Report back from strike in Texas, Week 2:
“Today, September 17, I visited the Alfred Hughes Unit in Gatesville, TX to visit a friend. While I was waiting for them to be brought to the visitation booth, a woman sitting next to me mentioned inmates at this unit being retaliated against.
She was visiting a woman from Hobby, who had been transferred to the medical building at Hughes due to overpopulation. I asked if I could join the conversation and ask some questions. The incarcerated woman explained that she overheard on a guards radio that inmates in building 8 were striking.
She later learned that these inmates had rigged their doors to open at the the same time for the nationwide strike. Guards in riot gear showed up and blasted tear gas and physically retrained and assaulted several inmates.
The visitor pointed out a latino family she overheard talking about the strike as well. I approached them and with their permission, got on the phone with their loved one who only wanted to talk briefly and didn’t have a lot of details to share, but did confirm that building 8 went on strike and were brutalized by guards as a result.
Finally, my friend showed up for our visit. They also confirmed all of this information, including the use of pellet guns.. They also said that they overheard on a radio that 13 units were on lockdown.
To all Families, Friends or Loved Ones of People Incarcerated in TDCJ,
Above is just one of many stories of resistance since the start of the Nationwide Prison Strike on September 9th, 2016, as told by one of our members who visited a loved one in TDCJ. We are waiting to hear back from contacts in other units but due to continuing lockdowns and censorship word is coming slowly.
Through calling units to see if retaliation is happening, we learned that there was/is a lockdown, and/or a partial lockdown, or many inmates are on suspension in the following 10 units (see below).
We have little information other than this, and fear that the state is trying to cover up retaliation. We sense that resistance is happening, and these stories need to be told. We are here to act as facilitators to make sure that information is spread to media contacts, loved ones, and fellow organizers.
If you have any information that you feel comfortable sharing with us, please let us know. What is the current state of resistance? How many people are/were involved? How are inmates feeling at this point? Has any retaliation happened? Have you been denied communication with a loved one? Are you willing to speak with media? We would like to hear anything that has potential to help us gain a better understanding of what is going on inside. We will keep you anonymous unless asked otherwise.
Though we understand that these issues will not be resolved overnight, please know that you are not alone and there are people who deeply care for you and these issues. Please let us know how we can further assist you, bearing in mind that we cannot give legal advice. However, we will do everything in our power to make sure your loved one’s voice is heard, and this movement is noticed by the world.
***Confirmed units on lockdown, partial lockdown, or “suspension” : Barry Telford, Beto, Clements, Conally, Ferguson, Gib Lewis, Jordan, Smith, Torres, William Hobby****
Unit directory: http://tdcj.state.tx.us/unit_directory/
Please call the above units and question why these lockdowns are taking place – to let them know we are watching.
Our thoughts are with you.
In Struggle and Solidarity,
TUCSON: BLOCKADE OF CORRECTIONAL OFFICER TRAINING ACADEMY
Submitted to It’s Going Down
On September 18, in solidarity with the national prison strike now in its second week, a group of anarchists and others blockaded the road leading to the Correctional Officers Training Academy in Tucson, Arizona, occupied Tohono O’Odham land.
All prison guards in the Arizona state prison system must attend the 6-week training at COTA, and this action was timed to impede the arrival of the incoming class. Participants built barricades of chained together pallets, furniture and tires, adorned with banners reading “Free the Prisoners, Fire the Guards” and “No Pipelines, No Prisons.” Other banners were strung across the road, including one bearing only the names of Marcia Powell and Mariam Abdullah, both of whom were killed in the Perryville women’s prison. We remember them and will not stop fighting to destroy the institutions and individuals responsible for taking them from us.
Further down the road from the barricades, another group blocked the road with a large banner reading “Prison Strike Solidarity” and other signs, while pumping some great Fuck the Police tunes from a mobile sound system. On the count of three say ‘fuck the police’ – 1. 2. 3.
Some local residents in the extraordinarily wealthy area surrounding COTA called the police upon reaching the barricades despite being offered clearance. We decided to bail with the blockade still intact, successfully avoiding any police interaction. For future reference, COTA is located at 5601 West Trails End Road and is only accessible from the east end of the road, which dead-ends at a gated community. So, fuck everyone on that stretch, right?
In trying to disrupt the smooth functioning of COTA, we aspired to find points beyond the prison walls themselves where we can directly interfere with prison operations. Training facilities, sites of logistical infrastructure such as prison bus depots, manufacturers and distributors of law enforcement weaponry or other supplies, cameras in the streets, and any number of administrative offices may be weak points where we can aim to make the system immediately unworkable on the ground.
In the context of Tucson’s recent history of directly disruptive actions, including multipleinterventions against police-Border Patrol collaboration, a blockade of the G4S bus depot, and the wildly successful blockade of Streamline buses which immediately prevented jail time for 70 people in Border Patrol custody, we hope that today’s experiment in direct interference while actively seeking to avoid arrests can also be an offering on how more of us can fight back and get away with it in the future.
In complicity with prison rebels and outside insurrectionaries fighting for lived liberation, right now.
Against colonial prisons, police, borders, and the world they protect.
We will escalate and we will win.
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