Inmates in Six Georgia Prisons on Strike for Third Work Day

An historic prisoners' strike underway in the state of Georgia with inmates in at least six separate prisons refusing to leave their cells for the third work day.

Of note, this strike seems to be entirely organized by the inmates themselves who have worked across the (particularly in prison) stark lines of race and religion which so often keep workers divided.

When the strike began, 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!”

On Thursday morning, December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners refused to work, stopped all other activities and locked down in their cells in a peaceful protest for their human rights. The December 9 Strike became the biggest prisoner protest in the history of the United States.

Thousands of men, from Augusta, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons, among others, initiated this strike 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 set forth the following demands:

* A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK
* EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
* DECENT HEALTH CARE
* AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS
* DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS
* NUTRITIONAL MEALS
* VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
* ACCESS TO FAMILIES
* JUST PAROLE DECISIONS

The action is taking place 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. According to Elaine Brown and other sources, inmates have planned the strike with the use of contraband cell phones. Inmates who have spoken to Elaine Brown are reporting that the strike is be honored by almost all inmates. This may be partially because the wardens have responded to their refusal to work, by locking down the prison.

Despite that the prisoners’ protest remained non-violent, the DOC violently attempted to force the men back to work—claiming it was “lawful” to order prisoners to work without pay. At the heart of this strike, is a very real outrage at legalized slavery that exists within US prisons. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution which is widely believed to have abolished slavery reads "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

The peaceful inmate strike is being led from within the prison and some of those thought to be its leaders have been placed under close confinement.

In Augusta State Prison, six or seven inmates were brutally ripped from their cells by CERT Team guards and beaten, resulting in broken ribs for several men, one man beaten beyond recognition. This brutality continues there.

actical officers rampaged through Telfair State Prison destroying inmate personal effects and severely beating at least six prisoners. The warden aso shut off heat Thursday when daytime temperatures were in the 30s.

At Macon State, the Tactical Squad has menaced the men for two days, removing some to the “hole,” and the warden ordered the heat and hot water turned off. Inmates there also say authorities cut the prisoners' hot water.

Prisoners have responded to violence and intimidation by screening their cells with blankets, keeping prison authorities from performing an accurate count, a crucial aspect of prison operations.

As of Friday, inmates at several prisons say they are committed to continuing the strike. “We are going to ride it,” the inmate press release quotes one, “till the wheels fall off. We want our human rights.”

Still, today(12/12/10), men at Macon, Smith, Augusta, Hays and Telfair State Prisons say they are committed to continuing the strike.

Inmate leaders at Macon, Smith, Augusta, Hays, and Telfair State Prisons representing Blacks, Latinos, whites, Muslims, Rastafarians, Christians, have stated the men will stay down until their demands are addressed, one issuing this statement:

Quote:
“…Brothers, we have accomplished a major step in our struggle…We must continue what we have started…The only way to achieve our goals is to continue with our peaceful sit-down…I ask each and every one of my Brothers in this struggle to continue the fight. ON MONDAY MORNING, WHEN THE DOORS OPEN, CLOSE THEM. DO NOT GO TO WORK. They cannot do anything to us that they haven’t already done at one time or another. Brothers, DON’T GIVE UP NOW. Make them come to the table. Be strong. DO NOT MAKE MONEY FOR THE STATE THAT THEY IN TURN USE TO KEEP US AS SLAVES….”

Elaine Brown, former chairman of the Black Panther Party gave a detailed interview about the ongoing strike, and has apparently been asked to be a mouthpiece for the strike leaders who are nameless. Listen to the interview here

People are being asked to call into the various prisons and the Department of Corrections to show solidarity with the striking prisoners.

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.

Hays State Prison is at (706) 857-0400

Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721

Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218

Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900

Smith State Prison is at (912) 654-5000

The Georgia Department of Corrections is at http://www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246

Sources:
http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/day-3-of-historic-prison-strike-in-georgia-blacked-out-by-media-guards-committing-violence/
http://www.correntewire.com/ga_inmates_stage_one_day_peaceful_prison_strike_authorities_react_violence
http://blackagendareport.com/?q=content%2Fga-prisoner-strike-continues-second-day-corporate-media-mostly-ignores-them-corrections-offi

Posted By

starcityred
Dec 14 2010 02:27

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starcityred
Dec 14 2010 02:22

Here is the original press release issued by on thursday, December 9th

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!

starcityred
Dec 14 2010 02:28

Excuse the title's typo, it should be fixed pending moderation, but this is the third work day of the strike, and the fifth day since it started. not sure where I got fourth from, sorry yall.

syndicalist
Dec 14 2010 17:54

THOUSANDS OF INVISIBLE PICKETS
Workers Solidarity Alliance Statement in Support of
the Recent and Ongoing Prisoners Strike in Georgia

December 13, 2010

We express our utmost support and solidarity to all of the prisoners in Georgia who have been on strike for the past three days, refusing to leave their cells to work or perform any prisoner-related duties assigned them by the prison. The strike is astounding in more than one way, perhaps the most important of which is that it has broken the racial boundaries that structure prisons. Black, white, and hispanic prisoners are uniting together to demand the following:

A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC [Department of Corrections] 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.

In the prisoners own words: ”No more slavery. Injustice in one place is injustice to all. Inform your family to support our cause. Lock down for liberty!”

The strike is taking place in at least half a dozen prisons across Georgia, involving thousands of prisoners. There have been reports of Telfair and Macon State prisons sending in tactical squads to brutally assault prisoners, in what can only be described as state terrorism aimed at silencing dissent. We stand in the company of countless others, condemning this brutal policy of repression and violence. We know that this is a strike that threatens the balance of power in the prisons, something that the wardens and guards will not allow.

That is, if the prisoners are left isolated, without public support, without us taking on their call for justice and taking action in solidarity with their struggle.

The prisoners in Macon, Hays, Telfair, Baldwin, Valdosta, and Smith state prisons do not have picket signs we can read, no do they have speeches that can be read out loud to us. We cannot see their faces or hear their voices. They are mostly invisible to us. It is now up to us to break though this wall of invisibility purposely imposed upon us and prisoners, by those who control society and our lives. The right to strike is the right of every exploited person in an exploitive society, prisoner or not. The wardens and guards in Telfair prison tuned off the heat last Thursday night when temperatures reached 30 degrees, in yet another attempt to silence the striking prisoners through dangerous and life-threatening measures. A prison system that first, does not provide adequate health-care, is now turning off the heat in the December cold of Georgia! The message is clear: “YOU DO NOT HAVE RIGHTS, WE CAN AND WILL STOP THIS STRIKE!”

We cannot allow the prisoners' struggle to be an isolated struggle, it is a fight that needs fighting outside of prisons in order to win. Isolation kills struggles and movements, especially movements that are in firm opposition to the power of an elite class and its institutions, and the practice of those institutions. The Georgia prisoners strike demands our attention, we cannot afford to ignore struggles for human dignity. Every day is a struggle for us to retain some sense of dignity. Capitalist society lives off the dignity plundered from our lives; it exists with the exploitation of its masses for the sake of the few who build their mansions within sight of our prisons. It will exist this way until we destroy it. The working class is the victim of the global crime of Capitalism and State. We labor to build it up, all the while it buries us, quite literally. If we are going to change our society we are going to have to recognize the sources of our oppression. The oppression of the prisoners in Georgia, and all prisoners, is our oppression. Prisons are our oppression, as is the State that requires working class people to build prisons for other working class people. Support the struggle of the striking prisoners: CALL THE PRISONS DEMANDING HANDS OFF THE STRIKERS!

Macon State Prison is 978-472-3900.

Hays State Prison is at 706-857-0400

Telfair State prison is 229-868-7721

Baldwin State Prison is at 478-445- 5218

Valdosta State Prison is 229-333-7900

Smith State Prison is at 912-654-5000

The Georgia Department of Corrections is at www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246

The Workers Solidarity Alliance aims to build a working class movement that can challenge this political and social environment, and transform society into one of self-management, where the needs of all its members are met, and none are exploited.

FOR A WORLD WITHOUT BOSSES, BUREAUCRATS OR STATES

workersolidarity.org // ideasandaction.info

David in Atlanta
Dec 14 2010 21:59

dual post. sorry

no1
Dec 15 2010 09:29

quite a lot of good info about how the strike here:
http://www.ajc.com/news/inmates-discuss-planning-details-776618.html