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Alabama Prisoners to Strike on Easter Sunday

Building on the mass hunger strike of prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison in July of last year, several hundred prisoners across Alabama have declared that, beginning Easter Sunday, they will stop prison-mandated labor in protest of detestable living conditions.

The conditions in Alabama prisons are horrendous, packing twice as many people as the 16,000 that can be housed “humanely”, with everything from black mold, brown water, cancer causing foods, insect infestations, and general disrepair. They are also run by free slave labor, with 10,000 incarcerated people working to maintain the prisons daily, adding up to $600,000 dollars a day, or $219,000,000 a year of slave labor if inmates were paid federal minimum wage, with tens of thousands more receiving pennies a day making products for the state or private corporations.

Unpaid labor includes cooking and cleaning, production of license plates, furniture, chemicals, and linens, and farming. The slavery analogy is more than metaphorical: African-Americans comprise only 26% of Alabama’s population, but make up more than 60% of the prison population due to reactionary legislation and racist targeting of communities of color. Reports of beatings and systemic rape and sexual abuse of women inmates by guards at Tutwiler State Prison have surfaced in the media over the last year.

(In the US, forced labor produces everything from military equipment to lingerie, school supplies, and food.)

On the outside, labor unions and prisoners’ advocacy groups have been instrumental in helping prisoners organize themselves. The Free Alabama Movement is pushing an “Education, Rehabilitation, and Re-entry Preparedness Bill” to the Alabama legislature, while the Industrial Workers of the World labor union has vowed to provide support and assistance to the incarcerated laborers.

Melvin Ray, spokesperson for the Free Alabama Movement (FAM) said:

When we look at our situations inside of the Alabama Department of Corrections, we have no choice but to engage in this nonviolent and peaceful protest for civil and human rights. We sleep with rats and roaches. We work for free and eat slop unfit for human consumption. We serve decades in prison solely to provide free labor and without any real prospect for parole, and without any recourse to the courts for justice or redress of grievances. Our mothers, wives, and daughters must expose their breasts and panties just to visit us. This should not be acceptable to anyone. Prison is supposed to be a place where people go to work out issues and return to society. But when there is no focus on education or rehab but solely on profit margins, human suffering is inevitable. ADOC is about free labor and the new slavery no one wants to talk about. That is no longer going to work for the 30,000 of us who suffer because of it.

The Industrial Workers of the World was involved in a similar campaign in 1987, in which they organized 400 incarcerated laborers in an Ohio state prison, before the government ruled that prisoners are not legally entitled to the right to form a union - a right which all other workers enjoy.

More on the Free Alabama Movement’s strike

Rape accusation unites small Missouri town—against the teenage victim

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Guys, please read this. This town is 40 miles away from where I live. It’s the town where I go to college. 

I am absolutely disgusted that I am in any way affiliated with this town and its citizens. I am absolutely disgusted that I attend a college that would allow a rapist to join its football team, while making no attempt at all to look into his character. I am absolutely disgusted that I have probably been a patron of some of the businesses whose owners shamed, harassed, and demeaned the victim and her family. I am disgusted that I probably have encountered the rapists during my time at Northwest Missouri State University and not had any idea of their true nature. I am MAINLY disgusted that this case was dropped and that victims of rape continue to be silenced.

Spread this shit like wildfire. Justice is not something that should be determined by the size of of a town, by the positions of power of the perpetrators’ family members, or by the social standing of the perpetrators. #JusticeforDaisy

Trauma impels people both to withdraw from close relationships and to seek them desperately. The profound disruption in basic trust, the common feelings of shame, guilt, and inferiority, and the need to avoid reminders of the trauma that might be found in social life, all foster withdrawal from close relationships. But the terror of the traumatic event intensifies the need for protective attachments. The traumatized person therefore frequently alternates between isolation and anxious clinging to others. […] It results in the formation of intense, unstable relationships that fluctuate between extremes.
Judith Herman in Trauma and Recovery (via aloegoo)

(Source: psychologicalsnippets)

If you are 35 or younger - and quite often, older - the advice of the old economy does not apply to you. You live in the post-employment economy, where corporations have decided not to pay people. Profits are still high. The money is still there. But not for you. You will work without a raise, benefits, or job security. Survival is now a laudable aspiration.

Quoted from Sarah Kendzior’s “Surviving the Post-Employment Economy

“In the United States, nine percent of computer science majors are unemployed, and 14.7 percent of those who hold degrees in information systems have no job. Graduates with degrees in STEM - science, technology, engineering and medicine - are facing record joblessness, with unemployment at more than twice pre-recession levels. The job market for law degree holders continues to erode, with only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates in full-time jobs. Even in the military, that behemoth of the national budget, positions are being eliminated or becoming contingent due to the sequester.

It is not skills or majors that are being devalued. It is people.”

Her work is frank, speaking of a reality I hope that will never be mine. At the same time, it gives me a strange comfort to know that I am not alone.

(via sextus—empiricus)

I will always reblog this quote.  Hits way too close to home for me.

(via missbananafish)

The most salient part of this, to me, is the underscoring of the fact that there is no “right” college major where you’re guaranteed a job forever. Conservatives love to pretend college graduates working minimum-wage or freelance jobs just didn’t “pick the right major” - those foolish fools studied the arts or literature or something else frivolous, so they deserve crushing debt and no job security! No. There is no magical college major that will let you sidestep the jobless recovery.

(via thebicker)

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