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In the ‘70s and ‘80s and throughout the ‘90s there was a strong progressive revolutionary prison movement throughout the state of Indiana. The two dominant and often competing political lines or ideologies were Revolutionary Nationalism or New Afrikan Communism as represented by the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) and Afrikan Internationalism as represented by the Afrikan People’s Socialist Party (APSP). Other tendencies were represented by Anarchists, Marxists and Maoists.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11, up to 40 immigrants detained at the now infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma began refusing meals, initiating a hunger strike in protest of the conditions they face. One detained activist listed the group’s demands as follows: “I am part of a group of detainees that are going to go on hunger strike as the only way to protest and shine a light on the abuses that we suffer here." This strike is the latest in a series of strikes protesting conditions inside the facility; the most recent mass strike began on Aug. 21 in conjunction with a national prison strike.
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.
The 13th Amendment reads in Section One: “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, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Understanding this contradictory character of the 13th Amendment sheds light on the utilization of the criminal justice system in the perpetuation of bondage for the purpose of institutional racism and class exploitation.
It is urgent that the security of Shaka Shakur and Jimmy Jones be ensured, but the only way is through mass pressure from the outside. IDOC Watch asks that people call Wabash Valley warden Richard Brown at 812-398-5050 and IDOC Commissioner Robert E. Carter Jr. at 317-232-5711. Say that you are aware that Shaka Shakur, 135647, is being charged for defending himself against mistreatment by guards and that Jimmy Jones, 891782, is facing repression for exposing the situation. Demand that charges against Shaka be dropped and all disciplinary action against Jones be ceased.
On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
The Justice Department plans to stop using privately run prisons that typically house undocumented federal inmates following a report finding they are less safe than those that are federally run, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced today. Stock prices of the country’s two biggest private prison companies – Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group – nosedived by nearly 25 percent this morning.
I am a 19-year-old Black male from Pittsburg, Penn. This is my first time being in a state prison. I was shot by a white male police officer in the leg and hip. I was falsely accused of a crime when I was minding my own business. I’ve been in prison a few months now for a two-year term. I was sent to the only jail in the state that specifically holds juveniles, called SCI Pine Grove. SCI Pine Grove is where they brainwash and dehumanize mainly Black children.
Afrikan Black Coalition Political Director Yoel Haile states: “This victory is historic and momentous. Divesting $25 million is a good step towards shutting down private prisons by starving them of capital. This is a clear example of Black Power and what we can achieve when we work in unity. This victory belongs to the masses of our people languishing behind America’s mass incarceration regime.”
Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced legislation on Thursday, Sept. 17, that promises to ban government contracts for privately run prisons and jails within three years. Implementing such a plan would be an ambitious effort, as it would give authorities more than 100,000 additional inmates to manage – the number held in private facilities as of 2013. The bill’s immigration provisions are similarly bold.
With President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration and the mass protests throughout the country against the grand jury acquittals of police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, it is more important than ever for Black and Latino communities to confront racism and the oppressive structures that deny our fundamental humanity and divide us into those who are worthy of justice and those who are not.
On Thursday, July 31, communities impacted by incarceration, immigrant detention and escalating violence against women and children will march to the site of a new women’s prison in McFarland to demand its immediate closure. Advocates will convene at McFarland Park, 100 Frontage Rd, McFarland, Calif., at 5 p.m. CDCR has contracted with the GEO Group to run the McFarland prison. The GEO group, like the state of California, has been challenged by prisoner hunger strikes, protests and lawsuits due to the deplorable and inhumane conditions of their facilities.
After a massive hunger strike inside the Tacoma Detention Center reached its 11th day, detainees found their effort spreading to other facilities inspired by their demands. Immigrants held at the Joe Corley Detention Center in Conroe, Texas, initiated their own fast in protest of their treatment at the facility run by the same company, the GEO Group, and as part of the nation-wide call for an end to deportations.
In the past year we have witnessed a succession of murderous assaults reflecting a common character structure: The authoritarian psychology: Jason Smith beaten to death by racists in Louisiana; Trayvon Martin murdered by a racist vigilante in Florida; Christian Gomez allowed to die on hunger strike by prison guards in California; 17 people, nine of them children, slaughtered in Afghanistan; Kendrec McDade slain by racist police in California; Gerardo Perez-Ruiz murdered by border vigilantes in Arizona.
On May 22, brave prisoners at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison began a hunger strike. A recently released prisoner discusses torture at Red Onion: “having your fingers broken, being bitten by dogs, being strapped to beds for days, being forced to defecate on yourself – I mean all of this has led to these men demanding to be treated as human beings.”
On Friday, a coalition of immigrant rights and Occupy activists temporarily shut down two branches of Wells Fargo Bank in Santa Rosa and distributed a flyer charging that Wells Fargo profits from the private prison business now booming on increased immigrant detention.
On Dia de Reyes, the Day the Three Kings, a false king was exposed. Wells Fargo is the king of private prison finance, heavily invested in two private prison corporations, Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group, which own a majority of the detention centers that house undocumented immigrants across the U.S.
“Imprisonment is an aspect of class struggle from the outset. It is the creation of a closed society which attempts to isolate those individuals who disregard the structures of a hypocritical establishment, as well as those who attempt to challenge it on a mass basis.” – Comrade George Jackson, field marshal of the Black Panther Party