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The lockdown of 47,000 prisoners in all 25 Pennsylvania prisons began Aug. 29, 2018, and lasted for 12 days. Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary John Wetzel backed by Gov. Tom Wolf said the lockdown was an emergency measure to protect prison guards. They claimed there was widespread illness of guards from physical contact with synthetic drugs. This is false. The lockdown looks like it was a planned pre-emptive action so that the National Prison Strike didn’t spread to Pennsylvania prisons. The “drug emergency” was a pretext to isolate, repress and control prisoners.
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.
On May 4, former Black Panther Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald agreed to a five-year denial of parole instead of insisting on a parole hearing, even though he has served more time than any former Black Panther still behind bars: 49 years. Chip is now 67 years old and living with the consequences of a stroke; his friends and family fear he will die in prison. He has been moved from one state prison to another over the years and is currently in the California State Prison-Los Angeles. I spoke to his lawyer, Charles Carbone, whose office is in San Francisco.
Trust the truth: Neither slavery nor Jim Crow is over. As you can see, the 13th Amendment perpetuates slavery through its exception clause, and Black life still don’t matter, not just personally, but by law. Jim Crow is being kept alive through systemic impunity. When you let a certain group know that they are above the law, that they can do as they please to other people and they will be protected, you create sadists, bullies and ruffians.
So tell your little neo-fascist friends – who have no life outside of what revolves around these prison plantations – that they’re right. As long as we have sick individuals who have lost touch with their own sense of humanity, who play with and destroy our lives, who refuse to see us as human beings deserving of respect, I’m going to keep on so-called snitching! Now, go tell, gossip, chat about that!
I would like to share my thoughts and some solutions to inmate pay. More and more people need to start filing grievances, doing legal work and writing state legislators in regards to our pay – peacefully. What has happened to me in the 20 years since our pay was last increased? Tobacco has gone up 600 percent, the average costs of food has gone up 300 percent, the price of TVs have doubled, more money is being made from the tablets, and the sizes of products have gone down while the prices go up.
In the netherworld of American prisons, one must jettison any medical assumptions one brings in from the so-called “free” world. We have been conditioned to see nurses as sweet sources of solace and doctors as people dedicated to healing the sick and easing our pains. In prison, new rules govern medicine and care. Here, money is master; the ill are all but ignored. This may seem harsh but, I must assure you, reality is even harsher.
Despite scant media coverage, the largest prison strike in history is entering its third week. Retaliation is rampant, both against the organizers in prison and against the Bay View for spreading the word. The Free Alabama Movement that started the prison-strikes-to-end-slavery campaign is defeating a violent divide-and-conquer scheme to turn prisoner against prisoner with a Peace Summit, reminiscent of the Agreement to End Hostilities in California, which this month is entering its fifth year of keeping the peace.
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.
Though on paper they took Mumia off death row, it seems like the government has opted to passively murder the activist under the cloak of bureaucratic immunity. The state seems intent to allow the Hepatitis C to “progress” until Mumia dies. This is just another case of murder by the hands of a racist system. They are content to cut costs by denying us proper healthcare. They’re killing our OGs y’all. Look at what they are doing to Mumia!
It was an amazing day in Scranton, Penn., with more than 100 people inside and outside the courtroom. Folks joined us from all over the East Coast. The judge, Robert Mariani, began by reading an excerpt from the papers Mumia filed with the court, citing the life threatening conditions he suffered when he was hospitalized on March 30, 2015. The judge referred to those conditions as “serious,” signaling to all in attendance that he meant business.
On Dec. 9, 2015, in cities around the world, supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal marked his 34th year of wrongful incarceration. Finally, on Dec. 18, we have a rare, one-time opportunity to get Mumia the medical attention he desperately needs. U.S. Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani will conduct an extensive public hearing on Mumia’s medical crisis and has asked for testimony from Mumia. Credit for this victory is due in no small part to the public outcry.
Prisons are closing in Virginia. Officials say they can’t afford to keep them open. We need to get the Virginia Department of Corrections to make some changes, because although we are incarcerated and have been convicted of crimes that have led us to where we are, I’d like to be treated like a human, not an animal. If we continue to voice our opinions, hopefully it’ll eventually make something happen. Until then, same fight, different cage.
They are called the Dallas 6 – and we ain’t talking about Texas. Dallas, in Pennsylvania, is one of nearly 30 prisons in the state, located in its rural outback. The six are young Black men who, in 2010, tried to stage a peaceful protest in the prison’s “hole,” its solitary confinement unit. The Dallas 6 are potentially facing more prison time for refusing to submit to torture, for men have died, in America, while strapped into the torture chair.
Often when citizens of this nation think of “state repression,” images of Egypt, North Korea, Apartheid Palestine or Nazi Germany immediately spring to mind. U.S. state controlled media has become practiced at flooding our airwaves and attitudes with images of violent retaliation and systematic repression of dissent in other nations as a means to obfuscate the U.S. state’s engagement in identical activity in its own society.
A mass prisoner hunger strike rocked California’s prison system this past summer, drawing international attention to the extensive use of solitary confinement in the United States. Nearly all of the attention, however, has focused on solitary confinement in men’s prisons; much less is known about the conditions and experiences inside women’s prisons.
We were labeled as a security threat group in 1995 in state prison, despite the fact that our God-Centered Culture was established in the free world in 1964 by our educator, Allah. Our God-Centered Culture also has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status like any religion under the First Amendment, but because we teach that the Black man is God and the Black woman is Earth and the white man is devil, as a collective we were deemed a threat.
There’s a growing national consensus that, as Attorney General Eric Holder stated in August, “too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason.” Despite the heavy toll that mass incarceration exacts every day and in countless ways on many American communities the topic attracts remarkably little consistent coverage in the mainstream media.
This next phase of the struggle will require the power of the people more than ever. We have to work with and urge our representatives in the legislature to ensure changes are made in the interest of imprisoned people, their loved ones, their communities – in the interests of humanity. We must put an end to solitary confinement. There is no place for indefinite solitary confinement in a civilized society. Let the Department of Corrections know torture will not be tolerated here.
In recent times there has been an avalanche of misrepresentations, deceit, cover-ups and outright lies waged against the truth as it relates to prisoners and what is really going on out of the eyesight of the public. Now the SHU class is uniting to say enough with the deception and untruth, enough of the cruel and unjust treatment at the hands of corrupt administrators working to maintain this profitable system adverse to human life.
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