WHAT I’M READING: Jesse Walker, Don’t Blame the Inernet for Conspiracy Rumors
Happy Ignore the Constitution Day. Hope you have some appropriate seasonal celebrations planned.
… Producing a copy of the Fugitive Slave Law, [Garrison] set fire to it, and it burst to ashes. Using an old and well-known phrase, he said, “And let all the people say, Amen”; and a unanimous cheer and shout of “Amen” burst from the vast audience. In like manner, Mr. Garrison burned the decision of Edward G. Loring in the [Fugitive Slave Act] case of Anthony Burns, and the late charge of Judge Benjamin R. Curtis to the United States Grand Jury in reference to the “treasonable” assault upon the Court House for the rescue of the fugitive–the multitude ratifying the fiery immolation with shouts of applause. Then holding up the U.S. Constitution, he branded it as the source and parent of all the other atrocities,–“a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell,”–and consumed it to ashes on the spot, exclaiming, “So perish all compromises with tyranny! And let all the people say, Amen!” A tremendous shout of “Amen!” went up to heaven in ratification of the deed, mingled with a few hisses and wrathful exclamations from some who were evidently in a rowdyish state of mind, but who were at once cowed by the popular feeling.
WHAT I’M READING: My weekend reads this weekend are mostly history, on the antebellum South and race and Texas and Tejanidad. More to come on that later. In the meantime though, also some reading on Tolkien and fantasy literature:
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
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.
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.