Poetic Rebellion

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Date(s) - Friday, 09/09/2016 - Monday, 09/12/2016
All Day

All over the world


September 9th-12th and Beyond
Kinross Correctional Facility, the MDOC and Prisons Across the US and the Globe


True to form, the state has responded with misinformation, suppression and repression. For some, their protests became rebellions. Hundreds of men have been relocated, many to level 5 solitary confinement. Armed Emergency Response Teams, the militarized wing of the MDOC, as well as other state agencies were mobilized to suppress the rebellions. Fires were set, tear gas and pepper guns were deployed, and the economic damages of the uprisings have yet to be totaled. Several “housing units” have been rendered uninhabitable. None of the demands have been met, and the MDOC is trying to suppress news of the protests/rebellions. Their suppression of the events have created tension within the correction officers union, which insists on making public the administration’s role in creating the conditions that lead to what they insist on calling a “riot” and with which they are forced to cope. We use the plurals “protests/rebellions” because there was not one voice or single homogeneous expression of discontent, but rather multiple voices beyond one person’s or group’s control. “Riot” is a pejorative word rhetorically manipulated to meet a legal definition that serves to de-legitimize concrete and grounded forms of social protest, which encourages the continuation of costly, reactionary and repressive forms of classification and isolation. This was not the overturning of cars after a basketball game. These were the intentional protests and destructions of policies and sites that serve to inhumanely warehouse people. The repression is ongoing. The state is blocking phones, books, mail and other forms of communication between inside and outside organizers. Post facto reporting expresses the asinine interpretation of the rebellions within Kinross and around the country. The administration and various reports try and ignore or reduce both the specificity of demands and the solidarity required for coordinated protests across the country to a vague, empty or obligatory repetition of an equally distorted historical event. What is happening within decarceration or abolitionist movements is not simple, it’s complex and should be recognized as such. The demands show the knowledge incarcerated people have about the conditions that contribute to the perpetuation of the prison industrial complex, violence and criminality within our communities. They are asking the state to take seriously its obligations to the public or to recuse itself from the responsibility and remove the impediments that hinder communities from exercising their autonomy. They want educational programs, family and community connections, employment opportunities, fair compensation, edible food, non-toxic living environments, etc. They demand it inside and out. The state will release approximately 10,000 incarcerated people this year, yet it will do little to nothing to insure that those released return home to or with anything more than the trauma caused by the violence of incarceration. The state will lock up approximately 10,000 people this year, yet it will do little to nothing to prevent the social conditions that contribute to violence and crime within the community and result in incarceration. Statistically, those 10,000 newly released and those 10,000 newly incarcerated share more than just zip codes. This is the revolving door of the New Jim Crow and it is part of the politics of erasure, which threatens the existence of those most victimized by historical forms of concentrated disadvantage. Support those who refuse to be victims and who refuse to victimize. Please listen to one account of the events, keeping in mind that while giving this account the individual is keenly aware of both being surveilled and the ongoing repression. Also, please keep in mind that, by protesting and making these actions known to the public, incarcerated abolitionists risk their lives.


This post was prior to the actions at Kinross

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Attica Prison Rebellion. Incarcerated men at Attica Prison, protesting the murder of George Jackson two weeks prior, took control of the compound. They desired to have their voices heard and they protested the inhuman treatment to which incarcerated people all over the world are subjected. Many were murdered for their resistance. September 12th marks the 39th anniversary of the torture and murder of anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko while in police custody. Biko gave his life organizing and fighting against an unjust and oppressive system that limited human flourishing. Today and beyond, Incarcerated people across the world are continuing this tradition of struggle.

Generally, incarcerated abolitionists hope to change the 13th Amendment’s codified affirmation of a state of exception for the practice of slavery. They struggle to transform the all too often abhorrent conditions within prisons and the communities from which prisoners come into places of learning, flourishing and respect. They struggle against the erasure of their voices from the community, and within the lives of their friends and families. They hope to eradicate the exploitative profiteering of “service” providers and the disproportionate burdens they place on those already adversely effected by incarceration. They work to positively transform self, others and the communities affected and effected by violence in order to create a more systematically inclusive world. For their efforts organizers and participants will likely be subjected to punishment, solitary confinement and forced relocation.

Specific to Kinross, the men there want to bring attention to: persistent health threats and hospitalizations resulting from poor ventilation and unsanitary conditions, inadequate nourishment, overcrowding, and arbitrary abuses of power directed against those incarcerated and their loved ones.
Please check out the Detailed Letter from an incarcerated individual at Kinross outlining the specific problems and illegal violations.

Show your support:
Contact Kinross and request a formal inquiry into the conditions and the health and safety of those protesting and request the administration address the complaints of the people there.
Contact other prisons or the MDOC and request a formal inquiry into the conditions and the health and safety of those protesting.
Volunteer with HFS with or donate to Free School’s abolitionist projects or any other abolitionist organization. We are working on getting people food to last them the duration of the action as well as reading and organizing material.
Listen to the words of those resisting and spread word across your networks.
Share your own words of encouragement and love.
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