Gearing up for August 21: US prisoner updates

As the August 21 US-wide prison strike approaches, authorities across the country are stepping up repressive measures against inmates who are seen as organisers.

In Ohio, Imam Hasan’s hunger strike has entered a second week, and Greg Curry reports that a spontaneous work stoppage broke out, and he’s asking people to challenge the conditions he’s held in:

“Meanwhile, the low wage cops harassing us looking to create problems. So Enough prisoners that recognized this decided to start protest that include refusing to work! of course the cops went to there SPECIAL INMATES to get them to cross the Pickett line but that was frowned upon so the pod is looking like we’re HELD AGAINST OUR WILL! IMAGINE THAT…

I need people to call the BUREAU OF CLASSIFICATION, MR. WITTRUP. Ask him why am I being held on a disciplinary version of population without the full privileges of my level such as a rec. yard, gym, chow hall, and many privileges at the same level anywhere else are rule violations here. Ask him what’s the plan what’s the timeline for moving me out of here. As most of you know it’s been 20 plus years stuck here it’s time I go!

Remind Mr. Wittrup of that: Brian.Wittrup@odrc.state.oh.us

[you can cc to: Richard.Bowen@odrc.state.oh.us, and to the regional director, Todd.Ishee@odrc.state.oh.us – AP]

thank you.

FREEDOM FIRST, GREG”

Write to Greg via Jpay or directly via snail:

Greg Curry #213-159
OSP
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road,
Youngstown, OH 44505

In Alabama, anarchist rebel Michael Kimble seems to have been severely beaten by staff:

“We’ve just received word that Michael was beaten by guards and is currently in lock up. No other information at this time, but we will keep this space updated with what information we get.

Please call Holman Prison at 251-368-8173 to ask about Michael’s whereabouts and demand his release. It’s important that prison guards and management get reminded that they can’t abuse people unnoticed or with impunity. The warden is named Cynthia Stewart.

Just received word that Michael is in “severe condition.” More when we know it. Please keep calling the prison!

Holman Correctional Facility is not releasing his condition, let us flood the Commissioner of Prisons lines and demand that they release Michael to an actual hospital that will help him. The # to the commissioner’s office is 334-353-3870, ask to release Michael Kimble from Holman Correctional, AIS 00138017. FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, RAZE THE WALLS”

Email addresses for the Alabama DOC are:

cynthia.stewart@doc.alabama.gov, webmaster@doc.alabama.gov, Grantt.Culliver@doc.alabama.gov, David.Gallew@doc.alabama.gov, and Janet.LeJeune@doc.alabama.gov.

In Indiana, IDOC Watch have also put out a series of calls for prisoners with medical conditions, a lack of safe drinking water and other issues.

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak have put out a statement looking at the overall patterns of repression across the country and making their determination to keep going clear.

More and more resources are being put together to support the strike: IGD has a big collection, and if you’re into audio/podcasts it’s been discussed on the IGDcast, Final Straw Radio, Rust Belt Abolition, and the Kite Line show (the last one has a host that doesn’t work in the EU, so you may need to listen using a proxy). There’s also now a centralised fundraiser page for people to donate in support of the strike.

To end on a positive note, Robert Seth Hayes, a former Black Panther who’s been held since 1973, and who regular readers of this blog may remember as having been through a lot of medical trouble in recent years, has been released after making parole.

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Workplace round-up for early August: Upcoming cleaners’ strikes and more

A quick round-up of a few upcoming dates and recent(ish) stories:

Cleaners organising through the United Voices of the World union will be striking at Kensington & Chelsea Council and the Ministry of Justice from Tuesday 7th August-Thursday 9th, demanding sick pay, equal terms and conditions and a living wage.

At Goldsmiths, cleaners and their supporters have called for an emergency demo on the morning of Monday 6th in response to an attempt to impose damaging shift changes at very short notice. On Wednesday 8th August in London, there’ll be an emergency meeting on fighting redundancies in universities that’s been called by the UCU Branch Solidarity Network, which seems to be an attempt at a rank-and-file network in the UCU coming out of the recent pensions dispute,

On Saturday August 11th, Birmingham homecare workers will be striking against huge cuts that’ll be imposed by making all fulltime staff redundant and then offering them their jobs back at reduced hours, and there’ll be a protest in the city centre supporting them.

The RMT “keep the guard on the train” dispute about driver-only operation continues, with action on South-West Railway continuing every Saturday for the next few weeks, so Saturday 11th being the next strike date.

The grassroots cleaners’ union CAIWU are fighting against the victimisation of one of their members at Ofcom, and it looks like the plan is for weekly protests at Ofcom every Friday from August 24th onwards until Teddy is reinstated.

Continuing the fight against austerity cuts in Birmingham, there’ll be a protest on September 11th in response to the council’s threats to close 14 nurseries.

A few recent stories you may have missed: IWW members at a hotel in Warrington have managed to secure hour-long breaks as part of their 12-hour shifts. The IWGB have filed a discrimination case on behalf of one of their members, a trans woman who was working as a van driver for “gig economy” cargo company Gnewt. Construction workers in Deeside, North Wales, have been protesting against attempts by employers to undermine national agreements and seriously underpay workers.

And a trio of victories: in Swansea, a sacked postie has been reinstated after almost 200 of his colleagues threatened to walk out in solidarity. At the Ritzy cinema, a tribunal found that two of three workers were unlawfully dismissed as part of Picturehouse Cinemas’ attempt to break union organising. There is a bittersweet note in that the third worker’s case couldn’t be heard as he’d been working there for less than two years and so couldn’t bring a claim, which really highlights the limits of these legalistic routes. And at Old Broad Street in London, cleaners organising through CAIWU were able to win the London Living Wage through the threat of strike action.

Finally, a few more miscellaneous upcoming events: Plan C’s annual Fast Forward Festival will be running from August 17th-19th in Derbyshire, on the theme of “Building Autonomy: Concrete Plans towards Red Horizons”, Leicester Anarchist Communist Group will be having a reading group on the Makhno-Malatesta debate about organisation on August 30th, and there’ll be bookfairs happening in Bradford on September 8th and Swindon on September 15th.

 

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Repression round-up for mid-July: antifa prisoners, water protectors and more

The July 25th day of solidarity with antifascist prisoners is fast approaching. There’s still time to put a few cards in the mail for it, and one particularly simple way you can send some solidarity to prisoners who don’t get that much attention in the Western world is by using the ABC Belarus online form.

Cases arising from the 2016 Standing Rock protests are still slowly trickling through the courts, with Dion Ortiz just having taken a plea agreement that’ll probably see him serve a few years, Red Fawn Fallis given 57 months for charges including possession of a firearm that was given to her by an FBI informant, and Little Feather given 36 months.

Miguel Peralta, an anarchist from Oaxaca, Mexico, jailed for his involvement in social struggles there, is requesting messages to the judge in charge of a hearing that could see him released.

Jason Walker, a revolutionary prisoner held at the Telford Unit, Texas, continues to chronicle dangerous conditions and staff negligence, despite facing severe harassment, censorship, and retaliation for his writings. His supporters suggest:

“Readers are encouraged to contact the TDCJ Ombudsman at ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov, as well as the Telford Unit’s management at 903-628-3171 and garth.parker@tdcj.texas.gov, to request that they cease the campaign of harassment and retaliation against Jason, and provide all inmates with adequate relief from the extreme heat. Let them know that we’re looking out for Jason and will hold the prison accountable if anything happens to him!

Letters to Jason at Jason Renard Walker, #1532092, Telford Unit, 3899 Hwy 98, New Boston, TX 75570, will also help to break down his sense of isolation and show the administration that there are people watching out for him, but as mentioned above, be aware that his mail is undergoing heavy censorship.”

Preparations for the August 21 prison strike are ongoing – imprisoned writer Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s just published a new summary of where the movement’s at, Missouri prisoners have been getting in on the action early, It’s Going Down just ran a new audio interview with outside organisers, the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement are calling for international solidarity, and a North Carolina prisoner has taken the bold step of attaching their name to a local strike call. Prison strike publicity materials are available at Support Prisoner Resistance and the Oakland IWOC site, among other places.

Hunger strikes have just broken out at Wabash Valley in Indiana and among migrants held at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington.

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Deliveroo and UberEats strikes in London, Southampton and Plymouth: New Rebel Roo out now!

A new issue of the Rebel Roo bulletin has been published in response to a new wave of strikes across the UK at Deliveroo and UberEats. In their words, “The Rebel Roo is a bulletin produced for and by Deliveroo and UberEats workers. It aims to build confidence, share tactics, and circulate struggles. This issue reports on conditions and action in London, Glasgow, Southampton and Plymouth – as well as making links to a strike by Paris couriers.”

To get it into the hands of Deliveroo and UberEats workers in your area, you can print some off from here, or if you don’t have a printer you could try contacting editors@notesfrombelow.org, rebelroouk@gmail.com or couriers.network@iww.org.uk and asking them to send you some.

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Early July round-up of workplace news, and antifascist and prisoner resources

A quick round-up of workplace news:

The Friday 13th strike of Deliveroo riders comes as part of a wider wave of international riders’ struggles, with other similar developments including a strike in Paris this week.

The IWGB are also busy in other sectors, having just launched a branch for self-employed electricians – having seen the impressive levels of militancy and self-organisation among some electricians in recent years, this could be one to watch. Meanwhile, their members at the University of London are still fighting against outsourcing, as well as against an openly racist manager who praises Enoch Powell and Tommy Robinson.

In other grassroots union news, self-organised cleaners’ union UVW is set to see three simultaneous strikes for the London Living Wage at the Ministry of Justice, HCA Healthcare and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. Donations to their strike funds will be very welcome. The IWW branch in Manchester recently helped a bar worker win £700 in unpaid holiday pay, and Manchester SolFed are also keeping busy, running regular drop-ins for people to discuss workplace and housing issues as well as being in dispute with Fortis Student Lettings. Down in Brighton, the SolFed group there have just won backpay and compensation for a hotel worker who was exposed to dangerous working conditions.

In more mainstream union news, the Wigan NHS strikes have ended after the workers’ action saw off the threat of outsourcing and guaranteed that their jobs would remain in the NHS. Two of the three Picturehouse workers who were sacked for their role in organising their workplace have just won a tribunal finding that they were unlawfully dismissed, although a third was unable to bring a case as they didn’t have two years’ continuous employment, which shows the limitations of these kinds of legalistic routes.

The long-running RMT “Keep the Guards on the Train” dispute is likely to see further strike action at Southern Railway on Tuesday July 17th, and at Northern Rail on Saturday 21st. Staff at London Underground’s Ruislip depot are also due to strike over pay from the 12th-15th of July. Elsewhere, staff at Swansea Royal Mail have just voted to strike in defence of a colleague who was unfairly sacked. It’s not immediately clear where there’s any direct connection between the Swansea dispute and the other South Wales post workers who staged a wildcat strike a few weeks ago. Up in East Dunbartonshire, a mass strike by council workers against attacks on their terms and conditions is currently suspended for negotiations, while strike action by Kirklees bin workers against bullying and harassment by management seems set to resume, following a few days of action that have already seen strikers hassled by private security with dogs.

In antifascist news, the Anti-Fascist Network have published an update on the upcoming counter-mobilisation to this weekend’s Free Tommy protests in London. The next few days will obviously see all kinds of anti-Trump events across the country, as well as the big Miners’ Gala up in Durham. Meanwhile, the Rebel City collective in London are asking for funds so they can keep producing the capital’s regular anarchist print paper.

In prison/anti-repression news, recent days have seen a variety of new organising resources become available. The UK’s Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee have released the first issue of their newsletter, The Imprisoned Worker, along with a new collection of prisoner writings on prison abolition. Freedom Press are printing fundraising shirts for Palang Hitam Anarchist Black Cross and the imprisoned anarchists in Indonesia.

A number of international Anarchist Black Cross groups have got together to produce a guide to starting your own ABC group. And over in the US, a newsletter has been produced for the upcoming prison strike, Oakland Incarcerated Workers Organising Committee did an interview on how to run an effective call-in/phone zap action, and the San Francisco Bay View, a newspaper that’s been absolutely vital to prison organising efforts in the past, is still appealing for funds to get their next edition printed.

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London Deliveroo riders to strike against pay cut, Friday 13th July

Deliveroo couriers organised through the IWGB union are set to strike against a rate cut tomorrow morning. They say:

“After a pay cut was forced on London riders, they’ve decided to strike. Join them on the picket line at Deliveroo’s HQ this Friday and demand union representation for Deliveroo’s 15,000 UK riders so that the changes may be negotiated fairly.

You can find us outside Deliveroo’s swanky new office in London from 9am. If you’re concerned that your order of 1 Worker’s Rights is taking a while and you want to know where it’s got to, you can contact delivery customer support on 020 3322 3444.

The way rates are calculated has been changed: previously this was a flat fee, £3.75-£4.25 depending on the city. Now this has been replaced with pay that varies based on distance, with a moving minimum that Deliveroo is completely in control of. We’ve seen delivery rounds that previously payed £8 drop to nearly £6!”

 

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No more deaths from border violence: Home Office protest, Monday 9th July, 17:30 onwards

In response to the death of a 23-year-old Sudanese man during an immigration raid in Newport, a short-notice protest has been called outside the Home Office for the afternoon of Monday 9th July. Organisers write:

“On Saturday 30 June, immigration enforcement pulled up at a car wash in Newport and began chasing fleeing workers. A 23 year old Sudanese man – who has yet to have been named – ended up dead as a result.

Rest in Power / إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعون

Please join us on Monday 9 July outside the Home Office in London to call for JUSTICE for this man.

We demand justice for him, his family and his community. We demand an end to border violence and its enforcement. 2017-2018 saw the highest number of deaths of those held in immigration detention centres on record. At least one person self-harms in immigration detention each day. In Harmondsworth alone someone attempted suicide every other day in the first few months of the year.

Immigration raids and detention destroy people’s lives, split up families and ravage whole communities. They are central to this government’s ‘hostile environment’ for migrants – alongside taking away people’s ability to access healthcare; their ability to rent safe accommodation; their ability to work legally; their recourse to any public funds or support.

This government shuts people who have not been given legal status out of public life, and the end result of that is fatal.”

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