Filed under: Announcement, Incarceration, Labor, US
Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) announces its support for the national prison strike starting on August 21st, 2018.
Whereas, trusted comrades, collectives, and networks behind the prison walls have convened, called for a “National Prison Strike” from August 21 to Sept 9, 2018, issued a set of demands and guidelines and requested outside support, (1)
Whereas, we, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee of the IWW have heard their call for support and find the strike and its goals completely aligned with our material work and with all points of our Statement of Purpose (2),
Be it resolved, we endorse the strike, pledge our support and furthermore, embrace the work of solidarity.
We, as the national body of the IWOC network strongly encourage all outside branches and members-at-large to take on the support work to the utmost of their capacity and according to their best judgement.
As the strike develops, the scope of of work will also develop and will need further guidelines and ratification, so we offer this motion as a framework and a beginning. Further motions to amend are entertained as the work demands and teaches. The areas of work appropriate to our network, as we see them now, are as listed below:
1. Immediately add our name to the list of endorsing organizations and solicit other organizations to endorse and support.
2. Spread the word of the strike and demands inside as best and responsibly as we can so that our inside members and contacts can make informed decisions as to their positions and possible actions.
a. National Media Committee: assist and coordinate with the Jailhouse Lawyers Speak/Millions for Prisoners media representatives according to their protocols in fielding and fulfilling media requests, strategizing, spreading social media, and assisting in generating original works in all available mediums.
b. Locals: generate, share and publish educational and agitational material in all available mediums.
c. Make available whatever vetted media representatives we can muster regionally and nationally to speak on the strike to groups or to media outlets (according to the prisoners’ protocols for media requests).
a. To immediately begin building networks of outside supporters committed to phone blasts, demonstrations, and pressure campaigns of any type to combat repression and retaliation against prisoners. Repression is already underway and prisoner groups are already making requests for support.
b. Educate all IWOC members and groups, all other support groups and public at large on the tactics and depth of retaliations undertaken against prisoners.
5. Local demands: Outside IWOC groups can aid prisoners in their area in adding their own demands to local strike messaging. Such addition has been approved by existing inside strike leadership.
Let the work begin.
For solidarity over the walls and wire,
For a world without prisons,
(1) Addendum A
IWOC’s Statement of Purpose – July 31, 2014
- To further the revolutionary goals of incarcerated people and the IWW through mutual organizing of a worldwide union for emancipation from the prison system.
- To build class solidarity amongst members of the working class by connecting the struggle of people in prison, jails, and immigrant and juvenile detention centers to workers struggles locally and worldwide.
- To strategically and tactically support prisoners locally and worldwide, incorporating an analysis of white supremacy, patriarchy, prison culture, and capitalism.
- To actively struggle to end the criminalization, exploitation, and enslavement of working class people, which disproportionately targets people of color, immigrants, people with low income, LGBTQ people, young people, dissidents, and those with mental illness.
- To amplify the voices of working class people in prison, especially those engaging in collective action or who put their own lives at risk to improve the conditions of all.
(2) Addendum B
(Statement, demands and request for support via press release by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, April 23, 2018).
National Prison Strike
Men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a nationwide strike in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives during a senseless uprising that could have been avoided had the prison not been so overcrowded from the greed wrought by mass incarceration, and a lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation’s penal ideology. These men and women are demanding humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.
These are the NATIONAL DEMANDS of the men and women in federal, immigration, and state prisons:
- Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
- An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
- The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
- The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
- An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
- An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
- No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
- State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
- Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
- The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.
We all agree to spread this strike throughout the prisons of Ameri$$$a! From August 21st to September 9th, 2018, men and women in prisons across the nation will strike in the following manner:
- Work Strikes: Prisoners will not report to assigned jobs. Each place of detention will determine how long its strike will last. Some of these strikes may translate into a local list of demands designed to improve conditions and reduce harm within the prison.
- Sit-ins : In certain prisons, men and women will engage in peaceful sit – in protests.
- Boycotts: All spending should be halted. We ask those outside the walls not to make financial judgments for those inside. Men and women on the in side will inform you if they are participating in this boycott.
- Hunger Strikes: Men and women shall refuse to eat.
We support the call of Free Alabama Movement Campaign to “Redistribute the Pain” 2018 as Bennu Hannibal Ra – Sun, formerly known as Melvin Ray has laid out (with the exception of refusing visitation). See these principles described here: https://redistributethepain.wordpress.com/
How You Can Help
- Make the nation take a look at our demands. Demand action on our demands by contacting your local, state, and federal political representatives with these demands. Ask them where they stand.
- Spread the strike and word of the strike in every place of detention.
- Contact a supporting local organization to see how you can be supportive. If you are unsure of who to connect with, email [email protected]
- Be prepared by making contact with people in prison, family members of prisoners, and prisoner support organizations in your state to assist in notifying the public and media on strike conditions.
- Assist in our announced initiatives to have the votes of people in jail and prison counted in elections.
For the Media: Inquiries should be directed to