Submitted to It’s Going Down

Durham, NC – August 10, 2016 – tonight, in recognition of international prisoner justice day and in support of the upcoming national prison strike slated to start on September 9, the Triangle Area Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) held a demonstration outside Durham County Jail that was attended by several dozen people.  Speakers from several other organizations, including city workers unionized with UE 150 and Durham Beyond Policing, as well as local Muslim activists, shared words of support for the strike and for ongoing efforts by prisoners to organize with IWW’s Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee, as well as the Free Alabama Movement, Free Ohio Movement, Free Virginia Movement, and many other organizations and informal networks across the country. Wobblies and other local activists also read letters from prisoners locked up across the country, including the Durham County Jail. Local folk musician and IWOC volunteer Remona Dowell led the group in several union hymns including “Solidarity Forever” and “Power in a Union” and reporters from several local papers attended. Prisoners in the jail banged on their windows in support as they looked out at the demonstration.

Near the end of the demonstration, a passer-by stopped his car, got out, and took the mic, explaining that he had been locked up in the jail for three months and, in spite of being a diabetic, had been consistently malnourished and medically neglected. His child then took the mic and spoke powerfully to the group about the experience of the children of those incarcerated. “Remember parents!,” he said, “children love their parents and want them home so we can love them.”

Tonight’s demonstration comes on the heels of a series of events in support of the strike organized by a local support committee that local IWWs are participating in.  On Tuesday, August 2, the brass band What Cheer? Brigade played a strike fund fundraiser at the pinhook, after which some of the attendees marched to the jail, led by the 17 members of the band.  Then, on Thursday, August 4, several local activists spoke at the local library about the history of prison activism from the Attica rebellion up to the present strike. More actions are planned leading up to and then on September 9, when the strike is set to begin.