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Jan 19, 18

Audio Report: Officials Threaten Prisoners with Solitary & Gang Status in Response to #OperationPUSH

“I feel like it’s building towards something. What we’re seeing with Operation PUSH, is just another link in the chain towards a building a huge movement…” – Karen, Gainesville IWOC

Cover photo from Oakland IWOC

In this audio report and interview with Karen from Gainesville Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP), we discuss #OperationPUSH, a work strike taking place in Florida prisons, and learn that prisoners are being threatened with being thrown in solitary or labeled gang members for associating or even corresponding with groups like IWOC.

In our discussion, we talk about Operation PUSH, and also how prison administrators in the lead up to the strike attempted to stop the action from ever happening, using a variety of threats, and in some instances, offers of transfers to “sweeter” prison camps. Moreover, prisoners perceived by officials as being involved in organizing are being threatened with being labeled part of a “security threat group” (gang), which in turn includes those on the outside involved in prison abolition groups as members of that same gang.

We should also remember that this repression is taking place in the context of a work strike organized by prisoners, which calls for prison-workers to walk off their jobs and also stop buying items from the canteen. The message from the prison bosses is clear: prisoners are slaves and that any refusal to work in the prison will not be allowed, and moreover any prisoners that engage in physical organizing will be placed in solitary confinement; a “prison within a prison,” and labeled gang members.

Despite this harsh repression, Karen reports that groups like IWOC feel stronger than ever, and that Operation PUSH represents a new phase in the struggle for prison abolition and the battle against prison slavery. We also talk about solidarity actions that have happened outside of the prison walls, including Karen’s report from one such demonstration at a prison where guards were found to have been members of the KKK after their plot to kill a black inmate was made public. Lastly, we talk about an upcoming call-in campaign set for Monday, in support of Operation PUSH.

More Info: IWOC Twitter and IWOC homepage.

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