MAY DAY MAY DAY. ..

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WE, the Prisoners of Alabama Department of Corrections, as a collective reach out to Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, Founder of The Ordinary People Society, Prodigal Child Project and Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People Families Movement asking that Rev. Glasgow mediate and speak on our behalf, in making the following statement to the Legislators of the state of Alabama.

At 12:01 May 1, 2016 We, Alabama Prisoners will begin a Peaceful and Nonviolent Protest for Our Human Rights in the form of a Work Stoppage. This is in fact a means to Peacefully Petition the Alabama Government for Redress of Grievances as We have suffered under Cruel and Inhumane Conditions over the past two decades.

Let us be clear,  this is not just about the Deplorable Conditions of Confinement,  but more so about the 13th Amendment,  the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Statutory Laws discriminatoryly enacted from both. The laws that created and maintains the denial of our Human Rights and perpetuation of our Economical Exploitation.

From Wrongful Convictions,  Exceedingly Excessive and Mandatory LWOP sentences, Alabama’s prisons are literally Warehouses of Men stacked on top of one another, and due to an Arbitrary and Biased Parole Board System, thousands of Men eligible to be released are stopped up in a broken and dangerous system.

*It has been stated and acknowledged that there are over 3, 000 people that are eligible to be released.  However,  due to budgetary concerns (parole and probation officers, supervision,  etc) they remain trapped in an excessively overcrowded system;  exposed to unnecessary threat to their  safety and well being. To address this issue would contribute greatly to relieving the pressure of prison overcrowding.

A lot of the pressure could be released by  Revising and Modifying the Laws and Policies that Created and Perpetuates these Cruel and Inhumane Conditions; not by building bigger more expensive prisons.

*Over 8000 people are serving enhanced mandatory sentences under Alabama’s Habitual Offenders Statute. More than 2000 are serving Mandatory LWOP sentence, some for petty theft cases.
To Repeal the Habitual Offenders Statute would create the opportunity for over 8000 people to be eligible to return to their families and communities after decades due to the application of the Habitual Offenders Statute while reducing the inhumane and dangerous overcrowding which contributes to the spread of diseases and increases the level of violence.  Overall it would contribute to a more sanitary and humane living environment.

*From exposure through exonerations it is clear that the Prosecutors of the State of Alabama are more concerned with convictions than truth and innocence.  Most of the attention has been focused on the Wrongful Convictions of those sentenced to Death. As a result a demand for oversight was  expressed in Senate Bill 237. However, through political maneuvering this Bill was tailored to only apply to those sentenced to death.

We assert that The Alabama Innocence Inquiry Commission created by Senate Bill 237 shall apply to all Wrongfully Convicted prisoners not just Death Penalty cases. To be Wrongfully Convicted is to be Wrongfully Convicted no matter the sentence. No innocent person should suffer the loss of his freedom unjustly and remain confined due to procedural limitations or judicial misconduct. Therefore, this Bill shall apply to all prisoners with credible claims of innocence, as this is what justice requires.

*Earlier this year,  the U.S. Supreme rightly declared that mandatory Life without Parole sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional.  It is time that Alabama go a step further and abolish mandatory Life without Parole sentences for First Time Offenders,  many who were barely beyond the juvenile age limit.
This would make hundreds of prisoners eligible to earn their freedom after being provided Education,  Rehabilitation and ReEntry Preparedness.  Thus also relieving some of the pressure and strain created by the excessive overcrowding.

*We further state that the A.D.O.C’s Economical policies and practices of compelling Incarcerated Citizens to provide labor with no compensation, while imposing various fines and fees upon them, is hyper-exploitative, unjust and amounts to PRISON SLAVERY.—–It is discriminatory and exploitative to force Incarcerated people to work while prohibiting them from being compensated; yet imposing arbitrary fines and fees upon them. To work is an essential part of rehabilitation and learning to be responsible for self, as from the compensation one is able to provide for their needs and ease the financial burden on their  families. Therefore, A.D.O.C’s Economical policy of Free Labor is counterproductive to rehabilitation and is exploitative and demeaning. Therefore, a more equitable Economic Policy shall be established between Alabama Prisoners and the ADOC.

*The Alabama Parole Board is arbitrary and biased therefore it must be overhauled to establish a criteria for those eligible for Parole.
The members of the Alabama parole board are receiving these appointments with an agenda that says that rewards them with long-term employment and other incentives to deny parole. These members refuse to set criteria for parole eligibility because this would make parole mandatory, instead of discretionary, for those who qualify.

In theory, the 13th Amendment put an end to and forever abolished slavery, at least that is what we’ve been taught in schools. However, in actual practice, the 13th Amendment merely changed the name, method and rationale for keeping African Americans in a state of perpetual servitude. As the 13th Amendment explicitly permits ” Involuntary Servitude”– an euphemism for Slavery– as punishment for “duly convicted criminals.”

In direct response to this Constitutional mandate, the Alabama Judicial System was structured to keep white land owners in a position of power and Africans in their place– Servitude. In fact, the State of Alabama used the 13th Amendment as their foundation in drafting the *ALABAMA CONSTITUTION OF 1901. As the Alabama Legislature used their authority to set up court systems, appointed only white people as Judges and District Attorneys, pre arranged elections for those positions that had to be voted on, then expanded the criminal code as its effective means of carrying out their objective. By their own admission, the State of Alabama’s sole purpose in drafting the Constitution of 1901 was to establish “White Supremacy”- by law. As the delegates to the all-white Constitutional Convention, were not secretive about their purpose and aims. In the opening address, President of the Convention, John B. Knox stated:
“And what is it that we want to do? Why is it within the limits imposed by the federal constitution to establish white supremacy in this state.” … “but if we would have white supremacy, we must establish it by law…”

In keeping with the sentiments of John B. Knox, the State of Alabama has used the Constitution of 1901 to construct a solid foundation, in which to discriminate from.
Even to this day, Alabama openly applies its laws discriminately, first –based upon race, then upon financial status.

Alabama’s “good old boy”-style of justice is maintained and perpetuated by police officers “overreaching”, district attorney’s ” overcharging” and judges “over sentencing.” All of this is made possible by the Alabama Constitution of 1901 and the Alabama Legislature, as it is the Alabama Legislature that enact these laws that specifically target young African-American males, particularly and African-Americans in general.

*One glaring example, is the racially motivated amending of the Capital Murder statute to include Section 16, 17 and 18- or commonly called the “drive-by shooting laws”. According to the Alabama Legislature, in the early 1990’s there was a massive public outcry against”gangs”, so in 1992 the Legislature passed Act 92-601; which made a murder committed by the use of a deadly weapon fired from or into a vehicle, a Capital Offense–punishable by death or life without parole. Act 92-601 became codified in Title 13A-5-40(a)(16),(17) and (18). From a plain reading of the statute, in order to be charged and found guilty of the Capital Offense, all that’s required is that the shooter or victim be in a vehicle or house at the time of the murder. Prior to this amendment, all Capital Offenses required an aggravating circumstance in order to elevate the murder to a death penalty offense. However, the “drive-by shooting laws” are simply based upon location of the shooter or victim.

In March of 2006, Representatives Marcel Black and John Robinson authored a Bill and presented it to the House of Representatives, which addressed the application of subdivisions 16, 17 and 18 of Title 13A-5-40, I.e., the Capital Murder statute. In session it was stated:
“Whereas, the legislature is aware of the case of State of Alabama v. Fondren (Calhoun County CC 02-600) in which Fondren was convicted of Capital Murder for violating Section 14A-5-40(a)(18)…”

HJR 575
On March 28, 2006, this Bill was adopted by the House of Representatives. On April 17, 2006, this Bill Was adopted and signed by the Senate. Upon both Houses adopting this Bill, it became House Joint Resolution 575. In accordance with the procedure for passing a Bill into Law, the House Joint Resolution was delivered to the Governor. On April 27, 2006 at 1:09 p.m. Governor Bob Riley signed the Bill.
It became Act No. 2006-642, which stated in pertinent part: ” … in passing Act 92-601, it was the intent of the legislature in adding sub division (18) to address”drive-by shooting”, that is murder committed through the use of a deadly weapon …used within or from a vehicle which murders were gang related or intended to incite public terror or alarm.”
In HJR 575 (Act No. 2006-642) the legislature recognized that Section 13A-5-40(a)(17),(18) has been misinterpreted by prosecutors and courts to apply to any murder committed by or through the use of a deadly weapon, fired or otherwise used within or from a vehicle, even if it was not gang related.
Being that this interpretation was contrary to the legislature’s intent, the Legislature urged the Attorney General and District Attorneys to charge only those individuals who commit murder by or through the use of a deadly weapon fired or otherwise within or from a vehicle, when the vehicle was involved in the shooting or that the shooting was gang related. This clarification by the legislature should have changed the sentences for countless individuals serving Life Without Parole behind the prosecutors and judges misapplication of the law.
Therefore,  the Legislature shall amend the “drive-by shooting” statutes, so that the plain language of the statute will effectuate the legislature’s intent as expressed in House Joint Resolution 575(Act No. 2006-642). And to make such Amendment Retroactive.
*The A.D.O.C’s policy and practice of not affording those Incarcerated with meaningful Educational and Rehabilitation opportunities falls below the standards of human decency, as it perpetuates ignorance and exploitation. It has been empirically proven that the lack of Education is a primary driver for incarceration, therefore, Rehabilitation has to include a meaningful opportunity for Education programs.
More specifically,  we want the EDUCATION,  REHABILITATION AND REENTRY PREPAREDNESS BILL IMPLEMENTED THROUGHOUT THE ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
(hyperlink freealabamamovement for copy of FREEDOM BILL)

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“INCARCERATED LIVES MATTER” PRISON SLAVERY MUST END

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PEACE AND POWER!

In 7 days- Saturday night @ 12:01 May 1st- We will begin the process using our Economic Power to Peacefully bring about a true and transparent reform to the Alabama Judicial and Penal System. MAY DAY MAY DAY is not just about the Conditions of Confinement. This is more so about the cause of those Conditions – THE13th AMENDMENT, THE ALABAMA CONSTITUTION OF 1901 and the STATUTORY LAWS that have been created from both – Laws that drive and maintains this Mass Warehousing of men and women for extended periods of time in the name of profits.

All that is required of each of us is to STAND AND SPEAK AS ONE- With the Economic Voice of “WE WILL NO LONGER VOLUNTARILY PARTICIPATE IN THIS SLAVE SYSTEM WHERE ECONOMICS ARE PLACED OVER OUR HUMANITY. All is required is for INDUSTRY WORKERS, KITCHEN WORKERS, & HALL RUNNERS TO SIT DOWN. SIT DOWN and instead of saving and making the ADOC money, force them to pay to operate their Prisons. This will greatly diminish their incentives to Warehouse thousands of us for decades with no true efforts at Rehabilitation. There is no need for us to say a word, as everything is in writing- and there are people in place to communicate on our behalf to the people who have the power to make the changes.

For Ourselves, For Our Brothers/Sisters and For Our Families – WE MUST COME TOGETHER AS A COLLECTIVE AND SHUT DOWN THIS ECONOMIC SYSTEM. MAY 1ST @ 12:01 CHANGE BEGINS.

INCARCERATED LIVES MATTER

Support the Strike at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama!

This is a press release sent out by the Ida B. Wells Coalition: 

Scroll down plz for Updates!

Support the Strike at St. Clair Correctional Facility in Alabama!

Today, 48 hours before a peaceful work stoppage starts on Sunday, March 1, at St Clair Correctional Facility (SCCF) in Springville, Ala., riot police have been sent to the prison to beat, torture, and intimidate the men incarcerated at SCCF, whose demands include an end to severe overcrowding and filthy living conditions.

[Note added 2/28: the EJI is lawyer in a class action lawsuit against St. Clair CF, plz contact them too or forward yoru emails to contact_us@eji.org or call them also and ask them to take note and communicate with their clients: 334-269-1803. See below for update. Thank you]

Here’s how you can support the strike and help stop the brutality against the prisoners:contact_us@eji.org

  1. Call SCCF’s warden, Carter Davenport, at (205)467-6111. Tell him to stop the retaliation against the prisoners, who have a right to peacefully protest against their inhumane treatment.
  2. Send an email to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC). Go to the ADOC’s website, http://www.doc.state.al.us. Click contact us and then click constituent services. Type your message, addressing it to Warden Carter Davenport. Before sending your message, please sign it. (You don’t have to give your address.)
  3. Spread the word to others. We must flood the prison with phone calls and the ADOC with email.

JoNina Ervin – Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, Email:  organize.the.hood@gmail.com

Anthony Rayson – Ida B. Wells Coalition Against Racism and Police Brutality, Email: – idabwellsinkc@gmailcom

Background:

On January 1st, 2014, the Free Alabama Movement was launched as a cross-racial collective action, with work stoppages at Holman, St. Clair and Elmore Correctional Facilities.

This is an inside-outside solidarity network that is working closely with the Ida B. Wells Coalition.  We are looking to broaden the support for these courageous and conscious prisoners.

Literature created by these prisoners is available through the South Chicago ABC Zine Distro / P.O. Box 721 / Homewood, IL 60430.  Check their website, etc.

Freealabamamovement.com

Free Alabama Movement  /  P.O. Box 186  / New Market, Alabama  35761

Blog:  Freealabamamovement.wordpress.com

Twitter @FREEALAMOVEMENT

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

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC88hKOWZ7PKGaTMPpLMTA w

Antonia Brooks:  256.783.1044     Latosha Scott:  334.322.8989


Update 2/28:

Thanks to the efforts from the People who supported F.A.M. this morning and afternoon, the Riot Team has been ordered to leave St. Clair prison. Yet again, Brian Stevenson (EJI) seems to continue to screen his calls from the family members of the men at St. Clair.

Equal Justice Initiative has filed a class action lawsuit, but they have not returned to the prison to take any steps to protect the men from retaliation from the ADOC. In fact, despite several requests to do so, EJI and Brian Stevenson have not sent any notifications to the “class” that they claim to represent informing them of how to report retaliation or new claims.

No monitors or class representatives have been put in place at St. Clair, and many of the men at St. Clair don’t even know that the “class action” lawsuit includes them. If you have a loved one at St. Clair, we are asking that you contact EJI and demand that Brian Stevenson protect the class of plaintiffs that he and his “experts” will be getting PAID to represent.

Website: EJI.org

Contact: http://eji.org/contact

Equal Justice Initiative
122 Commerce St.
Montgomery, Alabama 36104

Phone: 334-269-1803
Fax: 334-269-1806
Email: contact_us@eji.org


 

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

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

WE GOT POWER!!! AN ECONOMIC SOLUTION TO MASS INCARCERATION.

FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT
“WE GOT POWER”

We got Power y’all, and its the FREE labor and other money that we are providing to the ADOC.

Right now, the ADOC is getting appx. 2 to 3 billion dollars per year (IF NOT MORE !!) off of us from: work release, court costs and filing fees, production of license plates, cattle ranch, print shops, furniture plant, fleet services, chemical plant, fish pond, sand, recycling, farming, telephone calls, medical co-pays, canteen and much more.

We also work in the Montgomery warehouse, honor camps, kitchens, laundries, runners, libraries, dorm cleaners, and so much more, all for free.

WE PROVIDE THIS LABOR, AND THIS IS OUR POWER !!!

WE GOT POWER, and WE have to use, take it away from the ADOC, and make them change our living conditions, change parole, changes arbitrary sentencing, and allow us to earn our FREEDOM.

“WE GOT POWER”

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

Published originally on: Alabama Prison Watch, October 28, 2014

By Annabelle Parker, October 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one wants violence brought into their communities. People want and need answers to violence, so it is important for us to demonstrate that we are Non-Violent, we are Peaceful. Some people have committed violent crimes, while others have committed crimes that are labeled as violent, but where no one was harmed, while other people have been wrongfully convicted of violent offense.

But, whether you are innocent, guilty, mentally ill, or whatever, no one is getting out, and the prison system wants to justify our incarceration by telling society that we are “violent predators,” “killers,” “dangerous gang leaders and drugs dealers,” etc. These labels are applied 20, 25 years after the facts, after change, after maturity, after education, repentance, and after some children have grown from 18 to 43, yet no one can get out because the D.A.’s will still get on T.V. and revert back to a 40-year-old crime and argue that the person 40 years onwards still exists, even though this D.A. has no up-to-date knowledge of who this person is decades later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On InternetRadio.

On YouTube.

Free AlabamaMovement – Book in PDF by Melvin Ray