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Behind Enemy Lines

National Prison Strike: State retaliates against South Carolina prisoners in the wake of Hurricane Florence

September 17, 2018

Perhaps no demonstration has been more effective in illustrating the states’ inhumane treatment of prisoners than officials’ decision not to safely relocate incarcerated people trapped in the red zone area of Hurricane Florence’s path after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an evacuation order to citizens on Sept. 10. The state’s refusal to safely move prisoners out of the hurricane’s path is a blatant disregard to the humanity of those residing there dependent solely on the state’s protection.

Solidarity update: Continued resistance as a national coalition

September 16, 2018

The National Prison Strike flooded the media and transformed the national narrative surrounding prisoners’ human rights. While the symbolic end date of the national prison strike passed on Sunday’s 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising, prisoners take the lead in determining whether to continue striking depending on their individual circumstances at their institutions: some extending the call, others placing a new date on their call and even striking indefinitely.

Solidarity update: Second week of the National Prison Strike

September 8, 2018

Prisoners have been staying strong throughout these weeks of the prison strike. Thank you all for your support in this movement to end mass incarceration and prison slavery as well as to bring livable conditions to the living and work spaces of incarcerated individuals in the United States. This has been a monumental effort and our success is being recorded as we speak. Don’t get tired; don’t allow prisoners to get tired. We must continue to fill them with energy as they strike. You all are doing amazing work and I’m incredibly thankful and honored to be among you.

Your first day of prison is your last day of being human

August 29, 2018

Your first day of prison is your last day of being human. Your life is no longer yours. You are now state property. You BELONG to them now, and they hate you. They don’t recognize your humanity or dignity. You’re locked in crowded holding pens, forced to piss and shit without modesty. You’re stripped butt naked in front of everyone else and forced to show the guard your asshole.
You’re shackled, hands and feet, to others like a human centipede of anguish and hopelessness. You no longer have a name but you’re given a number, a catalog number.

Reports back from the first week of the 2018 National Prison Strike

August 29, 2018

Prisoners are rising up in institutions across the country – and now internationally – in protest of the living and working conditions in the prisons. The first week of the strike has just come to an end and we have seen a substantial wave of success. The mainstream media attention on the strike has been monumentally greater than we have ever seen in the past. Along with this, the public narrative towards prisoners has changed dramatically. The public eye is focused on securing and protecting prisoners’ rights. We are also committed to highlighting the injustices that are inherent to our criminal justice system.

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Nelson Mandela Day: Building a new type of unity

August 28, 2018

The basis for the Prison Lives Matter Campaign and this demonstration is not only to shed light on the poor treatment and inhumane living conditions that prisoners are subjected to, although we know this is the initial motivating factor for most families and supporters who get involved with the prison movement and demonstrations such as this one. However, the objective is to tie this struggle into our overall class and national struggle against racist capitalist-imperialist domination and exploitation of the proletariat.

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Large turnout for San Quentin action in support of National Prison Strike

August 27, 2018

A diverse crowd of around 500 mostly young activists turned out for a rally Aug. 25 at San Quentin Prison. Most came from Oakland, many in two chartered buses, but sizable contingents traveled from San José, Santa Cruz and San Francisco as well. Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a key organizer of the rally, along with Prisoners Human Rights Coalition, CA, and many other Bay Area activist groups, including Party for Socialism and Liberation, helped publicize the action. The idea for the strike originated with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, an incarcerated group of prisoner rights advocates.

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Lansing and Chicago on the march as National Prison Strike grows

August 23, 2018

Community members, formerly incarcerated people and anti-prison activists marched today through downtown Lansing to raise awareness about the 2018 national prisoner strike that began two days ago on Aug. 21, and will continue through Sept. 9. The national action is organized and led by prisoners around the country who have already begun engaging in hunger strikes, work stoppages and other actions to protest their inhumane living conditions. Their demands include “an immediate end to prison slavery” as well as various other demands related to sentencing reform and racism.

Palestinian prisoners’ message of solidarity to U.S. National Prison Strike

August 22, 2018

The following statement was released by the Palestinian prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, jailed by Zionist colonialism for their role in struggling for the freedom of their people. They are among nearly 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned by the Israeli occupation today. Their solidarity comes to extend fists of resistance and hands of unity through prison bars to support the U.S. National Prison Strike, beginning Aug. 21.

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Comrade Malik exposes nationwide political repression program

August 22, 2018

First and foremost, I send out a clenched fist salute to all of the women and men incarcerated across the United States who stood up on Aug. 21 and who continue to do so! Without your sacrifice there will be no change. oppressors and enemies of freedom are waging an aggressive war and assault against any individuals or organizations that have defined themselves as anti-imperialists and/or prison abolitionists. This illegal and unconstitutional ”program” is a nationwide program enacted by the U.S. Department of Justice! Ol’ racist Jeff Sessions is at it again!

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Nationwide Prison Strike, Day 2

August 22, 2018

The prisoner strike has been underway for more than 24 hours now. In the first day we got word of actions coming out from the prisons from Halifax, Nova Scotia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, and Folsom Prison in California reported strike action. We saw outside solidarity actions in at least 21 cities around the U.S. and as far abroad as Leipzig, Germany. We saw Palestinian political prisoners give a statement of solidarity from their prisons in occupied Palestine. Those of us who have been coordinating media relations on the outside have been overwhelmed by the number of reporters and outlets who are covering the strike.

Woman in labor screaming for help in Santa Rita Jail ignored, baby born on cold concrete floor

August 20, 2018

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) and a for-profit health care provider it contracted to provide medical services to inmates at the Santa Rita county jail are being sued for failure to provide medical care to a pregnant inmate, locking her in an isolation cell even as she was in “the throes of childbirth” and ignoring her screams for help, according to a new federal civil rights lawsuit filed here Aug. 20.

NFL players: Adopt-a-federal-prisoner for President Trump’s pardon

August 19, 2018

Trump declared that he would give a presidential pardon and release any federal prisoner presented to him by a NFL player who may be innocent, unduly convicted or have an unjust sentence. So, NFL players, adopt a federal prisoner for President Trump’s pardon. It might not end mass incarceration or stop Attorney General Jeff Beauregard Sessions from turning back the clock on social justice, but it surely would save some lives that otherwise would die in prison. Besides, it’s a win-win situation for NFL players and President Trump. What do you got to lose?

Rally in solidarity: Join the California Hunger Strikes’ four ‘main reps’ in court Aug. 21

August 17, 2018

Rally at the San Francisco Federal Courthouse while the four California prisoner hunger strike and Ashker class representatives meet and confer* with CDCr to address the continuing solitary conditions that violate the Ashker lawsuit settlement agreement. The four prisoner hunger strike representatives will be present in the courtroom, an historic presence! Help create a strong show of solidarity with prisoners fighting for human rights! Join the rally outside the courthouse on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, 11:30 a.m., at the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco.

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Political prisoner of war Robert Seth Hayes paroled after 45 years

August 9, 2018

Having been incarcerated since 1973, original Black Panther activist Robert Seth Hayes, 69, was released on parole last Tuesday. He joins a short list of revolutionaries from the 1960s and 1970s who are now hitting New York’s streets as elderly men after spending decades in the belly of the beast, simply for fighting for their freedom. Hayes denied participating in the June 1973 Bronx shooting death of New York Transit cop Sidney Thompson, but he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life nonetheless.

Imam Hasan locked down in runup to nationwide strike, on hunger strike since July 28

August 4, 2018

On Friday, July 27, Siddique Abdullah Hasan was locked down on a conduct report signed by Brian Wittrup at Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) central office which referred to him speaking on and receiving information about the upcoming prison strike. It wasn’t until late Monday evening, July 30, that supporters were finally able to hear from Hasan himself via an attorney phone call with Staughton and Alice Lynd.

Black August: The power of prisoner-led organizing

August 3, 2018

“Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will die or live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love of Revolution. Pass on the torch. Join us, give your life for the people.” – George Jackson

The Rehabilitation Initiative: Bring back parole to Illinois

August 1, 2018

Does anyone notice what’s terribly wrong in Illinois prisons? I’ll tell you. In my opinion, not enough energy is being invested into the fight to bring back parole. Let’s combat the stigma that long-term sentences create, by revealing that redemption and personal transformation is a possible reality for every human being who chooses that path. The pursuit of freedom is our common purpose and it’s far greater than everything that divides us – so let’s fight for parole.

Deadly extreme heat and deliberate indifference inside Texas prisons

July 25, 2018

A settlement has been reached in the Pack Unit lawsuit, and air conditioning will be installed temporarily during the summer months, until the Texas legislature allocates funding for the installation of permanent AC units. Last year, I attempted to file a motion on behalf of myself and all Texas prisoners who are similarly situated to the prisoners at the Pack Unit. The Texas Civil Rights Project, based out of Houston, requested that I withdraw the motion because it had the potential of delaying relief for Pack Unit prisoners.

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SHU-shifting update: Relief finally granted to California prisoners experiencing ongoing isolation

July 21, 2018

On July 3, a critical ruling issued in Ashker v. Brown (aka Ashker v. Governor, Docket No. 4:09-cv-09-5796 CW (N.D. Cal.)), the federal class-action lawsuit challenging indefinite solitary confinement in California. The ruling, issued by Presiding Judge Claudia Wilken, granted Plaintiffs’ appeal on a motion challenging the ongoing conditions of extreme isolation endured by many class members.

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