The Final Straw: North Carolina Prisoners Initiate Hunger Striker

From The Final Straw, via Anarchist News:

This week’s show features a conversation with Francis Delaney about the Prison Hunger Strikes that were initiated on Monday, July 16 at three facilities in North Carolina. This action seems to have the potential to spread to other facilities because of the apparent universality of the demands (better/more food, access to legal literature, human contact, an end to torture, an end to mail tampering, medical care). We discuss some context for the strikes and how folks on the outside can get involved and show solidarity.

Chapel Hill Prison Books
Triangle Anarchist Blog
Down: Reflections on Prison Resistance in Indiana

Streamable from The Final Straw from 7/23-7/29/12

Downloadable from archive.org by searching the show title.

North Carolina: Prisoners at 3 facilities begin hunger strike

On Monday July 16th, prisoners at Central Prison in Raleigh, Bertie CI in Windsor, and Scotland CI in Laurinburg all began a coordinated hunger strike. The men have issued a series of demands revolving around food, healthcare, abuse by guards, and in particular for a return of prison law libraries, and are encouraging other prisoners to join in with their own actions and demands. They are also calling for the release of those on I-Con status and the abolition of separate control statuses.

Correspondence with the prisoners has confirmed the strike at several facilities, and that at least at Central Prison over 100 prisoners began the strike on Monday. Prisoners have encouraged supporters to call or fax the administrations of these different facilities as well as Director Robert Lewis, to “march or protest in front of Central Prison and others,” “boycott all products being sold in these prisons,” and to “contact media outlets and let them know what we are doing.”

Groups have begun organizing support and solidarity on the outside here in NC, and we are encouraging others around the country to show their solidarity. Numbers for organizing your own call-in day can be found below; any and all actions of solidarity are encouraged. We will do our best to make sure that the strikers are hear about any actions happening on the outside, so please post information about any activities in your own town.

Against Prison Society,
Love for All Prison Rebels,

-some NC anarchists against prisons

Robert C. Lewis, Director of Prisons
phone: 919.838.4000
fax: 919.733.8272

Central Prison Warden Ken Lassiter
phone: 919.733.0800
fax: 919.715.2645

Bertie CI Warden Renoice Stancil
Phone: 252-794-8600
Fax: 252-794-4608

Scotland CI Warden Sorrell Saunders
Phone: (910) 844-3078
Fax: (910) 844-3786

Hands off North Carolina prison rebels: National call-in day part II

On Saturday March 12, there will be a follow up national call-in day to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, in solidarity with prison rebels across the state, and in particular those facing repercussions for organizing study groups and collective actions at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, NC.

Organizing in Windsor has happened alongside the now famous rebellion in Georgia, where in mid-December of 2010 prisoners organized the largest coordinated prison strike in US history. For six days, in at least six facilities across the state, thousands of prisoners refused to work in response to the brutality and indignity of prison. Anarchists and radicals responded with call-in days and solidarity demonstrations outside of jails and prisons in their own towns. Similar tactics, low-risk but diffuse and constant, were recently used to great success in conjunction with a hunger strike by four Ohio prisoners on death row for their role in the Lucasville prison rebellion.
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Hands Off NC Prison Rebels: National Call-in Day

On Wednesday February 23rd, there will be a national call-in day to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, in solidarity with prison rebels across the state, and in particular those facing repercussions for organizing study groups and collective actions at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, NC.

Organizing in Windsor has happened alongside the now famous rebellion in Georgia, where in mid-December of 2010 prisoners organized the largest coordinated prison strike in US history. For six days, in at least six facilities across the state, thousands of prisoners refused to work in response to the brutality and indignity of prison. Anarchists and radicals responded with call-in days and solidarity demonstrations outside of jails and prisons in their own towns. Similar tactics, low-risk but diffuse and constant, were recently used to great success in conjunction with a hunger strike by four Ohio prisoners on death row for their role in the Lucasville prison rebellion.

Though it has not garnered the attention of the mainstream media or large national organizations and figureheads, this struggle has been consistently growing in North Carolina prisons as well, and has been supported by a number of small collectives, publishing projects, and individuals on the outside. Of particular note is the struggle at Bertie C.I. Over the last year, prisoners there have organized large study groups focusing on Black anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas, as well as the history and politics of gang truce efforts. Radicals there have made the effort to reach across racial and gang-based divisions, and the effort has borne fruit: on at least three occasions in the past few months prisoners have taken collective action around issues of food, clothing, and exercise, successfully occupying yards or refusing to leave their cells en masse until given what they want. Though achieving small victories in this process is encouraging and important, we see these developments and the practices of solidarity we exercise alongside them not as part of a specific campaign around a particular set of grievances or demands, but as a process of growth and resistance that seeks to destabilize prisons and render them increasingly ungovernable.

Several prisoners have faced repercussions for their roles in this activity. One prisoner, an outspoken anarchist and gang leader named James Graham, has been thrown in solitary confinement on a more or less permanent basis, and was brutally beaten by six guards during a cell extraction several weeks ago. Others have also faced time in solitary, the loss of “privileges,” and other punishments.

February 23rd will be a national call-in day to show support for all North Carolina prison rebels, to tell the North Carolina DOC and Bertie CI officials that we’re paying attention and that our comrades in Windsor are not alone. Call them. Fax them. Email them. The authorities at Bertie feel empowered to beat and isolate rebellious prisoners in part because they think the prisoners have no outside support, and that there will be no consequences; February 23rd is the first step in proving them wrong.

Tell the DOC: Hands off James Graham! Hands off all Prison Rebels!

NC DOC
Phone : (919)838-4000
Fax: (919)733-8272
Email: info@doc.state.nc.us

BERTIE C.I.
Phone: (252)794-8600
Fax: (252)794-4608