To commemorate the first day of the prison strike, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement (RAM) announces the first Nat Turner Day this August 21st, 2018.
It is no coincidence this is the first day of this year’s Nationwide Prison Strike and we couldn’t be more honored to participate in this historic moment.
On this day in 1831 the Nat Turner Rebellion began. Nat Turner and his band of 70 comrades traveled from plantation to plantation to slay their oppressors and free those they encountered along the way. This act of rebellion is an important precursor for our struggle today. The initiative of these brave people to risk their own well-being to free those held in captivity around them, speaks both to the militancy necessary for community defense and the selflessness of revolutionary struggle.
Nat Turner Day is a holiday for revolutionaries, those who fight against the current forms of slavery and commit themselves to a liberated society. We celebrate those who came before us, and those who today devote their lives to abolishing this horrendous system of modern slavery.
Join us for solidarity with the prison strikers and festivities celebrating Nat Turner, and all revolutionaries past and present, while we bring much needed attention to the struggle of our day!
The context of the prison strike:
People incarcerated in the United States, suffering some of the worst abuses in the world, are calling for a nationwide prison strike on August 21st. We at the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement stand with these brave individuals and support their demands for better conditions and revolutionary action as they risk their lives and health, not only for themselves but for the millions incarcerated nationwide.
The impetus for this call arose from the shameful and egregious loss of life recently at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina. The problem, prison organizers argue, stems from greed and “…a lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation’s penal ideology.” From racist policing practices, harassment of families, and routine methods of torture, we have a system that is one of the most barbaric in the world. While reforms can alleviate some of the suffering, we all are aware that total abolition of this system is necessary.
Since the civil war, the US government has been committed to ensuring the system of slavery continued. Black people remain policed, surveilled, controlled, and held captive. The struggle for black liberation reached unparalleled heights with the Black Panthers, and the state’s response was to make the largest prison population in the world, criminalize the black populace, and destroy the social programs. Slavery in the US was never primarily about free labor, but about controlling, owning and ultimately denying black humanity. The plantations of the past turned into today’s prisons, like Louisiana State Penitentiary, formerly the Angola plantation. The same modes of control on the plantation exist in the prison. The prison system, like the slave system of the past, is not a social phenomenon to debate, but to totally destroy.
The risks people inside are taking to regain their humanity and dignity stand as a model for all abolitionists and revolutionaries. Our actions outside must amplify their voices and match their commitment. We call on all abolitionists and revolutionaries in this country, and those abroad, to stand with the prison strikers’ resistance. This is the struggle of our day. From inside the walls to the streets outside, we will abolish slavery, the prisons, and all the institutions that make such a barbaric world possible.