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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 purpose of this press release is to notify prisoners, community organizers and all those who care of the upcoming Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C., scheduled for Aug. 19, 2017. This is a national effort to bring world attention to the 13th Amendment enslavement clause, its ramifications, and to solidify organizing efforts to amend it. In essence this is an abolitionist movement to abolish legalized enslavement.
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.
On Labor Day here at the William P. Clements Unit, a prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, the prisoners awoke to a late breakfast: a single PBJ sandwich, a small bowl of dry cereal and no beverage. This grossly inadequate meal, which is our common fare during institution-wide lockdowns, signaled that a weeks- or months-long lockdown was in effect. Hunger pangs set in almost immediately.
Prisoners in Alabama, Texas and many other states have coordinated and released a call for a national prison strike on Sept. 9, 2016, the 45-year anniversary of the Attica Rebellion. In their call, the prisoners declare, “On Sept. 9 of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State’s most notorious prison. On Sept. 9 of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.”
Despite being held in solitary confinement for years, men known as Kinetik, Dhati and Brother M, primary leaders of the Free Alabama Movement, have been instrumental in organizing a statewide prison work stoppage in Alabama that began on Sunday, May 1. Alabama prisoners who have been on strike over unpaid labor and prison conditions are accusing officials of retaliating against their protest by starving them.
I was pleased to read about the current talk of creating a political action committee (PAC) for prisoners. There was a time when I despised the whole oppressor political apparatus, but I was lucky enough to have comrades who explained that there is nothing wrong with being involved in local politics because these are the ways that we can transform our communities at the current stage in our struggle.