Boycott, Defund, Bankrupt – Say NO to Canteen, Incentive Packages, Collect phone calls and Visitation during February, April, June, Black August, October and December in 2018 (Pt VI)

December 30, 2017

Part VI: Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018
by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, fka Melvin Ray, Free Alabama Movement

Published in the SF Bayview, Dec 30, 2017

Fire burns off the dross of the hidden gem to reveal the precious metal. In struggle, it is the call to action that burns off the negative habit, distorted values and laziness of those who answer that call to reveal the precious jewels of humanity. With 2018 just a few days away, the call to action that is the Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 is set to kick off Feb. 1, 2018. Let the fire burn bright.

Queen Tahiyrah of the National Freedom and Justice Movement, F.O.M., and Sign o’ the Times blogtalk radio has created a flier for the campaign, in addition to our https://redistributethepain.wordpress.com blog, and our redistributethepain@gmail.com email. Queen T can be reached on Facebook in the SignOTheTimes group, by email to signothetimes19@gmail.com, or call 513-913-2691. You can also write to her at 1623 Dalton St. #14393, Cincinnati, OH 45250.

As 2018 draws near, over 2.5 million people remain behind bars, walls, steel and cages. The burden of changing our circumstances remains squarely on our shoulders. We have to change our thoughts about how freedom is possible to attain, then change our actions.

Many of us know about completing our sentence as a way to freedom, or an appeal, post-conviction petition or parole. We have to amend this paradigm to include the collective actions that we can take as a unified body to bring about freedom as well.

As 2018 draws near, over 2.5 million people remain behind bars, walls, steel and cages. The burden of changing our circumstances remains squarely on our shoulders.

There is no escaping the fact that we, as a body, constitute a significant sector of the economic pie chart that funds and fuels mass incarceration and prison slavery. For purposes of this call for a nationwide boycott campaign, we have identified four sectors of the Prison Industrialized Complex that serve as some of the main economic drivers for prison budgets, which generate billions of dollars annually to fund prison operations:

  • Collect phone calls
  • Canteen / store / snack line
  • Incentive package purchases
  • Visitation vending and electronic visitation

The collect phone call industry is, by far, the most exploitive monopoly of the four enterprises. I don’t want to speculate on the amount of money we spend nationwide on phone calls, other than to say that this figure has to be in the billions of dollars.

The prison companies contract with the phone companies to carry out this extortion scheme through legal kickback schemes. We are locked up in these closed environments. If we want to maintain contact with our families, we have to pay a ransom to the phone company.

The prison system charges the phone company a cut (kickback) for being able to set up shop inside of the prison. The prison system’s cut or kickback percentage becomes part of the overall operations budget used to pay salaries, buy equipment, pay for water, electricity etc.

So, not only our slave labor, but also our financial contributions are helping to keep this empire running. Therefore, we have to boycott these ventures to help defund prison operations budgets.

Just as easily as a habeas corpus or appeal can free you, so, too, can you gain your freedom if a DOC has to close down prisons due to insufficient funds in their budgets to fund operations.

The fact that these industries generate billions of dollars each year merely attests to the enormous power that our families have over U.S. prison operations. Every time that they reject a collect call, they empower themselves by sending a message to the phone company that they will no longer assist in funding prison operations costs.

Not only our slave labor, but also our financial contributions are helping to keep this empire running. Therefore, we have to boycott these ventures to help defund prison operations budgets.

For those of us on the inside, when we stop picking up those phones, we send the message that we are ready to talk to our families at home in the living room and on the porch. These conversations are free and priceless.

The distinctively unique feature about these prison monopolies, as I’ve stated before, is that as incarcerated and enslaved people, we are their only customers. This makes it clear, without any doubt, that as much as organizations and groups grapple and fight with the FCC and the phone companies over prices, the POWER to effect change, immediate change, lies exclusively in our hands alone.

And always keep in mind that while it may cost $5, $10 or $20 to make a call, it don’t cost a penny to boycott for a month.

Casting a wide net!
Many of the owners of these cottage industry companies are former corrections officials. They either own the companies outright or are major investors. Others are family members, business associates or political contributors.

So, boycotting incentive package company Union Supply, for example, has ripple effects on many balance sheets. In addition, the employees of these companies feel the heat from participating in this evil industry. There’s plenty of pain pent up and caged inside these prisons, and we need to #RedistributeThePain in 2018 so that others can feel its intensity.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2018
When the campaign kicks off, I recommend that we invest approximately 25 percent of whatever you/we save into a fund to purchase books, stamps, newspaper subscriptions and office supplies to help print material, all to support the campaign. IWOC has indicated that their main body has donated $4,000 for book purchases.

Free Alabama Movement is contributing $750 to T-shirts, plus $250 to help purchase ink. If you have a submission for a T-shirt design, please send it to: Free Alabama Movement, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761 or email redistributethepain@gmail.com. If we choose your design, you’ll win $50 for books or newspaper subscriptions, tuition payment or other educational need.

Book of the Month – February 2018: “Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money from Mass Incarceration” by Tara Herevil and Paul Wright

Newspaper Subscription of the Month – February 2018: SF Bay View, one month $2, one year $24

Publication of the Month – February 2018: Prison Legal News, six months $18, one year $30

These are just a few of the recommended reading materials that you will find on our WordPress blog. I suggest that those who can make these purchases, and those who can’t reach out to FAM, IWOC, Queen T or Bay View, and collectively we will try to handle the request or send it to someone who can.

One other request that I would like to put out there personally is the need of assistance in developing an app that helps us to better analyze and break down each state’s prison system, each individual prison, and each prison’s industry and labor force, just to name a few. A person should be able to click on an app and at least get the following information at any time:

  • Population
  • Total jobs worked by incarcerated
  • Each job description
  • Paid jobs / amounts
  • Unpaid jobs
  • Total canteen sales
  • Total collect calls
  • Total incentive packages purchased
  • Total visitation vending
  • All products made by prison labor
  • All services provided by prison labor
  • (Other factors may be included)

Creating our own app in aid of our movement is not cost prohibitive. We already have the funds to pay for it, but we are spending it on potato chips, cookies, candy, collect phone calls and processed food instead. For the most part, all of this is public information that is available to us through Freedom of Information Act and Open Records Act requests. In addition, we can use survey questionnaires, civil litigation, and other methods to start culling information out of these prisons and start painting a picture of what the business of prisons is really all about.

Wherever there is unity, there is power. So, let’s utilize 2018 as the year to continue to strengthen our unity, so that we can make 2018 a very powerful year for our movement, while also making it a very painful year for prison profiteers, human traffickers and the institution of slavery.

Our circumstances absolutely will not change until our thoughts and actions change. We have been spending, funding and enriching the system long enough. Now it is time to Boycott, Defund and Bankrupt.

Stop financing our own oppression. It’s time to Redistribute the Pain in 2018.

Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun, Free Alabama Movement

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Limestone CF D-70, 28779 Nick Davis Rd, Harvest AL 35749.

The Power of Economics: One Message, One Mind, One Movement

The power of economics: One message, one mind, one movement
June 30, 2017
by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun (formerly known as Melvin Ray)
Published in the SF Bayview, June 30, 2017

Photo of Melvin Ray and his daughter Raven Antonia on a visit, 2017

Melvin Ray gets a visit from his daughter, Raven Antonia, and his “grandbaby in the oven.”

Greetings to all of the freedom fighters, warriors and honorable supporters in this struggle to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. Two thousand and seventeen has been a year of incubation for the Free Alabama Movement. Many of us have been subjected to intensified repression, cast deeper into the recesses of solitary confinement, causing us to merge into a new, stronger and more powerful incarnation of the original.

Sometime last year, the ADOC (Alabama Department of Corrections) erected what amounts to a SHU (Special Handling Unit) at Limestone Correctional Facility. Brother Dhati Khalid (“Freedom or Death”) was the first freedom fighter to be transferred there from here at Donaldson Correctional Facility in approximately May 2016. Brother Kinetik Justice, who has now served approximately 40 consecutive months, was sent there late last year. These remain the only two men who have been sent to SHU-Limestone for political reasons.

As for me, I am personally on my 10th month after returning to seg (segregation, or solitary confinement), which makes 36 of the last 41 months. At present, I am being held on “isolation” status – no contact, “Walk Alone,” no phone, visitation, books, magazines etc. supposedly under INVESTIGATION for unspecified reasons. Nevertheless, life moves on.

Many of us are excited about Aug. 19, 2017. There will be an event in Montgomery, Alabama, in addition to the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C. We MUST seize this moment in our movement.

Stokely Charmichael pointed out in his book “Ready for Revolution” the important distinction between mobilizing people versus organizing people. As organizers, it is extremely important that we seize upon the opportunity that #A19 will bring, to organize our supporters.

How do we do this?
First and foremost, we must stay on message. And what is that message? We are uniting to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. In doing so, we have to keep at the forefront of our heart, mind and spirit that slavery – which predominates over mass incarceration – is an economic enterprise system that is mathematically put together and thus capable of being scientifically taken apart.

The basic premise of this deconstructive science is simple: “There can be no slavery without the slave.” As I state in my forthcoming book, even if 1 million people do attend our events on #A19, it won’t do much good if 1 million prison workers – slaves – get right back up and continue to answer that “work call” year in and year out.

People in society are not the ones working these prison slave labor jobs, so we can’t afford to allow them to EVER entertain the impression that they can free us simply by marching. We have to put a plan in place for them to support.

First and foremost, we must stay on message. And what is that message? We are uniting to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery.

The ultimate job of deconstructing slavery remains on us, the slaves. Simply stated, we have got to stop the slave labor, and our movement has to organize our supporters around our plan to launch our next round of massive strikes, whenever that date is set.

Social, political and ECONOMIC education must be ramped up

One thing I have noticed about our writings behind these walls is that, while we have written enough to fill up several universities with social and political content, we have very little material on economics. It is going to be next to impossible to build awareness around the true nature of our movement if we don’t start the process of educating on the economic factor of slavery.

Solitary confinement has its origin on the plantation as the “nigger box.” Our water has always been contaminated. As slaves, we never had health, dental or prenatal care on the plantation. Sabre Red and Cell Buster spray have merely replaced the whip.

These are but the residuals of slave plantation life. As long as there is the economic enterprise of slavery, these residuals will always exist. Furthermore, if we stopped any of them or all of them, so long as we continue to provide slave labor, slavery will remain intact.

It is going to be next to impossible to build awareness around the true nature of our movement if we don’t start the process of educating on the economic factor of slavery.

We have to make a much more concerted effort to put the focus on the economic factors at play. When people understand how $$$ is the driver, we have to then help these same people understand how “their” money or “their” labor is what is keeping this system of slavery alive. In economic terms.

Information needs to be organized so that our loved ones can see just how their money is fueling the system; then we have to help them organize boycotts and the withholding of funds at strategic moments. For example, when our families send us commissary money, they need to know 1) how much money they are sending collectively each month, and 2) how the prison system is using this money to keep the prison system intact.

In Alabama, commissary profits are used to purchase batons, mace, handcuffs etc. When our loved ones and supporters gain awareness of this, they can better see where their power lies and how they can use it effectively.

So long as we continue to provide slave labor, slavery will remain intact.

If a prison profits $20,000 each month, that’s $240,000 each year. If they were to organize, say, rolling boycotts of every other month, that’s six months – January, March, May, June, September, November – and $120,000 that they have removed from a prison’s operating budget. These types of deficits are very disruptive to a prison budget.

When we combine these types of maneuvers with phone boycotts and incentive package boycotts, these types of tactics add up fast. These are the types of methods that we need our family members and supporters organizing year-round, non-stop.

Of course, the Great White Whale remains the workstrikes. Why? Because this is easily a $100,000,000,000 industry that WE control. That is the one thing that has to penetrate through to our consciousness: We actually control a $100 billion industry through our labor. If you don’t think that slave labor has power, just think about all of the wealth that it has created.

These are just some of the companies that we produce products for and provide services for, or who make money off of us: Abbott Laboratories, ALRT, AutoZone, Bayer, Caterpillar, Costco, John Deer, Eddie Bauer, Exxon Mobil, Fruit of the Loom, Gelco, GlaxoSmithKline, Glaxo Wellcome, International Paper, Jan Sport, J-Pay, K-Mart, Koch Industries, Mary Kay, McDonalds, Nintendo, Pfizer, Proctor & Gamble, Quaker Oats, Sarah Lee, Sprint, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, WalMart, Wendy’s.

Of course, the Great White Whale remains the workstrikes. Why? Because this is easily a $100,000,000,000 industry that WE control.

There are many thousands more, and even more institutional investors. But these are just the products and services. We also have to look at the labor costs. Not including work releases, in Alabama there are approximately 10,000 laborers. This is the math on just one eight-hour workday at minimum wage:

10,000 x $8 per hour = $80,000 per hour
$80,000 per hour x 8 hours = $640,000 per day
$640,000 per day x 20 days each month = $12,800,000

So, just by going to work each day, five days a week, even at a minimum wage rate of $8 per hour, we are giving the state $12,800,00 each month in free slave labor. This is barbers, runners, kitchen, yard, road squads, infirmary workers etc.

Multiply that by 12 months, and the state is getting approximately $163,600,000 in free labor. And remember, this is just the cost of labor. These figures don’t include what that labor is producing. In Alabama, we are producing agricultural goods, tags, furniture, chemicals, beef, fish, recyclings, sand mines, print shop and more.

And these figures are before we ever get money sent by J-Pay, which transacts about $1 billion a year, and before we draw canteen, make medical co-pays, make phone calls etc. These are billion dollar entities, and we are the capital.

We have … got … to … get … these … numbers … before … the … people so that everyone can see our power. No state’s prison budget can withstand the loss of our collective economic might, but we have to put this shit in its proper context. Slavery is ECONOMICS! So the solution must be also.

I will close with this. In 2015, I drafted a document called FAM’s Six-Step Plan of Action 2015. What I consider to be the most important step in that plan is the establishing of one central detention facility jail prison in each state to serve as a “headquarters” for organizing – by our outside, free world support. Just go, set up shop, and start organizing. Collect contact info, pass out newsletters and pamphlets, set up conference calls etc.

These are billion dollar entities, and we are the capital. We have … got … to … get … these … numbers … before … the … people so that everyone can see our power. Slavery is ECONOMICS! So the solution must be also.

Establish shifts around visitation days. It could start out as just one person, but don’t stop until that entire place has the message. Then, set a test date for a phone boycott. Set another for a canteen boycott, and another for a short workstrike. The plan is to organize that one institution, both inside and out. When that one is done, then reach out to the next one.

We can’t be grassroots with no boots on the ground. This is how outside support can help those on the inside organize under any circumstance. But these posts have to become permanent. More details of this plan will be forthcoming, but for now we have to get on to the discussion about economics. There truly is power in numbers, especially when it comes to economics.

Free Alabama Movement (FAM) Economic Challenge

What products are produced at your place of incarceration?

What service industry (e.g., call center) is located at your place of incarceration?

How many people provide labor at your place of incarceration?

How much money do loved ones send to prison accounts each month at your place of incarceration?

Approximately how much money is spent on canteen at your place of incarceration each month?

Approximately how much is spent on collect calls at your place of incarceration each month?

Would you be willing to participate in and/or help organize a bi-monthly phone and canteen boycott for the year 2018?

Send our brother some love and light: Melvin Ray, 163343, Donaldson CF 1-3, 100 Warrior Lane, Bessemer AL 35023. If you are responding to the FAM Economic Challenge at the end, send your response to Unheard Voices OTCJ, P.O. Box 10056, Longview, TX 75604.

Let’s Talk About it!!! Corrections Corp and the GEO Group: Modern Slave Profiteers

Mort T. Care: “Corrections Corporation of America and the GEO Group owns about 75 percent of the nation private prisons”

LETS TALK ABOUT IT!!

They rely on human beings being incarcerated for their money, and both of them are multi-billion dollars enterprises that exploit free and cheap labor in a new form of slavery, exploitation, and torture to force labor.

They also lobby for touch-on-crime policies and against reforms or change to harsh sentencing practices that currently incarcerated over 1.5 black men, women, and children.

Free Alabama Movement and Free Mississippi Movement are currently protesting against the civil and human rights abuses of the companies from inside of prisons throughout America.

We need support, donations, and skilled organizers to help us organize the men and women on the inside to engage in work strikes/shutdowns so that we can destroy the economic ecosystem of corporations like these, whose existences are based on the continued enslavement of Black and other POC.

MAY DAY MAY DAY. ..

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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)…”

HJR 575
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)

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WE DECLARE WAR

WE DECLARE WAR !!!

When the trans-Atlantic slave trade began, Europe and her partners in crime declared war on Africa. When the Southern Confederacy ceded from the North, they declared a civil war to maintain the institution of slavery. After the Civil War, the 13th Amendment was ratified to maintain the institution of slavery under the control of the government.  In other works, the institution of slavery was never abolished, instead, it was Nationalized and turned into an institution that would be controlled by the State,  Federal and local governments.

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Under the 13th Amendment, the criminal justice system and the courtroom would become the auction block. “Neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime  whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. . . ” Since that time, it has been the jails and prison systems that have served the functions of running the enterprise and institution of slavery in America. And, the complexity of the slave has not change: Black, Brown, and poor. The practice has not changed: free labor that exploits the oppressed and enriches the rulers of the system.

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In 1878, just 13 years after ratification of the 13th Amendment,  over 73% of the entire Alabama state budget was generated from prison labor and convict leasing. Now, in 2016, over 1.5 billion dollars per year is generated from Alabama prison labor in ACID industries,  work release deductions ( up to 60% of wages can be taken), medical co-pays, filing fees, usury prices and kickback contracts from canteen, phone calls and more.

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As fate would have it, the same Southern states that declared war on the North to preserve the institution of slavery in 1861, are now the same States that lead the Nation and world in incarceration rates. They have done this by declaring war on crime, war on poverty, war of this and war on that. Their last war is the “war on drugs.”

Well, it is time that the victims and intended targets of this war (the name of the war changes but the game hasn’t)  — it is time that we declare war on mass incarceration, we declare war on prison slavery, and we declare war on the 13th Amendment.

Governor Bentley has recently proposed the construction of a new 1.5 billion (not 800 million) slave plantation. We must not sit by and accept this new above ground work-till-death camp and cemetary that will be used to continue to fund a government for the elite and rich, who choose to continue the institution and enterprise of Slavery in Alabama.

WE DECLARE WAR. !!!

Modern Implications of the 13th Amendment Slavery Clause Exception

10428075_1575775369340832_2172514085480136250_nInterviewer:

What impact do you think the brutality of police has on black people and its culture? Also: How does this affect people of other races that have also experienced police brutality?

Yohanan EliYah:

I think the brutality of police on black people is somewhat unique, because it is tied directly to slave catching, and putting down slave revolts in America for the last 300+ years. With such a long and negative history, I think it is impossible for any sane black person to have a positive association with the relationship. If you know American history, and you are familiar with the ridiculous litany of race based legislation that went on and on for hundreds of years, then you must know that it was up to the police of those times to enforce those laws, just like the police of today enforce the drug laws and execute the “war on crime”. Maryland Segregation Policy, 1619–black social exclusion, recommended, Maryland’s Exclusion Law,1638–exclusion of blacks from all people activity, except sports and entertainment, Virginia Fugitive Law, 1642–“R” branded on face of runaways, Maryland Marriage Law, 1664–first anti-interracial marriage statute, Slavery Law, 1665– exclusion of blacks from benefits afforded whites, British Plantation Act, 1667–code of conduct for slaves, slaveholders, Carolina Trade Law, 1686–barred blacks from all trades, Virginia Marriage Law, 1691–prohibited white women from marrying black men, Massachusetts Anti-Miscegenation Law, 1705–criminalization of interracial marriages, New York Runaway Law, 1705–execution for recaptured runaway slaves- on and on, up through today, where President Obama cut the crack sentencing laws from 100 to 1, down to 18 to 1. Isn’t that insane? There was never ANY scientific proof necessary to back up any claim that crack was “worse” than powder cocaine, but under Bill Clinton we saw 500,000 people taken to prisons, most of them there because of the drug war.

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All the “tough on crime” policies passed during the Clinton Administration’s tenure resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history. When you tie in imprisonment to slavery, as proscribed by the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, then you can see how we have come full circle- and all of this is made possible by the police. This all stems from the 13th Amendment, and the exception clause found therein. The police are the primary enforcers of the exception in the 13th Amendment. That is their primary jobs.

FMM T ShirtThe people that the 13th Amendment was intended for were African people in America. That is why it is called a Reconstructive Amendment, to repair, or reconstruct the lives damaged by the inhumanity of slavery. The exception was placed into the 13th Amendment for the intention to specifically re-enslave those freed Africans. It was intended specifically for African people, and it has impacted mainly African people. Africans in America have been criminalized ever since their enslavement, to justify the inhumanity of slavery, and criminalized after their emancipation to re-enslave them through Black Code legislation. LEGISLATION. That is where our persecution is coming from, from the APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION of Section 2 of the 13th Amendment. It is from legislation that communities become “ghetto”. Every African community across America, every city in America represented by Africans, are being and have been slated for political deprivation, economic disadvantage, social/national disparagement, and white supremacist FB_IMG_1430026710846institutional discrimination.

FB_IMG_1430028772577Our solution for all of this is the same as it ever has been- Abolition.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” So mass incarceration and subsequent prison labor for slave wages is not “the New Jim Crow”, its just the same old slavery.

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Yohanan EliYah:

As far as how other races are affected, I think everyone’s experience is uniquely tied to the brutality doled out to blacks as a baseline, and improving for others, as their skin tone lightens up from there. We saw the Indian Grandfather who was body slammed to the concrete Sureshbhai Patel, 57 years old. He was slammed onto the sidewalk in Madison, Alabama by Officer Eric Parker who was responding to a call about a ‘skinny black man’…so what does that tell you? Dash cams and bodycams are supposed to make things better, but the footage shows him being lifted, thrown down, and then he was unable to stand. The police said they approached him and he said to them ‘No English’. They started to search him, but he ‘pulled away’ – prompting them to use force. He was partially paralyzed despite two operations on his vertebrae. Had only been in the United States for two weeks. Latin Americans catching hell, immigrants from all over the world- as long as they are brown or black, they are subject to catching hell, but when the Cold War ended, America welcomed its former Communist Bloc brethren and sistren- no questions asked. America gave asylum to former Nazis. No incidents of racial profiling, no police violence senselessly unleashed upon any East German or Soviet nationals who snuck on to our shores… So I think the white response to police brutality is to point to the police state and its militarization as somehow brutalizing ALL of us, and to a degree that is true, as police in this country kill over 1,000 people every year. Most of them are white. Cops who kill white people are no more likely to serve time for this abuse than those who kill blacks. I think overall most people have good reason to be at least “concerned” about police powers, and union protections for them, which shield them from having to obey the laws of the land, which they are supposedly here to enforce.

Interviewer:

The most common counter-argument to that is that we are making it a race problem, how do you respond to that?

Yohanan EliYah:

A person who takes the information that I presented, and rebuts with such a statement will have the burden of proof on his own shoulders. Who is “we”, specifically? Once we determine who is factually “making it a race problem”, then we can discuss the validity of such an allegation. Next, even if somehow it is proven that blacks are the “we”, and blacks are making things about race- then we still have to debate the facts and determine if there is anything really wrong with that? We are analyzing institutions- entire systems of government and commerce, which rely very heavily upon free/low wage labor, and a never ending stream of criminally under-educated poor people for it to prevail over actual truth, justice and freedom. There is no capitalism, without slavery or something very near to it. There is no American foreign policy, without the nuclear hegemony. Without that hegemony, nations are much more likely to rise up and stand for themselves. Geo-politically, at this point, we see the USA is engaged in over 130 wars, conflicts and coups all over the planet- 99% of it is completely illegal, but the US runs the world the same way as it does people of color and the poor here at home- with violence and legalized lawlessness. Destabilization of foreign currencies and governments, faiths and cultures abroad is not much different than destabilization of Black neighborhoods as far back as Greenwood (Tulsa), OK back in 1921- or 100 other “Black Wall Streets” scattered across America in the post Civil War era. The Moynihan Report “predicted” the collapse of the Black family 50 years ago, and then US policy, from Nixon’s war on crime and war on drugs, as well as social programs mandating that men and fathers stay away, in order for mothers with children in the home to be able to receive the benefits they needed to survive- all conspired to create the beginnings of the largest upsurge in incarceration in any nation’s history that has ever been recorded. Now we see every news outlet reports on statistics like 70% of Black children are born out of wedlock, or 70% of Black children are raised in a single parent home. Before Moynihan’s report, roughly 24% of Black children were born out of wedlock. These are systems- not individuals. This is chess, not checkers.

 

May 30th: National/International Protest Day to “S-To-P” the “school-to-prison” pipeline

11225786_10152915830247198_1260784382_nMay 30th NATIONAL McDonald’s PROTESTS
McDonald’s / St. Vincent Hospital

Where: 2733 8th Avenue, South
Birmingham, Alabama 35203

Time: 12 noon

National Freedom Movement’s “S-To-P” Campaign Against McDonald’s to “S-To-P” the “school-to-prison” pipeline.

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FREE ALABAMA-MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT UNITED . . . we got our Youth covered.

F.A.M.’s Step 3 McDonald’s INITIATIVE: “S-To-P” the “school-to-prison” pipeline.

1) S-To-P doing business with companies that invest in, and profit from laws and school policies that target children for the “school-to-prison”.

FOTA7C32) S-To-P doing business with companies that build factories in prisons but not in our communities.

3) S-To-P doing business with companies that pay slave wages to people in prison, but won’t employee people in high-unemployment communities.

11287432_10206815466568514_893364780_o4) S-To-P doing business with companies that profit off of mass incarceration FOR prison slavery.

https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/f-a-m-s-step-3-mcdonalds-initiative-s-to-p-the-school-to-prison-pipeline/

Free California Movement: Abolish the ‘legal’ slavery provision of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

From: NCTT-Cor-SHU:

The NCTT-COR-SHU is geared up to launch a grassroots campaign, in conjunction with other human rights activists on the inside and outside to abolish the ‘legal’ slavery provision of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which allows for the enslavement, involuntary servitude, and ‘civil death’ of prisoners, parolees and EVERYONE convicted of a crime in the U.S.

This provision is the civil basis for prisoners and ex-prisoner disenfranchisement, compulsory prison labor, ‘legal’ labor and housing discrimination for those segments of the population who most need fair access, disfavorable access to legal redress, a diminished standard of 1st Amendment and other essential constitutional protections, diminished access to educational, vocational, and higher learning opportunities, and most damaging to society as a whole – legitimizing the dehumanization of these citizens under the ‘law.’

The primary vehicle we will seek to employ this campaign nationally is the formation of the “Free California Movement,” in conjunction with prisoners across the state, while encouraging the formation and solidarity of other “Free… Movements” in every state in the Union. We recognize that each state’s prison system has its own unique contradictions (for example, in many southern states, prison labor is wholly uncompensated, while in California many prison jobs come with a pennies on the dollar slave wage, and other institutions have P.I.A. compensation for prison labor), but what is UNIVERSAL across the nation is all of the dehumanizing, discriminatory and inhumane statutes prisoners and former prisoners are subject to – be they prison regulations or penal codes- ALL flow from the ‘legal’ slavery provision of the 13th Amendment.

We will be reaching out to prisoners, activists, progressives, family members, friends and citizens from all walks of life in the coming months to support this vital effort which is key to positively resolving the malignant contradiction of rampant inequality and social alienation in American society. We hope we can count on your support looking forward.

Dec. 28, 2014

NCTT-Cor-SHU

CSP-Corcoran-SHU, CA 93212

freecaliforniamovement @ gmail.com

See also: Pattern of practice: Centuries of racist oppression culminating in mass incarceration, in: SF Bay View, Jan, 26th, 2015, by Mutope Duguma

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT Rally 7-19-2014 @ St. Clair

2014-07-19 12.28.54 (2) 2014-07-19 12.28.58 2014-07-19 12.29.26 2014-07-19 12.49.30 2014-07-19 12.52.19 2014-07-19 12.52.44 2014-07-19 12.52.56 2014-07-19 12.57.50 2014-07-19 12.58.00 2014-07-19 12.58.02 2014-07-19 12.58.04 2014-07-19 12.59.08 2014-07-19 12.59.17 2014-07-19 12.59.22 2014-07-19 12.59.26 2014-07-19 12.59.32 2014-07-19 13.00.39 2014-07-19 13.00.42 2014-07-19 13.00.52 2014-07-19 13.00.56 2014-07-19 13.01.01 2014-07-19 13.01.04 2014-07-19 13.01.11 2014-07-19 13.01.59 2014-07-19 13.02.03 2014-07-19 13.02.52 2014-07-19 13.03.07 2014-07-19 13.03.24 2014-07-19 13.03.36 2014-07-19 13.04.24 2014-07-19 13.06.38

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8L2NFDR3Z83YJ

THE MOVEMENT IS MOVING: Are You Standing Still Or In Kinetik Motion? By Kinetik Justice Amun

By Kinetik Justice Amun

When you proclaim to be or you’re striving to be RIGHTEOUS and you see something thats not RIGHT & EXACT you have 2 options- You either do something about it or You support those that are doing something about it. If you see something wrong and choose neither one of those options- you’re plastic and when the FLAME gets turned up, you’ll melt and puddle like snow. FREE THE FAM 3! UHURU AU KIFO

By Kinetik Justice Amun

The willful denial and intentional deprivation of the Human & Civil Rights of one person is WRONG. The systematic denial and institualized deprivation of over 52,OOO peoples Human & Civil Rights is PURE EVIL. To Stand Up to and Challenge such a System is to commit yourself to a Righteous Cause. FREE ALABAMA FREE MISSISSIPPI UNITED – THE MOVEMENT IS A RIGHTEOUS CAUSE. So link up and join us as we fight for the FREEDOM JUSTICE & HUMANE TREATMENT OF OVER 52,OOO HUMAN BEINGS.

“Let’s just shut down” – An Interview with Spokesperson Ray of Free Alabama Movement

By Annabelle Parker and Melvin Ray, October 2014
First published on Alabama Prison Watch

Q: How did you come about starting the Free Alabama Movement, what was the thing or issue that triggered it? And were you all in general population? You are still in solitary (the hole) now, right? Please elaborate on how it works from there, and what is possible, from there.

Spokesperson RayF.A.M. came about in stages and events that were somewhat unrelated to F.A.M. at the time, but which ultimately served as seeds for the future. Small steps like coming into prison and joining a law class that was being taught by a mentor. Then, latching onto the coattail of a revolutionary PP and Black Panther named Richard “Mafundi” Lake and hearing phrases like “organize” over and over again.
And growing from a student in the law classes to a teacher. Then, taking on individual cases that started to open my eyes to the systematic approach in which the judicial system was incarcerating black youth in droves. At this time, I had  not evenheard the phrase “mass incarceration.”

The next step along the process was when I got transferred to St. Clair prison, where a whole new world was opened up to me because cell phones were prevalent and so abundant. I was introduced to technology . . .  and started to learn about social media and new ways to reach out and interact with society.

By this time, I had learned that the law was not practiced as it was written, and that the criminal justice system did not really care about Justice at all.

Nevertheless, just having access to technology, I began a campaign to bring awareness to my case, and started a website called Innocentmanmelvinray.com. Being still just a tad bit naive’, I thought that I could reach out more effectively with the technology that the phone provided and get the kind of help I needed. Needless to say, this notion, too, was soon disabused.
But the one thing that this failure did do to help bring F.A.M. into existence was that it allowed me to see that there were many other people out there doing what I was doing, dealing with the same issues, but who were, likewise, not having the success that we deserved. That insight ultimately lead me back to what Mr. Mafundi always stressed: “organize.”

Realizing that there were literally thousands of “Innocentmanmelvinray’s” out there (the most poignant one that I ran across that stays in my mind is Davontae Sandford’s case), I started asking myself how can I bring these collectives together? That question sprung the concept of “FREE ALABAMA” into my mind. At that time, I was in solitary confinement and it was during that time that I had learned about the December 9, 2010, shutdown by the men in Georgia. I told myself that I could take that concept and build around it.
From my early days at Holman prison, I used to talk with two of my Brothers about how we needed to get a small camcorder into the prison. They used to laugh at the thought, because technology hadn’t shrunk camcorders then but I knew that the day was coming when they would be small enough.

From that point on, I began laying the groundwork for how I would start “organizing” my prison, and then my State, and how I would use a cellphone to record, interview, and document everything.

StokeleyFrom reading Stokely Carmichael’s book, Ready For Revolution, I also knew that when the time came, we would be bold with our Movement. I wouldn’t allow anyone who did an interview to use a street name or nickname, because I wanted to dispel any pretense of fear in our Movement, plus, I wanted people who watched the videos to be able to go to court records in order to authenticate what people were saying about their cases and the injustices they had received — whether wrongful convictions, excessive sentences, whatever.

So when I got out of segregation I went to work. I started talking to leaders, explaining the philosophy, taking pictures, filming living conditions, and interviewing. I also started writing a manifesto. But in the process of all of this, the final thing that happened was that I read Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow. She has a passage in there that said that it would take a “Movement” to take down mass incarceration. That was the first time I had saw anyone boldly make that statement, and it crystallized for me what I was doing, and so with that, we went from FREE ALABAMA, to FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT.

Then, I contacted the one person who I knew would support me 100%, because over the years we had worked on so many other projects together and I knew that this would be the culmination of all of our previous work: Kinetik Justice (g.n. Robert Earl Council).

After I ran down everything to him he said what he always says, “Sun, what you done came up with now?? . . . I can CEE it though. Let’s run it.” And off we went and FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT was officially founded. We haven’t looked back since.

Q: We remember that the FAM first came into view with the work-strike actions inside St Clair. Can you tell us a little more on that please, and how it worked; did you get people to start thinking for themselves and such?

Well, the work strikes, which we call “shutdowns” are the heart of our Movement to end mass incarceration and prison slavery, because the modern Prison Industrialized Complex is an estimated 500 billion dollar enterprise that is financed off of the backs of people who are incarcerated. As most people know, what is taking place within America’s prison system is modern slavery. It’s a hard reality to fathom, yet it is so true.
Starting out, what I did was to evaluate our options, which included litigation, hunger strikes, letter writing campaigns, etc., among others, while at the same time tried to get a better understanding of the system as a whole, and look at the option that gave us the most power to make a change. When I looked at what the men had done in GA, I realized that using labor strikes as a tool of Economic Empowerment gave us our best option and most leverage.

With Alabama’s economy being stagnant and down with the larger economy due to the Recession, I knew that we could have a real impact if we organize around our labor contribution. And with that, I started researching just how much of a contribution we were making to the system. I started with the kitchen here at St. Clair because I used to work for several years at Red Lobster. Using my knowledge from the industry, I realized that in just the kitchen alone, we filled over 60 jobs, with a total labor contribution of approximately 1 million dollars per year. We have people stealing sandwiches just to survive or get a shot of coffee in prison, who were giving the ADOC over 1 million in labor per year.

All totaled, the ADOC is getting about 2 to 3 billion dollars from us in Alabama. Work release deductions, the value of everything we produce, filing fees, store, incentive packages, co-pays, fees.

When I started showing guys these numbers and putting them in terms and a format that they could understand, it made the organizing that much easier.

Once I started looking at the industries here, and started receiving more input and assistance, the numbers really started adding up. In the chemical plant alone, I was able to show the guys that they were producing 25 million dollars-worth of chemicals each year.

When I would show them invoices and then point at their shoes, or ask what they had in their box, it was an undeniable proposition to ask of them if they were being fairly compensated.

The kicker was the fact that most of us weren’t being released and had no opportunity for release, no matter the sentence. Then, the ADOC helped my cause even further when a popular old-timer, Eddie Neal, was denied parole again after already serving almost 40 years. Mr. Neal had two disciplinary tickets in 40 years, and the last one was in 1996. Guys started accepting what was going on with the parole board — they didn’t care about a clear record, good behavior, education, or anything. They were part of the exploitation-for-labor system. All I had to do was help explain to them what they were seeing. They did the rest.

We have to start being honest with ourselves about our conditions and the fact that we aren’t doing anything about it. Giving money to a lawyer is a pipe dream. Being a mental slave to ignorance, which causes one to be dependent upon a lawyer or a judge to administer justice for a constitutional violation is hype. We have to start looking for ways to create our own opportunities. Developing our own politics. That’s what FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (and now FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT) are all about.

Q: On the website of the Free Alabama Movement [freealabamamovement.com], we can view films and photos you made and posted on YouTube about the things you were struggling to improve or get rid of, and this is a powerful means to make clear what you are grieving and what you are up against, right? Is it more effective than grievances (which you no doubt must file in order to be able to go to court, but that is a very difficult way, especially from prison with no income).

sink inside facilityReally, as I said, the videos were something that I had envisioned long before I envisioned F.A.M. I knew that society had no real idea of what conditions were like in prison, because I see the commentary about us having “air conditioning and eating steaks.” So, initially, the videos were  designed to show people how inhumane conditions in prison were.

As I spent more time in prison, certain things started to stick out to me: mainly how the ADOC lies and controls the narrative about prisons through a media that is denied access to the prisons, and that the media is force-fed a narrative that they weren’t questioning.

When officers assault the men (and women), we were faulted. When conditions were complained about or lawsuits filed, the ADOC “lied or denied.” So, I was determined to change that narrative. But then, in 2012, I finally stumbled across the Dec  9, 2010, actions in GA, and the two things that stuck out the most to me were: (1) they were ostracized in the media, and (2), they were beaten after their peaceful shutdown. The GDOC accused them of all types of false motives, and then went in after the fact and brutalized them. I knew that I had to document all of our grievances and produce proof for the public of why we were protesting. I was not going to allow ADOC to control the narrative in the media about our legitimate complaints.

After getting some guys to overcome their fears of repercussions for going on camera, something unexpected happened: FAM website frontthe Men began to open up about our conditions in ways that they never had before. It sparked conversation, opened up debates, and it revealed to guys the fact that most of us had NEVER been heard before about our circumstances, our cases, or our desires to be free, to be fathers, to receive education, etc. No one, prior to F.A.M., had given us that chance to speak in our own words. So guys opened up and gave us something that can never be taken away. For the first time, WE TOLD OUR STORIES, IN OUR OWN WORDS,WITH OUR OWN DIALECTS AND PHRASES. And we posted it all over YouTube, Facebook, and anywhere else we could find a space.

Q: You made connections with people inside MS prisons and now they too are organizing peacefully in a similar way? Please elaborate.

Yes, it is correct that we made connections with people in Mississippi who are organizing FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT and Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests for Civil and Human Rights. But we have also made contact with people on the inside in Georgia, Virginia, and California, and we have also connected with families and organizations in Florida, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
In fact, the people in Mississippi, and in particular, a woman named LaShonda Morris, found us because of our media. She was looking for someone to help who was about this work of confronting mass incarceration and prison slavery for real and not just talking. Thankfully, she found FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, and we have ALL been blessed by her efforts, because she is serious about what she is doing, and she has connected us in ways and with people that we never would have been able to do on our own.

On November 22, 2014, FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT will host a Rally and Information Session in Jackson, MS, and we are confident that the future is bright for FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT & FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT UNITED/UMOJA.

Q: On the website for the F.A.M., freealabamamovement.com, you mention that you work in a nonviolent way. Can you tell us why you put emphasis on this, and what you mean with nonviolence?

Well, first and foremost, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, and now, FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT are about Freedom. We are about getting people out of prisons where we are being warehoused, exploited and abused, so that we can return home  to our communities.

But at the same time, we also acknowledge that some of us have made mistakes or have shortcomings that we needed to address, and we want opportunities to correct them so that when we are released, we can be better sons and daughters, better husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, and be assets to our communities.
In addition to our mistakes, we have also been demonized by the media, by police, by prosecutors, and by prison officials, So, we have taken it upon ourselves to demonstrate who were and the changes that we have made.

No one wants violence brought into their communities. People want and need answers to violence, so it is important for us to demonstrate that we are Non-Violent, we are Peaceful. Some people have committed violent crimes, while others have committed crimes that are labeled as violent, but where no one was harmed, while other people have been wrongfully convicted of violent offense. But, whether you are innocent, guilty, mentally ill, or whatever, no one is getting out, and the prison system wants to justify our incarceration by telling society that we are “violent predators,” “killers,” “dangerous gang leaders and drugs dealers,” etc. These labels are applied 20, 25 years after the facts, after change, after maturity, after education, repentance, and after some children have grown from 18 to 43, yet no one can get out because the D.A.’s will still get on T.V. and revert back to a 40-year-old crime and argue that the person 40 years onwards still exists, even though this D.A. has no up-to-date knowledge of who this person is decades later.

So we are taking this platform and we are going to do our interviews to make our presentations to the public. We are going to make our complaints against this system to the public, and then we are going to back that up by demonstrating to the public that we can now address our issues Non-Violently and Peacefully.

Violence is nothing more than a thought process. It is part of a chain of options that human beings arrive at when confronted with a problem. What we have done is that we have educated guys about this chain, and provided them with alternative remedies to solving problems without resorting to violence.

Our Brother Earl “Tyrese” Taylor started a program at St. Clair called Convicts Against Violence, with an emphasis on Education and Mentoring. With this program, we were able to reduce the violence level down to what one might see at a work release, from right here at a maximum security prison.

But the ADOC didn’t want this, so they removed the warden who allowed us to implement this program, and replaced him with a Black warden,  Warden Davenport, and the first and only program he disbanded was C.A.V. Now, 4 1/2 years later, St. Clair has reverted back to one of the most violent prisons in the entire country. This is why F.A.M. stepped in, to again stop this State-engineered violence, and what happened?  Over 5000 Men across the State jumped immediately on board and supported it. The State responded by labelling myself, the co-founder, and F.A.M. as a security threat group. Lol. We have NEVER had a single incident of violence, yet we are a threat. Not to the security, but to the system of mass incarceration, prison slavery, and the exploitation of people.

Go figure, since they attacked F.A.M. and our Non-Violent and Peaceful Movement, 4 men have been murdered in 2014 alone, and the Equal Justice Initiative, led by Bryan Stephenson, has filed a class-action lawsuit and been calling for the removal of Davenport. This lawsuit was not filed against the entire ADOC as is usually the case, but exclusively against “Bloody St. Clair.” So that should tell you how bad things have gotten.

Stopping violence is easy, and we didn’t receive any funding from the ADOC to run our program. But violence pays. 80% of all people who enter ADOC are functionally illiterate. Education teaches better decision making. We can teach that if they didn’t obstruct our efforts. They will claim that they offer schools, but if what they were teaching was working, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

More and more prisons are removing educational programs and replacing them with factories. Some, like Bibb Co., don’t even offer GED classes. We have to organize against this profit motive, because no one is going home so long as we submit to being exploited for labor and living under inhumane conditions that we should be outraged about. We have to return the narrative to Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-Entry Preparedness, because the State narrative has caused too much pain, destroyed too many communities, destroyed too many families, and destroyed too many people who have something of value to offer society — even in the lessons learned from our mistakes.

Q: We also read that you have written a Bill titled ALABAMA’S EDUCATION, REHABILITATION, AND RE-ENTRY PREPAREDNESS BILL.

Can you tell us a little about the background and aims of this Bill? And can outside support help promote it?

Did any politician approach you yet and (how) would you want to work with someone from politics who takes your issues seriously?

Let me answer the second part of your question first. No, we have not approached any politicians, and we have no intentions or desire to. If what we are doing is going to work, we have to make it work ourselves. The men and women have to understand that the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) has created an economy that is bases on Free/Cheap Labor to compete in the global market against cheap manufacturers like China and Indonesia. The problem is that they have incarcerated over 2.5 million people and they have created a system that is TOTALLY dependent upon US. If we stopped working, then their current model of prisons, including private prisons stopped working.

They are now making over 500 Billion dollars off of our labor. They don’t have a way to replace that. People in society don’t work for free. This system was created by politicians, they are the ones getting the kickbacks, they approve the contracts, and they are the ones who invest their pensions into the stocks of these corporations. So, it makes no sense to solicit them. Would you give up a multi-billion dollar enterprise in exchange if you didn’t have to?

The money that they are making off of our labor is the money that they are using to fund their prison budgets. Nationwide, prison budgets total 86 billion dollars, so where is the remaining 414 billion dollars going? Ask the politicians??

If we take our labor off our the table, then the States are left with normal budget intakes to pay for prisons. Believe me, when we take our labor back, only then will prisons get back to Corrections and Rehabilitation. Every system in America will start back giving good-time, and even the Federal Prisons (who started the profit-based model with Unicor) will have to go back to granting parole.    Additionally, we will finally be able to bring political prisoners like Mumia, Iman El Amin, Larry Hoover, Mutulu, and so many more home.

Funny how we “CONTROL” a 1/2 trillion dollar market, but we go to bed hungry at night. Our bill, which we call the “FREEDOM BILL,” will be the model of what prison will look like after we take control of our situation. If they (the State) ever want to see their assembly lines roll again, then our Legislation will be the functional equivalent of a “labor contract.” No freedom, no labor !!!

Our Bill, as it is titled, will place Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-Entry Preparedness at the forefront of our stay in prison – not free labor. Voting rights will be restored. LWOP and Death Sentences will be repealed, and conjugal visits will be a part of rehabilitation. Also, media will have unfettered access to prisons. With alternative media like VICE, TruthOut and others, everything will be out in the open.
But our Bill won’t just give out a free pass, people will have to “earn” their freedom through completion of a curriculum that will address the needs of the individual. No GED/Diploma: You have to get one. No skill or trade: Gotta get one. No life skills: Time to grow up and learn what it takes to be a man and provide for you family and community.

There will be exceptions, because there are exceptional cases. But the way things work right now, no one knows when they will be released, if they will make parole, or what they can do to guarantee that when they have served sufficient time, addressed their issues, that they will return home to their family. Our  Bill will provide that certainty for most, and it will give that comfort to spouses, children, etc., of when the loved one will return home. They will know, they will be a part of it, and they will be able to engage in activities like family visits, conjugal visits, parenting classes, etc., that will keep families together when a member of the family has made a mistake. If we are producing 500 billion dollars to live with rats, spiders, mold, abusive officers, and serve decades on end, with no end in sight, then surely we can unite and make a stand.
No doubt they can afford to pay us for any labor that we perform. Otherwise, something has to give. If we can clean them up, we can tear them down. However, we come in Peace.

Q: Can you tell us a little on your support for the women incarcerated in one of the worst prisons in this country, Tutwiler Prison for Women?

Our hearts go out to the women at Tutwiler. I mean, you add all of the issues that go on in prisons that they suffer equal to men, then add on the fact that they are raped by men, assaulted by men, impregnated by men, and forced to have abortions, or forced to give birth. And after 20 years of abuse, only 6 officers prosecuted, with the most time being 6 months. One got 5 days.

March at Tutwiler aug 2014F.A.M. organized a Protest Rally at Tutwiler. We created a Facebook-page to support them. I have personally interviewed approximately 25 women who have served time at Tutwiler either online or on my radio show.

Due to the DOJ being inside of Tutwiler, we have not been able to contact them directly. But we support them and they are a part of F.A.M. My plan was to draft a section on Women’s Rights for the FREEDOM BILL, but we never got cooperation from some of the women who had served time at Tutwiler who we connected with. They were too busy to help the women they left behind. I am bitter about that, and I let them know it.March to end rape, 8-23-2014, Alabama
Nevertheless, F.A.M. stands firm in our convictions. We aren’t going anywhere without our Women. If they can’t get speak right now, fine. We will reserve their places until they can.

Q: Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for those inside California’s (and other states’) prisons? Inside its Secure Housing Units (SHU’s)?

To our Brothers and Sisters in California, we say Stand with us and form FREE CALIFORNIA MOVEMENT. The economics of your system is the same as ours. We are all making the same license plates, cleaning the same feces off of the walls, cooking the same scrambled eggs, doing the same electrical work for free. The same people who are investing their pensions in private prisons and mutual funds in Alabama, are the same ones who are investing in California.

Serving 30 years in Alabama is the same 30 years in California. Your influence carries great weight here in the South, It’s time for us to unify across State boundaries because that’s what mass incarceration has done.
These systems can’t function without our labor. They used the drugs to fund the Iran/Contra war. They then used the “war on drugs” to justify mass-incarceration. Then, they turned the prison population into modern slaves. Now, it’s our turn to act. We have to leave the crops in the field. We have to make them turn their assembly lines off. Since they are the ones getting paid, it’s time for them to cook the food, clean the floors, take out the trash, do the maintenance and everything else.

If we are to do any more labor, then we have to state our terms and conditions, and foremost amongst them is that we must be afforded an opportunity to earn our freedom. If we must work, then we must get compensated for our labor. If we must remain here without tearing these walls down, then we must be treated humanely.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I, myself, am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone !!! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.

Some men can’t survive solitary confinement, and the administration will threaten them if they participate in the shutdowns. So let’s just clog up the cells.

Let’s all just shut down and see how their 500 billion dollar system works without us, and then see if they change their tune about our FREEDOM. EVERYBODY !!! Just shut down.

Thank you Spokesperson Ray for your encouraging and strong, bold and outspoken activism and advocacy!

You can contact the Free Alabama Movement via:
www.Freealabamamovement.com,
Email: freealabamamovement@gmail.com or freemississippimovement@gmail.com
Facebook group: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT
FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761

On InternetRadio.

On YouTube.

Free AlabamaMovement – Book in PDF by Melvin Ray

An Interview with Melvin Ray of Free Alabama Movement, by Dan Brent

Spokesperson Ray Oct 2014 (2)An Interview with Melvin Ray of Free Alabama Movement, by Dan Brent

From: People’s World

Dec. 1st, 2014

In August of 2013, a young man named Melvin Ray, incarcerated in Alabama’s St. Clair Correctional Facility, began developing and sharing a philosophy and plan for resistance to mass incarceration from within the confines of the prison itself. He penned what some might characterize as a manifesto for what would become the Free Alabama Movement.

Incarcerated individuals who joined this movement since January of 2014 have used several tactics of resistance, including filming the conditions of these facilities with cell phones and posting the videos to YouTube.

The use of this new technology as a subversive tool spurred a media campaign by the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) emphasizing the “danger” of cell phones in the hands of prisoners. It was claimed that it might lead to “overseeing drug deals or calling for a hit.” It is incredibly suspicious how the ADOC’s media campaign did not begin with some notable criminal act organized from within prison walls, yet it conveniently coincided with the release of videos and photos damaging to the reputation of the state agency, just as an investigation for abuses in another facility within the state by the U.S. Department of Justice was drawing to a conclusion.

But the tactic that Free Alabama Movement has emphasized most in their struggle is the stoppage of labor – strikes within the prisons. Melvin and the others have consistently decried free, uncompensated labor as the main reason for the persistence of mass incarceration in the U.S., placing prisoner exploitation in the general context of the struggle against capitalism.

I asked Melvin a few questions that I felt were relevant to the general anti-capitalist and black liberation movements, that he might assist those of us in the “free world” in understanding the underlying thought behind Free Alabama Movement’s actions and development, and its relationship to those on the outside. Although I had originally intended to write a paragraph-style article interspersed with quotes from the interview, both the dynamism and cogency of his responses persuaded me instead to offer readers more of his unclad words:

Is there a connection between poverty wages within oppressed communities and free labor in the so-called “justice” system?

Poverty wages are part of the social/economic/political control mechanism of capitalism, and it is very much related to forced prison slavery/free labor. With limited resources due to low wages, you are restricted in many ways, including where your family can afford to live, what they can afford to buy (quality of life), and the most important control is their access to education. When your income only allows you to live in a poor community, then you typically only have access to under-performing schools, due to a lack of investment from state and local government. When confined by wages, the people of these poor communities are then closer in proximity to crime and criminal influences, which are directly related to incarceration, where forced slave labor is introduced. Consequentially, most people who are incarcerated also come from the poor communities where wages are depressed. The cycle then repeats itself because slave labor is forced on the socially and politically impoverished, because we lack traditional economics (no income) and political power due to disenfranchisement.

How would you describe the connection between white supremacy on the streets with police violence and white supremacy in the context of mass incarceration?

The fabric of white supremacy stretches across all threads of America because it is of a cultural and psychological nature, as described by Marimba Ani in her groundbreaking book Yurugu. In order to erect the concept of white supremacy, there has to be a foundation for it to stand on, and that foundation has always been black people. So with a psychology and culture built upon an identity that must destroy the black image and all things black, it’s easy to see the connection between police brutality, mass incarceration, and a host of other elements (poverty, low wages, lack of investment opportunities, discrimination in housing and college admittance, and on and on).

The same mindset that allows a police officer to summarily execute an innocent, unarmed black person in the street is the same mindset that allows an officer to plant evidence, to lie on the witness stand, and for a white juror to find guilt. It allows a judge to appoint a knowingly incompetent defense attorney, and it allows a prosecutor to withhold evidence, use false evidence, to overcharge, and to discriminate against black jurors, all with impunity. The Dred Scott case (1857) captured it best when the U.S. Supreme Court said that “no black man has any rights that a white man is bound to respect.” That applies whether it is an innocent black man or woman like Sean Bellor, Renisha McBride, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Mafundi Lake, Move 9, on up to the Scott sisters, Mike Brown and Ezell Ford.

Under the dictates of white supremacy, if you are black in this society, then you can be murdered or raped with little consequence, or you can be subject to murder or rape in prison with the other weapons of mass murder and destruction like the death penalty, life without parole, malnutrition, substandard healthcare, on down to police brutality, forced free labor, long-term solitary isolation and sensory deprivation, and exposure to widespread disease, all subsumed in mass incarceration.

Under white supremacy, this is the lot for black people so that white people can validate their supremacy. In a “democracy” where the resources are controlled by a few and political will is enforced by the vote of white-majority politics, white supremacy will reign for a while longer.

What role does capitalism plays in the mass incarceration of people of color within U.S. society?

Capitalists seek the highest return on their investment, and the best way to increase returns is to find ways to reduce the cost of production. The cheaper the cost to produce, the greater the return. One production cost that any corporation would like to reduce is labor costs. Why? Because labor costs (paying employees’ salaries and raises, sick leave and maternity leave, vacation time, payroll and income tax, Social Security, 401Ks, and compliance with labor laws) are the greatest expense to a business. Corporations have found that the best way to reduce these labor costs is to use free prison labor because when the capitalist uses a prisoner/slave, he doesn’t have any such expenses. He can replace all of these expenses with a campaign contribution to the politicians who can guarantee that he has access to prison labor.

It’s all a matter of bottom line profits. The capitalist doesn’t care where it comes from, and when you have power brokers who deem a certain segment of society ideally suited for that purpose (black, poor, uneducated, no political power), then they pass legislation like the “war on drugs” to create a system of mass incarceration/prison workforce slavery. Global competition within capitalism from producers like China made the decision to mass incarcerate large swaths of young black men for the purpose of exploiting them for prison/slave labor quite easy.

After the laws are passed, the next step is to get the media involved to play their role of demonizing and assassinating the character of black men so thoroughly in movies, TV, radio, and on the evening news (“crack babies,” “drug predators,” “violent gangs,” “monsters,” etc.) to the point that not only does no one care about the mass incarceration/government control that is taking place for over 7 million people, but most people think that when these people are imprisoned, they should be made to work for free as part of their punishment.

At the same time, these corporations fund colleges that begin teaching students in criminal justice curricula that prison labor is a necessary form of punishment for crime.

Before long, everyone is drinking the same Kool-Aid.

With so many restrictions on your own personal freedoms, how do you cope? How do you keep resisting the system of mass incarceration?

I don’t “cope,” that’s why I resist! My freedom was taken away from me in a violent manner by the state. In essence, I was kidnapped. That’s how I define my incarceration at this time, as a kidnapping.

I had a family that I was raising, a business that I was starting, and a future that I was preparing for. The state decided that they would use their legal system to take all of that (and so much more) away from me for a crime that I didn’t commit, and on top of that, I was sentenced to life without parole. So there is no way to cope with that.

I resist because I have no choice. The rules of prison are made to institutionalize you and make you a slave. The state needs for us to accept this way of life that they have chosen for us, so that we aren’t a management problem for them. Well, I have a problem with it. Harriet Tubman spoke about how although she freed hundreds of slaves, she could have freed thousands more if only they knew they were slaves. Well, I know what’s going on here, and I reject it wholeheartedly.

When the innocent, mentally ill, and the guilty are enslaved under the same oppression simply because the system deems you expendable, then I recommend that you better resist too, or else you will suffer the most ignoble fate known to humanity: dying as a slave of old age. It’s far better to die fighting for your liberation, freedom and honor than it is to live a life of service and docility, constantly enduring abuse by your master. You have to at least be a problem for him; make your name taste like shit in his mouth; constantly be in his head; worry that bastard to death! Whatever you do, don’t let him rest at peace at night as long as he holds you captive.

Man fights for justice inside Alabama prisonUSP

The life of the 13th Amendment and Neo-slavery

The life of the 13th Amendment and Neo-slavery

By Damu Shakur

The life of a 13th amendment, neo-new age slave is something all together diabolical. Where a human has to put themselves out on the limb for something the United Snakes posted as a piece of script that says that (WE THE PEOPLE) are created equal, that WE are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable RIGHTS, that among are LIFE, LIBERTY, & the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. That to secure these Rights, (GOVERNMENTS with an ‘s’) are Instituted by Men, deriving their Just Powers from the CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED (US, THE PEOPLE) that WHENEVER ANY (FORM) OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS, IT IS THE (RIGHT) of the PEOPLE (US) to ALTER OR ABOLISH IT, & to INSTITUTE A NEW GOVERNMENT.

But here we are the 13th Amendment New-neo slave of the 21st century are still BEGGING OUR NATURAL ENEMIES, STILL TWIDDLING OUR THUMBS, LOOKING IN THE SKY, HOPING FOR A CHANGE WHEN THE ENEMY EXPLAINED IN OVERT DETAILS IN HOW WE SHALL DEAL WISELY WITH THEM.

(BUT) as the CONSTITUTION CLEARLY QUOTES (When a long TRAIN Of ABUSES & USURPATIONS, pursuing invariably the same OBJECT, envinces a DESIGN to REDUCE THEM UNDER ABSOLUTE DESPOTISM, IT IS THEIR RIGHT It is their DUTY to THROW OFF SUCH GOVERNMENT & to provide NEW GUARDS for their FUTURE SOCIETY. And here it is printed.

Instructions on how to deal with them wisely. Yet we could not as of last night deal with anything but our childish rants on why we won’t Organize to TAKE A SHOWER THAT WE WERE FUCKED OUT OF! IF WE CAN’T ORGANIZE FOR THE SANITATION OF OUR HEALTH. THAT LET OTHERS KNOW HOW DEPLORABLE OUR MENTAL CONDITION Really is.