FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT: SOME OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND IMPORTANT MOMENTS (2014-2020)

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Contact: freealabamamovement@gmail.com

1. 2013-current. FAM was founded in 2013, and officially launched in August 2013.

2. January 1, 2014. Organized first multi-prison non-violent and peaceful work strikes, boycotts and protests in Alabama.

3. 2014-2019. January 2014, several FAM leaders and organizers were targeted by ADOC and placed into solitary confinement, including its founder Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun and co-founder Kinetik Justice Amun, both of whom remained in solitary confinement for the next 5 consecutive years. Despite FAM’s non-violent and peaceful organizing, FAM leaders were retaliated against, beaten, tortured, food poisoned, and arbitrarily denied basic constitutional and human rights, including mail, visits, phone calls, humane housing, deprived of natural light, and more. Even in the face of strong opposition and repression by the state, FAM was able to continue to move ahead in the struggle for Freedom.

4. 2014-2016. Conducted at least one multi-prison work strike every year in ADOC, plus the National Prison Strikes. After the initial strikes on January 1, 2014, all other Strikes, Boycotts and Protests were led by FAM from solitary confinement.

5. 2014-2018. Family members and supporters conducted over 20 protests outside multiple Alabama prisons and other locations, including in Clio Alabama, Donaldson CF, Holman CF, St. Clair CF, Limestone CF, Tutwiler CF, Kelly Ingram Park, Edmund Pettus Bridge, ADOC Headquarters, State Capitol, and the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Headquarters (#ParoleWatch).

6. 2014 (currently being revised). Published book FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (known as the “manifesto”) on January 2, 2014.

7. 2014- current. Created first multi-medium social media platforms as part of prison-led organizing strategy, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, WordPress blog, Blogtalk radio, and website.

8. 2014-current. Created Free Alabama Movement YouTube channel. Have since released over 200 exclusive exposè
videos from inside ADOC. FAM’s bold and aggressive tactic of guerilla filming spawned a new era in the Prisoner/Enslaved-led Human Rights Movement. Incarcerated Activists all across the nation began using cellphones as a powerful weapon in the narrative around criminal justice reform, prison reform, and abolitionist freedom struggle.

9. 2014-2016. Created, produced, directed first-of-its-kind inside-led, underground Blogtalk radio show, “THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM”.

10. 2014. Published “A Flicker Turns Into A Flame”

11. 2014. Drafted the “FREEDOM BILL”

12. 2014-current. FAM leaders and members have conducted over 100 media interviews from inside with outlets such as:

San Francisco Bay View
New York Times
LA Times
BBC
China NOW
Wall Street Journal
Al Jazerra America,
Democracy Now,
Roland Martin
Montgomery Advertiser
al.com
Huffington Post



13. 2014-current. FAM has been featured in several short-documentaries, including two w/ HBO/Vice, and two w/ Al Jazerra.

14. 2014-2019 Hunger Strikes. State retaliation and abuse against FAM leaders led to hunger strikes that spread to multiple prisons over a span of 5 years, exposing ADOC as a barbaric and inhumane institution.

15. 2015. Published “Let The Crops Rot In The Field” and laid out “The Solution:FAM’s 6-Step Plan of Action 2015.” These documents and the plan outlined therein established the framework for building the infrastructure that led to the first nationwide, Inside-led national initiatives and actions based on work strikes, boycotts and protests. FAM’s infrastructure elevated the profiles and voices of Inside-led organizations nationwide and has hosted and facilitated the organizing of EVERY Inside-led national event since 2015.

16. 2015. Nationwide S-TO-P CAMPAIGN against McDonald’s, highlighting the school-to-prison pipeline.

17. 2015-2016. FAM led multiple peace initiatives under the Universal Peace and Unity Summit. Over this period of heightened violence, FAM was the only entity able to lead multiple successful peace accords in the tumultuous ADOC. FAM never had an incident of violence associated with any of its multiple work strikes and boycotts, and ADOC recorded its lowest levels of violence during FAM activities.


18. 2016. Historic September 9, 2016, 45th Anniversary Attica Rebellion Nationwide Prison Strike. Largest prison strike US history. Over 24 states and 30,000 freedom fighters.


19. 2013-2018. During the height of FAM organizing, ADOC saw the total prison population drop from appx. 30,000 to appx. 23,000, before rising again.

20. 2013-2018. During the height of FAM activism, the Alabama Parole Board created an emergency board and granted over 4000 paroles. The number of parole grants began to lessen in 2018, eventually recording record lows in 2020.

21. 2013-2019. As a result of FAM’s exposure of living conditions and intensive media coverage, two Alabama prisons closed (Holman and Draper).

22. 2015 and 2019. FAM witnessed two Governor-appointed Prison Reform/Oversight Committees that were created to address issues highlighted by FAM advocacy and exposure.

23. 2014-2016. FAM saw two conservative sentencing reform measures passed.

24. 2014-2016. FAM’s exposure of ADOC central to class-action litigation filed by Bryan Stevenson and EJI, Southern Poverty Law Centers, and Southern Center for Human Rights.

25. 2016. In an unpredictable and surprising action, in 2016, ADOC correctional officers at Holman CF adopted FAM’s strategy and led their own work strike, where they were protesting, among other issues, the same ADOC leadership and inhumane living conditions as highlighted by FAM. While not all issues were the same between FAM and the officers, the impact of FAM’s influence for change was undeniable.

26. 2016. FAM’s exposure of ADOC, pro se litigation, and advocacy work led to “first-of-its-kind” statewide investigation of all Alabama men’s prisons by the US Department of Justice. These investigations produced two separate reports, both of which found the ADOC to be violating the civil, human and constitutional rights of those serving time in ADOC custody.

27. 2017. An anonymous ADOC employee released a trove of over 1000 graphic, gory photos depicting violence and barbaric savagery inside ADOC. While a select few of these images were made public, many in the mainstream media withheld 800 of these photos, protecting ADOC and collaborating in their mutual interest.

28. 2018. Campaign to Redistribute The Pain 2018, a nationwide bi-monthly boycott of canteen, collect phone calls, visitation vending machines, and incentive packages.

29. 2018 National Prison Strike. Following FAM’s visionary approach to organizing prison labor nationally and relying on the infrastructure put in place leading to FAM’s historic September 9, 2016, 45th Anniversary Attica Rebellion Nationwide Prison Strike/Boycott/Protest, the 2018 Nationwide Prison Strike took place after the Lee County, South Carolina riots. FAM’s leadership and national Campaign to Redistribute The Pain 2018, spanning the entire year of 2018, were integral to the 2018 National Prison Strike. Since that first nationwide effort in 2016, FAM inspired at least 5 other inside-led national events.


30. 2012-2019. Assisted in filing over 250 excessive force, police brutality, ethics complaints, and Section 1983 civil class action lawsuits against ADOC officials.

31. 2014-2020. FAM’s advocacy and activism produced intensive media coverage that resulted in investigations, forced resignations, demotions and firings of at least one ADOC Commissioner (K. Thomas), Associate Commissioners G. Culliver and J. DeLoach), Wardens (Estes, Davenport, E. Evans, and others.

32. 2015-current. FAM’s advocacy and activism led ADOC to adopt policies requiring warden training and rotations. Results are negligible though due to a lack of accountability enforcement, although a few wardens have shown negative pattern behavior resulting in resignations or other forms of termination.

33. 2019. FAM’s hunger strikes exposed and led to the end of ADOC’s secretive and highly inhumane “bucket detail” and extortion schemes by officials at Limestone CF. FAM leaders caused the end of the 25+ year careers of Warden DeWayne Estes and Captain Patrick Robinson, and civil litigation.

34. 2015/2019. FAM jailhouse attorneys, who have filed pro se litigation on his behalf for years, uplifted the story of Willie “Fire Plug” Simmons on their WordPress blog. FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT’s network of activists and contacts who played a vital role in uncovering this story and facilitating Mr. Simmons’ access to press went uncredited when Mr. Simmons’ story exploded and went worldwide.

35. 2019. Launched #ParoleWatch2020 in response to the Charlie Graddick-led Bureau. FAM is the only organization in the State to conduct protests at the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Headquarters. Graddick resigned effective November 31.

36. 2014-current. FAM’s influence over the course of 7 years has inspired the creation of or brought close collaboration with over 40 organizations, including Unheard Voices, Free Mississippi Movement, APSP, UHURU Movement, Free South Carolina Movement, Mississippi Southern Belles, Free Ohio Movement, FAM Queen Team, T.O.P.S., IWOC, JLS, United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, End Prison Slavery in Texas, Amend the 13th, Decarcerate Louisiana, NABPP, Faith In Action, The Plus Party, Be Frank 4 Justice, Abolish Slavery National Network, EPIC, Ida B. Wells, and many, many more.

37. 2020. Statewide host of August 22, 2020, National Day of Freedom and Justice events.

38. 2020. Co-Presenters for the Harvard Prison Divestment

39. 2020. Co-lead organizers for the October 26-30, 2020 Plus Party #FreeThe13th 5-Day Virtual Rally.

40. 2020. Host of the December 6, 2020, Abolish Slavery Alabama event, marking the 155 year anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment and the exception clause that allows slavery and involuntary Servitude to continue as punishment for crime.

41. 2021. On January 1, 2021, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT is calling for a #30DayBlackout Boycott and Strike.

42. Our greatest accomplishment is the awareness, education and Spirit of Freedom that we were able to share with over 10,000 men in the ADOC; the tens of thousands of men and women behind cages, walls and fences in America who participated in the 2016 and 2018 nationwide strikes/boycotts/protests; and innumerable others we have impacted around the world. FAM’s banners have hung in four continents around the world, Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.

Special Thanks to the Ratcliff Family and the San Francisco Bay View Black Newspaper. As always, there are some people and organizations that rise above the rest and stand in such a way as to merit special consideration. For FAM, this honor goes to the Bay View and Mr. and Mrs. Ratcliff. We can’t even recount the many deeds or the many ways. All we can do is stand in awe, admiration, appreciate, respect and Love. ❤️


We are not done yet. . .

Contact: freealabamamovement@gmail.com


SUPPORT:

The price of Freedom comes at a great cost to Freedom Fighters behind the walls.



Slavery, Not Mass Incarceration

Abolitionist Max Parthas

I know it’s the trendy term (Mass incarceration) but, in addition to understanding when this term appeared, you must understand two things about that misnomer.

The history:
Mass incarceration did not exist as a description for the warehousing of bodies through prisons prior to 2010 and the publication of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Between the launch of twitter in 2007 and 2009, there were only 4 mentions of mass incarceration.
Literally, it didn’t exist before that.

You need to know:
1- Mass incarceration is a misnomer that does not point out the racial and class aspects of the largest prison population to ever exist on planet earth. It implies that this phenomenon is applied equally across national demographics. A burden shared by all citizens. If that were true there would be over 5 million more “white” people in prisons right now.
In reality, this is a textbook example of the fallacy of the average.

2- Mass incarceration is not a crime. There are no laws against mass incarceration. THERE ARE LAWS against slavery. Slavery can be abolished.

It’s true that Michelle Alexander advanced the understanding of our for-profit and race/class based criminal injustice system. What she didn’t do was label it correctly or offer the proper solution to the problem.

The answer to legalized slavery is not reform. It’s abolition.
You can not FIX, REFORM, or REPAIR a crime against humanity. And that is exactly what we are dealing with. A crime against humanity called slavery. The same slavery we’ve always dealt with.

The differences between antebellum chattel slavery and modern 13TH amendment slavery is that A- You are not born a slave but you can certainly become a slave at any moment. Especially if you live in high crime, high poverty conditions. B- Today’s slaves are not owned by individuals. They are owned and operated by the state or private prisons and their shareholders.

Get your language right and your mind will follow.

Abolish Slavery

Free the 13th Registration, Multiple Dates | Eventbrite

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/free-the-13th-registration-124958146179

Get registered for the #FREE THE 13th Event as the conversation about the 13th Amendment and its connection to the continuation of the institution of slavery and the Abolitionist Movement to end slavery in America builds momentum.

Excerpts from upcoming book by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, Founder FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT


“When the public is told that prisons are overcrowded, the prisoncrats package these reports in a way that has the public thinking that the problem is nothing more than inadequate space to store our property neatly into our locker boxes or that we don’t have the space of a five star hotel. This is all deliberate misinformation and deceitful propaganda.

Without proper visuals to go with the content being disseminated, society don’t realize that, in actuality, we are stacked on top of each other in the same way that our African Ancestors were packed inside of slave ships. These slave plantation-like conditions are producing catastrophic results in environments that are unimaginable in a supposed civilized country. However, these images are hard to come by. The administrators know this and they work to keep it that way. That’s why cameras, reporters, and filming crews are banned inside of prisons, except for the “dog and pony” shows that showcase the few “public consumption” areas of a prison.


    Removing the veil of secrecy is a task that those of us on the inside must play a vital role in. If the media won’t come to the mountain, then we must bring the mountain to the media. In other words, we have to continue with the process that we have already started, which is to create our own media. Taking these cellphones that we have at our disposal and using them to expose the system is one of the fundamental principles of Free Alabama Movement. Indeed, no one else can do this but Us. No one else is responsible for this task but Us. Without exposing the system for what it truly is, we are DEAD. 


Last year, the commissioner for the Alabama Department of Corrections was forced to admit in a news interview that the infrastructure for the Alabama prison system was not designed to rehabilitate, but to warehouse human bodies.

Alabama Has the Deadliest Prisons in the Country: It Says It’s Looking for Reforms, by Arian Campo-Flores, Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2019:


“Our infrastructure was not designed to rehabilitate. It was designed to warehouse,” said Jefferson Dunn, commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections.

Commissioner Dunn says that work is being done to correct these issues. The problem though is that Commissioner Dunn has been on the job for over 5 years now, and human warehousing has been going on in Alabama long before he arrived and throughout his tenure. The same problems and constitutional issues there are being reported on about the Alabama prison system today, are the same as those that were being said about the Alabama prisons in the 1870’s, 1920’s, 1970’s, and now in 2020.

Commissioner Dunn is only speaking now because we have placed these issues into the public sphere of conversation to a degree that he can’t avoid. Human warehousing and all of the evils that are attendant to it remain a part of the Southern culture and way of life, as they have been since Black people were first enslaved in the Heart of Dixie. Prison slavery or public/State ownership and control of the institution of slavery, the successor to the private ownership industry of slavery, won’t end until we end it.
Exposing its existence and disabusing the lies that conceal it are a big part of that process.

When we did our own filming from the inside by cellphones and leaked this information out in wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, especially in Alabama and California, our videos were featured on HBO/Vice News, ABC News with George Stephonopolous, the Tamron Hall show, and a special report by Gail King ABC This Morning. This shows that when the public actually sees the reality of what the insides look like, they will respond to it.


   Predictably, the government responded in retaliation. But their reactionary attacks proves the point that they want the truth hidden; therefore, we should go even harder in our efforts to expose them. What we need to do next is to organize something like a National Prison Slavery Exposure Event where we just unleash thousands and thousands of videos, pictures, and testimonies, all at one time, and all across social media for the world to see. In other words, we have to meet the challenge in such a way that the system can’t simply react with their typical forms of retaliation, but instead, they have to bow down to the truth. (More on this later) “

More to come . . .

Slavery by the 13th Amendment

By Elisha Macon

When my wife told me that she had watched the documentary the 13th. She now better understand why I am still INCARCERATED in SIDE of ADOC. She now sees that IT’S not the crime that they say that I committed that has me INCARCERATED all these decades. And thousands of more men are in slavery,along with me. Yes, slavery people such as well as myself are TRAPPED into slavery through the courts systems, along with other agencies. HOUSING us worse than ANIMALS and working us SLAVES for nothing, while these different agency’s make billions of dollars off the backs of the SLAVES and our families who dare to stand by our sides and support us. These agencies are so corrupt that they even charge us SLAVES for medical treatments. They charge us SLAVES for disciplinaries. The very same items that our loved ONES use to have the privilege of sending us, we now must buy them from the agency. They have entrapped us into slavery with the new laws that our so called legislatures are passing TARGETING the black men of America. LOCKING us up for long periods of time. So many people are blind to these facts. Please I not only urge you to watch the documentary the 13th but I also beg you to. please don’t take my word for this and watch it for yourself please. Even if you don’t know anyone in prison, I promise you that someone who you love and care about is subject to fall victim to this SLAVES trade that is still operating strongly through the United State court systems. If you care anything about the future of our CHILDREN, PLEASE STAND with me and the OTHERS who are making the necessary sacrifices to change the way that we are being Mistreated and enslaved behind these plantation walls. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!