Tag Archive: work strike

Update from Alabama: 3-Part Plan of Action

Full article

Re-posted on

Free Alabama Movement is planning activities around our Three-Point Plan of Action for the remainder of 2016. We will be promoting this plan in conjunction with preparations for the September 9 Attica Anniversary Protest events around the country.

The three points derive from some of the main issues that are contributing factors to mass incarceration and the Industrialized Prison Complex that promotes neo-slavery in America. In Alabama, we are seeking action on these three issues:

1) Excessive overcrowding and the need for an immediate mass release. Alabama’s prison population must be reduced down to design capacity ;

2) Revisions and fundamental changes to Alabama’s habitual felony offender act;

3) Establishing “automatic” or mandatory parole criteria that will remove discretion from the parole board in parole decisions for  qualified individuals.

20160612213929-FreeAlabama-Sept9

It is essential to the effective  implementation of these objectives that we step up our organizing and activism, esp. around the State of Alabama. This will include participation in the FREEDOM TOUR 2016 protests that are being scheduled and lead by Mothers And F.A.M.ilies, Inc., as well as the event being scheduled in Dothan, Alabama on August 27, 2016, by The Ordinary People Society.

The FREEDOM TOUR 2016 will be conducting protests statewide and conducting at least one demonstration at EVERY prison in the state of Alabama, to organize and then mobilize families and to bring awareness to the problems plaguing the Alabama prison system and the solution to these problems.

Join us today in this struggle for freedom and justice mobilize Alabama and join the National Freedom Movement to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery.

Radical Philosophy and the Free Alabama Movement

famBy Lisa Guenther/From Truth Out

Last summer, thousands of prisoners in California launched a 60-day hunger strike to protest and transform oppressive policies in the California Department of Corrections. One member of the organizing team called their strike action a “multi-racial, multi–regional Human Rights Movement to challenge torture.”

This weekend, another prisoner-led human rights movement is gaining momentum in Alabama. The Free Alabama Movement (FAM) seeks to analyze, resist, and transform prison slavery from within the Prison Industrial Complex.

Both of these movements challenge us, as philosophers and as people, to interrogate the meaning of slavery, torture, human rights, and political action. What does it mean to struggle for one’s human rights as an “offender” in the world’s first prison society? What can philosophers and political theorists learn from the example of incarcerated intellectuals and political actors whose everyday lives are situated at the dangerous intersection of racism, economic exploitation, sexual violence, and civil death? What would it mean to respect the specificity of the Free Alabama Movement, and at the same time to recognize that even the freedom of non-incarcerated philosophers may be bound up with the freedom of Alabama? What is freedom, after all? What – and where – and who – is Alabama?

In what follows, I will share what I have learned about the Free Alabama Movement over the last couple of days. But don’t take my word for it! Check out the FAM website, which includes photos and videos of degrading prison conditions, as well as this brilliant spoken word analysis of prison slavery. Follow the movement on Facebook and Twitter. And read the 100-page manifesto written by prisoner-organizers about the situation in Alabama prisons and the movement to end prison slavery. (more…)

Inmates to strike in Alabama, declare prison is “running a slave empire”

Melvin Ray

Melvin Ray

Breaking: Reached in his cell, Free Alabama Movement leader tells Salon inmates will refuse work to end free labor

From Salon

Inmates at an Alabama prison plan to stage a work stoppage this weekend and hope to spur an escalating strike wave, a leader of the effort told Salon in a Thursday phone call from his jail cell.

“We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here,” said Melvin Ray, an inmate at the St. Clair correctional facility and founder of the prison-based group Free Alabama Movement. “They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” Spokespeople for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and his Department of Corrections did not respond to midday inquiries Thursday. Jobs done by inmates include kitchen and laundry work, chemical and license plate production, and furniture-making. In 2011, Alabama’s Department of Agriculture reportedly discussed using inmates to replace immigrants for agricultural work; in 2012, the state Senate passed a bill to let private businesses employ prison labor.

Inmates at St. Clair and two other prisons, Holman and Elmore, previously refused to work for several days in January. A Department of Corrections spokesperson told the Associated Press at the time that those protests were peaceful, and told AL.com that some of the inmates’ demands were outside the authority of the department to address. The state told the AP that a handful of inmates refused work, and others were prevented from working by safety or weather issues. In contrast, Ray told Salon the January effort drew the participation of all of St. Clair’s roughly 1,300 inmates and nearly all of Holman’s roughly 1,100. He predicted this weekend’s work stoppage would spread further and grow larger than that one, but also accused prison officials of hampering F.A.M.’s organizing by wielding threats and sending him and other leaders to solitary confinement. “It’s a hellhole,” he told Salon. “That’s what they created these things for: to destroy men.”

To grow the movement, said Ray, “We have to get them to understand: You’re not giving up anything. You don’t have anything. And you’re going to gain your freedom right here.” (more…)

A message from an anarchist prisoner on the Alabama prison work strike

adoc

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We ask that you make phone calls to the Warden, the commissioner of the Alabama Department of Correction, and the Governor of Alabama, to check on the situation, our condition, demands, and welfare.

Please call:

Warden Gary Hetzel (Holman Prison): (251) 368-8173
Commissioner Kim Thomas (Alabama DOC) (334) 353-3870
Governor Robert J. Bentley: (334) 242-7100

From Anarchy Live!

Clenched-fist salute!

I’m Michael and yes, I’m locked down in one of Amerika’s many prisons in the state of Alabama. But that does not excuse me from the struggle for a better world. And I believe that anarchism is the best alternative to what exists now. I believe this without reservations. Anarchism is not about building state power, but rather, destroying the state and building new humyn relationships based on mutual aid and cooperation and freedom.

I’m not a public speaker, but a warrior in the struggle to build that new humyn relationship, mutual aid, cooperation, and freedom from all coercive power, rather than a soldier, because a soldier is someone who is ordered about without thinking for him/herself in a hierarchical structure. A tool of a ruling power.

Right now there is a struggle going on in Alabama’s prisons demanding a change in the horrendous, unsanitary, and inhumane conditions in the prisons. In the prison I’m at, Holman, birds fly around the kitchen dropping bird shit on prisoners and/or their food, industrial light fixtures are falling from the ceiling injuring at least one prisoner seriously, during the winter months the showers are cold, the dorms are also cold in the winter, inadequate medical care, inadequate outdoors exercise time, inadequate nutrition, harassment of family members during visiting hours, and a host of other serious problems too numerous to list (see Justice or Just Business for more). But most of all, we are fighting and struggling for our dignity and humanity. (more…)

Central Prison Kitchen Workers Sit Down to Protest Hours, Gain Time

On December 16th, 2011, sixteen prisoners who work in the kitchen at Central Prison in Raleigh sat down on their shift. The prisoners, who are forced to work seven days a week, ten hours a day, with no breaks, refused to continue to work until receiving answers to concerns regarding hours and gain time.

An administrator in charge of the kitchen refused to address their concerns and ordered the men to, “Get their sorry asses back to work.” After that, eight guards came in, threatening the use of force. Eight of the prisoners stood strong, and were immediately locked up. (more…)

Georgia Prison Strike, One Year Later: Activists Outside the Walls Have Failed Those Inside the Walls

by Black Agenda Report managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The Concerned Coalition To Respect Prisoner Rights was supposed to issue public reports of its fact-finding prison visits. That never happened.

A year ago last month, black, white and brown inmates in a dozen Georgia prisons staged a brief strike. They put forward a set of simple and basic demands — wages for work, decent food and medical care, access to educational and self-improvement programs, fairness and transparency in the way the state handles grievances, inmate funds and release decisions, and more opportunities to connect with their families and loved ones. A short-lived formation calling itself the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoner Rights came together, and met with the Georgia Department of Corrections. In the last weeks of 2010 teams of community observers were allowed to visit Macon State and Smith prisons, where they examined facilities and interviewed staff and prisoners.

The Concerned Coalition To Respect Prisoner Rights was supposed to issue public reports of its fact-finding prison visits. That never happened. It was to have initiated a long-term dialog with state officials in pursuit of the inmates’ eminently just and reasonable demands. That never happened either. It should have called public meetings and begun to organize a lasting campaign to educate the public on the meaning of Georgia’s and the nation’s prison state, and the possibilities for radical reform. These are the things the prisoners expected of their allies and spokespeople on the outside. But compromised and undermined from within and without, the coalition was unable to make any of these things happen. Thus the trust that Georgia prisoners placed in activists outside the walls to organize in support of their demands was betrayed. (more…)

Arrested Georgia Correctional Officer Oversaw Vicious Beating of Prisoner “in His Capacity” As Supervisor

 

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
In this, the first of several reports on the aftermath of the courageous protest of Georgia prisoners last December, we update the case of Terrance Dean, brutally beaten by prison guards at Macon State Prison on December 16, 2009, and the role played by TOPS, The Ordinary Peoples Society, in working with his family and legal team, and in the larger struggle to roll back the nation’s policy of mass incarceration.

(more…)

Press Conference on Georgia Prisons

A press conference was held (Thursday) morning in Atlanta GA to press for changes in GA prisons. Here is the press release, please post.

THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2011

10:30 a.m.Georgia State Capitol, 206 Washington Street

Atlanta, Georgia

NEW CHARGES OF INMATE BEATINGS
Reports from Prison Visits Set Off Coalition Appeal to DOC and Governor-Elect for More Access.

The Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights, formed to support the interests and agenda of thousands of Georgia prisoners who staged a peaceful protest and work strike initiated early last December, will host a press conference this Thursday. The mothers and other family members of Terrance Dean and Miguel Jackson, inmates reportedly brutally beaten by guards at Macon State and Smith State Prisons in connection with the strike, will be in attendance.The press conference follows reports of violent abuses of these men and others and the findings of fact by Coalition delegations after visits to two prisons in December. These reports have increased fears of the targeting of and retaliation against inmates on account of their peaceful protest for their human rights and raise the urgency for immediate reform.

“These new developments have increased our fears and our legitimate call formore access to inmates,” said Elaine Brown, Co-Chair of the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners Rights. (more…)

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.

Georgia Prisons On the Brink: Prisoners End Strike, Pledge Violent Resistance if Demands Are Not Met

From Capitalist News:

The prison system began lifting lock downs at four institutions and returning the facilities to normal operations Wednesday and inmate said they were ending their protest for now and reporting to work assignments.

One of the organizers of the protest said prisoners are still going to pursue their concerns. If the Department of Corrections ignores their requests, the next protest will be violent, he said. (more…)