Sept. 9 is the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising in New York, where national attention was drawn to the problem of prisons in this country. Learn how to participate in Gainesville and surrounding areas here: https://gainesvilleiguana.org/2016/articles/gainesville-iwoc-strike-on-sept-9/.
This year there will be public demonstrations in support of prisoners who have called for a coordinated national work strike in response to extreme abuses they face, including toxic environments, discrimination and literal slavery based on the 13th Amendment which wrote prison slave labor into the U.S. Constitution.
The primary Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) events will occur on Sept 10 at 10am in front of the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) of Coleman, located at 846 NE 54th Terrace, Wildwood, Florida 34785. FCC Coleman warehouses over 7,000 prisoners and is surrounded by mining operations.
This location is the largest prison factory in the entire country, producing material goods for government agencies nationwide. Much of the very furniture which accommodates the offices of the bureaucrats that we live under is made by prison slaves at this facility.
Federal Prison Industries, also known as UNICOR, has over $34 million in contract obligation coming out of Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities in Florida. This is three times higher than any other state in the country.
In addition, this prison is also home to one of the most famous political prisoners in the world, Native American activist and warrior, Leonard Peltier, who has been incarcerated over 40 years for his participation in the 1973 stand-off at the Pine Ridge Reservation and the liberation struggle of his people who experienced genocide and witnessed ecocide at the hands of the government who now holds him prisoner.
Also, it’s no coincidence that FCC Coleman is surrounded by a vast wasteland of rock mining operations, an industrial activity with a record of creating giant toxic ponds across Florida. Prisons all over the country are coupled with environmentally hazardous land uses that threaten prisoner’s health.
As another example of this, the federal Bureau of Prisons is now proposing to build a new maximum-security prison and slave factory on top of a former strip mine site in the coalfields of Letcher County, Kentucky. Any federal prisoner could at any time find themselves transferred to this prison, subjected to the health risks associated with a site where the air, water and soil are polluted by decades of coal mining and processing, which is still ongoing in the surrounding mountains.
Along with putting prisoners on a toxic site, the prison would also impact local people who live nearby, turning their community into a prison town. Construction alone will waste $444 million of federal tax dollars which could be used to address the crushing poverty that so often forces people into prisons in the first place.
The proposed site also sits a mile from a rare pocket of eastern old-growth forest that is home to dozens of Appalachian plant and animal species listed as threatened or endangered.
We feel that the existence of this industrialized, slavery-based system of mass incarceration stands as a primary obstacle to universal goals of freedom and harmony with the earth. Its continued existence is among the ultimate symbols of injustice in this country.
For more information on Sept 9, Letcher County and other related issues, encourage your contacts on the outside to visit FightToxicPrisons.org. See what’s happening in Gainesville here: https://gainesvilleiguana.org/2016/articles/gainesville-iwoc-strike-on-sept-9/