Part 2 gets into broader organizing, including the Sept 9th Call for Nationally Coordinated Workstoppage and Protest.
We go behind bars to get an update on the end of a 10-day strike by Alabama prisoners to protest severe overcrowding, poor living conditions and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans slavery and servitude “except as a punishment for crime,” thus sanctioning the legality of forced, unpaid prison labor. “These strikes are our methods of challenging mass incarceration, as we understand the prison system is a continuation of the slave system, which is an economic system,” says Kinetik Justice, who joins us by phone from solitary confinement in Holman Correctional Facility. He is co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement and one of the organizers of the strike. He says organizers tried petitioning their conditions via the courts and lawmakers, but when they were unsuccessful, “we understood our incarceration was pretty much about our labor and the money that was being generated from the prison system, therefore we began organizing around our labor and used it as a means and a method to bring about reform in the Alabama prison system.”
We end today’s show in Alabama, where men at several prisons have ended a 10-day strike over unpaid labor and poor prison conditions. Their coordinated strike kicked off on May 1st, International Workers’ Day, when prisoners at the Holman and Elmore Correctional Facilities refused to report to their prison jobs—and later expanded to three other prisons. The strike focused on severe overcrowding, poor living conditions and the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bans slavery and servitude, quote, “except as a punishment for crime,” thus sanctioning the legality of forced, unpaid prison labor. Alabama operates the country’s most crowded prison system, holding nearly twice as many people as it’s designed to contain.
Inmates at three Alabama prisons have issued unified demands after initiating a widespread work stoppage on May 1, 2016. They are protesting exploitative labor policies and horrific prison conditions caused, in part, by overcrowding; Alabama’s prisons are operating at close to 200 percent over capacity.
Prison staff have attempted to suppress the civil disobedience by significantly reducing prisoners’ meal portions, a tactic known as “bird feeding.” Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) has brought work release prisoners from other facilities in an effort to undermine the strike.
Strikes are taking place at St. Clair Correctional Facility, Holman Correctional Facility, and Staton Correctional Facility.
The Free Alabama Movement, an organization comprised of inmates at numerous prisons, recently released demands through their advocate on the outside, Pastor Kenneth Glasgow. Glasgow is the founder of The Ordinary People Society and a leader in the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement. He announced the demands in a press conference on May 7, 2016.
The May Day Strike in Alabama is getting attention from many media outlets, some with more thorough coverage, some with broader reach. We’ve collected and summarized these stories here so our readers can find the info they need.
1. SolitaryWatch.com did a great article and interview with some of the founders of FAM about both the strike, and about conditions in seg units. Read it here: http://solitarywatch.com/2016/05/05/prison-labor-strike-in-alabama-we-will-no-longer-contribute-to-our-own-oppression/
2. Listen to FAM members speak from behind the walls on their weekly show, here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement You can even call in and join the conversation. Email email@example.com to find out how. You’ll be asked a few questions to make sure you’re not a cop or troll. Continue reading