Tag Archives: USA

The largest prisoner strike in U.S. history

Since September 9, prisoners in the U.S. have been on strike in more than 30 correctional facilities to protest their exploitation as workers and the ridiculously low wages they receive in prison, under conditions characteristic of insitutionalized slavery. They demand real wages, adequate health care, education programs, and the shortening of life sentences. On September 24, even the guards in various prisons did not come to work (although without officially expressing their solidarity).

Fillmclip: “Stop being a slave: the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history”
USA 2016, 2 min, english with dt. UT (http://de.labournet.tv/aufhoeren-ein-sklave-zu-sein-der-groesste-gefangegenstreik-der-geschichte-der-usa)

This nationwide strike was organized in part by the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a project of the IWW union. Since IWOC began the project in 2014, 900 prisoners have become union members. But the strike has involved many more prisoners: according to estimates, over 50,000 have participated. Smuggled-in cell phones and social media were critical to organizing.

There is almost no coverage of this strike in mainstream media and prisoners are punished for their participation in the protests.

IWOC is asking for donations to support the prisoners’ strike. They also participate in the publication of the Incarcerated Worker, a small magazine written and edited by prisoners (more information on the website [1]).

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Justice for Trayvon Martin

On February 26, 2012, Neighborhood Patrol Coordinator George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a black teenager. A few days ago, Zimmerman was acquitted of both murder and manslaughter charges by a Florida court. The ruling has sparked outrage and great incomprehension in the U.S. and around the world, reactivating a debate about racial profiling and institutional racism. The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has launched a petition to the Department of Justice that has already been signed by over half a million people in just a few days. The petition can be supported here:

bell hooks anticipates a description by Zimmermann in her 2000 book, All about love:

“White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior. Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected. Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proven by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action. Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged to feel sympathy for the white male home owner who made a mistake.”

In Germany, the Initiative of Black People in Germany (ISD) and the Campaign for Victims of Racist Police Violence (KOP) have currently launched a campaign appeal “Racial Profiling Costs.” All people who experience or observe racial profiling are encouraged to raise their voices. A form for a letter to the Federal Police Headquarters in Koblenz can be found here.