March 8, 2011 Anarchist News
On Saturday March 12, there will be a follow up national call-in day to
the North Carolina Department of Corrections, in solidarity with prison
rebels across the state, and in particular those facing repercussions for
organizing study groups and collective actions at Bertie Correctional
Institution in Windsor, NC.
Organizing in Windsor has happened alongside the now famous rebellion in
Georgia, where in mid-December of 2010 prisoners organized the largest
coordinated prison strike in US history. For six days, in at least six
facilities across the state, thousands of prisoners refused to work in
response to the brutality and indignity of prison. Anarchists and radicals
responded with call-in days and solidarity demonstrations outside of jails
and prisons in their own towns. Similar tactics, low-risk but diffuse and
constant, were recently used to great success in conjunction with a hunger
strike by four Ohio prisoners on death row for their role in the
Lucasville prison rebellion.
Though it has not garnered the attention of the mainstream media or large
national organizations and figureheads, this struggle has been
consistently growing in North Carolina prisons as well, and has been
supported by a number of small collectives, publishing projects, and
individuals on the outside. Of particular note is the struggle at Bertie
C.I. Over the last year, prisoners there have organized large study groups
focusing on Black anarchist and anti-authoritarian ideas, as well as the
history and politics of gang truce efforts. Radicals there have made the
effort to reach across racial and gang-based divisions, and the effort has
borne fruit: on at least three occasions in the past few months prisoners
have taken collective action around issues of food, clothing, and
exercise, successfully occupying yards or refusing to leave their cells en
masse until given what they want. Though achieving small victories in this
process is encouraging and important, we see these developments and the
practices of solidarity we exercise alongside them not as part of a
specific campaign around a particular set of grievances or demands, but as
a process of growth and resistance that seeks to destabilize prisons and
render them increasingly ungovernable.
Several prisoners have faced repercussions for their roles in this
activity. One prisoner, an outspoken anarchist and gang leader named James
Graham, has been thrown in solitary confinement on a more or less
permanent basis, and was brutally beaten by six guards during a cell
extraction several weeks ago. Others have also faced time in solitary, the
loss of “privileges,” and other punishments.
March 12 will be national call-in day to show support for all North
Carolina prison rebels, to tell the North Carolina DOC and Bertie CI
officials that we’re paying attention and that our comrades in Windsor are
not alone. Call them. Fax them. Email them. The authorities at Bertie feel
empowered to beat and isolate rebellious prisoners in part because they
think the prisoners have no outside support, and that there will be no
consequences; March 12th is the first step in proving them wrong.
Tell the DOC: Hands off James Graham! Hands off all Prison Rebels!
Phone : (919)838-4000