Gainesville gets involved: local prisoner strike solidarity

On September 9, members of the Gainesville Industrial Workers of the World and other allies gathered outside Walmart on Waldo Road to raise awareness of the strike and Walmart’s profiteering from prison slave labor.

Despite announcing a pledge that “Forced or prison labor will not be tolerated by Wal-Mart,” the company has continued to contract with vendors who use prison labor, along with dozens of other corporations who exploit the slavery loophole in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by using prisoners to cut their labor costs.

The following day, Gainesville IWW members, organizers with Fight Toxic Prisons, and activists from all over Florida met at the gates of Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, the nation’s largest prison factory, to stand in solidarity with prisoners there and around the country who are engaged in ongoing job actions and uprisings against prison slavery. This strike will only be successful if there is outside support and media attention. The Prison Industrial Complex is trying and cover this up and keep the media blacked out. We can’t let that happen.

Florida was reported as one of the most active states in regards to the September prisoner strike, with reports of unrest at a number of Florida prisons in recent weeks, including the Holmes and Gulf Correctional facilities, where hundreds participated in uprisings, which the Department of Corrections called “major disturbances,” causing significant damage to multiple units of the prison. Work refusals, sit-ins and other actions were reported at Columbia, Holmes, Jackson, Gulf, Franklin, Liberty, Mayo and Okaloosa facilities.

Last week in the Holman prison, just across the Florida/Alabama border, prison guards were also reported going on strike in response to conditions there.

If you’re interested in getting involved with solidarity work around the prison strikes, the Gainesville IWW holds general meetings on the first Sunday of the month at 6 pm at the Civic Media Center. Their Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee will meet next at the CMC on Tuesday, October 4th at 6pm. To contact the Gainesville IWW please email More info is also available via the Gainesville IWW and Friends of the Gainesville IWW Facebook groups. D

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