Bloc Party: Riots, Strikes, and Occupations
Filed under: Bloc Party, Editorials
Filed under: Bloc Party, Editorials
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
Word is starting to trickle in as the nationally coordinated prison strike kicked off on Friday. From Holman prison in Alabama this word was received:
12:01 Sept 9th, all inmates at Holman Prison refused to report to their prison jobs without incident. With the rising of the sun came an eerie silence as the men at Holman laid on their racks reading or sleeping. Officers are performing all tasks.
Two days ago prisoners at the Holmes prison in Florida more than 400 prisoners rioted and the prison administration is connecting it to the strike:
A nationwide prison strike planned Friday has Florida’s jails and state prisons on high alert through the weekend, bracing for possible upheavals by inmates protesting what they say is inhumane and violent treatment.
Already, a revolt at Holmes Correctional in Florida’s Panhandle on Wednesday night, involving more than 400 inmates, caused damage to nearly every dorm during an uprising that lasted into the early morning. No one was seriously injured, but the department is concerned that the disturbance might be a harbinger of what’s to come.
In recent weeks, the department has had disturbances at Jackson Correctional, Gulf Correctional, Franklin Correctional and Okaloosa CI. All of them, like Holmes, are located in Region 1, in the Panhandle. And a corrections officer was stabbed during a melee at Columbia CI in April.
Let’s have a round of applauds for these harbingers of what’s to come! While liberals sit on the sidelines and pat themselves on the back for the recent crumbs thrown their way by the Department of Justice, other folks are getting lit on the outside too. Bloomington, we see you. We’re hearing reports as we write this morning that there is at least one arrest in Asheville, NC at a strike demo of some kind. Asheville, we see you too.
While there has been a large emphasis put on this day, September 9th, in the lead up to the strike, we cannot forget that if this strike goes as intended the battle will be long. To say it will be hard is an understatement. There is the very real probability of retaliation on prison rebels that can look much worse than being moved to SHU. There have already been reports of prisoners across the country being intimidated by prison staff and the state. There are prisoners who already fear for their lives:
A friend of mine is in prison and fears for his life. He says that, because of trying to organize and hold guards accountable, there is a hit on his life. He wants as many people as possible to call the prison and let them know we’re paying attention. For this, you don’t even have to leave your house.
His name is Willis Bailey, 259775 and the phone number for the Jefferson City DOC Central Office is 573-751-2389.
This isn’t hyperbolic, when we look at prison uprisings of the past we can see that the results can be deadly. For every prisoner that fights to get free there are guards lined up to force her back into line. We hope that everyone who is involved and is looking to get involved in supporting striking and rebelling prisoners will take their support as seriously as this. We are out here for them today on September 9th, let’s be out here as long as it fucking takes to tear these walls down.
While this kicks off, there is massive resistance up in North Dakota that shows no signs of stopping. Unicorn Riot has been doing incredible on-site coverage. Check out this recent interview they did with Unpa Nunpa. With a federal court hearing happening today and the National Guard now running check points leading to Standing Rock, things could be ramping up in the coming days and weeks. Our solidarity and respect to everyone who is on the front lines of this fight.
Before we get you some of that news from the Bloc, we suggest a replay of this May Day gem and if that hasn’t quite got your ass ready to roll in some solidarity throw this new Zach de la Rocha track on for good measure.
now they ride their portfolios
rise every time my cherry glows
on the end of my cig as
the smoke blows through the bars
and the co’s laugh fades
as he strolls away
says i gotta pay
off that roll away
or its fuck your visitation days
and i pop off so in solitaire
i dream of offing these fred astaires
and the skin off my fingers tear
we digging for windows here
where the days are all night
LaDell Evans #533468
Waupun WI 53963
The new Political Prisoners Birthday Poster is up thanks to the Prison Books Collective. It looks beautiful, as always. Print some of these up, scribble a time and place on the bottom, get some pens and paper together, then have yourselves a letter writing night. Easy, right? If you need help getting printed copies of the poster:
Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: email@example.com
Brandon Baxter still needs your support in his efforts to seek clemency. You can find all the details of how to write a letter over at his support site. The deadline to write such a letter and email a scanned copy to his support crew is September 20th. You’re all so good at timeliness though, we know you’ve got this.
Sean Swain, the busy bee that he is so consistently, has quite a few great updates on his site. We’d recommend checking out his written statement in support of the strike, part one and part two on the 185th anniversary of the Nat Turner rebellion and the most recent statement of support for the prison strike. Thanks for everything that you totally didn’t mention in that last update Sean! Someone send this guy a dope ass letter and let him know you’ll be voting Swain in November!
Sean Swain #243-205
P.O. Box 120
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
MOVE is fundraising to host a 3 day organizing conference in May 2017. They are around halfway to their goal. If you have some money to throw their way, you can do so right over here.
Holy shit, the new Certain Days calendar is beautiful. This year’s calendar features cover art by Micah Bazant, an artist that we’ve been following for a couple years now and are art-crushing on pretty hard. The calendar also features art work and writing from prisoners, including Marius Mason and Eric King this year. You can order in bulk through Certain Days. You can also sponsor calendars to be sent to prisoners for just $5. Hell yeah. Get yo’self one and some for all those Hanukkah gifts you’ve got to line up.
As Obama is getting ready to cede the helm to one of two monstrous overlords, many political prisoners are ramping up their clemency efforts. Leonard Peltier is no exception. Right now Leonard’s defense team is running a fundraising campaign to get a team to D.C. in December in order to push this to the final hours. If you have money, throw it in. You can also learn more about the clemency efforts and how you can support Leonard over here.
Back in June Robert Seth Hayes had his parole denied by the New York State Parole Board for the ninth time. Hayes has been imprisoned for over 45 years. We know he won’t stop fighting, how about you let him know that you won’t either? His birthday is also coming up on October 15.
In response to the announcement, Barrett said, “Well, I certainly know when I’m not wanted.”
The announcement comes after a lengthy back and forth with prison officials about potential release dates. As noted on Twitter, there was a possibility that Barrett could have been released as early as May 2016, but the BOP has repeatedly pushed the date back.
Barrett has used his recent writings to document various administrative and bureaucratic abuses he’s endured.
In his 9 July column, The Fact of Sisyphus, Barrett wrote about his time in ‘the hole’, noting that he has “spent a total of five months over the past few years of incarceration being held in 23- to 24-hour-a-day Special Housing Unit confinement cells.”
On 31 March 2015, Barrett’s email access was revoked for speaking to the press. Access has since been restored, but the BOP has repeatedly stonewalled Barrett’s attempts at redress. In July, he produced a “timeline of BOP malfeasance.”
We’re very pleased at the prospect of a free Barrett Brown taking the BOP to task.
Note: despite his scheduled early release, Barrett still has to pay the enormous restitution of $890,250 to Stratfor as part of his sentencing. Donate to Barrett’s fund to help alleviate one of America’s foremost investigative journalists from this unjust burden, here.
In excellent news Kali, of Occupy Oakland, has been released! Kali needs support upon release:
Great news – After 4+ years behind bars, Kali was finally released on Tuesday August 30th 2016 from California State Prison in Sacramento!!! We are so excited to welcome him home.
Since his arrest in December 2011, Kali has endured wildly trumped up charges and time, and he has experienced solitary confinement, being denied meds and being attacked by prison guards – effects of the structural racism of the judicial system and his political affiliations with the Occupy movement.
Kali will need our support as he transitions out of prison. As you may know, the prison system offers very few resources for former prisoners, and Kali will need to find work, housing, and insurance that gives him access to medications. He also needs support with basic day-to-day costs like clothes and groceries.
Please donate what you can to the Rally page we have created to support Kali as he returns to life in Oakland.
Also, please share this page widely! And contact us if you have any fundraising ideas–benefit shows, readings, etc–we would love to do some of those in the near future!
As rebellion spreads across an increasingly unstable prison system, Santa Clara County jails in California are organizing a hunger strike:
Now, our plan of action is to inspire, enlighten, and unite as many Santa Clara County prisoners as possible in order to engage in a peaceful protest in the form of an organized hunger strike. In addition, we are reaching out to Prison Law Ofﬁce, Silicon Valley De-Bug, and other outside agencies and individuals for assistance and support, so we are not alone and we have a voice from the outside.
We also encourage everyone to inform and involve friends and family members by having them ﬂood Sheriff Laurie Smith and this administration with calls of concern during said hunger strike. Encourage them to use social media to get our message out. We will also attempt to utilize traditional forms of media (newspaper, news, etc.). It might take traditional media a minute to focus on us, but let’s not be discouraged. It is truly in our best interest to see this through.
Said hunger strike will begin at 12 midnight on October 17, 2016 and will go on for two weeks/fourteen days. It will end on October 30, 2016 at 12 midnight. This strike is not mandatory, but instead it is highly encouraged to all who are concerned, willing and able. We especially reach out to those who are healthy and inﬂuential. We lean upon you and ask that you utilize your inﬂuence to help further push and inspire this movement through your words and actions by leading through example.
Phone numbers for Sheriff Laurie Smith:
We wanted to share some words from Texas prison striker, Billy:
So family something is going to happen across this great nation. (yeah right), on September 9th of 2016.
There is a call for a nation-wide work stoppage for many reasons but to bring to light what’s going on. Slave Labor People, when TDC is part of the stock market due to our labor and skills we get nothing.
So if you will remember back in 1971, New York Attica Prison Rebellion was the day it begun, even though it only lasted 5 days on the 13th. State troupers fired and both guards and inmates were killed.
Keep it peaceful but lay it down. Just quit please, I beg you all. It’s not just our backs they’re making money off of. It’s our family also. Those who have to send money for us to survive in here, remember survive not spend every night while others around you don’t have soap or deodorant or basics. So while you’re pointing your finger at the dude in the shower with no shoes on, its because he or she is working his ass off for your and the system for free.
I hate to admit it but I know in my soul that shitty ass Texas will keep on doing what they do. But Billy ain’t.
You heard me say it before, I’m tired and I just can’t believe this chance will pass those by without even a thought.
Living like this is not normal and I just can’t resign myself to thinking any different.
It’s people like… Assata Shakur. She once said,
“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to actually be aware of being a slave.”
In celebration of the wave of resistance going down and about to go down, and as a tool to help raise money and highlight the rebellion of folks down in ‘Bama, a comrade has made this “Straight Outta Holman” shirt design. The idea came up in conversation with a prisoner at Holman, and went from there.
As you can see, the front features the “Straight Outta Holman” logo, and the back has a chronology of resistance at Holman Prison.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and specify sizes to order shirts.
Individual shirts will be $15 apiece, which includes shipping. If you would like to order bulk and re-sell these shirts at events, order more than 10 and you’ll only be charged $5. Please send any profits from selling the shirts to help out the guys on Seg down in Alabama, via PayPal at email@example.com.
From Attica to Holman. Let the crops rot in the fields and may the walls burn.
Bloc Party is an ongoing column that looks at State repression, counter-insurgency, prisons, political prisoners, as well as what people are doing to resist them.