Bloc Party: Claim No Easy Victories

August 25, 2016
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Originally posted to It’s Going Down

We’re certain that if you use social media and have any friends on the social justice spectrum your feed was flooded with celebratory posts about the recent news out of the Department of Justice stating that they plan to discontinue the use of private contract prisons. We saw posts ranging from “Tears!” to “We’re winning!” With a skeptical eye we clicked on the article from the Washington Post and read carefully, taking in each word and letter. We expected to have to read between the lines to find the bullshit, as one often must with liberal reforms. There weren’t any lines to read between y’all. As reasonable and pragmatic people we wanted to see the tangible applications and the benefits that could at least impact some prisoners in the immediate. We got through the opening sentence and got a clear picture of what this does and does not mean. From The Washington Post:

The Justice Department plans to end its use of private prisons after officials concluded the facilities are both less safe and less effective at providing correctional services than those run by the government.

These assholes don’t mean less safe for those incarcerated, though we know that private prisons such as Correctional Corporation of America are indeed less safe for prisoners than a Bureau of Prisons run facility. We want to acknowledge that no fucking prison is safe. Ever. For anyone. What the Department of Justice is concerned about is that private facilities are less safe for those who hold others captive, seeing a higher rate of uprisings and rebellious behaviors. The control of the state is less effective when contracted out.

Here is the other thing that we encourage you to consider, Deputy Attorney General and garbage bag of a human Sally Yates made it abundantly clear that this is a decision that will impact 13 contracts that the BOP currently maintains with private prison corporations. Those numbers don’t have us feeling very impressed. Take a look at the breakdown of prisons in the U.S. from the Prison Policy Initiative:

The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 942 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,283 local jails, and 79 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories.

We don’t particularly like being the assholes raining on the shit parade all the time. But, let us be clear that this is indeed a shit parade. This is not a win. This is not the end of the hard work of prison abolitionists and those on the inside and out who dedicate their lives to prison organizing. This has to do with money, control, capitalism and a lame duck president who wants a pretty legacy page in high school textbooks one day. We said a few months back that we all ought to be very wary when people like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton start using the language of radicals to speak about mass incarceration. It isn’t a win. It is a chess game and they are stacking up moves in hopes of a check mate.

While we want to be clear that this news story is not an end all, be all win in the struggle to empty the cages, it would not have even been a spectacle projected by those in power had people not forced the hand. While those of us pushing at the fractures, both inside and out, have forced the hand of power to even acknowledge the damages done by incarceration, it would be remiss of us to simply celebrate. What this translates to is 22,000 prisoners out of 2.2 million that will be moved sometime in the next five years from a private prison to a federally operated prison. They will not be freed. They will not cease to be subject to slave labor. The state will not stop imprisoning humans. The prisons should burn. Corporate or state run.

During the primary season Bernie Sanders had said that it is “morally repugnant and a national tragedy that we have privatized prisons all over America.” Last October Hillary Clinton tweeted “Protecting public safety…should never be outsourced or left to unaccountable corporations.” Did you catch that? It isn’t morally repugnant to imprison anyone. It is morally repugnant to outsource the cruelest tentacles of the state as opposed to keeping that shit in house. The corporatization of torture and confinement is so much more comfortable for liberals to address because there is not a need to speak directly on capitalism and state control. As reformist and liberal sentiments shift towards Making America Great Again in regards to the good old days when our prisons were run by sadistic state employees instead of sadistic corporate employees, those who hold power need to shift their narratives. Liberals and reformists move one piece, the state moves another. Instead of being pawns on the squares of liberalism and playing by the rules determined by the state, can we just flip the damn board?

Is it any wonder the Department of Justice put on this cute dog and pony show at the same time that ICE signed a $1 billion dollar, 4-year contract with Corrections Corporation of America? Private prisons aren’t going anywhere. Their populations will continue to grow as the state scrambles to maintain their legitimacy as the true Protectors of Public Safety by tossing crumbs from the DOJ to quiet the Bernie Bros and others who may be more easily placated. But, they can’t placate prisoners. They can’t placate their way out of the growing rebellions inside the walls of county jails, state prisons, detention centers and beyond. Those fires are lit. Let’s all keep them going until the whole fucking thing burns down.

Keep an eye on your opponents, friends, because fuck knows they are keeping an eye on us.

Now for all that news from the Bloc.

Casey Brezik was in the hole, though it appears that he has just been released.. His close supporters were not aware of this immediately and it is unclear how long Casey had been there. From a supporter of Casey’s:

As of August 23, 2016, Casey’s caseworker is saying that they have no idea when Casey will be released from Ad-Seg or whether he will be there for a long time or not. They also say that he is not allowed to receive any books while he is in the hole. Please take a moment to print out an article of some sort to send to him in the mail to help him pass the time. Make sure the article’s content is non-inflammatory and only send five sheets of paper (printed front and back is fine) per envelope. He has been in the Ad-Seg unit since July 17th and is almost certainly getting bored of the few items he was allowed to bring down there.

While Casey is now backin general population, he could still use the support via letters and shared articles on topics like science, space exploration, mathematics. Write Casey at:

Casey Brezik #1154765
Northeast Correctional Center
13698 Airport Road
Bowling Green, Missouri 63334

Out in Pennsylvania migrant mothers are continuing a weeks long hunger strike in hopes of being able to leave detention, where many of them have been for nearly a year in a facility that the Secretary of Homeland Security says the average length of stay for migrant families is less than 20 days. Incarcerated with their children. The mothers say that their children have become suicidal from the incarceration and clearly this hunger strike is an act of intense strength to gain freedom for themselves and their families. The women signed their letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security with this and we feel like it deserves to be read:

Signed,
Mother with 12-year-old son with 365 days in detention.
Mother with 12 and 16-year-old daughters with 365 days in detention.
Mother with 6-year-old daughter with 365 days in detention.
Mother with 6-year-old son with 365 days in detention.
Mother with 7-year-old son with 340 days in detention.
Mother with 6-year-old son with 335 days in detention.
Mother with 15-year-old son with 305 days in detention.
Mother with 4-year-old daughter with 304 days in detention.
Mother with 9-year-old son with 300 days in detention.
Mother with 2-year-old son with 300 days in detention.
Mother with 4-year-old daughter with 277 days in detention.
Mother with 14-year-old daughter with 276 days in detention.
Mother with 7-year-old son with 276 days in detention.
Mother with 7-year-old daughter with 271 days in detention.
Mother with 2, 8 and 9-year-old children with 270 days in detention.
Mother with 3-year-old son with 270 days in detention.
Mother with 6-year-old son with 269 days in detention.
Mother with 4-year-old son with 240 days in detention.
Mother with 9-year-old daughter with 180 days in detention.
Mother with 7-year-old daughter with 120 days in detention.
Mother with 14-year-old daughter with 80 days in detention.
Mother with 7-year-old son with 60 days in detention.

Meanwhile, the hunger strikes in Wisconsin prisons are reaching a critical point. Supporters are being called on to direct calls and emails to:

WCI Warden Brian Foster: 920-324-5571; PO Box351, Waupun WI 53963;brian.foster@wisconsin.gov

DOC secretary Jon Litscher: 608-240-5000, Po Box 7925, Madison, WI 53707:jon.litscher@wisconsin.gov

Make sure to demand the following:

1.Let Cesar DeLeon and LaRon McKinley have bottled water, let them buy as much as they want from the commissary.

2. Put a 1 year limit on Administrative Confinement for all WI prisoners

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Once again, it is time for Running Down the Walls! For those that don’t know, Running Down the Walls is a national fundraising 5K run put on by Anarchist Black Cross chapters to raise money for political prisoners. The runs include supporters on the outside, and prisoners on the inside, and the funds are split between the ABCF Warchest and a local organization in the host cities. There is a master facebook page where you can find out about events closest to you, and its not too late to have a run or smaller fundraiser in your town! RDTW could definitely use some help this year, so every little bit helps!!

Two new poems are up from Eric King, don’t forget to write him at his new address!

Two new poems are up from Eric King:

There’s a cross across the road

To me it looks more like an X

to mark the fucking spot

where they dump those who are forgot

It doesn’t give hope or inspire faith

It’s a tragedy and a human waste

those were people, with love and fear

and now their dust on the mountains

Which isn’t where I’d want to be

to get as fucking far away from here

They didn’t get released,

no compassionate freedom

They will forever overlook the last place

they ever existed in human form

the fences can’t hold energy

and dust can fly fucking free

but it’s a reminder, that they’d rather burn your dead body

Than set you free…

Eric King  27090045
FCI ENGLEWOOD
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
9595 WEST QUINCY AVENUE
LITTLETON, CO  80123

As things heat up inside prisons for September 9th, and supporters gather their forces on the outside, the judge hearing the case against the Dakota Access Pipeline just announced he will not be making a decision until September 9th. This is making September 9th look like a big fucking day for a lot of people, so get ready friends.

We hope you are all out there sharpening your claws, because shit is not slowing down. We can’t wait to see the ways y’all throw down with new friends and old. We hope to see new and creative ways of connecting the dots between prisons, the police, eco-devastation and indigenous land struggles. Let’s set fire to this plantation together.

-forever career bad kids

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