Resisting Slavery: From Marie-Joseph Angélique 1734 to Prison Strike 2018

We postered along the same streets that Angélique was paraded down moments before she was hung, and then burned.

Text for a poster distributed by anarchists in Montreal linking historical struggles against slavery to the current prison strike. Some anarchists came together on the night of August 23rd to cover Montréal’s Vieux Port (Old Port) in posters that read in both French and English:

Resisting Slavery: From Marie-Joseph Angélique 1734 to Prison Strike 2018   ..August 21 – September 9th 2018    More Info: twitter.com/JailLawSpeakImage result for abolish prison slavery

By   Anonymous Contributor at Its Going Down

We postered along the same streets that Angélique was paraded down moments before she was hung, and then burned. Angélique, we remember. Slavery, stolen land, and attempted genocide define the contours of the ever-forming settler states of Turtle Island (North America).

In solidarity with prisoners currently fighting slavery inside all US prisons, we wanted to (re)tell the story of Marie-Joseph Angélique. Angélique was a Black woman enslaved in Montréal during the 18th Century who was sentenced to torture and death for allegedly setting fire to her slave owner’s domicile, which resulted in the majority of the city of Montréal burning.

We offer Angélique’s story as a reminder that Québec and Canada were engaged in the practice of slavery for over 200 years. We chose Angélique’s story because it connects the city we live in to the ongoing story of resistance to slavery on this continent.

US prisoners have used this strike to reference a long history of resistance to slavery. August 21, 1831 marked the start of Nat Turner’s Rebellion, a significant moment of resistance by enslaved people.Image result for abolish prison slavery

August 21, 1971 also marks the day the state killed George Jackson, a Black revolutionary prisoner deeply involved in struggles for the liberation of Black peoples. Jackson’s death ignited an intense period of prison organizing.

September 9, 1971 marks the start of the Attica Uprising, one of the most significant moments of resistance inside US prisons. Prisoners at Attica released a list of comprehensive demands to improve their living conditions. Those demands were never met but have clearly influenced the prisoners on strike today.

Resistance to slavery is an ongoing struggle for those facing incarceration in the United States. The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution states:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Slavery actively continues within US prisons. The 13th Amendment legally justifies the violent, brutal conditions that define this carceral system. These conditions are what prisoners across the States will be striking against over the next two weeks.

And while Canada does not have a similar constitutional amendment, we view prisons not only as an apparatus of domination, but also as an extension of Canada’s settler colonial project.Image result for abolish prison slavery

The primary aim for the settler colonial project is to control land for settlement and for the extraction of “natural resources”.

It is through these capitalist relationships to land that the colonial system secures its wealth and future existence. However, First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nations are viewed by the political and economic elite as an obstacle to this settler future.

The settler state and society have employed tactics and strategies such as: racialized and class-motivated surveillance, policing, military repression, and incarceration. Containment and control are not only central to the settler colonial project, but prisons and incarceration are a strategic part of keeping Indigenous people off the land, and thus less able to challenge state power.

Slavery, stolen land, and attempted genocide are the founding stories of the settler states occupying this continent, and they are the foundations of the systems we seek to abolish.Image result for us political prisoners

We weave together these aforementioned moments in history to illustrate how they belong to a longer, more global context of colonial expansion, exploitation for profit, and great wealth for some humans at the expense of the objectification of so many forms of life.

Solidarity with the prisoners on strike, in memory of Angélique.

Against prisons, against slavery, against colonialism!

URL link to poster pdf files: https://archive.org/details/PrisonStrike2018posters

Philadelphia, PA: #PrisonStrike Noise Demo Report Back

Report back from the Friendly Fire Collective about the recent noise demonstration in solidarity with the #PrisonStrike.

As the local Friendly Fire group, we decided that we would cancel our prayer meeting in order to attend an action instead. As endorsers of the National Prison Strike, and as followers of Jesus, a revolutionary abolitionist, we felt that participating in this noise demo in solidarity with striking prisoners was important.

The action as a whole turned out great. Dozens of folks showed up in front of the Juvenile Justice Services Center in West Philly with drums, pots, pans, whistles, even a saxophone – anything to make noise with.

This energy of this action was bright and joyful and yet felt a bit more militant than other recent actions, with a spontaneous blockade erected and chants such as “Burn the banks, burn the prisons, just make sure the cops are in ’em” and – a Friendly Fire favorite – “God Hates Cops.”

IMG_20180821_230407_404(1)

There seemed to be a lot of support from those in the surrounding community, who raised their fists, honked in support, and for the most part, happily learned about the Prison Strike. A number of folks, even families, joined the protest.

We concluded by reading the demands publicly and then marched down Market Street.

We are thankful for everybody who came out and the IWW comrades who organized this action. May God be with those striking prisoners, may their demands be heard and met, and may all those opposing their work and livelihood face God’s most severe judgment.

For more information on the Prison Strike: https://incarceratedworkers.org/campaigns/prison-strike-2018Image result for abolish prison slavery

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