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US Prisoners Call for Coordinated Work Stoppage

United States – Last Friday prisoners across the US released a call to action announcing a nationally coordinated prisoner protest on the anniversary of the Attica prison uprising. On the heels of a similar announcement of an April 4th workstoppage issued by Texas prisoners, the call to action states that “[s]lavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won’t be anymore.” It calls for prisoners to “to stop being a slave, to let the crops rot in the plantation fields, to go on strike and cease reproducing the institutions of your confinement.”

The coordinated strike is called for September 9th 2016, the forty-fifth anniversary of the most infamous prisoner revolt in US history. The announcement references Attica repeatedly, comparing recent upsurge of prisoner protest movements (from historic workstoppages in Georgia and Alabama to massive hunger strikes in California) to the years of prisoner unrest surrounding the flashpoint of the Attica rebellion.

Every state’s corrections department utilizes prisoner labor to reduce overhead costs by either requiring prisoners to maintain the facilities, or outsourcing their cheap labor to a wide variety of private contractors. Many corporations, from Honda, to McDonalds, to Whole Foods pay departments of correction for the cheap labor of their prisoners. If the coordinated workstoppages are successful the cost of operating prisons across the country would skyrocket overnight, throwing State budgets and the political system into crisis.

The call speaks directly to prisoners, encouraging them to protest and refuse to be slaves any longer, but it also speaks to activists, friends and families outside of prison, describing the coming workstoppage as “a protest against the school to prison pipeline, a protest against police terror, a protest against post-release controls.” These supporters are encouraged to participate in “organizing… spreading the word, building the networks of solidarity.”

The call was issued collectively by anonymous prisoners claiming to represent “one voice, rising from… Virginia to Oregon.” Various websites released the call simultaneously, including SupportPrisonerResistance.net and iwoc.noblogs.org, the website of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a subcommittee of the revolutionary labor union the Industrial Workers of the World, or IWW.

Activists associated with those websites have promised ongoing support for the prisoner’s activities leading up to and following the September 9th action date. They plan to create regional convergences, protest rallies, and a widespread general education campaign around issues of prison slavery and mistreatment.

The full announcement can be found at SupportPrisonerResistance.net and iwoc.noblogs.org

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2016 at 5:46 pm and is filed under Prison Struggle.