Tag Archives: support

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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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

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.

Minneapolis: Propaganda Supporting September 9

From Conflict MN

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.sept9-2

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

Being Safe When Taking Action, Words from the NLG

[Remember that the temperaments of different cities in regards to criminal law and legal matters varies, and it is important to have knowledge for your specific area, or the specific area where you are acting. Much of the material that follows is New York or Ohio Specific, and none of this is legal advice; and also remember never talk to the police.]

Here are all the more or less current Know Your Rights (KYR) things I can
think of, attached or as links.

The way I have always done legal support for protesters is to educate
people using these, and at the same time, either be or find a lawyer who is
not only licensed in the state, but actually familiar with the local
courts. It is crucial to actually find someone who is qualified (like,
don’t get a housing attorney to advise you on criminal defense matters) and
politically on board (someone who actually knows and cares about the nexus
of expressive rights and criminal defense).
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Peace Action of Staten Island (PASI) September 9 Endorsement

Peace Action of Staten Island (PASI) is a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the nonviolent resolution of conflict, the abolition of nuclear weapons, and the promotion of culture based on human rights and economy rooted in human needs. To us, violence, and in particular state-sanctioned violence, is not simply the act of war and expanding militarization. It also encompasses degradation of our environment, policing which criminalizes, harasses, humiliates, and brutalizes communities and people of color through the bogus War on Drugs, and the deprivation of freedom through surveillance and imprisonment. It is also the economic exclusion of exploitative wages and wage theft, which are exacerbated within prisons and prevent people from meeting their basic needs.

It is a tragic fact that our country has chosen to value corporate interests over the well-being of its residents. That it supports the profitability of privately-run prison industries over the ability of individuals, both incarcerated and within low-income communities, to make a fair living and fully participate in society. That it willingly undercuts the lives of millions of people in order to drive corporate profits through a system of forced uncompensated or barely-compensated labor. Continue reading

Oakland: Mobilize In Solidarity With Prison Rebels September 9th and 10th!

From It’s Going Down

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 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.

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A Letter from Mothers and F.A.M.ilies

[Editor’s Note: what follows is an open letter to those incarcerated in Alabama from the organization Mothers and F.A.M.ilies.]

Greetings from Mothers and F.A.M.ilies:

May this letter find you in the best of spirit and health in spite of
your circumstance of being incarcerated in Alabama. We hope to lift your
spirit by letting you know that we are in this fight with you for
freedom, justice, and civil and human rights until the end.

Over the past 3 years, we have been fighting relentlessly alongside FREE
ALABAMA MOVEMENT and all others for justice in Alabama. Among our many
activities have been:
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This Week in Prisoner Action…

Today Monday June 6th is a call in day to support Texas prisoners facing retaliation for their work stoppage in April. See that here: https://www.facebook.com/events/553013341537855/

Friday June 10th is the first phone zap to support a hunger strike against long term solitary confinement by Wisconsin prisoners. See that here: https://www.facebook.com/events/237354093311429/

Please take action on these things, it takes just a few minutes to read the suggested scripts and then call in.


There are many ways to get involved right now with organizing for the nationally coordinated prisoner work stoppage and protest. Here are three:
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