New round of prison struggles in Indiana

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orange.ruffy
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Joined: 23-10-09
Aug 1 2011 02:11
New round of prison struggles in Indiana

I wanted to share a couple things coming out of struggles in my neck of the woods. The first is an account of this week's collective protest in the Wabash Valley Secure Housing Unit, with a call for solidarity and call-ins attached. This facility is modeled on Pelican Bay in California, while on the other hand, the prisoners also are now making extensive reference to the struggle there and across the California prison system.

The second is a longer analytical text written primarily by prisoners in Wabash Valley, with considerable reflection on white supremacist organizing, with thoughts on how it can be overcome but also more generally on the composition of the working class. I'm pretty distant from positions taken in wide swaths of it, but it raises a lot of good questions and is an excellent expression of a struggle in process.

Indiana: Solidarity with Wabash Valley SHU Protests. Emergency call-in
days August 1 and 2!

Please forward widely.

The call-in days are Monday, August 1 and Tuesday, August 2nd. Wabash
Valley administration can be reached at (812) 398-5050. The Indiana
Department of Corrections commissioner can be reached at (317) 232-5711

On the morning of 7/16, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood was stabbed
by other prisoners. The attack took place at Pendleton Correctional
Facility in the Maximum Security area of the prison. The
administration used the stabbing as a justification for putting every
prison in the state on lockdown and conducting system-wide searches,
raids, and beatings. Since the lockdown began, inmates at the Secure
Housing Unit at Wabash Valley had been denied access to water for
bathing, sanitation, and cleaning their cells.

In response, a protest took place at the SHU last week. Inmates initiated a
response to the administration's refusal of basic sanitation needs.
The inmates flooded the range and have begun a campaign of noise
disturbance. In response, the guards cut off all water and
electricity to the SHU...

Inmates threw a t-shirt over the security camera on the range and
bombarded the guard pod with feces and piss thrown from their cells:
“If we have to live in filth, so do you.” Electricity and water were
turned back on at 4 am, after many hours without either. Their demands
for sanitation and clean water were finally addressed later that
evening.

As a condition of coming off this brutal lockdown, the prisoncrats
have instituted an intervention by the Internal Affairs Security
Threat Group officers to subject the entire prison to interrogations
and forced debriefing, including photographing of tattoos and forced
declarations of organizational allegiances. The prison officials have
said that they won't come off lockdown until everyone has been
subjected to these measures.

Struggles in prison can't sustain themselves if, on the outside, they
only encounter the deadening silence of social submission. By
remaining passive on the outside, we give the prison system more room to do
whatever it wants to the prisoners in struggle. The inmates at Wabash
Valley are protesting to end the system-wide lockdown, to defend their
access to basic needs and their dignity. Without solidarity, this protest
could be drowned in beatings and blood, so let's break the social silence
that allows the Secure Housing (isolation) Units and prison to play their
normal, murderous role. Indeed, raids against the rebellious blocks are
ongoing right now.

Close the Secure Housing Units and isolation regimes – Isolation is
always torture!

Solidarity with the hunger strikers in California prisons and the
protests spreading in the Indiana prison system!

Down with prison-society!

************************************************
In support of the prisoners' struggle, an Anarchist Solidarity
Initiative in Bloomington is making the following call:

For active and subversive solidarity with the prisoners, to be
practiced by whoever feels affinity with their struggles.

For specific call-in days on Monday, August 1 and Tuesday, August 2nd.
Wabash Valley administration can be reached at (812) 398-5050. The
Indiana Department of Corrections commissioner can be reached at (317)
232-5711

We demand, in solidarity with the prisoners:
A restoration of access to water and sanitation.
An end to the system-wide lockdown and brutal searches.
An end to forced debriefing and interrogation.
That no prisoner faces repercussions for their participation in protests.

The Department of Corrections is constantly planning to expand the
prison system. Last year, it contracted with GEO Group to build a new
private prison.

orange.ruffy
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Joined: 23-10-09
Aug 1 2011 02:13

Accounts & Analyses
Regarding the Current Situation
in Indiana State Prisons:

Inmate Murdered, Entire State on Lockdown

Preface:

This is a statement of fact and analysis written collaboratively
between folks on the inside and the outside of Indiana prisons. Our
goal here is to contribute to opposing and actively resisting all
forms of domination, be they imposed directly by the state or
manifested through structural inequalities and prejudices.

Recap of Recent Events:

On the morning of July 16,7/16, an alleged white supremacist was stabbed and
killed by two alleged Latin Disciples. The attack took place at
Pendleton Correctional Facility in the Maximum Security area of the
prison. The murder, coming on the heels of inmate murders at Miami
Correctional Facility and Pendleton Correctional Facility earlier in
the year, was the stated pretense for putting all institutions in the
state on lock down and conducting thorough, far- reaching searches.

While many of the lesser security units and institutions have come off
lockdown, prisoners at Pendleton, Wabash Valley and the Indiana State
Prison are still facing raids and searches. The searches at first
seemed to be targeting alleged gang members, in search for contraband
materials that could be used in retaliatory attacks, but it has also
been used as an excuse to harass and attack inmates across the board,
especially those at the Wabash Valley SHU (Secure Housing Unit). The
SHU houses many of the state’s political prisoners and the leadership
of much of the political organizing that has taken place over the past
3 three decades in Indiana pPrisons.

Recently on the SHU, CERT and other such “'emergency response teams”'
have entered the cells of many different inmates, unannounced and
unprovoked, in full riot gear in order to carry out violent and
destructive searches, in clear violation of their own policies. This
is despite the fact that the SHU has not only been on total lockdown
since 7/17 /11July 17 but had just gone through an intense search of personal
property by these same teams looking for contraband. Many different
people have been transferred and shuffled around, with transfers off
the SHU being given in accordance with predictable race- based
prejudice.

A personal account of what has taken place on the SHU:

"Now scores are being settled by reactionary guards, who have been
given a green light to target anyone they choose for assault.

Imagine sitting in your cell reading, or watching TV n and suddenly your
door rolls open and hear here comes a five- man team of guards in riot gear
beating, kicking n throwing u you to the ground to be handcuffed while
screaming ‘stop resisting!’”

This is what’s taking place on a daily basis on the SHU at Wabash Valley Prison.

These assaults are without warning or provocation. In violation of Department of Corrections (DOC)
policy n and operating procedures, in violation of the United Nations
Standard Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners and US constitutional
law.... Prisoners are not being given any due process. We are not being
given the opportunity to cuff up or even being asked. The DOC by its
own policy is required to have a camera present video taping in any
kind of cell extraction. Cameras are non-existent! There is no
recording…Only your word against the guards’.

“Prisoners who are political, progressive, jailhouse lawyers or
convicts who do not snitch are the prime targets.

“This is designed in part to boost the morale of overworked and
underpaid guards who have been complaining about working conditions nand
pay. This is designed to unify and close ranks amongst terroristic
guards who have been complaining that SHU prisoners have it to easy
([this despite the fact we are locked in our cells 23 hours a day!
Despite the fact that outside of GED no rehabilitative, educational,
counseling programs exist on the unit or that all visits are by video
monitor or you’re only allowed one phone call a week! That people have
been held under these conditions on average 3yrs three years or more, some as long
as 10!)] Hey, boost morale -- let’s stomp a prisoner’s head in!

It is also designed to intimidate and soften up the rest of the
prisoners held on the SHU. The message being this could happen to you!
Resist, open your mouth, file a grievance or lawsuit, and this could be
you! Refuse to be a snitch or debrief, and this could be you."

Inside sources have noted that the white supremacist organizations
that have come under attack lately have in the past and today continue
to enjoy institutional support, from job placements that allow the
construction and distribution of weapons to favorable transfers that
facilitate the development of a strong base of members in certain
units or institutions. This treatment is, in effect, allowing them to
build up their institutional infrastructure in order to recruit more
into their ranks and expand their activities.

Everything from drug distribution networks to fake IDs are at their
disposal, following from their elevated status and treatment by the
administration. The Department of CorrectionsDOC is facing escalated
racial tensions that they have purposefully helped to create, and are
using such manifestations of this tension as a pretense for increased
security measures and violence against those who dare speak out.

An analysis of the racial politics of this recent crack down from
inmate Frank Talk:

"Prisoners that display a certain profile in terms of right- wing politics
or racist politics or whatever have always enjoyed a certain
skin -privilege. This privilege, coming from the Department of
Corrections DOC, is geared towards disrupting progressive movements for
prison struggle, disrupting solidarity amongst prisoners within the
state of Indiana to fight a collective struggle against their
conditions. That is, it is a privilege based in supporting activaties
of a criminal nature that do not directly challenge the status quo of
prison control, that don’t attack the power of the administration.

“If you go back to when they first started opening up Super-Max units
and SHU units in the state of Indiana, starting in 1991, and look who
was on these units, they were mostly occupied by political prisoners,
jailhouse lawyers, young guys who were just rebels, and guys that waswere
challenging the overt racism that was being perpetrated by the system,
responding to the attacks on black people in general. Then you got
guys who were influential amongst other prisoners. This included many
white supremacists or white pride folks, who held these but were
anti-administration as well. They were being punished for
collaborating or cooperating with the black prisoners or New Afrikan
prisoners. They were standing on what we call the 'convict code' or
standing on political views of we do not support the guards, we do not
support the system, we do not support the administration.

“Back in the '80s and early '90s you had a breed that were white pride
and whatever, but they were also anti-administration. You could
approach these dudes and create some lines of solidarity or unity
around conditions or the issues that were affecting prisoners as a
whole. But you didn't see the leadership of the white supremacist
organizations in these lockup units, and you still don't today. These
guys don’t challenge the administration’s control; they play the game
as a reactionary police force, an auxiliary police force, and are
encouraged and rewarded as such.

“Today, most of the white supremacist guys are reactionaries. You know,
these guys they hate us, they hate black people more so than they hate
the police, more so than they hate the administration, more so than
they hate their own oppression; in actuality the majority of these
guys have a police mentality. Their conduct is more of an agent
provocateur nature, and this is why the administration and the
Department of CorrectionsDOC as a whole turn a blind eye or actively aid
and assist these organizations in building up their infrastructure and
bases of operation, because they have a police mentality, because of
the fact that their daily activities are geared towards expanding
their criminal mentality, it's not geared towards challenging the
administration. It's not geared towards creating unity or solidarity
amongst prisoners, so in actuality these organizations are a police
force: they carry out hits for the state, they disrupt activities
geared towards progressive activities or forms of solidarity.

“On the SHU at Wabash, where the racism is blatant, the guards with
white supremacist views are in your face. Some of these guards belong
to white supremacist organizations, others exhibit a ‘benign racism,’,
where hating people of color is ‘just how they are’ culturally
speaking. Within the administrative dealings, in terms of who gets
reviews and who is released from the SHU, it's blatantly
discriminatory. If you look into the facts of who has remained in
these units for 5five, 10 years, its obvious. If you look into who has
been prosecuted for murder by the Department of CorrectionsDOC, again, isit’s
blatantly disproportionate in terms of race. These are signs from the
State, signals of what is allowed and what isn't and who is able to
get away with certain things. People like myself and other political
prisoners who are geared towards a progressive agenda, a revolutionary
agenda, we are punished and isolated, and there's an agenda to destroy
us mentally and physically. And that's the order of the day all across
the state.

“We as radical- minded people try to unify and reach across racial lines
to join in efforts to better our conditions, to better expose and
educate other prisoners to the social reality that we're dealing with
behind these walls and in this country. We’re opposed to all forms of
oppression and strive to work together to combat them as they affect
us all. Today that's a hard draw. Today we're dealing with a younger
population; we're dealing with more reactionary violence. There are so
many internal contradictions amongst ourselves in terms of the youth,
in terms of the drug use, in terms of the reactionary gang violence on
the streets, and that spills over to the prison system.

“And it’s hard to want to reach out to some of these white supremacist
dudes; it's hard not to just hate these mutherfuckas, man. It's hard
to reach out to these dudes who got swastikas on their chest and are
espousing all kinds of reactionary views. And personally, I'm of the
mindset that there are going to have to be some hard examples set,
some lines drawn in the sand if there are going to be any strategies
of reaching across certain lines.

And you know, a lot of these cadres, they're not as hard-core as they
front, compared to what's going on in California, for example. A lot of
these guys that claim to be racist and what not, they’re cowards; I don't
say that from biases, I'm just being real, if they were locked up in
another state, there their own people would kill 'em. A lot of the youth, the
majority of this white youth, they come in here into hip-hop culture,
they're listening to rap, they're listening to Jay Z, and yet they’re
supposed to be hard- core racists. You sneaking in to watch B.E.T., but
you're claiming to be a racist. In other places, this wouldn't stand,
their own people would kill 'em.

“They just bond together out of fear and ignorance. And it's the same
with the leadership. The leadership claim to be convicts who
facilitate breaking bread and engaging in various business ventures
with all kinds of prisoners, they subscribe to a convict code of
non-cooperation with the administration, yet they do not have any
discipline within they their ranks, they don't hold they their rank and file
accountable for breaking this code. It's like you got a puppy, you got
a puppy and he's shitting and pissing all over the place. You’re not
disciplining this puppy, you’ve got to take a newspaper to his behind
and train this puppy.

“That's what they're facing; they got guys that come on these units,
they're dealing with a small amount of time and causing conflicts with
other prisoners. These young guys are throwing feces and urine and
spoiled milk on other prisoners, a lot of times for the guards, for
the police. These white supremacist guards might have a conflict with
a certain inmate, so they will talk to these young white guys, bond
with them and get them to throw shit in an inmate’s cell. So for them,
it's not about having an identity as prisoners, a bond as prisoners; I
mean, you can subscribe to whatever views, but for these young white
supremacists, it's not about us and them, it's us, you and them. You
hate other prisoners more than you hate the Sstate, you hate prisoners
more than you hate the guards, you hate prisoners more than you hate
the mutherfucka who got they their foot on your neck.

“And so, in my mind, you are one of them! And the State and the
Department of CorrectionsDOC encourages this type of behavior, encourages
this type of conduct by allowing these guys to organize and by
concentrating them in certain areas, giving them jobs to create and
manufacture weapons and to distribute their materials. In other words,
they’re encouraged to build a base of operations. If you fraternize
using your skin privilege, you're allowed to engage in certain
conduct,; whether it's drugs or violence or what have you. All with the
knowledge that you're not going to be held on these isolation units
for 5 five or 10 years like a lot of the New Afrikan or political
prisoners.

“A lot of the guards, too, especially down here at Pendleton and at the
Farm, subscribe to or are members of themselves of some of these white
supremacists organizations. Which makes them more open to
collaborating or communicating with some of these other elements
within the prison. And we do not know, yet, to what extent these guys
are working with outside forces. Cause, you know, just as the left
wing or whatever is working and organizing within the prisons, so is
the right wing. And I think that's one of the reasons we're seeing
such an influx or momentum amongst these elements these days.

“And so now, after allowing and promoting this kind of conduct, the
administration wants to lock down the whole state just cause two or
three Aryan guys have been killed. We've seen repeatedly seen acts of
violence, like there's a war going on between black gangs, street
organizations, and they have not once, in my 27 years of doing time,
responded in the ways that they are now. Trying to lock down the whole
state and engage in the activities they engaged in, never. Again, what
signal is being sent here.”

“Call for unity”

The DOC in Indiana is constantly expanding; expanding its bed count,
expanding its budget, expanding (and tightening) its grip on the lives
of the people it holds captive. In late 2010, it signed a contract
with the GEO Group Inc. to build at its private facility at New Castle
a new for-profit, 512-bed high- security prison wing. The DOC has alsoo
begun to construct ‘‘prisons within a prison’’, by building more
barriers within each institution: more gates, more walls, more fences
to physically separate and alienate prisoners from each other. Filling
up the SHU, the and MCC and making life at high- security institutions more
controlled and repressed are the operating norm of the DOC. These
trends must be countered!

“This is a call for solidarity in action amongst prisoners, between
prisoners and those on the outside that struggle against the prison
system. In Indiana, in contrast to the solidarity we're seeing from
guys out there in California responding to what's going on at the
Pelican Bay SHU, and the solidarity we saw amongst folks down there in
Georgia, we’ve got a long way to go. But it can start now, right now.
To put ideological discrepancies aside, to reach across racial and
cultural differences, to form a common bond of struggle against the
prison authorities that oppress us all: this has been done before, and
it is possible still today.

“The misguided and reactionary activities of the majority of prisoners
continue in prisons due partly to the fact that the guards and
administrators promote these activities and ways of life. They would
much rather have drug dealing, would much rather have gang violence
than to have to deal with a cohesive and diverse group of prisoners
attacking the root cause of their present situation.

“This is a call out: to think about your daily activities, to analyze
the battles you choose in prison and ask, ‘“is this working towards my
and my fellow prisoners’ freedom and dignity as human beings,’” or ‘“is
this helping the guards and administrators to keep us down, to keep us
buried alive?’”? This is a call to come together as prisoners, as a
class of people who have tremendous powers even under the most adverse
of conditions when we choose to come together, choose to fight
together. To find one another, to find folks on the outside, to
develop bonds of comradeship and connections of struggle. To fight
back.

IN STRUGGLE, TILL THE LAST PRISON CRUMBLES”

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Aug 5 2011 05:12
Quote:
inmates at the Secure Housing Unit at Wabash Valley had been denied access to water for bathing, sanitation, and cleaning their cells.

I've heard it's 40°C out there - denying prisoners access to water (I presume for drinking as well, otherwise they could insist on having drinking water and use it for sanitation etc. also) is the kind of thing that went on in the concentration camps even during much milder weather - to deny them in that heat would be torture. Did this last long, or was it just a one-off 8 hours?
Also - what have been the responses to the above statement?

orange.ruffy
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Joined: 23-10-09
Aug 8 2011 18:01

They've had some water in small amounts for drinking, but yes, it's been particularly ridiculous given the weather. On the one hand, the prison administrators fear the rising tension, on the other hand, they enclose thousands of men together without air conditioning OR showers. Adds a new meaning to
"smells revolting."

I've heard that the longer text has circulated widely in the prison system, and has been controversial (as intended) but that many conversations have started around it. In Bloomington, it was also widely distributed particularly in the projects and working class neighborhoods, and there was a very positive reception. Sadly, this was because so many people have loved ones on the inside, and there hasn't been much news out of the prisons since the lockdown began.

Samotnaf
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Joined: 9-06-09
Aug 8 2011 22:42

Worse than "ridiculous"....

Quote:
many conversations have started around it.

About the most you can expect from a text, at least initially - eventually conversation leads to something else, though.