They suggest a number of ways to support the dispute:
Donate to their strike fund, taking a large number of workers out on strike is no easy feat and having a strong strike fund will be essential to these workers winning the respect, equality and dignity that they deserve. You can donate to the workers’ strike fund here. Be sure to also share their Crowdfunder on your social media and with friends and family.
Write to the trustees of Sage using our UVW mass mailing tool, all you need to do is click this link and you can let Sage know exactly what you think about denying these workers a living wage and dignified T&Cs. You can find the letter writing tool here.
Write to your MP requesting they sign Early Day Motion 1314. The Early Day Motion can be found here and you can find out who your MP is by visiting Write to Them. Finally, we have provided a template email you can use to ask your MP to sign the letter here.
Finally, share this story on your social media with friends and family!
Since starting this project in late 2010, I’ve tried to do an annual review of every full year I’ve been writing for. Since 2020 was the 10-year anniversary of starting it, I definitely thought it would be worth writing up some kind of reflection on what it means to keep one project going for a full decade, and how the online spaces that I’ve operated in have changed over that time – the final demise of indymedia, the rise and fall of left facebook, and so on. But it’s ten days into 2021 now, including some pretty eventful days, and I still haven’t managed to motivate myself to start writing it in any meaningful way, so I’ve come to accept that I won’t get it written any time soon. As for 2020 specifically, I’m finding it hard to think of much to say beyond “there was a pandemic, there were a bunch of riots, you know this stuff already.”
But some people have done a better job of reflecting on the year than me, so in lieu of my own contribution, here’s what some other people had to say:
Also lots of other stuff is happening of course, a fuller overview of workplace struggles and other things will hopefully follow shortly, but I thought it was better to get something short out now rather than draft something longer and more comprehensive and end up spending another week or so on it.
Happy new year everyone, or as close to happy as we can get under the circumstances anyway.
This December London ABC wants to launch a special prisoner letter-writing: virtual, but with the same aim. Send some warmth and complicity, towards a world without cages or barriers.
To write a letter just send an email with the content to email@example.com with the number of the solidarity card of your choice (between 1,2,3 above). Include the name of the prisoner you would like send the letter to (choose fromprisoner list, or the name and the address of someone you know is inside, if not in the list) and the address you want to the reply sent back to, or you can use this address: Freedom Bookshop, Angel Alley, 84b Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7QX. And we’ve done, you done, ABC will provide next day delivery.
When you write us the email with the content*(that will remain strictly confidential between few people from ABC London group), don’t forget your name or pseudonym, so we can recognise you in case the person inside writes back to the Freedom Bookshop address.
*content. If it’s a problem for you to share your thoughts, no worries, we understand. But we still encourage you to write: pick a name from the list and do so in your own pace and means.
If it’s the first time for you writing a letter to an inmate have a look here.
Eric King 27090045 FCI Englewood 9595 W Quincy Ave Littleton Co 80501
His support crew add “Please keep it light, nothing about his case, COVID, or mail ban. He misses everyone SO MUCH and just wants to hear from his friends. He was pretty sick but feels he may be on the mend.”
Outside of Manchester, one trot write-up mentions that there were also strikes in London, Wolverhampton, Glasgow and Liverpool, so I guess maybe check out your local RMT branch or trades council if you live in one of those areas and want to know what’s going on.
In case anyone needs a reminder of what else is happening in December, here’s the recycled listings from my previous post:
“He can receive books and magazines from publisher or clearly marked from some sort of books for prisoners group. There is a major risk in sending him books and whatnot and that is at any minute they can and will change the rules, stop giving them to him, reject. And you can lose the money spent sending them, or the book potentially could go missing. This is something to keep in mind when sending anything.
Eric should have a review regarding his mail block soon. We really have no idea how it will play out. Once a block is in place it is so easy to just keep it in place for the prison. His illegal phone block was implemented almost 2 years and he STILL has not had his first 6 month review.”
Their update also includes a bizarre disciplinary hearing report finding him guilty of “insolence towards staff” and stating that him signing a circle-a after his name counts as “a credible threat towards staff and their families”.
“Brian Caswell McCarvill died on his 68th birthday, which was Sunday, September 27th, 2020. I hadn’t seen anything about his death on any anarchist Instagram pages, nor had I heard about it on any anarchist podcasts. The lack of podcast coverage may not be true at all; I haven’t had a lot of time to listen to podcasts recently and I may have missed it.
I received a letter I had sent to Brian, returned with a sticker across Snake River Correctional Institution’s mailing address with the words, “Return to sender: Not an Oregon inmate”. I thought to myself, “That’s bullcrap. I know Brian’s at Snake River and that’s in Oregon.” I live in New Zealand, so I thought I’d better make sure by Googling to see whether he’s been transferred. I knew his release wasn’t coming until 2021.
There was nothing on It’s Going Down except the usual Prisoner Birthdays list with Brian’s birthday information on it. There were no anarchist prisoner supports sites reporting a transfer or release. I searched for him on the Oregon prisoner database but it returned no results. I thought all of this really weird and tried Googling, “Brian McCarvill Snake River”. It returned a news story (link in bio) about neglicence around COVID at Snake River and had a list of COVID-related deaths. I was hoping Brian’s name wouldn’t be on it. Unfortunately, he was listed and the date was Sept 27th, his birthday.
At this stage, I was upset. Brian had spoken about looking forward to his release and where he may be living when he got out. It was so close in the big scheme of things, especially when you think about how long he’d been incarcerated.
I’m upset that the anarchist media didn’t report his death. That no-one from our milieu seems to have been looking out for him and his circumstances in that regard. I, an anarchist of no real consequence from Aotearoa New Zealand, surely can’t have been the first person to know that Brian had died? But that’s rash and borne of emotion. Perhaps it was reported. Of course, someone must’ve been looking out for him; he had family as far as I know.
Is this normal? Is it normal for our imprisoned comrades to be name dropped on websites and podcasts but not materially looked out for? I don’t know. Is this evidence of the absolute necessity of prisoner support in our milieu? I think so. Brian’s death should’ve been noticed and reported in every major anarchist news publication. It should’ve been mentioned on every anarchist podcast. I hope there are hundreds of letters being returned to comrades who corresponded with Brian like I did. He deserved to be inundated with letters during his life in prison. He deserved to never go without materials, books, commissary funds, etc. He deserved better than to be murdered by the US prison system whose staff don’t take COVID precautions seriously and take the virus behind the walls to infect and kill inmates who can’t protect themselves. He deserved to see the outside, to be paroled, to see family and friends. He deserved better. I knew Brian only through letters, but we corresponded for years and I genuinely enjoyed knowing him. Today, my heart is broken.
In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be re-reading all the letters that Brian sent me and sharing anything I think should be shared. Brian should be remembered. Please write to our imprisoned comrades. Send them birthday and Christmas cards if the stupid mailing restrictions allow them. Donate to their commissary funds. Ask them how you can help. Sean Swain, Marius Mason, Michael Kimble, Eric King, Jaan Laaman, and all the other imprisoned comrades deserve the world because they’re beautiful people and they deserve better than what Brian ended up getting from those snakes at Snake River.”
For context, Brian McCarvill was a radical social prisoner who in the early 2000’s was involved in taking the Oregon Department of Corrections to court challenging their censorship and rejection of anarchist publications for prisoners with his cell mate Rob Thaxton. The ODOC was attempting to declare anarchists to be members of a Security Threat Group, sort of like a gang, based on their shared political tendency and use of language and symbols, their stances to protest unfair circumstances. By winning the court case he forced the Oregon prison system to allow anarchist materials into its prisons.
“Staff at universities have questioned the whole logic of bringing students back to university during the pandemic. The have been proved right as bringing students back has not only put the safety of staff in jeopardy with the insistence of face-to-face teaching but also created an intolerable situation for students.
University authorities have been keen to get in this year’s intake of students, putting collection of fees ahead over safety measures around COVID-19.
On Thursday 5th November at the Fallowfield halls of residence at Manchester University students erupted in anger over fences being put up around the halls, without warning or notice. These fences blocked entry to the campus and to green spaces for exercise. Hundreds took part in tearing down the fences, expressing outage at the lock-in. The vice-chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell was forced to back down and issue an apology.
The university cynically took the money from students, then offered little or no support to self-isolating students in the halls, climaxing in the fence-in, demonstrating their contempt for students. The authorities spent £11,000 on putting up the fences and laying on security staff.
In October students responded by starting a rent strike, with 300 taking part. They demand a reduction in rent for the academic year and that more support should be provided to students in accommodation.
A week after the tearing down of the fence. 15 student rent strikers occupied the Owen Parks tower block on campus. This followed the increasing of security staff presence by the university authorities, and by their threat of police action if rent strikers staged a protest on Thursday 12th November. The occupation was met with harsh measures by security and police, who prevented food being taken in to the occupiers. Police filmed students moving around the campus.
The university then cut off internet access to the block, with compulsory online lectures the following day, in an effort to intimidate.
Student occupiers tweeted: “Students have been left behind in this pandemic: Forced into cramped overpriced accommodation, blamed for our government’s failings, and paying extortionate uni fees for substandard online learning. We demand more…”
Meanwhile Manchester University has arranged 31 charter flights for more than 7,000 Chinese students, who will end up in cramped conditions on campus, with little support, after their tuition fees of between £18,000 and £46,000 have been trousered by the university authorities.
Students and staff need to unite in their demands for an end to face-to-face teaching, no return to the university after Christmas, and a refund of fees and accommodation costs (see the article on the French school strikes).”