Roughly 60 protesters gathered yesterday in the freezing cold rain at the headquarters of the NC Division of Prisons in Raleigh to show our anger and resentment towards the prison system, and solidarity with prisoners struggling on the inside. The crowd represented folks from multiple cities, and in addition to anarchists and anti-prison activists was co-organized with and brought out about 25 members of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, a street organization with several members on the inside in NC.
Due to the harassment and recent segregation of these members, as well as the constant targeting of politically active NC prisoners and the recent hunger strike in CA, the demo particularly focused on solitary confinement. Folks carried banners like, “Against Solitary – Love for All Prison Rebels,” “Solitary is Torture,” and “Against Prisons,” and shouted ALKQN chants and slogans against cops and prisons.
Needless to say, cops arrived quickly on the scene and appeared increasingly nervous as the afternoon went on. A delegation of anarchists and ALKQN attempted to go in the building, but were prevented from doing so by armed guards and a terrified-looking Director.
After an hour and a half of drumming and screaming, we decided to march down the street so as to be in view of the rear half of Central Prison, the largest prison in the triangle-area. Though prevented from marching to the fence by a line of police cars, prisoners apparently could see us well enough to gather at the windows in the corridors of the facility, banging on the glass and pointing.
From there we marched back to our cars, taking the opportunity to take a group picture behind a beautiful black banner depicting a golden crown and the initials “ADR* – ACAB.” All in all we made a bunch of new friends yesterday, and will continue to organize with them into the future.
Though the Occupy movement has captured much attention as of late nationally, and elements of it such as Oakland’s general strike and building reclamation have inspired us, the struggle against prisons and policing in our state continues to be a major focus. We’d be lying if we did not say that this demo, as relatively tame as it was, felt like a breath of fresh air in contrast to the endless conversations by a recently disenfranchised middle-class about nonviolence and the “99%” which have surrounded us at various “occupations” in the triangle-area. Hopefully these struggles can intersect in a meaningful way, but it does seem that the “issues” of police and prisons will continue to be a major line in the sand relative to the racial and class topography of the Occupy movement.
Until Every Cage is Empty,
some NC anarchists against prisons
* ADR stands for Amor De Rey, a chant and slogan of the ALKQN.
**A brief news story and interview can be seen at: http://triangle.news14.com/content/top_stories/649140/family–friends-rally-for-inmates-in-solitary-confinement
*** For a more exhaustive reflection on anti-prison efforts in NC, check out: http://anarchistnews.org/node/1551
**** Below is the text from a handbill given out to media and passersby at the demo:
AGAINST PRISONS (and the world that creates them)
We are here to protest solitary confinement in NC prisons, and its use against politically active prisoners. The conditions are unbearable and amount to torture: years on end in a tiny cell with little to no stimulation 23 hours a day, unsanitary and inadequate food, no educational resources, completely inadequate “healthcare,” the consistent targeting of Black and Latino and politically conscious prisoners, a grievance procedure that amounts to a kangaroo court.
This protest comes on the back of the historic prisoners’ hunger strike against solitary confinement in California, which spread to over 11 facilities this summer, and inspired solidarity strikes in places as far away as Canada and Palestine. Prisoners in NC have been active for the last year as well, organizing radical study groups, staging a yard occupation in Windsor, hunger strikes in Taylorsville and Polkton, and speaking out against the beating of a handcuffed prisoner at Central Prison in Raleigh.
We are the family, friends, and supporters of those on the inside, both in general population as well as the “prison within a prison” that is solitary confinement. These people are our loved ones and comrades, stolen from us, from our families, crews, and neighborhoods, by the police and courts and this very Department of “Corrections.”
We do not accept this. We reject this modern-day plantation system. We will not sit by while our friends and family are tortured, while the prison walls continue to expand until all of society – work, school, the neighborhood, the city – resembles prison. We encourage everyone who has ever had a friend or brother or sister or parent behind bars, who has ever experienced the arrogant authority of a judge or cop, to join our protest in whatever way you can. If the whole world is like a prison, prison rebellion can happen anywhere.
Two days ago, in the midst of a massive general strike which shut down the city of Oakland, CA, hundreds of occupiers took over a vacant building which had housed the homeless before it was foreclosed upon by bankers. In the windows of that building they stretched a massive banner which declared, “Occupy Everything.”
We are answering their call.
OCCUPY – NC D.O.C.