25 Years After Lucasville; Two Perspectives on the Uprising
This week is the 25th anniversary of the longest prison uprising in US history in which lives were lost. The rebellion, which lasted 11 days, took place at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, more commonly know as “Lucasville,” in April 1993. The disturbance broke out on L Block, which housed over 400 people. Over the course of the uprising one correction officer being held hostage and nine prisoners were killed.
The most immediate cause for the riot was a group of Muslim prisoners’ refusal to take a tuberculosis test which was going to be administered in a form that would have violated their religious beliefs. But serious grievances had simmered under the surface at Lucasville for many years, and ultimately the prisoners’ demands far exceeded Muslims’ opposition to TB shots, addressing concerns about conditions of confinement held by the entire inmate population.
After 11 days a negotiated surrender ended the siege. Prisoners gave up control of L Block in return for the state’s concession to a “21 point plan” responding to their demands. Afterwards, authorities engaged in widespread retaliation, including the targeting of five individuals who were perceived as leaders for capital offenses. To this day, the Lucasville 5, as they are called, sit on death row for murders that numerous investigations have proven they did not commit. Prisoners still facing repercussions for the Lucasville Uprising include: Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Jason Robb, George Skatzes, Bomani Shakur & Greg Curry.
To reflect on the Lucasville uprising 25 years later, Disembodied Voice spoke with two individuals who were involved in the event in very different ways. First, we hear from Mosi Paki, who was present on L Block during the rebellion and served 19 years, most of it in isolation, after the siege ended. We will then hear from attorney Niki Schwartz, who represented prisoners during their negotiation of the 21 point plan that ended the siege of Lucasville.
To hear past episodes we’ve aired with interviews of former Lucasville Uprising prisoners or other topics, check out our site.
An Update on ICE Raids Near Asheville
This is from an official press release which came out this morning regarding continuing activity concerning ICE raids in Asheville NC:
News began to arrive early this morning that ICE was continuing their activity throughout Buncombe County. Local organizers have been monitoring unmarked vehicles that have been driving through West Asheville neighborhoods and the surrounding areas. Due to these mobilization efforts, no one has been detained.
CIMA and the WNC Sanctuary Movement encourage community members who fear for their safety to remember your rights. You may refuse to open your door or let ICE agents in unless the agent has a warrant signed by a Judge. If they have a warrant, you may ask for them to slide it under your door, and it must have both your correct legal name on it as well as your correct address in order for it to be valid. Only a court and /or Judge warrant is enough to enter your premises. Do not lie or show false documents and do not sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer. You may also ask for an interpreter.
Consider coming out and supporting members of affected communities this evening at the Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte’s immigration forum, “For You Were Once a Stranger in the Land of Egypt – Immigration: Why We Care and What We Can Do.” The forum is being held this afternoon, April the 15th at 5:00 pm at St. Eugene Catholic Church. Mayor Esther Manheimer and Sheriff Van Duncan are invited to attend. Come voice your concern about ICE ripping families apart in our community. We appreciate your support and for more information please follow the CIMA (Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción) and Nuestro Centro Facebook pages online.
If you have any information which would contribute to helping keep affected communities safer in the Asheville Area, the hotline to call is 1-888-839-2839. Please make sure that the information you have is both verified and up to date if you call this number! You can also check out CIMA or Nuestro Centro NOT on fedbook.
Update for Herman Bell’s Parole
The hearing began around 3pm. The Judge relayed at the outset that he did not plan to issue a decision today, and that the temporary restraining order would remain and not be lifted until a decision was rendered. The Judge also asked that the hearing be focused primarily on standing. The question is whether a member of the victim’s family (Diane Piagentini) has “standing” in court and in this case. Without standing, the case cannot go forward. Each side then had around 10 minutes to give their arguments on that issue, which they did.
Again, no decision was rendered, and there wasn’t much indication of how the Judge would rule. The Judge did say that he understood the urgency of the case and that Herman‘s liberty was at issue, and that he would begin making a determination on Monday.
June 11th is Every Day
The folks who are organizing the worldwide day of action and solidarity with Marius Mason and all long term anarchist prisoners have released their announcement for the scope and prisoners (including ones in Germany, Chile, Greece, and the U.S.) alongside a message for this year. We’re just going to excerpt the very end of the call-up here, but here’s the end of it and you can find the whole thing at june11.noblogs.org
June 11th is an idea, not just a day. June 11th is every day. And ideas are bulletproof. Let’s breathe life into the rest of the year and renew the celebration of anarchist prisoners’ lives by carrying on their struggles alongside them.
In short: It’s a call-out, so we’re calling on you! June 11th is what you make of it. Follow your heart and fill the world with beautiful gestures. There is no action that is too small or too grand.
In the first, Bursts spoke with Queen Tahiyrah about the hunger strike being engaged by Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan and Jason Robb, two death row inmates put there by their attempt to resolved the hostage taking involved in the 1993 Lucasville Prison Uprising. During the uprising, Jason Robb and Hasan acted as negotiators for the prisoners as representatives of the Aryan Nation prison gang and Muslim prisoners, respectively, at the facility. More on their case can be found at http://lucasvilleamnesty.org. Check out Queen Tahiyrah’s podcast, entitled SiGnOtHeTiMeS. We apologize that the beginning of Queen Tahiyrah’s interview sounds crappy – that was a technical fail on our part – but it clears up after
about 2 minutes.
In the second segment, Bursts chatted with Franklin López about Submedia, the importance of anarchist media production, his upcoming anarchist hip hop podcast, and the new short documentary series they’re about to start releasing entitled Trouble. Trouble is available for public showings, so find yourself a venue in town, contact Frankie and company via https://submedia.tv/get-in-touch/, pass word of the event in town via flyers and word of mouth and antisocial media and make some friends where you’re at!
The first episode will focus on diversity of tactics at Stand Rock with a focus on the Red Warrior Camp. More work by Frankie can be found at https://submedia.tv. Oh, and there’s an announcement of a podcasting network looming on the horizon (Channel Zero Network). More to come on that in future episodes.
Benefit Shows: Help our comrades arrested at J20!
If you’re in Asheville or the surrounding area, there is a benefit show TONIGHT (March 12) at the Odditorium at 1045 Haywood Rd in West Asheville. Proceeds will benefit our comrades who were arrested during the inauguration protests in DC earlier this year.
Also, next Monday the 20th there will be a dance party to benefit J20 arrestees, come dance to mod, punk, and all the classics new and old with DJ Murphy Murph! This will be at the Lazy Diamond at 98-A N Lexington Ave in downtown Asheville.
Rebel! Rebuild! Rewild! call for submissions
The Rebel! Rebuild! Rewild! Collective has put out a call for submissions of texts about strategic lessons that can be learned from the resistance at Standing Rock. As one phase of the resistance has ended and another has begun, the idea is to compile experiences and analyses and reflect on the lessons learned from this game-changing moment in movement history.
This project is mostly for the benefit of those who were not present at Standing Rock but who might participate in something similar in the future.
The plan is to publish a compilation of thoughtful strategic analyses, both online and in print. However, seeing as it might not be possible to publish everything that people submit, the plan is to put an unedited version of everything that folks submit onto a wordpress site sometime in the future.
The call is to write about anything you’d like to, but some leading questions are:
Which actions were most effective?
Which actions were least effective?
Do you have any insights on dynamics between indigenous and
non-indigenous water protectors?
What was unifying?
What was divisive?
What can we learn from the tactics of DAPL, the police, and the state?
What can we learn from the legal battle?
What message would you like to pass on to future water protectors?
Please submit writing to email@example.com. Submissions can be signed with your legal name, an alias, or be anonymous. Please include whatever information about yourself that you consider relevant.
This week Bursts speaks with Greg Curry, a prisoner serving time for alleged participation in the Lucasville Prison uprising of 1993 where prisoners took over the Ohio prison, leading to the death of 10 inmates and one guard. For the hour, they speak about incarceration in the U.S., intersections of race and class, the prison strikes, capitalism and resistance. More on Greg’s case can be found at https://gregcurry.wordpress.com/
Prison Strike, Week 2
Here is another roundup of week two of of the National Prison Strike. This information was pulled from Mask Magazine, It’s Going Down, Support Prisoner Resistance, and the Incarcerated Worker’s Organizing Committee.
Hunger strike begins at Lucasville and Ohio State Penitentiary, called by the Free Ohio Movement.
South Carolina prisoners release video of insects in their food.
Columbia, SC: Confirmed strike at Broad River Correctional Institution:
Florida: More prisoner uprising broke out on Monday night. According to the Miami Herald:
Florida’s state prisons have resumed “normal” operations despite a disturbance Monday night at Columbia Correctional, the fifth inmate uprising in less than a week, officials said. About 40 inmates engaged in civil disobedience by refusing officers’ orders and taking control of at least one dorm Monday evening. Columbia — one of the state’s most violent prisons — remained on lockdown Tuesday. Since Thursday, inmates have caused trouble at four other prisons, all in the state’s Panhandle, including Gulf Annex Correctional, Mayo Correctional and Jackson Correctional. The most serious melee was at Holmes Correctional, where 400 inmates destroyed several dorms on Thursday. Inmates involved in any incident have been moved to other prisons.
Chelsea Manning ends hunger strike that she began on September 9th. The army has agreed to grant her demands of gender affirming surgery.
Support Prisoner Resistance reports prison lockdowns in Arizona. Perryville, Yuma, Tuscon, Douglas, and Phoenix. It is unclear whether these are related to the strike, more information is forthcoming.
Merced, CA: Supporters report another block joins hunger strike. You can hear full coverage of this situation on the most recent IGD Cast here.
Holman Prison, AL: Free Alabama Movement issues press release calling for an end to the humanitarian crisis at the prison. They state through social media that many guards are not reporting to work and that much of the prison remains unguarded. This is from a press release which came out yesterday:
A serious humanitarian crisis is developing at Holman prison as correctional officers continue to walk off of the job amid concerns about safety and apathy from Warden Terry Raybon and the office of ADOC Commissioner Jefferson S Dunn, as violence, including deadly stabbings and assaults continue to mount.
Several officers expressed dismay and fear after learning that two of their fellow officers, Officer Brian Ezell and another officer, reported to Warden Raybon that they had knives drawn on them and their lives threatened, and that neither Warden Raybon, nor Commissioners Jeff Dunn and Grantt Culliver would take any action to ensure their safety. Both of these officers then quit.
Several other officers have also quit in the past three weeks after witnessing a stabbing of a fellow officer in the temple and who had remained hospitalized with life threatening injuries until he was pronounced dead earlier today. This after a former warden, Carter Davenport, was stabbed in March amidst back to back riots and other violence at Holman.
Now, after seeing Warden Raybon release approximately 20 people from segregation on September 13, 2016, most of whom were all in segregation for violent incidents (only to see several stabbing take place, including one critically injured and another losing an eye), a total of eight more officers have e ither quit or turned in their two week notices. Officers are expressing concern that the Commissioners of the ADOC are intentionally exacerbating violence at the expense of human life in efforts to push forward their plan to extort the public for 1.5 billion to build new prisons in next years Legislative Session.
Officers have began to express support for the Non-Violent stance of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT and their efforts to expose corruption, violence and other issues plaguing Holman and other Alabama prisons, and have went so far as to make repeated requests to Warden Raybon for the release of F.A.M. co-founder and organizer Kinetik Justice from solitary confinement, because officers now feel that he is being wrongfully detained and because he has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to conduct peaceful demonstrations at Holman prison to bring attention to issues within the ADOC and Holman prison.
We are asking that everyone call Commissioner Dunn and Warden Raybon and demand that they post daily reports of the staffing levels and incidents of violence taking place at Holman as a matter of public safety.
Warden Terry Raybon
Holman Correctional Facility
Commissioner Jefferson Dunn
Commissioner Grantt Culliver
334-353-3883 (switchboard operator)
We close with this update from inside prison walls in SC:
“Comrades up here having an inside meeting to critically analyze the Prison strike strong and weak positions. For many it didn’t go far enough. Crucial points of resolution are not addressed. Certain regions didn’t feel the love, so the fire didn’t burn where they were at. Strong points, it was time. Unity was found on the outside. More people are talking about prison issues. Inside prisoners found unity in certain units or prisons. We too are talking more. These are just samples of what we need to start discussions around, particularly the prisoners. Because this will tell us how to add this moment in the movement, to the collective of prison rebellions to strengthen it, and toss the weak points.
Big UPS to the Prisoners thats always refused to comply. I’m one. For over a decade I’ve been punish with little privileges do to my insistent stance not to work. So the prisons close us off from the working prisoners. Its good to see others joining. But its not enough. They’ll let the few of us lay. So to be truly effective, time to plan and prepare for the next phase.”
Call for solidarity from IWOC
Meanwhile, the IWOC is making every effort to track the strike in the hopes of continuing this resistance and locating forms of solidarity and calls for assistance. If you would like to help in this effort, there is a comprehensive phone zaps list that includes a rundown of phone numbers, some context for the specific struggles, and suggested scripts to read if and when you get the pigs on the line. You can see this Google Doc here.
Also, if you hear anything, or are able to call prisons and ask about lockdown status, please let IWOC know via email at: iwoc(at)riseup(dott)net If you make calls for a given state and hear no lockdowns, please report that too.
Stay tuned all around for updates on the strike. Love and solidarity!
Legal fund donations to AVL and ATL
And finally (tho not lastly) just to plug, and to yet again express our love for our jailed NC and GA comrades, people here in Asheville and in Atlanta still need donations for legal funds. All of these folks were arrested while expressing solidarity with the Prison Strike, and the folks from Atlanta are facing some insane felony charges. All of them are out of jail now, but are beginning the long, slow battle with the criminal injustice system and they need your support.
I’d like to share a few notes on recent anarchist audio and video media in english that I’ve been appreciating in hopes of enticing you, dear audience, into checking them out.
Crimethinc’s The Exworker has begun rebroadcasting. This most recent episodes of the podcast focuses on the September 9th strike with a conversation with Azzurra of the ABC in Houston, TX, and Ben Turk of IWOC based in Wisconsin. Episode 49 also includes a review of Captive Nation: Black Organizing In The Civil Rights Era, an interview with an anarchist in the UK about Brexit and other tidbits. #50 also includes a segment mourning the death of Jordan MacTaggart, an American anarchist who died on the front lines in Rojava recently, a segment celebrating the death of former police chief and all-around king-bastard John Timoney and a rebroadcast of a Crna Luknja interview with members of DAF about Turkey after the attempted Coup. These ExWorkers are well worth a listen and available at http://crimethinc.com/podcast/
Also, submedia’s most recent episode on strikes, the DAPL pipeline and more entitled Burn Down The Plantation features a great interview with Melvin Ray of the Free Alabama Movement. This sits alongside a second video installment explaining anarchist fundamentals, this time featuring the concept of Mutual Aid, short videos on continued struggles in France against the #LoiTravail, direct action against fascists in Athens. These and more can be found at https://submedia.tv/stimulator/
It’s Going Down is now producing the IDGcast which can be found at http://itsgoingdown.org/ and include thus far timely interviews on the uprising in Milawukee, words from the Red Warrior Camp at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline, the state of the alt-right or new white nationalist movements in North America and a discussion on communes and struggle with Morgan and El Errante. The most recent episode features an interview with a woman on hunger strike in Merced, California, in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners against the deplorable situation in this poor and rural county’s jails. The jails have witnessed abuses, deaths and injuries among those imprisoned in adult and juvenile detention at the hands of sadistic CO’s. Find the IDGcast at http://itsgoingdown.org/podcast
Resonance Audio Distro, or RAD, is a source for radical and anarchist audio of zines, books and essays and, among other things, produced an awesome and lengthy interview with Sylvie Kashdan and Robby Barnes to give context to two plays by these rapscallions that Resonance put online. Robbie and Sylvie are longtime anarchists living in the Seattle area who have been involved in The 5th Estate magazine for decades and have tons of stories and experiences to share. Check out Resonance at https://resonanceaudiodistro.org/
Season two of The Brilliant Podcast has begun and is apparently headed towards a new format. The most recent episode features a conversation with Isaac Cronin, curator of the Cruel Hospice imprint at Little Black Cart, talks about his experiences of Situationism, pro and post-Situ ideas and play in the U.S. since the 1960’s. Check this and more out at http://thebrilliant.org/
Finally, hip hop artist Sole is continuing to put out interesting discussions on his podcast SOLEcast. Most recently, Sole talked to Franco “Bifo” Berardi on Capitalism, Mass Killings, Suicide & Alienation. Episodes can be found at http://www.soleone.org/solecast
This week we’re joined by Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, one of 6 prisoners who are almost a month into a solidarity hunger strike at Ohio State Prison in Youngstown to press the Warden about current conditions at the prison. Among the issues the hunger strike is protesting include the inability of all new/incoming prisoners to OSP and those currently on the highest level of security (5B) to attend congregational religious activities, also poor quality of food presented by Aramark (the company contracted to provide meals at OSP, and who’s food services sparked the hunger strike in January of 2014 at Westville Correctional Facility in Indiana) a lack of access to outside recreation for the prisoners and more. You may recall Hasan from a prior interview we did with him on the anniversary of the 1993 Lucasville Prisoner uprising which began because of some of the same issues and for which Hasan is facing the death penalty as an organizer of the beginning of the protest sparking the uprising as well as helping to organize the end of that uprising. The 1993 uprising resulted in the deaths of 9 prisoners (accused of being snitches) and one prison guard. To hear our interview with Hasan from October of 2013, click here.
Also, Sean Swain speaks about the hunger strike at OSP, where he was formerly incarcerated, and the harsh realities of lack of access to human interaction, direct sunlight and the out doors.
There is a rally in solidarity with the hunger strikers in Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday the 14th of April at 3pm at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corruption, 770 West Broad St. The point of the rally is to deliver a list of demands to the officials of the ODRC and pressure them to change the conditions at OSP Youngstown, ending the hunger strike. The rally coincides with the 22nd anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising which started because of a denial of religious rights of muslim prisoners including Abdulla Siddique Hasan. More info at LucasvilleAmnesty.org
From that site:
“If you can’t make it to Columbus, please be creative and find a way to support the hunger strike on Tuesday. Organize a solidarity fast like students at the University of Toledo did on Friday, with an evening “break the fast” get together. Or a call-in lunch, gather with friends mid-day and call the prison, Central Office, and The CIIC (numbers and scripts below). Or a letter writing party, write letters to officials, your local newspapers, and/or to the hunger striking prisoners.
Whatever you do, let us know by emailing Ben at Insurgent.Ben@gmail.com so he can share the stories with the hunger strikers and the world. Tuesday will be the 30th day of this hunger strike, if everyone can find a way to express solidarity on that day it will make a huge difference for these men’s morale and resolve, as well as sending a strong message to the prison authorities that the hunger strikers are not alone in their protest.
There is also a rally in the works for at or near OSP on Saturday. Details will be posted at lucasvilleamnesty.org as they are confirmed.”
If you’d like to write to Hasan, he can be reached at:
Siddique Abdullah Hasan
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505
To get ahold of ODRC director Gary Mohr you can call 614-752-1150.
Or direct your mail to
Gary Mohr, ODRC Director, 770 West Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43222
or Email him via firstname.lastname@example.org
and you can express your concern for the safety of the prisoners hunger striking at OSP.
Tuesday December 2nd in Cincinati, Ohio, Keith Lamar faces his final appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals. Keith is a defendant in the Lucasville Uprising case, facing the death penalty for allegedly leading a death squad of prisoners who killed snitches in April of 1993, of which he claims innocence. The Lucasville Uprising, for anyone unaware, was a prison revolt resulting from the administration’s refusal to work around the religious needs of Sunni Muslim prisoners at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility who were facing a tuberculosis test including alcohol. More on the case can be found at http://www.lucasvilleamnesty.org/p/background.html
This week we rebroadcast Neka’s interview with Keith Lamar, also known as Bomani Shakur, about his recent book entitled Condemned. Find out more about his case and check out his book at his website, http://keithlamar.org and if you’re in or around Ohio on Tuesday, December 2nd, there’s a call-out for folks to assemble at the Potter Steward Courthouse at 100 East 5th St in Cincinnati at 2pm to support Keith. There’s also a call for folks to show up at 5:30pm for a vigil.
Also in this hour, a short interview by Anarchistisches Radio Berlin with a participant in the 2014 Pinksterlanddagen, an anarchist camp that’s been recurring annually for 80 years in Appelscha in the Netherlands, for a glimpse into what other anarchist gathers look like. More on that camp at http://www.pinksterlanddagen.org/english
More from A Radio at http://aradio.blogsport.de
This week we present quite the variety of consumables. Firstly couple of announcements about KOWA-LP and AshevilleFM and an update on the 5E prisoners from Mexico which includes a description of life and bribery culture in the prison where Carlos is currently held.
Next, the TFS crew’s newest member, Neka, interviews Keith Lamar (AKA Bomani Shakur), a defendant in the Lucasville Uprising case, facing the death penalty for allegedly leading a death squad of prisoners who killed snitches in April of 1993, of which he claims innocence. Keith is the author of a new book, Condemned, which he talks about alongside talking about his case and his upcoming final appeal. Find out more about his case and check out his book at his website, http://keithlamar.org and if you’re in or around Ohio and can make his hearings, please do show support.
After that we are happy to present a recently translated interview by comrades from Anarchistisches Radio Berlin with a member of the Anarchist Black Cross of Belarus about a number of topics including prisoner support and anti-repression work the ABC is doing, the confusing nationalist and anarchist alignments occurring in parts of Ukraine, repression in Russia and much more. More from ARB can be found at http://aradio.blogsport.de
Next, Sean Swain talks about the defendants of the Lucasville Uprising case.
The main segment is a discussion with Sonny, a German anarchist involved in resistance to the operation and spreading of the Lignite Carbon mine and subsequent destruction of the nearby environment by RWE. Sonny talks about the resistance there, the displacement of animals, devastation of the landscape and the eviction of 55,000 people over the years from local villages to expand the mine.
This week’s discussion happened as news came from the Hambacher resistors that the state was in the process of evicting the forest defenders. On 3/29/13 Sonny and I got back together to talk about updates on the situation. https://hambachforest.blogsport.de
This week, we spoke with Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan who is facing the death penalty for his role as a negotiator during the prisoner uprising at the SOCF facility in Lucasville in April of 1993. Hasan, as well as 4 other prisoners, have become known as the Lucasville 5. 4 of them are charged with the death of a prison guard by the name of Bobby Vallandingham as well as 9 inmates considered to be snitches.
The riot began as negotiations between Sunni prisoners, of which Hasan was one of the leaders, took guards hostage in hopes of bringing state attention to the problems at the prison. In particular among their concerns was the imposition of a TB test that was in contradiction to their religious beliefs and for which an alternative was readily available. Soon, other prisoners began to take space and control. Fearing a bloody outcome like was seen at Attica in New York, representatives of the Sunni community, the Aryan Brotherhood and the Black Gangster Disciples at Lucasville began negotiations with the state to bring a peaceful resolution to the uprising. Graffiti displayed within the prison began speaking of “Convict Race” and “Black and White Unity”.
After the end of the uprising, the state, under pressure from Vallandingham’s family, railroaded the five. The call for blood was great, but since the Lucasville Disturbance, so have been the calls for justice in the case of the Lucasville 5.