Revolution #221, January 9, 2011

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Thousands of Georgia Prisoners Strike Against Repressive Conditions

On December 9, 2010 thousands of men in at least six Georgia prisons initiated the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history. For six days prison inmates refused to leave their cells or perform their jobs. Their demands included:

Prisoners coordinated the simultaneous strike through "contraband" cell phone calls, text messages, and word of mouth. Despite racial divisions which are so often created and encouraged by the prison authorities, striking prisoners defied divisions, organizing across religious and color lines. Strikers included Blacks, Hispanics, whites, Muslims, Rastafarians, and Christians.

The system did not let this act go unpunished. In several prisons inmates were ripped from their cells and beaten, resulting in broken ribs for several men; some were beaten beyond recognition. Brutal guards placed some in isolation and ordered heat and hot water to cells turned off. At least four of the prisons were placed on lockdown, prisoners were ordered to remain in their cells. Prisoners responded defiantly saying, "We locked ourselves down!"

On December 15, prisoners ended the protest. One of the prison organizers told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "We needed to come off lock down so we can go to the law library and start ... the paperwork for a [prison conditions] lawsuit." Prisoners explain that this non-violent protest is only the beginning. They claim that they are allowing prison authorities time to meet their demands and if they are not, they will escalate their resistance in future actions.

This righteous act of resistance in Georgia's hellholes of incarceration is an inspiration for all those seeking justice! These prisoners have raised their heads, broken with the "dog-eat-dog" mentality encouraged by the system and set an example that should be learned from by everyone living under this system.

When oppressed people fight back, this system responds with even greater brutality. This system of capitalism-imperialism systematically confines, brutalizes, batters, humiliates, and rapes entire groups of people and justifies it! There is no good reason for it to continue one more day. For all those who say, "People are just too messed up... they'll never come together and struggle for a better world," take notice!

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