[Pnews] Tipping point in Texas prison strikes? The history of slavery is at stake

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Apr 18 11:33:54 EDT 2016


*http://sfbayview.com/2016/04/tipping-point-in-texas-prison-strikes-the-history-of-slavery-is-at-stake/* 



  Tipping point in Texas prison strikes? The history of slavery is at stake

*/by the IWW Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee (IWOC)/*

/April 16, 2016, Texas/ – Since April 4 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/04/04/the-strike-is-on-texas-prisoners-strike-for-human-rights-end-to-prison-slavery/>, 
prisoners in at least four Texas prisons have been on strike for better 
conditions and an end to slavery 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution> 
and human rights abuses 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/03/22/work-stoppages-in-texas-planned-for-early-april/>. 
This strike is but the latest in a nationwide mass movement inside 
prisons for dignity and freedom 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/04/01/announcement-of-nationally-coordinated-prisoner-workstoppage-for-sept-9-2016/>.

Minimum wage in Texas prisons is zero dollars per hour 
<http://www.prisonpolicy.org/prisonindex/prisonlabor.html>. Access to 
medical care requires a $100 medical copay 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/03/22/work-stoppages-in-texas-planned-for-early-april/>.

“My son and others are literally sitting down to say, ‘Stop killing us. 
Stop enslaving us. We are human. This has got to stop,’” said Judy, 
whose son’s prison is on lockdown. “I think the strike should spread. I 
believe prisoners and families together have the power to collapse this 
system.”

Striking prisons have been put on lockdown in an attempt to “conceal the 
strike 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/04/05/strike-roundup-day-1-texas-prisons-shook-by-iwoc-initiated-strikes/>,” 
and the battle of wills is being daily tested by the inhumanity of the 
administration. No lights, two peanut butter sandwiches a day, no phone, 
mail or visitation from the outside world. And likely far worse 
<http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/09/just-released-video-of-georgia-officers-beating-inmate-with-a-hammer-warning-graphic-video-2752594.html>.

Since the strike’s inception, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice 
(TDCJ) has been trying to contain the strike and paint the strikers as 
causing harm to inmates and families. They threaten additional 
lockdowns, forced transfers, violence – even a statewide lockdown.

“I know we with family inside are hurting when we are cut off from our 
loved ones – when we hear rumors of additional lockdowns, when they 
threaten locking us all out,” said Ann, whose husband is in Robertson 
and who lives in Fort Worth, Texas. “But don’t blame the brave souls 
standing up. Blame TDCJ. Blame those willing to torture families rather 
than give us justice.”

“Texas is running a slave plantation. They work with companies to take 
advantage of slave wages, and keep expenses as low as possible by 
forcing people into inhuman conditions. But prisons can’t run without 
inmate labor. Change is coming because prisoners are growing a mass 
movement in prisons, one that won’t stop until prison slavery is 
abolished,” says Nicholas Onwukwe, former prisoner and co-chair of the 
Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee, which is organizing of 
support protests, including this one on April 9 in Austin, Texas.

IWOC believes TDCJ’s actions to be an intentional, routine tactic. “They 
are trying to change who the enemy is,” said Nick Onwukwe, co-chair of 
IWOC and a former prisoner. “Trying to get you to believe the enemy 
isn’t the slave master; it’s the slave who sits down and says, ‘Enough!’”

Increasingly, lockdowns are becoming reality. Already there are 
additional lockdowns at Jester III, Dalhart and Beto, partial lockdowns 
at Coffield and Allred, and a confirmed order for lockdown at Michael 
for this morning, April 16. Is the strike spreading? Will TCDJ’s tactics 
backfire? We may be at a tipping point.

“This is not a time to watch,” said Brianna Peril, IWOC co-chair and 
former prisoner. “Gather your family and loved ones. Start a chapter. Go 
outside the nearest prison and make enough noise that those inside know 
the free world is with them. The history of slavery in the United States 
is at stake.”

*Get ready!*

The movement to end prison slavery is growing. Prisoners in Alabama have 
recently confirmed their commitment to striking this May 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/04/06/free-alabama-may-day-call-out/>, 
while prisoners across the country are calling for nationally 
coordinated prison shutdowns 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/post/2016/04/01/announcement-of-nationally-coordinated-prisoner-workstoppage-for-sept-9-2016/> 
on the 45th anniversary of Attica this September.

Like all futures, it will be decided by those who show up. Get involved 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/contact/>. Call 
<https://www.facebook.com/events/448081628715734/>. Donate 
<https://iwoc.noblogs.org/donate/>. This is our time.

/Contact IWW Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee at 
iwoc at riseup.net <mailto:iwoc at riseup.net> or 816-866-3808./

-- 
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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