Kinetic Justice appeared on The Stream, Al Jazeera: The labour rights fight in US prisons, Sept. 26, 2016
Kinetic Justice appeared on The Stream, Al Jazeera: The labour rights fight in US prisons, Sept. 26, 2016
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
National Freedom Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Media Requests:
Mothers and F.A.M.ilies, Inc
P.O. BOX 186,
New Market, AL 35761
Exec. Board Members Ms. Antonia Brooks, Ms. Dara Folden, Ms. LaTosha Scott
For Movement updates and all other inquiries:
Pas. Kenneth S. Glasgow
The Ordinary People’s Society
September 9, 1971 ATTICA Rebellion 45th Anniversary
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT kicks off Sept. 9, 2016 National Non-Violent and Peaceful Prison Shutdown for Civil and Human Rights at Holman prison in Atmore, AL.
After launching its Movement in 2014 with the first coordinated work stoppages and shutdowns in Alabama prison history, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, building on its success with subsequent strikes, issued a call in 2015 with its document titled F.A.M.’s 6-Step Plan of Action 2015 (see our WordPress blog) for the first coordinated Nationwide Prison Work Strike in US History. This plan, along with its publication, “Let The Crops Rot In The Field” were then circulated throughout F.A.M.’s nascent network of supporters for its National Freedom Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery.
With assistance from other organizations and people, including Bro. Lorenzo “Kim’Boa” and Sis. JoNina Irvin of the Ida B. Wells Coalition against Police Brutality, Brianna Peril and David Boehnke of IWW/IWOC, Annabelle Parker, Mary Ratcliff of San Francisco Bay View, FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT and FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT UNITED, Queen T of SignofTheTimes/ FREE OHIO MOVEMENT, Anthony Robinson/The New Underground Railroad, Mississippi Southern Belles, Anarchist Black Cross and many others, F.A.M. began organizing, leading and directing this National call.
Today, September 9, 2016, at appx 12:01 am, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT has kicked off the Sept. 9, Nationwide Prison Workstrikes, Boycotts and International Protests from Holman prison in Atmore, Alabama, in solidarity with confirmed strikes underway in Florida, South Carolina, and Texas.
F.A.M. has reiterated its call, first made January 1, 2014 with its first coordinated Workstrikes, for Non-Violence and Peaceful demonstrations both inside and outside of prisons as the solution to the exploitation and other forms of abuse that take place in Americas prisons, including forced prison slavery.
F.A.M. has often stated that the solution to mass incarceration and prison slavery must be lead by the men, women and children who are incarcerated and who are contributing to prison slavery and our own oppression by continuing to produce goods and provide services and purchase products that generate billions of dollars in revenue each year to support prison slavery. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution continues to permit slavery to exist in this country “as Punishment of crime, whereof the person has been duly convicted,” and the institution and enterprise of slavery was legally transferred to the State government’s prison systems.
These Non-Violent and Peaceful protests are designed to expose the nefarious economic motives of individuals, State and Federal government, and corporations like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Starbucks, John Deer, the ALEC corporation, Victoria Secret, US military, Whole Foods, Wal Mart, Keefe, AT&T and Verizon call centers, and many others behind laws like mandatory minimums, three strikes laws, juvenile prosecution as adults, etc. that are used to incarcerate people under oppressive, inhumane conditions for extended periods of time, solely for the use of free prison labor for profit — yet in the name of crime and punishment.
F.A.M. has issued a “FREEDOM BILL“, which contains the demands that they are imposing upon the Alabama legislature to correct the problem of mass incarceration and prison slavery in Alabama.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
To assist FAM and their National Freedom Movement and to support the people on the inside who are making these sacrifices, please donate to famfamalabama@Gmail.com today.
From: Keith ‘Malik’ Washington – Spokespersyn for – End Prison Slavery in Texas!
Peace and Blessings sisters and brothers! I hope this communication finds all of you doing well! Within the next few weeks many Free World Folks will be wondering why all these prisoners are refusing to work. I’d like you to read this message on any Radio Station that will allow you – focusing hard on the large metropolis cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, and El Paso, Texas.If someone could post the message on you tube via social media that will help a lot.
Message: – Radio/Internet etc.
Peace and Blessings to all – my name is: Keith ‘Malik’ Washington. I am one of the key spokespersyns for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. I am from Houston, Texas, specifically the 3rd Ward. There are many Prison Authorities and Law Enforcement Officials who will attempt to characterize our movement as violent.
I have never endorsed or promoted violence in this Movement simply because it plays right into the hands of the individuals and Agencies who oppress us.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, F.B.I., D.H.S., and numerous Federal and State Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies are fully equipped to deal with violence.
However as prisoners finally become visible in the media we must use this opportunity to convey our thoughts and demands in an intelligent, pragmatic, and respectful manner.
What scares T.D.C.J. about this movement is not the violence – it is the prospect of two things:
1.) The threat of losing money from having to stop or slow operations of the numerous Texas Correctional Industry Factories which generate millions of Dollars.
2.) Being exposed in the main-stream media as an Agency which exploits, oppresses, and abuses human beings in their care.
On top of being a spokespersyn for our movement I am also a proud member of the Industrial Workers of the World and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. Before I leave you I want to briefly state our Demands:
1.) On a National Level we want Presidential Candidates Hillary Clinton or Jill Stein to craft Legislation that will Abolish Prison Slavery by Amending the 13th Amendment.
2.) In Texas we want the Following:
A.) Good Time & Work Time credits which actually reduce our prison terms – All of us, not some!
B.) An Oversight Committee for T.D.C.J.
C.) Right to an Attorney on Habeas Filings
D.) Abolish the $100 Medical Co-pay System
E.) Humane Living Conditions & Treatment
There are no Racial issues we have – it is well understood that there are Black, White, Latino – Asian and Arab human beings who SUFFER inside Texas Prisons.
We are pleading with the World to hear our cries for Freedom and Humane Conditions. I leave you all as I came in Peace.
In Solidarity – Malik
Read also Malik’s articles in the SF Bay View:
Hard lessons in the struggle to end prison slavery (Sept 1, 2016)
The movement inside Texas prisons will not be complete until the sisters join (April 1st, 2016)
Prisoners file federal lawsuit to end prison slavery in Texas (March 26, 2016)
End prison slavery in Texas now! (Feb. 11, 2016)
WE, the Prisoners of Alabama Department of Corrections, as a collective reach out to Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, Founder of The Ordinary People Society, Prodigal Child Project and Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People Families Movement asking that Rev. Glasgow mediate and speak on our behalf, in making the following statement to the Legislators of the state of Alabama.
At 12:01 May 1, 2016 We, Alabama Prisoners will begin a Peaceful and Nonviolent Protest for Our Human Rights in the form of a Work Stoppage. This is in fact a means to Peacefully Petition the Alabama Government for Redress of Grievances as We have suffered under Cruel and Inhumane Conditions over the past two decades.
Let us be clear, this is not just about the Deplorable Conditions of Confinement, but more so about the 13th Amendment, the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Statutory Laws discriminatoryly enacted from both. The laws that created and maintains the denial of our Human Rights and perpetuation of our Economical Exploitation.
From Wrongful Convictions, Exceedingly Excessive and Mandatory LWOP sentences, Alabama’s prisons are literally Warehouses of Men stacked on top of one another, and due to an Arbitrary and Biased Parole Board System, thousands of Men eligible to be released are stopped up in a broken and dangerous system.
*It has been stated and acknowledged that there are over 3, 000 people that are eligible to be released. However, due to budgetary concerns (parole and probation officers, supervision, etc) they remain trapped in an excessively overcrowded system; exposed to unnecessary threat to their safety and well being. To address this issue would contribute greatly to relieving the pressure of prison overcrowding.
A lot of the pressure could be released by Revising and Modifying the Laws and Policies that Created and Perpetuates these Cruel and Inhumane Conditions; not by building bigger more expensive prisons.
*Over 8000 people are serving enhanced mandatory sentences under Alabama’s Habitual Offenders Statute. More than 2000 are serving Mandatory LWOP sentence, some for petty theft cases.
To Repeal the Habitual Offenders Statute would create the opportunity for over 8000 people to be eligible to return to their families and communities after decades due to the application of the Habitual Offenders Statute while reducing the inhumane and dangerous overcrowding which contributes to the spread of diseases and increases the level of violence. Overall it would contribute to a more sanitary and humane living environment.
*From exposure through exonerations it is clear that the Prosecutors of the State of Alabama are more concerned with convictions than truth and innocence. Most of the attention has been focused on the Wrongful Convictions of those sentenced to Death. As a result a demand for oversight was expressed in Senate Bill 237. However, through political maneuvering this Bill was tailored to only apply to those sentenced to death.
We assert that The Alabama Innocence Inquiry Commission created by Senate Bill 237 shall apply to all Wrongfully Convicted prisoners not just Death Penalty cases. To be Wrongfully Convicted is to be Wrongfully Convicted no matter the sentence. No innocent person should suffer the loss of his freedom unjustly and remain confined due to procedural limitations or judicial misconduct. Therefore, this Bill shall apply to all prisoners with credible claims of innocence, as this is what justice requires.
*Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme rightly declared that mandatory Life without Parole sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional. It is time that Alabama go a step further and abolish mandatory Life without Parole sentences for First Time Offenders, many who were barely beyond the juvenile age limit.
This would make hundreds of prisoners eligible to earn their freedom after being provided Education, Rehabilitation and ReEntry Preparedness. Thus also relieving some of the pressure and strain created by the excessive overcrowding.
*We further state that the A.D.O.C’s Economical policies and practices of compelling Incarcerated Citizens to provide labor with no compensation, while imposing various fines and fees upon them, is hyper-exploitative, unjust and amounts to PRISON SLAVERY.—–It is discriminatory and exploitative to force Incarcerated people to work while prohibiting them from being compensated; yet imposing arbitrary fines and fees upon them. To work is an essential part of rehabilitation and learning to be responsible for self, as from the compensation one is able to provide for their needs and ease the financial burden on their families. Therefore, A.D.O.C’s Economical policy of Free Labor is counterproductive to rehabilitation and is exploitative and demeaning. Therefore, a more equitable Economic Policy shall be established between Alabama Prisoners and the ADOC.
*The Alabama Parole Board is arbitrary and biased therefore it must be overhauled to establish a criteria for those eligible for Parole.
The members of the Alabama parole board are receiving these appointments with an agenda that says that rewards them with long-term employment and other incentives to deny parole. These members refuse to set criteria for parole eligibility because this would make parole mandatory, instead of discretionary, for those who qualify.
In theory, the 13th Amendment put an end to and forever abolished slavery, at least that is what we’ve been taught in schools. However, in actual practice, the 13th Amendment merely changed the name, method and rationale for keeping African Americans in a state of perpetual servitude. As the 13th Amendment explicitly permits ” Involuntary Servitude”– an euphemism for Slavery– as punishment for “duly convicted criminals.”
In direct response to this Constitutional mandate, the Alabama Judicial System was structured to keep white land owners in a position of power and Africans in their place– Servitude. In fact, the State of Alabama used the 13th Amendment as their foundation in drafting the *ALABAMA CONSTITUTION OF 1901. As the Alabama Legislature used their authority to set up court systems, appointed only white people as Judges and District Attorneys, pre arranged elections for those positions that had to be voted on, then expanded the criminal code as its effective means of carrying out their objective. By their own admission, the State of Alabama’s sole purpose in drafting the Constitution of 1901 was to establish “White Supremacy”- by law. As the delegates to the all-white Constitutional Convention, were not secretive about their purpose and aims. In the opening address, President of the Convention, John B. Knox stated:
“And what is it that we want to do? Why is it within the limits imposed by the federal constitution to establish white supremacy in this state.” … “but if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law…”
In keeping with the sentiments of John B. Knox, the State of Alabama has used the Constitution of 1901 to construct a solid foundation, in which to discriminate from.
Even to this day, Alabama openly applies its laws discriminately, first –based upon race, then upon financial status.
Alabama’s “good old boy”-style of justice is maintained and perpetuated by police officers “overreaching”, district attorney’s ” overcharging” and judges “over sentencing.” All of this is made possible by the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Alabama Legislature, as it is the Alabama Legislature that enact these laws that specifically target young African-American males, particularly and African-Americans in general.
*One glaring example, is the racially motivated amending of the Capital Murder statute to include Section 16, 17 and 18- or commonly called the “drive-by shooting laws”. According to the Alabama Legislature, in the early 1990’s there was a massive public outcry against”gangs”, so in 1992 the Legislature passed Act 92-601; which made a murder committed by the use of a deadly weapon fired from or into a vehicle, a Capital Offense–punishable by death or life without parole. Act 92-601 became codified in Title 13A-5-40(a)(16),(17) and (18). From a plain reading of the statute, in order to be charged and found guilty of the Capital Offense, all that’s required is that the shooter or victim be in a vehicle or house at the time of the murder. Prior to this amendment, all Capital Offenses required an aggravating circumstance in order to elevate the murder to a death penalty offense. However, the “drive-by shooting laws” are simply based upon location of the shooter or victim.
In March of 2006, Representatives Marcel Black and John Robinson authored a Bill and presented it to the House of Representatives, which addressed the application of subdivisions 16, 17 and 18 of Title 13A-5-40, I.e., the Capital Murder statute. In session it was stated:
“Whereas, the legislature is aware of the case of State of Alabama v. Fondren (Calhoun County CC 02-600) in which Fondren was convicted of Capital Murder for violating Section 14A-5-40(a)(18)…”
On March 28, 2006, this Bill was adopted by the House of Representatives. On April 17, 2006, this Bill Was adopted and signed by the Senate. Upon both Houses adopting this Bill, it became House Joint Resolution 575. In accordance with the procedure for passing a Bill into Law, the House Joint Resolution was delivered to the Governor. On April 27, 2006 at 1:09 p.m. Governor Bob Riley signed the Bill.
It became Act No. 2006-642, which stated in pertinent part: ” … in passing Act 92-601, it was the intent of the legislature in adding sub division (18) to address”drive-by shooting”, that is murder committed through the use of a deadly weapon …used within or from a vehicle which murders were gang related or intended to incite public terror or alarm.”
In HJR 575 (Act No. 2006-642) the legislature recognized that Section 13A-5-40(a)(17),(18) has been misinterpreted by prosecutors and courts to apply to any murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon, fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle, even if it was not gang related.
Being that this interpretation was contrary to the legislature’s intent, the Legislature urged the Attorney General and District Attorneys to charge only those individuals who commit murder by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise within or from a vehicle, when the vehicle was involved in the shooting or that the shooting was gang related. This clarification by the legislature should have changed the sentences for countless individuals serving Life Without Parole behind the prosecutors and judges misapplication of the law.
Therefore, the Legislature shall amend the “drive-by shooting” statutes, so that the plain language of the statute will effectuate the legislature’s intent as expressed in House Joint Resolution 575(Act No. 2006-642). And to make such Amendment Retroactive.
*The A.D.O.C’s policy and practice of not affording those Incarcerated with meaningful Educational and Rehabilitation opportunities falls below the standards of human decency, as it perpetuates ignorance and exploitation. It has been empirically proven that the lack of Education is a primary driver for incarceration, therefore, Rehabilitation has to include a meaningful opportunity for Education programs.
More specifically, we want the EDUCATION, REHABILITATION AND REENTRY PREPAREDNESS BILL IMPLEMENTED THROUGHOUT THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
(hyperlink freealabamamovement for copy of FREEDOM BILL)
LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELDS:
A Call For New Strategy in The National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery – Short Version
By Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, w/contribution from Kinetik Justice Amun
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
After a period of over 40 years of an accelerated rate of incarceration, the issue of Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery have now reached its crescendo.
Spurred on by factors that included racism, capitalism, free labor, and a politically motivated desire to provide jobs to a valued voting block of rural, conservative white citizens by building prisons in rural and agricultural areas that had been decimated by the Industrial Revolution and the outsourcing of jobs to China, India, Indonesia, etc.
Then, once the prisons were built, the government manufactured a “war on drugs” designed to fill those newly built prisons with black, brown and poor whites who had been rendered unemployable by corporate downsizing and outsourcing in the early 70’s, and who were considered a strain on social programs, unwanted competitors for limited jobs, and ideal candidates for corporations that needed a large labor pool for forced slave labor.
Mass incarceration has now culminated in a for-profit Prison Industrialized Complex that now holds over 2.5 million men, women and children hostage for the sole and exclusive purpose of exploitation and free labor.
Today, January 2015, the people in America’s prisons, mostly black, brown (and white), and all poor, now make up a free (or penny wages) labor force for a 500 billion dollar per-year industry that is producing a range of products and providing services so broad and extensive that it touches every area of the U.S. economy.
Virtually EVERY person in prison, our families, friends and supporters, and even every organization that states that they are against mass incarceration prison slavery, are all contributing financially to the very companies that are exploiting the people through mass incarceration and prison slavery.
Have you ate at McDonald’s or Wendy’s lately? Shopped at WalMart or Victoria’s Secret? How about that Dell computer? Have you used a customer service center? Where do you bank at, Wells Fargo? Are you in the military? Have you seen a soldier in that finely stitched uniform with night vision goggles? Do you work for a State University or agency that gets its furniture repaired somewhere?? Or that purchases large amounts of cleaning supplies, or hand-made brooms, mops, etc.? How many of these companies do you do business with?
Well, if you get up out of the bed and do anything more than breathe, chances are you contribute to the bottom line of a company that is engaged in warehousing millions of people for exploitation through mass incarceration and prison slavery.
Just to get a general idea of how pervasive this modern-day forced labor, i.e. slave system is, check out this article titled: Corporations Involved in Profiting off Prison Labour. Prison for Profit Dirty Secrets1 :
“Prison labor— with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding — also makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter. Prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting systems and components for 30-mm to 300-mm battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder. Prisoners recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul military vehicles.”
For a listing of the many other companies, products and services, read the article: Corporations Involved in Profiting off Prison Labour. Prison for Profit Dirty Secrets2:
Don’t Trust the Mainstream Media
All across America, one can’t turn on the news, read a newspaper, or follow social media without seeing that mass incarceration and prison slavery (‘corrections’ or ‘prisons’ in mainstream terms) have become a national problem. The ‘problem’ though, as being reported in the mainstream media (msm), is not about the human devastation that mass incarceration has wrought, but about the costs associated with maintaining budgets to keep so many people in prison.
The mainstream media, which is controlled by the business elite no less that our current politicians, are reporting on this ‘problem,’ but with no real solutions being offered.
CAUTION: I must add that the reason the msm is reporting on this issue is because the prison profiteers are promoting a ‘reform’ plan to the public that in reality is a new scheme that has been thoroughly exposed by N. Heitzeg and K. Whitlock in their Smoke and Mirrors series,3 to expand the privatized prison industry directly into the communities with community corrections, privatized parole/probation, drug rehabilitation centers, traffic court, and more, with the sole purpose of releasing low levels offenders, who will then be required to pay a ransom to enjoy a semblance of freedom.
Simply stated, every facet of the criminal justice enterprise will be contracted out to private for-profit businesses, and the human traffickers who own these businesses will become the new slave masters. The businessmen and women will make their campaign contributions, the politicians will ensure that the laws are in place, the police with make the arrest, the prosecutors and judges will guarantee the convictions, and the prisoner will be a slave.
The New Strategy: Using Direct Economic Action to Affect Change
When determining the best strategy to challenge Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, it is essential that we step back and take a look at the entire system. We must identify the fundamentals of what makes this system work and why this system exists. Once we thoroughly understand the underpinnings of the system of Mass Incarceration we can begin to see why the old strategies and tactics have not and will not bring about any meaningful change. Then we can begin developing a New Strategy that attacks Mass Incarceration at its core.
Just like the Institution of Chattel Slavery, Mass Incarceration is in essence an Economic System which uses human beings as its nuts and bolts. Therefore, our new approach must be Economically based, and must be focused on the factors of production- the people being forced into this slave labor.
Our Three-Part Strategy
1) Organize prison shutdowns at prisons with major economic industries (tag plants, fleet services, food distribution centers, agriculture, etc.)
2) Call for a nationwide leaflet campaign, protests, and boycotts of McDonald’s restaurants, which is one of the major corporation that has a national presence and that benefits from prison slavery, in addition to others like WalMart, Victoria Secret, AT&T, Wells Fargo Banks, Wendy’s, GEO/CCA private prison companies that are listed on the NYSE, and more.
3) Having our families, friends, supporters, activists, and others holding protests at the prisons where the people are mass incarcerated and oppressed.
PART 1 : “SHUTDOWNS/WORK STRIKES”
1) Organize prison shutdowns at prisons with major economic industries (tag plants, fleet services, food distribution centers, agriculture, etc.)
Remember, we are working against a half trillion dollar system that is controlled by businessmen and women who are the modern-day slave profiteers. And just like any business, their focus is on the bottom line. From this viewpoint, we must organize work stoppages at prisons with economic industries that are operated by slave labor. The impact of a work stoppage is immediate and significant, as production is shutdown and profit margins plummet around the country.
Believe me, if you want to have commissioners, politicians and the like hunting you down, organize a strike. You won’t have to call them, because they will call you. Prison industry is more than just license plates. Now it includes military, food, clothes, mining, recycling, call centers, car parts, cleaning supplies, printing, and so much more.
And when we organize, we have to demand that real “reforms” take place that will afford everyone an opportunity to earn our freedom, NOT JUST EARN A CHECK FOR OUR LABOR, and that fundamental changes be made throughout the system.
Experience has shown us at FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT that this approach is more effective than hunger strikes, marching and writing letters combined, as those strategies will only bring publicity, lip service and some changes, while work stoppages shut down the entire economic system and gets directly into their pockets, which brings the movers and shakers to the prison for negotiations.
PART 2: McDonald’s
Ronald McDonald: A Slavery Master in Clown’s Clothing !!!!
When deciding on which company to protest we have to devise a strategy that we can use nationwide: We can’t boycott all companies because there are simply too many corporations involved. What we have to do is focus on just one of them at a time that uses prison slave labor and that is large enough and visible enough to bring a true awareness about prison slavery, and target that one.
Starting off we have identified McDonald’s as a company that presents itself as family-oriented, but which uses prison slavery to produce a number of goods:
“McDonald’s uses inmates to produce frozen foods. Inmates process beef for patties. They may also process bread, milk and chicken products.”4
We will start off our McDonald’s protest by locating and reaching out to the people in the prisons where McDonald’s products are produced. At the same time, we will begin letter-writing campaigns to their investors and shareholders, while also leaving leaflets/pamphlets on the cars of their customers at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, and organize protests at their storefronts, in a mall or headquarters, or wherever we can, and call for boycotts of their stores to force then to stop using products that are manufactured by forced prison slave labor.
But we focus all of our attention on one corporation at a time, instead of using a scattered approach of multiple orgs spread out thinly over several corporate fronts.
When one falls, we move on to the next prison profiteer, which can be Victoria’s Secret, Wal Mart, GEO, CCA, JPay, Keefe, or something.
Part 3: Consolidating our Resources
HAVING OUR FAMILIES, FRIENDS, ACTIVISTS, AND SUPPORTERS ALL GALVANIZED AT A SELECT PRISON TO ENGAGE IN PROTESTS AND TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR THE PEOPLE ON THE INSIDE WHO ARE BEING OPPRESSED.
This strategic move is just as important as the strikes, because it brings all of the people together who oppose mass incarceration and prison slavery. We can’t have a unified Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery if we are in a long-distance relationship with our supporters, organizers, activists and others who support our cause. We have to get everyone organized at the prisons, so that we can confront the system at the site of its oppression: the prisons.
By having our supporters in one location for each State, we maximize our resources, increase our strength in numbers, and we move with a unified front.
Very little can be done by the State at this point except to meet our demands.
The protests against police brutality are taking place at police stations. The workers at Wal Mart are protesting at WalMart. The Occupy Wall Street Movement protested on Wall Street. Therefore, the Movement and fight against mass incarceration must take place at the prisons !!!
“The Old Way”
Now, let’s take a look at the familiar strategies of Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, and see why we need a change in strategy:
1) Hunger Strikes
2) Marches and Protests at State Capitols, (as opposed to demonstrations at the prisons where they should be)
3) Letter writing campaigns, petitions and phone calls, etc.
1) HUNGER STRIKES
The demonstrations put on by the Men and Women in California (and Georgia, Washington State, and Texas) showed us all that with leadership and unity, we can defeat mass incarceration with the right strategy. But, we also learned that, while we did see progess in some areas, it has a minimal impact on the system of mass incarceration.
We have to strategize with the understanding that we are dealing with modern day slave profiteers. These businessmen will gladly let us die from starvation so long as their assembly lines keep moving.
“Leasing convicts to private businesses made a tidy fortune for both state and local governments, especially after slaves were emancipated. In 1878, 73% of Alabama’s entire state revenue came from prison labor. Reconstruction-era plantation owners, though, were hardly incentivized to care about their charges: When any of their starving workers died, they simply asked the state for new ones, at no cost to their bottom line.”5
The net effect on the bottom line from a hunger strike is negligible. This is not going to get the response we need, so we have to do more.
Sure, the traditional marches bring attention to issues and they bring people together, but they simply don’t bring about much results. If we must march, then let’s March at the prisons where mass incarceration and prison slavery are taking place at.
As I said above, when the people protest against police brutality in Ferguson, Memphis, and California, they are doing it at the police stations.
When “BANTHEBOAT”-activists protested in support of Palestine, they protested at ports. We have to ask ourselves: If we are protesting against mass incarceration and prison slavery, then why aren’t we doing it at the prisons where our economic strength can be felt?
Just like we saw in California with the hunger strikes, the families and supporters showed their support at the prison. The people in the prisons can see that support and receive the boost in morale that will be needed to carry this thing through. The meeting place is at the prisons!!!
3) LETTER WRITING, PETITIONS, ETC.
Letter writing campaigns and making phone calls are still effective, but we have to change who we are targeting and what we are attempting to communicate.
Letters/calls help when written to alternative media sources and other activists, organizations and supporters of our Movement, to let them know that we are striking so that we can inform other prisons in other states, so that they can join in also.
Letters/petitions also help when we target companies that are using prison made good to let them know that we will boycott them if they don’t stop, and it also helps to contact their customers and let them know that they are purchasing slave-made good. But the old habit of writing politicians and commissioners won’t work in today’s world, and just haven’t produced meaningful results.
It’s time to find a new target audience and bring attention to a new strategy and a new message!!
Is The Current Movement Against Mass Incarceration Spread Too Thin?
In F.A.M. we strategize around bringing all of the forces and resources together from each individual state into one collective whole. Groups that are fighting against the death penalty, solitary confinement, children in prison, voting rights, mentally ill people in prison, free labor, disenfranchisement, parole reform, and a few other issues. We will address all of these issues in our “FREEDOM BILL”, so everyone and every organization that is fighting against these issues should all be fighting together.
Note: Each State should draft their own FREEDOM BILL
The best way that we see to do this in Alabama is to identify the most economically important prison(s) in Alabama, and start organizing shutdowns until all of the strategically important prisons are shut down. One main prison will serve as the “headquarters” for our families, organizers and supporters, etc. At that point, the negotiations begin as to how to tear down the system of exploitation and create a new system based on the structure as outlined in the FREEDOM BILL, which promotes Education, Rehabilitation and Re-Entry Preparedness.
Take for example the situation that just occurred in California with the various lawsuits that the State fought for over 20 years (See the Plata decision by the U.S. Supreme Court) and passage of the Prop 47 law that went into effect. Despite the fact of California’s prison system being overcrowded with a 160% occupancy rate, the State’s prison officials and Attorney General’s office still refused to budge on releasing people who were eligible.
“Most of those prisoners now work as groundskeepers, janitors and in prison kitchens, with wages that range from 8 cents to 37 cents per hour. Lawyers for Attorney General Kamala Harris had argued in court that if forced to release these inmates early, prisons would lose an important labor pool.
As for the Firefighters, the Attorney General’s Office concluded that these men who risked their lives for the State, who saved the State over $1,000,000,000 billion dollars annually, were simply too valuable a commodity to release, even though these men worked outside of prison every day and were clearly not a threat to society anymore:
“About half of the people fighting wildland fires on the ground for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) are incarcerated: over 4,400 prisoners, housed at 42 inmate fire camps, including three for women.
Together, says Capt. Jorge Santana, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) liaison who supervises the camps, they save the state over $1 billion a year.”7
While it is extremely rare to receive these type of admissions from the State, what we witnessed in the California litigation is the reality of modern slavery: Yes, the people have an education and are already working in society, but, NO!!!, they can’t be release because it would cost too much to replace their free or penny labor!!
This episode highlights why the strategy of work strikes/shutdowns being promoted by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, and now joined by FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT, is the key to bringing the system of mass incarceration and prison slavery to its death: If we are been held solely for our labor and exploitation even after educating and rehabilitating ourselves, then why should we continue to work? If the firefighters in California can’t be freed because they save the State a billion dollars that they don’t otherwise have, then why don’t the firefighters go on a workstrike? The fires will continue to burn until they either come up with 1 billion dollars to train other firefighters, or they can release them and then hire them to do the job that at prevailing wages.
Also please note that the State is saving one billion dollars just on the firefighters alone. How much more pressure would a work strike/shutdown put on the CDCR or any other prison system, when all the kitchen workers go on strike? All the maintenance and electrical workers? All the garbage workers? The yard crew? Gym and library workers? And then the BIG whammy, when ALL of the factory and farm workers in prisons go on strike at one time, and this strike is spread regionally and nationally?
The financial numbers and fallout from such a strike will be felt from Wall Street to Main Street, and every street in between. This is the power of economics at play, and this strategy is the only strategy that will stop mass incarceration in its tracks.
WE MUST LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD IF WE AREN’T RECEIVING BENEFIT OF THE HARVEST
LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD is a proven strategy that was passed down to us from our Ancestors from the slave plantations that was used to disrupt the economics of the field. The harvest of the planter season was reaped when the crops were picked from the field and sold on the open market. When the slave master had invested all that he owned into his next crop (prison factories), the slaves would wait until just before the harvest and rebel against the slave system by ‘going on strike’ and causing the crops to rot in the field. This tactic would completely ruin the slave master’s investment.
While these crops were rotting in the field, the slave master would come down from the big house, make nice and beg the slaves to go back to work
But when that didn’t work, the slave master, just like the modern prison commissioners and wardens, would then result to threats and violence. But those determined for their freedom would resist and fight to the end.
In the end, when the crops were left to rot in the field, the slave master would sometimes lose his plantation if he had used it as collateral to secure a loan from the bank to plant. This is what happens to a prison system that is built upon the exploitation and free labor of the people incarcerated: when the laborers stop working, the free labor prison system collapses because there isn’t any revenue coming in to finance the system of 30,000 people in Alabama, 23,000 in Mississippi, 160,000 in California, or 2.5 million nationwide, who still must be fed, still must be provided medical care, still must had lights, water and basic hygiene.
These obligations and costs don’t stop, but the means to pay for them — the revenue that is produced by our labor — stops when we stop.
In 2014, Alabama has a 400 million dollar budget to run its prisons, which is paid by the sale of the products and services that are manufactured by the slave labor from the people incarcerated.
All told, Alabama is making anywhere from 2 to 3 billion dollars each year from our labor, fines, fees, canteen, phone calls, etc. while over $500,000,000,000 dollars is made nationwide off of prison slave labor.
If we are to end Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, which only those caught up in the slave system can do, then we must Unify nationwide from inside of these prisons and we must stop our labor and LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT & FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT
Committed to Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests for Civil and Human Rights for the Men and Women Incarcerated in Alabama & Mississippi prisons, and any other prison where the People desire to be FREE.
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Contact Free Alabama Movement:
Antonia Brooks 256-783-1044
Facebook group: Free Alabama Movement
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org – Freemississippimovement@gmail.com
Mail: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761 – USA
Internet Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement
Donate to FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT by Pay Pal today and support of Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. We are leading our Movement for Civil and Human Rights from the Inside of Alabama’s prisons, and we need your help. So please join our cause and support of efforts today as we move to FREE ALABAMA !!!
Photos of FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT Friends and Family at KELLY INGRAM PARK, 8-23-2014