Anthony Robinson: A look inside the prison industrial complex and where movements should go from here

Words of wisdom for Sept. 9

Posted on August 31, 2016August 30, 2016
by Anthony Robinson

Published originally in the SF BayView: http://sfbayview.com/2016/08/the-key-or-the-peephole-a-look-inside-the-prison-industrial-complex-and-where-movements-should-go-from-here/

“Therefore my people have gone into captivity. Because they have no knowledge; their honorable men are famished. And their multitude dried up with thirst.” – Isaiah 5:13

To the prisoner or the man in prison, what is being free? For the man behind bars attempting to fight off conditions and circumstances meant to chain his mind and spirit, if he has not defined for himself what freedom means and what value it has, determined by the price he is willing to pay for it, then the circumstances of his chains have a self-efficacy so inherently designed that his causes and solutions will be written on the locked door of his plight and his prayer for relief will result in asking for a tiny peephole wherein he might peek out to view his brother’s steel cage rather than demanding a key to open his own.

“The great enemy of the truth is often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and realistic.” – John F. Kennedy

I define the term “mythical reality” as a situation where one class of people, usually the down-trodden (prisoner class), know a reality – usually violence, racism, prejudice etc., to be true by experience – while another class, usually bureaucratic oppressors (prison officials), tries to control the perception and narrative of the other class by forms of exploitation offered by their resources and privilege.

Your confliction will direct your influence: If you are not careful to come up for air and take a moment to clear your head as you face the dynamics of “sink or swim” situations that have become the routine patterns of your existence, could it be that the California Prisoners Movement has become so bunkered down in combatting the infantry effects of the prison industrial complex that we have not considered routing our forces at the cause and finally ending or at least gaining an advantage in the conflict?

Don’t get me wrong; there have been victories in the prison movement, not just in California, but other states as well. But I often wonder, has the prison industrial complex had a hand in dictating our causes by controlling our conflictions?

The Ashker decision was great, the five core demands are all good, but how come we are not writing our own regulations and attacking the “STG” scheme in totality? We know from its inception it was designed to isolate and entrap prisoners with the God given talent to awaken the prisoner class to the exploits of the system and provide those willing to organize for change with practical alternatives to prison enslavement.

How come we are not demanding that California Prisoners serving 85 percent be given an opportunity, through practical application of rehabilitative programs, to earn milestones and early parole eligibility the same as other similarly situated classes of prisoners serving time? Why allow the 85 percent prisoners to be discriminated against and denied equal protection?

The old argument made every time violent offenders are put on the ballot for early release and time reduction opportunities, the prison industrial complex runs the same old ads about soft on crime legislators letting criminals loose to rape and pillage communities. This argument has become so cemented in the minds of prison advocates that they think they are doing the Prisoner Human Rights Movement a favor by not introducing legislation for violent offenders, once again allowing our causes to be dictated by the control of our conflictions.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the moving force that privatizes criminal statutes for financial gain and profit, and they receive their funding from major corporations. If they can legislate for profit, why can’t we legislate for freedom?

The prison industrial complex is built upon and operates via a commercial framework. When a prisoner does any “work” or “labor” in the system, he reinforces and substantiates the prison system’s position over him. When friends, families and outside advocates do business with corporations and banks that have their hand in the American cookie jar of exploitative prison profiteering and labor, they are investing in more prisons, harsher sentences, Jim Crow laws, and tactical militarized training aimed at prisoners and urban communities.

For those of us who claim to want a solution to the problem, we have to seriously look into the mirror of reality and remove our own actions from reinforcing the problem. And if we think that the U.S. courts are not functioning to reinforce this system and cut themselves a slice of this industrial pie, then our naiveté has been one of our biggest crimes. Pay careful attention to the following excepts from a Jean Keating seminar on prisons:

“A condensed version of what is going on is that CCA as a corporation creates or issues stock certificates based on prison population – goods or chattel as they are called in commercial law. The underwriter is the one who buys the stock from the issuer, the CCA, with intent to resell it to the public or an entity or person – usually an investment banker. The investment banker purchases all or part of the shares of the stock for resale to the public in the form of newly issued investment securities based on the shares of stock. Brokerage houses and insurance companies bid on the investment securities with a bid bond issued by the GSA. The bid bond is then indemnified by a surety company through performance and payment bonds. The bid, performance and payment bonds are then underwritten by the banks as investment securities for resale to the public. …

“This system permeates the fabric of our society.

“Go to a search engine and type in U.S. courts. Go to the court links and click to see a map of the circuit courts. Click on 7th Circuit, and a list of the 7th and 8th Circuit Courts will appear. Click on Illinois Northern District Court, then click on Clerk’s Office, then go to Administrative Services, then to Financial Department. You will see Criminal Justice Act, Post Judgment Interest Rates and a list of sureties. Click on Sureties; it will take you to fms.treas.gov. There on the left side you will see the sureties listing, admitted reinsurers and forms. Click on forms and you will see Reinsurance Agreement for a Miller Act Performance Bond SF 273, and a SF 274 Payment Bond and a Reinsurance Agreement in favor of the United States SF 275 and a list of admitted reinsurers, pools and associates. You will also see a list of the Department of the Treasury’s listing of approved sureties.

“U.S. District Courts are buying up the state courts’ default judgments, where you refuse to pay or dishonor the debt. …

“(P)risons are repository institutions or facilities for securities (prisoners) as collateral for the public and national debt. The prisoners represent asset or repository money for the bid, performance, and payment bonds. The prisons are referred to as credit facilities, institutions or repositories. They function essentially the same way that a depository bank does under 17 CFR Sec 450. The prisons are acting in the capacity of a fiduciary or custodian over government securities. …

“(I)n addition to being a repository bank with prisoners being the assets, collateral or securities of the bid, performance and payment bonds, the prisoners are the actual reinsurance or surety and their sentence represents the valued and marketable risk involved with the materials, supplies and cost factors involved with the guaranteed performance and payment relative to the bonds. This is termed ‘assumed risk’ in insurance and represents a present peril, hazard or danger of loss, due to their dishonor and default judgment in court. That is why there is penal sum or clause attached to each bond for non-performance and payment of the bonds. …

“By legal definition all of your federal and state ‘statutes’ are bonds or obligations of record and are represented in the courtroom by the recognizance bond, which is a bond of record or obligation for the payment of debt.” (SeeJean Keating’s “Prison Treatise.”)

And here we are as a prisoner class investing our energy and intellectual capital in studying and researching their copyrighted federal statutes/bonds to petition the courts to overturn intentionally exploitative sentences. Remember, a prisoner’s “sentence represent the valued and marketable risk involved with the materials, supplies and cost factors involved with the guaranteed performance and payment relative to the bonds.” Why would they willingly let you go when your sentence represents “valued” and “marketable” risk? Marketable means they are still utilizing it for sale, trade and exploitation. Why would they let you go?

While it is true that a small fraction of prisoner petitions are granted relief, that is nothing more than a ploy manufactured to convince the masses to put their faith and credit in the “justice” of the system. Even the majority of prisoners seem to have fallen for this tactic. For every 10 petitions that get granted, 10,000 get denied.

My own case provides a perfect example. Locked up at the age of 18, too indigent to afford my own counsel, I was exploited by a public defender, Keith Arthur, who signed my plea two months before I did, and rabid dog Deputy District Attorney Victoria Rose. I was coerced to sign a plea that waived Penal Code 654.5 Multiple Punishment/Double Jeopardy Prohibition in order to be punished for both robbery and carjacking and given an enhancement (use of firearm) for both, even though by the penal codes, statutes, and legislature’s intent, this is fundamentally against the law. What type of counsel coerces a client to waive a penal code in order for them to be punished for more time on their sentence and be given two strikes when they had none?

I’ve put in six petitions or writs with sound, on-point arguments showing a prima facie cause for “relief.” All have been denied. I even challenged the plea as an invalid contract because “The Declaration in Support of Plea” was never signed by the judge. The judge never signed the contract to substantiate the “Court’s Findings” which reads: “The Court having reviewed this declaration and questioned the defendant in open court, finds that the defendant has voluntarily and intelligently waived his constitutional rights, that these pleas and admissions are freely and voluntarily made, and that the defendant understands the nature of the charges and the consequences of these pleas and admissions. The Court finds a factual basis for the pleas and admissions, accepts them, and the defendant is hereby convicted on his plea.”

If there was a “factual basis” for the plea, why would a Judge not sign the declaration of the court’s findings? He didn’t sign it because he didn’t want the bond liability on the waiver of Penal Code 654, which is illegal. This type of exploitation by those who are supposed to be the “custodians” of justice is all too common in their system on a daily basis. They have the whole country fooled into thinking it’s about crime prevention, law and order, when in fact it’s about exploiting an “underclass” and sending them to their repository warehouse facilities where we can be investment securities to finance public debt!

Now we understand why prison officials are allowed to add time to our sentences just by writing “rules violation reports” with no preponderance of evidence substantiating the charge other than the “report” itself. Any “hearing” procedure empowered with the ability to add time to your sentence should be upheld by exercising judicial standards, but we know from experience that these kangaroo “hearings” have no standards close to judicial. You are already found guilty based on the “report” before stepping into the hearing. Just like on the streets, you are found guilty when the indictment (commercial investment) is signed. Remember, the more time they give you in any of their courts, tribunals or hearings, the more they can value and market the investment securities.

In light of gaining some insight on what kind of system we are dealing with, where do we go from here, in terms of a practical strategy of shutting down the prison industrial complex? When presenting demands, rights, propositions etc. to an industrial juggernaut, the only way that you are going to make it truly pay attention is to stop his industries. Thus, when he looks out into the landscape of his empire and doesn’t see the polluted smoke clouds which indicate to him that his industries are producing comprehensively, then he will be concerned enough to climb down from his ivory tower and see about the problem. We must leave the crops in the field and let them rot!

The New Underground Railroad Movement supports the Free Alabama Movement and those states – Texas, Mississippi, Ohio etc. – that are organizing for the work strike and boycott starting Sept. 9, 2016. I pray that California inmates and those leaders taking responsibility to organize on behalf of the struggle do not miss an opportunity to participate in this historic labor strike.

I don’t want my energy used for paving the way to live comfortably in prison and call that victory. We have an opportunity to demand freedom from prison and institute policies that will pave the way for a restructuring of the system, but only organized, disciplined, drawn out labor strikes and boycotts will achieve this. Anything else is a pipe dream dictated by our afflictions.

I don’t want my energy used for paving the way to live comfortably in prison and call that victory.

For those seeking more information on any part of this article or how you can support the New Underground Railroad Movement, contact Mr. Anthony C. Robinson, Jr., Coordinating Founder.

Note: To those brothas and sistas of true merit, who have written me from your facilities, know that I never abandoned you in practice or in spirit. The corporate dog who is trying to trump up “BGF activity” confiscated the letters before they reached or were delivered to me. They can’t stop those letters if they come from friends and family to me.

Chino

Poem by Anthony Robinson Jr.

“What quality of will must a Negro possess to live and die with dignity in a country that denies his humanity?” – Richard Wright

There is a psychosis lurking in the understanding
that prison is a culture and not a civilization.
It seems that poor oppressed people
cling to things that are for them emotionally true,
because they so desperately need a truth to protect
them from their harsh reality.
We measure lies, not by fact or fiction,
but by how conveniently they secure our
relationship to our environment.
There is a process in life where
somewhere along the way you have to
invent yourself and try to reach a compatible
identity to your vision of life and where you fit in it.
A vision molded by a trail of tears that leads
you to an expectation of yourself not necessarily
of your own making.
I stare out through these bars
into dreams unfulfilled, and I wonder
if it was ever considered as the juncture
of their design what aspects of humanity
would be confined as well with the person.
Keep from the world like a secret
that can never be revealed because it was
spoken in a language that cannot be translated
by the ears that received it.

Anthony has finally won his way back to California after years in private prisons, used by CDCr to alleviate overcrowding in California prisons without freeing anyone. Send our brother some love and light: Anthony Robinson Jr., P-67144, CMC E6-28L, P.O. Box 8101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409.

THREE-POINT PLAN OF ACTION

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Free Alabama Movement is planning activities around our Three-Point Plan of Action for the remainder of 2016. We will be promoting this plan in conjunction with preparations for the September 9 Attica Anniversary Protest events around the country.

The three points derive from some of the main issues that are contributing factors to mass incarceration and the Industrialized Prison Complex that promotes neo-slavery in America. In Alabama, we are seeking action on these three issues:

1) Excessive overcrowding and the need for an immediate mass release. Alabama’s prison population must be reduced down to design capacity ;

2) Revisions and fundamental changes to Alabama’s habitual felony offender act;

3) Establishing “automatic” or mandatory parole criteria that will remove discretion from the parole board in parole decisions for  qualified individuals.

It is essential to the effective  implemention of these objectives that we step up our organizing and activism, esp. around the State of Alabama. This will include participation in the FREEDOM TOUR 2016 protests that are being scheduled and lead by Mothers And F.A.M.ilies, Inc., as well as the event being scheduled in Dothan, Alabama on August 27, 2016, by The Ordinary People Society.

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The FREEDOM TOUR 2016 will be conducting protests statewide and conducting at least one demonstration at EVERY prison in the state of Alabama, to organize and then mobilize families and to bring awareness to the problems plaguing the Alabama prison system and the solution to these problems.

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Join us today in this struggle for freedom and justice mobilize Alabama and join the National Freedom Movement to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery.

Mass Warehousing

Today, May 3, 2016, there sits over 2.5 million people in the prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities throughout u.s.a.

In one form of another, most of us are “subjects” to a government program called mass incarceration. The people who have been the targets and victims of this program are mostly poor, black and brown, but also include every nationality and race in u.s.a.

Some are collateral consequences, while others are mentally ill. The thing that all have in common is that we are being oppressed by our own government for the service of a for-profit business model that has taken over America’s prisons.

For addicts, there is no rehabilitation. For the mentally ill, there are no services. For those who committed “crimes”, there is no educational or job training. There is only a profit motive for ALL. There is no doubt that there are also many innocent, overcharged, self-rehabilitated, and simply underserving people still trapped with no way out.

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RECOMMENDED READING LIST

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, by Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun (sn Melvin Ray) (download for free from our website www.freealabamamovement.com)

Dark Alliance, by Gary Webb

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

Slavery By Another Name, by Douglas Blackmon

Worse Than Slavery, by David M. Oshinsky

How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America, by Manning Marable

An Updated History of The New African Prison Struggle, by Sundiata Acoli

Liberation or Gangsterism, by Russell “Maroon” Shoats

Prison Profiteers, by Prison Legal News and Paul Wright

Wages Of Rebellion, (and articles) by Chris Hedges

Black Labor, White Wealth, by Claude Anderson

We Will Shoot Back, by Akinyele Omowale Umoja

Last Man Standing, by Geronimo ji jiga Pratt

Ready For Revolution, by Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael)

Black Revolution,  by Lorenzo Kom’boa Irvin

The Institutionalization of Society, by Ivan Kilgore

Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time, by James Kilgore, Research Scholar Center for African Studies University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign

Newspapers:

San Francisco Bay View

The Five Percenter newspaper, by Nation of Gods and Earths

Prison Legal News

Burning Spear

The Birmingham News

Final Call

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

11287432_10206815466568514_893364780_o“In order to stop the school-to-prison pipeline, we have to bring our Youth into the Movement and attack the economic facilitators who finance the pipeline.”

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

<a href=”https://www.facebook.com/innocentmanmelvinray&#8221; target=”_By Melvin Ray
freealabamamovement@gmail.com
Freealabamamovement.com
Tel.: 256 384 4FAM

In the 1600’s and 1700’s when slavery took off in America, the British Crown and other foreignIllustration: We have to break this chain companies financed the slave transport systems that helped to ship millions of men, women and children of African descent around the world for forced slave labor. Also victimized by these slave traders were the Native inhabitants of North and South America.

In 2015, slavery continues on around the World and particularly in America in the front of mass incarceration FOR prison slavery. The companies that now invest in the transport of men, women and children predominately of African descent (and Native inhabitants and Mexicans) are familiar names like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Dell Computers, CCA, GEO Group, U.S military, Victoria’s Secret, AT&T, WalMart and so many more.

But instead of shipping human cargo from the continent of Africa, the U.S. slave market now ships directly from predominately black inner-cities communities and other poor communities inhabited by Africa/Black/Mexican/Native/Poor people.

Today the lifeline of this mature capitalist market has come to be known as the “school-to-prison” pipeline, where children in poor black communities are under attack for prison by market forces that create poverty, unemployment, political assault from so-called criminal laws, under-investment in schools, AND multi-generational absences of millions of black men, women and children who are incarcerated in US prisons.

In response to this, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT has developed a 6-Step Plan of ACTION 2015, and Step 3 of this plan involves strategizing around the economics factors of the pipeline and targeting companies one at a time, starting with McDonald’s, who are involved in this modern slave trade.

FOLLOW THE MONEY, AND WATCH THE CLOWN

We're not loving it (FAM, FCM, FMM): Modern Day Slave Labor: McDonaldsJust like all other issues in American society, in other to overstand the Problem and to understand the Solution, all you have to do is follow the money.

As we said, McDonald’s is just ONE of the many thousands of companies that profit off of prison slavery. In our McDonald’s research group, “FAM-FMM UNITED Against McDonald’s”, we show where McDonald’s uses prison slave labor to produce products like their uniforms, spoons, frozen foods, process beef for patties, and also to process bread, milk and chicken products.

McDonald’s and other companies benefit from prison labor because they reduce labor cost by employing people in prison for either free or penny slave wages. No minimum wages, no overtime, no earned vacation or sick time, no 401k contribution or maternity leave. No healthcare insurance, NOTHING!!! And, anyone refusing to work is met with paperwork that can affect release, result in loss of visits with families and children, threats, and even violence by correctional guards.

Ronald McDonald and his friends in corporate America invest in and profit from the S-To-P pipeline as follows:

1) Companies like McDonald’s invest in or build prison factories to produce their goods like uniforms, patties, spoons, frozen food, etc. They build factories in prison to produce these products, but they won’t build these same factories in our communities to provide jobs.

2) Then, these companies build most of their storefronts outside of our communities and deny jobs to people from our communities, including those of us with felony convictions who need a job to stay out of prison. This is how they manufacture unemployment, which inevitably leads to crime.

3) Finally, after denying us a job in society, Ronald McDonald and his corporate friends who also invest in prison slave labor, wait for the men and women to get caught up in mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Once they have us in prison, they force us to work for them in their prison factories for free.

A SOLUTION TO ENDING THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE: Ending Mass Incarceration FOR Prison Slavery

School-to-Prison-Pipeline 'Stopp'We can SOLVE the school-to-prison pipeline by dismantling the economic incentive for the pipeline. None of these problems would exist if they weren’t making money off of them. So in order to uproot the problem, we have to attack it at the economic core. We have to organize at the companies like McDonald’s — one company at a time — who are investing in these practices to expose these slave traders for what they really are and force them to stop investing in prison slavery.

Our strategic and tactical approach to this Step 3 INITIATIVE: S-To-P the school-to-prison pipeline is laid out in our article titled, “LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD,” for anyone who wants to participate with a clear economic approach in mind to dismantling the pipeline:

“We will start off our McDonald’s protest by locating and reaching out to the people in the prisons where McDonald’s products are produced. At the same time, we will begin letter-writing campaigns to their investors and shareholders, while also leaving leaflets/pamphlets on the cars of their customers at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, and organize protests at their storefronts, in a mall or headquarters, or wherever we can, and call for boycotts of their stores to force then to stop using products that are manufactured by forced prison slave labor.

But we focus all of our attention on one corporation at a time, instead of using a scattered approach of multiple orgs spread out thinly over several corporate fronts.”

In the end, McDonald’s and their corporate partners have a choice to make:

1) S-To-P investing in the “school-to-prison” pipeline by building factories in prison to fuel mass incarceration The School-to-Prison-Pipeline 'Stopp'FOR prison slavery, and start building those same factories in the neighborhoods where unemployment is high where their prison slaves comes from, or

2) Feel the wrath of the People until we close these storefronts down that are exploiting us by taking the money that we spend with your company to build prison factories, while at the same denying us employment.

THE MEN (AND WOMEN) ON THE INSIDE HAVE TO STAND UP AGAINST THESE PRACTICES AND STAND UP TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN

On the inside, we have to organize work strikes to stop producing products for these companies like McDonald’s who have economically conspired against us to fuel mass incarceration FOR prison slavery. We have to strike to shutdown these prison factories that were built for us in prison, but not in our communities. Work strikes remove this revenue from the prison budgets and puts additional economic pressure on their budgets to release us.

If McDonald’s and other companies want to hire us for jobs, then hire us in our communities where unemployment is high, not in your prison slave factors, where incarceration is at an all-time high of 2.5 million Americans.

A CALL FOR YOUTH ORGANIZERS, ACTIVISTS AND OTHERS WHO ARE BEING TARGETED TO HELP “S-To-P” THE SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE

Behind bars pencilsIn our Step 3 McDonald’s INITIATIVE, we also want to bring our Youth into the Movement, educate them about the economics behind mass incarceration, and give them a Voice and direct action against the corporations that target them or have kidnapped their family member or loved one.

We have an army of Children being targeted in their schools for the school-to-prison pipeline AND we have an army of Children who continue to be impacted by mass incarceration FOR prison slavery with a parent or other family member or loved one in prison.

We must work collectively to unmask this clown and expose him to our children as an investor who is betting on our children having a future serving them on the school-to-prison pipeline.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENTAlabama 3

FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT

MISSISSIPPI SOUTHERN BELLES

MOTHERS AND F.A.M.ilies

FREE CALIFORNIA MOVEMENT

Read our PLAN OF ACTION 2015, as outlined in our article, “LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD,” and start organizing a Charter today using our 6-Step Plan of ACTION 2015

Step 1. Draft out a FREEDOM BILL for your State, identifying the laws and changes that need to be made to address mass incarceration and prison slavery in your State.

Step 2. Find a prison in your State and make it the Headquarters for your FREE – (YOUR STATE’S NAME) MOVEMENT.

Step 3. Identify a list of McDonald’s storefronts in your city/county/state that you will organize awareness rallies/protests at.

Step 4. Start organizing at the prisons with other family members on visitation days.

Step 5. Announce a National Shutdown Day for ALL incarcerated laborers!!!

Step 6. SHUTDOWN!!!!

 

Photo of Free Alabama Movement 3 and text Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.

Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.

LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELDS (short version)

LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELDS:
A Call For New Strategy in The National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery – Short Version
By Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun, w/contribution from Kinetik Justice Amun

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT

After a period of over 40 years of an accelerated rate of incarceration, the issue of Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery have now reached its crescendo.

Spurred on by factors that included racism, capitalism, free labor, and a politically motivated desire to provide jobs to a valued voting block of rural, conservative white citizens by building prisons in rural and agricultural areas that had been decimated by the Industrial Revolution and the outsourcing of jobs to China, India, Indonesia, etc.

Then, once the prisons were built, the government manufactured a “war on drugs” designed to fill those newly built prisons with black, brown and poor whites who had been rendered unemployable by corporate downsizing and outsourcing in the early 70’s, and who were considered a strain on social programs, unwanted competitors for limited jobs, and ideal candidates for corporations that needed a large labor pool for forced slave labor.

Mass incarceration has now culminated in a for-profit Prison Industrialized Complex that now holds over 2.5 million men, women and children hostage for the sole and exclusive purpose of exploitation and free labor.

Today, January 2015, the people in America’s prisons, mostly black, brown (and white), and all poor, now make up a free (or penny wages) labor force for a 500 billion dollar per-year industry that is producing a range of products and providing services so broad and extensive that it touches every area of the U.S. economy.

Virtually EVERY person in prison, our families, friends and supporters, and even every organization that states that they are against mass incarceration prison slavery, are all contributing financially to the very companies that are exploiting the people through mass incarceration and prison slavery.

Have you ate at McDonald’s or Wendy’s lately? Shopped at WalMart or Victoria’s Secret? How about that Dell computer? Have you used a customer service center? Where do you bank at, Wells Fargo? Are you in the military? Have you seen a soldier in that finely stitched uniform with night vision goggles? Do you work for a State University or agency that gets its furniture repaired somewhere?? Or that purchases large amounts of cleaning supplies, or hand-made brooms, mops, etc.? How many of these companies do you do business with?

Well, if you get up out of the bed and do anything more than breathe, chances are you contribute to the bottom line of a company that is engaged in warehousing millions of people for exploitation through mass incarceration and prison slavery.

Just to get a general idea of how pervasive this modern-day forced labor, i.e. slave system is, check out this article titled: Corporations Involved in Profiting off Prison Labour. Prison for Profit Dirty Secrets1 :

“Prison labor— with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding — also makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter. Prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting systems and components for 30-mm to 300-mm battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder. Prisoners recycle toxic electronic equipment and overhaul military vehicles.”

For a listing of the many other companies, products and services, read the article: Corporations Involved in Profiting off Prison Labour. Prison for Profit Dirty Secrets2:

Don’t Trust the Mainstream Media

All across America, one can’t turn on the news, read a newspaper, or follow social media without seeing that mass incarceration and prison slavery (‘corrections’ or ‘prisons’ in mainstream terms) have become a national problem. The ‘problem’ though, as being reported in the mainstream media (msm), is not about the human devastation that mass incarceration has wrought, but about the costs associated with maintaining budgets to keep so many people in prison.

The mainstream media, which is controlled by the business elite no less that our current politicians, are reporting on this ‘problem,’ but with no real solutions being offered.

CAUTION: I must add that the reason the msm is reporting on this issue is because the prison profiteers are promoting a ‘reform’ plan to the public that in reality is a new scheme that has been thoroughly exposed by N. Heitzeg and K. Whitlock in their Smoke and Mirrors series,3 to expand the privatized prison industry directly into the communities with community corrections, privatized parole/probation, drug rehabilitation centers, traffic court, and more, with the sole purpose of releasing low levels offenders, who will then be required to pay a ransom to enjoy a semblance of freedom.

Simply stated, every facet of the criminal justice enterprise will be contracted out to private for-profit businesses, and the human traffickers who own these businesses will become the new slave masters. The businessmen and women will make their campaign contributions, the politicians will ensure that the laws are in place, the police with make the arrest, the prosecutors and judges will guarantee the convictions, and the prisoner will be a slave.

The New Strategy: Using Direct Economic Action to Affect Change

When determining the best strategy to challenge Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, it is essential that we step back and take a look at the entire system. We must identify the fundamentals of what makes this system work and why this system exists. Once we thoroughly understand the underpinnings of the system of Mass Incarceration we can begin to see why the old strategies and tactics have not and will not bring about any meaningful change. Then we can begin developing a New Strategy that attacks Mass Incarceration at its core.

Just like the Institution of Chattel Slavery, Mass Incarceration is in essence an Economic System which uses human beings as its nuts and bolts. Therefore, our new approach must be Economically based, and must be focused on the factors of production- the people being forced into this slave labor.

Our Three-Part Strategy

1) Organize prison shutdowns at prisons with major economic industries (tag plants, fleet services, food distribution centers, agriculture, etc.)

2) Call for a nationwide leaflet campaign, protests, and boycotts of McDonald’s restaurants, which is one of the major corporation that has a national presence and that benefits from prison slavery, in addition to others like WalMart, Victoria Secret, AT&T, Wells Fargo Banks, Wendy’s, GEO/CCA private prison companies that are listed on the NYSE, and more.

3) Having our families, friends, supporters, activists, and others holding protests at the prisons where the people are mass incarcerated and oppressed.

PART 1 : “SHUTDOWNS/WORK STRIKES”

1) Organize prison shutdowns at prisons with major economic industries (tag plants, fleet services, food distribution centers, agriculture, etc.)

Remember, we are working against a half trillion dollar system that is controlled by businessmen and women who are the modern-day slave profiteers. And just like any business, their focus is on the bottom line. From this viewpoint, we must organize work stoppages at prisons with economic industries that are operated by slave labor. The impact of a work stoppage is immediate and significant, as production is shutdown and profit margins plummet around the country.

Believe me, if you want to have commissioners, politicians and the like hunting you down, organize a strike. You won’t have to call them, because they will call you. Prison industry is more than just license plates. Now it includes military, food, clothes, mining, recycling, call centers, car parts, cleaning supplies, printing, and so much more.

And when we organize, we have to demand that real “reforms” take place that will afford everyone an opportunity to earn our freedom, NOT JUST EARN A CHECK FOR OUR LABOR, and that fundamental changes be made throughout the system.

Experience has shown us at FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT that this approach is more effective than hunger strikes, marching and writing letters combined, as those strategies will only bring publicity, lip service and some changes, while work stoppages shut down the entire economic system and gets directly into their pockets, which brings the movers and shakers to the prison for negotiations.

PART 2: McDonald’s

Ronald McDonald: A Slavery Master in Clown’s Clothing !!!!

When deciding on which company to protest we have to devise a strategy that we can use nationwide: We can’t boycott all companies because there are simply too many corporations involved. What we have to do is focus on just one of them at a time that uses prison slave labor and that is large enough and visible enough to bring a true awareness about prison slavery, and target that one.

Starting off we have identified McDonald’s as a company that presents itself as family-oriented, but which uses prison slavery to produce a number of goods:

“McDonald’s uses inmates to produce frozen foods. Inmates process beef for patties. They may also process bread, milk and chicken products.”4

We will start off our McDonald’s protest by locating and reaching out to the people in the prisons where McDonald’s products are produced. At the same time, we will begin letter-writing campaigns to their investors and shareholders, while also leaving leaflets/pamphlets on the cars of their customers at McDonald’s restaurants nationwide, and organize protests at their storefronts, in a mall or headquarters, or wherever we can, and call for boycotts of their stores to force then to stop using products that are manufactured by forced prison slave labor.

But we focus all of our attention on one corporation at a time, instead of using a scattered approach of multiple orgs spread out thinly over several corporate fronts.
When one falls, we move on to the next prison profiteer, which can be Victoria’s Secret, Wal Mart, GEO, CCA, JPay, Keefe, or something.

Part 3: Consolidating our Resources

HAVING OUR FAMILIES, FRIENDS, ACTIVISTS, AND SUPPORTERS ALL GALVANIZED AT A SELECT PRISON TO ENGAGE IN PROTESTS AND TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR THE PEOPLE ON THE INSIDE WHO ARE BEING OPPRESSED.

This strategic move is just as important as the strikes, because it brings all of the people together who oppose mass incarceration and prison slavery. We can’t have a unified Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery if we are in a long-distance relationship with our supporters, organizers, activists and others who support our cause. We have to get everyone organized at the prisons, so that we can confront the system at the site of its oppression: the prisons.

By having our supporters in one location for each State, we maximize our resources, increase our strength in numbers, and we move with a unified front.
Very little can be done by the State at this point except to meet our demands.

The protests against police brutality are taking place at police stations. The workers at Wal Mart are protesting at WalMart. The Occupy Wall Street Movement protested on Wall Street. Therefore, the Movement and fight against mass incarceration must take place at the prisons !!!

“The Old Way”

Now, let’s take a look at the familiar strategies of Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, and see why we need a change in strategy:

1) Hunger Strikes
2) Marches and Protests at State Capitols, (as opposed to demonstrations at the prisons where they should be)
3) Letter writing campaigns, petitions and phone calls, etc.

1) HUNGER STRIKES
The demonstrations put on by the Men and Women in California (and Georgia, Washington State, and Texas) showed us all that with leadership and unity, we can defeat mass incarceration with the right strategy. But, we also learned that, while we did see progess in some areas, it has a minimal impact on the system of mass incarceration.

We have to strategize with the understanding that we are dealing with modern day slave profiteers. These businessmen will gladly let us die from starvation so long as their assembly lines keep moving.

“Leasing convicts to private businesses made a tidy fortune for both state and local governments, especially after slaves were emancipated. In 1878, 73% of Alabama’s entire state revenue came from prison labor. Reconstruction-era plantation owners, though, were hardly incentivized to care about their charges: When any of their starving workers died, they simply asked the state for new ones, at no cost to their bottom line.”5

The net effect on the bottom line from a hunger strike is negligible. This is not going to get the response we need, so we have to do more.

2) MARCHES
Sure, the traditional marches bring attention to issues and they bring people together, but they simply don’t bring about much results. If we must march, then let’s March at the prisons where mass incarceration and prison slavery are taking place at.
As I said above, when the people protest against police brutality in Ferguson, Memphis, and California, they are doing it at the police stations.

When “BANTHEBOAT”-activists protested in support of Palestine, they protested at ports. We have to ask ourselves: If we are protesting against mass incarceration and prison slavery, then why aren’t we doing it at the prisons where our economic strength can be felt?

Just like we saw in California with the hunger strikes, the families and supporters showed their support at the prison. The people in the prisons can see that support and receive the boost in morale that will be needed to carry this thing through. The meeting place is at the prisons!!!

3) LETTER WRITING, PETITIONS, ETC.
Letter writing campaigns and making phone calls are still effective, but we have to change who we are targeting and what we are attempting to communicate.

Letters/calls help when written to alternative media sources and other activists, organizations and supporters of our Movement, to let them know that we are striking so that we can inform other prisons in other states, so that they can join in also.

Letters/petitions also help when we target companies that are using prison made good to let them know that we will boycott them if they don’t stop, and it also helps to contact their customers and let them know that they are purchasing slave-made good. But the old habit of writing politicians and commissioners won’t work in today’s world, and just haven’t produced meaningful results.

It’s time to find a new target audience and bring attention to a new strategy and a new message!!

Is The Current Movement Against Mass Incarceration Spread Too Thin?

In F.A.M. we strategize around bringing all of the forces and resources together from each individual state into one collective whole. Groups that are fighting against the death penalty, solitary confinement, children in prison, voting rights, mentally ill people in prison, free labor, disenfranchisement, parole reform, and a few other issues. We will address all of these issues in our “FREEDOM BILL”, so everyone and every organization that is fighting against these issues should all be fighting together.
Note: Each State should draft their own FREEDOM BILL

The best way that we see to do this in Alabama is to identify the most economically important prison(s) in Alabama, and start organizing shutdowns until all of the strategically important prisons are shut down. One main prison will serve as the “headquarters” for our families, organizers and supporters, etc. At that point, the negotiations begin as to how to tear down the system of exploitation and create a new system based on the structure as outlined in the FREEDOM BILL, which promotes Education, Rehabilitation and Re-Entry Preparedness.

Take for example the situation that just occurred in California with the various lawsuits that the State fought for over 20 years (See the Plata decision by the U.S. Supreme Court) and passage of the Prop 47 law that went into effect. Despite the fact of California’s prison system being overcrowded with a 160% occupancy rate, the State’s prison officials and Attorney General’s office still refused to budge on releasing people who were eligible.

“Most of those prisoners now work as groundskeepers, janitors and in prison kitchens, with wages that range from 8 cents to 37 cents per hour. Lawyers for Attorney General Kamala Harris had argued in court that if forced to release these inmates early, prisons would lose an important labor pool.

Prisoners’ lawyers countered that the corrections department could hire public employees to do the work.” (LA Times, 11/14/2014 Federal judges order California to expand prison releases6)

As for the Firefighters, the Attorney General’s Office concluded that these men who risked their lives for the State, who saved the State over $1,000,000,000 billion dollars annually, were simply too valuable a commodity to release, even though these men worked outside of prison every day and were clearly not a threat to society anymore:

“About half of the people fighting wildland fires on the ground for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) are incarcerated: over 4,400 prisoners, housed at 42 inmate fire camps, including three for women.
Together, says Capt. Jorge Santana, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) liaison who supervises the camps, they save the state over $1 billion a year.”7

While it is extremely rare to receive these type of admissions from the State, what we witnessed in the California litigation is the reality of modern slavery: Yes, the people have an education and are already working in society, but, NO!!!, they can’t be release because it would cost too much to replace their free or penny labor!!

This episode highlights why the strategy of work strikes/shutdowns being promoted by FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, and now joined by FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT, is the key to bringing the system of mass incarceration and prison slavery to its death: If we are been held solely for our labor and exploitation even after educating and rehabilitating ourselves, then why should we continue to work? If the firefighters in California can’t be freed because they save the State a billion dollars that they don’t otherwise have, then why don’t the firefighters go on a workstrike? The fires will continue to burn until they either come up with 1 billion dollars to train other firefighters, or they can release them and then hire them to do the job that at prevailing wages.

Also please note that the State is saving one billion dollars just on the firefighters alone. How much more pressure would a work strike/shutdown put on the CDCR or any other prison system, when all the kitchen workers go on strike? All the maintenance and electrical workers? All the garbage workers? The yard crew? Gym and library workers? And then the BIG whammy, when ALL of the factory and farm workers in prisons go on strike at one time, and this strike is spread regionally and nationally?

The financial numbers and fallout from such a strike will be felt from Wall Street to Main Street, and every street in between. This is the power of economics at play, and this strategy is the only strategy that will stop mass incarceration in its tracks.

WE MUST LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD IF WE AREN’T RECEIVING BENEFIT OF THE HARVEST

LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD is a proven strategy that was passed down to us from our Ancestors from the slave plantations that was used to disrupt the economics of the field. The harvest of the planter season was reaped when the crops were picked from the field and sold on the open market. When the slave master had invested all that he owned into his next crop (prison factories), the slaves would wait until just before the harvest and rebel against the slave system by ‘going on strike’ and causing the crops to rot in the field. This tactic would completely ruin the slave master’s investment.

While these crops were rotting in the field, the slave master would come down from the big house, make nice and beg the slaves to go back to work

But when that didn’t work, the slave master, just like the modern prison commissioners and wardens, would then result to threats and violence. But those determined for their freedom would resist and fight to the end.

In the end, when the crops were left to rot in the field, the slave master would sometimes lose his plantation if he had used it as collateral to secure a loan from the bank to plant. This is what happens to a prison system that is built upon the exploitation and free labor of the people incarcerated: when the laborers stop working, the free labor prison system collapses because there isn’t any revenue coming in to finance the system of 30,000 people in Alabama, 23,000 in Mississippi, 160,000 in California, or 2.5 million nationwide, who still must be fed, still must be provided medical care, still must had lights, water and basic hygiene.

These obligations and costs don’t stop, but the means to pay for them — the revenue that is produced by our labor — stops when we stop.

In 2014, Alabama has a 400 million dollar budget to run its prisons, which is paid by the sale of the products and services that are manufactured by the slave labor from the people incarcerated.

All told, Alabama is making anywhere from 2 to 3 billion dollars each year from our labor, fines, fees, canteen, phone calls, etc. while over $500,000,000,000 dollars is made nationwide off of prison slave labor.

If we are to end Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery, which only those caught up in the slave system can do, then we must Unify nationwide from inside of these prisons and we must stop our labor and LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD.

Notes

  1. See online at: http://truthcdm.com/corporations-involved-in-profiting-off-prison-labour-prison-for-profit-dirty-secrets/
  2. Idem: http://truthcdm.com/corporations-involved-in-profiting-off-prison-labour-prison-for-profit-dirty-secrets/
  3. See: truth-out.org/news/item/27125-smoke-and-mirrors-inside-the-new-bipartisan-prison-reform-agenda
  4. See: Atlanta Black Star, Oct. 10th, 2014: 12 Mainstream Corporations Benefiting from the Prison Industrial Complex http://atlantablackstar.com/2014/10/10/12-mainstream-corporations-benefiting-from-the-prison-industrial-complex/
  5. See: Buzzfeed News: The Prisoners Fighting California’s Wildfires, Oct 31st, 2014 http://www.buzzfeed.com/amandachicagolewis/the-prisoners-fighting-californias-wildfires#.ajPXZzq8xr
  6. See: LA Times, Nov. 14, 2014 http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-ff-federal-judges-order-state-to-release-more-prisoners-20141114-story.html
  7. See: Buzzfeed News: The Prisoners Fighting California’s Wildfires, Oct 31st, 2014 http://www.buzzfeed.com/amandachicagolewis/the-prisoners-fighting-californias-wildfires#.ajPXZzq8xr

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT & FREE MISSISSIPPI MOVEMENT

Committed to Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests for Civil and Human Rights for the Men and Women Incarcerated in Alabama & Mississippi prisons, and any other prison where the People desire to be FREE.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
Contact Free Alabama Movement:

Antonia Brooks 256-783-1044

NewsBlog: Freealabamamovement.wordpress.com

Website: Freealabamamovement.com

Facebook group: Free Alabama Movement

Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT

Email: freealabamamovement@gmail.com – Freemississippimovement@gmail.com

Mail: FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT, P.O. Box 186, New Market, AL 35761 – USA

Internet Radio: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/freealabamamovement

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC88hK0WZ7PKGaTMPpLMTA_w

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