Our Palestine statement draws on history of Black internationalism, says organizer

From Electronic Intifada:

Black liberation movements in the US have increasingly been making connections with Palestine. (Mikasi/Flickr)

Black liberation movements in the US have increasingly been making connections with Palestine. (Mikasi/Flickr)

Kristian Davis Bailey is a Detroit-based writer and organizer who recently put together the “Black for Palestine” statement. More than 1,100 Black scholars, activists, students, artists and organizations have signed on, including Angela Davis, Cornel West, Talib Kweli, political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and others.

The statement lays out a framework for Black solidarity with Palestinian liberation and calls for exploring the connections between Palestinian and Black liberation as well as the oppressive linkages between the United States and Israel. The statement calls for support of boycott, divestment and sanctions efforts against Israel and calls attention to Israel’s oppression of African-descended populations in Palestine.

Davis Bailey has written for Ebony, Mondoweiss, Truth-Out and elsewhere. I caught up with him to find out more about “Black for Palestine” and the opportunities and challenges it presents.

Jimmy Johnson: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. Please introduce yourself.

Kristian Davis Bailey: My name is Kristian Davis Bailey and I’m one of the co-organizers of the “Black For Palestine” statement. I’m currently a freelance writer based in Detroit.

JJ: Where were you before Detroit and what were you doing?

KDB: Before Detroit I was a student at Stanford where I was involved with Students for Justice in Palestine at the campus level, across California and nationally.

JJ: Can you tell me a bit about the “Black For Palestine” statement and the process of creating it?

KDB: The statement emerged out of two separate statements that I and my co-organizer Khury Petersen-Smith had organized last summer during the height of the assault on Gaza. We’d each found ourselves unable to publish our statements while the media would pick it up so we figured that this year we would combine our efforts to write a statement on the anniversary of the assault on Gaza which wound up being much bigger than what each of us had organized the summer before.

It is worth noting that some of the key signatories this year had also signed last year. The Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis had signed on to last year’s statement before Mike Brown was killed and connections were being made to Palestine. Hopefully we’ll publish those earlier statements soon.

JJ: You bring up a good connection with the Organization for Black Struggle because the release of this statement is not only the anniversary of the attack on Gaza but also something going on in the US. Can you make that connection? Both your intentions around the timing of the release, as well as the connections you see there.

KDB: It was really important for us to note that the statement emerged out of the past year of solidarity between the Black and Palestinian struggles, specifically: connections people were making on the ground in Ferguson to Palestine. I think none of the developments in the past year would have happened if people on the ground hadn’t themselves started to organically connect what they were witnessing in terms of military vehicles in their communities, being tear-gassed and shot at during protests, if they hadn’t connected those things to what they were seeing in Palestine and if Palestinian organizers hadn’t reached out in solidarity to the people in Ferguson.

What the statement represents is how firm of a connection there is for organizers in St. Louis with the Palestinian struggle. It’s not just a slogan we’ve used at protests but something that people facing the brunt of repression and doing the majority of the organizing on the ground have decided to be a part of themselves. I think that’s why St. Louis is the most represented city on the statement in terms of organizational signatories.

JJ: It sounds kind of like the development and the recruitment of the signatories is really based in joint work that’s being done together.

KDB: Right. Most of the people who signed the statement, whether they’re individuals or organizations, have been actively engaging with Palestine well before the last year. There were a lot of old school organizers who have been doing this solidarity work since the ’60s and ’70s that signed on, in addition to groups like the Dream Defenders which over the past few years have started to engage more with the Palestinian issue. So, I forget what your question is but my answer is “yes” [laughter].

JJ: A Kenyan author named Mukoma Wa Ngugi gave a presentation a few years back at Wayne State here in Detroit and he was talking specifically about relations between African migrants and Black Americans and he talked about the way that white supremacy forms a veil that literally colors the relationships between these two groups but also between all groups, although the details are different for any two groups.

And one of the things he mentioned was that the only way to get past this is to put in work together to supersede and subvert this veil that colors the relationships between, for example, Black folks and Palestinians, Black folks and Arab folks. That sounds a little bit like what’s going on.

KDB: Again I’ll focus on St. Louis because that’s a story I know a little bit about. The solidarity organizing between the Organization for Black Struggle and the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee has been going on for at least three or four years. The two groups both worked together to oppose Veolia being given a contract to privatize the city’s water, both recognizing what Veolia was doing in occupied Palestine and for the danger it presented to the people in St. Louis.

The Organization for Black Struggle was also crucial in a cultural boycott action. I don’t know how many years ago it was but it was Organization for Black Struggle organizers who said, “We will pull out of this event unless these artists are disinvited.” That was the work of very principled solidarity on the part of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.

At the same time you have a Palestinian member of the solidarity committee whose father is a shop owner in a predominantly Black part of St. Louis and what he had been working on was to take all of the hard liquor out of his store after he was realizing the impact it was having on the Black community in St. Louis. He also set up a couple of initiatives to contribute some of the profits from his shop to local organizing efforts in the community.

I wanted to offer that as a real solid example of what Palestinian solidarity in the US, or not even solidarity but direct action against anti-Blackness looks like, and that’s an example of some of the principled actions and alliances that preceded the Ferguson-Palestine connection and solidarity.

JJ: This isn’t the first statement of Black solidarity with Palestine. Can you contextualize this action a bit in the internationalism of the radical Black tradition?

KDB: Definitely. So Black support for Palestine comes out of the tradition of Black internationalism within the radical segment of our liberation struggle. Malcolm X was talking about the dangers of Zionism in the 1960s. The Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee released its statement at the same time the Black Panther Party was training with the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] in Algeria.

In 1970 you had a group of prominent Black activists or scholars take out a New York Times ad supporting Palestinian liberation from Zionism and some of those signatories also signed our statement today in 2015. So there is a rich tradition of Black solidarity with international struggles broadly, and specifically with Palestine. I definitely contextualize this statement within that broader history of Black internationalism.

JJ: What would you say is the purpose of releasing this statement beyond a symbolic declaration of solidarity?

KDB: There are a couple of things. There is the suggestion that both Black and Palestinian people, and people around the world that support us, can join very targeted campaigns against companies that profit from the oppression of both groups, such as G4S and Veolia. Beyond that one of my individual hopes as an organizer is that this represents the current chapter of the Black liberation movement getting involved in the international arena once again to the degree that we were in the ’60s and ’70s. Because I think a lot of that momentum and a lot of those alliances were very intentionally targeted or repressed in the ’80s up through today even.

JJ: Some of the work being done to reignite alliances that were built between radical groups in the 1960s and ’70s, we’ve seen some attempts of that where there is a flattening effect. For example non-Black people of color using a people of color paradigm and erasing the specificities of anti-Blackness. Can you talk a little bit about the opportunities presented by “Black For Palestine” to engage not only Palestinian liberation but the specificity of anti-Blackness in solidarity?

KDB: Definitely. I’m glad you raised that because one of the points of reference I organize from is the understanding that white supremacy affects different groups in different ways here in the United States. So the anti-Black racism and the anti-Blackness that we experience and live under is of a distinct nature from the anti-indigenous or genocidal policies that indigenous folks here have experienced, is distinct from the experiences of non-Black, non-indigenous immigrants to this country.

A lot of times what happens is the differences between these groups are flattened out where we say “people of color” and we talk about how people of color are oppressed under white supremacy without acknowledging the power dynamics that are at play between our communities — so without acknowledging that every non-Black ethnic group or immigrant group in the United States is complicit in anti-Blackness or anti-Black racism.

One of the things that I hope comes up in discussions is a very critical examination of the ways that Palestinians — or just non-Black people in the United States — participate in anti-Blackness. So that for me represents a difference between joint struggle and maybe solidarity, where under joint struggle we acknowledge the different relations in terms of power between our communities and how that impacts how we relate to each other and how we organize.

So I think there’s a lot of room coming out of this statement for folks to organize around Arab anti-Black racism or for Palestine supporters who aren’t Arab to organize against their own anti-Blackness or their position as settlers in a settler colonial society.

JJ: One thing that stands out among many parts of the “Black For Palestine” statement is the phrasing that “Israel’s widespread use of detention and imprisonment against Palestinians evokes the mass incarceration of Black people in the US, including the political imprisonment of our own revolutionaries.” So can you expand upon this idea of the colonial, carceral state?

KDB: Sure. The first thing I want to talk about is how incredibly powerful of an experience and expression it was to have 10 currently incarcerated political prisoners respond to our call for signatures and sign the statement from behind bars. Their participation in our statement highlights the fact that they’re also a population whose liberation from the prison-industrial complex we need to be fighting for.

Also they represent the internationalism and revolutionary spirit that was intentionally targeted and killed from the 1980s onward. So their participation and inclusion in this statement is a link back to that era, specifically Mumia Abu-Jamal and Sundiata Acoli. Beyond that one of the things I’m thinking of about that line on mass incarceration is the need to abolish prisons.

There is different rhetoric around prisons in Palestine and here in the US but I do think they’re similar enough in the sense that we often don’t think of people arrested for drug crimes in the US as political prisoners but they are imprisoned under a very intentional political system that discriminates against them across every point of the so-called justice system.

The need to criminalize the existence or resistance of populations under settler colonialism leads to mass or hyper incarceration both in the United States and in Palestine and that prison abolition in that context is something we need to center.

JJ: What can Palestinian and Black people learn from each other?

KBD: From Palestinians we learn the importance of struggling for self-determination — a right that Black people in the US have never experienced, from our ancestor’s forcible kidnapping to this continent and the end of the Civil War through today. This is a right that Palestinians refuse to let go of through their sumoud, or steadfastness — and it is a right that Black people must claim as well.

The Black for Palestine statement highlighted the right of return as the most important aspect of justice for Palestinians because it cuts to the core of the “conflict” and is dismissed by Zionists and the US as “unrealistic.” For Palestinians to cling to and achieve the most “impossible” of their calls would be a boon to us, as we still fight for the “unrealistic” demands of reparations for our ancestors’ free and forced labor, or the abolition of prisons and the police.

The call for boycott, divestment and sanctions also models what it might look like for Black people in the US, across our varying political ideologies, to present basic criteria for us to exercise our own right to self-determination and to present basic actions people around the world can take to help us actualize our self-determination.

Our post-civil rights condition and the post-apartheid South African condition drive home the necessity for Palestinians to demand economic restructuring and safeguards both against decades of disinvestment and against neoliberal forces within the Palestinian political class. Full justice for Palestinians makes the case stronger for our own organizing in the US; full justice for Black Americans or South Africans makes the case stronger for Palestinians. I see each of these struggles as my own, because a victory for one group is a victory for us all. That is what motivates my work on this issue.

JJ: What kind of opportunities do you think “Black For Palestine” opens up for organizational solidarity with Black people in Palestine, be those articulated to the Israeli settler society or native Black Palestinians?

KDB: I think it opens up a lot of opportunities. One idea that has already come up as a result of the statement is bringing a delegation of African Palestinians here to the US so organizers can engage with them because too often they’re a population that gets erased from the narratives about Palestine within our own movement spaces here in the United States. And I know that there is already ongoing efforts between groups like the Dream Defenders and Black Youth Project 100 to connect Black and Brown people in the United States with the different African populations in historic Palestine, whether that is Ethiopian Israelis, Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers or African Palestinians.

This work is already happening so I think the statement is just another step for potential organizing between Africans in historic Palestine and Black people in the US.

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Political Prisoners, Jaan Laaman and Alvaro Luna Hernandez on the life and death of Hugo ” Yogi Bear” Pinell

From Sacramento Prisoner Support:

jaan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://thejerichomovement.com/blog/death-and-life-hugo-pinell

Death and Life of Hugo Pinell

August 20, 2015
It was with true sadness that, on August 13th, I received the news that legendary California prison activist Hugo Pinell, was killed in a California prison. This is Jaan Laaman, your political prisoner voice and let me share a few thoughts about the life and death of this extraordinary man.

I never personally knew Hugo Pinell. The simple reason for that is because Hugo Pinell was locked up in California state prisons for 50 years! That is insane. It is hard to wrap you mind around the reality of someone being held captive for 50 years. Even more insane, for most of those years he was held in isolation-segregation cells.

Hugo was just released from segregation and it is being reported that he was killed by two white prisoners. There was a serious uprising or riot that also took place at this time.

Hugo Pinell spent decades teaching, advocating and struggling for Human Rights, justice and dignity for prisoners. He taught and fought for racial and revolutionary unity among all prisoners. Locked up in 1965, like many other prisoners at that time, Hugo became politicized inside the California prison system. In addition to exploring his Nicaraguan heritage, Hugo was influenced by activists like Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, as well as his comrades inside, including George Jackson. His leadership in combating the racism and brutality of prison officials made him a prime target for retribution and Hugo soon found himself in the notorious San Quentin Adjustment Center.

While in San Quentin, Hugo and five other politically conscious prisoners were charged with participating in the August 21, 1971 rebellion, which resulted in the assassination of George Jackson by prison guards on that day. Hugo Pinell, Willie Tate, Johnny Spain, David Johnson, Fleeta Drumgo and Luis Talamantez became known as the San Quentin Six. They had a very public 16 month trial. The San Quentin Six became a global symbol of unyielding resistance against the prison system and its violent, racist design. Hugo spent decades in segregation, but continued to work for racial unity and human rights for prisoners.

Personally, I am of course upset that a brother like Hugo was killed, by what I have to assume were some reactionary fascist minded prisoners. But truly what I mainly feel is sadness, profound sadness at this news.

Hugo Pinell is gone. His bid, his sentence is now ended. After 50 years of captivity, that is not a bad thing. Even as an elderly person, in his 70’s, Hugo Pinell died in the struggle. The hands that struck him down, it is reported, were prisoners, but the actual force that killed him was the capitalist police state prison system that holds 2.2 million men, women and children in captivity.

Hugo Pinell, we will remember you brother and your strong life long example of resistance. We will continue this resistance and this struggle for Freedom.

This is Jaan Laaman.” 10372-016 USP Tucson, AZ 85734

alvaro-luna-hernandez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REVOLUTIONARY EULOGY by TEXAS CHICANO

POW, POLITICAL PRISONER ALVARO LUNA HERNANDEZ

For COMRADE BROTHER HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL

 

POWER TO THE PEOPLE! POWER TO OUR FALLEN COMRADE BROTHER HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL! We were saddened with the news that Yogi had been murdered last Wednesday, August 12, during an alleged “prison riot” at a Sacramento maximum security prison, after Yogi’s recent release from decades in solitary confinement in the California prison system. Our prison movement, as well as our outside social movement grieves at the loss of one of its most respected and beloved foot soldiers, within the belly of this fascist beast, in our mutual struggles against the common enemy of the human species — the systems of colonialism, neo-colonialism, capitalism, imperialism and fascism. Although I never personally met Comrade Yogi, through his letters, writings, and actual deeds, as one of the SAN QUENTIN-SIX and close confidant of Comrade GEORGE JACKSON, also murdered by the State of California on AUGUST 21, 1971, during the takeover and “liberation” of the Adjustment Center’s control unit in San Quentin prison. I met Yogi in revolutionary spirit as we were then, and are now, continuing to build our national prison movement to educate, re-educate, the entire prisoner class that we are all victims of social injustice, of the racist, criminal injustice system, and to expose the true nature of prisons under capitalism.

Commitment to our human transformation through social awareness in struggle for the defense of our human dignity and our human rights, to build the unity of prisoners across all racial lines, as advocates for national and international revolution, will bring down against us the entire totalitarian power and brutalities of the fascist capitalist state, from prison guard beatings, to horrible food, parole denial, denial of adequate medical attention, false prison disciplinary and criminal charges, to retaliation for exercise of rights, to decades in isolation in solitary confinement’s torture supermax control unit prisons, to being set-up by prison guards for murder either by prison pigs themselves, and/or allowing other racist, violent criminal elements from within to commit these heinous criminal acts, so the prison system can then attempt  to wash its bloody hands of its murderous deeds. The fact that hours after Comrade Yogi’s death, California prison guards and other racist, reactionary elements got  on  “social media”  to rejoice  at the murder of Yogi, vicious nature of the  State and its  stoogies.

These cowardly vipers, rats and snakes came all out of their viper holes to rejoice at the murder of Yogi, showing how these racist, reactionary, fascist and vicious forces, inside and outside of prison walls, recognized Comrade Yogi as a living, historical SYMBOL OF RESISTANCE, and a “threat” to this same capitalist system that breeds crime, poverty, racism, class and racial divisions, mass incarceration of the poor especially people of color who are disproportionately represented in this “NEW JIM CROW SYSTEM,” borrowing Michelle Alexander’s phrase from her book, a genocidal, murderous, plantation slavery system under capitalism, sanctioned by the 13th Amendment, U.S. Constitution, that must be abolished. YOGI was a “threat” to this criminal system, for he feared not to stand up and fight against the fascist state despite  these  brutal  conditions, as being “BURIED ALIVE,” YOGI’s common expression in his many letters to others. His political revolutionary transformation and development, from a misguided, confused youth who was sent to prison at his early age, to his status as a “giant” of our prison movement, under the tutor of COMRADE GEORGE JACKSON, and the BLACK PANTHER PARTY, demonstrating a lifetime commitment to our resistance struggles, no matter the odds behind these racist, brutal, fascist walls in this steel –enclosed concrete tombs and concentration camps for the poor.

These state-actor criminals, and other accomplices in crime, that murdered Comrade Yogi are fools for they didn’t kill him, for Yogi lives on in our hearts, for they will never, ever, be able to kill our revolutionary ideas, and our aspirations to free ourselves, and the rest of humanity, from these chains of bondage and slavery that is this WAGE-THEFT socioeconomic system under bourgeoisie capitalism, a paradise for the rich, and a living hell for the poor, the workers who must sell their labor power to the slave-masters who not only trample on our social and humanity dignity, but are the same capitalist barbarians who are destroying the environment, our ecological systems, wildlife, and MOTHER EARTH for private, corporate profit. ANOTHER FOOT SOLDIER HAS ALREADY STEPPED UP TO FILL THE VOID LEFT BY THE TRAGIC LOSS OF OUR COMRADE BROTHER HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL. I AM HONORED TO BE FEATURED IN THE MOST RECENT POW, POLITICAL PRISONER POSTER PUT OUT BY THE JERICHO MOVEMENT, NEXT TO COMRADE YOGI.

TO ALL PROGRESSIVE, SOCIAL REVOLUTIONARY FORCES IN THE UNITED STATES AND INTERNATIONALLY, I SAY TO YOU, DO NOT ALLOW THIS LOSS, LIFE, TO GO IN VAIN, WE MUST RE-DOUBLE OUR EFFORTS AT MASS MOBILIZATION, OF THE OPPRESSED, INSIDE AND OUTSIDE PRISON WALLS, AND WORK DILIGENTLY TO INFUSE OUR MOVEMENTS WITH REVOLUTIONARY ENERGY AND DETERMINISM, TO HOLD EACH OTHER BY OUR HANDS, AND OUR HEARTS, AND LINK ALL OF OUR INTER-COMMUNAL STRUGGLES IN OUR OPPRESSED BARRIOS, FAVELAS, GHETTOS, COMMUNITIES, IN PRISONS, IN OUR UNIVERSITIES, AND AROUND THE WORLD, FOR OUR STRUGGLE IS YOUR STRUGGLE.

LET US NOT FORGET THAT THE VICIOUS, CRIMINAL, FASCIST MURDER OF COMRADE YOGI IS THE SAME CAPITALIST PRISON DESIGN OF FASCIST, RACIST VIOLENCE AGAINST THE POOR, AS SOCIAL CONTROL MECHANISMS TO ELIMINATE OUR FOOT SOLDIERS AND TO DESTROY OUR “PRISON MOVEMENT” AND SUPPRESS OUR SOCIAL JUSTICE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENTS, IN THE BELLY OF THE NERVE CENTER OF FASCIST IMPERIALISM. WE ARE THE REVOLUTIONARY VANGUARD AND WE MUST ACT LIKE ONE.

THIS BLACK AUGUST, WE SALUTE AND HONOR AND MEMORIALIZE ALL OUR FALLEN SOLDIERS, WHO PAID THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE WITH THEIR BLOOD, , LIKE MALCOLM X, JONATHAN, GEORGE JACKSON, THE ATTICA BROTHERS, RUBEN SALAZAR, DIAZ, WARD, HUEY NEWTON, MARILYN BUCK, SACCO AND VENZETTI, HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL, AND MANY, MANY MORE SERVANTS OF THE PEOPLE. WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU! SEIZE THE TIME! DEATH OF U.S. FASCISM! ABOLISH ALL PRISONS! BUILD THE UNITED FRONT AGAINST FASCISM! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

HUGO “YOGI BEAR” PINELL, PRESENTE!!!

 

– By, ALVARO LUNA HERNANDEZ, #255735,

CHICANO POW, POLITICAL PRISONER

IN MEMORY OF GEORGE JACKSON, ALL BLACK AUGUST MARTYRS

AUGUST 21, 19

http://www.freealvaro.net/

Alvaro Luna Hernandez
#255735, James V Allred Unit
2101 FM 369 North
Iowa Park TX 76367

“Our Day Will Come” : In solidarity with Evi Statiri and CCF – Imprisoned Members Cell (Book)

From 325:

Attending to the solidarity call to Evi Statiri we share with you a book which speaks about what was triggered after the arrest of the fugitive Christos Xiros, the discovery of an escape plan by Conspiracy of Cells of Fire – Imprisoned Members Cell; the subsequent manhunt against comrade Aggeliki Spyropoulo and her detention with relatives and friends of CCF comrades, and finally, the hunger strike for over 30 days in which they put their lives at risk.

This book also contains a prologue by CCF- Imprisoned Members Cell.

We are interested that the experiences of CCF`s escape attempt and subsequent hunger strike could be transmitted as an expression of anarchic ability to build our offense in an autonomous way, as a part of
our defense and dissemination of every indomitable and antagonist attitude against Power.

The most of the text were taken from the related anarchic webs.
Also, this book has a Spanish version, with translations made by us and other comrades.

Comrades interested in the edition of this book on their own territories, could write to our e-mail.

Without another word, we share this book with you.

Our Day Will Come_title page

Our Day Will Come_book


Sin Banderas Ni Fronteras
, núcleo de agitación antiautoritaria.
sinbanderas.nifronteras@riseup.net

Chile/ Septiembre 2015.

Building autonomy in Turkey and Kurdistan: an interview with Revolutionary Anarchist Action

From Corporate Watch:

dafIn May this year, Corporate Watch researchers travelled to Turkey and Kurdistan to investigate the companies supplying military equipment to the Turkish police and army. We talked to a range of groups from a variety of different movements and campaigns

Below is the transcript of our interview with three members of the anarchist group Devrimci Anarşist Faaliyet (DAF, or Revolutionary Anarchist Action) in Istanbul during May 2015. DAF are involved in solidarity with the Kurdish struggle, the Rojava revolution and against ISIS’ attack on Kobane, and have taken action against Turkish state repression and corporate abuse. They are attempting to establish alternatives to the current system through self-organisation, mutual aid and co-operatives.

The interview was carried out in the run-up to the Turkish elections, and touches on the election campaign by the HDP, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party. Soon after the interview took place, the HDP passed the threshold of 10% of the total vote needed to enter the Turkish parliament.

The DAF members – who all preferred to remain anonymous – began the interview by talking about the history of anarchism in the region:

DAF: We want to underline the relationship between the freedom struggle at the end of Ottoman times and the freedom struggles of Kurdistan.

In Ottoman times anarchists organised workers’ struggle in the main cities: Saloniki, Izmir, Istanbul and Cairo. For example [the Italian anarchist, Errico] Malatesta was involved in organizing industrial workers in Cairo. The freedom struggles of Armenia, Bulgaria and Greece had connections with anarchist groups. Alexander Atabekian, an important person in the Armenian freedom struggle, was an anarchist, translating leaflets into Armenian and distributing them. He was a friend of [the Russian anarchist, Peter] Kropotkin and distributed Kropotkin’s anarchist leaflets.

We are talking about this as we want to underline the importance of freedom struggles and to compare this to the importance of support for the Kurdish struggle.

Corporate Watch: What happened to anarchists after the Ottoman period?

DAF: Towards the end of the Ottoman Empire, at the end of the 19th century, Sultan Abdul Hamid II repressed the actions of anarchists in Turkey. He knew what anarchists were and took a special interest in them. He killed or deported anarchists and set up a special intelligence agency for this purpose.

Anarchists responded by carrying out attacks on the Yildiz Sarayi palace and with explosions at the Ottoman bank in Saloniki.

The government of the Ottoman Empire didn’t end at the Turkish republic. The fez has gone since but the system is still the same.

At the beginning of the [Kemalist] Turkish state [in 1923] many anarchists and other radicals were forced to emigrate or were killed. The CHP, Mustafa Kemal’s party, didn’t allow any opposition and there were massacres of Kurds.

From 1923 to 1980 there was not a big anarchist movement in Turkey due to the popularity of the socialist movements and the repression of the state.

The wave of revolutions from the 1960s to the ’80s affected these lands too. These were the active years of the social movements. During this period, there were revolutionary anti-imperialist movements caused by the Vietnam war, youth organizations, occupations of universities and increasing struggle of workers. These movements were Marxist-Leninist or Maoist, there were no anarchist movements.

In 1970 there was a long workers’ struggle. Millions of workers walked over a hundred kilometres from Kocaeli to Istanbul. Factories were closed and all the workers were on the streets.

CW: Was there any awareness of anarchism in Turkey at all at this time?

DAF: During these years many books were translated into Turkish from European radicalism but only five books about anarchism were translated, three of which were talking about anarchism in order to criticize it.

But in Ottoman times there had been many articles on anarchism in the newspapers. For example, one of the three editors of the İştirak newspaper was an anarchist. The paper published [Russian anarchist, Mikhail] Bakunin’s essays as well as articles on anarcho-syndicalism.

The first anarchist magazine was published in 1989. After this many magazines were published focusing on anarchism from different perspectives; for example, post structuralism, ecology, etc.

The common theme was that they were written for a small intellectual audience. The language of these magazines was too far away from the people. Most of those involved were connected with the universities or academia. Or they were ex-socialists affected by the fall of the Soviet Union, which was a big disappointment for many socialists. That’s why they began to call themselves anarchists, but we don’t think that this is a good way to approach anarchism, as a critique of socialism.

Between 2000 to 2005 people came together to talk about anarchism in Istanbul and began to ask: “how can we fight?”. At this time we guess that there were 50-100 anarchists living in Turkey and outside.

CW: Can you explain how DAF organises now?

DAF: Now we get 500 anarchists turning up for Mayday in Istanbul. We are in touch with anarchists in Antalya, Eskişehir, Amed, Ankara and İzmir. Meydan [DAF’s newspaper] goes to between 15 and 20 cities. We have a newspaper bureau in Amed, distributing newspapers all over Kurdistan. Until now, it is in Turkish but maybe one day, if we can afford it, we will publish it in Kurdish. We send Meydan to prisons too. We have a comrade in İzmir in prison and we send copies to over 15 prisoners.

A few months ago there was a ban on radical publications in prisons. We participated in demos outside prisons and we managed to make pressure about this and now newspapers are allowed to go into prisons again.

The main issue for DAF is to organise anarchism within society. We try to socialize anarchism with struggle on the streets. This is what we give importance to. For nearly nine years we have been doing this.

On an ideological level we have a holistic perspective. We don’t have a hierarchical perspective on struggles. We think workers’ struggle is important but not more important than the Kurdish struggle or women’s struggles or ecological struggles.

Capitalism tries to divide these struggles. If the enemy is attacking us in a holistic way we have to approach it in a holistic way.

Anarchy has a bad meaning for most people in society. It has a link with terrorism and bombs. We want to legitimize anarchism by linking it to making arguments for struggles against companies and for ecology. Sometimes we try to focus on the links between the state, companies and ecological damages, like the thing that Corporate Watch does.

We like to present anarchy as an organised struggle. We have shown people on the streets the organised approach to anarchism.

From 1989 to 2000 anarchism was about image. About wearing black, piercings and Mohicans. This is what people saw. After 2000, people started to see anarchists who were part of women’s struggles and workers’ struggles.

We are not taking anarchism from Europe as an imitation. Other anarchists have approached anarchism as an imitation of US or European anarchism or as an underground culture. If we want to make anarchist a social movement, it must change.

DAF’s collectives are Anarchist Youth, Anarchist Women, 26A cafe, Patika ecological collective and high school anarchist action (LAF). These self-organisations work together but have their own decision-making processes.

Anarchist Youth makes connections between young workers and university students and their struggles. Anarchist Women focuses on patriarchy and violence to women. For example, a woman was murdered by a man and set on fire last February. On 25 November there were big protests against violence against women.

LAF criticises education and schooling in itself and tries to socialize this way of thinking in high schools. LAF also looks at ecological and feminist issues, including when young women are murdered by their husbands.

PATIKA ecological collective protests against hydro electric dams in the Black Sea region or Hasankey [where the Ilisu dam is being built]. Sometimes there is fighting to prevent these plants from being built.

26A Café is a self organization focusing on anti-capitalist economy. Cafes were opened in 2009 in Taksim and 2011 in Kadıköy [both in Istanbul]. The cafes are run by volunteers. They are aimed at creating an economic model in the place where oppressed people are living. It’s important to show people concrete examples of an anarchist economy, without bosses or capitalist aims. We talk to people about why we don’t sell the big capitalist brands like Coca Cola. Of course the products we sell have a relation to capitalism but things like Coke are symbols of capitalism. We want to progress away from not-consuming and move towards alternative economies and ways of producing.

Another self organisation, PAY-DA – ‘Sharing and solidarity’ – has a building in Kadıköy, which is used for meetings and producing the Meydan newspaper. PAY-DA gives meals to people three times a day. It’s open to anarchists and comrades. The aim of PAY-DA is to become a cooperative, open to everybody. We try to create a bond which also involves the producers in the villages. We aim to have links with these producers and show them another economic model. We try to evolve these economic relations away from money relations. The producers are suffering from the capitalist economy. We are in the first steps of this cooperative and we are looking for producers to work with.

All of these projects are related to DAF’s ideology. This model has a connection with Malatesta’s binary model of organization.

These are anarchist organizations but sometimes people who aren’t anarchists join these struggles because they know ecological or women’s struggles, and then at the end they will learn about anarchism. It’s an evolving process.

As DAF we are trying to organise our lives. This is the only way that we can touch the people who are oppressed by capitalism.

There is also the Conscientious Objectors’ Association, which is organised with other groups, not just anarchists. Our involvement in this has a relation with our perspective on Kurdistan. We organize anti-militarist action in Turkey outside of military bases on 15 May, conscientious objector’s day. In Turkey the military is related to state culture. If you don’t do your military duty, you won’t find a job and it’s difficult to find someone to marry because they ask if you’ve been to the army. If you have been to the army, you’re a ‘man’. People see the state as the ‘Fatherland’. On your CV they ask whether you did military service. ‘Every Turk is born a soldier’ is a popular slogan in Turkey.

CW: Is Kemalism [the ideology associated with Mustafa Kemal] as strong a force as it used to be?

DAF: Kemalism is still a force in schools but the AKP has changed this somewhat. The AKP has a new approach to nationalism focused on the Ottoman Empire. It emphasises Turkey’s ‘Ottoman roots’. But Erdoğan still says that we are ‘one nation, one state, one flag and one religion.’. There is still talk about Mustafa Kemal but not as much as before. Now you cannot criticize Erdoğan or Atatürk [the name used for Kemal by Turkish nationalists]. It’s the law not to criticize Atatürk and the unwritten rule not to criticize Erdoğan. The media follows these rules.

CW: Can you talk about your perspective on the Kurdish freedom struggle?

Kurdish freedom struggles didn’t start with Rojava. Kurdish people have had struggles for hundreds of years against the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish state.

Since the start of DAF we have seen Kurdistan as important for propaganda and education.

Our perspective relates to people’s freedom struggles. The idea that people can create federations without nations, states and empires. The Turkish state says the issue is a Kurdish problem, but for us it is not a Kurdish problem, it’s an issue of Turkish policies of assimilation. It’s obvious that since the first years of the Turkish republic the assimilation of Kurdish people has not stopped. We can see this from the last Roboski massacre [of 34 Kurdish cross-border traders by Turkish F16s on 28 December 2011] by the state during the ‘peace process’. We can see this in the denial of Kurdish identity or the repeated massacres. Making people assimilate to be a Turk and making the propaganda of nationalism.

The AKP [the ruling Justice and Development Party] say they have opened Kurdish TV channels, allowed Kurdish language and that we are all brothers and sisters, but on the other hand we had the Roboski massacre which occurred during their government. In 2006 there was government pressure on Erdoğan at a high level. Erdoğan said that women and children would be punished who go against Turkish policies. Over 30 children were murdered by police and army.

The words change but the political agenda continues, just under a new government. We do not call ourselves Turkish. We come from many ethnic origins and Kurdish is one of them. Our involvement in conscientious objection is part of this perspective. We want to talk to people to prevent people from going to the army to kill their brothers and sisters.

After the 2000s there has been an ideological change in the Kurdish freedom struggle. The Kurdish organizations no longer call themselves Marxist-Leninist and Öcalan has written a lot about democratic confederalism. This is important, but our relation to Kurdish people is on the streets.

CW: Can you talk about DAF’s work in solidarity with people in Rojava?

In July 2012 at the start of the Rojava revolution, people began saying that it was a stateless movement. We have been in solidarity from the first day of the revolution. Three cantons have declared their revolution in a stateless way. We try to observe and get more information. This is not an anarchist revolution but it is a social revolution declared by the people themselves.

Rojava is a third front for Syria against Assad, ISIS and other Islamic groups. But these are not the only groups that the revolution is faced with. The Turkish republic is giving support for ISIS from its borders. The national intelligence agency of the Turkish republic appears to be giving weapons to ISIS and other Islamic groups. Kurdish people declared the revolution under these circumstances.

After the ISIS attack on Kobane began [in 2014] we went to Suruç. We waited at the border as Turkish forces were attacking people crossing. When people wanted to cross the border to or from Kobane they were shot. We stayed there to provide protection.

In October, people gathered near Suruç, and broke through the border. Turkish tanks shot gas over the border at them.

From 6 to 8 October there were Kobane solidarity demonstrations across Turkey. Kader Ortakya, a Turkish socialist supporter of Kobane, was shot dead trying to cross the border.

We helped people. Some people crossed the border from Kobane and had no shelter. We prepared tents, food and clothes for them. Sometimes soldiers came to the villages with tear gas and water cannons and we had to move. Some people came through the border searching for their families and we helped them. Other people came, wanting to cross the border and fight and we helped them. We wore clothing that said we were from DAF on it.

The YPG and YPJ [‘People’s Protection Units’ of Rojava, the YPJ is a women’s militia] pushed ISIS back day by day. Mıştenur hill was very important for Kobane. After the hill was taken by the YPG and YPJ some people wanted to return to Kobane. When they went back their houses had been destroyed by ISIS. Some houses were mined and some people have been killed by the mines. The mines need to be cleared, but by who and how? People need new houses and help. We have had conferences and talked about how to help Kobane. There was a conference two weeks ago in Amed.

CW: What is your position on the elections?

DAF: We do not believe in parliamentary democracy. We believe in direct democracy. We do not support the HDP in the election, but we have links in solidarity with them on the streets.

Emma Goldman said that if elections changed anything they would be illegal. There are good people in the HDP who say good things, but we think that the government can’t be good because the election system isn’t equal.

In Rojava they do not call it an anarchist revolution, but theres no government, no state and no hierarchy, so we believe in it and have solidarity with it.

Can you tell us about the bombing in Suruç [we asked this final question by email weeks after the original interview

Over 30 young people who wanted to take part in reconstruction of Kobane were killed by an ISIS attack. This attack was clearly organised by the Turkish State. They did not even do anything to stop it although they got the information of the attack one month before. Moreover, after the explosion the Turkish State has attacked Rojava and made operations against political organisations in Turkey. Now there are many operations and political pressures on anarchists and socialists and Kurdish organisations. They are using the explosion as a reason to make this political repression on both the domestic and international levels.

We have lost our 33 comrades, friends who struggled for the Rojava Revolution against the state’s repression, denial and politics of massacre. There are people who are killed by state, ISIS and other powers. But our resistance won’t stop, our struggle will continue, as always in history.

Title picture taken from the Crimethinc website

Tales of Spectacular Escapes Audio Book

From Machorka:

adios_prison_blp5-1p

In solidarity with international days of action for anarchist prisoners august 23-30, the mongrel creek gang has recorded Adios Prison: Tales of Spectacular Escapes as a audio book in mp3 format. Its the true stories told by spanish prisoners themselves of five different successful escapes. Compiled inside the FIES prison regime by Juan Jose Garfia and translated and published in english by elephant editions.

Excerpt from the English introduction:

This book talks about freedom, the urgent need for freedom and the impossibility of living without it. It says that freedom must be taken back at all costs and that is exactly what the protagonists of Adios Prison, Spanish prisoners under the infamous FIES regime, did: they took back their freedom using all means necessary, challenging the impossible, ready to kill for it if necessary.

The protagonists of this book are not passive subjects of the prison system, on the contrary they are well aware of the fact that prison is the absolute negation of human dignity. As FIES prisoners they are experiencing directly how human beings will never adapt to life in prison, and their most impelling need is to escape in order to put an end to a situation that is unendurable.

In this sense the crude tales of Adios Prison are particularly important: not only do they offer a lurid picture of the FIES underworld, they also express the fervid determination of some of its captives to get out no matter what the cost, to run to freedom without looking back, knowing that escape is their only possible chance of life.

Another reason for publishing this book in English is to show once again what we have been repeating over and over: that the prison system cannot be reformed or made more humane, but must be destroyed along with the power that justifies its existence.

The mp3 files can be found at https://archive.org/details/Adiosprison It will eventually be permanently hosted at https://resonanceaudiodistro.wordpress.com/

 

Prisons and the Struggles Against Them (regularly updated)

From Dialectical Delinquents:

This page will be subject to regular updates, most notably in the chronology , but also in giving references to interesting texts. So far (22/8/15), in addition to the chronology , I’ve only put in a couple of minor personal experiences related to prison which follows the chronology, and
some other reading material , which will be added to bit by bit. But I wanted to put this out in time for this week’s “solidarity with anarchist prisoners”. 

This is dedicated to Keith LaMar, who in 1993 took part in a prison uprising which united blacks with white “nazis” 1 against the prison system, in which 9 prisoners and one guard died. Keith LaMar has just had his final appeal against the death penalty turned down, and it looks very likely that, after over 22 years, he will be murdered by the state  (look here).

gordon-1 gordon-2 gordon-riots-3

Pictures of the Gordon riots in London 1780, when several prisons were liberated and the buildings set on fire

I’ve put this out as a kind of contribution to the International week of solidarity with anarchist prisoners  (23-30 August). A bit tokenistic maybe – as it’s only an internet page, but  if there’s something going on in my part of the world (Montpellier, France) I’ll probably participate.

And whilst I really like, for instance, this from Emma Sheppard, why limit this solidarity to “anarchist prisoners”? Though obviously people who call themselves anarchists (I’m not one) are more in a position to express practical solidarity with prisoners who they know, do all those prisoners that they know call themselves anarchists? And on the most general level of information and propaganda, it seems  far more worthwhile to address all prisoners, considering the necessity for the abolition of prisons and of the society that requires them. Addressing only anarchist prisoners does not contribute to the necessity to overcome separations between “political” prisoners and other class war prisoners (and the vast majority of those in prison are because of class society, especially property laws). It seems to make a hierarchy between apparently “politically conscious” prisoners and others, even though most anarchists want the abolition of prisons. Which is why below I’ve listed a chronology of all prison-related riots, escapes and other things taken from my News of Opposition page, dating back to March 2013, regardless of whether they involved anarchists or not.

***

Amongst those who claim to want an anti-state revolution, there have been  some who  believe that “after the revolution” there will still be specialists-in-order (anarcho-cops) and prisons. For instance,  leading Libcom admin member Fall Back once called for, “far more complex, modern, well resourced kinds of ‘prisons’ with more progressive aims than currently exist…”communist prisons” …would be a place where people had broken laws would be forcibly detained”. 2 To talk about communist prisons being entirely different from capitalist prisons is like saying the communist State will be entirely different from the capitalist State: here so-called “anarchism” joins Leninism. Incarcerating anti-social leftovers of the mad alienation of class society (the recalcitrant ex-cops, ex-screws, mass-murdering politicians, mass-thieving bourgeoises, rapists, paedophiles, etc.) all in the same hellhole is obviously idiotic. If elements of communal constraint are necessary they will have nothing to do with the brutal repressive reality of prisons throughout history. To think that we’d call such forcible restraint a ‘prison’ is like calling ‘workers’ councils’ (or whatever term you’d like to imagine the future fantasy society to be) ‘the State’ or ‘the government’. This is not just a question of semantic terms but of a break with hierarchical notions and practices of social control. Killing scum is not the same as capital punishment. Forcible restraint is not the same as prison. A margin of rationing (where scarcity is not forced by capitalist property relations but comes about because of, for example, differences between different geographical areas) is not money. Obviously in this future possibility there will be some way of punishing people who act in ways the community they’re part of find unbearable. But it’s not just semantics that separates, say, “grounding” a teenage kid from the idea of putting him/her in prison, but a general attitude that you want social relations to constantly experiment with changes that have some healthy result. If we talk about the abolition of the State that also means abolishing specialists in social control; the task of determining the methods of making it clear to people that certain behaviour is unacceptable will be the task of the whole of the anti-hierarchical community. To ground this in the past and present: what punishments have we received or given that we considered changed a situation for the good? What punishments during intense moments of class struggle have changed situations for the good? What punishments are we prepared to mete out to those we consider beyond the pale? To anyone not clogged up with dominant perspectives, prison isn’t an answer to any of these.


Chronology

This is a chronology of prison riots, hunger strikes and other prison-related matter taken from the News of Opposition page, going back to March 2013.

18/8/15:

Australia, New South Wales: 10 hours of freedom

17/8/15:

South Africa, Gauteng: 5 prisoners awaiting trial escape

escape-from-prison

14/8/15:

Germany, Leipzig: court spray-painted in support of prisoners

Syria, Hama: hundreds of prisoners riot against conditions “…furniture and equipment ransacked and beds turned into barricades to sealed iron gates…. inmates, mostly held on terror-related charges and for joining protests against the state, took control of several major wards and ransacked prison quarters.“

Iran, Tehran: over 500 on hunger strike in new prison

12/8/15:

US, California: riot follows prisoner’s killing of Hugo Pinell, one of the San Quentin 6 politicised prisoners of 1971, a man who’d killed a screw Though this is pure speculation – maybe this was manipulated by screws…? And this seems to confirm something like that…More here “This is revenge,” declared his close friend, fellow Black Panther veteran Kiilu Nyasha, on Hard Knock Radio Aug. 13. “They hated him as much as George Jackson. They beat him constantly, kept him totally isolated for 46 years – no window, no sunlight – but they could never break him, and that’s why they hated him. “The only way he survived was that this man was full of love….He participated in the hunger strikes and applauded the Agreement to End Hostilities, authored by 16 of his comrades, Black, Brown and White, and dated Aug. 12, 2012, three years to the day before he was killed. It has nearly erased racial violence from California prisons.

10/8/15:

Palestine, Jerusalem: activists occupy Red Cross in support of hunger striking prisoner

31/7/15:

Iran, Tehran: 500 on hunger strike in new prison

29/7/15:

US, Arkansas: riot at prison causes hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of improvement

29/7/15:

Eire, Dublin: prisoners take to the roof, riot “…two inmates remained on the prison roof staging a protest. They accessed the roof at around 11am, followed some time later by a linked protest at the B Yard in the west Dublin prison. Some 60 inmates in the yard refused to leave at 12pm. Prison authorities identified a core of 15 ringleaders, who …demolished soccer goals and used the metal posts, along with security razor wiring, as improvised weapons.” At the same time some of the prisoners take hostage and beat up an Afghani refugee.

28/7/15:

Australia, Melbourne: another fire at prison famous for its earlier riot

24/7/15:

UK, Surrey: prison riot

France, Yvelines: report of designer clothes manufacturer-cum-prisoner using his past to gain street cred and trying to calm down angry youths after constant on-off mini-riots This man in his thirties is known to all here. He is extremely active on social networks and in recent months has launched his clothing brand called “For youv”. All this from … his  prison cell  where he’s been  incarcerated for almost thirteen years after a series of robberies. “My past allows me to be credible to those kids”, says youv, who was given permission to organise a barbecue [presumably outside prison] “Burning cars, throwing stones at the police, I did it! And today I am in prison. And believe me, prison is not really an example. ” Sitting in the middle of a group of teenagers consuming a merguez sausage or emptying a coke, the young man commands respect. The kids listen in silence, in awe…. The discussion continues for several minutes. The tone is never preachy. He warns, pacifies, without pointing the finger at one youth or another. “I do not want to appoint blame, I do not want to be in a confrontation. I just use my little notoriety to make things happen in my own way, ” insists youv.  An intervention that could possibly bear fruit amongst this very young audience who are not very sensitive to traditional prevention messages.“

23/7/15:

Algeria, Ouargla: youths attack courtroom and cops after arrests on previous day’s riot “…Comrades [of those previously arrested] … moved to Ouargla Court demanding their immediate release, without further ado …Young people decided to throw stones and other objects at the windows of the court in a sudden escalation of violence which sparked a forceful intervention from the security forces to deter attackers from crossing the boundary wall of the court and to protect the public building. The clashes lasted a good half hour before the youths were pushed outside the perimeter of the court which also has several banks, tax management, the headquarters of the wilaya [kind of prefecture] and the operational area of ​​the army ….The authorities had to close their doors, several businesses pulled down their shutters before the street regained its composure.

17/7/15:

Germany, Berlin: security company car burnt, culmination of other anti-political attacks on cars

15/7/15:

Argentina, Wallmapu: indigenous prisoners in Great Escape

escape-from-prison

11/7/15:

UK, London: SWP/SYRIZA meeting disrupted by anarchist prisoner solidarity group

9/7/15:

Argentina, Tucuman: 20 youths attack police station with sticks and stones, burn or smash 3 cars belonging privately to cops and 2 hijacked vehicles According to this, this attack was made by friends and family of someone who died of asphyxiation in a prison.

5/7/15:

US, Arizona: I have only one burning desire – let me stand next to your fire

4/7/15:

US, Arizona: July 4th celebrations prison-style Problems began July 2 in the medium-security Hualapai Unit of the Arizona State Prison Complex-Kingman when inmates were “non-compliant and caused significant damage” in two housing areas”

South Africa, North West: Famous 5 On Adventure Holiday 

2/7/15:

US: Arizona: 2nd night of riot in prison In Wednesday’s incident, a small group of minimum security inmates were chasing down an inmate when prison staff intervened to stop the assault, Wilder said. The inmates assaulted the officers, and six officers suffered minor injuries.,.. it took a couple of hours to get the prisoners back to their housing units…Thursday’s incident involved many more inmates and turned into a full-blown riot involving an unknown number of inmates…. It took many hours for prison staff and Department of Corrections officers to bring the situation under control, and the prison wasn’t secured until early Friday morning, Wilder said. Three guards were hurt.”

Mexico, Mexico City: prisoners’ hunger strike now in 6th day Pi writes: “A declaration on the sixth day of hunger strike of the “Informal Coordination of Prisoners in Resistance” by Fernando Bárcenas, an anarchist jailed and accused of having burnt a coca-cola tree during a movement against the rise of metro ticket prices. What is pretty interesting is that this new declaration (several have been issued during these last days) clearly states they’re against all prisons and the distinction between “political prisoners” and others.” See 27/6/15 for original declaration.

1/7/15:

Australia, Melbourne: there’s no smoking ban without fire Fire crews have returned to the scene of a blaze at the Metropolitan Remand Centre in Ravenhall, a day after inmates rioted and lit fires at the prison. At least nine CFA and MFB crews were dispatched to the prison about 11am on Wednesday. The incident was declared over and the fire labelled “safe” about 12.20pm…Five inmates were injured when police clashed with as many as 50 armed prisoners in an operation to end the riot about 3am.  Heavily armed police used tear gas, the dog squad and other tactics to quell the riot. Rampaging inmates lit fires, rammed an exit door, and penetrated a control room after guards came under attack at 12.20pm on Tuesday at the prison, 20 kilometres west of Melbourne. …Guards first came under attack at 12.20pm on Tuesday. Up to 300 inmates are believed to have been involved in the riot, but many surrendered to police or prison staff as the situation escalated. More than 100 were still on the loose in the centre at nightfall. They had armed themselves with makeshift weapons found in prison workshops, including metal bars and planks of wood….Several vehicles were believed to have been torched in the rampage, while a fence that divided rival outlaw motorcycle gangs was ripped down at the prison, 20 kilometres west of Melbourne.” More here“Heavily-armed police quelled a riot involving up to 300 inmates at an Australian jail on Wednesday over the introduction of a smoking ban, with a handful of prisoners injured. Melbourne’s Metropolitan Remand Centre remains in lockdown after the 15-hour disturbance when doors were smashed, fires lit and some inmates armed themselves with sticks and iron bars from the jail’s agricultural sheds. Three prison staff received minor injuries and five inmates were taken to hospital, some with dog bites, after police moved in during the early hours of the morning, reportedly using tear gas. Brett Collins, a former prisoner and spokesman for Justice Action, an advocacy group targeting abuse of authority, called the ban “bullying” and “a denial of their rights”. “People are just totally outraged… they have very little to lose” Nearly $8m. worth of damage to state infrastructure “The protest… has on Thursday been described as causing the biggest damage bill from a jail outbreak in Australia….”Everything in there is destroyed, including prisoner files over 20 years old,” the source said. “From what I understand, there is not one thing in that prison that didn’t get broken. I think it was well thought out.”” This report shows that authorities knew that prisoners would riot

30/6/15:

Australia, Melbourne: 300 prisoners riot against smoking ban

27/6/15:

Mexico, Mexico City: prisoners’ hunger strike by the “Informal Coordination of Prisoners in Resistance” begins Very rough translation:

“Today, June 27th, a hunger strike of several prisoners in different prisons of Mexico City has begun. Strike demands focus on…torture and abuse in prisons and the actions of the Commission on Human Rights in the City, the institution which is the prison authorities’ accomplice . Likewise the business conducted with inmates through their sexual exploitation is denounced.

Beyond the differences in methods and strategies (for us prison should not be improved or reformed, but it must be destroyed), in solidarity with the comrades in struggle they …call upon all related organizations, groups and individuals to express solidarity.

Collective Hunger Strike

Informal coordination of Prisoners  in Resistance.

For the following demands:

1) Cease the abuse and torture in all prisons either by word or deed.

2) Termination of the silent repression exercised by the institution in collaboration with the CDHDF (Human Rights Commission of the Federal District)

3) For the people to stop all contact with jailers and / or officials who have been denounced for mistreatment.

4) Total rejection of the austerity measures that are being implemented worldwide, in prisons by various tendencies of economic and political interests.

5) Application of the  Istanbul Protocol on torture to all inmates.

6) Clarification and withdrawal of penal article 148/201H from the sentenced comrade  Jose Santiago Hernández who was sentenced and imprisoned for eight months before reaching his age of majority.

7) That due respect and consideration to the families of the prisoners when they are in the prisons is maintained.

8) No more illicit enrichment, based on the exploitation of prisoners.

9) No more illicit enrichment by officials based on the sexual exploitation of women and men interned in prisons.

10) Breaking the relationship of complicity between the administration and the medical unit; no more neglect and inhuman treatment.

11) Open more opportunities for cultural recreation and artistic projection and paid work for prisoners; the few that exist are elitist ​​and conditioned by the administration.

12) Waiver of staff who actively shapes the Technical Board in all prisons in Mexico City and generate the necessary mechanisms to eliminate corruption and authoritarianism of management and custody.

13) Let us not be judged or repressed for the activities that we protest about because we have always been incited by the malfunction of the penal institution.

14) No more violations of personal data and correspondence for the purpose of extortion, kidnapping, intimidation and confiscation of information material.

Also we denounce the confinement and incommunicado detention that is practiced against fellow prisoner Jessi Alejandro Montaño and we’ll carry out a day of struggle and resistance to make our mark against ignorance and our rejection of prison authority. Side by side with our brothers and sisters,  face to face with the enemy!”

23/6/15:

Lebanon, Beirut: prison riot

21/6/15:

Belgium, Nivelles: 7 prisoners in rooftop protest Their anger is linked to the recent arrival of a fellow prisoner, who enjoys the favours of the prison governor.”

18/6/15:

Canada, Ontario: 6 hour riot in maximum insecurity prison ” Inmates at the maximum security facility in Penetanguishene, Ont., erupted into a random riot Thursday, destroying meal hatch doors, cell doors, phones, duct work and garbage bins in a six-hour incident that was only resolved when a tactical team used pepper spray.”

no-cops-no-prisons

French Guyana: 2nd prison mutiny in 2 days Prisoners refuse to return to their cells, demand improved health conditions (there are rats and coackroaches in the cells), more interesting social activity, end of abuse by guards. More prisoners (189) in protest  than Tuesday’s (see 16/6/15).

17/6/15:

Trinidad & Tobago, Arouca: prison riot “Five officers were badly beaten … Officers were stabbed and one officer’s teeth were broken. T&T Guardian was informed that the prisoners were in possession of weapons crafted by the prisoners. These include shanks made out of tooth brushes and metal objects. The prisoners have barricaded themselves in an area in the prison. The officer said the prisoners have created shields to prevent the officers from harming them if the riot police were to enter. …many prison officers do not want to engage with the prisoners because they fear for their lives. Members of the Riot squad are standing by at Golden Grove to assist if prison officers are unable to contain the situation. A prisoner informed T&T Guardian that the riot ensued following an incident where the prisoners were soaked with water and an Imam was badly beaten inside the prison”

16/6/15:

Egypt, Cairo: arson attack on government building made by black blockers in solidarity with tortured prisoners

French Guyana: 74 prisoners refuse to return to cells in protest especially against screw’s union (Force Ouvriere) starving them by blocking food delivery

14/6/15:

UK, Rutland: 6 hour riot by about 100 prisoners “Up to 60 prison inmates attacked officers and started fires during a six hour riot at the weekend…It would appear there were over 100 prisoners involved in the riot”……More here A prison officer has been hurt in a riot in Rutland involving scores of inmates. Police and fire crews were called in after small blazes were lit during the disturbance. Order was not restored until screws  specially-trained in brutal methods of inflicitng pain intervened. The defender of ruling class “justice” who was assaulted was treated in hospital and discharged on Sunday night, while four prisoners were taken to hospital  after a savage beating, and two screws were treated for smoke inhalation.  Around 30 inmates have been transferred to other prisons far away from friends and relatives to be beaten by cowards in uniform. A Prison Service PR manipulator said: “A serious incident of insubordinate lack of servilitiy  on one wing at HMP Stocken was resolved by a specially trained gang of ruling class protection racketeers. ….” [translated from the original Massmediatese]

13/6/15:

US, Missouri: 31 railway wagons carrying coal derailed   part of solidarity with anarchist prisoners, apparently (see discussion below this latter article on how useful/stupidly dangerous such actions are/could be)

12/6/15:

Belgium, Brussels: arson attack on prison building company

9/6/15:

France, Val d’Oise: small deliberate fire, screws attacked, in prisonLimoges: 10 Eurovia-Vinci construction engines destroyed by arson Damage is estimated at over a million euros.  Threats have been made and sent to various companies involved in building the airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Among the listed companies, there were Eurovia and Vinci. Vinci is particularly involved in the construction of prisons.

limoges-engines

Limoges

8/6/15:

Thailand: prison revolt; 1 prisoner killed, 5 guards injured, as prisoners protest overcrowding etc.

7/6/15:

Kyrgyzstan, Bishtek: prison riot over failure of doctor to turn up

Brazil, Rio: 2 die in prison riot over overcrowding More here The riot broke out in the Governador Valadares prison of the Minas Gerais state during visiting hours on Saturday morning and ended after a 21-hour standoff, leaving two inmates dead, according to the local Social Defense Secretariat. During the incident, a group of inmates broke security railings and invaded administration offices to protest the overcrowding of the prison, which, with a capacity for 290, holds some 800 inmates. In the end police launched an operation to regain control, using tear gas bombs and a helicopter”

6/6/15:

Bedfordshire: fence round Yarls Wood prison for migrants torn down

yarls-wood

US, New York: 2 prisoners have a nice day

31/5/15:

US, Florida: riot in teenage girls’ detention centre One of the girls managed to steal keys from a member of the detention staff, enabling them to open doors inside the facility and allowing the other defendants to engage in multiple counts of battery”

28/5/15:

Nigeria, Zaria: prison riot

27/5/15:

Brazil, Caruaru: 2 teenagers killed in mattress-burning riot at prison for juveniles

France, Paris: JCDecaux (company collaborating in prison building) truck burnt out

26/5/15:

France, New Caledonia: prison riot following suicide

19/5/15:

US, California: 200 prisoners riot (not at all clear what this was about or what happened)

16/5/15:

UK, Wrexham: engines of construction equipment for site of proposed new prison (Europe’s 2nd largest) destroyed The mega-prison, if built, will cage more than 2100 human beings at any one time. Multiple large diggers and construction equipment had their engines destroyed. Slogans were sprayed on the half-built prison fences including ‘Fuck Lend Lease’ and ‘Fire to the Prisons’. This is a warning to any company large or small that that is involved in the North Wales Prison Project, or any other prison building scheme that the state initiates. You are a target and you will feel the venom of the working classes fighting back.”

13/5/15:

Russia, Bashkortostan: 2nd prison riot against phoney enquiry into 1st “More than 100 inmates held at a maximum-security prison in the city of Salavat in Bashkortostan, also known as Bashkiria, broke windows and wreaked havoc, some of them climbing onto the roof on the security guards’ dormitory”

11/5/15:

Zimbabwe, Harare:  prison riot, 5 dead (no real information here)

10/5/15:

US, Nebraska: prison riot as 2 prisoners are found deadSeveral disruptions followed in various housing units, resulting in small fires and property damage, prison officials said. … “The inmates have taken over the prison.” More here“We’ve pretty much taken the whole prison,” Frank told the newspaper. He said that no prison employees were inside the housing unit and described the scene, saying: “The ceilings are fallen. There’s drywall on fire. There’s cameras torn down,” according to the Journal Star.Foster told the Omaha World-Herald that inmates had gained access to an office with a phone. At some point during the disturbance, a second inmate was injured by a rubber projectile”

9/5/15:

Iraq, Baghdad: prison riot – 6 cops & 30 prisoners dead; 40 escape

6/5/15:

Russia, Nizhny Novgorod: riot of prisoners with TB “…at least one prisoner has been killed and 15 injured as a result of a riot at a prison facility for inmates with tuberculosis…eight inmates were seriously injured….Authorities said about 100 inmates set fire to two facilities on May 6, smashed security cameras, broke furniture, and attacked other prisoners…. tuberculosis-afflicted prisoners have been forced to work up to 12 hours a day there.”

4/5/15:

US, California: prison riot (no context for this riot) More here

28/4/15:

US, Seattle: juvenile prison construction truck burnt in solidarity with Baltimore

19/4/15:

Lebanon, Beirut: prison riot “…Asked about what triggered the riots, he replied: “The inhumane overcrowding at the block is one of the reasons.” The block is harboring 1,100 prisoners, while it only has the capacity for 400, he revealed.  …. “The riot is over and it will not reoccur,” he pledged. The first riot at block D took place on Friday where inmates seized the master key at the facility and opened all doors at the building. They also briefly held hostage a number of officers. Roumieh, the oldest and largest of Lebanon’s overcrowded prisons, has witnessed sporadic prison breaks and escalating riots in recent years as inmates living in poor conditions demand better treatment.”

15/4/15:

US, Ohio: partial victory for prison hunger strikers

7/4/15:

Greece, Athens: anarchists torch cars, fight cops in movement supporting anarchist prisoners (video here – tasteless, horrifying, shocking, nauseating …but that’s enough about the music – the video is interesting) Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Giannis Panousis requested Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ intervention in order to address the riots issue, while he even hinted that he may resign if Tsipras does not take any action. “The Prime Minister must decide which side he wishes to support and which he will leave behind,” he said. Panousis also stressed that the anti-authoritarians want someone to die so that they will be able to repeat the episodes that occurred in 2008 after the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos.”

1/4/15:

Greece: various public buildings occupied by anarchists in different parts of the country Around 20 people entered the courtyard of the parliament building in central Syntagma square…. they left after about five minutes. They scattered flyers and chanted slogans including for the immediate release of “Xiros”. Savas Xiros is serving multiple life terms for his role in the November 17 group, which killed Greek, US and British diplomats before being dismantled in 2002. …Protesters also called for the end to high security prisons, which the new Syriza government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has vowed to scrap. Small groups took over Syriza offices in the southern town of Patras, the office of a governing lawmaker in the Cretan capital Heraklion as well as the town hall in a suburb of Athens…Protesters also occupied part of a university in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, and have been occupying the offices of one of Athens’ main universities since Monday.” (video here) It should be pointed out that there are many currents of “anarchism” in Greece, including Leninoid-type shitheads who totally oppose looting. Also, see this mainstream journalistic take on these occupations “…there are signs government patience with the protests is finally wearing thin. The prolonged seizure of the Athens’ administrative building since March 30 prompted exasperated employees to stage a march last Wednesday outside their occupied offices. …”This hasn’t happened for years now — not in this manner,” said university vice-rector Thomas Sphicopoulos of the occupation. “We can’t work, and the university was already in a very difficult situation due to budget cuts.” Other demonstrating employees were more pointed in their anger at the government for not intervening. “Where is the respect for liberty, and where is the state?” fumed one university staffer who asked to remain anonymous.”

A friend in Greece wrote, referring  to the above link: The demonstration of the “exasperated university employees” against the main university occupation mentioned in the link you sent was actually very small. Most of the employees were  either indifferent or supportive of the anarchists (without taking  part in the occupation).” 

30/3/15:

Greece, Athens: anarchists occupy Athens University as part of anti-prison movement

28/3/15:

Greece, Athens: another riot in support of hunger striking prisoners

18/3/15:

Australia, New South Wales: small riot at detention centre “Thursday’s resolution to the disruption inside the centre came after several days of rising tension. TVs were ripped from wall mountings and at least one fire lit in a rubbish bin.”

UK, Doncaster: report showing that riot squad was called to Doncaster prison 8 times last year

17/3/15:

Greece, Athens: anarchists confront riot cops in support of anarchist hunger strikers in prison

16/3/15:

US, Florida: small riot in juvenile prison

13/3/15:

Greece, Athens: anarchists occupy Athens Law School in support of prisoners

Zimbabwe, Harare: prisoners set fire to part of maximum security prison; 3 screws hurt

11/3/15:

Honduras, Tegicigalpa: 3 prisoners killed by cops etc. during prison riot “About 400 officers and military troops sent to the San Pedro Sula prison to restore order were met by gunfire from within the facility and pelted with stones and other projectiles, said a spokesman for the Honduras National Police”

10/3/15:

Bahrain: report in April of a prison riot on this day and its  horrendous consequences

9/3/15:

Greece, Athens: anarchists leave Syriza HQ, having occupied it in support of anarchist prisonersanother anarchist joins hunger strike

UK, Durham: mini-riot in young offenders prison “…inmates reportedly began throwing pool balls and lighting fires during the disturbance….prison guards had to withdraw because of the trouble….”The prisoners began throwing pool balls at them. A couple of inmates were injured and also a considerable amount of damage caused.”

8/3/15:

Greece, Athens: anarchists take over Syriza HQ in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners (more here) (video here)

7/3/15:

Afghanistan, Jawzjan: 3 cops killed (by prisoners) and a prisoner killed (by cops) as prisoners riot against search operation; 6 other cops wounded, and a prison”health” centre set on fire

Greece, Corinth: cops fire tear gas as demonstrators break into refugee detention camp

2/3/15:

France, Montreuil: truck belonging to prison construction company burnt

UK, London: Get Out Of Jail Free card played, then revoked

28/2/15:

UK, Swindon: riot cops pelted with missiles as they stop rave party (more here)…  Staffordshire: report on January prison riot

US, Nevada: Riot Of Passage youth detention centre; fires lit, 4 escape

21/2/15:

US, Texas: 100s of  prisoners make prison “uninhabitable” after seizing part of the prison An official says as many as 2,800 inmates will be moved to other facilities one day after several hundred prisoners seized control of part of a federal prison in South Texas. Inmates were participating in a protest that escalated into throwing objects, burning bedding, and destroying bullet-proof tent structures…In addition, correctional officers released a “chemical agent” to disperse the unruly crowd that were ineffective due to wind conditions…..U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Ed Ross says in a statement that the Willacy County Correctional Center in Raymondville is now “uninhabitable due to damage caused by the inmate population.” … a peaceful resolution may take days or weeks to resolve….The inmates being held at the facility are described as “low-level” offenders who are primarily immigrants in the U.S. illegally.”  More information here….And here

Eire, Dublin: imprisoned water protesters on hunger strike (see also this nicely expressed  article)

20/2/15:

US, Texas: about 2000 prisoners “riot” The disturbance began Friday morning when inmates at the Willacy County Correctional Center refused to report to work or appear for breakfast…some of the prisoners were protesting medical services at the facility. The prison, located in Raymondville, about 40 miles northeast of the border town of McAllen, has been used to hold immigrant detainees…Soon after that, several inmates broke out of their housing units and went out into the recreation yard. About 2,000 prisoners are believed to have joined the protest…Officers deployed tear gas, and two officers and three inmates sustained minor injuries…“We are attempting to speak with the offenders to bring a peaceful solution to this incident,” Arnita said late Friday night. “The facility remains secured with no danger to the public.”…Earlier in the day, the riot prompted school officials to place three nearby schools on lockdown.” More here “Spence said the situation could last the whole weekend. “It’s calm right now, but with caution,” Spence said. “It could explode any minute.”…many offenders broke out of the housing structures and went to the recreation yard. Inmates set fire to three of the 10 prison tents, causing minor damage, officials said. …“There’s been some shots fired. Guards on top of the tower were firing. What they were using as ammunition, I have no idea,” Spence told the Valley Morning Star….In June 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union released a study that found inmates of these little-known prisons suffer from a lack of medical care….Prisoners interviewed by the ACLU complained of delayed medical care, guards using solitary confinement to punish those who are ill or who complained about squalid and cramped living conditions, and interference by prison officials with inmates trying to correspond with or meet with lawyers, the report says. Most of those in custody are charged either with illegally re-entering the country or with nonviolent drug crimes”

9/2/15:

France, Bordeaux: 45 JCDecaux advertising panels smashed  (JCDecaux is a company involved directly in the super-exploitation of prisoners)

5/2/15:

Brazil, Couiba: “Jailbait Jailbreak” – screws get screwed, but not how they wanted to – the dominators get dominated

27/1/15:

Italy, Turin: demonstrators block road in front of prison as 47 anti-TAV protesters are condemned to 140 years in prison altogether (plus massive fines)

22/1/15:

South Africa, Paarl, near Cape Town: prisoners stab 10 guards in retaliation for killing of prisoner

19/1/15:

Brazil, Recife: prisoner and prison guard killed during riot “The violence erupted in a Recife jail when an orderly protest broke down, and was brought under control only after police arrived. One officer died of a bullet wound in hospital, while details surrounding the inmate’s death were not released. ….Gunfire and explosions were heard coming from inside the prison, and G1 Globo newsportal showed a helicopter with an armed official flying overhead. Brazilian jails have faced a string of riots in recent months. The system’s 563,000 inmates make Brazil’s prison population the fourth-largest after the United States, China and Russia, according Amnesty International….”

18/1/15:

Papua New Guinea: Manus Island concentration camp prisoners barricade themselves in against Australian security guard attack (see link for 14/1/15)

Manus-island-banner

14/1/15:

Australia, Manus Island: report of 500 concentration camp prisoners on hunger strike

5/1/15:

UK, Liverpool:  3 screws get screwed

4/1/15:

Australia, Darwin: small riot in teenage prison

1/1/15:

US, Pennsylvania: teenage prisoners  riot in “adolescent treatment centre”Santa Cruz: anti-cop protesters smash up County Jail vehicles

Germany, Leipzig: Deutsche Bank stoned in solidarity with anarchists imprisoned in Spain

30/12/14:

Spain, Canary Islands: solidarity actions in solidarity with anarchists imprisoned in Spain

27/12/14:

Spain, Barcelona: demonstration against state arrests of anarchists – windows of banks, hotels and posh shops broken, barricades of containers; demos in several other cities, including Madrid, Zaragoza, Burgos, Castellón and Segovia 

10/12/14:

South Africa, Gauteng: well-crafted escapist story

9/12/14:

Greece: victory for movement of solidarity with anarchist hunger striker

Russia, Chelyabinsk: 100 prisoners riot

5/12/14:

Greece, Athens: anti-state riot in support of anarchist hunger striking prisoner (slightly absurd but kind of funny video here)

2/12/14:

Greece, Athens: solidarity demo for anarchist prisoner on hunger strike –  overturned bus, burning cars used as barricades, National Bank attacked, etc.

athens-dec-2-14

Athens

28/11/14:

Venezuela: report of prison hunger strike turning into  prison riot questions state’s version of how at least 13 prisoners died

27/11/14:
20/11/14:
7/11/14:

3/11/14:

France, Yvelines: premises of prison-building company destroyed in arson attack

30/10/14:

France, Rennes: several bus shelters broken,  on demo about Remi Fraisse’s murder

One of the reasons bus shelters are constantly attacked is the fact that they’re constructed by JCDecaux, which exploits prisoners (JCDecaux also use the bus shelters for advertising other commodities, from where they obviously make massive profits)

rennes-buss-shelters

24/10/14:

Dominican Republic, San Cristobal: 4 prisoners killed by screws as 10 escape during riot

Turkey, Izmit: prisoners burn cells in riot

23/10/14:

Paris: various attacks on companies that exploit prisoners or are involved in attacks on immigrants

14/10/14:

Brazil, Parana  state:  prison riot/rooftop protestscrews accidentally fall down stairs to the cells

10/10/14:

Nigeria, Lagos: major prison protest against  governor;  5 escaped prisoners killed “…  five inmates of the prison who managed to escape through the fence were killed….the aggrieved inmates started agitating against the way the out going Deputy Controller managed their affairs. They reportedly accused him of being high-handed. It was learnt that during the process, the inmates started stoning their top officials, leading to pandemonium in and around the prison. Eyewitnesses said they also held some of the officials hostage before embarking on the destruction of some offices inside the prison including that of the chief warder which was looted and razed down.” (more here)

3/10/14:

UK, Kent: uninformative report of major prison riot; screw stabbed

29/9/14:

Morocco, occupied Dakhla: cops launch tear gas at protest against death of political prisoner

25/9/14:

Chile, Puente Alto: prison riot

20/9/14:

Australia, New South Wales: prison riot

17/9/14:

Bolivia: riot and massive rooftop and courtyard protest at prison against screws’ theft of money and other belongings (video) More here  and here

South Africa, Rustengerg: 16 illegal aliens escape from jail

14/9/14:

France, Paris: vehicle belonging to prison collaborator company burnt out

11/9/14:

France, Paris: van belonging to prison building and management firm burnt

3/9/14:

US, Nashville: riot in juvenile prison, 6 escape (video) “Juvenile offenders, armed with sticks and poles, busted out of their dorms. Six teens became a mob of two-dozen. Swat teams posted outside watched some rioters shoot off fire extinguishers. Others chased away and attacked unarmed guards. Two staff members were hurt…. James Henry is the commissioner of Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services. He said for the second time this week, teens got loose by kicking out aluminum panels under windows….”When they came out of their rooms they breached the door and they got out. They were able to knock those doors out again because they’d done it the night before very quickly.” On Monday night, thirty-two teens escaped the same facilityThey busted out of their dorms, pulled up a section of chain link fence, and ran for a nearby highway. Six of those escapees remain at large.”

24/8/14:

Brazil, Parana: prison rioters take 2 guards hostage, apparently kill 4 prisoners, beheading 2 of them “the food is bad, there are no lawyers to work their trials, no basic hygiene materials”

brazil-prison-riot-aug-24-2014

prison rooftop protest, Parana, Brazil

21/8/14:

Australia, Darwin: tear gas used against teenagers’ mini-riot in prison

12/8/14:

US, New  York: prison riot over missed TV shows

8/8/14:

Panama: multimillionnaire fraudster trampled in prison riot

26/7/14:

UK, Retford: prison rioters take control of entire cell block

16/7/14:

Brazil, Bahia, Amargosa: after cops kill a  1 year-old girl, crowds seize the police station, take the cops’ weapons, liberate the 16 prisoners there, torch the station, then burn 30 motorbikes and 19 other vehicles “The violence forced the police chief, judge and prosecutor of Amargosa, located in Bahia state, to take refuge in a hotel.”

14/7/14:

Belgium, Steenokkerzeel: prison riot as screws refuse to respect Ramadan fasting hours

burn-prisons-hug-cqts

2/7/14:

Kazhakstan: prison riot for the right not to work

1/7/14:

Greece: prisoners’ hunger strike called off

30/6/14:

Greece: more on prisoners’ struggle

27/6/14:

Israel: 1000 refugees march to Egyptian border to protest indefinite detention in prison camp

25/6/14:

Greece, Thessaloniki: burning barricades erected in solidarity with prisoners’ hunger strike

24/6/14:

Greece: hunger strike against maximum security jail  by 3800 prisoners...solidarity demohere it claims that the strike is being followed by 90% of prisoners, though I suspect that’s an exaggeration; it also mentions that a banking agency was attacked in Volos in solidarity with the prisoners (June 6th) …list of videos concerning Greek prisons

France, Pantin (93): Bouygues prison construction lorry set alight

22/6/14:

Venezuela, Caracas: very violent prison riot

20/6/14:

Palestine: Palestinian Authority violently disperses demonstration in solidarity with Israel’s prison hunger strikers

7/6/14:

France, Toulouse: several molotovs thrown at detention centre for expulsion of illegals

2/6/14:

Australia, Christmas Island: week-long protest by asylum seekers shut down by authorities (more here)…for more about asylum seekers in Australia, see this

1/6/14:

Palestine: shops on strike in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners

31/5/14:

Palestine, Tulkarem: dozens of Palestinian protesters in solidarity with hunger strikers hospitalised by IDA tear gas

27/5/14:

US, California: prison riot

19/5/14:

France, Paris: 453 tyres  belonging to JCDecaux bike and ad company that super-exploits prisoners punctured as part of ongoing campaign against them

18/5/14:

France, Paris: 2 vehicles belonging to companies involved in repressive social control torched

13/5/14:

UK, Peterhead: 14 hour prison riot (more here and here)

5/5/14:

Australia, Queensland: prison riot

2/5/14:

UK, Harmondsworth: mass hunger strike at immigration detention centre

1/5/14:

Egypt: thousands of prisoners stage protests against prison conditions and “justice” violations

30/4/14:

Bahrain, Sitra and Sanabis: protests in solidarity with female prisoners

22/4/14:

US, Alabama: prisoner trying to organise prison strike  “taken out of his cell … placed in solitary, without clothing or a bed, in retaliation… ” Phone warden Carter Davenport on (001) 205-467-6111 to tell him what you think of his slave empire…though one has to wonder what kind of tactical considerations  this prisoner was thinking of by announcing the proposed strike on the internet before it was supposed to take place, as if it wasn’t obvious that this would allow the authorities to make sure it never happened and to victimise him.

Paraguay: guards kill 2 during prison riot

17/4/14:

Australia, Albany: prison riot

US, Alabama: prisoners announce impending strike against “slave empire” “We decided that the only weapon or strategy … that we have is our labor, because that’s the only reason that we’re here…They’re incarcerating people for the free labor.” (article here on some aspects of why prison rate is so high in Alabama…and this IWW statement shows some of the horrendous miseries of prison life there: “The conditions in Alabama prisons are horrendous, packing twice as many people as the 16,000 that can be housed “humanely”, with everything from black mold, brown water, cancer causing foods, insect infestations, and general disrepair. They are also run by free, slave labor, with 10,000 incarcerated people working to maintain the prisons daily, adding up to $600,000 dollars a day, or $219,000,000 a year of slave labor if inmates were paid federal minimum wage, with tens of thousands more receiving pennies a day making products for the state or private corporations.” However,  it has this bizarre sentence: “the struggle of these brave human beings is the same as the millions of black, brown, and working class men, women, and youth struggling to survive a system they are not meant to succeed within.”, which implies that “black”, “brown” and “working class” are separate categories., though perhaps it’s a typo – maybe they unintentionally missed out “white” before “working class”.

UK, Berkshire:  riot in Broadmoor kept quiet for 9 months

16/4/14:

Iraq, Tikrit: prison riot

14/4/14:

Vietnam, Ca Mau: prison riot involving over 300 prisoners lasts 6 hours

2/4/14:

Papua New Guinea: student demo for political prisoners broken up by cops; students relatiate with stones, etc.

28/3/14:

UK, Northumberland: prisoners take control of part of prison wingBrighton: kids given detention for going on strike during teachers’ strike

22/3/14:

UK, Doncaster: 6-hour prison riot

21/3/14:

San Francisco: anti-jail demo – police vehicles & jail vandalized with rocks, spray paint & paintbombs

11/3/14:

US, California: prison riotWashington: imprisoned immigrants on hunger strike could be force-fed

2/3/14:

Saudi Arabia: riot in migrant workers’ detention centre (more here

1/3/14:

US, Seattle: Department of Corrections graffitied with “destroy all prisons”

26/2/14:

Papua New Guinea: more about the Manus Island asylum seekers’ riot (video)

24/2/14:

Greece: hunger strike by prison hospital prisoners

22/2/14:

Papua New Guinea: video of and about the imprisoned asylum seekers’ riot

17/2/14:

Kyrgyzstan: riot in mental hospital (ie a prison) – 6 – 9  cops injured; patients (ie prisoners) barricade themselves in

14/2/14:

Papua New Guinea: on the island of Manus asylum seekers  confront cops, escape from detention centre,burn part of the centre, destroy tents, smash fences (more here)

Indonesia, Aceh: 100s of prisoners riot

13/2/14:

Brazil, Pernambuco :  prison riot against miserable conditions; 2 prisoners killed

10/2/14:

United States, Illinois hunger strikers in the prison now refuse liquid  ( see also this)

7/2/14:

United States, Georgia 1000 prisoners begin a hunger strike against the brutality of the prison guards (Illinois: in another prison, there was a fairly short-lived hunger strike)

6/2/14:

Kenya , Nairobi : clashes between prisoners and screws

7/1/14:

US, Alabama: prisoners use contraband cellphones to spread their protest through the internet

6/1/14:

US, Alabama: prison protests against slave labour and insanitary conditions spread

UK, Wolverhampton: riot  in prison previously known for rooftop protest (“incident resolved“) …more detailed  information here and here

4/1/14:

Sri Lanka: 27 prisoners in rooftop  protest

US, Alabama: protest strikes against slave labour in 2 prisons

30/12/13:

Angola: large riot in Viana jail (no further information, but this jail is notoriously brutal)

19/12/13:

US, Ohio: arrests in protests against detention of undocumented immigrants

18/12/13:

Georgia: 900 prisoners go on hunger strike

17/12/13:

Israel: 100s of undocumented African migrants flee detention centre (Sunday) to march and  demonstrate (Monday)…..and next day (today) dozens of them demonstrate in  Jerusalem outside PM’s office (more here)

14/12/13:

Indonesia: 100s of inmates at Palopo penitentiary, South Sulawesi, attack officers, set fire to parts of  building

11/12/13:

US, San Jose: prisoners go on hunger strike over visitation misery (lasts a week)

3/12/13:

US, Nebraska: protesting a policy limiting the number of prisoners allowed in the yard at one time, 33 prisoners at Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln refuse to return to their cells after dinner and set small fires in trash cans.
-KHAS TV (no link)

29/11/13:

Canada, New Brunswick: rocks thrown at cops during  anti-shale gas demo blocking highway for several hours (see also this)

27/11/13:

UK, Shropshire: prisoners in rooftop protest

21/11/13:

US, Arkansas: frustrated inmates in C-Pod at Baxter County Jail in Mountain Home, Arkansas broke sprinkler heads, lights, and a window, and flooded their cells.
-The Baxter Bulletin  (no link for this)

17/11/13:

UK: report of 189 prison uprisings in 2012; screws moan about their lack of monopoly of violence… It’s only by the grace of the Devil that a guard hasn’t been killed ….

US, Missouri: report of hunger strike by prisoners Another report (no link) said, “Fifteen inmates at Potosi Correctional Center in Missouri went on a week-long hunger strike to protest neglect, sanitation issues, and physical abuse by guards. Thirty-five inmates there also signed a petition in support of the strikers’ cause.”

7/11/13:

Trinidad and Tobago: prison officer killed, prisoners being starved in consequence

2/11/13:

Saudi Arabia: prison riot

UK, Maidstone: prison riot – screws “feared for their lives” (more here on the apparent pretext for this riot)…smallish disturbance at Rye prison

30/10/13:

Dubai: prisoners on hunger strike

29/10/13:

Turkey: riot in women’s prison

22/10/13:

Yemen: prison riot, director of investigations badly injured, after director of investigations threatens to ban  visits and limit water and medicine 

US, Illinois: 40  prisoners at Pontiac Correctional Center go on hunger strike ” A Chicago activist group says the prisoners have no heat, and they’re being denied personal hygiene supplies. They’re also upset they have to pay a fee to use nail clippers shared by all inmates. Correctional officers say they’re monitoring the health of all prisoners refusing to eat”. Apparently a radio report said something along the following lines: “Upset over the current grievance officer, inadequate sanitary supplies, no programs for prisoners in long-term segregation, and a poor recreation environment…prisoners at Pontiac Correctional Center in Illinois went on hunger strike.” 

10/10/13:

Brazil: prison uprising repressed – at least 10 prisoners killed (some reports say that these killings were caused by gang rivalries…who knows? but this report implies that it was a mixture of both  the authorities and the gangs that did it, but claims that in the local town where the prison is situated, 7 buses were set alight in relation to this riot )

4/10/15:

Turkey: fiery prison protest

3/10/13:

Canada: prisoners strike over pay cut spreads to 3 other areas

1/10/13:

Canada: prisoners go on strike against 30% pay cut (from $3 per day down to just over $2)immigrants go on hunger strike in Ontario prisons

21/9/13:

UK, Worcestershire: stand off with screws in Hewell prison, Redditch, has riot cops called

14/9/13:

USA, Florida: riot at juvenile detention centre Officials at Gulf Coast Treatment Center juvenile detention facility in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida reported rioting youth there threw chairs, flipped tables, damaged jail property, and used a seized staffer’s radio to communicate with guards.

10/9/13:

UK, Cumbria: prison rooftop protest

9/9/13:

Syria, Homs: prison riot

24/8/13:

UK, Aylesbury: 6-hour ‘siege’ as  prisoners riot

20/8/13:

France: attempted prison takeover by prisoners in Chateaudun 

19/8/13:

US, Florida, Polk County: riot wrecks youth detention centre

18/8/13:

Indonesia, Sumatra: prison riot

USA, Florida: 18 buildings destroyed in juvenile prison riot

16/8/13:

Bahrain: rison riot

US, California: prison hunger strike hits its 40th day

15/8/13:

UK, Sussex: anti-frackers win temporary victory as the fracking company pretends to be concerned about safety

10/8/13:

Greece: riot at immigration centre  …. (some escaped)

9/8/13:

Burundi: 2 prison riots

8/8/13:

India, Delhi: riot at juvenile prison …riot at Uttar Pradesh adult prison after suicide

5/8/13:

USA, Alaska: cells flooded as  prisoners smash toilets etcOakland: solidarity demo with Californian prisoners’ hunger strike blocks state building (more here)

Canada, Newfoundland: small riot at prison

3/8/13:

Indonesia, Jakarta: prison riot and escape  attempt

1/8/13:

France: short heated prison riot

27/7/13:

USA, California: hunger striker dies after being refused medical attention

23/7/13:

Ivory Coast: prisoners riot, set fire to cells and almost kill guard; 3 prisoners killed by guards

19/7/13:

Australia, Nauru: $60m damage to asylum centre in island riot

14/7/13:

UK, Kent: riot at prison – screw stabbed and 2 others injured

11/7/13:

Indonesia, Sumatra: 200 prisoners escape after firey riot

30/6/13:

Vietnam: prison seized by prisoners for a few hours

3/6/13:

US, California: prison riot – screws kill  prisoner

1/6/13:

New Zealand: prison riot 

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30/5/13:

Pakistan: prisoners destroy wall, attack screws and top bureaucrats

13/5/13:

Kenya: asylum detention centre inmates make a radical critique of  conventional notions of mental health

12/5/13:

Thaïland, Bangkok: attempt at prison escape and riot

6/5/13:

Uganda: prison riot and escape

13/4/13:

Guatanomo Bay: confrontations between prison guards and prisoners as hunger strikers are forcefed

7/4/13:

USA:  demo in support of hunger strikers in  Guatanomo Bay  block traffic  hunger strikers forcefed …demos

21/3/13: 

Papua New Guinea: 49 escape as prisoners protest against conditions

18/3/13:   

Eire: riot in a small prison

17/3/13:

Thailand: 400 riot cops put down riot by 50 prisoners

15/3/13:

Guantanamo Bay: prisoners’ hunger strike now in its 2nd month  (more here )

12/3/13:

Sri Lanka: massive prison hunger strike and protest on the roof

11/3/13:

Iraq: prison riot in Abou Ghraib, Baghdad

A couple of  very minor personal experiences

1.

At the age of 19, I had my only very short-lived  experience of  being imprisoned.  I’d been arrested for “insulting behaviour” putting on a “guerrillla theatre”-type agit-prop play outside a school in Kings Cross, which caused a semi-riot. We were packed off to Ashford Remand Centre, even though our parents had turned up in court to put up surety for the bail which most of us had been granted (the only one of us that wasn’t was a couple of years older than us, the only one of us who was from a working class background – he went to Brixton for a week before bail was granted). Ashford, though technically a “remand centre” was no different from an ordinary prison – prison gate, barbed wire on the fencing, etc. There we were made to have a public cough ‘n’ drop medical inspection. In fact, this was the most humiliating moment for me – being forced to undress in a hallway surrounded by cells consisting solely of bars (no walls) and being examined naked whilst being stared at by several screws and prisoners whilst my balls were held by a doctor to see if I’d had a hernia or something (being a virgin probably made me feel even more anxious about being naked in front of so many people).  And then made to have a semi-public bath. We then had to wear prison clothes: my trousers were far too big – I had to permanently hold them to stop them falling down (no belts allowed), and my shoes were far too small, cramping my toes.

The cell smelled half the time of piss – someone had thrown out his slpping out pot out of the cell above and the piss had hit the outward opening window, hinged at the bottom, and the piss had run back down into my cell.  Unable to sleep due to the proximity of London airport and a railway line (though the window was too far up to look out of), plus the ever-echoing sound of slamming doors or footsteps along the concrete corridor, I somehow half-composed the following in my mind (no pens or paper and only a Western, with half the pages torn out, to read) and wrote it up properly as soon as I got out – a slightly pretentious poetic-type of attempt at something influenced by the surrealists, but which, despite its literary rhetorical style, also genuinely expresses some life-affirming emotions:

SOCIETY IS A PRISON – OPEN UP THE PRISONS!
There is no freedom for the enemies of freedom, the slaves of their hate and fear of freedom. Inside the corridors of tyranny the jackboots, the truncheons, the barred windows, the barred wire, the barbed wire, the 40 foot high double electrified fencing – are all screaming out the admittance of THEIR failure to exterminate OUR minds. Their judgements, their amnesties, their reprieves, their mercy – are the judgements, the amnesties, the reprieves, the mercy of the dead to the living – the dead beckoning the living to join them in the graveyard. Soon, from the warm comfort of their coffins, six foot under, they will wake up to find their nightmares becoming reality – obscene words painted on their gravestones, shit smeared over the epitaph, and finally their coffins disinterred and thrown into the burning streets. Soon freedom, the imagination, bruised, castrated, decapitated, buried alive in the dungeons of Pentonville and Ashford – soon, the imagination running riot, shall rise up, shatter the walls and gates, smash the locks, burn down the factories of pain and misery, and seize total power! The dictatorship of the imagination!

It was only 24 hours, but when it’s your first time in prison and you’ve got no idea how long you’ll be there, and you’ve never known anyone who’s been inside, it was a little worrying, though it was the boredom I remember most, because we were kept isolated for most of the time. I was so naïve, I remember being really outraged at the fact that teenagers were kept in prison without bail for 6 months or more before trial, at which they were often let off. (see this, for the context of this arrest and the subsequent trial).

2. On July 14th 2013, I was in St.Louis with my daughter at a demo called the day after George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, was found “not guilty”. This happened at the end of the demo:

So it’s pissing down and we all loudly head back toward what I somehow thought was the town courthouse, and I go first into  the little vestibule banging a saucepan very noisily. Everybody else seemed a little hesitant, like I’d stepped over an invisible barrier that everybody normally respected. But then this was the vestibule of the city jail, and not merely a courthouse as I’d assumed. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. The noise we were making was deafening, and seemed to echo into the area beyond the glass doors we were not going through.  I suggested going further than the vestibule. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, urging others to join them. Ignorance is bliss.  A masked guy (Zorro? the Lone Ranger? Billy the Kid?) ran in and chucked the only thing that moved – a floor mat. When he returned a bit later, and threw in some flowers that he’d just picked from outside the jail, a black woman got upset – “This is meant to be a peaceful demonstration – Trayvon Martin’s family insisted it should be peaceful”. What sad/mad times these are when throwing flowers is somehow thought of as not peaceful enough.

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Angels never go to war – they masturbate instead”

We then retreat from the jail as we get pushed out by armed guards.  A few minutes later the courthouse is surrounded by heavily armoured riot cops with their sticks at the ready, the TV cameras reappearing for the first time since the downpour.  We all go off back to our cars, and then off to a birthday party of a woman friend of my friends. She was born on July 14th, famous in France for what happened in 1789 – Bastille Day – appropriate, since we’d “stormed” the city jail. Well, almost –  the vestibule…still, it sounds good – “WE STORMED THE CITY JAIL!!! – ON BASTILLE DAY!!!!!”

– from here

obedience

Black August, 35 Years Ago, To Black Lives Matter, Today

From Popular Resistance:

blm-ferguson

Black August, a month of political prisoner activism and commemoration, can help remind us of the nation’s exponentially expanding racist prison system.

Protesters march through the streets of Ferguson. (Jamelle Bouie / Wikimedia Commons)

A year ago this month, the streets of Ferguson, Missouri exploded in the wake of the murder of eighteen-year-old Black teen, Michael Brown, at the hands of white police officer, Darren Wilson. The world watched closely as military Humvees and the national guard armed with tear gas and rubber bullets transformed an otherwise quiet town in the Midwest into a historic battlefront for the Black Lives Matter movement, the present-day Black liberation struggle born after the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman over the murder of the Black seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Since the Ferguson riots last August, Black Lives Matter has radically shifted the national conversation on anti-Black racism and police brutality through massive protests, demonstrations, and online mobilizations that have galvanized a new generation of youth of color in the United States and around the world who refuse to allow the police to turn them into another murder statistic. Just last month, hundreds of Black activists gathered together in Cleveland, Ohio in a historic meeting for the inaugural Movement for Black Lives Convening, which featured panels and workshops on Black labor organizing, queer and trans justice, lessons from the Black Panther Party, among others.

A new Pew Research Center poll released this month further shows how Black Lives Matter is transforming the racial views of Americans (and particularly white Americans) in astounding ways. According to the poll, 59 percent of U.S. citizens believe that changes are necessary to afford equal rights to African Americans, up from 46 percent just last year, with a majority of whites (53 percent) agreeing. Black Lives Matter and related mobilizations across the country have forced white Americans to take racism and police brutality seriously to the point where most of them have come to agree that that police treat Blacks less fairly than other groups. That hot, tragic summer day in Ferguson and the riots they gave birth to last August launched a crucial movement to remind the world that Black Lives Matter.

Yet, as we take a moment this August to honor Ferguson and the past, present, and future of the Black Lives Matter movement, it might be useful to take a moment to recognize another important moment in the history of the Black freedom struggle taking place this month: Black August. More than thirty-five years ago, Black August was created by Black political prisoners in California’s infamous San Quentin State Prison in August 1979 to commemorate the long legacy of prison protest and other forgotten events in the history of Black freedom struggles. As cofounder Shuuja Graham told historian Dan Berger, “We figured that the people we wanted to remember wouldn’t be remembered during Black history month, so we started Black August.” In August 1971, Black Panther leader George Jackson was killed in a prison uprising, while his younger brother was killed the previous August attempt to free three prisoners. August was also the historic month in which Haitian slaves rebelled and launched the Haitian Revolution (August 21, 1791), initiating the successful destruction of chattel slavery on the island and the world’s first independent Black republic, and the month that Nat Turner led a slave revolt in southern Virginia (August 21, 1831). As a “kind of secular activist Ramadan,” as described by Berger, Black prisoners fasted, read, studied, and engaged in physical training and self-discipline. As Mumia Abu-Jamal notes, “August is a month of meaning, of repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice; of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.”

Over the coming months, Black August’s origins within the prison system can help remind us that as Black men and women are being murdered by police on the streets, hundreds of others are being shipped away and locked up in the nation’s exponentially expanding penitentiaries. The United States has the largest prison population in the world—even larger than China or Russia—and Black Americans constitute a disproportionate percentage of that population. According to the NAACP, African Americans comprise 1 million of the 2.3 million total prisoners in this nation, and are incarcerated six times more than whites. Even though Blacks and Latinos compose one quarter of the national population, they comprised 58 percent of all prisoners as of 2008. Although 14 million whites and 2.6 million African Americans report using an illicit drug, African Americans are being sent to prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites thanks to racist drug policies beginning in the 1970s. As of 2001, one in six Black men had been incarcerated, but if current trends continue, one in three Black men born today can expect to be imprisoned at some point in their lifetimes.

Black August can also help us remember that big money is increasingly behind this prison-industrial complex that devalues Black life. The past forty years have witnessed an unprecedented boom in incarceration rates in the United States. According to a report published by the National Research Council, the prison population grew from 200,000 to about 2.2 million between 1973 and 2009, which meant that the U.S. held about a quarter of the world’s prisoners. The period of prison privatization emerged in the 1980s when neoliberal policies began to expand across the globe, with the first U.S. private prison business operating in Hamilton County, Tennessee in 1984 under the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Today, privately run prisons are ubiquitous across the nation, even being dramatized on screen as seen in the last season of Orange is the New Black. Meanwhile, on the backs of Black and brown prisoners, CCA reported US$1.7 billion in total revenue in 2011 alone.

And Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the beloved “lesser of two evils” for many progressives, is just as mired in this racist monster of the private prison system. Last month, it was reported that Clinton was accepting contributions from known lobbyists for two of the country’s largest private prison corporations, CCA and the Geo Group, in addition to her usual donations from Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry. In light of this news, it’s no surprise that Clinton refused to address issues of structural racism when she was confronted by a group of Black Lives Matter activists in New Hampshire earlier this month. “She was not willing to concede that the inherent anti-blackness in the policies that were enacted to address problems is the cause of the problems we have today,” activist Julius Jones stated.

In the streets or behind gray prison doors, Black August offers a moment to focus and honor the long African American freedom struggles that are the current movement’s predecessors.

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View  the original article: www.teleSURtv.net/english