Tag: prison industrial complex
Sept. 9, 2016, was the start of the largest prison strike in U.S. history. Over 72,000 incarcerated workers in 22 states refused to provide their labor to profit the prison industrial complex. California forces 5,588 incarcerated workers to labor in exchange for little or no compensation. Another 4,000 earn $2 a day fighting Californian wildfires with inadequate training and equipment. The prison system in California reaped $207 million in revenue and $58 million in profit from forced labor in 2014-15.
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.
On the surface, the recent “retirement” of the wardens from two of California’s women’s facilities appears to be a needed move in an effort to reform California’s violent correctional system. While many Californians are just beginning to agree that our Department of Corrections does more harm than good, many legal advocates and anti-prison activists have been fighting to make that very point from both inside and out of prison for years.
The Ashker decision was great, the five core demands are all good, but how come we are not writing our own regulations and attacking the “STG” scheme in totality? We know from its inception it was designed to isolate and entrap prisoners with the God given talent to awaken the prisoner class to the exploits of the system and provide those willing to organize for change with practical alternatives to prison enslavement.
My name is Jonelle, and I’m an Afrikan wombman living in amerikkka. I’m an active member of Guerrilla Mainframe, which is a grassroots organization based in Dallas, Texas, and an administrative assistant to George Jackson University. Last year was my first year getting involved with Black August, and I learned a lot about the resistance of the prison movement.
In the national debate ensuing from Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” some have not given credit to Angela Davis forging national interest in prison abolition with her organizing Critical Resistance campaigns across the country. With the nominal success of the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike in California, we recognize that when we organize a national determination, we can collectively force institutional change.
During the month of April, at least 100 of those incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, about an hour outside of Chicago, Illinois, participated in a boycott of the overpriced phone calls, commissary goods and vending machines. “Mass incarceration is a luxury business,” stated Patrick Pursley, one of the men who joined in the boycott. The boycott comes at a time of growing demonstrations led by those inside U.S. prisons.
In the wake of the failure and collapse of the U.S. imposed dictatorship of Michel Martelly in Haiti, and as conservatives from the U.S. to the U.K. are being investigated for fraudulent electoral practices, the grassroots people of Haiti continue to escalate their fight for liberation, solidarity and dignity. Rocking the streets with “Nou pap obeyi!” (“We will not obey!”) illegitimate officials imposed by foreign colonizers, Haitians have fought on all levels to return governance of Haiti to its people.
As elections near, voters face the choices before them with something like dread: Donald Trump: loud, bombastic, bellicose, rich as Croesus and xenophobic, or the presumptive Democratic nominee – unless Vermont’s Bernie Sanders manages to upend her – Hillary Rodham Clinton: slick as oil, flexible as a Slinky, bottled-blonde ambition and wife of the penultimate political animal, “Slick Willie” Clinton.
The Bernie Sanders platform spoke to me, and at the delegate caucus in Oakland, I was one of nine selected to represent Congressional District 13 for Bernie Sanders and my community. The Bernie Sanders platform relates to people like me faced with rising costs of living, disenfranchisement, gentrification and systemic racism. People who feel this pressure know it is not a radical idea to have a candidate like Sanders defending our issues and speaking truth to power.
For more than two decades, California’s Three Strikes Law has been criticized for being unfair, excessively punitive and in many ways strikingly irrational. There have been several measures implemented by Californians to fix this law, but it still remains unfair and excessive. Now, California voters have a chance to bring fairness to criminal justice policy along with making some common sense investments towards our future with The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2016.
Prison inmates around the country have called for a series of strikes against forced labor, demanding reforms of parole systems and prison policies, as well as more humane living conditions, a reduced use of solitary confinement and better health care. The strike’s organizers remain anonymous but have circulated fliers listing a series of grievances and demands and a letter articulating the reasons for the strike.
Our attention has been turned this week to Holman Prison in Alabama where rolling uprisings inside have led to prisoners taking control of certain areas of the prison. Prisoners have since released a set of demands including increased educational programs for prisoners, monetary damages for physical and mental abuse, and revoking the State’s 446 laws that – similar to Three Strikes laws – harden sentences for subsequent convictions.
Sen. Sanders, you have spoken out against the depredations of Big Pharma, refused to take donations from any of them, and call for “Medicare for all.” You’ve also spoken to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Currently in Pennsylvania there is a case before a federal court which embodies both of these battles, Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes. Mumia Abu-Jamal is suing to force the Department of Corrections to immediately provide him treatment with the Hep C drug.
In Texas we know that we are being exploited, mistreated, degraded and abused. Many prisoners in Texas are content with the modern day slave plantation system, which is managed and operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. However, many prisoners are not content; in fact they are frustrated and angry. The strategies utilized by prisoners in other states that have similar conditions to Texas don’t necessarily apply here.
“This conference that we are picketing ... is an obscene reflection of the reality of this country today, that the most important thing is money and profit and not human needs!” – Carole Seligman, speaking at the demonstration - It was in their fancy tailored suits and with suspicious eyes that big pharma CEOs and investors got interrupted by protestors and speeches such as the above as they came and went from the too-big-to-fail JP Morgan-sponsored conference on “health care” (read: profit care) at the elite Westin St. Francis hotel on Union Square in San Francisco on Monday, the 11th of January, 2016.
On Friday night, Jan. 15, many young people gathered outside of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church for the start of the “Reclaim MLK” weekend, a 96-hour action dedicated to non-violent protest against police terrorism and gentrification. During rush hour, “Reclaim MLK” protesters shut down the major intersection of Geary at Webster in the Fillmore, once San Francisco’s Black heartland.
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.”
“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” – Gandhi. Corrections Corporation of America and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the epitome of this quote, and it is not enough for those reading this to agree with the truths delineated herein.
Have you heard of the IEP? Well, it’s shorthand for special education. It is a program that is eating Black children, boys and girls at an alarming rate. Though it sounds benign and helpful, if too many of the children are Black, then there is a problem. It is a form of tracking; and any program that targets our children, puts them in a classroom where they are stigmatized by the larger student population (when they find out), is wrong.