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“It takes the hood to save the hood” is the bold quote written on the shirts of the strong male and female organizers involved in United Playaz (UP), a San Francisco based 20-plus-year-old organization founded by Rudy Corpuz with a focus on youth development and violence prevention. UP’s engagement with the community is motivated by the needs of the people. United Playaz is a diamond in our community, shining light through every aspect of its mission at every level.
Today as I write this article I am sitting in one of Alabama’s prisons looking around at the many lost, confused and content slaves who occupy the overcrowded slave quarters called Alabama Department of Corrections. The task that I, Brother Ra Sun and Kinetic Justice have before us is to convince these brothers on today’s modern day plantations; they are still slaves, made applicable by the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution, and are contributing to their enslavement. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to find the best way to do that.
The people who organized the country’s biggest prison strike against what they call modern-day slavery have planned their next target: corporate food service giant Aramark. The $8.65 billion company is one of the country’s largest employers and serves food to more than 100 million people a year. It also provides meals for more than 500 correctional facilities across the country and has been the subject of complaints about maggots and rocks, sexual harassment, drug trafficking and other employee misconduct.
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.
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.
Sept. 9, 2016, is the day that many people in America are wholeheartedly organizing, mobilizing, taking action, standing and locking arms in solidarity against what we know as prison slave labor – yes, legalized slavery – and people are saying, “No more!” Even though there are many taking action and answering the call to cure this particular ill of society, there is an overwhelmingly larger portion of the U.S. population who are absolutely clueless to the fact that slavery still exists.
On Sept. 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Sept. 9, 1971, Attica Rebellion, the Free Alabama Movement kicks off the National Non-Violent and Peaceful Prison Shutdown for Civil and Human Rights at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama. After launching its movement in 2014 with the first coordinated work stoppages and shutdowns in Alabama prison history, Free Alabama Movement issued a call in 2015 for the first coordinated nationwide prison work strike in U.S. history.
On the 8th of July, 2010, the people of the world took to the streets of Oakland to make our displeasure felt at the non-verdict delivered to the killer cop who assassinated Ancestor-Warrior Spirit Oscar Grant III in cold blood on a BART platform a year and a half ago, 1 January 2009. And it wasn’t “outside agitators” who consistently outflanked and outmanned the so-called finest of several different police departments – most of whom were definitely from outside of Oakland. It was thousands and thousands of us who don’t have shit. It was the lumpen proletariat that George Jackson spoke of.