Tag Archive: North Carolina

Raleigh: Anarchists, Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation Join Up to Protest NC Prisons

(from anarchistnews.org)

Roughly 60 protesters gathered yesterday in the freezing cold rain at the headquarters of the NC Division of Prisons in Raleigh to show our anger and resentment towards the prison system, and solidarity with prisoners struggling on the inside. The crowd represented folks from multiple cities, and in addition to anarchists and anti-prison activists was co-organized with and brought out about 25 members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, a street organization with several members on the inside in NC.  (more…)

Ex Libris: a film about the Internationalist Prison Books Collective

One of our collective members made this 10 minute documentary on our group and we wanted to share it with all of y’all. Enjoy!

From the Description:

Ex Libris is a Latin phrase meaning “from the library of…” It is intended to be followed by someone’s name or the name of the library to which the book belongs. But standing alone, “Ex Libris” expresses the potential for literature to be nomadic, to shift between owners and for the Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective, the physical exchange of books between those both inside and outside prison walls also means the sharing of a greater vision.

The people you will see featured are some of the group’s core and equal members who are supported by a rotating door of volunteers.

The Collective formed five years ago to send books to prisoners in Mississippi, Alabama, and North Carolina. This piece is a small sketch of what the Collective does and how it operates. It does not and cannot unfold the story of the prison industrial complex although the collective’s work is an effort against the PIC. For that reason, this video focuses on what these volunteers do and how much work is put into the project. The reasons why they do it are for you to research and explore.

Anti-Prison Demo Targets Windsor, NC

On Saturday, March 12th, the same day as a national call-in to the NC Division of Prisons, about two dozen anarchists amassed outside Bertie CI in Windsor, NC, a prison facing a tense upswing in radical thought and action. Facing two layers of barbed wire fencing and a row of solitary confinement cells, we banged on drums, blew whistles, screamed chants, and held up several gigantic banners reading “Against Prisons” and “Hands Off James Graham.” (Graham is one of several prisoners in Windsor facing punishment for his role in organizing there.) (more…)

Hands Off NC Rebels: National Call-In Day Part 2

Hands Off NC Prison Rebels: National Call-In Day

On Saturday March 12, there will be a national call-in day to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, in solidarity with prison rebels across the state, and in particular those facing repercussions for organizing study groups and collective actions at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, NC.

Organizing in Windsor has happened alongside the now famous rebellion in Georgia, where in mid-December of 2010 prisoners organized the largest coordinated prison strike in US history. For six days, in at least six facilities across the state, thousands of prisoners refused to work in response to the brutality and indignity of prison. Anarchists and radicals responded with call-in days and solidarity demonstrations outside of jails and prisons in their own towns. Similar tactics, low-risk but diffuse and constant, were recently used to great success in conjunction with a hunger strike by four Ohio prisoners on death row for their role in the Lucasville prison rebellion. (more…)

Hands Off NC Prison Rebels: National Call-In Day

(from anarchist news…)

On Wednesday February 23rd, there will be a national call-in day to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, in solidarity with prison rebels across the state, and in particular those facing repercussions for organizing study groups and collective actions at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, NC. (more…)

Chapel Hill News: Anarchists Take Root

(originally published in the Chapel Hill News)
BY LYNDA-MARIE TAURASI, CORRESPONDENT
CARRBORO – Pass any papered utility pole from Carrboro to downtown Chapel Hill, and you’ll see traces of their presence: The anarchists are everywhere.”You cannot avoid us. Even if you don’t like us, you know we’re there because our posters are [expletive] everywhere,” said self-proclaimed anarchist and Carrboro resident Neal Richards.Flip through a Merriam-Webster’s dictionary for the term “anarchist,” and you’ll find a person who rebels against authority. Delve deeper into the history of Anarchism and you’ll find a political philosophy far more complex than the idealistic, fringe group today’s anarchists are often dismissed as being.  (more…)

Durham Herald-Sun: New Wave of Prison Revolts Likely

(originally printed in the Durham Herald-Sun)

By Neal Richards
Guest columnist

Sometimes big news can happen right under your nose and you won’t hear about it. I spend much of my free time working with an organization called the Prison Books Collective, a Chapel Hill-based group that sends reading materials to prisoners and publishes their writing. And yet it took a hurried text message from a friend to hear about what is probably the biggest prison strike ever to occur in the United States.

Starting on Dec. 9, thousands of prisoners spanning six different facilities across Georgia refused to leave their cells to go to work. In protest of forced work without pay, poor food and health treatment, and a variety of other grievances, prisoners united across racial, religious and gang loyalties to self-organize a massive rebellion coordinated primarily by word of mouth and phone.

After six days of lockdown, during which guards turned off the prisoners’ heat and water and beat up suspected leaders, the prisoners decided to end their strike. The strikers have pledged to take further action if their demands are not met soon. One prisoner was quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying, “We did it peacefully and tried to do it the right way. But these guys are to the point that if this [the protest] don’t work, they’re going to go about it the way they know best [with violence].”

Despite relative media silence around the strike, word has spread, and supporters around the country have expressed solidarity with numerous demonstrations outside prisons. On Dec. 17, a demonstration occurred outside Raleigh’s Central Prison, with protesters banging on drums and holding signs that read “Love for All Prison Rebels” and “Solidarity with the Georgia Strikers.”

The Georgia strike is not just a rebellion against inhumane conditions, but also against a society that locks up more of its inhabitants per capita than any other country in the world. Historically, and particularly in the South, systems of incarceration and policing have been directly inherited from chattel slavery; two of the oldest prisons we send books to literally started as plantations. These systems thus extend beyond prison to the methods of policing and surveillance that permeate our daily lives. The solidarity demonstrations are not surprising: A rebellion against prison is bound to expand in a society in which workplaces and neighborhoods increasingly resemble prisons.

Every week, I correspond with prisoners around the South as part of my work with the Prison Books Collective. Based on what I’ve seen, this strike represents the beginning of a new wave of prisoners’ self-organizing. Considering that the American prison population has grown from roughly 300,000 to nearly 2.4 million people since the last wave of prison rebellions in the early 1970s, the next wave of revolt is bound to be deeper and more widespread.

For those of us who are troubled by this prospect, it is high time to reevaluate everything we think we know about crime, punishment and policing.

Neal Richards is based in Chapel Hill.

Locals Show Solidarity with Georgia Strikers

(from the News and Observer)

RALEIGH — About 30 protesters gathered Friday outside Central Prison to show support for the prisoners inside and to draw attention to a prison strike in Georgia.

Members of various Triangle activist groups, including the Chapel Hill Prison Books Collective and Raleigh F.I.S.T., banged drums and blew whistles in an effort to make enough noise that prisoners inside could hear them. They carried signs with messages that included “Support Georgia prison rebels” and “Free all prisoners, jail all cops.”

According to news reports, prisoners at several Georgia prisons this week used smuggled cell phones to coordinate nonviolent protests against their conditions. Prisoners refused to leave their cells or show up for work, with a lack of pay at the top of their list of complaints. In Georgia, prisoners are not paid for their work.

Editor’s note: This demonstration was one of many that have occurred all over the country outside of jails, prisons, and other state facilities.