Posts filed under Politics

Holman Prison Strike and Shutdown

Here is a note that I received through the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee about the prisoners’ strike at Holman Prison in Alabama, as well as (probably) a number of other prisons in the Southeast and across the U.S. For some context on the ongoing struggle over prison conditions and prison labor in Holman, see also GT 2016-04-10: Alabama Corrections and GT 2016-03-13: Prisoner Uprising in the Slaughterhouse. Anyway, here’s a reprint of the press release I received via e-mail from the IWOC yesterday evening at 10:36PM:

PRESS RELEASE Monday Sept 12th, 2016

Contact: Azzurra Crispino Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) Media Co-Chair
512-300-5559, iwoc@riseup.net

Prisoner Strikes and Supporter Protests Sweep the Nation

ATMORE, AL – Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the September 9th nation-wide prisoner work stoppage and protest. Mothers and Families, the outside support organization for the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) rallied with drums and noisemakers outside of Holman Prison while workers kicked off their strike inside. “Officers are performing all tasks” a prisoner texted outside supporters indicating the prisoner work stoppage was successful.

Although the full extent of facilities participating in the strike will not be known for another two weeks, we have received early reports of work stoppage and resistance from Holmes, Gulf and Mayo units in FL, Fluvanna prison in Troy VA, and unnamed units in North Carolina and South Carolina. Central California Women’s Facility, Oregon State Penitentiary and St Cloud Correctional Facility in Minnesota were on lockdown in response to organizing on Friday. Hundreds of prisoners started fires, attacked surveillance cameras and damaged the facilities at Kinross Correctional in Northern Michigan and Holmes Correctional in Florida. No one was seriously injured and prisoners are refusing to work.

There are confirmed hunger strikes underway in Wisconsin, Ohio, California and Guantanamo Bay. At Merced County Jail in Central California family of inmates have reported that the hunger strikers were threatened with shotguns and dogs. In Ohio there are at least two prisons, Lucasville and Ohio State Penitentiary, where prisoners went on hunger strike beginning September 9th. Prisoners at both Ohio prisons have reported being threatened with being stripped of their contact visits in retaliation for going on strike. We stand in solidarity with prominent US Army whistle blower Chelsea Manning, who initiated a hunger strike on September 9th to protest lack of adequate medical care for trans prisoners.

In Greece and across the US, protests occurred outside of jail, prison and immigrant detention centers. Three large banners were held up facing the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville Ohio, the site of a massive and deadly prisoner uprising in 1993. The Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons rallied outside Buckeye State Prison in Arizona, one of many prisons where pollution and contaminated water harm prisoners.

US Embassy protests occurred in England, Australia, Sweden and Germany. From Oregon to Florida and in between, companies profiting off prison were targeted by outside protesters, including Bank of America, McDonalds, Aramark, AT&T and Starbucks. In Lansing Michigan protesters blocked a downtown intersection for hours with a large UHaul truck. In New York City and Durham North Carolina they blocked freeways. In Portland OR protesters disrupted an AT&T and McDonalds, both corporations which use prison labor, as well as held a noise demonstration outside a local jail, then they shut down traffic. There were arrests in: Oakland, CA; Milwaukee Wisconsin; Nashville, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia. Most were quickly released, but at least three protesters in GA are facing multiple felonies.

Additional Information

Up-to-date list of institutions striking and solidarity actions here: https://itsgoingdown.org/prisonstrike-resistance-to-slavery-across-the-world/

Organizations Endorsing the Strike here: https://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org/endorsements/

MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Prisoners, formerly incarcerated workers, family members, and local activists are available for interviews with local and national media.

See also.

On. Every. Corner.

Anarchy is and always has been literally taco trucks on every corner.

This past weekend at FEE, me.[1]

Shared Article from fee.org

Why Are There Not Taco Trucks on Every Corner? | Foundation for …

What people do not know is how hard government has worked for years to prevent this from happening. The War on Street Food been going on for more than…

Charles Johnson @ fee.org


When Marco Gutierrez, a founder and spokesman for the little-known and sparsely populated advocacy group “Latinos for Trump” recently tried to warn America of the grave dangers of open borders and free migration with the image of “taco trucks on every corner,” most viewers, Latino and Anglo alike, seem to have experienced a vision of a possible new utopia. The tag immediately trended on Twitter, not in panic but in near-universal celebration of the possibility.

What people do not know is how hard government has worked for years to prevent this from happening. The War on Street Food been going on for more than 100 years….

— Why Are There Not Taco Trucks on Every Corner?

See also.

  1. [1]Thanks to Jeffrey Tucker for prodding me to write this up, based on stitching together a news hook with bit of my previous writing on immigration, racial panics, and Anglo government’s perennial, ludicrous war on Mexican-American street food vendors.

Conspiracy Theories Everywhere

Shared Article from Washington Post

Sure, Trump loves conspiracy theories. So do his foes. - The Wa…

Conspiracy chatter isn’t an occasional interruption in weird election years. It’s a regular feature of American politics.

washingtonpost.com


. . . Even the most plain-vanilla presidential races are filled with conspiracy talk. Pundits speculate about secret deals. Reporters chase down candidates’ financial ties and look for quid pro quos. Activists parse speeches for secret messages — dog whistles — pitched at frequencies only certain constituencies can hear. Pretty much everyone acknowledges that such small-scale conspiring takes place. And pretty much everyone acknowledges that larger conspiracies are sometimes at work, such as Richard Nixon’s sabotage and surveillance operations in 1972. In each party’s base, rumors circulate every four years. Under certain circumstances, some of those rumors might find their way to the lips of campaign officials.

But which stories take hold, and why? While there are plenty of reasons the Russia theory would find a receptive audience, given the unpopularity of both Putin and Trump with large segments of the electorate, one element of these accusations may be especially appealing to Trump’s foes.

By linking the candidate to Moscow, this narrative suggests that Trump is precisely the sort of threat that he constantly warns against. His political rise began five years ago when he embraced birtherism — the notion that President Obama is a foreigner who has been hiding his origins from the public. The idea that Trump is a foreign pawn flips that script on its head; now it is a prominent birther who stands accused of uncertain loyalties. The Putin story invites voters to reject Trump on Trumpian grounds, a combination that could undermine the man’s appeal. But by amplifying anxieties about outsiders, it may reinforce a fear that isn’t so far from Trumpism.

Paranoia seems to require being imitated to be understood, Eve Sedgwick once wrote, and it, in turn, seems to understand only by imitation. Like a vast conspiracy, it’s everywhere.

–Jesse Walker, Sure, Trump loves conspiracy theories. So do his foes.
Washington Post, 12 Sextilis 2016

Reclamatio Plebis

Campaign to reclaim plebes as a term of praise rather than an insult.

Of course people use plebe as an insult because our entire perspective on the ancient world is deeply deformed to favor the worldview of the ruling class and its pretensions to aristocracy, and hence we assume without much question the contempt that they constantly expressed for plebeians, and most of all for those plebeians who were self-conscious of their lower-class position and made it a basis for solidarity and disruptive action in the politics of the City.

But then, the fact is that like most “aristocracies,” the Patrician Order was little more than a worthless, parasitic, petulant band of thugs, extracting wealth from the rest of the population and from the imperial periphery. They looked down on the plebeians because plebeians worked for a living instead of beating a living out of slaves and endlessly crowing about the inviolable sacred honor of their system of military-extractive complex oligarchy and ludicrously rigged “elections.”[1]

Patricians were pretty awful. Plebeians did what they could to get along with this regime, but when it got too bad, they had a habit of declaring a general strike, lighting off into the hills and saying “Oh yeah? Well, we’ll make our own Rome, with blackjack, and hookers,” and waiting until the patricians got sick enough of carrying their own hods that they begged the plebes to come back. That’s pretty rad.

Shared Article from en.wikipedia.org

Secessio plebis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org


Disdain for patricians. To hell with those dudes. Up the plebes.

  1. [1]You could say, “Oh, the patrician order was morally very bad, but at least with their wealth they had culture, and refinement.” But this is actually an anachronistic view. If you look at the elite culture of the late Republic and the Empire, that had plenty of culture and learning in the midst of appalling cruelty, political sadism and moral callousness. But the ruling elite of the late Republic and the Empire were not mainly patricians; the political power (and most of the actual members) of the patrician order had mostly been wiped out in the last century of civil war. Cicero was a plebeian, Virgil was a plebeian, Ovid was a plebeian. If we go back to the older Republican Rome where the patrician order was a functioning political aristocracy, the great cultural achievements of Patrician Rome, as far as we know of them, basically consist of animal sacrifice, liturgical dance, usually involving some weird blood-play or little bundles of grain, the introduction of gladiatorial combat (around the time of the Punic Wars) and public killing of animals for entertainment, and a theater apparently consisting of a bunch of bad slapstick comedies translated or adapted or ripped off of Greek New Comedy plays. (Here, let me summarize 90% of Plautus for you: “Ha ha, look, there’s a slave, let’s beat him! Ha ha ha, that tricky slave, he dressed one character up so they’d look like another character, now everbody is confused!” This was **** comedy in the golden age of the Roman Republic.) Meanwhile elite figures like Cato the Censor spent their time denouncing modern conveniences, beating slaves, and actively trying to combat the spread of Greek learning and culture.

Sprawl as Social Engineering

Shared Article from Forbes

America's Ugly Strip Malls Were Caused By Government Regulation

Why concentrate all the fast food chains?

forbes.com


America’s Ugly Strip Malls Were Caused By Government Regulation

Scott Beyer, Forbes

There is a common architectural language that I’ve found while traveling America. . . . Major roadways turn into strip malls fronted with parking lots and endless stretches of chain retail. These strip-mall arterials exist nationwide . . . . The common wisdom is that they result from “the market,” as monuments to American capitalism and consumerism. But that is a big fat myth—they have been forced into existence by government regulations.

Indeed, many of the regulations that prevent livelier downtown areas also harm the potential of low-density, outlying, suburban ones, by mandating that retail stay confined into this strip mall model. Below is a list of these regulations, which are enforced to various degrees across America, explaining the uniform look of our municipalities from coast to coast.

  • Single Use Zoning . . .
  • Minimum Parking Requirements . . .
  • Setback Requirements . . .
  • Density Limits . . .

Read more at Forbes

–Scott Beyer, America’s Ugly Strip Malls Were Caused By Government Regulation
Forbes (August 26, 2016)

See also