The largest prison strike in the U.S. now enters its second week
It’s odd that this doesn’t seem to be reported in the mainstream media. Alice Speri reports in The Intercept:
The largest prison strike in U.S. history has been going on for nearly a week, but there’s a good chance you haven’t heard about it. For months, inmates at dozens of prisons across the country have been organizing through a network of smuggled cellphones, social media pages, and the support of allies on the outside. The effort culminated in a mass refusal to report to prison jobs on September 9, the anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising.
“This is a call to action against slavery in America,” organizers wrote in an announcement that for weeks circulated inside and outside prisons nationwide, and that sums up the strikers’ primary demand: an end to free prison labor. “Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America’s prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand.”
Since Friday, details on the strike’s success have trickled out of prisons with some difficulty, but organizers and supporters have no doubt the scale of the action is unprecedented, though their assessment is difficult to verify and some corrections departments denied reports of strike-related activities in their states.
Prisoners in 24 states and 40 to 50 prisons pledged to join the strike, and as of Tuesday, prisoners in at least 11 states and 20 prisons continued the protest, according to outside supporters in Alabama. Tactics and specific demands varied locally, with some prisoners reportedly staging hunger strikes, and detainees in Florida protesting and destroying prison property ahead of the planned strike date.
“There are probably 20,000 prisoners on strike right now, at least, which is the biggest prison strike in history, but the information is really sketchy and spotty,” said Ben Turk, who works on “in-reach” to prisons for the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World union helping to coordinate the inmate-led initiative from the outside.
Small rallies and demonstrations in support of the strikers were staged in dozens of U.S. cities and a couple of foreign countries, but so far the coordinated strike remains largely ignored on the outside.
“The strike has been pulled off, but we’re not quite breaking through to getting mainstream media,” Turk told The Intercept, noting that the strike was widely covered by independent media. “I talk to people who aren’t in that milieu and aren’t seeing it on their social media, and they’ll be like, ‘We didn’t hear about it, there’s nothing about it anywhere.’”
That’s bad news for the strikers, who rely on the support of outsiders to push for more radical reform but also depend on their outside visibility to mitigate retaliation by prison officials.
A week into the strike, . . .
Interesting that in the U.S. today, slave labor is still used. Read the rest of the article on how prisons are ideal for housing slaves since the prison controls all communication to the outside and can put leaders into solitary confinement for as long as the prison wishes (decades in some cases). I’ve noted before that “Home of the brave” no longer applies given how easily the U.S. public panics and how fearful it is, and it seem that “Land of the free” does not apply to many.