August 21st – September 9th, 2018 National Prison Strike
This week Bursts had two conversations, both focusing on the upcoming Prisoner Strike from August 21st to September 9th, 2018, one with a member of IWOC and one with a Amani Sawari, a media liaison for some of the prisoners who called for the strike.
The viewpoints expressed by the two guests are at time contradictory and at others redundant but it felt better to keep their voices mostly intact rather than weave them to create a streamlined narrative.
In part one, Amani Sawari will speak about the prison strike, the need to increase opportunities for release and civic engagement by prisoners and former prisoners in the face of historical disenfranchisement and she’ll also read some statements and demands from the prisoner-organizers. Her info on the upcoming strike and resources can be found at sawarimi.org.
Brooke, Oakland IWOC
Then we’ll hear from Brooke, an organizer with the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW. Brooke is based in Oakland, CA. He’ll talk about IWOC and their role and views of prison organizing, labor organizing, and the upcoming strike. More from IWOC can be found at inarceratedworkers.org.
As many listeners have no doubt heard, the remaining 38 j20 defendants got their charges dropped the other day without prejudice! This means that the cases could theoretically be opened again at any time, thought this is thought to be pretty unlikely. This is a historical moment, not only for the courts who were staggeringly unable to rise to this occasion – humiliating themselves at pretty much every possible turn – but also for anarchists everywhere. This whole long, difficult year and a half forged bonds that are all the more strong for having gone through the fire together, which can and no doubt will experience similar oppressions, difficulties, and tough breaks with the same finesse and resilience which was demonstrated here. To anyone listening who was personally affected by this, you are an inspiration. Now we get to celebrate, and now we get to feel the extent of our power.
If you’re missing the voice of Sean Swain like we are, Here’s a little plug with his voice to get those juices flowing.
Now, please consider giving a call to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr at 614-387-0588 or calling Warren Correctional Warden Chae Harris at 513-932-3388 (Fax: 513-933-0150) and asking about Sean’s whereabouts and restrictions to his communication. If you find out anything interesting, maybe that we haven’t learned yet about his silence, drop us an email at email@example.com or at his support email, firstname.lastname@example.org.Thanks a lot!
Panagioti on Fight Toxic Prisons + Ben Turk on September 9th Prison Strike
This week on the show we feature an interview with Panagioti, who is an organizer with the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons. From their website:
“The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) is a collaboration with the Abolitionist Law Center. FTP’s mission is to conduct grassroots organizing, advocacy and direct action to challenge the prison system which is putting prisoners at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, as well as impacting surrounding communities and ecosystems by their construction and operation. At this time, FTP is focused on opposing the construction of a new federal prison in Letcher County, Kentucky.
FTP is inspired by the abolitionist movement against mass incarceration and the environmental justice movement, which have both been led by the communities of color who are hardest hit by prisons and pollution.Both these movements also have long histories of multi-racial alliances among those on the front lines of the struggle and those who can offer support and solidarity, which we aim to build on.
FTP has been informed by the ongoing research and analysis of the Human Rights Defense Center’s Prison Ecology Project, as well as the work of the Earth First! Prisoner Support Project and June11.org”
The second segment in today’s show is an interview with Ben Turk conducted by members of The Prison Radio Show collective at CKUT, on the campus of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada about the prison strikes across the U.S. and the buildup towards calls for a general prisoner strike on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison uprising on September 9th.
From the website, It’s Going Down dot org, the regular segment called Bloc Party is a great source for recent uprisings in the streets and in prisons around North America. We’d like to highlight a few of these items. First off, the article summarizes a number of the May Day
disturbances that took place last Sunday, including brief report-backs from May Day noise demos and street parties in NYC, Hamilton (Ontario) & Chicago, riots in Seattle and prison work strikes in Alabama at Holman, Elmore, and St Clair facilities. More details and photos from those prison strikes and solidarity protests, including ones in Minneapolis & Milwaukee plus arrestee support links can be found at http://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org
Also from that post are announcements of the June 12th birthday of Jay Chase of the NATO3 who’s been struggling with some health and legal hurdles of recently as well as information on the upcoming June parole dates for longstanding Black Liberation political prisoners Robert Seth Hayes and jalil Muntaqim with links to their support campaigns and also a new mailing address for Joseph Buddenburg, recently sentenced to 2 years for a non-cooperating plea for releasing thousands of minks from
fur farms. We spoke about his case alongside that of Nicole Kissane.
Finally, we’d like to share a part of the crowd sourcing request for the U.S.-based, English-language insurrectional anarchist journal, Fire To The Prisons which is asking for help in the publication of it’s 16th issue. In the request, FTTP describes the sorts of content it’s covered
and plans to cover, including wanting:
“to expand our coverage, scope, and the reach of the publication while remaining true to the spirit of Fire to the Prisons. We will continue with our long term commitment to counter-information, original writing and content, and the amplification of the anti-authoritarian/anti-prison/anti-repression struggle that you have come to expect from us.
We will have both a domestic and international voice this issue. While remaining true to reporting on repression and anti-prison resistance across the states, Canada, and Mexico, we have committed articles from abroad promising insight on struggles and happenings that will help to bridge and unify an array of social tensions through a mutual awareness and solidarity.
We truly want FTTP to become a global publication and one that links anarchists and other autonomous combatants together in a dialog about the commonalities that we all face, as well as a discussion on the actions and struggles that we can all engage in.
We will be covering the resurgence of fascism in mainstream American politics, as well as updates on communities resisting further eco-devastation across the states. We have committed articles from prisoners domestic and international. We have commitments from NYC Anarchist Black Cross to use the project as a resource for raising awareness on repression and prisoner status in North America. We will also focus on the pacification of favelas in Brazil, the current reality and history of anarchist struggle in Chile, and the refugee situation in Greece. We will have further reports on anti-police struggle across the
United States, and will be continuing a tradition of news on broader prisoner strikes across America since our last issue. We are also intent on original articles on indigenous resistance in western Canada. Plus accounts and updates of the struggle in Rojava and general Kurdistan. Also all our featured articles will be available in Spanish for free on our website.
We are a committed collective. We are prepared to invest a lot of time and energy into producing this project, but we ask any and all sympathetic readers to help us with printing and distribution. by donating to our funding page. To print 10,000 copies of this it will cost us $2,000 dollars. While in the past we have had to ask people to pay the postage to our distributor, we would like to be able to send out more copies for free, to encourage broader distribution. We are asking for another $2,000 dollars for this. With maximizing our distribution efforts through contacts and friends across the world, we can distribute and mail out almost all of the new issues to anyone interested in distributing it. This leads us to asking for $4,000 dollars. We know this is an ambitious amount, and most likely those supporting us aren’t very wealthy, but it will absolutely secure this project, and help with the expansion of our readership. We hope that reaching out this way will put a dent into that fiscal goal, as our collective members are all working people.”
Prior to the main portion of this week’s episode, we hear a Sean Swain segment and also Ben Turk comes on to talk about difficulties Sean’s currently facing (for instance beginning a hunger strike on Monday due to shenanigans by officials at OSP, where Sean is being held, and possibly JPAY (the company that contracts communication with Ohio’s DRC) that have limited his communications again.
The majority of this week’s episode is a conversation with incarcerated members of the Free Alabama & Mississippi Movements. The FAMMC (now including inmates in California as well) is an inmate-drive non-violent, civil disobedience movement with the goal of bettering the situations of prisoners, challenging the profits of prison corporations and departments of correction, ending the impunity of wardens and guards and abolishing the “new slavery” of mass incarceration in the U.S.
Due to the poor connection with the guests, some of the audio is difficult to hear, so a transcript should be posted in a few days at ashevillefm.org/the-final-straw where this post can be found and later at thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org (oh yeah? where is that, now?)
Melvin Ray (aka Bennu Hannibal Ra(y)-Sun) at St. Clair Correctional Facility/SCCF and R.EARL (aka Kinetic Justice Amun) at Holman/HCF near Atmore, AL, two founders of the Free Alabama Movement along with a member of the Free Mississippi Movement break down mass incarceration, the forms of struggle they’re taking, the economic underpinning to prison labor and prison privatization, issue of sanitation, diet, cost to inmates and family of incarceration, assault and rape in Women facilities, networking across state borders… M & Kinetic also talk about the recent lock-downs at their facilities.
An upcoming way for folks around the country to get involved in this movement is to share the information of the FAMMC with folks on the inside and try to help them to get involved in the movement. Keep up on the upcoming pushes to protest at and outside of prisons around Alabama, Mississippi and more by checking out their facebook and twitter pages. These groups are planning to focus demonstrations and campaigns against McDonalds Restaurants (which use prison labor to make it’s burger patties, uniforms and more) and other businesses that are all around us that contract prisoner labor to make a profit.
These folks run a weekly (often up to 3 times a week) podcast-radio show called The People’s Platform that can be listened to and called into when live or found as archives. More on this show can be found at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement
A recent report about the violence (sexual and otherwise) perpetrated by officials against the prisoners at the Juliet Tutwiler Women’s Facility in Alabama (at which the current warden of St. Clair, Curtis Davenport, who’s overseen this rise of violence was once an official), check out this US DOJ report from January of last year: http://www.justice.gov/crt/about/spl/documents/tutwiler_findings_1-17-14.pdf
This week William talks with Ed Mead, editor of CA Prison Focus magazine to discuss the results of the hunger and work strikes that swept west coast prisons since July, resulting in one prisoner death and at one point including the participation of 30,000 hunger strikers. The strike, the third over two years, was meant to bring attention to and pressure against the state for it’s practices of indefinite detention in solitary confinement without recourse, the silencing of prisoner activists, lack of programs for prisoners to prepare for the outside world, the institutionalization of snitch-culture through “debriefing”, group punishments and not providing adequate and nutritive food. More info can be found at: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/
This Thursday in Oakland, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) will be holding a press conference following a legal hearing around posing a class action lawsuit around inhumane conditions in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay. Show up if ya can! Details at: http://ccrjustice.org/pelican-bay
This weeks episode features 2 conversations. The first is an interview with Ed Mead, editor of CA Prison Focus newsletter, an ex-con and a media outreach person as re the CA prisoner hunger and work strikes beginning tomorrow, July 8, 2013. If you’ll recall, there were hunger strikes that spread throughout dozens of prisons around the western portions of the United States. The main demands of many of the prisoners included more an end to collective punishment, ending the debriefing/snitching system, ending long-term solitary confinement, provide adequate and nutritive food and other things. William of the Final Straw discusses the demands and plans of the current campaign and solidarity actions that are planned to coincide with Mr. Mead. https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/
The second half of the episode is a conversation with Krow of Penokee Defense. Krow talks about the area she lives in in Northern Wisconsin, the Penokee Hills, and the danger being posed by a potential iron-ore/taconite pit mine as well as the spectrum of resistance that project has faced and how folks across the country can contribute to pressuring the company to give up the project and save this beautiful and important place. https://penokeedefenders.wordpress.com/ http://www.alecwc.org/