On Wednesday February 23rd, there will be a national call-in day to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, in solidarity with prison rebels across the state, and in particular those facing repercussions for organizing study groups and collective actions at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, NC.
Organizing in Windsor has happened alongside the now famous rebellion in Georgia, where in mid-December of 2010 prisoners organized the largest coordinated prison strike in US history. For six days, in at least six facilities across the state, thousands of prisoners refused to work in response to the brutality and indignity of prison. Anarchists and radicals responded with call-in days and solidarity demonstrations outside of jails and prisons in their own towns. Similar tactics, low-risk but diffuse and constant, were recently used to great success in conjunction with a hunger strike by four Ohio prisoners on death row for their role in the Lucasville prison rebellion.
Though it has not garnered the attention of the mainstream media or large national organizations and figureheads, this struggle has been consistently growing in North Carolina prisons as well, and has been supported by a number of small collectives, publishing projects, and individuals on the outside. Of particular note is the struggle at Bertie C.I. Over the last year, prisoners there have organized large study groups focusing on Black anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas, as well as the history and politics of gang truce efforts. Radicals there have made the effort to reach across racial and gang-based divisions, and the effort has borne fruit: on at least three occasions in the past few months prisoners have taken collective action around issues of food, clothing, and exercise, successfully occupying yards or refusing to leave their cells en masse until given what they want. Though achieving small victories in this process is encouraging and important, we see these developments and the practices of solidarity we exercise alongside them not as part of a specific campaign around a particular set of grievances or demands, but as a process of growth and resistance that seeks to destabilize prisons and render them increasingly ungovernable.
Several prisoners have faced repercussions for their roles in this activity. One prisoner, an outspoken anarchist and gang leader named James Graham, has been thrown in solitary confinement on a more or less permanent basis, and was brutally beaten by six guards during a cell extraction several weeks ago. Others have also faced time in solitary, the loss of “privileges,” and other punishments.
February 23rd will be a national call-in day to show support for all North Carolina prison rebels, to tell the North Carolina DOC and Bertie CI officials that we’re paying attention and that our comrades in Windsor are not alone. Call them. Fax them. Email them. The authorities at Bertie feel empowered to beat and isolate rebellious prisoners in part because they think the prisoners have no outside support, and that there will be no consequences; February 23rd is the first step in proving them wrong.
Tell the DOC: Hands off James Graham! Hands off all Prison Rebels!
Phone : (919)838-4000