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 →
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com. Prisoners can also reach out directly to: NLG Mass Defense, 132 Nassau Street, Rm. 922, New York, NY 10038
On September 9th, prisoners across the United States will begin a strike that will be a general work stoppage against prison slavery. In short, prisoners will refuse to work; they will refuse to keep the prisons running by their own labors. Prisoners are striking not just for better conditions or changes in parole rules, but against prison slavery. Prisoners state that under the 13th Amendment which abolished racial slavery, at the same time it allowed human beings to be worked for free or next to nothing as long as they were prisoners.
Prisoners see the current system of prison slavery to thus be a continuation of racial slavery, which is a system that generates billions of dollars in profits each year for major corporations in key industries such as fossil fuels, fast food, banking, and the US military.
Soon after the passing of the 13th Amendment, many former slaves were soon locked up in prisons on petty offenses, quickly returned to their former roles as slaves. Over a century later, the Drug War sought to deal with the growing unemployment rate brought on by changes in the economy (outsourcing, financialization, deregulation, etc), as well as the threat of black insurrection which grew in the 1960s and 70s, by throwing more and more people in prison. At the same time, the state and corporations continued to look towards prison labor as a source to generate massive profits. Continue reading →
In Minneapolis, several propaganda actions have been taken in solidarity with the upcoming prison strike. With this we intend to affirm the struggle against prisons and the society that needs them. Rebels behind bars have engaged in incredible acts of resistance this year and in the past—September 9th will be neither the beginning nor the end of this struggle.
For those of us on the outside, we cannot allow ourselves to become spectators. We must act in complicity in these attacks on prison society. We gladly join others across the country in showing our solidarity with the prison strike. Continue reading →
On Saturday, September 10th, people across the Bay Area and Northern California will converge in Downtown Oakland in solidarity with the US wide prison work strike against prison slavery and white supremacy. Our goal is a mass showing of support with the growing prison rebellion in the US and to also march on the corporations in the Downtown area that make massive profits off of prisoner enslavement.
The strike that will begin on September 9th is not a symbolic one. It is a mass collective refusal to keep the machine of confinement running. It is the continuation of resistance to racialized slavery that began before the creation of the United States and will ultimately end in the revolutionary overthrow of this system of domination and apartheid. It is up to us on the outside to show our solidarity and to act in kind. The bay area has a rich history of both prison rebellion and support for those rebels. We hope to aid in this strike and prepare ourselves to support it not only in the early days of September, but in the weeks that proceed it as repression and lock-downs are sure to follow.
The expanding radical prison labor movement also shows us how connected our struggles truly are, as prison labor generates literally billions for various industries destroying the planet, attacking workers, and occupying entire countries. This includes corporate food giants, the US military, the banking system, and the fossil fuel industry. From fast food workers fighting back against poverty wages to the battles raging in indigenous territory against oil pipelines – regardless of what struggles we are in, we all need to stand with our comrades on the inside who courageously are going on strike. Continue reading →
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.
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.
Prisoner supporters across the country are keeping up the pressure on prisons!
In New York people gathered for a fundraiser on the 3rd, and a noise demonstration on the fourth. They gathered outside a federal prison in Brooklyn which houses federal pretrial, federal sentenced, and a lot of immigration cases. Also at this prison are a number of the 120 people arrested during a raid of public housing project in the Bronx a couple of months ago.
“Outside we chanted “brick by brick, wall by wall, we will make this prison fall” and inside, over the fence, we saw fists raised and heard others banging on their cell windows.”
The demo was co-organized by mothers and organizers up in the bx at the houses, iwoc, and abc. Here is video and pictures, from the facebook event.
In Wisconsin, folks turned out lots of solidarity for their comrades on hunger strike. They held banners over the freeway all week, and spent from 8 am to 1 pm at busy intersections outside the WI DOC central office, creating a very visible presence, then they delivered a letter, including new rules for solitary confinement, written by the hunger strikers, as a way to move toward resolution.
On Tuesday July 5, employees of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) will return from a long holiday weekend of cooking out and summertime patriotism to a day of protest at their workplace. Starting before the office opens and continuing until the DOC commits to stepping down from the use of long term solitary confinement, we will protest in fierce solidarity with the prisoners who have been refusing food since early June.
Cesar DeLeon, LaRon McKinley Bey, Uhuru Mutawakkil kicked off a hunger strike on June 5, they called it the “Dying to Live Humanitarian Food Refusal Campaign Against Torture.” Dozens of prisoners were ready to join them initially, but DOC retaliation, harassment, transfers and threats divided and repressed many of them. Ten or so prisoners were on board on June 10 and 11, when supporters held the first rallies in Milwaukee and Madison. Continue reading →