Tag Archive: anti-prison

“We Remember” – Some Brief Accounts from Durham’s Ferguson Solidarity March, November 25th

IMG_20141125_233915The following is a series of vignettes from the march that took place in downtown Durham on Tuesday night, November 25th, in solidarity with the struggle in Ferguson. The march was promoted online as well as with handbills and posters distributed in the thousands all over the city, and occurred before and simultaneously with a rally organized by multiple leftist groups. This series of personal accounts does not seek to establish a linear or all-encompassing narrative of what occurred, so much as provide some impressions, sights, sounds, and emotional reactions.

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There’s not many of us at the front doors to the library, only a few pockets of people looking curious if they’re in the right place, but more show up soon. Eventually a large crowd of hundreds has gathered. Media people walk around asking, “Who organized this?” When it becomes clear no one plans to claim ownership of this moment, a series of older Black women start to speak. The topic is familiar: the fear of losing a son or brother, the cheapness of Black life in this shit world. One woman carrying a large white sign with pictures of her son, killed by cops in Winston-Salem, brings the crowd to tears. A bus driver still in her neon vest says a prayer, but she’s followed up by a young black man who’s visually enraged, screaming about how prayer isn’t gonna do it, that it’s “time to burn something.” Finally the crowd releases, cheers, claps, people scream “fuck yeah.” A young women I know only vaguely from weird Leftist circles confesses, “I’m ready to smash something.” Skaters show up. Another guy who I haven’t seen since the Trayvon marches shakes my hand. (more…)

“Silence Mumia Law” Protesters Drown Out PA Governor

mumiaFrom emajonline / By Betsey Piette

OCT 21, 2014

Lots of media were on hand Oct. 21 to record the moment when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett put his signature on the “Revictimization Relief Act” – dubbed the “Silence Mumia Law” by civil rights activists. The problem was that none of media could hear Corbett speak. Nearly 50 protesters standing a short distance away from Corbett’s press conference at 13th and Locust Sts in Philadelphia drowned him out with constant chants of “Our brother Mumia is under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” and “One term Tom!”

In what would seem to be a Hail Mary effort to revive his failing reelection bid, Corbett, his political business allies and the Fraternal Order of Police cynically set up shop on a sheltered portable stage at the location where Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner was shot and killed in Dec. 1981. Political activist and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who happened upon the scene, was framed by police for the shooting and subsequently served over 30 years on death row before being released into general prison population in 2011. Abu-Jamal maintains his innocence.

The same movement that has steadfastly fought to free Abu-Jamal responded with less than 24-hours notice to turn out on a weekday to confront the state’s latest effort to silence him. They were joined by prisoner rights groups and civil liberties forces that see the anti-Abu-Jamal law as a blanket attack on the constitutional rights of all prisoners, and a dangerous precedent at a time when more attention is focused on mass incarceration. (more…)

Means to a Means (Reflections from the Northwest on the Anti-Prison Struggle)

adx-florence-4-244x300From pugetsoundanarchists.org

In August of 2012 voters in king county approved a tax levy to fund the construction of a new Juvenile Detention Center at 12th and Alder. Those in opposition to this re-build began to organize themselves amid a flurry of activity and conversation. In the end, some posters went up, an anarchist analysis of the new project was published in the local anarchist periodical, a few meetings happened, a few noise demos? and then nothing but the same old activist strategies, the same old campaigns.

Recently a call has been issued for the re-emergence of an anarchist response to the construction of the new jail. This is an effort to begin to ask ourselves why and how we would answer this call. It is not an attempt create a program for struggle or an outline for how conflict should play out, but to share a process of reflection with a broader group of anarchists in the Seattle area. The struggle against prison society is comprised of many on- going and specific battles against existing prisons and attempts to disrupt the building of new jails and detention centers. We seek to reflect on some of the ways that conflict against prison society has manifested in the past and to apply lessons learned in the Northwest and elsewhere to the context that is unfolding before us. This text is our humble contribution towards the development of an ongoing project of (self) critical analysis and attack. (more…)

Solidarity shines brightly on New Year’s Eve

durham1From Amplify Voices

I think the protest on the 31st is an awesome idea. This jail is pretty messed up…It is as if it’s a game to them–’I wonder how much time I can take from them today?’ It’s pathetic.”–Durham jail prisoner

Me and my cell mate will be looking for you all on New Year’s Eve.” –another Durham prisoner

Prisoners at Durham County Detention Center saw and heard demonstrators on New Year’s Eve, as dozens of people joined together to drum, chant, dance, and light up the night sky and show their solidarity with those locked up in Durham and around the world. Carrying signs and banners with messages such as “Outside to Inside: You are not forgotten,” “Prison: Slave Ships on Dry Land,” “(Love) for All Prison Rebels,” and “Happy New Year to All Humans,” the demonstrators continued their percussion, dancing and skateboarding for nearly two hours, bringing tidings of love and rage to three different sides of the jail, to facilitate maximum exposure to inmates. In addition to the steady and raucous noise made by drums, pie tins, kazoos, and other noisemakers, a number of paper lanterns were launched into the night sky at different points in the evening, making for a beautiful scene and an apt metaphor: the fire of freedom burns strongly inside and outside for as far as the eye can see–and beyond.

“It was awesome,” a first-time New Year’s Eve demonstrator said afterward. “Everyone had a lot of energy, and the drums are really loud.”

(more…)