Action Kit: Commemorating the Attica Prison Rebellion and Supporting Jailhouse Lawyers Speak’s Shut ’em Down Demonstrations

This upcoming Thursday, September 9th, marks 50 years since the Attica prison rebellion, a devastating event which became foundational to the modern anti-prison movement.

Many NLG Chapters and Committees are hosting or supporting events in commemoration of the Attica rebellion. The NLG is also proud to be an endorser of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak‘s Shut ’em Down demonstrations.

Keep reading for details on upcoming events and how you can plug into calls for prison abolition!

NLG Chapter and Committee Events

Join NLG-NYC and other member organizations of the Attica is All of Us coalition for two virtual events on Thursday, Sept. 9th and Monday, Sept. 13th, including the history of Attica, special words from Angela Davis, and more!

Text-based flyer with a grey drawing of Attica Correctional Facility against a red background. At the top, text reads: Save the dates! Thursday September 9th and Monday September 13th, 6 PM – 8:30 PM (EST). ATTICA IS ALL OF US. Live stream the virtual events at: A 50th commemoration of the Attica Uprising and Massacre. Supported by an underwriting grant from the NLG-NYC Chapter Foundation. Broadcast and Technical Support from Manhattan Neighborhood Network.

Join us at CTF Soledad on September 12 from 11:30am-2:30pm for a rally and press conference to call for abolishing gang validation and expose the racist use of gang enforcement laws to target Black and Latinx prisoners and silence those challenging prisons from inside.

Text-based flyer with light grey background. Top left corner reads: SHUT EM DOWN AT CTF SOLEDAD. Top right corner reads: CTF prisoners are fighting back with a legal complaint to challenge the use of validation/racist gang enforcement laws. “In the spirit of abolition,” join us: For a press conference to announce the legal complaint, followed by a rally called by currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones against the widespread use of racist gang validation against Black and Latinx prisoners in an effort to criminalize their organizing, dissent, and survival. Below that, a stylized image of three hands in handcuffs with the caption: Imagery adapted from original “Free the Soledad Brothers” poster by Rainbow Zenith Press. Additional text below that reads: “National Lawyers Guild – SF Bay Area, CA Families Against Solitary Confinement, No Justice Under Capitalism, Anti Police-Terror Project, Oakland Abolition & Solidarity, Workers World Party. To the side: “Sun. Sept 12th, 11:30-2:30 (PST), 11:30 AM – Gather. 12:00 PM – Press conference. 1:00-2:30 PM – Rally with speakers. Location: CTF US-101, Soledad.

JLS Shut ‘Em Down Demonstrations

Please note: the following events are not officially organized by NLG Chapters or Committees, but are a part of the national Shut ‘Em Down demonstrations, called for by Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and endorsed by the National Lawyers Guild.

This is not an exhaustive list of rallies; different local events have varying levels of publicity due to safety and security assessments. We are re-sharing events which are already publicly accessible. We linked to registration where applicable, but some events primarily have information on social media. Twitter links will work even if you don’t have a Twitter account.

Join the Prisoners Solidarity Committee and Fire! at 12:30 PM CT on Saturday, Sept. 4 at the Briscoe Unit in Dilley, Texas for a car caravan to stop the detention of migrants.

Text-based flyer with a white background. Across the top in bold text: Detention centers, prisons, jails. Below that, in yellow text outlined in black: SHUT ‘EM DOWN! Beneath that: Car caravan to stop the detention of migrants @ the Briscoe Unit, a Texas prison. Saturday September 4th 12:30 PM CT. From: 1459 TX-85, Dilley, TX 78017. To: 300 El Rancho Way, Dilley, TX 78017. No cages! No borders! End the racist operation lonestar! No deportations! No death by COVID-19! In solidarity with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, called by: Prisoners Solidarity Committee of Workers World Party + FIRE! Fight for Im/Migrants and Refugees Everywhere

Join the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Carolinas at 4PM EST for a speakout and demo to bring light to the conditions at Turbeville correctional facility.

Visit their Twitter page for more information.

Text-based flyer with a black background and a light green box inside of it. In the green box, across the top text reads “Black August 2021 calendar of events.” Below that, a list of dates and events: Sat 8/14 – 6:00 PM (EST) – SC State House (1100 Gervais St): a vigil to remember all those we have lost in South Carolina “Department of Corrections” Sat 8/28 – 4:00 PM (EST) – JLS Shut ‘Em Down Noise Demo (4500 Broad River Rd): noise demo and sign line to make noise around SCDC especially Camille Graham and DJJ. Sat 9/4 – 4:00 PM (EST) – Shut ‘Em Down Speak Out (4500 Broad River Rd): speakout and demo to bring light to the conditions at Turbeville correctional facility. TBD – 4:00 PM (EST) (date and location to be determined): outdoor letter writing to Political Prisoners. Underneath that is another line of blocky text: PSL – Columbia, SC. DM us for more info or to volunteer.

Join the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Mississippi and the Mississippi Rising Coalition on Sept. 5th at 4PM EST to demand that people who are incarcerated receive full access to medical care, clean water, nutritional meals, educational resources, and full visitation privileges!

Join Voices of VV on Sept. 9 at 4 PM PST outside of Solano County Jail in Fairfield for a daytime noise demonstration with ongoing jail release aid.

Organizers ask that you bring noisemakers and your voice and that you wear a mask.

Follow Voices of VV on Twitter and Instagram for more information.

A flyer with black and red ripped paper effects on the corners. At the top, white text over a black background reads: 2021 Shut ’em down. Solano County Jail, 500 Union Ave, Fairfield CA. Bring noisemakers and wear a mask. Noise demo and jail release aid night. Below that, a red box with white text inside of it reads: Thurs Sept. 9, 4 PM (PST) (Jail release aid will continue through the night). Across the bottom half of the flyer is an image of people wearing orange with white scarves around their heads and faces, looking through a shattered window and holding a sign that says “Free 57.” Overlayed on top of it is another red box with white text, reading: No cops no prisons total abolition.

Join Workers World – Buffalo at 5PM EST at the monument in MLK Park to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Attica uprising. 

More information can be found on the Workers World Twitter page.

Join the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Los Angeles for a rally and march to hear from local activists, organizers and community members who are commemorating “Black August” by organizing for Black liberation and fighting back against the system of racist mass incarceration.

Black text-based flyer with a black and white image of a raised fist in the middle. Across the top, a line reads: National Shut ‘Em Down. On the left of the fist, the logos for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and Party for Socialism and Liberation sit on top of the text: In remembrance of the 1971 Attica prison rebellion. To the right of the fist, text reads: 12 PM (PST), Sat. Sept. 4, 441 Bauchet, Los Angeles. Across the bottom of the flyer, large text reads: Prisoner solidarity rally & march.

What is the Attica prison rebellion?

From the Attica is All of Us website:

[Trigger warning for descriptions of police violence]

In September of 1971, an uprising by the incarcerated men of Attica, a maximum security prison located in western New York, ended in the bloodiest attack by state authorities in United States history.

On September 9th, thirteen hundred incarcerated men had rebelled due to inhumane prison conditions, taking over the prison, and holding forty guards hostage. After issuing a list of demands—including calls for improvements in living conditions and medical care, religious freedom, and educational and training opportunities—they entered into negotiations with state officials. The State unilaterally ended the negotiations and Governor Rockefeller ordered an armed attack against the defenseless men. In the course of the brutal highly militarized take over, State police and guards slaughtered thirty-nine individuals, including ten hostages, but it was deliberately and falsely reported by the State that the hostages had their throats slashed by the men who had rebelled. After the massacre there was systematic brutality, torture of the men, selective punishment and isolation of alleged rebellion leaders.

The Attica rebellion played a foundational role in the development of today’s anti-prison movements.

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