Monthly Archives: April 2016

Life As A Slave: Conditions and Pre-Emptive Retaliation, McConnell Unit Texas

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*Interview With a Prisoner’s Mother*

Life As A Slave: Conditions and Pre-Emptive Retaliation, McConnell Unit Texas

CONTACT: IWW Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee (IWOC): 406-599-2463, email jdd [at] iww.org

April 18th, 2016

Since April 4th, prisoners in at least 4 Texas prisons have been on strike for better conditions and an end to slavery and human rights abuses. This strike is but the latest in a nationwide mass movement inside prisons for dignity and freedom. Minimum wage in Texas prisons is 0.00/hr. Access to medical care requires a $100 medical copay. “Good time” is rarely applied to reduce the sentences of those inside.

Here is a first person interview with a mother of a person inside McConnell Unit, a prison in Beeville Texas. She details daily life and retaliation prisoners are facing for considering joining the strike.

While other prisons are reported to be on lockdown due to prisoners striking, the McConnell prison is preemptively retaliating against prisoners who consider withholding their labor. Work taken from them for $0.00/hour. From cutting off people’s mail, threats of legal changes and violence, we see a little picture of slave life in 21st Century America.

Prisoners in Texas are told that if they refuse to work for free, they will “catch a major case if they refuse to go to work,” says the mom of one prisoner. When prisoners work, they are supposedly compensated for their labor with an accumulation of “good time”. Though the prisoners know they will likely never be granted the good time that they are guaranteed, the threat of taking it away is a strong threat because they have so little to hope for. And there is a need for hope.

In McConnell unit the water is “undrinkable” and “stinking”. Despite families and prisoners raising this issue, nothing is changed. Some prisoners just buy bottled water. Prisoners food too, is horrific, often spoiled, with vermin crawling in and out of the facility.

Slavery is alive and well. It is time for it to end. This is why we need you.

The movement to end prison slavery is growing. Prisoners in Alabama have recently confirmed their commitment to striking this May, while prisoners across the country are calling for nationally coordinated prison shutdowns on the 45th Anniversary of Attica this September.
Like all futures it will be decided by those who show up. Get involved. Call. Donate.

~~~~~

Here’s an east way you can help right now!!

As of Monday, April 18th, prisoners in Texas have been on rolling labor strikes for two weeks. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is retaliating by locking the prisons down and depriving prisoners of even the standard abysmal human necessities they are forced to provide. Retaliation against people who refuse to work for free is one of the tools prison administrators use to assure that prisoners can continue to be exploited in today’s modern day slave system.

If you have a minute, please call the following administrators and read the scripts below:

*Brad Livingston, Executive Director, TDCJ, (936) 437-2101 or (512) 463-9988
*Bryan Collier, Deputy Executive Director, TDCJ, (936) 437-6251 or (512) 463-9988
*Jay Eason, Deputy Director, TDCJ, (936) 437-6318 or (512) 463-9988
*TDJC Ombudsman Office (936) 437-4927 ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov
*TDJC Office of the Inspector General (936) 437-5030 oig@tdcj.texas.gov
*TDCJ Executive Director (512) 463-9988 exec.director@tdcj.state.tx.us

EASY Script: “Hi I’m calling in support of striking prisoners in Texas and their demands for good time, an end to $100 medical copay, an independent grievance procedure and an end to human rights abuses. Stop enslaving our brothers and sisters and assure that your staff is not retaliating against striking workers by giving them write ups, eyes on Texas!”

CHALLENGING Script: “Hi I heard about the prisoners labor strike and I’m calling to find out what sort of progress you are making toward meeting the prisoners demands.” Here is the list of demands for you to discuss.

~~~~~

If you have a little more time and want to have an even more significant impact we need help determining which prisoners are being retaliated against on any given day. Which prisons are on lockdown seems to change every couple of days.

There are nearly 100 prisons on this list of prisons and administrator phone numbers. Please add comments to the list so that we are better able to track what is happening and hopefully get at least a couple of calls in to every facility.

Script: “Hello, I’m calling to see if this facility is on lockdown right now.”

If they say no, say “I have heard that some prisons in Texas are on lockdown because of a labor strike associated with a list of demands from the prisoners”. Then start reading them this list of demands and letter from a prisoner.

If they say yes, they are on lockdown, ask them about the conditions the prisoners are facing and also ask them what directives they are relying on to guide their actions in this matter. Here are some of the reported conditions:

– Workers are threatened with major infractions for withholding their labor. These infractions could result in good time being taken away. Although good time seems to rarely be applied to anyone’s sentence, the threat of losing it is highly coersive.

– The locked down prisoners are not receiving the hot meals. This means hundreds or thousands of prisoners have had nothing to eat but bologna or peanut butter sandwiches since April 4th.

– Mailroom staff is delaying or interfering with the delivery of inmate mail.

– There are reports of lights being left on during the night or left off during the day, other examples of petty harassment from trifling guards and threats that the lockdown treatment will extend for weeks or even months.

– Interfering with the prisoner’s access to basic necessities like food, sleep and connection with their families and the outside world is inhumane.

– Please stop punishing the prisoners for asserting their basic humanity, if you want them to come off the workstoppage, you should meet their demands.

The prisoners need sustained pressure on these institutions, so please call on Monday and then make plans to follow up at least once more later in the week, if not every day. Thank you!!!

~~~~~

Also, Looking ahead to May 1st, we are asking people to carry the prisoners voices with them to whatever May Day events they may be planning or attending. Alabama prisoners have called for a month-long workstoppage starting on May 1st. If you’re already getting rowdy May Day, please also consider throwing a jail demo or a protest at the public face of a prison-labor exploiting corporation.

Tipping Point in Texas Prison Strikes? New Wave of Lockdowns, Threats

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Tipping Point in Texas Prison Strikes? New Wave of Lockdowns, Threats

CONTACT: IWW Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee (IWOC): 816-866-3808, iwoc [at] riseup.net

April 16th, 2016

TX. Since April 4th, prisoners in at least 4 Texas prisons have been on strike for better conditions and an end to slavery and human rights abuses. This strike is but the latest in a nationwide mass movement inside prisons for dignity and freedom. Minimum wage in Texas prisons is 00/hr. Access to medical care requires a $100 medical copay.

“My son and others are literally sitting down to say – ‘Stop killing us. Stop enslaving us. We are human. This has got to stop’” said Judy, whose son’s prison is on lockdown. “I think the strike should spread. I believe prisoners and families together have the power to collapse this system.”

Striking prisons have been put on lockdown in an attempt to “conceal the strike” and the battle of wills is being daily tested by the inhumanity of the administration. No lights, two peanut butter sandwiches a day, no phone, mail or visitation from the outside world. And likely far worse.

Since the strike’s inception, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has been trying to contain the strike and paint the strikers as causing harm to inmates and families. Threatening additional lockdowns, forced transfers, violence. Even a statewide lockdown.

“I know we with family inside are hurting, when we are cutoff from our loved ones. When we hear rumors of additional lockdowns, when they threaten locking us all out” said Ann whose husband is in Robertson and lives in Fort Worth, Texas. “But don’t blame the brave souls standing up. Blame TDCJ. Blame those willing to torture families rather than give us justice.”

IWOC believes TDCJ’s actions to be an intentional, routine tactic. “They are trying to change who the enemy is,” said Nick Onwukwe, Co-Chair of IWOC and a former prisoner. “Trying to get you believe the enemy isn’t the slave master, it’s the slave who sits down and says – enough.”

Increasingly lockdowns are becoming reality. Already there are additional lockdowns at Jester III, Dalhart, and Beto, partial lockdowns at Coffield and Allred, and a confirmed order for lockdown at Michael for this morning, April 16th. Is the strike spreading? Will TCDJ’s tactics backfire? We may be at a tipping point.

“This is not a time to watch,” said Brianna Peril, IWOC Co-Chair and former prisoner. “Gather your family and loved ones. Start a chapter. Go outside the nearest prison and make enough noise that those inside know the free world is with them. The history of slavery in the United States is at stake”.

The movement to end prison slavery is growing. Prisoners in Alabama have recently confirmed their commitment to striking this May, while prisoners across the country are calling for nationally coordinated prison shutdowns on the 45th Anniversary of Attica this September.
Like all futures it will be decided by those who show up. Get involved. Call. Donate. This is our time.

#EyesOnTexas! Across the Nation Families and Activists Stand with Texas Prison Strikers

#EyesOnTexas! Across the Nation Families and Activists Stand with Texas Prison Strikers

As People Stand With Texas Prison Strikers, a Mass Movement Grows to End Prison Slavery

CONTACT: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a committee of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 816-866-3808, iwoc@riseup.net.

April 9, 2016

From Austin to Houston, Phoenix to the Bronx, Kansas City to Alabama to Milwaukee, Providence, Denver, Tuscan, Minneapolis, Arkansas, and beyond, family, friends and loved ones of Texas prisoners are gathering for a National Day of Action an Education today, Saturday April 9th.

Inspired by the powerful actions of thousands of human beings behind bars in 7 prisons, at least 4 of which remain on strike — the banner of abolition is rising. “This strike has been a long time coming,” said Dee, member of Austin’s Anarchist Black Cross. “Texas was built on slavery. We’re coming together until that cycle of abuse and exploitation is over”.

Judy, whose son is in prison in Texas and who lives in Wichita Falls, TX, is holding her breath. “It’s hard, being out here. We worry what will happen to them, locked in, surveilled, beaten, getting nothing but two peanut butter sandwiches a day”. But she is proud of what the hundreds of men and women on the inside: “We know it has to stop. It has to. This seems to be the only way”.

Strikers demands include better living and working conditions, objective timelines for release on good/work time, an end to a $100 medical co-pays that prevent access to health care, an independent grievance committee, and an end to a vast array of human rights abuses. Texas prisons lead the nation in sexaul assault of inmates and have seen a spree of overheating deaths due to lack of air conditioning.

“We’re seeing a mass movement inside prisons right now,” said Nick Onwukwe, former prisoner and co-Chair of the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. “Our task is to grow the mass movement against prison slavery on the outside, and that means national scale organizing. This isn’t the first strike and it won’t be the last”.

In fact, a coalition of in-prison groups including IWOC are calling for a coordinated protests across states and prisons this September 9th: “Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America’s prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand. We hope to end prison slavery by making it impossible, by refusing to be slaves any longer.”

And so we say: Amen.

You in the free world. This is your time for action. Spread the mass movement in prisons to the free world. Stand with Texas prisoners: call, act, donate, or get involved.

Huelga Resumen Día 1: Cárceles en Texas Sacudidas por Huelgas Iniciada por IWOC

11-01-15 Ronnie Ayling

Huelga Resumen Día 1: Cárceles en Texas Sacudidas por Huelgas Iniciada por IWOC

CONTACTO: El Comité Organizativo de Trabajadores Encarcelados (IWOC), un comité de los Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo (IWW), iwoc@riseup.net.

5 de abril 2016

Houston, TX – Hoy, en una acción histórica, los miembros del Comité Organizativo de Trabajadores Encarcelados (IWOC) de los Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo (IWW) sacudió las prisiones de Texas con huelgas en siete cárceles.

De acuerdo con el Departamento de Justicia Penal en Texas (TDCJ) a las 7:45 pm el lunes (4/4), tres cárceles están bajo cierre de emergencia (Wynne, Mountain View, Lynaugh) – en huelga – mientras que en otras 3 ya fue levantado el cierre (Torres, Polunsky, Roach). Oficiales en la Unidad Robertson se negaron a informarnos, entonces es probable que siguen en la huelga/cierre de emergencia como estaban cuando se confirmó el lunes más temprano.

Cualquier información del TDCJ, por supuesto, debe ser tomado con un grano de sal, ya que la oficina principal ha negado las huelgas y cierres de emergencia. El ocultar de la huelga como un cierre de emergencia es una estrategia conocida por los prisioneros y los guardias.

Una carta escrita el 23 de marzo por un organizador de IWOC dentro de los cárceles dice que los prisioneros se les dio “información fiable” que las autoridades usarán cierres de emergencia “para crear la percepción pública de que estamos cerrando para propósitos administrativos y no a causa de las huelgas en Texas.”

El futuro de la esclavitud en los Estado Unidos está en juego, y los derechos humanos de más que de dos millones de esclavos encarcelados, incluyendo a más de 143.000 en Texas. Prisioneros en Texas son pagados un salario mínimo de $0.00 por hora. Su trabajo esta generando miles de millones de dolares para Texas y está externalizando trabajo a compañías estadounidenses.

“La esclavitud es una institución horrenda,” dijo Nicholas Onwuke, co-presidente de IWOC y ex-prisionero. “La violencia es el último agarre de un sistema malvado usado contra la gente que se levanta, demandando dignidad. Tomó una lucha masiva para acabar con la esclavitud histórica y contra las leyes ‘Jim Crow,’ entonces también acabará con la esclavitud prisionera de hoy.”

Las demandas mencionadas específicamente por los prisioneros incluyen liberación acelerada por tiempo/trabajo bueno, un alto al copago médico de $100 que previene el acceso a tratamiento médico, un comité de quejas independiente, y un alto a los extensos abusos de derechos humanos. Las prisiones de Texas encabezan la nación en asaltos sexuales hacia los prisioneros y han visto una ola de muertes a causa de altas temperaturas por falta de aire acondicionado.

Parte de la carta del 23 de marzo — “Necesitamos la mayoría de personas libres posible que contacten a los medios e informarles que no es un cierre de emergencia y que de hecho estamos encerrados como un resultado directo de nuestra huelga.”

Eres en el mundo libre. Este es su momento por actuar. Difundir el movimiento de masas en los cárceles a el mundo libre. Apoye a los prisioneros de Texas: llamar, actuar, donar, o involucrarse.

 

Free Alabama May Day Call Out!!

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Believe it or not, the entire country is looking at Alabama. Specifically, the Alabama Prison System and its Leadership. Right Now- We have a spotlight on the National stage to show & prove the Effects of: Alabama’s draconian Habitual Offenders Statute, Alabama’s Mandatory Life without Parole Capital Offense Statute, Alabama’s arbitrary Parole Board, Alabama’s parasitic policy of Warehousing & Economical Exploitation rather than Education, Rehabilitation and ReEntry Preparedness. Believe it or not, the entire country is listening– OUR COLLECTIVE ACTION/INACTION will speak louder than words. As in all Emergency Distress Calls… “MAY DAY , MAY DAY” May 1- May 31 ~ 30 DAYS OF NOTHING! No Work No Talk!

Strike Roundup Day 1: Texas Prisons Shook by IWOC Initiated Strikes

Strike Roundup Day 1: Texas Prisons Shook by IWOC Initiated Strikes

CONTACT: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a committee of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 816-866-3808, iwoc [at] riseup.net.

April 5, 2016

Houston, TX — Today, in a historic action, members of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) shook Texas prisons with strikes in seven prisons.

According to Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials as of 7:45pm on Monday (4/4), three prisons remain locked down (Wynne, Mountain View, Lynaugh)–on strike–while 3 others were but are no longer on lockdown (Torres, Polunsky, Roach). Robertson Unit officials refused to report in the evening and is therefore almost certainly still on strike/lockdown as they were when they confirmed earlier in the day.

Any information from TDCJ officials must of course be taken with a grain of salt, as the main office has been denying strikes and lockdowns all day. Concealing the strike as lockdowns is a strategy known by both prisoners and wardens.

A March 23rd letter from an IWOC Texas in-prison organizer notes that prisoners were given “reliable information” that authorities would use lockdowns “to create the public perception that we are locked down for administrative purposes and not because of the Texas Work Stoppage.”

At stake is the future of slavery in America, and the human rights of the more than two million prison slaves, including more than 143,000 in Texas. Prisoners in Texas are paid a minimum wage of $0.00/hr. Their labor is making Texas billions of dollars and “outsourcingjobs to US companies.

“Slavery is a horrifying institution,” said Nicholas Onwuke, IWOC Co-Chair and former prisoner. “Violence is the last gasp of an evil system against people standing up, demanding their dignity. It took mass struggle to end historical slavery and Jim Crow, so will it to end prison slavery today.”

Demands specifically mentioned by the prisoners include objective timelines for release on good/work time, an end to a $100 medical co-pays that prevent access to health care, an independent grievance committee, and an end to a vast array of human rights abuses. Texas prisons lead the nation in sexaul assault of inmates and have seen a spree of overheating deaths due to lack of air conditioning.

From the March 23rd letter–“We need as many freeworld people as possible to contact the media and inform them that that [‘administrative lockdown’] is not the case and that we are in fact locked down as a direct result of our workstoppage.”

You in the free world. This is your time for action. Spread the mass movement in prisons to the free world. Stand with Texas prisoners: call, act, donate, or get involved.

The Strike is On! Texas Prisoners Strike for Human Rights, End to Prison Slavery

The Strike is On! Texas Prisoners Strike for Human Rights, End to Prison Slavery

CONTACT: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), an affiliate of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 816-866-3808, iwoc@riseup.net

April 4, 2016

Houston, TX. In a historic action, members of the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) inside Texas prisons announced rolling prison strikes beginning this morning. As of 9:30 AM we have confirmed that Robertson Unit is on lockdown.

Prisoners are striking for better living and working conditions, objective timelines for release on good/work time, and an end to a $100 medical co-pays that prevents access to health care and a vast array of human rights abuses. Texas prisons lead the nation in sexaul assault of inmates and have seen a spree of overheating deaths due to lack of air conditioning. Texas prisoners are paid slave wages.

“Slavery is a horrifying institution,” said Nicholas Onwuke, IWOC Co-Chair and former prisoner. “Violence is the last gasp of an evil system against people standing up, demanding their dignity. It took mass struggle to end historical slavery and Jim Crow, so will it to end prison slavery today.”

The prison administration will do all they can to conceal and oppress the strike. According to a March 23rd letter from an IWOC organizer in a Texas prison, prisoners organizing there were given “reliable information” that authorities would use lockdowns “to create the public perception that we are locked down for administrative purposes and not because of the Texas Work Stoppage.”

In lockdown situations “authorities will try to starve, harass, and intimidate us to go back to work” even as prison administration is preparing for a prolonged struggle. The letter states that the prison may be attempting to use other workers to break the strike, “we [in prison] are being asked to write instructions on how to run the washing machines and [industry equipment] so that an alternative workforce can take over the functioning of the prison”.

But there is power in solidarity. Prison organizers believe they can advance with fair reporting and outside support. From the March 23rd letter: “If we know the free world is watching and supporting us this will go a long way to making our action worthwhile.”

Stand with prisoners: call in, organize an event or action, or donate to our organizing fund.

#EyesOnTexas! National Day of Action + Education to Support Texas Prison Strikers

#EyesOnTexas!

National Day of Action + Education to Support Texas Prison Strikers

April 9th, 2016

Please arrange a demonstration or educational event for awareness and understanding of the rolling strikes in Texas prisons starting April 4th. Send us pictures here and engage with media as much as possible. Documents will be provided to help you with conversations surrounding this effort.

Please share this call out with everyone and invite all your friends!! RSVP to iwoc@riseup.net so we know how many cities we have! Stay in touch: @iww_iwoc, facebook.com/incarceratedworkers.

Only got a minute? Call TDCJ Executive and Deputy Directors Brad Livingston 936-437-2101 & Bryan Collier (936) 437-6251. Tell them you stand with the Texas Prison Strikers. See this event for updates/additional numbers or the list of prisons/contact info here.

In or near Texas? Take Action!

Noise demos or gatherings at the prisons themselves is an option. Find the nearest facility here: https://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/unit_directory/unit_map.html Mothers and Families of the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) have been holding weekly demonstrations at Holman prison in Atmore AL, on every Saturday since the uprisings earlier this month.

– Planning around shift changes can show the guards that the prisoners they hold are not alone.

– Planning for times when visitation gets out is an opportunity to reach out to friends and families.

– Making noise or banners big enough to be seen or heard by will warm incarcerated hearts.

– Prison staff are often not accustomed to respecting people’s rights to assembly and free speech, so proceed with care.

Central and regional offices of Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) are also reasonable targets. Find addresses for those offices here: https://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/directory/index.html

Education events or handing out fliers to connect with those with loved ones inside is also a powerful way of building support for now and the long term.

Nowhere near Texas? Target Prison, McDonald’s, or Prison Profiteers

Remember, prison is not merely a set of fences, bars, and chains. It is a social institution which is always present. Since this is a labor strike against prison slavery, it makes sense to target those who exploit prisoners. Many major corporations are guilty of this, and at least one of them probably has a franchise within ten miles of you wherever you are: McDonald’s.

TDCJ brags about how much beef cattle they are raising and putting on the national market to profit off their captives slave labor.* Some of that beef is very likely ending up in happy meals, since McDonald’s uses prison labor.**

Texas prisoners also make computer parts for OnShore, which sources companies like IBM and Compaq, trailerbeds for DirectTrailer, A/C parts (which are not used for A/C in their own facilities***) for Henderson Controls and Chatleff Controls. You can look those places up and see about targeting them, if you’d like, but McDonald’s seems like the easiest most visible target.

Oh, Texas prisoners also make officers’ duty belts, handcuff cases, and prison cell accessories. They are literally forced to produce the direct means of their own unfreedom.

Support our Work: donate at iwoc.noblogs.org/donate.

We who believe in freedom cannot rest–

Solidarity forever,

IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

*http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/10/10/12-mainstream-corporations-benefiting-from-the-prison-industrial-complex/

**http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/10/10/12-mainstream-corporations-benefiting-from-the-prison-industrial-complex/

***http://www.texasobserver.org/tdcj-pork-story-undercooked/

Announcement of Nationally Coordinated Prisoner Workstoppage for Sept 9, 2016

Prisoners from across the United States have just released this call to action for a nationally coordinated prisoner workstoppage against prison slavery to take place on September 9th, 2016.

This is a Call to Action Against Slavery in America

In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016.

On September 9th of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State’s most notorious prison. On September 9th of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.

In the 1970s the US prison system was crumbling. In Walpole, San Quentin, Soledad, Angola and many other prisons, people were standing up, fighting and taking ownership of their lives and bodies back from the plantation prisons. For the last six years we have remembered and renewed that struggle. In the interim, the prisoner population has ballooned and technologies of control and confinement have developed into the most sophisticated and repressive in world history. The prisons have become more dependent on slavery and torture to maintain their stability.

Prisoners are forced to work for little or no pay. That is slavery. The 13th amendment to the US constitution maintains a legal exception for continued slavery in US prisons. It states “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” Overseers watch over our every move, and if we do not perform our appointed tasks to their liking, we are punished. They may have replaced the whip with pepper spray, but many of the other torments remain: isolation, restraint positions, stripping off our clothes and investigating our bodies as though we are animals.

Slavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won’t be anymore. This is a call to end slavery in America. This call goes directly to the slaves themselves. We are not making demands or requests of our captors, we are calling ourselves to action. To every prisoner in every state and federal institution across this land, 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.

This is a call for a nation-wide prisoner work stoppage to end prison slavery, starting on September 9th, 2016. They cannot run these facilities without us.

Non-violent protests, work stoppages, hunger strikes and other refusals to participate in prison routines and needs have increased in recent years. The 2010 Georgia prison strike, the massive rolling California hunger strikes, the Free Alabama Movement’s 2014 work stoppage, have gathered the most attention, but they are far from the only demonstrations of prisoner power. Large, sometimes effective hunger strikes have broken out at Ohio State Penitentiary, at Menard Correctional in Illinois, at Red Onion in Virginia as well as many other prisons. The burgeoning resistance movement is diverse and interconnected, including immigrant detention centers, women’s prisons and juvenile facilities. Last fall, women prisoners at Yuba County Jail in California joined a hunger strike initiated by women held in immigrant detention centers in California, Colorado and Texas.

Prisoners all across the country regularly engage in myriad demonstrations of power on the inside. They have most often done so with convict solidarity, building coalitions across race lines and gang lines to confront the common oppressor.

Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America’s prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand. We hope to end prison slavery by making it impossible, by refusing to be slaves any longer.

To achieve this goal, we need support from people on the outside. A prison is an easy-lockdown environment, a place of control and confinement where repression is built into every stone wall and chain link, every gesture and routine. When we stand up to these authorities, they come down on us, and the only protection we have is solidarity from the outside. Mass incarceration, whether in private or state-run facilities is a scheme where slave catchers patrol our neighborhoods and monitor our lives. It requires mass criminalization. Our tribulations on the inside are a tool used to control our families and communities on the outside. Certain Americans live every day under not only the threat of extra-judicial execution—as protests surrounding the deaths of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and so many others have drawn long overdue attention to—but also under the threat of capture, of being thrown into these plantations, shackled and forced to work.

Our protest against prison slavery is a protest against the school to prison pipeline, a protest against police terror, a protest against post-release controls. When we abolish slavery, they’ll lose much of their incentive to lock up our children, they’ll stop building traps to pull back those who they’ve released. When we remove the economic motive and grease of our forced labor from the US prison system, the entire structure of courts and police, of control and slave-catching must shift to accommodate us as humans, rather than slaves.

Prison impacts everyone, when we stand up and refuse on September 9th, 2016, we need to know our friends, families and allies on the outside will have our backs. This spring and summer will be seasons of organizing, of spreading the word, building the networks of solidarity and showing that we’re serious and what we’re capable of.

Step up, stand up, and join us.
Against prison slavery.
For liberation of all.

Find more information, updates and organizing materials and opportunities at the following websites:

-SupportPrisonerResistance.net

-FreeAlabamaMovement.com

-IWOC.noblogs.org