February 20th! Hit the streets for our brothers and sisters held captive across the U.S.!

Political Prisoner Jaan Laaman has taken the time to release the following statement to encourage participation in the mass actions happening across the country on Monday, February 20th.

Participants in the Occupy Movement across the country have called for a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners,” with actions happening in (as of now) a dozen locales from coast to coast. Join us in Denver at 6:30pm at 30th and Peoria (outside the GEO/ICE Detention Center) as we join folks from Occupy Denver and the greater community to show our solidarity with our imprisoned brothers, sisters, and siblings.

Jaan’s statement available here.

The text of Occupy Denver’s call to action can be read here.
The original text of Occupy Oakland’s proposal can be read here.
More information can be found at occupy4prisoners.org

National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners

Proposal passed by Occupy Oakland on 1/9

Summary

We are calling for February 20th, 2012 to be a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.”

In the Bay Area we will “Occupy San Quentin,” to stand in solidarity with the people confined within its walls and to demand the end of the incarceration as a means of containing those dispossessed by unjust social policies.

Reasons

Prisons have become a central institution in American society, integral to our politics, economy and our culture.

Between 1976 and 2000, the United States built on average a new prison each week and the number of imprisoned Americans increased tenfold.

Prison has made the threat of torture part of everyday life for millions of individuals in the United States, especially the 7.3 million people—who are disproportionately people of color—currently incarcerated or under correctional supervision.

Imprisonment itself is a form of torture. The typical American prison, juvenile hall and detainment camp is designed to maximize degradation, brutalization, and dehumanization.

Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow. Between 1970 and 1995, the incarceration of African Americans increased 7 times. Currently African Americans make up 12 % of the population in the U.S. but 53% of the nation’s prison population. There are more African Americans under correctional control today—in prison or jail, on probation or parole—than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

The prison system is the most visible example of policies of punitive containment of the most marginalized and oppressed in our society. Prior to incarceration, 2/3 of all prisoners lived in conditions of economic hardship. While the perpetrators of white-collar crime largely go free.

In addition, the Center for Economic and Policy Research estimated that in 2008 alone there was a loss in economic input associated with people released from prison equal to $57 billion to $65 billion.

We call on Occupies across the country to support:

1. Abolishing unjust sentences, such as the Death Penalty, Life Without the Possibility of Parole, Three Strikes, Juvenile Life Without Parole, and the practice of trying children as adults.

2. Standing in solidarity with movements initiated by prisoners and taking action to support prisoner demands, including the Georgia Prison Strike and the Pelican Bay/California Prisoners Hunger Strikes.

3. Freeing political prisoners, such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Lynne Stewart, Bradley Manning and Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, a Black Panther Party member incarcerated since 1969.

4. Demanding an end to the repression of activists, specifically the targeting of African Americans and those with histories of incarceration, such as Khali in Occupy Oakland who could now face a life sentence, on trumped-up charges, and many others being falsely charged after only exercising their First Amendment rights.

5. Demanding an end to the brutality of the current system, including the torture of those who have lived for many years in Secured Housing Units (SHUs) or in solitary confinement.

6. Demanding that our tax money spent on isolating, harming and killing prisoners, instead be invested in improving the quality of life for all and be spent on education, housing, health care, mental health care and other human services which contribute to the public good. Continue reading

Where Abolition Meets Action: Women Organizing Against Gender Violence

Where Abolition Meets Action: Women Organizing Against Gender Violence by Victoria Law

During the last decade, the growing movement toward prison abolition, coupled with mounting recognition of the need for community responses to gender violence, has led to increased interest in developing alternatives to government policing. Moving away from the notion of women as victims in need of police protection, grassroots groups, and activists are organizing community alternatives to calling 911. Such initiatives, however, are not new. Throughout the twentieth century, women have organized alter- native models of self-protection. This piece examines past and present models of women’s community self-defense practices against violence. By exploring the wide-ranging methods women across the globe have employed to protect themselves, their loved ones, and communities, this piece seeks to contribute to current conversations on promoting safety and account- ability without resorting to state-based policing and prisons.

Read the rest of the article here, and also be sure to check out all the other fabulous resources at WomenandPrison.org!

Solidarity Vigil: Legacies of slavery and resistance

MONDAY, JULY 4th @ 6:30pm

GEO Detention Center (30th and Peoria)

Join us outside the immigration detention center in Aurora in solidarity with all who are imprisoned, exploited or enslaved!

There will be a participatory performance exploring slavery as the common historic root of farmworker exploitation, mass incarceration of people of color and attacks on immigrants rights today.

We will also celebrate our legacies of resistance and ongoing struggle for freedom.

SPARKLERS AND WATERMELON PROVIDED!

WE INVITE YOU TO BRING NOISE-MAKERS PANS, WHISTLES,DRUMS, SHAKERS & YOUR VOICE!

OPEN MIC: DETAINEES’ FRIENDS & FAMILY & PEOPLE FORMERLY DETAINED

Hosted by Denver Fair Food
http://denverfairfood.blogspot.com/
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Resisting Gender Violence and the Prison Industrial Complex

–An interview with Victoria Law

By Angola 3 News

Victoria Law is a longtime prison activist and the author of the 2009 book, Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women(PM Press). Law’s essay “Sick of the Abuse: Feminist Responses to Sexual Assault, Battering, and Self Defense,” is featured in the new book, entitled The Hidden 1970s: Histories of Radicalism, edited by Dan Berger.

In this interview, Law discusses her new article, which provides a history of radical feminist resistance to the criminalization of women who have defended themselves from gender violence. Furthermore, Law presents a prison abolitionist critique of how the mainstream women’s movement has embraced the US criminal justice system as a solution for combating violence against women.

Previously interviewed by Angola 3 News about the torture of women in US prisons, Law is now on the road with the Community and Resistance Tour.

Angola 3 News: In your essay “Sick of the Abuse,” you write that “a woman’s right to defend herself (and her children) from assault became a feminist rallying point throughout the 1970s.” You focus on the four separate stories of Yvonne Wanrow, Inez Garcia, Joan Little, and Dessie Woods. All four women were arrested for self-defense and their cases received national attention with the support of the radical women’s movement. Can you briefly explain their cases and why they were so important for the women’s liberation movement of the 1970s?
Continue reading

Letter from Tamara about the anti-prison struggle

tamara libertadTranslated by This Is Our Job

From Liberación Total (June 28, 2010):

It only takes a quick look around to see that we live and breathe prison. We are born in chains and condemned to endure a miserable, empty existence subject to the control of a System of domination that enslaves and feeds on our lives, and whose best weapons against dissent are the prisons charged with sowing fear among those who break the law and clash with order.

Prison is one of the System’s strongest pillars. It was made for those who don’t submit, for those who—consciously or not—exemplify the misery created by the System.

In addition, it’s now a very profitable business. Prison is one of power’s cruelest tools of vengeance: punishment. Inside prison, injustice and abuse abound, revealing the brutal aspiration to destroy people. There, everything is designed to annihilate; to create a meager subsistence; to make one feel the most intense loneliness; to distance; to erase dreams and memories, which are lost to time by those whose minds and voices are unable to scale the walls that use routine and habit to cage something more than bodies. Support and solidarity must then become visible, strike, and shatter the concrete and cold bars, preventing them from silencing the voices within.

When we talk about Repression, we sometimes adopt the attitude of victims, which obstructs our view of reality; namely, that we are immersed in an open war, in which repression is no more than the System’s response to any attack on its foundations. It’s an attempt to restrain us, and that’s why we should always assume a position of conflict, and keep fighting.

The struggle against prison concerns all of us who want to retake control of our lives, who refuse the dying of the light, who don’t want to take part in their lies, who resist further perpetuating the silence of a society that has become complicit in all that tries to steal our lives and oppress us.

Every day, with every gesture, at every moment, we have the opportunity to seize our freedom.

An embrace for all, filled with rebellion, liberty, and complicity.

Every strength, courage, support, and solidarity to Alfons, Nuria, Rodri, Gabriel, Marco, Juan Carlos, Diego, and so many other <em>compas</em> who are struggling and suffering the consequences of repression: May your cries never be silenced, nor your rebel hearts forgotten.

My deepest scorn and hatred for our executioners. It’s not going to be easy for them to defeat us.

DOWN WITH THE WALLS!

Tamara; June 6, 2010

DENVER: Tonight! Opening of political and social prisoner art show!

Friday June 11, 5pm-10pm (or later?)
27 Social Centre
2727 w. 27th Ave Unit D (27th and Decatur, Denver)
 
Denver Anarchist Black Cross hosts an opening of an art show of material produced by Political and Social prisoners being held captive in the United States.

Featuring art from Tom Manning, Jaan Laaman, Phil Africa, David MaKay, William Viehl, Daniel McGowan, Marie Mason, and others…

Art will be on sale, with proceeds benefiting both the prisoners and Denver Anarchist Black Cross.

This is a kid inclusive event! DABC members will be running a kids art activity area during the opening. Bring your younger and littler friends and family members!

The opening starts at 5pm and will go later into the night with wine, cheese, and other snacks. Bring a friend. Learn about political prisoners being held in the United States. Support members of our social movements held captive by the state!