Raleigh-Durham Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST)

Revolutionary socialist youth in the US South

Sign to Support the Georgia Prisoners’ Strike! Hands Off the Striking Georgia Prisoners!

Posted by raleighfist on December 14, 2010

Raleigh F.I.S.T. is circulating the following petition from the International Action Center in support of Georgia prisoners who have gone on strike, the largest prison strike in U.S. history, for their human rights around nine specific demands. Please sign and circulate this petition to show solidarity with the striking prisoners, especially as they come under brutal attack from prison guards. And keep checking back here for updates about solidarity actions taking place in the Triangle. For more info on the strike and the prisoners’ demands, please read the text below.

International Action Center – iacenter.org


SUPPORT THE GEORGIA PRISONERS STRIKE!

According to reports from family members and prisoner rights advocates, thousands of incarcerated men engaged in a coordinated strike starting Dec. 9. They refused to go to work or participate in other assignments or activities, but stayed in their cells, calling it a “lockdown for liberty.”

Using unauthorized cell phones, the prisoners have been able to organize among themselves and to communicate with news media and supporters.

What is so extraordinary about this action besides its statewide character is its unity among the prisoners – Black, Latino, white, Muslims, Christians, Rastafarians – to achieve their central demand to be treated as human beings, not slaves or animals.

The Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) has refused to provide any information to date but did release a short statement on Dec. 9 claiming that no job action had taken place and nothing unusual was happening. However, the DOC acknowledged that based on the “rumor” of a strike, wardens at four facilities had ordered a general “lock down” of the institution to prevent any disruption. A lock down means that all prisoners are confined to their cells and no visitors or phone calls are allowed.

Inmate families and community organizers such as Elaine Brown, former head of the Black Panther Party and long-time prisoner rights activist have received numerous phone calls recounting instances of violence and intimidation by prison guards and officials in response to this peaceful protest.

At Augusta State Prison, at least six prisoners were dragged from their cells and beaten, resulting in broken ribs and other serious injuries.
At Telfair State Prison, guards rampaged through the cells, destroying personal property while searching for contraband cell phones.
At Macon State Prison, the prison authorities first shut off the heat as temperatures dropped below freezing and then on the second day of the strike, also cut off the hot water.
An unknown number of prisoners have been taken to the “hole” at the various facilities.

Georgia has over 100 prisons, work camps and other detention centers with the 5th largest prison population in the US. It is estimated that 1 in 13 adult Georgians are under some sort of legal control by the state – in prison or jail, on parole or out on bond with charges pending or under some sort of court or correctional supervision.

In a message sent from a prisoner on Day 3 of the strike, he urged “Don’t Give Up Now! On Monday, when the doors (to the cells – editor) open, close them. Do Not Go To Work.”

Prior to the strike, the prisoners issued a statement outlining nine specific demands:

· A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.

· EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.

· DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.

· AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.

· DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.

· NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.

· VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.

· ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.

· JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.

The conditions that have caused these men to take such a courageous action are duplicated in prisons and jails across the US. News about their historic strike has been censored with next to no coverage throughout Georgia. The New York Times did print information about the strike following calls by prisoners to the newspaper (Dec. 12, 2010).

Solidarity is needed to ensure the safety of the prisoners and the improvement of their conditions. Calls to the following Georgia prisons are encouraged, demanding no retaliation or reprisals and full compliance with the prisoners’ demands.

Macon State Prison – (978) 472-3900.
Hays State Prison  – (706) 857-0400
Telfair State prison – (229) 868-7721
Baldwin State Prison is at (478) 445- 5218
Valdosta State Prison – (229) 333-7900
Smith State Prison  – (912) 654-5000


SAMPLE PETITION TEXT:

To: Georgia Corrections Commissioner Owen, Georgia Atty General Baker, Georgia Gov. Perdue, Attorney General Holder, President Obama

cc: Georgia Legislature, Georgia Congressional Delegation, Congressional Leaders, U.N. Secretary-General Ban, members of the media

Stop the violence and abuse against the courageous Georgia Prison Strikers! Grant the prisoners’ just demands of respect for their humanity and human rights!

Beginning on Dec 9 the prisoners in at least 6 facilities across the state of Georgia carried out a united non-violent strike, sitting down and refusing to perform slave labor for no pay. Demonstrating unity and solidarity among all prisoners, [list .. in the reports somewhere sites about 6 different groups including rastas, etc..will try to find that for here] the prisoners have issued a set of demands tha boil down to one: they insist on being treated like human beings. Yet the response of the Georgia prison system has been violence and more abuse.

At Augusta State Prison, at least six prisoners were dragged from their cells and beaten, resulting in broken ribs and other serious injuries.
At Telfair State Prison, guards rampaged through the cells, destroying personal property while searching for contraband cell phones.
At Macon State Prison, the prison authorities first shut off the heat as temperatures dropped below freezing and then on the second day of the strike, also cut off the hot water.
An unknown number of prisoners have been taken to the “hole” at the various facilities.

I demand that this abusive treatment cease immediately, and that there be no reprisals against the strikers. I further demand that the prisoners’ just demands be met immediately. The list of them itself speaks volumes condemning and exposing the totally inhuman and barbaric conditions in the Georgia prison system. They must be addressed immediately. They are:

· A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK: In violation of the13th Amendment to the Constitution prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude, the DOC demands prisoners work for free.

· EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: For the great majority of prisoners, the DOC denies all opportunities for education beyond the GED, despite the benefit to both prisoners and society.

· DECENT HEALTH CARE: In violation of the 8th Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments, the DOC denies adequate medical care to prisoners, charges excessive fees for the most minimal care and is responsible for extraordinary pain and suffering.

· AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS: In further violation of the 8th Amendment, the DOC is responsible for cruel prisoner punishments for minor infractions of rules.

· DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS: Georgia prisoners are confined in over-crowded, substandard conditions, with little heat in winter and oppressive heat in summer.

· NUTRITIONAL MEALS: Vegetables and fruit are in short supply in DOC facilities while starches and fatty foods are plentiful.

· VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The DOC has stripped its facilities of all opportunities for skills training, self-improvement and proper exercise.

· ACCESS TO FAMILIES: The DOC has disconnected thousands of prisoners from their families by imposing excessive telephone charges and innumerable barriers to visitation.

· JUST PAROLE DECISIONS: The Parole Board capriciously and regularly denies parole to the majority of prisoners despite evidence of eligibility.

Hands off the Georgia Prison Strikers! Grant their just demands immediately!

Sincerely
(your signature appended here)

About the IACDonateIAC Books & ResourcesContact Us Sign the Petition!

International Action Center
c/o Solidarity Center
55 W 17th St Suite 5C
New York, NY 10011
212-633-6646
iacenter@iacenter.org
www.iacenter.org

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