#OperationPUSH Timeline from IWOC

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The following roundup from the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), gives a detailed look at #OperationPUSH since it was launched in January 15th. To see our roundup of the first few days of the strike, go here, and check out our interview with an IWOC organizer about repression against prison rebels, here.

This is a continuously updated article on the events taking place under Operation Push. To learn more about Operation PUSH and how you can support it, visit the campaign page. For breaking news follow IWOC and Fight Toxic Prisons on Twitter and Supporting Prisoners And Real Change (SPARC) on Facebook.

February 5th, 2018

Florida prisoners held in a ‘Closed Management’ unit join Operation Push by boycotting commissary. These prisoners are locked up 23 hours a day, are not allowed any movement around the camp or work assignments and are subject to constant communication restrictions. Prisoners who speak out about conditions in FL prisons are sent here so that the FDOC can keep them quiet and maintain the lie that their prisons are functioning well, their slaves are happy, and there is not a resistance movement building inside.

Letter from prisoner about commissary strike.

January 30th, 2018

Rashid Johnson shares details on his torture in retaliation for his piece, Florida Prisoners Are Laying it Down.

January 26th, 2018

Phone zap for Rashid is a success! He is able to meet with his lawyer and is confirmed to be in better health.

January 25th, 2018

Phone zap is carried out in defense of Rashid Johnson, facing bogus charges of “inciting a riot” for publishing an exposé on conditions inside Florida prisons and being denied medical treatment after being tortured.

A call for people to join a phone zap in defense of Rashid Johnson.

January 24th, 2018

Gainesville IWOC and Fight Toxic Prisons receive a letter from Rashid Johnson reporting being tortured in retaliation for his exposè of the Florida prison system.

Letter from Rashid reporting torture.

January 22nd, 2018

A “phone zap” takes place, tieing up Florida Department of Corrections phone lines throughout the day. An overwhelming amount of people call in, making it clear to the prison system that we are watching and we support striking incarcerated workers.

January 19th, 2018

Gainesville IWOC and Fight Toxic Prisons publish an update on the campaign and reflection on resistance thus far.

January 18th, 2018

The number of contacts locked up, for as much as 2 weeks prior to MLK Day to try to prevent a strike grows to dozens. The full extent of round ups is still unknown. Some haven’t been charged at all, others have vague “disrespect” accusations.

A nationwide phone zap is taking place Monday to put the Florida DOC on alert and demonstrate the support #OperationPUSH has.

January 17th, 2018

Confirmation begins to trickle in of pre-emptive sweeps of organizers and lockdown of facilities.

Meanwhile, solidarity actions grow on the outside, including a protest at Norfolk City Jail in Virginia  , and a call for support from Angela Davis. Media coverage highlighting the infamous conditions in Florida prisons and the campaign grows as well: Liberation News, WTXL, Brinkwire.

January 16th, 2018

Communication still silent from inside, most likely from sweeps and placing participants in confinement.

On the outside, demonstrators move into the Florida Department of Corrections office calling on officials to meet prisoners’ demands.

One demonstrator is arrested and an emergency rally is held demanding her release. She is released that same night to cheering supporters.

January 15th, 2018

Work stoppage begins! Communication from the inside comes to a halt. Meanwhile, solidarity rallies are held at three Florida facilities, over 200 yard signs go up around Florida and multiple banner drops take place. See It’s Going Down’s #OperationPUSH Round Up for photos and more.

January 14th, 2018

Florida Department of Corrections announces to families that visitation hours are cancelled on MLK Day for Everglades Correctional Institution and Lake Butler Reception and Medical Center.

January 13th, 2018

Dozens of suspected participants and organizers are put in solitary confinement.

January 10, 2018

Over 70 organizations sign on in support of Operation PUSH.

January 9, 2018

Florida New Afrikan Black Panther leader and incarcerated organizer in Florida, publishes Florida Prisoners are Laying it Down a public endorsement and personal account of the Florida Prison System.

December 28, 2017 – January 8, 2018

Media coverage picks up with articles from It’s Going Down, In These Times, Shadowproof, Miami New Times, and the Miami Herald.

December 28, 2017

Haitian prisoners in Florida prisons release statement calling out Donald Trump and in support of Operation PUSH.

December 6, 2017

Florida incarcerated workers announce Operation PUSH, a month-long work stoppage and refusal to purchase from commissary in order to halt abuses and exploitation within the prison system.


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IWOC
Members of the IWW have created the IWOC, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, which functions as a liaison for prisoners to organize each other, unionize, and build solid bridges between prisoners on the inside and fellow workers on the outside. Prison is a setup, a big business, there to make money off the People. Neither the setup, nor the slavery inside of prisons can be combated without the conscious participation of prisoners and the working class on the outside through mutual aid, solidarity, and the building of working relationships that transcend prison walls and the politics of mass incarceration. The IWOC has been actively reaching out to prisoners while at the same time prisoners have been reaching out to the IWW for representation and assistance in building a prisoners union. The IWOC has taken up the cause and is helping prisoners in every facility organize and build a union branch for themselves, which will together form a powerful IWW Industrial Union.