Philadelphia, PA: Prison Strike Solidarity Noise Demo Reportback

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The following report about a noise demo in solidarity with the prison strike was anonymously sent to It’s Going Down.

In solidarity with the national prison strike beginning on August 21st, a noise demo took place in West Philly outside the Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Service Center (a youth detention center, to be clear.) The demo was called by the Philly IWW, with substantial support from the Friendly Fire Collective, Liberation Project, and several other groups and autonomous rebels.

Earlier on the day of the demo, door-to-door outreach took place in the neighborhood to inform people of the demo and the strike more broadly. This was generally well-received!

Roughly 75 people convened outside the main entrance of the complex with banners, IWW, RAM and black flags, as well as signs reading the demands put forward by the national strike. While still on the sidewalk at the entrance, participants made lots of noise before reading off the ten central demands of the strike. Very few police had responded at this point, but they began to take up positions surrounding the demo. In response, and with the sound system starting up an FTP playlist, we moved just south of the entrance and took the street in a spot past the police and where we could be more visible from the dorms of the detention center. At this point, a small amount of nearby debris was brought into the street to form a small barricade and fireworks began to be lit.

This went on for more or less 90 minutes, and as numbers began to dwindle those remaining set off on a short march through West Philly. The march threw traffic cones, pallets, and other available obstacles in the way of pursuing police before taking an intersection, again reading the ten core demands of the strike, and dispersing with no arrests.

From this individual’s perspective, a lot went right and there are some things to build on and learn from! It was unclear if those held inside could consistently hear and/or see the demo. In the future, larger numbers of larger fireworks should probably be used, as in past noise demos in the city. That said, the use of light barricading continues a recent trend of normalizing that sort of thing in Philly. Let’s keep putting objects between us and the police! Maybe we can get really good at it!

Earlier in the day banners for the strike were dropped at multiple locations in the city. More strike solidarity actions are forthcoming, so keep an eye out.

Towards a world without borders, police or prisons,

may a sweeping assault on reality persist,

– some people on occupied lenape land


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