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Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.
Censorship of the Bay View around the country appears to have become a habit, a way to kill the paper once and for all. We have physical evidence now that the major media can report on prison strikes and not be censored. If you are a lawyer, read these three protests from prisoners who want and need and deserve their papers and help if you can. If you are a prisoner who hasn’t received your paper, do some brainstorming with your comrades. Make a way out of no way – and tell us when you succeed.
I’ve been following the U.S. presidential debates very closely. As a Black man who also happens to be a Muslim with a mother who was originally from the Middle East, I am intrigued by this term “extreme vetting,” which is frequently used by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Maybe extreme vetting needs to be applied to the internal threat posed from rogue police.
This year at Holman in Atmore, Alabama, there have been five suicides in its segregation unit – more suicides or homicides than in its population. The latest was a mentally ill young man in his 20s. The conditions in the Administrative Segregation housing wings at the H.H. Coffield Unit located at Tennessee Colony, Texas are horrible, and these conditions have driven prisoners to suicide, approximately 13 deaths just this year! We need the broadest exposure of this horrifying trend.
The United States of America is presently home to 2 million active slaves and approximately 6 million documented as slaves for future use. You ask how the land of the free can be home to some 8 million slaves and why Americans know nothing about it? The answer is that Congress enacted the 13th Amendment in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It abolished slavery throughout the country but it allows all states to enslave all persons convicted of a crime.
These prison profiteers and imperialist oppressors aren’t feeling the recent show of power and solidarity among prisoners throughout AmeriKKKa. In the same manner, the FBI’s COINTELPRO sought to thwart the emergence of a Black Messiah, mass incarceration in Amerika seeks to sabotage the emergence of any movement which challenges the capitalist-imperialist plan to lock up, exploit, disenfranchise, poison and in some cases even kill the poorest cross-section of Amerikan society.
This is a public notice to all freedom fighters, activists and community leaders: SLAVERY IS NOT DEAD! Did the 13th Amendment abolish slavery? Ask anyone in the United States this question and they will answer most emphatically: Yes, of course it did. If you, the person reading this article and call to action, believe this as well, please allow me to inform you: You are wrong! Slavery is not dead! Rather than abolish slavery, the 13th Amendment LEGALIZED it!
Environmental injustices are forced upon people of color and disadvantaged minorities. This is a fact and not a subjective feeling or statement. Prison officials and ACA inspectors attempt to cover up and downplay the fact that numerous Texas prisons have contaminated water supplies and Texas Correctional Industries employees force prisoners to work in toxic environments. Does anyone think the U.S. government will intercede on our behalf?
I spend countless hours reading and scanning alternative newspapers, journals and magazines that provide a platform for prisoners who write. I don’t see many revolutionary essays or articles being written by female Texas prisoners. I know you all can’t be content with the conditions you are being housed under, and I know for a fact you are not being given the dignity and respect you deserve. So I must ask: “Why aren’t we hearing from you?”
On March 7, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love issued an order in the federal civil lawsuit brought by 89 prisoners housed at the Coffield Unit located in Tennessee Colony, Texas. The lawsuit challenges the fraudulent good time and work time credit scheme the state uses to defraud prisoners of their “work product” and exploit them in order to enrich the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, as well as their slave industries known as TCI, or Texas Correctional Industries.
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.
In the September 2015 edition of Prison Legal News, Panagioti Tsolkas of the newly formed Prison Ecology Project wrote a scathing article that shed light on a serious problem at a prison located in Navasota, Texas. Dangerous levels of arsenic have been found at the Wallace Pack Unit. “How could the American Correctional Association continue to give Wallace Pack Unit passing marks and rave reviews if the drinking water is contaminated with poison?”
Major George Tillery is a Pennsylvania lifer, 65, who confronted SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s deteriorating health. Prison authorities retaliated against Major Tillery – repeatedly ransacked his cell and denied him medical treatment for seeking medical assistance for Mumia and other prisoners. Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then falsely charged with drug possession, disciplined and given six months in “the hole.”
Greetings, brothers and sisters. This year in Texas we have seen a marked increase in the exposure of heinous acts of abuse and mistreatment perpetrated by state employees who work for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Behind the scenes, the prisoners responsible for this massive movement to combat injustice have become victims of retaliation and harassment at the hands of prison officials and, elected state government officials.
Now is the time for everyone to actively jump into the movement full force. We must mobilize the way we did in 1995 and 1999 to stop the execution. We must use all of our energy to immediately demand proper medical care for Mumia and push for his full release. Keep calling the heads of Corrections and of Mahanoy Prison. Contribute to Mumia's Emergency Medical Fund. All who can are urged to join the caravan Monday, April 6, to Corrections Secretary Wetzel's office. And all who cannot be there are urged to CALL 717-728-4109, especially before 8 a.m. Monday. See Sunday night update.
For many months here in Texas, Comrade Rashid, our minister of defense, and I have struggled hard to shed light on the heinous acts of barbaric violence perpetrated by Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees against prisoners of every race, nation and creed. If it was not for Dr. Willie and Sister Mary Ratcliff, publisher and editor of the San Francisco Bay View, revolutionary voices might never be heard by the public at large.
For the past four years, community activists and civil rights leaders in the Houston area have been fighting hard to establish a civilian review board with prosecutorial power over local police. The board would oversee the activities of a Houston Police Department (HPD) which has had a “love affair” with the use of excessive and lethal force on Houstonians. The problem with HPD is much larger than it appears and affects everyone in Houston.
Comrades, after nearly two years of 23-hour lockdown in Ad-Seg here in Texas, I have recently been released to general population. I spent close to one year on one of the most notoriously abusive high security units in Texas, the Estelle High Security Unit located in Huntsville. Unknown to the fascist oppressors who held me captive on Estelle, I kept meticulous records of the abuse and mistreatment I witnessed and fell victim to.
Comrades, today is the 8th of November 2013, and I must tell you that no sooner had the ink dried on the October San Francisco Bay View newspaper and the October-December issue of Turning the Tide than the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice waged an all-out attack on Comrade Kevin “Rashid” Johnson and myself.
Back when Mumia was a member of the Black Panther Party, he traveled west to work with the Oakland chapter – an important time in his evolution as a radical journalist. Now the story of his life and revolutionary times comes to The New Parkway Theater. Read about it and all of Wanda's Picks for March 2013.