United $tates: Solidarity with the Incarcerated Workers of the Free Alabama Movement!

via Industrial Workers of the World

iww-logo-new7.previewWe in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) have been approached by a group of hundreds of people currently incarcerated in Alabama who are launching a nonviolent prison strike beginning this Sunday April 20th to demand an end to slave labor, the massive overcrowding and horrifying health and human rights violations found in Alabama Prisons, and the passage of legislation they have drafted.

This is the second peaceful and nonviolent protest initiated by the brave men and women of the Free Alabama Movement (F.A.M.) this year building on the recent Hunger Strikes in Pelican Bay and the Georgia Prison Strike in 2010. They aim to build a mass movement inside and outside of prisons to earn their freedom, and end the racist, capitalist system of mass incarceration called The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and others. The Free Alabama Movement is waging a non-violent and peaceful protest for their civil, economic, and human rights.

The conditions in Alabama prisons are horrendous, packing twice as many people as the 16,000 that can be housed “humanely”, with everything from black mold, brown water, cancer causing foods, insect infestations, and general disrepair. They are also run by free, slave labor, with 10,000 incarcerated people working to maintain the prisons daily, adding up to $600,000 dollars a day, or $219,000,000 a year of slave labor if inmates were paid federal minimum wage, with tens of thousands more receiving pennies a day making products for the state or private corporations.

In response, the Free Alabama Movement is pushing a comprehensive “Freedom Bill” (Alabama’s Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-entry Preparedness Bill) designed to end these horrors and create a much reduced correctional system actually intended to achieve rehabilitation and a secure, just, anti-racist society.

While unique in some ways, the struggle of these brave human beings is the same as the millions of black, brown, and working class men, women, and youth struggling to survive a system they are not meant to succeed within. We advance their struggle by building our own, and working together for an end to this “system that crushes people and penalizes them for not being able to stand the weight”.

The Free Alabama Movement is partnering with the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee to ask you to:

  • Create a Incarcerated Workers Solidarity Committee in your area to raise money, take action, and spread the word of this struggle, including to local prisons.
  • Amplify the voices of incarcerated workers by posting this and future updates to your website, facebook, email lists, and so on
  • Join our email list so as to be kept up to date and amplify future updates. Contact us at iwoc@riseup.net and like us on facebook: www.facebook.com/incarceratedworkers
  • Donate money to the Free Alabama Movement & Incarcerated Workers Organizing Cmt: https://fundly.com/iww-incarcerated-workers-organizing-committee-support-the-free-alabama-movement
  • Join the IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

Contact us at iwoc@riseup.net. Solidarity and be in touch!

The IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee in partnership with the Free Alabama Movement

The IWW is an grassroots, revolutionary union open to all working people, including the incarcerated and the unemployed. Founded in 1905, we’ve come back strong in recent years with struggles at Starbucks, Jimmy Johns, and the General Strike call during the Wisconsin Uprising. We are committed to amplifying the voices of prisoners, ending an economic system based on exploitation and racial caste systems like mass incarceration, and adding our contribution to the global movements for a just, free, and sustainable world. Our guiding motto is “An injury to one is an injury to all!”.

Debbie Vincent Sentenced to 6 Years In Prison

debbie_2860235bDebbie Vincent, a long-term animal rights campaigner, was sentenced to 6 years in prison on Thursday 17th April at Winchester Crown Court. She was found guilty of ‘conspiracy to blackmail’ for her public involvement in the campaign to shut down notorious animal testing lab Huntingdon Life Sciences. Debbie was the first of three defendants to face trial related to the ‘Blackmail 3′ case.

The other two defendants are currently awaiting extradition from Holland and may face trial later in the year. In the mean time please continue to show solidarity with them, you can visit the Blackmail 3 Support Campaign website for ideas of ways to support them.

You can also write to Debbie in prison, her address is:

Debbie Vincent (A5819DE)
HMP-YOI BRONZEFIELD
Woodthorpe Road,
Ashford,
Middlesex,
TW15 3JZ

Russia: Repressions summary for January-February 2014

via Autonomous Action/Moscow ABC

fa6d7cfdb568From now on, we are going to publish summaries of repressions against anarchists, antifascists and social activists in Russia on a regular basis, as well as on how the state opposes our activity. In the January-February issue: sudden amnesty of antifascists in Moscow, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, attempt to ban “Avtonom” zine due to

“extremism”, detentions during Jan19 actions, verdicts in Moscow, Murmansk, Petersburg and other “heroic deeds” of cops from “E”-department. If you think that we have missed something in our article, or you know about other cases of repressions, please write to abc-msk@riseup.net On donations for ABC-Moscow check guidelines from here: http://wiki.avtonom.org/en/index.php/Donate

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Turtle Island: Support Jailed Mi’kmaq Warriors: Court Roundups & Fundraising

via Reclaim Turtle Island

The Mi’kmaq Warriors, Germaine Jr Breau & Aaron Francis who have been held in custody since the day of the raid on Oct 17th, are now facing trial in Moncton courts. They are currently facing indictable charges for being true to their inherent responsibilities as L’nu people by protecting the lands and waters against corporate imperialists, SWN. We are unsure how much longer Aaron & Jr will have to sit in jail, having already served over 5 months without conviction. The financial burden of supporting imprisoned warriors has been carried solely by the family and loved ones and it’s time that changed. Again we are uncertain as to the outcomes of sentencing, but Jr & Aaron have plead to a number of charges. Support funds will be used for canteen, phone calls (which are both collect & long distance), gas for visits, etc. Please donate here http://www.gofundme.com/jailedwarriors Thanks to everyone for their ongoing and continued support!! 

 

new-brunswick-dec-2-fire-flag-drumFor a full update on all of the charges (those that were dropped, plead to and now on trial) please go here. To get a feeling of how court is going so far, check out the court roundups from the Halifax Media Coop,  RCMP Tactical Officer Cross Examination: “My function is not to negotiate”, and Crown’s first eyewitness, RCMP ERT member “My report writing is just sub-standard.”. To continue to follow the trials, follow @mileshowe on Twitter as he is releasing daily courtroom roundups and @defendourlands #WarriorsCourt for sneaky-live-tweeting and other updates.

Tear Down The Walls: Prison Abolition Speaking Tour

TDTWBristolBristol Anarchist Black Cross will be helping to co-ordinate the Bristol date of the Tear Down The Walls: Prison Abolition Speaking Tour due to start on the 23rd March.

The Tear Down The Walls Tour is organised by members of the Empty Cages Collective as part of the Prison Abolition 2014 year of action & organising against the prison-industrial-complex.

From the poster:

There are currently 85,690 people held in prison, not including people detained under the Mental Health Act, in Secure Children’s homes or in Immigration detention. The prison population of Britain has doubled over the last twenty years.

“Tear Down The Walls” is the rallying cry of prison abolitionists around the world. When we begin to understand the harm caused by prisons, the concept of dismantling the prison-industrial-complex seems like the most logical conclusion.

But the common narrative surrounding prisons is that they are a necessary part of justice. As prison abolitionists we refute this and claim that prisons are the symptom of a broken system.

This March members of the Empty Cages Collective will be touring the north of the UK to discuss the ideas of prison abolition and alternatives to incarceration.

The talk will take place on Sunday 23rd March at Kebele as part of their regular Sunday lunch. Food will be served from 6:30PM with the talk due to start at 7:30PM. Bristol ABC will have copies of the prisoner list and writing materials available and we encourage everyone to write to a prisoner while they enjoy their food.

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Sunday 23rd: Solidarity with NO TAV Struggle Info Night

no tav

John Bowden: Americanisation of the British Criminal Justice System

A recent Government announcement that it was considering introducing U.S. style prison sentences like a hundred years custody for the most serious offences is on one level a straightforward attempt to undermine a recent European Court of Human Rights ruling that life sentence prisoners should be given some hope that their sentences will be reviewed before they die, and on another level evidence that the Americanisation of the British criminal justice system continues to increase and deepen.

Apart from the probable introduction of prison sentences that are in effect a slow form of capital punishment, an American penology has characterised the treatment of British prisoners for quite some time in the form of the treatment model with its psychology-based programmes and courses designed and inspired by Canadian and U.S. ideologies regarding “offending behaviour”, which is attributed not so much to social andenvironmental causes but more the individual pathology of the “offender”. So the fact that the prison population is drawn disproportionately from the poorest and most disadvantaged group in society is of absolutely no significance and instead a crude behaviourist notion prevails that providing prisoners can be re-socialised into behaving in a “normal” way then “offending behaviour” can be exorcised from their thinking before they’re released back into the same desperate economic and social circumstances.

Predictably, the” treatment model” with its programmes and courses has had absolutely no appreciable effect on recidivism rates.

As in American prisons, prison-hired psychologists in Britain have carved out a veritable industry for themselves in the prison system by subscribing to the belief that inequality, disadvantage and poverty have absolutely nothing to do with why most people end up in prison and instead everything to do with individual pathology in the form of inherent personality disorders and an inability to distinguish right from wrong. And again as in the U.S. prison psychologists in Britain have now become an integral part of the system of control and repression in prisons, legitimising it with a language and narrative of “treatment” and addressing prisoner’s “needs and risks”. So entrenched have psychologists now become in the prison system that, like their American counterparts, they often willingly assist in the use of the worst forms of repression against prisoners labelled the most “difficult” and “unmanageable”.

American prison officials penchant for euphemisms to disguise the reality of it’s worst practices and forms of punishment, such as “special management units” where in fact prisoners are clinically isolated and psychologically brutalised, is a tendency that finds expression in British prisons also now. “Close Supervision Units” and “Intensive Intervention Units”, overseen and managed by both jail managers and psychologists, are also places where “difficult” prisoners are subjected to extreme punishment and a denial of basic human rights, often to the extent where many are driven to insanity.

The American “treatment model” of prisons probably finds it’s most extreme expression in the U.K. Prison system in the from of the “Dangerous Personality Disorder Units” (DPDU) created and overseen by psychologists from the psychopath-spotter school of psychology that defines all “anti-social” behaviour on the part of the least powerful and wealthy as symptomatic of psychopathy. In the totalitarian world of prison either fighting the system or confronting the institutionalised abuse of power that prevails there is sufficient to have oneself labelled a “psychopath” by psychologists anchored mind, body and soul to the prison system. In the case of life sentence prisoners such psychologists now have the power to decide if they’re sufficiently risk-free to be released.

It is not just within the prison system that the American influence is apparent, it’s also recognizable in the radically changed role of probation officers and criminal justice system social workers from what was traditionally “client-centred” liberal occupations to a overtly “public protection” centred extension of the police and prison system. Now a closer equivalent of the American parole officer, probation officers and criminal justice system social workers in the U.K. now see their role as one of policing parolees or “offenders” on supervision orders and returning them to jail for the slightest technical breach of their licence conditions. The massive increase in the use of community supervision orders as a from of social control has created a veritable ghetto of marginalised people in poorer communities who exist constantly in the shadow of imprisonment and omnipotent power of their supervision officers. This mirrors what has been taking place in some U.S. states as the global economic crisis has virtually eradicated legitimate employment in poor communities and replaced it with an alternative economy of illegal drugs, resulting in the almost mass criminalisation of young working class men, especially those from poor Afro-American communities. In such U.S. states and deprived communities prisons now replace factories where the new underclass are increasingly concentrated and forced to work as cheap labour for multinational private security corporations that now own and operate a significant portion of the American prison system. This new prison industrial complex is laying roots in the U.K. too and it is from the poorest de-industrialised communities that it draws its sources of cheap labour and human commodities.

This U.S. cultural influence on the criminal justice system is far greater in the U.K. than anywhere else in Europe, which accounts for it having the largest prison population in Europe and the longest prison sentences. It is also forever vulnerable to the American style prison riot when despair and hopelessness overshadows prisoners lives completely and there is essentially nothing left to lose. As a model of either justice or retribution the American criminal justice system is riddled with corruption and failure, and yet Britain slavishly attempts to imitate it in its quest to achieve absolute social control at a time when the lives of the poor are being made increasingly unendurable and society continues to fracture and polarise.

John Bowden
February 2014
HMP Shotts