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  • PA Prison Strike Letter for Fellow Incarcerated People – January 2023

    To my fellow imprisoned people:

    Peace friend,

    We at SPARC [Subaltern Peoples Abolitionist Revolutionary Collective] have been organizing in PA prisons for years. We’ve been building our movement with focus on addressing the struggles going on right now. It’s clear from the failure to return to pre-COVID normal procuedure that the adminsitration intends to keep us under elevated restrictions indefinitely. Not only that, but there are many problems with the Pennsylvania injustice system that are not being remedied by politicians and lawyers. We intend to do our part.

    Prisons are modern day slave plantations which only make profits for our exploiters if we do work. The more of us who refuse to labor for the slave master, the less the system can function. We have the power to shut it down and change conditions for the better.

    On Friday January 6, 2023 we are going to use our power and go on strike. We are calling on you to get with your comrades and do this with us. Help us make it a statewide refusal to work.

    We have been collecting feedback for our fellow captives and have compiled a list of demands. We have organized this labor strike to force the DOC and legislature to make changes. We are also standing up in solidarity with the prisoners that were on strike in all the prisons in Alabama. They are going to know that they are an inspiration and they are not in the struggle alone.

    Neither are you.

    Our list of demands:

    • end sexual harassment and rape by staff in women’s facilities.
    • end all harassment and racism in all facilities
    • raise wages for all workers – minimum wage for skilled workers and C.I. workers
    • end outsourcing mail to Florida [taking jobs from PA]
    • end outsourcing commissary to Secure Pak [taking jobs from PA]
    • end pricing gouging on tablets
    • allow video visits on tablets
    • pass the Geriatric Bill
    • end life sentences for 2nd Degree Murder
    • allow parole for lifers
    • adequate and edible food served at required temperature
    • end abuse in solitary confinement
    • allow RHU prisoners to order food [food cannot be used as punishment]
    • open visiting room to pre-pandemic levels
    • open all dining halls
    • provide more recreation/outdoor exercise time followed by showers
    • criteria for commutation instead of arbitrary decisions
    • parole eligibility for everyone after 15 years
    • flat sentencing
    • family picnic days on visits
    • conjugal visits
    • single cells for those that want those

    SPARC

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  • The Philosophy of SPARC

    We are Subaltern Peoples Abolitionist Revolutionary Collective (SPARC). We are prisoners and outside comrades who are organized around the principle that humans have the inherent right to freedom and self-determination. When systems, or groups, obstruct that self-determination by marginalizing groups and oppressing them, the marginalized have the right to resist that oppression.

    In the history of resistance struggles, patterns are evident. Members of an oppressed group commit to change their conditions. They begin by organizing and educating others in their group about how the oppressive structures are working and how they can be dismantled. Consciousness among the group is raised as oppression worsens. The group decides to move from education and organizing to action.

    Actions include, but are not limited to, strikes, boycotss, protests and other creative demonstrations. Oppressive groups and systems respond to the resistance action with pacification tactics (i.e. violence & repression or compromise & concessions). A variation of the above pattern occurs again and again in cycles until one of the antagonists is dismantled.

    Our freedom depends on our will to struggle for progress. And there is no struggle without sacrifice. This is the work that we have chosen.

  • Our Reasons and Demands for January 2023 PA DOC Prison Strike!

    Prisoners in Pennsylvania are organizing a labor strike to protest inhumane conditions in the Department of Corrections. Despite the roll back of lockdowns and restrictions in the “free world,” conditions in many prisons have not returned to pre-COVID “norms.”

    It is affecting prisoners’ emotional well-being by restricting their ability to maintain family connections through contact visitation.

    It is affecting prisoners’ mental health by keeping them locked in a cell the size of a bathroom with another person for nearly 20 hours each day.

    It is affecting their physical health as some prisoners with jobs receive as little as 4 hours per week in an outdoor exercise area. And sometimes taking advantage of that would mean they are not allowed to take a shower.

    Prisoners in Pennsylvania started an organization called SPARC and have been surveying their peers, listening to their frustrations and collecting their complaints. They have compiled a list of demands and set the date for January 6, 2023 to begin the strike – a demonstration in protest against the State’s oppressive policies.

    This action is also a statement that they are standing up in solidarity with the imprisoned women and men in Alabama.

    It’s Going Down: Officials Move To Squash Massive Strike Across Alabama Prisons (September 28, 2022)

    It’s Going Down: “In Contempt #22: Alabama Prison Strike Put On Hold, Plans Next Steps” (November 2, 2022)

    Prizm: “Alabama prison strikers’ demands push for decarceration” by Jared Ware (November 11, 2022)

    “In Pennsylvania, there is Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Alabama in between.”

    The above statement was made in reference to politics and the conservative mentality of PA. There is a reason why PA state prisons are not located near Philadelphia or Pittsburgh: to make sure the areas with the highest populations of Black & Brown people do not reap the economic benefits of mass incarceration. If it must be Alabama in between, then LET’S GIVE THEM ALABAMA!

    The prisoners of Alabama DOC launched a statewide labor strike earlier this year and called for the rest of the nation’s prison population to stand in solidarity and “LET THE CROPS ROT IN THE FIELD!”

    On Friday January 6, 2023 the prisoners held captive in the Pennsylvania DOC will answer the call for solidarity. We recognize that everyone may not agree with the actions of those who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, but putting aside partisanship to the side, we mut all remember that it is within our inalienable rights as human beings to stand against human rights violations and tyranny: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness – that to secure these rights, governments are instilled among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that WHENEVER ANY FORM OF GOVERNMENT BECOMES DESTRUCTIVE OF THESE ENDS IT IS THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO ALTER OR ABOLISH IT“!!

    Pennsylvania and its DOC is in violation of the Declaration of Human Rights. The so-called privileges given to its captives are designed to placate and create an obsequious individual who is unable to function within society. The PA DOC is the enemy of public safety. It is the enemy of human decency. We all have demands and we invite those standing in solidarity to add to the following list:

    • end sexual harassment and rape by staff in women’s facilities
    • end all harassment and racism in all facilities
    • raise wages for all workers – minimum wage for skilled workers and C.I. workers
    • end outsourcing mail to Florida [taking jobs from PA]
    • end outsourcing commissary to Secure Pak [taking jobs from PA]
    • end price gouging on tablets
    • allow video visits on tablets
    • pass Geriatric Bill
    • end life sentences for Second Degree Murder
    • allow parole for lifers
    • adequate and edible food served at required temperature
    • end abuse in solitary confinement
    • allow RHU prisoners to order food [food cannot be used as punishment]
    • open all dining halls
    • provide more recreation/outdoor exercise time followed by showers
    • criteria for earning commutation instead of arbitrary decisions
    • parole eligibility for everyone after 15 years
    • flat sentencing
    • family picnic days on visits
    • conjugal visits
    • single cells for those who want that

    SPARC – Subaltern Peoples Abolitionist Revolutionary Collective