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This Black August, Support the National Prison Strike!

National Prison Strike starts August 21st and lasts until September 9th. Strikes and solidarity actions will take place in at least 17 states. Fight for Prison Workers’ Rights, Free All Political Prisoners!

Julia Wallace

August 21, 2018
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The Strike

Prisoners are staging work stoppages throughout the United States beginning today. Prisoners are protesting their miserable living conditions and wages — often only pennies an hour — and are commemorating the assassination of Black Liberation and prisoners’ rights activist George Jackson, who was brutally murdered in 1971.

George Jackson´s Image From the Official Website of Kiilu Nyasha

The Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) has played a role in organizing the strike and in publicizing it outside and inside of prisons around the country. A promotional video made by IWOC is circulating on social media. Prisons are already pledging to strike in 17 states.

Image From Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee

The strike will start today, August 21st, on the 47th anniversary of George Jackson’s assassination, and it will end on September 9th, the anniversary of the Attica prison rebellion, which took place in the same year. George Jackson was a writer, revolutionary, socialist and fighter for Black Liberation as well as an organizer for prison rights within San Quentin prison. It is widely believed the assassination was orchestrated by the U.S. government. Two weeks later the Attica prison uprising began.

Video with some of the strike organizers from inside the prison

The strikers’ list of demands includes:

“Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.

An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.

The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.

The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.

An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.

An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.

Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.

The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.”

Black August

Black August was started by political prisoners, most of whom were members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP) and the Black Liberation Army (BLA).

August is a month which many other significant moments in Black resistance to slavery and oppression took place, including the slave rebellion which was launched by Nat Turner in 1831 and the Watts Rebellion of 1965. The originators of the Black August commemoration, including George Jackson, author of Soledad Brother recognized the racism and exploitation inherent in the prison system as well as the need to organize prisoners “behind enemy lines” and people on the outside.

The Attica Uprising

September 9th marks the anniversary of the Attica uprising when hundreds of prisoners took over the Attica prison to demand better living conditions. Ultimately, the uprising was violently repressed under the order of New York governor Nelson Rockefeller, killing 33 prisoners and 10 prison guards.

The uprising has remained an important milestone in the fight for better prison conditions and Black Liberation.

Support the Prison Strike

One year ago, Left Voice joined Strike Against Police Terror (StrAPT) in commemorating the anniversary by holding a teach-in and blocking a bus that was taking prisoners to the Twin Towers jail in Los Angeles. Today, Black August events are organized by political groups on the outside and by prisoners themselves.

This year’s prison strike is of special importance because of the recent fires in California, which were put out by prison workers serving as firefighters These prison workers are paid $1 an hour to risk their lives in blazing fires with no guarantee of a reduced sentence.

The strike is also significant as several political prisoners arrested during the height of the Black Liberation struggle have been recently released, including Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim. This is due to the organizing efforts of groups dedicated to freeing political prisoners.


In solidarity with political prisoners and the movement to abolish prison wage slavery, Left Voice supports the National Prison Strike and calls for an end to the bigoted capitalist prison industrial complex. Free All Political Prisoners! Abolish the SHU! Support the Demands of the Prisoners Strike!

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Julia Wallace

Julia is a contributor for Left Voice and has been a revolutionary socialist for over ten years. She served on the South Central Neighborhood Council in Los Angeles and is a member of SEIU Local 721. Julia organizes against police brutality and in defense of LGBTQ, women, and immigrants' rights. When she's not actively fighting the patriarchy, white supremacy and/or capitalism, she enjoys many things: she loves Thundercat, plays ultimate frisbee and is a founder of the team, "Black Lives Hammer."

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