1-Day Prison Strike in Georgia (USA)

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Hieronymous
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Dec 10 2010 08:31
1-Day Prison Strike in Georgia (USA)

By Bruce A. Dixon (Black Agenda Report)

In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia's notorious state prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rights, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other.

The action is taking place today in at least half a dozen of Georgia's more than one hundred state prisons, correctional facilities, work camps, county prisons and other correctional facilities. We have unconfirmed reports that authorities at Macon State prison have aggressively responded to the strike by sending tactical squads in to rough up and menace inmates.

PRESS RELEASE:

Quote:
Press Release

BIGGEST PRISONER STRIKE IN U.S. HISTORY

Thousands of Georgia Prisoners to Stage Peaceful Protest

December 8, 2010…Atlanta, Georgia

Contacts: Elaine Brown, 404-542-1211, sistaelaine@gmail.com;Valerie Porter, 229-931-5348, lashan123@att.net; Faye Sanders, 478-550-7046, reshelias@yahoo.com

Tomorrow morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners will refuse to work, stop all other activities and remain in their cells in a peaceful, one-day protest for their human rights. The December 9 Strike is projected to be the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States.

These thousands of men, from Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, state they are striking to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights. They have set forth the following demands:

· A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.

· EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.

· DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.

· AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.

· DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.

· NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.

· VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.

· ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.

· JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.

Prisoner leaders issued the following call: “No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!”

From: http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content%2Fga-prison-inmates-stage-1-day-peaceful-strike-today

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Dec 10 2010 08:35

Wow, interesting stuff.. just out of interest, how was this organised? I imagine it's difficult to get in touch with people in other prisons, is there an outside group supporting them?

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OliverTwister
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Dec 10 2010 20:24

Elaine Brown (chair of the Black Panther Party while Huey Newton was in jail), who is the first contact in the press release, has been involved in prison reform/abolition in Atlanta for several years now. I imagine that whatever outside group she is involved with helped this to happen.

But yeah, this is absolutely awesome.

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devoration1
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Dec 11 2010 05:21

Staughton Lynd's book on the Lucasville riot is very good. He mentions attempts for inmates at either that prison or another years earlier to try and unionize with the IWW to protest prison labor regulations and conditions (it folded, as the prison banned the Industrial Worker and other labor material from coming in the prison).

I'm sure a lot of hard work went into coordinating this.

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Chilli Sauce
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Dec 11 2010 12:49

Any report-backs on how this went?

David in Atlanta
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Dec 11 2010 18:03

Capitalist media is taking the Department of Corrections line on this, which is that it didn't happen except for a handful of prisons that locked down on the wardens order to keep it from happening. Most of the folks publicizing the strike are former Panthers affiliated with the Georgia Green Party. I was told the organizing was done entirely by the prisoners themselves.

David in Atlanta
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Dec 11 2010 18:08

GA Prisoner Strike Continues a Second Day, Corporate Media Mostly Ignores Them, Corrections Officials Decline Comment

David in Atlanta
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Dec 12 2010 17:40

The strikers have one detail wrong in their demands. The 13th Amendment to the US constitution allows for slavery

Quote:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted

etc.

gbrhynes
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Dec 12 2010 22:40

Talking about Georgia Prison conditions and treatment. One needs to look at Valdosta-Lowndes County Georgia Jail. Wherein 30 jail inmates have died for whatever reasons since 1994. Yet no one can even do an “OPEN RECORDS REQUEST” as to how many deaths have occurred in the facility. Mainly because we are told that, the SHERIFFS OFFICE IS NOT subject to the “GEORGIA OPEN RECORDS ACT” And Georgia Attorney General has refused to respond to such requests in any manner.

Moreover, local television, newspapers, and radio have yet to do a story on the jail. So what is up with that? These deaths have been occurring for decades without help from our elected officials.

Please do not take other people words just review the VIDEO:

THE VIDEO: A Chorus of Fear
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3930808120854021155

THE VIDEO PART II. A Chorus of Fear
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=932407478921834517

The VIDEO was done following the death of Inmate Willie James Williams, which galvanized 2,500 citizens to march on the Lowndes County Jail. However, the whiteout of real problems continues without help from "Georgia Attorney General, Secretary of State, United States Justice Department or any other governmental agency in our outside of the state.

So what are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and other good American Citizens to do?
The Valdosta City Mayor, and every Councilperson along with the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners, and Georgia General Assembly has seen or should have seen the video.

Therefore, the entire State of Georgia needs IMMEDIATE help may be from a foreign country that respects citizen’s rights but the STATE OF GEORGIA NEEDS HELP!. http://kvci.blogspot.com

It is strange that thirty jail deaths have occurred in Valdosta-Lowndes County Jail in the land of the free and the home of too many graves since 1994. Yet Georgia and American News Media do not care about these human beings; BUT HAD THEY BELONGED TO THE K-9 FAMILY Rep. Amy Carter, Ellis Black, Tim Golden, Jack Kingston and others would be on the scene and we can be sure of that. http://blogspot.com

If it had been, a cat trapped in a tree! Then there would be much outrage and media attention. However, where are 60 minutes, 48 hours, Bev. Smith, Mark Thompson, Rush Limbaugh, Travis Smith, Tom Joyner, Al Sharpton, Cornel West, Louis Farrakhan, Bishop Eddie Long, Oprah Winfrey, SCLC, NAACP, OPERATION PUSH, National Action Network and the other concerned Americans. http://kvci.blogspot.com

Therefore, you do not have to look at the prison system. This is a city and county jail but no one cares about the deceased inmates that have died for whatever reasons. NOT even Georgia Attorney General will look into the situation and according the Georgia Open Records Act Office. Apparently, citizens do not have a right to know how many inmates die while in a Georgia in 2010. How sad?

http://gbrhynes.blogspot.com/2006/07/george-boston-rhynes-list-of-inmates.html

David in Atlanta
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Dec 12 2010 23:32

Prisoners Strike in Georgia
New York Times

David in Atlanta
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Dec 14 2010 12:08

interview with Elaine Brown.
http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/65925

David in Atlanta
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Dec 14 2010 12:17

By the way, Mr. Haynes is right, the state prisons are bad enough, the local jails are hell. There was a great local campaign, the Southwest Georgia Jails and Prisons Project doing community organizing around institutional conditions, police violence and racism but it seemingly disappeared when the director left due to personal problems.

syndicalist
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Dec 14 2010 23:11

THOUSANDS OF INVISIBLE PICKETS

Workers Solidarity Alliance Statement in Support of the Recent and Ongoing Prisoners Strike in Georgia

http://ideasandaction.info/2010/12/thousands-of-invisible-pickets/

David in Atlanta
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Dec 18 2010 01:43

The strike is seemingly fizzling out and now is the time solidarity is going to be really critical. Keep calling the DOC, restate the prisoners demands and insist there be no repercussions against the strikers

David in Atlanta
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Jan 2 2011 07:23

Brutal Reprisals Against Peaceful GA Inmate Strikers Confirmed.

David in Atlanta
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Jan 7 2011 12:30
Ed wrote:
Wow, interesting stuff.. just out of interest, how was this organised? I imagine it's difficult to get in touch with people in other prisons, is there an outside group supporting them?

I didn't want to make too big a deal out of it during the active strike, but it's public knowledge now. The strike was largely organized using illegal pre-paid cell phones smuggled in and sold by prison staff, mostly the guards.

The confiscation of a couple of cell phones on Georgia's death row was used to justify an ongoing 23 hour a day lockdown and lose of contact visitation.