Oakland IWOC Update

  1. Another hunger strike set to begin in Riverside County!
  2. Prisoner demands remain ignored in weeks after Vaughn uprising
  3. Upcoming film showing: “The Prison In Twelve Landscapes”
  4. Next chapter meeting and the work that is underway.
  5. Original essay from inside, “The Relationship Between Master/Slave”

The Oakland chapter of IWOC just keeps growing and deepening. And on the inside? Prisoners stay on the move. Here’s our newsletter on recent developments and upcoming events with the bonus of an original essay sent to Oakland IWOC from inside a CA max facility.

Hunger Strike in Riverside County Jails begins April 13, 2017

Prisoners in a county level facility yet again take the initiative and organize to press their demands. And in every facility we find demands that are nearly identical, not due to some coordination or conspiracy, but due to the systemic and near uniform disregard for basic living conditions across the state.

Core demands

Adequate clothing and food. An end to commissary profiteering by vendors. Behavior based solitary as opposed to arbitrary and indefinite solitary. Educational, self-help and religious programs.

From the Riverside organizers inside:

The following is in regards to a peaceful protest in the form of an organized hunger strike in the Riverside County Jails.  Said hunger strike will begin at breakfast April 13, 2017 and end at breakfast May 1, 2017 a total of 17 days.

First off, allow us to stress the fact that by no means is this to be considered an attempt to promote or benefit any form of gang, nor is this to be considered gang activity. This is a peaceful request/call for action to all, regardless of race, creed, and classification. This pertains to all prisoners held in Riverside County Jails. We all serve to benefit from any success that may transpire as a result of our collective efforts.

With this in mind we are now reaching out to all like-minded prisoners who are willing and interested in banding together in a united stance of solidarity in order to bring about meaningful forms of change. We respectfully ask anybody that is not taking part in the strike to respect our efforts and show other forms of support by not accepting extra county food. We all have a stake and common interest. In preparation we encourage you to inform and involve your friends and family, have them show their support by calling the jail during our hunger strike to voice their concerns, ask that they get our message out to social media and traditional media and by reaching out to prisoners support organizations to help further push and inspire our efforts.

For their full statement and demands: https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/hunger-strike-in-riverside-county-jails-begins-april-13-2017/

Prisoner Demands Remain Ignored in Weeks after Vaughn Uprising

The Delaware powers that be continue to double down on repression in the wake of a prisoner uprising that involved the taking of hostages and a guards death on February 1, 2017. Brian Sonenstein of the Shadowproof project follows up on the state response  as well as speaking to Kim Wilson, (an active abolitionist, scholar and mother of two sons incarcerated in Vaughn) on the history at the facility, the community’s response, and the ongoing organizing.

From the article:

A closer look at the treatment of prisoners post-uprising provides insight into officials’ posture and response to date. Wilson’s sons were not in Building C when the uprising occurred, but she shared some of the things she learned from the community network of families, friends, and loved ones, that exists on the outside.

People were beaten, bones broken and bodies bruised, after law enforcement bulldozed through a barricade of footlockers to retake the dorm. There was little-to-no medical treatment provided to those in need. Some people were unable to get their diabetes medications.

Housing units were occupied by “response teams” of officers clad in riot gear. Cells were searched and property was confiscated, destroyed, and strewn about as officials combed for contraband and potential evidence. One mother told Wilson of strip searches, in which the incarcerated had to stand naked and face taunting officers for hours.


Upcoming film showing: “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes”

Tues, April 18 , 7pm
The New Parkway, 474 24th St., Oakland

The good folks of Critical Resistance are sponsoring the showing of this acclaimed film at the New Parkway as a benefit for their work as well as leading a post-film discussion. A few IWOC folks will definitely be there to support as well as take part in the post film discussion.

On the film:

A film about the prison and its life in the American landscape.

More people are imprisoned in the United States at this moment than in any other time or place in history, yet the prison itself has never felt further away or more out of sight. The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is a film about the prison in which we never see a penitentiary. Instead, the film unfolds as a cinematic journey through a series of landscapes across the USA where prisons do work and affect lives, from a California mountainside where female prisoners fight raging wildfires, to a Bronx warehouse full of goods destined for the state correctional system, to an Appalachian coal town betting its future on the promise of prison jobs.

For more on the film: https://www.prisonlandscapes.com/

For more on Critical Resistance: http://criticalresistance.org/about/

The local Oakland IWOC chapter happenings!

We’re developing on a lot of fronts…

regularized meetings: 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, (1st Tuesday is open, 3rd is members only)
getting the correspondence work sorted out, developing each others’ skills as writer-organizers
about to have our second internal political education session, “LifeInside”: ex-incarcerated people sharing their knowledge and educating on just what daily life is like inside in a variety of different level facilities (sorry, this on is members only for now)

working groups!: folks are sorting out into the areas to put in that work – outreach, fundraising, media/research, political education
Santa Rita support: we’re about to kick off offering direct material support to releasees and visitors on regular evenings outside Alameda county’s main jail, Santa Rita: hot food, drinks, charged phones, rides to BART, etc. and no proselytizing. Solidarity first!  Survival program, mutual aid, building relationships…

And this work we do takes financial support. We’re growing and this work that we have taken on takes money. WE GOT THE HANDS. YOU CAN GIVE US THE TOOLS TO BUILD.


And to wrap up, a short original essay from a brother struggling and writing inside.

The Relationship Between Master/Slave

by “Lucio Cabañas”, an Oakland IWOC contact inside a CA max level facility

Salutes and respects to all the members of this society working for a better world. I read your ad at the prison focus newsletter. (Summer 2016)
It seems to me that the prisoner movement in California for real reform is stagnated. We have become dangerously pacified, comfortable, and content.

A few trinkets and privileges were thrown our way and we believed that to be a victory. However; what about real changes?; the California Parole Board (PBH) is still up to its old tricks of denying parole; under false pretences with no hope of a change.

Something that we need to realize is that the “PBH” WILL NEVER REALLY CHANGE: because its whole existence depends in the perpetual slavery of tens of thousands of society’s most marginalized segments of the population. And that is why it keeps denying parole to thousands of eligible slaves. There are plenty of cases where 70 year old men are denied parole; because they represent a danger to society. The irony of the situation doesn’t doesn’t escape my mind; that these same hypocrites turn a blind eye to the killings of brown and black men at the hands of corrupt police.

As long as we the slaves keep showing up to work for free or for an extra lunch bag, we will always be doomed and die as slaves; easily replaced by future lumpen generations. We need to wake up and realize that we are slaves. And second, that we have the keys to our freedom; without our cooperation to willingly provide our free labor the beast will starve to death. Truly speaking, no matter what we did, we don’t deserve a lifetime of slavery, decades of isolation (CDC’s segregation units); and the occasional execution in the killing fields. (At prison yards and the ghettos)

They can twist it any way that they want and sing the same old song: that we are the worst of the worst. But that is the propaganda specifically designed to feed the ignorant masses. At no point in history has this country and racist ruling class had such an obedient, peaceful, ignorant and comfortable slave population where they willingly get up every day to work the fields and sweat shops for free, or for a ridiculous $0.15 cents an hour. Where is our pride, honor, power of reasoning and right to live and die as free men?
What are we waiting for, to be 70, 80, or 90 years old? No fascist regime in the world has ever conceded nothing without a struggle. When every single slave says in one voice “Enough!” I won’t work for free any more as our ancestors did. “Let the crops rot in the field.” That will get their attention, and they will come to the negotiating table; because the plantation can’t afford to be in lock down and lose money.

The U$A’s ~slave~ has been so brainwashed and manipulated that he looks forward to get out of his cage to go to his “work.” And when the master doesn’t open his cage’s door, the slave gets upset and yells. Because he doesn’t care any longer, his warrior spirit has been broken. And if someone comes along and tells him that it doesn’t have to be this way and that he can be “free” of perpetual slavery, the slave would consider this to be dangerous talk. And he will be scared to lose his electronics, jobs, visits, commissary and telephone calls. He has become officially and comfortably institutionalized as a slave.

The slave has been dependent for most of his life; that sometimes, it doesn’t register that he has been treated and spoken to as if he were a child. This is why real history books and TV documentaries with some intellectual value are banned at all these plantations. This information may give the slave the wrong ideas about equality, freedom and justice. The state can’t afford to educate the enslaved population.

So garbage is played 24/7 in our TV sets and the purchase of tablets with unlimited children’s games is encouraged. Those who try to wake up the masses are eliminated or isolated. It all depends on the individual’s capacity to lead and inform about his understanding of the predicament in which we have become entangled. One thing is for sure: he knows that his enemy is not the slave in the cage next door.”

Oakland IWOC

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