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On Aug. 21 until Sept. 9, there was supposed to be a nationwide protest within the penal system. Aug. 21 is the anniversary of Black Panther Gen. George Jackson being killed by the pigs and Sept. 9 is the anniversary of the 1971 Attica Rebellion. Mr. Jackson was a true revolutionary and the Attica Rebellion was a revolutionary time in history. The people have no idea of class struggle.
Across Amerika, home of the world’s largest prison population, growing numbers of the imprisoned are coming to realize that they are victims of social injustice. Foremost, they are victims of an inherently predatory and dysfunctional capitalist-imperialist system, which targets the poor and people of color for intensified policing, militaristic containment and selective criminal prosecutions, while denying them access to the basic resources, employment and institutional control needed for social and economic security.
As the snowbirds arrived in Florida along with the mild January breezes, a small uprising of laborers who work under lock and key stopped production and made demands. This coordinated struggle was carried out by members of one of the most violently exploited groups in America: incarcerated workers. Inmates at 17 Florida prisons launched the labor strike, calling themselves “Operation PUSH,” to demand higher wages and the reintroduction of parole incentives for specific groups of inmates.
It’s been a hard silence for the past five days since Operation PUSH launched a statewide prisoner strike in the Florida Department of Corrections prison system (FDOC or FDC) coinciding with Martin Luther King Day. Information from prisoners is coming in at a much slower pace than people on the outside had anticipated, but reports are slowly and steadily making their way through the walls, despite many obstacles.
There is one place in the U.S. where slavery is still constitutionally legal: in prisons. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in 1864, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. But prisoners held in this enslavement are organizing resistance. Brave prisoners within the Florida state prison system have organized themselves into a month-long work strike called Operation Push. It began on Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Day. In a phone interview, an anonymous prisoner-activist specifically linked the strike to King’s legacy of protest against racism and economic injustice.
The following message is from a group of prisoners who are spread throughout the Florida Department of Corrections. It was sent anonymously and compiled from a series of letters received on Nov. 26 and 27. According to their statement, these prisoners plan to initiate a work stoppage or “laydown” beginning Monday, Jan. 15, coinciding with Martin Luther King Day, in nonviolent protest of conditions in Florida prisons. They are calling it Operation PUSH.
Nine people were killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, co-founded by Denmark Vesey, whose rebellion was planned for June 17, 193 years ago. Victims included South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of the historic church. This is nothing short of a terrorist assassination. Watch the videos updating this story, including President Obama's eulogy of Pastor Pinckney on June 26 and the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds by a Black woman, Bree Newsome on June 27.
Rev. Jesse Jackson led a delegation to the Hewlett Packard annual shareholder meeting on March 19, calling attention to the lack of minority inclusion in Silicon Valley. He emphasized the virtual absence of African Americans in corporate boardrooms, corporate suites, financial transactions, advertising and professional services. The following day, he met with community leaders in the East Palo Alto city offices.