The largest coordinated prison strike in U.S. history began September 9—the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising—and is now entering its second week, with incarcerated people nationwide protesting “modern-day slavery,” among other injustices that have become part and parcel of our country’s prison industrial complex and system of mass incarceration.
The NLG issued this statement endorsing the strike in May. As coverage of this historic resistance continues to be ignored by mainstream media outlets, it’s up to us to help maintain the strike’s visibility and push for change. Join the conversation on social media using #PrisonStrike, engage family and friends in thoughtful discussion, and spread the word.
As the strike continues, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) is documenting reports of retaliation and abuse against incarcerated organizers and participants of the strike.
These folks need your support! Here’s how you can help:
Legal Observe at Strike Support Events
Organizers are seeking lawyers, legal workers and other people with training to be legal observers at their events. If you are already trained, visit nlg.org/chapter, contact the Guild chapter in the appropriate city, and let them know your availability. Once you’ve reached out locally, or if you encounter challenges, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
File Notices of Claim
The NLG has offered to file notices of claims on behalf of incarcerated people on strike facing retaliation. Filing a notice of claim tells the prison that a suit could be filed and puts them on notice that abuse has happened. It is not the actual suit, but it gives violated prisoners time to find local lawyers. To learn how to do so, contact email@example.com.
Provide Legal Representation to Incarcerated People
Attorneys are needed to represent incarcerated people facing retaliation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Provide Legal Representation to Outside Support Protesters
Attorneys are needed to handle arrests and other legal issues experienced by protesters on the outside. Contact email@example.com
MORE WAYS TO SUPPORT
Write Solidarity Letters
IWOC is calling on folks to send striking prisoners solidarity letters to offer their support. Find the list here, along with important instructions on how the letters should be addressed and what they should and should not mention.
IWOC organized these phone zaps, with phone numbers of prisons and scripts for callers to vocalize their support for the strikes and voice concern over prison retaliation.
Help with Strike Tracking
Calling prisons periodically state-by-state is a tedious but much needed task to find out which prisons are in lockdown currently or have been at all since September 9. This will give the organizers a better idea of whether a strike has occurred. To find out more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Attend Solidarity Demonstrations
Remember: you still have your First Amendment rights! Show your solidarity by joining a vigil, protest or other action—many of which are publicized through social media. Be sure to #KnowYourRights before heading out to a demo; brief guides on encounters with law enforcement are available for downloaded in five languages at nlg.org/know-your-rights.
For the latest news on the #PrisonStrike, visit these sites by organizations leading the struggle:
- Support Prisoner Resistance: supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org
- Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC): iwoc.noblogs.org
- It’s Going Down: itsgoingdown.org/prisonstrike-resistance-to-slavery-across-the-world/