by Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)
Sept. 14, 2016 – Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn’t know it, but the U.S. prison system is shaking up right now.
No one knows how big the initial strike was yet, but the information is slowly leaking out between the cracks in the prisons’ machinery of obscurity and isolation. Here are some speculative numbers we can share with confidence at this time:
At least 29 prisons were affected. These are places where either prisoners reported to outside supporters or where the authorities locked the institutions down probably because of protests. We expect this number to rise dramatically as we gather reports from prisoners and keep calling prisons in the coming days and weeks.
More than 24,000 prisoners missed work. The facilities experiencing full shutdowns that we know about hold approximately 24,000 prisoners. There are probably thousands more who didn’t work that we don’t know about, yet. Many still are not working today and intend to continue the strike until their demands are satisfied or the prisons break under the economic strain of operating without their slaves.
Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn’t know it, but the U.S. prison system is shaking up right now.
You can get up to date info and help IWOC research and improve their data by visiting this document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kyq-sEN5RRjWd9xDYp8Tq0U2zwquqTYHkGptnL-ZNbw/edit?usp=sharing.
Meanwhile, more than 60 cities across the U.S. and around the world lit up in solidarity with the prisoners. You can read and see pictures from some of the most exciting stories of protests on either side of the walls here: https://itsgoingdown.org/prisonstrike-resistance-to-slavery-across-the-world/.
A group of people cannot hurt the American empire as much as this protest is without facing retaliation. There were about a dozen arrests across the U.S., and hundreds or thousands of punitive transfers inside the prisons. IWOC inreach is maintaining a list of perceived leaders who have been targeted and isolated for Sept. 9 organizing. Please check out this list, write to these prisoners and let us know if there’s anyone missing: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AvLraNisdAp1N0enIg9keE_k9rvH7J9DZ3LKNr9pwcc/edit?usp=sharing.
IWOC has also created a phone zap system to help people keep constant pressure on prison officials and deter them from harming the organizers. https://goo.gl/forms/v3kTjt00s6ybO2Of1.
On the outside, most of the arrests were minor citations, but three protesters in Atlanta are facing serious felony charges. You can contribute to their legal fund here: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/bail-out-prison-strike-supporters.
Prisoner strikes and supporter protests sweep the nation
Atmore, Alabama, Sept. 12, 2016 – Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the Sept. 9 nationwide prisoner work stoppage and protest. Mothers and Families, the outside support organization for the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), rallied with drums and noisemakers outside of Holman Prison while workers kicked off their strike inside. “Officers are performing all tasks,” a prisoner texted outside supporters, indicating the prisoner work stoppage was successful.
Although the full extent of facilities participating in the strike will not be known for another two weeks, we have received early reports of work stoppage and resistance from Holmes, Gulf and Mayo units in Florida, Fluvanna Prison in Troy, Virginia, and unnamed units in North Carolina and South Carolina. Central California Women’s Facility, Oregon State Penitentiary and St. Cloud Correctional Facility in Minnesota were on lockdown in response to organizing on Friday.
Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the Sept. 9 nationwide prisoner work stoppage and protest.
Hundreds of prisoners started fires, attacked surveillance cameras and damaged the facilities at Kinross Correctional in Northern Michigan and Holmes Correctional in Florida. No one was seriously injured and prisoners are refusing to work.
There are confirmed hunger strikes underway in Wisconsin, Ohio, California and Guantanamo Bay. At Merced County Jail in Central California, family of inmates have reported that the hunger strikers were threatened with shotguns and dogs. In Ohio there are at least two prisons, Lucasville and Ohio State Penitentiary, where prisoners went on hunger strike beginning Sept. 9.
Prisoners at both Ohio prisons have reported being threatened with being stripped of their contact visits in retaliation for going on strike. We stand in solidarity with prominent U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who initiated a hunger strike on Sept. 9 to protest lack of adequate medical care for trans prisoners.
In Greece and across the U.S., protests occurred outside of jail, prison and immigrant detention centers. Three large banners were held up facing the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio, the site of a massive and deadly prisoner uprising in 1993. The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons rallied outside Buckeye State Prison in Arizona, one of many prisons where pollution and contaminated water harm prisoners.
U.S. Embassy protests occurred in England, Australia, Sweden and Germany. From Oregon to Florida and in between, companies profiting off prison were targeted by outside protesters, including Bank of America, McDonalds, Aramark, AT&T and Starbucks.
In Lansing, Michigan, protesters blocked a downtown intersection for hours with a large U-Haul truck. In New York City and Durham, North Carolina, they blocked freeways.
In Portland, Oregon, protesters disrupted an AT&T and McDonalds, both corporations which use prison labor, as well as held a noise demonstration outside a local jail; then they shut down traffic. There were arrests in Oakland, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia. Most were quickly released, but at least three protesters in Georgia are facing multiple felonies.
For an up-to-date list of institutions striking and solidarity actions, go to https://itsgoingdown.org/prisonstrike-resistance-to-slavery-across-the-world/. For a list of organizations endorsing the strike, go to https://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org/endorsements/.
To learn more and get involved, contact Azzurra Crispino, media co-chair of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) at 512-300-5559 or email@example.com.