In lieu of the prison strikes, our press would like to share with you this article from the Black Panther Party newspaper, written in January 1972. The article presents the Party’s perspective on the Attica uprising, as well as the subsequent reoccupation of the prison and violent reassertion of dominion by the racist state. We hope it will be useful for folks to read, so circulate it far and wide. Please keep historicizing and theorizing the implications of the strike. Please embrace prisoners’ voices as they carry out the strike. Please reflect on the strike in a broader historical context. And please, above all: keep locating and challenging the contradictions in which this nationwide strike reveals.
Download your copy of the article here:
We also must remember that it is not only the exploitation of prison labor that must be challenged when describing the prison regime as chattel slavery. The prison’s function in the United States is not merely to generate a cheap or disposable labor force. We must emphasize the distinctly anti-Black/racial dimension of industrialized punishment as well. That is, while the exploitative dimension of prison labor is indeed important to recognize and challenge, the regime’s PRIMARY function is to warehouse and disappear poor and working class Black (and in many regions Brown and Indigenous) people. Its purpose is to immobilize and liquidate white America’s “undesirables” from society—to render Black/Native people civilly and socially dead.
The SoCal Library documents and makes accessible histories of community struggles that challenge racism and other systems of oppression so we can all imagine and sustain possibilities for freedom. It holds extensive archival collections. All people are welcome to come and use them. Some examples of their collections include: Black Panther Party Newspapers (1967-1972), documents from Mothers Reclaiming Our Children (1990s), the Clyde Woods Collection (1957-2011), records of the Association of Street Vendors (1986-1995), the Civil Rights Congress papers (1940s-1950s), histories, reports, and photos from the Watts uprising (1960s), and collections from the Chicano Movement (1968) and Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (1993-2006).
A link to the library’s website is here:
*Reproduction of this document is for educational purposes only