Submitted to It’s Going Down
On September 18, in solidarity with the national prison strike now in its second week, a group of anarchists and others blockaded the road leading to the Correctional Officers Training Academy in Tucson, Arizona, occupied Tohono O’Odham land.
All prison guards in the Arizona state prison system must attend the 6-week training at COTA, and this action was timed to impede the arrival of the incoming class. Participants built barricades of chained together pallets, furniture and tires, adorned with banners reading “Free the Prisoners, Fire the Guards” and “No Pipelines, No Prisons.” Other banners were strung across the road, including one bearing only the names of Marcia Powell and Mariam Abdullah, both of whom were killed in the Perryville women’s prison. We remember them and will not stop fighting to destroy the institutions and individuals responsible for taking them from us.
Further down the road from the barricades, another group blocked the road with a large banner reading “Prison Strike Solidarity” and other signs, while pumping some great Fuck the Police tunes from a mobile sound system. On the count of three say ‘fuck the police’ – 1. 2. 3.
Some local residents in the extraordinarily wealthy area surrounding COTA called the police upon reaching the barricades despite being offered clearance. We decided to bail with the blockade still intact, successfully avoiding any police interaction. For future reference, COTA is located at 5601 West Trails End Road and is only accessible from the east end of the road, which dead-ends at a gated community. So, fuck everyone on that stretch, right?
In trying to disrupt the smooth functioning of COTA, we aspired to find points beyond the prison walls themselves where we can directly interfere with prison operations. Training facilities, sites of logistical infrastructure such as prison bus depots, manufacturers and distributors of law enforcement weaponry or other supplies, cameras in the streets, and any number of administrative offices may be weak points where we can aim to make the system immediately unworkable on the ground.
In the context of Tucson’s recent history of directly disruptive actions, including multiple interventions against police-Border Patrol collaboration, a blockade of the G4S bus depot, and the wildly successful blockade of Streamline buses which immediately prevented jail time for 70 people in Border Patrol custody, we hope that today’s experiment in direct interference while actively seeking to avoid arrests can also be an offering on how more of us can fight back and get away with it in the future.
In complicity with prison rebels and outside insurrectionaries fighting for lived liberation, right now.
Against colonial prisons, police, borders, and the world they protect.
We will escalate and we will win.