A Challenge: Spread the Strike to Every Jail, Juvie, and Prison!

August 11, 2016
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Submitted to It’s Going Down
Call for Canadian Audiences Here

This is a challenge to anyone who is supportive of the September 9th prisoners’ strike but who has remained on the sidelines until now.

In order for this strike to not be snuffed out by a handful of prison censors and violent guards, it needs to spread uncontrollably beyond their reach. And because prisons strictly forbid communication between prisoners, it is our responsibility on the outside to facilitate this contagion.

The first obvious step is to begin sending in word of the strike, immediately. If people on the inside are to be able to meaningfully act, they are going to need some time to begin spreading the word to their friends and formulating a plan. To that end, we are suggesting that outside accomplices begin printing the strike announcements (below) and mailing them inside en masse.

Spanish: http://insurgenttheatre.org/sprdocs/prisoncalloutSpanish.pdf

English: http://insurgenttheatre.org/sprdocs/sept9clean.pdf

English (half-sized booklet): http://insurgenttheatre.org/sprdocs/septstrikepamphletalt.pdf

(For all, print double-sided and “flip on short edge.”)

Mail to whom you ask? To anyone! To your old high school friend stuck in county jail, your friend’s little sister in juvie, to Black Liberation prisoners who have inspired you, your neighbor’s relative in an immigrant detention center, or to that person on the local news who robbed four (!) banks before she finally got caught last year.

Though most states’ DOC websites won’t allow you to search by a specific crime (like bank robbery or vandalism), you can search Google News headlines for things like ______(state name)  +  ______ (crime)  +  sentenced”  or  “______(state name)  +  denied parole”  to generate a list of names. Then you can plug those names into a state’s DOC website to get their address and ID number.

If you’re not able to provide ongoing support to the people you mail or if you give a fake return address, please be clear about that in your letter. People on the inside need to know if people on the outside will have their backs or not. If you do maintain communication with people you contact, however, be opaque and creative in the ways that you talk about these things. Use different return addresses to confuse prison censors, or find clever new ways to get information inside without it being attached to your legal name. And don’t forget to act as a signal booster for their actions; for instance, if the strike has taken hold, and/or the prison is retaliating against them, post that info to sites like itsgoingdown.org or supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org so that people can organize call-in’s or other solidarity actions to target the prison administration.

“Right away, one shouldn’t be able to start a university course, a theater performance or a scientific conference without someone directly intervening or letting loose a rain of flyers that pose the questions, ‘What has become of the prisoners on strike?’ and, ‘When will the authorities give in to their demands?’ No one should be able to walk down any street in the U.S. without seeing news of the prisoners’ struggle on the walls. And the songs that are sung about them must be heard by all.”

There’s no denying that this is a historical moment, a rare opportunity that simply cannot missed. There are no sidelines in a world without leaders. Everyone has a role to play so let’s get going!

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