On Friday, September 9th, prisoners across the US will go on strike against prison slavery and white supremacy, and the general dehumanization that define America’s system of mass incarceration.
This is not only a strike against bad conditions, for the changing of rules around things like parole, and to actually be paid for their labor which makes billions for multi-national corporations, but against white supremacy itself. When the 13th Amendment was passed in 1865, it in theory banned slavery, except in the form of imprisonment. While many former slaves simply became indentured share croppers, over the decades following the civil war corporations and governments continued to look towards prisons as a major source for free and cheap labor.
From a write-up from The Nation on the strike and its background:
Across the US, there are nearly 900,000 inmates who currently work in prisons. In states such as Colorado and Arizona, inmates earn as little as little as a few cents per hour for their work. In Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas, incarcerated people are forced to work for free.
The general public has little idea of the scope of prison labor, considering how pervasive it is. Most prisons force inmates to perform the basic facility maintenance—mopping floors, cutting grass, cooking, or washing clothes—that keep prisons running…A number of states and federally run prisons also use inmate labor to manufacture marketable goods and services. Some of this labor is outsourced by private corporations, including Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom’s, and AT&T Wireless, to name a few recognizable brand names.
The strike is being organized by various radical prisoner and prisoner solidarity organizations, such as the Free Alabama Movement and the Industrial Workers of the World’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.