing retaliation for strike activities can call the IWOC hotline collect anytime of the day or night at 816-866-3808. Send that number to your inside contacts, or call it yourself if you hear from someone needing help. You can also email IWOC at iwoc@riseup.net.

2. Mobilize legal aid! The National Lawyer’s Guild has offered to file an individual “notice of claim” on behalf of each prisoner against abusive and retaliatory prisons and guards. Filing a notice of claim tells the prison that a suit could be filed and puts them on notice that abuse has happened. *It is not the actual suit*, but it gives violated prisoners time to find local lawyers. Please send details to newjersey@nlg.org and to massdef@nlg.org. Prisoners can also reach out directly to: NLG Mass Defense, 132 Nassau Street, Rm. 922, New York, NY 10038

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IGDCAST: Raising Hell in the South

From It’s Going Down

Listen to and download the podcast HERE.

In this episode of IGDCAST we talk with Brianna, one of the founders of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), which is a part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a revolutionary anti-capitalist union. Brianna discusses the recent Southern Speaking Tour, which was a tour organized by IWW and IWOC members which discussed workplace and prison organizing and worked to make connections between various cities and towns. Brianna speaks on growing up in the South, racism in the region when compared to the rest of the country, outside perceptions of the South and Southern people, the tour itself and some highlights, as well as an in depth look at the upcoming national prison strike which begins on September 9th.


Constant Pressure Against Retaliation

One of the most important things outside supporters can do is respond to retaliation against prisoners. We need to shine a protecting light on their struggles, let prison staff know people are paying attention.

There are many ways to stand up, show solidarity, control the narrative, and pressure the authorities to cease their reprisals. We want to focus on and recruit people for one of the simplest ones: phone zaps. By contacting those authorities, swamping the email inboxes and phone lines with hundreds of calls, we stay their hand, sap their resources, and slow down their processes.

We need you to volunteer now! We are looking for people to commit to maintaining this pressure on an ongoing basis, and folks at IWOC have made it easy for you. If you would be willing to make calls every other day then please visit and bookmark this site: (https://goo.gl/forms/s4gBzsgvz6W9LQoN2) make the calls, and fill in the one-line form at the bottom so we can send friendly reminders if you don’t.

Manchester Says No to a New “Mega-Prison”


[On] Wednesday August 10th, Manchester residents and supporters marked International Prisoner Justice day by demanding that local councils reject proposals for a new “mega-prison”. The group assembled at Manchester Town Hall in Albert Square and marched to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) offices, engaging with passers-by to build resistance to the plans.

The Conservative Government is pushing GMCA to find a site for a huge new “resettlement jail”, ignoring evidence against the effectiveness of custodial sentences, and the research-led calls for a nation-wide ban on new prison construction. Campaigners believe that, rather than wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on constructing and operating a new prison, Manchester would be better served by community-based solutions which tackle the root causes of harmful behaviour such as improved mental health care, homelessness support and working conditions.

The informal, grass-roots “Manchester No Prisons” group plans to continue its work: building solidarity with prisoners across the North-West and beyond, educating ourselves about the prison-industrial complex and humane alternatives to incarceration, and pressuring Manchester councils to build communities, not more prisons. Find the group on Facebook or e-mail noprisonsmcr@riseup.net to see how you can get involved!

Milwaukee IWOC calls for a national day of action in solidarity with the Dying to Live hunger strike at Waupun Correctional Institution (WCI).

 “…Well the past few days have been hard. Apart from the pain, humiliation, and sick process I have to go through 3 times per day in this force-feeding, I am okay. The weather though make it hard. It makes you dizzy and sick. Plus it makes you hungry as well. I try not to think of food or else you break,”

Cesar DeLeon’s most recent letter to Milwaukee IWOC.

Cesar DeLeon and LaRon McKinley-Bey began refusing food on June 7. They called their protest Dying to Live, and demanded an end to indefinite solitary confinement, what the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WI DOC) calls Administrative Confinement (AC). On June 17 the DOC requested and got approval to force feed the hunger striking prisoners.

Milwaukee IWOC (The Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee of the IWW) has been supporting this protest, in coalition with other groups for 60 days now. We have marched on the DOC twice, held rallies in Milwaukee and Madison, shamed DOC Secretary Jon Litscher at a public meeting he chaired, passed out hundreds of flyers and held banners over freeways many times. The DOC has conceded nothing, and conditions for the prisoners have remained abysmal.

June 10, Milwaukee, Photo credit: Sam Caravana. Published by Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

June 10, Milwaukee, Photo credit: Sam Caravana. Published by Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Now Milwaukee IWOC is calling for national solidarity and mobilization to back up our next action. On Aug 13, we will mobilize against the WI DOC and we need others to amplify the signal and make the Dying to Live protest a national issue.

Why get involved?

Cesar DeLeon is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) a militant labor union whose slogan is “An Injury to One is an Injury to All”. Cesar and LaRon have had tubes shoved down their noses to force bottles of ensure into their stomachs well over 100 times at this point. For a while, the staff doctor had advised that feeding three times a day was excessive, and changed the practice to once every couple of days, so we’re not clear on the actual number of
tube feedings. Continue reading

The Prison Builder’s Dilemma: Economics And Ethics Clash In Eastern Kentucky

From Ohio Valley Resource

You are Letcher County, Kentucky. You are rural, mountainous, and in the heart of the central Appalachian coalfields. Your economy is not in good shape. Fox News has called your largest town “the poster child for the war on coal.” You are offered funds to build a new federal prison. It could bring jobs but also brings up troubling moral issues. What do you do?

Call it the prison builder’s dilemma: Letcher County and other rural areas are wrestling with a choice between a potential economic boost and the ethical burden of becoming the nation’s jailers.

Coalfield economies have been hit hard by the industry’s recent decline and eastern Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District has been among the most affected. Today it has the second lowest median household income in the country, and the second-lowest rate of labor force participation. In recent years, a big chunk of the money flowing into the region has come through the Bureau of Prisons. Three federal penitentiaries have been built in the district, and now, money has been set aside to build a fourth— in Letcher County.

“I Don’t Know Anything Better”

Elwood Cornett is a retired educator and preacher of the distinctly Appalachian Old Regular Baptist tradition. More recently, he’s been serving as the head of the Letcher County Planning Commission, and a leader in the effort to bring a federal prison to Letcher County. Continue reading

IWOC NYC at #ShutDownCityHallNYC

From Facebook (?) / IWOC NYC

IWOC NYC event today, August 5, from 6 – 9 pm at City Hall Park in Manhattan, NYC:

In 2016, prisoners have called for nationwide strikes all across the country. As outside, we #ShutDownCityHallNYC (https://www.facebook.com/events/603110703195862/) and Holman square in Chicago, and as we tirelessly fight while our brothers and sisters are gunned down and incarcerated, inside people are fighting back. There is currently protests happening inside at Holman Prison in Alabama. IWOC NYC works directly with prisoners inside to develop demands, support struggles, and build for the September 9th strike as well as continuous action until all prisons are burned to the ground! We are led by people inside, and we work together on the outside as comrades. Come learn about the strikes, about IWOC, and how to get involved.