Campaign to Redistribute the Pain 2018 – Part IV Boycott, Defund, Bankrupt

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

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 January 2018 issue of SF Bayview

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 (https://www.facebook.com/QueenTahiyrah), 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.

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.

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.

Advertisements

A Witness to Genocide: Soul-less in Alabama DOC, by S.J.

​”I have witnessed more than my share of young men that have been sucked into the modern-day plantation. Young men that have been abandoned, forgotten, and alienated. Young men that have been discarded like the trash in our every day households.

I’ve witnessed the transformation of these young men from someone’s son, brother, grandson, father, or husband/boyfriend; to an animal!! What was once hope in their eyes turned to hate, and despair.

I’ve watched and witnessed the lives of young men drain from their eyes, and their soul when they were forced to adapt to this cruel, and violent lifestyle of the concrete jungle. I’ve watched and witnessed the lives of these young men be taken from them because the concrete jungle engulfed them and claimed their blood.

I’ve watched and witnessed these young men laugh to keep from crying for way too long.

But one thing I’ve yet to witness is, the mass majority of society see what I have witnessed!

I WAS ONCE A YOUNG MAN!”
Received via a letter from Swift Justice.

EMERGENCY ALERT: ANOTHER VIOLENT DEATH BEING REPORTED BY U.V. AT ELMORE CF


Unfortunately, we are receiving word of yet another stabbing death at Elmore CF. Elmore has already had one stabbing death this month and another in the complex at Staton. As these deaths continue to pile up, ADOC officials focus their attention on dollars over life.

As the death toll continues to rise, there have been no fundamental changes to the culture of ADOC. Efforts to save lives must be expedited because, in the eyes of the ADOC, bodies are replaceable.

 

ALTERNATIVE PLAN FOR ALABAMA PRISONS PROPOSAL 

Monday, January 30, 2017
Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler (R) will present his alternative to solve Alabama’s prison overcrowding to the Prison Reform Committee Monday.
The committee meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. in room 325 of the State House.State Auditor Jim Zeigler is promoting his “Plan Z” as “a cheaper and faster way to alleviate current inmate overcrowding.” Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) for the second straight year is promoting an extreme proposal he is calling the Alabama Prison Transformation Initiative (APTI).

The Bentley Administration wants to borrow an incredible $800 million to build four mega-prisons and close 14 of Alabama’s existing prisons. Auditor Zeigler warned that the Bentley plan, “Would indebt the State for almost a billion dollars and still not solve the overcrowding problem.”Zeigler said that Alabama Department of Corrections commissioner Jeff Dunn said last weekthat the Bentley plans would raise inmate capacity from the current 13, 318 to 16,000. Zeigler said: “That is nowhere near the current population of 23,318 inmates. We incur almost a billion dollars of debt for the next 30 years but do not come close to solving the problem. Big borrowed cost – no solution.”

Zeigler said that his Plan Z would build a new women’s prison, refurbish the old Tutwiler women’s facility to a new men’s prison, reduce overtime paid by the prison by up to $18.9 million, and continue with criminal justice reforms that are already causing inmate reductions.

Zeigler said that his plan would only require a bond issue of $123 million, which Zeigler points out is far less than the APTI bond issue of $800 million. Zeigler said that $7 million of the annual savings by cutting overtime will pay for the bond issue with no burden on the General Fund or taxpayers.

Zeigler said, “Supporters of APTI are attempting to paint a picture that it is the only alternative to overcrowding and a potential federal takeover. APTIis NOT the only alternative. As a matter of fact APTI does not solve the overcrowding problem at all, by their own facts.”

Zeigler said, “Before the Legislative Session is over, Plan Z can be substantially improved by input from all concerned. This is a much better methodology than presenting the Legislature with a package dealand seeking their approval.”

Zeigler wrote that a Jan. 20, 2017 analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Office determined that Plan Z could decrease inmates to 18,727, dropping overcrowding to 132 percent of Federal guidelines. The figure of 135 percent is generally considered acceptable and is an appropriate target.

Gov. Bentley recently told the Alabama Media Group that borrowing the $800 million to build the four new mega prisons was his top legislative priority of the upcoming 2017 Legislative Sessions. Gov. Bentley had proposed the enormously expensive plan in 2016. The controversial plan was passed by the Alabama House of Representativesbut went down in the Alabama Senate.State Auditor Jim Zeigler has been a frequent critic of this and many other Bentley Administration proposals.

Zeigler has been mentioned as a possible 2018 Gubernatorial candidate. Bentley is term limited from serving another term. Many critics of the Bentley plan argue that a lame duck governor facing possible indictments and/or impeachment should not hamstring the next Governor with paying for prison debt run up by the previous administration.

The Next Step for Free Alabama Movement: Legal Clinic Network

THE NEXT STEP FOR FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (F.A.M)

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
13th Amendment, US Constitution

There are several fronts that F.A.M. is currently working on to continue the fight against mass incarceration and prison slavery. With the growth and continued exposure of F.A.M. also comes the need to organize more soundly on a structural and foundational level. In this respect, we are working to structure our legal department and Legal Clinic Network:

STAFF ATTORNEY

1) We need to recruit a volunteer to serve in the capacity of a staff attorney and to develop a fundraising plan to provide compensation when available. This office will help to advise F.A.M. on legal issues and represent F.A.M. in legal matters.

LEGAL CLINIC NETWORK

2) We would like to structure a F.A.M. Legal Clinic Network.

We already have a commitment from several law students, one attorney, and we are exploring opportunities with a law professor and another attorney that we are already in contact with. We anticipate the Legal Clinic Network to start out working in the following capacity:

ASSISTANCE WITH CRIMINAL CASES

a) Handling at least one criminal conviction and/or civil suit per year. In addition, we would like to build a network of volunteers composed of law students, paralegals and researchers to assist with legal research, editing and typing, copying, and filing and collecting public records.

FIRST AMENDMENT ISSUES

b) Filing litigation concerning First Amendment rights as they relate to the right of people incarcerated to peacefully assembly in protest of ongoing civil and human rights violations, and to establish and declare free speech zones at Alabama prisons for Freeworld supporters without interference from state officials when conducting demonstrations or protesting on prison grounds.

(i) First Amendment peaceful assembly rights will also address state retaliation for non-violent and peaceful activity inside of prison, and establish precedent that will be backed by TRO’s to prevent arbitrary detention in solitary confinement and retaliation by prison officials for the exercise of constitutionally protected rights. In California, several recent decisions were issued stating that people in prison could not be punished for hunger strikes because this activity was not violent and did not pose a threat to security.

(ii) First Amendment free speech zones will declare the rights of the public to access public prison facilities and to communicate with visitors on visitation days at these prisons and pass out information concerning public safety, mass incarceration, and civil and human rights issues taking place in Alabama prisons.

https://t.co/65lbuXcM2K

WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

3) The Legal Clinic Network will address the violations of women’s rights at Tutwiler as outlined in the U.S. Dept of Justice report in January 2014, and seek compensation and assistance for all children who were born as a result of these sex crimes.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-releases-findings-showing-alabama-department-corrections-fails-protect

LABOR RIGHTS

4) The Legal Clinic Network would also like to build a network of labor attorneys and experts to address labor issues within the prisons.

Contact:

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
P.O. BOX 186
New Market, AL 35761
Freealabamamovement@ Gmail.com