In this episode we talk to people across the country involved in the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a part of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), one of the groups which has officially signed on to endorse the upcoming August 21st prison strike. IWOC was one of the organizations pivotal in supporting the 2016 prison strike which kicked off on September 9th – the anniversary of the Attica uprising, and spread to prisons across the US, and even into Mexico and Greece. Solidarity actions took place across the US and the world, and marked a turning point in how prison slavery under the 13th Amendment is viewed in this society.
NATIONAL PRISON STRIKE AUGUST 21-SEPTEMBER 9TH, 2018 pic.twitter.com/Mzbb4e96yp
— Jailhouse Lawyers (@JailLawSpeak) April 24, 2018
Wanting to to know more about what is going down this August, we talked with Karen from Gainesville IWOC about the upcoming strike, report backs from the Fight Toxic Prisons and IWOC conferences, repression that prisoners face for organizing, as well as what has been happening in Florida prisons since Operation PUSH kicked off in January. We then talked with Brooke of Oakland IWOC about the importance of the strike, the prisoners demands, as well as the continuous wave of action on the inside that happened over the past few months. We close by talking with two IWOC/IWW members who were present at an international gathering of anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist labor unions; organizations which have agreed to stand in solidarity with the strike. We talk about the importance of this international solidarity and how we can hopefully see it grow in the future.
@SlaveryPrison The first edition of Solid Black Fist: Across the wires, Freedom fighter news is out. Ready to print, share and distribute among national prison strike participants and advocates https://t.co/A8l90Mxe7Q
— Amani Sawari (@SawariMi) July 9, 2018
One thing is clear, as word of the strike grows on the inside, the State is responding with repression, censorship, and outright brutality. Strike leaders are moved and isolated, mail and publications are censored, and new repressive rules are put in place. At the same time, more and more people on the outside are starting to organize against the carceral State, prison slavery, ICE and detention centers, and the criminalization of everyday life, from migration to jumping turnstiles. As the strike goes closer, we hope that this interview both inspires people to get involved as well as make plans to organize and engage in solidarity.
More Info: Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, Support Prisoner Resistance, Fight Toxic Prisons, “Why Are People Calling for a Strike?“, “Statement in Solidarity With Those Fighting ICE,” and “August 21st is Going to Be Lit.”