At 2:30pm on Sunday August 14th, over 30 people gathered in front of the huge max-security men’s Central Prison in Raleigh, NC to stand in solidarity with the the thousands of California prisoners on hunger strike. We were also there to express our support for local prison resisters such as the 10-15 death row inmates who staged a cafeteria protest on July 14th inside Central Prison to condemn the beating of fellow death row inmate William Bowie by prison guard Sergeant Soucier, and James Graham, a Lanesboro, NC prisoner who succeeded in getting most of his demands met after a week-long hunger strike last month; for our brutalized and arrested comrades in Seattle, and the victims of the recent spate of killings by police in California. We timed this demonstration to coincide with the latest block of visiting-hours for that day, so that prisoners’ friends and loved ones might see us and relay our messages to the inside.
A number of passing motorists honked, waved, yelled in support and shot us thumbs-up as we held banners, banged on drums, chanted and darted into the street to distribute handbills through open car windows. After about 45 minutes we migrated to a side of the property that lay a bit closer and within clearer sight of the prison’s housing units, came up to the metal fence and for about 2 minutes yelled and beat on drums and cookware as loud as we could while facing our banners and signs toward the prison’s windows, so that prisoners could briefly see or at least hear us in those last few moments.
Out of all the locations in NC’s capital city that sustain the functioning of the prison-industrial complex, we chose this particular correctional facility to demonstrate in front of for its proximity to a major boulevard and thus, high visibility to passing traffic, and its particularly loathsome status as the state of North Carolina’s “execution prison,” currently housing over 150 death row inmates set to be murdered by the State within those very walls.
This demonstration followed on the heels of similar events held in front of the Guilford County Jail in downtown Greensboro on Sunday July 24th, and Sunday August 7th in front of the downtown Durham jail.
As a climate of nationwide and international resistance against correctional systems and law enforcement continues to develop, we will maintain our support for all prisoners and victims of police violence and harassment, to demonstrate affinity with those trapped behind bars, and to lend solidarity to those who disrupt business-as-usual in the prison system.
-some NC anarchists against prisons
Text from the handbill is printed below.
SOLIDARITY WITH ALL PRISON REBELS!
On July 1st, dozens of prisoners in the long-term isolation unit of Pelican Bay in California began an indefinite hunger strike. Their strike quickly spread, and has now been joined by over 6,000 prisoners in at least 11 prisons across the state. Though some prisoners have entered into negotiations with officials, an estimated several thousand in southeastern CA remain on hunger strike.
These prisoners are held in soundproof cells with no windows for 22½-24 hours per day, often for years at a time. The only way out of this slow torture is to “debrief”, i.e. inform on other prisoners, a situation which clearly encourages false accusations. They are served unsanitary and unwholesome food, punished collectively for the actions of individuals, and routinely denied access to basic services like phone calls or warm clothing. In an attempt to change these conditions, these prisoners have united to put their own lives on the line. Over 100,000 American prisoners are held in these solitary conditions. Solitary confinement is not an aberration from the norm but in fact the logical result of a country that locks up more of its population per capita than any other nation in the history of world.
We are here to support the efforts of these strikers, and the struggle of all prisoners to free themselves from the brutality and isolation of prison. We also want to draw attention to other acts of state repression on the west coast. This past weekend 26 Seattle anarchists were arrested, seven attacked and critically injured by police armed with shovels in their own home. Only a matter of days earlier, police in the Bay Area murdered an unarmed African-American teenager for not paying a $2 metro fare. Both of these incidents have elicited acts of solidarity and counter-attacks.
It goes without saying that the brutality of the police and the torture of prisons are inextricably linked. In both cases, the function of these institutions is not to reduce crime but to perpetuate a long history of slavery and exploitation. If prisons are to be understood as warehouses for the poor, then the police are the bosses of the unemployed. As such we wish for nothing but their destruction.
-some anarchists against prisons,
and the world that creates them.
AGAINST POLICE AND PRISONS!