Tag Archives: IWOC

Washington DC: Noise Demo in Solidarity with Striking Workers


Baltimore/D.C. Based Organizations Make Noise In Solidarity With National Prison Strike.

Washington, D.C. – September 9th, 2016 –

On the 45th  anniversary of the Attica prison uprising, the most notorious prison rebellion in US history, prisoners around the country pronounced to once again make their voices heard. Refusing to work their assigned job is the direct action over 1,000 plus prisoners agreed to perform.

The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, D.C chapter (IWOC) has swiftly organized a “noise demo”  to match the prisoners’ efforts with disruptions from the outside. Calling for aid to strengthen effectiveness of the noisy action, IWOC has pulled support from organizations in Baltimore, Virginia and local support in D.C. The noise demo will take place on September 9th, the same day of the national work stoppage. IWOC is a national project of the Industrial Workers of the World, a radical labor union dedicated to workplace democracy and building a mass workers movement against capitalism. Continue reading

While There Is A Soul In Prison

By Colin Bossen

Note: I recently have become involved with the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. I am serving as their contact person for faith-based organizing. It is a volunteer role and one of things that I am doing as part of it is preaching some in support of the September 9, 2016 National Prisoner Strike. The following sermon was the first I preached in support of the movement. I presented it at the First Parish in Needham, Unitarian Universalist, on August 28, 2016. 

It is a pleasure to be with you this morning. Your congregation features prominently in one of my favorite books of contemporary Unitarian Universalist theology, A House for Hope. John Buehrens, your former minister and the co-author of that book, has something to do with me being here today. He was a strong advocate for youth ministry when he was the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association. I had the good fortune to meet him when I was sixteen. He encouraged me both along my path to the ministry and my path to the academy. I also have fond memories of the worship services your present minister Catie Scudera led during her time at Harvard. And I congratulate in calling someone who will no doubt be one of the guiding lights of the next generation of Unitarian Universalists. So, there is a strange way in which even though I have never spent a Sunday with you before I feel as if I already know you a little.

Such familiarity, I suspect, is rather one sided. Most, of maybe all, just know me as the guest preacher. The last in the long line of summer preachers trying to bring a little spirit to Sunday morning before your regular worship services resume next month.

Now me, I am something of circuit rider. Right now I preach at more than a dozen congregations a year while I am finishing up my PhD at Harvard. As I travel around I have the privilege of getting something of the breadth of our Unitarian Universalist tradition. I think since I started in the ministry more than a decade ago I have lead worship at close to a hundred Unitarian Universalist congregations in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Those congregations include the some of the largest and some of the smallest in our tradition.

My peripatetic career causes me to divide Unitarian Universalism crudely into two wings: the liberal and the abolitionist. Unitarian Universalism is occasionally called a liberal religion. This label refers to our understanding of human nature. Historically we have understood human beings to contain within them, in the words of William Ellery Channing, “the likeness to God.” As contemporary Unitarian Universalist theologian Rebecca Parker has explained, this does not mean that we think human beings are necessarily godlike. Instead, it suggests that rather than being born innately flawed or depraved, as orthodox Christianity has long taught, we are born with the capacity to choose and to become. Reflecting upon the suffering that we inflict upon each other Parker writes, “We are the cause and we can be the cure.” In this sense liberal religion means a recognition that much of what is wrong in the world was wrought by human hands. By joining our hands and hearts together we can, and we do, heal much of that harm.

I am not thinking of the liberal religion of Channing when I say that Unitarian Universalism can be crudely divided into two wings. I suspect that if you are here this Sunday morning your view of human nature is at somewhat similar to Channing’s and Rebecca Parker’s. Whether politically you are a Democrat or a Republican, an anarchist or a socialist, a liberal, libertarian or a conservative, if you are a Unitarian Universalist are a liberal religionist.

My division of our community into the abolitionists and the liberals focuses on our attitudes towards social reform. The majority liberal tradition believes in incremental and pragmatic social change. The social institutions and practices that exist, exist. When confronted with the intractable problems of America’s justice system liberals think the key question is: how can we make this system work better for everyone? How can we ensure that police are not racist? That everyone gets a fair trial and that prisons are humane? Continue reading

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.


IWW General Defense Committee Bail Fund

The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the Industrial Workers of the World has been working with prisoners and groups from across the United States organizing a Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Workstoppage for September 9, 2016. In anticipation of state reprisals against our members on the inside and outside, the IWW General Defense Committee is expanding it bail fund to assist those fighting to end prisoner slavery.

Please donate and share this page!!!

IWOC National Prison Strike September 2016 event page.

Announcement of Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Workstoppage for Sept 9, 2016.

again, donate to the bail fund here.

Message from Keith ‘Malik’ Washington Spokesperson for End Prison Slavery in Texas

[The following is an open letter from a comrade associated with End Prison Slavery in Texas addressed to IWOC; all typos, etc, remain as in the original letter.]

Revolutionary Greetings Comrades!

I hope all of you are doing well.Today is August 8th, 2016 – yesterday I was notified by a friend that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles DENIED my release on Parole for the 5th time!

My Good Time, Work Time, and Flat Time calculations equal to 100% of my current 20 year sentence – yet here I remain.

And this is one of the key issues we are challenging in Texas – I am a Text – Book example which exposes the Flaws in a system which continues to enslave the poorest cross-section of Amerikan society.

I would like to thank the IWW – IWOC for referring Free-Lance Journalist John Washington to me. Hopefully we will see a detailed essay in The Nation Magazine which highlights our strength to abolish Prison Slavery.

The Grassroots organizing for the September 9th action is going well. Texas Prisoners are not just suffering from physical enslavement. Many are psychologically enslaved. This makes my job and Rashid’s job of awakening the lumpen difficult but not impossible. Continue reading

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

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.

Durham: Getting Pumped for September

From It’s Going Down

Last night, Durham hosted a loud brass band concert benefiting a strike fund for prisoners joining up with the national strike in September. Folks distributed writings by prisoners and read their words over the mike in between songs. The show was capped off when a 17-piece brass band and banner-holders led a small march to the downtown jail. Prisoners responded by waving lighters or banging on their windows. The band finished off the march with a rousing and nostalgic rendition of “Pony” by Ginuwine. Really.

In the next week there’s a teach-in scheduled with former prisoners on the history of prison resistance as well as another jail demo, this time hosted by Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee folks. Both are geared towards raising awareness about the upcoming strike and getting folks pumped to be in the streets when September arrives.

IWOC Support + Advice – Four Key Holes

from Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

The IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee is coming along powerfully and is getting closer and closer to a movement moment where we explode onto the national scene through the work of our powerful inside organizers and outside supporters.

Yet we have some significant holes in IWOC’s infrastructure and hope some of you have suggestions for people–inside or outside of the IWW–who could help fill some of the most important ones, or ideas for how to best focus our efforts in those areas.


1. Delegate Mentors: people with significant IWW-style on the job organizing experience who want to help mentor delegates in prisons. This would likely be remotely via phone and letters. We could also use people to help mentor in new outside groups. This is the key barrier to us having a collective national temperature and building branches and an Industrial Union.

Continue reading